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'Emily Owens, M.D.' Recap: "Emily and the Outbreak"


Emily Owens, M.D.” is quickly becoming my favorite show. Seriously, if you haven’t given this show a chance, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. Each and every character on this show feels like a real person and even though I’ve never once wanted to be a doctor, the writing is still so relatable that it’s easy to picture the same scenes playing out in any other job scenario. These are people we all know or people that we are.

“Emily and the Outbreak” started with Emily talking about her love for math, which led to her realizing that she’d forgotten her watch in her locker. As she went back to get it, she was telling herself that she needed to change her perspective and get over her crush on Will and she decided she was going to start with listing his flaws. She headed into the locker room just in time to see Will changing (Thank you, CW for putting shirtless scenes in all your shows). As Emily stood there blatantly staring, she decided that “being sporty” was one of Will’s flaws (Oh Emily, let’s talk about the definition of flaws, okay?). The two realized they were late and rushed off just in time for Dr. Bandari to give the interns a pop quiz.

But it wasn’t just any quiz. The winning intern would get to do a first cut in a gall bladder surgery so it was a pretty big deal. It came down to Emily and Cassandra and after answering a tough question, Cassandra whispered to Emily that it looked like she was getting hot and then Emily got distracted and missed the question so Cassandra won. Emily ends up going to work in the ER for the day and it’s basically a madhouse. She treats a high school girl, Sophie, for gonorrhea.

There’s also a young gymnast, Payson, who they’re not quite sure what’s wrong with her yet, but Emily suggests she needs a week off to recover, which doesn’t sit well with her or her father. There’s a crying baby and Cassandra’s gall bladder patient, an older man who has a woman with him that seems like his wife, but turns out to be his ex-wife. Emily is stressed and Will passes by and makes a joke and Emily calls that Flaw #2 – he’s glib. Emily tries to get back on Dr. Bandari’s good side, but she makes it clear that will not be easy.

After Payson has a seizure, Emily and Tyra are running tests on her and talking about how the girl has such a rough schedule with her gymnastics training. Tyra understands why she wouldn’t want to stand up to her father. The two talk about high school and who had it rougher. Micah has to give Payson a spinal tap to test for meningitis and Emily talks to her to try and take her mind off the painful procedure. Payson tells her about being “queen of the beam” as her father calls her. When the test is over, Dr. Bandari tells Emily that since she reported the STD outbreak to the high school, she has to go there and talk to the girls about STDs.

Will finds Emily staring at the high school and asks if she’s nervous. She tells him that she doesn’t think it will be that bad and he talks about how they tortured their sex ed teacher in high school and called her Ms. Labia. Emily adds “insensitive” to his list of flaws (seriously) and Will tells her that her name doesn’t rhyme with anything weird and worst case scenario, she could always show them how to put a condom on a banana. Emily adds “completely immature” to his flaws.

She heads into the school and feels like everyone is staring at her (they are) and then she runs into the girl who mocked her in the pilot. The girl tells her not to look at her and then warns Emily that she can’t cry up there or she’ll never hear the end of it. Emily tries to talk rationally to the girls, but they mock her and start asking really inappropriate questions about her sex life. Cassandra is in the audience watching and Emily finally snaps and reminds them that nine of them came into the hospital with STDs and not a single boy did so maybe it’s time they start paying attention and standing up for themselves and each other. She has their attention until someone throws a condom on the stage. Emily picks it up along with a banana to show them how that works.

Back at the hospital, Cassandra is giddy over her upcoming surgery and she tells Emily that Dr. Bandari is looking for a research assistant. Payson does not have meningitis, but she has developed a rash. Emily and Tyra manage to get the father out of the room and Tyra gets Payson to admit that she did sneak out during a meet in Ohio to go to a party at an abandoned farm.

A high school boy, Damon, comes into the ER after a group of girls attacked him because “Dr. Owens told them to.” Emily tries to treat him and he calls her “Dr. Bitch” and she repeatedly tells herself not to stab him with her needle because she will lose her license. She heads to the lounge to try and figure out what’s wrong with Payson and bounces ideas off Will as she tells him how horrible Damon was. Will agrees to try and talk to him.

Cassandra freezes when it’s time for her to make the cut and Emily witnesses it. Payson is having trouble breathing and Micah finds a small mass in her lung, which is from a fungal infection. He tells the father that they never would have known to look for it if his interns hadn’t thought of it. It’s treatable with medication, but there’s a risk to her inner ear, which could affect her balance.

Will goes to have a talk with Damon and the kid gives him attitude. Will doesn’t handle it very well and starts yelling at the kid, just as Emily shows up with his mother. Since all the mother knows is that he got beat up, she’s really not pleased to see two doctors being mean to her kid and threatens to file complaints against both of them. Still angry, Will tells Emily to meet him on the roof. Emily heads up there and Will shows up with a bat that he keeps in his car. Emily quips, “Road rage, much?” and then she adds “temper” to her list of his flaws.  But Will explains that he goes to the batting cages when he’s stressed. He takes a few practice swings to calm down and then suggests Emily do the same.

Emily isn’t exactly experienced with batting and Will offers to help, but then hesitates, thinking it might be uncomfortable for her. She rolls her eyes and tells him that she’s not going to faint, but then he puts his arms around her to guide her and she mentally tells herself, “Don’t faint!” She’s trying to catalog his flaws once again as he shows her how to swing, but she seems to be having too much fun to really think about anything else. Emily feels better, but she’s still upset that Damon will be leaving without an STD test. Will says something about his bruised ribs and Emily realizes that they took a urine sample to check for internal bleeding, which means they can test him after all.

Will and Emily give the test results to Damon, making a big deal out of how they can’t share them with his mother, which of course makes the mother demand to open them herself (Well played, Doctors). The mother apologizes to Will and Emily and Damon has to apologize to Sophie. But the teen doesn’t really feel better after hearing it like she thought she would.

Payson’s ears are okay, but she breaks down crying. Emily and Tyra urge her to talk to her father, but instead, she gives him the good news. Tyra explains that sometimes it’s just easier to go along with a dad’s image of you. Emily teases Micah about a new doctor (I didn’t catch her name, but the actress was on “Political Animals” this summer) flirting with him. It turns out that Micah has a date with her that night.

Cassandra hesitates to tell the story of surgery to the other interns and Emily tries to cover for her, but Cassandra doesn’t want her pity and admits that she choked. Will goes to check on her and tells her that he used to play baseball and his dream was to be a pitcher. He was on track to be scouted and then he started choking and lost his ability to throw a fastball (Fun fact: Justin Hartley confirmed to me on Twitter that he can throw a fastball, which is impressive).

Will told Cassandra that losing baseball led him to medicine and maybe this would lead her to baseball. It made her smile and then the two were holding hands, which Emily spied and did not like. She started going through his faults again, angrily getting to the one where he broke her heart. Emily’s voiceover pointed out that sometimes people need a change in perspective, but the heart is not rational (True story).

Next Tuesday is Election Day so The CW will be rerunning this episode along with an episode of “Arrow,” but the show returns the following week and that episode features Will and Cassandra getting closer and poor Emily having to witness it. That should be interesting. See you in two weeks…

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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