Dr. Dani and some of the Necessary Roughness crew returned Wednesday night for the drama’s third season premiere. As the episode title, “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes”, suggests, there have been some big changes to the series. While it’s still too early to judge whether all of these changes are for the better, the show delivered a solid premiere episode. Let’s talk change.
Right off the bat, the show didn’t start with Dani’s usual voiceover. Instead, it delved right into the Hawks’ practice and it turns out they have a new coach and general manager. New coach has a history of winning and he doesn’t have time for any distractions. Needless to say, Coach and TK butted heads almost immediately (more on that later). Coach also had a problem with Dani when she refused to agree to divulge patient information to him and he promptly fired her.
Matt stood by and tried to tell Dani that this was just the way football works. Matt’s a married man now; since Noelle got pregnant, he decided to put a ring on it. Clearly, that created some tension between Matt and Dani, but Matt had an even bigger announcement before the hour was over: he’d taken a GM job and was moving to Boston, which conveniently, is his new wife’s hometown. This is one change that I am already sold on. The Matt/Dani relationship has been played out and it’s time to move on.
Dani’s kids were also missing in action. While Ray J ran off with Juliette in the season finale, Dani mentioned that her daughter was never home anymore (Both actors have been bumped down to recurring status). This is another change that I’m not really crying about. While I do think being a mother is an important part of Dani’s life, I never really cared about the kids getting their own storylines and taking time away from the (far more interesting) adults on the show.
So as Dani wallowed in her firing with a visiting Jeanette, she was surprised to get a phone call from Nico. Dani hasn’t heard from him since he took the job with Dallas and disappeared. In typical Nico fashion, he didn’t tell her much, other than that there was a limo in her driveway and he needed her help. The limo took Dani to V3, a flashy, busy sports’ agency and this leads into the other major change on the show.
Connor McClane (John Stamos) welcomes her to the agency and explains that he has a client who could benefit from her help. Dani also gets to meet Connor’s right-hand-man, Troy Cutler (David Anders), who isn’t quite so onboard with Dani being there. She agrees to see the player and then asks Connor what Nico has to do with all of this. Connor points to the man in question and suggests that Dani ask him herself.
Dani slaps Nico (weakest slap ever) and admits that she’s furious with him because he scared her when he didn’t return her phone calls. Nico remains cagey about where he was and why he decided to work for V3 instead of going to Dallas, but Dani agrees to accept it when he tells her it was ‘for personal reasons.’ As always, anything involving Nico is interesting and I’m curious to find out what happened after he was stopped by law enforcement in the finale. Also, maybe now that Matt is out of the way, Nico will finally have a real chance with Dani (Team Nico).
The patient is a baseball player, who is about to sign with Kansas City, but has a fear of flying. Dani does her thing and seems to calm him down, but when the plane lands, his arm is suddenly numb. Like most of the good doctor’s cases, there was more to this one than meets the eye. It turned out that he had a good friend from school, who was also a pitcher, and things didn’t end well for him. Dani helped him get past his fear and he was good to go to Kansas City.
But then Tony came to tell Connor that KC had gotten wind of his flying issues and decided they weren’t going to draft him anymore. Instead of freaking out, Connor calmly told him that it was all good because he’d just gotten off the phone with the Yankees. Dani realized that had been Connor’s plan all along; he’d wanted the kid to sign with NY and he’d leaked the information. He admitted it was true and then he offered Dani an in-house position with the condition that she had to close her private practice and work exclusively for him.
Obviously Dani agreed to take the job and Tony once again voiced that he didn’t think this was a good idea. We also got a shot of Nico watching the whole thing and placing a call to tell someone, “We have a problem.” While I am curious what’s going on at this agency and whether or not we can trust Connor, I have my reservations about this plot point. An ongoing mystery might be a bit much for this show, which has always worked best when it focuses on the main characters and what’s going on in their lives. But it’s still too early to tell and I’m never going to complain about having Stamos and Anders onscreen.
As expected, TK did not take well to any of the changes. He pissed the coach off when he was late for practice (because he didn’t show up ten minutes early) and he was wearing Velcro shoes while all the other players were doing a lace-tying exercise (seriously). Things got even worse when he had to see a new therapist. TK was not impressed with his office or his lack of snacks and he definitely didn’t like him taking notes during the session. TK mocked him (hilarious) and then made it clear that Dani was the only therapist he wanted to see.
TK had it out with Matt over the fact that he didn’t go to bat for Dani and then TK stormed out of practice, quitting the team. He went to see Dani and she explained to him that he’s worked way too hard to give all of it up and she thinks that maybe after two years of therapy, he’s ready to fly solo, but she promises that she’s not going anywhere. TK goes back to new coach and tells him that he wants a ring. Coach warns him that this is his last second chance.
Again, this change makes sense, but it’s another one that I’m on the fence about. I liked that TK still had a storyline, even without Dani being part of the Hawks, but I hope the show finds a way to keep having them interact so it doesn’t feel like we’re watching two separate shows. Time will tell…