The Knick indulges in some vices in its latest, which should maybe be called “Working It a Lot,” because there’s a whole lot of bad behavior, sexytime, and sass this week in the period drama. Nurse Elkins’ corruption by charismatic Dr. Thackery is complete; she now whines for cocaine to be incorporated into their sex act. In their pillow talk afterward, she reveals that her father is a preacher and would condemn her for her sins of the flesh. Thackery: “Sex, pleasure, immodesty, us here now—this is no sin.” Lucy: “Will you be there on Judgment Day to make my case then?” Him: “God’s not watching.”
He may not be, but others are—that is, watching Thackery’s rapid descent into withdrawal when the city’s cocaine supplies are cut off by the Philippine-American War, in which Capt. Robertson’s ships, including those carrying medical supplies, are being sunk. Thackery sweats and shakes through his day, complaining to the pharmaceutical rep on the board about the patients’ need for the drug. Later, Thackery twitches through the meeting of the Metropolitan Surgical Society, where he is to give his presentation of Edwards’ hernia paper. Thackery is so out of sorts that he steps away from the speaker area to shoot up in the basement, but then returns so wound up—where did Lucy find this stuff?—that he races through his presentation on the procedure, which he exclaims to be “probably the biggest advance in inguinal hernia surgery in the past 100 years.” In the audience, Dr. Chickering Sr. eyeballs Thackery, who oddly refuses to take questions, then sits and fidgets through the introduction of the next speaker, Dr. Levi Zinberg (Michael Nathanson), and has trouble focusing on the presentation for Zinberg’s Intrascope.
At a cocktail party later, Chickering Sr. approaches when the Knick team disbands: “Dr. Thackery. I was hoping for a word, but by the looks of you, an examination might be more in order.” Thackery plays it off as overwork. Chickering tells him he has Bertram in his “thrall,” and he has to let him go. Chickering suggests that Zinberg would be a better mentor. Thackery says Bertie has great talent and that he’s invested too much in him. Chickering Sr.: “Whatever you have ‘invested’ in the boy, I can assure you I have infinitely more.” Chickering Sr. has generally come off as a snob and a hardass, but it now seems that he pretty much had Thackery’s number all along. Nothing like living up to low expectations—except there’s still the pesky fact that Thackery is a brilliant and innovative surgeon. He vows to show that Chickering Sr. and won’t rest until his next presentation, on the placenta previa procedure, eclipses whatever that secretive Zinberg has planned.
Speight has news for Cornelia: Typhoid Mary has petitioned a judge to release her from quarantine—after Cornelia’s heroic tackle, you’d think Mary would see the gravity of the situation. She’s proven to be a carrier, but her lawyer will argue that she’s being wrongfully imprisoned.
But first, before Cornelia resumes her pursuit of the typhoid issue, she engages in her secret affair with Edwards. Cornelia insists that Jesse (the family chauffeur and Edwards’ dad) go home. She says she’s going to be working for 7 more hours. Instead, she hires a cab to take her Edwards’ hotel. The cab driver advises against it, the hotel guests look at her funny, but she’s all smiles as she knocks and locks lips with Edwards when he answers. As naked Cornelia smokes a cigarette in the afterglow, they joke about how she works late a lot these days, she goes out so frequently, and she just can’t seem to quench her thirst for knowledge and cultural enrichment. Then Edwards: “Aren’t you scared—of what we’re doing?” She: “I’m only scared we won’t be able to stop.” His face: Erm, yeah, that might actually be a problem.
End Knick romantic interlude No. 2.
NEXT: Typhoid Mary is released, Speight curses a blue streak