Dr. Thackery has come undone.
For those keeping score, he has now racked up so many bad-behavior points that Barrow looks positively saintly in comparison. Kicking off with a little breaking and entering incident during his hunt for cocaine, Thackery lands in jail, and it’s Barrow to the rescue—well, it’s really Capt. Robertson’s money to the rescue, but still, Barrow shows up at the police station with Cornelia’s dad to attend to the situation.
Capt. Robertson offers the police a trade: He’ll convince the owner of the pharmacy to drop the complaint, if the officer will accept some cash in exchange for his understanding that the matter is settled. B&E carries a minimum sentence of five years in Sing Sing, the officer reminds him. Robertson lays down another bill—and we know these aren’t fivers. “And something for the roundsmen who apprehended him?” Naturally. Barrow salivates over all that green.
Barrow even taps his underworld connections to try to get Thackery his fix before the entire hospital implodes from the scandal. What a chum Barrow is. Truthfully, he knows that Thackery’s unraveling jeopardizes his livelihood and, by extension, his entire life—including his childlike-whore habit, which now looks quaint when looking back on some of the others’ sexual antics.
Cornelia and Dr. Edwards’ lovely relationship couldn’t be seen as “antics,” except that in the time that The Knick is set, their interracial coupling would be more than frowned upon—it is, in fact, downright dangerous. That established, Cornelia is now pregnant of course. When she asks to speak to him in his office, he guesses that her period is late. She confirms: three weeks. He asks if it could be her fiance’s. Impossible, she says, and he—he’s happy and kisses her. (This situation is terribly sad for them, because it cannot end well.) “Alge, do you want to keep the child?” she asks. Without hesitation, he says yes. She wants to, as well, but “everyone will know when they see the child” that the baby’s father is a black man, she says. (He should, of course, move back to France with preggers Cornelia.) She asks if there’s medicine she can take instead of having a procedure. Nope. “There’s no proven method except surgery,” he says sadly.
Gallinger stops Edwards in the hall and starts giving him a hard time about changing the treatment he prescribed for a patient who ingested a sanitized tapeworm “to slim her figure,” calling it a breach of medical ethics. Just as things are about to get ugly between the two, things get so very much worse, as Eleanor shows up with dead baby Grace in a carriage, saying Grace had a brain fever and she put her head in an ice bag—which is probably the most terrible moment in the series so far.
Elsewhere, Thackery and Nurse Elkins’ antics are put on hold when she recognizes him in a newspaper report as the anonymous doctor arrested for breaking into a pharmacy. She runs to his house. He lets her in and asks if she’s alone. Shakespeare watch: “When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions.” – King Claudius, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5. He asks who sent her. She says he looks terrible and should go to bed. He says he can feel bedbugs under his skin. She says she’s treated bedbugs and that’s not what they do. He shouts her into a seat, accusing her of being a spy for Barrow, but then he softens. What can she do to help? Nothing—okay, one thing. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, “You can find me an ocean of cocaine.”
NEXT: Nurse Elkins finds out what the mysterious “Golden Lotus” is