A Gifted Man makes you hate the good guys

A wise man (Rick Moranis) once uttered, "Evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb." The last two episodes of A Gifted Man show that good also has a bad attitude about being dumb. And the closer the surgeon gets to good, the dumber he becomes.

In case you haven't been keeping track (like most television viewers), A Gifted Man is a show about Michael Holt, an elite brain surgeon who's haunted by his dead ex-wife Anna. Anna keeps pestering Mike into running her downtown Manhattan clinic, a task he's just plum not interested in (also like most television viewers).

Last week's episode — "In Case of All Hell Breaking Loose" — showcases several decisions. Some of them are made by Good People, some are made by Mike Under the Influence of Good People, and some of them are made by Bad People. I'll let you decide who comes off the smartest.

In this episode, Good Mike Holt decides to treat all the people in his waiting room except for the person who actually made an appointment and has some idea that Mike's specialty (neurosurgery) applies to his problem. Bad Mike decides to ask the Clinica Sonando not to refer people who aren't in his area of expertise and don't have appointments to his extremely expensive private neurosurgery practice. Good Doctors decide to rope Mike into the room with a boy who a doctor is already treating for a bruised elbow. To repeat that, a neurosurgeon is asked to be the second physician diagnosing a boy with Sore Elbow.

When they take blood samples from the boy and Good Mike finds out that it takes days to get lab results back, he roots around in the clinic store room, finds and cleans a microscope, and then looks at the samples to diagnose the boy with Sickle Cell Anemia. Now that a neurosurgeon has performed the functions of a family physician, a lab tech, and an intern, the Good People complain when he leaves to go to his practice, since presumably they have some floors he needs to scrub. I imagine the clinic has a nuclear physicist in there, too, but she's busy cleaning out the rat traps.

A Gifted Man makes you hate the good guys

The next round of stellar decision-making skills are showcased when the boy's father comes in, and the doctors learn that he's not biologically the boy's father. All the Good People, including Anna's Ghost, want to quietly deceive the man and hope that during the course of treating this painful and incurable disease, the father never works out that his wife cheated on him and his son isn't biologically his. (The fact that they're banking on the dad not finding out because he's an immigrant with no medical knowledge really puts the scoop of ice cream on that little slice of virtue.)

Finally Bad Mike, much like the audience, can bear no more of this and takes over, to the consternation of everyone. He tells the dad the truth straight-out, and then yells at him until he accepts that he has a responsibility to the child, biology or not. In the end, Bad Mike decides that the top neurosurgeon in the world abandoning his specialty to be a family practice director/microscope wiper-offer would not be a benefit to him or the medical world. He turns down an offer to run Anna's clinic. Again, the Good People are disappointed because unfocused virtue is always the answer to practical difficulties.

This week's episode — "In Case Of Discomfort" — has two doctors also passing up the chance to direct Clinica Sonando. The first does because Mike insulted her, assuming that a friend of his was going to take the job. The second is the friend, who despite being a laid-off ER doctor, sees the chaos of the clinic and would rather be unemployed.

A ghostly appearance, a look around the clinic's disorganized closet, and snarking match with Mike has Anna admitting, "There is nothing I'd like more than to be resting in peace instead of fighting with you. But something even bigger than you, Michael Holt, put me here now. With you. And if you can't respect that and help to do the things that I can't do any longer because I got hit by a damn car, then you might as well be dead, too."

Wow. Looks like someone's going to hell when they finally move on.

One, you didn't get hit by a damn car, you ran in front of a damn car trying to retrieve a ball. Two, everyone in the entire series has remarked extensively on how badly run the clinic is. There is equipment that the doctors don't use, the whole place is a mess, and Anna herself admitted that she didn't train any of the staff. Not any of it. Meanwhile, last week in a subplot that went nowhere, Mike was shown to be such a great surgeon that he saved a pregnant woman with a brain tumor and delivered her baby via Caesarian by running back and forth between to ends of a hospital table.

Yeah, he treats the rich. But while we're weighing who deserves life and who deserves death, here, let's consider who is a brilliant surgeon with a well-run practice while providing free care to about seven patients per episode, and who made a mess of a public clinic while chasing a ball like they were in a singalong video. God, if anyone but Jennifer Ehle (with awesome hair) were doing this, this character would be insufferable.

A Gifted Man makes you hate the good guys

The plot revolves around Mike trying to find a doctor to competently run the clinic, while trying to round up two patients who ran out of his exams. One is a guy with a bad heart who suddenly dropped dead and was revived in the waiting room. Another is a female pilot with hands that don't obey her anymore. Mike, quite reasonably, wants to contact the FAA because at the very least, the pilot is endangering people. Anna wants him to hunt her down through the streets of New York, so they can cure her to let her endanger people again. Meanwhile, the guy is too worried about bills to go to the cardiologist that Mike suggests.

To be fair, Mike knows he's worried about money, but doesn't say anything about it, so he's acting the ass here. The pilot's a different story. Anna reminds him that the FAA will penalize her for not seeking medical care for a known condition. While everyone who has ever been in a plane says, "Good! That's what they should do! No one wants a seven-mile screaming fall of flaming death because their pilot's nervous about doctors! Ground her! Ground her now! Ground her forever!"

Mike looks hangdog and keeps it quiet. Eventually he clears up her little problem via massive neurosurgery during which everyone who had been in her plane in the last few months should have gotten the chance to spit on her unconscious face. Mike pauses his post-op treatment to run across town and blindly sticks a needle in the man's heart to save his life.

Then Anna comes back and complains that he's no good at helping people outside the medical arena, prompting watchers to wonder, "Is it possible to slap a ghost or would your hand just come away all tingly?" In the end, the medical director of the clinic is going to be a hot blonde, with an attitude like Anna's but no Pride and Prejudice good will stored up. That's going to be a treat.