This week's episode of A Gifted Man, In Case of Separation Anxiety, lets the ghosts have a little fun. That leads to us having a little fun as well.
After a lackluster first three episodes of the series, A Gifted Man seems to finally find some good notes for the characters. Anna (the Ghost Ex-Wife) has hit her stride. In the past she's been trying to give Mike (her neurosurgeon ex-husband) a crash course in altruism.
In this episode, Anna just wants to sink her teeth into his life like a terrier grabbing onto the cuff of an expensive suit. She starts out the episode mocking his flirtation with a younger barista, and then mocking his flirtation with Kate, the clinic's new director. It must drive actors crazy to constantly have their work compared to earlier roles, but Jennifer Ehle really brings the impishness that made her stand out as Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.
Anna disappears (and we sigh). Suddenly, a car avoids a biker and drives straight through the front wall of the clinic, and the episode gets awesome again! "Oh you think this is going to be about the struggling Clinica Sanando getting it together under a new director? Try this on for size! CAR THROUGH THE FRONT WALL!"
The doctors check out the driver. They discover she has absurdly high blood pressure, but didn't have the money to buy medication. As usual, after Mike drops everything to treat any injuries in the clinic and correctly diagnoses the woman, thus preventing her from having a stroke, everyone else looks really angry with him when he goes back to his actual job of being, you know, a neurosurgeon. Of course, he hires Anton, the new-age hippie-spiritualist-carpenter that nearly exorcised Anna to patch the clinic up. And he gets a thank you...we'll wait for it.
Oh, and it appears that Anna picked an insurance claim with a low monthly payment but a $75,000 deductible. How was this amazing director screwing up this much? And also, the clinic got hit by a driver, who swerved to avoid a bad biker. It seems like they're the ones that should be ponying up for the deductible.
Julie Benz, Mike's sister, reappears from character limbo long enough to say hi, and push New Age medicine from Anton the Shaman at him again. This turns out to be relevant when we go over to the rich clinic.
In the rich clinic's first interesting plot, things are also getting crazy-weird. An 18-year-old named Samir comes in hearing voices. He's a smart kid and a gamer whose avatar is named "Ahmet," or "The Boy." Mike scans his brain and finds a tumor, which he discovers during surgery was Samir's absorbed twin!
Samir's mother reveals that she knew she was carrying twins, named the other twin Ahmet and that she was freaked out when she saw that Samir, as a boy, had an imaginary friend named Ahmet. It seems like that's the end of it, but when Samir wakes up the voice in his head is even louder, and screaming at him. I so want this to turn out to be "Ghost Doc."
Now, this is the part that could be interpreted one of two ways. In the normal world, when Mike's sister goes to his clinic, finds Samir, and tries to get him to go to Anton the Shaman, she should be tossed out on her ass and get 50 CCs of Her Rich Rent-Paying Brother Never Speaking To Her Again. In this world, though since we've seen in past episodes that Anton is not only legit, but Mike knows that he's legit and just won't let him help, Mike's the ass. But only in this one case. In every other, despite people treating him like crap, he's a pretty amazing guy.
He's even more amazing when you find out his back story with Anna. It appears that he always wanted to be a neurosurgeon, but when he met Anna, he first decided to change to family medicine, then he decided to follow her out to Alaska. We can't really blame Anna for that. He was an adult and made his choice.
Then it turns out that she bought gifts for her patients when they couldn't pay the heating bill. Look, Lizzie, that's fine when you have Darcy to pay your debts, but this goes too far. I like the fact that the show is finally acknowledging that endlessly giving can be destructive if you don't draw the line somewhere. I like Mike even better than I did before when he actually yells at Anna about it. That's the chemistry I like to see! Her ripping his life like a bear ripping into a sleeping bag and him yelling back about it and whapping her on the nose (metaphorically) with a newspaper. That's fun.
Kate, the new clinic director, turns out to be pretty amazing, too. She refuses to take his money for the insurance settlement, gets him to have an official job there with official hours so they can all plan his hours, and seems determined to get the clinic together. Anton even seems to be getting his footing, in a ridiculous, annoying hippie-dippie way. I even like Sister Julie Benz as the New Age Avenger who crashes through clinic windows and insists on miscreants getting "soul cleansings" — which she might, since Samir's de-ghosting seems to have worked.
Well done, A Gifted Man. Well done. I didn't think you had this kind of crazy in you. Just hold on to it.
Images: Daemon's TV