Saturday, September 24, 2011

"A Gifted Man" Episode 1.1: Pilot--Recap!


Dr. Michael Holt is in the OR, performing a dangerous procedure on billionaire Ron Vinetz. There's a fluid leak, he needs a patch, the tech takes too long to get it to him and Michael says the patient is going to die. He finally gets the patch, finishes the surgery and leaves the OR. When the surgical tech approaches to say what an honor it was to work with him, he ignores her and orders an assistant to fire her.

Dr. Holt is not warm and fuzzy.

While out jogging, he thinks he hears a woman scream, followed by the sound of a collision, but when he turns back to help, the street is deserted, except for a red, bouncing ball. Confused, he keeps running.

At the office, his secretary, Rita (Emmy-winner Margo Martindale), fills him in on his very busy schedule of meetings and consultations. She also mentions it's her birthday and his only commentary is that the restaurant she's going to later is overrated.

When Michael checks on his patient, Ron the Billionaire, we learn that they are also friends and that Ron enjoys wild parties. Michael tells him he can't do anything at all until the patch heals and it's clear that Ron has no intention of staying put for that long.

Later that night, Michael stops at a restaurant to pick up his take out order and runs into Anna Paul (Jennifer Ehle), inviting her back to his place to have dinner. She agrees and they have an evening of reminsicing about the days when they were married and living in a dreadful apartment back in Alaska. He doesn't want her to leave, but she does when his phone starts ringing.

Michael's nephew, Milo (Liam Aiken) has been arrested and needs someone to pick him up. Uncle Mike takes Milo home, gives his sister, Christina (Julie Benz) some money to pay for the past due rent, and mentions that he ran into Anna. Christina is excited by this news and says the only time Michael wasn't a total jerk was when he was with Anna. Michael gets upset about this, tells her to fix things with her son, and basically storms out. It's pretty clear that they see each other often but have a strained relationship.

The next day, Michael has an appointment with nineteen-year-old tennis champion, Lacey Sandreski, who is one French Open away from being the youngest woman to win the Grand Slam. Michael suspects she has an aneurysm and orders an MRI.

While Lacey is undergoing her test, Michael runs into Ron in the hallway. Ron was trying to sneak out against doctors' orders and Michael says, "I have very few real friends. I don't want to lose one of them to stupidity."

Back in his office, Michael tries to call the clinic where Anna is now working, but is informed that she died in an accident two weeks ago.

Christina shows up at his office right as Rita has handed him an article about Anna's accident. Christina wants Milo to see a therapist, but the therapist wants the primary man in Milo's life to attend the sessions. Michael says he's absolutely not going to therapy. Christina sees the article about Anna's death and is confused, but then realizes that Anna must have come to him as a spirit and declares that he has a "cosmic gift." He walks away from her.

Lacey Sandreski has an aneurysm, but since she is asymptomatic, Michael says she has two choices. She can have a small procedure that will clear it up immediately, but will be unable to play tennis for three months. Or, she can wait until after the French Open next week, risk a rupture, and have a 25% chance of surviving. Lacey's mother wants to have the procedure now. Her father doesn't want to lose the Grand Slam. Lacey decides to wait.

Anna comes back to Michael and explains that she was hit by a car when she was out running and chased a kid's ball into the street. She says that the staff at the clinic is upside down without her and asks him to go to her office and unlock the computer. He reluctantly agrees and goes to Clinica Sanando, logs right into the computer, much to the relief of the staff, and overhears a nurse directing a woman to take her children to the ER. Michael stops and says not to go to the ER because her son needs an MRI and she needs to go to an imaging center. He finally ends up taking the mother and her three children to his own office for the test.

Convinced there is something wrong with him, he has an MRI himself and doesn't have a brain tumor. When Anna comes back, he tells her he can't see her because he's a surgeon and needs to behave rationally.

Christina talks him into seeing her friend, Anton, who knows what Michael is going through and offers to help make Anna go away.

The next morning, Michael learns that Ron the Billionaire is back in the hospital and that things aren't good. His other line rings and it's Lacey's mother, panicking because Lacey has a headache and is on the verge of passing out. Lacey admits that she lied about being asymptomatic. Michael tells them to meet him at the OR, where Lacey is rushed in for emergency surgery for a ruptured cerebral aneurysm.

On his way into the OR, he runs into mother from the clinic, orders an MRI for her other son, and then disappears to perform Lacey's surgery, fixing her aneurysm and saving her life. The results come back on the little boy, who has a tumor on his spine. Michael orders another surgeon to perform the operation, but Anna wants him to do it himself because he's the best.

Lacey is angry because she can't play in the French Open and won't be able to "be the best." Michael realizes that he needs to operate on the little boy. As he preps for surgery, Rita brings the news that Ron didn't make it.

After surgery, Michael talks to Anna again, says the boy is going to be fine, he's upset that Ron has died, and, it turns out, he's upset that Anna has died too. He says he can't handle it and walks away, going to see Anton. Anton sets up a ritual to help Michael let Anna go. He faces her, tells her she has to leave, but she doesn't want to. She has so many things left unfinished and wants him to help her. She begs him. He says she doesn't fit into his life and that he needs her to go. She tells him that if she goes, they'll never see each other again and asks if that's what he wants.

Michael tells Anton that it worked. That Anna's gone. Anton says he knows she isn't and Michael goes to the door, then stops. He asks, "Are you here?" and sees Anna, surrounded by light, walking in through another door. He smiles.


And that, my friends, is episode 1!

So, what did you think? Did you enjoy the show? Do you think it'll stick around for awhile? Over the next few days, we'll be compiling reader reviews and would love to hear from you. Also, be sure to vote in the poll over in the sidebar.

1 comment:

kitten63 said...

Very nice synopsis!

I was happy with the pilot. It was a great introduction to the characters and set up the series nicely.

Michael Holt: Expertly played by Patrick Wilson, who never fails to own/sell a role. He wasn't quite as jerky as I'd expected, but Michael was obviously a self-absorbed, driven workaholic. I hope they pursue why he's so driven and buried in his career.

Anna: Lovely job by Jennifer Ehle! She pulled off just the right balance of ethereal versus believable. She really seems to be more than just a hallucination, but she's obviously not real either as she's definitely dead. I'm sure they'll leave us wondering if she's somehow conjured by Michael's subconscious conscience, but I like to believe she's really there, perhaps stuck in some kind of limbo until she manages to finish closing all those doors she left open (as well as opening new doors for Michael).

Rita: Margo Martindale, Emmy winner. What more can I say? She was perfect! I adore Rita. She's just the right mix of satisfying Michael's cold precision as well as being able to handle all kinds of patients in a kind, professional manner. Kudos!

Christina: Julie Benz was very relatable as the less-than-sure of herself younger sister, lost in her brother's shadow, knowing she'll never measure up to his perfection and genius. Hopefully we'll learn more about why she's a single parent, and why her son is a jerk to her, but knew he could call on Uncle Mike to bail him out. There's a different kind of love triangle here and it's very obviously strained; lots of great fodder for future episodes.

Anton(?): Pablo was wonderful! He was very believable as a Shaman who knew his stuff. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Anton in action. Perhaps he can impart a few bits of practical wisdom to the audience and not end up as a hokey character. (Please, writers, don't do that to him).

My only concern is Anna's penchant for just popping in, anywhere, anytime. Poor Michael! I think I'd be getting pretty paranoid that she's going to jump out and go *boo!* at any moment if I were him. Hopefully they will set some parameters on her appearances so she's not popping in while he's like, in the bathroom, or busy in the bedroom, or something equally embarrassing for him. Not that they'd show something like that in the show, but you have to wonder.

Overall I'm very excited for the show and I'm looking forward to seeing where they're going to go with it very much.