I don’t say this lightly, but “Control” may be the best episode of The Night Shift there has ever been. It is honestly one of the most moving episodes of television I have ever seen.
When a girl walked into San Antonio Memorial wanting to have a disfiguring tumor removed from her face, I thought it was going to be a cookie cutter Night Shift story that was emotional, but familiar. It turned out to be so much more than that.
Tina’s grandfather, who was her guardian, was Jehova’s Witness and under the rules of their religion she would not be allowed to have any surgery that required a blood transfusion. He tried to make her leave the hospital without the surgery, and that’s when she snapped. She took a scalpel from the medical tray near her hospital bed and slashed open a gash in her tumor, giving Scott no choice but to perform the surgery in order to save her life.
Partway through the surgery, she flat lined, but Scott refused to give up on her. Even when everyone else was telling him that it was time to stop, that it was too late to save her, he didn’t give up. He knew he could save her life, and no one was going to stand in his way. He delivered this line:
“She’s with me. She’s got a chance.”
And I swear I almost lost it.
Scott has gone through such a wonderful transformation just in these first four episodes. He’s taking control of his life again and starting to believe in the amazing work that he can do. His desire to save the lives of others doesn’t come from the selfish part of him that wants success, it comes from his heart. He wants to save lives to make the world a better place and give as many second chances to people as he can.
Tina was, for all intents and purposes, dead for 61 minutes, but Scott brought her back. He performed a miracle. When the girl slashed open the gash in her tumor Scott saw that she was taking control of her life, and in that moment he knew he needed to do the same. He found his belief in his own abilities again, and through that belief he was able to save her life.
After everyone in the hospital congratulated him, he finally got to talk to Jordan, and the monologue he delivered to her was one of the most powerful I have ever seen:
Scott: “I felt a special power tonight, Jordan, one that I haven’t in a long time.”
Jordan: “Which was what?
Scott: “Which was me taking control of who I really am. When Tina cut herself tonight, she took control of her life. And in that moment, I realized that I haven’t. Ever since I moved here, I’ve just been losing control and taking steps backwards and walking around here on eggshells Ragosa’s rules, the mess with you and me and T. C. , everyone else here being a vet and me feeling inadequate about that because I never served.”
Jordan: “That doesn’t make you inadequate.
Scott: “No, I know that, but that’s how I felt. I gave away my confidence. And then Malik and falling off the wagon. But tonight, tonight, that person that I always was, who never takes no for an answer, who’s always in charge, tonight, I’m him again. I’m back. Jordan, I can do things that other people can’t. And I won’t be walking around here on eggshells anymore. This is my O. R. This is my hospital. And we’re gonna be doing things my way.”
The way that Scott Wolf delivered these lines was absolutely incredible. He was in tears through the entire speech, and you could feel the raw emotion through the screen. Scott is a broken man, but tonight, saving Tina’s life, he found himself again.
Scott’s story line has never been the most emotional one to me, but this season he has made me cry almost every episode.
I’m dreading the moment when he finds out what happened to Annie, because it’s going to destroy him again, just when he’s finally starting to heal and believe in himself. I just hope he is strong enough now to be able to handle news of Annie’s death without falling back into the hole he has so painstakingly climbed out of.
Besides Scott Wolf’s incredible performance, the other part of “Control” that really moved me and challenged my beliefs involved Tina’s grandfather and his deep belief in his faith. While Tina was in surgery, her grandfather went to the chapel to pray. After a short conversation, he asked Kenny to pray with him. Pretty soon almost everyone in the hospital was in the chapel praying with him. As more and more people began to pray, Tina came back to life.
I’m not a religious person, and I’ve often found myself thinking that those of deep faith are giving in to en elaborate ruse, but this episode actually challenged the way that I think about faith. Tina was dead for 61 minutes, yet Scott was able to save her. What else could that be besides a miracle? The beauty of this moment for me doesn’t necessarily lie in faith or religion, but in the way that the whole hospital came together to do whatever they could to make sure that Tina got a second chance. After Tina was out of surgery and in recovery Scott thanked her grandfather for his prayers and I almost lost it again.
So “Control” was a sledgehammer to the emotions and this train doesn’t look to be slowing down at all next week. T.C. and Amira will have to operate on a patient with a live explosive lodged inside of him, and Drew will have to save a plane full of sick passengers with his mother and Rick aboard as well.
I’m terrified, but also beyond thrilled because, you read that right, WE’RE FINALLY GETTING TO SEE RICK AGAIN!!!! Five episodes in to season 4 he’s finally coming back! It feels like it’s been forever.
Check out the trailer for next week’s episode “Turbulence” below and please vent all of your feelings to me about “Control” in the comments.
The Night Shift airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.