Retrogradr Blog

‘The Knick’ is Prestige TV and it is Depressing 


The second season of Cinemax‘s hit show is just three episodes in and it has been depressing to watch.

The racial tensions of the first season pale in comparison to the outright blatant, N-word spewing background noise that has come to define how this season will eventually end.

Without a doubt, Dr. Algernon Edwards is one of my favorite characters to watch. The show does an excellent job showcasing the complex racial relationships Edwards has.

With Thackery, they are respected colleagues that value one another’s talents. With Gallinger, the two a rivals who can’t stand one another. Gallinger strongly believes that he should be assistant head of surgery but fails to realize his incompetence and lack of talent in the field.

Their conflict will come center stage. In just three episodes, the hints are loud and clear. (I think I have had it with Gallinger altogether because he is weighing down the show like a lead balloon.)

So far this season, The Knick has gone full force into that racial history and tensions of the early 20th century New York.

The influx of immigrants from the world over, the beginning of the Great Migration of African-Americans moving northward and the political machines ramping up and flexing their muscles are main issues going on in the background.

Nurse Lucy’s father is a preacher who believes in the purification of the white race by keeping “real” white people from eastern Europeans, Jewish people, and others.

In episode three, Gallinger overhears a group of eugenics supporters talking about keeping black people from mating with whites.

Viewers can already see where this going. The Gallinger versus Edwards fight will lead to something big. The eugenics maniacs will become important this season and there may be a race riot or two.

With all of this hint dropping, The Knick has become a show about race in New York and that may be a bad thing at the moment.

While the first season had a great mix of medical and racial history, the little medical factoids in each episode have seemed to disappear from this season so far. The medicine has taken a back seat.

I miss the days of Algernon tinkering away in his private clinic. I miss the secret abortions and the medical research and experimentation that was being done.

So far the second season has remained consistently excellent in the acting and directing department, but I came for the medicine.

I want the medicine, damn it! Racial issues are dominating our world and it should.

In the case of The Knick, remember to balance because no one wants to watch Gallinger fall deeper down the racist rabbit hole.

Even though the show is moving in a new direction, I can’t wait to see how Algernon’s estrange wife fits into his life. I also impatiently wait for Thack’s medical research. The Knick is still, in my opinion, the best show on TV. Amazing stuff.

The Knick airs Fridays on Cinemax. Read on Celebrity Cafe.

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