Red Band‘s Thanksgiving episode was more like a Valentine’s Day special: The show used a flash-forward technique to show the protagonists in “uncompromising” positions. Dr. McAndrew has a black eye, Kara is seemingly necking a comatose senior citizen, Jordi and Dash are fighting over a new hospital patient, and Leo is burning his prosthetic leg on the roof. Yes, this week’s title, “How Did I Get Here?” is perfect for this episode.
It began with Leo and Emma each having tests run to see whether they are well enough to return home. (Remember when Leo said he dreamed of leaving this place healthy with Emma? Today could be that day.) Leo has physical assessments, whereas Emma has psychological ones. They both ace their tests… except that Leo can’t fake his results, whereas Emma can. She knows exactly what the therapist needs to hear to give her the all clear.
This is where the show gets really complex: Emma sees the approval in the eyes of Leo, her parents, and the doctors, when she progresses. She sees how they feel proud of themselves for helping her. And being a good-natured person, she wants to give them that. She also aches for them to realize her struggle: that she isn’t ready to leave. But they are all too happy to believe Emma’s lie. Emma is also concerned that out in the real world, she and Leo won’t last.
Sometimes those we have strife with are the only ones who can tell us the truth to make us better. And that’s what happens when Kara asks Emma for a condom, and Emma slut shames Kara. Kara goes toe to toe and calls Emma out for hiding her “rexi-ness” when she’s out with Leo; she says Emma’s faking who she is and leaves her with the heavy thought: “How real can your relationship be if it’s based on a lie?”
Leo has made vast steps physically and emotionally this season, and rather than be petulant, he steps up. He sends her a beautifully written letter, sealed with wax, inviting her to a romantic dinner on the rooftop. There he proceeds to describe a fanciful reality where they met under normal circumstances, and they seal it with a kiss. Just before this moment delves into the cheesy, they add in the humor by having Leo’s prosthetic leg catch on fire.
The next day, Leo goes to Emma’s room to give her a present. At first she’s touched—until she opens it and learns it’s a box of chocolates. She flips out because it means he doesn’t understand her illness—which means he doesn’t understand her.
It turns out that Emma is being released, but Leo isn’t. Leo begs her not to leave, since she told him she’s still sick, but she isn’t listening. She leaves coldly, pulling off her red band, and Leo is all torn up inside.
While Leo and Emma have cooled off, Kara and Hunter are progressing hot and heavy. They’re trying to figure out a way to hit a “home run” (if you catch my drift, and I think you do). Between Kara’s heart monitor being a signal to Nurse Jackson every time she gets frisky and them being unable to find some privacy, hooking up is proving to be quite the challenge. But Nurse Jackson warns Kara not get too involved.
Kara finally figures out a way to rid herself of the heart monitor (by hooking it up to a comatose senior citizen), when she runs into another problem: Neither she nor Hunter have a condom. Luckily, these responsible teens don’t get caught up in the heat of the moment (last thing this hospital needs is pregnant Kara) and they go on the hunt for a condom. Kara approaches Emma, who, as previously said, slut shames her, but the conversation does make Kara ask herself why she’s rushing to sleep with Hunter.
So when Hunter succeeds in finding a condom, Kara isn’t so sure anymore. She tells Hunter she wants to wait, because she doesn’t want to lose interest in him. He tells her they may not have much time to lose interest, as neither of them are particularly healthy (don’t be fooled by their fit bodies and rosy cheeks). She points out that no one knows how much time they have in this world, and Hunter complies. It seems like he’s not too upset, until he passes out and gets taken into the ICU.
Kara is desperate as she waits outside Hunter’s hospital room. She fears the worst, and Nurse Jackson isn’t telling her otherwise. She tells Kara, “My job is to protect your heart, Kara, in every possible way.” Now we know why she was giving Kara the lecture, because Hunter’s future is a little grim.
NEXT: Jordi’s always in the way