Knowing that this is the last season of Royal Pains is ridiculously bittersweet. On one hand, it’s great that it’s had such a long life expectancy where others have flatlined in infancy. Plus, it’s always helpful to have a full prognosis in hand during end of life because that way no one’s blindsided by an unexpected expiration date and we can (read: darn well better) all avoid being left in some blood-boiling cliffhanger situation.
Even so, let’s be real; it still royally stinks that every new episode is just bringing us that much closer to having no more new episodes ‘cause HankMed is definitely family at this point — gulp.
Judging by the premiere, though, we can look forward to the full shebang of what makes this show special in season 8 — from many gross (but educational!) on-site medical procedures to existential family crises to relationship goals galore and fancy parties, the works.
Let’s start with Hank’s road to self-discovery.
It really is hard to believe that such a competent, kind, and in-demand doctor as Hank has had so much trouble moving onto that “next level” with a special someone. Sure, he’s had a few minor matches here and there, but finding ~the one~ has been the single most difficult form of heart trouble he’s had to deal with so far. Well, except for his daddy issues, of course, but those are kind of connected then, aren’t they?
Last season, he finally reached a point of closure between himself and his former fiancée Nikki when it dawned on him that he, despite his revisionist history-writing memories of their breakup, was actually the one who gave up on them and their engagement so long ago. Not her. Him.
Human personalities do not exist in little individual vacuums, though, and it looks like this season we’ll get to move past that bit of obvious blame gaming and get to the real thick of his romance issues: Eddie R. Lawson, a.k.a. Dad.
Conveniently, Eddie and Ms. Newberg are planning to get hitched in a quickie (but thanks to Paige’s endless elegance, not tacky) wedding ceremony at the beach. As usual, Hank’s having some trouble believing there’s not an angle being worked in this arrangement — she is a filthy rich Hamptons socialite, of course — so when Eddie jilts his bride-to-be at her sandy altar, he’s only really surprised he didn’t see that move coming.
What he is taken off-guard by is Ms. Newberg’s revelation that Eddie secretly takes responsibility for Hank’s accurately diagnosed “romantic paralysis,” and with that, folks, we have a breakthrough. Hank is, as he describes it, “collateral damage” to his father’s impulsiveness, and he’s ready to break the cycle once and for all.
Will nurse Jen be the one? She turned him down for a coffee date before, but when he happens across her and her son (who is literally throwing curveballs, for metaphor’s sake) she’s finally ready to accept his offer to go out. Once the lightbulb moment about his daddy issues happens, though, Hank decides that he doesn’t want to put young Sam through the pendulum of parental romances if they don’t work out, so he calls it off. But aha! Sammy’s going away for the summer, so the adults can play without feeling guilty about it, come what may. Watch this space for personal growth and development, guys.
NEXT: Divya’s big decision …