The Knick recap: 'The Golden Lotus'
Turns out Nurse Elkins also has a friend in Wu, who greatly admires her dainty feet.
Dr. Thackery has come undone.
For those keeping score, he has now racked up so many bad-behavior points that Barrow looks positively saintly in comparison. Kicking off with a little breaking and entering incident during his hunt for cocaine, Thackery lands in jail, and it’s Barrow to the rescue—well, it’s really Capt. Robertson’s money to the rescue, but still, Barrow shows up at the police station with Cornelia’s dad to attend to the situation.
Capt. Robertson offers the police a trade: He’ll convince the owner of the pharmacy to drop the complaint, if the officer will accept some cash in exchange for his understanding that the matter is settled. B&E carries a minimum sentence of five years in Sing Sing, the officer reminds him. Robertson lays down another bill—and we know these aren’t fivers. “And something for the roundsmen who apprehended him?” Naturally. Barrow salivates over all that green.
Barrow even taps his underworld connections to try to get Thackery his fix before the entire hospital implodes from the scandal. What a chum Barrow is. Truthfully, he knows that Thackery’s unraveling jeopardizes his livelihood and, by extension, his entire life—including his childlike-whore habit, which now looks quaint when looking back on some of the others’ sexual antics.
Cornelia and Dr. Edwards’ lovely relationship couldn’t be seen as “antics,” except that in the time that The Knick is set, their interracial coupling would be more than frowned upon—it is, in fact, downright dangerous. That established, Cornelia is now pregnant of course. When she asks to speak to him in his office, he guesses that her period is late. She confirms: three weeks. He asks if it could be her fiance’s. Impossible, she says, and he—he’s happy and kisses her. (This situation is terribly sad for them, because it cannot end well.) “Alge, do you want to keep the child?” she asks. Without hesitation, he says yes. She wants to, as well, but “everyone will know when they see the child” that the baby’s father is a black man, she says. (He should, of course, move back to France with preggers Cornelia.) She asks if there’s medicine she can take instead of having a procedure. Nope. “There’s no proven method except surgery,” he says sadly.
Gallinger stops Edwards in the hall and starts giving him a hard time about changing the treatment he prescribed for a patient who ingested a sanitized tapeworm “to slim her figure,” calling it a breach of medical ethics. Just as things are about to get ugly between the two, things get so very much worse, as Eleanor shows up with dead baby Grace in a carriage, saying Grace had a brain fever and she put her head in an ice bag—which is probably the most terrible moment in the series so far.
Elsewhere, Thackery and Nurse Elkins’ antics are put on hold when she recognizes him in a newspaper report as the anonymous doctor arrested for breaking into a pharmacy. She runs to his house. He lets her in and asks if she’s alone. Shakespeare watch: “When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions.” – King Claudius, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5. He asks who sent her. She says he looks terrible and should go to bed. He says he can feel bedbugs under his skin. She says she’s treated bedbugs and that’s not what they do. He shouts her into a seat, accusing her of being a spy for Barrow, but then he softens. What can she do to help? Nothing—okay, one thing. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, “You can find me an ocean of cocaine.”
NEXT: Nurse Elkins finds out what the mysterious “Golden Lotus” is
Barrow’s drug procurement was a bust (salt water), so Lucy goes to Ping Wu. Wu says he has a hard enough time getting opium for his customers. When she stands to leave, he tells her she has a dainty foot, which is called “A Golden Lotus” in Chinese, and he offers to write it down for her. Then he offers her opium and $100 if she’ll put her dainty foot in his mouth while they have sex. Antics.
In the meantime, Thackery has gone digging through some garbage for the dregs of old Coca-Cola bottles and makes a vile concoction that he shoots up. Lucy shows up with lamb chops and a few grains of opium. She confesses that she got it from Ping Wu. He: “As long as you didn’t have to put your golden lotus in his mouth to pay for it.” Mmmm, could be. He smokes the drug and asks how she paid for it. She says her bicycle. She wheels it into her apartment in the very next scene and stuffs her $100 into a book.
In Barrow’s office, he tells Cleary that he’s failed at horse-trading with the army for drugs. Cleary leaves, and Barrow invites Nurse Elkins in. How’s Thackery? She reports that the drugs Barrow provided were salt water. He asks if she speaks German. No? That’s all. Thank you.
The opium obviously didn’t last long. Looking desperate and rough, Thackery goes back to snake-oil salesman Luff (Tom Papa), who had offered him the endorsement deal, but “that ship has sailed.” Then he asks for a loan against a hypothetical future deal and threatens to go to the competition when the guy says no. The “mouldy rogue” informs him that they won’t help him either, because he doesn’t have the look of healthy vitality and trustworthiness. Then he throws Thackery out.
Cornelia undresses in Edwards’ downstairs clinic so that he can perform an abortion on her. He stops and says he can’t kill his own child. She asks what the alternatives are. He says, “We can sail to Europe.” (Yes—do that.) She says there’s no place on Earth they could raise the child. She begs him to perform the procedure. He can’t.
Earlier, Cornelia sat on the orphanage steps with Sister Harriet, crying over poor baby Grace. They discussed whether unbaptized babies are allowed into heaven. Sister Harriet said she hopes that one day God in his infinite mercy will allow them in—and her, too. Will Sister Harriet and her $8 abortion services be Cornelia’s answer?
Gallinger has his wife taken away in a straightjacket, administering the sedative himself.
Nurse Elkins lies her way into the German hospital, posing as a student from the nursing college. Then she rifles through the drug dispensary, taking a box and running when the head nurse starts yelling for someone to stop her. Lucy later presents Thackery with her stolen box of goodies. She administers the shot, and as he prepares to ravage her, he generously offering to “douse” hers this time. Charming.