HankMed is heading for disaster already
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/USA Network

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 …

Meanwhile, Divya’s about to have to decide on her priorities.

All throughout this show, Divya has been discredited by almost anyone she’s revealed her Physician Assistant Associate title to, so it’s time to put an end to that once and forevermore by heading to med school and earning that MD status. Finally.

Just one problem, though: Div wants to go to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, but she’s been waitlisted there while she has an acceptance at Stony Brook in hand. Trying for the former would require her family — including her still-in-gestation new baby (!!) — to pack up and move to another state and wait, but taking the Stony Brook offer now means staying planted right there in the great state of New York.

What’s a girl to do? Mercifully, her husband (!!), Raj, isn’t trying to make the call for her. Even though he’s got two children to consider himself, he insists he’s in the kind of business that can be relocated relatively easily (or so he says — but isn’t real estate all about “location, location, location”?). He knows as well as we do that Divya deserves to be called Dr. Katdare and have the degree she really wants hanging on that wall. It’s something she’s wanted since she was a kid, and she’s fought so hard to make this career and life for herself, even when it meant living a lie around everyone she’d ever loved.

Divya’s right to have reservations because it means she’s got a conscience and is considerate of the ones she loves. She’ll probably sit on it for a little while for dramatic effect and all, but if it’s John Hopkins she really wants, it’s Johns Hopkins she’ll get. Fingers crossed!

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Evan and Paige’s happily ever after is coming, count on it.

Even though they’ve only really been in the baby-making-slash-possibly-adopting realm for a little while, the saga of Evan and Paige’s potential parenthood has already run them through the gamut of emotional distress. Although Paige was her usual saintly self when she found out Elan decided to keep her baby after seeing her in the delivery room, and she and Evan have managed to avoid the disaster of her disparaging his slow-swimmer status as the reason they can’t seem to conceive, there’s still some grief to be had here.

We get a sneak peek of Paige’s lingering anxiety when she snaps at Evan for shrugging off the fact that his hospital’s now treating her father’s political opponent, just after he’s mansplained her own feelings and avoidance thereof to herself (grrr), and there’s probably more where that came from. Although Evan’s constant need to explain Paige’s emotional framework to her is exhausting — seriously, guy, let the woman think for herself on this one! — he is right that she seems to be distracting herself and suppressing the overwhelming reality that their progress on expanding the home front is way more difficult than either of them expected. (Seriously, she got more upset about the bannisters than her adoptive baby being reclaimed.) There are only so many cupcake flavors to pick through, so eventually she’ll have to confront the grimness of her reproductive reality. And that’s when it’ll all work out, just like the fairy tale she’s been envisioning for her life with Evan. The end.

The beginning of the end of HankMed?

The hospital being virtually hacked is bad news for everyone involved. Not only had Hank admitted a VIP whose anonymity means everything to her future as a senator during the breach, but the financials of the business are also involved, as evidenced by Evan’s failed credit card swipe.

Cybersecurity in the medical field is a hot button issue right now because there’s almost nothing more sacred in the American privacy sphere than the doctor-patient privilege, and the potential violation thereof could spell disaster for the hospital, and, by extension, HankMed. Could this be the first signal of the end? Dun dun dunnnnnn.

Episode Recaps

Royal Pains
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