The Resident star Malcolm-Jamal Warner spills Minator tea, dynamic shift with Morris Chestnut's Cain
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Tuesday's episode of The Resident, "The Accidental Patient."
Things continue to heat up between Mina (Shaunette Renée Wilson) and A.J. (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) on The Resident, so it's time the duo, affectionately known as Minator, stops pretending like this fiery passion can be bottled for the sake of saving face at Chastain Memorial.
And as if A.J. the Raptor didn't have his hands full with his lady love, the dynamic between him and Dr. Barrett Cain (Morris Chestnut) continues to shift. Cain has never ingratiated himself to his colleagues, two of whom held his life and the future of his career in their hands in tonight's episode.
Warner spoke to EW about what the rest of the season will bring for Minator, Rain (made-up amalgamation for Raptor and Cain), and later, all three together — get your minds out of the gutter!
"It was an unexpected surprise," Warner says about what A.J. was feeling during the long-awaited first kiss with Mina at the CoNic wedding. "I love when she first kisses him and she says, 'This changes nothing.' And then he kisses her again and asks, 'How about that?' He's feeling like finally, this is a dream come true but also he hopes she doesn't regret making that first move."
If fans had any fears the chemistry between the two would fizzle or settle down after they paired up, they needn't have bothered. Things are not only on the up and up but they're better than ever.
"I have this personal saying that goes, 'Anticipation makes it mo' better,'" he explains. "After stringing this along for so long there's some [relief] after everyone finally gets what they've been waiting for. Separately, both Mina and AJ are both very strong and confident characters and they're so interesting to watch individually. But then when you put them together, there's this energy that they have that makes for great television. And that energy is palpable, even when they're both in the operating rooms under PPE and saving lives. It's in their eyes. And I attribute this to all the wonderful energy between me, Malcolm, as the actor, and Shaunette, that comes through our characters and onto the screen."
Throughout season 4, producers made space this season for A.J. and his fellow Black surgeon Cain to discuss systemic racism in the medical industry by showing their different points of view.
"Cain's school of thought is, in any field there are politics, and in order to get to the top of my field, there are certain things that I have to do even if it's not all on the up-and-up," the former Cosby Show star says. "He thinks if white doctors can get away with it then he should too. Then you have other doctors of color who refuse to succumb to the underhandedness of the industry because what falls back on me is a bad look for my other peers of color. This is something as people of color we have to consider and white people never have to think about. Even for me as an actor, I'm always trying to do work that's going to combat the negative stereotypes about Black men."
After all is said and done, will Cain survive to be pompous another day? And if so, will he be able to work again as a surgeon? Series producer Andrew Chapman shares insight into Cain's health struggles post-surgery.
"What Cain is going through is a big deal," Chapman says. "As the upcoming episodes come out, you'll feel for him ... you'll see more of in episodes 5 and 6. His road towards redemption is rocky but it'll be interesting to see how it plays out."
This, of course, means that Cain will live on at least a few more episodes, a fact that Chapman begrudgingly confirms. And what will that mean for Cain and his relationship with the Raptor and Dr. Kitt Voss (Jane Leeves), without whom he'd probably be in much worse shape?
"Okay, you got me! Yes, he's alive but things aren't going to be easy," he adds. "There's also still the question as to whether he will ever be a surgeon again, which is a big one. With Kitt, we wanted to see her in this moral conundrum with Cain after the events of season 3 where he almost killed her son-in-law. She hates him and finds him immoral and yet, she has to be the heroic doctor no matter what. And I just love the relationship between Cain and the Raptor, especially now that A.J. had to help save Cain's life. You can expect plenty of repercussions ahead."
Anyone expecting Cain to wake up humbled by his experience may not know him, but Warner has some insight.
"Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that in every script I have read so far, I've not seen this happen yet," he says with a laugh. "I keep looking at the scripts and wondering what has to happen to this guy to get him to change? Right now, we're doing episodes 7 and 8. Since we came back to work so late because of the pandemic, we're shooting two episodes at a time. And, you know, we have never seen Cain take responsibility for anything. But that's the drama of it all, he messed up and there's no way around it but he tries to find one. If everything that's happened to him so far won't change him, I really don't know what will."
Watch the preview for next week's episode where Mina proposes to Raptor below.
The Resident airs Tuesday nights on Fox at 8 p.m.