It seemed inevitable that Henry would use his innovative motion picture equipment to film deep inside some twin teen girls. Get your mind out of the gutter, his camera was used to film the separation of Zoya and Nika, the Russian conjoined twins that were, up to that point, condemned to be enslaved on the sideshow circuit. Although, Thack is one to admit that the packed surgical theater is a bit of a sideshow in and of itself, with the good doctor mirroring some of Lester Brockhurst’s carnival barker-style grandiosity when addressing the crowd before showing them the filmed surgery. The upside in using Henry’s footage, we were spared a gruesome look into the procedure of cutting the liver that united the two girls in half.
In addition to freeing the twins from the bondage of sideshow purgatory, he’s not letting a lobotomized patient stand in the way of his finding the cure for addiction. He also didn’t let Cleary’s shenanigan’s stop him from further exploring hypnosis as he earnestly planted the suggestion in an alcoholic’s head that the drunk should equate booze with his “mother’s feces.” Algie gets the laugh of the episode when he grimaces and deadpans that perhaps post-hypnotic suggestions come a little too easy to Thack. While Thack is determined to figure out the drive that causes people to use, he’s also ripping up his own insides with his relentless diet of old-timey speedballs. If Thack’s does seem particularly so solve the root cause of addiction, perhaps it’s because he knows he’s living on borrowed time marred by creeping abdominal pain. That time is also haunted by the death of the girl he killed during surgery. Not even the expensive headstone he bought her is keeping the constant, ghost clanging away. In fact, the only thing that seems to keep Thack’s demons at bay is Abby’s presence as evidenced by the fact that he calls her prior to surgery in order to soothe his considerable nerves and bolster his confidence. He also declares his attraction and devotion to her upon taking her as his date to the hospital fundraising ball. The same to which ball that Cornelia practically phoned in her organizational responsibilities while she was off investigating Speight’s demise.
The fact that Abby was on Thack’s arm didn’t go unnoticed to Lucy, who had done quite a bit of work to snare her own invitation. For starters, she revisited her “Golden Lotus” arrangement with Ping Wu in order to scare up the money to buy an appropriate ballgown. Once she’s in the gown, she has Henry practically eating out of her hand. Lucy is growing into her new, prescribed role of confident HBIC when Cornelia takes the wind out of her sails with a benevolently classic heart to heart about how her family will never allow her playboy brother to marry a Southern nurse. Of course, the whole thing is couched in this sisterly “I’m telling you this for your own good, dear” tone. However, there’s no real way to sugar coat telling someone that their pass into high society is temporary and will be revoked any minute now. Is there a nice way to say “you’re just not our kind” even if you start out telling that person that they certainly belong in the fancy ballroom. Of course, that fancy ballroom is also full of self-professed progressives who think nothing of chuckling at a horrifying minstrel show, so maybe it isn’t the most aspirational locale.
Cornelia’s warning aside, it doesn’t look like Henry will tire of Lucy in the immediate future, at least not after she rocks his world with Thack’s ol’ cocaine on the genitals trick when the two are getting it on after the ball. Or, balling after the ball, if you want to be crass.
Also, truth be told, Cornelia would be better off worrying about the Robertson family rather than the lowly nurse she thinks will get her heartbroken by her horndog brother. For starters, even if she could leave her lech stepfather’s oppressive household, her family is so deep in debt to the Showalters that they could financially obliterate her family before the day’s closing bell. Then there’s the fact that her sleuthing that unearthed the fact that her family’s shipping company was illegally allowing plague-infested passengers into the country instead of paying to send them back to Europe. Oops. Not to mention that her creep stepfather has been having spies follow her while she’s been out playing turn of the century Murder She Wrote and is none too pleased at Neely neglecting her wifely duties.
Compared to Lucy and Henry’s unadulterated debauchery, Bertie’s first romp with Genevieve seems downright chaste, what with the adorable top hate strip tease followed by Bertie hemming and hawing over the fact that appearing naked before the woman he wants to have sex with might seem “too forward.” Still, there’s a lot of giggling between the two. Maybe too much giggling. Here’s hoping they eventually stopped laughing and had a satisfying experience.
As for Algie, he was a remarkably good sport about the horrifying minstrel show at the hospital ball, despite he’s battling the hospital board to allow him to treat civil rights leader C.W. Garrison Carr’s hernia and petitioning them to bolster his position at the new Knick. Now that Algie’s future at The Knick is precarious, he definitely didn’t need Gallinger sabotaging his hernia procedure in front of a crowded theater full of onlookers. But that’s exactly what Gallinger did and strategically swooped into the surgery, positioning himself as the hero. Why? Because he’s a prick and that’s what pricks do.