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'The Knick' 'Mr. Paris Shoes' recap: Money pains

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The Friday, Aug. 15 episode of "The Knick," 102, "Mr. Paris Shoes," is all about money – or rather, more precisely, the lack of it, in everyone's case except for the Robertsons. Stuck doing work that's below his expertise, Edwards comes up with his own way to help those who can't get help at The Knick simply because of their skin color. Meanwhile, Barrow suffers for his own money problems while trying to help fix a serious electrical problem at the hospital.

It's hard to figure out which episode of "The Knick" is better – the strong premiere that, while slow at times, makes you want to keep watching, or the second episode that lives up to and exceeds the expectations set by the first. You may not catch every piece of medical knowledge given from Thackery to the other doctors, but that's because it's all quickly delivered and there's no shying away from showing the blood. Fortunately, in "Mr. Paris Shoes," for the more squeamish, what needs to be shown in detail for the sake of the plot is – the difference in the living conditions and the surgery – and what doesn't isn't – Barrow's "collateral."

If nothing else, everything we see of Edwards in this episode shows that despite how everyone around him treats him, he can take care of himself and others. While his colleagues see nothing wrong with relegating him to a basement office and to the work of first-year medical students, he instead takes the opportunity he has to set up a treatment area. He drains a woman's arm and agrees to see to her brother-in-law's eye. Then, when he returns to where he's been staying, a guy who questioned him about his nice shoes bothers him, only to end up being the one left on the ground in the end – with some medical supplies, of course. Edwards is a doctor, after all.

Meanwhile, Thackery gives himself his cocaine of the day before getting to work – "I have ways of getting through," he tells Christiansen's wife when she asks why he won't give into what her husband did – and tries to save patients who have aortic aneurysms, without Edwards' help even though the other doctor knows of a possible treatment that has had a fair success rate. Instead, after one patient dies, Gallinger and Chickering use Cleary to help them break in so they can get to medical journals with the same treatment inside, only those journals are in French.

Remember how Elkins climbed through a window into Thackery's house and had to give him cocaine just so he could get out of bed and work? Well, when she brings him patient records he requested, he has her sit down for a little chat, which boils down to, "No one else can know." She understands. As the episode ends, Thackery is right back where he was when we first met him, an opium den. Will he be back? "Where else would I go?" He responds when asked that question.

Barrow may be a greedy little thing, but he's having horrible luck. The Knick may have electricity, but that's just one more area for problems to develop, and a big one does, as a nurse ends up dead due to problems in the wiring. Barrow insists he can take care of it, without spending any of the hospital's funds, but the contractor won't do it right for anything less than $900. Then there's Thackery, who wants more cadavers to practice on (pigs aren't good enough), but they don't come cheap either. At least he manages to get out of having to pay Cleary for one body he brings in since the man is already dead. ("I wager you'll already have your stretcher waiting under me when my day comes, Cleary," Barrow says to the ambulance driver.) However, Barrow also can't pay his weekly and he can't get an extension, so he loses a tooth as "collateral."

Elsewhere, Gallinger's wife is just as annoyed about him losing the position as everyone else, Cornelia's friend brings her husband and daughter in with typhoid fever and Cleary follows Sister Harriet at night when she goes to perform an abortion.

"The Knick" airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Cinemax. What did you think of episode 2, "Mr. Paris Shoes"?

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