‘Critical’ Episode 9 review

Posted Filed under

There is a slight sense of ‘same old, same old’ and ‘what else have you got?’ to this week’s episode of Sky1’s new medical drama.

A non-responsive, hypothermic teenager is a serious case but it does feel like a bit of a come down after recent weeks. Or maybe I’m just becoming as hard-hearted as Dr Clive (of whom, more in a minute).

But not to worry. Even if the early stage of the patient’s processing, all jargon and intubating, is a bit also-ran, for much of the running time that’s playing second fiddle to Critical’s version of the night of the long knives (the night of the long scalpels, perhaps).

First up, Sister Campbell (Ellen Thomas) squares up to the allegedly-villainous Clive (“The way you treated Lorraine was disgusting – God only knows how you can live with yourself”). Before you can say ‘written warning stat’ she’s been relieved of duty and is escorted off the premises by security.


Next Nerys (Mali Harries) who hasn’t really had her moment in the spotlight (although reading between the lines, it sounds like she and Justin had a ‘moment’ of some sort recently) announces that she’s got a promotion to the Orthopaedic department – “And before you ask, yes it does have something to do with the way that this department is run” is her parting shot.

And then the rug is pulled out from under the audience when Clive himself is relieved of duty, coolly dismissed by his replacement Mrs Hicklin. Formerly one of Clive’s staunchest supporters (in fact pretty much the only one he had left) the potentially-awkward situation is no doubt made more bearable for her by Clive’s sneer of “You?” on hearing the news.

Critical Lennie James as Glen Boyle

Poor Clive. I know we’re supposed to view him as the villain, more interested in his statistics than his patients, and he could certainly have handled himself with more humanity… but it’s hard not to see him as at least partly a victim of the system.

“We used to be the best performing unit in the region, now we have the highest mortality rate” he says bitterly, “because we take all the critically injured.” Maybe he’s a total incompetent, maybe now that Mrs Hicklin is in charge things will be different. Or maybe before the end of the season she’ll find herself in the same position?

All of which helps pep up a slightly low-octane episode – in part a clearing of the decks staffwise, and in part a butting of heads between the huge uncaring system and the individual surgeon trying to save his patient. Despite the flashing monitors and tense moments it was always obvious that the hypothermic patient would recover. One small victory in the scheme of things, but vindicating Glen’s determination against Clive’s order to “call it.”

Although… I can’t help thinking that it would have been a more interesting conclusion if the patient had actually died. Gosh, that’s a bit harsh isn’t it? Maybe I really am becoming like Dr Clive.

Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 21 April 2015 on Sky1.

> Order Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know below…

> Like Critical on Facebook.