Five Days at Memorial – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Day One

Episode 1 of Five Days At Memorial begins 13 days after the devastating Hurricane Katrina slammed through New Orleans in the US. With water drowning large parts of the area, a group of rescuers head in, donning hazmat suits and snapping photos of the hospital. A chill runs down their spines as they reach the chapel, where 45 bodies line the floor.

Dr Horace Baltz is questioned by the police over this, demanding answers over how they all died. And in order to get those answers, we jump back to day 1 of the hurricane.

We’re on August 29th at 12.20am – six hours until landfall. Our good doctor, Horace, argues with a colleague over letting 1200 people into the hospital the wake of the hurricane raging outside. Dr Anna is among those concerned, but Horace shrugs it off, claiming it’s just like being snowed in and it probably won’t be that bad… right?

With the storm raging on, Susan Mulderick takes charge as the Commander of the hospital. Now, Memorial is actually connected to another, one that takes care of private patients and mostly elderly folk, aptly titled “Lifecare”. Despite being joined together, both hospitals are largely separate and keep to themselves.

As time wears on, so too does the ferocity of this storm. The winds whip up into a frenzy, water starts to ooze through the hospital windows while the signal disintegrates for phone calls outside the area.

Over at Lifecare there’s another problem. Water is seeping through the ceiling, prompting one of the doctors, Diane, to ring Susan and update her. She, in turn, speaks to Eric who tells her it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. In the most extreme of circumstances though, it could lead to a massive flood… and the hospital being abandoned.

Susan checks over the plans but there’s nothing in the files about evacuating the hospital in the event of this happening. If the basement floods, all the food and water will be destroyed. Even worse, the backup generators could also fail and leave them with no power. But with Susan serving as the acting commander, what will she chose to do?

Things immediately take a turn for the worst when the bridge between the two hospitals starts to wobble and threatens to drop completely. The only solution is for Diane to evacuate Lifecare, bringing everyone across into the main hospital. The water is starting to seep into the basement too, leaving Susan to organize the troops and act quickly.

Horace works with Brian to get everyone upstairs to the second floor while the other doctors work to get the supplies out the basement and up to the ground floor before the whole place is flooded. As everyone gets out of Lifecare, the electrics start to flicker and fail. “God help us,” Diane utters, as this nightmare looks set to continue.

The Episode Review

Hurricane Katrina absolutely devastated the US when it slammed into New Orleans back in 2005. With over 1800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage, it’s one of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes recorded to make landfall in the US. So naturally, it’s the perfect material for showrunners to latch onto and turn into a nail-biting drama.

The final 10 minutes of this episode were incredibly tense, with the hospitals starting to buckle under the pressure and many question marks over the wellbeing of different patients and doctors alike coming to the foreground.

These episodes are almost the perfect length too, with 40 minutes the optimal time needed to tell this story whilst not dragging anything out either.

With 3 episodes dropping today, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next!

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Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!


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