Episode 4 of Five Days At Memorial begins with frustrations growing across New Orleans. The government is not doing enough for the community, and it’s yet another example of how the poor is squashed in favour of the rich elite.
Day four is the beginning of hell. With the power off and heat rising, patients begin dying; a slowly decaying, floating tomb surrounded by water. Those at Memorial Hospital are under the illusion that things will get better but with patients in a dire state around them, the underlying feeling here is of misery.
Up on the helipad, Richard paces like a caged lion, waiting for rescue. Susan radios for an update, with Richard relaying on to Karen that there’s a helicopter approaching. With the elevators out, Karen organizes traffic and as an organized effort, moves a patient downstairs and all the way to the helipad. With the aircon off and the heat suffocating hot, it’s touch and go for a while, especially as another patient suffers from heat stroke in the hallway.
Communication between Lifecare and Memorial starts to break down too, with Diane in the dark about the evacuation procedures. She hands over a list of 53 patients to Susan but it’s hastily discarded with a list of other paperwork in the office. Diane is understandably not happy about that, and urges them to take this seriously.
Susan tries to quell her concerns and promises to do what she can to get those patients out. The thing is, the Coast Guard copters are only for Memorial and not Lifecare which only complicates matter further, and breaks down what strenuous communication there was between the two.
If that wasn’t enough, these helicopters are like a beacon on a lighthouse in the dark; people from across New Orleans begin coming to the hospital, hoping for salvation. The thing is, the hospital can hardly contain so many people and the Directors seriously consider refusing entry to more people.
With the order out, this culminates into a heartbreaking scene where Charles, the security guard, fires his gun in the air to refuse a scared family entry. When he heads back inside, he tells Bryan he was just doing what he’s been told.
In order to save some time for the journey over to the helipad, Erik and his workers manage to make a hole in the wall of the hospital, saving them about 15/20 minutes. However, these are tiny numbers compared to the scarce resources in Memorial Hospital – time is running out.
They’re rapidly running out of food and they only have enough water to last until the following day. The only solution is to re-orientate the evacuation. The way they need to do this is to take the ones who are most able and mobile first, leaving behind those that are the most sick.
In order to organize everyone, green bands are the ones who are most able to move while black bands are for those who have the least chance of surviving. It’s a brutal, harsh way of sorting the patients – and Susan is not exactly happy about doing this. But then again, there doesn’t seem to be any other way of resolving this.
With the helipad dangerously dark at night, Susan makes a big decision and decides to suspend activities until sunrise. It’s not something the doctors want to hear but there’s not really much other choice. Mistakes are being made – mistakes that could cost lives.
More bad news compounds onto the hospital that night. Anna announces that there are no boats, greatly diminishing the rescue efforts. Even worse, there’s a thief in the hospital and someone is taking their gear. So naturally, some of the doctors take matters into their own hands and arm up, ready for what’s to come next.
Diane gives an impassioned plea to those outside the hospital, pointing out that people are dying and they’re at their wits end. The trouble is, Memorial Hospital is a secondary priority to the authorities and it seems there’s no hope for Mark, who’s desperate to get to his mum who’s inside the hospital.
Thankfully, there’s a thin sliver of hope from a guy called Guidry, who offers to help Mark and get him in the hospital – but only during first light. With snipers all around the city, it’d way too risky to move in the dark.
But for now, the night draws on and all our characters find themselves struggling to see the light in an endless tunnel of misery.
The Episode Review
The halfway mark of Five Days At Memorial sees a dramatic shift with our characters, as both Memorial and Lifecare find themselves facing down the barrel of a shotgun loaded with bullets of death.
This series has done a fantastic job humanizing this awful disaster and showing the raw, horrific ordeal those at the hospitals had to endure during this tumultuous time. It’s also rather telling to see just how lackadaisical the government were around saving people and getting those in New Orleans out.
The various characters at the helm of this one are well written, and although we don’t see much of Bryant King this week, we do see more of Diane and the ordeal her and the others at Lifecare have had to try and deal with.
It’s a heartbreaking and sobering episode in many ways, and through Mark’s storyline away from the hospital, it’s likely to show us how, in the most extreme of circumstances, people come together. But it’s clear right now that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|