Five Days at Memorial – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review

Day Five

Episode 5 of Five Days at Memorial starts with one word that’s going to define this entire breathtaking chapter – desperate. It’s desperate inside the hospital. There’s a desperate lack of food and drink. Desperation outside. And those involved in the rescue operation are operating with a desperate lack of time.

With no boats or helicopters, the rescue operation has ground to a halt. Susan is livid while the staff are seriously debating “doing the humane thing” regarding their pets. Susan also points out the patients that can’t be rescued should similarly receive “the humane thing.” Susan is quick to point out this isn’t just a case of keeping these guys and gals safe but genuinely ending lives to stop suffering.

While Memorial discuss this, LifeCare lose several more patients. Susan speaks to Diane and tells her they’re doing as much as they can and won’t be leaving anyone behind.

Outside the hospital, Mark shows up and those inside the hospital are abuzz, believing rescue has arrived. Mark pushes past the crowd and rushes through the hospital, looking for his mum. He’s shocked that there’s no IV and he carries her all the way across to the boat outside. Alongside her mum, Mark also takes several other patients too, but the cowardly security guard, Charles, jumps on the boat to leave Memorial hospital.

Helicopters arrive again, with Diane deciding to move her patients to the helipad, refusing to listen to Susan’s plan. At the same time, meds are distributed from the pharmacy for humanely putting down their pets. But the trouble is, all of this stems back to the issue of the patients themselves. More are dying and suffering, throwing both Anna and Susan’s moral compass askew.

When rescue boats do show up, it’s met with a mix of elation and utter despair. They have 5 hours to get people out, with the coastguard claiming that it’s way too dangerous to be making these runs at night. Of course, as we heard from previous episodes, there are shooters and looters out there.

Given Susan predicts it’ll take 24 hours to get everyone out, that’s one hell of a tight deadline. Susan decides to do the best she can, promising that no living patient will be left behind.

Anna speaks to Dr Cook but word of their “humane” way of ending patient suffering reaches Bryant King too. As he deliberates what this means, the boats show up in their numbers at the hospital. Susan says goodbye to her mum, who is taken out while she stays behind.

Helicopters show up too, with the evacuation happening on two fronts. Susan believes Horace should leave on the next boat, pointing out to him that there’s nothing more they can do for the patients there. She hugs him tightly and says her goodbyes.

It’s absolute heartbreak across the hospital, as family members are torn away from their loved ones who can’t be moved, while Bryant watches from afar as Anna begins giving out injections. News of this reaches the staff at LifeCare, with conflicting feelings over whether this is the right thing or not.

There are some who have resigned themselves to this awful fate, believing the situation to be hopeless. For others, like Karen Wynn, they refuse to accept this lying down and do their best to move as many patients out as they can.

The doctors work together and save one; a faint glimmer of hope in a depressing sea of misery. Unfortunately, the time strikes 5pm and the coastguard leaves.

Memorial hospital is an eerie, silent ticking clock. A ticking clock counting down to death. And as we see a point of view shot for someone walking through the hospital, they enter a room…and we fade to black.

The Episode Review

What an emotional episode. It’s hard not to get choked up at the rescue efforts of these brave nurses and doctors, who are essentially looking down the barrel of a gun at this point. It’s hard to get a grasp of exactly how difficult this choice must be and when it’s patients they’ve all been taking care of, knowing there’s nothing they can do to help them, it must be heartbreaking for all involved.

Episode 5 does a fantastic job depicting that struggle with the final 10 minutes or so juxtaposing the two extreme cases of emotion in the event of impossible odds. Some people face this head-on and fight back, desperate to try and find something positive to hang onto. For others – like Diane – they’ve almost given up, seeing the situation as bleak and hopeless.

AppleTV have been producing some absolute bangers this year and Five Days at Memorial is another to add to that list. There’s an excellent amount of characterization and the story has been told with care and an excellent pacing. If the rest of the season keeps up, we could be looking at one of the best Apple productions this year.

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