The Nurse – Season 1 Episode 1 “I Will Survive” Recap & Review

I Will Survive

Right off the bat, episode 1 of The Nurse, a new Danish show on Netflix, segregates into two timelines – 2012 and 2014. The events are interconnected and it seems like the past will dictate the unfolding mystery of the “notorious nurse.”

In 2012, we see Arne, an old man living alone with a dog, get admitted to a hospital after he faints. His brother Kenny is assured that Arne’s eating habits and sedentary lifestyle have led to this but he will be alright. Arne is kept overnight in the observatory and that proves to be his last.

In the middle of the night, someone injects an extra dose of morphine and diazepam into his bloodstream, invoking a cardiac arrest.

In 2014, we turn our attention to Pernille, a young nursing graduate who is set to start at the same hospital. She is a single mother and has recently relocated to be closer to her ex-husband, Morten. They remain friendly and Morten feels redeemed as he is closer to Alberte, their daughter, now.

Pernille is placed in emergency ward no. 3 and will learn her trade with Christina, the most equipped nurse in the ward.

Linda, the administrative supervisor, shows her around and introduces Pernille to her colleagues. She gets first-hand experience of Christina’s expertise and experience when an old woman suffers a heart attack. Her life is saved and Christina introduces herself to Pernille. She is a single mother as well and hopes that their children can get along. Despite her intensity while dealing with emergencies, Chrsitina is warm and open about herself to other people. She tells Pernille upfront: their emergency ward is like a warzone and sees an unusual amount of traffic compared to other wards.

The place is turned upside down most days. Another problem is the quality of doctors on the staff. The least competent doctors join the hospital and at times, they can barely speak Danish. It all seems to be a little daunting for Pernille but her colleagues are supportive and she is excited to begin.

Linda calls Pernille, asking her to come for a night shift. She is initially reluctant due to Alberte but Morten encourages her.

Christina and Pernille are called into action all of a sudden when a patient goes into cardiac arrest. Pernille has zero experience handling such situations but Christina guides her well. Their task is to keep doing chest compressions until the emergency doctors’ team arrives. Interestingly, Christina asks Pernille to perform the actions in tune with the beats of Gloria Gaynor’s classic “I Will Survive” (the title of the episode). For a moment, she even enjoys doing it.

They end up saving the man’s life and both get a kick out of it and discuss how much adrenaline it fills them with.

Back in 2012, we see Kenny going back after Arne’s death. The head doctor informs him that Arne overdosed himself – meaning he committed suicide. Kenny is stunned to learn that Arne was taking anti-depressants. Kenny is still not convinced given how the doctors explained it happened.

In the present day, 2014, we see the team has gone for a night out. Christina is engaged with a young man on the dance floor, while a slightly drunk Pernille chats up Niels, the head physician in her ward. Pernille is indeed settling in nicely at her new job.

The next day after work, Niels asks Pernille out and she agrees. They go on his boat to the lake, where Niels confides in her that although he first thought the job was not good, it has since then grown on him.

The people in the small town of Lolland-Fallster are nice and he is able to give them hope in the face of hopelessness. Pernille has been looking after a new patient, Janni. She is a relatively young woman who does not have a serious disease and is soon slated to go back home. All of a sudden, she goes into cardiac arrest. Emergency procedures are performed on her but she is declared dead.

Everyone finds it strange since she was too young and had no heart ailments. It seems that the “notorious nurse” has struck again.

Pernille is shaken by the incident and she confides in Christina that perhaps the job is not for her. She wants a normal job instead where the stress and intensity is  less. Christina has a practical take on it. Either way, Pernille would be working as hard but can only save lives in ward three.

People dying is not up to them completely anyway, and she encourages Pernille that she is a good fit for the role and that she “belongs here.” Pernille seems inspired by the rousing speech.

Pernille bids goodbye to Janni. While leaving, she notices an empty syringe in the bin. It seems like someone had administered diazepam to Janni, but Ditte, the helping nurse, confirms that wasn’t the case. Pernille does not seem to think anything of it – yet.

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of The Nurse smartly sets the premise without giving too much away. Since there are just four episodes, expect the pace to pick up soon. The storytelling was sedate yet efficient in a likeable way. Pernille’s real challenge would be to contain the threat of Christina, who seems to be the “notorious nurse”, when she learns the truth.

It remains to be seen how she would actually discover Christina’s misgivings at the hospital. Evaluating The Nurse as more of a drama than a story that is constantly unfolding would be prudent. That is what episode 1 is all about.

The camerawork deserves credit for creating a subtle, melancholic look to the small town. That is certainly an integral part of the visual storytelling and grounding the story in the viewer’s perspective.

Episode 1 is benefited with the work and hopefully, the remaining episodes will have a similar approach.

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for The Nurse here!

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