is a heartfelt show that knows when and how to tug at a person’s heartstrings. As this season progresses the show is finding its groove and is turning into a remarkable hour of quality programming. This week, Black Box
focused on the meaning of life, death, and religion.
This episode brought back the return of the terminally ill neurosurgeon as Case 1. He’s doing well, the cancer seems to be stagnant, and he’s reconnected with his son, thus able to bond with his three-year-old grandson. All is on the up and up; generally that means things will go very bad, very quickly. While spending an afternoon with his family, Case 1 ends up having to go to the hospital because he’s coughing blood. As he’s stabilized, it’s discovered that the cancer decided to fight against the treatment. Ultimately, the illness wins.
Afraid to die, Case 1 searches for ways to prolong his life. When his colleagues can’t help him with palliative care, the end of life is discussed. Dr. Catherine Black suggests hallucinogenic mushrooms that help ease the patient’s anxiety. Without batting an eye, Case 1 takes them and he find himself on a hypnotic journey through his life, thus calming him of the inventible.
Case 2 is a rich Jewish man who believes he is a disciple of God. He begins to wear togas, recite scripture, and give all his worldly possessions away. Fearing for his insanity, his wife brings him to Dr. Black. At first it seems he’s suffering from an epiphany brought about by traveling to the Holy Land. But, the puzzle wasn’t complete; something seemed missing. It turns out the religious zeal was caused by a seizure disorder. After the right medicines were given, Case 2 was back to normal.
This patient made Catherine wonder what religious fervor was like. She wanted to experience it, but was unable to figure out how to do so. Unwittingly, Black (and her fiancé Will) digests some of those hallucinogenic mushrooms; her wish is granted. As she staggers into a church, she smiles while listening to the choir. There is nothing but joy.
While the focus was on the two patients there was a bit of family life shown. Will and Catherine enjoy hot cocoa, thus showing she is able to have a steady relationship. Dr. Black’s nerdy colleague attempts to bond with a hunky plumber, but she ends up standing him up. It’s not out of dislike for the man, but for fear (fear of what is unclear). Finally, there is tension between Esme and her adopted dad when the teenager is caught smoking pot.
This was a very strong episode. Everyone gave their all. Each performance shined. However, the star of the night though was Edward Herrmann, who was Case 1. He showcased all the emotions his character experienced (from joy to anger to fear) with impassioned fervor. Herrmann’s portrayal of death was astute and hauntingly accurate. How he captured the faltering breaths, the facial expression, and the rattling breath I cannot say. By far it was the most accurate portrayal of someone dying that I’ve ever seen; it brought tears to my eyes. He deserves an Emmy nom for best supporting actor in a guest role.
With that, we wait for the next episode. What will happen? Who knows? Sound off below!
Keep Up With PopWrapped On The Web!