night meets day
I had the pleasure, last night, of re-watching the last-but-one episode in the most recent series of E.R., titled When Night Meets Day. It’s the 200th episode they made, and I get the impression that this is the one the producers see as a prime Emmy candidate, since everything about it is not only superior to the rest of the series, it’s superior to most things on TV at the moment.
I won’t describe the storyline, except it’s partly from the point of view of Dr. Carter, who is at this point in real danger of losing it, and the timeline is deliberately warped and non-contiguous to illustrate this. We have aftershocks from the gang warfare of previous days, his beloved grandmother’s funeral was disrupted, the same restaurant appears to catch fire twice, and he treats a Buddhist nun in her last hours, causing him to question everything about his job. By the end of a torrid couple of days he’s ready to drop everything and head off to the Congo civil war to treat patients who really need his help.
By contrast, Dr. Pratt is having a great time, saving patients and having fun, coming into his own as a doctor. He actually gets an appointment elsewhere, but refuses it at the last minute, preferring to stay where he is. Everyone thinks he’s mad, but this is his Day, and Carter’s Night.
It’s technically an excellent production, with jarring shifts in time and perception throwing Carter and us off-balance, and there’s one particular combination of crane tracking shots, cleverly edited together, that had me admiring the kind of technical expertise that you just don’t find in British productions. Even though it’s a TV show, it’s shot on film and benefits from many of the film world’s production values. Well worth watching.