'The Resident' EP Breaks Down That Nic Finale Cliffhanger & Previews Season 3
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 2 finale of The Resident, "The Unbefriended."]
If something can go wrong, it likely will go wrong at Chastain — and that's exactly what happens in The Resident Season 2 finale.
Things are finally looking up for Nic (Emily VanCamp) in "The Unbefriended." She and Conrad (Matt Czuchry) are back on track. She convinces her father, Kyle (Corbin Bernsen), to donate his kidney to her sister, Jessie (Julianna Guill).
But then Mina (Shaunette Renée Wilson), concerned about the new anesthesiologist, asks for Shira Smook (Stephanie Hunt) to not be on the team operating on Micah (Patrick Walker). Shira is reassigned to Kyle's surgery and ODs during it, putting him at risk and turning a low-risk surgery into a high-risk one.
The donation is still successful, but in the final moments of the episode, Nic is paged back to the hospital and sees one of her relatives — we as an audience don't know if it's Kyle or Jessie — flatlining.
TV Insider spoke with executive producer Amy Holden Jones to try to find out who may be dying and what's coming up in Season 3.
Can you confirm that was Kyle's room? I tried taking a close look at the walls to match them from previous shots.
Amy Holden Jones: Nope, I cannot confirm whose room it was. ... Nic knows. ... If she didn't get it in the alert, then she gets it when she sees the two rooms.
Is there part of her thinking that one loss might be easier for her to handle?
I think there are reasons why either loss is terrible. She just got her father back. She made the sacrifice, and she assured him that the surgery was very low-risk, so that's a bad scenario. Losing her sister who she loves is a bad scenario.
There is no guarantee that either one of them dies. One may die. Or they might both survive. It's still possible to bring people back after a flatline under certain circumstances. The likelihood is somebody dies, but I'm not going to give it away.
Before the surgery, Kyle has something he wants to tell Nic. What can you say about his insistence to tell her then, her telling him to wait, and where's that going to go?
If Kyle does survive, if he's the one who survives, then that is a major storyline for the third season. Why she doesn't let him tell her is because Nic is sure that he'll survive. Nic believes it's a low-risk surgery, which it is. We don't want to imply that donating a kidney is a high-risk surgery. There's risk in any surgery, but it's not a high-risk surgery.
The problem is that doctors are not drug-tested and there's a high rate of drug abuse among anesthesiologists and that's dangerous for patients.
It's been a tough season for Nic and her closest relationships. Can you talk about what you put her and Conrad through this season and getting them in a good place at the beginning of the finale?
For the next season, we anticipate "CoNic" as strongly together. What kind of reaction Nic has to what happened in the end of this season will be something they have to cope with, be it trying to save a patient who almost died or reacting to the death of one of those two patients.
But the theme of the finale is stronger together. The title is "The Unbefriended," and that is a legitimate title for patients who they don't know who to contact or know who they are, and they become the responsibility of the hospital.
But thematically it relates to everybody and what you're supposed to see in the course of the episode is that all these people are not unbefriended, they have each other, and that is what makes them stronger together. The one person who is unbefriended, of course, is Bell, and that leads to consequences for him and for the hospital.
My concept for Conrad and Nic was always that they are a real couple. I never wanted them to split up for a long period of time. The concept that I have is that the trope of two people constantly splitting up and we never get to see them together is something seen too often on television and I wanted to show a couple that is a real couple and a very good and strong couple, but even the strongest has storms to weather.
We're hoping to see and to show how two loving people struggle together to build a long-term relationship. Where we anticipate going is that they are an anchor for the show.
We also see them as having slightly different medical spheres next year, Nic focusing more on where her power zone is, which is the clinic, and Conrad more in the hospital, and then their private lives shared together.
Devon's really been focused on patient care, especially with the pregnant woman who shouldn't have died and the "unbefriended" in the finale. After the drama in his personal life, is his focus going to remain on Chastain and its patients?
Yes, his focus is always that, but he will have a new love interest in Season 3.
We're hoping also in the course of Season 3, possibly in the late middle of it, to advance everybody in their categories. At a certain point, Devon will cease to be an intern and become a resident. Conrad will cease to be a resident and become an attending.
And always there'll be a new cast that comes along. There'll be a new intern who comes in to be Devon's intern.
As it follows the lives of all these people forward in time, we get to see the roles of doctors over time and their relationships over time grow.
Along those lines, what can you say about what's going on with Mina and Austin? He really seemed to have her number in the finale, watching her watch Micah, but then moving on and discussing their next surgery.
What you're supposed to see there is the closure, finally, for her emotionally of her relationship with Micah, and I think they both realize by the end of the season, they have an extraordinary bond between them. What that bond is in the next season is likely more work-centered. There still may be other people in either of their lives, particularly Austin's life, that pull them somewhat apart.
That's not a relationship we see being consummated into a love relationship in the near future. It's two people who have put work before their private life and do have an attraction and an incredible sympathy between them, but resolving it while she's still his mentee and he's the mentor is something we would not do because we think it's a Me Too issue and Austin is very principled.
Something I've enjoyed watching is Dr. Bell's character development. In the beginning of the show, he was someone we hated, but he's starting to become somewhat of a better person. Can you talk about that change and what this deal with Red Rock Mountain Medical could mean for who he's become?
Bell kind of represents metaphorically medicine itself and what happens to doctors as they age within the system and become more compromised by a system that requires compromises. So, he is someone who has been driven more by money or craving things in the past.
But he was never meant to be a cardboard villain. He's supposed to be very human. And I think in the course of this season what you see is he personally experienced things that were the result of his own actions with the medical device company and errors in medicine.
What he saw affected him, and he is trying to be a good doctor and at the same time, among all of our characters, he's the real pragmatist who understands they still have to make a living.
The compromise with Red Rock Medical is something he could not avoid, and it's going to disempower him from protecting the hospital. So, when his power's taken away at the end of the episode, you see that next season he will actually be one of the people struggling to keep Chastain a good place. But his power's been lessened, which will make his fight all the harder.
Bell will never be a complete hero, but he's a very human character with pluses and minuses who is closest probably to a lot of real doctors today, who have both good and bad, like all of us.
What went into the decision to reunite Kit with her ex-husband? Was that as much about what was happening between Kit and Bell as what is between Kit and her ex?
We planned this season elaborately, and it was a lot about reaching this final episode, that he is the one who's unbefriended. He loses Kit. She goes back to her ex-husband, partially to leave him in this situation, that he is the one who is alone once again at the end of the season. She couldn't end up with Bell — he would not be unbefriended — so it was part of the whole thematic arc of the season leading to the finale.
One of the unique things about The Resident is it's elaborately planned out for the entire season. We know where we're going, and what happens to characters keeps them on that road that we have planned for them to be on.
Was there anything you wanted to accomplish this season that you had to put off?
I would say not. It was a successful season. We started the beginning with a blank board with 23 episodes ahead, and what we knew we had to get to most of all was a very crucial scene of the VNS failing in Henry, which occurs in 15, which the whole season towards the middle built towards, and was one of my happiest moments seeing how that scene turned out.
That is based on an actual case and an actual reality of VNS devices that they do and dramatizing it and showing how life-changing that is was one of the main goals for this season, to show that there were a lot of problems with unregulated medical devices and a lot of things that patients aren't told about the risks of some medical devices that they get. That was kind of a dream come true, the way the whole medical device storyline played out.
The problems with medical devices are increasingly getting press. There was a big article, I believe in the New York Times yesterday, about it or an editorial about how that approval system has got to be changed and too many devices are rubber-stamped and approved that aren't tested at all.
I was on set for the finale because I wanted to make sure the "CoNic" coming back together again fully worked because the whole episode relies on that. You have to really believe they're back together. They're kind of the heart and soul of the series.
I'm proud of the finale. I think we accomplished that and many of the other goals of the season.
They're the good guys fighting the problems that exist in our system today, and I think that we did accomplish making that team a reality and putting them all on the proper emotional footing, vis à vis each other.
I'm looking forward to seeing next season.
Oh, good. We're looking forward to planning it. ... Planning where our characters will go. There's a lot of rich seeds that have been planted. Who is Austin's family? Should Kyle or Jessie survive, we now have to blend Nic and Conrad's families. Marshall will have to spend time with whoever is left, or if no one's left, Nic has to find her new family through Conrad.
What will happen with Bell? Will he find a new love interest? What will happen with Devon, as he realizes that he doesn't want to be alone? Perhaps his new intern is going to be somebody who means something in his life.
Patients we've seen will also come back and characters we've seen will come back.
The Resident will return for Season 3.