'The Resident's Battle Between Conrad & Red Rock Is About to Heat Up (RECAP)

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Spoiler Alert
Guy D'Alema/FOX

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 11 of The Resident, "Free Fall."]

The Resident returns with a winter premiere that continues to highlight just how utterly awful Red Rock is.

Following the fall finale, Conrad (Matt Czuchry) is left to figure out what his life looks like, professionally and personally. While he questions what he has to offer Nic (Emily VanCamp), there's also the matter of facing that awkward "why did you say you're not at Chastain anymore?" question during job interviews. ("Because the people of Red Rock are heartless, soulless people" is probably not the right answer.)

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Fortunately, a former patient, Finn, offers a Zero-G adventurous distraction and some advice. Following their flight, Conrad admits, "I don't know I am right now. Or who I'll be if I can't be a doctor anymore." But Finn knows Conrad can't let Red Rock win and needs to get his job back. "If not for yourself, then do it for the patients who are relying on you," he says, and the flashbacks earlier in the episode reminding us of all the good Conrad has done as a doctor are the perfect example of that. "Get mad. Go kick some Red Rock ass."

And Chastain needs more doctors like Conrad and far, far fewer people like anyone connected to Red Rock (but especially Logan and Cain). Now Chief of Surgery, Cain (Morris Chestnut), with Logan (Rob Yang) by his side as always to facilitate his dirty work, introduces the new commission-based pay system. "The more procedures, biopsies, test diagnostic surgeries you do, the more money you'll make," he explains.

(Guy D'Alema/FOX)

"Are we car salesmen now?" AJ (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) asks, noting that this new system will "lead to rampant over-treatment." And when Cain questions his worth to Chastain, AJ has no problem stressing that he might be right when it comes to Red Rock's values.

But right now, Red Rock does value that new RVU (relative value units) system of theirs, and it's because of it that a pulmonologist leaps at doing a procedure for one of Devon's patients after his intern calls for a consult. That unnecessary procedure leads to aspiration pneumonia and then a reaction to the antibiotics — and the patient is none the wiser at the end that none of that had to happen.

AJ and Cain then clash over a high-risk procedure to clear an infection between Annie's (Moira Kelly) lung and chest. In Cain's eyes, AJ's mortality outcome stats "aren't up to par," especially since he now inherits those numbers as the chief. That means he wants AJ to have "an escape hatch" for Annie's surgery. In other words, don't let her die on the table and don't tell her about a DNR. Unsurprisingly, AJ and Nic make sure that Annie knows all the risks and her option to fill out that form.

After her surgery, AJ reminds Cain of the "sacred contract" between a surgeon and patient: "We cut people open. We inflict wounds to make them better. They trust us with their lives. And I don't cut for the sake of cutting. I don't do it for the prestige or the cash or the stats or the RVUs. I do it for the patients." All Cain does is warn AJ not to disobey him again, and while AJ talks a big game about Chastain eventually imploding if Red Rock just continues to fire and demote the staff, should we be worried about his future?

(Guy D'Alema/FOX)

And while Logan had initially been concerned about firing Conrad because of his father, that's no longer the case. Conrad may be ignoring Marshall's (Glenn Morshower) calls, "his way of asking me to stand down," as he tells Bell (Bruce Greenwood), but his father's ready to leap into action. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have the "bulletproof strategy" the former CEO recommended.

"Who are you really? The good guy you're now pretending to be or the world heavyweight champion of hypocrites?" Logan asks. He knows how Marshall made his fortune, and it wasn't through acts of kindness, but "kill or be killed." "I know where the bodies are buried, and I will dig them up," he warns.

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"We've seen Marshall play the role of the savior to his son a couple times, and that's Conrad's ace in the hole, but we wanted to challenge that and throw in some new interesting wrinkles," executive producer Todd Harthan had told TV Insider. And that's exactly what we're seeing now.

Marshall may not be able to fight back (at least not immediately), but by the end of the episode, Conrad has decided he's "not going to let them win so easily." "I've gone toe to toe with a lot of titans in my time," Marshall advises. "These Red Rock people, you're going to have to bring more than a slingshot to this fight. It's going to get ugly. For all of us. I just want to make sure you know what we're up against."

(Guy D'Alema/FOX)

Conrad does, and as he tells Nic, "Red Rock came for me, now I'm coming for them." We'll have to wait to see what that looks like.

The Resident, Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox