For a show that started off as corny as it did, Season 3 of “The Night Shift” is continuing to try and establish itself as a serious medical drama. Well, as serious as a summer series can get, anyway. And while they’ve definitely stepped far from the motorcycle doctor fiasco of Season 1, they haven’t quite succeeded at reaching the mountain top.
Wednesday’s (June 22) episode, titled “Three-Two-One,” took on the very touchy — and often volatile — subject of race relations in America. It’s a timely topic, and the story here is reminiscent of the recent events that took place in Ferguson, Missouri. Heck, the story here can feel similar to many tragic incidents that have transpired throughout our country’s history. However, to really present the story the right way, it feels that the lack of production value on the NBC series took us out of the drama.
It’s possible since we watch a lot of programs here at Zap2it, that we’re viewing everything through a narrow lens, but the several shots of the unrest taking place felt nothing more than a group of 40 background actors running through the motions for the 20th take. Let’s be clear, it’s not our motive to undermine important storylines such as this and we commend “The Night Shift” for exploring such important subject matter.
Yet, aside from the mess that was the exterior riot scenes, it felt like there was no real catharsis or moral reached to set audiences’ minds at ease. At the end of the day, the white cop died and the black kid lived. The twist thrown in showing it was the cop’s partner that actually did him in felt so last minute that the tragic feel of the whole thing felt a bit overshadowed by that bright neon Texas sign in the hospital’s break room. Seriously, they kept that in the shot for a bit longer than expected.
But then again, not only did this episode touch on racism in America, there was also some mention of the open carry laws in the Lone Star State. Just go ahead and dip your toes in all the current hot button issues of the day, guys. Have at it.
Confronting issues like open carry laws and racism in America come with big responsibilities attached. But as soon as it felt like the show was getting somewhere, some random guy ups and shoots the plot point right in the head. Watching the the doctors do their part at resuscitating the possibly racist Steven Benedict (Myk Watford), after taking a bullet to the brain, felt symbolic in a way. The episode may have gotten in over its head, but at this point, why let such a lethal injury stop you from trying to salvage the story altogether? Seriously, what exactly goes down in the writers room, anyway?
“The Night Shift” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.