Apr 28, 2014


Since the moment House has ended, every channel seemed to have been looking for a new hit medical drama with an extraordinary and superarrogant doctor to fill the void. Moreover, now that bipolar Carrie from Homeland  had such a great impact on the audience and TV critics (for no apparent reason, in my opinion), it would be strange if we would not see any new female characters with this condition. And so meet ABC's Catherine Black (Kelly Reilly) - a secretly bipolar neurologist, who weirdly enjoys her disorder. If Gregory House had problems as a result of his drug abuse, Catherine's issues begin when she is not taking the pills, which she seems to not do quite often. For her "normal" means "mediocre", even though she does not actually say it out loud. She enjoys her maniacal phase, she feels her condition makes her incredible, although judging by how she is portrayed, her extraordinariness is only in her head, just like the music she dances to during her breakdowns.

The title of the show, Black Box, refers to the mysterious human brain, the subject of Catherine's studies. Trivially, it also contains last name of the heroine. Unlike House, she experiences no epiphany, she just does her job relatively thoroughly, but nothing really gives away why would anyone call her "Marco Polo of the brain", which is, apparently, her nickname in the industry. Apart from family, only her psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hartramph (Vanessa Redgrave) knows about her condition. Evidently, all her co-workers are idiots, as she manages to fool them for so many years, despite occasional dancing in the hospital stairwell.

Her personal life is definitely far from normal. She has an illegitimate daughter, adopted by her brother Josh (David Chisum) and his wife Regan (Laura Fraser). The girl doesn't know the truth, obviously, but adores her irresponsible "auntie". Catherine's relationship with her boyfriend/fiancee Will (David Ajala) is complicated, of course. To summarize her actions during the episode, she just torments him. Ms. Black seems to lean towards self-destruction despite the tragic example from her past: her own mother ended her life by walking into the ocean, with her pockets full of rocks, when her kids were very young.

All this Nashville style (typical for any ABC show, really) melodramatic bulls**t with multiple break ups, several instances of cheating and two suicide attempts, on top of painful dialogues, makes the series look cheap and soapy.

The idea of normality being the best state for any person is challenged by this show, though the arguments are not particularly compelling. And by the way, comparing your character with Hemingway, Van Gogh et cetera, is never a good move - her actions should prove her genius and her right to be arrogant, otherwise it's just laughable.

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