The Knick 1×03 ‘The Busy Flea’: Syphilis is no joke, kids

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I feel like most of us were waiting for an episode that displayed the perils of sexually transmitted diseases, mostly because of the time period and seeing as where this show is going, it would be pretty gritty. But I don’t think any of us were expecting Ms. No Nose to show up. Who knew you could lose a nose to syphilis. The more you know.

The case of the nose-less woman is only one of several subplots of this episode. It appears in the beginning that it may be the main focus of the whole episode. But to the show’s credit, they fit in many other important aspects without making it too cramped and also advancing certain growing subplots that will most likely come to a head more towards the end of the season. But the case of Ms. No Nose is still interesting and highlights, as this show does so well, the perils of just being alive during the early 1900s.

The past two episode titles have related to important parts of the actual episode. I can’t tell if I liked how the title of this episode, ‘The Busy Flea’, refers to a sexual role-playing thing that Herman Barrow, the over seer of the hospital, has his prostitute perform for him. Instead of naming the episode after the nose-less lady, they name it after a sexual performance that is onscreen for about five seconds. It’s a bit of a cheeky thing to do since episode titles usually insinuate something important that’s going to happen in the episode. You can’t help but admire that. But at the same time, it’s annoying. I feel tricked.



In terms of the other growing aspects of the show, it looks like that Dr. Edwards has started his own underground clinic in the basement of The Knickerboker. It seems to be going well, but then one of his patients dies of a hernia. Edwards takes it pretty hard, plus Thackery and company are still not recognizing him as a credible doctor and surgeon. The episode ends with Edwards engaging in a drunken fist fight with a man he insulted at a bar. I have a feeling that we’re going to see Edwards finally snap soon, most likely during a surgery. I think the confrontation that’s bound to happen between Edwards and Thackery is going to be quite the scene to watch. And as I am a sucker for film-making technique, it will most likely be a well done one. Thank you, Soderbergh.

Even though Clive Owen is the famous name that’s carrying the show, I appreciate that they’re giving good screen time to so many other characters all played by solid actors, actors that most audiences haven’t been introduced to yet. I read recently that Andre Holland, Dr. Edwards, is an up and coming actor to watch out for. And with his performance in this show so far, I wholeheartedly agree. The writing of his character and Holland’s performance makes him my favorite character of the show so far.



I still anticipate more intense and gruesome surgeries, which this episode lacked. Well there were plenty of pig surgeries, but the surgeries that are performed in front of a medical audience is another factor that makes me look forward to new episodes. And while the skin graphing of Ms. No Nose is intriguing and ultimately a bit unsettling to watch, I still feel like this episode was lacking that circus element that was established in the first episode and carried on into the second one. And it is odd since the case of the nose-less woman is the strangest case they’ve had yet. Even so, there was something missing. It just wasn’t unforgivably gruesome and real as past surgeries.

The show does a great job formulating the build up throughout each episode. I can feel that we’re getting to something bigger, something that’s going to affect each character in the show. Again, it’s a bit of a slow burn but I have the sense that it’s going to be worth watching and worth the wait. If my senses are right, the last two episodes are going to be really heavy and really fun to watch.

With its ever growing tension and drama, it appears that The Knick is on its way to solidifying itself as one of the most daring and entertaining shows that has graced our various sized television screens. As we get close to the halfway point of the season, I think it’s safe to assume that things are going to get even more grisly and therefore, more exciting, at The Knick. What’s your evaluation?

Sarah Lord

is a college student in New York City. Her extreme knowledge of British comedians and TV shows almost surpasses her general love for film. When she’s not sitting in her apartment/nerd cave reviewing movies and TV shows, she sometimes makes time for long walks in the moonlight. Check her out on YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr as TheSplord.

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