'Royal Pains': Hank's quick European medical thriller
Here's the thing about Royal Pains, and USA shows in general: things just happen. This episode alone offered, like, six plot dangling or brand new plots that weren't there the week before. Evan, trying to fight another of Ms. Ballard's attempts to shit down their business, decides to run for town council. (Bear in mind the beat here isn't "Evan learns what he's up against" or "Evan puts together a campaign," just "Evan thinks this would be a good idea." Characters thinking about doing something is a plot turn! In Savannah to check in on their new medical partner, Divya and Jeremiah are almost immediately diverted to a minor league baseball game. For ten minutes they just sort of watch the game, before a medical crisis on the field draws them closer to the action. Oh, and Jeremiah is apparently a baseball nut for its emphasis on statistics, and the bond it forged with his father. I'm utterly convinced that Pains finds its story while they're filming, documentary-style. USA should change their motto from "Characters Welcome" to "Characters Welcome Random Plot Turns"
All of the above is just prelude to the hour's main event: Hank's quick trek to Budapest, where he tries to track down the half-brother he'd uncovered in Boris' files. Hank, of course, is a super-doctor, but literally no part of that sentence has anything to do with the practice of medicine. Oh, he'll practice some before the hour's out, sure, but that's just a stipulation of the show's format. What Pains really wants is to try on different genres, like costumes. Why not a low-stakes European spy thriller?
The costumes comparison doesn't hold up so much when Hank dresses for Eastern Europe exactly the way he does for any day in Southampton, but then some things you just want to depend on -- Hank's light button-downs being one of them. He makes a beeline for Milosh, who it turns out suffers from the same leg issue that plagued (plagues?) Boris. They gab for a bit. Talk about family ties. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the episode is just Hank waking around Budapest, leaving touching voicemails for his brother (the aspiring town councilman).
Then he's kidnapped and oh boy, it is ON.
That untrustworthy Dmitri is behind it, but you know who's behind him? BORIS, who you'll be happy to know is very much alive! Hank's not thrilled -- it was Boris' death, and the lead-up to it, that sent him into a coma/recovery for six months -- but Hank also forgives pretty easily. "What happened, bro?" he basically asks. To which Boris replies that Milosh, like any TV character named Milosh, is a snake who wanted him dead. And so to confirm Milosh's treachery…Boris faked his own death. It seems pretty reasonable to me.
TV minutes later Dmitri is off to meet with Milosh about something, but that ends badly -- like, shiv in the side badly -- and Hank has to think quick to try and save Dmitri's life. First Hank tries to stem the bleeding, then pulls from his medical purse some sort of quick-clotting agent that he pours on the wound like flour. But will it…can it…no, Dmitri dies. And Boris grieves.
Like all vacations, Hank's time in Budapest had to come to an end. The guy had some fun -- made a new friend who turned out to be something of an enemy, reconnected with a benefactor who had faked his own death, took in the sights -- and even made time to leave not one, but two phone messages for his brother. Lest you think Hank is some perpetually light-hearted, sun-dappled hedonist, though, he made sure his last stop in Budapest was Milosh. The good doctor offered some research he'd done on the leg issue, along with a handshake. But the look in Hank's eyes? Vengeance.
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