One thing was clear when the closing shot of The Knick's Season 1 finale panned around, revealing Dr. Thackery's new medicine to be a vial of heroin: he would not be getting much help at this fancy new rehab center. If anything, he is worse off now in The Knick Season 2 premiere, trading back alley (er, back rehab center) nose jobs for cocaine, and then immediately requesting some heroin to go with it. He is jumpy and paranoid, and Dr. Edwards describes him as "lost to his addiction." However, it is precisely because of Dr. Edwards that Thack has a chance at recovery. Determined not to return to work under Dr. Edwards due to his to his own blatant racism, Dr. Gallinger smuggles Thack out of rehab and forces him to recover at sea in the premiere, leading us to see, essentially, a manifestation of Thack's inner demons.
There is much threatening, yelling, crying, and all of the bodily functions that come from detoxing in a boat, but eventually Thack returns to himself, if only in part. He's able to tie the necessary knots to win his freedom and they return back to New York. However, while Thack is clean he is haunted by visions of a young girl. Is the child watching him his last patient at The Knick, the girl he killed after an ill-advised and misinformed blood transfusion? I couldn't quite tell, but that's my best guess. We may also be introduced to some figures from Thack's past — perhaps his family we know next to nothing about?
Either way, it will be interesting to see him fight off his demons and addictions at the same time throughout The Knick Season 2. Though it seems like Thack will return to the hospital, I don't think he'll find much success until he is able to work through his own issues.
Image: Mary Cybulski/HBO