Monroe, Episode 2 Review – This show’s vital signs are still good!

ITV’s latest medical drama continues in a solid vein. Tonight’s second episode of Monroe continued the story of our hero’s messy marital breakdown while juggling two young gunshot victims from a broken home.

The theme of broken homes came to the fore as Monroe toyed with the idea of telling his son the reason his mother left. And in the hospital, the two kids who managed to shoot themselves are from a broken home. It’s that broken marriage, and the exceptionally hostile Mr Chadwick that provides much of the medical drama this week.

James Nesbitt continues to be a solid backbone for the show, and many of my criticisms from last week were neatly addressed. There was more character development for the supporting players, although Monroe’s son appears to be an irritating little gnat. I’m starting to love the atmosphere between the various members of Monroe’s team too. However, outside the operating theatres, the hospital has a strangely abandoned feel to it – I think they need more extras in medical gear randomly milling about.

The shooting storyline provided two handy patients – one for Monroe’s neurosurgery team and one for the cardiac team. The medical drama itself was less than thrilling, but it introduced us to the Very Angry Mr Chadwick, who had a whole bag of chips on his shoulder and wanted to square up to Monroe at every opportunity.

Monroe slightly humiliates Chadwick at the earliest opportunity by allowing his request to be in the theatre for his son’s surgery. Of course, Chadwick hasn’t got the stomach for watching live neurosurgery, so he balks and leaves quickly. But it doesn’t give him a great impression of Monroe in the first place. 

Sadly the back and forth between doctor and patient’s father never really bubbles over into anything interesting. Give this plot to an American drama, and they’d find some way to chasten the swaggering, aggressive father and humble him into changing his ways. That’s maybe what’s missing from this picture. Medical dramas skirt the line between life and death, and in those moments the people in the situations usually learn important lessons. I kind of feel that’s what Monroe needs.

Take the BIG REVELATION to his son, for instance – Monroe matter-of-factly mentions that he was reeling from the death of his daughter and used the affair to bury his pain. Or words to that effect. It was surprising that the son went on a spectacular moral rant about how he had been abandoned when his sister died, therefore Monroe was a cretin for escaping his grief. I’m not sure it was a convincing or emotionally sound reaction.

Elsewhere, Monroe continues with the razor-sharp dialogue. No, perhaps not to House standard, but pretty decent for a UK series. And the situation with Monroe’s marriage has me interested enough to ask whether he’s likely to reunite with his wife or to reignite his affair with Bremner? What do you reckon?

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