Episode Air Date: July 24th, 31st, August 7th 2014
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Rush (Don’t Ask Me Why, Learning To Fly, We Are Family)
Starring: Tom Ellis, Larenz Tate, Sarah Habel, Rick Gonzalez, Erica Cerra, Harry Hamlin, Rachel Nichols
USA Network has taken a risk with it’s new show Rush, presenting us with Hawk Lawson from Royal Pains, but essentially making the titular character of Dr William Rush (Tom Ellis) a bit more rough around the edges, more ethically immoral (maybe ethically apathetic in certain situations), and certainly only invested when there are big bucks and large sums of money involved. Though the show hasn’t received the high ratings that we’ve come to expect from USA Network (and we have seen the high viewers in shows like Royal Pains, Suits and shows that have ended like Psych, Burn Notice and White Collar), and this ratings dip is probably due to Rushand Satisfaction having virtually no lead in- no established show to lead into the two new dramas; these past few episodes since I reviewed the pilot, have garnered my interest slightly. Although the show is flawed, as there are many plot points that are cliché and at which I roll my eyes, there are also developments that are interesting, of which I will lay out below.
Since we last revisited Rush, he was treating a businessman with a broken penis and a woman who was bashed by her husband. He also operated on a hitman for the mob, thus him owing them, which does sort of come up in the next few episodes, but may play a further part in the near future. And as mentioned earlier, Rush doesn’t ask questions, which in my mind is pretty ignorant and egotistical of him, but anyway, I digress. The fact is this- money was his motivation in episode 1 and it is still his motivation going forward in episodes 2, 3 and 4. In these past three episodes, Rush has operated on many patients. In “Don’t Ask Me Why”, he helps a mixed martial arts fighter, with a broken nose (whose brother/manager pays Rush bribe money to make sure he fights no matter what, even if it is life ending, and who Rush ultimately bets money against), and also comes to the aid of a older female therapist, whom he ends up sleeping with.
“Learning To Fly” has Rush attending to his friend/acquaintance, who needs to be on his set of his movie by the end of the day, but is still in the psych ward; and also a series of girls at a hotel, for gonorrhoea. The most recent episode “We Are Family”, starts off with Rush treating a man with a lizard bite, just one of the many exotic and endangered animals living in his house with his partner, and then Rush stiches up a bounty hunter and the felon who he’s trying to bring in as well. Talk about treating people who have issues. And also, since Rush is treating those people without giving it a second thought, he’s obviously got underlying issues as well. But to me, it’s obvious that when I watch the 3 episodes, and even in the pilot, that the cases of the week are the B plot, with Rush’s intricate and complex relationships with others the main focus. That is what draws me in each week so far- as for me the cases, though as weird as they are; don’t really feel so exciting on their own for me to watch the show solely for that purpose in mind.
So what is it about Rush’s character that makes things interesting, that makes me want to tune in from week to week? I mean, it’s clearly a man-child, acting with little or no responsibility (except for his no-asking-questions job), and in some ways he reminds me personality-wise like Will in the NBC series About A Boy. Rush continues to be a party hard kind of doctor, and also continues to not care about his patients, except for when there are a lot of zeros attached to his pay check. As for his womanising ways, they don’t seem to slow down, in fact, he is in bed with a different woman every week, and to me it seems like Rush isn’t even holding back (which is sad, as it is these loose morals on a 9pm show where children might be watching, that bring the show down to me).
His no-nonsense friend Alex (Larenz Tate) is sometimes influenced negatively by him, much to the displeasure and annoyance of Alex’s wife Laurel (Erica Cerra), and Rush’s relationship with his father Warren, played by Harry Hamlin of Veronica Mars fame, and stepmother Corrinne, portrayed by Rachel Nichols from Continuum, are both frosty at best at the conclusion of the 4th episode. So why is Rush such a complex character? In theory, he should be arrogant and irredeemable, given the lengths he goes to, and the laws he breaks, to gain and maintain clients.
It’s because though Rush says he doesn’t care, he does. Eve (Sarah Habel), Alex, and to some extent his father, are very important in his life, and he will do anything to make sure his relationship with them stays intact and not sour. Though Rush also cares about Sarah, played with aplomb and professionalism by Odette Annable; given that she is a recurring character and is not in the show for the time being, thus out of his life, to me Rush is putting his concern and friendship/love for her on hold, and focusing on the important people in his life now, though I am sure Sarah will feature later. In terms of redeeming qualities, Rush gets right up on Eve’s ex-boyfriend’s face, and says in not so many words that Eve doesn’t want to see him, when Rush ‘bumps into him’ at the hotel where he is treating the girls with gonorrhoea (although we aren’t exactly sure of Eve’s relationship with JP Harris, played by Alphas alum Warren Christie, actually is…). Later on, with good intentions, he tries to set Eve up on a date with the assistant of one of his one night stands, and it remains to be seen if that relationship will last.
Though connecting with his father under a false pretense, as the main reason for reconnecting was to ask for a favour, to help resurrect Alex’s career, as Alex stole blood from his work so that Rush can save the hitman’s life (yep, the same hitman in the pilot), it is still evident that Rush craves a relationship with his father, and this strange relationship brings out the fact that Rush cares about Alex too. Rush imparts wise and quite unexpected advice to Alex as he tries to help Alex and Laurel save their floundering marriage, and Rush’s relationship with his stepmother also starts out with good intentions (although a predictable event in the end of the 4th episode, and pretty silly, yet Rush-like could potentially reverse any relationship regained with both his father and stepmother). It is from these key relationships that we see Rush with his more human side at the fore, giving us hope for future episodes that he can feel, and maybe for his patients in the future.
Acting-wise, everyone stepped up to the plate. Tom Ellis’ American accent is flawless and Larenz Tate and Sarah Habel portray their respective roles of Rush’s friend and assistant quite brilliantly, never overdoing their characters, and making them both more likeable than Rush- in fact two fo the reasons why I keep watching, if we only talk about supporting characters. Rachel Nichols, who has been known for her action roles, especially since 3 seasons of Continuum, seamlessly transitions into the tortured, troubled, yet supportive much younger wife of Harry Hamlin’s character- Rush’s father (Harry is well known for the un-likable, cunning and manipulative Aaron Echolls, and he sure is driven, intense and pushy here); and Harry does a superb job here too, channelling his inner Aaron Echolls.
Scenery-wise, we are still shown inside shots, of Rush’s hotel, and the homes of the clients he visits, but hopefully we will be given some outside shots soon. And as far as content goes, there is still sex, blood and gore, as well as drug references, present; these are not diminishing in frequency any time soon. So like I mentioned before, this is not a kids show, so children shouldn’t watch it if they want to emulate the character of Rush, especially his bed-hopping exploits. Though Rush seems to take one step forwards, and another backwards, these three episodes have done enough for me to be interested, but for me there must be more character development- hopefully something comes of this mob storyline, or Sarah’s storyline soon, otherwise the show could limp towards a cancellation instead or surge towards renewal prospects.
Did Rush (episodes 2-4) leave a lasting impression on you? Which theme in these episodes speaks to you the most? Which supporting character do you resonate with the most, and what is your take on Rush’s behaviour in each episode? What elements of the show did you enjoy- the medical or the relationship parts? Do you give this show a hope for a Season 2? Let us know in the comments.
RIYL: Royal Pains, Rake, House, Psych, Ray Donovan
Rating: 3.5/5 (based on 4 episodes)
Rush airs every Thursday at 9/8c on USA Network.