The Knick, 204 – “Wonderful Surprises”
Written by: Jack Amiel and Michael Begler
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Algernon brings the newly-arrived Opal back to his apartment. She confronts him about keeping her a secret from his family and says that she knows there must be another woman in his life. Without revealing a name, Algernon admits that there was someone else. He also reveals that this woman became pregnant and terminated the pregnancy before going on to marry someone else. Opal tells him that she plans to stay in New York. She’s not willing to relinquish her claim on him.
Thackery informs Abby that his experiments inducing fever on syphilitic pigs to kill the bacteria were successful. She is hesitant, but after experiencing a seizure, Abby decides to take her chances and go through with the procedure. When the malaria fails to raise Abby’s temperature to the requisite heat to kill the syphilis, Thackery places her in the fever cabinet.
Assisted by only one nurse, Mays conducts a tracheotomy operation. When he accidentally grazes the electrified cauterizer against the ether mask, a small spark causes a sudden explosion and kills him.
Still a virgin, Bertie visits a whorehouse in the hopes of gaining more experience.
While Lucy inspects Thackery for new needle marks, he notices bruising under her eye. Hearing that her father beat her for confessing her sins, Thackery declares that he will hurt A.D. Elkins the next time they cross paths. Lucy tells him it’s too late; her father has left the city and returned home.
Continuing his research into addiction, Thackery finds that there is no physical difference between addicts and non-addicts. He determines that the difference must therefore be in the brain. To test this theory, he begins to recruit living addicts for a study.
Barrows is forced to inform the men at Tammany Hall about his skimming scheme on the construction costs for the new Knick hospital. He’s told that in order to ensure all continues smoothly, he has to cut them in on the deal.
Cornelia arrives at her parents’ home for a surprise lunch: the celebration of Algernon and his wife. During the meal, Opal is critical of the Robertson family, asking why Algernon’s parents are not included in this celebratory occasion. Algernon later berates Opal for her rudeness, but she stands her ground, finding the Robertsons far from progressive.
In a shabby apartment, Cleary gathers the many affluent women who have sought out Harriet for an abortion in the past. He instructs the women to tell the influential men who got them pregnant to exert pressure on the judge. If they don’t, Cleary threatens that Harriet might have a bout of conscience and start naming names on the stand. Sure enough, on the first day of the trial, the judge throws out Harriet’s case.
During an evening at his parents’ home, Bertie learns that his mother has an inoperable esophageal mass. Back at work, he tells Dr. Zinberg of his mother’s condition. Bertie is determined to look into new experimental procedures. Zinberg warns him not to let his judgment be clouded.
When her sister Dorothy goes out for an appointment, Eleanor decides to leave the house to get some air. She runs into a group of immigrant beggar boys, who send her into a panic, causing her to trip and fall. Later, Gallinger speaks with an old Penn classmate, Drexler, about the ordeal. Drexler brings up the findings of the Eugenics movement, and with it the idea of sterilization.
Abby wakes up after her malaria-induced fever, free of syphilis.