There Are Rules

The Knick

S2 E16 There Are Rules

There Are Rules

The Knick, 206 – “There Are Rules”
Written by: Jack Amiel and Michael Begler
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

At Huber's Palace, Thackery watches the performer Xavior Sage hypnotize a man. Thackery also comes upon a side act: a pair of female conjoined twins, attached at the ribcage. A man on stage announces the twins with a fantastical tale of survival. Thackery introduces himself to the announcer, Lester Brockhurst, and they strike deal. For a fee, Thackery can examine the twins.

Bertie shows X-rays of his mother’s larynx to Algernon. He asks for assistance performing a secret procedure at Mt. Sinai, during which he would inject the tumor with mercury and zinc. Algernon agrees to help.

Having witnessed other girls receive invitations to the Knick fundraising ball, Lucy approaches Henry in his office to request an invitation of her own. She tries out a new method of persuasion, reaching into Henry's pants as she asks him about the ball.

Algernon shows Dr. Daniels and the lecturer Garrison Carr the surgical theater at the Knick. The two men, both of whom are black, tell Algernon that Garrison Carr needs surgery for an umbilical hernia. Dr. Daniels plans to perform Algernon’s hernia procedure at his own hospital.  Algernon says that he will ask Thackery to place a request with the board that the surgery be done at the Knick, conducted by Algernon himself.

Arriving home for dinner, Gallinger finds that Eleanor has invited a guest for the evening: Dr. Cotton from the insane asylum. Eleanor says she wants to express her gratitude for all that the doctor did to help her. Gallinger is sullen and hostile through dinner, but the evening is cut short when Dr. Cotton is taken ill and leaves halfway through the meal.

Bertie and Algernon commence surgery on Bertie’s mother, while his father stands in the operating room. Injecting mercury and zinc into his mother’s tumor, Bertie sees no change. When an orderly walks in on the procedure and rushes off to find Dr. Zinberg, the men are on the clock. Zinberg arrives, furious, but pitches in to help with the procedure. Bertie desperately attempts a laryngectomy, but he is unable to suture the larynx after removing the tumor, and his mother dies on the operating table.

Bertie fears that his father is angry with him, but Dr. Chickering Sr. tells him admiringly, “You had the courage to try.” After resigning from Mt. Sinai, Bertie seeks out Thackery and asks to return to the Knick. The two men reconcile.

The conjoined twins, Zoya and Nika, arrive at the Knick, and Thackery has a chance to speak with them alone. He is disgusted to learn that Mr. Brockhurst has used them as prostitutes. Examining them, Thackery discovers that they only share a liver. When Thackery proposes to Mr. Brockhurst that it might be possible to separate them, the handler storms out. At night, Cleary and Thackery break into Zoya and Nika’s living quarters and bring them to safety at the Knick.

Cornelia locates a Gino Petrizzi in a tenement apartment. He is sick, and shows symptoms of bubonic plague. She learns that the second-class ticket she discovered at Speight’s home belonged to Petrizzi’s brother, who is now dead. The question remains: how did a tenement dweller afford a second-class ticket to America?

Learning of the ill treatment that Harriet is experiencing at the Sisters of Mercy Boarding House, Cleary demands that she move in with him.

When Thackery goes to stay with Abby, she tells him that it’s too painful to have him in the house, and that she can no longer pretend that they are living together as intimates. She asks him to leave, but Thackery instead responds by kissing her.