The first time I saw Niall Matter on the small screen, it was chasingâ€”and being chased byâ€”dinosaurs on Primeval: New World. Next up was flyboy Tag Cummins (still the best-ever name in primetime TV) on Arctic Air and murderous Damian Cutter on Motive. They’ve all been memorable roles, but nothing has compared to his gig as Dr. Peter Cutler on Remedy.
Up until Monday’s new episode,Â “Secrets and Lies,” Cutler has been the hottie (and sometime hot-head) mixing it up with Allen in the ER and Mel in the bedroom. But last night’s storylines not only fleshed out the character but showed Matter’s acting chops as well. Kudos to writerÂ David Barlow, who successfully balanced humour (snake on the loose!) with the drama and family angst we’ve come to expect every Monday.
(And congratulations to Enrico Colantoni for his directing. I count the fact I didn’t see a boom mike in any shots as a job well done.)
The first word in Monday’s episode, “secrets,” certainly pertained to Cutler in two instances. He’d been keeping it under wraps that he applied to a hospital in Dallas … until they called Bethune for a reference and were passed along to Allen. That forced Cutler to admit it to Mel, who took it with her usual level-headedness. In other words, she immediately began to shut him out in order to hide her own feelings at the thought of him leaving.
(Mel is a complex character who is fascinating to watch. When she’s happy, she’s positively giddy. But upset her or betray her? You’re pretty much dead to Mel, something driven home once again to Griff when she assumed he was lying regarding being clean for five days. Now Mel’s cut ties with Griff and doesn’t want to hear from him until he’s hit rock bottom? Not cool.)
But back to Cutler, whose latest patient in peril, Jennifer, was in the ER and suffering from an acute infection. Turns out she’d been keeping a secret from hubby Nick: she’d had an abortion because having a baby would have screwed up their career plan and residual tissue infected her uterus and threatened her life. I’m always fascinated by couples who put having kids on hold “until the right time.” You can’t plan a good time to have kids, something Jennifer and Nick found out. The tortured look on Cutler’s face was killing meâ€”he was caught between patient confidentiality and telling Nick what was really going onâ€”and led to great emotional moments.
When will TV characters learn that telling someone “not to freak out” will ALWAYS cause them to freak out? Griff learned that the hard way when he informed Zoe of his drug situation. It didn’t matter to her that he was clean now, he had been using drugs and lying to her about it. Zoe is leaving me a little cold this season. I understand she’s won’t suffer fools anymoreâ€”look at the way she dismissed her momâ€”but she and Griff became a couple and moved in together so they could support each other. Griff is asking Zoe for help and she’s not listening. Of course, that conflict opens the door for a possible romance with the researcher…
And finally, I’m hoping the whole feud between Sandy and Jason is over. He punched out a prisoner to save her from being a hostage for crying out loud; time for her to listen and heed his warnings. It meant Sandy broke up with Gord (tear), but she needs to get her head in the game and concentrate more on work and less on butting heads with her boss.
Notes and quotes
- I love over-the-top funny moments like the snake in the ER. There’s often so much drama we need levity to break things up.
- “You have a sex date!” â€” Mel
- Where’s Bruno? He had some meaty storylines in Season 1 but has been missing for most of this season. What gives?
- It was great to see Noam Jenkins guest as Dennis, the new chief of staff. His plans to turn Bethune into a largely out-patient facility didn’t win him any friends with Zoe and Allen.
Remedy airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.
2 thoughts on “Review: Cutler grabs the spotlight on Remedy”
Iâ€™m a big fan of Remedy. And I also loved Greg Spottiswoodâ€™s previous series, King. So this is just me nitpicking for the sake of discussing broader themes:
But one of the things I feel about â€œCanadianismsâ€ is itâ€™s all about naturalism â€“ characters saying and doing what real people would say and do. Not forcing references (the Straw Man of these discussions) but not avoiding them, either. And I couldnâ€™t help feeling a conspicuous omission in this episode was any reference to the differences between Canadian/American health care. Iâ€™ve had dealings with medical people over the years, and that sometimes is lurking in the conversation (if only as a joke, Mel couldâ€™ve snarkily quipped to Cutler â€œDo they give you debit machines with your stethoscope down there?â€) For that matter, even the whole idea that Dallas would be seen as a career step up from Toronto seemedâ€¦weird (as if Toronto was the boonies).
It just stood out for me because it seems reflective of patterns. So often in Canadian programs the big taboo is acknowledging Canada and the U.S. are separate countries. And then thereâ€™s the persistent national self-depecration, implying that itâ€™s always better (bigger! sexier!) south of the border. I realize thatâ€™s true for entertainers (Hollywood an undisputed Mecca) but Iâ€™m not sure filmmakers realize itâ€™s not necessarily the attitude in all professions.
..and now to be a little less esoteric (lol)â€¦
One of the things about Remedy (and good drama, I think) is when it can juggle different POVs. As much as I can feel bad for Griff, equally I can see Zoeâ€™s position â€“ namely her ex-junkie boyfriend was using again! Iâ€™m a romantic at heart, but I always find TV romances frustrating, because too often if characters get together you know the writers will just break them up again! I like the Zoe/Griff pairing, but I worryâ€¦
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