The main theme of this quietly powerful episode is: sacrifice, made and not made, involving the now two prominent couples on the show -
- What would someone be willing to do for a lover - not specifically in bed with the lover - to help the lover's life? Would the person making that sacrifice tell the lover about it? What would the lover's happiness about the received benefit lead to in the relationship? In episode 1.9, the answer to the last question comes at the very end, and to our 21st century eyes is quite shocking, though perfectly logical given the context of the story and the age in which it takes place.
- The time in which the series occurs - the first years of the 20th century - also figures profoundly in the situation in which our other couple find themselves. Racism was rampant, as we know and have already seen in The Knick. But other moral issues which still beset us were sharply drawn back then. Episode 1.9 presents a good tableau of one of those issues, with the position of each party not what you first might have thought - but which also makes sense in retrospect.
- None of these compelling issues are resolved in episode 1.9, which also contains no new gadgets, and no memorable patients treated in the hospital.
See also The Knick: Paean to Scientific Method ... The Knick Sneak Preview Review 1.8: Good Loving, the Fix, and Typhoid Mary