Medical mistrust was the theme of the hour on Transplant Season 1 Episode 3.
It’s a familiar theme, but very topical to today’s America. When this first aired in Canada, the pandemic wasn’t even a figment of our imagination.
So it’s impossible to think that the writers anticipated the rise in anti-vaxxers in the coming months.
It doesn’t really matter because it was clearly relevant to BashirIt . Imagine being from a country where being vaccinated is not an option.
Transplant makes continual references to the Syrian conflict that caused Bashir and his sister to seek refuge in Canada. Now we learn exactly why Bashir had to leave. The war makes it difficult for people, especially children, to get vaccinated.
Jared Abbott: Max got one vaccination when he was a baby, and it left him paralyzed for a week. Half his little face was frozen.
Claire: Reactions like that are rare and almost never serious.
Jared: Until they are. We were lucky that he bounced back. After that we were done with it. The body builds its own immunity.
It’s no surprise, based on what we know of him, that Bashir would not stand for it and that he would take risks and break laws to ensure as many vaccinations as possible. It is completely in keeping with everything we’ve seen him do since Transplant Season 1 Episode 1.
He cares about people and patients. He is reckless, but it is only because he knows that if you don’t act, people die.
I was strange to see him raise his voice to Tristan’s father because he is usually so gentle. It made sense.
Bashir risked everything and could lose everything because he was determined to get vaccinations to those in need, and the guy had the option and passed.
It’s kind of like when someone from America tries to explain bulimia to someone from a third world country.
The idea of someone having too much food, and then purposely vomiting when the food is perfectly good is not something they can understand. Bashir does not understand how this father would endanger his child in this way.
Bashir: Do you see a lot of unvaccinated children?
Mags: More than we should. People afraid of side-effects, primarily autism.
Bashir: But that study was retracted.
Mags: Yeah, and a ton of misinformation is taking its place. Are there anti-vaxxers in Syria?
Bashir: People there are desperate for vaccines. We fight to get them into the country.
It seems the father has learned his lesson though, and hopefully, when this is over, Tristan will get every vaccination in the book.
His brother Max, meanwhile, was a star. Sure, I liked him initially because I recognized him from The Gifted (I’m still not over that show’s cancellation) but he really brought it with the emotion.
Frankly, I felt more for Max than for Tristan, or I guess I felt for Tristan because of Max.
What was going on with Tristan was tragic, but we never actually met the kid. He was unconscious the entire time. Mas brought thestory across, and of course, Bashir, who always sells with the medical empathy.
Max: My dad says its all chemicals.
Bashir: He may have a point about that.
Max: He’s not happy with me.
Bashir: I know. But you did the right thing by telling us about Tristan.
Max: You know he, he talks about getting me through the measles as if him and my mom are heroes, you know, but it wasn’t like that for me. At all. I never told them but I, I was so afraid that I was gonna die. Then after my mom, if just got even harder to talk to him, so.
Max’s struggles were hard to ignore. You gotta respect the kid for getting vaccinated and for standing up to his father.
In the end, his father did right by his sons. He wasn’t a bad guy, just misinformed and scared. His love for Max and Tristan, plus an angry outburst from Bashir, set him straight.
Bashir accomplished some impressive feats, though that’s nothing new. What is new is that it seems the other doctors are starting to trust him.
He has to pay his dues and play by their rules a bit, but as Wendy said, they work as a team. They saved Tristan’s life, and now the Abbotts can start fresh, hopefully with all their vaccines.
Bashir: Forgeries, corruption, that was supposed to be behind us.
Khaled: These are your grades, brother. You earned them. Who cares where the paper comes from?
Sadly, as good of a doctor as he is, Bashir’s employment is still up in the air. Bishop went to bat for him; there is clear affection and respect from Bishop, in addition to gratitude for saving his life. He knows Canada needs doctors like Bashir. But those stupid transcripts!
It was a little surprising that Bashir was considered an enemy of the state, but not very. All the signs were there, in retrospect. And it’s tragic.
As much as this is a medical show, it’s really shining a spotlight on significant political issues, from anti-vaxxers to immigration, asylum, and the costs of war.
I’ve heard people express concern that once Bashir stopped being the unknown that he was on Transplant Season 1 Episode 1, this would just be another medical show. That is clearly not the case.
Bashir’s story is likely a common one for refugees, and especially for doctors who are apparently targeted in Syria.
Dr. Bishop: Legal’s up in arms about your missing transcripts. They won’t accept that you can’t get the originals out of Aleppo.
Bashir: Any chance they’ve watched the news in the last five years?
Dr. Bishop: Apparently not. They want to see you before making a decision.
Bashir: A decision?
Dr. Bishop: Render judgment. Call it what you will. They’ve asked to talk to you tomorrow.
Bashir: Anything, in particular, they want to know?
Dr. Bishop: About the Syrian doctor who showed up out of nowhere wielding a power drill? I think they’re going to want to know everything. To them, you’re just a giant flashing neon sign that reads “liability, do not proceed.” Tomorrow, 6:00 p.m., and wear the kind of tie you’d wear when your entire future hangs in the balance.
Right now, we know how important doctors are, espectially with the pandemic. To think that there are countries that would target people who dedicate their lives to saving the injured and the sick is, well, sick. Hopefully, this show will raise awareness and affect change.
The Abbott’s weren’t the only ones working against the doctors. In a cliche, yet shiny and new storyline, someone pledging a fraternity got hurt because of it.
June sympathized with Ethan, but he felt he needed to do what he needed to do. Making connections to kickstart your career is a big motivator. You’ve gotta respect the kid for looking ahead.
Who would have guessed that drinking a whole bottle of soy-sauce would be dangerous? Gross, sure. Uncomfortable? It depends on your taste?
June: I just had to tell that kid’s parents that their only son died trying to get into a frat. Stupid Meaningless way to die.
Bashir: Doesn’t make it any easier when they die for a reason.
But to learn that it could cause something called hypernatremia, where you have too much sodium and not enough water, and that that could lead to a heart attack? That’s a new one.
The unlikeliness didn’t make it any less tragic. June was clearly affected. She had some prejudice against stupid frat boys and frat rituals, but that isn’t surprising.
Brett was really to be pitied because he’s going to have to live with what happened to Ethan for the rest of his life. Maybe he’ll go to med school. That would be quite the origin story.
June seems like an interesting character, but we don’t know much about her yet. We know she gets dismissed easily, despite her capability, most likely because of her gender and skin color.
She’s a little rough around the edges, though hints have been dropped of her romance with the security guard.
June: Ethan, is it really worth beating yourself just to be accepted by a collection of entitled assholes?
Ethan: I’m here on scholarship, and half the alumni get the kind of finance jobs I want to have through business school, so, yeah, it is.
As unrealistic as it is, people in medical shows have to date each other because if they don’t, too much of the romance happens offscreen, and then it dies. If you don’t believe me, consider Devon and Priya of The Resident.
June and Lou could be good, though the power dynamic between a doctor and a security guard could get very messy.
June isn’t the type to give an inch, and right now, she seems to want to keep the romance under wraps.
Sneaking around can be fun, but these sorts of things usually cause problems down the line. I’m all for a romance, though.
Vivian Barnes: I heard you had a few choice words with the father. I find that having an outlet helps keep the frustration from boiling over.
Bashir: What’s yours?
Vivian: Boxing. Sometimes bourbon.
The ‘shipping is minor at this point. I think they might be setting something up between Bishop and Claire, but it’s subtle.
It’s the sme with Bashir and Mags. Really, there was no other reason for him to catch her in her car with the headphones if they aren’t going to be a thing. It does make me wonder where she lives. Why didn’t she go home?
Mags is another character they haven’t explored a lot yet. We know lots about Bashir, but with everyone else, we’ve barely scraped the surface. We do know Mags needs to solve a mystery. She’s a classic workaholic and needs to know she was right.
She felt a lack of closure with the amnesia patient, which makes sense as we never learned why he lost his memory of even saw him regain it.
Not showing us his recovery put us in the same position as Mags, and that was a good move, helping us to relate to her frustration and unease.
Maybe he’ll come back since they don’t know what caused it. Who knows? It could happen again.
The medical aspects of this show are very dramatic, as are the political aspects. Bashir has a lot of challenges to face and obstacles to overcome.
It’s good they’re focusing on Bashir for now, but I wouldn’t mind them fleshing out some of the other staff at the hospital. Hopefully, in time, we’ll learn more about June, Mags, Claire, Bishop, and Theo.
Bashir: I have documents proving my identity.
Tyler MacCauley: But not your credentials. And without those the hospital assumes a serious risk, one we can’t afford. I mean, how can we be sure you’re truly qualified?
Bashir: I suppose you can’t.
Bishop: No actually you can, because I hired him, I’m sitting here because of him.
MacCauley: With respect Dr. Bishop, that’s not enough. I’m not diminishing anything he did for you, but this is –
Bishop: He just performed an emergency cricothyrotomy on a kid who has a disease that shouldn’t even exist here.
MacCauley: Even still, this is about us needing a paper trail that proves he is who he says he is.
Bashir: They targeted doctors. In Syria. Especially ones who smuggled vaccines into the country to try to prevent typhoid, dysentery, diphtheria, it’s simple, the state controls the university and I am an enemy of the state. There is no paper trail because of who I am.
Overall, I’d say this was a great new installment, and I’m anxious to know what happens next already.
What about you, Fanatics? Did you empathize with Max as much as I did? Do you appreciate the political and topical elements of the story? Do you think Bashir will find a way to stick around?
Let us know in the comments, and remember, you can watch Transplant online right here via TV Fanatic.
Transplant airs on Tuesdays at 10/9 c on NBC.
Leora W is a staff writer for TV Fanatic..