Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of The Resident Season 5, called “Ask Your Doctor.”
The Resident returned to Fox with a new episode for the first time in weeks after leaving fans hanging on a huge development: a time jump ahead four years. As “Ask Your Doctor” proved, the time jump provided a sort of reset to get Conrad and the rest of the characters out of the early stages of grieving Nic’s death after Emily VanCamp’s departure. The episode picked up with Conrad working private practice as a concierge doctor so he could prioritize Gigi rather than overworking himself at Chastain. Somewhat surprisingly, he wasn’t back on staff at Chastain by the end of “Ask Your Doctor” to return to the status quo, and that’s actually a good thing for his story.
While the action at Chastain felt odd without Conrad running around and barking orders in scrubs as an official member of the team for most of the episode, “Ask Your Doctor” did prove that the hospital could keep running just fine without him. Conrad already misses his hospital work… but not enough to decide after one day of collaborating with Devon again that he needed to return to the hospital full-time. Chastain doesn’t absolutely need Conrad, so The Resident can continue to take its time with his story rather than reboot everything back to the norm, with him at the center of the hospital action as a Chastain doctor, simply without Nic.
That’s not to say that Conrad wasn’t treating a patient at Chastain or was MIA in the episode, but there was a stark difference between pre-time jump Conrad’s behavior at the hospital and post-time jump Conrad. He actually made it home to have an adorable dinner date with Gigi rather than getting sucked into another case at Chastain. Of course, he and Devon did manage to prove that their patient had been misdiagnosed before he departed, so it wasn’t like he was leaving behind an unsolved mystery. Still, as of this episode, Conrad wasn’t ready to return.
And that is a sign that The Resident is continuing a trend that started earlier in Season 5 of letting Conrad’s stories breathe from an emotional perspective. The episode that delivered Nic’s heartbreaking death wasn’t 58 minutes of the doctors trying to save Nic’s life, only to find out in the final two that she was gone. That episode determined fairly quickly that there was no chance of recovery, and spent the rest of the hour showing the characters processing the tragedy as best they could.
Then, the next episodes continued the grieving process. Nothing was rushed, and The Resident didn’t deliver the convenient time jump until after exploring the aftermath and mystery of Nic’s death. Other shows might have gone for the time jump straight away to move past the tragedy and get back into the medical action that has worked for the show for four full seasons and counting, but The Resident focused on the characters more than the medical cases of the week. And that seems to be the case with how The Resident is handling Conrad’s story after the time jump, rather than rushing him into retaking his job at Chastain by the end of “Ask Your Doctor.”
Am I looking forward to Conrad’s inevitable decision to give up his unsatisfying work as a concierge doctor and return to Chastain? Of course, but I also appreciate The Resident giving Conrad the time to come to that decision after more contemplation than just having one good day and deciding right away that Gigi would be fine with him returning to the hospital. Conrad not returning right away and continuing to process is a good thing for his character (particularly if he’s going to get a new love interest later this season), and fans can probably be confident that the plot will catch up sooner rather than later.
Besides, the rest of the characters are keeping the action going as Chastain doctors, and Billie even got a big promotion. Throw in Leela’s storyline with her sister that will be ongoing thanks to Anuja Joshi’s real-life twin sister Aneesha Joshi getting promoted to recurring status, and there’s no shortage of post-time jump plots on the way. See what happens next with episodes of The Resident on Fox on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, and check out our 2021 fall TV premiere schedule for more viewing options.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.