(Series 20, ep. 2 ‘Ready Or Not’ by Robert Goldsbrough 9.1.18) When we left Ric Griffin surrounded by violent thugs at the end of the last episode, I wondered whether we’d next see him at Holby as a patient. Instead, we saw this week that he had been badly injured, but not as badly as fellow inmate Danny (Gruffudd Glyn), who was brought in to AAU in a bit of a mess.
Danny passed a message to Sacha that Ric didn’t want Donna going to the prison, so Sacha got Fletch to ask her to work overtime. Then Sacha went to the prison on his own.
Sacha is full of compassion and kindness, but he doesn’t have the same level of street-smarts as Ric does. Ric is just about surviving in the prison because he knows it’s best to keep your head down and your mouth shut. When Sacha discovered that Ric had been beaten up, he had to do something to help.
The thing he did was to mention Ric’s predicament to the prison officer, Butler (Gary Shelford), who was guarding Danny while he was in hospital. Anyone who’s ever watched a prison drama will have been shaking their heads sadly at this point, knowing that nobody likes a grass. And the next thing we knew was that Danny had apparently tried to remove all of his tubes and drains. Sacha knew Danny hadn’t done that himself, and Butler was the only person present when it happened. This led to a fine example of Shouty Sacha (I love Cuddly Sacha, but Shouty Sacha is always a special treat), as he told Butler to get himself replaced and never darken the corridors of Holby again. He then made sure that Danny would be staying safely on Keller for another week. But let’s hope my prediction doesn’t come true and the next person through the doors of AAU isn’t Ric Griffin.
We found that Sacha blames himself for being Fredrik’s mentor and not spotting that his mentee was about to go gun-toting-psycho on the hospital. The other storylines in this episode also dealt with the aftermath of the shooting, and before I get into them I want to mention Fletch. There’s enhanced security at the hospital, and Fletch is very much at the forefront of it. He was also the one insisting that Danny be handcuffed even though he was badly injured and not really a threat to anyone, and I don’t think pre-shooting Fletch would have done that. The loss of his best friend Raf and the injuries to Jac and Ollie have hit him hard and I think, like Sacha, he feels in some way responsible. He definitely feels responsible for keeping people safe now.
He was also keeping an eye on Jac, who was “done with limping around being patronised by semi-competent agency nurses” (Semi-competent? That’s almost a compliment coming from Jac) and was back to a full theatre list and top-level snarling. This was just as well, as Prof Gaskell had an “exciting neuro/cardiac case” for her in the shape of Ciara (Fiona Skinner), who was one of these army types that regularly turn up at Holby. Ciara specialised in acting tougher than she really was. Does that remind you of anyone? For example, a CT surgeon who was shot a few weeks ago and who’s back to work even though her wound is still bleeding and she’s still in pain. We shouldn’t be surprised, really – she was just the same when she’d donated a kidney to her mother and did a spot of self-suturing in the car when the wound got infected. This time she was forced to ask the glorious Goth Dr Frieda for help.
On Keller, Essie discovered that despite the Fletchlings eating him out of house and home for months, Raf had accumulated quite a pile of wealth. And he’d left it all to her. What would she do with it? Holidays, shoes, handbags? Well, no. There’s a sense that Essie didn’t feel like she deserved it anyway, being a relative latecomer to Raf’s life (though we heard that the Fletchlings were also beneficiaries of the will, which was a lovely touch).
The Keller patient (Roy Sampson) was a man who thought he was dying and was quite keen for his brain/mind to be digitally preserved as some type of immortality. That he had a Scottish accent was also helpful, as Essie pondered what Raf would really want his enduring legacy to be. Too late to upload him into the Cloud, too trivial to turn him into holidays, shoes and handbags. Luckily in a hospital there’s no shortage of people with exciting groundbreaking projects on the go, and Prof Gaskell is doing some thrilling work in the field of something or other. So Essie offered to fund his project. It’s what Raf would have wanted, she felt. I can’t help thinking what he really wanted was for her to pay off her mortgage and have a little nest-egg for her future because otherwise he’d have left his money to medical charities, but that’s me for you.
And Sacha helped Essie tidy away the makeshift candle-festooned shrine that has been turning the corridor into a fire hazard for weeks now. You’d think Fletch would have been on that already.
Sue Haasler’s new novel Half a World Away available to pre-order