Royal Pains Lets Jeremiah Explore His Complex Relationship With His Biggest Rival
Frenemies Jeremiah and Rosie are forced to reconsider what they mean to each other. (Mostly the human; not so much the dog.)
Some fans will have watched this week's episode of Royal Pains and tell you the most important story development revolves around Diana and her political move of deliberately leaking her medical records to make privacy a plank in her Senate campaign. Those who remain intrigued by Boris's longest-running mystery will be heartbroken to learn that his son, Carlos, has the marker for Boris's family illness. If you're concerned that Hank might end the series still having never found true, lasting love will have been disappointed that there actually are no sparks between him and Jen. Or perhaps you're more interested in whether Divya is going to find a way to break Raj's heart a second time, and that their polite fight over whether to find out their baby's sex is supposed to be a harbinger of trouble yet to come. As for me: I couldn't possibly get too exercised about any of that -- not when there was a sweet golden doggie in distress!
The arrival in the Hamptons of Jeremiah's parents, Chuck and Barb, has unsettled Jeremiah just as he was starting to get back into work that would require more exposure to fellow humans. Divya, wanting to help, has inserted herself between parents and child, hearing from Barb how hard she has found it to have the kind of son who seems to find it impossible to connect. But she also hears from Jeremiah how hurt he has been by choices Barb and Chuck have made that made him feel like a disappointment -- for instance: "Growing up, I found hugging and touching overwhelming. I knew they wanted that from me, but I couldn't give it to them, so when I turned five, they got their first dog. Buddy. Part Lab, part Shepherd. Very affectionate. Probably the best available solution." So when Divya and Jeremiah come by the RV the next day to see them off to Niagara Falls and instead find them down on the beach with a dog in distress, Jeremiah has more than one reason to hesitate. Even though Rosie is not the same dog who replaced him in his youth, symbolically she represents Buddy and all the other dogs the Sacanis had in the intervening years. Also, he's not technically trained to treat non-humans. Details!
But whether or not Jeremiah took his Hippocratic oath with canine patients in mind, he does understand his moral and ethical duty as a medical professional, and gets to work.
Fortunately, Rosie's condition is one Jeremiah's run across before: she's in labour. (And before you get on your high horse about the Sacanis' irresponsible pet ownership: they were told she'd been spayed at the shelter, OKAY? Sometimes there are problems!) Jeremiah recommends taking her to a vet since the first puppy is presenting tail-first (which sounds cute, but...probably wouldn't have been, so thank you, USA, for not making us look at a dog vagina with a puppy butt pointing out of it or DID I JUST TALK MYSELF INTO THINKING IT'S CUTE AGAIN?). Divya sees an opportunity to create a connection between Jeremiah and his parents: he can show his parents what he can do, with immediate/adorable results they'll be able to understand/cuddle, and encourages him to turn the first puppy around himself. He does -- with an assist from Barb on the ultrasound, since enormously pregnant Divya can't kneel down to work it herself -- and it turns out Divya is very, very wise.
AND THEN THERE'S A PUPPEEEEEEEEEEE
Chuck grins like a fool gathering up his new little fuzz pod, and from Jeremiah's perspective, the warm moment he shared with Barb is over and he's been replaced by this year's model of Buddy.
But when Divya brings Jeremiah by to see how Rosie and her litter are doing, he gets another side of the story when Chuck congratulates him on a job well done: "Especially for a guy who doesn't like dogs." To Divya, Chuck says, "We learned that when we got Buddy for him when he was five." "You-- You got Buddy for you, not for me," says Jeremiah. Chuck asks why they would have gotten a dog for themselves, and Jeremiah -- bad at dissembling, as always -- shrugs, "Because a dog is capable of giving physical affection? I wasn't." But Barb backs Chuck up, insisting that Buddy was meant to be Jeremiah's dog: "So you wouldn't be alone." "But I wasn't alone, I had you," says Jeremiah, uncomprehending. "Yeah, sure, but you didn't have, you know, other kids," says Chuck. "You got Buddy so that I would have a friend?" asks Jeremiah, slightly stunned.
"Yeah, we thought it would help," says Barb quietly. "I just-- I didn't realize," says Jeremiah. "All this time I got it backward, blamed the entire canine species." Ben Shenkman is so good and understated in this role that when he has these epiphanies that force him to reshape his worldview, they're all the more moving.
Now that Jeremiah no longer holds a grudge against dog-kind, Chuck offers him one of the puppies, and Jeremiah's got a name all ready: Mandelbrot. Jeremiah's heart has been so thoroughly puppy-stomped on this pivotal day, in fact, that he initiates a hug with his mom.
But the real take-away is that Jeremiah and Rosie are frenemies no more...
...AND JEREMIAH AND MANDELBROT ARE FRIENDS FOR LIFE. U! S! A! (Network!) U! S! A!