[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2 Episode 20 of The Resident, "If Not Now, When?"]
All it would have taken is a different outcome or another delay, and this episode would have turned out very differently for almost everyone involved — including a family of three, in town for the young boy's science fair.
The Beginning of the End
Conrad and Nic may love each other, but they want very different things moving forward. While he's ready to marry her, she's not even ready to live with him.
"Why is making more of a commitment to me a burden?" he asks. "I'm here to help." But Nic has been taking care of everyone and herself since she was a teenager.
"We can't go forward if we don't have the same level of commitment, and we don't," he continues. She equates his words to "emotional blackmail," with him saying they're over if she doesn't move in with him.
She's not wrong. "If you're not interested in going forward with me, it's time to take a step back," Conrad says. While he wants her with him every night no matter what's going on his life, he doesn't think she feels the same.
He leaves his key to her place off his keychain. They'll go back to being just friends and colleagues at work.
But Nic is too upset to drive on her way to work and pulls over. When she does, the car behind her goes around her — and those inside are shot for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The true target of the shooting isn't what's important here. It's saving this family and what might have happened if Nic had kept driving.
The driver of the car only suffers minor injuries, but it's unclear if the same would have been true for Nic. She may have avoided the bullets completely, and no one would've been hurt. Or she may have been seriously injured, and her life may have been on the line.
A Sister's Love
But it may not just be Nic's life that's saved when she's pulled over. Her sister Jessie (Julianna Guill) is getting worse. The drug trial did irreversible damage to her kidneys, and she'll have to stay on dialysis for the rest of her life if she doesn't receive a kidney transplant.
To be listed, for one, she'll need to be sober for at least six months. Even after that, there's a three to five-year wait, which is why Nic plans to donate one of her kidneys to her sister if she's a match. She's certain Jessie won't relapse again.
If Nic does, in fact, donate her kidney — she points out they can't even count on their father for a birthday card, making her the only relative who can potentially match — her emotional chat with Conrad may have just saved two lives: her own and her sister's.
A Miracle and a Tragedy
"Same day we save a mother and son who, by all rights, should not have survived, a young healthy woman dies," Mina (Shaunette Renée-Wilson) perfectly sums up the medical cases.
Though the mother is recovering by the end of the episode, Mina had to keep her finger on a hole in her heart to keep her alive to even make it to surgery. There is some early concern about the son being paralyzed, but he is able to move his toes following his own operation.
Sadly, the Davies family isn't as lucky. Lea (Vinessa Antoine) goes into labor and needs a C-section. But Dr. Stewart (John Billingsley) and Nurse Colby (Crista Flanagan) ignore the family and Devon's (Manish Dayal) concerns over Lea's stomach pains until it's too late.
Lea is bleeding internally, and though they rush her in for surgery, they can't save her. As Devon puts it plainly when Austin and Mina join them in the OR, "Lea Davies wasn't a priority." If she had been, she would have survived.
While Nic and Conrad shine on the personal side, it's Devon who stands out in "If Not Now, When?" as he goes to bat for his patient.
Bell protests that neither Dr. Stewart nor Nurse Colby have ever treated a patient differently because of race, "people can have unconscious bias," but Devon corrects him.
"This can't happen again," Mina says. And it won't.
Devon has ideas to protect every mother who comes into Chastain, and Bell presents them to the board. They're going to create a review board to examine every maternal death or near-death from the past few years and find the problems.
This episode was inspired by true stories of women who die as a result of childbirth, including Kira Dixon Johnson.
The Resident, Mondays, 8/7c, Fox