TV Review: Black Box

I haven’t done this in a while so forgive me if it’s not perfect. I wasn’t even going to do this, but I have to in a weird way. 


We assume the people that we see in our daily life is normal and doesn’t have any skeletons in their closets. We reassure ourselves that the professionals are perfectly healthy in their both their personal and professional lives, but we don’t live in a perfect world. We all have our problems, sometimes there are more people out there with worse conditions. In the life of ABC’s new show Black Box leading female character Dr. Catherine Black is a famous neurologist who has a good family, a loving boyfriend who wishes to marry her, and a great career of taking care of patients who are like her in a way. You see, Catherine also known as Kate is bipolar and the only people who know about it is her older brother and his family, plus her shrink she sees on a daily basis. The series is about the constant struggle between the two Catherine Black’s, the one who takes her medicine everyday and the woman who loves the incredible high of being free of everything, her emotions, thoughts, and the drugs that make her “normal.” In just the first ten minutes of the first episode you get a mini roller coaster ride of both sides to not only this troubled woman, but also the patients she treats as well.

I have been seeing the previews on my TV for a while, probably two or three months now. At first, it didn’t seem interesting but as I kept watching it them every time they came up during the commercials. I couldn’t fight it, I had to see what it was really about, the previews weren’t enough to really try to understand her. Kelly Reilly plays Dr. Catherine Black, and after finishing it a little bit ago, she really brought out the character in every shade that she could. Catherine can smart, brilliant, and loving to the ones she’s around but then when she’s off her meds she’s the total opposite. In the words of Dr. Black, “sometimes I do very bad things.” You feel some sympathy for her because you can see the lost in her eyes but the beast living inside grows stronger and stronger and she loses it. I think there’s two key importances within the her story. One is we assume too quickly. Not every disability is curable and easy to see through the naked eye. I’ve never really understood that statement until now. Can you imagine to how many doctors, nurses, politicians, musicians, actors, and others are living with a mental illness. Sometimes it may not be them, but they might have it in their families. Kelly’s character got the illness from her mother, who committed suicide when Catherine and her brother were young. Catherine has said in the first episode a lot, because of her mother and the disorder. She thinks if her mother couldn’t handle her children, she wouldn’t be either.

The second importance is you see a lot about Catherine’s good side when she’s around her niece and her patients. Two patients were introduced on the episode, one is very young and in college but he draws constantly on the walls and imagines things. Past doctors have concluded that he has schizophrenia, but Black sees something else within him and leads it into another diagnoses instead. The other patient is a lady, who was probably in her early or mid 60’s who have hullucinatios of dwarves. One you come to know as “Yojo” and she has dementia that’s slowly advancing. Dr. Black orders her to be on medicine to make her stop seeing her friends, but when Kate goes off her medicine again, she takes back her original orders. The ending is a somewhat happy ending for that character. I hate watching Catherine’s battle with her disease but it is a very interesting matter of how she’s able to keep it hidden from not only her patients but her peers as well. I can’t wait for the next few episodes to see what happens next of the life of Dr. Catherine Black and her patients she treats. I think this show will open Pandora’s Box of we see with our own eyes and let someone treat us. Watch “Black Box” starring Kelly Reilly and Vanessa Redgrave, on ABC at 9/10pm EST.


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