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Five Days at Memorial (Apple TV)


Vito Andolini
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I know we have the Apple TV thread, but it seems most shows now have their own thread, and I think this one is certainly deserving.

I had no intention of taking it on tonight (I’ve seen the title mentioned a few times on media sites, thought it might be a documentary series), but I just wrapped up Black Bird, was in the app, so I hit “play.” It’s an 8 episode dramatic reenactment of Hurricane Katrina, the subsequent levee breaks and flooding and it’s deadly effect on Memorial Hospital in New Orleans (some 45 dead).

They incorporate a lot of actual footage, news coverage and blend it with some pretty effective special FX. The first three eps dropped tonight, and I find it really compelling and well done. The melodrama in these types of productions can be really ham-handed, but I think they showed some discipline.

Cherry Jones does a great job as a nursing supervisor who has the shit luck to be Incident Commander when the storm hit. A little Google research shows me there is going to be a significant legal mystery/moral conundrum come into play, so we’ll see how that is handled.

I like how real names are used, lending authenticity. And Cherry Jones’ character’s name is almost “Muledick,” so it’s got that going for it. 

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I really sympathized with the Tenet guy, he legitimately wants to help but he’s got the corporate fuckheads he works for not grasping the severity of the situation, or how they have an obligation to do something. I can feel that way in my job sometimes. The critical care unit on the top floor is extra screwed, as they have the highest acuity patients but are treated worse than just tenants by the Memorial staff. They have nowhere to turn. 

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Still really good and raw… wife saw the opening interview with Karen Wynn and asked if it was a documentary. The gun wielding docs was a little heavy handed, but as I noted in my first post above, I think for the most part, the filmmakers are reigning in any impulses to go crazy dramatic. It must have been a horrible time.

The LifeCare Hospital upstairs really got screwed. 

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Episode 5 is out. I think the series has been strong for the most part, but IMO some missteps tonight.

Spoiler

Aggressive cops with the evacuation orders were over the top, I thought that was a shitty depiction and not well done. Dickhead hospital administrator with the goatee has always been less than spot on. Other notes under the spoiler tag: The redneck doc wiped out after killing a room full of pets was pretty powerful. Good for Rodney, not so good for Emmett.

 

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So my wife has been out of town and itching for us to watch. About 20 minutes in when the doc and his wife are discussing their huge bear like dog my wife decides to look at the Does the Dog Die app. Which says there is a massacre coming. Which she is then reminded of all the dogs euthanized or abandoned. She remembered all the news reports with folks evacuated and forced to leave their dogs which tore her up in 05. She starts bawling and just says I can’t watch this. It’s just dogs, mules , and horses. Cats or people no issue.

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I wanted to like this show a lot more than I actually did. I felt there were some big holes in their recounting of the events, and I can’t tell how much of that is grounded in reality and how much is simply TV drama or bad storytelling.

Lots of bad and irrational decisions were made by everyone involved. A lot of that was probably true due to the people on the ground having poor planning, limited resources, sleep deprivation, etc. But as a viewer, I had a hard time understanding certain things and felt the show could’ve done a better job laying that out.

The first 2-3 episodes showed various staff members being interviewed after the fact. Why did they abandon that aspect in later episodes? My brief internet reading says all charges against staff were eventually dropped, but the show hinted at an investigation and never actually gave us any information there.

What about the hundreds of civilians that sought refuge in the hospital? I would think many of them left on their own accord at some point, but the show made that seem like an unthinkable idea, then never explained what they did and leaves us to assume they were all evacuated at the end.

Why kill the dogs prematurely? Why not wait until the last people are literally walking out the door to take that action?

Why when a single helicopter shows up does the staff immediately start wheeling multiple NICU babies up to the helipad without any indication that there will actually be a second helicopter?

Lots more questions along the way. Maybe the book answers more of those but I’m probably not going to read it now. Would be curious if anyone else has and could provide more insight.

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1 hour ago, wild_turkey said:

I wanted to like this show a lot more than I actually did. I felt there were some big holes in their recounting of the events, and I can’t tell how much of that is grounded in reality and how much is simply TV drama or bad storytelling.

Lots of bad and irrational decisions were made by everyone involved. A lot of that was probably true due to the people on the ground having poor planning, limited resources, sleep deprivation, etc. But as a viewer, I had a hard time understanding certain things and felt the show could’ve done a better job laying that out.

The first 2-3 episodes showed various staff members being interviewed after the fact. Why did they abandon that aspect in later episodes? My brief internet reading says all charges against staff were eventually dropped, but the show hinted at an investigation and never actually gave us any information there.

What about the hundreds of civilians that sought refuge in the hospital? I would think many of them left on their own accord at some point, but the show made that seem like an unthinkable idea, then never explained what they did and leaves us to assume they were all evacuated at the end.

Why kill the dogs prematurely? Why not wait until the last people are literally walking out the door to take that action?

Why when a single helicopter shows up does the staff immediately start wheeling multiple NICU babies up to the helipad without any indication that there will actually be a second helicopter?

Lots more questions along the way. Maybe the book answers more of those but I’m probably not going to read it now. Would be curious if anyone else has and could provide more insight.

Please forgive my flippant answer, but the series isn’t over yet, there’s three more episodes. They will go into the criminal charges, legal wrangling, finger pointing, excuse making, and “WTF happened?” in those episodes*. And there’s still a chance few will be satisfied with the answers, it was pretty fucked up. 

*I don’t expect many of the specific questions you have will be cleared up, but I presume those things did happen (the animal euthanasia, the people in the neighborhood assembling at the hospital). And yeah, don’t haul premature babies up to a roof without an understanding of whether they have a ride or not. I don’t know if that occurred or was just for dramatic effect.

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7 hours ago, Vito Andolini said:

Please forgive my flippant answer, but the series isn’t over yet, there’s three more episodes. They will go into the criminal charges, legal wrangling, finger pointing, excuse making, and “WTF happened?” in those episodes*. And there’s still a chance few will be satisfied with the answers, it was pretty fucked up. 

*I don’t expect many of the specific questions you have will be cleared up, but I presume those things did happen (the animal euthanasia, the people in the neighborhood assembling at the hospital). And yeah, don’t haul premature babies up to a roof without an understanding of whether they have a ride or not. I don’t know if that occurred or was just for dramatic effect.

Holy shit!  I thought episode five was the finale and was kinda pissed that that was the way it was going to wrap up.  Thanks for enlightening me, makes a lot more sense now.

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Please forgive my flippant answer, but the series isn’t over yet, there’s three more episodes.


Hah, ok I’m dumb then. I suppose I just thought since it’s 5 days and each episode was 1 day, that it was a 5 episode series. Thanks for filling me in.
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