Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Sam's Take: "My Screw Up" Has The Best TV Show Twist

I may be preaching to the choir, but, after watching it for the first time, Scrubs' fantastic episode "My Screw Up" could well be one of the best TV show episodes of all time. It seems obvious, but there are some major spoilers for this episode, so if you don't want this fantastic twist ending spoiled, don't scroll down any further.

Basically, the synopsis of this episode is as follows - Ben Sullivan, Jordan's brother, comes back after 2 years in order to check if his leukemia crops up again, as well as attending Dr Cox's son's (Jack) first birthday day. Cox then asks J.D to keep an eye on a patient with a bad heart, and reports later that the patient died from a heart attack. Dr Cox gets angry and blames J.D, while Ben spends the remainder of the episode trying to calm Dr Cox down, and finally gets him to forgive himself for the patient's death.

But then, at the end of the episode, a huge twist happens - Dr Cox, Ben, and J.D all look like they're at Jack's birthday, when really it's revealed that they're at Ben's funeral, and Ben was the patient that died of a heart attack. I'm quite hard to please when it comes to twists, but goddamn was this a good one, especially as it shows Dr Cox in a position of weakness, something that almost never happens to him.

What makes the twist so hard-hitting is that Ben is such as charismatic character, and he seems to be the only character that makes Dr Cox happy. Cox always fights with Jordan and Kelso, and always makes fun of J.D, Turk, and Eliot, as well as being hurt by Carla - someone that he genuinely likes - because of her relationship with Turk.

Dr Cox and Ben seem to get on very well with each other (which is hit home when Cox cries at Ben's funeral) and that's because Ben's such a likeable guy. His game of "Gay Chicken" with Cox, the fact that he plays with the children in the pediatric ward hours after being diagnosed with leukemia, his positivity after the diagnosis - he's one of the seemingly perfect characters in a show where not many are.

But what's great about this episode is how there were so many signs that Ben was dead - the episode did parody Sixth Sense, after all. The biggest clue was Ben saying that he wouldn't stop carrying his camera until the day he dies, before never been seen with it again in the episode. There's also:

J.D's monologue on grief
Carla crying in the closet
The characters not knowing Ben's presence
Cox asking Ben "Why are you here?" when Ben wakes him up

There's probably more signs out there too, I've yet to find them all!

What Scrubs does so well is mix humour with emotional depth. It demonstrated this early with Season One's "My Old Lady" and it absolutely nails it again here. Not only are Ben's sequences funny, from the aforementioned "Gay Chicken" to him pretending to be Eliot's puppet master.

The sub-story with Carla and Turk disagreeing on Turk's mole also offers plenty of comic relief (as well as an excellent story) thanks to the talking mole sequences, and it offers a nice deviation to the heavy main story, yet doesn't detract from it when the killer twist comes.

And that's about all I can say about the episode - it's pretty much a near-perfect show. I hugely recommend you watch it, as well as the full Scrubs show!

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