Scrubs is still sitting in the transitional phase between the old series and the new characters that will form the future of the show. In a recent interview with TV guide Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence said "Look, if I had done a brand-new show, you would read 9,000 things about how the new characters all suck. Even though when Scrubs premiered eight years ago, I read 9,000 things in the first two episodes about how these characters suck. With new characters, it takes three, four, five, six episodes to figure out who they are." He is exactly right.
"Our Histories" was exactly what we needed to start moving in the right direction towards understanding how this new series will function. The med students' plot was certainly the strongest part of this episode, and I think it showed real character and promise for more development.
The med students' plot focuses on what I would consider the primary theme of Scrubs and that is the necessity of friendship and teamwork. [cue theme song] "I can't do this all on my own, 'cause I'm no, I'm no superman"
Doctor Cox has informed Denise that her students are behaving like animals, putting patients' lives in danger and more importantly, eating his donuts. In an effort to convince the students that teamwork is necessary to get the job done, Denise orders the students to stay in the hospital and take the final interviews of dying patients. (This is not before some deliciously sexy banter between Denise and Drew as she tries to convince him to shoulder the responsibility!) None of them will be allowed to leave the hospital until this task is finished, if they don't work together, they risk missing out on a big party being thrown that night for the med students by Cole. Cole, Drew and the hot Aussie easily complete their interview while Lucy struggles. When they try to take off, Denise tells them that she doesn't care what they do, as long as they can live with their choice. Cole is apparently AWOL, while the rest of the team collectively decide that yes, they can. Until Turk and J.D. drop a "knowledge bomb" on their asses.
While Turk and J.D.'s storyline this week is pretty stale consisting of the usual buddy jokes, and them dressing up and a cowboy and an Indian after being lied to by Dr. Cox about the theme of the party, they manage to swoop into the med school plot line at exactly the right moment to make their presence truly valuable. They explain the importance of the final interview to the dying patient, and how it is so important that they not give up no matter how stubborn the patient may be at first. They also explain how rewarding the experience of listening as a patient recalls their life can be.
This intervention works on a number of levels, firstly, J.D. and Turk are passing down essential information, educating their replacements. Secondly, there is a nice continuity as they recall a memory of another guys' night that didn't work out when they ended up staying in the hospital talking to a dying patient. This is a shout out to old viewers as this memory is from an actual episode that we've seen.
All this is great, then we find Cole talking to Lucy's patient having a great conversation about his life. Cole claims that he came back because Denise made him, something that turns out to be false. The others join in, truly interested in this man's life. He fought in Korea and earned a purple heart, "And I didn't even know we fought Korea!" (Cole).
In the B-plot, Turk and J.D. are planning a guys night and Dr. Cox continuously pokes fun at them for being too old for what they have planned. In the C-plot, Ted and Gooch are leaving on a cross country tour and they've written a song for each state. As usually Dr. Kelso treats Ted badly and hits on his girl. Unusually, Kelso gives Ted a genuine and kind good bye, and Gooch sings us out to credits.
I'm still undecided as to whether Cole's decision not to bail was to stay to help his colleagues, a gesture to keep getting into Lucy's bed, or a semblance of an actual person shining through who wanted to do the right thing. Even his actions were noble, Cole still proved himself to be the frat boy type with little to no actual knowledge of ... anything.
Do you think that Cole's actions in this episode signify real character change, or do you think we should expect a lot more frat buy before we see more progress?
After watching the new team bond over new experiences, and seeing Turk and J.D. passing down advice as a symbolic rite of passage, are you more ready to accept the new cast as a group that is on its way to the central focus?