“Five Days At Memorial” is an American medical drama purely based on the repercussions of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which devastated the city of New Orleans in the United States. Developed by John Ridley and released by Apple TV, this miniseries is an unbelievably honest portrayal of the disaster of Hurricane Katrina that miserably destroyed the townspeople. These newly released three episodes depict the horrific three days at Memorial Hospital of New Orleans, where we see how the lives of the hospital staff take a pathetic turn. To be honest, every episode of “Five Days At Memorial” carries the horror of the aftermath of Memorial Hospital’s notorious “mercy killing” in 2005, which transcends its dramatic aspect and becomes realistic. Each cast member’s performance brings life to this series, bringing out brilliantly the trauma of the real victims of Hurricane Katrina. So far, three episodes of the series have been released, which vividly portray the ferocity of the hurricane through its admirable visuals. Starting with a mysterious interrogation by the police and the statistics of 45 deaths, the series sheds light on the nitty-gritty details of the Memorial’s spread of incidents, which gives the series a strong edge.
‘Five Days At Memorial’ Episode 1: Recap And Ending – The Hurricane Hits
Episode 1 begins 13 days after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. As the storm hits New Orleans, water accumulates around the city and blocks the roads. As it is inconvenient for ordinary people to live like this, a rescue team is sent. But when they reached the chapel of the Memorial Hospital, they found the bodies of 45 people wrapped up in sheets. Dr. Horace Baltz (Robert Pine) is interrogated by the police about this, and we go back to Day 1 to find out all the answers.
We come back on day one or August 29th, six hours before landfall, at the Outdoor Patient Department of Memorial Hospital. Dr. Horace argues with a colleague about sheltering so many people. When Dr. Anna Pou(Vera Farmiga) asks him who is in charge of these people, Horace explains to her that sheltering here means being snowed up at the airport. So she can just relax. Nothing will be bad. But the storm out there proves him wrong. As the storm rages on, Susan Mulderick (Cherry Jones), as a commander, sets up to meet with the hospital’s senior staff. Here we come to know that there is another hospital associated with Memorial, which is called “Lifecare.” This hospital usually treats geriatric and private patients. Although these two are in the same building, Lifecare has separate protocols and management to deal with these disasters.
The intensity of the storm increases, and the hurricane begins to reveal its true self, taking the form of destruction. The hospital telephone is unable to connect to the outside. And then Lifecare’s roof starts leaking water. A pregnant doctor named Diane (Julie Ann Emery) is forced to call Susan. Leaking water from the roof means that the hospital will soon become flooded if urgent measures are not taken. We see the plaster of the Memorial’s ceiling being blown away by the storm. The windows of the hospital begin to shatter, and the entire hospital starts to get waterlogged. Even the basement starts to seep in, which won’t let the backup generator work for long, and the AC shuts off completely. To evacuate Lifecare, everyone is brought into the same building. Meanwhile, Dr. Horace and Brian try to send everyone upstairs, while the rest of the doctors try to bring everything from the basement to the ground floor so they can escape the flood. Looking for a way, Susan keeps looking through various files, but there is no mention of any method of evacuation from the hospital. But the storm gathers pace, and we realize that a lot is going to end before the hurricane ends. Diane comforts herself through prayer, saying, “God Help Us!”
‘Five Days At Memorial’ Episode 2: Recap And Ending – The Rumor Starts
Episode 2 brings a glimmer of hope, showing the day after the storm slammed the city. And Susan says to the police that they were all alive and thought that surviving this storm meant they could survive anything. But they were wrong. We see the hospital staff start the second day by clapping. Susan tells everyone to drink more water because the air conditioner is broken. Inside the hospital, the heat becomes unbearable, and everyone is sweating. But the hospital director suggested Susan discharge some people, so then the pressure on the hospital would be reduced a little. However, Susan does not agree with this proposal, wondering where people will live in this watery city. But rumors spread throughout the hospital that patients were about to be discharged. Horace talks to a patient, frightened by the rumor, and assures him that no one will be discharged anywhere and that they can talk to the doctors if they want. Then there are rumors of a nurse being raped by some goons outside the hospital. During this calamity, it’s clearly shown that people are doing whatever they can. For example, some opportunists are also seen as young boys who break into shops and steal food. When Dr. Brian goes to ask them about the theft, the boys say they were put out by the hospital. Brian realizes that the rumors are spreading horribly. This is the most realistic part of the series to show how people use others’ fear as a tool for their amusement. But Susan has heavy responsibilities to do apart from hearing the baseless rumors.
As the city is still flooded and there is no air conditioner inside the hospital, they do not find peace even after recovering from this disaster. However, a code blue is announced at midnight when a woman is admitted to the hospital with a stab wound. Dr. Anna, Horace, and other colleagues arrive and begin to stop her bleeding. Horace asks the young boy who came with the patient to report to the police, but Horace gets to know that the stabber is actually his mother or the patient’s daughter. Natural disasters bring out the worst in people. The availability of everything at hand has made humans smart, but on the other hand, it has also made them beasts.
On the other hand, we see Dr. Anna’s husband, Vince, comes to visit her at the hospital, and they spend some private time together, but Vince has to leave early in the morning, or else who will take care of the house? The rescue soldiers inform Susan that a 25-foot wave is coming on its way, which will raise the water level even more. Susan can’t even dismiss this as a rumor. She tells some scouts to go out and see how much the water has risen. But this news spreads again in the hospital, and Anna is asked by her colleagues to look for Vince. But when she calls her husband, again and again, he doesn’t even pick up. Susan finally finds no written evacuation plan and begins planning her own. But with the plan of evacuation, Dr. Brian disagrees. Brian seems to have difficulty obeying the orders of his superiors. Having a bit of a complex, he starts acting strangely. We sense that a greater danger awaits them.
‘Five Days At Memorial’ Episode 2: Recap And Ending – The Last Evacuees
In “Five Days At Memorial,” episode 3, we see Brian’s interview with the police, and he looks like something terrible. He knows that he’s hiding. When asked about Dr. Anna Pou, he says that circumstances reveal the true identity of a person. And he says this about Anna here. But why? What is Anna going to do? Well, that is all the series is about.
The entire city’s pumps break, and the levees get broken, as we have seen previously in episode 2. The entire city gets waterlogged. Susan realizes that the second floor may be inundated by the incoming flood water, so she has to take active evacuation measures. After learning about the evacuation, Diane confronts Susan and wants to know how the evacuation is possible because Lifecare is a private hospital, and there are traumatic geriatric patients whose journey will be difficult to evacuate.
One of some Dallas businessmen, Michael Arvin, gets an email from the Memorial asking for help with the evacuation. Arvin gets the number of a National Guard acquaintance through his senior Steve. After contacting him to no avail, Michael tried his best to help the hospital by emailing the National Guard directly.
When some of the Memorial’s employees went up to the helipad to check on that, a National Guard helicopter landed. But since it is possible for them to move only one out, Susan orders the most critical neonate to be sent. But because this ladder is so broken and shaky, their work becomes more cautious.
Even knowing that the truck from the National Guard will only have room for 35 people, Susan thinks it is better to send the patients who are on life support. Here we get to see a diplomatic situation arrive when three of the doctors discuss and argue among themselves to choose the DNR patients as the last group of people to save. DNR or Do Not Revive patients basically have signed the bond not to be saved or given CPR during cardiac arrest, but some of the doctors do not think they should be the last evacuees as they also have the right to live. So the argument continues.
Meanwhile, when the military sends the truck, only 20 people are caught in it, and as a result of which, Anna does not leave the hospital. On the contrary, when the neonatal nurses reach the helipad again with the newborns, they do not see any helicopters. Because Steve tells Arvin that the Coast Guard will be sent instead of the National Guard helicopter,
Meanwhile, as the amount of water continues to rise throughout the city, the trucks are unable to move around again. Even all the internal pumps of the hospital are bursting and taking the form of floods. But this time, there is a power cut in all directions. And the whole hospital goes dark. But still, in the dark, Susan herself stands next to the patients and starts feeding them. But at this time, code blue again occurs, and a patient goes into cardiac arrest. Dr. Horace and Anna try their best to revive him, but the man dies due to a lack of electricity and darkness. Although Anna is there, standing still, feeling guilty, And just like that, the game of death begins. We come back to Brian’s interview, where he says that he couldn’t stop it. The interviewee questioned Brian whether he could not stop people from dying or could not stop people from getting killed. And “Five Days At Memorial” Episode 3 ends by leaving the mystery of what is going to happen next in Memorial Hospital under Dr. Anna Pou’s influence. However, we sensibly do not want to spoil it for the viewers by mentioning the tragic incident that the patients of Memorial had to suffer but it can be said that Dr. Anna Pou is going to play a key role in the next episode which will trigger a terrible event.
Final Words: The Truth Is Yet To Be Revealed
Based on Sheri Fink’s medical drama, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,” this series is a brilliant show which has not yet reached its climax but managed to maintain the tension through these three episodes. The horrendous events of 2005 have been meticulously portrayed on the screen, where there is no lack of good sound design, amazing visual effects, or realistic performances. From the very first episode, the “Five Days At Memorial” series has impeccably given masterpiece cinematic expression. The way the deplorable scenes of 2005 are inserted into the cinematic visuals makes the movie well-researched. This miniseries is not just going to show the horrific damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, but it’s also going to reveal the internal dark truth of Memorial. So if this series has already been your favorite, then a little wait for the next episode’s release is evidently advisable.