Code Black Premiere: Will You Check Back Into the Revamped Hospital?

If you’re a patient viewer revisiting CBS’ medical drama Code Black, you probably noticed some new faces — and a few MIA ones — during Wednesday night’s Season 2 premiere. The biggest one, Rob Lowe’s Colonel Ethan Willis, makes his showy debut at the top of the hour as he and fellow doc Mike helicopter to a shark attack in Malibu, where they turn a victim into a human Twinkie. I’ll explain in a bit.

From the get-go, Ethan sets himself apart as a maverick: He lists stats about the dangers of helicopters, but he’s not afraid to fly. While treating a shark-bite injury, he whips out a new medical procedure that’s only been tried on pigs – but successfully! – that causes some substance to ooze out of the patient’s open wounds. “Like shooting whipped cream into a Twinkie,” he describes. Cool fix, but can we not talk about the poor, bleeding boy like that? (The off-putting dessert comparisons continue when Heather likens him to an eclair.)

Once back in the air, Mike falls out of the helicopter, plummeting 20 feet to the sand, so Ethan jumps into the ocean to help him. Angus is understandably concerned about his unconscious brother’s well-being and objects when Ethan wants to drill a hole into Mike’s skull in the middle of the ER. “I’m the best hope your brother has. Now step off,” Ethan responds, asserting himself.

RELATED Code Black Boss Reflects on Season 2’s ‘Tough’ Creative Decision

At the end of the episode, Mike’s still out, but at least he’s alive, so Angus apologizes to Ethan. Campbell overhears their conversation and asks Ethan if his placement at Angels Memorial was a reward or a punishment. “Both,” the colonel replies. #tormentedbackstory

Code Black Recap Ethan isn’t the only newcomer to the hospital. Enough time has passed that Mario, Angus and Malaya are now second-year residents, overseeing a fresh crop of first-years. (Their colleague Christa’s absence, as well as Neal’s, is never mentioned.) Charlotte (One Life to Live‘s Nafessa Williams), the former child star of a Harry Potter-like movie franchise, makes the most memorable impression, correctly diagnosing and saving a woman. However, she gives the credit to fellow first-year Noa (Flesh and Bone‘s Emily Tyra). They both need friends, she explains. Their third counterpart Elliot (Heroes‘ Noah Gray-Cabey) isn’t around for the bonding because he’s too busy washing a burly patient after having the gall to ask Jesse where the break lounge is.

Other highlights from the premiere:

* Dr. Campbell is now running the OR and the trauma department. Leanne is not thrilled. But hey, at least she gets to stare at Rob Lowe?

* In a nice throwback, Jesse gives the new residents the same “your mama” speech he gave to Mario, Angus, Malaya and Christa.

* Yes, that was Colin (Mike Erwin) from Everwood as the groom-to-be visiting his father in the hospital!

What did you think of the Code Black season opener and the new characters? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick!

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39 Comments
  1. wrstlgirl says:

    Great premiere. I’ll definitely be back!!

    • BOGS2002 says:

      Second that!!!! Awful show, the writing is so poor that the background noise needs to drown all the words.

      • wrstlgirl says:

        So just curious. Did the poor writing, etc. bother you when Neil and Christa were part of the cast or is this your first time watching?

        • Fay Kelley says:

          LOL !

        • BOGS2002 says:

          Tried to watch last year, hated it: poor writing, dirty, dark, loud ER, predictable characters and their stories. Thought maybe with new characters the show will be better. But it is much worse.

        • mooshki says:

          The bad writing drove me nuts in the first season, but I stuck with the show because Marcia & Luis are so brilliant, they created a couple of must-watch characters. I was hoping the writing would improve this season, but not looking good so far. Hopefully they’ll find their stride if they can finally get their cast settled.

  2. dan says:

    Better than I expected, even Rob Lowe! I think they should’ve mentioned Neal and Christa in some way, but overall I thought this was equally as good if not better than some of last season’s episodes. I’ll watch again.

  3. Rachel says:

    More of the unlikeable Dr Campbell and his inflated ego is not a good thing, ugh.

    • wrstlgirl says:

      Find me a show that doesn’t have it’s protagonist :-) I find him amusing and at least he’s easy on the eyes. But yeah, I kinda want to slap him, LOL!!!

  4. Linda says:

    Where are Neal and Christa?

  5. S Hills says:

    Really sucks that Raza Jaffray is gone. Neal Hudson was a huge reason why I loved this show. I really hope they unfire him and bring him back. Way better then Angus’s brother who character offers nothing to the show. I think they let go the wrong people/characters.

  6. Hellene G Palmer says:

    I thought Rob Lowe’s character is a risk taker and it was an outstanding jump from helicopter. Great opening for second season.

    • ameraleigh says:

      I thought it was a great episode and I love Rob Lowe. I was never going to stop watching because Christa and Neal left. This is the type of show where characters coming and going makes sense.

      • Fay Kelley says:

        ITA with you ameraleigh ! Christa and Neal did NOT make the show. It’s an ensemble cast, and they all seem to mesh well with each other. I love Rob Lowe, so I’m a bit biased, but before I even KNEW he was on board, I had no intention of not watching because of the two who were let go. Seriously….

    • Fay Kelley says:

      Oh cool – I taped it, and I’m so looking forward to watching it !

  7. Stacy says:

    The season opener was pretty strong, imo. I don’t really care about the former child actress character. I don’t miss Christa, but I do miss Neal. I get that Boris Kodjoe isn’t the protagonist, but I don’t find him particularly watchable. Here’s hoping they keep Tommy Dewey around a bit longer.

  8. Kar says:

    Rob Lowe made this premiere

  9. ROBERT HERSHBERGER says:

    I’m glad it’s back and this episode was tugging at my heart strings! Rob Lowe is a perfect complement to the existing cast. Can’t wait to see next week’s episode.

  10. dean says:

    Love Charlotte.
    Could take or leave the other noobs.
    Miss Neal and Christa.
    Heather is still annoying.

  11. Sad that they kept the STD woman and not Christa and Neal! I liked those two. Dang. Who makes these decisions???

  12. Lore says:

    Tommy Dewey is still a regular? or because his another show got renewed we will see less of him?? i like him very very much

  13. Mara says:

    Fail. Boris Kodjoe’s character is unwatchable, did not need more of him. I don’t understand the attraction of adding unlikable characters versus characters that have heart and warmth — there is still plenty of drama to be told with positive characters if you are a halfway decent storyteller. So disappointed and done with this show.

  14. HAP says:

    Tried watching this last year and just concluded it was way too chaotic.

  15. So glad it is brought back. Love the addition of the new characters even though I will miss Neal and Christa. Love the different cases they have. Will keep watching as long as they keep making episodes.

  16. Karla Emerson says:

    Really miss Neal and Christa. They added slot to the show.

  17. DBax says:

    I watched last year solely for Raza Jaffrey, who is such an amazing actor. Without him there is nothing to see as far as I’m concerned. I watched a bit of the season 2 premiere just to give it a chance but I couldn’t get through it. The writing seemed melodramatic at times, other times forced, even desperate. I can’t imagine this show lasting much longer.

  18. Lina says:

    I loved the show last season, and Neal is missed, but Rob Lowe’s character is going to be interesting. The thing that bothered me was that Leanne didn’t have that same fire under her like last season. Jesse didn’t even mention that she was daddy to the new interns. She was just so intense from the start last season. I hope we see that a lot again, because the show is nothing without Marcia Gay Harden, and also Luis Guzman.

  19. Deb Ponce says:

    Rob Lowe adds an edge that the show was missing. Love it even better this season!

  20. Marty maples says:

    It’s a mistake to not bring back christa and Neal. Then to not even mention what happened to them. I can say, I’ll give you a couple of episodes, to recheck for a pulse. But so far, this patient is on life support, and the diagnose doesn’t look good for this patient.

  21. Angela C James says:

    I loved the first season and have always loved Rob Lowe. I never really cared for Christa but thought Neil was authentic. However, I have perfect hearing but missed half of the dialogue because of the loud music. Why doesn’t anyone in the editing process catch this? It may as well be on mute. It becomes cumbersome to rewind the DVR just to try to make out a conversation. Hopefully they will get wind of these comments and fix it soon!

  22. Alan says:

    Code Black needs to keep Boris Kodjoe character “Will Campbell”. Some of the greatest anti heroes in dramatic television have included: William Daniels playing “Mark Craig” in St. Elsewhere; Fyvush Finkel playing “Douglas Wambaugh” in Picket Fences; Dennis Franz playing “Andy Sipowicz” in NYPD Blue; and Laura Innes playing “Kerry Weaver” in ER. These characters add that special “extra” dimension to storyline development – often leaving viewers conflicted both morally and ethically, but always captivating them, and always driving them forward in search of each character’s better self.

  23. Vanessa B Goodwin says:

    I love Code Black and shows like it. However, i hàve been watching Grey’s Anatomy for years and Code Black has too many of the same episods that I’ve seen on Grey’s Anatomy. The thing that’s a plus for Code Black is the fact that Grey’s Anatomy has lost some of its excitement. The question is, do I honestly like Code Black or do I like it becàuse it reminds me of Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not sure. Right now they are having an episode involving a doctor with a shàking hand. Grey’s Anatomy also had that episode. They both also have had hospital staff being killed. And I can name more. They need to come up with their own episode ideas. They have a good cast.

  24. Vanessa B Goodwin says:

    I like “Code Black” and shows like it. However, I have been watching “Grey’s Anatomy” for years, and they are so simular. The advantage that “Code Black” has over “Grey’s Anatomy” is the fact that ” Grey’s Anatomy” has lost some of its excitement. The truth of the matter is i’m not sure if I like “Code Black” because its good or because it reminds me of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Right now there is an episode concerning a doctor with a shaking hand. “Grey’s Anatomy” has had that episode. They both have had the episode of a deranged patient killing a hospital employee. And I can give you more. “Code Black” can hold its own if it comes up with its own episode ideas. They have the perfect cast.

  25. edie says:

    I gave it a ‘B’ because I think they made a mistake letting Raza Jaffrey go. I am assuming both Neal and Christa characters were let go in order to pay for Rob Lowes’ salary. Happy Lowe is there. Love the show!