Here you will find a collection of back-and-forth communications between Cinemax and Oscar®-winning director Steven Soderbergh that took place during post-production of seasons 1 and 2 of Cinemax’s The Knick. These notes provide an unprecedented look at the unique collaborative process that went into the making of The Knick as well as insights into Soderbergh’s decision making for the show.
EPISODE 201 — Cut A
We’ve really enjoyed binging season 2. It is so great to be back with these characters. It is also terrific that we dive right in to some intense and engaging narrative threads. As we have reviewed the first episode in order to distill our editorial thoughts and suggestions, we think that it can be improved by: 1) finding ways to make the pace of the episode a bit more brisk; and 2) reorganizing some of the scenes to allow the key character threads in the episode to sustain their momentum.
Also, while we won’t get into music spotting notes in this pass (except for the groundbreaking scene towards the end of the ep), we should look for additional spots where music might help accelerate the pace of the episode a bit.
Can we hold a beat longer on Thackery before cutting to the title card?
SODERBERGH: Well…NO. In fact, in going back and looking at, I made it SHORTER, and here’s why: It SHOULD bump, it SHOULD be jarring instead of smooth, even WRONG-feeling, so the viewer is off-balance and getting the message: STRAP YOURSELF IN. Also, I’m setting up an echo for the flash-cuts to Abigail and Sonya in Thack’s last moments in EP 10, because there’s nothing like a ten-hour callback. However, I DID trim up the first few shots after the title card to get to Lucy’s VO faster, which should make you feel like you’re on cloud five.
Can we tighten the Thackery nose surgery scene as much as possible? Specifically, it might be fun to go from the initial close up of Thackery looking down at his patient, directly to his pulling the patient’s nose skin back. (That will let the audience know that they are back in Knick-land.) After the hammer strike, can we try to cut out of each of the beats a bit earlier?
Can we tighten this scene? Perhaps start on the tooth being held up to Dorothy’s teeth. And can we trim some of the moments on Dorothy.
SODERBERGH: This scene is now so tight you could bounce a quarter off it.
Can we cut the first beat of Algernon squinting? Feels a bit obvious and overdone. Let’s present the impact of the retinal damage a bit more subtly.
SODERBERGH: Let’s be clear: SUBTLE IS NOT HOW YOU WIN AWARDS, and awards are the only reason I get up in the morning. I made this change, but we should all understand none of us will have to prepare an acceptance speech…
Can we clean up the end of this exchange, specifically by cutting away earlier before Gallinger delivers the “you’re as dumb as you think I think you are” line. That line feels like it may be a bit too clever.
SODERBERGH: Too clever for a racist? Interesting. I like the transition from Gallinger to Lucy, and I can’t lose the line and keep the transition, so…TRANSITION WINS!
Can we move the Board scene (201–30) and the Algernon/Henry scene (201–32) up here before Gallinger goes to Cromartie to visit Thackery? Also, can we move the Gallinger visit to Cromartie in between Cornelia delivering supplies to Chinatown and her arrival home? This would have the benefit of bringing the Algernon scenes closer together and give his story a bit of a momentum. Also, it would bring the Thackery/Gallinger Cromartie scene closer to the later scenes in the boat, thereby giving the Thackery storyline more momentum in the latter half of the story. See suggested layout of scenes below under notes on scene 201–30.
Could we cut the Cornelia selling earrings scene? Her leaving the house with them, giving the cash to the cop and telling Phillip and his father that she sold them is probably enough.
SODERBERGH: Agreed. Done. Although to avoid a terribly awkward transition, this deletion necessitates re-instating a shortened version of Cornelia seeing Philip, which I don’t think is a bad thing, ultimately.
Can we tighten this scene? The pace of the dialogue between Barrow and Speight feels a bit laconic.
SODERBERGH: “Laconic”…well, clutch my pearls. Have you been watching the BOURNE movies? Bear in mind that neither of these two characters have any idea of the importance of what they’re discussing, so a certain desultory attitude is appropriate, HOWEVER, I did make a big cut here.
Can we tighten this scene as well?
Specifically, can we cut away from Hobart before his “timber and salmon” line? It feels a bit forced. And instead play Hobart’s line, “… I thought I’d stop off” over Cornelia.
SODERBERGH: Well, I can’t cut out of a moving shot until it’s finished moving. It’s just a thing I can’t do, unless you give me gross points on the next AVENGERS movie.
Also, can we cut Hobart’s line, “It’s the fire that Phillip loves in you,” and simply leave, “They were yours to do with as you wish.”
SODERBERGH: Again, because of limited/unavailable coverage, excising that one line would result in a cut so ugly it would never be forgotten. Or forgiven.
201 — 30
As mentioned above, can we move the boardroom scene up before Gallinger goes to Cromartie to see Thackery, and move the Cromartie-Thackery beats after Cornelia brings supplies to Chinatown?
For clarity, the suggested new scene order is as follows: 201 — 17 Bertie’s office
201 — 30: Board Room
201 — 32: Henry’s office 201 — 22 Cornelia pockets earrings
OMIT 201–24 (110–25) as suggested above.
201 — A26 Lucy passes Bertie
201 — B26 Barrow — Speight
201 — 28: Cornelia shows up with carts of supplies; bribes policeman
201 — 18: Gallinger arrives at Cromartie Hospital
201 — 19: Gallinger asks to see Thackery
201–20: Gallinger tries to convince Thackery to return to the Knick
201 — 29, A30: Phillip and Hobart confront Cornelia
201 — 33: Barrow receives call that Thackery has disappeared
SODERBERGH: Done. Totally works. This was a GREAT note. In fact, it may go down as the best note of either season, although we obviously have a lot more notes to come, and there isn’t currently an Emmy category for Best Note. I’d pat you on the back, but…well, I just don’t do that. It’s too familiar, for a self-identifying Swede…
201 — 40
The opening exterior shot here feels a bit too long.
SODERBERGH: This beautiful shot has been reduced by 60%, which reduces Peter Andrews’ chance of ever being asked to join the ASC by 120%.
201 — 41
The wrestling beats feel a bit stagey, and the Cleary-Pouncy dialogue feels a bit obvious. Perhaps we can present this scene more impressionistically with music (like the rat stomping scene last year) and cut it a bit less literally.
SODERBERGH: Well, it didn’t take you very long to figure out the quickest way to get me to do a note is to suggest I steal from myself. Done! Oh, and wrestling IS staged, btw…
Can we cut out a bit earlier on Gallinger steering the boat?
SODERBERGH: Well, I was trying to hold the shot long enough so you can really see it’s Eric Johnson, and that damn rope is in front of his face…
Also, tighten this scene and specifically, can we cut some of the fighting between Gallinger and Thackery, and transition more quickly into Gallinger scolding Thackery? And might we cut: “You can’t understand. I’ll never get better.” A bit too much?
SODERBERGH: Trimmed fight, and changed Thack’s line a little.
Overall, this scene feels laconic. Can we find a way to tighten it so that it builds some momentum?
Music: While adding atmosphere to the event, the festive-trombone music proves a bit tedious for such a long sequence. The scene should transition into score at some point, and then return to the festival music once the shovels strike near the closing moment.
SODERBERGH: Where you see laconic — there’s that word again! — I see a veritable pageant of humanity, a complex tapestry of emotion, character, and plot, played against the rueful, forced cheer of a Sousa march, which mocks our ambitions and desires.
We would like to suggest that the episode should end with Thackery on boat having his vision of Sonya with the final shot of the back of the boat and the ocean…
SODERBERGH: Seems WAY too soft to end episode 1 with that, and the Speight body discovery is classic cliffhanger shit, dude! Ideally, the ending of an episode should open up a new thread while delivering an “uh-oh” whenever possible, and this has BOTH…
This dock workers/Speight-corpse scene may function better as the cold opening in Episode 2.
SODERBERGH: See above…
June 20, 2015–11:11pm EST
SODERBERGH: Late last night — very late, even for me — I had this CRAZY idea: why don’t we END EP 1 with Thackery on the boat and START EP 2 with the discovery of Speight’s body? Sure, if you’re being dogmatic you could argue that’s a soft ending and Speight is a classic cliffhanger, but THEN I thought if you use the music from the very opening as a callback, it could be really cool and creepy, and then you get the propulsive opening for EP 2. I know this is coming out of the blue, and seems VERY RADICAL, but I think you’ll all agree my instincts about this stuff are … well, unerring. Anyway, I’ll have Corey post it and you can see what you think.
201 Cut E — Locking Notes + Music Notes
Let’s explore music connecting scene of Algernon with eye doctor to scene of teeth fitting for Mrs. Gallinger.
SODERBERGH: Added a cue here, but as per my now famous “Music and Methodology: Scoring THE KNICK” white paper, I’ve used a theme Cliff wrote for Eleanor being committed to the sanitarium. So, this is music for WHEN SHIT ISN’T GOING YOUR WAY. It will come up again, I assure you…
Musically connecting Algernon’s travails to Gallinger’s could be thematically very interesting and useful as their story arcs converge as they do in the scene where Algernon enters his office to find Gallinger waiting for him (201–16).
SODERBERGH: True, but I have other ideas. Did put a piece here, though.
Is it worth exploring playing this boardroom conversation entirely from Algernon’s point of view… i.e. Beginning with the dialogue off-screen and then only seeing the scene from behind Barrow’s back before Algernon is invited into the room? This also might offer an interesting musical opportunity akin to the board room scene in season one where Thackery was preoccupied with getting cocaine deliveries to the Knick… Different music and different tone of course, but psychologically specific.
SODERBERGH: Well, I don’t think there’s a musical opportunity here but your note did prompt a trim at the head of the scene that I think works really well…
Are there any musical opportunities in the scene between Gallinger and Thackery? That music might also help the transition into 201–29.
Love this sequence now!
SODERBERGH: That makes three of us!
Perhaps we could use the theme at the dock with Speight that plays over Cornelia in the Chinese quarantine area?
SODERBERGH: Well, no, but here’s what I did: started a cue at the end of the Speight scene that plays over Thackery on the boat and the beginning of the Algernon/Bertie scene. Works nicely, I think. Or, if this were an Apple ad: Works Nice.
Most of our notes on Ep. 2 relate to clarifying the relationship between several characters’ experiences, their motivations and their actions. Our suggestions are meant to help clarify cause and effect.
The dock workers discovery of Speight’s corpse scene may function better as the cold opening in Episode 2. It would set the table for Cornelia’s investigation.
SODERBERGH: Disagree, as mentioned earlier….
Let’s consider cutting right after Lucy says, “What?!” Not necessary for her to say “Where?” and walk away.
For reasons set forth below, let’s consider moving the Algernon/Bertie scrubbing scene just before 202–14 (Cornelia with Effie Barrow into Cornelia running into Bertie who tells her of Speight’s death).
SODERBERGH: See response below.
Let’s consider cutting this scene of Henry flirting with Lucy. It seems to come too soon, and Henry’s failure to read Lucy’s distress and inquire about it seems particularly odd.
SODERBERGH: Yeah, I agree. Done.
If we put 202-A8 (Bertie/Algernon scrubbing) just before this scene, it can have three benefits: 1) Algernon’s distress in the scrubbing scene is better motivated by his humiliation at being made to redo the charts in 202-A11 (which would now precede the scrubbing scene); 2) It makes clearer Bertie’s motivation to march to Thackery and tender his resignation; 3) It offers greater clarity where Bertie is coming from when Cornelia intercepts him. We might also consider looping Bertie’s performance in the hallway scene making him a bit tighter and tenser as he speaks with Cornelia, as a reflection of his intension to go to Thackery to resign.
SODERBERGH: GREAT idea. Done.
As we noted in Ep 201, can we explore a cinematic motif to the wrestling portion of this scene with music akin to the rat stomping in Season 1?
SODERBERGH: No, because A) As David Lean said — and you probably heard that name drop all the way from Santa Monica — never pop out of the same hole twice, and B) It’s a short scene before we get back to the locker room, too short to get any kind of musical vibe going.
Can we tighten this scene with the Hungarian royalty?
202–33 / 202-B35 Transition
At time code: 38:25 there is an errant musical fragment from the carnival to be deleted.
SODERBERGH: Okay, that errant musical snippet is ART, my friend, and instead of chopping down the art to fit your mind, you should open your mind to fit the art! But in the interest of time, I will remove this bold approach to scoring which every filmmaker worth his or her salt would be employing in a matter of minutes, IF THEY COULD ONLY SEE IT!
Let’s consider ending 202 on the failed Algernon surgery? It is a powerful moment, and the following scene in the dance hall with Cate (202-A48) where Thackery gets the idea for using Cocaine and Heroin together will lead nicely into him in the Path Lab cooking and snorting both (203-A2).
This is a premature Ep. 3 note, but we might consider making the combined scenes of 202-A48 and 203-A2 a cold open and go to “The Knick” title card after Thackery snorts the Heroin. We would then come out of the title card and into Thackery working on Mr. Antholis.
SODERBERGH: This won’t work, because while the failed surgery IS a powerful moment, it is not the end of the sequence; the end of the sequence is Thackery’s EMOTIONAL REACTION to the failed surgery, which is to go out and get fucked up. The critical connection between these two states will be completely lost if they are in separate episodes. The ending with Cate provides us with a classic “uh-oh”, opens up a new narrative thread, and the cold open of EP 3 with Thackery cooking the drugs is strong, and not just because it was my idea. I think.
Two down, eight to go…
202 Cut E — Music and Locking Notes
Love this music cue.
SODERBERGH: Thank you. I wrote it. Well, that’s not strictly true; I hired the guy that wrote it. In the classic studio era, that would be the same thing.
202–11 through 202–12, 13
Is there a music cue that can cover this transition from where Barrow and Cleary are talking outside the garage and the prostitutes are walking up through the ladies waiting in the examination room that. Perhaps the music cue that is under 202–16?
SODERBERGH: No, I like this dry. Like my men. 202–20
Is there room here for a music Cue/theme for Cornelia’s investigation?
SODERBERGH: Indeed there is.
202-B31 into 202–27
The transition from the end of the sex scene with Thack and Kate — into Showalter dinner party has a pre-lap of the dinner party — feels like that is going the wrong way — possibly pick up a street sound that can distort to the dinner party?
SODERBERGH: Uh…really don’t know what you’re talking about here…I really like this transition and feels it works well… 202 27 into 202 A28
At the end of the dinner party, the cut to the men’s cigars and drinks feels awkward; needs to breathe.
SODERBERGH: Don’t agree but Holly gave a note about the transition I agreed with so I think it works better now.
202 F 35 into G 35
Algernon and Thack discussing the eye — the music might inform the theme we suggest in episode one (201–26–201–12 and 201–16)… it’s very cool though the cue itself might have a bit more cinematic energy.
SODERBERGH: I like what Cliff did here…I think more tempo would feel wrong.
202–36 into 202–41 into 202–48, 49
Can we explore a musical transition here? I.e. the theme from Cornelia in the Chinese quarantine area?
SODERBERGH: I think we need some room here without score…we come off a cue with Thackery and Algernon and then go into a HUGE cue with Lucy and Pastor Elkins…I think having something in between robs from both…
EPISODE 203 — Cut A
As mentioned in our notes on Ep 2, let’s consider opening ep 3 with the scene in the dance hall with Cate (202-A48) where Thackery gets the idea for using Cocaine and Heroin together leading directly into him in the Path Lab cooking and snorting both (203-A2). Then let’s go to “The Knick” title card after Thackery snorts the Heroin.
SODERBERGH: I looked at that, but still prefer ending with Thack at the dance hall in EP 2 and starting EP 3 with him cooking his stuff.
Can we tighten this walk through scene with Zinberg?
We have a number of re-ordering notes on this episode that we think will help clarify character motivation that is driving the action of the episode.
Should the Cornelia/Algernon scene (203–9) come the day after Gallinger’s reunion (203–16); Phillip/Cornelia sex scene (203–17); Thackery at the Haymarket and at Abigail’s (203–24–203–28); Lucy asking forgiveness (203 — B27); the Bertie Genevieve date (203 — C27) and Henry filming Daisy (203 — D27)? Phillip’s having scolded Cornelia would more clearly motivate her renewed pursuit of Algernon and the emotions stirred by the Algernon scene would more directly motivate her leaving the note for Algernon (203–39).
Let’s consider moving up Clara’s death and Thackery’s procurement of her corpse (203–36, 37 and 47) to the first “day” of this episode. This will connect more directly to the experimentation he is doing on Mr. Antholis at the beginning of the episode, drive and fill out the day’s activity at the Knick and separate those actions from Thackery’s focus on helping to cure Abigail in “day two” of this episode.
Finally, let’s consider moving up the Lucy asking forgiveness scene to the beginning of that evening, as the other events suggest a later hour, and then conclude the evening — after Henry films Daisy — with Pastor Elkins beating Lucy.
So the order we suggest is as follows…
203–7 INT MT. SINAI HOSPITAL — SURGICAL ROOM — MORNING
Zinberg tells Bertie about adrenaline and wants him to experiment with it. 203-A10 INT GALLINGER’S HOUSE — DAY Dorothy tells Gallinger if Eleanor doesn’t improve, family will send her away.
203–10 INT KNICK — PRIVATE ROOM / HALLWAY — DAY
Henry tries to flirt with Lucy again. She asks him if he believes in God.
203–36 INT CROMARTIE HOSPITAL — HALLWAY — DAY
Clara is dying.
203–37 INT CROMARTIE HOSPITAL — DAY
Cromartie Orderly calls Thackery and tells him that Clara has died.
203–47 INT 5TH AVENUE APARTMENT — MORNING
Thackery asks for dead girl’s body so he can study addiction.
203–12 INT COURT ROOM — DAY
Judge tells the court that he will make an example of Sister Harriet.
203–15 INT GALLINGER’S HOUSE — BEDROOM — EVENING
Eleanor declines going to Gallinger’s reunion, it’s clear she is not improving.
203–16 INT PENN CLUB — GALLINGER’S REUNION — EVENING
Gallinger learns about eugenics.
203 — B27 INT MEETING ROOM — EVENING
Lucy asks for forgiveness and tells the congregation she is a sinner.
203–17 INT SHOWALTER’S HOUSE — BEDROOM — NIGHT Cornelia enters in an alluring night gown.
203-A24 INT SHOWALTER’S HOUSE — BEDROOM — NIGHT
Phillip finds out Cornelia attended Harriet’s trial.
203–24INT HAYMARKET DANCE HALL — NIGHT
Thackery spots Cate dancing, he walks over and gives her some vials.
203–25 EXT HAYMARKET DANCE HALL — BACK ALLEY — NIGHT Thackery & Cate snort cocaine / heroin, then have sex.
203-AB27 EXT HAYMARKET DANCE HALL — BACK ALLEY — NIGHT Thackery stumbles out of the alley, buttoning up his pants
203–27 EXT ABIGAIL’S BROWNSTONE — NIGHT
Thackery surprises Abby at her door.
203–28 INT ABIGAIL’S BROWNSTONE — NIGHT
Thackery tells Abigail that he’s better now. She tells him he can stay with her.
203-C27 E/I EDEN MUSEE — NIGHT
Genevieve says she’s Jewish and wants to do a positive piece on Zinberg.
203-D27 INT HENRY’S HOTEL SUITE — NIGHT
Henry films Daisy stripping.
203–46 INT LUCY’S BOARDING HOUSE — NIGHT
Pastor Elkins is embarrassed about Lucy’s confession; he beats her.
203–9 INT KNICK — ALGERNON’S OFFICE — DAY
Cornelia tells Algernon the coffin is empty. They kiss.
203–31 E/I MT. SINAI HOSPITAL — RESEARCH LAB — DAY
Bertie talks to Leo about Geneveive, he suggests going to a brothel.
203–13 E/I KNICK — HERNY’S OFFICE — DAY
Henry agrees to join the investors on the Park Avenue subway line.
203–32 INT KNICK — SURGICAL THEATER — DAY
Algernon works with Gallinger and he tries to hide his eye condition.
203–33 INT KNICK — SCRUB ROOM — DAY
Thackery asks Algernon for his help, Gallinger confronts Thackery.
203–34 INT KNICK — PATHOLOGY LAB — DAY
Thackery explains his possible cure for syphilis.
203–35 EXT NEW KNICK CONSTRUCTION SITE — DAY
Barrow tells Wingo the board wants changes, he runs into Jimmy.
203–39 INT KNICK — DOCTORS HALLWAY — DAY
Cornelia leaves a note for Algernon.
203–40 INT KNICK — DISPENSARY / BARROW’S OFFICE — DAY
Cleary convinces nurse to give him cocaine for the ambulance. Dr. Mays tells Barrow that the club members have agreed to interview him.
203–41 INT PING WU’s NEW BROTHEL — PARLOR — NIGHT
Barrow waits impatiently for Junia.
SODERBERGH: Really great ideas here. I did nearly all of them, except for a few things: Moving Algernon’s and Cornelia’s convo about the empty coffin this far down is a LONG way from when she found the empty coffin, too long, in my view. Second, I like moving Lucy at the revival meeting up, but feel it should still be followed by Bertie and Genevieve’s outing to the Eden Musee (or whatever we ended up calling that place. Howard Cumming’s Emmy Palace?), because it should be early-ish in the evening, and it’s always a good idea to connect Lucy and Bertie.
Let’s look at tightening Bertie/adrenaline scene.
SODERBERGH: Done, as mentioned above. Subtle, but definitely faster.
As we noted in Ep 201 and 202, can we explore (and in this instance, complete) a cinematic motif to the Cleary-Otto overdose scene with music akin to the rat stomping in season 1?
SODERBERGH: As I said, I don’t want to pop out of the same hole, the first sequence is uniquely long, and I think the sad humor of this scene will be lost if it has score slathered on top of it …
Again, for clarity, if we move the Lucy/Elkins beating scene earlier, we would conclude the episode with Otto’s death (night) now going into the Pathology lab/Pig thermometer (day) scene… Algernon finding Cornelia’s note and receiving the urgent phone call; and then Algernon entering the Robertson mansion to see that Opal has arrived.
SODERBERGH: Agreed. Done.
Final note on 203: We are still running a little long … I’ve tried moving Henry and Daisy in EP 204, since we open EP 205 with Henry screening Daisy footage.
203 Cut D — Locking Notes + Music Notes
203–7 into 203–9
First, it may not be a scene you’d want to score, but can Cliff craft an “adrenaline theme” music cue that can start under Dr. Zinberg’s lines about adrenaline and continue through the Genevieve/Bertie scene and into the Algernon/Cornelia scene. This section might benefit from a cue with some space.
SODERBERGH: I want this scene to play dry.
Transition from end of Birdie — going into Algernon talking with Cornelia — The pre-lap of Algernon saying “empty” makes it difficult to understand the line. Can we look at Algernon delivering that line on camera?
SODERBERGH: I like this transition but will amp up the incoming line of Algernon’s to make it play better.
At the beginning of the next scene, can we cut in on the white curtains a bit later, closer to when Gallinger enters the house?
Also, is there a creepy “Eleanor is nuts” theme that Cliff has in his musical tool kit that we can introduce in this scene and reprise as her story develops.
SODERBERGH: Tried a bunch of stuff, it all seemed wrong.
Is there a musical idea/theme can take us into the Lucy/Henry scene… Something that can begin to sonically track (and continue over the course of the season) Lucy’s evolution from sulking-jilted-lover to empowered manipulator?
SODERBERGH: I think this scene has to play dry so we don’t tip where we’re going with it…as their interaction continues I will keep trying things, though.
203 — B 27 into 203 — C 27
This music cue is cool. Can we guide Cliff to give us a cue with a bit more energy, and perhaps it’s a cue that we can use as part of both Lucy’s and Bertie’s evolution, as requested above.
SODERBERGH: I think going more up tempo here would be a mistake…I’m trying to counter the rhythm of the dialogue…
203–46 into 203–31
This cue is also cool and might suggest a great theme for Lucy as suggested above, that work under her and Henry earlier and also morph into an Adrenaline theme for Bertie under the rat scene.
SODERBERGH: I love this cue, but it’s WAY too heavy for what you’re suggesting. Will absolutely look for other places, though, because it’s cool. 203–34 Is there a “syphilis theme” that we can begin here and use under the treatment of Abigail. Well, I don’t know, but I put something here I think works well.
The music cue here really helps move Cornelia’s story. Let’s look for other places to use it.
203–50 through 203–52
Again, is there a musical identity for Algernon and his travails?
SODERBERGH: Perhaps, but I think these scenes have more impact if the music starts over the credits.
As I prepare to do an overall music pass (and other notes), I think I should articulate my “methodology” in a little more detail so you can better understand my choices, because based on your notes we may be looking at the role of score differently.
Obviously from the get-go we’ve taken an atypical approach to the music in terms of instrumentation, but additionally I’ve tried to take an atypical approach in terms of thematic connections. I’ve tried to avoid ideas like character themes or relationship themes in order to connect the music to IDEAS and SITUATIONS instead. Two examples: when I use the same piece of music for the discovery of Speight’s body and Dorothy’s seduction of Gallinger, I’m not connecting those characters, I’m connecting the idea of ambition (both its roots and far-reaching consequences), in this case (ultimately) Henry’s and Dorothy’s. When I use the same music for Cleary bringing Otto into the ring for the first time and Thackery’s arrival in Nicaragua, I’m not connecting the characters, I’m connecting the idea of quixotic endeavors. What’s been great about the ten-hour format is the ability to score in the far-term, thematically speaking, instead in the near-term, which is typically character/situational driven and is much more the grammar of the two-hour movie format. So, while I am absolutely a believer in HEY, SOME SCORE WOULD REALLY MOVE SHIT ALONG HERE, I’m going to resist suggestions that I feel are short-term character-driven solves that work at the expense of a macro concept of the entire narrative. All this is to say when I say no to a particular suggestion it’s not an arbitrary, knee-jerk response to a note; it’s because the suggestion is in opposition to my overall conception of how I want the score to work. I’d toot my own horn and say I have a pretty good track record of using music well except for the fact I can’t play a horn (or any other instrument, for that matter). Anyway, I’ll be diving into all this over the weekend, so there will be stuff to check out very soon.
Got it. I will get you final Ep 4 notes tonight and they will be informed by this. As for our notes on Ep 1–3, I guess we will just leave it at this: our collective sense is that the more ideas and situations that you can connect with music, the better it is for the cinema and the narrative of the show. It certainly felt that way to us last year where (it is my memory at least that) you ended up with more score than you originally thought, and our hope is that you and Cliff can find ways to get more score in this season too.
This is a terrific episode. Our most significant suggestion is that we find additional opportunities in the episode for score.
204–1, 2, 3, & 4
Let’s consider moving up 204–3 & 4 (Thackery in the Path Lab and then at Abigail’s apt.) before 204–2 (Opal/Algernon). This would have two benefits.
The “cooking the spirochete” story and Thackery’s passionate pursuit of the technique dives of the episode, and establishing it either as the cold opening or just after the title would put it front and center.
Also, while it may be a bit on the nose to go from Algernon into Cornelia at the Ball Planning meeting, it may help propel the emotional momentum of that storyline.
SODERBERGH: Here’s the problem with that: we ended EP 203 with Opal arriving at the Showalter’s. Given that we know they aren’t staying overnight there, they would be going to Algernon’s apartment directly, so logically speaking, 204–2 needs to be as tight to the end of EP 203 as possible. In fact, I’m now starting EP 204 with Algernon and Opal, which leads into …
See music note at 204–17.
SODERBERGH: Added something here I think will work — it’s a cue Cliff wrote for the Garrison Carr speech. It works thematically here, I just want him to pull the Theremin riff out that appears two/thirds of the way through.
I don’t think it requires re-voicing, but to my ears Mrs. Gianoullias sounds like a contemporary Greek-American speaking Greek … Just sayin’ … Truth to power and all that ;)
SODERBERGH: Uh … not sure how to respond because — I’ve been waiting my whole life for this — IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME.
How much smoke are we adding in visual effects to Dr. Mays burning? (204–1) When Barrow surveys the repair work on the operating theatre, the property damage seems far greater than the temp VFX suggest.
SODERBERGH: Agreed. We have to back off on the burn marks.
Like this temp cue under Algernon/Opal in carriage. Can we use something similar under 204–2?
The temp music under this scene is terrific. Can we use earlier under 204–3 & 4 as a sort-of “spirochete them”?
SODERBERGH: Maybe, but there isn’t much time in 204–3 & 4 to develop much of a cue. Let me talk to Cliff and see if he can do something short that connects thematically.
Also, LOVE! this progression of scenes:
204–29 INT KNICK — PRIVATE PATIENT ROOM — DAY
Thackery infects Abigail with malaria.
201–1, 4 E/I NEW YORK STREET / TROLLEY CAR — DAY
Lucy boards, rides street car.
204-A30 INT PRISON — VISITING ROOM — DAY
Lucy visits Harriet and questions God’s protection.
Can we trim the final looks between Bertram and Clara, and end on Bertram Sr. looking at his wife?
SODERBERGH: No. It’s important that Chickering Sr. is trying to read whether his daughter is clocking any of this.
Can we try to find places for score (and perhaps some trims) in the sequence of scenes beginning with Barrow in the club (29:49) and ending with the Showalter dinner scene (36:47)? The scenes are all well done, but cumulatively we have about 7 minutes of fairly static scenes, and by the time we get to the Showalter dinner, the episode has lost some steam.
SODERBERGH: Didn’t bother me, but I tried moving Algernon and Opal at the club between Barrow’s interview and the Chickering family dinner. Seems to work.
At the end of the scene, let’s try cutting out before we see the kids running toward camera so we go from the empty sky to Abigail’s room.
SODERBERGH: Agreed. Done.
Let’s consider dropping the cop’s line, “mostly kid stuff.” Gallinger’s act towards the kid is brutal enough. We don’t need to emphasize that he’s just a kid.
SODERBERGH: Yeah, we can have him say “petty theft” or something a little more significant. This kid is a BADASS!
Can we extend the shot of the ice being poured in Cornelia’s bath? Does the shot pan up to her at the end? In any event, it feels a bit too abrupt. No offense intended to Mary Ann!
SODERBERGH: No offense taken, but she has instructed me to instruct you that there is a long tradition of getting out of action shots at the absolute apex of their action, starting with the Russian filmmakers of the 20s and 30s, and continued by Welles, Kubrick, and others, like Spielberg and Fincher. In fact, since June 20th was the 40th anniversary of the JAWS release, I watched said film again, and it is littered with cuts EXACTLY like this. It’s where Mary Ann learned this very technique.
The last scene is really lovely.
SODERBERGH: Yes, a rare moment of sweetness. Hope nobody gets used to it!
EPISODE 204 — Music Notes + Locking Notes
204–1 into 204–11
There is a music cue here that appears to be an artifact from a previous edit. In 204–11, is there a musical idea here for Cornelia desire to “do the right thing” (not thinking Public Enemy though) that can be picked up later with Algernon making Carr’s surgery happen at the Knick and Bertie’s exploration of a treatment for his mother’s cancer… And maybe, ironically, with Gallinger’s pursuit of Eugenics.
In any event, 204–11 might be helped with some score?
SODERBERGH: Indeed there was a hanging chad of a cue that a drunken Mary Ann Bernard neglected to snip, however, I don’t think a cue is required here…
Perhaps the “ambition” music cue here? Connecting Barrow’s ambition to Henry’s and Dorothy’s?
What is this Music cue’s idea? It’s cool. Would love to explore whether it might correspond two other situations?
SODERBERGH: Actually had to pull this because of the previous note. Plays well dry, though.
204–29 into the Lucy voiceover through 204-A30
Love this cue.
SODERBERGH: Yeah, it’s great.
204–31 through 204–34
As suggested above, can we use a “do the right thing” music cue (again apologies to Spike and Chuck D) somewhere in this section?
SODERBERGH: Looked at it but couldn’t find anything that worked because it shouldn’t start until Bertie sees the x-ray but it shouldn’t stop at the end of that scene BUT if it continues over scene with Zinberg (which is not a short scene) it feels weird…
Is this another opportunity for a music cue… Cornelia trying to seek the truth/justice/do the right thing?
SODERBERGH: Tried something…I think it works.
204–53 through 204–59
As suggested above, is there an opportunity to use a “seeking the truth/do the right thing” musical idea with irony for Gallinger’s pursuit of applied eugenics? This would be interesting going into Cornelia entering Speight’s old house. Perhaps the music cue that underscores Cornelia’s search of the house can be brought up into the Gallinger Drexler scene?
SODERBERGH: Now that I did the previous note, there would be wall-to-wall score for a big section…think this will work better dry with the new cue addressing the previous note…
Our most significant note on Ep. 205 is to propose restructuring the opening to dive right into Thackery. We suggest beginning the cold open with Thackery escorting Abby into the cab, snorting cocaine, prepping to get checked by Lucy and then proudly demonstrating on the patient’s brain. We would then go to the title card and then return to Sisters of Mercy with Harriet being scolded, and then Henry showing the daisy film (we particularly like that transition!). Then we would go to Bertie and Algernon at the black bar and Bertie and Genevieve breaking into the office. Finally we would be in Henry’s office with him getting the phone call.
Here is the proposed continuity…
205–6 EXT KNICK — MORNING
Thackery helps Abigail into cab, says he will be by later to check on her.
205-A7 INT KNICK — THACKERY’S OFFICE — DAY
Thackery snorts cocaine, Lucy comes in and inspects him for track marks.
205–7, 8 INT KNICK — SURGICAL THEATER — DAY
Thackery proudly demonstrates his findings on a conscious addict’s brain.
205–9 INT SISTERS OF MERCY BOARDING HOUSE — DAY
Harriet tries to help sick woman, but she says she doesn’t want her help.
205–1 INT HENRY’S HOTEL SUITE — NIGHT
Henry shows off his private movie and it’s a huge hit.
205–2, 3 E/I INT BLACK BAR — NIGHT
Bertie discusses his mother, Algernon mentions a Frenchman using radium.
205–4 INT DR. WADSWORTH’S OFFICE — NIGHT
Bertie & Genevieve break into office looking for articles on throat cancer.
First, having the brain experiment in the cold open feels like a quintessential Knick “in your face” (pun intended) opener. Also, since the episode is propelled by Thackery’s efforts to balance his relationship with Abby, his manic drive for experimentation (both with addicts and on the subway casualties) and his drug use, the restructured cold open we suggest sets us up for just that… and did we mention that the cut from sister Harriet to the “Daisy film” feels like a winner?
Can we do anything to tighten?
205–6, 205-A7, 205–7, 8
If we do, in fact, make this the cold open, let’s also tighten the sequence so it builds some momentum to the reveal of Thackery’s bizarre experiment.
Again, can we look for trims in this section? The cutting pattern feels a bit less urgent than the events that are transpiring.
Let’s consider bumping up the Croker/Investor subway scene before Bertie/Zinberg. This has the benefit of advancing the story of Henry’s hidden loyalties and separates that Henry scene from Henry/Lucy to help our sense of the time passage.
205–39, 205–30, 205–41, 42
Can we tighten these three scenes from Lucy/Henry’s date through Garrison Carr? Feels like this part of the episode could use a bit of cinematic momentum. The temp music under Carr is appropriately atmospheric … Perhaps we can start a cue under the end of Lucy/Henry, continue it through Barrow and wife and it morphs into the Algernon/Opal/Carr cue? This might be helpful in driving our sense of the evolving consciousness of these characters.
SODERBERGH: That first note was great — DONE. I didn’t follow your structure EXACTLY — I like Bertie/Lucy scenes to connect whenever possible — but it’s really close. Did some other ideas of my own as well.
The inspiration couldn’t be turned off, so I’m posting a new EP 206. Biggest cut: Losing the Algernon/Cornelia/Opal scene(s).
EPISODE 206 — C Cut
Big thought here… Let’s move the Thackery / Musee scenes up to the top before Thackery dreams of Sonya in Abigail’s house. Then, after the opening title, have Thackery experiment on Cleary.
A number of potential benefits… • Another KNICK “holy shit” opener with both the hypnosis AND the twins… Everyone will be saying to themselves… “Oh shit, he’s going to try to separate them!” And then they are hooked into Ep 6. • More complex psychologically, tying Thackery’s curiosity about the subconscious to his own dream later that night/morning. • Ties his seeing the twins to the memory of Sonya in his dream later. • Coming in on him experimenting after the title implies that the dream has fueled his desire to experiment with treatments that try to control the subconscious. • Also bookends the episode with Thackery’s trajectory.
Here is the suggested continuity:
206-A24 INT EDEN MUSEE — SMALL HALL — DAY
Thackery is impressed by Hypnotist. 206-B24 INT EDEN MUSEE —
Thackery asks Brockhurst if he can examine the twins at The Knick. 206–1, A2 INT ABIGAIL’S HOUSE — BEDROOM / LIVING ROOM —
Abigail is asleep. Thackery dreams of Sonya.
206–25 INT KNICK — PATHOLOGICAL LAB — DAY
Thackery tries to learn hypnosis. 206–2 INT MT. SINAI HOSPITAL — X-RAY ROOM — MORNING
Bertie X-rays Anne’s neck. 206–3 INT MT. SINAI HOSPITAL — X-RAY ROOM — DAY
A nurse dresses the X-ray burn.
Also wonder whether we can move up the Cornelia storyline to keep that narrative alive earlier in the episode, and give the latter scenes a bit more momentum… Perhaps this would be in lieu of the Eden Musee scenes (if we move those up as proposed above).
The proposed order of the Cornelia placement would be:
206–22 INT MT. SINAI HOSPITAL — OPERATING ROOM — LATER — DAWN
Dr. Chickering Sr. is grateful for Bertie trying to save his mother.
206-A28 INT PETRIZZI’S TENEMENT — DAY
Cornelia investigates 2nd class passenger.
206–24 INT SISTERS OF MERCY BOARDING HOUSE — DAY
Harriet tells the girls there are other ways to not get pregnant.
206–28 EXT NYC DOCKS — PASSENGER SHIP — DAY
Cornelia learns how they process the immigrants off the ship.
208–16, 17, 18 E/I CHICKERING’S HOUSE — DINING ROOM / LIVING ROOM — EVENING
Movers empty the bedroom and Genevieve grabs some glasses. Chickering Sr. appreciates Genevieve’s help, she tells Bertie her roommate’s gone.
Notice that Harriet giving the girls tips on how not to get pregnant would be sandwiched between two Cornelia scenes… which might be a nice touch.
The proposed order of the later scenes (if we move up the Cornelia scenes) is as follows.
206–27 INT KNICK — THACKERY’S OFFICE
Bertie wants to come back to The Knick.
206–29, 30 INT KNICK — WOMEN’S WARD / HALLWAY
Lucy is stunned to see Bertie is back. Lucy tells Bertie about the ball.
206–31 INT KNICK — HALLWAY
Nurse Pell tells Thackery that someone is here to see him.
206–32 INT KNICK — THACKERY’S OFFICE
Thackery wants to X-ray the girls. Brockhurst thinks he has other motives.
The reordering would have the added benefit of helping us keep the momentum of hospital scenes that culminate in Brockhurst bringing the twins to see Thackery. (I would be particularly intrigued to see the flow of Thackery hugging Bertie time cut to Lucy discovering Bertie in the women’s ward.)
SODERBERGH: Took the big note — moving Thackery at the Eden Musee to the top of the episode — and then did some of the restructuring you suggested and then a few ideas of my own so I felt like I was contributing SOMETHING. That’s it for Ep 6… another strong episode. We will loop back and see if we have any final notes on the new cuts of 201–204 so that we can lock those for the mix.
EPISODE 207 — Cut B
Can we explore beginning the episode with:
207–11 INT KNICK — MEN’S WARD — MORNING Thackery demonstrates hypnosis on Wendell Ludd for Algernon.
207–12 INT KNICK — FRONT ENTRANCE / LOBBY — DAY Carr has reporters with him and tries to check in to the hospital.
It’s a strong pair of scenes and it establishes the path of both of our principal characters for this episode; Thackery is emboldened to renew his pursuit of cutting edge surgical techniques… Algernon is forced to make a fateful decision.
These would then be followed by…
209–27 INT GENEVIEVE’S APARTMENT — NIGHT Bertie & Genevieve consummate their relationship.
207-A11 INT PING WU’s NEW BROTHEL — OFFICE — DAY Ping Wu has sex with a prostitute, Lucy watches.
207-C11 INT LUCY’S BOARDING HOUSE — DAY Lucy admires her new ballgown.
These scenes may be better as counterpoints to the Thackery and Algernon scenes.
SODERBERGH: Done. Works great!
Also can we explore intercutting the 207-A11 and 207 C11, perhaps beginning with Lucy admiring the gown, cutting to Ping Wu having sex, back to Lucy and Lotte, then revealing the Golden lotus moment and then conclude on the Lucy saying “But he expects it and he’s going to get it.”
SODERBERGH: Had it been conceived this way I would have shot it differently and it would have worked. As it is, it felt clunky and half-baked when I tried it… Either way, it didn’t work.
Can we move up the Cornelia scenes (Waldorf/Dockside) to before the scene with Robertson and Henry? Our having the information that Cornelia has discovered could add some tension to the latter scene.
SODERBERGH: No, but you’ve twigged something that’s always bothered me: Thackery has told Algernon at this point that he is on his own regarding the Carr surgery, so in fact Henry telling August that Algernon asked Thackery to go to the board should actually be in episode 206, closer to when that request was made by Algernon and prior to his fight with Thackery over it. That necessitates shortening 206, which I did mostly by getting out of the Bertie/Genevieve scene earlier, before the stuff with Chickering Sr and the ring. I think this is okay because the ring never comes up again and we see them having a great time at the ball, etc. It also results in a nice transition: cutting from Bertie being “invited” to Genevieve’s apartment right to Lucy getting the invite to the ball. Voila!
Here is the proposed order:
207–18 INT WALDORF ASTORIA — BALL ROOM — DAY Effie stresses out about the ball set-up and Cornelia skips out early.
207–19 EXT NYC DOCKS — PASSENGER SHIP — DAY Cornelia watches the passengers disembark as the dock workers stare at her.
207–20 INT DOCKSIDE IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS OFFICE — DAY Customs officer offers to get Cornelia the Lead Inspector.
207–21 INT DOCKSIDE IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS OFFICE — DAY Cornelia finds out their shipping company is bumping passengers to avoid fines
MX Our Usual Deal v1
207–17 INT METROPOLITAN CLUB — CLUB ROOM — DAY Henry brings up bad press, Capt explains they need to bend the donors.
207–51 EXT NEW KNICK CONSTRUCTION SITE — DAY Jimmy beats up Wingo and Barrow tells him to keep his mouth shut. Is there an opportunity for music here?
SODERBERGH: I tried some stuff but nothing really felt right. Plus, it’s not a very long scene, so by the time the music got going, we were out of it…
EPISODE 208 — Cut B
Our main suggestion on 208 is to restructure the episode so that it is built around the Gallinger story line from virtually the beginning until the end.
We suggest moving up 208–12 the Eleanor/Gallinger bedroom scene to just after the cold open.
We also suggest moving up 208–20–23 the police visit to the Gallinger home, Eleanor’s confession to Gallinger and her serving tea to the officer to just before Barrow’s visit to Ping Wu.
And finally, we suggest advancing 208–30–32 Gallinger’s commitment of Eleanor to before the scene where Lucy is speaking with the other nurse about jobs at the new Knick and receives the call about her father.
SODERBERGH: A couple of contextual thoughts about these suggestions:
Moving up the bedroom scene and the cop visit draws the viewer into that story immediately and suggests that their story is central to the episode. Since the episode culminates with Gallinger bedding Dorothy, we submit that this restructuring will give the episode a certain narrative symmetry.
Moving up the commitment scene has two benefits, it moves it closer to the first two Gallinger sequences which helps make the Gallinger story the narrative spine of the episode, and it allows you to play the cut of Lucy getting the call directly into her descent into the dungeon to find her father, allowing that sequence to build a powerful momentum.
I did all of this except for keeping Barrow and Ping Wu where it was. Works really well.
A couple of straggling thoughts…
Since the scene of Effie receiving the anonymous phone call and the scene of Lucy and Henry working each other have a similar energy of intrigue and scheming, we wondered whether there was a music cue that might join them and give that sequence some energy before stopping as Cornelia speaks to Henry at lunch.
SODERBERGH: Yep. Done.
Is there music that can back this scene of Algernon breaking into Gallinger’s office?
SODERBERGH: Um…there is music here already…
For clarity, here is the continuity revised per our suggestions with the moved scenes highlighted in yellow:
MX MX104_Number11__Full From Season 1
208–1 INT KNICK — MEN’S WARD — NIGHT A figure rises from a bed and sneaks toward the door.
208–3 INT KNICK — MORGUE — NIGHT Wendell sucks the embalming fluid out of a corpse.
208–4 INT KNICK — MORGUE — NIGHT Thackery discovers Wendell’s dead body.
208–12 INT GALLINGER HOUSE — BEDROOM — NIGHT Eleanor feels better and is ready to rebuild the family.
208–5 EXT KNICK — NIGHT In the shadows of the streetlight, a man pulls out a rusty old west revolver.
208–6 INT KNICK — PATHOLOGY LAB / LOBBY — DAY Bertie revives the rabbit with a jolt of adrenaline. Brockhurst confronts Thackery, Cleary knocks him out.
208–20, 21 E/I GALLINGER’S HOUSE — NIGHT Police show up to talk about Cotton’s death.
208–22 INT GALLINGER HOUSE — KITCHEN — NIGHT Eleanor tells Gallinger she poisoned Dr. Cotton.
MX MX107_Walker__Full From Season 1
208–23 INT GALLINGER’S HOUSE — NIGHT Eleanor serves tea to the police.
208–7 INT PING WU’s NEW BROTHEL — OFFICE — NIGHT Barrow brings in the money to buy Junia.
208–11 INT KNICK — INEBRIATE WARD — NIGHT Alcoholic asks how Thackery stayed sober. He asks to talk to Abigail.
208–13, 14 E/I KNICK — BOARD ROOM — DAY The Board hires a new architect. Capt. Robertson tells Barrow the Club has decided to grant him membership.
208–15 E/I KNICK — WOMEN’S WARD — DAY Thackery sees patient with swollen nose that he operated on at Cromartie. Mrs. Moody wants a white doctor and Gallinger comes to the rescue. Thackery winces in pain but won’t let the doctors examine him.
208–19 EXT BARROW’S HOUSE — DAY Barrow sells his house on a handshake.
208–25 INT KNICK — PATHOLOGY LAB — DAY Thackery shows Abigail nose bridge, asks if she is willing to talk to his patient.
208–26 INT BARROW’S HOUSE — SEWING ROOM — DAY Effie receives an anonymous phone call about Barrow’s new apartment.
208–27 EXT KNICK — DAY Henry takes Cornelia to lunch. She’s being followed.
208–28 INT SHERRY’S — DAY Cornelia tells Henry that she’s uncovered their father’s illegal bribes.
208–30 INT PATHOLOGICAL INSTITUTE — EVENING Gallinger arrives at the sanitarium with Eleanor and Dorothy.
208–31 INT PATHOLOGICAL INSTITUTE / OFFICE — EVENING Gallinger tells Dr. Warner he wants to admit Eleanor.
MX 30 — Millennia TEMP CUE
208–32 INT PATHOLOGICAL INSTITUTE — EVENING Gallinger leads a sobbing Dorothy away as they leave Eleanor behind.
208–29 INT KNICK — DISPENSARY / FRONT DESK — EVENING Lucy receives an anonymous phone call, she is told to come right away.
208–34 EXT TENEMENT — NIGHT Lucy and Pouncey arrive at a tenement in an ambulance.
208–35, 36 INT BROTHEL — HALLWAY / DUNGEON — NIGHT Lucy finds her Dad, naked and drooling on the floor after having been whipped.
MX MX101_TheWise_Full From Season 1
208–37 INT KNICK — MEN’S WARD — NIGHT Thackery tells Lucy her father has had a stroke.
208–38 INT GALLINGER’S HOUSE — NIGHT Dorothy flirts with Gallinger.
MX MX110_MyBook__Full From Season 1
NOW IN 208 INT EDEN MUSEE — NIGHT Harriet says she’s not a Sister anymore.
NOW IN 208
INT EDEN MUSEE — CHAMBER OF HORRORS — NIGHT Cleary tries to kiss Harriet, she feels betrayed.
208–39 INT KNICK — GALLINGER’S OFFICE — NIGHT Algernon finds Gallinger’s files on the “Idiot House Vasectomy Project.”
208–42 INT KNICK — PATHOLOGY LAB — DAY Algernon wants to bring Gallinger up on charges, Thackery collapses.
208–40, 41 E/I BARROW’S HOUSE — DINING ROOM — NIGHT Barrow’s house all festively lit. Barrow tells Effie he is leaving her.
MX MX107_Walker__Full From Season 1
208–44 INT PING WU’s NEW BROTHEL — PARLOR — DAY Barrow picks up Junia, they are so excited to start their new life together.
208–45 INT KNICK — INEBRIATE WARD — DAY Abigail speaks with Thackery’s patient.
MX MX102_ReadHim__Full From Season 1
208-A47 INT KNICK — PRIVATE PATIENT ROOM — DAY Abigail takes some laudanum prior to her surgery.
208–47 INT KNICK — SCRUB ROOM — NIGHT Thackery scrubs in.
208–48 INT KNICK — SURGICAL THEATER — DAY Thackery operates on Abby, but he loses her on the table.
MX MX107_WillItHurt__Full From Season 1
208–49 INT GALLINGER’S HOUSE — NIGHT Gallinger tells Dorothy there is no rush for her to leave.
MX MX110_AmongUs__Full From Season 1
209 Notes — Cut D
A terrific penultimate episode for The Knick Season 2.
209–4 INT NICARAGUAN VILLAGE — CLINIC — DAY Thackery meets Madriz, finds out its a smallpox outbreak not yellow fever.
209-A5, B5 EXT NICARAGUAN VILLAGE — CLINIC — DAY
Thackery finds Capt. Robertson shackled to a log by soldiers. Robertson asks Thackery to save him Robertson speech about his shortcut and the canal needs ADR work… Feels like exposition.
209–20 INT CLEARY’S APARTMENT — EVENING Cleary is trying on a condom that they made. Great scene.
209–21 INT KNICK — MEN’S WARD — NIGHT Lucy confesses her sins to her father and euthanizes him.
MX MX106_Calling__Full From Season 1 A truly amazing performance in this scene! Yay Eve!
209–32 INT CLEARY’S APARTMENT — DAY Cleary tells Harriet he is sorry for trying to tempt her. This scene doesn’t track now that the kiss in the Eden Musee is in 208. They were just enjoying each other’s company in 209–20. And that is a great scene. Can we put this scene in 208 or omit entirely?
209-A36 INT GALLINGER’S HOUSE — EVENING Gallinger tells Dorothy he’s been acquitted, they have sex. I assume that, since Gallinger blindsides Algernon and never gets hit, we will remove Gallinger’s shiner, and Dorothy’s line asking about it?
We have one last set of suggestions on Ep 209. We’d like to suggest moving scenes 209–29 and 30 up to be the first scene after the cold open and title card. This idea has several things going for it. 1) it structures the episode around the confrontation with the climactic Captain; 2) it has the added benefit of establishing the source of Barrow’s desperation from the outset, with the ensuing thrill of his new club membership only fueling that desperation. 3) It puts the building (and ultimate destruction) of the new Knick at the center of our episodic story. The intent of the suggestion is to give the episode a bit more of a narrative drive and clarity. We also suggest moving up the scene between Cornelia and Phillip (209–35), which — given the suggested move of 209–30 — would spread Cornelia’s storyline more evenly throughout the episode.
SODERBERGH: This was a very helpful note not because I ended up executing it — although I tried all of it and more — but because it made me start thinking about FLOW, which I argue trumps all other considerations. What I discovered in exploring your note and trying many other ideas inspired by it was that on this show, TIME OF DAY MATTERS. Precisely because we pay attention to time of day when shooting all scenes, they aren’t quite as modular as you might assume when you start moving them around, and the potential disorientation for the viewer becomes more of a focal point than, say, the arc of the new hospital within a given episode. WHAT I’M REALLY SAYING is that you went macro — which is not a bad thing — but at the expense of some micro stuff I think really matters to the viewer. What I’m thinking now is this episode has to essentially play and FEEL like ONE BIG ASS DAY (and not just because Cornelia wears the same outfit in ALL her scenes), so to that end I’ve tried an even bigger restructuring in which Barrow’s trajectory is reversed (things start well and go increasingly downhill) and the resultant hospital issues end up being more backloaded. Both these work well, in my opinion, and as far as up front goes, cutting from Thackery solving something to Thackery TRYING to solve something is always a good idea, and pushing the Lucy euthanasia scene to just before the climax is, I think, a REALLY good spot for it. Again, from a FLOW standpoint, this is the best 209 has been, but it’s because you got me thinking about something I assumed was pretty baked. So that’s good.
Here are the suggested relevant continuity changes:
Cold open ending with…
209–9, A15 EXT VILLAGE — WESTERN NICARAGUA — DAY Thackey inoculates the villagers with smallpox.
THE KNICK title card
209–29 EXT NEW KNICK CONSTRUCTION SITE — DAY Barrow urges the new architect to slow down construction.
209–30 INT KNICK — HENRY’S OFFICE — DAY Henry looks over evidence Cornelia has, they decide to speak to the Capt.
209–15 E/I KNICK — DAY Detective confronts Gallinger, says they’ve solved the Dr. Cotton murder.
MX MX107_Walker__Full From Season 1 209–16 INT KNICK — WOMEN’S WARD — DAY Twins take their first steps on their own.
210 Notes Cut D
210 is fantastic. Just an incredible hour of television. We only have one note.
SODERBERGH: Well, I’m going to re-read those first two sentences for awhile before moving on.
During the latter part of the Thackery surgery scene, the cutaways to various members of the gallery and to Bertie and Gallinger stretch credulity — it feels a bit absurd that none of them would jump in as Thackery bleeds out.
While Clive’s performance in this scene is staggeringly good, perhaps we can cut back on it just a bit to help make the group paralysis a bit more believable. And/or perhaps — in order to make the passage of time less naturalistic and more surreal/inside Thackery’s head — in lieu of the eight cutaways (Zinberg, Genevieve, Barrow, the two nurses, Gallinger, Bertie, and Algernon), we could use cutaways to Sonya on the operating table from season one and the various shots sizes of the apparition of Sonya in the operating theater gallery from earlier in this season. Of course this would culminate — as you have it — with the surreal shots of Thackery’s POV of the chandelier and the shots of Abigail and Sonya from Thackery’s hallucinations. Then, after Thackery collapses, we can return to the reality of getting him clamped.
SODERBERGH: In general, yes, I agree. Tried to accelerate after the nick so it doesn’t seem like people are TOO frozen. I mean, they ARE a little, and should be, but I agree with the note. BUT the flash cuts to Abigail and Sonya only work if there’s no preparation for their appearance. They must be a surprise, even to Thackery.
It’s fitting that our final note stems from the climactic “nick” of Thackery’s abdominal artery. And that’s it! It’s been such a bloody great time! Thank you.
SODERBERGH: Even more fun than last year, if you ask me. And last year was fun.