Three young doctors have been recruited to a remote village Somewhere in the South American Jungle, where western medicine gives way to the healing powers of rubber tree sap, but western modes of Freudian drama endure. Do our doctors have highly specific personal traumas that are driving them? They sure do! Tommy's unsure if he's got what it takes to quarterback the Dillon Panthers, tchotchkes talk to Lily, and Mina's mom is Meryl Streep. Or: Tommy's a fratty plastic surgeon, Lily's a pie-eyed girl scout with a dead fiancé, and Mina is an overachiever and perfectionist who overworked herself into fatally misdiagnosing a kid back in the states. They join the medical practice run by Dr. Ben, Dr. Ben's meandering accent, Otis (and his disdain for these punk kids) and Zee, whose Latina identity really gives her a leg up on judging the gringos.
The doctors all meet, work themselves up to bluntly revealing their various back-stories, and enjoy the pleasures of an oscillating fan in bajillion-degree heat.
There are also patients! One is Michael McKean, who tore his arm up but NASTY on the wheel of a zip line and gets freed only to have all his internal organs explode on him at once. Good thing Lily and Dr. Ben are able to run out and rustle up some coconuts for the COCONUT TRANSFUSION, after which he survives and lives to scatter his wife's ashes in a bioluminescent pond. Mina deals with an old lady who seemingly has a cold but really has asthma, and after puffing on Mina's own inhaler, she's so happy to be able to breathe (for the first time) that she gives Mina A CHICKEN. And Tommy treks out to a nearby village where he struggles to get a man to accept TB vaccines for him and his family. Things are resolved!
And just as Lily is staring into Dr. Ben's eyes long enough for you to write out the words "Meredith Grey" and "Derek Shepherd" in calligraphy, that crazy redhead from Twilight shows up as Dr. Ben's girlfriend. AND it sounds like Dr. Ben has a dead/divorced wife/girlfriend in his past. In summation: these doctors bring death and heartbreak wherever they go -- RUN, LOCALS, RUN!
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Our story begins "Somewhere in South America"! See, it's "off the map," so we can't say if it's Brazil or Peru or whatever. (And from the looks of it, it's from that area of Uruguay known as "Oahu.") We zoom in on rescue workers trying to help out a distressed kayaker, while three doctors look on from the cliff above, casually talking about how the rescuers are going to fuck this up. The doctors: Dr. Ben: scruffy/cute guy from The Ring whose New Zealand accent shows up when it damn well pleases; Dr. Otis Cole, played by Jason George, who has been on every ABC show possible for the last three years and who I always end up liking despite the fact that it always seems that he should be playing the down-low husband in a Tyler Perry movie; and nurse Zitajalehrena Alvarez (who we're calling Zee, because: come on), played Valerie Cruz, who I'd thought was a show-killer but mostly because I was in the shit with her and Hidden Palms. So the three of them are clucking about the rescue in this really detached way, which combined with the overlook and the island setting is making me think Wings of Desire crossed with Jacob and the other guy from Lost. But then, Wim Wenders never had his mopey angels bitching about the new batch of young doctors about to arrive today. Ben's looking forward to the influx of new blood; Otis has no patience for these resume-padders; Zee -- who is Latina, with an accent and everything -- rolls her eyes at the cocky white saviors about to ride in and save them. Get used to that. For a show that is basically about cocky white people rolling in to save simple brown people, Off the Map sure likes to talk about just that. Meanwhile, the rescue below is going bad, so naturally Dr. Ben hands Zee his stethoscope and LEAPS off the INSANELY HIGH cliff into the water to go help out. After a moment making eyes with Zee, Otis follows suit. EXTREME ISLAND DOCTORS, y'all!
Elsewhere, a super shabby taxi rolls up on the dirt road in front of the "Clinica Cruz Del Sur," and out steps Lily, played by that girl who talked to tchotchkes in Niagara Falls on that one show once. ...Oh, I'm just kidding -- I watched almost two episodes of Wonderfalls, I know what's up. Also, I guess after a decade of TV characters naming their babies Lily, now we're seeing them show up as the protagonists. I guess they'll all be in romantic relationships with dudes named Parker eventually. The cab driver hands Lily his card, all "You'll need me when you decide to leave after a day in this place, Gringa," et cetera. Lily says she'll be staying, but all of a sudden that redhead from Twilight with all the hair comes bounding up to take the cab. "He's right," she proclaims brusquely, "you should definitely take the card." She tells the cabbie to take her to the airport.