Childrens Hospital Review: "A New Hope" (Episode 5.01)
Childrens Hospital episodes have always been insular for the most part, with there being very little continuity from week to week. Romantic pairings come and go, as do entire characters and themes. So when the show ended its fourth season with the death of not only clown doctor Blake Downs, but also the fake actor who plays him, Cutter Spindell, the show seemed to write itself into a corner and force itself to actually have a continuing story.
In the fifth season premiere, “A New Hope,” there no lack of Dr. Downs though. In fact, there are dozens of him. It turns out the Blake that died is just one of many clones that Childrens Hospital keeps hidden, protected by Steve Agee, who has trouble keeping Blakes alive.
The new Blakes have to be reintroduced into their life, all through a tedious history retelling by Jon Hamm’s Arthur Childrens, but new Blakes keep finding new ways to kill themselves, everything from electrocuting themselves to tripping. Even going onto the main floor of Childrens Hospital kills Blake, since the hospital has been evacuated for 14 weeks to spray for termites.
So the rest of the staff moves from Brazil—where we of course all know Childrens Hospital is—to a U.S. Army base in Japan. There’s a fun appearance by Keegan-Michael Key, who tries to get the Childrens team to help the U.S. finally beat the Japanese in a sumo competition, which doesn’t seem to have any purpose except to show how hilarious Brian Huskey’s Chet looks in a sumo match. But compared to what is happening in the bowels of Childrens Hospital though, the Japan stuff can’t compete.
Agee is great as the scientist who can’t get a break, and watching Rob Corddry as Blake mindlessly running around the environment finding new ways to accidentally kill himself is a great bit of silent humor, some of the funniest material of the episode.
In the end, there is the slightest explanation as to how Blake can be back since Cutter Spindell is dead also, as the end credits state “Introducing Rory Spindell as Blake Downs.” It all doesn’t really matter, and except for the possibility that it’ll be explained in the likely Newsreaders season finale, it doesn’t need to be. It’s just enjoyable to watch how insane Childrens Hospital can get and keep going even after killing off its most recognizable character.
Welcome back, Childrens Hospital. You’re as weird and insane as ever.