Five Days at Memorial season 1, episode 1 recap – “Day One”

By Ricky Valero
Published: August 12, 2022
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John Ridley sets us up with a light opening that ends with a serious bang. One of the better-made pilots I’ve seen in recent times.

This recap of the Apple TV+ series Five Days at Memorial season 1, episode 1, “Day One,” contains spoilers. 

Read the review of the series Five Days at Memorial.

The series is based on the actual events of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath that doctors and nurses at Memorial faced after the destruction the Hurricane caused. What happened in the pilot of the series? Let’s dive in.

Five Days at Memorial season 1, episode 1 recap

The episode begins with the news announcing that Hurricane Katrina has moved to a category 5. Next, we see a few boats traveling down the flooding waters and all the wreckage everywhere. Even with just a series, we know this was real and is heartbreaking to watch unfold. A group of people with hazmat suits enter the hospital, where they stumble across carnage from inside the hospital. As one person enters a room that says “do not enter,” they find many dead bodies on the ground.

We transition to now, where Dr. Baltz is being questioned about the 45 dead bodies found in the hospital. Baltz retorts that there were Five Days after the storm with terrible conditions. A back and forth of what transpired within that hospital post-Katrina. The duo is pressing Baltz in trying to figure out how these 45 people died. Baltz becomes somewhat speechless after being pushed too far.

After the opening credits roll (which I love the song they use), we are in the hospital with the staff prepping for the potential hurricane that is ahead. We see Dr. Anna Pou enter the hospital and arrive in the nurse’s room, where the team makes fun of the few little things she brought with her in case they have to stay a few days. Pou reveals that this is her first hurricane in the hospital and hopes things aren’t as bad as they say.

We then see a few men hammering down a metal-like stake that tells them how many feet of rain there is. Currently, it reads a little over a foot and a half. Back in the hospital, the incident commander Susan is rounding everyone up as she is about to break down what is ahead for them in the hospital. She breaks down the rules and how they must follow them to serve the patients throughout the storm.

We see Diane talking with one of the other nurses about which patients need more eyes on them and then visits one of her patients, who seems to be on the mend for what she is going through. Next, we see Dr. Pou on the phone with her husband and wish he was there with her instead of watching over their house. He tells her he needs to watch over the place, and it will only be a day or so before they will be back together.

Now we meet Mark, driving home in the storm, but a downed tree blocks the road, and he is told to go around. Once he gets home, he and his wife overhear the news talking about a mandatory evacuation. This spooks the couple because Mark’s mother is at the hospital. Back to Diane, who goes to see Emmett, the person the nurse, mentioned needed extra eyes on. They have a little conversation about his family and ensure he keeps in contact with them.

Mark calls up to the hospital and get’s his mom on the phone to check up on her. His mom tells him they are taking good care of her and that her nurse Jill is sitting beside her. But unfortunately, in the middle of the conversation, the phone signal dropped. Next, Susan is talking to her mom about how she didn’t realize this was how things would be with her in charge.

The ending

The flooding has begun from the ceiling. First, Diane calls Susan to let her know about the leakage. Next, Susan confronts a gentleman about the leakage, saying it’s just water blowing in possibly. After this, he tells her that the only thing they have to worry about is a flood; if it does, they will have to evacuate. Susan asks him how they are supposed to evacuate, and he tells her he doesn’t know that he’s the incident commander. At this moment, we, as the viewers, realize that Susan was unprepared for what was ahead.

Susan sits down with a massive book to start going over what she is supposed to do with the hospital if it gets flooded. She meets with a bunch of the big wigs of the hospital and tells them there are NO PLANS for an evacuation inside the book. If the basement floods, they lose all their food and supplies, and if there are four feet of water, there are in real trouble. The head-up reminds her that she is the incident commander (which she is tired of hearing) and that any call being made needs to by her.

The wheels are starting to fall off EVERYWHERE. Things are starting to fly through things, the rain is picking up, and we are witnessing the impact of the hurricane hitting the hospital. An older man wanders to the window and looks outside at the events unfolding when Dr. Pou finds him to take him back to his room. As she gets him settled in, a loud noise hits the hospital, and something crashes into Susan’s office, breaking a window. Next, we see the bridge going from one side of the hospital to the other hospital is about to collapse. Dr. Pou calls Susan, and she tells them they must evacuate.

As they begin to evacuate, the water has risen to over three and a half feet. Karen calls Susan and tells her to get them out of there. Susan calls to get everyone down to the basement to get all the food together. Next, she calls Horace and tells them to move the people from admitting to the second floor calmly. Horace tells Dr. Bryant that they need to move them quickly but calmly, NOW.

We are witnessing the hurricane hit and some downright incredible visuals that are terrifying as we see the Lousiana Superdome roof being blown to pieces. Finally, Dr. Pou finds a scared nurse crying, and she saves her and brings her across the walkway, saving her. I am completely floored by the final moments of this episode. My god, I am in awe of John Ridley’s work.

What did you think of the Apple TV+ series Five Days at Memorial season 1, episode 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Apple TV+. 

Apple TV+, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
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