Transplant Season 1, Episode 1 recap: An exciting new medical drama

TRANSPLANT -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir "Bash" Hamed -- (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC)
TRANSPLANT -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir "Bash" Hamed -- (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC) /

Transplant Season 1, Episode 1 recap: Pilot

Transplant is a fitting title for a medical drama that is quite literally, a transplant. The Canadian medical drama is one of several shows purchased by the networks to fill up sparse COVID-affected fall television schedules. Luckily for us, Transplant Episode 1 proves that this medical drama might be a breath of fresh air for the genre.

We’re quickly introduced to lead character Bashir ‘Bash’ Hamed (Hamza Haq), who works at a cook in a small restaurant. Bash is quite savvy in the kitchen, likely having worked there for some time now. Throughout the pilot episode, we learn his skills would be better used as a doctor, as his surgical prowess is quite impressive.

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He gets to put those skills to the test almost immediately when a truck crashes into the restaurant, leaving multiple people seriously injured, including Bash. After he gets his scrapes briefly figured out, Bash quickly starts to try and save everyone he can.

Among the patients strewn across the wreckage is his uncle, who has blood pooling behind his eye.

In a rather gruesome moment, Bash cuts the corner of his eye to allow the blood to get out, so he doesn’t go blind. Bash also helps get a woman named Alice de Marco’s (Lesley Pahl) heart started again and drills a Burr hole in Doctor Jed Bishop’s (John Hannah) head to prevent a hematoma.

Of course, at the time of all the chaos, Bash only knows who Bishop and his family are, and he’s stressed that he can’t find his friend Khaled (Fayçal Azzouz). Before he can do anything else, the paramedics arrive, escorting him and the rest of the patients to the hospital.

There, Bash is immediately restless as he both tries to inform the doctors what he already knows about their new patients and to leave as soon as he can to get back to his sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus). In the process, he saves yet another life when he sees a young boy choking. Doctor Theo Hunter (Jim Watson) witnesses Bash’s heroic act, luckily, since both the boy’s father and the racist Officer D. Reid (Matthew MacFadzean) react poorly to what they view as an attack.

Unfortunately, Officer Reid immediately racially profiles Bash and assumes he might have been the truck driver, or at least know who he is.

Doctor Magalie ‘Mags’ LeBlanc (Laurence Leboeuf) pulls Bash aside to dress his wounds, which gives him a reprieve from Reid. She’s called away on a Code Blue, which offers Bash a chance to sneak out of the hospital. He races to a night class at the ESL School and finds Amira isn’t there. At his apartment, he finally meets up with Khaled.

Transplant Episode 1
TRANSPLANT EPISODE 1 — Pictured: Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed — (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC) /

He admits he ran away from the restaurant because he doesn’t have papers. Bash says it was a good move, considering his run-in with the cops. Bash is a Syrian refugee, and it seems like Khaled might be as well. Luckily for Khaled, the only thing wrong with him is a dislocated shoulder, which  Bash quickly fixes before suggesting he rest and wait there in case Amira comes back.

Khaled then says what we’re all thinking, “you shouldn’t be working at a restaurant.”

Bash’s next stop is his landlord’s apartment. He tells him Amira came by to call the hospital after she saw the news of the accident on TV; a jump-cut shows us Amira has arrived at the hospital in search of her brother.

Thankfully, the woman at the front desk lets her stay there, and the two finally reunite. Bash finally gives her a birthday gift too since it turns out that it is her 12th birthday. It’s a cell phone, something that she could certainly have used a little earlier!

But the happiness brought on by the reunion is short-lived as Bash turns around and finds himself face-to-face with Officer Reid yet again. Cuffed to a hospital bed with Amira resting beside him, at least Reid finally returns when he reveals they identified the truck driver. His brakes failed, and he jumped out of the truck, resulting in him being crushed under the wheels. It really was just an accident, a horrific one, but an accident nonetheless.

Before Bash can leave, he’s told that someone wants to see him — it’s Jed Bishop, the head of the hospital and the man whose life Bash saved that evening. We find out that the two had previously met when Jed interviewed Bash for a job and decided not to hire him.

At least now, he realizes he might have made a mistake!  He asks Bash if they can get a do-over of the interview and requests he tells him a little about himself.

Transplant Episode 1
TRANSPLANT EPISODE 1 — Pictured: Laurence Leboeuf as Dr. Magalie Leblanc — (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC) /

Transplant Episode 1 recap: What is wrong with Alice de Marco’s heart?

As mentioned, Alice was the victim who Bash resuscitated at the restaurant. Both Mags and Doctor June Curtis (Ayisha Issa) are at a loss as to how to help Alice, especially as she crashes. They know she has some serious underlying heart condition that was triggered by the trauma of the crash.

They’re forced to put her into an induced coma until they can assess what is wrong with her. June believes that Alice needs a heart transplant, but Mags feels that’s a significant leap when they haven’t finished running tests. The person who will have to decide all of this is Alice’s daughter, Emma de Marco (Victoria Diamond), who shows up at the hospital with a sobbing baby.

From her harried look and stressful tenor when speaking the doctors, she’s overwhelmed. She doesn’t know anything about her mother’s medical history and reveals her father passed away from cancer a year before. The idea of making a serious, potentially life-changing decision for her mom is daunting.

Still, she ultimately agrees to sign the papers to get her mom on a transplant list if that’s what June and Mags think is the next step. Before they can make any big steps, however, Mags happens to cross paths with Bash. It comes shortly after she hears Theo confirm that Bash was the one who saved the choking kid from earlier.

She starts to piece together that he was the one saving everyone at the restaurant, especially after he tried to warn her about Alice earlier in the episode. Cornering him, Mags asks Bash to tell her everything he knows. With his advice, she starts to piece together what is really wrong with Alice, something she hadn’t considered before.

The baby Emma was holding was actually Alice’s baby. Having a child so late in life caused her to develop postpartum cardiomyopathy, which is a rare condition. Both she and June take the news to Bishop after he wakes up, revealing what they learned and apologizing for the missteps they took when overlooking what was right in the front of them.

In the end, it turns out okay for Alice, who is put on a course of medication and wakes up from her coma to greet Emma and her newborn.

Transplant Episode 1
TRANSPLANT EPISODE 1 — Pictured: (l-r) Laurence Leboeuf as Dr. Magalie Leblanc, Kenny Wong asArnold De Luca– (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC) /

Transplant Episode 1 recap: Who is Jed Bishop?

The other prominent patient from the accident site is, of course, the legendary Jed Bishop. We don’t get to see him in action in Transplant Episode 1, but based on the way all of the doctors speak of him with an air of reverence, it’s obvious he’s the top dog.

It’s even easy for the staff to believe that Jed saved all of those patients, despite having a growing hematoma, and they even wonder if he drilled the Burr hole in his own head, no matter how crazy that would be. Anything seems to be possible for Doctor Bishop.

Luckily, he survives his craniotomy; a procedure June is not allowed to participate in, I noticed. I wonder if that’s something that might be explored in a later episode. Was there a significant reason June was shot down when she volunteered to scrub in on the surgery? It felt like a slight microaggression.

Once he’s relatively recovered and sitting up in his bed, Jed gets visits from Mags and June, who clear up what happened with Alice, and also from Doctor Claire Malone (Torri Higginson), who appears to know him pretty well. She comments that no one came to visit him in the hospital while he was unconscious except for other doctors.

Finally, as mentioned above, Jed asks to see Bash once he learned what happened. It looks like he’s having second thoughts about not hiring him in the past, and it’s pretty easy to predict that he will be a working member of the hospital come next week’s episode!

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What did you think about Transplant Episode 1? Are you planning to keep watching the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

New episodes of Transplant air Tuesday nights on NBC.