Fangirl Sunday – Three Rivers EP 8 “The Kindness of Strangers”

This week we have a difficult episode for a number of reasons — first off, we have the post-“The Luckiest Man” letdown: ANY episode of television would suffer in comparison to “The Luckiest Man;” next, this episode doesn’t especially feature Andy or David (David doesn’t even appear until nearly the 14 minute mark and disappears well before the end) instead focusing mainly on Dr. Jordan’s patient, Tracy Warren. Finally, the show opens with a murder, an intentional act of violence unlike anything we’ve seen before on Thee Rivers – so it sets a very different tone.

Donor 1: Fred, a good Samaritan, slightly creepy dude, murder victim

Donor 2: Unknown Person, likely a Chinese prisoner who was executed and whose organs were sold on the black market

Recipient: Tracy Warren, good-hearted philanthropist, wife of a tech billionaire

Medical Dilemma: Does having money entitle a person to better health care/quicker access to medical care? What are the pros and cons of having a transplant waiting list system as we do in the United States?


The scene opens at night, with a young woman attempting to change her car’s flat tire. Hearing a car come around the bend, she turns to see, and a man in a mechanic’s jumpsuit (who according to IMDB is named Fred) gets out of his truck to help her. After some small talk, he seems to be making progress with the tire change, but while his back was turned, a young man with a gun has come around the other side of the car – it was a set up. They take the man’s wallet and shoot him, all apparently premeditated and planned. A very cold opening indeed!


At Three Rivers, Andy is treating an ER patient named Nick, a young man who fell down his attic stairs. He has broken his clavicle and the shattered bone pierced an artery so he will require surgery to repair it. Nick is in a great deal of pain.


Across the country in San Fransisco, a swanky fundraiser is underway, checks are written and the cocktails are flowing. The glamorous couple who appear to be hosting this gala are walking around the room together. She is the primary force behind this event. He isn’t a fan of the small-talk circuit, but not because he’s uncharitable — quite the contrary, he mentions he’ll be going to Indonesia in their private jet the very next day on a mission of mercy. She’ll be staying in San Francisco to spend the money raised tonight on relief kits for victims of natural disasters. It’s just easier if we think of these two as Bill and Melinda Gates. As she leaves the podium after thanking her guests, MelindaTracy collapses on the carpet…. oh noooooo…..


The next morning(? it’s never really made clear…) Melinda and Bill Tracy and John are in a room at Three Rivers and on a first name basis with Nurse Pam. Dr. Jordan comes in to introduce herself and deliver the news on Tracy’s condition: her liver is non-functional at this time. Tracy had contracted Hepatitis A while doing charity work in Angola, and stress and dehydration back at home exacerbated the condition. She will need a liver transplant. Tracy takes this with good grace. She and John had already planned for this – he is a match for her so can donate her a lobe of his liver. Unfortunately (get used to that word in this episode) Tracy’s condition has leap-frogged past the point where a lobe of John’s liver will help. She needs a 100% new, whole liver. John freaks out a little bit that their plan has been scuttled but Tracy soothes him. Dr. Jordan comments that Tracy’s karma score is probably off the charts, so a hopefully a new liver should come her way soon.


Kuol makes an appearance! He corners Andy at a workstation fussing with the electronic medical records, and when Andy won’t pay him any attention, he pulls away the keyboard and goes to his website. Taa-daa! Andy and Pam are super impressed as Kuol has raised almost $150,000 towards his medical care! Kuol modestly says it’s the picture of The Great Doctor Yablonksi (TGDY is now a thing, ok?) that has raised the money and I suppose Kuol has a point there if he’s inferring that Andy’s face is money!


In Nick’s recovery room, he’s short-tempered and tense, not being very considerate of his wife Beth’s feelings of concern for him. Nick admits to Dr. Foster that he didn’t trip and fall down the stairs, as everyone assumed, but in fact he lost consciousness; this coming after a few weeks of headaches and body aches. Miranda orders up some further tests for Nick.


Back in Youngstown, a priest is giving last rites to our unlucky Samaritan, apparently now brain dead after being shot. The priest gives specific blessing to Fred’s generosity so that others may live, an indication of his impending organ donation.

Quick cut to Andy at a meeting of the Transplant Committee, making a case for Kuol. Could this be the day? He recaps all of Kuol’s tribulations up until this point and the physicians vote unanimously to list Kuol for transplant. Hooray!


The news is on in Tracy’s room, telling us the “Bonnie and Clyde” wannabes from the opening scene have been arrested for murder (double hooray!) as Dr. Jordan enters and lets them know they have found Tracy a liver! (We know of course it’s Fred’s.) They gratefully accept. After Dr. Jordan leaves, Tracy wants to talk worst case scenario with John, but he doesn’t want to hear it – he is certain she will be fine and will not hear talk of any other outcome. Everything is going according to his plan, and I think John is a bit of a control freak.


David and Pam banter as they head off to Youngstown for the liver and on their way out the door receive some awkward clarica from Ryan about how John is a tech billionaire… which we already knew. But whatever! Thanks Ryan!


Andy gets a call on his cell from “Michael” which seems to rattle him, and he makes plans to meet the mysterious caller for lunch. Miranda interrupts his thoughts with bad news on the Nick front. His tests results came back exceptionally odd. Andy re-examines Nick, who is looking really terrible and suffering intensely. Miranda questions Beth and we learn that this couple has been together less than a year, eloped, and still are learning about each other. Nick is only semi-employed and under a great deal of stress. The questions don’t reveal a lot of answers for our doctors.


In Youngstown, David and Pam are procuring the liver when David calls for a pathologist. He sees something that may be a tumor on Fred’s liver… unfortunately, it might not be for Tracy after all. Dr. Jordan delivers the bad news to the Warrens. John again freaks out over the change in plan but Tracy is understanding about how things happen. John corners Dr. Jordan in the bullpen and offers to give Three Rivers endowment money, or fund a new capital project — anything to help get Tracy a liver. Dr. Jordan explains that’s not how it works – John will have to wait, just like everyone else.


Steve meets Poppa McG Andy meets Michael for lunch, where they give each other a big bear hug. Michael continues to remind Andy of his childhood life of crime, inferring a Fagin/Artful Dodger style relationship between the two. Michael insists he’s gone legit and wants to earn a place in Andrew’s life again. Andy seems unsure.


Back at the hospital, Andy and Miranda are conferring with two specialists on Nick’s case. A lot of medical blah blah blah as they House it up, but for some reason Andy never tucked his shirt back in and it’s very distracting. More tests are run and they’ve isolated a virus that may be the cause of Nick’s symptoms. Beth wants a second opinion, but Nick just wants to move forward with treatment.


Oh nooooooooooo John has had enough of waiting and has checked Tracy out of Three Rivers AMA. Dr. Jordan is highly concerned! Bye Tracy and John.



Nick is still inpatient, but looking better. He’ll be discharged soon and admits to Miranda that his being in the hospital has been a crutch to help him and Beth avoid their marital problems.

Tracy Warren is back and WAY WORSE. She’s brought in via ambulance and Dr. Jordan removes a bandage to reveal a nasty y-shaped incision across Tracy’s entire abdomen. Jack looks remorseful. He admits to Dr. Jordan he took Tracy out of the country to get a transplant. He begs Dr. Jordan to tell him she’ll be OK but she is merciless and says right now it’s 50/50.

Nick gets a phone call, he answers with a stern “Hey Beth,” but is instantly galvanized into action when the caller turns out to be someone calling on Beth’s behalf – she also has lost consciousness while at home. What a coincidence! Nick is distraught but Miranda convinces him to stay put while Beth is brought in to the Three Rivers ER. She is showing many of the same symptoms Nick originally did. Fearing it is something infectious, Miranda orders them both into isolation.


Meanwhile, Dr. Jordan, Dr. Lee and Nurse Acosta have determined why Tracy has fallen so ill — the liver she was transplanted with was partially necrotic (meaning, dead) and full of parasites — they determine that John must have purchased this liver on the black market. Pam is distressed that the saintly Tracy Warren would have done such a thing. Dr. Jordan is intent on repairing the damage done and saving Tracy if possible. David takes the rest of the episode off. Bye David!


TGDY is running a check-up on Kuol and reports that the VAD is working well. Ryan comes in with a list of the individuals who donated money to Kuol’s fund — but it turns out that even though he raised $150,000, most of the money – $131,000 of it – came from one anonymous source, the transaction being made by an attorney from Mt. Washington, which as we remember is the neighborhood Andy grew up in, and now we know where he led a life of juvenile crime. Thrown by the “exact amount” of $131,000, Andy looks concerned.


Dr. Jordan updates the Warrens on her findings about Tracy’s (partially dead and totally full of parasites) liver. It turns out Tracy didn’t know what John had done. She is horrified that a Chinese prisoner may have been killed so his organs could be sold, but John doesn’t care about her principles, only her life. When he admits exactly what he’d done and would do it again, she asks him to leave.


Nick and Beth reunite in isolation and you can see these two really care for each other. They’re so sweet! Miranda and Andy are still stumped on what’s ailing them, however, and finally narrow it down to the one common denominator these two crazy kids have — their house. A quick search reveals the answer – Nick and Beth’s house had previously been a meth lab – and the chemicals used to make methamphetamine had been in the carpet and walls, and they had been breathing in toxic fumes. Some medicine and a new place to live – and they will be right as rain. Mystery solved!


As expected, Tracy has crashed and needs emergency surgery to save her life – which Dr. Jordan performs successfully. She informs John he can visit Tracy in her recovery room but he admits Tracy doesn’t want to see him. Dr. Jordan points out that Tracy is an incredibly forgiving and generous person, and she just might give him a second chance. He takes her advice, apologizes to Tracy, and it does appear as if she is willing to forgive.


Back at the bar, Andy meets up with Michael and sees he’s still keeping bad company, his earlier statements notwithstanding. Michael confesses he donated the money to Kuol, which he had originally given to Andy for medical school and which Andy had paid back. He saw Andy’s friend needed help and he hopes that in the future if he ever needed help, Andy would be there for him. Andy has no intention of being held to his criminal Uncle Mike, and he leaves the bar, distressed at the turn of events. If he accepts the money for Kuol, he’ll be beholden to his Uncle — but how can he give the money back, if the price is Kuol’s life?



Fred extends his kindness to strangers and is killed for his troubles. Tracy contracts hepatitis and works herself nearly to death fundraising for Tsunami victims, dedicating her life to helping others and treating everyone as her equal. At the end of the day, it is her wealth (or her husband’s wealth) that saves her, not her good karma. Kuol needs money for a heart transplant. When a large anonymous donation appears, it appears his troubles are over, but Andy knows the true, and dirty, source of that money. Is the kindness of strangers really all it’s cracked up to be?

General information on Organ Donation: Becoming a Donor (Organ, Understanding Donation .

If you are not yet a registered organ donor, please consider doing so. You can register here for USA,Canada,Australia, the UK, France and Germany .

Blood donation One alternative to help those with blood loss is blood donation. One pint of blood, which takes about fifteen minutes to donate, can save three lives. And then you get a cookie! Visit America’s Blood Centers to find a donation center near you.

Bone Marrow From the website for the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. “For people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Matchconnects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant.” Imagine if your bone marrow could cure a child with leukemia! I encourage you to visit this website and register as a donor. This is a donation you make while still living and in the words of Rebecca from episode 5, “Alone Together,” “if you save one life, you save the world.”


34 thoughts on “Fangirl Sunday – Three Rivers EP 8 “The Kindness of Strangers”

  1. Thanks again for a great post.

    I remember a few things about this episode. First of all I was really angry after it aired. Because the show was just getting interesting when they took it off the air. I remember how mad I was that Andy was FINALLY getting a juicy story of his own, and then it was over before it even begun. Darn it. Yes, I think Andy was a great character, even though I don’t agree that Alex could put more emotion in this role than he can in McGarrett. On the contrary, Alex can act his little heart out with McG. Simply because his face and showing subtle emotions is mostly the only thing Steve allows to show. And it needs a really good actor to make that character believable, and Alex does that with ease. But I digress. Sorry.

    Where was I, right, being angry at CBS, but hey what else is new? I had one complain about this great show right from the start. You simply can’t hide your main character behind a mask most of the time and not giving him any real action. I mean it was nice to see him interact with his patients, talking to them, consoling them, and so on. But the main character needs more to hold the viewer’s interest. And now he was finally getting that. And what do they do? Pull the plug. Stupid.

    There is one other major thing I remember about the episode. I was asking myself, is Andy really just that little time in the show? Another thing I think added to the demise of Three Rivers. Too many characters that kept the viewers from really identifying with any of them. I don’t think you can have a successful show if the three storylines get the same amount of time during the episode. That doesn’t work. You need an A-plot, B- and C-line. And A has to have the major part in it. I think Three Rivers failed in that department. It’s commendable that they tried something different, but they were doomed to fail.

    A lot of little things were ‘wonky’ about this episode. I think it was one of the weaker ones. Maybe it was because of the high from the previous one, but actually I think it was because the writing for this one was simply off.

    Not much of a pic-spam this week, but I LOVE the last gif with the jacket. That one is really great.

    Oh, and on a side note, of course Andy wears blue in his free time. 🙂

    • Sam, I agree they took too long to really get any meaty character stories going for the main characters. Yet at the same time I really loved what they did with the 3 story lines each week. 😦 I guess they should have vested more at least in Andy from the start…give us more of a reason to love him besides his bed side manner, compassion and his face. LOL!! But that’s the same problem I had with H50 in S1 also, they took too long to develop McG into a fleshed out character with something OTHER than just a backstory. But it worked in H50. I think if they’d given Three Rivers more time, it would have worked itself out, they just didn’t give it time IMO.

      Pic spam was a little short because honestly there was little to work with this week. 😦 The storyline was the big driver of this episode, personally I really liked the stories in this episode and though it didn’t give me my full Andy fix, it did thoroughly entertain me.

      • Entertaining it was, absolutely. And the Andy scenes were great. But all in all I think it was one of the weakest episodes. despite finally getting something for Andy.

      • For me many a sin of the story line in H5-0 are forgiven, because the Pilot was so extremely well done. We did not need elaborate backstories to get us invested in the Ohana.
        One powerful pilot could have done it for Three Rivers as well (I think)
        I think the whole redo of the original scripts and pilot, kind of took away from the creators initiative, other than with Moonlight, were the changes from the original pilot made the story work better. Although maybe in the end the lack of a great pilot in Moonlight might also have been part of its demise. – How many of us have said that we only got into it by Epi 4 or even later.

        • I actually really liked the pilot to Moonlight (the aired pilot) and I was hooked by episode 2. That’s mostly what I’ve heard is epi 2 though a lot of ppl love 4 as their fave episode.

          At any rate, the H50 pilot was rare IMO. Very few shows of any genre has such a quality pilot. I don’t think you can expect other shows to live up to that standard.

    • Agreed with your comment on 3R being overly character heavy-That works on asoapopera where all the time on an ep is devoted to character stuff, but to do it alongside a medical drama where the patients are major players with scenes of their own…. It’s just too much.

      And yeah, not much of a picspam- evenwith the meeting Michael subplot, Andy just wasn’t in as many scenes as he normally is…. Back to your original point!! 🙂

  2. Wow! Great post. That’s one of my favorite episodes of TR.
    Good thing you didn’t post my favorite smile from this episode (though, you kinda did, just from other side), or I would start kissing my laptop. Aww, my Mom is already giving me the “WTF” look, I wish you could see her right now, LOL.
    So, just 5 more episodes, huh? That will go over sooo soon (maybe we could do a little bit of Mick posts, please-please?!)
    Have a great day!

    • Which was your favorite smile?

      5 more episodes.
      FU CBS
      FU CBS
      FU CBS
      FU CBS
      FU CBS

      Can we do a little bit of Mick? Hmmmm…. I’ll get with my editors and see if we can possibly swing something. I AM in need of a little Mick love. The problem is, I need to do some website updates and catch up on a few projects that will hopefully make the season go a lot smoother. Nothing you all will probably notice, just stuff behind the scenes. The month between the end of 3R and the beginning of S4 will be a great time for me to catch up on all that. 😦

      • Hi!

        My favorite smile from this eppy is actually third picture in PIC SPAM (in the bar with Michael) – which is also from the other side in screencaps above. Just the one when we see it from the front side is not the one you posted… thta picture is on my cellphone, laptop screensaver, PC screensaver, as poster on wall in my bedroom… just about everywhere when I can see it all day long – so this post was kind of refreshment of that, with lots of pics of his eyes, thanks for that

  3. Great recap! Thanks! I was happy to learn more about Andy’s background, but then I was frustrated that we would probably never learn more.

    • I know what you mean! Part of me really wants to know the whole back story… The other part of me wonders if Andy’s long lost mom would be returning to reveal that Andy’s rival surgeon is actually his half brother…. 😉

  4. Interesting to think of the theme through this episode, money. Medical school, charity fundraising and healthcare all take a lot of money. The kids in the beginning and uncle Mike becoming criminals for money. Kuol’s future in the balance waiting for money.

    Why is Andy so driven? I don’t think it’s money. Power? Redemption?

    Squeeee time. Untucked shirt, yes I was distracted too. I wanted to see more Andy out of the white coat. Ok naked would be the next step but untucked was so adorable. Why yes Andy, I would love to go out with you. A casual bite would be just fine.

    Thanks Steph – Brenda

    • Why is Andy so driven!?! Damn good question there!! Huh.

      Money – nah
      Power – nah
      Redemption – I think it was probably a good source of energy in the beginning

      Honestly I think he just really loved being a doctor. You know how when you find something that you’re good at, you just really love doing it? Possibly redemption and even money and power to a degree got him motivated in the beginning but I didn’t see any signs of that in the Andy we see in these 13 episodes.

      Great question…anyone else care to comment?

      • I think Andy was kind of making up for his past by doing good. Proving maybe he was “better” than the people & place he came from.(he’s Jean Val Jean!) He has that surgeon’s ego — holding up the newspaper next to his face, and the “magic hands” bit, are jokes but not the jokes of a truly humble person. And ego is usually just a mask for insecurity, and with Andy trying to hide his background, I think he’s feeling plenty insecure about his life. (also, I haven’t ever seen the rest of the episodes, so if I’m way off base here, these are just my impressions from having watched only these first 8 eps!) I’m not saying Andy doesn’t have any noble motives — he is a truly caring person, good friend, dedicated to healing people, so while money and prestige don’t strike me as his motives, redemption and separation from his Mt. Washington past, do.

        • I am really sorry real life kind of messed with me on fully partisipating in the re-watches mainly because I did not get a change to watch again and have to work from memory – which is failing me big time these days 😦 . Although I have not commented much, I have read it all as well as the comments. You all are doing a such great job each week with the recaps and I thoroughly enjoy them all. Most of the comments have been so good, not need for me to add to it as well 🙂
          For me the key to what drives Andy, (spesifically as a transplant Dr) is revealed in the next episode (I think, if that is the original pilot redo?) I do not want to spoil next weeks – so I will give my comment then. 😀

          • I hate it when real life doesn’t understand my fangirling needs. ;(. No worries Hun. I totally understand where you’re coming from especially since you have your own blog to keep up with. It’s a LOT of work on top of having a life. I feel the same way about participating on every else’s blogs, I wish I could do more.. So i appreciate what you can share with us.

    • Money-such a theme in this ep!! The Warrens raised millions & all Kuol needed was $150k! And yet rich vs poor get different treatment in the health care system.

      And that untucked shirt! So adorable.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Reading Sam, I realice that maybe ALL of us have the feeling that CBS hasn’t given Alex the chance to show his huge talent as an actor until H50……you know, Moonlight and Three Rivers didn’t even trasmitted through cable in Latin America because they were only one season series….I don’t get why other series last so long ……
    I can’t even remember how I found Moonlight but since the first very moment I fell in love to Alex and I searched all his work done in Australia and the USA and for me he is not only a very good looking actor but a talented and charming one!!!!…….thanks SJ2 for this recap. It is therapeutical for our waiting to H50 S4!!!!

    • I totally agree it is a great thing to have these shorter series to watch over the summers between H50 seasons! 😀 I’m glad you’re reading/watching along with us.

  6. SJ, you did a great recap despite all the reasons that you wrote at your introduction.

    We had “The Kindness of Strangers”. But at what cost?

    A good samaritan that died by helping a young lady? A billionaire’s wife that need a liver transplant and her husband buy one on black market? A young man who always fought to survive and in each episode gave us lessons of hope, strength, kindness and friendship receive the amount of money necessary for his treatment from dubious source? Yes,life is often unfair.

    How unfair we will never know the all story of TGDY.

    Brenda and Ess, i think that Andy is driven by his passion for his job. He loves what he does from the challenge of performing new surgical procedures to the essence of organ donation and second life chances. That makes him TGDY that we all love.

    Thank you.

  7. I’m not sure a comment was meant for me this week – I have now somehow lost/deleted it twice-complete operator idiocy.
    So, kind of a diversive episode – great backstory for Andy, but he wasn’t in the ep much. Rich/poor divide in health care. We meet his uncle (definitely not daddy McG) and casual untucked-shirt (and somewhat aggressive) Andy, but would it have killed them to have one more button undone?

    The young couple was ok, I figured their problem had to be in the house, but the meth angle surprised me. I liked the nod to Dr. House in determining what the culprit was- I wonder if Miranda had to break into their apt? LOL

    The wealthy couple was fairly typical- but for what its worth, she did seem genuinely kind. Of course, I hate (ok totally jealous of) of women like that – smart, beautiful, charitable, kind, etc. she’s off saving the world, contracting Hepatitis in Angola, while I’m on my couch sucking down Two Buck Chuck, texting donations to the Red Cross, leering at pics of AOL… but I digress… But they did find out that maybe money can buy you what you want, but there is always a price to pay.

    I can see the donor stories overwhelming the main characters – did we even see Lisa this ep? It definitely slows the momentum down, really should have hit hard with something right off, instead of a bit here and there. But I’m not a writer, so what do I know?

    Anyway, Kuol was in it, he is listed for donation, so all is good!

    • Duff, I’m glad you kept trying! We would have missed great comment!

      ACA one more button wouldn’t have killed Andy. Maybe us, but not him.

      I didn’t watch enough House to get the coincidence…

      As much as i really wanted to dislike the rich woman, I really liked her. She seemed very genuine and those are rare nowadays.

      “jealous of) of women like that – smart, beautiful, charitable, kind, etc. she’s off saving the world, contracting Hepatitis in Angola, while I’m on my couch sucking down Two Buck Chuck, texting donations to the Red Cross, leering at pics of AOL… but I digress…” – I kinda love you. lol!!

      • I guess three times was the charm to finally post!

        Awww – I kinda love you too Ess! Great blog, gets us through the between season drought… 🙂

    • LOL, excellent comment Duff, I am so glad it made it through!! Totally ACA the balance was off in this ep, even though the Tracy Warren story was really well done, the “where’s Ryan? where’s Dr. Lee? Where’s Lisa?” feelings you get as a viewer just kind of throw me.

Comments are closed.