J.D., Elliot, and Dr. Cox are fed up with Sacred Heart’s new chief of medicine, Dr. Maddox, whose tyrannical nature makes it impossible for them to provide genuine care for their patients. Dr. Cox leads the others against Maddox and an unlikely alliance is made to oust this common enemy.
The Good Doctor
This episode begins with a bearded J.D. complaining about how the new chief of medicine, Dr. Maddox, goes around policing everyone. Clips reveal that it is impossible for J.D. to perform any procedure on his patients without Maddox barking orders over his shoulder. J.D.’s complaints are interrupted by Dr. Cox, who never misses an opportunity, such as this one, to tell J.D. that he is better than him. Dr. Cox, according to himself, still manages to bend the rules without Maddox’ knowledge, and can therefore provide better care for his patients. "I am a much, much better doctor than you," he tells J.D.
Speak of the Devil
Dr. Maddox makes an appearance and lays out a few rules, the most memorable of which is that if anyone sees a spider: kill the hell out of it… no exceptions.
Take the Red Pill
J.D. and Elliot are treating a Mr. Roselle for multiple-sclerosis. Roselle claims that one of his symptoms is color-blindness. Later, J.D. hands Roselle a cup with several pills in it and tells him that the red one will kill the pain. Roselle unthinkingly grabs the red pill, and as J.D. leaves the room with Elliot he whispers in her ear that Roselle is not color blind, jumping to the conclusion that he is just another pill junkie trying to score a fix. When J.D. and Elliot expose his lie, Roselle confesses that it is in fact his daugher who needs treatment for M.S. She doesn’t have insurance, so they were using his policy to treat her ailment. J.D. decides: "We should do the right thing," and offers his care to Roselle’s daughter.
Th Devil You Know…
Elsewhere, Dr. Cox and Dr. Maddox butt heads. Maddox tells Dr. Cox that his last name "Cox" is ridiculous, and calls him out on him trying to get around her. Dr. Cox protests that they should release a hypochondriac patient whose only symptoms include "heavy breathing", but Maddox shoots him down by saying that she intends to bleed his insurance policy dry. She overrides his concern for a patient by voicing her desire to buy expensive, new equipment for the hospital. Dr. Cox resolves to get rid of Maddox, and tells Kelso, whose retirement is spent feasting on free muffins in the hospital’s cafeteria. Kelso says that the only reason Dr. Cox hates Dr. Maddox, is because Cox misses the way things were done under Kelso’s command. This fantasy is initially denied.
Maddox confronts J.D. and Elliot, telling them that she discovered Sorelle’s scam and had him booted from the hospital. She dons a develish smile and says "I love being the bad one." Dr. Cox tells Maddox that she is making it impossible to actually help patients: all she cares about is money. Maddox agrees that her priorities are not the patients themselves, but their wallets. She looks around and asks everyone crowded behind Dr. Cox if they share his feelings about her. All raise their hands, so she puts their worries to rest by assuring them that she doesn’t give a rat’s ass what they think.
J.D., Elliot, Dr. Cox, Jordan, and Janitor sit at a few tables, sulking. "She’s untouchable," Elliot despairs. J.D. claims he can get rid of any woman, and putting on his daydream face becomes as useless as ever. Janitor rattles off clever ways by which she might be killed. Jordan suggests that they enlist the help of Kelso, who has all the dirt on the hospitals board members, to blackmail them into firing Dr. Maddox. Reluctantly, Dr. Cox approaches Kelso and tells him how he really feels. Dr. Cox claims that he hated Kelso for being such a hard/cruel man, but sensed that Kelso was burdened by his position, and showed at least a shred of humanity and compassion for the patients at Sacred Heart. Kelso, touched by Dr. Cox’ words, upholds his end of the bargain. Maddox is fired, but approaches the gang and begins to yell at them about how she will only be replaced by someone just like her, and that nothing ever changes; relationships never change, people never change. As she rants, Maddox begins to fade into non-existence and disappears completely.
This episode was unusual in the sense that Dr. Cox sets aside his disdain for… well… everyone, so as to unite them against their new, common enemy. The show’s two most hard-headed cynics, Cox and Kelso, drop their gloves for a moment to find a way to cure Sacred Heart of Dr. Maddox. For once, everyone is acting as a team. Even the title: My Saving Grace, implies that the characters are digging deep, even looking to their enemies, to reach salvation.
Maddox’ makes no attempt to hide her true character. She tells Dr. Cox that his last name is ridiculous… an irony that is both obvious and clever. It is obvious in that Maddox is played by an actress whose last name is "Cox", which makes her the pot calling the kettle black. It is clever because Maddox’ character within the show is the very definition of the word hypochrite. She is employed under the title: Chief of Medicine, but providing quality care for patients is the furthest thing from her mind, and she claims to have an extreme hatred for spiders even though she kinda is one.
Carla frames Maddox’ demise by approaching an intern who is obviously headed down a road similar to Maddox’. Already Katie has earned a reputation for being an egocentric, know-it-all bitch… and, though she is only an intern, nobody likes her. Carla warns Katie that if she continues to evolve in this way, the family that they have at the hospital will unite and "eat [her]", just as they have done to Maddox.
As Maddox fades into nothing she calims that nothing ever changes. She even specifies relationships and people as examples of things that will never change. Yet her words are spliced with clips of Kelso and Dr. Cox sitting in harmony, and Katie apologizing for her behavior.
Recap by Jonathan Friedler