The episode was, overall, the best I had seen thus far into the second season. It's on the same level as the episode 2.03 "Time Out Of Mind". Such an intense and mystery of an episode, this one. Especially with the amazing chosen cast. Including our lovely Badger (a la Firefly, played by Mark Sheppard), who plays our lovely mysterious psychotic spirit of madness. To which I'll get to in a minute.
One of the main things about Medium is that even though you know what's happening, you are never quite clear on what exactly the string of events that had occurred are to make that particular thing happened. So in the beginning when Allison is dreaming of Dr. Walker (Mark Sheppard), we are inside of a meat deli and he's buying severed fingers, and as he turns to the camera, talking directly to the audience and specifically to Allison, she abruptly awakens inside a room --- to which fans and constant watchers of the show would assume would be somewhere in the D.A.'s office --- and then we see that she is actually being arrested for assault, as the preview from last week suggested. This is where the audience is following but are still in the dark as to why she'd been placed under arrest. Then we have flashbacks to the beginning of the events, being five days earlier prior to the arrest. Normally it would be frustrating to see flashbacks and then back to present day to figure out what's happening, but in Medium, much like Firefly has that certain little twist to it that makes it interesting to watch and has those moments where you are so drawn into what's happening that you just don't want to leave....and then get angry when they cut to commerical.
This episode was based around Mark Sheppard's character, Dr. Walker, as he had appeared twice now in the show; this is why Allison knows him and understand that whenever he's around something is going to happen. Dr. Walker is a spirit from the early 20th century that appears as a persuader of doctor's to brutally slice and dice young girls. They cannot see him, only hear them; he is that little voice inside their heads that tells them to do things, and that's what makes his character so terrifyingly brilliant. Other than Dr. Walker being the main villain in this case, Allison's oldest daughter, Ariel, is also the main point of it too. Normal problematic pre-teenager things happening, where a boy asks her to a party and she has a crush on him, but he's older than she is, and Allison and Joe forbid her to see him outside of school, so on and so forth. However, our lovely Dr. Walker makes conversation with Ariel, and she doesn't seem the least bit curious to his presence or even asks for his name; she only presumes that he is the new librarian at her school, so talks to him willingly.
For the record, I'm definitely not a huge fan of Ariel's character only because I find that she can be brattish sometimes, especially to her younger and adorable sister, Brigette. However, I give major props to the actress that creates that character --- you want her to learn her lesson, but understand quickly that even she doesn't know what's happening. As stated, she starts talking privately to Dr. Walker, not realizing that he is a ghost/spirit taking advantage to her vulnerability. And the string of events is when Allison starts recognizing Dr. Walker being that "voice" inside another doctor, who happens to be the father of the boy Ariel has a crush on. And the dreams she has change when she's trying to find Ariel at the party and find the her daughter's blood, and the doctor hovering over her. And I loved her just going into full mother-mode and worrying endlessly over her daughter's safety, as if the world was to end if anything happened to her. Misleadings, misunderstandings, and manipulations due to all but Dr. Walker, who knew who Allison was and didn't want her getting in the way of his work.
The statement and moral lesson in this episode has a few themes: Never talk to strangers, even if they seem friendly and willing to help, never talk about personal issues unless you know they are safe and that they are, in fact, really there. Which in Ariel's case, she did neither. She only assumed, which is extremely dangerous, especially for a young girl. Listen to your parents, even if their rules seem unfair. Ariel again, didn't listen; although it was mainly Dr. Walker who'd persuaded her to disobey her parents, it's definitely something she should've considered. Another theme is don't jump to conclusions like Allison did, although it was a mother's concern and fear that led to her outburst of violence, all because of our main manipulator, Dr. Walker, had tricked her into thinking of was the boy's father when it really wasn't.
Another theme, which is constantly a theme in Medium, is the relationships between parents and their children. Especially relationships between spouses. In "Doctor's Orders" you see the dedicated between Allison and Joe, and their relationship not only with each other but with their children. It's sweet and realistic to family relationships. Which is why I adore this show. The realistic elements unlike most shows have nowadays; it's nice and refreshing.
Ariel's remorse for worrying them definitely is a turning point of her actions; in hindsight, Ariel should've seen something coming because she has the gift like her mother --- but she was driven by her ambitions and blinded to the reality that was happening. I'm still not quite sure if Allison has told Ariel of her gift, for that could've been helpful especially once he appeared at the party suddenly, in that fine suit, making him stand out from the teenagers. That should've clued it, but she'd trusted him way too much. Again, moral issue, don't trust strangers.
I liked the ending, once Allison figures out that it was all a trick that she immediately goes into action without actually being "in the action", since she was in a jail cell awaiting her punishment sentencing and all. Dr. Walker, as soon as the plan goes AWOL, is getting angry at the other doctor he tried to persuade for giving up and not being strong enough to listen to him --- and him yelling at the young woman, "Stop crying! Nothing happened!" was really great comedy. As creepy as Mark Sheppard created the character, he surely has that Badger-instinct and comical responses. Much love for that man, really. And then his "I hate the 21st century" was genius, as well.
Other than this episode being completely phenomenal and amazing throughout, the amount of guest-stars without them being guest-stars was great; the casting was wonderful as well. Ariel's crush was played by a boy that had appeared a couple of times on Law and Order shows, and the boy's father, as my mother had recalled, was the father on Beverly Hills 90210. And, of course, the lovely and great Badger (Mark Sheppard).
Overall, the episode takes the cake for this season for me, along with other great episodes. And as I do recall, we have at least three more episodes before this season wraps up --- and there was no "Next Week" previews. Boo. Nevertheless, I LOVE this show. LOVE Patricia Arquette. Love, Love, LOVE!