BBC This Is Going To Hurt

BBC One’s This Is Going To Hurt: the internet reacts to the final episode of the medical drama and its important ode to Shruti and the NHS

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With last week’s episode trickling into the finale of This Is Going To Hurt, we always knew the final episode was going to be harrowing – here’s how the internet reacted to it.

Content note: this article contains references to suicide that readers may find upsetting.

Spoiler alert: if you have not yet seen the final episode of the BBC’s This Is Going To Hurt and wish to know nothing about the plot, please look away now.

Over the course of seven weeks, the drama of This Is Going To Hurt has made us laugh, cry and rejoice – all in equal measure.

The Adam Kay adaptation was long-anticipated ever since its announcement, and it’s finally drawn to an emotional close with the finale airing last night (22 March). After the tragic loss of Shruti at the end of last week’s episode, it was hard to imagine how the series could pick up from that.

Is it going to be a teary final episode? Will it focus solely on Shruti? These were just a couple of questions swirling through our mind before tuning in, but we needn’t have worried. The dark humour and odd lightness of the series comes into its own in the finale – providing some kind of relief against the heartbreak of Shruti’s suicide.

While the episode contains much medical room drama, bloody baby deliveries and Ben Whishaw’s addictively sarcastic performance, it does include one particular scene that will linger with viewers long after watching. 

This Is Going To Hurt BBC
Ambika Mod stars as Shruti in BBC's This Is Going To Hurt.

Throughout this episode, Adam (Whishaw) is wracked with guilt around Shruti’s death – so much so that he doesn’t properly introduce himself as Shruti’s boss to her parents at her hospital memorial. He sees visions of her as he traipses through the halls and his guilt is only heightened by the fact that Mr Lockhart (Alex Jennings) says he should blame the tribunal – which was brought about by a complaint over the changing of medical notes – on Shruti.

Lockhart has no qualms in blaming the whole affair on Shruti and simply says: “She and she alone knocked over the first domino … Who’s to know?”

The Adam we’ve come to know over the series is cut-throat and underhanded in some ways, which adds to the sense of unknowing throughout the episode. What will he choose to do? Will he do as Lockhart suggests or will his guilt around Shruti force him to tell the truth?

It’s something we’re forced to contemplate throughout the episode, and only after an honest admission that medicine has “ruined [his] life” do we start to understand what he may have done at the tribunal. A flashback scene to the dark and grey room in which Adam has to give a statement reveals the truth. 

This Is Going To Hurt
Ambika Mod alongside Ben Whishaw as Shruti in BBC's This Is Going To Hurt.

We were expecting an admission of guilt or a lie, but if you sit up and listen to one scene in particular throughout this final episode, it has to be this one. He says:

“On the day in question, I was working alongside an SHO colleague called Shruti Acharya.

“She asked me to review the patient in triage and then she assisted me with the caesarean. Dr Acharya has since … Dr Acharya has since taken her own life.

“On the morning she died, Shruti found out she’d passed her Obs and Gynae membership exams – exams she worked ridiculously hard for on top of the 90-hour weeks, on top of this complaint. But she didn’t see this as a success.

“The idea of carrying on working in a broken system under shoddy conditions didn’t feel like any kind of future.

“She was a great doctor – kind, focused, determined. And it was still too much for her.” He shrugs and admits: “It’s too much for anyone.” 

BBC This Is Going To Hurt
The finale of BBC's This Is Going To Hurt airs tonight at 9pm.

Adam continues: “One doctor in this country takes their own life every three weeks. It should be a national fucking headline every time it happens, and instead, it’s just brushed under the carpet.

“Doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, physios – a million and a half of them … they don’t do this for the money, for the kudos, for the anything. They do it because they care.

“Day in, day out – going the extra mile to keep the rest of us on the road. That’s a pretty fucking special thing. And you could do yourselves a favour to remember that once in a while.”

It’s a speech that’s delivered to a small room of people in a BBC series but the reality of what he’s saying feels like the words are being spoken directly to the viewer, making for a raw and honest reflection. Continually, we’ve seen the lengths NHS workers have to go to within their jobs through the format of this series. The exhaustion, the lack of workplace boundaries, the toll on their mental health.

The speech is already an emotional scene, but it’s also interwoven with past clips of Adam teaching Shruti about delivery, newborn babies and his team of midwives. Adam may not be able to give up medicine, and that’s fine because he’s been forced to adopt a new outlook on the way he works and how he nurtures junior doctors like Shruti. 

BBC This Is Going To Hurt
Ben Whishaw delivers a stellar performance as Adam in the adaptation series.

In a scene reminiscent of the chaotic start to the series, he goes on to deliver a baby in the hospital parking lot and it cements the fact that life does continue in the face of tragedy – just in a newfound and more reflective way.

This Is Going To Hurt may have made us laugh and gasp like any great drama should, but it also delivered an honest depiction of the NHS that we haven’t seen on the small screen before. And that’s reason enough to watch it, we say.

It seems as though fans of the series agree too, with many reflecting on the state of the NHS after watching the emotional final episode:

We may have procrastinated a bit watching it but that’s purely because we didn’t want it to end:

All of the acting in This Is Going To Hurt was stellar but come on, we need to take a moment for comedian Ambika Mod aka Shruti:

Director Tom Kingsley treated us to some important (and incredibly insightful) behind-the-scenes shots of the series:

Which underlined just how hard everyone (including NHS staff) worked on the BBC series:

One thing’s for certain, though, a series like this will linger with viewers long after watching:

All episodes of This Is Going To Hurt are available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.

If you need to talk to someone, Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call for free on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch. 

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Images: BBC

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