Off The Map: This Is What We Made Matt Saracen Do

I am neither a cartographer nor a geographer, but the opening card of Off The Map looks like it is lying to me.

Because that kind of looks like where they shot Lost. Also, this

kind of looks like this.


So, I have my suspicions this is not South America. And there are other things! 

Off the Map is about a clinic in a remote area of SOUTH AMERICA. It is from the same people who brought us Grey’s Anatomy. As we open, three doctors (ruggedly handsome/stubbly/long-haired Ben, tall/dark/handsome/well-manicured facial hair Otis, and America-hating Zita) stand on a cliff, watching some people almost drown. Just watching. “Hey, look at those drowning people,” they say. “Oh shit, we’re doctors? Let us help them.” Dr. Longhair takes off his shirt, jumps in and we are OFF THE MAP.

Back at the clinic, as the bad lady vampire from Twilight rushes to the airport, a new crop of doctors arrive. They are the driven Lily, the driven Mina, and Matt Saracen. They all come to the clinic looking for a fresh start. What they get is a sting ray-ectomy.

Sweet doctoring, Dr. Longhair.

Matt Saracen is really psyched about going to the beach (when in Rome, QB1!). He is also really psyched that he won’t get sued for malpractice. (He talks a lot about sunscreen and boobs. This is not the Matt Saracen of Friday Night Lights or the Matt Saracen of Post-Grad). However, that gets on Otis’s nerves, so he sends Matt Saracen on a far away house call. Matt Saracen is guided by the young translator, Charlie. Witty banter ensues.

Dr. Longhair needs either Mina or Lily to do some extreme doctoring with him. Lily was a grrrl scout, so she gets the nod. Mina gets to stay at the clinic and almost murder elderly asthmatics.

Matt Saracen and Charlie get to the house call. The patient Otis sent them to check on has died of tuberculosis. She was on a working treatment but her husband made an executive decision to cut out the treatment. Hence, death. Now, the children are sick. QB1 tries to treat them but their father refuses. Matt Saracen says whatevs and leaves.

Lily handles her extreme zip line doctoring really well and manages to cut Michael McKean from danger. She and Dr. Longhair give Michael McKean a transfusion using fruit juice, because the jungle. There is some CHEMISTRY between them. There is also some chemistry as Michael McKean tells Lily about his recently passed wife and how he was going to scatter her ashes in a lake. As he’s being airlifted to a real hospital, Lily realizes McKean hasn’t scattered the ashes yet, so she takes him and Dr. Longhair on a canoe to do some ash scattering. The first line of the jungle Hippocratic oath is “Do no harm, but more importantly, make sure your emotions cloud your better medical judgment.” Conveniently, Lily and Dr. Longhair are both sympathetic to Michael McKean’s cause since they have recently lost loved ones. That means they are going to fuck in seven episodes.

Zita hate Americans.

Otis is upset that Matt Saracen did not treat the children. He gives Matt Saracen an ultimatum: treat the children, or go home. Matt and Charlie set out again. Things go mostly the same again, until Matt Saracen gives an emotional speech that transcends language.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t speak Spanish!

Meanwhile, back at the clinic, Mina keeps looking for exotic diseases, because jungle, and misses obvious ailments like tennis elbow and asthma. Her coworkers begin referring to her as abrasive and a bitch, which I found a little unwarranted since Mina just seemed like a person dealing with a tough first day at work. She explains she is so serious because she missed a meningitis diagnosis when working twenty hours a day in two hospitals, so a child died. This missing diagnoses thing is a pattern with her. She eventually corrects her asthma mistakes and gives her patient an inhaler. There is also a light-hearted scene where Matt Saracen asks if Mina would ever sleep with him. Mina says no, which is weird because, objectively, Matt Saracen is a handsome man. Sure, Off the Map Matt Saracen is kind of a douche, but damn girl.

After their difficult first days, the new kids gather and drink some beers, because the clinic has a full bar. They then go off in the jungle in the night to go to the beach. This show has a very loose concept of “beach” as the gang arrives at the cliffs from the beginning of the episode . They all jump off.

The vampire from the beginning returns to Dr. Longhair’s office. She evidently runs away from the clinic a lot because she is a great doctor. She also may be romantically involved with Dr. Longhair but things on that front are vague.

Just think, if we had all watched Friday Night Lights when it was on NBC, Matt Saracen wouldn’t have to be on this show. He could be on the sixth smash season of Friday Night Lights and it would be on for twelve more years and be constantly great. 😦 However, the show does shoot in Hawaii, so good for you, Matt Saracen! Enjoy the sunshine.

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