WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Glass, which is currently in theaters.
There’s no more thankless job in sci-fi and horror films than the poor people working as the nursing staff of any hospital that ends up on-screen. They’re always assigned to watch over patients with supernatural abilities, usually without warning or full explanation of the situation. This usually ends up with the nursing staff at best being terrorized, and at worst being cannon fodder for the thing they were supposed to be watching. It’s a thankless job that the nurses in these films usually fail at.
But no hospital staff falters as hard or as frequently as the one from the mental hospital in Glass. The staff is easily manipulated and later dispatched with almost no real effort. Even the supposedly all-powerful cabal of worldwide secret keepers turns out to be incapable of keeping a secret. The doctors, nurses and security guards in Glass are incompetent and the worst hospital staff in movie history.
DUMMY 1 & DUMMY 2
For most of Glass, the story is set in a large mental hospital. Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) serves as the primary psychiatrist for the three “superpowered” characters who have been brought into her care. She’s an expert on “disillusions of grandeur” and hopes to convince Kevin (James McAvoy), David (Bruce Willis) and Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson) that their abilities are just fabrications of their minds. Unfortunately for her, the two primary nurses assigned to help her are completely useless at their jobs, making it incredibly easy for everything to fall apart.
The two nurses, Pierce (Luke Kirby) and Daryl (Adam David Thompson), are aggressively stupid throughout the film, particularly Daryl. To his credit, Daryl is far kinder than Pierce and seems to actually care about his charges. Maybe a bit too much when it comes Kevin, who almost manages to seduce Daryl into coming too far into his room, which would have afforded Kevin a chance to escape.
While Daryl’s habit of being a friendly and talkative guy may endear him to the security guard (who should be patrolling the halls), it also allows Elijah the time to escape his room and engineer his scheme. Daryl ends up getting himself killed when he finds a broken picture frame on the floor of Elijah’s room. Instead of getting something to clean it up or being aware that glass can be used as a weapon, he approaches Elijah, who swiftly slices his throat open with a sharpened piece of glass.
On top of being so obvious that it’s painful (Elijah goes by Mr. Glass and kills someone with glass; the symbolism stands for obviousness), it’s another testament to how useless this staff is. Why would you let someone have glass in their mental hospital room? Even assuming he’s not a threat, that’s still a potential suicide risk! That’s just bad patient care.
Pierce may be a bit more intelligent than Daryl, but even that doesn’t stop him from being an idiot. He’s also a great deal harsher than Daryl, at one point threatening to break Elijah’s leg with his flashlight to intimidate him. So, when Pierce looks through the security cameras to check on Elijah and sees a slumped over Daryl covered in blood in the otherwise empty room, he should already be keenly aware of how much trouble Elijah can be.
Pierce should call any of the security guards, or even just the cops. He should at least call a doctor for his co-worker, who is bleeding out in real time! But, no, Pierce instead goes exploring the dark hospital alone and gets his spine cracked in half by Kevin’s monstrous personality, the Beast. Because he’s dumb.
TRICKLE DOWN STUPID
They’re not the only idiots on staff, though, just the most prevalent. The aforementioned security guards prove to be completely worthless. One of them even just watches as Kevin pushes Elijah down the hall.
Even Dr. Staple, who is revealed to be part of a cabal of powerful people keeping superpowers hidden from the public, doesn’t seem to be very good at containing the threats. Elijah out-thinks her at every turn, setting up the public revelation of people with abilities. She also reveals everything to David as she’s having him killed. He could come back to life! She doesn’t know that’s not going to turn out to be one of his powers! Just drown him!
Dr. Staple tries to keep the patients of the hospital from seeing more of the powers, but also allows three key witnesses to her actions to just leave. Even if they didn’t have the actual footage, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) and Mrs. Price (Charlayne Woodard) could have easily revealed their experiences to the press and accused Staple of a cover-up; the exact opposite of what she wants. And she just lets them leave… immediately after killing people they cared about. She is not very good at being a supervillain is what we’re saying.
In the entire film, only two members of the staff prove to be good at their jobs, and they get 10 seconds of screen time. During their escape, Elijah and James get spotted by two passing nurses. The two nurses act casual, but as soon as they can they rush to a phone to call for security. They stopped the pair from getting any further than the hospital and causing real destruction in downtown Philadelphia. They deserve immediate raises and promotions, because clearly they’re the only two people at this entire hospital who know how to do their jobs.
Directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan, Glass is the third and final entry in his superhero trilogy that started with Unbreakable. The film stars James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Beast, Bruce Willis as David Dunn, Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass and Sarah Paulson as Ellie Staple.