May 22, 2018

ER 1.18, Sleepless in Chicago: While You Weren’t Sleeping

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn

Someone finally found an angle that makes Clooney look unattractive

Summary: Even though he’s carrying a jar full of someone’s bowel, Carter seems to be having a good day…or at least he is until he runs into Benton. Carter explains to Susan that Benton traded some shifts to spend time with his mother, and now he’s repaying all his favors. He’s been on call for the past 48 hours. Carol goes to see Tatiana and learns that her application to become a foster mother is being moved forward. She appears to have picked up more Russian, too. She asks if Tatiana wants to come live with her, and when she says she has a VCR, Tatiana is pleased.

Doug tells Mark he’s learned that Mark is going to be the next ER attending. Mark shares that Jen is spending another year in Milwaukee. He declares that if he can successfully throw his paper towel into a trash can, there’s still hope for his marriage. He makes the shot and gets to stay in his little world of denial a little longer. Susan treats a man with a rash he thinks he got from medication. Unfortunately, he’s taking a bunch of medications for experimental studies, so it’ll take some time to figure out which is the culprit.

Benton asks Hicks why he wasn’t given the bowel-removal surgery that morning, since he was the resident on call. Hicks isn’t about to let him operate when he’s been awake for 48 hours. Benton argues that he should have gotten the procedure anyway, since he’s never done one, while the surgeon who performed it has already done one. Hicks says it’s not a competition, which makes Benton ask why they keep track of all their procedures. She says it’s a record, not to keep score. He accuses her of keeping score anyway. Hicks tells him he can’t see any patients until he gets at least two hours of sleep.

Susan tries to enlist Mark to help her sort through her patient’s medications. He tells her to pass the case on to another doctor. Jerry relays a message to Doug from Diane, joking that she wants to go out with him. Benton blatantly ignores Hicks’ orders and goes to see a patient, brushing off Carter when he says there’s a free exam room for him to nap in. Mark shows off his interpersonal skills and gets a doctor to agree to take Susan’s patient.

Doug treats a girl named Bonnie whose mother says she burned herself on a radiator knob. Bonnie keeps saying that it was her fault. As they leave the exam room, Doug remarks to Carol that he’s never seen a radiator knob shaped like a star, the shape of Bonnie’s burn. Carol offers to call around to other hospitals to see if Bonnie’s been treated for burns anywhere else.

A restaurant manager drags in (literally) a man who had a seizure while eating breakfast. The manager leaves behind a card, wanting to make sure the patient pays for his meal when he’s able, since it was expensive. Mark, Benton, and Carter treat a trauma patient named Joseph Klein who fell down some stairs. He can’t speak because of previous surgery to remove his voice box. Carter does a good job of trying to comfort him.

Susan’s supposedly unconscious seizure patient isn’t showing any signs of having had a seizure. He opens an eye while she’s examining him, which makes her realize that he’s not as sick as he leads on. She doesn’t want to bother him, since he’s “busy having a coma,” but she’d like to know his name. Lydia finds a number of IDs in the man’s wallet, so they don’t know his real name. Susan gets him to “wake up” by telling him they’ll have to operate. She thinks he faked a seizure to get out of paying his bill.

Hicks comes in to help with Klein and repeat her orders for Benton to sleep or go home. Carter looks through Klein’s chart and learns that he has terminal cancer. He signed a DNR, which means the procedures they just finished performing to keep him alive were actually against his wishes.

Doug and Mark reprise their conversation about Mark and Jen’s long-distance marriage. They’re interrupted by a man named John Koch, who’s supposed to observe the goings-on in the ER as part of a project that hopes to build an ideal hospital. He also has a solution for Mark and Jen: They should move to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Carter brings Klein a pen and paper in case he wants to communicate. Klein seems angry about his care, and at first he doesn’t respond when Carter offers to contact his family, but he changes his mind and asks Carter to call his son, Roger. Carol asks Lydia if she’d like to become charge nurse, since she’s cutting back on her hours to look after Tatiana. Lydia tries to withhold her judgment on Carol and Tag starting out their married life as foster parents.

Benton’s still not sleeping, and he wants Carter to sneak him any cases he can. Doug and Carol confront Bonnie’s mother, Sarah, for previous burns that Bonnie has been treated for. Doug’s angry, so Carol pulls Sarah aside to talk to her alone. Sarah admits that Bonnie touches herself “down there,” even though Sarah tells her not to. She gets three chances, and then she gets burned with a heated paperweight. Sarah didn’t mean to hurt her daughter, and she doesn’t think it’s a big deal, since her mother did the same thing to her.

The seizure faker discharges himself, gets dressed, and cons Jerry out of some petty cash while asking for change for the vending machine. Carter snags a patient for Benton, but Mark stops him before he can take the man to surgery, since Mark hasn’t examined him yet. Benton gives him the chance to confirm that the man needs surgery for a kidney stone, but Mark gets the last word by warning him not to pull that kind of crap again.

Koch sees the argument and tells Susan that that kind of territorialism is unnecessary and outdated. It’s rooted in patriarchy and the loudest person being declared the winner. Susan agrees, and we know she has a lot of experience trying to work within the patriarchy. Koch thinks the better idea is to see the patient as belonging to everyone.

Carol tries to keep Sarah from leaving by telling her that Bonnie needs to see a plastic surgeon. Sarah objects, so Doug finds an excuse for Carol to took Bonnie off by herself. This just leads to tears, and Sarah attacking Doug and having to be restrained by security while Bonnie cries for her mother. Benton loses out on another operation when his patient passes the stone just before he can be put under anesthesia, rendering the procedure unnecessary.

Carter chats with Klein, who he’s learned used to teach literature. He hasn’t been able to reach Roger, and Klein admits that they haven’t talked in 20 years. Mark runs into the seizure faker, who steals his wallet and is disappointed to only find six dollars inside. Susan, Mark, Jerry, and some nurses tease Benton by placing his patient’s tiny kidney stone next to the jar o’ bowel at the front desk. He’s not amused. Carol tends to Doug’s wound and tells him that she hopes Sarah can get straightened out with therapy so she can get Bonnie back. Doug has heard that Carol wants to be a foster mother, and he tells her he thinks she would be great at it.

Klein’s health is failing, and Connie tells Carter that he might not live through the night. Carter brings him some books, thinking the former literature professor would be interested in some classics. Benton slams him for “wasting time” sitting with a man who’s going to die instead of taking care of people who could live. Carter hates being told that surgery isn’t about caring for patients. Koch overhears the conversation and comments to Carter that modern medicine “dismantles the rituals of death.” We can do better. Carter makes a hilarious “who the heck is that guy?” face.

Mark tells Doug about Koch’s Kenosha suggestion, which Mark loves. He asks Doug about his potential relationship with Diane. Doug admits that he’s afraid to ask her out because he dated a friend of herself and things didn’t end well. The two of them receive two patients: a 16-year-old shot by a cop while robbing a store, and the cop who shot him. Benton has finally dozed off, though it was while he was stitching up a drunk man who’s also asleep. They both wake up when Benton is paged to help with the two traumas.

Doug, Benton, and Carol work on the robber, and as soon as he’s solved the most pressing problems, Benton goes next door to tend to the cop with Mark and Susan. He wonders why Carter isn’t there to observe. Benton stabilizes the cop, and Hicks comes in just in time to congratulate him on his good work. She thinks he got some sleep. Diane chastises Doug for getting into another altercation with a patient, though at least this time, he wasn’t the attacker. He takes the opportunity to invite her on a date. She says it’s not a good idea.

Morgenstern tells Mark that he’s moving to Boston and has recommended Mark for the attending position he wants. He’ll have to be approved by whoever takes over for Morgenstern, but his chances are good. Carter reads to Klein from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” which Benton will definitely not be happy to hear about. He has to stay late to finish his patient notes, and Benton has no sympathy. Carter tells him that Klein died a few minutes ago. Benton asks why he wants the surgical sub-internship – he doesn’t think like a surgeon. Carter asks if he believes that just because the two of them don’t think alike.

Carol visits Tatiana again, helping her with her English. A social worker has learned of Carol’s suicide attempt, and tells her that because it was so recent, it disqualifies her from being a foster mother. Diane changes her mind about Doug’s invitation (three hours later) and asks him out herself. Benton goes home to take over Mae’s care while Walt heads out to a vacation with the rest of his family.

Distressed about the news she’s gotten, Carol goes to Doug for comfort. She confides that she feels defective, even after all the work she’s done to heal herself. He assures her that it’s not her fault. Carol feels horrible that she has to break the promise she made to Tatiana to take her in. Doug says she was exactly what Tatiana needed. Carol tells him he’s the only person who feels that way. She asks if she can spend the night. Doug asks about Tag, and Carol says he never wanted Tatiana. Doug decides it’s better to take her home than let her stay.

Koch tells Susan about his project and invites her to join the staff of his hospital. She tells him she’s interested. Just then, two doctors from the psychiatric ward come to retrieve Koch (real name: Marty). He’s not building an ideal hospital that will revolutionize the world of medicine – he’s just a patient who likes to pretend to be doctors.

Jen surprises Mark at home and announces that she can’t keep living the way they’ve been living. He tells her they can compromise and all be together again if they move to Kenosha. Jen objects to both of them having to commute two hours. Mark will have to lose even more time with Rachel. She complains again about how Mark won’t make sacrifices when Jen spent years making them for him. He expects everything to happen on his time. Jen finally cuts to the chase: They’re not going to make it, and she’s done with their marriage.

Benton spends the night on the couch, not even waking when Mae calls out for him. When he’s finally conscious, he finds his mother at the bottom of the stairs, having fallen. He rushes her to the hospital with a possibly fractured hip. Benton finally got some sleep, and something horrible happened.

Thoughts: Bonnie is played by Alexa PenaVega.

Only Benton would say no to a boss telling him to take a nap.

I totally fell for Koch’s story. And now I’m uncomfortable that it took psych the entire day to track him down. But as we’ll see in the future, this isn’t psych’s biggest failing.

Listen to me, Mark: You’re better off.


May 19, 2018

The X-Files 7.16, Chimera: Quoth the Raven: “Don’t Drag Me Into Your Bizarre Revenge Scheme”

Posted in TV tagged at 1:23 pm by Jenn

Hee, he looks so out of place

Summary: It’s Easter, and Martha Crittendon of Bethany, Vermont, is hosting a big party. She’s not pleased to see one of the guests, Jenny, but a friend named Ellen tells Martha to be nice. As the kids search for Easter eggs, Martha’s daughter Michelle comes across a raven that spooks her. Jenny watches her run away. That night, Michelle’s still shaken up and wants to see her father, Howard, who’s on a business trip. Martha calls him, but he can’t come home early. After she hangs up the phone, she sees that a window in the house is open and a raven has invited itself in. Martha realizes that something human-like has also come in.

Mulder and Scully is staking out a seedy area of D.C., waiting for a woman Mulder thinks is killing prostitutes. The police have raided a club called Dirty Dames twice to arrest her, but she hasn’t been found. She’s been seen going in but never coming out. Scully’s less than enamored of the stakeout, though Mulder finds it “ennobling.” He gets a call calling him away and leaves Scully to complete the stakeout on her own.

Mulder goes to meet with Skinner, who tells him that Martha disappeared two weeks ago. The ravens make Skinner think this is an X-File. Mulder confirms that ravens are symbolic in some cultures; Native Americans them as deceptive and Christians think of them as signs of evil. Michelle’s raven encounter and the bird found in the house make Skinner think this is an angle that should be explored, especially since the authorities haven’t come up with anything else. (Also, Martha’s father is a federal judge, so the FBI needs to look good here.)

In Bethany, Mulder meets Sheriff Phil Adderly, Ellen’s husband. Phil says that Martha was beloved, and there’s no evidence that she was kidnapped, so the investigation has hit a dead end. Phil is also certain that Howard had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance. The house is very well decorated, such that Mulder asks if Martha’s last name isn’t really Stewart. He notices some scratch marks on the mantle and thinks they’re from the raven. The only sign of a struggle is a broken mirror.

Howard comes in and shows the men a pack of birth-control pills he found in Martha’s things. He suspects that she was having an affair. He had a vasectomy after Michelle was born, when the couple decided not to have more children, so why would Martha need birth control? (Well, doofus, because birth-control pills can be useful for some medical conditions, but whatever.) Howard also found a key he’s not familiar with. He thinks Martha just ran off with some guy and doesn’t want to be found.

Ellen helps pass out fliers about Martha’s disappearance as a raven watches her. Jenny surprises her, and Ellen offers her some fliers to put up on her side of town. Jenny takes offense and accuses Ellen and Martha of thinking they’re better than everyone else. Jenny says they have more in common than Ellen realizes. As she leaves, Ellen sees the human-like figure from Martha’s house reflected in a car window, which then breaks.

Phil can’t find any record of phone calls between Martha and a mystery boyfriend. Mulder wants to look at the raven angle, telling Phil that in folklore, ravens are companions to evil people. Phil points out that he’s going off of something said by a seven-year-old. But Mulder thinks the broken mirror has meaning, too; mirrors can be items of enchantment, so a broken one may be a clue.

Mulder meets Ellen, who offers to let him stay with her and Phil while he’s in town. They also invite him to dinner, probably the first home-cooked meal Mulder’s had in months, if not years. Scully calls to ask when she can leave the stakeout; the furnace broke, so now she’s freezing on top of having to spy on prostitutes all day and subsist on gross pizza. Mulder reminds her that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger, then requests no capers with his dinner.

Michelle’s also having a disappointing dinner; her father’s mac and cheese doesn’t taste as good as her mother’s. Howard suggests that they go get fast food instead. Michelle sees a raven in the backyard, so Howard goes out to see what’s happening. He finds a bunch of them digging at something buried in the backyard – a woman’s hand. It looks like Martha has been located.

Mulder comes over to oversee the medical examination and sees claw marks on Martha’s hand. The examiner thinks the body has been there since Martha disappeared, and the ravens have been feeding on her. Phil still thinks Howard is innocent, and Mulder agrees. Ellen comes by to be traumatized at the sight of her best friend’s body. She tells Phil and Mulder about the creature she saw reflected in the window – she thinks that’s what killed Martha.

Phil is skeptical, but Ellen’s news fits Mulder’s theory, so he believes her. He tells her and Phil that Victorians thought mirrors could summon spirits. Maybe the creature was brought forth to attack Martha. Of course, this means they need to figure out who would want to hurt Martha.

Ellen points Mulder and Phil toward Jenny, who should probably speak less ill of the dead when the dead was murdered and they’re looking for a suspect. Jenny thinks they should spend more time looking into Martha’s rumored boyfriend. Mulder brings up a past assault in Jenny’s history, but she says that was a long time ago. She claims she was home all night when Martha disappeared. Phil thinks Jenny’s innocent, but Mulder thinks she’s lying about her alibi.

Scully calls again, telling Mulder that when he finds her dead in her hideout, he should remember that her last thoughts were of him, and how she wants to kill him. “I’m sorry, who is this?” he teases. He tries to convince her that the location of his case is just as horrible as hers. Then he asks her to come to Bethany to do Martha’s autopsy. Just then, Scully notices a van outside, which she’s seen a couple times before. Suddenly, her horrible case just got interesting.

Ellen’s doing some housecleaning when she finds a key like the one Howard showed Mulder. She hears ravens and finds one in her daughter’s bedroom. She sees the creature in the mirror again and runs. It follows her as another mirror breaks. Ellen hides in a closet with her baby, crying out when the door opens, but it’s just Phil.

Phil thinks Ellen is just having emotional issues because her best friend just died. There’s no sign that anyone else was in the house, even with the two broken mirrors. Phil thinks Ellen broke them herself. Mulder sees the key on the carpet, and Ellen says she found it just before she saw the raven arrived. That night, Phil sneaks out to a motel and uses the key to open a room. He’s there for a fling with Jenny. He insists that they have to stop doing this, but she’s not ready to call it quits.

Mulder wakes up to find his shirt recently ironed. Ellen tells him that she does housework when she feels like her life is out of control. Phil’s still out; Ellen says he must have gone on a call. She’s happy to tend to Mulder, sensing that he doesn’t get that kind of treatment a lot. She notices his lack of a wedding ring and asks if he has a significant other. “Not in the widely understood definition of that term,” Mulder says, because he won’t admit that he and Scully are basically married. Ellen reminds him not to focus so much on work that he neglects a social life. A marriage and family could be a refuge for him.

Phil comes home, saying he was doing paperwork. After Ellen leaves the kitchen, Mulder mentions that he heard Phil leave during the night. Phil sticks to the story that he was working. Mulder tells him that Martha’s autopsy showed that, despite her birth-control pills, she was four weeks pregnant when she died. Howard’s vasectomy means he wasn’t the father. Does Phil know who it might have been? Phil’s smart enough to get that Mulder already knows the answer to that question. Mulder also knows that Phil has the key, though Phil won’t say what it unlocks.

Jenny calls her son from the motel, lying that she had to work a double shift. There are ravens outside her window, and the creature is suddenly in her room, accompanied by the breaking of the mirrors over the bed. (Nothing but the classiest rooms for Phil’s conquests.) The creature attacks Jenny, who ends up dead. At least now Mulder knows exactly what Phil’s key was for.

Phil insists that Jenny was alive when he left her in the motel. He admits to having affairs with Martha and Jenny, who apparently knew about each other. “You put the ‘service’ back in ‘to protect and serve,'” Mulder cracks. Phil cared about both women, and says that Ellen won’t let him leave. He thinks she got pregnant with their daughter to lock him up. Phil wants Mulder to go back to his theory about an evil entity, since that will take the heat off of him. But Mulder notes that the entity had to have been summoned by someone – possibly someone who didn’t even know he or she was summoning something.

Phil calls home and leaves Ellen a message letting her know that Mulder’s on his way to talk to her. Ellen misses the call because she’s busy with the baby. Ellen also has a gash on the back of her neck, which she only notices when she’s getting ready to take a bath. It’s from her fight with Jenny in the motel room.

Mulder arrives at the house as Scully calls to report that the stakeout is over. It wasn’t an X-File and there was no serial killer. The missing prostitutes are all in a halfway house, having been rescued by a Mr. Egbert, who was posing as a woman to get access to them. He wants them to become Christians and leave their jobs. Mulder and Scully thought they were searching for a woman who could disappear; instead, Mr. Egbert went into the club dressed as a woman and left dressed as a man. He was walking away under their noses the whole time.

This gives Mulder an idea. He tells Ellen that Jenny’s dead and Phil has been arrested for her murder, but Mulder thinks he’s innocent. He believes that Ellen is in denial about who she really is – hence the broken mirrors. Ellen doesn’t want to admit who she really is, because it’ll mean her marriage and life are lies. Her eyes black, she wishes that Mulder had never come to Bethany.

Mulder draws his gun, but Ellen, back to looking like the creature, attacks him and tries to drown him in the bathtub. Then she stops herself, turning back into Ellen. She ends up in a psychiatric hospital, where she’s diagnosed with multiple personalities. Mulder can accept this, since medical science isn’t going to figure out the truth. Ellen wanted a perfect life, and when she found out about Phil’s affairs, she bottled up her anger to keep her perfect façade. She thought she was protecting her family. Outside Ellen’s room, a raven comes by see her.

Thoughts: Fun fact: A group of ravens is called a conspiracy or an unkindness. Not as cool as a group of crows being called a murder, but still creepy.

I kind of want to use “paperwork” as a euphemism for sex, but I think that’ll get confusing.

I like Jenny’s son’s logic that he should be allowed to have oatmeal cookies for breakfast because oatmeal is a breakfast food.

May 15, 2018

ER 1.17, The Birthday Party: And Benton’ll Cry If He Wants To

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:08 pm by Jenn

Still not in the top 10 of weirdest things to happen in the ER

Summary: It’s the middle of the night, but Doug’s awake, and not in bed with the woman he hooked up with the night before. He doesn’t even know her name (though she doesn’t know his either, so they’re equally pathetic). He leaves, saying he has to go to work, even though it’s 4 a.m. Things are slow and Doug’s not actually on duty for a while, so he goes to the lounge to do paperwork. Carol’s still around, since she didn’t want to leave Tatiana. Doug tells her he’ll keep an eye on her while Carol gets some sleep before her morning shift.

Benton’s asleep on Jackie’s couch but wakes up when his nephew, Jesse, comes into the living room. Jackie reminds him that it’s their mother’s birthday, and there will be a party that night. He tells her he’ll have to rearrange his schedule but promises to be there. This is easier said than done, as he can’t find someone to change shifts with him.

Carter faces off with a patient who has poured gasoline all over himself and is threatening to light a lighter. Carter thinks he’s bluffing and warns that he’ll just set off the sprinklers, soak himself, and be embarrassed. The guy calls Carter’s bluff right back, saying there’s no sprinklers in the hallway. Carter starts to take the situation seriously and attempt to approach the guy and get his lighter. Benton ends the stand-off by spraying a fire extinguisher while Lily grabs the lighter.

Doug’s patient is a little boy who stuck his head in his father’s taxidermied tiger. His father blames his multiple viewings of The Lion King. Doug will have to remove the tiger’s jaw with a bone saw to free the child. His father objects, since the tiger’s been in his family for decades. Susan and Mark’s patient is more critical; she’s a frequent visit named Rene who often comes in looking for Demerol. They have to pump her stomach, and it’s not the first time.

Carol talks to a social worker named Mrs. Brown about Tatiana’s options, which aren’t great. There’s a children’s home/hospice that will take her, but that doesn’t sound appealing. Carol sadly watches her leave. Benton treats a man who lost a finger while boning a fish. His co-workers brought in a big crate of fish, which Chen and Carter will have to look through to find the missing finger. At least it’s on ice, which will give it a better chance of being reattachable.

Mark tells Rene’s father that she’s stable after overdosing on a mixture of drugs. He suggests that the family send her to in-patient treatment, which her father says didn’t work last time. Chen and Carter search the fish while discussing which sub-internships they might pursue for next year. Carter’s contemplating staying in the ER, though Chen warns that there’s only one spot. Benton unofficially gets to make the final decision. Chen has already applied. She also finds the missing finger.

Doug and Benton work on a little boy who might have a spinal injury. Another boy comes into the trauma room, covered in blood, and says, “I killed him. I killed Drew.” Doug determines that he isn’t injured, just in shock, but the boy, Kyle, says he shot his brother. Carol and Lydia tend to a man named Mr. Thornberg who’s in the late stages of lung cancer and is altered mentally. Susan and Mark play rock, paper, scissors to determine who takes the case. (Susan loses.)

On the phone with Walt, Benton promises again that he’ll be at the party. Carter overhears and thinks it’s Benton’s birthday. He asks about his chances for getting the trauma sub-internship; since 12 others have already applied, Benton puts his chances at 1 in 13. Mark’s like, “You’re aware that that was a really dumb question, right?” After Benton leaves, Carter tells Mark that it’s his birthday. Mark mentions that it’s also Rachel’s birthday. Carter thinks they should throw together a party. Mark advises him to work with Lydia on that.

Drew and Kyle’s father, a police officer named Thomas, has arrived, and Doug has to tell him that Drew needs surgery and might not live. Thomas keeps telling a crying Kyle to be quiet, but he eventually sits down and hugs him. He guesses that the gun Kyle shot Drew with was his service weapon. Carol and Lydia chat with Mr. Thornberg’s friend, who met him at church and started taking care of him since he doesn’t have a family. She says it felt like the right thing to do.

Rene’s boyfriend, T.J., is now with his girlfriend, and is trying to argue that she didn’t mean to hurt herself. Rene wants to go home with him instead of checking into a treatment center. Rene’s father knows there’s no use in arguing. Hicks learns that Benton wants to change shifts and calls him on rearranging his schedule a number of times recently. It’s not forbidden, but it upsets a balance Hicks and Morgenstern want their residents to experience. Benton starts to tell her that his mother’s sick, and she suggests that he take a break from the program and rejoin next year if necessary. Benton isn’t about to do that.

Lydia summons Benton to an exam room where two sisters are writhing in their beds. Carter and Malik are there for the big reveal: Carter has hired belly dancers for what he thinks is Benton’s birthday. Other staff members gather for the entertainment while Doug and Carol tend to a little girl who fell off a balcony onto her driveway. Doug remarks that it’s a “tough day to be a kid.”

Later in the day, Carol and Tag look at a church for their wedding; she declares that she hates it. She’s obviously just in a bad mood because she’s worried about Tatiana. She wants to do more to help the girl…like adopt her. Tag asks how much time Tatiana has left; he doesn’t want to adopt a child and then spend years watching her die. Carol is able to look past that, just wanting to help. But she assures Tag that he’s not a bad person for not feeling the same way.

Carter’s convinced that Benton is lying about today not being his birthday. Mark tells Susan that he has a patient who’s celebrating his 60th anniversary. She says her longest relationship was 60 weeks, and she doesn’t think she’ll ever get married. As Diane comes to the ER looking for Doug, Jeanie shows up and asks Benton if he can give her a ride to Mae’s party. Her husband can pick her up afterwards. Benton didn’t realize Jeanie was married, since she takes off her ring when she works with her physical therapy patients. He tells her he may not make it to the party after all.

Doug checks out a boy named Billy who may be anemic. He blames Billy’s diet, which has left him malnourished. Billy’s mother, Mrs. Larson, has four kids and has to rely on food stamps. In the winter, some of her money has to go to heat, so there’s little left for food. Doug has Lydia give her the names of some food banks and shelters, though Mrs. Larson doesn’t want to go to one. He tells her sternly that Billy’s teeth are rotting, so she needs to get him food wherever she can.

Malik tells Doug that the girl who fell off the balcony is stable, but Malik found a footprint on her back. Doug speeds off to the waiting area to confront the girl’s father, Wilson, who Doug thinks is abusive. Malik and Jerry have to restrain him before Wilson becomes the ER’s next patient. Doug has to cool off outside, but Mark doubts that Wilson will press charges; he has bigger things to worry about, now that he’s being investigated for child abuse. Doug refuses to apologize, and Mark says he doesn’t need to, but he’ll probably have to go to therapy. He adds that Diane’s still waiting around for Doug.

Carol stops Mr. Thornberg from smoking, but he figures one more cigarette won’t do any additional harm. I mean, he might ignite his oxygen tank, but okay. Police accompany a white supremacist into a trauma room after he was stabbed. Benton, Malik, and Connie are all there to tend to the man who has a death threat against people of their color tattooed on his arm. Lily wonders how he feels about Asians.

Doug finally makes it over to see Diane, who, let’s be honest, is totally turned on by his attack on Wilson. Carol and Jerry leave for the night, giving instructions to Rolando, the next desk clerk on duty. Jerry remarks that he doesn’t think they lost anyone today, though the verdict is out on the white supremacist. Benton and Hicks are about to operate on him, which means Benton has an excuse to keep avoiding the multiple phone calls Jackie has made.

As Carol goes to see Tatiana in her new group home, Mark goes home for Rachel’s birthday party, which is full of screaming girls. Jen’s ticked, but she got help from a co-worker. Then Mark gets ticked when he learns that Jen bought Rachel a Super Nintendo after he thought they agreed not to get her one. He has another present for Rachel, though it’s one Susan asked him to pass along. Jen announces that she’s accepted the offer to extend her job in Milwaukee. Since Mark made a decision on his own about his job, she feels like she could do the same.

Benton makes it home too late for the party; Mae’s already in bed. Poor Jeanie has to sit there and watch Benton and Jackie be passive-aggressive with each other. Benton laments that he missed the party to save the life of a man who would love to see him dead. Back at the hospital, Malik wakes Susan and tells her that Rene’s back, having overdosed again. Susan wants to keep the zero-deaths streak alive, so she works hard to save Rene while her father waits outside the trauma room, a place he’s become familiar with.

Thoughts: Mrs. Larson is played by Janel Moloney.

Jesse must get aged later on, because he’s only four here, but in season 7, he’s closer to 14 or 15.

Ving Rhames looks so much like Mos Def in this episode that I did a double take.

May 12, 2018

The X-Files 7.15, En Ami: The Worst Road Trip Since “Drive”

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn


Summary: In Goochland, Virginia, a couple is driving home with their son, Jason, reminding him that people’s words can’t hurt him. He’s still not prepared when they’re accosted by protesters carrying signs talking about the family’s faith. They have to be escorted into their house by a police officer.

Jason’s father, Cameron, tells him that the protesters think they should take him to the hospital to have his cancer treated. But his parents believe that since God gave him cancer, God is the one who has to heal him. That night, Jason wakes up to a huge storm outside his window. A bright light appears, and he stands in front of his window with his arms open. A group of men in suits approach the house.

Scully is leaving for work when she finds a copy of the Goochland Guardian outside her door. There’s a note attached with a verse from Psalms: “You are the God who performs miracles. You display your power among the peoples.” The front-page article is about a miracle. Scully takes the paper with her to the office, where Mulder tells her that Jason McPeck woke up completely cured of cancer. The McPecks’ religion forbids medical treatment, and they believe their son was cured by angels.

Scully knows that spontaneous remission has happened before, so this isn’t really a miracle. But Mulder thinks something else is going on, since he got word of Jason’s recovery from an anonymous email from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He thinks that plus the paper at Scully’s door means this is an X-File someone wants them to investigate. Even if it’s not, Mulder’s curious to get answers.

So Scully goes to the McPecks’ and sees for herself that Jason is back to his normal self. He tells her that the angels came from the sky in a ball of light and looked like human men. Like the angels in the Bible, they told him not to be afraid. Unlike the angels in the Bible, they pinched the back of his neck – the same place Scully had her chip removed years ago.

When she goes back to her car, she finds an unwelcome guest: CSM. He tells her he’s doing God’s work and claims he saved Jason. Scully kicks him out of the car but finds it hard to ignore him when he asks if she’s not curious about his claims, since she’s a doctor. He’s the one who sent her the newspaper and sent Mulder the email. CSM announces that he’s dying and wants to make things right. He has a cure for cancer and wants to give it to Scully.

Scully won’t take the bait, and CSM tells her she’s the only person he’ll give it to. If Mulder hears anything about his claims, CSM will take the secret to his grave. Scully sees that he’s left something on the seat, but she drives off without looking at it. She heads back to her office and studies the card CSM left her, blank except for a phone number. She dials the number, hangs up, then has the number traced so she can get the address associated with it.

This leads her to an office building where security guards give her a visitor’s pass and send her to the third floor. She ends up in CSM’s office, where he tells her that he’s looking back on his life and has realized he has no legacy to leave behind. He’s dying of some complication from the procedure he underwent back at the beginning of the season. Scully thinks he wants to use her to make himself look respectable.

CSM says they’re wasting time with the past while millions are dying of cancer. Scully’s game to go along with his plan, but it’ll involve a road trip. CSM is taking a huge chance by offering her access to this huge secret. He’s destroyed a lot of people, including those closest to him. Now he wants to do something good before he dies.

Mulder gets a message from Scully (“Mulder, it’s me”) telling him she’s going out of town for a family emergency. He leaves her a message in return (“Scully, it’s me”) saying he hopes everything’s okay. She’s getting ready to go off on her road trip, and has stuck a microphone in her bra so she can record whatever CSM says to her.

Scully drives, and objects when CSM tries to light up in the car. He throws out his cigarette and says he’ll just quit. He wants to earn her trust, knowing that she thinks he’s heartless. He admits that he’s always felt affection toward her, and his intentions are honorable. After all, he could have let her die when she had cancer, but he saved her. Now, CSM wants to give Scully the same power to save lives.

In the morning, Mulder goes to Scully’s apartment building to find out if she left under suspicious circumstances. The landlord tells him that she went with a driver he’s seen before – a driver with a fondness for smoking. Scully has been driving all right, but CSM hasn’t told her where they’re going. He notes that she still doesn’t trust him. How long did it take her to trust Mulder? CSM knows they didn’t immediately click. He psychoanalyzes that Scully is drawn to powerful men but fears their power. She’s devoted to Mulder, to the point where she would die for him, but she won’t let herself love him.

The two are finally at their destination, where CSM plans to show Scully that he’s capable of more than destruction. They’re being followed by someone. Scully and CSM are at a house to see a woman named Marjorie who can back up CSM’s claims. He tells Scully that the woman, who looks to be in her 70s, is actually 118. Scully sees a scar on the back of her neck. CSM thinks that being able to save lives and see people’s joy after their recovery is why Scully became a doctor.

Mulder has checked with Maggie, who doesn’t know anything about a family emergency, and is now in Skinner’s office to get help finding out why Scully disappeared. Skinner thinks she left willingly, so they shouldn’t worry about her. Scully calls just then to tell both men that everything’s fine. Mulder doesn’t believe her.

Scully and CSM stop at a gas station, and Scully goes to use the bathroom while CSM fills up the car. She leaves a message for Mulder through her hidden microphone, telling him she weighed the risks before agreeing to the road trip. She gives her location and puts the tape in an envelope to mail to Mulder, planning to send more along the way. When Scully leaves the bathroom, CSM’s ready to drive. He offers her a Lifesaver, which I guess is his version of a joke. A man back at the gas station steals Scully’s tape from the mailbox.

Scully and CSM reach their next destination in the middle of the night. Scully’s asleep, and CSM puts on gloves to do who knows what. The Lone Gunmen are also awake in the middle of the night, having spent some time looking into Scully’s disappearance. They show up at Mulder’s apartment in disguise and tell him they found a series of communications between Scully and someone named Cobra. They think she’s gone to great lengths to keep her location hidden. Mulder says she knows he’ll find her no matter what.

Scully wakes up in a fishing cabin, wearing pajamas she definitely wasn’t wearing in the car. She accuses CSM of drugging her, which he denies. She was tired, and he wanted to make her comfortable. They’re in Milford, Pennsylvania, but Scully thinks this is outside of their deal, so she’s done with the trip. CSM tells her she’s free to go, but Scully knows she won’t get any answers if she leaves, so she decides to stick around. They’re still being watched.

Mulder takes the Lone Gunmen to Skinner’s office to tell his boss that Scully’s been communicating with someone who works on a Department of Defense shadow project. Except the Scully sending the emails to Cobra is an impostor, someone who hacked her email and intercepted the messages from Cobra. They’re supposed to meet so Cobra can hand over information on his project. But the Gunmen can’t figure out where the meeting is supposed to take place. Mulder thinks CSM is the impostor, and they need to stop him before something horrible happens to Scully.

In Milford, CSM tells Scully that his contact has invited them to dinner. He’s bought her a dress, and it’s low-cut, so I don’t think Scully will be able to wear her microphone. At dinner, CSM tells her that his contact “is to human genetic science what Oppenheimer and Fermi were to the advent of nuclear warfare.” Cobra wants assurances from Scully that his research will be used by the good guys. The two toast to the future.

CSM has another revelation for Scully: The cancer cure isn’t just for cancer – it can cure all human disease. It’s mostly extraterrestrial. Scully knows that this cure can make CSM well. He tells her that the power in something like this can be used for both good and evil. People will be able to choose who lives and who dies. CSM doesn’t seem sure that he actually wants to be cured. Maybe dying is the last good thing he can do.

As a man watches Scully from a nearby table, CSM goes outside for a cigarette and tells another man that Cobra hasn’t shown up. The man warns that Scully won’t wait forever. CSM tells him to just do his job. As a waiter clears her plate, Scully notices a note giving her a location, Calico Cove. She and CSM head to a dock on a lake, and she heads off by herself in a boat.

The man who was watching Scully at the restaurant comes to meet her; he’s clearly Cobra, and he thinks Scully is the person he’s been communicating with. Someone watches through a sniper scope as Cobra hands over his work on a CD. Scully asks where the science came from, revealing that they’ve never spoken before. Before Cobra can respond, someone starts shooting. Cobra’s dead, and Scully’s next in the shooter’s sights. But before the sniper – the man CSM spoke to outside the restaurant – can kill Scully, CSM takes him out.

Scully returns to the cabin, where CSM pretends he’s been waiting for her the whole time. She blasts him for claiming that no one else knew what was going on. He tells her to keep Cobra’s research. She takes it home with her and gives it to the Lone Gunmen, but the CD is blank. All of Scully’s work was for nothing.

Scully takes Mulder to CSM’s office building, but it’s empty. Mulder says that CSM used her, and told her things that would make her believe him, like about Marjorie’s age (he showed Scully her birth certificate). Scully thinks Jason’s recovery is undeniable proof that there’s a cure for cancer. But Mulder knows that sooner or later, the chip in his neck will disappear, and they still won’t have any proof. CSM conned Scully, and Mulder’s surprised that he left her alive.

Scully insists that CSM was sincere, but Mulder disagrees. As he voices over that CSM did everything to get the cure for himself, even if it means sacrificing the rest of the human race, CSM enjoys a glass of wine, the CD by his side. Scully thinks CSM’s longing for something more than power was genuine. At the cabin, CSM tosses the CD in the lake and lights up a cigarette.

Thoughts: This episode was written by William B. Davis (CSM), probably just as an excuse for him to work with Gillian Anderson.

Goochland is a real place, and I bet everyone who lives there hates that name.

In season 11, CSM claims that in this episode, he drugs Scully so he can impregnate her. But as of the end of season 11, that wasn’t verified, and I choose to remain in denial. I’ll buy that he gave her the ability to conceive, which leads to William, but I’m in denial that CSM is his father.

May 8, 2018

ER 1.16, Make of Two Hearts: Be My Valentine, Woman I Yelled at Two Weeks Ago

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:51 pm by Jenn

Malik and Jerry’s faces are great here

Summary: Jerry plays She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not while Wendy decorates the front desk for Valentine’s Day. A woman named Mrs. Hall comes in with her daughter, Tatiana, wanting Doug to check her over. Tatiana doesn’t speak much English; Mrs. Hall adopted her from Russia just ten days earlier. Doug assures her that they’ll take good care of the girl. Susan teases Carter, who’s received lot of cards for Valentine’s Day.

Officer Al brings in a patient in a blanket, begging for help. Meanwhile, Carol sees Mrs. Hall leaving. Mark, Susan, and Carter lead a team taking care of Al’s patient, but the work stops when Benton arrives and learns that the patient is a dog. Al asks him to keep trying to save the pooch, but Benton only takes care of humans. Susan looks up animal anatomy while Carter gives the dog CPR. Mark intubates, and a chest x-ray shows that the dog has a collapsed lung. I wonder how much that x-ray cost the taxpayers of Chicago. Once the dog has been stabilized, Al kisses Lydia in celebration.

Carol has discovered that the now-missing Mrs. Hall gave them a fake phone number. It looks like she’s abandoned her new daughter in the hospital. Since Carol’s mother is Russian (I thought she was Ukrainian?), Carol speaks a little of the language and is able to have a brief conversation with Tatiana. Tatiana’s English seems to begin and end with “okay,” but they’re still able to communicate.

Mark’s cranky because of a crick in his neck, which he got from sleeping on the couch last night, because he and Jen aren’t getting along. He tells Susan that he’d be in an even worse mood if the dog had died. Doug tells Mark he’s working that night, as he always does on Valentine’s Day, so he doesn’t have to worry about “dating conflicts.” This means he’s available to tend to a 17-year-old whose legs were crushed in a train accident.

Carol doesn’t want Tatiana to have to stay in a room by herself, so she’s moved to a bed next to the dog, which has been dubbed Bill. Susan then pulls Carol away to help her with some cheerleaders who took acid. Their buddy Kirk thinks it’s funny. He put LSD in a box of chocolates but made sure the three girls only ate two each. Susan will be reporting this to the police and Kirk’s parents.

Doug asks Benton about some flowers and chocolates in the lounge that belong to him. Benton says they’re for a pediatrician he’s been dating. The train victim, Michael, comes in and has a seizure while the doctors are working on him. Wendy’s holding his hand at the time and winds up in pain. Chen checks in on the cheerleaders, who are mesmerized by a heart monitor. Kirk is napping, so he isn’t able to stop Chen from taking a couple of chocolates from his box.

Kayson comes by with flowers and a request for Susan to be his valentine. She doesn’t know how to respond. Mark complains that Bill will be sticking around until Al is off duty and can take him home. Tatiana sure isn’t complaining, though. The effects of the LSD make Chen find something fascinating about a blank wall. She tells Carter she’s “very okay.”

Doug and Carol tell a social worker that Tatiana appears to have been abandoned. The social worker tells them that they’ll have to send her to a foster home. Kayson is about to be released after his heart attack, which has changed his outlook on life. He thinks every cardiologist should have to have one. He also thinks Susan should go into the field; he’d love to mentor her. Susan would rather be anywhere but there, so I don’t think she’s going to accept Kayson’s dinner invitation.

Mark examines Wendy, who’s about as high on Demerol as Chen is on acid. Sadly, her injury was for nothing, as Michael died in the OR. Carol is upset about Tatiana’s abandonment, so Mark tries to distract her with a trauma. A man named Lorenzo has a meat hook embedded in his arm, courtesy of his son, Paulie. They had a fight after Paulie said something insulting about his mother. To his credit, Lorenzo’s worried about Paulie, who’s in worse shape than he is. His meat hook is in his chest.

Tatiana watches through a window as Mark and Carol try to shock Paulie’s heart back into rhythm. Carol finally realizes that Tatiana’s being exposed to something traumatic, and runs over to comfort her. Paulie doesn’t make it, so happy Valentine’s Day to Lorenzo and his wife. But Mark cheers up a little when he sees Doug wrangling a bunch of kids who are dressed up like candy hearts.

Doug asks Benton about his flowers and candy again; this time Benton says they’re for his mother. Chen wanders in, asking where exam 1 is, which makes Benton suspicious of her behavior. Carol checks on Tatiana, who’s been hanging out with Carter and Bill. She thinks the girl and the dog are good companions for each other since neither knows what’s going on. Carter tries to stay optimistic that Tatiana’s mother will come back for her.

Chen goes to the wrong exam room, having a moment of confusion when she sees Doug’s little heart girls dancing around. Then she goes to exam 1 to put a cast on Wendy’s hand. Wendy doesn’t think that’s a good idea. An elderly man named Ed is brought in after passing out and almost drowning in a hot tub. His two girlfriends are concerned about him. Tatiana has a high fever, and Carol wishes she knew more Russian so she could talk to her.

Jerry sends Benton to tend to a senile 85-year-old woman. Jake comes in with a stomachache, and Doug quickly starts examining him. Mark teases Susan a little about Kayson’s sudden affection for her. She tells him she turned down his dinner invitation, claiming she had plans with Mark. Then comes the kicker: Kayson is married.

Carol chats with Jake while Doug talks to Diane nearby. Diane’s sure that her son is faking his illness; he wants an excuse to be around Doug so Diane will have to spend time with him, too. Carol confirms that Jake is faking. Unfortunately, Tatiana really is sick – she has both pneumonia and AIDS. Benton’s senile patient, Mrs. Hayden, thinks she’s supposed to be cleaning her husband’s military uniform, though she can’t find any starch. Benton, who of course has experience with this sort of situation because of his mother, is very patient with her and even accepts when she offers to iron his uniform.

Carol’s furious that Tatiana’s mother abandoned her when she’s sick; no foster family is going to want to take her in. Doug says that the situation is what it is, so they just have to deal with it. Carol laments that they barely get to know their patients before treating them and sending them home. In this instance, Tatiana doesn’t have a home to go to. Carol goes to see the girl, who’s asleep, and says she’s sorry that Tatiana is going through so much upheaval. She’s glad Tatiana doesn’t understand what’s going on.

Mark’s next patient, Mrs. Goodwin, had an allergic reaction to shellfish that somehow made its way into her Valentine’s dinner. He and Susan stabilize her, but as they’re leaving her with the nurses, she starts bleeding. Susan thinks she perforated Mrs. Goodwin’s esophagus, but Mark says the complication wasn’t her fault. They determine that the woman has varices, which Susan guesses are from alcoholism. Once the patient is stable for real, Mark compliments Susan for making the diagnosis.

Now off-duty, Mark tries to convince Susan to go do something with him so her story to Kayson about her plans won’t be a lie. Carol spots Mrs. Hall in the hall (…heh) and coolly tells her that Tatiana can’t go home tonight. In fact, Carol doesn’t think Mrs. Hall will ever be able to take her home. Mrs. Hall admits that she doesn’t want to. Benton finds Mrs. Hayden ironing something with a tissue box and comments that she must have found the starch after all.

Mrs. Hall tells Carol that Tatiana was just diagnosed with AIDS last week. Mr. Hall died a few years ago, and Mrs. Hall never allowed herself to feel the loss until Tatiana’s diagnosis. She doesn’t want to let herself get close to someone else she’s just going to lose. She’s making the abandonment final by bringing Tatiana’s things to her. Carol reminds her how to say goodbye in Russian, but Mrs. Hall doesn’t bother to say it to her so-called daughter.

Benton goes home, where his mother has fallen asleep in front of an old movie. Mark and Susan go ice skating and discuss Morgenstern’s offer of an attending position for Mark. Jen still isn’t supportive, and Mark doesn’t want to think about having to make a decision right now. Back at the hospital, Jerry and Malik stare at Chen while she licks icing off a cupcake. Carter sees the cast Chen gave Wendy and cracks up. Tatiana has to say dosvedanya to Bill, who gets to go home with Al. But it looks like Carol is prepared to spend the night sitting with her.

Thoughts: I wouldn’t worry too much about Tatiana. She grows up to be Lily from those AT&T commercials.

One of my least favorite things about this series is when they take care of animals. Romano, I’m looking at you and your dog.

Enjoy Hell, Mrs. Hall. I’ll take the girl and the dog.

May 5, 2018

The X-Files 7.14, Theef: The Hex Files

Posted in TV tagged at 1:28 pm by Jenn

Mulder checks out a new art installation, unsure of what this piece is trying to convey

Summary: A family comes home to their mansion in Marin County, California, having attended an event where one of their members, Robert, won an award calling him physician of the year. His father-in-law, Irving, makes them take a picture together. In bed that night, Robert tells his wife, Nan, how lucky he is. Irving gets ready for bed as well, finding a small body-shaped figure made out of dirt on his bed. A man appears behind him. The house’s security alarm goes off, and when Robert goes to check it out, he finds Irving hanging from the ceiling, bleeding. “Theef” is written on the wall in blood.

When Mulder and Scully arrive to investigate, they focus on the misspelled word on the wall. Scully doesn’t know why the case is considered an X-File. Mulder gives the exposition that Irving was hanged and had his throat cut; the other family members had no motive, and the blood pattern shows that Irving didn’t kill himself. Plus, the dirt on his bed may have been used in an act of hexcraft. Scully’s willing to buy that someone included hexcraft in Irving’s murder. Mulder’s surprised that she’s keeping an open mind, and she teases that she likes to keep him guessing.

The agents talk to the family, but they can’t think of any enemies Irving might have had. Mulder then asks if Robert has any enemies. Robert’s daughter, Lucy, defends her father, reminding the agents that, as a doctor, he saves people’s lives. Robert says if he has any enemies, he doesn’t know of them.

In Foster City, California, a landlady does some housework in a big house with rooms for rent. She smells something and follows the odor to the room of one of the tenants, Orel Peattie – the man from Irving’s room. He tells her the scent is medicine, then offers her something for her back pain. Then he goes back to his room to finish sewing some voodoo dolls. One of his finished dolls is hanging from a hook.

Mulder learns that the dirt from Irving’s bed was graveyard dirt, a compound often used in hexcraft. Meanwhile, Scully has autopsied Irving’s body and discovered that he had kuru – a disease cannibals used to get from eating brains. Because the disease causes its victims to be “stark-raving crazy” (Scully says this, so it must be the medical term), Irving may have killed himself after all. Mulder thinks the hex put on him gave him kuru so he would kill himself.

That night, Nan sees that a picture in the hallway is missing, leaving just an empty frame behind. What she doesn’t see is that Peattie is in the house. Robert thinks the police just took the picture from the frame, for some kind of evidence. As Peattie attaches a picture of Nan’s face to one of his dolls, Nan tells Robert that she doesn’t feel comfortable staying in the house. Nothing that’s happened makes sense to her.

Robert disagrees – he’s heard about the kuru and thinks that Irving committed suicide. There’s nothing for them to worry about. He changes his mind when he finds dirt in the bed just before Nan collapses, her face starting to pulse. Outside the house, Peattie is murmuring something to his doll.

Nan is taken to a hospital in San Francisco, now looking like she has burns all over her face. The agents come to see Robert, who has diagnosed his wife with diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis, a rare disease usually found in Africa. Mulder brings up his theory that someone made Nan sick. Robert tells Scully to explain to her partner that no one can direct an illness at someone. Mulder thinks they’re dealing with folk magic, probably something Celtic or Scottish, or possibly Appalachian. Scully would rather discuss the more pressing matter of the family being in danger and needing the FBI’s protection.

Robert wants to focus on treating Nan, but Mulder points out that if the hexcraft continues, the treatments won’t matter. Robert can’t believe that some dirt is going to win out against everything he has in his arsenal as a doctor. He goes off to do his job while Mulder decides that he wants a second opinion. Robert looks at MRIs of Nan’s brain, finding that they all read “theef.”

Peattie appears and mocks that the truth always hurts. Robert asks what he wants, but Peattie says everything’s going great and he’s getting his money’s worth. He mentions the name Lynette Peattie, but Robert doesn’t seem to find it familiar. He demands to know what makes him a thief, according to Peattie. Peattie tells him to give it some thought and he’ll figure it out. He leaves, and when Robert goes after him, Peattie has disappeared.

Robert has a hospital employee look up Lynette’s name, but there’s no record of anyone by her name being treated at the hospital. Robert asks him to pull the files of Jane Does he’s treated. In one file, he finds a piece of woven fabric that reads “flax-haired lamb – theef of mine heart.” Back in his room, Peattie prepares his next doll, this one with Robert’s face. He talks to the unseen Lynette, telling her she shouldn’t have left. The landlady comes by the thank him for the medicine he gave her for her back. Peattie gives her some more as she comments on the odor of whatever he’s working on. He tells her that’s good.

Mulder and Scully go to a magic shop (not one where you’d get magic tricks; one where you’d buy supplies for spells) to ask the owner about the graveyard dirt. She calls it goofer dust and wants them to put it away. Hypothetically, you’d put it on a victim to “direct misfortune.” But you would also need a voodoo doll, or what the owner calls a poppet. You have to insert some thorns and something from your victim for it to work.

Mulder asks how they can counteract this kind of hexcraft. The owner says that if someone’s using it for murder, he’s probably charmed, drawing on the energy of some source of magic power. It would have to be something important to him. They would need to separate him from the charm to defeat him.

Back at the hospital, Peattie checks out the options in a vending machine, unclear on the concept of inserting money before being able to retrieve what he wants. He’s also confused about how microwave popcorn works. He talks to a medical student about radiation, then sees Robert and Lucy walking down the hall. Lucy has come to visit her mother, who’s doing much better thanks to Robert’s treatments.

Nan needs another MRI and is nervous about the radiation. Robert assures her that it’s no more than she would get from a dental x-ray. Peattie gets his popcorn, then puts Nan’s voodoo doll in the microwave. As he cooks it, the radiation in the MRI gets way too strong, burning Nan alive. (Thanks, makeup department, for your extremely gross work here.)

Now in protective custody, Robert believes that Nan was murdered. “Theef” was branded into her chest, and the agents think Robert knows why. He tells them about Peattie’s visit and what he found in the Jane Doe’s file. She was badly injured in a bus accident, and Robert knew there was no way he could save her, so he gave her an overdose of morphine to put her out of her misery. Mulder has guessed that Peattie is Lynette’s father and wants to take Robert’s family like Robert took his.

Mulder has an idea of how to protect the family, and it starts with exhuming Lynette’s body from her pauper’s grave. Scully manages to find one record from Lynette’s entire life, a medical file from an inoculation program in West Virginia. Her father refused to let her receive a polio vaccine. Mulder realizes he was right about Appalachian folk magic. He thinks Peattie’s getting his graveyard dirt from Lynette’s grave. Her body may be his charm. If they send it to Quantico, they’ll break his power. Except the grave is empty.

The landlady goes back to Peattie’s room, letting herself in when he doesn’t answer his door. She sees someone in the bed and thinks he’s home after all, but it’s what’s left of Lynette’s corpse. (Think Psycho.) Peattie comes home in time to find her discovering his secret. But he’s also there to see Mulder and Scully send Robert and Lucy away, thinking that they’ll catch Peattie at the family’s house when he inevitably comes after Lucy.

Mulder stakes out the family’s home, listening to a news report about the landlady’s sudden illness – she has a flesh-eating virus. Mulder puts 2 and 2 together and leads a raid of Peattie’s room, discovering Lynette’s now-headless skeleton. He calls Scully, who’s taken Robert and Lucy to Sequoia National Forest, and warns that Peattie is probably on to them. He has a piece of his charm and is on the move. Scully doesn’t think anyone followed them, but Peattie has found them anyway.

He breaks a window of Scully’s car, alerting her to his presence outside their hideout. He takes her badge and one of her hairs from the car so he can make a Scully voodoo doll. He puts nails in its eyes, causing the real Scully to suddenly go blind. Peattie bursts into the hideout, easily dodging Scully’s bullets. Robert threatens to hurt him, but Peattie says there’s nothing that can hurt him since he has nothing to lose. Robert says he’s sorry for Peattie’s loss, but he did everything he could to help Lynette. When he couldn’t do anything else, he eased her suffering.

Peattie thinks he could have saved her if he’d been there, but Robert points out that he wasn’t there. Peattie’s upset that Lynette was buried in an unmarked grave away from her family. Now he wants to enact an eye for an eye. Robert says he’s not going to hurt Lucy, and he’s right – Peattie wants to hurt him. He uses a knife to pierce the chest of Robert’s voodoo doll, causing the real Robert chest pain.

Of course, Mulder arrives at the hideout to save the day. A blind Scully is a useless Scully, so there’s nothing she can do to save Robert and stop Peattie. Mulder, however, has a gun and is able to take care of things. Peattie’s control of Scully and Robert immediately ends, as Mulder has removed the nails from the Scully doll’s eyes.

Later, in Peattie’s hospital room, Mulder tells Scully that Lynette’s body is being sent to West Virginia so she can be reburied with her family. Scully admits that if she’d been in Robert’s position, she would have done the same thing he did for Lynette. But she can’t help wondering if Peattie really could have saved her. “You do keep me guessing,” Mulder murmurs after she leaves.

Thoughts: Lucy’s hair is so ’90s. At one point it looks like she had a bunch of butterfly clips in it, took them out, and just left her hair how it was without brushing it out.

I feel like putting microwave popcorn in a hospital vending machine is just asking for trouble. I wouldn’t trust a sleep-deprived intern to get his out before it burned.

Another reference to John Gillnitz – he’s the news anchor who reports on the landlady’s illness.

May 1, 2018

ER 1.15, Feb. 5, ’95: There Are Two Snakes in This Episode, and Mark Is Married to One of Them

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn


Summary: Mark and Carter are in a speeding ambulance, on their way to an accident scene. A small plane missed its runway and hit a car, injuring the driver. Mark knows the patient is in critical condition, but he still takes the time to tell Carter everything he’s doing. Carter just whines that gas is leaking on his new coat. Once the patient has been rescued from her car, Mark and Carter start chatting about Carter’s eventual specialty. He hasn’t picked one yet, but his parents want him to go into cardiology.

There isn’t much room in the helicopter taking the patient to the hospital, so Mark goes with her, leaving Carter behind. There’s a dumb scene where one of the guys in the chopper can’t hear Mark over the engine, so Mark says he wants to have sex with the guy’s wife. (Ocean’s 11 uses almost the exact same joke, so I’m going to pretend Clooney stole it from here.)

Carter finally makes it back to the hospital, where Chen’s stressing out over a presentation she’s supposed to be working on. She complains that Benton works them too hard, so there’s no time for her to do anything else. Benton overhears and tells her she can switch to dermatology if surgery is too difficult for her. He then punishes her by assigning her to insert a Foley catheter in a patient.

Paramedics bring in a man named Jonathan who collapsed while playing handball. He thinks he’s having a heart attack, but Mark suspects a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in his lung. Even though his EKG shows heart trouble, Mark still thinks something else is wrong. However, when Susan wants to run tests on Jonathan’s heart, he goes along with her plan.

Carol’s patient, Mr. Conally, has been having bad headaches. Also, he thinks he’s dead. Susan and Mark realize that he was right about Jonathan’s condition, and Mark needs to remove the embolism in the ER. Carter asks to observe, and Benton’s only too happy to have an excuse to get rid of him and Chen for a while. He then criticizes Haleh for not following his exact orders on a case. She tells him if he’s having a bad day, he shouldn’t take it out on her.

Morgenstern walks Mark through Jonathan’s procedure, which goes perfectly. Doug and Carol tend to a teen named Harold who was bitten by his pet pit viper. He’s not sure if the snake is venomous, but he’s brought it with him in case anyone wants to take a look. Unfortunately, the snake is now missing from Harold’s bag. Doug and Carol try not to run screaming from the room. Susan chastises Mark for disagreeing with her while they were working on Jonathan. She thinks he’s disrespecting her.

A woman named Grace is brought in from her hospice center, where she’s been living after ending treatment for breast cancer. She asks Mark to let her die. Carol gathers some staff members to reveal the new crash carts she’s been trying to snag for a long time. Doug wanders through the area with a golf club, looking for Harold’s snake.

Chen asks Benton for a break so she can work on her presentation. Benton’s unimpressed, but not any more impressed when Carter says he’s already finished with his. They meet up with Haleh, who has a new patient for them but won’t write down anything Benton says. She tells him she’s not comfortable taking his orders, so he should write them himself.

Grace is in a lot of pain, and Mark isn’t sure he can stop it. Morgenstern tells him that oncology discovered that Jonathan has a polyp. If he hadn’t had the embolism, it would have gone undetected and caused a lot of trouble. Morgenstern is impressed with Mark’s work and wants him to become an attending at County when his residency is over.

A 12-year-old named Yummy (…I don’t know) is brought in with multiple gunshot wounds. Carter is shocked to learn from paramedic Doris Pickman that he was caught in a gang battle, and was armed with his own weapons. Grace asks if she can go back to her hospice center, since there isn’t much more the ER can do for her. However, she’d have to come back later for more pain medication, so she’s not sure if she wants to leave.

A boy wanders through the ER, pulling a gun on Bob when she tries to get him to leave. He finds Yummy’s room, where they’ve just pronounced him dead. Benton tells the boy he’s too late. The boy points his gun at everyone, then runs off. Carter’s the only person who seems to think this is an unusual experience.

Carter, Chen, and Benton attend the seminar where the students will be making their presentations. Carter’s well prepared, talking about how to treat a certain type of fracture, but Benton’s clearly bored. Chen’s even better prepared, using a projector and passing out booklets full of handouts. Suddenly Carter feels like he didn’t do enough.

Grace dozes, asking for her daughter. A caregiver tells Mark that Grace gave up custody to her ex-husband when she entered the hospice to die. Grace wakes up and again asks Mark to kill her; she can’t take the pain anymore. Susan’s next patient is a hockey coach who, unlike Jonathan, definitely has something wrong with his heart. Carol’s annoyed that the new cart she put in the trauma room earlier isn’t there anymore.

Doug visits Diane in her office, sensing that she doesn’t like him. He goes off with Jake to play basketball. Benton has learned his lesson and writes all his orders down for Haleh. She nitpicks his abbreviations, then tells him he should insert the patient’s IV and nasogastric tube himself. Benton plays along.

After Susan stabilizes her patient, Mark makes a peace offering by asking what he should do for Grace. He knows that if he gives her a little more morphine, she’ll stop breathing. Susan won’t tell him what she would do in his position – why should she help him when he wasn’t there for her? Mark argues that this is a professional situation, not a personal one. He admits that he misses their friendship.

Carter complains to Chen that she showed him up with her presentation. He desperately needs a good recommendation from Benton so he can get a surgical internship. Chen is surprised – she’s seen plenty of residents and knows he’s not up to it. She admits that her mother is the chief of surgery at another hospital, which makes Carter think she has a leg up. Chen says her mother won’t help her, and didn’t even want her to go into medicine. Carter stops listening to the conversation when he finds Harold’s snake in a supply cabinet.

Grace is now asking for someone named Billy in her sleep. Mark has a hard time leaving her alone to go work on another patient. Carol, Doug, Carter, Connie, Bob, and Lydia sneak up to cardiology in search for their missing crash carts. There’s a lot of running and hiding, including in the women’s bathroom. A woman hears them giggling and checks under the door of the stall most of them have piled into, but somehow, only Carol’s feet are visible under the door.

Connie and Bob snag the carts, but on their way to the elevator, Carol spots a doctor named Dunphy who’s in their path. Doug knows her and uses his charm to distract her. Lydia comments that he’s remarkable. Carol tells her that’s why they slept together on the first date. He rang her doorbell, and the next thing she knew, they were rolling around on her kitchen floor. “I gotta start dating again,” Lydia says.

Susan tells Mark that the hockey coach is going to be fine. Grace, however, has died. Susan guesses that Mark helped her along. He’s a little bit in shock over his actions, but she doesn’t judge him. She also seems to be back on good terms with him. Benton complains to Carol about Haleh’s behavior, asking her to change their schedules. Carol refuses, since Benton’s on all the time, and rescheduling Haleh would mean she never works. She reminds Benton that Haleh’s been a nurse for 20 years, so she knows what she’s doing. Nurses, not doctors, make the ER run smoothly.

Mark goes home and tells Jen that Morgenstern offered him an attending position. She’s upset that he accepted without discussing it with him first. Oh, like she discussed her job decisions with him ahead of time? Jen may spend another year in Milwaukee, which means they’d be in a long-term marriage longer than expected. She’s upset that she put her plans on hold for six years while Mark finished med school and went through his internship and residency. Now she wants things to be about her.

Carol checks on Mr. Conally again, asking if he’s still dead. He is, but his head feels better. Benton finally makes it home, where Jeanie is finishing up her first day taking care of Mae. She thinks she can help Mae with her mobility. Though the work wasn’t easy, Jeanie likes Mae and wishes she’d known her before her health started to decline. For some reason, we end the episode with Benton doing dishes.

Thoughts: Mr. Conally is played by Bobcat Goldthwait.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five episodes that will need this new “hospital security is a joke” tag.

I really, really need to know the background for Yummy’s name.

Benton’s dumb enough for ticking off a nurse, but he’s incredibly clueless for ticking off Haleh.

It’s weird when we see parts of the hospital other than the ER. They’re so quiet and empty.

April 28, 2018

The X-Files 7.13, First Person Shooter: Ready Player One

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:15 pm by Jenn


Summary: Three guys are gearing up for some sort of battle that looks like it’s taking place in a science fiction movie. They’re actually playing a game, being observed by a couple of techs. It’s like a virtual-reality simulation, but without the virtual-reality gear. Their opposition arrives on motorcycles, and the three guys are greatly outnumbered but still able to defeat them, thanks to their weapons. The techs are impressed.

The guys get to move to phase two of the game, which involves shooting at people who also have guns. There is…a lot of shooting. It goes on for a while. One of the three guys, Lo-Fat, takes a hit and “bleeds” yellow blood. The other two guys, Moxie and Retro, continue the battle on their own. They get separated, and Retro encounters a scantily clad woman who introduces herself as Maitreya. She tells him it’s her game, then shoots him.

Mulder and Scully go to the corporate offices of FPS in Inland Empire, California, to investigate. They have their badges and their retinas scanned, then have to sign nondisclosure agreements. Mulder explains that FPS stands for First Person Shooter; they make “digital entertainment,” or what most people would call video games. The Lone Gunmen are there, thrilled to be part of the “new American Gold Rush.” They tell the agents that there was an accident.

The Gunmen are consultants, and Langly even worked on a game, creating some of the villains. The game goes out in a few days, and the IPO is coming shortly after. But now someone’s dead, so the Gunmen would like the agents to figure out what happened before word gets out and the game gets bad publicity.

One of the techs, Ivan, tells the agents that there’s no way Maitreya could have actually killed Retro. The guns used in the simulation feed off a mainframe, and though the effects feel real, they’re not. Scully sees gunshot wounds and blood on Retro’s body, despite Ivan’s insistence that the vest he was wearing should have only “bled” paint. All the villains in the game are fake; nothing could have hurt Retro. The other tech, Phoebe, confirms that everything in the game is digital and virtual.

No one saw what happened, and the techs’ monitoring of Retro was all normal, so no one knows what really happened. Scully says Retro was murdered, so they need to call the police. Mulder asks Phoebe exactly what she saw from her control booth. She shows him recordings confirming that Retro was fine until he suddenly wasn’t. There’s no way to know what happened. Phoebe does something computery to look at the wireframe, though Retro was in an unmapped part of the building. The wireframe shows Maitreya standing over Retro’s body.

Phoebe does more computery stuff and is able to show what Maitreya looked like when Retro saw her. As Maitreya leaves the scene of her crime, she looks straight at the camera Phoebe’s watching her through. A detective named Lacoer has arrived, but he’s disappointed that there’s no suspect or motive for Retro’s murder. He also scoffs at the picture of Maitreya, who looks like…well, like a video game character, not someone he can actually go looking for in the real world. Mulder announces that no one programmed her into the game. Scully says that it doesn’t matter – Maitreya is just some “immature, hormonal fantasy.”

A man named Darryl Musashi comes in, surprising the Gunmen. They tell the agents that he’s a game designer who also does some work for the CIA. They think Ivan called him in to beat Maitreya in the game. Scully complains that the men are all acting like teenagers. Mulder seems to have fallen into that behavior as well.

Mulder, Ivan, Phoebe, and the Gunmen watch as Darryl enters the game. He waits fearlessly for the motorcycle guys and quickly wins phase one. He then skips phase two and goes straight to the place where Retro met Maitreya. She arrives in samurai gear and cuts off his hands as the audience watches on a screen, unable to do anything. Maitreya says something in Japanese before finishing Darryl off.

Scully autopsies Retro but doesn’t get any answers – whatever killed him didn’t leave any evidence behind. Mulder arrives and she tells him that the suits players wear monitor their vital signs. When they’re shot, they get jolted with electricity to keep them from rejoining the game. Scully thought Retro’s suit might have malfunctioned, but she was wrong. She wonders what kind of person likes dressing up to play what’s basically “high-tech cowboys and Indians.” Of course, Mulder is exactly that kind of person.

Scully continues that the game just makes the country even more violent than it already is. There’s no redeeming value in the game in causing mayhem and cranking up your testosterone. Mulder says that’s a sexist view and argues that the game could be an outlet for certain impulses. Scully just doesn’t get why men like to blast stuff. Mulder reminds her that their suspect is a woman, albeit a digital woman. She reminds him that digital images can’t kill people.

Mulder finally gets around to telling her that they have a second victim, so she’ll need to perform another autopsy. His head his no longer attached to his body, so I’m guessing his cause of death is pretty apparent. Mulder gets a call from the sheriff’s department telling him that a woman has been picked up to be questioned about the murders.

The woman was picked up at a strip club, so the male officers at the station are having a great night. Scully is not. The woman, Jade Blue Afterglow (she claims that’s her real name), says she knows nothing about FPS but doesn’t seem too worried that she’s a murder suspect. Mostly, she thinks the situation is ridiculous. When Mulder shows her a picture of Maitreya, she explains that she underwent a body scan at a medical-imaging place; they must have given her image to FPS to use for their game. Mulder lets her leave, then tells Scully he feels the need to blast something.

The agents return to FPS and find Phoebe napping in the tech office. Scully tells her that it looks like Ivan scanned Jade and put her in the game. The Gunmen are getting ready to go into the game and troubleshoot some things. But the game starts up by itself, and Phoebe can’t make it stop. Only the background was supposed to run, not the real gameplay, yet the Gunmen are being shot at. Mulder gets suited up and goes into the game after them.

Byers has already been shot, but isn’t seriously hurt. Mulder provides cover fire while the Gunmen head for a module. Mulder sees Maitreya and goes after her, annoying Scully. Maitreya greets him with a sword, dressed as…I don’t know, sexy Joan of Arc? She vanishes right before his eyes, then reappears behind them. The Gunmen hear gunfire and run after Mulder, but accidentally exit the game. Mulder’s now in it by himself.

Scully joins the Gunmen and demands to know where Mulder is. They can’t explain it – he should be with them. Phoebe can determine that Mulder’s still alive, since she can still monitor his vitals, but they don’t know exactly where he is…or where the game is. Wherever it is, Maitreya has now left Mulder in it alone. Mulder wanders around a little until he finds her. She does a bunch of gymnastics, then disappears again.

The Gunmen want to build a kill switch to shut down the game, but Phoebe tells them it won’t work. Ivan joins the group and thanks Scully for inadvertently saving the game. When the authorities saw that an FBI agent performed Retro’s autopsy and couldn’t determine a cause of death, they decided not to shut down the game. Scully, of course, doesn’t care, since Mulder and the game are missing. She brings up Jade, but Ivan doesn’t seem familiar with her name.

Phoebe suddenly runs out, and Scully follows her, realizing that Phoebe was the one who scanned Jade. Phoebe says Scully wouldn’t understand what it’s like “choking in a haze of rampant testosterone” every day. Scully manages not to roll her eyes. Phoebe explains that she was using Jade for her own game, not this one. Somehow, Jade fed off of male aggression (uh, okay) and jumped into this game. Scully tells her she’ll have to find a weakness and destroy Jade. Phoebe says she has no weaknesses.

Mulder’s out of ammo, but he’s still ready to fight Maitreya hand-to-hand. Well, more specifically, he’s ready to take a beating from her. As the others discuss how Maitreya put herself in the game and hijacked it, Frohike sees that Mulder’s vitals are going nuts. Ivan turns on Phoebe, but Scully tells him it’s “no fair picking on a girl.” Oh, come on.

Mulder manages to defeat Maitreya, and when he goes to get her sword, the game glitches and puts him in a Wild West ghost town. The others can now see what’s happening, but are unable to turn off the game. Maitreya finds Mulder again, and her combination of a halter top and chaps is certainly a look. She duplicates herself, and Mulder complains that she’s cheating.

Inevitably, Scully joins the game and shoots at the multiple Maitreyas. The Gunmen are thrilled. Phoebe and Ivan warn that the game gets harder from here – in fact, no one’s ever beaten this level. Scully has become the first, but her reward is more Maitreyas to shoot. Langly wonders how the agents are supposed to kill something that won’t die.

Phoebe knows of a kill coming in that can destroy the game. Ivan tries to stop her, not wanting to kill his baby, but Phoebe won’t put it ahead of human lives. Once the Maitreyas have been defeated, a tank appears, because why wouldn’t there be a tank in the Wild West? That tank explodes and another appears in its place. Scully just keeps shooting while Mulder tries to use the sword to wedge open the door Scully came through.

Ivan and Phoebe face off as the Gunmen try to get Phoebe to give them the command that will shut down the game. She finally sides with the Gunmen, and the game is no more. The agents don’t reappear, and the Gunmen worry that they’ve killed them. Phoebe finds one of their guns near the door, which the group opens to rescue the agents. Mulder is possibly having the best day of his life.

Mulder voices over something dumb about victory and whether it’s real when the game is virtual. There are no laws or rules in the virtual world, so anything could come out of the darkness. Back the tech room, the computers start up again, and Ivan is pleased to see a new player on his screens – one who looks like Scully.

Thoughts: This episode was written by William Gibson and Tom Maddox.

Phoebe is played by Constance Zimmer.

Imagine Scully on Westworld. Just imagine it.

I’m definitely not the target audience for this episode. I played laser tag once, though.

April 24, 2018

ER 1.14, Long Day’s Journey: Susan vs. Kayson, the Knock-Out Round

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:50 pm by Jenn

Soooooo awkward

Summary: Doug and Benton are taking care of a patient named Kathleen who supposedly fell off a ladder. Her children are in the hallway, and Carol takes the daughter, Mandy, off to look at her hand, which she says she hurt when her mother fell. Carter gets to work and learns that Chen has already taken care of a lot of his tasks. She admits that she’s trying to make a good impression.

Carol tells Doug that Kathleen has been treated for a number of injuries at County. Doug realizes they’re dealing with a case of abuse and straight out asks Mandy and her brother David who’s been beating their mother. The kids stay quiet, but Doug doesn’t press them to talk. As he’s leaving, David points the finger at Mandy. Mandy denies the accusation, but her rage tells a different story.

Susan checks with Mark before discharging a patient, since he’s apparently still double-checking all her cases. She’s appearing before Morgenstern’s committee that afternoon. Chen tells Benton that one of his patients wants her surgery explained to her again. He’s already done it twice, so he’s fine letting Chen take a stab at it when she volunteers, as long as it doesn’t interfere with her other tasks.

Doug’s next patient, a preteen named Zack, was accidentally injured by his gym teacher during class. Mark examines Mrs. Chang, a pregnant woman with nausea and an anxious husband. Mr. Chang thinks they should just induce labor, since the baby’s due in two weeks. Haleh tells Benton that there’s a physical therapist named Jeanie Boulet who would be a good fit to help take care of his mother.

Mark jumps on a case with Carol, taking care of a woman named Fran who appears to have overdosed on antidepressants in a suicide attempt. Tag finds out that Doug tried to get a surgical consult from someone under him and invites himself to join Zack’s case. He insists that they keep things professional.

Fran’s friend Sally is more interested in calling Fran’s boyfriend than she is in telling Carol if Fran might have taken any other drugs. Doug holds Fran’s baby so the audience can swoon for a few moments. Carol determines that Fran’s brain stem is no longer functioning, so they stop working on her. Zack may have a tumor, so breaking his leg in gym class could have actually been a blessing in disguise, since it gave Tag a reason to see an x-ray.

Mr. Chang insists that Mark induce labor so their baby will be born in the Year of the Dog instead of the Year of the Pig. He’s worried that their mothers will think their baby will be lazy if it’s born in the Year of the Pig. In fact, Mrs. Chang’s nausea came from herbs she consumed in an attempt to induce labor. Mark tells him this isn’t a garage, and the doctors don’t do procedures just because people want them done. The Changs’ OB, Dr. Noble, arrives and approves of their desire to induce ten days early. They do it all the time, so he doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Mark dryly wishes everyone a happy Year of the Dog.

Benton meets Jeanie, who doesn’t think she’s the right person to take care of Mae. She’s also unsure that Benton, as a resident, can afford to pay her. He promises he’ll make it work, so she agrees to give it a try. Carol and Tag are supposed to go away for a romantic weekend, but he has a staff meeting that might delay their departure. A couple of burn victims come in, and Mark and Doug tend to them.

Jerry tells Carter there’s someone outside who needs help, so he and Chen head off. A family has brought in their Uncle Ed, who they weren’t able to wake from his nap. That’s because he’s not sleeping – he’s dead. In fact, rigor mortis has already set in. The doctors bring him inside, though the family wants to keep going on their road trip and take care of this inconvenience later.

One of the burn victims, Willy, was injured when he tried to save a girl from a fire. His lungs are damaged from chemicals in the building, and he tells Mark and Doug that his cystic fibrosis won’t help matters. Haleh comments to Carol that working on a patient who overdosed must have been difficult for her. Carol replies that she tries not to think about her own suicide attempt too much. Haleh asks if she left a note. Carol says no – she couldn’t figure out what to say.

Susan tries to calm her nerves with a cigarette before her meeting with Morgenstern. Kayson joins her, which probably makes it worse. Carter oversees as Chen takes a patient’s history and quickly comes up with an idea. Susan is questioned by Morgenstern’s committee, and though Kayson tries to make her out to be a bad doctor, the other doctors don’t appear to believe that she did anything negligent. In fact, they think Kayson made more mistakes on the case.

Doug learns that Zack’s mother and uncle didn’t tell him that he might have a tumor. Doug refuses to do his biopsy until they tell Zack exactly what’s going on. His mother tries to do it, then decides to let Doug finish. He answers Zack’s questions and tells him he thinks he’ll be okay. Thanks to Doug’s bedside manner, Zack shows very little fear and says he’s ready to go ahead and do the biopsy.

Carter presents his and Chen’s patient to Benton as a surgical candidate. Benton slams Carter for doing the presentation when Chen made the diagnosis, then basically hands the patient over to her. Doug accompanies Zack to his biopsy and explains everything Tag does so he’s not blindsided by anything.

Benton tells Jackie that he wants Jeanie to take care of Mae, but Jackie still thinks she needs to go to a nursing home. Benton promises to be on Mae duty a couple days a week so Jeanie only has to work three days. Jackie scoffs that Benton’s never taken care of Mae before, so she doesn’t believe he’ll start now. He shoots back that she’s just going to spend their mother’s money on her care, leaving him with less. Jackie tells him he can have the house he keeps complaining about; he’ll just have to do everything for Mae himself. Benton pauses to answer a page, so Jackie ditches him.

Tag promises Carol that they’ll be able to leave by 8. She threatens to interrupt his meeting naked and drag him out if he’s not done in time. Mark tries to ask Susan how her meeting went, but she’s short with him. Doug tends to a guy named Terry who was beaten up but also has a fever. Doug asks Terry’s friend to call his family, but they’re both homeless runaways, and Terry isn’t in touch with his parents. Though he said he was 18, his friend admits that he’s really 15.

Susan tells Doug that the committee went after Kayson, not her, and she’s not proud of it, but she enjoyed herself. Doug advises her to give the news to Mark and cut him a break. A man interrupts to ask if he can see a doctor; he’s been waiting for 40 minutes. They send him back to the waiting room, but when he turns around, they see that he has an arrow sticking out of his head. (His neighbors were playing cowboys and Indians.) They decide to bump him up to a priority. Willy isn’t doing well, but he seems to regain consciousness long enough to hear Nancy, the girl he saved, thank him.

Benton has missed grand rounds and isn’t sure what to tell Morgenstern. He tells Doug that as a pediatrician, he has it made – eventually he’ll just go into private practice. Surgeons all want to be chief, and Benton knows that having to leave work in the middle of his shift is going to hurt his odds. Doug says there are more important things in life. For example, Fran is dead at her daughter’s hand, Zack is probably going to lose his leg, and Willy is in bad shape. Also, he’s still mad that Linda said he’s not the marrying type.

Doug goes outside to play basketball by himself but runs into a kid named Jake who’s waiting for his mom, Diane, to get off work. The two play together and talk about the Bulls. Doug introduces himself to Diane when she comes outside, and she stops him before he can do any flirting, warning that he broke her friend’s heart.

Thanks to the staff meeting, Susan’s the only doctor available when a man is brought in with a heart attack. It’s Kayson. She gives him a say in his treatment, but he thinks he’s going to do. She promises him he won’t, then works hard to keep her word. Doug tells Terry that he may have PCP, a kind of pneumonia that is usually indicative of AIDS. Terry isn’t shocked by the news. He’s been working as a prostitute, and he knows his family won’t take him back now. Doug gives him some condoms, medication, and information for a shelter and AIDS treatment center.

A cardiologist named Steinman thinks Kayson needs angioplasty, but Kayson wants TPA, a clot-busting medication, rather than surgery. Susan advocates for Kayson, threatening to take Steinman before a review committee if he doesn’t follow his patient’s wishes. She’s finally being as assertive as Morgenstern wanted her to be, and Kayson is grateful.

Carol and Tag kick off their romantic weekend with…well, exactly what you would do in a hotel on a romantic weekend. He realizes he left his overnight bag under the front desk at the hospital. He’s worried that someone will find it and he’ll end up embarrassed, so I guess it had sex toys or something in it. Mark finds Doug moping outside, wondering how many more horrible cases he’ll have to see. Mark tells him there’s a baby with croup who needs his attention. Doug says at least that’s one patient he can help.

Thoughts: Continuity error: Jeanie says she’s taking nursing classes, but she later becomes a physician’s assistant.

Apparently you could smoke in a hospital office in 1995, or at least no one stops Susan and Kayson from doing so.

Chen says she has a photographic memory. I’m pretty sure we never hear about it again, so we’ll put it with Mulder’s red-green color-blindness in the Yeah, I Don’t Think So File.

April 21, 2018

The X-Files 7.12, X-Cops: Fear Itself

Posted in TV tagged at 1:18 pm by Jenn

I bet Scully swears a lot and we just don’t get to see it

Summary: Instead of an episode of The X-Files, we get an episode of Cops. We follow L.A. Deputy Keith Wetzel, who warns that the full moon will make things crazier than usual. He thinks people feel safer just seeing a police officer around. He gets a report of a monster lurking around a neighborhood but figures someone’s imagination has exaggerated a human’s behavior. Wetzel checks out the area and sees claw marks on a door. He figures they’re from a dog.

The woman who called in the report is very agitated and insists that she saw a monster. Wetzel keeps looking around and comes across a man who tries to hide in the backyard. Off-camera, Wetzel sees something that makes him tell the camera crew to run back to the car. He calls for backup as something makes his car turn over.

Everyone in the car manages to escape mostly unharmed. Backup arrives, and Sergeant Paula Duthie tries to find out what happened. Wetzel tells her that gangbangers attacked them. Before he has to make up more lies, a call comes in about an armed suspect. A bunch of officers run down the block to the supposed criminal, instead finding Mulder and Scully. They’re there investigating the clawed monster, and didn’t expect to land in the middle of a TV show.

Mulder questions Wetzel, who says he didn’t really see anything. Mulder says he must have seen something that spooked him enough to run. Duthie tells him that the woman who placed the call isn’t mentally stable. Mulder says that a bunch of people have placed similar calls about a monster recently, and always on the night of a full moon. He knows Wetzel saw the monster – an eight-foot-tall creature with huge claws and teeth. He guesses correctly that it bit Wetzel on the arm.

Wetzel denies that he saw what Mulder thinks was a werewolf. The last person who was attacked died of his wounds after giving a detailed description of the creature. Mulder predicts that Wetzel will also turn into a werewolf, and will need to be quarantined to protect him and others. Duthie asks what he’s talking about, dropping a swear word that has to be censored. She asks to see Mulder’s badge again.

Scully pulls her partner aside to point out that they’re on a TV show. Mulder isn’t sure, since Duthie just swore. Scully’s like, “What do you think this camera is for?” She wants him to remember that everything he says is being recorded. Mulder thinks that’s awesome – they could capture proof of the paranormal in front of a national audience. Scully thinks he could be risking his career. Mulder appreciates that she’s concerned about him looking foolish, but she’s really more worried about looking foolish herself.

Mulder sends Scully to the hospital with Wetzel, in case Mulder’s right about his imminent transformation. Scully pauses to call Skinner, telling the camera guy to leave her alone. Mulder goes to the woman’s house with another deputy, Juan Molina, who translates the woman’s frantic Spanish. A sketch artist, Ricky, takes a description while Mulder shows the claw marks to Duthie, saying they match marks that another victim saw. Ricky works fast, drawing Freddy Krueger. Everyone thinks the woman is nuts.

Outside, Mulder reunites with Scully, who’s brought Wetzel back with her. His bite marks were actually insect bites. As for Skinner, he’s okay with his agents appearing on the show, since the FBI has nothing to hide. Mulder tells Scully that he doesn’t think they’re looking for a werewolf after all. Something else is going on. The agents jump in a car to go to another crime scene, but Scully won’t let the camera guy ride with them. They find Ricky dead, having been attacked by something with claws.

Wetzel tells the camera how difficult it is to lose a co-worker in the line of duty. But they’ll have to “cowboy up” and work harder. Mulder notes that the slash marks on Ricky’s body match what Freddy Krueger would leave on a victim. Scully has a different idea after she finds a fake fingernail on the ground. They find out who placed the call about Ricky’s attack and wind up at the house of a couple named Steve and Edy. (That makes Mulder grin.) Duthie says they’re good people who often call in trouble in the neighborhood.

While Edy runs off to get camera-ready, Steve tells the police that they heard screaming outside. They didn’t see Ricky until after he’d been attacked, and they definitely didn’t see a werewolf. They do, however, know the owner of the fake nail, a prostitute named Chantara. Edy sings a little, trying to get her own TV show. Her long-suffering partner drags her back into the house.

Speaking of long-suffering partners, Scully reluctantly lets a camera guy in the car with her and Mulder as they look for Chantara. Because they’ve gotten so many conflicting reports, they don’t know what they’re looking for, but Mulder’s positive that there’s something paranormal going on. He tries to make himself look less crazy by saying that Scully’s scientific mind backs up his theories.

They find Chantara, who tries to flee and didn’t sign a release to have her face shown on TV. Once they confirm that she’s the owner of the fake nail, they ask her about the scene of Ricky’s death. Chantara says she tried to help him, then ran when she heard the police approaching. Mulder asks what she saw, assuring her that whatever she says won’t surprise him. She asks for protection from her pimp, Chuco, saying that he killed Ricky.

The police take Chantara into custody, partly because they’re not sure if she’s committed any crimes and partly to protect her. Duthie assigns Wetzel to keep an eye on her while they go find Chuco. Mulder doubts that Chuco could flip over a police car, but he goes along with the group of officers who raid Chuco’s house. It’s a drug den, full of people and stuff, including a dead Chuco. He died of an overdose at least a couple days ago, so he couldn’t have killed Ricky.

Shots are fired outside, so the police and agents run out to the street. Wetzel is firing his gun at nothing, and Chantara is dead. Wetzel insists that the creature that attacked him came back. Duthie tells the agents that Wetzel is young but good at his job; he wouldn’t have let anything happen to Chantara. Another officer finds a single bullet in the street, making Mulder wonder if Wetzel really did hit his target.

The agents ask Wetzel if he’s finally ready to tell them what he saw. He calls it the Wasp Man, a creature from the scary stories his brother told him as a kid. The insect bites on his arms might actually be stings. Wetzel knows he sounds crazy, but Mulder’s heard crazier, of course.

He pulls Scully aside to present his theory: Victims were attacked by a creature that appears as your worst nightmare. Maybe it feeds on fear. Scully wonders how they’re supposed to catch a creature like that. Instead of suggesting that they learn the Riddikulus spell to make it go away, Mulder says they need to figure out how it picks its prey. It went from the woman to Wetzel to Ricky to Chantara, then back to Wetzel. Scully points out that it also went to Steve and Edy.

The agents go back to the couple’s house to find out if they were attacked. Mulder narrates, and Scully asks if he’s talking to her. They hear screaming in the house and run in to find the couple fighting with each other. Scully, who really doesn’t want to have to deal with a domestic dispute right now, tells the couple that they may have witnessed something that can help the police. Mulder decides that they need to stay for a little while, so the couple doesn’t go after each other again.

After a while, Edy admits to Mulder that she’s scared that Steve will leave her. Steve softens and promises that everything’s okay. Scully suggests sending them to a hotel for the night, but Steve says nothing’s going to chase them out of their home, no matter how scared they are.

The agents leave, unsure of what to do next. The moon will be out for four or five more hours, so they only have that amount of time to find the creature, since it only attacks during a full moon. They split up, Scully going to the morgue to examine Chantara’s body while Mulder goes on patrol with Wetzel. Wetzel wonders why Mulder believes his story without proof. The camera crew didn’t even get the creature on tape. Mulder says the camera doesn’t always capture the truth.

Wetzel asks if Scully thinks he’s crazy. Mulder carefully says that he doesn’t think she believes Wetzel is lying. Wetzel is worried that he’s going to get a reputation as being unstable. He already has a hard job. He just wants to help people, but some of them hate him. Every night when he goes on patrol, he wonders if that’ll be the shift where someone takes him out. It’s hard being in law enforcement when people think you’re nuts. Mulder can relate.

Scully examines Chantara with help from an assistant who says word on the street is that Chuco killed her from beyond the grave. She’s also heard a story about a contagion. Scully corrects that there might be a chain of victims, but not due to a virus. The assistant can’t move on from the possibility of a contagion, though, and she’s interested in why they’re doing an autopsy at 3 in the morning, in front of a camera crew. Scully smiles and repeats what Skinner said about the FBI having nothing to hide.

The assistant suddenly sneezes blood and starts seizing. When Mulder and some officers arrive, Scully assures them that, despite the assistant’s symptoms, she doesn’t have a virus. Nothing could kill that fast. Mulder realizes that a contagion was the assistant’s worst fear, and it killed her. It must have moved from Chantara to her. Scully notes that she was standing right there and didn’t see anything. Mulder says it’s because she wasn’t in fear for her life. Steve and Edy weren’t either, so they were also immune.

Duthie’s skeptical, but Mulder says it makes sense. The creature or entity or whatever hangs out in a high-crime neighborhood, where people are constantly afraid. He thinks Wetzel is in danger again; he wasn’t afraid for his life when he had Mulder backing him up, but now he’s out on patrol alone.

Wetzel responds to a call at a house that’s been condemned. After just a few moments inside, he decides he needs to call for backup. When he and the camera crew try to leave, they find that they’re locked in. Mulder and Scully track down Wetzel’s car and enter the house with their guns out, even knowing they won’t do any good. The cops who came along with them have a battering ram but still can’t get through the front door.

The agents find the camera crew hiding in a closet; everyone spooks each other when the agents open the door. “I hate you guys!” Scully exclaims. They see blood on the floor and walls, and hear Wetzel screaming from behind the locked door. Mulder tells him not to be afraid; the creature can’t hurt him. Also, he’s a deputy and is on national TV, so he needs to cowboy up.

Mulder finally opens the door and finds Wetzel injured but alive. The other cops make it into the house as well. Mulder realizes that, since the sun is coming up, the creature has fled. There’s enough fear in the world that if it hadn’t come there, it would have just gone somewhere else. Scully thinks he’s disappointed that he didn’t get proof of the creature on tape. Mulder says it’ll all depend on how the show is edited. Scully thinks this will be a tough case to write up, like it’s somehow any harder than the dozens of other cases she’s worked.

Thoughts: The real mystery of this episode is how Ricky was able to draw so fast.

I would absolutely watch The Steve and Edy Show (though I feel like she would insist on calling it The Edy and Steve Show).

Maybe Wetzel actually saw the WASP Man, a privileged white Protestant whose method of attack is beating people with a squash racquet. He fled not because the sun was rising but because he had to make his tee time.

For more fun with fear (and the inspiration for my recap title), see the Buffy episode “Fear, Itself.”

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