September 21, 2021

ER 9.11, A Little Help from My Friends: Working in the ER Is a Team Sport

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:56 pm by Jenn

Who acts like this??

Summary: Luka is brooding. I know this isn’t big news, but the music wants us to think it is. He, Abby, and Susan head to an M&M to discuss their treatment of Rick. Anspaugh kicks things off, but instead of sticking with them, we go to Weaver and Sandy’s place, where they’re turning an office into a nursery. They’re very cute and happy together.

Back at the M&M, Abby and Luka tell the audience that they thought Rick had the flu. Susan starts to talk about how the intubation went wrong, but all the questions are really for Luka. He admits his mistakes, though Anspaugh says they aren’t there to assign blame. The point of an M&M is to discuss what went wrong and hopefully learn from it.

Luka points out that he was hungover and knew he shouldn’t be working. He also didn’t listen when Abby recommended more tests. He’s ready to face the consequences for his actions. For the record, Rick is still alive, but Luka figures he’s all but dead, so he freely admits to “killing” Rick. As he leaves, Romano asks if anyone verified that there are real medical schools in Croatia. Shut up, Romano.

In the lounge, Susan tells Luka not to let Romano get to him. He appreciates her attempts to defend him and says the hearing committee was more than fair. Susan knows any one of them could have been in this position. Luka isn’t sure he still has a job, but Susan says Weaver was just asking for him.

A guy named Chip has come in to get some help with his insomnia and obsessive thoughts. He stopped sleeping three days ago, so Susan wonders what happened to kickstart the insomnia. Chip says he’s having relationship issues. Pratt arrives for a shift and sets off a metal detector (which means those things are actually being used – good to know). He says it’s his pager and he always sets off the detector. A security guard won’t buy that as an excuse, and he insists on searching Pratt’s bag. Carter steps in to make peace as the guard finds a gun in the bag.

Pratt says he found the gun behind a Dumpster outside and was going to give it to a real police officer. He guesses that someone left it there while receiving treatment and will pick it up when they leave. The guard doesn’t believe Pratt’s story and says he’ll have to call the police. Pratt runs off to help a patient, and when the guard starts to follow him, Carter steps in again. He points out that Pratt will be around for a while, so the guard can talk to him later.

Outside, a woman has just brought in a man she’d hired to cut down a dead tree in her yard. The man, Jose, fell about 20 feet from the tree to the roof. Meanwhile, paramedics bring in a 93-year-old man named Mr. Gilman who started having chest pain while having sex with his wife. While assisting Weaver and Luka, Gallant gets a note from Harkins, who will be leaving the hospital today. So Luka didn’t kill her, either.

In the next trauma room, another security guard decides this is a good time to confront Pratt about blowing off the first security guard. Sure, sure, Jose and his unstable pelvic injuries can wait. Carter kicks them out. Pratt promises that this situation isn’t what he thinks. Susan returns to Chip, who’s reached that point in his sleepless desperation where he’s crying. She tells him she’ll reach out to psych again to get someone to come talk to him. Susan then runs into a teenager named Anastasia who took some sort of drug before a math tournament.

Luka’s sent to the ICU to review something for a patient, and while he’s there, he asks about Rick. A nurse tells him Rick may need dialysis. Luka introduces himself to Rick’s mother, who knows Luka treated him in the ER but may not know about everything that went wrong. She asks if Rick was afraid. Luka doesn’t think so, since he was joking around with Laura.

Romano spots them talking and pulls Luka out of the room to chastise him. He knows Luka wants to be honest with Rick’s mother, but he can’t just come right out and say he screwed up and now her son is going to die. Luka’s free to take the blame when he’s around his colleagues, but he can’t admit any guilt to Rick’s family. If he doesn’t control his emotions, more patients will be harmed. Romano goes a step further, telling Luka to take the rest of the day off and warning that if he’s seen with Rick’s family again, he’s fired.

Would you be surprised to learn that psych is backed up and can’t send someone to talk to Chip? No, I didn’t think so. Susan promises that they’ll give him something to help him sleep as soon as psych determines that it won’t interfere with what he’s already taken. Chip worries that people will hate him. Susan asks if he did something. He tells her that his girlfriend caught him with someone else. No, not another woman. No, not another man. Her ten-year-old son. Chip claims he didn’t do anything, but he was about to. He doesn’t want to be like this.

Mr. Gilman has declined, but Gallant is able to stabilize his heart. Weaver stops by to check on the case, and Haleh notices blood on her coat. She guesses that Weaver brushed up against a bleeding patient. Pratt and Chuny tend to a man who came in with Jose and provided information on the situation (basically, they recently came to Chicago from Nicaragua and joined Jose’s uncle’s business). The man is hesitant to admit that they’re undocumented, but Pratt assures him that it’s not a problem and they’ll receive any medical treatment they need.

Susan calls psych again, insisting that Deraad come down to see Chip immediately. She spots Anastasia erasing a patient board so she can write an equation up there. Chen discovers that she took Ritalin, which has given her both enough intelligence to write a theorem proving the existence of God and a photographic memory to write all the patients’ names back on the board.

The security guards take Pratt off for a chat as Susan tries to get approval to take Chip up to psych. She gets rejected, but Chip has wandered off anyway. Weaver goes to an exam room and gives herself an ultrasound. She’s not comforted by the results. Abby walks in, unaware that anyone was in there, and Weaver numbly says that she can’t find the baby’s heartbeat. Abby continues searching with her, but there’s nothing there. She encourages Weaver to go home, but Weaver wants to stay.

Mr. Gilman’s wife, Coco, arrives, and let’s just say she’s not 93. (Going by ages in IMDb, she’s 37.) Abby calls Jerry and Pratt out for ogling her. Kayson consults on Mr. Gilman’s case, informing the couple that his prognosis isn’t good. He could have a fatal heart attack at any time. Mr. Gilman weakly whispers to Gallant, “When can I bang her?” Gallant can’t figure out how to react to that. Coco says they’re trying to have a baby. Gallant can’t figure out how to react to that, either. Kayson says that when Mr. Gilman can walk up two flights of stairs without getting winded, he’ll be free to do whatever he wants.

Weaver changes into scrubs so she can continue her shift as if she hasn’t just suffered a major loss. In the lounge, Anastasia has made a dome out of coffee cups. Carter thinks it’s impressive, but he ruins it by touching a cup and making the whole thing collapse. Weaver comes in just then, and if you look closely, you can see Laura Innes start to laugh, then turn around so she doesn’t ruin the take. She asks about Pratt and the gun, which should lead to an automatic suspension. Also, Carter bought the metal detectors, so he should be monitoring what goes on there.

Outside, the woman who brought in Jose is trying to leave, and Pratt is standing in front of her car to stop her. Car vs. man is no contest, so she gets away. Carter comes out and points out to Pratt that the men she brought in know her address, so they can report her to the police. Pratt doesn’t think the police will do anything. (Also, they’ll probably deport the men for being undocumented, but Pratt and Carter don’t bring that up.)

Carter wants to know what’s going on with Pratt: He comes in late, leaves during his shift, and brought a gun to work. Carter says he’s seen Pratt’s “type” before. Careful, Carter. Pratt argues that Carter doesn’t know anything about him. Carter warns him that if he continues this behavior, he’ll throw away his career.

Paramedics bring in a 20-something-year-old named Rosemary who briefly lost consciousness after hitting her head. They restrained her because she’s flailing around. Weaver realizes that Rosemary’s flailing is actually her attempts to communicate – she uses sign language. Weaver signs “hi” to her to let her know she’s figured out that Rosemary is deaf. She knows enough sign language to ask Rosemary what’s wrong and determine that she’s septic.

Chen starts to examine an elderly man named McNulty, but he would prefer a male doctor, so she hands him off to Carter. McNulty quickly gets annoyed because he’ll have to wait for treatment. The medical system is all screwed up and just makes patients mad. Having heard the man’s assistant, Sarah, call him Dr. McNulty, Carter suddenly makes the patient a priority. Sarah explains that some kids broke into their clinic looking for drugs, and McNulty got hurt trying to fight them off.

He insists that he’s fine, but Sarah tells Carter that the kids hit him over the head with a bat. He was unconscious for a few minutes and has some cuts from broken glass. Carter tries to convince McNulty to stay for tests, even though McNulty has determined he’s fine. He bets Carter $10 that his CT will be negative. Carter hands him off to Abby, telling her to run some tests McNulty didn’t say he would do. He’ll also need a tetanus shot, since his last one was in 1949. First Abby takes a boy to the bathroom, clueless about the danger lurking when Chip follows him in.

Carter confronts Pratt for discharging the second guy from the tree accident without consulting him. He asks some questions about the stitches Pratt is giving a patient, because all of a sudden Carter wants to do his job and teach his students. Pratt knows what this is really about and says again that the gun wasn’t his. He was going to throw it in the river after work. Carter asks why he didn’t do it before work. Pratt just says he was late.

Susan asks Abby if she’s seen Chip, and is relieved to learn that he’s still in the hospital. As soon as Abby tells her he’s in the bathroom with a kid, Susan panics. Fortunately, the kid is fine and didn’t even see Chip. Chip, however, isn’t fine – he’s hiding in a stall and has carved the word “evil” into his forehead.

Weaver tells Rosemary that she has a bladder infection that spread to her kidneys. She determines that Rosemary didn’t tell her parents she wasn’t feeling well because she doesn’t want them to know that she’s sexually active. While discussing treatment, Weaver pauses and excuses herself, since she’s cramping. Gallant asks for her help with something, but she tells him to go to someone else.

On his way to do that, Gallant catches Coco straddling Mr. Gilman and has to separate them. Poor Gallant has to explain to her that, no, she can’t have sex with him in his trauma room, and not just because he could have a heart attack. Adding another complication to the mix, Mr. Gilman’s children, Bob and Mattie, arrive to check on their father. Mattie clearly hates Coco (who’s young enough to be Mattie’s daughter), but Bob seems to like her.

Deraad finally comes to the ER, but since Chip hasn’t hurt anyone or himself, he can’t be admitted to psych. Abby notes that he has to be kept away from children, and Susan tells Deraad that Chip needs to be in some sort of program and on medication. Deraad tells her he can’t admit a patient just for his thoughts. Susan says this is their chance to intervene before Chip acts on those thoughts. Deraad agrees to put him on a psych hold if he articulates a plan for harming a child.

Anastasia and her fellow mathletes are sent away, which means Chen needs something to do. I mean besides flirt with Pratt. Gallant asks Jerry to call the legal department for Mr. Gilman and his family. Pratt gets a call from Leon and announces that he has to leave. Weaver tries to gather herself in the med lock-up, where Abby finds her and tries to convince her to go up to the OB floor. Her miscarriage hasn’t finished, and though Weaver wants to let it happen naturally, Abby at least wants her to be monitored.

McNulty’s too impatient to wait for Carter to give him stitches, so he’s fixing himself up on his own. Since no one can find Weaver, Gallant asks Carter to get involved in Gilman’s case. Coco wants to collect her husband’s semen so she can inseminate herself. Mattie argues that Mr. Gilman is senile, but Bob says he’s just horny. Gallant tries to tactfully explain to Carter that Mr. Gilman has agreed to undergo electroejaculation. “Come again?” Carter says with a barely straight face. Basically, some guy – who has made a career out of this – ejaculates Mr. Gilman.

Mattie says that Coco is only doing this because there’s money involved. If she doesn’t get pregnant before Mr. Gilman dies, she doesn’t get any of his money. And $7 million is a whole lot of money to miss out on. Coco knows her rights, and those rights include her husband’s semen, so Carter and Gallant probably can’t stop this. Paramedics bring in a trauma patient, and Carter makes his escape, leaving Gallant to wait for a hospital lawyer.

Carter and Chen treat the new patient, though they decide they need more help. Weaver’s MIA, and Luka and Pratt both left, so they’re out of luck. Pratt’s now at home, where Leon is crying and bleeding. It turns out the gun was his, and Pratt took it so Leon’s supposed friends couldn’t get it. Those friends are more like enemies, though, since they stabbed Leon and beat him up.

Chen and Carter’s patient doesn’t make it, and I’m sure three doctors being gone didn’t help. McNulty’s labs have come back, and Carter wants to discuss them with him, but he left and Chuny can’t reach him on the phone. An OB examines Weaver and encourages her to take some time off from work. Abby’s very kind to her boss, who can’t bring herself to say how grateful she is. Abby offers to give her a ride home later. As she leaves, Rosemary walks by and sees Weaver in a hospital bed.

Coco got her semen, and she’s no longer interested in her husband’s condition. Chen and Jerry laugh with/at Gallant over the case and the word “electroejaculator.” Carter comes to the admit desk looking for Pratt, who just happens to be on the phone, wanting help from Gallant. Carter goes to Pratt’s place instead of Gallant, both to yell at Pratt and to help Leon, who doesn’t want to go to the hospital. Carter tells Pratt this isn’t smart. “Everything in my life is not smart,” Pratt replies. Carter guesses that Leon doesn’t want to go to the hospital because the police will probably get involved.

Susan gets Chip to tell Deraad that if he doesn’t get admitted, he’ll hurt his girlfriend’s son. Deraad finally agrees to admit him. Weaver checks on Rosemary, who still hasn’t called her parents. She doesn’t want them to know that she has a boyfriend – she thinks they’ll be disappointed, and they’re already disappointed because she’s deaf. Rosemary asks Weaver why she was in a hospital bed. Though she’s been speaking in all her conversations with Rosemary, who can read lips, Weaver sticks with sign language to communicate that she had a miscarriage. Rosemary puts a comforting hand on hers, and Weaver breaks down.

Pratt tells Carter that Leon, whom he calls his brother, isn’t technically family. He came to live with Pratt and his mother when Pratt was six and Leon was nine. When Pratt’s mother died nine years later, Leon became like a father to him. Leon got into a bar fight and was shot in the head, which left him with mental disabilities. Now Pratt takes care of him on his own.

Carter reminds Pratt that in the ER, the staff works as a team. That means covering for each other and leaning on each other. If Pratt doesn’t get that, he should find a job that doesn’t require trusting people. Pratt admits that he’s never been big on trust. Carter points out that that leads to a lack of trust from other people. Self-sufficiency is great, but asking for help is better, and it doesn’t make you weak. Pratt’s like, “Yeah, I hear you, but I’m not really listening to you.”

Thoughts: McNulty is played by the recently deceased Ed Asner. Bob is played by Michael Durrell, AKA Dr. Martin from Beverly Hills, 90210. Gilmore Girls fans would recognize Sarah as Liz Torres, AKA Miss Patty.

McNulty has the same name as the main character on The Wire, whose boss, Rawls, was played by John Doman. Doman also plays Deraad on ER. I’m guessing that’s not a coincidence.

I would need drugs to get through a math tournament, too.

September 18, 2021

Buffy 1.5, Never Kill a Boy on the First Date: “If the Apocalypse Comes, Beep Me”

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Sorry, Owen. You’re not broody enough for Buffy

Summary: Buffy’s fighting some truly ugly vampire in a cemetery, and though she kills him, Giles has some notes about her performance. She’s spending too much time doing fancy moves. She needs to just stake vampires and move on. Giles notices a ring the vampire dropped and thinks it’s significant. He’ll have to consult his books.

Also consulting a book: the Master. There’s some kind of vampire scripture, I guess, that contains a prophecy about an Anointed One. He’ll have a ton of power and the Slayer won’t be able to defeat him. In fact, “he will lead her into Hell.” The Anointed One will rise from the ashes of five dead people, then be led to his “immortal destiny” by the Brotherhood of Aurelius. One of those brethren was the vampire Buffy just killed. The Master isn’t happy, and he wants to make it clear to the other members of the Brotherhood that there’s no room for any more mistakes.

Giles tries to look up the ring in the library the next day but doesn’t have much luck. Buffy notices a sun and three stars on the inside and easily connects them to the Order of Aurelius. A guy named Owen arrives and Giles asks what he wants. I don’t know, maybe a book? From the library? Where the books are kept? Owen lost the copy of Emily Dickinson poems he usually carries around, and he wants to check out another one. He likes to carry it around as a security blanket. Buffy babbles about her actual security blanket.

Owen notes that Buffy doesn’t seem like the type of hang out in the library. He worries that he’s offended her, but she’s just surprised that he’s given thought to what she might like. She promises she loves books. Buffy obviously has a crush on Owen, and it seems like he likes her, too. She decides to read some Emily Dickinson to have something to talk to Owen about. Giles would love to celebrate the fact that she wants to read, but vampires should take precedence. Giles, what kind of a librarian are you??

At lunch, Willow’s thrilled for Buffy that she got to talk to Owen. He’s usually silent and broody. Well, Buffy likes ’em that way. Xander loudly asks her how slaying went the night before. When she chastises him for saying it in a cafeteria full of people, he corrects himself: “How’d the laying go? No, I don’t mean that, either.” Buffy tells him and Willow that there’s a new vampire sect in town.

They notice that Owen’s sitting by himself, so Buffy goes over to eat with him. Xander’s confused. Cordelia gets to Owen first, bumping into Buffy and making her spill her tray. Buffy makes a fat joke, because ha ha, that’s always funny. Cordelia invites Owen to the Bronze that night, but he needs more incentive to go than just hanging out with her. He’d much rather hang out with Buffy. After lunch, she tells Willow that Owen asked her out, though she tries to downplay the evening as less of a date and more of a group hang-out.

Giles has other plans for Buffy, though: The Brotherhood of Aurelius is about to fulfill a prophecy. Buffy protests, thinking her date is more important than some ancient prophecy. Giles says he’ll just get in his time machine, go back to the 12th century, and ask the vampires to postpone things for a few days so Buffy can go out with Owen. “Okay, at this point you’re abusing sarcasm,” she admonishes. Giles warns that the Anointed One is no ordinary vampire, and she has to stop him before he reaches the Master. Yes, yes, her date with Owen is very important, but this is a chance to get ahead of the forces of darkness. Tonight, they go into battle.

Cut to: that night, when there’s definitely no battle. Giles admits that his supposedly precise calculations might not have been that precise after all. After hanging out in the cemetery for a while, he decides they can call it a night. Buffy points out that there are no fresh graves, so there are no dead bodies for the Anointed One to rise from. Giles gives her permission to go to the Bronze and find Owen. He reminds her to keep her secret identity hidden so no one is put in danger.

As Slayer and Watcher split up, a bus arrives in town. One of the passengers is mumbling about a pale horse being ridden by Death. A kid on the bus, Collin, is just excited because he got to fly on an airplane. At the Bronze, Buffy’s too late to spend time with Owen – he’s already dancing with Cordelia.

Back on the van, the mumbling guy starts prosthelytizing to the rest of the passengers. When the driver tells him to sit down, the guy asks if he’s ready to stand with the righteous. Before the driver can tell him to shut up, he has to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a vampire standing in the road. The bus swerves and crashes, but no one seems injured. The driver goes to check on the vampire from the road, who kills him. More vampires board the bus and kill the other passengers.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Xander she went home without talking to Owen. She feels like a freak for not having a social life. Xander thinks she’s overreacting; she could get any guy in school. Owen approaches and Buffy lies that she missed their date because her watch broke and there are no clocks in the house. Owen brushes off this horrible excuse and asks her out again for that night. He even loans her his pocket watch. Xander is embarrassed that his own watch has Tweety Bird on it.

Buffy says she heard that Owen and Cordelia were together the night before. He makes it clear that he wasn’t completely comfortable with that. Buffy eagerly accepts his invitation, which makes Xander mope. She rushes to the library to confirm with Giles that without a sure date for the prophecy to be fulfilled, she has the night off.

Underground, the Master praises the Brotherhood for doing their job. He’s one step closer to being able to ascend. If Buffy comes after the brethren, they should be willing to die to stop her from interfering. Their only goal right now is bringing the Anointed One to him. The Master reaches out to one of the vampires, making him flinch, but the Master just wanted to pluck a bug off of the vampire’s shoulder.

Willow and Xander help Buffy get ready for her date. I don’t know why Xander agreed to this. He suggests that Buffy wear a parka to cover up. Also, if she wears lipstick, she’ll just kiss Owen, and then he’ll lose respect for her and then tell everyone at school how “easy” she is. Go home, Xander. Buffy doesn’t know where Owen’s taking her, and isn’t even sure what teenagers do on dates. Willow says she knows from movies and TV that some teens like things called movies and parties.

Giles arrives with a newspaper reporting that five people died on the bus. One of the dead people was a man named Andrew Borba who’s wanted for questioning about a murder. (It’s the mumbling guy.) Giles thinks he could be the Anointed One. He wants to go check out the bodies at the local funeral home. Just then, Owen shows up, and Buffy pretends Giles is there to collect some overdue books.

Xander and Willow take Owen into another room so Buffy can convince Giles that she’s going on this date no matter what. Xander tells Owen that Buffy doesn’t like to dance or kiss. He shouldn’t touch her or even look at her. XANDER, GO HOME. Buffy keeps working on Giles, arguing that she has room in her life for both her slaying responsibilities and fun. After all, Clark Kent has a job. This is just a date. Giles admits that he’s not even sure the bus deaths have anything to do with the prophecy, so Buffy might as well go. She promises to be on call: “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

As Buffy and Owen leave, Giles heads off for the funeral home. Willow suggests that she and Xander go, too. He thinks she means follow Buffy and Owen to make sure nothing happens there. Owen takes Buffy to the Bronze, where they talk about Emily Dickinson. He can relate to her, since he also has a sequestered, uneventful life. He finds most girls “frivolous.” There are more important things than dating. Buffy gets that.

She takes him to the dance floor, and he comments that it’s like she’s two people. She asks which he likes better. He says he’ll let her know. Cordelia arrives and makes a beeline for the couple. If Owen thinks most girls are frivolous, he can’t be into her at all. But Cordelia is either in denial or is completely clueless about the fact that Owen would rather be with Buffy.

Two vampires are waiting for Giles at the funeral home. He uses a cross to make them back off and tries to find an office to hide in. While Buffy enjoys her time as a normal girl, Giles barricades himself in the morgue, which is where Xander and Willow find him. They decide it’s time to contact Buffy.

Cordelia sneers at Buffy and Owen until a better prospect enters: Angel. “Hello, salty goodness,” Cordelia comments. No, I don’t know what that means. No one does. When Angel goes straight to Buffy, Cordelia wonders what she’s done to deserve all this. Angel tells Buffy that she needs to be out slaying, not here on a date. Owen joins them and asks Buffy and Angel how they know each other. Angel just says, “Work.”

Xander and Willow arrive next, pretending they wanted to join Buffy and Owen for a double date. Owen’s very confused. But when Xander and Willow suggest that they move the evening’s activities to the funeral home, Owen’s all for it. I guess a guy who broods and reads Emily Dickinson would be pretty interested in death. “Bite me,” Buffy says under her breath. Angel gives her a look that says, “I’d rather not.”

Buffy tells Owen she needs to leave for a while, but she’ll come back. She promises she doesn’t want to leave. This is just part of being two different people. One of them has to go, but the other is having a great time and will be back. She starts to leave, then comes back and kisses him. Owen comments to Angel that she’s a strange girl.

The Scoobies go to the funeral home…followed by Owen. He’s very excited to see a dead body. Buffy goes off alone to make sure it’s safe; Willow tells Owen she’s on the lookout for security guards. Buffy finds the morgue, where Giles has hidden in one of the drawers (and not one of the empty ones). Buffy says she’ll have to get rid of Owen before they continue trying to figure out what the Brotherhood is up to. “Buffy, when I said you could slay vampires and have a social life, I didn’t mean at the same time,” Giles says.

Since they don’t know where the brethren are, Giles is worried about Owen leaving alone. Buffy doesn’t want Owen to know that Giles is there, since that’ll just lead to more questions. She returns to Owen, Willow, and Xander, and they find a safe office to hang out in so Buffy can go do her job. She goes back to the morgue and searches the drawers with Giles, hoping to find the Anointed One before the brethren do.

Xander and Willow barricade the office while Owen snoops around. He finds something disturbing. The morgue drawers are mostly empty, so Giles and Buffy guess they’re too late to get to the Anointed. Meanwhile, Owen has found a window looking into a prep room, which holds Borba’s body. Only he’s not dead, since he’s a vampire. “I have been judged,” Borba says, pleased.

He breaks the window with his head, and down the hall, Buffy hears the glass break. Willow, Xander, and Owen undo their barricade while Borba babbles about stuff, happy to have a meal right nearby. The Scoobies meet up, and Buffy sends her friends away while she handles Borba. Owen’s starting to regret this field trip.

Buffy goes back to Giles, who gives her a stake. Borba finds them and starts fighting Buffy. Xander, Willow, and Owen haven’t been able to find an exit, and Owen decides to go make sure Buffy’s okay. Giles holds Borba off with his cross as Borba says “they” told him about Buffy while he was asleep. He knocks the cross away and throws Giles across the room. Giles slams into a button that turns on the cremation furnace.

A Borba goes after Buffy again, Owen arrives and tries to fight him. Despite Borba being a muscular vampire, Owen does pretty well taking care of himself. Borba eventually knocks him out, but Buffy gets back to the fight. She uses his treatment of Owen as motivation, thinking Borba killed him. Xander and Willow arrive as Owen regains consciousness, but Willow decides they shouldn’t tell Buffy that Owen’s okay, since her anger is making her fight better. She’s able to slide Borba across an exam table and into the furnace.

Owen was unconscious for most of the fight, so Buffy easily convinces him that they just scared Borba away. Understandably, Owen’s not really up to continue their date. Xander and Willow take him home as Giles tries to offer Buffy some words of comfort. She doesn’t want to hear them. She gets now that slaying and socializing don’t mix.

At school the next day, Buffy asks Xander and Willow if Owen said anything about her on the way home. Sadly, no. Xander thinks Buffy should date someone who already knows her secrets and likes her anyway. Oh, Xander. Buffy tries to start a conversation with Owen, guessing he’s too freaked out about the night before to want to spend time with her again. Amazingly, she’s wrong. He thinks she’s cool, and he enjoyed the rush of his near-death experience. He wants to do something else dangerous. Buffy realizes she can’t date a danger junkie who might wind up in too much danger.

Resigned to just be friends, Owen leaves, and we never see him again. Oh, well. This time, when Giles offers Buffy some words of comfort, she listens. When he was a kid, he wanted to be either a fighter pilot or a grocer. His father gave him a lecture about sacrifice, knowing Giles was going to grow up to be a Watcher. Buffy doesn’t want to put Owen in danger, so she knows she has to let him go.

She also feels bad that she wasn’t there to help Giles when he went to the funeral home. He takes full responsibility for going there on his own and letting her have the night off. Slayers don’t really come with an instruction manual, so they have to feel their way through this on their own. (We find out later that there is a kind of instruction manual, but considering how different Buffy is from other Slayers, my guess is Giles knows it won’t help.) He thinks she’s doing pretty well. Plus, they stopped the prophecy and got rid of the Anointed One, so it’s all good.

…Except it’s not. The prophecy is still in play because Borba wasn’t the Anointed One. It’s Collin, and he’s already with the Master.

Thoughts: Who cast the guy playing Owen? He looks 30. (The actor was 27 at the time, so I’m not exaggerating that much.)

I don’t get why Cordelia would be into Owen. He’s not the type of guy she would even want to be seen with in public.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve watched this season (it’s not one of my favorites), and I’d forgotten how good Mark Metcalf is as the Master. He brings a great balance of menacing and entertaining.

I kind of want a Tweety Bird watch now.

September 14, 2021

ER 9.10, Hindsight: One of the Writers Saw “Memento” So Now We Have to Watch a Backward Episode

Posted in TV tagged , , at 4:56 pm by Jenn

Sorry not sorry I find broody Luka so hot

Summary: An ambulance is carrying a patient to the hospital, along with a passenger one of the paramedics thinks is from County. In the ER, Frank is trying to spread Christmas cheer by dressing as Santa, but he’s not great at it. (We learn later that Christmas is the following week.) The kids keep getting scared. Abby tries to get Pratt to stick around in case he’s needed, but he’s not feeling as generous as the holiday should make him feel.

In one of the trauma rooms, Susan looks grim. Abby approaches a woman named Laura and escorts her into the trauma room, where her fiancé, Rick, is unconscious. He thought he was stressed from exams, but clearly something more serious was going on. Some carolers are singing in the hallway, and Weaver practically bah-humbugs them. Susan and Abby tell her how poorly Rick is doing. Weaver orders Abby to get Luka back to the hospital. Abby tries to argue that he’s not ready. Susan says he missed what was wrong with Rick, and Abby says Luka’s burned out.

Jerry’s dressed as Santa, too, so now we have dueling Santas. Romano’s staying out of that. (He’s also staying out of the episode, since this is the only time we see him.) The ambulance arrives, carrying Harkins and Luka. Luka just has some cuts and scrapes, but Harkins is in bad shape. Gallant clearly blames Luka. Luka says Harkins was walking at the scene, but now she’s pretty unresponsive. Gallant asks Luka what happened.

To find that out, we have to go back in time. Oh, yeah, this episode moves backward. We join Luka and Harkins in his car, which has crashed. To add insult to injury, Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is blaring on the radio. Luka tells Harkins to call 911 while he goes to check on the people in the car they hit. On his way, he spots a homeless person putting a giant plastic candy cane in a shopping cart.

The people in the other car are a father and son, and the father doesn’t realize that Luka was the other driver. The kid, Dwayne (talk about adding insult to injury – don’t name your kid Dwayne), is having trouble breathing, so Luka goes back to his car to get a toolkit. He needs pliers for something. Harkins is mad at Luka, like, that can wait; let’s take care of people’s injuries first.

When they get back to the other car, Dwayne is unconscious. Luka uses a scalpel to cut into his airway, then removes whatever’s blocking it. After paramedics take the father and son away, Harkins, who’s been struggling to stay upright, collapses. Luka thinks she might have internal injuries.

In the ambulance on the way to County, Luka tries to take control of Harkins’ care. The paramedic in the back with him doesn’t want to do anything too invasive, but Luka knows that Harkins will go into cardiac arrest without…whatever it is he needs to do. He stabilizes her, then broods.

We rewind again to the moments just before the car crash. Luka’s driving too fast on icy roads while bickering with Harkins about a medical case. He thinks she’s too inexperienced to know what she’s talking about. As they fly around a corner, Harkins spots the same homeless person who picked up the candy cane. Luka swerves to avoid hitting him.

Rewind! Chen tells Luka that the OR is ready for a preteen patient named Jane. He lets her take over the case, even though he caught whatever’s wrong with Jane because he insisted that she have a head CT. Abby finds Luka in the lounge, planning to leave his shift early (he was filling in for someone anyway). Abby lectures him that what he does outside the hospital only remains his personal business until it prevents him from doing his job or hurts his patients. She wonders if he even cares that there’s a kid in the ER who’s as good as dead.

Luka obviously cares, but he can’t bring himself to respond to her. He leaves the lounge without a word. On the street, Harkins catches up to him and asks him to get coffee with her. She thinks he could use some company. Luka says he must have given her the wrong idea last night. Harkins assures him that he didn’t. She asks him to give her a ride home.

Rewind: Susan, Harkins, and Chuny are tending to Rick. Abby’s also in the trauma room, looking shell-shocked. Luka thought Rick had the flu, so he stayed in the waiting area for longer than he should have, since no one thought he was a critical case. Susan asks Abby about Luka’s treatment choices, but Abby doesn’t know what he did. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough to help Rick. Abby says that Rick was a lot sicker than anyone realized.

Rewind: Susan, Luka (who has a small cut on his cheek), Chuny, and Harkins try to stabilize Rick, who isn’t breathing on his own. Luka has trouble intubating him. Harkins determines that Rick has suffered some sort of brain injury. Luka goes to update Laura, reporting that Rick has leukemia but didn’t know it. If he’d gotten blood tests earlier, he could have received the proper treatment in time. Unfortunately, he went too long without oxygen and probably won’t recover.

Laura’s understandably upset that Rick wasn’t treated sooner. Luka agrees that he should have received better care. Laura asks if Luka believes in God, or believes God punishes people. He tells her this wasn’t God’s doing. She asks him to pray with her, but Luka tries to pass her off to a hospital chaplain. Laura ignores him and takes his hand to start praying.

Rewind: Luka has started treating Rick and thinks he’s about to stabilize. He tells Susan that Rick had pulmonary edema (fluid in his lungs) and had to be intubated. Susan realizes that that intubation went into Rick’s esophagus, which means he hasn’t been receiving enough oxygen. Luka first blames the difficult sight line through Rick’s vocal cords, then says a nurse might have accidentally moved the tube. Chuny gives him a great “I KNOW you didn’t just say that” look.

Susan offers to take over Rick’s care, but Luka keeps working. The team finally gets Rick’s blood work, which alerts them that he has leukemia. That’s making him bleed, which has led to sepsis. Luka tells Susan that Rick just had a simple fever when he came in. There was no reason to believe that he had anything other than the flu.

Rewind: Luka tells Harkins that an operation could save Jane; Harkins should have done what Luka told her to do when he told her to do it. He adds that whatever happens outside the hospital shouldn’t affect their work. Harkins asks if this is about last night. Oh, boy, I hope whatever happened last night is worth all this build-up!

They go to Rick’s trauma room, informing him that he’ll need to be intubated and put on a ventilator. Rick’s last words before being intubated are instructions for Laura to hock her engagement ring if she needs money. Luka has trouble intubating Rick (as we already know), and he has Chuny take Laura out of the room, since she’s starting to panic. Since Rick starts stabilizing after the intubation, it makes sense that Luka wouldn’t realize he’d done something wrong.

Rewind: Pratt suggests that Frank dress like Santa every day. “Why not? You dress like a doctor,” Frank shoots back. Yosh is looking for tinsel, which for some reason is in the drug lock-up. Also, there was a “security breach” and one of the branches on Yosh’s menorah got bent. Fun fact: Yosh converted to Judaism at some point. Pratt compares him to Sammy Davis, Jr. Ah, yes, the only other person of color to ever convert to Judaism. Thanks for your input, Pratt.

A detective comes in asking for information on a man named Vladko, who was assaulted. Luka and Pratt treated him but claim not to remember what happened to Vladko’s attacker. They tell the detective he can look around. Abby tells Luka that Rick’s hemoglobin is low, so they should give him a more extensive work-up. Luka doesn’t seem too concerned, and he needs to stabilize Jane first, so he passes the job on to Abby.

Jane is seizing, and Luka’s annoyed that she’s still in the ER instead of having a CT. Harkins says they’re backed up, but Luka doesn’t accept that as an excuse. He tells Harkins to let CT know that he’s bringing Jane up whether they’re ready for her or not. But first he has to go tend to Rick, who’s starting to show signs of having fluid in his lungs. Luka gives some treatment instructions, then ducks out to take Jane up for her CT.

Rewind: Luka and Abby examine Rick, who doesn’t seem too sick. Luka says he shouldn’t have to stick around too long for treatment. He gives Abby instructions for tests, disagreeing with her suggestion that they check his hemoglobin. He thinks Rick just needs to be hydrated. Abby asks if she and Luka are okay, after last night. Luka looks blank, so she clarifies that something happened in a bedroom. He doesn’t remember – he was drunk. He brushes that off and tells Abby not to worry so much about Rick. He just has the flu.

Rewind: Susan is tending to Luka, who’s just received the cut on his cheek. Someone dressed as an elf punched him. As Laura thanks Luka for looking after Rick, the elf tries to excuse his punch by claiming he was just reaching up for something. Abby chats with Rick and Laura, who are about to have a visit from his parents. Laura thinks they don’t approve of the couple’s engagement (they’re only 19 and 20) or of Laura in general. Rick and Laura are going to elope to Reno on New Year’s Eve.

Susan cleans up Luka’s cut and lightly chastises herself for hosting a party last night even though she had to work today. She’s on call through the holidays since she’s single and doesn’t have a family. Luka says he doesn’t mind working on Christmas; the holiday isn’t what it’s supposed to be anymore. He and his family used to spend lots of time together, but with them gone, he doesn’t do anything. Susan invites him to come to her place for Christmas dinner and hang out with her and her friends who can’t get home for the holidays.

Rewind: Luka and Pratt take care of an old man who wants to file charges against his attacker. His daughter arrives and asks about what happened. She’s upset that the hospital is also treating her father’s attacker. They shouldn’t be helping the person who attacked a harmless old man.

In the hallway, Pratt tells Luka that they should just be honest about what happened. Luka argues that they’re dealing with an 80-year-old man who was just trying to outrun his past. At the admit desk, Frank tries to get rid of two elves who are trying to get in to see their friend. He’s using Yosh’s menorah as a kind of cattle prod to get them to back off. When Frank asks if the guys don’t have reindeer to milk, one of the elves throws a punch, hitting Luka instead.

Rewind: Abby asks Harkins if she got home okay the night before. She warns Harkins to be careful. People are gossiping about her and Luka. Harkins insists that there’s nothing going on. Abby tells her that Luka doesn’t always think things through. Pratt and Luka tend to their old guy while next door, Gallant is trying to calm another old guy, obviously this guy’s attacker. The two men yell at each other until Gallant takes his patient to surgery.

Rewind: Luka and Harkins examine Jane, who was at hockey practice when she suffered a head injury. Luka tells Harkins to make sure she gets a CT. His shift is supposed to be over, but he decides to hang around until Jane is discharged. Gallant offers to show Harkins some interesting case, then asks how long she stayed at Susan’s the night before. So clearly a) Gallant has a crush on Harkins and b) he doesn’t know she left the party with Luka.

Rewind: Pratt and Luka chat with their older patient, finally cluing us in that he’s the man who attacked Vladko. The man, Ivo, reveals that Vladko worked for the Ustasha, Croatia’s version of the Gestapo. He told them where to find Ivo’s family. Ivo was able to hide, but his whole family was taken away and he never saw them again. Seeing Vladko 60 years later, living his life like he never committed atrocities, set Ivo off. He remembers Vladko’s face like he just saw him yesterday. Obviously this is when Luka decides to help Ivo evade arrest.

Rewind: Chen arrives to fill in for someone. She wants to know what’s going on with Luka and Harkins; they were dancing at Susan’s party. Luka has been at work for a couple of hours, hungover, and it sounds like he’s the one Chen is there to take over for. Paramedics arrive with Ivo, and when Luka learns that he’s Croatian, he offers to stick around and translate, if necessary. Abby tells him he can go.

Rewind: Weaver’s impatiently waiting for Luka to arrive. Carter pops into the episode for the first time so we can learn that he’s going to Boston for the holidays. Luka and Harkins arrive at the same time, and Weaver tells Luka he’ll only need to stay for a couple of hours until Chen can come in. Frank, Yosh, and Chuny notice that he and Harkins came in together. Gallant doesn’t think Harkins is the type to hook up with an attending. Carter passes his patients on to Luka, telling him Jane is complaining of a migraine and Rick seems to have the flu. So Luka wasn’t the only one who didn’t think Rick’s case was serious.

Rewind: Abby tries to nicely shoot down Frank’s plan to dress as Santa. Weaver asks Abby to call Luka and have him come in; she has to go to a meeting and the ER is busy. Abby knows he’s not in good shape to work, but Weaver doesn’t listen to her. When Abby calls Luka’s apartment, Harkins answers. Abby doesn’t recognize her voice. She tells Luka to come in for a couple of hours, and when he resists, Weaver orders him in. Harkins realizes she shouldn’t have answered the phone.

Rewind: The staff does a Secret Santa gift exchange at Susan’s party. She winds up with edible underwear, and Carter gets fuzzy handcuffs. These people learned nothing from “Secrets and Lies.” Gallant and Harkins seem pretty close, even sharing a cup. Abby’s present is a snow globe, but her Secret Santa doesn’t identify him- or herself.

Abby and Carter get ready to leave, since he has a night shift. She goes to the bedroom to get her coat and runs into Luka. He turns a key on the bottom of the snow globe, which plays “What Child Is This?” (That’s a pretty good indication that he was her Secret Santa.) He notes that he and Abby don’t talk much anymore. She says they should fix that. They can get coffee sometime or have dinner with Carter. Luka touches her arm and says he misses her. Abby thinks this is the alcohol talking, so they should wait until another time to have this conversation.

Luka says that Abby doesn’t seem happy. She says she is. He wants her to be happy, but if she’s not, she should admit it. He admits that he made mistakes in their relationship. “Don’t make another one,” she warns. She heads out with Carter as Luka continues drinking. Harkins invites Luka to come dance with everyone else, telling him when he declines that she’s not going anyway.

Sometime later, the two end up at his apartment. She’s not there to sleep with him – she seems to just want to make sure he’s okay – but when he turns on the charm, no one can blame her for giving in. Harkins doesn’t resist a kiss from him, though she says she’ll sleep on the couch. Luka asks why she wants to be a doctor. He became one to help people. She assures him that he does that every day. Luka continues that he just helps strangers, and he won’t be doing that tomorrow, since he won’t be working.

We jump back (well, forward) to the beginning of the episode. As Weaver, Susan, and Abby work on Harkins, Gallant asks Luka what happened. All Luka says is that Harkins needed a ride home.

Thoughts: Three recognizable guest stars in this episode:

I hate stunt episodes! Hate them! (When we get to the Buffy episode “Once More, With Feeling,” I’ll deny ever saying this.)

Today we mourn the loss of Luka’s Viper. I cared about it more than Harkins.

September 11, 2021

Buffy 1.4, Teacher’s Pet: Natural Selection

Posted in TV tagged at 1:03 pm by Jenn

How did Xander think this was a totally normal situation?

Summary: There’s a vampire in the Bronze! That’s not good! Fortunately, Buffy’s there. Unfortunately, the vampire overpowers her and lays her down on the pool table, ready to take a bite out of her neck. Xander comes to the rescue, and Buffy is extremely grateful. He heads to the stage to finish his guitar solo, after which he’ll kiss Buffy passionately. As he’s leaving, the vampire revives. Xander finishes him off, then takes his place on stage as a guitar master.

Yes, obviously, it’s a dream. Xander has fallen asleep during a class lecture on ants. The teacher, Dr. Gregory, asks Buffy the two ways ants communicate. She doesn’t know, so Willow acts them out behind Dr. Gregory’s back. Buffy still only gets one of them, and Dr. Gregory knows exactly what’s going on. He asks Buffy to stay after class.

Dr. Gregory knows that Buffy had “problems” at her last school – he even knows she burned down the gym. But instead of expecting her to screw up again, he thinks Buffy has the potential to accomplish a lot. She’s smart and is good at thinking on her feet. Dr. Gregory’s expectations for her are high because he knows she can do well in his class. He doesn’t want her to listen to anything negative that Mr. Flutie or any other teacher might say about her. After Buffy leaves, Dr. Gregory starts going through the slides from his lecture. Something with a huge, scaly arm sneaks up behind him and attacks him.

At the Bronze that night, Xander overhears a couple of classmates talking about scoring with chicks. One of them, Blayne, practically yells out for everyone to hear that Xander’s a virgin. At least Xander has two female friends to hang out with. Angel shows up, and Xander and Willow get to see him for the first time after hearing stories about him from Buffy. Xander notes that he’s buff and attractive. He’s obviously feeling threatened, though the way he mentions Angel’s attractiveness makes it sound more like he’s turned on.

Buffy goes over to talk to Angel, who notes that she’s cold and gives her his leather jacket. That exposes a wound on his arm from what looks like a big fork. Angel warns Buffy that “he’s coming” and Buffy needs to be on her A game. Buffy remarks that as far as Angel’s cryptic warnings go, this is at least interesting. He leaves without giving her any more information.

Buffy passes along Angel’s message to Giles the next day, though she can’t really tell him much. Giles complains that the weather in Sunnydale is the same every day. Sorry you had to leave all the rain and clouds back in England, Giles. Xander tells Buffy and Willow that Dr. Gregory has apparently gone missing. Buffy knows that can’t be good, and not just because he actually likes her.

Xander’s about to offer his sympathies when he gets distracted by a pretty woman approaching. She asks Xander for help, and his brain suddenly flies out of his head. Blayne takes over and offers to show the woman to the science classroom. “It’s funny how the Earth never opens up and swallows you when you want it to,” Xander says to an amused Buffy and Willow.

Buffy finds Dr. Gregory’s glasses on the floor as she and Willow enter his classroom. She wonders why he didn’t pick them up. They’re greeted by the woman, Ms. French, who is Dr. Gregory’s replacement. Blayne makes a gross comment because Blayne is gross. Ms. French starts teaching the class about praying mantises, which are noble creatures despite being cannibals. Also, the females are larger and more aggressive than the males. “Nothing wrong with an aggressive female,” Blayne says to Buffy, who can show him some real aggression any time she wants to.

Ms. French tells the class that the California mantis lays eggs, then finds a mate to fertilize them. Once that mate has done his job, the female covers the eggs with a protective sac and puts them away for safekeeping. A few months later, she’ll have several hundred babies. Ms. French suggests that the class make model egg sacs for the science fair. A bunch of guys in the class volunteer to help after school.

At lunch, Xander can’t stop talking about Ms. French. He thinks she’s into him. Buffy and Willow tease him about being so young and innocent that he doesn’t see that he’d just be a boy toy for an older woman. Blayne brags that he gets to have a one-on-one with Ms. French before anyone else in the class. Xander’s second, which Blayne calls natural selection. Xander says it’s rehearsal, which is pretty good as far as his comebacks go.

Buffy and Willow are enjoying themselves at Xander’s expense, but that ends abruptly when Cordelia starts screaming. She’s found Dr. Gregory in a fridge in the cafeteria kitchen. Well, not all of Dr. Gregory – his head is missing. They can only identify him by his lab coat, which has his name on it.

The Scoobies try to calm down in the library, where Giles says Dr. Gregory was well-liked, so he doesn’t know who would kill him. Buffy, who’s especially upset because Dr. Gregory was so kind to her, says that he must have been killed on campus, since his body was found in the same clothes he was wearing when she last saw him. Xander would like to know where the man’s head is.

Buffy remembers Angel’s warning about something bad coming – maybe this is it. Giles has found information on a vampire who ticked off the Master and had his hand cut off and replaced with something (possibly a big fork). Xander wonders why that vampire would go after a teacher. Giles says that a homeless man was also attacked a couple nights ago, his body shredded. That doesn’t sound like something a vampire would do. Xander says they’re on Monster Island now. Nope, just the Hellmouth.

Giles thinks Fork Guy is the most likely suspect, so Buffy asks for more information on the attack on the homeless man. Giles tells her it’s too dangerous for her to do any investigating. Buffy promises not to, but of course, she goes to the site of the attack that night. It’s a park that looks to be a popular sleeping spot for the homeless of Sunnydale. There, Buffy encounters Fork Guy, who is just as advertised – he’s a vampire with a big fork for a hand. Really, it’s a claw, but I think Fork Guy is more fun than Claw Guy.

She fights him for a minute before the police arrive. Buffy and Fork Guy run off before they can approach. Fork Guy hops a fence to leave the park and starts following a woman walking home with groceries. It’s Ms. French. She calmly turns to Fork Guy and hisses at him. He immediately runs off and goes underground. Neither of them sees Buffy watching them.

At school the next day, Buffy has to confess to Giles that she went hunting last night after saying she wouldn’t. Get used to it, Giles. She tells him she saw Fork Guy, but she also saw Ms. French scare him off. Why would a vampire with a big claw be scared of a seemingly ordinary substitute teacher? Giles agrees with Buffy that they should keep an eye on Ms. French.

As Buffy heads off to class, Mr. Flutie stops her, announcing that everyone who saw Dr. Gregory’s body has to meet with a crisis counselor. He doesn’t want the students to bottle up their feelings. Buffy should remember that Mr. Flutie is always there if she needs him. He’ll even give her a hug (but not a real hug, because that’s inappropriate). Buffy insists on going to science class, probably the first time she’s ever done that, but Mr. Flutie sends her to the counselor.

She listens in as Cordelia talks to the counselor about how seeing a dead body has traumatized her. It’s not all bad, though – she’s not eating, so she’s already lost some weight. Good job finding the silver lining, Cordy. In Ms. French’s class, everyone’s taking a pop quiz, and Ms. French seems very invested in Xander getting a good grade, because she corrects one of his answers while he’s working. She reminds him that they have their one-on-one that day. As Buffy arrives and peeks in the window, Ms. French turns her head to look at her. By which I mean she turns her head all the way around.

Buffy tells Willow about this as they head to the library. She wonders why Blayne isn’t at school, bragging about his one-on-one with Ms. French. While discussing the weirdness with Giles, Buffy realizes that they might be dealing with an insect. To discover how to handle this, Buffy will need to read up on bugs. So while she might have to fight a giant bug, she’s at least learning stuff. Hey, maybe Cordelia has the right idea and it’s easier to find the silver lining than I thought.

Xander goes to his one-on-one with Ms. French, who’s having an after-school snack. He admires the model sac she and Blayne made, which is so big that if it were real, the bugs inside it would be as big as Xander. Ms. French say she has a teacher’s conference in a little while and left the sac-making materials at home. Xander will have to meet her there that night to work on the project. Xander flashes back to his dream, playing a guitar riff. As he heads off, Ms. French finishes her snack – live crickets.

Buffy’s research has taught her that praying mantises can rotate their heads like Ms. French did. Willow notes that Ms. French is a little bigger than the average praying mantis. Buffy thinks all the pieces fit, including Ms. French’s wardrobe, which “screams predator.” Willow agrees: “It’s the shoulder pads.” Giles says Ms. French would have to be a shapeshifter, but he knew someone who might have had a theory about that sort of thing.

Willow gets an alert that Blayne is missing; he didn’t come home last night after meeting up with Ms. French. The girls remember that Xander’s supposed to be with her right now. Buffy says she’ll warn him while Willow hacks into the local coroner’s computer system to find out more about Dr. Gregory’s death. Buffy thinks the marks she saw on his body are consistent with praying mantis mandibles. Giles goes to make a call about his colleague’s theory, pretending he believes that Willow’s hacking is totally legal and that he couldn’t have stopped her from doing it.

Buffy finds Xander and tells him that his new crush is a giant bug. He thinks Buffy’s just jealous. He says there’s nothing to be done; it’s a chemical attraction. Buffy tells him that’s the pheromones. Xander doesn’t believe her, and he’s a little offended that Buffy doesn’t think someone would be interested in him, even if he’s not hot and broody and always wearing a leather jacket like Angel. Buffy asks what Angel has to do with this. Xander says the guy just bugs him. Heh, nice word choice.

Ms. French prepares for Xander’s visit, wearing a cleavage-baring dress and pouring drinks that wouldn’t be appropriate for this situation even if she weren’t a giant praying mantis. She tells him she’s nervous around him, but nowhere near as nervous as Xander is. He just babbles a bunch. Ms. French gets really close to him and asks if he’s ever been with a woman before. Xander says he’s had lots of sex, then admits that he’s lying. Ms. French knows he’s a virgin, which appears to be her preference.

Xander thinks he hears someone yelling, but Ms. French says it’s nothing. She admires his hand, which makes him remember his dream, when Buffy noted that he hurt his hand. The alcohol is getting to Xander (or whatever else might be in the drink). As he looks at Ms. French’s hands, they turn into…whatever praying mantises have instead of arms. Xander passes out and she drags him off. He wakes up in a cage in what looks like a cave.

While Giles tries to get in touch with his colleague (who probably can’t help him much, since he’s not psychologically stable), Buffy and Willow look at pictures of Dr. Gregory’s autopsy. Buffy confirms her theory that he was killed by a praying mantis. Willow worries that Xander’s going to end up headless, too. Buffy doesn’t think he’s in any immediate danger.

Wrong! Xander and Blayne are in adjoining cages, about to be made to do something that scares Blayne. He warns Xander that Ms. French is going to lay a bunch of eggs, then mate with the guys. Xander promises that they’ll be okay. He has a plan. Sort of. Maybe. Okay, they might be in trouble.

Back at the library, Giles finally gets through to his colleague, Carlyle, who it turns out was right about everything. Well, except for his theory that his mother would be reincarnated as a dog. He tells Buffy and Willow that Carlyle dealt with this giant mantis, which makes herself look like a human woman, then lures male virgins to her nest to fertilize her eggs. Buffy figures Xander’s safe, since he’s probably not a virgin. Willow tells her she’s wrong.

Carlyle told Giles that they can take care of the she-mantis by cutting it up, but Buffy will have to work quickly so Ms. French can’t cut her first. Buffy thinks everything will be fine, since Carlyle faced her and won. Yeah, he’s in a psychiatric facility now, but other than that, he’s great! Willow learns that Xander went to Ms. French’s house, so she gets to work finding the teacher’s address. Buffy tells Giles to record some bat sonar. Since bats prey on mantises, the sound of them will make Ms. French’s nervous system shut down.

Xander manages to remove a bar from his cage so he’ll have a weapon against the giant praying mantis he might have to fight. Giles gives Buffy the sonar recording and Willow provides Ms. French’s address, so the Scoobies are ready to roll. Willow notes that Ms. French’s records say she was born in 1907.

As Blayne encourages Ms. French to take Xander, not him, the Scoobies arrive at Ms. French’s house. They’re shocked to discover that Ms. French isn’t the woman who’s been posing as a teacher all this time. The she-mantis used another woman’s records to get access to the school. The real Ms. French had no idea.

The fake Ms. French chooses Xander as her mate, and he reluctantly agrees to fulfill his duties. As soon as he’s out of the cage, he hits the she-mantis with the bar from the cage. That’s not enough, and she knocks him out. Buffy takes Giles and Willow to the neighborhood where she saw Ms. French the other night, then goes into the sewer she saw Fork Guy disappear into.

The she-mantis starts laying eggs as Buffy tracks down Fork Guy. She uses his fear of the she-mantis as a kind of radar to figure out which house she’s in. Unfortunately, this means getting close to Fork Guy. Buffy uses a fence post to stake him and still has time to get into the she-mantis’ house before Xander has to do any egg fertilizing. She fights the mantis with bug spray (well, why not?) while the Scoobies and Blayne make their escape. Then she presses play on her recorder…but instead of bat sonar, she just hears some instructional tape Giles made. (The sonar is on the other side.)

Buffy fights the giant bug off until Giles is able to flip the tape and play the sonar recording. This incapacitates the she-mantis enough for Buffy to be able to hack her to pieces. Xander and Blayne are extremely grateful. They would also like everyone to keep it quiet that they’re virgins. Willow finds that virginity sweet, but she’ll keep it to herself since Xander’s holding Buffy’s machete. He uses it to chop up all the eggs.

The teens wrap up this week’s adventure with another night at the Bronze. Angel stops by again to congratulate Buffy on taking out Fork Guy. She thanks him for his help and suggests that he give her a way to get in touch with him. He just says he’ll be around. He also wants her to keep his jacket, since it looks better on her.

Dr. Gregory’s real replacement isn’t as likable as his predecessor, but at least he doesn’t appear to be any kind of insect. Dr. Gregory’s glasses are still in the classroom, and Buffy tucks them into his coat pocket, which is still hanging on the closet door. Also in the closet: praying mantis eggs, which are starting to hatch. Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Thoughts: No wonder Buffy never gets enough encouragement. The people who support her just end up dead.

Angel would really be a lot more helpful if he would just tell Buffy what’s going on and what monster she’s going to have to face. Why does he think being cryptic is the best way to go about this? I think he does it on purpose to remain mysterious.

In addition to a lax attitude toward occult books, Sunnydale High appears to have a very casual dress code, judging by Buffy’s see-through, belly-bearing shirt. I’m surprised Joyce let her leave the house in that.

September 7, 2021

ER 9.9, Next of Kin: “Define ‘Family’”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:57 pm by Jenn

This is a good look for Tom Everett Scott

Summary: Abby’s asleep – drink! She wakes up when she hears glass breaking somewhere in her apartment. Maggie’s making breakfast and Eric’s watching TV, even though it’s not even 5 a.m. They’re about to take Eric to a psych treatment center, and he’s not happy about it. Abby reminds him that they agreed to this – aggressively treating his bipolar disorder now will help him more down the road. Eric regrets agreeing to that.

At County, Carter examines a kid named Timmy who complained of having a headache but says nothing happened to give him the headache. He and his brother are tight-lipped about what they were playing that led to this. Well, it turns out that the brothers like to play a game where the older boy holds Timmy up by the ankles and lets go to see how long it takes him to hit the ground. (Answer: Not very long.) Carter and Susan laugh over how Timmy has a concussion but still wouldn’t rat out his older brother. Susan notes that that would make him a squealer. Susan has a sister; she gets it.

Susan’s supposed to be done for the day after a night shift, but Jerry tells her that Weaver wants her to cover for her. Chen and Carter wonder why she keeps missing work. Chen’s disappointed because she and Susan were supposed to go salsa dancing that night. A teenager in the waiting room asks if Carter and Chen are doctors. When they confirm this, the girl says she can’t do this, then runs out. After a moment, a baby starts crying. The doctors realize that the girl has abandoned a baby in the ER. Carter runs outside to catch her, but she’s gone.

The Wyczenskis go to the treatment center and meet Eric’s new doctor (he doesn’t get a name; I’m calling him DeMunn, the actor’s last name). It’s an outpatient place where Eric will attend therapy sessions, but can also take field trips and art classes. Eric complains that there’s no playground for recess. While Maggie takes him to meet some other patients, Abby talks to DeMunn, who’s hesitant to prescribe any further medications for Eric until he’s reviewed Eric’s chart. Abby says she can give him any information he needs. DeMunn would prefer to talk to his patient instead.

Carter and Chen tend to the baby, who’s dehydrated but otherwise seems okay. He had to have been delivered recently, since his umbilical cord is still attached. It was clamped off with a Powerpuff Girls barrette. Carter tells Harkins that, under safe-haven laws, the mother won’t suffer any consequences for leaving the baby at the hospital. Chen thinks she made a responsible decision, though Harkins disagrees. Is she just going to go back to her life like nothing happened?

Carter leaves to help with a trauma – a man and his 12-year-old daughter were in a car accident. The father, Gil, is in bad shape, but his daughter, Morgan, just has an ankle injury. Harkins and Pratt tend to her while Carter, Chen, and Elizabeth treat Gil. He mumbles that Morgan’s mother isn’t in the picture because she “doesn’t understand.” Elizabeth determines that Gil will need surgery. Next door, Pratt assures Morgan that her dad will be okay, since the hospital’s second best doctor is helping him. Pratt is, of course, the best doctor at County.

Eric participates in an art class at the facility; the patients are supposed to cut pictures out of magazines that best describe how they feel during their manic phases. Eric asks for a Viagra ad. DeMunn tells Abby and Maggie that the exercise helps patients identify what’s seductive about their mania. The facility will help them move toward self-discipline and structure. He promises that Eric will adapt. After all, Maggie did.

Abby and Maggie head out, though Maggie isn’t sure this is the best place for Eric to receive treatment. Abby admits that it’s kind of dumb to have adults make collages, but emotionally, Eric is at the age where that might help. Maggie disagrees. She knows Eric feels like his mother and sister are trying to take away his personality – his bipolar disorder is part of what makes him…him. Abby says it’s also destroying him.

Maggie thinks he would be okay just seeing a psychologist on his own and trying to hold down a job. Abby asks how they’ll make sure he keeps taking his medication. Maggie reminds her that they can’t force Eric to go to therapy or take his medications. Abby doesn’t think Maggie knows what will work. Maggie calls her out for always criticizing how she handled her illness. Abby says Maggie isn’t an expert – she doesn’t know best. Maggie thinks that, in this case, she might. She’s also Eric’s mother. Abby says that after spending 30 years in and out of hospitals, Maggie isn’t anyone’s mother.

Chen checks on the baby, who’s still in the ER since there are no available beds in pediatrics. Connie appreciates having a healthy baby in the ER for once. She doesn’t know how anyone could give him up. Chen – who, as we know, placed her baby for adoption – keeps a poker face as she says that she’s sure his mother had her reasons.

Susan’s annoyed that Luka is missing, so she has to deal with med students in his place. Aren’t they Carter’s responsibility? Anyway, Gallant wants her to see his patient, Melody, who may have food poisoning. She doesn’t want to be admitted, but she’s a nurse, so she knows they can’t release her until they’ve gotten her vomiting under control. Her boyfriend, Bill, says she can’t come to his place since he just got new rugs. For some reason, Susan doesn’t recognize that as an obvious joke.

Elizabeth tells Gil that surgery may take him out of commission for a while. He doesn’t want them to call Morgan’s mother; Morgan barely remembers the woman who abandoned them. Luka finally shows up, telling Susan his alarm clock didn’t go off. She guesses he was actually in bed with someone. Luka comes in at the same time as an elderly woman named Matilda who fractured her hip. She was on the floor for two days, unable to reach her medication, which is especially bad because she has diabetes.

The ER needs Morgan’s bed, so Pratt and Harkins take her to an exam room. She asks to use the bathroom, so Pratt tells Harkins to give her a bedpan. They give her some privacy, but Harkins goes in when she hears Morgan drop the bedpan. Morgan yells for her to stay out, but it’s too late. Harkins walks in on her and realizes that Morgan has male anatomy. She shares the news with Pratt, switching to male pronouns, because this was 2002 and no one cared about misgendering trans people. Pratt tells her to find Morgan’s mother.

He goes to see Morgan, who’s impatient to see her father. He asks why she wears girls’ clothes. Morgan confidently says that she’s a girl; she just has the wrong body. Pratt thinks she’s too young to think that way. Morgan says she’s always known it. Her father obviously supports this, and even moved her to Chicago so she could start over at a school where no one knows she’s transgender. Pratt thinks they’ll find out eventually, but Morgan says they’ll just keep moving anytime people find out. When she’s old enough, she’ll have gender confirmation surgery.

Pratt asks how Morgan’s mother feels about this. Morgan sadly says that she has a new family now. Pratt tells her that someone needs to come get her, since her father will be in surgery for a while. A family friend won’t cut it; Morgan’s mother needs to come. Morgan says that her mother thinks she’s a freak, just like Pratt obviously does. She begs him not to call her mother. Pratt gives in, telling Harkins not to do anything yet.

Leon arrives, upset because he was just fired from his job. He claims he didn’t do anything wrong. Carter gets a call from an Anita Coffee, a fake name Abby gave Jerry, for some reason. He meets her in the ambulance bay so they can go to Doc Magoo’s together for a break. Luka chats with Matilda, who passes out while Susan is examining her. Oh, hey, Yosh! Where have you been? When Matilda revives, she complains that they woke her up from a nice nap.

Melody’s son, Jeremy, arrives to check on his mother. They had the same thing for dinner the night before, and he’s not sick, so she might not have food poisoning after all. He’s annoyed that Melody and Bill didn’t call to let him know Melody was in the hospital. Jeremy offers to stay with Melody so Bill can go to work, but Bill says he can stay. It’s clear that Jeremy doesn’t like him even before he tells Susan that Bill can be a jerk sometimes.

Abby tells Carter that she thinks things will be fine after Eric’s first day in treatment. They’ll get into a routine; she’ll work days and “keep an eye on him” at night. Carter obviously disagrees with her plan to basically babysit her brother. He thinks she and Maggie should share the responsibility. But Abby knows from history that Maggie isn’t reliable. After all, she’s abandoned her children many times before, back when they were too young to have to take care of themselves.

Gil declines in surgery, and Elizabeth isn’t able to save him. Matilda is facing surgery herself, and as she awaits it, she flirts with Luka a little. She’s been single her whole life, and though she has a few regrets about never getting married, she did have time to do other things, like become a great chess player. Yosh tells Susan that Weaver wants her to take her place at a finance meeting. Gallant tells her that Melody doesn’t have food poisoning – she overdosed on aspirin. Susan’s confused, since the dosage she took wouldn’t be lethal, but as a nurse, she would also know it was too high.

Chen and Connie are brainstorming names for the baby. Susan tells them not to ask for her input – she named her dog Puddles. “Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she quips. Carter suggests Rudyard. “Hasn’t he suffered enough?” Chen asks. Elizabeth tells Carter that Gil died, so they’ll need to inform Morgan. Harkins doesn’t know if Pratt has contacted her mother. She tells Carter and Elizabeth about Morgan’s situation, still insisting that Morgan’s a boy. Shut up, Harkins. Carter tells her to call Morgan’s mother, since she’s Morgan’s next of kin.

Abby returns to the treatment center to get Eric, but DeMunn tells her he withdrew from the program and left. Maggie came to get him an hour ago. Pratt pays a visit to Leon’s boss to find out why Leon was fired. The boss accuses Leon of letting people into his store after hours so they could rob the place. Pratt insists that Leon wouldn’t knowingly participate in a crime. Even if the robbers were his friends, they must have tricked Leon into helping him. The boss calls Leon dumb, which really makes Pratt mad. Leon was shot in the head; he’s not dumb. Pratt tells the boss to leave Leon out of his reports about the robbery.

Morgan’s mother, Mrs. Garding, arrives and learns that her ex-husband is dead. (Carter also misgenders Morgan. Bad Carter!) Mrs. Garding is aware that Morgan lives as a girl; she and Gil split up because they disagreed about letting her do that. Carter wants Mrs. Garding to be there when Morgan learns that Gil died. Uh, maybe they should ask Morgan what she wants? She’s not happy to see her mother, and she’s much less happy to learn that Gil didn’t survive.

Harkins flirts with Luka, who checks on Matilda again. She notes that he doesn’t even have to try with women. Well…have you seen his face? She pulls out a checkbook and tells him she’s giving him a tip. He’s not allowed to take her money, but Matilda’s 82 and frugal, so she doesn’t see the point in hoarding it. She basically forces Luka to take her check.

At the admit desk, Harkins asks Luka if that’s ever happened to him before. He’s very casual about the whole thing and hasn’t even looked at the check to see how much Matilda gave him. Susan overhears the conversation and reminds Luka that it’s unethical to take a patient’s money. Luka brushes this off, saying the check will probably bounce anyway. Harkins reports that it’s for $10,000.

Gallant looked up Melody’s records and tells Susan she’s been to County a few times for various injuries. They guess that Bill is abusing her. Abby confronts Maggie for taking Eric out of the facility, but Maggie reminds her that people with bipolar disorder only get better if they want to. Abby asks if they’re supposed to just wait until Eric feels like getting treatment. Does Maggie have a plan? She does: She’s taking Eric to Minnesota with her tomorrow. He’ll stay with her and Maggie will try to help him get treatment.

Abby thinks the facility in Chicago is the best thing for Eric right now, especially when Maggie can’t be sure she can keep Eric on the path he needs to be on. Maggie says that she knows Abby feels like she’s the only one who has ever been there for both Maggie and Eric. But Maggie’s here now, and she’s going to help.

Melody and the baby have been sharing a room for a while, but there’s room for the baby in pediatrics now. Melody asks to see him before he goes. She tells Chen she loves babies at this age, when they really need their parents. Chen sends him off, feeling bittersweet. Susan checks on Melody, asking if she’s felt depressed recently. Was Melody trying to get sympathy or trying to get away from her boyfriend? It’s obvious that someone is hurting her, and she needs to turn him in. Melody says she can’t. She needs a few days; he’s joining the Navy, and then she’ll be free. Susan’s surprised to learn that Melody’s abuser is Jeremy, not Bill.

Pratt returns to County and learns that Gil died and Mrs. Garding has arrived. He’s upset that Harkins ignored him and follows Carter’s instructions instead. He finds Mrs. Garding cutting Morgan’s hair so she’ll look like a boy. Pratt can’t talk her out of doing what she thinks is right for her child, who will no doubt be miserable as she adjusts to living with her unsupportivemother and a stepfather who probably doesn’t know she’s transgender.

The baby’s mother returns to the ER and tells Chen she changed her mind – she wants her baby back. Harkins snottily asks when she’ll change her mind again. The mother, Romy, tells Chen that she’s not scared anymore. She thinks her mother will help her raise the baby. Chen sends Romy up to see the baby, telling Harkins that she’s going to at least try to be a mother. Harkins asks how that works when Romy originally abandoned the child.

Matilda declines, and since she has a DNR, Susan and Haleh have to let her go. Luka’s disappointed that no one told him she was dying. Susan tells Jeremy that Melody needs to stay for observation. Coincidentally, she’ll be in the hospital the exact amount of time remaining before Jeremy ships out. Gallant’s confused, so Susan fills him in. Luka overhears and remarks that her “stretching” of Melody’s diagnosis sounds unethical.

Abby and Maggie track Eric down in a hotel, but Eric doesn’t want his sister in his life right now. She tells him he needs help and can’t do this by himself. He needs someone he can trust and rely on. Eric says Abby isn’t that person anymore. She doesn’t really understand what he’s going through. She’s not like Eric and Maggie, and she never will be. Maggie tells Abby she’ll call when they get settled back in Minnesota, but Abby says she shouldn’t bother.

Pratt’s annoyed that he has to work after his shift was supposed to have ended, since he left during his shift. He’s also obviously annoyed that Carter overrode his instructions about Morgan, but Carter says he couldn’t just wait until Pratt came back. Pratt chastises him for not listening to what Morgan wanted. Carter says he followed procedure. Whether Pratt likes it or not, Mrs. Garding is Morgan’s only family. “Define ‘family,'” Pratt replies. As he leaves the lounge, he sees Morgan leaving with her mother, looking betrayed because Pratt wasn’t there to help her advocate for what she wanted.

Romy and her mother leave with the baby, stopping to talk to Chen. Romy’s mother didn’t know her daughter was pregnant, but now that she knows about the baby, it looks like she’s going to help raise him. Chen is sad to see another baby leave her life. Susan tries to talk her into going out for a drink, but Chen isn’t in the mood. Luke probably is, as he’s cashing Matilda’s check and now has thousands of dollars to spend however he wants.

Pratt tells Leon he couldn’t get his job back, though Leon’s already looking in the want ads for a new one. Pratt calls him out for buying an Xbox. Leon says his friends gave it to him – they must have won it. Pratt helps him realize that his friends stole it. Carter goes to Abby’s apartment, where she’s smoking outside. She tells him she’s going to let Maggie and Eric leave, and she doesn’t want to talk about it. She’s done trying to take care of her family.

Thoughts: Romy is played by Jurnee Smollett.

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

I don’t like angsty Abby. I want to go back to fun Abby.

Pratt is, again, really good with patients. If I were Morgan, I would feel really comfortable around him. I would even go so far as to stay he would make a good pediatrician. Harkins, on the other hand, can stuff it.

I think the show handles Morgan’s storyline well (I mean, other than the sad ending). The way she talks about herself, like having the wrong body, is in line with what other trans people say. She’s not ashamed and her father doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her.

’00s music alert: Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe”

September 4, 2021

Buffy 1.3, Witch: I’ve Heard of Living Vicariously Through Your Child, But This Is Too Much

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

Amy will be back

Summary: Giles is upset with Buffy for putting aside her Slayer responsibilities for something else. That something else is the cheerleading squad. He doesn’t want her to set aside her “sacred birthright” to try out for the squad. As her Watcher, he forbids it. Buffy promises that she’ll have time to cheer and slay vampires. She just wants to do something normal and safe. Elsewhere, someone’s doing something witchy with a cauldron and a doll.

Buffy heads to tryouts with Willow and Xander, noting that she hasn’t seen a vampire in a week, so this isn’t as irresponsible as Giles thinks it is. Xander appreciates the cheerleaders’ commitment to school spirit. Keep your eyes in your head, buddy. He gives Buffy a bracelet as a good-luck present. It’s engraved “yours, always,” which Xander claims is standard for all bracelets of that design.

Cordelia complains to Willow (probably not realizing that’s who she’s talking to, since she wouldn’t normally talk to Willow voluntarily) about a girl named Amber who seems to be taking this too seriously. Willow catches up with a friend named Amy, who’s also trying out. Willow notes that Amy recently lost a lot of weight. Amy says she had to. Amber does the first tryout, and Buffy’s intimidated. Amy tells her that Amber trains with a coach named Benson, one of the best. Amy herself trains with her mom for hours every day.

As Amber finishes her routine, smoke starts coming out of her pompoms. Willow yells out that she’s on fire. “Enough with the hyperbole,” says Cordelia, who’s turned away and doesn’t realize that Amber is literally going up in flames. As Amber’s hands light up, Buffy grabs a banner to smother the flames. Looks like even with vampires on temporary hiatus, Buffy can’t escape the supernatural in her everyday life.

The teens go to the library to fill Giles in. He says spontaneous human combustion is rare, but it’s been documented for centuries. He’s a little too happy that there’s so much supernatural stuff to learn about so close to the Hellmouth. In most cases of human combustion, the victim was feeling rage. Xander says that means Amber has a superpower: “It’s like the Human Torch, only it hurts.”

Buffy wants to find out if Amber has had any experiences like this before. Willow and Xander immediately offer to help. They’re a team now. Willow says Buffy’s the Slayer and they’re the Slayerettes. I prefer “Scoobies,” but thanks anyway. Buffy’s worried that her new friends will put themselves in danger. “I laugh in the face of danger,” Xander replies. “Then I hide till it goes away.” Buffy notes that Amber might not have been the cause of what happened.

At home, Joyce is opening a shipment of tribal art for her gallery. Buffy tells her there was an accident at tryouts, so she didn’t get to have a turn yet. Joyce gives her some vague encouragement, though Buffy can tell she doesn’t know what Buffy was trying out for. Still, Joyce was supportive, so that’s nice. She’s struggling to open a crate, but thanks to her Slayer strength, Buffy easily gets the lid off. Joyce is happy that Buffy wants to be a cheerleader again, since it’ll keep her out of trouble. Buffy brings up Amy and how she trains with her mother, angling for Joyce to offer to work with her. Joyce is too busy, though.

The next day, the tryouts continue, because they can’t let a little fire ruin things for the other girls. This time the girls do a group routine. Amy falls over at the end, bumping into Cordelia, who desperately hopes that doesn’t count against her. Afterward, Buffy finds Amy looking at a cheerleading trophy in a case. Her mother, Catherine, was a Sunnydale cheerleader and led the squad to a championship. Amy’s father left a few years ago, and Catherine did an amazing job of raising Amy on her own while going to cosmetology school.

Buffy tells Amy that she doesn’t have to be as devoted to cheerleading as her mother was. Amy says that Catherine was the best, but Amy can’t get herself to the same level. She runs off to change clothes as Willow approaches. She tells Buffy that Catherine is really strict about her weight, which explains why Amy “had to” lose her extra pounds. In middle school, when Catherine got serious about dieting, Willow would bring Amy to her house and they would eat brownies together,

Willow doesn’t have much of an update on Amber – she’s a regular student who’s only been in trouble once, when she got detention for smoking (cigarette smoking, not being on fire). Buffy says they’ll have to wait and see if something else happens. Maybe nothing will. In the locker room, Cordelia corners Amy to make it clear that she’s not going to let Amy’s clumsiness keep Cordelia from making the squad. If Amy messes things up for Cordelia again, she’ll be sorry.

Xander asks Willow if Buffy’s wearing the bracelet he gave her. He thinks they’re basically going out. You know, without all the stuff that comes with going out, or Buffy’s knowledge that they’re going out. Xander says Willow’s a great friend – like a guy who knows about girl stuff. Yay? The list is up announcing who made the squad, and Amy’s lucky because Cordelia’s on it. Buffy is the first alternate, and Amy is third.

Amy runs off, upset. Buffy follows her, noting that on the bright side, tryouts are over. She invites Amy over to hang out after school and eat brownies. Amy says she can’t do any more than she’s already done to make the squad. This would never happen to Catherine. Someone uses the cauldron and dolls again, this time naming a doll Cordelia, wrapping a band around the doll’s eyes, and asking something or another to “feed on her.”

The next day, Joyce shows Buffy her high school yearbook and suggests that she join the yearbook staff. Joyce was photo editor of hers and got to be on every page. Buffy tells her that’s for nerds. Joyce enjoyed it, but Buffy says she’s into other things. Joyce notes that those things got her kicked out of her old school. They had to move all the way to Sunnydale to find a decent school that would let her attend. That’s too far, and Buffy has hurt feelings now. Joyce beats herself up for that.

At school, Xander and Willow notice Cordelia wandering down the hall, not stopping to insult them. It’s like they’re invisible – kind of how Xander is to Buffy. He blends into the scenery when they’re together. He decides to stop being subtle and just ask her out. As Buffy approaches and Xander psychs himself up, Buffy sees that Cordelia is acting weird. She ditches her friends to follow Cordelia.

It’s Cordelia’s turn to drive in driver’s ed, though she doesn’t want to. The teacher makes her, and she takes the car on a bit of a joyride before crashing. Cordelia gets out of the car and ends up in the middle of the road. Buffy runs over to push her out of the way just before a truck runs her over. Cordelia’s eyes have turned white, and she can’t see anything.

In the library, Giles says this is classic witchcraft. He just doesn’t know why someone would want to hurt Cordelia. “Maybe because they met her?” Willow quips. Since this is the second cheerleader who’s been harmed, they’re probably dealing with someone who doesn’t like cheerleading…or someone who likes it too much. Willow and Buffy both suggest Amy. Maybe she’s turned to witchcraft to get a spot on the squad.

Giles thinks that’s crazy, but Buffy gets it – if you’re not a “picture-perfect carbon copy” of a parent, that parent might not be happy. Xander thinks they should just grab Amy and get to the bottom of things. Giles notes that if they’re right about her being a witch, that’s too dangerous. Willow checks the computer to see if Amy’s checked out books on witchcraft, as Xander protests. That’s just because he’s checked out books on witchcraft. (He just likes to look at the semi-nude engravings.)

Giles says they need to do a test involving Amy’s hair and a couple other ingredients available in the science lab. If Amy’s skin turns blue when it comes in contact with the ingredients, they’ll know that she’s cast a spell in the past 48 hours. They’ll also need some eye of newt, though the closest the teens can get is the eye of a dissected frog. Buffy is able to pull some of Amy’s hair out of her hairbrush without Amy noticing.

She slips it to Willow, who mixes everything up instead of doing whatever experiment their chemistry class is supposed to be doing. Buffy then spills the concoction on Amy, and her skin immediately turns blue. Amy’s confused, of course, but luckily, there’s a distraction. Unfortunately, that distraction is a cheerleader named Lishanne whose mouth has suddenly disappeared. Amy looks as surprised as Buffy does.

After class, Buffy tells Amy and Willow that the test was positive, so maybe Amy doesn’t realize she’s been doing witchcraft. She thinks they should talk to Catherine. Maybe she’s created a monster. Meanwhile, Amy goes home to the house where the cauldron and dolls are being used. Catherine is there, and she’s clearly nervous around Amy. Amy complains that she’s not on the squad yet, and that Buffy and her friends are doing weird things. She shows Catherine that she’s snagged Buffy’s bracelet.

The next morning, Buffy is in a great mood. She’s excited to take Lishanne’s place on the cheerleading squad. Joyce apologizes for what she said the day before, but Buffy says it’s fine. After all, she did get kicked out of school. Joyce doesn’t get it and wouldn’t want to. Buffy mentions that she’s a Slayer, so Joyce asks if she’s okay. Buffy says everything’s great! She’s going to school and cheer practice, and she’s going to sing “Macho Man” the whole time.

At practice, Buffy is a little too energetic. Willow and Xander notice but are unable to get her out of there before she accidentally flips a girl across the room. This gets her removed from the squad, with Amy taking her spot. (No, I don’t know who the second alternate was. Don’t worry about it!) Xander and Willow rush Buffy out of the gym before she can announce that Amy’s a witch.

Buffy gushes over Xander in the hallway, like she’s had too much to drink and wants her friend to know how good a friend he is. She says he’s not like other boys. He’s one of the girls. Suddenly, whatever’s happening to her starts wearing off, and she passes out. Willow and Xander take her to the library, where Giles recognizes that Buffy’s the victim of a vengeance spell. Amy is obviously on to them. They’ll need to reverse the spell in the next few hours to save Buffy.

This will require either getting Amy’s spell book or cutting off her head. Xander’s fine with that second option, but Buffy has sympathy for Amy. She only became a witch to survive her mother. Buffy says she and Giles will go to Amy’s house and get her book while Xander and Willow stay at school and keep an eye on Amy.

At Amy’s, Buffy and Giles meet Catherine, who tries to resist talking to them about Amy. Giles gets stern, telling Catherine that Amy is accessing some very powerful magic and using it to hurt people. Catherine’s obsession with cheerleading is to blame. Catherine says she doesn’t care about cheerleading, and it’s not her fault that Amy is using witchcraft. As they bicker, Buffy notices the plate of brownies Catherine was eating. That plus Catherine’s fear of Amy and her reference to “Dad” instead of “Amy’s dad” makes Buffy realize that Catherine and Amy switched bodies.

Catherine – really Amy – confirms this. Her mother said she was wasting her youth, so she took it. Amy didn’t know that Catherine was a witch. She wanted to go with her father when he left, but Catherine kept them separated. She would rant about how easy Amy had it and how she didn’t know how hard it was to be Catherine. Buffy promises that things will be okay. Amy says she woke up in her mother’s bed a few months ago and didn’t know what had happened.

She shows Giles to the attic, where Catherine does her spells. He finds all the dolls Catherine has used as voodoo dolls to harm the cheerleaders. He’s pretty sure they can reverse her spells if they can find her spell book. He finds it in a chest, being guarded by a black cat. They head back to school as the first basketball game of the season starts, attended by all the cheerleaders.

Giles puts Buffy down on a table in the science lab and promises that he’ll fix this. They only have a few minutes left before the vengeance spell kills Buffy. As Catherine cheers at the game, happy to be back to her teenage self, Amy helps Giles reverse her mother’s spells. Catherine and Amy both feel the effects. Catherine screws up a stunt, then glares at all the other cheerleaders before running out of the gym. Amy warns Giles that she’s coming.

Willow tries to delay Catherine, offering to help her. She knows of a really great cauldron. Also, does Catherine ride a broom? Xander tries to sneak up behind Catherine, but she magically chokes him into unconsciousness, then knocks Willow out with a punch. Giles continues the spell-reversal as Catherine grabs an axe, chops down the door to the lab, and goes after Buffy. The spell finishes just before she can swing the axe, so instead of a vengeful witch, Buffy just has a confused teenager standing over her.

Catherine tackles Buffy, then faces her daughter. She magically makes the axe fly into her own hand and rants about how ungrateful Amy is. Buffy has recovered, so she’s able to fight Catherine and keep her from hurting Amy. Catherine tries a spell that will send Buffy to a dark place, but Buffy kicks down the mirrored cover of a lab table so the witchcraft reflects off of it. It goes into Catherine, making her disappear.

Giles, who’s been knocked unconscious for the first of many times in this series, wakes up hoping everything worked. Buffy assures him that he reversed the spell and saved her. Xander runs in and grabs Amy to save Buffy. Buffy and Giles tell him Amy wasn’t the bad one here, and also, they fixed everything. Willow runs in next, ready to hurt anyone who wants to hurt her friends. Xander tells her he already took care of things.

At home, Joyce tells Buffy she’s been trying to figure out how to relate to her. Maybe there’s a biological imperative that says a parent can’t understand a teen because the parent isn’t a teen anymore. Buffy asks if Joyce ever wishes she could be 16 again. Joyce says she wouldn’t go through all that angst again even if it made her understand Buffy. (People who have seen season 3’s “Band Candy” start giggling.)

At school the next day (I guess), Amy tells Buffy how protective her dad is being now that she’s living with him. He feels guilty for all the time they spent apart, and how horrible her mother was. Of course, Amy secretly loves it. Cordelia taunts the girls for being knocked back to their alternate slots, so everything’s back to normal there, too. Amy doesn’t actually want to be a cheerleader, and Buffy has decided to leave that behind, too. Amy hasn’t heard from her mother and doesn’t think she’ll cause any more trouble. They don’t realize that the eyes of Catherine’s cheerleading trophy are now human, and there’s a muffled scream coming from inside it.

Thoughts: An okay show would have had the twist be that Amy was the witch. A good show would have had it be that Catherine was the witch. Buffy is a great show because it had the double twist of Catherine being the witch and switching bodies with Amy.

I giggled at the discussion about Amber training with a coach named Benson because later in the series, actress Amber Benson joins the cast.

I like how friendly Buffy is to Amy. She could have made an excuse that she’s too busy with slaying and cheering to care about someone else, but she really wants to cheer Amy up.

We couldn’t put on Grease at my high school but Sunnydale’s library is allowed to have books on witchcraft? Even more ridiculous, no one complains about that until season 3.

August 31, 2021

ER 9.8, First Snowfall: The New Normal

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

Poor Gallant

Summary: Gallant is on the phone with someone from Eric’s base, trying to get Abby some information, since she doesn’t even know where he was taken. Abby has to step away to end a fight between a babbling homeless man and another patient. Carter tells her that he was able to find out that Eric was in the brig for a few days, but has now been sent back to his base in Nebraska. Gallant can’t get any more news than that, so Abby decides to just go to the base.

Carter wants to tag along (sound familiar?), but he has a shift. Abby insists that she can handle this by herself. He tells her she can’t just walk onto an Air Force base; she needs a sponsor. She should take Gallant with her. Abby still thinks she can handle this alone, but Carter gets Gallant to agree to go with her anyway. Carter plans to join Abby later. As he sends them off to the airport in a cab, snow starts falling. It snows all night, and by the end of Carter’s shift, it’s blocking the ambulance bay.

As Nathan tries to get himself going, Carter tries to get an update on his flight, which has been delayed. The homeless man is still hanging around and talking to himself about math. Carter tells Nathan that the snow stopped, but they’re pretty much stuck in the hospital. Nathan still has 12 hours left on his shift, though with the snow paralyzing the city, it might be quiet.

Abby calls Carter from the base and he tells her that with three feet of snow on the ground and the El shut down, he’s not going anywhere for a while. He notices Nathan studying his hands, which are shaking. Eric’s commanding officer makes Abby get off her phone, since she’s a civilian. He doesn’t know where Eric is; if Eric had been arrested, he would have been brought to the base, but he’s not there. He tells Abby to go back to her hotel and wait for more information. Abby tells him that Eric needs a psych evaluation and medication ASAP.

Elizabeth manages to make it to County for her shift, though her nanny couldn’t get out of her house, so Elizabeth had to bring Ella to work with her. The good news is that the El is up and running again. Abby takes a smoke break, ignoring Gallant’s warnings not to, not just because they’re on a military base but because there’s a truck full of jet fuel nearby. They finally get in touch with a Lt. Ottenson, Eric’s attorney. Eric has been taken to a hospital on base.

Back in Chicago, Luka wisely uses cross-country skis to get to work. Carter’s on his way to the El station, planning to take a train to the airport and wait for a flight to Nebraska. Luka’s surprised that Carter didn’t go with Abby. Susan asks Carter to stick around, since Weaver can’t get to work and multiple trauma cases are coming in. Carter reluctantly agrees to stay.

On the way to see Eric, Abby learns that he’s being medicated and is now coherent. He’s facing a hearing to determine whether he was mentally competent when he went AWOL, in which case they can punish him for his actions. If he wasn’t, he won’t have to worry about being court martialed. He’ll just get a medical discharge, and if he’s stable, they’ll probably release him from the hospital right away.

Abby’s annoyed that no one called her. Eric shouldn’t be released before she can determine the best treatment options for him. Ottenson says that if they asked Eric if he wanted his family to be contacted, he probably would have told them to call Abby. But it looks like he named someone else as a contact, because Maggie’s already at the hospital.

At County, Susan, Elizabeth, and Nathan tend to one of the new trauma patients – two boys and their mother were hit by a drunk driver while building a snowman on their lawn. The dad was spared simply because he went inside to get a carrot for the snowman’s nose. One boy, Toby, is unable to be saved, so Elizabeth moves on to the other, Matt, while Luka tends to the mother. Matt is in bad shape but is alive and conscious. Elizabeth tells Carter that if his mother hadn’t jumped in front of him, Matt would be dead.

In Nebraska, Maggie tells Abby that she was able to talk to Eric on the phone. Abby says that he has bipolar disorder; she could feel it right away. She regrets not telling Maggie, and instead interfering to the point where she got Eric arrested. Maggie tells her not to blame herself. It turns out Maggie knew about Eric’s mental-health issues all along. She just thought he had situational depression from PTSD.

Abby can’t believe that Maggie didn’t connect the dots between Eric’s symptoms and her own bipolar disorder. Does she know anything about her disease? Maggie’s like, “You mean the mental illness I’ve been dealing with for decades? Do I know anything about the disorder I manage on a daily basis? No, I’m in no way familiar with this illness. What was it called again?” Abby asks why Maggie didn’t tell her what was going on. Maggie admits that Eric didn’t want Abby to know.

Elizabeth thinks Matt and Toby’s mother, Sylvia, is too far gone to save, but Luka wants to keep working on her. The boys’ father has arrived (he doesn’t get a name; I’ll call him Jeff after the actor playing him), and Elizabeth tells Nathan to keep him out of his wife’s trauma room. Jeff refuses, even though the sight of what Elizabeth and Luka are doing to save her makes him throw up.

Chuny comes over to tell Elizabeth that Matt isn’t getting enough oxygen. Carter thinks one of his broken ribs punctured his heart. Elizabeth goes over to help him and Harkins, but she thinks Matt’s heart muscle is too damaged to fix. She glances up just as Susan is taking Toby’s gurney through the hallway. Susan gives her a slight shake of the head to indicate that Toby is beyond help.

This gives Elizabeth an idea: Toby is brain dead, but his organs are fine. She tells Jeff that Matt needs heart and lung transplants in the next six hours or he’ll die. With Jeff’s permission, they can transplant Toby’s organs into his brother. One of Jeff’s sons is dead, but they can still save the other. Jeff desperately asks Elizabeth to save both boys. Can’t they wait a couple days to see if Toby wakes up?

Susan needs Elizabeth’s help, and Weaver wants her to assist in taking care of the drunk driver (a request Elizabeth firmly turns down), so Elizabeth assigns Nathan to talk Jeff into consenting to the transplant. They only have one shot at saving Matt. Jeff isn’t in the right state of mind to make this decision, so Nathan needs to get him to understand how important this is.

Abby’s impatient to see Eric, who’s talking to Ottenson. Gallant wants to stick around and help, but Abby thinks he’s accomplished what she needed him to do, so he can leave. Plus, he has a test coming up and should use this time to study, not play phone tag for Abby and Maggie. Ottenson comes to get Maggie so she can see Eric; he still doesn’t want to see Abby.

Luka, Susan, and Elizabeth try their hardest to revive Sylvia while Nathan talks to Jeff about the transplant. Susan thinks he’ll succeed, since he’s good at talking patients into stuff. Matt is declining, so Elizabeth helps Carter and Chuny try to keep him alive for the transplant. Nathan announces that Jeff has given his consent, so Elizabeth tells him to take Toby up to the OR.

The second Matt is stable, Elizabeth says they’re taking him up, too. Carter thinks it’s too soon, since he could decline again at any moment, but Elizabeth wants to take advantage of this window and do the transplant. Jeff goes up with Toby, promising him that he won’t feel any pain. Sadly, despite Luka’s best efforts, Sylvia doesn’t survive.

As Elizabeth and Carter take Matt up to the OR, Jeff asks Elizabeth to promise that this will all work out. Elizabeth can only say they’ll do their best. Jeff again comforts Toby (even though the boy can’t hear him), saying that he’s going to help his brother. He tells Nathan he’d like to take Toby to Sylvia’s room so she can say goodbye. Nathan doesn’t want to have to tell him that his wife is dead.

Carter keeps Matt’s heart beating while Elizabeth scrubs in, impatiently waiting for the transplant team. Elizabeth and Carter get Matt on bypass and remove his damaged heart as quickly as possible. When the surgeon arrives to take over, Elizabeth and Carter step aside. All Carter can say is, “Wow.”

Maggie tells Abby that Eric is having trouble accepting that his sister saw him in a manic state. He’s medicated now, but he’s emotionally exhausted and ashamed. Maggie warns Abby not to be confrontational. Abby finally gets to see Eric, who’s in uniform and ready for his hearing. She notes that he wanted to leave the Air Force anyway, so…hey, it all worked out!

Abby justifies her actions by saying she loves Eric and was worried about him. He thinks she believes he’s crazy and unstable. He was actually enjoying himself. (Yeah, that’s the mania. You would have felt different if you’d been in the depression part of the cycle.) She wants him to come back to Chicago with her, but Eric has no interest in that. Abby points out that without medication, Eric is likely to go down the same route as their mother, struggling for years to keep her life together. She urges Maggie to confirm that she’s right. Instead, Maggie leaves the room.

Abby’s upset that Eric called Maggie instead of her. Maggie’s unreliable and undependable; meanwhile, Abby spent three days trying to find Eric so she could help him. Eric doesn’t feel sorry for her. He’s the one whose career is over. He thinks Abby’s just mad that she didn’t get to be his savior. Abby argues that Eric needs help, and Maggie screwed up the first time he turned to her. Eric corrects her: He doesn’t need help, and he didn’t go to Maggie. She sent him to a doctor because she saw that something was wrong. Abby says Maggie wasn’t wrong. Eric asks why he’s not allowed to call her, then.

Nathan has the unfortunate job of taking care of the drunk driver. His dyskinesia is getting worse, and the driver asks if he has Tourette’s. Elizabeth joins them as the driver continues badgering Nathan. He’s surprised Nathan’s allowed to treat patients while in this condition. Nathan says they let him work on patients they don’t care about. He asks if the driver has any idea what he did. The driver thinks he just hit a snowman – he doesn’t realize that he ran over three people, killing two of them.

Maggie urges Abby to give Eric time to adjust. They don’t want him to feel like they’re ganging up on him. Maggie doesn’t think Eric needs to be hospitalized after he’s discharged. Abby says that’s not her decision. Maggie tells her that Eric has to accept that he has bipolar disorder and figure out how to accommodate it. Abby argues that until then, he needs to be supervised so he keeps taking his medication. Maggie tells her that he might decide to stop taking it sometimes, but this is like AA: It has to be his decision. Right now, it’s too early for him to want to be healthy.

Abby says that she’s been living with this disease her entire life and doesn’t want a lecture about it. Of course, Maggie’s the one who’s actually living with it, so she has a different perspective on it. Abby angrily asks if Maggie and Eric have some bond now that they both have the same disorder. Maggie tells her to focus on the fact that her brother is struggling. There’s no quick fix – Eric will be dealing with this for the rest of his life.

Nathan tries to ignore the drunk driver while he examines a girl named Kiley. His dyskinesia causes him to accidentally jam a scope in Kiley’s ear. She isn’t hurt, but she’s spooked, so Nathan decides to call it quits. He doesn’t listen when Weaver tells him to keep working.

Elizabeth finds Jeff sitting on the floor of Sylvia’s trauma room, so now he knows that he’s lost both his wife and one of his sons. She tells him that Matt is undergoing the transplant. She invites him to wait in a waiting room near the OR, but Jeff can’t bring himself to leave the room. He tells her what a normal day would be like right now for his family. Elizabeth says he made the right decision. Jeff tells her that everything was white this morning, and the boys were excited to stay home with their parents.

Elizabeth confides that she knows what Jeff is feeling. He doesn’t believe that, since he doesn’t even know what he’s feeling. She tells him that her husband died just six months ago. This is the first time we’ve heard her talk about him since then. She says she tried to continue on with her life like everything was normal, but that’s impossible.

You can’t run away from your grief. Life after losing a loved one is “like this big, relentless wave.” You have no choice but to ride it. You try to hold on to what you’ve lost and carry on without shutting yourself off from everything. Elizabeth knows that in the future, when Jeff looks into Matt’s eyes, he’ll see “the beautiful things that live on in him.” Jeff says he needs Matt to be okay. Elizabeth promises that he will be, then embraces him.

The board overseeing Eric’s hearing hasn’t seen enough evidence to prove that Eric was mentally incompetent when he went AWOL, so they won’t let him go. Eric is demanding due process. Abby tells Ottenson that he needs psychiatric treatment, which he’s not going to get while he’s in confinement. Eric tells Abby that since he was gone less than 30 days, he shouldn’t have to face any serious consequences. He didn’t hurt anyone or act irresponsibly. He just wanted a change. Abby points out that he went AWOL, which is serious in the military. Eric eggs her on to call him crazy. He knows he’s not like Maggie, no matter what Abby thinks.

Elizabeth finds Nathan on the roof, his medication having finally kicked in and calmed his dyskinesia. She gives him his evaluation for his surgical rotation, but Nathan doesn’t see the point in reading it. Elizabeth notes that he only has two modes: blind optimism and self-pity. Nathan figures it’s better to just face the facts. Parkinson’s is eventually going to overcome him. He just thought he would have more time.

Elizabeth asks if that means he’s just going to give in. Nathan thinks that’s what she wanted. She says she wanted him to recognize his limitations. He saved Matt today because he was able to connect with Jeff and help him make the right decision. Anyone can stitch up a patient or insert a chest tube. Nathan has a gift, and he needs to find a way to share it. As Elizabeth leaves, she says she kept her promise to fail him.

Abby and Maggie reconnect, and Abby asks her mother to back her up on her decision to get Eric committed so he doesn’t stay in military jail. Maggie agrees. Abby apologizes for her behavior; she’s angry about the situation and, surprisingly, angry at Maggie for having to go through this again, even though it’s not her fault. Maggie thinks Abby is really angry that Maggie passed her bipolar disorder on to Eric. She gets that Abby feels like a mother to her brother, but Maggie’s the one responsible here. Now she needs to be his mother for once.

Carter calls Abby to check in, pretending he’s still in Chicago when he’s actually just now arriving at the base. Weaver has taken over Kiley’s care, but Nathan wants to finish her ear examination. This time he has Kiley hold the scope herself. Once he’s again made a connection with someone and shared his gifts, Elizabeth takes him up to Matt’s OR. Matt’s transplant is done, and Elizabeth wants Nathan to be the one to shock his heart – formerly Toby’s heart – into rhythm. Elizabeth comments that now, Matt’s brother will always be with him.

Thoughts: Matt is played by Josh Hutcherson.

I have to give a shoutout to Jeff Kober, who plays Jeff. He usually plays villains (and is really good at it), so it’s interesting to see him as just a normal guy. He always gets typecast, but here he shows that he can be subtle and loving.

The sequences where Carter and Elizabeth rush the boys to the OR and then try to calm down afterward are so good. It’s like watching an action movie without the explosions or violence.

Maggie should have continued her AA metaphor by telling Abby that the best help for someone who’s struggling comes from someone who’s been there.

August 28, 2021

Buffy 1.2, The Harvest: The Fun Is Just Beginning

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:23 pm by Jenn

Don’t mess with this girl

Summary: Luke is just about to bite Buffy when he gets a shock. Well, a burn. She’s wearing the cross necklace Angel gave her, and it burns his hand. Buffy takes the opportunity to escape into the cemetery. She saves Willow from a vampire, then goes after one trying to take Xander away. He tells Buffy that Darla ran off with Jesse.

In the library the next day, Giles tells the three teens that demons walked the Earth for ages and made it their own version of Hell. Over time, mortals took over, and there are only a few versions left of the “old ones.” Xander is having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that vampires are real. Buffy tells him she was in denial when she first saw vampires. Well, after she stopped screaming. Willow says she needs to sit down, but she already is.

Giles tells the teens that before the last demon left reality, he mixed his blood with a human, creating the first vampire. That vampire passed along his kind of demon possession to others by biting people. Now, vampires wait for humans to die out so the old ones can come back.

Underground, Darla and Luke take Jesse to the Master. They think he’s a “good one,” since he has pure blood. The Master isn’t happy that Darla has already had a taste and is now bringing him her leftovers. The Master has waited underground for decades until he can ascend and live in the world again. Darla should show more respect. She and Luke tell the Master that they ran into trouble in the form of a teen girl. The Master guesses that she’s a Slayer.

Giles explains that to Xander and Willow: The Slayer has existed as long as vampires has; she’s the one girl in the whole world with the power to kill vampires. They need to keep Buffy’s secret identity…well, secret. Xander wants to help save Jesse, but Buffy says that’s her job. She feels like she failed in her responsibility to keep Jesse safe. Willow notes that Buffy saved her and Xander, so she hasn’t failed as much as she might feel she has.

Buffy tells Giles that Luke mentioned the Master. Jesse might still be alive, if the Master hasn’t fed on him yet. Willow suggests that they call the police, but Buffy tells her they wouldn’t be able to help. Their guns won’t take down a vampire. The group decides the vampires must be underground, since they disappeared from the cemetery and didn’t seem to have transportation. Buffy notes that vampires use sewer systems to travel during the day. Xander tells her there are tunnels that run under the whole town. They don’t have time to get blueprints, but Willow has an idea.

The Master asks for confirmation that Buffy is a Slayer. Luke’s only proof is that she fought him and he didn’t kill her, which doesn’t happen often. The Master insists that Buffy can’t interfere with the harvest. He hopes Jesse will work well as bait to draw Buffy to them. At least that means they won’t eat him yet.

Willow is a tech whiz, and she’s able to hack into the city council’s security system and find city plans. Buffy’s impatient and frustrated because she wasn’t able to stay a step ahead of Luke. But as she remembers what happened, she realizes that he came up behind her. The entrance to the tunnels must be in the crypt where they fought.

Xander still wants to tag along to save Jesse, but Buffy says it’s too dangerous. The Slayer has to work alone. Xander takes it personally, as if she’s saying he’s incompetent. Willow also wants to help, though she’s not as eager to ride into battle. Giles asks her to use the computer to find out more details on the harvest (since Giles is technologically challenged). Buffy promises to bring Jesse back if he’s still alive. And no, Giles doesn’t need to tell her to be careful.

As Buffy heads off to find Jesse, Mr. Flutie catches her trying to leave school grounds. That certainly wouldn’t be a good idea on her second day at a new school, especially since she was kicked out of her last school for delinquency. Buffy lies that Giles asked her to get a book for him from the store. She has a free period and is a big reader. Mr. Flutie doesn’t buy that excuse and closes a tall gate to keep her from leaving. He’s happy that she’s a “sensible girl with her feet on the ground.” As soon as he’s gone, she jumps the gate.

Willow and Xander make a list of natural disasters that could lead them to vampires. Xander still feels useless, even though staying out of things means he won’t get hurt. Yesterday, Xander’s biggest problem was the possibility of a pop quiz. Today, he could be facing death and destruction. It’s hard to have this big secret that no one else knows. Willow promises that Buffy will be okay. She seems like she’s able to handle anything.

Buffy returns to the crypt, where Angel has been waiting for her. He expected her to find the entrance to the tunnels a little sooner. Buffy asks his name, since she suspects that he’ll be showing up again. He warns her not to go into the tunnels right before the harvest. If she can’t prevent it, the Master will ascend. Buffy asks why Angel doesn’t stop it, then. He admits that he’s afraid. Buffy isn’t, so she makes it clear she’s going into the tunnels. She has a potential friend to save. Accepting that Buffy’s really going to do this, Angel tells her to head toward the school when she gets underground.

Buffy sneaks around for a little while until she gets surprised by Xander. Of course he didn’t listen when Buffy and Willow told him not to get involved. He’s determined to save his best friend. As they look for the vampires, Xander admits that he doesn’t have much in the way of weapons. He just brought a big cross with him. Buffy tells him stakes, fire, beheading, sunlight, and holy water will all do the trick. She knows beheading works because she killed a football player-turned-vampire with an X-acto knife.

In the library, Giles reads up on the harvest and realizes it’s happening tonight. Meanwhile, Cordelia and Willow are both in the computer lab. Cordelia tells her friend Harmony about her run-in with Buffy at the Bronze the night before and how weird Buffy is. They can’t figure out the computer program they’re working on, so Cordelia tells Harmony to look at Willow’s work, but Willow’s looking up natural disasters.

Cordelia lies that Buffy waved a stake around the night before and threatened to kill her. Willow eavesdrops while Harmony tells Cordelia and another student that Buffy was kicked out of her last school. Willow defends Buffy, saying she’s not a psycho like Cordelia says she is. Cordelia tears into Willow, calling her boring. As revenge, Willow tells her to save her computer program by hitting “DEL” for deliver. Instead, Cordelia deletes all her work.

In the tunnels, Buffy and Xander find Jesse, who’s alive but chained up. Fortunately, Buffy has super-strength and is easily able to free him. Jesse tells her that the vampires knew she was going to come. Indeed, they’re waiting for her, and they’re going to make it hard for the teens to escape the tunnels. Jesse thinks he knows the way out, but he instead leads Xander and Buffy to a dead end. It might be a literal dead end – Jesse is a vampire and he wants to kill them.

He tells Xander that things are awesome now. He’s strong and he feels connected to everything. He knows what the Master wants and is ready to serve his purpose. That means killing and feeding on Xander. Buffy reminds Xander that he has a cross, though it’s not much help when the person you’re facing off with is really strong. Also, more just like Jesse are coming, and Buffy and Xander are outnumbered. They manage to close a door to keep out more vampires, but they’ll still have to find a way out of the tunnels.

They find a hatch in the ceiling and are able to climb up before the vampires can get to where they are. They crawl through some ducts and surface through a manhole. Since it’s still light out, the vampires can’t follow them. The Master is unhappy to learn that the Slayer escaped, even though the vampires laid a trap for her. Still, he doesn’t think Buffy will stop the harvest. He’ll just get to eat her once he goes above ground. The Master makes the vampire who failed at trapping Buffy apologize for screwing up. Then the Master gouges out his eye.

Willow has been looking into a big earthquake back in 1937 and discovered that there were a bunch of murders right before it. Giles says things are coming together, though he wishes they weren’t. Back underground, the harvest is also coming together. Luke drinks some of the Master’s blood in a ritual that binds them together. Luke is the vessel, and whenever he eats someone, their soul and strength will go into the Master. After receiving enough souls, the Master will be able to ascend.

Buffy and Xander join Willow in the library and give her the bad news that they couldn’t save Jesse. Giles has even more bad news: They could be facing the end of the world. In 1937, the Master came to Sunnydale because it’s on top of a Hellmouth. It’s like a portal between Earth and Hell, and the Master wanted to open it. The earthquake buried him underground. Now the Master is trying again. Once Luke has fed him enough power, the Master will be able to open the Hellmouth.

Buffy thinks this will be easy to stop: The vessel sports a unique symbol, so Buffy just has to kill anyone with that symbol. Xander guesses the vampires will go to the Bronze, where everyone young and healthy will be hanging out. The four of them head off to stop the harvest, though Buffy says she needs to make a stop first so she can get some supplies.

Buffy changes clothes at home, where Joyce worries that she’s getting in trouble again. She seems to have been out all night, and Mr. Flutie called to tell Joyce that she skipped some classes. Buffy promises that things are different now, but she has to go out. Joyce thinks she places too much importance on her personal life. The world won’t end if Buffy stays home tonight. After Joyce leaves her room, Buffy digs out a trunk in her closet where she’s hidden her vampire-fighting supplies, then sneaks out her bedroom window.

The sun is down, so the vampires are free to go wherever they want. At the Bronze, Cordelia gushes to her friends about how she wants a senior boyfriend, not a child like Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, guess who’s at the Bronze? He watches Cordelia dance for a while, then confidently gets her to dance with him.

Outside, Darla arrives with a group of vampires. They block the exit and shut off the lights. In his vamp face, Luke addresses the crowd from the stage, telling them there’s no reason to be afraid. Well, there is, but it won’t help. Cordelia is shocked to see that Jesse has the same vamp face as Luke. Luke requests his first course, the bouncer, and drinks his blood in front of everyone. Underground, the Master can feel his strength growing already.

Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles (hereafter collectively known as the Scoobies) arrive but can’t get through the front door. Buffy tells the others to find a way in and get all the humans out; they shouldn’t try to fight any vampires. As they head off, Giles tells Xander and Willow that they need to remember that Jesse is dead. When they see him, they’ll be looking at the demon that killed him.

Luke continues feeding, and the Master continues to grow more powerful. He’s almost free. Jesse wants to eat Cordelia himself, but Darla tells him everyone there is for the Master. Buffy finds a way into the club and easily figures out that Luke is the vessel. Darla takes Cordelia to Luke, but before he can bite her, Buffy makes her presence known by throwing a vampire off the balcony. She does some gymnastics to jump down and land on a pool table. Then she uses a cue to stake a vampire.

Luke is more than willing to trade Cordelia for Buffy, even if it gets him kicked in the face. He fights the Slayer again, making her drop her stake. Elsewhere in the club, the other Scoobies find a way in and start sneaking people out. A vampire grabs Xander, but Buffy yanks a cymbal off of a nearby drum, throws it like a Frisbee, and decapitates the vampire. “Heads up,” Xander quips. Buffy’s amused. That doesn’t last, since her distraction allows Luke to grab her from behind again.

Jesse goes after Cordelia, so Xander threatens to stake him. As Luke revels in the chance to kill a Slayer, Darla tackles Giles. Jesse tells Xander that when he was human, he was a loser. Now he’s a new man. Luke guesses that Buffy is the last meal the Master needs, and then the Master will be free. Buffy isn’t about to let that happen.

Willow is armed with holy water, which she uses on Darla, getting her to leave Giles alone. Xander still has his stake, and he’s still ready to use it on Jesse. It turns out he doesn’t have to. As someone is running out of the club, she accidentally knocks Jesse forward, right into Xander’s stake. He’s dusted.

Buffy grabs a microphone stand as a weapon, though Luke says she forgot something: Metal won’t hurt him. She tells him he also forgot about something: Sunrise. She throws the stand like a javelin, breaking the window behind him…but there’s no sunlight. Sunrise isn’t for hours. Still, she’s able to get the better of Luke and stake him in the back. As he dies, his connection to the Master is cut.

Some vampires are ready to kill Xander, but when they see Buffy standing on the stage, having just killed a powerful vampire who’s never lost a fight, they decide they’d be smart to just leave. Angel has been watching, and he’s pleased that Buffy stopped the harvest. Buffy confirms to the Scoobies that they averted the apocalypse. Xander notes that nothing will be the same from now on.

At school the next day, Cordelia tells one of her friends about the craziness at the Bronze. The cover story everyone’s been fed is about a fight between rival gangs. Xander’s underwhelmed by how everyone’s carrying on like things are normal. People rose from the dead – they should at least have an assembly. Giles says that people try to rationalize anything they can’t understand.

Willow says she’ll never forget what they did and saw. Giles tells her that’s good – next time, they’ll all be prepared. The Master isn’t going to stop trying to free himself just because he failed this time. “I’d say the fun is just beginning,” Giles announces. Next time they could face something different. They might be what stands between Earth and its complete destruction. Buffy looks on the bright side: She could still be kicked out of school. Willow suggest that she blow something up, since the school wouldn’t appreciate that. “The Earth is doomed,” Giles says to himself as the teens head to class like today is just another day.

Thoughts: Season 1 Angel is so different from how he is in later episodes. He’s like a completely different character.

I wish Jesse had been mentioned more throughout the series. He’s obviously the reason Xander wants to take out vampires, but it seems strange for a teen to lose his best friend and barely talk about him ever again.

I’ve been immersed in the Vampire Diaries universe for a while, and sometimes it’s hard to keep the different vampire rules straight. For example, a cross won’t do anything to a vampire in The Vampire Diaries except make them laugh at you for trying to use it as a weapon.


August 24, 2021

ER 9.7, Tell Me Where It Hurts: Going Too Far

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:01 pm by Jenn

This is the closest Chen gets to having a plotline

Summary: Weaver is attending an ultrasound, and…no, wait. Weaver is having an ultrasound. She’s pregnant! She and Sandy are going to be moms! In the ER, Chen is quizzing Gallant and Harkins, who are answering her questions like there’s a prize at stake. She tells them to calm down. Susan goes looking for a doctor to apply a cast to someone, but everyone’s either busy or away. Luka’s back at work after his suspension, but he’s sleeping. “With who?” Susan quips.

She takes Harkins to an exam room, but her patient isn’t breathing. She’s also a nun, which makes Susan feel even worse. Malik wakes Nathan, who was taking a nap during a long shift. Susan’s nun didn’t survive, and Frank is worried that God will strike her dead for killing the woman. Shut up, Frank. Paramedics bring in a John Doe who’s getting more and more agitated. Nathan winds up punching him in the face and knocking him out. He blames his dyskinesia.

Jody arrives, looking for Eric, who ditched her when they had a fight while they were coming back from visiting her parents. Abby thinks he just went back to his base, but Jody called there and learned that Eric has been on an unauthorized absence for two weeks. In other words, he’s AWOL.

Elizabeth comes to the OR to examine a man named Mr. Seaton who has pancreatic cancer and doesn’t seem to be responding well to treatment. One of his complications may need to be fixed surgically. Elizabeth doesn’t think that will help, which means Seaton is probably looking at hospice care as his only remaining option. He likes that idea more than being in the hospital, so he decides not to pursue further treatment.

Luka, Weaver, and Abby tend to a teen named Greg who was shot in the eye. It’s gross. The shooter was Greg’s ten-year-old brother, Tommy. He was playing with their father’s gun, and when Greg tried to take it from him, it accidentally went off. Nathan tells Susan that he disagrees with Elizabeth’s decision to let Seaton die without looking at other treatment options. Susan reminds him that he’s a med student, so he can’t get into this. They’re going to respect Seaton’s wishes.

As Luka finishes up with Greg, a guy named Mike arrives and introduces himself. Apparently Luka slept with Mike’s wife, Heather. Mike is pretty calm about the whole thing, basically just asking Luka to stop sleeping with his wife. Luka seems kind of embarrassed, knowing that his actions are affecting his fling’s husband and kids.

Abby tries to call Eric, who doesn’t answer the phone. Susan notes that at least she hasn’t killed anyone. She figures her next patient should be someone with a swollen scrotum, since it’s unlikely that he’ll die under Susan’s care. Carter tries to have a conversation with Abby about Eric, but Harkins needs him to do his job first. Abby goes to the lounge and calls the medical facility on Eric’s base. She pretends she’s treating him and needs to see his medical records. When asked who the treating doctor is, she names Carter. Abby, no!

Luka bumps into Chuny, and it’s awkward, but at least they’ve stopped fighting. He checks on Greg, who can’t see out of his injured eye. As Chuny leaves the exam room, Luka tells her he’s sorry “about everything.” She is, too. And apparently that’s all it takes. Good to know! Greg thinks his father will be mad, even though, as Luka points out, he probably saved his brother’s life.

Abby starts to tell Carter what she did, but they get interrupted by their jobs again. A neighbor heard a child crying and called an ambulance for his mom, Tong-Ye, who had passed out in the backyard. Luka makes an impatient call, trying to contact a surgeon for Greg, and is displeased to learn where the doctor is. While Carter, Abby, Gallant, and Harkins are tending to Tong-Ye, who may have overdosed on something, Eric calls Abby back. Abby fumbles the phone and loses the call.

Nathan has asked a psychiatrist to talk to Seaton, since he thinks Seaton is depressed and is making an impulsive decision not to seek treatment. Now, he’s open to discussing his options. One of them is a procedure called a whipple, a six-hour operation with a ton of recovery time. Elizabeth is unhappy that Nathan would offer that as a possibility when Seaton is in no way a good candidate. Nathan thinks they should give Seaton all his options and let him decide. Elizabeth tells him to stop trying to help.

Tong-Ye’s tox screen shows that she took barbiturates, which is bad enough on its own, but the doctors have also discovered that she’s pregnant. They’re not sure if she speaks English, so Carter wants to bring Chen in to translate. I don’t know, continuing to yell everything might start working if he gets his volume just right.

Now that things have calmed down, Abby confesses her actions to Carter. She thinks it was worth it, since Eric’s medical records show that he took a leave of absence for PTSD after an incident where a plane almost crashed. Carter reminds her that air-traffic controlling is a stressful job. Abby notes that Eric was never medicated for the PTSD; maybe he was depressed instead, which was a sign that he has bipolar disorder. All his symptoms fit both PTSD and bipolar disorder. Eric never told the doctors that he has a relative with bipolar disorder, so they weren’t looking for it.

Susan’s latest patient has died. She and Malik aren’t sympathetic, since he was obese. Nathan finds their comments offensive, and Susan apologizes, saying she’s just having a bad day. “Not as bad as him,” Nathan and I both say. Luka drives his car onto a golf course to corner a surgeon named Abrams and bring him back to County to operate on Greg before he loses his sight permanently. It’s…kind of awesome.

Weaver notes that Susan has seen a lot of patients today (not that it’s doing them any good). She announces that she’s going to be taking some time off for some personal reasons. With Romano out, Susan will probably have to fill in some gaps. Frank says that’s a bad idea. Susan slams him for making smart comments about people’s deaths. As Chuny calls her away to tend to another patient, Jerry bets Frank $20 that Susan will kill that guy, too.

Carter has asked Gallant about Eric’s leave (since Gallant is also in the military), and he tells Abby that if this is Eric’s first time going AWOL, and if he can prove extenuating circumstances, he might just get a minimal punishment. Jerry gives Gallant a note from Harkins, calling her Gallant’s girlfriend. Abby doesn’t want Carter talking to Gallant about Eric, like that’s Abby’s biggest problem right now.

A couple comes in looking for the child who was brought in with Tong-Ye. The staff assumed that she’s the boy’s mother, but she’s his nanny. Carter asks the father, Mr. Yeung, if Tong-Ye uses drugs or if she’s been depressed. Mr. Yeung says Tong-Ye isn’t the type to try to harm herself. Maybe she was struggling to sleep because she was up with the boy, Aidan, all week while he was sick. Carter then asks if Tong-Ye has a boyfriend and might be having problems in her personal life. Mr. Yeung says he would probably know if she did; she’s lived with the family for four years.

Seaton and his family have decided to try the whipple, and Elizabeth isn’t happy about it. She knows his chances of recovering and living another year are small. She takes a jab at Nathan for becoming “the patron saint of the terminally ill.” Since he got her here, he gets to assist.

Carter wants Tong-Ye to be admitted overnight for observation, so Mr. Yeung wants to move her to a private facility. He asks her in Mandarin why she overdosed, then tells Carter that she said it was an accident. In fact, she did exactly what Mr. Yeung guessed she did – she took a couple of sleeping pills with a glass of wine. Carter is skeptical that Mr. Yeung is telling him the truth.

Nathan is struggling in Seaton’s surgery, since he’s been up for more than 24 hours and his medication schedule is off. Just the person to participate in a tricky six-hour surgery! Nathan’s dyskinesia and inexperience lead to a mistake that could have been fatal if Elizabeth wasn’t paying such close attention. Down in the ambulance bay, Susan’s next patient is an 11-year-old victim of a motorcycle accident, and she immediately tries to pass him off to another doctor so her death curse doesn’t continue with a child.

Carter wisely has Chen talk to Tong-Ye alone in case there’s something Mr. Yeung is trying to hide. Chen tells Carter that she didn’t know she was pregnant. He asks her to ask Tong-Ye if she’s sleeping with her boss. Tong-Ye admits that she is. Susan tries to get Weaver to take over caring for the 11-year-old, Quinn, but Weaver is working on his father. She reassures Susan that she’ll be fine.

Mr. Yeung tells Carter that the family’s personal doctor is on his way to have Tong-Ye moved to another facility. Carter asks what his real relationship is with the nanny. He asks straight out if Mr. Yeung has been sleeping with her. Mr. Yeung starts to walk away, offended by the question, but he stops when Carter announces that Tong-Ye says he’s the father of her baby. Mr. Yeung says that’s not Carter’s business.

Eric shows up, and it looks like Abby’s suspicions that he has bipolar disorder are correct, because he’s kind of manic. Luka has successfully arranged surgery for Greg, though Abrams isn’t happy about being dragged away from his precious golf game to do his job. He tells Luka that ophthalmology isn’t an emergency specialty. Really? Even if a patient is at risk of losing his eyesight without emergency surgery?

Abby questions Eric about his leave, which he claims was authorized; someone must have messed up the paperwork. He suggests that the two of them and Carter take a trip to Vegas. Abby asks about Eric’s PTSD, but he says air-traffic controllers claim it all the time to get vacation. She admits that she got his medical records and knows that he never told the Air Force that his mother has bipolar disorder.

Eric’s annoyed about that, but not as annoyed as he’s about to be: MPs have arrived to arrest him for going AWOL. Eric says he had someone covering for him, but that person got into an accident. He was about to leave to go back to the base. He just stopped by the hospital to let Abby know that he’s okay. The MPs ignore him and arrest him. Abby asks if she can give Eric something to calm him down, but they won’t let her.

Luka joins Susan with Quinn, who isn’t doing well. When Chen comes by to ask if she can help, Luka says they’re fine, but Susan wants someone to take over. Like he did with Nathan, Luka calmly talks Susan through an intubation. As soon as she’s done, she asks Chen to take over, not wanting to stick around this case any longer than necessary. Weaver comes over as well, but she doesn’t think Quinn can be saved. Luka figures out what’s wrong and keeps working, never showing any stress. Thanks to him, the team is able to stabilize Quinn.

Once Chen is done there, she returns to Tong-Ye to help Carter explain to her that she can leave the Yeungs and stay in a shelter. Chen is familiar with Tong-Ye’s situation – young women are brought over from China with the promise of work, but they end up as indentured servants. Tong-Ye says, in flawless English, that she can’t leave her baby. Carter promises that no one will take her baby, but Tong-Ye doesn’t mean the one she’s carrying. Aidan is also her child.

Elizabeth checks on Seaton in the ICU, but he’s not breathing on his own. Looks like all of that trouble was for nothing. Abby is upset that she didn’t do more for Eric earlier, and now can’t do anything for him. Carter promises to get him a good lawyer and help him through this. Well, that’s what Carter always suggests – fixing things with money.

Outside, Weaver tells Susan that Quinn should be fine, and she thinks Susan would have figured out what was wrong with him if she’d stuck around. Susan believes that Quinn would have been her fourth victim of the day. Weaver corrects that she didn’t kill her other three patients; she was just unable to save them. She’s saved twice as many without any struggle. She just needs to go home, rest, and come back to fight again tomorrow. Then Weaver jokes that if Susan loses another patient, she’s fired.

Sandy joins the two of them, and as she and Weaver are leaving for the night, she asks if Weaver gave Susan their news. The two of them happily announce that they’re having a baby. Susan is surprised but happy. Back inside, Mr. Yeung tries to take Tong-Ye out of the hospital, but Carter won’t let him. Tong-Ye doesn’t want to lose her job; she has to send money to her family back in China. Plus, she doesn’t want to leave Aidan. She spends more time with him than the Yeungs do anyway, so the arrangement works. Carter and Chen realize that Aidan doesn’t know that Tong-Ye is his mother. That doesn’t matter to her, since she knows the truth.

Elizabeth tells Nathan that she knows he faces challenges because of his Parkinson’s, but if he were any other student, she’d fail him. And, as she reminds him, he wanted to be treated like any other student. Nathan says he just has to make adjustments to accommodate his Parkinson’s. Elizabeth says straight out that he’s disabled and can’t safely treat patients. She will only pass him on this rotation if he promises to go into a specialty that doesn’t require him to treat people physically. Nathan can’t promise that, so Elizabeth tells him she’s going to fail him.

Susan ends her day with a sad-looking meal, home alone. Luka ends his at a bar, chatting with a woman who wants to take him to bed. He takes a call from Heather and tells her to stop calling him. The woman at the bar suggests that they leave together and find some trouble to get into. He’ll have to pay her, though. At first Luka declines, but then he changes his mind.

Carter goes to Abby’s place, where she’s been trying to get information about Eric. There’s a bottle of wine on her counter, and she tells Carter she bought it on the way home but hasn’t had any. She just wants to be able to stop worrying. He hugs her and tells her he’s sorry that she turned out to be right about Eric. Abby thinks Carter would be smart to run away now and not get involved with her screwed-up family. He jokes that they should get their families together for the holidays and see what happens.

Abby admits that she’s scared for her brother. It’s unfair that such a good kid has grown up to have to deal with this illness. Carter promises again that they’ll get him through this. He tries to convince Abby that there’s nothing she could have done to prevent this from happening. She says that Eric was the only constant, reliable thing in her life when she was younger. Carter says that’s not true anymore – he’s there, and he’s not going anywhere.

Thoughts: If one of my brothers went behind my back to get my medical records, it would take me a LOOOOOONG time to forgive him.

Can’t Elizabeth turn down a patient’s request for surgery if she doesn’t think the benefits would outweigh the risks? Isn’t it in the hospital’s best interest to not subject someone to a procedure that only has a small chance of making him better?

I have to assume that the only reason Tong-Ye hid that she speaks English is so Mr. Young wouldn’t find out. Otherwise, that was a dumb plot development.

August 21, 2021

Buffy 1.1, Welcome to the Hellmouth: The Chosen One

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 12:57 pm by Jenn

I would finish that book in a week

Summary: “In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.” Thanks, overly dramatic WB voiceover guy!

Sunnydale High School is dark and quiet when two people break in through a classroom window. The woman, Darla, is hesitant to go to the top of the gym with her male companion, who says the view from there is great. Darla’s worried about getting in trouble. They kiss, but she gets spooked when she thinks she hears something. The guy assures her that there’s no one there. Darla’s convinced…and then she shows him her vampire face and bites him.

Buffy Summers is in bed, trying to sleep, but her dreams are pretty creepy. They involve things like books (ooh, scary!), cemeteries, and various supernatural creatures. Her mother, Joyce, makes sure she gets up in time for her first day at her new school. When she drops Buffy off at Sunnydale High, she urges Buffy to think positive about making friends, and also try not to get in trouble.

Xander Harris skateboards through a crowd of students, gets distracted at the sight of his attractive new classmate, and falls. His friend Willow Rosenberg joins him and agrees to help him study for trigonometry. She suggests that he check a math book out of the library. Another of Xander’s friends, Jesse, tells them there’s a new girl at school, though he doesn’t know anything about her.

Buffy meets with the principal, Mr. Flutie, who tears up her record from her past high school and tells her she gets a clean slate here. He regrets that pretty quickly, since Buffy’s past is pretty “colorful,” as she admits. After all, she burned down her school’s gym. Buffy defends her action, since the gym was full of vamp– er, asbestos. Mr. Flutie tells her that the school is there to serve her needs, and vice versa. She’ll just need to make sure her needs mesh with the school’s.

Xander makes a fool of himself with Buffy as he helps her clean up her bag when the contents spill in the hallway. As she leaves, he realizes she left behind a wooden stake. You know, like every 16-year-old girl carries around in her school bag. In history class, Buffy shares a book with Cordelia Chase, who points her toward the library so she can get her own textbook. She invites Buffy to hang out with her and her friends, which is the fast track to popularity. Buffy already has points in Cordelia’s book, since she’s from L.A. But Cordelia loses points with Buffy when she makes fun of Willow for her outfit.

Cordelia tells Buffy that she should go to the Bronze that night; it’s the coolest place to hang out in Sunnydale. (The bar is low.) Buffy heads to the library, where she spots a newspaper at the front desk with an article circled about boys being missing. She meets the librarian, Rupert Giles, who already knows her name and has a book in mind for her. But it’s not for history – it’s a thick book with “VAMPYR” on the cover, which appeared in Buffy’s dream. Buffy says that’s not what she wants and runs off.

Rumors are spreading about Buffy and what brought her to L.A. One girl makes fun of her name, then gets IDed as being named Aphrodisia, so…let’s keep our stones inside our glass houses, okay, hon? Her friend Aura (no one in this town has a normal name, huh?) gets a huge scare when a dead body falls out of her gym locker.

Buffy introduces herself to Willow, who expects to be made fun of or bossed around. She’s surprised that Buffy wants to hang out with her. Buffy heard that Willow can help her with her classwork, and she’s more interested in improving her grades than in being popular or spending any more time with Cordelia. Willow’s happy to help and suggests that they get together in the library. Buffy asks to meet “someplace quieter…louder.” Willow gushes over the library’s collection, which Giles, who’s new, brought with him.

Xander and Jesse join the girls, and Xander tries (but mostly fails) to make up for his poor first impression with Buffy. He returns her stake, which she says she carries around for self-defense. It’s an L.A. thing. Cordelia offers to free Buffy from the burden of hanging out with losers, but Buffy’s fine. Cordelia tells her that gym class was canceled “due to the extreme dead guy in the locker.” Buffy asks questions about the guy’s body and cause of death, which is a totally normal thing that a normal 16-year-old would ask.

She heads to the gym, yanking open a locked door along the way, because she’s stronger than the average teen. After she gets a look at the body, she goes to the library and tells Giles that it looks like they’re dealing with a vampire. Buffy was hoping to get through her first day of school without something like this happening. Also, she doesn’t care. She’s just there to tell him that.

Giles asks if the dead boy will rise again. Buffy says no – becoming a vampire requires a vampire sucking a human’s blood and vice versa. Most of the time, the vampire just kills the human. Giles realizes that Buffy has no idea what’s going on here. Buffy’s arrival in town just before the discovery of this boy’s body isn’t a coincidence. And the boy is just the beginning.

Buffy would really like to end the conversation, but Giles needs her to know what’s happening here: She’s the Slayer. “To each generation, a Slayer is born – one girl in all the world, a chosen one, one born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires…” Buffy’s heard this before and can recite it by heart, but she doesn’t want to deal with it.

Giles tells Buffy that Sunnydale is a “center of mystical energy.” Things gravitate there that aren’t found in other parts of the country or world. Vampires, zombies, demons, every monster you can think of – they’re all real. Buffy asks if he sent away for the Time-Life series about the town. (Kids, ask your parents.) Giles did, and he got a free calendar!

Buffy announces that she’s retired from being the Slayer, so Giles will have to kill vampires by himself. He tells her he’s a Watcher, not a Slayer. His job is training and preparing Buffy. She doesn’t want to be prepared for this kind of life, though; being the Slayer cost her all her friends and a normal life in L.A. She can’t tell anyone that she kills vampires because she might put them in danger. So what does Giles want to prepare her for? She storms out and Giles follows her…as Xander emerges from the stacks, having heard the whole conversation.

Giles tells Buffy that over the years, supernatural occurrences have been building in Sunnydale, and now things are getting worse. There’s a reason Buffy’s here now, and it’s not just because Joyce decided to move there. Giles insists that something is going to happen soon. Buffy doubts that there’s a big, bad evil in a boring, sleepy little town like Sunnydale. She’s wrong. On the surface, Sunnydale might look like any other normal suburb, but underground, something definitely abnormal is happening. A vampire named Luke is waiting for a sleeper to awake so the world will bleed.

That night, Buffy gets ready to go to the Bronze while chatting with Joyce. Joyce thinks they’ll do really well in Sunnydale. She knows it’s hard for Buffy to build a life in a new town, but she’s sure Buffy can turn things around and stay out of the trouble she got into in L.A. Buffy promises that she’ll only hang out with the living from now on.

A guy follows Buffy as she heads out to the Bronze, and she goes into an alley to try to lose him. She hides by doing a handstand on top of a pipe a few feet in the air. Then she swings around to kick him to the ground and confront him. The guy (y’all know I don’t do the nameless thing; this is Angel) promises that he doesn’t bite and comments that he thought she would be taller. He tells her he wants the same thing she does: “To kill ’em. To kill ’em all.”

Buffy says she just wants to be left alone. Angel tells her that’s not possible anymore. She’s “standing at the mouth of Hell,” and it’s about to open. He gives her a box and tells her to be ready for the harvest. Buffy asks who he is, but Angel just says he’s a friend. Buffy tells him she doesn’t want a friend. He replies that he didn’t say he was her friend. After he leaves, Buffy opens the box, which contains a silver cross necklace.

At the Bronze, which is kind of a combination bar/coffeehouse with live music, Buffy meets up with Willow. Willow was hoping Xander would show up, too. They’re just friends, though they used to go out (when they were five). Willow doesn’t date much, since she finds it hard to talk when she’s around a guy she likes. She figures Buffy has a lot more luck; she’s much more outgoing. Buffy shares her philosophy: “Life is short.” Don’t worry about what other people think of you. After all, you could be dead tomorrow.

Buffy spots Giles up in a balcony and tells Willow she’ll be back in a minute. Willow says she doesn’t have to come back, but Buffy makes it clear that she’s not chatting with Willow just to be polite; she really wants to hang out with her. She joins Giles on the balcony, where he tells her this is the perfect place for a vampire to make an appearance.

Buffy says his friend told her about the harvest, but Giles doesn’t know who she’s talking about. He comments that the teens there are partying without any idea that there’s something dangerous lurking around. Buffy doesn’t think there’s anything to worry about. Giles concedes that she might be right. After all, she’s not having nightmares.

Downstairs, Jesse hits on Cordelia and asks her to dance. That’s a big no. He decides to go on the prowl for another prospect. Back up on the balcony, Buffy tells Giles that, okay, maybe she’s not completely retired from slaying. If she happens to run into a vampire, she’ll kill it. Giles tells her there’s a lot she doesn’t know about vampires and her own powers. Vampires look like everyone else until they transform and start feeding. Buffy says he’s “like a textbook with arms” – she knows this.

Giles continues that a Slayer should be able to sense a vampire without even looking or thinking. Can Buffy tell him if there’s a vampire in the club? Even in the crowd, she should be able to sense one. Buffy picks one out easily – the guy is wearing outdated clothes that only someone who’d been underground for ten years would think are in style. Giles complains that she didn’t hone her senses. Buffy has no time for honing, as she’s realized the girl that vampire is talking to is Willow. She seized the moment, but it was the wrong moment.

Buffy follows Willow and breaks a chair leg to make a stake as the vampire leads Willow into a quiet part of the building. Unfortunately, Cordelia and some of her friends show up, and Buffy almost stakes her. Suddenly Buffy is no longer on the possible-future-popular-girl list. Cordelia pulls out a very ’90s cell phone to call everyone she’s ever met and tell them about the new girl’s freaky after-hours activities.

Buffy returns to Giles, worried because she couldn’t find Willow and the vampire. He thinks he should come with her, but she insists that she can handle one vampire. Except that guy is no longer the only vampire in the club: Darla’s there, and she’s flirting with Jesse. Meanwhile, underground, someone rises out of a pit of blood. This is the Master, and he’s going to make things very difficult for Buffy. Luke tells him the harvest is approaching, and then the Master will be free. Also, it’s almost dinnertime. The Master wants something young.

Looks like that’ll be Willow, who’s walking through town with the vampire, supposedly on the way to get ice cream. Instead, he takes her to a cemetery. Buffy is still looking for Willow around the Bronze when Xander arrives. He remarks that he hopes the guy Willow left with isn’t a vampire Buffy will have to slay. Buffy asks if there was an announcement in the school paper letting everyone know that she’s the Slayer. Really, she doesn’t have time to deal with that – she needs to save Willow. Xander realizes this is a serious situation.

The vampire tries to talk Willow into going into a crypt with him, but she’s a very smart girl and her instincts are telling her that she’s in a bad situation. He shoves her in the crypt, and when she tries to leave, Darla blocks the exit. She’s brought Jesse with her and has snuck a little before-dinner snack from his neck. She puts on her vamp face and tells Willow that no one’s leaving until the vampires have fed.

Just then, Buffy and Xander arrive, and despite the fact that she’s now facing double the vampires she expected, Buffy shows no fear. Darla has no idea who she is. Buffy ignores her and criticizes the other vampire’s outfit; he looks like DeBarge. She faces Darla for a fight, warning that there will be “violence, strong language, adult content…” But it’s over pretty quickly, because it just takes a stake to the chest to get rid of the male vampire.

Xander gets Willow and Jesse out of the crypt while Buffy battles Darla. Buffy really wishes she could have gotten a fresh start in her life instead of killing vampires again. Darla asks who she is. Before she can answer, Luke grabs Buffy and throws her across the crypt. Darla warns Luke that Buffy is strong and has already killed a vampire. He sends Darla away so he can take care of the “little girl” on his own. She may be strong, but Luke is stronger.

Xander, Willow, and Jesse don’t get far before they’re cornered by more vampires. Buffy’s still fighting Luke, so she can’t help them. Luke tells her that she can’t stop all of them. She has no idea what she’s dealing with. As he talks about the harvest, “when the blood of men will flow as wine,” Giles reads up on it in the library. Basically, the vampires will kill a bunch of people, the Master will be able to walk in the world again, and humans will face Hell on Earth. Getting rid of the Slayer would be a good start, so Luke corners Buffy and prepares to finish her off. To be continued…

Thoughts: I’ve watched this show countless times and didn’t expect to ever recap it here. But I recently decided to revisit it (for the first time in over a decade) and see how my memory holds up. I want to see if I have different opinions now that I’m older and more removed from the days when I was so into it.

As much as I can possibly avoid it, I will not be discussing Joss Whedon. That man can choke.

Brian Thompson, who plays Luke (and later plays the Judge), also played the Bounty Hunter on The X-Files.

Apparently Katie Homes auditioned to be Buffy, which I really can’t see. And in the original, unaired pilot, Mr. Flutie was played by Stephen Tobolowsky, which I really can.

Way to leave a dead body alone in a locker room without any crime-scene tape or anything, police. (To quote a future character, the Sunnydale police are “deeply stupid.”)

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