June 18, 2019

ER 4.5, Good Touch, Bad Touch: Instead of Opening a Free Clinic, Carol Should Host Anger-Management Classes

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:07 pm by Jenn

Is this the good touch or the bad touch?

Summary: Carol’s in bed, but not asleep. She’s brainstorming ideas for ways County can reach out to the underserved, such as teen moms. Doug is half-listening while he sets up a video camera. He mentions that Carol once accused him of taping himself with other women. Now he’s focused on making her happy. Benton’s at Carla’s, trying to study for a procedure, but Reese hasn’t yet learned to be patient. Benton passive-aggressively tries to wake up Carla, who ignores him. Reese settles down when Benton reads aloud from his procedure book, which makes sense, because that would definitely put me to sleep.

Mark is up late, watching TV and ignoring a phone call that turns out to be a wrong number. The person calling leaves an angry message for the woman he thinks lives there. Mark picks up to tell him he misdialed, getting angry when the guy won’t back off. So yeah, his anger issues are still there. In the morning, he runs into Benton, who’s started drinking coffee. Benton clarifies that Rachel was born while Mark was in med school. Mark says that was a mistake, which doesn’t make Benton feel better.

Jeanie asks Mark to look at a patient who may need surgery. Carol greets a homeless man named Pablo who was hoping to get some TLC from Haleh. Carol tells him she’ll be at work tomorrow. Carter and Anna discuss Ivan, who’s still struggling with bloody traumas. Mark examines Jeanie’s patient, a woman who doesn’t want medical treatment so much as she wants Mark to grope her. He runs off as soon as he can.

Carter teaches Ivan how to insert a catheter in a patient’s penis, and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want an inexperienced med student doing that to me if I had that anatomy. Another patient, Ernesto, wanders in and says he wishes he knew who’d done that procedure on him last time he was in the hospital. Mark runs into Cynthia and confides that he’s distracted because he has to give a deposition that afternoon in the Kenny Law case. Cynthia offers to help him relax with a back rub.

Mark heads into the bathroom, where Doug asks where things are going with Cynthia. Mark denies that he’s interested in her or anyone else, and if he were, he wouldn’t ask Doug for advice. Anna and James tend to a college student named Brett who had shortness of breath while out for a run. He’s a track star and is worried that he has a condition that will keep him from running.

Carol tells Weaver about her idea for patient follow-up after they’re seen in the ER. She’d like to open a women’s and children’s clinic staffed entirely by volunteers. Weaver thinks it’s an okay idea, but there’s no money in the budget. Though she can’t take on another project, she appreciates Carol’s input.

Doyle bickers with Ernesto, who wants to leave before his gunshot wound is examined for the last time. Carter volunteers to do it, but Ernesto’s out of patience and just pulls out his IV to leave. He licks the blood off his arm (ew) and tells Doyle, “Bye-bye, chica.” Charming. Doyle asks if Ivan’s going to be sick. I don’t know, but I might.

Benton does the procedure he was studying, but he can’t answer a question Anspaugh poses about another method. He’s falling behind in some of his tasks, so Anspaugh sends him to complete his charts while Elizabeth finishes the surgery. Anna looks at Brett’s x-rays and discovers that he may have testicular cancer. Doug offers to do the testicular exam, since Brett might feel more comfortable with a male doctor doing it, but Anna gets defensive. Because Anna’s feelings are more important than the patient’s comfort level.

Pablo comes back, so Carol sends Cynthia to tell him to come back tomorrow. Carter calls for a surgical consult and, unfortunately, gets Dale. It’s a simple procedure that Carter could have handled himself, except for the fact that he’s not allowed to, since he’s not in surgery anymore. Dale mentions that Robert “Rocket” Romano is back at County. I let out the loudest, most frustrated groan ever heard on the planet.

Carter leaves Dale with his patient to take care of a man named Tom who was in a car accident. He says he had a blinding headache before he crashed. Even though he has a head wound and a history of hypertension, Carter asks Connie to work him up for an abdominal issue. Anna tells Brett that he needs a testicular exam, and though he’s a little nervous, he submits. Things get awkward when he gets an erection during the exam. Anna tells him it’s common and he shouldn’t be embarrassed. Brett needs a minute to collect himself.

Weaver chastises Carter lightly for ordering abdominal scans for Tom, even though he presented with symptoms of a tumor that Carter thought needed to be checked out. She asks him to check with her in the future before he spends so much of the hospital’s money. Weaver tells Carol that an ER clinic is a great idea, and she can look into grants to fund it. Carol says she wasn’t planning to actually set it up, but Weaver thinks she should see her own idea through.

Jeanie tells Weaver that Mark walked out in the middle of an exam. She thinks he needs to leave his bad mood at home when he comes to work. Anna finishes with Brett and tells him he has a mass on one of his testicles. It may have spread and caused the spots on his lungs that left him short of breath. He starts taking notes while Anna goes over what will happen next. She tells him he’ll need to talk to an oncologist for more information, but Brett wants answers now. She tells him he may need surgery and chemo.

Mark takes a nap in an on-call room, getting woken up by his lawyer, Alan, who thinks he should be more prepared for his deposition. Mark thinks they should have settled already, but the Laws are insistent that they get at least eight figures for Kenny’s death. Mark says the other lawyer’s questions won’t rattle him – he did everything he could to save Kenny.

Benton finds it hard to concentrate on the giant stack of records he has to complete. He tries to talk to another doctor about balancing parenthood with work, but the other doctor lets his wife take care of all the family stuff, so he’s no help. Carter and Anna have lunch together, and he turns her down when she tries to pay for half. She still thinks he’s a poor resident like her. Weaver tells Carter that he was right about Tom’s condition, so the tests he ordered were necessary after all.

Mark and Cynthia have a conversation about snack cakes, which puts him in a good mood for the first time all day. Weaver pulls him aside to tell him that the groping patient, Miriam, is a Medicare patient, so the hospital won’t get reimbursed until a doctor completes a full exam. Mark wonders why they have physicians’ assistants if doctors have to examine all the Medicare patients.

Carol looks through grant applications, and Chuny mentions that a well-known clinic at another hospital was also started by a nurse. Carter and Weaver rush to Tom’s room, where he’s experiencing heart problems because of his tumor. Romano and Dale arrive to whisk him off to surgery, the world Carter gave up for the ER. Carter may regret leaving the glamour of surgery, but at least he gets praise from Weaver.

Benton falls asleep in the records room, but Elizabeth wakes him up with some tea. She offers to get him on a team for a high-tech surgery Romano will be performing the next day. Romano is her sponsor for her job in the States, and she thinks Benton should get in good with him. Benton already has enough to deal with and says he’s not interested.

Anna goes looking for Brett, who appears to have taken off. Ivan asks Carter for help with a blood draw, so Carter loudly complains that he’s about to put his years of medical training to the test by doing a simple procedure. Is it lonely up there on your high horse, Carter? Carol and Chuny try again to explain to Pablo that Haleh isn’t there, so he’ll need to come back tomorrow.

Carter and Ivan’s patient is a long-time IV drug user, which makes it hard for them to find a vein to draw blood from. The patient offers to find one himself, inserting a needle in his chest and drawing his own blood. Carter’s thrilled but still tells Ivan to never let a patient do that. Ivan responds by passing out. Maybe Ivan should look into a different profession.

Anna admits to Doug that she screwed up and lost Brett. If they can find him, she’d like Doug to take over his case and help him realize that losing a testicle won’t be the end of the world. They rush off to help Mark with a combative patient, McNamara, who needs to be restrained. He kicks Chuny while he’s thrashing around, so Mark grabs his injured leg and yells at him to settle down. Doug sends him out of the trauma room.

Carter gives Ivan some stitches for a wound he sustained when he passed out. Carter thinks that once he sees some more traumas, he’ll be able to handle them better. Ivan wonders that his life plans are a bad decision. Benton apologizes to Anspaugh for making errors that morning and for falling behind with his charts. Anspaugh says they all cut him some slack when Reese was in the NICU, but now that he’s home, Benton needs to get with the program. It’s not just for his own career – Elizabeth is so talented that she’s liable to surpass all the other surgeons.

Connie tells Carol that the nurse who started the other clinic got her grant because her father has connections. That’s not going to be an option for Carol. Brett returns to County, and Anna offers to let him talk to Doug instead, but Brett doesn’t care who gives him the possibly bad news about his prognosis. She encourages him to call his family so he’s not alone in whatever happens. Doug sees the two of them talking but leaves them alone.

Mark goes out by the water for a cigarette and chats with Cynthia again. She thinks the way he handled McNamara was great, since no one else could get him under control. She offers a back rub again, and this time he accepts. They head back to the hospital when he gets paged for his deposition. Carter suggests that Carol look for a grant from a private foundation. His grandmother has one, and she hears all sorts of crazy ideas, so a pitch for a clinic might get somewhere.

Mark gets deposed, and the lawyer brings up the Jodi O’Brien case, another instance in which Mark was blamed for a death. He felt regret but not guilt over Jodi’s death; people die at the hospital all the time. After Kenny’s death, Mark also felt regret. He insists that he gave the same care to both patients regardless of race. Chris scoffs at that, and Mark yells that he, of all people, can’t accuse Mark of anything.

He won’t answer the lawyer’s question about whether he holds a white life above a black life. He admits that he’s fallible, then gets even more upset when the lawyer mentions again that Kenny was black. Mark shouts that if she wants him to say he’s racist, then fine, he’s racist. Does that make Chris feel better about beating him up? Chris looks surprised about that accusation. He blasts Mark for never expressing any regret to his mother after she lost her son. “You belong in jail,” Mark spits as he leaves the deposition. Chris says he wishes he had been the one to beat Mark up.

Carter can’t get any answers about Tom’s surgery, so he goes to the OR himself. He arrives as Dale is getting thanked by Tom’s wife and son for saving his life. Carter introduces himself, but Tom’s wife doesn’t care about the work done by the guy who actually diagnosed her husband and led to his life being saved. Poor, unappreciated Carter. Pablo comes back yet again, and this time Carol says she’ll take care of him herself. Doug asks Mark how things went at the deposition, but Mark leaves without talking to him.

Elizabeth introduces Benton to Romano, and Romano immediately shows his true personality by asking if Benton thinks Chris Rock is funny. You see, because Benton is black, and Chris Rock is black, so why not ask one black man’s opinion about another black man? Romano complains that Rock uses the N-word too much – if Romano used it, Benton would want to smack him. Benton says he thinks Rock is hilarious. After he leaves, Romano tells Elizabeth that he likes Benton.

Carol cleans Pablo up, learning the kind of personal care Haleh gives him, like listening to his chest because he’s had pneumonia before. He enthusiastically tells her that he would come to a free clinic if one opened at the hospital. Carter tells Benton that he made a great diagnosis today, but Dale got all the glory. Benton tells him Dale is a weasel, and Carter’s twice the surgeon Dale will ever be. Carter asks if Benton’s enjoying fatherhood, and Benton happily says he is.

Jeanie and Al go to a bar, and she’s annoyed when he ponies up for a pool, even though they said they were going to be more careful with their money. Al’s friend Bill comes in and glares, mad that Al exposed him to HIV. Jeanie encourages Al to say hi, but Al knows he wouldn’t be well-received. Bill yells across the bar that he wants to know how Al contracted HIV. When Jeanie tries to intervene, Bill calls her a nasty word, so Al gets aggressive. Jeanie tries to make Al leave, but Bill isn’t satisfied. He calls Al a gay slur and throws a beer bottle, which leads to a brutal fight between the friends. Even Jeanie can’t get Al to just walk away.

Thoughts: I’m pretty sure the Doug/Anna rivalry ends fairly quickly, which is good because it’s dumb.

If you want to know how bored Benton is in the records room, he’s making small talk with people he does’t know. He’s voluntarily talking to strangers. Normally, he doesn’t even voluntarily talk to people he knows!

How many times can a med student get sick or pass out before he gets kicked out of the program? What hospital or med school wants to spend the money to train a guy who can’t even stay upright during a routine procedure, let alone an emergency? Imagine applying to med school and losing your spot to that guy.

June 15, 2019

The X-Files 11.2, This: Langly Calling from the Imitation Zone

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:25 pm by Jenn

“Mulder, if you Rick Roll me one more time, I’m leaving you for real”

Summary: The Ramones’ “California Sun” is playing as a car speeds somewhere, carrying three people who look like they’ve either just committed a crime or are on their way to commit one. Mulder and Scully are asleep on Mulder’s couch, oblivious to the fact that a familiar (though distorted voice) is speaking Mulder’s name through his phone. A staticky video shows Langly trying to reach out to his old friend. The three possible criminals arrive at their destination: Mulder’s house.

Langly asks Mulder and Scully if he’s dead, then says that if he is, “they know that I know.” The agents realize someone’s outside the house, and the second the door begins to open, Mulder tells Scully, “Go.” He moves a couch in front of the door while Scully slides under a table to grab a gun. She turns the table on its side and hides behind it as the three criminals enter and start shooting. After a brief firefight, two men are down, and the agents are unharmed. The third man gets away.

Mulder’s phone lights up again, and Langly repeats his message: “They know that I know.” Scully uses Mulder’s landline (which looks like it’s been around since the ’70s) to call in the attack, and the two start bagging up evidence. Mulder won’t give up his phone, knowing no one will do anything with it. He asks if there’s any possibility that Langly’s still alive. Scully doesn’t think so, since the Lone Gunmen’s bodies were completely destroyed.

Mulder thinks Langly’s message was more than just a warning that the three men were coming to the house. Langly asked if he was dead, which is pretty weird. Two military vehicles arrive, and at first the agents think they’re there to respond to the attack, but they quickly realize that’s probably not right. The phone rings, but Mulder says not to answer. He yells for the people outside to identify themselves. A Russian man shouts back that they need to answer the phone.

As Scully wonders if they should call Skinner, admitting that she’s no longer sure whose side he’s on, Mulder warns the group outside that they’re armed federal agents. The guy outside tells Mulder and Scully to come out. She calls Skinner, who tells her to surrender – it’s her and Mulder’s only chance. The guy outside tells Mulder that he knows what he did. The men who attacked the agents were wearing body cams, so the people outside know exactly what happened during the firefight.

Scully relays Skinner’s message that they should surrender. Mulder’s not about to give himself over to people whose allegiance he doesn’t know, so he tells the guy outside that they’re ready to fight. “We don’t need to identify ourselves,” the guy says. “What world are you living in?” He sends his men into the house, which leads to another shootout. This time, Mulder and Scully lose and are captured.

The Russian enters and tells his men that Price is going to be upset about the deaths of two of her best guys. She’ll want this group to finish what the original attackers couldn’t. The Russian wants Mulder’s phone, but Mulder’s not going to hand it over. The Russian mocks Mulder’s “I want to believe poster,” then says that America would have been okay losing the Cold War if they’d known they could make a profit off of it. He plans to kill the agents after he gets his hands on the phone.

The men toss the room, looking for the phone, which was stashed in the oven. The Russian finds it when it comes back on and replays Langly’s message. The agents choose that minute to surprise the other men, shoot one of their guns around the room, and escape. They escape through the woods around the house, handcuffed together.

Skinner arrives just in time to rescue them (and undo their handcuffs). He explains that the men are from an American security contractor headquartered in Moscow. They got permission from the Executive Branch to have authority over the FBI. Skinner thought they just wanted to question the agents, not kill them. He wants to take the agents to a secure place, but they don’t trust him. He gives them a pocketknife and all the money he has on him so they can go on the run.

Scully asks if Langly’s alive. Skinner reminds her that they were both at the Lone Gunmen’s funeral, which doesn’t answer her question. He thinks he did: “They’re buried in Arlington.” Back in the house, the Russian orders one of his men to hack Mulder’s phone and find out how Langly contacted him. But there’s a kill switch in the program, which shuts down any link to who sent Langly’s message.

Mulder and Scully go to Arlington National Cemetery and find the Lone Gunmen’s graves. Mulder notes that Langly’s birthdate is wrong; it’s seven months off from his and Mulder’s shared birthday. The other guys’ are right, which the agents know because Byers was born the day JFK was assassinated and Frohike was born the day FDR died. Mulder wonders if any president died on March 28, 1969, the birthdate on Langly’s headstone. Scully somehow knows it was Eisenhower.

She notes that JFK was the 35th president, Eisenhower the 34th, and FDR the 32nd. Mulder teases that she’s showing off. They wonder if skipping over the 33rd president (Truman, for the record) is significant. They go three rows up and three rows over (checking in both directions), which takes Mulder to Deep Throat’s grave. He reveals that he was in the cemetery the day of Deep Throat’s funeral, watching from a distance. In case anyone cares, Deep Throat’s real name was Ronald Pakula.

Mulder says that Deep Throat’s dead because the world was complex and dangerous back in 1994. Now it seems like a simpler time. Everything they feared back then has come to pass. Scully doesn’t get the connection between the Lone Gunmen and Deep Throat, who died eight years apart. Langly couldn’t have even known he would be buried at Arlington. Mulder realizes that the cross on Deep Throat’s headstone is different from the crosses on the others. Instead of being engraved, it’s a separate piece that Mulder turns to the side, revealing something underneath.

As someone tries to sneak up on the agents, they use Skinner’s pocketknife to pry the thing out of the headstone. Mulder recognizes it as a memory medallion, a disc with a QR code that can be scanned to play a video of the deceased. The agents don’t have their phones, so they can’t scan it. Scully spots the person sneaking up on them, and they’re able to hide behind headstones while he shoots at them. Mulder manages to come around the behind the shooter (who was the surviving man from the original attack) and knock him out on Deep Throat’s headstone. The agents run off and leave him there.

The agents hide out somewhere for the night, then hit an Internet café in Annandale (not Annadale, chyron writer) the next morning. They’re starving, and managed to snag bran muffins so good that Mulder wants to open an X-File on how it was made. They scan the QR code, which gives them video footage of the exterior of a building in New York. Mulder knows from Edward Snowden’s documents that it was code-named Titanpointe and used by the NSA as a surveillance station in a program called Blarney.

In the ’90s, Mulder opened an X-File on the building, with info from Langly. He thinks they should look at their files. Of course, they can’t go to their office, since that would make them easy to find. But they can go to the FBI building and ambush Skinner to get his help. Skinner says he’s not working with their attackers, but the world is different now than it was back when the X-Files started. There are tons of organizations all fighting each other and trying to eliminate each other, including the FBI.

Scully tells Skinner that, even if they don’t trust him, they need his help. Skinner wonders how they got to this point. Scully says they’re not asking for rescue, just assistance. Skinner informs the agents that they can access their files from anywhere – the magic of technology! The private company that employs the Russians digitized all the X-Files so other agencies can refer to them. Mulder asks why Skinner didn’t tell them when the X-Files were reopened. Scully asks if Skinner’s working with the Russians.

Skinner says the contents of the X-Files is now public information, though it’s controlled by the FBI. Unfortunately, they’re not intact – all Mulder’s files on Blarney and Titanpointe are missing. Langly has also been erased from the files, though Byers and Frohike remain (and are linked to his name as related subjects, so…someone screwed up there).

There’s a file under Frohike’s name (called “Spank Bank,” and using an icon of Scully’s face – classy) that leads to a folder using Joey Ramone, Langly’s favorite rocker, as an icon. This takes the agents to contact information for a woman named Karah Hamby. There’s a note saying to go to her if Langly is scrubbed from the X-Files. Skinner’s on the phone across the room and doesn’t see the agents getting this info. He tells the agents that he’s trying to call off the Russians’ pursuit of the agents, but the FBI isn’t on good terms with the White House.

Karah Hamby is a professor at Semple Technical Academy in Bethesda, which is where the agents present her with the memory medallion. She thought that after five years passed without contact from them, she’d be able to let go of her regrets. She warns that the Russians’ organization, Purlieu Services, is watching. They came to her and Langly 15 years ago with the math and science to prove that humans can live forever.

They had their bodies copied and uploaded into a simulation. After Langly died, he was basically resurrected in the simulation. If Langly’s reaching out now, Purlieu must have lied about what was possible in the simulation. Hamby says that they wanted to have an eternal life together, so they accepted Purlieu’s offer. There was a limit on two-way contact, but Langly must have hacked it to reach out.

Mulder asks why Langly contacted him, of all people. Hamby says he must have figured out he’s in a simulation but still remembered working on X-Files with Mulder. Purlieu must know that he’s trying to tell the agents about the simulation. Hamby says they need to make it easier for Langly to make contact. She starts to give the agents what they need to do that, but the third attacker has found them and shoots her before she can finish. Scully takes him out, so two people will be joining Langly in his simulated world.

The agents go to a bar, where “California Sun” is playing, and Scully takes a nap while Mulder tries to use Hamby’s work on her phone. However, he knows Purlieu will try to use the phone to find them, so they can’t keep it on the whole time they’re on the run. Langly makes contact again, excited that both agents are there. He confirms that he’s not real, though that’s not bad – the simulation is like Heaven. He gets to eat whatever he wants and go to Ramones concerts every night. Also the New England Patriots never win. “I’m begging you, destroy it,” he says.

Langly continues that it’s like a work camp for digital slaves. The science known by the people in the simulation will be used by the elite to leave the real planet for space. The simulated people have no choices or dreams. Everything’s fake and everyone hates it. They’re all completely different from the people they were in life. Langly tells the agents to go to Titanpointe and shut down the simulation.

The agents take a bus to New York, unsure of how they’ll get access to the building while they’re there. Right now, Scully’s more focused on the bus ride and the rambunctious kids around them. But they come up with a plan: Scully uses her FBI credentials to take Mulder to the New York field office, pretending he’s there to be questioned. An employee sexually harasses Scully (and I hope she gets him fired later), then lets them in. Mulder does a Hannibal Lechter impression to pretend he’s too dangerous to be uncuffed.

The harasser asks Scully, who he calls “hon,” where her home office is. SCULLY, HAVE HIM FIRED. She addresses him as “bro” and says she’s married to the bureau. The agents start to take an elevator up to the floor where the simulation tech is housed, but Mulder thinks they could get ambushed, so they should take the stairs. Scully has to agree, even though the building has 29 floors. They get ambushed anyway, just on the stairs instead of coming off the elevator.

Scully is able to escape, but Mulder is captured and greeted by the Russian. He tells Mulder he’s on Purlieu’s side now. He’s taken to the 29th floor for a meeting with Price, who admits that she didn’t see his value before. Over the past few days, she’s come to respect his “instinct for survival.” She wants him to change how he looks at everything. He won’t face the question of CSM, and he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

As Scully fights her way to the simulation tech, Price tells Mulder that the world is about replacements. What he needs to know is this: Life on the planet is about to be destroyed. The simulation tech is necessary for our evolution as a species. Langly’s the only person who’s figured out he’s in the simulation, and of all the billions of people he could have contacted, he chose to call Mulder. That must mean something. Price thinks that when Mulder understands that the simulation is meant to advance life, not end it, he won’t want to destroy it.

Mulder has a proposal: If he kills CSM, can he and Scully upload into the simulation and spend eternity together after they die? Price says it won’t be the two of them. They can take a piece of a person any time that person makes a call. Mulder says in that case, he doesn’t have a choice. Price laughs that he can choose not to use his phone. Mulder says he wants to believe, but he’d like to see the tech first. Meanwhile, Scully’s found it.

Price asks why Mulder wants to see it. He says it’s the closest he’ll get to seeing God. Price sends him off with the Russian, but Mulder spots a shadow around the corner and realizes Scully’s close by. He overpowers and knocks out the Russian, making Scully wonder how Mulder’s able to operate so well while handcuffed. “As if you didn’t know,” Mulder replies, which, honestly, answers some questions I didn’t need answered.

Scully uncuffs Mulder and goes to the tech room while he continues fighting with the Russian. As Mulder smashes the Russian’s face, Scully smashes the glass cage around the technology. She shuts it down, whispering a goodbye to Langly. The winner of the men’s fight joins her, and fortunately, it’s Mulder. He’s pleased that he got his phone back. He’s ready to take the Russian to the FBI and start a case against Price, though he may need a few minutes first. (Fighting at this age isn’t as easy as it was when he was younger.)

The agents return to the building sometime later with more FBI agents, but, unsurprisingly, all the simulation tech is gone, as is Price. Back at home, the agents start to clean up the trashed house, then opt for a nap instead. Langly comes up on the phone, yelling that they need to destroy the backup. He disappears, then is replaced by the third shooter and “California Sun.”

Thoughts: Two of the boys on the bus are played by Gillian Anderson’s sons.

Why does Scully know multiple presidents’ dates of death? When would that knowledge ever come in handy? Maybe in some obscure trivia contest?

Scully asking one of the kids on the bus, “Are you kidding me?” as he’s getting in her personal space is the most I’ve ever related to her.

June 11, 2019

ER 4.4, When the Bough Breaks: Surprise! Benton Is Human After All!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

Cue mass casualty in 3…2…

Summary: Benton drops some things off at Carla’s apartment in preparation for Reese’s homecoming. She thinks he’s being overly cautious, but Benton doesn’t want her to have to wait for paramedics if something happens. For a first-time mom, Carla is very confident that everything will go fine. Meanwhile, Doug and Carla go rollerblading; she’s good and he’s inexperienced.

Jen surprises Mark at his apartment to complain that Rachel fell asleep at school. Rachel claimed that Mark let her stay up late the last time she visited. Jen thinks Mark’s assault is messing with him psychologically. No kidding, Jen! Until Mark is more like his normal self, Jen will be keeping Rachel away from him.

Carter’s gotten into motivational self-help stuff, in an attempt to turn around his year, since it hasn’t been going that great yet. He and Anna meet their new med students, James and Ivan, and Carter eagerly takes on the job of getting them acclimated. Thanks to his refusal to wear a helmet while rollerblading, Doug banged his head and gets an ice pack in the ER. Carol pretends not to know what happened.

Connie alerts everyone at the admit desk to a televised police chase involving a motorcycle. Weaver has finally gotten her hands on Doug’s research study, which lets children control their own pain medication, and encourages him to use data from another study to finish it. Doug isn’t interested in her help in getting a grant, but Weaver thinks he’ll have to leave for private practice by the end of the year if he doesn’t get one.

Since Carter had a bad experience with his last med student, Anna tells him he can choose between Ivan and James this time. Both guys seem competent, though, so Carter will probably be okay no matter who he gets. Paramedics bring in a guy named Jeremy who was hit by a car when he walked into traffic. He claims he’s an angel, and he can sense pain in Mark.

Benton meets up with Carla, whose friend Daphina has come to drive her and Reese home (Benton’s on duty). Benton doesn’t like her. Elizabeth sees him with his son and notes that he’s pretty secretive, since she had no idea he had a child. Benton gets paged back inside, so Carla impatiently sends him back to work.

Anna examines a boy with asthma whose mother, Mrs. Landeta, would prefer to have him treated by Doug. The police chase is still underway, though Doug and the nurses think the police are about to finish it off. Mrs. Landeta asks Doug to take over her son’s case, so Anna reluctantly steps aside. Speaking of being pushed aside from a job, Al has lost his at a construction site. He figures he’ll end up getting shut out of every site in the city. Jeanie tries to give him encouragement, but Al knows the kind of people he’s dealing with.

Carter calls Benton to the ER to consult on a patient he’s sure will end up needing surgery. Benton reminds him that he has to get an ultrasound first, but Carter’s sure of the outcome and thinks it makes sense to warn Benton early. Anna complains to Carol that Doug is patronizing; she can’t believe that Carol ever dated him. Carol says that Mrs. Landeta is just used to Doug. Weaver says that Doug has trouble dealing with strong women. He doesn’t know how to handle women he can’t charm or vilify.

Doris is back for treatment and unhappy to have to wait. The police chase has ended with a crash into a school bus, and the victims will be coming to County. Doris is going to have to wait a lot longer now. Weaver sends someone to find Mark, who’s smoking on the steps of an El platform when he sees ambulances speed by on their way to County.

Cynthia’s thrust into the middle of her first trauma, trying to coordinate communicating with the victims’ families. They’re mostly middle-schoolers on a field trip. Elizabeth’s patient isn’t happy to hear that her nearly amputated arm will have to be fully amputated so it can be reattached. Benton displays some actual good bedside manner with her.

In the middle of the chaos, Jeanie goes off to tend to a man who fell off a roof while installing a satellite dish. Mark thinks his young patient is a goner, but Doug wants to keep working on him, since he’s a child. Ivan can’t handle all the trauma and gets sick, so Benton makes Carter take him out. Jeremy looks on while Carter assists Weaver with an intubation.

Carol sees a trail of blood in the hallway and follows it to a bathroom, where Doris is bleeding. Jeanie’s patient goes south and needs a chest tube, a procedure Jeanie’s not supposed to perform. Connie tries to get Mark to help her, but Mark’s busy with his patient. Carol realizes that Doris is in labor despite her insistence that she’s not pregnant. Mark hears her yelling and rushes to help the baby Carol just delivered. He’s not breathing, and Doris accuses Carol of dropping him. Benton comes by and is shaken by the sight of the preemie.

With all the doctors still busy, Jeanie and Chuny are left to insert a chest tube on their own. Doris thinks she’s in labor again (it’s just the placenta), and she yells at Carol, “Don’t drop this one!” (It’s not funny, but…it’s also a little funny.) Jeanie’s patient’s son finds Weaver and tells her to come help Jeanie, who doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing. Well, dude, you were the one urging her to do the procedure, so…hush.

While Mark, Benton, and Carol work hard to save Doris’ baby, Jeanie successfully inserts the chest tube just as Weaver comes in. She has to admit that she used her finger instead of a clamp, which is beyond the restrictions of her job. Weaver sends her away. Mark decides that the baby can’t be saved and has to tell Benton to stop doing chest compressions. Mark doesn’t notice how difficult this is for Benton, but Carol does. Benton goes straight for the phone and calls Carla to check on Reese.

Weaver compliments Carter on the method he used to help her with the intubation. He credits Benton, and Weaver says Carter was lucky to have him as a mentor. Too bad Carter doesn’t have the same relationship with Ivan, who’s still recovering from his bad reaction to the trauma. Doug apologizes to Anna for stealing her patient from her, but Anna’s willing to let that go. James comes in from his lunch break, unaware that there was a mass casualty in the ER while he was gone.

Weaver tends to Officer Mulvahill, the cop who crashed into the bus while he was chasing the motorcyclist. He’s not hurt too badly, but he’s upset with himself for causing the crash that injured so many others. Benton operates with Elizabeth, who mentions again that she was surprised to learn he has a child. She thought he was too ambitious and driven to have a family. He surprises her again by telling her that Carla isn’t his wife.

Jeremy complains about negative energy in the hospital, then spies on Mark and Cynthia while they talk. Jeremy tells Mark that Cynthia likes him. Doug tells Carol that he worked things out with Anna, but Carol thinks Anna isn’t as cool with the situation with the patient as she’s let on. Weaver tells Carol to fill out an incident report about Doris’ baby in case she wants to make a statement. Carol doesn’t think she has to worry about the ramblings of a crack addict, but Weaver reminds her that she was suspended last year, so she needs to be extra-careful.

The motorcyclist is brought in, having finally been captured, and Weaver passes him off to Carter so she doesn’t accidentally-on-purpose hurt him. Jeanie tries to defend her actions with her patient, but Weaver tells her that when they agreed to let her keep working at County, she agreed to not do certain things. Apparently Jeanie should have just let the patient die if she had to.

Carter spots a welt on the motorcyclist’s body, which a police officer says is the result of the guy sliding into a fence. Yeah, it definitely doesn’t look baton-shaped. Carol asks Mark to back her up in her insistence that she didn’t drop the baby. Mark agrees with Carol that Doris’ statement won’t hold water, but since he didn’t see the delivery and whether or not Carol dropped the baby, he can’t give an eyewitness statement. Carol interprets this as him indicating he doesn’t believe her.

Doug gets back to Mrs. Landeta and her son (Jaime), whose breathing is better but who now has diarrhea. Doug suggests getting a stool sample, which Anna also wanted earlier but didn’t mention to him. Doris has asked for a lawyer, so Carol probably shouldn’t be her nurse anymore, but whatever. Doris says again that she didn’t know she was pregnant; if she had, she would have stopped using crack. No one’s told her yet that the baby didn’t survive. She figures she would have messed up the child anyway. But she still asks Carol if she’s physically able to have another one.

Carter sends Ivan off for the night, hoping he’ll have a stronger stomach tomorrow. Benton’s making one last call to Carla before he leaves work on time for once. When Chuny gets Carter to tend to the worsening motorcyclist, Benton tags along to help out. He chastises Carter for not getting a surgical consult even though the patient seemed stable. So, to sum up, no matter what Carter does, Benton disapproves.

Cynthia tells Mark that Jeremy’s family has been found; he’s supposed to be on medication but may have stopped taking it when he came to Chicago for college. Anna urges Carter to talk to Benton about how he treats Carter, as if he hasn’t been this way for three years now.

Doug tells Anna that he’s determined that Jaime doesn’t have asthma after all – he has strongyloides, a parasite, and the prednisone Doug was going to give him would have made him worse. He thinks Anna suspected this but didn’t say anything. The two of them bicker about how their personal issues shouldn’t get in the way of patient care. Cynthia interrupts so Doug can tell the mother of his and Mark’s patient that he died. Now Anna feels bad about her petty squabbles with Doug.

Benton wants to stay late to operate on the motorcyclist, but Elizabeth offers to do the surgery instead so he can go home to Reese. She warns that she probably won’t be this generous again, so he should take advantage. Mark prepares to give Jeremy some Haldol, but Jeremy says he doesn’t want to feel normal. Mark shouldn’t run away from fear. He needs to make friends with it and embrace the light; it’ll save him.

Carter follows Benton as he leaves, complaining that there’s no point to his mistreatment anymore. Benton tries to brush him off, but Carter refuses to let him walk away. Benton finally tosses him to the ground. That leads to more complaining from Carter, who thinks he’s earned Benton’s respect after three years. Benton says he threw that respect away when he left surgery for emergency medicine. Benton took time to mentor him, but when Carter decided to leave, he went to Anspaugh instead. Carter apologizes, but he doesn’t sound that sorry. Benton tells him to stop seeking approval.

As Doug goes back to his research, Mark tells Carol that he learned Doris’ baby died in utero two days ago. Carol’s still upset, but Mark says it’s not about whether or not he believed her story – he would have been on her side no matter what. Carol says he should have been on Doris’ side. She’s been in the ER multiple times, and Mark never gave her a pregnancy test. Mark doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and though Carol can’t really disagree, she thinks more can be done for their less fortunate patients.

Weaver’s cooled off about the Jeanie situation, but she tells Jeanie that she had the right to be mad. After all, Weaver fought for Jeanie to keep her job, and Jeanie repaid her by doing something she wasn’t supposed to. Jeanie needs to remember that her decisions affect others. Jeanie admits that if she had to make that decision again, she might do the same thing.

Mark and Cynthia leave at the same time, and she asks him to walk her to the El platform, since it’s nighttime. He offers her a ride home instead. Benton goes to Carla’s and takes in the heartwarming scene of mother and son cuddling together. Despite his difficult day, he gets to end it on a good note.

Thoughts: Daphina is played by Merrin Dungey. Jeremy is played by David Denman.

Shout-out to the girl playing Elizabeth and Benton’s patient, who truly howls like someone whose arm is falling off.

One of the other patients was drawing on his hand with a pen, and when the bus crashed, the pen got lodged in his hand. Why did I decide to watch this show again?

June 8, 2019

The X-Files 11.1, My Struggle III: Oh, Good, More Conspiracies

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Haven’t we done this before?

Summary: Two years after “My Struggle II” aired, CSM greets us with a voiceover, immediately answering a question many have had for years: His real name is Carl Gerhard Busch. He’s seen a lot of history unfold, and knows that if people knew what was really going on behind the scenes, they would riot. CSM claims he’s not a bad man; he makes others great. That’s what makes him great.

CSM says both of his sons have made sacrifices and paid horrible prices while searching for the truth CSM has “parceled” out to them. There’s definitely life out there on other planets. CSM doesn’t want trust or loyalty, just for his sons to realize that CSM was right and did what needed to be done. P.S. The moon landing was fake.

Zoom in on Scully’s eye, then quick flashbacks of the events of the previous episode. Scully’s unconscious, having been found on the floor of the X-Files office by Mulder, who looks much better than he did in “My Struggle II” – as if he was never sick at all. Mulder and Skinner go to the hospital where she’s taken, and a neurologist, Dr. Joyet, tells them she doesn’t know what happened. All she knows is that Scully has abnormal brain activity, but no apparent damage.

Joyet shows the men scans of Scully’s brain and says she’s never seen what’s happening there before. There’s a flashing in her hypothalamus, her fight-or-flight center. Skinner sees the flashing as a code, six dots and two dashes: “Find him.” Joyet lets the men visit Scully, and Mulder vows to stay with her as long as she’s in the hospital. Skinner thinks they should focus on the “him” of the code – probably William. Scully must want him because she’s dying. Mulder refuses to believe that and again says he’s staying with Scully.

Great, more voiceover. Mulder fears that he’s responsible for Scully’s condition. If he is, how can he fix it? Scully has more flashbacks, then wakes up. She tells Mulder he has to go find CSM. She knows “how it begins.” The Spartan virus will become an epidemic and lead to massive destruction. But there’s a cure, so Mulder needs to find William and get his stem cells.

Mulder tells Scully there’s no plague, and besides, CSM is dead. Scully insists that he’s alive in Spartanburg. Mulder thinks Scully’s confused because of the weird activity in her brain. Scully tells him that CSM will kill him if Mulder doesn’t stop him.

Since the last time we saw him, Jeffrey Spender’s face has improved a lot. Wherever he is now, someone’s trying to run him down in a parking garage. He manages to dodge his would-be assassin’s car and lock himself out of reach of the driver. The driver says he just wants “the boy.” Spender won’t help, so the driver leaves.

Joyet agrees with Mulder that Scully’s visions are just that, visions. Nothing with the Spartan virus actually happened. The question now is where the visions came from. Joyet has seen some stuff in her time, and she figures Scully’s experiencing the aftermath of some experiments. Impatient, Scully wants to leave and investigate, but Mulder says he’ll handle it. On his way out of the hospital, he gets a voice mail from Spender.

Scully has more visions, this time from the future instead of the past. She sees CSM telling someone they can’t be found, and Mulder getting in a car accident. As she wakes up, we briefly see a teen boy doing the same, seemingly having had the same visions as Scully. Mulder listens to Spender’s message, which warns that someone came after him looking for William. Everyone connected to him is in danger.

CSM knows that Mulder will be looking for him, and just like in Scully’s vision, he tells Reyes they can’t be found. Meanwhile, someone follows Mulder as he heads off on a road trip, voicing over more pointless stuff about Scully. He knows he’s being followed, so he tries to get away from his pursuer. CSM gloats to Reyes that Mulder can’t stop what’s already been put into motion.

The car chase goes on forever. Is this what it’s like watching The Fast and the Furious? I’ll pass. Mulder’s pursuer crashes, but Mulder is able to get away. Back at the hospital, Scully has William-related dreams/flashbacks, waking up when Spender comes by. She asks where William is, but he reminds her that she made him promise never to tell her. Scully says Mulder’s life is at stake. Spender can only provide the adoptive family’s last name, Van De Kamp.

Scully tells Spender that CSM’s alive, and she tries to leave again to go on the hunt. Joyet stops her, but even the risk of a seizure won’t keep Scully in the hospital. CSM admits to Reyes that, though he knows William’s in danger, he doesn’t know who the danger is coming from. Reyes thinks someone knows William is CSM’s weakness. CSM says no one could know that. Even if his plans were to get out, people would dismiss them as “fake news.” No one wants to accept the threat of our impending extinction.

Mulder’s still driving and voicing over. Scully calls him to tell him that Spender gave him William’s last name. She’s left the hospital and is in the X-Files office. She promises that she knows what she’s doing. Mulder tells her he’s in South Carolina, just as Scully’s visions showed that everything begins. She insists that they find William. She has more visions, this time seeing the teen boy in distress as a man says he’s a special child. Scully winds up unconscious on the floor of the office again.

CSM tells Reyes that he thinks Scully will forgive him once she sees “the beauty of a planet returned to its savage state.” Reyes reminds him that he’ll be killing humans, and the survivors will hate him. CSM’s like, “What else is new?” More driving and voicing over from Mulder as Reyes tells CSM that Scully and William have a bond beyond science. CSM thinks Scully’s unaware of it – only he and Reyes know.

More driving and voicing over. We get it! Mulder wants the truth! CSM tells Reyes he’s worried about William. Reyes thinks he’s in love with Scully. CSM says he worries for her; Mulder always protected her, but now he’s forced CSM’s hand. Reyes asks what will happen if Scully finds William first. CSM says they won’t let that happen.

Mulder reaches CSM’s gigantic house and runs around for a while with his gun drawn. When he finally finds people, they’re not CSM and Reyes. They’re Erika Price and a guy known only as Mr. Y. Skinner goes to the X-Files office looking for Scully, who’s no longer there. She’s also left her phone behind, so she’s out of contact.

Skinner gets in his car to go searching for her and is surprised by Reyes and her gun. As Scully drives somewhere, looking like she’s seconds from causing an accident, Skinner turns the tables on Reyes and holds her at gunpoint instead. Then CSM joins them, asking if he can smoke in the car. Meanwhile, Scully predictably crashes her car.

Price and Mr. Y claim they don’t know where CSM is, though he was at the house not long ago. They were part of the Syndicate, but they’re not co-conspirators. Price says that CSM wants to exterminate humanity. CSM tells Skinner that the new human religion is faith in technology, while a simple pathogen could destroy everyone.

Price and Mr. Y tell Mulder that aliens aren’t a threat anymore – they don’t want to come to a dying planet. CSM is going to release an alien pathogen to wipe everyone out. Mulder needs to kill him, or he’ll never see William again. CSM tries to make a deal with Skinner: Bring William to CSM, and Skinner will get immunity from the pathogen. Mulder asks why CSM wants William. As in Scully’s vision, Mr. Y says he’s a special child.

They tell Mulder that years ago, aliens came to study humans and were going to work with the Syndicate. CSM was going to be in charge. Of course, that went badly, and everyone realized he was a bad leader. CSM puts a different spin on it, telling Skinner that he protected humanity as long as he could. He used aliens as test subjects to try to protect humans from the pathogen. I guess the moon landing was a way of making humans look heroic.

CSM says this is “the fourth turning,” the end stages of civilization: “The only truth left is to survive it.” Scully and William have immunity and will survive along with some elites. Mr. Y and Price urge Mulder to kill CSM before he can wipe out humanity. He won’t be expecting Mulder to do the deed. Mulder wants more information, like what Price and Mr. Y want. They plan to colonize space and build habitable structures. Mulder doesn’t believe them – they want a war, and they want to use Mulder to start it.

Mr. Y offers to take Mulder and William along to the safety of space, but Mulder would rather go with Scully’s plan to save everyone. CSM thinks his conversation with Skinner is over, so Reyes gets out of the car, but Skinner has more to discuss. Mulder heads back to D.C., calling Skinner along the way, but he’s still talking to CSM. Skinner wants to know why he’s supposed to betray Mulder and Skinner to get William. This means turning his back on humanity.

Scully’s back in the hospital, thanks to two FBI agents who found her after the car crash and took her to the place listed on the medical bracelet she was still wearing. They’re Miller and Einstein. Joyet calls Mulder to let him know that Scully had a setback but is back in her care. As Miller and Einstein leave the hospital, they pass by a man who goes to Scully’s room and tries to smother her with a pillow. He switches to strangulation when that fails. Mulder arrives in time to save her.

Sigh, more voicing over. Conspiracies! William! Girlfriend in the hospital! Mulder is so conflicted! He tells Scully he recognized her attacker, whom Scully says couldn’t have been sent by CSM, since CSM wouldn’t try to hurt her. She thinks her visions are coming from William, somehow. He’s trying to guide both Mulder and Scully. CSM can’t act without William, which the teen knows. CSM won’t find William, but William will find Mulder and Scully. They just have to keep doing their work and wait.

Skinner arrives, and Mulder instantly gets suspicious about where he’s been, even before he smells the smoke on Skinner’s clothes. The two men start scuffling and have to be broken up. Mulder asks whose side Skinner is on. Skinner just tells him to leave it alone. In a flashback, we see the rest of Skinner and CSM’s conversation. CSM has an offer for Scully, which Skinner says she’ll never take. CSM thinks she will, since she’ll have to choose between Mulder and William.

CSM continues that he and “Dana” have a history that goes back 17 years, to “En Ami.” As we know, he took her to a house while she was asleep/unconscious, and CSM claims he impregnated her at the time. According to CSM, he, not Mulder, is William’s father. Elsewhere, William – now known as Jackson – is hearing distorted voices, possibly from the same visions Scully was having.

Thoughts: Price is played by Barbara Hershey.

Spender has Mulder’s phone number – do you think they’ve kept in touch over the years? They probably have a lot to talk about.

Way to keep an eye on the woman with abnormal brain activity and a risk for seizures, Skinner. Mulder’s justified in being mad.

Miller and Einstein don’t appear to know Scully, which I guess means both “My Struggle II” and “Babylon” didn’t happen. To bad I still had to recap “Babylon.”

June 4, 2019

ER 4.3, Friendly Fire: Weaver’s in Charge and Everything Is…Fine

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Same, Cynthia

Summary: Doug drives Carol to an El platform so they can keep pretending they’re not practically living together. At County, Tabash tells Benton and Carla that Reese is doing well enough to probably be able to go home the next week. Time for the next Benton/Carla disagreement: Should Reese be circumcised? Carla is pro; Benton is against. He considers his opinion the final decision.

Instead of working, Mark passes work off to Anna and watches Jerry Springer in the lounge. Weaver, meanwhile, takes on more work, accepting the position of acting chief of emergency services. Anspaugh confides that not everyone is a fan of Morgenstern’s management practices. Weaver already has a plan to get things back under budget, even if it means making enemies. She’s fine with that – just like many reality-show participants, she’s not here to make friends.

Cynthia arrives for her first day of work, confusing Carol, who didn’t realize Mark had given her the job. Weaver quickly starts changing policies and practices while Carter hunts for Henry. Carol complains to Mark that he hired a dud, but Mark, like Benton, thinks his decision is the final word.

Carla asks Anna if she thinks Reese should be circumcised. Anna says it’s something she recommends for patients, and Carla shouldn’t have any second thoughts. Carla asks her to do it. Since Anna and Chasity are getting all the cases Carter’s missing, Carter’s available to take a trauma patient after a motorcycle accident. No one can insert an IV, so Carter opts for a central line. Maggie comes in and pulls rank, taking over the case and sending Carter to do sutures.

Al comes in after an incident with a crane at a construction site. He’s scraped up but mostly fine. Weaver questions why Doug’s salary is being paid by the emergency services department, which means they’re underwriting his fellowship. She’d like to read his research proposal.

Carter continues hunting for Henry, then complains to Mark that Doyle pulled him from a trauma and gave it to Anna. She’s been doing that a lot lately. Mark tells Carter that he’ll have to keep doing sutures unless he can get Henry to do them for him. Carter gets a call on his hilarious mid-’90s cell phone, but reception in the hallway isn’t great. Anna warns about how big a bill he could be racking up.

Jeanie fixes up Al while a paramedic tends to his friend Bill. He mentions that Al fell on him, so all the blood on him is Al’s. Jeanie and Al both freeze. Carol takes care of Casey, a guy from the same construction site who grabbed a live cable to try to save everyone else. Casey’s boss doesn’t want him to report his hand injuries to workers’ comp so the boss doesn’t get in trouble. Carol notes that that will keep Casey from receiving disability while he’s out of work.

Anna hands a case off to Carter, a woman named Kirsten whose husband was unable to wake her this morning. He doesn’t know of any illness or injuries she had that would leave her unconscious. Carter does a test to determine if there’s something wrong with Kirsten’s brain stem, and he clearly doesn’t like the results, but he doesn’t want to tell Kirsten’s husband, Josh, that anything bad has happened.

Benton goes to visit Reese and catches Anna in the middle of circumcising him. Benton argues that Carla had no right to ask Anna to do the procedure. Carter shows Mark Kirsten’s scans and shares his diagnosis of an infarction. Mark agrees and says she’ll probably start declining quickly. Carter feels horrible that he has to tell Josh that his 27-year-old wife is about to die. Mark casually reminds him to ask about organ donation.

As Carol’s gathering Casey’s things, she finds a joint and realizes that he was high at work. He thinks his status as a hero cancels out the fact that he may have caused the situation that led to his heroics in the first place. Carol heads off to fill in Casey’s boss. Cynthia’s first day is going well, but there seems to be some skepticism (at least from Jerry and Haleh) that she should have been hired.

Heather pops in again, trying to get Mark to go out with her. Mark begs off, claiming it’s not because he doesn’t want to spend time with her. A man named Ed comes in with a gunshot wound to the leg, accidentally sustained when he was cleaning a gun. His wife, Glenda, wants to take some of their other weapons into the hospital since they’re expensive and can’t be left in their car. Malik tells Jerry to stash it behind the admit desk.

Carla and Benton bicker about the circumcision, and I’m just going to say that they’re both in the wrong here. He was a jerk for putting his foot down without discussion, and she was a jerk for going behind his back. She thinks he was just against the circumcision because he isn’t circumcised. Benton doesn’t think that’s a big deal. Carla says the real problem is that he shut her down.

Carter has given the bad news to Josh that Kirsten had a stroke and is going to die soon. Josh is in denial, thinking she could still get better, and doesn’t want to just do nothing until she dies. Carter pauses a respectable amount of time before mentioning organ donation. Fortunately, Josh responds well, saying that Kirsten would want to help people. But suddenly, that conversation is out the window: Kirsten’s awake.

Mark, Weaver, and Doyle are working on Ed when Carter pulls Mark out to see Kirsten. Mark’s shocked, since people with her kind of stroke don’t ever wake up. He sees for himself that Kirsten is awake, then reexamines her scans. Rather than a stroke, Kirsten has an aneurysm that caused swelling in her brain stem, which led to her loss of consciousness. She’ll need an MRI right away before the aneurysm bursts.

Jeanie asks Al if Bill knows his HIV status. Al says no, and he doesn’t see the point in telling him, since Bill didn’t have any cuts, so he couldn’t have been infected. Jeanie disagrees about keeping quiet, but Al’s afraid that word will spread and he’ll end up without a job. Jeanie thinks the responsible thing is to tell Bill so he can get tested just in case.

Glenda shows Jerry her collection of guns while Ed is getting x-rays. The couple has some connection to a guy who trains “patriots” on using weapons. Cynthia asks if she means a guy like David Koresh. Glenda’s face indicates that that was the wrong thing to say.

She offers to sell Jerry a grenade launcher, which I’m sure he’d have a lot of use for in Chicago. She promises Cynthia that it’s unusable; it’s illegal to sell usable ordnance. But there’s a kit he can get that will change that. Jerry jokes about shooting his neighbor’s loud dog. Not funny, Jerry. Also not funny: The weapon is actually loaded after all, and Jerry accidentally fires a grenade through the lobby, out the door in the ambulance bay. He hits Ed and Glenda’s truck, setting off all the ammo inside.

Firefighters put out the resulting fire, and Glenda is arrested as she protests that the weapons are her personal property. Cynthia has ringing in her ears, so Mark checks her over. She tells him that, even after this, she feels safe at County, thanks to all the doctors. Somehow they start talking about Death of a Salesman, and how sad it is when Willy Loman looks back over his life and realizes there was nothing there.

Benton, Elizabeth, and Anspaugh operate on Ed, the latter two hitting it off well. Paramedics bring in Laura, Carol’s bulimic patient from the previous week; her eating disorder has led to her vomiting blood. Doyle’s mad that Laura wasn’t admitted to psych when she was last at County. When she learns that Mark didn’t authorize it, Doyle complains that they’re picking up his slack.

While undergoing an MRI, Kirsten starts declining again. Carter tells Josh that she needs immediate surgery, but Josh no longer trusts the doctors’ decisions. First they said she was going to die; then she woke up and seemed fine. He doesn’t think Kirsten really needs surgery. Mark steps in and tells Josh that she’ll die without it. Josh backs down and consents to the operation.

After Ed’s surgery is over, Elizabeth tells Benton that she thinks Anspaugh is a gasbag. She’s not used to “old tossers” coming to the OR; in the U.K., they’re too lazy. Benton is amused and tells her she can feel free to keep speaking her mind. At the admit desk, Haleh, Malik, and Connie giggle over how there was an actual explosion on Weaver’s first day in charge. Weaver overhears and says she’s just glad no one was hurt.

She reminds Doug that she wants to read his research, then goes to help Doyle with a patient. She tries to gain Doyle as an ally, warning that the county would love to close the ER. All her policy changes are an attempt to save it. She really hopes some people will understand and come on board. Doyle’s like, “…Yes, I am so on board, scary lady.”

Mark bursts into an OR to try to pull a surgeon named Corelli out of a procedure to operate on Kirsten. Doug and Elizabeth tend to a boy with a hernia, and she praises his bedside manner with kids. Carol’s in and out of the room as Elizabeth asks Doug to go out on the town with her. Carol dismisses herself before Doug can tell Elizabeth he’s seeing someone. That’s not a problem for Elizabeth, who really just wants people to spend time with.

Al and Jeanie tell Bill that he may have been exposed to Al’s HIV. Bill’s upset that Al never told him or their co-workers. He agrees to get tested, but since Jeanie also has HIV, Bill doesn’t want her touching him. Doug chases down Carol to tell her that he has no interest in Elizabeth and certainly didn’t flirt with her. He told her he was seeing someone but didn’t mention Carol’s name. If Carol wants to keep dating, she’ll have to trust him.

Carter gives Mark the good news that Kirsten got to surgery in time and has a great chance at a full recovery. He wants to take Mark to see Josh so Josh can thank him, but Mark gives Carter all the credit. Carol tells Mark that Laura’s now going to be admitted to psych. Mark admits that he screwed up by not having her admitted before. Carol lets him off easy, but Mark says he didn’t go the extra mile in patient care. Carol doesn’t think it should just be the doctor’s responsibility. There needs to be a safety net.

Haleh tells Carol that Weaver is punching everyone out, like she threatened. Interns will take over the nurses’ tasks. Weaver tells Carol that nurses spend the ends of their shifts slacking off anyway. They don’t generate income, so their extra hours shouldn’t be compensated. Carol’s like, “Yeah, saving money is definitely more important than the patient care we provide.”

Mark decides to go out with Heather after all, I guess because he doesn’t want to be Willy Loman looking back on his pointless life. Weaver tells Jerry that he has almost a month’s worth of unused vacation time, so she suggests that he take it now. Doyle reminds Carter that he was supposed to be doing sutures today, but he kept doing other things. Carter accuses her of giving Anna special treatment because of a personal interest. Doyle laughs that off, then compliments Anna’s hair when she comes in.

Carter appreciates that Anna gave Kirsten’s case to him, so he offers to return the favor with dinner. Instead, Anna asks for help figuring out tax deductions. He invites her to chat about it over dinner, because he can’t take a hint. She tells him she has to do laundry tonight, so he invites himself along.

Doug and Carol meet up on an El platform, and she’s past her jealousy over Elizabeth. Mark and Heather go to dinner, and he tells her he’s missed her. Carter slums it in a Laundromat, which leads to physical comedy with a shaking dryer. The sandwiches Anna gets them for dinner end up in a machine with the clothes. Mark and Heather try to have sex, but he either can’t perform or is just left unsatisfied. He wants to smoke, but she asks him to do it outside, since she’s allergic. He decides to just leave instead.

Thoughts: Fun with out-of-context quotes: “What happened to that boy’s penis should have been left up to me.”

Today’s lesson: You can keep any weapons you want at the front desk as long as you say they’re not usable. Security won’t even notice.

I believe the situation was that Abraham Benrubi needed time off to do another show, so they had to find a way to temporarily write him out. They couldn’t have gone with something less ridiculous?

June 1, 2019

The X-Files 10.6, My Struggle II: This Isn’t Going to Help Defeat the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Our hero

Summary: Scully gives a voiceover to recap what the series is all about. Instead of video clips, we get photos. To sum up: Weird stuff happened, the Syndicate may still be at work, and Scully appears to have alien DNA. There, you’re all caught up.

Scully goes to work and sees that Mulder’s been watching Tad’s show, which is airing on the Internet again. He claims that there’s been a discovery: Almost every American has alien DNA. Tad calls and summons Scully to Mulder’s house, which has been ransacked. Tad was supposed to meet Mulder there, but he’s not home. Scully confronts him about his revelation on his show, and Tad says he has a doctor who can verify that his claims are true.

After calling the police, Scully returns to the X-Files office and meets up with Skinner and Einstein. She thinks Mulder took off because he doesn’t want to hear Scully’s opinions on his belief in Tad’s revelation. Einstein thinks they should dismiss the crazy Internet conspiracy theorist, but Scully doesn’t think they can just throw out his theory. It’s possible that some entity was given the ability to tamper with humans’ DNA.

The two women go to Our Lady of Sorrows and encounter a man who’s confused and looking for help. He has a gross-looking wound on his arm but doesn’t know where it came from. Meanwhile, Mulder, who looks like he’s been beaten up, drives somewhere, ignoring a call from Skinner.

Scully draws some blood from Einstein as she tells her she found alien DNA in herself. Einstein doesn’t get why she was even looking for it. Scully tells her that the science they were taught doesn’t take them near the truth. She brings up smallpox vaccines, which could have been used to inject more than just a vaccination. If there’s even a small possibility that happened, they need to investigate.

Miller arrives and tells the women that people are starting to freak out about Tad’s revelation. He’s posted a new video with a doctor named Rubell, his supposed conspiracy verifier. Rubell says that a fast-moving virus will soon spread through the population. People like police officers and healthcare workers will be the first affected. Scully thinks it’s already happening.

She asks a nurse named Sandeep for an update on the confused guy she ran into earlier. His identity is still unknown, but he may be in the military. Scully orders a treatment, telling Sandeep that she thinks the man’s lesion came from exposure to anthrax. Miller and Einstein overhear, and Scully explains that soldiers deployed to Iraq are given doses of anthrax in the event of nuclear warfare. Now, the vaccines may be attacking their immune systems.

Einstein remains skeptical, but Scully says anthrax is just the tip of the iceberg. We may be on the verge of a global contagion. Einstein wants them to wait until her test results are back, but Scully doesn’t think they’ll matter. She goes to the chapel and calls Mulder, who ignores her call as well as he heads into South Carolina.

Miller goes to the X-Files office and watches Tad’s latest video, which confirms Scully’s theory: Other military personnel are showing signs of exposure to anthrax. Tad thinks this is the first wave in a “rolling contagion,” the result of a “far-reaching conspiracy of men.” Miller notices that Mulder has a phone-finder app, so he uses it to track Mulder’s phone to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

At the hospital, the unknown soldier’s lesion now looks 50 times grosser than before. Einstein argues that this could be the result of a faulty vaccine, not a conspiracy. Scully tells her they don’t have time to consider all the possibilities – they need to move to fight the worst-case scenario.

Einstein continues that only one class of people has been infected. If something in their DNA has been triggered, why is it happening now? Something has to be taken away from the genome to shut down a person’s body, not added to it. Scully gets a call from someone she hasn’t spoken to in so long that she doesn’t even recognize the caller’s voice. It’s someone who was there for her once before when she needed help: Reyes.

The two former colleagues meet downtown and give exposition about how Reyes left the FBI a decade ago, very suddenly. She made decisions that she’s not sure Scully will understand. Years ago, CSM – post-explosion and pre-reconstructive surgery – summoned Reyes to his hospital room. She told him he was an evil liar, but she still accepted a deal he offered. He promised to spare her life when he tampered with everyone’s DNA to kill everyone but some elite people.

Reyes tells Scully that the conspiracy is more complex than she thinks. Oh, isn’t it always? She accused CSM of playing God, but CSM said everyone’s fates have been sealed since birth. She told him he would die alone, but he disagreed – she would be there to continue to light his cigarettes. Reyes tells Scully that because of her abduction and alien DNA, she’s one of the elite. She and Reyes are both protected from the global massacre about to take place.

Scully asks about Mulder, and Reyes says CSM loves him, so he sent someone to offer Mulder a deal. That would be the man who beat Mulder up and left his house trashed. Despite being eligible for AARP, Mulder was still able to put up a good fight against CSM’s man. Now he’s in Spartanburg to discuss the deal with CSM in person.

CSM mocks that he’s controlled Mulder before Mulder even knew he existed. Mulder tells him it’s time for CSM to stop whatever he put in motion. CSM says it’s too late. Mulder doesn’t believe him, but CSM corrects that he doesn’t want to believe. Okay, I could really do without CSM smoking through a tube in his throat.

CSM thinks Mulder will accept his deal because it will allow him to stay with Scully. Mulder makes it clear that CSM will die if he harms Scully. CSM argues that he didn’t set out to destroy the world – people did. He’s not responsible for climate change or any other alterations to nature. Neither of them could have saved mankind from destruction. CSM just sped up the timetable.

Mulder asks what the deal is. CSM says he can have “a seat at the big table.” Mulder knows he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he survived while billions died. CSM points out that the two of them and Scully could create a new world. Mulder’s already feverish, so if he doesn’t accept this deal, he’ll die along with everyone else.

Tad gives an update: Hospitals and shelters are overflowing, and the mainstream media isn’t paying enough attention to what’s happening. He claims chemtrails are releasing aluminum into the atmosphere. You had me until then, Tad. Scully reunites with Einstein, who can no longer ignore the possibility of massive contagions wiping everyone out. Scully says she was wrong about the science causing all this. Alien DNA isn’t responsible for the contagions – it’s what will save everyone.

They’re calling this the Spartan virus, a virus within a virus administered through smallpox vaccines. Scully thinks they still have time to save everyone. She just needs to use her own alien DNA to create a vaccine that will beat the Spartan virus. They just need to move fast.

Mulder’s now so sick that he’s on CSM’s floor, but he still won’t take his deal. CSM says he’ll miss Mulder, who made his life worthwhile. He pulls off part of his face, which turns out to be prosthetic. Mulder wishes Scully were there to see the monster CSM has become. Scully and Einstein look at Scully’s DNA again, but now there’s nothing alien in it.

Sandeep comes to the lab to tell Scully that the staff is getting sick, so they’re running out of time. Tad continues his updates – people are dying, but he and his crew will keep broadcasting as long as there’s hope of stopping the contagions. Scully and Einstein (who’s not sick yet) go over the science again, trying to figure out how alien DNA protects Scully from the Spartan virus. What makes Scully different? Einstein thinks the sample they studied was too small.

Miller finds Mulder at CSM’s and announces that they’re leaving. CSM warns that he has no idea what’s coming next. Einstein draws more of Scully’s blood, sure that the next examination of it will show the alien DNA again. Einstein’s getting sick now. Miller drags Mulder to his car, but Mulder thinks the younger agent should just save himself. Miller asks why Mulder didn’t accept CSM’s offer. CSM tells Miller to say goodbye for him before Mulder dies.

This time Scully’s alien DNA shows up on examination, so she’s just hours from developing a cure. Miller calls her from his car, telling her that he found Mulder but he’s not doing well. Scully promises that help is coming. Miller isn’t sure they can make it back to D.C., since there’s now a gas shortage. Scully administers her cure to Einstein so she can help pass it out to everyone else.

Tad is looking worse as he says lines of communication are starting to fall. People are starting to riot in the streets as Scully heads out to find her boyfriend. She tells everyone to go to the hospital because help is coming. Tad announces that there’s a vaccine – the ray of hope everyone needs to keep them from giving up entirely.

Scully gets to her car and drives on the sidewalk in an attempt to get out of the city. That only works for her until she gets to a bridge. Mulder and Miller are stuck on the same bridge, so Miller and Scully decide to get out and walk to each other. “He saved your life. Old Smoky,” Mulder says when Scully reaches him. She promises that she’ll save him, too (and Miller).

Scully whispers to Miller that Mulder is worse off than she thought – he’ll need stem cells. The best source is William, who must also be protected by Scully’s alien DNA. The problem? Scully doesn’t know where he is. Well, that’s not Scully’s only problem: Now there’s a UFO over the bridge, with its spotlight right on Scully.

Thoughts: Between the soldier’s lesion, CSM’s post-explosion state, and his half-missing face, this episode gets a 9 out of 10 on the grossness scale.

I guess we’re supposed to think all the traffic jams in D.C. are from mass panic, but really, it’s not much worse than a regular rush hour around here.

One season left! Who’s ready to wrap this thing up?

May 28, 2019

ER 4.2, Something New: Time to Stop Letting Mark Be in Charge of Things

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 5:06 pm by Jenn

“Hi! I’m a doctor now! Please don’t mention my more-famous brother or the time my wife didn’t thank me in her Oscars speech!”

Summary: Mark’s stuck in traffic on his way to work when he spots an open parking spot on the street. As he swerves over to grab it before anyone else can, he almost hits Carter. Carter yells and swears until he realizes he’s yelling and swearing at his boss. Mark says he doesn’t park in the garage anymore, since it gives him the creeps. (I thought he usually took the El anyway?) Carter’s looking forward to meeting his new med student, who he plans to treat…basically the same way Benton treated him: like a servant.

Weaver goes to see Morgenstern and is greeted by William H. Macy’s bare butt. Thanks, show! He’s doing well after his heart attack but is still on morphine, which is making him loopy. This is probably a bad time for Weaver to ask him to work on some paperwork for the hospital. He asks her to take care of them, and in fact would be very appreciative if she took over some of his other responsibilities. He admits that he feels “like a sheriff with no posse.” Weaver gets it and agrees to help out with administrative tasks.

In case it was still ambiguous, Doug and Carol are definitely back together. He brings her breakfast in bed, teasing that when she woke up alone, she probably thought he’d left her. He asks if he can have a drawer so he can keep some of his things at her house. Carol’s surprised, since Doug never wanted a drawer when they dated before. This will make it harder for him to just leave when he gets worried about commitment.

Weaver tells Mark that Morgenstern has made her acting chief of the ER while he recovers. Mark is just happy he doesn’t have to take on the admin stuff. Doug and Carol come in separately and pretend they didn’t spend the night together. Weaver asks Carol and Mark to interview candidates for a desk-clerk position. Jerry’s confused about why there’s someone coming to do his job. Just then, Mark gets served with some kind of papers.

Jeanie and Al have breakfast at Doc Magoo’s, still enjoying their reunion. He hasn’t told his boss about his HIV status, so he needs an excuse for a doctor’s appointment that afternoon. He can’t exactly kill off his grandmother again. Benton and Carla’s son is doing much better and is ready to be taken off his ventilator. Benton’s skeptical that it’s time, but Tabash plans to extubate him that afternoon. Carla chastises Benton for being so pessimistic about everything – he hasn’t even wanted to name the baby. She wants to get on with their son’s life.

Anna treats a boy who broke his arm when he fell out of his bunk bed. Doug pulls her out of the room, calling her Anna, and she asks him to call her Dr. Del Amico in front of patients. Doug didn’t even notice his informality; he calls his friends by their first names at work. He advises her to take on more adult patients, since she’s already done her pediatric residency and is now in an emergency program. Anna wants to control her own caseload, and she reminds Doug that he’s not her superior. He’s in charge of pediatrics, though.

Mark steps in and tells Anna that she’ll need to run adult patients by Doyle, then Mark or Weaver. Oh, and Carter will need to do the same. This is news to Carter, who seems to keep forgetting that he’s back to being a first-year intern and has no say in anything anymore. Carter argues that he’s done more ER procedures than Maggie, and he spent a lot of his surgical internship teaching Doyle. She objects, but Mark says it’s a moot point. His rule stands. Doug soon laments his instructions to Anna, since it means he has to take her younger patients, including the ones who barf.

Hicks reintroduces Benton to Elizabeth, who will be shadowing him on trauma cases today. Meanwhile, Carter and Anna meet their med students, George Henry and Chasity Lee. Chasity is very eager and knows she won’t be doing anything glamorous for a while. Henry states right out that he’s not interested in patient care; he’s a researcher. Because of his combination M.D./Ph.D. program, he hasn’t worked with patients for four years. Carter isn’t sure how to handle this information.

Benton takes Elizabeth to the ER to help Doyle with a gunshot victim named Ernesto. For Elizabeth’s benefit, Benton has everyone go over their steps methodically. Elizabeth and Doyle start talking about kinds of bullets, which almost makes Benton roll his eyes. Carter wants to join them, even though he hasn’t been paged, since he wants to get involved in an interesting case. Benton and Doyle tell him they have more than enough doctors, so Carter isn’t needed.

Mark and Connie take care of a woman named Ethel who appears to be extremely drunk but claims she isn’t. Instead of helping with a cool gunshot case, Carter now has to take care of a drunk who needs rectal medication. Well, really, Henry will be taking care of her while Carter lies back and relaxes. Mark and Carol are working through the list of desk-clerk applicants, with only a few left to go. Jerry learns that when he was up for the job, the nurses took bets on who would get it.

Mark and Carol’s current interviewee is a humorless woman who’s worked in nine other hospitals. She’s obsessed with precision and is already annoyed with the late start of her interview. Jeanie treats an elderly woman named Estelle who fell down her stairs. She claims her sister pushed her. Benton and Elizabeth scrub in for surgery with Dr. Breedlove, and he cautions her to pay more attention than she did in the ER. She quickly goes against the stereotype of polite Brits by commenting on how short Breedlove is. Benton’s like, “Who is this woman who speaks her mind and will clearly be my next love interest?”

Henry bores Carter with talk of some of his research while Anna basks in her med student’s efficiency and cheery attitude. Jeanie asks Carter to tend to Estelle, so Carter hands her off to Henry. Mark and Carol interview Cynthia Hooper, who’s unprepared and has no experience in clerking. She thinks she’d be doing billing, which she wouldn’t. She does like working with people, though. Cynthia’s nerves get the better of her and she starts crying, making Carol give Mark a look that says, “Are we done here?”

Doug treats Jesús, a seven-year-old with a cough that might mean he has pneumonia. Doug has some trouble communicating with the boy’s parents, who don’t speak much English. Doug’s Spanish isn’t great, and though he’s able to ask questions of the parents, the Trajillos, he can’t understand their answers very well. Mark and Carol have no good prospects, and though Mark is willing to hire one of them, Carol says he wouldn’t fit in. They run into Heather, one of Mark’s exes, on their way to see a patient, an 18-year-old named Laura who passed out.

Carter brings Ethel’s case to Mark, wondering why she’s slurring when her blood alcohol level isn’t that high. Mark tells him to just move her along so he can see more patients. Benton and Carla go back to the NICU for the baby’s extubation, which goes well. They’re able to hold him for the first time without any wires or monitors. Carter loses track of Henry, who took an overly detailed history of a patient. Jeanie and Carter tell him to edit himself and stop ordering so many tests.

Jeanie tells Estelle that a social worker is coming to find her a new place to live so she doesn’t have to go home with her sister. As Jeanie adjusts the woman’s pillow, Estelle asks if she’s going to be smothered. Her sister tried that, too. So either Estelle is delusional or people just really hate her. Carol tells Laura that she passed out because she was dehydrated. She thinks Laura’s hiding something she hasn’t mentioned. She looks in Laura’s mouth and asks if her dentist has talked to her about her enamel.

Anna brings Carter and Henry to see her patient, a man named Oliver who was found wandering and may have schizophrenia. Malik, who’s passing by, says Oliver thinks he’s Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field. Malik should be flattered. Oliver is difficult to have a conversation with because he has short-term memory loss and keeps veering off on stream-of-consciousness tangents. Carter and Anna want to do a CT scan before they call psych, and Henry guesses that Oliver has a brain lesion.

Doug enlists Chuny as a translator to tell the Trajillos that Jesús will be okay after some antibiotics. A social worker named Thomas comes to meet Estelle, who begs Jeanie not to let her be sent back to her sister’s house. Weaver tells Mark that Carol wants to interview more candidates, but Mark thinks they’ve found one who will do the job fine. Weaver’s okay with that. Mark chastises Carter for scheduling Ethel for an MRI, but Carter says that Doyle approved.

Carol tells Mark that she suspected and got Laura to admit that has bulimia. They can’t get her an appointment at an eating-disorders clinic for weeks, so Carol wants Mark to talk to her. Mark says he deals with acute patients, not chronic ones, so he’s not the right person for the job. (I don’t know that an 18-year-old woman would listen to a guy like Mark anyway.) Also, if Carol has any other concerns about the desk-clerk candidates, she should talk to him, not go behind his back to Weaver.

Henry was right, and Oliver has a big lesion on his brain. Anna has to tell him that it could be serious, which makes him cry, which makes me feel horrible because he seems so sweet. Carter finds Henry in a lab, working on his research. Because he’s ten years old, Carter starts touching stuff without knowing what it is. Henry manages to stop him from mutating his genes.

Benton rushes to the NICU in hopes of being there the first time Carla tries to feed the baby. It’s been pushed until that night, so Benton asks Carla to page him when it’s time. She wants to pick a name, but they haven’t decided whether to give the baby the last name Reese or Benton. She figures she’ll be doing all the work, so her son should have her last name. Carla asks if Benton would see the two of them as a family without a baby. He wouldn’t, but she admits that she wouldn’t, either.

Paramedics bring in another gunshot victim as a guy scans the hallway for radioactivity. “I love this job,” Haleh murmurs. Elizabeth comes to assist, surprised to have another gunshot victim, because she doesn’t understand America yet. Elizabeth runs the trauma, at one point asking everyone to take a breath and slow down a little so they don’t rush anything. She does everything calmly and just as methodically as Benton would want.

As Carol goes out to get some medication, Jesús’ mother starts yelling for help – her son is coughing up blood. Anna runs in to help. Elizabeth stabilizes the gunshot victim, so when Benton finally comes in, there’s nothing left for him to do. Benton comments that Elizabeth must have been paying attention earlier after all. “Always,” she replies.

Thomas tells Jeanie that Estelle’s sister couldn’t have pushed her down the stairs since Estelle’s sister has been dead for years. Jeanie considers killing Estelle herself. She’s mainly annoyed that she spent all day taking care of one patient and is still waiting on tests for her. On top of that, Estelle told Thomas that Jeanie tried to smother her with a pillow. Jeanie assigns Henry to babysit Estelle until her tests results come back.

Chuny clears up the translation error that led Doug to miss Jesús’ diagnosis – they didn’t realize that by “shots,” he meant vaccines. Jesús may have whooping cough. Anna says she’s missed it herself, and Doug thanks her for stepping in. Anna runs into Oliver as he’s taken for scans, but he’s now forgotten why he’s in the hospital.

Carter tells Mark that Ethel isn’t drunk, she has multiple sclerosis. Mark doesn’t bother to praise Carter for catching that she was sick instead of just drunk. In the restroom where he was attacked, Mark tells Doug that the papers he got that morning were for a malpractice suit filed by Kenny Law’s family. Mark kind of thinks Chris attacked him, and is now adding insult to (literal) injury.

Anna tells Carter that she had to tell Oliver he was dying five times. Her reward for all her hard work is a tiny paycheck. Carter pretends that he’s also hurting financially. He wasn’t supposed to get paid at all, so he’s pleased to have a check. Except then Weaver asks him to endorse it back to the hospital (the check is just for malpractice purposes and other administrative stuff). As a cap to his long day, Carter’s shoes are radioactive, thanks to his trip to Henry’s lab, so he has to get rid of them.

Benton sits with Carla as she nurses the baby for the first time. He’s ready to give in and let her give the baby her last name. But Carla is also ready to give in and accept Benton as the name. In fact, she has an idea that will satisfy both of them: call the baby Reese Benton.

On his way out for the night, Mark lights a cigarette (because he’s in a bad place emotionally! Don’t you get it??) and runs into Cynthia. She apologizes for her awkwardness in the interview. He lights a cigarette for her and they chat about her recent move to Chicago. Mark spontaneously announces that Cynthia got the clerk job, so Carol’s going to be thrilled about that. Right now, though, Carol’s happy because she’s at home with Doug, giving him a drawer.

Thoughts: Cynthia is played by Mariska Hargitay. Henry is played by Chad Lowe.

TV characters on morphine will always be funny to me. My favorite is Ben from Parks and Rec.

Chuny can’t be the only ER employee who speaks Spanish, can she?

I love the compromise of the name Reese Benton. I think it’s the last compromise Carla and Benton ever make.

May 25, 2019

The X-Files 10.5, Babylon: The One Where Mulder Tries to Fight Terrorism With Drugs

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

I have no words

Summary: A Muslim man named Shiraz prays at his home in Texas, then fixes himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He drives somewhere, stopping at a stoplight while two women in cowgirl clothes cross the road. The people in the pickup next to Shiraz’s car make racist comments about him. Shiraz picks up a friend at a motel, and they park outside a place called Ziggurat and say a brief prayer together. They go inside, and moments later, the building explodes. Oh, they were terrorists! And Muslims! That’s totally new for American TV!

In D.C., Mulder plays Scully a video of what sounds like trumpets playing in the sky over various cities. Mulder says it was like the sound was coming from the heavens, as if God Himself was playing music. Scully notes that he doesn’t believe in God. Mulder says his beliefs don’t matter right now; the “earwitnesses” believe they heard something. It could be a sign of the end times.

After some discussion of whether Adam and Eve really ate an apple in the Garden of Eden, the agents get a knock on their office door. The knocker asks if anyone’s there, and Scully gets the chance to repeat what Mulder said to her the first time they met 23 years ago: “Nobody down here except the FBI’s most unwanted.” (She feels good about it.)

Mulder and Scully meet Agents Miller and Einstein, their mini-mes. Blah blah blah, Scully wrote a dissertation on Einstein’s twin paradox, she’s also a medical doctor, let’s get on with this mess. Einstein is also a medical doctor. No one cares. The younger agents are there to discuss Shiraz and his friend’s suicide bombing. Shiraz survived, barely, so Mulder guesses that the younger agents (well, mostly Miller) want to find a way to communicate with him. He may have information on sleeper cells.

Mulder and Miller both think that stories of other conversations with the dead mean they can communicate with the vegetative Shiraz. Scully and Einstein think it’s a waste of time. The women win the debate, so Einstein drags Miller away to go to Texas. After the younger duo leaves, Scully notes that Einstein calls Miller by his last name.

While waiting for a flight at the airport, Miller and Einstein watch a news segment about the suicide bombing. You may be surprised that the white man in the segment is anti-Islam, while the black woman in the segment says not all Muslims are terrorists. Miller comments that it must be weird putting on a bomb vest, knowing you’re about to die. Einstein thinks it was worse for the victims. Miller wonders who taught Shiraz this kind of hate. Einstein points out that Shiraz isn’t going to tell him.

Miller argues that it’s worth a shot to try to communicate with him. Einstein scoffs that no one takes the X-Files seriously; that’s why their basement is in the office. Miller says they have his dream assignment. Scully must have some reason for doing it, despite being a skeptic. “She’s clearly in love with him,” Einstein says, figuring it out after spending just three minutes with them.

Scully calls Miller to tell him she may have a way for him to communicate with Shiraz. She’s holding her mother’s quarter necklace. They agree to meet up in Texas. Meanwhile, Mulder calls Einstein to say the same thing Scully said to Miller. Einstein wonders why he’s calling her instead of Miller. Mulder says that Skinner has wonderful things to say about Einstein. “Yes, I helped him with his migraines, which he claims are due to you,” Einstein replies. Mulder asks her to stay in D.C. instead of going to Texas.

Somewhere, a Muslim man builds a bomb vest while listening to the people on the news fighting. Einstein goes back to the X-Files office, worried that there will be another act of terrorism while she’s there. Mulder talks about thoughts having mass, and faith and forgiveness having weight. Einstein says no. Mulder points out that words have the weight to inspire people to do things like kill. Einstein corrects that the words merely incite actions; they’re not dangerous by themselves.

Mulder asks if Einstein’s ever sucked on a lemon. “I am getting a taste of what Agent Scully must suffer,” she says. He continues that there’s a school of thought that every thought, word, and perception is a step in evolution. If Shiraz knows something that Einstein wants to know, she may need to expand her thinking about the material world.

Scully meets Miller in Texas, where Miller says he wants to believe (ding!) that there’s a way to reach Shiraz. Scully mentions that Maggie was recently in a coma, and Scully wasn’t able to communicate with her. If she’d come up with this idea then, she might have been able to get answers to some questions she’ll never be able to get now.

Back in D.C., Mulder calls Einstein a wugwump, then tells her to sit down and shut up. He really knows how to win over an adversary, doesn’t he? She doesn’t really want to talk about the “woo woo paranormal,” but she’ll give him two minutes to talk before she’s “due back on Earth.” Mulder’s big idea: magic mushrooms. They could allow a transcendent experience and expose a user to truths without altering his or her brain chemistry. Specifically, his – Mulder wants to be the test subject.

As a medical professional, Einstein can administer the mushrooms to Mulder. He claims he doesn’t want to “bother” Scully with this, because of Maggie’s recent coma. Einstein calls Mulder crazy and tells him that once she leaves the office, he’ll never see her again. “So that’s a maybe?” he calls after her.

Scully and Miller go to the hospital where Shiraz is barely alive. Doctors recently used an MRI to trigger electric activity in the brain of a man named Patient 23. She wants to use an EEG to do the same with Shiraz. Scully warns that, even if it works, it might be hard to get the answers Miller wants. Even harder now, since the Department of Homeland Security wants to take over the case.

Scully refuses to leave, so one DHS agent speaks to the other in Arabic. Miller kicks the DHS agents out, taking their picture so he can ID them later. Einstein arrives as they leave and sees that Scully has taken over her role as Miller’s partner. She calls Mulder and invites him to join the group in Texas.

She meets him at the airport and gives him two capsules containing magic mushroom…dust, I guess. She tells him Scully’s working with Miller, but she’ll deal with that later. Mulder asks how to say “howdy, pardner” in Arabic. At the hospital, an FBI agent named Brem tells Scully and Miller that the building is under a terror threat. He figures there’s a radical Muslim community in the area that wants to kill all Americans. Miller notes that other people want Shiraz to die, too.

Brem says the last thing he wants is for Shiraz to die and go to his paradise. Miller chastises him for being Islamaphobic when he and Scully are focusing on gaining Shiraz’s trust. Brem heads off to evacuate the floor in case of a terrorist attack. A nurse stays behind, and when she’s alone with Shiraz, she turns off his life support. She almost gets caught when Mulder and Einstein show up.

The nurse turns the machine back on and comments that Shiraz is receiving a lot of attention, despite not being worthy of it. Surprise – she’s racist! She hates refugees and brown people! While Einstein gets rid of the nurse, Mulder takes the mushrooms and sits by Shiraz’s bed. He then slips out while Einstein’s back is turned.

What happens next is…I don’t have a word for it. Mulder goes on an extended drug trip that takes him to a country-western bar. There is line dancing. David Duchovny’s children hide their faces in shame. There is a backflip. Women scream and swarm Mulder. He changes clothes and gets bling that says “MUSH” and “ROOM.” Some women do an impromptu dance routine that’s more suited to a dance squad, and that makes the more conservative patrons shake their heads. Skinner and the Lone Gunmen show up in cowboy gear.

Finally, Mulder ends up on his back somewhere, with Einstein, wearing dominatrix gear, over him. She makes him say “woo woo” and whips him. Next, Mulder is in the middle of a group of cloaked men who are praying in Arabic. CSM whips him and tells him he’s come to the right place for the truth. He sees Shiraz lying across a woman’s lap, like they’re the Pieta. They’re in boat, being rowed somewhere, while the soundtrack growls, “Misery’s the river of the world.” Mulder leans over Shiraz, who says something to him that we can’t hear.

The vest builder has finished his work, which includes matching vests for his buddies. So that can’t be good. Scully and Miller return to Shiraz’s room, and Miller, who worked in Iraq for a bit, asks in Arabic if Shiraz can hear them. Shiraz’s brain waves show that he might be able to, but Scully can’t tell for sure.

Mulder’s also in the hospital, waking up with Skinner by his bed. He tells Mulder that his actions were an embarrassment to Skinner and the FBI. (I think if Mulder saw footage of what happened, he’d be embarrassed, too.) Einstein arrives and reveals that she didn’t give him mushrooms – she gave him a placebo. Whatever Mulder thinks he was under the influence of, it was nothing more than the power of suggestion.

Mulder’s all, “But you were there!” like this is the end of “Triangle.” Skinner says he was in D.C. the whole time. Mulder insists that he talked to Shiraz, but he doesn’t know what he said, since Mulder doesn’t speak Arabic. Skinner leaves to get Mulder released, and Mulder tells Einstein that she was there, too – and she was “50 shades of bad.” Just like this episode! She does confirm that he danced. She figures that she’ll be punished with her own basement office.

As they’re leaving the hospital, Mulder recognizes the woman he saw holding Shiraz in his dream or drug trip or whatever. He takes her to Shiraz’s room and introduces her to the others as Noora, Shiraz’s mother. When she speaks to her son, his brain waves again indicate that he can hear. Noora chastises Shiraz for becoming a terrorist and killing innocent people. She thinks he lost his nerve when the time came to detonate his bomb. He’s told her that in her dreams and her prayers.

Miller asks for information on the terrorist cell Shiraz could have been working with, but Noora doesn’t know any names. Shiraz flatlines and dies before any more communication can take place. Mulder says again that Shiraz spoke to him. He remembers some of what was said and tells Miller, who translates it as “Babylon the hotel.” The terrorists are there now, praying in preparation for their next attack. FBI agents ambush them and capture them all.

Miller and Einstein head back to the airport, this time really done with the case. He’s humble about his role in taking down a terror cell and preventing any more deaths. Einstein feels like Miller also kept Shiraz safe. She, however, did nothing – but it worked. Miller says some things are just unexplainable. Einstein quotes the other Einstein, who said that there’s beauty in the mysterious. She promises she’ll never again abandon Miller for the paranormal. But now she’s convinced that words and ideas do have weight. Sometimes they just lead people to do crazy things.

Mulder is relaxing on his front porch when Scully comes to visit him. She’s amused by the whole drug trip and Mulder’s lack of understanding of what happened. But he thinks he saw powerful things, like unconditional love. Scully says she saw hate that seems endless. There are extremes in human nature, and the trick is reconciling the two.

They go for a walk together, holding hands, as Mulder says he’s been thinking about God. In the Bible, He punished people at the Tower of Babel and scattered them, making them different from each other. Does God want to be worshiped for His anger? What makes people want to murder for Him? Mulder thinks terrorists swallow a pill that uses the power of suggestion to make them violent. But a mother’s love can overcome that.

Scully says maybe the hatred ends in finding a common language – maybe that’s God’s will. But Mulder wonders how we can know, since God is “absent from the stage.” Scully suggests that it’s beyond words. We have to open our hearts and really listen. Mulder hears a noise like the trumpets heard all over the world, but Scully doesn’t. We end by panning out to the cosmos, for some reason.

Thoughts: Einstein is played by Lauren Ambrose. Miller is played by Robbie Amell (and named for Duchovny’s son).

Einstein may be the most quotable guest star to ever appear on this show. She’s like Scully without the affection for Mulder that makes her soften her words toward him. I love her.

I was going to refer to the person grumbling “misery’s the river of the world” as a Tom Waits wannabe, but I looked it up and, uh, it’s him. Tom Waits does a very good Tom Waits impression.

’90s/’00s/’10s music alert:

  • Carrie Underwood’s “Somethin’ Bad” at the beginning of the drug trip (so appropriate)
  • Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” and Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” at the country-western bar
  • The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” in the final scene

May 21, 2019

ER 4.1, Ambush: Live from Chicago, It’s Thursday Night!

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

Ha…ha?

Summary: We kick off this live-for-no-reason season premiere in darkness, with a film crew setting up to shoot a documentary. They’ll be following Mark as he works a shift in the ER. A P.A. tells Carol they’re also setting up cameras around the ER for extra footage; there’s now one in the lounge. It makes Carol awkward. Aggie, one of the directors, leads her cameraman to a trauma room, where Mark and Doug are tending to a guy with a broken leg. Carter and Benton arrive, and Benton is exactly as excited about being on camera as you would expect. Mark guesses that he’s also annoyed that Carter has left surgery.

The P.A. interrupts to tell Aggie that another doctor is saying she didn’t know about the shoot. The cameraman, Stuart, tells Carter he can speak at a normal volume, since there are enough microphones around to record him. “OKAY,” Carter says loudly. Mark teases that he’s just like that. At the admit desk, Weaver tries to convince Anna that the documentary is a good thing – the doctors will be shown in a positive light. A second cameraman, Luis, catches Jeanie taking a pill on camera.

Anna complains about her image being used “in perpetuity.” Doug wants to take the conversation off-camera, but Anna’s perfectly fine addressing Luis on the record. She’s not trying to say this is an ambush, but the release form the doctors are supposed to sign doesn’t outline where the footage will be used. Doug makes “she’s crazy” and “she’s drunk” gestures behind her. Aggie introduces herself to Anna to try to work things out, though she’s decided it’s not worth the trouble and they can just shoot around Anna. Malik is excited at the possibility of being on TV, but the documentary will only be on PBS.

In the lounge, Doug and Anna talk about whether Mark is up to the documentary. (It’s been a few weeks since his attack, judging by the fact that he has a brace on his arm now instead of a cast.) Anna thinks Mark is still shaky, but Doug insists that everything is fine. It’s a good sign that he wanted to do the documentary. When Mark comes in, he admits that he’s enjoying all the attention. But when he’s left in there alone, he has to take a moment to collect himself.

Jeanie presents a patient to him named Mr. Schoenberger, who had shortness of breath. Jeanie’s a little nervous on camera and trips over her words. Mr. S. spent the day smoking cigars and taking part in all-you-can-eat burrito night at his favorite Mexican restaurant. Jeanie wants to order a lot of tests, but Mark thinks that’s an overreaction. He blames the cigars, which are too cheap not to affect one’s health.

After a camera-shy Morgenstern comes by to encourage Mark a little, Anna turns in her release to be on camera. Aggie makes sure to record some of the nurses talking about one of Mark’s cases. She asks if any of the doctors and nurses date. Carol says they socialize as a group, and Mark hasn’t come much recently. Malik blurts out that he’s been keeping to himself since his attack.

As Doug passes by behind her, Carol says that it’s a myth that doctors and nurses hook up a lot. He stops to listen, then pulls her away to do nurse stuff. They end up behind a window, so it’s hard for the cameraman to film them, but their microphones are still on, and he catches them talking about meeting up later for sex. They think the cameraman can’t hear them, but soon remember that they’re wearing microphones.

Carter tells the camera that working in the ER requires staying on your toes. When he was in surgery, someone was always looking over his shoulder. In the ER, the residents get to be in charge of themselves. Well, until they have nurses yelling at them to take care of patients. Carter gets brought down a notch when a patient pukes on him.

Aggie does an interview with Mark, telling everyone else at the admit desk to keep working as usual. But the interview ends quickly when an ambulance arrives with a cancer patient in respiratory distress. Then Jeanie brings Mark some of Mr. S.’s tests, which may indicate a problem. Mark asks him to stick around while they run another test. Mark explains to Aggie that Mr. S. may have had a heart attack. He wants to give Mr. S. some time before he hears the news, and since Mark missed it, he needs to buy some time for himself.

The cancer patient, Boz, comes in accompanied by a friend named Rog. Rog is extremely unhelpful; he knows nothing about Boz’s end-of-life wishes, and he thinks he can smoke in the trauma room. Mark tries to ask Boz if he wants help breathing, since Mark isn’t sure if he has a DNR. Boz can’t speak or write an answer, so Mark decides to cut a hole in his neck.

Luis interviews a janitor named Nat as he cleans up Carter’s patient’s puke. He says this is no big deal; he’s seen much worse. The job can be gross, but you get used to it. The blood and gore, however, never get easier to see. Nat’s religious, and he believes people were created in God’s image, “so whatever I’m cleaning up must be just fine.” He doesn’t think you could be a janitor if you didn’t believe in God. Aggie pulls Luis away to come back and record Boz, who’s stopped breathing. Luis says he’ll come back to finish the conversation, but Nat doesn’t think he will.

Mark tells Aggie that one of his early patients was the sister of one of his med-school classmates. It hit him that traumas don’t just happen to strangers. Aggie asks if it changes things when doctors go through traumas. Mark gets defensive, not wanting to talk about his own experiences. He asks if he was chosen for the documentary because of his attack. Aggie and Luis promise that he doesn’t have to talk about anything he doesn’t want to.

Weaver and Carter discuss Boz, whose wife Petra has arrived. She’s much younger than Boz, and Weaver thinks Haleh might be the person to talk to her about Boz’s options. Carter volunteers to try, and Weaver explains to the camera that this isn’t usually an intern’s job, but Carter’s been there a while. Carter says he’s a second-year anyway, but Weaver corrects him. By moving to a new specialty, he has to start his internship over.

Carter goes over options with Petra, but she knows from experience what will and won’t work. She presents a DNR, which Rog was too panicked to remember. Petra’s been taking care of Boz for a long time and is both upset that things are going this way and jaded about everything they’ve been through. Carter asks if there’s anything else he can do for her. She asks him to refill one of her prescriptions, since she’s already at the hospital.

Doug and Anna examine a baby (who cries throughout the scene, as well as other scenes, but it’s live, so what can you do?) whose parents think she was bitten by their dog. For some reason, she’s been put in the curtained exam area with an angry woman named Doris, who’s unhappy to be near a crier. Doug quickly determines that the bite isn’t from a dog – it’s from the girl’s preschool-age brother.

Mark examines Doris, who has burns on her face that she claims are from hot popcorn. Mark advises her to stop doing crack. His bedside manner here is about a 2 on a scale from 1 to 10. Aggie asks Doug how Mark is able to handle these kinds of difficult situations every day. Doug tells her to talk to Mark about that.

After a shot of the crowded waiting area, Weaver wakes Benton from a nap in a hallway to alert him to a trauma. A teenager was being beaten by a gang, and he and a man who tried to break up the fight are being brought in. In the lounge, Doug wonders how the film crew found out about Mark’s attack. He warns Mark not to get mad at the crew on camera. He also thinks Aggie is into Mark. Mark tells him Aggie’s married to one of the other crew members. Carol lets them know that their conversation has been on camera.

The two trauma victims come in as a bored patient in the waiting area provides a soundtrack with a makeshift drum. Mark, Benton, and Anna take the innocent bystander, Theo Williams, who may have a spinal injury. Mark yells for someone to shut up the drummer. He determines that Theo isn’t in any immediate danger, but he seems to be paralyzed.

Some gang members have followed the ambulance to the ER, and Chuny has trouble keeping them calm and out of the trauma area. She tells Benton, Weaver, and Jeanie not to take the beating victim, Chico, to CT yet, since his “homies” are there. Chico’s sister (who only gets credited as Ms. Cruz) goes to the waiting area to tell the gang members to stay away from him. She’s angry both because they hurt her brother and because they injured an innocent man. A fight starts, and the camera gets shoved to the ground.

Weaver explains to Stuart that Theo’s condition is currently stable, but it’s possibly that, as swelling increases, he could lose the ability to breathe on his own. Stuart starts ignoring Weaver, choosing instead to spy on a hot woman in the hallway. He snaps back to attention, only to focus on Weaver’s limp. She laments that Theo tried to help a teen he didn’t even know, and was rewarded with paralysis.

Morgenstern wanders in, looking ill, and Weaver realizes he’s having a heart attack. She kicks Stuart out of the room, but he films through the window as Weaver and Linda try to save their boss. Mark tells Theo that he may need to go on a ventilator. Connie tries to get in touch with Mrs. Williams, who’s at a night class. Malik steals some sort of monitor from Jeanie, who’s annoyed until she learns that it’s for Morgenstern.

Benton kicks Carter out of the elevator as he takes Chico to surgery – switching to emergency medicine means Carter stays in the ER. Doug and Carter meet Elizabeth Corday, a British doctor looking for “casualty,” by which she means trauma. Carter wants to talk to Weaver about his intern status, but she’s kind of busy. Carter approaches Mark next, but he’s even busier. He gets the Williamses’ babysitter on the phone and tells her to run to Mrs. Williams’ school to get her. Theo will need intubation soon, and Mark wants his wife to be able to talk to him while he can still speak.

Elizabeth goes looking for Chico, not realizing he’s already been taken to surgery. She mentions to Carol that in England, surgeons aren’t addressed as Doctor; they’re called Mr. and Ms. Theo’s disappointed to hear that Chico isn’t doing well. Weaver, Jeanie, and Lydia send Morgenstern up to surgery, and Stuart invites himself along in the elevator. He asks why Morgenstern is being taken straight up while other patients have to wait. Weaver angrily schools him on priority patients.

Mark runs to a trauma room where Carter’s trying to revive an 82-year-old man. Stuart’s battery starts dying, and his picture gets fuzzy as he loses power. Carter saves the patient, but before he can tell Aggie how great it feels, the battery dies. Elizabeth introduces herself to Benton, who’s been on call for 36 hours and can finally leave now that she’s there. Benton tells Ms. Cruz that Chico is still in surgery, and they don’t know yet how bad his condition is.

Carter’s patient is pleased that he’ll be able to return to his retirement home and continue being a stud. The patient wants to make sure the camera crew keeps this in the documentary. Anna and Jeanie try to treat a man who appears to have fallen through a glass window. He’s covered in blood, and when Anna and Jeanie try to help him, he warns them to stay away because he has HIV. Jeanie comforts him and promises to help him.

Aggie interviews Elizabeth, who tries to explain the hierarchy of surgeons in England. She pulls Benton into the conversation, but he dodges the camera while looking for Ms. Cruz. Mrs. Williams arrives and Weaver tells Carol and Doug that she wouldn’t want to be in either Mrs. Williams or Mark’s shoes. The three of them talk about how difficult it is to give bad news to families.

Theo’s in good spirits, and his wife is trying to be optimistic about his condition. Mark can’t wait any longer and has to intubate him. Benton stops by to tell Theo that Chico’s going to be okay, and Ms. Cruz thanks Theo for saving her brother’s life. As Mark finishes Theo’s intubation, Malik sends him to help Carter, whose heart patient has flatlined again. Mark’s annoyed that Carter didn’t call him, though Malik did try to pull him away earlier, and Mark ignored him. He slams Carter for trying to run his own code; it was allowed in surgery, but not in the ER. Carter’s upset about the loss.

Mark tells Aggie that he’ll give an interview about his attack as long as she agrees not to use the footage of Carter’s failed code in the film. He says that the best part of his job is repairing some of the violence that happens to people. While they can’t fix Theo, they at least saved Chico, so Theo’s actions weren’t in vain.

Mark admits that he was attacked, and the culprit hasn’t been found. The worst part is that some of the violence in the world has leaked into the ER. The hospital is supposed to be safe, and now it’s vulnerable. It’s hard to accept. Aggie asks if Mark is scared. He says he fears losing control, both of what’s outside and of what’s inside him. Once Mark is sure that Aggie’s gotten what she needs, he tells the cameraman to stop filming.

Thoughts: There are five before-they-were-famous guest stars in this episode:

I love that they include Nat in the documentary. It’s a little bit of recognition for someone with a very thankless job, who I’m sure gets ignored all the time.

If I went all the way through med school, became a surgeon, and was still called Ms., I’d be ticked. Get it together, U.K.

Since it mainly happens in the background, it doesn’t get addressed, but Benton is very Carter-like in this episode. He wants to keep Ms. Cruz updated on her brother’s condition, and he stays even after his shift is over so he can keep her informed. I hope Carter teased him later about softening up.

May 18, 2019

The X-Files 10.4, Home Again: Do You Think Band-Aid Appreciated the Product Placement in This Episode?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:35 pm by Jenn

Cheery

Summary: In West Philadelphia, a “relocation project” is underway. This is a nice way of saying that the city is moving homeless people to an old hospital in Bucks County. They’ve enlisted the fire department to use a hose to give them an incentive to move. Joseph Cutler, a guy in charge of the project, warns another group of homeless people that their street is next. They all run off when a garbage truck arrives and a huge man with a Band-Aid on his nose gets out.

Band-Aid Nose Man (his given name, apparently) follows Cutler to his office as the lights go out. Cutler gets spooked and calls the police while pulling a gun out of his desk drawer. BANM just stands outside the office for a few moments, then bursts in and literally tears Cutler’s arms off. Then he calmly walks back to the garbage truck, gets in the back, and lets himself get compacted with the trash.

Mulder and Scully come to the crime scene the next day and meet Detective Aaron Dross. He knows about their experience with “spooky cases,” and though he called the FBI for backup, he doesn’t want to give them the case. Scully reminds him that since Cutler was a federal employee, the case falls under their jurisdiction.

The agents start looking for clues, quickly realizing that they won’t get any on BANM – he left no fingerprints or footprints. Scully says it looks like Cutler was torn apart, which she doesn’t think would be possibly for a human being to do. Scully. Sweetie. Do you remember anything you’ve experienced in the past 23 years? Mulder looks out the window and sees a painting of a large man on a billboard nearby.

As Dross comments that the homeless in the city hate Cutler, Scully gets a call from her brother, Bill. She’s stunned by what he tells her: Their mother is in the ICU, having had a heart attack. Mulder immediately sends her off to be with her family. As she leaves, he notices a security camera over the door.

Footage from that and other cameras doesn’t show Mulder and Dross much, but it allows Mulder to figure out, from Cutler’s eyeline, that his attacker was very tall. Also, there was no artwork on the billboard last night, so maybe it was painted as a response or comment on Cutler’s murder. Before Mulder can go on the hunt for the person who painted the large man, he realizes there’s an extra-sticky Band-Aid on the sole of his shoe.

Scully goes to Beatus Medical Center in D.C., where Maggie’s on life support. A nurse tells Scully that her mother regained consciousness briefly and repeatedly asked for someone named Charlie. That would be Scully’s other brother, who’s estranged from Maggie. Scully’s surprised that she only asked for Charlie. She tells Maggie that she’s been where Maggie is, and she knows her father and Melissa are there, but Scully, Bill, William, and Charlie are all still alive. They’d like her to stick around.

Back in Philly, Mulder wants access to the roof of a building that will get him closer to the billboard. He overhears a woman named Nancy Huff fighting with a guy named Daryl Landry about the relocation project and Cutler. Landry worked with Cutler; Nancy’s president of the Bucks County School Board. She hates that the project is moving people out of Philly so they can build a big apartment building.

Landry notes that the hospital the homeless are being moved to is empty. They’re being moved to a safe place away from drugs. Nancy doesn’t want the “downtown people” in a building just a couple blocks from a high school; after all, if one of the homeless killed Cutler, they shouldn’t be around kids. Mulder tells them they’re both speaking for themselves while trying to speak for others. He wants to know who speaks for the homeless. “The Band-Aid Nose Man,” says a homeless man nearby, pointing to the billboard. Mulder asks for details, but the man doesn’t offer any.

In D.C., after a flashback of Mulder sitting by Scully’s bed while she was comatose, Scully looks through the jewelry Maggie was wearing when she was admitted to the hospital. One piece is a quarter on a chain. Bill calls, still trying to get a flight out of Germany. As another patient in the ICU flatlines and is taken away, Scully tells Bill that she won’t say if Maggie will die before he arrives. She’ll keep Maggie on life support, as per her wishes.

Mulder gets the Band-Aid from his show analyzed, but there’s nothing on it. No, really nothing – the analyst couldn’t identify organic or inorganic materials. Scully questions her mother’s treatment and learns that she changed her advance directive last year. Scully thought she wanted to be kept on life support, but now Maggie has a DNR.

In Philly, two guys study the painting of the large man, which they’ve pulled down from the billboard. They’ve been doing this with all the drawings by this artist, and selling them to collectors. As one guy calls a collector, the cart that the painting is on starts moving by itself. When the guy looks back at the panel, the artwork is gone. The guy’s partner finds him dead, thanks to BANM, who kills the partner as well. Blood splatters on the empty panel, which is now signed “Trashman.”

Maggie’s doctor tells Scully that it’s time to extubate her so they can respect her wishes. That doesn’t necessarily mean Maggie will die immediately. Mulder arrives at the hospital, and Scully is clearly pleased to have some support. Back in Philly, the homeless are put on a bus to be taken to Bucks County, but Nancy has gotten an injunction to have them turned away.

Mulder fills Scully in on his discoveries and his theory that Cutler’s killed, dubbed the Trashman, thinks he’s helping the homeless by getting rid of the people trying to relocate them. He’s pretty sure the Trashman will kill again. Scully tells him that Maggie asked for Charlie, but no other family members. She doesn’t even know where Charlie is. Scully doesn’t know why Maggie would change her living will, or why she wears the quarter necklace. Maggie gets extubated as Scully laments that her medical team doesn’t care about all the unanswered questions Scully has.

In Philly, Nancy listens to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” on her way home to her mansion. It’s full of modern conveniences like a Keurig and a trash compactor. The garbage truck arrives soon after, and BANM lets himself into the house. Nancy sees some globs of green stuff on her stairs, with maggots swarming them. When she sees BANM, she tries to run from him, but she’s no match for him. Once he’s killed her, he destroys any evidence in the trash compactor.

In D.C., Scully and Mulder sit by Maggie’s bed, and she wonders if they ever came across someone who could will someone back to life. Mulder says he invented that while sitting by Scully’s bedside while she was comatose. She teases that he’s a “dark wizard.” Charlie calls, having been tracked down by Bill, and Scully asks him to say something to Maggie through the phone. She thinks this will bring Maggie back to life. Charlie talks to his mother, impatiently asking why she wanted to see him. Maggie wakes up, happy to see Mulder. “My son is named William, too,” she tells him, then flatlines.

When orderlies come to retrieve Maggie’s body so they can harvest her organs, Scully yells at them to leave. Mulder comforts her as she clutches the quarter necklace. She hates that Maggie’s last words were about a grandchild Scully gave away. She begs Mulder to take her back to Philly so she can get back to work. When he gently declines, she leaves.

Both agents go to see Mulder’s analyst, who’s analyzed paint samples from the Trashman’s signature on his artwork. The paint is a high-end brand carried in only one store in central Pennsylvania. Now wearing the quarter necklace, Scully stakes out the store, following in her car as Mulder tracks a teen who buys some spray paint. They tail him to an old building, and he grants them access, then runs off.

Mulder complains about having to take the stairs in the dark. Scully points out that “back in the day,” she took the stairs all the time, while wearing three-inch heels. “‘Back in the day’ is now,” Mulder replies. They get out their trusty flashlights and come across someone who looks human, then something that…definitely doesn’t. They follow the possible human, who tells them he’s in danger but doesn’t want their help.

They burst into the room where he’s holed up and see a sculpture that looks like BANM. The possible human tells them they can put their guns away – he’s tried guns, and they don’t work. He doesn’t want them to use their flashlights, either. If he can’t see “them,” and “they” can’t see him, he won’t be hurt. Meet the Trashman.

He tells the agents that the people who live on the streets get treated like trash. People who throw away their trash in the proper places feel like they’re doing the right thing. Once the trash is carted away, it’s not the people’s problem anymore. But then the trash goes into a landfill, and toxins from the plastics go into the water. People don’t think there’s a problem if they don’t see it.

The Trashman says he was trying to give the voiceless a voice through his art. His pictures look down on the people who think they’re superior. He thought up BANM, but he didn’t kill anyone – that’s all on BANM. The Trashman has made other sculptures that came to life, like what the agents saw in the hallway, and they’ll go away eventually, but BANM is different. Trashman thinks he’s a tulpa.

Mulder disagrees that tulpas exist (even though, you know, he’s dealt with one), and even if a thought form could be real, it wouldn’t hurt anyone. The Trashman thinks all the time he spent thinking about his BANM artwork brought him into being. Scully has flashbacks of delivering William and of seeing him move the mobile as she looks around the Trashman’s studio. He says we just hold the pencil or clay, and if you think really hard, spirits come to you and take on a life of their own. Scully remembers introducing William to Mulder for the first time, then her mother’s recent death, then telling Mulder that she gave William up.

The Trashman says BANM came to him in his dreams, from another world, and now it’s alive. It has its own life and does what it wants. The Trashman just wanted to scare people who were taking dignity away from the homeless. He thought something violent, and it went into his artwork and made it violent. BANM thinks that’s what he’s supposed to be.

Scully says that if it was the Trashman’s idea, it’s his responsibility. He’s just as bad as the people he hates. Mulder thinks that Landry is BANM’s next target. He got the injunction lifted, and the Trashman knows that he’s moving the homeless to Bucks County tonight.

The agents go looking for Landry as he takes the homeless to Bucks County. We know he’s evil because he doesn’t care that a man has been separated from his dog. Everyone goes to their new rooms as Landry follows a weird smell and the sound of buzzing flies. Looks like BANM has beaten the agents to finding him. There are globs and maggots, just like at Nancy’s house, and Landry keeps going down the dark hallway they’re in, because he’s an idiot.

Landry spots BANM behind him and runs. The agents arrive with the Trashman and hear him screaming as BANM corners him in a bathroom. They’re too late – BANM has already killed Landry. Scully wonders how BANM was able to leave the room, since there’s only one entrance/exit, and they’re standing in it. All he’s left behind are a Band-Aid and some flies. Sometime later, the Trashman returns to his basement studio to collect some of his things. BANM’s sculpted head has been replaced with a smiley face, and there’s a painting of him on the exterior wall of the building.

Scully and Mulder take Maggie’s ashes to a little beach and sit on a log to chat. Scully thinks Maggie asked for Charlie because she wanted to make sure he was okay before she died. She made him, so he was her responsibility. Her last works about William were a message that Mulder and Scully need to make sure William’s okay, even though they can’t see him.

Scully says they made a sacrifice to keep him safe, but she still thinks of him all the time. (Also, she calls Mulder “Fox.”) She thinks Mulder will get all his questions answered, and she’ll be there when he does. But Scully’s own mysteries will never have an answer. She’ll never know if William thinks of her or feels doubt because his birth parents gave him up. Does he have the same unanswered questions that Scully has about the quarter? “I need to believe that we didn’t treat him like trash,” Scully says. Mulder doesn’t know how to respond, so he just holds her.

Thoughts: John DeSantis (BANM) is six-nine. Yow.

So…both of Scully’s brothers are kind of jerks. At least Melissa was okay, so Scully wasn’t completely surrounded by annoying siblings growing up.

Please admire my restraint in beginning this recap, “In West Philadelphia,” but not continuing he lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

Next page