September 22, 2018

The X-Files 8.12, Medusa: As If Public Transportation Weren’t Awful Enough

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:29 pm by Jenn

I’m sure Sephora has something that will help that feel better

Summary: The Clay Street subway station in Boston is quiet and mostly empty, except for a couple of people waiting for a train. One of them, an undercover cop, reports a possible 1013 (thanks, Chris Carter), a man who might be about to jump on the platform. When the train (which is being called an M here instead of a T, so the show could use M trains in L.A. for filming) arrives, the reporter, Officer Philbrick, gets on. He thinks he’s alone, but his 1013 is following him.

As he approaches Philbrick, the train screeches to a stop. Philbrick drops his gun and tries to grab for it as the 1013 closes in. There’s screaming. Sometime later, the regular commuters get on the train, and a woman sees Philbrick’s dead body, the skin on his face half missing and showing his skeleton underneath. I hope her boss lets her take the day off to recover from this trauma.

Scully and Doggett go to the Transit Operations Center and meet Karras, the deputy chief of the transit police, and a lieutenant named Bianco. Scully wants to examine the body, but Karras is more interested in getting the trains back on schedule. They’ve had to shut down the system for hours, and Karras wants things back to normal by 4 p.m., four hours from now. Scully says their priority is finding out why Philbrick is dead.

Bianco has a theory: The train lost power, and someone killed Philbrick with acid or lye. Scully says his theory isn’t important; they need to find out exactly what the killer did and try to prevent him from hurting anyone else. Bianco says no biological or chemical agents were found. They’re dealing with one single suspect. Doggett points out that that’s just what they’re telling the press; who knows if it’s the truth? Karras repeats that he just wants the FBI to get things ready for reopening by 4 p.m.

Doggett and Scully meet Steven Melnick, the chief structural engineer, and Hellura Lyle, from the CDC. Melnick built the track and is familiar with every inch of the station. Scully’s confused about Lyle’s presence, though, since she was told there were no pathogens in the station. Lyle quips dryly that she must just be there for moral support. Karras says they’re just covering their bases. Scully is there because she’s an expert in “equivocal death.” Melnick laughs at that, since “you’re dead or you’re not, right?” Lyle asks about Doggett, who says he’s there because he’s a good shot.

The ragtag team of heroes suits up in tactical gear, though Scully doesn’t think she needs to venture into the tunnel with them. She wants Doggett to be her eyes and ears while she hangs back and focuses on Philbrick. Doggett agrees, though he’s not sure what he’s supposed to be looking for as Scully’s eyes.

Scully goes to the station’s control center and confirms for Doggett, Melnick, Lyle, and Bianco that the third rail has been shut down, so they can go wherever they need. Thanks to surveillance equipment she gave Doggett, she can see everything the team sees. It’s incredibly hot in the tunnel because the ventilation system has been shut down, so the heroes are immediately uncomfortable. Doggett wonders why the ventilation system was turned off if they’re looking for a person. Bianco asks why, if that’s the case, he brought a weapon along.

The heroes pass by a puddle that I’m sure would look kind of weird if this show used any kind of lighting. Suddenly, Melnick feels something on his neck. He ends up with a burn. He thinks it’s from landfill seepage, and Lyle guesses that the same stuff that dripped on Melnick is in the puddle they walked through. Doggett tells her to get a sample. He thinks Philbrick’s death was from a toxic leak, not homicide. But this means Karras’ insistence that there were no contaminants in the station might be a lie.

Lyle gets a sample from the puddle and somehow transmits it to Scully in the control center. It’s just sea water, though. Scully decides to contact someone to get a molecular analysis. Karras reminds her that she only has four hours. Dude, unless you want all those commuters to die, just let her work. In the tunnel, Bianco and Melnick see someone behind Doggett, but Doggett and Lyle don’t see him. The team keeps moving.

Bianco’s too hot to keep on his bulletproof vest; he figures if the killer wanted him dead, he would have shot already. The team comes across a tunnel from the old subway system, which means they’re now at a fork in the line. Karras says the old line is decommissioned, so there’s no point checking it out. It’ll take them a mile out of their way. The heroes take a quick look around, and though Bianco agrees that it’s a waste of time, Melnick notes that there are a lot of places to hide in there. In fact, someone’s hiding there right now.

Doggett gets knocked out by the unseen attacker, who’s now dead, looking much like Philbrick did. “Would you call that equivocal?” Melnick asks. Lyle takes some photos to send to Scully as Melnick sees something and tries to approach it. Bianco thinks the case is closed, though – the attacker fits the description of the 1013 who’s suspected of killing Philbrick. The 1013 is dead, so their work here is done. Doggett ignores him and approaches the thing Melnick saw. Well, things – three dead bodies.

Doggett examines the corpses, which he thinks were squatters. Scully sees that they have the same tissue degradation as Philbrick and the 1013. They may be dealing with a contagion after all. Doggett summons Lyle over to tell her the CDC may have been wrong, but she sees someone else running through the tunnel. No one else sees anything, and Bianco says again that they need to just leave already. Scully tells Doggett that he needs to keep searching.

Karras tells Scully he’ll get a crew in the tunnel after rush hour, but right now everyone needs to get out. Scully points out that a contagion might mean a spreading infection. Karras reminds her that the only thing they’ve sampled is sea water. The CDC says there’s no contaminant, and he believes them. The three men must have been killed by the 1013. Scully’s like, “So he killed four people, then killed himself the same way? Uh-uh.” She refuses to risk the contagion spreading before she can figure out what it is.

Doggett asks for a ruling, so Scully tells him to leave the bodies and go after the person Lyle saw. Whether he’s killing people or is infected, he’s a threat. Doggett tells the others that “the boss” has given orders, and they’re following them. As they continue their search, Bianco asks Doggett how well he knows Scully. Why send him down to the tunnel instead of going down herself? Doggett has no time for questioning Scully’s judgment, even if it means he and his team members are the ones putting themselves at risk. Who’s really in charge here?

Scully informs Doggett that the team is about 50 yards from where the train stopped. Melnick feels something electrical on his arm and starts yelling – his arm is now covered in wounds, all of them burning. All Scully can prescribe is water. She thinks they’re dealing with a biochemical weapon. “A lot of people might be taking cabs home,” Doggett tells the team.

Scully studies a map of the grid and finds the only place where the man they’re looking for could be hiding. Lyle says Melnick isn’t well enough to go anywhere, so Doggett and Bianco leave the two of them behind for a Hazmat team to come collect for quarantine. Doggett isn’t aware that Bianco has come in contact with the contaminant himself, and his arm is starting to glow.

The Hazmat team collects Melnick and Lyle; she’s fine but he’s getting worse. Scully promises that she’s working on figuring out a treatment. She follows the Hazmat team as they bring out the three dead bodies, but they won’t tell her where they’re going. Karras calmly says that they’ve arranged for whatever happens next. Scully accuses him of knowing the three bodies were down there earlier. She certainly hopes that he didn’t allow the heroes to go into the tunnel knowing they could be at risk for contamination. Karras gives in and lets Scully send the bodies to the CDC.

Doggett and Bianco come across an old stop in the abandoned tunnel but still don’t see whoever it is they’re looking for. Scully’s away from her post, so Doggett can’t get her input. Bianco thinks it’s time to make their own call and stop pretending that Scully knows what she’s doing. Doggett notices Bianco’s infection, which has started spreading to his face. He thinks this is a reason to keep searching the tunnel.

Bianco doesn’t want to stick around when he could be the next to die, but Doggett notes that he doesn’t seem to be reacting to the contaminant the way the others did. Bianco starts to leave, but Doggett and his gun force him to stay. Well, at least until Bianco can catch Doggett off-guard, kick him, and run off. (Doggett’s been knocked out twice now in this episode. I hope he also gets to take some time off of work.)

Scully’s now back on comms, too late to see what happened to Doggett or understand why he’s not answering her. A marine biologist named Kai Bowe arrives with the analysis of the water sample. It contains high levels of calcium, and appears to contain a medusa, a bioluminescent creature. Bowe’s like, “Wherever this thing came from, it’s pretty incredible.” Scully’s like, “It’s killing people, but okay, we’ll go with ‘incredible.’ I mean, sea water that eats off people’s flesh – that’s definitely incredible, in the sense that no one’s going to find it credible.”

Scully continues that something triggers the harmful nature of the creature, since it’s not just killing people on contact. And they’d better figure out that trigger soon, because Doggett, still unconscious from Bianco’s attack, has become infected. Scully’s finally able to rouse him and see that his hands are now glowing. Bianco, who was just there yelling for help, is gone now. Scully announces that she’s sending a Hazmat team for Doggett, but he wants to keep moving. He knows he has the best chance to stop Bianco from continuing the spread of the contagion.

As Bowe calls the CDC for backup in figuring out the medusa’s trigger, Scully tells Karras that they have to block all the exits to try to contain the potential outbreak. Karras says no – there are already passengers in the station, waiting for the trains to start back up. Scully relays this to Doggett, who now has only 20 minutes to find Bianco and/or the man he’s been looking for in the tunnels. Since he hasn’t triggered the medusa by moving around, he figures he can keep moving without doing any more damage.

Doggett comes across Bianco, who’s collapsed in the tunnel. Scully alerts Bowe to some glowing on the ground, and realizes that Karras has left the control center. She tells Doggett to leave, but Doggett won’t abandon Bianco. The two make their way out of the tunnel, which is glowing more and more as the contaminant progresses. They spot someone else – a boy who wants Doggett to follow him somewhere. The fact that he’s not infected makes Scully realize what triggers the infection: sweat.

Sweat acts as a conductive agent, like electricity, that makes the infection worsen. Since the boy is so young that his sweat glands haven’t full developed, he’s basically immune. Of course, since it’s super-hot in the tunnel and Doggett’s been running around down there for four hours, he’s pretty sweaty. The boy leads him to a spot where a big leak has caused all the walls to glow. Doggett thinks this is the source of the contagion, a leak from the bay. The boy can walk through it without being affected. Scully think he’s showing Doggett the way out.

Doggett goes back to get Bianco, and the two follow the boy to the main system, which is glowing from contagion. Even worse, the trains have started up. Like Mulder before him, Doggett has a stupid idea: Use the third rail, his gun, and the contaminant to create an explosive that burns up the organism. He almost gets hit by a train, but since he’s still in a season and a half of the show, he doesn’t. Scully’s worried when she loses communications with her partner, because she’s clearly started caring about him, but he’s okay.

Doggett ends up in the hospital, though the organism is gone, so it’s just a precaution. Scully lets him know he can leave. Melnick and Bianco need some plastic surgery to deal with their wounds, but everyone’s healthy. Doggett complains about Karras’s recklessness, which could have led to hundreds of people getting infected. Scully tells him that since he destroyed the organism, and they have no data on the pathogen, no criminal charges can be filed. Karras will just be credited for doing his job to keep the trains running. Scully, however, knows that Doggett was a hero. Doggett wants her to have the credit, since she figured out what was going on. He was just her eyes and ears. Scully, however, doesn’t seem comfortable letting herself claim the win here.

Thoughts: Karras is played by Ken Jenkins. Lyle is played by Penny Johnson. Melnick is played by Brent Sexton.

I like the concept of this episode, of Doggett teaming up with strangers to go on a hunt. I think it was a good choice to have Scully watching from afar, seeing things the people in the tunnel might not have. Plus, since she’s pregnant, she didn’t have to spend the episode worrying about getting sick.

I think it’s interesting that in earlier seasons, Mulder would have made the call about Scully’s role, but here, she decides where she’s the most useful. And I like that Doggett keeps letting her call the shots throughout the episode. Neither of them has a clue what’s going on, but she’s slightly less clueless, so he lets her take the lead.

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September 18, 2018

ER 2.10, A Miracle Happens Here: A Christmas Carol

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

It’s Santa! I know him!

Summary: Shep’s alarm goes off at 5:45, and he has to be rudely awoken by some annoying Santa-themed rap. Carol’s already up and around, trying to get a fire going in her newly discovered fireplace, since the furnace went out during the night. She can’t get the flue open, so Shep suggests that they have Christmas at his place. Carol insists on having it in her new home and tries to think of ways to make it work. Shep will probably win this round, since there’s now a hole in the roof letting snow in.

Some carolers sing “Carol of the Bells” at the hospital, and their lovely voices almost make up for their hideous outfits. (The women are wearing caps with snowmen on them. If they have children, those kids are now dead from the humiliation.) The group is from the recovery wing, and they invite the ER staff to sing for them at 4 p.m. Apparently Carol made the arrangements but didn’t tell anyone. Unfortunately, no one can sing. Susan and Doug try to volunteer Mark, who’s not in yet, as he’s with the hospital’s lawyer. Sean O’Brien is suing him.

The lawyer tells Mark that the case is going to take a long time to move forward, and he plans to settle anyway. It’s better to leave Mark with a black mark on his record than for the hospital to have to pay out a million dollars. Mark heads off to find a bathroom, running into Sean and his son, who’s now about a year old. Sean definitely doesn’t want to make small talk with the man he’s suing for his wife’s death.

Some costumed skaters doing an on-ice nativity play were injured by a Zamboni, so Susan, Doug, and Harper are busy in the ER. Officer Al eases Susan’s fears by reporting that baby Jesus was played by a doll. However, the Zamboni driver appears to be drunk, so I think he’ll be spending Christmas in jail. Meanwhile, Mark will be spending it moping by himself, since his family is in Milwaukee and his wife is sleeping with someone else.

Carter wants to observe an operation Benton’s performing, but he hasn’t finished his work from the night before, since he was busy trying to comfort a patient’s family. No one’s going to be a nice person on Benton’s watch, even on Christmas Eve, so Carter doesn’t get to observe. Carol tries to round up participants for the carol singing that afternoon, but no one wants to sing. Doug mentions that the cops are charging the Zamboni with a DUI, even though he wasn’t technically driving a car. Mark dubs it a ZUI.

Benton scrubs in with a couple other surgeons who a) don’t want to make small talk with him and b) don’t even know his name. Vucelich informs them that their patient has changed his mind about having surgery, but he thinks he and Benton might be able to get him to change it back. Carol tends to a patient named Stan Calaus who cut himself while carving a wooden toy. He and his wife used to sell their goods at craft fairs; now he has a whole crew helping out, and they still have more orders than they can keep up with. Carol tells him he would make a great Santa, but he must hear that a lot.

Vucelich tells Benton that part of being a surgeon who employs cutting-edge techniques is selling his methods to patients. He lets Benton take the lead in convincing the patient, Mr. Chamberlain, to let them operate. Mark has signed up to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Doug nicely offers to take one of those shifts. Mark would rather work than spend the holidays alone; Rachel will be with Jen until Christmas night.

Shep brings in an unconscious woman named Hanna Steiner who was carjacked. Mark notices tattooed numbers on Hanna’s arm, and he and Shep have to tell Malik that that means she’s a Holocaust survivor, because wherever Malik went to school growing up, the school system sucked. Mr. Chamberlain tells Benton and Vucelich that he doesn’t care what techniques they’re using; his wife, Macy, wants him to wait, so he is. Carter arrives with Macy, having convinced her that the procedure is the way to go. This is the family Carter spent the night talking to, and they love him now. Vucelich rewards him with the offer of scrubbing in.

Hanna regains consciousness and asks about Tirzah, her granddaughter. She was in the car when it was stolen. The car has been found by the police, but there was no baby inside. Mark and Haleh’s day just got a whole lot worse. They try to call Hanna’s son, but she doesn’t think that’ll do any good, since he lives far away. Mark tries to encourage her to get a CT scan while they wait for news on the baby. Hanna says something in Yiddish, and when Mark understands her, Hanna decides to defer to his medical recommendation.

Al shows Susan the ruby earrings he wants to give Lydia for Christmas. He’s uncertain about the choice, since they’re nothing that special or expensive, but Susan promises that they’re perfect for Lydia. She finds Mark fighting with Jen on the phone about wanting to keep Rachel with her a couple more days so she can go to a party with her cousins. He complains to Susan about Jen’s horrible timing in having an affair. She invites him to spend the holiday with her, Susie, and her parents, though I’m not sure that’s better than spending it alone.

Vucelich and Benton operate on Mr. Chamberlain as Carter observes closely. Vucelich thinks Benton is lucky to have a student with such a good rapport with patients. He lets Benton finish up, but Benton gets flustered since they’re rushing for a personal-best operating time. They don’t break their record, thanks to Benton, but Carter gets to help out, so at least one person in the operating room is happy. Weaver spots an old friend named Mlungisi who’s in town for a visit. She hugs and kisses him, showing more affection than she will in the entire rest of the series. Carol, Mark, Haleh, and Randi are stunned.

As a man rushes his teen son in with a bullet wound in his shoulder, Mark chats with Hanna, trying to help her stay positive that Tirzah will be found safe. She covers the numbers on her arm and tells him it’s easier to be a victim of discrimination when you’re a child because you don’t know any different. Mark notes that she’s seen the worst in people. Hanna says she’s also seen the best, like Tirzah.

Mark tries to assure her that the carjacker just wanted the vehicle, so he won’t hurt the baby. Hanna knows that the best way to get revenge on those who have hurt you is to keep living your life like they don’t own you. But then something like this happens and you remember that everything can be taken from you. Hanna admits that when she was getting her CT scan, she prayed for the first time in 50 years. She asks if Mark knows Yiddish and if he’s religious. Mark says he’s the child of a lapsed Catholic and an agnostic Jew. She teases that he’s no good to her; she can’t ask him to pray for her family. Mark says he’ll try.

The staff is supposed to go to a restaurant for a party later, but since it’s snowing and traffic isn’t moving much, Carol thinks everyone who’s still there at 4 p.m. might as well go sing with her. Susan says her voice is so bad that when she sings to Susie, the baby goes to sleep immediately as a defense mechanism. Carol says they can both just mouth the words, though that won’t be any good if no one else is singing. Carol tries to enlist Carter, but he pleads “chronic tone-deafness and acute stage fright.”

Mark agrees with Carol that Stan looks familiar – just like Jerry Garcia. Apparently it’s Show Susan the Earrings You Bought for Your Girlfriend Day, because Carter wants Susan’s opinion on the earrings he’s going to give Harper. Unlike Al’s rubies, Carter bought Harper real diamonds. He’s worried that she’ll think they’re too much, since they haven’t been dating that long. Susan says Harper will be happy that he thought to get her something so nice.

Some teens bring in a priest who was shot at his church. Jeanie is horrified that someone would shoot a priest. Weaver has arranged to take some time off so she can be with Mlungisi while he’s in town, and since Mark was already scheduled to work, it’s not a hassle. Harper and Randi try to get Weaver to tell them how she and Mlungisi know each other. Weaver just says that she had a farm in Africa.

Susan and Jeanie work on the priest, who asks to speak to Diablo, one of the boys who came in with him. Susan wants the priest to stay calm, but he insists, so Jeanie goes to get Diablo. A baby is being brought in after being found in an adult theater (oh, classy), and the police think she might be Tirzah. Mark and Doug check her over, but she seems fine, just unhappy. Hanna wanders in and recognizes her as Tirzah.

The priest tells Diablo that his shooter wasn’t from the L.G. (which we can assume is a gang). He gives Jeanie his rosary beads for Diablo. Carol checks on Stan, who’s sending off his wife and kids to finish up their work. Mrs. Calaus promises she has both their maps, the naughty and the nice. Carol tells Stan that she’s enjoyed being his nurse today; everyone else she’s encountered has been scroogey. Stan tells her she has to find the Christmas spirit within her rather than rely on other people to show it.

Carol changes her methods, telling some of the staff that she’s going to sing Christmas carols, and they can join her if they’d like. No one does, but at least she doesn’t feel grumpy anymore. Susan and Jeanie rush the priest to an elevator to take him to surgery, but they have to take him back to the trauma room when he destabilizes. The teens who brought him in are eager for information, which the staff don’t have time to provide. Hanna wisely takes Tirzah out of the room while they’re working.

Mark discovers that the bullet severed the priest’s aorta, so they get some scans. By the time Jeanie returns with the films, the priest is dead. The teens are devastated and ask for a priest to deliver last rites. In a much cheerier part of the hospital, Carol sings a respectable version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” to some patients in the recovery wing. Mark, Susan, Doug, Carter, Harper, Malik, and Lydia join her, making up their own lyrics. No one sounds good, but Carol appreciates their effort, and the patients are happy to see them.

Benton lies down in an on-call room, reciting Scripture about Jesus’ birth to himself. Lily grabs him to come take care of an elderly woman named Helen Rubadoux who may have an aortic dissection. When Carter arrives to help, Benton puts him to work doing what he does best – talking to the patient’s husband, Ruby. Carol goes looking for Stan, but he’s already left. The window in his room is open, and Carol thinks she hears sleigh bells. (Also, Stan Calaus is an anagram for Santa Claus. Sigh.)

Carter tells Ruby that Helen needs surgery, and though her odds of survival are only 50/50 because of her age, it’s necessary to give her any chance at all. He suggests a new procedure that will complete the surgery faster, lowering the odds that Helen will have a heart attack. Even better, Vucelich developed the procedure and would perform the operation himself. Ruby asks Carter if that’s what he would do, and Carter says it is, so Ruby gives his consent.

Diablo calls someone to report that the priest has died, so they need to make the L.G. pay. Jeanie hangs up the phone and reminds Diablo that the priest said it wasn’t the L.G. Diablo thinks he lied to keep a truce between gangs. Jeanie asks if the priest would want them to keep up the gang war in his name. She gives Diablo the rosary beads and tells him to help the man who always tried to help others.

Hanna’s large family has arrived with a menorah, wanting to celebrate Hanukkah with her in the hospital. Mark and Hanna both think they should leave and let Hanna rest, but the family doesn’t want her to be alone. As Vucelich and Benton prepare for Helen’s surgery, the staff learns that the snow has forced them to cancel their Christmas party. Carol says she wishes she could have everyone over to her house, but without heat, it wouldn’t be fun. Shep reveals that he spent the day fixing the fireplace, so everything’s good. Carol suddenly wishes she hadn’t invited everyone over.

Mark joins the Steiners as they light their menorah and play dreidel. One of Hanna’s granddaughters says that the letters on the dreidel mean “a miracle happened there.” Hanna’s happy that the family had their own miracle in Tirzah’s safe return. And there was a second miracle – Hanna and Mark prayed together. Hanna felt for decades that God had forsaken her, but she realized today that He’s always been with her in the form of her family. Mark decides to leave the family by themselves.

Things are very festive at Carol’s, and even Benton comes by after he finishes Helen’s surgery. Harper and Lydia admire each other’s earrings, deciding they each like each other’s pairs better. They consider switching, not thinking Al and Carter would notice, but Susan stops them. Jeanie tells Benton she was thinking about him today, knowing this is his first Christmas without his mother. He tells her she made him memorize the Bible verses he was reciting to himself earlier, and always liked to hear him say them on Christmas Eve. Benton notes that this is also Jeanie’s first Christmas on her own.

Shep finds Carol scrounging for more cups in her kitchen and announces that he loves her. That’s fine on its own, but then he goes further, saying he wants to spend his life with her and have kids with her. Okay, you’ve been dating for, like, three months. Slow down. Carol isn’t ready to make a big commitment, but she does appreciate hearing that he loves her.

Mark calls Rachel, promising that Santa will find her at her grandparents’ house. He asks if she wants to stay for the party with her cousins, knowing that if she does, he won’t get to spend Christmas with her. He promises they’ll have their own “post-Christmas, post-Hanukkah, pre-New Year’s Day celebration” when she gets there. He goes back to work as some staff have a joyful snowball fight outside the ER doors.

Thoughts: Ruby is played by the late Red Buttons. The priest is played by Tony Plana.

Clooney mouthing the final “bohm” in “Carol of the Bells” made me lose it.

Carol: “Last chance to spread some holiday cheer.” Benton: “What?” Exactly. “Holiday cheer” is a foreign language to Benton.

September 15, 2018

The X-Files 8.11, The Gift: Surprise! The Gift Is a Bunch of Goo!

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

If you ask me, this is the real gift

Summary: Someone is driving through the rain at night in Squamash Township, Pennsylvania. Drive, someone, drive! The driver approaches a house, carrying a gun, and passes through a door with a cross-like symbol on it. The people inside the house aren’t happy to see this person. The driver shoots a creature in the house, then gets back in the car. We finally see who it is: Mulder. Yay, he’s back!

Now Doggett’s driving his car somewhere. Drive, Doggett, drive! He has a flashback to Scully talking to Skinner about how Mulder was dying but didn’t tell anyone. Then he has a flashback to asking Scully how far she thinks Mulder would go to get the truth. He promises to find Mulder, no matter what that entails.

It looks like it entails Doggett going to Squamash Township to meet up with Sheriff Kurt Frey. Kurt confirms that Mulder visited last spring to look into the disappearance of a woman named Marie Hangemuhl. Kurt says Marie wasn’t really missing, and Mulder wasn’t really investigating. Marie was in her house the whole time; her sister just got worried and called the authorities.

Kurt doesn’t know why the FBI is involved in a crime that’s not a crime. Why send two agents at two separate times, let alone one? Doggett asks if Mulder had a personal connection to the case, since cell phone records show that he came back a week before he disappeared. This is news to Kurt. The two go to the house Mulder visited in the first scene, which we now know belongs to Paul and Marie Hangemuhl. Paul is annoyed that he has to rehash things; it’s a personal matter, nothing for the FBI to worry about.

Flashback! Mulder questions the Hangemuhls, who insist that Marie’s sister is worried over nothing. However, Marie had told her sister that she was leaving town because she was afraid of something. Mulder thinks the two are covering up their knowledge of something or someone coming to the house. Paul angrily says that they had a fight, but everything’s fine now.

In the present, Doggett goes over Mulder’s visit with the couple. They lie that he never came back (and he definitely didn’t shoot anyone in their house, no, siree!). Doggett notices a dialysis machine, and Paul says that Marie has end-stage kidney failure. Doggett tries to ask about the visitor Mulder thought was coming to the house, but Paul counters by asking if Mulder had mental issues. There’s a local folk legend about a creature in the woods, and Mulder thought it was real. He thought the creature was coming to eat Marie alive.

As they leave, Doggett asks Kurt if the couple owns a gun. He saw three holes in the wall that had been plastered over. Kurt is willing to go back in and ask, but Doggett declines. He goes back to Virginia and searches Mulder’s apartment, taking a moment to feed the fish. He finds Mulder’s gun hidden under the sink. In Pennsylvania, Kurt oversees some digging of an area marked with stones in the shape of the symbol that was on the Hangemuhls’ door. Paul has heard rumors about something and has come by to get confirmation from Kurt.

Doggett takes Mulder’s gun to the FBI’s firearms-toolmarks unit and tells Skinner it was missing three rounds – possibly the three bullets that left holes in the Hangemuhls’ wall. But Mulder never filed a report about discharging the three rounds, or even about his visit to the house. The reports he filed during that time period state that he was in D.C. Skinner defensively asks if Doggett’s calling Mulder a liar. Yeah, I think so, Skinner.

Doggett has found blood on the gun, which is enough to prove that Mulder shot someone. Skinner angrily insists that Mulder didn’t kill someone and run away – he was abducted. He thinks this is about Doggett anyway. He wants to give the FBI an explanation for Mulder’s disappearance so Doggett can get transferred off the X-Files. Doggett says he just wants the truth. Skinner tells him to ask Scully, but Doggett says he can’t. She co-signed Mulder’s false reports, so whatever’s going on, she’s in on it. Skinner doesn’t want Scully’s job to be at risk, but Doggett has another idea.

In Pennsylvania, Kurt, Paul, and some others descend on a cabin and yell for someone to bring out…something. A woman emerges and says the something is dead. (The woman doesn’t get a name, but I’ll call her Sheila, since she’s played by the actress who played David’s mother on Beverly Hills, 90210.) Something human-ish runs into the woods, and the people chase him, letting their hunting dogs lead the way. They capture him in a net and drag it back to their trucks as Sheila begs them to leave him alone.

Doggett and Skinner return to Pennsylvania and go to the sheriff’s station looking for Kurt. He pretends he’s just coming back from a hunting trip. The agents ask about a death certificate he filed for an unidentified transient found in the woods. Doggett asks why no case report was filed. The body was dumped outside a cabin the morning after Mulder came back to Pennsylvania. Since it’s logical to assume that Mulder killed the man, Doggett and Skinner would like to examine the body.

Kurt directs the agents to the grave, where the agents discuss whether Mulder would kill someone, and why the people in town would cover it up. But they’re not going to get any answers from the body, since it’s missing from its grave – which was, of course, the spot marked by the stones. Doggett guesses that Kurt is the graverobber. But there’s also another route out of the grave, which means, as unlikely as it sounds, the unidentified man may have crawled out of his own coffin after being shot three times and buried. Skinner’s also interested in why someone left the stones on top of the grave.

Paul is painting the symbol on his door, possibly in blood, when Kurt comes by to tell him that they need to move quickly. Paul says Marie isn’t ready, but Kurt doesn’t care. Marie doesn’t think she can do this, but Paul says they don’t have any other options. Someone else arrives at the house, hauling the creature in his truck. Marie strips naked and kisses Paul, who promises he’ll be waiting for her when this is over. Kurt lets the creature out of the truck and into the house, where it starts feeding on Marie.

Sometime later, Doggett and Skinner come by and demand that Paul tell them why Mulder came back to town when he did. They ask to see Marie, who’s not downstairs with her husband. Skinner sees some blood on the floor, and Doggett says Paul missed a spot when he was cleaning up. In some cave somewhere, the creature is doing gross things to Marie that involve gross noises.

Doggett imagines Mulder’s visit to the Hangemuhls and his murder of the creature. Paul has told the agents that Marie coughed up the blood on the floor. Since Mulder’s not the type to just randomly kill someone, Doggett thinks he shot the transient to protect Marie. Skinner uses a piece of police technology to show Doggett the remains of the symbol Paul drew on the door in blood.

The agents place an early-’00s video Internet call to the Lone Gunmen. It’s late, so the Gunmen were asleep, and Langly isn’t wearing pants. The guys identify the symbol as a medicine wheel, which is associated with Native American shaman. The circle is the continuum between life and death, and the cross is paths of sorrow and happiness. The Lakota teach that these elements are all one. Only enlightened people can see that.

The Gunmen know of a legend of a soul-eater that eats sick people to consume their illnesses. The townspeople could have placed the symbol on the creature’s grave as a sign of respect, or put it on the door as a summons. Since Marie has a kidney disease, Doggett thinks this all makes sense. He’s now pretty sure there was no transient buried in that grave.

He goes to Sheila’s cabin and asks her about the body she supposedly found in the woods. He thinks she believes the same thing Mulder did, that the creature was a soul-eater, and she put the stones on his grave out of respect. Doggett thinks Mulder wanted to protect Marie, and he needs Sheila’s help to figure everything out. She tells him he has things backwards. Doggett hears a noise further in the cabin and goes to check it out. He finds a hidden door in the floor, leading to an underground cave.

Doggett stupidly goes into the cave alone and finds Marie covered in goo. He carries her out as Sheila looks on. Later, Marie reunites with Paul at the hospital, looking happy and healthy. In fact, her kidneys have completely healed. Skinner tells Doggett that Kurt wants to take his statement, but Doggett knows that Kurt and Paul have been in on the whole thing. He’s changed his theory: Marie wasn’t the person Mulder was trying to protect from the soul-eater.

Doggett returns to the cabin, where Sheila tells him that the soul-eater has a gift. People hate him because they need him. Sheila is just the latest in a long line of people who have taken care of him. Doggett presents his theory that Mulder came to Pennsylvania to save himself, not Marie. In flashback, we see Mulder undergoing the same process Marie did. Doggett says that he had an undiagnosed brain disease, and he was desperate for a cure. Sheila says they all are.

She hated how the soul-eater suffered, but she couldn’t bring herself to kill him. So Mulder came back to do it, wanting to take away the soul-eater’s pain. In flashback, we see Mulder firing the three shots; the soul-eater doesn’t try to run or fight him. Sheila kept the soul-eater with her instead of burying him, and now that the townspeople know he’s back, she knows they’ll come to him for more healing. He’ll keep suffering.

Doggett puts the soul-eater in his car and is about to leave when Kurt arrives with some of his posse. Kurt says the soul-eater belongs to them. Doggett argues that the soul-eater is a person and doesn’t belong to anyone. Neither man will back down, but Doggett thinks he can get away with just walking to the car and driving off. He’s wrong, and Kurt shoots him in the back. Before Kurt can get to the car, the soul-eater somehow disappears. Kurt knows he’ll come back, since he always does.

The men bury Doggett in the woods and leave, I guess not thinking Sheila will tell anyone what happened. Of course, since Doggett still has a season and a half left on the show, it’s no surprise when he wakes up in the cave covered in goo. Sheila is nearby with the soul-eater, who’s now dead. For years, the soul-eater took people’s sickness and became sick himself. Now that he’s taken someone’s death, he’s dead. Doggett freed him.

In D.C., Doggett tries to write a case report, but this is obviously a difficult one to explain. He tells Skinner that, after all this, he’s still no closer to finding Mulder. But Skinner thinks that Doggett now understands Mulder and his motives better. He thinks Doggett should skip this report; it’ll open a can of worms for Scully and harm both their reputations. In this instance, it’s better if Doggett and Skinner keep the truth to themselves. As Skinner leaves, Doggett studies a picture of the symbol, then looks up and briefly sees Mulder in the office with him.

Thoughts: Me, typing “Hangemuhls” over and over: “You’re killing me, writers.”

Who’s been paying rent on Mulder’s apartment? Rent in this area is pretty steep. What a waste of money.

Only one Scully scene? RIP-OFF.

September 11, 2018

ER 2.9, Home: Jen Is at the Top of Santa’s Naughty List

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

I’m sure those pencils will keep him warm when he’s sleeping outside in Chicago in December

Summary: Doug’s asleep – drink! Susan wakes him up and asks him to examine Susie, who has a cough. Doug pronounces her happy and healthy, which must be because Susan’s so great with her. They hand the baby off to Connie and go to meet another baby, this one much sicker than Susie. As Haleh takes the frantic parents out of the trauma room, Doug decides that the baby can’t be saved. He has to tell Susan a couple times to stop trying to revive him. Doug gives the horrible news to the parents as Susan takes Susie back from Connie.

Carter and Harper have worked things out and are dating, or whatever the kids call it when they spend a lot of time together and hook up. They try to make out in an elevator but Benton interrupts. They get clumsy in their attempts to find a quiet place where they can be alone, then have to pretend they’re looking for someone’s films when they realize Susan is in their hiding spot. (Thank you, Susan and Benton. I didn’t want to watch that.)

Carol brings stuff in for the hospital’s Christmas drive, trying to get rid of some things her mother wants to off-load since she’s moving. Doug and Mark laugh at her old records and baton. Carter and Harper finally find a make-out spot, but it’s the hospital chapel, and they’re soon joined by some nuns. These two are definitely going on Santa’s naughty list.

Shep shaved! It’s a Christmas miracle! He thinks Carol should be sadder about her mom selling her childhood home. He’s brought in an unidentified patient who’s now drawing something in an exam area. Doug and Mark tend to a man named Ethan Brown who was hurt in a hit-and-run. He’s able to ask for his wife through his possibly broken jaw, but Mark wants him to leave on his oxygen mask and stop trying to talk.

Carol tells Shep’s patient, Mr. Sullivan, that he can’t smoke in the hospital. She and Jeanie tend to his minor wounds as he tells them he’s an architect. He doesn’t seem completely mentally aware, so Carol tells Jeanie to call psych. As Benton notices a hickey on Carter’s neck, the two of them check out Ethan. Jeanie tells Carol that she’s identified Mr. Sullivan, whose real name is Joshua Shem. He has schizophrenia and ran away from his residential home. Because it’s his third time running away, they won’t take him back.

Doug told Mark he can’t work that night, so some of the female employees wonder if he’s going on a date. He remains mum. Ethan’s wife arrive, frantic at first but much calmer when Mark assures her that her husband will be okay. A teenager comes in with her sister, Reba, who was treated for injuries at a skating rink but had a seizure on the way home from the hospital. Looks like she has a head injury that the doctor who treated the cuts on her legs didn’t discover. (That doctor will also be on the naughty list.)

A police officer who came in with Ethan tells Mark and Susan that a witness told him who was driving the car that hit him: his wife. Mark quickly tells Lydia to call security, but Mrs. Brown has already found her husband and is trying to finish what she started with her car (this time with her bare hands). Ho ho ho, Mrs. Brown is getting coal in her stocking.

Mark tells Susan he’s spending the holidays with Jen’s family, clearly a sacrifice he doesn’t really want to make. Susan checks on Reba, who says she doesn’t remember what happened, then promptly has another seizure. Carter runs into Vucelich in the bathroom and says that Benton wanted to have an interview with him, but Carter forgot to sign him up. Vucelich agrees to see Benton anyway.

Susan struggles to end Reba’s seizures, finally guessing that she’s having an allergic reaction to the lidocaine she was given at the previous hospital. Records faxed over from St. Anne’s show that she was given a toxic dose. Weaver thinks Susan should write a case report, then have the hospital pay for her to present it in Miami. Susan doesn’t think she can take time away from the ER to do the necessary research, then leave town when she has both work and family responsibilities. She worries that Mark is disappointed in her for turning down the opportunity.

Dr. Myers meets with Joshua, who declines the offer of medication. He just wants to work on his drawing and go home (though he doesn’t actually have a home). Myers can’t hold him, since he’s not a danger to himself or others, and Joshua says he can take care of himself. Jeanie thinks Myers is just checking this case off his to-do list, but Carol defends him. Myers gets dozens of cases like Joshua every day and does everything he can for his patients. They’ll just have to stall and hope they can find Joshua a new residential home.

Carter, now wearing a huge bandage on his neck, tries to rearrange his plans with Harper since he now has to stay for Benton’s interview. He still hasn’t told Benton about the interview, though. When he tries to bring up the subject, Benton says he doesn’t want to participate in the study Vucelich is interviewing doctors for. Good job, Carter!

Carol catches Joshua trying to leave and admires his drawing of an arch. He says he draws what “they” tell him to draw. She tells him about her new house, and he identifies the style and interior. He tells her there’s a fireplace she didn’t know about. Weaver asks why Joshua hasn’t been discharged, and Carol says she wants to put a sterile dressing on one of his cuts. She’s actually stalling by offering Joshua food, but Weaver’s fine with letting him warm up and have a meal.

Carol hears Doug on the phone, confirming his plans for the evening and promising the person he’s talking to that she’ll look beautiful no matter what she wears. He still won’t give any details on who he’s meeting. Mark then gets a call from a hospital in Milwaukee and learns that Jen and Rachel were in a car accident. Rachel’s fine but Jen’s hurt. Doug offers up his car keys as Mark rushes off to see his family.

Susan calls the hospital back and tries to get information on Jen, but she has no luck. It makes her wonder if County is this tight-lipped. Lydia mentions that she used to date an OR tech at the hospital, so Susan makes her call him. Carter recognizes the arch from Joshua’s drawing as the Sullivan Arch, which he’s seen pictures of in an installment at the Art Institute. Carol remembers that Joshua introduced himself as Mr. Sullivan.

Shep amuses himself by looking through Carol’s old yearbook and the things her friends wrote. He wants to rescue it from being given away. Weaver tells Susan that Morgenstern wants to talk to her about presenting Reba’s case – he’s excited for this great opportunity. Benton ruins Carter and Harper’s plans by giving them more work to do. Jeanie calls around, looking for a place for Joshua, with no luck.

Benton goes to his interview with Vucelich, which turns into a field trip. Joshua’s mother, Madeline, arrives but says she can’t take him home. He’s let go of everything in his past and won’t stay. He was going to be an architect, but a breakdown in college derailed his plans. Madeline gives Joshua some money and pencils, the old thing he still cares about.

Morgenstern helps Susan and Carter tend to a man who fell off a ladder while setting up a Christmas display. He laments that he crushed Rudolph, though he should be more upset about the long, sharp thing sticking out of his arm. I know I am. Morgenstern tells Susan how great Reba’s case sounds, but she again declines the opportunity. He reminds her that she’s a candidate to be chief resident next year. Susan knows she needs to start publishing, but she thinks she’s taken on enough responsibility and doesn’t need “extra credit.”

Mark makes it to the hospital in Milwaukee, and I guess the episode ran short because we have to see him running around instead of just going right to Rachel and Jen. Jen is stable but has a broken leg and possible internal injuries. Despite being a doctor at County, Mark has no standing at this place, so he’s kept away from her as she’s treated.

Susan gets a Christmas card from Chloe that’s full of money. Anyone else would be excited to get $3,000, but Susan isn’t appreciative. Doug, who knows all about deadbeat relatives, advises her to take what she can get. In Milwaukee, Mark finds Rachel and meets a guy named Craig, who was in the accident with her and Jen. In fact, he was driving their car when they were hit. Mark’s too distracted to understand the significance of this.

Jeanie can’t find a place for Joshua, but he’s already taken off. She wonders if she’s cut out for doing this kind of work, since her previous job as a physical therapist let her see her patients’ progress. Carol says they just have to do what they can for everyone. She finds Joshua’s pencils under his bed.

Vucelich takes Benton to an operation so he can see firsthand the work Vucelich does. Benton knows his stuff and is suddenly interested in joining Vucelich’s study. Vucelich tells him to scrub in. In Milwaukee, Jen’s doctor tells Mark that she doesn’t have internal injuries, and surgery to repair her leg went fine. Craig asks Mark to translate from medical jargon to English.

Doug’s dinner date is with his mother, Sarah, and though his relationship with his father is nonexistent, he and his mother get along well. He tells her his father called, and she guesses that he wants money or is up to something. Doug isn’t worried and promises that his father can’t touch them ever again.

Carol takes Joshua’s pencils to the Sullivan Arch, which Joshua has made his home. He says they’re all he needs, but she gives him a blanket, too, ensuring her spot on Santa’s nice list. Carter finally finishes his extra work and meets up with Harper, who’s chatting with Jeanie. She guesses that they’re dating, but Carter says they don’t have time in medical school. Harper mentions that she’s going into the Air Force after med school. Carter teases that she’s going to become an astronaut after that.

Susan runs into a neighbor while doing laundry, and doesn’t correct the neighbor when she thinks Susan is Susie’s mother. It looks like that sounds good to her. Carol puts on some music at home, and she and Shep take hammers to a wall to uncover the fireplace Joshua told her was there. They celebrate by dancing and making out to “Take a Letter Maria.”

The lyrics “take a letter Maria / address it to my wife / say I won’t be coming home” foreshadow the conversation Mark is about to have with Jen (well, if Jen were the husband and Mark were the wife). He’s figured out that Craig isn’t just a friend or co-worker or second cousin or whoever she was going to pretend he was. Jen’s in love with him. Merry Christmas, Mark: Your wife is cheating on you.

Thoughts: Joshua is played by Adam Goldberg.

Jen’s father is a reverend. WELL, HIS CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS SURE DIDN’T STICK.

Susie’s at that age where babies babble in almost-intelligible language. I love that age.

September 8, 2018

The X-Files 8.10, Badlaa: Emphasis on “Bad”

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:05 pm by Jenn

If I have to watch this episode, I’m dragging you all down with me

Summary: Sahar International Airport in Mumbai is a busy place today. An American man named Potocki fights his way through the crowds and heads to a lounge before his flight. A legless beggar follows him, rolling himself on a cart with his hands, but Potocki doesn’t have much sympathy for the man. Finally he hands over a couple of coins and tells the beggar to buy some WD-40 to oil his wheels. That doesn’t seem to go over well. Later, the beggar follows Potocki to the bathroom and drags him out of his stall.

Potocki eventually lands in D.C. and checks into a hotel. A bellboy tries to make small talk, but Potocki is silent. He also has the beggar’s cart with him. He sits on the bed and starts oozing blood. The next morning, Scully and Doggett check out the scene, assigned to figure out why Potocki died. A maid found his body 20 minutes after the bellboy left, and no one else was seen coming or going. 20 minutes is pretty fast for a deadly disease to do its work, so Doggett teases Scully that they must be dealing with something supernatural, like “sloppy vampires.”

The only clue they have to go on is what looks like a child’s print in Potocki’s blood. Doggett remembers a ring of robbers who used children to get through tight entrances in New York, but this doesn’t seem similar. Scully doesn’t think a child would commit a murder this gruesome anyway. But she hopes Doggett keeps an open mind.

At Fairmont Elementary School in Cheverly, Maryland, a man named Burrard interviews for a job in maintenance. He’s actually the beggar in disguise, though the woman interviewing him doesn’t see that. Scully performs Potocki’s autopsy, which takes a while because he weighed over 400 pounds. Doggett has done some research and decided that, since Potocki was generally a generous man (not with the beggar, though), his ex-wives probably didn’t want to kill him. Scully agrees, since she found tissue damage and trauma to Potocki’s rectal wall. Something went in or out of his abdomen.

Potocki has traveled to and from India many times over the past year and a half, so Doggett logically thinks that he was transporting drugs. Maybe someone tore the drugs out of his stomach. Scully didn’t find any drugs in Potocki’s system, though, and that kind of extraction wouldn’t explain his massive blood loss. Also, she’s discovered that his time of death is around 24 to 36 hours ago – before he left India. She reminds Doggett that she told him to keep an open mind.

A preteen named Trevor attacks another preteen named Quinton at school and tries to steal his scooter. Quinton’s father intervenes and tells Trevor to bully someone his own age, since Quinton is a year younger. Burrard watches Quinton and his father as they drive off. In the office, Doggett tells Scully that an American businessman named Albert Brecht was found dead in his New Delhi hotel room three weeks ago. His autopsy shows that he died the same way Potocki did.

Scully sees that his recently issued passport says he weighed just over 200 pounds, but his autopsy showed he was 33 pounds heavier. She thinks this has something to do with “accommodation.” Maybe whatever killed the two men entered and left their bodies on its own after living inside them as a stowaway. Doggett says this is going beyond asking him to keep an open mind. Scully gets that, but the evidence supports her theory. Doggett asks about the part of the theory where Potocki was already dead when he left India.

In Cheverly, Quinton wakes up late at night and sees the beggar in his room. He calls for his father, who doesn’t see anyone and thinks Quinton just imagined an intruder. He puts Quinton back to bed, then goes downstairs to watch TV while the beggar watches him. The next time Quinton wakes up, it’s to his father’s shouts of terror. R.I.P. Quinton’s dead, who never even got a name.

Scully and Doggett check out this new crime scene, where Doggett feels horrible that Quinton had to find his father’s body. Scully wants to focus on the intruder Quinton saw. She mentions that he said he was keeping himself up with his arms, which fits the palm prints Doggett found in his room. But unlike with Brecht and Potocki, the intruder didn’t travel in anyone’s body – he came in through a window.

Since Quinton’s father seems to have died of a cerebral embolism, this death doesn’t seem to fit with the others. But since all the blood vessels in Quinton’s father’s eyes were broken, as Brecht and Potocki’s were, there’s something there. Scully wonders if that’s the first stage of death here.

She goes to the morgue for her next (unauthorized) autopsy, immediately noticing the large bulge in Quinton’s father’s stomach. She notes his weight as “quite possibly subject to change.” She makes an incision in his stomach, and a hand reaches itself out. Think Alien, but weirder. Scully grabs a gun (because who doesn’t bring a gun to an autopsy), but by the time she returns to the body, whatever was inside Quinton’s father is gone. She follows the trail of blood left behind, but it ends at a closed closet door, and there’s nothing inside – or at least nothing she sees.

Thanks to that little field trip, Burrard is late to work. Trevor sees him in a school hallway with his squeaky bucket, and he pauses when Burrard glares at him. Meanwhile, our friend Chuck Burks visits Scully and Doggett to show them a video he shot in India in the 1970s. He tells the agents about siddhi mystics, who have occult powers that allow them to manipulate reality and become tiny and/or invisible. They can even take on the appearance of someone else. Doggett: “Well, this has been…insightful.” Chuck thinks he doesn’t believe because he doesn’t understand.

Trevor goes to Quinton’s house to express his condolences and share his theory about Quinton’s father’s killer. Scully can’t see the case the way she thinks Mulder would, so she calls Chuck back to talk about the siddhi mystics more. Since the mystics believe their powers come from a divine source, they wouldn’t use them to murder, right? Chuck confirms this, saying the mystics would see that as endangering their souls. Scully wonders what might cause them to break their faith – something human, like revenge?

She’s found a news story about a chemical plant near Mumbai, where an accidental release of gas killed 118 people in Vishi. One of the people killed was an 11-year-old boy whose father is from the beggar caste. The father could be a mystic out for revenge, but why would he kill two American businessmen and Quinton’s father?

On his way home, Trevor hears squeaky wheels following him but doesn’t see anyone. He takes off running as the beggar pursues him. He makes it home, then immediately runs off again. His mother sees him at the bottom of their pool and dives in to save him, but he turns into the beggar. When Scully and Doggett are called to the house, the mother is dead, and Trevor is nowhere around.

Scully thinks this death matches the others, but Doggett thinks she’s making a connection between unrelated deaths. She’s seeing things that aren’t there. Scully insists that there’s a motive and a pattern, even if they don’t see them yet. They’ll have to find another way to work the case. Trevor returns to the house just then and tells the agents that the beggar was there.

Burrard is brought in for questioning, and Scully calls Chuck in for more consulting. Doggett tells him that he won’t talk, so they’re going to have to let him go. Chuck pulls out a video camera and tells Doggett that the man they see in the room might not really be there. Indeed, when the men look through the camera, they don’t see anyone in Burrard’s chair. This means the mystic could be anywhere.

Scully goes back to Trevor’s house to ask the boy about the beggar. Doggett calls her back to the office to tell her about Burrard, but before she can react, Trevor’s father reports that he’s not in the house. Burrard goes to the school, supposedly to clean, and the woman who interviewed him for the job decides to call Scully and let her know. Quinton and Trevor are a few steps ahead, though, using themselves as bait to try to trap the beggar. It almost works, but he catches on and they have to run.

Quinton hides out in a classroom, realizing too late that he can’t escape through a window. Trevor appears outside and tells him to break one. It’s too late, since the beggar has found him. He slowly wheels himself toward Quinton as Trevor runs off to get help. Scully arrives, and Quinton yells for her to help, but she doesn’t see a problem. As far as she can tell, the only people in the room are Quinton and Trevor.

As the fake Trevor turns to approach Scully, she draws her gun. But even knowing this child isn’t really a child, she can’t bring herself to shoot him. As Doggett arrives outside, shots ring out. Scully found her resolve after all and has killed the beggar. Both boys are safe, though they’re probably scarred for life. (Maybe they can get their parents to fall in love and form a new family?)

Once the proper authorities have been called in to take care of things, Doggett notices that Scully is struggling with what just happened. He reminds her that she didn’t actually shoot a child, no matter what she saw. She hates that she wasn’t able to trust her own eyes. Doggett asks why she shot him, then. Scully says she trusted what Quinton saw, and knows Mulder would have understood. He has the open mind Scully doesn’t have. Doggett thinks she should go easy on herself, since nothing in the case made sense. But Scully says it did, somehow. Then can she explain it to me? Because back in India, an American businessman is on his way to catch a plan when he comes across…the same beggar. Sigh.

Thoughts: Who do we blame for this episode’s premise? I want names.

Maybe Trevor should work for the X-Files. He put things together way faster than Scully and Doggett, and with much less information.

Someone wheeled something squeaky down the hallway outside my door while I was doing this recap, and I almost yelled, “That’s not funny!”

September 4, 2018

ER 2.8, The Secret Sharer: Look Who’s Talking (Whether or Not They Should Be)

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

You’re welcome

Summary: Mark rushes to a meeting with Morgenstern and Neil, who are waiting to talk to Doug about his heroics with Ben. Neil isn’t impressed, but Morgenstern says the hospital board wants to acknowledge Doug’s actions (and also thank him for all the positive publicity he’s brought to the hospital). The board is also unhappy with Neil for firing Doug, which means he’s about to get his job back. There’s a whole gala planned to praise him, too. The men offer Doug a fellowship extension, reporting to Doug, but he points out that he’s already accepted another job. They insist that they want him to stay at County.

Doug does some schedule negotiating with Mark, leaning toward accepting the offer. Meanwhile, Carter examines a boy named Wilbur who has suddenly come down with some facial paralysis. His mother comments in Spanish that Carter seems too young to be a doctor. Wilbur translates, and Carter takes it as a compliment. He assures the two that Wilbur’s condition, Bell’s Palsy, isn’t serious. He adds that he’ll be a doctor in four months. That’s not good enough for Wilbur’s mom.

Susan’s having trouble with childcare and hasn’t been able to work night shifts for a while. Mark tells her she needs to work something out; he can’t keep covering for her. Jeanie and Benton continue their chilly relationship toward each other, equally unhappy to have to spend the day in the ER together. Shep and his stupid mustache bring in a teenage girl named Julia whose brother Kyle found her after she attempted suicide. Julia refuses to talk about what happened.

An elderly woman named Mrs. Ransom sets up some knickknacks by her bed as she waits for Susan to come check her out. She may have pneumonia, but she’s very pleasant and is even willing to have her regular teatime in the ER. Doug rushes in with a boy named Alan who’s having an asthma attack, because he didn’t get to do enough heroic things in the last episode. Carter continues treating Wilbur, despite his mother’s reservations.

Julia becomes combative when Mark, Carol, and Lydia try to give her charcoal to soak up all the acetaminophen she took. Carol takes over the procedure, saying out loud how much she hates this kind of case. Once Julia’s taken care of, she goes out to chat with Shep and another paramedic, who think girls like Julia just overdose to get attention. If they really meant it, they’d use another method. Carol gives him the perfect “oh, is that so?” look, then tells him, “I really meant it.”

Susan calls her mother to ask her to look after Susie the next night. Carter and Harper’s post-breakup relationship is much better than Jeanie and Benton’s, and she’s even hopeful that he’ll want to hang out again (and possibly get back together). Carter casually declines her invitation to dinner. Doug interrupts to ask Carter about Wilbur; he thinks Carter may have missed something indicative of a more serious condition. Susan has no luck with her parents and still needs childcare for the next night.

Julia may have damaged her liver, which means she took a huge amount of pills. Mark and Carol haven’t been able to contact her parents, and she’s still not talking. Alan is doing much better, but his asthma attack was a reaction to his grandmother’s dog. Since Alan’s staying with her for the week, she’ll have to find other living arrangements for the dog. Grandma realizes that Doug is the doctor from the TV, which means Alan is going to be fine.

Haleh tells Doug that Alan’s HMO wants him transferred to another hospital across town. Doug refuses, since Alan’s condition is still unsteady. He makes a false note on the chart so the HMO will agree that his oxygen levels are falling and he’s not able to be moved. Haleh shows Chuny, who made the original note, and Chuny tells Doug she’s not going to lie for him. He again refuses to send Alan anywhere else right now.

Carol sits down with Kyle to find out why Julia might have tried to kill herself. He tells her that their mother died not long ago and their father isn’t around much. Carter tries to get in touch with Wilbur’s mother, but his lack of knowledge of Spanish makes it difficult to leave a phone message for her. He tells Mark that he’s sure he checked what he was supposed to, but he wasn’t looking for the right thing, so now he wants to follow up.

Mrs. Ransom doesn’t have pneumonia, and she’s made herself useful in the ER, looking after a baby while his mother takes a nap. Susan realizes that Mrs. Ransom could be the answer to her childcare problems. As it happens, Mrs. Ransom is looking for work, and she’s available to work nights. Mark notices the discrepancy on Alan’s chart and asks Chuny about it. She pleads ignorance of Doug’s note, only saying that if a mistake was made, it wasn’t hers.

Shep apologizes to Carol for what he said earlier, but she tells him everything’s okay. Carter is now being overcareful about tests, becoming even worse when Lydia tells him his new patient is one of Vucelich’s. Mark pulls Doug out of Alan’s room to confirm that he falsified the chart to put off the transfer. Mark knows that the HMO won’t pay his bills when they see the discrepancy on the chart. If Doug’s going to stay at County and work under Mark, he’s going to have to stop being a cowboy. Doug objects to having to work for Mark instead of with him (though he wouldn’t want to work for anyone else, either).

Carol sends Kyle out of Julia’s room so she can try talking to the girl again. On top of all her other problems, Julia’s pregnant, and Carol guesses that was the reason for her suicide attempt. She confides in Julia that she also attempted suicide, so she understands where Julia’s coming from. Julia says that everything fell apart after her mother died. Kyle would cry in bed at night, like when he was a kid. She would go in to comfort him…and now she’s pregnant. Carol connects the dots. I throw up.

Susan gets all of Mrs. Ransom’s recommendations from her nanny agency, becoming even more certain that this is going to work out perfectly. Then Jerry and Mark ruin everything by showing Susan the woman’s medical tests. Paramedic Pam Olbes brings in a Civil War reenactor whose foot was run over by a cannon. I bet that’s a new one for Mark. Kyle learns that Julia told Carol everything and panics that their father will be furious. He may even react violently, since Kyle knows he has a gun. He decides not to wait around to find out what happens.

Jeanie’s supposed to practice her sutures, so Benton gives her a patient to work on with Carter. Carter, however, is busy running countless tests on his/Vucelich’s patient, Ms. Briggs. Benton calls him an idiot and has to apologize when Vucelich comes to consult on the patient. But it turns out that she has a blood disease and needs treatment ASAP. Suddenly Carter looks smart. Vucelich even invites him to assist on an operation.

Mrs. Ransom is ready to start working for Susan right away, but Susan has bad news for her: She may have aplastic anemia. It’s terminal, and she needs to be admitted for a bone marrow biopsy. Mrs. Ransom has already had one, and apparently knows her diagnosis but doesn’t want the treatment. She still wants the nanny job, though. Susan tells her that she won’t be able to work anymore, and she needs to be admitted. Mrs. Ransom thinks she’s the one to be the judge of her own condition.

Mark takes care of the reenactor, who’s eager to go back to the battlefield. He tells Connie about his character’s accomplishments. He requests ether for anesthetic, then a bullet to bite on when that’s not available. As a last resort, he suggests that Mark send a private out to get some bourbon. “We’re fresh out of privates,” Mark replies, suggesting lidocaine instead. The reenactor decides he’s fine with the bullet. With Carter busy, Benton helps Jeanie with her sutures. She tries to make small talk, mentioning that she saw Jackie recently, and though the conversation isn’t warm, it’s not as awkward as it’s been.

Julia and Kyle’s father, Mr. Kazlaw, finally arrives as two victims of a motorcycle accident are brought in. Doug takes one patient and Mark takes the other. They disagree over which patient is more critical, and Mark makes the call that his needs a CT scan before the other. Doug examines Mark’s patient himself and says Mark’s wrong. They yell at each other for a while until Mark tells Doug to leave. He’s taking Doug’s patient and writing him up.

Carol talks to Lydia about Julia and Kyle’s…whatever, not realizing that their father can hear her. Big oops! Once Carol realizes the error, Mark tells the teens what happened and assures them that someone will stay with them in case their father becomes violent, as Kyle fears. Carol and Lydia feel horrible for what happened, and Mark tells them they’ll discuss confidentiality at a staff meeting the next day.

As Doug is leaving for his gala, Mark tries to get him to talk, but Doug ignores him. He only stops when Jerry tells him his father is on the phone. This is a surprise since Carol was under the impression that Doug and his father haven’t spoken since Doug was 12. Benton and Jeanie finish up on their patient, finally back on…well, not good terms, but much better terms. Carter joins them, and after Jeanie leaves the room, he hints that Benton should ask her out. Benton says Jeanie’s married, but Carter reports that she told him she’s divorced.

Susan goes to get Susie from the hospital daycare and is surprised to see her father playing with her. Henry disagrees with his wife’s feelings on what they should or shouldn’t be doing as grandparents, and he wants to look after Susie on the nights Susan has to work. He wishes he’d agreed to help out a long time ago.

Carter finally gets in touch with Wilbur’s mother and makes arrangements to go see him at home and make sure his condition isn’t serious. Harper still wants to have dinner, and Carter lets her tag along in exchange for a home-cooked meal. Mr. Kazlaw returns to the hospital after angrily storming out, and Carol apologizes for the way he found out what was going on with his kids. She realizes he’s holding a gun, but he asks her to take it from him.

Doug’s late to the gala, despite leaving way before Mark and Morgenstern. Morgenstern decides that if he doesn’t show up, they’ll tell the crowd that he’s out looking for more people to help. Doug sends a message to Mark letting him know he’s playing pool somewhere. He gives the speech he was going to give at the gala, acknowledging Morgenstern for kissing up to him after approving his termination, and Neil for being unqualified and mediocre at his job.

Doug gets in a dig at Mark for being self-righteous and not standing up for him when Neil fired him. Mark thinks Doug is trying to go out with a bang at County. He asks why Doug’s father called. Doug mentions that his father used to say, “If you’re going to make a mistake, make it a big one.” Yes, it’s a great idea to take advice from the man who abandoned his family, only pops in when he needs money, and will later die in a car crash that was his own fault. (Uh, spoiler.)

Jeanie goes to say good night to Benton before she leaves, but he’s not so warm-ish anymore. He wants to know why she didn’t tell him she and Al had divorced. Jeanie points out that they haven’t been talking much, so it’s not like she had a chance to say anything. She insists that her and Al’s problems had nothing to do with Benton. (I bet they had a little to do with him, though.) Carter and Harper go to Wilbur’s house for what Harper says is Carter’s first house call. He does his exam and clarifies that Wilbur is fine. His mom is still not impressed.

Mark gives a speech at the gala, praising Doug for caring so much for his patience. He’s proud to present Doug with an award for community service. Doug starts his speech, worrying Mark, but instead of railing against everyone, Doug just says that the people in his life already know how he feels about them. He just expresses gratitude for the award and gets off the stage.

Carter admits to Harper that it’s scary to think he’ll be a doctor in a few months, without anyone looking over his shoulder. Harper wants to talk about something other than work. Carter decides he’s done talking, so he kisses her. She teases that he must not be able to think of anything to say to her. They make out on the street.

Doug drops his award off a roof, to Mark’s shock. Doug says that his father called him for the first time in 22 years because he saw his son on TV. Now, Doug worries that he’s acting like his father, what with his inability to make commitments and his tendency to yell at his boss. Mark jokes that maybe the problem is him, since he doesn’t like that kind of treatment. Doug asks if the fellowship is still available, and Mark says it is.

Carol comes home to find Shep on her roof, getting rid of some rotting tiles. Unfortunately, he’s gone too far and made a big hole. Carol apologizes for blindsiding him with her admission, though Shep admits that he’s the idiot here. He promises that he doesn’t think any less of her for her suicide attempt. Mostly, he’s just glad that she didn’t succeed. Carol says she is, too.

Thoughts: Kyle is played by Austin O’Brien, who was in It Guy for a while in the ’90s.

Sheesh, Doug, at least wait longer than a day after all that praise before you pull something stupid.

Daycare lady, if a guy comes in saying he’s a kid’s grandfather, but you’re not sure because his only ID is an expired driver’s license, SEND HIM AWAY. Though on second thought, an abduction from the hospital daycare might be the only crisis this show never had.

September 1, 2018

The X-Files 8.9, Salvage: Iron Man

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:26 pm by Jenn

Admittedly, this looks really cool

Summary: A man named Ray is dead, and two people named Nora and Curt are talking in vague terms about what killed him. Nora blames his time in the Gulf War, though the doctors haven’t been able to explain the illness that killed him. She wants payback. Someone watches from outside the window as Curt leaves Nora’s house and drives off. He gets distracted lighting a cigarette, then looks up just in time to see a man standing in the middle of the road. Curt slams on the brakes but hits the man anyway. However, the man is unharmed, and the car is destroyed around him. The last thing Curt sees is his old friend Ray reaching through his windshield.

We’re in Muncie, Indiana, and Scully and Doggett are on the case. The destroyed car remains in the road, but Curt is no longer in it, and they haven’t been able to reach him. Forensics show that whatever he hit had to have been 4,300 times the density of steel to cause the damage it did. Of course, something that heavy wouldn’t have been sitting in the middle of a residential street, so there’s your X-File.

Once the car is lifted up, Scully can see footprints in the asphalt under it. Doggett notes that, even if it were possible that the super-dense object the car hit was a person, they’d definitely see…well pieces of that person on the road. Scully replies that the footprints are the only evidence they have. He thinks Curt would have stopped if he saw someone in the road (though skid marks show that he did try to stop). Scully wonders if they’re not dealing with an ordinary man.

Nora comes outside, distressed that something horrible must have happened to Curt right after he left her house. She explains that Curt worked with Ray, her husband, at a salvage yard. Scully calls Doggett over to a trash can, where she’s found what’s left of Curt. He has huge, bloody holes in his forehead. Didn’t we already do a plot with bloody forehead holes? Are we running out of ideas eight years in?

Scully’s autopsy shows that Curt wasn’t killed by the crash – he was pulled through the windshield by someone’s hand, which left five deep wounds in his head. “Like a bowling ball,” Scully elaborates. Thanks for the word picture! She thinks they’re still dealing with a person who’s more than ordinary. Doggett has a new lead, though it makes no more sense than Scully’s theory: Ray’s fingerprints and blood were found in the car. Ray himself wakes up in his room at St. Clare’s Halfway House with little pieces of metal stuck in his cheek. He removes them with nail clippers.

Meanwhile, Doggett goes to Nora’s house, where she’s chatting with Harry Odell, the man who owns the salvage yard where Ray and Curt worked. Nora’s confused about why Doggett wants to talk about Ray, since he’s supposed to be investigating Curt’s death. She insists that Ray died of Gulf War Syndrome.

Doggett tells her that even though she requested that Ray’s body be cremated, and even though she was given ashes, there’s no record of the cremation taking place. Is it possible that Ray is still alive and was somehow involved in Curt’s death? Nora says that she watched her husband die, and by the end, he was too weak to lift his head, let alone walk. Harry says Ray was a good man.

Larina, a volunteer at the halfway house, introduces herself to Ray as he eats breakfast. She lets him know he’s eaten a little tinfoil with his sandwich. She tells him he’s not alone; she’s been where he is and knows it can help to talk. Ray tells her to leave him alone. Larina leaves, apparently not noting the blood on the backs of Ray’s hands.

Harry goes to the salvage yard that night and shreds some documents. Not suspicious at all! Ray appears to politely request his last paycheck and some personal time off to deal with some issues he’s going through. Okay, not really. Harry says that Ray can’t blame him or Curt for what happened – they’re his friends. He claims to have proof. In reality, he has a gun, and he’s determined to make sure that Ray stays dead this time. He fires, but Ray takes off, leaving behind only an arm…which still moves. Ray returns to collect it, and also kill Harry the way he killed Curt.

The next day, Doggett examines Harry’s body, noticing blue paint on his hands and fingernails. Scully’s with Curt’s body and tells Doggett over the phone that he doesn’t have any paint on him. Doggett doesn’t remember seeing anything on Harry when he left Nora’s the night before. Doggett thinks that after Harry heard that Ray might still be alive, he came to the office to shred something incriminating and was attacked. He admits that people can still do remarkable things after being horribly injured, but this seems too far beyond that to be plausible.

Scully’s more interested in the why than the how. Doggett has an idea, returning to Harry’s office to look at the document he shredded. The top, which is still intact, reads “Chamber Technologies.” Speaking of things that are intact, Ray’s arm is now back on his body. Larina comes to visit, wanting to check on him since someone said they saw him with blood on him. She offers to help him find a doctor, but he’s not interested in her help. He’s probably more concerned with the big hole in his face.

Doggett goes to Chamber Technologies, which is working on creating super-strong metals that can be used to build indestructible things. So it’s clear now, at least to the audience, what we’re dealing with, right? Doggett’s looking for David Clifton, whose name was on the shredded document, but he’s no longer with the company. His successor, Tom Puvogel, says their work is all theoretical, so they don’t deal with materials, which means they would have no need for a salvage yard.

Doggett relays all this info to Scully, who’s spending a lot of time in the morgue in this episode. She tells him that Ray’s Gulf War Syndrome was actually a reaction to some kind of metal. Doggett jumps from there to “Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man” (which, of course, is a ridiculous theory). Scully’s like, “I’ve done this for seven years. I know stuff.” She thinks Puvogel is withholding something important from Doggett.

Larina sees Ray’s obituary in the newspaper, then sees a report about Harry’s death on the news. The police are saying robbery was the motivation. Larina calls Information to get Ray’s phone number. Meanwhile, Scully and Doggett meet up, and she reports that she’s confirmed that blood found at the scene of Harry’s murder was Ray’s. It contains a ton of metal alloy. Doggett says that, no matter what kind of creature he is now, Ray should still be thinking like a man. So why is he killing his supposed friends? Why is he hiding from Nora?

Doggett has Ray’s records from the VA, which state that he had a couple of DUIs ten years ago, but has since become sober. He overcame adversity and created a nice life with Nora. He’s not the sort of person who would go on a killing spree, especially not when the two murder victims were his friends. Scully says that even if they find Ray, he’s so strong now that they probably won’t be able to stop him.

Puvogel’s working late when Ray comes by his office to chat. Well, if “chat” means skulk around and go looking for trouble. Puvogel’s waiting for him and is able to lock him in a chamber of some kind. Scully and Doggett arrive quickly, so it looks like they figured out where Ray would show up next. Despite the strength of the walls imprisoning Ray, they’re not sure he’ll stay contained. Indeed, there’s a rupture in the chamber, and when the agents get the door open, Ray’s gone, having torn the walls apart with his bare hands.

Scully sees that some of Ray’s blood on a wall is merging with the metal. Doggett has Puvogel taken someplace safe while he and Scully figure out what to do next. Ray goes to the halfway house, where he finds Nora waiting for him. He tells her she shouldn’t have come. She’s upset that he didn’t come home to her after he came back from the dead, or whatever. He tells her he couldn’t because he’s not himself. She’s unbothered by his deteriorating skin and just sees his resurrection as a miracle. She wants to help. Ray tells her, “They’ve all got to pay.”

Doggett goes to the salvage yard and finds “Chamber” written on the side of a big container. He hears a knocking noise and sees a pair of hands reaching out from inside a hazardous-materials barrel. There’s a dead body inside. Scully and Doggett have Puvogel brought in to ID the body, which they’ve already guessed is David Clifton. He says Clifton was dying and was worried that Chamber’s work would be hindered. The two just wanted to do the right thing for their company.

Puvogel explains that Clifton got sick after working with an alloy that contained a genetic algorithm. It could convert energy and basically form memories. When Clifton got sick, they shut down the project, but obviously it was too late. Puvogel covered up Clifton’s death so the team could keep working. Somehow, the barrel containing the body was sent to the salvage yard, where the alloy infected Ray.

As Scully pulls Doggett aside, they spot Nora arriving. She grabs a file and starts to make a phone call. A SWAT team goes to the halfway house, looking for Ray, who grabs Larina and covers her mouth to keep her from screaming. This works a little too well, and she dies, either from the strength of Ray’s grip or the toxins in the alloy. Ray makes his escape.

Doggett and Scully tell Nora that her husband has now killed three people. Nora says Curt and Harry made him who he is, which Scully disagrees with. But Nora thinks Chamber knew, and Doggett guesses that Ray sent her there to get revenge. Scully demands to know the name of the person Ray blames the most for his condition. Nora says she wasn’t able to complete her call to Ray and give him the name.

Nora’s taken into protective custody, which somehow means letting her go home while agents watch the house. They don’t bother to check out the inside of the house first, though, and Ray is already there waiting for his wife. Nora asks why he killed Larina when she was just trying to help. Ray demands the name of the person who caused his condition, but Nora won’t give it up – she doesn’t want anyone else to die. He grabs her arm and squeezes hard.

Sometime later, Nora bursts out of the house and tells the agents outside that she was forced to give Ray the name Owen Harris. A rapidly deteriorating Ray ambushes the Harris family in their car and pulls Owen out like he did Curt. Owen’s confused, saying he’s just an accountant. When Ray hears Owen’s son screaming for him, he stops. I guess revenge just isn’t worth traumatizing a little kid by killing his father in front of him.

When Scully and Doggett reach the scene, the Harrises are fine and Ray is gone. Doggett doesn’t get why Ray would just stop his spree. Scully says that Owen was the target because he authorized the delivery of the toxic barrel to the salvage yard. She thinks the real Ray died, and the killer he became was just an abomination. He’s a machine now. He still has a flicker of humanity, and it made him spare Owen. But it looks like Ray has melded with Owen’s car, and is now slumbering in another salvage yard, possibly waiting before he strikes again.

Thoughts: Larina, hon, if an angry man tells you to leave him alone, LEAVE HIM ALONE.

Writers, please. I need you to name a character Smith. Just one. Don’t make me keep typing “Puvogel” over and over.

So is Scully going to wait until she’s showing before she tells Doggett she’s pregnant? Until she gives birth? Is she just going to call in one day, tell him she’s taking a couple months off, and then return to work 40 pounds lighter?

August 28, 2018

ER 2.7, Hell and High Water: It’s a Bad Day to Be a Child in Chicago

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

“Are you getting my good side? Make sure you get my good side. …Hahaha, like I have a bad side!”

Summary: Doug is in a waiting room, surrounded by children, circumstances that should make him feel more comfortable than he is. He’s there to interview for a job, and he doesn’t appreciate all the questions the kids around him are asking. At County, it’s business as usual – Mark is about to chat with a patient, Mrs. Riblet, who’s partaking in her glaucoma medication in the exam room. Connie confiscates it and says she misses the ’60s.

Jerry has discovered the magic of the Internet, and is using a CD-ROM (kids, ask your parents) and modem to connect with Mt. Sinai so the hospitals can pool their resources. Carter gives Jeanie some instructions on how best to deal with Benton, as if she doesn’t already know how impatient and prickly he can be. Harper and Carter greet each other politely but aren’t exactly warm with each other, thanks to their recent argument.

A girl named Molly Phillips is brought in after a hit-and-run, and since Doug is off at his interview, Benton runs the trauma. Carter’s able to answer Benton’s pop-quiz questions, but Harper struggles. When Carter takes a stab at a question and gets it wrong, he’s knocked down a peg. Then Harper makes a good call, and she’s back in Benton’s good graces. Carter is jealous. Meanwhile, the private-practice job Doug is interviewing for turns out to be exactly what he wants.

Back at County, Molly’s stable but has a bad leg fracture. Carter gets knocked down another peg when Jeanie reads the x-ray correctly and impresses Morgenstern. Doug arrives and tells Mark and Carol that he’s taking the private-practice job. Carol asks if it’s what he really wants. Doug notes that he doesn’t have a choice. Molly regains consciousness, and Harper tries to reassure her that everything will be okay. Benton leaves her and Carter in charge of the girl.

Mark examines Mrs. Riblet’s eyes, which appear to be free of the glaucoma she says she needs pot for. She complains of having a floating feeling, which coincidentally started the same time she started smoking. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a connection? Linda tries to help Jerry with a computer problem as Mark hands over Mrs. Riblet’s pot. She tells Jerry he’s free to help himself. Linda’s there to drop off a costume for Doug, since they’re dressing up for a trip to the opera. Jerry passes along the pot to Doug, thinking he can use it more than Jerry can.

Benton gives Jeanie an assignment, leaving out the words “please,” “thank you,” and “I am going to treat you with respect as long as we’re working together.” Maybe he should smoke Mrs. Riblet’s pot. The connection between County and Mt. Sinai’s computers allows Carol to play Doom, a hobby I, for one, am surprised to learn she has.

Molly’s parents arrive and promise to stay with her while she’s in the hospital. She’d also like it if Mr. Phillips would move back home. He blames his wife for the accident, since she let Molly ride her bike in the rain. Mrs. Phillips shoots back that he could keep an eye on their daughter if he spent less time at the office with Sarah. Harper tries to place peacemaker, and Carter compliments her.

Doug is driving to meet Linda when he gets a flat tire. Since it’s a time before everyone had a cell phone, and he doesn’t want to walk for help in the rain, he decides to try to relax with Mrs. Riblet’s joint. Just as he’s lighting up, a boy runs up to his window, screaming for help. The boy, Joey, takes Doug to a storm drain as he explains that he and his brother were playing in the tunnels. His brother, Ben, injured his leg and is stuck by a grate. The water level is rising because of the pouring rain.

Ben starts crying over the possibility of a broken leg and the fact that he’s trapped. Doug tries to free him while talking about how he also played in the tunnels as a kid. He sends Joey to call 911, since the grate is locked and prevents Doug from getting close enough to Ben to rescue him. He tells Ben to curl up in a ball to stay warm while Doug goes to see if there’s another way into the drain.

Doug climbs up to the top of the tunnel but can’t make it in through the blocked grate up there. He goes back to Ben and makes sure he’s not too cold. The water is now up to Ben’s chin, and he’s having trouble staying conscious. Doug suggests that they sing to keep Ben awake. The two sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and it’s clear that Clooney didn’t inherit his aunt’s singing talents.

Doug tells Ben to keep singing while he goes back out to get some supplies from his car. Joey returns, having been unable to find a phone. Doug smashes the window of a building and sends Joey inside to find a phone there. Then he returns to Ben, who’s still conscious. Doug thinks he can use a jack from his car to wedge the grate apart. As he works, the two talk about the Cubs. Doug doesn’t like the boy’s taste in players, so he suggests that they go to a game together next season.

The jack has done what Doug hoped it would, but Ben isn’t strong enough to move himself. Doug orders him to hold on. As Doug’s trying to force the grate apart, Ben slips away in the rushing water. Finally, Doug breaks down the gate and heads off after Ben. They end up in hip-deep water, which Doug carries Ben out of. A helicopter hovering overhead provides him with the light he needs to see what he’s doing to give Ben CPR.

Mark has taken over for Carol at the computer, so I guess it’s a slow night. Jeanie diagnoses one of Benton’s patients, not bothering to hide her pride at how good she is at her job. Molly gives Harper a beaded necklace she made in school as she’s taken to have some lacerations on her face repaired. Her parents fight about who her plastic surgeon should be, because that’s productive.

Doug is still doing CPR when Joey arrives with a police officer. An ambulance is coming, but Doug wants to move quickly. He thinks the helicopter above them, which is from a TV station, is a better idea. He promises Joey that he’s not going to let Ben die, even though that means using a pen to cut a hole in Ben’s airway so he can breathe.

The ambulance arrives, and Doug uses its supplies to keep helping Ben. The helicopter lands, and Joey tells the reporter and cameraman on board that Doug saved his brother. The closest hospital doesn’t have a level-one trauma center, and it would take 12 minutes to get there, so Doug again thinks of the helicopter. It would take 15 minutes to fly to County, and the helicopter isn’t equipped for medical transport, but Doug thinks it’s the better option. He takes more supplies from the ambulance, then gets Ben on the helicopter.

The reporter leaves his cameraman behind but takes the camera to film the flight himself. They’re on live TV when Doug asks the pilot to patch him through to County. This is how Carol and Mark learn of the rescue. Jerry notices the live news report and turns up the volume on the TV. The County staff get to watch in real time as Doug continues working on Ben. Mark sends everyone to prepare for his treatment when he arrives.

Ben’s heart rhythm is abnormal, and the defibrillator Doug took from the ambulance isn’t working (come on, EMTs!), so Doug has to ask the reporter for help. The reporter puts down the camera, cutting the live feed. Doug also loses the call to County, so he tells the pilot to get back on the line and let Mark know they’ll be landing on the roof. Without the live feed from the helicopter, reporters are now speculating that the rescue effort may have failed. Mark realizes that one medical reporter is right outside the hospital. “Ugh, TV doctors,” Carol metas.

Molly plays cards with Harper while she waits for surgery. She complains of stomach pain, but Benton thinks it’s just bruising. Reporters swarm the hospital, trying to get information out of Mark as he heads up to the roof. He ignores them until one asks if he questions Doug’s decision to fly Ben to the hospital instead of going in the ambulance. “Not for a second,” Mark says firmly in defense of his friend.

As soon as the helicopter lands, Mark and Carol join Doug to help him stabilize Ben. The reporter starts filming again, but he stays on the roof when the doctors take their patient inside. Meanwhile, Molly’s also doing poorly, so it looks like her “bruising” was more serious than Benton thought.

Mark sends Doug to change out of his wet clothes and warm up, but Doug wants to keep helping. Mark orders him away again, and Doug laments taking Ben on the helicopter. Harper tells Mrs. Phillips that Molly may have internal bleeding. Benton and Carter work together to help her. Now in dry scrubs, Doug heads back to Ben’s trauma room, greeting Joey and his parents on the way. Ben’s heart is beating again, but he’s not warming up quickly enough. Mark considers bypass, and when he asks Morgenstern’s opinion, Morgenstern says he’s senior enough to make the call on his own.

Next door, Benton and Carter have to perform an emergency procedure on Molly. Harper takes Mrs. Phillips away from the room so she doesn’t have to watch. Mark joins Benton and Carter, sending Benton over to help with Ben instead. Harper comes back and watches Molly’s treatment with worry. Doug tells Ben again to hold on as they try Mark’s suggestion. Unfortunately, Molly couldn’t hold on, and Mark declares her dead. Harper is crushed.

Ben wakes up, and Doug tells him he made it. Mark wants Doug to get a cut on his forehead checked out, but Doug would rather make sure Ben’s okay first. As the Phillipses leave the hospital in shock and grief, a reporter mistakes them for Ben’s parents and asks how they feel about Doug bringing their child to a hospital that wasn’t closest to the scene. Carter shuts down the interview and sees the Phillipses out.

Mark is fixing up Doug’s cuts and scrapes when Joey and his parents come in to see Ben. Joey’s pleased that Doug saved Ben just as he promised. Doug reminds Ben that they’ll be going to see the Cubs together. He thanks Mark, who says Doug did all the hard work. Doug thinks he got lucky, but Mark credits Doug’s familiarity with kids for his success. The two of them head out for the night, though Doug’s car is still in the park. He and Mark walk outside and are greeted by a crowd of reporters who want to talk to Chicago’s newest hero.

Thoughts: Ben is played by Erik von Detten.

Clooney spends most of the episode in formal wear. Thank you, wardrobe department.

Even after all these years, the shot of Doug finally finding Ben and lifting him out of the water is still really cool.

August 25, 2018

The X-Files 8.8, Surekill: I’m No Superman

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

Yep, that’s fire, all right

Summary: A man in Worcester, Massachusetts, makes a frantic pay phone call to leave a message about a woman who’s lying. He insists that the truth is in a desk drawer. He abandons the phone and runs away, but trips and falls, because apparently this is a cheesy horror movie. The man runs to a police station and tells the officers there that someone wants to kill him. He grabs a gun, but the officers wrestle him to the ground. They shove him in a holding cell, which the man says isn’t safe enough. The person coming for him will still be able to kill him. And he’s right, as suddenly he’s dead, in a big splat of blood.

The next morning, Scully looks at an x-ray of the man’s head. It shows that he was shot in the head, despite the fact that no one visible shot him. The man, Carlton Chase, was a Realtor with no criminal record. The police captain, Triguero, greets the agents and shows them the spot in the ceiling where the killer appears to have hidden to shoot Chase. That still doesn’t explain why no one heard a gunshot.

The agents head up to the spot above the cell, a small attic space that doesn’t look big enough for someone to make the shot. On the roof, Scully finds only a pencil. She and Doggett guess that this was more than just a lucky shot, since Chase knew he was going to be killed. Doggett finds a piece of towel and thinks it was used as a makeshift gun silencer.

Scully thinks the killer could have aimed (through two layers of non-transparent materials, by the way) by using thermal imaging to detect Chase’s body heat. Doggett notes that the device needed for that weighs 90 pounds and would have to be lugged up to the roof of the police station. And even if that were the case, the killer would be pretty gutsy to plan all this at a police station.

A woman named Tammi heads to work at AAA-1 Surekill Exterminators, opening the business for the day. As she reads a newspaper article about Chase’s death, she plays the messages on the business’ machine and hears his. She checks the desk drawer he mentioned and finds a cash box, but it’s empty. When a co-worker catches her, Tammi lies that she was fixing a printer cable. She also lies that there are no messages on the machine. Her co-worker, Dwight, notices the light on the machine is blinking, but fortunately for Tammi, there’s another message to play.

She asks if Dwight heard about Chase, but he just tells her to get someone named Randall on the phone. Randall himself then arrives, and Tammi tells him his brother wants to see him. Instead of going to see Dwight, Randall gets to work, getting rid of exterminated rats. Dwight is cranky, so I’d probably choose to go that route, too.

Dwight finds him and asks what happened last night. He’s not happy that Randall decided to make a move without telling the others. Randall says he saw Chase stealing from the business. Dwight asks where the stolen money is, but Randall doesn’t know. Dwight reminds him that he always needs to get the money before he kills someone. The others always need to be informed. Randall asks if they’re going out tonight, and Dwight smiles.

Scully and Doggett go to Chase’s office, which is less than a mile from the police station and probably where he started thinking someone was after him. Scully notices from Chase’s paperwork that he did a lot of business with Surekill, probably having them check out houses he was selling. Doggett finds a bullet casing, but it doesn’t match the kind that killed Chase. There are dozens of holes in the walls, making Doggett think Chase was trying to shoot someone in the office. Scully says it could have been someone outside shooting inside.

Dwight surprises three guys in a warehouse when he arrives to get the money Chase stole, as well as some drugs. The men have guns and are more than happy to shoot Dwight, but he acts first, shooting them just by making the motions with his bare hands. (He also says “bang” every time he shoots, which is understandable. It would be hard to resist doing that.) Once the guys are on the ground, Randall joins his brother, ready to set the place on fire.

The agents come to the scene, wondering if they’re dealing with more lucky shots. Scully lines up bullet holes with the victims and determines that the shooter was standing behind a wall. That means he wouldn’t be able to see his victims. Scully suggests that the shooter can see through walls thanks to the use of wavelengths most people can’t see. In other words, maybe he has x-ray vision.

Scully won’t admit that she has a weird theory; she just says that her conjecture is that the shooter’s eyes are configured differently than most people’s. “Calling Clark Kent,” Doggett quips. He thinks this was a simple drug rip-off, a not-uncommon occurrence in the area. He’s not sure of Chase’s part in this yet, but he wants to follow up on a lead: sulfuryl fluoride.

At Surekill, Tammi tries to go about her normal tasks, but Dwight wants to see her in his office. And by “see her,” I mean engage in activities that are completely inappropriate for the office. Tammi feels especially uncomfortable because Randall’s right outside the door. If Scully’s right and Randall has x-ray vision, he’s getting quite a show.

The agents show up to talk to Dwight about the paperwork from Chase’s office tying him to Surekill. Dwight reveals that he’s been legally blind since birth, then calls Tammi over to look at the paperwork for him. She IDs it as billing from Chase, whom Dwight says was a great client. Doggett shows the two the piece of the towel from the police station, which has sulfuryl fluoride on it, an insecticide. Dwight acknowledges that they use it, as do a lot of other exterminators in the area.

Doggett confirms that Dwight is an ex-con, though he served his time a long time ago, and he’s now a model citizen. (Well, allegedly.) Doggett asks why Chase called Surekill less than 15 minutes before he was killed. Dwight says the employees were all gone by that time, and there was no message on the machine from Chase. Tammi doesn’t say anything.

After the agents leave, Dwight, of course, asks Tammi about the call. She says Chase must have left a message, but she accidentally erased it without hearing it. She was afraid to tell Dwight in case she lost them some business. Dwight flicks open a lighter, wanting a better look at Tammi’s eyes to see if she’s telling the truth. She lies that she is, and he seems to believe her.

At the police station, Scully and Doggett pull up Dwight’s record, which says he was arrested for grand theft auto in 1986. Interesting, since he’s legally blind and wouldn’t be able to see to drive a car. He and Randall were arrested together, so they must have been working together. Scully notes that they have the same birthday. Doggett says he hates twins, since they never rat each other out. Scully suggests that Tammi might.

Tammi’s at home for the night, but Randall’s keeping an eye on her through her apartment wall. It’s gross. The next morning, Tammi rushes to work, trying to get the box Chase mentioned before Randall and Dwight catch her. She fails, but before Dwight can look in the box, Scully and Doggett arrive with a warrant to search the office. Doggett asks about the box, but Tammi says she doesn’t remember the combination to the lock. Doggett pries it open and finds nothing inside.

Dwight insists that everything about his business is legit, but Scully finds some invoices that contradict that. Dwight and Randall earn themselves a trip to the police station and separate interrogations. Scully would like to know how Surekill, a tiny three-person company, was able to bill Chase for $700,000 last year. Just how many rats did they kill? Scully suggests that Dwight, Randall, and Chase were running a side business.

Dwight tells Doggett that he’s just a regular Joe providing a public service. Next door, Randall stares through the wall and tells Scully the same thing. Scully guesses that he’s repeating what his brother just said to Doggett. Her theory (sorry, conjecture) about Randall having x-ray vision is becoming more and more likely. He can read lips, and he can shoot drug dealers through walls. All Dwight and Randall’s money is coming from drug dealers they rob. Randall says no, they’re just exterminators. “You certainly are,” Scully agrees.

She guesses that this whole side business was Dwight’s idea, so it’s time for Randall to be his own man and think for himself. And then it’s time for the agents to question Tammi. Randall promises Dwight that he only said the same things Dwight did. Dwight says they still have a problem, and it needs to be taken care of.

Tammi insists to Doggett and Scully that she’s just a bookkeeper and doesn’t know anything about drug dealers or murders. The agents present their theory that Chase was a fence, selling the drugs that Dwight and Randall stole. So why did they kill him? Scully thinks it was for personal, not business, reasons. Tammi asks if she’s under arrest. She’s not, so she gets to go home, but of course, Randall’s still watching her.

Phone records show that Tammi’s made multiple calls to Chase, probably to discuss Dwight and Randall’s activities. They guess that Dwight found out about the calls, thought Tammi was hooking up with Chase, and eliminated his romantic competition. As Tammi goes over to Randall’s, Scully changes her mind: Maybe Randall is the jealous one. Tammi has the same theory that Randall killed Chase, and she tells Randall she still needs help.

The next morning, Tammi drives Randall to the bus station and tells him to wait for her. She’ll join him once she has the money. She knows Randall took her book to protect her from Dwight, but she needs it to get her money. Randall gives her the book, which is some kind of ledger, and she promises she’ll be back to join him. She owes him since he saved her from Chase.

Scully and Doggett go to Tammi’s apartment, where all her stuff is gone. They guess she was fleeing town. Doggett calls the last place Tammi called, Cradock Marine Bank. That’s where she is now, leaving with a bag full of money. Dwight’s hiding in her car to steal back the money Tammi stole from him (after he stole it from drug dealers). Just as Randall’s giving up on Tammi joining him at the bus station, police officers arrive.

At Surekill, Dwight confirms that Tammi, not Chase, was ripping him off. She explains that Chase blackmailed her when he found out she was stealing. She didn’t want to take part in their relationship. Dwight asks why Randall killed Chase if he wasn’t the thief. He figures out that Randall had a crush on Tammi and killed Chase because he knew about their relationship.

Randall arrives, and Dwight decides it’s time for him to kill his crush. He’s mad that Randall knew that Tammi was stealing. He must have thought they would run off together. Dwight says that Tammi used Randall, but Dwight’s the only one who really loves him. They need to stick together no matter what. Dwight says he’ll walk away and try to figure out how to forgive his brother. Randall’s job is to get rid of the thief.

Tammi pleads for her life, promising Randall that she was coming back for her. He wraps his gun in a towel and says he doesn’t believe her. He takes a shot, but not at Tammi – he shoots Dwight instead, even though Dwight’s outside, hundreds of feet away.

The agents bring Randall in for questioning, but he won’t talk. Tammi has taken off. Scully thinks Randall watched her every day and chose her over anyone or anything in the world. He must have seen something in her that she didn’t even see in herself. Doggett asks if she’s suggesting that he could see into her heart, something that’s beyond the FBI’s ability to grasp. Randall uses his x-ray vision to look through the police station’s walls at a picture of his crush on a computer screen.

Thoughts: I always thought “the Exterminator” would make a good name for an assassin.

The real question is how Randall’s bullets are able to travel so far.

Guy Dwight is about to shoot: “You’re funny. Nah, you know what? Chris Rock is funny. You’re just dead.” Well, that wasn’t funny either. Try harder next time. (Oh, wait. YOU’RE dead. Never mind.)

August 21, 2018

ER 2.6, Days Like This: Aggravated Mayhem

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:05 pm by Jenn

“I know you’re not feeling well, sir, but we’re talking about me now”

Summary: Mark stops at a payphone somewhere downtown to call Doug and leave a message asking him to bring him some paperwork. At County, the staff is trying to handle a mass gang shooting. A man named Abraham Zimble comes looking for Carol; he’s a mobile notary and she’s asked him to sign some paperwork so she can buy a house. She doesn’t have time right now, though, so Abraham will have to wait. Susan notes that with Carter and Benton in surgery, Doug MIA, and Mark on his way in from Milwaukee, the ER staff is currently all female. Malik objects.

Unable to reach Doug, Mark goes to his apartment to get the paperwork himself. He offers to wait and go to work with Doug, but Doug nervously tells him to go on ahead. He’s unable to rush Mark out of the apartment before he can discover that Doug isn’t alone – and he’s not with Hulda or Linda. He’s with Harper. Mark blasts Doug for sleeping with a med student, warning that he could be fired. And unless Mark wants to get in trouble for not saying anything, he’ll have to report this to Doug’s superiors.

Jeanie reports for work in the ER as a physicians’ assistant. Weaver pretends that she’ll have a warm welcome, like Weaver’s own. Thanks to her history as a physical therapist, Jeanie knows how to read an x-ray, which makes Weaver happy. The person who isn’t happy is Benton, who’s shocked to see his ex in the ER. He completely ignores her.

Now at work, Mark helps out with one of the gunshot victims. Doug wants to talk, for some reason thinking this is a good time. When he doesn’t get the hint, Mark snaps at him to go away. While Jerry and Randi try to handle all the chaos, Al (the police officer, not Jeanie’s husband) brings in a gang member who bit him. The gang member, Jorge, tries to argue that he was justified, since Al’s dog bit him first. The gang member calls Randi a nasty name, so she tackles him and screams in his face. And that’s when we all learned not to mess with Randi.

Harper finds Mark after he’s done with his trauma and asks to talk to him. Abraham has become a patient, having collapsed in the cafeteria. Mark’s surprised to hear that Carol bought a house; apparently she got a great deal. Carter chats amiably with Jeanie, which makes Benton even more annoyed than he was before. Jeanie looks like, if she hadn’t already broken up with him, this would make her want to.

Carter goes off to do some dumb assignment for Benton and runs into Harper. He invites her to a Blues Traveler concert (awww, remember Blues Traveler?), but she says they need to talk. He’d rather hear what she has to say right now, though he probably changes his mind when she announces that she slept with Doug.

Al has handcuffed Jorge to a gurney while he has his hand examined. Weaver and Jeanie try to ignore him, then go take care of his wounds. Jorge reacts badly, attacking them both and trying to run away (even while he’s still handcuffed to the gurney). Randi uses Weaver’s crutch to knock him out. Weaver’s impressed, as she should be. “Just don’t tell my parole officer,” Randi replies.

Doug disagrees with Neil, his boss (who hates him), about whether or not a kid named Joseph should be admitted. Neil says no, and since he’s in charge, he gets the last word. Jerry, Lydia, and Wendy wonder what Randi did; Jerry says assault, Lydia says grand theft auto, and Wendy says kidnapping. They start a betting pool. Doug defies Neil’s orders and tells Jerry to admit Joseph.

Benton examines a man named Mr. Lake who had chest pain but isn’t feeling it anymore. Benton wants him to be seen by a cardiac surgeon, Carl Vucelich, in case he has an aortic aneurysm. Mr. Lake is hesitant and asks Susan’s opinion, since Susan was his original doctor. She defers to Benton, then pulls Benton out of the room to ask why he got involved. She suspects that he’s using Mr. Lake to get an in with Vucelich in hopes of being invited to assist on his aortic aneurysm study.

Doug runs into Harper and apologizes for the post-sex awkwardness. Harper has no hard feelings. Carol signs her paperwork as Abraham, who thinks he had a heart attack, wonders if his job is too stressful. It’s hard for him to watch people sign paperwork they haven’t fully read, then pay a bunch of money for houses they might not be able to completely afford. Carol tries to ignore him and finish signing.

Mr. Lake doesn’t need surgery after all, so Benton has to cancel Vucelich’s consult. Susan feels bad that Benton no longer has an in with him (or she at least pretends she feels bad). Mark tracks down Doug on the roof and confronts him for admitting Joseph behind Neil’s back. Doug changes the topic of conversation to Harper, insisting that he didn’t seduce her. Mark says it doesn’t matter; he still broke the rules. He also slept with Carter’s girlfriend. Doug says Carter has nothing to do with this. Mark spits out that, as usual, it’s all about Doug.

Benton’s supposed to give Weaver a few stitches (courtesy of Jorge’s attack), but she got impatient waiting and asked Jeanie to do them. She invites Benton to talk Jeanie through the process. Benton does so as if he’s trying to break a Guinness record for the fastest suture-instruction-giver. “He’s nothing if not thorough,” Weaver quips to Jeanie. Malik makes his guess for the What Did Randi Do? pool, suspecting that she was busted for breaking and entering. Chuny thinks assault with a knife is more likely. Carol tells Jerry to stop mocking Randi for an experience that must have been demoralizing and humiliating.

Vucelich comes to the ER, even though Benton canceled his consult, and tells Benton and Susan that Mr. Lake does need surgery. Benton thought his aortic dissection was within the limits for medical treatment, but Vucelich tells him to expand those limits. He spoke to Mr. Lake himself, and the patient has agreed to surgery, so Vucelich is doing it. He invites Benton to join him, and Benton allows Carter to come along.

Neil yells at Doug for admitting Joseph, and the two have a fight in the hallway, within Carol’s hearing. Neil reminds Doug that his fellowship ends on New Year’s Eve, and it’s not going to be renewed. In the OR, Carter’s pleasant personality and inquisitive nature make Vucelich and Morgenstern appreciate his presence. Benton, with his…lack of both of those things, seems like a fun-killer.

Abraham urges Carol to finish her paperwork, wondering if she’s putting it off because she’s not sure she really wants the house. Carol says she’s just busy. It’s not clear whether she’s relieved when Jeanie gets puked on and Carol has an excuse to delay the signing a little longer, but she might be. She tries to talk to Doug, who pretends nothing’s wrong.

Carter’s a little more willing to talk to Harper, who tells him she made a mistake and it won’t happen again. He notes that they only went out a few times and kissed once, so it’s not really like she cheated. She didn’t even need to tell him. Carter says it’s not that big of a deal, but to Carter, everything’s a big deal. Harper says that yesterday was the worst day of her life, what with having to help with Chia-Chia’s lumbar puncture. She wanted to end the day with someone who’d been through it with her.

Susan and Doug tend to a girl who had a seizure while trying to pretend that Doug didn’t just get yelled at by his boss. Jeanie tells Peter that she tried to avoid having to work with him, but County is the only hospital nearby with an ER rotation. He acts dismissive, and she asks if he’s going to be like that the whole time she’s there. They should try being professional and civil.

Mark meets with Morgenstern and Neil to discuss the Doug situation. Neil refuses to budge on his decision to renew Doug’s fellowship, no matter how good a doctor he is. Mark goes to bat for his friend, but Morgenstern doesn’t think anyone can control Doug, even Mark. It doesn’t matter how much he’s needed in the ER.

Mark then goes to talk to Harper, who’s worried about what the discovery of her fling means. She’s afraid that her career will be defined by one night with Doug. Without coming right out and saying it, she asks Mark not to tell anyone about the fling. Doug goes back to his seizure patient, who’s awake and agitated. Weaver tries to comfort her, demonstrating a bedside manner that’s very different from the way she talks to her colleagues. Doug thinks she could have even had a good career in pediatrics.

Jeanie deals with a patient named Mr. Stubey who really doesn’t want a nurse. Jeanie assures him that she’s not one. Then he pees on the floor. Womp womp. Benton summons Harper to help with a patient, which means she and Carter will have to be in the same room at the same time and pretend everything’s fine. You know, like everyone else working in the hospital today. As soon as Carter gets an excuse to leave, he does.

Carol catches Doug moping about his life, though he admits that it felt good yelling at Neil. He’s been at County longer than he’s ever been anywhere or with anyone, so he’s accepted that it’s time to move on. Carol offers to talk if he wants to call her later. At the admit desk, Weaver hears the pool participants bickering over whether they should ask Randi what she did. Weaver calls them wimps and asks Randi herself. Randi gives them a list: “malicious mischief, assault, battery, carrying a concealed weapon, and aggravated mayhem.” Sounds like she’s a perfect fit for the ER.

Carol’s having a light-hearted phone conversation with Shep when Lydia tells her that Abraham is crashing. Carol realizes she only has two pages left to sign, and she rushes to finish them before Abraham dies. I’m sure Susan and the nurses in the room appreciate her lack of help. Carol finishes buying her house just in time.

Doug tries to talk to Carter, who’s blowing off some steam at the hospital’s basketball hoop. Doug attempts to join the game, apologizing for sleeping with Harper and urging Carter to give her another chance. Carter said he listened to her side of things, and he needs time to make peace with what happened. Weaver realizes that the seizure patient is deaf and speaks sign language. Weaver knows some sign and is able to tell the girl, Janie, that she’s going to be okay.

Carol takes Shep to her new house, though “new” isn’t a word that’s been applied to this place in quite a while. It’s pretty clear why Carol got such a good deal. Also, it’s right under some El tracks, so it can’t be much fun to live there. Still, Carol’s excited, and Shep’s excited for her, celebrating by carrying her over the threshold.

Mark runs into Doug on an El platform and confirms that he didn’t tell Morgenstern that Doug and Harper slept together. He chastises Doug for admitting Joseph when it was clear he didn’t need to be; Doug was just pushing Neil’s buttons, the same way he’s been pushing Mark. Doug can’t – or, more likely, won’t – explain why. He just waits until Mark leaves and mopes by himself some more.

Thoughts: Vucelich is played by Ron Rifkin. Jorge is played by an unrecognizable Guillermo Diaz.

Al’s K-9 partner is named Peggy. I love it when dogs have names like that.

Suggestion for season 7 of Orange is the New Black: a cross-over featuring Randi. (Fun fact: Yvette Freeman, AKA Haleh, played one of Frieda’s Golden Girls in season 2 of OITNB.)

Shep’s mustache: NO.

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