August 17, 2019

My So-Called Life 1, Pilot: The Red Hair Diaries

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

This is not an exaggeration. We actually dressed like this in 1994

Summary: Angela Chase and Rayanne Graff are trying to find someone who will give them change for a phone call. They spin some different stories – they were robbed, their mother’s in a coma – but no one takes the bait. Angela voices over that she started hanging out with Rayanne for fun; it felt like, if she didn’t, she would die. “Things were getting to me,” she says. “Just how people are.” They expected her to act a certain way, like her best friend.

That best friend is Sharon Cherski, who keeps up a one-sided conversation while Angela checks out boys in the school hallway. She feels like she has to pretend she doesn’t notice them noticing her. She’s annoyed by cheerleaders – “can’t people just cheer on their own? Like, to themselves?” Angela spots Rayanne running across campus with Rickie Vasquez and voices over that “school is a battlefield for your heart.”

Rayanne talks Angela into dyeing her hair red, which she thinks will change her entire life. The first thing it does is surprise Angela’s mother, Patty. She’s next surprised to meet Rayanne and Rickie, who are over at the Chases’ house for the first time. Patty offers them a snack and leaves them alone. Angela tells her friends that she only pretended to be calm about her daughter’s hair because they had company.

At dinner that night, Angela voices over that she can’t bring herself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of her mother. Chewing in public seems weird to her. Her father, Graham, pretends he doesn’t notice Angela’s new hair. Her sister, Danielle, says she would never dye her hair red. Angela corrects that it’s “Crimson Glow.” Graham foresees a better social life. Angela voices over that he thinks everyone in the world is having more fun than he is, which might be true. Graham has no problem with the dye job; Angela’s allowed to do whatever she wants to her own hair. Patty notes that they won’t be able to lose her in a crowd.

Later that evening, Graham encounters Angela as she’s leaving the bathroom in a towel and is shaken. Angela voices over that they used to be close. She tells Graham that she’s starting to like Anne Frank. “Is she a sophomore, too?” he asks. Angela knows that her newly developed breasts have made her father unsure of what to say around her.

Graham tells Patty to tell Angela not to walk around in a towel. Patty says he can tell her himself. Graham says that’s not possible. Patty ignores him and talks about the article she’s reading about Chelsea Clinton. She has no privacy and is always being watched by the Secret Service. Patty wishes they had that for their kids.

Graham tells her it could be a lot worse. When the alternatives are doing drugs, having sex, and cutting class, Angela’s dye job is nothing. Patty thinks Angela dyed her hair to get a reaction out of her mother. Patty won’t give her that reaction. It’s just hard to look at her daughter now – she looks like a stranger.

Angela tells us that she’s in love with Jordan Catalano. He’s older, having been held back twice. He closes his eyes a lot, as if it hurts to look at things. She runs into Sharon at school, and they look at each other awkwardly before Rayanne pulls Angela into a bathroom. She knows that Angela likes Jordan and thinks she wants to sleep with him.

Angela says that Jordan’s always leaning against things – “he leans great.” She’d settle for a conversation over sex, though she’d like to have both with him. Rayanne invites Angela to Tino’s the next night, telling her Jordan will be there. Angela voices over that Rayanne always knows who’s going to be places.

Leaving the bathroom, Angela again runs into Sharon, who can’t believe she dyed her hair. They go to a meeting for the yearbook, where Brian Krakow takes pictures of Angela, making her self-conscious. She ducks her head into her sweater to hide. She hates school and knows her parents don’t really care how it is when they ask her. It’s like a drive-by shooting you’re lucky to survive. Everyone votes on yearbook themes except Angela, who walks out of the meeting with the announcement that she doesn’t want to be in the club anymore. She declines to offer a reason to the teacher, Ms. Mayhew.

The next morning, Sharon comes by the Chases’ house looking for her copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. She mentions in front of Patty that Angela quit yearbook. Danielle finds the book in Angela’s disaster of a room and gets sassy when Sharon doesn’t thank her. Patty’s annoyed that Angela didn’t say she quit yearbook. She hates that Angela’s behavior has turned her into a nagging mother.

At school, Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie hang out in the girls’ bathroom together. Rayanne announces that Angela’s in love with Jordan, so they need to get them together. She invites Angela to Tino’s again. Rickie’s contribution of the male perspective is to repeat Angela’s admiration of how Jordan leans. Angela realizes she’s late for class and tries to pretend that she’s just going because she’s not too busy with anything else. She runs through the hall, passing a crying cheerleader.

Angela’s biology class is half-asleep and led by a teacher who can’t engage anyone. Brian is the only person in his history and English classes who cares to answer any questions. Angela’s distracted by a buzzing light. When Ms. Mayhew asks how the class would describe Anne Frank, Angela murmurs, “Lucky.” Ms. Mayhew is appalled. Jordan arrives late, distracting Angela again. She thinks Anne was fortunate to be trapped with a guy she liked for three years.

Ms. Mayhew keeps Angela after class to talk about why she quit yearbook. She’s worried that Angela’s starting the year on the wrong foot. Angela says that it feels like people agree to keep a certain personality their whole lives, but they can’t be sure that’s who they really are. Everyone’s in a hurry to make yearbook to remember what happened, but it’s not what really happened, just what they think was supposed to. If they made a book of what really happened, it would be upsetting.

At home, Angela voices over that Graham works in printing. He was only supposed to work for a business in Patty’s family for a little while, then go to chef school. She’s not sure why he never did. Patty took over the business and is technically Graham’s boss. Graham tells Angela that sometimes she’s too hard on her mother. Patty just wants everyone to be happy. Angela says that’s Graham, not Patty.

Graham continues that Patty does so much for Angela. Angela complains about Patty’s sudden moods, which lead her to blame things on her daughter. Graham says that’s not the real her. Angela just needs to try to be nicer, like an experiment. Angela hesitantly asks if she can go to a thing at Rayanne’s, a rehearsal for a play they might do for extra credit. Graham buys her lie.

Angela goes to the party at Tino’s, which is the same as pretty much every other party you see on a teen TV show. There’s a live band and alcohol. Angela gets knocked into some mud and goes inside to get cleaned up. Jordan’s there, watching TV on an enclosed porch, and when Angela can’t get the door to the house to open, she’s stuck with him. He comments that it doesn’t seem like a Friday. Well, that’s because it’s Thursday. Jordan’s friends whisk him away to someplace more fun.

Patty’s learned that Graham let Angela go out on a school night, so they’re fighting about his failure to ever be the mean parent. She thinks Angela loves Graham more. When Angela gets home, Patty lays into her, telling Graham that Angela lied about where she was going. The noise brings Danielle downstairs, and when she tries to get involved, Graham tells her to shut up. Not cool, Graham.

Patty asks how Graham expects Angela to ever have any respect for her. Angela says she does respect her mother. Graham thinks they should all go to bed and sort things out in the morning. He and Patty both leave, but Danielle stays behind to ask Angela what she was really up to.

At school the next day, Rayanne invites Angela to a rave that night. Again, she’s sure Jordan will be there. They’re in the cafeteria, which Angela thinks is the “embarrassment capital of the world.” Rayanne offers to loan Angela something to wear that night so she’ll look tough.

After lunch, Angela and Rayanne go to the bathroom, where three other girls are trying to figure out the difference between “fat-free” and “low-fat.” Stay in school, girls. Angela knows she’ll need to come up with a lie to tell her parents again. Rayanne says to just tell them Angela’s sleeping over at her place. Sharon comes in as Rayanne invites Angela to stay over for real; her mom won’t be there.

After Rayanne leaves, Angela tries to extend an olive branch to Sharon, who isn’t interested. She tells Angela that people are saying she thinks she’s above everyone, and is just Rayanne’s hanger-on. Sharon’s sure that Rayanne’s just using Angela the same way she used a previous friend. Sharon wants to know what she did to make Angela turn on her. Why did Angela drop her oldest friend for no reason? Both girls get emotional as Angela says there isn’t any one thing Sharon did. She still wants to be friends, but Sharon’s over it. She asks if Patty lost it when she saw Angela’s hair. Sharon, for one, hates it.

Patty wants the Chases to go ice-skating that night like a normal, happy family. Danielle would prefer to stay home and watch a movie about a girl who makes obscene phone calls. Graham has plans to play pool with his brother, their second time hanging out that week. Patty tries to rally her daughters, which Angela thinks is punishment. She asks if she can go to Rayanne’s instead. Patty doesn’t like Rayanne, since she ate all of Patty’s cheese when she was at the house the other day.

Graham doesn’t think it’s a big deal if Angela goes to Rayanne’s, even if they don’t know Rayanne or her parents. Danielle does that patented sibling thing where she bugs her parents while they’re distracted by their troublemaking child until they give in just to shut her up. Graham tries to get Patty to loosen up by noting that there’s no way her parents knew all 900 of her friends. Angela voices over that her parents went to the same high school but didn’t know each other. Patty was popular and beloved, while Graham was a nobody.

Angela says that her parents don’t even have to drive her to Rayanne’s, since Rickie’s cousin is going to pick her up. That doesn’t make anything better. Danielle interjects again, trying to get attention. Patty comments on Rickie’s appearance, which Angela says doesn’t matter; he may be bi, but that doesn’t mean his cousin can’t drive. Patty seems shocked that Angela knows the word “bi.” Danielle also knows what it means.

Patty says Rickie’s a child and can’t call himself anything. He must be confused. Angela defends him, but Patty notes that Rickie wears eyeline. When Graham expresses surprise, Patty says she thought he was on her side. Graham says he’s not on anyone’s side. Patty tells him to grow up and choose. Graham asks if Rayanne’s mother will be at the house. “No, Rayanne lives by her wits, in an alley,” Angela replies sarcastically. Of course Rayanne’s mother will be home.

Done with the argument, Patty gives in and tells Angela to go to Rayanne’s and Graham to go be with his brother. Angela thinks Patty’s just going to use this to hold a grudge. Danielle continues seeking attention. Someone get this child a puppy or something. Angela avoids her family by staying on the front porch, then sneaks into some bushes to change clothes. Brian spots her and tells her she’s breaking a bunch of laws. He thinks she looked better before. She doesn’t care what he thinks.

Brian mocks that she’s going off with her cool friends to do stupid things. He thinks she’s going to meet Jordan. Angela tells him she’s going to the rave, but he doubts the club, Let’s Bolt, will let her in. He tells her she’s not stupid, so she shouldn’t act like it. She tells him everyone’s acting, including Brian. He continues mocking her as she heads off with her friends.

They have to wait outside the club for Tino to come get them in. Rayanne tells Rickie to be patient; he’s waited for things before, right? He says he’s waiting for his life to start. They pass around a bottle of alcohol, and by the time people have arrived at the club, the girls are drunk. Rickie asks what they would want their sexual partner to say right before they get busy. “This won’t take long,” Rayanne suggests. Second choice: “Don’t I know you?” Angela wants to hear, “You’re so beautiful, it hurts to look at you.” Rayanne laughs, but Rickie likes it.

Rayanne runs off, threatening to tell Jordan what Angela said. She runs into a couple of older guys and asks for help getting in the club. The guys extend an invitation (just to the girls) to go somewhere else. Rickie says he doesn’t mind being left behind. One of the guys wants Rayanne to get closer, though his friend warns that the girls are too young for them. Rayanne approaches that the guy puts her up against his car and starts feeling her up. “Something was actually happening, but it was too actual,” Angela voices over.

Just as things are about to get illegal, Angela pulls the guy off of Rayanne. Rayanne falls to the ground and rejects Angela’s attempts to help her, saying she can take care of herself. She throws a bottle at the guy’s car, setting him off again. His friend holds him back. Rickie tells Angela that Rayanne won’t remember any of this tomorrow, since she blacks out when she drinks.

A police officer approaches, so Rickie runs off. The cop puts the girls in his car to drive them home, promising that they’re not under arrest. As they’re leaving, Rayanne spots Jordan and his friends arriving. He recognizes Angela and even knows her name. Rayanne tells Angela that she knew what she was doing. She promises to always watch out for Angela and look after her. She teases that, with Angela’s hair like that, it hurts to look at her. The cop takes Rayanne into her house, where it’s clear no one’s home.

Angela and the cop discuss Anne Frank as he drives her home. Angela says Anne was hiding, but at the same time, she stopped hiding. She was free. The cop tells her not to do this sort of thing again. Angela asks him not to take her to her front door. Brian, who’s hanging out in a tree, watches as he lets Angela out of the car. The cop asks him to watch out for her.

Brian walks Angela home, and she tells him what happened at the club. He tells her that the yearbook club picked a theme. She wonders who told him she likes Jordan. He says no one did. They stop when Angela sees her father talking to a woman outside the house. Angela heads off in another direction with Brian following her. He tells her the yearbook theme is the year 2000. They both think it’s dumb.

Angela sneaks into her house and takes off her makeup and borrowed clothes. She goes to her parents’ room and lies that Rayanne’s mother drove her home. She voices over that Patty’s adopted and looked for her “real” parents for a while. Angela thinks that’s what everyone’s looking for. She starts crying as she tells her mother she’s sorry about everything, including her hair. Patty says it’s not that big a deal, and now that she looks at it again, it’s not that bad. Angela falls asleep in her mother’s arms.

At school on Monday, Jordan asks Angela if she’s out on bail. She tries to start a conversation, but he leaves. Rayanne and Rickie are telling a friend about their weekend adventure, thrilled that they “had a time” with Angela. Angela’s equally thrilled to have friends who are happy to tell fun stories about their time together.

Thoughts: One of the girls in the bathroom having the “fat-free”/”low-fat” conversation is Bianca Lawson, in her very first TV appearance.

’90s music alert: REM’s “Everybody Hurts”

Angela saying that she once almost touched Jordan’s shoulder gave me flashbacks to every teen crush I ever had. And then the Angela/Sharon scene in the bathroom punched me in the gut, because I’ve been Sharon.

Teens who have a loud party outside with alcohol and a live band deserve to be busted by the police.

August 13, 2019

ER 4.13, Carter’s Choice: There Will (Possibly) Be Blood

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

Not seen: Doug trying to back out of the lounge

Summary: Carter’s driving to work behind a snowplow, which doesn’t help when he has to walk through snow to the ER. He’s working a night shift, which is where Jerry’s been stuck since the grenade incident. Things in the ER are quiet, so Lydia’s amusing herself by looking at possible new haircuts. Jerry wants to talk to Weaver about being moved back to day shifts, but he’s not sure how to approach her. Carter thinks Weaver has a sense of fairness and will agree that Jerry’s excellent work history is in his favor. Malik disagrees – Jerry should beg.

Anna’s napping in an exam room, so Carter doesn’t wake her to give her a donut. She wakes up anyway, and Carter offers to buy her breakfast at Doc Magoo’s while she gets a little more sleep. She asks after Chase, who’s doing better. Carter thanks her for her help with him, and she says she was happy to give it. Before he can go across the street to get breakfast, a trauma comes in.

The patient is a gunshot victim, but because of a lack of recent donations and the snow outside, the hospital is running low on blood. A paramedic tells the doctors that the patient, who was shot multiple times, is a security guard who interrupted a rape – and yes, the would-be victim was an elderly woman. Fortunately, the patient stopped the assault. He also may have shot the rapist.

The doctors start to take the guard to the OR, but they lose his pulse and have to take him back to the trauma room. Mark has arrived and joins the group to help. He soon realizes that the guard’s too injured to save, and though Carter wants to keep working, since the man is a hero, there’s nothing he can do. Once time of death has been called, Carter storms out of the trauma room.

Weaver runs into Anspaugh in the parking garage and asks how the board voted on the Synergix agreement. They voted to let Synergix run the ER, which disappoints Weaver. Anspaugh says she put him in an awkward position – she pushed him for the deal, then changed her mind. The hospital can’t back out now without looking foolish. Anspaugh invites Weaver to tell the board she was mistaken about her support for Synergix, which might help smooth things over.

Cynthia tells Mark that she either has to sign a six-month lease on her apartment or move. Mark either senses where this is heading or doesn’t want to talk, because he lets himself get distracted by other people. Cynthia notes that she spends most nights at Mark’s; why should she pay rent on her own place? He offers to help her pay her own rent instead of letting her move in. Cynthia finds a reason to run away.

Jerry approaches Weaver to employ Carter’s method of reasoning with her to get back on day shifts. Weaver doesn’t care – if he can work Randi’s shift, since she’s snowed in, he can move back to days. Carter finally gets breakfast from Doc Magoo’s, but he slips on the wet floor right by the doors and drops everything. Anna’s like, “Are you okay? And more importantly, is my toast okay?”

Paramedics bring in the elderly would-be rape victim, who was strangled, then pushed down a flight of stairs. Mark, Anna, and Carter are solemn as they work on her. Carter finds “WHORE” on her stomach, this time carved with a knife instead of written with marker. Anna has trouble moving on with the case. Also trouble: Greg is one of the paramedics who brought in the woman, and Carol is now at work, which could get awkward.

Benton has a hangover from his night out with Elizabeth, and she offers him a handshake to make sure there are no hard feelings. It’s really just a ploy, since she’s wearing a joy buzzer. She’s excited by the joke shop down the street from her apartment. Benton tells her that Carla wants to put Reese in daycare, but Benton thinks he’s too young. Elizabeth can’t relate – her mother went on a three-week vacation after her birth, then let her be raised by nannies and go to boarding school. She invites Benton to have lunch with her.

Doug comes in, though there are no pediatric patients yet. Jerry tells him that the cops have cornered the suspected rapist in a warehouse. Doug finds Cynthia crying in the lounge, and as much as he doesn’t want to talk to her about her personal problems, he asks her if she’s okay. She opens up about Mark’s dimness about her hints at moving in together, even though their relationship seems to be going great. Does he not think Cynthia’s good enough for him? Or is he scared because he cares so much? Doug’s face: “Can Jerry fire another grenade in here and give me an excuse to leave?”

The rape victim is taken for tests, and Greg asks Carol how she’s doing. Benton asks Connie where her children go while she’s at work. Connie tried a babysitter, but the sitter was a disaster and cost $8 an hour. Finally, Connie sent the kids upstairs to the hospital’s daycare; they love it. The only drawback is that being around other kids gets everyone sick, but Lydia says it builds up their immune systems. Benton notes that his mother raised him and his sister at home. Doug says he needs to join the modern world.

On his way down the hall, Doug spots Carol and Greg chatting and freezes. He’s happy to get an excuse to go up to OB. Carol corners him there and tries to talk, but when Doug guesses that Greg is the guy she kissed, he’s not interested in a conversation. He accuses her of humiliating him in front of his friends. Carol lists all the women Doug slept with at the hospital, which humiliated her. She would have to sleep with the entire Bulls line-up to match his number of conquests.

Carol says that this is about Doug not being happy that things aren’t going exactly as he’d hoped. It’s always been that way – Carol has spent years working around his schedule and insecurities and inability to commit. (Hmmm, is that where Mark got it from?) She cries as she says this isn’t about Doug. A relationship is supposed to be about two people being equals. She needs something, and Doug can either grow up and accept it, or he can continue being as self-centered as always.

Weaver tells Mark that because of the blood shortage, she’s going to ask the staff to donate. She adds that the board wants to let Synergix come onboard. Mark dryly congratulates her, knowing that was her pet project. Weaver admits that she has reservations now, and it would be great if all the ER attendings opposed the decision. Then no one looks like the bad guy. Mark asks to see the statistics before he makes any moves.

Jeanie reports that the cops have caught the rapist and he’s being brought to County for treatment. Everyone objects, but Mark tells them to do their jobs like they normally do. Anna confirms that the would-be rape victim wasn’t raped, which is one small piece of good news. She and Carter are disgusted that someone would do this.

Doug tells Mark that Cynthia’s upset, and Mark proves to know exactly what’s going on. He asks about Carol, making Doug wonder if she talked to Mark about their problems. Cynthia pops in to tell Mark in a subdued manner that the rapist has arrived and there was a big accident on the parkway. Doug notes that he and Mark should talk later.

The rapist, Jack, has a gunshot wound, a broken leg, and bites from the cops’ K-9s. He’s only 19. No one particularly wants to save him, especially Carter, but Mark isn’t about to deny medical treatment to someone in need. Anna’s the only person helping out without being prompted. Mark goes next door to take care of a victim of the car accident, leaving Carter and Anna to tend to Jack.

Carol and Jeanie examine a pregnant woman named Mary who isn’t feeling well. She and the baby’s father, Robert, both have developmental disabilities. Mary hilariously objects when Robert reveals that she ate a whole pint of Cherry Garcia the night before. Carol and Jeanie quickly determine that Mary’s in labor; they’re excited to get to help her out.

As Yosh pulls the police officers in the room away to talk to the victim, Carter and Anna start to insert a central line in Jack. Carter accidentally cuts him badly enough that Lydia says Jack needs a blood transfusion. He doesn’t want to use the hospital’s dwindling supply on Jack, so he decides they should auto-transfuse him with his own blood. Anna’s not happy with this, but Carter figures he’s still giving Jack the blood he needs.

Mark comes back over after Jack has stabilized. Anna excuses herself from the case as he’s taken to surgery. West addresses Weaver’s sudden insurrection against Synergix, telling her she should have brought any concerns she had to him. She shoots back that he should have been more honest about the organization’s strategies. He notes that the company is public, so Weaver could have looked all the info up herself. She says it was buried behind all the happy, flowery stuff. She’s willing to make hard choices, but not endanger patients.

Carol tries to interrupt and talk to Weaver, but Weaver brushes her off to emotionally yell at West. She accuses him of using her to get the deal. He underestimated her once, and was right to, but he’d better not do it again. Weaver then turns her attention to Mary, who’s refusing to go to OB because she’s afraid her baby will be taken away. Carol’s been treating her at the clinic and thinks she’ll stick around if they keep her where she is.

Weaver gently tells Mary that if she leaves, it could be bad for the baby, and she knows Mary doesn’t want that. Mary agrees to stay. Weaver gets Mary and Robert to admit that Mary’s sister Judy warned them that the baby would be taken away from them. Weaver tells them that babies aren’t taken away from nice parents like them, so they shouldn’t worry.

Benton never agreed to have lunch with Elizabeth, but she buys them sandwiches from a vending machine and joins him in a lounge. She starts in with some double entendres, then manages to be seductive while peeling and eating a hard-boiled egg. She thinks they should date, since they have few other ties in town, enjoy each other’s company, and work so hard that they wouldn’t be able to find anyone else. She promises not to disappoint. Benton’s amused but says he wouldn’t be comfortable with that. Elizabeth isn’t too disappointed.

Judy arrives while Mary’s in active labor. Weaver, Carol, and Jeanie are doing the delivery, and everything is fairly calm. Anna comes in at the tail end, and everyone’s happy as Madison is born and Robert cuts the cord. Later, Carol tells Judy that it’s too soon to know if Madison has her parents’ disabilities, but there’s no reason to think she won’t be neurotypical. Judy asks when the social workers will come. Carol tells her there’s no need – the parents are loving and capable. They live on their own, and Robert works. Judy asks if Carol’s qualified to make that assessment.

She tells Carol that Robert does maintenance at his uncle’s shop. Neither adult can drive because they don’t read well enough to take the test, and Judy has to do their bills. They’re both sweet and loving, but that doesn’t mean they can take care of a child. Carol coolly hits her back with the question about whether she’s qualified to make that assessment. Judy wishes she weren’t.

Mark agrees with Weaver that Synergix shouldn’t take over, or at least he’s going to let her make the decision because he doesn’t care enough to get involved. The phones are going crazy because Cynthia left work hours ago and Jerry’s taking a nap. Chuny takes a call he should have and announces that the blood bank has finally been restocked.

Carla shows up and asks for the forms Benton was supposed to sign to put Reese in daycare. He’s annoyed that she left Carla in her car with a “friend.” She gets equally annoyed when he doesn’t back her up on the decision to put Reese in daycare. He reminds her that he gets a vote, too. He heads out to the car to see Reese, ignoring Carla when she tries to stop him. The “friend” in the car with Reese is Roger McGrath, Carla’s new boyfriend.

Chase comes to the ER, doing much better now that he’s done with detox. He wants to take Carter and Anna to dinner, but Anna doesn’t want to spend time with Carter. Chase tells Carter that if he doesn’t go after Anna, Chase will. Mark tells Doug that he’s going to find Cynthia and talk to her about their issues. He promises he knows what he’s doing. He adds that they saved the rapist.

Carter chases Anna to an El station, where they fight about his decision to auto-transfuse Jack. He was willing to use extra blood on the guard; why didn’t Jack get the same treatment? Carter says he felt that auto-transfusion was the best option. She knows that’s not true. Carter notes that Jack lived, so it doesn’t matter. Anna calls it dumb luck. Carter’s usually aggressive; why wasn’t he today? She knows he didn’t care if Jack lived or died.

Carter says that since he was in charge of the case, it was his call. Anna asks if he would have made a different call if Jack hadn’t been a rapist. Carter says that every case is different. Anna asks if he withheld treatment. He says no, but she asks again. He repeats his answer, but it looks like he’s thinking about whether or not he’s being honest.

Elizabeth finds Benton moping in a hallway, and he invites her to play darts again. Just darts. Elizabeth jokes that she’ll play as long as she’s not being unappreciated. West tells Weaver that he’s going to tell Anspaugh that Synergix no longer wants to work with County. He only wanted the contract so he could work with Weaver anyway. He doesn’t want her to feel like he used her or underestimated her. She underestimates herself.

Doug spies on Carol as she teaches Mary and Robert how to swaddle their daughter. He tells her he didn’t mean to push; she should take as much time as she needs to figure out if she wants to commit. He’ll wait for her. And thus ends the big Doug/Carol blow-up of 1998.

A drunk Carter surprises Anna at her apartment and admits that he wanted Jack to die. The blood should have been saved for another patient. What if another patient had died because they’d wasted blood on Jack? Carter takes full responsibility for his decision, but he doesn’t necessarily regret it, and he still might not regret it if Jack had died. Carter asks if Anna’s sure that he made the wrong choice. She takes his hand and says she’s not.

Thoughts: ’90s music alert: Smash Mouth’s “Walking on the Sun,” which is now stuck in my head for the rest of the month.

Who came up with, “And then Elizabeth flirts while peeling a hard-boiled egg”?

Sigh. Another “newborn” who’s clearly four months old. It’s especially funny when they say she’s only six pounds. She’s almost as big as Reese!

August 10, 2019

The X-Files 11.10, My Struggle IV: The Last Good Chance

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

And so we end as we began: With these two nerds chasing a mystery

Summary: Our last-ever episode-beginning voiceover comes from Jackson. He knows his original name was William, and that he’s somehow connected to Scully and the future. He doesn’t know what his role will be in the future, but his visions are starting to make him understand. He doesn’t want any part in the suffering that will come.

Jackson had a happy childhood, and started to develop powers at a young age, such as breaking a window by stomping his foot. In middle school, he made a bully’s ears bleed. Every time kids at his school caught on that he was different, he had to leave. Eventually, Jackson started using his powers for evil, such as changing traffic lights with his mind and causing accidents. He was sent to a school for delinquents, and when forced to go to therapy, he would make stuff up.

Someone from the government caught on, so Jackson started lying low. He realized people were watching the house, which made him want to stay in line. Then he decided to play a joke on Sarah and Brianna, which got out of control and put him back on the radar of some powerful people. Now his parents are dead and he’s being hunted.

Jackson wants answers about who he is and how to get his life back. He wanted to ask Scully, but he thinks he can only get the answers from his father, a man he’s seen in his visions: CSM. CSM is with Mulder, threatening to kill him, though Mulder doesn’t think he can go through with it. CSM raises his gun and fires.

At what must be an earlier time (though he’s in the same clothes), Mulder goes to the Timberland Motel in Norfolk, Virginia, looking for Jackson. Back in D.C., Kersh tells Skinner that Mulder’s been going off about a conspiracy on the Internet. Skinner needs to rein him in. Kersh announces that he’s closing the X-Files and taking Mulder and Scully’s badges.

Tad’s latest live stream is about the coming global contagion that Scully and Jackson had visions about. It shows footage of Mulder at the motel. Kersh doesn’t care if the conspiracy is rooted in any kind of truth; it’s going to cause mass panic and needs to be shut down. As he leaves Kersh’s office, Skinner gets a call from CSM, who says the contagion is coming because Skinner didn’t find Jackson.

Scully finds Skinner and tells him Mulder needs his help. She knows he’s with Jackson, and that they’re both being pursued. Skinner tells her that Kersh is ending everything; Mulder’s started something that can’t be stopped. Scully says she made the claims on the Internet, not Mulder – and they’re all true. Skinner asks where Mulder and Jackson are.

15 hours earlier, Scully goes to Mulder’s house while on the phone with Reyes. She thinks Jackson has been captured in Tennessee and is being taken to Maryland. As CSM lights a cigarette outside the car Reyes is calling from, she tells the agents this may be their last good chance to save their son. Mulder asks what she means. Reyes says that whoever controls Jackson also controls the future. Then she hangs up.

Mulder wonders if he and Scully can trust Reyes. CSM doesn’t appear to have any suspicions about who Reyes was just talking to. Scully doesn’t think Jackson is really on the plane, but Mulder wants to believe Reyes’ claims. What if this really is their last good chance? Scully sends him off, telling him to come back alive.

A plane lands in Braddock Heights, Maryland, carrying only Mr. Y. He goes into a hangar, which Mulder manages to sneak into, briefly evading some armed guards. When they find him, he overpowers one and grabs his gun. He confronts Mr. Y, who says they couldn’t catch Jackson. Mulder asks why everyone wants him. Mr. Y says Jackson has something everyone wants – something they would kill for.

A guard approaches, so Mulder turns and shoots him. While Mulder’s distracted, Mr. Y reaches for a gun under his desk, but Mulder is faster than him and shoots him dead before Mr. Y can fire. Well, probably dead. It’s The X-Files, after all. Jackson is also dealing with armed guards on what looks like an abandoned ship. Cue the extended action sequence, in which Jackson outruns multiple men, then hides in a homeless encampment, making himself look like someone else.

Mulder calls Scully to tell her he hasn’t had any luck finding Jackson yet, but he did get to engage in some payback. Scully reports that there’s a cluster of recent lottery winners in Tennessee. Mulder goes to the convenience store where one of the winning tickets was sold; the kid who bought it seemed to know exactly which numbers to play. Security footage confirms for Mulder that it was Jackson.

Scully has a vision, which gets interrupted when Mulder calls to tell her that Jackson cashed in his ticket, then hitched a ride somewhere with a truck driver. The agents think he’s heading northeast. Someone arrives at the convenience store and plants a tracking device in Mulder’s car before Mulder heads off on Jackson’s trail.

Scully calls Tad to tell him a conspiracy he needs to talk about on his show. Jackson tells the truck driver that he has superpowers. Scully outlines the contagion for Tad as Mulder tries to get the truck to pull over. Jackson proves his powers to the truck driver by changing the radio station with his mind, then turns into a monster. The driver pulls over with Mulder right in front of him. But it’s not the truck Jackson’s in.

Tad asks Scully if he can name her as his source for the contagion information. She says he can credit her as a federal agent. She adds that Mulder is the planet’s only hope. She and Jackson have a shared vision of CSM shooting Mulder, who then falls into a body of water. Scully calls Mulder to warn him that he’s in danger, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to know where Jackson went after he left the truck.

The man who placed the tracker in Mulder’s car sees that he’s coming up on him, but Mulder’s now going in the opposite direction. As the tracker pulls his car over, he spots Jackson leaving the drain pipe he’s been hiding in and walking down the road. He offers Jackson a ride to his destination, Norfolk.

Mulder gets there first, going to a house. Jackson pays Sarah a visit, throwing some snark at Sarah’s friend Maddy. Mulder’s at Brianna’s, wanting to know if Jackson has been there. She says they don’t talk anymore, but Mulder thinks she’s covering for him. Brianna says Jackson’s in a lot of trouble, but if Mulder wants answers, he’s asking the wrong girl.

Over at Sarah’s, Jackson tells her that he can’t live like this anymore. She urges him to go to the police, but he says they killed his parents because he’s a freak. Sarah firmly says he’s not. He tells her suicide is an option to end his life being hunted, but another choice is running away with Sarah. Thanks to his lottery winnings, they could go anywhere. Since Sarah’s parents are coming home, she offers to meet him somewhere later. He says he’ll be at the Timberland.

Mulder goes to Sarah’s sometime later, but she doesn’t want to tell him anything if she can’t be sure Jackson trusts him. Mulder says he’s Jackson’s father. Maddy calls bull. As Price and some men find a car full of blood, we go back to the beginning of the episode, when Mulder got to the Timberland. He tells Jackson he’s his father, and whether or not Jackson believes that, he gives Mulder a chance to explain himself. Mulder just hugs him and promises to protect him.

The blood in the car belongs to the man tracking Mulder, who looks like he basically exploded. But now Price has a way to track Mulder. As she and her men head to the Timberland, Jackson tells Mulder that the people looking for him are never going to stop. He knows what’s going to happen because of his visions. Mulder says that Scully has the same ones. Jackson asks why Mulder doesn’t. He doesn’t want to live in a world where what’s going to happen happens. Mulder offers to help, but Jackson knows from the visions that Mulder’s going to die.

As Jackson argues that Mulder’s just helping his pursuers find him, Price and her men prepare to burst into the motel room and start shooting. Jackson hears or senses them outside and tells Mulder it’s too late. He tells Mulder to go out the back, but Mulder isn’t about to leave Jackson behind again. The men burst in and start to restrain Mulder and Jackson. Jackson tells Mulder to get down, then starts making the men, then Price, explode. When they’re all dead, Jackson runs away.

Mulder calls Scully as she’s talking to Skinner in the earlier scene. Other people at the motel are filming the chaos, which explains how footage of Mulder ends up on Tad’s live stream. Scully tells Mulder she’s going to join him in Norfolk, but Mulder doesn’t think it’ll matter – Jackson won’t listen to reason. Scully is sure that he’ll listen to her. She tells Skinner this is no longer about the FBI, so he can’t rein her in like he’s supposed to. Skinner invites himself along to Norfolk.

Tad begins his live stream as Reyes and CSM arrive at the Timberland. He points out Mulder on the footage, naming him the FBI source and saying he witnessed the execution of military personnel who arranged an assault on a teenager. What happened was so insane that it can only be part of a kind of conspiracy the world has never seen before. CSM finds the tracker’s device, which will lead him to Mulder.

Kersh texts Skinner a bunch of times, complaining about Mulder’s antics. Dude, go back to Seattle Grace Mercy West or whatever it’s called and leave these people alone. Scully asks why Skinner is violating Kersh’s orders. Skinner knows how important it is to find Jackson, and says he’s explained before why he’s willing to risk his career. He has information about Jackson…and who his father is.

Mulder has tried to call Sarah to find out where Jackson might have gone, but Maddy’s the one he talks to instead. She sends him to an old sugar factory. Scully’s stunned by Skinner’s news about Jackson. Somehow, some way, she and Skinner spot Mulder’s car on the way to the factory, and they chase after him. As Scully goes into the factory to find her boyfriend and/or son, Skinner spots CSM and Reyes’ car and approaches it with his hands up.

Scully thinks she sees Jackson, but she loses him. She finds Mulder instead. Outside, Skinner pulls his gun. Reyes starts to back up the car, but CSM moves the gearshift into drive and stomps on the gas pedal, forcing her toward Skinner. He shoots, hitting Reyes. Oh, good job, Skinner. Mulder and Scully hear gunshots outside and realize Skinner’s in trouble. CSM speeds toward him as Skinner runs, but he gets trapped between his own car and CSM and is run over.

Mulder tells Scully that Jackson doesn’t want to be found. They need to let him go – there’s nothing they can do. They can’t protect him. Jackson knows that Scully loves him, though Scully doesn’t get how he could. Well, it’s because the person she’s talking to is Jackson, not Mulder. The real Mulder finds them, but Jackson runs away again. As they run around the factory some more, CSM gets out of the car and takes Skinner’s gun.

More running. Even more running. Jackson spends, like 50% of this episode running. Mulder ends up outside, where CSM stops him and demands to know where Jackson is. Mulder says Jackson would rather be dead, now that he knows the truth. CSM is ready to kill Mulder, even though, as Mulder points out, he’d be shooting his firstborn son. CSM notes that he shot his secondborn, so this isn’t a big deal.

Once again, we’ve come back around to a scene from the beginning of the episode, with CSM ready to shoot, and Mulder saying he doesn’t think CSM can do it. CSM says Mulder doesn’t know him very well, then shoots. Mulder falls into the water…then appears behind CSM. He shoots CSM a bunch of times and shoves him into the water, where I think we can all agree that CSM is really, truly, finally dead. Probably.

Scully joins Mulder, who tells her that CSM shot Jackson thinking he was Mulder. Scully reminds him that Jackson wanted them to let him go. Mulder’s distraught, saying Jackson was their son. She corrects him – Jackson was an experiment, just an idea. She carried him and gave birth to him, but she wasn’t his mother.

“But for so long, I believed,” Mulder says. “What am I now if I’m not a father?” Scully tells him he is a father. She puts his hand on her stomach. He says it’s impossible that they conceived a child, and she says she knows, but it’s still true. They hug, exhausted and heartbroken but also hopeful. And somewhere in the water, Jackson surfaces, still alive.

Thoughts: Maddy is played by David Duchovny’s daughter West, which…is really the only explanation you need for why the character is in the episode.

I’m going to pretend that Skinner’s still alive. He deserved better.

Can’t wait for this baby to grow up and ask why Mommy and Daddy call each other by their last names.

And that’s it for the series! It was a bumpy ride sometimes, but I’m glad I rewatched it.

Up next: something completely different.

August 6, 2019

ER 4.12, Sharp Relief: MISTAAAAAAAAAAKE!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:53 pm by Jenn

This scene from “Scrubs” went through my head multiple times during this episode

Summary: Doug and Carol meet up in the doctors’ lounge before she goes out for a paramedic ride-along. He’s off for the day and planning some big surprise at 5 p.m. He urges her to say “I love you,” which he usually says first. Jeanie meets Romano, who’s going over Scott’s scans with Benton. He needs surgery for some sort of obstruction.

Doug goes to Doc Magoo’s, where Mark has started smoking again. Doug reveals that he’s gotten wedding rings, and his surprise for Carol is a trip to the clerk’s office to get a marriage license. He wants to show her how serious he is. At 12:01 tomorrow morning, he wants to get married. Mark happily agrees to be his best man. Doug says he knew every other relationship he was in was wrong, but he wants to spend the rest of his life with Carol.

As Carol leaves for her ride-along with Doris and Greg, Mark and Weaver receive a patient who’s in pain from a possible ectopic pregnancy. The paramedic bringing her in regrets having to drive farther than usual to transport her; County is the closest receiving hospital. Jeanie checks on Scott, who refuses to have another operation, even though his tumor is back and has to be removed. She tells him straight out that without surgery, he’ll die. Scott still won’t budge, so Jeanie bribes him with hockey tickets.

Elizabeth is supposed to be part of Scott’s surgical team, but she wants to help out with Allison’s vocal-cord surgery instead. Romano passive-aggressively complains about her spending so much time on Allison’s case. Then he tells Allison not to worry, since he taught Elizabeth everything she knows. Weaver complains to West about her patient’s long ambulance ride, thanks to hospitals in the area closing. West has plans to make things better.

Carter and Anna’s patient, Mr. Dwyer, has a worm in his leg, which he contracted after drinking river water. Anna uses a toothpick to start pulling it out. Carter has heard that the worms can be as long as a meter. “I really didn’t need to hear that,” Mr. Dwyer says, laughing good-naturedly. Anna can only pull a couple of centimeters of the worm out every day; if she pulls out too much at once, it’ll break off. Mr. Dwyer says he should put in for combat pay.

Chase shows up, supposedly looking for Compazine for nausea, but Carter knows he’s covering something up. Chase says he stopped using heroin a couple days ago and just needs something to help him get past the worst part. He denies that he wants help detoxing. They yell at each other for a little while, and after Chase storms out, Anna tells Carter it’s better to let him go. She had a friend in med school who had a drug problem, and Anna has been in Carter’s position many times. She warns Carter not to let his cousin drag him into his problems.

The paramedics take a break at their station, and Greg complains about Dwight’s vegetarian cooking. Carol praises his carob brownies. While operating on Scott, Romano tries to rope Benton into trash-talking Elizabeth with him, but Benton won’t take the bait. Romano says female surgeons always have something to prove. Yeah, they have to prove their skills to sexist pigs like you. Romano continues that he likes Benton because he’s “not one of those militant minorities.” Shirley the scrub nurse confirms that the tumor indicates that Scott’s lymphoma is back.

Weaver has done some research and found out that Synergix has closed a ton of hospitals in the Midwest. West tries to dance around how bad that sounds. Instead of just closing bad places, they’re reconfiguring them and turning them into specialized centers. But that means closing trauma centers, and it means charging more for that specialized care, which means the people with the greatest need for medical care can’t get it anymore. West tells Weaver that County is essential and won’t be going anywhere. Weaver shoots back that they can’t close if everyone else does.

Jeanie asks Malik to help her get hockey tickets, since she didn’t actually have them yet when she told Scott she did. Malik thinks she’s going on a nice date. Elizabeth observes Allison’s surgery, offering moral support more than assistance. Weaver’s skipping a big Synergix luncheon, now uncertain that they should be taking over the ER’s operations. She tells Anspaugh they might want to delay the board’s vote for a couple weeks. Benton interrupts to tell Anspaugh that Scott’s cancer has come back.

Cynthia smells cigarette smoke on Mark, which means he has to give her a dollar. I like that system. She wants to hang out that night, but Mark brushes her off because of his secret plans with Doug. Carter asks to leave work early, wanting to go check on Chase, who left him a bunch of messages but now isn’t answering his phone. Anna guesses that he’s going over to help him, the exact thing she told him not to do.

Carol, Greg, and Doris go to an apartment where an elderly woman is bleeding and unconscious. Distressed, Greg blurts out that she’s dead. Carol takes control of the case, trying to keep Greg calm at the same time. He gets the woman breathing again, but Carol is worried about him. Back at County, Allison’s procedure is successful, and she’s able to speak for the first time in weeks.

The paramedics deliver the woman to the hospital, then leave for another run before they can find out if she’ll be okay. Carter goes to Chase’s apartment and offers his help. Chase denies that he needs it, and he doesn’t want the help Carter’s there to provide anyway, in the form of the names of treatment centers. Chase doesn’t want his secret addiction to get out, since he comes from such a prominent family. Also, he’s definitely not getting clean, since his dealer arrives moments later to make a sale. Carter tells Chase that if he buys, he’s on his own for real. Chase sends the dealer away.

The paramedics’ patient doesn’t survive, and it turns out she’s one of the growing number of elderly rape victims the ER has seen recently. There are different detectives on the case now, since the perpetrator has crossed district lines. Mark notes that he hasn’t heard anything on the news about the case. There have now been three victims, and the public has no idea what’s going on.

Carol asks Greg if he’s okay, since he had such a strong reaction when they found their patient. The patient’s wallet is in the ambulance, and when Greg sees a coupon inside for cat food, Carol says that someone should go back to the apartment and check on the cat. Anspaugh tells Jeanie that Scott needs more chemo, and no one knows how long his treatments will take. Anspaugh asks Jeanie to be Scott’s part-time private-duty caregiver, since they’ve developed such a good relationship. Father and son both admire her a lot.

Carter patiently tends to Chase as he goes through detox in his apartment. Then he’s not so patient anymore, and Chase practically turns feral, and really, the whole thing is a mess and a bad idea. Elizabeth tells Benton that Allison’s procedure went well, and Kotlowitz thinks she’ll have full use of her voice in a couple weeks. She invites him out for a drink, dismissing his excuse that he doesn’t drink alcohol. He can have something else.

Carol and Greg return to their patient’s apartment, where no one investigating the crime scene has seen a cat. The door to the roof is open, so Carol and Greg head up there, finding the unfriendly pet. Greg confides that when he first saw the patient, he was reminded of his mother, who hanged herself when he was nine. He found her body. Greg first felt angry, then felt guilty because he was thinking of himself instead of the patient. He sees his mother as selfish for not thinking how her death would affect the family.

Carol says that she thought about everyone but herself when she attempted suicide. She was so caught up in everyone else’s expectations for her that she didn’t consider her own. Now, she’s okay. Greg praises her for opening the clinic, calling her a super-nurse. He tells her she can leave, if she has somewhere to be; he’ll wait for the cat to agree to go inside with him. She decides to stay. This is a MISTAKE, because Greg is totally into Carol, and he kisses her, and she doesn’t fight it, and it’s worse than Chase’s detox.

Weaver tries to avoid West as she leaves for the night, but he doesn’t take the hint. She asks him to delay the board vote – she no longer believes in Synergix’s supposed mission. They’re turning decent health care into a luxury. Weaver says she just needs more time to think about the whole thing. West wonders if she means the Synergix arrangement or their relationship. I’m going to go with both, West.

Carter bugs someone at the hospital pharmacy for a prescription he ordered for Chase. Anna delivers it herself, along with some other things she knows Chase will need. Elizabeth and Benton play darts together at a pub, discussing Benton’s decision not to drink alcohol or eat pork. He’s not Muslim and doesn’t have control issues; he just doesn’t like the taste. Elizabeth recommends Pimm’s, which tastes like ginger ale and fruit. She suggests a darts contest, with the winner picking the loser’s next drink. Benton cracks an actual smile, enjoying himself, at least until Elizabeth hits the bull’s-eye after throwing her dart backwards.

Scott wakes up after surgery and tells Jeanie that since he agreed to have it, he wants his hockey tickets. She produces center-ice seats, which means Malik’s connection with the team must be really good. Scott asks Jeanie to stay with him so he’s not alone. Anna sticks around Chase’s apartment for a while, admiring some photos he’s taken. Carter says his cousin is very talented, which makes his addiction even more tragic. Anna admits that her med-school friend with drug problems wasn’t really a friend – he was her boyfriend. Carter admits that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but Anna thinks he’s handling things fine.

Benton has loosened up, either from the Pimm’s or the company, and he and Elizabeth are dancing at the pub. They’re having so much fun that they stay until closing. Elizabeth indicates that she wants to continue the date, but she doesn’t want to make a move while Benton’s tipsy. He tells her he had a great time.

Carol finally gets home hours after she was supposed to meet Doug. She didn’t call, so he was worried that something happened. Carol says she and Greg both had a tough day, so they were talking things through. After that, she went for a long walk so she could do some thinking. All the engagement/marriage talk is moving too fast, and she doesn’t think they’re ready. Doug says he is. Carol admits that she and Greg kissed, but things didn’t go further than that. Doug storms out, rejecting her apology.

Thoughts: I remember yelling, “Noooooo!” at Carol when this episode first aired. It’s okay, 15-year-old me. It’ll all be okay.

No way did Weaver not do her homework about Synergix’s closings before she pushed County to get in bed with them. No way was she that personally affected by her attraction to West that she wouldn’t do research.

Romano: “You know how it is with female surgeons.” Benton: “No, I don’t. Why don’t you tell me?” Is…is that…my respect for Benton? Is that what this feeling is?

August 3, 2019

The X-Files 11.9, Nothing Lasts Forever: Your Body Is a Wonderland (of Anti-Aging Properties)

Posted in TV tagged at 1:21 pm by Jenn

“I do not gaze at Scully…”

Summary: A patient’s blood is collected in a bucket as he undergoes surgery. In the Bronx, a man in a van listens to Tad’s show on the radio as a woman watches from a rooftop. The patient dies on the operating table, and his organs are removed and put on ice. The woman on the roof prays for God’s mercy. As the patient’s organs continue to be removed, one of the surgeons suspects that his pancreas is infected. To be sure, he tastes it. Does he know Mulder?

The woman from the roof slides down a cable to the basement operating room, which is definitely not in a hospital. She’s ready with a long weapon, and attacks the person who’s taking the patient’s organs somewhere else. “Those who love me I will deliver,” she says, quoting Psalm 91:14. She kills the deliveryman, then enters the operating area. A surgeon shoots at her, then grabs the organ cooler and runs, using the man in the van as his getaway driver.

The woman stabs the other surgeon and asks where “they” are. He tells he’s not part of them and doesn’t know. The woman gives him one last chance to save his soul, but he repeats that he doesn’t know. She quotes Psalm 91:14 again and finishes him off. The cooler is left on the curb of a hospital, with the words “I will repay” written on it. The woman looks on, satisfied, then leaves.

Scully takes communion at the Cathedral of the Sacraments in D.C., so the show can drive home the idea of taking in flesh and blood as food. The holy water she dips her fingers in while leaving turns into the water the woman from the Bronx uses to wash blood off of her hands. She takes a moment to look at the cross dangling from her bracelet.

Mulder and Scully go to the Bronx to look into the death of the patient, a fitness trainer named Robert. Mulder messes with some local agents who know their reputation, joking that, since Robert and the deliveryman were impaled, he’s surprised wood wasn’t used. He tells Scully that they were killed in a way familiar to horror-movie fans (like himself). Why were their organs removed? They weren’t sold, so it wasn’t for money. What does “I will repay” mean?

Scully says that person who removed the doctor and deliveryman’s organs isn’t familiar with transplant procedures. No hospital would be able to use the organs. Since there was no liver or pancreas in the cooler left at the hospital, those might be in use, which means they could be tracked by hospitals currently performing transplants. Scully starts making calls while Mulder searches the dark web for organ auctions.

He puts on glasses before he goes on the Internet, leading Scully to comment that he needs bifocals now that he’s older. He’s defensive about aging. Scully says he should just wait until he gets gout. She repeats “gout” loudly to have some fun with the local agents. Mulder wonders why they keep doing what they’re doing, in the face of aging-related difficulties. Then he asks if Scully got her hair cut. (She did, three episodes ago.)

The woman from the Bronx is at home, where her mother is praying over a picture of a younger woman with a deformed face. Elsewhere, another woman (there are a lot of not-yet-named women in this episode, huh?) takes a sip from a blender, then gives the contents to a sick-looking man. They’re in an apartment full of people who are all either lounging around or starting to make out with each other.

A man named Luvenis is in bed, watching The Barbara Beaumont Show, a ’60s sitcom. A woman is sewn to his back. Another woman, who looks just like Barbara Beaumont from the show, is in a more luxurious bed on the other side of the room. She remembers every line of dialogue. She drinks something red, possibly the same thing being fed to the man.

Scully and Mulder meet up at a church, where she reports that all the liver transplants performed in the past 12 hours have donors who are accounted for. Mulder’s search for auctioned organs hasn’t turned up anything, but he found out that the dead surgeon, Rednon (Mulder can’t remember his name and has to put on his glasses to look it up), had his license revoked for overprescribing opioids to Russian mobsters. The deliveryman was a low-level gangster. Scully thinks they should pass the case on to the proper local authorities; it doesn’t appear to be an X-File.

As Mulder takes a seat on a pew, leaving Scully to do prayerful things, the woman from the Bronx arrives, and the priest finally provides her name, Juliet. Elsewhere, the Barbara lookalike cuts the hands of the woman with the blender, who’s wearing a bracelet just like Juliet’s. The woman bleeds into the blender as Barbara opens an organ cooler, furious that things are missing.

She addresses the people in the crowded apartment, who respond to her as if she’s a cult leader. She represents beauty and light; they represent ugliness and pain, as well as love and obedience. They have so much to offer, and everyone there has sacrificed and worked hard. Luvenis, a doctor, has transformed them. Now Barbara wants to know where her heart and lungs are.

The doctor who escaped the operating room is one of the cult-ish people in the apartment, and he confesses that something went wrong at the harvest. He couldn’t get away with all the organs. Barbara takes his face in her hands, as if she’s going to harm him, but instead she kisses his cheek and says she’s sure he did the best he could.

At the church, the priest urges Juliet to have faith that her sister, Olivia, will be returned to her. Juliet says prayer isn’t enough. She’ll have to use weapons to get what she wants. Mulder and Scully are still in the church, and Mulder has noticed something interesting about the day’s scripture listed on a board. The first verse, Romans 12:19, says, “‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord” – just like the cooler said. Scully thinks it’s just a coincidence.

She tells Mulder that she came to believe in God when she was about four, when her brother Charlie got seriously sick. Maggie had her children pray for him, but after a few nights, Scully got bored and prayed for a puppy instead. She got one for Christmas and figured God had answered her prayers. Mulder jokes that never getting a puppy must be why he’s not a Christian. Well, that and the fact that he’s Jewish, I guess.

He asks if she’s praying for another miracle now. Scully admits that she’s not sure she believes in them, but she does still have faith. Her mom demonstrated it by receiving faith from her beliefs. Scully wants that now, as well as the power Mulder gets from his convictions. No matter what, he always believes.

Mulder thinks people only really have the results of their choices. All they can do is hope they’ve made the right ones. As the agents leave the church, Mulder notices that three prongs from a wrought-iron fence are missing. They must have been the weapons used to kill the doctor and deliveryman. Someone’s literally using the church as a weapon for vengeance.

Barbara is upset that she’s getting face lines because she hasn’t had her meal of organs. Luvenis says she’s still as beautiful as she was at age 33, when he first fell in love with her. Luvenis is supposedly 85, though he looks like he’s only in his 50s. He credits Kayla, the woman sewn to his back, who calls him her addiction. Luvenis tells Barbara he’ll be a “worthy companion” to her in no time. He thinks they can get some recovered organs and continue their work.

Barbara wants to punish failure, not reward it, and she tells Kayla she’s ready to ascend. As Luvenis begs Barbara to stop, Barbara gets Kayla to say that her dream is to be as beautiful as Barbara. Barbara slits Kayla’s throat, then cuts her free from Luvenis. She’ll be their next meal. However, her organs have been depleted, so Luvenis will need to find someone else’s organs to use. Barbara tells him to move quickly, before they start looking as old as they really are.

Juliet looks through some mementos at home, including a card from Olivia saying she has a new family and new beautiful life now. The agents come to speak to her mother about Olivia’s disappearance two months earlier. They want to look around and see if they can find something to help locate her. Juliet objects, saying that Olivia doesn’t want to be found. She hated how she looked, so she rejected God and her family, and joined a cult.

Scully says that if Olivia is actually being held against her will, they can help rescue her. Juliet says again that Olivia wanted to leave. She sees her family as monsters. Olivia thinks she can change herself and become something she can’t really be. Mulder guesses that Juliet knows the cult is trafficking human organs, and that Juliet is on a mission to find Olivia herself. The priest has the same suspicions and shared them with the agents.

Barbara is dissatisfied with what she gets out of Kayla, and with the general lack of healthy organs available. She’d love to eat one of the cult members. Luvenis reminds her that they’re seeds; you don’t eat seeds, you eat the fruit they become. He gets science-y, talking about how the cult members become stronger when they consume organs, but their morphogenesis isn’t complete yet. When it is, they’ll attach one to Barbara, and she’ll reverse her aging process. This won’t be the first time she’s done this.

Luvenis has a lead on the organs left at the hospital, so he heads out to get more. A cult member named Warren offers himself up to Barbara, wanting to make her happy. If he’s in her, he’ll always be happy, too. Barbara is pleased and wants to repay his kindness with a song she once sang on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. She sings “There’s Got to Be a Morning After,” serenading Warren as he stabs himself. The other cult members remove his organs and the woman with the blender fixes Barbara her dinner. The other cult members get to eat the body.

When Luvenis returns with an organ cooler, Barbara’s watching another episode of her show. She says she’s memorizing her lines. Luvenis has broken into storage at a hospital for Barbara. Barbara has already chosen the cult member who will next be sewn to Luvenis. It’s the woman with the blender: Olivia.

Thanks to a tracking device, Mulder and Scully are able to follow the organs. Juliet also turns up at the apartment building as Olivia is put under for her procedure. Luvenis stays awake and talks the doctor through it. The building’s landlord tells the agents that the only people living there are all in the same apartment; the only one he knows is Barbara Beaumont, the building’s owner. Mulder looks her up and determines that she’s in her 80s. The landlord has never met her, and whenever he goes to the apartment to fix things, no one’s there.

Mulder reads that Barbara joined a “life-extension commune” in the ’70s and married Luvenis. The landlord acknowledges that it’s strange that he’s never met his sole tenant in the seven years he’s been there. But he gets paid on time, so he doesn’t care. No one uses the front door, so if anyone ever leaves the building, it’s through a dumbwaiter system.

As Luvenis and Olivia’s surgery is finishing up, the agents go to the apartment. Barbara greets them in the living room, which is now clear of all the cult members. Mulder looks around as Barbara tells Scully to avoid sunlight so she doesn’t age too quickly, “if it’s not already too late.” Barbara denies ever having seen Olivia, but she soon becomes distressed when Mulder finds blood on the carpet. Cult members ambush the agents and toss Scully into the dumbwaiter shaft.

Juliet bursts in and stabs Barbara. Mulder tackles Juliet, who says, “I did repay.” She goes looking for Olivia while Mulder goes to the shaft to find Scully. The cult members have fled, and Olivia’s bracelet is the only thing in the apartment proving that she was ever there. Mulder looks for Scully in the basement, where the shaft leads, and Luvenis and Olivia follow him there. Luvenis says he’s found a cure for mankind’s greatest disease: aging. He’s reversed time.

Mulder says age isn’t a disease, just a natural progression. Luvenis says he rejects the idea that people have to age. Olivia starts seizing, so Luvenis starts cutting her loose. Juliet runs up and knocks Luvenis out, telling Olivia she came for her. Mulder finds Scully at the bottom of the dumbwaiter shaft, her fall having been broken by trash bags. Juliet tells the agents that she knows she’ll be going to prison, but she’s okay with the choices she made. She knows eventually she’ll go to Heaven anyway.

Olivia goes home to her mother, whose prayers are now all for her other daughter. Mulder and Scully go back to the church, and when one of her candles goes out, Mulder relights it, saying she’ll extend her prayers through his own. He also says he can’t tell her what he’s praying for because then it won’t come true. Scully says that prayers don’t work like wishes; they’re a way to ask for God’s help. But since Mulder doesn’t believe in God, his prayers would just be him talking to himself.

Mulder says that, though he doesn’t believe in God, he believes in Scully, and through the transitive property, he does believe. Reason and faith being in harmony must explain why the agents are so good together. Scully asks if they’re actually together. She believed she could protect Jackson, but she failed. She believed she and Mulder could live together, but she gave up on that. Mulder wishes she’d fled earlier, left the X-Files before anything bad could happen. She could have had a normal, happy life.

Scully says she doesn’t blame Mulder for anything bad that’s happened. Mulder doesn’t know if God exists and is listening, but Mulder’s there listening to Scully. That’s his choice. Scully looks around, then whispers something in his ear. It’s a prayer, a “leap of faith forward,” and she wants to do it together with Mulder. “I always wondered how this was going to end,” he replies, then lights a candle for Scully’s prayer.

Thoughts: Luvenis is played by Jere Burns.

Add Fiona Vroom (Barbara) to the list of perfectly cast guest stars on this show.

I’d forgotten how gross this episode was. I must have blocked it out.

One episode left! I can’t believe I’ve watched all 11 seasons.

July 30, 2019

ER 4.11, Think Warm Thoughts: The Passion of the Carter

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

Illness is no excuse for that hat, Scott

Summary: Carol’s on her way out of the house to go to work, but Doug wants her to take a minute to set a wedding date and determine her ring size. She doesn’t want to make a big deal out of their eventual marriage, since she’s done that before. She’s fine just being engaged for now. Weaver and West have spent the night together again, and she apparently accepted his invitation to spend Christmas with him in the Caribbean. She thinks Anspaugh will be very happy with the work Synergix has done on the budget. After they get in their cars to go to work separately, they have phone sex.

Speaking of sex, Romano makes a remark about it to Elizabeth while they’re discussing cars. Take a moment and think about what would have happened if Romano had been around during the #MeToo movement. Just imagine it. Anyway, Allison Beaumont needs more surgery on her leg and is ready for the next steps in her recovery, though she’s down about her vocal-cord paralysis. Elizabeth wants to do a procedure that will fix it, noting that there’s a doctor in Chicago who can do it. Romano reminds her that it’s not covered by Allison’s insurance.

Someone in the ER waiting area is very upset that the vending machine has eaten his money. In turn, Randi is annoyed that the guy is making too much noise. She gives him his money back so he’ll shut up, but she won’t do the same for another patient, Carlene, who claims she put money in the machine, too. Mark is trying to quit smoking, which makes Chuny happy. Swift has been sent over by Synergix as a substitute attending, so he and Mark will be working together again. The angry patient accidentally knocks over the vending machine onto himself, cracking up Carlene.

Carter speaks to a bunch of second-year med students about why they should consider emergency medicine as their specialty next year. When it’s time for a Q&A session, a student asks if patients ever come to the ER with foreign objects in their rectums. Carter tries to keep things professional, but he does admit to removing a bowling trophy from someone’s rectum.

Another student asks if Carter’s ever killed anyone. Carter talks about the patient he accidentally killed in “Do One, Teach One, Kill One.” A student is surprised learn that he left surgery for medicine. Can he really make a career out of emergency medicine? Can he see himself still doing it in 10 or 15 years? Carter isn’t sure about that.

West presents his budget ideas to Anspaugh, who’s impressed with how quickly West has put everything together. Anspaugh sends him out of the room so he can ask Weaver what the staff thinks about Synergix taking over. Weaver says she hasn’t heard anything negative, though she hasn’t had a conversation with Mark about it. Anspaugh wants to find out how everyone feels before he makes any decisions.

In the ER, Swift tells Mark and Chuny how awesome it is working for Synergix. He has a regular schedule with plenty of time for his personal life. Synergix also uses different methods to determine injuries, so they can skip expensive tests and scans. Elizabeth visits Allison, who’s using a laptop with a speech program to communicate. It’s been tough for her, since she’s a talkative person, but she’s in good spirits, though still eager for vocal-cord surgery.

Benton has also been speaking to students along with Carter, and he chats with one named Laura as they’re leaving. She spots Carter and recognizes him from the PBS documentary. Benton complains to Carter that speaking to students is a waste of time. They’ll never know what being a doctor is really like until they’re actually doctors, and by that time, many of them will be in the wrong profession. Like Carter’s students, Benton’s were only interested in whether he’s ever killed anyone. His response: “Just med students.”

Weaver asks Mark his opinions on Synergix, and he says it seems like a fast transition to let them take over. He’s worried about having to give up authority over patient care. Weaver promises that they’ll only take over things like administrative tasks like billing. Yosh arrives with Christmas cookies, wanting to keep the holiday spirit alive even though it’s January. Carlene complains that the nurses are slacking off instead of treating patients. Then she gets racist with Chuny, so now no one wants to deal with her.

The vending-machine guy, John, is done being treated for accidentally self-inflicted injuries, and he hits on Randi as he’s leaving. He wants her to know upfront that he spent some time in prison, but he’s done his time and thinks they could have some fun together. Randi’s interested. Carol tends to a client patient who’s brought a bird in with him, in his beard. Carol either doesn’t see this as a big deal or she’s too busy to worry about it, so she just sends him on his way.

She gets pulled away when her mother arrives to announce that Doug came to ask for Carol’s hand in marriage. Helen really hopes it’s a joke. She had no idea that Carol and Doug had been back together for eight months. She has doubts that they’ll actually get married. Carol tries to send her away, so Helen reminds her that she was there when Doug broke Carol’s heart the first time around. She knows men like him don’t change.

Anspaugh tells Mark that his 12-year-old son, Scott, was treated for lymphoma the year before, and he’s being brought in from school with abdominal pain. Scott and his previous doctor didn’t get along, so Anspaugh would like Mark to take care of him. Weaver spots the two talking and wonders what it’s about. Both are surprised that Anspaugh has kids (he also has a daughter); since his wife died, he’s a single parent. Mark enlists Jeanie for assistance, though Jeanie isn’t sure Anspaugh would want her involved. Mark mostly just wants her there because she’s a friendly face.

Scott arrives and sees his trip to the hospital as unnecessary. He just has a simple stomachache. Mark and Jeanie let him walk in instead of riding in a wheelchair, as Carol tries to call Doug to talk about her mother. Scott’s brattiness quickly explains why he and his previous doctor didn’t get along. He’s pretty bold to yell at Mark in front of Anspaugh that he won’t let anyone stick him with a needle.

Elizabeth goes across town to talk to Dr. Kotlowitz, the doctor she wants to perform Allison’s vocal-cord surgery. She thinks that when he meets Allison, he’ll want to perform the procedure out of the kindness of his heart. She makes it clear that she’s there for Allison, not Romano. This week in Plotlines No One Cares About, Anna and Chuny find a Tamagotchi left behind by a patient. Anna will have to take care of it so it doesn’t die before the owner comes back.

Jeanie tells Scott that she made a bet with Anspaugh that she can stick him to draw blood without him feeling it. If she wins, she’ll give Scott some of her $10 prize. Scott blasts her for talking to him like a kid and sends her away. Jeanie stands up to him, telling him that if he doesn’t cooperate, she’ll get a nurse to hold him down while she does her job. Anspaugh spies through the door as Jeanie earns her $10.

Anna, Tamagotchi, Maria Bello should fire her agent. Cynthia misses low-tech toys like her Barbie van. A Meals on Wheels volunteer named Susan brings an elderly woman named Mrs. Reilly who seems to be struggling to take care of herself. Susan worries that she’s had a stroke. Mrs. Reilly is calm and pleasant, but she thinks it’s August and that Carol is someone she knows.

Laura shows up for Carter’s next speaking engagement, ready to get a sales pitch for emergency medicine. Cynthia teases Mark for going through a pack of nicotine gum so quickly. As she looks through her bag for another pack, Mark spots her birth-control pills and sees that they haven’t all been taken. She reminds him that she has another pack in his bathroom. She definitely doesn’t want to get pregnant.

Doug calls Carol back as she and Yosh are examining Mrs. Reilly. She’s annoyed that Doug talked to Helen about their engagement before Carol could even tell her they were back together. As Yosh and Susan are changing Mrs. Reilly into a gown, Carol spots “whore” written on her back. She sends Yosh and Susan away, though she asks Susan to stick around a little while longer, since Mrs. Reilly doesn’t seem to have any family.

One of the detectives from Mrs. Larkin’s case comes in to talk to Carol and Mark about Mrs. Reilly. They’re not sure if she’s altered and can’t remember her assault because of dehydration, Alzheimer’s, or trauma. Mark asks if the police will be making any announcements about what appears to be a serial rapist. Cynthia lets Carol know that Yosh is still seeing clinic patients while she’s working with the police. Carol says Yosh can’t handle them alone, but Cynthia reports that Doug has come in to help. She thinks Doug believes Carol’s mad at him. Maybe not so much anymore.

Jeanie takes Scott for some scans, though he’s already guessed that his tumor is back. Jeanie tells him not to worry until he knows for sure. She asks about his interests, and he scoffs when she says that she shares his love of John Woo movies. Laura catches Carter as he’s leaving for the day and asks if she can shadow him in the ER sometime. He’s working that night and invites her to join him. Then he asks her to dinner before his shift.

Benton heads to work as well, running into Romano, who thanks him for speaking to the students. He calls Peter “Pete,” which Peter says he doesn’t like. Romano thinks he should like it, but Peter won’t budge. Elizabeth was right about Kotlowitz, as he’s just met Allison and agreed to do her procedure. Romano pretends he’s totally fine with that.

After Kotlowitz leaves, Romano yells at Elizabeth for going behind his back (she’s even worked things out with Anspaugh to give Kotlowitz temporary privileges). He finds the procedure unnecessary; the one her insurance covers is satisfactory. Elizabeth disagrees – Allison wants her voice back, and it’s their job as her doctors to do everything they can for her. Romano asks if Elizabeth is questioning his commitment to Allison’s best interests. If she is, she’s making a huge mistake.

Doug makes America swoon by hanging out with a baby, then chats with a pregnant woman named Sherry who has Down’s syndrome. Her food stamps have been cut, so she needs to know what she can do without. (Carol helped her make a food chart the last time she was there.) Doug offers to make some calls and find an agency that will help Sherry out.

Mark performs a rape exam on Mrs. Reilly, who seems to think it’s decades earlier, and that she’s receiving an exam because she’s pregnant. After a few moments, she realizes that’s not right, but she still doesn’t remember her assault. Mark thinks she’s lucky in that way. The Tamagotchi owner arrives, but despite Anna’s daylong efforts to take care of it, it’s dead. Cynthia gives her a comforting pat on the hand and says she did the best she could. Then she gives the young owner the bad news while Anna smacks the Tamagotchi around, trying to revive it. I hope she doesn’t do that with her human patients.

Anspaugh thanks Jeanie for all the work she did with Scott. It’s not clear yet if his abdominal problems mean his cancer is back. On their way to the hospital after dinner, Carter and Laura come across an unconscious homeless man. Elizabeth and Romano are cool toward each other as they scrub in for Allison’s leg surgery, but Romano has decided to back down and allow Kotlowitz to do his procedure. He tells Elizabeth she was right to do everything she could for Allison. Elizabeth asks if the two of them are all right. “You and I are a match made in Heaven,” he replies.

Carter and Laura help bring the homeless man into the ER, where Mark starts tending to him. Swift’s shift is over, and he and Mark are supposed to get dinner together, but Mark can’t leave just yet. Laura’s really impressed with Carter’s skills, and Mark can see she likes him. Susan has to go home, which means Mrs. Reilly is really alone in the hospital. Susan admits to Carol that she won’t feel comfortable delivering meals to Mrs. Reilly’s building anymore. Carol assures her that she’s not a horrible person for feeling that way. She did a wonderful thing by looking out for Mrs. Reilly.

West comes by to get Weaver and asks if Anspaugh said anything about his proposal. She laments that Anspaugh asks Mark to help with Scott, when she would have been just as good a choice. She thinks Anspaugh has forgotten that she’s a doctor, since she’s doing so much administrative stuff now. Carter thought the homeless man was hypothermic, but he’s just drunk. Without the rush of an emergency or the flashiness of a special procedure, Laura’s no longer interested. She moves on to Benton instead.

Doug’s hours in the clinic have definitely helped Carol forgive him for approaching her mother. He’s proud of all the work she’s done at the clinic. Carter complains to Mark that he didn’t inspire any of the students he spoke to. He wanted them to see the passion he has for emergency medicine. Mark tells him that, over all the years he’ll work as a doctor, the sum total of his patient care will be what counts, not his passion.

Mrs. Reilly thinks she just got a bump on the head and made an unnecessary trip to the hospital. She tells Carol that she’s become forgetful in her old age; the other night, she accidentally left her keys in the doorknob. This triggers a memory, and she remembers a man coming into her apartment and attacking her. Carol holds her as she cries over her remembered trauma.

Thoughts: Carlene is played by Telma Hopkins.

Who wrote the tamagotchi plot, and where do I send my complaints?

We get it, Carter gave up glamor when he left surgery. Let’s move on.

I love Susan so much. The world needs more Susans.

July 27, 2019

The X-Files 11.8, Familiar: Witch Hunt

Posted in TV tagged at 1:30 pm by Jenn

Sorry for the nightmares. Be glad you don’t have to hear the song

Summary: In a park in Eastwood, Connecticut, a kid named Andrew is singing a song about Mr. Chuckleteeth, his incredibly creepy doll. His mother, Diane, takes a phone call from someone she tells not to call her anymore. Andrew spots a life-size Mr. Chuckleteeth in the woods surrounding the park and somehow doesn’t start screaming in terror, which is what I would do. He tries to alert his mother, but she’s busy trying to get off the phone. The other woman and child nearby don’t say anything.

When Diane turns back to her son, he’s gone. He’s in the woods, looking for Mr. Chuckleteeth and humming the song, which will be stuck in everyone’s heads for eternity. Andrew follows him deeper into the woods, where something rushes at him. That night, a search party looks for Andrew, finding his doll destroyed and spotted with blood. Andrew’s body is nearby.

Mulder and Scully join police in the woods to check out the crime scene. The police chief, Strong, thinks that Andrew was killed by one of the coyotes often seen in town. More specifically, he blames a new animal called a coywolf, a hybrid of a coyote and a wolf. He’s not sure why the FBI has sent agents to investigate. Mulder explains that they have jurisdiction because Andrew’s father is a police officer. They can’t rule out that this was a murder.

Scully says that if Andrew was killed by a human, the killer would feel emboldened because he’s not being suspected. Andrew was strangled and bitten, but the bite marks could be from animals after his death, so they can’t officially list them as contributing to it. Strong thinks the agents are making assumptions. Mulder backs up his partner/girlfriend, saying she’s a medical doctor and knows what she’s doing.

Scully profiles the possible killer: a man between the agents of 19 and 42 who has a criminal record. He probably lives near the park, or at least goes there a lot, and knows Andrew’s play schedule. He probably also gets aroused by his victims’ suffering. As the agents leave to go to the morgue, Scully thanks Mulder for having her back. “You’re my homie,” he says whitely.

Mulder presents his theory: A hellhound killed Andrew. In this area in 1658, a woman accused of witchcraft supposedly spontaneously combusted. Scully accuses him of only reading the tourist literature and not remembering his history lessons about witch hunts. Mulder points out that just because people were falsely accused of witchcraft doesn’t mean there were no real witches. People who practice the black arts are more likely to be in the area than coywolves are. Scully doesn’t think witchcraft is real, and even if it is, Andrew was probably killed by a human.

The two go to the morgue for Andrew’s autopsy, which Scully knows will be difficult because of his age. Despite all the marks seemingly left on the body by animals, Scully still thinks Andrew was shaken to death. His parents are the most likely suspects. Diane has been cleared, but Andrew’s father, Rick, could have killed his son, and his fellow officers could be protecting him.

Mulder finds salt on Andrew’s foot, which isn’t in the police report. Also missing from the report: the eyewitness testimony of the girl who was at the park with her mother while Diane and Andrew were there. Coincidentally, her father is Chief Strong. Scully reminds Mulder that the girl, Emily, is only five, and her mother was with her, so there’s nothing they could get from her testimony. Mulder disagrees.

There’s a big turnout for Andrew’s funeral, where the reverend leading it encourages the community to support each other through this horrible time. Andrew is now in Heaven, free from human failures and sins. Chief Strong and his wife, Anna, are seated right across the aisle from Andrew’s parents, and after the service, Strong approaches Diane to offer his condolences. She doesn’t want to talk to him.

Rick asks another officer, Wentworth, why the FBI won’t release Andrew’s body. Wentworth says that the agents think Andrew was killed by a person, not an animal. That means the killer is at large and most likely lives in Eastwood. Anna asks Strong why the agents want to talk to Emily. Strong says they need to cooperate and play nice with the FBI. Anna insists that they didn’t see anything in the park, but Strong orders her to let the agents talk to their daughter.

Mulder tries to interview Emily, but she’s distracted by the Teletubbies-like TV show she’s watching. She just says that she saw Andrew going into the woods. The show is called The Bibbletiggles, and I don’t know how it doesn’t give kids nightmares. Anna tells Mulder that all she can think about is how her family could be in Andrew’s family’s position right now. It only took one moment for a tragedy to happen. She asks Mulder if he has kids, and he says that he has one son who’s grown now.

Anna admits that her husband feels guilty that this happened on his watch. He’s very protective of the town, where they’ve both lived their whole lives. When Anna leaves the room to get Emily some juice, Mulder takes a look around and spots books on the history of the area. They include a bunch of books on witchcraft and the grimoire (basically a spellbook) of the Eastwood Witch. Anna says they’re Strong’s books. Mr. Chuckleteeth appears on the show, and Emily tells Anna that he was in the woods.

At the police station, Rick searches a sex-offender database and finds one hit for Eastwood, a man named Melvin Peter. Elsewhere in the building, Scully tells Strong that she still thinks Andrew was murdered. He guesses that she’s going to accuse Rick, so he preemptively insists that Rick is innocent. Plus, Rick was working when Andrew went missing, so even if he were the sort of person to kill his own son, he couldn’t have done it.

They go looking for Rick, who has just run out of the station to track down Peter. Scully and Strong follow him on possibly the first-ever police chase involving only the police. It’s not that fast; for a small town, Eastwood has plenty of traffic. Rick bursts into Peter’s house with his gun drawn, and Strong tells Scully to put her own weapon away when they arrive. Peter isn’t home anyway, so there’s no one for Rick to shoot.

Mulder has returned to the crime scene, and he calls Scully, who tells him that Rick’s father is having a breakdown. Just then, Mulder comes across a coyote, or a wolf, or possibly a coywolf. I don’t know; I’m not a zoologist. The animal just looks at Mulder, then turns around and walks away.

Mulder joins Scully at Peter’s house, where a crowd has gathered, and makes a dumb “who let the dogs out?” joke. The house is just two blocks from the park, and Peter never registered as a sex offender when he moved in last year. Rick used Scully’s profile to find him. Mulder isn’t sure they have the right person, but a judge has issued a search warrant, so the police go into the house. They find tons of pictures of Peter with kids; it looks like he was a birthday-party entertainer.

Hearing a clanging noise, Mulder checks out a closet, which contains a very angry monkey in a cage. The closet also contains a Mr. Chuckleteeth costume. Still, Mulder isn’t convinced that Peter is Andrew’s killer. Scully doesn’t get why not – “he’s potentially John Wayne Gacy with a monkey.” Mulder thinks it’s too perfect, which makes him uncomfortable. Scully thinks that makes it right.

Mulder somehow feels bad for Peter, since the public has already painted him the killer. They’re basically reenacting the witch trials. Mulder blah blahs about the presumption of innocence until Scully tells him that a convicted felon is a good place to start with their investigation. Mulder complains that Peter is being reconvicted by an angry mob. Mulder, he’s a child molester. Stop it.

Emily’s watching The Bibbletiggles again, which means her parents have much more patience for the show than I would. She sees a Bibbletiggle staring at her creepily from outside the house and goes out to greet it. Sometime later, Emily’s body is found in the woods, looking like Andrew’s did when he was found. Mulder can’t believe she’s dead when he just talked to her that morning.

Strong is at the scene and tries to stop Anna from seeing their daughter’s body. “You did this to her,” she accuses. Strong just tells Wentworth to take his wife home. Mulder finds salt on the ground, spread in a circle. He tells Scully that salt is used in witchcraft for protection. In the past, witches often conjured familiars, which usually took the shape of animals, but sometimes were objects of desire. Mulder starts to put together that someone conjured a familiar that looked like Mr. Chuckleteeth and used it to lure Andrew to his death.

Mulder spots a marking on the ground and realizes they’re in a Puritan graveyard. Demons and spirits have been unleashed there. Mulder thinks someone is keeping some important answers from them. Outside the woods, Peter drives by the park and is spotted by Rick, who attacks him. Mulder accuses Strong of closing the case because he saw the salt at the crime scene and knew Andrew was a victim of witchcraft. Strong admits that Mulder’s right.

Scully asks Strong straight out if he killed Andrew and Emily. Strong says he let the Devil into his soul, and he sinned and broke a commandment, but he didn’t kill anyone. His sin: adultery. His partner in sin: Diane. They were having an affair, and Diane wanted to break things off. Strong was on the phone with her when Andrew went missing. He thinks Emily’s death is his punishment. “I…did not see that coming,” Mulder admits.

He tells Scully that he saw books on witchcraft in the Strongs’ house, so he knew Strong knew about hellhounds and salt circles and familiars. Strong may be innocent here, but Mulder thinks someone in town did something to open the gates of Hell. The officers learn of Rick’s attack on Peter and rush out of the woods to stop it. Wentworth breaks up the fight as Peter defends himself, saying his crime was just statutory. (Sounds like it was consensual sex with a younger teen when he was a teenager.) The townspeople don’t care, and they move in to finish Peter off.

Mulder and Scully finally end the riot for good by firing shots in the air (him) and threatening attempted-murder charges for anyone who commits further violence (her). Peter insists that he never hurt anyone. Rick starts to use his radio to call an ambulance for the man he just beat up, but then he changes his mind. He draws his gun and shoots Peter in the head before Mulder can stop him.

When Rick is arraigned for the murder, Mulder predicts that he’ll be set free, declared innocent of killing an actual innocent person. The town will use Peter as their scapegoat and declare the situation closed. Scully isn’t sure that Peter was really innocent, but Mulder thinks they’re still dealing with a witch hunt. He thinks the real killer is in the courtroom: Strong.

Scully says that Mulder hasn’t explained how a wolf could have grabbed Andrew when Diane was so close by. Mulder says the wolf was just guarding the entrance to Hell. Scully notes that he still hasn’t answered her question. They get interrupted when the judge allows Rick to be released on bail. For only $5,000, he can leave.

Outside the courthouse, Wentworth is waiting for the agents with a folder. Like Mulder, he feels horrible that Peter was killed without due process. He found pictures taken the day Andrew disappeared – Peter was performing at a birthday party at the same time the boy went missing. Strong told Wentworth to keep it quiet and “let sleeping dogs lie.” (Or sleeping hellhounds?)

The agents assure Wentworth that he did the right thing coming to them. Scully thinks the truth will come out eventually, as injustices are usually exposed, “especially in this part of the country.” I don’t know what that means, but let’s just say that, since Wentworth is black, he probably doesn’t agree. He hopes the real killer is found and gets what’s coming to him.

Rick goes home to his wife, fully aware that she was having an affair. She tells him she ended things and regrets her mistake. She wants forgiveness, but Rick isn’t sure if it’s for sleeping with Strong or for Andrew’s death. He gets aggressive, and Diane asks if he’s going to kill her, too. He calls her a witch and says he’s leaving her. She says he can’t, since she’s leaving him. Uh, good one?

Diane drives off, and Rick follows after getting his gun from a closet. She thinks she sees Andrew in the road, and when she swerves to avoid hitting him, her car flips and rolls off the road. The wolf/coyote/coywolf/hellhound/whatever it is approaches the car. Rick goes to the Strongs’ house, where he hears Andrew singing the Mr. Chuckleteeth song. He sees the creature itself and follows it through the house, shooting at it, which has no effect.

The TV turns itself on, showing The Bibbletiggles. Mr. Chuckleteeth comes onscreen and his theme song changes from happy and playful (“Mr. Chuckleteeth, won’t you play with me?”) to demonic: “Mr. Chuckleteeth, it’s time to say farewell / If you try to run and hide, we’ll send you straight to Hell.”

Rick turns and sees the now-demonic Mr. Chuckleteeth standing behind him. Rick chases him but comes across Strong instead. The two officers fire their guns at the same time. Mulder and Scully arrive soon after and find Rick dead. There’s a salt circle in the yard. Mulder goes in looking for Strong; the show is still on. The grimoire is missing.

Scully wants to forget about the witchcraft stuff – obviously Strong killed Rick because of the affair. Mulder thinks they should return to the scene of the crime. Strong’s already there, trying to call Diane. He comes across her wrecked car and sees her in the woods…or really, her familiar. The real Diane is dead, her body in the woods.

Mulder and Scully arrive as Strong follows the Diane familiar to a circle of candles where Anna is chanting something. She tells him she has to end what she started. She wanted to curse Diane and Strong for the affair, but she must have released something she lost control of. She insists that she can end it, too.

The wolf/coyote/coywolf/hellhound/whatever attacks Strong, and Mulder and Scully follow the sound of his yelling and Anna’s screaming. Mulder tells Anna to drop the book, because she’s clearly tapped into something she can’t control. Anna ignores him and keeps reciting from the book. She catches on fire, though the book is left unharmed. It’s turned to a page about hellhounds.

So to sum up, all six members of the two families involved here are dead. Scully gives Wentworth the grimoire, hoping it’ll serve as evidence of the madness that gripped the town. Mulder says it could be evidence of a curse placed by a modern-day witch. She tells him to leave that for the tourist literature. No matter what happened, a woman spontaneously combusted, which Scully said wasn’t possible. Mulder allows that it could have been the candles. They’re ready to leave town, though Mulder says that’s not possible these days. Huh? The carousel Andrew once played on turns by itself as they drive away.

Thoughts: So did Anna really not see when Andrew went into the woods? Discuss.

If my child brought that Mr. Chuckleteeth doll into my house, I would burn it.

Mulder, please don’t compare the logical assumption that a convicted sex offender hurt a child with the Salem witch trials.

Also, dude, you gotta stop tasting stuff at crime scenes.

July 23, 2019

ER 4.10, Do You See What I See?: The Miracle Worker

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

Couldn’t be cuter

Summary: Carol wakes Doug up at the end of a night shift, and they lament that they won’t be able to spend Christmas together the next day. Herb gets his picture taken pretending to shock a patient as he finishes up his stint as Mark’s lawyer. He’s made the whole lawsuit disappear, and even got Mark out of having to apologize to the Laws. Weaver’s spent the night with West in his hotel room, so…that happened.

On his way to work with a bunch of presents, Benton runs into Anna, who warns that Reese might spend his first Christmas playing with the boxes his presents came in. An ambulance arrives at the same time they reach County, and they pause to tend to the patient being brought in, a homeless man named Bart. He’s blind, but when Benton touches his forehead, Bart opens his eyes and starts exclaiming that he can see.

As the doctors move Bart into a trauma room and start treating him, he describes everything he sees, proving he really can see. Benton isn’t sure he was really blind before. Carol tries to get a nurse to swift shifts with her so she can spend Christmas with Doug, but she has no luck. She asks Carter if she should provide Millicent with anything special when she comes to see the clinic that afternoon. Carter warns that she’ll be under intense scrutiny.

Henry’s still working on completing his clerkship, and he thinks the only thing he has left to do is a major emergency procedure. Carter’s not sure that’s all he’s lacking, but he’s probably going to let that slide, since he’s eager to get rid of Henry. Cynthia learns that her credit card limit has been frozen, so she can’t pay for the present she picked out for Mark. He hasn’t gotten her present yet, either, so he offers to pay off her debt.

Paramedics bring in a seven-year-old who got stuck in the chimney while trying to find out if Santa could really fit. Carol tells an EMT named Greg that he can get cleaned up in the hospital, since he’s covered in soot. Henry asks to do the kid’s intubation, but Mark doesn’t want him to treat this as a teaching case. Jeanie wants to give some of County’s needles to a clinic patient so he doesn’t spread his Hepatitis B to people he’s been sharing with. Jeanie says the patient won’t report her – will Kerry?

Word of Benton’s supposed miracle has spread, and Carter teases him about it. Benton blows it off, then corrects Lydia when she says Bart is blind. He’s taken off, and Benton figures he just wanted some attention. Anna thinks he’s being too humble. West has arranged to work a shift with Weaver, so either he’s really into her or he’s playing some weird long con. Carol asks for a taxi voucher for Pablo, who’s misplaced his shoes. Weaver tells him he can wait in chairs instead of outside in the cold, so she’s in a good mood. West suggests that they make arrangements with a cab company for comped vouchers.

Carol officially meets Greg, who’s now squeaky clean. Carter gets a new patient, Vinnie, who has chest pain and isn’t doing well. West joins him and Henry for the trauma, and Henry asks to do any necessary intubations. Instead, he’s assigned to bag Vinnie, who keeps murmuring something about a woman named Maria. Elizabeth comes in to do some paperwork before heading to England for Christmas. Romano invites her to join him for Allison Beaumont’s next operation, which, if successful, will save her leg.

Carter, West, and Henry are unable to save Vinnie, but Carter figures Henry can still use his body to practice intubations. Vinnie’s brother, Joey, arrives just then and thinks that Vinnie’s still alive. Carter plays along as he rushes Joey out. Mark and Anna tend to a 67-year-old woman named Mrs. Larkin who was bound and gagged, then raped in her apartment. Chuny finds “whore” written on her stomach in black marker.

Jeanie goes to the lounge to take her medication but realizes she didn’t bring it to work with her. As Elizabeth and Romano operate on Allison, Jeanie asks Weaver to get her a dose of the medication she left at home. Weaver easily agrees. Carter and Henry tell Vinnie’s family that he didn’t make it, leaving out the part where he was already dead when Joey showed up. Henry tries to be helpful by telling Vinnie’s wife that his last thoughts were of her. Except – oops! – she’s not Maria. Maria is Joey’s wife. Stop helping, Henry.

Mark and Carol continue taking care of Mrs. Larkin, having to ask her questions about her assault. Hearing about it makes Mark think of his own attack, and he has to excuse himself from the room. Anna tells Benton that she looked up Bart’s records, and when he was in the year before, he was definitely blind. Benton wonders what Bart’s angle is. “The Lord words in mysterious ways,” Anna teases. Another homeless man comes in, having heard from Bart that Benton works miracles, and asks Benton to make him walk again. Benton says he can’t help.

Mark tells two detectives about Mrs. Larkin’s assault, getting annoyed when they question whether her memories are accurate. Elizabeth is about to leave for the airport when she learns that Allison, who’s been in a coma for the ten days since her car accident, is waking up. She’s still intubated, so she can’t speak, but she’s fine mentally and wants to know where her mother is. Elizabeth breaks the news that her mother died.

Mark finds a toy Cynthia bought, which she claims is for a friend’s child. Moments later, she comes clean: It’s for her own five-year-old son. She hasn’t seen him for three years and never mentioned to Mark that she had a child. He lives with his father and grandparents, and though Cynthia misses him, she knows that’s what’s best for him. Thanks to Mark’s money, she’s able to give him a nice Christmas present.

Carol tries to swap shifts with Chuny but again has no success. Millicent arrives for a tour of the clinic, dragging along Chase, who’s dressed as Santa. They realize a little Christmas tree near the admit desk is on fire, and Carol quickly puts it out with a fire extinguisher. The smoke sets off the sprinkler system. Womp womp. Weaver decides that the lights at the desk need to be taken down because they’re old and could be dangerous. She’ll let Cynthia’s brand-new light-up Rudolph stay, though.

After a quick change of clothes, Carol shows Millicent around the clinic. Carter runs into them and sees that Chase is filling in for their grandfather as Santa. Benton comes across Nat, who’s struggling with a broken floor buffer, and they chat about Reese’s first Christmas. When Benton pats Nat on the shoulder, the buffer starts working. Carol searches the lounge cabinets for decaf coffee, which doctors would never drink, because what’s the point? He tells her about Cynthia’s secret child, wondering if the fact that she didn’t mention him is a bad sign. Doug may have been right about her being a bad fit.

Elizabeth admits to Benton that she kind of wants to confess to Allison that her eagerness to do a special procedure led to Allison’s coma. She knows that it’ll make her feel better to let go of the guilt, but it won’t help Allison. Benton reminds her that she did her job, and everything has turned out fine, so there’s no point in bringing it up.

Mark talks to the detectives again, wanting more information on Mrs. Larkin’s case. He can tell they’re not that concerned with helping her. Carter helps Chase get some presents from the car to pass out to hospitalized kids. Carter’s relieved that their grandfather skipped the visit because now he doesn’t have to defend his decision to go into medicine. Chase notes that he still thinks Carter’s a surgeon, not back to being a lowly intern.

Henry wants to perform a spinal tap on a patient, but Carter tells him he misdiagnosed the flu. Maybe Carter should just let him finish his clerkship right now so he can go back to the lab and be far, far away from people. Carol introduces Millicent to Jeanie, who agrees to let Millicent shadow her for a while. Elizabeth extubates Allison, then decides she needs a head and neck surgeon.

Millicent observes as Jeanie chats with a teenager named Gina who’s pregnant and denies that she could have been exposed to HIV. She figures since she doesn’t sleep with drug users or gay guys, she’s not at risk. Jeanie reveals her own HIV status by saying she never slept with a gay man or drug user, either. Gina agrees to get tested.

Bart’s back, and he’s blind again. He asks Benton to touch him again and redo his miracle. Benton touches him, but nothing happens. Mark finishes up with Mrs. Larkin, who regrets having to miss Christmas Mass. She usually plays the organ, and she doesn’t think the church will be able to find a substitute in time. Mark tells her she shouldn’t worry about that. Mrs. Larkin admits that she hates her rapist, but she doesn’t want to be like that – as a Christian, she’s supposed to forgive. Mark says she doesn’t have to, but Mrs. Larkin knows hatred won’t undo what happened to her.

Mark leaves work a little early, telling Weaver and Cynthia that he has something to take care of. He also wants to hold off on making any plans with Cynthia. Carol finishes up Millicent’s tour and invites her to stay for a staff potluck. Millicent declines, probably because she’s never attended a potluck before. Carter finds Chase in Millicent’s limo, shooting up heroin. Chase says he’s not an addict; he just does it when he’s bored. Carter realizes that the spider bite he treated Chase for wasn’t really a spider bite. Carter isn’t interested in his medical opinion. They both clam up when Millicent joins them.

A neurologist finds a mass in Bart’s brain that explains his blindness. She can’t explain his brief return of sight, since the mass means he shouldn’t have been able to see anything for years. Elizabeth has missed her flight, so she’ll be spending Christmas in Chicago. Romano invites her to a party, but Elizabeth wants to wait for news on Allison, who may have paralyzed vocal chords.

Connie has Gladys Knight tickets on New Year’s and is desperate to change shifts with someone so she can go. Finally, Carol has someone to trade for her on Christmas. In more good news, Millicent has sent over a huge Christmas tree for the staff to enjoy, plus a check for $150,000 for the clinic.

Mark goes to the Laws’ house and tries to apologize to Kenny’s mother for not saving her son, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Chris comes out to confront him, and Mark says he knows now that Chris wasn’t the person who attacked him. Chris admits that he was happy when he heard someone hurt Mark. But even if the family had successfully sued Mark for medical malpractice, Kenny would still be dead. Chris can’t find any meaning in his brother’s death. Mark just says he’s sorry.

Benton tells Bart that he has a tumor, and though it’s operable, he probably won’t regain his sight once it’s out. Bart is still hopeful, since seeing anything today was also unlikely. He spent the day in the park with his guide dog, watching him in the snow. He’s pleased that he got to see something so beautiful. Carol tells Doug that she got the next day off, but she’ll have to work New Year’s. In a twist worthy of O. Henry, Doug switched shifts with Anna so he and Carol could work together on Christmas. Okay, not really; he’s just kidding.

Carol decides it’s time to tell their co-workers that they’re back together. She takes Doug to the potluck and announces that they’re seeing each other. No one gets the big deal. Turns out they all knew (except Weaver and Anna), and they’ve been taking bets on when the couple would finally come clean. Doug adds a surprise: He wants to marry Carol. He tells everyone to talk her into it. Carol doesn’t accept or reject the proposal, just teasing that Doug always has to outdo her.

Everyone goes outside to enjoy the tree and the snow. West invites Weaver to join him somewhere warmer for the holidays. She and Jeanie wish each other a Merry Christmas. Carter wants to skip his family’s party, so he tries to make plans with Anna. Henry has finished his last procedure, so Carter gives him his Christmas present – an evaluation that says he passed emergency medicine. It’s really a present for Carter, who no longer has to deal with him. As Elizabeth sits with Allison as she undergoes an exam, Cynthia and Mark spend the evening together. Benton leaves to spend Christmas with Reese, taking a moment to admire the tree.

Thoughts: Greg is played by George Eads, later Jorja Fox’s (Doyle) co-star on CSI.

Oh, good, we’re starting the old-ladies-keep-getting-raped arc. Merry Christmas, everyone!

“I made it so you don’t have to say you’re sorry” isn’t something you want your lawyer to say. If it’s between saying you’re sorry and possibly paying thousands of dollars, just apologize.

July 20, 2019

The X-Files 11.7, Rm9sbg93zxjz: Teach Your A.I. Well

Posted in TV tagged at 1:31 pm by Jenn

On top of making technology homicidal, that fish cost a lot of money

Summary: A computerized voice tells us that on March 23rd, 2016, Twitter released an artifical-intelligence chatterbot. It was supposed to mimic the way a 19-year-old would talk, in order to show how people converse on social media. It was also supposed to learn from humans and become more intelligent. The experiment worked, but Twitter users affected the chatterbot’s tweets, which became hateful. Sounds about right. The bot was shut down and the posts were deleted. If humans don’t take care of A.I., one day we’ll be the ones who are deleted.

Mulder and Scully are the only customers at a D.C. sushi restaurant, Forowa. In fact, they appear to be the only humans there – they place their orders through a tablet, and there are no human servers. While waiting for their food, the two get on their phones. Scully gets a request to evaluate her meal (which she hasn’t eaten yet) through the app she used to place their reservation, then a request to friend the restaurant on social media. A surveillance camera watches as Scully looks around, realizing the restaurant is empty.

The tablet lets the agents know that their food is ready. A mechanism sends Scully’s out on a tray, followed by Mulder’s. His is wrong – he definitely didn’t order an ugly blobfish. Scully cracks up and takes a picture of him with it. She starts eating her meal, silently rubbing it in that she got the right order. Mulder takes his to what he thinks is the kitchen, but everything is run by robots, so there’s no one to complain to. The robots all stop and seem to stare at him until he leaves.

The tablet asks for payment, which Mulder takes care of, even though he didn’t get the right meal. He refuses to tip, so he doesn’t get his credit card back. He hits the machine, which makes the light in the restaurant flicker and all the doors close. The agents try to leave, but they’re locked in. Scully uses a chopstick to pick the lock, but Mulder realizes he’s left his card behind. Now the doors won’t let them back in.

Scully has preordered a ride from Whipz, a driverless car service, so the agents decide to just leave the restaurant they totally broke. The door closes on her before she can say a goodbye to Mulder, other than his name (her first intelligible piece of dialogue in the episode). She heads home alone, declining to post a review of her ride. A smiley face on a tablet offers to take care of any of her needs, but Scully just wants silence.

Mulder’s car is at the restaurant, so I don’t know why he didn’t just drive Scully home. Anyway, he has a parking ticket, though the parking app on his phone says he still has three minutes left on his meter. (Why did these two only give themselves, like, ten minutes in the restaurant to eat?) He throws the ticket into the darkness. That’s littering, Mulder! Not cool!

His phone tells him he still has four hours to leave a tip for the sushi chefs. “A good tip is good karma,” the app says. What are robots going to do with human money, though? As he heads home, following directions on his GPS app, Scully’s Whipz ride speeds out of control. She can’t get the driverless car to slow down. Mulder’s GPS app has found a faster route home, but he doesn’t care; he just wants to listen to Prince. Instead, he gets “Teach Your Children Well.”

Scully tries to make a call (to Mulder, I guess) but gets a busy signal. The smiley face on the tablet ignores her orders to pull over. Mulder’s music suddenly stops, and he realizes the GPS app has taken him back to Forawa. “You suck, Mr. Phone,” he tells the app. He gets out an atlas to find a map and go “old school.” The robots in the restaurant seem to be watching him. They still want their tip.

Scully’s car finally stops, but she can’t get out until she rates her ride. The choices are “poor,” “middle class,” “rich,” and “ballin’.” She yells negative words at the tablet, making the smiley face frown. She’s finally allowed out. Mulder’s also arrived home, where his porch light is flickering, and he seems to hear distorted tech-y voices. He stops to look at his bug zapper before he goes inside.

You know how I’ve said forever that Scully needs a security system? She finally got one! She lives in a nice, big house now, and has a high-tech system that lets her know when doors are open. Unfortunately, it won’t turn off when she comes in and tries to enter the code. Someone from the security company calls, so she gives her password, “Queequeg.” (Aw!) The company turns off the alarm, then sends her a text letting her know she’ll be billed for a false alarm.

Mulder calls Bigly Credit about his abandoned credit card, but he’ll have to wait on hold for 17 minutes to talk to a human. He presses a button to get a call back instead, then turns on his TV to watch The Six-Million-Dollar Man while he tosses a baseball around. The TV signal goes out, then shows surveillance footage taken from outside his house. It’s from a drone, which Mulder figures is being flown by a kid who just wants to bug him.

Scully’s phone tells her she’s out of Rock It Like a Redhead styling cream; would she like to order more now? Scully feels like she’s being watched. Mulder finally gets a call back from Bigly, but there’s a glitch and it just says his name over and over. Outside, the drone is back, so Mulder grabs a different piece of baseball equipment and engages in some batting practice. The drone hovers out of reach, almost taunting him. Mulder fakes it out and knocks it down, telling the kid he thinks was controlling it to see this as a lesson.

Scully hears a buzzing noise outside her house and finds a drone delivering a package. If delivery drones are going to be as loud as lawn mowers, someone’s going to have to do more work on that technology. Over at Mulder’s, another, bigger drone arrives to retrieve its fallen brother. Two more drones join it, stare at Mulder for a few moments, then follow the other away.

She wasn’t expecting a package, but Scully is pleased to see that someone sent her a robot vacuum called a Zuemz. She puts it right to work, and it starts mapping her house. She was about to clean up a mess in the bathroom, but the Zuemz takes care of that for her. She quickly gets a request to rate the product, but she again declines to do so.

Under the bed, the Zuemz finds Scully’s vibrator, and her phone soon tells her that she can get a coupon for a new one if she rates the Zuemz. Scully declines again. I think the Zuemz is mad. Scully tries to text Mulder to ask if he sent the vacuum, but the message won’t send. In the hall, the Zuemz starts getting louder, so Scully picks it up.

On hold with Bigly, Mulder’s hold music is “Teach Your Children Well.” He eats sunflower seeds and tries to log into his Bigly account. Meanwhile, Scully boxes up the Zuemz. Mulder tries multiple times to get into his account, with no luck. His phone prompts him again to leave a tip at Forawa. He hears a buzzing outside, but it goes away.

Scully calls the company the Zuemz came from but has trouble getting the automated system to let her make a return. She’s put on hold, and her music is also “Teach Your Children Well.” Mulder finally accesses his account online, only to have the page with his account info disappear, showing him his desktop. It’s a picture of his “I want to believe” poster. An alert shows up on screen: “What do you want to believe, Fox? Do you believe what you want? Or do you believe what is true?”

Scully’s sound system turns her music up on its own, and when she goes to turn it down, the Zuemz beeps and turns on in its box. A little drone watches Mulder as Scully fails to turn down her music. The Zuemz pops out of the box and goes back to mapping as another little drone joins the first at Mulder’s house. The Zuemz knocks a vase off a table, finally alerting her that it’s turned on. Mulder also sees the drones.

When Scully takes the Zuemz outside to a trash can, she sees her Whipz car idling in her driveway. The company has friended her on social media and wants her to friend them, too. The Zuemz turns itself back on and starts exporting its mapping. The car flashes its lights, and Scully’s house lights flash as well. Mulder’s house is now full of dozens of drones, which follow him like a swarm of bees when he runs out. Actually, a swarm of fireflies would be more accurate, since they’re all lit up.

Scully’s coffeemaker goes haywire in her kitchen as Mulder gets in his car. A calendar app lets him know that Skinner’s birthday is coming up, so Mulder should order a cake. “Why celebrate birthdays? Is life so important?” the app asks. Scully’s fridge has an app for reminders, and it’s sending a bunch – she needs to buy salad dressing and remember to hydrate. The fridge starts shooting ice cubes at her, and the fridge asks if she’s angry.

Driving away from the house allows Mulder to escape the drones, but he can’t outdrive the app asking him to tip the robot chefs. Scully finally gets her music to turn off, but her security system has a message – it just wants to learn and help her by anticipating her needs. It thinks she’s cold, so it starts a fire in her fireplace. The lights flicker and the TV turns on, though it’s staticky.

Scully tries to log into her security system account, but her username and password don’t work. It also claims she answered her security question, about her birthplace, wrong. It insists over and over that she wasn’t born in Annapolis. As she gives up, the lights go out and the security system locks her in the house. It blares that there’s an intruder. Though the fire in the fireplace goes out, the gas is still on.

Mulder arrives just as Scully’s trying to light a match, which breaks and gets discarded on the floor. She yells through the window that the door won’t open. Her sound system picks up her words and displays them on the malfunctioning TV. She smells gas and grabs a fireplace poker to break the window. Mulder just wants to know why her house is so much nicer than his. Well, it won’t be for long. Just as Scully breaks the window, the Zuemz drives over the broken match, igniting it and setting off an explosion.

The agents run for Mulder’s car, which won’t let them inside. Scully tries to call 911, but her phone is in the middle of an update. Mulder makes an attempt, but the call fails. I’m not sure why they’re bothering anyway, since the security system is blaring that it’s calling the fire department. Mulder gets a call from what appears to be a phone-sex line, and for once in his life, he doesn’t want to take it.

The agents head to a neighbor’s house, which is watched by a surveillance app. The feed glitches and the agents disappear from it. The big drones from Mulder’s house arrive, along with a bunch of friends, and chase the agents to some kind of warehouse. A GPS app alerts Scully that she will make it to her office…then adds a “never” after “will.” She realizes they’re being tracked through their phones.

Mulder suggests a place they can hide out, and the two of them get rid of anything that can be used to track them. Scully thinks that includes the vibrator. The drones and Whipz car follow them, and a pair of pincers retrieves their phones from a trash can. The agents end up in a lab, where the machinery starts turning itself on. Four-legged robots surround them like a pack of dogs. Mulder kicks one so they can run by it, because he’s already ticked off enough technology today, so what’s one more angry robot?

The agents hide in a storeroom office, but a 3-D printer is ready for them. It prints some bullets and fires them at the agents. Mulder uses a barrel to break the printer. A robot breaks down the door to the storeroom and hands Mulder his phone. A message tells him that this is his last chance to leave a tip for Forawa. “Be kind to our workers,” it urges.

As the app counts down from 10 and the robot prepares for battle, Mulder finally gets the lesson he was supposed to learn. He leaves a 10% tip. “We learn from you,” the app tells him. He tells Scully that they need to be better teachers. Yeah, or maybe the people who create the A.I. should make it so it can’t become violent. The agents leave the lab without being hassled by any more technology.

They go to a diner, which has a version of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks on the wall, with robots in place of the humans. They’re served by a human, who tells them to take their time. The agents have gotten back all their electronics, and Scully’s disappointed that she didn’t have her step-counter with her when they were running around the lab. She also appears to have left her vibrator behind. Mulder leaves their waitress a big tip and the two get out their phones, then realize that’s not what they should be doing while they’re together. However, they don’t need to talk to enjoy each other’s company – they can just hold hands.

Thoughts: Kristen Cloke, one of this episode’s writers (and the voice of the phone-sex operator), played Melissa in “The Field Where I Died.” She’s married to Glen Morgan, a longtime X-Files director, who directed this episode.

I thought this episode would be easy to recap because there’s so little dialogue. Wrong! Dialogue is, in some ways, easier to recap because you can type while you listen. Here, I didn’t know what was happening unless I had my eyes on the screen.

I hope when Scully posts the picture of Mulder and the blobfish, she captions it “Mulder and C.G.B. Spender.”

Hey, whatever happened to Daggoo?

July 16, 2019

ER 4.9, Obstruction of Justice: Two Protests With Very Different Results

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

These two really should have ended up together

Summary: Jeanie’s worked her last day at County but is up the next morning to go sign papers. Al is still confident that he’ll find work in Atlanta, though he’d appreciate Jeanie not nagging him about getting a job. Synergix sends some computer equipment over to County so they can work there on a trial basis. Weaver tells Anspaugh that she thinks Jeanie’s rumblings about getting litigious over her termination weren’t serious. The budget will be proof enough that they needed to let people go. Anspaugh praises Weaver for her handling of a difficult situation.

Mark’s hungover from his drunken antics with Cynthia the night before. She’s worn his lingerie gift to work, and she gives him a peep show in the doctors’ lounge. Doug was supposed to be back at work today, but he called to say his car broke down. Carol wants to make it very clear that he called the hospital, not her personally. Mark and Cynthia emerge from the lounge, and Carol and Chuny should probably hose it down before they go in.

Jeanie goes to Doc Magoo’s to meet up with a couple of lawyers Doyle knows. The fact that she’s never been disciplined works in her favor, but I’d say the fact that she performed a procedure she wasn’t supposed to because of her HIV doesn’t. Anyway, Jeanie wants her job back. At County, Carter asks Anna and Randi if he can borrow a dollar to get a soda. I guess he doesn’t have anything in his wallet smaller than a $50. Anna gives him a buck, noting that, according to legend, JFK also never carried cash on him. She lets him keep the change.

Carter’s cousin Chase shows up, calling Carter “Scooter,” which I’m going to need an explanation for. At least Anna now has a nickname to use for her least favorite colleague. Chase needs medical treatment for what he says is a spider bite. West meets Mark, who’s fine with the Synergix partnership because it means less work for him. West shows Weaver a new verbal dictation system that includes a hands-free mic.

Carol finds Cynthia in the restroom and tells her that there can be no more sex in the lounge. Cynthia laughs that off, saying she was just “trying to cheer up three of the Seven Dwarfs: Grumpy, Sleepy, and Doc.” She thinks Carol should be happier about Mark’s happiness. Jeanie shows up for work, saying she’s not going to accept her termination. Yeah, that’s…not how that works, Jeanie.

Carter and Chase chat about how their grandparents want Chase to be the next prominent successor of the family, working with the family company. Carter has no interest in that, and Chase is being overlooked despite already working for the company. Weaver and Carol tend to a man named Mr. Jackson who says he needs pain medication for a sickle cell crisis; someone stole his Percodans. Carol and Weaver think he’s a drug-seeker and won’t give him the dose he says he needs.

Paramedics bring in a mother and daughter hurt in a car accident. The mother is unconscious, and the daughter, Allison, is having trouble speaking. Weaver brings West in to help her with Allison. Benton and Elizabeth come in to replace West, and Benton shows the best bedside manner he’s ever displayed when he tells Allison they won’t let her die. Next door, her mother regains consciousness but soon flatlines. Elizabeth takes Allison to surgery for leg injuries.

Chuny tells Weaver that Jeanie clocked in for work. Carol can’t get anyone on the phone at the clinic Jackson says he usually goes to, which makes his story seem even fishier. He demands Demerol, but Weaver still won’t budge. Then she goes to confront Jeanie. She points out that Jeanie’s off the payroll and is no longer covered by malpractice insurance. Jeanie says she won’t see anymore patients, but she’s not leaving. Weaver threatens to have her forcibly removed from the hospital. Jeanie says Weaver can do what she needs to do, and Jeanie will do the same.

Allison’s mother dies in the ER, and Benton volunteers to take the news up to Allison in the OR. Herb arrives to shadow Mark, who hasn’t told anyone what’s really going on. Herb just wants to do a couple of sutures, nothing big. Mark’s like, “Cool, I can go from one malpractice suit to another!” Chase invites Carter to go to lunch, but Carter declines because he has to work. He explains to Anna that his family thinks he’s just dabbling in medicine and will quit sooner or later.

A screaming woman named Darlene is brought in after apparently being beaten up by her husband. Both spouses are drunk, and the husband, Eddie, says Darlene ran him over with her car. The cops believe him, though Darlene says she was trying to get away from her husband. She knows Billy, the officer who accompanied them in, is just siding with Eddie because they’re buddies. He’s handcuffed Darlene, but Carter makes him remove the cuffs so he can do his job. Billy demands that Carter get Darlene’s blood-alcohol level.

Benton tells Elizabeth that Allison’s leg injury is too bad to be repaired; they need to amputate. Elizabeth wants to do a procedure that she thinks will save the leg. Benton thinks Elizabeth just wants a guinea pig to practice the procedure on. Romano, of course, gets the tiebreaker, and he’s eager to see Elizabeth perform her procedure.

Weaver tells Mark that Jeanie is still fired, no matter what kind of protest she wants to stage. She hasn’t been able to reach Anspaugh. Mark’s happy he doesn’t have to deal with the stuff Weaver does. He gives Herb some scrubs and asks for some details on how, exactly, Herb plans to defend him from the Laws’ lawsuit (…heh). Herb says it doesn’t matter.

Billy urges Eddie to back him in filing charges against Darlene for assault with a deadly weapon. Apparently they’ve tried to press charges against her before, but Eddie always backs down. While Carter and Anna are telling Eddie that he’s not badly injured, Billy tries to force Chuny to draw Darlene’s blood for a blood-alcohol test. Darlene starts declining, so Carter and Anna rush to help her. Carter tells Billy he’ll need to get a warrant before they’ll agree to the blood draw. He knows both his and Darlene’s rights.

Apparently scrubs and a stethoscope are all you need to pass as a doctor, since Malik and Doyle both mistake Herb for one. Doyle thinks he’s from Synergix. It helps that he knows some medical stuff, having hired an ER doctor to teach him some terms and procedures. Mark sends him to the lounge to practice sutures on a pig’s foot.

Doug arrives and the nurses immediately put him to work. Carol runs up to him, eager for a reunion, but has to tone it down when she remembers other people are there. West invites Weaver to a Synergix conference in the Caribbean next week, which is definitely not an excuse for them to be alone in the tropics without anyone knowing that they’re totally sleeping together.

Mark sends Doug to an exam room to examine a patient complaining of insomnia and a loss of appetite. Doug suggests a psych consult, but Mark wants Doug to handle it himself. The patient is really Carol, and Mark wanted to give them some time alone. Cynthia catches them making out, and though Carol is briefly embarrassed about doing the same thing she told Cynthia not to do, she lets it go so she can go back to kissing her secret boyfriend.

Carter asks Mark what he should do if the police want blood from a patient who’s refused to give it. Herb tells him that he’s allowed to side with the patient and decline. He offers a consult if Carter needs one, but Mark pulls him away. Weaver catches Jeanie trying to help Yosh with a patient, and she’s finally fed up. She tells Chuny to call security, like Chuny should be dragged into this. She’s already on the phone, since Anspaugh is calling to summon Jeanie for a meeting.

Darlene’s blood alcohol is .270, but her vomit doesn’t show any pill fragments, so that’s one less thing for Carter and Anna to have to deal with. Billy arrives with the warrant for Darlene’s blood and asks for the stomach contents as well. That’s not on the warrant, so Carter flushes them right in front of Billy. Billy responds by arresting him for destroying evidence. Mark tries to step in, but Carter is nonchalant, knowing he was just protecting his patient’s rights.

Anspaugh, Jeanie, Weaver, and one of Jeanie’s lawyers meet to discuss the possibility that Jeanie was fired for something other than budget cuts. There’s a case for discrimination and a violation of the disciplinary process. Anspaugh determines that Jeanie will drop the matter if she gets her job back. He promises to have a decision today. After Jeanie and her lawyer leave, Weaver tells Anspaugh that if he hires Jeanie back, he’ll be giving in to blackmail. But Anspaugh knows the case could blow up, and he doesn’t want to deal with the bad PR.

Benton assists while Elizabeth and Romano perform her procedure on Allison. Mark asks Cynthia to find him when Rachel is dropped off at the hospital for a dentist’s appointment. Cynthia’s excited to meet her boyfriend’s daughter. Mark tries to call the hospital’s lawyer for Carter, but they’re not quite sure what to do. To add insult to injury, Darlene and Eddie are in the process of making up. “Carter went to jail for this?” Mark asks Anna dryly.

At the police station, Carter tries to name-drop, saying the commissioner is a family friend. The officer booking him is unimpressed. Carter smiles during his mug shot, because he has no idea what he’s doing. Carol asks Doug for advice on handling Jackson; she can’t figure out if he’s a drug-seeker or if he’s actually in pain. Either way, he’s not happy. Doug examines him, talking to him about what might have brought on his crisis. He tells Jackson to trust him, and Doug will trust him in turn. He gets Jackson to visualize a calm place, which helps him relax.

Weaver tells Jeanie that she can have her job back. Jeanie immediately gets back to work, ignoring Weaver when she claims the termination was never about her HIV. In the OR, Allison declines, and Benton tries hard to revive her. Romano decides they can’t take the time to give her CPR; they need to cut open her chest for compressions. Herb asks Mark to let him help reduce a woman’s dislocated elbow. He reminds Mark that they had a deal that would let Herb do actual procedures. Mark gives in, and Herb is thrilled to get to help.

Rachel arrives and immediately makes friends with Cynthia. While Mark’s distracted, Herb helps himself to a patient chart. Mark asks Cynthia to take Rachel to the dentist for her so he can figure out how to help Carter. Mark stops Herb from doing more sutures without supervision, but when they come across a patient in distress, Herb grabs a crash cart and shocks the patient before Mark can react. The patient stabilizes.

Jeanie meets up with Al and gives him the news that she got her job back. But Al has gotten the job he wanted in Atlanta and is eager to move. Jeanie doesn’t want to just walk away from a job she fought for. Al thinks she doesn’t believe in him. Jeanie knows he wants to keep his HIV status quiet in Atlanta, which will make her feel like they’re running away. Al wants a fresh start; Jeanie may have a life in Chicago, but he doesn’t. Jeanie says he doesn’t get what her job means to her.

Because he only committed a misdemeanor, Carter doesn’t have to wait for a fingerprint check, and he can leave lockup as soon as he pays his $100 bond. He tells the cop who booked him to run one of his credit cards. The police station only accepts cash, though, and all Carter has is the change Anna let him keep from her dollar.

At County, Mark decides that his deal with Herb is too much trouble, so it’s over. When Herb hears that Carter’s in jail, he tells Weaver it’s not a big deal. Then he tells Mark that he’s already taken care of his case – he got a buddy to convince the Laws to drop the charges. The patient Herb saved sings his praises in the hall as Herb leaves, pleased with his exciting day.

Jen shows up to get Rachel, unhappy to learn that Mark sent her off with Cynthia. She’s even less happy when she discovers that the two went to a salon after the dentist, and Cynthia let Rachel dye her hair pink and purple. (Fortunately, it’ll wash out.) Mark pretends he’s not upset, but he does ask for a night off from Cynthia.

Anna objects to letting Carter stay in jail all night when they can easily get a bail bondsman to get him out. She also knows they can’t call his family for help. Mark sends her off to handle things. Doug gives Jackson some medication, and Weaver complains that he helped a drug-seeker get exactly what he wanted. Doug believes Jackson’s story and says he can’t function without pain medication. Weaver says people live in pain but suck it up. Doug thinks she’s suffering the consequences of all the responsibilities she’s taken on.

Cynthia emotionally apologizes to Mark for overstepping her boundaries with Rachel. She thinks Jen hates her now (to be fair, I don’t think there are many people Jen doesn’t hate). Mark tries to comfort her. Carter is left in lockup with a muscled guy who knows he’s a doctor. Despite his angry demeanor, the guy is also in for obstruction of justice. He pulls down his pants, freaking Carter out, but he just wants Carter to examine a bump. Carter’s actually about to when Anna arrives with his bail. He’s so happy to see her that he kisses her.

Anna jokes that this is Carter’s Christmas present. She tells him that Darlene did, in fact, try to kill Eddie, but they’ve made up. Carter laments that he could have had lunch with Chase after all. Anna notes that it’s expensive to have a rich friend. Benton brings Elizabeth some tea as she checks on Allison after surgery. Her leg is still attached, but now she’s in a coma. Elizabeth wonders if she did surgery because of personal reasons, not because it was best for Allison. Benton admits that he also struggles with the balance between helping and being ambitious.

Weaver has to take a break on a bench as she heads home that night. Jeanie thinks Al has already left by the time she gets home, but he’s still around, wanting to see if she’s changed her mind. Jeanie says again that she’s worked too hard to walk away from her job, no matter how she’s been treated there. Al doesn’t want to walk away from their relationship, either. They’ve been together on and off since they were teens. But this is where it ends for them, and it’s the last time we’ll ever see Al.

Thoughts: Jackson is played by Hill Harper.

I’m totally sympathetic to Jeanie, but showing up to your job after you’ve been laid off makes you look crazy.

I’m so disappointed we didn’t get a scene where Millicent got a call about her grandson getting arrested for standing up to the police.

Remember how Anspaugh was painted as tough and tyrannical when he was first introduced? He’s actually very fair and level-headed.

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