May 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: Mrs. Larson is played by Janel Moloney.

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

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

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