January 1, 2019

ER 3.3, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Benton’s Never-Ending Power Trip Continues

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:06 pm by Jenn

The way this story goes is…so weird

Summary: Susan is in a great mood when she runs into Mark on the way to work. Tomorrow she’s going on her long-awaited Hawaiian vacation. Mark tells her that Anspaugh is planning some big changes for the hospital, and Mark is anticipating a lot of problems. He thinks the interns coming over from Southside will be incompetent. Carter’s neighbor Betty brings him borscht for breakfast and asks him to look at some buildup in her ears. He sends her to another doctor who lives in the building.

At County, Weaver introduces Mark and Susan to Maggie Doyle, an intern from Southside. They head to a staff meeting with Anspaugh, who warns that their patient load is about to increase. They’ll have to meet quotas, and those who see the most patients in a day will get a gumdrop. Those who see the least have to wax Anspaugh’s car. Mark asks if they get points for dead patients. Anspaugh says yes, but they should try not to kill anyone. He learns that Weaver has a lot of responsibilities and tells Mark to take over reviewing charts.

Lydia tends to a man named Dante who claims a kangaroo attacked him in a local park. She figures he’s just drunk. Mark’s workload has been slowed down by all the chart review, and Doug urges him to speed up or risk having to wax Anspaugh’s car. Doyle proves to be self-motivating and competent (apparently the interns at Southside were better than County’s), but Mark asks her to stay close to Doug so she can be supervised on her first day.

Carol comes in complaining that someone parked a BMW in her spot. It was Doyle, who says she’ll move, not realizing that Carol’s car was repossessed, so she doesn’t need the spot. Really, Carol’s just mad that Doyle, an intern, drives a BMW. Benton tries to stop Jeanie from giving a patient stitches, pulling her out of the room to ask if she told the patient’s mother that she’s HIV-positive. Jeanie tells him it’s none of his business.

By the time Mark is ready to see patients, everything’s under control. He complains that he hasn’t had a day off since Christmas, so Susan invites him along on her trip to Hawaii. He gets called away before either of them can take this ridiculous idea any further.

Carol examines a man named Mr. Sidowski who seems to have a kidney stone. She explains that his enjoyment of ice cream and iced tea cause the recurring problems. Mr. Sidowski recognizes the chemical compound involved, and Carol suddenly recognizes him – he was her chemistry teacher in high school. He remembers her as a good student and thinks she’s become a doctor. She reluctantly tells him she’s a nurse.

Mark tends to an 89-year-old man named Mr. Johnson who was brought in from his care facility. No one’s sure of his quality of life or if he has a DNR, and Lydia can’t get any info from the facility. Mark makes the decision to work on him as if he was any other patient. Carter and Gant complain about their lack of OR time, and how badly Benton treats them. Carter recognizes the name of a Southside pediatric surgeon from Southside, Abby Keaton, and guesses that Benton’s going to try to get in good with her. Gant can’t imagine Benton wanting to work with kids, but Carter thinks he’ll want the challenge.

A motorcyclist comes in with a chest impalement, thanks to a collision with a glass truck. Weaver tells Jeanie to hold the giant shard of glass, but Jeanie knows that’s too risky and runs off to get Malik to take her place. Mark goes through the motions with Johnson until he learns that he doesn’t have a DNR. But he’s been unresponsive for more than 12 minutes, so Mark declares him dead. As soon as Mark stops trying to resuscitate him, Johnson’s heart starts beating again.

Mark talks to Doug about possible going to Hawaii with Susan. He’s not sure if she invited him as a friend or if she has something else in mind. Jerry hears a news report about a kangaroo seen by the highway, which means Dante wasn’t having a drunk hallucination. Susan tells Carol that she invited Mark on her trip and quickly realized what a bad idea that was.

Carter brings Benton a surgical case and casually asks if he can scrub in. Benton distractedly says yes, thinking more about a conversation he’s about to have with Anspaugh. (Trivia: Anspaugh was Norman Schwarzkopf’s roommate at West Point.) He wants to drop his thoracic fellowship and try to get a slot with Keaton. Anspaugh gives him until 6 p.m. to seal the deal.

Doug and Doyle meet with a teenager named Jane who has what presents as a bladder infection. Doyle, however, thinks she’s pregnant and chose to come to County because no one she knows would see her there. Doug agrees with this assessment. Carter can’t get an OR for his patient, so he lies to the scheduling nurse about the patient’s condition to get to the front of the line. Just when you thought Carter had learned not to do dumb things…

Jeanie tells Weaver she’s sorry she ran out of the trauma room; she wasn’t feeling well but is okay now. Benton tries to invite himself into an OR where Keaton is about to perform surgery, but someone warns him to leave her alone. Johnson’s son arrives at the hospital, and Mark asks if Johnson has ever discussed a DNR. The son doesn’t know what his father would want, so he asks for Mark’s opinion. Mark suggests just making Johnson comfortable and letting nature take its course. The son doesn’t get it and asks Mark to help his father.

Anspaugh learns of Carter’s lie and comes to the OR to observe. The scheduling nurse busts Carter for lying that they’re removing a horrible tumor. Gant, meanwhile, is having a great day. Jane isn’t pregnant, but she does have gonorrhea, so…she’s not having such a great day. Doug recommends that she tell any guys she’s slept with, but Jane says the only boy she’s had sex with won’t talk to her anymore. Her first time wasn’t so special. Doug tells her that guys who want to sleep with her might not actually like her that much. If she wants sex to be special, she should wait for the right guy…and maybe be really patient.

Thanks to Johnson’s son’s failure to just let his father go, Mark is forced to try to revive him when his heart stops again. Benton still hasn’t been able to talk to Keaton, whose schedule is pretty full. He leaves her a note, but he’s the only one who gets how important this is. Benton finds Gant giving Carter a shot of compazine for his anxiety-related nausea, and instead of yelling at Carter for his lie, he gets mad at Gant for assisting another doctor with an operation without Benton’s permission. It looks like Benton won’t need to confront Carter – Anspaugh will take care of that for him.

Mark complains to Doug about having to take orders from Johnson’s son, who has no medical background. Anspaugh chastises Doug for not wearing his stethoscope, then brags about how great Doyle is, thanks to what he’s taught her. Susan and Mark run into each other for the first time since the Hawaii invitation was extended, and he asks how much a hotel room would cost. Susan says she’ll check. It’s super-awkward.

The kangaroo has been cornered in a building, and Jerry worries that the police or an Animal Control officer will shoot it. Carol hopes they do, since it looks like a giant rat. Jeanie asks Benton if he plans to tell anyone about her HIV status. He says he doesn’t agree with how she’s handling things, but it’s her business, so he’s not getting involved. However, he also doesn’t want to be in a trauma room with her.

Doyle compliments Doug on how good he was talking to Jane. He brushes her off to go flirt with another doctor. Carol can’t find a doctor for something, so she reluctantly asks Doyle to help her. Doyle tells her to wait a minute. At the interns’ rounds (where doctors get to go over patients and torture the interns with questions), Anspaugh puts a spotlight on Carter, who has a weird reaction to the compazine shot and can no longer turn his neck. Anspaugh doesn’t notice and just keeps asking him questions.

Doyle coolly gives Mr. Sadowski some medication, then tells Carol she hates him – he was also her chemistry teacher in high school, and he flunked her. Carol thinks she remembers Doyle from school, but it turns out she’s thinking of Doyle’s older sister. Doyle is actually three years younger than Carol. I guess this is a big deal? An Animal Control officer comes in, having been shot with a tranquilizer dart. The kangaroo remains at large.

Johnson’s care facility finds his living will, which says he had a DNR and shouldn’t be on a ventilator. All the work Mark did to save him was a waste. Also, Johnson signed the will as a witness and should have known all this. He gives Mark a ham from his job and asks Mark to call him when Johnson wakes up. Mark manages to refrain from shoving the ham down the guy’s throat.

Jane wants to say goodbye to Doug, so Doyle pulls him out of an exam room where he was hooking up with his new crush. Despite Benton’s wishes, he and Jeanie end up working on a trauma together. He can’t exactly kick her out, at least not without making Weaver suspicious, so they act professionally and save the patient. Jerry calls the Australian embassy to find out what kangaroos like to eat. If you think this show’s subplots couldn’t get any dumber than this…well, we’re only on season 3. Just wait.

Mark calls someone to get permission to take Johnson off his ventilator. Connie interrupts to tell him that Johnson is awake. Even after all the times Mark had to resuscitate him, his mental state appears to be fine. Gant asks Carter how long they’re going to put up with Benton treating them badly and not letting them assist in surgeries. He dreads having to put up with this for a year. Betty comes in with smoke inhalation and the news that there was a fire in the building. Carter appears to be homeless.

Benton races to talk to Keaton by his 6 p.m. deadline, but she’s left for the day. Johnson tells Mark what was pretty obvious from the start – that his son probably doesn’t have the mental capacity to be in charge of things like other people’s medical care. Johnson says he’s had a good life and is ready for it to end.

Benton goes to tell Anspaugh that he’s sticking with thoracic surgery after all, but Anspaugh’s gone for the day. He doesn’t realize that the woman sitting at Anspaugh’s desk is Keaton. She got his note and is willing to talk about his desire to switch to pediatric surgery. Weaver makes small talk with Jeanie about Al and how hard it must be for him to be sick on his own. She has a friend who tested positive and doesn’t want to tell anyone. Weaver knows it must be hard to carry that weight around. Jeanie says it is, finally realizing that Weaver knows she’s HIV-positive. Weaver’s glad Jeanie’s going to keep working.

Mark has decided to go to Hawaii, believing that Susan wants the trip to be romantic. Doug tells him that Doyle is a competent intern, so she should stick around. Haleh tells Mark that Johnson died on his way to the ICU. Carol tries being nice to Doyle, and is probably a little gleeful when Doyle admits she’s still living at home with her parents. The BMW was a gift from her father, a cop, who bought it at a police auction. He wanted Doyle to become a cop, too, but she decided to go to nursing school and follow in her mother’s footsteps. She dropped out because she was bad at taking orders.

It looks like Jerry also lives with his mother, since she’s in the house while he uses a flashlight to keep an eye out for the kangaroo. Anspaugh is disappointed that Mark only saw one patient during his shift (and the patient died anyway, so Mark didn’t accomplish a whole lot). Weaver and Susan tied for seeing the most patients, but Susan sneaks one more in before the end of her shift. As promised, she gets gumdrops (a whole bag instead of just one – Anspaugh is so generous!) and Mark gets turtle wax.

Before Mark can accept the Hawaii invitation, Susan rescinds it, saying she wasn’t really serious about it. Mark pretends he wasn’t, either. They’re both disappointed to have to spend the next ten days apart. While walking home from work, Carol hears a crash in an alley and spots the kangaroo having a snack from a trash can. She looks around as if she’s looking for someone else who sees it, then just shakes her head and walks away. I guess after all the crazy stuff she’s seen at work, a kangaroo on the loose is no big deal.

Thoughts: Doyle is played by Jorja Fox. Keaton is played by the late Glenne Headly. Jane is played by Sara Rue.

For all the talk about how tough Anspaugh is, he never does anything that bad.

Johnson’s son’s name appears to be John. So that’s unfortunate.

2 Comments »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I apologize in advance because I’m rewatching these and then I reread your recaps right after and have Things To Say but nobody else is an ER fan so I have nothing to do with all these Things!

    I came here specifically because I needed to tell someone how AWESOME Weaver was with Jeanie. I’d forgotten how supportive she was with her diagnosis and with ensuring she was able to continue practicing. Later on when the budget cuts required her to cut Jeanie, I thought Weaver got a raw deal getting blamed for being personal about it, and Jeanie was pretty unfair about the whole thing. Ugh, I don’t look forward to that.

    The whole Carol/Doyle feud was stupid. Carol felt insecure about her financial and professional situation because she was broke and unable to pay her bills, lost her car, couldn’t dump her shithole house off, and meanwhile someone from her same neighborhood is a physician PLUS she’s three years younger than her PLUS she drives a much nicer car than Carol can afford. All of which are kind of bullshit reasons to hate on someone else just because they made different choices in life than she did. I do enjoy how all of Carol’s presumptions about Doyle’s situations are dismantled bit by bit though. I’d forgotten Doyle had gone to nursing school first; you’d think Carol would have heard that and realized that maybe Doyle understands the bullshit nurses have to put up with from doctors better than all her doctor friends, and that maybe Doyle is a decent person and not some entitled asshole. I think this storyline bugs me even more because she’s the anti-Carter; Carter is 1) younger than Carol, 2) drives a nicer car than Carol, 3) is privvy to a huge inheritance someday and has a solid safety net if he ever needs it, and 4) doesn’t have a solid concept of things like overdue bills or shithole houses you can’t sell. But Doyle would understand all those things because her upbringing was much more like Carol’s. Doyle was a good character and didn’t deserve the treatment she later got from Romano. That was a bullshit way to kick off a good character… though admittedly she was so no-bullshit/no-drama I imagine that wouldn’t have gibed well with the show’s ratings. She would have made a great cop, which is probably why they hired Jorja Fox on one of the CSI shows or wherever she went off to after ER.

    It’s hard to see Gant in these earlier episodes. He was so full of life and excitement for the job, and seemed to be a good doc too.

    I liked the Abby Keaton character as a foil for Benton in terms of confronting him with the failings he refused to acknowledge as a physician, but the Carter subplot was gross and dragged her integrity down. Uggggggggh I don’t look forward to this either.

    • Jenn said,

      Don’t apologize – I’m loving your comments!

      I think they dropped the Carol/Doyle stuff because once we (and Carol) learned more about Doyle, it was obvious that there was nothing to resent about her.

      Before she went to “CSI,” Jorja Fox played a Secret Service agent on “The West Wing,” which was also a good fit for her.


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