May 7, 2019

ER 3.21, Make a Wish: I Hope Carol Wished for a Less-Creepy Fake Baby

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

Yeah, this looks like a guy who’s ready to go back to his stressful job

Summary: Carter finds Benton before an ER shift to discuss their transplant case from the previous week. He’s starting to think he’s in the wrong place. He loves surgery, but he’s not completely satisfied. Benton doesn’t know what that means. Carter doesn’t like that surgeons don’t get to know their patients better.

Anna’s getting acclimated to working at County, and has undergone an extensive security check. Weaver says they’re beefing things up in the wake of Mark’s attack. He’s coming back to work today, and Weaver wants everyone to work together to give him a light load. Doug mentions that it’s Carol’s birthday, which annoys her, since he promised he wouldn’t. But he also told everyone last year, so it can’t be a secret anymore, right?

Jeanie and Al are fully back together and making out in her kitchen. He gets distracted by her microwave, complaining that she never let him have one. Back at County, Carla’s in labor, and Coburn can no longer do anything to stop it, even though it’s two months early. Time for Benton to become a father!

Mark arrives for his first shift post-beating. He has a cast on his hand and a huge, ugly bruise around his eye, which should put his patients right at ease. He meets Anna, who mentions that she’s kind of already met him, though he was unconscious at the time. Mark jumps in to help Doug and Carol with a trauma, but Doug urges him to take it easy.

Benton is a great birthing coach, if what you want in a birthing coach is a guy who ignores you to ask your doctor questions about your treatment. Coburn eventually tells him to shut up and be helpful. Security is adding cameras, bulletproof glass, and armed guards, which we know from future seasons will do absolutely nothing.

Mark thinks everyone’s overreacting. The better plan is to change how they deal with patients and families. Weaver isn’t convinced that a patient or family member was responsible for Mark’s attack. Mark points out that the ER is slow, and some patients have been sitting around for hours. Anyone would get mad enough to attack someone. Chuny hands him some charts, which he drops, and when he bends down to pick them up, he can’t hide that he’s still in pain.

Anna joins Coburn for Carla’s delivery, and Benton rolls his eyes over the fact that she’s just a resident. Despite that, Anna definitely knows what she’s doing, and doesn’t have any trouble taking charge when she needs do. In the lounge, Doyle offers Mark the opportunity to choose from a variety of weapons like pepper spray and stun guns. She admits that she keeps a gun in her car. She once used it to scare off a guy who tried to rob her at a drive-through. Mark decides to “pass on the armaments,” but Carter takes a look, and promptly gets pepper spray in his eyes.

Coburn and Anna deliver the baby, who’s not doing well (and also, the fake baby they use for this scene is really disturbing). Benton finds himself in the rare position of being helpless. Carol laughs as she washes out Carter’s eyes, and he complains about how lousy his life is going right now. He asks about her willingness to start her whole career over in med school. Mark comes in for a few moments, and Carter’s like, “I know I just maced myself, but Mark looks worse than I do.”

Carla’s distressed not to have any news on the baby, and it doesn’t help that her gurney is briefly parked outside a room where happy mothers are holding their healthy babies. Mark and Carter tend to a trauma patient named Harry who crashed his car in a suspected DWI. Carter doesn’t smell alcohol on the guy’s breath. Harry seizes, and Mark accidentally gets his broken hand caught under him.

Benton goes to the NICU to find out the baby’s treatment plan. The neonatologist, Tabash, fills him in, then tells him what he should pass along to Carla. Right now, they have to wait and see how he responds to his current treatment. Tabash asks the baby’s name, but Benton and Carla haven’t decided on that yet.

Doug tells Carol that their co-workers are throwing her a surprise birthday party. She thinks he’s joking, since he mentioned it earlier, but now he’s gotten an invitation and knows it’s real. Fortunately, since Doug knows Carol doesn’t like celebrating her birthday, he can get her out of it. The excuse they’re using: Carol’s having dinner with Doug. Carol calls it a trap, but Doug calls it a rescue.

Jeanie learns from Anna that Carla had the baby, who’s struggling. Anna says she’s worked on lots of preemies but never gets used to it. Randi mentions that Mark’s obsessed with treating patients quickly now, and Weaver says he just needs a few days to settle back in. Doug checks in with Mark, who thinks a week off work was enough time away. He gave the police a list of people who might have attacked him. He feels like he got a wake-up call and will now remember to use better bedside manner.

Jeanie goes to the NICU, where Benton tells her how bad off the baby is. Carla’s sitting with him but has asked Benton to stay in the hallway. Jeanie guesses that Benton hasn’t told his family or co-workers about the baby yet. She encourages him to reach out to his support system. She also tells him to stop standing in the hallway.

Carter and Connie treat a man named Lensky who has bad stomach pain. Weaver pulls Carter aside to report that Mark thinks Lensky’s waiting too long for a surgical consult. Carter and Weaver agree that he probably has a perforated ulcer, so Anspaugh will need to examine him. Doug and Carol need to treat a boy named Russell who broke his wrist, and Doug is willing to try to fix it without painkillers. Russell yells as soon as they approach him, so Doug changes his mind.

Benton tells Tabash that Carla will want to know all the possible outcomes for the baby. Tabash says all parents want that, but they can’t see the future. Benton is concerned with the baby’s eyesight, even knowing that’s not the biggest problem he could face. Carter tells Mark that he talked to Harry’s mother, who mentioned that he was going to a pre-employment screening for his new job. She also said she was relieved that the police didn’t find any marijuana on Harry. Harry appears to have drunk so much water to dilute his urine and clear out the pot that he gave himself water intoxication.

Thanks to the painkillers, Russell is much happier. He’d like his dad to be with him, but his dad can’t handle medical stuff and is staying out of the room. Russell says his father usually sings to him, so Carol volunteers Doug to take his place. Doug invites her to do a duet. For some reason, Doug opts for “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.” You know, every kid’s favorite song in 1997.

Anspaugh’s annoyed that Carter made him come to the ER for a consult he didn’t really need. Any senior resident should know this was a surgical case. Carter tells Lensky he needs surgery, but Lensky panics and tries to leave. Carter asks if something happened to him or someone else that has made him so opposed to surgery. Lensky confides that his father died during a gallbladder operation, a procedure the surgeon said over and over was simple. Now Lensky’s wary about trusting another surgeon.

Later, Carter tells Weaver that he tried his best but couldn’t change Lensky’s mind. He’s dreading Anspaugh’s disapproval. Weaver gives Carter some ideas of what he can do next. Before Carter can get too down about the situation, Haleh brightens his day with Harry’s labs. Carter was right about the water intoxication.

Mark meets with a detective who tells him all the leads he gave the police have been cleared. The detective is surprised that Mark isn’t happier about the news. Carter tells Mark that he was right about Harry, but Mark doesn’t really care. Tabash wants to give the baby nitrogen oxide, since it’s helped some full-term babies. There’s a risk of development problems, but sticking with the current treatment has its own risks. Benton and Carla need to discuss their options.

Weaver follows Mark outside, and he tells her he was wrong about all his possible attackers. He thought he was starting to piece things together, but now the police say it was just a random attack. For the first time in his life, Mark is the victim, not the person treating the victim. Weaver reminds him that they see those victims every day, and they can’t let themselves get overwhelmed with the thought that they could be in the same position. He says it makes them different from their patients, but Weaver thinks it makes them the same.

Carter tells Anspaugh that Lensky declined surgery, but Carter has discovered that he doesn’t need it after all. The ulcer has spontaneously sealed itself off. Anspaugh insists that Lensky needs surgery, but Carter found an article that says he can be treated medically. “You think this is about what he wants?” Anspaugh asks. Carter says yes, of course, but Anspaugh reminds him that surgeons cut.

Carter disagrees – if he can find a medically acceptable treatment that his patient agrees with, he should do it. Anspaugh is bothered by the fact that Lensky is refusing a necessary procedure, but it bothers him even more that Carter is helping him go against a surgeon’s recommendations.

Mark snaps at Lily, so yeah, Weaver, he’s getting better. As Carol and Doug head out for their dinner together, she learns that a temp clerk will be working at the admit desk that night. E-Ray won’t tell Carol why, like it’s a government secret. Mark runs into Nina, who wants him to meet with a counselor who specializes in PTSD. He denies that he needs that kind of treatment. He claims things are getting back to normal, and he doesn’t appreciate Nina being a shrink with him. So that near-relationship is definitely over.

Benton apologizes to Coburn for being so intense during the birth, but it’s not like this is the first time she’s had to deal with a father who wasn’t being calm. Carla’s doing fine, at least physically, and Benton thinks it’s time to let her know what’s going on with the baby’s treatment. Doug takes Carol home so she can change for their dinner, but it’s a trap after all – the surprise party is at her house.

Al surprises Jeanie at home with a garage door opener. He always thought they were dumb, but I guess since Jeanie got him a microwave, he felt the need to repay her kindness. Carol’s guests brought booze but no food, so that party’s going to be fun. Doug teases her about drinking milk straight out of the carton. He tells her he wanted to make up for all the lousy birthdays she’s had in the past.

Carter asks Weaver what he would have to do to switch from surgery to emergency medicine. Would he have to redo his residency? Weaver asks if he’s talked to Mark, but Carter knows better than to bring that up when Mark’s being so grouchy. On his way out of work, Mark gets nervous in the parking garage, thinking a guy walking by is going to attack him. He only feels safe when he gets in his car.

Carol gets a nice birthday cake with a ton of candles. The women at the party put rings around the candles, saying that’ll make Carol’s wish come true. If she’s wishing for what I think she is, it will. As she blows out the candles, Benton stands in the hallway outside the NICU, watching his son.

Thoughts: Yeah, a guy with a broken hand and busted ribs is exactly who you want taking care of you in an emergency.

I know it’s not as respected or whatever as being a doctor, and his family would flip out, but Carter should just be a nurse.

Maybe I need shorthand fro the phrase “Anspaugh is annoyed.”

’90s music alert: Better Than Ezra’s “Desperately Wanting.”

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    “I’m sorry, Carol, but I don’t think that’s any of your business.” I just love E-Ray.

    The Carter-turning-from-surgery arc was a good one, but it’s baffling (or maybe not) why Benton was so irritable about the whole thing later when he saw it coming before Carter even did, back during the transplant debriefing. He didn’t understand it, of course, because he’s a robot, but it was definitely a clue that Carter belonged more at the bedside than in the OR. Carter’s peds rotation was a big clue as to that as well, because Abby Keaton had a similar bedside manner and she probably would have had a great career as a pediatrician. At first I thought Benton might be the anomaly as a surgeon with a terrible bedside manner, but then I remembered Romano. And Anspaugh wasn’t great with his bedside manner either, nor was Edson though he was just a problem all around.

    Doug’s maturity arc was a little perplexing. Carol couldn’t make sense of it either. Maybe if he’d just said “The nameless date who overdosed in my apartment was a hefty wake-up call” the whole thing would have seemed more logical. I guess we’re supposed to extrapolate that as longtime viewers.


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