October 15, 2019

ER 4.20, Of Past Regret and Future Fear: The Sins of the Father (and Mother)

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:06 pm by Jenn

Summary: I think it’s safe to say that Benton and Elizabeth are officially dating. He spent the night at her place, and she even felt comfortable leaving him in bed while she went to work out. Now she’s on her way to work, and he’s on his way to Reese’s baptism. Elizabeth doesn’t feel left out since he didn’t invite her; she gets that it’s just for family. As he leaves, she tells him last night was “really lovely.”

Things are much more tense at Carol’s, where she and Doug are getting ready to have brunch with her mother. Helen shows up in a better mood than expected, and with a surprise guest, a man named Javier. Even more surprising, Helen is ready to toast the two happy couples with champagne. This is the first Carol has heard about her mother having a boyfriend.

Doug and Carol take the brunch leftovers with them to work, talking over Helen and Javier’s relationship. Carol doesn’t approve, and notes that her mother normally hates men. Doug teases that Helen’s having sex, so she’s happy now. Carol tries to ignore him. She tells Mark that the victim of a chemical accident is on his way to the ER.

Elizabeth runs into Romano, who notes that she’s picked up a lot of extra shifts in the ER. He’d like to chat about her job and her future. Mark, Carol, and Elizabeth go to the roof to meet the helicopter bringing in the victim from the chemical accident, Paul, who’s in pain but awake and alert.

Carter meets up with Millicent at Chase’s long-term care facility. A doctor tells them Chase is getting worse, but Carter disagrees. He knows the progress Chase has made and insists that he’s capable of more than Millicent and the doctor think. He urges Chase to draw something, but Chase has a hard time holding a drawing utensil. Mark tells Paul that his condition will depend on how much hydrofluoric acid has been absorbed into his skin. Paul feels like Mark isn’t telling him something. Mark just says that hydrofluoric burns can be serious.

Benton meets up with Jackie and his niece and nephew, Patrice and Steven, at the church where the baptism will take place. Steven wants to know where his uncle’s new boyfriend is. Patrice reports that Walt (who I guess wasn’t invited) said Mae must be rolling over in her grave, I guess because Elizabeth is white. Nobody asked you, Patrice. Carla has brought Roger with her to the baptism, and the minister thinks he’s Reese’s father until Benton corrects him.

Carol tends to Paul’s burns as he tries not to writhe in pain. Mark tells Weaver that his prognosis is bad; burns of this magnitude are always fatal. Now they need to find out if he has any family out of town who need to be contacted and told to come to Chicago. Mark is now fully honest with Paul, telling him that while they’re doing all they can for him, he’s going to die. At most, he probably has about 12 hours left.

Sometime later, when Paul feels a little better from the pain medication, he wonders if Mark was wrong, since he doesn’t feel like he’s dying anymore. Carol just says they’ll keep doing all they can for him. She asks if there’s anyone they can call for him, but Paul says it’s too late. The only person he wants to see is his daughter, and he’s been away from her for too long.

Jeanie and Doyle tend to a teen who fell from a bridge into a river. Doyle asks for a psych consult, but he insists he didn’t jump. He was just having some drunken fun with friends. Doyle can’t believe he’s going to come out this with just a couple of broken ankles. Carol tells Mark that Paul wants to see his daughter, whom he hasn’t seen in six years…since she was six months old. Mark is supposed to be done with his shift, but he’s willing to stick around. Carol says she can do everything Paul needs now.

Weaver examines an older woman named Ms. Weinbach who may have pneumonia. That could throw a wrench into her plans to marry her boyfriend next month. Carol calls Paul’s ex-wife, who seems less than sympathetic about his impending death. Paramedics bring in an unidentified man, nonverbal man who was hit by a car while using his wheelchair. Carter and Anna guess that he has cerebral palsy.

Benton comes in to do some notes, glossing over the details of the baptism when Elizabeth asks how it went. Weaver takes over Paul’s care for Mark as Carol tells Paul that his ex won’t be bringing their daughter, Molly, to see him. Paul decides it’s for the best. He always intended to make things up to Molly, but he ran out of time. Carter pulls Weaver aside to help him and Anna with their patient. He steals a piece of machinery from Doyle, because I guess that rivalry is still in play.

A father brings in his young son, whom he accidentally hit with his car. It’s Doug’s time to shine! Paul takes an interest in the case and tells Carol she can go help out if she needs to. She assures him that the others have it. He asks her to make sure the few thousand dollars he has in his bank account get to Molly, but without letting her know where the money came from. Doug’s patient is bleeding internally, so Benton pulls the father aside to let him know that his son needs surgery. Carol tells Connie she needs to go somewhere and asks Connie to look after Paul for her.

Elizabeth and Romano go to Doc Magoo’s for a super-awkward lunch, and that’s even before he tells her that their relationship hasn’t moved in the direction he’d like. He basically says the same things she said to Benton to convince him to try dating her. Once Elizabeth gets over her shock, she tells Romano that, since she works for him, dating would be a bad idea. He takes this to mean that she never dates co-workers. Romano says that for a little while, he thought he was competing with Benton for Elizabeth’s affections. She says nothing.

Carter has trouble communicating with his unidentified patient, who seems to be trying to tell him something. Anna realizes that he has a bad cut on his hand and may need to see a hand surgeon. The patient objects to this and bangs his leg on the bed to communicate this. Weaver diagnoses Ms. Weinbach with pneumonia somehow transmitted by her boyfriend Daniel’s falcon. Elizabeth finds Benton in an OR, ready to operate on the boy, and comments that he’s not working on his notes as he’d planned. He thinks she’s trying to start a fight. She asks if something happened between when they last saw each other, since he was in a good mood earlier.

Carol finds Paul’s ex, Sandy, at work and tries to change her mind about bringing Molly to the hospital. Sandy says she feels bad for him, but he walked out on his daughter, so why does Sandy owe him anything? Carol says that she was young when her father died, and she wishes she’d had a chance to say goodbye. If Molly doesn’t get that chance with Paul, she’ll regret it for the rest of her life. Sandy says that Molly has no memories of Paul, so it’s different. He made bad decisions, and now he gets to suffer the consequences.

Doyle delivers some lab results to Weaver, telling her that Ms. Weinbach tested positive for HIV. Weaver didn’t even realize she’d requested a test for HIV, but it makes total sense with Ms Weinbach’s symptoms. However, she’s in a bind since she didn’t have Ms. Weinbach’s consent to do the test.

Doug examines a baby named Josh who’s been on methadone since his birth, thanks to his mother’s drug use. Doug says he’s in withdrawal, possibly because the mother, Vicki, is taking the methadone herself; she can’t get her own while she’s still using. Vicki wants to leave, but Doug tells her that since she put her son in this situation, she needs to help him get better.

Carter and Anna are finally able to understand that their patient wants them to call someone. Benton tells his patient’s father that because of the damage to his spleen, they had to remove it. Benton’s bedside manner is still poor, so the father doesn’t get at first that, other than that, the boy will be okay. Maybe lead with that next time, Benton.

Weaver tells Ms. Weinbach that they need to run more tests, but she may have the kind of pneumonia that’s a defining illness of AIDS. She admits that they tested her accidentally. Daniel pulls Weaver aside to ask her to treat Ms. Weinbach for pneumonia and let her go. Weaver can’t just let her leave untreated, but Daniel doesn’t want her to be burdened. He’d like Weaver to tell her she has something else. Weaver declines to engage in medical malpractice, so nice try, Daniel.

Carol returns and tells Paul that Molly isn’t coming. She offers to write a note, but Paul says it’s too late. He repeats that he was eventually going to make things up to her. He tried to call her, but Sandy wasn’t happy about it. Paul thought she just needed time to come around. Carter and Anna’s patient is no longer a John Doe – his personal assistant identifies him as a Mr. Lorenzo, a multilingual hieroglyphics expert. Maybe Carter and Anna should have had him draw them pictures.

Carter spots Millicent in the hallway and goes out to talk to her. She wanted to move Chase to another facility, but now she’s decided that Carter’s opinion is important, and if he thinks Chase should stay, she’ll support that. They’re both determined to do whatever they can for him. Millicent wants Carter to remember that even if she and John Sr. aren’t giving him money, they’re still his family. He can finish his residency, but then he needs to leave medicine and run the family business. Carter tells him he’s only ever wanted to be a doctor, and he’s not giving it up.

Anna and Connie find Josh alone in an exam room, apparently having been ditched by Vicki. Doug notes that she misinterpreted what he meant when he told her to do the right thing. Carol sits with Paul, telling him he probably doesn’t have much time yet. She promises to stay with him, since he’s scared. He asks if she wishes she’d done anything different in her life. She reads him back the letter he dictated to her for Molly. It says that she’s the best thing he ever did; leaving her was the worst. If he gets to go to Heaven, he’ll look down on her. Carol cries over his apology for never getting to know his daughter.

Elizabeth finds Benton on the roof, brooding instead of celebrating Reese’s baptism with his family and Carla. He laments that Roger gets to spend more time with Reese than Benton does. Then he wanted to have lunch with Elizabeth, but she had plans with Romano. She tells him that he asked her out, so she lied and said she doesn’t date colleagues. They laugh over their intentions to have a relationship without complications. Benton decides he wants to go to the family celebration after all, and he wants to take Elizabeth. She thinks he should go alone and make it all about Reese. They’ll just meet up later at her place.

Carter runs into Anna on the street while he’s on a break. She spots a guy named Max getting out of a cab and has a near-intimate reunion with him before she realizes Carter’s watching. Doyle accidentally wakes Doug, who was taking a nap while waiting for Carol to get off work. She’s wrapping up things for Paul, who passed away not long ago. Carol wonders if her father asked for her on his deathbed like Paul asked for Molly. All she remembers is what her mother has told her. What if that’s not the truth?

Doug suggests that Carol ask Helen about her father’s death. Carol says that, after it happened, her mother spent years saying that you can’t rely on men. Now Helen’s in a happy relationship and Carol is holding back. She admits that she said she wants to move slowly because she’s afraid of losing Doug. He tells her she has nothing to apologize for.

Thoughts: Paul is played by Michael Rapaport. Patrice is played by Taraji P. Henson.

I think Mae would be less upset about Benton dating someone white and more surprised that he’s dating anyone at all (and that he has a child).

How about we close the blinds in the trauma room before little kids catch a glimpse of the man dying of chemical burns?

3 Comments »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I found these recaps recently and never checked the posting date, but I have been devouring them all, and just recently found out that you recapped Party of Five AND My So-Called Life. I am in heaven. These are hilarious and I love them all. I think the first few seasons of ER were the finest and they kind of went downhill starting when Doug left, though Kovac is a nice replacement. Thanks so much for posting these!

  2. Nick Rivers said,

    Hah, I’m back again, having caught up to this episode.

    The man who played the father who accidentally hit his son with his car is (I think) the same actor who yelled at George Costanza for double-dipping his chip in Seinfeld!

    • Jenn said,

      IMDb says…correct! I never would have caught that; it’s been too long since I’ve seen that episode of “Seinfeld” (which also features Teri Hatcher and Megan Mullally).


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