February 4, 2020

ER 5.14, The Storm, Part 1: Doug Should Have Used a Little More Ratiocination

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Bad! Idea!

Summary: Doug’s asleep – drink! He’s in a chair at Joi’s house, where he and Carol have spent the night to give Joi support. Ricky has survived the night, though Doug didn’t think he would. Carol has to go to work, and as she’s leaving, she thanks Doug for staying at the house overnight. Doug goes to check on Joi, who says this time before dawn is her favorite time of day. She slept a little last night and dreamed about Ricky back when he was healthy. He was always trying to make her laugh.

Ricky’s in pain again, but Joi just gave him medication an hour ago, so he can’t have more for a little while. Ricky’s sister comes in asking for water, and Joi goes off to help her and put her back to bed. Doug promises to take care of Ricky. He opens the PCA machine and increases Ricky’s dose, even though that will affect his breathing. Joi comes back in and says she doesn’t know how much more she can take. She begs Doug to help them. She wants her son’s suffering to end.

At County, the staff learns from the TV news that a snowstorm is moving in. Lynette teases Jerry for planning to go ice-fishing. Jerry uses the word “oxymoron,” which he learned from a word-a-day calendar. Today’s word is “ratiocination.” Connie doubts that will come up in everyday conversation. Randi knows the word thanks to her Jesuit high school education.

Weaver informs Mark that, until the search committee finds a permanent ER chief, Romano will be taking on the role. No one’s thrilled, least of all Doyle. Romano overhears Weaver calling him an “egotistical, arrogant, mean-spirited, sexist little bullet-head.” And those are his good qualities! He gives Mark and Weaver a bunch of his tasks, calling it delegation. Then he asks Mark if he’s offended by Weaver calling him a bullet-head, since Mark is also bald. He may even need to investigate for a harassment charge.

Doug comes to work, telling Carol that Ricky was still alive when he left the Abbotts’ house. Lucy bugs Dale about watching Titanic with her; he and Carter both think it’s a chick flick. She wonders whatever happened to sensitive ’90s men. Dale “quips” that they’re all gay. Go away, Dale. Carter spoils the end of the movie for him. After Lucy leaves, Carter asks Dale if they’re getting serious. Dale says Lucy is. Carter tries to ask if they’ve had sex, but Dale says he doesn’t want to “damage Lucy’s reputation.” I’d say dating you is enough damage already, Dale. He’s happy enough trying to see Lucy’s thong through her scrubs.

Benton meets with a sign language teacher in the cafeteria so he can start communicating with Reese (who’s already picking up a lot of the language). The teacher thinks she and Benton should meet three times a week, which would cost a lot of money. There are some good videos Benton can watch, but the teacher thinks it would be better to meet one-on-one. And then we never see her again.

Mark runs into Mobalage and asks him how his appointment went with the urologist. Mobalage says everything is fine. Mark invites him to ask any questions he might have, but Mobalage doesn’t have any. Mark guesses that Mobalage didn’t actually go to the appointment. Mobalage admits that he hasn’t told Kobe that he needs a doctor. Mark offers to explain things to her.

While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Chuny wonders where the snowstorm is. Carol tells her it’s the calm before the storm. I see the writers are trying out some foreshadowing in this episode. The ambulance arrives carrying Ricky, who’s just barely still alive. Carol’s confused as to why Joi called paramedics, since she wanted Ricky to die at home. Mark asks about extraordinary measures, and Joi says not to use them. But Ricky’s father, Richard, overrides her, and Mark listens to him.

Carol lets Doug know what’s going on while Mark and Weaver take care of Ricky. Doug tells Richard that he was overseeing Ricky’s care, and Ricky shouldn’t have survived the night. Richard hits him. Ricky has been unresponsive for too long, and Mark and Weaver decide there’s nothing more they can do. Mark declares him dead. He stitches up the cut Richard left on Doug’s cheek, asking what’s going on. Doug says he didn’t know Richard was even in the picture. Carol only knew that Joi and Richard were separated.

In the scrub room, Benton tells Elizabeth and Romano how expensive it’ll be to help Reese. Elizabeth can’t believe the U.S. expects medical residents to live in what’s basically poverty. Romano says it’s how the public health-care system can afford to treat “freeloaders” (meaning poor people, of course). Elizabeth calls him despicable as she leaves. Romano suggests that Benton sign up for a locum tenens program, which will send him to rural hospitals for brief periods of time to fill in for other doctors. It would earn him a few extra thousand dollars.

The snow is moving in, and Jerry thinks everyone should be allowed to go home early, since schools and workplaces around the city are releasing everyone. No such luck. Mark tells Weaver that they might have to put up with Romano as their boss for months. Weaver wonders what she did in a past life to deserve that. Mark says he has Viking ancestors; maybe they pillaged Romano’s ancestors. Chuny thinks Mark would have looked good in a big, horned hat. Chuny, you already had your chance with Mark. Stop it. Mark urges Weaver to reenter the search for a chief, but Weaver doesn’t want to be that foolish again.

A man named Dan shows up looking for Richard, one of his co-workers. It’s just Doug’s horrible luck that Richard is a state’s attorney. He’s asked Dan to open an investigation into Ricky’s death. The police have also been notified. Maybe they’ll investigate where Richard’s been the past few weeks while his son was dying.

Joi tells Doug that she and Richard have been separated since their older son died. She called him to tell him that Ricky was about to die. He didn’t get the message until last night, and when he arrived too late to do anything, he lost it. Doug gently tells her that she needs to leave Ricky’s side so the nurses can finish up with him. Mark pulls Doug away to tell him that the police want to talk to him: Richard is accusing him of murdering Ricky.

Paramedics bring in a woman who was injured during a tae bo class. (For those who are too young to remember, or who have completely forgotten about this ’90s trend, it’s basically taekwondo combined with aerobics.) Her unnamed instructor is supposed to just be a regular guy, but he’s played by Billy Blanks, the actual creator of tae bo. Lucy’s more interested in learning about the classes than in treating the patient. Carter manages to get her back on track. As Lucy stitches up the patient, Carter tries to keep himself from trying to see her thong through her scrub pants. She catches him staring, but she’s just amused.

Mark tells Doug that Julian, the geneticist Doug talked to about the PCA machine, doesn’t know anything about Ricky receiving pain medication at home. He never approved the use of the PCA machine. Doug admits that he took it from Carol’s clinic after she called in a favor from a supplier. The police have a warrant to take the PCA, and Mark wants to know if they’re going to find anything he should know about. Doug just says he doesn’t know. He tells Mark he gave Joi the code to enter a different dosage, then went to work. He thinks Mark would have done the same thing.

Weaver warns that Anspaugh is on his way to find out what’s going on. Mark tells her what Doug said, and Weaver realizes they’ll have to come clean about how they covered up Doug’s breach of protocol in the pain study. If they don’t, it’ll all come out anyway. Weaver blasts Doug for betraying their trust. Doug says she’s been gunning for him for years. She tells him he can destroy his career if he wants, but she won’t let him destroy hers. Mark asks if Doug has called a lawyer. Doug doesn’t think he needs one – he did the right thing.

Carol tells Dan that Ricky had a genetic disorder and was going to die no matter what. Dan asks about the PCA machine and how dosages of medication are dispensed. Joi told Richard that Doug gave her the code to change the dosage, then showed her how to do it. This is news to Carol, who up until this point thought Ricky’s death was due to his ALD.

Anspaugh yells at Mark and Weaver for the cover-up in front of Romano, Julian, and Harriet. They’ll be convening a disciplinary committee to discuss what should happen to Doug, but Harriet doesn’t want them to make any decisions until they know if Richard is going to sue. Weaver’s astonished that Doug would be allowed to keep working. Romano asks about the clinic, and Anspaugh announces that it will be closed. He tells Mark and Weaver that they may be subject to disciplinary action, too. He’s extremely disappointed in them.

The snow has started when Jeanie arrives at work, unaware of all the drama she missed. The nurses fill her in. Carter goes looking for Lucy, who hasn’t taken a new patient since the kickboxer came in. Billy is giving her a private tae bo lesson in an exam room. When Carter comes in, Lucy accidentally kicks him in the chest. Well, at least now Lucy has a new patient to take care of.

Jeanie checks on Doug, who’s removed himself from the drama by doing paperwork in an empty exam room. She asks if there’s anything she can do. He notes that she’s the first person who’s asked him that all day. He’s been banished to the realm of paperwork, possibly forever, and Mark won’t tell him anything. Dan is ready for a chat, so Doug steels himself for an interrogation.

Mobalage chooses this horrible time to find Mark so he can talk to Kobe. Mark tells her that Mobalage may need surgery, and the couple really needs to talk to each other about it. He offers to leave them alone, but Mobalage wants him to stay. Doug meets with Dan and learns that Ricky’s death is being investigated as first-degree murder. If Doug showed Joi how to change the dosage, he could be held accountable for Ricky’s death.

Dan goes over some of the facts, mentioning that the PCA machine is empty, but Doug stops him and says that Ricky was going to die, maybe in hours, maybe in days. Doug couldn’t have done anything to stop that. He didn’t want Joi to have to watch a second son die of a genetic disorder she passed on to him. Sometimes you can’t save a child; you can just stop their suffering. Dan asks if Doug was relieving Ricky’s suffering or his own. Why didn’t he administer the final dosage himself? Why did he leave? Dan thinks it’s because Doug knew he was doing something wrong.

Lucy tends to Carter, which is really just an excuse for them to be really close to each other. He whines about a cut on his forehead, so she calls him a baby and kisses it. Things are about to get romantic, but Carter preemptively says they shouldn’t go too far; she’s his student. Lucy ignores him and moves in for a kiss.

“Storm’s finally here,” Doug tells Carol as she joins him outside. Okay, show, we get it. She tells him that the clinic has been closed because she used clinic resources to get the PCA machine. She’s upset that Doug used equipment she procured to kill Ricky. Doug says he didn’t want to get her involved, as if Carol wasn’t already involved. Was he ever planning to tell her? Doug admits that he hadn’t decided.

Carol reminds Doug that he promised Mark he wouldn’t prescribe narcotics without Mark or Weaver’s approval. Doug says he was willing to live with the consequences. Carol reminds him that Weaver and Mark are facing disciplinary actions, and the clinic patients will have to get care somewhere else. (To be fair, Mark and Weaver chose to cover up Doug’s previous actions, so that’s on them. And I doubt anyone could have expected the clinic to close because of this. But her point stands.)

Carol says that Doug’s actions have led to consequences for a bunch of people. She’s not sure he even cares. She starts to leave, saying that Doug doesn’t need anyone anyway. He’s a narcissist who just ruins people’s lives. Doug apologizes, but that’s nowhere near enough for her. She tells him that’s what he always says after he screws up something huge.

Airports have been closed, the roads are awful, and the ER staff is now dealing with all of the displaced clinic patients on top of their own, so no one’s happy. Weaver realizes that Carter’s out of commission, thanks to Lucy. She sends Chuny to go see if he can get back to work or if they need to call in a sub. Carter’s busy, but not at his job – he and Lucy are making out. He stops before they can do anything that would get them in trouble. Chuny almost catches them and guesses that they were up to something. And that’s even before she sees that Lucy’s put her sweater back on inside-out.

Joi finds Doug moping outside somewhere and quips that they don’t look like dangerous felons. YEAH, THIS IS REALLY SOMETHING TO JOKE ABOUT, JOI. When her older son died, she cried a lot, feeling like she’d died, too. She thought she would never feel love or happiness again. Ricky cheered her up by reading to her and telling her jokes. She wishes Doug could have seen him back then. Doug reminds her that she still has her daughter, as if that’ll make up for losing two sons. And that’s if she doesn’t get arrested or lose custody. Anyway, she’s grateful to Doug.

Weaver notices a mark on Carter’s neck, which he says must be from hitting something when he fell after Lucy kicked him. Yeah, he must have fallen on someone’s lips. Malik checks out Lucy (ew, Malik), and Jerry tells Carter that Roxanne left him a couple of messages. Chuny has spread the word about Carter and Lucy, and everyone in the hospital knows they hooked up. Carter says nothing happened.

Doug tells Mark that he’s going to tell Anspaugh that he begged Weaver and Mark not to report him when he broke protocol with the pain study. He’ll say he promised to report himself, which was why Mark and Weaver didn’t do anything. Mark doesn’t think more lying is the best way to handle this. Doug says he wants to help, but Mark is done with him. No more “favors.”

That storm we keep hearing about has finally come into play: A school bus was flipped by a snowplow, and a bunch of kids are trapped inside. Firefighters have asked for a doctor to come to the scene. Doug wants to go with Mark, since he’s a pediatrician, but Mark refuses to let him come. Doug decides to go on his own, and Jeanie invites herself along.

The scene of the crash is bad, and firefighters are waiting for a crane to come and lift the bus up so they can get everyone out. In some nice continuity, Mark’s point of contact is the fire captain from “Exodus.” Doug and Jeanie drive to the scene, avoiding conversation about his actions. He notes that she never asked if he did what everyone says he did. Jeanie hopes he did, so Ricky could stop suffering. Thanks to her HIV, she’s often thought about what she would want in that situation. Unfortunately for her, she may need to think about that soon, because Doug’s car skids on the ice and they slam into something. To be continued…

Thoughts: The sign teacher is played by Marlee Matlin. She gets this one scene and never comes back. What a waste of her talent.

Remember Billy Blanks? I wonder if he’s still living off all that money he made.

Having Anspaugh disappointed in you must feel like having your grandfather disappointed in you. It might be worse than getting sued.

Like I said before, Mobalage’s story is mostly just to make Mark a white savior, but I have to acknowledge how he treats Mobalage. Mark doesn’t push him to talk, and he treats him like an equal. He genuinely wants to help.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    Oh man, that Marlee Matlin tidbit was such a total waste, as you said. You have a damn Oscar-winning actress pop up during your deaf child storyline and you only use her in one episode?! Why not make her the deaf doctor who chose not to get cochlear implants and convinced Benton likewise?

    The Lucy/Carter mini-romance was the non-storyline I’d been dreading this season but it wasn’t as bad as I remember. I just feel like it came out of nowhere and was really out of character for her. Bad enough she’s hooking up with Dale but at least that makes sense in a screwy sort of way. The only really unsurprising thing about it all was that Chuny told everybody about it before Carter could even make it back to the desk.

    Jeanie wasn’t wearing her seatbelt, I noticed. Maybe this was back before they were really enforcing those rules, but she seems like she’d be a stickler for that sort of thing. And her blind loyalty? or whatever towards Doug in this storyline is a little off-putting. He screwed up, and he screwed up big time, and played God and made decisions that weren’t his to make, and really messed up a lot of people’s lives — Joi’s, Ricky’s, Richard’s, Carol’s, Mark’s, Weaver’s, and everyone who was able to avail themselves of Carol’s clinic — yet Jeanie’s just like “Oh, you did the right thing and I would have done the same.” Really, Jeanie? Because those clinic patients deserved care too and now they’re not going to get it because Doug couldn’t say no to a grieving mother. Ugh.

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