March 24, 2020

ER 5.21, Responsible Parties: We’re Supposed to Believe That Romano Was Looking Out for Benton Before This?

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn

Thanks, Jerry

Summary: Mark and Elizabeth are starting out their day with some racquetball in the park. (I think it’s racquetball.) Mark gets to be one of the people who decides who gets the trauma fellowship today. He assures Elizabeth that she’s more than qualified. Carol’s pregnancy is progressing well, and she’s up to point where an ultrasound will tell her the sex of the baby, if she wants to know ahead of time. She’ll also need some tests to detect conditions like Down syndrome and spina bifida. Her doctor suggests that she ask Doug about any conditions that run in his family.

Carol finally sends Doug her fax announcing her pregnancy. She leaves him a message to keep an eye out for it and take some time to think things over before he responds. Romano had to cancel the meeting about the trauma fellowship, so Anspaugh has rescheduled it for 10:00 that night. Romano doesn’t want to wait around that late. Weaver tells him to give her his top three candidates and she’ll pass them along. He decides to attend the meeting after all. He also warns her not to “raid” his surgical staff.

Chuny wants to fix Carter up with a nurse friend of hers, but Carter isn’t interested. He says he doesn’t date nurses; he prefers to keep his love life out of the workplace. Yeah, he’s going to break that rule over the next couple of seasons. Lucy comes in looking tired, which she blames on recent night shifts. A sound-activated monkey on the admit desk starts dancing to the “Macarena.” Thanks for that purchase, Jerry.

Mark and Elizabeth wait for an ambulance together, talking about how they ran into Benton while they were in the park. (A deleted scene, maybe?) A black car with dark windows screeches up to deliver a woman who was shot. She’s accompanied by men who look like Secret Service agents. The woman, Amber, isn’t allowed to give Mark much information; the agents keep saying things are confidential. They even want to run a background check on Mark.

Carter tries to keep his patient calm as he examines the LIVE COCKROACH IN HER EAR. AHHHHHHH. She tells him she complained to her landlord about roaches three times. Carter suggests that she use earplugs until the landlord addresses the problem. I suggest she call the local news and publicly shame the guy until he does something. Carter pulls out the roach and squashes it on the floor, then leaves its gooey corpse for someone else to clean up. Typical rich dude.

Mark, Elizabeth, and the agents bring Amber into the ER, and Carter and Lucy discuss how her metal bra slowed down the bullet and probably saved her life. The agents pull their guns on a drunk who’s causing a commotion. Romano tells Benton that he’s going to fight for him to get the cardiothoracic fellowship. As he’s said before, he thinks Benton’s talents would be wasted in the ER. Benton won’t commit, only saying he’s interested in the cardiothoracic fellowship.

Mark, Elizabeth, and Haleh work on Amber, discovering that one of her breast implants was punctured. However, the implant may have also stopped the bullet from causing too much damage. Carol comes in to get something, and as she returns to the trauma room next door, a tech takes an x-ray of the patient, exposing Carol to radiation. Weaver says it’s not a big deal, and all of them have been exposed. Of course, she doesn’t know that Carol, being pregnant, has to take more precautions.

Mark wants to admit Amber, but the agents demand to move her to another, more secure facility. They also don’t want him to keep any documentation of her treatment. They tell him the “bureau” will be in touch about payment. Mark starts to move Amber out of the trauma room so they can accept another patient. He ignores the agents when they argue that this is a matter of national security.

The rest of the staff gears up for multiple traumas while discussing who Amber might be. Jerry guesses that she’s in witness protection. The others think she could be an undercover agent. Jerry’s next guess is that Amber’s a mobster’s girlfriend. Carter notes that Lucy looks like she’s feeling better. She says she got her second wind.

The patients coming in are teens who were in a car accident on their way to prom. One, Shannon, may have a spinal-cord injury. Another, Justin, was burned while trying to pull his friend, Travis, out of the burning car. Travis has massive burns but is more concerned about his girlfriend, Melissa, than about himself. A paramedic tells the medical team that they only found three people at the accident site.

A woman named Andrea is brought in via helicopter after a boating accident. She warns the medical staff that she has AIDS. She was also impaled by a fishing pole, which might be worse. Worse than a cockroach in the ear, though? Hard to say. Andrea’s young son, Bruce, is with her, so Carol takes him. Elizabeth tends to Shannon, who’s Travis’ sister. Things are very solemn in Travis’ trauma room, which means his chances aren’t good. Lucy has trouble staying in the room with him, and Mark tells her it’s okay if she needs to take a break.

An agent bugs Mark again about moving Amber somewhere else. Mark again refuses, not sure if Amber is stable. The agent says he’ll take responsibility for that. Reggie approaches Mark to ask for blood-alcohol levels on all the teens from the car accident. Justin was driving, but Mark thinks he must have been sober since he was able to pull Travis out of the car. Reggie notes that he also drove into a telephone pole. The kids attended a pre-prom party where parents served beer.

The drunk is still mumbling as Benton examines Andrea, who’s remarkably calm for someone with a fishing pole sticking out of her. She says she’s had lots of nausea from her medication, and her condition has been complicated by a virus called CMV. Carol gets spooked by the idea of contracting it and bolts from the room. Romano and Elizabeth take Shannon to surgery, telling Mark that they may be able to get her back to full function. Lucy tracks down one of the kids’ parents; the others are out of town.

Travis is declining, so Carter needs to make some incisions that will help his circulation. He asks Lucy to talk Travis through what’s happening. Melissa still hasn’t been found, and the doctors can’t give him any updates. Lucy distracts him by encouraging him to talk about the prom. An FBI agent named Hoffman comes in to ask Mark about Amber. Mark tells him that, as he told the other guys, she’s not ready to leave. “What other guys?” Hoffman asks. Amber and the agents have all disappeared from the hospital.

Hoffman can’t believe that Mark fell for the “agents'” stories. There’s no documentation or any clues for Hoffman to figure out where they were heading. He also won’t tell Mark any details about what’s going on. The Macarena monkey goes off again and Weaver tells Jerry to get rid of it. Melissa’s mother arrives and Weaver has to tell her that Melissa hasn’t been found yet. She calls over Reggie to give them information.

Weaver follows Carol to the lounge and tries to get her to open up about why her day is going so badly. She guesses that Carol is pregnant. Carol says she doesn’t normally mind taking on the risks of working in a hospital, but while pregnant, she needs to be more careful. Weaver tells her she can opt out of treating any patients who could pass along infections, or any cases that don’t make her feel comfortable. Carol seems surprised at her compassion.

Elizabeth and Romano operate on Shannon and discuss the trauma fellowship. Elizabeth notes that she doesn’t have a lot of other options. Romano offers to sneak in an application for the cardiothoracic fellowship. Elizabeth notes that Benton wants it, but Romano points out that he horned in on the trauma fellowship Elizabeth wanted, so she shouldn’t feel bad about taking another fellowship from him.

Mark examines Justin’s minor injuries and praises him for going back into the car to save Travis. Justin isn’t sure it’ll make a difference. His blood-alcohol level is .09, so he’s definitely in trouble. When his parents arrive, he tells them he lost control of the car while changing CDs. Travis needs to be intubated, which means he won’t be able to talk. His parents haven’t arrived yet and Shannon’s still in surgery, so Carter wants to wait as long as possible to do the intubation. Travis isn’t going to make it, and this will be the last time he can talk.

Andrea’s already out of surgery and should be fine. Carol tells her that they’ve made arrangements for someone to look after Bruce until she’s out of the hospital. Carol apologizes for leaving the room during the trauma, but Andrea figures she was worried about contracting AIDS and says she doesn’t need to explain. It’s time for her medication, so Carol offers to get it for her, but Andrea has decided to stop taking it. She can’t function on it. She knows the chances she’s taking and would rather be able to function and take care of Bruce while she can, instead of extending her life and being sick while he grows up.

Romano thinks Shannon only has a 50/50 chance at a full recovery. Anspaugh pulls Romano, Weaver, and Mark into a hallway to talk about the trauma fellowship. Weaver picks Benton for the job, while Mark picks Elizabeth. Romano doesn’t want either to have the job. Thanks to his abstention, Anspaugh gets the final decision. He picks Benton.

Lucy tells Travis that he needs to be intubated. She was able to get his parents on the phone on their way to the hospital, so he’ll be able to talk to them now. She doesn’t tell him that after that, he’ll go to the ICU and eventually die. Lucy holds the phone for Travis as he talks to his parents for the last time. She has trouble keeping her emotions under control.

Mark lets Elizabeth know that she didn’t get the trauma fellowship. She guesses it went to Benton instead. Mark says he was looking forward to working with her. Now she’ll have to hunt around for any surgeries she can get. She has three weeks left in her internship; then she’s free to practice medicine with more freedom. Mark tells her that he picked her for the job, despite his lack of objectivity. He decides they need to get milkshakes after work so she’ll feel better.

Chuny introduces Carter to her nurse friend, Gina, and after seeing her, Carter’s suddenly interested in being set up. Doug calls to talk to Carol, who goes to the lounge for privacy. Chuny tells Carter that he lost his chance for a date with Gina; Chuny set her up with an intern instead. If Carter behaves, Chuny will talk him up to her friend.

Randi tells Lucy that her prescription is ready in the pharmacy. Carter gets nosy about what it’s for and who prescribed it. He thinks pills had something to do with her change in energy levels this morning, so he deserves to know what’s going on. Lucy admits that she takes Ritalin. She’s been on it since high school and has never found a good time to stop. Carter thinks now is the perfect time. He argues that Ritalin is for hyperactive children, not 24-year-old med students. Oh, shut up, Carter. Lucy tells him to mind his own business.

Elizabeth runs into Benton in the surgeons’ lounge, where he’s practicing his sign language on a computer. She coolly but politely congratulates him for getting the trauma fellowship. Romano comes in and kicks her out so he can confront Benton for not taking the cardiothoracic fellowship. Benton is unapologetic, so Romano says he’s done looking out for Benton. As soon as Romano leaves the lounge, Elizabeth asks if he was serious when he offered her the cardiothoracic fellowship.

Mark gets a thank-you note and $2,000 for taking care of Amber. He asks Randi to call the FBI and have them come get the money. Travis and Shannon’s parents finally arrive, and Mark fills them in on their children’s conditions. When he says that Travis’ chances of survival are only 20%, the mother breaks down, banging on the admit desk. The Macarena monkey goes off, so Carter grabs it and dismantles it. Elizabeth checks on Shannon, who doesn’t appear to be recovering any function below her waist.

Mark heads into the lounge, but Lily tells him to keep his distance, since Carol’s in there crying after talking to Doug. Mark goes in anyway, and Carol tells him that Doug isn’t coming back to Chicago. (To be fair, she told him not to.) She insists that she doesn’t want him to come. She’s given a lot of thought to what she would say if he did show up, and she knows she wouldn’t let him charm his way back into her life. She wouldn’t want to know that he only came back because of the baby. Mark says he might feel the same way. Carol says she still expected him to come.

Mark really seems to think milkshakes fix everything, so he invites her to join him and Elizabeth. Carol worries that she’ll be crashing a date, but Mark promises it’s okay. Plus, he was the fifth wheel to her and Doug a bunch, so she owes him. Carol confirms that Mark will be paying, since she’s eating for two. (Spoiler: She’s wrong.)

Thoughts: Shannon is played by Maggie Lawson. Travis is played by Eric Christian Olsen.

Y’all want to pretend with me that that roach thing never happened? Cool, good plan.

An eight-year-old named Bruce. Doesn’t sound right, does it?

I’m not saying anyone should try it, but if you burst into an ER pretending you were with the FBI and your buddy needed treatment with no questions asked, do you think they would believe that the FBI would contact them later about payment?

Really looking forward to the day I can stop typing “cardiothoracic.”

I wonder what happened to Melissa.


  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I was JUST THINKING “We never found out what happened to Melissa!” I guess that’s typical for ER docs and nurses. You never find out the rest of the story unless you have connections with wherever you send them later.

    Flashbacks to Raul in this episode. Lucy handled it well, and anybody who wouldn’t tear up during Travis’ phone call is pretty much a robot.

    Mark and his milkshakes and video games… it just feels weird. But I liked how Weaver was with Carol (and wasn’t surprised, and Carol shouldn’t have been surprised either).

  2. Tonya said,

    I live in rural Georgia. Cockroaches LOVE pine trees and pine needles, which are in abundance here. I worked in an ER setting for 21 years, first as a clerk, then as a nurse. Roaches in ears is almost a pandemic—-not joking, though I wish I were.

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