May 12, 2020

ER 6.6, The Peace of Wild Things: Father Figures

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

A fun thing to do during boring episodes is play Spot the Mulleted Nurse

Summary: Carter and Weaver run into each other on the way off the El early in the morning. There’s already an ambulance approaching the hospital, making them think this will be a busy day. At County, Mark tells them there was a fire at a nursing home, so a lot of elderly patients are coming in. Plus, there’s no desk clerk and Jeanie isn’t coming in.

Jackie’s squabbling with her teen daughter when Benton comes into the kitchen for breakfast. Jackie complains to Benton that her daughter can sink a basket from 20 feet away but can’t get her clothes in the hamper. Put a basket over it! Benton tells Jackie that Carla told him Reese might not be his son. Jackie crabs about Carla putting him through all the custody stuff when she doesn’t even know if he’s Reese’s father. Benton confides that he’s thinking about taking a DNA test, but he’s worried about the results. Jackie thinks he should find out sooner rather than later, so Reese doesn’t find out first and accuse Benton of lying to him.

Carol tracks down Meg, who’s been out of touch for a while. She has a bladder infection, so Carol wants her to come back to the hospital for treatment. She urges Meg to go to the detox program she ran out on. Meg says she quit using on her own a few days ago. Weaver demands more nurses from another part of the hospital to help with all the elderly patients, but whoever she’s talking to won’t budge. Weaver says she hopes the person gets in a horrible accident and lands in the ER so Weaver can be of no help to him or her. Ouch. On the plus side, a desk clerk named Andrew has arrived, so that’s one position filled.

Carter helps a woman named Jean find her husband, Barry, who was admitted after the fire. Carol and Lawrence both arrive in the midst of the chaos, and Weaver asks Carol to help out at the desk. Dave and Haleh tend to a woman with some breathing problems, though Dave can’t figure out what’s causing them. Haleh guides him like he’s a child until he realizes what’s wrong.

Andrew’s an aspiring comedian, so Malik urges him to practice his impressions. Carol is semi-amused by his passable Keanu Reeves impersonation. Weaver’s annoyed that Jeanie keeps skipping work and tells Malik to call her and tell her to come in and explain herself. Dave brags to Lucy that he made a tough diagnosis while doing something with a Bunsen burner in a lab. She tells him he has to jiggle the handle on the burner to get it to turn off. She adds that Haleh already told her that she made the diagnosis, not Dave.

Carter has taken over Barry’s care, and he tells Jean that they need to intubate him to help him breathe. There’s a small chance he’ll get better, but he most likely won’t. Jean wants to be optimistic and give intubation a try. Carter says Barry’s heart could be causing problems, so they should run some more tests and make sure they know what’s really wrong.

Cleo presents a patient to Lawrence, who can’t handle tending to a woman with dementia. Because he probably has dementia. Got it? Are we all on the same page? Good. Mark and Weaver smell gas and start to move people out of the trauma hallway. Mark goes into a room, tracing the source of the gas, and gets blown back by a sudden explosion.

Once Mark is determined to be okay, Weaver reports that the fire department thinks the explosion was caused by a Bunsen burner. Cleo used one earlier but is sure she turned it off. Romano comes in to ask questions and be grumpy. Carter examines a preteen boy named Eddie who has flu-like symptoms. In the lounge, the nurses check out a cake they’ve gotten for Carol’s surprise baby shower. Connie finds a pair of glasses in the fridge, and Weaver recognizes them.

Benton visits Elizabeth in her new office but can’t start a conversation before Romano interrupts. He wants Elizabeth to take one of his surgeries the next day while he deals with administrative stuff. She learns from him that Mark was involved in the explosion in the ER. Romano then shifts gears to ask how much she would pay for his sperm. He claims a sperm bank is recruiting him for a donation. Elizabeth is somehow able to keep from laughing in his face.

Weaver returns Lawrence’s glasses to him and tells him where they were. She’s definitely worried about his mental state. Carol asks Cleo for a prescription for Meg’s bladder infection, even though Meg hasn’t come in to be examined. Carter has determined that Barry’s heart is failing, which is probably what’s causing his poor health. He thinks it’s time for Jean to let him go. Jean isn’t ready to make such an important decision, but she agrees to sign a DNR.

Weaver goes to see an old colleague named Dr. Spielman, Lawrence’s previous boss. Weaver thinks he left his last job because of politics, but Spielman implies that something else was going on. Once Weaver has gotten answers to her questions, she goes back to County, where Lawrence is taking care of a stabbing victim with Dave. Whatever Lawrence’s problems may be, he still has skills, and he and Dave are able to save the patient.

Lucy overhears Chuny and Yosh talking about how Cleo could get fired for not turning off the Bunsen burner. They think she was the last one to use it. Andrew does a Christopher Walken impersonation for Benton, who’s not impressed. Neither am I, and Andrew also needs to get his movie facts straight, because he seems to think Walken played Billy Crystal’s role in The Princess Bride. Anyway, Benton takes Reese to an exam room and swabs both of their cheeks for a DNA test.

Carol goes to the pharmacy where Meg works and finds her outside, having a suspicious conversation with a guy. She’s smoking and tells Carol that her personal care is none of Carol’s business. Lucy confronts Dave over possibly causing the explosion, but Dave insists he turned off the burner. He doesn’t care that Cleo might get fired. Carter talks to Cleo about Eddie, whom he’s diagnosed with diabetes. Cleo offers to come with him to talk to Eddie’s father about his poor diet and lack of exercise.

Weaver tells Mark that Lawrence was forced out of his last job. She jumped at the chance to hire him because he was her former teacher; she clearly didn’t think about why he might have been dismissed from his job. She admits that it was because Spielman thought Lawrence was showing symptoms of having Alzheimer’s. When she asked him to undergo testing, he blew up at her and quit. Mark thinks Weaver has to fire Lawrence; he’s showing the symptoms at County, too, and could endanger patients. Weaver doesn’t think she can fire her mentor, whom she loves like a father.

Cleo tells Eddie’s father, Mr. Bernero, that there’s a trial they can get Eddie into, but the medication he requires is expensive. Mr. B doesn’t have insurance right now and can’t afford the medication and monitoring Eddie needs. Cleo tells him that if Eddie changes his diet and starts exercising, he could improve his health without the medication.

Mr. B starts a new job soon and will get insurance in a few months, so he’d like to wait until then. Cleo warns that waiting could lead to complications. Mr. B notes that diabetes would be a preexisting condition, so the new insurance may not cover it if they start treatment now. Mr. B’s mother is in an HMO and also has diabetes – can’t Eddie take her medication? Cleo won’t accept that as appropriate treatment, but Carter is okay with Mr. B’s ideas. The two of them argue about their options, and Cleo reminds Carter that if he lets Eddie leave without appropriate treatment, his life will be endangered.

Carter goes back to Barry, who’s declined quickly and will be dead soon. Mark tells Lawrence that he left a patient in the waiting area hours ago, waiting for a prescription. Lawrence writes it and hands it over without a chart or refresher on the patient’s condition. It turns out Mark set him up – the patient is an employee from accounting, and Lawrence has never seen her before. Lawrence tells Weaver and Mark that he was just confused, since he’s treated so many people today. Weaver replies that she saw Spielman. Lawrence storms out of the ER without responding.

Barry has died, and Jean kisses him goodbye and tells him how sweet he was. She thanks Carter for all his work. Carol and Reggie track down the guy Meg was talking to at the pharmacy and catch him and Meg engaging in a drug deal. Reggie and some fellow cops ambush and arrest them. Meg sees Carol in Reggie’s squad car and yells at her for her actions.

Dave finally grows a conscience and tells Weaver that he may have been the person who caused the explosion. Fortunately, the fire department found a rupture in a pipe, so no one’s to blame. Dave needs to be more conscientious of safety, though. Weaver tries to call Lawrence, who hasn’t come back. Mr. B brings Eddie’s chart to Carter and asks him to tear up the page that says he has diabetes. Carter says that’s illegal, but Mr. B is desperate and begs Carter to help. Ugh, the American healthcare system SUUUUUUCKS.

Carol tells Mark that she did something and isn’t sure it was the right thing. Mark says he did, too, possibly ruining the rest of Lawrence’s career. He offers to sit and talk with Carol, but she knows the nurses are throwing her a surprise shower. She admits that she misses Doug, but she hasn’t called him or responded to the messages he leaves when he probably knows she isn’t home. She doesn’t know what to say to him. I don’t know, maybe you can say, “Are you planning to be involved at all in your children’s lives?”

Carter pretends he misplaced a sheet in Eddie’s chart and has to fill out a new one for his patient, who only has the flu. Jeanie finally comes in and tells Weaver that she’s resigning. She’s the happiest she’s ever been and wants to spend as much time as possible with her family. Weaver is happy for her and doesn’t try to get her to change her mind. She invites Jeanie to come back to work when Carlos gets a little older.

Benton takes Reese to Carla’s and tells her he took a DNA test. He has the results already but isn’t going to open them. He was there for every step of Carla’s pregnancy and every day Reese was in the NICU. Reese is the first and last thing he thinks about every day. Benton loves him, and Reese is his son, no matter what DNA says. Benton doesn’t have much in his life, and he’s not willing to lose his child. He emotionally asks Carla not to take him away.

Carol is summoned to her surprise party and pretends she didn’t know anything about it. Malik tells Weaver that Lawrence is back and looking for her. She finds him in a trauma room, where he recites a poem about stillness and the “peace of wild things” (hey, just like the episode title!). He doesn’t get how he can remember a William Blake poem he memorized 30 years ago but not which patients he saw today. I don’t know, man, but that ain’t a Blake poem.

Lawrence admits that he started noticing symptoms about a year ago and saw a neurologist. He started taking medication to slow the development of Alzheimer’s, but clearly it didn’t do enough. Weaver encourages him to sign up for trials in the hospital, but Lawrence would rather kill himself than prolong his life like this. He accepts that he can’t practice medicine anymore. Weaver thinks he could lecture med students, but Lawrence doesn’t see the point in being a doctor if he can’t treat patients.

Seeing the woman with dementia that morning shook him – she had no clue who or where she was. Lawrence knows that’ll be him in a few years. He’ll be unable to care for himself, and no one will come visit him. Weaver cries as she says she will. Lawrence notes that he won’t know who she is. In the lounge, Jeanie clears out her locker, looks in on her co-workers at Carol’s party, and happily leaves to go home to her family.

Thoughts: I’m going to advise Lucy not to wear her hair in braids. She already looks 20; her patients aren’t going to be comforted by her young hairstyle.

Why do ER doctors need Bunsen burners in the ER? Doesn’t their hospital have lab techs? Is this like House, where the doctors always did all their tests themselves?

Carter is excellent with Jean – very patient and gentle. Exactly who you would want as your dying husband’s doctor if you were Jean.

Carol really doesn’t have anything better to do than meddle in Meg’s life? You’re about to have two babies, hon. Go buy cribs or paint the nursery or something. You can’t save everyone.

Goodbye, Jeanie, possibly the only normal person on this show. Enjoy your cool husband and cute baby.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    Agreed that Carter is excellent with Jean and Barry — so maybe he learned something from the Rubidouxes after all. But it felt kind of awkward somehow to have him being the gentle sensitive one in this circumstance. Maybe they’re trying to show how different he is from Malucci in terms of brashness and bedside manner. Once upon a time the Carter of yore wouldn’t have taken so much care and effort with Jean and Barry, so I guess he’s grown. Just felt like a weird arc for him in this episode.

    Carol’s interference with Meg’s life choices is a little obnoxious, I have to say. Yes, the child is in danger. Yes, Meg was making terrible choices and probably should have had an abortion when she found out she was pregnant in the first place. But sitting in the squad with Reggie during the takedown was pretty ridiculous and really frankly out of line. Carol is not the expert in how to live your life and make life choices. Acting as if she is, well, that’s a good way to get yourself in a lot of trouble. I don’t remember how the Meg storyline pans out long-term but I doubt she’d forget this after her time in jail. Meg brought it on herself, but I feel like Carol treated her differently than, say, Coco. If nothing else, put Meg in touch with adoption counselors who may be able to guide her in that direction.

    Elizabeth not immediately running out of the room after she heard Mark was injured in an explosion was a little unusual. Romano wouldn’t have had the time to ask his sperm question if my significant other had just nearly been exploded! Also, Romano’s still hopelessly in love with Elizabeth and always has been; he knew right away that she and Mark were dating. He doesn’t pay attention to anyone else’s love life. I have to think all his machinations with this assistant job or whatever her title is is just another excuse to keep her close to him in any way he can.

    Playing that trick on Lawrence was kind of a raw deal. Weaver should have had the guts to take him aside and express her concerns about him and ask him to step down gracefully. If you don’t think you could ever fire someone, you shouldn’t hire them in the first place. That’s just business. For someone so concerned about liability (rightfully so, like the case of Malucci the Wannabe EMT) this was a definite lapse in judgment on her part. At least Mark didn’t whip out the I-told-you-so.

    The whole diabetes storyline was a good one and they should repeat that one like every season. Does this mean Mr. Barnero has no preexisting conditions himself? I remain skeptical.

    Loved the subtle, brief introduction of the Doug-Carol Theme while Carol was talking to Mark about him.

    I thought Benton had the test in his hand but said he wasn’t going to mail it in? Either way, I guess he finds out down the line at some point. Him appealing to Carla on her doorstep was very touching.

    The Lawrence Alzheimer’s storyline was devastating. That’s all I can really say about it. It was impossible for me not to sob and sob during the scene with him and Weaver in the trauma room.


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