May 26, 2020

ER 6.8, Great Expectations: Happy Thanksgivi-Birthday

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

Want to feel old? These girls are now college-age

Summary: This episode is all about Carol, so we follow her as she gets up in the morning, gets on an El train, falls asleep, and almost misses her stop. She slips on the El steps and drops the pie she’s carrying. She’s too pregnant to bend over and pick it up, so she just kicks it to the side. Outside the hospital, Cleo is jumping rope, in case we haven’t gotten the hint yet that she’s very fit. Carol tells Cleo that she used to be that thin. No one cares, Carol.

Weaver’s surprised to see Carol, since yesterday was supposed to be her last day of work before her maternity leave. Carol has come in to show Lydia how to do a report, but she’s late and Lydia’s already gone. Connie invites Carol to stay for the staff’s Thanksgiving potluck, but Carol decides to go home and nap before she spends the holiday with her family. Malik asks about the pie she was supposed to bring and Carol says it was a casualty of her pregnancy.

On her way back out, Carol runs into Carter and Chuny, who are having a snowball fight. This is before Carter gets traumatized and forgets how to have fun. A stray dog has found Carol’s pie and is having a nice Thanksgiving feast of his own when Carol returns to the El. Just moments after she sits down on a train, her water breaks.

She gets off the train and sits on a bench in a station, which is where Luka finds her 15 minutes later. She’s trying to get up the strength to get on a train and go back to County, but she’s had a couple contractions. I would think a crowded, moving train is the last place you’d want to be while in labor anyway. Luka tells her they’ll wait for the next train; if it doesn’t come in five minutes, he’ll call an ambulance.

Back at County, things are so quiet that Malik and Dave are playing a modified game of hockey. Dave’s goofing off in a wheelchair and flips over backward when Malik hits him with the can they’re using as the puck. Weaver tells Dave that things will start picking up as people in Chicago start having dinner and get sick. I imagine there will also be some carving knife-related injuries. Carter has a medical mystery and shares it with Weaver, but it’s Dave who diagnoses the patient with poisoning from a tropical fruit. Carter’s skeptical, since Dave isn’t the smartest guy, but Weaver thinks it’s worth looking into.

Luka gets Carol on a train just as she has another contraction. A man on the train wants to pull the emergency cord, but Luka tells him not to stop the train, since they’re only going one stop. They bicker for a little bit until Carol yells at the guy not to pull the cord. Mark has the day off, and he, David, and Rachel are spending Thanksgiving with Elizabeth. This is her first time meeting David and Rachel. She doesn’t impress them with her pilgrim hat (which was supposed to be a table decoration) or her lack of a working TV, which means David can’t watch football.

Carol’s contractions are getting closer together, and Luka declares that she’s in active labor. He advises her to hum to help get through the contractions – it helped his wife when she was in labor. Carol’s too distracted to comment on the mention of Luka’s wife. They do some off-key humming for a while. Carter tells Dave that his diagnosis was correct, and he wants to know how Dave knew what was wrong with the patient. Dave says he’s seen it before; he spent some time in the jungle. After Carter bugs him a bit, Dave admits that he went to med school in Grenada. He didn’t have the grades to go to a U.S. school, but the end result is the same – he and Carter are both M.D.s.

Luka finally gets Carol on her feet, and as they head down the big staircase from the El station, she asks about his wife. He mentions that they had two children, but his family doesn’t live in Croatia anymore. (More details on that in later episodes.) Carol has to stop and sit on the steps, but Luka doesn’t want to delay the trip to the ER any longer. She passes out, so he picks her up and carries her the rest of the way to the hospital. Carol regains consciousness as Weaver, Luka, and Carter are taking her to a trauma room. Carol thinks she’s fine to just go up to the labor and delivery ward, but Weaver wants her in the ER.

Mark praises Elizabeth for being willing to put up with his family on Thanksgiving. She’s much more hospitable than Rachel deserves, as Rachel turns up her nose at the bacon Elizabeth put on the turkey. She reminds Elizabeth that Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, since it’s to commemorate the pilgrims leaving the Brits’ persecution. Elizabeth notes that the pilgrims then turned around and persecuted the Native Americans. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

David insists on carving the turkey, wanting to show Mark that he’s still capable of doing things since Mark doesn’t think he is. In fact, Mark wants to send him to a nursing home. Mark corrects that it’s a retirement community, but David notes that it has nurses. In the kitchen, Rachel accidentally drops the bowl holding the mashed potatoes.

Luka leaves Carol to tend to an elderly woman who skipped her last dialysis appointment to get her hair done for her birthday. Now she’s in congestive heart failure, so I’m going to say it probably wasn’t worth it. On top of that, the ambulance that brought her to the hospital was hit by a car. Luka isn’t sure if her heart problems are due to her kidney issues or the accident.

Weaver examines Carol and announces that she’s already dilated to 10 centimeters. There’s no time to get her to labor and delivery, so she’ll have to deliver in the ER. Carter wants to be part of the delivery, but Carol isn’t willing to let him participate in something so intimate. Weaver agrees with her decision to kick him out of the room. He goes next door to help Luka with his patient, who’s gone downhill fast.

Mark is summoned from his family Thanksgiving to go to County, since he’s Carol’s birthing coach. He tells David and Rachel he’ll take them home, but the two of them and Elizabeth decide to have Thanksgiving together without him. Mark tells Elizabeth to lock them in a closet if they cause her any trouble. Rachel’s off to a good start, insisting that she’s not going to eat any turkey, since animal fat is bad for your heart. Her grandfather isn’t here for that brattiness.

Weaver, Chuny, and Haleh help Carol through her delivery, but they determine that they’ll need some help from L&D. Weaver calmly tells Carol that the first baby’s heart rate is down, but as long as it stays above 80, everything’s okay. Next door, Luka and Carter are unable to save their patient. Luka sadly wishes her a happy birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, it’s about to be Carol’s twins’ birthday. Cleo comes in to help with the end of the first twin’s delivery, but Weaver has no trouble finishing up by herself. The baby is a girl and seems to be healthy. She’s also way bigger than a newborn would be, and having Carol comment that she’s small just draws more attention to it. Carol has already picked out a name, Tess. One down, one to go!

Up on the L&D floor, a nurse named Abby Lockhart takes over Carol’s care. This is the most competent and confident we will see Abby for a while. Carol asks Weaver to stay with Tess as she’s taken away to get cleaned up. Mark arrives as Carol learns that there’s time for her to have an epidural before she delivers the second baby. She tells him she quits. She apologizes for pulling him away from his family, but Mark would rather be with her.

At Elizabeth’s, David is using various Thanksgiving dishes to illustrate the story of D-Day. Elizabeth is somehow not chugging wine to get through this. Mark helps the anesthesiologist, Babcock, prepare for Carol’s epidural, which she orders Babcock to get right the first time. Does Carol have to micromanage everything? Dr. Coburn comes in and mistakes Mark for the babies’ father rather than Carol’s birthing coach. Carol’s OB is out of town, so Coburn is covering her practice.

David tells Elizabeth about witnessing the death of one of his Naval shipmates, who fell overboard. He’s happy to have gotten a homecooked meal from Elizabeth, his first since Ruth died. David asks how Mark is dealing with his mother’s death. Elizabeth says he doesn’t talk about it much, and Elizabeth doesn’t push him on it. David says he’s always been a mystery. Ruth was the only one who could understand him. David feels like she was a bridge for him and Mark; with her gone, David has lost the connection to his son. Rachel’s been in the bathroom for a long time, so Elizabeth goes to check on her. Rachel tells her to go away.

Mark flips through the TV channels in Carol’s room, making her wonder if she’s boring him. She’s very happy to have gotten the epidural. Mark leaves to call Elizabeth, and Carol asks him to call her mother as well. Mark asks pointedly if there’s anyone else he should call. But no, Carol doesn’t want to contact the father of her children while she’s delivering them, thank you. Abby asks another nurse if there’s an open OR, making Carol worry that she’ll need a C-section. Abby tells her they just need to be cautious in case the baby rotates and becomes breech.

Back at Elizabeth’s, Rachel’s hiding out in the bathroom because she just started her first period, at the young age of ten. Elizabeth only has tampons and doesn’t want to start Rachel off on them, so she sends David out to get pads. He’s not that familiar with them, so Elizabeth tells him to ask a clerk for help. “What if he’s a guy?” David asks reasonably.

Carol’s ready to deliver the second baby, and the heart rate is dropping, so Abby checks her again. She realizes the umbilical cord is cutting off the baby’s oxygen, which means Carol needs to deliver immediately. Since she’s only six centimeters dilated, she’ll need an emergency C-section. In the OR, Coburn and Mark butt heads a little, and though she lets him take charge for a while, Coburn gets the final say in what happens. Carol’s terrified and begs Mark not to let the baby die. The second baby is also a girl, and though she’s not as immediately healthy as her sister, she improves quickly.

On his way back from the store, David slips on some ice outside Elizabeth’s apartment building and cuts his head. He tells Elizabeth he wants a drink before she takes him to the hospital for stitches. Back at County, Carol is bleeding, because women never have smooth deliveries in TV dramas. Coburn decides she needs a hysterectomy. Carol won’t consent, and Mark asks Coburn to come up with another solution. He tells her to respect Carol’s decision, since she’s a nurse and knows the risk of not having a hysterectomy.

Thanks to blood loss, Carol passes out before her fate is decided, and she wakes up in a recovery with two healthy babies. Mark tells her that the hysterectomy wasn’t necessary after all. Abby tells her to thank Mark for advocating for her. Mark teases that she should have some more babies since the first two came out so well. Carol doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

Mark asks Carol what she wants to name the second baby. Carol invites him to name her, suggesting that they give the baby Mark’s mother’s name. Carol doesn’t like the name Ruth, but Ruth’s middle name was Katherine, and Carol likes the name Kate, so Kate it is. Abby sends Mark to the ER to check on David, and after he leaves, Carol asks Abby if she can make a long-distance call on her room phone. She’s finally going to call Doug.

Elizabeth stitches up David in the ER and informs Mark that Rachel started her period. Luka interrupts to ask how Carol is. Mark tells him she had two girls and everyone’s fine. Elizabeth leaves Mark to finish up with David while she visits Carol. David tells Mark that he likes Elizabeth. Abby teaches Carol to nurse, then leaves to go tend to someone else. She tells Carol she was very brave. Carol is left alone with her two girls on their first Thanksgiving/first birthday, and Carol realizes for the first time how much work she’s in for.

Thoughts: Tess Ross? Poor kid.

Dave going to med school at “the Harvard of Grenada” makes me think of Jimmy from Better Call Saul going to the University of American Samoa. (Goooo, Land Crabs!)

Enjoy bratty Rachel, because that’s who we’re stuck with from now on.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I liked how Elizabeth handled David and Rachel, with all their idiosyncracies. I guess if she can handle a pompous ass like Romano on the daily, she can handle a crotchety old dude and a sullen preteen.

    The Malucci Grenada revelation was kind of amusing back in the day, but since then I’ve known at least one other doctor who went to med school in Costa Rica as his grades were shit here in the States, and he really excelled in the end. So I completely understand Malucci’s slight defensiveness on the matter. There are doctors who went to Harvard and are shit physicians, so why couldn’t the opposite be true?

    Luka carrying a full-term twin-carrying pregnant woman down icy winter Chicago El stairs without slipping or dropping her is an incredible feat in and of itself. I thought Kerry handled the delivery masterfully and so competently; she’s good at administrative and managerial stuff but she’s an excellent physician and I always like seeing her “in the trenches” so to speak. Sending Carter away was a good move and totally understandable, and after Carter being so sensitive with Jean an episode or two ago, his lack of comprehension in this situation was odd. Carol has to work with you, Carter, and she doesn’t want you messing with her business! How hard is that to understand? I think the only docs she would have been comfortable with in that situation besides Weaver are (of course) Doug, Mark, Elizabeth, Cleo, likely Susan Lewis if she were around, maaaaaybe Benton, probably not Lucy or Luka, definitely not Malucci or Romano.

    Maybe it’s the natural onscreen charisma of Maura Tierney, but I can still remember how impressed I was with her in this episode. I wasn’t thrilled with the directions they took her character later in the series, but this was a great introduction to a competent professional healthcare provider and to realize she had to deal with Janet Coburn on the regular makes me even MORE impressed with her. I wasn’t sure if she knew Mark was an ER attending or even a physician and I was a little surprised Carol had never met her before, but I guess there are likely dozens of nurses in the entire hospital and of course Carol only manages the ER. But most of the others would probably know of her, if not actually met her. I liked how they established that Coburn is clearly bitchy and demanding to everyone as evidenced by how she barked at Babcock when he casually strolled in.

    Giving Rachel her first period on Thanksgiving, in the home of her dad’s new girlfriend, was a nice touch. I mean, clearly it’s not some major bonding moment, but it’s definitely memorable for both of them as well as David, who was game about the whole pads situation. My dad bought me my first pads too, so I could relate. Though I have to wonder why Elizabeth didn’t have any pads or pantiliners in the house at all, only tampons (which definitely would not have been cool for a 10yo). That struck me as awfully… optimistic. Or else she’s just reallllllllllly attuned to things and her body is like clockwork in that regard. Must be nice.

    Tess Hathaway Ross isn’t too bad. Tess Ross, though, you’re right, no on that one. Sounds like a pharmaceutical product. “Take tessross to cope with your absentee father troubles!” And Rachel was always a little on the bratty side, but she becomes downright insufferable once they change actresses to the teenager Rachel. Ugh.


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