June 2, 2020

ER 6.9, How the Finch Stole Christmas: Instead of Toys for Tots, County General Has Game Boys for Gangsters

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:04 pm by Jenn

Romano must have been visited by three ghosts before this

Summary: Carol is trying to balance doing mom things with talking to her own mom on the phone. Please be aware of how difficult it is for her to take care of two newborns on her own. At County, Elizabeth is summoned to see Dean, who pretends to be in pain so he can bug her. He claims he didn’t rape or murder Sandra, and thanks to Elizabeth’s coercion, he can’t be charged with the crime. She says she wishes she could go back and do things differently. Dean wonders if she would have let him die.

A 24-year-old woman named Valerie is brought in with complications from a heart condition. She’s already on the list for a transplant. Weaver lets Lucy take charge of her care, but Lucy isn’t sure what to do. Weaver walks her through it and they stabilize Valerie. Lucy promises to get her home in time for Christmas, but Weaver pulls her aside and tells her that probably won’t happen.

On the surgical floor, Elizabeth and Benton chat about their Christmas plans; Mark is in San Diego, so Elizabeth is alone for the holiday. Benton has managed to rearrange his schedule so he can spend Christmas morning with Reese. Detective Cruson calls to give Elizabeth some news about Dean’s case.

Things are busy in the ER, and Cleo wonders if it’s always like this on Christmas Eve. A nurse named Amira tells Weaver she needs a prayer break, since it’s Ramadan and she’s Muslim. Carter goes around collecting Secret Santa gifts, and Malik reminds everyone that he wants a Game Boy. Weaver opts to sit out the gift exchange. Then she gets another kind of gift: a ton of vomit from a sick Santa.

Benton comes to examine Valerie, since Lucy thinks she’s sick enough to be moved up the transplant list. Benton agrees and tells Lucy to send her to the cardiology wing. Valerie tells Lucy that she thought about going to med school, but she couldn’t handle all the smells involve with being a doctor. She opted for a master’s in fine arts instead, though she may not make it to her graduation. She knows she’ll die without a transplant.

The puking Santa is one of a group; they’re Wall Street traders who dress up together every year and deliver presents to homeless shelters. They’re all sick from bad eggnog. The puker, Greg, says they need a Mrs. Claus, but Weaver’s not interested. Carter cracks up at the idea, so Weaver punishes him by making him give all the Santas rectal suppositories.

Luka volunteered for a double shift to let others take the night off. He and Cleo encounter Chad, who fell down the stairs while drunk. Carter treats a boy named Tommy who got his penis caught in his zipper. Tommy’s not very cooperative, so I hope Santa has already locked him in for the nice list or he won’t get any presents. Lucy interrupts Benton during an operation to talk about research she’s done on a possible treatment for Valerie. They can insert an LVAD, which will keep her heart pumping until she can get a transplant. The hospital doesn’t have a current trial program, but another hospital does, and Benton approves moving Valerie there.

Elizabeth tells Dean he’s being taken to jail because there’s evidence that he was involved in another murder. Dean gets agitated, so Elizabeth has him put in restraints. He complains of pain again, and Elizabeth thinks he’s crying wolf, but Kit thinks he has a legitimate complaint. That means he’ll be spending the holiday in County instead of jail.

Carol brings the twins to the ER, thinking Kate might be sick. The nurses are thrilled to get to see the babies. Lucy makes a call about transferring Valerie, but she can’t go until the next morning. Lucy asks Chuny about having equipment transferred to County instead. Tommy’s upset that he can’t go back to the mall to see Santa, since the mall’s closed. Carter cheers him by dressing up as Santa, though Tommy thinks he’s a fake, since he doesn’t look like the Santa at the mall. Yosh says this is Santa’s younger brother.

Carter ditches the act to go help Benton with a gunshot victim, a teen named Taylor. He pins his shooting on a guy named Loman. They find a gun on him, which Carter confiscates. Luka examines Kate but doesn’t think she’s seriously ill. He offers to do a septic workup, just to be on the safe side, and though Carol knows it’s probably overkill, she kind of wants to do it. Luka compromises with just a couple of tests. Carol asks Haleh to draw Kate’s blood, since she’s the best at it in the ER.

Cleo wants to call Chad’s father, since his mother obviously isn’t doing much to help him stay out of trouble. Chad isn’t close to his father, who moved away and started a new family. Mrs. K. arrives at the hospital after being told that her son fell and was injured…even though she was in the house at the time. She was busy with a loud Christmas party downstairs. Cleo tells her that Chad’s blood-alcohol level is .26, which I think means he should actually be dead. Mrs. K. says she let him have a drink, but Cleo notes that he had to have had more than that.

An elderly man named Howard is brought into the ER after passing out and driving into a nativity scene. Benton finds a mass that could be an aortic aneurysm. Elizabeth tells Dean that he has a clot in his leg and needs immediate surgery. Dean doesn’t want to be fixed up and sent to court; he’d rather just die. He creepily (though he does everything creepily) tells Elizabeth that he thinks about her at night. She gives him the coldest stare in history and confirms that he’s refusing surgery.

Lucy tells Benton that she got the LVAD sent to County. She may go on Santa’s naughty list, as she signed Benton’s name as the authorizing physician for a $50,000 piece of equipment. Oh, also, Benton isn’t qualified to insert an LVAD. Romano is the only one who can do it, and he has the night off. Connie disapproves of Benton’s refusal to go above and beyond for a patient. Howard starts crashing while Benton and Connie are in an elevator with him, and they shock him as the doors open on a floor where some people in Victorian costumes are caroling. They stabilize Howard, who wakes up and says he saw his late wife, Edith.

Haleh gives Carter a Game Boy for Malik, hoping this will shut him up. Carol calls her mother to let her know that she brought Kate to the hospital. Her test results still don’t show anything serious, but Carol isn’t satisfied that she’s okay. Luka agrees to do more tests. Carol admits that taking care of the babies has exhausted her more than her work in the ER ever has.

Lucy gets a hold of Romano, who’s not happy to be called so late at night (and who thinks at first that this might be a personal call, as if Lucy would ever want to hook up with him). He hangs up on her. Taylor, who only has minor injuries, asks Carter for his gun back, since it was supposed to be a Christmas present for his younger brother. Carter gives him Malik’s Game Boy instead.

Cleo calls Adele in to deal with Chad, since Mrs. K. obviously isn’t helping him (and may actually be enabling him). Benton prepares to operate on Howard, but he doesn’t want the surgery. Seeing Edith made him think she’s waiting for him, so he’s ready to die and reunite with her. Benton tries to convince him that he just had a hallucination, but Howard disagrees. Benton cautions that without surgery, he probably won’t live through the night. Howard’s okay with that, since that means he’ll get to spend Christmas with his wife.

Lucy breaks the news to Valerie that she won’t be getting the LVAD implanted. Valerie vows to tough it out until she gets a transplant. Luka tells Carol that Kate’s blood count is normal, so she probably just has a virus. Carol apologizes for being difficult, but Luka doesn’t hold it against her. It’s 2 a.m., which means it’s officially the girls’ first Christmas.

Benton tells Anspaugh and Elizabeth about Howard’s refusal to have surgery. Elizabeth brings up Dean and says she’s looking forward to getting rid of him. Anspaugh reminds her that her personal feelings have no place in the OR. He tells Benton that Howard is probably scared, and seeing Edith made him feel better. If he thought Benton understood that, Howard might listen to him. Even though both patients have the right to refuse treatment, it’s their doctors’ job to keep them alive.

Lucy goes to Romano’s house to ask him in person to perform Valerie’s surgery. He tells her he doesn’t care, so she snaps that she didn’t know what she was thinking, asking a doctor to take care of a patient. Both Lucy and Valerie need Romano’s help. A few teens come to the ER looking for Carter, having heard that he gave Taylor a Game Boy in exchange for his gun. Carter doesn’t have any more Game Boys, but he does have other presents to trade to them.

Benton goes to talk to Howard, but he’s too late – Howard died. Elizabeth, however, still has a chance with Dean. She thinks he’s risking his life just to deprive her of the satisfaction of fixing him. She tells him what he risks by not having surgery, trying to scare him. He’s not impressed and asks if that’s the best she can do. Elizabeth tells him that if he keeps ignoring her advice, he’ll have no one to blame but himself. Dean thinks Elizabeth cares about him, not as a doctor but as a woman. She lies that she does, so he agrees to the surgery.

Weaver and Lily treat a man named Thorpe who burned his hands while fixing a generator. He’s preparing for TEOTWAWKI, the end of the world as we know it. Lily thought most of the glitches had already been fixed, but Thorpe says it only takes one to cause a lot of damage. The hospital will be at huge risk. Weaver says the hospital has been inspected, but Thorpe thinks of something that might have been missed. He offers to check it out for her.

Cleo tells Chad and his mother that she’s gotten him a spot in an in-patient treatment. Mrs. K. promises to try harder to control him, but Cleo doesn’t think she can. Chad begs her to reconsider, swearing he won’t drink again. Thorpe shows Weaver and Lily that their computer system isn’t ready for 2000 after all. He flees before anything more can happen, leaving Weaver alone to fix her crashed computer. Malik is upset about the loss of his Game Boy, as well as Carter’s naïvety with a bunch of gang members who want free stuff. Carter doesn’t care since he’s getting guns off the streets.

Carol gets her first moment of silence in weeks and falls asleep in an exam room. Luka asks Connie to make sure no patients are sent in there for a while. Weaver can’t get tech support on the phone, and she’s getting worried about the hospital’s preparedness for Y2K. Santa Greg used to work in tech support and offers to download a patch to fix the computer.

Elizabeth operate on Dean, noting to Benton that she could easily make one wrong move and get rid of him. Benton gets paged to the OR next door, where Romano’s operating on Valerie. He’s impressed by Lucy and all her research on the surgery. Benton wants to scrub in, but Romano says he missed his chance. Lucy thinks Valerie could use all the help she can get, so Romano lets Benton join them.

Haleh, Connie, and Lily discuss whether 2000 is really the start of a new millennium. Chuny wonders why she’s spending so much money on New Year’s Eve plans if the new millennium doesn’t start until 2001. Carol wakes up from her nap feeling rested and grateful to her fellow nurses for looking after the girls for her. Luka offers her and the girls a ride home; he sold his boat and got a car.

Cleo visits Chad as Carter tells Weaver that he traded all the Secret Santa gifts for guns, then had to write checks as more gang members came in to trade. Now he has a Santa sack full of guns to give the police. A 17-year-old drive-by victim comes in, and Carter recognizes his name, Loman, as Taylor’s shooter. Another victim, a seven-year-old, comes in right after him; he was hit by a bullet meant for Loman. Carter tries to save the younger boy, but there’s nothing he can do.

Romano finishes Valerie’s operation, which leaves her with a clicking noise in her chest from the LVAD, but also a beating heart. Carla brings Reese by, since Benton couldn’t get to her house to pick him up. Carla reveals that when Roger asked for time off for the custody trial, he lost his chance at the promotion that would have moved them to Germany, so the custody fight can end. Benton pretends to be sorry, but he gets to keep Reese close by, so he can’t be too upset.

Officer Al has brought Taylor in with more minor injuries related to Loman and the seven-year-old’s shootings. Upset that Taylor went out, got another gun, and accidentally killed a child, Carter dumps the bag of guns on his lap and angrily tells him to take as many as he wants. Carol gets the girls back home and invites Luka to stay for some eggnog. He’s not familiar with the drink, but when he hears that it contains rum, he’s happy to try it out.

Greg fixed the computer, and he and his fellow Santas are on their way to get some bland food. Weaver recommends Doc Magoo’s, which is always open, just like the ER. Greg invites her to join them. She asks about his work and expresses interest in investing in his software company. Romano checks on Valerie, then tells Lucy that she’ll be disciplined for her actions. It’s not because she actually deserves it – he just has to maintain his reputation as a jerk. Valerie thanks Lucy for her help, calling her a doctor, even if she isn’t one officially.

Thoughts: I thought it was really sweet that Carol asked Haleh to draw Kate’s blood because she’s so good at it. I bet nurses don’t hear a lot of compliments about how well they stick someone with a needle.

The Elizabeth/Dean stuff is gross, and I don’t get the point.

Aw, remember Y2K panic? Remember how apocalyptic people thought it would be? Imagine knowing then what would happen in 2020. We would have all died of shock.

2 Comments »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I realized far too late that Dean Rollins is played by Lawrence Monoson, who also played Rocky Dennis’ best friend Ben in “Mask” which is one of my all-time favorites. He does creepy so well, it’s no wonder I never picked up on him as Ben, who was a sweet guy.

    What do you do with your street clothes if they get vomit or blood all over them? Do they go up with the rest of the laundry? I mean, let’s say you have a nice sweater under your labcoat… will you really trust that with hospital laundromats? Or do they just get trashed? Why would any physician ever wear street clothes at all in the ER considering the likelihood you’d get blood on them, at the very least?

    The whole LVAD thing made me think of Denny from Grey’s Anatomy and how Izzie risked her career over his case. Lucy’s ballsiness with this case was impressive and even Romano and Benton were surprised. Ugh, this all makes me even more irritable at how they wrote her off the show. Seeing her more and more with Malucci and Weaver as well as Benton and Romano really illustrates the rift between Kellie Martin and Noah Wyle though I put the onus on that straight on Wyle’s back since Martin was a professional actress since childhood and knew how to be a pro. Too bad Wyle’s insecurities had to get in the way of his acting talent.

    I liked them having Anspaugh in an advisory, counselor role to Benton and Elizabeth; they didn’t do enough of this sort of thing and he definitely has wisdom to share with them both. It’s a nice dynamic and it’s a shame they didn’t utilize it more.

    The very fact that Chad’s mother was begging Cleo not to put her son in in-patient treatment should have been proof positive for CPS that she didn’t have her son’s best interests at heart. She knew he had an addiction problem and she wasn’t able to help him with it… and she fights it when someone actually offers to help him? I love that they had Cleo go up and sit with him for awhile. Why didn’t his mother stay???

    Carla being sullen at Benton for fighting for his son is pretty on-brand for how they shifted her character; when I saw her in the window outside the OR I flashed back to a year prior (I think?) when she brought him by on Christmas and they were both so happy. Not together as a couple, but united by their love for Reese. How times change when writers don’t know what to do with a side character once she’s no longer a love interest for a main character.

    Romano’s little “You’re still in trouble just for appearance’s sake” bit was an excellent capstone to his presence in the episode. Thinking of how he reacts to her own health crisis (to put it mildly) a few episodes from now puts this episode’s interaction in a bittersweet light. Hell, anything to do with Lucy right now is really bittersweet knowing what’s in store for her.

  2. Patrick Sullivan said,

    The part where Carol says Haleh is the best needle stick reminded me of a later episode where Abby brings her baby Joe into the ER and Sam reassuring her says Chuny is the best stick. Ha. Also in Benton’s custody trial Roger said he worked from home and made his own hours so I guess that had to be a different job than the one that nearly sent him to Germany. On Christmas they ran all the ER Christmas episodes and I enjoyed it because it spans all the different seasons. Lucy going to Romano’s house is a great scene and took serious bravery for a med student. She had a certain fire that was able to disarm his tough exterior.


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