September 8, 2020

ER 7.1, Homecoming: Yeah, He’s Sober, But He’s Also a Jerk Now

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

This is art

Summary: Carter and Benton have just arrived in Atlanta so Carter can check into rehab. He learns for the first time that it’s a 90-day program. He’s in a bad mood, understandably, and Benton recognizes that he’s in withdrawal. Margaret, the woman who checks Carter in, tells Benton he should leave so Carter can do this on his own. Benton tells Carter that he can do this, then heads off.

Carter asks for something for his nausea, but he has to go to a group therapy session first, even though it’s the middle of the night. He spits off the side of a staircase, like, who raised you, Carter? I know Millicent didn’t teach you to act like that. He says group therapy isn’t what he needs right now. Margaret tells him that if he doesn’t want to follow the rules, he can leave. She even tells him where he can score drugs. That seems like a bad idea, but okay. She delivers Carter to his first therapy sessions.

Four months later, there’s pandemonium in the ER. Cleo’s chasing a patient with a needle around while Malik tries to deal with a plumbing problem. The maintenance staff has gone on strike, and a bunch of the transport staff has staged a sick-out in solidarity. Weaver tells Malik to break open the door to the maintenance closet if he needs to. A group of new med students complains that they’ve been waiting to be greeted, but Weaver doesn’t care.

When Mark gets to work, unaware of the strike, he asks why the admit desk looks different. Frank explains that they’ve remodeled it for an open floor plan, which is supposed to be safer. Oh, wow, they only waited seven months after Lucy’s death to try to do something about security. Good job. The construction crew won’t cross the maintenance staff’s picket line, so the remodel is unfinished. Mark’s clueless about all this stuff because he’s been camping.

Abby remarks that the new med students look like children. Mark offers to show them around. Weaver sees Malik walking around with a fire axe and realizes that when she sarcastically told him to use one to get into the maintenance closet, she should have been clearer that she wasn’t serious. Coburn is giving someone an ultrasound of a healthy baby boy. The mother? Chen. Coburn asks if she’s arranged to take time off after the birth. Chen admits that she hasn’t told anyone about her pregnancy yet. Coburn notes that she won’t able to hide it much longer.

In Atlanta, Carter and his ugly goatee are preparing for an exit interview so he can leave rehab. His counselor tells him it’s okay to say that he doesn’t have all the answers and he’s scared. Rehab is meant to break an addict down, like in the military, then build him up and start to function again. He’s supposed to leave feeling happy and confident. Carter acknowledges that pride is what got him here in the first place.

The counselor asks if Carter has taken responsibility for his addiction. Carter says he has, but he wants his life back. He’s not going to let the addiction beat him. The counselor says it took him four tries to stay sober. Carter doesn’t appreciate his counselor’s…well, counseling, and doesn’t look eager to stay in touch after he leaves rehab.

Romano and Elizabeth meet with Benton to finish an interview determining whether he’ll be promoted to attending. This means he’ll be working with residents, which he claims he likes. Romano asks if he’s applied anywhere else or gotten any other offers. Benton says Romano isn’t allowed to ask him that. Dude, tell him you applied to Johns Hopkins and they offered you a million a year, then see if Romano will top it.

Romano notices that Elizabeth keeps scratching her hands and tells her to cut it out. Benton and Romano diagnose her with poison ivy from her camping trip with Mark. Romano cuts the meeting short (apparently not the first time), and Benton tells Elizabeth that he’s never going to get the job offer. She asks whether the poison ivy will spread. Benton says it depends on what she touched last, before she washed her hands.

Cut to Mark scratching his junk. I hate you, show. I hate you a lot. Dave asks him about it and notes that he’s probably not making a good impression on the med students. Paramedics bring in a high school football player named Mike who took a bad hit in a game. Mark tells Dave to give the med students a tour, then examines Mike, who thinks the other team – his school’s rivals – targeted him for an illegal hit.

Dave and the med students watch Luka and Abby try to save a patient who’s not going to be able to be saved. Dave asks if one of the students can practice a procedure, since it’s not like they’ll cause any further harm. Weaver sends Dave to talk to the patient’s husband and pretend they might still be able to save his wife. Weaver then tells Abby that her name isn’t on the list for another ER rotation. Abby says it’s on her schedule, so Weaver thinks there was just an error because of confusion caused by the strike.

Carter completes his check-out process with Margaret, who tells him Benton will pick him up at the airport in Chicago. He’s not exactly friendly when he says goodbye to her. Luka tells his patient’s husband, Mr. Bristol, that he wasn’t able to save her. Mr. Bristol blames himself for not calling an ambulance sooner. Luka tells him that there was nothing he could have done – it was just Mrs. Bristol’s time to die.

Elizabeth, now wearing gloves, has told Mark about her poison ivy; she didn’t know what it was when she picked it for a bouquet of wildflowers. Okay, can we stop talking about this now? Mark tells Mike’s mother, Mrs. Palmieri, that he doesn’t have any serious injuries, though they were worried about that before, since his hands were numb. Mark says it might have been because he was hyperventilating.

Dave has abandoned the med students to see patients, so they’re stuck without anything to do again. Mark tells him to get their help, but Dave tries to pass them off to Cleo instead. Cleo hasn’t been useful at all since she joined the show and she’s not about to start now, so she says no unless Mark asks her himself. She goes to chat with Benton, commenting that none of the med students are Black. Benton doesn’t think it’s a big deal; they’re a small group. The patient asks if they’re married, teasing that Cleo talks to Benton like they are.

Abby lets Mr. Bristol sit with his wife’s body, then tells Luka it was nice of him to keep working on her even though there was nothing he could do. Luka doesn’t think it matters, since Mr. Bristol still blames himself. They wonder how long the couple was married, and Luka asks Abby about her own marriage. Abby says her divorce became final last month. She’s keeping her married name, the only good thing she got out of the marriage. Her maiden name is Wyczenski, so…good plan.

Haleh has to move aside some garbage in the hall on her way to talk to Mark, who’s getting a shot from Elizabeth for his poison ivy. Mike is now having chest and abdominal pain. He sent his mom to check on the score of the football game, and he wants to go back if his team is losing. Mark tells him to get comfortable because he’s staying for a while. He lets Mrs. P. know that Mike might have broken a rib, which could have punctured his liver. Mrs. P. beats herself up for letting her son play a dangerous sport.

Chen arrives for her shift as another football player is brought in. Mrs. P. recognizes him as the guy who hit Mike. Looks like Mike’s team got some payback by breaking his leg. Carter’s seatmate on his flight back to Chicago tries to make small talk. Carter lies that he was in Atlanta visiting a friend and teaches high school English in Chicago. The seatmate notes that he must get paid well, since they’re in first class. Carter goes to the bathroom to try to get himself together.

The Bristols have been moved to a hallway, since doctors needed the trauma room. Abby tells Mr. Bristol that transport will come get Mrs. Bristol’s body soon. Malik reports that a cheerleader is being brought in after being attacked. It turns out she was at the football game. Weaver tells Abby that the registrar’s office never received her tuition payment, which Abby’s ex-husband was responsible for. Abby has to wait three months to return to her clerkship. She leaves the hospital angrily.

Carter returns from the bathroom without his goatee, thank God. A flight attendant busts him for smoking in the bathroom, which is a federal offense. He’s not exactly apologetic, and the flight attendant definitely doesn’t get paid enough to deal with this sort of thing. Plus, since she addressed him as Dr. Carter, now his seatmate knows he lied about his job. (Though he could be a high school teacher with a Ph.D. Ever think of that, nosy seatmate?)

Mark tells Mrs. P. that Mike has some internal bleeding, but if they operate now, his outlook is good. He stays so calm through the conversation that it would be impossible for Mrs. P. to not think everything will turn out fine. Weaver summons Romano to the ER to tell him the maintenance strike has made working there unbearable. If someone called the county to report the pileup of trash, they’d get fined. Romano tells her to troubleshoot it herself. He’s not going to approve the raise the maintenance staff wants.

Romano grabs Benton as he’s heading to the airport so they can finish his attending interview. They carry the interview into the bathroom, because Romano’s bladder takes precedence over everything else, I guess. Benton gets that Romano wants him to promise that he’ll be a team player and take whatever Romano throws at him. Once he agrees, Romano officially offers him the attending fellowship.

Abby tracks down her ex-husband, Richard, at a driving range and accuses him of not paying her tuition just to mess with her. The three months she’ll miss because of him will put her a year behind in her residency. Richard makes an excuse about the IRS and deductions, but Abby doesn’t care – he ruined something that was important to her. She took care of him while he was in med school, and then he cheated on her and is screwing with her life.

Richard notes that he didn’t make her depressed or miserable. She did that herself. She trashes his golf clubs as he says he wasn’t the one who decided to change up her life and start a new job. Yeah, how dare she want to become a doctor? What’s wrong with her? Once Abby’s done with the clubs, she tells Richard that he’s in violation of their divorce agreement, so he’ll be hearing from her lawyer.

Benton heads out again, trying to pass by the picketers in the ambulance bay. Nat asks him to take a different route, since the local news is there. On his way back through the hospital, Benton encounters Chen and notices that she’s upset, but he senses that she doesn’t want to talk about it. Weaver enlists him to help with a mass casualty – there was a riot at the football game. The ambulances make the picketers disperse as they arrive at the hospital.

Mr. Bristol and his wife are still in the hallway, and he seems to not be paying attention to the chaos around them. Mike will have to wait for his operation, thanks to bigger emergencies and lack of operating space because of the strike. Mark tells Mrs. P. that they’ll have to drain some of the blood from Mike’s injury in the ER instead. Benton realizes he’s not going to make it to the airport to get Carter. He grabs a med student named Ryan for help.

Elizabeth and Mark do Mike’s procedure as he says he can’t believe all the chaos is because of him. Ryan meets Carter at the airport, having been sent to pick him up instead of Benton. Chen passes Mr. Bristol in the hallway and realizes he’s unconscious. He brought all his wife’s medications to the hospital with him, and it looks like he purposely overdosed on them. Mark and Elizabeth have a little trouble with Mike’s procedure and he ends up having a heart attack. Mark starts to lose his cool a little, but Elizabeth keeps hers.

Luka joins Chen and Malik to try to save Mr. Bristol. In the next trauma room, Mark and Elizabeth keep working on Mike as his teammates crowd around the window to see if he’ll be okay. Ryan tries to strike up a conversation with an uninterested Carter about working in the ER and all the action there. Back at County, Mark and Elizabeth struggle to stabilize Mike, very aware that his mother is watching. Chen and Luka aren’t able to save Mr. Bristol, who at least gets to be with his wife now.

Next door, Mike is doing so poorly that Elizabeth thinks someone should prepare Mrs. P. in case he doesn’t make it. Mark asks Chen to take over for him so he can talk to Mrs. P. He warns that, while they’re doing everything they can for Mike, he might not survive. Mrs. P. reminds Mark that he said everything would be fine. Mark says the complication Mike experienced was very rare. Mrs. P. orders him to promise that he’ll save her son.

Mark returns to the trauma room and tells the staff that they’ll keep working on Mike until he says they’re done. Word spreads that Mike might die, and one of his teammates attacks the guy who hit him. There’s a brawl in the ER, and Dave gets caught in the middle of it. Weaver tries to use her crutch to break up some of the fights. Stuff gets broken, including a computer and the window to Mike’s trauma room. There’s so much noise and chaos that Elizabeth has to tell Mark that they’ve gotten Mike’s heart beating again. Outside, Ryan delivers Carter to the hospital, but instead of going in, Carter just goes home.

Thoughts: Mike is played by Wentworth Miller. Ryan is played by Jonathan Mangum. Margaret is played by Paula Newsome, and if you’re not familiar with her, you need to watch Barry immediately.

Gathering an entire therapy group whenever a new member arrives, even in the middle of the night, sounds like a terrible idea. Won’t the group automatically resent the new person for making them get out of bed?

Carter’s goatee makes him look like a bass player in a late ’90s band. Or maybe like a Spin Doctor.

I’m not saying I would want people to start a riot over me, but Mike must feel good knowing how much his teammates and classmates care about him.

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