September 29, 2020

ER 7.4, Benton Backwards: So Men Only Turn Violent Because of Women, Eh?

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

Worst first date EVER

Summary: Benton is looking for a new job now that Romano has had his privileges revoked at County. He’s not having any luck, and he’s taking it out on Cleo. She’s annoyed that he won’t talk to her about his troubles and won’t let her help him find a new job. At County, Carter’s having much more luck: He’s allowed to work on trauma cases again. He can only work on two patients at a time, which means he’ll have a lot of downtime to do things like read medical journals.

Carter’s first patient of the day is a homeless man who may not be able to be saved. Dave helps him out while asking if Carter knows anyone who could join him and his buddies for a hockey game that night (playing, not watching). Carter focuses on the patient, wanting to warm him up before they have to admit they can’t save him. Some pigeons fly out of the man’s coat as the doctors and nurses work. Carter’s the only person in the room who ignores the birds to keep shocking the patient.

The wacky mass trauma of the day is an explosion at a salon that sent a bunch of pageant contestants to the ER. Audrey (AKA Miss Skokie) is concerned that the burns on her legs will prevent her from competing that night. Malik is distracted by all the beautiful women in the ER. Dave asks him to join his hockey game, ignoring Mark when he volunteers himself, since he played hockey in college. No uncool people allowed, Mark.

Dave gives Chen a patient, calling him “daddy material.” Hush, Dave. Chen’s mom calls, and Chen tells Frank to say she’s with a patient and can’t talk. Frank refuses to lie, so Chen picks up the phone and pretends she’s been avoiding her parents because she’s busy, not because she’s hiding something. Carter’s homeless patient seems to have died, so he’s free to take a new patient, a guy who got a little sloppy with his superglue. Weaver gives him a second patient, a guy who cut his hand on a tin can.

Benton tracks down a doctor named Gottschalk who has an opening on his faculty. Dr. G. has already filled the position with someone who has excellent recommendations and references; he implies that Benton doesn’t have those things. Benton figures that Romano must have bad-mouthed him around town to prevent him from getting hired anywhere. Back at County, Weaver tries to help an elderly man, Archie, who thinks he’s about to ship out for Korea. She gives Abby instructions for his care.

Carter treats his second patient, giving him a shot to numb his pain before giving him sutures. Abby comes in to get something, and Carter mentions that he’s going to an 8:00 meeting that night, in case Abby wants to join him. Chen treats a boy named Kenneth who has a genetic disorder that has led to his spleen becoming enlarged. His mother, Mrs. Stein, wants any treatment possible to prolong his life, even though he’s end-stage. Chen agrees to talk to a surgeon about removing Kenneth’s spleen, but Mark doesn’t think that’s appropriate for his care.

Luka spots a pigeon feather in Abby’s hair and pulls it out for her. Her confidence from their kiss has diminished, but she’s still brave enough to ask him on a date. He suggests going out that night. Benton comes to County to confront Romano for getting him blackballed from every hospital in town. Romano says that there’s a per-diem position open at County, and though it doesn’t come with benefits (or respect, really), it’s Benton’s if he wants it. “You couldn’t pay me enough to work for you again, you arrogant little prick,” Benton replies. Romano advises him to work on his people skills.

Legaspi compliments Weaver’s shirt before telling her that Archie has an infection but not a psych disorder. Unfortunately, his nursing home has given away his bed. As Weaver chases away a bunch of guys who are clamoring for the pageant contestants’ attention, Legaspi says that since Archie talks like a veteran, he might actually be one, which means he’s entitled to VA benefits. She knows someone at another hospital who could help them.

Benton asks Weaver if there’s any chance he could work as a liaison between the ER and the OR. She reminds him that he stole as many patients as he could from the ER when he was a resident. Benton actually has a good idea for the position – if he taught the residents some procedures they could do in the ER, fewer of them would need surgeons. He could also expedite surgical patients and set schedules. Weaver agrees to the job…if Benton can get Romano to agree to it. Good luck, Benton.

Romano comes to the ER to talk to Chen about Kenneth, agreeing with Mark that surgery isn’t right for him. Chen wants to give Kenneth more time with his family, but Romano isn’t about to start caring about a mother’s wishes or about extending a little boy’s life. He comments on all the pageant contestants, saying the explosion is a commentary on how some people pursue beauty at all costs. They have some nice legs, though.

Speaking of legs, Audrey’s upset about hers, since it’ll be hard to hide her burns during the pageant. She tells Mark that he may find the whole thing stupid, but she’s pre-med and is trying to get a scholarship. Mark asks Malik to call someone named Ms. Pruitt, then tries to get himself recruited for Dave’s hockey game again. Dave says it’s rough (meaning Mark, who’s middle-aged, isn’t up for it), but Mark insists he’s tough enough.

Carter joins Luka to treat a patient with multiple gunshot wounds. Archie watches from the hallway until Weaver finds him. He talks about a military buddy who was killed in battle and asks if Weaver has seen war. She says she hasn’t, but he knows she’s seen people die. Weaver gently tells Archie that he can’t go back to his nursing home. He refuses to go to the VA, getting agitated at the idea. He hugs Weaver and begs her not to let them take him away.

Chen has to tell Mrs. Stein that she couldn’t get anyone to approve surgery for Kenneth. Mrs. Stein insists that he’s still aware of his surroundings, even though he’s unconscious. Chen tells her that it’s likely that he wouldn’t survive the operation. Mrs. Stein thinks Chen believes she’s selfish for trying to keep him alive as long as possible. Chen will understand once she has her own baby.

Luka and Carter have trouble stabilizing their patient, so Carter uses a stitch he probably learned from his days as a surgical intern to fix some damage. It works, and Luka and Haleh praise him for the trick. Legaspi tells Weaver that Archie is AWOL from the Korean War. He was a corporal who deserted while on leave in 1951. Now, 50 years later, the Army wants to punish him. Legally, the doctors can’t do anything for him, but it’s not like everyone on this staff always follows the letter of the law.

Benton tracks down Elizabeth, who’s been avoiding his calls because she doesn’t know what to say to him about Romano’s antics. He asks her to get the word out that he’s looking for a job. She knows of an opening in Philadelphia, so if Benton’s desperate and willing to move away, that could be a possibility. Shirley tells Benton that he’s needed in the ER – not for a patient but for his family.

Carter and Haleh are getting their patient ready to be taken to surgery when a teenage girl comes to the trauma room to check on her. She calls herself the patient’s sister, but judging from the way she pulls out a gun and fires bullets into the patient, either she’s lying or they have a really bad family dynamic. Carter is shaken and steps aside as some other staff members run in to try to save the patient. He guesses they won’t be able to.

Benton goes to the ER, where Jackie has brought her son Jesse (with Reese tagging along) in to be treated for wounds he got from a fight. Cleo is tending to him and says it’s nothing serious. Jackie’s worried because he hit his head (someone slammed him into a locker), so Cleo tries to reassure her. Luka checks on Carter, telling him that the shooter was found. She’s only 15. He suggests that Carter take the rest of the day off to recover from the trauma.

Benton thinks Jesse is just going through normal teen issues, but Jackie tells him that Jesse’s changed. He has a girlfriend who’s “pretty rough.” Jesse’s gotten violent and disobedient, even shoving his father. Jackie asks Benton to try to talk to him. Abby and Luka meet up to go on their date as Chen tries to find a surgeon who will agree to operate on Kenneth. Mark reminds her that they can’t always follow through when they give patients hope.

Dave tests Mark’s hockey skills and reflexes with crutches and a roll of bandages. Mark passes the test, so Dave allows him to play with his team. Legaspi has pulled a stunt with a dead patient’s social security number in order to get Archie admitted to another nursing home. Weaver objects, but not forcefully enough to get Legaspi to call off the plan. They learn they’re headed to the same seminar, and Legaspi offers to save Weaver a seat.

Ms. Pruitt arrives in the ER and assures Audrey that she can use makeup to disguise her wounds for the pageant. Mark decides not to tell Audrey that Ms. Pruitt normally uses her makeup skills on corpses. Elizabeth is annoyed that Mark is playing hockey instead of doing something boring with her. He never even mentioned that he plays hockey. Then there’s kissing. Like the boy in The Princess Bride, I would like to skip the kissing.

Carter takes out his frustrations of the day on a punching bag at his grandparents’ house. Millicent is surprised to see him home early; he lies that things were slow. She admits that she wanted him to feel uncomfortable being back in the ER so he would leave. That way, she wouldn’t have to ask him to. She knows Carter likes his job, but he can do it just as well in private practice. He doesn’t have to destroy himself to save others. The ER is where Lucy died, and where Carter almost did. It’s where his addiction began. Millicent thinks it’s beating Carter’s beautiful spirit out of him. Carter promises that he’ll be fine, but she doesn’t believe him.

Abby and Luka play foosball at a bar (she’s better at it than he is), and he suggests that they play pool on their next date. There’s a table in the lobby of the hotel where he lives. He gets a discount on his room rate in exchange for working as the hotel’s doctor. Abby is skeptical about how enjoyable that is, but Luka likes the arrangements – he gets maid service and all the amenities of a hotel. He invites her to come see his room sometime. But not like that! Not, like, for sex! He doesn’t want to sleep with her! He does want to kiss her, though.

Benton sits Jesse down for a man-to-man talk about how Jesse’s new girlfriend has changed his behavior. Benton has the safe-sex talk with his nephew, though Jesse says he’s not doing anything. He’s annoyed that his parents won’t treat him like the man he thinks he is. Buddy, I’m not sure your voice has finished changing, so let’s hold off on calling you a man. Benton notes that he’ll need to show his parents respect if he wants it in return.

Elizabeth tells Benton that she’s gotten him a spot as an attending in Philadelphia. Cleo isn’t as excited by the news as Benton is. It’s only an hour-long flight, so they can keep seeing each other. Abby and Luka leave the bar for a walk by the water. They’re comfortable enough with each other now to hold hands. Suddenly, a man comes up behind them, hits Luka over the head with a pipe, and demands Abby’s purse. Luka grabs the man and throws him on the ground, slamming his head into the pavement over and over until Abby makes him stop.

There’s more violence at the hockey rink, where Mark gets slammed into some boards. That will be important later. Carter returns to County, telling Weaver that it’s important for him to finish his shift. She tells him to stick to minor cases, but Elizabeth overrides that by calling him in to help her take care of the mugger.

Benton goes to Carla’s restaurant to tell her about his new job in Philadelphia. He wants to work out a visitation schedule with Reese. Carla is never going to allow Reese to fly to another state by himself – as far as she’s concerned, their joint-custody arrangement only applies to Chicago. Plus, Benton fought Carla and Roger when they wanted to move to Germany. Carla tells him that if he doesn’t stay in Chicago, he’ll have to give up custody. He made the rules, and she’s just playing by them. He throws a plate of food at the wall in protest. Sorry, whoever ordered that for dinner. You’ll have to wait a little longer because someone had a tantrum in the kitchen.

Abby thinks Luka needs sutures for the wound from the mugger’s pipe, but he wants to keep watching the team working on the mugger. A detective asks them what happened as Carter, Elizabeth, and Haleh struggle to save the mugger. The detective determines that since Luka thought his and Abby’s lives were in danger, it’s pretty clear that he acted in self-defense. Of course, being cleared legally won’t help Luka feel less guilty about hurting someone, and it won’t erase what Abby had to witness. She brings Cleo to look at Luka’s head wound, but he still won’t leave the window where he’s watching the trauma.

Out of options that will allow him to both work and keep custody of his son, Benton goes to Romano’s office to grovel. Down in the ER, Carter and Elizabeth admit defeat and declare the mugger dead. Luka walks out of the hospital without saying anything to Abby. Luka’s season-long brood-fest starts…now!

Thoughts: No one seems concerned that Jesse is suddenly several years older than he used to be, so I guess we should just ignore it.

Benton is kind of living the dream – telling off your jerky boss but still ending up with a successful career.

Romano must not have the same reputation outside of County as he does inside if people believe the bad things he says about Benton. A reference check from a jerk should never be taken seriously without an investigation.

Once again, Chen treats a boy named Kenneth who has a genetic disorder.

You know, metal detectors would be really helpful in protecting the ER staff and patients. Guess when they get installed? Season 9. Freaking A.


  1. Nick Rivers said,

    The Jesse stuff filled me with dread because I knew what was coming. Oof.

    Awesome of Carla to throw it right back in Peter’s face when you know he was expecting her to just roll over and send her toddler on flights to Philadelphia solo. Nuh uh.

    The scene of Carter and the patient he had just saved, with her “sister” coming in to finish the job, was shocking; I’d forgotten that kind of throwaway bit in the scheme of the show but it’s moments like those that really illustrated that the show could toss a jolt at you when you least expected it. Also, nice of the security guard to police the staff lounge like crazy but let random people wander into trauma rooms. Inconsistency!

    I didn’t realize it was Abby and Luka’s first date. What a way to start them off.

  2. Patrick Sullivan said,

    I just saw this episode and it surprises me that Corday was able to get Benton an attending position in Philadelphia sight unseen especially if you consider Benton had just a few shifts as an attending at County at the time. Corday was from England so I’m not sure how she even had connections elsewhere unless there was like a convention or something.

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