October 13, 2020

ER 7.6, The Visit: Mommy Drearest

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

She’s heeeeeeere…

Summary: Things in the ER are moving in slow motion, for no apparent reason. I think it has something to do with Luka’s whole deal. Anyway, things get back to normal in time for Luka, Benton, and Dave to start helping a patient who’s lost his hand. He’s a drug dealer, and Dave doesn’t have much sympathy for him. Fortunately, Benton has no patience for his lack of sympathy.

Carter’s at an AA meeting but is doing a crossword puzzle instead of giving the current speaker his full attention. Abby’s also in the room and notices. Back at County, Dave jokes about shooting Romano and using the patient’s hand to frame him for the murder. Benton still has no patience for him. He tells Dave to be respectful of both Benton and the patient when they’re working together. Dave also needs to call him Dr. Benton – definitely not Pete.

At the end of the meeting, Carter asks someone to sign his card indicating that he was there. Abby chastises him for not listening. Carter says he was, and besides, he’s been to plenty of meetings, so it’s not like this is a new experience. Abby urges him to share something in a meeting. She also thinks he might get more out of a group for drug addicts instead of alcoholics. Carter makes it clear that he’s just fulfilling his obligations and isn’t there to, like, better himself or anything.

Abby heads to work as Chen gets ready to go home. Chen asks if Abby and Luka are still dating, then wonders if he’s okay. Abby says he’s fine. Things are calm in the ER, which Mark says is a sign that things will get crazy at the end of the shift. Weaver tells Frank to call security to kick a homeless frequent flier out of a storage room where he’s fallen asleep. Frank volunteers to do the kicking-out himself, but Weaver stops him when he picks up a stick to help him.

Mark needs to leave at 6:00 for something personal, as he reminds Weaver. We will hear about this a lot in this episode. Abby asks Luka if they can have lunch together, and he agrees, if he has time. A woman named Maggie comes to the ambulance bay with a bag of food, telling Chuny she’s looking for her daughter, who works there. Chuny hands her off to someone else while she helps Luka with a patient, a seventh-grader named Theresa who had a bad fall. Luka sends her father, Mr. Ruiz, out of the room, then tells Theresa she needs x-rays, so she needs to let him know if there’s any chance she’s pregnant.

Chen meets with an adoption caseworker to discuss possibilities for her baby. The caseworker says that many women of Asian descent change their minds about placing their children for adoption. They’re at a playground, and Chen thinks the caseworker has brought her there to try to convince her that children are awesome. The caseworker asks Chen if the baby’s father has given up his parental rights. Chen says she doesn’t want him to have the baby, but the caseworker says he has rights.

Weaver finds Maggie in the lounge, making coffee to go with the bagels she’s brought in for the staff. Malik manages to grab a bagel before Weaver shuts down the breakfast buffet. Maggie tells her she’s there to see her daughter, Abby. Abby’s currently with Elizabeth, who’s examining a man named Patterson who hurt his back while surfing. Frank comes in to tell Abby that her mother’s there. Abby denies that she could be there, since her mother’s in Florida. She humors Frank by following him to the admit desk, but when she sees Maggie, she tells Frank she has no idea who Maggie is.

Luka wants to perform a neurological exam on Theresa, so her father goes to call his work and let them know he’ll be late. Theresa insists she’s fine, but Luka finds bruises on her back that definitely don’t look fine. Frank keeps putting Maggie off, telling her that her daughter will be out to see her as soon as possible. He’s just delaying her until someone from the psych department can come speak to her. In a second delay tactic, Luka and Weaver conspire to keep Theresa in the hospital longer than necessary until police can get there. Luka thinks Theresa’s father is abusing her.

Maggie is done serving breakfast and is now cleaning up in the lounge. Weaver wants to talk to her about her claim that her daughter works there, but Maggie, who’s talking a mile a minute, has trouble focusing on a single topic. Weaver tells her that Abby says Maggie isn’t her mother. Maggie goes looking for Abby, yelling her name through the halls. Weaver tells Frank to call security and contact psych again. Meanwhile, Abby calls her brother Eric to ask why Maggie’s in Chicago. Abby can’t deal with her right now.

Elizabeth tells Patterson that he needs surgery and shouldn’t wait until he gets home to have it (he’s in Chicago on business). Patterson doesn’t want surgery, so Elizabeth suggests an outpatient procedure she can perform that afternoon. Weaver follows a still-yelling Maggie through the halls until a security guard finds them and tries to calm her down. Finally, Abby comes clean and confirms that Maggie’s her mother.

Elizabeth, Mark, and Dave treat a teen with a gunshot wound. Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize him as Benton’s recently aged nephew, Jesse. Abby asks Maggie if Eric knows she’s in Chicago. Apparently she just left home, probably not even telling her boss she wouldn’t be coming to work. While Maggie goes to get her things from the lounge, Weaver confirms with Abby that Maggie has bipolar disorder and is clearly not taking her medication.

Mark’s evening plans come up again, and Elizabeth promises that nothing will delay her from being off work by 6:00. They’re heading to Wisconsin for a little getaway. Jesse starts declining, but Dave is thrilled because he’s learning so much from treating him. Well, I’m glad you’re enjoying Jesse’s poor health.

Cleo is the first to realize that Jesse is the patient when she runs into Jackie in a waiting area. She races to the OR where Benton is operating and brings him to Jesse’s trauma room. Dave is cavalier about his “gang-banger” patient, so Benton elbows him out of the way to take over tending to Jesse. Cleo informs the doctors that their patient is Benton’s nephew.

Abby asks Luka for a chat, but she’ll have to wait until he doesn’t have a patient demanding his attention. Carter has just arrived at work and is happy to talk. Romano pulls Elizabeth from Jesse’s trauma to ask why she’s doing endoscopic surgery on Patterson instead of the procedure he really needs. Romano thinks she’s cutting corners so she can leave work by 6:00. Elizabeth glares at him, then returns to Jesse, who’s not doing well. Benton wants to pack Jesse’s head in ice to preserve his brain function. Dave is highly skeptical, but Mark is willing to give it a try.

By the waterfront, Abby tells Carter all about her mother. Her father left when she was a kid, and Maggie would do fun, exciting things with the kids that they didn’t realize at the time were just her being manic. Then, of course, she would get depressed, leaving Abby to take care of herself and Eric. Maggie won’t take medication because she enjoys her mania so much. Abby knows she’s not strong enough to deal with Maggie again right now.

Cleo tells Jackie that Benton is working with a trauma team to take care of Jesse, but he’s in bad shape. A girl named Kynesha arrives and tearfully asks Jackie if Jesse’s okay. Jackie kicks her out, ordering the girl to stay away from Jesse. Back in the trauma room, Elizabeth keeps an eye on Benton’s mental state as he tries desperately to save his nephew. It’s clear to everyone else in the room that they won’t be able to, but they don’t tell Benton to give up.

Mr. Ruiz is angry that Luka has kept him and Theresa in the hospital for so long. Finally, a detective arrives to talk to Mr. Ruiz about Theresa’s bruises. Mr. Ruiz is understandably offended that the detective and Luka would accuse him of beating his daughter. Benton has convinced himself that he can stop Jesse’s bleeding, but eventually he realizes there’s nothing he can do. Elizabeth gently indicates that he needs to stop. Benton fights back tears, then goes to see Jackie, who can tell just from looking at him that he doesn’t have good news. She screams in devastation.

It’s time for Chen to tell the baby’s father that…well, he’s the baby’s father. She’s never mentioned his name, but as many viewers had already guessed, it’s Frank. (Not Frank the desk clerk. That would be too weird.) She apologizes for not telling him about her pregnancy sooner, then announces him she wants to place the baby for adoption. He seems surprisingly unconcerned about all of this.

Mark has a headache, which he thinks is from taking a hit while playing hockey. Spoiler: Nope! He reminds Elizabeth that they’re leaving at 6:00. WE KNOW. Dave worries that Benton heard him trash-talking Jesse before he knew Jesse was Benton’s nephew. Mark’s like, “That’s really not my problem.” A boy named Vinnie comes in looking for Theresa but doesn’t go to see her.

Elizabeth does Patterson’s procedure, keeping one eye on the clock since it’s almost 6:00. Babcock the anesthesiologist says there’s some fluid leaking from the site of the procedure, but Elizabeth says it’s just from the irrigation fluid. Legaspi comes to the ER to talk to Maggie about not taking her medication. Maggie says she doesn’t like how she feels on lithium, so she’s taking Prozac, an antidepressant. That could trigger a manic episode, so Legaspi offers to write her a prescription for something else.

Abby wonders if she’ll actually take it. She gives Maggie some money so she can take a bus back to Florida. Maggie cries about being sent away, since she wants to be there to support Abby through her divorce (which happened a year ago). Abby chastises her for acting crazy and embarrassing Abby at work. Next Maggie will get depressed and Abby will have to worry about her hurting herself. Maggie stomps out crying.

Dave finds Benton alone with Jesse’s body and apologizes for not being more respectful of Jesse. Benton warns Dave to get away from him. Instead, Dave says that he just thought Jesse was some gang-banger. Benton hits him, and they end up in a brawl that has to be broken up by other staff members. Dave says he was just trying to apologize. Well, you suck at it.

The detective tells Luka that Theresa swears her father hasn’t hurt her. That means she can’t be taken out of her home. Luka gives it another try, asking Theresa what really happened that morning. She sticks to her story that she fell. Luka tells her that sometimes people who love us hurt us. It’s a sickness they need to get help with. He informs Theresa that she’s pregnant, and she says she knew this could happen. The baby’s father refuses to use a condom, which leads to fights, which lead to the abuse. Don’t worry, the baby’s father isn’t Theresa’s father – it’s Vinnie.

It’s after 6:00, so Elizabeth is gone for the night when Patterson starts experiencing severe back pain and numbness in his legs. Romano examines him and realizes he’s leaking spinal fluid. That’s probably not good. Elizabeth and Mark have just checked into their hotel room when she gets a call about Patterson’s complications. So much for a quiet weekend away.

Back at County, Benton cleans up Jesse’s body instead of letting a nurse do it. Cleo joins him silently. Abby’s heading home for the night when she finds Maggie crying on an El platform in just a summer dress, no coat. Maggie apologizes for ruining everything in her kids’ lives. Abby gives Maggie her coat and promises she doesn’t hate her. Looks like it’s back to the mom-drama cycle for Abby.

Thoughts: Maggie is, of course, played by Sally Field. Patterson is played by Alan Dale.

Dave’s lucky he keeps his job as long as he does, after his behavior in this episode. Remember how Romano joked that he had his fingers crossed when he took the Hippocratic Oath? Dave probably just mumbled it. Stop judging your patients and just make them better, dude.

Shouldn’t Frank be more shocked to realize he got his one-night stand pregnant? He acts almost like he was expecting this. The Frank we saw in “Under Control” would, at the very least, ask Chen how she was feeling.

Once again, Cleo demonstrates her willingness to help out wherever she’s needed, and without being asked. I like that she goes to talk to Jackie while Benton’s working on Jesse, since Benton can’t be the one to comfort her. And this is while Cleo and Benton are barely on speaking terms. She could have just let someone else deal with Jackie. Instead, she sucked it up and showed Jackie some genuine compassion.


  1. Lolabossanova said,

    This was a great episode. Sally Field acted her butt off.

  2. Nick Rivers said,

    This is an episode I’ve been dreading and as soon as I heard “gunshot wound to the chest” my heart started racing. I feel like they dealt with this short storyline really well and naturally the actress who plays Jackie did a phenomenal job. I just loved her character. Watching Benton pour everything he had into that kid was devastating. I appreciated the fact that even Romano knew not to intrude in that moment and everyone in the room was just on tenterhooks as they all knew it was a lost cause but that Benton had to try anyway. I think Elizabeth is the only surgeon besides himself that he would have trusted with his nephew’s life, but he also knew Mark was the most skilled doctor there and if they couldn’t save him, nobody could.

    Malucci actually facing some physical consequences for his habitually insensitive bedside manner in the trauma rooms was cathartic. I think we all (well, maybe not you) have been waiting for someone to beat the shit out of him for being such a heartless dick to unconscious patients over the seasons. Nobody can argue that he wasn’t warned about it before. When Peter Benton tells you to get away from him, you get away from him!

    Watching Sally Field in this episode was a revelation. I think on my first watch of the episode during its first run, I was distracted by how obnoxious the Maggie character was, but I’d also not had any experience with anyone who was bipolar at that age. Twentysomething years later have given me a greater appreciation for not only how accurate the swings are but also how good Sally was at portraying it.

    Cleo and Jackie was a nice scene especially since Jackie seemed a little cool on Cleo beforehand. Cleo was great with her though I was a little surprised she didn’t take her to see Jesse… or that Jackie didn’t go looking for him like so many other family members do when their loved ones are back in the trauma rooms. Then again the poor kid’s chest was wide open and blood was everywhere so she would have gone into shock. It seemed a little out of character for Jackie not to be demanding to see Peter as soon as Jesse was brought in, though. She was more docile than I would have expected under the circumstances, and we all know Jackie and her brother have a lot more in common than they’d admit. Also, what a bummer that they couldn’t get Walt for this episode. I know Ving Rhames’ movie career was really taking off at this point but dang that would have been powerful to have him there.

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