October 27, 2020

ER 7.8, The Dance We Do: The End of the Cycle

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:57 pm by Jenn

Once your health problems get to this stage, you really need to start telling people what’s going on

Summary: Abby’s asleep – drink! She’s in Luka’s hotel room, so that’s progressed, though their morning conversation isn’t very warm or romantic. Abby heads home, where Maggie’s been keeping busy by sewing clothes. She has a job interview and spent the money Abby gave her for bus fare, so she’s obviously planning to stay in Chicago. Maggie approves of Abby and Luka’s relationship but thinks Luka’s playing hard to get. She’s going to make Abby a dress that will grab his attention.

Abby brushes off Maggie’s suggestion of having breakfast together so she can take a shower and get ready for work. In the bathroom, she counts Maggie’s pills to make sure she’s taking her medication. Maggie catches her and is hurt that Abby doesn’t believe she’s trying to get better. Abby asks her to submit to a blood test at the hospital to make sure she’s both taking her meds and not taking anything she shouldn’t be. Maggie agrees.

Mark and Elizabeth discuss her malpractice lawsuit on an El train; he’s on his way to work and she’s going to her deposition. She admits that she doesn’t think she checked for a cerebrospinal fluid leak before finishing up Patterson’s procedure, and she was the only one who could have made the error Patterson alleges she made.

Mark notes that Patterson knew the risks of the procedure, and there’s no proof that Elizabeth was negligent. Just because Patterson wants someone to blame doesn’t mean Elizabeth is in the wrong. P.S. She thinks he has a bandage on his head (obviously related to his brain tumor) because he ran into a street sign.

Abby prepares to draw Maggie’s blood at County as Maggie chatters about not wanting to show up to her job interview with a bandage on her arm. She warns that Abby will feel foolish when the test shows that Maggie’s taking her meds. Dave ducks into the room, obviously hiding from someone, and Maggie pretends she’s there to donate blood. Abby gives in and lets her go to her interview without the blood test.

The reason Dave’s hiding is a woman named Stephanie who’s looking for him. Cleo tells Chuny and Randi that another woman was there looking for him yesterday. Maggie runs into the ER, yelling that a girl was just thrown from a car outside. It’s Kynesha, and she’s been beaten up.

Elizabeth and her lawyer, Price, meet up with Patterson’s lawyer, Resnick, who starts off on the wrong foot by commenting that Elizabeth is beautiful. Someone introduce him to Romano; they’d be best friends. Resnick talks casually about a car accident he passed that morning while Elizabeth prepares for the deposition that could lead to her entire life being changed.

Cleo and Dave examine Kynesha, suspecting that she was raped. Benton comes for a surgical consult, but Cleo sends him away, telling him that the patient was Jesse’s girlfriend. Benton starts to leave, then goes into the trauma room to do his job. His bedside manner is lacking, but he doesn’t bring up their connection.

At County, Mark gets the results of the biopsy his bandage is covering the site of. He has a tumor called a GBM (glioblastoma multiforme), and his survival with treatment is only about six to nine months. Without treatment, he’ll be dead within eight weeks. The doctor says the tumor is inoperable since it’s already invaded the language areas of Mark’s brain (which explains why he had trouble speaking). Mark is looking at the loss of his ability to communicate and interact with the world around him.

Having been told that he might not be alive in a year doesn’t stop Mark from starting his next shift in the ER. He immediately makes an error that Carter corrects. Oh, yeah, sign me up for emergency treatment from this guy. Carter needs his next scheduled drug test, so he says he’ll ask Abby to draw his blood. Cleo, Benton, and Abby examine Kynesha to see if she was sexually assaulted, though she insists that she was only beaten up. She was jumped out as part of exiting a gang.

Things get tense at Elizabeth’s deposition as Resnick questions her decision not to operate on Patterson immediately. She notes that she had to help treat Jesse first. Resnick knows that Elizabeth dated Benton, so did she prioritize her ex’s nephew over another patient? Price tries to keep Elizabeth from having to answer that. Resnick asks if Elizabeth was so upset over Jesse’s death that she was distracted when she operated on Patterson.

Carter cracks jokes during his blood test, but Abby and Mark aren’t amused. Also, way to take the terms of your employment seriously. Chuny tells Abby that paramedics are looking for her; it has something to do with Maggie. Cleo and Benton talk to a police officer who can’t do much for Kynesha since she won’t reveal the names of the people who assaulted her. She does want to talk to Benton, though.

She tells him she can’t rat out her attackers without putting herself at risk. Benton asks if the attackers are the same people who killed Jesse. He wasn’t in a gang, but he was in the neighborhood where he was shot because of Kynesha. She tells him that Jesse tried to get her to leave the gang, and the others killed him to stop that from happening. They fought, and Kynesha was walking away when Jesse was shot. She saw his shooter but is hesitant to name him. Benton gently pushes her to do it.

Abby heads to the store where Maggie was supposed to have her interview; instead, she’s been accused of shoplifting. She ran into a glass door while leaving, which is why the paramedics got involved. Maggie is clearly manic, and Abby tries to convince a store clerk that her bipolar disorder caused her to act impulsively. The clerk says that Maggie walked in demanding a job. Abby promises to pay for the door and keep Maggie from ever returning to the store.

Mark tells Carter that his blood test shows he’s not taking the medication that blocks the effects of narcotics, which he agreed to take as part of his terms of employment. Carter claims that his prescription ran out and he hasn’t had time to refill it. Dude, you work in a hospital. There’s a pharmacy right there. Mark reminds Carter that he’s not the only one with something at stake here. County is giving him a second chance that most addicts don’t get.

Carter says this doesn’t feel like a fresh start. He’s done everything asked of him without complaining. (Uh, since when?) The restrictions placed on him are “arbitrary” and “arcane.” He keeps talking but I can’t hear him over the sound of my eyes rolling. Mark also doesn’t hear him, since he’s busy having a seizure. Well, that’s one way to end an uncomfortable conversation. Once Mark is stable and conscious again, Carter tells him he needs a head CT. Mark refuses, saying he just needs to find out how much Dilantin (an anti-seizure medication) he’s taken. He heads right back to work.

Resnick continues grilling Elizabeth on Patterson’s procedure – did she choose endoscopic surgery because it was faster and fit her schedule better? Elizabeth insists that her schedule had nothing to do with the choice. The procedure takes about an hour, but Resnick notes that she finished it in 43 minutes. The 87 times Elizabeth did the procedure before that, her fastest time was 54 minutes. Elizabeth says she doesn’t time herself; it’s not a race.

So then, Resnick asks, why did a nurse tell her that they were approaching 6:00? Elizabeth says she wanted to stay on schedule because she had somewhere to be (her weekend getaway with Mark). She doesn’t like Resnick’s inference that she rushed Patterson’s procedure so she could go on a personal trip. Price hurries to call a break before Elizabeth has to confirm this.

Abby brings Maggie back to County as she jabbers about the store clerk and worries that Abby’s mad. Luka takes in the scene as Abby takes a break in an empty trauma room. Benton calls the police back to talk to Kynesha, which just upsets her. I guess she thought he would leave her out of things and handle the police himself.

Carter gets his prescription refilled, but Mark trusts him enough to take the medication without a witness. He thanks Carter for helping him after his seizure. Carter invites him to talk about anything Mark might be hiding, noting that it’s covered by doctor/patient confidentiality. Mark reveals that he has an inoperable GBM and will probably have to leave his job. Carter urges him to look into experimental treatments, but Mark seems ready to admit defeat already. He asks Carter to try to squash rumors about him before he can tell Elizabeth what’s going on.

Price gives Elizabeth a lesson in answering yes/no questions with only “yes” or “no” when possible. The best-care scenario here is a black mark on Elizabeth’s record. The worst case is the loss of her license. The point of the deposition is for Resnick to gather information he can use against Elizabeth, so Elizabeth needs to give him as little as possible. Elizabeth thinks that means hiding the truth.

Luka stitches up a cut on Maggie’s hand as she coos over how masculine and awesome he is. Please inject this woman with lithium immediately. I can’t listen to her anymore. Abby apologizes on her behalf, which Maggie doesn’t appreciate. She thinks Abby’s always been embarrassed by her. She gets more and more agitated until Abby threatens to give her Haldol. Maggie tries to run away, but Luka grabs her and drags her back to an exam room. Gee, I wonder why Abby’s always embarrassed by Maggie? Maggie screams at Abby, who calmly helps Luka and Carter restrain her.

Elizabeth returns to the deposition after a break and is stunned to see Patterson there. As the complainant, he’s allowed to be present, so Elizabeth will need to work harder to retain her composure. Legaspi comes to the ER to examine Maggie and tells Abby that she doesn’t meet the criteria for a psych hold. Carter reports that her blood-alcohol level is .092, which explains her mania. Abby says she doesn’t care if Maggie’s admitted, but Legaspi says she’ll do it anyway. Abby declines to talk to her mother, who’s now crying and wants to apologize for her behavior.

Benton discharges Kynesha, telling her he had to do something to try to get justice for Jesse. Kynesha responds with her middle finger. Benton tells Cleo that he thinks Kynesha’s testimony will help the police find Jesse’s killers. He apologizes for their falling-out, saying she’s the only thing in his life that makes sense right now. Cleo replies that she’ll think his apology over while they have dinner together.

Elizabeth answers questions about the error in Patterson’s procedure, which she says wasn’t evident at the time. She dances around Resnick’s very clear questions, trying not to answer straight out that she didn’t do a thorough inspection for leaks before she finished the procedure. Then, when he asks her point blank if she did an inspection, she says yes.

Carter checks on Abby, letting her know that Maggie has run off. Abby figured that would happen, since it always does. It’s the end of Abby and Maggie’s “cycle.” Maggie will disappear for a few months, and then Abby will have to deal with her again when she turns up. Abby knew from the beginning of Maggie’s visit that things would end like this – it’s “the dance we do.” She heads off with Luka for some distraction sex, I imagine.

Benton takes Cleo to Jackie’s house, but she doesn’t want to intrude on the family when Benton tells them about the developments in Jesse’s case. Kynesha stops him outside the house and frantically tells him that Jesse’s killers are already being arrested. She can’t go home; everyone will know she snitched. Benton agrees to take her somewhere safe.

Elizabeth gets home from her deposition and confesses to Mark that she lied. Actually, Elizabeth, we call that perjury. She rushed the procedure and didn’t do a thorough inspection because she wanted to leave for the weekend. Now Patterson will never walk again. Elizabeth couldn’t admit her mistake; she lied in front of God to save herself. Mark says God owes them one and Elizabeth is allowed to be selfish about this. Then he tells her what he’s been hiding about his health. Meanwhile, Abby ends the day the same way she started it, in Luka’s bed. While he sleeps, she goes to the bathroom and turns on the water to hide the sound of her crying.

Thoughts: Resnick is played by Željko Ivanek.

I wonder what would happen if Elizabeth’s case went to court and Price just stood up and said, “Your Honor, opposing counsel hit on  my client within five seconds of meeting her. I move to dismiss the case.” I mean, it’s worth a shot. At the very least, Resnick would probably be dismissed and they would have more time to prepare while Patterson found a new lawyer.

Elizabeth’s attitude at the deposition isn’t going to endear her to a judge or jury. Acting defensive and like your time is too valuable to be there just makes you look guilty.

Does Mark’s insistence on working a shift knowing his communication faculties are declining put him on the same level as Lawrence continuing to work after being suspected of having dementia? Discuss.

Carter’s sense of entitlement is infuriating. Honey, the hospital doesn’t owe you anything. You’re lucky they didn’t fire you for stealing drugs and injecting yourself while on duty. I need Benton to knock him down a few pegs.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    Damn, Maggie’s a really good seamstress. That outfit was pretty nice.

    Okay, so ‘Stephanie’ is looking for Malucci, and another woman the day before, then Cleo jokes about it, and Randi’s all “Don’t knock it til you tried it!” so by extrapolation I deduce Malucci and Randi knocked boots? That would be one of the least surprising things on the show though it seems like she would have been way too irritated by him long beforehand to even want a quick fling. Maybe they were drunk and he’s more tolerable that way.

    I appreciated that Benton actually treated Kynesha instead of throwing insults at her and storming out. She knew who he was, and let him treat her, and he did his job and everything seemed chilly but professional. Even all these years later though I’m at a loss for how one would protect this girl from getting killed by the gang she’s trying to leave, especially once she fessed up which one killed Jesse. I don’t remember how this plays out but if I were Benton I’d give her a few hundred bucks and send her to Milwaukee or Minneapolis to try to start fresh, even though she’s only what, like 14 or 15? Ugh. There isn’t any kind of witness protection program for trying to get out of a gang that I’m aware of. Poor kid is dead if she stays in Chicago.

    I get that Elizabeth’s worked up about the case and feeling guilty over the outcome but it’s a little surprising how easily rattled she is by this lawyer when she can handle extreme crisis situations with aplomb. All she had to do was stick to a mantra of “Triage requires the most critical patients to be attended to first and I was the only surgeon available in the ER at that moment” and “I don’t rush surgeries for personal reasons” and “I handle crisis situations every day and each one bothers me but I am always able to leave that outside the surgical suite/don’t let it interfere with the surgery at hand” and oh why not bring up the fact that Patterson CHOSE that type of surgery because he didn’t want the more invasive kind?!

    Carter’s reaction when Mark tells him his diagnosis was well done, and again I am so glad they didn’t belabor this in dribs and drabs like most soap opera-type shows over the course of the entire season. The shock of seeing his mentor, more a mentor than Benton, because Carter chose emergency medicine over surgery, forced to abandon his true calling as he faces certain death… damn. I’d forgotten the relationship they had and all that Carter learned from Mark. As I rewatch this story arc, having kind of glossed over it the first time but now with the hindsight of like 20+ years of work experience, seeing how quickly things shift for Mark was just devastating. I know things can turn on a dime for everybody but man this season is just dejecting as hell on all fronts.

    Maggie’s shocking tirade in the ER was definitely Emmy-worthy. Watching her throughout this episode was a masterclass in bipolar behavior. Just stunning.`

    I think Mark went back to work because he didn’t know what else to do and knew it would be the last time, or maybe didn’t want to face the fact that it would be his last time working. Or maybe he didn’t really realize it until the seizure itself. It’s very akin to Lawrence continuing to work after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. However, he only did the one shift, whereas Lawrence worked for several weeks, it seems, so I would say that’s worse. Mark is still in complete shock; Lawrence has had a little time to come to terms with his diagnosis though he’s definitely in denial. I’d say Lawrence’s situation is worse though Mark’s may be more immediately dangerous only because it’s so unpredictable. He’s lucky he didn’t seize over a critical patient or something.


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