December 8, 2020

ER 7.14, A Walk in the Woods: Snow Doubt

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

Here comes the brooding

Summary: It’s 5:45 in the morning and Benton wants Cleo to wake up and see the snow outside. Also, he wants to have sex. Mark and Elizabeth are also awake early, since the baby has started kicking. Elizabeth keeps thinking about the movie Alien. Mark calls the baby Amanda, which is an…interesting choice. His choice for a boy is Matthew, after his grandfather. Not David, after his father? They mention that this is the last day, but don’t specify what that means.

Weaver has spent the night at Legaspi’s again, and Legaspi is ready to give her closet space for some of her things. That was quick. Luka and Abby are in bed together (is everyone in Chicago awake this early?), and she asks him what he’s thinking about. Luka’s thinking about Bishop Stewart, which Abby notes is a strange topic to have in mind while you’re having sex. She suddenly asks his wife’s name. Speaking of strange topics to have in mind while you’re having sex…

A little later in the morning, everyone’s at work, doing various things like treating patients and having big meetings to discuss whether Mark should be working in the ER. Chen returns from her eight weeks of maternity leave and jumps right back into work. She and Abby tend to a preschooler named Zack who had a seizure at school. Abby breaks off to help one of Stewart’s priests get him out of his car. She rejoins Chen and suggests that they give Zack a spinal tap. Chen doesn’t think they’ve reached that point yet.

Benton has set up shop in a small office/supply room with a blinking light so he can fulfill his new duties as the director of diversity. He’ll be interviewing med-school applicants. Romano asks him to deal with an applicant named William who has come to County to complain about not being asked back for an interview. Back in the ER, Zack hasn’t regained consciousness, and Abby insists that they give him a spinal tap. Chen finally agrees and gets Carter to back up her decision (I think because they don’t have parental consent yet).

Luka examines Stewart, who may have pneumonia. His lupus could lead to complications, but pneumonia could also cause problems with his lupus. Luka wonders why he came to the hospital instead of calling his own doctor. Stewart just says he prefers Luka’s care. Chen does Zack’s spinal tap, which is clear, but Carter notices a rash developing on his face. He realizes that Zack might have measles. Chen doubts that, since no one gets measles anymore. When Zack’s mother, Mrs. Woodman, arrives, she reports that her kids haven’t been vaccinated.

We’ve finally found someone Frank gives the proper amount of respect to: Elizabeth. She yells at him about missing films and he calls her “ma’am.” Somewhere, Weaver is jealous. It turns out the “last day” Mark and Elizabeth were talking about was his last day of radiation treatment. It ended anticlimactically. Dave congratulates him and asks if he got to keep the tumor after it was removed. Mark says he didn’t really want to keep it. A doctor named Wilson introduces himself to Mark and reveals that he’s been asked to evaluate his competency. Fun day!

Carter and Chen bring Cleo into Zack’s case, and she tells them to do what we’ve all become familiar with these past few months: contact tracing. They’ve put Zack in a room with a special ventilation system so he doesn’t get anyone else sick. Carter tells the teacher who came in with Zack that she needs to inform the school about his condition so all the other kids can get tested. Mrs. W.’s husband is bringing in their daughter to get tested.

Mrs. W. says she’s not irresponsible; she just believed anti-vaccine literature over doctors’ expertise. Zack starts to decline, so Carter goes back to help Chen and Abby stabilize him. They have to intubate him so he can breathe. Chen wants to to the intubation, but Carter doesn’t think she should do it on her first day back.

The priest, Joe, tells Luka that Stewart was on his way to the ordination of a man who was in Stewart’s parish as a child. Luka’s annoyed that Stewart thinks he’s well enough to leave the hospital right now. Stewart says he’ll come back in a few hours, after he performs the ordination. Luka tells him he won’t live that long if he leaves the hospital. Stewart tells him it’s in God’s hands. “God could give a damn,” Luka replies. Stewart still plans to leave.

Weaver runs into Legaspi, who’s chatting with a friend named Christy. Christy has heard all about Weaver and wants to get to know her. Legaspi suggests that they have dinner, but Weaver is hesitant. Dave comes by as Legaspi and Christy are leaving and asks Weaver if Christy is Legaspi’s girlfriend; he’s heard that Legaspi is gay. Weaver lies that she doesn’t know.

Mark confronts Weaver for having his competency evaluated. Wilson is going to interview a bunch of staff members, and he could end up pulling Mark’s license. Weaver tells him he’s being melodramatic, as if it’s bad for him to be so concerned about losing his job. Then again, she’s justified in being concerned since his behavior has changed. Mark says he wouldn’t have come back to work if he couldn’t do the job. Weaver tells him she’s not the only person who’s been concerned. This is about patient safety.

Cleo complains to Carter that rich people think only poor kids need to be immunized. If everyone stops getting vaccinations, we’ll see a resurgence of diseases like measles and polio, and suddenly the rich people will be clamoring for vaccines. Or they’ll just deny that anything bad can ever happen to their children and/or claim that the cure is worse than the disease and/or be more afraid of their children developing autism (which has not been definitively linked to any vaccine, no matter what Jenny McCarthy says) than dying of a preventable disease. Or maybe I’m editorializing. Carter and Cleo learn that no one told the paramedics who brought Zack in about his measles, so they’re still using their ambulance.

Luka broodily watches from a window as Joe takes Stewart to the ordination. Benton goes to the university’s records room and looks up William’s application. The employee he talks to (who’s Black) recognizes him as the new director of diversity and mentions that her son wouldn’t have his job with Morgan Stanley without affirmative action. Benton asks her for files from past applicants who were accepted, so he can compare them to William’s file. He also takes a look at his own application.

Abby finds Luka brooding, this time outside, and encourages him to take Stewart oxygen and check on him at the ordination. Luka is willing to let him handle his condition himself, since Stewart knew what he was doing. Cleo brings Benton lunch and he tells her about his investigation. He found his file with three others marked AA – affirmative action. His grades and MCAT scores were good, but not compared to other applicants that year. William’s grades and scores are even better than Benton’s, and he didn’t get an interview.

Luka has taken Abby’s advice after all and is at the church where the ordination is taking place. Stewart is in bad shape and probably wouldn’t make it through the service, no matter how badly he wants to. He knows he’s dying, but he wants to stay. He tells Luka about the night he decided to become a priest, after years of thinking about it. He went for a walk in the snowy woods behind his father’s house and got lost. Stewart was scared, but when he looked up at the falling snow, he felt God’s presence. It was “like pouring wine into an empty glass.”

Now, though, he’s worried that he wasted his life. He may not have accomplished everything God wanted him to. Stewart admits that he’s afraid of dying. Luka tells him he needs to go back to the hospital. Stewart starts reciting Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd…”), and when Joe comes to get him, Stewart says that he needs to skip the processional.

Luka accompanies him into the sanctuary as Stewart asks when he abandoned his faith. When people have a strong passion for their religion, that’s God. When they feel lost, that’s their own humanity. We put up barriers and let our pain and egos distance us from God, but He’s always there. Stewart takes his place at the front of the sanctuary, looking like there’s nothing wrong with him.

Benton, Romano, and Coburn are on the committee conducting med-school interviews. They meet with a string of applicants who all have different goals and backgrounds, but one reason for wanting to be doctors: They want to help people. The doctors don’t seem especially impressed by any of the applicants, but then again, I’m not sure any of the three of them have ever been impressed by anyone.

Elizabeth yells at Weaver for having Mark evaluated for problems that are easily explained by his tumor treatment. Weaver calmly tells her that she might not be objective in this situation. Elizabeth insists that Mark isn’t endangering anyone and calls Weaver a demigod. Legaspi looks on as Weaver says she’s just fulfilling her responsibilities. Elizabeth spits out that she hopes someday Weaver has a potentially fatal illness so Elizabeth can sit by and do nothing to help her.

Benton, Romano, and Coburn discuss the applicants, deciding who to recommend to the full committee. Benton wants to put William back in the running. His MCAT scores were only in the 91st percentile, but he had a high GPA and was class president. Romano and Coburn object, but Benton argues that MCAT scores don’t determine how well you’ll do in med school.

Romano reminds Benton that affirmative action is illegal. Benton notes that there were no Black or Latino candidates in the pool today. Romano says the admissions policy is color-blind, and if William didn’t make the cut, that’s too bad. Benton thinks they should give a second chance to applicants who don’t get the same opportunities as others. He insists that they interview William.

Luka watches the ordination ceremony from a dark corner as Carter goes to the ICU to check on Zack. He’s declining again and the code team is struggling to get his heart beating. They end up having to let him go. Back at the church, Luka has flashes of memory of the snowy funeral for his wife and children.

Weaver, Legaspi, and Christy have dinner with another friend, all lesbians. In fact, Christy and the other friend have both slept with Legaspi. Christy jokes that Legaspi probably brought a U-Haul on her second date with Weaver. (Apparently there’s a stereotype about lesbians moving fast in their relationships. Weaver doesn’t get it.) Weaver excuses herself early, telling Legaspi that she doesn’t belong with the group. She cares about Legaspi but doesn’t want to adopt the lesbian lifestyle.

Stewart collapses after the ordination, and Luka is unable to wake him up. Elizabeth meets Mark at home, where he tells her that Wilson has recommended him for formal testing. It’ll take five days and cover multiple areas. Luka takes Stewart back to County, then goes outside and looks up at the snow that’s still falling. He tells Abby that he couldn’t find the forest. She doesn’t know what he means. He tells her that Stewart is dying, but Abby thinks that with all the miracles they experience, one more could be coming.

Thoughts: Christy is played by Megan Follows.

I don’t fault Weaver for having Mark evaluated, but she should have told him ahead of time. This is a “do unto others” situation, and you know she would want to be informed if she were in his position.

Remember my last recap, where I said I wanted Mark to yell at anti-maskers? Now I want him to yell at anti-vaxxers.


  1. Reblogged this on Autism Candles Blog.

  2. Nick Rivers said,

    Carter was a little rough with Deb when she was trying to intubate Zack. I thought she was handling things pretty well and he was actually a little compromised because he was so pissed at the mother.

    I get why Mark is so angry but I think Weaver was right to seek an outside opinion. Maybe she should have talked to Anspaugh. I don’t know if there was a better way to handle this because Mark was so vehemently opposed to any sort of discussion about his clear behavioral changes. And Elizabeth, who used to be the voice of reason on some of this sort of thing until she started dating Mark, completely loses her shit and it’s aggravating as hell to see. I never realized it on my first watch of ER back in the day, but my opinion of Corday has plummeted from when she first started to now. I think Mark’s reaction would have been the same if she’d warned him in advance. Either way he would have been absolutely furious. But she also really needed to have her ducks in a row with a list of his lapses and bad judgment calls. She handled herself pretty well when he was yelling at her out in the main area but it was a terrible position for her to be in and I felt badly for her because it was a no-win situation. She had to do it. She could have blamed Romano though! Easy out there.

    That records clerk that Benton talks to in the records room is none other than Rebecca DeMornay from Seinfeld! Okay, the actress’ name is actually Sonya Eddy, but I always remember her small bit parts in Seinfeld (a charity worker who’s mad at Elaine for trying to donate muffin tops, and then a thrift store clerk who’s offended at George trying to donate a book he took into the bathroom with him). I did like how Cleo was nonplussed and almost amused (unless I’m remembering it wrong) that Peter was an affirmative action recruit. Maybe it seemed like she was ever so slightly amused based on the blowup they had on the subway back on Thanksgiving, when he got all pissed at her saying he didn’t need her to teach him how to be Black and insinuating even worse shit because she grew up in the suburbs with her mixed-race parents and somehow wouldn’t ‘understand’. I’m still so glad she banned him from her Thanksgiving dinner that night, though I wish she would have at least taken Reese with her so he could get a nice meal. I DIGRESS.

    I was so, so disappointed to see Anne Shirley being such a rabid asshole in this episode. I think Legaspi should have left the dinner with Weaver after Christy’s comment about how everyone at the table had slept with Legaspi. Why would you want to stay at a dinner with someone who would purposely embarrass/humiliate you like that in front of your new girlfriend?

    • Jenn said,

      Heh, Sonya Eddy has a recurring role on my soap. She plays a Haleh-like nurse.

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