January 12, 2021

ER 7.19, Sailing Away: The Rescue Mission

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:59 pm by Jenn

No one’s hair looks that good after hours in a convertible

Summary: The screen lets us know it’s Friday as Carter and Rena go by County to pick something up. Rena has her dog Norman with her, and the dog takes an immediate liking to Abby (and vice versa). Abby recognizes a car in the ambulance bay as Richard’s. She tells Randi to call security to tow the car, then rushes to break up the conversation her ex-husband is having with her boyfriend.

After Luka excuses himself, Richard tells Abby that Maggie has checked into a motel in Oklahoma and has been there for three weeks. Some guy she was with left, and she doesn’t have the money to continue paying for the room, so the manager found Abby’s last known phone number and called it. Since it’s not clear if Maggie is answering the door when the manager goes by, Abby doesn’t know if she’s still alive.

Luka treats a sorority pledge who got hurt while chasing a greased pig during Greek Week. Yes, alcohol was involved. Abby has called the motel in Oklahoma, and the manager confirmed that Maggie’s still there. Also, she owes him $800. Abby doesn’t have that, so Luka offers to wire the money. Abby, however, wants to go out there.

Luka urges her to wait and let a doctor handle everything; Abby can go once Maggie’s back on her medication. Abby would rather bring her to Chicago and have her committed there. Luka doesn’t get why Abby is so willing to help her mother after the way Maggie always treats her. Abby knows Maggie only acts the way she does because of her illness.

Instead of going on a honeymoon, Mark and Elizabeth are at home, getting ready for the baby. He’s started baby-proofing, even though that obviously won’t be necessary for a while. Back at County, Carter comes across Abby trying to get a flight to Oklahoma. She tells him what’s going on as Norman tries to snack on medical waste. Carter and Rena came in to get basketball tickets, but now Carter’s mind is on something else. He calls his travel agent and books two one-way tickets to Tulsa (Maggie won’t fly, so Abby will have to drive back to Chicago).

Mark makes a mobile in his garage, singing along to Styx’s “Come Sail Away” so we can get our episode title. The music is too loud for him to hear Elizabeth calling for him, so she pages him and tells him she thinks she’s in labor. Luka is treating another sorority pledge/victim of greased-pig wrestling. Abby calls him away to tell him she’s flying out to Tulsa that night…with Carter.

Carter explains the same thing to Rena, and we go back and forth between the two conversations. Luka argues that Maggie needs to be hospitalized right away, not go on a road trip with Abby and Carter. Abby doesn’t want Luka to make the decision for her. Rena’s annoyed that Carter’s going to miss the basketball game to help a friend who could get the same help from her boyfriend.

Abby tells Luka that she’s used to this and doesn’t want a lecture from him. Norman barks at Carter and Rena’s fighting, and Carter yells at him to shut up. Hey! You shut up! The arguments end when Luka tells Abby not to put herself in a position to get hurt again, and she replies that he’d be the expert on that. Luka and Rena both give in and tell their significant others to just go. Meanwhile, Mark brings Elizabeth to the hospital, where they get congratulations and encouragement from some co-workers. After some time passes, they leave again – the labor wasn’t real.

Saturday: Abby and Carter have rented a convertible in Oklahoma, because why not rescue your mother from her mental-health crisis in style? On the way to the motel, Carter asks why Maggie doesn’t like to fly. Abby explains that she decided to take Abby and her brother Eric to Disneyland when they were younger, but when they were flying over Nevada, Maggie tried to open the emergency doors; she thought they were flying over a nuclear test site. So I think it’s less that Maggie doesn’t want to fly and more that Abby doesn’t want her to.

Abby and Carter arrive at the motel, and Abby says that after 30 years, she still wonders what makes Maggie act the way she does. The manager tells them that Maggie came in with a guy who left after prepaying for a week. The manager tried talking to Maggie, but she didn’t respond. She doesn’t come to the door when Carter knocks, so the manager opens the door for them. Maggie’s inside, looking like…well, like she’s been holed up in a motel for three weeks.

Abby cleans her up while Carter gets a call from Luka, who’s just checking in. A couple of motel guests ask Carter if he’s related to Maggie. I don’t know what the point of that was. Carter offers to get some food from a nearby diner, leaving Abby to bathe her mother like a child. It seems like Abby’s used to doing this alone and doesn’t appreciate having Carter ask her if she’s okay. She just wants to get this done and leave.

Now frat brothers are coming into County after suffering Greek Week-related injuries. The staff tends to one who jumped off a roof. In Oklahoma, Carter brings food back to the motel room, which Abby’s trying to clean up. He tells her he gave the manager extra money for the mess, so she doesn’t need to worry about it. Abby tries to get Maggie to eat, but when Maggie refuses, Abby says it’s time to leave. Maggie insists on staying, but Abby tells her she won’t win this fight. Carter ends things before they can escalate by just picking Maggie up and carrying her to the car.

A patient named Ferris is stationed in an ER hallway, calling out for someone to take him to the bathroom. No one feels like it, which is dumb, because if he doesn’t get to a bathroom, they’ll just have to clean him up. Ferris recognizes Benton as one of his students from his middle school chemistry class. Fun fact: Benton once filled a condom from a Bunsen burner and caused an explosion. Benton! What did Mae think of that? Ferris tells Benton that he had a stroke a month ago but has been doing pretty well since then. A few days ago he started bleeding after getting his teeth cleaned. Benton offers to look at his chart.

Abby apologizes to Carter for getting him involved in her family drama. Yeah, he inserted himself in the drama. Don’t apologize. Carter asks if things are always like this. Abby says her perspective has changed over the years. At least this is better than the two times Maggie attempted suicide. Abby turns up the radio so she doesn’t have to continue the conversation.

A frat pledge named Adam needs treatment after cutting his hand on a beer bottle. He was locked in a car trunk and panicked when the frat brothers didn’t let him out. He should have known they would come back; they did last time. Adam didn’t make it through the process last time, so he’s trying again. Benton clearly wants to tell this kid how dumb he is, but he knows he shouldn’t.

Mark and Elizabeth return to the hospital, thinking she’s in labor again. The road-trippers stop in a diner, and Carter tries to strike up a conversation with Maggie. She won’t tell Abby or Carter how she wound up in Oklahoma. She also won’t take the bipolar medication Abby has brought her. She says Abby can’t make her take it, but Abby wants her to choose to take it. Maggie goes to use the bathroom, and Abby follows her to keep an eye on her (and smoke a cigarette).

In a hotel that night, Carter and Abby have phone conversations with Rena and Luka about when they’ll be back in Chicago. Maggie is on the balcony, watching a family by the pool. She likes to watch people who go about their normal everyday lives, and think about how lucky they are not to have her problems. Abby says Maggie can have an ordinary life, too, if she just takes her medication. Maggie has tried being ordinary but it didn’t last. She’s not like everyone else. She asks Abby why she came, and Abby says it’s because Maggie needed her. “There’s no one here to save,” Maggie replies.

Sunday: Maggie naps in the backseat of the convertible as Abby offers to talk to Rena about the whole situation. She teases that Carter has to expect some drama when dating a teenager. He reveals that Rena broke up with him – she thinks he has a crush on Abby. Carter doesn’t seem too disappointed, and also doesn’t do much to deny that Rena’s right about his feelings for Abby.

Elizabeth’s second round of labor was real, and Mark is carrying their new baby, Ella, around the hospital. Dave brings him celebratory cigars and asks to hold her, but Mark shuts him down. Dave tells Mark he owes $300 for the cigars, but I hope they were cheaper than that and Dave asked for extra money because Mark was mean to him. Elizabeth gives breastfeeding a shot, nervous about it along with everything that comes with motherhood. Mark knows she’ll be able to handle it all.

The road-trippers stop at a gas station, where a mechanic notices that one of the car’s tires is leaking air. He says it’s from a nail and offers to fix it for $15. Abby accuses him of puncturing the tire himself. She thinks he believes she doesn’t know anything about cars because she’s a woman. When Carter joins the conversation, the mechanic lowers his price to $10. Carter tells him to fix the tire before they call the police. The mechanic goes even lower, to $5.

While Carter and Abby were distracted, Maggie got out of the car and is now walking across a few lanes of busy traffic. When Abby stops her, Maggie says she just wanted to get some food from a convenience store. Abby goes with her and gives in when Maggie wants junk food instead of something healthy. Abby also buys more cigarettes, and Maggie tells her to take better care of herself. Abby’s face: “Don’t mention the irony. Don’t mention the irony.” When Abby and the cashier aren’t looking, Maggie pockets something.

Abby and Carter wait for Maggie outside the bathroom while the mechanic fixes their tire. Carter thinks Maggie seems better today, though Abby notes that she couldn’t be worse. Carter has negotiated the mechanic down to $3, as if money is Carter’s biggest priority right now. Maggie thanks Abby for coming to get her, sounding sincere.

Benton has arranged for a new nursing-home facility for Ferris, who I guess is difficult because no one has wanted to take him. Benton is going to go see him every other day to give him blood tests. Cleo’s impressed that Benton is going out of his way for a patient. He explains that the exploding-condom trick could have gotten him expelled, but Ferris just gave him a bunch of detentions instead. He had Benton prep his experiments, which changed Benton’s view on school and science.

Abby and Carter arrive in Chicago that night, now in good moods, thanks to a revelation that Carter had a perm in middle school…twice. Unfortunately, he thinks the pictures have all been destroyed. Carter drops Abby and Maggie off at Abby’s place, and Abby thanks him for coming on the rescue mission with her. When they try to wake Maggie, she’s unresponsive. Abby guesses that she took something and tells Carter to call 911, but he figures it’s faster to drive to the hospital.

Luka gets advance notice, so he’s ready when Maggie arrives at County. He and Carter tend to her together as Haleh finds the package of sleeping pills Maggie took. Luka is worried about Abby being in the trauma room, but she says she’s okay. As Adam is brought in after a shot contest, Carter and Luka continue trying to stabilize Maggie. She begins seizing, which is when Abby gets emotional for the first time.

Next door, Benton questions one of the brothers from the frat Adam was pledging. He had 35 to 40 tequila shots in a row and has a blood-alcohol content of .529. Freaking A – half of his blood is alcohol?? Benton and Cleo have spent 40 minutes trying to save him, but there’s nothing they can do. Benton tells the frat brother to clean up Adam, since they wrote stuff on him in marker. The frat brother tries to argue that Adam drank voluntarily, but Benton says that they were supposed to look out for him.

Luka wants Maggie, who’s still unconscious, to be placed on a psych hold, but Carter doesn’t see the point right now, since she can’t talk to anyone. Abby knows it could be a moot point anyway, since Maggie might not wake up. William White comes by the hospital to let Benton know that he was accepted into med school. He appreciates Benton’s encouragement and help. Benton tells him to just work hard.

Maggie’s awake now and her vitals are normal, so Luka has allowed Legaspi to go see her. Abby wishes she’d listened to Luka about having Maggie committed in Oklahoma. Luka says she’ll be okay, but Abby replies that Maggie will never be okay.

Thoughts: Laura Innes directed this episode.

It’s pretty presumptuous of Carter to think Abby would want his help, but it’s also in line with his character. He wouldn’t expect anyone to not want him around.

We didn’t see Mark and Elizabeth’s wedding, we don’t see the baby’s birth – why are the major parts of their lives off-screen this season but we see more than enough next season?

I would pay good money to see a picture of a young Carter with a perm.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I thought it was pretty stand-up of Richard Lockhart to come tell Abby what was going on with her mother. He didn’t have to, and god knows Abby probably wouldn’t have taken any of his calls (I think he’d tried calling?). And of course it makes Luka look like even more of a saint to be sitting and chatting with him. Why should he hate the guy without reason right off the bat? Somehow I think Carter would have been cold with him just because he’s Abby’s ex, but Luka seems beyond that sort of petty bullshit.

    I don’t like how the writers made Luka seem insensitive about Maggie’s problems and Carter overly sensitive to them. That doesn’t seem fair. I know it serves the narrative they’re driving at, but it still doesn’t seem right.

    Speaking of which, Rena’s right on the money with all this; she’s no dummy. She knows Carter wouldn’t do this for a female colleague unless he had an interest in them. I mean, no guy would, let’s be real. And Abby letting him take her out there instead of Luka is disrespectful to Luka, but I guess since Luka didn’t offer to go and she’s pissy at him anyway, she’ll take whatever offer she can get. Why is charity from Carter acceptable but genuine caring help from her boyfriend not tolerated? UGH.

    I didn’t get Abby’s retort to Luka before she left where he’s telling her not to put herself in a position to get hurt again and she’s all “You’d be the expert on that” — was she just supposed to be acting snotty or was she implying something there? It was a dig but I didn’t understand its implication, if an implication even existed. He’s the expert on getting hurt by… what? Being in a relationship with Abby? Experiencing significant traumatic devastating loss? UGH x 2.

    I’m a little surprised Abby didn’t decide to go into psychiatry considering all she’s been through with Maggie, but maybe that would’ve been too much of the same thing everywhere she turned.

    I liked the inclusion of someone from Benton’s past. It’s nice to see him show a little humanity once in awhile.

    Carter’s tacit admission of his crush on Abby (via the Rena breakup news) shouldn’t have come as any surprise to Abby. Her playing dumb was stupid and beneath her. She knows a guy wouldn’t go to all these lengths for her if there weren’t deeper feelings involved — come on now. No offense to all the nice dudes/dudettes out there, but nobody goes to those lengths for someone else unless they’re family, extremely close friends, or romantic feelings are involved.

    Thank you to the writers for not showing us hours of Elizabeth in labor! I actually was glad they skipped right over that. I didn’t need to see any of it.

    Maggie’s subdued excitement over pocketing the sleeping pills seemed pretty realistic for someone who’s contemplating suicide. Just a hunch. But how in the HELL did she manage to pull through that suicide attempt with no lasting effects? I mean, not even any organ failure? Unrealistic!


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