January 19, 2021

ER 7.20, Fear of Commitment: Every Day Comes With Its Own Surprises

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:04 pm by Jenn

Weaver’s worst plot ever

Summary: Benton is at a nursing home to see Ferris, as he promised he would. He arrives just as Ferris appears to be having a heart attack. Earl and Walter are also residents there and are trying to be helpful, unlike the nurse on duty, who only does basic things like taking people’s blood pressure. The paramedics arrive, including Doris, and Benton gives them instructions for Ferris’ treatment. He rides in the ambulance with Ferris, promising he’ll be fine, even though he’s in congestive heart failure. The ambulance hits a man on a motorcycle, so now the paramedics have a second patient to transport.

Maggie is still in County’s psychiatric ward, but physically she seems fine, and psychologically she’s stable. Abby is sympathetic because she’s there on a 90-day hold, but Maggie understands it. She feels bad for putting Abby through everything she did. Benton hands the motorcyclist off to Dave, then checks on Luka, who’s taking care of Ferris. Benton returns to the motorcyclist but struggles to treat him since he smacked his hand against something when the ambulance crashed.

Legaspi stops by the ER and mentions to Abby that Maggie is on her way to the courthouse for a hearing. This is the first Abby’s hearing that Maggie is contesting her commitment. Luka has stabilized Ferris but can’t get him a bed yet. Benton promises to get things sorted out after he operates on the motorcyclist.

Abby complains to Luka that Maggie didn’t tell her about the hearing. She guesses that Maggie doesn’t want Abby to show up and testify that she should remain on the 90-day psych hold. Luka offers to go to the courthouse with Abby, but as always, she says she’s fine handling things on her own. Luka asks if she would prefer going with Carter. Low blow, but also…fair.

The staff has pitched in money to get Mark and Elizabeth a gift basket and video baby monitor. Dave objects to adding his own $50 just because that’s what the other (richer) doctors are giving. He then tries to pass the buck (…see what I did there?) on a patient he doesn’t want to have to take care of. Chen calls him on his crap and he asks if she’s PMSing. Of course, that just makes things worse.

In the OR, Benton is suturing the motorcyclist with his left hand, since he hurt his right hand in the crash. Romano busts him and takes over, noting that if anything goes wrong, Benton will be on the hook for malpractice. As Benton leaves the OR, a nurse tells him that his wife is there. (She means Carla.)

Down in the ER, Carter is treating a woman named Noni who’s pregnant but experiencing pain. In the next bed, Chen’s patient, Grainger, wants medication for a migraine he’s been unable to treat with his regular meds. He blames numbers of some kind – 80, 146, 72, 109. Carter realizes those are the numbers on Noni’s monitor, which was out of Grainger’s line of sight.

A homeless patient maces Dave for not respecting her requests not to be touched or have her belongings touched. Amazingly, we don’t get to see Chen smirking. Weaver takes the patient’s mace and tries to figure out why she seems familiar. She casually threatens to have the patient arrested if she doesn’t calm down. The patient shoots back that they used to drown redheaded babies because they thought they were evil. Weaver replies that they used to burn crazy people, thinking they were witches. I smell a buddy-comedy spin-off for these two!

Abby tracks down Rifkin, the lawyer who will be arguing that Maggie should remain on the 90-day hold. He doesn’t have all the details he needs since he just got the case that morning. They run into Nesmith, the lawyer who will be arguing on Maggie’s behalf. His defense strategy is claiming that Maggie didn’t intend to kill herself when she took all those sleeping pills. Rifkin wants to put Abby on the stand to testify that Maggie did want to die.

Carla is in the ER because she took a misstep and broke her ankle. She was carrying Reese at the time, but he’s okay. Benton chastises Carla for carrying their son while wearing heels. She’ll need surgery, but she says she can’t stay in the hospital; Roger isn’t around to look after Reese. Oh, if only there were another parent who could take care of him. Carla mentions that she and Roger haven’t been getting along well lately.

Benton offers to take care of Reese while Carla’s in the hospital, but she knows Benton moved in with Cleo and doesn’t think that would be a good environment for their child. So she never had Reese around Roger before they were married? Benton notes that Cleo is a pediatrician, the best possible person for their son to be around. Carla says Cleo doesn’t seem like the motherly type. Yeah, well, neither do you, Carla.

In court, Deraad testifies that Maggie hasn’t shown any signs of being suicidal since she was admitted to County and has followed all the recommendations for treatment. Abby is called to the witness stand next, but there’s an interruption when another patient waiting for his hearing starts complaining about how long it’s taking. Luka arrives as Abby testifies that she thinks Maggie should remain committed. The agitated patient gets more agitated and has to be removed from the courtroom.

A paramedic brings in a man who was pushed down during a fight and is, according to the paramedic, faking unconsciousness. He’s wearing a possum costume and has given his name as O. Possum. Another costumed patient IDs him as Brett and says Brett bit him. Dave has to change his clothes post-macing, so Carter gives him a white coat, which Dave normally refuses to wear. Chen cracks up, but I think it’s more at the thought of Dave being an actual doctor than at the sight of him in the coat. Lily summons Carter to tend to Noni, who’s collapsed and bleeding on the bathroom floor.

Nesmith tries to argue that Abby wants Maggie to remain committed because she doesn’t want her embarrassing, mentally ill mother living with her. Abby says that Maggie has lived with her briefly a few times before, but she always stops taking her medication and disappears. Nesmith notes that Maggie looks pretty stable right now. Abby says she’s only been taking her medications for a week; this won’t last. Nesmith gets Abby to admit that Maggie isn’t a danger to herself when she’s med-compliant. Abby says she can’t look after Maggie – after all, Maggie attempted suicide while under Abby’s care.

Carter determines that Noni is miscarrying the baby just as the baby’s father, Victor, arrives. Weaver treats Brett’s bite victim (we don’t know his name but he’s dressed as a kangaroo, so I’ll call him Kang) and asks if he and Brett are rival mascots. Kang introduces her to the mind-blowing, yes-this-is-a-thing world of furries. Brett started to take things too far while mock-grooming Kang, so Kang hit him. Weaver appears to be rethinking her career decisions.

Maggie testifies that she overdosed on sleeping pills but didn’t mean to kill herself. She just wanted to sleep through the drive from Oklahoma to Chicago. She took a few, didn’t think they were working, and took more. In the gallery, Abby tells Rifkin that she took 900 milligrams, 36 pills. Maggie apologizes to her for putting her through all of this. Abby tells Rifkin to ask her where she got the pills. The judge hushes her. Maggie insists that she can take care of herself if Abby won’t take her in. Abby comments that her credit cards have all been canceled. The judge hushes her again.

Carter sends Noni to the OR to stop her bleeding. He tells Victor that Noni’s inability to clot properly could be a sign of liver disease. He asks about any medications Noni’s taking that could have caused that, and Victor hesitantly mentions root extracts that are supposed to induce a miscarriage. Carter’s confused, since Noni seemed to want the baby. Victor admits that she didn’t know she took the extracts – he snuck them into her tea. So Victor’s definitely going to jail, right?

Weaver determines that her macing patient has a tumor on her ovary. “Every day comes with its own surprises,” the patient spits out. Weaver finally realizes why she’s familiar – she’s Princess Taffeta, a former children’s show star. “Every day comes with its own surprises” was her catchphrase. P.T. doesn’t want to be admitted to the hospital, and she doesn’t have any family members who can come be with her. She doesn’t think it matters, since in the end, everyone dies alone.

Abby takes a smoke break while court is in recess, and Luka joins her to try to assure her that her testimony went well. Maggie wants to talk to her, and Luka thinks Abby should see her. Even if Maggie doesn’t want her help, she needs it. Abby agrees, but the conversation doesn’t go well – Maggie says she doesn’t want to be a burden to Abby, but Abby doesn’t believe that Maggie is finally going to take care of herself this time. She can’t take Maggie’s word that she’ll seek treatment after her commitment time is up.

Kang tells Weaver the origins of his furry obsession (which I don’t think she asked for, dude): His boss had him dress up as a reindeer for a Christmas party, and wearing a costume made him feel free and outgoing. He’s not a plushie or a furvert, though. I think you can intuit what a furvert is; a plushie is someone who’s “overly fond of stuffed animals.”

Cleo and Dave tend to a teen named Lynda, finding marks on her back from a folk cure Dave is familiar with. It involves heating a coin and dragging it across someone’s back. He thinks the coin used on Lynda was dipped in oil of wintergreen, which can lead to aspirin toxicity. Looks like the white coat turned Dave into a real doctor after all. Carter talks with Noni after her operation, assuring her that she’ll be able to have children in the future. He can’t convince her to press charges against Victor, since she thinks he just got scared about becoming a father.

Rifkin questions Maggie about the sleeping pills she took, trying to get her to admit that she intended to kill herself. She continues to insist that she accidentally took too many (“too many” being nine times the recommended dose). She admits to stealing the pills, but only because she knew Abby wouldn’t buy them for her if she asked. Rifkin notes that Maggie has been committed twice for suicide attempts, one of which was also an overdose.

Dave asks Lynda’s grandmother about the folk treatment, but the grandmother doesn’t speak English. Benton brings Reese along as he visits Ferris, who also has Earl and Walter visiting. They’re familiar with the exploding-condom story and seem pleased to meet the culprit. Earl overhears Dave struggling to communicate with Lynda’s grandmother and offers his services – he was a translator in the Army and speaks Cantonese. Cleo and Dave discover from Lynda’s blood tests that the coining wasn’t what caused her to get sick, so they’re out of ideas. Earl provides a possible clue: Lynda’s grandmother thinks she’s possessed because she’s started having sex.

Weaver catches P.T. trying to leave the hospital without receiving treatment. She asks P.T. to speak to a psychiatrist before she signs herself out. P.T. knows she doesn’t have long to live, so she gives Weaver one of her puppets from her show, Mr. Whiskers. She says the puppet ended her potential career as a famous actress, but on the plus side, the show paid for her first house.

The judge is ready to make a ruling in Maggie’s case: She’s released on her own recognizance. The judge quickly moves on to the next case, but Abby objects. Rifkin tells her they have to move on. Abby complains that she’s the one who’s been dealing with Maggie’s issues for 30 years, and no one else understands how serious things are. The judge doesn’t have to care about what happens after Maggie leaves the courtroom. Maybe next time the judge won’t hear the case at all because Maggie’s suicide attempt will be successful.

Benton wants to stick around the hospital to make sure Ferris is taken care of, so Cleo offers to take Reese home with her until they can reach Jackie and ask her to pick him up. Benton doesn’t want to put that responsibility on Cleo, but she’s excited about hanging out with Reese for the afternoon. Dave recognizes Mr. Whiskers and thinks Weaver got him on eBay. He’s brought in a chaplain to talk to Lynda, thinking her problem is psychosomatic – she just feels guilty because her grandmother caught her messing around with her boyfriend. Cleo’s skeptical, but Dave says she just can’t admit that he outsmarted her.

Maggie returns to County to sign paperwork that will allow her release. Legaspi will only give her three days’ worth of medication; Maggie has to come back each week to get more. She’ll be staying in a shelter since Abby won’t let Maggie stay with her. Abby wishes her mother luck, knowing they’ll see each other the next time Maggie has a mental-health crisis.

Maggie says that might not happen, but Abby knows she won’t just walk away from this suicide attempt and turn her life around. When Abby saw Maggie seizing in the ER, she was sure that Maggie was going to die. This could still end that way. But Abby will always show up and try to fix things because Maggie has that power over her.

Carter has called the police on Victor, even though Noni never agreed to press charges. The law considers what Victor did murder, a crime whether Noni wants it to be one or not. Chen tries to get in touch with Grainger, but there’s no record of him with the VA. There’s also no record of the doctor she let him leave with. (There must have been a scene that was deleted.) Weaver goes looking for Mr. Whiskers and finds him with Brett, who appears to be a plushie. Poor Mr. Whiskers. Poor us.

Benton chats with Ferris about how Benton’s screw-up led him to become a doctor. Ferris says he should be proud. Benton notes that sometimes he gets so tired from his hectic life that he forgets what’s important. To him, the two most important things in the world are his son and his surgical skills. He’s a father and a doctor before anything else. Ferris asks if he’s considered teaching, but Benton doesn’t think that’s in his skill set. Ferris says caring is the only skill he needs.

Weaver goes to visit Legaspi, giving us some exposition that the harassment charges against Legaspi were dropped after Shannon admitted she’d lied. Legaspi doesn’t want to have dinner with Weaver or be friendly with her in any way, since Weaver won’t let go of her insecurities about her sexuality. Abby and Luka end the day together, and she thanks him for being there for her today. Then Maggie shows up, looking for someone to be there for her.

Thoughts: Lots of familiar faces here:

How dare the show disrespect Laura Innes with this episode’s plotline for Weaver. The woman was nominated for two Emmys for your show!

90 days seems like too long of a psych hold for someone who’s no longer in crisis. There has to be some sort of treatment facility Abby and Maggie could compromise on where Maggie could receive care and monitoring without being treated like she’s under lock and key. (In fact, in a later season, they visit a facility that would work.) Plus, if Abby thinks Maggie’s going to ditch her meds again, 90 days won’t change anything. It’ll just delay what Abby thinks is inevitable.

For the record, Carla barely acknowledges Reese when they’re together, while Cleo is always happy to see him. You can see she really likes children and get why she went into pediatrics. Unlike Carla, I would absolutely trust her to look after my child.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I felt bad for Legaspi in this episode as she’s clearly being overloaded (witch hunt in action?) but is still sympathetic and kind with Abby about Maggie.

    Got to say I fucking loved that Luka got that dig in there with Abby about whether she’d rather Carter show up for moral support. I honestly don’t know why he continues to be so nice to her when she kind of treats him like an afterthought. It was so sweet of him to turn up at the hearing and be there for her. CARTER WASN’T THERE, HELLO.

    I totally wish we’d seen what the deal was with the psychic Grainger patient. It makes sense from an ER perspective that we see patients briefly and then they’re gone and we don’t get follow-up, but throw us a bone! That was interesting!

    The actors playing the lawyers in the hearing were two great character actors whose names escape me (though I think Nesmith was also Laszlo Holyfeld from Real Genius as well as Uncle Rico) but whose work I always appreciate. Maggie’s lawyer implying in the hearing that Abby didn’t want Maggie living with her because she was embarrassing was really profoundly unfair. I know he’s just doing his job, but clearly he’s never dealt with the mentally ill in his personal life, in his family. She’s been dealing with this all her life and to question her “commitment” to her mother at this stage (pardon the pun)… I’m surprised Abby didn’t lunge across the witness stand at him or explode at him.

    I didn’t like how the writers made Carla turn into kind of a sultry trollop starting with this episode. All of a sudden she realizes what a catch Peter is? Maybe because he seems serious with Cleo? It’s not like he gives off any kind of vibes that he’s ever been interested in her since Reese was born.

    The Noni storyline was disturbing as hell. So were the furries. I don’t know which was worse.


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