February 16, 2021

ER 8.2, The Longer You Stay: The ER Vortex

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

Pictured: Weaver not admitting she screwed up

Summary: Carter is wrapping up a busy shift where he saw 140 patients, possibly a shift record. Haleh is wrestling beer away from Pablo and asks Abby for help, but Abby clocks out before she can be forced to stick around. Elizabeth arrives with Ella, looking for Mark, and Abby says that she thinks he quit. Chen asks Weaver for help with a patient, but Weaver reminds her that she’s chief resident now, so she needs to make decisions on her own.

Elizabeth finally finds Mark, who was supposed to meet her in the parking lot to take Ella so Elizabeth could start her shift. She thinks they need a weekend nanny so they don’t have to do childcare hand-offs like this. Mark already objected to a weekday nanny, so he won’t go for that. Elizabeth tells him they’re not bad parents for hiring nannies. If Mark wants them to raise Ella on their own, he needs to be done with work when he said he would be.

Abby leaves at the same time as Carter, telling him he’s stubborn for not asking Weaver about an attending position. Instead, he’s still looking around for other jobs. Chuny tries to get Abby to come back in and find a vein in a patient they’re having trouble sticking. Abby refuses, telling Carter she has to be back at work at 7 a.m., so she needs to go home. She repeats that he needs to talk to Weaver.

Instead of going home himself, Carter goes back to the ER and asks Weaver how her search for a new attending. When he mentions that he’s thinking about applying, she seems surprised but not opposed to the idea. Chen asks Carter to finish up with a patient, since everyone’s swamped, but Carter has dinner plans with his parents. She manages to wear him down. As a reward, Pablo pees on him. Womp womp.

Carter’s patient is a heavy-metal roadie who had a mishap with a special effect. Carter realizes this will take longer than expected. The roadie’s buddy passes out when Carter injects the roadie with a big needle, and Chuny realizes he’s not breathing. Now Carter has two patients. Elizabeth is also struggling, since she has to talk to a patient’s mother while dealing with a crying Ella. Mark finally relieves her, and Elizabeth declares that they’re not taking weekend shifts anymore.

Carter blames drugs for the roadie’s buddy’s condition, and the roadie confesses that they took GHB. Carter tries to hand them off to Cleo, but she tells him there’s a mass trauma coming in – a stampede. The roadie realizes it happened at the concert where the band he roadies for was opening for Metallica. Chuny warns Weaver that the roadies may have mixed alcohol with GHB, so they’ll need to keep an eye out for that in other patients.

One of the stampede victims is a seven-year-old named Kevin, because seven-year-olds just love Metallica. As Benton is helping Cleo with him, a police officer tells him that Reese may have been brought into another hospital in the city. Benton wonders where Carla is, since Reese was supposed to be with her.

Abby goes to Luka’s new place, where he’s playing a video game on his new Playstation. He got that and a huge aquarium, but hasn’t bought furniture yet. Abby was hoping to go out to dinner instead of spending the night alone while her boyfriend kills zombies in a game. When did Luka turn into such an American?

Carter keeps trying to hand off his patients, but no one will let him go. Kevin’s babysitter finally finds him, and Elizabeth chastises her for taking a seven-year-old to a heavy-metal concert. She says her boyfriend brought the tickets over, and they were going to be home before Kevin’s parents returned. Somewhere, Kristy Thomas is seething.

Remember Sam, the PI Weaver hired to find her birth mother? He claims he’s found her. If Weaver wants more info, she can call him later. Luka and Abby go to a bar he goes to a lot – so much that a waitress named Nicole knows his name and his regular order. Abby was hoping for food, but the bar stopped serving two minutes earlier. Luka talks Nicole into getting her something anyway.

Harmony, the girlfriend of one of the concert victims (the guitarist, I believe), comes in, anxious about how he is. Her friend, Dianna, thinks a big reddish stain on the ceiling is blood. Harmony starts wheezing from her asthma, and when Carter listens to her chest, he detects a possible heart problem. He asks Haleh to find someone to give her a workup, and Haleh’s like, “Hey, you just volunteered yourself! Congratulations!”

Benton finds Reese at the other hospital; he was in a car accident but only has minor injuries. A nurse insists that Benton talk to a doctor to get more details. A doctor named Skoft confirms that Carla was driving the car Reese was in, but she won’t tell Benton where or how Carla is, since he’s not related to her.

Harmony tells Carter she’s been having some trouble with a new piercing. Carter guesses that’s what’s causing the problem with her heart. The piercing happens to be…down south, so Carter and Yosh get a nice sight. When Carter says they’ll have to drain the infection, Dianna takes offense, for some reason, and jumps on his back. Carter throws her off and she slams into a window. Yosh says he’ll make up a new chart for Carter’s newest patient.

While Luka plays pool at the bar, Abby chats with another patron, who would love to get a medical professional to look at whatever he has that’s making pus. Carter cancels his dinner plans while his original patient yells for treatment. Chen has disappeared, and Carter demands that someone find her and make her do some work. Malik has a question about one of Abby’s patients, and since Carter doesn’t know the treatment details, he tells Malik to call her. Then he decides to do it himself so he can yell at Abby.

Abby’s smoking outside the bar when Carter calls to ask if she’s having a good time. No, Carter, she’s not. He blames Abby for talking him into going back in to talk to Weaver, which got him “sucked back into the ER vortex.” Luka comes outside and chastises Abby for smoking after she said she was going to quit. Weaver tells Carter she’s going to Doc Magoo’s for a little while, since things are dying down. He says they’re definitely not, and he’s juggling five patients when he’s not even supposed to be working. She tells him he can leave. Meanwhile, Luka’s annoyed that Abby isn’t enjoying herself, or something.

Benton finally learns why no one would tell him how Carla is: She’s dead. Roger arrives and Benton gives him some details about her condition before the doctors realized they couldn’t save her. For someone who supposedly told Carla he never loved her, Roger is pretty shaken up. While he’s saying goodbye to his wife, Benton goes back to Reese and tries to explain to him that Carla’s gone. Reese is too young to understand and keeps asking for his mom. I’m not crying, you’re crying!

A man named Paul is brought into County after having chest pain all day. His brother (he never gets a name, but my closed captioning calls him Glenn, so we’ll go with that) says he thought it was from something he ate. Dave takes the lead on the case, asking Glenn if Paul does drugs. Glenn doesn’t think so, but they haven’t seen each other in a while, and Paul was pushing himself to put together an art show, so it’s possible. Dave determines that Paul is having a heart attack, even though he’s only 27. He needs Chen or Weaver to approve of the treatment he recommends.

Romano checks in on Elizabeth as she operates on Kevin. She starts leaking breast milk during the procedure, and since that’s not sterile, Romano kicks her out of the OR. A bunch of groupies have swarmed the ER, because security just lets anyone in the building. Carter finally gets back to his first patient, who complains that there aren’t enough doctors on staff. Yeah, no kidding. Carter takes a break to tell another patient’s mother that he’s on a ventilator after he stopped breathing. The mother’s nose starts bleeding. Another patient for Carter!

Chen finally reappears and joins Dave to treat Paul. His tox screen hasn’t come back yet, but Dave is pretty sure he OD’d on cocaine, and they can’t wait too long to start treating him. Chen asks for Weaver, but she’s not responding to pages, so Chen approves of Dave’s ideas for Paul’s treatment. As they’re about to start, Paul’s tox screen comes back negative for drugs. Moments later, his heart starts failing.

Luka is still socializing at the bar, so Abby announces that she’s taking a cab home. He thought she was coming back in and didn’t realize that she hadn’t. Luka follows her out to the street, and Nicole comes out a little later to give Luka back his credit card. She tells him his drinks were on the house, since they want to make sure he comes back in the future. Abby rolls her eyes. She decides to walk home, and Luka follows, annoyed with her for being rude. She tells him to go back inside and keep having fun with his new friends.

Carter pops into the trauma room where Dave and Chen are trying to revive Paul and immediately offers a diagnosis neither of them considered: Marfan syndrome. It affects connective tissue, including around the heart. Paul’s supposed drug overdose was actually an aortic dissection, and the medications Dave and Chen gave him made it worse.

Luka and Abby keep bickering as they taken an El home. He tells her she has a bug up her anus (ooh, so close), and she tells him he’s immature. He points out that she doesn’t even know what she wants. She plays games like she’s a teenager who can have any boy she wants, but she treats them all badly. Abby challenges him to just call her a whore straight out. “You’re not that pretty! You’re not that special!” he says. Abby spits out that she’s pretty enough for him in the dark.

Luka continues that she’s never happy and doesn’t seem capable of it (the same conversation Abby had with Maggie). Abby says that didn’t matter to him six months ago. He says that if she’s not depressed or ashamed, she’s just angry. “And you’re married to a ghost,” she fires back. Luka says that at least he treats her with respect. Yeah, telling her she’s not pretty or special is really respectful.

Carter, Dave, and Chen struggle to save Paul, but he’s losing too much blood. The nurses have been paging Weaver for 15 minutes, but she’s still not responding. Carter remembers that she said she was going across the street. Abby and Luka are still fighting about all her issues and everything he’s had to put up with to be with her. He doesn’t know how to help her or be with her. Abby says she doesn’t want help. Luka eventually announces that he’s done, and Carter can have Abby.

Dave thinks the only way to save Paul is to cut open his chest. Chen refuses to do so without Weaver, so she sends Carter to Doc Magoo’s to get her. He runs across the street, slipping on a puddle and landing on his back. After he collects himself, he finds Weaver at Doc Magoo’s with Sam. By the time they get back to the trauma room, it’s clear that Paul can’t be saved. “You killed him,” Weaver tells the doctors.

Roger asks Benton to take Reese for the night, since he needs to make arrangements for Carla’s body. Benton’s like, “Take my son? To my house? You’re asking me to take my son to my house? Was this not the obvious thing that was going to happen now that his mother is dead?” Roger promises he’ll see Reese sometime in the next couple of days.

Weaver questions Dave and Chen’s treatment decisions, surprised that they didn’t diagnose Marfan’s. Chen also didn’t look at the x-rays before approving of Dave’s suggested treatment. Dave says they had to make a quick decision since Weaver wasn’t available. Weaver yells that that’s part of their job, but they didn’t look at the information the right way. Dave doesn’t think she should get a say here since she didn’t answer her pages. Weaver tells him that in a perfect world, he wouldn’t get to see patients. If Dave knew how do be a doctor and cared about his patients, Paul would still be alive.

Carter speaks up that Paul’s condition was so bad when he came in that he probably wouldn’t have survived surgery even if they’d diagnosed him in time. Weaver says they’ll never know, since Dave screwed up so badly. Dave notes that Paul’s family should be screened for Marfan’s, since it’s genetic. Weaver says she’ll handle that and orders the other three not to talk to anyone about the case.

Abby gets ready for bed alone in her own apartment while Elizabeth has to wake Mark up to clean up Ella after a diaper blow-out. Is he deaf? How could he not hear her crying right next to him? Anyway, Elizabeth is a jerk now, and it’s hard to feel sorry for her for all the stuff she’s been going through related to having a newborn and being a working mother. Carter finally finishes up with that one quick patient who was only supposed to take a few minutes to treat. Weaver returns to Doc Magoo’s, looking for her pager, which she’s lost. She finds it in a bathroom stall.

Edson (ugh, Edson) tells Carter that his nosebleed patient needs surgery thanks to a defect caused by excessive cocaine use. Carter has a shift at noon, so he’s going to catch a nap somewhere in the hospital instead of going home. Edson tells him that’s a bad idea, since the longer he stays there, the harder it will be for him to leave. Carter spots Chen in Paul’s trauma room, rethinking everything they did. Reese wakes up in the middle of the night after having a bad dream, and Benton lets him into his bed.

Thoughts: Roger has been recast with Vondie Curtis-Hall. Nicole is played by Julie Delpy. One of the doctors who tends to Reese is played by Kal Penn.

The reason for Carla’s death is that the show was sick of Lisa Nicole Carson (who was rumored to be having psychological issues), so they just got rid of Carla. The resulting plot was kind of ridiculous, when you think about it. But maybe it’s better than having to watch Benton and Carla keep fighting.

Pretty bold of Sam to charge Weaver for a search she didn’t authorize, after he screwed up so badly last time.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    The whole Mark/Elizabeth/Ella storyline is realistic… and yet annoying. It makes Elizabeth look like a total shrew to Mark, which is kind of unfair, but it seems like the writers don’t know what the hell to do with her anymore. She was much more interesting when she was dating Peter but maybe that’s because we didn’t know much about her back then.

    I hate what they did to the Carla character but the actress’s personal problems were evidently a major factor in all of this so maybe their hands were a bit tied. Still, she was a good character until they sent her on the downward spiral to an MVA. Poor Reese. I liked how the doctors at this other hospital handled the situation with Peter and not just blurting the news out to him like they would on any other medical drama. You can see the moment he understands because the doctor uses the exact same cagey, cryptic language he and every other ER physician has used time and time again when the patient has died but they can’t just say so yet for varying reasons. I’m glad they switched out the Roger character for a more compelling actor (sorry, Original Roger). Vondi Curtis-Hall is just really good in everything he does, and his Roger was understandably shaken up as their recent marital strife seems to be swept under the rug due to the immediate situation.

    Hopping on the hate train again regarding Luka’s character development, because when did they flip the switch on him to be kind of an aloof asshole? Was this supposed to endear us more towards Abby instead? Dumb. I know in an earlier episode he talked to her about getting a place together and evidently she backed off on the idea while he moved forward on it anyway for himself, so this is flexing his independence muscles a bit.

    Oh, here’s another one for the hate train! Julie Delpy, a divine actress, reduced to kind of a simpering type who clearly crushes massively on Luka! These writers simply don’t know what to do with these characters who are really so much better than the material they’re being given. So far this season is irritating the hell out of me on that front. Is Luka really so blind as to not see why Abby might not want to be super friendly with Delpy’s character when she practically bats her eyelashes at him every time she gets to interact with him, even in front of his girlfriend? Abby wasn’t the rude one in this scenario. Abby and Luka’s little bitchy fight was pretty unflattering for both of them, though.

    The Weaver bit felt incredibly out of character for her, selfish and completely shirking her duties. The pager thing is really unlike her too. There was absolutely no emergent reason why she had to meet with that PI during her damn shift. She could have met with him the next day. And you know if Carter had left like she told him to, she would have written him up for abandoning patient care. But she gets a pass for the whole thing… at the expense of Dr. Dave and Chen, as we soon find out. I know we’re supposed to think she’s going through some personal emotional stuff, what with losing Legaspi and then coming to terms with her sexuality and now trying to find her mother, but the uncharacteristic way they’re having her go about it just feels really off.

    How the hell had they never heard of Marfan’s? *I’ve* heard of Marfan’s and I don’t have a degree from Costa Rica, Dr. Dave! (Or wherever his is from…) Had to laugh when I saw Dale Edson pop his smarmy ass back into a scene, though. Of all the people Carter least wants to see at the end of his day!


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