February 23, 2021

ER 8.3, Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic: Bleeding Hearts

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:01 pm by Jenn

The new and definitely-not-improved Rachel

Summary: Benton is leaving Reese with Jackie for the day, and Jackie looks a little shaky about taking care of a child, but Benton doesn’t have any other choices, now that Carla is dead. Carter’s over at his grandmother’s house, listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (so we can get the episode title from one of their songs) before work. Millicent wants him to see a doctor about the back injury he suffered when he fell while running over to Doc Magoo’s. He says it’s an exacerbation of his stabbing injury.

Abby’s moving her things out of Luka’s apartment post-breakup. She grabs her jacket from the coat rack, which she accidentally knocks over, right into the new aquarium. She cracks the glass and water starts leaking out. As Mark and Elizabeth arrive at County, still struggling with sleep deprivation, Abby calls around to try to get a replacement aquarium. They’re pricey and she doesn’t know if she needs one for saltwater or freshwater fish. She spots Luka entering the ER and quickly hangs up.

The ER is full of patients, so Mark does some quick rounds to determine who can be discharged quickly. One of the patients is a kid with his hand stuck in a piggy bank, and Mark asks who’s sick, the kid or the pig. The kid doesn’t appreciate it but I think it’s funny. Weaver disapproves of Mark fast-tracking procedures and skipping all the details on people’s charts. Chen asks her a question about a patient, but instead of answering, Weaver takes the patient from her. This frees up Chen to take care of an abandoned newborn brought in by a paramedic named Niki.

Benton tells Cleo that Reese keeps asking to sleep with him; Reese says he’s having nightmares but won’t go into detail. Cleo feels bad for Reese, who must be confused about his mother not being around. Benton can’t believe that his son will grow up without a mother, and there’s nothing Benton can do about it. Dave tells Cleo he treated one of her patients, which makes her mad. She says she was waiting for a surgical consult, but Dave chastises her for chatting with her boyfriend instead of working. And when Dave thinks you’re slacking, you’re really in trouble.

Abby hides in an exam room while trying to avoid Luka, but instead encounters Carter. He stepped on some broken glass at Millicent’s house and is trying to remove a piece of it from his foot by himself. Abby tells him that she and Luka broke up, and Carter manages not to cheer out loud. When Carter leaves the room and Luka asks if he’s seen Abby, Carter sends him in the opposite direction to give Abby more time to hide out.

Carter joins Chen to treat the newborn, who was left at a church just moments after birth. They both have trouble inserting an IV to give the baby fluids, so Carter suggests inserting a line in her umbilical cord. He hasn’t done this since he was an intern, so Chen is hesitant and wants to get a more senior doctor. Carter insists he can do it.

Dave starts to ask Mark a question, but he gets distracted when he sees Niki down the hall. He follows her into an elevator, because Dave will follow a pretty woman anywhere if it means he can get some. She’s heard about him (more specifically, she’s been warned about him) and isn’t happy to be followed. She’s even less happy when the now-full elevator stops.

As Luka and Abby are finally forced to work on a patient together, Mark spots a familiar face in the ER: Rachel (now recast and slightly older). She took a train from St. Louis by herself, since Jen kicked her out. Chen and Carter keep working on the baby, noting that whoever delivered her tied off the umbilical cord with a shoelace. Chen thinks it’s time to ask Weaver for help, but Carter calmly inserts a line in the umbilical cord and is able to give the baby fluids.

The people in the stuck elevator are impatient to get out, but Dave stays calm, probably because he’s exactly where he wants to be. A patient named Eldon feels sick, but Dave tells everyone that if they all chill, everything will be fine. Eldon ignores him and vomits blood. Wow, Eldon, you found one of the few ways you could make this experience even worse. Good job.

The last time we saw Rachel, she was sweetly accepting her grandmother’s pearl necklace from Mark. Now she’s listening to loud music, talking about being a vegetarian, and complaining about her mother. She doesn’t go into detail about why Jen kicked her out, just saying Jen is crazy. Mark insists that they call Jen to let her know where Rachel is, though Rachel doesn’t think she’ll care. Elizabeth stops by the ER and is surprised to see Rachel. Mark just says she and Jen are having mother/daughter issues, which Elizabeth knows all about.

Eldon isn’t breathing, so Dave and Niki work together to revive him. Dave also keeps his eyes on the other passengers, making sure one of them keeps another from falling when she starts to pass out. Luka and Abby are also working together, keeping things professional but chilly. He tells her he’s sorry if he hurt her, and she says he didn’t. He just wants her to be happy, which she never seemed to be with him. Really? To me, she seemed happier with him than she ever did anywhere else. Also, I guess Luka’s allowed to brood but no one else is.

Dave and Niki continue working on Eldon, enlisting other passengers as nurses. Everyone’s pleased when Dave successfully performs a tricky procedure. Romano comes to the ER to bicker with Weaver over how Dave, Chen, and Carter treated Paul, the patient they failed to diagnose with Marfan’s. Weaver says it’s tricky to recognize, so it’s not the doctors’ fault that they screwed up. Romano reminds her that that’s why they have attendings. Weaver pretends she was just busy somewhere else, not across the street on personal business. Romano urges her to find a scapegoat if necessary.

The stuck elevator finally gets unstuck and all the passengers flee, other than Eldon. In other good news, Carter and Chen have stabilized the newborn. The woman who found the baby at the church comes by to see how she’s doing. She asks Carter to let her sister see the birthmark on the baby’s chest. She thinks it’s a sign of the Virgin Mary (it looks a little like a bleeding heart) and that it helped her arthritis. Chen thanks Carter for his help, and he says he’s available whenever she needs.

Abby didn’t have time to get the glass out of Carter’s foot before Chen needed his help, so she sits him down to keep working at it. She tells him about her mishap at Luka’s apartment, which she hasn’t mentioned to him. Carter advises her to replace the aquarium so Luka doesn’t think she broke it on purpose. Abby says she’s working on it but needs help getting a new tank into the apartment. Carter guesses that she means she needs his help, and he’s not on board. Abby reminds him that she removed glass from his foot, so like the animals in the fable about the thorn in the paw, he owes her.

Chen learns that Carter discharged the patient Weaver took from her, so she thinks Weaver didn’t trust her to treat the patient correctly. Carter reminds Chen that Weaver made her chief resident, so she must have some faith in Chen’s abilities. Chen thinks she only got the position by default.

Mark brings Elizabeth in to consult on a patient named Mrs. Tanzi who may have appendicitis. She has dementia and her health has deteriorated to the point where she can’t take care of herself or recognize her husband. He thinks she’s ready to die, so he wants to turn down the surgery Elizabeth says she needs. Mark is willing to agree, but Elizabeth isn’t.

Rachel interrupts while they’re discussing the patient, crying because Jen flipped out about her running away and threatened to send her to summer school. She thinks Jen hates her. Weaver goes looking for Dave, who’s needed to help with a trauma, and finds him with Niki in the back of her ambulance. They’re on a break, and they’re not fully clothed. Weaver tells Dave he’s fired. He tries to talk his way back into his job, but Weaver sticks to her decision. She erases his name from the patient board, and after she leaves, he writes it back in.

Mark calls Jen, who’s on her way to Chicago to retrieve her devil’s spawn. Mark spots one of his patients trying to leave before having his shoulder injury x-rayed. The patient says he saw the baby, so he’s going back to his rugby game. Mark’s understandably confused. Dave tries to get Mark to talk to Weaver on his behalf, but Weaver spots him and kicks him out again. Things get more hectic for Mark as Mr. Tanzi tells him that his wife isn’t in her bed. He’s worried that she wandered off. Mark goes to deal with that, telling Rachel to hush and Dave to talk to Weaver himself.

Cleo wraps up a loose end in a non-plotline when she learns that, after weeks of preventive treatments, she’s HIV-negative. She feels like she’s gotten her life back. Carter goes back to the baby’s trauma room, since she’s in distress again. He jokes to Chen that she might be worn out from performing miracles. He suggests that they repeat one of her blood tests. Weaver finds Mrs. Tanzi in the room and has a nurse take her back to bed. Chen discovers what’s wrong with the baby, and Carter gives her the credit for deciding to repeat the blood test, so Weaver will think she did something right. Weaver isn’t impressed, though.

Mr. Tanzi is surprised that his wife is suddenly better. Mark thinks that her appendix burst, which temporarily relieved her pain. He tries to talk Weaver into giving Dave his job back, noting that he’s not the first employee to have sex in the hospital (Mark himself has done that). Mr. Tanzi thinks his wife’s going to stay this lucid, so he changes his mind about her having surgery. Mark tells him her lucidity probably won’t last, but Mr. Tanzi wants her to be given every possible chance to stay alive.

After they leave the room, Weaver tells Mark that he’s not doing what’s best for the patient. Mark tells her that she’s free to take his patient away like she took Chen’s from her. Weaver argues that she was justified in firing Dave, considering his history of insubordination and disrespect. Mark tells her she can’t get rid of an employee just because they don’t get along. If she fired everyone she fought with in the ER, they’d have no staff.

Abby and Carter take an empty aquarium to Luke’s place, but Abby realizes too late that she left her key inside, so they can’t get in. She thinks a window might be open, so she makes Carter bend over so she can boost herself up on his back and reach the fire escape. It’s stuck, of course. She left the aquarium leaning against the building, and it starts to wobble and fall over. Carter rushes to catch it and leaves Abby dangling from the fire escape.

Jen is in Chicago now, and Mark sits her and Rachel down in the lounge to make them work things out. He thinks they’re both to blame for the breakdown in their relationship – Rachel needs to be more responsible and Jen needs to work less. Jen says they’ll figure things out when they get home. Rachel refuses to go back to St. Louis with her. She storms out, and Jen asks Mark to help them, but he has to go do his job.

Paramedics bring in a young woman who was hit by a car. Witnesses said she was already lying in the crosswalk before she was hit. Benton notices that she has a severed umbilical cord, and Haleh sees that she’s missing a shoelace. Looks like we found the mom of the miracle baby. Over at Luka’s, Abby and Carter have set up the new tank, but as they’re leaving with the old one, someone rings the doorbell. It’s the police.

The doctors stabilize the miracle baby mama, Anna, who claims that she doesn’t have a baby. In fact, she says she was never pregnant. Mark brings the baby into her trauma room and tries to get her to face reality. Anna finally admits that she left the baby at the church, thinking God would protect her. Chen says He did, and some people even think the baby is a miracle.

Carter calls his lawyer from the back of a police car, though Abby notes that they haven’t been charged with anything yet. She wonders what they would even be arrested for – “aquatic mischief?” Luka arrives and Abby starts worrying that he’ll press charges. Instead, Luka tells the police to let them go. Carter urges Abby to talk to him, but she wants to put that off.

Mark prepares to send Rachel back to St. Louis, telling her she can call him any time. She asks if she can stay in Chicago and live with him. She guilts him by saying she wants to get to know Ella and spend more time with Elizabeth, who’s a great role model. Mark seems open to the idea, even though it would be a huge change for Rachel.

Elizabeth operates on Mrs. Tanzi while Babcock talks about how mentally incompetent the patient is and how they shouldn’t bother trying to save her. Shut up, Babcock. Elizabeth is so sleep-deprived that she falls asleep during a lull in the procedure. She denies it, saying she was just resting her eyes. Babcock is skeptical, of course, but so is Shirley, and when Shirley’s worried, we should all pay attention.

As Benton is scrubbing in to operate on Anna, Jackie shows up with Reese. She can’t bring herself to spend time with Reese because he reminds her of Jesse. Benton tells Romano he’ll find someone to look after Reese while he operates, but Romano tells Benton to go spend quality time with his son. When Benton’s back is turned while he’s picking up Reese, Romano signs to Reese, “Take care of your father.”

Chen finds Dave moping in the ambulance bay and tries to assure him that Weaver will back down once she’s not so mad at him. Of course, she’s always mad at Dave, so… Dave thinks they’re right to be on the hot seat for not saving Paul. Dave was so intent on saving the patient that he didn’t look closely enough at his x-rays to see what the real problem was. Chen says that Paul’s death just means Dave is a real doctor. Medicine is the only thing Dave’s ever been good at, and he doesn’t want to give it up.

Abby and Carter go to her apartment, talking about a time she borrowed a car without permission (so, stole) to buy Wham tickets. Her upstairs neighbors are fighting, and the woman next door to Abby suggests that someone go up and talk to them. (This is possibly setting up a plot later in the season, but it doesn’t quite hold together, so it’s kind of pointless.)

When Elizabeth is done with Mrs. Tanzi’s surgery, Mark asks how she would feel about letting Rachel move in. He’s sure she would help out around the house and provide free babysitting. Elizabeth figures that Mark has already told her she can stay, so her opinion doesn’t really matter. Except we all know Elizabeth is the boss in this relationship, so if she said no, Mark would listen. Anyway, Rachel gets to stay, and we’ll all suffer the consequences.

Dave is finishing up his shift, and Weaver isn’t happy about it. He knows that if she really wanted to fire him, she would have to go through review and disciplinary committees, which would inevitably refer him for counseling instead of terminating him. Weaver points out that he has five letters in his file for unprofessional behavior and has been counseled for those five instances. He’s also failed two rotations. She might not be able to fire him outright, but she can make sure he can’t work in the ER anymore.

Dave thinks Weaver has it out for him because he doesn’t suck up to her. He knows he goofs around, but he’s also a good doctor. He thinks this is about her not liking him, not his performance. Weaver confirms that she doesn’t like him – he doesn’t respect his co-workers or the hospital. He thinks he’s a cowboy about medicine, but he can’t back it up. He makes mistakes that kill people.

The writers decide to throw in a dab of character background in some of Dave’s last minutes on screen: He tells Weaver he needs the job because he has a child to support. This is news to her, since he’s never mentioned being a father. Dave notes that she’s never asked about his personal life. Weaver repeats that he’s fired. He rants that she’s sad and cold-hearted, and no one likes her. The ER is so important to her because she has nothing else in her life. He ends the fight by calling her a “Nazi [gay slur I won’t repeat].” And thus Dave ends his last speaking appearance by losing all the sympathy he’d been building up.

Thoughts: Don’t cry for me because Dave is leaving. Rejoice with me because soon we’ll have Gallant.

’00s music alert: Cake’s “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”

“Too broken to fix?” “It was more like a crack.” Those familiar with later seasons of the show might agree that this exchange about Luka’s aquarium is a metaphor for his relationship with Abby. Okay, I’ll stop talking like an English major now.

Mark calls Dave and Niki’s romp in the ambulance an “unauthorized physical.” Funny, when Mark and Jen got caught doing the same thing in a bathroom, I said she was “giving him a physical.”

4 Comments »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    Ah, Benton, failing to perceive the clear emotional distress that Jackie’s dealing with if it means she might possibly somehow be able to take care of Reese and let him go do his job. He is such a selfish prick about pretty much everything. It’s interesting to see how Cleo is not really a factor in caring for Reese at all anymore even with Carla out of the picture. I admire the fact that they have let Cleo maintain her independence from Peter’s problems in favor of keeping her own place and not just moving right in with him (or him in with her) right off the bat like other characters have done in the past. But I feel like it would have been good for Reese to have Cleo in his life more now that Carla’s gone, and it doesn’t seem like that was introduced either.

    The Dr. Dave/EMT Niki storyline was serviceable to give Weaver a reason to shitcan his ass, but he does have some skills in a crisis. Too bad his people skills are terrible. He probably would have made a great EMT but isn’t professional enough to be a physician. Maybe a small-town country doc with dreams of the big city but a lovely brunette ambulance driver in the small town captures his heart… wait a minute…

    Ah, Rachel, back again. Yay. You can tell how thrilled Elizabeth is about the idea. I mean, then again, it’s Season 8 Elizabeth so nothing is going to please her anymore. What a great opportunity to have her meet Jen for the first time! Too bad we never saw that one. Mark not talking to Elizabeth first about having Rachel move in with them was pretty disrespectful, I have to say. It’s her house too.

    Romano telling Weaver to find a scapegoat makes sense from a business aspect but man, that is shitty as hell. Weaver fucked up majorly but trying to replace her would be really difficult, whereas finding new residents is a helluva lot easier.

    I don’t quite understand why neither Dave nor Chen ever went to Mark with the problem they were facing with Weaver, including why she went missing for a lengthy amount of time when there was a backlog of patients. Nobody seems to go to Mark for support on things except maybe Abby these days. It’s a little odd since he’s an attending, but it’s not like they’re going to Luka either and he’s an attending too.

    The part where Romano signs to Reese “Take care of your father” (super cute by the way) — was that shown in closed caption? I only found out what he was saying from someone in an ER forum. Lovely little scene, though, especially after Romano was sarcastic about Benton having to go take care of his family.

    Maybe if Abby had taken the mature route and just told Luka she accidentally broke his aquarium in the first place none of that stupid Carter storyline would have happened and we’d all be the better for it.

    • Jenn said,

      I took sign classes in high school and remember just enough to understand what Romano signed to Reese.

  2. Lassie said,

    I’m re-watching every episode on cable tv (ER is on 7 hours a day!), and I, for one, LIKED Dave. Kerry is such a b-word (and I understand her character, really, why she is) that I can’t blame him for calling her a name.

    • bustakita said,

      I agree. Weaver didn’t really care about anyone but herself until she met Sandy. She would throw anybody under the bus to save her own ass. And Yes I get that she was the chief of the ER and an authority figure that was due respect at all times, but she didn’t have to be so cold and uncaring except a few times her kindness shown through which were few and far between. Weaver still could have shown some humanity like Anspaugh did. (Speaking of Anspaugh, as great of a character was, WHY did he even give that position to that evil tyrant Romano.) And I have to say it again that while I don’t like Weaver AT ALL, it was quite shitty how they carried her through all that drama and interviews and the indecision for what seemed like forever…just to go ahead and give her the position they knew she could do effectively and knew just how she would and could run the ER yet proof positive and yet just handed Romano his position without a second thought or blink and that is because she was a woman – let’s keep it real.


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