March 2, 2021

ER 8.4, Never Say Never: Just When You Think You’re Out of the ER, They Pull You Back In

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:56 pm by Jenn

Susan’s back and I’m excited!

Summary: When we last saw Susan Lewis, she was leaving Chicago on a train. It’s only fitting that when we see her again for the first time in five years, she’s getting off a train. She arrives at County on a busy day, and there’s been so much turnover since she left that no one on call recognizes her. Frank even thinks she’s a patient. Luka barely acknowledges her, instead complaining to Abby that her “aquatic mischief” killed his angel fish.

Finally, someone recognizes Susan – a former patient named Ralph. She treated him after he was electrocuted while working on something in the hospital. While he’s made a full recovery, he now has trouble with static cling and says it’s ruining his life. Another patient tries to get some attention by flashing Susan, but she’s unimpressed. She looks down at his junk and sighs, “Is that all?”

After a while, the nurses recognize Susan and catch up with her. They also catch us up on some things that have been happening off-screen. Apparently Carol never came back to Chicago after she went to see Doug. She sent for the girls and they all live in Seattle now. You mean someone on this show got a happy ending? Amazing! Susan is surprised to see that Weaver’s still at County. Haleh tells her Weaver’s in charge now.

Weaver thinks Susan’s in town for a conference, but she’s actually interviewing for a job in the area and has stopped by to have lunch with Mark. Mark is currently trying to save a patient with Elizabeth, who knows he and Susan have kept in touch but didn’t know they were going to have lunch. Dude, Mark, you have to tell your wife that you’re having lunch with a female friend you once had feelings for. You especially have to tell your wife when that wife is Elizabeth.

Carter is examining a woman who has a lot of medical complaints and needs Carter to take care of all of them (and touch her in inappropriate places). Abby is still pressing him to sort out his future, and she thinks he should accept Weaver’s offer of shift work. Carter is instead eyeing a tenure-track position at Northwestern. Abby doubts that he wants to vault from that into teaching, even if it comes with job security. She thinks he would have already accepted the job if he really wanted it.

Chen asks Weaver if there’s anything she should know about an upcoming meeting with Romano and risk management. She guesses it’s about Paul’s death. Weaver says it’s normal procedure for the in-house legal team, and Paul’s family hasn’t filed a wrongful-death suit (yet), so she doesn’t need to worry. Chen is understandably concerned that, since Dave was fired, her job is also at risk. Weaver tells her Dave was fired for other reasons.

Carter and Abby treat a man who thinks he was bitten by a spider, which he helpfully brought with him. They think he was actually bitten by a flea. Nicole shows up, needing stitches in her finger, and really, really wants to see Luka. Carter guesses that Nicole is a sore spot for Abby and is amused by the situation.

He’s less amused when his patient releases the spider he brought in, since it’s apparently not dangerous. Carter goes looking for it at the admit desk and is under it when Susan sees him. He realizes she’s interviewing for the same job at Northwestern that he wants. She’s surprised that he’s not chief resident at County.

Weaver confronts Romano for not telling her ahead of time that Chen’s going to be interviewed by risk management. She wants to be present, but Romano says she needs to keep her distance. If Chen has nothing to hide, then Weaver has nothing to worry about. Weaver wears him down, though I think it’s more that Romano says she can come so she’ll stop bugging him.

Mark and Elizabeth are still working on their patient, so he ducks out to tell Susan they need a little more time before lunch. But Haleh needs him for another patient, so Susan decides to come back and hang out after her interview. Mark goes to treat a six-year-old named Kenny, who has a genetic disorder that patients normally succumb to as babies. He has a bowel obstruction, so Elizabeth determines that he needs surgery. His parents can’t handle watching him suffer anymore, and they ask Elizabeth to give him medication that will end his life.

Weaver gets Chen for the meeting, trying again to reassure her that there’s nothing to worry about. Elizabeth tells Kenny’s parents that he’s been given something for the pain, but not what they requested. They guess that Elizabeth thinks they’re horrible people. They’re just exhausted from having a child who needs around-the-clock care.

Abby assists Luka as he treats Nicole’s injury. She goes to get something from the next exam room and shares a quiet laugh with Chuny over Luka’s clear attraction to his patient. Nicole tells him that her boss fired her and threatened to create problems over her immigration status. Abby and Chuny silently mock her with fake tears. Very mature, ladies.

Price asks Chen questions about Paul’s care, and Weaver basically acts as her attorney. Price is curious about how Chen got involved in the case, since she wasn’t an attending at the time, just a resident (she’s been made an attending since then). Weaver says that she was given the authority of an attending while she finished up the last days of her residency. I’m not sure how that works, since Chen barely qualified to be chief resident, but okay.

Price says that if Chen wasn’t board-eligible to be an attending, she wasn’t technically authorized to approve the treatment Paul was given. That decision should have been made by Weaver. Weaver thinks the five days remaining in Chen’s residency aren’t enough to disqualify her from knowing the best course of treatment for the patient. Price asks where Weaver was, and Chen reports that Weaver wasn’t in the hospital. She paged Weaver three times and didn’t receive a response.

Weaver says she never got a page, and besides, Chen could have come to get her. Chen didn’t know where she was, but Carter did (though how was Chen supposed to know that?). Either way, Weaver blames the hospital – the cafeteria is closed in the middle of the night, so she had to leave to get a meal. Romano decides Chen’s part of the meeting is over and lets her go but asks Weaver to stay behind. Chen’s future is now in the hands of a woman who’s trying to cover up her own mistake.

Luka calls a lawyer friend to help Nicole with her visa situation. Abby silently judges him. Chen tells Carter that she thought Weaver was going to protect her in the meeting, but instead she protected herself. Carter thinks Weaver’s trying to protect both of them. He has a maintenance worker looking for the spider, which is definitely not that guy’s job. Make the patient look for the spider. Carter tells Chen that Weaver will have to defend Chen, since she was Weaver’s choice for chief resident.

Paramedics bring in a man named Mr. Warshaw who was impaled on a branch or piece of fence when he fell off his roof while trying to get free cable. Wow, instant karma, huh? Elizabeth sends Kenny to surgery, and his parents say they’ll wait in the cafeteria until there’s news. She has a brief chat with Benton, commiserating over how tired they both are because of their parenting responsibilities. Benton then goes to the ER to tend to Mr. Warshaw. For some reason, his wife has brought their young daughter into the exam room. Congratulations, you’ve just scarred your child for life!

Romano discusses Chen’s work history with Weaver and Price; Price thinks she shows a pattern of making poor decisions and needs to be fired before she kills anyone else. Weaver disagrees, then asks how big a deal it is that Chen wasn’t an attending when she treated Paul. Romano thinks she’s going to pin everything on Chen so her own errors don’t have to be brought up. Weaver asks how much support she’ll get from higher-ups if she doesn’t let the buck stop here. Romano says Paul’s family probably won’t be satisfied if she blames everything on Dave and pretends that’s why he was fired.

Mr. Warshaw is stable and ready for surgery, but he doesn’t want it. He wants to die, and he wants it to look like an accident. As Benton tries to convince him that his family needs him more than they need his life-insurance payout, Mr. W. jerks the thing he’s impaled on around to try to cause more damage. Dude, that’s not going to make it look like an accident. Benton has to pull some fancy move right there in the pre-op room to stabilize him before they can move him to an OR.

Romano brings in a photographer to take pictures of Kenny while Elizabeth operates on him. She’s annoyed that they’re turning him into a sideshow. Romano thinks Kenny’s parents are monsters for keeping him alive this long. What are they supposed to do, stop taking care of him? I think that’s called murder. Benton operates on Mr. W. while simultaneously trying to find someone to pick up Reese, since Joanie is having car trouble and can’t do it. He calls Jackie and leaves a message asking her to get Reese. She hears the message but doesn’t pick up the phone.

Elizabeth goes looking for Kenny’s parents after his operation, but they haven’t come to the surgical floor. Susan returns from her interview, which didn’t go well, not least because the interviewer asked her out. Susan, sue the hospital for harassment and retire like a queen! Mark tells her County is looking for an attending, so she should apply there. Susan notes that Weaver didn’t say anything when they talked that morning.

She notices Mark’s scar from his brain surgery, which he never told her about. He thinks he’s justified, since she never told him about her engagement. (She says it wasn’t really an engagement, and it’s over anyway.) Susan wants to move back to Chicago since Chloe and her family moved away from Arizona, and Susan saw no reason to stay. Elizabeth comes in looking for Kenny’s parents, but they’re not there. She shortly declines Susan’s offer of coffee, since she’s breastfeeding.

Benton is still trying to arrange child care for Reese while he operates on Mr. W. Without any other options, Benton has a nurse call Roger, who agrees to pick up Reese. Luka and Abby work together to treat a combative little boy named John Thomas who got hurt playing on his dad’s boat. His mother tries to bribe him into being good, but John Thomas won’t accept her offers. Finally she threatens to tell his father he was playing on his boat without permission. “I’ll tell Grandma you were playing with Daddy’s penis!” John Thomas yells. Luka’s amused and Abby almost loses it. The ice between them has finally been broken.

Elizabeth is still looking for Kenny’s parents and the maintenance worker is still looking for the spider. Weaver tells Chen that despite her efforts to oppose the decision, Chen is being put on probation for a year and might be suspended without pay for a month. Chen can’t believe her guide-wire mistake as an intern is being brought up all these years later. In addition, Chen has to step down as chief resident.

Chen asks if Weaver has to give up anything as punishment. Weaver says her actions aren’t being scrutinized here. This is just a temporary setback, and Chen will be able to keep moving forward. Chen asks straight out if Weaver had her pager on her the night Paul died. She knows Weaver isn’t sorry about the consequences Chen is facing – she’s relieved she’s not the one facing them. Chen tells her to go to Hell and announces that she quits.

Weaver gives the news to Mark, who’s annoyed that Weaver keeps firing/driving away employees. Weaver says she’s as angry about the situation as Mark is, but unlike him, she doesn’t have anyone to complain to. Mark tells her he wants to rehire Susan to take Chen’s place. Kenny’s parents have disappeared, and Elizabeth thinks the paperwork they filled out was all fake. They always planned to dump Kenny there and take off. Elizabeth is sympathetic, but Romano argues that being a parent means accepting all challenges that come your way.

Mr. W. didn’t survive, but all his wife can think about is why he wanted to get them cable so badly. Nicole returns to the hospital with homemade cookies for Luka to thank him for contacting a lawyer for her. She offers one to Carter, who says he would never touch Luka’s cookies. Carter is having more fun than anyone in this entire episode, and it only gets better for him: With Chen gone, he’s now the best candidate for chief resident. Weaver wishes she’d chosen him in the first place, and she admires how he’s handled his addiction and recovery. The spider interrupts the conversation, and Weaver kills it with her crutch.

Mark finds Susan’s old lab coat in a closet and gives it back to her. She’s hesitant to come back to work there, but Mark has basically already accepted the job on her behalf. Benton goes to Roger’s to get Reese, but he’s already in bed and wants to stay there for the night. Roger is happy to have him stay. Back at County, Dave makes his final appearance of the series as he cleans out his locker in the lounge. Weaver comes in but they don’t say anything to each other.

On the roof, Chen complains to Carter that she always knew Weaver was capable of this sort of thing, but Chen never expected to be one of her victims. She encourages Carter to take the chief-residency position; better him than someone else. Carter tells her she can take the open position at Northwestern. Chen asks him to promise that any sacrifice he makes for County is worth it. Elsewhere, Weaver goes to a lesbian bar but doesn’t interact with anyone except the bartender. It’s so lonely being a cold, robotic taskmaster!

Thoughts: Ralph has a sock stuck to the back of his uniform when he talks to Susan. He looks like the monster in Monsters Inc. who triggers a lockdown.

Dear writers: You’ve done the escaped-animal plot before. Cut it out.

This is also your third character named Kenny or Kenneth who’s a child with a genetic disorder. Maybe all Kenneths in Chicago are cursed. (Don’t forget Kenny Law.)

’00s music alert: “Everybody Got Their Something” by Nikka Costa

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    The Mark and Susan and Elizabeth storyline/triangle thing was so predictable. Of course he didn’t mention to Elizabeth that they were having lunch. Of course Elizabeth is going to be cool towards Susan off the bat. I don’t think they would have gotten along anyway (maybe with Pre-Season-8 Elizabeth but not now) but it’s fun to watch Susan react to her. Not so fun to continue to see Elizabeth act like a total bitch.

    Poor Julie Delpy. She deserves so much better than this stupid little sad-sack role. The Chuny/Abby thing was so childish and dumb and I kind of wish Luka would have ripped the curtain back, or at least ripped those two a new asshole for being so unprofessional. At least Carter is amused with her but doesn’t condescend to her (too much, that is).

    You know the entire reason Weaver was pushing Romano about the risk management meeting was to cover her own ass. I wonder how things might have transpired if Weaver hadn’t participated, as was the original intention. Diane Leeds would have been great in this scene too.

    That storyline with the poor bastard who jumped off the roof and tried to make it look like a cable accident so his family would get the life insurance money was horrifically sad. But maybe equally sad was the Kenny storyline. The parents did look genuinely exhausted and completely beside themselves. I couldn’t stop seeing the mother as her drunken lout character from A River Runs Through It, though, sunburnt ass and all.


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