March 9, 2021

ER 8.5, Start All Over Again: Everyone’s Having a Horrible Day (Well, Maybe Not Rachel)

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn

Things between these two are about to get really weird

Summary: Susan is reporting for her first shift back at County since moving back to Chicago. Weaver is coolly professional with her, but Malik and Haleh are happy to work with her again. Cleo hands over some patients from her night shift and watches closely as Benton and Susan catch up. Classic Cleo. She’s on her way out of County, though – she’s taken a job running a pediatric urgent care 40 minutes away.

The morning is a little chaotic at Mark and Elizabeth’s house, and Rachel’s presence doesn’t help. She rushes off to school with a boy named Andrew, who Mark knows nothing about. Susan jumps right back into things at County, trying to treat a guy named Mr. Ashman who accuses her of being a pervert just because she wants him to change into a gown. Mark’s a little amused.

Carter brings a couple of med students through the ER, “babysitting” them as part of his new position as chief resident. Susan tries to get Abby’s attention by calling her Nurse, since she doesn’t know Abby’s name. Carter introduces them, and Susan asks Abby to do some nurse-like things for her. Paramedics bring in a man named Howard who passed out unexpectedly. Carter takes the lead, even though Susan outranks him.

One of the med students, Mooney, tends to a patient with chest pain, giving him three sprays of nitroglycerin. He’s not supposed to get that much at once, and his heart protests the medicine. Luckily, Abby’s there to fix things. Susan tells Carter that the last time she saw him, he could barely start an IV, and now here he is, running traumas. Abby lets him know that Mooney gave the three nitro sprays all at once instead of over the course of five minutes. She cleaned up the mess, but Carter needs to keep a better eye on his students. You’d think he would have learned that lesson with Lucy.

Mark and Chuny rush a gurney out to a car in the ambulance bay, where a man named Alan is unconscious. Chuny finds bruising on the man’s body. Susan goes over the now-comatose Howard’s lab work with his brother while a maintenance worker does something loud to a light in the ceiling above them. This…couldn’t wait? Howard’s lab work doesn’t show what’s wrong with him, so Susan asks his brother if Howard has ever seen a psychiatrist. They narrowly miss being hit by something falling from the ceiling. Susan tells Howard’s brother that Howard seems to be faking his coma. She also promises to move him to a quieter room.

Benton and Weaver join Mark to take care of Alan, who apparently was hit by a car. His daughter, Tracy, says she didn’t see exactly what happened. Alan regains consciousness and murmurs something about her not seeing him. Tracy cries and apologizes, then runs out of the trauma room. It doesn’t take a detective to figure out that Tracy must have accidentally hit her father with her car.

Elizabeth chats with a patient named Mrs. Wilson and her daughter April while determining that Mrs. Wilson needs surgery. April asks if the operation can wait a few days, since her mother’s so weak right now. Elizabeth says that’s not a good idea. Mrs. Wilson asks if Elizabeth would recommend the operation for her own mother. That’s probably not a good question, considering Elizabeth’s tense relationship with her mother, but we won’t tell Mrs. Wilson that.

Susan grabs Elizabeth to talk about Mr. Ashman, since he’s insisting on speaking to her. Elizabeth thinks he’s a drug-seeking hypochondriac, and she doesn’t want to deal with him until Susan’s examined him. Susan is sure that Mr. Ashman will complain of post-op pain so he can go up the chain and talk to Elizabeth. She then asks Abby to do some more nurse-like things, which Abby doesn’t seem interested in, even though it’s, you know, her job.

Good news: Howard is awake. Bad news: His brother is beating him with the metal pole of an IV stand. Worse news: His brother isn’t his brother. He’s an enforcer for a loan shark. Weaver tells Tracy that Alan may need surgery for a pelvic injury. It had to have been sustained when the car hit him and crushed him against something. Tracy admits that she thought she was in reverse but instead drove forward and pressed him into a wall.

Abby asks Carter if Susan has always been so high-maintenance. Carter denies that she is. He totally has a crush on Susan, by the way. Elizabeth finally comes to the ER check on Mr. Ashman, but before she can start, she gets called to the ICU. Susan’s next patient is Amal, a teen with abdominal pain. She insists that she has to be home in two hours, no matter what.

Mark sends Alan to surgery with Benton, then talks to a cop who wants to find out if Tracy had been drinking before she hit her father. She hasn’t been arrested yet, so Mark is hesitant. He thinks she deserves a break since her father’s in bad condition. The cop is like, “Yeah, she put him in that condition.” Mark won’t draw Tracy’s blood, so the cop says he’ll find someone else to do it. Weaver compromises, saying they’ll draw Tracy’s blood once Alan is out of surgery.

Amal is pregnant, and though she wants to have an abortion, Susan thinks she should take some time and consider her options. Amal says that she has to be a virgin on her wedding day. If her parents find out she’s had sex, they’ll send her to their home country. Susan discovers that Amal has an ectopic pregnancy, which means she’ll need surgery immediately. Amal thinks her mandatory family dinner is more important, so she’ll risk a ruptured fallopian tube and possibly bleeding to death. Susan gets her to agree to stay while Susan handles another situation.

Luka meets Susan when they team up to tend to a woman named Mrs. Gadasco who’s having seizures. Susan is unfamiliar with the anti-seizure medications County stocks, so Luka tells her they have to come up with a plan B for what Susan wanted to do. Elizabeth is unable to revive the ICU patient she was summoned to help, and Romano notes that this is her third post-op death in a week. Not that he’s keeping track.

Back in the ER, Susan speaks to Mr. Gadasco about medications his wife might be taking. The couple only speaks Spanish, but Susan knows enough to communicate with Mr. G. She realizes that Mrs. G. accidentally overdosed on her medication because the label is in English. She was supposed to take a pill once a day, but “once” in Spanish is 11, so she took 11 times the prescribed amount.

Carter’s other med student, Stanley, grabs him and Abby to help with the patient Mooney almost killed. Carter lets Stanley shock the man, but Stanley forgets to say “clear” to make sure no one’s touching the patient during the shock. The patient’s arm shoots out and smacks Carter in a very painful, unfortunate part of his anatomy. Man down! Man down! The good news is that the patient’s okay.

Mrs. G. is still seizing, but Susan and Luka have used up all the medicine they have available to stop the seizures. Susan tells Yosh to call around to other hospitals to try to get more. Benton and Romano are scrubbing in for Alan’s surgery when Roger calls to talk to Benton. Alan starts crashing, so Benton has to keep Roger on hold. In the ER, Susan and Luka realize that they won’t be able to save Mrs. G. Susan volunteers to give her husband the news. Luka compliments Susan on figuring out what was wrong, not that it did any good.

Carter’s still in some pain, but he’s doing better than his patient who keeps throwing up. Stanley, who studied alternative medicine in Hong Kong, offers to try a muscle energy technique on Carter, but Carter would like to keep his distance from Stanley. Roger shows up in the OR while Benton’s operating, frantic because he doesn’t know where Reese is. Roger was supposed to pick him up from school; when he wasn’t there, Roger thought Benton must have gotten him. Did he…not ask the teacher who picked Reese up? Benton tells him to call Carla’s mother.

Mr. Ashman is feeling better, thanks to some water he drank. It was water provided by the woman who keeps throwing up, so that probably won’t last. Susan is upset to learn that Amal left and no on mentioned her departure to Susan. Abby points out that she didn’t say anything about Amal needing to stay. As Susan is trying to track her down, Millicent reluctantly comes to the ER. Her driver reports that she fainted. Susan doesn’t know who Millicent is and tries to send her to the waiting area. She’s embarrassed when she realizes she just blew off Carter’s grandmother.

As Elizabeth finishes Mrs. Wilson’s surgery and sends her to post-op observation, a woman named Carmen comes to speak to her from the hospital’s infection-control department. Elizabeth’s third patient death of the week has triggered an investigation, and Elizabeth needs to have cultures taken to see if she’s carrying an infection that she’s passing to her patients. Elizabeth says she doesn’t have time, since she has another patient to tend to. Carmen warns that Elizabeth’s surgical privileges could be revoked if she doesn’t cooperate. Plus, Romano and Anspaugh have approved the investigation.

Susan doesn’t know how to convince Amal to come back to the hospital, so Mark tells her to lie to Amal’s parents and say she needs surgery for an ovarian cyst. Susan hopes that Amal will just come back on her own. Weaver tries to show some sympathy toward Susan after Mrs. G.’s death, but her robotic nature makes it difficult. Frank interrupts the conversation to report that Tracy’s blood work is back, and she was just over the legal limit when she hit Alan with her car. Weaver asks Susan to do some of the nurse-like jobs on her own, since they’re short-staffed.

Mark asks Susan to cover the last hour of his shift; Elizabeth is stuck in surgery and someone needs to relieve the nanny. Roger returns to the OR, having been unable to figure out where Reese is. Benton tells him to call the police. He wants to leave the OR to look for his son, but Alan is unstable and Romano thinks he’ll die if Benton doesn’t keep his hands exactly where they are.

Millicent insists she’s fine and she just got dizzy because she didn’t eat lunch. Carter thinks she might be depressed in the wake of her husband’s death. Millicent says she just misses him; she doesn’t need therapy or anything like that. She has a lot of things to do. Carter wants to keep her overnight so they can monitor her heart, but Millicent doesn’t want to put off her responsibilities.

Susan calls Amal’s house, pretending to be a school friend with a homework question. Her parents won’t let her come to the phone while they’re having dinner. Yosh reminds her that she still hasn’t told Mr. G. about his wife’s death. In a scene totally in Spanish, with no subtitles, Susan tells Mr. G. that his wife had a heart attack, and they tried for two hours to save her, but she died. Mr. G. is furious about the label miscommunication; his wife thought she was following her doctor’s directions. All Susan can say is that she’s sorry.

Elizabeth gets a bunch of body parts swabbed, sarcastically asking if Carmen wants a sample of her breast milk, too. Actually, Carmen does. As soon as Benton’s done with Alan, he brushes off Tracy and takes over the search for Reese. Weaver realizes that Amal left the hospital without Susan’s knowledge, and that Susan hasn’t been able to get her to return. Susan says she’s trying to protect Amal from her parents, so she can’t do much. She asks Weaver to trust her judgment. Yeah, not going to happen.

Benton makes some calls, trying to find anyone who might have gotten Reese from school. Roger complains that he has too many people on his list of approved caregivers. Better too many than too few, right? Anyway, Reese is fine, and it turns out he’s been with Jackie. Apparently Reese bit a girl at school (Reese, no!), and when the school couldn’t reach Benton, they called Jackie. She left Benton a message he didn’t get. So why didn’t someone tell Roger that Jackie had already gotten Reese when Roger went to the school?

Jackie’s surprised that it was Roger’s day to pick up Reese. They’ve been hanging out two days a week. Jackie says that Reese’s teacher wants to know if he’s having problems at home. Uh, yeah, his mom just died. Roger thinks Jackie is making a dig at him for not providing more stability. Reese wasn’t getting in fights when he lived with Carla and Roger. Benton suggests that Reese just stay with him for a little while.

Millicent has decided she’s given County enough of her time, so she’s leaving. Carter begs her to stay so they can make sure she’s not at risk for a heart attack or stroke. She refuses, so Carter asks her driver to check in on her later in the evening. Susan feels bad about not being nicer to Millicent, but Carter promises it’s okay. He complains that his grandmother never takes him seriously. Susan still hasn’t talked to Amal, and is going to give her a little longer to come back on her own. She’s starting to regret coming back to County.

The two of them work together to deliver a baby. The mother’s bed suddenly starts rising, so Abby thinks Susan accidentally stepped on a pedal that raises the frame. Instead, the mother’s amniotic fluid has leaked onto the switch and shorted out the electronics. The bed continues going up until it’s too high for the doctors to reach, so Susan grabs a ladder from the maintenance guy who was working on the lights in the trauma room. She and Abby joke that Carter used to be in the circus, so he’s very qualified to deliver a baby high up. Other than that, everything goes fine with the delivery.

Alan didn’t survive surgery, and Tracy is distraught at the thought that she accidentally killed her father. The cop adds insult to injury by trying to arrest her. Weaver asks him to let Tracy see her father’s body first, I guess so she can take that memory with her to jail. Rachel hasn’t called for a ride home from the party she went to after school, and Mark is starting to get that parenting a teenager takes work. When she gets home, she complains that her father wants to know things like where she is and who she’s with. She says it would be easier to keep in touch if she had a cell phone.

Amal finally comes back to County, having had to wait until her parents weren’t paying attention so she could sneak out of the house. Susan has to get Amal’s chart from Weaver, who’s on the phone in the lounge. Susan thinks Weaver is calling Amal’s house, so she hangs up the phone. Weaver was actually making a personal call in an attempt to find her birth mother. The lead she got from her PI is wrong yet again. Freaking A, Weaver, stop listening to that guy. He sucks.

Thoughts: Vondie Curtis-Hall (Roger) directed this episode.

They’re setting up Abby and Susan to be rivals, so I’m happy that that’s not what ends up happening. Other than Weaver’s relationships with her co-workers, the show is very good at establishing female friendships instead of perpetrating the stereotype that women are always competitive with each other.

I’ve always liked that Susan’s scene with Mr. G. is all in Spanish with no subtitles. The actors make the situation clear even if you don’t understand them. (Credit my high school Spanish classes for my ability to translate.)

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I found this a strangely fun episode, mainly because it’s been awhile since we’ve seen the ER through a ‘new’ character’s eyes. Susan being a veteran of the ER made it much more interesting because we see how the various characters react and interact with her. Cleo treated her the best of all of them, which is typical because it looks like they’re writing Michael Michele out of the series, so why not create this instant professional friendship for Cleo with a new doc and then abandon it completely! Abby was rightfully salty about being expected to do some of the scut work, Elizabeth was… as friendly as we’ve come to expect of her this season, Weaver was a little bit less rigid with her than she had been in the past, Luka sort of doubted her skillset until he saw her in action so that was fun, and Carter was showing off which was very amusing til Abby finally called him out on it. I hadn’t thought of the resulting impact of a new woman in Carter’s orbit on the way Abby viewed him. She seemed a little bemused and maybe a little jealous. Carter always had a crush on Susan even back in the day! But now that she’s back and he’s more confident in his skills and can puff out his chest a bit about things, the coupling… still grosses me out and I hate this particular story arc for them. I can’t get past the gossippy rumors of how Noah Wyle treated Sherry Stringfield the first time around.

    The storyline with the law school daughter hitting her father with the car was so sad. That actress really nailed the last scene with Weaver after she finds out she accidentally killed her dad.

    Susan’s loan shark storyline was jarring. The guy who played the enforcer was intense as hell from the get-go. Nice that security was once again nowhere to be found as this guy’s getting beaten to a pulp right there in the ER.

    The Amal storyline was immediately distressing, but even more so was Susan’s casual attitude about it all. I guess this is another storyline that doesn’t age all that well, because I think most docs nowadays would recognize the actual danger she’s in, like even possibly a potential honor killing situation. I wish they’d said what country she’s from, but we can all guess at that one.

    Loved the TB medication overdose storyline, only because it’s so damn believable. Once… once. Again, here’s hoping with the benefit of 20 years of hindsight, prescription meds aren’t using that word on the label anymore.

    When Elizabeth got the nasopharyngeal swab I almost squealed. *Everybody* knows what that’s like now!

    The Reese-needs-some-major-stability storyline continues to arc nicely. I know it takes a village to raise a child, but it seems like Benton never made any actual efforts to hire a real nanny for him. Or wait, I guess that actually came up briefly last episode as he was having a hard time finding a nanny who could sign. Again, Cleo is never even brought up as an option here, not that being a nanny is anything she’d want to do. But she’s his girlfriend, right? Why isn’t she on the approved caregiver list? Or even mentioned? Why wouldn’t Peter even consider taking some time off from work to resolve the situation? And suddenly Jackie’s all parental with Reese though she ignored Peter’s call last episode, and now she’s up in Roger’s business, as if he hasn’t been one of the most present consistent parent figures in Reese’s life in recent years? The bedroom that Carla and Roger had for Reese was really, really nice in the last episode and I’m glad they kind of spotlighted it when Peter came by.

    “That’s okay, I guess you’re only rude to strangers.” Millicent bringing the FIRE!

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