March 30, 2021

ER 8.8, Partly Cloudy, Chance of Rain: Power Struggle

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:55 pm by Jenn

The set people did a good job of making this look like a real disaster

Summary: It’s raining in Chicago. A lot. County’s staff is supposed to gather for a surprise goodbye party for Cleo, but no one seems particularly excited about it. Most of them are busy, and Lily’s annoyed that she can’t find some money she was sure was in her purse. Frank and Haleh try to keep everyone at the admit desk for the party, but they all have stuff to do (and obviously don’t care much about Cleo).

Weaver meets Gallant, who asks about a warning letter he received for missing something called Journal Club. Sounds like something for preteen girls, but obviously it has to do with med school. Weaver doesn’t care about his excuse that he had another commitment until he explains that it was for his Army Reserve duty. She lets him off the hook and tells him to just review someone’s notes about what he missed.

Frank gives Benton a package from a genetics lab. Frank doesn’t know about Benton’s paternity test, so he wonders if Benton is having himself cloned. Benton heads to the lounge for some privacy and runs into Nicole, who seems to be doing something she doesn’t want anyone to see. As soon as she leaves, Benton tears into the test results. He’s not happy with what he reads.

Mark is fighting with a patient about whether the patient was completely forthcoming when Mark asked his history. Mark asked him about heart disease, but the patient apparently didn’t think his heart attack fell into that category. He only had one, and his angioplasty fixed him, so why mention it? Idiot. Also, when he had chest pain that morning, he went to work instead of seeing a doctor. Double idiot. Susan chastises Mark for his poor bedside manner and suggests that he get out of the ER.

Abby tells Mark that a medevac helicopter is bringing in a patient who nearly drowned. The storm kept them from going to a children’s hospital instead. Cleo finally makes it to the admit desk, where her ice cream cake has melted, thanks to the delay. Also, no one’s there for the party because they’re all working. It’s for the best, really, since the cake is mint chocolate, which Cleo hates. Susan advises her to stick around, even though her shift is over, since everyone wants to say goodbye to her.

Susan and Carter do their version of flirting, and we learn that they haven’t talked since they almost kissed. Weaver is waiting for a stabbing victim to be brought in, and she takes Gallant out to the ambulance bay with her to wait for the ambulance bringing in the patient. Gallant has known Weaver for all of ten seconds and already gets that this isn’t going to be a fun working relationship.

Mark and Abby go to the roof to meet the helicopter in the pouring rain. Abby distinctly remembers the weatherman saying that morning that the forecast was “partly cloudy, chance of rain.” Their patient is 12-year-old Daniel, who fell into the river with his younger brother, Joey. A rescue team is still looking for Joey.

Meanwhile, Weaver and Gallant wonder where their patient is. He gallantly (forgive me) offers to get her a jacket while they wait. She makes small talk, asking about his military experience. Since Gallant did a year of active duty, Weaver guesses he’s used to chaos. Gallant tells her that the ER is “a whole different kind of crazy.” (Also, this was 2001, so he probably didn’t see much action.)

Benton demands a meeting with his lawyer, who told him not to fight Roger’s custody suit. He tells Cleo that he’s not Reese’s biological father, and while he doesn’t care about that, he knows Roger is going to try to use that against him. Cleo wants to go with him to see the lawyer, party or no party. As they leave, Cleo tells Weaver she’ll call the staff later to say goodbye.

An ambulance finally arrives, but instead of Weaver and Gallant’s patient, it’s transporting a woman named Jill who was the victim of a hit-and-run. Weaver yells at Zadro for bringing in a patient without letting them know ahead of time, and for not keeping better tabs on the patient they thought was coming in. Poor Zadro – he’s just trying to save people’s lives.

Frank finally provides some answers: The other ambulance was in an accident, and it was bad enough that the people involved have to be cut out of their vehicles. Oh, and for some added drama, the stabbing victim is pregnant. Weaver decides it’s better to go to the scene and help the patient there instead of waiting for her to get to County. She enlists Gallant to go with her.

Mark and Abby treat Daniel, who has a chest wound that’s leading to breathing problems. He just wants to know if his brother is okay. Weaver and Gallant make it to the scene of the crash, which is chaotic enough even without the rain making everything more difficult. Firefighters have to cut through the ambulance door, where Doris is stuck with a leg injury that prevents her from helping the pregnant patient. A firefighter named Sandy Lopez tells Weaver to stay back, then cuts her hand while getting through the door. Great, another patient.

Once the door is off, Zadro gets Doris out of the ambulance, and Weaver starts asking the patient, Vicki, questions. Suddenly sparks fly out of a nearby utility pole. It comes down, and Sandy grabs Weaver to pull her out of the path of its power lines. One of the lines hits the ambulance, electrocuting a firefighter who’s holding the door. Ignoring Weaver’s warning not to touch the firefighter, Gallant runs across the street and tackles him to get him off the electrified door.

Weaver and Gallant tend to the firefighter, sending Sandy to check on Vicki. Weaver chastises Gallant for his actions, but he knew he would be okay as long as his feet didn’t touch the ground. Weaver reminds him that water conducts electricity, and it’s pouring, so his logic didn’t quite hold up. Sandy returns and tells Weaver that Vicki’s okay, but the wire on the ambulance is preventing anyone from getting in to actually take care of her. Since Vicki’s in labor, she needs help ASAP.

Once Weaver and Gallant have stabilized the firefighter, Weaver joins Sandy at the ambulance. Vicki didn’t feel a shock when the ambulance was electrified, so at least she doesn’t have a third medical issue on top of her pregnancy and stab wound. Weaver determines that the baby is probably in distress, so she decides she needs to get in the ambulance. Sandy refuses to let her, since she could become another victim the first responders have to take care of. But while Sandy’s talking to someone about turning off the power to the line on the ambulance, Weaver jumps in.

Back at County, Carter tends to Jill, who was just taking her dog for a walk when she was hit by a car. Unfortunately, the dog died. Next door, Daniel is doing okay but might need surgery. He’s sure that since Joey hasn’t been found, he must have drowned. Daniel feels horrible that he made Joey go to the river; Joey was scared, but Daniel called him a baby and forced him. He wishes he’d drowned instead.

Gallant sees the electrocuted firefighter off to the hospital, then joins Weaver to help Vicki. Another utility pole falls, creating more sparks. Gallant hopes the transformer will blow and the power will go out. Imagine hoping that the electricity goes out while you’re in the middle of a crisis. In the ambulance, Weaver realizes she can’t take care of Vicki on her own. She gets Gallant to jump in, then explains to Vicki that her placenta is detaching. They’ll need to deliver the baby surgically.

Sandy and Weaver yell at each other about the power while Weaver simultaneously comes up with a plan to help Vicki. She warns that she’s an ER doctor, so she’s only trained to deliver a baby after the mother has died. The only way to save both Vicki and the baby is to do a C-section, then deal with Vicki’s internal bleeding. Weaver asks if Vicki is willing to take that risk with her. I don’t think she has a choice. Gallant hasn’t done an OB rotation yet, so he’s never even observed a C-section. At least he knows how to take Vicki’s blood pressure. He asks Weaver the last time she did a C-section, like it’s not clear she’s never done one.

Benton’s lawyer, Ms. Prager, tells him and Cleo that Roger is allowed to contest Reese’s paternity. He’s already drafting a motion for visitation, so Benton needs to resume those visits now. If he doesn’t, he’ll look like the bad guy when they get in front of a judge. Benton can’t believe that he’ll be seen as the villain when Roger is trying to take his son away. Ms. Prager tells him he needs to make it look like he’s only concerned with Reese’s well-being.

Weaver tells Sandy that she and Gallant need more light, so Sandy tells a fellow firefighter to turn on the fire truck’s brights. Weaver calmly starts Vicki’s C-section and tells Gallant how to assist her. After sending Jill for some scans, Carter teases Susan for being so sympathetic about Jill’s dog when Jill could have serious injuries. That’s no reason not to care about the dog, Carter.

Frank can’t find his Palm Pilot (aw, remember Palm Pilots?), and he’s sure someone stole it. Alger brings in Millicent, telling Carter that he found her in the driveway in the rain. She may have broken her hip. She tells Carter that it started raining while she was out driving, so she went home, but she slipped in the driveway. She was in an accident and thinks she hit a dog. Carter and Susan quickly put things together. “It was supposed to be clear. It was supposed to be sunny,” Millicent says.

Sandy gives Weaver an update on the power situation (still not off) while Weaver continues the C-section. She accidentally cuts a uterine vein, which leads to bleeding, and since they’re out of blood, that’s…bad. She tells Sandy to call County and get them prepared to take care of Vicki and the baby. The electrocuted firefighter is now at County, as are Daniel’s parents, who aren’t happy with his actions, especially since Daniel’s blood tests came back positive for marijuana.

Vicki’s baby is now out, but it will still be ten minutes or so until the power’s off and they can safely move from the ambulance. Weaver tells Gallant that he needs to get the baby to the hospital right away. Vicki is now unconscious and bleeding out, so Weaver has to work hard to save her. Gallant decides he needs to jump out of the ambulance, holding the baby, and land in a place where he won’t be electrocuted. Sandy loudly objects, but Weaver tells Gallant to go, and he’s more scared of Weaver than Sandy, so he jumps. Seconds later, the transformer blows.

Mark’s bedside manner with Daniel is a lot better than with his heart patient earlier in the evening. Daniel tells him that his father is actually his stepfather; Joey is his and his wife’s “real” kid. Daniel’s mother, Mrs. Pendry, blasts him for taking his brother to the river and never using his head. Daniel tearfully says that he should have been the one who drowned. Mrs. Pendry agrees. Yikes, someone call Adele and get Daniel placed with a nicer family.

Mark pulls Mrs. Pendry out of the room and reminds her that even though her younger son is missing, her older son still needs her. Daniel already blames himself for what happened, and Mrs. Pendry isn’t going to help by feeding those feelings. Her husband, Chris, interrupts to announce that Joey’s been found.

Benton and Cleo are giving Reese a bath when Roger shows up. He tells Benton he just wants an arrangement that recognizes that Roger has been helping to take care of Reese for most of his life. Benton refuses – he’s not letting Roger take his son. Back at County, Nicole offers to buy coffee for anyone who wants it. Mark tells Luka about Weaver and Gallant’s adventures so he can take care of the baby when Gallant arrives.

Frank hears an alarm going off and recognizes it from his Palm Pilot. He realizes it’s in Nicole’s purse. Luka tries to stop him from digging into Nicole’s bag, but when the contents fall out, it’s clear that Nicole took the Palm Pilot. Luka gives Nicole a chance to explain herself, but instead, she runs off. You know, like any innocent person would. Luka starts to go after Nicole, but Abby makes him stay since Gallant has just brought in the baby.

Vicki’s finally out of the ambulance, but she’s declining fast. Sandy stays with Weaver to help however she can. Weaver tells her to find someone to take her place, since she has a hand injury, but Sandy says she needs to control the scene. She even stays behind while Weaver transports Vicki to County in another ambulance. Don’t worry, Weaver – you’ll see her again.

Mark and Abby head back to the roof, this time to get Joey. He’s in bad shape. Millicent regrets not listening to Carter when he told her she had to stop driving. Carter tells her that she may have done more than just kill a dog. Now Millicent feels even more horrible, and she’s upset with herself for leaving the scene of the accident. Jill is back in the ER, now declining, so Carter rushes to save her (and save his grandmother from a manslaughter charge).

Daniel peeks into the trauma room where Mark is trying to revive Joey. Chris yells at him to leave, and Mark tells Chris he has to go, too. Romano isn’t happy with Weaver’s heroics, since I guess it would have been better to just let her and the baby die. As soon as Vicki’s on her way to surgery, Weaver goes to check on the baby, who’s doing fine. Unlike Romano, Chuny and Gallant think Weaver did a great job.

As Carter and Susan successfully stabilize Jill, Mark has a harder time saving Joey. He tells Abby and the rest of their team that they’re not going to let him go. As Daniel watches from the next room, they get Joey’s heart started again. Mark gives Daniel a thumbs up through the window. Abby looks outside and sees that it’s finally stopped raining.

Carter studies Millicent’s scans as she undergoes them, but he has to pull her out of the machine when she starts panicking. She tells him to call her husband so he can take her home. Carter has to remind her that John I is dead. It takes Millicent a few moments to remember that she’s at the hospital, and that she was in a car accident. But she only remembers hitting the dog, not Jill.

Luka sends Nicole off in a cab, then tells Abby that she’s struggling. Abby’s on a high after watching Mark save Joey, but it comes crashing down when Luka tells her what’s going on with Nicole: She’s pregnant. The stealing was unrelated, since she doesn’t know how to trust people. Her father kicked her out when she was 16, so she’s been on her own since then. That sends up a red flag for Abby, who probably remembers Nicole telling her that her father committed suicide when she was little. Luka laments letting their relationship get this far. Abby asks if he’s sure the baby’s his, or if Nicole is even really pregnant. Luka denies that Nicole would lie to him.

Mark lets Daniel know that, despite being practically dead for a long time, Joey seems to be fine. He tells Daniel that parents don’t always know what they’re doing, and some adults are wrong a lot. Daniel needs to remember not to listen to his parents when they tell him he’s not as good or as smart or as special as his brother. It might take them a long time to realize that themselves, and when they do, Daniel needs to be able to say that he already knew.

Gallant tells Weaver that Romano had to perform a hysterectomy on Vicki, but she’s out of surgery and doing well. Romano also warned Gallant to stay away from Weaver if he wants to survive med school, but Gallant can already tell that Romano is the person he needs to avoid. He praises Weaver for her work, saying she didn’t let on that she’d never done an emergency C-section before.

Weaver tells Gallant he should take the baby up to Vicki. She’s really proud of work – he did exactly what an ER doctor should do. Gallant admits that he was scared, and Weaver confides that she was, too. He tells her the electrocuted firefighter will also be okay, which means they saved everyone. Their presence at the scene really made a difference. Weaver tells him that some days at County are good days, so he should enjoy them when they come. As she heads home, the rain starts back up.

Thoughts: Jill is played by Amy Jo Johnson, AKA Julie on Felicity.

I’ve always felt like this episode was just another disaster story for the series, but for some reason, this time around I saw more in it. It’s almost like a redemption episode for Weaver after she’s alienated herself from her co-workers. It shows a different side of her leadership – she doesn’t just yell and give orders. She makes quick decisions and does what she thinks is best for her patients, even if it means taking risks. But then she doesn’t let them go to her head. She just did what she thought needed to be done and moved on.

I love Sandy. She takes zero crap from Weaver and won’t let her bully her way into being in charge. I don’t think Weaver ever thought someone like that existed.

Daniel’s plot is huge foreshadowing for Mark and Elizabeth’s family later in the season. Interesting that Mark has more sympathy for Daniel here than…well, you’ll see.

I like that Chuny tells Weaver, “Nice save” about the baby. Chuny isn’t a Weaver fan (no one is at this point), so it’s really nice of her to speak up.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    This was a fun one. I liked the disaster aspect (as is my usual affinity) but my favorite part was the Gallant/Weaver scenes as they played off each other perfectly. We get to see Weaver in teacher mode and Gallant is just bursting for someone to teach him something. Why isn’t Carter working with this guy at all?

    The lackluster farewell for Cleo perfectly mirrored how they treated her character throughout the series — never a primary role, never a lead, only supporting to others, primarily Peter. How fitting that her party was kind of an afterthought. I liked that she straight-up bailed on it herself, kind of like Michael Michele’s final fuck-you to the writers for wasting her character. If Peter had told her not to come with him to the lawyer meeting, she should have taken that as a sign to give a final fuck-you to him as well, but he’s actually accepting of her help with this instead of shutting her out like he does everybody else. So, kudos to him for recognizing support from someone who doesn’t have to be giving it, but wants to and chooses to because she cares about him and his child.

    Susan calling Mark out for his change in bedside manner was sorely needed. The fact that Mark asked Abby if she was right tells you that he knows he’s changed; Abby’s not the greatest judge of it either since she didn’t know what Mark was like before he got sick. Plus, she can be a little harsh herself, so her assessment was at least correct in that regard. The drowned-kid storyline was a little done (Ross did it better, IMHO) but the child actor was effective and it was nice to see the Mark of old pop up again.

    Sandy Lopez! I think I stopped watching around this season or so because none of these episodes ring a bell for me, so it’s nice to ‘meet’ her. I love her already; she’s badass as hell. Were we supposed to interpret the “sparks fly” portion of the episode as being both literal AND figurative…? That only just occurred to me now. It was nice to see Weaver nervous for a change in a crisis situation, but she was also very decisive which is always impressive and sorely needed in those situations. Indecisive people are terrible in a crisis.

    The tie-in of the Jill/Gordon storyline with Gamma/Shy-Drager/DMV/Carter Pussing Out storylines was deftly done. I didn’t think Gamma’s mansion was close enough to County to warrant a trip there, but I imagine they did it because Carter was there. I mean, where exactly was Jill walking her dog when Gamma bumped into them? Why would Gamma be driving anywhere near County? Details…

    Julie Delpy finally gets somewhat of a juicy storyline! A pregnant kleptomaniac. I don’t quite see how a compulsion to steal from people is a direct result of not being able to trust people, as Luka tried to say. I don’t trust you, so I’ll steal from you?

    I too liked that Chuny congratulated Weaver on her save. I think any of the nurses would have if given the opportunity, even if they don’t like her personally. They all know good doctoring when they see it.


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