May 4, 2021

ER 8.13, Damage Is Done: Child Endangerment

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

Alex Kingston’s makeup in this episode really makes her look sick

Summary: Elizabeth has the flu, and Ella is taking advantage of not being watched every second to cause some trouble, like toilet-papering the hallway. Elizabeth thinks she can still make it in to work, but Mark insists that she stay in bed. The nanny won’t be able to come over for a little while, so Rachel offers to look after Ella until she gets there. Elizabeth says she wouldn’t want to ask Rachel to give up her Saturday. I think that’s code for “I don’t trust you to watch my daughter, but I’m not going to say it out loud.” Mark thinks the arrangement works out perfectly.

At County, Romano chats with Susan about being a member of the Polar Bear Club. He tells Weaver that he’s come up with a solution to her problem of having too much admin work to take care of while still seeing patients. He wants Susan to take over some of the responsibilities that usually fall to the chief resident. Weaver asks why Romano’s interfering with her job. He tells her Susan is basically her assistant now, so she needs to suck it up. Also, she needs to stop kissing people in public. “So you’re gay, huh?” Frank asks Weaver. When she confirms this, he tells her she’s going to Hell. Shut up, Frank.

Carter tells Susan about how he had to take care of her mother after her drunken, Xanax-fueled sickness. Mark is at work now and calls home to check on Elizabeth. Susan laments agreeing to pick up some of the slack in the ER, since it’s left her with a bunch of paperwork. She comments to Mark that she doesn’t think Weaver likes her. Mark notes that Weaver doesn’t like anyone. Except Sandy. And Gallant. And sometimes Carter.

Chen arrives for her first shift back on staff, and though she’s short with Weaver, Weaver treats her like any other doctor. Mark asks Chen for $20 for Cleo’s going-away present. Really, dude? Paramedics bring in a man named Donald Brower who was injured by a mail bomb. His six-year-old daughter, Jessica, was also hurt. Weaver and Chen jockey for the position of second-in-command while Mark treats Brower. Weaver asks Brower who might have sent him a bomb, and he responds, “My wife.”

Mark gets annoyed with Weaver’s attempts to take over for Chen and sends Weaver to help Susan and Carter with Jessica. Weaver throws her weight around with that trauma, telling Carter and Susan to loosen the blood-pressure cuff they have around Jessica’s wrist. When they do, blood shoots out of her injured hand. Jessica isn’t too happy with that. Susan tries to get rid of Weaver, who leaves as Abby comes in to tell Carter that Eleanor is in the ER. She came in with a boy from the cancer center where she’s been volunteering.

Eleanor tells Carter that the boy, Mickey, was doing a photo shoot for a spring mailer when he got lightheaded. His doctors didn’t answer the phone, since it’s Saturday, so Eleanor had him brought to County. Mickey has been in remission from leukemia for a year, but he lives in a foster home, so he may be the unluckiest kid in Chicago. Eleanor requests a private room for him.

Mark and Chen keep working on Brower, eventually having to cut open his chest. Jessica is stable but needs surgery on her hand. Her mother arrives and, after checking on Jessica, runs to her husband’s trauma room. She’s a medical researcher, so Mark speaks to her like she’s a colleague instead of a family member who knows nothing about medicine. Dr. Brower says she told her husband not to worry, that they would be safe. When Mark tells her that they’ve been trying to revive her husband for 30 minutes with no response, she says they can let him go.

Gallant takes care of a man named Manny who’s both diabetic and blind. He comes in sometimes to get his toenails clipped. He predicts that Gallant will one day be a gifted doctor. Manny admires Chen’s perfume when she approaches, but Gallant sneezes right after, which doesn’t give Chen a great first impression of him. When she introduces herself, Gallant comments that he’s heard a lot about her. Only good things, he promises. Manny adds that the bad things aren’t her fault. Gallant explains that Manny has a sixth sense about people. He also has a guide dog, Stinky, who takes a liking to Weaver.

Weaver pulls Chen aside to tell her she needs to drop her attitude toward Weaver. Chen promises that she won’t let it interfere with patient care. Weaver says the last thing she needs is staff members who don’t get along. “Then maybe you should quit,” Chen replies. Hold on…just imagining myself saying that to my boss…yeah, it doesn’t end well. Shove it, Chen.

Mark tells Dr. Brower that the police want to talk to her, but he got them to agree to wait until Jessica’s out of surgery. Dr. Brower explains that her lab has been using DNA to try to create embryos – basically, cloning humans. The bomb was meant for her. She asks to observe Jessica’s surgery, and though Mark thinks her mother side is stronger than her doctor side in terms of being able to handle it, he promises to ask if she can.

Gallant is still sneezing, so maybe he shouldn’t be the one clipping Manny’s toenails. Frank snaps at Gallant for landing one in his coffee, but Manny tells Gallant that Frank is harmless. Gallant actually reminds Frank of his son. (Manny may be missing the mark here. We never hear about Frank having a son.) Gallant kindly tells Manny that he’s Black. Manny reminds him that he’s blind.

Mickey is a pro at having his blood drawn, and he senses that it makes Eleanor uncomfortable, so he tells her she doesn’t have to watch. Eleanor insists that she’s fine. Carter, however, is annoyed and leaves. At home, Elizabeth gets up and finds Rachel playing with Ella. Rachel is suddenly a very pleasant, helpful stepdaughter and offers to make Elizabeth tea. She hopes that Elizabeth’s nearness to Ella doesn’t make the baby sick.

Carter praises Chen for how hard she worked on Brower, even though he didn’t make it. On the flip side of the coin, Weaver has some questions about her medication choices for a patient. Carter thinks they’re valid concerns. Stinky starts following Weaver around, which she doesn’t appreciate. Chen is equally unappreciative of how Carter just sided with Weaver instead of her. She thinks Carter actually likes Weaver, which makes sense to her, since he has a thing for older women. Surprisingly, Carter doesn’t mention that last year, he dated a 19-year-old.

Instead of going back to Mickey and Eleanor, Carter accepts a new patient, Leslie. She and her 13-year-old daughter, Stacy, were in a minor one-car accident. Leslie is very, very drunk, but seems to only have minor injuries (though she’ll have some major injuries if she calls Haleh “honey” again). She tells Carter she’s heartbroken because her fiancé left her.

Susan and Abby take care of Stacy, who insists she’s fine, though she has major bruising from a seatbelt. Susan criticizes Leslie for driving drunk without her own seatbelt. Stacy reveals that she was the one who was driving. She often takes over when Leslie’s too drunk to drive. This was her first accident in three years. Outside the room, Susan and Abby debate whether the situation is crazy or brilliant. Abby is, unsurprisingly, on the side of the teenager who becomes the adult to look after her mother.

Elizabeth wakes up from a nap to hear Ella crying. Rachel runs in with her, worried because Ella’s sweaty and upset. Ella throws up, and Elizabeth sees pill fragments in the mess – Ella must have swallowed something. While Elizabeth calls Mark, Rachel leaves the room, then returns with a plastic bag. She reveals that she had Ecstasy in her backpack, and one or two pills are missing. Elizabeth calls 911 instead.

Carter and Abby continue the discussion about Leslie and Stacy’s dynamic. Carter wants to get Social Services involved, even if it means Stacy ends up in foster care. At the very least, Leslie’s committed child endangerment. Abby says she’ll handle talking to the police. Carter checks on Mickey, who’s waiting to see a doctor from oncology in case his cancer has relapsed. Eleanor wishes Carter would get more involved in the case. She insists on staying with Mickey at least until his foster parents arrive, though Carter knows that might not be good for her.

Dr. Brower has gotten permission to watch Jessica’s surgery, and Mark watches with her. Dr. Brower wonders if her daughter will remember her father when she’s older. Mark says that Rachel broke her arm when she was Jessica’s age, but the only thing she remembers from that year is seeing Muppets on Ice. Kids tend to remember the good things, so Jessica will remember her dad. Romano lets Dr. Brower know that Jessica will most likely come out of this with limited use of her hand, but since she’s young, she’ll be able to adapt.

Abby comes to get Mark, telling her that his daughter is coming in with an Ecstasy overdose. He understandably thinks she means Rachel. He asks Abby for more information, but since Abby didn’t take the call from the paramedics, she can’t tell him anything. Mark says he should have seen this coming, since he knew Rachel was getting into trouble. When he gets to the ER, he’s stunned to see that the patient is Ella, not Rachel.

Mark and Elizabeth try to dictate Ella’s care while Chen and Abby work on the baby. The parents object when Chen suggests that they shock Ella to get her heart back into normal rhythm. Chen quietly tells Abby to get Weaver. Manny’s done with his treatment but has lost track of Stinky. Gallant took him for a walk, learning along the way that he’s allergic to dogs.

Weaver joins Ella’s trauma, gently trying to convince Mark that he needs to step aside. Mark refuses. Once Ella has been stabilized, Weaver and Mark are able to talk Elizabeth into lying down somewhere else. As they’re leaving, Ella declines again. Weaver and Chen tag-team to get Mark to realize that if Ella weren’t his child, he would be making different, more aggressive treatment decisions. He finally steps back and lets them treat her.

Rachel comes to the hospital as Eleanor complains to Carter that Mickey’s been waiting for a long time to see a doctor. She stole his lab work and wants Carter to interpret it for her. Carter tells her that Mickey’s out of remission. Eleanor asks Carter to talk to his doctor and try to ensure he gets more personal treatment than the faceless, nameless patients the oncology department usually sees. Carter asks why Eleanor has taken so much interest in Mickey’s care. He warns her that Mickey might not survive, so Eleanor will just be reliving what she went through with Carter’s brother, Bobby.

Ella is stable again, but she’s been intubated and is unconscious. Susan brings Rachel to the trauma room, and Mark blasts his older daughter for endangering his younger daughter. Rachel says the drugs weren’t hers, like that’s the issue here. She thinks Ella will be okay, since she just ate one pill. Mark yells that Ella almost died and could end up with brain impairments. Rachel cries and says she’s sorry.

Up in the ICU, Elizabeth refuses to let Babcock help treat Ella. I’m not sure why he would, since he’s an anesthesiologist, but now he says he’s a critical care attending, so I don’t know what’s going on. When Babcock tries to examine Ella, Elizabeth yells at him and shoves him out of the room. Romano arrives during the fight and lets Elizabeth get rid of him.

Back in the ER, Mark tells Weaver that Ella’s doing better, but she’ll have a long recovery ahead of her. Weaver says she’ll be praying for the family. He thanks her for taking such good care of his daughter. Stacy returns to the ER after talking to the police; she tells Abby and Carter that Leslie was arrested for DUI but can be bailed out in a little while. Carter’s confused, since Stacy was driving the car. Abby and Stacy both lie that no one ever said that. Abby tells that this is Leslie’s best chance for recovery.

On her way out for the night, Abby spots Manny in the waiting area…dead. Poor Stinky is ownerless. In the ICU, Elizabeth asks Mark if he called the police on Rachel. She refuses to talk to her stepdaughter, which is understandable. Susan and Romano decide to buy dinner for Mark and Elizabeth so they don’t have to leave Ella. Weaver and Chen say polite good nights to each other, having demonstrated that they can work together even if they hate each other.

Stinky follows Weaver again, and since she doesn’t want him to be taken away by Animal Control, she decides to take him home with her. And then we never hear about him again, so let’s hope she finds another home for him. Joyce comes to Abby’s door begging to be let in. She tells Abby to turn out the lights, then keeps silent when Brian comes by looking for her. Abby wants to call the police again, but Joyce says that’ll make him madder. They just need to wait until he calms down. Joyce asks to stay for a while, and Abby says she can.

Carter checks on Mickey and finds Eleanor asleep by his bed. Mickey laments that the doctors keep talking to Eleanor about him but won’t tell him anything. He knows his cancer is back, but he thinks he’ll have a better time getting through it than he did last time. He was by himself then. Rachel cries alone in a hallway while Elizabeth and Mark stay by a comatose Ella’s side. Mark tries to stay positive that their daughter will recover, but Elizabeth is more realistic. She knows Ella might never wake up.

Thoughts: Leslie is played by Mackenzie Phillips.

Susan and Carter have absolutely no chemistry. Zero. She has more chemistry with Romano. If I didn’t know Susan and Carter were together, I wouldn’t guess it from watching them.

If you asked a patient who was responsible for his injuries and he said, “My wife,” wouldn’t you think, “This woman is dangerous – don’t let her in his trauma room” when she showed up? That was a dumb attempt at unnecessary drama in an episode full of plenty of real drama.

I’m impressed that Gallant made it all the way to his mid-20s before learning he’s allergic to dogs.

’00s music alert: Pink’s “Get the Party Started”

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    You were right; they did a really good job of making Elizabeth look like death warmed over. Jeez.

    Romano chatting it up with Susan struck me as strangely skeevy. She can handle it, naturally, but it’s strange for him to be so folksy. Agreed that she has more chemistry with Romano than with Carter! Romano was really good with Dr. Brower, though, and he handled the blowup with Elizabeth and Dr. Death well.

    Wouldn’t Frank’s little anti-gay comment constitute a hostile workplace complaint? At the very least, I’m surprised Weaver didn’t threaten his job. It seems so obvious now that that sort of shit would get you in big trouble in any other workplace, but then again this was 2002, so I don’t remember how bad you were allowed to get back then.

    Weaver likes Abby too! Usually Carter. And she likes Mark but it’s not reciprocated. Frankly I don’t think anyone really likes her back, but she’s fond of several of them.

    Regarding the Manny storyline, I guess they had to give Gallant something to do, and some reason to soften Weaver’s edges the slightest bit. Kind of odd, but I suppose they do get all kinds of cases coming in so this was more of the eccentric vein.

    The mail bomb storyline was sad but I totally thought the wife was the one who sent the mail bomb until she cleared things up! I think Mark did too from the way he reacted to her at first. Evidently it was manufactured that way, which is dumb as you pointed out. Isn’t a mail bomb itself dramatic enough? They weren’t all that far removed from the Unabomber days.

    Chen was completely right that Weaver’s the one who doesn’t get along with everybody, but yeah… you don’t say that to your boss. She certainly got cocky and arrogant in her time away.

    The Eleanor storyline… bleg. As much as I love Mary McDonnell, and as much as I want to rewatch Passion Fish now remembering what a good movie that was, this whole arc was so obvious and kind of tired. I get that she’s trying to atone for her past mistakes, but her entitlement was obnoxious. And kudos to Carter for not blowing up at her subtle shade as she seemed baffled as to why he wasn’t paying more attention to her patient. Look the fuck around you, lady! There are sick people all over and your money doesn’t get you any farther there than anyone else!

    I don’t remember Chen ever paying any attention to Carter’s love life before, but here she knows all about Dr. Keaton and Susan and she hasn’t even been around for that last one! Hmm.

    Mackenzie Phillips playing a drunk was a little awkward only because she was so damn good at it. Because she knew it so intimately herself, of course. Still. She’s a good actress and I kind of feel like that was typecasting in a weird way? Loved how Abby was able to relate so well and so quickly with the daughter, though. That made a huge, huge difference.

    I have to say that I teared up when Chen and Weaver started working together to save Ella. What a great idea to pair them on a case so intimately connected with the ER. They immediately set aside attitudes and I like that Chen recognized how critical it was to get Weaver involved quickly. Laura Innes did a great job with those scenes and I liked that Mark immediately recognized that she was right, even if he hated to admit it. One thing that occurred to me later was that it would have been nice to see how Benton might have helped in this trauma too because he’s the only other person in that ER that Elizabeth really respected besides Mark. He would have been able to convince her and maybe even Mark to let him treat her aggressively.

    Ugh, this Christina Hendricks domestic violence storyline is frustrating only because Abby tried to do the right thing and of course it went the way these things always go. I know it’s actually a good demonstration of the pattern of DV and how it naturally escalates until something really terrible happens. I just hate that that is going to happen to Abby for trying to help.


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