July 20, 2021

ER 9.2, Dead Again: Back to Life

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

Doesn’t she look thrilled to be back at County?

Summary: Carter and Abby have proceeded to the part of their relationship where they’re spending the night together. She seems to be back on the right path, since she’s thinking about going to an AA meeting before her shift. Carter thinks she should consider shower sex instead. At County, Chen notices some lipstick on his neck and laughs at him. Maybe Carter needs another shower.

The ER is so full that the staff has had to start a second patient board. On top of seeing a bunch of patients, Carter now needs to take charge of a new batch of med students. Susan thinks they look very sweet, which I’m sure will get beaten out of them pretty quickly. Carter asks Frank to tell the group to wait while he sees patients, starting with a trauma coming in. As he and Abby head out to meet an ambulance, they critique the performance of a drug-seeking patient who’s faking a seizure. (Tip: If you’re having a seizure, you can’t talk.)

Luka is already in the ambulance bay, sending away paramedics who are trying to bring patients to County. The ER is full, but other hospitals are, too. Luka, stop gazing at Abby and do your job. Actually, no: Weaver, stop hanging out with Romano while he’s in physical therapy and come help out in the ER. She’s taken over some of Romano’s responsibilities, as he expected, but he thinks he’ll be back to work in a couple of weeks. He even thinks he’ll be able to operate again in a matter of months.

As Weaver leaves, Elizabeth shows up. Romano pretends not to be thrilled to see her. She asks about his recovery, and he asks how she’s doing after losing her husband. Before they can really talk, Elizabeth gets paged to the ER. Shirley catches her on her way out and tells her she was lucky to be in London during the “pox scare.” She asks Elizabeth if it’s nice to be back. Elizabeth says she’ll answer that after her first shift back in the ER.

She gets in a crowded elevator, where the muzak overhead is “Piano Man”. After a few moments, she’s delivered to the ER, which is loud and chaotic and…well, normal. She gets right back into the rhythm of things, preparing to tend to a 16-year-old girl who was in a motorcycle accident. When Elizabeth was in London, Whitehead criticized everything she did, but in Chicago, the nurses just do what she says. Abby comments that it’s like she never left.

Carter and Chen join Elizabeth to try to treat the patient, who’s in bad shape, but Elizabeth quickly determines that she can’t be saved. Her first patient back is already dead. Susan grabs her for a new case, a guy named Milo who took a bunch of nitroglycerin and thinks he’s now a human time bomb and could explode at any moment. Gallant wants him to be cleared medically before he’s send to psychiatry. Susan complains that Gallant, who’s on a psych rotation, hasn’t admitted any patients to psych all day.

Susan tells Elizabeth that every bed has been full every day recently. A couple of hospitals in the area have closed, leaving too many patients for too few ERs. Also, Weaver’s been dealing with Romano’s responsibilities, which leaves the ER down a doctor. The ER staff isn’t that upset about that, though, since it keeps her too busy to bug them.

Paramedics bring in a woman named Alma who was shot during a gang fight. She’s asking for someone named Ricky. Carter tells Pratt to deal with the med students, which is just…such a bad idea. Pratt just tells the students they don’t want to work there. Carter and Elizabeth tend to Alma, who announces that she can’t feel her legs.

Haleh enlists Gallant to help her with a patient, even though he’s supposed to be dealing with psych cases right now. Also, the help Haleh needs is moving a gurney holding what Gallant IDs as a dead body. “You ought to go to med school,” she comments dryly. Milo throws himself against a wall and wonders why he’s not exploding. Meanwhile, Carter discovers that Alma is pregnant.

Ricky has arrived, and he’s not happy to be in the hospital. Luka determines that he’s not badly injured. He’s unhappy with the fact that Ricky and his gang buddies just shoot each other all day, and Alma got caught in the crossfire. When Ricky learns that she was shot in the neck, he tries to leave so he can kill the people who shot her. Luka says he already did.

Abby asks Elizabeth to come check out Ricky after she’s sent Alma to surgery. In the hallway, a patient I expect has some mental issues calls Elizabeth names and says she doesn’t pity her. Elizabeth just ignores her. Welcome back to America, Elizabeth! I bet people never called you a whore in London.

Pratt is annoyed that he’s still at work even though his shift ended two hours ago. Zadro is also hanging around, since he can’t leave until his patient gets a bed, and there are none available. Weaver arrives but has more Romano tasks to take care of before she can help with all the patients. She notes that Stella (who briefly appeared in the last episode) hasn’t been admitted to psych yet, even though Weaver called them hours ago. You mean psych isn’t doing their job? What?? Weaver thinks Stella is a hypochondriac, though Gallant isn’t sure.

Carter again asks Pratt to deal with the med students, who are getting impatient. One of them, Erin Harkins, asks Carter (who’s on the phone) when they’ll get some attention. Well, he can’t pay attention to you while he’s on the phone, so chill for a minute. Weaver chastises Carter for ignoring the students, then volunteers to give them a tour. She expects Carter to take over after that, but with a mass trauma coming in, I don’t think that will happen.

The first trauma victim is a man named Frank Chambers who was injured when a wrecking ball crane collapsed and sent a passenger walkway crashing down on him. Next is a guy named Ken whose flower kiosk was damaged. He’s a little dramatic, as he whimpers that he sees a light. Pratt tells him he just has an ankle injury; he’s not dying. The med students observe all this, probably realizing they shouldn’t be so eager to jump into this.

Elizabeth runs into Haleh and compliments her on her weight loss (Yvette Freeman lost a ton of weight over the summer break). She joins Weaver and Carter to treat Chambers. Chambers’ secretary, Tammy, is very concerned about him. Weaver asks Luka to examine her, since she might have a head injury. Meanwhile, Pratt, Chen, Susan, and Haleh take care of Ken and his horribly dislocated ankle. Pratt fixes it without pain medication, which gets him yelled at by Susan. Pratt doesn’t see the big deal, since Ken was going to lose his foot if Pratt didn’t do his job. Plus, Ken’s grateful, so no harm, no foul, I guess.

Weaver and Elizabeth disagree about their priorities in Chambers’ case, but since Weaver isn’t chief of staff, Elizabeth decides not to listen to her concerns. A bold move for her first day back. Luka tends to Tammy, who says she spends more time with her boss than his wife does. I’m pretty sure she’s in love with him. This doesn’t go anywhere, though, so it’s kind of pointless.

Luka then helps Abby with Ricky, who’s now in police custody. He’s been in a bunch of gang fights and isn’t worried that he’s seriously hurt. He calls Abby a name and Luka tells him to shut up. He also tells Ricky that Alma might be paralyzed. Ricky no longer feels the need to go kill the guys responsible. As they leave, Abby tells Luka that Alma is also pregnant, apparently with Ricky’s baby. Neither of them really wants to tell him. (I don’t think either of them SHOULD tell him; what happened to confidentiality?)

Gallant goes to see Stella, who claims to have a bunch of symptoms. He thinks she might have depression. He goes to talk to Weaver, who gets distracted when Elizabeth tells her that Chambers has an aortic dissection (as Elizabeth suspected) and needs surgery. Weaver would like to talk to her about the power struggle they had during Chambers’ trauma. Gallant will have to wait.

Weaver and Elizabeth wind up talking in an exam room where Sasha the motorcycle teen’s body is being kept until her family can be located. They try to ignore her as Weaver says that Elizabeth might be taking on too much too soon. She’s not showing that she can work with others well or demonstrate professional respect. You know, the things Weaver is so good at.

Elizabeth argues that she detected an injury that needed immediate attention, so she wanted it taken care of before Chambers was checked for anything else. She thinks Weaver’s the one with the attitude problem. She wants everyone to bow down to her and do her bidding. Suddenly Weaver starts crying and excuses herself.

Gallant relays some information he’s learned from his psych rotation: There’s a fetish where adults want to be taken care of like they’re babies. There’s one in the ER right now, and Susan wants to send him to psych, but Gallant says the guy’s fetish is actually not the problem. He has a diaper rash. Susan can’t wait until Gallant comes back to the ER after his psych rotation and she can make him do scut work.

Ken is so happy with Pratt’s care that he’s sent over a bunch of flowers to thank him. Frank wishes Ken ran a hot dog stand instead. Pratt thinks everyone should be praising him because he’s saved more patients than anyone else today. Chen asks Carter if the rumor is true that Weaver (whom she calls “your boss”) was crying earlier. Maybe she’s going through a bad breakup? Chen says that Weaver has been pretty moody lately. “Lately?” Carter mumbles.

Harkins brings his attention to a man who’s stumbling into the ER. Mr. Royston started having chest pain, so his elementary-school-aged sons, Pete and Derek, brought him in. Harkins then asks Frank if the med students can wait in the doctors’ lounge. Since they’re not doctors, no, they can’t. Carter, Pratt, and Abby tend to Royston, hoping they can stop his heart attack.

Luka discharges Ricky, whose next step is jail. Luka tells him that Alma’s pregnant, but Ricky doesn’t care, and he’s not sure why Luka does. Kayson makes a rare appearance and immediately dislikes Pratt. Hey, Kayson, I thought I told you to crash on a deserted island and get eaten by a polar bear. Get on that, man.

Malik tells Susan that a bunch of people with alcohol poisoning are coming in. She expects teenagers, but they’re actually adults. The only person on the boat who was sober enough to dock it was a ten-year-old. Susan wishes she’d gone into a much less stressful specialty, like dermatology. Sasha’s father arrives, so now Susan has to ask Elizabeth to tell him that his daughter died. Susan offers to do it herself, but Elizabeth doesn’t see any reason not to do her job.

Derek wanders back to the trauma room where the doctors are trying to save his father. He arrives just as Kayson declares Royston dead. Royston’s wife hasn’t arrived yet, so Kayson thinks the staff should wait to tell the boys that their father didn’t make it. Carter doesn’t see the point, since one of the kids just heard the news himself.

Kayson and Carter both leave, and Abby starts the tasks nurses usually do after a patient died. Pratt realizes that Royston still has a heart rhythm that can be shocked. Over Abby’s objections, Pratt revives Royston. Meanwhile, Carter tells the kids that their father was too sick to save. Derek feels guilty for asking Royston to play with them when he said he was tired. Carter assures him that Royston had a heart problem no one knew about, so there was no reason to think anything was wrong. In fact, the kids gave him a great chance at survival by getting him to the hospital.

Pete is in a little bit of denial about his dad being dead. Carter gently confirms that he is, then assures Pete that it’s okay to be sad – that shows how much he loved his father. He offers to let the boys see their father’s body. But when he takes them back to the trauma room, they see that Pratt has revived Royston.

Elizabeth breaks the news to Sasha’s father that she didn’t survive the motorcycle accident. She remains pretty robotic as he cries, devastated. Susan watches as Elizabeth just leaves him in the hallway to mourn alone. Kayson yells at Carter about Pratt’s actions, though Carter thinks he was justified in trying to save Royston after Kayson pronounced him dead. Pratt thought he was acting in his patient’s best interest. Kayson says there’s no way Royston will have any meaningful life after this, so Pratt did more harm than good. Carter notes that his and Pratt’s names are on the chart, not Kayson’s, so they’ll take full responsibility.

After Kayson leaves, Carter makes it clear that he doesn’t actually think Pratt made a good decision. He needed to respect Kayson’s judgment when he pronounced Royston dead. Carter didn’t defend Pratt because he likes him or approves of his approach to medicine. He just did it because Pratt is his responsibility. He should have gotten Carter instead of shocking Royston himself. Instead, Pratt ignored authority and did what he wanted, not what was best for his patient. Pratt objects to that; Royston has a family, and they deserved to have him around if it was possible to save him. Carter says that Pratt just wanted to see if he could save Royston.

If I had any power in the ER, I wouldn’t let Pratt stay on this case, let alone have any more interaction with Royston’s family, but somehow Pratt is allowed to talk to Pete and Derek. He warns that there’s a chance their father might not wake up. They don’t quite get the details here; they just know that their father is still alive, thanks to Pratt. As Carter and Abby discuss what they want to do that night, Mrs. Royston arrives. She catches on pretty fast that her husband’s condition probably won’t improve. Carter gently asks her if she wants to sign a DNR. She asks if that’s the right thing to do, and he says it is.

Gallant has successfully treated the woman who was yelling at Elizabeth earlier – she just needed to take her medication. Weaver asks him why Stella’s still in the ER. Gallant is waiting for her labs to come back; he thinks her problem is physical, not mental. He’s right, as the lab work says she has thyroid problems. Weaver tells Gallant that while he’s on his psych rotation, he can’t do the same things he would do in the ER. That said, she’s proud of him for making the correct diagnosis.

Derek runs to get Abby, since Royston’s monitors are going off. She realizes that Mrs. Royston signed a DNR, so they aren’t allowed to try to save him again. Pratt is also there, and Derek is upset that he saved Royston last time but is now just going to let him die. He runs off, crying. Pratt just stands there with the patient he thought he could save while the man’s family has to watch him die.

Chen checks in with Elizabeth at the end of her shift, asking how she’s doing. Elizabeth says she’s fine. Frank gives her an update on Alma’s status: She’s now a quadriplegic. Elizabeth takes a moment in the lounge to let herself be sad. As she goes to get something from a cabinet, she spots a picture of the staff, including Mark. Pratt comes in and she sees that he’s now using Mark’s locker.

Later, Abby finds Carter asleep in the lounge. She heads off alone, even though, as Luka notes, they came in together. Pratt goes home and discovers that he won’t be able to just relax and have some quiet after a long day. There are people in his apartment, and he wants one of them to go away. After he’s kicked everyone out, he tells the one person remaining, Leon, that the other guys are using him. Leon doesn’t seem to care. (More about him later.)

Carter wakes up after the shift change and learns from Randi that Harkins is still waiting around like a good little teacher’s pet. She’s been there for 16 hours and refuses to leave without her tour of the ER. Carter obliges her instead of telling her to go home, because this is the last moment of peace she will have for a very, very long time.

Thoughts: The kids playing Pete and Derek are heartbreakingly good at acting sad.

Imagine if Pratt’s supervisor were Benton instead of Carter. Just take a minute to think about how satisfying it would be to watch Benton put Pratt in his place.

Harkins, here’s a good lesson for your first day: Don’t bug a doctor while he’s on the phone.

If I were talking to Weaver and she started crying, I would think she’d been abducted by aliens and replaced with a double.


  1. Aileen Coffey said,

    I absolutely love these recaps, especially your thoughts at the end and throughout the text, they always make me giggle (and sometimes snort!) I get them weekly in my inbox and to be honest, I find them just as enjoyable as watching an episode so thank you! 🙂

  2. Nick Rivers said,

    Elizabeth’s first day back was kind of how I expected it — she was going to be icier than normal to try to deal with the fact that her dead husband was basically around every corner of that hospital and always would be. I honestly am not sure why she went back to County when she could have gone to another public hospital in Chicago instead, but whatever. She didn’t need to go so hard at Weaver on her first day back, though, and she wasn’t right when she accused Kerry of being on some power trip. I get that it’s incredibly hard for Elizabeth to be back, but she never stops to consider how it might have affected others to see her back and remember Mark all day too. It swings both ways. But I guess this was supposed to be foreshadowing for the pregnancy hormones she’s been taking.

    I totally thought the secretary/boss thing was going to turn into a domestic situation when the wife comes in! But no… they just kind of dropped it. Oh well.

    Wasn’t Kayson the one who was awful to Susan then had a heart attack and found himself head over heels in love with her after she saved his life like a decade ago? Guess that was forgotten by the writers!

    I imagine we’re supposed to feel like Elizabeth’s completely emotionless after Mark’s death and sapped of any empathy whatsoever, which is why she would leave a grieving sobbing father alone in a busy ER hallway and walk away from the situation. Maybe she’s just reverting to being her surgeon self, as I don’t remember Peter having a great bedside manner either.

    Carter is shit at managing difficult residents. He should have sent Pratt home with a formal reprimand if not worse. This is the second time he’s gone behind Carter’s back with a patient and he was warned before. Weak.

    I would have LOVED to see Benton deal with Pratt! Damn. At least we get Romano dealing with him from time to time.

    • Ben said,

      Maybe peak Romano (for much of Seasons 7 and 8) would have been a good pairing for stories involving Pratt getting his act together. But by Season 10, Romano was such a one-note (and one-armed) bastard that his interactions with Pratt were just sad and boring to watch, until the show put the Rocket out of his misery. The only character on ER who ever really got the balance between respecting Pratt’s medical talent and pushing hard and fairly for Pratt to seriously grow up and not be a cowboy all the time was Luka Kovac.

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