August 3, 2021

ER 9.4, Walk Like a Man: Mikey Doesn’t Like It

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:00 pm by Jenn

Abby can’t take on more work – it’ll cut into her time dealing with her boyfriend

Summary: We start the episode with a literal bang – someone’s having sex. It’s just not clear at first who’s having that sex. Oh, it’s Luka. Right, this is that stretch where he suddenly becomes a womanizer. It doesn’t appear to be working out well for him, since he doesn’t seem fulfilled. At County, Abby declares time of death on some fish in a new aquarium in the ER waiting area. This is the third time this week – she keeps restocking the tank, but they keep dying. Carter suggests that she find someone else to take care of the fish, since she’s obviously doing something wrong. In response, she drops a fish corpse in his coffee.

The new security measures have patients waiting in a different spot, behind bullet-proof glass, and the hospital’s beautification committee has decorated with the aquarium. That only took two weeks. Fish are more important to the hospital than security, apparently. (I accidentally typed “sexurity.” I have Luka on the brain.) Abby, Susan, and Chen went out again the night before, but Abby won’t tell Carter what they did. He probably just wants to know if Abby drank.

The ER is slow, since another hospital reopened. This allows the staff to gather for a TV broadcast that’s about to start. Susan’s hungover from the night before, and various people offer her remedies. The broadcast begins, featuring Weaver giving two reporters flu shots in the ambulance bay. While she’s giving the injections, she gives a little PSA about why people should get the shots. But the talking distracts her, and she accidentally injects the male reporter using the same needle she used on the female reporter. Save that one for the blooper reel!

The staff has set up a spot where a nurse can triage patients when they come to the ER, so hopefully that means no more smallpox patients sitting in the waiting area for hours. Pratt flirts with the current triage nurse, but he strikes out when he calls her by the wrong name. Abby goes to get her next patient, who leaves her husband and son behind in the waiting area. The boy is whining, and his father doesn’t have any sympathy for him. Gallant tries to intervene, but the father yells at him and goes back to telling the kid to shut up. I don’t know who I feel worse for, the kid or Gallant.

Pratt teases Gallant for trying to help while Chen tells Susan she’s thinking about taking karate classes. Pratt flirts with her next. Dude, keep it in your pants during work hours. Stella has returned yet again, but since she has actual medical problems, as Gallant previously determined, no one urges him to get rid of her this time. The male reporter has to undergo blood tests to make sure Weaver didn’t accidentally infect him with something the female reporter might have. The male reporter is worried because the female reporter used to date “a bisexual.” Shut up, bro.

Weaver complains to the staff that they don’t have enough nurses on duty to reach acceptable nurse-to-patient ratios. Susan offers to take a look at the schedule, but Weaver ignores her and tells Randi to call Haleh and make her come in. It’s supposed to be Haleh’s day off, but since she’s the nurse manager, she’s expected to fill in when needed. Susan tells Weaver that Haleh resigned from that role in September, and her replacement resigned last week. Weaver asks Abby to come by her office later. “Dr. Romano’s office?” Abby clarifies. Ooh, not smart.

Gallant examines Stella, and though he’s probably really tired of having to treat her, he doesn’t let it show. He tells Carter that she has shortness of breath, which could indicate congestive heart failure. He wants her to be admitted for monitoring, but Carter thinks he’s jumping the gun. She’ll have to undergo some tests before they take that route. Stella asks if she can smoke a cigarette first.

Carter asks Susan about her hangover, probably angling for details about the ladies’ night out. Susan teases that Abby hasn’t cheated on him “since that stripper named Thor.” Carter expresses his concern that Abby’s been tempted to drink while going bar-hopping with her new friends. It turns out Susan didn’t know Abby’s an alcoholic. She says Abby doesn’t drink that much. Carter wonders how much “that much” is.

Abby catches them talking and asks Susan what that was about. Susan tells her that Carter let it slip that Abby’s an alcoholic. She thinks it’s sweet that he’s concerned about Abby. Abby’s apologetic for not mentioning her addiction to Susan, but Susan says it’s none of her business. She’s been enjoying hanging out and will let Abby and Carter deal with their issues on their own. Abby says it’s not a huge secret, and she’s sorry for dragging Susan into it.

By now they’re in the restroom, where they hear someone in a stall drop a syringe on the floor. It’s Weaver, and she clearly doesn’t want to talk about what the syringe is for. Now Abby and Susan have something new to talk about. Susan jokes that she was probably just practicing giving flu shots. She brushes off an impatient guy from the waiting area, who then wonders where the nearest bar is. Abby is a little shaken, and she tells Susan she just doesn’t talk about her alcoholism much. Susan says she’s there if Abby wants to talk, but she understands if Abby doesn’t.

Kayson gives Stella a surgical consult and tells Gallant she doesn’t need surgery. “Do you still work here?” he asks when he spots Pratt. Gallant pushes back against Kayson’s decision, but Kayson isn’t about to listen to a puny med student. He complains to Carter that Gallant called for a consult and now won’t accept Kayson’s advice. He’s already done all he can for Stella. After Kayson leaves, Gallant tells Carter that he doesn’t feel right just releasing Stella. Her condition could have changed since Kayson last treated her, and they should monitor her. Carter agrees to let her stay for a little while.

Abby pulls Carter aside to tell him she talked to Susan. Before they can get into anything more, Luka summons her for help with a patient. Carter joins Pratt to treat a man named Felix. Pratt introduces Carter to the concept of the DBI, the Dirtball Index. It seems like the more tattoos a person has, the higher they rate in the index. I would rate Pratt pretty high, whether or not he has any tattoos. Gallant notes that Felix is in the military.

Elizabeth tries to talk to her patient’s husband, Thomas, about the operation his wife, Margaret, needs. Thomas doesn’t feel right signing the consent form, since Margaret usually makes these kinds of decisions. When Margaret wakes up in the ER, she tells Elizabeth she can’t have an operation and be on bed rest; Thomas has Alzheimer’s and she has to take care of him. She asks to wait and see if she gets better without surgery. Elizabeth warns that her splenic injury could cause her to bleed to death.

Carter teases Pratt by creating his own acronym, PERR (pupils equal, round, and reactive). A couple of Felix’s friends come into his trauma room and tell the doctors that they went partying last night. They just got home on leave. Carter asks if the guys did anything other than drink. Felix is showing signs that he may have taken drugs, and Carter wonders if his friends slipped him something. They get defensive, saying Felix is their friend. Gallant calms them and tries to bond with them over having military experience. They look down on him for being in med school while they were jumping out of helicopters.

Luka and Abby’s patient is Marlene, a preteen who’s had multiple UTIs. Her mother, Janet, comments on Luka’s accent. He jokes that he’s from Idaho. Marlene gets uneasy and sends her mother to get her something to eat. While waiting for her labs, Marlene hangs out with Abby and tells her they came to the city to go to Shedd Aquarium. Abby has a good substitute for her.

Gallant tells Felix’s friends that there’s something toxic in his system, whether or not they gave him anything. Felix is awake now, but he can’t see anything. Abby takes Marlene to see the new fish tank, and they discuss why the fish might be dying. Marlene thinks Abby’s overfeeding them, or someone else is feeding them after Abby does. Abby suggests that they’re just a warning to patients that they’re entering a house of death. They start talking about Marlene’s family; her parents are getting divorced. Abby tries to be positive about Marlene just living with her mom now. Abby grew up with just her mother, and that was…great. Really great.

Susan catches Janet buttoning up her shirt as she leaves a storage closet. Moments later, Luka emerges, telling Susan he’s looking for an x-ray he misplaced. Yeah, Susan’s not that dumb. She tells Abby what she saw, amused even though doctors shouldn’t be hooking up with patients’ family members. Abby says this isn’t the kind of thing he normally does. Susan thinks she should talk to him, which is…such a bad idea.

Felix has no alcohol in his system, and his tox screen came back negative, so the doctors aren’t sure why he can’t see. Gallant suggests quinine, an anti-malarial medication Felix would have taken while on deployment in the Phillippines. He would have had to take a lot of it. Pratt offers to talk to Felix, but Carter thinks Gallant should do it. “Give it your best shot, Mikey,” Pratt says.

Susan interrupts Luka while he’s flirting with Janet and asks why Marlene is still there, since she seems to just have a simple UTI. Luka thinks something else is going on, so he’s waiting for test results, but Susan suspects that he’s keeping them around so he can hook up with Janet again. She finally tells him to keep it in his pants and do his job. Pratt approaches as she leaves, giving Luka the test results he really was waiting for. It turns out Marlene does have something wrong with her beyond the UTI.

Gallant chats with Felix, whose vision is starting to come back. Felix quickly gets defensive when Gallant suggests that he took too much quinine. He thinks Felix came home from deployment expecting everything to be the same as when he left, and instead discovered that it wasn’t – like maybe his girlfriend (who doesn’t seem too concerned that her boyfriend is in the hospital, since she hasn’t shown up yet) doesn’t want to be his girlfriend anymore.

Felix admits that his girlfriend got tired of waiting for him to come home. Gallant wants Felix to talk to someone from psych, but since he’s in Special Forces, he can’t have that on his record. He made a split-second bad decision, and it won’t happen again. Gallant agrees to get him a clinic appointment that won’t go on his record. Felix promises that he’ll be okay from now on.

Luka tells Marlene and Janet that Marlene may have chronic renal failure. Abby’s bedside manner and quick connection with Marlene help the girl stay positive, but Janet guesses that this might be serious. Abby makes dinner plans with Carter, who is trying very, very hard not to ask her if she’s been drinking with her friends. He also feels bad about revealing her alcoholism to Susan. Abby doesn’t care about that.

The triage nurse interrupts to give Abby her time sheet, which confuses Abby. Jerry tells her that Weaver sent out a memo. Abby skipped their meeting because she had rounds, so she doesn’t know what’s going on. Jerry asks if Carter and Abby are fighting – not because he wants to gossip, but because he wants to help them “navigate love’s wavy waters.” Carter responds by trashing an origami swan Jerry made and was so proud of.

Someone went over Gallant’s head and called psych for Felix, who’s going to be moved to a locked ward. Gallant goes looking for the culprit, Pratt. Gallant wrote on Felix’s chart that his overdose was accidental, but Pratt knows no one would take that much quinine without meaning to harm himself. Gallant confronts Pratt for making the call without consulting him. Pratt calls him “brother man” and says he was just keeping an eye out for Gallant. Gallant replies that he has enough brothers and doesn’t need another one.

Pratt says he was trying to protect Gallant from a malpractice suit. Gallant complains that Pratt keeps riding him, and Pratt urges him to learn how to stick up for himself. If Gallant has brothers, trust me, he knows how to stick up for himself. Gallant says he told Kayson what he thought. Pratt argues that Gallant didn’t make Kayson hear him. Gallant tells Pratt that they’re different people, but Pratt disagrees. They’re both trying to fit in. The difference between them is that Pratt is being a man, and Gallant isn’t.

Abby suddenly summons Gallant to help Stella, who’s crashing. He and Carter try to shock her heart back into rhythm in the hallway where she’s been waiting for a bed. They move her into a trauma room and Pratt takes over helping Carter. Kayson arrives, calling Stella “the girl who cried wolf.” Yeah, and now her heart isn’t beating, so shut up and do your job.

Margaret agreed to have surgery, and Elizabeth tells Thomas that she’s now on a ventilator. In the middle of the conversation, Thomas gets confused about who and what they’re talking about. Stella has now been unresponsive for 40 minutes, and though Gallant wants to keep trying to save her, Kayson and Carter agree that it’s not possible. Gallant tells them she didn’t have any family. Good, then Kayson won’t get sued.

He defends his decision not to do anything by saying that most patients with Stella’s symptoms don’t get this bad. Gallant says he let Kayson miss the signs. Kayson argues that Stella was a hypochondriac, but Gallant accuses him of just not wanting to deal with her. If they’d admitted her, they could have detected how bad her heart problems were and fixed them. Kayson says Gallant should have spoken up. Pratt notes that he did. Kayson doesn’t want to hear from him.

Carter points out that Gallant is a fourth-year med student while Kayson is chief of cardiology. Kayson says he gave Gallant his expertise and guidance. Yeah, but it was wrong! This isn’t a defense! Gallant loses his cool, saying that Kayson’s expertise and guidance got him and Stella nowhere. “Easy, son,” Kayson says, either not knowing or not caring that a white person should never call a Black man “son.” Carter tells Pratt to take Gallant somewhere to calm down before Gallant says something that will ruin his career.

As they leave, Kayson continues trying to pass the buck, saying that Carter should have put Stella on a monitor. Carter replies that Kayson should have paid more attention. Kayson argues that patient care is about taking calculated risks. Abby speaks up that she thought it was about taking care of the patient. Kayson complains that people in the ER always stick together. Yeah, how dare they have each other’s backs and defend each other’s decisions! You can’t have a productive workplace when the employees do that!

In the hallway, Pratt calls Gallant “Mikey” again and praises him for being a man. Gallant doesn’t want to hear it. He starts to leave, pushing Pratt off of him. Abby and Carter try to calm them both down, but Pratt keeps following Gallant. Finally, Gallant turns around and punches him in the face. “Do not call me Mikey,” he spits out. Hold on, I have to rewind and watch Pratt get nailed a few more times.

Susan gives Pratt an ice pack as he downplays the fight, saying he knows how to take a punch. “So that’s what you were doing on the floor,” she comments. Carter tells him to give Gallant some more time before he attempts another conversation. Abby has officially been made nurse manager, though she doesn’t want the position, even with the raise it comes with. Weaver doesn’t care. Susan presents her with a present Romano sent over: a cactus with a note that reads, “Your 15 minutes is up.”

Carter checks on Gallant, who’s gone back to the trauma room where Stella’s body is laying. He jokes that Pratt wants Gallant to hit him on the other side of the face to even things out. Gallant tells him that Stella has been alone since her daughter died in a car accident. Carter says that Kayson knows what really happened today – he was to blame. But Gallant says he backed down and didn’t advocate for his patient enough. He always backs down. The staff is supposed to fight for their patients’ lives, but they always end up fighting each other instead.

Carter admits that he could have tried harder with Kayson, too. Gallant takes responsibility – Stella was his patient and trusted him. She’d be alive if Gallant hadn’t been so scared of being wrong. Carter tells him everyone gets scared, even Pratt. That has to be why he’s so arrogant. Everyone who comes to County is scared, but they learn to work through it. Gallant asks when that happens. Carter says it’s as soon as they kill someone. “I just did,” Gallant whispers. Carter disagrees, hopeful that Gallant will never lose anyone again.

Luka has to tell his new fling that her daughter needs surgery. They might have a malpractice case on their hands, since Marlene’s doctor back home never caught her kidney problems while treating all her UTIs. On the plus side, Luka has learned his lesson about sleeping with a patient’s mother. As he goes to give the mother and daughter the news, Abby spots Carter leaving earlier than expected. He doesn’t want to talk, but she’d like him to come right out and say whatever’s bothering him. Carter says he agreed not to try to fix her, so he’ll “shut up and wait for the car wreck.”

She follows him to the El station, asking what he means. He tells her that it’s obvious this relationship is going to crash and burn. Abby wishes he’d come to her earlier and said something, but Carter didn’t want to come across like an overprotective boyfriend. She tells him she’s only drinking a little, and not to get drunk. She usually has one or two drinks. Everything’s under control.

Carter doesn’t understand why she wants to go back to behavior that could lead to disaster. Abby points out that she was drinking last year, and he knew, so it shouldn’t be a problem now. She used to drink because she was miserable – she was in a bad marriage and had a life she didn’t want. Now she has a life she enjoys, and drinking casually with friends helps her feel like she’s past the bad part. She wishes Carter had faith in her judgment. Carter still doesn’t want to have this discussion, and when Abby asks him to stay and talk to her, he instead gets on a train.

Abby returns to County, where Luka’s finishing up talking to Janet about Marlene’s prognosis. Suddenly Janet doesn’t want to be around him. Abby checks on Marlene, who wonders if her illness will help her parents get back together. This girl is both the most optimistic and most naïve patient we’ve seen in a long time, and I don’t think Abby knows what to do with her.

In the lounge, Weaver tells Susan that Abby is the new nurse manager, and she’d like Susan to tell her if Abby isn’t fulfilling her new duties well. Susan asks if Weaver’s okay. Weaver downplays her mistake on the newscast, then tries to deny that anything happened in the bathroom. Susan won’t let it drop, so Weaver just says she’s taking hormones. Outside the lounge, she asks Gallant about the altercation she heard he had. He admits that he hit Pratt. “In that case, I’ll overlook it,” she says. Chen says good night to Gallant, calling him “Iron Mike.”

Pratt tries to get Gallant to talk to him, apologizing for interfering in Felix’s case. He also knows that Gallant only punched him because he was mad at Kayson, not because he had it out for Pratt personally. Yeah, that’s not true, buddy. Pratt good-naturedly warns that next time, he’ll hit back. This is Pratt’s way of saying there are no hard feelings, and Gallant has clearly calmed down. He asks Pratt to say hi to Leon for him. As Gallant leaves, Pratt feeds the fish in the aquarium. Mystery solved!

Carter arrives at Abby’s place just as she’s getting home. He tells her he’s made his opinion about her drinking clear, so he won’t bring it up again, but his real problem is that she hid it from him. She promises not to hide it anymore. Carter apologizes for ditching her, but he needed some time to figure out where they stand. Okay, but you could have said that, bozo. Anyway, I guess she wants to keep going with this. No, I don’t know why.

Thoughts: I know I said it before but I really like Abby and Susan’s friendship. There’s no jealousy that one is dating the other’s ex. There’s no awkwardness because one’s a doctor and one’s a nurse. Susan doesn’t shame Abby for being an alcoholic. They just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. It’s refreshing.

I also really like how Abby treats Marlene. She doesn’t talk down to her or treat her like a child. And even though Abby has to be really busy, she acts like she has as much time as Marlene needs from her.

They missed a great opportunity to have an M&M about Stella’s case, resulting in some sort of consequences for Kayson sucking, but no. He gets away with it. Even worse, he’s still in five more episodes.

Once again, I don’t get Abby and Carter’s relationship. There’s no way she would want to be with someone she feels is constantly judging her. And I don’t think his good qualities outweigh that.

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