October 19, 2021

ER 9.15, A Boy Falling Out of the Sky: False Hope

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

Oh, goody, a plot about a dying child. Those are always fun

Summary: Carter comes home from Belize and immediately spots the bottle of alcohol Abby bought in the middle of the night. She’s asleep, even though her alarm is going off. Weaver goes to Luka’s place to yell at him for taking too much time off. The rumor is that he quit his job, but since there’s nothing official stating that, Weaver has put him on the schedule for that day. If he doesn’t come in by noon, he’s fired. As Weaver leaves, a guy runs up and grabs her purse. He tries to flee by running into the street, where he’s hit by a car. Weaver tries to help him, but he runs off again.

Carter lets Abby sleep while he cleans up her place a little. He pointedly puts the cap back on the bottle without saying anything about it. He offers her coffee and aspirin for her hangover, again without directly addressing it. Abby plans to go to work so she can keep busy and try not to think about her brother’s disappearance. Carter assures her that they’ll find him. She thanks him for coming back from his trip.

At County, Weaver complains about the inconvenience of having all her stuff stolen. She tells the staff to be on the lookout for her mugger. Susan bugs Chen for not being available to bail her out of a bad date the night before. She wound up going on that set-up date after all, since the guy kept calling, and it was so bad that she considered faking a seizure to make an escape. Chen admits that she spent the night at Pratt’s.

Gallant asks Susan for help with his patient, an elderly woman named Mrs. Langston. She has Alzheimer’s and wandered out of the house. Her husband didn’t notice she was gone, so she was outside in the cold for a while. Susan notices that Sean is back in the ER; he may have pneumonia. “Did you miss me?” he teases Susan. “No,” she says bluntly, though she’s kidding.

Pratt is spending the day on a paramedic ride-along, but he’s not allowed to assist, which means he has no control, and you just know it’s killing him. The EMTs bend the rules a little when they find a dead man and ask Pratt to pronounce him dead so they can pass him off to the coroner and get out of the cold.

Carter falls asleep on Abby’s couch and wakes up when Maggie arrives. Abby’s at County now, helping Weaver with a patient named Zeki who got sick after smoking meth. His friends aren’t concerned. Zeki needs new friends. He begs Weaver and Abby not to call his parents. Abby goes off to tend to a boy named Jared whose mother accidentally hit him with her car.

Susan chats with Sean about unconventional pets like rats and snakes. She doesn’t have any pets, though, since she’s only good at taking care of people, not animals. She got sea monkeys once and was disappointed to learn that they’re just brine shrimp. Chen teases her that Sean just came back because he has a crush on her, and Chuny calls him Susan’s boyfriend. Susan tries to confirm that Chen and Pratt are dating. Chen wonders if that’s what Pratt thinks.

Carter and Maggie arrives to talk to Abby, who’s now working on Jared with Weaver. Abby thinks they’re there to give her bad news, and she’s not prepared to hear it. She leaves the room, so Carter takes her place on the trauma team. Susan tells Sean that he does have pneumonia, and the lesions from his cancer haven’t shrunk, even after he’s received more chemo. He tries to be positive by noting that at least they haven’t grown.

Abby returns to Jared’s trauma room, where he’s been unresponsive for four-and-a-half minutes. Weaver gently tells his mother, Mrs. Kroll, that if a patient hasn’t breathed on his own for five minutes, he’s most likely brain dead. Nothing changes over the next 30 seconds, so they hook him up to a ventilator. Now his parents will have to decide if he should stay on the machines keeping him alive. Mrs. Kroll asks the staff to wait until her husband gets there. She tells Abby that Jared hates when she leaves. He ran out of the house to give her one last hug.

Carter tries to calm Maggie, who insists on talking to Abby about any help they might be able to get in looking for Eric. The FAA and Coast Guard won’t tell her anything; they just keep directing her to the Chicago police. Carter offers to talk to a desk sergeant he knows there, but Maggie wants Abby to be involved. Carter says he’ll work on that. Weaver tells him that if Abby needs to go, she should. Weaver’s surprised she came to work.

Luka hasn’t arrived, so Weaver’s day isn’t getting any better…until Gallant tells her that a guy in triage may be her mugger. Then Gallant’s day gets worse when he learns that pathology lost his patient’s pap smear and he’ll have to perform it again. Weaver ID’s the mugger and demands her purse. He tries to run again, but security’s on his tail, and Weaver’s able to close one of the ER’s new security doors before he can go anywhere.

Abby’s worried that Maggie’s mental health is unstable (and she does seem kind of manic, but it’s understandable since her son is missing). She asks Carter to deal with Maggie. He thinks Maggie can actually help. Jared starts declining, so they run in to try to stabilize him until his father arrives. Susan tells Sean’s mother about his condition, and Mrs. Simmons asks to care for her son at home. In other words, she expects Sean to die, and she wants it to happen at home. Sean, however, thinks he can beat the pneumonia, since his white cell count is up. Mrs. Simmons notes that after that, he’ll still have cancer. He’s been strong for a long time and shouldn’t have to spend the end of his life in the hospital.

Pratt helps bring in a woman named Kelly who’s in labor. He asks Chen if he can spend the night at her place since he’s fumigating his apartment. Chen tells him she has plans with Susan, who’s been depressed and lonely recently. Kelly objects when Chen sends Pratt back out in the ambulance, since she loves him – she likes that he thinks she’s sexy while pregnant.

Susan checks on Mrs. Langston, whose Alzheimer’s has taken away her ability to speak English and knocked her back to her first language, French. Susan only remembers a tiny bit of French from high school. Whatever, this plot doesn’t go anywhere. Abby and Carter keep working on Jared and are finally able to stabilize him. Mrs. Kroll gets frustrated when Abby asks if she wants them to keep trying to keep him alive. Of course she does – he’s her son.

On her way to the bathroom, Abby tries to ignore Maggie, who’s spoken to a police officer and gotten information about search-and-rescue missions. She thinks they should go to Cleveland to start one up. Abby says they should just wait to hear something from the FAA. She doesn’t see the point in searching anyway – she’s sure that Eric is dead. Maggie refuses to believe that Eric was suicidal, since he was taking his medication and going to therapy. But Abby thinks he came to see her because he wanted to say goodbye, and he was peaceful because he had a plan to end his life.

Gallant is supposed to wait for his patient’s second pap smear results, which means hanging out in a room full of dead bodies while the pathologist does other stuff. He decides to leave the sample instead. As he does, one of the bodies in the room starts moving. “Is that supposed to happen?” he asks the pathologist. Um, no, Gallant, corpses aren’t supposed to move.

Chen has an awkward encounter with Pratt in the lounge, thinking he’s judging her for placing her baby for adoption. He tells her he has sympathy for her, but everyone makes mistakes when they’re young. Yeah, it was two years ago, dude. Pratt says that if Chen feels guilty, that’s her issue; he doesn’t care either way. Of course, by saying that, he’s implying that there’s something for her to feel guilty about.

The conversation ends when Susan tells Pratt and a paramedic that the dead man they found isn’t really dead. He was super-drunk, and the alcohol in his blood acted like antifreeze. She chastises them for not warming him up before pronouncing him dead. Then she punishes Pratt by ordering him to give the man a bath. Make that a bubble bath, at the man’s request. (That makes Gallant feel better about getting scared to death in the morgue.) (No pun intended.)

Mrs. Simmons tells Susan that she doesn’t want Sean to keep suffering. Susan is willing to let Sean make his own medical decisions, since he seems so determined to live. Mrs. Simmons tells her that he didn’t want to do his second round of chemo. He only did it because his mother wanted him to. He had finally accepted that he was going to die, but his new friendship with Susan has given him false hope. Mrs. Simmons thinks that if Susan tells Sean to stop pursuing treatment, he’ll listen.

Mr. Kroll arrives and learns that Jared isn’t showing any signs of brain activity. Maggie watches from down the hall as he asks Carter for any kind of hope. Carter tells the Krolls that they can keep stabilizing Jared, but they can’t keep him alive indefinitely. Abby notices Maggie watching and approaches her. Maggie says she knows she might be giving Eric too much credit for turning things around, but she’s not ready to write him off. The last time she saw him, he was alive. Until someone proves otherwise, that’s her reality. She’s going to Cleveland to arrange a rescue mission.

Susan tries to talk Sean into rethinking what’s best for him right now. Sean guesses that Mrs. Simmons put her up to this. He asks what she would do in his position, but she can’t answer that. Sean quietly says that he doesn’t want to die. Susan tells him that in that case, he should fight with everything he has.

Luka makes it in before noon, which means Frank has lost a bet. He gets right to work when Gallant tells him that Zeki is seizing. Zeki also has a really high fever, and Luka’s first instinct to bring it down is to carry him outside and put him down in the snow. Back in the ER, the Krolls try to prepare to say goodbye to their son. Abby’s cell phone goes off, making her jump. She takes the call in the next trauma room as Carter removes Jared from life support. Eric’s plane has been found in Michigan – intact. There was no crash, which means Eric is probably alive. Abby rushes to the El station to stop Maggie from going to Cleveland.

Weaver isn’t happy with Luka’s methods, but he’s brought Zeki’s temperature down and probably saved his organs, so he considers it a win. At Doc Magoo’s, Abby and Maggie study a map to figure out where Eric is. Abby says that Maggie was right about him not wanting to kill himself. Maggie says it could have easily gone another way. They need to make sure that Eric knows they don’t see him as a burden. She wants to try to get in touch with him or go look for him, but Abby says they should wait for him to make the first move. Meanwhile, they need to proceed with life as usual.

Chen teases Pratt about his not-dead patient, and they smooth things over a little. He hopes she doesn’t feel like he judged her for placing her child for adoption. She shows him a picture of the boy, Michael, and Pratt’s amused to see that he’s half Black. Then things go downhill again because Pratt made plans with one of the paramedics (I think her name is Christine), since Chen said she was busy. He invites Chen to come along, but she declines and complains to Susan in the lounge.

Pratt complains to Carter as well, though Carter isn’t sure why Pratt’s ranting to him. He’s also not sure why he’s still at the hospital, since he had the day off. Weaver chastises Luka for missing half his shift and orders him to work a double. Later, at home, Weaver tells Sandy that she doesn’t want to wait before they try again to have a baby. This time, she thinks Sandy should get pregnant.

Sandy makes the understandable point that she has a physical job she can’t do while pregnant. Weaver notes that she could take leave. She wants Sandy to feel how wonderful it is to carry a child. Sandy worries that Weaver will think of her as less of a woman because she doesn’t want to do something so many women want to do. Even when Weaver asks Sandy to do this for her, Sandy says no.

Abby’s smoking on the hospital roof, though she tells Carter she’s trying to quit. He’s a little annoyed that she keeps disappearing on him. She thanks him again for coming back from vacation, then suggests that he run away from their relationship before they go much further. She’s a magnet for misery and she doesn’t want Carter to keep having to deal with it.

Carter reminds her that Eric is alive, so it’s okay for Abby to be a little happy. Abby wishes she’d come back from the El station to thank Carter again for being here for her. She feels like her life will always be on hold because of her family. Carter shouldn’t feel like he has to stick with her through that. She says he doesn’t want her to love him. Carter argues that he should get to decide what he wants. He wants her to stop being so afraid and so careful. He also wants to marry her. Abby tells him he’s crazy. “Well, then I’ll fit right in,” he replies with a little smile.

Thoughts: Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, who play the Langstons, were married in real life.

I know Abby wants to keep busy but she can’t think it’s a good idea to work while she’s distracted. This isn’t a job where you can get away with mistakes.

The actress playing Mrs. Kroll is excellent in what had to have been a difficult role to play. It can’t be easy to play a character who did something horrible – and feels horrible about it – but still deserves a huge amount of sympathy.

Trivia: Weaver likes Jane Austen and is reading Mansfield Park for the third time.

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