October 26, 2021

ER 9.16, A Thousand Cranes: Just Doing Our Job

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

Oh, this is still happening? We’re still supposed to be invested in this?

Summary: Carter has bought an engagement ring for Abby and is keeping it in his locker at work. He shows it to Susan and tells her he’s going to propose tonight. Well, he kind of already did, but Abby didn’t give him an answer. Chen comes in and asks if they want anything from Doc Magoo’s. She runs into Luka as she heads over and they chat for a few moments. Across the street, someone runs out of the diner and gets in an SUV, which makes a U-turn and drives off.

Chen and Luka go over to Doc Magoo’s together, discussing Yiddish terms Luka’s learned from a workplace sensitivity manual Weaver is making him read. The lights are on in the diner and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” is playing, but at first it looks like no one’s inside. The doctors find a customer slumped over in a booth, dead. Chen spots blood on the floor behind the counter, and she and Luka follow it to a walk-in freezer. Three more people are inside, two dead from gunshot wounds but one still alive.

Maggie is still in town, and she thinks Eric may have gone to see some family friends. Abby tries to reassure her that, wherever he is, he’ll be okay. She tells Maggie that Carter proposed, but she doesn’t think he meant it, so she didn’t say yes or no. She calls in to work and learns that there was a shooting at Doc Magoo’s and she’s needed in the ER. Before she leaves, she extends an invitation for Maggie to stay with her a few more days. Maggie’s ready to go home, though, especially if Eric might come looking for her there.

At County, Chen and Luka help paramedics take Trina, the surviving victim, to County. Luka is shaken by the whole situation and tells Weaver he needs a minute. Sean is being released, so he stops by the ER to see Susan before he goes home for hospice care. Pratt and Gallant are playing basketball at a YMCA with a bunch of guys. One of them fouls Pratt, who falls against a metal bench and cuts his hand. He wipes the blood on his shirt, then starts to attack the guy who fouled him. Gallant breaks up the fight before it can start.

Back at County, the shooting is being discussed on the news. Jerry notes that the reporter only mentions four deaths but not the single survivor. Carter asks Abby to get sushi with him that night after she takes Maggie to the bus station. Susan doesn’t think sushi is romantic enough for a proposal dinner. Carter tells her it’s about misdirection, which Susan thinks is a bad idea.

Luka and Chen continue treating Trina, who tells the police that there were two shooters. She saw them drive off in an SUV. Chen realizes that she may have seen that same SUV from across the street. She was too far away to see what the men looked like, but she thinks one of them was Black.

Sometime later, two of the cops from the ER pull Pratt and Gallant over. (One is named Palnick; the other doesn’t get a name, so I’ll call him Peña after the actor playing him,) They comment on Pratt’s nice car, so he explains that he and Gallant are both doctors. When the cops mention that there was a shooting at a diner, Pratt quickly guesses why they were pulled over. He invites the cops to search his car and tells them they were playing basketball at the YMCA. Palnick thinks they’re drug dealers. Peña finds Pratt’s bloody shirt, which is enough for the cops to decide they have reason to handcuff Gallant and Pratt.

They’re taken to the police station and questioned separately. Pratt plays basketball at the YMCA a couple times a week with his friends; Gallant doesn’t know their names, so this may have been his first time. Gallant feels hassled while Pratt seems bored. The cops clearly don’t buy their stories that they’re doctors, or that that means they didn’t kill a bunch of people in the diner across from their workplace. An officer just says they fit the profiles of the killers.

Weaver learns what’s going on and tells Jerry to send IDs to the police station so the cops will finally accept that Pratt and Gallant are who they say they are. She then tells Susan that Sean’s mother wants Susan to stay away from her son before he goes home. Susan would rather hear how Sean feels. At the police station, the cops release Pratt and Gallant without any apologies for interrogating or detaining them.

Weaver tells Luka that he can take on non-critical cases for a while until he readjusts to working in the ER. Luka claims he’s fine and doesn’t need special treatment or help. She wants him to talk to someone in psych anyway, just as a formality. Pratt and Gallant make it to County, and while Pratt basically acts like what happened with the cops is normal, Gallant is upset and wants to do something to protest. Pratt tells him that no matter how perfect they are, they’ll always be the first suspects when something happens. After being a suspect enough times, you get the message that you’re not ever going to be treated like white people.

Susan sneaks in a visit with Sean, who doesn’t seem completely content with his decision to stop fighting his cancer. He keeps thinking about all the stuff he won’t get to do. He always thought he had more time, even when he was really sick. Susan decides they should play hooky and find something fun to do so Sean won’t just go home and wait to die.

Maggie comes by the ER to get lunch with Abby, who’s a little too busy to take a break. Her next patient, Levine, is still drunk from Valentine’s Day party five days ago. Maggie decides she should just head out now, since Abby won’t have time to hang out with her. Carter walks her out as Maggie starts crying – she was holding out hope that Eric would show up and her whole family could have some time together. Carter offers to drive her to the bus station.

Luka goes to see Dr. Myers, acting like he doesn’t need help. He acknowledges all the stuff he’s been through (losing his family, losing Abby, getting in the car accident with Harkins) but doesn’t expect Myers to be able to help him. Well, it’s more that Myers can’t fix him in just one session, and obviously Luka isn’t going to agree to come back if he doesn’t have to. He tells Myers to let Weaver know that he fulfilled his responsibility by coming by.

News update: Police are chasing an SUV they think is carrying the Doc Magoo killers. Weaver guesses that the police haven’t considered the cost and resources involved in a chase. Jerry thinks they hope the suspects will die in a car crash so the police don’t have to deal with them anymore. Gallant adds that they might not even have the right suspects.

Elizabeth reminds us that she’s on this show by commenting that the police are supposed to be on the side of the public. They play the odds like doctors do. The last time she flew to London, security pulled two Arab men out of the line and it made her feel more secure. Gallant asks if she thinks the police would pull over two Arab men driving through Chicago. Elizabeth says no, since there aren’t a lot of terrorist acts in Chicago. Gallant asks if she seriously thinks racial profiling is a legitimate tool for law enforcement. Elizabeth just says that a lot of people do. ELIZABETH, STOP TALKING.

Chen and Pratt check in with each other in the lounge, trying to decompress from the day’s stresses. He gets upset when she says she told the cops she thought the suspect she saw was Black. He tells her she fed into what the cops wanted – a Black killer. Chen objects to him trying to paint her as racist. Pratt says that when a cop has his foot on the back of your neck, it’s hard to feel like the whole world isn’t racist.

Carter and Maggie get stuck in traffic on the way to the bus station, which gives them time to chat. She’s worried about both of her children, though Carter says she doesn’t need to worry about Abby. Maggie mentions the proposal, telling Carter that even though being with Abby is a lot of work, it’s worth it. Carter says he spends a lot of time thinking about how things could go wrong, but there’s something about her that keeps bringing him back to her.

Susan and Sean ride a Ferris wheel, talking about a story his sister once read about a girl who tried to make a thousand paper cranes in hopes that she could then wish to get better. Susan guesses that Sean has made a lot of cranes himself. He tells her he has a different wish, then gives her a little kiss. This storyline is so weird. Paramedics bring in Palnick, who was injured in the crash Jerry foresaw happening with the Doc Magoo suspects. Now Pratt and Gallant are in a position of power, though Gallant doesn’t want Palnick as a patient. Pratt reminds him that it’s their job to treat anyone who needs treatment.

Back on the road, Maggie admires the ring Carter wants to give Abby, and they talk about how Maggie was never able to make a marriage work. She asks if the two of them have discussed having kids. Carter knows that Abby doesn’t want to pass on her genes if they mean having a child with bipolar disorder. Maggie hopes that the two of them communicate better than Abby and her ex-husband. She also hopes that Carter doesn’t want or expect Abby to change. He’s lucky to have her as she is, and he needs to love her no matter what.

Palnick protests having Gallant and Pratt as his doctors, but Weaver tells him he doesn’t get to choose who treats him. He tells Pratt that when the police pulled him and Gallant over, they were just doing their job. Pratt replies that he needs to let the doctors do their job now. Gallant determines that Palnick’s condition isn’t as serious as they previously thought. When he and Pratt are left alone with Palnick, Pratt taunts that this must be pretty scary for the cop: “Now it’s just you and a couple of n%$@#* with knives.”

As Carter and Abby go to dinner, Susan takes Sean home to his annoyed mother. His sister says Sean told her Susan’s the only doctor he’s ever met who’s like a friend. Also, he thinks she’s hot. At County, Pratt demands that Palnick apologize to Gallant, who made a diagnosis that saved him a lot of pain and unnecessary treatment. Palnick doesn’t see the big deal, since Gallant didn’t suffer any harm from what the police put him through. The cops were just doing their jobs. Gallant storms out, and Pratt tells Palnick that he should have just apologized.

Instead of going out for sushi, Carter and Abby are at a very fancy restaurant, which he’s bought out for the night so they’re the only patrons. He tells her he’s waited a long time for a relationship that he thought would last. He thinks he’s in the right place now for that. Is Abby? She says yes, so Carter reaches into his pocket to pull out the ring box. He continues that they’re growing and changing in good ways. Abby, however, isn’t sure people ever really change. Carter puts the box back in his pocket without Abby seeing it. She’s surprised that he bought out a whole restaurant and nothing special is happening.

Sean gives Susan a paper bag and tells her to open it later. He hopes that after he dies, he’ll understand what everything means. He wants Susan to know how much her friendliness has meant to him. She assures him that she knows. Weaver praises Gallant for diagnosing Palnick correctly, but she doesn’t want him to resist treating anyone ever again. Peña gives Gallant the closest he’ll get to an apology, admitting that they “overstepped” that morning. He appreciates Gallant for treating Palnick.

Weaver asks Luka how things went with Myers. Luka pretends he’s all better now. Outside, he runs into Chen again and they look over at Doc Magoo’s, which is surrounded by police tape. He wants her to remember that they saved Trina even as horrible things were happening. After he leaves, Pratt joins Chen and admits that he’s always acted like the police’s racism doesn’t bother him, but it does. He’s happy the real killers were caught. (No word on their races.)

Susan takes Sean’s bag to the waterfront and finds a bunch of origami cranes inside. She pours them out into the water. Abby and Carter go to her place, where Abby gets a call from Maggie, who’s stuck in Wisconsin because of a snowstorm. She tells Abby what she said to Carter about wishing the two of them and Eric could have had some time together. While Carter’s in the other room, Abby moves his jacket and finds the ring box in its pocket. She puts it back without mentioning it to him.

Thoughts: Palnick is played by Jeff Perry. Peña is played by Michael Peña. Levine is played by Chris Pine in his on-screen debut.

Okay, Pratt is totally right about racism in law enforcement, and the cops definitely racially profiled him and Gallant, but Chen did nothing wrong. If the guy she saw was Black, then IDing him as a Black guy isn’t racist. If he wasn’t Black and she said he was, that’s a different story, but we never find out if that’s the case.

I like the contrast between how Pratt and Gallant react to the police. Gallant is visibly annoyed and wants answers and justice. As the son of a career military man (and being in the military himself), he’s used to order and respect. This is new to him. Pratt stays calm and responds like he’s been taught how to act, because he most likely was. He knows what to do and not do. He’s from a place where this happens all the time, so to him, this is routine. Both guys’ actions are very in line with their characters.

Carter and Abby are nowhere near being ready to get married. This plot development is dumb.

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