November 30, 2021

ER 9.21, When Night Meets Day: Total Eclipse of the Carter

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:01 pm by Jenn

It’s the 200th episode, so they set something on fire, just for fun

Summary: Carter opens the heavy blinds in his bedroom to a bright, sunny day. He heads to County for a shift, taking over for Pratt, who worked overnight. He’s getting through his punishment from Romano, a month’s worth of night shifts. Pratt has no sympathy for Susan, who’s only had to work three nights in a row. Susan tells Carter that there’s a group of patients who want to be released by 2:16 p.m. so they can see an eclipse. “The moon blocks out the sun – big deal. I’ve got a billboard outside my apartment that does the same thing,” she says. Pratt has just one more night at County before he moves on to Northwestern.

This episode goes back and forth between the night and day shifts, so we skip ahead to the start of Pratt’s last County shift that night. He slept through the eclipse and doesn’t care that he missed it. He repeats what Susan said almost verbatim. Carter’s still there, talking to a woman with two young kids about something that doesn’t seem happy.

Pratt notes that there are a bunch of Buddhists in the ER. Carter explains that a nun died. He’s also treated a six-year-old girl with cyanide poisoning and dealt with a man who died of a heart attack. He passes a patient back to Pratt because the poor guy has been there for 20 hours. Carter heads out without really saying goodbye to Pratt, who reminds him that this is his last shift at County. Carter wishes him luck in the future.

Day: Weaver tells a guy with a dump truck not to park in the ambulance bay while some workers are remodeling the triage area. Chen chats with Carter, who’s leaving for a vacation in Rio the next day. Paramedics bring in a woman who tells them she was forced to do something because “it’s all ending today.” 2:16 p.m. will mark the end of the world. Carter laments that he’ll miss it because he has to work.

Next, he and Elizabeth tend to a gang member who was shot. Gallant asks him to examine the Buddhist nun. The ER is busy, so when Weaver comes down, Carter hopes she’s going to help out. She’s not. She also hasn’t fired Romano, as Carter hopes – he’s on medical leave. The woman who was talking about the end of the world is now unconscious, and Carter thinks she’s on drugs. Peña thinks that since she’s out, he doesn’t have to follow up on her claim that someone tried to kill her. Yeah, that’s how it works. Once someone falls asleep, there’s no more crime to investigate.

Carter blows off a guy he thinks is a drug-seeker so he can check in on the nun, Zuin-an. She has cancer and ended her chemo treatments a few months earlier because they weren’t doing anything. A fellow nun, Kito, brought her to the ER because she’s in pain and hasn’t been drinking anything. Zuin-an touches Carter’s face and says in Japanese, as translated by Kito, “So much sadness.”

Night: Doc Magoo’s is on fire. It sounds like it never reopened after the murders there, so no one was inside. Pratt tries to use this as an excuse to end his shift early. Susan doesn’t fall for it. Abby tries to wrangle her patient, who stepped outside to smoke even though he’s there being treated for a bleeding ulcer. Priorities, you know? There’s an explosion at Doc Magoo’s, which Pratt thinks should justify leaving early.

Day: Romano’s about to go in for surgery to have his arm amputated. He asks Elizabeth to write, “Not this one, idiot” on his good arm. He passive-aggressively invites her to observe his surgery, you know, if she feels like it. She already has an operation on her schedule, but she says she’ll scrub in if she can. Just in case she can’t make it, he insists that she add “idiot” to “not this one.” He asks if she thinks he’s doing the right thing. Elizabeth says yes, but Romano still doesn’t like it.

Night: A firefighter comes in with an eye injury, I think from the blast at Doc Magoo’s. The woman and kids Carter was dealing with are still hanging around the trauma room that once held the man who died of a heart attack. He’s been taken to the morgue, but his wife hasn’t been able to bring herself to leave yet. Pratt starts to find another trauma room for the firefighter so the family can take their time, but the woman says they’ll leave. One of the kids gives Pratt a long look before he leaves.

Day: Carter and Gallant treat a teen named Turner, who has a scar on his belly from a recent splenectomy. Carter’s surprised that he’s already out and about doing gang stuff. Turner indicates that he didn’t have a choice, since a gang killed his brother and hurt his sister. Carter realizes that this is Curtis’ brother. So now we know what happened when Curtis and his friends went out for revenge. Carter moves on to help Chen treat a 12-year-old girl named Heather who fell off a tour boat and has been unresponsive for 45 minutes. Her father’s watching through a window, so Carter doesn’t want to give up just yet.

We go back and forth between day, where Carter’s trying to keep Heather alive, and night, where she regains consciousness. In the daytime, Carter tells Heather’s father that her lungs may have sustained damage and her brain may have been deprived of oxygen for a long time. In the nighttime, Pratt gives Heather’s father the good news that she’s going to be fine.

Day: Elizabeth checks on Turner, commenting to Carter that gang members seem to keep getting younger. Carter’s alleged drug-seeker is still asking for medication. He checks on Zuin-an, who knows she doesn’t have much time left. Kito tells him that Zuin-an has the gift of seeing inside people. The women met while serving prison sentences (Zuin-an for demonstrating for human rights in North Korea), and Kito says Zuin-an saved her. She’s touched to see Zuin-an embrace “her death and rebirth.” That’s how you realize your purpose. Carter seems touched, too.

More back-and-forth: Pratt treats a boy with impetigo, NOT scabies like his mother suspects. She insists that he didn’t get the infection at her house. Ma’am, Pratt fully doesn’t care. Carter treats a woman who claims she hurt her wrist in a fall, but was probably beaten. Pratt tries to get a woman to accept that she has gall stones because she has unhealthy eating habits. Carter treats a man named Mr. Dressler who though he was having a heart attack but seems to just have indigestion.

Pratt puts a cast on a college cheerleader (oh, poor Pratt, such a tough job chatting with attractive patients). Carter finally lets his drug-seeker have Demerol…but he comes back that night, giving Pratt a different name so he can get more Demerol. Both doctors say they’re putting a note in his chart to alert other staff to his behavior, but if he’s using different names when he comes in, that won’t do anything.

Night: Pratt looks forward to moving on to Northwestern, where he doubts he has to clean up after people who soil themselves on their gurneys. Susan chats with two firefighters until Abby sends them away to do things like roll up their hoses (dirty!), polish their poles (also dirty!), and feed their little spotted dog (…not sure). Susan asks if she’s cranky or flirting. Outside, Turner is brought back in.

Day: Carter wants to call Turner’s mother, but Turner doesn’t think she’d understand why he feels the need to get revenge for Curtis’ death. What he really means is that she’d kill him if she knew what he was doing. Carter wants him to see that there’s more available to him in life. Turner says that where he lives, there isn’t. Carter points out that if Turner dies, no one will be left to take care of his mother and sister.

Chen announces that there’s a mass trauma coming in – a bunch of people tried to commit suicide. One man says that he jumped out a window so he couldn’t be forced to drink something that would kill him. Peña clarifies that a cult thought the eclipse was signaling the end of the world. Carter realizes that the cult members all drank cyanide.

There’s back-and-forth with Turner, who’s fine during the day shift and critical during the night shift. Pratt tries to stabilize him while giving orders for other patients. In the day shift, Malik tells Carter that Mr. Dressler does have a heart issue after all. Now, though, Carter’s too busy to do anything for him.

We get a split screen as Carter tends to a mother and daughter from the mass suicide, and Pratt and Abby try to save a woman who was stabbed and had her baby ripped out of her womb. Carter struggles with his patients, but Pratt and Abby stabilize theirs. As the daughter wakes up, Carter catches Turner stabbing a rival gang member in his bed. He rushes to save the patient, and Turner’s able to run away. That night, Pratt and Susan go back to working on Turner, but they can’t do anything for him.

Romano has a lot of complaints as he heads into surgery. Is anyone surprised? Elizabeth is in the ER, so she’s not there to give him support or make sure the surgical team doesn’t screw up. Pratt treats the firefighter with the eye injury, then checks on Mia, the mother whose baby was stolen. He notices a man he blew off earlier clutching his heart.

Carter finally gets back to Mr. Dressler, who’s now having a heart attack. Carter offers to call his wife, but Mr. Dressler says she took their kids to the park to watch the eclipse. He already left her a message. So now we know who the woman and kids from earlier belong to, which means we also know Mr. Dressler’s fate. Carter takes a call from his father, who has to miss their trip to Rio. Weaver interrupts to bug him about stuff, and he roars at her that he’s on the phone. When he hangs up, Weaver tells him she’ll help out for the rest of the shift. Oh, and he has the gang member’s blood on him.

Carter goes to see Mr. Dressler, who’s waiting to be taken for treatment. Mr. Dressler has a bad feeling about his condition and wants to write his family a letter in case he doesn’t make it. Carter assures him that his chances are really good. Also, he doesn’t have a pen, and he has other stuff to deal with right now, so someone else will have to help Mr. Dressler with his letter.

Elizabeth makes it to Romano’s OR as Weaver and Carter climb into the dump truck outside to help a crew guy who fell from some scaffolding. He’s in the perfect spot to see the eclipse, which is probably a nice distraction for him. Pratt checks on the man with chest pain, Ray, who doesn’t have a regular doctor because his Medicare doesn’t start until next year. Every time he has an EKG or goes to a clinic, his heart is stable, so he can’t convince anyone that he needs treatment. Pratt declares that he’s Ray’s doctor now.

Jerry summons Pratt to the phone for a call about Mia’s attack. Chen brings Carter and Weaver some supplies, then takes over for Carter so he can treat Zuin-an. Pratt tells Abby that the call was to report that someone left Mia’s baby in an alley. The caller’s wife brought the baby home and said it was hers. The husband had seen a news report about Mia’s attack and put everything together. I guess he left the baby in the alley so he wouldn’t get ID’d and get his wife in trouble.

A bunch of stuff happens at once: Some monks gather in Zuin-an’s room and begin a ritual as she dies. Pratt and Abby get to the alley. Chen and Weaver treat the worker in the truck. Romano’s surgery continues. Pratt tries to listen for the baby. The eclipse happens over Weaver and Chen’s shoulders. Susan turns up her headlights so Pratt and Abby can see better in the alley. The eclipse takes away Weaver and Chen’s light, but firefighters free the patient from whatever he was impaled on, so they’re able to move him. Romano is officially a one-armed man. Zuin-an dies. The baby cries and Pratt finds him.

Luka calls the ER from the Congo and tells Carter that the clinic where he’s working is down a doctor. He’d like Carter to call his contact at the State Department and help move along another doctor’s visa. Carter doesn’t really have a contact, just a family friend who was an ambassador. Luka pauses for a second to listen to a nurse named Gillian who’s talking to him in French. He tells Carter that there’s a cholera epidemic in the refugee population and the clinic is swamped.

Carter has already gotten his shots and visa for the Alliance de Medicine Whatever stint he wound up not doing, so he volunteers to go to the Congo and help out for a couple of weeks. Luka would appreciate it. Carter has to end the call, since Mr. Dressler is declining. Pratt, Abby, and Susan get the baby to the hospital and determine that he’s healthy. Even though he had a traumatic start to life, Pratt is sure things will get better for him.

Mr. Dressler’s wife and kids arrive, and Carter asks Gallant and Malik about the man’s letter. Carter didn’t tell them that Mr. Dressler wanted to write it, so no one gave him a pen or paper. Elizabeth tends to some post-op bleeding Romano’s having as he comes out of the anesthesia. He loopily tells her he loves her. Yeah, buddy, she totally knows. Everyone knows.

Pratt gets to be the one to reunite Mia with her baby. Carter tries hard to save Mr. Dressler, but Gallant gets him to accept that they can’t do it. Carter goes to talk to Mr. Dressler’s wife and children, which is what he was doing when Pratt arrived for the night shift. Since Mr. Dressler didn’t get to write his letter, Carter tells his family that he loved them.

While wrapping up his shift, Pratt assures Ray that he’s stable and will be able to stay that way with medication. Ray praises him for being good at his job. Pratt says goodbye to Chen, who congratulates him for surviving his time at County. Carter leaves as well, running into Abby and making awkward conversation with her. He feels bad for failing Mr. Dressler. “Nothing’s right here,” he says. The two of them haven’t talked in a week, and it doesn’t look like Carter wants to address that now.

Abby says that Luka called her, so she knows that he convinced Carter to go to the Congo. Carter laments that he won’t be going on vacation in Rio, but at least he won’t be at County. Doc Magoo’s is still on fire, another emergency Carter can’t do anything about. Pratt goes into the wreckage the next morning and finds a first-aid kit, the only thing still intact. Weaver tells him he’s welcome back at County if he ever wants to pick up a shift.

Haleh has some follow-up questions about Ray, and though Pratt could just walk away and let Chen handle everything, he goes back to the ER to wrap everything up. He doesn’t want to let Ray slip through the cracks. Apparently Pratt thinks he can change where he’s matched, because now he wants to stay at County. I’m sure he would have been disciplined for something within two days of starting at Northwestern, so maybe this is for the best.

Thoughts: The back-and-forth stuff gets a little tedious here, but I like that, for once, we get to see some follow-up with patients.

Pratt may be annoying and arrogant and a bunch of other things, but he also knows his stuff and really cares about people. He was willing to let Mr. Dressler’s family stay in the trauma room as long as they needed. He’s really happy to be able to give Heather’s father good news. And the whole thing with Ray shows that he gets how important County is to many of the patients, and how crucial it is for the doctors to pay attention to what they need.

Wish I could yell at my boss like Carter does and face zero consequences. Must be nice. (If my boss is reading this: I would never yell at you.)

1 Comment »

  1. Patrick Sullivan said,

    Yeah Pratt just impulsively changes his match. It’s similar to Neela changing her match at Michigan and that caused havoc for her and them. In the episode Body and Soul there were multiple flashbacks and Pratt was telling the James Woods character Lennox how he was going to Northwestern because it was a big step up from the county ER.


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