December 14, 2021

ER 10.1, Now What?: Suddenly ER Stands for “Everyone’s Racist”

Posted in TV tagged , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

It’s Neela time!

Summary: We revisit the end of “Kisangani,” with Carter going to Abby’s apartment after returning from the Congo. She wakes up and lights a cigarette, because what better way to deal with your estranged boyfriend letting himself into your apartment at 5:30 in the morning? He apologizes for the way he left a couple weeks ago. Abby just asks him to return her key. He drops it on a side table as he leaves.

The next morning, a woman named Denise picks up a girl named Katie for a carpool with two other kids, Hannah (her daughter) and Matthew. They get stuck in traffic. Elsewhere in the city, Pratt runs to catch an El train. He gets on one just in time and strikes up a conversation with a woman who admires the fact that he’s a doctor. Denise is starting to move out of the stuck traffic when she suddenly passes out. Her car hits another and flips over. She regains consciousness in time to see a truck heading toward the car, unable to stop in time.

Pratt continues his conversation on the train until it stops because of a delay. That delay is most likely related to the car crash, which happened just outside County. Abby talks to a firefighter and relays to Chen, Haleh, Malik, Gallant, and Jerry that there are four people trapped in Denise’s car, plus one under a car across the street. Exposition lets us know that Gallant graduated the day before and is now an intern. Also he was fourth in his class. Yay, Dr. Gallant!

The entrance to the hospital is full of construction workers and equipment as Weaver’s plan to change the triage area is underway. Weaver yells at a guy for making a lot of noise. Yelling to express your annoyance at someone for being loud isn’t a great strategy, by the way. You’re just adding to the noise. Chen looks for Susan as Frank complains to Weaver about furniture. Weaver yells at the construction guy again.

In the middle of the chaos, Neela Rasgotra, a third-year med student, arrives for the first day of her ER rotation. Frank makes a comment about the hospital not hiring Americans anymore. Congratulations, Neela – you’ve gone from entering the hospital to having a reason to file a complaint with HR in the fastest time ever! But don’t bother, because HR does nothing around here.

Abby goes to retrieve Susan from the bathroom, where she’s apparently been spending a lot of her free time hooking up with Chuck. The annulment went through, but their relationship is just heating up. Abby tells Susan that Carter’s back in town. Susan guesses that he screwed up his attempt to apologize to her. Weaver: more yelling. I’m tired already.

Frank turns Neela over to Susan, calling Neela a TWA. Weaver: more yelling. Denise is finally extracted from the car and brought into the ER. Hannah’s right behind her. Weaver confirms that Gallant’s officially a doctor and turns him loose to take on doctor responsibilities. Pratt hasn’t made it in yet, so Weaver tells Jerry to page him until he calls back. The construction work makes all the computers go down. Weaver is confronted by a worker’s butt crack. I wonder if I can pretend the show ended with season 9 and stop recapping right now.

Pratt finally gets to County, arriving at the same time as Carter. Paramedics are also wheeling in Matthew, so Pratt tells Weaver he’s only late because he was helping them. Carter takes in the changes to the ER and asks Frank where the lounge is, since it’s been replaced by the triage area. Weaver asks him if he brought Luka back with him. Behind her, a piece of glass falls out of a window pane. Carter finds a plastic bag of his stuff hanging on the door of his locker, with a note from Abby that just says, “You forgot your stuff.”

Pratt, Gallant, and Haleh tend to Matthew, who doesn’t seem to have any serious injuries. Pratt spots Neela in a trauma room and takes an interest. He offers her and Susan his help with Denise, who doesn’t know how the crash happened. Pratt basically volunteers himself as a private tutor for Neela, giving her more one-on-one attention than residents usually give med students.

Frank tells Carter that the executor of Millicent’s estate has been trying to reach him for weeks. Haleh welcomes Carter back, but he’s not really paying attention, since he responds, “You, too.” He crumples up the note Frank gave him with the lawyer’s phone number, then joins Susan, Pratt, and Neela. Since they have things under control, he goes next door to see how Chen and Abby are doing with Hannah. Jerry tells them that another kid is coming in, so Chen goes to take care of Katie, leaving Carter and Abby alone. They start clashing right away.

Chen goes next door to ask Susan if she can take one of the nurses she’s working with. She sees how close Pratt is to Neela and makes an “I STRONGLY disapprove of this” face. He was flirting with someone on the train, too! Your boyfriend is a big flirt, Chen! Either dump him now or learn to live with it. Pratt introduces Neela to Chen, who greets Neela coolly. Susan makes a “there’s about to be some DRAMA” face.

Carter tells Abby that he found his stuff and got her “subtle” message. Susan goes to check on Hannah while Pratt has Neela hold a sheet around Denise’s hips, stabilizing her pelvic fracture. After Pratt brings Denise’s x-rays to Susan, she tells him to go help Chen. Pratt makes an “I’m going to have a really bad day” face. Chen’s working on Katie right next to Denise’s trauma room, and she doesn’t hide how she feels, so Neela can see her glaring through the window. She asks Chuny if Pratt and Chen are together.

Neela’s alone again with Denise, trying to hold the sheet around her steady. Denise is worried about Hannah, but Neela doesn’t know anything about the other crash victims and can’t give her any information. Abby and Carter lose Hannah’s pulse and try to revive her. Denise passes out again, and Neela tries not to panic about being the only one around to help her. Elizabeth arrives, clocks Neela’s British accent, and asks if she’s from the East End. Nope, West London. (Translation: Elizabeth thinks Neela’s poor because she’s Indian. Shut up, Elizabeth.)

Chuny returns and alerts Chen and Pratt to the fact that their patient is unstable. Elizabeth’s annoyed that no one discovered that Denise has internal bleeding. Chen tells Neela to go get her labs, calling Neela “you.” Speaking of labs, Abby calls to get Hannah’s, which seem to indicate kidney damage. Denise’s labs aren’t complete, so Neela goes straight to the doctor working on them and urges him to hurry. He tells her the blood work shows something abnormal.

Neela runs back to the ER and tells Elizabeth that Denise has a rare form of anemia that will require non-type-specific blood. Neela looked at the slide herself and confirmed this. She thinks that the anemia caused Denise to pass out and crash the car. Pratt’s proud of Neela for moving fast and bringing back a diagnosis that will help them treat Denise successfully. Neela’s proud of herself for doing something so helpful on her first day.

Now the phones are messed up. Sigh. Pratt sends Neela to start examining patients on her own and present the cases to him. Gallant meets her and makes small talk, noting that Chicago must be a big adjustment for Neela. He assumes she’s moved there from India, but Neela lived in London starting when she was 11, and she went to school in the U.S. (Yale for undergrad, Chicago for med school). He takes her with him to start seeing patients.

Romano is back at work, so…yay. His crankiness was not stored in his reattached arm, so he’s still mean now that it’s been removed. Frank continues being racist about Neela. SHUT UP, FRANK. Carter and Abby have stabilized Hannah, so he goes off with Pratt to do something else. He tells Abby to call him if she needs him. Abby says she won’t. Guys, I don’t think she means that just about Hannah.

Pratt wants Carter to see his patient, Mr. Williams, who has HIV and an infection that isn’t responding to treatment. Prtt comments that there must be some astronomical weirdness going on because his and Carter’s girlfriends are both mad at them. Yeah, blame the universe for that. Anyway, Pratt was hoping to get Mr. Williams into some program that will help with his medication, but he can’t start for a couple of months. Mr. Williams can’t afford the prescription he’s already received. Carter determines that his infection has spread, so he’s now qualified for Medicaid and new medications. The bad news is he now has AIDS.

Susan and Abby discuss Carter again; Susan thinks it’s a good sign that he went straight to see Abby after returning to the U.S. She advises Abby to tell Carter how his sudden departure made her feel, and let him make it up to her. More construction wackiness, now in the bathroom. Abby complains that Carter’s acting like nothing happened. Susan opts for the men’s room instead of finding an available women’s bathroom. She and Abby keep chatting while Malik finishes up at the sink. He’s strangely unsurprised that the women are there.

Neela gets a break from Frank’s racism when she treats a patient named Mrs. Ferguson who admires the color of her skin. Gallant is a good teacher, and he’s definitely confident in his own medical skills, though he’s been that way for a while. Weaver gets a taste of her own medicine when Romano yells at her about…something. Who cares? Frank tells Carter that Millicent’s executor called again, and he’s on his way to try to catch Carter in person.

Susan urges Abby to talk to Carter, and they agree to get coffee when they both have a break. Mr. Williams tells Carter that he can’t get his medication until he gets his Medicaid card, which will take a few weeks. He can’t afford to pay for the medication out of pocket until then. Carter says he’ll call the pharmacy and see what he can do.

Neela draws blood from Mrs. Ferguson as she tells Neela about losing her husband, whom she married when she was a teenager. She encourages Neela not to wait too long to get married. The guy doesn’t have to be handsome, just nice. Neela’s amused. The construction workers stop at 2:30, since they’ve been working since 7:00. Weaver’s annoyed. Laura Innes should sue someone for this storyline.

Pratt checks in with Neela and basically steals her back from Gallant. Chen looks on, glaring again. Ming-Na should sue someone, too. The phone at the admit desk is ringing, and Jerry and Frank aren’t around, so Neela answers it. It’s a long-distance call for Carter. When Frank returns, Neela reports that the caller says someone named Luka has died. Everyone at the desk is stunned.

Carter and Abby take a walk on their coffee break, and he tells her about how crazy things were in the Congo. He knows the experience was life-changing, but he’s not sure exactly how yet. Abby asks about Luka, making Carter think that’s all she wanted to discuss. He tells her Luka is “more than fine.” Well, not according to the person Neela just talked to!

Abby complains that she and Carter never really talk. She can never tell what he’s thinking. Why did he go to the Congo without telling her? Did he mean to hurt her? Carter says no; he just wanted to do something meaningful. She asks if he thought about her while he was gone. He says he did, but he doesn’t give any details about whether those thoughts were, for example, “I miss Abby,” or more along the lines of, “Thank God I’m thousands of miles away from that harpy.”

Abby starts to go inside, so he complains that she always walks away when things get tough. She returns and says that Carter makes everything about her problems. He has his own problems he hasn’t dealt with. Carter wonders why he came back at all. He can’t get a pharmacy in the richest country in the world to give Mr. Williams his medication. While he’s yelling, Chuny comes outside and gives Abby the news that Luka’s dead.

Carter tries to contact someone in Kisangani while the rest of the staff mourns together. Gallant tells Neela that Luka was an attending, but they weren’t close. She goes back to Mrs. Ferguson, but she’s been moved, so Neela assumes she was taken for a procedure. She presents a patient to Pratt and makes a diagnosis. Chen starts quizzing her, letting her know that her diagnosis might be wrong. Pratt sides with Neela, but Chen overrules them.

She leaves and Pratt follows her to chastise her for being too hard on Neela. Chen complains that he was all over her, and it humiliated Chen. Malik comes to get them, announcing that Mrs. Ferguson is bleeding out. She was supposed to have constant monitoring, and Neela takes responsibility for not doing it. Malik moved her to a room for privacy and made a note on the board. Gallant insists that this isn’t Neela’s fault, it’s his. Either way, Mrs. Ferguson is in bad shape.

In the lounge, Carter tries to track down Luka’s father in Croatia, but his last name is common there and Abby doesn’t know his first name. Carter decides to get it from the Alliance de Medicine Whatever instead. He plans to go back to the Congo and get Luka’s body himself. He feels responsible since he left Luka behind. He grabs an empty bag and starts stuffing medical supplies into it to take with him. Weaver catches him, so he tells her to bill him.

Pratt finds Neela sitting with Mrs. Ferguson’s body and tells her that the woman’s death wasn’t her fault. She asks him what a TWA is. Pratt speaks Frankese: It means third-world assassin. Neela, go back to HR! Wait, I told you not to go the first time. Make a note of all this crap, just to have it on the record. To try to cheer her up, Pratt takes her to the post-op wing so she can see that Denise made it through surgery. Neela’s day has been so long that she’s surprised that happened just this morning. Pratt tells her he’ll see her tomorrow.

Abby follows Carter as he leaves the hospital to go to the airport. She begs him not to go, but Carter ignores her. She tells him she can’t keep doing this. He almost pauses, but he keeps going. Abby, I would consider that a break-up. Go celebrate.

Thoughts: I’m mostly just okay with Neela – I don’t love her or hate her – but I do really like Parminder Nagra, and I think she’s great in the role. Plus, the character gets a journey we haven’t seen before, which is nice.

Chen is about to become unbearable. You have been warned.

Who approved Carter to work a shift just hours after a long trim home from the Congo, when he must have horrible jet lag?

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