April 19, 2022

ER 10.19, Just a Touch: Abby and Psych Go Together Like Pratt and Flirting

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn

Would you trust this woman to help you through your mental-heath crises?

Summary: Sam comes home from a trip to the grocery store to find Steve teaching Alex to play the guitar. Steve gives her some money to help pay her bills, as well as to ease his guilt over never supporting his child. She’s clearly not happy to have him around but also doesn’t want to send him away, since Alex loves him so much. Also, I think when he plays the guitar, she remembers what made her fall for him back when they were teens.

At County, Morris and Malik are struggling to subdue a very agitated patient, Mrs. Garrison. Luka steps in, since he’s familiar with her, and tells Morris not to restrain her; she’ll be fine once they give her Haldol. Mrs. Garrison makes him regret that decision by biting him, then grabbing Morris’ junk. Scott Grimes, why haven’t you called your agent yet? I know you’re on a hit show, but at what cost?

Weaver talks to a lawyer named Brooks who fills her in on the Lopezes’ case for wanting to take Henry away from her. Since Sandy was his birth mother and Weaver never legally adopted him, she doesn’t have rights. Weaver says they were in the middle of the adoption process. Brooks says the baby’s biological father could help by giving Weaver his parental rights, but he was an anonymous donor, so that won’t get them anywhere.

Brooks promises to try to come up with temporary arrangements that will let Weaver see her son. The good news is that Illinois doesn’t discriminate against same-sex couples when it comes to custody. But Weaver’s single now, and she has a demanding job that eats into her time with Henry. The Lopezes have a blood connection to Henry and are able to take care of him 24/7. Weaver offers to change her schedule and even quit if she has to.

Luka’s surprised to see Weaver at work. It’s like he’s never met her before. She’s not going to sit at home crying. She tells Brooks that she has the money to fight the Lopezes in court. She wants them to know that, too. After Brooks leaves, Weaver notices Morris icing his junk and is truly speechless. Writers, this is not compelling TV. Fix it.

Luka chats with Sam, saying that Alex must be excited for spring break. He suggests that they take him bowling. Sam says that Steve is in town; he shows up unannounced every once in a while. She wishes he would go away for good. He only stays long enough to raid her fridge and wrack up a big phone bill. And, I assume, to make Alex think he’s sticking around for good this time, then break his heart.

Abby is doing a psych rotation, and she jokes to Sam and Luka that she’s keeping an extra ID on her so no one mistakes her for a patient. Pratt finds Lester and Morris fighting over a patient Lester says Morris is trying to steal. The patient is an attractive woman, so Pratt takes her for himself. Neela tells the guys they’re ridiculous, then gets assigned to care for a woman who’s throwing up. The woman happens to have blue skin. I guess Morris and Lester don’t consider her attractive enough to treat. That’s discriminatory against blue people!

Mrs. Garrison is now stable, just as Luka predicted. Abby admits to him that she’s a little scared about her psych rotation – not because of the patients but because she’s enjoying it. She asks how he’s doing and he tells her about Steve. Uh-oh, someone feels threatened! As if anyone would choose another guy over Luka. Uh, unless that someone was George Clooney.

Carter asks Abby to get Chen’s father admitted; he fell and hurt his arm, which means he’ll be even less able to care for himself than usual. Chen complains that he keeps driving away home-care nurses, so Abby offers to help out, since she needs extra money. She asks about Kem, whom Carter just got back from visiting. She’s probably not as desperate to be done with her pregnancy as Susan is. Abby says she threatened to deliver the baby herself if it doesn’t hurry up and get born already.

Pratt examines his stolen patient, Ms. Campbell, who has back pain but doesn’t know why. She has a swollen lymph node and hasn’t had a mammogram or done any breast self-exams, so Pratt decides to do one himself. He brings Sam over, since hospital protocol is to have a woman present when a male doctor does a breast exam.

Pratt tries to lighten the mood before he puts his hands all over a stranger’s chest. Sam takes a phone call, so she’s still in the vicinity but not paying attention. Pratt examines Ms. Cambell, telling her how to do a self-exam each month. Ms. Campbell looks really uncomfortable, but Pratt doesn’t feel anything concerning.

Paramedics bring in a man named James who was in a car accident and is agitated and demanding pain medication. Luka gives him to Pratt and tends to the driver of James’ car, Rena. James tells Pratt that he met Rena last night, and she was driving him home after they spent the night at her place. Neela helps Luka with Rena, who asks for Pratt to be her doctor. Pratt finishes up with James, then goes next door to help with Rena, whom he doesn’t recognize. She reminds him that they met on the El last year and hooked up. Pratt pretends he remembers her.

Abby goes to the psych floor and meets up with her supervisor, Dr. Nelson. He tells her she can lead his group therapy session today. Way to spring it on the patients that their usual doctor won’t be there. James is ready to be discharged, and he doesn’t see a point in waiting to see how Rena is. Pratt and Sam are unimpressed. Rena needs surgery, and she asks Pratt to come visit her later. He says he will, which makes Luka think they’re friends.

Pratt asks Neela to do something for a patient, but she’s helping out with research on stroke treatments in the neuro lab, which Pratt calls the “mouse house.” She feels like she’s not effective in the ER and is looking for other areas to be useful. She goes back to the blue puker, Denise, whose vomiting has been accompanied by weakness in her hands and feet. Her blue skin is apparently normal – it’s a side effect of medication she takes for a heart arrhythmia. Guys at her school call her Smurf, because of course they do.

Pratt determines that Ms. Campbell must have strained a muscle without realizing it. She’s not satisfied with the diagnosis, but he tells her how to treat it and to come back if she gets worse. He gets called away to tend to a woman named Jordan who passed out. Ms. Campbell asks Sam if she can talk to Pratt’s supervisor. Ruh-roh! And in more ruh-roh! news, Steve is there. He wants to take Sam to lunch (with Alex). Alex is currently showing Luka the guitar Steve bought him. Sam silently begs Steve to leave. Neela helps Pratt with Jordan, and they disagree about her diagnosis and treatment options.

Chen finds Carter in the lounge, making arrangements for someone to bring him paperwork he was supposed to go sign somewhere. (I think Carter was visiting Chen at home when her father fell, and he came with her to make sure everything’s okay.) He asks her opinion on nursery themes, then realizes she never got to pick out a theme for her own baby. She assures him that she’s not offended. She’s been thinking about her son a lot. After her father dies, she won’t have any more family. Carter asks if she’s ever gotten to visit her son. She says no, and he suggests that she go. “Maybe I should have kept him,” Chen replies.

Abby runs the group-therapy session, which mainly involves trying to keep the patients from yelling at each other. When they won’t stop fighting, Abby lights a cigarette. Suddenly the patients all agree on something – Abby’s breaking the rules. Watching from outside the room, Nelson is pleased. Abby puts out the cigarette and starts a discussion about personal goals.

Ms. Campbell tells Weaver that Pratt made her feel uncomfortable because he seemed to enjoy giving her a breast exam. Weaver assures her that he’s professional, but she’s free to file a formal complaint. Ms. Campbell doesn’t want to go that far; she just wanted to make her feelings known and ask for someone to talk to Pratt.

As Weaver goes looking for him, she asks Sam if there was anything unusual about the exam. For example, why did Pratt give a breast exam to someone who complained of back pain? Sam says she didn’t know the woman’s medical complaints and was on the phone the whole time. Morris says it sounds like Pratt TUBEd Ms. Campbell. Weaver overhears and asks where that term came from. Morris looks around for someone to blame.

Jordan regains consciousness and Pratt tells her that she seems healthy, so they haven’t determined what made her pass out. She says she had seizures as a kid but grew out of them and hasn’t had one for about 20 years. Weaver pulls Pratt away to ask him about Ms. Campbell. She accuses him of giving Ms. Campbell an unnecessary exam so he had the excuse to feel her up. This could lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Pratt notes that he could have saved Ms. Campbell’s life if he’d found anything during the exam. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Her symptoms fit with those of breast cancer. Weaver asks if the exam had anything to do with Pratt being attracted to Ms. Campbell. He thinks Weaver would have done everything he did if she were in his position. Then he asks if she’s ever gotten turned on while performing a breast exam. Pratt, stop talking.

Weaver thinks Pratt’s use of the term “TUBE” is a smoking gun. Pratt insists that he didn’t come up with it; he heard it in med school. Plus, if Ms. Campbell had been that uncomfortable, she should have said something. Weaver suggests that she was intimidated, which makes Pratt think she’s maligning him for being Black. She says it’s not about race, but to Pratt, more things are about race than white people think.

The argument ends when Weaver takes a call from Brooks and Pratt gets summoned to tend to Denise, who’s collapsed. Neela tells him about her heart arrhythmia as she joins him. Pratt blasts Morris for opening his big mouth and getting him in trouble with Weaver. Morris lies that he didn’t say anything: “That hot patient was complaining about you.” Ugh.

Neela notes that when male doctors refer to female patients as “hot,” they’re not getting things off on the right foot. She asks Pratt if he can understand how Ms. Campbell must have felt coming to the ER and having a stranger grope her. Malik reports that Denise, who’s now stable, doesn’t have any of her heart medication in her system. She had to have stopped taking it weeks ago for her level to be zero. Pratt asks Neela if Denise said anything about why she might stop taking her medication. “Maybe because men are idiots,” Neela replies. Is that your professional diagnosis?

Sam has been roped into lunch with Steve and Alex after all, and she’s definitely not enjoying herself. After Alex leaves the table to play pinball, Steve compliments her on her parenting and says Alex is a “cool kid.” Uh, no, he’s not. She tells him about all the trouble Alex causes, which Steve thinks is amusing. After a minute of him making small talk, Sam asks straight out how long Steve will be in Chicago, since he’s never around for long. He says he might stick around this time.

Luka wants to send Jordan out of the ER for more tests and treatment, but Pratt says he hasn’t figured out what happened yet. Luka doesn’t think she had a seizure. Pratt notes that Jordan has a baby, so it wouldn’t be wise to send her home without knowing she won’t pass out again. He wants her to have an EEG.

Neela gives Pratt some info on Denise (we don’t get the end of that storyline), and Luka wishes her good luck on her work in the neuro lab. After she leaves, Pratt asks Luka if he feels awkward giving breast exams to attractive women. He agrees with Pratt that it’s strange for both parties. Pratt allows that he might come across as unprofessional and asks how Luka keeps that from happening. Luka just thinks of breast exams as no different from any other medical procedure. Morris shares a tip he picked up from an attending on his OB rotation: He pretends he’s examining his mom. Morris, shut up some more.

Neela goes to the neuro lab and gets a tour from a guy named Colin. He’s in a Ph.D. program and has been there for eight years. DUDE. He has to discover something new in neuroscience to get his degree. Neela will be working with Colin, a guy named Yuri, and some mice. Neela doesn’t seem too happy about that last part.

Jordan’s husband, Nick, arrives with their daughter as Jordan is undergoing an EEG. It’ll take a few hours to determine if she’s having unusual brain activity. Pratt blasts Sam for not being more helpful during Ms. Campbell’s exam. He insists that he tried to put her at ease without being creepy. Sam says he’s a flirt.

She compliments his package, trying to give him a taste of his own medicine. Pratt insists again that he was completely professional; he wasn’t even thinking anything inappropriate. Even if he was, she couldn’t read his mind. Sam says everyone can read his mind. He’s a guy, and guys only think about food, sports, and sex. Women don’t appreciate always being ogled.

Malik comes to get Pratt, telling him that Jordan’s having a seizure. Luka joins him to help but Pratt has already stabilized Jordan. He thinks that once she goes on the proper medication, she’ll be fine. But Luka examines the EEG results and tells Pratt that Jordan didn’t have a seizure – she faked it. She doesn’t need a neurologist, she needs a psychiatrist.

Abby says goodbye to one of her patients (in Klingon, since that’s all he’ll speak), then chats with Nelson, thinking he doesn’t approve of her behavior during the group session. Instead, he says he’s never seen the patients respond to anyone like they did to her. It might be because they were scared of her, though. He offers to help her quit smoking, but Abby’s not interested.

Jerry has either volunteered or been volunteered to stand in for Ms. Campbell so Pratt can demonstrate for Weaver how her exam went. Malik walks in to get Weaver and will mostly likely be teasing Jerry about this for the next ten years or so. Weaver tells Pratt he’ll have to present a lecture to the med students about “gender sensitivity.” Jerry, you can put your shirt back on.

Neela’s finding her new assistant role interesting. She accidentally spills some coffee on a sample Yuri’s using, which will set him back six weeks. Maybe you shouldn’t keep your cup right next to your sample, then. Abby tells Pratt that Jordan may not have faked her seizure. She could be experiencing some disorder that manifests itself like this. But Jordan doesn’t want to stick around to talk to her, and they can’t make her stay. “That was my easiest consult all day,” Abby quips.

Luka gives Sam some pictures from the camping trip they took with Alex. She tries to smooth things over about Steve’s visit, as if it’s her fault that he’s there, or she should feel bad about it, or she’s given any indication that she wants to ditch Luka for him. Pratt goes to the surgical floor and asks Elizabeth how Rena is. She had a lot of injuries but Elizabeth thinks she’ll be okay. Lawson comes by next and asks Elizabeth to dinner, but she has plans. Dave arrives to pick her up, and Elizabeth tries not to freak out about her two boyfriends meeting each other. Lawson seems to get that she’s seeing Dave, but not vice versa.

Abby asks Weaver for more nursing shifts so she can pay her med-school tuition. Weaver’s trying not to cry, so Abby tells her to take time off to grieve. Weaver says she doesn’t have that luxury. She lost her partner and is trying not to lose her son, too. She had to fight just get him for the weekend. Abby offers to help however she can. Weaver thanks her, then reveals that Abby’s tuition has been paid through graduation.

The Lopezes have brought Henry to the hospital so Weaver can take him for the weekend, but first she has to sign a form promising to give him back. Absolutely ridiculous. Florina’s there, but the person who hands Henry over is Sandy’s brother Carlos, and he tells Weaver he doesn’t agree with his parents’ desire to take her child from her. He knows Sandy would be upset if she knew what was happening – she would want Weaver and Henry to be together.

Abby tracks down Carter, having guessed that he’s the one who paid her tuition. She won’t take the money – she’s not a charity. Carter wants her to think of it as an investment. He already has more money than she’ll ever make. Abby jokes that in that case, she’ll take a new car, too. A guy rides up on a motorcycle and Abby heads off with him, telling Carter she’ll pay him back. He chastises the guy for not wearing a helmet, and Abby flips him off.

Pratt’s by Rena’s side when she wakes up post-surgery. She didn’t think he would come, even though he said he would. After all, he said he would call and never did. She’s realized that he doesn’t remember her. Pratt confirms that, but she says it’s okay. I think she’s just happy to have a friendly face with her now.

Thoughts: Brace yourselves because I’m going to defend Pratt: He didn’t do anything wrong. He was completely professional. If I were his patient, I would have felt at ease. The only criticism I have is that he should have asked Ms. Campbell if she was comfortable with him doing the exam or if she wanted a female doctor instead.

That said, Ms. Campbell was completely justified in speaking up. If your doctor or nurse or whoever does something that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to say something.

Imagine how horrible a person you’d have to be to respond to your daughter’s death with, “Let’s take her kid away from her grieving partner, who love him and hasn’t harmed him in any way.”

How effective can your group therapy be if the patients all hate each other?


  1. Patrick Sullivan said,

    The other mistake Pratt made is he should’ve waited until Sam was off the phone. She was a totally worthless witness and the policy is to have a witness. I never knew who the man was who picked up Abby on the motorcycle. I thought it was Nelson because he was fairly young himself. It definitely wasn’t Jake who at least had a story arc.

    • Jenn said,

      Agreed – if there’s a policy about a witness, both the doctor and the witness need to follow it more closely.

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