October 11, 2022

ER 11.22, The Show Must Go On: We Only Part to Meet Again

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

Okay, ‘bye!

Summary: Sam and Luka discuss their plans for that evening as he walks her out of the ER after she’s finished a shift. She tells him that Alex keeps asking when he can visit Steve. He doesn’t know that Steve is in prison. Apparently Steve said he would explain things to Alex but never did, and Sam just…didn’t do anything. Well, there’s no way that decision will ever come back to haunt anyone!

Carter arrives with a bunch of pizza, having apparently volunteered to throw his own going-away celebration. He’s following through on his vow to Kem to return to Africa and eventually win her back. Sam says goodbye, sorry that she’ll miss his party. The staff organized a surprise farewell for Carter and Sam just accidentally ruined it. Luka tells him to keep quiet.

Jerry complains that after 11 years, Carter only bought the staff pizza. I was going to say that Jerry’s ungrateful, but Carter’s super-rich, so it’s a legitimate complaint. Carter goes to take care of an 11-year-old named Janell who hurt her wrist while playing volleyball in gym class. She has a lot of questions about medical stuff.

Ray’s wrapping up a shift as Pratt gives the new batch of interns a tour of the ER. One of them is Jane. Morris invites Ray to watch a baseball game with him, but when Ray says he’s going to a party, Morris decides that sounds like more fun. Pratt tells the interns to look at how tired the rising residents are; the interns are the before picture and the residents are the after.

Abby, Neela, and Ray still can’t quite grasp that they’re about to be residents. Ray hasn’t signed his employment contract yet, though, since he’s still thinking about what Susan said. Maybe this isn’t the right place for him. The new interns try to help Pratt calm an agitated patient, and one of them gets knocked down. “Lucky for us, interns bounce,” Haleh comments.

Ray reluctantly lets Morris tag along to his party, though he doesn’t think Morris will have fun since he doesn’t know anyone there. Morris thinks they’ll be able to connect over music. The partygoers are mostly hanging out on the decks of what looks like a multi-story duplex or condo building.

Morris is excited to get to hang out with regular people after spending so much time at the hospital. Ray’s like, “Please be cool around my friends, you dork.” Morris wants to talk to Ray about his lack of initiative, like, this is a party. Stop talking about work. They say hi to a couple of Ray’s friends, including a guy named Riley who was hoping Ray would bring Neela. Morris proudly says he’s chief resident. “Wow! That means, like, nothing to me,” Riley replies. Heh.

Janell watches and asks questions as Carter examines another patient. The school nurse who came in with her tells her to stop bothering Carter, but Janell doesn’t think she’s annoying him (she is; he’s just being nice about it). Jerry tells Carter that the sewer problem from the previous episode is still an issue, so there’s only one available OR. Do you hear that, people of Chicago? Only one of you can have surgery at a time. Be careful.

An actor from a community theater production is brought in after getting hit in the head with a piece of scenery. He’s dressed as a cow, and Neela comments that it’s a good thing she’s not Hindu. He’s followed by another actor, this one with burns. He explains that they’re putting on a musical about the Great Chicago Fire (hence the cow). Carter spots Haleh and Malik leaving, and they give him two different excuses why.

Pratt goes looking for K.J., who’s still doing community service at County. He tells Carter they’ll miss him when he leaves. Carter hopes to see him at his surprise party, which Pratt claims not to know anything about. He checks in with K.J., who’s completed his assignments for the day but is still hanging around because his father hasn’t come to pick him up yet. Pratt offers to take him home after they go to Carter’s party.

One of Ray’s friends, Benny, shows off his new tattoo, the opening guitar chords from “Free Bird.” Ray advises him to keep an eye on the redness around the tattoo’s edges. His friend teases him for sounding like a real doctor. Ray decides to own it because it impresses a woman name Jessica. Another friend, Molly, asks if Ray has anything for the heartburn her pregnancy is giving her. Her husband, Kyle, asks for “mellowing agents” instead.

Ray’s done with the medical talk and invites Jessica to go get a drink with him. She’s surprised he’s a doctor, since she just thought he was a musician. He throws a couple of beers down to friends on the lawn, then chats with Jessica about how his double life is going. Morris approaches, asking about drinks, and Jessica informs Ray that Morris has been telling everyone that he’s Ray’s boss.

Back at County, the cow (Mike) and the burn victim (Stan) bicker while Neela and Abby treat them. Stan hopes he isn’t left with scars, since he uses his body a lot in his work. Neela guesses that he’s a porn star. Luka pulls Abby aside to say he’s going to leave for a while to go to Carter’s goodbye party at Ike Ryan’s. They’re closed to trauma because of the plumbing issues, so he doesn’t expect any emergencies. Which of course means there will be at least one. Luka tells her he’ll come back in half an hour, and then she can go to the party.

Sam goes home and finds a letter for Alex from Steve. She pulls it out of the envelope before he can see that it came from a prison. Alex is annoyed that she won’t give it to him until he’s finished his homework. He comes close to calling her a nasty word he should never use. On top of not getting his letter, he’s upset because he knows Sam and Luka aren’t getting along, and he’s worried they’ll have to move again.

Luka shows up at Ike Ryan’s with Carter, who pretends to be surprised. Ray makes out with Jessica on a deck but has to leave her when Kyle tells him Morris is throwing up inside. As Ray goes in, Kyle runs into Molly, telling her he’ll join her on a deck after he talks to some people inside. Ray finds Morris in a corner, lamenting that he’s not as laidback as Ray is. People don’t expect much of Morris, which is part of the reason he wanted to be chief resident. Ray admits that he’s just good at faking it.

Morris feels sick again, so Ray heads off to get him some water. Just as he’s about to step back onto a deck, it drops. It falls down to the next level, sending all three floors of decks crashing down. Kyle yells for Molly and runs for the stairs to go find her. Jessica is sitting on a railing, which is still holding up, but she no longer has any way to get down. As Ray watches in horror, the railing breaks and Jessica falls onto the debris and bodies below.

Ray and some other people race outside. Despite not being much of a leader at work, Ray immediately takes charge, telling someone to call 911. He guesses there are at least 20 people with injuries. Jessica’s alive but impaled on something, so Ray tells someone to stay with her and keep her still. Morris just looks on, shell-shocked, as Ray assesses the situation. He yells for everyone to be quiet, then assures them that paramedics are coming. They need to uncover as many people as they can without moving anyone until Ray has checked them over.

Stan and Mike’s director shows up at County, hoping they can return to the show and redeem the second act. Abby doubts the actors are up to resuming their roles, but the director says they’re professionals: “The show must go on.” Abby asks why the show can’t stop sometimes. Shhh, Abby, it’s a metaphor! The show is THIS show! It’s going on without Noah Wyle! You get second billing now and your career is set for life, so shhhhh!

Morris finally starts helping with the triage efforts at the party, which Ray is still running calmly and confidently. Molly’s alive and seems to be okay, but she’s worried about her baby. Ray finds Benny under a bunch of rubble, identifying his arm from his tattoo. He hears ambulances in the distance, finally coming to help.

Alex finishes his homework and goes to get his letter. He asks Sam if they’ll ever live with Steve again. He thinks Steve has a steady job as a river guide. Sam tells him straight out that they won’t be living with him again. Paramedics load up the injured partygoers, but Ray isn’t sure if there are more under the rubble. Zadro notes that it took the paramedics eight minutes to get there, which means Ray assessed about 25 people in less than ten minutes. Ray notes that there was no paperwork to slow him down.

He’s not sure why County is closed to trauma, and he doesn’t think the hospitals the paramedics plan to take the victims to will be able to handle the patients’ injuries. Zadro tells him they’ll go to County if Ray can get them to agree. Ray calls, surprising Chuny, and tells Abby that County needs to open to trauma. Abby balks at taking more than one critical case, but Ray insists that they take five – they’ll die if County doesn’t accept them. (Make that four, since one just died.)

Abby keeps hesitating, and Chuny reminds her that their radio calls are recorded. Abby finally agrees to take four patients, then mobilizes the staff to move people around and get ready for traumas. It’s a good thing the new interns are still there and can help out. Abby tells Chuny to page Luka and get him to come back from the party.

Luka tells the guests that they should enjoy themselves because Weaver’s paying for all their food and drinks. He tells Carter what his father used to say when a friend went on a journey and when Luka came to work in the States: “We only part to meet again.” Carter’s touched. As everyone claps and clinks glasses, Luka’s pager goes off, but he doesn’t hear it.

Neela, Chuny, and Jane take care of Molly when she’s brought to County. They realize she’s in labor (fortunately, she’s almost full-term). Neela confidently runs her treatment while Abby takes charge of another case next door. Ray’s with a friend named Nick, who needs surgery for a bad leg injury. Dori reminds Ray that there’s only one available OR.

OB is busy, so Neela proceeds with Molly’s delivery herself. She keeps going even when there’s a complication but ultimately decides she needs to switch with Abby, since Abby has OB experience. Molly and Kyle tell her that the baby is a girl and they’ve already named her Janis (I’m guessing on the spelling; since they’re musicians, I assume she’s named for Janis Joplin). Luka hasn’t responded to his page, so Abby sends an intern to Ike Ryan’s to get him. Molly needs a C-section and they can’t wait.

The party at Ike Ryan’s has quieted down, and Pratt and K.J. head out. Haleh tells Carter to make sure his toast is ready because he’ll need to say something to the remaining partygoers. While he heads to the restroom, Abby’s messenger intern races to the bar. Luka finally returns to County and joins Neela and Ray to help save Riley. The messenger intern gets sick, so…maybe he should find another career.

Haleh tells Luka that Abby’s doing some procedure on Molly that she probably shouldn’t be doing. Instead of stopping her or yelling at her, Luka just joins her team and lets her keep going. Abby delivers the baby, who seems fine, and takes a moment to let out a breath of relief that everything turned out well. Pratt drives K.J. home and finds his father, Darnell, passed out on their porch after drinking. Judging from the way K.J. acts, this is a common occurrence. Pratt’s mad that Darnell didn’t pick up his son. He’s the only father K.J. has.

After learning that Jessica’s stable and going in for surgery, Ray checks on Nick. He’s not doing great, but he’s still able to flirt with Neela. Sam gets a call about her credit card and realizes that Alex stole it. Carter’s still in the restroom at Ike Ryan’s, trying to figure out what to say to his colleagues. He practices in a mirror, saying he feels like he grew up with all of them. But when he goes back to the bar, only one guest is left, an orderly Carter doesn’t even know (he came for the free food). He’s watching a slide show with pictures of Carter and his co-workers from over the years.

All the traumas have been dealt with, and Ray, Abby, and Neela finally get a chance to breathe. Morris arrives, having been sent to another hospital for a quick sobering up, and asks if they need anything. They’ve already handled it all, so he goes to lie down. Thanks for showing up and doing nothing the whole episode, Morris! Susan arrives with Carter, who she says was hugging the orderly when she got to his party. Janell is still in the ER, and Carter says he’ll take her as his last patient.

Sam runs in, asking if Luka has heard from Alex. Carter talks to Janell’s parents, telling them she probably has a future in medicine, what with all the knowledge she’s soaked up during her time in the ER. Her parents ask if Carter remembers them. Janell’s mother went into premature labor in 1994, and since there was no time to get her to the OB floor, Carter delivered Janell in the ER. Carter doesn’t remember but Janell thinks it’s cool. (He did help deliver a baby in the first episode, and though there’s no way to know if it was Janell, I’m willing to believe it was.)

Sam tells Luka that Alex tried to use her credit card to buy a bus ticket. They wouldn’t let him, and when they called the police, he took off. Luka thinks he’s probably hiding at a friend’s house. Sam wants to go out looking for him (she left a babysitter at the apartment in case he comes back). Even though Alex also stole some money, Luka doesn’t think Sam should worry that he’s going to run away. She has good reason to worry, though, since Alex didn’t take any medication with him for his diabetes. Luka agrees to get some from lockup and go with Sam to find him.

Pratt stands outside a brownstone for a few moments, then goes up to ring the doorbell. He tells the guy who answers that he’s looking for Charlie Pratt. The guy, who’s a few years younger than Pratt, says that’s him, so Pratt figures he has the wrong address. But then an older man comes to the door and says he’s also Charlie. (We’ll find out later that the other Charlie goes by Chaz.) Pratt got his name from Ceasefire, which Charlie does some work with. Pratt decides to just leave, but he stops when Charlie asks, “You all right, son?” He invites Pratt in, but Pratt leaves.

Ray joins Abby and Neela as they fill out paperwork about their cases. He’s just confirmed that Jessica’s going to be okay. Neela advises him to go home and get some rest, but he wants to be at the hospital when his friends wake up. Carter comes in to say goodbye and tell them about a letter he wrote years ago. Mark always had his interns write themselves a letter to open on the last day of their residency. Carter’s says that he’s scared and has a lot to learn, and he hopes he learns quickly (and doesn’t kill anyone). It also says that if he’s good at his job, he can become an attending some day, and that’s all he needs. He gives it to Abby, who’s a little teary.

Carter walks through the ER, remembering things his co-workers said to him over the years, including Mark’s “you set the tone” pep talk. In the ambulance bay, he finds Morris doubled over and still feeling sick. “You set the tone, Morris,” Carter says. “Huh?” Morris replies. Carter laughs and says, “Never mind,” then leaves for the last (but not really the last, because he’ll be back) time.

As “Free Bird” plays, Ray decides to sign his contract to work at County. Abby gives him and Neela pads of paper so they can write themselves letters. Sam calls some of Alex’s friends as she and Luka drive around the city, trying to figure out where he might be. He’s on the side of a highway on-ramp, hitchhiking. A pickup truck pulls over and he gets in.

Thoughts: Charlie is played by Danny Glover. Janell is played by Keke Palmer.

The revelation that Pratt’s father’s name is Charlie makes his attitude toward Charlie in “Time of Death” even clearer. (I think it’s also significant that Charlie named his second son after himself, not his first, and the second son is the one he didn’t abandon.)

The deck collapse freaks me out SO MUCH. Even more than the multiple shootings and stabbings and other traumas we see on the show. It gives me a full-body shudder.

I don’t want to talk about how Morris is the one to get the “you set the tone” speech, so I’ll just complain about how only guys get it throughout the series.

I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see Weaver saying goodbye to Carter. He worker with her longer than any of the other remaining doctors.

’00s music alert: “Pain” by Jimmy Eat World, “Right to Be Wrong” by Joss Stone

Season 11 is done! Up next: John Leguizamo and a surprise pregnancy (unrelated).

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