October 18, 2022

ER 12.1, Cañon City: Move It Along

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

Broody Luka’s coming back, y’all

Summary: It’s 1 a.m. on Tuesday, and after being unable to find Alex for more than four hours, Sam and Luka have turned to the police. They’re not too worried, since runaways tend to return home within 24 hours. Sam notes that Alex doesn’t have that long, since he didn’t take insulin with him. After leaving the police station, Sam has a bunch of ideas for places to keep looking. Luka tries to convince her to go home, since the police told them to be there in case he calls. He calmly tells Sam that Alex knows how to take care of his diabetes. “He’s not coming back,” Sam predicts.

The guy who Alex (who’s been recast, since the other kid playing him was on another show) hitchhiked with has dropped him at a truck stop. When he sees a police car, he hides in a pickup bed on the back of one of those big haulers that transports cars. The driver heads out without knowing he has a stowaway.

At 8:00, Morris welcomes the day shift after what was apparently a rough night shift (probably made worse by his hangover). Pratt tells Ray that since he’s a resident now, AKA an R2, he gets to run the board. Susan and Pratt quiz him on stuff, nudging him to in turn teach the new interns. He needs to brush up on his medical knowledge so he can teach it whenever it comes up. A woman who’s been waiting in the waiting area for hours asks Susan if there’s a place she can go nurse her child. Susan realizes halfway through her answer that the child in question is, like, six.

Luka wakes Sam to show her that Alex has been featured on the local news; there’s an Amber Alert out for him. She wants to start making calls again, but Luka thinks they should just wait until someone contacts them with information. When she ignores him, he gives in and starts making calls, too. But then a call comes in and Sam rushes to answer it.

At County, Susan leaves Ray in charge of a trauma case with Jane, Haleh, and an intern named Jim assisting him. Haleh’s amused because the interns know more than Ray does. I’d be less amused and more worried, but I would never question Haleh’s judgment, so I’ll let it go. Sam and Luka return to the police station, where they’re assured that there are alerts and photos everywhere about Alex. Despite that, no one has called in any information. But there’s a report of an unidentified boy in a diabetic coma in a hospital in Davenport, Iowa.

Of course Sam wants to go there, and Luka can’t convince her to wait until the boy is identified. He points out that if it’s not Alex, they’ll have driven 200 miles away and will just have to drive back if Alex turns up in Chicago. Sam frantically says that she can’t just sit around and wait for news. It’s pretty clear that she’s going whether Luka comes or not.

Susan asks Haleh how Ray’s trauma went, then invites her to give him feedback. Ooh, get nervous, Ray. Haleh says that Ray didn’t do much teaching, and he seemed distracted by the interns’ questions. He was obviously frustrated, which caused tension in the trauma room and kept the team from working together. It could have delayed them from figuring out the diagnosis.

Susan tells Ray this is part of the process of improving his skills and leadership abilities. Ray doesn’t appreciate being evaluated by a nurse, but Susan points out that Haleh has been there a long time and knows a lot. He argues that he was just trying to treat the patient. She reminds him that part of his job is teaching.

In Davenport, Sam and Luka learn that the unidentified boy was found at a mall. It’s not Alex. In the parking lot, Sam screams in frustration, then tells Luka again that she doesn’t think Alex will come home. She decides that their next destination should be Colorado, where Steve is in prison.

The breastfeeding six-year-old, Mason, is a difficult patient for Ray. Susan and Pratt are secretly thrilled. They pull him out of the exam room to tell him to stop micromanaging the interns – he needs to trust Jim’s skills. Sam and Luka are headed to Cañon City, and Luka notes that he’s always wanted to go to Colorado. Well, I think sightseeing will have to wait, buddy. He asks Sam what she and Alex fought about before he left. She says it was “the usual.” He guesses that means it was about his and Sam’s relationship. Sam wishes she’d told Alex the truth about Steve.

Neela reports for the night shift and Ray warns her that she’s in for a lot of scrutiny from the attendings. He advises her to be friendly with the interns. She’s responsible for what they do, but she shouldn’t question them. Neela’s on with Morris and an intern named Teddy who’s very enthusiastic about starting off his internship with an overnight shift. Neela’s nowhere near as optimistic.

Sam and Luka stop at a gas station and she asks the clerk if he’s seen Alex. They have a nine-hour drive ahead of them and Sam’s cell battery is almost dead. (I guess this was before you could buy a charger in any gas station in the country.) She thanks Luka for coming on the rescue mission.

Neela is a much better teacher than Ray, but she’s taking it way overboard, talking about math and labwork for a patient who just has a fractured rib. The impromptu lesson ends when paramedics bring in a stabbing victim. Teddy’s excited for his first trauma as a doctor. Neela even lets him insert a chest tube. She asks Morris to lend a hand, chastising him when he delegates everything instead of doing his job.

Luka drives while Sam sleeps, but she wakes up when he turns on the windshield wipers to clear away some dead bugs. She had a dream about Alex when he was a toddler and disappeared while she was shopping. Luka confides that he once lost his son at the beach. His wife didn’t want Luka to take him, and he got mad, thinking she didn’t trust him.

He left his son for just a minute while he was getting a bucket and shovel. Two hours later, the police found him and determined that he wandered away to play with a dog. They called Luka’s wife, who picked him up. Luka turned on the kitchen sink and cried with relief. Sam softly asks the boy’s name, which was Marko. Luka assures her that Alex will be fine.

At 3 a.m., Neela complains about the load on the night shift. Frank tells her she’s a downer. Because everything Frank says is covered in roses and rainbows? Morris wants to take a nap, and he thinks Neela should be pleased to be “queen of the night shift.” She’d rather clear the board before the day shift shows up. Frank asks for a copy of her schedule so he can avoid working with her. Oh, shove it, Frank.

Neela goes with Teddy to treat a man who has an abscess. Teddy already examined him, but apparently not carefully enough, since he didn’t detect a murmur that Neela quickly catches. Teddy just compliments Neela’s teaching skills and thanks her for saving him from the huge mistake he just made. Yeah, this guy won’t last three days at County. I’m dying to hear what Haleh thinks of him.

Sam takes over driving but is so exhausted that she can barely stay awake. She opens a window and turns up the music, but she’s still too out of it to swerve and avoid hitting an antelope. A guy pulls over to help, and since the animal is still alive, he decides to shoot it and put it out of its misery. Sam wants to get back on the road, despite the damage to the car. The gunshots the man fires snap her back to reality.

Another mistake from Teddy puts one of his and Neela’s patients in bad condition. She tells Teddy that being a good doctor is less about intelligence and more about being thorough and meticulous. Teddy’s making glaring errors and needs to remember that he’s responsible for lives here. Neela can’t watch everything he does. He needs to stop being appreciative and apologetic, too – it’s weird. Teddy starts crying and leaves.

While the car is being towed in for repair, Luka considers his and Sam’s options for getting to Colorado. Sam takes a page from Alex’s book and decides to hitchhike. She’s desperate to get to Alex, who’s been without insulin for two days. As Abby arrives for the day shift, Morris chastises Neela for not waking him to help clear the board. Punch him in the face, Neela! You’ll probably get fired and maybe even arrested, but it would be sooooo worth it! Abby takes over running the ER, and she immediately runs circles around Ray and Neela, quizzing and teaching the interns without boring them.

Sam and Luka catch a ride in the back of a trailer, and for the first time she wonders why he came with her. He may care about Alex but he’s not Alex’s father. “I’m just not ready for this to be all there is in my life,” Luka says. Sam replies that she can’t bring back his kids. If she has to choose between Luka and Alex, she’ll always pick Alex.

Luka says he’s not asking her to choose but she disagrees. “I don’t want what happened to my family to be the end of my story,” he tells her. “I was a good father; I can be a good father again.” Sam still doesn’t want to have another child, and it’s not about him. She wants her life back.

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies in some small town (Cañon City, I assume) recognize Alex from his missing poster. Sam reunites with him at a hospital, though he’s in pretty good condition considering. She’s half relieved, half mad. Alex is half mad, half sad since he couldn’t find Steve.

Abby might be impressive at running the ER but her interns haven’t lived up to Pratt’s expectations yet. She helps them move things along, and though the nice thing to do would be to praise her, Pratt says nothing. Sam takes Alex to Steve’s prison, having finally told him where his father is. Alex pauses outside, trying to decide whether he actually wants to go in. Sam wishes his life wasn’t like this. He tells her he wants to go in, and she goes with him, leaving Luka outside.

Pratt looks on as Abby continues clearing the board practically on her own. He tells her she’s ignoring her interns; she has to teach and lead while keeping things on track. At least Susan’s proud of her. Also, she notes that Pratt used to be just like Abby, so ha ha! Sam lets Alex have some time alone with Steve and joins Luka outside. She doesn’t get why Alex loves Steve so much when Steve clearly doesn’t care about them. She thanks Luka again for his support.

“Now what?” he asks. Sam says that Luka can’t really want the mess of her life in his. He thinks he should be allowed to decide that for himself, but since Alex is in the middle, Sam can’t let him do that. He reminds her that Steve is in prison, so she doesn’t have to run anymore. She says she’s not – she just doesn’t want what Luka wants. She heads back inside, again leaving Luka behind. It’s a metaphor, you guys! I know that not because I’m intelligent but because I’m thorough and meticulous. I hope Haleh is proud.

Thoughts: Linda Cardellini (Sam) is really good in this episode. Another actress might have gone too big or melodramatic with this storyline, but she plays it realistically.

Wait, that huge party Ray and Morris went to was on a Monday night?

It says so much about Sam and Luka’s relationship that after all these months together, he never told her his children’s names.

I don’t know if they didn’t see the Amber Alert or what but no one at County seems worried about Alex or concerned that their co-worker is going through something horrible.

1 Comment »

  1. Patrick Sullivan said,

    I usually like your subtitles but what does this one mean?


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