January 24, 2023

ER 12.15, Darfur: Stop Enabling Carter’s Hero Complex!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:04 pm by Jenn

Carter’s back on his white savior B.S.

Summary: Carter, who recently sent a postcard to his old co-workers in Chicago, is in Darfur at Debbie’s request. A doctor named Stephen brings him some tea during the night to help with his cough, which is caused by the dryness in the air. Debbie’s been volunteering there for a few weeks, and she and Stephen are dating. He’s grateful to have another doctor there. They hear gunfire outside from the local militia fighters, the Janjaweed, and Stephen tells Carter that he’ll learn to sleep through it.

At County, Morris gets bitten by a kid. Good kid! Bite him again! Frank presents Abby with a gift basket full of baby stuff, which lets her know that her secret is out. Morris admits to spreading the word because people were commenting on Abby’s weight and he wanted to “defend” her. Weaver tells the staff that Clemente is back on the schedule. Everyone thinks it’s too soon after what happened with Jodie. Frank comments that that situation is apparently similar to what happened when Clemente was in Newark. Weaver defends him, saying he’s not the only one at County with tricky personal issues.

Clemente’s at the police station, being questioned for the fifth time about what happened. They still think he shot Jodie. Clemente points the finger at Bobby, but he has a false alibi that says he was in New Jersey at the time. Jodie’s comatose, so there’s no eyewitness available to back up Clemente’s story. The police suggest that he hire a lawyer.

In Darfur, Debbie is in for a long day treating patients on top of dealing with other problems. She tells Stephen that the Janjaweed shot up the reservoir, which will limit their water supply. She thinks Stephen should be as upset as she is. He reminds her that they’ve handled this before and already know what to do. He advises her to do her “downtown dog. Down-and-out dog?” Heh. She bribes Stephen and Carter to listen to her by offering bottles of Coke.

Carter checks on a sick boy and admires the drawings his younger brother has been making. They’re of him and his father fighting the Janjaweed. He offers it to Carter. Clemente arrives for his first shift back after the shooting and asks Abby if people have been talking about him. Uh, of course. She thinks he should have taken a little more time off before coming back. Clemente insists that he didn’t shoot Jodie. Abby just casually says, “Okay.” He goes to Luka to ask where he should start his shift, but Luka doesn’t want him back at work yet. It would be bad for both him and the patients.

Stephen determines that Carter’s stay in Darfur is open-ended. He comments that it’s hard to have a long-distance relationship in their line of work. There’s a woman in London he falls in love with whenever he’s in town; when he leaves again, they fall out of it. Debbie has the same arrangement with a guy in Spain. “What happens in Darfur stays in Darfur,” Carter quips. A couple of kids playing soccer run by them and the doctors kick the ball with them briefly.

Carter asks when the refugees might be able to go home. Stephen isn’t sure. The government is funding Arab militias so they can find and kill rebels, which they do by destroying villages, killing men, and raping women. The survivors end up at the refugee camp. Carter says the Janjaweed have turned the country into the Wild West. Stephen’s not pleased that the U.S. Congress went on vacation after Kofi Annan and Colin Powell dubbed the crisis genocide. “When the faces are black, the world moves slow,” he says.

They spot Debbie leading a yoga class with some kids and joke that they want to join. Just then, a boy runs up carrying a younger boy who’s sick. Their mother went on a trek to get wood and they’re not sure where their father is. Carter promises to fix the boy up before his mother gets back. Meanwhile, some Janjaweed fighters ambush some women in the desert.

Stephen lets the boys who just arrived listen to his iPod. He and Carter are taken to one of the women ambushed in the desert, Gada, who’s covered in blood. The two of them and a nurse named Zahra start tending to her, but when Carter finds signs of rape, Zahra tells him to back off. Gada doesn’t want men examining her. Zahra tells Carter that they can bring in Gada’s husband, Lwendo, but they can’t let him know that Gada has been “shamed.” Stephen explains that some Sudanese men disown their wives after they’ve been raped.

The latest trauma at County is a 14-year-old marching-band member named Jose who was hit by a car. He’s worried about missing practice and getting benched for regionals. Malik calls Pratt out of his trauma room, saying that Darnell is there to talk to him. Darnell has a cut on his head from a fight, and he admits that he had a few drinks at a co-worker’s party. Pratt’s upset that he went back on his promise to get sober. Darnell just wants to get fixed up before K.J. sees him like this. “Stop coming in like this,” Pratt replies.

Clemente visits Jodie as Pratt stitches Darnell up. Darnell has been going to AA meetings but is struggling to maintain his sobriety. He asks about Jose, wondering if he’ll be all right. Carter tells Gada’s husband that she was attacked, and he asks if she was “shamed.” Carter just says she was beaten. Her injuries aren’t too serious, but there are two long cuts on her thigh. When her husband sees them, he walks out of the medical tent. Stephen tells Carter that it’s a mark of rape. Someone probably should have taught him that earlier.

Neela comes to the ER to see if Jose needs surgery, and Abby and Pratt bicker over whether she should have made him a higher priority. Pratt’s sure that Jose is bleeding internally and wants Dubenko or Albright to come see him. Neela calls for a scan, which Pratt thinks is unnecessary. Neela just doesn’t want Jose to have surgery if he doesn’t absolutely need it. And if he does, they need to know what they’re dealing with – surgeons don’t like surprises. Pratt reminds her that she’s not a surgeon. She tells him she is today.

Pratt continues trying to advocate for Jose, worried that he’ll decline before his scans are done and they won’t have time to get him to the OR. Neela says it’s her call. Jose’s father arrives with a cop who wants to ask him about the driver who hit him. Jose says he was Black and was driving a blue pickup with Bears bumper stickers. Pratt makes a realization. He heads straight to Darnell and tells him that Jose ID’d someone matching his and his car’s descriptions. Darnell tries to plead innocence, but Pratt is on to him.

Carter and Stephen go looking for Lwendo and learn that he went after the Janjaweed. Carter wants to try to find him and stop him. Stephen and Debbie warn him against it, since he could get himself killed, but it’s Carter, and we all know he’s going to go no matter what they say. Stephen volunteers to go with him (probably a good idea at the very least because he speaks the language and Carter doesn’t).

Pratt brings Albright to Jose during his scans, wanting to make sure that Neela doesn’t miss anything. Neela’s annoyed, but Jose starts declining just then. Pratt manages to not say, “I told you so.” Clemente goes back to Jodie’s room, blasting an ICU doctor for skipping her during rounds. The doctor says they just checked on her ten minutes ago. Clemente asks if they’re just going to sit back and do nothing. Well, there’s nothing they can do until they know her neurological status, so they’re going to wait. And maybe give Clemente a tranquilizer.

Bobby calls Clemente to basically rub it in that he shot his own wife and framed Clemente. Clemente warns that when Jodie wakes up, Bobby will face the music. Bobby says that Clemente might have gotten out of New Jersey clean but he won’t this time. “She was mine, and you never should have touched her,” he says. Ew.

While Jose’s in surgery, Pratt chastises Darnell for screwing up after Pratt risked his job to cover for him. Darnell insists that he’s trying to get sober. Pratt urges him to turn himself in for hitting Jose. It’s the best way he can teach K.J. about integrity. I’m surprised Darnell doesn’t mention that K.J. would likely wind up in foster care if Darnell went to jail.

Carter wonders what Lwendo hopes to accomplish by going after the Janjaweed. Stephen tells him that men like Lwendo lose more and more pride every day. They can’t provide for their families without getting killed, so they have to let their wives do it. Then the wives get attacked. Lwendo just wants to be a man again. They arrive at a checkpoint but there’s no one around. Carter wants to keep going, but Stephen isn’t willing to put them at more risk. As they’re turning the truck around to leave, some military officials drive up.

Gada’s worried about her husband, and even more worried when Zahra tells her where he went. Debbie asks her to tell Gada that doctors went to find him. The military officials search Stephen and Carter’s truck for weapons, which Carter thinks is ridiculous; they’re doctors. He starts to explain that they’re looking for the husband of a woman who was raped. Stephen and a military official both tell him to shut up.

The official pulls out a gun but puts it away when Stephen says something to him in Arabic. They’re allowed to leave. Carter complains that the military could have helped them find Lwendo. Stephen says there’s a lot of corruption there. The U.S. would rather deal with Salah Gosh (a national security advisor in Sudan) to get information on the war on terrorism. They can’t do that if they cross Al Bashir (Sudan’s president). Carter notes that they wouldn’t be able to get oil from the area, either.

He tries but fails to convince Stephen to keep going. Stephen has to pull over to take some medication. He confides that he has cirrhosis from a childhood illness. They spot some smoke nearby and Carter is able to guilt Stephen into going to check it out. Stephen, stop enabling him! He’ll never learn his lesson!

Darnell wound up doing the right thing and turned himself in to the police. K.J. understandably bummed about it. Carter and Stephen come across some blood near where they saw the smoke, and they see some Janjaweed fighters beating and scalding Lwendo with boiling water. Stephen doesn’t want to try to help him, since they’ll just get killed, too. The fighters point guns toward them, having heard noises from that direction, but the men are hidden by a sand dune and are protected from the bullets.

The fighters turn back to Lwendo and seemingly let him go. As he’s walking away, one of them shoots him in the back. As soon as the fighters drive off, Carter races over to Lwendo to put his trauma training to use. Stephen doesn’t think they can keep him alive long enough to get him to their camp or a hospital. Carter ignores him and starts CPR.

Jodie wakes up, to Clemente’s surprise, and remembers what happened. For someone who was just in a coma for who knows how long, she seems totally fine. She even still wants to be with Clemente. K.J. tells Pratt he’s going to stay with his aunt while Darnell’s in jail. Pratt feels bad for what happened, but K.J. assures him that it’s not his fault. He’s fully aware of his father’s alcoholism. He’s grateful that, unlike Darnell’s other friends, Pratt tried to get him to step up.

Neela lets Pratt know that Jose’s surgery went well and he’s doing okay. She apologizes for not listening to Pratt’s concerns. Again, instead of saying he told her so, Pratt is mature and lets it go. Really, he’s just worried about Jose and blames himself for what happened, since he covered for Darnell the last time he faced legal trouble. Neela’s upset that Pratt didn’t do anything to stop a drunk driver from hurting someone. Since Darnell took responsibility for his actions, she thinks Pratt should do the same with Luka.

Luka and Abby are discussing baby names, and it appears Luka’s getting inspiration from famous ’90s singers, since he suggests Celine and Jewel. Abby teases that they could go with Charo or Liberace. He says they should name the baby after the next person to walk through the ER doors. It’s Clemente, so never mind.

Word has spread that Jodie’s awake, and Clemente hopes that now that his name has been cleared, he can go back to work. Luka wants him to be evaluated by the Impaired Physician Committee first. He’ll need medical and drug tests and a psych evaluation. Clemente reluctantly agrees. As he’s leaving, Bobby calls again, and Clemente tells him that Jodie’s currently telling the police what he did. Bobby happens to be in his car at the corner, and he honks to get Clemente’s attention, then mimes shooting a gun at him. Clemente chases after him but loses him in traffic.

Carter and Stephen take Lwendo’s body to the refugee camp so Gada and their kids can see him. Aww, sorry you had a bad day and couldn’t save someone, Carter. This is definitely all about you! Some men prepare Lwendo’s body and people at the camp hold a funeral for him. “From the earth God created you, to the earth God will return you, and from the earth God will bring you out again,” Stephen translates for Carter.

Thoughts: If I say my prayers and eat my vegetables and help little old ladies cross the street, can I be spared ever having to watch another Africa episode? Please? (Apparently there are still at least two more, so the answer is no. Boo.)

Aw, K.J. turned out to be a good kid. I like that he was grateful to Pratt instead of hating him, because he would have been justified if he’d been mad.

Wow, Bobby’s an idiot. Why would you purposely hang out right outside the building where, at any minute, your shooting victim could wake up and send the police after you?

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