February 14, 2023

ER 12.18, Strange Bedfellows: Listen Up

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:05 pm by Jenn

Pictured: Three actors I really like

Summary: Sam is asleep – drink! She’s in her new bed at Elliot’s house, which is big and nicely decorated and just generally screams, “THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE HAVE MORE MONEY THAN YOU WILL EVER SEE IN YOUR LIVES!” They chat about his three children and his late wife. He’s hosting a dinner for his board of directors that night, and he wants Sam to hold off his nighttime treatment until afterward. He tells her that he’ll have his housekeeper make her and Alex breakfast, and Sam can borrow a car.

Neela’s meeting up with Gallant’s parents later in the day; they’re in town for a family wedding. She confides to Abby that she doesn’t think they want to advertise that she’s their daughter-in-law. She’s back to working in the ER after her surgical elective, and Morris teases her about being back with the “commoners.” Abby smells something gross and realizes it’s Morris. Apparently there was an issue with a colostomy bag that a shower didn’t quite clear up.

Sam gets dropped off in a nice car and Morris comments that she has a sugar daddy. “Jealous?” Abby asks. Luka tells her that he’s been emailing with Carter. He needs help in Darfur and asked Luka to come join him. It’s not clear if Luka told Carter that he’s expecting a baby (or if he said anything about him and Abby being back together), but he promises he would be back before the baby comes. He won’t go if Abby doesn’t want him to. She says he doesn’t need her permission, and he can go if he thinks it’s something he should do, which is code for, “You better not think this is something you should do.”

Olivia goes to Pratt’s apartment, and he quickly tries to hide the evidence that he entertained another woman the night before. (He’d better hope she stays in the shower, because she’s still there.) He pretends to be sick and won’t let Olivia in. When she hears the water in the shower turn off, she puts it together and leaves. Can’t say you don’t deserve that, Pratt!

Morris has looked up the Mercedes that dropped Sam off and ID’d it as a car that costs $100,000. He asks her who “Daddy Warbucks” is. “Go kill another patient, Morris,” she replies. To be fair, his last patient who died had lung cancer and was 97, so I don’t think that’s on Morris. The Gallants call Neela to let her know that they’re there. Ray wants to talk about their living arrangements, thinking she wants to move out because there’s a problem between them. Really, it’s because she’s married now and shouldn’t have a roommate. She’s started looking for a new place.

Gallant’s parents – Colonel Gallant and Gloria – are happy to see Neela and are very warm toward her. Ray runs off before meeting them. Back in the ER, paramedics bring in a teen named D’Shawn who crashed a stolen car. The girl in his backseat hasn’t been ID’d, but we’ll find out her name is Brook, so that’s what I’m calling her. Colonel Gallant asks to shadow Neela and see how things work in the ER. He was a medic in Vietnam, so Gallant’s decision to go into medicine didn’t completely come out of nowhere.

Ray and Sam take care of D’Shawn, who’s conscious but just mumbles. The cops who came in with him think he’s on drugs. One of them – Hollis, the cop who brought in Darnell and made Pratt draw his blood – has a wound on his face and says D’Shawn took a swing at him. Neela talks Colonel Gallant through everything she and Abby are doing with Brook as if he’s a med student. Abby’s not thrilled about it. Morris joins them and he and Neela run things together.

Sam asks D’Shawn to be still as they move him off of the paramedics’ backboard. Hollis yells at him, and Ray suggests that they tape his head down so he doesn’t move when he gets a CT. Sam is much more sympathetic, noting that he has to be in a lot of pain. She’s curious about how D’Shawn’s jaw was broken, since an airbag couldn’t have done it.

Neela, Morris, and Abby are having trouble intubating Brook because of [something medical that has to do with her not opening her jaw]. As a nurse, Abby treated someone who had that reaction to a medication, and she knows of another medication that should fix it. Neela wants to cut into Brook’s neck instead, but Abby snaps at her not to. Her diagnosis is correct, and they’re able to stabilize Brook.

Brook’s CT is normal, so Abby wonders why she stopped breathing in the first place. Luka says it could be from drugs or alcohol. She’s still unconscious, so she can’t confirm or deny that. Abby asks Luka if he’s decided whether or not he’s going to Darfur. She doesn’t like that he’s putting the call on her. Luka promises that it’ll just be a couple of weeks, but she knows he can’t say that for sure. The last time he went to do medical stuff overseas, he almost died.

D’Shawn is eager to get out of his trauma room, and Morris and Ray guess that his head injury is making him combative, because there’s no alcohol or drugs in his system. Uh, maybe it’s because he’s Black and Hollis is a full-on jerk. He tells D’Shawn that if Brook dies, he’ll be facing murder charges and a prison sentence of 25 years to life “with [his] homies.” Any white guy who says “homies” unironically is someone who shouldn’t be trusted.

Colonel Gallant tells Neela that she’ll learn a lot working under Abby’s command. Neela starts to tell him that they’re actually on the same level, then changes her mind and just says Abby is great. Gloria wants to take Neela shopping for housewares, and she’s more than happy to go without Colonel Gallant. The two of them bicker about Gallant’s absence.

Paramedics bring in an elderly man named Jim who was attacked by an equally elderly woman named Fredna. She hit him with her husband’s urn. Luka notices a scar on Jim’s chest that Jim says is from a pig heart valve transplant. “You’ve got a pig head, too, philanderer!” Fredna calls after him. Okay, that was pretty good.

Brook’s declining, and Ray joins Abby and Morris to take care of her. Jim is also declining, and Fredna tells Luka and Sam to let him die. Sam jokes that they sound like they’re married. Abby comes to ask Luka for guidance on Brook, and he advises her to talk to D’Shawn and find out if she took drugs. Fredna realizes that Jim is worse off than she thought, and now she’s legitimately worried.

Abby asks D’Shawn if Brook has any medical conditions. D’Shawn can’t talk because of his broken jaw, and one of his hands is also injured, so Abby asks Hollis to undo his handcuffs to let him write something with the other hand. Hollis says no. Abby decides to take off his restraints, ignoring Morris’ warning that he’s dangerous. As they continue talking, we see the scene from D’Shawn’s perspective; their speech is muffled, like they’re underwater. He makes movements with his hand until Ray realizes what’s going on – D’Shawn is deaf and has been trying to sign something.

Ray determines that D’Shawn reads lips, then asks him if Brook took drugs. D’Shawn signs something in response but Ray doesn’t know what he’s saying. Abby gives him one of the patient communication boards that have recently been put to use in the ER, and D’Shawn writes an X and a G to indicate that Brook took Ecstasy and GHB. While Abby goes to tend to her, D’Shawn writes Brook’s name for Ray. Hollis pretends to be apologetic, but Ray won’t excuse what he’s sure was police brutality.

He goes with Morris to help Abby with Brook, and Abby again makes a call about her condition that Morris doesn’t want to be patient to confirm. Ray asks Jerry to find a sign language interpreter, but it turns out Jerry speaks it. (He’s trilingual, but he doesn’t say what else he speaks along with English and sign.) Morris deals with a kid who’s very unhappy to have to wear a cast on his arm for six weeks. “You suck,” he tells Morris. He hits Morris’ hand with the cast just as a pharmaceutical rep approaches him to discuss medications.

Pratt offers to help Luka and Sam with Jim, whose pig valve was damaged when the fight with Fredna raised his blood pressure. Pratt assures her that he’ll be okay. Jerry interprets for D’Shawn that he and Brook went to a party, and he couldn’t wake her up, so he rushed her to the hospital. Ray notes that the car was reported stolen. D’Shawn explains that it’s Brook’s parents’ car, and she snuck out. Abby asks why D’Shawn didn’t stop for the police. He wanted to get Brook taken care of first, and he thought he could just explain everything when they got to the hospital.

Ray asks why D’Shawn fought with the police. D’Shawn says he fought them in self-defense. He couldn’t communicate with them since they don’t sign. Brook has never gotten drunk like this before. D’Shawn doesn’t drink, since he’s an athlete. Abby tells him that he probably saved Brook’s life. He thanks her and Ray for helping her (and, I would imagine, for listening to him).

Neela has lunch with the Gallants and learns that Colonel Gallant has arranged a residency for Gallant in Oklahoma. Gloria’s optimistic that he’ll want to stay in Chicago with Neela. Colonel Gallant assures Neela that she’ll get used to moving around whenever Gallant gets relocated. I don’t think Neela thought about that when she agreed to marry him.

Gloria doesn’t seem to have appreciated seeing the world as much as Colonel Gallant has. Yeah, winter in Anchorage doesn’t sound much fun, and their other postings were in places like Indiana and North Dakota. Colonel Gallant reminds his wife that they also got to go to Italy and France. They’ve had a good life. He asks Neela if she and Gallant have discussed having children. Well, since they haven’t even decided where to live, probably not.

Brook is conscious and doesn’t seem to have any neurological problems. She tells Abby and Jerry that, ironically, D’Shawn is the only person in her life who listens to her. The pharmaceutical rep, Jordan, wants to talk to Morris about a job at her company as the director of physician relations. He would get to travel, he wouldn’t have to work nights or weekends, and he wouldn’t have to work with any bodily fluids. Plus, his starting salary would be around $300,000 and he’d be eligible for bonuses. $300,000 – that’s three Mercedeses!

Fredna insists on sticking around while Jim is in surgery so he won’t be alone when he wakes up. Pratt advises him not to make her mad again. Jim says he can’t help it – he’s a ladies’ man. Hey, so is Pratt! Do you think he’ll learn anything from this? Luka praises him for his help, then comes up with an excellent solution to two of his problems. Pratt needs a change in perspective and Carter needs help in Darfur, so Pratt will be going over there for a month. He’s going to be an attending soon, which means he’ll be responsible for tons of a decisions. This is a great time for him to practice.

Neela takes the Gallants to her apartment, which I’m sure they’re thrilled about her sharing with a guy who isn’t their son. When Gloria goes off to make a phone call, Colonel Gallant apologizes to Neela for their constant bickering. Neela acts like she’s used to it, since her parents are the same. Colonel Gallant announces that they’re separating. They haven’t told anyone yet; they wanted to wait until after this family wedding. They want to tell Gallant themselves. Okay, maybe don’t tell Neela before him, then. Don’t make her keep a secret from her husband!

Luka wants to finish the Darfur conversation with Abby, but she thinks it’s over. They’re not married and don’t live together and haven’t defined their relationship, but he promised they would parent together, so she doesn’t like the idea of him leaving. She also doesn’t like that he wants to go, and she doesn’t like that she doesn’t want him to go. She admits that she’s scared and doesn’t want to do this alone. But she will if she has to. Luka tells her that he’s sending Pratt. “To help you with the baby?” she asks. Heh. He clarifies that he’s sending Pratt to help Carter. Well, he lies that Pratt volunteered. Abby’s very relieved.

Alex comes by and mentions to Luka that he and Sam moved to an awesome house. Luka doesn’t know about Sam’s new job with Elliot, but this explains her new chauffeur. She tells him they’re doing great, in a way that says, “You don’t need to worry about us, but I know you do.” Neela checks on Gloria, who guesses that her husband told Neela about their separation. She can tell that Gallant and Neela really love each other, and she wishes that love could be enough for everyone. She still loves Colonel Gallant.

Neela starts to say that there could be a chance for them to reconcile, but Gloria interrupts to ask if she knows why Gallant volunteered to go back to Iraq. Neela thinks he felt like he was needed there, and he has a strong sense of duty. Gloria replies that she compromised and sacrificed for years because of duty. Gallant is just like his father. They’re soldiers, and they’ll always choose war over their wives. Neela needs to remember who she is and do what she wants, which includes staying in Chicago.

With all of her basic needs now met, Sam actually has time to relax in the evenings. Well, she’d have time if Elliot’s housekeeper didn’t come get her to tend to her boss. He lost consciousness during his dinner party (in a room away from the crowd, fortunately), and Sam determines that he needs a transfusion, or at least oxygen. Elliot refuses, since that’ll take him away from the party for too long. She reminds him that he hired her to take care of him. He notes that he’s her boss, so she has to listen to him. Sam decides this might not be the best arrangement after all.

Brook’s parents are having her transferred to another hospital, and from the way they completely ignore D’Shawn, I don’t think he’s welcome to come with her. A police sergeant confirms that D’Shawn didn’t steal their car; they reported it stolen when they came home early and didn’t realize that Brook had taken it. Hollis apologizes for the “misunderstanding,” and for assuming that D’Shawn was in a gang because he was “flashing gang signs,” AKA using sign language. D’Shawn flashes one last sign at them: the middle finger. Nicely done, D’Shawn. Jerry figures he doesn’t need to interpret that.

Morris thinks it’s a good thing that Ray didn’t meet the Gallants. He’s not sure how Ray is able to live with Neela. None of the women Morris has ever slept with will give him the time of day now. “Neither one of them? I’m shocked,” Frank quips. Ha! Ray realizes that Morris thinks he slept with Neela. Actually, everyone thinks he did.

Frank gives Pratt some stuff that Luka left for him related to his trip to Darfur. Pratt is cranky, and Olivia, who’s just arrived, comments that he must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. She asks who he slept with, and he says it was no one. He apologizes, but Olivia isn’t in a forgiving mood.

Pratt uses the “we never said we were exclusive” excuse, tagging on that he never meant to hurt her. She notes that if he thought it was okay to sleep with someone else, he wouldn’t have pretended to be sick. Excellent point! Pratt tells her he likes her and wasn’t trying to mislead her. He can’t keep talking about this, though, since he has to shift his focus to his trip to Darfur. Olivia thinks he’s lying about that, which is totally fair of her.

Elliot compromised with Sam by taking oxygen with him back to the party. He even sat the whole time and listened to people instead of doing all the talking. He’s ready for his transfusion now. Sam seems to have softened, especially since he’s proven that he doesn’t have to be stubborn or in charge all the time.

Ray gets home as Neela’s packing to go stay at Abby’s, since Abby’s at Luka’s most nights. He’s sad to see their cohabitation end, but he doesn’t try to talk her out of going. She gives him back a T-shirt of his that she stole to sleep in, then says she’ll get more of her stuff tomorrow. He follows her out to her cab and says he wishes he didn’t feel the way he feels right now. She’s the best friend he’s ever had. Neela doesn’t respond – she just gets in the cab and leaves.

Thoughts: When it comes to parents, Gallant hit the casting jackpot: Colonel Gallant is played by Ernie Hudson and Gloria is played by Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Laura Innes (Weaver) directed this episode.

Apparently we’ll be seeing Hollis a bunch more times. Ugh.

We’ve had this ridiculous problem with Abby before, where she’s outspoken all the time but won’t say straight out that she doesn’t want Luka (or, in the past, Carter) to leave. It’s okay to say you’re not comfortable with it! You’re pregnant and anxious and totally justified in not wanting Luka to go halfway across the world! You should say so!

More Alex/Luka cuteness: Alex has to wear a suit jacket as part of a school uniform now, and when Luka sees him in it, he asks if Alex is getting married.

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