March 28, 2023

ER 13.2, Graduation Day: The Kitchen Sink

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:06 pm by Jenn

Everyone should have a Maggie to sit with them when things get hard

Summary: Sam has been driving her and Alex’s getaway car all night, and she’s so out of it that she’s barely able to swerve out of the way of an oncoming truck. She stops at a diner to call someone for a ride, knowing it’s not safe for her to keep going on her own.

At County, Joe is under the care of Dr. Rabb, who tells Abby and Luka that they’ll need to trust her to do what’s best for their baby. Abby knows a little of what to expect, since she did a rotation there, but she’s never seen it from this side before. She wants to know what color her son’s eyes are. Luka tells her they’re blue. Neela had asked Luka if she could come visit, but Abby isn’t ready to see anyone yet. Too bad, because Maggie’s here!

Sam called Elliot, who comes to meet her at the diner. She’s worried that she’s going to be arrested for killing Steve. Elliot points out that she was justified, but she tells him that she was free and clear. She could have gotten away, but she went back specifically to kill Steve. Elliot tells her not to repeat that to anyone – they’ll be the only people who know. She can get away with a self-defense claim.

It’s business as usual at County, with Weaver still in charge while Luka’s with his family. Neela took a nap during her impromptu night shift, and Pratt tells her to go home and rest. He expects that Gallant’s parents will want to see her. In the NICU, Maggie’s the only person who doesn’t understand all the medical jargon being tossed around about Joe. Rabb tells her that Abby was a star student during her rotation there. Maggie guesses that she never let herself be proud of that.

As Maggie marvels over the baby’s heartbeat, Luka quietly tells Abby that he didn’t ask her to come to Chicago. Abby isn’t too upset about her presence, though, especially since she seems stable. Neela brings the new parents coffee and meets Maggie for the first time. There might be a problem with Joe’s heart, and Abby has to tell Maggie that they can’t just fix it right away. This is going to be a long journey.

Gates, who we last saw getting surgery from Neela in the field, brings in a guy who covered himself in tinfoil and tried to climb some tower. Gates says hi to Neela (who he calls Mayday) as she’s leaving and says he’s glad she’s okay after the big shootout the day before. He’s disappointed when she doesn’t banter with him. Pratt tells him that her husband just died. As the two of them and Weaver are trying to subdue Tin Foil Guy, Pratt spots Sam arriving in the ER. She tells Weaver that a friend dropped her off and that she needs a rape exam. Weaver gives her a hug.

Maggie takes notes on Joe’s treatment and disapproves of a student doing a procedure on him. He’s actually a resident, but even Abby isn’t convinced that he knows what he’s doing. Rabb gently tells her that he’s doing a good job. Maggie is writing everything down so she can look it up later. She brings up the connection between smoking and premature labor, and Abby says she quit two years ago. Maggie notes that stress could have caused the early delivery. Luka defuses the tension by telling her about the shooting and Abby’s fall. Rabb says the cause of the early delivery doesn’t really matter.

A nurse invites Abby to come to a lactation seminar, and Maggie goes with her. Luka stays behind with Joe and talks to him in Croatian. Abby wants privacy while she pumps breast milk, which Maggie finds ridiculous. Maggie, you’re going to want to pick your battles here. Abby’s doing an amazing job keeping it together, but we all know she could snap at any minute.

Weaver and Haleh tell Sam about Joe and Jerry’s condition as they do her rape exam. Sam says she knew that Steve was a thief, but she never thought he was capable of what he did yesterday. She feels responsible. Weaver asks what happened to the fugitives, and Sam says they’re all dead.

One week later: Gates and Zadro go out in the pouring rain to tend to a guy who Gates thinks OD’d. Gates gives him Narcan, injecting it in a way Zadro says they’re not supposed to. Gates radios county to try to get permission to do something else, but Pratt shuts him down. Gates lies to Zadro that he gave approval. Zadro warns that if he’s lying, Zadro won’t back him up.

Luka takes a break from an ER shift to check on Joe. They’ve been trying to wean him off his ventilator, but he’s had a bit of a setback. Rabb asks if Abby and Luka have made a decision about a trial involving a hypertension drug. Abby thinks the risks are too high; they still have other options they haven’t tried. Maggie attempts to weigh in, but Abby doesn’t appreciate that. Rabb wisely dismisses herself from the conversation.

Abby complains that Rabb has been pushing them to do the trial for a week. Luka accuses her of always seeing the worst in people. Abby disagrees, and besides, this is their child they’re talking about. Luka also dismisses himself from the conversation. Maggie gently tells Abby that he could be right. The new drug might turn everything around for Joe. They should follow their instincts. Abby snaps at her mother to shut up. She didn’t ask Maggie to come or be involved, so maybe she should leave.

Morris comes by County to visit his former colleagues and brag that his new job with the pharmaceutical company is sending him on a trip to Vegas. Then he admits that he hates the job and wants to come back to County. Gates and Zadro arrive with their patient, and Zadro learns that Gates lied to him. Pratt threatens to report him.

Weaver attends a meeting about Clemente, where Anspaugh announces that he’s firing Luka. Amazingly, Weaver takes responsibility, but Anspaugh points out that she’s not the one who kept Clemente on after he proved to be trouble. Apparently Weaver said previously that she told Luka to get rid of Clemente and that he ignored her. She admits that that’s not true. As she leaves the meeting, Morris begs her to get his job back. Like literally begs on his hands and knees. She tells him she can’t help him – she’s no longer the chief of staff.

Luka determines that Gates’ patient didn’t actually overdose. He doesn’t know what’s actually wrong with him, though, so he just keeps trying different things to see if something works. Pratt says they’re throwing the kitchen sink at him. Gates is still there, and he suggests a condition that’s pretty rare. He knows about it because he got a question about it wrong on his boards and had to look it up later. Luka lets him administer a treatment, since they have nothing to lose. It does the trick.

Morris tries to bug Luka about getting his job back, but Luka doesn’t have time for him. Maggie sneaks Abby some coffee, which they aren’t supposed to have in the NICU, and tells her about a time when Eric was hospitalized as a baby. He almost died, and Abby’s father thought they should just say goodbye to him. Maggie ignored what the doctors said and refused to give up on her son. Abby says she’s not like Maggie, but Maggie thinks she is. She needs to find the strength to get through this. Abby isn’t sure she can. “You’ve spent your whole life getting strong enough to do this,” Maggie replies.

Luka returns to the NICU to try to talk to Abby again about the drug trial. Maybe the kitchen sink method will work for Joe. Abby’s worried that something will go wrong; they won’t be able to undo it. But Luka seems confident enough that it could work, so Abby agrees.

One week later: The drug trial was successful and Joe has made huge improvements. Luka and Maggie are able to convince Abby to leave the NICU for a little while. The nurses aren’t thrilled that Maggie will be staying behind. Elliot goes with Sam to talk to a detective or ADA or someone (it’s never specified) about what she claims happened to Steve. Elliot throws his weight around and pressures the guy to stop pursuing murder charges.

Neela runs into Abby and Luka as they’re taking their break outside. They only chat for a little while, and Luka says Neela’s doing fine at work, but it’s clear she’s struggling. She’s been staying at Abby’s, and Abby figures that she might as well give up her apartment since she’s always at Luka’s. Luka wants to revisit his sort-of marriage proposal right before everything went haywire. He’s not going to pressure Abby, and she doesn’t see the point in publicly proving her love for him. Luka agrees that marriage can wait until later.

One of Joe’s monitors starts beeping, and though Maggie’s concerned, a nurse just turns off the alarm and says it happens all the time. Then something else beeps, followed by another alarm. Maggie wants Rabb to come see Joe, but the nurse says she’s overreacting. Maggie thinks Joe’s breathing too fast, and she demands that the staff get Rabb there now.

It turns out she was right to worry, since Joe needs to be intubated. Rabb even says that it’s a good thing Maggie was watching him. Joe needs surgery, and Maggie tells Albright not to let any residents operate. Abby wants to call a chaplain and have Joe baptized just in case he doesn’t get better.

Neela gets drunk with a couple of strangers at a bar who walk her out, giving off vibes that she shouldn’t be alone with them. Fortunately, Gates and Zadro arrive just then and Gates gets her away from them. One of the guys gets rude, so Gates beats them both up. Zadro, request a new partner. You deserve better than this guy.

Anspaugh is operating on Joe, so Maggie should be happy. A chaplain performs the baptism and Luka watches from the OR while Abby observes from the gallery. Gates takes Neela home (well, to Abby’s) and she puts on music and drunkenly dances. She wants Gates to stay, and when he says he’s going to leave after he gets her settled, she grabs him and kisses him. To his credit, he stops it and asks if she can call someone to come stay with her. She says she doesn’t have anyone.

Maggie joins Abby in the gallery, where Abby’s starting to simmer with fear. She says she can’t keep pretending everything’s going to be okay. Maggie urges to her to let all the bad things go. Admittedly, she didn’t have a lot of reasons to be optimistic while she was growing up, but she’s not a child anymore. She needs to believe that Joe will be okay. He starts declining, and Abby turns off the intercom so she doesn’t have to hear bad news. She tells Maggie she’s trying to stay positive.

Two weeks later: Word has spread that Weaver’s taking the heat for what happened with Clemente, and that she’s been demoted. Ray asks Neela (who’s wearing sunglasses indoors, so I assume she’s hungover) if she’s talked to Abby recently. She thinks Abby and Luka want privacy for a while. Gates and Neela run into each other for the first time since her drunken antics and she starts to apologize. He says he’s glad he was the one who took her home. Pratt hands out white coats to the interns who are about to start working in the ER. One of them is Gates. Now he and Neela will see each other all the time! Oh, boy!

Sam asks if anyone’s heard from Jerry, who was supposed to be released from the hospital the day before. Frank says they just talked. Because they’re secretly best friends! Morris is still at the pharmaceutical company, unable to enjoy any of the perks that come with the job. Saving Jerry was difficult but possibly the best moment of Morris’ life. He feels silly working a fancy job now. He’s figured out what’s important and wants to practice medicine again. He just needs Luka to get back to him about getting his job back.

Elliot comes in to tell Sam that the DA has finally declared Steve’s death justifiable homicide, so the whole ordeal is over. You know, except for the part where Sam and Alex were taken hostage and she was raped and then killed her son’s father. At least she can stop worrying about going to jail. Elliot asks if she’s talked to Alex about what happened. Sam says he just knows that Steve is dead, but not the details. Elliot offers to help her with anything else she might need.

Morris gives a presentation to some doctors, trying to get them on board to prescribe a drug from his company. Pratt pulls him out to tell him that Luka is going to offer him his job back. Morris ducks back into the meeting to tell the doctors that his drug is a scam. Neela gets drunk again at the hospital’s graduation party for the interns, but this time she keeps her lips to herself. She introduces Ray to Gates, setting up the new love triangle for the season.

Morris wants to be allowed to call Weaver “Kerry” now that their colleagues. That’s a no, Archie. Luka comes by, saying that Abby wanted to tag along but decided this wasn’t the night for it. Weaver asks how she’s holding up, and Luka says she’s okay. With all that, it would be understandable if viewers assumed that Joe died…but he didn’t! He’s home with his mom, who’s been so grateful for Maggie’s visit that she wants her to come back sometime. She couldn’t have gotten through the NICU experience without Maggie.

Maggie laughs because Abby’s been defiant ever since she was a child. She teases that she hopes Joe causes Abby as much pain and agony as she caused Maggie. Abby tells Maggie that she doesn’t have to leave just yet, but Maggie assures her that she can handle parenting on her own. Back at the party, Luka shows his colleagues pictures of his son and passes out cigars.

Thoughts: Yes, Maggie is overbearing in this episode and Abby is justified in being annoyed with her, but think about what it means that she dropped everything to come help out and provide support. The Maggie from Abby’s childhood would never have done that. Look how far she’s come. And I love how she takes notes and tries to remember everything that’s important. That’s someone you want in your corner.

Weaver is so maternal toward Sam when she shows up in the ER. It’s really sweet.

Frank to Morris, who’s wearing a purple shirt: “What’d you do, mug a pimp?” Morris: “Yeah, your dad says hi.” Pratt: (cracking up)

How mean that they made us think Joe died. Don’t be so mean, show!


  1. Patrick Sullivan said,

    There is a subtle moment in that scene where Maggie is about to leave at the end and Abby callers her “Mom” when prior she had called her “Maggie” due to Abby’s troubled childhood.

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