March 23, 2019

The X-Files 9.17, Release: Corruption? In the U.S. Government? Well, I Never!

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

“This is my brooding wall”

Summary: For some reason, this episode has chapter titles, and the first one is “The Tip.” Doggett goes to a rundown apartment building, where a guy attacks him and runs off. Inside his apartment, Doggett finds a freshly repaired wall. When he digs into the repairs, blood comes out. There’s a body entombed in the wall, a Jane Doe, and her body is sent to Quantico for Scully to examine. She uses the body as a teaching exercise with her students.

Scully tells the class that the woman was stabbed, and Doggett found her by following the sound of rats feeding on her corpse. One student sees dirt under the Jane Doe’s fingernails and guesses that she was killed somewhere else and tried to claw her way out of dirt. Scully asks what else would help them find the killer. A student named Hayes can tell from Jane’s chipped nail polish and dye job that she’s an unemployed single woman. She’d been drinking, so Hayes thinks she hooked up with a man in a bar, and he killed her.

Hayes continues that the man has killed before. The bruise near Jane’s ribs indicates that the killer meant to finish her off with a single blow to the heart, but Jane struggled, causing the knife to slip and the hilt to jab her in the side. The killer then got mad and killed her. Hayes thinks this should be obvious to everyone.

When the class is over, Scully looks at the body again by herself, getting an idea. Using Hayes’ guesses, she’s able to ID Jane as a woman named Ellen. She tells Reyes and Doggett that Ellen did go to a bar the previous night – the same bar where another woman was killed two weeks ago. The other woman, Rita, was found in a ditch, not plastered behind a wall, so Doggett isn’t sure Rita and Ellen were killed by the same person. But Scully is sure that Hayes’ theory is correct.

Doggett wants to know why someone sent him a tip about looking for Ellen’s body, since this doesn’t appear to be an X-File. Scully thinks he should just continue with the case anyway. So Doggett and Reyes go to the Forensic Training Facility in Joplin, Virginia, to see Hayes. He’s doing an exercise with body parts, and he gets to show the agents in person how he works. Just from looking at a severed arm, he can tell how the arm’s owner died. “I see things,” he explains.

Reyes tells him they used his theory to develop a profile of Ellen and Rita’s killer. Hayes disagrees with the profile, though – he thinks the killer’s in his 40s, an ex-con who’s in the mob. His parole officer thinks he’s looking for a job back in New York, but he already has one. He’s killed a lot of people and will continue to kill. Hayes walks off without another word, and Reyes lightly says to Doggett that he’s kind of annoying.

Hayes goes home that night to his nearly empty apartment. The only decorations are pictures of murder victims. Well, that’s…certainly an aesthetic choice. Doggett and Reyes go to a bar and see a man named Nicholas Regali, whose mug shots they’re carrying. They tell him he’s violating his parole by being in Virginia. Regali says he’s there looking for work, just as Hayes predicted.

Regali denies killing anyone, of course, but the agents make it clear that he’s their main suspect and won’t get away with any more murders. Regali tells them they don’t know what they’re dealing with. At home, Hayes stares out his window creepily, then goes to bed. One of the pictures on his wall is of Doggett in a field, crouching next to a boy’s body.

“Ashes”: Doggett lies awake in bed, then gets up to look at the box holding his son’s ashes. Later, Hayes finds him in his office, and Doggett asks him to look at another case. A seven-year-old boy was riding his bike around the block when he disappeared. His mother went looking for him but only found his bike. There’s no indication of why he was taken. Three days later, his body was found in a field.

Of course, Doggett’s talking about Luke. It’s been nine years, and there’s not much to go on, but Doggett hopes that Hayes can be a fresh set of eyes and find something everyone else has overlooked. Hayes tells him that the case he helped with yesterday is also Luke’s case.

He takes Doggett to his apartment and shows him the wall of photos. They’re all of unsolved murders. Hayes started collecting them before he joined the FBI academy, though he’s not sure why. Sometimes, if he just sits with them, they tell him things. It’s how he sees the things he sees. There are multiple pictures of Luke, and Hayes says that Luke calls to him. Doggett says Hayes might be nuts, but that’s clearly not a deal-breaker for him.

The two discuss the main suspect, Bob Harvey, who died in a car accident the previous year. Hayes says that Harvey took Luke but didn’t kill him. Doggett asks if Regali killed Luke, but Hayes doesn’t respond. Doggett goes to the FBI building to talk to Follmer, who worked on an organized-crime task force in New York. He’s familiar with Regali but doesn’t think he was involved in Luke’s death. Doggett thinks Harvey and Regali are connected somehow. Follmer has his doubts, but he clearly has some sympathy for Doggett, so he offers to do some research.

Reyes finds Doggett, and he fills her in on his suspicions about Regali. He’s learned that Regali and Harvey were both in the same prison at the same time, so it’s possible they knew each other. Plus, the day Luke disappeared, Regali used a credit card to buy gas two miles from Doggett’s house. Reyes notes that living in New York at the same time isn’t enough to go on. She’s worried that Doggett will once again be disappointed by a dead end to the case. Doggett is sure that this time, he’ll get answers.

Doggett goes to Woodbury, Long Island, to see his ex-wife, Barbara. He tells her he has a suspect in Luke’s murder, but she’s obviously heard that from him before and doesn’t believe this time will be any different. She doesn’t like him coming by to dredge up the past. She doesn’t want to hear any more about this unless Doggett knows for sure they’ve found the killer. He takes Barbara to a lineup to see if she can identify Regali, in case she saw him the day Luke was taken. She doesn’t find him familiar, so she’s done with her ex for now.

While Doggett’s fighting with Follmer, Scully meets Barbara, who hates that Doggett is so regretful about not finding Luke’s killer. She hopes Scully can help him move on. Well, really, it sounds like she hopes Reyes can help him move on, since she believes they could have a relationship if Doggett would let Reyes in.

Without anything to hold Regali on, the agents have to let him go. Doggett hopes Scully has found something in her forensic work, but she can’t tie anything between Luke and the two dead women. They were killed with different weapons, and the killers’ MOs aren’t consistent. Scully thinks Hayes just made a leap in connecting the cases to each other.

“A Message”: Hayes sits with his pictures, waiting for them to tell him something. In the X-Files office (which, by the way, now has two desks), Doggett tells Reyes that something about Regali seems strange. He keeps getting away with small crimes, as if he’s bribing someone to keep letting him slide.

Reyes gets an idea, and the two go to see Follmer to discuss when he and Reyes worked in New York together. Reyes used to get takeout from a place called Carlo’s. One night, she saw Follmer in the kitchen talking to a mobster and accepting a stack of money from him. Apparently this was what caused her to break up with him and move away.

Follmer asks if the agents are really there to accuse him of taking bribes. He asks if they also suspect him of taking bribes to cover up details about Luke’s murder. He claims the mobster was an informant, and Follmer was giving him money, not the other way around. He can prove his story – can Reyes prove hers? Follmer wishes Reyes had come to him with her concerns, “especially given what I know now.”

Follmer tells Doggett and Reyes that Hayes is using a fake identity. The real Hayes died in 1978. Cadet Hayes is really a guy named Simms who was previously treated at a psych facility for paranoid schizophrenia. He checked himself out and disappeared ten years ago. Oh, and he was in New York City in 1993, the year Luke was murdered.

The agents send a SWAT team to Hayes’ apartment, but he seems to be waiting for them to arrive. He’s taken all the pictures off the walls. Elsewhere, Regali meets with Follmer, who tells him he’s lucky because Doggett is pursuing a different suspect. He asks if Regali was involved in Luke’s murder. Regali doesn’t appreciate Follmer asking him questions, or suspecting him of doing things like murdering children.

Follmer announces that he’s done with whatever they have going on. Regali notes that he can kill Follmer right now and make it seem like self-defense. If anything happens to Regali, the Washington Post will get a video proving that Follmer accepted a bribe to make an indictment go away for Regali. “You’re done when I say you’re done,” Regali says.

Doggett brings Barbara back for another lineup, and she focuses on Hayes/Simms for a long time. Scully presents him with a file full of evidence that he used a fake identify to get into the FBI academy, which is fraud. They think he orchestrated everything to get close to Doggett. Simms sticks to his story that his photos speak to him. He studied Luke’s case obsessively, as people with schizophrenia obsess over things. Yes, Barbara recognized him, but not from the day Luke was taken.

Doggett accuses Simms of lying, but Simms says he just wanted Doggett to listen to him. He knew Doggett wouldn’t believe a former psych patient with apparent psychic abilities. Doggett guesses that Simms gave him the tip that led him to find Ellen. Simms says he was just sending Doggett on Regali’s trail. He’s received another message, and he’d like to go home – not to his apartment, but to the institution he checked out of ten years ago.

The agents are back at square one, so Doggett returns to the bar to chat with Regali again. This time, he’s not here as an agent, but as a father. Regali insists that he doesn’t know who killed Luke, but he’s willing to offer up a hypothetical. Maybe there was a businessman who, for whatever reason, had to associate with people like Harvey. Maybe Harvey kidnapped the boy to do gross, illegal things to him, and the businessman caught them. Maybe the businessman had to get rid of the boy because the boy could identify him. Maybe the businessman had to find a solution to that problem.

Doggett ditches his parent persona and goes back to his FBI persona. He pulls out his gun and starts to follow Regali out of the bar. Outside, there’s a gunshot, and Doggett finds Regali on the ground, dead. Follmer has beaten Doggett the punch and, like Regali, has found a solution to his problem.

“Release”: Doggett and Barbara go to a beach to scatter Luke’s ashes in the ocean. When he returns to his car, Reyes is there, and Doggett hugs her warmly.

Thoughts: Jared Poe, who plays Simms, was an intern in the writers’ office, and not an actor. He asked Frank Spotnitz, the show’s executive producer, if he could audition for the role, and Spotnitz said okay, thinking Jared would never get it. But Jared beat out about 30 other actors for the part.

Simms is like House, if House were a semi-creepy FBI cadet with schizophrenia.

Maybe people with mental-health problems should be given a little more credit for being helpful in jobs like criminal investigations. I mean, it’s mostly about finding patterns and noticing small details, right? Who’s better at that than people with OCD and schizophrenia?

March 19, 2019

ER 3.14, Whose Appy Now?: DNR? NBD

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:07 pm by Jenn

Heh

Summary: Mark starts out his day in the shower with Heather, so that date must have gone well. Nick the dog joins them, simply to remind us that he still exists. While kicking him out of the shower, Mark gets a call from a woman named Polly, whom he’s having dinner with that night. Someone’s playing the field! He tells Heather he has a staff meeting that night, so he can’t go out with her, but she gets him to change his mind.

Carter is stuck in limbo, unable to move on to his rotation with Hicks until Benton submits his evaluation. Malik accidentally injured Doug in a basketball game, and when Doug shows up to work with a cane, Weaver thinks she’s making fun of him. They immediately get to work on a boy who stopped breathing after choking on a little rubber ball. Doug uses a syringe to move the ball up into the boy’s mouth so Weaver can remove it without having to cut an airway in his throat.

Jackie goes by Benton’s place, where he’s been brooding since he heard that Carla’s pregnant. Jackie has heard the news, or at least guessed it for herself, and knows Benton’s the baby’s father. She calls him an idiot, then urges him to step up and be a father. He promises he’ll handle it. He goes to get ready for work, though he’s having pain in his abdomen.

Mark now has two dates tonight and can’t decide who he’d rather be with. Doug thinks Heather makes more sense since she has Bulls tickets. Mark decides to reschedule with Polly, though Doug thinks he’s taking a big risk dating two women at once. With Carol out on suspension, Haleh’s filling in as nurse manager, and realizing how hard the job is. The staff learns that a bunch of patients have come down with staph infections, so Greg wants to test everyone to see if one of the employees is spreading it.

Carter asks Benton for his evaluation, forcing him to sign it right that second instead of putting it off. Benton evaluates him as doing a satisfactory job. Then we’re back to Carter and Doyle competing, which was boring the first time around and hasn’t gotten any more interesting. Haleh tells them to work together, which appears to be a foreign concept. Each wants to put a chest tube in their new patient, but since she needs two, Weaver says they can both do one.

Benton’s in a lot of pain, so he leaves Weaver in charge of the two children. Greg tries to enlist Jeanie to help him find the staph spreader, but Jeanie isn’t interested in spending any more time with him than she has to. A teenager named Jad (…Jad? I don’t know) comes in with breathing problems due to cystic fibrosis. His girlfriend, Katie, tells Doug and Weaver that she thinks he has a DNR (which Jad confirms). They’re from out of state, so someone will have to call Jad’s doctor back home to find out for sure.

Mark and Haleh try to talk to a patient named Mr. Papion, but he’s too busy pacing and counting to three to give them any information. Nina the psychiatrist arrives and says she knows him as a regular visitor to the hospital. She gets him to stop his rituals by having him snap a rubber band around his wrist. Mark wonders if that kind of behavioral therapy will work on Rachel, as she’s started sucking her thumb again since Mark and Jen’s divorce. Nina jokes that she used electroshock therapy on her daughter when she started wetting the bed after Nina’s divorce.

Lydia learns that Jad’s doctor is a pediatrician, which goes against Katie’s claim that he’s 19. When she reluctantly admits that he’s 17, Doug suddenly has the right to give Jad whatever treatment he wants, such as the intubation he’s been fighting. Mark plays sick to postpone his date with Polly, but now there’s a third woman showing interest in him: Nina. He replaces his postponed date with Polly with a new date with Nina.

Doug asks Katie why she and Jad are really in Chicago. She says they stole his mother’s car and were on their way to Mexico so Jad could live out the last few months of his life on the beach. Jad’s mother, Norma, arrives and tells Doug that Jad doesn’t have a DNR. He’s ready to be extubated, but if he stops breathing, Norma wants Doug to intubate him again.

Jeanie has joined Greg’s investigation, because I guess she just couldn’t resist his charms. An IV drug user with multiple gunshot wounds is brought in, and a paramedic reports that he may have AIDS. Hicks oversees as Carter and Doyle finally work together instead of bickering. In fact, Doyle saves Carter a lot of trouble when she sees that his finger is near a bullet and warns that it’s sharp and could cut him, which would put him at risk for contracting AIDS. Carter thanks her by letting her do the fun part of the case.

While the nurses miss Carol and her organizational skills, Hicks compliments Carter and Doyle’s newfound teamwork abilities. They have to keep their hands in the patient while he’s moved upstairs for surgery. I think this is the equivalent of two sitcom characters accidentally getting handcuffed together. Weaver catches Benton giving himself an ultrasound and guesses that he has appendicitis. A quick exam approves this, and Benton is sent to the OR, not as a doctor but as a patient.

Chuny and Wendy discuss Mark in a mix of Spanish and English. Chuny’s fine with him dating around, since their relationship was just a fling. Apparently he’s really good in bed. Chuny, never discuss that again, I beg you. Mark tells Doug that he’s back to two dates tonight, after trying so hard to get himself down to one. Weaver has spoken to Jad, who asked to speak to a different doctor since Doug doesn’t want to consider his feelings. He thinks Jad is a mixed-up teen runaway who doesn’t get what signing a DNR really means. Weaver thinks Doug has a bigger problem with the situation than he should.

Hicks promises Benton that she’ll be in the OR during his appendectomy. Scrub nurse Shirley is amused that she gets to prep one of her colleagues for surgery. Greg and Jeanie can’t find a connection between the staff members and the staph sufferers (…sometimes I make my own fun), but he realizes that the patients’ charts all have the same handwriting. Jerry appears to be the culprit.

Hicks lets Doyle scrub in on the gunshot patient’s surgery, so she and Carter get ready together. He’s impressed that she recognized the bullet and kept him from touching it. Hicks informs them that plans have changed, and they’ll now be performing an appendectomy. Carter’s disappointed to be moved to something so boring, until he learns that the patient is someone he’s most likely been eager to cut open for years.

With only about three months left to live, Jad really doesn’t want to spend his last days in the hospital. Doug doesn’t care that he’s turning 18 in three weeks – he doesn’t get to decide what happens to him while he’s still a minor. Doug reminds him that Norma is trying to keep him alive because she’s afraid of losing him. Jad points out that he’s going to die either way. He’d like Doug to talk to her about letting go of her son.

Carol comes by to pick up a paycheck she’s going to spend on candles at Pottery Barn. Wasn’t she having money problems just a few episodes ago? Haleh continues to suck at math, leading to an overabundance of medical supplies that apparently can’t be stored anywhere but the ER. Greg and Jeanie oversee Jerry’s hand-washing technique, horrified that he doesn’t always wash his hands after using the bathroom.

Just before he’s put under, Benton learns that Carter will be his surgeon. I guess someone should have given someone else a better evaluation. Doug talks to Norma about Jad’s DNR, now willing to give Jad input on his own treatment. He at least thinks Norma and Jad shouldn’t spend Jad’s last few months alive fighting with each other.

Jerry’s about to page Nina for one of Mark’s patients when Polly shows up with elderberry extract to treat Mark’s supposed illness. Carter has Shirley put on “Ride of the Valkyries” as he prepares to start Benton’s surgery. The surgeons take pictures with him while he’s unconscious. Then Carter turns serious and gets to work.

Mark leaves Polly in the lounge while he takes Nina to his patient. Then he has to leave Nina to go to the front desk, where Heather has come by with their basketball tickets. She wants to chat, so Mark stashes her out of the way while he tries to keep her, Polly, and Nina from seeing each other. But Polly and Nina ruin things, revealing that they know each other, and that they both had plans with Mark for that night. Heather joins the group, and Mark’s completely busted.

Norma has signed the DNR for Jad, so when he has trouble breathing, Doug keeps him from being intubated. Benton’s surgical team dances and sings to their background music as they finish up the operation. Carter shows off his skills to Doyle, who…let’s just say she’s not as impressed as he wants her to be. But he hasn’t found out why yet.

Greg thinks he and Jeanie make a good team and should try going on a date again. Jeanie shuts him down, asking to keep things professional. Jad’s in respiratory failure, and when he stops breathing, it looks like that will be it for him. But Norma begs Doug to violate the DNR and intubate her son. Despite not being able to breathe, Jad is still conscious, and he gives Doug a pleading look. Doug ignores it and intubates him.

Jeanie stitches up a patient who remembers her from a stay in the hospital about a year earlier. He has AIDS and thought he was going to die last year, but the cocktail now being given to many HIV/AIDS patients has worked for him. He feels like a death-row prisoner who got pardoned by the governor.

Benton wakes up in recovery, imagining Hicks, Weaver, and Carter all announcing that they’re pregnant. In reality, Carter tells him he’s fine, and he even kept the appendix for him. Benton, still feeling the effects of the anesthesia, mumbles that he screwed up and never gave the kid a chance. Carter offers to call Carla, since Benton was talking about her. He teases that Benton also said he regrets treating Carter badly and wants to make it up to him. Benton doesn’t buy that, but he does laugh.

Mark apologizes to Nina for the whole triple-date thing, but she’s not interested in smoothing things over. She gives him a rubber band and tells him to snap it whenever he gets the urge to date three women at once. Now that she has hope that her future isn’t set in stone, Jeanie tells Greg she’ll go out with him again after all.

On his way upstairs to be admitted, Jad gives Doug the finger, which…fair. Chuny teases Mark for getting busted by his three dates, and since he still has dinner reservations with one of the women, he invites Chuny to join him. Carter tries to jump on the dating bandwagon and invites Doyle to hang out, but she already has plans. She tells him he can tag along if he wants.

Haleh screwed up with the nurses’ timecards, so they don’t get their paychecks. For some reason, they don’t stage a coup and have her replaced with someone else. Doyle takes Carter to a shooting range, which they’re enjoying until she spots her ex. Carter’s surprised that the ex is a woman, which explains why Doyle is able to resist Carter’s charms. He accidentally shoots an exit sign instead of his paper target.

Chuny turned Mark down, so he ends up taking Doug to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Really, this is the longest, most stable relationship either of them has had with anyone, so it makes sense. Jeanie and Greg’s second date goes much better than their first, though she tries to back out of getting coffee. She admits that she’s afraid of liking him too much. He kisses her, which makes her emotional, since no one’s kissed her in a long time. She asks if he’s afraid, and instead of answering, he kisses her again.

Thoughts: Lots of recognizable guest stars in this episode, three of them from X-Files episodes:

Seriously, though, Jad? Who’s named Jad?

Mark and Nina should have been a thing. Then we wouldn’t have had to put up with Cynthia in season 4.

March 16, 2019

The X-Files 9.16, William: Scully’s Choice

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Even William’s like, “Are you kidding with this, Mom?”

Summary: It’s a beautiful day on a farm in some unidentified location, which flies a flag with a white buffalo on it. A couple named the Van De Kamps is about to get the child they’ve been wanting for a long time. They’re not sure who would hand over a baby to strangers, but they’re glad they’re the strangers the mother chose. Their social worker tells them the mother is a single woman, and it was a hard decision for her to make, but it was for her son’s good. The couple gets their new child, who will later be renamed Jackson, but for now, his name is William.

One week earlier, Scully gets home with William, singing “Joy to the World” to him. Someone is lurking in the shadows on the street, watching her. Doggett’s in his office, doing pushups; he’s trying to make himself seem tough by counting up to 1,493, but he really only does 20. The lurker comes in after Doggett leaves and starts looking through a file cabinet. Doggett realizes he forgot something and goes back to the office, where the lurker beats him up.

Doggett chases the lurker, easily catching up to him despite the pounding he just took. He’s shocked when the lurker turns around. At 2:03 a.m., Scully and Reyes meet up in the office to figure out who the lurker (who’s identified himself as Miller) is. His face is disfigured, so Doggett hasn’t been able to properly ID him, but he says he knows Scully and has information for her about the alien conspiracy.

Scully goes in to talk to Miller, who’s willing to talk to the agents without a lawyer. He told Doggett he got access to the building via a card key Mulder gave him. Miller, whose voice is unrecognizable along with his face, tells Scully he came to find answers about what was done to him. Mulder said the men who hurt him a part of the conspiracy. But Miller won’t say when he spoke to Mulder, because Scully could use that info to find Mulder, and he doesn’t want to be found.

Doggett says Miller was stealing files from the X-Files cabinet when he was caught. Specifically, he was stealing Samantha’s files. Miller knows about her abduction and its part in the conspiracy. Scully isn’t sold on Miller’s knowledge of anything, but he’s not surprised she doesn’t believe him. Scully tells Doggett to send Miller to Quantico so she can examine him physically.

This exam helps Scully determine that Miller’s scarring is from something other than burns or chemicals. He admits that he was injected with something. Doggett pulls Scully and Reyes out of the room to tell them that the ID Miller gave him is fake. Doggett thinks he’s really Mulder. Scully says that’s crazy, but Doggett reminds her that what’s true and what they want to be true aren’t always the same.

Scully remains, as always, skeptical, so she just goes back to her exam. Miller asks her to help him make the people who hurt him pay. He knows she was abducted as well, and also had horrible things done to her. Scully tells him that the agents know he’s lying about his identify, which he confirms, though he won’t say who he really is. He’s worried that the same people after Mulder will kill him if they find out he’s there. Miller wants Scully’s help, but he also thinks he can help her get some answers.

For a second, Scully imagines he’s Mulder, but she tells Doggett and Reyes she’s sure it’s not him. She thinks the blood sample she took from him will confirm that after a DNA test. For now, they need to figure out what Miller wants and determine whether he’s lying. They should take him back to the FBI building.

The agents take Miller back to the X-Files office, asking why he took Samantha’s files. He tells them there’s a new conspiracy and there are aliens in the U.S. government. His disfigurement was a failure in their attempts to turn him into an alien as well. Now he wants to expose their plans to do the same to others. Mulder told Miller there are cases on people like him, but it looks like they’ve been removed from the office.

They’re at Scully’s place, and Scully is willing to hand them over to Miller. She secretly tells Reyes that this will prove that Miller isn’t Mulder. She and Mulder moved the files here for safekeeping, so if Miller were Mulder, he would know that. William starts crying, and Scully discovers Miller trying to comfort him. He says Mulder told him he misses William.

Scully demands to know where Mulder is, but Miller won’t go back on his promise to keep Mulder’s location secret to protect everyone. Miller asks to hold the baby, “for Mulder.” William’s happy again and seems totally fine in Miller’s arms. Scully spends a minute trying to figure out whether or not this is a father/son reunion.

Skinner summons Doggett to his office to await the results of Miller’s DNA test. He points out that Miller and Mulder don’t even have the same body type, so Doggett’s theory is ridiculous. Doggett thinks Miller’s abductors could have done any number of things to him. Skinner makes the same point as Scully, that Mulder would have known the files were at Scully’s, so he wouldn’t pretend he didn’t. Just then, a lab calls to give Skinner the lab results.

At Scully’s, she tells Miller that he put on a good show, but now he’s going to tell her the truth. He knows the circumstances of William’s conception, that he’s part alien and a part of the conspiracy. She begs him to tell her who he is. Just as she thinks she’s about to crack him, Doggett and Reyes interrupt to tell her that Miller’s DNA matches Mulder’s.

As Scully moves from denial to shock, Doggett and Reyes realize that Miller has disappeared. Good job, guys! Good job at being FBI agents! Doggett goes out to the street and sees Miller running away. He loses Miller in an alley but is able to find him hiding behind a Dumpster. Doggett promises that they’re going to protect him, so he can stop running.

Back at Scully’s, the agents give Miller some sleeping pills and put him to bed. They plan to keep him hidden so he’s safe from whoever abducted him. Scully’s back to denial, not sure the DNA test was accurate. Doggett tells her it was a perfect match. Reyes thinks Miller ran because he’s struggling with the way he looks now. Scully doesn’t think the real Mulder would care. Doggett thinks Miller’s ashamed that he couldn’t protect himself.

Miller wakes up sometime later and goes to the nursery, where William’s also awake. Miller pulls out a syringe and fills it, then puts some sort of goo on the baby’s mouth. He gives William an injection, then runs off before Scully can come in to comfort her screaming child. Doggett checks on Miller, who’s back in his bed, pretending he was asleep the whole time.

Scully sees blood and figures out that William was injected, so she rushes him to a hospital. Back at Scully’s, Doggett finds the syringe and threatens to killer Miller, no matter who he really is, if anything happens to William. But William gets a clean bill of health – the doctor at the hospital doesn’t find anything off about him other than an elevated level of iron in his blood. This brings everything together for Scully.

She confronts Miller at the FBI building, telling him that he’s the most vile, hateful kind of person in the world. Miller thinks she believed he was really Mulder, even for a minute, or at least she wanted to believe. Scully thinks he wishes constantly that he had died when he was shot. Miller – or, really, the long-missing Jeffrey Spender – tells her that he has positive feelings about that shooting, because it meant his father couldn’t destroy the one thing Spender loves most: his hatred of his father.

Scully knows that Spender was counting on the DNA test to confirm his story, because he and Mulder share DNA – they have the same biological father. That’s not how DNA works, but okay. Scully confirms that Spender hasn’t actually talked to or seen Mulder recently. He lied to gain the agents’ trusts so he could get access to William.

Scully checked the substance in the syringe, an unknown metal. Spender says it’s a form of magnetite. He calls it a gift. Really, it’s revenge – by injecting William, Spender has protected him from the alien conspiracy, which means CSM’s plans will fail. However, the conspirators will never believe that William is no longer useful to them, so he’s still in danger. Scully thinks she can protect him, but Spender’s face is a reminder of what she’s risking, and what could happen to William.

At William’s crib, Reyes tries to convince Scully that Spender was lying, and she doesn’t have anything to worry about. Scully doesn’t want to wait until it’s too late to find out she was wrong. They don’t have any choice about what William was, or is now, but she can choose to give him a safe life. She doesn’t think she can promise him protection, which is why William winds up with the Van De Kamps, with a brand-new mobile – featuring white buffalo – over his crib. But this time, he can’t move it with his mind.

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-wrote and directed this episode.

There’s a hole in Doggett’s theory: Why would Mulder go to the FBI building and pretend to be someone else? If he was afraid for his life if he went there, he just…wouldn’t go there.

Scully, stop letting strangers into your home, especially when William’s there.

March 12, 2019

ER 3.13, Fortune’s Fools: Is Doug Also Going to Yell at Carol for Trying to Do the Right Thing?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:52 pm by Jenn

No commentary necessary

Summary: On their way to work, Mark asks Doug how many people know that he and Chuny are dating. Turns out they’ve run out of things to discuss, so Mark’s ready to end it. Doug tells him he’s already covered the spread in the office betting. He advises Mark to tell Chuny that their relationship is starting to interfere with work, and he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship.

Carter and Benton’s schedule has been light lately, but Carter thinks that’s good because it’s given them more time to prepare for a conference that afternoon. Benton doesn’t confirm that he’s ready to do his half of their presentation, so Carter offers to help him out. Benton says he’ll ask if he needs assistance.

The nurses are back, trying not to worry that management will just fire all of them. Haleh thinks they’re going to get everything they want. Chuny disagrees – the news about Carol’s mistake is out, and is featured in the day’s newspaper. They all think a temp is responsible, and that their sickout led to a man’s death. Carol tries to visit the man’s grave, but there’s no headstone, so she just sticks some flowers in the snow.

Prospective interns are interviewing today, and Anspaugh wants Weaver and Mark to show them what a real ER is like. The nurses tell Carol that they’re not going to take the fall for what a temp did while they were out. Carol says it was her fault, and she was told that after she filed an incident report, the whole situation would be over.

Two men come in with gunshot wounds, one a teen named Hernandez, the other a cop named Mattimore. Mattimore’s injuries are less severe than Hernandez’s, and he insists that the doctors help the teen first. Lydia has little sympathy for a teen who would shoot a cop. Mark assures Mattimore, who just has a leg injury, that they’re helping Hernandez.

Jeanie meets with a patient named Mike who’s been experiencing headaches. His wife, Cindy, says he hasn’t been himself – he’s been aggressive in his sleep and was confused when he woke up. Chuny had invited Mark to dinner the previous night so her family could meet him, but he backed out. To his surprise, she gives him the exact same line Doug said he should give her about how they should split up because of work and their friendship. So apparently a complete consensual breakup is possible.

Carol confronts Mary, the nursing supervisor, thinking she went to the press with the story about her ER error. Mary says it wasn’t her; someone must have wanted to influence the nursing union’s negotiations. Carol says the negotiations and the sickout have nothing to do with her mistake. Mary disagrees – if the nurses had been working like they were supposed to, Carol wouldn’t have made the error. Carol still wants to take full responsibility. She can’t believe she’s the only person who cares that she killed someone.

Now that he’s out of pediatrics and back doing general surgery, like his dozenth hernia repair, Benton is a little bored. Morgenstern thinks it’s good that he’s slowing down. Sometimes, people need to take a step back and reevaluate things. Mark tells Doug that he and Chuny are over, and Chuny seemed a little hurt but will be okay. She is already – she’s back flirting with Zadro.

Weaver introduces Mark to the six prospective interns, but don’t bother worrying about their names because none of them ends up on the show. Weaver gives her half of the interns thick handbooks and takes them on a tour while Mark throws out his handbook and invites his three to play doctor with him. (Not like that. Probably.)

A cop tells Connie that when he found Mattimore after he was injured, he didn’t have his gun out to defend himself (this cop is the one who shot Hernandez). Carol’s annoyed by how proud the cop is of himself for shooting someone. After he leaves, Carol asks Mattimore why he didn’t shoot back after Hernandez shot him. Mattimore says he’s been a cop for more than 30 years and has only fired his gun twice outside the practice range. Carol notices a twitch in his arm, and he says it’s just a little sore.

Haleh pulls Carol outside to tell her that management is using her error to pull their agreement and renegotiate the nurses’ contracts. She can’t believe Carol didn’t see this coming. Carol tells Haleh that she and management can fight all they want – Carol’s priority is her patients. Weaver has her interns follow the journey of a urine sample while Mark takes his group around to see actual patients. Jeanie asks his opinion about Mike, thinking he may have a lesion. Mark tells her to consult with Greg, her infectious-disease-specialist non-date.

Sasha, a chef from the hospital cafeteria, is in the ER with a burn on his leg from scalding water. Mark lets his interns assess and treat the patient, which is much more interesting than the tour the other interns are taking. Carol finds Doyle chatting with Mattimore, who arrested her cousin for breaking and entering. Mattimore is the kind of guy who goes easy on young offenders, and has in fact helped rehabilitate at least one. His arm twitches again, and Carol thinks there’s something going on that Mattimore doesn’t want to talk about.

Hicks suggests that Carter sign Benton up for an operation that afternoon, since he hasn’t been very active in choosing his cases. Carter signs up his boss, because he’s an idiot. An ICU nurse named Lisa brings in her son, Benny, who hurt his elbow. He’s wearing a Superman costume and will only respond to the name Clark Kent. His mom thinks he got hurt trying to fly.

Mark treats a woman named Heather for a hand injury, still keeping his interns involved. Heather flirts with Mark right in front of them, which amuses one of the interns. Carol mentions Mattimore’s twitch to Doyle, advising her to order a CT just to make sure it’s nothing major. Doyle’s hesitant to order such an expensive test without more indication that it’s needed, but she agrees to perform a neurological exam on Mattimore to see if anything comes up.

Greg comes to see Mike, thinking he might have an infection in his central nervous system. Once Cindy mentions that she found Mike talking to himself in the middle of the night, I figure they should call a psych consult, but considering how much psych on this show sucks, it’s probably a waste of time. Once they’re alone, Greg tries to talk to Jeanie, but she’s not interested in anything other than being professional.

Carter tells Benton he signed them up for surgery, but Benton tells him to back out. Doug notices Benny’s lack of communication and asks Lisa if that’s normal. She explains that her husband died in a car accident a few months ago; Benny was in the car, and was alone with his dying father for about ten minutes before the ambulance arrived. Doug suggests having Benny talk to a child psychiatrist. But in the minute Doug and Lisa have been out of the exam room, the child has taken off.

Since flirting hasn’t gotten her anywhere, Heather straight out asks Mark on a date. Mark once again turns to his interns, quizzing them on the ethics of a doctor dating a patient. Heather points out that if Mark weren’t her doctor, there would be no problem. Hypothetically, if she were at a bar that night at 6:30, and he came in to have a drink, everything would be fine. Then she asks to see a specialist.

Weaver’s interns have to watch while Weaver and Chuny treat a man’s abscess. It’s gross. Doyle asks Mattimore to participate in her neurological exam, but he declines, since his only injury is to his leg. Carol pushes him to do it, but he refuses, so Doyle can’t do anything. Benton spots Carla in the ER waiting room, but she won’t tell him why she’s there. He finds out himself when Lily tells her Dr. Coburn is ready to see her. Yep, guess who’s pregnant!

Morgenstern bores the interns during lunch while staff members look for Benny. Sasha’s so pleased with his treatment that he sent free bratwurst to the ER. Mark’s not that grateful. Doug teases him about Heather, so Mark hands her off to Doyle. Jeanie and Greg discover that Mike has neurosyphilis, which Jeanie notes will be a big surprise to his wife. Greg reminds her that they can’t tell Cindy. Jeanie wants to take the case back over, but Greg is worried about handling it wrong and destroying the couple’s marriage. Jeanie points out that Mike could destroy the marriage by not telling Cindy.

Carter’s late for the seminar because he was waiting for Benton so they could go over their notes. Benton isn’t there at all, as he’s bugging Carla about her pregnancy. He’s not sure the baby’s his, but she’s offended when he questions the paternity. She’s going to have the baby, no matter how he feels about it, and doesn’t even bother to wait around and hear if he wants to be involved.

Mattimore tells Carol that when Hernandez pulled his gun, Mattimore just saw him as any other kid he’s encountered. He figured that in a matter of seconds, they would both walk away. When Mattimore’s arm twitched, Hernandez thought he was going for his gun, so he fired first. Carol asks if anyone else in the police department knows about Mattimore’s twitch. Mattimore says no, since he’d be placed on desk duty. He’s worried that he has something serious, but Carol says it could be something treatable. He agrees to think about getting tests done.

Carter finishes his part of his joint presentation, but Benton still hasn’t shown up to do his half. When Carter realizes he’s not coming, he pretends he already knew Benton couldn’t make it and just does the rest of the presentation himself. No one goes easy on him, even though he has no idea how to answer their questions.

Doug finally finds Benny, who’s trying to break up a fight between an angry couple in the waiting area. Benny thinks he would have been protected if the man had come after him, since he has superpowers. Doug tells him meanly that he’s just a six-year-old boy, not a superhero. Way to be gentle with the traumatized kid, Doug. I don’t think you’ll be adding Lisa to your list of single moms you’ve dated.

Mark checks in with Carol, who tells him no one will talk to her. She’s considering going to the newspaper and telling them the man’s death had nothing to do with the sickout. That might lead to her losing her job, and Mark isn’t sure she’s ready for that. Greg wants to separate Cindy and Mike before he gives Mike the news about his health, but Jeanie won’t force the issue. Mike wants Cindy to stay, so she hears along with him that he has neurosyphilis. Mike’s confused, since they’ve only ever been with each other…right? Apparently not, and Cindy’s not the one who’s most surprised to get this news.

Mark lets his interns into the ER while he and Doug treat a man injured in a car accident. He even lets them participate in procedures. Benny’s hiding in the corner, and Doug has Haleh take him away. Carter finally finds Benton and lays into him for missing their seminar. Benton has no sympathy for Carter’s interrogation, saying he shouldn’t have tried to cover for Benton. Carter complains that his reputation is now shot. Benton doesn’t even have a good excuse for why he wasn’t there.

At Doc Magoo’s, Carol meets with a reporter named Tom so she can give her side of the story. Doug apologizes to Benny for the way he reacted when Benny tried to be a superhero. He just doesn’t want Benny to be haunted by the failure to help someone. But Benny should always do what he thinks is right, no matter who tries to stop him. Doug can’t remember if Superman had a dad, but if he did, Doug thinks he was proud of his son.

Carter assists Hicks with the surgery Benton wanted to back out of. Hicks asks if Benton’s recent mopiness is affecting Carter’s career. Carter doesn’t want to badmouth his boss, but Hicks tells him that if Benton has no use for him, her team would welcome Carter. Jeanie won’t hand over Mike’s chart so Greg can call the Department of Public Health; she argues that part of her job is advocating for patients. He reminds her that she’s a physician’s assistant, and he’s the physician here, so she needs to assist him. Blah blah blah, just make out already.

Mark’s interns leave for the night exhilarated by the experience. Weaver complains that her group didn’t seem to care about the job. Mark’s, however, all want to intern at County. Anspaugh thinks Mark should consider going into teaching. Mary hears about Carol’s statement to Tom and asks why she went to the press. Carol insists again on taking responsibility for her error, no matter the consequences.

Carter tells Benton that Hicks offered him a position on her team, so next week, Benton will no longer be his boss. Benton doesn’t care. Carter notes that just weeks ago, Benton would have been furious about Carter going behind his back to another surgeon. “Since when did I start caring about what you do, Carter?” Benton asks. “Never,” Carter replies. But now Benton doesn’t care about himself or his own reputation either. Carter asks for an evaluation, which Benton promises he’ll provide. Carter says he learned all the surgical skills he used today from Benton.

Mark goes to the bar where Heather’s waiting and they pretend to meet for the first time. Mark’s interns are also there and send the two of them drinks. Carol hands off some administrative tasks to Haleh, revealing that she’s been suspended. Everyone watches as the one person who’s been mature and responsible about this whole situation leaves the hospital.

Thoughts: Why did they bring C.C.H. Pounder back after all those episodes away if they’re not going to have her do anything?

Benton: “And you’re sure it’s mine?” Carla: “I’m gonna forget you said that.” I’m not, because your story is going to change in a couple years.

Doug, please don’t yell at the traumatized child. Wait, let me amend that – don’t yell at any children.

’90s music alert: Sublime’s “What I Got.”

March 9, 2019

The X-Files 9.15, Jump the Shark: The Good Fight

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 12:40 pm by Jenn

“What do you mean, a press pass for a conspiracy-theory paper isn’t good enough for a medical conference?”

Summary: Morris Fletcher gives us a voiceover narration about the Lone Gunmen and their adventures over the past few years. Over the course of their spin-off, they hired an intern named Jimmy Bond, and made an enemy of a woman named Yves Adele Harlow, who later became an ally. Morris calls the guys idealists but warns that “those who fight the good fight don’t always win.”

20 miles west of Harbor Island in the Bahamas, Morris is enjoying some time with a woman who is definitely not his wife. They’re in the Bermuda Triangle, which he claims he named. There are powerful forces underwater that haven’t yet been discovered by humans. Some men board their boat and give Morris a message: He’s fired. They pour gas on the boat, take off with Morris’ girlfriend, and throw a stick of dynamite on the boat. Morris jumps overboard as it explodes, destroying blueprints of a spaceship.

Morris ends up at the U.S. Coast Guard Base in Miami, where he requests a meeting with Doggett and Reyes. He’s in trouble for violating an act regarding federal secrets, thanks to his lax attitude toward checking in with former employer every month. He tells the agents he used to work at Area 51 and was one of the Men in Black. Doggett and Reyes are unimpressed.

Morris announces that he wants to make a deal to save his life. Reyes tells him that his girlfriend, Brittany, has turned up safe and told the agents what happened on the boat. Morris asks for protection in exchange for all the details of the government’s alien cover-up. The documents recovered from the boat are just the tip of the iceberg. But Reyes has no interest in that iceberg, since the blueprints are of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space.

Morris explains that he was freelancing for a foreign billionaire who believed Morris was in the Bermuda Triangle to get him a UFO the Air Force lost. The billionaire learned Morris was lying and now wants him dead. Reyes and Doggett, still unimpressed, start to leave, but they stop when Morris calls out, “Super-soldiers!” He may be able to find one for the agents to talk to.

Doggett and Reyes go to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and ask the guys to help them find Morris’ super-soldier. They recognize her as Yves, who disappeared a year ago. They laugh at the idea that she’s a super-soldier; they thought she was just a hacker. Morris joins the group, and the guys react badly. They warn the agents that Morris is a professional liar. He hired them to find Yves so he could kidnap her. Morris tells the agents that they shouldn’t rely on the Lone Gunmen to help them find Yves.

She’s currently at Hartwell College in Kearny, New Jersey, where she sprays a professor named Houghton with some kind of substance. A colleague sees her running away, then finds Houghton’s body, bloody from a big hole in his chest. The Lone Gunmen search for her, using anagrams of her name, which is itself an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald. Morris amuses himself by making fun of their newspaper and not knowing who the Ramones are. He tells Langly to cut his hair and grow up already.

Langly gives an impassioned speech about how Joey Ramone is his hero because he never gave up, no matter how many times people tried to knock him down. And he’s not really dead, since guys like him live forever. Morris really doesn’t care. He thinks it would be easier to find Yves if they had her real name, which he claims is Lois Runce. They don’t believe him.

There’s a knock at the Gunmen’s secret door, which they say no one knows about, though it seems like Yves might. Jimmy’s the knocker, though, and he collapses as soon as the door opens. Once he’s recovered, he tells the guys he’s been all over the world looking for Yves, whose real name he confirms is Lois Runce. He found her in Kearny, but she ran away from him. Jimmy thinks she killed someone.

Yves throws whatever she pulled out of Houghton’s chest in a furnace and says, “One down.” Doggett and Reyes go to Hartwell and meet John Gillnitz, the colleague who saw Yves running away after killing Houghton. He has no idea why anyone would want to kill Houghton; he studied immunology in sharks.

Apparently the Lone Gunmen aren’t the greatest hackers in the world, as we’ve been led to believe, because they have to ask a guy named Kimmy for help tracking down Yves. They think she’s coming to D.C., and they want Kimmy to hack a satellite so they can keep an eye on her. The Gunmen head out, leaving Jimmy behind to look after Morris.

Doggett and Reyes go to the medical examiner’s office in New Jersey to find out what’s going on with Houghton’s body. His chest contains bioluminescence, and the ME says it looks like it bled out of him. Also, he had past operations, which the ME thought were from a pacemaker insertion, but he actually found living tissue grafted into Houghton’s chest. It looks like it held something that’s now missing. Reyes guesses that Yves killed Houghton to remove whatever was inside him.

The agents question Morris, who claims not to know anything about Houghton or his murder. Kimmy’s having trouble with his hacking, since the Lone Gunmen’s equipment is awful. They told the agents they’d cleared out a lot of their stuff because they were getting better equipment, but Kimmy knows they’re actually broke and had to sell their stuff to pay their rent. No one’s reading their paper, thanks to Morris – when he took Yves, the Gunmen spent all their money trying to find her.

Byers calls Reyes and summons her to the Hotel Farragut, where the Gunmen have found Yves. She’s followed a man to his room, seemingly to do to him what she did to Houghton. The Gunmen burst into the room to stop her, allowing the man to knock her out and escape.

Jimmy and the agents come to the hotel, but the man, alias Leonard Southall, has disappeared. Since Yves was able to be rendered unconscious, the Gunmen figure she’s not really a super-soldier. Jimmy doesn’t believe that Yves was really going to kill Southall, but she confirms that was her plan. If she doesn’t finish her mission, innocent people will die.

Everyone returns to the Lone Gunmen’s lair so Yves can confront Morris for sending everyone after her. He’s wearing a tracking device that Yves thinks he was going to activate when he knew Yves had been captured. The whole thing, including the stuff with the boat and Brittany, was a scam to get the agents and the Gunmen to track Yves down for him.

Yves reports that the billionaire Morris works for is her father. He’s a murderer, and she hates everything he stands for. Jimmy reminds Yves that she’s a murderer, too. Her excuse is that Houghton was a terrorist her father paid to do research that would lead to the development of a weapon. He was carrying a virus inside him, wrapped in shark cartilage. Southall has the same thing inside him, and is basically a human time bomb. At 8:00 tonight, in five hours, it’ll rupture and kill anyone within five or six miles. Yves doesn’t think Morris knew all the details of the terrorism plot.

The Gunmen get to work finding Southall while Morris tries to give them encouragement that the end of their newspaper doesn’t mean the end of good guys fighting for what’s right. Maybe it’s time to pass the torch. Byers doesn’t know what they would do instead, though. Like Joey Ramone, he doesn’t want them to ever give up.

Langly and Kimmy get Southall’s location, and since he’s in Jersey, Yves guesses he’s going to Hartwell. She’s right, and they send a group of authorities to capture Southall. However, medical testing finds nothing in Southall to indicate that he has a virus inside him. Doggett thinks they have the wrong guy. Yves says there must be someone else, but time’s running out – it’s already 7:00. The real second man goes to a medical conference, where a security scan doesn’t detect anything off about him. It’s John Gillnitz.

The good guys wonder why Southall would go to Hartwell if he supposedly wasn’t involved in the terrorism plot. Morris uses Three-Card Monte as a metaphor to help them understand that he’s a decoy. The real second man is probably hiding in plain sight. Yves easily figures out it’s Gillnitz.

The Gunmen, Yves, and Jimmy head to the conference, but a security guard doesn’t accept the Gunmen’s press passes. Jimmy takes a unique approach to the situation: He yells out Gillnitz’s name, then headbutts the security guard so they can get past him. They all chase Gillnitz, willing to do whatever it takes to protect everyone the virus could harm, even if it means killing Gillnitz.

The Gunmen find the terrorist with just two minutes left until 8:00. Jimmy and Yves don’t hear them yelling, which means the Gunmen have to save the day on their own. Frohike pulls a fire alarm, which triggers fire doors and traps them in a hallway with Gillnitz. Yves and Jimmy arrive in time to see Gillnitz collapse and spasm from the bioluminescence leaking out of him. The doors are airtight, and the Gunmen have already been exposed, so Yves won’t let Jimmy try to save them. The Gunmen tell Yves and Jimmy to keep fighting the good fight and never give up.

Sometime later, the Gunmen are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Kimmy says a tearful goodbye to them, then leaves Scully, Doggett, Skinner, Yves, and Jimmy with their coffins. Skinner pulled some strings to get them buried their, and feels it was the least he could do. Scully tells Jimmy and Yves that the Gunmen meant a lot to her, and she’s not sure they knew it. Jimmy says no one knew that the Gunmen were such heroes.

Morris arrives to repeat what Langly said about how people who don’t give up never die. He’s not sure what that means. Scully says that, like everyone else buried there, the world is a better place because the Gunmen were in it. They’re gone, but they’ll live on through their friends.

Thoughts: Yves is played by Zuleikha Robinson. Gillnitz is played by Marcus Giamatti, brother of Paul.

Goodbye, lovely Gunmen. I hope your afterlife has better hacking equipment.

I don’t have words for how much I love Michael McKean.

If my parents named me Lois Runce, I’d change my name, too.

March 5, 2019

ER 3.12, Post Mortem: I Thought Confession Was Supposed to Make You Feel Better

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:52 pm by Jenn

Don’t bother me, I’m brooding

Summary: Carter is contemplative when he gets to an El station to head to work, since that’s where Gant died. At County, he tells Anspaugh that he thinks it was an accident, probably in denial since the other option is that Gant killed himself. Carter admits that they weren’t as close as they’d been in the past, since Carter was staying at Keaton’s place a lot. (Of course, he doesn’t mention Keaton by name.)

Anspaugh wonders if there was anything they could have done to prevent Gant’s suicide, if that’s what it was. After all, Benton’s treatment of Gant was common knowledge. Carter says that Gant complained a lot about the hours and the work, but Carter thought he was just venting. Anspaugh asks if Carter believes Benton was too hard on Gant. Carter diplomatically says he’ll have to give that some thought. Anspaugh asks Carter to go to Gant’s apartment with his father to box up Gant’s things.

Dale and another resident catch up with Carter as he’s leaving Anspaugh’s office. Dale asks if Gant “pulled a Cobain.” Stay classy, Dale. He thinks their hours could get shortened if Gant’s death is ruled a suicide. Well, I’m glad someone’s going to get something positive out of the death of his colleague! And I’m so glad it’s Dale! The other resident thinks Carter would have noticed if Gant showed signs of depression, since they were roommates. Carter says he would have.

He goes to the ER to cover Gant’s shift, telling Weaver he hasn’t seen Benton. Everyone’s getting ready for two patients coming in with gunshot wounds, and the advance warning allows them to get everything they’ll need ready. In fact, they’re ready way before the patients arrive. Benton arrives, and Carter asks him to say a few words at Gant’s memorial service. On what planet does Carter think that’s a good idea?

The two shooting victims are a bride and groom shot at their wedding. They’ve also brought along a surprise third victim, the best man. Carter is assigned to take care of the best man, but he takes a moment to study Benton first, seeing that Benton isn’t affected by Gant’s death like everyone else in the ER is.

The best man tells Carter that the shooter was the bride’s ex. He suddenly gets worse and needs a central line, but there’s no room for Carter to perform it in the hallway. He pulls the best man into the groom’s trauma room and works back to back with Benton. That makes it harder to figure out which patient’s monitors are beeping.

Mark and Chuny are…a thing now, apparently. She tells him that the nurses are still unhappy with their new shift proposal, and if nothing changes, they’re going to stage a sick-out. The bride and best man are stabilizing, but the groom is dead. While finishing up with the body, Carol asks Malik to work a double shift since some nurses have already called in sick that afternoon. He keeps a poker face when he tells her he can’t do it.

Carter and Benton take an awkward ride in an elevator on the way to getting the best man to surgery. Carter asks again for Benton to speak at Gant’s memorial, but Benton says he’s not good at public speaking. He doesn’t get why Anspaugh is questioning all the residents on their team, since it’s not like they were with Gant when he died and could answer any questions.

Carter says Anspaugh’s curious about Gant’s state of mind before his death. He adds that he doesn’t think anyone’s blaming Benton. “Why would they?” Benton asks. Carter checks his mail slot, then sees that there’s something in Gant’s – an evaluation from Benton.

Charlie is still in the hospital, moved to the psych ward while she’s being evaluated. Her doctor, Middleton, doesn’t think Doug should see her, since Charlie’s mad that he told her he wouldn’t call the police or a social worker, then did exactly that. Middleton isn’t surprised that Doug wants to keep trying to see her, since obviously he doesn’t want Charlie to hate him.

The nurses make plans for their newfound free time while they’re on their sick-out. Haleh thinks that it’ll only take one shift without nurses for the administration to realize cutting their overtime is a horrible idea. Connie’s worried about leaving their patients without proper care, but Haleh says that’s the whole point – the contract they’re expected to sign already compromises patient care.

Chuny goes off with Mark, not bothering to try to hide their new relationship, and Haleh and E-Ray express concern over her falling for him. Connie doesn’t see the problem. Haleh reminds her that Mark is on the rebound, and that doctor/nurse flings never work out. (Fun fact: Connie herself had a fling with a doctor.) E-Ray says the bigger problem is with Chuny and Mark’s astrology. Carol asks Haleh to work a double shift, since some illness seems to be going around and the whole night shift has called out. Haleh says she’s coming down with the illness herself.

Doug visits Charlie under the guise of checking her neurological status, and tries to defend his decision to call the police and social worker. She’s having some vision issues and will need to see an ophthalmologist. Doug promises that she’ll end up somewhere safe, but Charlie thinks she’s been placed on a psych hold because she was raped. She wishes she’d lied, so Doug wouldn’t have called the police. She’s especially worried that she’ll be sent to a group home. Doug promises that no one will hurt her.

Mark surprises Chuny with a motorcycle helmet so she can ride his bike with him. He wants to go away for a vacation with her in the spring. Carol sends Chuny away to do her job, trying to get her to agree to work a double shift. Chuny says she has to stick with the other nurses. Carol points out that she’s a nurse, too, but Chuny says they all see her as management. After she leaves, Carol pointedly asks Mark if he’s heard from Susan. He denies that he’s using Chuny as a rebound.

Paramedics bring in a patient who got sick at the airport after coming back from Paris. Jeanie sees from his itinerary that before Paris, he was in Gabon, in West Africa. Suddenly they might be dealing with an infectious disease like Ebola. Mark calmly puts some protocols in place. Jeanie started the case, so she offers to stay on it, which will keep other doctors and nurses from potential exposure.

Carter asks Benton if he should take on Gant’s patients, but Benton says he’ll do it. Carter relays a message from Morgenstern that the police have ruled Gant’s death an accident. Benton says that makes things easier on everyone, but Carter notes that it’s not necessarily true. The two of them knew Gant better than almost anyone, so they know his emotional state. Benton says that he’s not Keaton, and he’s not interested in talking about, like, feelings and stuff. Hicks resurfaces to pull the two into surgery with her.

Doug fights with Adele Newman, a social worker, about where Charlie should go when she’s released from the hospital. Doug and Middleton know that Charlie will most likely run away if she’s sent to a group home. Adele wants to try to find her mother, but she gets the sense that Charlie doesn’t want that, since she hasn’t been helpful in giving information that could locate her. Doug thinks Charlie’s mom is incompetent, so sending Charlie home is a bad idea. Middleton notes that Charlie could go live with another relative, but she still won’t cooperate. Adele agrees to let Doug try.

Greg Fischer, an infectious-disease specialist, comes to the ER to examine Jeanie’s patient. Greg wants to follow the proper precautions, but so far he hasn’t heard anything that makes him think they’re on the brink of an outbreak. Carter’s a little off in surgery, and Benton isn’t having it. Hicks is much more sympathetic, since everyone on staff has taken Gant’s death hard. She asks Benton what it was like working with Gant, and he says it’s too soon to say. He hadn’t “distinguished himself” yet.

Hicks is surprised, since Gant had awesome transcripts and strong recommendations. Benton says he must have been having adjustment problems. Hicks notes that that must mean Benton noticed him struggling. Benton says Gant wasn’t prepared to work in a place like County. Carter asks why, if that’s the case, Benton gave Gant a great review.

Benton argues that he gave that review before some recent backsliding, and he didn’t think Gant even saw it. Carter confirms that he didn’t, which means Gant never heard anything encouraging from Benton. Hicks tries to defuse the situation by sending Carter out of the OR, but Carter gets off a parting shot by telling Benton that he’ll have to live with the weight of Gant’s death.

Chuny tells Mark he can stop sending flowers; in her family, that means a much deeper commitment than where they are now. Carol tells Mark, Weaver, and two others – Roger Drummond from labor relations and the nursing admin, Mary Cain – that all of the nurses scheduled for the night shift have called out. The hospital is filing an injunction against the nurses’ union, since the sick-out is a violation of their contract.

Carol says no one has admitted to an organized sick-out. Mary has arranged for substitute nurses to fill in, but Carol isn’t happy about that idea. Mark backs her up, saying they’ll be helpful with non-emergencies, but not with what the ER needs to do. The two of them and Weaver decide that they need to close to trauma.

Charlie sees an ophthalmologist, but he doesn’t think there’s anything major to worry about. He also thinks Charlie is Doug’s daughter, thanks to a joke she made. Doug’s annoyed that Charlie either clams up or lies, which makes it hard for people to help her. Charlie points out that adults lie plenty, so why shouldn’t she? She asks why Doug doesn’t have kids, and he says he hasn’t gotten his life together long enough to have a family. (I guess he doesn’t want her to know that he does have a kid; he just doesn’t see him.) Charlie would be happy to let him adopt her and make him a father.

Adele has a surprise for both Charlie and Doug – she found Charlie’s mom. She’s not in Cleveland, as Charlie claimed, but in Chicago. She’s also a horrible mother and is only concerned about the scars Charlie will be left with after her attack. Doug’s face: “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Carter reaches out to a psychiatrist, Nina Pomerantz, who Anspaugh said is available to help Gant’s colleagues work through their grief. She recognizes Carter’s name, revealing that Gant came to her for a few counseling sessions when he first started at County. Carter asks if she approved when Gant quit therapy. Nina says he seemed to be adjusting well to his new job, so she didn’t see anything wrong with stopping their sessions. She can see that Carter’s experiencing some survivor’s guilt. Carter thinks he really is guilty.

Carol greets her subs as the regular nurses leave. Chuny tries to convince Carol that the sick-out will be good for the nurses, but Carol knows that’s not the point – there just isn’t money to meet the nurses’ demands. Greg has determined that Jeanie’s patient doesn’t have Ebola, but he’s going to keep working the case with Jeanie. Weaver sees them getting along well and tells Jeanie she should have suggested Greg for her earlier. Jeanie thinks she means as a boyfriend, but Weaver means as Jeanie’s doctor. He used to have a private practice specializing in HIV and AIDS, but he came to County after his partner died of AIDS.

Doug fills Mark in on Charlie’s issues and how awful her mom seems. Fortunately, she won’t be sent home right away, so Social Services can take some time to figure out what’s best for her. Carol runs into Carter, who’s taking a few minutes alone in a waiting area, and says she could get used to not running around for traumas. She tries to ease his guilt over not realizing that Gant needed help. They get interrupted when a homeless man is brought in by his friend after having a Dumpster dropped on him.

Greg and Jeanie do some lab work and end up talking about astronomy. He invites her to join him and his telescope that night (not a euphemism). They determine that their patient has malaria, which they can easily treat, and which, best of all, isn’t going to cause an outbreak.

Mark, Carol, Weaver, Carter, and their ragtag band of nurse subs work on the homeless man. His friend bugs Carter, who gets more and more agitated as the friend says that he let his buddy down. Carter finally leaves the room before his guilt makes him explode. Mark goes after him, and Carter admits that he knew Gant was struggling, but he was too busy to help or let himself get dragged down. Mark understands that Carter had his own struggles, so he wasn’t responsible for his friend’s problems. He can’t be sure that he could have even helped Gant. Carter laments that he wasn’t a very good friend.

The homeless man doesn’t make it, so Carol and Weaver inventory the trauma room to make sure all their supplies are accounted for. Weaver compliments Carol for handling the sick-out, since she can’t just participate with her friends. They realize that they administered the wrong type of blood to the homeless man, possibly because Carol didn’t take a bag off the infuser before putting on a new one. She may have killed the patient.

They bring Mark in to figure out what to do next. Carol thinks it’s simple – she screwed up and killed someone. Mark and Weaver note that they were in the middle of a busy trauma, working with people who didn’t know what they were doing, and Carol was doing the jobs of multiple people. Carol doesn’t see that as an excuse. She didn’t check the label, so it’s her error. Mark and Weaver agree to let it go if Carol doesn’t file an incident report, but Carol knows that wouldn’t make up for what she did.

After Gant’s memorial service, which Benton skipped, Carter apologizes to Hicks for going off on Benton during surgery. She understands and lets it go. Benton arrives and meets Gant’s father, who believes that his son looked up to Benton. Benton admits that he was tough on Gant. Gant Sr. says he had to, because life is hard. Gant picked an ambitious specialty, so he knew he was in for hard work. Gant Sr. hopes that his son didn’t disappoint Benton. Benton says he thinks Gant would have made a great surgeon.

Jeanie tells Weaver she’s meeting Greg that night; he’s the perfect friend to hang out with because he’s gay and won’t pressure her to date. Weaver’s confused, because Greg isn’t gay. The partner he had who died was his professional partner. Greg is totally straight and totally eligible. Jeanie wants to back out so she doesn’t have to tell Greg that she has HIV. Weaver encourages her to go anyway.

Mary and Drummond come to the ER to tell Carol that the nurses’ union has backed down, and everyone will be back to work for the next shift. She gives them her incident report and confesses to giving her patient the wrong blood. Mary and Drummond aren’t too concerned, possibly because the man was homeless and has no family to sue the hospital. Carol says the sick-out wasn’t a factor; she just screwed up. Mary says they may be able to bypass an investigation, but Carol doesn’t want special treatment. She worked a double because she’s a manager (which she’s never accepted before), and it was her job.

Adele tells Doug that Charlie’s home situation with her mom is bad, and one or two of her mom’s boyfriends have been abusive toward her. The two of them and Middleton meet with Charlie and her mother, and Charlie reveals her plan to get her mother to allow her to live with Doug. Adele, Middleton, and Charlie’s mom think Doug has signed off on that, but Doug sets things straight. Charlie threatens to run away for good, which would be Doug’s fault. There’s yelling, and Middleton tells Doug to leave.

Jeanie and Greg go to Doc Magoo’s when they realize the conditions aren’t good for astronomy. They talk about Cassiopeia, who, according to myth, was sitting around, waiting for Mr. Right. Greg appears to think he’s Jeanie’s Mr. Right, so he kisses her. She’s not disappointed, but she wants to make sure he knows what he’s getting into, so she tells him she has HIV. Suddenly, things go from cute and potentially romantic to completely awkward.

Carter’s back on the El platform, where Benton is also contemplating things. He admits to being hard on Gant, but says he thought that was the best way for Gant to learn. Carter says he doesn’t blame Benton, but he feels like he’s been walking around with a secret Benton won’t admit to. Benton says he went to his high school reunion a few years ago, which was pretty sparse because there were a lot of dropouts, and many of his classmates are now in prison or dead. He doesn’t know how he feels about Gant’s death, but he doesn’t want Carter to tell him how he should feel.

Carter asks if Benton really wants to go through this alone. If he does, they’ll just keep their distance from each other and pretend nothing happened. After all, that worked out really well for Gant. Carter heads off alone, leaving Benton behind on the platform to think about what a jerk he is.

Thoughts: Nina is played by Jami Gertz.

Noah Wyle is really good in this episode. His body language alone says how hard this all is for Carter.

I don’t know if it’s Gloria Reuben or what, but Jeanie is cute with every love interest this show pairs her with (except Benton).

March 2, 2019

The X-Files 9.14, Scary Monsters: WWMASD? (What Would Mulder and Scully Do?)

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:15 pm by Jenn

Yes, let’s show this kid more violent images on TV. That’s a great plan

Summary: In Fairhope, Pennsylvania, a boy named Tommy is lying awake in bed. He’s spooked by a tree branch tapping against his window and checks under his bed for monsters. He hears a noise from his closet and yells for his father, Jeffrey, asking him to make sure there’s really nothing under the bed. Jeffrey does, telling Tommy his imagination is playing tricks on him. But after he leaves, Tommy can see something under his bed reflected in his mirror. He tries to get out of his room, screaming for help, but Jeffrey’s holding the door closed.

Scully’s back in Quantico, trying to take a break from her eager students. Leyla Harrison comes to see her, reporting that she’s gone back to accounting rather than continuing to have adventures in the field. She has a case for Scully, who just wants to eat her lunch. In the course of busting a secretary for borrowing an FBI vehicle without permission, Leyla came across a possible X-File. The secretary’s daughter was Tommy’s mother, who was recently killed. Tommy told his grandmother that a monster killed her, and his father knows about it.

Leyla knows an eight-year-old isn’t a reliable source, but the fact that the coroner says Tommy’s mother stabbed herself to death is a big red flag. Scully thinks the coroner’s report is fine, and it’s perfectly reasonable that a woman would stab herself 16 times. Leyla tells her that Jeffrey took Tommy to a mountain cabin and has cut him off from the rest of the world, including his grandmother. Tommy also told his grandmother that the monster that killed his mother also killed Spanky, his cat. Scully says she can’t do anything, unless Leyla happens to bring her the cat’s body.

Reyes calls Scully at home that night while she and Doggett are driving somewhere. Leyla has brought them the X-File, and is tagging along on a trip to Pennsylvania. Scully tells Reyes the same thing she told Leyla – there’s no case. Reyes confronts Leyla for not telling her and Doggett that she already approached Scully with the case. Doggett just turns the car around to go back to D.C.

Leyla thinks they should continue the trip to Pennsylvania – even if the case isn’t an X-File, they should still want to help Tommy. She says Mulder would go if he were there. Doggett changes his mind, and the agents arrive in Fairhope as Jeffrey’s finishing burying something in the snowy yard outside his mountain cabin. Jeffrey insists that everything’s fine, but Doggett sees blood on his hand. Jeffrey says he just cut himself on some glass.

Reyes asks to talk to Tommy, but Jeffrey says he’s in bed already. Doggett notes that it’s only 7:00. Reyes says that Doggett’s stubborn and won’t leave until they get to see Tommy. Tommy himself comes outside and tells his father that he heard a noise that scared him. The agents remind Tommy what he said to his grandmother about monsters, but Tommy robotically says that monsters don’t exist. Jeffrey tells the agents that this is why his mother-in-law isn’t allowed to visit her grandson anymore.

Leyla thinks her imagination, like Tommy’s, got the better of her and she dragged Reyes and Doggett out on a non-case. But Reyes and Doggett are sure that Tommy and Jeffrey are hiding something. Doggett can tell that Jeffrey’s been digging, which is enough probable cause for a judge to give them a search warrant. As the agents leave, Tommy says to Jeffrey that he doesn’t think the monsters will let them go. Indeed, the monsters keep Doggett’s car from starting, and they make blood shoot out of the vents. Some kind of dead animal is under the hood.

Scully gets a late-night visit from a friend of Leyla’s named Gabe Rotter. He’s there to deliver Spanky’s body. Scully decides to be “exceptionally polite” and only tell Gabe firmly that he needs to leave. Gabe complains that he had to sneak around and dig a bunch of holes to find the cat’s body, so Scully is going to be grateful for his work. Also, Leyla said she’d only go out with him if he delivered the cat.

Scully immediately tries to call Reyes, but she doesn’t have cell service in the mountain cabin. The car won’t start, despite not seeming to have anything wrong with it, so the agents are stuck in Fairhope for the night. Leyla’s reminded of Mulder and Scully’s circumstances in “D.P.O.” and their inability to use anything electrical. She wonders what Mulder and Scully would do in this situation. Doggett reminds her that they’re not there. He and Reyes think their situation is the best possible thing – they’re with the very person they want to keep safe.

Upstairs, Tommy yells for help again. The agents find Jeffrey holding his door shut and burst into Tommy’s room as Jeffrey tries to tell them not to. There are creatures in Tommy’s room that look like giant bugs. Doggett shoots one, and the others skitter under the bed.

Tommy draws a picture of himself and Reyes while Doggett searches the house for more creatures, with no luck. Tommy tells the agents the that creatures are the monsters that killed his mom, but his dad doesn’t want him to talk about them. Doggett goes back to Tommy’s room, which is full of his drawings. He blasts Jeffrey for trapping his son in the room with the creatures.

Jeffrey shows some scars on his arm, saying the creatures almost killed him once before. He’s trying to deal with monsters that won’t leave him and his son alone. He thinks they want to kill the agents, and there’s nothing they can do to stop them. Killing the creatures won’t stop them. Leyla disagrees – what would he have been burying in the yard earlier other than a monster?

In D.C., Gabe watches uncomfortably as Scully performs a necropsy on the cat while wearing an apron that says “something smells goo-ooood.” I bet Mulder got that for her. Speaking of Mulder, his fish tank is now in Scully’s kitchen. Gabe’s like, “You’re cutting open a dead cat on your kitchen table while your baby sleeps a few doors down. This is totally normal for you?” Scully thinks that the cat killed itself, just like Tommy’s mother killed herself.

The phone rings, so Scully asks Gabe to hold the cat’s ribs open while she answers it. Gabe’s like, “This date Leyla promised me better be excellent.” The call is from a sheriff named Jack Coogan whom Scully called to help her get in touch with the other agents. Coogan tells her that Tommy’s grandmother asked him to look in on Tommy, but Jeffrey chased him away when he showed up. Tommy seemed fine, so Coogan didn’t follow up. He’s happy to go back and check on the agents, but not now – it’s snowing, and the roads are icing over.

Doggett digs up the thing Jeffrey buried in the yard, cutting himself just like Jeffrey did. He was telling the truth about it being glass – he buried the mirror from Tommy’s room. He buried it because Tommy was afraid of it. Doggett tells him to pack up his son so they can all leave the cabin. Leyla guesses they’re dealing with black magic, and the mirror was used for conjuring. Doggett’s like, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking.”

He plans to have them all walk to the sheriff’s station, which makes Tommy nervous. Jeffrey promises his son that Coogan will help them. Tommy runs to Reyes for comfort. Coogan arrives at the cabin and tells everyone they can’t leave because it’s too cold outside. Jeffrey realizes Coogan isn’t really Coogan. Reyes sees that Coogan has drawn his gun and yells out a warning. Doggett fights the sheriff, trying to punch him in the stomach, and is shocked when his fist goes right through the man.

Gabe amuses himself by snooping around Scully’s apartment while she’s on the phone. He finds Mulder’s FBI badge and says, “So this is Johnny Fabulous, huh?” HA! I love this guy. He’s heard all about Mulder from Leyla, who talks about him and Scully all the time. Scully’s worried since she can’t get in touch with Coogan again, and her concern concerns Gabe. She thinks the cat was trying to chew something out of itself that was causing a lot of pain. She figures that’s why Tommy’s mother stabbed herself – she was trying to cut something out of her body.

While Scully calls Maggie to get her to babysit so Scully can go to Pennsylvania, Reyes channels her to do a cursory autopsy of Coogan’s body. He has no internal organs, and Doggett has decided his blood isn’t blood (and that the “blood” in his car isn’t really blood either). Knowing he sounds like Leyla, Doggett says he remembers one of Mulder and Scully’s cases similar to this – their mushroom hallucinations from “Field Trip.” He stops before he can compare the two cases.

Reyes says that Mulder and Scully might see something in this case that she and Doggett don’t. Doggett doesn’t know what it would be, since nothing there makes sense. Then he realizes that might be exactly what they need to see. They try to send Tommy, who’s drawing more pictures, out of the room with Leyla, but he doesn’t want to go. He’d rather be with Reyes, so she goes upstairs with him instead.

Doggett asks Jeffrey how he knew Coogan wasn’t Coogan. Why did he move Tommy to the cabin and lock him in the room with the monsters? Jeffrey insists that he loves Tommy and would never hurt him. He locked Tommy in with the monsters because he knew they wouldn’t hurt him either. Upstairs, Tommy shows Reyes a bunch of his drawings, including ones he did of the monsters. There’s also a drawing of Reyes with a monster inside her. Reyes asks why he would imagine something so horrible. “Because I’m afraid,” he says.

Scully and Gabe go to the sheriff’s station and meet up with the real Coogan. He says he tried to get to the cabin, but it was too dangerous. Gabe and Scully remind him that some agents and Gabe’s girlfriend (okay, buddy, slow it down) are at the cabin, and they need to find a way to get there. Coogan says he can’t help them.

Leyla wonders if Tommy is somehow at the center of what’s going on. They go back to Coogan’s body, which isn’t there anymore. Suddenly Reyes comes downstairs, gasping in pain. She confirms that Tommy’s responsible for everything that’s happening. And just like in his drawing, Reyes has a monster inside her stomach.

Doggett tells Jeffrey that he has to stop Tommy from whatever it is he’s doing. Jeffrey says he can’t stop Tommy from being afraid and imagining things. He doesn’t mean to do all this stuff. Reyes disagrees. Doggett runs upstairs to stop Tommy himself, but Tommy has crossed over into creepy-little-kid territory, so Doggett’s not much of a match for him. Thanks to Tommy’s imagination, Doggett falls out of the house into a black nothingness full of the bug creatures.

Back in the house, Reyes begs Leyla to get the monster out of her. Jeffrey’s no help, and Leyla’s starting to bleed out of her eyes, thanks to a new drawing Tommy’s working on, so Reyes is in a bit of trouble here. Jeffrey goes to his son’s room, but Doggett has made it back inside and stops him from opening the door. He’s adamant that what’s happening isn’t real. Tommy’s mother only stabbed herself because she thought it was real. Doggett doesn’t, so it can’t hurt him.

Tommy hears Jeffrey outside the door and yells for him to come into the room. From his window, he sees the agents and Jeffrey leaving the house together. Doggett goes back in and pours gasoline around the living room, telling Tommy he’s going to set the house on fire. Tommy thinks Doggett’s just trying to scare him. Doggett lights a match and asks, “Scared yet?” He starts a fire and stands in the flames like they won’t hurt him.

Outside, Leyla’s bleeding has stopped, and Reyes’ monster is gone. Scully and Gabe arrive in a Jeep with a plow attached and run into the house, which isn’t actually on fire. Tommy is unconscious, which I guess is why all the weird stuff stopped. Scully checks him over as Doggett tells Reyes that she was right. Also, the gasoline was just water.

In D.C., Leyla and Gabe get to enter a place she’s probably only dreamed of going – the X-Files office, which still has Mulder’s “I want to believe” poster on the wall. Leyla’s happy that the division is still in good hands. She’s moved her affection from Mulder to Doggett, thinking that Doggett was better equipped for this case than Mulder would have been. After all, Doggett’s “lack of imagination” is what saved them all. Doggett’s not as flattered as Leyla intended.

Reyes reports that Tommy’s in a psych facility, and obviously the doctors don’t know what’s wrong with him or exactly how to treat it. But for now, they’re stifling his imagination by having him watch a bunch of TVs at once. Ha ha! TV ruins your imagination! It’s funny because a TV show is saying it! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Sigh.

Thoughts: Steve Ryan, who plays Coogan, also played J. Walter Weatherman on Arrested Development, so now I have all these “and that’s why you don’t _____” jokes running through my head.

Someone working on this show was a David Bowie fan. The title is from one of his albums, and the last scene is similar to one from Bowie’s movie The Man Who Fell to Earth.

The idea of drawings coming to life is featured in pop culture more than I realized. Three other instances:

  • The Doctor Who episode “Fear Her”
  • The Supernatural episode “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie”
  • Keith Donohue’s book The Boy Who Drew Monsters

February 26, 2019

ER 3.11, Night Shift: He Gant Take It Anymore

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

‘Bye! See you on “House”!

Summary: Mark and Chuny are on their way to County to work a night shift. Things are quiet when they arrive, and they learn there are no patients in the ER. Mark mentions that he’s up for tenure, and his biggest competition is Weaver. She’s currently working on a research study about the effects of exercise on night-shift workers. She’s enlisted Wendy to help her get the staff to do things like jumping jacks. Lydia isn’t bored enough yet to participate.

Keaton is packing up her office and practicing her Urdu in preparation for her move to Pakistan. Carter stops by, then has to hide when Gant comes in looking for him. Carol learns that the ER budget is screwed up, so two nurses have to be fired. The three on the chopping block are Malik, Chuny, and Connie. Carol only has until 8 the next morning to decide who to get rid of.

Randy entertains herself by drawing on the empty patient board while the nurses discuss how they would want to die if they had the choice. Chuny picks OD while Malik thinks a stroke is the way to go. Connie points out that he wouldn’t necessarily die. Doug arrives and apologizes to Carol for surprising her with Charlie on Christmas Eve. Carol reports that the girl stole Helen’s silverware. Doug announces that his New Year’s resolution is to stop being so charitable.

Weaver tells Mark that they need to do a safety check, which involves running down a checklist and keeping the ER up to code. Doug volunteers himself and Carol to do it. She reminds him that he was going to stop being charitable. Wendy asks if anyone wants to participate in Weaver’s study, and everyone yells, “No!” Hey, don’t take it out on the messenger.

Gant finally finds Carter and complains that Benton hasn’t given him the time off he requested to go see his girlfriend. Carter points out that since Monique seems to have moved on to another guy, going to see her probably won’t do anything. Carter lies about being busy so he doesn’t have to go get dinner with Gant. He’s tired of listening to Gant complain about Monique.

A woman named Shelly comes in with symptoms of meningitis. She refuses any treatment, even a shot of antibiotics. Mark warns that she could die, but Shelly, who sounds mentally addled, doesn’t care. Mark doesn’t think she’s competent to refuse treatment and wants to work her up. Lydia and Chuny tell him that, thanks to new hospital regulations, he’ll have to go through the risk management department first.

Carol and Doug check out a trauma room and write down all the potential safety risks. Weaver attempts to get Jeanie to agree to her study, and Jeanie attempts to use her HIV as an excuse not to participate (she’s not sure she’s healthy enough not to skew the results). They head into the trauma room where Carol and Doug are working, and Carol accidentally drops a clock on Weaver’s head when Jeanie bumps into her ladder. She needs stitches, so Randi finally has a patient to put on the board.

Carter’s in the ER when a patient comes in via ambulance, so he tries to elbow his way into a case that should be overseen by Doyle. They disagree about which of the patient’s complaints needs attention first. The patient shuts down the discussion by revealing that he just wants a flu shot. Malik recognizes him as a frequent visitor who calls 911 and plays possum when he wants a ride to the hospital. Carter generously tells Doyle the patient is all hers.

Benton asks Anspaugh about continuing to work in pediatric surgery after Keaton works. Anspaugh tells him to talk to a doctor named Kenner. Shelly knows that Mark wants to give her a spinal tap without her consent, so she talks to the hospital’s lawyer, Guinet. He thinks Shelly is mentally competent to make her own decisions, which means a possible lawsuit if Mark proceeds. Guinet tells Mark, Lydia, and Chuny that their jobs could be at risk if they do anything without Shelly’s consent. They should put her on a psych hold and call for a consult first.

Weaver bugs Jeanie about her study while she gets her stitches. She and Wendy shut down all of Jeanie’s attempts to turn them down, and Weaver adds a drop of guilt to get Jeanie to change her mind. Since the only patient in the ER is Shelly, and no one’s allowed to even touch her, the staff is back to being bored. Lydia’s trying to find her family.

Doug and Carol are continuing their safety check when Charlie shows up asking for money. She needs to pay a pimp $100 so he’ll leave her alone. Doug thinks she’s lying, so he sends her away. Charlie yells that he’s a pervert, got her pregnant, and now won’t pay for her abortion. “Lovely girl,” Carol comments as she and Doug leave.

Benton tries to get a few moments with Kenner, who’s busy. He gives Gant some assignments on top of the assignments he’s already trying to complete. Apparently no one else Benton supervises ever has to do any work. Connie and Chuny read personal ads in the lounge while Mark does paperwork. Things get awkward when one of the men who wrote an ad sounds like Mark. He insists it’s not him.

Psych finally sends someone for a consult, but it’s an intern, since no one in psych actually takes anything seriously in the ER. Doug and Carol end up in a storage hallway where they used to make out when they were dating. Shelly’s temperature is up to 103.5, so Mark and Lydia think they need to get a move on her treatment. The psych intern ignores them and continues his assessment, which Shelly passes. (She even throws in an insult – when he tells her to spell “world backwards,” she replies, “U-O-Y-W-E-R-C-S,” which is “screw you” backwards.)

The intern tells Mark that Shelly’s status is fine, so she’s allowed to refuse treatment. Mark notes that the intern is making a life-or-death decision for Shelly. The intern says she has the right to make her own decision, even if it’s a bad one. Mark demands to see someone higher up.

One of Kenner’s patients declines while Kenner’s still in surgery, so Benton takes over his care. He’s annoyed that Gant isn’t around. Jeanie has to ride an exercise machine with dark glasses on, so her body thinks it’s night. Between scenes, Gloria Reuben fires her agent. Benton finds Gant hanging out with Carter in the cafeteria and yells at him in a room full of people for not doing his job properly. If he makes another lazy, stupid mistake, he’s gone. Carter tries to cheer his friend, but he’s called away for a code.

Carol admits that when she and Doug were together, she wasn’t happy with herself. Now, she feels more confident and in control. She even got a B+ on her chemistry midterm. Carol confides that she has to fire two nurses and has no idea who to choose. Doug tells her that he was happier when they were together.

Carter and Doyle meet up while running to another wing of the hospital for a code. All they find are a maintenance worker and an overflowing toilet. When they finally get to the patient, the maintenance worker is putting his CPR training into use and doing their job for them. Once the patient is stable, Doyle tells the maintenance worker that Carter can take him to the broken toilet.

Doug and Carol talk about Charlie and how many chances she should get. Carol thinks they have to cut her off at some point, which Doug finds familiar. Chuny reads Mark the personal ad she and Connie wrote for him. They call him handsome and say he likes motorcycles. Mark hasn’t ridden the bike in a while and doesn’t want to mention it, since he could attract “motorcycle chicks.” Chuny says she’s one of them.

Lydia realizes that Shelly’s gone and alerts Mark. He finds her on a bus bench, and when she won’t go back inside, he picks her up and carries her in. They’re giving her a spinal tap when Guinet arrives and notes that they haven’t gotten a psych hold. He takes down Mark, Lydia, Chuny, and Malik’s names in case of legal action.

Doug teases Carol for falling asleep while they were having a deep conversation. Now she only has five hours to decide who to fire. But there’s a bigger problem – Charlie’s returned to the hospital covered in blood, having been beaten. Gant tells Carter that he thought about telling Anspaugh about Benton’s treatment of him, but maybe Benton’s right and he’s not as on top of things as he could be.

Weaver makes Jeanie run around outside while Wendy drives her around in a golf cart. Where did they get a golf cart? Charlie has a broken jaw and wrist, plus some facial injuries. Carol thinks she may have been raped. Malik tells Chuny and Carol his million-dollar idea: flypaper in a can. You spray it on your car, then peel it and all the bugs sticking to it off in one sheet. He’ll call it Bug Off. His second idea: stethoscope condoms.

Benton returns to Kenner’s patient and tells Kenner the treatment he gave him. He’s doing better, and Kenner’s appreciative, but not appreciative enough to bring Benton onto his team just yet. Benton says that he and Keaton just didn’t mesh, so she won’t give him a recommendation. Kenner urges him to have another discussion with Keaton about that meshing, and get her to give the recommendation.

Doug wants to get Charlie to tell him what happened before he gives her a rape exam. Carol runs into her three nurses on the chopping block, seeing how much they’re enjoying each other. Carter and Keaton spend their last few minutes together in her office, unable to get to the unlocked door before Benton can open it and see them together. Carter tries to hide his identity by putting a book in front of his face. Nice try, Carter.

Chuny thinks Mark showed a lot of guts by standing up to Guinet. Guts, stupidity – it’s all the same, right? He tells her he’s going to take full responsibility, so she doesn’t need to worry. Shelly’s spinal fluid shows she does have meningitis, so I guess this was all worth it. Carol goes looking for the nursing budget, and Randi says she took a look and figured out how to solve everything. If ER nurses work eight-hour shifts instead of 12-hour shifts, the hospital can stop paying them overtime and will save more than enough money to keep everyone on staff.

Keaton asks Benton if he’s going to be discreet about her relationship with Carter, or if he’s going to use it to blackmail his way into another pediatric rotation. That thought hadn’t even crossed Benton’s mind. He doesn’t want Keaton’s recommendation if it isn’t based on his work as a doctor. Keaton tells him he’s going to be a great surgeon, but not one who operates on children.

Shelly’s brother George arrives, having finally been tracked down by the police. He heard from her a few days ago, when she called to say she was sick. She doesn’t have any psychiatric problems, so her mental state was the result of the meningitis. Carter tells Benton that he and Keaton never discussed Benton, and definitely never said anything negative about him. Again, the thought hadn’t crossed Benton’s mind.

Anspaugh calls Benton over to discuss a complaint Gant has made about yelling at him in the cafeteria. Benton argues that Gant neglected his duties, so Benton had every right to chastise him. Gant says that he should have addressed him privately. Since Carter was present, Anspaugh asks his opinion. Carter says he understands why Gant’s upset, but given the circumstances, Benton was justified in his actions. Anspaugh tells Gant to toughen up, and next time something like this happens, he should discuss it with Benton before tattling to Daddy.

Carol gathers the nurses to announce that she thinks she’s solved the budget problems without having to fire anyone. The nurses aren’t happy that they have to give up overtime and work more hours for less money. Lydia reminds everyone that there’s a contract negotiation coming up, so if management tries to float this plan, the nurses will walk.

Carter tries to smooth things over with Gant, but Gant doesn’t blame him for speaking his mind when he was put on the spot. Carter leaves him to go search for something to do. Doug takes Charlie for a CAT scan and gently asks if she was raped. She asks him not to tell the police or a social worker, then says she was. Chuny catches Mark as he’s leaving and he invites her to get breakfast with him. He needs to ride his bike around a little to charge up the battery, so she offers to ride with him.

Jeanie drops out of Weaver’s study when she learns she’ll have to get in some sort of glass box to have her lung function tested. Not wanting all of her research to be for nothing, Weaver puts Wendy in the box. Doug tells Carol that Charlie was raped, and he clearly has no intention of keeping his promise not to tell the police or a social worker. Mark and Chuny skip breakfast in favor of a romp in his bed. Oh, and he still has the dog.

After a long, quiet shift, the ER finally gets a trauma. A man was hit by an El train after either jumping or falling onto the tracks. His face is injured, so no one can tell who he is. Benton tells Lydia to page Gant, and as Carter and Doyle bicker once again, the patient’s pager goes off. Doyle realizes that Gant is the man they’re trying to save. The episode ends with them still working, but it’s time to say goodbye to Omar Epps: Gant is dead.

Thoughts: You have to love that every member of the main cast wound up working a night shift together. That’s not contrived at all.

If the budge issues hadn’t gotten sorted out, Carol’s probably could have still been solved easily. Chuny and Malik put the hospital at risk by following Mark’s orders, so Carol could have fired them without having to make her own decision.

Find me one person who thought Mark and Chuny made a good couple. Just one. And did that person also think Carter and Keaton made a good couple?

February 23, 2019

The X-Files 9.13, Improbable: The Theory of Everything

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

I have no words

Summary: A man playing poker in a casino is very bad about keeping a poker face when he’s dealt a 2 and a 3. He folds and moves on to the slot machines, where he stares creepily at a woman. Then he joins Burt Reynolds (yes, the real Burt Reynolds) at the bar and orders the exact thing Burt predicted he would, a 7 and 7 and a pack of Morleys. The player, Wayne, wonders if Burt knows him. Burt says he’s “part of the regular game.”

Burt continues that Wayne’s problem isn’t the cards, but playing the hand he’s dealt. When he gets bad cards, he needs to know what to do with them. Cards can’t think, so Wayne needs to make them work for him. There are millions of possible hands, but “the game can’t beat the man.” Burt tells Wayne that the woman he was watching comes to the casino every weekend and never wins, but she keeps coming, hoping her luck will change.

Wayne starts to follow the woman into the bathroom, but Burt stops him, asking if Wayne is bluffing. He wants Wayne to surprise him by leaving the casino. Instead, Wayne goes after the woman. As Burt finishes his game of solitaire with the same 2 and 3 Wayne was dealt, the woman’s slot machine pays off for another player. A woman then emerges from the bathroom, screaming about a murder. Burt draws the ace of spades.

In D.C., Reyes reads about the woman’s murder in the paper. She’s very talented, as she’s able to walk through the halls of the FBI building without running into anyone while she looks down at the paper. Scully joins her in her office, where Reyes is doing math. She asks if Scully thinks the universe is knowable in math, and can be reduced to a simple equation. Scully recognizes this idea as the Theory of Everything, but she doesn’t believe in it. She isn’t sure an equation that complex is even possible.

Reyes presents some unsolved cases of murder victims from the past few years. The woman from the casino, Amy, is the latest victim, having been killed two weeks ago. Reyes thinks that by assigning numbers to the letters of the victims’ names – numerology – she can figure out who killed them. It’s something she’s been doing for years. Reyes has also calculated karmic numbers for the victims.

Scully notes that she has no other evidence connecting the victims, so she doesn’t have much of a case. But Scully sees something in a picture from Amy’s murder scene that piques her interest. There’s a pattern in the bruising on the body that the other victims have. It could be from the killer’s ring. Reyes realizes that she might not have such a crazy theory after all. Scully says maybe Reyes and the killer are both crazy.

Wayne gets ready for another day of killing, or whatever, and sees Burt playing Three-Card Monte on the street outside his apartment. Burt lip-synchs to a French song, and the other people on the street start moving with the rhythm of the song. Triplets and three pigeons are nearby. Wayne approaches and tells Burt to stop following him or he’ll end up dead, too. Burt knows Wayne won’t hurt him; it doesn’t fit his pattern. He does another round of Three-Card Monte, which Wayne loses. Burt lets him in on the game’s secret: “Choose better.”

Wayne leaves angrily, almost bumping into Reyes, who’s in the neighborhood to see Vicki Burdick in room 333 of the Hotel Knickerbocker. Vicki’s a numerologist, but she doesn’t think she can be much help, since she deals with living people, not the dead. Her specialty is using numbers to provide guidance. Reyes insists that there’s a connection among the four murder victims, and if Vicki can help her figure out who the killer is, they can prevent more murders.

Too late – Doggett calls to tell Reyes that two more bodies have been found. On the plus side, he thinks Reyes’ discoveries could launch her career. You hear that, murder victims? Your deaths are not in vain! An FBI agent will benefit! Reyes goes back to the office, where her colleagues great her with applause. This is somehow not a dream sequence.

An agent named Fordyce tells Reyes that they’ve dubbed the murderer the Triple Zero Killer because of the pattern he leaves on his victims’ bodies. Three women were killed in 1999, and three recently, so the killer seems to like 3s. They just need to figure out three things: how the killer chooses his victims, how he kills them, and whether he’s planning more murders soon or if he’ll go into hiding for two years again.

Doggett wonders if the killer disappeared for two years because he was in prison. Scully profiles the killer as angry and strong. Reyes’ contributions to the brainstorming session are all about numbers. She thinks the killer’s using vibrational disharmonies to pick his victims. There’s practically a record scratch. Seriously, how is this not a dream sequence? Vicki calls to give Reyes some information, but she’s interrupted when Wayne stops by.

The agents go over to check out what’s now their seventh murder scene. Fordyce wants to know how the killer knew to come after Vicki, since no one else knew about Reyes’ theory. Is it just a coincidence? Fordyce notes that the FBI has a reputation to uphold, so agents can’t be going to numerologists or psychics for help. I guess he doesn’t know about how helpful Clyde Bruckman was all those years ago.

Fordyce isn’t interested in numbers; killers work on impulses, even if they don’t understand them, and that’s how they’ll catch this one. Reyes points out that if the killer acts on impulses he can’t understand, the agents might not be able to understand them either. Killers may have different impulses, and not all of them will lead to murder. Fordyce won’t accept that idea.

Doggett notes that if Reyes didn’t tell anyone else she had come to see Vicki, the only people who would know work for the FBI. Fordyce doesn’t think they need to worry about an inside job – it’s improbable. Doggett says that doesn’t make it impossible. Fordyce tells them he doesn’t care how they solve the case, as long as they find the killer.

Reyes tells Doggett that Vicki had information for her from the victims’ numerological charts. She tells Doggett his karmic number is 6, which aligns with his personality. Doggett says the same traits outlined in his karmic number are shared by lots of people. They’re people, not numbers. Reyes still thinks Vicki had a reason to call her. Doggett decides to do some actual FBI work while Reyes figures that out.

Wayne runs into Burt again; this time he’s playing with dominoes. He’s arranged them in a spiral and knocks them down as Doggett passes by. Wayne thinks Burt is trying to draw attention to him so he’ll get caught. Burt invites him to play a game, but Wayne says he doesn’t play Wayne’s games. Burt knows that’s true. As Wayne leaves, Burt studies a domino with three dots.

Scully starts Vicki’s autopsy at 6:06 p.m. She finds patterns of six dots on Vicki’s skin, then sees that her tape recorder is at minute 666. She joins Reyes at Vicki’s office with the revelation that the triple zeroes on the victims’ bodies aren’t actually zeroes – they’re 666, just worn away. She thinks 666 is on the killer’s ring. Reyes also has a revelation: Vicki did her own chart and realized her numbers matched the other victims’. That must be why the killer targeted her.

“Her Number Was Up” is the headline of the newspaper article about Vicki’s murder. Doggett has posted it on a board next to a map of all the victims’ locations, which form the number 6. Fordyce announces that he thinks they’ve come up with a profile of the killer. It’s basically the same profile of every serial killer ever. Fordyce doesn’t see why that’s a problem. Doggett thinks Reyes could be on to something, and the number 6 could be significant to the murders. Fordyce reminds him that they have seven victims now.

Reyes and Scully leave Vicki’s office, encountering Wayne on the elevator. Scully looks at his ring as he holds the door while the women get off. She forces him out of the elevator at gunpoint, but he ducks back in just as the doors close. That seems like a really dumb error for a seasoned FBI agent to let happen. Anyway, the women head to the stairs and chase Wayne in the parking garage, but he drives off and leaves them trapped by a gate.

There’s no cell reception in the garage, and neither agent saw the car’s license plate, so even if they could call for help, they couldn’t tell anyone to put out an APB on Wayne’s car. The closest door has a numerical keypad on it, so the women can’t open it. They’ll just have to wait until someone finds them. Reyes points out that they can’t be sure Wayne was in the car; he could still be in the garage with them.

They search the garage, but the only person they find is Burt. He tells him he’s waiting for a friend so they can play checkers. He invites the women to play with him, but they’re a little busy. After Reyes frisks Burt (probably the highlight of Annabeth Gish’s career), the women tell him to open his car trunk, where he said he kept his checkerboard. It’s full of classical CDs.

Scully tells Burt that they’re looking for a serial killer. Burt asks if there’s anything he can do, but without a working phone or the combination to the door, he’s as useless as the women are right now. They pass the time playing checkers, which Burt is really, really good at. Scully tries to shoot off the doorknob on the door with the keypad, with no luck. More checkers, this time with the women playing each other while Burt dances.

Reyes is playing with red pieces while Scully plays with black, but Reyes suddenly realizes something and turns the board. She thinks hair color is a factor. The killer murders a blonde, a redhead, and a brunette, in that order. Since Vicki was blonde, the next victim will have red hair, and the ninth will have brown hair. You know, like Scully and Reyes.

Burt casually says it’s remarkable that Reyes got that from a game of checkers. Now Scully thinks he’s somehow connected to the murders. Reyes thinks it’s all in the numbers, and Scully decides Burt isn’t a threat after all. The women tell him the numbers theory, and he asks if the numbers are helping the agents catch the killer, or if he’s using them to stay ahead of the authorities. It’s like a game.

Scully tells Reyes they can’t reduce this whole case to a game. Reyes reminds her that Scully, as a scientist, is ruled by numbers. So doesn’t it make sense that everything made from those numbers is also ruled by numbers? Scully says that makes everyone checkers on a checkerboard, being moved by some higher being. Reyes quotes Einstein: “God does not play dice with the universe.” Scully thinks that covers checkers, too. All of creation and life can’t be reduced to a win/lose game.

Reyes disagrees – maybe the people who win just see patterns better than others. Maybe they’re not the next victims, but are going to stop the killer. Wayne could still be in the garage with them. Suddenly the lights go out. Burt puts away his checkerboard as the women search the garage again. Reyes finds Wayne first, and he overpowers her before she can alert Scully. But ONCE A-FREAKING-GAIN, Doggett shows up in time to shoot the killer and save his partner.

The agents try to get Wayne to tell them why he killed people before he dies. He shakes his head but doesn’t tell them anything. Doggett tells the women that he saw the same pattern of victims that they did and thought Scully and Reyes would be Wayne’s next targets. The women run back to talk to Burt, but he’s already gone.

At the FBI building, Fordyce and some other agents turn their heads to make the 6 on the map of victims become a 9. Scully puts William to bed, but she can’t sleep herself until she talks to Reyes. She wants to know her own numerology. Reyes reports that she’s a 9, a number of completion. She has come to understand that “this life is only part of a whole.” One more thing bugging Scully: Who was the man in the garage? “God knows,” Reyes says. Then there’s a lip-synching/dance sequence in Wayne’s neighborhood, because this show is weird. When the camera pans out to show the city, we can see Burt’s face.

Thoughts: Vicki is played by Ellen Greene.

I’m so mad I already used the title “Murder by Numbers.”

I’m very grateful for this light, fun episode in the middle of a season full of baby angst and trauma.

Wayne: “Go to Hell.” Burt: “Are the reservations in your name?” Heh.

February 19, 2019

ER 3.10, Homeless for the Holidays: Employee X

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

It’s Doug’s best day ever!

Summary: Jeanie meets up with Weaver at Doc Magoo’s after a meeting with her doctor. Her viral load is now undetectable on her new medication, and she thinks County might now be okay with her continuing to work there. Weaver is less hopeful, but she’s also upset that Jeanie’s been sidelined with administrative tasks instead of seeing patients. Whatever happens, however, at least Jeanie’s health is good.

Randi criticizes Mark’s choice of Christmas presents for Rachel, a sled. Gant likes it, but his judgment might be compromised, since he’s been working for about 24 hours. Things get even worse for him when his girlfriend, Monique, calls to cancel their holiday plans.

Weaver meets with Mark and Anspaugh to discuss Jeanie. She can’t be fired because she’s HIV-positive, but it’s legal to make her life miserable, basically. Anspaugh tells Weaver and Mark to come up with a fair policy they can apply to any staff member with HIV. This means the two feuding doctors will have to work together.

Gant still has ten more hours to go before he gets a holiday break, part of which he’ll be spending with Carter’s family (but not Monique). Doug’s trying to buy his mom some last-minute flowers, but Carol hangs up the phone while he’s on hold to force him to see patients. She doesn’t want to hear his holiday complaints, since her mother started her prep for their traditional Ukrainian Christmas celebration at 5 a.m.

Doug asks Mark what his meeting with Anspaugh was about. Mark says they’re working on a departmental policy on HIV-positive workers, which makes Doug think there’s someone in the ER with HIV. Weaver and Carol treat a drag queen, Miss Understood, who had a fight with her boyfriend over who was cooking their Christmas goose and now has chest pains. She’s still clutching the goose and refuses to give it up, but Carol out-stubborns her.

Rumors are now circulating that someone in the hospital has HIV. Jeanie overhears Connie and Randi talking about it but keeps a poker face. Carol tries to get her to stitch up a patient, but Jeanie says she’s doing triage again. As Charlie arrives with Ahmed, the baby Doug has been trying to get into the hospital. Doyle tends to a woman named Beth who has some bad facial injuries and a possibly broken jaw. Doyle sees in her chart that she’s been there before multiple times and angrily guesses that Beth’s husband is abusive.

Mark and Weaver get to work on the policy, trying to balance federal law with state regulations. Mark argues that he’s concerned, not a bigot, and no one wants to fire Jeanie. They just need to remember their responsibility to their patients. Weaver notes that they also have a responsibility to Jeanie, who’s a good employee. If they reveal her personal information, they could get sued. Mark says this is bigger than Weaver’s loyalty to a friend.

Doug’s treating a baby who snacked on mistletoe when he notices Charlie and Ahmed. She’s worried that Ahmed’s mother, Gloria will realize that Charlie brought him there and will be upset. Doug doesn’t care, telling Charlie to get Gloria to the hospital. Paramedics bring in a homeless man, Collins, who has burns and a yappy dog named Nick. Collins makes Mark promise not to send the dog to a kennel.

Doug determines that Ahmed has a mass in his abdomen and will probably need surgery. Gloria hasn’t arrived yet and there are no other adult relatives, so there’s no one to give consent. Charlie wishes she’d brought him in sooner, since Ahmed’s tumor is affecting his kidney function, but Doug praises her for getting the child medical treatment.

Keaton, Benton, and Carter operate on Ahmed while Carol tries to get a history from a woman who was found dancing with elves at Marshall Fields. She’ll only speak through a reindeer hand puppet and will only give her name as Blitzen, “the most overlooked of all the reindeer.” Carol decides to write Blitzen down as the woman’s name.

Doyle’s telling Beth about a shelter she can go to when her husband, Mr. Lang, arrives. He pretends that she was hurt when she fell down some stairs. Doyle coolly sends him back to the waiting area, saying they still have some things to do. Mark tries to find Nick something he’ll eat, but the dog is picky. Also, Collins’ condition is declining. As Carol’s trying to get “Blitzen” a psych consult, a man arrives looking for her.

Nick finally gets some food, finding Miss Understood’s goose. Ahmed comes through surgery fine, but he’ll need to stay in the hospital for a while. Doug tells Charlie that he has to call Social Services, since Gloria didn’t do anything when Ahmed got sick. Charlie’s worried that Gloria will throw her out. Doug agrees to give Gloria a chance to explain herself.

Keaton wants to make last-minute Christmas Eve plans with Carter, so he says he’ll try to get out of things with Gant and his family. Doug treats Charlie to lunch and tries to get her to open up about her family life. She ran away from home in Cleveland because her mom had a string of bad boyfriends who often turned their attention to Charlie. She hasn’t talked to her mother since.

After 34 hours of work, Gant is ready to party with the rich people. Carter says he might not make it to his family’s party, because there’s a “girl” he wants to go see. Gant understands, but Carter feels bad. Not bad enough to give up Keaton, of course.

Weaver and Mark keep discussing their policy, overhearing Lily and Chuny as they gossip about the employee who might have HIV. Mark decides to address this head-on, but this leads to a debate among the nurses. Chuny doesn’t think a worker with HIV should be involved in a bloody trauma. Carol doesn’t see the problem as long as the person wears gloves.

Connie asks if the worker, whom Mark is calling Employee X, got HIV from a needle stick. Doyle doesn’t see why it matters. Haleh says that universal precautions are supposed to prevent transmission, and Lydia notes that they work on HIV-positive patients using those precautions. As Jeanie comes by, Mark says they’re trying to determine whether patients have the right to know that their doctor or nurse or whoever has HIV.

Chuny asks if there’s an actual Employee X, or if this is all hypothetical. Weaver says they’re just discussing policies for now. Employee X could be anyone. Tired of being talked about, Jeanie steps forward and says, “Would everyone stop calling me Employee X? I am HIV-positive.”

Weaver and Mark continue their discussion in the lounge, now with Jeanie present. Mark would be uncomfortable with letting Jeanie participate in a trauma involving deep, penetrating wounds, but Jeanie says she wouldn’t be comfortable with that either. She’s been more careful since she got her diagnosis, and she would never want to harm a patient. Mark knows this, but they need to reconcile state and federal policies.

Jeanie wants to continue helping people, which is why she hasn’t quit her job. She asks what else Mark is concerned about. He notes that dementia can be a sign of full-blown AIDS, and would obviously put patients at risk. Jeanie says that some hospitals have someone monitor employees with HIV to keep an eye on their health. Weaver volunteers to do that for Jeanie. Coming out of the meeting, Jeanie realizes that her co-workers are now looking at her differently. Carol says she wishes she’d known about Jeanie’s HIV, obviously implying that she would have been nicer if she had.

Doyle and Malik tell Mr. Lang that Beth will probably have to stay overnight for observation. They send him back to the waiting area as they wheel a covered gurney outside. Beth is on the gurney, sneaking out to go to the bus station. Doyle even gives her money for her bus ticket and food. Then she tells Malik the money was really his, as he won the employees’ bowl game pool.

Mark looks for an animal shelter that will take Nick, ignoring Chuny when she reminds him that he told the now-dead Collins he wouldn’t send the dog away. Mark’s mad that he had to pay Miss Understood $50 for the goose Nick ate. Chuny guilts him into changing his mind by telling him the shelter will kill the dog if they can’t find him a home. But hey, now Rachel might have a better Christmas present.

Gloria comes to the hospital, furious that no one will give her Ahmed. Doug can tell she’s high, which certainly isn’t going to make him hand over the kid. Charlie’s mad when Doug threatens again to call Social Services. She though he was different from every other adult she’s met with any kind of power.

Mark bathes Nick in the lounge sink and tells Doug he’s giving the dog to Rachel. Doug offers to help with the bath if Mark gives him $20 (he lost his wallet). It’s a good thing he doesn’t pay up front, because the dog escapes. Mark slips and hits his head, staying behind while Doug chases down the dog. Needing stitches, Mark turns to Jeanie for help, extending an olive branch.

Carter and Keaton are exchanging Christmas presents when Benton comes by Keaton’s office. Carter hides under her desk. Benton wants to do another pediatric rotation and hopes Keaton will give her replacement a recommendation (she’s going to Pakistan, remember). Keaton says Benton is a great surgeon, but it’s not enough for pediatrics. He only took the rotation to challenge himself; he doesn’t have a passion for pediatrics. Benton leaves without a recommendation for another specialty, saying he doesn’t want to waste any more of Keaton’s time.

While Jeanie stitches him up, Mark tells her she’s an asset to the ER. He wants her to stay. However, she’ll have to work within the limits they’re setting up, and Jeanie knows Mark wouldn’t be comfortable with her, say, giving Rachel stitches. Doug brings the dog back, then heads off to spend Christmas Eve alone.

Jeanie tells Mark she’s sorry she lied about her health. After he leaves, Carol comes into the lounge and tries to relate to what Jeanie’s going through now that the news about her health is out. When she came back to work after attempting suicide, she felt like everyone was staring at her. Carol hopes the two of them can become friends.

Charlie’s waiting for Doug at his place, having gotten his address from his wallet, which she stole. She has no place to go since, as suspected, Gloria kicked her out. Al visits Jeanie at the hospital and gives her some Christmas cards that were sent to them as a couple. He also has the star they used to put at the top of their Christmas tree. They reminisce about the early days of their marriage.

Carter goes looking for Gant, who fell asleep finishing his charts. Since Gant is doing his scut work, Benton has time to visit Carla and give her a gas station poinsettia. Apparently her standards are low because she lets him come in. At Carol’s, where she’s hosting Ukrainian Christmas, her mother chastises her for not having an extra chair for an unexpected visitor. It’s tradition, but also a necessity when Doug shows up with Charlie, wanting Carol to take her in for the night.

Mark takes both the dog and the sled to Jen’s house, but sees that Rachel has already gotten two puppies for Christmas. Jen’s new husband, Craig, spots him as he’s leaving and notes how coincidental it is that Mark brought a dog. Rachel doesn’t seem to care that Nick is scraggly and not as young or cute as her puppies. Mark pretends the dog is his and can barely hide his glee when Nick bites Craig. Charlie enjoys herself with Carol’s family, and Carol agrees to let her spend the night. Carter and Keaton spend the evening in bed, discussing her move to Pakistan. They recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Okay, leave already.

Mr. Lang falls asleep waiting for his wife at the hospital, and Doyle just lets him stay there. She tells Jeanie that the tree in the waiting area is missing something. She thinks Jeanie was gutsy for coming forward as Employee X. Jeanie realizes that she has the one thing that will make the tree look complete – the star Al brought her. Doyle says that since the star is from Jeanie’s first Christmas with Al, it’s an heirloom and should go on her family tree. But Jeanie says that’s exactly where it is.

Thoughts: Miss Understood’s drag cabaret act is the Mighty Morphin Gender Changers. That is BRILLIANT.

34 hours of work should be illegal.

I’ve always liked how much Weaver fights for Jeanie. I think it stems from having a disability – she’s most likely been mistreated at work, so she wants to stand up for someone else who’s being mistreated.

Apparently escaping from your abusive husband is just that easy.

When Benton comes by, Keaton tells him she was just “reviewing some anatomy.” Cough.

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