January 25, 2022

ER 10.7, Death and Taxes: Now ER Stands for “Ecccch, Romano”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:01 pm by Jenn

When Bob Newhart took a shot at something that wasn’t comedy, he really went all in

Summary: Susan is lying awake in bed, and there’s a clock ticking in the room, which is probably supposed to mean something. Chuck, who I just complained wasn’t around enough, brings her coffee and they talk about how time is moving fast. Oh, maybe that’s what the clock is for. Susan’s accountant calls to remind her that they’re meeting that day; Susan’s getting audited. It’s especially annoying because she always files the basic form. It makes sense to her since she’s single and doesn’t have kids. “You want some?” Chuck asks. She says yes, but doesn’t seem that excited. He suggests that they go for it. They won’t find anyone better than each other.

At County, Romano complains about the see-through board, then slams Gallant for not being a good doctor. He’s written a complaint about Pratt and makes him sign it. He’s planning to collect a bunch of stuff about Pratt until he has enough to justify firing him. Romano grabs Chen’s butt with his prosthetic arm and claims it was an electrical malfunction. She finds it suspicious that it only happens around women. Why, why, WHY won’t anyone go to HR?

Sam’s on the phone, trying to convince Alex’s school that he doesn’t really have chicken pox and can go to class. They don’t listen, so Alex has to stay at the hospital until Sam can find him a sitter. Alex greets Luka, and Sam tells Luka to keep his distance. Abby’s finished her surgical rotation and is now on her ER rotation. Luka welcomes her “home.”

Paramedics bring in a family who were in a car accident – Eric, Stacie, and two young kids. The baby, Colin, may have been injured because his sister, Katie, got him out of his car seat so he would stop crying. Eric doesn’t think he and Stacie are hurt enough to need treatment, but Neela says the shock of the crash could make them unable to assess all their injuries. Luka quizzes his students (Neela, Lester, Abby, and Andy this time) on treating babies, and Abby makes a face when he won’t let her answer anything. He notes that she already knows this stuff.

Romano tries to give Abby a task but realizes she’s “playing doctor” today. He says he’ll find a nurse who isn’t kidding herself. Unfortunately for Sam, that’s her. Susan tells Romano that she has to meet her accountant at noon, so she can’t skip her lunch hour like she often does. Romano comments that he didn’t know the hospital paid her enough to get audited.

As he and Susan are talking, Romano grabs Sam’s butt. She slams him against a wall, pulls off his prosthetic hand, and tells Susan to have to exorcised. Romano threatens to have Sam fired, so she threatens to sue him for sexual harassment. I’m going to give this round to Sam. Susan tells Romano he can have his hand back at the end of the day if he can behave himself. Okay, that’s a step too far. Get all the women in the ER and in surgery to file a class-action harassment suit already.

Ben is back for a check-in with Susan, and he still has a crush on her. Sam offers to draw Ben’s blood for her, but Susan says it’s fine. She tells Ben that if his bloodwork comes back showing that he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication, she won’t make him come in for any more check-ins. Ben tries to hide his disappointment over not having an excuse to see her regularly. He invites her to have dinner with him, and Susan accepts, which she definitely knows is a bad idea.

Sam apologizes to Susan for freaking out on Romano, which…Sam…don’t apologize. Really. Susan says the hand is locked up. Morris is back at work, despite having quit, since his father threatened to cut him off. Pratt smells pot on him, but Morris says his roommate smokes. Abby examines Colin as Eric is declared healthy enough to be discharged. Stacie mentions that he’s not the kids’ father. He also doesn’t seem to want to be a father, and he doesn’t like the kids. Luka oversees his students as they trwat the family, and he gently disagrees with Abby on treatment for Colin. Stacie comments that maybe Abby is like her, in that she’s “better with babies than with school.”

Neela joins Chen to treat a man named Jimmy who has a minor stab wound from a jailhouse brawl. Sam comes in to tell Chen that there’s a phone call for her from China. Chen thinks it’s her parents just checking in from their trip there, but Sam says the call is from the embassy. Neela continues tending to Jimmy, noting that he’s doing time for breaking and entering. He tells her he broke into his stepfather’s house because his stepfather locked him out.

Ben is still in the ER, waiting for a cab. Sam asks if he’s okay, and he says life is great when you’re blind and getting blinder. In the lounge, Chen tells Susan that her parents were in a car accident in China. She’ll need to go over there to get more information and tend to them. Pratt gets the news from Susan and follows Chen out, hugging her when she starts crying. Aww, he still cares about her.

The ER is now down an attending, and amazingly, Romano offers to fill in. He dumps some stuff on Gallant, and Susan asks why he finds it so fun to humiliate people. Romano calls Pratt a hoodlum, just to drive home the point that he’s a jerk. Abby comments that if it makes Pratt feel better, everyone in the hospital is made to “suffer at his hand.” Har har.

Abby presents a patient, Franny, to Susan. She came in with heart palpitations and chest pain, but she says she just got dizzy at work and is fine now. She wants to leave to pick up her daughter from preschool. Susan says she’ll probably need to stay overnight for monitoring. Franny is really stressed, with her three kids and full-time job, but Abby and Susan won’t let her go.

Abby admits to Susan that she’s having a little trouble keeping up with her fellow med students. Susan promises that it’ll get better. Abby asks if she wants to get dinner that night, but Susan says she has a date, and not with Chuck. She says they’re at the point in their relationship where they should either be spending all their time together or none of their time together. She’s leaning toward none.

Ben goes home and works on his miniatures, which are hard for him to see even with a magnifying glass. Back at County, Alex wants to hang out with Luka, who knows that’s a bad idea. Elizabeth does a surgical consult on one of Coop’s patients, Persky, and complains when Coop says Luka told him Persky didn’t need bloodwork even though he might have appendicitis. Elizabeth refuses to proceed without it. Luka makes up a number and says he just didn’t put the results in the chart. Elizabeth isn’t an idiot and she orders another test.

She complains to Abby that everyone in the ER is annoying, unlike the people in the surgical department. Abby has a guess as to why, and his name is Romano. He needs someone to help transport a 12-year-old patient from another hospital, but he considers Abby useless. He chooses Gallant, calling him an “affirmative action hero,” and Sam. Luka says the nurses can keep an eye on Alex while Sam is gone. Yeah, I’m sure they have time for that.

Abby tells Susan that Franny wants to leave. Susan’s trying to reschedule her appointment with her accountant, so Abby tries to deal with Franny on her own. Franny’s getting frantic (Franntic?), and when she gets up to leave, she collapses. Abby says her pulse is really weak. Neela stitches up Jimmy, then sends him off for some tests. When he gets up, Neela notices blood where he was sitting. Pratt’s there, and he sends Neela away when Jimmy yells for her to leave. Pratt guesses that Jimmy was raped, but Jimmy doesn’t want to talk about it. Pratt tells him he’ll get to stay out of jail a little longer if he agrees to get treatment.

In a development that absolutely everyone could see coming, the nurses have already lost track of Alex. Franny’s heart is beating too fast, and she says she doesn’t think this has ever happened before. Neela joins the case, and when Susan compliments her assessment, Abby complains that Susan never praises her the way she praises Neela. Susan didn’t realize that, and she tries to smooth things over by pointing out that she gives Abby her time, an even better honor.

Ben’s trying to vacuum at home, and his new puppy isn’t too happy about it. Alex is still shadowing Luka and being annoying. Persky has been eating, so Luka discharges him, since having an appetite means he most likely doesn’t have appendicitis. (Also, they wouldn’t be able to operate now that he’s eaten.) He tells Persky to come back if his symptoms get worse. Luka tries to send Alex to the lounge, but Alex is too annoying to listen.

Pratt asks Chuny to find him an attending to assist with a rape exam. Luka volunteers, but Pratt turns him down. He goes to Romano instead, but Romano isn’t interested in doing a rape exam on a man, so he tells Pratt to do it and he’ll sign off on it. Pratt knows an attending is supposed to do it, and he can’t figure out why Romano, who’s always on his case about not following protocol, is willing to break the rules this time.

Gallant and Sam go to pick up their transfer patient, a girl with leukemia who might have an infection. The community hospital where she was being treated has had to eliminate their pediatric department because of budget cuts. Gallant and Sam find the girl, Michelle, unconscious. Gallant quickly determines that she’s septic, and the hospital didn’t do enough to monitor her condition.

Sam pulls him away from Michelle and her parents to say that the girl isn’t stable and either shouldn’t be moved or should be intubated before they leave. She’ll most likely stop breathing in 20 minutes. Gallant says County is 15 minutes away, and this hospital isn’t equipped to help Michelle, so staying is a bad idea. They’ll treat this like a paramedic emergency.

Franny’s heart rate is back to normal, and Abby advises her to get some rest, but Franny says she can’t. She admits that she doesn’t sleep much. Abby asks if she’s gotten any help, and she doesn’t mean a nanny. She thinks Franny’s been drinking or taking something to give her energy. If she has, that could explain her heart problems. Franny reveals that she’s been taking drugs and asks Abby not to tell her husband. Abby gives Susan the news that Franny’s been using meth.

Eric rushes in with Colin, who fell asleep on the way home and now won’t wake up. He thinks the doctors must have missed something. While Ben gets ready for his date with Susan, she, Abby, and Neela take care of Colin. Abby says she checked him for head injuries earlier, and she didn’t notice anything on his CT. Susan tells Eric she’s sorry they didn’t catch this earlier. Then she chastises Abby for not being more thorough. Hmm, sounds like that’s really her supervisor’s mistake, doesn’t it?

Later, when another the CT has been done and Colin’s in surgery, Susan tells Abby that it was an easy mistake to make. Plus, she was working under an attending who also didn’t see anything on the CT. Abby thinks that if she can’t trust her clinical skills, she shouldn’t be here. Susan offers to review the case with her and use this as a teaching opportunity.

Gallant and Sam arrive with Michelle, and though Susan’s supposed to go to her audit, she decides to stick around. Ben accidentally cuts himself while cooking and gets angry. Gallant defends his decision to move Michelle to County and not intubate her, since she was still breathing on her own. Frank tells Susan that Ben is on the phone, but she’s obviously too busy to take the call.

Elizabeth tells Morris that the patient he asked her to do a consult on has bad cramps, not pancreatitis. She sees that Persky is in the waiting room, having left and come back. Also, he’s a lot worse. Elizabeth determines that his appendix burst, so he’ll need surgery. Persky refuses anesthesia, since that killed his mother. Elizabeth goes off to find Luka and yell at him.

Michelle is unresponsive, and Susan pushes Gallant to stop trying to revive her. She knows he feels guilty, but she reminds him that he didn’t give her cancer, so he’s not fully responsible for her death. Yeah, that doesn’t make him feel better. Ben is either waiting for Susan to call or trying to decide if he should call her again. The record he was listening to ends and he just listens to it click.

Neela checks on Jimmy and asks if he plans to report his assault. Maybe he can be transferred somewhere else. She promises that no one will think less of him for being raped, including his girlfriend. Jimmy says he doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore – now he’s the girl. Alex is getting an education in handling frantic patients as he watches Luka deal with one. Alex thinks it was cool. Luka offers to give him an x-ray (and charge the ER for it), just for fun. Dude, Sam was angry that you gave her kid ice cream. You think she’ll be okay with this?

Also angry: Elizabeth, who tells Luka that discharging Persky made his life (and hers) a lot harder. Luka says the tests she wanted wouldn’t have been definitive anyway. Persky followed Luka’s instructions to come back if his symptoms worsened, which means “the system worked.” Yeah, but now he has to have major surgery, and Elizabeth has to miss time with Ella.

Susan has been trying to call the IRS all day with no luck. Pratt gets her to agree to do Jimmy’s rape exam (and she calls Romano a homophobe for not doing it). Speaking of Romano, he chastises Abby for screwing up with Colin. Susan tells him she’s taking Jimmy from him, since Pratt thinks that would be better. Romano says Pratt is like a rabid dog that needs to be put down before he infects anyone else. Romano finishes what he starts, so he’ll do the exam. I’m sure Jimmy will be thrilled.

Frank tells Susan that the IRS called and they’re not happy that she’s been putting them off. Ben also called and canceled dinner. Neela lets Susan know that Franny has agreed to get counseling, and DCFS has decided they don’t need to get involved right now. Susan’s skeptical that Franny will turn things around by herself, but she tells Neela to go with her gut. Neela admits that she can have trouble reading people well. She never suspected that someone like Franny would use meth. Susan says that people are capable of anything in some situations.

Ben tapes a note that says, “Do not resuscitate” to his chest, picks up a gun, and shoots himself in the head.

Chuny helps Romano with Jimmy’s rape exam, which Romano should seriously never do because he has horrible bedside manner. Neela gives him Jimmy’s labwork, which shows that he has AIDS. Jimmy barely reacts to the news, then says at least now he knows he won’t have to live with his humiliation forever. Romano seems unhappy that he’s not more upset. Meanwhile, Susan goes over Colin’s case with Abby, but neither can see his injury on his first CT. Susan realizes it’s because there was no injury then.

Ben is brought to the hospital, and Susan starts working on him with Pratt and Sam before she realizes who the patient is. She tells Pratt to let Ben die. It’s what he wanted. Abby brings Ken to see Eric, having determined that Colin’s head injury didn’t come from the car accident. Eric probably hurt him. Eric gets angry, so it’s a good thing security’s there to deal with him. Also, calling your girlfriend’s baby a “stupid kid” doesn’t make you look like less of a jerk.

Sam finds Alex playing a video game with a patient, which is better than sneaking around the morgue or trying to watch an operation. Sam thinks Alex has made a new friend, and Alex asks if they can have him over for Thanksgiving, since he doesn’t really have family. Franny thanks Neela for her help, then heads back to her family, seemingly not planning to change anything about her routine.

Abby asks Neela a question about something, and Neela rattles off the answer like Abby just asked for her birthday or phone number. Neela suggests that the two of them study together sometime. She’s good at the academic part of med school and Abby’s good at the rest of it. They could help each other. Susan finishes Ben’s chart and wraps up her shift with her mind clearly elsewhere. She does at least tell Romano where she hid his hand: in the tampon machine in the women’s bathroom.

Thoughts: Franny is played by Betsy Brandt, who coincidentally later became famous for a role on a show about meth. Jimmy is played by Efren Ramirez. Eric is Austin Sanders.

Why did they make Alex so obnoxious? It’s not good TV. And making us watch Alex and Romano in the same episode is just cruel.

The end of Ben’s plotline makes the whole thing feel pointless. Susan went out of her way to be nice, and when she didn’t take one phone call from him, he killed himself? What is Susan supposed to take from this? Then again, I’m not sure if Susan took anything away from her friendship with Sean, who’s also probably dead by this point, so whatever.

Another reason to praise Abby and Susan’s friendship: Susan offered to help Abby figure out where she’d screwed up with Colin even though she’s not responsible for med students and was really busy. Yay, friendship! And also yay for Abby and Neela studying together instead of resenting or being jealous of each other!

January 22, 2022

Buffy 2.11, Ted: Not in My House

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Summary: Buffy, Xander, and Willow are walking home from somewhere, and Xander and Willow are arguing over who was in charge, the Captain or Tennille. Buffy isn’t listening – she’s just enjoying the fact that things have been quiet in Sunnydale in the wake of the big fight with Spike and Drusilla. Also, Angel has some sources who have reported that the Order of Taraka’s hit on Buffy has been called off.

The Scoobies get to Buffy’s house, and she’s concerned when she finds the front door slightly open. She leaves Xander and Willow outside and goes in to make sure everything’s okay. She hears a glass breaking in the kitchen and runs in, but Joyce isn’t in danger. She’s just making out with a guy named Ted. Buffy doesn’t have to protect her mother from anything right now, but that doesn’t mean she feels comfortable.

She addresses the fact that Joyce hasn’t mentioned that she’s been seeing someone. She and Ted met when he redid the computer system at her art gallery. Willow has already buddied up with him, and he makes her even happier when he offers her free demos of some software. Xander also likes him, since he’s made some great mini-pizzas. Buffy, however, is hesitant to bond with her mom’s new boyfriend. He tells her he regrets that they met like this. He knows Buffy’s the most important person in Joyce’s life. Buffy says she’s okay with the relationship, but she’s obviously lying.

She takes out her annoyance on a vampire later that night, fighting him much longer than necessary instead of just staking him. Giles asks if she’s okay, and she says she is. She wonders why vampires are hanging out in the park. He thinks it’s because Spike’s gone; they’re scattered without a leader, and they’re just going back to the easiest place to find victims.

Buffy complains that vampires are creeps. People are doing great, and then a vampire comes along and upends everything with his stupid mini-pizzas. “I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh…text,” Giles says. Buffy doesn’t want to share her feelings, though. She just wants to keep fighting vampires.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Xander to shut up about the mini-pizzas already. She doesn’t think that being a good cook means Ted is a good person. Admittedly, she doesn’t know much about him, but having a good job and seeming nice and making Joyce happy mean nothing. Xander and Willow think this is a Freudian thing; Buffy’s worried about someone taking her mother away from her. “You’re having parental issues,” Xander sing-songs. He claims Freud would have said the same thing, but maybe without his little dance.

Buffy admits that she’s not completely comfortable with the situation, but she thinks she’s justified. Ted seems too perfect, which means something must be wrong. He shows up just then, since he’s been hired to upgrade the software in the guidance office. He invites the Scoobies to play mini-golf with him and Joyce that weekend. There will be mini-pizzas and cookies. Buffy tries to come up with an excuse not to go, and Willow backs her up, but Xander the traitor wants mini-pizzas, and he overrules them.

Giles cautiously approaches Jenny, whom he hasn’t talked to since that whole demon-possession thing. She’s doing fine, though she’s still having trouble sleeping. She would appreciate if Giles would continue keeping his distance, though. She doesn’t like how he keeps giving her looks of pity. “You make me feel bad that I don’t feel better,” she tells him. He apologizes and leaves, which makes her feel bad some more.

Angel’s still recovering from the ritual with Drusilla, so Buffy’s been nursing him back to health. That means she has a captive audience to listen to her ranting about Ted. Angel gently says that while Buffy doesn’t see the need for a new guy in her life, Joyce might. Buffy wishes it were someone other than Ted. Maybe her dad. She finally agrees to give Ted a chance, though she can’t promise she’ll like him.

That weekend, Ted tries to make small talk with Buffy while the group is mini-golfing. He says guys must be eager to go out with her. Willow says they are, but she’s only interested in…studying. Hmm, sounds like Joyce doesn’t know about Angel. Ted is glad to hear that Buffy’s been studying more; hopefully her grades will improve. She’s not happy that Joyce has talked to him about her grades. Joyce says Ted wants to know everything about her so he can be more involved.

Buffy hits a bad shot, and Joyce says they won’t count it in her score. Ted objects – rules are rules, and they need to teach Buffy good lessons now so she’ll take them with her into the outside world. Not that Ted wants to overstep his bounds. He just thinks “right is right.” Buffy goes to the other side of the hole, where she’s blocked from view by a castle, and lies that she hit her ball in already and got a 2. Ted catches her and lectures again that right is right and wrong is wrong.

Buffy reminds him that it’s just a game, but Ted says he’s not wired that way. He hits his golf club against his leg as he says it’s not a game, it counts, and he doesn’t want this kind of “malarkey” in his house. Buffy replies that it’s a good thing they’re not in his house. He threatens to slap her, but when the others join them, he immediately puts on a cheerful face and offers everyone cookies. Now Buffy knows for sure that something is off. And no, Ted, I don’t think she wants a cookie.

On Monday morning, Buffy again rejects food Ted made, and Joyce calls her on her attitude. She doesn’t like how rude Buffy’s been to Ted when he’s gone out of his way to be nice to her. She doesn’t expect Buffy to love Ted like Joyce does, but she needs to be polite. Buffy seizes on the word “love,” and though Joyce hasn’t really thought about it, she guesses she does love him. She just wants Buffy to see that Ted cares about her.

Buffy tells her that Ted threatened to slap her, but Joyce says that didn’t happen. He told her that he caught Buffy cheating, and Joyce thinks it was nice of him not to rat her out to her friends. Ted said they’ll have to wait for Buffy to come around on him. He’s going to try again that night, with dinner. I think Buffy is going to RSVP no.

At school, Buffy asks Willow to look into Ted so they can find any dirt he might be hiding. “Can you say ‘overreaction’?” Xander comments. “Can you say ‘sucking chest wound’?” Buffy replies. Willow thinks she wants Ted to be a bad guy. She and Xander are eating Ted’s cookies throughout the scene. Buffy says that responding the way Ted did to a cheating incident in mini-golf is a red flag. Xander tells her Ted is just uptight, which “isn’t a slaying offense.” He’s on Buffy’s side, but she needs to accept some things in her life.

Cordelia walks by and Xander compliments her outfit. She thinks he’s being sarcastic. Buffy and Willow are confused. Xander goes off with Cordelia, who’s worried that if he’s nice to her in front of his friends, they’ll somehow figure out that they kissed. Xander promises not to tell anyone. Then he asks her to go make out in a utility closet. Cordelia complains that that’s all he thinks about. She’s not saying no, though.

Buffy tells Willow she really thinks something is wrong. Ted acts like she’s in the way, and Joyce has been a little too perfect. Willow agrees to investigate him, starting with where he works. Once she has that location, Buffy goes to Ted’s office, where he sells software over the phone. He’s by far the best salesperson in his division.

After Ted leaves for lunch, Buffy chats with a co-worker who calls Ted “the machine.” He’s a genius who knows everything about computers and never loses a client. He also has a very bare cubicle, only decorated with a picture of Joyce. The co-worker is jealous of Ted’s success and is glad he’s taking off time for his wedding, which is in two months. Buffy checks out the picture on Ted’s desk, which is actually half of a picture of her and Joyce. Buffy’s half has been hidden.

At dinner that night, Ted prays for God to bless the people in the Summerses’ house so they’re more productive and more honest. He asks if Buffy learned anything today. “Quite a bit,” she says coolly. She asks if Ted and Joyce are engaged. Joyce says no, but Ted says things are going great and he might propose someday soon. He asks how Buffy would feel about that, inviting her to feel her feelings and express them out loud. Buffy says she would feel like killing herself.

Ted advises her to get used to him because he’s not going anywhere. Buffy asks to leave the table, and Joyce sends her to her room. She’s embarrassed by her daughter’s behavior, but Ted isn’t going to back down just because Buffy’s upset. He’s salesman of the year; he doesn’t let rejections get to him. He’s sure that Buffy will come around.

Buffy goes to a park to both mope and wait for vampires to show themselves. When she gets back home, Ted is waiting for her in her bedroom. He’s been snooping through her stuff, which he thinks is fair since he knows Buffy was at his office earlier. He’s also read her journal and knows she’s a Slayer. She tells him that’s not his business. “Beg to differ, little lady,” Ted replies. “Everything you do is nothing but my business from now on.”

Buffy orders him to leave her room, and he asks if she’ll slay him if he doesn’t. He’s real, not a delusion she made up in her journal. Buffy will do what he says from now on, or he’ll show her journal to her mother. Okay, and she can just say she’s an aspiring writer and it’s fiction. What else you got? Ted vows to be happy with Joyce and not let Buffy stand in her way.

Ted starts to leave, but she won’t let him go without giving back her journal. He slaps her hard enough to make her hit the wall. She’s happy to have a reason to hit back, and the two of them fight even as Joyce comes in and tells them to stop. They end up in the hallway, and Buffy kicks Ted hard enough to send him falling down the stairs. Joyce checks his pulse and realizes he’s dead. Buffy is shell-shocked.

As Ted’s body is taken away, a detective asks Joyce what happened. Instead of branding her daughter as a killer, Joyce just says that Ted fell down the stairs. Buffy admits that she hit him. They’re taken to the police station, where Buffy tells the detective almost the whole truth, only leaving out the contents of her journal. The problem is that Buffy’s Slayer super-powers include quick healing, so she doesn’t have much proof that Ted threw the first punch. The detective believes that things got out of hand, though, and he tells Joyce he’s not charging Buffy with anything right now. Mother and daughter have a silent ride home.

At school the next day, Buffy looks paranoid, like she thinks everyone’s talking about her. (They probably are.) She tells Willow and Xander that she couldn’t stay home, with Joyce ignoring her. The two of them already know what happened, and they tell Buffy that the newspaper is reporting that Ted just fell. Xander asks what he was. He must have been something supernatural, if Buffy killed him. Buffy’s lack of response tells him that’s not true.

Willow thinks Buffy should cling to the fact that Ted started the fight. Buffy says that doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re not a kid. She might still face legal charges. “He was a person…and I killed him,” she says. She knows it’s what everyone’s already saying. As the Slayer, Buffy had no right to hit Ted the way she did. Xander says that he knows Buffy well, and he knows she would never intentionally hurt a human, unless… Buffy finishes: “Unless they were dating my mother?”

She runs into Giles, who tells her to ask if there’s anything she needs. The police are there, asking some questions about Buffy’s behavior. That can’t be good. Later, Xander tells Willow and Cordelia that he wishes he could get his hands on Ted. Cordelia says she thought Xander liked Ted. “I sometimes like things that are not good for me,” Xander replies pointedly. He doesn’t think Buffy would have fought someone innocent. “Nice Uncle Ted” must have been a bad guy.

Willow’s looking into Ted but hasn’t found anything yet. Xander’s delighted to find some leftover cookies in Willow’s backpack. Cordelia thinks that since Buffy’s the Slayer, she should have a special set of rules for who she can fight. Willow sarcastically says that would work in a fascist society. “Right! Why can’t we have one of those?” Cordelia asks.

Willow firmly says it wouldn’t be fair for Buffy to be punished for killing Ted. Giles tells the group that Buffy’s punishing herself more than the legal system ever could. Cordelia says Giles would know, since he “helped raise that demon that killed that guy that time.” Giles says yes: “Let’s bring that up as often as possible.”

He’ll be patrolling that night, to give Buffy a break. Willow’s worried about him going out without the Slayer, but Giles says there is no Slayer until Buffy recovers from this. Cordelia, amazingly, offers her help, but Giles thinks the Scoobies can help the most by continuing looking into Ted. They do, but Willow can’t find anything negative about Ted. It’s like he’s citizen of the year. Xander tells her not to worry; they’ll work it out. Willow starts to suspect that there’s something up with cookies they’ve been eating.

At home that night, Joyce sadly packs up all of Ted’s cooking supplies. Buffy says she didn’t mean to hurt him, but Joyce isn’t ready to talk about Ted yet. Back at school, Willow finds a tranquilizer in the cookies that keeps people compliant and also has an effect like Ecstasy. Xander raves over her work, though some of that praise might be the cookies talking. Cordelia has found some of Ted’s records, including his address, so the three of them head out to continue investigating.

Jenny surprises Giles by joining him in the park to apologize for being distant earlier. Unfortunately, her association with Giles is putting her in danger again, because there’s a vampire approaching them. Buffy gets sick of sitting in her room and decides to go out, but her window has been nailed shut. She doesn’t think the day can get any worse. “Beg to differ,” says Ted as he appears in her room.

He confirms that Buffy killed him and invites her to apologize. She asks what he is, but he just says he’s a salesman – a salesman who always bounces back, no matter what. He throws Buffy across the room. Back in the park, the vampire tackles Giles, who yells for Jenny to get a crossbow from his bag. She’ll just have to wait for a chance to take a shot without hurting Giles.

Ted puts his hand around Buffy’s neck and tells her he had to “shut down” for a while to get away from her. The intern who saw him get off the table at the morgue was pretty surprised. Now Ted’s ready to get to business. So is Jenny, who fires a stake at the vampire but accidentally gets Giles instead. Fortunately, he’s able to pull it out of his back and stake the vampire.

Buffy grabs a nail file from her dresser and uses it to cut a big gash in Ted’s arm. It reveals wires, and Ted starts glitching. He’s a robot! He goes back and forth between being super-nice and threatening Buffy again. When he hears Joyce coming, he kicks Buffy in the head and knocks her out. He assures Buffy that he and Joyce will be very happy.

The other Scoobies break into the place listed as Ted’s address, some kind of shop. His records show four marriage certificates and no divorces. Willow sees that one of those marriages happened in 1957, when Ted was way too young to get married. The place looks abandoned, and Cordelia comments that a rug on the floor doesn’t match the rest of the décor. That’s because it’s hiding a trapdoor.

Ted reveals himself to Joyce, who’s understandably confused. He tells her he was briefly dead but is okay now. It’s a miracle. Joyce promises that Buffy never meant to hurt Ted. He says Joyce doesn’t have to worry about Buffy or anything else: “Daddy’s here.” Joyce, run. Anyone who says that unironically is someone you don’t want to be associated with.

At the shop, the Scoobies go through the trapdoor and find a home setup straight out of the ’50s. In the closet Xander finds all the evidence he says they’ll need to prove that Ted is crazy. He won’t show the girls, which is good, because he’s found the bodies of Ted’s first four wives. In a closet? For decades? Don’t wanna know. Don’t wanna ask any more questions.

Back at the Summerses’, Ted tells Joyce he couldn’t die because he had to come back to her. She wants to talk to Buffy before she sees Ted, but Ted snaps that he’s the one they should be thinking about, since he died. Joyce apologizes, saying she doesn’t know what to do. Ted reminds her that he always tells her what to do. He glitches as he says they’ll go someplace where no one will ever bother them. Joyce suggests that he get some rest, but he says he doesn’t take orders from women – he’s “not wired that way.”

Thanks to Giles’ layers of tweed, the stake Jenny shot him with didn’t cause too much damage. She laughs about how they’ve spent their night, and it sounds like she’s ready to rekindle things. Meanwhile, Buffy regains consciousness as Joyce tries to talk Ted into having a celebratory drink. He tells her they need to get to the house he’s decorated just for her. He’s already packed her things, including clothes that he knows are her size because they always are. “You left me once, but I keep bringing you back,” he says. “Husband and wife is forever.”

Buffy’s door has been locked from the outside, but she just kicks a hole in it and the doorknob comes off. Joyce doesn’t appreciate Ted trying to rush her away, and he doesn’t appreciate her not listening to him, so he knocks her out and decides to carry her to their new home. He leaves her in the hallway when he hears creaking elsewhere in the house. Buffy ambushes him in the kitchen, hitting him with a frying pan. This takes off some of his skin, revealing his robot frame underneath. She hits him again, and his wires short out and he finally shuts down.

Sometime later, Buffy and Joyce hang out, making plans for a movie night. Joyce doesn’t want anything with romance or horror. She’s still edgy about Ted’s creepiness, but Buffy assures her that Ted is “on the scrap heap…of life.” At school, Xander sums it all up: There was originally a human Ted. His wife left him while he was dying, so he built a better Ted. Then he kidnapped his wife and held her hostage until she died. After that, he just replaced her over and over with other women.

Willow says that Ted was actually a genius with really advanced design ideas. Buffy guesses that she kept some parts. “You’re supposed to use your powers for good,” she admonishes. The Scoobies agree to stop talking about the weird robot serial killer and go back to their normal lives. As they’re about to enter the library, Buffy spots something through the window and complains that she can’t walk into a room with adults nowadays. The Scoobies walk away, leaving Giles and Jenny to make out in the library in peace.

Thoughts: Ted is played by the late John Ritter.

Do you think that, along with strength and fast healing abilities, one of the powers possessed by Slayers is having perfectly neat hair after a long fight with a vampire? That’s really the only explanation for it.

I’m surprised Giles is okay making out in the library. That’s like his church. It’s like Rory telling Lane not to talk about sex in front of books.

January 18, 2022

ER 10.6, The Greater Good: Policies Schmolicies

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

I wish I could’ve found a good picture of them with the puppy

Summary: Susan is reading The Red Badge of Courage out loud to Ben while he works on his miniatures. So basically, this is a remix of her plotline with Sean. Ben tells her she doesn’t have to keep coming over and hanging out with him. Susan casually says that she doesn’t have the book, as if reading it is the only reason she comes over. Ben says that Stephan Crane died of TB when he was just 29. “Cheery,” Susan and I both say.

Doc Magoo’s is now a kind of combo mini-mart/deli. Like Wawa! I miss Wawa. Frank’s a fan, since they’re giving away donuts to celebrate their opening. As he and Sam are heading back to the hospital after a coffee run, a woman named Denny gets out of a cab, asking for help. She’s 24 weeks pregnant and thinks she’s having a miscarriage. It’s not her first.

Jerry found some golden retriever puppies outside his building and has found homes for five of the six. Chen immediately falls in love with the remaining dog, but she can’t adopt her since her building doesn’t allow pets. Coop can’t have a dog because of his asthma. No one cares, Coop. A woman named Tara comes by with some food and gifts from a drug company, and Jerry gives her a spot where she can set up her stuff. Chen hands the puppy off to Lester, who asks what’s wrong with her, as if he thinks this is his next patient. On this show, that’s a fair assumption.

Pratt, Coop, and Malik are watching a police chase on TV when Sam pulls Pratt away to tend to Denny. Chen tells Lester that they’re hoping the carjacker is able to evade the police for a few more blocks – if he crashes, he’ll be out of their jurisdiction by then and they won’t have to take care of them. He crashes just then, because police chases always end in a crash, and the staff laments that he’ll end up at County.

Abby’s still on her surgical rotation, and she’s having trouble standing up to the ER staff when they try to talk her into taking patients up to surgery. Elizabeth tells her the ER staff is just trying to dump patients off on surgery so they can free up beds. She sends Abby to do a consult, telling her to be strong. In the ER, Luka is doing fast rounds again, and Romano is proud. He tells Luka to bill for plenty of treatments he’s not providing, so the hospital can make money.

Pratt gives Denny an ultrasound that shows that her baby is healthy and she hasn’t miscarried yet, though she’s already dilated two centimeters. Neela presents a case to him as he’s getting ready to tend to the driver from the police chase, Kevin. Kevin a guy who cut him off for ruining his escape. Another driver, Collins, is right behind him.

Susan and Sam notice that a bunch of male staff members are enjoying Tara’s company. One of Sam’s previous hospitals tried to ban these kinds of visits from drug reps, but the residents complained because they wanted the free food. Susan says that’s how the reps get the staff hooked – free stuff. She warns Sam to keep Luka away from Tara, since “he’s been known to give away free physicals.” Heh.

Sam goes back to the triage desk, where an angry guy complains about his bill. She calmly tells him she can’t help him with that. The guy yells that he waited 11 hours for some “quack” to tell him that his kid had a virus and would get better on his own. Sam pointedly asks if the kid did, in fact, get better on his own.

The guy demands to see the doctor whose care he so angrily objects to. It was Carter, so you’d think the guy would have to back down, since no one’s going to call Carter in the Congo and have him work this out. Instead, he slams a trash can against the window separating him from Sam. She continues keeping her calm, telling the guy that’s a bad idea, then waiting until a security guard handles the guy for her.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Zack who fell six feet and hurt his shoulder. He may need stitches in his head, too, and he tells Luka he doesn’t need anything to numb the pain. Pratt and Romano work on Collins, and Pratt asks Abby to start an IV. Abby’s there as a med student, not a nurse, so that’s not part of her responsibilities right now. Romano praises her for holding that boundary.

Next door, Chen oversees Coop and Neela as they work on Kevin. Amazingly, Chen keeps it professional with Neela. She goes to tell Abby that Kevin might need surgery, so Abby says she’ll call Elizabeth. Romano mocks her for calling “Mommy” and says he’ll make the decision. He sends Abby to Kevin instead of letting her intubate Collins. She doesn’t have time to do her consult before Romano comes over, so Romano has Neela join Pratt for something he needs while Abby does her job with Kevin.

Luka chats with Zack until a social worker named Ron arrives and reveals that Zack is a resident in a youth facility. He got hurt trying to run away during an outing. Zack refuses to go back to the facility. Ron says Zack has a conduct disorder and is off his medication. He tells Luka to give Zack Haldol. Zack is definitely angry and probably on the verge of getting violent, but sedation seems a little extreme. He begs Luka not to make him go back to the facility.

Luka gives Zack his stitches, and though Zack might regret not taking anything for the pain, he’s been on so many medications over the past few months that he doesn’t want anything else. This is the first day he’s felt normal in months. Luka can’t tell him whether he’ll help Zack stay out of the facility; he has to wait until Zack’s mother arrives.

Pratt’s waiting for a consult from neurology, but Luka doesn’t think it’s necessary since his patient’s scans are clear. Keeping her there is a waste of time and resources. Pratt’s also tending to the angry guy from the triage area, who’s complaining of chest pain. Luka asks him a few questions and determines that the guy just had an anxiety attack. He looks over his kid’s bill and decides he should have only been charged a few hundred dollars. Well, take it up with Carter.

Romano tells Luka that when insured patients come in, the staff charges for stuff they don’t necessarily need so they can make up for their losses with uninsured patients. “I thought I was his favorite,” Abby quips when Luka joins her at the admit desk. Tara tries to talk to them about an antibiotic she wants the hospital to stock, but Luka isn’t interested.

Susan tells Sam that Ben is coming in that afternoon so she can make sure he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication. Sam should let him in instead of making him wait in triage. Pratt presents Denny’s case to Susan, who thinks Denny is probably going to deliver prematurely, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Frank tells Pratt that Chen is flirting with Coop, so Pratt should step in. Apparently Frank’s decades as a cop made him an expert in body language.

As Jerry tries to get Susan to adopt the puppy, Neela presents a patient to Pratt. He agrees with her diagnosis and gives her some instructions, but Luka overrules him. The tests and medication are expensive, and the patient can be released without them. After Luka leaves, Pratt tells Neela to follow his original orders. Neela wisely turns to Susan, who tells her that Luka outranks Pratt.

Collins’ wife Patricia arrives, and Neela offers to take her to see her husband. She mentions organ donation, so now we know how things turned out for him. Abby says Neela’s starting to get on her nerves because she’s so perfect. Susan dismissively says she’s just a med student. Abby reminds Susan that she’s a med student, too. Susan jokes that Neela bugs her, too, and she and Abby can hate Neela together.

Denny’s continuing to have contractions, and Pratt tells her that she’s going to have the baby really early. Denny doesn’t want to have a preemie who will eventually get sick and die. Pratt tries to convince her that her baby has a chance, but Denny says she’s not having the baby this way. Pratt fills in Abby, Susan, and Luka, the latter of whom doesn’t think they should spend money on one baby when they’re shutting down a program to prevent lead poisoning, which would help a bunch of kids.

Pratt doesn’t know what to do, since Denny is adamant about not having the baby. Abby notes that the baby is above the hospital’s viability threshold for weight and weeks of development, so Denny doesn’t get a say anymore. The hospital will try to keep the baby alive no matter what she wants. Luka thinks the policy is ridiculous and Denny should go to a different hospital if she wants something different. Romano tells him this is an instance of natural selection. Susan advises Pratt to make a decision based on what’s in Denny’s best interest.

Luka goes back to Zack, whose mother has arrived. Luka tells her that her son is being overmedicated. She admits that she had a drug problem and let Zack run wild. The facility told her that the medications were necessary. Zack doesn’t think his behavior was bad enough to justify being sent away, but his mother was branded unfit, so it sounds like she overcorrected.

Ben hasn’t come by for his appointment, so Susan tries calling him. Neela tells her that Patricia refuses to agree to have her husband’s organs donated. She’s letting Patricia sit with his body for now. Abby tries to reassure Susan that Ben, who isn’t answering his phone, is fine. A doctor comes down from neonatology, but Denny isn’t in her bed. Pratt thinks Luka talked her into going to another hospital.

A cab driver comes in asking for help with a woman who’s bleeding in her backseat. Pratt and Luka run outside and find Denny there; she was trying to go to another hospital, but she realized the baby’s coming. The guys are mad at each other for following the rules/not following the rules. They rush Denny to a trauma room and quickly deliver the baby, a boy. Denny asks for them to let him die. She says she doesn’t want him.

Pratt wants to start working on the baby, but Luka says he needs to be weighed first – if he’s less than 500 grams, he’s considered unviable and they can let him die. Pratt tells Neela and Malik to prepare for intubation in case the baby’s over 500 grams. He is, so they continue working, even though Denny keeps protesting.

Abby checks on Patricia, who tells her that Collins’ sister is coming to say goodbye. Patricia hears all the action next door, and Abby tells her they’re working on a premature baby. Patricia sadly says that she and her husband were starting to try to get pregnant. Abby gently brings up organ donation, but Patricia doesn’t want to put him through more trauma. Abby tells her that his organs would save a lot of people. Patricia says her husband is very caring and generous, so donation is something he would want. She starts to come around as Abby gives her more details about how he could help others.

Susan calls the police to check on Ben as Alex shows up looking for Sam. He asks if they’ve seen any patients with weird disorders today. He claims he wants to be a doctor, but there’s no way that’s why he’s curious about weird disorders. Frank guesses that Alex is already dissecting neighborhood pets. Jerry offers to let Alex see the puppy, but Alex would rather visit the morgue. This isn’t a new request, and Sam has already told the staff not to take him there. Frank warns Jerry that Alex is probably getting into devil worship, and Jerry should keep an eye on the puppy.

Ben finally shows up, and he’s brought Susan flowers, so she can’t be too mad that he’s late. He also wants to give her The Red Badge of Courage. Susan tells Chen that she wants to make sure Ben is stable from his possible suicide attempt before she cuts off ties with him. Frank notes that the book is a first edition, which makes Chen think that Ben has a crush on Susan. Susan feels bad that he sacrificed everything for his career and has nothing left.

Denny’s not doing well, but OB’s taking their time coming to the ER. Weaver ducks in to complain that Zack is still waiting around. Luka’s been waiting on some labwork, but Weaver tells him it’s in. Luka says he doesn’t want to send Zack back to the facility. People are focusing on policies too much and forgetting that Zack is a human being. Weaver blows off Luka’s concerns and tells Neela to discharge Zack.

An OB finally arrives as Luka hands Denny off to Pratt. Pratt tells Denny that the baby is doing better than expected. Luka rushes to stop Ken from taking Zack back to the facility, but there’s not much he can do. A social worker with privileges at County authorized the Haldol, and Zack is totally out of it. All Luka can do is apologize to him.

Tara chooses this moment to try to talk to Luka again about medications, and since she’s heard about his time in the Congo, she offers to put together some packages for him. Luka asks why the drug company hasn’t been working on new malaria treatments instead of expensive antibiotics. It’s because there’s no profit in malaria drugs. Luka grabs a trash can and starts throwing out Tara’s free giveaways and food while he rants about her company. She says she’ll come back when he’s not as busy.

Susan returns Ben’s book, not wanting to accept such a pricey gift. She tells him it’s not really appropriate. Ben apologizes if he made her uncomfortable, but she assures him there are no hard feelings. Coop tries to chat with Chen again, and for the record, she tells him to call her Deb, even though a couple seasons ago she objected to that nickname. Sigh. Whatever. He wants to go out, but she has to take her parents to the airport.

Sam asks Jerry to find Alex, who definitely shouldn’t be allowed to wander around the hospital unsupervised. And he definitely shouldn’t be out of anyone’s sight long enough to go across the street to the mini-mart, which is where he is. Luka’s there, too, playing a video game that’s not alleviating his stress very well.

Pratt tells Denny that she’s going to be okay, and the baby is about to go up to the NICU. Denny doesn’t want to see him. Elizabeth’s been trying to reach Abby, who’s ignored her pages so she can stay with Patricia. She convinced Patricia to donate Collins’ organs. Elizabeth chastises her for missing out on opportunities related to her surgical rotation because she was doing things nurses usually do. She already does that stuff well. She needs to learn how to distance herself from her patients so she can be a good doctor.

Romano finds the puppy, which Susan has decided to take to Ben as a seeing-eye dog. Without any training. Without giving Ben a heads up. The dog isn’t even housebroken. Come on, Susan. Frank tells Sam that Alex is across the street at the jumbo-mart. That’s not a jumbo-mart, it’s mini! That’s why I called it a mini-mart! Alex is still hanging out with Luka, who bought him ice cream. That’s kind of weird on its own – don’t buy food for kids when their parents aren’t around! – but also a bad idea because it turns out Alex has diabetes. Sam’s understandably ticked at Luka.

Susan takes the puppy to Ben, who asks if she’s stalking him. Denny goes to see her baby, expecting him to die pretty soon, though it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going to happen. Susan and Ben go for a walk with the puppy and talk about their backgrounds a little. Apparently Susan’s mom died while Susan was off the show.

Ben thinks Susan’s father must be proud of her for being a doctor. She says they’re not close. Ben gets it – he has a daughter he hasn’t spoken to in years. Susan urges him to reconnect with her, but she blames him for things that happened when his wife died. Ben’s wife had cancer, and though they both knew she was going to die, he couldn’t accept the finality of her illness.

Sam continues yelling at Luka in the ER. Neela asks him for instructions for a patient, and he tells her to look at the price list on the back of her chart. She’s already performed a bunch of expensive tests when she could have done a thorough physical and given the patient a very inexpensive medication. Luka, hon, you’re mad at the healthcare system, not Neela.

Pratt’s annoyed that Luka discharged one of his patients without giving her a lumbar puncture. Luka says she didn’t need it. Pratt asks if Luka’s going to keep taking away his patients when Pratt doesn’t do things Luka’s way. Luka says that Pratt’s way of practicing method is inefficient. “And letting babies die is?” Pratt replies. Luka asks if he really thinks he saved the baby. He’ll probably need lifelong care. Will Pratt provide it?

Pratt says they’re not treating patients in a hut like he thinks Luka did in the Congo. They have technology and capabilities to treat patients, so why not use them? Luka says they could have treated a ton of other kids with all the money they would have saved by letting Denny’s baby go. Pratt reminds him that this is Chicago, not the Congo, and maybe Luka should go back to Africa. Luka replies that maybe Pratt should go there. Pratt understandably interprets that as a racist comment, but Luka means that Pratt will learn that there’s more to medicine than policies and bureaucracy.

Abby practices some sutures on Collins’ body after his organs have been harvested. She remembers her conversation with Patricia, and we get to hear more about how Collins’ organs will give other people new chances at life. People will see again, get their health back, and recover from conditions that used to be fatal. I guess you could say that Patricia’s decision to donate her husband’s organs fits with the title of the episode: It’s for the greater good.

Thoughts: Zack is played by Michael Angarano. Tara is played by Sarah Shahi.

Why is Susan getting the same plot she’s already done? Why isn’t her plot about her relationship with Chuck, who’s more interesting than half the main cast? (Okay, it looks like the real answer is that Donal Logue was on another show at the time, but still!)

Remember when Luka tried to force a woman to deliver her baby when she didn’t want to? What a difference three seasons and a trip to the Congo make.

The puppy falls asleep in Bob Newhart’s arms while Susan and Ben are on their walk, and it’s FREAKING ADORABLE.

January 15, 2022

Buffy 2.10, What’s My Line?, Part 2: Two Slayers, No Waiting

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:08 pm by Jenn

I’m not sure if beauty is a prerequisite for being a Slayer or if we only get to see the pretty ones

Summary: Buffy and Kendra are still poised to fight each other in Angel’s lair, though they’ve paused so Buffy can tell Kendra that claiming to be the Slayer only works if you’re not talking to the actual Slayer. Kendra warns that if Buffy kills her, she’ll be replaced by another Slayer. Each denies that the other could be the Slayer. Buffy calls a truce so they can go to Giles and figure things out.

Kendra says her Watcher sent her there to, you know, slay. Angel’s about to be one of her victims, as he’s still stuck in the storage cage, with the sun coming up and inching toward him. The girls head to the library, and Giles confirms that Kendra’s Watcher is a real person. He says there must be some misunderstanding. When Willow comes in, Kendra (no last name) orders her to identify herself. “Back off, Pink Ranger,” Buffy tells her. She explains that Willow’s a friend, a concept foreign to Kendra.

Giles tells her that there are some people who know that Buffy’s the Slayer. They hang out socially. Kendra’s surprised that Giles allows that, since the Slayer’s supposed to work in secret. Giles says he has to allow some flexibility when it comes to Buffy. They fill Willow in, wondering how there can be two Slayers, since traditionally, one is only called after the previous one dies. Giles remembers that Buffy did die, and apparently the length of that death doesn’t matter. Kendra can’t believe Buffy died. “Just a little,” Buffy says defensively.

She thinks this is easily fixed – Kendra’s not supposed to be there, so she can just go home. Buffy admits that having Kendra around creeps her out. Kendra won’t leave, since her Watcher gave her an assignment. A dark power is about to rise, and Kendra needs to stop it. Buffy asks what her plan is. Is she just going to attack people until she gets the right one, like she attacked Buffy?

Kendra says she thought Buffy was a vampire, since she saw her kissing another vampire. Willow objects, saying Buffy would never do that…well, except when she does that. Buffy explains that Angel’s a vampire, but a good one. Kendra knows him as Angelus, so she disagrees. Giles backs Buffy up, but Kendra says Angel looked like just another animal when she…she doesn’t want to finish that sentence.

Willy finds Angel in the cage and drags him out. He dumps him through a trapdoor into a sewer, where Spike and some minions are waiting. Spike pays Willy and warns him not to tell anyone about this. Willy asks what Spike plans to do with Angel. Spike jokes that he’s going to start with dinner and a movie since he doesn’t want to rush into anything.

At the Summerses’ house, Cordelia is chatting with Norman, still believing he’s just a makeup salesman. He’s getting impatient, since she’s not the girl he was looking for there. She spots a worm crawling out of his sleeve, and when Xander comes downstairs, Cordelia kicks Norman out. A bug crawls across Norman’s face, and Xander and Cordelia take off running. They’re just in time to escape as Norman explodes into a bunch of worms. He blocks them from leaving through the backdoor, so they lock themselves in the basement.

Buffy rushes to the cage where Kendra locked up Angel. Kendra notes that there are no ashes, which means Angel’s still alive, or at least he didn’t die in the cage. Willy arrives and Kendra attacks him, sensing that he’s a bad guy. Buffy confirms that he is, but they need to keep him alive and conscious so they can get information out of him. Willy says he and Angel are friends, so of course he didn’t let Angel die. He claims Angel went somewhere to recuperate.

Kendra buys it and says they should go back to Giles for more orders. Buffy says she doesn’t take orders – she does things her way. “No wonder you died,” Kendra quips. As they’re leaving, Willy asks if either girl has considered modeling. He has a friend who takes photos. They’re totally classy and artsy. Hey, creep, I don’t know how old Kendra is, but Buffy’s a teenager. Stop being gross.

Drusilla wakes from a dream about Spike doing something with a branding iron in Paris. There were worms in her baguette. Spike shows her that he’s captured Angel, which means they’re just hours from restoring Drusilla to her full health. They’ll kill Angel during that night’s new moon. As if Angel weren’t already suffering enough, now he has to watch the two of them make out. Drusilla asks to spend the rest of the day playing with Angel. And when she says “playing,” she doesn’t mean Pictionary.

Giles has spoken to Kendra’s Watcher, and they’ve agreed that she should stick around until they’ve dealt with the Spike situation. Buffy isn’t pleased. Giles thinks Spike and Drusilla’s desire to restore Dru’s health is the dark power Kendra has been told about. Kendra suggests that they simply kill Spike. But with the Order of Taraka lurking, there’s more than just Spike to worry about. Kendra’s read about the order, as well as tons of other stuff in the Slayer Handbook. Buffy and Willow have never heard of this handbook. Giles says it wouldn’t be any use in Buffy’s case, which offends her.

Giles obviously appreciates working with a Slayer who’s done her homework. Buffy brands Kendra a nerd. Giles tells Buffy that Snyder’s looking for her, so she needs to put in an appearance at the career fair. Kendra confirms that Buffy’s a student at Sunnydale High, as if they would just be hanging out there for no reason. She taunts that Buffy’s probably a cheerleader, too. How does Kendra know about cheerleaders but not friends?

As Kendra and Giles head off, Buffy complains to Willow about the new Watcher’s pet. She bets Giles wishes she were a book geek. Willow thinks Giles is enough of a book geek for both of them. (She doesn’t mention that since she herself is a book geek, she fills that role for Buffy anyway.) Willow assures Buffy that no one could ever replace her as Giles’ favorite. Buffy wonders if being replaced would be that bad. She could retire and let Kendra take over as the Slayer. Buffy could have a normal life.

Xander’s plan to escape Norman is to wait until Buffy saves him and Cordelia. Cordelia asks how she’ll even know where to find them. Xander reminds her that they’re in Buffy’s home, so the odds are pretty good that she’ll come across them sooner or later. Cordelia wants to check and see if Norman is still there. She doesn’t want to slack and let someone else save them. She yells that Xander’s a loser, and he says she’s an idiot for letting Norman inside in the first place.

After a little more shouting, Cordelia announces that she’s leaving – she’d rather get eaten by worms than spend another minute with Xander. Xander tells her to go already. She not surprised that he’s going to let a girl possibly go off to her doom. “Not just any girl. You’re special,” he replies. Cordelia can’t believe that she’s spending what could be her last moments on Earth with Xander. He hopes these are his last few moments on Earth. She calls him a coward. He calls her a moron. They both say they hate each other. And then…they kiss. When they pull apart, they agree that they need to get out of there.

They don’t hear anything at the door, so they make a run for it. The worms are still there, and Xander manages to outrun them, but Cordelia gets them all over her. Xander sprays her with a hose outside, maybe for a little longer than necessary. They’re able to make it to Cordelia’s car without any more wormy encounters.

Buffy and Willow go to the career fair, and Buffy notices that Oz is checking Willow out. Willow says he’s “expressing computer nerd solidarity.” He comes over to talk (Buffy gives them some privacy), and he and Willow discuss how they were both recruited for that software company but neither wants a job there, at least not right now. They have a good rapport and clearly like each other.

Buffy signs up at the law enforcement booth, but her time at the career fair doesn’t last long. As soon as the police officer running the booth confirms Buffy’s identity, she draws her gun. Buffy holds her off, but the officer gets off a few shots. Everyone nearby hides while Buffy faces off with the cop. Kendra arrives in time to help out, but after briefly taking Jonathan hostage, the cop is able to escape. Oz’s shoulder was grazed by a bullet, and he’s so stunned that he doesn’t know what to say. Jonathan asks if that was a demonstration.

In the library, where Willow tends to Buffy’s minor wounds, Buffy says that the cop was definitely an assassin from the Order of Taraka. Fortunately, Oz wasn’t hurt badly. Xander and Cordelia arrive (“Down, girl,” Buffy tells Kendra), and he asks who sponsored the career fair, “the British soccer fan association?” He starts telling the other Scoobies about his and Cordelia’s run-in with Norman, but he gets distracted when he realizes there’s a new face there. He teases Buffy that he knew her claim that she was the only Slayer was a cry for attention. Kendra is suddenly shy, since she’s never talked to a boy before.

Cordelia finds a worm in her hair and runs off to take a shower. Buffy comments that Xander has a bad history with bugs. The Scoobies acknowledge that the Order of Taraka is a serious threat, and Buffy says it’s a good thing they have Kendra, a serious threat in her own right. Giles has figured out what Drusilla needs for her cure – her sire and a new moon. Buffy knows who that sire is, which makes this even more serious. The ritual will kill Angel.

The Scoobies have five hours to figure out where the ritual will take place and stop it. Kendra reminds them that stopping Drusilla is their priority, not saving Angel. Xander tells her that Angel’s their friend (“except I don’t like him”). Buffy tells Kendra that they really have the same priority right now, so they should work together. Kendra agrees. Buffy is completely fed up with Spike and determined to take him down. Assassins are one thing, but she won’t stand for Spike messing with her boyfriend.

Drusilla tortures Angel with holy water while talking about her mother. It sounds like Angel starts to apologize, but Dru isn’t about to forgive him for killing her family. Back at the library, Giles is surprised to learn that there are 43 churches in Sunnydale. Willow says the Hellmouth makes people pray harder. Cordelia’s returned, having showered and changed clothes, and she and Xander look up bug people in some books.

In Giles’ office, Kendra criticizes Buffy for letting so many people know about her secret identity. She picks up a crossbow, and Buffy warns her to be careful with it. Kendra says she’s an expert in all weapons. Of course, she accidentally fires it, breaking a lamp. Giles asks if everything’s okay, and Buffy says Kendra “killed the bad lamp.” Kendra extends an olive branch, asking Buffy to show her how to use the crossbow later.

Xander finds info on Norman, who can only be killed when he’s in his bug state. He and Cordelia bicker some more. The other Scoobies must find them exhausting. Kendra tells Buffy that she was taught that things like friendship and school distract Slayers from their calling. Kendra isn’t even allowed to have contact with her family. Her parents sent her to live with her Watcher when she was young. Her people take the calling that seriously. But Kendra doesn’t feel sorry for herself and doesn’t want Buffy to, either.

Buffy says it sounds lonely. Kendra tells her that emotions are weaknesses, so Buffy shouldn’t even think about them. Buffy disagrees – her emotions give her power. Kendra would rather “keep an even mind.” Buffy says that explains Kendra’s flawless technique, but Buffy would have won if they’d fought each other. Kendra has no imagination. You have to know how to improvise and adapt.

Kendra thinks she could beat Buffy in a fight right now. Buffy smiles, since she’s introduced Kendra to anger, something that will fuel her fighting abilities. Xander comes in, and Kendra gets quiet again. Buffy guesses that she’s never gone on a date. Kendra isn’t even allowed to talk to boys. Buffy notes that she’s allowed to beat them up, though, thinking of Willy. She realizes that Willy might be able to tell them something.

Drusilla continues torturing Angel until Spike comes to get them for the ritual. Angel gets in a jab about their sex life, getting under Spike’s skin because Angel and Drusilla used to sleep together. Spike grabs a stake and raises it to kill Angel, but Drusilla reminds him that they need him for the sacrifice. Spike realizes that Angel was trying to anger him so he and Drusilla couldn’t do the ritual, which would in turn protect the Scoobies. Instead, Angel will die a horrible death, and Spike and Drusilla will take over Sunnydale.

Buffy and Kendra go to Willy’s bar and interrogate him. Kendra urges Buffy to use violence. Willy says he’ll take the Slayers to the place where the ritual will happen. Kendra thinks they should consult with Giles first, but Buffy knows they don’t have time. Angel’s life is on the line. Kendra warns that Buffy’s relationship clouds her judgment. Buffy reminds her that Angel’s going to die. Kendra replies that he’s a vampire, so he should die. Buffy takes Willy and heads off without her.

At the church, Buffy comes face to face with the assassin who tried to kill her. Norman is also there, along with some vampire minions. In the sanctuary, Spike starts the ritual, which involves stabbing the du Lac cross through Angel and Drusilla’s hands so his blood will flow into her. Willy comes in with Buffy, thinking he’s doing Spike a favor by bringing the Slayer to him. Spike tells Buffy that in about five minutes, Angel will be dead. Buffy won’t live that long.

Spike is going to let the assassins take care of Buffy, but before anyone can make a move, Kendra bursts in. That means that despite having minions, Spike’s really outnumbered. “Two Slayers,” Kendra says. “No waiting,” Buffy finishes. Kendra fights Spike while Buffy takes on the assassins. The Scoobies show up to help out with the minions. Xander lures Norman out to the hall, and once he’s turned into his bug form, he and Cordelia start stomping on him.

Buffy and Kendra swap opponents, with Kendra fighting the cop while Buffy takes on Spike (which both of them say they prefer anyway). Willy tries to escape, but Spike stops him. Buffy rushes to free Angel from the ritual, and when Spike goes to stop her, Willy’s able to run away. Now only the cop is left, and she slashes a tear in Kendra’s sleeve. Kendra’s upset because it’s her favorite shirt. Make that her only shirt. Dang, Kendra’s Watcher, get your girl some more clothes.

Spike lights the church on fire so he can create a diversion and escape with Drusilla. He hopes she got enough of Angel’s blood to restore her health. Buffy grabs a…thing (I think the thing you put incense in? I’m not Catholic, in case that’s not clear) and flings it at Spike, hitting him in the head. He collapses against an organ, and the whole thing comes crashing down on him and Drusilla. Buffy tends to Angel, and Kendra, surprisingly, helps her get him out of the burning church. I guess they all assume that Spike and Drusilla are dead, and if they’re not, the fire will eventually take care of them.

Willow runs into Oz at school the next day and he offers her an animal cracker. She hopes his arm injury won’t interfere with his guitar playing. She helps him open his box of cookies, since his arm is in a sling, and thanks him for protecting her from the assassin. Oz doesn’t like being thanked, since it embarrasses him, so Willow tells him to forget it.

He shows her a monkey animal cracker and notes that the monkeys are the only ones that get to wear clothes. When Willow smiles, he tells her she has the sweetest smile he’s ever seen. They continue talking about animal crackers and how the other animals might be jealous of the monkeys for getting to have clothes. Also, all monkeys are French.

Xander pulls Cordelia into a classroom so they can talk about how awkward things are now that they’ve kissed. They can’t agree on who kissed who. They still hate each other, and they don’t want to kiss ever again. They also won’t ever tell anyone what happened. They plan to forget all about it. Then they kiss again.

Buffy has given Kendra one of her shirts and is sending her home. Kendra plans to not tell her Watcher about Buffy’s relationship with a vampire. She admits that Angel’s cute, so Buffy says maybe she won’t get fired for dating him. Kendra notes that Buffy always talks about slaying like it’s a job when it’s who she is. Buffy taught her that. Buffy knows she can’t fight her destiny, but at least she’s not the only one in her position anymore.

Back at the church, Spike and Drusilla are still alive. Spike’s hurt, but thanks to the ritual with Angel, Drusilla’s back to her full strength. She’ll make sure Spike recovers as well.

Thoughts: I wish we knew more about how/why some Slayers-in-waiting know they’re Slayers-in-waiting while others, like Buffy, are blindsided when they’re activated. How many Slayers-in-waiting are there in the world? And how do some of their families know while Joyce and Hank are in the dark?

I love the twist that the third assassin was at the school the whole time. You can’t see it coming.

The music is part of what makes Xander and Cordelia’s kisses so great, so here are the scenes with all the elements.

January 11, 2022

ER 10.5, Out of Africa: In Transition

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

Oh, Henry. If only you were a real wizard and could have used magic to stop what’s about to happen

Summary: Luka is on an El train, on his way to his first shift back at County after his ordeal in the Congo and recovering from malaria. Life in Chicago is a lot different from where he just was – no El trains, loud music, or people worrying about stocks in Kisangani or Matenda. Luka smiles at a poster advertising a stage production of The Lion King.

The ER is crazy, but at least most of the crazy is now contained to the triage area. “New furniture, same patients,” Chuny tells Luka. As soon as he steps out of the triage area, Frank tells him to call Weaver. Luka meets Morris (ick, sorry about him, Luka), then takes his time before having to check in with Weaver. Frank comments that everyone’s wild because it’s Halloween. Yeah, because normally, it’s really calm there.

A woman named Mrs. Martin bangs on the triage window until Luka opens the door for her. Her baby, Adam, fell out of a shopping cart, and Mrs. Martin isn’t sure if he hit his head. Her older son, Henry, who’s about 11, says he did hit his head, but he didn’t cry. Luka decides he should be examined ASAP. Me, realizing which episode this is: “Oh, no. Ohhhhhhhh, no.”

A woman named Sam Taggart arrives, looking for Abby. Frank tells her Abby’s off today, so she should come back tomorrow. Down the hall, an angry patient starts trashing an exam room he was locked inside until he could calm down. A security guard wants to pepper spray him, but Pratt notes that the spray will affect other people. He tells Chuny to give the guy some Haldol instead.

Pratt and Coop grab a mattress they can use to hold the guy down while Morris injects him. The holding-down part goes fine, but Morris hesitates to use the Haldol. Wandering down the hall, Sam grabs the syringe and does the job for him. Romano arrives and hopes Sam works there. Fortunately, she does – she’s a nurse.

Sometime later, Sam takes a turn as triage nurse, managing to calmly handle all the impatient patients (…heh), including one who calls her “little girl.” Romano asks what today’s excuse is for the waiting area being “a stinking, overpopulated cesspool of humanity.” Sam suggests it’s the health care system. He tells her that if she wants, she can stab a staff member in the neck, which will make all the patients head somewhere else. Sam asks Morris to examine someone, but he finds an excuse to do something else, as he constantly does.

Romano asks Frank which doctor he should be angry with today. Frank tells him Luka is back, and Romano calls him Colonel Kurtz. Susan admires Romano’s new arm, and he offers to give her a demonstration of what it can do. Susan smoothly says he’ll have to buy her a drink first. I get the feeling Susan has never let sexual harassment get to her in her life.

Luka works with Neela but dismisses Morris when he offers his help. Luka tells Mrs. Martin that they’ll get a CT of Adam’s head and then wait until he wakes up. Neela asks if she can draw Adam’s blood, but Morris says it’s not a good case for a student. He assures Mrs. Martin that while Neela’s a student, Morris himself is a doctor. Yeah, that doesn’t mean you want him around your baby, ma’am.

Back at the admit desk, Romano is showing off how his arm works. Pratt calls him Robo-Doc. Romano tells Pratt to do his job. They bicker about Pratt making doctors in other departments mad, but Pratt doesn’t let it get to him. Romano continues doing demonstrations, but he squeezes a vial of something too hard and it breaks. Susan quips that he shouldn’t use that arm to do a rectal exam.

Adam is having trouble breathing, so Morris decides they should intubate him. Neela thinks they should get Luka. Luka’s on the phone with Weaver, who’s annoyed that she’s had to wait to talk to him, like, he’s working, Kerry. Chill. Chuny pulls him back into the trauma room in time to stop Morris from intubating Adam. Susan checks in, but Luka has everything under control. He tells Morris why intubation would have been a bad idea, teaching him while also chastising him for moving too fast.

In the hallway, Mrs. Martin tells Susan that she was in a rush because she forgot to buy hot dogs for Henry’s school’s barbecue, and she must not have strapped Adam into the cart right. Susan sends Henry to get his mother a drink so she can talk to Mrs. Martin alone. Mrs. Martin admits that she’s been taking Zoloft, and maybe she’s having a bad reaction to it. She and her husband are going through a divorce, and he’s trying to take away their kids.

Susan reluctantly asks if Mrs. Martin has been drinking. Mrs. Martin says no, but Susan can smell alcohol on her. She asks Mrs. Martin to take a blood alcohol test to prove her claim that she’s not drunk. When Mrs. Martin asks if Susan can make her take it, Susan says that’s not a good reply. Mrs. Martin begs not to take the test, saying she just made a mistake.

Susan leaves to examine a man named Ben whose neighbor called an ambulance when he didn’t answer his door. He’s a little imbalanced and his heart isn’t stable. He may have taken too much of his heart medicine. Luka joins Gallant to tend to a man with a knee injury. Gallant wants him to get an x-ray, but Luka determines that he doesn’t need one. He explains to Susan that without x-rays in the Congo, he learned different ways to diagnose.

Susan tells him that she thinks Mrs. Martin has been drinking, so they should call a social worker. Since Adam needs to be admitted overnight, Luka advises her to let another department handle the family so they can continue seeing patients. Susan notes that they’ll fall through the cracks. Luka wants to avoid a “bureaucratic mess,” but Susan doesn’t want the family to come back after another incident. Luka gives in.

Neela presents a patient to Luka, brushing off the patient’s comment that she speaks English “good” with, “Better than you, in fact.” I think Susan is rubbing off on her. As they’re talking, Romano asks if Pratt is in a trauma room with Susan. Neela tells him it’s Gallant, and Romano says he always gets Gallant and Pratt confused. “Must be the goatee,” he says. Sure. We believe you. Luka tells Neela she can discharge her patient; he can come back if his labs are abnormal, but there’s no point in him waiting around. Romano comments that he should send everyone to the Congo to learn how to work more efficiently.

He takes Pratt to a patient he needs to be discharged, but Pratt wants to wait for a surgical consult. Romano says he’ll do it, but Pratt would prefer someone who still has surgical privileges. Abby arrives wearing a white lab coat and says she’s the surgical consult. She’s gone back to med school and has started her surgical rotation. That explains the loan she wanted her ex to co-sign – she needed tuition money. “You waited three-and-a-half hours…for Abby?” Romano asks Pratt. Abby smiles to herself.

After the consult, Abby tells Susan that this seemed like the right time to go back to med school. She only has a year left anyway. As soon as she paid her tuition, she was put right back into rotation. Thanks to Elizabeth’s familiarity with Abby, she’s already being trusted to do consults. Abby will still take some nursing shifts for the money, so she’s going to be pretty stressed and tired. Susan teaches her a mnemonic, then happily tells Sam that Abby’s there from the OR when she needs a consult.

Luka admires how Abby looks in her coat as she tries to shift from nurse responsibilities to doctor responsibilities in a trauma setting. Romano calls Elizabeth for her so she can determine whether the patient needs surgery. Then he interrupts to tell Elizabeth that the patient will be going up to the OR, and Abby didn’t need to ask her first.

He tells her to do something nurse-like, but Sam says she’ll do it. Romano calls her “Miss Haldol” and tells her he finds mute girls covered in blood sexy, so she should keep her head down and her mouth shut. “You sound just like a guy I used to date,” Sam replies. “He’s dead.” Luka steps in, offering to show Abby how to do a procedure. Romano tells him to skip the mentoring, then gives Abby another nurse instruction. She struggles to keep her cool but manages to ignore him and keep doing her job.

Susan tells Mrs. Martin that Adam’s CT looks promising, but they still have to wait until he wakes up to know for sure that he’s okay. She warns that a social worker is coming to talk to Mrs. Martin. Mrs. Martin says that never helps, indicating that there have been other incidents. She insists that nothing was every that major.

Romano keeps overseeing Luka’s patient until he finally announces it’s time to stop working on him and take him to surgery. Fortunately, Frank calls Romano away, leaving the others in peace. Luka then leaves to talk to Weaver, like, talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire. Abby’s the highest-ranking person in the trauma room now. Sam blows off Neela for knowing less than her, which is the opposite of how it usually is, with med students embarrassing themselves by thinking they know more than nurses.

Weaver wants Luka to commit to working 36 hours a week. While they’re talking, a woman named Athena is hoping to be seen next, and Morris is still slacking. Luka offers to do six 12-hour shifts a week, which would actually be a break from his seven 18-hour shifts in the Congo. Also, he needs the money. Weaver asks for a month’s notice the next time Luka wants to leave town for a long stretch. He gives her double that, saying he’ll be going back to the Congo in two months. He doesn’t know how long he’ll be gone. Weaver approves the arrangement.

Mrs. Martin talks to Susan and a social worker, Ken, about how Henry burned his hand two months ago while he was home alone. Mrs. Martin explains that she had a job interview and was only gone an hour. But no one picked Henry up from school one day, and a teacher had to take him home. Mrs. Martin says her husband dropped the ball.

Ken tells her that based on this pattern and Susan’s suspicions about Mrs. Martin’s drinking, Adam and Henry will be removed from Mrs. Martin’s home and sent to live with their father full-time until she can get herself together. Ken says the case will probably be resolved within six months. Mrs. Martin tells him and Susan that she had breakfast with her lawyer, and he ordered her a Bloody Mary. He told her everything would be okay.

Neela hangs out with Henry, who carries a drumstick around with him as kind of a magic wand. Not that he really believes in magic. Mrs. Martin comes in to say goodbye just as the boys’ father arrives. Henry tells him what happened, and Susan and Neela tells him that Adam’s awake and showing signs of a good prognosis. Mr. Martin tells his ex that she’s free to screw up her own life, but not their children’s. Mrs. Martin says it was an accident – she was upset. Mr. Martin points out that nothing is ever her fault. She storms out.

Elizabeth is upstairs, operating with Dorset, when the reason they’ll never make it as a couple (and the reason this is his last episode) comes out via a nurse relaying a phone message: He’s married. Abby’s there, and we know she knows Elizabeth and Dorset have been dating, so that’s some gossip she can share with Susan later.

Back in the ER, Susan checks in with Ben, who has vision problems thanks to macular degeneration. She busts him for overdosing on his heart medication and asks if he’s suicidal. He’s 71 and going blind – he doesn’t think suicidal thoughts are abnormal. Susan wants him to talk to a psychiatrist, and he determines that if he volunteers to do so, she won’t keep him there involuntarily (basically, do this or I’ll make you). She tells him he’ll only be there a few hours, but if she has him put on a psych hold, he’ll be there for days. Kind of an easy choice, huh?

Mrs. Martin could also use a psychiatrist, but instead, she’s being left alone while Mr. Martin and Henry stay with Adam. Henry goes looking for his mother to let her know his brother’s waking up. She leaves the ER, passing Susan and Luka in the ambulance bay and telling them she forgot something in her car. That something is a bottle wrapped in brown paper.

Morris and Coop come back from a break, Morris complaining that he hates County. Yeah, well, County hates you, too. Go away. They pass Mrs. Martin’s car, where she’s locking the doors. Instead of a bottle of alcohol, the brown paper holds a bottle of lighter fluid. She pours it on herself and then lights a match. Henry runs out into the ambulance bay just in time to see his mother lighting herself on fire. And now you know why I said “oh, no” when I realized which episode this was.

Luka races to the car as Susan tells a nurse to take Henry back inside. Luka breaks a window with a gurney, and Susan grabs a blanket from an ambulance so he can open the car door without burning himself. Mrs. Martin is still alive and able to get out of the car, but she’s completely on fire. Luka and Coop smother the flames with the blanket until Susan puts them out with a fire extinguisher. Morris, as usual, does nothing.

They get Mrs. Martin to a trauma room, but she looks really bad. Like, super-bad. Horrific. Catastrophic. Hold on, let me grab a thesaurus. Horrendous. Okay, you get it. Luka tells her they need to put a tube down her throat, so she won’t be able to talk. When she asks how long she’ll be intubated, he doesn’t answer. She guesses she’s going to die. Luka asks if she wants to be intubated, and she says she wants to talk to Henry first.

Morris is, as usual, completely useless, and even throws up while Luka, Susan, and Sam are doing their jobs. Coop determines that Mrs. Martin only has a 10 percent chance of survival. Even then, she’ll probably get an infection and die from that. Coop thinks she deserves the right to refuse care, but Susan says that since she’s suicidal, she doesn’t get a say.

Dorset slams the nurse who outed him as married, like, she’s not the one who’s having an affair. Don’t be a child. He tries to talk to Elizabeth, starting off with the excuse that his wife is currently in Boston. That doesn’t help, and neither does the news that she’s still in med school. Elizabeth asks if he hid pictures of his wife when he had her over. He asks if Elizabeth is going to call her and rat him out.

She goes to the lounge, looking for coffee, and Abby offers her a cup. She tries to strike up a conversation about their patient, indicating that she’s not going to say anything about Elizabeth and Dorset. Elizabeth can’t believe she worried that she was dating too soon after Mark’s death when the real problem was the person she was dating. Abby brainstorms names to call Dorset, finally cracking Elizabeth up when she suggests “wanker.” Elizabeth says she knew he was a bad guy. Abby tells her there’s no shame in that.

Luka, Susan, and Sam keep working on Mrs. Martin, deciding not to intubate her until she’s seen her kids. Luka offers to talk to Mr. Martin, but Susan says she’ll do it. She’s distressed about the whole situation and doesn’t like the thought of Henry seeing his mother like this. Luka thinks he could also be traumatized by never seeing her again. He tells Susan that she was right to look out for the kids. Susan can’t agree with her own actions, since things are turning out like this.

She goes to talk to Mr. Martin, who’s shocked that his wife would do something like this. He says that Mrs. Martin told Henry to lie – they went to buy beer, not hot dogs. Susan assures Mr. Martin that Adam will be okay, so at least there’s some good news. He regrets filing for custody instead of just grabbing the kids and running.

Susan tells him that Mrs. Martin wants to see Henry. She gets that Mr. Martin is angry, but his ex is going to die, and he needs to decide what’s best for the kids in the long run, even if that means seeing their horrendously burned mother so she can say goodbye. Henry speaks up, saying he doesn’t want to see her. Susan assures him that they won’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to.

At the admit desk, Sam, Coop, and Morris discuss Mrs. Martin’s actions. Morris and Coop think she’s nuts for doing what she did, but Sam gets how the threat of losing your children could make you crazy. Pratt flirts with her, so it’s a good thing Chen isn’t in this episode. Morris’ shift is over, but he doesn’t want to leave and be branded a wuss. Pratt tells him it’s too late for that.

Romano proves that he can still do some stuff with his prosthetic arm, though Pratt wants to make the stitches he just gave someone a little cleaner. Ben asks to talk to Susan, since he’s still waiting for his psych consult. We get a shot from his point of view, which shows that things are blurry in his periphery, and the middle of his visual field is just one big blob. He decides to discharge himself.

Athena finally gets to see a doctor when she’s brought back in by paramedics. Morris doesn’t want to admit to not seeing her hours ago for what he thought was a hangover and cut on her head. She waited 11 hours and left without being seen. It turns out she has a massive head injury and is now critical. Morris, to his credit, steps up to try to fix his mistake, but he’s not great at being a doctor, so Luka takes over.

Susan and Neela bring Adam into Mrs. Martin’s trauma room so she can see him for probably the last time. Good thing he’s a baby and will never remember this. Neela tells Mrs. Martin that he’s going to be fine. Mrs. Martin asks about Henry, then guesses he’s not going to come see her. She decides it’s better that way. She asks Neela to help her write her older son a letter. She asks him to try to forget what happened and just remember that his mother loved him.

Morris does all he can for Athena, but Luka decides they can’t save her. Just a five-minute exam would have picked up that she had a brain bleed, and they could have gotten her to the OR. Luka tells Morris that Athena had nowhere else to go. “If we can’t find a way to take care of people like her, nobody will,” he says.

Morris flees the ER as a patient in the hallway yells for help. He comes back and wheels the patient’s gurney out to the ambulance bay. Coop follows, and Morris announces that he’s quitting. Coop says they didn’t come this far for Morris to just walk away. Morris replies that he only got this far because Coop carried him. Pratt comes outside and tells Coop to let Morris go. Coop thinks Pratt is just testing Morris, but he’s not. Pratt tells Coop that not everyone is cut out to be a doctor.

Susan tries to call Ben, and when he doesn’t answer, she calls the police to report a possible suicide. Some paramedics are leaving after bringing in a patient, so she asks them for a ride to Ben’s house. He’s there, completely fine – he probably didn’t answer the phone because he’s listening to loud music while painting some miniatures.

Outside the hospital, Abby and Elizabeth chat with Sam, who tells them working at County is different from her last few jobs, but nothing she can’t handle. Here, she gets more pauses in the action. She confirms that Abby’s “in transition” between nurse and doctor, and says it’s a good place to be. Abby and Elizabeth invite her to get something to eat with them, but Sam’s shift isn’t over, and she’s waiting for her “guy.” That would be her son, Alex, not a boyfriend or husband. Alex is about ten and really annoying.

Inside, Luka pulls a Mark, mobilizing Neela, Coop, and Gallant to help him clear out the waiting area. He promises that by 10:00, everyone will have been seen. At Ben’s, he tells Susan he kept his promise to wait to see a psychiatrist, but no one ever showed up. He used to make architectural models, but he had to stop when his vision started worsening. Now he makes miniatures as a hobby. Susan offers to arrange help for Ben around the house, but he doesn’t seem interested. She makes him promise not to kill himself in the next 72 hours. “But Monday would be okay?” he replies. He promises to stay alive.

Luka does fast rounds with Coop, Neela, and Gallant’s patients, and though Romano thinks they’re a little crazy, he can’t argue with the results. Luka may be back in Chicago, but he’s brought his Congo experiences back with them and is proving that you don’t need expensive tests and supplies to practice medicine.

Thoughts: Ben is played by TV legend Bob Newhart, who got an Emmy nomination for this role. Ken is played by Daniel Dae Kim.

I find Sam pretty annoying in her early days, but after that I warm up to her, and eventually kind of like her. My feelings for Linda Cardellini never change, though – I love her.

I like how Susan handles checking in with Luka. As soon as she’s sure he has his trauma case under control, she deals with the family. It’s like she’s letting Luka know she trusts him to handle things and is ready to be back at work without actually saying it.

January 8, 2022

Buffy 2.9, What’s My Line?, Part 1: The Rest of Your Life

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

If she can love him like this, it’s true love

Summary: Willow arrives at school in a good mood and signs up for the upcoming career fair. Everyone’s taking career-aptitude tests. Xander’s stumped by a question about whether he’s a people person or likes to be with others. He’s a people person but is often alone for reasons he can’t control. Buffy tells him to mark “none of the above,” which isn’t an option. Willow joins them as Xander complains that a multiple-choice test isn’t a good indicator of what they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives.

Willow’s curious about what kind of career she could have. Xander would prefer to be in the dark so he can continue being spontaneous and dumb. Cordelia comes by, reading a question on the test about whether she wants to help other people. She says yes, as long as those people aren’t dirty or gross. Xander mocks her, of course, and she mocks him back. “Is murder always a crime?” Xander wonders out loud.

Buffy can’t decide whether she likes shrubs. That right there tells me this is a bogus test. She figures it doesn’t matter anyway, since her destiny has already been determined. She’ll be killing vampires for free for the rest of her life. But Snyder is making her take the test, so here she is. Willow thinks Buffy must be at least a little curious about what kind of job she’s suited for, even if she’ll never have that job. Buffy doesn’t see the point in even thinking about it. Unless Hell freezes over and all the vampires in town leave, Buffy’s future is sealed.

Spike is consulting with a vampire named Dalton who’s trying to decipher a book. Drusilla is reading tarot cards and wants some alone time with her boyfriend. Spike’s frustrated because the book should hold the key to a cure for Drusilla, but Dalton isn’t having any luck with it. Spike tells Drusilla they’re running out of time – Buffy keeps interfering. Drusilla’s sure that Spike will solve everything.

Dalton determines that the book isn’t in a language he can read. In fact, he’s not sure it’s a real language. Spike beats him up, trying to inspire him to work harder. Drusilla consults her cards and announces that Dalton can’t help without “the key.” No, no, that’s not until season 5. The book is written in code, and they’ll find the key in a mausoleum. To celebrate, Spike dances with Drusilla, promising to dance with her again on Buffy’s grave.

That night, Buffy catches Dalton chipping away at something in a mausoleum. She patiently waits for him to come out, but he runs off while she’s fighting another vampire. Angel’s waiting in her room when she gets home, and she teases him for holding her stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo. She tells him Joyce is out of town, so they don’t have to whisper. (She’s sneaking in her bedroom window out of habit.)

Angel says he wanted to make sure Buffy was okay because he had a bad feeling. She thinks that means he has bad news. She apologizes for being grumpy; the career fair is getting to her. Angel knows all about it already: “I lurk.” Buffy’s frustrated that everyone else is playing What’s My Line? while she has her future already set in stone. She wishes she had a normal life, like she had before.

Angel thinks she means she wants the life she had before she met him. No, sweetie, she means before she became the Slayer. Buffy assures him that he’s the best part of her weird life. She just wishes they could be normal teens sometimes. Well, a regular kid and her “cradle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend.”

He spots a picture of her ice skating as a kid, and she admits that she went through a big Dorothy Hamill phase. She used skating as an escape when her parents started fighting. It’s been a while since she skated, but Angel knows of a rink that’s closed on Tuesdays. Conveniently, tomorrow is Tuesday.

At school the next day, Cordelia is thrilled to see that the careers she’s most suited for are personal shopper or motivational speaker. She laughs at Xander’s results. He tells Buffy and Willow he’s been pegged as a future prison guard. Buffy notes that at least he’ll be on the right side of the bars. So will she, as she’s been assigned to learn more about law enforcement. That makes perfect sense.

Buffy says she’ll jump off that bridge when she comes to it. First she has to meet with Giles, who’s become super-efficient and wants to see her every day after homeroom. Willow asks Xander where she was assigned. He tells her she wasn’t on the list telling them which seminar to attend. That confuses and worries her.

Buffy goes to the library, where Giles has been indexing past Watchers’ diaries. She tells him about Dalton’s theft but doesn’t know what he took. Giles chastises her for not trying to find out what it was. Buffy tells him that if he doesn’t like the way she does her job, he can find someone else to do it. Oh, right, there’s no one else as long as Buffy’s alive. She could just die. Giles isn’t amused that she’s joking about that. Buffy says her life might as well be over, since she doesn’t get to control it. Giles ask her to hold off on introspection until they find out what Dalton stole.

It’s a cross, and Drusilla can sense that it has some sort of power. Spike tells her they’ll have a big party when she’s well. Dalton’s worried that Buffy will interfere yet again. Spike complains about how she always does; they’ll never cure Drusilla with Buffy around all the time. He decides to call in some bounty hunters from the Order of Taraka. Drusilla’s tarot cards show three of them coming. Dalton thinks that’s overkill, but Spike says it’s “just enough kill.”

Willow and Xander suck up to Snyder for putting on a great career fair, hoping to distract him from noticing that Buffy’s not attending (since she’s gone on a field trip with Giles). Snyder doesn’t fall for it. He tells Xander that everything he says is “a waste of breath, an airborne toxic event.” Xander appreciates Snyder’s honesty and hopes to be in the position to be just as honest with him someday.

Xander leaves Willow for his seminar, and two guys in suits come by to take her to a private space with classical music and canapes. She’s been chosen to meet with a recruiter for a software company. She’s told that the aptitude test was irrelevant; the company has been keeping an eye on Willow for a while. They’re very selective, and only one other Sunnydale student has met their criteria: Oz. He’s finally alone with the girl he keeps thinking about.

Giles and Buffy go to the mausoleum to find out what Dalton stole. She’s upset with him for being critical of her. He tells her she can be the Slayer and have a job, like he’s a Watcher and a librarian. Buffy thinks that makes sense, though – those two positions “go together like chicken and…another chicken.” There’s nothing out there for her that fits with being the Slayer. Giles suggests law enforcement. She’s not amused.

In the mausoleum, Giles sees that Dalton broke into a reliquary, a spot that houses meaningful religious artifacts. Sometimes those artifacts are things like a saint’s finger. “Note to self: Religion freaky,” Buffy says. He spots the name on the mausoleum, du Lac, and realizes they’re dealing with someone who was so evil, he was excommunicated and sent to Sunnydale.

The book that was stolen from the library was also by du Lac. It contains spells and rituals that bring forth evil. It was written in archaic Latin, and only people from du Lac’s sect can understand it. Buffy thinks that’s okay, since chances are good that no one can read the book. But Giles thinks someone must have the key to decode it, which means something bad is coming their way.

A big, unfriendly-looking guy arrives in town via bus. Meanwhile, a salesman named Norman Pfister offers one of Buffy’s neighbors some free makeup samples. After she lets him in her house, she screams. At the airport, a crewman finds someone stowing away in a plane. It’s a young woman (Kendra) who beats him up, then sneaks away.

Back at school, Buffy and Giles fill Xander and Willow in on what they’re dealing with. The cross Dalton stole is called, fittingly, the du Lac Cross (which Xander thinks is a weak name). It’s basically a decoder ring for the book. It’s the only one that still exists; du Lac destroyed the others out of fear that they would fall into the wrong hands. The Scoobies’ best bet is discovering what’s in the book before Dalton does.

Giles wants the group to stay as long as necessary to find out what’s in the book, but Buffy excuses herself, since she has that skating date with Angel. She points out that she’s not very helpful with the book stuff anyway. Willow backs her up, and Giles doesn’t put up a fight. Only Xander thinks Buffy should stay, partly because she usually provides snacks.

Buffy gets to the rink before Angel and skates around for a little while. (Sarah Michelle Gellar was a competitive skater before she got into acting.) The big guy from the bus is watching her, but she doesn’t notice until she takes a fall and he’s able to grab her. Angel arrives in time to save her, though Buffy then saves him by slitting the guy’s throat with her skate. In her lair, Drusilla turns over the guy’s tarot card, having sensed that he’s dead. Spike isn’t worried, since they’re close to decoding the manuscript.

Angel recognizes the guy’s ring and tells Buffy she’s in danger. She needs to go home and wait until she hears from him. Buffy’s worried about a cut on Angel’s forehead, but he just wants her to go somewhere safe. He also doesn’t want her to touch him while he’s vamped out. Buffy doesn’t mind, and she says she didn’t even notice. They kiss as Kendra watches them from across the rink.

Buffy takes the ring to Giles, who also recognizes it. Assassins from the Order of Taraka are after Buffy. Xander makes quips about the group until Giles tells him this is a serious matter. Buffy wonders why the assassins are after her; she hasn’t killed that many vampires lately. Giles agrees with Angel that she needs to hide somewhere.

Buffy asks if that means she’s not strong enough to fight the assassins. Giles tells her that they only work toward the goal of collecting their bounty, and nothing gets in their way. They don’t stop until they eliminate their target. Buffy can kill as many as she can, but they’ll keep coming until she’s dead. They all work alone, in their own ways. Some are human and some aren’t. Like Norman, who’s made of bugs and is now staking out the Summerses’ home from the neighbor’s house.

It’s hard to go back to your normal teen life when you know unidentifiable assassins are after you, so Buffy struggles to overcome her paranoia at the career fair. Poor Oz gets very confused when she grabs him and challenges him to try to kill her. That night, Buffy can’t bring herself to go home to her empty house.

Willow and Giles are still at the library, looking for information on the stolen book. Xander has tried calling Buffy, but she’s not answering. Giles worries that he spooked her too much. Buffy goes to Angel’s lair, letting herself in when he doesn’t answer the door. She curls up in his bed and waits for him.

Angel’s at a bar, meeting with a guy known as Willy the Snitch. He claims he’s staying out of bad stuff, but Angel doesn’t believe him. He asks who sent the Order of Taraka after Buffy. Willy lies that he’s out of the loop, which Angel also doesn’t believe. He guesses Spike is responsible. He threatens to torture Willy if he doesn’t give him information. Willy starts to tell him where Spike and Drusilla are, but Kendra interrupts and starts fighting Angel.

They’re pretty evenly matched, but she wins and gets him on the ground. Angel says he won’t hurt her if she tells him something useful. Kendra locks him in a big storage cage and mentions Buffy (in a famously bad Caribbean accent). Angel threatens to hurt her if she goes after Buffy, but Kendra doesn’t think he’ll be able to stop her. The sun will be up in a few hours, and Angel’s cage faces east.

Giles sends Xander to Buffy’s house to check on her, since no one’s heard from her. Xander doesn’t have a ride, so Giles suggests that he ask Cordelia to drive him. Willow is still in the library, having fallen asleep, and when Giles wakes her, she exclaims, “Don’t warn the tadpoles!” She admits that she’s afraid of frogs. He tells her he’s found a description of the missing book. It contains a ritual that may restore a vampire’s health. They guess Spike wants it for Drusilla.

Dalton has finished his work, and Spike realizes the cure was nearby the whole time. Drusilla presses his fingers to a tarot card depicting an angel. Cordelia takes Xander to Buffy’s, and they bicker while breaking in. She taunts that even if Buffy’s in trouble, Xander won’t be able to help her. While he’s looking around upstairs, Norman comes to the door with his sample case. Cordelia lets him in the house.

Angel’s not having any luck getting out of the cage, and the sun is up and moving his way. At his place, Buffy wakes up when Kendra arrives. Buffy guesses this is the Order of Taraka’s second attempt to take her out. They fight until Kendra asks who Buffy is. Buffy points out that Kendra’s the one who attacked her, so who’s Kendra? “I’m Kendra the vampire slayer,” she replies. To be continued!

Thoughts: Kendra is played by Bianca Lawson.

Buffy will have to get a job to make money, so I don’t see the big deal here. Sure, she’s limited in what she can do – she can’t be, say, a doctor because she’ll need her nights free for slaying – but there are plenty of possibilities.

I’m surprised Spike is willing to outsource Buffy’s murder to assassins. He’d probably still take credit for the kill, though.

January 4, 2022

ER 10.4, Shifts Happen: Being Greg Pratt

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Dear writers, we do not need any more Pratt-centric episodes, thank you for your time

Summary: Pratt gets ready for work and rushes to buy a newspaper before the guy who sells them closes up. Even though it’s sunny out and seems like it’s the morning, due to Pratt’s activities (like showering and making eggs), it’s actually 6:28 p.m. Elizabeth calls her nanny from Dorset’s bed so she can say good night to Ella. The nanny thinks she’s still at work. Elizabeth obviously feels guilty for missing time with her daughter, but Dorset tells her she’s allowed to have some downtime. Elizabeth just feels weird sneaking out of her house for sex. It is fun, though. They decide to have some more of that fun before heading to work.

Abby’s almost done with her shift and is passing off her patients to some nurse we don’t know. “Have we met?” Pratt asks the nurse. “No,” she replies bluntly before walking away. Ha! Abby tells Pratt that there are a bunch of new nurses on duty, all recent graduates. Frank: racist remark. Shut up, Frank. Coop: dumb remark. Shut up, Coop. Gallant pops in to be neither racist nor dumb, but also to offer nothing of substance. Come back, Gallant! Save me from these buffoons! Jerry invites Coop to a Cubs game. At least someone likes that guy.

Pratt hasn’t even been on shift for a minute when he gets summoned by Malik, then Neela, then two med students, Andy and Lester. Lester would have asked Coop for help, but he saw Pratt first. He also could have turned to Morris, but he’s treating a patient. Susan realizes he’s been treating that patient for a long time, since she’s pretty. She tells him to work harder to clear the board. Pratt lets Coop know that picking up Morris’ slack isn’t helping him.

Weaver is also annoyed about the slow pace in the ER, and since she’s decided to work there once a month to keep up her skills, she’s going to try to whip the place into shape. Susan says she kind of misses “Little Stumpy.” Abby’s supposed to be leaving, but Pratt enlists her to help him with an angry patient named Mathers. He’s been sent over from another hospital, supposedly because County can provide him with care the other place couldn’t, but he thinks it’s because he doesn’t have insurance and now he’s a welfare case. Pratt tells him he’ll get the best care possible for his broken leg.

After dismissing a woman who’s begging for help delivering her baby – a baby she’s been pregnant with for seven years – Pratt tells the med students that they have 12 hours to clear the board. In the process, they’ll show the doctors on the day shift how it’s done. I’m sure they’ll take notes and try to be better doctors because of your inspiration, Pratt.

Romano is finally getting a prosthetic arm that doesn’t have a hook for a hand. He hasn’t had all the training he needs to operate it, but he demands that the prosthetist – who definitely doesn’t get paid enough to deal with him – give it to him now. Mathers continues complaining as Pratt and Abby tend to him (though Pratt is mostly focusing on teaching the med students). He tells Neela to put in a central line, since Mathers is a former IV drug user and they’re having trouble inserting an IV in his veins. Mathers objects because Neela’s so young. Pratt quips that she’s almost 16.

He tells Lester to arrange for surgery for Mathers no more than three hours from now. He starts to head out, but Abby notes that Neela needs to be supervised. Pratt asks Gallant to do that, then goes to use the bathroom. Before he can get there, he stops to help Chen deal with a difficult patient, since the new nurse working with her isn’t being helpful. Chen guesses that Pratt’s already interested in the new nurse. He thought the two of them were fine, because Pratt has no idea how to read a woman, let alone Chen.

Weaver stalls Pratt from his trip to the bathroom by quizzing him about his patients. One of them, Betsy, is appreciative because Pratt helped get her a consult. Coop admires Pratt’s style, and Pratt tells him to get his own. Back in Mathers’ trauma room, Neela’s having some trouble with the central line, and Mathers is unhappy again. Chen takes over, ignoring Mathers when he makes a racist comment. After she leaves, Neela asks Gallant and Abby if Chen hates her. Neela isn’t interested in Pratt, and she wonders if she should tell Chen that. Abby says to let it go, since Pratt and Chen broke up.

Neela chooses not to listen to Abby, never a good idea. She tells Chen that Pratt is a flirt, but Neela didn’t do anything to spark his interest. She apologizes if she did anything to make the situation worse, and she hopes Chen won’t punish her for Pratt’s interest. Chen acts like she’s horrified that she would be accused of singling out a med student just because her boyfriend has a crush. She makes a show of checking Neela’s name tag, as if she’s forgotten her name, then says she’s hard on all the med students, especially the women. Neela should worry more about her skills and less about Pratt.

Betsy’s still in the ER, so Pratt offers to find out what’s taking so long with her consult. Andy presents a patient to him, a guy named Ed who suddenly found himself unable to speak while he was fighting with his wife. She thinks he was just being dramatic. Susan offers to stick around after her shift, since it’s busy and there’s only one attending in the ER, but Pratt lets her go.

Paramedics bring in an elderly woman named Ms. Crawford who’s having breathing problems. Her preteen granddaughter, Erika, is with her. Jerry has sneaked a peek at a loan application Abby’s trying to submit via fax, and he tells her that she’ll never get any money with her low credit score. Thanks for your help, Jerry.

Weaver, Neela, and Coop tend to Ms. Crawford, and Erika objects when they start removing her clothes. She exclaims that her grandmother has a DNR, but Erika doesn’t know what that means. Neela thinks it must be true, since Erika wouldn’t know the term if her family hadn’t discussed it. But without paperwork, Coop says they have to keep treating Ms. Crawford. Weaver tells Neela to find a way to contact Erika’s mother.

Pratt examines Ed while he and his wife keep bickering. Gallant pulls him away to pass off some patients who are supposed to be Morris’. He’s disappeared, and Gallant was supposed to leave a while ago, so he can’t keep looking for him. Ed’s wife tells Pratt that Ed has gone silent again. She thinks he’s messing with her. Pratt tells a nurse named Severa to get him a psych consult. “Yes, doctor,” she replies.

Lester tells Pratt that he has a patient who was bitten by a rat. He’s helpfully brought it with him in case they need to test it for rabies. This is the last straw for one of the new nurses, who didn’t go to nursing school for this sort of thing. Pratt finally makes it to the bathroom, where he catches Morris on the phone with someone, asking how to treat his patients. Pratt yells at him for being a second-year resident who should know how to do his job.

Abby goes to Luka’s for a late dinner, at Gillian’s invitation. It’s 10:00, but Gillian offers her leftovers. She’s on her way home to Montreal, so she and Luka have a long goodbye kiss right in front of Abby. Luka reveals that Gillian has a boyfriend. OH, LUKA. He tells Abby it’s complicated. Oh, you think? Back at County, Elizabeth is in a bad mood because Pratt called her for an unnecessary consult. Also, because she’s not still in bed with Dorset. Pratt gives instructions to Severa, who again replies, “Yes, doctor,” making him wonder if she speaks English. She says she does.

The board is down to 30 patients, but there are still 50 in the waiting area, so it’s not technically an accomplishment. Pratt tries to talk Frank into going to get him some food. Ed asks Pratt for an update on his condition, and Pratt notes that he’s talking again. Ed says it comes and goes. Pratt sends him back to his room so he won’t miss his consult with a “special doctor.”

Betsy finally gets her consult, but the doctor, Hampton, is annoyed because Betsy comes in three times a month for demerol. Pratt insists that she has a real illness and needs medication and to be admitted. Hampton can put a note in her chart if she wants, and she can take the heat for not admitting Betsy, but she needs to take responsibility for her patient. Hampton won’t, so Pratt reluctantly tells Lester to discharge Betsy.

Abby and Luka go for a walk, talking about his time in the Congo. He misses being in a place that let him get out of his own head. He appreciated the downtime there more. Abby mentions Carter, insisting she’s fine without him. She’s even on the way to being happy. She’s started to make some decisions about her life, but she doesn’t want to give any details in case she jinxes it. She gets a page asking her to work another shift, and though Luka encourages her to pretend she didn’t see it, she says she needs the money.

Abby returns to County, and Weaver surprises her by trying to make small talk. She even says Abby’s one of the best nurses in the ER, and she hopes Romano’s changes don’t drive her away. Neela comes by asking for paper and crayons for Erika (who’s too old for that, but whatever), and Weaver tells her to focus on patients, not babysitting.

Pratt channels Mark a little to make some quick decisions and discharge some patients. Morris is still slacking, so Pratt takes over his treatment of a kid named Damian who swallowed a quarter. (Can I just say that this kid is too old to be swallowing coins? Because he’s too old to be swallowing coins. Is there even one writer on this show who understands children?) Morris thinks the coin will just pass through Damian’s system, but Pratt wants them to remove it with an endoscope. This will mean a little revenge on Hampton, the gastrointestinal specialist on call.

Paramedics bring in some car accident victims, and with a shortage of trauma rooms, Pratt takes one to Ms. Crawford’s and makes Neela move her somewhere else. Mathers is yelling again, but everyone’s trying to ignore him. Morris and Coop tend to one of the car accident victims (Morris makes Coop do his rectal exam) while Pratt treats another, a teen who’s in really bad shape. Morris leaves the room instead of offering to help.

A nurse tells Pratt that psych won’t see Ed until he has a head CT. Pratt doesn’t think he needs one; he’s just upset because his wife is leaving him. Jerry then tells Pratt that Hampton won’t see Damian until the morning. She’s also going to complain to Romano tomorrow. Oh, and she thinks Pratt is…a word that normally isn’t allowed on network TV. Thanks for letting that one go, censors! Randi wants to liven up the night shift with disco music. Abby tells her it’s too loud. This is Randi’s last episode, by the way, so enjoy her five seconds of screentime.

Abby and Elizabeth end up in the elevator with their patients at the same time, and Dorset tries to sneak in for some time with Elizabeth before he realizes she’s not alone. Abby asks if the two of them ever got together. “Who?” Elizabeth asks dumbly. Then she admits they’re dating. Abby’s happy, but Elizabeth thinks she’s covering for her opinion that Elizabeth is dating too soon after Mark’s death. Neela treats Mathers, though she’s not supposed to be doing what she’s doing without a resident’s supervision. Weaver stops her, and Neela rats out Morris for not doing his job.

Ed’s CT is clear, so he can go see psych now. He objects to needing a psych consult, especially since it’ll just make his wife even more convinced that he’s crazy. Weaver gives Pratt more work to do, which means he has even less time to listen to Ed say he doesn’t need psychiatric help. He asks for medication to get him through the night. Pratt tells Severa to give Ed two milligrams of Obecalp, then discharge him. She’s confused about the medication, but after Pratt asks if she knows what it is, she says, “Yes, doctor.”

Neela goes to check on Erika, who asks what DNR means. Neela explains that it means someone doesn’t want to be kept alive by machines. She offers to take Erika to a room where she can get some sleep, but Erika wants to stay with her grandmother, who has said she sleeps better with Erika near her. After Neela lets her into the bed, Pratt ruins the nice moment by telling her to get back to work. Neela comments that it’s hard to figure out where you should be spending your time. Pratt doesn’t care – he wants the board cleared.

Lester tells her that Pratt is tough but is good at his job. He asks if she knows what Obecalp is, since he hasn’t been able to find any. Weaver overhears and tells him it’s placebo spelled backwards. She calls Pratt out for giving Ed saline, which seems to have calmed him down. It’s a violation of medical ethics, and he could sue. Pratt tells Severa to cancel the “Obecalp,” but she says she never gave it to him.

Damian’s parents are impatient about how long it’s taking for his endoscopy. Pratt doesn’t think it’ll be a problem for him to wait until the morning, since he’s stable. But the family’s been there for 14 hours, and Damian’s having trouble breathing – why can’t this emergency room handle this emergency? Speaking of emergencies, Weaver helps Abby with a patient she sent to get a CT even though he wasn’t completely stable, which means he should have had a doctor with him. Weaver beats herself up for taking the risk.

Andy excitedly tells Coop that Pratt is trying a special trick to remove the quarter in Damian’s throat. Pratt calmly does the same move I think Dorset did a few episodes ago, acting like he does this all the time. Abby winds up serving as the triage nurse again as Pratt warns her that bars are about to close, which means they’re going to get an influx of patients. He dances with Randi for a little while until a patient yells at them for blasting music while he’s trying to sleep.

Abby takes over triage from Malik, first talking to a patient who complains of a toothache he’s apparently had for a year. Maybe he should be friends with the woman who’s been pregnant for seven years. Damian’s dad brings him back in, since he was feeling nauseous in the parking lot, and asks Abby to have Pratt see him just in case. Instead, Damian gets an express ticket to the OR when he coughs up blood. I guess Pratt’s trick wasn’t as successful as he thought.

Elizabeth blasts Pratt for doing his procedure in the ER, but Pratt thinks the real problem is that the quarter was in Damian’s throat long enough to cause major complications. She tells him he’s lucky the family was just leaving the hospital when this happened. If they’d already been back home, Damian wouldn’t have made it back for treatment in time. As Pratt’s leaving the surgical floor, he runs into Weaver, who still feels guilty for not keeping a better eye on her patient.

Pratt heads back to the ER, where Ed has just collapsed. Coop determines that he has a carotid tear, which caused a clot in his neck. He doesn’t look good. Abby ends her turn as triage nurse early so she can make a phone call in Ms. Crawford’s room. She asks her credit card company if she can get a cash advance. She ends the call when she realizes that Ms. Crawford has died. She tells Neela that she’ll need to wake Erika and move her somewhere else so they can give Ms. Crawford’s bed to another patient.

Pratt checks on Mathers, who’s finally stopped complaining about everything. Pratt realizes he’s just been scared about losing his leg. He promises they’ll get Mathers into surgery really soon, even though that’s what he’s been hearing for hours now. Pratt tells Weaver to have Coop cover for him, then storms into an OR where an orthopedic surgeon is taking his sweet time in an operation. Pratt offers to assist so someone can go to the ER and take care of Mathers. Meanwhile, Neela carries Erika, who’s still asleep, to another room.

It’s morning when Abby shows up at her ex-husband’s house. Richard is now remarried and has a baby. No one in the home seems particularly happy, so Abby may have dodged a bullet. She asks Richard to co-sign a loan with her. She reminds him that she never asked him for alimony or any kind of spousal support, so he kind of owes her. Back at County, Romano yells at Pratt about all the stunts he pulled the night before. Pratt probably won’t take it personally, since Romano never liked him.

Pratt passes everyone off to Susan, then leaves along with Coop. Gallant praises Coop for making Ed’s diagnosis. Pratt gets no praise for everything he did for his patients overnight. Coop says he’s going to the gym before he goes home to get some sleep. Pratt declines to tag along, and instead goes home alone, the only person who cares how much he did during his shift.

Thoughts: Rossif Sutherland, who plays Lester, is Donald Sutherland’s son/Kiefer Sutherland’s brother.

Maybe I need a hobby but for years I haven’t been able to get over how Elizabeth puts on her bra at Dorset’s place. Obviously the normal way wouldn’t work on TV because you would see too much, but no one puts on a bra that has a clasp in the back by putting on the cups first.

Gillian schmillian – Luka doesn’t look at her the way he looks at Abby. I think he wants to get back together. Unfortunately, he’s about to get distracted by someone else.

January 1, 2022

Buffy 2.8, The Dark Age: Return of the Ripper

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn

Giles can definitely be intimidating when he wants to be

Summary: A man with a silver case comes to Sunnydale High one night, looking for Giles. A custodian points him toward the library, but before the man can get there, he encounters a demonic-looking woman. He knows her as Diedre and she knows him as Philip. Philip bangs on the outside door to the library, begging for help, but no one comes to save him.

It may be because Buffy’s blasting techno music while working out in the library. Giles complains but doesn’t make her turn it down. Back outside, Diedre chokes Philip, so by the time Buffy turns off the music, there’s nothing to hear from outside. Philip and Diedre both collapse, and she turns into some blue goo that spreads toward Philip’s body.

That night, Giles dreams of some ritualistic activities from decades earlier – someone tattooing their own hand, people chanting with candles, and a guy saying it’s time to go to sleep. Also, there’s a demon. At school, Buffy and Willow play Anywhere But Here, a game where they imagine themselves…well, anywhere but there. Buffy’s on a beach with Gavin Rossdale, and Willow encounters John Cusack in Italy. Xander joins them and offers his usual scenario: hanging out at a water-slide park with Hong Kong actress Amy Yip.

Willow wonders if Giles ever played Anywhere But Here when he was in school. Xander says he must have lived for school and is still bitter that it ended after 12 grades. Buffy guesses that he “sat in math class thinking, ‘There should be more math. This could be mathier.'” Willow isn’t sure he didn’t get restless as a kid. Buffy says he had tweed diapers.

Giles joins the group to talk about Buffy’s assignment for that night: The blood supply at the hospital is getting its monthly replenishment, which means vampires are likely to try to steal themselves some free meals. Buffy and Giles will meet there to protect it. Giles will bring the weapons; Buffy will bring the snacks. He wants her to be serious, so she asks if she’s ever let him down. “Should I answer that or should I just glare?” he replies.

Jenny approaches and reminds Willow that she’s going to help with a tutoring session the next day. Xander learns for the first time that he has to attend. Cordelia will also be there, which means Xander has to a) do an extra day of class b) on Saturday c) with Cordelia. Giles and Jenny head off together, with the other Scoobies admiring their cuteness…until they realize they don’t want to think about the two of them together.

Giles and Jenny chat about a book he loaned her, and she teases him by pretending she marked it up and spilled coffee on it. She tells him he’s a “fuddy-duddy.” Yeah, he’s definitely heard that one before. She adds that he’s also kind of sexy. That one, he hasn’t heard. They agree to meet up the next night for some very adult activities.

A detective named Winslow is waiting for Giles in the library with a couple of cops. They found Philip’s body, and he had Giles’ name and address in his pocket. Cordelia comes in looking for a book for her computer class, completely unphased by the presence of law enforcement. When Giles points out that he’s busy talking to them, Cordelia asks Winslow to help her get a traffic ticket thrown out. (She was pulled over for driving down a one-way street. Yeah, she was going in the wrong direction, but she was only going one way!)

Giles gets sharp, trying to get her to leave. She tells him he doesn’t have to yell – she can take a hint. She needs a hint with the hint, though. He kicks her out, then goes to the morgue with the detective so he can ID Philip’s body. The two of them were friends back in London but haven’t spoken in 20 years. Giles doesn’t know why Philip wanted to get in touch now. He sees a tattoo on Philip’s arm but tells Winslow he doesn’t know what the symbol means.

Buffy’s on time for the blood delivery that night, but Giles is late. She’s happy enough to get to admire a couple of doctors accepting the delivery, until she realizes that doctors probably wouldn’t be handling that. They’re really vampires, and another vampire yells at them for sampling the product. Buffy fights all three of them (one at a time, of course) and is surprised when Angel arrives to lend a hand. One guy gets away, but the blood is safe. Buffy asks Angel to take it inside while she tries to find out why Giles didn’t show up.

She goes to his apartment, where he tells her he’s busy and will see her on Monday. He totally forgot about the blood delivery. He says he’s in the middle of something important, then dismisses her. After Buffy leaves, Giles tries to call Diedre and learns that she died recently. He crosses her name off a list that includes five names: Thomas, Philip, Diedre, Giles, and Ethan. Giles and Ethan’s names are the only ones not crossed off. Giles goes to the bathroom to splash water on his face, first rolling up his sleeve, which reveals that he has the same tattoo as Philip. “So…you’re back,” he says.

In the morgue, Philip wakes up, his eyes glowing yellow. When an attendant comes to check on the occupants, Philip’s drawer is empty. Philip ambushes him and shoves him in the drawer. At Sunnydale High, Jenny, Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are arriving for their Saturday session. Buffy shows up to talk to Jenny about Giles’ weird behavior the day before. Jenny gets concerned when Buffy says that he was drinking by himself. Xander isn’t surprised – people wound tightly like Giles eventually go dark. His uncle Rory was the same way.

Buffy confirms that no one else has noticed anything strange with Giles. Cordelia says he was fine when she talked to him the day before, while he was dealing with the police. She didn’t mention that to the Scoobies earlier because she didn’t think it was important. Buffy goes to the library to call Giles, but before she can, she hears someone in the stacks. It’s Ethan, and he pushes a shelf over on her so he can get away. She stops him and recognizes him as the person behind the Halloween mischief. She punches him and he asks if that makes them even.

Ethan says he’s just there to snoop around. Buffy suggests that she call the police and let them handle whatever’s going on here. He tells her that the police will want to talk to Giles, someone he’s known for a long time and is looking for. Giles is currently passed out at his desk at home, having dreams like the ones he had the night before – tattoos, demons, someone with glowing eyes, all that stuff. Buffy calls and asks him what the Mark of Eyghon is. That would be his tattoo, which Ethan also has.

She tells him she’s with Ethan, and Giles warns that she’s in danger. She needs to get as far away from him as possible. Turns out Ethan isn’t the threat, though – Philip is. He bursts into the library and faces off with Buffy. Ethan tries to escape, but the Scoobies are on their way in, and Buffy tells them to capture him. Cordelia stops him by kicking and tripping him.

Buffy locks Philip in the book cage, and the Scoobies determine that they’re dealing with a zombie. Giles arrives and makes sure everyone’s okay. “I kicked a guy!” Cordelia boasts. Xander thanks Philip for interrupting class. Giles reminds Ethan that he told him to leave town, but Ethan, who calls him Ripper, says the lease on his costume shop isn’t up until the end of the month. Cordelia wonders why Ethan called Giles “Ripper.” Giles grabs Ethan by the hair, pulling him out of his chair, and says he should have left earlier. Cordelia gets the nickname now.

Giles is coolly furious that Ethan put people he cares about in danger. Ethan wonders why Giles didn’t leave town if he was so worried about them. He knows Giles has been having the dreams, since Ethan’s also having them. They both know what’s coming. Buffy demands answers, but before Giles can give them, Philip breaks out of the book cage, hitting Jenny with the door and knocking her out. Giles checks on her while Buffy fights the zombie, which doesn’t take much effort. He starts convulsing and falls to the ground. Then he turns into blue goo like Diedre did, spreading toward Jenny.

Buffy realizes that Ethan ran off, and she goes off to find him. Jenny regains consciousness and seems okay, except for the part where her eyes can glow now. Buffy returns, having lost Ethan, and again demands answers. Giles doesn’t want to share secrets about his past, but Buffy doesn’t think he has the right to privacy anymore. He sternly tells her that he’s her Watcher, and he’s ordering her to stay out of this.

Giles takes Jenny home, and the Scoobies immediately get to work looking up the Mark of Eyghon. Cordelia wants to help, since she cares about Giles, but she might not care about him enough to work with Xander. Giles takes Jenny to his place instead of hers, and apologizes for getting her mixed up in his mess. Jenny says that since they’re dating, they should be involved in each other’s messes. He tells her he needs to take her home since he’s not a safe person to be around right now. She replies that nothing in the world is safe.

Back at the library, Willow finds information on the Mark of Eyghon, so named for the entity its bearers worship. He’s known as the sleepwalker and only exists in this reality when he temporarily possesses unconscious hosts. That possession gives them “a euphoric feeling of power.” The possession can become permanent, though, if a certain ritual isn’t performed. Then the host can manifest Eyghon. Eyghon can also possess the dead, but he eventually destroys the body he’s in and has to find a new host.

Willow’s familiar with this kind of thing, since ancient groups used to do this to make parties and orgies more fun. Buffy notes that since Philip’s body turned to goo, Eyghon must have left his body. Cordelia thinks there’s nothing to worry about, since no one’s dead. Buffy and Xander realize that someone in the room was unconscious.

Jenny pulls out Giles’ phone line as he brings her some tea. She suggests that instead of taking her home, he take advantage of her. Buffy can’t get a hold of either Giles or Jenny, so she decides to go to Giles’ place. Giles tells Jenny that while he likes her, he’s not going to hook up with her right now. She keeps trying to seduce him, and when he resists, she mocks him for always being so proper and careful. She calls him Ripper and says he never had the strength for her. “You don’t deserve me,” she says. “But guess what: You’ve got me…under your skin.”

Her voice is demonic now, and after she kisses him again, her face is, too. “Was it good for you?” she asks. She beats him up and threatens to kill him. Buffy arrives just then, but instead of fighting her, Jenny/Eyghon says, “Three down, two to go. Be seein’ ya.” Then she jumps out the window. Dramatic! Buffy asks Giles how they stop Eyghon. He’s apologetic about causing this trouble, but Buffy says this is no different from any other demon they’ve taken on. Giles says it is, since he created this one.

As Xander finds a picture of Giles from his 20s, when he looked less like a librarian and more like someone you’d see at a punk concert, Giles tells Buffy his story. He was a student at Oxford, but his studies were boring and he dreaded the future in store for him as a Watcher. He dropped out and moved to London. He got involved with a group of people who practiced magic, and he and Ethan introduced them to Eyghon. They would summon the demon to possess one of them and give them a kind of high. One of them lost control and Eyghon overtook him and killed him. Giles blames himself for the death.

The group thought Eyghon was gone after that, but he’s back and targeting the remaining members of the group. Now just Giles and Ethan are left. Buffy wants Giles to stay put while she takes care of the demon. Giles says he doesn’t know how to stop Eyghon without killing Jenny. Buffy assures him that they’ll come up with a solution. He tells her he’s sorry, and she just says that she knows.

Buffy goes to Ethan’s costume shop, since she has to protect him to protect Giles. Ethan wonders how Giles is able to earn someone’s concern. Buffy says it’s because he’s Giles. Ethan tells her they can’t run; his tattoo is like a homing beacon, so Eyghon will find him wherever he goes. Buffy says she’s not big on running away anyway. “Aren’t we manly?” he remarks. “One of us is,” she replies. She tells him to hide while she takes care of things. Ethan says that’s great, then knocks her out.

When Buffy wakes up, she’s tied face-down to a table, and Ethan is getting ready to give her a Mark of Eyghon tattoo. It’s nothing personal – he kind of likes her. He just likes himself more. She should think of this as a good deed. She’s going to take Ethan’s place so he can live. Buffy wonders if she’ll ruin that good deed by killing him. Ethan starts the tattoo, telling Buffy she’s free to scream if she wants.

Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are now looking for ways to defeat Eyghon. Cordelia’s solution: cut off the demon’s head. She and Xander start fighting, and they’re about to make it physical when Willow yells at them to work with her or get out. They immediately apologize, because angry Willow is kind of scary. Xander comes up with a much better idea: find a body for Eyghon to jump into. Willow notes that that won’t kill Eyghon, just give it a new host. But she gets another, more brilliant idea.

Buffy tries to talk Ethan out of continuing his plan, which next involves him using acid to burn off his tattoo. Giles is hit by flashes of memories from his dreams, as well as a vision of Buffy. He realizes what Ethan’s up to and rushes to the shop to stop him. Ethan’s done, though, and Jenny/Eyghon’s at his door, ready to kill again. She skips over Ethan and goes after Buffy instead.

Buffy’s able to free herself, and she’s fighting Jenny/Eyghon when Giles arrives and offers himself up instead. Buffy tries to get between him and Jenny/Eyghon, but the demon tosses her aside. Just as she’s about to possess Giles, Angel runs in and starts fighting her. The other Scoobies are right behind him, and Willow promises that this will work.

It does – the demon leaves Jenny and possesses Angel, who briefly turns into a demon before passing out. Buffy realizes that Eyghon, thinking he was in danger, jumped into the nearest dead person. Angel already has a demon inside him, and it was stronger than Eyghon. So, to sum up, Eyghon’s gone, Jenny and Angel are fine, and Ethan has escaped (again). Happy ending!

At school on Monday, Buffy complains to Willow and Xander that she was saving her allowance to buy some shoes, and now she’ll have to use the money to get her tattoo removed. She just hopes Joyce doesn’t see it before then. Xander praises Willow for her brilliant idea to put Eyghon into Angel. Buffy thinks she should become a Watcher. Willow doesn’t think she could handle the stress. She doesn’t know how Giles does it. Buffy says he doesn’t have a choice.

Giles runs into Jenny, who’s been avoiding his calls. She says she’s fine, or at least coping. He offers his help, but Jenny clearly doesn’t want to be too involved with him right now. Giles gets it. Buffy asks him how she’s doing, and he tells her he’s not sure Jenny will ever be able to forgive him. Buffy thinks he should forgive himself first. Giles says he never wanted Buffy to see that side of him. She admits that it was scary, but it just let her see him as a person. They’re both flawed, which means they have something in common. That probably won’t ever extend to their music preferences, though.

Thoughts: Some teens drink or use drugs to feel good; some do rituals so they can be possessed by a demon. I get it. We all have our vices.

Cordelia being so proud of herself just for kicking Ethan always cracks me up. I think she expects a reward.

Giles without glasses is a whole different look, and Jenny finding him sexy is a lot more understandable.

December 28, 2021

ER 10.3, Dear Abby: The Breakup Heard ‘Round the Hospital

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:01 pm by Jenn

Guess who!

Summary: Abby is giving a tour to a group of new second-year residents, giving both them and us a glimpse of the new “cage,” the triage area. There’s now a desk where an admit nurse will speak to each patient, start a chart, and determine whether the patient needs to be seen immediately instead of sitting in the waiting room. The new residents will be joining Pratt, who will definitely not look down on them for being clueless newbies who don’t know their way around County as well as he does.

Police officers drag out an angry patient who tells Susan he’s going to come back for her. She sighs and tells him to bring her a latte when he does. Abby finishes the tour and asks if the residents have any questions. One, Archie Morris, asks why the patient board is see-through. Abby says it’s so they can see through it. Frank hopes he never needs treatment at County.

Abby’s eager for Luka to arrive at County after being flown out of the Congo. Connie and Lydia complain to her that Romano has scheduled them for fewer shifts than usual. Senior nurses’ hours are being cut so he can bring in travel nurses, who cost less money. Connie urges Abby to talk to him. Then Yosh tells her that she lost the nurses’ lottery and has to be the admit nurse for a few hours. Abby says there’s no statistically possible way she can lose the lottery every time. Abby, you’re the head nurse. Stop the lottery and make a schedule.

Her day is about to get better when Frank points out that Luka has arrived (along with Gillian). Before Abby can go greet him, Pratt and Neela ask for her help. Abby’s able to hand a patient off to Susan and almost catch up to Luka as he’s wheeled to an elevator. She’s just seconds too late to get to him before he’s taken upstairs.

Romano goes to the hospital’s prosthetist to get his new prosthetic arm, but he’s annoyed that it’s not the one he thought he was getting. His insurance won’t cover the one he wants. Also, this one has a hook, so no matter how annoying Romano is, he’s definitely right here. Back in the ER, Abby’s stuck at the triage desk, dealing with people who are angry about having to wait, kids who won’t behave, and general weirdos. Eventually she examines a teenager named Elle who’s sick enough to get seen immediately.

Susan asks Abby how Luka is. She has no idea, since she hasn’t had time to go see him. She also hasn’t had time to talk to Romano about the nurses’ schedules. Frank tells Abby he popped in to say hi to Luka, then chastises her for not visiting him yet. Abby calls upstairs to check on Luka, but Gillian has come back to the ER and tells her that he’s doing well enough to want a meatball sub. She recognizes Abby’s name because Carter talked about her in the Congo. She hands over the letter Carter asked her to give Abby. Abby starts reading, her face falling.

Romano crashes a meeting in Weaver’s office to throw a tantrum about his inferior prosthetic arm. Even though he’s yelling, he makes a good point that he should get better insurance coverage from the hospital where he lost the arm in the first place. Weaver calmly tells him to leave, so Romano leaves a long scratch in a table on his way out.

Abby is finishing the letter outside the hospital when the other nurses all walk by, announcing that they’re staging a walkout. Abby can’t deal with them and the letter and her job all at once, so she dismisses the nurses, crumples up the letter, throws it on the ground, and goes back inside. Frank complains about her littering and picks up the letter.

Pratt runs into one of the residents, Coop, who’s using his asthma inhaler. This is the only interesting thing about this character. Don’t get too attached. Pratt tells him that he and the other residents need to start picking up the pace. Coop’s been doing fine, and he makes excuses for Morris and the other resident whose name there’s no point in remembering because this is the only episode she’s in.

Pratt checks on Neela, who’s chanting a prayer while stitching up a patient. Pratt doesn’t think the patient requires a prayer since he’s not dying. Neela says it was a private prayer. Chen’s my-boyfriend-is-talking-to-someone-else-with-breasts radar goes off and she sends Neela on an errand. She reminds Pratt of their dinner plans that night.

Coop joins a trauma Susan and Morris are working on, instead of helping Pratt clear the board. Malik brings in Elle’s scans, which show that she’s experiencing heart failure. Abby counts down the remaining seconds of her turn as triage nurse and ditches her current patient. Frank, who’s holding her letter behind his back, tells her all the nurses left, so there’s no one to relieve her at the triage desk. Except we just saw Malik, so…

Romano tells Frank that everyone who signed the nurses’ petition and left for the walkout needs to be in the lounge in five minutes or they’ll be fired. Abby lies that they’re on a break, not staging a walkout. Also, she thinks Romano can’t fire nurses, but he says he can if they walk off the job. Abby runs off to get her co-workers as Frank admires Romano’s hook, saying it suits him.

Before Abby can find the nurses, a car pulls into the ambulance bay and a teen with a gunshot wound gets out, asking for help. The car he was in just drives off. Get better friends, Bobby. He starts declining quickly, and Pratt and Abby try to stabilize him in a trauma room. Abby thinks they need to open his chest, and she starts prepping him even though Pratt says it’s too early to make that decision. When Susan joins them, Abby and Pratt gripe about each other, and Susan sides with Pratt, believing Abby was too quick to jump to an invasive procedure.

Romano lends a hand (…sorry) in the ER, examining a girl who can’t take her eyes off of his prosthetic. He hands her off to Morris. Elizabeth comes down to help with Bobby, who’s still not stable. Abby suggests her idea again, then snaps at med students who are in her way. Elizabeth finally opens Bobby’s chest. Frank has started passing Abby’s letter around to other staff, so they know she’s been dumped. “Fun” fact: Carter uses the word “unfettered” in it. Shut up, Carter. Romano grumbles about the nurses, whom Jerry jokes are hiring a hit man.

Coop completely fails to read the room and introduces himself to Romano like they’re going to be close colleagues. Romano tells him to go up to the roof to meet a patient being brought in by helicopter. He should wave his arms and stand in the middle of the landing pad. Coop notes that Romano used to be a surgeon (though Romano still considers himself one), then asks if he has a scalpel attachment for his prosthetic. Instead of screaming at Coop, Romano calmly gives him some stern warnings. Coop talks back. Dude, I know he’s a jerk, but he’s still your superior. Romano yells for Coop to stay out of his face.

Elizabeth has run out of ways to try to save Bobby. Abby tries to get her to keep working, since he’s young and was doing well enough earlier to walk into the ER. Elizabeth doesn’t think he can be saved, and she declares his time of death. Neela and Coop treat a patient who fell while sanding the hull of a boat. He’s brought a cloud of fiberglass dust with him, which sets off Coop’s asthma.

A cardiologist tells Susan that Elle has pulmonary hypertension. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not good. Pratt tells Abby that six nurses were fired, which means there are only four left on their shift. He apologizes for not opening Bobby’s chest sooner, but Abby isn’t sure it would have made a difference. He tells her that he thinks “it’s Carter’s loss.” Abby doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Neela and Morris treat Coop, who’s not having any luck with asthma treatments. Neela accidentally gives him too much medication, thanks to a miscommunication from Morris. It messes with Coop’s heart rate, so Abby runs over to shock him back into rhythm. She congratulates Morris and Neela for saving their first resident.

Abby asks Malik to cover for her for a few minutes so she can go see Luka. Malik is just as busy as she is, and he can’t spare the time. He tells her he’s sorry about her and Carter. Abby asks how he knows about their breakup. He points the finger at Jerry. Abby’s been waiting for substitute nurses, but only one has arrived, an elderly woman named Edna. Even she knows about Abby and Carter’s breakup.

Abby asks Susan if she’s heard about the letter, but it sounds like Susan’s been too busy for gossip. She tells Abby that Elle’s diagnosis means she probably won’t live past the age of 21. Her parents don’t want her to know until after she has a test to confirm her condition, but the results won’t be in for three days. Abby thinks that’s ridiculous – Elle already knows something’s wrong. Susan tells her they have to honor the parents’ wishes.

A teacher has brought in some students to visit a classmate, and they’re lost, so Abby offers to take them to the children’s ward. The teacher asks if any of the students want to be nurses. Nope, they all want to be doctors. I know it’s supposed to be a blow to nurses, but who can be upset that these kids are aiming high? Good for you, kids! Just start saving your allowance now – med school is expensive.

Weaver blasts Romano for interrupting her meeting and for firing six nurses. Abby walks up with the kids as they’re bickering with each other. Weaver warns Romano not to fire anyone else. Romano calls her a b&^$%, either not noticing or caring that there are young kids around. Weaver says that she’s Romano’s boss, and as long as she is, he’s HER b&^$%. Abby hides a smile at that, and Romano rewards her with a gross procedure. She hands the kids off to Jerry, who’s carrying a bunch of blood bags. The kids all scream. Well, kids, you won’t be able to do that when you’re doctors.

Abby checks on Elle, who’s confused about why a cardiologist examined her since she thought her problem was with her lungs. Abby carefully says the heart and lungs are connected, so Susan was probably just being thorough by calling in a cardiologist. Elle asks if everything’s okay; her parents are acting weird. Abby avoids the question and tries not to give anything away.

Pratt meets Chen for dinner, surprised that her parents are also there. She ran into them downtown and they invited themselves along. Cue some awkward silence. Neela goes to Susan, having been told by cardiology that she should listen to a patient for a murmur. That patient is Elle, and now she knows something’s wrong with her heart. Oops! Susan pulls Neela out of the room to talk about the case, stopping when she catches Morris stealing an unconscious patient’s meal. Then it gets worse – that patient had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and is at risk of bleeding out.

Elizabeth returns to help Susan and Malik try to save the patient. Elizabeth tells Malik to page Dorset and tell him that Elizabeth needs him “badly.” Susan smirks. Abby tends to Elle, who’s distressed because no one will tell her what’s wrong with her. Just as Abby’s about to tell her, Susan bursts in and drags Abby out. Abby complains that they’re teaching Elle not to trust them when she needs them the most. Susan chastises her for going rogue more than once today. Abby’s trying to make calls that nurses aren’t allowed to make.

Dorset joins Elizabeth, Susan, Abby, Coop, and Morris with their patient. Elizabeth is impressed with his charm, but he’s kind of annoying. Susan agrees with me. He quizzes Coop and Morris about something, but they don’t know the answer. Abby does, so Dorset tells the residents, “You two have just been nurse-slapped.” He might get doctor-slapped if he keeps being so nonchalant while Susan’s anxious about the patient. Once things are under control, Dorset takes the patient to surgery, grinning egotistically. Coop and Morris admire his guts.

Gallant shows up for a shift and gets filled in on the latest gossip about Luka and the breakup letter. Romano asks what the letter says, so Jerry starts reading it. Abby grabs it and asks if anyone hasn’t read the letter. “I haven’t,” says a nearby patient. Heh. She blasts Jerry and Frank for looking at her personal mail. Lydia, Connie, and Yosh return with their own letters – they’ve been suspended for 90 days. Abby declares that she hates her job. Walking by, Edna tells her it’ll get better.

Chen’s parents have already ordered something for the table, and they speak Mandarin in front of Pratt until Chen tells them to stop. After asking about Pratt’s family, the Chens say that their daughter is going on a trip with them to China to rediscover her ancestry. Chen says they already talked about this and she’s not going. Her father says it’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from. Pratt asks if that’s a quote from Confucius. Chen’s mother says it’s just common sense.

Back at County, Dorset and Elizabeth flirt while Romano and I both roll our eyes. Elizabeth agrees to an hour-long coffee date. Romano goes to an empty trauma room, takes off his prosthetic, and throws it through a window. This show loves broken glass, huh? I wonder if he thinks his insurance company should cover the cost of that, too.

After dinner, Chen apologizes for surprising Pratt by bringing her parents to dinner. She doesn’t think they hate him; they just want her with someone “more traditional.” In other words, they want her to date a Chinese guy. Pratt says she should tell them to relax, since they’re not getting married or anything. Chen asks what they’re doing, then. Pratt says they’re having fun. He doesn’t think either of them is ready to settle down. That’s the wrong answer, and Chen tells him to find himself a new “bang buddy.” Yeah, I think they call them friends with benefits.

Speaking of sex, that’s what Elizabeth and Dorset are doing in the backseat of a car. Well, good for her, I guess. Abby finally finds time to go see Luka, and the two of them have a friendly reunion. She asks if he read Carter’s letter, and he says no like it would have been crazy for him to even think about it. He thinks Carter just wanted to explain why he was staying in the Congo. Being over there changes you, and Luka thinks Carter found himself. Abby jokes that she didn’t know he was missing. She says the relationship was doomed from the beginning, so it’s good that it’s over.

Luka says it’s weird to be back. Maybe he’s changed, too. Abby says change is good, and she’s looking into some for herself. Gillian joins them, kindly telling Abby that it was nice to finally meet her after hearing so much about her. Abby throws out the letter as she heads back to the ER and goes in to see Elle again, this time to tell her what everyone’s been keeping from her.

Thoughts: Morris is played by Scott Grimes. Coop is played by Glenn Howerton. Bobby is played by Zac Efron.

In the words of Jean-Ralphi from Parks and Recreation, Morris is the wooo-ooooo-oorst.

Carter’s letter is the equivalent of saying, “You can’t fire me – I quit.” Does he think Abby asking for her key back wasn’t the end of the relationship?

I’m surprised Carter thinks Abby’s smart enough to know what “unfettered” means. Or maybe he defines it for her after he uses it in the letter.

December 25, 2021

Buffy 2.7, Lie to Me: The Lonely Ones

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

He really does look dorky

Summary: A boy is waiting for his mom in an empty playground at night. Drusilla approaches and offers to walk him home. The kid has good instincts and can see there’s something off with Drusilla. If his instincts were better, he would run. Fortunately, Angel appears and tells him to leave. Drusilla greets him as “my Angel” – they definitely know each other.

He tells her that she and Spike need to leave town. Drusilla asks if Angel will hurt her if they don’t, then realizes he can’t hurt her anymore. Angel warns that if they don’t leave, it’ll be bad for all of them. She knows he’s now aligned with Buffy, who’s currently up on a roof, looking down at them. Drusilla says that Buffy has no idea what’s in store. Angel tells her this has to end. She gets close to him, as if she’s going to kiss him, and says this is just the beginning.

At school the next day, Giles tries to get Jenny to tell him what she has planned for their upcoming date. She wants to surprise him and bring out his adventurous side. After she leaves, Buffy tells Giles that she patrolled the night before but didn’t come across anything “vampire-y.” He says he’s been researching Spike but hasn’t found anything. Buffy’s subdued, obviously hurt by Angel’s closeness with Drusilla, and Giles encourages her to take the night off and spend time with her boyfriend.

In history class, Buffy and Willow pass each other notes about Angel’s mystery woman. Cordelia complains that people are too hard on Marie Antoinette. She worked hard to look as good as she did. Yeah, the peasants were depressed (Xander corrects her, saying they were oppressed), but she cared about them: “She was gonna let them have cake!”

After class, Buffy and Willow talk more about Drusilla. Buffy doesn’t think she’s a vampire. Xander’s eager for information, since he’d love to know if Angel did something wrong. He suggests that the three of them go to the Bronze that night to cheer Buffy up. A guy approaches them and says that in the past, Oreos dunked in apple juice have done the trick. Buffy recognizes him as Ford, a friend/old crush from L.A. His dad just got transferred to Sunnydale. Xander’s annoyed that there’s another guy competing for Buffy’s affections.

Buffy says she spent months moping over Ford when he wouldn’t give her any attention. She listened to “I Touch Myself” a lot (though she was too young to know what it was about). She invites Ford to the Bronze with the Scoobies that night. After they leave, Xander complains about Buffy always being friends with attractive guys. Willow suddenly realizes what “I Touch Myself” is about.

That night, the group hangs out at the Bronze, and Ford tells Xander and Willow some embarrassing stories from Buffy’s past. She runs into Angel, whom Ford comments looks older than Buffy. “You’re not wrong,” Xander says. Buffy asks Angel what he did the night before, and he lies that he stayed in and read. She walks away instead of calling him out on his lie.

Angel meets Ford, who comments that Angel’s hands are cold. “You’re not wrong,” Xander repeats. Buffy invites Ford to take a walk, then blows Angel off. Angel’s clearly jealous, and he disappears without saying goodbye to Xander and Willow. “You made him do that thing where he’s gone!” Willow complains.

Buffy tells Ford that Angel is possibly her boyfriend, then hears sounds of a struggle in an alley. She sends Ford back to the Bronze to get her purse, then runs to the alley, where a girl is being attacked. Ford follows her and sees her fighting and staking a vampire. Buffy lies that the sounds in the alley were from two cats fighting. “Oh. I thought you were just slaying a vampire,” Ford says. “What? Whating a what?” Buffy replies. He tells her he knows she’s the Slayer.

At home later that night, Buffy calls Willow to talk about Ford and what he knows. She likes that he already knows her big secret, so she doesn’t have to hide. Meanwhile, Ford goes to an old building where a bunch of goths are gathered. A guy named Diego (real name: Marvin) asks for an update, and Ford promises that everything will be fine.

He reminds Diego and a girl named Chanterelle that they need to be ready when he says to be: “True believers only.” They don’t know what he’s planning, but they’re trying to trust him, since he’s helping them do the two things every teen in the country wants to do: “Die young and stay pretty.” There are TVs in the building, playing a ’70s adaption of Dracula, and Ford mouths the lines along with the vampire.

Angel stops by Willow’s house as she’s getting ready for bed. She invites him in, worrying that she’ll get in trouble for having a boy in her room. He asks her to use “the Net” to find out anything she can on Ford. She hesitantly tells him he’s being jealous. He admits that things were simpler before – he spent a hundred years just hanging around, feeling guilty: “I really honed my brooding skills.” Then Buffy came into his life, and now he has, like, feelings and stuff. But he also has good instincts about people, and Ford raises a red flag for him.

Willow can’t find Ford’s records in the school’s system, which is surprising. He isn’t registered for classes. Her mother calls for her to go to bed, so Willow rushes Angel out and tells him to come back tomorrow night for an update. She asks him not to say anything to Buffy until they have more information. Willow tries to convince herself that there’s nothing to be concerned about.

At school the next day, Willow has a hard time acting normal around Buffy and Ford. Buffy thinks she’s just overcaffeinated. Giles gives Buffy Jenny’s beeper number in case there’s a slaying emergency (though he doesn’t say those words, since Ford is right there). Buffy tells him that Ford knows who she is, so Giles doesn’t have to be so vague.

That night, Buffy gives Ford a tour of Sunnydale, which ends when they spot a couple of vampires entering the school. She gives Ford a cross and a stake, and they go check things out together. The vampires jump Buffy, and as she fights one, Ford questions the other. By the time Buffy gets back to them, Ford is alone. He tells Buffy he dusted the vampire.

Willow has found an address associated with Ford, so she, Angel, and Xander go check it out. It’s the building Ford went to the night before, a place called the Sunset Club. Willow and Xander are wearing colorful clothes, so they’re going to have a hard time blending in with all the goths. Willow ponders the accuracy of the phrase “stick out like sore thumbs.” Xander tells her she has too many thoughts.

They quickly pick up on the theme of the club, which Willow calls “vampires, yay.” Chanterelle greets them, saying the people there welcome anyone who’s interested in “the lonely ones.” Angel translates that as vampires. This group wants to correct the misconception that all vampires are evil. They should be exalted since they’re above humans.

Angel blurts out that Chanterelle is a fool. Hurt, she encourages him to listen to other people’s viewpoints. Willow’s disappointed that Angel has outed them as nonbelievers and ruined their chances of talking to anyone in the club. He scoffs that the group has made up stories about friendly vampires to make themselves feel better. They don’t know anything about vampires or how they live or even dress. Just then, a lonely one walks by wearing the exact same outfit as Angel. Xander refocuses the investigation on Ford, wondering why he’s hanging out with vampire wannabes. They pass Diego, who hears them talking about Ford.

Buffy summons Giles and Jenny to the library to talk about the vampires she and Ford saw. Giles is secretly thrilled to have been called away from his date – he and Jenny were watching monster trucks. Buffy has sent Ford away so he doesn’t have to get more involved in the situation. She’s impressed that he killed a vampire on his first try, though.

She spots a picture of Drusilla, whom Giles IDs for her as Spike’s girlfriend. She was supposedly killed by a mob in Prague. Buffy announces that she’s alive, and was last seen talking to Angel. Before they can discuss more why Angel would be talking to Spike’s girlfriend, they’re ambushed by a vampire who’s fleeing Giles’ office with a stolen book. Buffy recognizes her as the vampire Ford said he killed.

Drusilla is encouraging her (dead) pet bird to sing when Spike finds her and mentions that she went out alone the other night. He knows she ran into Angel and asks what they talked about. He doesn’t want them to be friendly with each other, since Angel’s the enemy. Drusilla is focused on the bird, and an annoyed Spike tells her it’s dead, just like the last one; she never feeds them. Dru gets upset, and like a classic abusive boyfriend, he says he just worries about her, then offers her a new bird.

Ford suddenly arrives, since Spike’s minions apparently suck at security. The vampire Ford didn’t kill gives Spike the book she stole from the library. Ford wants to make a deal with Spike, and he expects Spike to now pull out a watch and give him 30 seconds to convince Spike not to kill him. This isn’t a movie, though, and Spike is too impatient for that. He just grabs Ford by the ear and tells him to talk.

Ford really wants to live out the fantasy, so Spike plays along. Anyway, Ford wants to become a vampire. Spike is like, “I hate you after meeting you two seconds ago; I’m not giving you the opportunity to keep annoying me forever.” Ford offers up a trade: turn him and he’ll hand over Buffy.

Angel goes by Buffy’s house, politely asking to come in even though he’s been invited and can come in whenever he wants. He tells her that Willow looked up Ford, and the two of them and Xander went to dig up information on him. Buffy notes that this is another topic Angel has kept a secret about. She wants to know who Drusilla is.

Angel says he was justified in keeping her a secret because the truth is bad. Buffy insists that she can handle it. He asks if she loves him, and after thinking about it, she says she does, but she’s not sure if she can trust him. Angel replies that maybe she shouldn’t do either. She thinks she should be the one to decide that for herself.

He tells her that when he became a vampire, he did a lot of bad things, but Drusilla was the worst. He was obsessed with her. She was a chaste, sweet girl, and he ruined her. He killed everyone she loved and tortured her. She fled to a convent, and the day she took her holy orders, he turned her into a vampire. Buffy’s hurt by this glimpse into her boyfriend, but she acknowledges that she wanted the truth. Turning the topic back to Ford, Angel says that he’s part of some group that worships vampires. He’s not sure what Ford wants from Buffy, but she can’t trust him.

At school the next day, Buffy keeps this in mind when Ford approaches her. He wants to take her to a surprise location that night. She agrees, then goes to see Willow and Xander. She’s not happy with them for going behind her back. Xander’s even less happy to hear that Willow talked with Angel in her bedroom. “Ours is a forbidden love,” she says.

Ford goes to the Sunset Club to make sure Diego and Chanterelle have everything ready for that night. They believe that Spike and his minions will bless them. Diego asks about Ford’s other friends, the Scoobies. Ford had no idea they were at the club. He assures Diego and Chanterelle that the vampires will come through and everything will be fine. Buffy, who’s also found the club, tells him he’s wrong.

She blasts him for lying to her, but he says everyone lies. She demands to know what he’s up to. Ford says he’s going to become a vampire, and Buffy easily guesses that he was going to trade her for that opportunity. He was actually hoping she would figure it out. In fact, his plan isn’t going down that night – it’s already in motion. The door to the club has a special lock and can only be opened from the outside. Whoever’s there now will still be there when the vampires arrive.

The lonely ones are all in for what they think will be a glorious transformation and ascension to a new consciousness. “No one gets out of here alive,” Ford tells Buffy. She starts looking for another way out, but they’re in a bomb shelter surrounded by concrete. The lonely ones don’t get why Buffy isn’t excited to become a vampire. This is a wonderful opportunity.

Buffy tells them that they’re not going to turn into vampires – Spike and his minions will kill them and dine at the “all-you-can-eat moron bar.” Diego calls her an unbeliever. Buffy tells him they’re taking a huge risk and she’s trying to save them. Their only chance to survive is to get out of the club right now. P.S. Diego’s outfit is dorky. (Ford agrees.)

The sun is setting, so Buffy’s running out of time to save these idiots. Spike gathers his minions for their feast, promising Drusilla a special treat. Back at the club, Buffy keeps looking for a way out as she tells Ford that he’s the bad guy in this situation. She’s guessed that his deal with Spike only applies to him. She tells him that he’ll just turn into a demon; he won’t really be his current self forever.

Ford says it’s better than nothing. Buffy tells him the lonely ones don’t deserve to die. Ford says he doesn’t, either, but it doesn’t matter – he’s still dying. He has six months left, if that, and when he dies, it won’t be pleasant. He wants to go now, still looking like himself, not whatever his brain tumors will turn him into. Buffy’s sympathetic but still thinks he’s being an idiot.

He tells her the lonely ones are sheep. They’re bored and miserable, so they want to change their lives. Ford doesn’t feel like he has a choice. Buffy says he does – he can choose not to kill a bunch of innocent people. He’s trying to live out some fantasy, and she won’t let it continue. If the vampires do show up and start killing people, Buffy will take Ford out herself.

The vampires arrive, and Buffy begs Ford to help her stop things before they get out of control. He won’t, so Buffy tells everyone that they’re going to die. Ford attacks her and knocks her out. Spike and his minions enter the club, and Chanterelle immediately realizes that she made a mistake. He bites her first, telling the others to kill whoever they want but leave Buffy for him.

Instead of stopping the massacre, Buffy gets a better idea. She takes Drusilla hostage and threatens to kill her if Spike doesn’t let everyone go. Once the lonely ones have left, Buffy runs out, locking the door behind her to trap all the vampires inside. Angel, Xander, and Willow arrive outside as the lonely ones disperse (or possibly head to another location to reform their vampire cult). Buffy tells the Scoobies they should go; they can come back later. Come back for what? Ford’s body. He’s stuck in the club with the vampires, and he wants his “reward” for keeping his end of the deal with Spike.

The next day, Buffy returns to the club. The vampires have fled, leaving Ford’s body behind. That night, Buffy and Giles go to his grave, where she wonders what to say. She wishes she hated Ford; she thinks he wanted her to. But he was just scared. Buffy’s struggling to work through all the complicated pieces of her life. She never knows who to love or trust. The more she learns, the more complicated it gets. Giles says that’s what growing up is about.

Buffy asks if it ever gets easy. Just then, Ford emerges from his grave as a vampire. Buffy casually stakes him and turns him to dust. Giles clarifies that Buffy wants to know if life gets easier. He’s not sure what to tell her. She asks him to lie to her. Giles says it’s very easy: The good guys are always good. The bad guys are easy to defeat. “No one ever dies, and everyone lives happily ever after,” he says. “Liar,” Buffy replies.

Thoughts: The idea of the combination of Oreos and apple juice makes me cringe.

“The Net.” Adorable.

I’m mad that we didn’t get to see Giles at the monster truck rally. That scene basically writes itself.

Giles is very relatable when he complains that a vampire took one of his books. I get it. You don’t mess with someone’s book collection.

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