June 8, 2019

The X-Files 11.1, My Struggle III: Oh, Good, More Conspiracies

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

Haven’t we done this before?

Summary: Two years after “My Struggle II” aired, CSM greets us with a voiceover, immediately answering a question many have had for years: His real name is Carl Gerhard Busch. He’s seen a lot of history unfold, and knows that if people knew what was really going on behind the scenes, they would riot. CSM claims he’s not a bad man; he makes others great. That’s what makes him great.

CSM says both of his sons have made sacrifices and paid horrible prices while searching for the truth CSM has “parceled” out to them. There’s definitely life out there on other planets. CSM doesn’t want trust or loyalty, just for his sons to realize that CSM was right and did what needed to be done. P.S. The moon landing was fake.

Zoom in on Scully’s eye, then quick flashbacks of the events of the previous episode. Scully’s unconscious, having been found on the floor of the X-Files office by Mulder, who looks much better than he did in “My Struggle II” – as if he was never sick at all. Mulder and Skinner go to the hospital where she’s taken, and a neurologist, Dr. Joyet, tells them she doesn’t know what happened. All she knows is that Scully has abnormal brain activity, but no apparent damage.

Joyet shows the men scans of Scully’s brain and says she’s never seen what’s happening there before. There’s a flashing in her hypothalamus, her fight-or-flight center. Skinner sees the flashing as a code, six dots and two dashes: “Find him.” Joyet lets the men visit Scully, and Mulder vows to stay with her as long as she’s in the hospital. Skinner thinks they should focus on the “him” of the code – probably William. Scully must want him because she’s dying. Mulder refuses to believe that and again says he’s staying with Scully.

Great, more voiceover. Mulder fears that he’s responsible for Scully’s condition. If he is, how can he fix it? Scully has more flashbacks, then wakes up. She tells Mulder he has to go find CSM. She knows “how it begins.” The Spartan virus will become an epidemic and lead to massive destruction. But there’s a cure, so Mulder needs to find William and get his stem cells.

Mulder tells Scully there’s no plague, and besides, CSM is dead. Scully insists that he’s alive in Spartanburg. Mulder thinks Scully’s confused because of the weird activity in her brain. Scully tells him that CSM will kill him if Mulder doesn’t stop him.

Since the last time we saw him, Jeffrey Spender’s face has improved a lot. Wherever he is now, someone’s trying to run him down in a parking garage. He manages to dodge his would-be assassin’s car and lock himself out of reach of the driver. The driver says he just wants “the boy.” Spender won’t help, so the driver leaves.

Joyet agrees with Mulder that Scully’s visions are just that, visions. Nothing with the Spartan virus actually happened. The question now is where the visions came from. Joyet has seen some stuff in her time, and she figures Scully’s experiencing the aftermath of some experiments. Impatient, Scully wants to leave and investigate, but Mulder says he’ll handle it. On his way out of the hospital, he gets a voice mail from Spender.

Scully has more visions, this time from the future instead of the past. She sees CSM telling someone they can’t be found, and Mulder getting in a car accident. As she wakes up, we briefly see a teen boy doing the same, seemingly having had the same visions as Scully. Mulder listens to Spender’s message, which warns that someone came after him looking for William. Everyone connected to him is in danger.

CSM knows that Mulder will be looking for him, and just like in Scully’s vision, he tells Reyes they can’t be found. Meanwhile, someone follows Mulder as he heads off on a road trip, voicing over more pointless stuff about Scully. He knows he’s being followed, so he tries to get away from his pursuer. CSM gloats to Reyes that Mulder can’t stop what’s already been put into motion.

The car chase goes on forever. Is this what it’s like watching The Fast and the Furious? I’ll pass. Mulder’s pursuer crashes, but Mulder is able to get away. Back at the hospital, Scully has William-related dreams/flashbacks, waking up when Spender comes by. She asks where William is, but he reminds her that she made him promise never to tell her. Scully says Mulder’s life is at stake. Spender can only provide the adoptive family’s last name, Van De Kamp.

Scully tells Spender that CSM’s alive, and she tries to leave again to go on the hunt. Joyet stops her, but even the risk of a seizure won’t keep Scully in the hospital. CSM admits to Reyes that, though he knows William’s in danger, he doesn’t know who the danger is coming from. Reyes thinks someone knows William is CSM’s weakness. CSM says no one could know that. Even if his plans were to get out, people would dismiss them as “fake news.” No one wants to accept the threat of our impending extinction.

Mulder’s still driving and voicing over. Scully calls him to tell him that Spender gave him William’s last name. She’s left the hospital and is in the X-Files office. She promises that she knows what she’s doing. Mulder tells her he’s in South Carolina, just as Scully’s visions showed that everything begins. She insists that they find William. She has more visions, this time seeing the teen boy in distress as a man says he’s a special child. Scully winds up unconscious on the floor of the office again.

CSM tells Reyes that he thinks Scully will forgive him once she sees “the beauty of a planet returned to its savage state.” Reyes reminds him that he’ll be killing humans, and the survivors will hate him. CSM’s like, “What else is new?” More driving and voicing over from Mulder as Reyes tells CSM that Scully and William have a bond beyond science. CSM thinks Scully’s unaware of it – only he and Reyes know.

More driving and voicing over. We get it! Mulder wants the truth! CSM tells Reyes he’s worried about William. Reyes thinks he’s in love with Scully. CSM says he worries for her; Mulder always protected her, but now he’s forced CSM’s hand. Reyes asks what will happen if Scully finds William first. CSM says they won’t let that happen.

Mulder reaches CSM’s gigantic house and runs around for a while with his gun drawn. When he finally finds people, they’re not CSM and Reyes. They’re Erika Price and a guy known only as Mr. Y. Skinner goes to the X-Files office looking for Scully, who’s no longer there. She’s also left her phone behind, so she’s out of contact.

Skinner gets in his car to go searching for her and is surprised by Reyes and her gun. As Scully drives somewhere, looking like she’s seconds from causing an accident, Skinner turns the tables on Reyes and holds her at gunpoint instead. Then CSM joins them, asking if he can smoke in the car. Meanwhile, Scully predictably crashes her car.

Price and Mr. Y claim they don’t know where CSM is, though he was at the house not long ago. They were part of the Syndicate, but they’re not co-conspirators. Price says that CSM wants to exterminate humanity. CSM tells Skinner that the new human religion is faith in technology, while a simple pathogen could destroy everyone.

Price and Mr. Y tell Mulder that aliens aren’t a threat anymore – they don’t want to come to a dying planet. CSM is going to release an alien pathogen to wipe everyone out. Mulder needs to kill him, or he’ll never see William again. CSM tries to make a deal with Skinner: Bring William to CSM, and Skinner will get immunity from the pathogen. Mulder asks why CSM wants William. As in Scully’s vision, Mr. Y says he’s a special child.

They tell Mulder that years ago, aliens came to study humans and were going to work with the Syndicate. CSM was going to be in charge. Of course, that went badly, and everyone realized he was a bad leader. CSM puts a different spin on it, telling Skinner that he protected humanity as long as he could. He used aliens as test subjects to try to protect humans from the pathogen. I guess the moon landing was a way of making humans look heroic.

CSM says this is “the fourth turning,” the end stages of civilization: “The only truth left is to survive it.” Scully and William have immunity and will survive along with some elites. Mr. Y and Price urge Mulder to kill CSM before he can wipe out humanity. He won’t be expecting Mulder to do the deed. Mulder wants more information, like what Price and Mr. Y want. They plan to colonize space and build habitable structures. Mulder doesn’t believe them – they want a war, and they want to use Mulder to start it.

Mr. Y offers to take Mulder and William along to the safety of space, but Mulder would rather go with Scully’s plan to save everyone. CSM thinks his conversation with Skinner is over, so Reyes gets out of the car, but Skinner has more to discuss. Mulder heads back to D.C., calling Skinner along the way, but he’s still talking to CSM. Skinner wants to know why he’s supposed to betray Mulder and Skinner to get William. This means turning his back on humanity.

Scully’s back in the hospital, thanks to two FBI agents who found her after the car crash and took her to the place listed on the medical bracelet she was still wearing. They’re Miller and Einstein. Joyet calls Mulder to let him know that Scully had a setback but is back in her care. As Miller and Einstein leave the hospital, they pass by a man who goes to Scully’s room and tries to smother her with a pillow. He switches to strangulation when that fails. Mulder arrives in time to save her.

Sigh, more voicing over. Conspiracies! William! Girlfriend in the hospital! Mulder is so conflicted! He tells Scully he recognized her attacker, whom Scully says couldn’t have been sent by CSM, since CSM wouldn’t try to hurt her. She thinks her visions are coming from William, somehow. He’s trying to guide both Mulder and Scully. CSM can’t act without William, which the teen knows. CSM won’t find William, but William will find Mulder and Scully. They just have to keep doing their work and wait.

Skinner arrives, and Mulder instantly gets suspicious about where he’s been, even before he smells the smoke on Skinner’s clothes. The two men start scuffling and have to be broken up. Mulder asks whose side Skinner is on. Skinner just tells him to leave it alone. In a flashback, we see the rest of Skinner and CSM’s conversation. CSM has an offer for Scully, which Skinner says she’ll never take. CSM thinks she will, since she’ll have to choose between Mulder and William.

CSM continues that he and “Dana” have a history that goes back 17 years, to “En Ami.” As we know, he took her to a house while she was asleep/unconscious, and CSM claims he impregnated her at the time. According to CSM, he, not Mulder, is William’s father. Elsewhere, William – now known as Jackson – is hearing distorted voices, possibly from the same visions Scully was having.

Thoughts: Price is played by Barbara Hershey.

Spender has Mulder’s phone number – do you think they’ve kept in touch over the years? They probably have a lot to talk about.

Way to keep an eye on the woman with abnormal brain activity and a risk for seizures, Skinner. Mulder’s justified in being mad.

Miller and Einstein don’t appear to know Scully, which I guess means both “My Struggle II” and “Babylon” didn’t happen. To bad I still had to recap “Babylon.”

June 4, 2019

ER 4.3, Friendly Fire: Weaver’s in Charge and Everything Is…Fine

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

Same, Cynthia

Summary: Doug drives Carol to an El platform so they can keep pretending they’re not practically living together. At County, Tabash tells Benton and Carla that Reese is doing well enough to probably be able to go home the next week. Time for the next Benton/Carla disagreement: Should Reese be circumcised? Carla is pro; Benton is against. He considers his opinion the final decision.

Instead of working, Mark passes work off to Anna and watches Jerry Springer in the lounge. Weaver, meanwhile, takes on more work, accepting the position of acting chief of emergency services. Anspaugh confides that not everyone is a fan of Morgenstern’s management practices. Weaver already has a plan to get things back under budget, even if it means making enemies. She’s fine with that – just like many reality-show participants, she’s not here to make friends.

Cynthia arrives for her first day of work, confusing Carol, who didn’t realize Mark had given her the job. Weaver quickly starts changing policies and practices while Carter hunts for Henry. Carol complains to Mark that he hired a dud, but Mark, like Benton, thinks his decision is the final word.

Carla asks Anna if she thinks Reese should be circumcised. Anna says it’s something she recommends for patients, and Carla shouldn’t have any second thoughts. Carla asks her to do it. Since Anna and Chasity are getting all the cases Carter’s missing, Carter’s available to take a trauma patient after a motorcycle accident. No one can insert an IV, so Carter opts for a central line. Maggie comes in and pulls rank, taking over the case and sending Carter to do sutures.

Al comes in after an incident with a crane at a construction site. He’s scraped up but mostly fine. Weaver questions why Doug’s salary is being paid by the emergency services department, which means they’re underwriting his fellowship. She’d like to read his research proposal.

Carter continues hunting for Henry, then complains to Mark that Doyle pulled him from a trauma and gave it to Anna. She’s been doing that a lot lately. Mark tells Carter that he’ll have to keep doing sutures unless he can get Henry to do them for him. Carter gets a call on his hilarious mid-’90s cell phone, but reception in the hallway isn’t great. Anna warns about how big a bill he could be racking up.

Jeanie fixes up Al while a paramedic tends to his friend Bill. He mentions that Al fell on him, so all the blood on him is Al’s. Jeanie and Al both freeze. Carol takes care of Casey, a guy from the same construction site who grabbed a live cable to try to save everyone else. Casey’s boss doesn’t want him to report his hand injuries to workers’ comp so the boss doesn’t get in trouble. Carol notes that that will keep Casey from receiving disability while he’s out of work.

Anna hands a case off to Carter, a woman named Kirsten whose husband was unable to wake her this morning. He doesn’t know of any illness or injuries she had that would leave her unconscious. Carter does a test to determine if there’s something wrong with Kirsten’s brain stem, and he clearly doesn’t like the results, but he doesn’t want to tell Kirsten’s husband, Josh, that anything bad has happened.

Benton goes to visit Reese and catches Anna in the middle of circumcising him. Benton argues that Carla had no right to ask Anna to do the procedure. Carter shows Mark Kirsten’s scans and shares his diagnosis of an infarction. Mark agrees and says she’ll probably start declining quickly. Carter feels horrible that he has to tell Josh that his 27-year-old wife is about to die. Mark casually reminds him to ask about organ donation.

As Carol’s gathering Casey’s things, she finds a joint and realizes that he was high at work. He thinks his status as a hero cancels out the fact that he may have caused the situation that led to his heroics in the first place. Carol heads off to fill in Casey’s boss. Cynthia’s first day is going well, but there seems to be some skepticism (at least from Jerry and Haleh) that she should have been hired.

Heather pops in again, trying to get Mark to go out with her. Mark begs off, claiming it’s not because he doesn’t want to spend time with her. A man named Ed comes in with a gunshot wound to the leg, accidentally sustained when he was cleaning a gun. His wife, Glenda, wants to take some of their other weapons into the hospital since they’re expensive and can’t be left in their car. Malik tells Jerry to stash it behind the admit desk.

Carla and Benton bicker about the circumcision, and I’m just going to say that they’re both in the wrong here. He was a jerk for putting his foot down without discussion, and she was a jerk for going behind his back. She thinks he was just against the circumcision because he isn’t circumcised. Benton doesn’t think that’s a big deal. Carla says the real problem is that he shut her down.

Carter has given the bad news to Josh that Kirsten had a stroke and is going to die soon. Josh is in denial, thinking she could still get better, and doesn’t want to just do nothing until she dies. Carter pauses a respectable amount of time before mentioning organ donation. Fortunately, Josh responds well, saying that Kirsten would want to help people. But suddenly, that conversation is out the window: Kirsten’s awake.

Mark, Weaver, and Doyle are working on Ed when Carter pulls Mark out to see Kirsten. Mark’s shocked, since people with her kind of stroke don’t ever wake up. He sees for himself that Kirsten is awake, then reexamines her scans. Rather than a stroke, Kirsten has an aneurysm that caused swelling in her brain stem, which led to her loss of consciousness. She’ll need an MRI right away before the aneurysm bursts.

Jeanie asks Al if Bill knows his HIV status. Al says no, and he doesn’t see the point in telling him, since Bill didn’t have any cuts, so he couldn’t have been infected. Jeanie disagrees about keeping quiet, but Al’s afraid that word will spread and he’ll end up without a job. Jeanie thinks the responsible thing is to tell Bill so he can get tested just in case.

Glenda shows Jerry her collection of guns while Ed is getting x-rays. The couple has some connection to a guy who trains “patriots” on using weapons. Cynthia asks if she means a guy like David Koresh. Glenda’s face indicates that that was the wrong thing to say.

She offers to sell Jerry a grenade launcher, which I’m sure he’d have a lot of use for in Chicago. She promises Cynthia that it’s unusable; it’s illegal to sell usable ordnance. But there’s a kit he can get that will change that. Jerry jokes about shooting his neighbor’s loud dog. Not funny, Jerry. Also not funny: The weapon is actually loaded after all, and Jerry accidentally fires a grenade through the lobby, out the door in the ambulance bay. He hits Ed and Glenda’s truck, setting off all the ammo inside.

Firefighters put out the resulting fire, and Glenda is arrested as she protests that the weapons are her personal property. Cynthia has ringing in her ears, so Mark checks her over. She tells him that, even after this, she feels safe at County, thanks to all the doctors. Somehow they start talking about Death of a Salesman, and how sad it is when Willy Loman looks back over his life and realizes there was nothing there.

Benton, Elizabeth, and Anspaugh operate on Ed, the latter two hitting it off well. Paramedics bring in Laura, Carol’s bulimic patient from the previous week; her eating disorder has led to her vomiting blood. Doyle’s mad that Laura wasn’t admitted to psych when she was last at County. When she learns that Mark didn’t authorize it, Doyle complains that they’re picking up his slack.

While undergoing an MRI, Kirsten starts declining again. Carter tells Josh that she needs immediate surgery, but Josh no longer trusts the doctors’ decisions. First they said she was going to die; then she woke up and seemed fine. He doesn’t think Kirsten really needs surgery. Mark steps in and tells Josh that she’ll die without it. Josh backs down and consents to the operation.

After Ed’s surgery is over, Elizabeth tells Benton that she thinks Anspaugh is a gasbag. She’s not used to “old tossers” coming to the OR; in the U.K., they’re too lazy. Benton is amused and tells her she can feel free to keep speaking her mind. At the admit desk, Haleh, Malik, and Connie giggle over how there was an actual explosion on Weaver’s first day in charge. Weaver overhears and says she’s just glad no one was hurt.

She reminds Doug that she wants to read his research, then goes to help Doyle with a patient. She tries to gain Doyle as an ally, warning that the county would love to close the ER. All her policy changes are an attempt to save it. She really hopes some people will understand and come on board. Doyle’s like, “…Yes, I am so on board, scary lady.”

Mark bursts into an OR to try to pull a surgeon named Corelli out of a procedure to operate on Kirsten. Doug and Elizabeth tend to a boy with a hernia, and she praises his bedside manner with kids. Carol’s in and out of the room as Elizabeth asks Doug to go out on the town with her. Carol dismisses herself before Doug can tell Elizabeth he’s seeing someone. That’s not a problem for Elizabeth, who really just wants people to spend time with.

Al and Jeanie tell Bill that he may have been exposed to Al’s HIV. Bill’s upset that Al never told him or their co-workers. He agrees to get tested, but since Jeanie also has HIV, Bill doesn’t want her touching him. Doug chases down Carol to tell her that he has no interest in Elizabeth and certainly didn’t flirt with her. He told her he was seeing someone but didn’t mention Carol’s name. If Carol wants to keep dating, she’ll have to trust him.

Carter gives Mark the good news that Kirsten got to surgery in time and has a great chance at a full recovery. He wants to take Mark to see Josh so Josh can thank him, but Mark gives Carter all the credit. Carol tells Mark that Laura’s now going to be admitted to psych. Mark admits that he screwed up by not having her admitted before. Carol lets him off easy, but Mark says he didn’t go the extra mile in patient care. Carol doesn’t think it should just be the doctor’s responsibility. There needs to be a safety net.

Haleh tells Carol that Weaver is punching everyone out, like she threatened. Interns will take over the nurses’ tasks. Weaver tells Carol that nurses spend the ends of their shifts slacking off anyway. They don’t generate income, so their extra hours shouldn’t be compensated. Carol’s like, “Yeah, saving money is definitely more important than the patient care we provide.”

Mark decides to go out with Heather after all, I guess because he doesn’t want to be Willy Loman looking back on his pointless life. Weaver tells Jerry that he has almost a month’s worth of unused vacation time, so she suggests that he take it now. Doyle reminds Carter that he was supposed to be doing sutures today, but he kept doing other things. Carter accuses her of giving Anna special treatment because of a personal interest. Doyle laughs that off, then compliments Anna’s hair when she comes in.

Carter appreciates that Anna gave Kirsten’s case to him, so he offers to return the favor with dinner. Instead, Anna asks for help figuring out tax deductions. He invites her to chat about it over dinner, because he can’t take a hint. She tells him she has to do laundry tonight, so he invites himself along.

Doug and Carol meet up on an El platform, and she’s past her jealousy over Elizabeth. Mark and Heather go to dinner, and he tells her he’s missed her. Carter slums it in a Laundromat, which leads to physical comedy with a shaking dryer. The sandwiches Anna gets them for dinner end up in a machine with the clothes. Mark and Heather try to have sex, but he either can’t perform or is just left unsatisfied. He wants to smoke, but she asks him to do it outside, since she’s allergic. He decides to just leave instead.

Thoughts: Fun with out-of-context quotes: “What happened to that boy’s penis should have been left up to me.”

Today’s lesson: You can keep any weapons you want at the front desk as long as you say they’re not usable. Security won’t even notice.

I believe the situation was that Abraham Benrubi needed time off to do another show, so they had to find a way to temporarily write him out. They couldn’t have gone with something less ridiculous?

June 1, 2019

The X-Files 10.6, My Struggle II: This Isn’t Going to Help Defeat the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

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

Our hero

Summary: Scully gives a voiceover to recap what the series is all about. Instead of video clips, we get photos. To sum up: Weird stuff happened, the Syndicate may still be at work, and Scully appears to have alien DNA. There, you’re all caught up.

Scully goes to work and sees that Mulder’s been watching Tad’s show, which is airing on the Internet again. He claims that there’s been a discovery: Almost every American has alien DNA. Tad calls and summons Scully to Mulder’s house, which has been ransacked. Tad was supposed to meet Mulder there, but he’s not home. Scully confronts him about his revelation on his show, and Tad says he has a doctor who can verify that his claims are true.

After calling the police, Scully returns to the X-Files office and meets up with Skinner and Einstein. She thinks Mulder took off because he doesn’t want to hear Scully’s opinions on his belief in Tad’s revelation. Einstein thinks they should dismiss the crazy Internet conspiracy theorist, but Scully doesn’t think they can just throw out his theory. It’s possible that some entity was given the ability to tamper with humans’ DNA.

The two women go to Our Lady of Sorrows and encounter a man who’s confused and looking for help. He has a gross-looking wound on his arm but doesn’t know where it came from. Meanwhile, Mulder, who looks like he’s been beaten up, drives somewhere, ignoring a call from Skinner.

Scully draws some blood from Einstein as she tells her she found alien DNA in herself. Einstein doesn’t get why she was even looking for it. Scully tells her that the science they were taught doesn’t take them near the truth. She brings up smallpox vaccines, which could have been used to inject more than just a vaccination. If there’s even a small possibility that happened, they need to investigate.

Miller arrives and tells the women that people are starting to freak out about Tad’s revelation. He’s posted a new video with a doctor named Rubell, his supposed conspiracy verifier. Rubell says that a fast-moving virus will soon spread through the population. People like police officers and healthcare workers will be the first affected. Scully thinks it’s already happening.

She asks a nurse named Sandeep for an update on the confused guy she ran into earlier. His identity is still unknown, but he may be in the military. Scully orders a treatment, telling Sandeep that she thinks the man’s lesion came from exposure to anthrax. Miller and Einstein overhear, and Scully explains that soldiers deployed to Iraq are given doses of anthrax in the event of nuclear warfare. Now, the vaccines may be attacking their immune systems.

Einstein remains skeptical, but Scully says anthrax is just the tip of the iceberg. We may be on the verge of a global contagion. Einstein wants them to wait until her test results are back, but Scully doesn’t think they’ll matter. She goes to the chapel and calls Mulder, who ignores her call as well as he heads into South Carolina.

Miller goes to the X-Files office and watches Tad’s latest video, which confirms Scully’s theory: Other military personnel are showing signs of exposure to anthrax. Tad thinks this is the first wave in a “rolling contagion,” the result of a “far-reaching conspiracy of men.” Miller notices that Mulder has a phone-finder app, so he uses it to track Mulder’s phone to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

At the hospital, the unknown soldier’s lesion now looks 50 times grosser than before. Einstein argues that this could be the result of a faulty vaccine, not a conspiracy. Scully tells her they don’t have time to consider all the possibilities – they need to move to fight the worst-case scenario.

Einstein continues that only one class of people has been infected. If something in their DNA has been triggered, why is it happening now? Something has to be taken away from the genome to shut down a person’s body, not added to it. Scully gets a call from someone she hasn’t spoken to in so long that she doesn’t even recognize the caller’s voice. It’s someone who was there for her once before when she needed help: Reyes.

The two former colleagues meet downtown and give exposition about how Reyes left the FBI a decade ago, very suddenly. She made decisions that she’s not sure Scully will understand. Years ago, CSM – post-explosion and pre-reconstructive surgery – summoned Reyes to his hospital room. She told him he was an evil liar, but she still accepted a deal he offered. He promised to spare her life when he tampered with everyone’s DNA to kill everyone but some elite people.

Reyes tells Scully that the conspiracy is more complex than she thinks. Oh, isn’t it always? She accused CSM of playing God, but CSM said everyone’s fates have been sealed since birth. She told him he would die alone, but he disagreed – she would be there to continue to light his cigarettes. Reyes tells Scully that because of her abduction and alien DNA, she’s one of the elite. She and Reyes are both protected from the global massacre about to take place.

Scully asks about Mulder, and Reyes says CSM loves him, so he sent someone to offer Mulder a deal. That would be the man who beat Mulder up and left his house trashed. Despite being eligible for AARP, Mulder was still able to put up a good fight against CSM’s man. Now he’s in Spartanburg to discuss the deal with CSM in person.

CSM mocks that he’s controlled Mulder before Mulder even knew he existed. Mulder tells him it’s time for CSM to stop whatever he put in motion. CSM says it’s too late. Mulder doesn’t believe him, but CSM corrects that he doesn’t want to believe. Okay, I could really do without CSM smoking through a tube in his throat.

CSM thinks Mulder will accept his deal because it will allow him to stay with Scully. Mulder makes it clear that CSM will die if he harms Scully. CSM argues that he didn’t set out to destroy the world – people did. He’s not responsible for climate change or any other alterations to nature. Neither of them could have saved mankind from destruction. CSM just sped up the timetable.

Mulder asks what the deal is. CSM says he can have “a seat at the big table.” Mulder knows he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he survived while billions died. CSM points out that the two of them and Scully could create a new world. Mulder’s already feverish, so if he doesn’t accept this deal, he’ll die along with everyone else.

Tad gives an update: Hospitals and shelters are overflowing, and the mainstream media isn’t paying enough attention to what’s happening. He claims chemtrails are releasing aluminum into the atmosphere. You had me until then, Tad. Scully reunites with Einstein, who can no longer ignore the possibility of massive contagions wiping everyone out. Scully says she was wrong about the science causing all this. Alien DNA isn’t responsible for the contagions – it’s what will save everyone.

They’re calling this the Spartan virus, a virus within a virus administered through smallpox vaccines. Scully thinks they still have time to save everyone. She just needs to use her own alien DNA to create a vaccine that will beat the Spartan virus. They just need to move fast.

Mulder’s now so sick that he’s on CSM’s floor, but he still won’t take his deal. CSM says he’ll miss Mulder, who made his life worthwhile. He pulls off part of his face, which turns out to be prosthetic. Mulder wishes Scully were there to see the monster CSM has become. Scully and Einstein look at Scully’s DNA again, but now there’s nothing alien in it.

Sandeep comes to the lab to tell Scully that the staff is getting sick, so they’re running out of time. Tad continues his updates – people are dying, but he and his crew will keep broadcasting as long as there’s hope of stopping the contagions. Scully and Einstein (who’s not sick yet) go over the science again, trying to figure out how alien DNA protects Scully from the Spartan virus. What makes Scully different? Einstein thinks the sample they studied was too small.

Miller finds Mulder at CSM’s and announces that they’re leaving. CSM warns that he has no idea what’s coming next. Einstein draws more of Scully’s blood, sure that the next examination of it will show the alien DNA again. Einstein’s getting sick now. Miller drags Mulder to his car, but Mulder thinks the younger agent should just save himself. Miller asks why Mulder didn’t accept CSM’s offer. CSM tells Miller to say goodbye for him before Mulder dies.

This time Scully’s alien DNA shows up on examination, so she’s just hours from developing a cure. Miller calls her from his car, telling her that he found Mulder but he’s not doing well. Scully promises that help is coming. Miller isn’t sure they can make it back to D.C., since there’s now a gas shortage. Scully administers her cure to Einstein so she can help pass it out to everyone else.

Tad is looking worse as he says lines of communication are starting to fall. People are starting to riot in the streets as Scully heads out to find her boyfriend. She tells everyone to go to the hospital because help is coming. Tad announces that there’s a vaccine – the ray of hope everyone needs to keep them from giving up entirely.

Scully gets to her car and drives on the sidewalk in an attempt to get out of the city. That only works for her until she gets to a bridge. Mulder and Miller are stuck on the same bridge, so Miller and Scully decide to get out and walk to each other. “He saved your life. Old Smoky,” Mulder says when Scully reaches him. She promises that she’ll save him, too (and Miller).

Scully whispers to Miller that Mulder is worse off than she thought – he’ll need stem cells. The best source is William, who must also be protected by Scully’s alien DNA. The problem? Scully doesn’t know where he is. Well, that’s not Scully’s only problem: Now there’s a UFO over the bridge, with its spotlight right on Scully.

Thoughts: Between the soldier’s lesion, CSM’s post-explosion state, and his half-missing face, this episode gets a 9 out of 10 on the grossness scale.

I guess we’re supposed to think all the traffic jams in D.C. are from mass panic, but really, it’s not much worse than a regular rush hour around here.

One season left! Who’s ready to wrap this thing up?

May 28, 2019

ER 4.2, Something New: Time to Stop Letting Mark Be in Charge of Things

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

“Hi! I’m a doctor now! Please don’t mention my more-famous brother or the time my wife didn’t thank me in her Oscars speech!”

Summary: Mark’s stuck in traffic on his way to work when he spots an open parking spot on the street. As he swerves over to grab it before anyone else can, he almost hits Carter. Carter yells and swears until he realizes he’s yelling and swearing at his boss. Mark says he doesn’t park in the garage anymore, since it gives him the creeps. (I thought he usually took the El anyway?) Carter’s looking forward to meeting his new med student, who he plans to treat…basically the same way Benton treated him: like a servant.

Weaver goes to see Morgenstern and is greeted by William H. Macy’s bare butt. Thanks, show! He’s doing well after his heart attack but is still on morphine, which is making him loopy. This is probably a bad time for Weaver to ask him to work on some paperwork for the hospital. He asks her to take care of them, and in fact would be very appreciative if she took over some of his other responsibilities. He admits that he feels “like a sheriff with no posse.” Weaver gets it and agrees to help out with administrative tasks.

In case it was still ambiguous, Doug and Carol are definitely back together. He brings her breakfast in bed, teasing that when she woke up alone, she probably thought he’d left her. He asks if he can have a drawer so he can keep some of his things at her house. Carol’s surprised, since Doug never wanted a drawer when they dated before. This will make it harder for him to just leave when he gets worried about commitment.

Weaver tells Mark that Morgenstern has made her acting chief of the ER while he recovers. Mark is just happy he doesn’t have to take on the admin stuff. Doug and Carol come in separately and pretend they didn’t spend the night together. Weaver asks Carol and Mark to interview candidates for a desk-clerk position. Jerry’s confused about why there’s someone coming to do his job. Just then, Mark gets served with some kind of papers.

Jeanie and Al have breakfast at Doc Magoo’s, still enjoying their reunion. He hasn’t told his boss about his HIV status, so he needs an excuse for a doctor’s appointment that afternoon. He can’t exactly kill off his grandmother again. Benton and Carla’s son is doing much better and is ready to be taken off his ventilator. Benton’s skeptical that it’s time, but Tabash plans to extubate him that afternoon. Carla chastises Benton for being so pessimistic about everything – he hasn’t even wanted to name the baby. She wants to get on with their son’s life.

Anna treats a boy who broke his arm when he fell out of his bunk bed. Doug pulls her out of the room, calling her Anna, and she asks him to call her Dr. Del Amico in front of patients. Doug didn’t even notice his informality; he calls his friends by their first names at work. He advises her to take on more adult patients, since she’s already done her pediatric residency and is now in an emergency program. Anna wants to control her own caseload, and she reminds Doug that he’s not her superior. He’s in charge of pediatrics, though.

Mark steps in and tells Anna that she’ll need to run adult patients by Doyle, then Mark or Weaver. Oh, and Carter will need to do the same. This is news to Carter, who seems to keep forgetting that he’s back to being a first-year intern and has no say in anything anymore. Carter argues that he’s done more ER procedures than Maggie, and he spent a lot of his surgical internship teaching Doyle. She objects, but Mark says it’s a moot point. His rule stands. Doug soon laments his instructions to Anna, since it means he has to take her younger patients, including the ones who barf.

Hicks reintroduces Benton to Elizabeth, who will be shadowing him on trauma cases today. Meanwhile, Carter and Anna meet their med students, George Henry and Chasity Lee. Chasity is very eager and knows she won’t be doing anything glamorous for a while. Henry states right out that he’s not interested in patient care; he’s a researcher. Because of his combination M.D./Ph.D. program, he hasn’t worked with patients for four years. Carter isn’t sure how to handle this information.

Benton takes Elizabeth to the ER to help Doyle with a gunshot victim named Ernesto. For Elizabeth’s benefit, Benton has everyone go over their steps methodically. Elizabeth and Doyle start talking about kinds of bullets, which almost makes Benton roll his eyes. Carter wants to join them, even though he hasn’t been paged, since he wants to get involved in an interesting case. Benton and Doyle tell him they have more than enough doctors, so Carter isn’t needed.

Mark and Connie take care of a woman named Ethel who appears to be extremely drunk but claims she isn’t. Instead of helping with a cool gunshot case, Carter now has to take care of a drunk who needs rectal medication. Well, really, Henry will be taking care of her while Carter lies back and relaxes. Mark and Carol are working through the list of desk-clerk applicants, with only a few left to go. Jerry learns that when he was up for the job, the nurses took bets on who would get it.

Mark and Carol’s current interviewee is a humorless woman who’s worked in nine other hospitals. She’s obsessed with precision and is already annoyed with the late start of her interview. Jeanie treats an elderly woman named Estelle who fell down her stairs. She claims her sister pushed her. Benton and Elizabeth scrub in for surgery with Dr. Breedlove, and he cautions her to pay more attention than she did in the ER. She quickly goes against the stereotype of polite Brits by commenting on how short Breedlove is. Benton’s like, “Who is this woman who speaks her mind and will clearly be my next love interest?”

Henry bores Carter with talk of some of his research while Anna basks in her med student’s efficiency and cheery attitude. Jeanie asks Carter to tend to Estelle, so Carter hands her off to Henry. Mark and Carol interview Cynthia Hooper, who’s unprepared and has no experience in clerking. She thinks she’d be doing billing, which she wouldn’t. She does like working with people, though. Cynthia’s nerves get the better of her and she starts crying, making Carol give Mark a look that says, “Are we done here?”

Doug treats Jesús, a seven-year-old with a cough that might mean he has pneumonia. Doug has some trouble communicating with the boy’s parents, who don’t speak much English. Doug’s Spanish isn’t great, and though he’s able to ask questions of the parents, the Trajillos, he can’t understand their answers very well. Mark and Carol have no good prospects, and though Mark is willing to hire one of them, Carol says he wouldn’t fit in. They run into Heather, one of Mark’s exes, on their way to see a patient, an 18-year-old named Laura who passed out.

Carter brings Ethel’s case to Mark, wondering why she’s slurring when her blood alcohol level isn’t that high. Mark tells him to just move her along so he can see more patients. Benton and Carla go back to the NICU for the baby’s extubation, which goes well. They’re able to hold him for the first time without any wires or monitors. Carter loses track of Henry, who took an overly detailed history of a patient. Jeanie and Carter tell him to edit himself and stop ordering so many tests.

Jeanie tells Estelle that a social worker is coming to find her a new place to live so she doesn’t have to go home with her sister. As Jeanie adjusts the woman’s pillow, Estelle asks if she’s going to be smothered. Her sister tried that, too. So either Estelle is delusional or people just really hate her. Carol tells Laura that she passed out because she was dehydrated. She thinks Laura’s hiding something she hasn’t mentioned. She looks in Laura’s mouth and asks if her dentist has talked to her about her enamel.

Anna brings Carter and Henry to see her patient, a man named Oliver who was found wandering and may have schizophrenia. Malik, who’s passing by, says Oliver thinks he’s Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field. Malik should be flattered. Oliver is difficult to have a conversation with because he has short-term memory loss and keeps veering off on stream-of-consciousness tangents. Carter and Anna want to do a CT scan before they call psych, and Henry guesses that Oliver has a brain lesion.

Doug enlists Chuny as a translator to tell the Trajillos that Jesús will be okay after some antibiotics. A social worker named Thomas comes to meet Estelle, who begs Jeanie not to let her be sent back to her sister’s house. Weaver tells Mark that Carol wants to interview more candidates, but Mark thinks they’ve found one who will do the job fine. Weaver’s okay with that. Mark chastises Carter for scheduling Ethel for an MRI, but Carter says that Doyle approved.

Carol tells Mark that she suspected and got Laura to admit that has bulimia. They can’t get her an appointment at an eating-disorders clinic for weeks, so Carol wants Mark to talk to her. Mark says he deals with acute patients, not chronic ones, so he’s not the right person for the job. (I don’t know that an 18-year-old woman would listen to a guy like Mark anyway.) Also, if Carol has any other concerns about the desk-clerk candidates, she should talk to him, not go behind his back to Weaver.

Henry was right, and Oliver has a big lesion on his brain. Anna has to tell him that it could be serious, which makes him cry, which makes me feel horrible because he seems so sweet. Carter finds Henry in a lab, working on his research. Because he’s ten years old, Carter starts touching stuff without knowing what it is. Henry manages to stop him from mutating his genes.

Benton rushes to the NICU in hopes of being there the first time Carla tries to feed the baby. It’s been pushed until that night, so Benton asks Carla to page him when it’s time. She wants to pick a name, but they haven’t decided whether to give the baby the last name Reese or Benton. She figures she’ll be doing all the work, so her son should have her last name. Carla asks if Benton would see the two of them as a family without a baby. He wouldn’t, but she admits that she wouldn’t, either.

Paramedics bring in another gunshot victim as a guy scans the hallway for radioactivity. “I love this job,” Haleh murmurs. Elizabeth comes to assist, surprised to have another gunshot victim, because she doesn’t understand America yet. Elizabeth runs the trauma, at one point asking everyone to take a breath and slow down a little so they don’t rush anything. She does everything calmly and just as methodically as Benton would want.

As Carol goes out to get some medication, Jesús’ mother starts yelling for help – her son is coughing up blood. Anna runs in to help. Elizabeth stabilizes the gunshot victim, so when Benton finally comes in, there’s nothing left for him to do. Benton comments that Elizabeth must have been paying attention earlier after all. “Always,” she replies.

Thomas tells Jeanie that Estelle’s sister couldn’t have pushed her down the stairs since Estelle’s sister has been dead for years. Jeanie considers killing Estelle herself. She’s mainly annoyed that she spent all day taking care of one patient and is still waiting on tests for her. On top of that, Estelle told Thomas that Jeanie tried to smother her with a pillow. Jeanie assigns Henry to babysit Estelle until her tests results come back.

Chuny clears up the translation error that led Doug to miss Jesús’ diagnosis – they didn’t realize that by “shots,” he meant vaccines. Jesús may have whooping cough. Anna says she’s missed it herself, and Doug thanks her for stepping in. Anna runs into Oliver as he’s taken for scans, but he’s now forgotten why he’s in the hospital.

Carter tells Mark that Ethel isn’t drunk, she has multiple sclerosis. Mark doesn’t bother to praise Carter for catching that she was sick instead of just drunk. In the restroom where he was attacked, Mark tells Doug that the papers he got that morning were for a malpractice suit filed by Kenny Law’s family. Mark kind of thinks Chris attacked him, and is now adding insult to (literal) injury.

Anna tells Carter that she had to tell Oliver he was dying five times. Her reward for all her hard work is a tiny paycheck. Carter pretends that he’s also hurting financially. He wasn’t supposed to get paid at all, so he’s pleased to have a check. Except then Weaver asks him to endorse it back to the hospital (the check is just for malpractice purposes and other administrative stuff). As a cap to his long day, Carter’s shoes are radioactive, thanks to his trip to Henry’s lab, so he has to get rid of them.

Benton sits with Carla as she nurses the baby for the first time. He’s ready to give in and let her give the baby her last name. But Carla is also ready to give in and accept Benton as the name. In fact, she has an idea that will satisfy both of them: call the baby Reese Benton.

On his way out for the night, Mark lights a cigarette (because he’s in a bad place emotionally! Don’t you get it??) and runs into Cynthia. She apologizes for her awkwardness in the interview. He lights a cigarette for her and they chat about her recent move to Chicago. Mark spontaneously announces that Cynthia got the clerk job, so Carol’s going to be thrilled about that. Right now, though, Carol’s happy because she’s at home with Doug, giving him a drawer.

Thoughts: Cynthia is played by Mariska Hargitay. Henry is played by Chad Lowe.

TV characters on morphine will always be funny to me. My favorite is Ben from Parks and Rec.

Chuny can’t be the only ER employee who speaks Spanish, can she?

I love the compromise of the name Reese Benton. I think it’s the last compromise Carla and Benton ever make.

May 25, 2019

The X-Files 10.5, Babylon: The One Where Mulder Tries to Fight Terrorism With Drugs

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:23 pm by Jenn

I have no words

Summary: A Muslim man named Shiraz prays at his home in Texas, then fixes himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He drives somewhere, stopping at a stoplight while two women in cowgirl clothes cross the road. The people in the pickup next to Shiraz’s car make racist comments about him. Shiraz picks up a friend at a motel, and they park outside a place called Ziggurat and say a brief prayer together. They go inside, and moments later, the building explodes. Oh, they were terrorists! And Muslims! That’s totally new for American TV!

In D.C., Mulder plays Scully a video of what sounds like trumpets playing in the sky over various cities. Mulder says it was like the sound was coming from the heavens, as if God Himself was playing music. Scully notes that he doesn’t believe in God. Mulder says his beliefs don’t matter right now; the “earwitnesses” believe they heard something. It could be a sign of the end times.

After some discussion of whether Adam and Eve really ate an apple in the Garden of Eden, the agents get a knock on their office door. The knocker asks if anyone’s there, and Scully gets the chance to repeat what Mulder said to her the first time they met 23 years ago: “Nobody down here except the FBI’s most unwanted.” (She feels good about it.)

Mulder and Scully meet Agents Miller and Einstein, their mini-mes. Blah blah blah, Scully wrote a dissertation on Einstein’s twin paradox, she’s also a medical doctor, let’s get on with this mess. Einstein is also a medical doctor. No one cares. The younger agents are there to discuss Shiraz and his friend’s suicide bombing. Shiraz survived, barely, so Mulder guesses that the younger agents (well, mostly Miller) want to find a way to communicate with him. He may have information on sleeper cells.

Mulder and Miller both think that stories of other conversations with the dead mean they can communicate with the vegetative Shiraz. Scully and Einstein think it’s a waste of time. The women win the debate, so Einstein drags Miller away to go to Texas. After the younger duo leaves, Scully notes that Einstein calls Miller by his last name.

While waiting for a flight at the airport, Miller and Einstein watch a news segment about the suicide bombing. You may be surprised that the white man in the segment is anti-Islam, while the black woman in the segment says not all Muslims are terrorists. Miller comments that it must be weird putting on a bomb vest, knowing you’re about to die. Einstein thinks it was worse for the victims. Miller wonders who taught Shiraz this kind of hate. Einstein points out that Shiraz isn’t going to tell him.

Miller argues that it’s worth a shot to try to communicate with him. Einstein scoffs that no one takes the X-Files seriously; that’s why their basement is in the office. Miller says they have his dream assignment. Scully must have some reason for doing it, despite being a skeptic. “She’s clearly in love with him,” Einstein says, figuring it out after spending just three minutes with them.

Scully calls Miller to tell him she may have a way for him to communicate with Shiraz. She’s holding her mother’s quarter necklace. They agree to meet up in Texas. Meanwhile, Mulder calls Einstein to say the same thing Scully said to Miller. Einstein wonders why he’s calling her instead of Miller. Mulder says that Skinner has wonderful things to say about Einstein. “Yes, I helped him with his migraines, which he claims are due to you,” Einstein replies. Mulder asks her to stay in D.C. instead of going to Texas.

Somewhere, a Muslim man builds a bomb vest while listening to the people on the news fighting. Einstein goes back to the X-Files office, worried that there will be another act of terrorism while she’s there. Mulder talks about thoughts having mass, and faith and forgiveness having weight. Einstein says no. Mulder points out that words have the weight to inspire people to do things like kill. Einstein corrects that the words merely incite actions; they’re not dangerous by themselves.

Mulder asks if Einstein’s ever sucked on a lemon. “I am getting a taste of what Agent Scully must suffer,” she says. He continues that there’s a school of thought that every thought, word, and perception is a step in evolution. If Shiraz knows something that Einstein wants to know, she may need to expand her thinking about the material world.

Scully meets Miller in Texas, where Miller says he wants to believe (ding!) that there’s a way to reach Shiraz. Scully mentions that Maggie was recently in a coma, and Scully wasn’t able to communicate with her. If she’d come up with this idea then, she might have been able to get answers to some questions she’ll never be able to get now.

Back in D.C., Mulder calls Einstein a wugwump, then tells her to sit down and shut up. He really knows how to win over an adversary, doesn’t he? She doesn’t really want to talk about the “woo woo paranormal,” but she’ll give him two minutes to talk before she’s “due back on Earth.” Mulder’s big idea: magic mushrooms. They could allow a transcendent experience and expose a user to truths without altering his or her brain chemistry. Specifically, his – Mulder wants to be the test subject.

As a medical professional, Einstein can administer the mushrooms to Mulder. He claims he doesn’t want to “bother” Scully with this, because of Maggie’s recent coma. Einstein calls Mulder crazy and tells him that once she leaves the office, he’ll never see her again. “So that’s a maybe?” he calls after her.

Scully and Miller go to the hospital where Shiraz is barely alive. Doctors recently used an MRI to trigger electric activity in the brain of a man named Patient 23. She wants to use an EEG to do the same with Shiraz. Scully warns that, even if it works, it might be hard to get the answers Miller wants. Even harder now, since the Department of Homeland Security wants to take over the case.

Scully refuses to leave, so one DHS agent speaks to the other in Arabic. Miller kicks the DHS agents out, taking their picture so he can ID them later. Einstein arrives as they leave and sees that Scully has taken over her role as Miller’s partner. She calls Mulder and invites him to join the group in Texas.

She meets him at the airport and gives him two capsules containing magic mushroom…dust, I guess. She tells him Scully’s working with Miller, but she’ll deal with that later. Mulder asks how to say “howdy, pardner” in Arabic. At the hospital, an FBI agent named Brem tells Scully and Miller that the building is under a terror threat. He figures there’s a radical Muslim community in the area that wants to kill all Americans. Miller notes that other people want Shiraz to die, too.

Brem says the last thing he wants is for Shiraz to die and go to his paradise. Miller chastises him for being Islamaphobic when he and Scully are focusing on gaining Shiraz’s trust. Brem heads off to evacuate the floor in case of a terrorist attack. A nurse stays behind, and when she’s alone with Shiraz, she turns off his life support. She almost gets caught when Mulder and Einstein show up.

The nurse turns the machine back on and comments that Shiraz is receiving a lot of attention, despite not being worthy of it. Surprise – she’s racist! She hates refugees and brown people! While Einstein gets rid of the nurse, Mulder takes the mushrooms and sits by Shiraz’s bed. He then slips out while Einstein’s back is turned.

What happens next is…I don’t have a word for it. Mulder goes on an extended drug trip that takes him to a country-western bar. There is line dancing. David Duchovny’s children hide their faces in shame. There is a backflip. Women scream and swarm Mulder. He changes clothes and gets bling that says “MUSH” and “ROOM.” Some women do an impromptu dance routine that’s more suited to a dance squad, and that makes the more conservative patrons shake their heads. Skinner and the Lone Gunmen show up in cowboy gear.

Finally, Mulder ends up on his back somewhere, with Einstein, wearing dominatrix gear, over him. She makes him say “woo woo” and whips him. Next, Mulder is in the middle of a group of cloaked men who are praying in Arabic. CSM whips him and tells him he’s come to the right place for the truth. He sees Shiraz lying across a woman’s lap, like they’re the Pieta. They’re in boat, being rowed somewhere, while the soundtrack growls, “Misery’s the river of the world.” Mulder leans over Shiraz, who says something to him that we can’t hear.

The vest builder has finished his work, which includes matching vests for his buddies. So that can’t be good. Scully and Miller return to Shiraz’s room, and Miller, who worked in Iraq for a bit, asks in Arabic if Shiraz can hear them. Shiraz’s brain waves show that he might be able to, but Scully can’t tell for sure.

Mulder’s also in the hospital, waking up with Skinner by his bed. He tells Mulder that his actions were an embarrassment to Skinner and the FBI. (I think if Mulder saw footage of what happened, he’d be embarrassed, too.) Einstein arrives and reveals that she didn’t give him mushrooms – she gave him a placebo. Whatever Mulder thinks he was under the influence of, it was nothing more than the power of suggestion.

Mulder’s all, “But you were there!” like this is the end of “Triangle.” Skinner says he was in D.C. the whole time. Mulder insists that he talked to Shiraz, but he doesn’t know what he said, since Mulder doesn’t speak Arabic. Skinner leaves to get Mulder released, and Mulder tells Einstein that she was there, too – and she was “50 shades of bad.” Just like this episode! She does confirm that he danced. She figures that she’ll be punished with her own basement office.

As they’re leaving the hospital, Mulder recognizes the woman he saw holding Shiraz in his dream or drug trip or whatever. He takes her to Shiraz’s room and introduces her to the others as Noora, Shiraz’s mother. When she speaks to her son, his brain waves again indicate that he can hear. Noora chastises Shiraz for becoming a terrorist and killing innocent people. She thinks he lost his nerve when the time came to detonate his bomb. He’s told her that in her dreams and her prayers.

Miller asks for information on the terrorist cell Shiraz could have been working with, but Noora doesn’t know any names. Shiraz flatlines and dies before any more communication can take place. Mulder says again that Shiraz spoke to him. He remembers some of what was said and tells Miller, who translates it as “Babylon the hotel.” The terrorists are there now, praying in preparation for their next attack. FBI agents ambush them and capture them all.

Miller and Einstein head back to the airport, this time really done with the case. He’s humble about his role in taking down a terror cell and preventing any more deaths. Einstein feels like Miller also kept Shiraz safe. She, however, did nothing – but it worked. Miller says some things are just unexplainable. Einstein quotes the other Einstein, who said that there’s beauty in the mysterious. She promises she’ll never again abandon Miller for the paranormal. But now she’s convinced that words and ideas do have weight. Sometimes they just lead people to do crazy things.

Mulder is relaxing on his front porch when Scully comes to visit him. She’s amused by the whole drug trip and Mulder’s lack of understanding of what happened. But he thinks he saw powerful things, like unconditional love. Scully says she saw hate that seems endless. There are extremes in human nature, and the trick is reconciling the two.

They go for a walk together, holding hands, as Mulder says he’s been thinking about God. In the Bible, He punished people at the Tower of Babel and scattered them, making them different from each other. Does God want to be worshiped for His anger? What makes people want to murder for Him? Mulder thinks terrorists swallow a pill that uses the power of suggestion to make them violent. But a mother’s love can overcome that.

Scully says maybe the hatred ends in finding a common language – maybe that’s God’s will. But Mulder wonders how we can know, since God is “absent from the stage.” Scully suggests that it’s beyond words. We have to open our hearts and really listen. Mulder hears a noise like the trumpets heard all over the world, but Scully doesn’t. We end by panning out to the cosmos, for some reason.

Thoughts: Einstein is played by Lauren Ambrose. Miller is played by Robbie Amell (and named for Duchovny’s son).

Einstein may be the most quotable guest star to ever appear on this show. She’s like Scully without the affection for Mulder that makes her soften her words toward him. I love her.

I was going to refer to the person grumbling “misery’s the river of the world” as a Tom Waits wannabe, but I looked it up and, uh, it’s him. Tom Waits does a very good Tom Waits impression.

’90s/’00s/’10s music alert:

  • Carrie Underwood’s “Somethin’ Bad” at the beginning of the drug trip (so appropriate)
  • Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” and Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” at the country-western bar
  • The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” in the final scene

May 21, 2019

ER 4.1, Ambush: Live from Chicago, It’s Thursday Night!

Posted in TV tagged , at 4:56 pm by Jenn

Ha…ha?

Summary: We kick off this live-for-no-reason season premiere in darkness, with a film crew setting up to shoot a documentary. They’ll be following Mark as he works a shift in the ER. A P.A. tells Carol they’re also setting up cameras around the ER for extra footage; there’s now one in the lounge. It makes Carol awkward. Aggie, one of the directors, leads her cameraman to a trauma room, where Mark and Doug are tending to a guy with a broken leg. Carter and Benton arrive, and Benton is exactly as excited about being on camera as you would expect. Mark guesses that he’s also annoyed that Carter has left surgery.

The P.A. interrupts to tell Aggie that another doctor is saying she didn’t know about the shoot. The cameraman, Stuart, tells Carter he can speak at a normal volume, since there are enough microphones around to record him. “OKAY,” Carter says loudly. Mark teases that he’s just like that. At the admit desk, Weaver tries to convince Anna that the documentary is a good thing – the doctors will be shown in a positive light. A second cameraman, Luis, catches Jeanie taking a pill on camera.

Anna complains about her image being used “in perpetuity.” Doug wants to take the conversation off-camera, but Anna’s perfectly fine addressing Luis on the record. She’s not trying to say this is an ambush, but the release form the doctors are supposed to sign doesn’t outline where the footage will be used. Doug makes “she’s crazy” and “she’s drunk” gestures behind her. Aggie introduces herself to Anna to try to work things out, though she’s decided it’s not worth the trouble and they can just shoot around Anna. Malik is excited at the possibility of being on TV, but the documentary will only be on PBS.

In the lounge, Doug and Anna talk about whether Mark is up to the documentary. (It’s been a few weeks since his attack, judging by the fact that he has a brace on his arm now instead of a cast.) Anna thinks Mark is still shaky, but Doug insists that everything is fine. It’s a good sign that he wanted to do the documentary. When Mark comes in, he admits that he’s enjoying all the attention. But when he’s left in there alone, he has to take a moment to collect himself.

Jeanie presents a patient to him named Mr. Schoenberger, who had shortness of breath. Jeanie’s a little nervous on camera and trips over her words. Mr. S. spent the day smoking cigars and taking part in all-you-can-eat burrito night at his favorite Mexican restaurant. Jeanie wants to order a lot of tests, but Mark thinks that’s an overreaction. He blames the cigars, which are too cheap not to affect one’s health.

After a camera-shy Morgenstern comes by to encourage Mark a little, Anna turns in her release to be on camera. Aggie makes sure to record some of the nurses talking about one of Mark’s cases. She asks if any of the doctors and nurses date. Carol says they socialize as a group, and Mark hasn’t come much recently. Malik blurts out that he’s been keeping to himself since his attack.

As Doug passes by behind her, Carol says that it’s a myth that doctors and nurses hook up a lot. He stops to listen, then pulls her away to do nurse stuff. They end up behind a window, so it’s hard for the cameraman to film them, but their microphones are still on, and he catches them talking about meeting up later for sex. They think the cameraman can’t hear them, but soon remember that they’re wearing microphones.

Carter tells the camera that working in the ER requires staying on your toes. When he was in surgery, someone was always looking over his shoulder. In the ER, the residents get to be in charge of themselves. Well, until they have nurses yelling at them to take care of patients. Carter gets brought down a notch when a patient pukes on him.

Aggie does an interview with Mark, telling everyone else at the admit desk to keep working as usual. But the interview ends quickly when an ambulance arrives with a cancer patient in respiratory distress. Then Jeanie brings Mark some of Mr. S.’s tests, which may indicate a problem. Mark asks him to stick around while they run another test. Mark explains to Aggie that Mr. S. may have had a heart attack. He wants to give Mr. S. some time before he hears the news, and since Mark missed it, he needs to buy some time for himself.

The cancer patient, Boz, comes in accompanied by a friend named Rog. Rog is extremely unhelpful; he knows nothing about Boz’s end-of-life wishes, and he thinks he can smoke in the trauma room. Mark tries to ask Boz if he wants help breathing, since Mark isn’t sure if he has a DNR. Boz can’t speak or write an answer, so Mark decides to cut a hole in his neck.

Luis interviews a janitor named Nat as he cleans up Carter’s patient’s puke. He says this is no big deal; he’s seen much worse. The job can be gross, but you get used to it. The blood and gore, however, never get easier to see. Nat’s religious, and he believes people were created in God’s image, “so whatever I’m cleaning up must be just fine.” He doesn’t think you could be a janitor if you didn’t believe in God. Aggie pulls Luis away to come back and record Boz, who’s stopped breathing. Luis says he’ll come back to finish the conversation, but Nat doesn’t think he will.

Mark tells Aggie that one of his early patients was the sister of one of his med-school classmates. It hit him that traumas don’t just happen to strangers. Aggie asks if it changes things when doctors go through traumas. Mark gets defensive, not wanting to talk about his own experiences. He asks if he was chosen for the documentary because of his attack. Aggie and Luis promise that he doesn’t have to talk about anything he doesn’t want to.

Weaver and Carter discuss Boz, whose wife Petra has arrived. She’s much younger than Boz, and Weaver thinks Haleh might be the person to talk to her about Boz’s options. Carter volunteers to try, and Weaver explains to the camera that this isn’t usually an intern’s job, but Carter’s been there a while. Carter says he’s a second-year anyway, but Weaver corrects him. By moving to a new specialty, he has to start his internship over.

Carter goes over options with Petra, but she knows from experience what will and won’t work. She presents a DNR, which Rog was too panicked to remember. Petra’s been taking care of Boz for a long time and is both upset that things are going this way and jaded about everything they’ve been through. Carter asks if there’s anything else he can do for her. She asks him to refill one of her prescriptions, since she’s already at the hospital.

Doug and Anna examine a baby (who cries throughout the scene, as well as other scenes, but it’s live, so what can you do?) whose parents think she was bitten by their dog. For some reason, she’s been put in the curtained exam area with an angry woman named Doris, who’s unhappy to be near a crier. Doug quickly determines that the bite isn’t from a dog – it’s from the girl’s preschool-age brother.

Mark examines Doris, who has burns on her face that she claims are from hot popcorn. Mark advises her to stop doing crack. His bedside manner here is about a 2 on a scale from 1 to 10. Aggie asks Doug how Mark is able to handle these kinds of difficult situations every day. Doug tells her to talk to Mark about that.

After a shot of the crowded waiting area, Weaver wakes Benton from a nap in a hallway to alert him to a trauma. A teenager was being beaten by a gang, and he and a man who tried to break up the fight are being brought in. In the lounge, Doug wonders how the film crew found out about Mark’s attack. He warns Mark not to get mad at the crew on camera. He also thinks Aggie is into Mark. Mark tells him Aggie’s married to one of the other crew members. Carol lets them know that their conversation has been on camera.

The two trauma victims come in as a bored patient in the waiting area provides a soundtrack with a makeshift drum. Mark, Benton, and Anna take the innocent bystander, Theo Williams, who may have a spinal injury. Mark yells for someone to shut up the drummer. He determines that Theo isn’t in any immediate danger, but he seems to be paralyzed.

Some gang members have followed the ambulance to the ER, and Chuny has trouble keeping them calm and out of the trauma area. She tells Benton, Weaver, and Jeanie not to take the beating victim, Chico, to CT yet, since his “homies” are there. Chico’s sister (who only gets credited as Ms. Cruz) goes to the waiting area to tell the gang members to stay away from him. She’s angry both because they hurt her brother and because they injured an innocent man. A fight starts, and the camera gets shoved to the ground.

Weaver explains to Stuart that Theo’s condition is currently stable, but it’s possibly that, as swelling increases, he could lose the ability to breathe on his own. Stuart starts ignoring Weaver, choosing instead to spy on a hot woman in the hallway. He snaps back to attention, only to focus on Weaver’s limp. She laments that Theo tried to help a teen he didn’t even know, and was rewarded with paralysis.

Morgenstern wanders in, looking ill, and Weaver realizes he’s having a heart attack. She kicks Stuart out of the room, but he films through the window as Weaver and Linda try to save their boss. Mark tells Theo that he may need to go on a ventilator. Connie tries to get in touch with Mrs. Williams, who’s at a night class. Malik steals some sort of monitor from Jeanie, who’s annoyed until she learns that it’s for Morgenstern.

Benton kicks Carter out of the elevator as he takes Chico to surgery – switching to emergency medicine means Carter stays in the ER. Doug and Carter meet Elizabeth Corday, a British doctor looking for “casualty,” by which she means trauma. Carter wants to talk to Weaver about his intern status, but she’s kind of busy. Carter approaches Mark next, but he’s even busier. He gets the Williamses’ babysitter on the phone and tells her to run to Mrs. Williams’ school to get her. Theo will need intubation soon, and Mark wants his wife to be able to talk to him while he can still speak.

Elizabeth goes looking for Chico, not realizing he’s already been taken to surgery. She mentions to Carol that in England, surgeons aren’t addressed as Doctor; they’re called Mr. and Ms. Theo’s disappointed to hear that Chico isn’t doing well. Weaver, Jeanie, and Lydia send Morgenstern up to surgery, and Stuart invites himself along in the elevator. He asks why Morgenstern is being taken straight up while other patients have to wait. Weaver angrily schools him on priority patients.

Mark runs to a trauma room where Carter’s trying to revive an 82-year-old man. Stuart’s battery starts dying, and his picture gets fuzzy as he loses power. Carter saves the patient, but before he can tell Aggie how great it feels, the battery dies. Elizabeth introduces herself to Benton, who’s been on call for 36 hours and can finally leave now that she’s there. Benton tells Ms. Cruz that Chico is still in surgery, and they don’t know yet how bad his condition is.

Carter’s patient is pleased that he’ll be able to return to his retirement home and continue being a stud. The patient wants to make sure the camera crew keeps this in the documentary. Anna and Jeanie try to treat a man who appears to have fallen through a glass window. He’s covered in blood, and when Anna and Jeanie try to help him, he warns them to stay away because he has HIV. Jeanie comforts him and promises to help him.

Aggie interviews Elizabeth, who tries to explain the hierarchy of surgeons in England. She pulls Benton into the conversation, but he dodges the camera while looking for Ms. Cruz. Mrs. Williams arrives and Weaver tells Carol and Doug that she wouldn’t want to be in either Mrs. Williams or Mark’s shoes. The three of them talk about how difficult it is to give bad news to families.

Theo’s in good spirits, and his wife is trying to be optimistic about his condition. Mark can’t wait any longer and has to intubate him. Benton stops by to tell Theo that Chico’s going to be okay, and Ms. Cruz thanks Theo for saving her brother’s life. As Mark finishes Theo’s intubation, Malik sends him to help Carter, whose heart patient has flatlined again. Mark’s annoyed that Carter didn’t call him, though Malik did try to pull him away earlier, and Mark ignored him. He slams Carter for trying to run his own code; it was allowed in surgery, but not in the ER. Carter’s upset about the loss.

Mark tells Aggie that he’ll give an interview about his attack as long as she agrees not to use the footage of Carter’s failed code in the film. He says that the best part of his job is repairing some of the violence that happens to people. While they can’t fix Theo, they at least saved Chico, so Theo’s actions weren’t in vain.

Mark admits that he was attacked, and the culprit hasn’t been found. The worst part is that some of the violence in the world has leaked into the ER. The hospital is supposed to be safe, and now it’s vulnerable. It’s hard to accept. Aggie asks if Mark is scared. He says he fears losing control, both of what’s outside and of what’s inside him. Once Mark is sure that Aggie’s gotten what she needs, he tells the cameraman to stop filming.

Thoughts: There are five before-they-were-famous guest stars in this episode:

I love that they include Nat in the documentary. It’s a little bit of recognition for someone with a very thankless job, who I’m sure gets ignored all the time.

If I went all the way through med school, became a surgeon, and was still called Ms., I’d be ticked. Get it together, U.K.

Since it mainly happens in the background, it doesn’t get addressed, but Benton is very Carter-like in this episode. He wants to keep Ms. Cruz updated on her brother’s condition, and he stays even after his shift is over so he can keep her informed. I hope Carter teased him later about softening up.

May 18, 2019

The X-Files 10.4, Home Again: Do You Think Band-Aid Appreciated the Product Placement in This Episode?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:35 pm by Jenn

Cheery

Summary: In West Philadelphia, a “relocation project” is underway. This is a nice way of saying that the city is moving homeless people to an old hospital in Bucks County. They’ve enlisted the fire department to use a hose to give them an incentive to move. Joseph Cutler, a guy in charge of the project, warns another group of homeless people that their street is next. They all run off when a garbage truck arrives and a huge man with a Band-Aid on his nose gets out.

Band-Aid Nose Man (his given name, apparently) follows Cutler to his office as the lights go out. Cutler gets spooked and calls the police while pulling a gun out of his desk drawer. BANM just stands outside the office for a few moments, then bursts in and literally tears Cutler’s arms off. Then he calmly walks back to the garbage truck, gets in the back, and lets himself get compacted with the trash.

Mulder and Scully come to the crime scene the next day and meet Detective Aaron Dross. He knows about their experience with “spooky cases,” and though he called the FBI for backup, he doesn’t want to give them the case. Scully reminds him that since Cutler was a federal employee, the case falls under their jurisdiction.

The agents start looking for clues, quickly realizing that they won’t get any on BANM – he left no fingerprints or footprints. Scully says it looks like Cutler was torn apart, which she doesn’t think would be possibly for a human being to do. Scully. Sweetie. Do you remember anything you’ve experienced in the past 23 years? Mulder looks out the window and sees a painting of a large man on a billboard nearby.

As Dross comments that the homeless in the city hate Cutler, Scully gets a call from her brother, Bill. She’s stunned by what he tells her: Their mother is in the ICU, having had a heart attack. Mulder immediately sends her off to be with her family. As she leaves, he notices a security camera over the door.

Footage from that and other cameras doesn’t show Mulder and Dross much, but it allows Mulder to figure out, from Cutler’s eyeline, that his attacker was very tall. Also, there was no artwork on the billboard last night, so maybe it was painted as a response or comment on Cutler’s murder. Before Mulder can go on the hunt for the person who painted the large man, he realizes there’s an extra-sticky Band-Aid on the sole of his shoe.

Scully goes to Beatus Medical Center in D.C., where Maggie’s on life support. A nurse tells Scully that her mother regained consciousness briefly and repeatedly asked for someone named Charlie. That would be Scully’s other brother, who’s estranged from Maggie. Scully’s surprised that she only asked for Charlie. She tells Maggie that she’s been where Maggie is, and she knows her father and Melissa are there, but Scully, Bill, William, and Charlie are all still alive. They’d like her to stick around.

Back in Philly, Mulder wants access to the roof of a building that will get him closer to the billboard. He overhears a woman named Nancy Huff fighting with a guy named Daryl Landry about the relocation project and Cutler. Landry worked with Cutler; Nancy’s president of the Bucks County School Board. She hates that the project is moving people out of Philly so they can build a big apartment building.

Landry notes that the hospital the homeless are being moved to is empty. They’re being moved to a safe place away from drugs. Nancy doesn’t want the “downtown people” in a building just a couple blocks from a high school; after all, if one of the homeless killed Cutler, they shouldn’t be around kids. Mulder tells them they’re both speaking for themselves while trying to speak for others. He wants to know who speaks for the homeless. “The Band-Aid Nose Man,” says a homeless man nearby, pointing to the billboard. Mulder asks for details, but the man doesn’t offer any.

In D.C., after a flashback of Mulder sitting by Scully’s bed while she was comatose, Scully looks through the jewelry Maggie was wearing when she was admitted to the hospital. One piece is a quarter on a chain. Bill calls, still trying to get a flight out of Germany. As another patient in the ICU flatlines and is taken away, Scully tells Bill that she won’t say if Maggie will die before he arrives. She’ll keep Maggie on life support, as per her wishes.

Mulder gets the Band-Aid from his show analyzed, but there’s nothing on it. No, really nothing – the analyst couldn’t identify organic or inorganic materials. Scully questions her mother’s treatment and learns that she changed her advance directive last year. Scully thought she wanted to be kept on life support, but now Maggie has a DNR.

In Philly, two guys study the painting of the large man, which they’ve pulled down from the billboard. They’ve been doing this with all the drawings by this artist, and selling them to collectors. As one guy calls a collector, the cart that the painting is on starts moving by itself. When the guy looks back at the panel, the artwork is gone. The guy’s partner finds him dead, thanks to BANM, who kills the partner as well. Blood splatters on the empty panel, which is now signed “Trashman.”

Maggie’s doctor tells Scully that it’s time to extubate her so they can respect her wishes. That doesn’t necessarily mean Maggie will die immediately. Mulder arrives at the hospital, and Scully is clearly pleased to have some support. Back in Philly, the homeless are put on a bus to be taken to Bucks County, but Nancy has gotten an injunction to have them turned away.

Mulder fills Scully in on his discoveries and his theory that Cutler’s killed, dubbed the Trashman, thinks he’s helping the homeless by getting rid of the people trying to relocate them. He’s pretty sure the Trashman will kill again. Scully tells him that Maggie asked for Charlie, but no other family members. She doesn’t even know where Charlie is. Scully doesn’t know why Maggie would change her living will, or why she wears the quarter necklace. Maggie gets extubated as Scully laments that her medical team doesn’t care about all the unanswered questions Scully has.

In Philly, Nancy listens to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” on her way home to her mansion. It’s full of modern conveniences like a Keurig and a trash compactor. The garbage truck arrives soon after, and BANM lets himself into the house. Nancy sees some globs of green stuff on her stairs, with maggots swarming them. When she sees BANM, she tries to run from him, but she’s no match for him. Once he’s killed her, he destroys any evidence in the trash compactor.

In D.C., Scully and Mulder sit by Maggie’s bed, and she wonders if they ever came across someone who could will someone back to life. Mulder says he invented that while sitting by Scully’s bedside while she was comatose. She teases that he’s a “dark wizard.” Charlie calls, having been tracked down by Bill, and Scully asks him to say something to Maggie through the phone. She thinks this will bring Maggie back to life. Charlie talks to his mother, impatiently asking why she wanted to see him. Maggie wakes up, happy to see Mulder. “My son is named William, too,” she tells him, then flatlines.

When orderlies come to retrieve Maggie’s body so they can harvest her organs, Scully yells at them to leave. Mulder comforts her as she clutches the quarter necklace. She hates that Maggie’s last words were about a grandchild Scully gave away. She begs Mulder to take her back to Philly so she can get back to work. When he gently declines, she leaves.

Both agents go to see Mulder’s analyst, who’s analyzed paint samples from the Trashman’s signature on his artwork. The paint is a high-end brand carried in only one store in central Pennsylvania. Now wearing the quarter necklace, Scully stakes out the store, following in her car as Mulder tracks a teen who buys some spray paint. They tail him to an old building, and he grants them access, then runs off.

Mulder complains about having to take the stairs in the dark. Scully points out that “back in the day,” she took the stairs all the time, while wearing three-inch heels. “‘Back in the day’ is now,” Mulder replies. They get out their trusty flashlights and come across someone who looks human, then something that…definitely doesn’t. They follow the possible human, who tells them he’s in danger but doesn’t want their help.

They burst into the room where he’s holed up and see a sculpture that looks like BANM. The possible human tells them they can put their guns away – he’s tried guns, and they don’t work. He doesn’t want them to use their flashlights, either. If he can’t see “them,” and “they” can’t see him, he won’t be hurt. Meet the Trashman.

He tells the agents that the people who live on the streets get treated like trash. People who throw away their trash in the proper places feel like they’re doing the right thing. Once the trash is carted away, it’s not the people’s problem anymore. But then the trash goes into a landfill, and toxins from the plastics go into the water. People don’t think there’s a problem if they don’t see it.

The Trashman says he was trying to give the voiceless a voice through his art. His pictures look down on the people who think they’re superior. He thought up BANM, but he didn’t kill anyone – that’s all on BANM. The Trashman has made other sculptures that came to life, like what the agents saw in the hallway, and they’ll go away eventually, but BANM is different. Trashman thinks he’s a tulpa.

Mulder disagrees that tulpas exist (even though, you know, he’s dealt with one), and even if a thought form could be real, it wouldn’t hurt anyone. The Trashman thinks all the time he spent thinking about his BANM artwork brought him into being. Scully has flashbacks of delivering William and of seeing him move the mobile as she looks around the Trashman’s studio. He says we just hold the pencil or clay, and if you think really hard, spirits come to you and take on a life of their own. Scully remembers introducing William to Mulder for the first time, then her mother’s recent death, then telling Mulder that she gave William up.

The Trashman says BANM came to him in his dreams, from another world, and now it’s alive. It has its own life and does what it wants. The Trashman just wanted to scare people who were taking dignity away from the homeless. He thought something violent, and it went into his artwork and made it violent. BANM thinks that’s what he’s supposed to be.

Scully says that if it was the Trashman’s idea, it’s his responsibility. He’s just as bad as the people he hates. Mulder thinks that Landry is BANM’s next target. He got the injunction lifted, and the Trashman knows that he’s moving the homeless to Bucks County tonight.

The agents go looking for Landry as he takes the homeless to Bucks County. We know he’s evil because he doesn’t care that a man has been separated from his dog. Everyone goes to their new rooms as Landry follows a weird smell and the sound of buzzing flies. Looks like BANM has beaten the agents to finding him. There are globs and maggots, just like at Nancy’s house, and Landry keeps going down the dark hallway they’re in, because he’s an idiot.

Landry spots BANM behind him and runs. The agents arrive with the Trashman and hear him screaming as BANM corners him in a bathroom. They’re too late – BANM has already killed Landry. Scully wonders how BANM was able to leave the room, since there’s only one entrance/exit, and they’re standing in it. All he’s left behind are a Band-Aid and some flies. Sometime later, the Trashman returns to his basement studio to collect some of his things. BANM’s sculpted head has been replaced with a smiley face, and there’s a painting of him on the exterior wall of the building.

Scully and Mulder take Maggie’s ashes to a little beach and sit on a log to chat. Scully thinks Maggie asked for Charlie because she wanted to make sure he was okay before she died. She made him, so he was her responsibility. Her last works about William were a message that Mulder and Scully need to make sure William’s okay, even though they can’t see him.

Scully says they made a sacrifice to keep him safe, but she still thinks of him all the time. (Also, she calls Mulder “Fox.”) She thinks Mulder will get all his questions answered, and she’ll be there when he does. But Scully’s own mysteries will never have an answer. She’ll never know if William thinks of her or feels doubt because his birth parents gave him up. Does he have the same unanswered questions that Scully has about the quarter? “I need to believe that we didn’t treat him like trash,” Scully says. Mulder doesn’t know how to respond, so he just holds her.

Thoughts: John DeSantis (BANM) is six-nine. Yow.

So…both of Scully’s brothers are kind of jerks. At least Melissa was okay, so Scully wasn’t completely surrounded by annoying siblings growing up.

Please admire my restraint in beginning this recap, “In West Philadelphia,” but not continuing he lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

May 14, 2019

ER 3.22, One More for the Road: In Which Somehow, Miraculously, Carter Is Still Gainfully Employed

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

I guess the bandana is supposed to make him more intimidating?

Summary: It’s 4:12 a.m., but Mark’s defying our drinking game by not being asleep. He’s also not dressed, so thanks for that. He’s just sitting in a chair, watching the rain outside. Doug’s just arriving at work, and Anna’s there because she couldn’t sleep. She’s been staying in a hotel and needs a place to live. Doug recommends that she talk to Carol, who grew up on the side of town where Anna wants to live. Benton is still by the baby’s side, but he has to go get ready for a shift. Jeanie and Al are in bed together; he’s watching her sleep, and somehow, it isn’t creepy.

Carter’s waiting for Anspaugh when he arrives for the day, wanting to set up a time to talk later. Anspaugh has time now, and he gets annoyed when Carter tries to delay their conversation. Carter finally announces that he’s thinking about leaving the surgical program. Now Anspaugh’s more than annoyed. He reminds Carter that he entered into a contract – in exchange for training, he’s supposed to give his best effort. He can’t just run home to Mommy. If Carter says anything more about being in the wrong program, he’ll be out of the hospital altogether.

Mark goes into the bathroom where he was attacked; for some reason, the broken mirror hasn’t been replaced. Anna chats with Carol about living arrangements, saying she’s looking forward to living alone. She’s the oldest of eight kids, and the only girl. Their father was a mailman, so Anna’s used to not having money. The two examine a boy named Chuck who has pain in his hip.

Carter tells Mark that, despite the response he got from Anspaugh, he’d still like to leave surgery for emergency medicine. He’s missed the match for the year, but he hopes Mark can help him get a spot anyway. Mark suggests that Carter get Weaver’s help instead. Benton operates with Hicks, spacing out because of lack of sleep and his distraction over the baby. He gets paged and steps out.

Mark and Doyle take care of a man named Mr. Munder who felt chest pain while working out. He’s afraid he’s having a heart attack like his father did at his age. Doyle orders a bunch of tests, but Mark, who appears to be back to his normal self, at least professionally, tells her to start with prescribing aspirin. Weaver and Jeanie tend to an elderly man, Bert, who’s on a ton of medication.

Doug tells Carol that he’s applied to a Big Brother program and put her down as a character reference. He invites her to get dinner that night, but she already has a date. Chuny and Connie aren’t that impressed with the guy. Doug learns that Anna ordered some sort of test for Chuck and tells Carol to hold off on it until Doug can check him out.

Carla and Benton meet with Dr. Tabash, who tells them the baby’s brain appears to be fine. They still have to look out for possible negative effects from low oxygen. Chances are that the baby will be fine, but there’s still a small chance that he’ll have learning disabilities or other complications. Mark tells Doyle that he’s decided to buy a gun after all. Jerry gives him a message that a detective is coming by later with photos of possible suspects. Mark asks Doug for a prescription for painkillers (and we’re probably supposed to think that will lead to an addiction, but it doesn’t, so just ignore that).

Munder has more chest pain, this time definitely from a heart attack. Mark stays calm while taking care of him. Weaver calls Carter for a surgical consult on Bert, but further examination shows that the care his wife is giving him at home isn’t very good. Carter asks Weaver to talk to Anspaugh on his behalf, but Weaver doesn’t think there’s money in the budget to pay him. Carter laughs as he says he’ll work for free. Oh, Carter. OH, CARTER.

Anna goes looking for Chuck, but Doug has already released him. She confronts him for taking over her case, but he pulls rank. She tells him he can take risks with his own patients, not hers. Mark and Doyle continue tending to Munder as Carter determines that Bert doesn’t need surgery. He and Jeanie gently question Bert’s wife about his nutrition and exercise. Carter tells her that it might be time for her husband to go to a care facility. She’s not interested.

Paramedics bring in a teen girl who appears to have overdosed on drugs in the park. Carol recognizes her and tells someone to get Doug. Anna thinks Carol’s calling him in to take over another one of her cases, but Carol tells her that Doug knows the patient – it’s Charlie.

Mark looks through some mug shots to try to ID a guy the police suspect as his attacker. He doesn’t recognize anyone, but he picks one who might have been the guy. The detectives don’t confirm his identity, but it’s clear that it’s the wrong guy. One of the detectives offers to refer Mark to a victims’ group so he can keep working through his trauma. Mark would rather trash the doctors’ lounge.

Doug checks in on Charlie, then goes off to call her mother. Benton chats with Kit, a NICU nurse, while Carla holds the baby. Benton admits that they haven’t chosen a name yet, and Kit says she thinks it’s “safe” to pick one (in other words, the baby will live). Doug and Carol discuss Mark’s lounge tantrum, and how he left to run an errand when he was done.

A guy comes in looking for Charlie, saying he’s her friend, though Doug notes that someone who doesn’t know her last name probably isn’t that close of a friend. Doug says the guy, Tommy, can ask Charlie’s mom if he can see her. Tommy says Charlie’s mom won’t be coming to see her, since she’s in jail. In that case, Charlie will be turned over to the Department of Children and Family Services, her worst nightmare.

Weaver confronts Carter for not warning her that Anspaugh doesn’t support his move from surgery to emergency medicine. He won’t budge. Weaver would love to have Carter in the ER, but she’s not going to mediate his issues with Anspaugh. Charlie’s taken a bunch of drugs, and it looks like she has hepatitis. Anna has restrained her, but Doug asks to have them removed, since he knows Charlie won’t talk to him otherwise. Charlie refuses to go back to foster care; she wants to go stay with friends. Doug offers to get her into rehab so she can straighten out her life.

Al stops by to see Jeanie, letting her know he wants to cook her dinner that night. Weaver’s surprised to learn that they’re back together. In case it wasn’t clear that Mark is having some issues, he’s smoking now. Doug tells him he won’t write him a painkiller prescription. He needs to get help. Mark thinks Doug has no place to talk, since he’s never been through a trauma like this. Doug offers to listen if Mark ever wants to talk.

Weaver pages Anspaugh to the ER for a consult, since she couldn’t find Carter. This frees Carter up to meet with a social worker, dietitian, and physical therapist about Bert’s care. Jackie finds Benton in the hospital chapel and remembers how he used to run to church as a kid in hopes of looking like he was repenting after he’d caused trouble. Benton shares his fears that something will turn out to be wrong with the baby. Jackie knows he’ll love his son no matter what. Life doesn’t always go the way we want, but we deal with it.

Carter hopes to find a care facility where Bert and his wife can both live, even though she doesn’t need as much care as he does. Anspaugh calls Carter away for rounds, but the people Carter’s been consulting with object. He’s the one who’s been dealing with the couple, so he needs to stay on. Anspaugh gets more and more impatient, and though it’s rude of him to demand that Carter leave in the middle of the conversation, it’s nowhere near as rude as Carter yelling at him in the middle of the hallway that he’ll come when and if he can.

The nurses’ shift ends, and Carol gets prettied up for her date. Doug and Anna meet with Adele, who isn’t sure that Charlie’s telling the truth about the poor conditions of her foster home. It’s kind of a moot point, though, since Charlie has fled the hospital. As Mark is leaving, Doyle tells him that Munder is doing better and will be getting a pacemaker implanted. His wife thanks Mark for saving him. E-Ray comments that it must be great to save people’s lives.

Doug and Anna drive around looking for Charlie, whom Anna says reminds her of herself. Weaver doesn’t bother to hide her disapproval over Jeanie and Al’s reunion. (Maybe she’s a Greg fan, like me.) Jeanie says she’s happier than she’s ever been, but not because of Al – because of herself. She’s no longer afraid of living her life. She’s been in love with Al since she first saw him at the age of 16, and she knows he feels the same about her. Weaver just tells her to have a good night.

Mark falls asleep on an El train on his way home, waking up when some loud punks get on. They start hassling him for money, so he gets off at the next stop. They follow him, so he pulls a gun on them and chases them off. Doug and Anna have no luck finding Charlie; it sounds like she and Tommy have scored some good drugs and are holed up somewhere. Doug invites Anna to get something to eat, and she questions what, exactly, he has in mind. She asks how long ago he and Carol broke up. He says it was a long time, but Anna still doesn’t want to get in the middle of that.

Carter approaches Anspaugh as he’s leaving, trying to clarify that he has nothing against surgery or surgeons. He knows he could be competent at surgery, but not great. In emergency medicine, he could excel. He wants to spend time with his patients, and he knows he’s good at it. This is how he wants to make a difference in people’s lives. He asks Anspaugh not to make him give that up or waste his talents.

Anspaugh says he’s sometimes wondered if he made the right decision in becoming a surgeon. Carter’s 25 but feels certain about what he wants to do. He was able to get Bert and his wife into a nursing home together. Anspaugh tells Carter to find him in the morning so they can work out some arrangements. So Carter has won yet another round with Anspaugh. Meanwhile, Mark runs to a bridge and tosses his gun into the river. Money well spent!

Doug’s lurking in the shadows outside Carol’s house when she gets home from her date. He teases her about not letting the guy come in. She says it was only the third date. Doug does that cute smirk he always does – the smirk that made half of America fall in love with George Clooney – and then kisses her. She’s surprised, but when he leans in again, she welcomes him. Back at County, Benton holds his son for the first time.

Thoughts: Who calls a kid Chuck? Like, when he was born, did his parents say, “Let’s call the baby Chuck”?

If I ever even THOUGHT about raising my voice to my boss the way Carter does to Anspaugh, I’d either be fired or I’d be so ashamed that I would never be able to face her again. Carter is too gutsy for his own good.

Mark seeing the teens on the train and immediately panicking made me think of this.

Season 3 is done! Next up: Elizabeth, Romano, and actual character development for Benton.

May 11, 2019

The X-Files 10.3, Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster: Believe It or Not

Posted in TV tagged at 1:24 pm by Jenn

If only Mulder had taken a picture of this

Summary: Two stoners are in the woods in Shawan, Oregon, huffing spray paint under a full moon. It makes one stoner feel existential, wondering if they’re wasting their lives by getting high all the time. It makes the other stoner wish he was a werewolf, though if he were, he’d still just get high all the time. Suddenly a scaly creature runs by, yelling. The stoners find two men on the ground. One, an Animal Control guy named Pasha, is fine. The other is dead.

Despite only being back in the X-Files division for one case, Mulder’s already bored. He’s amusing himself by throwing pencils at his “I want to believe” poster – though when Scully enters their office, she says it’s her poster. Mulder’s feeling dismayed because a lot of their unexplained phenomena from the past have now been explained. Scully asks if he’s been taking his meds.

Mulder thinks it might be time to put away the childish things he used to pursue. He thought he would enjoy going back to works, but not if it means chasing after monsters for the rest of his life. Fortunately, Scully has heartening news: Their new case is about a monster.

The agents head to the woods to find out more about the creature spotted in Oregon. The stoners are the only reliable witnesses, since Pasha didn’t see what ran by. Mulder’s theory: mountain lion or wolf. Scully thinks it’s significant that the last of the creature’s three victims wasn’t clothed. The wounds on the bodies are unique enough to indicate that the attacker was human. Whether or not this is an X-File, Scully wants to solve the case.

The scaly creature is now at a truck stop, watching a prostitute, Annabelle, who’s not having any luck getting work tonight. When the creature rushes her, she hits him with her purse. The bag now has a huge hole in it, which Annabelle shows Mulder and Scully when they come to question her. She tells them the creature has horns on the back of its head, like some kind of lizard. Also, it had two eyes and was wearing tighty-whities, just like Annabelle used to wear before she transitioned.

The agents ask where the lizard creature went next. Annabelle says she already told the police that it slithered away, but the cops think she’s on crack. To be fair, she is. Pasha is called back into action, and he nervously looks in a nearby field for the creature. He got a call about a stray dog and is praying that’s what they’re dealing with here. I don’t think dogs make noises like the growl the agents hear.

Mulder uses his phone to take pictures, which means he takes the first crime-scene photo of the next victim the agents find. He follows growling noises around the truck stop but only comes across Pasha. Pasha tries to help him figure out his new camera app, which accidentally distracts both men, allowing the creature to attack them. They’re both okay, but Pasha decides this is the last straw and he’s done with Animal Control.

Mulder’s pretty sure he got a picture of the creature, which runs by again. The agents follow it to a port-a-potty, but when they open the door, they find a human. Thanks to his hat and the fact that he’s facing forward, they don’t see the horns on the back of his head.

Scully tries to autopsy the latest victim while Mulder shoves his phone in her face, trying to figure out exactly what he took pictures of. He’s pretty sure it’s a man-sized creature (he won’t say “monster”), and not something like a Sasquatch. Scully suggests a “mangy Sasquatch.” Mulder also has a video of his attack, but it just shows him yelling, since the camera’s pointed the wrong way.

Mulder insists that the creature shot blood at him out of its eyeball. Well, he thinks that’s what happened. The blood in his eyes made it hard for him to see. Scully thinks it’s just residue from their victim. Mulder tells her about a lizard that shoots blood out of its eyes. “Scientific fact!” he exclaims. “Mulder, the Internet is no good for you,” Scully says.

Mulder won’t admit that he may have been attacked by a man-sized reptile, and Scully’s autopsy shows that the bites on the latest victim were made by a human. So maybe they’re dealing with a man-sized lizard with human teeth? Now that he thinks about it, Mulder admits that that sounds silly. But Scully’s enjoying herself. She sends Mulder to their motel for the night, hoping he doesn’t dream about monsters.

Yelling from the manager’s office keeps Mulder awake, and he goes to see why someone was shouting about a monster. The manager claims that another guest called him a monster for requesting payment for an overdue bill. I don’t know if I would believe a guy who appears to be drinking rubbing alcohol, but okay. Mudler goes to the trashed room of another guest, which contains Clozapine, a bag from a smartphone store, and a broken mirror.

A taxidermied animal head (one of many in the motel) is on the floor, and Mulder sees that its eyes are just holes. He realizes that the wall panel where it’s supposed to go is actually a door leading to a hidden hallway. He finds Scully’s room and looks in on her through her room’s animal head. Then he goes back to the manager’s office and reveals that he’s figured out the manager saw something in the trashed room and yelled about a monster.

We see what the manager saw: First, the sight of Mulder in bed, wearing his red Speedo. Then he heard the guy from the port-a-potty yelling at himself in the mirror, saying he’s tired of looking at himself every day. Then he broke his alarm clock, saying it won’t wake him up tomorrow. He said something was happening again, then ran to the broken mirror in time for his face to transform into that of the lizard creature.

The manager confirms the man’s identity for Mulder, who goes to Scully’s room to tell her about the werelizard they appear to be dealing with. He does both sides of the conversation, knowing she’ll tell him he’s thinking a myth is real, and that every known law of science says it’s not possible for a person to become an animal, then turn back. Maybe they’re dealing with a genetic experiment that went awry. All Mulder knows is that the werelizard is a monster. “Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder,” Scully remarks.

He asks if that means she believes him. “No! You’re bat-crap crazy!” she says. She wants to talk to the alleged werelizard before they jump to any conclusions. Mulder doesn’t think he’ll be coming back to his room tonight. And on a related note, he thinks the two of them should also find somewhere else to stay.

The next day, Mulder meets with a Dr. Rumanovitch, who tells him a fairytale about a man-eating lizard-dragon. The creature can only be killed by a lance of green glass stabbed in its appendix. (Dr. R. doesn’t know why, though.) In the fairytale, the constable who’s been looking for the lizard-dragon discovers upon his appendix-stabbing that he’s the creature. The moral: The real monsters of the world are inside us.

Dr. R. thinks the man the agents are looking for is delusional and believes he turns into a werelizard when the moon is full. The man is his patient, and Dr. R. prescribed him Clozapine, an antipsychotic. He doesn’t think it did him any good, though – “he seemed pretty crazy.” There isn’t much information in Dr. R.’s records, like any indication of where the agents can find him. The name the patient gave Dr. R., Guy Mann, is most likely a pseudonym.

Dr. R. tells Mulder that he advised Guy to go for a walk in a cemetery the next time he thought he was turning into a werelizard. It would remind him that death takes care of all of our anxieties. He thinks this is sound treatment advice because it’s what he does. Dr. R. then writes Mulder his own prescription, thinking he might be crazier than the guy who thinks he’s a werelizard.

Scully goes to the smartphone store the bag in Guy’s room came from and calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) with the surprising news that she found Guy himself. He seems to work there. Scully starts to tell Mulder about some discrepancies in the blood tests she ran yesterday, but she loses her phone connection with him. She goes into the store to talk to Guy, and by the time Mulder arrives, the store has been trashed. Scully says that Guy just suddenly yelled that he quit and ran out the back.

Mulder follows Guy to a cemetery, where Guy’s doing some day drinking. Mulder pretends to be visiting a loved one and engages Guy in conversation. Guy says that, until a few days ago, he didn’t know that he could die. He always knew he could, and needed to avoid death, but he didn’t know the details. Mulder invites him to talk about his troubles – make a confession, if necessary. Guy says he just wants the madness of life to end. But he’s not going to kill himself. He’s going to kill Mulder.

“You ready?” Guy asks before breaking his green glass bottle to make himself a weapon. Mulder pulls his gun, but Guy doesn’t want to go that far. He pushes Mulder down, then pretends to trip so he can drop his weapon. Mulder picks it up, and Guy tries to guide it toward his appendix. Mulder refuses to kill Guy – he wants to help. Guy says killing him is the only way to help. He wants to be put out of his misery.

Mulder agrees to do so after Guy explains how this all happened. Guy pulls out another bottle, thinking Mulder will need a drink to get him through the tale. His story takes Mulder back to the night in the woods with the stoners. Guy, in his lizard form, was just minding his own business in the woods when Pasha and the soon-to-be-dead man came by, struggling with each other. Guy tried to stop the fight, but Pasha bit him on the neck. The stoners arrived just as Guy was running away in fright.

Mulder stops the story, confused because it doesn’t seem to start from the beginning. Guy says that’s how it all started, with an attempt to stop a predator. He didn’t even get the chance to shoot blood out of his eyeballs! Mulder doesn’t think the mark on Guy’s neck is from a bite; it looks more like a hickey. Guy says it looks different when he’s “normal.”

The next morning, Guy woke up human, both physically and mentally. He saw three dead bodies nearby and stole clothes from one of them. His next instinct was to go on the hunt – not for human victims, but for a job. He was hired at the smartphone store, despite not having any idea what he was talking about. It worked out fine because the customers don’t know what he’s saying either. Guy thinks he now has the one Darwinian advantage humans have over animals – the ability to B.S. “It’s better than camouflage!” Guy says.

This means, of course, that Mulder doesn’t know if he can believe what Guy’s telling him. It’s “disconcerting.” Guy doesn’t think it’s nearly as disconcerting as what he did next: He killed a cow. He did this by walking through a drive-through, not understanding why you have to be in a car to order there. Guy checked into the motel and watched porn the rest of the day. That night, he started to turn back into his lizard self.

Guy was thrilled to revert to his natural state, but the next morning, when his alarm went off, he turned back into a human. That means craving coffee (well, coffee grounds) and hating his job. He tried to quit, but human fears made him worry about being jobless and unable to pay his bills or get a mortgage, “whatever that is.” If he hasn’t written his novel by now, he’ll never write it.

His fears sent Guy to Dr. R., but the medication he was prescribed just clouded his thoughts. To make himself feel better, Guy got a puppy, Daggoo. He realized that the only way humans can be happy is to spend time with non-humans. Unfortunately, when Guy got home from work the next day, Daggoo was gone, possibly let out by a maid. The search for the dog took Guy to the truck stop and left him in an existential crisis.

As he was becoming depressed about his loss, Guy saw Pasha and was overwhelmed with the thought of revenge for being bitten. As he saw Pasha biting his last victim, the moon came out and turned Guy back into a lizard. He realized what human nature is capable of and wanted to be done with it. He was running back to the wild when he came across Annabelle. Then there’s a sidebar while Mulder tries to explain what transgender means, and Guy, the creature who can flip-flop between human and lizard, says the idea of changing one’s gender is crazy. He considers gender-confirmation surgery but draws the line at losing his genitals.

Anyway, Guy doesn’t remember everything about the rest of the night, though he does recall Mulder taking his picture in the port-a-potty. Mulder wants to know how this is all possible, but Guy has no idea. He just went back to the motel, and the next thing he knew, someone was screaming behind a jackalope head. (Another sidebar while Mulder reveals that jackalopes aren’t real, and Guy insists they are, since his friend George was gored by one.)

Guy went to work the next morning, where he met Scully. In his memory, she’s all flirty and tries to get him to join her in the backroom so she can take a picture of his junk. He also claims they made out in the backroom. Mulder gets Guy to admit that he’s lying. Ever since Guy turned human, he can’t help lying about his sex life. But the rest of the story is true, and now that he’s told it, Guy wants to die.

Mulder admits that he doesn’t believe the story. It’s too silly. Guy objects to Mulder calling his life “silly.” Mulder says they’re the same, since they both want to believe in things that aren’t real. Guy quotes Shakespeare, saying that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than can be dreamed of by humans. Mulder interprets this as saying that we’re all idiots. Guy says without believing in the unbelievable, we’re left with regret and self-doubt.

Calling Mulder “Foxman,” Guy says he dreads having to stay human and go back to work in the morning. Mulder reveals himself as an FBI agent, and Guy slams him for taking advantage. Mulder’s the real monster. He leaves, yelling to other people in the cemetery that Mulder’s a monster. Mulder consoles himself with Guy’s booze.

Sometime later, Mulder regains consciousness after his bender when his phone rings (playing the show’s theme song). It’s Scully, who’s at an animal shelter, hanging out with Daggoo. Mulder tells her he he got a taste of his old ways, then got drunk on it. He tries to explain Guy’s situation, lamenting that he believed anything so crazy. Scully tells him she’s waiting for Pasha.

As Pasha arrives, Daggoo gives Scully a little nip on the finger. Mulder looks at his pictures from the other night, thinking one may have been of a bite. Scully says Daggoo reminds her of poor, doomed Queequeg. She read a study saying that dogs can be hostile toward people who have harmed their masters. As she says she wishes having a dog/grudge-holder, Pasha attacks.

Mulder hears the struggle through the phone and calls for backup at the shelter. But when he arrives, Scully has taken care of everything herself. She informs Mulder that their killer was just a normal human. She saw on her autopsy that the last victim was strangled. Pasha starts to tell his tale of tragedy, describing how he felt the urge to hurt animals as a child, but Scully tells him to save it for his trial. “But I have a whole speech prepared!” Pasha objects.

Mulder asks why Scully again approached a suspect without backup. She tells him she thought he would want more time with Guy. Plus, she reminds him, she’s immortal. Mulder tells her that he figured out Pasha was their killer from his photos. However, this means accepting that Guy’s story is true, which Mulder can’t believe he’s saying. Scully decides to take a souvenir from the animal shelter: Daggoo. (This will be her second dog named after a Moby Dick character.)

Guy goes back to the woods that night, ready to return to his life as a lizard. Mulder finds him and tells him they caught the killer. Guy doesn’t care, and doesn’t think Mulder’s sure that his story was true. Guy fully admits that it’s crazy, but not crazier than a necktie. He’s ready for hibernation, hopeful that when he comes out of it, he won’t turn human anymore.

Mulder denies that Guy can hibernate for 10,000. Guy slams him for not believing him again. “I want to believe,” Mulder says. Guy is happy that Mulder was there to listen to him while he was going through a tough time. They shake hands, and suddenly Guy’s a lizard again. Finally, Mulder can believe in something unbelievable.

Thoughts: Guy is played by Rhys Darby. Pasha is played by Kumail Nanjiani.

Tombstones in the cemetery: Kim Manners (beloved X-Files director and producer), Jack Hardy (assistant director), Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat).

Mulder chastises Scully for approaching a suspect without backup, then immediately…approaches a suspect without backup. Sounds about right.

So when, exactly, did the werelizard read Shakespeare?

May 7, 2019

ER 3.21, Make a Wish: I Hope Carol Wished for a Less-Creepy Fake Baby

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

Yeah, this looks like a guy who’s ready to go back to his stressful job

Summary: Carter finds Benton before an ER shift to discuss their transplant case from the previous week. He’s starting to think he’s in the wrong place. He loves surgery, but he’s not completely satisfied. Benton doesn’t know what that means. Carter doesn’t like that surgeons don’t get to know their patients better.

Anna’s getting acclimated to working at County, and has undergone an extensive security check. Weaver says they’re beefing things up in the wake of Mark’s attack. He’s coming back to work today, and Weaver wants everyone to work together to give him a light load. Doug mentions that it’s Carol’s birthday, which annoys her, since he promised he wouldn’t. But he also told everyone last year, so it can’t be a secret anymore, right?

Jeanie and Al are fully back together and making out in her kitchen. He gets distracted by her microwave, complaining that she never let him have one. Back at County, Carla’s in labor, and Coburn can no longer do anything to stop it, even though it’s two months early. Time for Benton to become a father!

Mark arrives for his first shift post-beating. He has a cast on his hand and a huge, ugly bruise around his eye, which should put his patients right at ease. He meets Anna, who mentions that she’s kind of already met him, though he was unconscious at the time. Mark jumps in to help Doug and Carol with a trauma, but Doug urges him to take it easy.

Benton is a great birthing coach, if what you want in a birthing coach is a guy who ignores you to ask your doctor questions about your treatment. Coburn eventually tells him to shut up and be helpful. Security is adding cameras, bulletproof glass, and armed guards, which we know from future seasons will do absolutely nothing.

Mark thinks everyone’s overreacting. The better plan is to change how they deal with patients and families. Weaver isn’t convinced that a patient or family member was responsible for Mark’s attack. Mark points out that the ER is slow, and some patients have been sitting around for hours. Anyone would get mad enough to attack someone. Chuny hands him some charts, which he drops, and when he bends down to pick them up, he can’t hide that he’s still in pain.

Anna joins Coburn for Carla’s delivery, and Benton rolls his eyes over the fact that she’s just a resident. Despite that, Anna definitely knows what she’s doing, and doesn’t have any trouble taking charge when she needs do. In the lounge, Doyle offers Mark the opportunity to choose from a variety of weapons like pepper spray and stun guns. She admits that she keeps a gun in her car. She once used it to scare off a guy who tried to rob her at a drive-through. Mark decides to “pass on the armaments,” but Carter takes a look, and promptly gets pepper spray in his eyes.

Coburn and Anna deliver the baby, who’s not doing well (and also, the fake baby they use for this scene is really disturbing). Benton finds himself in the rare position of being helpless. Carol laughs as she washes out Carter’s eyes, and he complains about how lousy his life is going right now. He asks about her willingness to start her whole career over in med school. Mark comes in for a few moments, and Carter’s like, “I know I just maced myself, but Mark looks worse than I do.”

Carla’s distressed not to have any news on the baby, and it doesn’t help that her gurney is briefly parked outside a room where happy mothers are holding their healthy babies. Mark and Carter tend to a trauma patient named Harry who crashed his car in a suspected DWI. Carter doesn’t smell alcohol on the guy’s breath. Harry seizes, and Mark accidentally gets his broken hand caught under him.

Benton goes to the NICU to find out the baby’s treatment plan. The neonatologist, Tabash, fills him in, then tells him what he should pass along to Carla. Right now, they have to wait and see how he responds to his current treatment. Tabash asks the baby’s name, but Benton and Carla haven’t decided on that yet.

Doug tells Carol that their co-workers are throwing her a surprise birthday party. She thinks he’s joking, since he mentioned it earlier, but now he’s gotten an invitation and knows it’s real. Fortunately, since Doug knows Carol doesn’t like celebrating her birthday, he can get her out of it. The excuse they’re using: Carol’s having dinner with Doug. Carol calls it a trap, but Doug calls it a rescue.

Jeanie learns from Anna that Carla had the baby, who’s struggling. Anna says she’s worked on lots of preemies but never gets used to it. Randi mentions that Mark’s obsessed with treating patients quickly now, and Weaver says he just needs a few days to settle back in. Doug checks in with Mark, who thinks a week off work was enough time away. He gave the police a list of people who might have attacked him. He feels like he got a wake-up call and will now remember to use better bedside manner.

Jeanie goes to the NICU, where Benton tells her how bad off the baby is. Carla’s sitting with him but has asked Benton to stay in the hallway. Jeanie guesses that Benton hasn’t told his family or co-workers about the baby yet. She encourages him to reach out to his support system. She also tells him to stop standing in the hallway.

Carter and Connie treat a man named Lensky who has bad stomach pain. Weaver pulls Carter aside to report that Mark thinks Lensky’s waiting too long for a surgical consult. Carter and Weaver agree that he probably has a perforated ulcer, so Anspaugh will need to examine him. Doug and Carol need to treat a boy named Russell who broke his wrist, and Doug is willing to try to fix it without painkillers. Russell yells as soon as they approach him, so Doug changes his mind.

Benton tells Tabash that Carla will want to know all the possible outcomes for the baby. Tabash says all parents want that, but they can’t see the future. Benton is concerned with the baby’s eyesight, even knowing that’s not the biggest problem he could face. Carter tells Mark that he talked to Harry’s mother, who mentioned that he was going to a pre-employment screening for his new job. She also said she was relieved that the police didn’t find any marijuana on Harry. Harry appears to have drunk so much water to dilute his urine and clear out the pot that he gave himself water intoxication.

Thanks to the painkillers, Russell is much happier. He’d like his dad to be with him, but his dad can’t handle medical stuff and is staying out of the room. Russell says his father usually sings to him, so Carol volunteers Doug to take his place. Doug invites her to do a duet. For some reason, Doug opts for “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.” You know, every kid’s favorite song in 1997.

Anspaugh’s annoyed that Carter made him come to the ER for a consult he didn’t really need. Any senior resident should know this was a surgical case. Carter tells Lensky he needs surgery, but Lensky panics and tries to leave. Carter asks if something happened to him or someone else that has made him so opposed to surgery. Lensky confides that his father died during a gallbladder operation, a procedure the surgeon said over and over was simple. Now Lensky’s wary about trusting another surgeon.

Later, Carter tells Weaver that he tried his best but couldn’t change Lensky’s mind. He’s dreading Anspaugh’s disapproval. Weaver gives Carter some ideas of what he can do next. Before Carter can get too down about the situation, Haleh brightens his day with Harry’s labs. Carter was right about the water intoxication.

Mark meets with a detective who tells him all the leads he gave the police have been cleared. The detective is surprised that Mark isn’t happier about the news. Carter tells Mark that he was right about Harry, but Mark doesn’t really care. Tabash wants to give the baby nitrogen oxide, since it’s helped some full-term babies. There’s a risk of development problems, but sticking with the current treatment has its own risks. Benton and Carla need to discuss their options.

Weaver follows Mark outside, and he tells her he was wrong about all his possible attackers. He thought he was starting to piece things together, but now the police say it was just a random attack. For the first time in his life, Mark is the victim, not the person treating the victim. Weaver reminds him that they see those victims every day, and they can’t let themselves get overwhelmed with the thought that they could be in the same position. He says it makes them different from their patients, but Weaver thinks it makes them the same.

Carter tells Anspaugh that Lensky declined surgery, but Carter has discovered that he doesn’t need it after all. The ulcer has spontaneously sealed itself off. Anspaugh insists that Lensky needs surgery, but Carter found an article that says he can be treated medically. “You think this is about what he wants?” Anspaugh asks. Carter says yes, of course, but Anspaugh reminds him that surgeons cut.

Carter disagrees – if he can find a medically acceptable treatment that his patient agrees with, he should do it. Anspaugh is bothered by the fact that Lensky is refusing a necessary procedure, but it bothers him even more that Carter is helping him go against a surgeon’s recommendations.

Mark snaps at Lily, so yeah, Weaver, he’s getting better. As Carol and Doug head out for their dinner together, she learns that a temp clerk will be working at the admit desk that night. E-Ray won’t tell Carol why, like it’s a government secret. Mark runs into Nina, who wants him to meet with a counselor who specializes in PTSD. He denies that he needs that kind of treatment. He claims things are getting back to normal, and he doesn’t appreciate Nina being a shrink with him. So that near-relationship is definitely over.

Benton apologizes to Coburn for being so intense during the birth, but it’s not like this is the first time she’s had to deal with a father who wasn’t being calm. Carla’s doing fine, at least physically, and Benton thinks it’s time to let her know what’s going on with the baby’s treatment. Doug takes Carol home so she can change for their dinner, but it’s a trap after all – the surprise party is at her house.

Al surprises Jeanie at home with a garage door opener. He always thought they were dumb, but I guess since Jeanie got him a microwave, he felt the need to repay her kindness. Carol’s guests brought booze but no food, so that party’s going to be fun. Doug teases her about drinking milk straight out of the carton. He tells her he wanted to make up for all the lousy birthdays she’s had in the past.

Carter asks Weaver what he would have to do to switch from surgery to emergency medicine. Would he have to redo his residency? Weaver asks if he’s talked to Mark, but Carter knows better than to bring that up when Mark’s being so grouchy. On his way out of work, Mark gets nervous in the parking garage, thinking a guy walking by is going to attack him. He only feels safe when he gets in his car.

Carol gets a nice birthday cake with a ton of candles. The women at the party put rings around the candles, saying that’ll make Carol’s wish come true. If she’s wishing for what I think she is, it will. As she blows out the candles, Benton stands in the hallway outside the NICU, watching his son.

Thoughts: Yeah, a guy with a broken hand and busted ribs is exactly who you want taking care of you in an emergency.

I know it’s not as respected or whatever as being a doctor, and his family would flip out, but Carter should just be a nurse.

Maybe I need shorthand fro the phrase “Anspaugh is annoyed.”

’90s music alert: Better Than Ezra’s “Desperately Wanting.”

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