February 16, 2019

The X-Files 9.12, Underneath: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Cable Guy

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

Jason Mantzoukas? Is that you?

Summary: In Brooklyn, a cable guy pulls up outside a house and kisses a crucifix. A voice from the back of the truck tells him to go do his job. This job involves lying to the family inside that their cable’s out, then acting really squirrelly. Suddenly, the father of the family is dead on the floor, and the mom and daughter are dead in the kitchen. Two cops arrive seconds later and arrest the cable guy. One of those cops is Doggett.

In D.C., Doggett is yelling at someone on the phone, angry that the cable guy (Robert Fassl) has been cleared of the murders thanks to DNA evidence. Doggett insists that if Fassl is released from prison, he’ll kill again. He was known as the Screwdriver Killer and murdered seven people 13 years ago. Doggett thinks the DNA evidence is the result of a lab mistake.

He tells Reyes that neighbors called the police after hearing screams (which we didn’t hear in the original scene), and Doggett and his partner found the family dead. Fassl was in the house, so he must have been the killer. Reyes points out that they didn’t catch him in the act. Scully arrives and confirms the medical examiner’s report – the DNA exonerates Fassl. The odds are a hundred million to one that there was a mistake. Doggett wants her to redo the tests herself anyway. He’ll be going to New York to make sure Fassl doesn’t kill anyone else.

Fassl is released from prison in New York and collects the belongings he had with him when he was arrested, including the crucifix. The press is interested in hearing from him, but his attorney, Jana Fain, speaks for him, saying they’re looking into procedures at the D.A.’s office and the police department to determine why he was falsely imprisoned for 13 years. Fassl spots a bearded man across the street, staring at him.

Scully and Doggett are in New York, trying to convince the ADA, Damon Kaylor, to let them look into the evidence. Doggett points out that if Fassl really is innocent, the real killer is still out there, and his victims’ families are going to want some answers. As Doggett and Scully look through files, she notes that the case must have been a career-maker for him. He remembers how relieved everyone was when they thought they’d finally found the killer. Scully reminds him that even good cops make mistakes.

Doggett wants to make it clear that he’s not reopening the case just to cover up his errors. Scully knows that, but she doesn’t want him to feel guilty. Doggett says he would never send someone to prison if he wasn’t absolutely sure the person was guilty. This is just a matter of finishing the job he obviously didn’t finish 13 years ago.

Jana takes Fassl to her house since he has no other place to stay. Her house his huge, and she has a full-time housekeeper, thanks to a generous inheritance from her parents. Jana tells Fassl that she tries to use her wealth to help people, which explains why she took his case. She’s fully convinced that Fassl is innocent, and she feels horrible that he was punished for a crime he didn’t commit. Alone in his new room, Fassl prays with his crucifix and rosary, but stops when his hands start bleeding. He looks up to see “KILL HER” written in blood on the wall.

Doggett reunites with his old partner, Duke Tomasick, wanting help going over the case. Duke thinks they just arrested the wrong man. He warns Doggett that if he keeps working the case, it’ll come back to bite him. At Jana’s, she finds Fassl praying again and remarks that it’s great how everything he’s been through hasn’t diminished his faith. (He was once a seminary student.) He tells her he prays all the time, even when it doesn’t look like he’s praying. Jana’s sure that someone’s listening. Well, yeah, but it’s the bearded guy, and he has a screwdriver he wants to use on Jana.

Doggett works all night only to get bad news from Scully: Hair samples found at the murder scene belong to someone other than Fassl. However, the DNA in the hair is very similar to Fassl’s, and must belong to a blood relative. Doggett knows that Fassl’s parents died when he was a teen, and he’s an only child, so he doesn’t have any blood relatives.

Fassl wakes up on his floor and is surprised to see Jana in his room, completely unharmed. In a stroke of luck, she was at the county lockup the previous night. However, someone went through her things in her room, and since Fassl’s the only houseguest, she thinks he’s violating her privacy. Now that he’s free, he has to be responsible. P.S. The housekeeper is MIA, and there’s blood dripping from a kitchen cabinet. As soon as Jana leaves for work, Fassl pulls the housekeeper’s body out of the cabinet and chops it up for easier transportation.

Reyes is now in New York, meeting with Brian Hutchinson, the warden at the prison where Fassl spent the past 13 years. He thinks Fassl really is a murderer and should still be behind bars. His cellmate was murdered, and the killer, whose picture was snapped by a security camera, was the bearded man. He wasn’t an inmate, so no one’s sure what all happened. They also couldn’t pin the murder on Fassl, though Hutchinson is sure he was involved somehow.

Since the DNA retests say Fassl’s innocent, Kaylor doesn’t get why Doggett and Scully are still working the case. The DA’s office is planning to offer Fassl a settlement and end the whole thing. Doggett’s all, “But! The truth!” Kaylor doesn’t care about the truth, since the DNA evidence is definitive. Just then, Reyes shows up to tell Doggett and Scully that they have a new suspect – the unidentifiable bearded man.

Doggett tells Reyes that Fassl, not the bearded man, was in the house 13 years ago, so the bearded man isn’t important to the case. Reyes disagrees, suggesting that Fassl and the bearded man are somehow connected. Doggett would rather not have this turn into an X-File. Reyes thinks one of the men is doing the other’s bidding. They just need to compare the DNA from Fassl’s cellmate’s murder to the DNA from the 1989 murders.

Scully says that won’t work – the hair samples logged from the 1989 crime scene weren’t actually at the scene. Doggett thinks she’s accusing him of planting evidence, but Scully just wants the facts on the table. The DNA evidence that convicted Fassl was planted.

Kaylor goes to Jana’s house to tell Fassl they want to offer him a settlement. To his surprise, Fassl announces that he wants to go back to prison. Kaylor thinks Fassl’s about to make a confession, so he tries to leave, but the bearded man stops him with a screwdriver to the back. Looks like Fassl has another body to get rid of.

Doggett confronts Duke, who admits to planting the evidence that sent Fassl to prison. He was sure Fassl was guilty and wanted to make sure he was punished. Doggett reminds him that he committed a felony, not to mention did something unforgivable. Scully interrupts to report that Kaylor has gone missing. Meanwhile, Fassl’s hiding Kaylor’s body in some kind of tunnel. There’s a skull nearby, so this can’t be the first time Fassl’s been down there.

Knowing that Kaylor went to see Fassl, Scully and Reyes call him in for questioning. They try to play good cop to convince Jana they don’t think Fassl has done anything wrong. When they show Fassl and Jana a picture of the bearded man, Fassl gets agitated. Scully notices him holding his rosary and asks if he’s Catholic. She knows a rosary can be a great comfort, like Fassl obviously wants his to be right now. She asks about the bearded man, guessing that Fassl just wants him to go away.

Jana accuses the agents of playing mind games and announces that she and her client are leaving. Doggett comes in, having watched the whole conversation, and Reyes says she’s changing her theory. Maybe Fassl can’t admit that he has a sinful side, even to himself, and has manifested a second personality that does all the bad stuff. If he could actually physically become that other personality – the bearded man – that would explain the different DNA.

Doggett scoffs at the idea of a real-life Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation. Reyes argues that Catholicism backs up her idea, when you really think of transubstantiation. Scully sums it up: Fassl won’t face his sins, so he’s forced to become a killer. Doggett wonders how they’re supposed to catch a killer who hides inside an innocent person.

Back at Jana’s, “KILL HER” appears in blood on the bathroom wall. Then the bearded man smacks Fassl around a bit, telling him to kill. So this is Fight Club now? Jana hears the scuffling and checks on Fassl, who just says he fell. When she goes to get a bandage for a cut on his head, the bearded man ambushes her.

Doggett and Reyes stake out Jana’s house, fighting about her theory. Doggett thinks regular old police work is good enough to solve this case. It’s really all he has anyway. They spot the bearded man lurking around the house and chase him. Jana’s still okay, and she tells Reyes that Fassl was there one minute and then suddenly gone.

Doggett finds a hatch labeled “cable access,” and he and Reyes go into the tunnel underneath it. Regular old police work ensues, though I’m not sure they should be splitting up. Reyes winds up falling in some water, where she finds Kaylor’s body and some skeletons. The bearded man sneaks up on Doggett and knocks his gun into the water. Reyes finds the bearded man holding a screwdriver to Doggett’s neck.

She tries to get through to Fassl, appealing to the part of him that couldn’t bring himself to kill Jana. The bearded man denies that he’s Fassl. Reyes calls him a sinner and a murderer, which just makes him madder. She manages to get off a shot in the bearded man’s back, and he falls in the water. When Doggett pulls him out, he’s Fassl. Well, well, well! Looks like Reyes’ crazy theory was correct!

Scully and Jana come down to help look over the crime scene. Jana knows she saw the bearded man, so she’s a little confused about how Fassl could be the killer. Doggett – sleep-deprived, and coming off of finding out his former partner is a felon – can’t explain anything. Reyes agrees that this time around, regular old police work was good enough. They closed the case. Of course, who knows it that’ll be enough next time?

Thoughts: Yeah, you don’t get released from prison the day after evidence exonerates you. The justice system is nowhere near that fast.

Hutchinson says Fassl’s cellmate was a “bada&%,” but how tough can you be with a name like Spud?

Why would Fassl ask to go back to prison when the bearded man could still kill people there? It’s not like he could hide there.

February 12, 2019

ER 3.9, Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You No Lies: Starring Mark Greene as Judge, Jury, and Executioner

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

Okay, ladies, time to stop looking like you’re hiding something

Summary: Benton is using Keaton’s visualization techniques to prepare for an operation. Scrub nurse Shirley messes with him by going over the steps of a recipe. She offers to set things up for Keaton, since Carter hasn’t arrived to do it, but Benton doesn’t know what size gloves Keaton wears. When Carter finally shows up, he knows. At Doc Magoo’s, Carol is again struggling with physics, and she won’t have time to do more studying before her midterm. William doesn’t have much sympathy.

Haleh and Malik have much more sympathy for Gant, who’s again handling all of Benton’s scut work. Doug is surprised to hear that Mark called a staff meeting. Carter helps Benton continue prepping for surgery, but he doesn’t think his book knowledge will mean anything if Keaton doesn’t approve of his methods. Lydia’s hoping she’ll get time off for her honeymoon, but Carol can’t promise her anything. She’s just as surprised as Doug to learn about Mark’s called staff meeting.

Benton puts his studying to the test, and Keaton is pleased with his work. But then Morgenstern enlists Benton for another procedure, one he hasn’t prepared for. Mark has some new organizational ideas for the ER, and Weaver approves. No one else seems to be taking him too seriously. Doug especially thinks that Mark is putting too much into his work because he’s moping over Susan. Mark just says that he’s been distracted over the past few months, and now he’s focusing on his job again.

Carol tries to get in some studying at work, but when she asks Doug a physics-related question, he just feels incompetent. Jeanie treats a woman with sickle-cell anemia who says her regular pain medication isn’t working. Morgenstern tells Benton that he’s chosen a difficult specialty, and not everyone who tries pediatric surgery is successful. Benton wants to know if Keaton’s said anything about his performance. He wonders if she asked Morgenstern to take him out of their surgery because he wasn’t good enough for it.

Carter and Keaton discuss their plans for that evening while trying not to let the others in the OR know that they want to do something together. Carter is, unsurprisingly, very unsmooth. Al comes to the ER with some breathing trouble, so Mark learns for the first time that a) Jeanie’s divorced and b) her ex has HIV. Carol goes to meeting with the reengineering committee and tries to determine how long her nurses will be floated to other departments. She stands up for her colleagues, arguing that critical patients should have nurses who have experience treating them.

Mark tells Jeanie that he met Al, fishing around to find out if she got tested for HIV. She lies that she tested negative. The ER is busy, so Doug has to treat adult patients for once, including a woman who takes a cabinet full of medications. Mark tells Weaver that he knows Al has HIV, and Jeanie said she doesn’t. Weaver brushes him off, making Mark wonder why she isn’t more concerned.

As soon as he’s done with Morgenstern, Benton rushes off to try to get back into his original OR. As Mark has Al’s previous charts pulled, Keaton and Carter discuss the fact that she’s soon going to Pakistan to teach pediatric techniques to surgeons. She’ll be gone for at least four months, possibly six, and Carter worries that she’ll never come back. Keaton notes that they never said they had long-term plans with each other, so while she’s in the U.S., they’ll just keep having fun.

Mark tries to get Jeanie’s medical files pulled, lying to a file clerk that he thinks his patient didn’t tell his wife that he has HIV. Jeanie’s file confirms his suspicions that she has HIV. Carol wishes she’d skipped the committee meeting and studied, since she’s still stuck trying to remember some basics. Gant is busy and Mark can’t be bothered to do his job, so an impatient patient (…heh) will have to keep waiting to get her B12 shot.

Doug deals with a sassy girl named Natalie who wants her antibiotics right away so she can get to playdate. Since Natalie seems to know a lot, Doug challenges her to help Carol study. It turns out Carol remembers more than she thought. Jeanie’s sickle-cell patient is still in pain, so she turns to Mark to authorize more treatment. Mark sends her to the waiting room to do triage instead of seeing patients.

Carter tells Keaton that the two of them are going to be cutting down his family’s Christmas tree that night. Benton asks Keaton if he can assist with an operation that afternoon, but Keaton has already set up her crew. Benton tries to look like a responsible supervisor by questioning Carter’s assignments for the day, but Carter’s caught up on everything. Mark spots Jeanie and Weaver having a serious conversation that leaves Jeanie looking upset.

Carol tells Carter that he would be smart to help Gant out, since Gant has five times the number of patients Carter does. Jeanie accuses Al of telling Mark that she has HIV, then blasts him for coming to County, where people know her. She thinks he’s just being his usual selfish, irresponsible self. Al feels bad, not just because she’s in a tough spot, but because he’s the reason she’s sick. Jeanie wishes that hating him felt better. Haleh and Connie mess with Mark’s new organizational board, since they disagree with the colors he’s chosen for various personnel.

Weaver pulls Mark outside to slam him for the way he’s treating Jeanie. He’s mad that she didn’t tell him about Jeanie and Al’s diagnoses, which Weaver says are none of his business. Mark disagrees. Weaver says he doesn’t even know for sure that Jeanie’s HIV-positive, and he admits that he looked at her medical records. He blames Weaver for forcing his hand. She tells him he knows there’s no excuse for what he did. Carter offers to help Gant out, but Gant doesn’t want to make Benton think that he can’t handle being overloaded. Carter’s like, “Well, I tried,” and leaves.

Mark goes to Anspaugh to announce that one of the ER staff members may have HIV. Anspaugh warns him not to do anything, since they could face a discrimination lawsuit. Mark says that Weaver may have known for as long as six months without telling anyone. Anspaugh’s pleased, if that’s the case, and he wants Mark to be just as discreet. Mark argues that Weaver could have left them open to patient litigation, but Anspaugh points out that right now, they just have a suspicion that someone has HIV. If he’s wrong about that, Mark shouldn’t correct him.

A bunch of kids on a nature hike came in contact with a bat, so they may all need rabies shots. However, the bat isn’t available for testing because an adult chaperone got rid of it. Doug gets him to admit that he panicked. Carol’s stubbornness has paid off, and the nurses learn that they won’t be floated to other departments anymore. Weaver’s pleased that Carol has again demonstrated strong management skills.

Benton tries again to get in on one of Keaton’s operations, but it’s been canceled. She thinks he should be grateful for what he’s been able to observe so far, since he’s seen more at this stage than she did. His residency is five years long; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Mark and Weaver work together tensely as Jeanie calls the records department to find out if anyone looked up her file.

Benton’s annoyed to see Carter helping out in the ER, since it’s supposed to be Gant’s area today. Carol says she asked Carter to help because Gant’s slammed. Benton denies that; Gant just needs to work faster. Weaver agrees with Carol’s decision, while Mark thinks Benton should be able to make his own decisions about what his interns do. Benton punishes Carter by leaving him in the ER while he takes a patient to the OR.

Doug administers rabies shots and bat-safety instructions to the kids, then tells their chaperone he’ll need the shots, too. One of the kids wants to watch his chaperone in pain. Carol tries to tell Mark that she won with the reengineering committee, but he thinks she just wants to complain to him about something, and he’s tired of hearing about other people’s problems. She’s like, “Sorry for giving you good news, then.”

Benton finally gets in on a surgery with Keaton, taking advantage of their time together to discuss Carter’s performance. At first it sounds like Benton’s going to express concern, but he’s actually impressed with his intern’s work. Keaton encourages him to tell Carter, because it’s always nice for a student to hear that his teacher is proud of him. Benton obviously wants the same treatment from Keaton and is too wimpy to ask for it.

Carol tells Doug that she’s not going to be able to take much more of Mark’s crankiness. Doug says he tried to talk to Mark already, but Mark doesn’t want to discuss his feelings over Susan leaving. They should just let him get it out of his system. Carol wonders if Mark will still have friends when he’s done tantruming.

Jeanie checks on her sickle-cell patient, who’s still in pain because Mark didn’t listen when Jeanie asked him to treat her. Mark catches Jeanie with the patient and pulls her aside to reprimand her for not listening when he told her to do triage. Jeanie wasn’t aware that he could give orders while breaking rules by going into her file. They accuse each other of unethical behavior. Mark claims that he would have dealt with things if Jeanie had been upfront with him from the beginning. Jeanie thinks it’s better this way – now she knows the kind of person Mark really is.

Carol heads off to take her midterm, having to skip happy hour with the other nurses. Gant chastises Carter for not getting him from radiology so he could be in the ER when Benton came to get Carter’s patient. Gant doesn’t appreciate Carter’s attempts to help. Jeanie apologizes to Al for accusing him of telling Mark about her HIV. She knows better than to blame him for her condition, since she sees every day that bad things happen for no reason. Al hasn’t told most of his friends he’s HIV-positive, knowing they would treat him differently. He and Jeanie each say the other doesn’t deserve their illness.

Mark apologizes to Doug for his crankiness, as if that was his worst sin today, and as if Doug is the person he needs to apologize to. Mark says he doesn’t enjoy his job anymore, and doesn’t see the staff as family like he used to. Doug wants him to talk about his feelings over Susan’s departure. His mom used to tell him not to confuse where he works with where he lives. But he still wants to be friends with his co-workers.

Carter waits impatiently for Keaton to finish talking to a colleague so they can leave. Benton passes by his car and tells him he’s doing a good job. Carter’s so worried that Keaton will interrupt and Benton will get suspicious that he can’t appreciate this human moment with his robot boss. Weaver tells Jeanie that she, Anspaugh, and Mark are going to meet to discuss hospital policy. She promises that her condition will remain confidential. She thinks her colleagues will be okay with her illness once they learn of it, though, since they at least understand how it’s transmitted.

Doug meets Carol outside her exam, which she thinks went pretty well. He wants to take her out for a drink to celebrate her hard work. William comes along and suggests ice cream, so they go off with him instead. Carter and Keaton get a tree, and she gets turned on, and it’s kind of weird. Is anyone rooting for this relationship? Anyone?

Thoughts: The boy who asks to watch is chaperone get a shot is played by a teeny-tiny Corbin Bleu.

Hey, Mark? You suck.

One of the patients in this episode is a ten-year-old who tried to emulate some circus sword-swallowers, only with a butcher knife instead of a sword. Kids are…just…so dumb.

Carter and Keaton, if you don’t want people to know you’re together, stop…being together so much.

February 9, 2019

The X-Files 9.11, Audrey Pauley: Maybe We Should All Rethink Signing Organ-Donor Cards

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:05 pm by Jenn

Ordinarily, when a random woman tells you to jump into nothingness, you shouldn’t listen, but this one time, it’s okay

Summary: Reyes drives Doggett home to Falls Church, Virginia (hometown shout-out!), after work one night, and they chat in her car for a few minutes. There’s a discussion about him being a cat person when she thinks he should be a dog person, and how he prefers cats because they’re easier to take care of and harder to disappoint. Reyes doesn’t think Doggett ever disappoints anyone. Instead of making out, because come on, Doggett goes inside alone.

On her way home, Reyes gets into a bad car accident and is taken to a hospital. She finds herself in an empty ER, and when she goes to check things out, she discovers that the hospital is basically floating in the middle of nothingness. When she goes back inside, she encounters another patient, Stephen Murdoch, who’s also aware of their weird situation. He takes her to a man named Mr. Barreiro, telling him there’s someone new in the hospital. Reyes guesses that the men think the three of them are dead.

As Reyes runs off, Scully arrives at the hospital and meets up with Doggett. She’s learned that Reyes was hit by a drunk driver, so the single beer Reyes had with Doggett after work wasn’t much of a contributing factor to the accident. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter – as Scully determines herself, Reyes is brain dead.

The Reyes from the empty hospital comes by the room where her body is being kept alive by machines, but she still sees the room as empty. Stephen finds her and tells her death isn’t that bad once you get used to it. Reyes wants to know why all the paperwork is blank and there are no signs on the walls. Stephen isn’t sure, but he thinks they might be in a kind of way station until they move on to the next destination. Reyes goes back outside and drops a mug into the nothingness. It gets zapped by some sort of electricity in the atmosphere.

Reyes’ doctor, Preijers, tells Scully and Doggett that Reyes signed a living will and has an organ-donor card. Doggett doesn’t think things add up – Reyes is supposedly brain dead, but her body is mostly unharmed. Scully says it doesn’t matter, since brain death means she’s not going to get better. Preijers knows of a patient who needs a heart transplant, so they need to move quickly to harvest Reyes’ organs.

Reyes comes across a woman in the empty hospital, but the woman runs around the corner into a dead end and disappears. Stephen yells for Reyes, who rejoins him in time to see Barreiro getting zapped like the mug and slowly fading away. In reality, Barreiro has died, despite Preijers’ efforts to revive him. The woman from the hallway, who’s a hospital volunteer, watches him die.

Doggett tells Scully that the doctors say they can harvest Reyes’ organs as early as the next morning. Scully has examined Reyes and found some minor swelling in her brain, but not an amount that would normally lead to brain death. Doggett looks at Reyes’ EEG records, which show that her brain waves suddenly stopped at some point. He thinks that if they can figure out what caused that, they can reverse it.

In the empty hospital, Reyes tells Stephen about the disappearing woman. Stephen wants to focus on one disappearance at a time and asks what happened to Barreiro. Reyes thinks he died, which obviously couldn’t happen if the three of them are already dead, so she thinks she and Stephen are still alive. Stephen asks where they are, then.

Doggett asks Preijers about the EEG, making Preijers think he’s building a malpractice case. Since Reyes was wearing a seatbelt and had an airbag, and she was conscious when the paramedics got to her, there must be something they’re not seeing. Preijers allows Doggett to look through Reyes’ chart to see everything the doctors have done for her.

The disappearing woman is sitting by Reyes’ bed when Doggett returns to his partner’s room. The woman introduces herself as a patient aide who mostly delivers flowers. She asks if Doggett is Reyes’ husband, and when he says no, she guesses that he loves her. The aide (okay, her name’s Audrey Pauley, let’s just get there already) tells Doggett that Reyes isn’t gone, “at least not her soul.” Doggett wishes he could talk to her and tell her things he’s been meaning to say.

Audrey goes to her home, a room in the hospital, where she keeps a dollhouse shaped like the empty hospital. Inside it, Reyes is looking for another way out. She sees Audrey again and asks her to show them the way out. Audrey says she can’t help, but she has a message for Reyes – her friend loves her very much. Reyes guesses she means Doggett, so that’s interesting. Audrey tells her that her friends think she’s dead. Reyes asks her to deliver a message back to Doggett that he’s a dog person.

A nurse named Whitney advises Preijers to review Reyes’ records, since an injection he gave her isn’t in her notes. Preijers denies this. Whitney reminds him that inconsistencies like that are just the sort of thing malpractice lawyers love to find out about. Preijers pretends to be grateful that Whitney’s looking out for him; then he gives her an injection of her own.

Doggett remembers the dog person/cat person conversation as he thinks about his feelings for his partner. Then he lets fantasy take over and imagines kissing Reyes. He’s brought back to reality when he hears a commotion – Whitney’s body has been found. Doggett’s suspicious and thinks she was murdered as part of a cover-up. Scully tells him how she would have committed the murder if she were Whitney’s killer, and it’s exactly what Preijers did. Doggett’s like, “Great, thanks for volunteering to do an autopsy.” Scully reminds him that it won’t bring Reyes back.

Audrey finds Doggett in Reyes’ room and delivers the message about him being a dog person. She repeats what she said earlier about Reyes not being gone. In the doll hospital, Reyes looks through paperwork again, but Stephen says he’s gone through it all and never found a clue. Reyes notes that while the hospital looks complete at first glance, there are small things missing. It’s like a movie set built by someone who didn’t quite get what he or she was recreating. Suddenly Stephen starts gasping and collapses. Real Stephen is now dying, and of course Preijers is his doctor.

Audrey takes Doggett to her room, explaining that the nuns who run the hospital let her live there in exchange for her work as an aide. Doggett asks why she made the dollhouse. Audrey says she goes into her head, by which she means she goes into the dollhouse, and gets to be alone. Well, she was alone in the past, but now patients join her there, like Reyes. Doggett asks who the other patients are.

Reyes holds Stephen as he dies; he gasps something I can’t quite catch about life. Scully tells Doggett that Reyes’ parents are on their way from Mexico to say goodbye. He replies that they’ll get to talk to their daughter because he’s not letting the doctors take her off life support. He has Stephen and Barreiro’s files and has put together that Preijers pulls the plug on his patients. Doggett even wonders if Preijers drugs his patients to speed up their deaths. He insists that Reyes is still alive, and she and Stephen need their help to survive.

They’ll be too late to help Stephen, since he’s getting zapped away like Barreiro. At least the dollhouse version of him gets to die with a kind friend holding him. Scully and Doggett realize they didn’t get to the real Stephen in time. Doggett returns to Audrey’s room and tells her they only have an hour to keep Reyes alive. Audrey says she only delivers flowers; she can’t help. But since she can communicate with Reyes, Doggett needs Audrey to tell her what’s happening.

Doggett cries as he says he wants Reyes to know that she needs to fight and show some sign that she’s still alive. He doesn’t know what else he can do. Audrey tries to comfort him, but Doggett doesn’t have time to give in to his emotions. Preijers watches as he leaves Audrey’s room.

Audrey returns to the doll hospital and tells Reyes that Doggett wants a sign. She starts to leave, which Reyes objects to. Audrey says something’s wrong in her head, and she really can’t help anyone. She needs help herself doing something as simple as delivering flowers, since when she tries to read, the words are all jumbled. Reyes realizes that Audrey created the doll hospital, which means she can make the rules work however she wants. She can help Reyes escape.

Audrey goes back to the real hospital, where Preijers tells her he’s being accused of doing some horrible things. Audrey needs to be silenced, which means an injection. Reyes notices the hallways of the doll hospital changing, and Audrey tells her she has to leave. But the way out is through the nothingness, which will supposedly kill Reyes. Audrey says it won’t hurt her now. She understands now why she built the doll hospital.

Reyes lets herself fall into the nothingness as Scully tells Doggett that the transplant teams are ready to do their work. Doggett refuses to allow it, but Scully notes that he hasn’t given a good enough reason to think Reyes is alive. Fortunately, Reyes herself can do that, as she’s now awake. She asks about Audrey, but Doggett is once again too late to save someone – Preijers has already killed her. At some point in the future, or in the past, or in another version of reality – I don’t know – Doggett drives Reyes home, but once again, he doesn’t tell her how he feels. They both end up in their separate homes, alone.

Thoughts: Sorry, show, but Doggett and Reyes are no Mulder and Scully. Don’t go reaching for a romantic connection just for the heck of it.

Also, thanks for making me type “Preijers” over and over. I appreciate it.

Someone please count up the number of times Vernee Watson (Whitney) has played a nurse and/or has appeared on medical shows.

February 5, 2019

ER 3.8, Union Station: Leaving on an El Train

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

Adios

Summary: Doug is taking another turn in the healthmobile, this time with Chuny as his nurse, and stationed in the room of some sort of community center. Charlie comes in with a baby she’s been watching who needs to get some vaccinations. She pretends to be the baby’s mother so she can give “parental” consent. Doug notes that Charlie should be in school, so she says they have the day off for Career Day.

At County, Carter greets Susan on her last day at work. He examines her patient, Mr. Reynolds, and declares that he needs surgery for an abdominal aneurysm. Susan gets Carter and Doyle to agree that he should be treated medically instead. Doyle says she still has a lot to learn, but Susan says she herself took a while to get the hang of things. Carol tells Doyle that Susan was always this good.

Mark goes by Susan’s apartment, which is now all packed up. He’s hoping to move in. The landlady is thrilled that he’s quiet, has no live-in girlfriend, and won’t be throwing any parties. When he gets to work, Weaver tells him about some budget issues and how Susan’s departure will negatively affect them. However, she’s okay with Mark going home if he needs to, since he’s having some neck pain. He says he’ll stick around, because of course he’s not going to miss these last few hours with Susan.

Susan’s worried about leaving County shorthanded, but Mark assures her that they’ll get through. He tells her he signed the lease on her old apartment. The two of them show Doyle how to fix a man’s dislocated hip, not realizing that Doyle knows how to do it and didn’t need any help. Megan is finally going home, and her parents want to take a picture with Benton. They think he did as much for the baby as Keaton did. Keaton thinks Benton should just be grateful for a good outcome.

Carter comes by to see Keaton, pretending he’s there for a literature review. She’ll go over his first draft that afternoon. This all goes over Benton’s head. Susan’s working until 2:00, then catching a train to Phoenix at 4:20. She thinks Mark is acting weird, even though he’s been supportive of her move. Carol asks if she’s having second thoughts. Susan says she’s never felt more sure of a decision, but yes, she’s having second thoughts. Carol says she’s never looked happier, so she must be doing the right thing.

Mark asks Susan for a second opinion on a patient who might be at risk for a pulmonary embolism. It doesn’t sound like he really needs a second opinion at all, just an excuse to talk to Susan. Doug and Chuny return from the healthmobile, and Chuny reveals that the immunization program they’ve started was Doug’s idea, so he volunteered to go out into the community. They’re ready for Susan’s party, which will include a cake shaped like a cactus. Carol thinks Susan will hate the party, but Doug says that’s why they’re doing it.

He notices Mark’s neck issues and asks if he ever declared his feelings for Susan. Well, of course not, Doug. Mark’s a wimp. Keaton prepares Benton for an operation, having him visualize the anatomy and the procedure. She sees the beauty in the human body, while Benton just sees the body parts he’s been studying for years. It turns out that the patient Mark asked Susan for a second opinion about was actually Weaver’s, which clues Susan in to Mark’s true intentions.

Haleh’s being summoned to neuro to fill in, like Lydia was previously. The nurses have caught on to the administration’s attempts to mess with nurses who are close to maxing out their pensions. Carol isn’t going to let it go on any longer. Lydia has brought in her wedding dress and says she’s going to return it. Al G. keeps putting off their wedding, and Lydia’s not sure why he proposed in the first place. The nurses complain about men being spineless. Mark, overhearing, says, “Whatever you’re talking about, I’m sure you’re right.”

Carol tells whoever ordered Haleh to neuro that she won’t be going up. Connie and Haleh are impressed with her, even though she doesn’t succeed. Carol promises that this will be the last time an ER nurse is sent to another department. Susan tells Mark that he can’t put her in the middle of his conflicts with Weaver anymore (especially after today, since she won’t be around). She knows they work well together, and she’s worried she won’t have as good a connection with anyone in Phoenix. But Mark needs to form that connection with the other doctors at County.

Al catches Jeanie on her way to the hospital and gives her divorce papers. He wants her to have their house and car. If he can get his assets down and prove that he doesn’t have insurance, he can get his medications through a state program. Al has recognized that everything Jeanie said about him on Halloween was true, and he needs to be a better person.

Paramedics bring in a drunk pregnant woman who’s very unhappy to be in the ER. She’s also not happy to be pregnant. Doyle sedates her, and moments later, her water breaks. Doyle is angry because the woman was clearly drinking in an attempt to kill her baby. Susan tells her to call Social Services, though Doyle isn’t sure they’ll be able to do anything. She asks a chaplain to come pray for the baby.

Jeanie gets Mark to talk to a diabetic patient named Siebert who would much rather see Susan. He comes in for help managing his diabetes, though his condition isn’t usually that bad. Really, he just wants to chat with Susan about his personal life. Mark grows more and more impatient, finally telling Siebert that Susan is leaving County. When Siebert gets agitated, Mark tells Malik to call psych.

Chuny shows Doug the bloodwork from the baby Charlie brought to the healthmobile, which shows that he needs further examination. Al G. brings in a sick homeless man, taking advantage of the location to try to talk to Lydia. He tells Mark and Carol that he hasn’t been putting off the wedding because he doesn’t want to get married. Carol tells him that if he wants to be with her, he should just go through with it. Al G. says he spent all morning trying to get a marriage license and a priest, but all the priests in the city are at a CPR class. Carol points out that the hospital has a chaplain.

Benton and Keaton operate together with assistance from Carter. The patient’s anatomy gets complicated, and Benton has to let Keaton take over. Doug tries to get in touch with the baby’s mother, but all he knows is that she’s a single mother living in a home for…well, only single mothers, so that’s not much help. Psych arrives for Siebert, but he’s taken off. Susan says all he ever needs is tea and someone to listen to him.

Lydia is talking to Al G. again, and Carol thinks he’ll be able to talk her into getting married. Mark is clearly jealous that they’ll get a happy ending while his crush is moving across the country. Benton feels bad for having to step out of the surgery, but Keaton appreciates that he recognized he wasn’t ready. He did 90 percent of the job by studying the anatomy, but he didn’t do the other 10 percent, which was just taking a few minutes to understand what he was looking at. Carter interrupts to tell Benton that they’re needed in the ER for a wedding.

Carol, Susan, Haleh, and Connie help Lydia get ready while Mark pins a boutonniere on Al G. Randi reports that there are no traumas coming in, so they should hurry up and do the wedding while they have a chance. Carol takes a Thanksgiving flower arrangement from the front desk so Lydia will have a bouquet. The staff gathers in the waiting room and sings the wedding march as Lydia joins Al G. and the chaplain at the end of the “aisle.”

Chuny accidentally interrupts by walking by and calling out for information on a stool sample. Lydia tells her where she can find the chart she needs. Oh, what lovely vows. Doug hits Connie with the turkey from the flower arrangement and Carol takes it away from him, because he’s a child. The chaplain works Lydia and Al G.’s jobs into his brief message, saying that they care for and protect others in the city, and now they’re going to care for and protect each other.

Carter arrives late and whispers that Benton sends his regrets, as he was pulled into an emergency surgery. He tells Jeanie it was for a patient with testicular torsion. Who among us hasn’t been to a wedding where those words were spoken? Mark and Susan are definitely thinking about each other as the chaplain talks about love and stuff. In fact, we have to watch them look at each other instead of Lydia and Al G. as they say their vows and are declared husband and wife.

Jeanie tells Weaver that Al gave her divorce papers, the most unselfish thing he’s ever done. Doug and Carol noticed Mark and Susan looking at each other during the wedding, and wish they could have been honest about their feelings for each other. Doug wonders why she’s even leaving. Carol says that Susan doesn’t have a life here. The single women of the ER gather for the bouquet toss, but Susan catches it without even trying. She and Mark promise each other they’ll always be friends.

Carter goes to Keaton’s office for his “literature review”…which actually does start with the review. She wants to make sure they’re not drawing any attention to their relationship; they need to keep it completely separate from their work. Keaton doesn’t think it’s a big deal anyway, since she’s not his boss. No, just his boss’ boss. Clearly, she’s so happy with Carter that she hasn’t thought through all the possible consequences.

Weaver tells Mark that the drunk mom is facing attempted-murder charges. They guess that Doyle bypassed Social Services and called the police. She says she wanted to make sure the case didn’t fall through the cracks. Mark tells her it’s not her job to scare moms with criminal charges when they’re supposed to be treating everyone, no matter their circumstances. Doyle yells that if she’s called to testify against the mom, she’ll do it on her own time.

Carol meets with Mary Cain, the admin she hopes will keep ER nurses from being sent to other departments. Mary notes that since ER nurses are so well-trained and versatile, it makes sense to place them in other departments when they’re needed. Plus, nurses are expensive, so the hospital needs to use them more effectively. Carol points out that the ICU is a better place for ER nurses. Mary likes her perspective and asks her to serve on a monthly reengineering committee.

Weaver stalls Susan from leaving by giving her a patient while they set up for her surprise goodbye party. But a big trauma comes in, so everyone has to abandon the cactus cake. Susan’s patient is a senior-citizen bodybuilder with a minor injury. He’ll be 74 when he has his next competition, and he’s loving his life.

Done with her final shift at County, Susan goes to the lounge to get her things and sees that her friends were going to throw her a party. She walks through the ER, looking in on everyone, and doesn’t say goodbye to Mark, who doesn’t even see her in his trauma room.

Later, Mark is upset that Susan didn’t even leave a goodbye note. Carter asks Benton if he can leave by 7:00, since he has a date. Benton warns him not to slack on his literature review, or he’ll tick off Keaton. He thinks Keaton is a little nuts, and he doesn’t like her psychobabble. She doesn’t act like a surgeon. Carter defends his secret girlfriend.

It turns out Benton also has a date, though he mixed up the night he was supposed to go out with Carla. Carter meets her and offers to give her a tour, since Benton’s busy. Benton doesn’t seem to want his two worlds to collide. Mark criticizes Jeanie for a medical decision she made, but Jeanie says he told her it was okay. He can’t yell at her when he was distracted over Susan. Doug pulls Mark aside to go for a walk.

Carol tells the nurses that they’ll no longer be sent to neuro or other wards, but they’ll still have to work in the ICU sometimes. Haleh and Chuny suggest getting new contracts. Connie refuses to go to the ICU, but Chuny says she won’t be sent there, since she’s nowhere close to maxing out her pension. Haleh warns Carol that all her defending of the decision makes her sound like management.

Doug tells Mark that he should go try to catch up with Susan before her train, so he can say a proper goodbye. Mark argues that Susan’s already made up her mind and is leaving. Doug says that’s not the point – he can either tell her how he really feels, or he can say nothing and regret it for the rest of his life. That means he’ll be miserable forever, and make everyone around him miserable, like he has been all day.

Carter is paged away, so Carla pulls Benton into the suture room so they can…do some literature review. Meanwhile, Mark waits impatiently at the El station, then takes a cab to his apartment. The landlady tells him that he just missed Susan, but she left him a note. As he rushes back to the El station, Doug looks for the baby’s mother at the facility where Charlie said they were living, but no one by that name has been there all month.

Mark returns to the El station, finally catching up to Susan as she’s about to get on the train. He tells her he wants her to stay, blurting out that he loves her. He feels stupid for not saying it before. Susan says she already knew. Mark asks her again to stay, saying they belong together. Does she really not feel the same? Susan just stammers that she’s sorry. Mark is her best friend, and she’s not sure how she’ll get by without him, but she doesn’t belong there anymore.

Mark emotionally says that he doesn’t want to lose her. She kisses him, then tells him she’ll never forget him. As the train pulls away, she yells to Mark that she loves him. But she’s going to Phoenix, and they’re never going to get together. Because by the time she comes back to Chicago, he’ll be with someone else, and then he’ll be dead. Uh, spoiler.

Thoughts: I’m using “literature review” as a euphemism for making out from now on.

Why didn’t Lydia and Al G. get married in the hospital’s chapel? Who wants to get married next to a busy hallway?

Carla’s so charming early on that it’s hard to believe she’s the same person who becomes such a mess later on.

Carla tells Carter she has a Caribbean restaurant, and he replies that he and his family used to vacation in the Caribbean. That’s such a WASP response. Nice touch, writers.

February 2, 2019

The X-Files 9.10, Providence: “Bring Me the Head of Fox Mulder”

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

When you’re not sure what’s going on with a spaceship, it’s best to stand directly on top of it

Summary: Some guy gets the pointless episode-opening voiceover as he talks about God coming to him in Iraq in 1991. While under attack, he had an omen about his men dying. While the rest of his people were killed, he was left alive, rescued by some more soldiers. Those four head into a building that explodes, but they come out unharmed. Now the surviving soldier (who’s from the Alberta dig site that unearthed the spaceship) thinks his mission on Earth is to tell people about those angels and a god who came before all other gods.

Follmer recaps the previous episode, telling a taskforce that William has been kidnapped by the woman who ambushed the Lone Gunmen. The guys are all fine and present at the meeting, as is Toothpick Man. Doggett is absent, but he has a good excuse, as he’s in a coma. Follmer says that the kidnapper and Comer’s motives are still unknown. The FBI is confident they can get William back unharmed.

Skinner catches Scully sitting in on the meeting and tells her to go home and let the rest of the bureau find William. Scully isn’t about to trust Follmer to lead the rescue mission. They know he withholds information from Kersh, and he’s already failed twice to prevent attacks on William. Skinner thinks she’s crazy to think that Follmer and Kersh could be part of William’s abduction.

Scully reminds Skinner of all the stuff Follmer and Kersh have already been involved in. She thinks they’re leading an effort to eliminate the X-Files and everyone connected to it. Skinner says she’d have to group him with Kersh and Follmer in her accusations. Instead, Scully leaves to find William on her own.

Skinner goes to the hospital, where Reyes is by Doggett’s side. There’s a possibility that he’ll never wake up. Skinner tells Reyes about sitting with dying soldiers in Vietnam and telling them they would be okay even when it was obvious they wouldn’t. Talking to them felt like praying – they might not be able to hear him, but God could.

Scully calls to check on Doggett, then asks to meet with Reyes, without Skinner knowing. The abductor has been ID’d, thanks to the Lone Gunmen, and Scully needs Reyes’ help to find information on her. She doesn’t want the FBI to know what they’re up to. The Gunmen hack a phone company to try to track a cell phone in their car, which the kidnapper also took. There’s no signal yet, but the guys will keep trying.

Reyes thinks Scully is nuts to go off alone, since the Gunmen have already failed her with William. (Ouch.) Scully doesn’t think she has any other choice – she doesn’t believe the FBI is as confident in getting William back as Follmer said they were. The Gunmen announce that they’ve picked up a cell signal in Pennsylvania, so Scully heads out, willing to go alone if Reyes won’t tag along.

As the kidnapper stops at a phone booth, the diggers in Alberta take pictures of their discovery. The kidnapper calls the soldier to confirm that she has William, and he tells her he’ll send someone to get her. Just then, pieces of the spaceship start moving and lights inside it turn on. The top closes, trapping two diggers inside. The soldier asks for tools to get them out.

Scully and Reyes race to Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, and find the Lone Gunmen’s car, which is now empty. Reyes returns to D.C. to check in on Doggett, who’s been taken for some scans. Reyes goes to the chapel, where Follmer interrupts her prayers and notes that she’s acting pretty “traditional.” She admits that she feels lost. He hugs her and promises he’s doing everything he can to find William and the kidnapper, despite the people in the FBI who are working against them.

Follmer knows that Scully and Reyes went off alone, and he chastises Reyes for not giving the FBI a heads up. He wants her cooperation, promising to share information he hasn’t already. First off, Comer wants to tell them something. He’s also in the hospital, not looking so great, but has tried to write Follmer a note. It just says “jacket,” and Follmer and Reyes can’t figure out what it means.

Reyes takes it to Scully, telling her that she’s only allowed to see it if she gives Reyes information to give Follmer. Scully tells her that Comer only made it from the Canadian border to D.C. without a scratch on him because of something in his jacket pocket. Obviously, the piece of the spaceship is the key here.

The women go to the hospital, taking the artifact to Comer’s room. It brings him back to consciousness and makes him agitated. Scully threatens to smother Comer with his pillow if he doesn’t tell her who sent him to kill William. Comer says that William has to die, so Scully puts a hand around his throat. He explains that he was sent to infiltrate a UFO cult whose followers believe an alien race will take over the world. They were sent to Alberta to find the ship, which the cult leader thinks is a temple that houses “the physical manifestation of God.”

Scully interprets this as Comer saying God told him to kill William. Comer corrects that the cult leader believes William is a savior who needs to be protected. William is prophesied to follow in Mulder’s footsteps and save the world from aliens…unless Mulder is killed. Reyes figures out that Comer came to kill William to end the prophesy. Scully thinks that means Mulder is dead, also in an attempt to end the prophesy. If William doesn’t die, all humans will.

Toothpick Man catches the agents in Comer’s room and makes them leave. They can’t get the artifact back without Toothpick Man seeing, so they have to leave it with Comer. Toothpick Man tells some minions to call Follmer and Skinner, then heads into Comer’s room. In Alberta, the men can’t be freed from the spaceship, but there are more important things to deal with – the kidnapper has arrived with William. The top of the spaceship opens, but the men who were trapped inside are dead.

Skinner and Follmer come to the hospital as Scully and Reyes go to the chapel. Scully doesn’t want to tell the other agents how Comer has made a miraculous recovery; the FBI will use that against them. Reyes thinks they need to tell the truth, but Scully knows there’s more going on. She’s always felt like something was wrong with her pregnancy and child, and now there’s confirmation.

Reyes disagrees, reminding Scully that the ship is full of scripture, and no scripture mentions the death of a child. They’re just dealing with false prophets. All they need to believe is that William could still be alive, and they can save him. They can also use the artifact to save Doggett. Skinner finds the women and tells them they need to get out of there. Comer’s dead.

Reyes returns to Comer’s room and tries to get his nurse to back up her story that he was alive when Toothpick Man got there. The artifact is gone, but the nurse denies seeing it. Reyes suspects that Toothpick Man killed Comer, but Follmer thinks she’s snapped. She goes looking for Scully to back up her story.

Scully’s with Doggett, feeling guilty for putting his life in danger. She promises that Reyes is fighting for him. Doggett wakes up and says he heard someone talking. “They’re” going to come to her, but she can’t trust them. Reyes comes in just as Scully gets a call from the soldier offering her the chance to see William, if she comes alone and follows his instructions.

Scully goes to Alberta and meets the soldier in a diner. He tells her he wants to protect William. He quotes Ephesians, a verse about giants walking the earth, which he thinks relates to the angels he saw in Iraq. Those “angels” were really supersoldiers. The soldier offers to let Scully see William if she brings him confirmation that Mulder’s dead. The soldier thought he was, but now he has reason to doubt it. If Mulder’s alive, he’s preventing William’s true destiny. “If you want to see the boy,” the soldier tells Scully, “you’ll bring me the head of Fox Mulder.”

Scully calls Reyes, who’s with the Lone Gunmen, putting trackers in the soldier’s cars. The women follow the trackers, but the Gunmen lose the signals. Frohike pretends they’re still going the right way, though he doesn’t fool Reyes. At the dig site, the spaceship is moving again, and William is no longer calm and quiet, as he’s been the whole episode. The kidnapper tells the soldier that the ship started moving when William started crying.

The women are lost, but Scully spots the lights from the spaceship in the distance and runs toward them. The spaceship moves a lot, and the lights go out. Then the whole ship lights up and goes up into the sky. Scully and Reyes see it fly off and think William’s on board. The dig site has been destroyed, and the diggers are dead, but there’s one person who’s alive in the wreckage: William.

Reyes finds Doggett, now fully healed, in the hospital chapel, and he tells her he knows she prayed for him. He thinks she’s the person he heard talking while he was in the coma, telling him to warn Scully about the soldier. Reyes says she only prayed for his life.

At FBI headquarters, Follmer tells Kersh that Skinner wouldn’t sign his report about Comer’s death, since Skinner thinks Comer was murdered. Follmer signed the report, but Comer’s monitors showed that he was improving before he died. Follmer wants to take his name off the report. Kersh would like an explanation, but since Follmer’s just backpedaling, Kersh isn’t going to agree to anything. He goes into his office and tells Toothpick Man that the case isn’t quite closed, and has been designated an X-File. Toothpick and his bumpy neck are sure they can take care of that.

Thoughts: I’d love to know how the kidnapper got William from all three Lone Gunmen without hurting any of them.

Scully’s scriptural knowledge is apparently so deep that she can identify some random passage from Ephesians on the first try.

I love that Scully calls out William’s name when she goes into the wreckage, as if he’s going to call out, “I’m over here, Mom!”

January 29, 2019

ER 3.7, No Brain, No Gain: Mark Shoots His Shot

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:04 pm by Jenn

Yeah, I can see why Mark thought they were dating

Summary: Carol runs into Mark as they’re on their way into work. He’s preoccupied and calls her Susan, prompting Carol to say they should just get married already. She reveals that everyone knows they almost went on vacation together. Mark says Susan didn’t really want him to go, but Carol says she did. She wants Mark to ask Susan out, if only to feed the gossip mill.

It’s been almost a week since Benton botched Megan’s surgery, and he’s been spending all his spare time keeping vigil at her side. Carter and Gant are pretty much on their own. Dale asks if they’ve seen his patient, a man who’s supposed to be having a tumor removed from his throat. Anspaugh brought in a hotshot surgeon from Japan just for the case, and everyone’s ready, but the patient is MIA. Dale offers to get Carter and Gant a surgery if they help him search for the patient. The guys pretend they’ll help, but they hate Dale, so they’re not going to follow through.

Megan’s hemorrhaging, but the only solution could kill her. Keaton tells Benton that they can’t do anything more for her without harming her further. Benton also needs to take a step back from all of his cases. He’s not being punished; he just needs to learn more patience so he can be a successful surgeon. And, I would argue, a better human being, because at this point, the only people who like Benton are related to him.

Dale’s patient, Mr. Percy, asks Jerry for change for the candy machine, but he doesn’t quite get that he’ll have to give Jerry a dollar bill to get his coins. Connie’s sick, so Carol needs to find a floater, and she wants to approve whoever’s sent to the ER. Too late – it’s Rhonda, and she’s just as pleasant as ever. Carter and Gant are able to have an uninterrupted breakfast, but they get paged just as they’re starting to enjoy their free time. Keaton and Carter chat a little, making Gant wonder if there’s something going on between them.

Carol listens in as Rhonda takes a very detailed history from a patient, then criticizes her methods. Carol thinks she’s taking too long, but the patient is fine with the conversation. As Carter and Wendy are starting to treat a homeless man’s squirrel bite, they hear a choking sound coming from a cabinet in the exam room. Percy has stolen some homemade taffy Wendy brought in, and he’s choking on it. Carter gives him the Heimlich, then has to use forceps to remove the rest of the taffy from his throat.

A 13-year-old is brought in with gunshot wounds, and Doug gets to work on him despite paramedic Dwight saying he has no signs of life. Doug quickly confirms this and pronounces the boy dead. Benton arrives seconds later for a surgical consult and won’t accept Doug’s pronouncement. When he won’t stop trying to revive the boy, Doug tells Lydia to get Mark to come and override him.

Carter and Wendy de-taffy Percy as Anspaugh, Dale, and the Japanese surgeon, Okida, come to get him for surgery. Carter tries to collect on Dale’s promise, but Dale says there enough people participating already. Anspaugh ignores him and invites Carter to join them. Mark tells Doug that Benton might as well keep working on their patient, I guess since he’s not hurting anything. Amazingly, Benton succeeds in restarting the boy’s heart, though Doug notes that he probably has brain damage.

E-Ray doesn’t feel well, so he comes to the ER for treatment. He tells Susan he had an MRI on his shoulder the day before and is worried that he has radiation sickness. Susan tries to assure him that that’s not possible. Her watch suddenly stops, and E-Ray tells her that his did, too, right after the MRI. Also, his ten-year-old toaster stopped working. Maybe the MRI rearranged his molecules, and now he’s causing electronic interferences. Susan says no, but her flashlight doesn’t work, so…

Keaton joins Benton and Gant for the boy’s surgery, which could take hours. Keaton’s willing to go back on her earlier orders and let Benton operate instead of just observing. Mark tends to a birdwatcher who fell from a tree in the park. He gets distracted by Susan and saunters over to ask her out that night. She says she’d love to, but she already has plans. He says they’ll just do it another time. Susan says they need to talk; she’ll call him later.

Carter’s supposed to prep Percy for surgery, but he’s hiding again. Carter thinks Percy’s just nervous about the surgery. However, Percy’s more interested in candy than his medical condition. Carter realizes that Percy doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand why he’s in the hospital. He sits down with the man so they can talk about candy bars. (They both love Zagnuts.) When Carter asks if Percy wants the operation, Percy just asks for change for the candy machine again.

Rhonda mixes up an enema for her patient, despite not having orders from a doctor. Carol takes over the patient and sends Rhonda to change bedding. The birdwatcher takes pictures of various people in the ER, then tells Mark she’s actually an anthropologist doing a comparative study on the mating rituals of humans and birds. For example, Chuny and the paramedic she’s flirting with are doing the same courtship dance some grouses do. She also thinks Jerry and Wendy are flirting, and that Wendy’s just seconds away from shaking her tailfeathers in Jerry’s face.

Keaton approves Benton’s plans for the boy’s surgery, then steps out to do something else, sending a doctor named Breedlove to continue with Benton. As E-Ray approaches Jerry to ask if his blood tests have come back, Jerry’s computer goes down. Carol discharges Rhonda’s patient, then spots Mark watching Susan and Morgenstern as if they’re birds. He thinks Susan’s flirting. Carol asks what Mark’s talking about. “You’d know if you were a nuthatch,” he says.

Carter tells Dale that Percy’s not capable of consenting to his surgery; he needs a psych consult. Dale asks if Carter really wants to delay a surgery headed by Anspaugh and Okida because he has questions about Percy’s mental status. Carter won’t back down, saying he’ll get the consult, and if the results are that Percy can’t consent, he’ll tell Anspaugh.

Doyle brings Mark in to mediate when the father of Doug’s young patient starts yelling. The boy was bitten (by a human), and his father won’t let Doug give him IV antibiotics for the subsequent infection. Mark looks at the boy’s x-ray, then pulls Doug and Doyle outside to tell them to just let the boy leave. He agrees that IV meds are the better choice, but if the situation is getting heated enough for police intervention, they should just give the boy oral medication and let him go. Doug says Mark can do whatever he wants; he’s out.

Dale decides that Carter’s wasted enough time waiting for Percy’s psych consult, and it’s time to get him into surgery. As Anspaugh and Okida come to get him, Carter tries to tell Anspaugh that Percy isn’t mentally competent to consent. Anspaugh doesn’t get what Carter means and just continues on the way to the OR. Rhonda’s patient is still in the waiting area, and has now soiled herself. Rhonda happily tells Carol that cleaning up is her problem now.

Breedlove joins Benton in surgery. The “joke” here is that Breedlove is really short. That’s it, that’s the joke. He’s also old and wishes surgeons still used catgut for stitches. Benton mostly ignores him and just does his thing. Keaton watches from outside the door as Benton tries to revive the boy when he starts bleeding and flatlines. She knows there’s no hope for the patient, but she doesn’t stop him.

Mark is convinced that Susan’s dating Morgenstern, and that’s what she’s going to tell him when she calls later. Carol says she remembers seeing the two of them having lunch together. Mark thinks he’s missed his chance to date Susan. Benton, Breedlove, and Gant finish the surgery, though it still remains to be seen if the boy will have any kind of life. Gant goes to talk to the boy’s mother, since Benton doesn’t want to see her until he knows the boy’s mental status.

A man who lost his foot during a street game of football refuses to let go of the ball as he’s brought into a trauma room. Rhonda gets brought into the trauma, so I guess Carol doesn’t have much pull in keeping her off of emergency cases. Dale outshines Carter in surgery, at least when it comes to answering tough questions, but Carter’s the one who notices bubbles in Percy’s lungs. That means Dale tore something he shouldn’t have. Carter jumps in to insert a chest tube and prove himself.

Carol gets the football guy to give up his ball as Morgenstern joins the trauma team. He and Susan joke around a little, and she scratches his mustache while his hands are busy doing life-saving things. Mark is dying inside. Rhonda gives Morgenstern the man’s foot, wrapped in plastic bags, as they take him for surgery to try to reattach it.

Benton tells his patient’s mother that they’re going to take him off his ventilator to see if he breathes on his own. If he doesn’t, his brain is too damaged for him to survive. Ten seconds pass as they wait to see what happens, and the boy doesn’t breathe, so Benton puts him back on the ventilator. He has few words of sympathy for the mother, since he’s a robot and doesn’t understand human emotion.

Doug tells Mark that he’s no longer going to work the same shifts as him. He thinks Mark has been acting morally superior ever since the Nadine situation. Mark shoots back that Doug drags his dirty laundry into the ER, so it’s impossible to keep their work and personal lives separate. Rhonda gives football guy’s ball to his wife as Carol tells her that they’re hopeful about his recovery. The wife is in for a horrible shock when she learns the hard way that Rhonda accidentally switched the bags – the surgeons have the football, and she has the foot.

Percy’s surgery is over, and everyone’s pleased. Well, everyone except Dale, who’s left behind to monitor the patient while Anspaugh, Okida, and Carter get something to eat. Rhonda begs Carol not to write her up for her huge mistake, but Carol’s not about to let her incompetence slide. Rhonda says that her pension is in jeopardy; she’s only nine months away from getting it, but someone higher up is messing with her to get her fired. They’re putting her in jobs she’s not qualified for so they have an excuse to fire her and hire less expensive nurses’ aides. Rather than risk humiliation, Rhonda quits.

Benton goes to check on Megan, whose parents tell him she doesn’t have much time yet. They either don’t know that Benton screwed up in surgery or they don’t care, because they’re grateful for everything he’s done for their daughter. Chuny tells Carol that she heard gossip that backs up Rhonda’s story – the hospital admin is trying to get rid of her before her pension maxes out. Carol still doesn’t believe it, but she changes her mind when Lydia, whose own pension is a year from maxing out, is going to be floated to neurology a few times a week.

Mark invites Doug to continue berating him, acknowledging that he’s a little sanctimonious. Doug says he doesn’t need Mark telling him where he’s screwed up in life; he can do that himself. He’s seeing a shrink, and though she’s a female, Doug doesn’t have plans to sleep with her, since she’s in her 60s. Carter, Anspaugh, and Okida’s meal date has turned into a karaoke date, and it’s…kind of surreal.

Benton tells Keaton that he made all the same mistakes with the boy that he usually makes. He worked harder than he’s ever worked, and he truly thought he would save the boy. Keaton suggests that he check on Megan again before he leaves for the night. E-Ray and Jerry want to continue testing E-Ray’s theory, but as they’re headed somewhere to do so, they get delayed by an elevator that stopped between floors.

Carter’s good mood after karaoke ends abruptly when he returns to the hospital and Dale tells him that Percy had a stroke while in recovery. It’s too bad Carter didn’t back off the psych consult; it could have saved his life. Dale taunts that Carter didn’t have the…uh, little Carters to stick to his guns. The two get into a fistfight, which ends with Carter being smacked into the hallway, right into Keaton’s path.

Mark complains to Carol that Susan didn’t tell him she’s dating Morgenstern. Carol says she wouldn’t tell anyone if she were dating him. She encourages him to just ask Susan straight out what’s going on. He says that’s not his style, so she advises him to get a new style. Jerry and Wendy run an MRI on E-Ray, hoping to reverse his polarity. But they don’t know how to turn off the machine, so now E-Ray probably does have radiation sickness.

Keaton fixes up Carter after his fight, saying that at least he cares about his patients, unlike a lot of surgeons. With the way she keeps telling him to call her by her first name, and the way they keep looking at each other, it’s not that big a surprise when she ultimately kisses him.

Mark goes to Susan’s place and blurts out that he knows about her and Morgenstern. When she says they’re not dating, he asks if she’s seeing anyone. Susan reveals that she’s been meeting with Morgenstern to get her transcripts together. She’s moving to Phoenix to be closer to Chloe and Susie. She feels like she’s finally moving on with her life. She’s happy, so Mark tries to be happy for her, but he can’t quite pull it off. Benton goes to check on Megan and discovers that her condition is finally improving, in some kind of miracle.

Thoughts: Percy is played by William Sanderson. Since that X-Files episode, I’ve watched True Blood, where Sanderson played Bud Dearborne, and if I hadn’t recognized him, I wouldn’t have guessed that the same actor played three characters who were so different.

So did no one notice Percy’s intellectual delays earlier, or did they just not care? I mean, I can see Dale not caring, but no one else said anything?

Dale is a horribly written character, by the way. He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

January 26, 2019

The X-Files 9.9, Provenance: Oh, Cool, the Baby’s in Danger Again

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

And Scully doesn’t see his fingers? Yeah, right

Summary: In Burke County, North Dakota, at the U.S./Canadian border, two Border Patrol agents are freezing their butts off. They spot someone on a motorbike and give chase. It goes on for a long time. These three characters have now had more screentime than Kersh has all season. Eventually, the motorbike goes up in flames and its rider is thrown off. His bag comes open, spilling out a bunch of paper full of symbols.

Scully gets to take a break from Quantico when she’s called to Kersh’s office at the FBI building. Skinner, Follmer, and some other men are also there. One of them has a toothpick in his mouth and is only known by the highly creative name Toothpick Man. Kersh shows Scully the biker’s pages and asks if she knows what they are. Scully dodges the question, saying that if they’re connected to the X-Files, Kersh and Follmer should ask someone who currently works on the X-Files. Scully asks for more information, but they won’t provide it.

As soon as she’s dismissed, Scully goes to the X-Files office and asks Doggett and Reyes if Follmer’s been down there, going through files. They haven’t seen him and don’t have any idea what’s been going on. She shows them rubbings from the spaceship in Africa, full of the same symbols as the pages in the biker’s bag. She didn’t say anything to Kersh and Follmer because she knows the symbols are powerful words. If the FBI has them, they must know just how powerful the symbols are.

Doggett heads to North Dakota, meeting up with Follmer at the border. Now it’s Follmer’s turn to dodge questions and pretend nothing important is going on. Doggett’s smart enough to know that the number of FBI agents searching the site for the now-missing biker means he must be significant. Follmer insists that the biker’s disappearance has nothing to do with Doggett or the X-Files. If Doggett keeps snooping around, he’ll regret it. The biker has actually been hiding out in the woods all night, and when he pulls a piece of metal with symbols on it out of his pocket, his burns from the bike crash instantly heal.

Back in D.C., Reyes has put together all the rubbings of the spaceship and wants to know if Scully knows what they say. They’re full of religious scriptures and science stuff, like the period table. All of it appears to be millions of years old. Reyes thinks they’re dealing with the actual word of God, which means everything humans believe in is in question.

Scully says she refused to believe that at first, but now she thinks the symbols hold some answers, especially about William. She thinks she was meant to find the symbols. Reyes wonders why the FBI would keep the truth from Scully. Hi, Reyes, welcome to the show. More importantly, what does the FBI hope to learn from the symbols?

Doggett returns to D.C. to yell at Skinner for not answering calls from him or Follmer. Skinner repeats Follmer’s insistence that the case isn’t an X-File. Doggett reveals that he was in North Dakota and knows agents are searching for the biker. Why is Skinner keeping Kersh and Follmer’s secrets? Skinner says he knows things Doggett doesn’t, and he’s keeping quiet for Doggett’s own good.

As Doggett sneaks into Kersh’s office, where he’s keeping the pages, an archaeological dig in Alberta, Canada, unearths what appears to be another spaceship. Doggett gets information on the biker, Robert Comer, who happens to be an FBI agent. Reyes has even worked with him before. For the past few months, he’s been working a case so secret that the details are redacted from his file. Doggett also nabbed the pages so the two of them and Scully can get a better look at them.

In Jessup, Maryland, Comer steals a truck and plans a trip to Georgetown. Scully leaves William with her mother, who doesn’t like that she’s running around in the middle of the night, looking for answers about the baby. No matter what Scully learns, she needs to love William like any other child. Maggie sees him as a miracle and isn’t sure they should question the circumstances of his existence. They should just take it on faith. Scully can’t do that – she needs to know if God is really responsible for her son’s conception.

Doggett fills Scully in on Comer, who’s been researching a UFO cult in North Dakota. The FBI thinks he joined the cult himself, which explains all the secrecy. Scully tells Doggett and Reyes that something else has to be going on; she was questioned about the symbols, not Comer. Reyes thinks the FBI doesn’t know what’s really going on. She’s looked at the pages and rubbings and has realized they don’t match. The UFO cult must have found a second spaceship.

In the morning, Maggie takes William for a walk, then returns home to find Comer waiting for her. Scully gets home just as Comer is roughing Maggie up. Maggie warns that Comer wants to kill the baby, so Scully fights him in the nursery. Comer gets the upper hand, locking Scully out and ignoring her threats. Fortunately, Maggie has found a gun, and Scully is able to bust down the nursery door and shoot Comer before he can hurt William.

Doggett and Reyes rush over, and Scully gives orders. Reyes will look after Maggie and William while Scully and Doggett deal with an injured Comer. Doggett insists that they get Comer to a hospital, but Scully won’t let the FBI take over and prevent her from getting answers. Doggett ignores her and calls 911. Comer tells Scully that William has to die, but he passes out before he can tell her whose orders he’s following. As paramedics take Comer away, Scully examines his jacket and finds the piece of metal inside.

In Calgary, Alberta, a newspaper announces that a missing FBI agent was shot in D.C. A woman who reads the headline seems very concerned. She goes to the site of the archaeological dig and shows it to a man there, who says, “This changes everything.” They know Comer could expose everything. That means they only have one option.

In D.C., Scully and Doggett are both called to the principal’s office – sorry, I mean Kersh’s office. The same people are present from Scully’s first questioning. Kersh tells her there will be an investigation into Comer’s attempt to kill William, but that’s not good enough for Scully or Doggett. He wants answers. Kersh knows that they already know about Comer’s undercover assignment. Skinner reveals that he asked to keep that case out of the X-Files because he thought it might be too much for Scully.

Kersh and Follmer continue that Comer was sent to infiltrate the cult after a series of threats on Mulder’s life. Scully asks why they showed her the rubbings. Follmer says that before they lost contact with Comer in North Dakota, he sent a communication that Mulder was dead. Scully just looks at all the men and then leaves.

Reyes brings William home to Scully, who starts to tell her about Mulder. They hear a rattling sound from the next room and realize the metal piece is shaking around in the drawer Scully stashed it in. When she opens the drawer, the metal flies out and straight into the nursery, cutting through some of the bars of William’s crib. It stops above his head, slowly rotating, just like the mobile he seemingly moved with his mind.

Doggett comes over and Reyes tells him what happened. She thinks William has some sort of connection to the piece of metal. Whether or not Doggett believes that (uh, he doesn’t), the cult does, because they were willing to have William killed. As the three agents put William (aww, three agents and a baby) in the car to take him somewhere, Doggett spots the woman from Calgary watching them. He sends the women off and starts to approach the woman. She’s not in the mood to talk, so she runs him over with her car.

Scully and Reyes take William to the only people left Scully can trust: the Lone Gunmen. Ooh, now it’s three men and a baby! They promise that they’ll keep the baby safe and keep in touch with disposable cell phones that have scrambled signals. The women head back to Scully’s place, where they realize that Doggett has been injured. Scully decides William isn’t safe and rushes off, but it’s too late – the woman from Calgary has already found the Lone Gunmen and is ready to shoot them in order to get William. To be continued…

Thoughts: Toothpick Man is played by Alan Dale. Comer is played by Neal McDonough, who I’m always glad to see pop up in a show I’m watching.

Way to secure your super-important evidence, Kersh. Your desk is a great hiding place. No one would ever think to look there.

“A guy who tried to kill my son for no apparent reason says my boyfriend’s dead. He must be telling the truth.” Whatever, Scully.

January 22, 2019

ER 3.6, Fear of Flying: Malpractice Makes Perfect

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

How do these doctors not get sued more often?

Summary: Susan and Mark are about to fly out to a trauma scene on a helicopter, and Susan is less than enthusiastic. She doesn’t have a choice, though, since participating is a requirement for her residency. William tries to explain string theory to Carol at Doc Magoo’s, but she, like me, has no idea what he’s talking about. Mark enjoys the scenery during the helicopter flight, trying to convince Susan to open her eyes. They come to the trauma scene, a bad car crash, and see that they’re the first medical responders.

Things are chaotic at County, where Jeanie’s patient, Mr. Brazil, has some interesting plans for what happens to him after he dies: He wants to be cryogenically frozen. His wife already has been, so he’ll be able to join her. Mr. Brazil’s caretaker tells Jeanie that the couple wanted to be preserved together so they can eventually come back, “just like those dinosaurs in that movie.” Well, yeah. That worked out well for everyone.

The nurses are especially swamped, partly because Haleh’s on vacation. A floater is coming down to fill in, but Lydia doesn’t have high hopes about that; the last time they had a floater, she spent her shift hiding in the bathroom. When they learn that the floater is Rhonda Sterling, Lydia and Chuny refuse to babysit her, knowing that since she’s a floor nurse, she won’t know what she’s doing in the ER.

At the accident scene, Susan tries to tend to three patients, a woman named Gail and her two children. Her daughter, who’s only ten days old, seems mostly fine, but Gail and her son Zach have some injuries. Mark declares the other driver dead, then moves on to try to help Gail’s husband, David. As paramedics and firefighters arrive, Mark summons Susan over to help with David. She tells him the rest of the family is stable.

Jerry’s making sports bets, which would appear to be the dumb sub-sub-subplot of the week, but it’s actually not. Rhonda arrives in the midst of the ER chaos, almost as unenthusiastic about working there as Susan was about flying. Zach stops breathing, so Susan rushes back to him and intubates him. She and the other flight physician she’s working with don’t have the proper tools to do everything they need to do.

Rhonda can’t get an IV started, so she asks Doyle to do it. Carol tells her that nurses in the ER try a few times before turning to a doctor. She’s quickly growing annoyed with Rhonda’s methods and lack of knowledge about ER procedures. As Zach and David are about to be taken to County in the helicopter, Susan takes a moment to tell Gail that she’ll get word to her as soon as she knows their conditions.

The nurses at County prepare for David and Zach’s arrivals as Mr. Brazil’s caretaker says her final goodbye to his body. She asks Jeanie and Connie to keep his body cold until the cryogenic-storage people can come get it. Connie wonders if she should clear out the fridge. Mark and Susan deliver their patients to the ER, and Carol and Doug start taking care of Zach. Rhonda is way behind the curve, and I don’t get why they even brought her into the trauma room.

Susan asks Lydia to track down Gail at whatever hospital she’s being taken to, so Susan can keep in touch with her. A medication mix-up, thanks to Rhonda, leads Carol to accidentally inject Zach with a small amount of potassium. Doug decides that it’s not enough to cause damage, stopping the two women from panicking. Carter comes in for an assessment and gives Keaton all the proper information. He’s completely on top of things, impressing Doug. Next door, David wakes up but doesn’t remember being in the accident.

Carol chastises Rhonda for her mistake, saying she has no business working in the ER. This isn’t news to Rhonda. She’s assigned to restock supplies for the rest of her shift. Jeanie tells Mark about Mr. Brazil and how she’s supposed to figure out the logistics with the cryogenics company. I don’t think medical school prepared Mark for having to deal with this type of situation. Susan learns that Gail and the baby are still at the accident scene, so she may have to fly back out to get them.

Keaton and Benton operate on Zach, with an assist from Carter. Keaton’s pleased with all the steps Benton plans to take. As Susan is called back up on the helicopter, Jeanie starts covering Mr. Brazil’s body in ice. This is the dumb sub-sub-subplot of the week. Doyle doubts that the body will stay cold until a rep from the cryogenics company can arrive. Mark offers to take Susan’s place on the helicopter, but she says she’s okay to suck it up and fly again.

As soon as Zach is out of surgery, Keaton invites Benton to join her for another procedure. Carter thinks she’s awesome. Gail and the baby, Megan, finally arrive at County, and Megan would like to speak to someone in charge about her horrible day. Jeanie and Doyle go across the street to Doc Magoo’s in search of more ice. Meanwhile, actual living patients just sit around the waiting room, totally fine with their ailments taking backseat to a corpse.

Gail’s injuries aren’t too bad, but her extended separation from her husband and kids is taking a toll on her. Gant tries to determine whether Megan needs surgery, but he can’t be sure – her abdomen may be distended because of an injury, or just because she’s been crying so much that she’s swallowed a lot of air. Benton takes over, criticizing Gant for not doing a full surgical evaluation. He decides that Megan needs surgery and at least softens long enough to explain things to Gail.

Gail’s distraught and wants David (a pediatrician) to decide whether they should consent to the surgery. Susan assures her that she’ll make the right decision. After she gives consent, Doug tells Benton that Gant was doing fine with his assessment before Benton barged in. When Keaton joins the group, she tells Gant that missing Megan’s injury was an easy mistake to make. She invites him to scrub in on her surgery.

Jeanie and Doyle are finishing up with Mr. Brazil’s icing when a cryogenics rep arrives to transport his body. He tells the women to give Mr. Brazil heparin, but Jeanie isn’t sure she should obey, since the rep doesn’t appear to be a doctor. Doyle points out that the heparin won’t hurt Mr. Brazil, since he’s, you know, already dead. Keaton, Benton, and Gant operate on Megan, discovering that she has an additional injury they didn’t see earlier.

David appears to be doing better, but Mark and Susan quickly determine that he has a problem with his short-term memory. Carter summons Keaton to help with Zach, who’s getting worse in recovery, so Keaton leaves Benton to finish Megan’s operation on his own. He sees something on the surface of her liver and decides he can clear it out himself. This leads to some bleeding, so Benton has to change his plans. Gant is uncertain about helping out.

Keaton figures out what Zach’s problem is and fixes it without any further medical intervention. Carter’s so in love with her. Things are going downhill with Megan, but Benton won’t let anyone go get Keaton. Eventually things get bad enough that he gives in and lets Gant go. Mark and Susan tell Gail that while David’s tests are okay, he has some memory loss; it’s probably just temporary, and a normal complication with a concussion.

Keaton returns to Megan’s OR and finishes her surgery, annoyed with Benton for his screw-up. Mark and Susan take Gail to take David, who’s starting to recover his memories of the accident. Keaton yells at Benton as she rushes to save Megan. While Mark and Susan are weird and awkward around each other for no apparent reason, Carol tells Rhonda that she can’t work in the ER again. I don’t think Rhonda’s too upset about that. Susan takes Gail to see Zach, who hasn’t regained consciousness yet after surgery. Gail hasn’t heard anything about Megan, so Susan goes to gather information.

Megan’s out of surgery but isn’t doing well. Keaton blames herself for leaving Benton unsupervised, though the real problem is that Benton ignored her instructions. He denies that he did; he did the same thing he’s done with other patients. Keaton reminds him that infants are different from other patients. He’s new to pediatric surgery, so he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet. He should have called her as soon as there was a problem. If Megan dies, Keaton will be held responsible, but it’ll be Benton’s fault.

Megan starts crashing, and when Benton tries to help Keaton with her, Keaton says it’s no longer a teaching case. She doesn’t want to take the baby back to the OR, but she can bring the OR to Megan. Mark gives David an update on Zach, but he doesn’t know anything about Megan. As David is taken to the ICU, Carol tells Mark that Megan’s crashing. He joins Susan outside the makeshift OR as Keaton is able to stabilize Megan. She tells Benton to accompany her to give an update to David and Gail.

Gant tries to sympathize with Benton, who doesn’t want to hear his half-hearted “we’re all human; we all make mistakes.” Gant takes a different tack, telling Benton he’s a prick. Keaton tells Gail about Megan’s condition as Carter fails to hide a look of horror in the background. Keaton is honest with Gail, telling her it’s possible that Megan won’t survive. Benton says nothing, which is a good idea. He goes to the neonatal ICU and tries to say the Lord’s Prayer over Megan, but he can’t remember the words.

Thoughts: Rhonda is played by Jenny O’Hara.

I love this piece of trivia from IMDb: “The production team were worried that Standards and Practices wouldn’t allow Dr Dennis Gant to call Peter Benton a prick. However, this didn’t prove to be a problem because Standards and Practices clearly agreed with Gant.”

A round of applause to all the actors who had to do their scenes over the sound of Megan’s crying and screaming.

January 19, 2019

The X-Files 9.8, Hellbound: Under My Skin

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

There weren’t a lot of non-gross options for pictures for this episode

Summary: A man is speaking at a support group at a church in Novi, Virginia, telling the other participants how much better he is because he’s been coming there. Another man, Ed, says our lives “only go one way,” and the speaker can’t undo the crimes he’s committed. He’s going to Hell just like everyone else in the group. Ed says he’s only there because he drove a friend, Victor, who isn’t doing well. He’s been having dreams about people being skinned alive.

The group leader, Lisa, is concerned as the first speaker, Terry, tells Victor that everyone there is afraid. That fear often comes out in dreams. After the meeting, Ed tells Victor that the group is useless, and clearly isn’t helping his nightmares. What also doesn’t help: the fact that when Victor looks at Ed, he sees him without his skin.

Reyes is looking at Victor’s criminal file when Doggett meets her in Quantico in the middle of the night. Victor was murdered five days ago. They meet up with Scully, who looks very put together for that time of night. The three agents look at Victor’s skinned body, which Doggett thinks was the work of a gang. Reyes says more has to be going on – Victor was skinned alive just hours after he talked about dreaming about people being skinned.

Doggett figures that a lifelong criminal like Victor had some enemies, and one of them finished him off. He doesn’t get why this is a case for them. Scully says that Victor was skinned in a way that made him suffer for as long as possible. Okay, but that still doesn’t make it an X-File, and Reyes doesn’t even know why she’s feeling like she needs to solve the case. She’s like Scully and Doggett’s help, though.

Doggett and Reyes meet up with a detective named Van Allen, who doesn’t hide his disinterest in the case. They talk to Lisa, who tells them about Ed’s animosity toward Victor at the meeting (which, by the way, was for anger management). She says other stuff about the participants’ pasts. Doggett is surprised that Reyes contacted Lisa about the investigation, not the other way around. Lisa appreciates that someone’s looking into what happened to an otherwise forgettable person like Victor. Van Allen finds Reyes familiar and wonders if she’s ever been to Novi before. She hasn’t.

Ed and Terry both happen to work at Maneri Meat Packing, where Ed gets to spend his days skinning pigs. He only cares about Victor’s death in terms of how it affects him – now Ed gets a promotion. Terry’s annoyed that the FBI wants to talk to them. He accuses Ed of messing with Victor’s head. Ed threatens to cut him, so I guess those anger-management meetings really aren’t helping.

Terry’s pretty sure that Ed killed Victor. He reminds Ed that he said they can’t walk away from who they are. Ed replies that he’ll see Terry in Hell. As Ed leaves for the day, Terry sees someone without skin walking around among hung-up pig slabs. He follows the person outside but only sees Ed.

At Quantico, Scully studies up on skinnings. The cadet who pulled all the case files for her could only find ones about post-mortem skinnings, and most of them are gang-related, as Doggett suspected. But one of the cases involves a victim whose body ended up looking a lot like Victor’s. The case is from 1960.

Scully goes to a retirement home to speak to Dr. Bertram Mueller, the examiner who did the autopsy on the body in 1960. He was a John Doe who was skinned alive, and though Mueller is 84 and must have autopsied thousands of bodies, this one clearly sticks out in his memory. He tells Scully that it was the most inhuman thing he’s ever seen.

Scully can’t find the police records for the case, but Mueller says there was no investigation. Since the victim was a John Doe, the sheriff didn’t bother to look into his murder, for fear of stirring up the community. Not long after that, the sheriff killed himself. Mueller wonders if Victor was murdered by a copycat killer. Scully notes that if that’s the case, the copying is perfect. She doesn’t know why someone would mimic an obscure crime, though. Mueller reveals that the John Doe wasn’t the only victim, just the first.

Terry’s hosing blood off the floor at work when he senses he’s not alone. He thinks Ed is back for a fight, but Terry’s ready with his own knife. He stalks the person in there with him, but the person gets the upper hand and knocks him out. Terry wakes up upside-down, strung among all the pig carcasses. He realizes what he’s in for as his attacker starts…well, gutting him like a pig, I’d say. The good news is that Terry won’t be the one to clean up this blood, since he’ll be dead.

Reyes goes back to see Lisa but instead comes face to face with someone who’s been skinned. It’s really just a nightmare, and Doggett hears her yelling in her sleep and wakes her up. Lisa has called to report that Terry’s dead. They meet Van Allen at the crime scene, and when Reyes sees Terry’s skinned body, it’s too much for her to handle and she has to run outside. There, she runs into Scully, who wants to talk about the 1960 murders.

Doggett’s stomach is stronger than Reyes, and he takes a closer look at Terry’s body. That’s how he discovers that Terry isn’t dead after all. The poor guy is hanging upside-down, surrounded by dead pigs, with all his skin removed, and he’s still alive. He’s barely able to tell Doggett that Ed was his attacker.

Elsewhere in town, Ed kicks out his girlfriend as he packs a bag. She leaves the house and runs right into Doggett, who’s there with a team to capture Ed. For some reason, they allow Lisa to talk to him in an interrogation room at the police station. She thinks he’s innocent – why would he kill two people when his life is going so well? Doggett reminds her that she said he had a bad temper. Plus, he was trying to run; innocent people don’t do that. Reyes thinks he was running from something other than his crimes.

Reyes takes Lisa’s place in the interrogation room and brings up Victor’s dreams about skinned bodies. She thinks Ed is seeing them now – and so is Reyes herself. Doggett pulls her out of the room and chastises her for basically giving Ed a defense to use in court. Yeah, I’m sure the judge will dismiss the case because of nightmares. Anyway, Van Allen tells the agents that Ed’s girlfriend gave him an alibi, and a bartender where they were drinking confirmed her story. Ed’s not the killer. (But he’s also not sober, as Lisa thinks.)

Ed is released, with a warning from Doggett that they know where to find him. Lisa tells Ed he’s always welcome at the group meetings. As he walks past her, Ed sees her without her skin. Scully summons Reyes back to Quantico to look at two of the bodies from 1960. She found cuts on their legs and shoulders, which were made with the same knife used to kill Victor. In addition, the two victims were ex-cons, and the days they were killed were the same days Victor and Terry were born. Scully thinks Reyes knew that something like this would come up in the investigation.

Doggett is staking out Ed’s house when Reyes calls to ask for Ed’s birthday. She thinks he’s going to be the next victim. Doggett calls Van Allen as he heads to the house to see if Ed is still there. He is, but his skin isn’t. Someone was supposed to be watching the house at all times, but the patrolman on duty left for a few minutes. Doggett finds it hard to believe that Ed could have been skinned in just those few minutes.

Reyes tells Doggett about the birthday connection and her theory that the killer isn’t using them to choose his victims. She thinks Ed had a premonition and knew he was going to die, just like Victor did. She has some kind of memory of this happening before. “These men were born to die this way, the same way they died before,” she says. Well, not the men – their souls. They’re killed over and over in different lifetimes by a killer who won’t let them rest.

Doggett asks if she’s suggesting this is reincarnation. He thinks they’re just dealing with a clever killer. But Reyes knows that a rag was stuffed in Ed’s mouth, and that the soot on it is coal dust from a mine. She has no idea how she would know that. But the mine is a lead, so the agents head there expecting to find a fourth victim. Doggett checks out a house on the property while Reyes goes into the mine alone, which can’t be a good idea.

Reyes finds newspaper clippings about the 1960 deaths while Doggett finds a skeleton. The murders go back even further than 1960, and one of the investigators from before that time disappeared. The skeleton is his. The murders began in 1868, when a prospector was skinned in a mining dispute, and his four killers were acquitted. So it looks like someone’s been trying to get revenge for a century and a half because justice wasn’t served.

Reyes continues searching the mine and finds a bunch of bodies hanging on the walls. A man surprises her and tells her she shouldn’t have come there. He grabs her and tells her she can’t stop it – she never does. Doggett goes to the mine and finds Reyes alone. She tells him Van Allen is the killer. He was the first victim in 1868, and he keeps coming back to avenge himself over and over. The cases never get solved because the lead investigator always kills himself, then comes back to start killing again.

There are currently only three victims, but Reyes thinks she knows who the fourth will be. She calls Lisa to confirm that she’s been having the same premonitions as Victor, Ed, and Terry. Reyes tells her that Van Allen is coming for her and she needs to leave the church. Too late – Van Allen is there to do some more skinning.

Lisa tries to run as Van Allen says there’s no point, since this always ends the same. But this time is different, because Reyes and Doggett are a step ahead. They ambush Van Allen, and when he moves to attack Reyes, she shoots him. She demands to know what it all means before he can die.

Van Allen ends up in the hospital, in critical condition. Doggett encourages Reyes to go home since she’s not going to be able to talk to him for a while. Reyes says that Doggett still doesn’t believe that she has a connection to the killings. Doggett says it doesn’t matter; the important thing is that she saved Lisa. Scully tells Reyes that Doggett’s trying to grasp this, but it’s hard to understand.

Reyes asks if Scully believes in second chances and the opportunity to correct our mistakes in another life. She thinks all the victims were trying to atone for the original murder. Scully wonders how Reyes fits into the cycle of murders. Reyes doesn’t know, but she’s sure that she always failed to stop the killings and bring about justice. And she’s sure that Van Allen always knew about her involvement, and knows her worst fear is failing again.

Scully says that maybe in this life, Reyes will succeed. But not today, because Van Allen’s dead, which means he’s free to come back in a few decades and kill again. So the parents of a baby just born down the hall, who has Van Allen’s eyes, are going to be in for a shock in a few years.

Thoughts: Terry is played by Don Swayze, brother of Patrick.

Imagine being cast on this show and then learning that you have to do something like cut off a pig’s skin. I know actors have to pay their dues early in their careers, but that may be going too far.

Also, imagine being in the props department and having to deal with all those pig carcasses. Fake or not, they’re gross.

January 15, 2019

ER 3.5, Ghosts: Benton’s Bedside Manner Is Way Scarier Than Any Ghost

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

I love this

Summary: It’s Halloween, so when Jeanie stops by Al’s house, she’s joined by some trick-or-treaters. She’s there for tax documents, not candy. At County, Gant complains to Carter that Benton wrote him a bad evaluation. Carter got the exact same evaluation, so he can relate. Jerry’s dressed as a kangaroo, and I wonder if Carol ever told him that she saw it. He reminds her that she has a shift on the hospital’s healthmobile that night. The lights flicker, and Lydia suggests a ghost on the fifth floor is messing around.

Susan’s coming back from Hawaii in a few hours, and Mark plans to welcome her with orange carnations. Chuny asks if he and Doug are coming to a party that night, where Haleh will be singing jazz. She makes Mark think that carnations weren’t the best idea. A man dressed as Frankenstein’s monster is brought in with a gunshot wound, and Weaver works on him with Gant and Carter. She lets Gant run things, and she approves of all his moves. When Benton joins the group, he takes over and makes Gant feel less confident. Carter steps in, and whatever he does makes the patient rise off the table like the monster he’s dressed as.

Carol goes to Malcolm X Community College for her first pre-med physics class. She’s paired with a lab partner, a kid named William who might not even be a teenager yet. He thinks her nurse’s uniform is a costume. Doug is also working in the healthmobile that night, thanks to Anspaugh, and isn’t looking forward to dealing with Chicago’s local nutbar patients out in the field. Chuny says her recent turn in the healthmobile wasn’t that bad. They got shot at, but since the shooters missed, she calls it a success.

Keaton quizzes Benton on children’s developmental milestones, and he proves that he knows nothing about babies. (Just wait, Benton. Your time is coming.) Carter knows all the answers, though Keaton says it’s probably because he did his pediatrics rotation more recently than Benton. Turns out kids don’t like Benton any more than Benton likes kids, so their young patient cries when Benton holds him. Keaton suggests that he try some props to make himself more appealing to kids.

Jeanie and Doyle tend to a woman named Sophie Jennings who’s in the late stages of Lou Gehrig’s and was found unconscious by her husband. She has a DNR, but Jeanie wants to treat her with medication anyway. Doyle objects, but she has to defer to Jeanie, who, as a physician’s assistant, has seniority. Weaver and Anspaugh tell Mark that Weaver’s done some research that should bring in a track. Anspaugh’s pleased that Weaver works for him, and he thinks Mark needs to step up his own research. He suggests something about pus. Mark is understandably…uninspired.

William helps Carol with their labwork, recognizing that she hasn’t taken physics before. He offers to help her with her homework, since he helped his mom when she got her real estate license. Paramedics bring in a ten-year-old girl named Tina who was hit by a car while trick-or-treating with her father. Benton quizzes Gant as they work, then tells Carter to hold the girl’s hand and calm her down (probably so Benton himself doesn’t have to do it). Next door, Mark and Weaver work on Tina’s father, who was injured more severely.

Tests show that Sophie is unconscious because she overdosed on pills in a suicide attempt. Jeanie still wants to work on her, though Doyle still doesn’t see the point – Sophie wanted to die. Jeanie sticks to protocol. Carter continues chatting with Tina as Benton determines that she may need surgery. Weaver signals to Mark that her father didn’t make it, and Mark has Carter run through the process to confirm that he’s dead.

Carol meets the healthmobile driver, Gus, who warns her and Doug that the patients will be expecting cookies. He tells them to go out the back window if anyone shoots at them, and if they get robbed, let the robbers take whatever they want. Doug and Carol aren’t pleased when they learn that they’ll need to wear bulletproof vests.

Jeanie and Doyle tell Sophie’s husband, Mitchell, that she’s in serious condition. He laments how depressed she’s gotten in the past few months, as her Lou Gehrig’s has gotten worse. He’s not surprised that she attempted suicide; he knows she’s been praying to die. Susan comes in fresh from her vacation, feeling very relaxed and refreshed. We all know that won’t last.

Tina asks for her father as she’s taken to surgery. Carter keeps quiet about his death, which Benton thinks is a bad call. Keaton, however, doesn’t want to upset Tina before she goes in for an operation. She then asks Benton to take some of her young patients trick-or-treating around the hospital. Not mentioned: whether these kids’ parents know their children will be spending the evening with a man who has no idea how to take care of kids.

Susan admits to Mark that she never made it to Hawaii. When the plane landed in Phoenix for a layover, she realized she would never be able to get back on. She spent her vacation with Chloe and Susie instead, which to her is just as good as a week in Hawaii. Mark tells her that Anspaugh loves Weaver and is probably going to give her the only open slot for tenure. He asks Susan if she wants to go to the staff party with her that night, making it sound casual and friendly. When she notices the carnations and greets them with, “Yikes,” he says a drug rep brought them in.

Doug checks out the meager supplies on the healthmobile, some of which have been expired for years. He finds a physics book in Carol’s bag, and she lies that it belongs to a friend. The healthmobile arrives in the inner city, where people are lined up to get free healthcare. The first patient won’t even tell them what’s wrong with him until he gets a cookie.

Mitchell sits by Sophie’s bed, telling Jeanie that she fixed herself up that morning, then told her husband that she was ready. He admits that he helped her take the pills. He got scared and called the ambulance, and feels that he was too weak to help her when she needed him to. He’s not ready to lose her.

Benton goes to the hospital gift shop to get some props, like a little animal that sits in your pocket and somehow makes kids think you’re not scary. Anspaugh catches him there and says that Keaton sends all the residents who don’t like kids there to get their “props.” Benton says he likes kids, and somehow Anspaugh doesn’t laugh in his face.

Doug treats a stripper who teases that she recognizes him. He’s insistent that they’ve never met, but with him, you never know. Suddenly a preteen girl named Charlie runs onto the healthmobile, yelling that she was stabbed. As Doug and Carol start to treat her, she reveals that she was just playing a Halloween prank. She asks for a cookie, and when she’s denied, she asks for condoms. She says she’s 18, but she’s definitely lying. Doug and Carol realize she’s turning tricks, but there’s not much they can do for her other than give her condoms.

Back at the hospital, the lights are still flickering. Susan’s with Lydia about the ghost being responsible. She tells the story behind the ghost – on Halloween 60 or so years ago, a doctor fell in love with an intern, but the intern was torn between him and a wealthy patient. When the intern went to the doctor for his declaration of love, he couldn’t get the words out. Then somehow, he wound up falling through a window. Jerry, Lily, Chuny, and Lydia are captivated by the story, but Mark dismisses it.

Carter goes to check on Tina, who’s doing well after her surgery. He offers to sit with her until her mother arrives. Keaton asks him to call her when Tina wakes up so she can tell Tina her father died. Carter wants to do that himself. Doug and Carol get a stabbing victim – a real one this time – but no one in the vicinity will tell them what happened. They use their limited supplies to tend to him, even with the threat of gunfire nearby. An ambulance won’t make it there for a while, so they decide to take the healthmobile.

Sophie dies, and Jeanie tells Mitchell he can sit with her body for a while. He isn’t sure if he did the right thing by helping her die, since this isn’t the sort of people they are. Jeanie thinks he showed who he is by staying with Sophie and giving her what she needed. Doug and Carol work on the stabbing victim in their substitute ambulance, overcoming the obstacles their supplies throw their way.

Benton continues giving Gant his scut work, and Gant finally asks why Benton keeps treating him so badly. He works his hardest, but Benton only gave him a mediocre evaluation. Benton notes that most interns only do mediocre work. Gant thinks everyone in their group does the same level of work, but Benton singles him out.

Benton reminds him that, as a black doctor, he has to work harder than everyone else. He asks Gant if he checked the box on his med-school application identifying himself as black. If he did, people will assume that he did it to get preferential treatment. They’ll also assume that he’s there to fill a quota. He has to work harder and stay longer to prove himself. Gant knows all that, and he asks Benton if he checked the box. Benton says no, but Gant thinks he’s trying to prove himself as if he had.

When Tina wakes up, Carter starts to tell her that her father died, but she already knows that he’s dead. Doug and Carol get their patient to the hospital, advising Malik to bring cookies when he takes his turn on the healthmobile next week. Doug tells Carol that if she does want to go to med school, he’ll support her decision. If he can make it through, she can.

Doyle tells Jeanie that she wishes they could have saved Sophie so Mitchell won’t have to be alone. She’s at rest, but he’s in pain now. Mark has to go to the fifth floor to pronounce a patient’s death, so he takes Susan with him “for protection.” Benton takes some energetic patients trick-or-treating, his idea of a Halloween trick. Mark and Susan do their work behind a curtain, so we only see their shadows, like an old monster movie. She swears she feels a cold wind, and he teases her about it.

Carter tells Keaton that Tina knew about her father’s death before he could tell her. She felt him with her during surgery, and he told her goodbye. Keaton says that sometimes kids just know that sort of thing. Carter had a similar experience – when he was a kid, he sensed the moment his brother died. Benton loses his kids when he takes one to the bathroom, because he sucks at this.

Haleh sings “Love Potion Number 9” at the staff party, where everyone’s having a great time. Well, except Mark, who can’t stop complaining about how Weaver seems to be kissing up to Anspaugh. Susan tells him to do something other than work, since it’s become his whole life. Benton finds his missing kids, who want to know if he was ever a fun-loving kid before he became a grumpy adult. He tells them that when he was younger, they had to do tricks to get treats. The kids demand one, so he stands on his head. The kids aren’t impressed, but Keaton is.

Jeanie goes to Doc Magoo’s to meet up with Al and give him back the tax documents. She tells him that neither of them ever changed – he’s always been a lousy husband, and she just put up with it for years. Seeing Mitchell do anything Sophie needed, including helping her die, has made her realize how awful their marriage was: “And now you’ve killed me.” As Haleh sings “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” Susan and Mark contemplate going out to get food, then decide to dance instead.

Thoughts: Charlie is played by Kirsten Dunst.

Props to Laura Cerón for wearing big curlers in her hair for the whole episode, since Chuny’s costume is herself getting ready in the morning.

Benton has three nieces and nephews – how can he be so clueless about children’s milestones?

 

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