January 31, 2023

ER 12.16, Out on a Limb: Who Will You Be Now?

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

No disrespect to Gallant but this pairing makes much more sense than him and Neela

Summary: Weaver is on her way to County to help out on her day off, since Clemente is on leave and Neela is still doing her surgical elective. Luka tells her to go home and spend the day with Henry instead. Henry’s schedule is full, though, as he’s going to a museum with Mrs. Lopez. Weaver figures she might as well help out since she’s already there.

Chuny read some article about potty training babies at six months, which Abby finds ridiculous. (So does everyone else who’s ever been around a six-month-old baby.) Morris announces that there’s a statewide blood shortage, so they need to be conservative with transfusions. Then there’s something dumb about oysters being an aphrodisiac and Morris claiming it’s true. I don’t care.

Weaver isn’t just at County to work – she’s there to cancel her hip surgery, which she was supposed to have that afternoon. But her excuse is that the ER is busy and they begged her to come in. Her surgeon, Kline, doesn’t buy it, since she’s already rescheduled twice. She needs to just have the operation. Kline thinks it’s simple: She’s in pain, so she needs to fix it. Weaver sticks to her story about the ER.

Ray treats a man named Lemoyne whose rings and bracelets are so tight that they’re cutting off his circulation. Also, his neck hurts because of all his chains. A small price to pay for glamor, right? Ray sees that his chains have eroded into his skin (!!!) and he has an infection. He’ll have to remove his chains. Lemoyne refuses, since he never takes them off, even in bed (“the ladies love the bling”).

Weaver finds kielbasa in a fridge that’s supposed to hold medications. Abby points the finger at Frank, so Weaver says, “Tell him to keep his sausage to himself.” I’m not touching that one. Not touching it at all. Abby shows her a 3D sonogram, which Weaver coos over. She runs into a supply cart and is almost overcome with pain. She tries to brush it off and keep chatting with Abby, who says that Luka wants to find out the baby’s sex while she wants to be surprised. Abby’s feeling great in her second trimester, and Weaver says Sandy felt the same. When she rounds a corner and is alone, she starts crying from the pain.

Neela arrives with a big container of cookies for an Army Spouse Club meeting that night. She tells Ray and Morris that the staff can have one cookie each. Yeah, I’m sure someone will enforce that rule. Paramedics bring in a teenager named Donna who hit a jogger with her car. Abby bonds with Donna’s passenger, Katie, since they both have uncommon, tough-to-pronounce last names. Donna’s in bad shape, and Ray and Weaver disagree over how to treat her.

Katie’s not as bad off, and she tells Abby and Chuny that she and Donna skipped school to go to the mall. They left because Donna had a headache. She fainted in the car and Katie was unable to pull it over. The jogger they hit, Highsmith, is also conscious and in pretty good spirits, all, “This is what I get for trying to get in shape.” Luka sees Weaver taking pills in Donna’s trauma room and asks Neela to see if she needs any help. She definitely does, since she drops a syringe and can’t bend over to pick it up. Sam does it for her.

Pratt shows Neela an x-ray of a guy who’s a “professional regurgitator.” A what now? He swallowed a lightbulb and needs surgery. Neela doesn’t find this nearly as fascinating as I do. Pratt tells her that Jose is being released today. Neela replies that he has an infection and has to stay another week. She assumes that things went well when Pratt told Luka how he covered for Darnell. They certainly went well in Pratt’s head, clearly the only place he’s said anything to Luka so far.

Katie has bruises on her arms that Abby originally thought were from the accident, but they’ve spread. They’re also on her legs. Abby and Chuny quickly jump into action to get Katie tested and isolated. Abby runs to Donna’s trauma room, where she’s being declared dead, to announce that the girls have meningococcemia. Weaver calls for everyone who’s come in contact with the teens to start prophylactic treatment.

Katie’s parents arrive but can’t see her while she’s in isolation. The staff is working on contacting kids from the girls’ school to let them know they’ve been exposed. They’re getting a medication called Cipro from other hospitals, since they don’t have enough on hand. Abby can’t take it because she’s pregnant, so she looks into alternative treatments. Luka doesn’t think Cipro would hurt the baby, but Abby doesn’t want to rely on the assurance that it’s “probably safe.”

Pratt goes to visit Jose for what doesn’t seem like the first time. A man named Richard Elliot is brought in by his driver after he lost consciousness in the car. He doesn’t want to undergo tests, since he knows what’s wrong – he has myelodysplastic syndrome, a problem with his bone marrow. It’s treated with chelation and transfusions.

Frank makes an announcement over the intercom telling the owner of the huge SUV in the ambulance bay to move it. Elliot’s like, “That’s me, gotta go,” but Morris and Sam don’t want to release him. He can barely stand without falling over, so he gives in and consents to a transfusion. He tells Sam that he usually gets them at home. He keeps his own personal blood supply that he buys on eBay. (He’s kidding.)

Luka made Abby get the shot of Cipro, and he advises her not to stress too much about the possibility that she caught meningococcemia from Katie. She doesn’t want reassurance or hot chocolate. Luka says they’re in this together, but she wants him to let her worry when she needs to. He offers to worry along with her. She says okay, so he asks how long they should worry. She says 10 or 20 minutes.

Luka bought pizza for the staff in what Frank thinks is an effort to make up for their exposure to a potentially deadly disease. Neela reports that all the surgeons are mad at her because they have to take Cipro. Frank left out her cookies, and Neela’s surprised to see that there are still plenty left. She asks for opinions and Chuny says, “Reviews are still coming in” in a way that really means, “Your average rating is zero stars.” She and Frank gesture to Morris behind Neela’s back that he shouldn’t eat one. After Neela leaves, Frank puts a “biohazard” sticker on the container.

Ray wants to bring a date to his and Neela’s apartment that night, and he begs Neela to…give him permission? To bring over a date? When he’s always been allowed to before? I don’t know. Abby invites Neela to have dinner with her, since she’d like to dine with someone who doesn’t nitpick everything she eats. Neela wants to throw Abby a baby shower, but Abby thinks it’s too early to think about that. She seems to be putting off coming to terms with how completely her life is going to change when she becomes a parent.

Abby spots Weaver practicing bending over, which she’s still unable to do. Weaver admits to canceling her surgery. She says it’s not a good time for it; Henry and the ER need her too much. Abby notes that Henry will just get more active as he gets older. She guesses that Weaver is scared. Weaver won’t confirm or deny that, but she turns away, obviously trying to hide tears, which is all the answer Abby needs.

Paramedics bring in a drunk guy named James who was beaten up in a bar brawl over a March Madness game. His equally drunk buddies are being loud and obnoxious, and they don’t think the fight or James’ injuries are a big deal. Sam checks in on Elliot, who seems to have been observing her while she was tending to another patient and showcasing her excellent bedside manner. He complains that he pays $20,000 for a boutique doctor and can’t get in touch with him when he needs to. Sam jokes that if boutique nurses exist, she wants in.

Elliot thinks nurses and teachers should be paid as much as pro basketball players and movie stars. Sam definitely doesn’t disagree. She asks what Elliot does for a living. He does something with hedge funds, which explains how he can afford to spend $20,000 on a doctor. Sam gives him a blanket without him even asking, since she noticed that he was cold.

James’ heart rhythm is unstable, and Luka tells his friends to call his parents. Luka kicks them out of the trauma room, and Pratt slams them for acting like idiots while their friend is in such bad shape. One of the guys, Phil, says they’re not always like this. They’ve been friends since they were kids. Pratt advises him to find some new friends. Phil confesses that he’s the one who hit James. Pratt knows that friends can take things too far sometimes, and he softens toward Phil. He assures him that everyone’s done something they wish the could take back.

During a coffee break, Weaver asks how Abby would describe her. Abby goes with words like “doctor” and “mother,” while Weaver’s fishing for the label of “disabled person.” It’s how she’s always been and how she sees herself. She’s never thought of herself as broken or handicapped, so she doesn’t feel like she needs to be fixed. Without her pain and sudden limitations, she’d never even think about surgery. The operation will allow Weaver to get around without her crutch, but Weaver wonders what else she’ll be giving up. Who will she be afterward?

Elliot is done with his treatment and very grateful for the care Morris and Sam provided him. He tells Sam that he fired his personal doctor, who never got back to him. Alex comes in with some cuts and bruises on his face from some older kids at his school. They stole his cell phone, too, those jerks. Elliot gets to see Sam’s maternal side as she comforts her son. He’s supposed to be discharged in a wheelchair, but he charms Sam into letting him walk out. He chats with her about his own grown kids, one of whom has been trying to convince him to move to Florida.

Pratt finally approaches Luka to tell him about how he covered for Darnell. Meanwhile, a couple of Donna and Katie’s classmates come in because one of them, Michelle, wants to see if a bruise on her neck is from meningococcemia. Abby diagnoses her with a hickey, and the other girl says she told her so. Morris asks Abby what she thinks Pratt and Luka are talking about. Abby suggests that they’re talking about him.

Neela goes to get her cookies, but instead she gets an intervention from Frank, Morris, and Ray. They try to delicately tell her that the cookies are horrible. She storms out. Ray talks Weaver out of treating a dislocated shoulder, knowing she’s not in the shape to do it right now. She decides to talk to Kline again about her surgery.

Luka’s unhappy with Pratt and warns that he’ll have to report this to the state medical board. They’ll likely suspend his license, which means his whole career will be in jeopardy because of one bad decision. He asks if Pratt would risk his career for someone who did what Pratt did. He suspends Pratt for five days and advises him to use the time to think about what it means to be a doctor. Pratt thanks him but Luka says not to, since this isn’t a reward.

Ray is done for the day, and he hands off a patient named Mr. Gauthier to Abby. He hit his head “trying to stop an epidemic.” That epidemic? Children being horrible in public. He told a kid at a coffee shop to use his inside voice, and the kid’s mom threatened to call the police. Mr. Gauthier left but tripped over a stroller on his way out. Abby gasps, not because of his injury but because she just felt the baby move for the first time. “Great. It’s all about you, isn’t it?” Mr. Gauthier asks sarcastically.

I guess Weaver didn’t eat anything all day and no one took her surgery slot because Kline is going to operate on her as scheduled. She looks like she regrets changing her mind again when she goes over the list of possible complications. Neela’s late to the Army Spouse Club meeting, but fortunately, she shows up with store-bought cookies instead of her own. The hostess doesn’t know how army wives like her are able to handle being married to both the military and their careers.

Sam and Alex run into Elliot as they’re leaving the hospital. Alex admires his SUV and Elliot offers to give him a ride any time he wants. Sam sends him to the mini-mart to get a soda, and Elliot tells his driver to tag along. He gives Sam his card and tells her that on top of firing his doctor, he fired his home-care nurse. He’d like Sam to take her place.

Sam is flattered but doesn’t want to quit her job. Elliot says this would be part-time and the hours would be flexible. She’d have to work overnight, so he would be happy to have her and Alex move in with him. Sam thinks that’s nuts. Elliot tells her that his house is so big that she and Alex could have their own space. His housekeeper has lived there for 15 years and he barely sees her. She could watch Alex after school. Sam is resistant to what she thinks is a pity offer. Elliot wants her to see this as opportunity rather than charity. She admits that it just seems weird to her. He tells her to think about it and get back to him.

Neela chats with the other Army spouses, one of whom is pregnant and will give birth before her husband gets home from deployment. She’s okay with it since she knew what she was getting into when she married a soldier. She appreciates the support she gets from the group. Another woman says it’s a small price to pay while their spouses serve their country.

Neela brings up the management of the war and weapons of mass destruction, which causes tension. The sole male group member asks how she can support what Gallant is doing if she doesn’t support the war. Uh, because there’s a huge difference between “I’m proud of my husband for the sacrifices he’s making for our country” and “I don’t think our government is handling this war well, and my husband shouldn’t have to be fighting in it in the first place.”

One wife says that their duty is to support their spouses’ duty. Neela replies that her duty is to be a good wife and doctor, not to let herself be brainwashed by “some pseudo-patriotic delusion.” Everyone in the room falls silent. I bet Neela wishes she’d brought those horrible cookies so she could have the pleasure of watching some of these people get sick.

Weaver summons Abby to her bed before she’s taken in for surgery. She wants Abby to be Henry’s legal guardian if something happens to her in surgery. (The Lopezes are great and all but they’re getting older.) Abby notes that Luka’s part of her life, but Weaver doesn’t have a problem with him taking in Henry. Weaver admits that it’s hard being alone, and she’s always felt like she could depend on Abby. Abby says she can and accepts the paperwork that would make the arrangement official.

Neela heads home, surprised to hear “Unchained Melody” through her apartment door. When she enters the apartment, Ray is alone, watching a basketball game. He’s also a little teary and trying to cover it. She accuses him of secretly watching Ghost after his date stood him up. He won’t admit to the movie, but he does admit to the failed date.

Neela asks if it’s possible to kick yourself out of a club. She tells him she’s proud of Gallant, but she feels like she can’t share her feelings with the other Army spouses. She feels pathetic for living like a college student with a roommate. Ray tries to cheer her up by pulling up a World Poker Tour game he recorded for her on the DVR. As they settle in to watch together, Weaver receives anesthesia for the operation that will change her life.

Thoughts: Julia Ling, who plays Michelle, returns for a few episodes in season 14 as Mae Lee Park.

Why is Morris the person calling Katie and Donna’s classmates about possible exposure? That seems like something he would make an intern do. Actually, it seems like something you would call the school administration about and let them handle.

There’s a nice throwaway moment where Luka thanks Lily for her work on James and says she did well. It must be so nice for an overworked, underappreciated nurse to get that kind of recognition from anyone, especially someone who’s senior staff.

Leaving aside the fact that they just met and she doesn’t know anything about him, Sam’s job offer from Elliot sounds like hitting the nursing lottery. Money for something she knows how to do easily AND free housing AND someone to watch Alex after school? There almost has to be a catch.

January 17, 2023

ER 12.14, Quintessence of Dust: The Smoking Gun

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

Have I mentioned how much I like John Leguizamo? ‘Cause I really like John Leguizamo

Summary: The day shift is on its way out, and Pratt is passing some patients on to Abby before going to a charity bachelor auction. Morris says that only the 50 hottest bachelors in Chicago are participating, and as the 51st, he just missed the cut-off. Haleh questions Pratt’s claims that his Black girlfriend is okay with him, also Black, being auctioned off to rich white women. “Take it easy, Angela Davis,” Pratt says, pointing out that they might not all be white.

With Clemente still MIA, County has been working with some moonlighting and temporary attendings. Abby doesn’t like them since they never know what’s going on, but Morris appreciates that, since he was able to get one to buy dinner for a whole shift. Clemente has missed four shifts now, and Morris and Jerry assume he’s been hanging out with Jodie.

They’re right, as they’re currently in bed, her doing a crossword puzzle, him offering up answers while tied to a bedpost. He gives her the word “quintessence,” which is from Hamlet and means “no higher form.” They’re both naked and neither is sober, thanks to what I assume is coke. He has no interest in leaving, and they haven’t gone anywhere in a week.

Pratt is “sold” for $600 to someone who is decidedly not a rich white woman, unless it’s a woman with a very deep voice. The next morning, Jerry shares a postcard from Carter, who hasn’t been very good at keeping in touch. Morris fights with Albright, then asks Luka to weigh in on “Dr. Stalin” and her tendency to take over their turf. Albright mocks him for the new nickname, and Morris says that in college, he spent a semester in Germany. Luka gives him a look. “Where we studied…Russia,” Morris says, taking a stab in the dark.

Albright tells Luka that her residents need trauma training so they can clean up the ER staff’s messes. Morris doesn’t think they’ll get much out of that training. The ER residents, however, need to be able to handle anything and everything. Albright taunts that they definitely need more training, which Morris and Weaver agree is cold. Albright calls Morris a sissy, then tries to whine to Luka again. He tells them to work things out themselves.

Weaver’s covering for Clemente but has to stay off her feet as much as she can, thanks to her hip injury, so I’m not sure how much she’ll be able to do. Frank suggests having her talk to Albright about her attitude, since they’re both a demeaning, gendered insult I refuse to repeat. Shut up, Frank. Abby is on my side, but Albright doesn’t mind guys seeing her that way, since it means they respect her. Uh, I don’t think they do. Morris doesn’t, at least.

When Pratt arrives, everyone wants to know how much money he went for at the auction. The other employees had a pool, but it doesn’t sound like anyone guessed that someone would pay $600 for dinner with him. He admits that a guy won, and all the male staff members at the admit desk stare at him. “Is he cute?” Ray asks. Everyone cracks up. Pratt says he didn’t meet the guy.

The others tease that maybe the guy will pay for dinner, but that he shouldn’t assume that means anything. Abby’s annoyed that they’re being homophobic, though I don’t think they are. It’s not like they’re saying it’s gross that Greg’s having dinner with another man. Morris tells Luka that his woman is getting weird. Abby threatens to hit him with a hole puncher if he ever refers to her as someone’s woman again. Luka pulls her away before she follows through on that. She confides that she’s on edge because she’s waiting for some test results about the baby.

Paramedics bring in a 60-something homeless man named Dexter who was beaten by some teenagers. They were trying to steal his can opener, of all things. He thinks they were taking part in a dare. Also, he wants his can opener back. Jodie and Clemente go shopping at the mini-mart, still stoned. They’re loud and giggly and generally the exact kind of people you don’t want to encounter when you’re shopping.

Abby and Luka call Coburn to get the test results, which Abby is anxious about and Luka is characteristically optimistic about. He holds her hand as she gets the news that everything looks good. Jodie and Clemente go to his apartment, barely through the door before they start undressing. They don’t realize that Jodie’s husband, Bobby, is lurking in the shadows. He tells Jodie to get her things, but she refuses to leave with him. Bobby hurls racist slurs at Clemente, who orders him out. Jodie blurts out that she filed for divorce.

Bobby turns apologetic, just like a typical abusive spouse when they realize they’ve crossed a line. He doesn’t want to leave Jodie there with Clemente. Clemente defuses things before they can get bad by advising Bobby to leave and call Jodie later. Bobby goes, and Clemente comments that that went pretty well, considering. But Bobby returns moments later and fires a gun at them.

Frank and Morris tease Pratt some more about his “man date.” Morris reveals that he had four dates with a trans woman. I’m sure he handled it very maturely and calmly when he found out. Sam asks for morphine for a patient who was supposed to be in the OR by now. Morris, of course, complains to Albright, then announces that he’s forbidding his residents from writing orders for patients she’s keeping in the ER until they’re ready for surgery. Albright writes the orders herself, gives them to Abby, and tells her that Morris is “a little penis.” Abby’s like, “I just walked in; why are people putting me in the middle of their fights?”

She and Luka go out to the roach coach, discussing whether they want to find out the baby’s sex. He does, but she’s not quite ready for the pregnancy to feel so real. Luka reminds her that the baby’s 16 weeks along, so it’s already pretty real. She wonders if there’s anyone they need to tell. Um, do you mean other than your mother?

Clemente speeds down the street and crashes his car in the ambulance bay. Jodie’s in the backseat, covered in blood. Luka, Abby, and Sam start taking care of her, and she asks for Clemente, then says, “He shot me.” Ray is still with Dexter, who practices piano chords as a nervous habit. Ray recognizes them and they start talking about music. When Ray was younger, his father listened to jazz records by a musician with the same last name as Dexter. Turns out that was Dexter himself.

Clemente assures Jodie that her injuries aren’t anything to worry about. When Luka asks, Clemente tells him that Bobby shot Jodie. The staff is skeptical, since it sure sounded like Jodie was saying that Clemente shot her. He jumps in to help take care of her, but Luka shuts him down. Pratt comes in and happens to be close enough to catch Clemente when he starts to collapse. Pratt drags him to the next trauma room for treatment for a shoulder wound. Clemente tries to use that to convince Sam that he wasn’t the shooter.

He calls instructions into the next room, where Weaver joins the team to try to stabilize Jodie. She determines that Jodie needs surgery immediately, and since Albright hasn’t responded to Sam’s previous pages, they should contact Dubenko instead. He’s just finished a procedure with Neela where she screwed something up. He chastises her for it and tells her not to get defensive or make excuses. However, he’s sympathetic since he knows Gallant went back to Iraq.

Jodie’s losing a lot of blood, so Luka isn’t happy that Albright is missing and Dubenko took so long to come to her trauma room. Neela goes to help Pratt and Weaver with Clemente, and they’re a little amused by how she acts like a surgeon. He’s anxious about Jodie’s condition and yells more instructions to her trauma team. Weaver tells him that Luka knows what he’s doing. Clemente thrashes around, trying to get up, and he knocks Weaver to the floor. She responds by putting him in restraints.

Albright joins Dubenko and Neela as they’re operating on Jodie. Neela has to admit that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Morris comes in to fight with Albright more, and when Neela tells him this is a bad time, he says he can’t hear her because she’s dead to him. Wait, Neela found a way to get Morris to stop talking to her? Teach it to everyone else, Neela! Albright asks Dubenko to make Morris go away. Morris taunts her for tattling to her attending, and Dubenko tells Albright to get rid of the annoyance. Morris is gleeful that she’s been kicked out of surgery.

Back in the ER, Haleh, Chuny, Ray, and Frank gossip about what happened to Clemente and Jodie. Frank is sure that Clemente shot himself to make it look like he was an innocent victim. Pratt tells them to knock it off. Chuny gives Ray a wallet she found, which happens to belong to Dexter. Inside, Ray finds a newspaper wedding notice for a woman named Sarah, who has Dexter’s last name.

Clemente lets himself into Jodie’s OR, where Neela still doesn’t know what she’s doing. Dubenko says they’ll probably have to remove one of Jodie’s kidneys. Clemente objects, so Dubenko sends him to observe outside the OR. Neela wants to try to save Jodie’s kidney, and Dubenko is open to suggestions. She’s not sure what to do, and he tells her to think like he’s not there and she’s in charge. He ignores Clemente as he continues protesting, then gives Neela the go-ahead to try her idea.

Morris: (yelling at Albright). Albright: (declaring war). Me: (screaming into a pillow). Abby and Haleh don’t like how Albright treats them; they think she’s only interested in the male residents. Abby’s eating her third ice cream sandwich of the day, and Morris casually asks if she’s pregnant. She pauses before making a “that’s completely absurd!” face. He says it must be true, so she tries to deflect by accusing him of being in love with Albright. They both clam up when Pratt asks what they’re talking about.

Ray has contacted Sarah, wanting her to know that her father’s at the hospital. He didn’t attend her wedding since he didn’t want to be seen in his current state. She tells him that she would have paid for a suit for him, but he firmly says he doesn’t want her money. She asks him to stay with her and her husband, at least for a little while. He says that’s not right for him.

Neela, Dubenko, and their team work calmly and steadily on Jodie. Pratt brings Clemente a copy of Jodie’s tox screen, upset that Clemente didn’t mention in the ER that she’d used drugs. He figures that Clemente didn’t want to be treated himself because he would have been tested, too. Pratt hopes Clemente has a good story to tell the police, because right now it looks like he’s the shooter. Jodie’s the only one who can clear him.

Luka runs into Alex and gives him a hockey puck he got at a recent game. They chat a little about how Sam wants Alex to go to college but he wants to be a NASCAR driver. Dexter left without Ray signing off on his discharge, and he most likely went back to the streets. Pratt’s “date” has arrived, and everyone’s surprised to see that it’s a woman. Pratt pretends he was just joking about a man winning him at the auction.

Jodie’s surgery is over and Albright isn’t happy that Neela scrubbed in or has a good rapport with Dubenko. Albright is Neela’s supervisor during this elective, so Neela should be trying to impress her. Neela says she’s not trying to impress anyone. Albright threatens payback if Neela ever tries to prevent her from joining an operation again. Excuse me? Neela didn’t do that at all. Shut up, Albright.

Clemente wants to see Jodie in the ICU, and apparently no one’s called the police or anything, because no one stops him. He thanks Neela, who says they did their best. Luka kindly tells Sam about his and Abby’s baby so she doesn’t have to hear it from someone else or with a bunch of other people. Sam can’t cover her surprise and what’s most likely some grief over what she won’t ever get to have with him again.

Clemente talks more Shakespeare to an unconscious Jodie, as if people actually do stuff like this in real life. Weaver comes by and says she heard that the surgeons were able to save Jodie’s kidney. Unfortunately, the blood loss and other complications mean Jodie could have neurological damage. Weaver tells Clemente that the police went to his place and found drugs. They think he shot Jodie. He asks about the gun, which the police didn’t find. Then he asks if he’s fired. “Not yet,” Weaver says.

Pratt heads out with his date, whose friend “bought” Pratt for her. He has the biggest grin on his face when he says good night to Ray. Dexter is right out on the corner, collecting change. Ray tries to talk him into working on his relationship with Sarah, but Dexter’s still resistant. Ray takes him to Ike Ryan’s, where Dexter starts playing the piano and singing “Many Rivers to Cross.” Everyone at the bar is captivated.

Abby finally calls Maggie to tell her about the baby. We don’t hear her response, but she must be ecstatic. Clemente reluctantly leaves Jodie’s side so he can talk to the police. Sam leaves the ER with Alex, saying goodbye to Luka. Luka finally gets a chance to read Carter’s postcard, which sends us into a glimpse of Carter and Debbie in Africa. But we’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out more about what they’ve been up to.

Thoughts: Albright and Morris, either make out already or shut up. No, wait – make out already AND shut up.

Dubenko was annoying when he first came on the show, but he’s growing on me a little. He shows Neela a good balance of toughness and kindness, and he never loses patience with her during surgery. I also like how he handles Morris, Albright, and Clemente. No matter what’s going on, he always puts the patient first.

I think it’s sweet that Luka still makes an effort to be friendly to Alex. Even better, Alex is comfortable talking to him.

December 20, 2022

ER 12.10, All About Christmas Eve: Jingle Bell Shock

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

This doesn’t capture even a tenth of how cute Luka is in this episode

Summary: Luka’s on his way to work, and he’s in a great mood. He’s even wearing a Santa hat, since it’s Christmas Eve. He gives a Furby to a hospital employee who needed to buy one, then asks how Pam the paramedic’s mom is doing and gives her a book. He hands out candy canes to kids in the waiting area and “ho ho ho”s his way into the ER. He gives a scarf to Frank (who says the last time he got a present was when a helicopter fell on Romano) and a neon stethoscope to Neela. Morris gets NSYNC’s greatest hits and Pratt and Ray get Bears tickets.

As an additional present, they don’t need a full staff in the ER this evening, so Luka’s going to let some of them leave early with pay. Pratt predicts that this will jinx them into being swamped. The residents play rock paper scissors to determine who gets to leave. Neela is apparently the queen of the game, and she knocks out Morris, Pratt, and Ray. She and Gallant are heading to Jamaica for their honeymoon, so now she has extra time to pack.

Morris calls Clemente an “evil elf” when he comments that Morris must be gay since he likes NSYNC. How professional, Clemente. Frank advises him to call Jodie, since she’s been calling incessantly yet again. Clemente asks if they can change the main number. Of…the hospital? Frank suggests that Clemente work somewhere with a different extension – maybe Cambodia.

Luka tries to surprise Abby with a kiss but instead scares her into almost dropping the cake she brought in for the hospital’s Christmas party. He offers her a present he got her but she says she can’t open it now. He’s fine with her opening it the next morning, which makes her wonder if they made plans to spend Christmas together. Apparently she agreed to it last night. She doesn’t remember, and he teases that that’s probably not the only thing she forgot saying. Y’all, he is SO HAPPY. It’s unbelievable.

As Sam was informed previously, Steve has been moved to a Chicago prison from Colorado. She visits him and tries to find out why he was moved, but he won’t tell her. He asks if she still has a bunch of stuff he gave her and Alex, then warns that some authorities might come looking for them. Sam tells him not to try to contact Alex. Steve claims he’s found God and is changing, but she doesn’t want to hear it.

Paramedics bring a woman named Tamara to the ER after a car accident. She starts seizing as Luka and Ray tend to her. Haleh’s looking for people to sing with her at the staff party that night, and when Eve volunteers, Haleh says she needs people who will have her back, not stab her in it. OOH. Haleh, watch out or you’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list. Actually, now that I think about it, Santa wouldn’t dare put Haleh on the naughty list. Morris volunteers next, insisting that he can sing. Haleh tells him he can audition. She extends that invitation to Weaver, too, but Weaver decides to keep up her ten-year streak of abstaining.

Abby discusses a patient with Clemente, an elderly man named Mickey who started out with a cough and is now experiencing pain. Tamara’s awake and alert, and she knows it’s Christmas Eve and she’s in Chicago, but she thinks it’s 1986. Ooh, so close. Just 20 years off. She needs a medication that’s only in the drug lockup, and Haleh tells Luka and Ray she can’t go get it because she’s the only nurse in the trauma room. Eve comes in and clarifies that they’re short some of the nursing staff because Santa Luka sent them home.

Neela’s on her way out for her honeymoon, and she confides to Abby that she’s nervous because she and Gallant are having Christmas dinner with his parents before they go to Jamaica. Gallant told them about the marriage over the phone, and apparently their response was to hang up. Luka pulls Abby away for some “department chief business,” like, keep it in your pants for 20 minutes, Luka. A kid uses a crutch to hold mistletoe over Abby and Neela’s heads and urges them to kiss: “Britney and Madonna did it.” Sorry, kid. You’ll need to ask Santa for something else.

Ray tells Tamara and her husband, C.J., that she has a condition caused by low sodium. She’ll need to stay overnight, even though she feels better, but Tamara doesn’t want to be away from her kids on Christmas. Abby and Luka discuss their plans for the next day, and he tries to get her to guess what her present is. Ray interrupts to get Luka to convince Tamara to stay. Abby tells Luka that he’s going to love what she got him. He doesn’t think she actually got him a present. She makes some guesses about her gift, and he tells her to page him when she figures it out.

Eve makes plans with her boyfriend on the phone, then chastises Sam when she shows up late for her shift. She’s not too upset, though, and she tells Sam that her football-playing boyfriend (a linebacker for the Bengals) might flake out on her. Weaver and Pratt go to meet an ambulance bringing in a six-year-old named Danielle who was shot. Her mother, Nadine, explains that she was an innocent bystander caught in some crossfire. She talks to the police while Weaver, Pratt, and Abby work on Danielle. Chuny finds Danielle’s Christmas list as Pratt tells her to contact Olivia.

Some sunglasses-wearing blind kids sing carols in the ER as victims of some sort of holiday disaster argue with each other. There’s a Santa, a guy credited as Hanukkah Harry, and a guy credited as Kwanzaa Kenny. I don’t think I want any more details. Luka and Ray talk to Tamara, who doesn’t get or care about the risk she’s taking by leaving the hospital now. She reveals to Luka that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a few months ago and has a very poor prognosis. She doesn’t want to pursue treatment, and she intends to spend Christmas with her family, who don’t know she’s sick yet.

Abby lets Nadine know that they’re still working on stabilizing Danielle so she can have surgery. Nadine laments that their neighborhood has always been dangerous. Her husband is out of town and will be back tonight, but she hasn’t been able to reach him yet to tell him what happened. Haleh continues to try to recruit singers, giving Clemente a pass when he proves he’s not very talented. Clemente tells Mickey that his blood tests are normal, so he can go home. His cough is probably from a virus. But Mickey’s having chest pain all of a sudden, so he should probably stick around.

Sam asks Santa, Harry, and Kenny questions I said I didn’t want the answer to, like what happened. Harry explains that someone complained that their company only celebrates Christmas, so their boss made things more diverse. And then I guess they started fighting? We never find out. Santa makes an inappropriate comment about an overweight patient, so Eve threatens to hurt him. Okay, I know he’s a jerk but you can’t threaten physical violence against Santa! You’ll get coal in your stocking for the rest of your life!

A surgeon named Jessica Albright, who’s covering for Dubenko, comes to Danielle’s trauma room to complain that she hasn’t been sent to surgery yet. Oh, so sorry the unstable six-year-old gunshot victim wasn’t able to align with your schedule, ma’am. Weaver tries to pull rank to make Albright back off, but she’s not impressed. She’s annoyed that they’re holding an OR for a patient who hasn’t been sent up yet. Again, she’s six, and she’s not stable. Shut up, Albright.

The sunglasses-wearing singers are still at it, and unlike carolers we’ve seen here before, they’re on the quieter side, so I don’t think they’re disturbing anyone. Tamara and C.J. leave with Luka’s blessing, since she promised to come back after her kids open their presents in the morning. Eve complains to Sam that her boyfriend is going to spend Christmas at his mother’s, without Eve. Sam suggests that they spend New Year’s together instead.

Santa is rude to the blind carolers, which means this guy should never, ever be allowed to play Santa again. Eve tells him to sit down and shut up. Santa continues mocking them, so Eve punches him, then pours his urine sample on him. Okay, she’s definitely getting coal this year. Weaver thinks it’s time to bring Nadine into Danielle’s trauma room to say goodbye; they’re not going to be able to save her. Olivia’s been waiting with Nadine, but she leaves when Pratt comes to get her. Pratt reluctantly tells Nadine that they haven’t been able to save her daughter. Nadine should go be with her now.

Weaver gently explains to Nadine that they’ve done everything they can for Danielle, but she’s lost too much blood. Nadine reminds her unconscious daughter that God does things for a reason, and maybe this is because God wants Danielle to be with Him. Weaver puts a hand on Pratt’s arm so signal to him to stop giving Danielle chest compressions. Nadine tells Danielle that she can let go if it’s time. God and her parents don’t want her to be in pain. Nadine promises that she and her husband will always love Danielle, and she doesn’t need to be afraid. Suddenly Danielle’s heart starts beating again on its own.

Santa demands that Eve be fired, but it doesn’t look like Sam is going to corroborate his story about what happened. The carolers can’t/won’t, and they think he deserved it anyway. Santa complains to Clemente, who spots a woman at the admit desk and flees. It seems Jodie has gotten tired of calling and has come to see Clemente in person. He tells Frank to get rid of her, then hides behind a bunch of IV stands so he can get down the hall without being seen.

Olivia tells Nadine that the owner of the store where she and Danielle were shopping IDed the shooters, and the police are on the way to arrest them. Pratt tries to get Danielle’s OR back, but now she has to wait. He promises Nadine that if no one comes down in the next two minutes, he’ll take Danielle upstairs himself. I’d love to see Albright try to argue with him. His stubbornness would come in handy here.

Abby auditions for Haleh with “Silent Night.” Let’s just say that no one will be able to sleep in heavenly peace while she’s singing. Chuny is even worse (though I suspect that Laura Cerón is singing badly on purpose, because her voice is actually nice; she just can’t stay on key). Ray proves why he plays guitar in his band instead of singing. After his audition, he tells Morris that Haleh makes Debbie Allen’s character in Fame look like Mother Teresa.

Luka blasts Eve for attacking Santa, but she has no regrets. He tells her to apologize or she’ll lose her job. Eve gloats that only the nursing supervisor can fire her. Mickey has undergone a bunch of tests but none of them has turned up anything. Now he has a headache. Clemente accuses him of making it all up and tells him he needs to leave so an actual sick person can have his bed. It sounds like Mickey’s just lonely and doesn’t want to spend the holidays alone.

Jodie approaches Clemente, so he makes up a disease Mickey has that will keep Clemente busy treating him. Jodie, an ICU nurse, calls bull. Clemente tells Haleh to admit Mickey, then tries to get rid of Jodie. She’s married to a cop, and Clemente is justifiably worried that the guy will track him down.

Luka and the nursing supervisor question Sam about Eve’s behavior. Sam doesn’t want to talk behind her boss’ back, especially when there isn’t a lot of positive stuff to say about her, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. She objects to the nursing supervisor’s decision to fire Eve the day before Christmas. Clemente tries again to send Jodie away. He didn’t know she was married when they got together, and he broke up with her when he found out. He wants her gone before her husband finds him. Jodie thinks he still has feelings for her, so they should act on them while she’s in town.

Danielle finally gets taken up to surgery, though Albright doesn’t think they can save her. Can we have Dubenko back, please? I don’t even like him that much, but he’s definitely better than this twit. Weaver praises Pratt’s work on their patient. He tells Olivia that the police should make the shooters come to the hospital to see what they did. She takes him to the ambulance bay, where a bunch of people are holding a candlelight vigil for Danielle. Unfortunately, Chuny comes out to tell Pratt that they lost Danielle’s pulse, and she’s on her way back to the trauma room.

Sam runs into Eve, who’s crying in the lounge – not because she got fired but because her boyfriend broke up with her. Sam realizes too late that Eve doesn’t know about her termination yet. Clemente has to get right back to work after a quick hook-up with Jodie; he tells her he’s setting up a new life for himself and needs to avoid drama. She says that her husband, Bobby, hit her, and obviously she couldn’t go to the police. She left him and would clearly like to be with Clemente now. He’s free to contact her at her hotel while she’s in town.

At the admit desk, Frank and Abby tease Clemente a little about Jodie (Abby’s talked to her multiple times when she’s called). Abby tells him his fly is down. Luka takes Abby with him to meet an ambulance, asking her what she’ll be cooking for Christmas. She asks if he has amnesia about their previous relationship, since she definitely doesn’t cook.

The police did, indeed, bring Danielle’s shooters to the hospital so they can see the consequences of their actions. Weaver rejoins Pratt to try to stabilize her. Olivia asks if she can bring in the shooters, and Pratt sends Nadine out since she doesn’t want to see them. The shooters deny that they shot a little girl; they didn’t realize the bullet went through someone else and hit her. Pratt tells them that Danielle’s probably not going to survive. When they’re in jail, they should remember what they did to her. He hopes it was worth it.

Eve confronts Luka for getting her fired on Christmas Eve. He tells her she’ll be missed. “Bite me,” she snarls. All you’re doing is getting yourself more coal, Eve. She says she tried to do something good and elevate the ER. “Screw yourselves. You all suck,” she tells the staff around the admit desk, fulfilling everyone’s fantasy of what they’d say if they were fired or quit their job dramatically. When Sam tries to calm her, Eve accuses Sam of trying to steal her job and calls her Judas. Nope, that’s Easter.

Pratt checks on Nadine while Danielle’s in surgery and tells her that things are looking much better for her. He promises that the shooters will pay for what they did. Nadine would prefer if they would stop instead. The community turns their backs on the kids and doesn’t educate them, then wonders why things like this happen. Pratt notes that people have choices. “Some people don’t know they do,” Nadine says.

Luka’s first shift as the chief of the ER is done, and Weaver thinks he did pretty well. The mother of the kid Alex spent the day with brings him to Sam, letting her know that he told his friend that his father is dead and that his friend’s father is going to die, too. The mom thinks Alex needs help, and until he gets it, he’s not going to be hanging out with her son. Luka offers to help Sam out, but she brushes him off.

She asks Alex why he lied about Steve, and Alex says that he doesn’t need his father, which is basically the same. Sam insists that Steve loves Alex, but Alex thinks a father who really loved him would call. He doesn’t think Steve misses him. When Sam says he does, she’s lying for him.

The staff holds their party at Ike Ryan’s, and it looks like the only singer who made the cut to sing with Haleh is Morris. She sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” while Abby buys a snow globe at the mini-mart, because Luka was right and she didn’t get him anything. Clemente plays chess with Mickey (aww!) and Sam takes Alex to visit Steve. Pratt sits with Nadine until her husband finally arrives.

Abby leaves the hospital, walking through the growing vigil for Danielle. Morris finally gets to sing something, and he sounds terrific. Abby joins Luka at the party and gives him the snow globe, which is only part of his present. She opens hers, a compass. “It seems we always find each other,” he explains. She takes him outside so they can talk in private. She’s really enjoyed the past few weeks that they’ve been back together, and she doesn’t want to ruin their rekindled relationship. But she has big news: She’s pregnant. With that, Luka’s awesome Christmas ends with him in shock.

Thoughts: Has anyone on this show ever had a planned pregnancy? It might just be Weaver and Sandy, and that was only out of necessity.

Honestly, Luka being as happy as he is makes anything I might want for Christmas feel insignificant. I feel like I’ve gotten presents for the next five years.

When Morris loses rock paper scissors to Neela, he tries to argue that his paper is actually sheet metal. Ha!

I admit I’m a sucker for montages of bad auditioners. They should have given us more.

October 25, 2022

ER 12.2, Nobody’s Baby: Last Resorts

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

I was wrong – Ray does have a heart after all

Summary: Despite all but breaking up after finding Alex, Sam and Luka are still together. Sort of. She’s clearly not into it anymore, but fully breaking up means moving out, so she needs to find a new apartment first. Luka hasn’t gotten the hint, as he thinks they just need some time apart, which he would use to visit his father back in Croatia. Sam tells him that she’s looking for a new place to live. She needs to think things over before they do anything else.

Abby races to catch an El train, annoyed when a couple of women she asked to hold the doors ignore her. She meets up with Neela and they notice the women talking about them. One of them comments snarkily that Neela’s shoes look comfortable and match her backpack. What is this, middle school? On the way off the train, one of the women hurts her ankle. Neela examines it for her, telling her she may have broken it. The woman says she wants a second opinion, so Neela tags in Abby, who says, “Your ankle may be broken and you’re a b%$@#.”

At County, Morris complains to Pratt that Abby, Ray, and Neela are all liabilities. They’re more competent than you are, pot boy. He says they have no brain, no courage, and no heart. I’m not sure which is which. Neela has no courage and Ray kind of has no heart, but Abby definitely has a brain. Also, when Morris says they need to go see the wizard, Pratt is skeptical that he would consider himself that.

Morris announces his presence to the residents, reminding everyone that he’s the chief. Abby calls him “Big Chief Pain in the A%$.” Morris gets all, “Don’t make fun of people with Native American heritage! I’m 1/16th Chocktaw!” Abby’s not on screen but I assume she’s rolling her eyes. Chuny says that Jake sent everyone a postcard from San Francisco. So if anyone was wondering how things worked out between him and Abby (and I doubt anyone was), there’s your answer.

Luka brings in three interns, including Jim, who worked with Ray in the previous episode. Chuny tells him that one of his patients may have died. As Morris heads off with the interns, Ray tells Abby and Neela to pick numbers between 1 and 10. The winner, Neela, gets to pick between Jim and another intern, Munson. Ray has apparently already called dibs on the third, Clemons.

Paramedics bring in a pregnant woman named Claire who was in a car accident and is now having contractions. Ray thinks she’ll be giving birth today, so she asks Sam to call her friend Toni so she can be there. Luka tries to pull Sam aside for a chat, but Sam says she’s too busy. She also won’t let Luka try to hand her work off to a new nurse named Inez.

Ray does a little teaching, telling Clemons that the #1 rule in the ER is if you don’t know something, just fake it. Remind me never to consent to getting medical care from Ray. He tells her to go get something, but she doesn’t know what it is, so she asks Abby. Abby tells her that the #1 rule in the ER is if you don’t know something, ask. That’s how you learn. Yes, that’s definitely a better rule than Ray’s. Abby heads off without telling Clemons how to use the thing Ray told her to get, so Clemons turns to Neela. Neela’s #1 rule in the ER is if you don’t know something, look it up. If someone gives you the answer, you’ll just forget it.

Abby checks in with Munson, who is a man of few words (and possibly also little knowledge, since he’s reading a scan backwards). She tells Pratt that she doesn’t think Munson likes her. Pratt scoffs at that, since everyone likes her. He also thinks she did a great job teaching Jake. He’s under the impression that Jake isn’t at County now because he didn’t match there.

Chuny asks Pratt to get on the radio and pronounce a death for some paramedics. Who knew that was allowed? Paramedics bring in a kid who passed out at a mall food court. Abby quizzes Munson on what to do, and he’s hesitant and leaves something out. She assures him he’ll get the hang of it. “I know,” he replies shortly. You know, buddy, you’re not making a great first impression here.

After Pratt’s done pronouncing the patient dead for the paramedics, Chuny tells him there’s someone in the waiting room who asked to see him. It’s Charlie. Pratt pretends not to know him and tells Chuny to make him wait. You would dare make the great Danny Glover wait?? Monster! Pratt goes to check in with Ray, who’s giving Claire an ultrasound. The baby’s breech and Claire’s already started delivering him without even realizing. Everyone stays calm, but the previously serene Claire is now getting anxious.

Toni arrives and Luka tells her that Claire wasn’t injured in the car accident. Toni explains that Claire is a surrogate, and her baby is actually Toni and her husband’s. Luka can’t tell Toni how the baby is without Claire’s consent. He still wants to talk to Sam, who’s still busy. Luka, get the hint. You look pathetic right now. Claire’s labor is progressing, but since she’s almost full-term, the only problem seems to be the baby being breech.

Pratt grabs Inez for a trauma involving a shooting. He asks if she’s worked one before and she shows him a scar on her arm from her own shooting experience. She simply explains that she grew up in the Bronx. Neela and Jim go see their next patient, Drew, who happens to be the woman who hurt her ankle at the El station. She wonders if her day could get any worse.

Pratt runs into Charlie when he walks through the waiting room to receive his next patient. Charlie guesses that Pratt knows who he is, and he asks why Pratt came to his house. Pratt says he wanted to see Charlie for himself, and now he’s done with him. Charlie follows him to the ambulance bay, saying he didn’t know Pratt was in Chicago (he was in Detroit before that). He understands Pratt’s anger toward him and wants to explain himself. Pratt replies that he doesn’t need anything from Charlie and never has. He doesn’t want to see Charlie anymore.

Charlie ignores him and tells him that he has a half brother and sister; they’re Pratt’s family, too. Jocelyn is in college and Chaz is a high school senior with a swim meet that night. Pratt scoffs that family is suddenly important to Charlie. Charlie keeps talking as Pratt and Inez start working on their patient. Charlie, go inside and ask for a guy named Luka. You two will probably get along really well. He tells Pratt he’s sorry he walked away and doesn’t want his son to make the same mistake.

Abby, Luka, Sam, and Malik work on the boy from the food court (I’ll call him Johnny Doe), and Abby catches a mistake Luka almost makes with a medication. She lets Munson take charge but he’s still tentative. Pratt brings in his patient and tells the other team to take Johnny somewhere else. Luka agrees but Abby thinks it’s too soon to move him.

She asks Luka if she did something wrong or isn’t handling the case correctly. He tells her that Sam’s moving out, which is all Abby needs to know about why he’s not himself today. She offers to listen if he wants to talk, but he notes that if he wanted to talk, Sam would probably be staying put. Abby’s like, “Now I know our breakup was your fault.” Heh.

Coburn comes to the ER to examine Claire. Oh, hey, Coburn! Where ya been? Whatcha been up to? Delivering babies, I bet. Claire objects to the recommendation of a C-section, but there’s a 25 percent chance that there will be complications if she delivers naturally. With a C-section, there’s only a 2 percent chance. Coburn agrees to wait to make a final decision.

Ray’s frustrated that Claire isn’t thinking about what’s best for the baby. Coburn reminds him that she can’t do anything without Claire’s consent. Ray notes that she’s the surrogate, not the baby’s actual mother. Coburn says it’s still her body at question here, and she has the right to refuse surgery.

Abby tries to sneak a peek at Jake’s postcard but gets called away. Chuny tells her that Johnny’s friends, who ditched him at the mall (little jerks), are there to find out what’s going on. When Abby asks if Johnny took something, they try to run off again. Chuny wrangles them and Abby interrogates them until they spill that Johnny, whose real name is Liam, is having problems because his parents are divorcing. The only thing they can offer up that’s medically relevant is that his family is vegetarian, but Liam ate two big cheeseburgers.

Liam’s unresponsive now, so Abby goes back to him. She quizzes Munson some more, but Malik knows the answers better than he does. Abby realizes that Liam could have a metabolic issue. She wants to draw his blood right in the ER lobby instead of waiting for him to go upstairs for more tests. The sample needs to be cold, so she tells Munson to get some ice. He grabs the first cold thing he sees, Morris’ Frappuccino. Abby puts a vial of blood in it and sends Munson to the lab.

Ray tries to get Claire to understand the risk she’s taking by not agreeing to the C-section. This runs up against Sam’s attempts to keep her calm. Claire keeps refusing the C-section, since she wants to have her own kids some day. I guess she doesn’t get that it’s possible to give birth naturally even after a C-section. She asks to consent as a last resort, only if the baby’s in danger. That’s good enough for Ray, and he downplays the risks Sam tries to go over with her. They bicker in the hallway and Sam reminds Ray that part of his job is informing the patient of possible outcomes.

Pratt’s gunshot victim isn’t doing well, and Neela tells him they need to pronounce her dead. He does, then chastises her and Ray for second-guessing him when they don’t know as much as he does. Well, if you think you can save her, then keep working! Don’t give in to them and then pretend they have the authority here! Can everyone just leave their personal problems outside the hospital, please?

Liam’s doing worse and Luka isn’t happy that Abby never passed him on to the ICU. But it turns out her guess about a metabolic problem was right, and she knows how to treat it. She tells Luka how she applied her knowledge of the patient’s emotional state (depression over the divorce) and physical state (normally a vegetarian) to determine what was wrong. (She thinks Liam’s family is vegetarian because his metabolic disorder makes him unable to handle the protein in meat.) Luka and Malik both praise her for the catch.

Luka goes out to meet an ambulance and finds Alex playing basketball on the hoop no one uses anymore. He clearly still wants Alex to be a part of his life, but it’s not clear if Alex feels the same way. Really, I think he doesn’t know how to feel because he’s not used to having a father figure who actually wants to spend time with him. Neela brings Abby with her to take care of Drew, who’s either been waiting for six hours or is someone who exaggerates. I’m guessing it’s the latter, since she threatens to call their supervisor if they don’t treat her well.

Toni’s husband, Rod, has arrived and is upset that Claire won’t consent to the C-section. They have a contract in which she says she’ll undergo any necessary medical procedures related to the pregnancy. If Claire doesn’t consent, Rod threatens not to pay her for her service. He’ll get a court order if he has to. Ray tries to defuse the situation, now taking Claire’s side because he can’t do anything to force her to consent.

Rod and Toni tell Ray that they spent a ton of time and money trying to conceive but kept having miscarriages. They gave Claire the last of their embryos. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a way to parent a child that doesn’t involve a pregnancy or a surrogacy. Like, maybe there are kids out there who don’t have parents, and they can be matched up with people who want kids but can’t have them? Maybe there’s some procedure that could be ADOPTED to make that kind of arrangement easy to ADOPT?

Anyway, the baby’s heart rate is dropping, so Ray sends her to labor and delivery. Claire insists that Rod trust her – she knows her own body. She also doesn’t want him or Toni to be with her when she gives birth. I’m surprised there’s nothing in this supposedly iron-clad surrogacy contract demanding that they be present.

Pratt tells the daughter of his shooting victim that her mother was shot during a robbery attempt and they couldn’t save her. The daughter asks how the hospital found her, and whether her mother said anything. She has no interest in seeing her mother’s body – they were estranged, each waiting for the other to budge and admit she was wrong about some long-ago fight. “I guess I win,” the daughter says sadly. Hey, do you think Pratt will take anything from this experience and apply it to his own life?

Coburn delivers the baby naturally, but Ray thinks they need to switch to a C-section because his heart rate keeps dropping. He presses Claire to consent. Coburn basically ignores him and keeps delivering. The baby isn’t breathing and doesn’t have a pulse. Ray isn’t very gentle when he tells Claire, so Coburn kicks him out of the room. “I thought I could do it,” Claire says.

Pratt goes to the school Charlie told him Chaz attends so he can watch his brother’s swim meet. He doesn’t let Charlie know he’s there, but he smiles proudly when his brother does well. Ray tells Rod and Toni that the baby’s oxygen deprivation may have caused neurological damage. Rod wants to go home: “We didn’t pay to have a brain-dead baby.” He would be “normal” if they’d done the C-section. Hey, Rod? You’re a piece of crap. Toni tells Ray they were going to name the baby David, then leaves with her husband, though she’s at least sadder about that than Rod is.

Liam’s doing better, and he tells Abby that one of his friends thinks she’s a MILF. Amused, Abby says she’s not a mother, she’s a doctor. Okay, but you can be both! Also, this is foreshadowing! Abby finally gets to see Jake’s postcard, but instead of reading it, she tears it up. Neela catches her. Morris looks over Neela’s charts from the day and micromanages her. Abby claims not to have anything to run by him.

Clemons asks Abby to help her with something since Ray never came back from labor and delivery. Abby figures he stayed to hit on the nurses there. Instead, he’s sitting with David, whose chances of overcoming the neurological damage are slim. Also, his parents abandoned him and Claire doesn’t consider him hers. Coburn tells Ray that there’s nothing more he can do for David. Ray replies that the baby had a rough day and shouldn’t spend his first night alone.

Pratt waits around after the swim meet and congratulates Chaz on his performance. Chaz remembers meeting him but doesn’t know who he is. Pratt reveals that he’s Chaz’s half brother. Chaz says he heard rumors about Charlie having another child but never knew they were true. He’s stunned but handles the situation well, just saying he’s happy to meet Pratt.

Charlie finds them together and is also happy that his sons have met. He invites Pratt to come to dinner with the family, but Pratt isn’t ready for that. Jocelyn and her mother, Evelyn, come in, and Charlie tells them who Pratt is. I think Evelyn might know about him, but she’s surprised to hear Charlie be so open about him. She and Pratt are polite to each other while Jocelyn just stands there, a little confused. Charlie tells Pratt that this is hard for all of them but Pratt should get to know his family. Pratt replies that they’re just Charlie’s family.

Luka goes home and finds his place quiet for the first time in months. There’s nothing to do but drink a beer and mope alone. It’s okay, Luka – your life is about to get a lot better. And we’re going to enjoy it, too!

Thoughts: If my friend was carrying my baby and refused a less risky procedure in favor of a riskier delivery without any explanation other than. “I don’t want to,” I’d definitely be upset. But I also wouldn’t abandon my child just because he wasn’t born completely healthy, so that’s where my sympathy for Toni and Rod ends.

Ugh, Luka, don’t tell Alex that the breakup wasn’t your idea. Don’t make Sam the bad guy here.

Jokes aside, I’m very pro-adoption and wish people would consider it over the time, money, and physical and emotional toll of failed IVF and surrogacy.

October 18, 2022

ER 12.1, Cañon City: Move It Along

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

Broody Luka’s coming back, y’all

Summary: It’s 1 a.m. on Tuesday, and after being unable to find Alex for more than four hours, Sam and Luka have turned to the police. They’re not too worried, since runaways tend to return home within 24 hours. Sam notes that Alex doesn’t have that long, since he didn’t take insulin with him. After leaving the police station, Sam has a bunch of ideas for places to keep looking. Luka tries to convince her to go home, since the police told them to be there in case he calls. He calmly tells Sam that Alex knows how to take care of his diabetes. “He’s not coming back,” Sam predicts.

The guy who Alex (who’s been recast, since the other kid playing him was on another show) hitchhiked with has dropped him at a truck stop. When he sees a police car, he hides in a pickup bed on the back of one of those big haulers that transports cars. The driver heads out without knowing he has a stowaway.

At 8:00, Morris welcomes the day shift after what was apparently a rough night shift (probably made worse by his hangover). Pratt tells Ray that since he’s a resident now, AKA an R2, he gets to run the board. Susan and Pratt quiz him on stuff, nudging him to in turn teach the new interns. He needs to brush up on his medical knowledge so he can teach it whenever it comes up. A woman who’s been waiting in the waiting area for hours asks Susan if there’s a place she can go nurse her child. Susan realizes halfway through her answer that the child in question is, like, six.

Luka wakes Sam to show her that Alex has been featured on the local news; there’s an Amber Alert out for him. She wants to start making calls again, but Luka thinks they should just wait until someone contacts them with information. When she ignores him, he gives in and starts making calls, too. But then a call comes in and Sam rushes to answer it.

At County, Susan leaves Ray in charge of a trauma case with Jane, Haleh, and an intern named Jim assisting him. Haleh’s amused because the interns know more than Ray does. I’d be less amused and more worried, but I would never question Haleh’s judgment, so I’ll let it go. Sam and Luka return to the police station, where they’re assured that there are alerts and photos everywhere about Alex. Despite that, no one has called in any information. But there’s a report of an unidentified boy in a diabetic coma in a hospital in Davenport, Iowa.

Of course Sam wants to go there, and Luka can’t convince her to wait until the boy is identified. He points out that if it’s not Alex, they’ll have driven 200 miles away and will just have to drive back if Alex turns up in Chicago. Sam frantically says that she can’t just sit around and wait for news. It’s pretty clear that she’s going whether Luka comes or not.

Susan asks Haleh how Ray’s trauma went, then invites her to give him feedback. Ooh, get nervous, Ray. Haleh says that Ray didn’t do much teaching, and he seemed distracted by the interns’ questions. He was obviously frustrated, which caused tension in the trauma room and kept the team from working together. It could have delayed them from figuring out the diagnosis.

Susan tells Ray this is part of the process of improving his skills and leadership abilities. Ray doesn’t appreciate being evaluated by a nurse, but Susan points out that Haleh has been there a long time and knows a lot. He argues that he was just trying to treat the patient. She reminds him that part of his job is teaching.

In Davenport, Sam and Luka learn that the unidentified boy was found at a mall. It’s not Alex. In the parking lot, Sam screams in frustration, then tells Luka again that she doesn’t think Alex will come home. She decides that their next destination should be Colorado, where Steve is in prison.

The breastfeeding six-year-old, Mason, is a difficult patient for Ray. Susan and Pratt are secretly thrilled. They pull him out of the exam room to tell him to stop micromanaging the interns – he needs to trust Jim’s skills. Sam and Luka are headed to Cañon City, and Luka notes that he’s always wanted to go to Colorado. Well, I think sightseeing will have to wait, buddy. He asks Sam what she and Alex fought about before he left. She says it was “the usual.” He guesses that means it was about his and Sam’s relationship. Sam wishes she’d told Alex the truth about Steve.

Neela reports for the night shift and Ray warns her that she’s in for a lot of scrutiny from the attendings. He advises her to be friendly with the interns. She’s responsible for what they do, but she shouldn’t question them. Neela’s on with Morris and an intern named Teddy who’s very enthusiastic about starting off his internship with an overnight shift. Neela’s nowhere near as optimistic.

Sam and Luka stop at a gas station and she asks the clerk if he’s seen Alex. They have a nine-hour drive ahead of them and Sam’s cell battery is almost dead. (I guess this was before you could buy a charger in any gas station in the country.) She thanks Luka for coming on the rescue mission.

Neela is a much better teacher than Ray, but she’s taking it way overboard, talking about math and labwork for a patient who just has a fractured rib. The impromptu lesson ends when paramedics bring in a stabbing victim. Teddy’s excited for his first trauma as a doctor. Neela even lets him insert a chest tube. She asks Morris to lend a hand, chastising him when he delegates everything instead of doing his job.

Luka drives while Sam sleeps, but she wakes up when he turns on the windshield wipers to clear away some dead bugs. She had a dream about Alex when he was a toddler and disappeared while she was shopping. Luka confides that he once lost his son at the beach. His wife didn’t want Luka to take him, and he got mad, thinking she didn’t trust him.

He left his son for just a minute while he was getting a bucket and shovel. Two hours later, the police found him and determined that he wandered away to play with a dog. They called Luka’s wife, who picked him up. Luka turned on the kitchen sink and cried with relief. Sam softly asks the boy’s name, which was Marko. Luka assures her that Alex will be fine.

At 3 a.m., Neela complains about the load on the night shift. Frank tells her she’s a downer. Because everything Frank says is covered in roses and rainbows? Morris wants to take a nap, and he thinks Neela should be pleased to be “queen of the night shift.” She’d rather clear the board before the day shift shows up. Frank asks for a copy of her schedule so he can avoid working with her. Oh, shove it, Frank.

Neela goes with Teddy to treat a man who has an abscess. Teddy already examined him, but apparently not carefully enough, since he didn’t detect a murmur that Neela quickly catches. Teddy just compliments Neela’s teaching skills and thanks her for saving him from the huge mistake he just made. Yeah, this guy won’t last three days at County. I’m dying to hear what Haleh thinks of him.

Sam takes over driving but is so exhausted that she can barely stay awake. She opens a window and turns up the music, but she’s still too out of it to swerve and avoid hitting an antelope. A guy pulls over to help, and since the animal is still alive, he decides to shoot it and put it out of its misery. Sam wants to get back on the road, despite the damage to the car. The gunshots the man fires snap her back to reality.

Another mistake from Teddy puts one of his and Neela’s patients in bad condition. She tells Teddy that being a good doctor is less about intelligence and more about being thorough and meticulous. Teddy’s making glaring errors and needs to remember that he’s responsible for lives here. Neela can’t watch everything he does. He needs to stop being appreciative and apologetic, too – it’s weird. Teddy starts crying and leaves.

While the car is being towed in for repair, Luka considers his and Sam’s options for getting to Colorado. Sam takes a page from Alex’s book and decides to hitchhike. She’s desperate to get to Alex, who’s been without insulin for two days. As Abby arrives for the day shift, Morris chastises Neela for not waking him to help clear the board. Punch him in the face, Neela! You’ll probably get fired and maybe even arrested, but it would be sooooo worth it! Abby takes over running the ER, and she immediately runs circles around Ray and Neela, quizzing and teaching the interns without boring them.

Sam and Luka catch a ride in the back of a trailer, and for the first time she wonders why he came with her. He may care about Alex but he’s not Alex’s father. “I’m just not ready for this to be all there is in my life,” Luka says. Sam replies that she can’t bring back his kids. If she has to choose between Luka and Alex, she’ll always pick Alex.

Luka says he’s not asking her to choose but she disagrees. “I don’t want what happened to my family to be the end of my story,” he tells her. “I was a good father; I can be a good father again.” Sam still doesn’t want to have another child, and it’s not about him. She wants her life back.

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies in some small town (Cañon City, I assume) recognize Alex from his missing poster. Sam reunites with him at a hospital, though he’s in pretty good condition considering. She’s half relieved, half mad. Alex is half mad, half sad since he couldn’t find Steve.

Abby might be impressive at running the ER but her interns haven’t lived up to Pratt’s expectations yet. She helps them move things along, and though the nice thing to do would be to praise her, Pratt says nothing. Sam takes Alex to Steve’s prison, having finally told him where his father is. Alex pauses outside, trying to decide whether he actually wants to go in. Sam wishes his life wasn’t like this. He tells her he wants to go in, and she goes with him, leaving Luka outside.

Pratt looks on as Abby continues clearing the board practically on her own. He tells her she’s ignoring her interns; she has to teach and lead while keeping things on track. At least Susan’s proud of her. Also, she notes that Pratt used to be just like Abby, so ha ha! Sam lets Alex have some time alone with Steve and joins Luka outside. She doesn’t get why Alex loves Steve so much when Steve clearly doesn’t care about them. She thanks Luka again for his support.

“Now what?” he asks. Sam says that Luka can’t really want the mess of her life in his. He thinks he should be allowed to decide that for himself, but since Alex is in the middle, Sam can’t let him do that. He reminds her that Steve is in prison, so she doesn’t have to run anymore. She says she’s not – she just doesn’t want what Luka wants. She heads back inside, again leaving Luka behind. It’s a metaphor, you guys! I know that not because I’m intelligent but because I’m thorough and meticulous. I hope Haleh is proud.

Thoughts: Linda Cardellini (Sam) is really good in this episode. Another actress might have gone too big or melodramatic with this storyline, but she plays it realistically.

Wait, that huge party Ray and Morris went to was on a Monday night?

It says so much about Sam and Luka’s relationship that after all these months together, he never told her his children’s names.

I don’t know if they didn’t see the Amber Alert or what but no one at County seems worried about Alex or concerned that their co-worker is going through something horrible.

October 11, 2022

ER 11.22, The Show Must Go On: We Only Part to Meet Again

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

Okay, ‘bye!

Summary: Sam and Luka discuss their plans for that evening as he walks her out of the ER after she’s finished a shift. She tells him that Alex keeps asking when he can visit Steve. He doesn’t know that Steve is in prison. Apparently Steve said he would explain things to Alex but never did, and Sam just…didn’t do anything. Well, there’s no way that decision will ever come back to haunt anyone!

Carter arrives with a bunch of pizza, having apparently volunteered to throw his own going-away celebration. He’s following through on his vow to Kem to return to Africa and eventually win her back. Sam says goodbye, sorry that she’ll miss his party. The staff organized a surprise farewell for Carter and Sam just accidentally ruined it. Luka tells him to keep quiet.

Jerry complains that after 11 years, Carter only bought the staff pizza. I was going to say that Jerry’s ungrateful, but Carter’s super-rich, so it’s a legitimate complaint. Carter goes to take care of an 11-year-old named Janell who hurt her wrist while playing volleyball in gym class. She has a lot of questions about medical stuff.

Ray’s wrapping up a shift as Pratt gives the new batch of interns a tour of the ER. One of them is Jane. Morris invites Ray to watch a baseball game with him, but when Ray says he’s going to a party, Morris decides that sounds like more fun. Pratt tells the interns to look at how tired the rising residents are; the interns are the before picture and the residents are the after.

Abby, Neela, and Ray still can’t quite grasp that they’re about to be residents. Ray hasn’t signed his employment contract yet, though, since he’s still thinking about what Susan said. Maybe this isn’t the right place for him. The new interns try to help Pratt calm an agitated patient, and one of them gets knocked down. “Lucky for us, interns bounce,” Haleh comments.

Ray reluctantly lets Morris tag along to his party, though he doesn’t think Morris will have fun since he doesn’t know anyone there. Morris thinks they’ll be able to connect over music. The partygoers are mostly hanging out on the decks of what looks like a multi-story duplex or condo building.

Morris is excited to get to hang out with regular people after spending so much time at the hospital. Ray’s like, “Please be cool around my friends, you dork.” Morris wants to talk to Ray about his lack of initiative, like, this is a party. Stop talking about work. They say hi to a couple of Ray’s friends, including a guy named Riley who was hoping Ray would bring Neela. Morris proudly says he’s chief resident. “Wow! That means, like, nothing to me,” Riley replies. Heh.

Janell watches and asks questions as Carter examines another patient. The school nurse who came in with her tells her to stop bothering Carter, but Janell doesn’t think she’s annoying him (she is; he’s just being nice about it). Jerry tells Carter that the sewer problem from the previous episode is still an issue, so there’s only one available OR. Do you hear that, people of Chicago? Only one of you can have surgery at a time. Be careful.

An actor from a community theater production is brought in after getting hit in the head with a piece of scenery. He’s dressed as a cow, and Neela comments that it’s a good thing she’s not Hindu. He’s followed by another actor, this one with burns. He explains that they’re putting on a musical about the Great Chicago Fire (hence the cow). Carter spots Haleh and Malik leaving, and they give him two different excuses why.

Pratt goes looking for K.J., who’s still doing community service at County. He tells Carter they’ll miss him when he leaves. Carter hopes to see him at his surprise party, which Pratt claims not to know anything about. He checks in with K.J., who’s completed his assignments for the day but is still hanging around because his father hasn’t come to pick him up yet. Pratt offers to take him home after they go to Carter’s party.

One of Ray’s friends, Benny, shows off his new tattoo, the opening guitar chords from “Free Bird.” Ray advises him to keep an eye on the redness around the tattoo’s edges. His friend teases him for sounding like a real doctor. Ray decides to own it because it impresses a woman name Jessica. Another friend, Molly, asks if Ray has anything for the heartburn her pregnancy is giving her. Her husband, Kyle, asks for “mellowing agents” instead.

Ray’s done with the medical talk and invites Jessica to go get a drink with him. She’s surprised he’s a doctor, since she just thought he was a musician. He throws a couple of beers down to friends on the lawn, then chats with Jessica about how his double life is going. Morris approaches, asking about drinks, and Jessica informs Ray that Morris has been telling everyone that he’s Ray’s boss.

Back at County, the cow (Mike) and the burn victim (Stan) bicker while Neela and Abby treat them. Stan hopes he isn’t left with scars, since he uses his body a lot in his work. Neela guesses that he’s a porn star. Luka pulls Abby aside to say he’s going to leave for a while to go to Carter’s goodbye party at Ike Ryan’s. They’re closed to trauma because of the plumbing issues, so he doesn’t expect any emergencies. Which of course means there will be at least one. Luka tells her he’ll come back in half an hour, and then she can go to the party.

Sam goes home and finds a letter for Alex from Steve. She pulls it out of the envelope before he can see that it came from a prison. Alex is annoyed that she won’t give it to him until he’s finished his homework. He comes close to calling her a nasty word he should never use. On top of not getting his letter, he’s upset because he knows Sam and Luka aren’t getting along, and he’s worried they’ll have to move again.

Luka shows up at Ike Ryan’s with Carter, who pretends to be surprised. Ray makes out with Jessica on a deck but has to leave her when Kyle tells him Morris is throwing up inside. As Ray goes in, Kyle runs into Molly, telling her he’ll join her on a deck after he talks to some people inside. Ray finds Morris in a corner, lamenting that he’s not as laidback as Ray is. People don’t expect much of Morris, which is part of the reason he wanted to be chief resident. Ray admits that he’s just good at faking it.

Morris feels sick again, so Ray heads off to get him some water. Just as he’s about to step back onto a deck, it drops. It falls down to the next level, sending all three floors of decks crashing down. Kyle yells for Molly and runs for the stairs to go find her. Jessica is sitting on a railing, which is still holding up, but she no longer has any way to get down. As Ray watches in horror, the railing breaks and Jessica falls onto the debris and bodies below.

Ray and some other people race outside. Despite not being much of a leader at work, Ray immediately takes charge, telling someone to call 911. He guesses there are at least 20 people with injuries. Jessica’s alive but impaled on something, so Ray tells someone to stay with her and keep her still. Morris just looks on, shell-shocked, as Ray assesses the situation. He yells for everyone to be quiet, then assures them that paramedics are coming. They need to uncover as many people as they can without moving anyone until Ray has checked them over.

Stan and Mike’s director shows up at County, hoping they can return to the show and redeem the second act. Abby doubts the actors are up to resuming their roles, but the director says they’re professionals: “The show must go on.” Abby asks why the show can’t stop sometimes. Shhh, Abby, it’s a metaphor! The show is THIS show! It’s going on without Noah Wyle! You get second billing now and your career is set for life, so shhhhh!

Morris finally starts helping with the triage efforts at the party, which Ray is still running calmly and confidently. Molly’s alive and seems to be okay, but she’s worried about her baby. Ray finds Benny under a bunch of rubble, identifying his arm from his tattoo. He hears ambulances in the distance, finally coming to help.

Alex finishes his homework and goes to get his letter. He asks Sam if they’ll ever live with Steve again. He thinks Steve has a steady job as a river guide. Sam tells him straight out that they won’t be living with him again. Paramedics load up the injured partygoers, but Ray isn’t sure if there are more under the rubble. Zadro notes that it took the paramedics eight minutes to get there, which means Ray assessed about 25 people in less than ten minutes. Ray notes that there was no paperwork to slow him down.

He’s not sure why County is closed to trauma, and he doesn’t think the hospitals the paramedics plan to take the victims to will be able to handle the patients’ injuries. Zadro tells him they’ll go to County if Ray can get them to agree. Ray calls, surprising Chuny, and tells Abby that County needs to open to trauma. Abby balks at taking more than one critical case, but Ray insists that they take five – they’ll die if County doesn’t accept them. (Make that four, since one just died.)

Abby keeps hesitating, and Chuny reminds her that their radio calls are recorded. Abby finally agrees to take four patients, then mobilizes the staff to move people around and get ready for traumas. It’s a good thing the new interns are still there and can help out. Abby tells Chuny to page Luka and get him to come back from the party.

Luka tells the guests that they should enjoy themselves because Weaver’s paying for all their food and drinks. He tells Carter what his father used to say when a friend went on a journey and when Luka came to work in the States: “We only part to meet again.” Carter’s touched. As everyone claps and clinks glasses, Luka’s pager goes off, but he doesn’t hear it.

Neela, Chuny, and Jane take care of Molly when she’s brought to County. They realize she’s in labor (fortunately, she’s almost full-term). Neela confidently runs her treatment while Abby takes charge of another case next door. Ray’s with a friend named Nick, who needs surgery for a bad leg injury. Dori reminds Ray that there’s only one available OR.

OB is busy, so Neela proceeds with Molly’s delivery herself. She keeps going even when there’s a complication but ultimately decides she needs to switch with Abby, since Abby has OB experience. Molly and Kyle tell her that the baby is a girl and they’ve already named her Janis (I’m guessing on the spelling; since they’re musicians, I assume she’s named for Janis Joplin). Luka hasn’t responded to his page, so Abby sends an intern to Ike Ryan’s to get him. Molly needs a C-section and they can’t wait.

The party at Ike Ryan’s has quieted down, and Pratt and K.J. head out. Haleh tells Carter to make sure his toast is ready because he’ll need to say something to the remaining partygoers. While he heads to the restroom, Abby’s messenger intern races to the bar. Luka finally returns to County and joins Neela and Ray to help save Riley. The messenger intern gets sick, so…maybe he should find another career.

Haleh tells Luka that Abby’s doing some procedure on Molly that she probably shouldn’t be doing. Instead of stopping her or yelling at her, Luka just joins her team and lets her keep going. Abby delivers the baby, who seems fine, and takes a moment to let out a breath of relief that everything turned out well. Pratt drives K.J. home and finds his father, Darnell, passed out on their porch after drinking. Judging from the way K.J. acts, this is a common occurrence. Pratt’s mad that Darnell didn’t pick up his son. He’s the only father K.J. has.

After learning that Jessica’s stable and going in for surgery, Ray checks on Nick. He’s not doing great, but he’s still able to flirt with Neela. Sam gets a call about her credit card and realizes that Alex stole it. Carter’s still in the restroom at Ike Ryan’s, trying to figure out what to say to his colleagues. He practices in a mirror, saying he feels like he grew up with all of them. But when he goes back to the bar, only one guest is left, an orderly Carter doesn’t even know (he came for the free food). He’s watching a slide show with pictures of Carter and his co-workers from over the years.

All the traumas have been dealt with, and Ray, Abby, and Neela finally get a chance to breathe. Morris arrives, having been sent to another hospital for a quick sobering up, and asks if they need anything. They’ve already handled it all, so he goes to lie down. Thanks for showing up and doing nothing the whole episode, Morris! Susan arrives with Carter, who she says was hugging the orderly when she got to his party. Janell is still in the ER, and Carter says he’ll take her as his last patient.

Sam runs in, asking if Luka has heard from Alex. Carter talks to Janell’s parents, telling them she probably has a future in medicine, what with all the knowledge she’s soaked up during her time in the ER. Her parents ask if Carter remembers them. Janell’s mother went into premature labor in 1994, and since there was no time to get her to the OB floor, Carter delivered Janell in the ER. Carter doesn’t remember but Janell thinks it’s cool. (He did help deliver a baby in the first episode, and though there’s no way to know if it was Janell, I’m willing to believe it was.)

Sam tells Luka that Alex tried to use her credit card to buy a bus ticket. They wouldn’t let him, and when they called the police, he took off. Luka thinks he’s probably hiding at a friend’s house. Sam wants to go out looking for him (she left a babysitter at the apartment in case he comes back). Even though Alex also stole some money, Luka doesn’t think Sam should worry that he’s going to run away. She has good reason to worry, though, since Alex didn’t take any medication with him for his diabetes. Luka agrees to get some from lockup and go with Sam to find him.

Pratt stands outside a brownstone for a few moments, then goes up to ring the doorbell. He tells the guy who answers that he’s looking for Charlie Pratt. The guy, who’s a few years younger than Pratt, says that’s him, so Pratt figures he has the wrong address. But then an older man comes to the door and says he’s also Charlie. (We’ll find out later that the other Charlie goes by Chaz.) Pratt got his name from Ceasefire, which Charlie does some work with. Pratt decides to just leave, but he stops when Charlie asks, “You all right, son?” He invites Pratt in, but Pratt leaves.

Ray joins Abby and Neela as they fill out paperwork about their cases. He’s just confirmed that Jessica’s going to be okay. Neela advises him to go home and get some rest, but he wants to be at the hospital when his friends wake up. Carter comes in to say goodbye and tell them about a letter he wrote years ago. Mark always had his interns write themselves a letter to open on the last day of their residency. Carter’s says that he’s scared and has a lot to learn, and he hopes he learns quickly (and doesn’t kill anyone). It also says that if he’s good at his job, he can become an attending some day, and that’s all he needs. He gives it to Abby, who’s a little teary.

Carter walks through the ER, remembering things his co-workers said to him over the years, including Mark’s “you set the tone” pep talk. In the ambulance bay, he finds Morris doubled over and still feeling sick. “You set the tone, Morris,” Carter says. “Huh?” Morris replies. Carter laughs and says, “Never mind,” then leaves for the last (but not really the last, because he’ll be back) time.

As “Free Bird” plays, Ray decides to sign his contract to work at County. Abby gives him and Neela pads of paper so they can write themselves letters. Sam calls some of Alex’s friends as she and Luka drive around the city, trying to figure out where he might be. He’s on the side of a highway on-ramp, hitchhiking. A pickup truck pulls over and he gets in.

Thoughts: Charlie is played by Danny Glover. Janell is played by Keke Palmer.

The revelation that Pratt’s father’s name is Charlie makes his attitude toward Charlie in “Time of Death” even clearer. (I think it’s also significant that Charlie named his second son after himself, not his first, and the second son is the one he didn’t abandon.)

The deck collapse freaks me out SO MUCH. Even more than the multiple shootings and stabbings and other traumas we see on the show. It gives me a full-body shudder.

I don’t want to talk about how Morris is the one to get the “you set the tone” speech, so I’ll just complain about how only guys get it throughout the series.

I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see Weaver saying goodbye to Carter. He worker with her longer than any of the other remaining doctors.

’00s music alert: “Pain” by Jimmy Eat World, “Right to Be Wrong” by Joss Stone

Season 11 is done! Up next: John Leguizamo and a surprise pregnancy (unrelated).

September 6, 2022

ER 11.17, Back in the World: Keep Moving Forward

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

I’m Steve now. You’re welcome

Summary: Kirk has returned to the ER and is asking for Neela. She’s supposed to be done with her shift, but Abby tells her to tend to him first. Pratt asks if Neela’s talked to Gallant since she helped arrange for Jamila to be treated at County. Pratt insists on talking to Gallant the next time he’s in touch, since Neela didn’t give him the chance during their previous phone call.

He takes an interest in a woman named Olivia who’s talking to a patient who came in with a minor stab wound. Even though someone has already taken care of the patient, Pratt gets involved in the case so he has an excuse to talk to Olivia. She’s with a group called Ceasefire that tries to prevent violence. She’s surprised Pratt hasn’t heard of it, since County sees so many shooting victims. Pratt just gets to take advantage of another excuse to try to talk to her more. She’s not interested.

Sam gets stuck in traffic while driving Alex to school. He tells her that Steve (who never returned after “Drive”) wrote him a letter and claims he’s coming to visit soon. Sam tries to gently remind Alex that Steve often makes promises that he doesn’t keep. Neela agrees to examine Kirk again even though she’s never found a major problem with him. Dubenko tells her that Jamila has arrived, and he’d like to talk to Gallant. Neela’s shocked to learn that Gallant came to Chicago with Jamila.

Carter’s finally using his family’s fortune for health care: He’s making plans to build a clinic. He’s working with County, and Anspaugh and Weaver are directly involved. Everything seems like it’s going great, but Carter’s disappointed that an HIV/AIDS care plan has been scrapped. He doesn’t care if it’s too hard to staff that part of the clinic – he won’t sign off on pretty grounds and a restaurant if it means patients with HIV and AIDS can’t get the treatment they need.

Paramedics bring in a 12-year-old named Victor who has a gunshot wound. He explains that he had a gun in his pocket for protection and it accidentally went off. Neela leaves Gallant a message, wanting to know if he’s really in Chicago. Abby busts her for ditching Kirk, but Neela thinks this is more important. She lies that she knew Gallant was coming. She admits that she has feelings for him, though she’s not sure how they developed when they’ve only spoken once in the past year. Their letters were all “speculative,” so nothing could have formed there.

Neela confides that she’s furious that Gallant came back to Chicago and didn’t reach out to her. But she also feels like she’s fooled herself into thinking he would want to get in touch. Abby’s like, “I don’t think you need my input on this conversation you’re having with yourself.” Neela wonders if she’s pathetic for making up a love life she doesn’t really have. Abby thinks it makes sense that her friendship with Gallant led to romantic feelings.

Gallant goes to see Jackson’s family and give his daughter the llama he bought her. Back at County, Pratt notices a scar on Victor’s stomach. Apparently he’s been shot before. His mother, Mrs. Hopkins, arrives and isn’t surprised to hear that Victor had a gun on him. She reminds him that she told him to keep the safety on.

Sam explains to Susan that Victor is an “aspiring vigilante.” His mother gave him the gun. Time for a social worker to get involved! Susan tells Sam that someone called for her, sounding agitated. She got a similar call the day before. Sam thinks it was a patient she took care of last week and there’s nothing to worry about. Luka overhears and suspects she’s keeping something from him.

Neela tries to keep her cool while talking to Kirk, who doesn’t seem to want to accept that he has a muscle spasm and won’t heal overnight. He keeps coming back because he believes in Neela and thinks she can fix him. She agrees to do a full exam, during which she discovers that he’s wearing a unitard under his clothes. She tells him to change into a gown, but he says he can’t. His wife used to call him Clark, like Clark Kent. She said she saw through his facade to his “secret strength.” She died a few months ago. Now he wears a superhero unitard on bad days to make him feel better.

Sam tells Luka that she thinks Steve is the one who’s been calling her. She doesn’t want to run away again, and she also doesn’t want Luka to take this on, since it’s her problem. He corrects that it’s their problem. Pratt presents Victor’s case to Carter, and the two learn more about his problems. He insulted a classmate who shot him on his way home from school last year. The shooter only spent a few months in juvie and is now back at school. Mrs. Hopkins didn’t know what to do to protect her son, so she gave him a gun.

As Neela hands off all her cases to Luka so she can leave, Carter starts talking to Haleh and Lily about Gallant’s rumored return to the States. The nurses think he went to Texas to visit his parents. Once she’s done with her shift, Neela goes out to the roach coach to get her usual daily order. She spots Gallant coming over from the El and runs into his arms. Just friends, eh?

They go to popular County hangout Ike’s to talk about why Gallant didn’t tell Neela he was in Chicago. He says he was only at County briefly because he had to go do something. He came back to see her. He thought it would be easier to leave without seeing her, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. She tells him everyone wanted him to visit, but he feels strange “being back in the world.” He doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions about what it’s like in Iraq.

Neela asks how long he can stay. Gallant has to fly back in the morning, since he was only given enough time to get Jamila settled. Frank calls to bug Neela about a chart, but she brushes him off. She asks Gallant about a scar on his forehead, which he says wasn’t from anything major. She ignores a page as he tells her about going to see Jackson’s family. It hurt him to have to show up in uniform because he knows Jackson’s wife had to get the news about his death from men in uniform.

Kirk won’t leave County and won’t listen when Abby tells him that Neela’s gone for the day. She decides to track Neela down and make her deal with him. Steve shows up and Luka intercepts him before he can see Sam. Pratt asks Olivia to talk to Victor, hoping she can work her anti-violence magic on him and get him off that path before he goes too far down it.

Neela and Gallant play pool and flirt until Abby shows up. She changes her mind about getting Neela to deal with Kirk, since Neela’s having a good time. Olivia talks to Victor and Mrs. Hopkins, trying to convince the boy that he can be tough by staying away from trouble instead of getting in the middle of it. Maybe one day he can be the president and fix schools so kids don’t have to live in fear. Victor wants to be a pilot instead, but either way, he’ll need to stay out of trouble.

He doesn’t know how to avoid bad kids since they follow him around. Olivia volunteers Pratt to walk him to school for a week. Pratt objects, but you know he’ll go along with this if it means Olivia might go out with him. She tells Victor that if he gives up his gun, she’ll have someone walk him both to and from school every day after that. Each week, that someone will be bigger and scarier.

Steve insists on seeing Sam, and Luka struggles to keep him calm until she’s available. As Victor’s being taken up for surgery, Sam examines him and finds that he has some tingling in one of his legs. She looks at his x-rays and sees that the bullet is missing a chip. Ray wants to keep things moving, but Sam’s worried that they’ll be operating in the wrong place. Ray protests, so Sam sends him to talk to Carter. She spots Luka with Steve and almost walks away, then goes to talk to her ex on her own.

She tells Steve that her relationship with Luka is serious, and he claims to be glad that it’s working out for her. He asks if anyone’s called or come looking for him. It’s nothing big; he just owes someone money. He asks to borrow some from Sam so he can take Alex on a short trip. After that, he may not see Alex for a while. Sam reminds him that Alex has school. Steve doubts he’ll miss much, since he’s in the third grade. She tells him that Alex is in the fifth grade. She won’t agree to the trip, and surprisingly, Steve backs down. She offers to let him see Alex (with her present), but Steve says he needs to get going. She also agrees to give him money.

Gallant and Neela discuss her struggles to adjust to her role as an intern. She’s trying to figure out who she is after being seen a certain way for so long. He tells her she can be someone different if she wants. At County, Frank tells Luka that he got bad vibes from Steve and had a detective friend look him up. There’s a warrant out for his arrest in Colorado.

Luka approaches Sam to discuss that with her, but she rushes off to make sure Ray did what she told him to. He did, and Sam was right about a bullet fragment being in an artery. He and Pratt both praise her for making a good catch. She returns to Luka, who tells her that Steve committed a robbery and someone got hurt, so he’s in a lot of trouble. Luka wants to call the police, but Sam won’t send her son’s father to prison.

Susan bugs Sam to work a few hours of overtime, refusing to take no for an answer. People have lives, Susan. It’s not her fault you’re short-handed. Luka tells Sam he’ll go home and relieve Alex’s sitter. Susan wants to emerge from her baby cocoon and have more of a social life, so she invites Carter to bring Wendall over for dinner with her and Chuck. Carter accepts the invitation but declines for Wendall, who stopped talking to him after Kem’s phone call. He admits that he feels like he’s “fallen off the tracks” and hasn’t been able to get back on.

Olivia asks Pratt to call her office after Victor’s surgery and let her know how he’s doing. She also fully intends to make him walk Victor to school for a week. Pratt complains that he’s busy, but she won’t accept that as an excuse. Stopping violence is like containing an epidemic with vaccines and medication. Ceasefire reacts to every shooting, even ones where there are no injuries, and arranges a neighborhood response any time a gun is fired. If they stigmatize violence, death rates will drop. It’s working, and she invites Pratt to come by the organization and see for himself.

Neela takes Gallant to her and Ray’s apartment so they can change clothes and then go to dinner. Meanwhile, Luka goes home and catches Steve about to leave with a bunch of his and Sam’s stuff. Alex let him in, and Steve sent the sitter home, then robbed the place. Luka tells him to put everything back. Steve argues that he gets to take back things he gave Sam. Luka decides not to fight him and just go inside.

Steve stops him, and though Luka warns him not to start anything, Steve hits him. Alex comes out just in time to see Steve and Luka fighting. He has a bag with him and says Steve is taking him on a beach trip. He thinks Sam told Steve it was okay. Luka tries to send Alex back inside, but Steve reminds him that Alex isn’t his kid. Luka quietly tells Steve he’s not going anywhere with Alex, and he shouldn’t want to, considering the trouble Steve is in. Steve tells Alex to go back in; they’ll take their trip another time. Aww, now Luka looks like the bad guy.

Neela and Gallant both get changed, and though he’s just wearing a T-shirt and jeans, she’s put on a nice dress. As she turns off the lights to leave, he catches her arm to make her stop. They start kissing and their new outfits quickly come off. Pratt will be soooooo happy that Neela finally got some, since that’s what he’s been wanting for her for a while.

Later that night, while Neela’s asleep, Gallant writes a letter. She wakes up as he gets back in bed and asks about the wound on his arm that was still bandaged when we first joined him in Iraq. He tells her that he had to run into a firefight to get to a patient. He never expected to be in the middle of combat. That firefight is also how he got the scar on his forehead. He wound up having to shoot an Iraqi soldier to protect himself and his patient. Neela’s desire to be someone different resonates with him because he just wants to go back to who he was. “All we can do is keep moving forward,” she says.

The next morning, they go to County to see Jamila before Gallant has to fly back to Iraq. Neela gets paged to the ER, but Gallant doesn’t want to go with her; he says it’s because he doesn’t have time to talk to everyone, but he obviously doesn’t feel comfortable doing it. She’s been paged to help take care of Kirk, whose back pain was actually a rare symptom of a heart problem. She feels horrible for missing it, but it sounds like it’s a hard symptom to catch.

Sam tries to talk to Alex, who’s angry that she wouldn’t let him go off with Steve. She tells him that she, Alex, and Luka are a team now, and Luka had to make a decision last night. He made the one that was best for Alex. Sam assures Alex that it’s okay for him to feel sad. He starts to let out his sadness, and instead of pushing her away, he hugs her.

Neela asks Chuny to call the burn unit so she can let Gallant know she’s been pulled into a trauma. She doesn’t have time, though, and she declines when Abby offers to take over for her. Gallant comes by the trauma room, so Pratt ducks out to talk to him. Gallant has to leave to catch his plane, but he gives Pratt a letter to give to Neela. She’s not supposed to open it unless something happens to him. Pratt says nothing will, but Gallant wants her to have it just in case.

Neela moves with the trauma team as they rush Kirk out of the ER and into an elevator. She and Gallant don’t have time to say goodbye to each other, but they’re able to exchange looks that say how much they’ll miss each other. Luka drives Alex to school, though Alex won’t talk to him. That night, Neela puts Gallant’s letter in a box where she’ll hopefully never have to get it back out. Gallant returns to his camp in Iraq with his own envelope from Neela. She gave him a piece of her jewelry to remind him of her. They both meet medevac helicopters, doing similar jobs in very different places, still thinking of each other.

Thoughts: Steve is now being played by Garret Dillahunt (who I like a lot better in the role). Mrs. Hopkins is played by Adina Porter.

If Neela thinks she only made up a possible relationship with Gallant, County staff is feeding that delusion. Throughout the whole first half of the episode, everyone asks her if she’s seen him.

I want to hug Kirk. What a sweet guy.

July 5, 2022

ER 11.8, A Shot in the Dark: The Hardest Decisions

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

This reminds me of “Veronica Mars,” when Weevil told Veronica that he always knows when she’s going to ask for something because she tilts her head

Summary: Luka comes home from a night shift as Sam is getting ready for a day shift. He agrees to pick up Alex from school that afternoon. Alex reminds Sam that he needs money for a field trip (Luka mentions that he’ll get to see the giant bean). Alex is clearly comfortable with the new living arrangements, since he uses the bathroom while Sam’s in the shower and Luka’s brushing his teeth.

At County, Neela writes a check for her father so she can pay her brother’s tuition. Ray thinks she should wait to do stuff like that until after she’s a resident and is making more money. I’m sure her brother would be happy to wait until then to finish his education. Ray asks Neela to take his Christmas shift, but she’s already working on New Year’s Eve. Ray offers to swap and also work Ramadan for her. She tells him she’s Sikh, not Muslim. (She should have taken the deal – Ramadan lasts a month.) “I’ll cover whenever you want to take a Sikh day,” he quips.

Carter and Susan are annoyed to learn that only 39% of the staff has had a flu shot. Susan dreads the possibility of the others getting sick and leaving her short-staffed. Ray hasn’t had his yet, but he doesn’t want it now since he has a gig with his band and can’t play his guitar with a sore arm. Abby finds that excuse ridiculous, and it’s on top of a string of them, so something else is definitely going on.

Chuny takes a radio report about a police officer being brought in after a shooting. Susan and Carter mobilize a team and tell a nurse to summon extra security to handle the press. Ray asks Abby to give him a flu shot sometime today – when he’s not expecting it. That way he won’t have anxiety about the needle.

Instead of an ambulance, the injured police officer, Eddie, is brought in by other cops. They were a few blocks away and didn’t want to wait for an ambulance. Despite being shot in the neck, Eddie is awake and talking. He tells his co-workers to take his keys so someone can feed his dog and get his important paperwork.

Abby examines a girl named Carolyn who got sick at school. Her mother, Mrs. Trager, wants to take her to their regular doctor, since the ER is busy, but Abby convinces her to stay. She wants to run tests, though she thinks Carolyn just has the flu. Susan, Ray, Sam, Neela, and Chuny tend to Eddie, who’s stable and managed to escape being paralyzed. He asks if everyone else from the scene is okay. Another cop says someone took down his shooter, someone who tried to rob a convenience store, then ran and hid in an apartment.

Neela notices that one of the other cops, McWayne, is flexing his hand. She thinks he’s injured but he says he’s fine. Ray struggles to intubate Eddie, and Susan decides they need to use a special scope with a light. The cops get a little “we’d like to speak to a manager”-y, not realizing that Susan is the manager. She gets the job done, then lets Ray get to work again. Eddie’s fiancée, Mallory, comes in and Susan lets her sit with him.

Pratt examines a man named Steve who has chest and shoulder pain from wrestling with his nephew. Pratt doesn’t think it’s anything more than muscle strain. Chen arrives late for her shift, looking like she had a rough night. She asks Pratt for a couple of minutes before she gets to work. Carolyn’s tests come back fine but she’s in pain now, making Abby think she has appendicitis. Mrs. Trager is mad that Abby seemingly downplayed Carolyn’s condition. She refuses to approve of any surgery her daughter needs.

Ray runs into Abby and asks what’s in her hands. Just a chart and a pen, Dr. Bravery. She notes that she never agreed to give him a sneak-attack flu shot. He asks if she has plans on New Year’s Eve, then asks her to take his shift that night so he can play with his band. Hmmm. She agrees if he’ll take her turn lecturing med students in January.

The police captain, Crawford, tells Carter that the robbery suspect is being brought in and asks for an ETA, which Carter doesn’t have. Abby is going over Carolyn’s case with him when she notices a woman leaving with a miniature horse. As far as weird things you might see in this ER, that’s only about a 2 on a scale from 1 to 10. I’m surprised she even noticed.

Pratt wakes Chen up from a nap she accidentally took while waiting for coffee to brew. She signs off on Steve’s case without examining him, since she trusts Pratt’s assessment. She’s tired because she’s been taking care of her father alone at night. Malik summons her to take care of the robbery suspect, who’s arriving later than he should be because cops wouldn’t let the paramedics go in to get him. They have to work on him while he’s still on the paramedics’ gurney because he’s handcuffed to it and the cops don’t see any rush in unlocking them.

Chen lets Neela take charge, and when the cops don’t undo the suspect’s cuffs, Neela tells Malik to find some bolt cutters. Nice. She’d also like the cops to step out of the trauma room, since the patient is in no shape to make a run for it. McWayne asks if he has a chance of making it. Neela implies that Chen is only letting her run the trauma because he doesn’t.

Abby and Frank argue over whether the mini-horse’s owner, Mrs. Gellin, can keep her inside – he says no, she says yes because it’s a service animal (it looks like Mrs. Gellin is blind). They take the argument to Carter, and Abby notes that they allow guide dogs, so they have to allow all service animals. Carter seems to have already chosen a side, judging by the way he’s petting the mini-horse, Ruby. Mrs. Gellin says she goes everywhere and is well-behaved. Carter declares that she can stay.

Crawford tells Carter that Eddie’s son, Arlo, has arrived and wants to see his father. Carter checks in on Eddie, who’s getting a surgical consult from Dubenko. Mallory explains that Arlo, who’s 15, is Eddie’s son from his previous marriage. He comes in with his mother, Benita, who tries to get Mallory kicked out of the trauma room. Susan quiets everyone and sends Mallory out of the room. Arlo only gets a minute with Eddie, trying to reassure his father that he’ll be okay.

Next door, the shooter is too far gone to save. McWayne acts like the staff did everyone a favor by not saving him. Carter notices the same thing Neela did about McWayne’s hand and asks her to examine it. Abby takes care of Mrs. Gellin in the room where Carolyn’s waiting for her next test results. Carolyn isn’t as excited about having a mini-horse around as I would be. Her mother announces that her husband wants Carolyn transferred to Mercy. Abby says she’s waiting for a surgical consult, and she won’t approve a transfer until a surgeon at Mercy agrees to accept Carolyn.

Ray comes around the corner as Abby’s talking on the phone to Mr. Trager, who’s as stubborn as his wife is about their daughter’s care. Since Abby’s holding a syringe, which she was using on Mrs. Gellin, Ray thinks she’s preparing to give him his flu shot, so he runs off. This is dumb. Abby assures Mr. Trager that they won’t make any decisions until he arrives. Fortunately, Wendall comes to help deal with the situation.

Neela examines McWayne, who has no sympathy for the dead suspect, even though he was pretty young. Neela finds something hard inside a wound in McWayne’s wrist. Carter examines Carolyn as Abby tells Mrs. Trager that they can wait up to ten hours before taking her to surgery, assuming she needs it. Carter agrees with Abby that Carolyn has appendicitis. As he and Mrs. Trager go discuss the transfer to Mercy, Carolyn asks Abby why she doesn’t get to decide what happens to her. Abby tells her that parents get to decide what’s best for their kids.

In a reversal of Carolyn’s case, Arlo is the one getting information about a parent’s care. Ray tells him about an operation they can do to stop Eddie’s bleeding with a balloon in his artery. One of his carotid arteries is blocked, so a part of the body called the Circle of Willis is detouring his blood flow. I just learned something! Frank comes in to tell Sam that Luka’s on the phone. Alex got in trouble at school. Neela shows Susan the thing she removed from McWayne’s arm: a plastic BB. She thinks Eddie was shot with another one. But Susan has already removed a real bullet from Eddie – the same kind of bullet the cops use.

Luka doesn’t have many details for Sam about Alex; the school just wants someone to come in for a meeting. Luka agrees to handle that. Sam tells Neela that they found a BB gun at the scene of Eddie’s shooting, which means the shooting suspect didn’t hit Eddie. Neela tries to keep Arlo from going into the suspect’s trauma room, but he barges in. He wants to know why the guy would shoot Eddie. Neela tells him that they’re not sure who shot Eddie. It may have been friendly fire.

McWayne and another cop come in and Arlo asks which of them shot Eddie. He’s upset but knows that it was an accident. Dubenko does the procedure Ray told Arlo about, but Eddie doesn’t wake up afterward. Dubenko isn’t sure it’s a good idea to do more surgery to repair his carotid artery. He’s not comfortable with the procedure, but he’ll do it if Mallory consents. Sam tells him Mallory is Eddie’s fiancée, so she can’t make medical decisions for him. The only blood relative available is Arlo. They could declare him a mature minor and let him make the call.

Abby brings Dubenko to Carolyn, who’s gotten worse thanks to infection. There’s an ambulance coming to take her to Mercy, but Dubenko decides she needs surgery right now. Mrs. Trager still doesn’t want to make any decisions until her husband arrives. Even when Dubenko says Carolyn’s condition is life-threatening, she won’t consent to the surgery. Dubenko declares that they’ll override that by having two doctors agree that surgery is necessary. Abby reluctantly agrees. Dubenko assures her that she won’t get in trouble since she’s doing what’s in Carolyn’s best interest. Abby knows Elizabeth thought the same thing about herself.

Wendall joins Ray as he’s telling Arlo about Eddie’s two treatment options. In the first, they use a catheter to plug his artery. He would only have a 15 chance of recovery. In the other option, Eddie would have surgery and a 30 percent chance of recovery. However, it’s riskier and half of the patients who have the surgery get worse or die.

Benita thinks that’s too risky, but the choice is Arlo’s. Wendall asks him to explain the options back to her so she can make sure he understands them. He does – the first option is a small risk with a lower chance of a good outcome, and the second is a bigger risk with a higher chance of a good outcome. Benita objects to the staff letting Arlo choose what happens to his father.

Luka meets with Alex’s principal, who reveals that Alex was busted for bringing a Maxim-like magazine to school. (It’s Luka’s.) Luka makes it out like the new living arrangements are going great and he has a big role in Alex’s life, but he has to admit that they’ve only been living together for about a week. Still, that’s probably longer than Alex ever lived with his father. And if this is the only way Alex is “acting out,” I think things are fine.

Arlo approaches Ray alone to apologize for how Benita reacted. Ray asks if he’s okay with making decisions for Eddie. Arlo tells him that his father convinced him to ask out a girl he liked because it’s okay to take chances. Eddie would want to take the bigger risk here, the surgery. Arlo worries that Benita will get upset, but Ray promises to back him up.

Steve returns to the ER with abdominal pain and dizziness. Chen criticizes Pratt for sending him home when he wasn’t stable. It turns out he has a lacerated spleen. Pratt insists that he didn’t have abdominal pain earlier. Chen thinks his shoulder problem was referred pain, and Pratt missed it because he forget about the symptoms. Pratt replies that Chen missed it because she was too tired to examine Steve herself.

Sam calls Luka to find out what happened with Alex, but he doesn’t want to discuss it over the phone. Ray tells Susan that Arlo decided that Eddie should have surgery. Abby lets Carter and Wendall know that Carolyn made it to the OR. Wendall and Carter make small talk, and then he invites her to get dinner with him. She says she has plans, then invites him to come along. She warns that it’s something physical.

Ray has managed to clear his patient load just five minutes after the end of his shift. As he’s leaving, Abby stops him and jabs him with a needle. Steve is stable and wonders how he suffered such a major injury. Chen says he probably broke a rib that lacerated his spleen. His nephew must have slammed him pretty hard. Chen and Pratt verify that when the nephew comes in – instead of the little kid they were expecting, he’s a sumo wrestler.

Abby has taken over Eddie’s case from Ray, which means she has to help guide Arlo through whatever comes next. She also still has to deal with the Tragers. Mr. Trager has just arrived, and he’s not happy that Carolyn wasn’t transferred to Mercy. Neela offers to take over dealing with Arlo, since she’s familiar with Eddie’s case. He’s upset to learn that Ray left for the night before helping him talk to Benita.

Abby takes the Tragers to the observation area next to Carolyn’s OR. She assures them that the procedure is simple, and since it’s being done with a scope, Carolyn will have a shorter recovery. She turns on the intercom so Dubenko can tell the Tragers that their daughter’s doing well. Mr. Trager says that his father came to County for back surgery and died on the table because “some junior doc” screwed up. Abby calmly promises that that won’t happen to Carolyn. “I hate this hospital,” Mr. Trager says. Abby’s face says that either she can relate or she’s surprised not to feel the same way today.

Neela stays with Arlo as he tells Benita and McWayne that he wants Eddie to have the operation. Benita thinks it’s too risky, and McWayne thinks he should play it safe and increase Eddie’s chances of survival, even if he doesn’t fully recover. Arlo objects to McWayne being there, but Benita says he’s Eddie’s best friend. Arlo says there shouldn’t be a discussion – it’s his decision, and he’s made it. He doesn’t want Benita’s opinion on the matter. Neela tries to make peace, but Arlo sticks to his decision.

As Mallory waits outside the trauma room, left out of a conversation about her fiancé, Benita says that Eddie likes taking risks too much. That’s probably how he got shot in the first place. She asks how Arlo will feel if his father dies. She wants to protect him. He’s still a child, and she doesn’t think he’s ready to accept responsibility for his father’s death.

Speaking of sick fathers, Chen calls her dad’s nurse to check in. She asks the nurse to stay late, lying that the ER is busy and she’ll have to stay a while. She pockets some potassium while she’s talking, and Pratt sees her through a window. He smooths things over with her about Steve, then asks about the potassium. She says it’s for her father, to ease his diarrhea. Pratt warns her not to give him too much. What they don’t clarify is that a potassium overdose can be fatal.

Wendall takes Carter to a rock-climbing gym, where she’s been working out while training for a triathlon. Carter gets to start with the beginners’ wall. Neela tells Mallory that Eddie’s family has decided not to go forward with the surgery after all. Mallory’s upset that she doesn’t get a say when she and Eddie have been together for three years. A rock-climbing instructor thinks Carter and Wendall are dating. He used to date her, but then she wanted to see other people. No one cares, dude.

When Sam gets home, Luka tells her why Alex got in trouble. Neither thinks it’s a big deal, and she rolls her eyes over Luka having a subscription to the magazine. He tells her that Alex wasn’t the one who got busted – his friend was, after he took the magazine into a bathroom stall with him. Sam wonders if Alex is at the same stage already. She steels herself to give him the sex talk while Luka tries to keep a straight face.

Wendall invites Carter to come back to the gym with her sometime, since she’s there a couple times a week. She talks him into getting dinner, but he’s not as interested in her now. She tells him to close his eyes and pick a place out of a phone book. She tries to veto his choice, Mongolian barbecue, which is ridiculous because Mongolian barbecue is great.

Back at County, Neela spots Arlo as he’s leaving the hospital by himself. Benita tells her to let him be alone for a while. Neela worries that he feels like he was forced into making the decision he made. Benita says he wasn’t being realistic, so she and McWayne had to make the choice for him. Neela disagrees with her claim that Arlo was confused. Benita thinks Neela knows he made the wrong choice – he was hoping for something impossible. As Arlo’s mother, Benita has to set limits. But she appreciates that Neela let them work things out themselves.

Luka goes to Alex’s room to invite him to ask any questions he might have about what his friend was doing with the magazine. Alex seems pretty familiar with the concept, and he has no desire to talk to Luka about it. Neela tracks Ray down after his show and blasts him for leaving Arlo when Arlo needed him. Because Ray left, Arlo gave in to Benita’s demands. Ray blames Neela for not doing more, but she says it’s not her job to keep Ray’s promises. He can’t leave his day job for a gig just because the clock says it’s time to go.

Ray notes that Neela was working at a mini-mart three months ago. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. She tells him that her and Abby’s shifts ended the same time his did, but they stayed because they still had people to take care of. Ray argues that they would never leave the hospital if they had to hold every patient’s hand. She says this was about one kid. He trusted Ray to help him get through making the most important decision of his life, and Ray left. Neela does the same, and Ray tries to go back to his night away from the job he always treats like a paycheck instead of a career.

Thoughts: Wouldn’t someone in a job like law enforcement have a living will outlining who gets to make medical decisions for them?

I wonder how many doctors, like Ray, have a fear of needles.

Ruby has little sneakers. LOVE.

The Tragers are jerks about the situation but when you find out why they’re anxious, it’s like, “Yeah, I get it, I wouldn’t want some of these people to be responsible for my life, either.”

Arlo seems like a great kid. I like how he apologized to Ray for how Benita treated him. How many 15-year-olds would do that? I wish we’d seen him with Mallory, though. I think it would have said even more about his good intentions if he’d asked her for her opinion.

June 7, 2022

ER 11.4, Fear: This Episode Will Wreck You

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

People come and people go but Noah Wyle continues to cling to his paycheck

Summary: A man is pounding on the door of the third-floor apartment where a woman named Nichelle lives with her young kids, Kali, Saige, and Tamira. The man threatens to kill them, then fires a bullet through the door. Nichelle moves the kids away as Saige asks what’s going on. The man starts breaking down the door, and Nichelle looks at her only escape option: a window.

Elizabeth is on her way to work, talking to Carter on the phone about how she’s facing a meeting with a committee about Douglas’ transplant. Ella is with her, looking at pictures of Mark and his parents. She’s now old enough to understand that her father and grandparents are dead, though she may not get exactly what that means. Apparently Alex never goes to school because Sam always has to find something for him to do; today he’ll be going to a science museum. She brings up the possibility of moving in with Luka, and while Alex is interested, he doesn’t jump straight to saying yes.

Neela’s new job at the mini-mart across the street from County definitely isn’t very stimulating. Howard buys a coffee, and when he takes forever to count out exact change, Abby says she’ll pay for it. She tells Neela she thinks Howard has OCD. Abby is spending the day on a paramedic ride-along, having been unable to talk her way out of the mandatory requirement by pleading that she gets carsick.

Carter talks to Weaver about the meeting that could lead to Elizabeth losing her medical license and/or job at County. He wants to speak on her behalf and take some responsibility, since he talked Elizabeth into doing the transplant, but Weaver notes that he wasn’t the one who picked up a scalpel. As a cheery Pratt arrives for his shift, Weaver tells Carter that she thinks some doctors are using work to deal with PTSD. Carter assures her that Pratt’s fine, but Weaver says she wasn’t talking about him.

She’s concerned that Carter is taking on more work so he doesn’t have to face his grief over the baby’s death. That could cause him to relapse. A woman named Wendall Meade tries to join them in the elevator but they don’t catch the door for her in time. Weaver reminds Carter that he’s been through a lot and is an addict, so he shouldn’t tempt fate. He promises that there won’t be a problem. Weaver will take his word for it, but she won’t approve him to work extra shifts. She encourages him to do something fun that doesn’t involve hanging around the hospital.

Susan’s back from maternity leave and wants to take on the role of chief of emergency medicine. She turned it down previously, but her circumstances have changed. She’s realized she’s not a baby person, and Chuck is fine being a stay-at-home father as long as Susan can earn enough to make up for the loss of his salary. She’ll get $1,000 more a week, but she’ll have to make a two-year commitment, which is fine with Susan. Weaver happily hands off some of her responsibilities.

Abby’s ambulance is the one that responds to the scene showing the aftermath of what happened at Nichelle’s apartment. She and Saige are fine but Kali and Tamira are lying on the pavement outside the building, badly injured. Nichelle tells the paramedics that her husband tried to kill the kids. Kali’s conscious and she asks Abby if she’s an angel who’s going to take her to Heaven.

Pratt quizzes the med students, showing them the exact amount of patience you would expect. He takes them with him as he examines a man named Mr. Hayslip who has some bumps on his shoulder. These bumps are what he was asking the med students about, so now he understands why they were clueless. He spots Chen down the hall and goes to greet her. She was supposed to get the cast on her leg from the shooting/car crash removed, but she doesn’t want to wait for an available orthopedist, so she borrowed a cast-cutter to do it herself. Pratt offers to lend a hand.

The paramedics start to take Tamira and Kali to the hospital. Nichelle worries that her husband will come back, but a paramedic (Dumar) promises that the police will protect them. Nichelle doesn’t want to split up the kids, so Abby convinces the paramedics to take Nichelle and Saige along, too. Dumar reminds Abby that she’s just supposed to be doing a ride-along.

Pratt removes Chen’s cast, which he notes doesn’t have anything written on it. Chen admits that she hasn’t left her house in weeks. She only came in because her father had to be admitted for a third round of pneumonia, among other problems. Pratt says she could have called him for a ride, but Chen isn’t eager to get back in a car with him. She asks if he ever thinks about Elgin. I’m guessing he thinks about Elgin a lot but doesn’t want to admit it.

Kali and Tamira arrive at County, and Carter and Pratt take over their care. Nichelle is understandably distraught, and Carter tell Chuny to get her connected with Social Services (and also get her out of the trauma room). He asks Abby if they caught the father. Dumar tells Abby they have another call to take, but Abby is in nurse mode and doesn’t want to leave Kali, so she tells Dumar she’ll wait until they come back after their next run. He reminds her that she has to do 12 hours of ride-alongs to get the proper amount of credits.

Elizabeth undergoes interrogation at the committee meeting, which is attended by Weaver, Anspaugh, and Kayson. She dances around the question of whether the rest of the surgical team knew they were participating in an illegal operation. Elizabeth stresses that there was a time crunch, so they had to bypass regular procedures. And since Douglas is doing great, she doesn’t see the problem. You know, other than the part where everything she did was illegal. She thinks breaking the law is less important than saving Douglas. Anspaugh notes that Derek was the patient; Douglas just benefited from his death.

Weaver reminds Elizabeth that she broke hospital policy, as well as state and federal laws. Any of those infractions are grounds for her termination and/or revocation of her license if the situation is reported to the state board. Dubenko arrives and Elizabeth objects to his presence, even though he’s on the medical ethics committee (which, as Kayson points out, she would have known if she’d followed protocol and presented the case to them). Weaver looks sad, but there’s nothing she can do here. Elizabeth will just have to wait for the committee’s decision.

She joins Luka, Ray, and Sam as they take care of Tamira, who’s four and just keeps calling out for her mother. Luka tries to distract her with a conversation about the Wiggles. He explains that he likes to keep up with kids’ TV so he has something to talk to younger patients about. “I hate the bloody Wiggles,” Elizabeth says as she heads next door to check on Kali. Carter asks how the meeting went; he doesn’t think Elizabeth will face any steep consequences. Kali asks for “angel,” making sure Abby’s still with her.

The med students duck into the room to tell Pratt that Mr. Hayslip has a huge mass in his chest. Carter tells Pratt he can go; he’s fine with just Howard as backup (and Abby’s still there until she needs to go back on the ride-along). Sam calls Elizabeth back to Tamira, who’s declining. She asks if they should bring Nichelle back in to say goodbye, but Elizabeth is confident that they can save Tamira.

Susan is already struggling in her new role and wonders if the universe is punishing her for being a bad mother. She and Jerry complain to each other about how Neela isn’t great at making coffee or toasting bagels. Weaver nags Susan to step up her pace, then informs her that another ER is closing for renovations soon, so County will have double the patients. Jerry simultaneously congratulates Susan on her promotion and submits a request for time off/demand for a raise/letter of resignation if he doesn’t get both.

Kali is unstable both physically and mentally. Nichelle panics over her and Tamira’s conditions, believing the staff isn’t doing enough for them. Abby calms her and assures her that they’re helping the girls. Pratt and the med students return to Mr. Hayslip with the unfortunate news that he has stage 4 lung cancer. The lumps are a sign that it’s spread to his skin. Pratt tells the med students to stay with Mr. Hayslip for emotional support, but probably also because he doesn’t want to deal with them anymore.

He goes to Kali’s trauma room and takes over for Howard. Dubenko gives Pratt and Carter some instructions, mentioning a piece of equipment they didn’t know was available. Saige comes in, asking hesitantly if his sister is going to die. Carter promises that they’ll do everything they can for her. He tells Howard to take Saige out of the room, but Howard says that’s a social worker’s job. Next it would fall to a nurse, but Chuny’s the only one there and Carter needs her. Saige says he’d rather talk to Pratt anyway (possibly since they’re both Black), so Pratt leaves with him.

As Carter’s complaining that no social worker has arrived, Wendall shows up. She tells him she’s covering two hospitals at the same time, so she has an excuse for being late, but she’d like to know his for being a jerk. Chuny smiles at that as she borrows something from Tamira’s trauma room, where Elizabeth and Dubenko are both consulting. When Tamira declines, they both rush to stabilize her. Dubenko wins and Elizabeth isn’t happy about it.

Wendall meets with Nichelle, who’s too traumatized to talk about what happened. She just wants to pray for her daughters to live and her husband to die. She laughs/cries that he gave her her children, and now he’s going to take them away. Saige asks Pratt if Nichelle will be okay. Pratt stays optimistic, both about the family surviving and about the police protecting them. Saige wets himself, and Abby tells Pratt where he can get the boy some clean scrubs.

A detective tells Abby that the police haven’t had any luck finding Nichelle’s husband. He may have left the state a year ago. No neighbors saw or heard anything, so the police haven’t been able to confirm that he was there. He goes to talk to Nichelle, who says her husband drinks a lot, so he might be at a bar.

Dubenko surprises Elizabeth by praising her for performing Douglas’ transplant. Just when she gets the chance to start liking him, he overrules a decision she made for Kali. Howard brings Abby back to Kali’s trauma room, where Dubenko’s equipment hasn’t done what he hoped it would do. Kali heartbreakingly murmurs that she wasn’t a bad girl and she wants to go to Heaven. “I want to go with you, angel,” she tells Abby before passing out.

Howard counts to himself (“one, two, three, squeeze”) over and over as he bags Kali so she can breathe. He has to concentrate harder as the other staff in the room communicate, tossing out numbers that interfere with his counting. Eventually it becomes too much for him and he yells for everyone to shut up. Meanwhile, Sam tells Luka that the girls’ conditions made her want to call Alex. He asks if she’s decided whether or not they’re ready to move in. Susan overhears and jokingly warns Sam not to do it. Sam tells Luka they’re discussing it but need a little more time to decide.

Howard’s OCD interferes again as he asks Abby to triple-check things on Kali’s chart before giving her another transfusion. While his desire to do everything right is admirable, they don’t have the luxury of time here. Pratt tends to Saige, who admits that he was scared back in the apartment. He wishes he’d done something to stop what happened. Pratt reminds him that he’s just a kid. Saige thinks that, as the oldest, he’s responsible for his sisters, even though he’s only nine. Pratt says that he couldn’t have stopped his father from what he did. “He was never there,” Saige reveals.

Kali’s doing much worse, and Howard is convinced that it’s because they screwed up her last transfusion. Wendall brings Nichelle in, wanting her to be with her daughter (though Carter doesn’t think that’s a good idea). Carter, Abby, and Elizabeth are prepared to keep working on Kali, but they all realize that they can’t do anything for her. They stop so Nichelle can say goodbye to her. When Nichelle realizes they’re done trying to save Kali, she just yells, “No!” over and over.

Elizabeth goes to Weaver’s office, where she learns that Weaver has advocated for her to stay on at County, just in an instructional position (without tenure) instead of as a surgeon. Elizabeth notes that she’s worked there for seven years and will lose tenure because of a single patient. Weaver reminds her that she broke the law and had to have known there could be serious consequences. Elizabeth thought she would get more support and appreciation for saving Douglas’ life.

She threatens to go public about the hospital’s willingness to let Douglas die if the state board revokes her license. She feels like what she did was extraordinary. Weaver agrees, but that’s not what the hospital is there for. They have enough trouble meeting the community’s basic needs. Elizabeth asks if they’re really expected to get through each day doing just enough when they can do so much more.

Abby finds Howard packing up his locker in the lounge. She wants him to talk about his obvious OCD, but he won’t listen. She assures him that the staff didn’t do anything wrong – Kali’s father, not the staff, is responsible for her death. Howard thinks his thoroughness should be praised instead of scrutinized. As he storms out, Abby tells Susan what’s going on. With Howard quitting, Susan has yet another problem to deal with.

Abby goes back to Kali’s trauma room, where Carter is cleaning up her body. She can tell he’s struggling to deal with the death of a child. He asks how she’s doing and she admits that this was a hard day. She feels for both Carter and Nichelle, having lost children. Pratt comes in to tell them that Saige said he hasn’t seen his father in a while. Someone has also uncovered the news that his father died a year ago.

Susan scrambles to find a first-year intern who qualified to match at County but doesn’t currently have a job. Somehow there are only four in the whole country. Ray offers to talk to a friend who took off a year to live with wolves. Yeah, we’re going to pass on her, Ray, but thanks for your help. Jerry thinks Susan could change Howard’s mind, but she tried, and all he did was unlock and relock his car doors. Ray mentions a neurologist who wants to get into emergency medicine. The downside is that he’s 60. Ray, stop helping! Susan is happy to learn of a candidate in Milwaukee, but Sam brings her down by revealing that Tamira died in the OR.

Wendall and Pratt tell Abby and Carter that police confirmed Nichelle’s husband’s death last year. According to Saige, Nichelle struggled to function after he died. She wound up taking Valium three times a day, then stopped when she ran out of money last week. The doctors guess that quitting cold turkey after months of taking it caused psychosis and hallucinations. Abby wonders what really happened in the apartment, since Saige hasn’t told anyone.

Abby’s in trouble for missing her ride-along, like, is this her last chance ever to do it or something? Nichelle has received some Valium, so Wendall, Carter, and Pratt hope she’ll be able to tell them what happened. Susan calls an intern candidate, but he probably won’t be a good fit in Chicago since he doesn’t speak English. There’s another prospect but his tattoos and piercings outnumber Ray’s, so that’s probably a bust, too.

Carter and Wendall gently ask Nichelle to explain what happened in the apartment. She’s not sure, but she’s lucid enough to know that her husband wasn’t there, since he’s dead. We see the opening of the episode again, this time without anyone banging on the door or shooting into the apartment. No wonder Saige was confused – his mother was yelling at someone who wasn’t there. Nichelle remembers the hallucination, then what happened to Kali and Tamira: She told them to jump out the window so their father couldn’t get to them. Saige is only alive because he wouldn’t jump, too.

Abby goes across the street to invite Neela to get dinner with her. Neela still has an hour left of work; her shifts at the mini-mart are longer than at the hospital. Plus, the only skills she’s learning at the mini-mart are ones like cleaning out the hot dog machine. Susan joins them and orders a coffee and an intern to replace Howard. Abby tells her that Neela’s having a very early midlife crisis combined with a delayed teen rebellion. Susan is desperate, though, and she knows Neela can’t be enjoying her new job. She’s right, and it just takes one complaint from a customer to get Neela to agree to take Howard’s spot.

Carter meets up with Elizabeth by the river, where she tells him she’s not taking Weaver’s offer. There isn’t enough of a future for her at County, so she’s leaving. Carter offers to talk to Weaver for her but Elizabeth feels good about walking away now. She’s lost Mark and other friends, and she has no reason to stay in Chicago. She’s known that for a while now but hasn’t let herself accept that she needs to close this chapter of her life and move on.

He asks where she’s going to go next. She hasn’t made a firm decision but she plans to go back to England for a while. She asks Carter to apologize to everyone and say goodbye for her. She doesn’t want to cry in front of everyone. She starts to leave, turning back when Carter asks what to tell everyone. “Tell them…it’s been lovely,” she replies.

Thoughts: Wendall is played by Mädchen Amick.

Goodbye to Alex Kingston, who smartly decided after a full season of getting nothing to do that it was time to leave. She’ll be back a couple more times, though.

Now that I’ve recapped this episode, I plan to never watch it again, and hopefully someday forget about it entirely. It’s heartbreaking just thinking about it.

I think it’s really interesting that Alex asks Sam if she wants to live with Luka. I don’t see him as the sort of person who thinks of others a lot.

May 31, 2022

ER 11.3, Try Carter: Red, White, and Very Blue

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

Would you trust a guy dressed like this to be your doctor? I would not

Summary: Luka’s working a night shift and is surprised when Carter shows up, wanting to work since he can’t sleep. It’s the early hours of July 4th, which means they’re going to get a lot of patients with fireworks injuries and bad sunburns. Luka asks about Kem, and Carter indicates that they don’t talk much. He claims to be doing okay.

Neela is still crashing at Abby’s apartment, and Abby is clearly done dealing with a mooching house guest who gets to sit around all day while she works. She’s pleased to hear that Neela has lined up a couple of job interviews. Neela offers to buy groceries, which Abby also appreciates, but since Neela doesn’t have any money, she’ll have to borrow some.

Howard presents a patient to Luka, who’s wearing sunglasses and sitting completely still. Carter’s lack of sleep hasn’t affected his work, and he’s moving through patients so fast that somewhere, Romano must be smiling. (And by “somewhere,” I mean Hell, because we all know he went there.) Morris has, for some reason, been entrusted with teaching the med students, and Malik jokes that he fits the old saying “those who can’t do, teach.”

Howard continues rambling to Luka, thinking that his silence about his patient is a way to get him to make his own decisions. It’s not – Luka’s asleep. Carter takes over leading the med students, introducing them to Pratt, who’s back for his first shift after the car crash. He has a scar from his head injury but doesn’t seem to have any lasting effects. He’s happy to be back at work and says July’s his favorite month, since he gets to show off to the new interns and med students. Carter asks him about Chen, but I don’t think Pratt has had much contact with her.

Paramedics bring in a man named Hanson who was stabbed. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal, since he’s been shot multiple times in the past and considers himself bullet-proof. Luka is now awake just in time to go home. He chats with Sam, who tells him Alex has a soccer game that afternoon. Carter assigns Ray to babysit a patient until he’s been admitted to neurology. Ray bets Frank (who’s dressed as Uncle Sam) $40 that he can get the man admitted in 20 minutes. Frank accepts, and Ray proceeds to use his social skills to win the bet.

Neela goes to a job interview at a coffee shop at the mall, but the manager doesn’t care that she went to Yale and finished med school if she doesn’t have barista experience. I guess on-the-job training doesn’t exist there. Back at County, a med student asks Frank if Abby is dating anyone. Frank says she’s seeing him: “It’s a casual sexual relationship but we’re always looking for a third.” Thank you, Frank. That’s both disturbing and hilarious. The student asks Abby a couple of medical questions, then tries to ask her out. She advises him to get a psych consult. Heh.

Paramedics bring in a bike courier named Tunny who was in a crash. Ray notices his Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band T-shirt and mentions that he’s thinking about putting a new band together. Abby calls him Dr. Bon Jovi. Heh again. The cyclist Tunny crashed into is brought in next, and Abby has to stop him from smacking Tunny with his helmet. Waaaah, sorry about your $6,000 bike, but that’s no excuse for assault.

A drunk patient steals Penny’s stethoscope while she’s trying to examine him. Carter yanks it back from him and gives it back to her, all without breaking his stride. Pratt examines Hanson and determines that he needs surgery for internal injuries. Hanson doesn’t care that his condition is serious and demands that Pratt and Carter let him go. Pratt’s so annoyed that he says okay. Carter wants to call psych instead, though Pratt says he’s stupid, not crazy. Carter warns that Hanson could sue if he goes home and dies. I don’t think he can do that if he leaves against medical advice. Pratt decides to call Hanson’s brother, whom he wanted to call anyway, and see if he can get Hanson to stay.

Penny is still struggling with her patient, and Carter has to get her stethoscope back for her again. Some guy dressed as a Revolutionary War soldier complains about the long wait, but Carter points out that there are a lot of patients so he’ll need to be…well, patient. Abby checks on Tunny, who’s either not sober or has a head injury. She advises Ray to get him a head CT.

Carter starts to weigh in, but he and Ray rush off to tend to a man named Derek who was shot in the head during a liquor-store robbery. His girlfriend says he was trying to help the owner. Carter lets Abby run the trauma, but a surgeon named Lucien Dubenko determines that Derek can’t be saved. He doesn’t have family, so the staff can start screening him for his fitness to be an organ donor without waiting for consent.

Carter chastises Pratt for sitting down while studying an x-ray. Dude, the guy had brain surgery not that long ago. Chill. Ray hangs up on Tunny’s boss, who wanted Ray to give Tunny a drug test that Tunny won’t consent to. Ray insists there’s no need anyway. Plus, Tunny doesn’t show any signs of having a head injury. Abby quizzes Tunny on who Ray is and where they are, which he doesn’t answer in a way that convinces her that he’s okay. But when Ray asks him the first three chords of “Californication,” Tunny answers correctly, so Ray’s satisfied that he’s okay. Yeah, no one has ever been able to play the guitar stoned!

Abby and Ray continue arguing about the issue. Ray doesn’t want Tunny to lose his job because he used drugs off the clock and tested positive on the clock despite not being under the influence anymore. Abby asks if Tunny is Ray’s dealer. Maybe they should give Ray a tox screen, too. After Ray walks off, Abby tells Sam (who’s not aware of the debate here) to add a tox screen to Tunny’s test orders.

Neela goes to another store at the mall to apply for a job, but she doesn’t have retail experience and doesn’t have strong enough fashion sense for the supervisor’s tastes. I think Neela just dodged a bullet by not having to work for someone like that. Carter finds Howard taking a long time giving a woman stitches because he likes them all to be the same length. Malik runs by and Carter asks him where the fire is. Malik says it’s in exam 3. Also, the fire is literal, or at least the smoke is – someone set off a stink bomb.

Carter deals with an incompetent med student (with this crop, minus Abby, that’s redundant), then returns to Hanson. Dubenko has gotten him to agree to surgery by telling him about a quick procedure so minimally invasive that Hanson will be able to go home tomorrow. Elizabeth isn’t on board, and Carter and Pratt share her concerns that Dubenko will be able to pull it off. I guess he outranks Elizabeth because even though it’s three against one, Dubenko wins.

Pratt tells a patient that all her tests came back fine. She tells him she still wants to see a specialist. Lady, you’re taking up space. Go home before that Revolutionary soldier throws a tantrum. Carter praises Ray for moving his patients along quickly, so Ray asks Sam why Tunny hasn’t been discharged yet. She tells him they’re waiting for the results of the tox screen Abby ordered.

Carter goes to the waiting area to get a soda. There’s a baby crying and he can hear an ambulance siren outside, but he blocks everything out for a few moments. He sees Derek’s girlfriend on the phone, calling someone about his death. Carter’s barely able to stop a med student from giving a 17-year-old nitroglycerin for chest pain. The teen just has muscle pain from a strenuous workout.

Carter blasts Pratt for not keeping a better eye on the med students. Pratt has obviously downplayed how ready he is to be back at work, so Carter tells him to go home. He needs to get himself back in shape before he can fix anyone else. Pratt thinks one of him is worth multiple doctors and nurses, so Carter needs him there. Carter isn’t impressed.

Abby tells Carter that Derek is HIV-positive, so he can’t be an organ donor. Carter asks Frank to call Luka to come fill in for Pratt. Abby invites Carter to go to an AA meeting with her and then have dinner together. Ray interrupts to blast her for ordering a tox screen for Tunny. He was negative for everything, and Ray is tired of Abby sticking her nose into his cases. Carter reminds Abby that if she has a problem with another doctor’s work, she should talk to an attending. Abby says it’s easier to just fix it herself. That’s what nurses do.

Derek’s girlfriend (I think her name is Rhonda, and if it’s not, it is now) introduces Carter to a friend named Douglas. He needs a liver transplant, and he and Derek have the same blood type, so Rhonda was hoping Douglas could get Derek’s liver. Carter tells them that Derek isn’t eligible as a donor. Rhonda knows that Derek had HIV, and Douglas also has it, so they think something can still be done. Douglas only has a few months to live, and he knows no one will give him a liver since he’s HIV-positive.

Ray gives Sam a bunch of test orders for a kid with a second-degree burn. When she questions his requests, he notes that she didn’t have a problem ordering unnecessary tests for Tunny when Abby asked for them. In Sam’s defense, she didn’t know that Abby wasn’t working with Ray. Luka returns to cover for Pratt, but I’m not sure what good he’ll be when he’s barely gotten any sleep.

Sam and Luka tend to a Jane Doe who was found unconscious in a park. Luka enlists Howard to help them, but he doesn’t work fast enough for Luka’s tastes. Sam finds marks on the woman’s neck indicating that someone tried to strangle her. Elizabeth complains to Weaver about Dubenko, though one of her complaints is that no one told her he’d been hired. Weaver tells her it’s her own fault for not going to all the search-committee meetings. Elizabeth only missed one, and she thinks Weaver waited until she wasn’t there to hire the only candidate Elizabeth didn’t get to give her opinion about. Weaver tells her not to take it personally.

Speaking of Dubenko, Carter brings the Derek/Douglas situation to him. Dubenko reminds Carter that it’s against the law to use an organ from an HIV-positive patient in a transplant. Even if Douglas is okay with it, the group that oversees organ donations won’t ever approve the donation, and no surgeon will ever agree to do the procedure. As Dubenko is leaving, he smells another stink bomb. “They warned me about this place. They weren’t kidding,” he says. Did they warn you about security? Because security is really sucking today. Carter approaches Elizabeth next, but she can’t do anything about Dubenko.

Alex shows up unexpectedly, not wanting to go to his soccer game. Someone else was supposed to take him, but Luka’s almost done with his (well, Pratt’s) shift, and he offers to go instead. Neela wanders the mall, taking a break on a bench that happens to feature an ad for a job-hunting service. She pays them a visit but her only work experience is from a restaurant, something she doesn’t want to do again. All she knows is medicine.

Carter has filled Elizabeth in on the Derek/Douglas situation, but she’s not on board yet. She asks why he’s pushing so hard for Douglas to get Derek’s liver. Carter just wants to make up for not being able to save Derek. He wants something good to come out of this. Elizabeth notes that doing the transplant could lead to a lawsuit or her termination. Carter points out that Douglas is fully informed and wants the liver, so he’s not going to sue. This is his only chance. He doesn’t think Elizabeth would lose her license; she’d be doing what’s in her patient’s best interest.

She brings up the possibility of being prosecuted for what’s essentially a crime. Carter tells her that legislation is making its way through the proper channels for donor transplants between HIV-positive patients. As soon as the governor signs it, it’s in effect. (For the record, the governor at that point in time was Rod Blagojevich. Just a little trivia I thought people would enjoy.) Of course, “almost legal” isn’t the same as “legal.” But Carter doesn’t want to let the liver go to waste, and Douglas is a great candidate for the transplant. Elizabeth knows Weaver will freak out, which is actually what convinces her to do it.

Sam chastises Abby for using her to go behind Ray’s back, but it turns out that something came up on Tunny’s tox screen, so Sam isn’t too upset. Carter sends Derek to surgery, to Abby’s surprise. She invites him to a meeting again, though she apparently doesn’t attend them herself anymore, or at least not regularly. He tells her he’s fine, but Abby knows he’s facing challenges that could put his sobriety at risk.

Howard tells Abby that Jane Doe seems to be having trouble breathing. She tells him to call someone from respiratory therapy. She then lets Ray know that Tunny’s tox screen came back showing that he took a toxic amount of aspirin. Susan comes by the ER after taking her baby (whom we didn’t even hear was born) to a checkup. His name is Cosmo. No comment. Carter offers to watch the baby while Susan uses the bathroom.

Abby watches Howard as he goes through a mental checklist before treating Jane Doe. He’s a little more thorough than he needs to be. Chuck comes in to get Susan and Cosmo, and he gets overprotective about the baby’s exposure to germs. An ENT comes down to complain to Carter that one of the med students called him to consult on a kid with an earache.

Jane Doe needs intubation but Howard is taking his time with it. Luka left, so Abby is the ranking staff member in the trauma room. Howard has triple-checked some dosage, and Abby tells him to get a move on already. Sam accidentally makes him knock over his tray of instruments, which just leads to another delay. Abby takes over for Howard, who definitely shouldn’t be working in any kind of emergency situation.

Luka enjoys a little honorary dad time at Alex’s soccer game, then offers to kick a ball around with him sometime. Alex tells him that he likes being friends, but he already has a father, and Steve is coming back. Note that it’s been at least a couple of weeks since Steve took off, and he hasn’t returned yet. Back at County, that med student who hit on Abby earlier tries to get some time with her again, but she’s focused on Howard. She’s figured out that he may have obsessive-compulsive disorder. He won’t answer her when she asks if she’s right.

Carter escapes some needy med students by ducking into the lounge. Chuck is in there with Cosmo, using a nursing device that more or less lets him breastfeed. He loves it and Cosmo doesn’t seem to have any problems with it, so…good for him, I guess. Carter’s a little freaked out and will have to find another place to hide from the med students.

Ray tries to make peace with Abby over their earlier struggles. He offers to buy her dinner but she declines. They head across the street to the mini-mart as she asks if he knows Howard. Ray hasn’t noticed anything off about him, and he figures Abby’s just more comfortable working trauma cases than Howard is. Abby’s considering saying something to an attending, but Ray doesn’t think she should.

Suddenly they realize that the mini-mart has a new employee, and it’s someone they know. Neela finally got a job! She feels like a loser, though. She’s realized that she blew up her life and can’t fix it. She has no job, no money, and no place to live. Now she’s working for what has to be minimum wage, wearing a Statue of Liberty hat even though she’s not American.

Luka and Alex play a video game together, and Sam objects when Alex trash-talks Luka by calling him a “Slav bastard.” Luka doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Sam wants to go home but Alex wants to keep playing. Luka says they can spend the night. Actually, they can stay as long as they want, since he still wants them to move in. Sam hasn’t discussed that with Alex yet, though, so they head out.

Carter can’t find Ray, so Chuny tells him to check the roof, one of his favorite spots. Frank says he’s been living in the on-call room and cooking on the roof. Indeed, Ray is up there having his own July 4th cookout and playing an electric guitar. He invites Carter to join him but Carter isn’t up for socializing. Ray says he heard about Carter’s baby and expresses his sympathy. Carter thanks him but makes it clear that he doesn’t want to talk about it.

He warns Ray that Weaver might have a problem with him living in the hospital: “She has the place sprayed for interns.” A fireworks show starts over the water, and the guys have one of the best views in the city. Ray plays “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his guitar, a la Jimi Hendrix, while Carter watches the fireworks without really enjoying them.

Thoughts: Quick tip: If you ask someone if their manager is there and they reply, “Unfortunately,” DO NOT interview for a job there, even if you’re as desperate as Neela is.

Pratt: “There’s a little blood in Morrison’s.” Hanson: “That’s bull!” Pratt: “Do you know what Morrison’s is?” Hanson: “Do you?” Ha! How do you even respond to that?

It would have been nice if Rhonda had told the staff about Derek’s HIV status before they started working on him.

Shane West really does play the guitar, and he’s pretty good.

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