November 6, 2018

ER 2.17, The Match Game: You Can Cut All the Tension With a Scalpel

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

I guess they give them white uniforms so they can be bleached, but it’s still a dumb idea

Summary: Mark rides his new motorcycle to work and tells Jerry he feels like a Hell’s Angel. Jerry admires the beard he’s growing, though it’s taken him a week to get it to where it is. He’s also ditched his glasses for contacts. Someone’s having a midlife crisis! Jerry tries to invite himself along on an evening out with Doug and Mark, but Doug doesn’t take the bait. Hicks tells Benton that Vucelich published his study, so Benton’s accusations haven’t gone anywhere. Since he isn’t willing to take it to the ethics committee, Hicks thinks he should keep his mouth shut.

Carter’s so nervous about finding out which hospital he’s matched with that he’s throwing up in a bathroom. Harper is unbothered and possibly amused. Susan and Chloe meet up for breakfast, and it’s super-awkward. Chloe credits Susie as her motivation for turning her life around. She’s been clean for five months and is engaged. (If she’s getting married to a guy she’s known less than five months, I don’t think she’s as put-together as she thinks.) Chloe says she wants to be Susie’s mother, and Susan replies that Chloe leaving was the best thing that’s ever happened to the baby.

Carol has to wear an all-white nurse’s uniform to work, now that she’s signed on with a temp agency. Her hours were cut in half, and her earthworms died, so this is her best chance to make some extra money. Doug teases her by making sure she sees that Jeanie has been named Employee of the Month. Up in daycare, Susan finally puts some security in place, ordering the staff not to let Chloe see Susie without permission.

Mark treats a patient named Mr. Bartoli who had chest pain after a romantic encounter with a postmistress. Mark recognizes his enhancing ointment as digitalis, which can cause a heart arrhythmia. Mr. Bartoli thinks Mark can relate to being a bald guy with low testosterone who needs some help. Carter thinks his hopes of being matched with County are going to be dashed, which he deserves after the way he’s been acting over the past few weeks. He vows to put his patients first from now on. He gets his first chance with a teenager named Brett who was in a car accident, then with the teen’s grandfather, Mr. Bowman.

Shep is back at work, now partnered with baby EMT Riley. He’s not happy about it. Mr. Bowman is more worried about Brett than himself, so he doesn’t let Carter give him a full exam. Carter quickly moves on to try to help other people. Brett has a leg injury, and Mr. Bowman notes that he injured the same knee a few months ago playing basketball. Benton asks to see his previous chart.

Other car accident victims arrive, including Freddie, who claims to be sober but has track marks on his arms. Mark runs around helping various people, and assists Susan in saving Freddie’s life. It’s hard for her to be happy about it since Freddie caused the crash and killed one of the victims. Carter examines a man named Mr. Ledbetter who wants to go to work so he can continue trying to make partner. Carter says he wouldn’t feel right about letting Mr. Ledbetter leave without a full workup.

Brett’s leg isn’t broken, but Benton thinks he has the beginnings of a tumor. He can’t believe the doctor who treated him the last time he was there didn’t catch it. Carol checks the chart and sees that the doctor was Doug. Mark thinks the tumor is small enough that it would be easy to overlook, but Benton doesn’t think that changes the fact that Doug misdiagnosed Brett. Mark tells Benton not to say anything to the family – he’ll talk to them.

Carter gets his match letter and is thrilled to see that he’ll be doing his residency at County next year. He wants to spend his lunch break celebrating with Harper. Lydia brings in a filthy man named Hugo, and the nurses try to figure out whose turn it is to clean him up. After a round of Rock Paper Scissors, Carol gets the task. She tries to hand it off to Jeanie, but Jeanie knows this is a nurse’s job.

Freddie’s mother arrives and denies that her son uses drugs. Susan says he tested positive for cocaine, but Freddie’s mother says it was wrong. Susan yells that he got drunk and high, drove a car, injured a bunch of people, and killed a girl. She gets a slap in return. Carter calls his father to share his good news, but their phone connection is bad because his father’s on a boat and Carter has a ’90s cell phone. He tells Mr. Ledbetter that he’ll need to see a hematologist for severe anemia, then takes off to hang out with Harper.

Mark tells Doug about his missed diagnosis, then calls in Kathy Snyder, a hospital lawyer. Kathy says that they have no legal obligation to tell Brett’s family that they missed the tumor on his last visit, which means they won’t know that they can sue for malpractice. Mark agrees that they should keep quiet. Doug volunteers to tell Mr. Bowman about his grandson’s condition; it’s his case and his responsibility.

Hugo sings “Younger Than Springtime” while Carol hoses him off in a shower. Jeanie comes in to get Carol for something, and Carol accidentally sprays her with the hose, making herself feel better. In the lounge, Susan tells Mark that she’s fighting to make sure Chloe can’t take Susie back. She notices that his usual brown eyes are now blue, thanks to his new contacts. She gets a page and frantically tells Mark to send security to daycare.

Jeanie asks Carol to tend to a patient who’s throwing up, since that’s a nurse’s job. Carol gets her back by telling her to stitch up Hugo’s bleeding hand, as that’s a job for a physician’s assistant. Susan races up to daycare, thinking Chloe has shown up, but it turns out the staff paged her so she would be able to watch Susie take her first steps.

Doug tells Mr. Bowman that Brett has a tumor, but the doctor coming to take care of him is terrific and has had a lot of success with patients like Brett. Later, Benton approaches Mr. Bowman and realizes that no one told him that Doug missed the tumor four months ago. He complains to Mark, saying that whether or not they have a legal obligation to come clean, they should do so for ethical reasons. Mark brushes him off.

Doug pleads with a doctor to take on Brett’s case, offering to pay part of Brett’s bill and make up some of the cost by working in the doctor’s clinic. The doctor accepts the offer. Carol gleefully tells Mark that Hugo tripped on his way out of the hospital, and now Jeanie has to give him more stitches. Susan tells Mark that Susie took her first steps, which has turned her whole day around.

As Mr. Bowman thanks Benton for what he did for Brett, the little devil and little angel on Benton’s shoulder scream in his ears for a few moments. The little devil wins, and he decides to come clean. Mark examines a woman named Iris who suffered a minor head injury while working on an infomercial. Haleh laughs silently as Iris hits on Mark, equally hoping to cast him in an infomercial and get him into bed. Mr. Ledbetter’s still waiting for test results, since Carter hasn’t returned and hematology never showed up. He tells Susan to fax the results to his office, since he’s leaving.

Mr. Bowman confronts Doug for not telling him that he missed the tumor four months ago. Doug apologizes, but Mr. Bowman doesn’t think he’s sincere. Doug wants to continue trying to set up Brett’s care with the oncologist, but Mr. Bowman is done with his “help.” Meanwhile, Carter and Harper celebrate at a hotel with sex and champagne.

Iris also wants to celebrate, inviting Mark to dinner once he tells her that her brain scans are fine. She wants him to do an infomercial about a blood-pressure drug that also helps with male pattern baldness. Mark was led to believe that some women see baldness as a sign of virility. “Who told you that, some bald guy?” Iris laughs. Jeanie hands Hugo back off to Carol to get him a cab, because this stupid plot still isn’t over.

Susan has to give Mr. Ledbetter the bad news that he has leukemia. Carter and Harper have moved their celebration to a giant bubble bath, which he accidentally drops his pager into when it goes off. Shep and Riley bring in a girl who was injured at gymnastics practice, and Shep complains about Riley’s sloppy IV-insertion technique. The tension spreads to Doug and Benton, as the former doesn’t want to work with the latter, knowing that Benton was the one who ratted him out to Mr. Bowman. Mark has to step in and send Benton away.

Carter finally returns to the hospital, taking his sweet time to respond to his page. Susan blasts him for not realizing from Mr. Ledbetter’s examination that he has cancer. Carter’s tipsy, so when Hicks invites him to scrub in on an operation, he has to decline. Hicks tells him that ignoring his pages was bad enough, but drinking while on call is truly horrible. In fact, it’s grounds for expulsion. Carter whines that he just matched at County. I highly doubt she cares, dude.

Doug and Mark decide to call off their guys’ night out, though Doug thinks Mark should go without him. Haleh and Lydia agree with each other that Benton did the right thing by telling Mr. Bowman about the missed diagnosis. Carter’s received enough congratulatory gift baskets to feed the entire hospital, but he’s back to puking in the bathroom. Mark assures him that he can’t be expelled without a hearing, though he could lose his match. Mark will try to help.

Shep comes in to tell Carol that Riley backed into a homeless man in the parking lot. Yep, it’s Hugo. He was out in the ambulance bay, waiting for the cab Carol never called for him. Doug and Benton encounter each other in the lounge, both keeping their mouths shut this time. Carol and Jeanie tend to Hugo together, realizing that their rivalry has caused enough damage.

Mark confronts Benton for going against his orders and causing trouble for Doug and the hospital. Benton says that if Doug had done his job, Brett wouldn’t be facing amputation. Mark says that telling the family wasn’t Benton’s decision to make. He knows Benton is trying to ease his guilty conscience since he didn’t blow the whistle on Vucelich. “The truth is a lot easier to tell when it’s not your own career on the line,” he notes.

Carol chastises Shep for being so hard on Riley. Shep thinks he’s being punished for going into the fire and causing Raul’s death. Carol reminds him that he saved three kids, but to Shep, that’s not as important as the fact that he killed his best friend. Doug tells Susan that he saw dozens of kids the day he treated Brett, so he didn’t have time for an extensive exam. He acknowledges that Benton didn’t do anything wrong in telling Mr. Bowman. Susan notes that Doug is the one who has to pay for the mistake, but Doug says Brett’s the one who has to face the worst consequences.

Mark goes out to a bar and runs into Kathy. She helps him look for a lost contact, which somehow got stuck in his goatee. Susan takes Susie home, trying to avoid Chloe, who’s staked out the apartment. Chloe has gotten a lawyer and plans to file for visitation rights. Susan announces that she’s adopting the baby, no matter how badly Chloe wants her back.

Jeanie runs into Benton at Doc Magoo’s and tells him he did the right thing. Benton says he “broke the code,” which reminds Jeanie of a story Mae once told her. As a child, Benton turned in a kid for stealing money, and wound up blacklisted with a broken nose. Benton says he’s never learned to keep his mouth shut. At home, Susan reads Susie Goodnight Moon, clinging to what might be one of her last nights with her baby.

Thoughts: Mr. Bartoli is played by Richard Schiff. Iris is played by Joanna Gleason.

“Ha ha, my patient got hurt and now Jeanie has to do more work!” Shut up, Carol.

The number of times Carter should be fired, or at least harshly disciplined, throughout the series is probably in the double digits.

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October 23, 2018

ER 2.15, Baby Shower: Regular-Baby Baby Mamas

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

For the record, Abraham Benrubi is only one inch shorter than Scottie Pippen

Summary: Benton is in bed, but he’s not asleep, so don’t drink. He rides an exercise bike while going over the steps of a surgical procedure. He scrapes frost off of his car window, but the car won’t start. When he gets to work, his procedure has been canceled, which leads him to ask Hicks if there’s a problem. Since he left Vucelich’s study, he’s been underused. Hicks points out that with Vucelich, Benton had a ton of stuff to do; now he has to wait for the schedule to catch up with him.

Benton passes the time by doing some paperwork before he’s paged to the ER to try to save a man who jumped on the El tracks. He takes over the case from Mark, obviously eager to prove that he’s still a good doctor. Mark quips that when he’s done taking this guy to surgery, he can come back to the ER and help all the other patients by himself.

Susan was looking forward to sleeping in, since she doesn’t start work until 11, but Susie didn’t get the memo. Moments later, a woman named Mrs. Pearline buzzes Susan’s intercom to say she’s there to do a home inspection for Susie’s adoption. Susan’s place is a mess, and she’s tired from working late the night before, but if she doesn’t agree to the visit now, she’ll have to go back on a waiting list for a long time.

Doug still has the Bulls tickets his father gave him, not wanting to trash good seats just because they came from Ray. Jerry tells Doug and Carol that Scottie Pippen was at the hospital the day before with a kid from his tutoring program. Doug doesn’t believe him. Jerry shows him the autograph Scottie signed, but Doug thinks it’s a fake because he doesn’t know how to spell Pippen. No one else on staff saw Scottie, so no one can back up Jerry’s claims.

Connie’s heavily pregnant, working her last shift before going on maternity leave. She’s overdue and will be induced in a few days if nothing happens. Doug teases that an elephant’s gestation period is two years. Carter’s planning to ask Benton to rewrite his letter of recommendation for Carter to get a fellowship that only has six open slots for 90 applicants. The original recommendation just says that Carter has “put forth a consistent effort.” Carter’s obsessed with this application and plan, but he stops when Harper asks how long it would take after intercourse for a pregnancy test to turn out positive.

Connie brings down some laboring women, announcing to the ER that the sprinkler system on the OB ward is going off, so everyone needs to be moved to other parts of the hospital. So be prepared for the staff to deliver a bunch of babies through the whole episode. Benton assists with his patient’s surgery, though the other doctors think he’s a lost cause. One tells Benton that he’s free to do anything he wants surgically since they’re now looking at a teaching exercise – there’s nothing left to save.

Mark tends to a mother named Christy, who will need to be helped along in her delivery. Jerry tells Chuny to back him up on his claim that Scottie Pippen was in the ER yesterday. She jokes that Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman were also there, and she, Connie, and Jerry in a basketball game. Coburn comes to assess the situation with all the laboring women, though Weaver says the ER staff can handle it. Coburn is skeptical, since Mark is one of those staff members. She quickly takes over with Christy.

As Harper draws some of her own blood for a pregnancy test, Doug tells Christy that her baby is healthy. Coburn tensely gives some instructions as she heads off to take care of more women. She changes her mind and stays when Mark realizes that Christy has a surprise second baby coming. She never knew she was having twins, despite having an ultrasound months ago. The second baby is breech, but Mark calmly handles the delivery, never letting Christy see that this could be a complication. Everyone’s happy, both for Christy and for Mark.

Susan makes it to work, stressed after what she thinks was a disastrous home visit. She asks Mark to lie when a social worker comes in to do work-site interviews. Mark’s next patient, Monica, wants to be induced, but since the ER doesn’t have enough monitors for everyone, they need to wait until she labors naturally. Monica’s not happy about this. Susan meets her next patient, Tina, who’s only 13. Her mother can’t be reached, but the couple who will be adopting her baby are there with her.

Harper brings in a patient to share Tina’s room, a woman named Ms. Clark who’s straight out of The X-Files – she thinks her pregnancy is the result of an alien abduction. Apparently Mulder and Scully won’t take her calls, though. Harper sends Ms. Clark’s bloodwork to the lab, adding in her own vial for a pregnancy test. Susan sneers to Lydia about a father who’s being supportive of the mother of his child; she thinks men like that give women false hope that guys like him actually exist.

Carter joins Benton in the ER to kill some time observing before his interview. He asks Benton if he had time to do another draft of his recommendation letter. Benton says he only did one draft, but Carter has lost his nerve and doesn’t ask for another. A doctor brings in some med students to watch Benton “raise the dead,” as he’s still trying to save his patient. Benton just says that he knows how to fix the man, so he’s doing his job.

As Connie passes through the ER, Weaver, Lydia, Jeanie, and Chuny talk about some beet soup at Doc Magoo’s. The story going around is that it’s inducing labor in pregnant women. Weaver says there’s a scientific basis; a lot of plants contain an ergot derivative that makes the uterus contract. Jeanie tells Susan that one of the laboring women, Leah, may be using crack, so they need to pay extra attention to her.

Mark delivers Monica’s baby as she tells her husband he’ll be having the next one if he doesn’t get a vasectomy. Connie has a short temper with Monica’s screaming, but when they deliver the baby and realize she weighs about ten pounds, Connie tells Monica to scream all she wants. The baby isn’t breathing, and as Doug tends to her, he guesses that Monica developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. Mark is again calm with the mom.

Susan and Jeanie talk to Leah, telling her they’ll have to run a tox screen on her since she has a history of drug use. Leah is annoyed that Jeanie told Susan about her past crack abuse. She insists that she’s clean and has learned from the mistakes she made when she was younger. Doug has revived Monica’s baby, and Monica is now super-friendly and happy. She kisses both Doug and Mark, declaring her love for them.

Carter meet some of the other candidates for the fellowship he wants, quickly realizing that they’re much more accomplished than he is. Susan tends to Tina, who’s struggling a lot with her labor. The adoptive father worries that she’s depending on him and his wife too much. They’re adopting her baby, but not her.

A woman named Anna arrives in labor, but what’s one more baby delivered in the ER? She tells Mark that she has breast cancer but had to stop treatment when she found out she was pregnant. She only has a few months left to live. Mark asks someone to page Coburn, but Anna resists. She calls her OB on a giant cell phone that looks funny even for a mid-’90s piece of technology.

Doctors keep rotating in and out to assist Benton as he continues his marathon surgery. He thinks there’s no harm in trying everything they can. A doctor tells him that the patient’s mother is a nurse at the hospital, so at least one person will be grateful if Benton’s work is successful. Leah’s tox screen comes back negative, so Jeanie apologizes for suspecting that she was using. A friend of Leah’s comes to visit, and Jeanie reluctantly lets her stay.

As Weaver tells Jeanie that something odd came up in Ms. Clark’s bloodwork, Tina is rushed away to deliver. Mark loses his cool for the first time all day, telling Anna (who’s also a doctor) to stop giving instructions and just focus on delivering. Then he tells the nurses to do exactly what Anna said. Weaver summons Harper to Ms. Clark’s room, asking why she ran a pregnancy test on a woman who appears to be nine months along. Harper can’t hide her joy when she hears that the pregnancy test came back negative. Labs confirm that Ms. Clark is also not having a baby, just a lot of gas.

As Jerry chats with a man about cigars, Scottie arrives to thank him for his help the day before. Jerry asks him to stay put while he runs off to find a witness. He chooses Mark, who’s in the middle of delivering Anna’s baby. Jerry runs back to the desk to get Scottie and bring him to Mark, but he’s already gone. “Is he kind of a tall guy?” Wendy, clearly not a sports fan, asks.

Susan coaches Tina through her delivery, telling her she’s doing better than a lot of adult women. Leah asks to use the bathroom, declining when Jeanie offers to accompany her. Jeanie gets suspicious and follows her, watching as Leah pauses in front of the bathroom door instead of going on. She gives Jeanie some drug paraphernalia, brought to her by her friend. She admits that she used drugs a little during her pregnancy and is frustrated that she’ll never get clean.

A man who was working on the sprinkler system was electrocuted, so the ER staff finally has a different kind of patient to work on. Anna has delivered a healthy baby but is now sad to remember that she won’t get to spend much time with her daughter before her impending death. So that’s depressing. Mark and Doug check in with another new mom, Leslie, the one with the super-supportive partner, Harris. Susan wants to clone him, and Leslie and Harris say that might be possible someday, since they’ve already used modern technology to conceive their baby.

There’s only one mother left who’s close to delivery, which means the ER staff has delivered nine babies to eight mothers, with very few problems. Coburn lets Mark know that she’s pleased with his work. Christy’s husband arrives after spending the whole day trying to find a replacement for his bus route. Doug happily introduces him to his new sons, and he promises that today will be the last time he’s not there for them. Doug is sure he’ll be a great father. Leah’s the last mom to deliver, and though the baby seems fine now, Leah’s drug use could have lasting effects. Doug tells her she’ll probably be allowed to keep the baby, though he’s clearly not thrilled about that.

Carter does his interview with Hicks and some other doctors, having to do a trick with a magnet, a knot, a string, and a coffee can while he answers questions about surgical procedures. He screws up the trick, and Hicks asks what he would do if he made a mistake like that in surgery. Carter simply says that he would prepare the damage and proceed. Hicks likes that answer. Another doctor admits that the trick might not actually be possible; what’s important is his temperament. That combined with his academic achievements, board scores, and letters of recommendation are what they’re looking at.

Vucelich gave him a glowing recommendation, but Carter’s worried about Benton’s. The doctors are pleased that Carter survived working with Benton, but they’re even more pleased with Benton’s words of praise. The final question in the interview is why Carter wants to be a surgeon. He pauses, then says that when he sees people who are sick or injured, he knows he can fix them, so that’s what he wants to do. Sounds like Carter isn’t too different from Benton after all.

Connie learns that Leslie had beet soup at Doc Magoo’s the night before. Lydia, Chuny, and Susan giggle to themselves, then put on poker faces when Connie looks at them. The ER staff realize that Leslie and Harris aren’t the perfect couple they thought – they’re actually with other people. Specifically, Leslie and her partner used Harris as a sperm donor so they could have a baby. Harris and his partner will be the baby’s godfathers. Susan knew she was right about the situation being too good to be true.

Benton’s finally done with surgery, and the patient’s alive, for now. Carter brings him dinner and thanks him for setting the bar high for him and being a good example. Now that Tina’s seen her baby, she’s not sure she can go through with the adoption. She doesn’t think taking care of a baby is as hard as everyone says. Plus, her mom will help her. You know, the mom who’s been out of contact all day and is just now arriving to be with her daughter. The adoptive parents are devastated, realizing that their plans aren’t going to work out.

Doug goes to see Ray, surprised that he’s at such a nice hotel. He’s even more surprised to learn that Ray owns the place. Doug returns the Bulls tickets, saying he’s no longer playing along like he and his mother did when Doug was a child. He’s not going to let Ray get away with dropping in, giving him presents, and disappearing again. A father sticks around for his kids’ childhood, and Ray never did, so he’s no father. Ray says that Doug and his mother deserved better.

Doug mentions that he helped deliver a bunch of babies today. Ray starts to tell Doug about the night he was born – he and Doug’s mother were at a cabin (a cabin that the bank later took back, Doug notes) and had to skate across a lake to get to the hospital. Doug, unlike his father, decides to stick around for this story.

Connie clocks out of work, annoyed that no one’s around to say goodbye, since she’ll be gone for a while. She heads across the street to Doc Magoo’s and orders beet soup. Just then, a bunch of her co-workers burst out of the kitchen to throw her a surprise baby shower. Mark jokes that after Connie has some soup, they can go back across the street and deliver her baby. Meanwhile, Doug and Ray play foosball together at the hotel, spending more time together than they have in years.

Thoughts: Christy is played by Nia Long. Anna is played by Lindsay Crouse.

“What kind of soup should our diner serve, along with sandwiches, burgers, and pie?” “…Beet?” “Oh, yeah. Definitely beet.”

One of Carter’s competitors for the fellowship is named Andrea Zucker. Is that a nod to Andrea Zuckerman on Beverly Hills, 90210? This Andrea is also from California.

Dear everyone: If a friend brings you drugs while you’re in the hospital to have a baby, get new friends.

October 2, 2018

ER 2.12, True Lies: Heirs Apparent

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:09 pm by Jenn

Could you be mean to this man? Never

Summary: Rachel’s asleep – drink! Mark wakes her up and serves her breakfast, getting the hang of this single-father thing. Jen calls to check on them, and for some reason thinks Mark is bad-mouthing her to their daughter. Rachel’s struggling with her parents’ split and the fact that they live so far apart. She thinks Mark will eventually move back home. He decides to distract her with pancakes and ice skating.

Helen is well enough to be discharged from County and moved to a nursing home. Vucelich avoids questions from Ruby about when she’ll be able to walk. He invites Benton to a dinner party at his place that night; he’ll be able to put in some face time with some prestigious bigwigs. He’s also encouraged to bring a guest. Ruby’s concerned that Helen isn’t really ready to leave the hospital, but all the doctors involved think she is. Carter ushers them out the door, as he’s been told over and over is his goal. Whatever happens to Helen, she’s not his responsibility anymore.

Mark brings Rachel to the hospital for a few minutes before they go ice skating. She holds Susie while Mark tells Susan that the past few days have been tough. He invites her to come skating with them, an idea Rachel doesn’t like. She’s starting to display the attitude we’ll see a lot of when she’s a teenager. Carol tells Doug that his dad keeps calling, but Doug doesn’t want to talk to him.

Carter tells Benton that he finally got rid of the Rubadouxes. He asks who Benton will take to Vucelich’s party, vetoing his first choice, Jackie. Carter suggests Jeanie, laughing at the idea of Benton bringing his sister to a party full of surgeons and their trophy wives. Benton knows he’s right and quickly invites Jeanie to the party. She accepts once they establish that it’s not a date.

A patient comes in after a car accident that left him impaled on a guardrail. (Owwwwww.) A maintenance man has to bring in a saw to cut him off of it. Mark, Susan, Rachel, and Susie go skating (Susie’s in a little sled; it’s cute), but only three of them have a good time. Rachel clearly doesn’t like that her father has a new woman in his life, even though they’re just friends.

“My first medical consult!” the maintenance man declares as he finishes his work with the saw. Hicks arrives to help Benton and Carter take the patient to the OR so Vucelich can operate on him. Just then, the Rubadouxes return – Helen passed out. Benton tells Carter to take care of her but not “make a career” out of her. In other words, treat her and street her again.

The skaters return to the hospital, where E-Ray is filling in for a sick Jerry. Desk clerk is actually a better job for E-Ray than nurse, as he’s better with computers and administrative tasks than he is with medicine. He’s also a licensed daycare worker, so he offers to look after Rachel. Hicks and Benton operate on Mr. Guardrail, waiting for Vucelich to join them. Since he’s going to take a while to get there, Benton insists he can do the operation himself. Hicks agrees to let him.

A drunk woman is brought to the ER in respiratory distress, and Susan soon loses her pulse. Lily sees from her ID that her name is Barbara Dean, and today is her 50th birthday. She looks older than that, probably as a result of lots of partying. Helen (whom Ruby calls Sylvie, which is really confusing) is unconscious, and Carter and Jeanie tell Ruby that she may have had a stroke. Ruby’s worried that he was right about her leaving the hospital too soon.

E-Ray entertains Rachel by showing her pictures of skin lesions. He thinks she’ll benefit from “confronting [her] fears in a supportive and nurturing environment.” Susan calls Barbara’s daughter, who wants nothing to do with her mother. Lily finds her medical records, which show lots of alcohol-related injuries and illnesses. Doug’s father calls yet again, and Doug tells E-Ray to say he died. Carol has big news for everyone: Morgenstern is in the suture room, wearing a Catholic schoolgirl’s uniform. They all run off to see.

Benton’s attempts at surgery aren’t going so well, and he loses his shot at proving himself when Vucelich finally arrives to relieve him. Hicks takes responsibility, saying she let Benton’s enthusiasm cloud her judgment. Benton just looks on as she and Vucelich finish up. Aww, poor Benton. Now he won’t get to sit at the big kids’ table!

Ruby’s distressed over Helen’s condition, and Carter isn’t as sympathetic or gentle as he’s been in the past. A bunch of staff members giggle over Morgenstern’s clothes, considering taking a picture they can use as blackmail material for the next several years. Mark and Susan finally go in and learn that Morgenstern lost control of a caber, a huge log thrown in the Highland Games. His schoolgirl’s uniform is really traditional Scottish attire. Mark determines that his leg is probably broken.

Benton tells Jeanie he has to stay late at work, so their dinner non-date is off. Noah and his brother Kenny come in after being hit by a car; Noah only has minor injuries, but Kenny’s hurt pretty badly. Noah says that he doesn’t know where their mother is, and their father isn’t around. (It seems like the actor screwed up the line, or it was poorly written; it’s the mother who isn’t around.) Carol recognizes him as a previous County visitor.

Carter gets stuck between a rock and a hard place, where Ruby is the rock and Benton is the hard place. Carter’s trying to get Helen admitted to County, but Benton thinks he’s spending too much time on something unimportant. Barbara has a do-not-resuscitate order in her records, but Susan wants to put her on a respirator to treat her breathing problems. Barbara refuses to revoke the DNR.

Benton tries to leave a message with Vucelich’s assistant canceling his attendance at the dinner party. The assistant says that unless he has a terminal illness that will kill him before the party, he’d better be there. She also admits that he’s a last-minute addition because someone else canceled, and Vucelich’s wife doesn’t like empty chairs. He should think of this like surgery: If Vucelich requests his presence, he shouldn’t decline.

Morgenstern plays bagpipes in the suture room while waiting for his x-rays to come back. He’s disappointed that having to wait to get a cast on his leg means he’ll miss partaking in the haggis and reciting Robert Burns’ “To a Haggis.” He practices while Mark takes a phone call. Benton tells Jeanie he can make it to dinner after all, so she’ll be expected there, too. Jeanie is somehow fine with this.

Rachel plays jacks with Malik, who’s used to playing with girls since he has four sisters. Carol tells Doug that she remembers Noah because he came in with his father last fall after his father passed out drunk. DCFS is now getting involved. Doug blasts Dave Donovan, the DCFS rep, for not getting the kids out of their home where they’re obviously unsupervised. Dave says he’s familiar with the family and didn’t think the kids needed to be removed – their father’s gotten sober and is going to AA. The kids were playing hooky; their dad isn’t responsible for what happened to them.

Jeanie bugs Carter to tell Ruby that Helen’s doing poorly, so he needs to prepare himself to say goodbye. Carter brushes her off. Barbara’s daughter, Karen, comes in but doesn’t want to actually talk to her mother. Susan urges her to make peace before Barbara dies. After making calls to multiple departments in an attempt to get Helen admitted, Carter finally gets neurology to accept her for a nerve study she’s probably not really qualified for. He no longer cares; he just wants her off his hands. He also still won’t tell Ruby how serious Helen’s condition is.

Mark decides it’s time to tell Rachel that he and Jen aren’t going to get back together, and he won’t be moving home. He wishes it didn’t have to be this way. Jen arrives to pick her up, but Rachel doesn’t want to leave her father. She screams as Jen carries her away. Benton goes to Vucelich’s party, where Jeanie is already socializing and is probably better liked than Benton will ever be.

Kenny and Noah’s father comes to County, and Doug interrogates him on where he was while his kids were playing in the street and getting hit by a car. Carol tries to mediate as Doug blasts the father for making multiple visits to the ER in the past because of his drinking. Carol finally pulls Doug aside and tells him to call his dad if he wants to yell at a father. Noah and Kenny’s dad is doing the best he can.

Morgenstern’s family comes to see him in the ER, playing bagpipes and drums. They’ve even brought the haggis. Haleh enjoys herself until she learns what’s in haggis. Karen’s now sitting with Barbara, remembering the times she saw her mother unconscious when she was a kid. She used to be afraid or angry; now she doesn’t have the energy to be either. She’s not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Vucelich’s dinner party is exactly how you would expect a dinner party full of rich, white people to be. Benton praises the work of one of his colleagues, and another says that Vucelich considers him “the heir apparent.” Benton confides to Jeanie that after his horrible showing in surgery that day, he doesn’t think he’ll be the heir anymore. He expects Vucelich to kick him off his study. The two of them try to figure out which part of their meal is a truffle.

As Doug sees Noah’s father hugging him, trying desperately to be a good parent, Vucelich asks Benton if they can speak alone. Benton prepares himself for the worst. Barbara’s declining quickly, and since she signed a DNR, there isn’t much Susan can do for her. Now Karen wants more time with her mother, and she’s distressed when Barbara flatlines and Susan and Lily do nothing.

Vucelich offers Benton a cigar and booze, neither of which he wants to partake in. (I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before, but Benton doesn’t drink.) Benton apologizes for performing badly in surgery and backs up Hicks’ earlier assertion that he overstepped his bounds. But Vucelich knew that would happen, and that Hicks would keep an eye on things. He likes that Benton keeps one eye on details and one on the horizon, like all good surgeons.

Vucelich says he enjoys looking at puzzles and assessing risks. Benton replies that that’s why he’s enjoyed being on Vucelich’s team. Vucelich wasn’t sure, since Benton never expresses that enjoyment. He was afraid he was seeing something in Benton that Benton doesn’t see in himself. Benton says he wants to see it. Vucelich likes that. Back at County, Doug finally calls his father but hangs up before he gets an answer. Susan and Mark come in, and the three end their tough day with some of Morgenstern’s family’s booze.

Ruby finds Carter as he’s doing paperwork and blasts him for lying. He knows now that Helen will never get better, and will never be able to leave the hospital. He’s sure that Carter knew the whole time but didn’t say anything, even though Ruby thought they were friends. Carter argues that he was just doing his job. He admits that he doesn’t know if Helen got worse because she was released from the hospital.

Carter lists all the things he did for her, but Ruby knows that he only sees him and Helen in terms of their problems, not as people. He just wants Carter to tell him the truth. Carter yells that Helen’s dying, and Ruby thanks him, finally getting confirmation of what he’s been fearing. He no longer wants Carter to call him by his nickname. They are definitely not friends.

Thoughts: Vucelich’s assistant must really hate Benton, because why else tell him he didn’t make the first cut for the guest list?

Carter, Benton, and Vucelich are lucky that Ruby never sues for what could probably be classified as medical malpractice.

Yvonne Zima (Rachel) is great in this episode, and especially impressive when you realize that she was only seven at the time.

It seems like this episode confirms what’s been obvious for a while – Benton’s way of practicing medicine doesn’t work. Carter tried it and got burned. He’s a much better doctor when he ignores Benton and forms a relationship with his patients. He has to see them as people, like Ruby says, and not like medical cases to be worked through before he can go home for the day.

August 7, 2018

ER 2.4, What Life?: Everything’s Coming Up Carter

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

Hulda seems more fun than Linda anyway

Summary: Mark’s asleep – drink! Hulda wakes him up in Doug’s apartment so he can take a call from Rachel and Jen. Susan’s having a much more hectic morning, trying to get both herself and Susie ready on her own. Benton’s having an angry morning, since his car’s out of commission and Walt is out on a test drive instead of fixing it. Jackie tells her brother not to take his bad mood out on Walt, since it’s his own fault he messed around with a married woman and got hurt.

Susan makes a stop at a store so she can buy diapers, then tries to chase off a guy who wants to clean her windshield. He recognizes her from a trip to the ER and asks for Demerol. She thinks he’s getting too close to the baby, but he just wants to make sure she doesn’t forget her diapers. At County, Carter waits for Benton while Weaver lectures Harper about wearing too many earrings.

Benton finally makes it to work in a loaner car, but someone steals the parking space he was about to pull into. Things turn physical – there are prosthetic limbs involved – and Benton hurts his finger. Susan comes in late, happy to see that things are slow. In reality, everyone’s just outside bringing in patients from a big traffic accident. Well, everyone except Carol and Shep, who have enough time to confirm their date that night.

Randi replaces Susie’s wardrobe while Harper wonders if Weaver’s seen her outfit. Lydia and Connie are proud of Carol for landing a date with Shep, but Doug just makes fun of his name. Susan tells Carol that she can claim that Chloe abandoned Susie after she’s been gone three months. Carol notes that Chloe might come back, but Susan doesn’t think she deserves a second chance.

Susan examines a ma with belly pain, thinking he just has indigestion, though it could be from heart trouble. He’s more interested in what’s for lunch than in his health. Carter and Harper went to a concert the night before and decide to get dinner together. He’s secretly taken an x-ray of Benton’s hand and determined that he dislocated a joint in his finger. Benton’s story is that he slammed it in his car door. He and Carter head in to help with one of the accident victims, and since Benton can’t do a necessary procedure, he announces that Carter will handle it.

Susan takes Susie to daycare, hoping this is just a temporary arrangement. She at least has a babysitter coming by for an interview that afternoon. Mei-Sun brings in Chia-Chia, remembering the order Doug gave her to always bring the child straight to him instead of going to the pediatric clinic. Weaver accidentally annoys Susan by asking Mark if she can deal with someone who’s threatening to sue and wanted to talk to someone in charge.

Carter’s thrilled that Benton’s injury has allowed him more responsibility. He finally fixes the dislocation, but Benton doesn’t even bother to thank him. Shep calls in on the radio for what he claims is a noon calibration check. Lydia thinks he just wanted to hear Carol’s voice. Benton spots Weaver talking to the man who wants to sue – it’s the guy he attacked in the parking lot. Benton quickly steers Hicks away from the conversation before he can be spotted.

As a cab driver brings in an elderly woman who can’t speak, Susan, Harper, and Haleh determine that a 14-year-old girl named Amy is pregnant. Her clueless mother thinks she has appendicitis. Susan kicks her out so they can have a confidential conversation. Later, she complains to Weaver that she’s only getting boring cases. Weaver thought she should have a lighter load since she’s adjusting to taking care of Susie on her own. Susan coolly says that she’ll let Weaver know if she needs special treatment.

Weaver’s annoyed to learn that Doug didn’t put Chia-Chia on the patient board. Mark steps in and tells Doug to play by the rules. Amy guesses that she’s pregnant, and though she’s adamant that Susan not tell her parents, Susan tells her she’ll need some sort of support system. The woman from the cab has her medical history with her, though not her ID. She has end-stage MS and possible dementia. Carol already has some affection for her.

Hicks invites Carter to scrub in on an operation, since Benton can only observe. Benton makes a sad face. Amy’s mother has also guessed that she’s pregnant, and she’s not pleased that Susan won’t let her participate in discussions about her daughter’s condition. Weaver thinks they should call security to keep Mrs. Thompson away from Amy, but Susan says Amy’s ready to tell her. Weaver tells Susan that sometimes seemingly boring cases present challenges. “If you’re considering violence, count me in,” Doug says.

Susan was supposed to go give Susie a bottle at noon, but she’s almost an hour late. She wants the daycare workers to go ahead with the feeding, though Doug tells her she’s allowed to have a life. They vent about Weaver, cracking up Carol and Chuny. Of course, Weaver overhears, and she doesn’t appreciate that Doug used a fake cane to imitate her use of a crutch.

Mark and Harper have no luck finding a bed for their nameless patient or figuring out where she was living before she came in. Shep makes another call, this time one that’s actually work-related, and Carol hears gunshots over the radio. Carter and Hicks get along great and work well together while Benton quietly seethes on the sidelines. Carter even gets to assist with a procedure that Benton hasn’t gotten to do yet.

Susan confides in Doug that she’s thinking about adoption for Susie. He thinks she’s looking for adoptive parents and suggests a doctor in the hospital. She clarifies that she was thinking of being the adoptive parent. Susan’s hungry patient, Tom, won’t stop eating, and she’s at the end of her rope with him. Shep and Raul arrive with their patient, a 12-year-old who was shot, and Carol sees that Shep is uninjured. Instead of being relieved, she’s short with him.

The nameless woman has started moaning, and Mark decides it’s time to find her a bed, even if no doctors have agreed to admit her to their services yet. Shep and Raul try to calm the uncle of their patient, who’s desperate to see her. But it’s not because he’s worried about her – he strapped at kilo of drugs to her leg and he wants it back. Shep chases him, accusing him of shooting his own niece. The uncle gets tackled and the drugs end up everywhere.

Mark and Harper find a room for the nameless woman and tell a nurse they’ll take it, as if they’re apartment hunting. The nurse threatens to call someone with authority who can make them take the woman back to the ER, but Mark threatens to tell her supervisor that she stopped taking admissions before the end of her shift. Susan interviews a babysitter, but the woman is unwilling to work with Susan’s unfixed schedule. She reminds Susan that babies need structure and stability.

Tom has finally eaten his way to major health problems, and with Susan away, Mark and Weaver have to tend to him. They pump his stomach after realizing that he drank an entire bottle of some solution he was only supposed to get an ounce of. Weaver blames Susan for not giving Lily clearer instructions (though her instructions were clear; Tom drank the rest on his own). Mark sends the two outside to finish their fight, then tells them to meet him in the lounge for mediation.

Carter has to cancel his plans with Harper since Hicks has asked him to monitor a patient overnight. Judging by their kiss, Harper’s okay with this. Mark sternly tells Susan and Weaver that they need to learn to work together better. He wants to make it clear that he supports Weaver in her management decisions, so Susan needs to go along with them. But if Susan runs into obstacles that keep her from doing her job, Weaver needs to step up. After Susan leaves, Mark tells Weaver that Susan is a great doctor, so if there’s a problem, Weaver needs to fix it.

Immediately after the conversation ends, Susan and Doug apologize to Weaver for the conversation she overheard earlier. She accepts, but she doesn’t want to chat. Doug tells Mark it was just a misunderstanding and asks if he’s enjoying his role as peacemaker. Doug then heads off with Linda, even though he woke up in bed with Hulda that morning. Hicks suggests that Benton do physical therapy to get his finger back in shape. She even suggests a therapist: Jeanie. AWKWARD.

Weaver and Susan team up to tend to a man who fell onto a piece of equipment in which his arm is now stuck. The nameless woman’s husband has arrived and is apologetic for sending her to the hospital. He’s now unable to take care of her on his own, and he can’t afford a care facility. He came in because he missed her after just a few hours apart. Susan guesses that her and Weaver’s patient has cyanide poisoning from his job, and though Weaver isn’t certain, she lets Susan administer treatment. She turns out to be right, and Weaver’s pleased.

Mark notes to Carol that Susan has been spending a lot of time with Susie lately. It turns out he didn’t know that Chloe left, and that Susan’s taking care of the baby on her own. Raul makes a radio check (Randi wonders if he’s single) and tells Carol to answer the pay phone. It’s Shep, who wants to apologize for anything he did to make Carol mad. He’s guessed that she was worried about him, which means she cares. She has to laugh at herself.

Mark invites Hulda to get a drink with him, since Doug is out. Moments later, Doug comes home with Linda, so Mark pretends that Hulda’s his friend. It turns out the women know about each other and are fine with not being Doug’s only girlfriends. Mark decides to pass on hanging out with them to call Susan and let her know she can turn to him if she needs anything. Susan hears him leave the message, then calls the doctor Doug said might be interested in adopting Susie.

Thoughts: I recap with closed captioning on so I don’t miss anything, and whoever has to caption all the medical terminology deserves an A+ and a gold star.

Harper, stop dating the guy who keeps talking down to you.

I think Doug’s apology to Weaver is the most mature thing he does in the whole series.

July 31, 2018

ER 2.3, Do One, Teach One, Kill One: Mark’s Greene, But Carter’s Greener

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:10 pm by Jenn

Okay, I’m not mad at this

Summary: Mark and Jen have spent the past few days together in Milwaukee, and things are going so well that she gets in the shower with him. For some reason, he thinks this is a good time to bring up his idea to spend a few nights back in Chicago when he has to work early the next morning. He’ll stay at Doug’s, though Jen doesn’t like the thought of Mark being around Doug’s parade of girlfriends and one-night stands. At County, Carter presents a patient named Ed to Benton, briefly getting distracted when he sees Harper. But Benton agrees with his assessment and allows him to make Ed his own patient.

Carol does another ride-along with Shep and Raul, going with them to an apartment building to check on a landlady’s tenant. The man is dirty, overweight, has a bunch of rabbits, and is singing to himself. When he says he doesn’t want to go to the hospital, Shep and Raul start to leave, since they can’t force him. Carol doesn’t think he’s mentally competent to make decisions about his own health. Shep resists, since he just cleaned the rig, but Carol wins the argument.

Susan brings Susie in to daycare, annoyed to see that she already has four patients lined up. Weaver tells her that since she’s a resident, she needs a larger load. Wendy tells the doctors that she’s working on an article about Mark for a nursing newsletter and will be interviewing them. Benton leaves Jeanie a message to arrange a meet-up. Chuny’s interested in knowing more about his personal life. Mark examines the singing man, Mitchell, and tells Carol he’s at risk for a cerebral hemorrhage. Mitchell cries and asks what will happen to his rabbits while he’s gone. Carol volunteers Shep to look after them.

Haleh brings Doug a four-year-old HIV-positive boy named Chia-Chia, whose mother, Mei-Sun, couldn’t wake him. Doug quickly determines that Mei-Sun gave the boy too much Dilantin, a seizure medication. Carter shows Harper how to perform a pleural tap on Ed. At first Carter’s successful at draining fluid from the patient’s lungs, but then Ed starts bleeding. Carter hesitates when Harper says they should get Benton, but he soon realizes he’s in over his head.

Doug gets the Dilantin out of Chia-Chia’s system and assures the boy that everything’s okay. Benton rushes Ed to the OR, making Carter think he’ll be out of the running for a surgical residency next year. Yeah, because that’s what’s important right now – not the fact that you botched a procedure and endangered your patient’s life. Wendy interviews Haleh, who says that Mark was really helpful when he first started working at County. “So would you say that, back them, he was sort of…green?” Wendy asks. “No, Wendy. I would never say that,” Haleh replies.

Hicks and Benton work to save Ed as Carter apologizes for his screw-up. Hicks is understanding and reveals that Benton, her best student, once made a similar mistake. Because of Ed’s drinking habit, he screwed up his veins and liver, so his health wasn’t going to hold out much longer anyway. He needs a more extensive procedure to save his life. Benton notes that Carter accidentally did Ed a favor.

Susan comes across a patient named Mr. Holthouse who’s using a Tibetan singing bowl to help him relax. He determines that she’s under a lot of stress and offers to tell her about some relaxation techniques. She tells him she’s more relaxed than she looks. Jerry reveals that he’s been promoted to supervising emergency services coordinator, though the promotion is in title only, and doesn’t come with any extra benefits or responsibilities. It makes Jerry want to wear a tie to be fancy, though. Mitchell starts seizing, and Mark and Carol try to do the math to determine how much Dilantin to give him. (Is this episode sponsored by the makers of Dilantin?)

Mei-Sun tells Doug that she usually takes Chia-Chia to a pediatric clinic upstairs, but they see a different doctor every time and often have to wait a number of hours to be seen. Doug has new medication for Chia-Chia and asks Mei-Sun if she can read English. She gets offended, thinking he’s implying that she gave her son too much Dilantin because she couldn’t read the instructions. Doug realizes that she was given two prescriptions and followed both correctly. The clinic is to blame for the overdose. He tells Mei-Sun to bring Chia-Chia to him the next time he needs a doctor.

Despite having a spinning feeling, Mr. Holthouse is able to stand on his head. Weaver questions Susan’s decision to order a CT scan for a case of vertigo. They bicker a little, and Weaver ends up telling Susan to run all procedures by her. Mitchell didn’t survive the hemorrhage Mark feared he would have, so his rabbits are now owner-less. Shep feels bad for both the animals and their owner.

Doug calls one of the clinic doctors to blast him for giving Chia-Chia a prescription that, combined with one he was already given, put his life in danger. Susan complains to Mark about Weaver and asks him to tell her to back off. Carter observes as Hicks and Benton continue working on Ed, eventually fixing his liver. However, his heart is weak and they wind up having to try to shock him into rhythm.

Weaver brings up her problems with Susan to Mark, thinking Susan resents Weaver’s position. Mark delicately says that Weaver’s assertiveness might be causing a communication problem. Ed doesn’t survive his surgery, which means Carter’s first official patient has died. Benton reminds him that Ed was really unhealthy; he probably would have died of liver failure within a month if his heart hadn’t given out. Carter reluctantly goes to inform Ed’s family of his death. Benton tells him this kind of experience is how he’ll learn and become a better doctor.

Doug jokes around in his interview with Wendy, pausing to check out a woman passing by. She’s Randi Fronczak, the new clerk. She needs a physical before she can start work, and Mark silently signals that Jerry shouldn’t assign Doug the task. Malik tells Carol that a huge guy who’s high on PCP has climbed on top of an ambulance. Susan diagnoses Mr. Holthouse with inner-ear inflammation, which will heal, though he’ll have to stop standing on his head and floating in his sensory-deprivation tank for a little while. He wants to give her his prayer bowl.

Mark joins Carol, Shep, and Raul outside to try to get the high patient off the ambulance. (He doesn’t get a name, but since he’s on angel dust, I’ll call him Mr. Angel.) Mr. Angel hits Raul with something, so Mark takes Raul inside to get fixed up. Carol thinks she can talk Mr. Angel down, but Mr. Angel isn’t in a rational place; he keeps yelling for someone named Mara. He expresses his displeasure at her absence by pulling the lights off the top of the ambulance and tossing them on the ground.

Jerry asks Susan to give Randi a physical, which Susan “completes” by telling Randi to inhale and exhale. Ed’s roommate, Olaf, shows up, and Carter has to tell him about Ed’s death. Olaf doesn’t care – he just wants the remote control Ed hid from him. Carol and Shep come up with a plan where Carol distracts Mr. Angel while Shep climbs up to inject him with Haldol. Mr. Angel starts spitting at Carol, but Shep doesn’t let that stop him. Benton tracks down Jeanie and tells her they really need to meet. Doug runs into Chloe, who’s visiting Susie and thinks she’s sick (she’s not). Chloe acts a little strange when Doug asks if Susan knows she’s there.

Susan and Haleh work on a prisoner named Curtis who swallowed razor blades to earn himself a trip to the hospital. He put tape on the blades first, so he hasn’t caused any internal damage. Weaver thinks they should leave the blades inside him, but Susan wants to remove them. At an impasse, Susan tells Harper to get Mark. Mark sides with Weaver, telling Susan they can remove the blades if he starts bleeding later.

Chuny presents Carter with Ed’s liver, which was removed so it could be taken to pathology. He’s in charge of taking it there. Mark gives Wendy an interview, telling her about an intense case he once handled. The patient died, though, so it’s not really a compelling story. Susan goes to do something on a computer at the front desk and discovers that Weaver loaded an instructional program using her own voice. This is the last straw for Susan, who storms off to complain some more to Mark.

Doug agrees to let Mark crash at his place, though they might not be the only people there. Neil yells at Doug for yelling at one of his residents, then warns that he’s dangerously close to losing his job. Even his buddy Mark won’t be able to help him. Carol hears Susan ringing the prayer bowl in the bathroom but decides not to ask any questions. Harper finds Carter with Ed’s liver and suggests that they “give him a send-off.”

Carol runs into Shep and Raul as they’re fixing up their rig, and Shep asks Carol to go out with him. She tells him this isn’t a good time, but it’s not a no forever. Shep teases that she’s dated too many doctors; she’s “shopping in the wrong part of the store.” Instead of looking for Gucci, she should be in the automotive department. This wins her over, and she agrees to a date. Meanwhile, Benton waits for Jeanie, but she doesn’t show up to meet him.

Doug checks in on Chia-Chia and finds Mei-Sun crying in his room. She feels guilty for giving her son HIV, and thinks she’s being punished since he’s sick and she’s healthy. Doug tries to comfort her. Benton waits for Jeanie at her car and angrily asks how long he has to wait for her to tell Al about their affair. She’s upset that he made an ultimatum. Benton figures this is her answer – she’s not going to leave her husband for him. Doug and Mark go to Doug’s place, where Hulda the flight attendant has let herself in to wait for her boyfriend. She’s not concerned about Mark seeing her naked, something I don’t think he’ll be telling Jen about.

As Susan’s leaving for the night, she runs into Chloe, who’s on something. She has a big plan to sell stuff at a flea market, but apparently not a flea market in Chicago. She’s leaving to make some money, and she’s not taking Susie with her. Susan is now, suddenly, a single mother. In less angsty ends to the day, Carter and Harper take Ed’s liver to a bar and raise a glass to the man.

Thoughts: Mei-Sun is played by Lucy Liu.

Show, if having Shep cuddle a bunny was an attempt to get me to like him, it didn’t work. Nice try, though. (And it’s a good look for Ron Eldard.)

This week in pointless plots: Wendy’s. Poor Wendy.

July 10, 2018

ER 1.25, Everything Old Is New Again: Goodbyes, Both Spoken and Unspoken

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

Clooney should trademark that look

Summary: Carter’s asleep – drink! Malik wakes him up for a trauma, and since no other doctors are available, Carter’s somehow in charge. The 14-year-old patient shot himself in a suicide attempt and needs a crike, a procedure in which a hole is cut in his throat. Lydia is able to outline the steps for Carter, because nurses are awesome, but Benton arrives in time to do the actually cutting. When he learns that Carter was about to do it, Benton just chuckles. He remembers that this is Carter’s last day as a med student, and instead of giving him some advice or words of wisdom, he gives administrative instructions.

It’s raining when Carol wakes up on what’s meant to be her wedding day. Amazingly, the rain doesn’t annoy her. Chloe and Susie are staying with Susan, and though Chloe was invited to the wedding, she doesn’t feel strong enough to go. Susan thinks she is. At County, Mark encourages Doug to go see Diane and tell her how he feels. Doug thinks the breakup is for the best, though he feels bad for Jake. Benton tells Carter that he needs to fill out an assessment of their time together. Carter’s thrilled to get to write down his feelings about the rotation.

Mark tries to talk to his next patient, a drunk woman named Bonnie who would rather have a cigarette than any medical treatment. Carter gives Benton a horrible assessment, with some egging on from Haleh. Out of a possible 40 points, Carter gives Benton 16. He feels a little bad, but Haleh points out that Benton had to evaluate Carter as well, so he’s probably not going to get any kind treatment there.

Swift helps Mark with Bonnie, overruling Mark’s diagnosis and recommending conservative treatments. As soon as he leaves, Mark overrules his overruling. Doug and Carter meet with a preteen named Caleb who’s feeling sick after finishing chemo. Caleb’s annoyed at their concern, so Doug tells him they can’t rule out meningitis, which can cause irritability, because the irritability might just be from Caleb’s personality. (Basically: “Stop being a brat so we can figure out what’s wrong with you.”)

Benton runs into Jeanie, who claims she hasn’t returned his calls because she’s been busy. Also, he shouldn’t call her at home. She asks to meet him later so they can talk. Mark was right about Bonnie’s diagnosis, and instead of being offended, Swift praises him for making a tough call. Then he tells Mark that the hospital has been served with a wrongful-death suit over what happened to Jodi O’Brien. Mark is upset but not surprised.

Benton examines Susan’s patient, Thomas, who has end-stage AIDS. Since Benton has no bedside manner, Susan explains things to Thomas’ partner, Jason. An oncologist sees Caleb, admitting him for antibiotics. Carter has no responsibilities, somehow, so he offers to hang out with Caleb and his sister, Sarah. Caleb continues being irritable, so Carter gives him one last chance to be nice and ask Carter to stay. Caleb declines.

Thomas is declining, and Benton tells Jason that he may need surgery. Thomas’ mother has power of attorney and is on her way, but possibly not quickly enough. As Susan heads out to get ready to be Carol’s bridesmaid, Benton tells Carter that the person who was going to take the ER sub-internship went elsewhere. The slot is open again, and it’s Carter’s if he wants it. Carter excitedly accepts, then races to take back the assessment he turned in. It’s too late – Hicks already has it.

Swift tells Mark that he’s going to take Morgenstern’s recommendation and hire him as an attending. Mark wants to discuss it with Jen, but he’s grateful for the offer. At Doc Magoo’s, Benton laments to Jeanie that he didn’t get to say goodbye to his mother. She tells him that she likes him, but this is about Mae. Benton says they’d both like to think that. (This scene is really vague. I’m pretty sure she’s trying to say they have nothing connecting them except Mae, while he’s saying there’s chemistry there.)

When Susan gets home to grab her wedding outfit, she finds Susie there alone, and Chloe nowhere to be found. She’s left a note saying she went to buy cigarettes, which is such a deadbeat-parent cliché. Carter asks Hicks if he can get his evaluation back for some edits, but instead, Hicks offers to show him Benton’s evaluation of him. Surprisingly, Benton had nothing but positive things to say about Carter. Carter pretends he just filled out a negative review because he was upset about not getting the sub-internship. Hicks graciously allows him to retract his evaluation, as long as he fills it out honestly.

Thomas’ mother, Marjorie, sings a lullaby to her unconscious son. Benton recommends a procedure, but Marjorie doesn’t want Thomas to endure any further pain. Benton agrees to keep up the current treatment in hopes that it’ll work. Outside the room, Jason tells Benton that Marjorie made the decision Thomas would have made. He wants to take Thomas home to die, but Benton thinks he should stay so they can manage his pain. Jason says that Thomas’ loved ones have already said their goodbyes, but they’re still not ready to let him go.

Doug tells Caleb’s father that he seems to have an infection unrelated to his chemo. Carter comes back to try to befriend the kid again, this time succeeding with an offer to play Mortal Kombat. Susan has to take the baby to the wedding and hand her off to the Greenes, since Chloe didn’t come back in time. The wedding party greets Carol outside the church, and everyone’s ready to proceed…but Tag isn’t there.

Benton sits with Thomas, holding his hand and inevitably thinking of his mother. Carol finds Tag sitting by himself, worrying that she doesn’t love him as much as he loves her. She assures him that she wouldn’t marry him if she didn’t love him. She admits that he’s right, but she still wants to be with him. Tag doesn’t feel the same, so we have a runaway groom.

At County, Connie teases Doug that Carol and Tag must be hitched by now. I guess Connie didn’t get invited to the wedding? That sucks – Haleh and Lydia got to be bridesmaids. Jake comes by to try to fix Doug and Diane’s relationship, but Doug knows it’s unfixable. He admits that sometimes he hurts people without knowing why.

Now that Caleb has softened a little, Carter opens up to him: His own brother had cancer as a child and sometimes took out his anger on Carter like Caleb does on his sister. Carter knows he was just trying to mask his pain. As Sarah looks on, Caleb tentatively asks if Carter’s brother made it. Carter says no, but he had a different kind of cancer than Caleb does. Plus, it was a long time ago, and medicine is better now – and the kids are tougher.

The wedding is off, but everyone gathers for the reception anyway. Malik wonders what will happen to the food. When Rachel says she’s hungry, Mark decides it’s okay to raid the buffet. The bridesmaids and Jen are ready for the open bar. Doug goes to the church, where the non-bride is crying in a pew. She asks what’s wrong with her, and why she can’t fall for a good guy. Doug says Tag is boring, which makes Carol laugh. She confides that she’s afraid she’ll never be happy. He assures her that she will be, not even realizing that when she is, it’ll be with him.

Carter thanks Benton for teaching him over the course of the year. Benton tells him he’ll be a good doctor, possibly the first kind words he’s ever said to Carter’s face. The reception is going on as if the wedding actually happened, and when Carol arrives, she expresses her gratitude for having friends who care about her. She’s had a great year because of them. Everyone dances to “Tequila,” and it looks like the actors are really enjoying themselves. Of course, Doug can’t keep his eyes off of the non-bride.

Back at the hospital, Carter turns in the contents of his locker, ready for a summer off before he begins his sub-internship in the fall. Sarah tells him that she hopes one day she can make a difference in someone’s life like he did for Caleb today. Rolando encourages Carter to come back and visit sometime, unaware that Carter will be working there in the fall. He heads off as the busy hospital continues to operate without him.

Thoughts: One season down, 14 to go! Things are about to get a lot more interesting. (Two words: Kerry Weaver.)

I was expecting Marjorie to be hateful and judgmental, which would be an easy direction for the show to go with that storyline. I’m glad they didn’t.

The plot parallels in season 1 don’t hit you over the head like they do in later seasons. It’s nice.

The Carol/Tag breakup is so anticlimactic, but she really wouldn’t have been happy with him. He’s a jerk, though. If you don’t think it’s a good idea, call it off before everyone gets to the church.

 

July 3, 2018

ER 1.24, Motherhood: Cue “The Circle of Life”

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

Welcome to the madhouse, Susie

Summary: Susan’s asleep, so drink! Chloe wakes her up to announce that she’s going into labor. Well, really, she’s been in labor for a while; her contractions are now just two minutes apart. Susan quickly gathers her things including a giant boombox, and they rush to County. Susan hands her sister off to Carter, who isn’t very helpful with the Lamaze breathing. By the time Susan has put on a gown to help out with the delivery, the baby is already crowning.

Susan and Nurse Chuny Marquez deliver while Carter tries to find the right cassette to play. He fails, so Susan and Chloe provide their own soundtrack, singing the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” Mothers everywhere curse Chloe for having such a fast, easy delivery. Everyone else watching rolls their eyes, because the baby is gigantic and at least three months old.

Susan shows the baby off to Carol, still stunned that she delivered her own niece (and on Mother’s Day). Carol hopes to start trying for a baby soon after she gets married, though right now she’s just trying to get through all the preparations. Tag’s family is in town and driving her crazy. As they run up to the roof to meet a helicopter, Mark tells Carter that he’s been picked for the ER sub-internship he applied for. Carter hasn’t heard back about the surgical sub-internship yet, and needs to accept or decline the ER one by the end of the day.

Doug arrives at work and tells Rolando that there’s a horse in his parking spot. Rolando isn’t sure if that necessitates a call to security. Susan and Carol tend to a man named Josh who fell unconscious after mixing ammonia and bleach to clean his kitchen. In the trauma room next door, Mark, Carter, and Benton tend to a teenager named James who was impaled on rebar. Hicks comes by to help, so Mark goes over to check on Susan and Carol, who have things under control.

A scout mother named Dolores brings in some sick kids she’s diagnosed with giardia from contaminated water. Doug gets puked on. Mark checks out a girl named Joanie who appears to have the flu, but he wants to do a spinal tap to make sure she doesn’t have meningitis. Benton operates on James, actually letting Carter do some stuff for once. Benton even seems to be in a good mood, at least until things start going south for James.

Diane comes by to invite Doug along while she and Jake go house hunting. She tells him that, depending on how things go, Doug may one day get an invitation to live with them. Cue Doug’s internal screaming. Benton sends Carter off to do some charts and labs, allowing him to scrub in on another operation later if he does all the work. Then Benton has to tell James’ mother that he didn’t survive surgery. Happy Mother’s Day, James’ mom!

Carol fights with Tag over the phone, disagreeing with his insistence on having dinner with his mother three nights in a row. When she hangs up, she tells Mark and Susan that their wedding caterer canceled and the bridesmaids’ dresses are late. Mark summons Carter into the lounge to ask if he’s made a decision about the ER sub-internship. Carter turns it down, thinking he’ll get the surgical one. Mark says that people look down on medical doctors while surgeons get all the praise. But he thinks Carter will excel in any specialty.

Susan and Chloe’s mother, Cookie, comes to see her new granddaughter. She is…not very maternal. Chloe and baby Susie are supposed to move in with Chloe’s parents when they get out of the hospital, but Cookie was under the impression that they’d have more time to get ready. She starts badmouthing the baby’s father, which Susan decides is her cue to leave.

A girl named Kaitlin was playing in a mother-daughter softball tournament when she was stung by bees. Her mother, Mrs. Sandburg, thinks Kaitlin’s allergic, since she herself is allergic. Doug decides not to have a lengthy discussion with her about genetics. Carter stitches up a woman who passed out after drinking too much at a Mother’s Day brunch. Joanie doesn’t have meningitis, but Mark is concerned that her heart murmur might be worsening because of an infection.

Linda invites Doug to have drinks with her and her mother, or, when he turns down that offer, meet up with her afterward. She’s impressed when he resists the temptation to cheat on Diane. Benton, Susan, and Connie receive a patient who may have had a heart attack. Carter’s allowed to intubate the man, but Susan has to lend a hand. Cookie pops in to talk to her daughter, who’s a little busy. The trauma is soon over when the doctors find out what’s obstructing the patient’s airway: his dentures.

Carter’s next patient is supposed to be a very old woman named Ada who cut her arm. Unfortunately, she’s no longer conscious, and possible not even still alive. While various people run around in the background to tend to Ada, Cookie tells Susan that Chloe and the baby can’t come home with her. Susan will have to help her make other plans. Susan’s upset that her parents have changed their minds after promising to help. Cookie finally admits that she doesn’t want to take care of another child after parenting her own.

Carol and Susan take a break together, lounging in beach chairs on the hospital roof. They decide that while Tag honeymoons in Paris, Susan and Carol will go to Hawaii. They’ll leave Chloe and the baby with Tag’s family. Susan might even stay in Hawaii forever. Their fantasies end when Susan gets paged back to the ER, where Chloe’s giving the baby a little tour. Doug finds her and tells her she should wait a while before taking the baby around lots of people.

A man bursts into the ER with a woman named Nina who overdosed on drugs. Chloe is drawn to the sight, most likely remembering her own struggles with drugs. She asks Connie to take the baby back to the nursery. Joanie needs a valve replacement, and Mark tries to reassure her mother, Mrs. Lafferty, that it’s a routine procedure and nothing to worry about.

Carol and Susan return to work, still wearing their sunglasses from the roof. Susan finds Chloe crying on a staircase, overwhelmed by all the bad things she’ll have to protect her daughter from. After all, their parents couldn’t keep Chloe from getting into trouble. Chloe thinks she’ll feel better when she finally gets home. Susan decides not to tell her that she won’t be going to their parents’ house.

As Hicks tells Benton that a decision has been made about something – a decision Benton doesn’t agree with – two female gangbangers come in, one with a gunshot wound to the head and one with stab wounds. Rosario, the stabbing victim, insists that she’s fine and demands that the doctors let the other woman, Angelina, die. She probably will, as she’s so badly injured that Mark wants to see if she’s an organ donor. Just then, a third woman storms in and screams at Rosario for cutting off her ear. Malik has to tackle her and drag her out.

Jerry comes in to tell Benton that Mae’s nursing home is on the phone with an urgent call. Carter takes a moment to worry about him. Hicks then tells him that he hasn’t received the sub-internship. Once their traumas are done, Doug teases Susan, calling her Big Susie (since the baby is now Little Susie). He also praises Malik for his tackling skills. Malik tells Mark that the woman brought Rosario’s ear with her. Fun!

Benton races to Mae’s facility and learns that her heart stopped that afternoon. Using language similar to what Benton used when he told James’ mother about James’ death, the doctor tells Benton that Mae has died. Jackie and her children are also there, and Benton finds his sister sitting in their mother’s room, where her body is still in her bed. After a hug, Jackie leaves Benton alone to have some private final moments with Mae.

Mark and Doug are both at work late (Mark’s waiting for Jen to come in from Milwaukee), so they play some basketball. Doug is uncertain about moving in with Diane, and asks if Mark knew when the time was right to make that decision with Jen. He figures that if he’s not sure, he’s not ready. Mark asks if Doug’s lack of readiness has anything to do with Carol’s upcoming wedding. He shoots a basket, saying that if he makes it, Doug’s ready, and if he doesn’t, Doug isn’t. We don’t get to see what happens.

Susan gives Susie her first astronomy lesson, pointing out some constellations. Carter comes by to meet the baby and get some feedback on his decision to turn down the ER sub-internship. Susan says it’s too late, since Mark has already offered it to someone else. Jen arrives at the hospital just as Joanie’s condition deteriorates. Poor Jen has to wait while her husband saves a little girl’s life. How sad for Jen! Her life is so hard!

Diane goes by Doug’s house and sees him with Linda. He insists that nothing happened, then says that he’s just having a bad reaction to her suggestion that they move in together. He tells her this won’t happen again, but Diane thinks it will. Joanie has stabilized enough for surgery, and the surgeon is just as reassuring as Mark was. Carol and Jen eat pizza and compare pre-wedding disasters. Jen claims that Mark wanted a big wedding but she didn’t. When Mark finally joins them, Jen pretends to be understanding about the delay, but we all know she’s mad.

Jeanie comes to the nursing home, where Benton is still finishing up making arrangements for Mae’s body. He notes that he’s used the language Mae’s doctor did many times, about how they did everything they could to save Mae, but he’s never had to hear it himself. He thought he would be better prepared. Jeanie takes his hand as he gets emotional over his inability to fix his mother. Then the hand-holding turns to kissing. Back at County, as Benton mourns a death, Susan celebrates a birth, singing “Blackbird” to her new niece.

Thoughts: This episode was directed by Quentin Tarantino. Yeah, you read that right. Dolores is played by Kathy Griffin, so I’ve officially hit my yearly limit of having to watch her in things.

Want to feel old? Little Susie would now be 23.

I wonder why they killed Mae off so quickly. Did they realize that her story was too much of a burden on Benton? It was the inevitable ending for the plot, but it came on so fast.

May 22, 2018

ER 1.18, Sleepless in Chicago: While You Weren’t Sleeping

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

Someone finally found an angle that makes Clooney look unattractive

Summary: Even though he’s carrying a jar full of someone’s bowel, Carter seems to be having a good day…or at least he is until he runs into Benton. Carter explains to Susan that Benton traded some shifts to spend time with his mother, and now he’s repaying all his favors. He’s been on call for the past 48 hours. Carol goes to see Tatiana and learns that her application to become a foster mother is being moved forward. She appears to have picked up more Russian, too. She asks if Tatiana wants to come live with her, and when she says she has a VCR, Tatiana is pleased.

Doug tells Mark he’s learned that Mark is going to be the next ER attending. Mark shares that Jen is spending another year in Milwaukee. He declares that if he can successfully throw his paper towel into a trash can, there’s still hope for his marriage. He makes the shot and gets to stay in his little world of denial a little longer. Susan treats a man with a rash he thinks he got from medication. Unfortunately, he’s taking a bunch of medications for experimental studies, so it’ll take some time to figure out which is the culprit.

Benton asks Hicks why he wasn’t given the bowel-removal surgery that morning, since he was the resident on call. Hicks isn’t about to let him operate when he’s been awake for 48 hours. Benton argues that he should have gotten the procedure anyway, since he’s never done one, while the surgeon who performed it has already done one. Hicks says it’s not a competition, which makes Benton ask why they keep track of all their procedures. She says it’s a record, not to keep score. He accuses her of keeping score anyway. Hicks tells him he can’t see any patients until he gets at least two hours of sleep.

Susan tries to enlist Mark to help her sort through her patient’s medications. He tells her to pass the case on to another doctor. Jerry relays a message to Doug from Diane, joking that she wants to go out with him. Benton blatantly ignores Hicks’ orders and goes to see a patient, brushing off Carter when he says there’s a free exam room for him to nap in. Mark shows off his interpersonal skills and gets a doctor to agree to take Susan’s patient.

Doug treats a girl named Bonnie whose mother says she burned herself on a radiator knob. Bonnie keeps saying that it was her fault. As they leave the exam room, Doug remarks to Carol that he’s never seen a radiator knob shaped like a star, the shape of Bonnie’s burn. Carol offers to call around to other hospitals to see if Bonnie’s been treated for burns anywhere else.

A restaurant manager drags in (literally) a man who had a seizure while eating breakfast. The manager leaves behind a card, wanting to make sure the patient pays for his meal when he’s able, since it was expensive. Mark, Benton, and Carter treat a trauma patient named Joseph Klein who fell down some stairs. He can’t speak because of previous surgery to remove his voice box. Carter does a good job of trying to comfort him.

Susan’s supposedly unconscious seizure patient isn’t showing any signs of having had a seizure. He opens an eye while she’s examining him, which makes her realize that he’s not as sick as he leads on. She doesn’t want to bother him, since he’s “busy having a coma,” but she’d like to know his name. Lydia finds a number of IDs in the man’s wallet, so they don’t know his real name. Susan gets him to “wake up” by telling him they’ll have to operate. She thinks he faked a seizure to get out of paying his bill.

Hicks comes in to help with Klein and repeat her orders for Benton to sleep or go home. Carter looks through Klein’s chart and learns that he has terminal cancer. He signed a DNR, which means the procedures they just finished performing to keep him alive were actually against his wishes.

Doug and Mark reprise their conversation about Mark and Jen’s long-distance marriage. They’re interrupted by a man named John Koch, who’s supposed to observe the goings-on in the ER as part of a project that hopes to build an ideal hospital. He also has a solution for Mark and Jen: They should move to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Carter brings Klein a pen and paper in case he wants to communicate. Klein seems angry about his care, and at first he doesn’t respond when Carter offers to contact his family, but he changes his mind and asks Carter to call his son, Roger. Carol asks Lydia if she’d like to become charge nurse, since she’s cutting back on her hours to look after Tatiana. Lydia tries to withhold her judgment on Carol and Tag starting out their married life as foster parents.

Benton’s still not sleeping, and he wants Carter to sneak him any cases he can. Doug and Carol confront Bonnie’s mother, Sarah, for previous burns that Bonnie has been treated for. Doug’s angry, so Carol pulls Sarah aside to talk to her alone. Sarah admits that Bonnie touches herself “down there,” even though Sarah tells her not to. She gets three chances, and then she gets burned with a heated paperweight. Sarah didn’t mean to hurt her daughter, and she doesn’t think it’s a big deal, since her mother did the same thing to her.

The seizure faker discharges himself, gets dressed, and cons Jerry out of some petty cash while asking for change for the vending machine. Carter snags a patient for Benton, but Mark stops him before he can take the man to surgery, since Mark hasn’t examined him yet. Benton gives him the chance to confirm that the man needs surgery for a kidney stone, but Mark gets the last word by warning him not to pull that kind of crap again.

Koch sees the argument and tells Susan that that kind of territorialism is unnecessary and outdated. It’s rooted in patriarchy and the loudest person being declared the winner. Susan agrees, and we know she has a lot of experience trying to work within the patriarchy. Koch thinks the better idea is to see the patient as belonging to everyone.

Carol tries to keep Sarah from leaving by telling her that Bonnie needs to see a plastic surgeon. Sarah objects, so Doug finds an excuse for Carol to took Bonnie off by herself. This just leads to tears, and Sarah attacking Doug and having to be restrained by security while Bonnie cries for her mother. Benton loses out on another operation when his patient passes the stone just before he can be put under anesthesia, rendering the procedure unnecessary.

Carter chats with Klein, who he’s learned used to teach literature. He hasn’t been able to reach Roger, and Klein admits that they haven’t talked in 20 years. Mark runs into the seizure faker, who steals his wallet and is disappointed to only find six dollars inside. Susan, Mark, Jerry, and some nurses tease Benton by placing his patient’s tiny kidney stone next to the jar o’ bowel at the front desk. He’s not amused. Carol tends to Doug’s wound and tells him that she hopes Sarah can get straightened out with therapy so she can get Bonnie back. Doug has heard that Carol wants to be a foster mother, and he tells her he thinks she would be great at it.

Klein’s health is failing, and Connie tells Carter that he might not live through the night. Carter brings him some books, thinking the former literature professor would be interested in some classics. Benton slams him for “wasting time” sitting with a man who’s going to die instead of taking care of people who could live. Carter hates being told that surgery isn’t about caring for patients. Koch overhears the conversation and comments to Carter that modern medicine “dismantles the rituals of death.” We can do better. Carter makes a hilarious “who the heck is that guy?” face.

Mark tells Doug about Koch’s Kenosha suggestion, which Mark loves. He asks Doug about his potential relationship with Diane. Doug admits that he’s afraid to ask her out because he dated a friend of herself and things didn’t end well. The two of them receive two patients: a 16-year-old shot by a cop while robbing a store, and the cop who shot him. Benton has finally dozed off, though it was while he was stitching up a drunk man who’s also asleep. They both wake up when Benton is paged to help with the two traumas.

Doug, Benton, and Carol work on the robber, and as soon as he’s solved the most pressing problems, Benton goes next door to tend to the cop with Mark and Susan. He wonders why Carter isn’t there to observe. Benton stabilizes the cop, and Hicks comes in just in time to congratulate him on his good work. She thinks he got some sleep. Diane chastises Doug for getting into another altercation with a patient, though at least this time, he wasn’t the attacker. He takes the opportunity to invite her on a date. She says it’s not a good idea.

Morgenstern tells Mark that he’s moving to Boston and has recommended Mark for the attending position he wants. He’ll have to be approved by whoever takes over for Morgenstern, but his chances are good. Carter reads to Klein from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” which Benton will definitely not be happy to hear about. He has to stay late to finish his patient notes, and Benton has no sympathy. Carter tells him that Klein died a few minutes ago. Benton asks why he wants the surgical sub-internship – he doesn’t think like a surgeon. Carter asks if he believes that just because the two of them don’t think alike.

Carol visits Tatiana again, helping her with her English. A social worker has learned of Carol’s suicide attempt, and tells her that because it was so recent, it disqualifies her from being a foster mother. Diane changes her mind about Doug’s invitation (three hours later) and asks him out herself. Benton goes home to take over Mae’s care while Walt heads out to a vacation with the rest of his family.

Distressed about the news she’s gotten, Carol goes to Doug for comfort. She confides that she feels defective, even after all the work she’s done to heal herself. He assures her that it’s not her fault. Carol feels horrible that she has to break the promise she made to Tatiana to take her in. Doug says she was exactly what Tatiana needed. Carol tells him he’s the only person who feels that way. She asks if she can spend the night. Doug asks about Tag, and Carol says he never wanted Tatiana. Doug decides it’s better to take her home than let her stay.

Koch tells Susan about his project and invites her to join the staff of his hospital. She tells him she’s interested. Just then, two doctors from the psychiatric ward come to retrieve Koch (real name: Marty). He’s not building an ideal hospital that will revolutionize the world of medicine – he’s just a patient who likes to pretend to be doctors.

Jen surprises Mark at home and announces that she can’t keep living the way they’ve been living. He tells her they can compromise and all be together again if they move to Kenosha. Jen objects to both of them having to commute two hours. Mark will have to lose even more time with Rachel. She complains again about how Mark won’t make sacrifices when Jen spent years making them for him. He expects everything to happen on his time. Jen finally cuts to the chase: They’re not going to make it, and she’s done with their marriage.

Benton spends the night on the couch, not even waking when Mae calls out for him. When he’s finally conscious, he finds his mother at the bottom of the stairs, having fallen. He rushes her to the hospital with a possibly fractured hip. Benton finally got some sleep, and something horrible happened.

Thoughts: Bonnie is played by Alexa PenaVega.

Only Benton would say no to a boss telling him to take a nap.

I totally fell for Koch’s story. And now I’m uncomfortable that it took psych the entire day to track him down. But as we’ll see in the future, this isn’t psych’s biggest failing.

Listen to me, Mark: You’re better off.

May 15, 2018

ER 1.17, The Birthday Party: And Benton’ll Cry If He Wants To

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:08 pm by Jenn

Still not in the top 10 of weirdest things to happen in the ER

Summary: It’s the middle of the night, but Doug’s awake, and not in bed with the woman he hooked up with the night before. He doesn’t even know her name (though she doesn’t know his either, so they’re equally pathetic). He leaves, saying he has to go to work, even though it’s 4 a.m. Things are slow and Doug’s not actually on duty for a while, so he goes to the lounge to do paperwork. Carol’s still around, since she didn’t want to leave Tatiana. Doug tells her he’ll keep an eye on her while Carol gets some sleep before her morning shift.

Benton’s asleep on Jackie’s couch but wakes up when his nephew, Jesse, comes into the living room. Jackie reminds him that it’s their mother’s birthday, and there will be a party that night. He tells her he’ll have to rearrange his schedule but promises to be there. This is easier said than done, as he can’t find someone to change shifts with him.

Carter faces off with a patient who has poured gasoline all over himself and is threatening to light a lighter. Carter thinks he’s bluffing and warns that he’ll just set off the sprinklers, soak himself, and be embarrassed. The guy calls Carter’s bluff right back, saying there’s no sprinklers in the hallway. Carter starts to take the situation seriously and attempt to approach the guy and get his lighter. Benton ends the stand-off by spraying a fire extinguisher while Lily grabs the lighter.

Doug’s patient is a little boy who stuck his head in his father’s taxidermied tiger. His father blames his multiple viewings of The Lion King. Doug will have to remove the tiger’s jaw with a bone saw to free the child. His father objects, since the tiger’s been in his family for decades. Susan and Mark’s patient is more critical; she’s a frequent visit named Rene who often comes in looking for Demerol. They have to pump her stomach, and it’s not the first time.

Carol talks to a social worker named Mrs. Brown about Tatiana’s options, which aren’t great. There’s a children’s home/hospice that will take her, but that doesn’t sound appealing. Carol sadly watches her leave. Benton treats a man who lost a finger while boning a fish. His co-workers brought in a big crate of fish, which Chen and Carter will have to look through to find the missing finger. At least it’s on ice, which will give it a better chance of being reattachable.

Mark tells Rene’s father that she’s stable after overdosing on a mixture of drugs. He suggests that the family send her to in-patient treatment, which her father says didn’t work last time. Chen and Carter search the fish while discussing which sub-internships they might pursue for next year. Carter’s contemplating staying in the ER, though Chen warns that there’s only one spot. Benton unofficially gets to make the final decision. Chen has already applied. She also finds the missing finger.

Doug and Benton work on a little boy who might have a spinal injury. Another boy comes into the trauma room, covered in blood, and says, “I killed him. I killed Drew.” Doug determines that he isn’t injured, just in shock, but the boy, Kyle, says he shot his brother. Carol and Lydia tend to a man named Mr. Thornberg who’s in the late stages of lung cancer and is altered mentally. Susan and Mark play rock, paper, scissors to determine who takes the case. (Susan loses.)

On the phone with Walt, Benton promises again that he’ll be at the party. Carter overhears and thinks it’s Benton’s birthday. He asks about his chances for getting the trauma sub-internship; since 12 others have already applied, Benton puts his chances at 1 in 13. Mark’s like, “You’re aware that that was a really dumb question, right?” After Benton leaves, Carter tells Mark that it’s his birthday. Mark mentions that it’s also Rachel’s birthday. Carter thinks they should throw together a party. Mark advises him to work with Lydia on that.

Drew and Kyle’s father, a police officer named Thomas, has arrived, and Doug has to tell him that Drew needs surgery and might not live. Thomas keeps telling a crying Kyle to be quiet, but he eventually sits down and hugs him. He guesses that the gun Kyle shot Drew with was his service weapon. Carol and Lydia chat with Mr. Thornberg’s friend, who met him at church and started taking care of him since he doesn’t have a family. She says it felt like the right thing to do.

Rene’s boyfriend, T.J., is now with his girlfriend, and is trying to argue that she didn’t mean to hurt herself. Rene wants to go home with him instead of checking into a treatment center. Rene’s father knows there’s no use in arguing. Hicks learns that Benton wants to change shifts and calls him on rearranging his schedule a number of times recently. It’s not forbidden, but it upsets a balance Hicks and Morgenstern want their residents to experience. Benton starts to tell her that his mother’s sick, and she suggests that he take a break from the program and rejoin next year if necessary. Benton isn’t about to do that.

Lydia summons Benton to an exam room where two sisters are writhing in their beds. Carter and Malik are there for the big reveal: Carter has hired belly dancers for what he thinks is Benton’s birthday. Other staff members gather for the entertainment while Doug and Carol tend to a little girl who fell off a balcony onto her driveway. Doug remarks that it’s a “tough day to be a kid.”

Later in the day, Carol and Tag look at a church for their wedding; she declares that she hates it. She’s obviously just in a bad mood because she’s worried about Tatiana. She wants to do more to help the girl…like adopt her. Tag asks how much time Tatiana has left; he doesn’t want to adopt a child and then spend years watching her die. Carol is able to look past that, just wanting to help. But she assures Tag that he’s not a bad person for not feeling the same way.

Carter’s convinced that Benton is lying about today not being his birthday. Mark tells Susan that he has a patient who’s celebrating his 60th anniversary. She says her longest relationship was 60 weeks, and she doesn’t think she’ll ever get married. As Diane comes to the ER looking for Doug, Jeanie shows up and asks Benton if he can give her a ride to Mae’s party. Her husband can pick her up afterwards. Benton didn’t realize Jeanie was married, since she takes off her ring when she works with her physical therapy patients. He tells her he may not make it to the party after all.

Doug checks out a boy named Billy who may be anemic. He blames Billy’s diet, which has left him malnourished. Billy’s mother, Mrs. Larson, has four kids and has to rely on food stamps. In the winter, some of her money has to go to heat, so there’s little left for food. Doug has Lydia give her the names of some food banks and shelters, though Mrs. Larson doesn’t want to go to one. He tells her sternly that Billy’s teeth are rotting, so she needs to get him food wherever she can.

Malik tells Doug that the girl who fell off the balcony is stable, but Malik found a footprint on her back. Doug speeds off to the waiting area to confront the girl’s father, Wilson, who Doug thinks is abusive. Malik and Jerry have to restrain him before Wilson becomes the ER’s next patient. Doug has to cool off outside, but Mark doubts that Wilson will press charges; he has bigger things to worry about, now that he’s being investigated for child abuse. Doug refuses to apologize, and Mark says he doesn’t need to, but he’ll probably have to go to therapy. He adds that Diane’s still waiting around for Doug.

Carol stops Mr. Thornberg from smoking, but he figures one more cigarette won’t do any additional harm. I mean, he might ignite his oxygen tank, but okay. Police accompany a white supremacist into a trauma room after he was stabbed. Benton, Malik, and Connie are all there to tend to the man who has a death threat against people of their color tattooed on his arm. Lily wonders how he feels about Asians.

Doug finally makes it over to see Diane, who, let’s be honest, is totally turned on by his attack on Wilson. Carol and Jerry leave for the night, giving instructions to Rolando, the next desk clerk on duty. Jerry remarks that he doesn’t think they lost anyone today, though the verdict is out on the white supremacist. Benton and Hicks are about to operate on him, which means Benton has an excuse to keep avoiding the multiple phone calls Jackie has made.

As Carol goes to see Tatiana in her new group home, Mark goes home for Rachel’s birthday party, which is full of screaming girls. Jen’s ticked, but she got help from a co-worker. Then Mark gets ticked when he learns that Jen bought Rachel a Super Nintendo after he thought they agreed not to get her one. He has another present for Rachel, though it’s one Susan asked him to pass along. Jen announces that she’s accepted the offer to extend her job in Milwaukee. Since Mark made a decision on his own about his job, she feels like she could do the same.

Benton makes it home too late for the party; Mae’s already in bed. Poor Jeanie has to sit there and watch Benton and Jackie be passive-aggressive with each other. Benton laments that he missed the party to save the life of a man who would love to see him dead. Back at the hospital, Malik wakes Susan and tells her that Rene’s back, having overdosed again. Susan wants to keep the zero-deaths streak alive, so she works hard to save Rene while her father waits outside the trauma room, a place he’s become familiar with.

Thoughts: Mrs. Larson is played by Janel Moloney.

Jesse must get aged later on, because he’s only four here, but in season 7, he’s closer to 14 or 15.

Ving Rhames looks so much like Mos Def in this episode that I did a double take.

April 10, 2018

ER 1.12, Happy New Year: Susan vs. Kayson, Round 1

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

Really, Susan, you should be glad that this mess is almost out of your life

Summary: Carter runs down the street to the ER to tell Mark that there’s a man out in the street who appears to have been shot. The two of them and Carol take a gurney to the man and start working on him. Carol peg him as a gangbanger who was ditched on the street after being shot by a rival. Mark allows Carter to do an intubation, since he’s observed dozens of them. With Mark and Carol’s help, Carter does it well. He wants to accompany the patient up to the OR, but Benton says it’ll already be crowded enough.

Sometime later, Hicks comes to the ER to check out one of Mark’s patients. Another, Mrs. Davies, insists that she doesn’t need to stick around, though she’s already been under observation for hours. Lydia’s struggling to stick to her New Year’s resolution to quit smoking, so Bob gives her some encouragement. Doug tries to examine a boy who injured his eye while having a paintball fight with his brother. He tells their mother to keep the paint away from them; she’s offended, like she needs that kind of parenting advice.

Al brings in a homeless patient named Gilbert who’s uninterested in seeing a doctor. He’s also racist, and Al smacks him for throwing a slur at Hicks. Susan tries to talk to Kayson about a patient, but he won’t even slow down on his way to the OR. She wants him to see Mrs. Davies so she can finally leave.

Benton tells Carter that the patient he brought in died in surgery. Carter points out that this is supposed to be his surgical rotation, so maybe he should be doing surgeon things instead of Benton’s scut work. Benton doesn’t see the point in breaking tradition, since this is what all medical students do. Carter notes that he’s there to learn. When Benton asks if he’s learned anything, Carter demonstrates that he’s at least learned to keep his mouth shut at the right time.

Gilbert’s legs are severely frostbitten, though he insists they’re fine. He does perk up at the thought of a warm whirlpool bath, though. Kayson finally comes back to see Mrs. Davies, telling Susan she should have been released hours ago. Chloe comes by, and Kayson takes advantage of her interruption to dismiss himself. He tells Susan to try harder to get his attention next time. Susan tries to pay it forward with brushing someone off by telling Chloe she can’t talk, but Chloe blurts out that she and her boyfriend, Ronnie, are moving to Texas.

Susan takes a break so she can interrogate Chloe about her decision to move. Ronnie doesn’t have a job yet, and the two haven’t found a place to live. Now that Chloe’s pregnant, she needs to make solid plans. Chloe guesses that Susan doesn’t think she should have the baby. She refuses to stay with their parents, since they think she always makes the wrong decisions. Realizing there’s nothing else she can do right now, Susan gives her sister her coat.

A firefighter comes in after being injured in a fire, and his colleagues watch anxiously outside his trauma room. Peter gets coffee with his sister, Jackie, who wants to find a care facility for their mother. Jackie just got a new job, which means she can’t be with Mae all the time. Peter thinks she’s making up for the fact that she had to look after him after their mother went back to work. He doesn’t want to send their mother away, so he tells Jackie he’ll find other arrangements. She complains that he’s suddenly stepping up after leaving everything to Jackie and Walt for six years. She tells him they all have to make the decision together.

Carter tells Mark that he doesn’t think Benton is interested in supervising him anymore. Mark advises him to get used to it, since he’ll probably have worse supervisors in the future. Doug watches Carol longingly as she goes to chat with one of the firefighter’s colleagues. He’s only been on the job three weeks and now isn’t sure he can handle it. Carol tells him to get some rest first.

A patient named Mr. Vennerbeck thought he had a heart attack, but Susan doesn’t see any damage. He tells her he came in two months ago with back pain and was given some medication. She doesn’t think he needs it again, since his pain has gone away, but she can’t sign him out yet.

Carol looks for help with a trauma, and Mark tells her to take Carter. He runs into Benton as he’s getting his coat to meet a helicopter, and the two go up to the roof together. Carter volunteers to intubate the patient, and Benton allows him to after Mark indicates that it’s okay. Morgenstern comes to get the patient from the trauma room, and Carter presents the case like a pro. Benton rewards him by inviting him to scrub in on an operation that night.

Susan has to again flag down Kayson to get his input on Mr. Vennerbeck. Kayson says he can be released, so Susan sends the patient home. Mr. Vennerbeck is annoyed that he had to wait around so long, and Susan apologizes. Hicks overhears and tells her not to worry about getting people’s approval. They take as long as they take to make sure they’re thorough, and they shouldn’t apologize for it.

Doug tries to break up an argument between two pregnant sisters who want to give their babies the same name. Mark enlists Susan to help out with a patient – this one also pregnant – who’s on drugs. She goes into labor while they’re examining her. They try to rush her to labor and delivery, but the baby is breech and starts coming out in the hallway.

Carter helps Doug and Carol with an elderly couple found unconscious in their apartment, probably from carbon dioxide poisoning. Hicks talks Mark through delivering the breech baby, who at least sounds healthy. Lydia comes in to tell Susan that Mr. Vennerbeck is back in the ER. She realizes he has a murmur and may have had some sort of rupture. An angry Kayson comes to help out, telling Susan she’s not needed on the case anymore.

I guess the theme of the episode is pregnancy, because Mark is now counseling a woman who’s crying over the news that she’s pregnant. She tells him she wants the baby; it’s her husband who’s going to have an issue with this. Turns out he’s infertile. Mark doesn’t know what to say, so he walks out. Susan goes over some x-rays with Carter, who notices that she’s distracted. She sends him to scrub in early for surgery, knowing Benton will be early, too. She advises him to remember the names of three body parts, though he doesn’t get why.

Carol checks on the elderly couple, who are both going to be fine. Doug’s sitting with them and says they’re lucky to have been together so long. We get it, you love her; can we move on? Benton walks Carter through scrubbing in for the first time, as it’s a lot more intensive than just washing your hands. Morgenstern and Benton start the procedure without him, talking about how Morgenstern saw a piano showroom on the highway that he’d never noticed before. Shirley the scrub nurse, who will pop up throughout the series, helps Carter finish getting ready, but he immediately contaminates himself by touching Benton’s shoulder.

Doug ends his day with some noisy sex with Linda, teasing that he can’t remember her name. She thinks someday he really will forget her name. He says it sounds like she believes they won’t last. As she goes to get ready for a trip, Doug says he treated a couple who’ve been married for 48 years. Linda says that if they were the marrying kind, they’d already be married to other people. She thinks he’s too afraid of responsibility and aging and all that stuff that comes with real life.

Carter’s hesitant to get too close to the operation, but Morgenstern is more concerned with him learning than Benton is. He asks Carter about some anatomical feature, and thanks to the three body parts Susan told him to remember, Carter knows the answer. Plus, now he looks smart in front of his boss.

Mark and Susan make eggs in the hospital kitchen and talk about Chloe’s big move. He slams her for not being supportive of Chloe’s plans, but Susan knows that Chloe doesn’t get the realities of parenthood. Mark’s optimistic that having a baby will turn her life around. Susan says that Chloe has never been responsible, and though Susan loves her, she shouldn’t have a child.

Kayson summons Susan to the doctors’ lounge and spits out that Mr. Vennerbeck is dead. He shouldn’t have been released in the first place, considering his condition when he came in two months ago. Susan says his diagnosis then was muscle pain, not anything related to his heart. Kayson says he probably had atypical angina, and Susan should have mentioned it to him. The case was more complicated than Susan thought, and as a resident, she didn’t have the knowledge to present everything to Kayson that she should have. Now Mr. Vennerbeck is dead, and his wife is consulting an attorney. Kayson wants a full investigation.

Thoughts: Chloe, who lives in Chicago, doesn’t have a winter coat, but Susan only gets concerned about it just before Chloe moves to Texas? Uh, okay.

Jackie works for a parks and rec department, and now I’m dreaming of an ER/Parks and Recreation crossover.

Morgenstern and Benton play a game involving foreign capitals while they’re operating, like surgery isn’t difficult enough without throwing in some geography.

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