November 12, 2022

Buffy 4.9, Something Blue: Willow’s Will Be Done

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

This was great until it inspired some annoying stuff in seasons 6 and 7

Summary: Oz’s room has remained untouched since he left, and Willow’s over there sitting with the stuff he left behind. In a student lounge, Buffy spots Riley helping someone hang up a banner advertising the campus’ Lesbian Alliance. “Is there something you want to tell me?” she teases. “Yes, I am a lesbian,” is his deadpan reply. She admires his openness.

He invites her to have a picnic with him, thinking they talked about this before. He realizes he was just practicing that conversation in his head. Sometimes he preps before talking to Buffy, since she can be “tricky.” He never knows how she’ll react to something. That’s part of what makes him like her so much – she’s a mystery. A lot about her needs “puzzling out.”

On patrol that night, Buffy tells Willow about the date. She’s kind of excited to go out during the daytime for once. Plus, Riley’s going to bring everything, so she just has to show up and eat, which she’s good at. Willow’s glad that she’s met someone nice and that they have some chemistry. Buffy really likes Riley, but she feels like something’s missing. Willow suggests that it’s that he’s not hurting her.

Buffy doesn’t see him as the kind of guy who would break her heart. Willow jokes that she should get out now. Buffy knows she needs to stop falling for bad boys. She went to L.A. to see Angel after he came to Sunnydale, and even though they only spent a few minutes together, she was reminded of all the pain their relationship caused her. Still, isn’t that where the intensity and fire come from? Can she still have that in a safe relationship? Part of her believes that passion and real love go along with pain and fighting. Buffy pauses to casually stake a vampire, then wonders where she got that idea.

Spike’s graduated from being tied to a chair in Giles’ living room to being manacled in his bathtub. Buffy interrogates him about the commandos but doesn’t get much out of him, partly because he doesn’t know much and partly because he doesn’t want to talk. Giles brings him a mug of blood (a “kiss the librarian mug,” to be specific) and Buffy holds it while Spike drinks. He’s surprised she’s grossed out, since he figured she did this for Angel at some point.

She takes away his meal and tells him the kitchen is closed until he can give them something useful. He claims the trauma of his captivity and escape messed with his memory. Also, he’s pretty sure Buffy will kill him after he tells her anything helpful, so he has no incentive to say anything. Giles promises that they’re not going to kill him while he’s “harmless.” They just need to know what was done to him and make sure he’s “impotent.” Spike objects to that term so Buffy substitutes with “flaccid.”

Spike threatens her, but Buffy knows he can’t do anything: “Giles, help! He’s gonna scold me.” She thinks Spike’s delaying things because he wants to stay. Maybe they should make things less comfortable for him. You know, as uncomfortable as he could be on top of being chained in a bathtub and drinking pig blood. Buffy tempts him by exposing her neck, and Spike whines for Giles to make her stop. Giles leaves the bathroom and tells Willow that if the two of them don’t kill each other, he might help them out.

Willow suggests using a truth spell to make “the undead English patient” talk. She’ll get the ingredients and bring them by in the morning, along with donuts. Giles thanks her and goes back to the bathroom, where Buffy is feeding Spike again. She and Giles think Willow’s doing better after her breakup with Oz, but Spike says she’s barely hanging on.

Willow goes back to Oz’s room, which is now empty. Back in her room, she tearfully tells Buffy that he asked Devon to send his stuff to him. He must not plan to come back. “I feel like I’ve been split down the center and half of me is lost,” Willow says. Buffy tries to comfort her, having been through her own painful breakup, but there’s not much she can say that will make Willow feel better.

The next morning, Giles tries to call Willow when she doesn’t come by with the ingredients. Spike yells from the bathtub that he needs his TV time (he likes Passions). He tries to be intimidating but Giles knows the most danger he poses right now is licking someone to death. Buffy’s out at her picnic with Riley, having a normal conversation that doesn’t involve vampires or demons. In fact, they’re just talking about driving, which turns into a metaphor for dating, and how Buffy should just relax and let whatever happens happen. Willow comes across them and Riley invites her to join them. She’s an immediate mood-killer.

That night, the Scoobies go to the Bronze and Buffy tells Xander and Anya about how Oz sent for his things. They both feel bad for Willow, and Anya even wishes she had her vengeance-demon powers so she could liquefy Oz’s entrails. So how’s Willow handling things? Great! She’s on the dance floor, dancing “the dance of a Brave Little Toaster,” as Xander says. She tells her friends that she’s ready to shake off her sad mood. She’s gotten a little help from some beer, though. She thinks it’s okay, since it’s light beer. Buffy reminds her that she herself had a bad experience with beer, so it’s not a good idea.

Xander tries to confiscate Willow’s bottle, but she thinks she’s justified since she’s in a lot of pain. He tells her they all have pain. Willow mocks him since his worst problem right now is living in his parents’ basement. Buffy decides it’s time for Willow to stop partying; if she keeps drinking and being mean, she’s going to lose all her friends. Willow says she just wants the pain to be over. Buffy promises it’ll pass, but it’ll take time. She has to go through it instead of making it go away.

In the middle of the night, Willow gets up to do a spell in the dorm bathroom. It’s to grant her the ability to have her will done. In the morning, Willow tries to use it to heal her heart, but nothing happens. She also can’t get a book to speak to her or unbend a Q-tip. Giles comes by, worried because Willow never showed up to do the truth spell. He knows she’s going through a tough time, but she still needs to fulfill her responsibilities. It’s not like her to drop the ball like this.

Willow admits that she’s having a tough time. She thinks that’s why her “have my will done” spell didn’t work. Giles doesn’t think she should do spells while her energy is “unfocused,” at least not without supervision. She complains that everyone says they care about her but they don’t want to hear about her problems. Giles may say he understands what she’s going through, but he doesn’t see anything. Willow’s eyes briefly flash like little thunderstorms and Giles rubs his eyes. On his way out of the dorm, he bumps into someone as if he didn’t see him.

He tries to do the truth spell himself, but he can’t read the words clearly. As he’s cleaning his glasses, Spike realizes that he dropped the key to Spike’s manacles. He hides it and protests that Giles shouldn’t do any magic when he’s having trouble reading. He unchains himself without Giles noticing and races out of the apartment.

Back at the dorm, Buffy defends Giles to Willow, since he just wants to make sure she’s not doing anything dangerous. Willow says she’s a bad witch. If she had real power, she could have made Oz stay with her. Buffy tells her that she wouldn’t have wanted him to stay if it wasn’t his choice. Willow continues that she didn’t have the guts to do the spell on Veruca, and her “have my will done” spell didn’t work. The only real witch there is Amy, who’s still a rat but at least has some tubes to run through.

Willow wishes Amy were human again, since she has access to powers Willow doesn’t. “First she’s a perfectly normal girl,” she says. Her eyes flash and Amy turns back into her human self on Willow’s bed. But Buffy and Willow don’t notice before Willow says, “Then poof, she’s a rat,” and Amy becomes one again. Awww, poor Amy.

Giles calls to tell Buffy that Spike escaped, so she heads out to find him. Willow wants Buffy to stay in and mope with her, but obviously Spike is the priority here. Willow says he’s probably just standing around and Buffy will find him within seconds. Thanks to Willow’s spell, that’s exactly what happens. Spike thinks he’s in the spot where he came above ground after escaping the Initiative, but there’s no door. He yanks grass from the ground, yelling for the commandos to open up and fix him. Buffy’s ready to gag him, so he hits her to stop her, which makes his head hurt. Then it hurts some more when she punches him in the nose.

She gets him back to Giles’, where Spike says Buffy doesn’t have the “stones” to do anything to him. She’s all talk. “Giles! I accidentally killed Spike – that’s okay, right?” Buffy calls out. Giles is in the bathroom, putting in eye drops and still struggling with his vision. Meanwhile, Willow’s complaining to Xander that Buffy won’t make her a priority. Xander thinks she’s right to put Spike first right now.

Spike threatens to kill Buffy once he gets whatever’s going on with him reversed. She dares him to try, since she’d love to slay him. Xander reminds Willow that Buffy’s trying to find out what’s up with the commandos, so she needs Spike right now. “Well, fine – why doesn’t she just go marry him?” Willow says sarcastically. Your will be done, Will! When Giles gets to the living room, Spike is on his knees in front of Buffy, proposing. She happily accepts and they kiss.

Xander tells Willow that everything she’s feeling right now is because of her and Oz, not the Scoobies. She’ll meet someone else and move on. Willow doubts that she’ll have a relationship without troubles. They’re all “doomed to badness.” He disagrees, but Willow notes that his dating history – a praying mantis, a mummy, and Anya – makes him a demon magnet. If Cordelia were here, you know she’d object.

Giles tries to call Willow, leaving her a message that something weird is going on. He thinks his vision is blurry because of a spell, which must also be the reason for Buffy and Spike’s behavior. She’s now happily providing him with his mug of blood and making out with him. She wants to get started on wedding planning, but it’s not going to be easy. For starters, Spike refuses to get married in a church. They also can’t have a daytime ceremony, for obvious reasons.

Buffy understands why Giles isn’t excited about this pairing, but she wants the wedding to be about family – her real family, not her deadbeat father – so she asks him to walk her down the aisle. Giles is touched until he remembers the ridiculous circumstances they’re in. Buffy and Spike still think it’s all normal. Things get tense again when he mentions Angel, and she brings up Drusilla in retaliation, but they quickly get over it and start kissing again.

Giles spills his drink and Buffy finally realizes that something’s wrong with him. He’s lost all his vision now. Spike starts looking for a spell to fix it, since Giles is practically his father-in-law. Buffy volunteers to get supplies, telling Giles that from now on, the three of them are a family. Giles is like, “I’m pretty sure more Scotch will make this better.”

Downtown to get magic supplies, Buffy gets distracted by a wedding dress in a store window. Riley comes across her and she tells him that she really likes him and he means a lot to her. In fact, she’d like him to come to her wedding. He’s shocked. Buffy thinks she and Spike fought all these years because they couldn’t admit their real feelings for each other. She tells Riley he’ll like Spike. Well, probably not, since no one actually likes Spike, including Buffy herself. But she loves him. Poor, doofy Riley is super-confused, so he decides to “go far away and be…away.” Buffy’s upset that people keep ruining her happy day.

Anya goes over to Xander’s and, after a snack of Fruit Roll-Ups, he tries to put Willow out of his mind so they can make out. But before long, a demon breaks down the door and attacks Xander. Xander manages to wrap a clothesline around his neck, but Anya recognizes the demon and knows it has to be drowned. Good thing the laundry room is right there. As they’re dealing with that demon, another breaks a window and tries to get in.

Instead of spell ingredients, which the shop was out of, Buffy has brought a cake topper back to Giles’. Spike doesn’t like the look of the groom, so Buffy suggests smearing a little red paint on his mouth. Giles tells them to stop kissing, since he can hear the smacking. Buffy and Spike bicker over their names, then Joyce, before Xander and Anya run in to hide from the demons that have started chasing them. Xander’s shocked to see Spike untied.

Buffy wonders if the demons have something to do with Giles’ blindness. Xander waves his fingers in front of Giles’ face to see if that’s true. Giles tells him to stop whatever he’s doing, since he smells like Fruit Roll-Ups. “This is the crack team that foils my every plan?” Spike asks. “I am deeply shamed.” Anya notices that he and Buffy are holding hands, so the “couple” announces their engagement. “How? What? How?” Xander asks. “Three excellent questions,” Giles replies. When Buffy and Spike start kissing again, Xander asks if he can be blind, too.

He suddenly starts to figure out what’s going on: Everything that’s happening is connected to Willow. Giles realizes that the spell she did worked after all. Buffy thinks she escaped the effects because of some Slayer immunity. Xander snarks that she must be marrying Spike because they’re such a good match. Spike tells him he’s off the usher list. The Scoobies note that Willow could be causing a lot of trouble, so they need to find her. But D’Hoffryn has found her first.

The Scoobies head to the dorm, including Spike, who doesn’t really want to be there. He also doesn’t want Buffy to keep slaying after they’re married. They find a big scorch mark in the carpet of Buffy and Willow’s room, and Anya realizes that D’Hoffryn opened a portal there. On the plus side, she doesn’t think he attacked Willow. In fact, D’Hoffryn has taken Willow somewhere for a chat. Her magic is strong and her pain is even stronger, so he heard her call. She meekly says she’ll try to keep her rage quiet. But he’s there because he’s noticed her potential.

As the Scoobies head to a cemetery, Anya explains that D’Hoffryn found her while she was doing minor vengeance spells and offered to “elevate” her and make her a demon. Buffy’s hopeful that Anya can summon him and keep him from doing the same to Willow. She gets distracted by a crypt that she thinks would be the perfect place for pictures. A demon shows up and Buffy tries to fight him without ruining the surrounding foliage. More demons arrive and the Scoobies run to a crypt. They barricade a door while Anya starts summoning D’Hoffryn.

D’Hoffryn finds Willow’s pain inspiring and wants her to join him as a demon. She’s a little freaked out. Anya tries to continue her summoning, but she can’t remember the right words. It probably doesn’t help that Buffy, Xander, and Spike are fighting demons and aren’t very quiet about it. Spike warns Buffy that the demons are stronger than them and he can’t protect her. As if she needs his protection!

D’Hoffryn shows Willow what her friends are going through because of her powers. She’ll make a great vengeance demon. She begs him to help the Scoobies, but he doesn’t care about them. He just wants a new demon. Willow politely tells him that she doesn’t want to be one. She just wants to go help her friends. D’Hoffryn is displeased, but instead of getting angry, he just sighs. He gives her a talisman she can use to contact him if she changes her mind.

A demon knocks Spike down, and Buffy kneels over him to make sure he’s okay. They start making out while Anya and Xander try to take out another demon. D’Hoffryn sends Willow to the crypt and she quickly ends her “have my will done” spell. It breaks in the middle of Buffy and Spike’s makeout session, leaving them disgusted with each other. “Spike lips! Lips of Spike!” Buffy exclaims.

Willow tries to make up for her mistakes by baking a bunch of cookies. Giles also got her to agree to detail his car. He wishes she’d given him better vision when she restored it, though. Buffy won’t let Spike have a cookie, but he’d really like to get the taste of her out of his mouth. He reveals that she wanted their first dance to be to “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Buffy’s still grossed out by feeling love for Spike, but Willow notes that at least they got along for a while. Buffy’s officially over bad guys and wants her next boyfriend to be nice. That reminds her that Riley thinks she’s engaged.

The next time Buffy sees Riley, she plays the whole thing off as a joke. She would never marry a guy named Spike! She wanted to give him a hard time because he looked scared when he saw her admiring the wedding dress. “So…you’re insane,” Riley says. “Uh-huh!” Buffy replies. But she’s single, so he’ll pretend this is just another piece of the puzzle that is Buffy. She tells him he has a lot to learn about women, and he replies, “You’re gonna teach me.”

Thoughts: I adore Buffy and Giles taunting Spike. “I accidentally killed Spike – that’s okay, right?” cracks me up every time.

Willow clearly didn’t learn her lesson with Spike because she calls out for Giles to come in when he knocks on her door, even though she doesn’t know who’s there. [Malory Archer voice] Do you want vampires? Because that’s how you get vampires!

There are two bits of foreshadowing in this episode: 1) the Lesbian Alliance banner, and 2) the shirt Willow wears in the last scene, which says, “Speak no evil.”

’90s music alert: “All the Small Things” by Blink-182

October 15, 2022

Buffy 4.5, Beer Bad: The Pleasure Principle Gone Wild

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:07 pm by Jenn

Art bad

Summary: Buffy’s on patrol and things are going the way they normally do…until she realizes that Parker is nearby. She tells him to stay down while she fights a vampire. Some other vampires grab Parker, but Buffy’s able to kill all of them and save him. He’s super-grateful, especially considering the way he treated her. He plans to do whatever it takes to make it up to her. Maybe someday she’ll forgive him?

“No,” says a classmate Parker’s flirting with during one of Professor Walsh’s classes. Buffy comes out of her daydream and tries to ignore them. Walsh talks to the class about the basic needs people want all the time (shelter, food, comfort) because of the id. It doesn’t learn or grow up. The ego and superego try to keep it in line, but the id just wants stuff, no matter how much people have evolved. It’s all about the pleasure principle. So when we can’t have what we want…well, if we’re Buffy, we go back to our daydream, which now features Parker with his shirt unbuttoned, asking for forgiveness while offering flowers and ice cream.

Xander has gotten a job as a bartender at a local pub, and he wants to practice his skills on Buffy and Willow – not skills related to serving drinks but to lighting people’s cigarettes and listening to sad drunks share their sad tales. Willow notes that he’s too young to be a bartender. Xander shows her his fake ID, which includes a picture of him with a really bad mustache. “I don’t believe this is entirely on the up-and-up,” Willow says. “What gives it away?” Xander asks. “Looking at it,” she replies.

Buffy would be happy to play along with Xander’s practice run and tell him her pretend problems, but she’s having enough trouble with her real ones. He wants to practice on those, but it’s clear that she doesn’t want to talk about them. Willow jumps in, making up a scenario where she’s pregnant with her stepbrother’s baby, but he’d rather be with her best friend.

On the way to class, Buffy shifts to her real problems, wondering if Parker put her in a fantasy bubble and will eventually want to be with the real her. Willow gently tells her that she needs to think about something other than Parker. There are better men out there who know that “the mind is stronger than the penis.” Xander scoffs and exclaims, “Nothing can defeat the penis!” He realizes he said that way too loudly. Buffy tries to defend Parker, thinking he has intimacy problems because of his father’s death. Willow’s done with that and tells her to share her problems with the bartender.

That night, Xander works his first shift at the pub and is quickly overwhelmed by all the orders. Buffy comes in, spots Parker with a date, and accidentally bumps into Riley. He, like Willow, is anti-Parker, but Buffy’s too laser-focused on Parker to listen. I need someone to shake her really, really hard until she comes to her senses and realizes that she can do so much better than Parker.

At the bar, Xander chats with a student with horrible bangs, but a guy named Colm (I think – two of the guys look a lot alike and the IMDb is no help) interrupts and makes Xander look dumb for not being an intellectual. He tells Xander that while the students are the future of the country, Xander just fills the bowls of peanuts. “We are what these girls want,” Colm says. Xander tries to one-up him by asking for ID before giving him a pitcher of beer, but his boss, Jack, walks by and tells Xander to serve him.

Xander finally gets the chance to put his empathetic-listening skills to use when he notices how down Buffy looks. She tells him that Parker’s only intimacy problem is not being able to get enough of it. She admits that she knew what he was. Would it be murder if she left him tied up in a cave and let vampires attack him? She calls herself a slut and an idiot. Xander tries to comfort her but he gets called back to work.

Buffy starts to leave but bumps into a guy who’s friends with Colm. He invites her to stay, and Colm and a third guy join in to flirt with her and ask her to hang out with them. Buffy spots Parker leaving with his date and decides this is the better place to be right now. Yeah, surrounded by snobby college guys – that sounds like an awesome night!

Oz and Willow are at the Bronze, where he gets a weird feeling as a band takes the stage. The lead singer is Veruca, and she locks eyes with him while she sings. Now Willow has a weird feeling, too. Back at the pub, Buffy drinks with a table of guys. She was brought up to believe that beer was bad (thanks, Joyce), but since she’s chugging it, she must not think that way anymore. Colm says that if philosophers had developed theories of morality while drinking, there would be no good or evil, just “‘kind of nice’ and ‘pretty cool.'”

The next day, Willow complains to herself about Oz and Veruca’s connection. She asks if Buffy has heard of Veruca: “Dresses like Faith, voice like an albatross.” Buffy’s too busy watching TV to listen to her. All her brain can handle right now is the tiny people and bright colors. “I’m suffering the afterness of a bad night of…badness,” she explains. Willow thinks she hooked up with Parker again. Buffy says she was with four smart guys, which disturbs Willow a little, though she just asks if Buffy’s okay.

Buffy explains that she went to see Xander, then saw Parker, then drank beer. There was no sex, just lots of drinking. Willow rants about Parker frying Buffy’s brain. He deserves a slow, torturous death by spider bites. Until they can set that up, they’ll throw spitballs at him in class. Buffy agrees and starts to leave, still wearing her pajamas.

In Walsh’s class, Buffy continues acting weird. She grabs a sandwich from a classmate, apparently not seeing anything strange about that. In a lab somewhere, someone combines a bunch of chemicals that ultimately drip into a keg labeled Black Frost, the same kind of beer Buffy was drinking with the guys at the pub.

Buffy goes back to the pub that night and drinks with the guys again. Their conversation style has changed from intellectual to barely able to string five words together. Xander’s so concerned that he doesn’t take pick up on the perfect opportunity to put his empathetic-listening skills to use with a student.

Oz catches Willow as she’s leaving her dorm, and she notes that he skipped class. He invites her to go see Veruca’s band with him; they asked him to sit in. Willow doesn’t want to be a groupie, so she tells him she’s just going to study. Even without werewolf instincts or enhanced senses, Oz would be able to tell that something’s going on with her.

Buffy and her drinking buddies’ conversation has devolved into them just calling each other stupid. Xander puts a song on the jukebox and Buffy runs over to see where the music’s coming from. He tells her it’s time to go home, but she just wants more music and beer. He informs her that he’s cut her off. “Did it hurt?” she asks. He has to hold her back from going back to the table and drinking more. “Beer good,” she insists. “Beer bad,” he corrects, then wonders what he’s saying. He sends her home to bed.

Willow goes to a coffeehouse, where runs into Parker. She glares at him until he asks if she wants something. She slams him for hurting Buffy, but he claims not to understand that he did anything wrong. Parker says some relationships are intimate, but most are just a couple of people encountering each other briefly. Can’t two people feel attraction and “create something wonderful” one night, then go back to their lives the next day without making more out of the encounter than it was?

Willow explains that some people, like her and Buffy, equate intimacy with respect and friendship. People shouldn’t have to ask ahead of time if the other person is going to move on the next day. Parker argues that they also shouldn’t have to go into casual sex with the disclaimer that they won’t stay together. That removes the fire from it. Willow concedes that he might be right. Parker says he doesn’t regret what happened with Buffy, but he’s sorry for hurting and misleading her. He’s impressed that Willow cares about her so much.

The guys at the pub have now devolved so much that they’re basically monkeys. Xander’s closing things down, and he takes advantage of their poor mental state to get a bigger tip. He hears crashing noises from the restroom, and Colm bursts out, now fully a caveman. He knocks Xander out, then yells him awake. The other guys have suddenly sobered and smartened up a little, and they realize they should leave, but before they can, they also go full caveman.

Xander yells for help, then realizes he might be able to save himself: The lighter he’s been carrying around with him spooks them. “Fire bad. Fire pretty,” Colm says. “Fire angry!” Xander exclaims, chasing the guys off. He runs to the backroom to get Jack, calmly telling him that some of the patrons have turned into cavemen. “They had it coming,” Jack says.

The cavemen run around campus, generally acting like…you know, cavemen. One trips and another laughs at him, so the first one hits him with a branch. Jack tells Xander that he’s been dealing with – and annoyed by – snooty college kids for decades. Beer makes everyone equal. Xander puts together that the beer is responsible for the guys’ devolution. Jack is proud of himself; his warlock brother-in-law showed him what to do. Xander realizes that Buffy could be suffering the same fate. Jack tells him the effects will wear off in a day or so, but Xander knows someone could get killed before then.

The cavemen make a mess on campus as one of them gets really interested in cars. He gets hit by one, and the other three guys chase off the driver, then smash his car. They spot a couple of women running away in fear and go after them. What kind of alert do you put out on campus to let people know there are cavemen running around? Is there a code for that? Code Neanderthal?

Xander does the smartest thing anyone can do in this situation: He gets Giles. They go to Buffy’s dorm, bickering over whether it was okay for Xander to give her beer, evil or not. “Well, excuse me, Mr. I Spent the ’60s in an Electric Kool-Aid Funky Satan Groove,” Xander snarks. “It was the early ’70s and you should know better,” Giles replies. Xander notes that he’s not Buffy’s father; she’s an adult. Not that she’s acting like one, since she’s drawing on her wall and looks kind of feral. “Parker bad,” she says.

Parker really bad, since he’s now trying to charm Willow the same way he charmed Buffy. Just when it looks like she’s falling for it, she calls him out. He’s just operating on the pleasure principle, not sharing or connecting. “That’s right, I got your number, Id Boy,” she says. She rants about how men only want sex – they “haven’t changed since the dawn of time.” Just then, the cavemen burst in. “See?” Willow says.

Xander and Giles watch as Buffy spins herself around in a desk chair until she falls off. She tries to turn on the TV, saying she wants the people and doesn’t know where they went. Giles tells her slowly and loudly, like he thinks she’s deaf, that the TV is off. She hits it and says she wants the people. Giles thinks Xander should stay with her, but when Buffy gets up close to Xander and starts sniffing him, Giles decides they should leave her alone.

Xander wants to find the cavemen before they cause any trouble. Buffy asks for beer, and when Giles says she can’t have any, she demands it. “Giles, don’t make cave-Slayer unhappy,” Xander cautions. “Buffy strong,” Buffy says. “Buffy get beer.” She throws Giles across the room and runs out.

At the coffeehouse, the cavemen have knocked out Willow and started a fire. They’re confused about their inability to reach donuts in a glass case. The fire quickly gets out of control, so the guys flee. Xander manages to find Buffy on the quad and uses cave-talk to communicate with her. He hopes there’s still a bit of the Slayer left in her. She smells smoke from the coffeehouse and the two of them head over there.

The cavemen are rounding up the women in the coffeehouse when Buffy arrives. Something breaks through her cave-brain and she grabs a fire extinguisher, though she doesn’t know how to use it. Sorry, Buffy, throwing it at the fire won’t do anything. But her protective instincts are still there, and she jumps over the flames to get to Willow. Meanwhile, Giles questions Buffy’s dormmates, hoping someone’s seen her. He describes her hair color, her height, and her newly acquired sideways limp.

Trapped by the fire, Buffy spots a window up high on a wall and does some gymnastics moves to reach it and kick it open. The cavemen and their would-be conquests get out as Buffy picks up Willow and rescues her. She goes back in and finds Parker, who was knocked out and is just now coming to. She knocks him back out with one of the cavemen’s branches, then rescues him, too.

Once everyone’s safe and the fire’s out, Xander asks Buffy if she’s learned a lesson about beer. “Foamy,” she says. “Good. Just as long as that’s clear,” he replies. She goes to the van the cavemen have been placed in and shares a last moment with them. Parker approaches her and says almost the same things he said her in daydream. Cave-Buffy responds by hitting him with the branch again. The Scoobies give him a satisfied glance, then head off.

Thoughts: One of the cavemen is played by Kal Penn.

Did anyone ever fact-check Parker’s story? I’m inclined to believe that his father isn’t really dead. He seems like the type to lie about that.

Oz continues to get the best lines:

Oz: “You got a table.”
Willow: “I had to kill a man.”
Oz: “Well, it’s a really good table.”

Buffy may have caveman brain for half the episode but it doesn’t affect her hairstyling skills (until the end) – her hair looks great here.

July 3, 2021

Felicity 4.16, Ben Don’t Leave: There Are Always Consequences

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:15 pm by Jenn

Someone has her priorities right

Summary: Javier warns Felicity that her “archest enemy” (Lauren) just walked into Dean & DeLuca. Lauren is there to give Ben a message via Felicity – her plans have changed, and she’s leaving for Arizona now. She’s annoyed that Ben hasn’t been around as much as he said he would be. She’s also annoyed that Felicity’s seemingly pretending to care about their problems. Lauren says that Ben and Felicity are both really selfish. Well, she would know about selfishness. Felicity and Javier agree that Lauren is a jerk, and Javier hopes she gets bad stretch marks.

At home later, Felicity’s still complaining about Lauren, this time to Meghan. She still has the stolen book, and she’s going to take it to Professor Carnes and come clean about copying her paper. Meghan thinks she should just let it to, since the deed is done. The person who wrote the original paper will probably never find out. Felicity disagrees with Meghan’s ideas, so Meghan asks how she’ll feel if she confesses and gets expelled. Felicity thinks she might get pity and/or leniency for being honest.

At the loft, Sean praises Noel for having a late night out with Zoe. He misses the fun of the beginning of a relationship, especially the part where the couple has tons of sex. Noel is very clearly not having sex, which Sean says is a problem. There must be something wrong in the relationship. Noel says it’s too difficult to find a time for intimacy; it’s about logistics. “Logistics? It’s not a moon landing,” Sean replies.

Noel reminds him that there are a bunch of get-togethers and meetings with clients, so he and Zoe haven’t had time to be alone. Sean offers to cover for him so he and Zoe can get it on. They’ve been dating for a few weeks now, and this is the best part of the relationship. After this, it’s all downhill. (He whispers in case Meghan is listening in. Sad.)

Richard goes to the dorm apartment to ask Elena to go to a fundraiser with him. He has a crush on a woman who will be there, and he wants to make her jealous. Yeah, Elena doesn’t want to play that game. Richard says she should be flattered – he wouldn’t ask her to participate in this if she were ugly. He reminds her that they’re about to graduate, and he knows that when he gets out into the real world, where he’s not surrounded by eligible hotties, he’ll never find love. He needs to take advantage of this. Elena gives in, making it clear that this is a pity date.

Felicity goes to see Carnes, who’s in the middle of a rough divorce and is about to go meet with her lawyer. She assures Felicity that her grades are great and this investigation into her paper has nothing to do with her. She thinks someone on the editorial board is using it as an excuse to get back at Carnes for getting a grant he wanted. It’s all about politics. She asks Felicity to bring her sources to her tomorrow, rather than next week, so they can get this out of the way.

Felicity runs into Lauren outside the loft building, waiting for Ben. Lauren doesn’t want to make small talk. Upstairs, Ben tells Felicity that he’s going to help her move some boxes, and then they’ll be rid of her and they can go do something to distract Felicity from her problems. Zoe wants to hang out with Noel that night, but they have some client get-together. He suggests that they take Sean up on his offer to handle it. Zoe manages to resists Noel’s…sex appeal? Sure. She resists so they can be professional.

Ben is late getting back from helping Lauren, and Felicity’s worried. She’s right to be, as it turns out Ben and Lauren were in a car accident. When Felicity gets to the hospital, she learns that Ben is in surgery. Lauren, who’s fine (as is the baby), tells Felicity that she got blindsided by another car. Her doctor dismisses Felicity, who’s still able to hear their conversation – Lauren’s blood-alcohol level is over the legal limit.

Webb Graphics shells out the big bucks to wine and dine their clients at Epstein Bar. Sure. Sean has heard some gossip from co-worker Pauline and thinks Zoe is hesitant to sleep with Noel because she’s still hung up on her ex, Dwayne. Noel’s surprised, since they’ve been courting Dwayne as a client for weeks. Sean informs him that he’s been “courting the enemy.”

Richard and Elena go to the fundraiser, where he hopes his crush will be impressed with him for showing up with a Black woman. His crush is really PC, and this makes him look “culturally diverse.” He’s “a man of the people, like Bono.” Elena decks him. Hit him again! Let everyone take a turn! Make Richard a piñata!

Felicity calls Meghan from the hospital to update her on the Ben/Lauren situation. Meghan tries to assure her that Ben will be okay. Also, Meghan called Carnes and rescheduled their meeting about her sources for her paper. She offers to come be with Felicity, but Felicity thinks she should wait for news on Ben by herself.

Zoe flirts with Noel, who wants to know why she left some details out of their discussions about Dwayne. She clarifies that she and Dwayne aren’t exes. She met him when Noel introduced them last week. Looks like Sean’s intel was incorrect. When Sean asks Pauline to repeat what she told him, it becomes clear that a) Pauline isn’t 100% sober and b) she mistook Dwayne for someone else.

After dozing off in the waiting room, Felicity wakes up as Lauren leaves, having spoken to the police. She’s headed to the impound lot to get her car and all her stuff. Ben is still in surgery, and Felicity lays into Lauren for being selfish – she clearly doesn’t care what happens to him. Felicity says she feels sorry for Lauren’s baby, because of who his mother is.

While Felicity goes to see Ben after he’s out of surgery, Noel and Sean leave the party, talking about how Noel and Zoe definitely have a problem. They should be much more eager to sleep together. Sean asks if Zoe has ever said she’s not in the mood. If a woman ever says that, it means the problem is fundamental, i.e., something out of the guy’s control (like his odor, his height, is voice, or how he kisses). Or…maybe she’s not in the mood. Sean urges Noel to surprise Zoe with some flowers and show that he’s romantic and spontaneous.

Lauren returns to the hospital, where Ben is still unconscious. She admits to Felicity that she woke up this morning feeling like she couldn’t continue living the AA one-day-at-a-time life. She’s been trying to find someone to blame for everything that’s gone wrong in her life, but she knows she’s the one to blame. Felicity was right to say she’s selfish.

Richard goes to the dorm apartment to yell at Elena for ruining his plan. He wound up spinning what happened into another lie about how PC he is – he told the crush that he was assaulted by the police while chained to a tree for a protest. I don’t think Richard knows what “PC” means. Elena calls him racist, but Richard still thinks she should be flattered. Besides, she’s not “really Black.” She’s dating a white guy, she doesn’t have any Black friends, and she doesn’t like Spike Lee movies. Richard, begone.

Noel takes Sean’s advice and takes flowers, wine, and ice cream to Zoe’s apartment. Eating and chatting turns to kissing, but Zoe’s still hesitant to go any further. Noel says he doesn’t want to pressure her, but he’d like to return to the physicality they had together when they first started dating. She notes that they’ve really only been together for three weeks (not five – the first two don’t count). She doesn’t want to feel like they’re on a time table. She asks him to leave, saying she’s not in the mood. Ruh-roh!

As Sean calls to let Noel know that Ben is in the hospital, Lauren – who’s suddenly turned into a person with actual admirable qualities – brings Felicity some tea and encourages her to go home for the night. Felicity wants to stay, and she offers to let Lauren crash at the dorm apartment instead of finding a hotel for the night.

When they go over there, Felicity checks her messages and gets one from Carnes, who says she couldn’t reschedule the meeting about Felicity’s sources. Oh, come on! Her boyfriend’s in the hospital! Lauren remembers how Felicity sympathized with her for going through something rough; now Lauren can sympathize right back. Felicity says she wishes she’d done things differently. Lauren does, too. She thanks Felicity for her kindness.

Felicity spends the night at Ben’s side, and in the morning, he finally wakes up. Their friends show up wanting to see him, but Meghan and Elena can’t talk a nurse into letting them in before visiting hours start. Felicity’s touched to see them all in the waiting room. She tells them that Ben lost a lot of blood but is going to be fine. And now she has to go to her meeting and determine her academic fate.

Carnes is pleased to tell Felicity that Lipschitz, the guy who has a vendetta against her, is already backing down from investigating the paper. He can’t remember the name of the student whose thesis Felicity is being accused of copying. Felicity provides it, then gives Carnes the book and confesses to copying the paper. As punishment, she’ll fail the course, and Carnes will have to think about whether or not she can graduate.

Richard has decided that Elena was right, so he goes to the dorm apartment to apologize for being racist. Also, he wants her to look at the black eye she gave him. He laments not having enough friends to be able to afford to lose one. Since when are Richard and Elena really friends, though? It’s not like they hang out a bunch.

Anyway, Elena forgives him, and what he said made her think. Maybe she has a bunch of white friends so she can prove that she fits in. She doesn’t want people to see her as different. Richard, however, would love to be different. He feels special when he goes to Star Wars conventions, since his nerdiness makes him unique. They make him feel like he’s a part of something. Richard offers to go hang out with Black students with Elena; he’s “funky fresh” and can “hang with the brothers.” Richard, shush.

At work, Noel tells Zoe that he doesn’t think things are going to work out for them. She promises that she’s attracted to him, but he notes that she tries to pull away every time they get physically close. She tells him that she was taking medication for her depression, but she felt so good when they started dating that she stopped taking it. Now she realizes that was a bad idea. Zoe hasn’t been in the mood because she’s been depressed, not because of Noel. Now she’s back on her meds, so in a couple weeks, she’ll be ready to rock. Noel completely understands and promises not to rush her.

When Felicity gets home, she finds a note from Lauren thanking her again. She feels inspired by Felicity’s ability to face her problems. She’s going somewhere unknown to do…something, and she’ll call Ben when she gets settled. Should she be leaving the state when she’s probably facing criminal charges for driving drunk? Instead of being mad, Felicity just goes back to the hospital to be with Ben.

Thoughts: This baby deserves better parents than Ben and Lauren. Give him to Javier and Elena. They’ll raise him right.

Gotta love the irony of Richard using Elena to look PC when the show obviously only wrote her in so they wouldn’t have an all-white cast.

Sean finally had a good idea and it didn’t work out. That guy just can’t catch a break.

June 22, 2021

ER 8.20, The Letter: Filling the Void

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:53 pm by Jenn

Yep, there it is

Summary: Susan is back from her trek to New York, and she offers up a brief recap of what happened on Third Watch: Chloe took off with Susie after Susan and the cops found her, and she’s now hanging out in a hotel upstate. Susan’s worried about Chloe’s sobriety and ability to care for Susie, who should be in school. Carter notes that she could get Chloe declared an unfit mother, which means Joe would get custody of Susie, if he wants it. They should have just had Susan take Susie back. Also, where was Susie during the last episode? Eh, who cares?

An angry patient named Toby comes looking for his prosthetic leg, which he accuses Susan of stealing. Susan’s like, “Why would I want your leg? I don’t need three legs.” Apparently this happens to Toby a lot. Carter tries to check some test results on the computer, but the server’s down because they’re loading new software. Frank tells him to check the fax machine instead. Pratt is waiting for his match letter, which will tell him which hospital he’ll be working in for his residency. He forgot to pick his up from the dean’s office (how do you forget something so important??), so he asked to have it sent there.

Carter notices that there’s a letter from Mark on the fax machine. He’s written to the “ER gang.” Carter reads it to the staff members at the admit desk. It’s about Rachel and Ella playing together on the beach, and how relaxing it is for Mark to just hang out in the sand without having to work. More staff members gather, half-listening to the letter while they do their jobs.

Mark says (via Carter’s reading) that he sometimes wished he’d chosen a different career, but being gone has made him realize that working at County was the best choice he ever made. He knows that his co-workers are fantastic doctors and nurses, and their skills will make up for his absence. Haleh doubts that.

Mark says he had to leave the way he did, without saying goodbye to anyone, but he wants them to know how much he values his co-workers and their time together. He wanted to say more personal things to some of them (hint: Susan), but he thinks they know how he felt about them. The letter ends with a note that Rachel and Ella are happy because they finally found the perfect seashell. The staff thinks there was more to the letter but the fax machine jammed.

Carter turns the page and his face falls. Susan notices and urges him to continue. Carter says that the next page is from Elizabeth. She reports that Mark died at sunrise that morning, his favorite time of day. Elizabeth sent his letter so the staff would know that he was thinking of them. He liked knowing they would have good memories of him. Fighting back tears, Carter tells Frank to post the letter on a bulletin board so everyone can read it. Then everyone goes back to work.

Al is back, and Pratt has learned his lesson about paying attention to his blood sugar. Al wants Mark, and since Mark isn’t there, he says he’ll come back tomorrow. Carter keeps treating him anyway. He notices that Weaver has arrived at work and is reading Mark and Elizabeth’s letter, since she wasn’t at the admit desk earlier. Pratt wants to bet Carter $20 that Al’s glucose is over 400. Shut up, Pratt.

Abby also notices Weaver reading the letter and tries to gently interrupt her. Weaver’s annoyed that the letter was posted on the bulletin board, but Abby notes that it was for the whole staff. Yeah, but it would have been nice to tell everyone first, instead of letting them learn the news about the death of a colleague from a letter. Anyway, they have work to do.

Paramedics bring in a girl named Melissa who was injured in a car accident with her father, Dan. Melissa’s calm until the door between her and Dan’s trauma rooms opens and she sees her father being treated. Carter and Abby work on Dan together, struggling to get him a clear airway. Romano joins them and tries to take over, since Carter isn’t moving fast enough with his scope. Romano gets scalpel-happy and cuts an airway for Dan. It’s not pretty, but it’s successful. Romano tells Carter to move faster next time.

Chloe calls looking for Susan, so we get some more closure on that storyline. She and Joe split up, but he’s taking her back. That means he’ll be looking after Susie while Chloe goes to rehab. Right now, Susan has another kid to worry about – Melissa has a mass in her lung. The poor girl came in after a car accident and now has to be told that she has cancer.

Weaver stitches up a man named George who accidentally cut himself. This has happened before, and last time he promised Weaver he wouldn’t use a knife again, but here we are. (George has Down syndrome, and though he appears to be independent in most ways, he still needs a little looking after.) Weaver sees Romano reading Mark and Elizabeth’s letter, which distracts her from George, who’s picking at his stitches. She snaps at him and complains that he doesn’t listen to her. Luka tells her to take a break. Weaver apologizes to George and goes to an exam room to cry.

Haleh lets Susan know that Romano overrode a canceled surgical consult for Melissa and is inserting a chest tube. While Susan tries to keep Melissa calm, Romano throws his weight around in the ER, earning himself a spot on Haleh’s hate list. Well, let’s be honest – he was probably already on it. Romano unceremoniously tells Melissa that she needs surgery and rushes her to the OR.

Weaver and Sandy were supposed to go on a date (yay!), but Sandy thinks Weaver should hang out with her staff so they can mourn Mark together. Weaver says they’re not her friends, so they’re not about to hang out together after hours. Sandy and her firefighter co-workers stick with each other after they lose someone, and she thinks the ER staff should do the same. Weaver says that she and Mark were always at odds, and she always treated their working relationship like a competition. She knew Mark was going to die, but she never thought she’d feel so sad about it. Maybe they were friends after all.

Pratt tells Carter that after Al was told he needed dialysis, which he really doesn’t want, he passed out. Pratt calls him a MIMP, as in someone who has multiple medical problems. Carter would like Pratt to stop making up acronyms and medical terms. He’s willing to give Al dialysis in the ER, but Pratt thinks they should pass him on to another department and let them figure out what’s wrong with him.

Frank gives Pratt his match letter as Gallant invites Carter to get drinks with him and some other staff members. It’s sad that no one else mentioned that to Carter. Pratt’s annoyed that his match letter has placed him at County, his last choice. I don’t think Carter’s any happier about it. Chen arrives and reads the letter.

Susan and Abby get giant drinks at a place called the Lava Lounge, where Mark once had a birthday party. For the record, Gallant has a Coke instead of alcohol, which I think is adorable. They want to toast Mark, and they choose Susan to do the honors, but she’s not sure what to say. Luka does the toast in Croatian but doesn’t translate for anyone. Weaver arrives with Sandy, and Haleh murmurs, “Looks like we’re going public.” Everyone keeps it professional and friendly, not saying anything about how Weaver is dating a woman.

Romano and Shirley operate on Melissa while discussing Mark’s death. Romano makes a mistake that will extend the surgery through the night. He notes that our bodies are supposed to keep us alive, but they can turn on themselves. No one is safe from injury or illness, even young girls like Melissa, or fathers of young girls, like Mark.

The Lava Lounge bartender is flirting with Susan when Carter shows up. She sends him out back to see Abby, who’s smoking and tipsy. She tries to keep things light, but he’s not amused. Abby asks how many lives Carter thinks Mark saved during his years as a doctor. If he saved one person every shift and worked five shifts a week for ten years, he probably saved thousands of people. Abby thinks Mark was a better superhero than Superman. Carter quips that if he knew Abby went for that kind of guy, he would have shaved his head a long time ago.

Abby notices that Carter’s sadder than expected and asks if he’s okay. They look at each other for a long, long time, as if they’re about to kiss. Carter suggests that they go somewhere else. She thinks he wants to take her to a topless bar or a tattoo parlor, but he wants to go to “Bill’s place” – an AA meeting.

Abby heads back to the bar, refusing to go with Carter, but he keeps stepping into her path. Abby notes that she can’t go to a meeting drunk. Plus, it’s voluntary, so he can’t force her. Carter ignores her, saying she’s going to a meeting no matter what. When she keeps protesting, he picks her up and throws her over his shoulder. She calls out for help, then bites him, which makes him drop her. The bartender checks on them and they tell him everything’s okay. Then they head off to get some food.

At Doc Magoo’s, Carter tells Abby about a patient who sends Mark a crate of lobsters every Memorial Day as thanks for a procedure. Once the staff ate surf ‘n’ turf on the roof. Abby thinks they should pretend Mark’s still alive so the lobsters keep coming. She tells Carter that she didn’t start drinking after Brian’s attack – she started on her birthday. If she hadn’t been drinking again, she probably wouldn’t have opened the door for Brian. She’s sobered up, so Carter wants to take her to a meeting before she has to work. Abby says no, since she needs to sleep, but if Carter will back off, she’ll go to a meeting later in the day.

Chen finds the two of them and reveals that Carter, who’s been up all night, has a 7 a.m. shift. Al is declining, and Carter isn’t sure what his wishes are, since Mark took care of him most of the time. After they stabilize him, Al says he doesn’t want any more efforts to keep him alive. Susan is also back at County, waiting for news on Melissa. Romano had to work all night, but he successfully removed her tumor. In other good news, Dan is also going to be okay. Romano notes that Melissa’s tumor has a 50% mortality rate, so it was actually good that she was in the accident – otherwise, they wouldn’t have found the tumor.

Chen isn’t sure she and Carter should respect Al’s request, since there’s no note in his chart. Carter thinks Mark expected to be there at the end of Al’s life, so he didn’t think notes were necessary. Chen tells Carter that Al is his patient, so he can have the final call. Meanwhile, someone’s yelling at Pratt in Italian. Carter and Chen do rock paper scissors to decide who will step in to help. Carter loses, so Chen dismisses him with an “arrivederci.”

Pratt asks Carter to make a call and help him get matched at another hospital. He obviously thinks he’s too good to work at County. Carter says they’re there to serve an underserviced community, and Pratt was chosen to help, so he needs to accept it. Carter then finds Susan crying in the lounge, finally expressing her feelings about Mark’s death. She wishes she could just pretend he moved away. She’s reeling over the fact that they caught Melissa’s tumor before she had any symptoms, while Mark’s tumor didn’t get detected until it was too late.

Carter gently says that they only save who they can. Susan wishes life made more sense than that. They both say they miss Mark already. While Susan was away from Chicago, she thought about him sometimes, but she always thought he would be around. Carter says it’s good to miss him, since that keeps him close to them.

Weaver accidentally interrupts as they’re hugging and starts to clear out Mark’s locker. She wants to save Elizabeth the trouble; plus, Pratt needs a locker. She heard about Carter’s power struggle with Romano, but Carter admits that Romano was right – Carter took too long with Dan. Weaver announces that with Mark gone, Carter’s the doctor with the longest tenure at County. People will see him as the person they want to fill Mark’s void. Carter notes that it’s a big void.

Weaver gets overwhelmed looking at Mark’s things and asks Carter to finish clearing out the locker. Carter does, finding Mark’s stethoscope and taking it for himself. Then he waits for an ambulance with Abby, who confirms she went to an AA meeting. He asks if she went for herself or because she told Carter she would. She says she went for him. Great, now he’s going to be smug.

The two take their patient, who was shot in the face, to a trauma room. Gallant struggles to take care of a patient who looks so bad. He barely manages to keep working while Carter still needs his help. Afterward, Carter finds Gallant in the ambulance bay and tells him to take his time recovering. Gallant admits that sometimes he’s not sure he can be an ER doctor.

Echoing a conversation Mark and Carter had in the first episode of the series, Carter tells Gallant there are two kinds of doctors. They either get rid of their feelings or hold on to them. If Gallant holds on to his feelings, he’ll get sick sometimes. People come into County in distress or sick, sometimes dying, and looking for help. Helping them is more important than how the doctors feel. After eight years, Carter still gets sick sometimes. He tells Gallant to take another minute if he needs it.

Carter goes back inside as Susan leaves for the night. She straightens Mark and Elizabeth’s letter and puts extra tacks in the pages to hold them down. Carter checks on Al, who thinks he’s Mark. He’s grateful that Mark always treated him like a human being. Carter sits with him and tries to comfort him about his impending death. Al wishes he’d been a better person and done more with his life. Carter says he did enough. He promises to stay with Al as he dies.

Time passes. Patients come in, doctors treat them, and Mark and Elizabeth’s letter remains on the bulletin board. A gust from a fan in the doorway makes the first page fly away. No one notices because their jobs – and their lives – go on.

Thoughts: George is played by Chris Burke, the third major cast member from Life Goes On to appear on ER, after Kellie Martin and Chad Lowe.

I wonder why they chose to show everyone’s reactions to Mark’s death before we see his actual death. And then there’s another episode after that, which moves on to completely different stuff. Seems like an odd way to write out your star.

Is Carter’s behavior with Abby supposed to be appealing here? He’s the star of the show now, with Anthony Edwards leaving – are we expected to enjoy watching our new protagonist basically kidnap his love interest to force her to do something she doesn’t want to do? He literally throws her over his shoulder like he’s a caveman. And how are we supposed to feel about Abby, who then willingly goes with Carter, as if she’s forgiving him for his actions?

The Carter/Gallant scene should have meant that Gallant would become the new Carter. I wish that had happened instead of the coming amplification of Pratt.

June 15, 2021

ER 8.19, Brothers and Sisters: Helping or Hurting?

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

This is so dumb

Summary: After spending a few nights on Luka’s couch, Abby is moving back to her own apartment. She may not be ready to live in the place where she was assaulted. At County, Pratt tries to ask Chen out, but she’s not interested. He keeps pressing the topic, verging on sexual harassment. Pablo overhears the conversation, so Chen tries to set him up with Pratt. Luka puts a new lock on Abby’s door while she drinks a beer. Carter comes by and is stunned to see her drinking. He gets all judgy. This is the guy you want to date, Abby? Really?

The next day, Abby joins Pratt to tend to a patient who claims his brother is inside him. Lanny, is that you? Abby suggests a psych consult. Pratt is annoyed that she’s expressing an opinion, and he tells her he flies the plane while she serves the coffee. I can’t wait for him to use this attitude around Haleh. It’ll be fantastic.

Abby leaves Pratt to deal with the patient on his own as Carter joins them. The patient gets more and more agitated, finally saying he needs to get his brother out. He pulls out a switchblade and raises it to stab himself in the stomach. Carter quickly knocks it out of his hand. He calmly tells Haleh to restrain the patients and call for a psych consult.

Romano is bugging Weaver with some information on lesbians and health care. He thinks that this is a great opportunity to make some money – Weaver’s “sisters” are underserved, and County can help. She accuses him of trying to exploit her lifestyle. Romano thinks she should be their poster child for a Center for Lesbian Excellence. Romano, those women aren’t going to sleep with you.

In the lounge, Carter uses the patient’s switchblade to try to get his Pop Tart out of the toaster. He tries to make Susan think he’s shocking himself, because suddenly Carter has a sense of humor (don’t get used to it). She checks her messages as they chat about Mark’s sudden departure from the hospital. One of the messages is from Susie, who sounds frantic. She and Chloe are in a hotel, and Susie’s worried because she can’t wake Chloe. She hangs up without leaving any information about where they are.

Susan calls Chloe but only gets her answering machine. She’s worried enough to call the police, telling the officer she talks to that her brother-in-law, Joe, is a New Jersey cop. She couldn’t reach him, either – he took a few days off, and his precinct doesn’t know how to reach him. The cop says he’ll try to trace Susie’s call, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about the situation. Carter tries to reassure Susan; Susie probably overreacted to something and is fine.

Carter tells Luka he’s concerned that Abby’s drinking again. He asks if Luka even noticed. Weaver pulls Luka away to help her with a boy named Alan who fell out of a tree. Carter tries to join the trauma, but Weaver sends him away. Looks like Carter’s upset that someone else chose Luka over him. Chen teases Pratt about hanging out with Pablo, but it turns out they had dinner together and Pratt learned a lot about Pablo’s life. Chen is surprised.

Carter learns that Pratt sent one of Carter’s patients home without informing him. Pratt thinks the patient made up a complaint so she could get a free meal. Carter says he wants to sign off on every patient Pratt sees, even ones who just come by for directions to Wrigley Field. Susan hasn’t heard anything from Chloe or Susie, but the cop she spoke to was able to trace Chloe’s call to a cell phone in New York. He’s even let the NYPD precinct in that jurisdiction know that Susan will be calling. I’m surprised this cop, who looked so put out earlier, actually put forth this much effort.

Susan calls the precinct, where an officer named Bosco is about to come on shift. The person answering the phones – the Jerry and Frank of the precinct, if you will – assigns him to talk to Susan. They’re now calling this a missing-persons case. At County, Elizabeth comes to the ER to help Weaver and Luka with Alan. Weaver asks about Mark, and Elizabeth reports that he’s spending some time in Hawaii, where he grew up. Susan stops by the trauma room to tell Weaver she has to leave. She’s going to catch a flight to New York and find Susie and Chloe.

A frequent ER visitor named Reverend Ed has stopped by to talk about Jesus. Weaver isn’t a fan. She tells Gallant to kick him out, because in a little while, the rev will start trying to heal people, which is “bad for business.” Heh. Gallant approaches the rev respectfully as paramedics bring in a security guard named Stanley who was shot. Carter lets Pratt take the lead, so Pratt exerts some power by making Gallant give Stanley a rectal exam. Carter tells the “kids” to play nice. It’s only been one episode since Mark passed the torch to him and Carter’s already starting to sound like him.

In New York, Bosco and his partner, Faith Yokas, are surprised that Susan has flown in from Chicago. Bosco thinks she’s freaking out too much and too soon. His lieutenant tells him to deal with her. Susan tells them that she called Chloe’s school, and they said she hasn’t been there for days. Yokas seems to be the only one taking this seriously. Bosco thinks the family is just on a trip somewhere.

Since the family lives in New Jersey, Yokas suggests that they send someone from their local police department to check out the house. Susan plays them Susie’s message. Bosco still thinks this is a nothing case that’s beneath him, but Yokas says they can go around to hotels in their precinct and show pictures of Chloe and Susan to find out if anyone’s seen them. She agrees to let Susan tag along, though Bosco doesn’t want that.

Luka tells Alan’s parents that he tore a blood vessel in his head, and it’s likely that the damage that caused won’t be fixable. He’s only alive because he’s on life support. Bosco calls around to morgues and hospitals, but no one matching Chloe or Susie’s descriptions has been brought in. He tries to convince Susan that the family just left town without telling anyone.

Yokas asks if Chloe and Joe were having marital problems, or if Joe had any addictions. Susan says he was the one who helped Chloe put her life back together. Bosco wishes Susan had mentioned earlier that Chloe had a drug problem. Susan doesn’t think that’s relevant, since Chloe’s been sober for five years. She’s now a responsible wife and mother. Bosco asks why, then, Susan came to New York.

Pratt and Gallant butt heads because Pratt is an insensitive jerk and Gallant…well, isn’t. When Stanley starts declining, Gallant suggests that they get Carter. Pratt thinks they can handle the trauma themselves, though he has to look through his notes to remember how do to a thoracotomy. I don’t know much, but I know that that’s not something an intern and a med student should be doing on their own. Abby catches them and they send her to get more help. She lets Carter know that his intern and student are going rogue.

While Bosco asks an informant sitting in front of a building if Susie and Chloe have been around, Yokas tells Susan that Bosco isn’t as bad as he seems. Susan and I are both skeptical. In a display of horribly bad timing, Bosco kicks the chair out from under the informant and threatens to break his face. Yokas blasts him for being a jerk. A guy who considers himself a neighborhood watch person comes by and asks if the officers are finally going to shut down the business operating in the building; it’s a not-so-secret brothel. Bosco chases him off instead of asking him if he’s seen Chloe or Susan.

Yokas wonders if Chloe and Joe are fighting and Chloe took off with Susie because of a custody dispute. This would have been a good time for Susan to mention that Joe isn’t Susie’s father, because another angle to this case could be that her biological father kidnapped her, but that never comes up. Bosco wonders if they’re even missing – maybe Chloe’s hiding from her controlling sister. Yokas thinks it’s understandable that Susan would jump on a plane to come look for her sister. Bosco says they’re just dealing with yet another junkie who’s gone missing.

Romano meets Pratt for the first time when he sends Stanley upstairs for surgery. Romano also slams Carter for not monitoring his students better. Pratt tries to argue that he was justified in doing a procedure above his skill set, since Stanley would have died without it. Carter sends him and Gallant to the lounge, where they’ll hopefully keep their hands to themselves and not cut anyone else’s chest open. Pratt ignores his instructions and goes back to work.

Susan, Bosco, and Yokas have finally found a lead on Chloe and Susie – they’ve been staying in the basically-a-brothel building. There stuff is all there, as is some drug paraphernalia. Again, Bosco’s mad that Susan didn’t mention Chloe’s addiction issues earlier. Alan’s parents are starting to accept the fact that he’s not going to get better. Elizabeth tells them that he’s not suffering; he’s already gone. The parents are ready to let him go rather than keep his body alive without him in it. Luka starts to remove Alan from life support, and Elizabeth gets overwhelmed and leaves the room.

Carter goes to the lounge to yell at Pratt and Gallant, though only Gallant is there. Gallant says he wanted to go get Carter, but if he’d left Pratt, Stanley would have died. Carter assigns Gallant to scut duty for the rest of the day. He asks if Gallant has heard of Dave. Carter warns him not to be a hotshot like Dave, or he’ll end up fired, too. Gallant tells Carter he gets his anger, but Carter needs to not group Gallant and Pratt together.

Reverend Ed is still in the ER, so Weaver tells Pratt to get rid of him, since Gallant couldn’t. Elizabeth joins Romano in the OR, where he’s trying to save Stanley. Before she can actually help, Shirley tells her Rachel is on the phone from Hawaii – there’s an emergency. We don’t hear the call, but Elizabeth’s face says it’s about something really bad.

Bosco and Yokas track down another informant, but this one runs from them. Yokas chases him and tackles him. I hope Susan’s taking notes on how cops treat people in New York, because this doesn’t make them look very good. The cops force the informant to look at pictures of Chloe and Susie, and he says he may have seen Chloe in a shooting gallery behind an old factory. (I assume “shooting gallery” means a place where drug users shoot up, and not a place where people shoot guns.) He’s not sure if Susie was there. Susan quietly chastises Bosco for possibly breaking the informant’s nose.

Carter catches Pratt working with Chen and tells him to go home. Pratt objects, so Carter tells him to start listening to his superiors if he wants to keep his job. Pratt backs down. Carter tells Chen that they need to keep an eye on Pratt. She says he’s a good doctor, but Carter thinks he’s dangerous. Congratulations – you’re both right!

Carter spots Abby going out to the ambulance bay for a cigarette break and asks if she wants to talk about her relapse. He guesses she started drinking again after her assault. He wants to help her, but Abby says she doesn’t need help. Carter can’t believe she threw away six years of sobriety. Abby says she’s a different person now. She doesn’t think one beer is a big deal. Carter knows that’ll snowball. Abby says it’s not a reaction to something that happened to her – she made a decision to drink.

Elizabeth tells Romano that she needs some time off to be with Mark. He’s gotten worse, and she doesn’t think he’ll be able to fly home after his trip to Hawaii. Romano agrees that Elizabeth needs to go to him, no matter how long she’ll have to be gone. He asks if there’s anything he can do. Elizabeth just tells him to pray. I’d like to add that he shouldn’t pray for Mark to die so he can be with Elizabeth.

Carter, Luka, and Abby all work together on a drunk driver who crashed his car. Carter practically says, “See what happens when you drink, Abby? SEE?” Bosco, Yokas, and Susan search the shooting gallery for Susie and Chloe, ignoring the dozen other addicts who are nodding off there. Bosco finds Chloe, who’s clearly overdosed, but there’s no sign of Susie. They call paramedics, who have trouble stabilizing Chloe and won’t let Susan help, since she’s not licensed to practice medicine in New York.

The drunk driver doesn’t survive, so Carter’s rough day has gotten even worse. Luka tells him that Abby’s a big girl and doesn’t need him monitoring her activities. Carter thinks Luka should have stopped Abby when she started drinking while living with him. Luka denies that Abby’s a drunk, so either she never told him she was an alcoholic or he thinks she can have a couple drinks with no problems.

Carter taunts that maybe Luka likes women when they’re vulnerable. He’s itching for Luka to fight him, asking if Luka’s going to beat him up – maybe bash his head into the ground? Not cool, Carter. Luka tries to leave the room, but Carter stops him and says that if he’s not helping Abby, he’s hurting her. Abby returns and Carter leaves.

The paramedics tend to Chloe while Susan asks what she was using and where Susie is. She wants the paramedics to intubate Chloe, but they think they can treat her without doing that. Weaver’s mad that Reverend Ed is still hanging around the ER, since no one will tell him to leave. Pratt passed the buck to Jerry, but Jerry won’t get rid of the guy who cured his sciatica. Weaver finally bites the bullet and tells Reverend Ed to leave. He tries to heal her, which cracks Pratt up.

Carter tells Pratt that Stanley’s going to live, so now Pratt thinks he was justified in breaking the rules. A couple of women from the Illinois Women’s Health Coalition come by looking for Weaver (I assume Romano called them) just as she’s tossing Reverend Ed out of the hospital. Abby pulls Carter aside to apologize for being short with him earlier. She just doesn’t want him to worry about her. Things between them are too complicated even leaving aside their addictions.

Once Chloe’s stable and in the hospital, Susan presses her about Susie, but Chloe doesn’t know where she is. She cries over Joe breaking her heart and admits that she screwed up. Susan’s short on sympathy right now. Abby gets woken up by a crash outside her apartment door, so she checks her locks just to be safe. She considers drinking or calling someone (Carter? Luka? Her so-far-invisible sponsor? Who knows?), then turns on the TV.

The next day, Susan meets up with Yokas, but there’s still no news on Susie. Chloe doesn’t remember anything from her drug binge. Susan knows that if a missing child isn’t found within the first 12 hours, the odds of the child being located unharmed go way down. Yokas’ shift was supposed to be over a few hours ago, but she’s going to stay on the case.

Thoughts: Bosco is played by Jason Wiles, AKA Colin on Beverly Hills, 90210. One of the New York paramedics is played by Kim Raver.

This episode is a crossover with Third Watch. I hate crossovers.

Carter’s handling of Pratt’s psych patient would have been the perfect opportunity to address his stabbing and the aftermath, but…nothing.

Given the choice between watching a show starring Pratt and one starring Bosco, I would choose…to turn off the TV.

April 20, 2021

ER 8.11, Beyond Repair: Worst Birthday Ever

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

Two people who had very bad days

Summary: Abby’s asleep – drink! She wakes up to the sound of her neighbors yelling at each other. She ignores her ringing phone but rushes to pick it up when she realizes Maggie is calling to wish her a happy birthday. Weaver and Sandy’s relationship has moved along quickly, and they’ve spent the night together. Sandy teases Weaver about her snoring. This is easily the happiest we’ve ever seen Weaver in six seasons.

Carter brings Millicent home from her rehab center, and they’re surprised to find Eleanor at the mansion. Millicent clearly hates Eleanor and doesn’t bother trying to hide it. Leaving for work, Abby passes her warring neighbors, Joyce and Brian. Brian is terse but Joyce is friendly and invites Abby over for coffee sometime. She also offers Abby a ride, though the car isn’t working, so she couldn’t follow through on that even if Abby had said yes.

Eleanor has agreed to go to a luncheon for a pediatric cancer charity, since Millicent doesn’t want to attend. Carter tells Eleanor she doesn’t have to go; Millicent always accepts their offers to look good, but never actually goes. With Jack out of town, Eleanor has decided to stay a while, knowing she won’t have to run into him. Carter tells her he knows they’re getting divorced. She doesn’t seem too broken up about it.

Paramedics bring in a homeless man named Andy who was found in a Dumpster. Abby recognizes him as a frequent patient nicknamed Icicle Andy. The ER is cold, and Frank blames the holes in the ozone layer. Abby passes Andy off to Susan as Frank remarks that he thought Andy died last year. “The iceman cometh back,” Abby replies. Heh. When Susan, Abby, Gallant, and Malik try to warm Andy up, Abby accidentally snaps off one of his frostbitten fingers. “Ah, he gave you the finger, huh, Abby?” Malik quips. Heh again.

A boy named Douglas wanders in and Abby tries to get him to leave. He’s looking for his mom, who he says was treated in that trauma room. Abby takes him out and passes him off to Frank to look for his mother. Frank might not typically be a good choice for someone to look after a child, but he just asks Douglas if he wants a donut.

Abby then joins Luka to treat a woman named Meryl who fainted after feeling sick for a few days. She’s been taking fertility drugs and might be having a bad reaction to them. She tells Abby she got tired of waiting for the perfect man and decided to have a baby on her own. Abby notes that she hasn’t seen Luka lately, and he tells her he’s been working nights. His new year’s resolution is to help out more, so he’s going to spend some time working with Doctors Without Borders.

Mark complains to Frank about the temperature, and Frank tells him to get used to the cold since we’re moving toward another Ice Age. Mark tells Elizabeth that he found a lighter in Rachel’s clothes, and since Andrew was smoking pot, now they have reason to believe that Rachel is, too. Mark considers searching her room, but Elizabeth thinks that’s too big a violation of her privacy.

Carter and Chen do some window shopping at the mall, pausing at a toy store so she can look at a kids’ doctor’s set. She laments that she’s not allowed to send any presents to her son. But his parents are still in touch with her and sent her a video of him walking. Chen worries that all of the decisions she’s made recently have been bad. She reveals that she asked a waitress at Doc Magoo’s if she remembers Weaver getting any pages the night Paul died. The waitress didn’t remember pages, but she saw Weaver come back later and find her pager in the bathroom. Now Chen is armed with some very damning information about her former boss.

Andy didn’t make it, so Abby and Malik do whatever nurses do after a patient dies. Abby finds Blackhawks tickets in Andy’s pocket, and Malik tries to call dibs. She tells him that’s grave-robbing. Malik argues that no one’s going to claim the body of a homeless man, so the tickets will just go to waste. Abby ignores him and keeps the tickets.

After giving Gallant some guidance on a patient (demonstrating that she still has her med-school knowledge), Abby sees that Frank still hasn’t returned Douglas to his mother. Frank can’t find any records of a woman with her name checking in that morning, and he thinks someone just dumped Douglas there. Abby disagrees, since Douglas said his mother was treated in a trauma room.

Richard shows up and takes Abby across the street for coffee so he can tell her he’s getting remarried. Dude, on her birthday? I’m glad Abby left him. His fiancée is a teacher and has a six-year-old son, so Richard will finally get to have the kid he’s always wanted. Abby didn’t realize he wanted to be a father. She, like me, can’t believe he told her this today of all days. He doesn’t know what she means, since he obviously forgot that it’s her birthday. Abby graciously tells him that she hopes this marriage works out better than theirs did.

Carter and Susan have lunch in the lounge, and Abby catches them kissing. Carter apologizes for not telling her sooner that they’re dating. He tries to downplay the relationship as a friendship, but Abby notes that Carter’s never kissed Frank like that. She tells Carter not to worry about it. Douglas is still hanging around the ER, so Abby offers to bring him some food. She bugs Frank to work harder to find his mother. Frank asks if he can have the Blackhawks tickets if he succeeds.

Gallant can’t find Luka, and Meryl’s having trouble breathing, so Abby tries to help. As Luka joins them, Frank tells Abby that he thinks he found Douglas’ mother; she came in last night with a headache that was actually a brain bleed. Douglas spent all night in the waiting room with no idea what was going on. To make things worse, his mother died. Abby tells Frank to find Douglas’ father and bring him some food.

After Abby has successfully figured out what’s wrong with Meryl and helped stabilize her, she bugs Frank some more about his lack of people-finding skills. She tells him to act like the cop he used to be. Weaver was the mother’s doctor, and she’s not in yet, so Frank offers to page her and make her come in and tell Douglas his mother died. Too late – Douglas overhears the conversation, so Abby has to give him the news herself. He refuses to believe that she’s dead and runs around the ER, looking for her.

While Douglas was running around and crying himself to sleep, Frank found his father, who’s on a business trip in Australia. He can’t get a flight out until the next night, so they’ll have to turn Douglas over to Social Services. Could this kid’s day get any worse? Gallant asks Abby if they do psych transfers to other hospitals – he has a patient with minor injuries from a slip-and-fall who wants to be taken somewhere else. Abby goes to see the patient herself and is stunned to see that it’s Paul Sobriki.

Abby has security restrain Paul, who asks Susan to call his caseworker. Abby pulls Susan out of the room to tell her who Paul is. She wants to have him transferred before Carter can see him, but since Paul might have a head injury, Susan doesn’t want him moved yet. Abby tells her to at least move Paul to another room, since he’s in the same trauma room where he stabbed Carter and Lucy. She adds that they need to erase his name from the board so Carter doesn’t find out he’s there.

Abby takes Douglas to the morgue so he can be completely and utterly traumatized by the sight of his mother’s dead body. Abby’s like, “Maybe my day isn’t so bad after all.” When they return to the ER, Weaver chastises Abby for taking him, but Abby needed a way to get to him believe that his mother was dead. She hasn’t called Social Services yet, since she’d rather find a family member who can take Douglas until his father gets to Chicago. Weaver reminds her that that’s not her job.

Randi’s entertaining herself by reading people their horoscopes. Frank’s is pretty accurate – he’s cranky and no one likes him. Carter is open to new ideas and is compassionate. Randi asks Abby for her sign, but Abby isn’t interested in hearing her horoscope. Carter notices that his patient was moved from the suture room, and Abby distracts him from going to see the patient who was put in there instead (Paul).

Paul’s caseworker tells Susan that Paul was found not guilty of his attacks on Carter and Lucy because of his schizophrenia. He spent some time in a psych facility, but he’s now out on conditional release. The caseworker thinks Paul is justified in being agitated right now, since he’s been out on release for just a few days and was brought to the scene of his crimes. Apparently a professor from Paul’s law school got some colleagues to help arrange for his early release.

Abby’s annoyed, but the caseworker doesn’t think Paul will become violent again. He wants Paul’s restraints to be removed. Abby objects, but the caseworker notes that Paul is lucid and coherent, and has been stable for more than a year. He needs to be treated with respect right now. Abby laughs at that, but Susan seems to agree with the caseworker.

Gallant needs Abby’s help with something again, and she’s not happy about it. Meryl is upset that the drugs that were supposed to be helping her get pregnant have led to serious medical problems instead. She hates that women grow up praying they won’t get pregnant when they don’t want to; then, when they do want to, they can’t. She hopes she didn’t miss her chance. A few years ago, she had an abortion. She wanted to wait until she was ready to have kids, but maybe she waited too long.

Chuny reminds Abby to call Social Services for Douglas, and as Abby goes to the phone, she spots Samantha Sobriki with the little girl she was pregnant with when Paul attacked Carter and Lucy. Malik bugs Abby about the hockey tickets, and she’s apparently gotten tired of the whole thing, so she hands them over, telling him that Susan wants one of them. Carter approaches Abby just as Paul is wheeled down the hall. Abby tries to keep Carter from seeing Paul, but the second Carter hears Paul’s voice, he recognizes it.

Carter slowly approaches Paul, who apologizes. Samantha tells Carter that Paul’s out on conditional release and even has a job. Paul says the person who attacked Carter and Lucy wasn’t him. He’s in treatment and is okay now. Carter blankly says he’s glad Paul is okay, then goes down the hall to the bathroom. As “Battleflag” comes up on the soundtrack, Carter splashes water on his face, looking over his shoulder to make sure no one’s behind him. He seems okay, then leans over and throws up in the sink.

Weaver and Sandy go to the Blackhawks game together, but Weaver panics when she spots Susan and Malik there. Sandy easily figures out that Weaver’s not out at work. She’s upset that Weaver came on to her but is now trying to hide their relationship. Sandy says she doesn’t have time to be with a woman who doesn’t want anyone to know they’re together.

Douglas talks to his dad on the phone, getting the promise that he’ll be in Chicago the next day. His dad lives in L.A., so Douglas will have to move, but Abby thinks he’ll like California, where it’s warm and sunny and he can go to Disneyland. Samantha approaches Abby with a note for Carter and tries to convince Abby that Paul isn’t a threat to anyone. He has a disease, but he’s being treated – the goal of any hospital. She won’t give up on her husband or their family. Abby wishes her good luck.

She finds Carter in the lounge and gives him the note, which he won’t take. She invites him to get dessert across the street, but Carter says he has to get home. He pretends everything’s fine. A social worker tries to take Douglas somewhere for the night, but Douglas begs to stay with Abby instead. She tells him she’s not at the hospital all the time, but he can come visit her whenever he wants. She has to watch as the social worker carries him away, crying.

Gallant has more questions for Abby, who’s fed up with him treating her like she’s his attending. If he wants to be a doctor, he needs to start acting like one. Aww, Gallant. It’s not you. Mark goes to Rachel’s bedroom to talk to her, but she’s not there, so he starts snooping through her things. In her backpack he finds a cigarette pack that holds both cigarettes and condoms.

Rachel catches him and says she bought the cigarettes on a dare and got the condoms in health class. Mark accuses her of lying, but Rachel says it doesn’t matter what she says, since he never believes her. Mark confirms that he can’t trust her. Rachel dramatically yells that she’s smoking, taking drugs, and having sex. Okay, but can you do all that quietly?

Carter hired a private-duty nurse for Millicent, but Eleanor sent her home, planning to take care of Millicent herself overnight. Carter asks why Eleanor is suddenly in town, making big decisions. She should stop trying to be helpful, since she doesn’t actually help. Carter’s made all of Millicent’s medical decisions, so Eleanor needs to consult with him. Eleanor says she’ll call the nurse back, but she’s not leaving – she won’t let Jack break up their family.

Carter scoffs that they’re barely a family, since Eleanor hasn’t been much of a part of it for 20 years. Eleanor tries to leave the conversation, but Carter refuses to let her make herself out to be the wronged party. He reminds her that he was stabbed, and Eleanor and Jack didn’t come see him for three weeks. They’ve kept their distance for Carter’s whole life.

Eleanor asks if Carter blames her for his addiction. He yells that he blames her for not being his mother. His brother died as a child, and Eleanor checked out of the rest of her maternal duties. Eleanor doesn’t know how to respond, so she just goes to bed. Carter notes to himself that she’s running away like she always does.

Abby runs into Joyce again when she gets home; Joyce is hanging out in their brownstone’s lobby until Brian falls asleep, so they don’t have another fight. She offers Abby a beer and invites her to sit with her and unwind. Abby takes a drink, setting her sobriety back to zero. She tells Joyce it’s her birthday, and Joyce wishes her a happy birthday, unlike everyone else in her life who couldn’t be bothered to all day (except Maggie).

Thoughts: Joyce is played by Christina Hendricks.

Hey, Carter, maybe be more available to your med students so Gallant doesn’t have to keep turning to Abby for help. Why fight so hard to become chief resident if you’re not going to do the job?

I’m surprised they didn’t do more to connect Abby to Meryl’s storyline, since it’s so heavy-handed. I’m also surprised that there’s really no follow-on on Carter and Paul’s encounter. We should have at least seen Carter considering/talking about taking painkillers or talking about going to a 12-step meeting or even making an appointment with Deraad. Instead, he yells at Eleanor and then doesn’t talk about it again.

April 17, 2021

Felicity 4.5, Boooz: Hello, Is It Lionel Richie Tickets You’re Looking For?

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

Who thought there was a big overlap of “Felicity” viewers and Lionel Richie fans?

Summary: Felicity interviews for the TA position Noel told her about, but the professor she’s talking to, May, is more interested in Felicity’s opinion on her scarf than her teaching skills. She even gives the scarf to Felicity, since she has a bunch of them. She has Felicity critique a painting, which, of course, is one of May’s. But Felicity gives a satisfactory critique and gets the job.

At home, Felicity and Elena decorate for a Halloween party at the dorm apartment. Richard brings them a keg and tells them his costume is a surprise. Javier arrives next and asks to stay for a few days so he can teach Samuel a lesson. Samuel keeps taking him for granted – plus, he forgot what Javier wore for Halloween last year. Javier thinks Samuel will fall apart without Javier taking care of him.

Ben tells his Al-Anon group that he’s changed his major to pre-med. At first people didn’t think he could do it (and he didn’t, either), and last week something happened that made him reconsider things. That thing was Hodges putting benzene compounds on the midterm after telling the students he wouldn’t. Ben and Trevor agree again that Hodges is a jerk.

In bed that night, Ben tells Felicity that it feels like Hodges wants his students to fail. Felicity tries to reassure him that he only missed a few questions, then says Ben may have misunderstood Hodges. Ben doesn’t like that implication. He knows organic chemistry is where professors weed out the weaker students, so this may be the end of the road for him in pre-med already.

Sean and Meghan return bath towels a relative got them as a wedding gift, since they’re monogrammed with the wrong initials for Meghan. She’s not changing her name, and Sean is trying not to be offended. A woman named Barb suddenly takes their picture on the street, then introduces herself as a photographer for a magazine. She wants to feature Meghan as a trendsetter because of her unique shirt, which has socks for sleeves. Meghan declines, but Sean is interested in helping his wife establish a big new trend.

Professor May doesn’t arrive for her next class, and Felicity tries to get the students to stick around. A guy named Max recognizes her from the beauty pageant, where he worked the sets. Felicity lies that that wasn’t her, but he doesn’t believe her. A woman from administration arrives and tells Felicity that May was arrested for shoplifting. Oooh, you should return that scarf right away, Felicity.

Anyway, they need Felicity to take over her next few classes, until they can find a replacement professor. Felicity is hesitant, thinking the students won’t listen to her. Well, then you shouldn’t be a TA in the first place. The woman tells her she just needs to keep them busy for a few days. Show them a movie like a sub would do! They’ll love you, Felicity!

Javier hangs out at the dorm apartment, waiting for Samuel to call and beg him to come home. Noel suggests that they go see a movie, but movies remind Javier of Samuel. They can’t go to a bar for the same reason. Samuel spots a newspaper ad about a Lionel Richie concert in Atlantic City and decides it would be the perfect distraction. His first summer in America, he saw Lionel in Central Park and enjoyed every minute of the concert. He wants to feel that way again. Noel was hoping to go to the Halloween party, but Javier thinks he should avoid Felicity. He convinces Noel to go on a road trip with him.

Ben and Trevor both failed their midterm and complain to Hodges about benzene compounds being on the test. Hodges says he never said they wouldn’t be on the test. Ben asks if they can retake the test. Ha ha ha, of course not! Hodges tells them that most of the class passed, and some even got A’s, so the test wasn’t the problem. They won’t get do-overs when they become doctors.

Hodges warns that both guys are in danger of failing the class. Ben says he’s being unfair, and when Hodges tries to end the conversation, Ben calls him a [slang term for male anatomy that this show loves to use]. Unsurprisingly, Hodges kicks both Ben and Trevor out of the class.

The two go to Epstein Bar to drink away their problems. Trevor knows his dad, a surgeon, will be furious. Felicity and Trevor should talk; they have a lot in common. Ben feels bad for getting Trevor kicked out, but Trevor blames Hodges. Sean and Meghan (dressed as JFK and Jackie Kennedy) get ready for the Halloween party, talking about the shirt Meghan was wearing when they met the photographer. Sean has found someone who will manufacture them so they can sell them. Meghan doesn’t want to make money off of her unique look.

Javier and Noel arrive in Atlantic City only to find that the Lionel Richie concert is sold out. A scalper offers them tickets, but they’re $400 each. Javier’s like, “We’re in a casino – let’s just win the money ourselves.” Yes, yes, an ingenious plan! Back in New York, Felicity (dressed as a witch) complains to Elena (also a witch) that her students won’t take her seriously because she was in the pageant. Richard shows up in a homemade Darth Vader costume, hoping to win the party’s costume contest. He sets his sights on a partygoer dressed as Princess Leia.

Sean makes up with Meghan, assuring her that he knows how important it is to her to be an individual. He just feels like he needs some success while her parents hate him. Meghan says selling shirts isn’t going to help that relationship. Ben and Trevor show up drunk and ready to drink some more. Ben doesn’t want to talk about getting kicked out of class.

Javier hasn’t had any luck with slot machines, and he thinks it’s a metaphor for love – you put in your whole heart and you lose. With Lionel, however, you end up happy and dancing on the ceiling. Javier puts in more money, then tries to wrestle his phone away from Noel so he can call Samuel. While they’re fighting, Javier hits the jackpot.

Leia is surprisingly charmed by Darth Vader, but less impressed when he can’t get his helmet off. He goes to Elena for help. Trevor continues drinking while Ben mopes alone in Felicity’s room. Felicity joins him and he tells her that Hodges’ refusal to admit what he did reminded Ben of his father. Richard is desperate to get out of his helmet, but he won’t let Elena cut it off. This is dumb.

Tired of moping, Ben joins the party, where Trevor has passed out. Some guys are making a pyramid of beer cans on his body. Ben realizes that Trevor’s in really bad shape and tells someone to call 911. He ends up in a coma at the hospital with alcohol poisoning and a blood-alcohol level of .38. His doctor praises Ben for getting him help – if Ben hadn’t, Trevor would have died.

Back at the apartment, Richard tries to shrink his head in the freezer so the helmet will come off. Leia feels bad because she drank shots with Trevor. Richard feels worse because he can’t take off his helmet and kiss Leia. I guess Javier gambled away all the money he won, because he and Noel are in a bathroom, lamenting that they’re down to just a few pennies. Plus, Samuel still hasn’t called, so Javier’s sad. Noel reminds him that if he doesn’t play, he can’t win, but Javier knows the house always wins.

Suddenly, some luck: Lionel Richie comes in! Javier introduces himself and tells him how they came all the way from New York for a concert they don’t have tickets for. He asks Lionel to autograph his chest. Lionel would prefer paper. Javier asks for relationship advice, and Lionel tells him that, no matter what, he should always admit that his partner is right. So Javier leaves with advice and an autograph, but no tickets.

Sean has gotten a bunch of shirts, which he ordered before he told Meghan he wouldn’t pursue the sales. He doesn’t think she’s as trendsetting as she thinks she is. Meghan says he’s not exactly fashionable, so he doesn’t get to have an opinion on her look. Felicity starts a critique session in class, but Max wants to keep mocking her for being in the pageant. He thinks she was participating in the objectification of women. He also thinks she got her TA position as a prize. Another student tells Felicity that since artists have to fight the pressures of commercialism, she should be ashamed of herself for selling out. They shouldn’t have to hear her opinions.

Ben approaches Hodges to let him know that Trevor’s in the hospital. They came to Hodges for help, but he didn’t give it. Ben doesn’t care about the class anymore, but he thinks Hodges should have just admitted he screwed up. At Epstein Bar, Noel urges Javier to call Samuel and work things out. Javier doesn’t know how Noel can live without the person he loves. Just as he’s about to make the call, Samuel calls first and apologizes. Javier tells him about his trip, but Samuel thinks he’s lying. Noel reminds Javier to use Lionel’s advice. Okay, maybe not in this situation, though.

Felicity complains to Elena about her class – the students have been singing the Miss America theme song when she walks in the room. Elena tells her to stop apologizing for who she is and what she’s done. Plenty of people screw up on their way to figuring out who they are. Felicity should own her mistakes and get strength from them instead.

So Felicity wears her evening gown to class, leaning into her win for best evening wear. She invites her students to ask questions (in other words, daring them to comment). As she’s about to start class, Cavallo shows up – he’s taking over the class. He asks if she always dresses like this for class or if she’s just celebrating his first day. Heh. Meghan goes to class and is annoyed to be sitting between students wearing her look. I guess Sean was right and she’s not as unique as she thinks she is. Back at the loft, she puts her Jackie Kennedy costume back on and tells Sean it’s her new look (but he’d better not steal it).

Ben goes to see Trevor and runs into Hodges, who’s also visiting. He appreciates how Ben handled the medical emergency and admits that he could have been more helpful to his students. And yes, he might have said that benzenes wouldn’t be on the test. Ben is no longer kicked out of organic chemistry. As Hodges leaves, he says he has a son Ben’s age. I bet that son hates Hodges, too.

Ben tells his Al-Anon group that when he was a kid, his dad would disappear for days, then pretend nothing had happened. Kids always want to help, so maybe that’s why Ben wants to be a doctor – to help people. In this situation, something good is coming out of something bad. He visits Trevor, who’s now awake, and tells him that Hodges is letting them back in the class. When Ben leaves, Felicity is waiting for him. Ben tells the group that now he feels like he can succeed. Maybe it’s not about who does the best academically, but who cares the most.

Thoughts: Anel Lopez Gorham, who plays Leia, is married to Christopher Gorham (Trevor).

Hodges was a jerk about the test, but not in kicking Ben out of the class. You don’t call a professor that word! Kicking Trevor out was too far, though. He didn’t say anything.

The witchy/goth look really works for Keri Russell.

’00s music alert: Nikka Costa’s “Everybody Got Their Something” (again)

December 12, 2020

Felicity 3.4, Greeks and Geeks: J-E-L-L-OH, NO

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

Just put this on a poster and you have an anti-drinking PSA

Summary: Noel has moved into the loft and is studying up for a job at the campus computer center, doing on-call repairs. Sean teases him, asking when the next Star Trek convention is. Noel mostly wants it for his résumé. Natalie is off at Oktoberfest, and Noel plans to have his life sorted out by the time she gets back. While they’re talking, Meghan runs up to Sean’s room and works on her own new job: a phone-sex chatline. She’s disturbingly good at it. Sean’s just disturbed. When the guy she’s talking to hears Sean’s voice, he asks to talk to him, but just so he can ask Sean to spank Meghan.

Felicity spent the night on the couch at the dorm apartment; she couldn’t fall asleep in her own bed after watching Julie’s tape. She watched it again, focusing on how final Julie’s goodbye was. Julie’s mother calls, obviously unaware that Julie has moved out. Elena tells Felicity not to say anything about that, since Julie will want to tell her parents on her own. Felicity lies that Julie’s in class and takes a message.

Sean films Javier as Ben and Felicity try to calm him down for his citizenship test. Ben offers to help him study, even though he should be studying for midterms and taking care of his father. Javier asks Felicity if Ben even knows anything about American history. Noel interviews for the computer-repair job with a guy who is waaaaay too into computers. He says Macs are guys and PCs are girls – not as easy to get to know. He also calls computers “patients.” The guy wants to put Noel through a trial to test his skills later in the week. He wishes Noel luck with a Vulcan salute.

Felicity finds a little baggie with powder in it in her and Molly’s closet (formerly Julie’s closet) and wonders what it is. Molly says it looks like meth, which her brother used while they lived together. Felicity thinks she’s covering and says she doesn’t care if it’s Molly’s, but Molly says it’s not. They take it to Elena and Ben, and while Elena says Julie would never use drugs, Ben thinks it would explain her change in moods.

Sean interviews Meghan about her new job, which she says is an important service – fantasy fulfillment. It’s not as easy as it sounds, since she has to work to keep them on the line and get more money. Sean asks if she ever gets turned on. Meghan admits that she does, then says she’s kidding. Back at the dorm apartment, Felicity and Elena regret not telling Julie’s mother that she left. They decide to call her back and tell her Julie dropped out, but not mention the drugs. Felicity does the honors.

She heads to the loft next and tells Ben about the call. Mrs. Emrick is scared for her daughter, which in turn scared Felicity. She also told Mrs. Emrick the truth about Julie’s birth father’s death. After they got off the phone and Mrs. Emrick talked to her husband, she called back, now angry that Felicity and the rest of her friends didn’t notice that something was wrong with Julie. Felicity beats herself up for being too wrapped up in her own life to notice that her best friend was going through something rough. Ben tells her it’s not her fault.

Sean interviews Noel, who has two days until what he’s calling the PC Olympics. Tracy got a new laptop and is going to use his old one to test Noel on his PC knowledge. (Remember, as we’ve learned before, Noel is a Mac guy.) Sean advises Noel to “let the Wookiee win.” Now who’s the space nerd? Tracy thinks he’s stumped Noel, but Noel has done his research and fixes the computer. He asks Tracy to stump him again.

Noel takes a look at Tracy’s new computer, which Tracy calls his Porsche, as Tracy works on messing up the old one again. Elena has a paper on the new PC, and Tracy warns Noel not to lose it. Tracy messes up the old computer again and tells Noel that if he can fix it, he’s a super-mega-nerd.

Sean films Javier and Ben as they head to the library to study for Javier’s test. They pass by a table where a woman is registering people to vote, and Javier admires a little American flag. Javier can’t vote in the next election since he won’t be registered to vote in time, and Ben says he’s not planning to vote, either. “In an ironic twist, Javier’s citizenship mentor, unpolitical himself–,” Sean starts to narrate before Ben shuts him up. Javier lectures Ben about the privilege he’s giving up. Ben says it doesn’t matter who becomes president. Javier calls him a pineapple head and says he should vote Hypocrat.

Felicity goes to her French class, where she gives a presentation on a book. I don’t speak French so I don’t know what she’s saying, but it sounds like something about independence. She stops and apologizes for not being prepared. At the dorm apartment, Sean complains to Meghan that he doesn’t have a hook for this week’s docuventary episode. She’s on a phone-sex call and studying at the same time, and Sean finally blows up, saying Meghan is cheating on him. She tells him she’s not like his exes. She yells that talking to guys on the phone is like having sex with him – over with quickly after she does all the work.

During an interview with Javier, Sean gets a call from a phone-sex client who’s looking for Meghan. Javier takes the phone and pretends to be a “luscious blonde” named Amber. He recognizes the voice on the other end and thinks it’s his ex-roommate. Ben wants to get back to studying, and when Javier is off the phone, Ben asks when the Civil War began. “What Civil War?” Javier asks.

Noel is struggling to fix Tracy’s old computer, and Tracy thinks it’s time to give up. He says this is like ER – eventually you have to stop CPR and let the patient go. Elena comes home and panics because she was using Tracy’s old computer for her paper, not the new one. She didn’t back it up, of course. She orders the guys to get the paper back.

Meghan tells Elena and Molly that Felicity has been spacing out in her room for a while, and Meghan’s worried. Elena and Molly want to take her somewhere to distract her, but Elena’s hesitant to leave before the guys rescue her paper. Felicity agrees to a night out, so Meghan asks Noel for the most out-there club he went to while he was crazy Leon. Noel tells her she can’t handle those places. Meghan goes across the hall to the apartment where the cute guys live and learns of a frat party they can go to.

Sean interviews Meghan the next day and learns that Felicity tried to back out of going to the party. Meghan threatened to tell everyone her dirty secrets if she didn’t go. Sean asks what those secrets are, but since Felicity went to the party, Meghan can’t tell him. At the party, Felicity, Meghan, and Molly do Jell-o shots. Back at the apartment, Elena waits impatiently to get her paper back. Tracy suggests that they call the guy Noel is interviewing with. Noel says that would be suicide for his job prospect. “It’s murder if you don’t,” Elena tells him.

At the party, Meghan and Felicity get roped into a game of strip ping pong. Computer Guy (sorry, don’t know his name) comes to the dorm apartment and demands a bunch of junk food to fuel his attempts to retrieve Elena’s paper. Tracy has to hold Elena back from pounding on the guy who’s about to save her. Meghan and Felicity appear to be really good at ping pong, even with a couple of Jell-o shots in them. A guy recognizes Meghan’s voice, and she tells him to walk away. Molly lets her know that it’s time for her phone-sex shift.

Ben helps Javier study some more, but it’s not going well. He worries that he’ll fail the test and all the people he invited to his citizenship ceremony will watch him embarrass himself. Ben tries to downplay the importance of citizenship. Javier tells him he’s spoiled, and this is about more than just citizenship – it’s about being a part of the family of America. Unlike Ben, Javier wants to be a part of the democratic process. Sean decides to turn that into a PSA.

Felicity’s had too many Jell-o shots, and her ping pong game is hurting. She takes off her shirt. Meghan does her phone-sex shift at a pay phone on the street. A guy from the party tells her that Felicity’s losing inside, then tries to hit on Meghan. She tells him that she and Felicity both have boyfriends. The guy tells her that someone should give that information to a guy named Randy, since Felicity just ran off with him.

In the morning, a distressed Meghan tells Sean that she screwed up, and she’s not talking about how she fell down some stairs and hurt her arm: She lost Felicity. Meanwhile, Felicity wakes up in bed with Randy and is horrified to realize that she completely lost control last night. Computer Guy is still working on Tracy’s computer at the dorm apartment; Tracy and Noel are asleep, but it looks like Elena was up all night. CG determines that he has to completely wipe the computer, which means Elena will get her very first F. At the last minute, Noel comes up with a solution. Elena gets her paper back and Noel gets the job.

Felicity does the walk of shame home, stopping to puke in a trash can. Everyone else (minus Ben) gathers at the dorm apartment, still unsure where she is. When Felicity comes home, she keeps quiet about where she was the night before. Meghan feels bad about ditching her, but Felicity says that if Julie leaving wasn’t Felicity’s fault, this isn’t Meghan’s.

Molly checks on Felicity later and offers her a bindi as a blessing to keep away negative things. Girl, you’re white. Cut it out. She thinks Felicity should accept who she is and see it as wonderful. Felicity admits that she woke up in some random guy’s bed and doesn’t know if they slept together. Now she has to figure out what to tell Ben. Molly warns that the bindi might not work right away.

Julie calls and assures her friends that she’s okay. She agrees to call her parents. Sean films Ben and Javier on the way to Javier’s test; Ben cheers Javier up by promising to vote. Javier tells him he’ll be a part of history. Sean is allowed to film Javier’s test, which he confidently aces. He gets sworn in right away, which I don’t think happens, with Samuel, Ben, Sean, Felicity, and Meghan watching. Felicity tells Ben that Julie called. Felicity asked about the drugs, which Julie said weren’t hers. Ben says Felicity must feel better now, but she obviously doesn’t. Poor, clueless Ben.

Thoughts: Sean’s Star Trek joke isn’t really funny in and of itself, but it is now that Greg Grunberg has been in a Star Trek movie and probably gone to Comic-Con.

“It doesn’t matter who becomes president.” You fool! This was 2000!

Computer Guy asks for Jolt cola. Do they still make that? It doesn’t look like it. Awww, RIP, Jolt.

September 26, 2020

Felicity 2.16, Revolutions: Get in Good Trouble

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:26 pm by Jenn

Felicity the activist

Summary: Ben is trying to study for Noel’s class while working at Dean & DeLuca. Felicity suggests that he ask Noel if he needs help, but Ben doesn’t like that idea. Javier alerts the two of them to the fact that his ex has just entered the restaurant. Javier had a “crunch” on the ex, who fell too in love with Javier. Javier wants Ben to pretend they’re dating. Ben says no, but Javier ignores him and starts acting like they’re together. Then he realizes the ex is someone else. Felicity cracks up.

Back in her dorm, Felicity annoys Meghan by using a squeaky highlighter while studying. Burky drops by with a book full of business cards from the restaurants he’d like Felicity to pick from for their first date together. Felicity starts to turn him down gently, but Burky stops her, warning that he’ll jump out the window if she uses the word “flattered.” “Flattered,” Meghan says dryly. Fortunately, Felicity’s saved when Julie comes by to invite her to get donuts. Burky leaves as well, telling Meghan that, for the record, she scares him. Mission accomplished, I assume.

Donuts having been acquired, Julie asks Felicity if she ever has nightmares. Felicity says she had one recently about Megan’s box. Julie confides that she’s been having trouble sleeping lately because she keeps having nightmares about Zach. Felicity suggests that she see a counselor at the health center. Julie has already tried that, but she doesn’t feel ready to go back yet.

The health center is busy, so when a student named Leila comes in for an appointment, there’s only one available. She tells Felicity she needs a morning-after pill. Felicity offers to try to get her an earlier appointment so she doesn’t have to spend the whole day anxious.

But Greg, who’s studying for the MCAT, tells Felicity that the health center’s policy has changed and they can’t administer the morning-after pill anymore. Greg personally hates the change, but he has to go along with it to keep the health center up and running. Felicity gives Leila the bad news and offers her a list of local doctors who can help her. Leila doesn’t have insurance, which is why she’s there. She complains that the school is supposed to provide women’s services but is instead limiting their options.

Noel runs a class discussion that Ben tries to participate in, but it’s clear that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Ruby’s still in the class, and she and Noel are still on the outs. Noel thanks Ben for at least trying to contribute to the discussion, since hardly anyone else in the class does. He offers to give Ben any help he needs.

Felicity tells Greg that she feels horrible about having to turn down Leila’s request. She’s done some research and discovered that every other school health center in the city distributes the morning-after pill. Plus, that pill is basically a bigger dose of birth control, which the health center does distribute. So what’s the issue?

Greg says that some articles about the morning-after pill and RU-486 (the “abortion pill”) upset the trustees, so they’ve banned any form of post-sex contraceptive. Greg tried to fight them, but the trustees get final say. Felicity doesn’t like having to tell students that the administration is making decisions for them. Greg doesn’t, either, and he also doesn’t like the funding cuts and the fact that they can’t treat non-students. He has to pick his battles.

Felicity tells Pavone about the situation, complaining that Greg doesn’t seem to be taking her point of view seriously. She gets that he can’t fight every battle that comes along, but why not this one? Pavone tells her she’s presumptuous – just because she thinks something’s important doesn’t mean that everyone else does. Greg’s right, and he can’t fight this battle. Felicity’s not going to change anything but saying the same stuff over and over. Obviously, Pavone is implying that if Greg won’t fight the battle, Felicity should.

Felicity reads up on protests, including some successful sit-ins arranged by University of New York students. She goes to see Leila, who got her needs met by Planned Parenthood, and tells her about the sit-ins. One only took three days, so Felicity thinks she can arrange one on her own. She invites Leila to join, if she wants, and Leila immediately agrees.

The two of them and Elena start things off in the health-center lobby. They make some signs and wait for the participants they’ve recruited to join them. Burky comes by to pick up some medication (Elena teases that it’s Viagra) and scoffs at their low turnout. He tells them he’ll bring enough people to really make things happen.

Ben and Noel grab lunch together, talking about some topic from class. Well, Noel’s talking. Ben’s kind of listening. The sit-in slowly grows as Felicity and Leila make calls to try to get more participants. Leila manages to get in touch with someone from the New York Times. That was fast. There’s only, like, ten people protesting!

Greg calls Felicity away from the protest and tells her it’s starting to disrupt the health center’s operations. That’s kind of the point, buddy. He tells her that the head of Student Services is coming by that afternoon, and Greg needs to look good as the director of the health center. Felicity tells him she’ll completely understand if he wants to distance himself from the protest. But Greg wants a letter of recommendation for med school from this guy, and he needs to protest to end now. He warns that the participants could really harm their futures by continuing it.

Burky hands out fliers about the protest to students and random people on the street. Noel and Ben have taken their study session to Noel’s apartment, where Ben says this is more work than he ever did in high school. He basically coasted back then while he spent his time partying and doing sports and hanging out with girls. Noel’s high school experience was completely different. Wow, who would have guessed?

Felicity, Elena, and Leila hang up a banner in the health center that says “There’s got to be a morning after.” Creative. The movement has grown, and when Simmons, the head of Student Services, arrives to meet with Greg, he has to step over people sitting on the stairs and all over the lobby. Julie calls to find out what’s going on, and Felicity, concerned with what this all will do to Greg, tells her they might be done soon.

The other students have no plans of backing down. One guy (he’s only credited as Long-Haired Guy, despite not having long hair; I’ll call him Hal – explanation below) hands out a brochure he put together for a previous protest, telling students what to do in case they get arrested. Felicity thinks they should change tactics, maybe with a petition. If they continue the sit-in, they could be there for days, and they still might not get what they want. Leila and Elena refuse to call things off. Just then, Burky arrives with a ton of new protesters.

That night, some people chant outside the building: “There’s no laughter without the morning after! We’ll stay until we get that pill!” Julie and Ruby have both joined the protest, and Elena’s a little surprised, since Ruby’s having a baby. She doesn’t think Ruby realizes how much her life is going to change. Felicity tells the protesters that the administration won’t talk to them, so they’re going to have to keep going. The event continues with a cheer from Penny and Stacy and a singalong of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” led by Hal. Sean films everything.

Ben and Noel are either unaware of the protest or are staying out of it – they’re drinking and playing video games at Noel’s place. (I think they’re playing Mortal Kombat.) They’re pretty drunk, which is probably why Ben thinks it’s a good move to throw Noel’s next beer to him before he’s ready to catch it. He nails Noel in the head, then laughs. Noel accuses Ben of doing it on purpose. Ben offers to let Noel hit him back, and though Noel refuses at first, eventually he decks Ben. Soon it’s an all-out fight, mirrored by their video-game characters.

Greg is in trouble for not stopping the protest, so he’s most likely not going to get a letter of recommendation from Simmons. He knows the school won’t give in – they rely too much on money from the trustees, no matter what strings come attached. Felicity feels bad about the consequences Greg is facing for the protest, but she’s not shutting it down. He gets it.

Everyone settles in for the night, either sleeping or studying on the floor. Julie wakes up from a nightmare, and Felicity suggests again that she see a counselor. She feels better when she makes tapes to Sally; letting out what she’s feeling is enough to help. Julie wants to find a way to feel better, but something about the idea scares her.

Ben and Noel have fallen asleep/passed out at the apartment, and in the morning, they both have hangovers and bruises. Ben makes a hangover remedy from lime juice, tomato juice, eggs, and baking soda. They acknowledge that they fought the night before but don’t agree on who won.

Sean tries to document a new day at the protest, getting an establishing shot of the health-center building, but that requires standing in traffic, and he just gets honked at. Meghan takes her time in the bathroom, ignoring the huge line outside the door, as people play hacky sack and try to entertain themselves in various ways. There’s practically a record scratch when Ruby spots a new face in the crowd: Edward.

Sullivan, who’s with the school’s administration, has known Edward for a while and wants him to teach a course next semester. He gets Edward to sit down with Felicity and Greg to resolve the protest. Edward didn’t know anything about it until Sullivan called and told him to read about it in the paper. Felicity’s father reminds her that she’s working at the health center as a punishment; she can’t get out of trouble by getting in more trouble. Dude, she’s not trying to get out of trouble. Did you actually read what the protest is about?

Sullivan asks Felicity to shut everything down in exchange for the administration reviewing the policy on post-sex contraception. Edward says he talked to the dean, and this is the best the protesters can hope for. Worst-case scenario: Felicity loses her RA position, gets expelled, or gets arrested. Is this worth winding up with a police record? She needs to end things before they get out of control.

Felicity refuses. She knows the possible consequences and she’s willing to face them. She’s not the only person involved here, and Edward can’t make her stop this just because he wants her to. She’s not a kid anymore. Felicity thanks Sullivan for the offer of compromise, but she doesn’t think it’s appropriate. Sullivan turns to Greg, who’s now fully on Felicity’s side. He’s asked for a bunch of things at the health center that just get stalled at the review stage. The protest seems to be the only way to bring about change.

The press has arrived, so Leila pulls Felicity out of the meeting to talk to them. Felicity’s nervous about it and asks Leila to give an interview, but Leila doesn’t want her parents to find out she’s having sex. Julie reminds Felicity that she was okay talking to the protesters, so she can handle this.

Ben and Noel keep studying while drinking the hangover cure. Once they’ve covered everything, they agree to never study together again. They come across Felicity’s live interview on TV, where she talks about women having the right to choose how to handle their health needs. Felicity struggles to get her thoughts together, so Julie speaks up. She notes that one reason to take the morning-after pill is comfort. A woman who’s been raped might need it for peace of mind.

Julie reveals that she was raped, and one of the fears as a result was that she was pregnant. When the health center distributed the morning-after pill last year, Julie was able to take it and feel like it was one less thing to worry about. It’s peace of mind for women’s partners, too, so they don’t have to face an unplanned pregnancy. When the interview is over, Felicity praises Julie for her courage.

The sit-in continues, and Elena is even able to use her patented study method despite being surrounded by people. Felicity thanks Greg for siding with the protesters. He tells her he’s wanted to change a lot of things but has never actually done anything to try to make the changes. The dean calls, having seen Julie’s interview, and says that a trustee, who also saw the interview, is now pretending this was all a misunderstanding. Long story short, the protesters have won. Also, Greg may get his letter of recommendation after all. He and Felicity kiss, then get awkward about it.

Felicity tells the protesters that thanks to their efforts and Julie’s interview, the administration has caved. There’s an impromptu dance party and Sean hoists Felicity up in the air. Burky thinks Felicity kissed Greg and complains that it’s not fair, since Burky tried so hard to get her to like him. He tells Meghan, who’s mad that Felicity’s moving in on her “crunch.” Whatever, guys. Can’t you be happy for two seconds?

Thoughts: Leila is played by Keiko Agena. Hal is played by Hal Ozsan.

Until this episode, I’d completely forgotten that Burky existed. This show completely wasted Michael Peña’s talents. (Not that his career suffered or anything. I mean, he’s in a Marvel franchise. He’s fine.)

Ben’s right: Who DOES drink Mr. Pibb? Do they even still make it?

January 7, 2020

ER 5.10, The Miracle Worker: Maybe Even Doug the Pagan Is an Instrument of God

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

Someone needs to be visited by three ghosts

Summary: Doug and Carol are getting ready for the day, which will involve getting together with her family for Christmas caroling. Doug is uneasy with that, since he’s not religious. Carol calls him a pagan. Weaver’s in a great mood when she gets to work, while the usually cheerful Jerry is grumpy. Amanda has instituted a new charting policy that allows everything to move faster. It just means more work for Jerry. Amanda tries to ease the pain with Christmas treats, but he won’t accept her olive branch.

Despite their breakup, Benton still wants to give Elizabeth the present he’d already gotten her. She agrees to make sure their work is done early so he can go to dinner at his sister’s and see Reese for the first time all week. Elizabeth admits that she bought a ticket to some gala so she wouldn’t have to be alone on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, she’ll have to sit with Romano. He tells her to wear a “slinky black number,” preferably something short and off-the-shoulder. Elizabeth, go to HR. Go now. Romano also passes off his extra work to Benton.

Mark discovers that Jen sends Christmas cards to a bunch of his co-workers. It includes a newsletter, which talks about the new house she and her husband bought. Also, Jen made partner and got a new convertible. Meanwhile, Mark’s horrible, old car has broken down.

Carter reads a Christmas card he got from a patient he doesn’t even remember. Lucy asks if it bothers him that the patient is grateful to God for Carter’s work. Carter notes that “one can be called worse things than an instrument of God.” He doesn’t necessarily believe in God, but he “give[s] Him the benefit of the doubt.” Lucy isn’t sure what she believes. Maybe humans created him to try to make some sense out of the world. She catches her finger in a cabinet door and Carter teases that God is displeased.

Elizabeth meets with a patient named David Gardner who will be having his cancerous prostate removed the next morning. Wait, Romano operates on Christmas? Really? Even though this is good news, David is still a little nervous. He’s worried about losing sexual function. Elizabeth advises him to make a donation at a sperm bank in case he loses function; by storing up his swimmers now, he’ll be able to have children in the future.

Jerry surprises Amanda in the doctors’ lounge, where she appears to be snooping in Mark’s locker. She says she just saw the door was open and wanted to close it. Mark, Lydia, and Malik tend to a man dressed as an elf who’s so familiar with his heart condition that he knows exactly how to treat it. He just needs to be given a small shock and he’ll be on his way. Mark, of course, wants to follow the proper procedures.

Paramedics bring in an 18-year-old named Steven whose mother found him unconscious in his room. He had a headache and went to lie down, making Carter and Doug think he had a brain hemorrhage. Dwight was able to revive him once, so Doug tries again. Mark will only start the elf’s shocking at 20 instead of going straight to 50 like he requested. That doesn’t work, so Mark goes to 30. The elf gets nothing but pain. Mark finally goes to 50, which stabilizes the elf. “Thanks for nothing, Dr. Mengele!” the elf shouts as Mark leaves.

Doug sends Carter to talk to Steven’s mother, Mrs. Richards, while he keeps working on Steven. Carter tries to prepare her for the possibility that he’ll die. She begs him not to give up hope, since her son is all she has. When Carter goes back to the trauma room, Doug is just about to declare Steven dead. Carter talks him into keeping up the work, just in case they can bring about a Christmas miracle. He quickly gets Steven’s heart beating again and reminds Lucy that he’s an instrument of God. Of course, Steven might never wake up, and he’ll probably have brain damage if he does, but still: Carter got to be a hero!

Carol assures her mother over the phone that she and Doug are coming over for Christmas. She teases him that her uncle wants him to play “Silent Night” on the tambourine. Carol will be attending mass with her family, but Doug the pagan will skip it, and she wants her mother to respect his choice. Mark can’t find his gloves, so Jerry says that Amanda took them from his locker. Weaver and Mark tell him to stop making accusations just because he doesn’t like Amanda.

Just as Benton’s about to get through all his excess work and get out the door early, Romano dumps another patient on him, a man named DeMisa who’s coming in with post-op pain. Steven has no brain activity, but Carter wants to stay positive, noting that he could be an organ donor. Doug doubts it, since his blood type is AB, which is shared by only 2% of the population. He allows Carter and Lucy to talk to Mrs. Richards about allowing the donation anyway. On the surgical floor, Shirley tells Elizabeth that David is being taken to the ER because he’s having a heart attack.

Amanda asks Mark about the complaint she got from the elf about being tortured. Mark just says they had a disagreement about treatment strategies. Amanda brushes it off, since she reviewed the elf’s chart and thinks he’s a nutcase. Mark confides that he’s feeling down because of Jen’s braggy newsletter. Amanda can relate – this is her first Christmas since her brother killed himself in an apocalyptic cult ritual. I’m going to guess that Mark can’t relate to that. Amanda shares her grandmother’s attitude that positivity can go a long way.

Elizabeth meets David in the ER and helps him get his panicked breathing under control while Weaver tends to him. Weaver realizes he’s a trumpeter and chats with him about his talent and touring schedule. She diagnoses him with an anxiety attack instead of a heart attack. Benton examines DeMisa, who had his stomach stapled to help him lose weight but forgot about the part where he’d have to stop eating so much. Benton guesses that he busted a staple and will need a procedure to fix it. Also, poor Yosh will have to deal with DeMisa’s constipation.

Steven made a movement while his mother was speaking to him, so she thinks he can hear her. Carter tells her that he’s brain-dead, so that’s not possible. Lucy gently brings up the possibility of donating his organs. Mrs. Richards doesn’t want his organs removed while his heart is still beating, so Carter moves on to signing a DNR. Mrs. Richards may not want to prolong his life while he’s in a vegetative state. She would rather hope for a miracle.

Mark takes his new positive attitude to his next patient, making Lydia ask if he’s been huffing nitrous oxide. The patient doesn’t catch the positive contagion from Mark, getting mad when he can’t tell her how much she’ll have to pay for all the tests he wants to run. When he says her insurance will probably cover the costs, she accuses him of ripping off insurance companies. She demands any other doctor but Mark.

David’s eager to leave the hospital, even though there’s not much time left before he has to come back for his surgery. Elizabeth suggests that he postpone it if he’s too nervous, but he needs to be fully recovered by January 15th, since he’s doing a TV special with the Boston Symphony. The two chat about music, and she admits to liking disco.

DeMisa is stuck in his wheelchair, so Yosh pages Benton to help getting him out for a scan. Benton tells him to call someone from maintenance to dismantle the chair. DeMisa announces that he has to go to the bathroom (I’m guessing that laxative Yosh gave him has just kicked in), so Benton helps pull him out. DeMisa lands on Yosh, who’s having a very bad day.

Carter, like Mark, is finding it hard to keep a positive attitude now that it looks like all the work he did on Steven is going to lead to nothing. What could Steven have done to deserve a brain hemorrhage that led to him possibly dying on Christmas Eve? Lucy doesn’t have an answer for him. Meanwhile, the circle of life continues as Connie sends Doug to tell a teen patient that she’s pregnant.

Jerry shows Weaver a sex fantasy written on a piece of paper he found in one of Amanda’s charts. The subject of the fantasy is someone named M.G., and gloves are mentioned. Jerry guesses Amanda wrote it about Mark. Amanda interrupts and says the fantasy was described to her by a psych patient. M.G. is Merv Griffin. Weaver tells Jerry to leave her out of it the next time he wants to make a fool of himself.

Doug tells 13-year-old Laura that she’s pregnant and goes over her options. She chooses abortion, so Doug asks Carol to make the arrangements. Benton is also trying to make arrangements, desperate to see Reese on Christmas Eve. Romano and Elizabeth are supposed to leave for their gala, but Elizabeth is still wrapping up her shift. Romano leaves even more work for Benton. Don’t they have interns to do this stuff?

A 16-year-old girl is brought in suffering complications from a liver disorder. (She never gets a name, but her last name is Mikami, so I’ll call her Mika.) She’s been on the transplant list for months but no match has been found…because her blood type is AB. Mark has decided to work on unconscious patients for the rest of the day since no conscious patients have helped him stay positive. He feels like something about him just depresses people. Amanda teases that she’s suffering the same effects.

Carter sees Mika’s arrival as a godsend: If he can get Mrs. Richards to agree to donate Steven’s organs, Mika will live. But she’s gone for a walk after signing Steven’s DNR, and his heartbeat is no longer stable. Carter goes off to find her, because he just loves tracking down parents of children with rare blood types.

Carol goes to get Laura for her abortion, but now Laura’s not sure she can go through with it. She’s been raised to believe that it’s a mortal sin. She asks Carol if she agrees, but Carol says her beliefs don’t matter here. She suggests that Laura talk to someone in her family and determine whether she’s really sure this is what she wants. Laura agrees to talk to her mother.

Carter returns to Steven without Mrs. Richards and decides that since Steven still has a faint pulse, he can be shocked into stability. Carter says he’ll take full responsibility when it inevitably gets out that he shocked a patient with a DNR. Lucy and Chuny refuse to help. Carter thinks Steven and Mika’s arrival at the same time means something, and he can help make a miracle. Lucy covers Steven’s chest with her hands so Carter can’t shock him, but she moves in time to let him do what he wants.

Elizabeth and David chat about his job and how he’s single because he travels so much. He admits that his anxiety attack wasn’t so much about the surgery as it was about possibly losing sexual function. He jokes about having performance anxiety while by himself, about to make a donation at the sperm bank. Elizabeth invites him to get dinner with her.

Benton goes to tell DeMisa his scans were clear and he didn’t blow a staple, but DeMisa’s missing. Yosh realizes his disappearance is probably connected to the five patient dinners he’s missing. They find DeMisa in a supply closet, unconscious after really blowing a staple and ruining his intestines. Benton tells Yosh to page Romano back to the hospital.

Mrs. Richards is in the hospital chapel, and Carter interrupts her prayers to tell her about Mika. He plays the God card, saying that if He meant for Steven to die on Christmas Eve, it must be so Mika can live. Mrs. Richards can’t bring herself to think about another child’s problems when her own child is dying. She wants him to pass peacefully and be buried whole. Carter does a poor job of hiding his disappointment.

DeMisa needs surgery right away, and though Benton’s not supposed to operate without an attending, he gets started without Romano anyway. Doug spots Laura with her mother and a priest and complains to Carol that the priest will pressure Laura to have the baby. Carol says he might just counsel her. Doug’s annoyed that Carol didn’t tell him that Laura asked to see her mother. He would have tried to prevent the priest from joining them. And how do you think that would have gone, Doug?

Things are lighthearted in DeMisa’s OR, as Benton and the other members of the surgical team identify all the foods he ate. Romano arrives angry and tells Benton to leave. Benton ignores him and keeps working. Romano asks if Benton gave Elizabeth extra work to keep her around the OR so she couldn’t join him at the gala. He orders Benton again to leave, and this time Benton steps away from the table. He tells Romano that Elizabeth left an hour ago.

As Benton starts to leave, Shirley whispers to him that Romano’s drunk. He tells someone to find Anspaugh, then asks Romano if he’s been drinking. Romano loves that, of course. Benton asks him to step back, and when Romano refuses, Benton outright accuses him of being drunk. Romano takes a swing at him, but Benton easily ducks. The force of the swing makes Romano fall and hit his head on a cart. With the Grinch unconscious, Benton can continue DeMisa’s operation in peace.

Amanda has ordered a bunch of food and booze for an impromptu staff Christmas party. Jerry remains the only person who’s not happy with her. Mark can’t find his lab coat, and Jerry decides not to further embarrass himself by guessing where it is. Don’t worry, Jerry – it’s a dumb storyline, but it’ll be over soon.

Carter tells Lucy that he was wrong and there’s no such thing as miracles. He was sure he had God on his side, which was pretty arrogant of him. The two spot Steven being wheeled down the hall, followed by Mrs. Richards and Mika’s parents. Lucy explains that the parents met and started talking, and Mrs. Richards agreed to the organ donation. P.S. Lucy introduced them. Carter happily tells her she’s an instrument of God.

Doug apologizes to Carol for their fight, and she asks how sorry he is. (The answer: Not sorry enough to go to mass.) She forgives him anyway. Romano fills out a disciplinary report on Benton, hoping it’ll get him fired. Benton has his defense already planned: He had Romano’s blood drawn while he was unconscious, and a test shows that his blood-alcohol level was .12. Romano thinks he’s bluffing, since there are no marks on his arms from a blood draw. Benton says that’s not where they drew from.

Amanda takes a Polaroid of Mark as everyone enjoys the staff party. Jerry’s still grumpy. Time for a music montage! Carter and Lucy look on as a priest prays over Steven in the ICU. Doug and Carol go to Doc Magoo’s. Carla makes Benton’s night by bringing Reese to the hospital to see him. Elizabeth and David have a long, friendly dinner together. Carter sees Mrs. Richards off as she goes home to spend Christmas Eve alone. And in the dumbest ending possible, Amanda decorates a Christmas tree with pictures of herself and Mark while wearing his lab coat and wearing his gloves.

Thoughts: Julia Whelan, who plays Laura in this episode, posted some great tweets about her experience.

Elizabeth and David should have gotten together. End of story.

I love Yosh’s disappointed reaction to DeMisa’s eating, like he’s thinking, “How could you? We were all rooting for you.”

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