May 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 5, 2019

ER 3.12, Post Mortem: I Thought Confession Was Supposed to Make You Feel Better

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

Don’t bother me, I’m brooding

Summary: Carter is contemplative when he gets to an El station to head to work, since that’s where Gant died. At County, he tells Anspaugh that he thinks it was an accident, probably in denial since the other option is that Gant killed himself. Carter admits that they weren’t as close as they’d been in the past, since Carter was staying at Keaton’s place a lot. (Of course, he doesn’t mention Keaton by name.)

Anspaugh wonders if there was anything they could have done to prevent Gant’s suicide, if that’s what it was. After all, Benton’s treatment of Gant was common knowledge. Carter says that Gant complained a lot about the hours and the work, but Carter thought he was just venting. Anspaugh asks if Carter believes Benton was too hard on Gant. Carter diplomatically says he’ll have to give that some thought. Anspaugh asks Carter to go to Gant’s apartment with his father to box up Gant’s things.

Dale and another resident catch up with Carter as he’s leaving Anspaugh’s office. Dale asks if Gant “pulled a Cobain.” Stay classy, Dale. He thinks their hours could get shortened if Gant’s death is ruled a suicide. Well, I’m glad someone’s going to get something positive out of the death of his colleague! And I’m so glad it’s Dale! The other resident thinks Carter would have noticed if Gant showed signs of depression, since they were roommates. Carter says he would have.

He goes to the ER to cover Gant’s shift, telling Weaver he hasn’t seen Benton. Everyone’s getting ready for two patients coming in with gunshot wounds, and the advance warning allows them to get everything they’ll need ready. In fact, they’re ready way before the patients arrive. Benton arrives, and Carter asks him to say a few words at Gant’s memorial service. On what planet does Carter think that’s a good idea?

The two shooting victims are a bride and groom shot at their wedding. They’ve also brought along a surprise third victim, the best man. Carter is assigned to take care of the best man, but he takes a moment to study Benton first, seeing that Benton isn’t affected by Gant’s death like everyone else in the ER is.

The best man tells Carter that the shooter was the bride’s ex. He suddenly gets worse and needs a central line, but there’s no room for Carter to perform it in the hallway. He pulls the best man into the groom’s trauma room and works back to back with Benton. That makes it harder to figure out which patient’s monitors are beeping.

Mark and Chuny are…a thing now, apparently. She tells him that the nurses are still unhappy with their new shift proposal, and if nothing changes, they’re going to stage a sick-out. The bride and best man are stabilizing, but the groom is dead. While finishing up with the body, Carol asks Malik to work a double shift since some nurses have already called in sick that afternoon. He keeps a poker face when he tells her he can’t do it.

Carter and Benton take an awkward ride in an elevator on the way to getting the best man to surgery. Carter asks again for Benton to speak at Gant’s memorial, but Benton says he’s not good at public speaking. He doesn’t get why Anspaugh is questioning all the residents on their team, since it’s not like they were with Gant when he died and could answer any questions.

Carter says Anspaugh’s curious about Gant’s state of mind before his death. He adds that he doesn’t think anyone’s blaming Benton. “Why would they?” Benton asks. Carter checks his mail slot, then sees that there’s something in Gant’s – an evaluation from Benton.

Charlie is still in the hospital, moved to the psych ward while she’s being evaluated. Her doctor, Middleton, doesn’t think Doug should see her, since Charlie’s mad that he told her he wouldn’t call the police or a social worker, then did exactly that. Middleton isn’t surprised that Doug wants to keep trying to see her, since obviously he doesn’t want Charlie to hate him.

The nurses make plans for their newfound free time while they’re on their sick-out. Haleh thinks that it’ll only take one shift without nurses for the administration to realize cutting their overtime is a horrible idea. Connie’s worried about leaving their patients without proper care, but Haleh says that’s the whole point – the contract they’re expected to sign already compromises patient care.

Chuny goes off with Mark, not bothering to try to hide their new relationship, and Haleh and E-Ray express concern over her falling for him. Connie doesn’t see the problem. Haleh reminds her that Mark is on the rebound, and that doctor/nurse flings never work out. (Fun fact: Connie herself had a fling with a doctor.) E-Ray says the bigger problem is with Chuny and Mark’s astrology. Carol asks Haleh to work a double shift, since some illness seems to be going around and the whole night shift has called out. Haleh says she’s coming down with the illness herself.

Doug visits Charlie under the guise of checking her neurological status, and tries to defend his decision to call the police and social worker. She’s having some vision issues and will need to see an ophthalmologist. Doug promises that she’ll end up somewhere safe, but Charlie thinks she’s been placed on a psych hold because she was raped. She wishes she’d lied, so Doug wouldn’t have called the police. She’s especially worried that she’ll be sent to a group home. Doug promises that no one will hurt her.

Mark surprises Chuny with a motorcycle helmet so she can ride his bike with him. He wants to go away for a vacation with her in the spring. Carol sends Chuny away to do her job, trying to get her to agree to work a double shift. Chuny says she has to stick with the other nurses. Carol points out that she’s a nurse, too, but Chuny says they all see her as management. After she leaves, Carol pointedly asks Mark if he’s heard from Susan. He denies that he’s using Chuny as a rebound.

Paramedics bring in a patient who got sick at the airport after coming back from Paris. Jeanie sees from his itinerary that before Paris, he was in Gabon, in West Africa. Suddenly they might be dealing with an infectious disease like Ebola. Mark calmly puts some protocols in place. Jeanie started the case, so she offers to stay on it, which will keep other doctors and nurses from potential exposure.

Carter asks Benton if he should take on Gant’s patients, but Benton says he’ll do it. Carter relays a message from Morgenstern that the police have ruled Gant’s death an accident. Benton says that makes things easier on everyone, but Carter notes that it’s not necessarily true. The two of them knew Gant better than almost anyone, so they know his emotional state. Benton says that he’s not Keaton, and he’s not interested in talking about, like, feelings and stuff. Hicks resurfaces to pull the two into surgery with her.

Doug fights with Adele Newman, a social worker, about where Charlie should go when she’s released from the hospital. Doug and Middleton know that Charlie will most likely run away if she’s sent to a group home. Adele wants to try to find her mother, but she gets the sense that Charlie doesn’t want that, since she hasn’t been helpful in giving information that could locate her. Doug thinks Charlie’s mom is incompetent, so sending Charlie home is a bad idea. Middleton notes that Charlie could go live with another relative, but she still won’t cooperate. Adele agrees to let Doug try.

Greg Fischer, an infectious-disease specialist, comes to the ER to examine Jeanie’s patient. Greg wants to follow the proper precautions, but so far he hasn’t heard anything that makes him think they’re on the brink of an outbreak. Carter’s a little off in surgery, and Benton isn’t having it. Hicks is much more sympathetic, since everyone on staff has taken Gant’s death hard. She asks Benton what it was like working with Gant, and he says it’s too soon to say. He hadn’t “distinguished himself” yet.

Hicks is surprised, since Gant had awesome transcripts and strong recommendations. Benton says he must have been having adjustment problems. Hicks notes that that must mean Benton noticed him struggling. Benton says Gant wasn’t prepared to work in a place like County. Carter asks why, if that’s the case, Benton gave Gant a great review.

Benton argues that he gave that review before some recent backsliding, and he didn’t think Gant even saw it. Carter confirms that he didn’t, which means Gant never heard anything encouraging from Benton. Hicks tries to defuse the situation by sending Carter out of the OR, but Carter gets off a parting shot by telling Benton that he’ll have to live with the weight of Gant’s death.

Chuny tells Mark he can stop sending flowers; in her family, that means a much deeper commitment than where they are now. Carol tells Mark, Weaver, and two others – Roger Drummond from labor relations and the nursing admin, Mary Cain – that all of the nurses scheduled for the night shift have called out. The hospital is filing an injunction against the nurses’ union, since the sick-out is a violation of their contract.

Carol says no one has admitted to an organized sick-out. Mary has arranged for substitute nurses to fill in, but Carol isn’t happy about that idea. Mark backs her up, saying they’ll be helpful with non-emergencies, but not with what the ER needs to do. The two of them and Weaver decide that they need to close to trauma.

Charlie sees an ophthalmologist, but he doesn’t think there’s anything major to worry about. He also thinks Charlie is Doug’s daughter, thanks to a joke she made. Doug’s annoyed that Charlie either clams up or lies, which makes it hard for people to help her. Charlie points out that adults lie plenty, so why shouldn’t she? She asks why Doug doesn’t have kids, and he says he hasn’t gotten his life together long enough to have a family. (I guess he doesn’t want her to know that he does have a kid; he just doesn’t see him.) Charlie would be happy to let him adopt her and make him a father.

Adele has a surprise for both Charlie and Doug – she found Charlie’s mom. She’s not in Cleveland, as Charlie claimed, but in Chicago. She’s also a horrible mother and is only concerned about the scars Charlie will be left with after her attack. Doug’s face: “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Carter reaches out to a psychiatrist, Nina Pomerantz, who Anspaugh said is available to help Gant’s colleagues work through their grief. She recognizes Carter’s name, revealing that Gant came to her for a few counseling sessions when he first started at County. Carter asks if she approved when Gant quit therapy. Nina says he seemed to be adjusting well to his new job, so she didn’t see anything wrong with stopping their sessions. She can see that Carter’s experiencing some survivor’s guilt. Carter thinks he really is guilty.

Carol greets her subs as the regular nurses leave. Chuny tries to convince Carol that the sick-out will be good for the nurses, but Carol knows that’s not the point – there just isn’t money to meet the nurses’ demands. Greg has determined that Jeanie’s patient doesn’t have Ebola, but he’s going to keep working the case with Jeanie. Weaver sees them getting along well and tells Jeanie she should have suggested Greg for her earlier. Jeanie thinks she means as a boyfriend, but Weaver means as Jeanie’s doctor. He used to have a private practice specializing in HIV and AIDS, but he came to County after his partner died of AIDS.

Doug fills Mark in on Charlie’s issues and how awful her mom seems. Fortunately, she won’t be sent home right away, so Social Services can take some time to figure out what’s best for her. Carol runs into Carter, who’s taking a few minutes alone in a waiting area, and says she could get used to not running around for traumas. She tries to ease his guilt over not realizing that Gant needed help. They get interrupted when a homeless man is brought in by his friend after having a Dumpster dropped on him.

Greg and Jeanie do some lab work and end up talking about astronomy. He invites her to join him and his telescope that night (not a euphemism). They determine that their patient has malaria, which they can easily treat, and which, best of all, isn’t going to cause an outbreak.

Mark, Carol, Weaver, Carter, and their ragtag band of nurse subs work on the homeless man. His friend bugs Carter, who gets more and more agitated as the friend says that he let his buddy down. Carter finally leaves the room before his guilt makes him explode. Mark goes after him, and Carter admits that he knew Gant was struggling, but he was too busy to help or let himself get dragged down. Mark understands that Carter had his own struggles, so he wasn’t responsible for his friend’s problems. He can’t be sure that he could have even helped Gant. Carter laments that he wasn’t a very good friend.

The homeless man doesn’t make it, so Carol and Weaver inventory the trauma room to make sure all their supplies are accounted for. Weaver compliments Carol for handling the sick-out, since she can’t just participate with her friends. They realize that they administered the wrong type of blood to the homeless man, possibly because Carol didn’t take a bag off the infuser before putting on a new one. She may have killed the patient.

They bring Mark in to figure out what to do next. Carol thinks it’s simple – she screwed up and killed someone. Mark and Weaver note that they were in the middle of a busy trauma, working with people who didn’t know what they were doing, and Carol was doing the jobs of multiple people. Carol doesn’t see that as an excuse. She didn’t check the label, so it’s her error. Mark and Weaver agree to let it go if Carol doesn’t file an incident report, but Carol knows that wouldn’t make up for what she did.

After Gant’s memorial service, which Benton skipped, Carter apologizes to Hicks for going off on Benton during surgery. She understands and lets it go. Benton arrives and meets Gant’s father, who believes that his son looked up to Benton. Benton admits that he was tough on Gant. Gant Sr. says he had to, because life is hard. Gant picked an ambitious specialty, so he knew he was in for hard work. Gant Sr. hopes that his son didn’t disappoint Benton. Benton says he thinks Gant would have made a great surgeon.

Jeanie tells Weaver she’s meeting Greg that night; he’s the perfect friend to hang out with because he’s gay and won’t pressure her to date. Weaver’s confused, because Greg isn’t gay. The partner he had who died was his professional partner. Greg is totally straight and totally eligible. Jeanie wants to back out so she doesn’t have to tell Greg that she has HIV. Weaver encourages her to go anyway.

Mary and Drummond come to the ER to tell Carol that the nurses’ union has backed down, and everyone will be back to work for the next shift. She gives them her incident report and confesses to giving her patient the wrong blood. Mary and Drummond aren’t too concerned, possibly because the man was homeless and has no family to sue the hospital. Carol says the sick-out wasn’t a factor; she just screwed up. Mary says they may be able to bypass an investigation, but Carol doesn’t want special treatment. She worked a double because she’s a manager (which she’s never accepted before), and it was her job.

Adele tells Doug that Charlie’s home situation with her mom is bad, and one or two of her mom’s boyfriends have been abusive toward her. The two of them and Middleton meet with Charlie and her mother, and Charlie reveals her plan to get her mother to allow her to live with Doug. Adele, Middleton, and Charlie’s mom think Doug has signed off on that, but Doug sets things straight. Charlie threatens to run away for good, which would be Doug’s fault. There’s yelling, and Middleton tells Doug to leave.

Jeanie and Greg go to Doc Magoo’s when they realize the conditions aren’t good for astronomy. They talk about Cassiopeia, who, according to myth, was sitting around, waiting for Mr. Right. Greg appears to think he’s Jeanie’s Mr. Right, so he kisses her. She’s not disappointed, but she wants to make sure he knows what he’s getting into, so she tells him she has HIV. Suddenly, things go from cute and potentially romantic to completely awkward.

Carter’s back on the El platform, where Benton is also contemplating things. He admits to being hard on Gant, but says he thought that was the best way for Gant to learn. Carter says he doesn’t blame Benton, but he feels like he’s been walking around with a secret Benton won’t admit to. Benton says he went to his high school reunion a few years ago, which was pretty sparse because there were a lot of dropouts, and many of his classmates are now in prison or dead. He doesn’t know how he feels about Gant’s death, but he doesn’t want Carter to tell him how he should feel.

Carter asks if Benton really wants to go through this alone. If he does, they’ll just keep their distance from each other and pretend nothing happened. After all, that worked out really well for Gant. Carter heads off alone, leaving Benton behind on the platform to think about what a jerk he is.

Thoughts: Nina is played by Jami Gertz.

Noah Wyle is really good in this episode. His body language alone says how hard this all is for Carter.

I don’t know if it’s Gloria Reuben or what, but Jeanie is cute with every love interest this show pairs her with (except Benton).

February 26, 2019

ER 3.11, Night Shift: He Gant Take It Anymore

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

‘Bye! See you on “House”!

Summary: Mark and Chuny are on their way to County to work a night shift. Things are quiet when they arrive, and they learn there are no patients in the ER. Mark mentions that he’s up for tenure, and his biggest competition is Weaver. She’s currently working on a research study about the effects of exercise on night-shift workers. She’s enlisted Wendy to help her get the staff to do things like jumping jacks. Lydia isn’t bored enough yet to participate.

Keaton is packing up her office and practicing her Urdu in preparation for her move to Pakistan. Carter stops by, then has to hide when Gant comes in looking for him. Carol learns that the ER budget is screwed up, so two nurses have to be fired. The three on the chopping block are Malik, Chuny, and Connie. Carol only has until 8 the next morning to decide who to get rid of.

Randy entertains herself by drawing on the empty patient board while the nurses discuss how they would want to die if they had the choice. Chuny picks OD while Malik thinks a stroke is the way to go. Connie points out that he wouldn’t necessarily die. Doug arrives and apologizes to Carol for surprising her with Charlie on Christmas Eve. Carol reports that the girl stole Helen’s silverware. Doug announces that his New Year’s resolution is to stop being so charitable.

Weaver tells Mark that they need to do a safety check, which involves running down a checklist and keeping the ER up to code. Doug volunteers himself and Carol to do it. She reminds him that he was going to stop being charitable. Wendy asks if anyone wants to participate in Weaver’s study, and everyone yells, “No!” Hey, don’t take it out on the messenger.

Gant finally finds Carter and complains that Benton hasn’t given him the time off he requested to go see his girlfriend. Carter points out that since Monique seems to have moved on to another guy, going to see her probably won’t do anything. Carter lies about being busy so he doesn’t have to go get dinner with Gant. He’s tired of listening to Gant complain about Monique.

A woman named Shelly comes in with symptoms of meningitis. She refuses any treatment, even a shot of antibiotics. Mark warns that she could die, but Shelly, who sounds mentally addled, doesn’t care. Mark doesn’t think she’s competent to refuse treatment and wants to work her up. Lydia and Chuny tell him that, thanks to new hospital regulations, he’ll have to go through the risk management department first.

Carol and Doug check out a trauma room and write down all the potential safety risks. Weaver attempts to get Jeanie to agree to her study, and Jeanie attempts to use her HIV as an excuse not to participate (she’s not sure she’s healthy enough not to skew the results). They head into the trauma room where Carol and Doug are working, and Carol accidentally drops a clock on Weaver’s head when Jeanie bumps into her ladder. She needs stitches, so Randi finally has a patient to put on the board.

Carter’s in the ER when a patient comes in via ambulance, so he tries to elbow his way into a case that should be overseen by Doyle. They disagree about which of the patient’s complaints needs attention first. The patient shuts down the discussion by revealing that he just wants a flu shot. Malik recognizes him as a frequent visitor who calls 911 and plays possum when he wants a ride to the hospital. Carter generously tells Doyle the patient is all hers.

Benton asks Anspaugh about continuing to work in pediatric surgery after Keaton works. Anspaugh tells him to talk to a doctor named Kenner. Shelly knows that Mark wants to give her a spinal tap without her consent, so she talks to the hospital’s lawyer, Guinet. He thinks Shelly is mentally competent to make her own decisions, which means a possible lawsuit if Mark proceeds. Guinet tells Mark, Lydia, and Chuny that their jobs could be at risk if they do anything without Shelly’s consent. They should put her on a psych hold and call for a consult first.

Weaver bugs Jeanie about her study while she gets her stitches. She and Wendy shut down all of Jeanie’s attempts to turn them down, and Weaver adds a drop of guilt to get Jeanie to change her mind. Since the only patient in the ER is Shelly, and no one’s allowed to even touch her, the staff is back to being bored. Lydia’s trying to find her family.

Doug and Carol are continuing their safety check when Charlie shows up asking for money. She needs to pay a pimp $100 so he’ll leave her alone. Doug thinks she’s lying, so he sends her away. Charlie yells that he’s a pervert, got her pregnant, and now won’t pay for her abortion. “Lovely girl,” Carol comments as she and Doug leave.

Benton tries to get a few moments with Kenner, who’s busy. He gives Gant some assignments on top of the assignments he’s already trying to complete. Apparently no one else Benton supervises ever has to do any work. Connie and Chuny read personal ads in the lounge while Mark does paperwork. Things get awkward when one of the men who wrote an ad sounds like Mark. He insists it’s not him.

Psych finally sends someone for a consult, but it’s an intern, since no one in psych actually takes anything seriously in the ER. Doug and Carol end up in a storage hallway where they used to make out when they were dating. Shelly’s temperature is up to 103.5, so Mark and Lydia think they need to get a move on her treatment. The psych intern ignores them and continues his assessment, which Shelly passes. (She even throws in an insult – when he tells her to spell “world backwards,” she replies, “U-O-Y-W-E-R-C-S,” which is “screw you” backwards.)

The intern tells Mark that Shelly’s status is fine, so she’s allowed to refuse treatment. Mark notes that the intern is making a life-or-death decision for Shelly. The intern says she has the right to make her own decision, even if it’s a bad one. Mark demands to see someone higher up.

One of Kenner’s patients declines while Kenner’s still in surgery, so Benton takes over his care. He’s annoyed that Gant isn’t around. Jeanie has to ride an exercise machine with dark glasses on, so her body thinks it’s night. Between scenes, Gloria Reuben fires her agent. Benton finds Gant hanging out with Carter in the cafeteria and yells at him in a room full of people for not doing his job properly. If he makes another lazy, stupid mistake, he’s gone. Carter tries to cheer his friend, but he’s called away for a code.

Carol admits that when she and Doug were together, she wasn’t happy with herself. Now, she feels more confident and in control. She even got a B+ on her chemistry midterm. Carol confides that she has to fire two nurses and has no idea who to choose. Doug tells her that he was happier when they were together.

Carter and Doyle meet up while running to another wing of the hospital for a code. All they find are a maintenance worker and an overflowing toilet. When they finally get to the patient, the maintenance worker is putting his CPR training into use and doing their job for them. Once the patient is stable, Doyle tells the maintenance worker that Carter can take him to the broken toilet.

Doug and Carol talk about Charlie and how many chances she should get. Carol thinks they have to cut her off at some point, which Doug finds familiar. Chuny reads Mark the personal ad she and Connie wrote for him. They call him handsome and say he likes motorcycles. Mark hasn’t ridden the bike in a while and doesn’t want to mention it, since he could attract “motorcycle chicks.” Chuny says she’s one of them.

Lydia realizes that Shelly’s gone and alerts Mark. He finds her on a bus bench, and when she won’t go back inside, he picks her up and carries her in. They’re giving her a spinal tap when Guinet arrives and notes that they haven’t gotten a psych hold. He takes down Mark, Lydia, Chuny, and Malik’s names in case of legal action.

Doug teases Carol for falling asleep while they were having a deep conversation. Now she only has five hours to decide who to fire. But there’s a bigger problem – Charlie’s returned to the hospital covered in blood, having been beaten. Gant tells Carter that he thought about telling Anspaugh about Benton’s treatment of him, but maybe Benton’s right and he’s not as on top of things as he could be.

Weaver makes Jeanie run around outside while Wendy drives her around in a golf cart. Where did they get a golf cart? Charlie has a broken jaw and wrist, plus some facial injuries. Carol thinks she may have been raped. Malik tells Chuny and Carol his million-dollar idea: flypaper in a can. You spray it on your car, then peel it and all the bugs sticking to it off in one sheet. He’ll call it Bug Off. His second idea: stethoscope condoms.

Benton returns to Kenner’s patient and tells Kenner the treatment he gave him. He’s doing better, and Kenner’s appreciative, but not appreciative enough to bring Benton onto his team just yet. Benton says that he and Keaton just didn’t mesh, so she won’t give him a recommendation. Kenner urges him to have another discussion with Keaton about that meshing, and get her to give the recommendation.

Doug wants to get Charlie to tell him what happened before he gives her a rape exam. Carol runs into her three nurses on the chopping block, seeing how much they’re enjoying each other. Carter and Keaton spend their last few minutes together in her office, unable to get to the unlocked door before Benton can open it and see them together. Carter tries to hide his identity by putting a book in front of his face. Nice try, Carter.

Chuny thinks Mark showed a lot of guts by standing up to Guinet. Guts, stupidity – it’s all the same, right? He tells her he’s going to take full responsibility, so she doesn’t need to worry. Shelly’s spinal fluid shows she does have meningitis, so I guess this was all worth it. Carol goes looking for the nursing budget, and Randi says she took a look and figured out how to solve everything. If ER nurses work eight-hour shifts instead of 12-hour shifts, the hospital can stop paying them overtime and will save more than enough money to keep everyone on staff.

Keaton asks Benton if he’s going to be discreet about her relationship with Carter, or if he’s going to use it to blackmail his way into another pediatric rotation. That thought hadn’t even crossed Benton’s mind. He doesn’t want Keaton’s recommendation if it isn’t based on his work as a doctor. Keaton tells him he’s going to be a great surgeon, but not one who operates on children.

Shelly’s brother George arrives, having finally been tracked down by the police. He heard from her a few days ago, when she called to say she was sick. She doesn’t have any psychiatric problems, so her mental state was the result of the meningitis. Carter tells Benton that he and Keaton never discussed Benton, and definitely never said anything negative about him. Again, the thought hadn’t crossed Benton’s mind.

Anspaugh calls Benton over to discuss a complaint Gant has made about yelling at him in the cafeteria. Benton argues that Gant neglected his duties, so Benton had every right to chastise him. Gant says that he should have addressed him privately. Since Carter was present, Anspaugh asks his opinion. Carter says he understands why Gant’s upset, but given the circumstances, Benton was justified in his actions. Anspaugh tells Gant to toughen up, and next time something like this happens, he should discuss it with Benton before tattling to Daddy.

Carol gathers the nurses to announce that she thinks she’s solved the budget problems without having to fire anyone. The nurses aren’t happy that they have to give up overtime and work more hours for less money. Lydia reminds everyone that there’s a contract negotiation coming up, so if management tries to float this plan, the nurses will walk.

Carter tries to smooth things over with Gant, but Gant doesn’t blame him for speaking his mind when he was put on the spot. Carter leaves him to go search for something to do. Doug takes Charlie for a CAT scan and gently asks if she was raped. She asks him not to tell the police or a social worker, then says she was. Chuny catches Mark as he’s leaving and he invites her to get breakfast with him. He needs to ride his bike around a little to charge up the battery, so she offers to ride with him.

Jeanie drops out of Weaver’s study when she learns she’ll have to get in some sort of glass box to have her lung function tested. Not wanting all of her research to be for nothing, Weaver puts Wendy in the box. Doug tells Carol that Charlie was raped, and he clearly has no intention of keeping his promise not to tell the police or a social worker. Mark and Chuny skip breakfast in favor of a romp in his bed. Oh, and he still has the dog.

After a long, quiet shift, the ER finally gets a trauma. A man was hit by an El train after either jumping or falling onto the tracks. His face is injured, so no one can tell who he is. Benton tells Lydia to page Gant, and as Carter and Doyle bicker once again, the patient’s pager goes off. Doyle realizes that Gant is the man they’re trying to save. The episode ends with them still working, but it’s time to say goodbye to Omar Epps: Gant is dead.

Thoughts: You have to love that every member of the main cast wound up working a night shift together. That’s not contrived at all.

If the budge issues hadn’t gotten sorted out, Carol’s probably could have still been solved easily. Chuny and Malik put the hospital at risk by following Mark’s orders, so Carol could have fired them without having to make her own decision.

Find me one person who thought Mark and Chuny made a good couple. Just one. And did that person also think Carter and Keaton made a good couple?

February 19, 2019

ER 3.10, Homeless for the Holidays: Employee X

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

It’s Doug’s best day ever!

Summary: Jeanie meets up with Weaver at Doc Magoo’s after a meeting with her doctor. Her viral load is now undetectable on her new medication, and she thinks County might now be okay with her continuing to work there. Weaver is less hopeful, but she’s also upset that Jeanie’s been sidelined with administrative tasks instead of seeing patients. Whatever happens, however, at least Jeanie’s health is good.

Randi criticizes Mark’s choice of Christmas presents for Rachel, a sled. Gant likes it, but his judgment might be compromised, since he’s been working for about 24 hours. Things get even worse for him when his girlfriend, Monique, calls to cancel their holiday plans.

Weaver meets with Mark and Anspaugh to discuss Jeanie. She can’t be fired because she’s HIV-positive, but it’s legal to make her life miserable, basically. Anspaugh tells Weaver and Mark to come up with a fair policy they can apply to any staff member with HIV. This means the two feuding doctors will have to work together.

Gant still has ten more hours to go before he gets a holiday break, part of which he’ll be spending with Carter’s family (but not Monique). Doug’s trying to buy his mom some last-minute flowers, but Carol hangs up the phone while he’s on hold to force him to see patients. She doesn’t want to hear his holiday complaints, since her mother started her prep for their traditional Ukrainian Christmas celebration at 5 a.m.

Doug asks Mark what his meeting with Anspaugh was about. Mark says they’re working on a departmental policy on HIV-positive workers, which makes Doug think there’s someone in the ER with HIV. Weaver and Carol treat a drag queen, Miss Understood, who had a fight with her boyfriend over who was cooking their Christmas goose and now has chest pains. She’s still clutching the goose and refuses to give it up, but Carol out-stubborns her.

Rumors are now circulating that someone in the hospital has HIV. Jeanie overhears Connie and Randi talking about it but keeps a poker face. Carol tries to get her to stitch up a patient, but Jeanie says she’s doing triage again. As Charlie arrives with Ahmed, the baby Doug has been trying to get into the hospital. Doyle tends to a woman named Beth who has some bad facial injuries and a possibly broken jaw. Doyle sees in her chart that she’s been there before multiple times and angrily guesses that Beth’s husband is abusive.

Mark and Weaver get to work on the policy, trying to balance federal law with state regulations. Mark argues that he’s concerned, not a bigot, and no one wants to fire Jeanie. They just need to remember their responsibility to their patients. Weaver notes that they also have a responsibility to Jeanie, who’s a good employee. If they reveal her personal information, they could get sued. Mark says this is bigger than Weaver’s loyalty to a friend.

Doug’s treating a baby who snacked on mistletoe when he notices Charlie and Ahmed. She’s worried that Ahmed’s mother, Gloria will realize that Charlie brought him there and will be upset. Doug doesn’t care, telling Charlie to get Gloria to the hospital. Paramedics bring in a homeless man, Collins, who has burns and a yappy dog named Nick. Collins makes Mark promise not to send the dog to a kennel.

Doug determines that Ahmed has a mass in his abdomen and will probably need surgery. Gloria hasn’t arrived yet and there are no other adult relatives, so there’s no one to give consent. Charlie wishes she’d brought him in sooner, since Ahmed’s tumor is affecting his kidney function, but Doug praises her for getting the child medical treatment.

Keaton, Benton, and Carter operate on Ahmed while Carol tries to get a history from a woman who was found dancing with elves at Marshall Fields. She’ll only speak through a reindeer hand puppet and will only give her name as Blitzen, “the most overlooked of all the reindeer.” Carol decides to write Blitzen down as the woman’s name.

Doyle’s telling Beth about a shelter she can go to when her husband, Mr. Lang, arrives. He pretends that she was hurt when she fell down some stairs. Doyle coolly sends him back to the waiting area, saying they still have some things to do. Mark tries to find Nick something he’ll eat, but the dog is picky. Also, Collins’ condition is declining. As Carol’s trying to get “Blitzen” a psych consult, a man arrives looking for her.

Nick finally gets some food, finding Miss Understood’s goose. Ahmed comes through surgery fine, but he’ll need to stay in the hospital for a while. Doug tells Charlie that he has to call Social Services, since Gloria didn’t do anything when Ahmed got sick. Charlie’s worried that Gloria will throw her out. Doug agrees to give Gloria a chance to explain herself.

Keaton wants to make last-minute Christmas Eve plans with Carter, so he says he’ll try to get out of things with Gant and his family. Doug treats Charlie to lunch and tries to get her to open up about her family life. She ran away from home in Cleveland because her mom had a string of bad boyfriends who often turned their attention to Charlie. She hasn’t talked to her mother since.

After 34 hours of work, Gant is ready to party with the rich people. Carter says he might not make it to his family’s party, because there’s a “girl” he wants to go see. Gant understands, but Carter feels bad. Not bad enough to give up Keaton, of course.

Weaver and Mark keep discussing their policy, overhearing Lily and Chuny as they gossip about the employee who might have HIV. Mark decides to address this head-on, but this leads to a debate among the nurses. Chuny doesn’t think a worker with HIV should be involved in a bloody trauma. Carol doesn’t see the problem as long as the person wears gloves.

Connie asks if the worker, whom Mark is calling Employee X, got HIV from a needle stick. Doyle doesn’t see why it matters. Haleh says that universal precautions are supposed to prevent transmission, and Lydia notes that they work on HIV-positive patients using those precautions. As Jeanie comes by, Mark says they’re trying to determine whether patients have the right to know that their doctor or nurse or whoever has HIV.

Chuny asks if there’s an actual Employee X, or if this is all hypothetical. Weaver says they’re just discussing policies for now. Employee X could be anyone. Tired of being talked about, Jeanie steps forward and says, “Would everyone stop calling me Employee X? I am HIV-positive.”

Weaver and Mark continue their discussion in the lounge, now with Jeanie present. Mark would be uncomfortable with letting Jeanie participate in a trauma involving deep, penetrating wounds, but Jeanie says she wouldn’t be comfortable with that either. She’s been more careful since she got her diagnosis, and she would never want to harm a patient. Mark knows this, but they need to reconcile state and federal policies.

Jeanie wants to continue helping people, which is why she hasn’t quit her job. She asks what else Mark is concerned about. He notes that dementia can be a sign of full-blown AIDS, and would obviously put patients at risk. Jeanie says that some hospitals have someone monitor employees with HIV to keep an eye on their health. Weaver volunteers to do that for Jeanie. Coming out of the meeting, Jeanie realizes that her co-workers are now looking at her differently. Carol says she wishes she’d known about Jeanie’s HIV, obviously implying that she would have been nicer if she had.

Doyle and Malik tell Mr. Lang that Beth will probably have to stay overnight for observation. They send him back to the waiting area as they wheel a covered gurney outside. Beth is on the gurney, sneaking out to go to the bus station. Doyle even gives her money for her bus ticket and food. Then she tells Malik the money was really his, as he won the employees’ bowl game pool.

Mark looks for an animal shelter that will take Nick, ignoring Chuny when she reminds him that he told the now-dead Collins he wouldn’t send the dog away. Mark’s mad that he had to pay Miss Understood $50 for the goose Nick ate. Chuny guilts him into changing his mind by telling him the shelter will kill the dog if they can’t find him a home. But hey, now Rachel might have a better Christmas present.

Gloria comes to the hospital, furious that no one will give her Ahmed. Doug can tell she’s high, which certainly isn’t going to make him hand over the kid. Charlie’s mad when Doug threatens again to call Social Services. She though he was different from every other adult she’s met with any kind of power.

Mark bathes Nick in the lounge sink and tells Doug he’s giving the dog to Rachel. Doug offers to help with the bath if Mark gives him $20 (he lost his wallet). It’s a good thing he doesn’t pay up front, because the dog escapes. Mark slips and hits his head, staying behind while Doug chases down the dog. Needing stitches, Mark turns to Jeanie for help, extending an olive branch.

Carter and Keaton are exchanging Christmas presents when Benton comes by Keaton’s office. Carter hides under her desk. Benton wants to do another pediatric rotation and hopes Keaton will give her replacement a recommendation (she’s going to Pakistan, remember). Keaton says Benton is a great surgeon, but it’s not enough for pediatrics. He only took the rotation to challenge himself; he doesn’t have a passion for pediatrics. Benton leaves without a recommendation for another specialty, saying he doesn’t want to waste any more of Keaton’s time.

While Jeanie stitches him up, Mark tells her she’s an asset to the ER. He wants her to stay. However, she’ll have to work within the limits they’re setting up, and Jeanie knows Mark wouldn’t be comfortable with her, say, giving Rachel stitches. Doug brings the dog back, then heads off to spend Christmas Eve alone.

Jeanie tells Mark she’s sorry she lied about her health. After he leaves, Carol comes into the lounge and tries to relate to what Jeanie’s going through now that the news about her health is out. When she came back to work after attempting suicide, she felt like everyone was staring at her. Carol hopes the two of them can become friends.

Charlie’s waiting for Doug at his place, having gotten his address from his wallet, which she stole. She has no place to go since, as suspected, Gloria kicked her out. Al visits Jeanie at the hospital and gives her some Christmas cards that were sent to them as a couple. He also has the star they used to put at the top of their Christmas tree. They reminisce about the early days of their marriage.

Carter goes looking for Gant, who fell asleep finishing his charts. Since Gant is doing his scut work, Benton has time to visit Carla and give her a gas station poinsettia. Apparently her standards are low because she lets him come in. At Carol’s, where she’s hosting Ukrainian Christmas, her mother chastises her for not having an extra chair for an unexpected visitor. It’s tradition, but also a necessity when Doug shows up with Charlie, wanting Carol to take her in for the night.

Mark takes both the dog and the sled to Jen’s house, but sees that Rachel has already gotten two puppies for Christmas. Jen’s new husband, Craig, spots him as he’s leaving and notes how coincidental it is that Mark brought a dog. Rachel doesn’t seem to care that Nick is scraggly and not as young or cute as her puppies. Mark pretends the dog is his and can barely hide his glee when Nick bites Craig. Charlie enjoys herself with Carol’s family, and Carol agrees to let her spend the night. Carter and Keaton spend the evening in bed, discussing her move to Pakistan. They recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Okay, leave already.

Mr. Lang falls asleep waiting for his wife at the hospital, and Doyle just lets him stay there. She tells Jeanie that the tree in the waiting area is missing something. She thinks Jeanie was gutsy for coming forward as Employee X. Jeanie realizes that she has the one thing that will make the tree look complete – the star Al brought her. Doyle says that since the star is from Jeanie’s first Christmas with Al, it’s an heirloom and should go on her family tree. But Jeanie says that’s exactly where it is.

Thoughts: Miss Understood’s drag cabaret act is the Mighty Morphin Gender Changers. That is BRILLIANT.

34 hours of work should be illegal.

I’ve always liked how much Weaver fights for Jeanie. I think it stems from having a disability – she’s most likely been mistreated at work, so she wants to stand up for someone else who’s being mistreated.

Apparently escaping from your abusive husband is just that easy.

When Benton comes by, Keaton tells him she was just “reviewing some anatomy.” Cough.

February 5, 2019

ER 3.8, Union Station: Leaving on an El Train

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

Adios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 15, 2019

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

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

I love this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: Charlie is played by Kirsten Dunst.

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

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