September 27, 2022

ER 11.20, You Are Here: Drink Every Time Someone Says “Tenure”

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

Unfortunately, this is Chuck’s last episode. Thanks for not dying, Chuck!

Summary: Ray’s alarm clock goes off and he wakes up…on the floor, for some reason. There’s a woman in his bed, so it’s not clear why he didn’t stay up there with her. She offers him some cocaine, but he has to go to work. Pratt plays basketball with a friend, who asks who he’s taking to a party that night. Pratt forgot that their friend Darnell was having a birthday party. This friend guesses that Pratt’s too busy to come. He hasn’t been to their old neighborhood for a while.

Luka’s trying to shave at his and Sam’s place but he’s run out of shaving cream. She tells him from outside the bathroom that there’s more in a drawer. He has cream all over his hands, so he grabs a towel to wipe it off. This dislodges something hidden in the stack of towels: a box from a pregnancy test. Luka puts it back before Sam sees that he found it, and he doesn’t say anything about it.

Carter goes to Weaver’s office, where she tells him that he’s been awarded tenure. He didn’t expect it for another year or so, but she says he earned it. His job is pretty much set for the next 30 years. In traffic on the way to work, Luka first tries to get Sam to open up by being passive-aggressive. Then he asks straight out if the pregnancy test was positive or negative. It was negative, which explains why she didn’t tell him about it. He wishes she hadn’t kept it a secret. Sam finds that funny, since Luka never talks about himself, which means she can never tell when he’s being honest.

A teen named Eugene is in the ER, and Morris and Neela guess that he’s going to give one of the same stories he always does, either that his pills aren’t working or that he lost them. Neela feels bad for him, since his sickle cell anemia has made him dependent on narcotic painkillers, but Morris just sees him as an addict. Pratt reminds him that they take all complaints seriously and sends him to take care of Eugene. Instead, Morris hands him off to Ray, who doesn’t realize Eugene is being dumped on him.

Even though Weaver wanted it kept quiet until she’d talked to a few people, Jerry has heard about Carter getting tenure from someone on his “IM buddy list.” Awww, I miss IMing with my buddies. Ray examines Eugene, who’s complaining of foot pain, but can’t treat him without his mother’s consent. Eugene’s annoyed that he’ll have to come back after she’s off work and spend more time in the waiting area.

Carter tracks down Susan to let her know that he got tenure. She’s surprised, since she didn’t know he’d even applied. He says he was encouraged to apply early. He figures that she’ll get it, too. Susan has her own news to give, though she doesn’t want to: Morris has been named chief resident. He can’t wait to rub it in his father’s face that he accomplished his goal.

Eugene hasn’t left, even though Ray sent him home. Pratt and Neela tell Ray that he’s a frequent flier and knows how to work the system. Morris announces to his co-workers that he’s chief resident. Absolutely no one responds. Pratt’s annoyed, but Susan notes that he turned down the role, so what could they do? Chuny reports that a bunch of patients are coming in after an explosion in an apartment building. Morris gives people instructions to get set up, as if they wouldn’t already know what to do during a mass trauma. Neela wonders how Abby will respond when she hears that Morris is chief resident.

“Jesus Christ,” Abby says. But it’s in an appropriate setting, since she’s in a church, attending the baptism of Jake’s niece. Har har. Back at County, Ray has to duck out of helping with the mass trauma to deal with Eugene, who now says he can’t walk. Ray jumps back in as Carter and Susan start taking care of a woman named Marilyn. She’s having heart problems but it isn’t clear why. When Susan takes a step back to think things over from the basics, she realizes Marilyn has cyanide toxicity. It’s usually fatal, but since Susan caught it early, Marilyn has a good chance.

Ray ducks out again, busting Eugene for walking around when he said he couldn’t. Eugene credits the IV morphine he was given. Ray removes the IV and tells him that now that he’s gotten his “fix,” he can leave. Eugene insists that he needs to stay. He begs to be admitted just for the night. Ray refuses, earning praise from Haleh.

Pratt, Morris, and Neela take care of a guy named Anthony who jumped out of the apartment building to escape the fire. Pratt and Neela disagree with Morris about…something medical. You know. Sam tries to reassure Anthony that even though his roommates haven’t been brought to County, they aren’t necessarily dead; they could be at another hospital. Anthony says he told them to follow him, then jumped. Morris continues focusing on whether he or Pratt is right, instead of trying to comfort his patient.

Paramedics bring in a 12-year-old named Megan who burned both of her hands. Luka thinks she was too young to be left home alone. Hey, just because Alex needs to be supervised 24/7 doesn’t mean every preteen does. Marilyn is doing better but insists that she needs to go home. Carter tells her that her building was damaged in the fire. She says that’s not where she lives. Sam and Luka treat Megan, who tells them her parents went to the mall with her brother. Luka’s short with Sam, which means they’ve traded roles this week, since usually that’s what she does.

After the baptism, Jake and Abby go to a reception at some relative’s house. It seems like everyone already knows who she is, despite not having met her before. They also really want her to have kids. Abby, this would be a good time to fake a page and say you have to run off for a medical emergency. They know you’re a doctor; they won’t question you.

As Susan and Carter keep tending to Marilyn, she tells them that she went to the apartment building to meet someone she’s been talking to online. She got lost and wound up studying a map that told her, “You are here.” It made her realize she’d made a mistake. Jerry tells Susan that Weaver’s looking for her. She wants to meet that evening, so Susan will have to wait all day to learn whether or not she got tenure. To add insult to injury (or, more appropriately, injury to insult), Susan sticks her finger in one of Marilyn’s wounds and gets cut by something sharp.

Sam tells Megan that her parents are on their way to the hospital. Megan wants Sam to play up her injuries so her parents think she almost died. She clearly resents that her mother got remarried and had another child. Jerry comes by to let Sam know that Anthony’s roommates didn’t survive. She suggests to Luka that they call a social worker for Megan. Something’s off with her family. Luka thinks Sam should give Megan a chance to deal with the trauma of the fire before making her talk to a social worker.

Marilyn’s deep wound came from glass, and her rapid HIV test came back negative, so other than needing a tetanus shot, Susan should come out of this fine. She asks Dubenko if Weaver has already announced which surgeons got tenure. She has, so Susan wonders when she’ll hear about hers. Dubenko says only one surgeon got it.

Sam goes behind Luka’s back and asks Susan to okay a call to a social worker for Megan. Ooooh, Sam. Instead, Susan pulls Luka into the conversation. He and Sam both get upset, so Susan tells them to leave their relationship issues at the door when they get to work. If things are bad, they should see a therapist. If they can’t work together peacefully, they shouldn’t work the same shifts. P.S. Megan gets a social worker.

Neela and Ray complain to Pratt that after just a few hours under Morris’ supervision, they’re fed up with him. Also fed up: Jerry, who keeps having to take messages from Pratt’s friends bugging him to go to the party. Pratt tells Carter that non-medical people don’t get what it’s like to work a 12-hour shift. When Morris tries to rally everyone for a trip to Ike’s after work, Carter comments that medical people don’t always get it, either. Everyone tells Morris that they have plans already.

Jerry and some nurses have gotten Carter a cake to celebrate his tenure. Morris is jealous and Susan is just frustrated that she hasn’t gotten news of her own yet. The celebration gets cut short when Marilyn’s husband arrives. He’s confused about why she was in an apartment building when she said she was going to a dance class. Carter plays innocent. Mr. Marilyn asks him to just tell Marilyn that he’s there.

Susan goes to Weaver’s office early, having already guessed that she didn’t get tenure. Weaver blames budget cuts, lack of publications, and other strict criteria Susan didn’t meet. Susan notes that she’s been an attending two years longer than Carter and has excelled in every role she’s been given. She thinks Weaver denied her tenure to keep her running the ER instead of doing research. This way, Weaver doesn’t have to think about the ER or care about what happens there.

Weaver tells Susan that no one fell for her recent push to get grants after seven years of not writing anything. She should be up to a million dollars by now, instead of just the $75,000 she’s brought in. Grants pay Susan’s salary, and she should be embarrassed by her failure in that area. Susan says she probably would have gotten tenure if she’d written a big check for a new wing, like Carter did with his clinic.

Ray’s trying to wrap up for the night so he can go to a gig. Neela’s annoyed with him for once again acting like medicine isn’t his full-time job. As Ray tries to hail a cab on the street, he runs into Eugene outside. He offers Eugene money for the El, then tells him that the hospital isn’t going to admit him or give him any more medication, so he should go home. Eugene says he can’t – his mother’s boyfriend is there, and he “does stuff.” Ray slowly realizes that Eugene isn’t safe at home.

Sam wants Luka to say straight out that he’s mad at her for going behind his back. He won’t, which just proves what she said earlier – he doesn’t talk about things with her. He buries his feelings and pretends he doesn’t have them. He tells her he just doesn’t have a need to share his feelings all the time, especially at work. Poor Haleh has to interrupt.

Carter runs into Susan, who tells him she didn’t get tenure, and that it seems like he got her slot. She’s obviously frustrated about it but doesn’t want to admit it. He guesses that she feels like he bought the slot, even though he’s fulfilled all the other criteria as well. Susan blurts out that he never wanted tenure. This is her home – it’s where she started and where she wants to stay. As for Carter, it seems like half the time, he’d rather be anywhere else.

Pratt’s basketball buddy comes by to pick him up and make sure he goes to Darnell’s party. Ray brings Eugene back in and has him admitted. He tells Pratt that Eugene was raped. Megan recognizes another patient as someone from her building. She tells Sam that the neighbor used to bring food to someone else. She guesses that guy didn’t make it. Megan says that she was the one who called 911, but they didn’t respond as quickly as she thought they would. She called them before she did it. She tried to put out the fire, but it got out of control. Just then, her parents arrive, so Sam doesn’t get to follow up.

The reception is still going on at Jake’s relative’s house, and I really can’t believe Abby’s stayed so long. He tells her his family loves her. Well, except one aunt who didn’t appreciate when Abby says she’s not sure Heaven and Hell exist. Jake says he’s a “pick-and-choose Catholic”; he obeys some commandments and rules, but not all of them. He guesses that Abby finds his large family overwhelming. She does, but she says it’s in a good way. She tells him she never thought families like this actually existed. Jake’s very lucky. That said, she wants to get out of there.

Pratt goes to Darnell’s party, catching up with a bunch of people he hasn’t seen in a while. He seems genuinely happy to have given up a quiet night at home. Susan is annoyed that Ray admitted Eugene; she thinks he’s dumping Eugene on the next shift so he can go to a gig. If he wants to be a rock star, he needs to keep it to the weekends. Medicine is a career, not a plan B. It’s either what he wants to do or it isn’t. Ray’s like, “I can’t believe I’m getting yelled at for doing a nice thing.”

On the drive home, Sam tells Luka that Megan started the fire for attention. Sadly, now she has to live with three deaths and a bunch of injuries on her conscience, plus spend time in juvie. Sam wonders why she and Luka can talk about anything other than their relationship. Maybe Susan was right and they should see a therapist.

Pratt and some of his friends go out to a baseball field after the party and drink on the bleachers. One of the guys recently got laid off, and the others tease that he should become a doctor. It can’t be that hard if Pratt does it. One of the guys has a gun, and he wants to liven up the after-party how they used to, by shooting out lights. He fires at a light on the field, getting the attention of the cops. The guys all run off, laughing.

Ray checks on Eugene, lamenting that he didn’t ask more about his personal life to find out what Eugene’s been going through. Ray offers to stay until Eugene’s mom arrives, even though that means missing his gig. Eugene sees his guitar case and asks if he’s a musician. “Not tonight,” Ray replies.

Susan ends her day moping at home. Chuck tries to cheer her up over not getting tenure. She wishes she hadn’t gotten her hopes up or thought about what they could have used the money for. She really wanted the honor. Still at County, Carter calls Kem and tells her he got tenure. Yes, he got what Susan wanted, and yes, he’s happy, but at least Susan has the person she loves right by her side.

Thoughts: Pratt would have made a great chief resident. If Morris was the second best option, County has a major staffing issue.

Practically the first thing one of Jake’s uncles says to Abby is, “So you divorced or never married?” Dude! Manners!

We all know I don’t get the appeal, but it’s nice that Pratt has a bunch of friends and that they’re so eager to hang out with him.

I’m not sure what the scene at the baseball field was trying to say. That Pratt can never truly escape his past? That he has at least one friend who makes bad decisions? That if Pratt had made different decisions, he might also be the sort of person who carries around a gun and shoots it off for no reason?

September 20, 2022

ER 11.19, Ruby Redux: The Weight of Responsibility

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

May we all make it to our 80s sharp enough to memorize all the dialogue Red Buttons has in this episode

Summary: Susan and Chuck have been looking for a house, but they haven’t found anything they like yet. She’s getting ready for an interview that she hopes will let her secure tenure. Chuck is willing to go back to work, and he suggests that Susan get a job at a private hospital to make more money. Susan doesn’t care that much about the money, though, and she likes working at County. She feels like she belongs there. She finally finds an outfit she thinks is right for her interview, but it has a stain on the back. Cosmo laughs at her.

Ruby Rubadoux, who we last saw all the way back in season 2, has been brought to County after fainting, though he denies that he fainted. He’s skeptical about Neela being his doctor, since she doesn’t look old enough to be one, or even have a high school diploma. Ruby’s 85 now but still as mentally sharp as he was almost ten years ago.

Carter’s rounding with the interns, and it looks like he’s built up a good rapport with them. Ruby’s not happy to be at County, but Neela doesn’t get that it’s because of his history there. When he spots Carter, he says he doesn’t want Carter anywhere near him – Carter killed his wife. The interns scatter as if he’ll kill them, too. Carter seems confused.

Neela’s shift is over, so she hands Ruby off to Abby. Meanwhile, Susan has her tenure interview, which is conducted by a panel of six people, including Anspaugh, Weaver, Dubenko, and her onetime rival Kayson. She’s won a teaching award three times, but she’s only been published four times, which is why she’s been working with Morris on a paper. Since she hasn’t brought in grant money, she hasn’t quite met the bar the panel has set, despite her rave reviews as a doctor and instructor.

Abby detects that Ruby has a heart murmur, so she wants to run some tests and take an x-ray. He thinks Abby’s a nurse, so he doesn’t want to listen to her. She tells him she’s a doctor, but since she’s not his doctor, that doesn’t change his attitude toward her. She agrees to let a more experienced doctor take over his care. She’s probably happy to have an excuse to avoid him for a while.

Paramedics bring in a woman named Mary who was stabbed by her husband. She retaliated by shooting him. Sam forgot that she was supposed to stock something in a trauma room, and Chuny’s not happy about it. Sam’s been having a hectic morning, and she’s not in a good mood, so of course she takes it out on Luka. Pratt calms Mary while asking her questions, and he perks up when he learns what neighborhood she lives in.

Abby tells Carter about Ruby’s condition, but Carter doesn’t want to get involved in his case. Abby talks him into it. Ruby’s not happy about that, and it just gets worse when he realizes that Carter doesn’t remember him or his wife, Helen. Ruby says he knew that she didn’t have much time left, but he’s upset that Carter put her through everything he did. He refuses to let Carter examine him until Abby tells him it’s necessary.

After the examination, Haleh comments to Carter that Ruby is more of a handful than he was all those years ago. She doesn’t think Carter should spend too much time worrying about what happened back then, since he was just a student. Susan passes through the ER, trying to get out and go home without getting bugged, but Jerry tells her that a meeting she’s supposed to attend got moved to 3:30. She just worked a night shift and doesn’t want to hang around that long.

Carter looks up Helen’s chart in the hospital’s records department while Kayson examines Ruby and determines that he needs surgery for a narrowed heart valve. Kayson is the first doctor to gain Ruby’s respect, though he’s warmed a little toward Abby. She clarifies that he understands the risks of having heart surgery at the age of 85. He might not be a good candidate, and he needs to consider all his options. Ruby calls her “doll” and dismisses her concerns, since she’s not the one who can fix his heart. Okay, maybe he hasn’t warmed toward her after all.

Abby talks to Carter and Kayson about Ruby’s shaky health, which she thinks should rule him out as a good surgical candidate. Kayson, of course, doesn’t value her opinion. She reminds him that Ruby gets to make the decision here. Carter defends her attempts to advocate for her patient, but Kayson is still dismissive. He’s the surgeon, so he makes decisions about surgery.

Pratt has called Olivia in to talk to Mary, since her neighborhood is one that Ceasefire serves. Olivia’s surprised that Pratt was able to find some hope in Mary’s situation. Then again, she knows that he’ll take advantage of any excuse to spend time with her. He asks her to have dinner with him, supposedly so she can teach him about domestic violence counseling. She agrees to meet him at her office that evening.

Birdie and Rebecca are back in the ER, this time because Birdie’s sick. Ray thinks she has a lung infection, but Birdie says that when she came in a week ago, Abby didn’t mention anything about that. As Anspaugh is explaining Ruby’s condition and the surgery to him, Abby interrupts to ask if they’re really going forward with this. Anspaugh says that it’s the only way to definitively treat Ruby’s condition at this stage. Abby makes an argument against surgery, but Anspaugh seems satisfied that he’s been fully informed of the situation and possible consequences. He’s unhappy that she disagreed with senior staff in front of a patient.

Jake surprises Abby by coming up behind her and covering her eyes, even though he knows she must hate that. Nice. What does she see in this guy? He’s just returned from a trip to San Francisco to check out a hospital he might work at after he’s done with med school. He’s also considering staying at County, which would conveniently allow him to stick close to Abby.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Dirk who crashed while street luging. Pratt and Luka seem impressed, while Sam is like, “Congratulations, you’re an idiot.” He might have a spinal injury. While Abby’s trying to talk to Carter about Ruby, Ray tells them that Birdie and Rebecca are back. Carter thinks he can discharge Birdie, since she has family who can help take care of her, but Abby objects. Carter defers to her and tells Ray to call a social worker, since the sisters are panhandlers.

Abby finally gets to tell Carter that she doesn’t think Ruby has been fully informed of his options. Carter says she should talk to him, then, but she knows he won’t listen to her. Carter isn’t fully listening (to be fair, the lure of ordering Girl Scout cookies is hard to resist), and Abby calls him on it. She insists that he talk to Ruby, no matter what happened with them in the past. He tells her that this is an obstacle she’ll face as a doctor – trying to get through to a patient who doesn’t want a young, female doctor. If she can’t succeed with Ruby, she should move on.

Jerry wakes Susan from a nap she wasn’t really able to take before her meeting. She checks in on Pratt, Luka, Ray, and Sam, who are sawing through Dirk’s helmet to remove it. She then goes to her meeting, which is Morris’ presentation about why he should be chief resident. There are slides. No way is Susan going to stay awake the whole time.

Ray catches Birdie and Rebecca trying to leave before a social worker can talk to them. They tell him it’s important for them to leave now so they can be near the El during rush hour. They offer to write a note so he doesn’t get in trouble for not being able to keep them around. They’re kind of awesome. Ray lies that his boss is mad at him for letting too many patients go. He’s at risk of being demoted and sent to work in the morgue. Birdie and Rebecca see through his story but admire the attempt.

After Dirk is taken away for scans, Luka asks Sam what’s up with her. She’s mad that he seemed to be encouraging Dirk’s dangerous activities. He tells her he wasn’t and she’s overreacting. She throws a couple of towels at him, but instead of the fight escalating, they both start laughing. She apologetically says she’s having a rough day and has a headache. He tells her she can leave early, and if anyone has a problem with that, they can complain to him.

Pratt helps Abby insert a central line in Ruby. Even though they seem to be doing everything right, his heart becomes unstable. Morris pitches a scheduling system that has something to do with circadian rhythms. Carter gets a page and claims he has to go help in the ER (Susan doesn’t believe him). Birdie and Rebecca’s niece, Shelley, arrives and tells Ray that she’s been trying to get them to move in with her. They value their independence too much to accept her support.

Carter’s page was real, and he rushes to help Abby, Pratt, and Haleh stabilize Ruby. Pratt notes that if he can’t tolerate a central line, he won’t survive heart surgery. Abby says he wants it, which Pratt doesn’t think is a good enough reason. Weaver is okay with naming Morris chief resident, especially since it’s better and easier than hiring someone from the outside. Susan notes that Weaver came from the outside. Luka joins them, agreeing with Susan that Morris would be a bad choice. He tries to get Carter on his side, but Carter has enough on his plate and is staying out of this.

Thanks to Ruby’s instability, as well as a broken rib and complications he suffered while receiving chest compressions, his surgery has been postponed. Abby’s a little smug about it, but honestly, I think she should be. Pratt goes to Ceasefire, where Olivia’s leading a community development meeting. She puts him on the spot, making him talk about jobs in health care.

Luka tries to chat with a woman with five kids, none of whom seems to have ever sat still for more than a minute at a time. Sam teases him a little before leaving for the night. Something’s definitely up with her, as her mood goes south as soon as she leaves him. In the ambulance bay, Carter tells Abby what happened with Helen years ago. He felt pressured to move her along, so he had her dumped in a nursing home. Abby doesn’t think it’s that big a deal, since they dump patients in other departments all the time. Carter admits that he told Ruby what he wanted to hear about his wife instead of the truth.

As a student, Carter wanted everyone to like him, but he also wanted to impress his superiors. Abby gets that. Plus, Carter’s orders to get rid of Helen came from the chief of surgery, so he had no choice but to comply. When Helen died a few days later, Ruby was surprised. Carter tries to push responsibility off on his attending, since he didn’t have any authority as a student.

Pratt chats with some attendees after the meeting, and one asks if he’s related to Charlie Pratt, a parks and rec employee. Pratt says no. (He’s lying, and we’ll meet Charlie in a few episodes.) Olivia’s pleased that he finally came to see what her work is like, and she’s going to reward him for being a good sport by having dinner with him. Now, though, he’s not in the mood.

The thing on Sam’s mind is her period, it seems, because she goes to a drugstore to buy a pregnancy test. The clerk who rings her up makes an “isn’t this exciting!” face. Sam makes an “I could kill you with my bare hands right now” face. Carter catches Ray leaving early and busts him for letting Birdie and Rebecca go without speaking to a social worker. He doesn’t think sending them home with Shelley is good enough. Ray hasn’t done everything he’s supposed to, and he hasn’t told Carter enough about his patients for Carter, the attending, to be responsible for everything he’s supposed to.

A light bulb goes off in Carter’s head and he goes to Ruby’s room. All he says is that he’s sorry. Ruby can’t believe that Carter’s still working at County almost ten years after Helen’s death, and he didn’t even remember her. Carter says he made mistakes with both Helen and Ruby. Ruby knows, and he regrets bringing his wife there. He scoffs when Carter says he tried.

Carter notes that he wasn’t experienced, and the situation became more complicated than he was equipped to handle. “All you had to be was a human being,” Ruby says. Carter lied to him and Ruby believed him. Then he lost the woman he loved. Carter sits down by his bed and tells him that while his condition can be fixed with surgery, it might not be his best option. His chances of fully recovering are small, and there’s a big possibility that he’ll never leave the hospital. Without surgery, he won’t get better, but he’ll have more time with his loved ones. Carter lied about Helen all those years ago, but he’s not lying now.

Thoughts: Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

Katie Mitchell, who plays Shelley, is married to Michael B. Silver, who plays Myers.

This was Red Buttons’ (Ruby) last action role, and it looks like he’d basically retired a few years before this, so it’s nice that he came back for one of Noah Wyle’s last episodes as the star of the show.

Birdie thinks Abby looks like a young Patty Duke. She’s absolutely right.

May 31, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 5, 2022

ER 10.17, The Student: The Sweetest, Dumbest Thing

Posted in TV tagged , , at 4:59 pm by Jenn

This is why I could never be a doctor. No one dies if I screw up my job

Summary: Weaver has gathered senior ER staff – Luka, Carter, Susan, and Chen – in the lounge to discuss med students and their performance to date. They like Lester but don’t think he should work with patients. They’re polite about Abby, not wanting to say that she lacks confidence. Weaver just wants to know if she’d be okay specializing in emergency medicine. Susan says she’s uncertain.

Neela gets high marks for her academic skills, but she’s not a good fit for the ER. Carter loves her and notes that she saved Frank. He thinks she’ll improve over time. Susan points out that the med students have only four months left before they’re full-fledged doctors. Carter’s the only one who thinks Neela should stay at County (if she matches there), so Weaver tells him to change everyone else’s minds before her list is finalized.

Carter tells Susan he’s heading to the Congo to visit Kem. She asked him to bring a suitcase full of Ho-Hos. Heh. Jerry tells Susan that Chuck is waiting for her outside. She jokingly calls time of death on chivalry. Neela comes to get Carter for help with a patient who’s been waiting hours for a reason Carter doesn’t think justifies the wait. He might have an uphill battle convincing everyone that Neela should be in emergency medicine.

Chuck and Susan head to Ike Ryan’s because he wants a burger, even though it’s 8:00 in the morning. He thinks he’s having sympathy pregnancy cravings. In the restaurant, a guy (no name; I’ll call him Peter after the actor playing him) strikes up a conversation with Susan about her pregnancy. He tells her pregnant women are beautiful, and she in particular is sexy. He starts getting inappropriate, so she decides to walk away. Peter asks to touch her belly, which is when she really wants to end the conversation. Chuck ends it for real by punching the guy in the face. “Must be the hormones,” he tells Susan.

Peter ends up in the ER, fighting with Susan over whether Chuck was justified in hitting him. Peter tries to invoke the First Amendment, so I automatically want to side with Chuck. I think Luka agrees; he wishes Chuck had punched Peter in the teeth so he wouldn’t be able to talk. Chuck asks Susan if Peter apologized. Nope! He called the cops.

Sam’s trying to figure out what to do for Alex’s birthday the next day. His only friend won’t be in town for a party Sam hasn’t organized yet. Luka suggests getting him a clown. Luka, have you met Alex? Carter advises Neela to be more proactive in treating patients. Everyone likes her, but they need to see her make more decisions. He tells her that for the next four hours, she’s going to be a doctor and take charge of all her cases. She’s a shark. She has to keep swimming or she’ll die.

Abby announces that some victims from a car accident are coming in; a couple are patients from a nursing home. Pratt’s on his way out, and he hands off a patient to Gallant, telling him not to “TUBE” her. TUBE stands for totally unnecessary breast exam. Shut up, Pratt. Chen also hands off patients to Gallant, then gets a visit from her father’s home nurse, who wants to resign because Chen’s father treats her badly. Chen says he’s not acting like himself, but that doesn’t really matter to the woman who’s getting stuff thrown at her at her job.

Neela and Gallant wait for an ambulance as she vents about how difficult things are for her in the ER. Not that she’s found another specialty she likes more. Gallant says she just needs to learn to ride the rough days. He was “young, dumb, and scared” when he arrived (you weren’t dumb, Gallant! You were super-smart!), so he didn’t have it any easier than Neela. At least she has book smarts. He confirms that he likes emergency medicine; he wouldn’t have stuck with it if he didn’t.

The ambulance arrives transporting a man named Luis who’s much younger than the doctors were expecting a nursing-home resident to be. He suffered a head injury months before, and the paramedic isn’t sure if his current mental state is regular for him. Gallant and Neela aren’t sure what kind of medications they can give him since they don’t know his allergies or what he’s already taking. Neela goes to call the nursing home to find out.

Chuck refuses to apologize to Peter, even if that will keep him from pressing charges. Neela can’t get a hold of Luis’ nurse from his nursing home, so she asks someone else there to fax or read his chart to her. Whoever she’s talking to isn’t in the mood to be helpful. Sam and Luka continue brainstorming party ideas until paramedics bring them a new patient, Lucy. Luka suggests paintball for Alex. Sam objects to giving her son a weapon, but I think it’s a good fit.

Neela tells Carter the problem she and Gallant have run into with Luis’ medical history. Carter’s busy, so he doesn’t give her any advice. He sends her to help Sam with Lucy, who accidentally pulled out the trach tube she came in with. Neela replaces it, hesitant at first to do it but confident when she gets started. Sam comments that they can get by just fine without doctors.

Neela goes back to Luis, having received a discharge summary from his last hospital visit three weeks ago. It’s the best she and Gallant are going to get right now, so he okays giving Luis morphine. Neela realizes that he had a bad reaction to it the last time he received it. As Chuck finally agrees to give in and apologize to Peter, Neela goes looking for a fax from the nursing home, but nothing’s come in.

She gives Sam instructions for a patient, then takes a syringe of Demerol that Sam was going to give him and goes to give it to Luis instead, knowing he’s had it before and isn’t allergic. Since everyone’s super-busy, Neela winds up being the only person in the room when she gives him the medication. Meanwhile, Chuck’s apology turns into another fight, and Susan and Jerry have to pull him off of Peter.

Carter approves of Neela’s treatment of Luis and tells her to keep up the good work. Weaver tells Chuck that Peter is threatening a bunch of lawsuits and she needs them to go away. Susan volunteers to talk some sense into him. Neela’s confidence grows as she presents various patients to Carter and juggles all their needs. She even treated a little girl for a virus and got her in out of the ER in less than an hour. Luka has now come over to Carter’s side of things and sees how great Neela is.

Abby asks Elizabeth about her date with Lawson the night before. Elizabeth just says it was “splendid.” Abby wants more details later. Luka has found a haunted-mansion restaurant called Mr. Hyde’s Tavern, where all the dishes have gross names. In other words, it’s perfect for Alex. Sam doesn’t think it’s special enough. Then you should have started planning more than a day in advance!

Sam and Luka tend to a teen named Frederika who hurt her ankle during tennis practice. Well, sort of. She admits that a flasher has been visiting her team’s practices, eluding the cops when the coach, Sister Margaret, calls them. Today the girls got fed up and ran after him. They used some self-defense moves their coach taught them to beat him up. “I’m pretty sure we kicked his a%$,” Frederika says. Awesome.

Luis has a high fever and is unresponsive. He starts seizing, and Neela sees from his medication list, which has finally arrived, that he’s on an antidepressant. Carter figures out that it reacted badly with the Demerol – in fact, the combination can be fatal. Neela’s horrified at the realization that an innocent mistake might lead to a patient’s death.

Weaver tells Chuck that Susan got Peter to drop everything simply by letting him hug her stomach. Susan, get him a psych consult. She’s not happy with Chuck. Luka and Sam move on to a patient named George who was injured during a mugging. Luka asks him to remove his trenchcoat for his exam, but he’s hesitant because he’s naked underneath. He says unconvincingly that his muggers stole his clothes. Sam sees a mark on his face that could have only been made by a tennis racket.

Carter, Neela, Gallant, and Abby continue treating Luis. Neela takes full responsibility for giving him Demerol, but Gallant lies that he gave the order for it. He first ordered morphine, then saw that Luis had a bad reaction to it in the past and changed it to Demerol. Neela quietly tries to speak up, but Carter doesn’t hear her.

Luka tells George he’ll need to talk to the police. You know, about his mugging. Chuck now has to apologize to Susan, who’s just more convinced than ever that men are horrible. George tries to sneak out through the waiting room, but Sister Margaret and Frederika’s teammates are all there, and one of them spots him. The girls chase him outside and beat him again.

Carter asks why Gallant’s medication orders for Luis aren’t on his chart. Gallant says he was too busy, then writes in the order for Demerol. Neela asks to talk to him privately, but he ignores her. She gets shaken when Chuny announces that Luis’ wife and young daughter have arrived. Sam and Luka move George to the “perv ward,” where he can hang out with Peter. Peter objects, calling Sam “honey.” She warns that if he does it again, she’ll give him “the longest Foley catheter in the world.”

Luka has another idea for Alex’s birthday, and this one is a surprise. I can’t believe they’re not going to the gross restaurant. Frank comes by the ER after a rehab session upstairs. He’s doing really well and claims not to miss working. Since Pratt isn’t there, Frank asks Carter to tell him that Frank owes him a beer. Uh, you owe Neela something, too. Start with an apology for being racist. Frank tells everyone that he won’t be able to come back to work for a while, but he misses everyone.

Paramedics bring in a four-year-old named Tevin who has a stomachache and is altered. Luka tells his father, Mr. Walker, that his spleen is enlarged and is impeding his circulation. He’ll need blood transfusions to stabilize him until they can figure out what caused his condition. It may be from a genetic disease. Mr. Walker says his wife has the trait for sickle cell anemia, but Mr. Walker doesn’t.

Gallant and Neela tell Luis’ wife that the Demerol caused some serious complications. He has a 30% chance of dying, but his wife wants to focus on the 70% chance of him living, since he’s already beaten the odds by waking up after the fall that caused his brain injury. Neela has a hard time not watching the couple’s daughter, whose father she may have accidentally killed.

Once they’re alone, Neela asks Gallant why he took responsibility for the medication error. Gallant says he’s partly to blame, and it doesn’t change what happened, so it’s not a big deal. He doesn’t want this to affect Neela’s chances of matching at County. She doesn’t want a match if she doesn’t deserve it. Gallant says she does, so he’ll take the blame.

After he leaves, Carter tells Neela that Luis is stable and things look good. He thinks Neela wants to tell him something. She says no, but she’s not very convincing. Carter says Gallant should have known better than to prescribe Luis a drug without knowing what he was already taking. Neela blurts out that she did it. Carter confirms that she took charge of the case just like he told her to.

Sam checks in with Neela about a patient whose condition has improved just as Neela predicted. This was the patient Sam was going to give Demerol, so she asks Neela to give the drug back so she can return it to the drug lockup. Neela says she gave it to someone else. Tevin’s doing a lot better, but he has sickle cell anemia. Mr. Walker knows that’s impossible since he’s not a carrier, and a child can only have the disease if both parents are. So either Mr. Walker’s test was wrong or he’s not Tevin’s biological father. Luka offers to test Tevin again, and Mr. Walker asks to be tested, too.

Gallant tells Neela that Carter wants to talk after his shift. Neela admits that she told Carter the truth about the Demerol. Luis’ wife yells for help, and they run in to find him with an unstable heart rhythm. Carter joins them but after 42 minutes, they haven’t been able to stabilize him. Weaver makes the call that they need to pronounce him dead, then have a meeting about the case.

Luka tells Mr. Walker that the second test confirmed that Tevin has sickle cell anemia. Before he can reveal Mr. Walker’s results, Mr. Walker asks if they showed anything concerning about his health. Luka says no, so Mr. Walker declines to hear any more. He doesn’t care what the results say about biology. He and his wife broke up for a few weeks years ago, and she got pregnant right after they got back together, so Mr. Walker may have always suspected that he wasn’t Tevin’s biological father. They’ve been happy since then. He says he’ll tell his wife that he’s a carrier. The important thing is that Tevin’s okay.

Alone with Luka, Sam asks if Mr. Walker is Tevin’s father. Luka pretends to glance at the results before saying yes and throwing them away. She tells him she didn’t mean to throw cold water on his Mr. Hyde’s plan. She just wants to give Alex something special. Luka promises that his secret plan will be. He just has to go pick something up first.

Weaver gathers Carter, Neela, Gallant, and Abby to determine what went wrong with Luis’ care. Carter wants a chance to review everything, but Weaver just asks if the medication list was updated. Neela says she tried to check with the nursing home. Weaver comes down on Abby, who should have double-checked for possible allergies or interactions, even though she wasn’t even in the room. Carter says it was just an instance of not having all the information they needed.

Neela again takes responsibility for changing the order to Demerol and administering it herself. Weaver isn’t happy that a med student was making decisions and giving medications. Gallant says she was following his orders. Neela tries to correct him, so Weaver asks if they need a few minutes to get their stories straight. They both stay silent.

Weaver asks what the chart says. Gallant tells her, since the chart makes it look like his story is accurate. When Weaver asks if it is, Carter says yes, as far as he knows. Neela and Gallant are silent again. Weaver admonishes the staff for losing a patient whose condition could have been prevented with one phone call. Next time they might as well send the family a blank check.

Oh, yay, Alex is here. Luka’s rented an RV and arranged a camping trip. Stuck in the woods with Alex for a weekend? Sign me up! Sam’s happy and Alex is even happier, so I guess it’s a win. Well, assuming Luka can back the RV out of the ambulance bay. Back inside, Elizabeth tells Abby she’s meeting Dave for a date. She’s not fully comfortable with spending the night with one man and then going out with another the next night, but Abby notes that guys do it. It doesn’t make her slutty. Elizabeth says she just won’t sleep with Dave. “Women plan, God laughs,” Jerry comments. Abby asks when she became “the guru of sluttiness.”

Neela is considering not putting emergency medicine on her match list. Carter notes that she only made one mistake; he pushed her too hard. But Neela knows the others were right about her failure to be more proactive. She doesn’t feel like all her successes on this shift indicate that she belongs there. Carter says she was too cautious yesterday and too reckless today, so now she can find a balance.

Neela spots Gallant looking sad in Luis’ trauma room and goes to talk to him. He regrets leaving her alone with a patient who wasn’t stable. Neela tells him that taking the fall for her was the “sweetest, dumbest” thing anyone has ever done for her. Gallant just didn’t want to derail her career. His punishment will be light and he’ll get past this. He admits that when they were chatting that morning, he was thinking about asking her out. “I was thinking of saying yes,” she replies. But instead, she leaves the room crying and snaps at Chuny when she offers her help. She definitely needs to work on her people skills.

Elizabeth has dinner with Dave, then tries to make a quick exit before things turn romantic. It doesn’t happen. Back at County, Carter admonishes Gallant for not telling him what really happened. He backed Gallant up with Weaver because he didn’t want Gallant to get fired. Gallant appreciates that, especially since falsifying the chart is a felony. Yikes! He wants to tear it up and talk to Weaver again, but Carter says it’s too late.

Gallant rants at Carter for pushing Neela. She screwed up because the senior staff made her think she wasn’t good enough. Carter quietly says this is about Gallant now. Gallant replies that he just wasn’t thinking. Carter leaves, all, “I’m better than you because I would never make a mistake like that,” even though it’s exactly something he would have done as a med student and similar to something he definitely did when he knew better. Meanwhile, Neela collects herself and goes back to work.

Thoughts: Peter is played by Peter Jacobson.

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

I love the patient in the room with Chuck and Peter, egging on their fight. Free entertainment is free entertainment, right?

I like the plot with Mr. Walker and Tevin. It’s like a mini version of Benton and Reese’s paternity arc.

March 22, 2022

ER 10.15, Blood Relations: In Which Everyone’s Either Having a Baby or Being a Baby

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

I can’t imagine having a job where I have to hang out in here all day

Summary: It’s 4:57 a.m. and a woman named Vicki is going into labor. She tells her husband, Nolan, to get up so they can go to the hospital. She then goes to her kids’ room so they can take them to their grandmother’s house on the way to the hospital. But the kids (Clay and Shannon) don’t wake up, even when Vicki shakes them. She rushes back to her bedroom and tries to wake Nolan, who’s also unresponsive.

Elsewhere in Chicago, Sam and Luka are awake for a much different reason. She set an alarm so she could get him out of the apartment before Alex got up, but it didn’t go off, so now she’s trying to rush him out. It sounds like they’ve been practicing this routine for a while. (We find out later that it’s been a little over a month since they first hooked up.) Sam finds Alex in the kitchen, up early because he’s going to an aquarium with a friend. He sees Luka leaving the bedroom and looks at his mom like he has a few questions.

Chuck drops Susan off at County so she doesn’t have to walk back and forth from the El while it’s icy outside. They both seem happy about the baby, which she plans to give her last name. He asks when she’s going to introduce him to her father. Susan freezes, indicating and then revealing that a) she hasn’t thought about it, b) he doesn’t know about Chuck, and c) he doesn’t know about the baby.

In the ambulance bay, Susan runs into Carter, who’s working because he couldn’t sleep. Paramedics bring in Vicki and her family; she’s in active labor now. Carter thinks the others might have carbon-monoxide poisoning. Pratt tends to Nolan, who’s seizing, while Abby and Morris take the kids, who are conscious but sick.

Vicki asks about her family, and Carter explains that usually when a patient has their symptoms in the winter, they suspect carbon-monoxide poisoning due to an improperly venting heater. Vicki notes that she didn’t lose consciousness like everyone else did. Neela and Susan tell her that the baby’s blood pulled the carbon monoxide from her body and kept her healthy. Unfortunately, that could mean trouble for the baby.

Gallant helps Pratt with Nolan, taking over when Malik tells Pratt he needs to go deal with Morris. Morris doesn’t think he needs to draw Shannon’s blood, even though it’s protocol and Abby told him to. Meanwhile, Sam, Luka, and Alex take an awkward drive, since the adults are a little off-kilter about getting caught, and Alex doesn’t want to discuss their relationship.

Pratt and Gallant finally stop Nolan’s seizing, but Gallant thinks he should be sent to a hyperbaric chamber to get the carbon monoxide out of his system. Pratt wants to wait and see how he responds to plain oxygen first. He guesses that the baby’s distress over the carbon monoxide induced Vicki’s labor (only a couple of weeks early, fortunately). Gallant notes that that’s good – if Vicki hadn’t woken up, her family probably would have died.

Susan and Carter deliver the baby while Vicki wonders what her family did to deserve this. Susan tells Neela to deliver the placenta while she and Carter try to stabilize the baby – his heart is struggling because he was deprived of oxygen. At the admit desk, Weaver complains because Luka’s late. Okay, well, Jerry doesn’t care. Abby comes to ask her something, probably regretting it immediately because Weaver’s cranky (Henry has colic, Sandy’s working a long shift, and Weaver hasn’t had coffee yet).

The baby’s improving after intubation, but he needs hyperbaric treatment so he can receive extra oxygen. Vicki can’t hold him yet, but Susan lets her touch him. She tells Neela to accompany the baby to the hyperbaric chamber; she’ll be in there for a couple of hours. Neela isn’t thrilled, but there’s no time to object.

As soon as she gets to the chamber, the tech (no name; I’ll call him Patrick after the actor playing him) gives her a bunch of instructions about what she can’t wear or take in with her. Neela tries to back out but Patrick won’t let her. The chamber kind of looks like a smaller version of a subway car, but with just one long bench. With the sounds and various pressurizations, being in it probably feels like being in a submarine.

Susan takes Vicki to see her family, since she insists on being with them while she can’t be with the baby. The kids are okay, and though Nolan has stabilized, they don’t know yet if he’ll have long-term problems. Vicki tells the staff that the baby’s name is Samuel, and Susan agrees to let the people taking care of him know. Neela paces in the chamber, clearly feeling claustrophobic. Susan tells her the baby’s name is Samuel and asks how she’s doing. Neela lies that she’s fine.

Back in the ER, Elizabeth talks to Weaver about a patient, but Weaver’s having a hard time focusing. Elizabeth guesses that Henry has colic. Ella did, too, and she’s still exhausting Elizabeth now as a preschooler. Weaver notes that it must be hard for Elizabeth to parent by herself. She asks if Elizabeth has any “prospects.” Elizabeth mentions Dave and says he’s nice, but it looks like that might not be enough for her.

Sam arrives just as her shift is about to start and takes over a patient from Malik. The girl, Christy, has a sore throat, but it’ll take hours for her to get a strep test, which means her father may have to miss work at his new job. Luka asks Sam to come over that night, like, she’s working. Leave her alone. Weaver slams him for being late and tells him she’s taking money from his paycheck. Carter comments that at least she isn’t carrying a machine gun. He’s putting together a care package for Kem, with both prenatal items and things for her clinic. He can’t stop thinking about her.

Susan talks to Abby about her father as they go out to meet an ambulance. Her parents were married for 36 years, and Henry (oh, boy, two Henrys now) loved Susan’s mother until the day she died, though apparently he cheated on her a few times. The ambulance is bringing in a John Doe who’s bleeding but wouldn’t let the paramedics check his wounds. Behind him is another patient, and though Carter’s leaving, he stays when he realizes the patient is Chen’s father. She’s been taking care of him at home since he came back from China, but now he has pneumonia.

A woman named Florina brings a baby up to Sam’s triage window and says she needs to see Weaver. Sam has apparently been told to say that she’s not in. Florina says her daughter told her to ask for Weaver. Sam says the baby will be seen by a doctor, but she can’t guarantee which one. Florina tells her that Sandy and Weaver live together. Sam finally gets that this is Sandy’s mother, and the baby is Henry.

The John Doe is high on meth, but Abby isn’t able to find out why he’s bleeding. His test results show that his blood counts are normal. Gallant calls Susan in to help with a woman named Nancy who’s been feeling sick for a couple of weeks. She has five kids at home and no time to be sick. (The kids are her grandkids, whom she’s raising after finishing up with her own kids. Also, she’s only 42, so she probably hasn’t stopped changing diapers for 20 years.) Susan thinks she has a virus, but she tells Gallant to have Nancy screened for depression.

Nolan is doing much better, which means Samuel is the only family member still in unstable condition. Neela’s starting to panic more, so Patrick offers her Valium. She demands to be let out of the chamber, since the baby’s stable enough not to need her by his side. But as she’s undergoing the process to exit, the baby starts declining and she realizes he needs immediate care. She reluctantly goes back in, agreeing to stay until another doctor arrives. The process perforates her eardrum (which will grow back), so Neela’s day just keeps getting worse.

Chen is happy to have her father back in the States, since the hospital where he was being treated in China couldn’t get test results very quickly. Yeah, talk to Christy about fast test results. Her father has been depressed since his original surgery and the death of his wife. Pratt sees Chen as he’s passing by and learns that she’s been back in town for over a week but didn’t get in touch with him.

Neela manages to focus on Samuel until the next doctor, Olivera, arrives. The John Doe is stable, and Susan doubts he’ll be able to remember what happened to him after he wakes up from his medication-induced sleep. Abby’s sad because he’s someone’s child. Speaking of children, Weaver learns that Henry’s in the ER. Luka has checked him out and hasn’t found anything to be concerned about. He probably just has a cold, but Florina says he wouldn’t stop crying. She tells Weaver that Luka was very helpful.

Sam sees Christy still waiting in the waiting room, but without her father. She tells Sam he’ll be back after work. She insists she’s okay waiting by herself, but Sam takes her into the ER. Olivera talks Neela through an intubation, which she performs…not necessarily confidently, but while at least pretending she knows what she’s doing.

Susan calls her father to check in with him but has to hang up when Nolan asks for an update on Samuel. As she goes to get one, Gallant gives her Nancy’s lab work, which reveals that she’s pregnant. Nancy’s surprised since she’s on the pill, but she also takes St. John’s Wort, which can make birth control ineffective. Looks like Nancy’s in for a couple more years of diapers.

Paramedics bring in a woman named Clara who was stabbed multiple times. “It was the drugs,” she says. Her husband is right behind her, also having been stabbed. Luka tends to a patient and blows off a man who’s going around the ER, asking for spare change. Christy’s hanging out there and gets scared when the man approaches her, then gets understandably upset when he coughs on her. Luka tells Sam to find Christy a room to wait in. Also, he still wants to hang out that night. Sam, however, wants to take a break. Things are moving too fast, and she wants to keep it casual.

The two join the teams taking care of Clara and her husband. Abby wonders if the John Doe is responsible for their stabbings. After all, he was hallucinating and covered in blood. Elizabeth comes to see if Clara needs surgery, but Susan doesn’t seem to think she’ll survive long enough to get to the OR. Elizabeth checks in on Clara’s husband next, realizing that he’s being taken care of only by men (Carter, Luka, Pratt, and Gallant). To be fair, Clara’s only being taken care of by women – Susan, Abby, and Sam. Anyway, Clara dies as the John Doe is taken away by police. A cop reveals that the John Doe is Clara’s son.

Neela finally gets to leave the chamber, and even though she struggled the whole time she was in there, a tech tells her she did great. As she’s going through the procedure to exit, Patrick and Olivera realize she’s suffering from some side effects and needs to wait another hour before she can leave. At this point, Neela’s probably willing to let her lung collapse if it means she can go outside.

As Elizabeth is taking Clara’s husband to surgery, she runs into Lawson by the elevators and tries to make small talk. If exchanging long, hard-to-pronounce medical terms is flirting, that’s what these two are doing. Lawson starts to move closer to Elizabeth, but Weaver steps between them, putting out her crutch to press an elevator button and cluelessly blocking Lawson from making a move. He asks Elizabeth out anyway, and Weaver is a little taken aback when she realizes what she stepped in the middle of. She gets on an elevator with Elizabeth, commenting that she thought Elizabeth was dating Dave. “I am,” Elizabeth says with a smile.

Back in the ER, Susan realizes she never gave Samuel’s family an update about him. She decides to take Vicki to see him. Jerry’s working on something computer-related but won’t let Luka see it. Sam tells Luka that Christy tested positive for strep. Without a parent’s consent, they can’t start her treatment. Her father returns right then and Luka slams him for leaving her at the hospital alone. Sam thinks he’s overreacting, since she can relate to a struggling single parent.

Susan takes Vicki to see Samuel, who’s doing a lot better, though he’ll need another round of treatment the next day. Vicki says they didn’t plan to have a third child, but she’s grateful they did. Susan checks on Neela and chastises her for not having someone replace her in the chamber. Neela’s face: “I didn’t know that was a bloody option, and also, I’m going to get so drunk after my shift.”

Alex gets dropped off after his aquarium trip and Sam suggests that they have a talk. He guesses it’ll be about her and Luka having sex. Alex doesn’t think there’s anything to discuss. He’s fine with it. Vicki’s family is doing so well that Nolan and the kids are already being released. Susan can’t believe what a busy day they’ve had, all before lunchtime. Jerry calls Carter to the admit desk to see the project he’s been working on. He set up a web cam, got the consulate in the Congo to set up their own, and has arranged a chat between Carter and Kem. Susan’s jealous that Kem’s belly isn’t as big as hers.

Pratt checks in with Chen, trying to cheer her a little by pointing out that at least she gets to admit her father to a hospital with a staff she knows. He asks how long she’s going to take care of him on her own. Chen insists that he’ll get better. Pratt clearly wants her to accept that that’s wishful thinking, but Chen says she was asleep in a hotel when her mother died alone. She’s not leaving her father.

Neela’s finally done with the chamber, and she runs through the hospital to get outside the second she can. Susan and Chuck go to a bar to meet up with Henry. She tells him all her news at once, but he’s watching a hockey game and doesn’t seem to be paying attention. He just asks if the couple is going to get married. Chuck says that’s what he wants, if Susan will agree. “About damn time,” Henry replies.

Thoughts: They probably shouldn’t let Morris work with kids. Shannon’s crying for her mom and he’s like. “Not now.” Where’s Doug when you need him? Or Weaver? Or Gallant? Or…you know what, anyone but Morris would be better here.

Shout-out to Nancy, because I can’t imagine raising three kids, then raising THEIR kids.

I give Sam a lot of credit for prioritizing Alex’s feelings over her desire to date, especially since the person she’s having to give up is Luka.

I keep forgetting to post about this: Amanda Lee finally got her man.

February 1, 2022

ER 10.8, Freefall: Helicopter 2: The Helicoptering

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 4:57 pm by Jenn

So long, farewell, don’t come back

Summary: Romano is overseeing a trauma case Abby, Sam, and Neela are working on together. It’s not going well. Abby made the wrong call with medications, and Romano gets Neela to tell him what she should have used instead. (He is, unsurprisingly, racist in the process.) The patient doesn’t make it, but it’s okay because it’s just a practice dummy.

It’s Thanksgiving, but Abby doesn’t have any family in town, so she doesn’t seem too disappointed to have to spend the holiday at work. The ER is busy, and Luka can’t find a room for his patient, Mr. Garland, who has pneumonia. He needs IV antibiotics and isn’t thrilled to be away from his family on Thanksgiving. Luka asks Abby about her training, and she laments that she looked dumb. He thinks she’ll catch on in time.

Frank is annoyed that no one on the night shift decorated the admit area for the holiday. He thought his only responsibility was organizing the staff potluck. Sam has left Alex home alone, which sounds like a disaster in the making. She’s happy to only be working until 3:00, when she’ll get to spend Thanksgiving with her son for the first time in years.

Neela goes to grab a coffee from the desk and learns that the nurses have a coffee club with monthly dues. Looks like Abby’s still in the club. Susan’s overseeing med-student assignments, so maybe she’s more involved with them than I previously thought. Pratt catches Morris picking through charts for a patient who doesn’t have something gross wrong with them. Frank snaps a picture of the two of them with an old camera he found. He wonders what else is on the film roll.

Abby tends to a woman named Loren who worries that she’s having a miscarriage. She’s also HIV-positive. Lily asks Abby to work a nursing shift that night, even though she usually only does them on weekends. Susan offers to let her off her med-student rotation at 5:00 so she can take a nap before clocking back in. Abby resists taking one for the team, but agrees to work if no one else can come in.

Morris examines a man who’s been treating his glaucoma with some special medication his nephew gave him. That “special medication” should stay in his pocket so any cops who happen to be in the ER don’t see it. (That’s my way of saying it’s pot.) Coop is taking care of a man named Fritz who accidentally cut himself with an electric carving knife.

Paramedics bring in a man named Mr. Westbrook who was in a car accident. Pratt and Elizabeth quiz Morris as they start to work, but Morris wants to go back to his glaucoma patient. Pratt chastises him for giving up a great learning opportunity. Abby asks for a second person to be in the room while she performs a pelvic exam, but when Neela offers, Abby turns her down. Luka’s having trouble getting Mr. Garland admitted, but Mr. Garland is very patient and is willing to wait. That makes a total of one patient in the hospital who understands that you can’t always get treated right away.

As Neela learns what a turducken is, Abby does Loren’s pelvic exam and confirms that she’s miscarrying. Loren suddenly passes out, so Abby calls the admit desk to get Frank to find someone who can help her save her patient. Westbrook doesn’t want to be treated at County, so he starts to call his lawyer. (No, I don’t know why he thinks he needs a lawyer.) Pratt tells him he can’t use his cell phone in the ER, but Westbrook ignores him.

Pratt takes the phone from him just as Romano arrives. Westbrook went to Wharton with County’s CEO, which makes him a VIP, so Romano’s there to suck up and berate Pratt for not giving him special treatment. Pratt says he treats all his patients the same. Romano regrets letting Pratt continue working at County after his previous missteps. Pratt refuses to sign any papers allowing Westbrook to be transferred to another hospital, even if tests show he’s stable enough to go. Romano says it doesn’t matter, because Pratt’s fired.

Loren’s stable, despite some blood loss, but she’ll need to have a procedure to complete her miscarriage. Abby acts like it’s not a big deal, but Luka pulls her out of the room to say that because of some fibroids, it won’t be that simple. Abby needs to be more careful about what she tells patients. Pratt has ignored Romano and is still seeing patients. He even tries to get back on Westbrook’s case. Romano tells him that they’ll be meeting with Weaver and Anspaugh at the end of Pratt’s shift. Pratt comments to himself that this is the only way Romano can avoid spending Thanksgiving alone.

Frank snaps another candid picture as various staff members do various medical things. Morris gives his patient a prescription and tells him to stop using pot. Gallant arrives as Luka and Sam tend to patients who have had to hang out in the hallway because the ER is too full for them. Mr. Garland is still being patient; it helps that he likes to people-watch. Luka tells Sam to get restraints for him, which confuses her, since Mr. Garland is totally calm.

Coburn comes to see Loren, who needs exploratory surgery and could need a hysterectomy if Coburn can’t control her bleeding. Loren refuses to consent to that. Abby pulls Coburn out of the room to ask her to consider other options. She thinks Coburn is jumping to the most damaging solution because Loren has HIV.

Romano intervenes and sides with Coburn. He doesn’t think a woman who has HIV should be having children. Abby notes that Loren’s viral load is low and her chances of transmitting HIV to a baby are less than 3%. Romano says Loren will die before her kid turns ten. Coburn agrees to try something less invasive, but she can’t promise not to have to perform a hysterectomy.

Chuck brings Susan some flowers that he says he took from a dead patient at another hospital (I can’t tell if he’s joking or not). He wants to get together that night, but Susan isn’t interested. Westbrook’s transfer has been approved, and Chuck will be one of his flight nurses. Romano declines to accompany his patient to the roof as he’s loaded in the helicopter. Fair.

Abby sends Loren to surgery, promising to scrub in on her procedure later. Coop discharges Fritz, who says he doesn’t need painkillers – he’s immune to pain after ten years of marriage to his wife, Berta. Neela gives a girl helium (apparently it’s used for asthma patients sometimes) and demonstrates some good bedside manner.

Frank tells Romano that Westbrook left his watch in his trauma room, so Romano tells Neela (“Indira”) to take it to the roof. Frank thinks Romano won’t take it himself because he’s scared. Romano takes the bait and says he’ll go with Neela. As they’re leaving, Morris’ patient returns and complains that Morris stole his medication. Morris is currently in an alley, about to smoke that medication.

Luka and Sam take Mr. Garland to the ICU, and Luka uses restraints to attach him to a pillar so the ICU staff can’t get rid of him. Luka lies that Mr. Garland is a troublemaker and might leave against medical advice. He doesn’t buy Kit’s excuse that they can’t take more patients, since the ER accepts more than they can accommodate all the time.

Romano and Neela are quiet as he tries to hide his anxiety in the elevator on the way to the roof. The muzak is Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” When they reach the roof, Romano has a bit of a staredown with the helicopter. He stays in the elevator while Neela takes the watch to Westbrook. As Chuck is loading Westbrook on the helicopter, a flight nurse from the hospital where they’re taking Westbrook says that they’re at capacity and Chuck can’t come. Chuck says he has to, for insurance purposes, so the other nurse will have to leave.

Romano rushes back downstairs and outside to the ambulance bay, needing fresh air. He spots Morris smoking and sends him to the admit desk for a timeout. He’s not allowed to move until Romano comes to get him. On the roof, Neela and a nurse head back to the elevator after putting Westbrook on the helicopter. A strap on their gurney gets caught and they pause to free it. The helicopter suddenly comes back down, spinning on its side. Debris flies at Neela and the nurse, and a big chunk of metal hits the nurse in the back. The helicopter tips over and falls off the roof.

In the ICU, Luka and Sam are bickering over whether it’s okay to force the staff to admit Mr. Garland. Outside, the helicopter explodes, rocking the hospital. It falls out of the sky into the ambulance bay, landing right on top of Romano. No, really. No, REALLY. Romano is dead, and it’s because a helicopter fell on him. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

The ER staff starts preparing for mass traumas. Abby tells Susan that there was a helicopter crash, and Susan immediately worries that Chuck was involved. At this moment, she realizes she cares about him more than she thought. Abby gives Neela and Lester a crash course on triage and sends them to the ambulance bay to assess patients. Morris stays put at the admit desk, since Romano told him not to move.

Susan goes outside to see how bad the situation is. Uh, it’s bad. A bunch of people are hurt and a bunch of stuff is on fire. Susan is still worried about Chuck, but she has to set that aside to take care of a patient. Fritz is hurt but wants the staff to work on Berta first. Abby tells Susan she can go wait inside and let everyone else take care of the patients, but Susan isn’t going to sit out a mass trauma, even though she’s having trouble keeping her emotions under control.

The ICU is on fire and the phone lines are dead, so the staff can’t call for help from other departments. Luka has to undo Mr. Garland’s restraints to move him to safety, but he can’t find the key. Freaking A, Luka. Back outside, the staff is moving quickly to get patients into the ER. A firefighter tells Susan that so far, four people have been declared dead. Abby again gives Susan the chance to sit this out, but Susan won’t take it.

Luka tries to help a woman whose intubation melted because of the fire. ICK. He and Sam are both keeping their cool as they deal with critical patients in the middle of a smoky room. Weaver arrives outside, relieving Susan of her position as the current highest-ranking staff member. She’s not happy that Susan doesn’t know where Luka and Romano are, since she’s supposed to be the incident commander, but when Susan tells her that Chuck was on the helicopter, Weaver backs off.

Weaver joins Gallant to treat Fritz as Berta is taking up to surgery. Anspaugh has also arrived, having selflessly skipped out on Thanksgiving dinner to come lend a hand. Staff members transport patients around, including Dwight, who may have a concussion. Pratt praises Severa for continuing to work with an injured hand.

And then, like an angel from Heaven, Chuck steps off an elevator. He got taken off the flight at the last minute and has brought down another patient instead. Coop, who’s working with Susan, spots Chuck across the ER and comments that he thought Chuck was dead. Chuck gives Susan a wave through the window, having no clue that she thought the worst had happened. She runs to him and grabs him in a tight hug. He complains that the flight nurse who came with the helicopter wouldn’t let him fly with her. Susan points out that that woman saved his life. She has to go back to work, but she takes a moment to be relieved that he’s okay, with just a scrape on his back.

Luka’s having trouble with his patient in the ICU, and the department is short-staffed, so it’s basically just him, Sam, and Kit taking care of everyone. Luka finally stabilizes his patient, then goes to help Kit as Sam heads to the OR to get some more supplies. In the ER, Pratt is tending to a patient with a carotid injury that’s left him paralyzed. From the next trauma room, Weaver tells him to send the patient to surgery. Pratt doesn’t think he’ll live that long, so he preps for a procedure in the trauma room.

Coop’s asthma is acting up, so he takes some helium, which of course makes him sound funny. Suddenly Chuck collapses in an exam room. Abby realizes his back is bleeding. Neela goes looking for a doctor, but everyone’s busy. She goes back to Abby, who’s working with Lester to revive Chuck. He needs to be intubated, but none of the med students wants to take the lead. Abby steps up and gets it done, but Chuck has an injury to his spleen and needs a central line, something an attending usually handles.

Luka, Sam, and Kit are working on the last critical patient in the ICU. Trivia: Sam used to be a surgical tech. Somehow, there’s an OR available, and Anspaugh takes the patient right up, complaining that he has to miss Thanksgiving. Oh, wah. At least you don’t have metal in your spleen like poor Chuck does. Sam realizes she’s two hours past the time she was supposed to go home. Luka tells Mr. Garland that his burns aren’t too bad. “I liked it better downstairs,” Mr. Garland replies. “I only had pneumonia downstairs.”

Fritz doesn’t make it, and once Weaver declares him dead, she goes next door to check in with Pratt. He couldn’t get a surgeon to take his patient up, so he’s doing the procedure Weaver told him not to do. She’s surprised to see that the procedure worked and the patient is no longer paralyzed. I’m sure Pratt will get yelled at later, but for now, it’s hard to argue with his results.

Neela goes looking for an attending again, which is how Susan learns that Chuck is now a patient. Abby admits to doing procedures she wasn’t supposed to as a med student, but she gets Susan to sign the paperwork saying she did them. Elizabeth comes to get Chuck so he can go to surgery. Susan heads up with them, tearfully thanking Abby for saving his life. Abby and Neela have their first quiet moment in hours, wondering if the chaos is over.

Later, Coburn tells Abby that she tried to be conservative while treating Loren but she ultimately had to do a hysterectomy. I think Abby’s just grateful that she considered all her options before making the decision. Alex arrives, excited because there was a big disaster. He invites Luka to join him and Sam for dinner at a diner, since Sam didn’t have time to cook. Sam resists, but Alex talks her into letting him come.

Anspaugh goes to get Pratt so they can have their meeting with Romano, who’s MIA (of course). Weaver is still tending to a patient and tells them to fill her in later. Romano has sent Anspaugh a bunch of Pratt’s disciplinary letters, and it’s enough to merit a suspension, but Anspaugh doesn’t buy any of it. Since Romano’s the only one who’s complained, and he didn’t bother to show up to this meeting, Anspaugh won’t take him seriously. Plus, he saw Pratt in action today and knows he’s a great doctor.

Alex wants French toast for dinner. No one cares. He’s annoyed with Sam for ruining their Thanksgiving, and he starts to burn a little figurine in the candle on the table. Luka wisely excuses himself. Sam asks Alex why he invited Luka, and why he considers a man over the age of 30 his friend. She knows Alex is trying to fix them up. Alex says Luka’s his friend, not Sam’s.

Abby gave some orders for a patient hours ago, but because of all the chaos, none of the nurses completed them. Abby confuses the patient by saying she’ll do it, since she’s a nurse now. Lester and Neela ask Abby a couple of questions about treatments, and she demonstrates her medical knowledge. Someone took the time to develop the pictures Frank took earlier, and Lily and Chuny laugh over one of Pratt. Morris is still at the desk, since Romano hasn’t let him out of timeout. Pratt can’t believe he sat out the entire mass casualty.

The other pictures on the film roll are from a couple Christmases ago, and Chuny points out Mark to Neela. Lily gives Abby one of her with Romano in the background. There’s a staff photo that includes Mark and Carter, and Lily asks if anyone has heard from Carter recently. Frank says he sent a postcard a month ago. Chuny asks how he is, and Abby says she doesn’t know. Cut to Carter in the Congo, with a beard and a woman named Kem who wants him to come back to bed. So I’d say he’s doing pretty well.

Chuck is out of surgery, and Susan visits him with the flowers he gave her earlier. He jokes that he should fake his death more often. He knew the two of them would end up spending the evening together. Awww, you guys, she loves him! Outside, Abby returns from a coffee run and meets up with Neela, who’s impressed with how well they handled the day’s crisis. It was a roller-coaster. She usually hates them, but she liked this one. Abby offers her coffee, and Neela says she’s not in the club, but Abby bought an extra one. Meanwhile, a crew lifts up the helicopter and finds Romano’s body underneath.

Thoughts: Kem is played by the fantastic Thandie Newton, who is ten times more talented than she ever gets to show in this series.

I have to wonder what went through Paul McCrane’s (Romano) head when he found out how his character was going to die. “A helicopter? Again? …Seriously?”

Ugh, naming a German character Fritz is so lazy.

The scene where Susan and Chuck reunite gets me every time. Even if you don’t like or care about them together, you have to enjoy that moment.

January 25, 2022

ER 10.7, Death and Taxes: Now ER Stands for “Ecccch, Romano”

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

When Bob Newhart took a shot at something that wasn’t comedy, he really went all in

Summary: Susan is lying awake in bed, and there’s a clock ticking in the room, which is probably supposed to mean something. Chuck, who I just complained wasn’t around enough, brings her coffee and they talk about how time is moving fast. Oh, maybe that’s what the clock is for. Susan’s accountant calls to remind her that they’re meeting that day; Susan’s getting audited. It’s especially annoying because she always files the basic form. It makes sense to her since she’s single and doesn’t have kids. “You want some?” Chuck asks. She says yes, but doesn’t seem that excited. He suggests that they go for it. They won’t find anyone better than each other.

At County, Romano complains about the see-through board, then slams Gallant for not being a good doctor. He’s written a complaint about Pratt and makes him sign it. He’s planning to collect a bunch of stuff about Pratt until he has enough to justify firing him. Romano grabs Chen’s butt with his prosthetic arm and claims it was an electrical malfunction. She finds it suspicious that it only happens around women. Why, why, WHY won’t anyone go to HR?

Sam’s on the phone, trying to convince Alex’s school that he doesn’t really have chicken pox and can go to class. They don’t listen, so Alex has to stay at the hospital until Sam can find him a sitter. Alex greets Luka, and Sam tells Luka to keep his distance. Abby’s finished her surgical rotation and is now on her ER rotation. Luka welcomes her “home.”

Paramedics bring in a family who were in a car accident – Eric, Stacie, and two young kids. The baby, Colin, may have been injured because his sister, Katie, got him out of his car seat so he would stop crying. Eric doesn’t think he and Stacie are hurt enough to need treatment, but Neela says the shock of the crash could make them unable to assess all their injuries. Luka quizzes his students (Neela, Lester, Abby, and Andy this time) on treating babies, and Abby makes a face when he won’t let her answer anything. He notes that she already knows this stuff.

Romano tries to give Abby a task but realizes she’s “playing doctor” today. He says he’ll find a nurse who isn’t kidding herself. Unfortunately for Sam, that’s her. Susan tells Romano that she has to meet her accountant at noon, so she can’t skip her lunch hour like she often does. Romano comments that he didn’t know the hospital paid her enough to get audited.

As he and Susan are talking, Romano grabs Sam’s butt. She slams him against a wall, pulls off his prosthetic hand, and tells Susan to have to exorcised. Romano threatens to have Sam fired, so she threatens to sue him for sexual harassment. I’m going to give this round to Sam. Susan tells Romano he can have his hand back at the end of the day if he can behave himself. Okay, that’s a step too far. Get all the women in the ER and in surgery to file a class-action harassment suit already.

Ben is back for a check-in with Susan, and he still has a crush on her. Sam offers to draw Ben’s blood for her, but Susan says it’s fine. She tells Ben that if his bloodwork comes back showing that he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication, she won’t make him come in for any more check-ins. Ben tries to hide his disappointment over not having an excuse to see her regularly. He invites her to have dinner with him, and Susan accepts, which she definitely knows is a bad idea.

Sam apologizes to Susan for freaking out on Romano, which…Sam…don’t apologize. Really. Susan says the hand is locked up. Morris is back at work, despite having quit, since his father threatened to cut him off. Pratt smells pot on him, but Morris says his roommate smokes. Abby examines Colin as Eric is declared healthy enough to be discharged. Stacie mentions that he’s not the kids’ father. He also doesn’t seem to want to be a father, and he doesn’t like the kids. Luka oversees his students as they trwat the family, and he gently disagrees with Abby on treatment for Colin. Stacie comments that maybe Abby is like her, in that she’s “better with babies than with school.”

Neela joins Chen to treat a man named Jimmy who has a minor stab wound from a jailhouse brawl. Sam comes in to tell Chen that there’s a phone call for her from China. Chen thinks it’s her parents just checking in from their trip there, but Sam says the call is from the embassy. Neela continues tending to Jimmy, noting that he’s doing time for breaking and entering. He tells her he broke into his stepfather’s house because his stepfather locked him out.

Ben is still in the ER, waiting for a cab. Sam asks if he’s okay, and he says life is great when you’re blind and getting blinder. In the lounge, Chen tells Susan that her parents were in a car accident in China. She’ll need to go over there to get more information and tend to them. Pratt gets the news from Susan and follows Chen out, hugging her when she starts crying. Aww, he still cares about her.

The ER is now down an attending, and amazingly, Romano offers to fill in. He dumps some stuff on Gallant, and Susan asks why he finds it so fun to humiliate people. Romano calls Pratt a hoodlum, just to drive home the point that he’s a jerk. Abby comments that if it makes Pratt feel better, everyone in the hospital is made to “suffer at his hand.” Har har.

Abby presents a patient, Franny, to Susan. She came in with heart palpitations and chest pain, but she says she just got dizzy at work and is fine now. She wants to leave to pick up her daughter from preschool. Susan says she’ll probably need to stay overnight for monitoring. Franny is really stressed, with her three kids and full-time job, but Abby and Susan won’t let her go.

Abby admits to Susan that she’s having a little trouble keeping up with her fellow med students. Susan promises that it’ll get better. Abby asks if she wants to get dinner that night, but Susan says she has a date, and not with Chuck. She says they’re at the point in their relationship where they should either be spending all their time together or none of their time together. She’s leaning toward none.

Ben goes home and works on his miniatures, which are hard for him to see even with a magnifying glass. Back at County, Alex wants to hang out with Luka, who knows that’s a bad idea. Elizabeth does a surgical consult on one of Coop’s patients, Persky, and complains when Coop says Luka told him Persky didn’t need bloodwork even though he might have appendicitis. Elizabeth refuses to proceed without it. Luka makes up a number and says he just didn’t put the results in the chart. Elizabeth isn’t an idiot and she orders another test.

She complains to Abby that everyone in the ER is annoying, unlike the people in the surgical department. Abby has a guess as to why, and his name is Romano. He needs someone to help transport a 12-year-old patient from another hospital, but he considers Abby useless. He chooses Gallant, calling him an “affirmative action hero,” and Sam. Luka says the nurses can keep an eye on Alex while Sam is gone. Yeah, I’m sure they have time for that.

Abby tells Susan that Franny wants to leave. Susan’s trying to reschedule her appointment with her accountant, so Abby tries to deal with Franny on her own. Franny’s getting frantic (Franntic?), and when she gets up to leave, she collapses. Abby says her pulse is really weak. Neela stitches up Jimmy, then sends him off for some tests. When he gets up, Neela notices blood where he was sitting. Pratt’s there, and he sends Neela away when Jimmy yells for her to leave. Pratt guesses that Jimmy was raped, but Jimmy doesn’t want to talk about it. Pratt tells him he’ll get to stay out of jail a little longer if he agrees to get treatment.

In a development that absolutely everyone could see coming, the nurses have already lost track of Alex. Franny’s heart is beating too fast, and she says she doesn’t think this has ever happened before. Neela joins the case, and when Susan compliments her assessment, Abby complains that Susan never praises her the way she praises Neela. Susan didn’t realize that, and she tries to smooth things over by pointing out that she gives Abby her time, an even better honor.

Ben’s trying to vacuum at home, and his new puppy isn’t too happy about it. Alex is still shadowing Luka and being annoying. Persky has been eating, so Luka discharges him, since having an appetite means he most likely doesn’t have appendicitis. (Also, they wouldn’t be able to operate now that he’s eaten.) He tells Persky to come back if his symptoms get worse. Luka tries to send Alex to the lounge, but Alex is too annoying to listen.

Pratt asks Chuny to find him an attending to assist with a rape exam. Luka volunteers, but Pratt turns him down. He goes to Romano instead, but Romano isn’t interested in doing a rape exam on a man, so he tells Pratt to do it and he’ll sign off on it. Pratt knows an attending is supposed to do it, and he can’t figure out why Romano, who’s always on his case about not following protocol, is willing to break the rules this time.

Gallant and Sam go to pick up their transfer patient, a girl with leukemia who might have an infection. The community hospital where she was being treated has had to eliminate their pediatric department because of budget cuts. Gallant and Sam find the girl, Michelle, unconscious. Gallant quickly determines that she’s septic, and the hospital didn’t do enough to monitor her condition.

Sam pulls him away from Michelle and her parents to say that the girl isn’t stable and either shouldn’t be moved or should be intubated before they leave. She’ll most likely stop breathing in 20 minutes. Gallant says County is 15 minutes away, and this hospital isn’t equipped to help Michelle, so staying is a bad idea. They’ll treat this like a paramedic emergency.

Franny’s heart rate is back to normal, and Abby advises her to get some rest, but Franny says she can’t. She admits that she doesn’t sleep much. Abby asks if she’s gotten any help, and she doesn’t mean a nanny. She thinks Franny’s been drinking or taking something to give her energy. If she has, that could explain her heart problems. Franny reveals that she’s been taking drugs and asks Abby not to tell her husband. Abby gives Susan the news that Franny’s been using meth.

Eric rushes in with Colin, who fell asleep on the way home and now won’t wake up. He thinks the doctors must have missed something. While Ben gets ready for his date with Susan, she, Abby, and Neela take care of Colin. Abby says she checked him for head injuries earlier, and she didn’t notice anything on his CT. Susan tells Eric she’s sorry they didn’t catch this earlier. Then she chastises Abby for not being more thorough. Hmm, sounds like that’s really her supervisor’s mistake, doesn’t it?

Later, when another the CT has been done and Colin’s in surgery, Susan tells Abby that it was an easy mistake to make. Plus, she was working under an attending who also didn’t see anything on the CT. Abby thinks that if she can’t trust her clinical skills, she shouldn’t be here. Susan offers to review the case with her and use this as a teaching opportunity.

Gallant and Sam arrive with Michelle, and though Susan’s supposed to go to her audit, she decides to stick around. Ben accidentally cuts himself while cooking and gets angry. Gallant defends his decision to move Michelle to County and not intubate her, since she was still breathing on her own. Frank tells Susan that Ben is on the phone, but she’s obviously too busy to take the call.

Elizabeth tells Morris that the patient he asked her to do a consult on has bad cramps, not pancreatitis. She sees that Persky is in the waiting room, having left and come back. Also, he’s a lot worse. Elizabeth determines that his appendix burst, so he’ll need surgery. Persky refuses anesthesia, since that killed his mother. Elizabeth goes off to find Luka and yell at him.

Michelle is unresponsive, and Susan pushes Gallant to stop trying to revive her. She knows he feels guilty, but she reminds him that he didn’t give her cancer, so he’s not fully responsible for her death. Yeah, that doesn’t make him feel better. Ben is either waiting for Susan to call or trying to decide if he should call her again. The record he was listening to ends and he just listens to it click.

Neela checks on Jimmy and asks if he plans to report his assault. Maybe he can be transferred somewhere else. She promises that no one will think less of him for being raped, including his girlfriend. Jimmy says he doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore – now he’s the girl. Alex is getting an education in handling frantic patients as he watches Luka deal with one. Alex thinks it was cool. Luka offers to give him an x-ray (and charge the ER for it), just for fun. Dude, Sam was angry that you gave her kid ice cream. You think she’ll be okay with this?

Also angry: Elizabeth, who tells Luka that discharging Persky made his life (and hers) a lot harder. Luka says the tests she wanted wouldn’t have been definitive anyway. Persky followed Luka’s instructions to come back if his symptoms worsened, which means “the system worked.” Yeah, but now he has to have major surgery, and Elizabeth has to miss time with Ella.

Susan has been trying to call the IRS all day with no luck. Pratt gets her to agree to do Jimmy’s rape exam (and she calls Romano a homophobe for not doing it). Speaking of Romano, he chastises Abby for screwing up with Colin. Susan tells him she’s taking Jimmy from him, since Pratt thinks that would be better. Romano says Pratt is like a rabid dog that needs to be put down before he infects anyone else. Romano finishes what he starts, so he’ll do the exam. I’m sure Jimmy will be thrilled.

Frank tells Susan that the IRS called and they’re not happy that she’s been putting them off. Ben also called and canceled dinner. Neela lets Susan know that Franny has agreed to get counseling, and DCFS has decided they don’t need to get involved right now. Susan’s skeptical that Franny will turn things around by herself, but she tells Neela to go with her gut. Neela admits that she can have trouble reading people well. She never suspected that someone like Franny would use meth. Susan says that people are capable of anything in some situations.

Ben tapes a note that says, “Do not resuscitate” to his chest, picks up a gun, and shoots himself in the head.

Chuny helps Romano with Jimmy’s rape exam, which Romano should seriously never do because he has horrible bedside manner. Neela gives him Jimmy’s labwork, which shows that he has AIDS. Jimmy barely reacts to the news, then says at least now he knows he won’t have to live with his humiliation forever. Romano seems unhappy that he’s not more upset. Meanwhile, Susan goes over Colin’s case with Abby, but neither can see his injury on his first CT. Susan realizes it’s because there was no injury then.

Ben is brought to the hospital, and Susan starts working on him with Pratt and Sam before she realizes who the patient is. She tells Pratt to let Ben die. It’s what he wanted. Abby brings Ken to see Eric, having determined that Colin’s head injury didn’t come from the car accident. Eric probably hurt him. Eric gets angry, so it’s a good thing security’s there to deal with him. Also, calling your girlfriend’s baby a “stupid kid” doesn’t make you look like less of a jerk.

Sam finds Alex playing a video game with a patient, which is better than sneaking around the morgue or trying to watch an operation. Sam thinks Alex has made a new friend, and Alex asks if they can have him over for Thanksgiving, since he doesn’t really have family. Franny thanks Neela for her help, then heads back to her family, seemingly not planning to change anything about her routine.

Abby asks Neela a question about something, and Neela rattles off the answer like Abby just asked for her birthday or phone number. Neela suggests that the two of them study together sometime. She’s good at the academic part of med school and Abby’s good at the rest of it. They could help each other. Susan finishes Ben’s chart and wraps up her shift with her mind clearly elsewhere. She does at least tell Romano where she hid his hand: in the tampon machine in the women’s bathroom.

Thoughts: Franny is played by Betsy Brandt, who coincidentally later became famous for a role on a show about meth. Jimmy is played by Efren Ramirez. Eric is Austin Sanders.

Why did they make Alex so obnoxious? It’s not good TV. And making us watch Alex and Romano in the same episode is just cruel.

The end of Ben’s plotline makes the whole thing feel pointless. Susan went out of her way to be nice, and when she didn’t take one phone call from him, he killed himself? What is Susan supposed to take from this? Then again, I’m not sure if Susan took anything away from her friendship with Sean, who’s also probably dead by this point, so whatever.

Another reason to praise Abby and Susan’s friendship: Susan offered to help Abby figure out where she’d screwed up with Colin even though she’s not responsible for med students and was really busy. Yay, friendship! And also yay for Abby and Neela studying together instead of resenting or being jealous of each other!

December 14, 2021

ER 10.1, Now What?: Suddenly ER Stands for “Everyone’s Racist”

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

It’s Neela time!

Summary: We revisit the end of “Kisangani,” with Carter going to Abby’s apartment after returning from the Congo. She wakes up and lights a cigarette, because what better way to deal with your estranged boyfriend letting himself into your apartment at 5:30 in the morning? He apologizes for the way he left a couple weeks ago. Abby just asks him to return her key. He drops it on a side table as he leaves.

The next morning, a woman named Denise picks up a girl named Katie for a carpool with two other kids, Hannah (her daughter) and Matthew. They get stuck in traffic. Elsewhere in the city, Pratt runs to catch an El train. He gets on one just in time and strikes up a conversation with a woman who admires the fact that he’s a doctor. Denise is starting to move out of the stuck traffic when she suddenly passes out. Her car hits another and flips over. She regains consciousness in time to see a truck heading toward the car, unable to stop in time.

Pratt continues his conversation on the train until it stops because of a delay. That delay is most likely related to the car crash, which happened just outside County. Abby talks to a firefighter and relays to Chen, Haleh, Malik, Gallant, and Jerry that there are four people trapped in Denise’s car, plus one under a car across the street. Exposition lets us know that Gallant graduated the day before and is now an intern. Also he was fourth in his class. Yay, Dr. Gallant!

The entrance to the hospital is full of construction workers and equipment as Weaver’s plan to change the triage area is underway. Weaver yells at a guy for making a lot of noise. Yelling to express your annoyance at someone for being loud isn’t a great strategy, by the way. You’re just adding to the noise. Chen looks for Susan as Frank complains to Weaver about furniture. Weaver yells at the construction guy again.

In the middle of the chaos, Neela Rasgotra, a third-year med student, arrives for the first day of her ER rotation. Frank makes a comment about the hospital not hiring Americans anymore. Congratulations, Neela – you’ve gone from entering the hospital to having a reason to file a complaint with HR in the fastest time ever! But don’t bother, because HR does nothing around here.

Abby goes to retrieve Susan from the bathroom, where she’s apparently been spending a lot of her free time hooking up with Chuck. The annulment went through, but their relationship is just heating up. Abby tells Susan that Carter’s back in town. Susan guesses that he screwed up his attempt to apologize to her. Weaver: more yelling. I’m tired already.

Frank turns Neela over to Susan, calling Neela a TWA. Weaver: more yelling. Denise is finally extracted from the car and brought into the ER. Hannah’s right behind her. Weaver confirms that Gallant’s officially a doctor and turns him loose to take on doctor responsibilities. Pratt hasn’t made it in yet, so Weaver tells Jerry to page him until he calls back. The construction work makes all the computers go down. Weaver is confronted by a worker’s butt crack. I wonder if I can pretend the show ended with season 9 and stop recapping right now.

Pratt finally gets to County, arriving at the same time as Carter. Paramedics are also wheeling in Matthew, so Pratt tells Weaver he’s only late because he was helping them. Carter takes in the changes to the ER and asks Frank where the lounge is, since it’s been replaced by the triage area. Weaver asks him if he brought Luka back with him. Behind her, a piece of glass falls out of a window pane. Carter finds a plastic bag of his stuff hanging on the door of his locker, with a note from Abby that just says, “You forgot your stuff.”

Pratt, Gallant, and Haleh tend to Matthew, who doesn’t seem to have any serious injuries. Pratt spots Neela in a trauma room and takes an interest. He offers her and Susan his help with Denise, who doesn’t know how the crash happened. Pratt basically volunteers himself as a private tutor for Neela, giving her more one-on-one attention than residents usually give med students.

Frank tells Carter that the executor of Millicent’s estate has been trying to reach him for weeks. Haleh welcomes Carter back, but he’s not really paying attention, since he responds, “You, too.” He crumples up the note Frank gave him with the lawyer’s phone number, then joins Susan, Pratt, and Neela. Since they have things under control, he goes next door to see how Chen and Abby are doing with Hannah. Jerry tells them that another kid is coming in, so Chen goes to take care of Katie, leaving Carter and Abby alone. They start clashing right away.

Chen goes next door to ask Susan if she can take one of the nurses she’s working with. She sees how close Pratt is to Neela and makes an “I STRONGLY disapprove of this” face. He was flirting with someone on the train, too! Your boyfriend is a big flirt, Chen! Either dump him now or learn to live with it. Pratt introduces Neela to Chen, who greets Neela coolly. Susan makes a “there’s about to be some DRAMA” face.

Carter tells Abby that he found his stuff and got her “subtle” message. Susan goes to check on Hannah while Pratt has Neela hold a sheet around Denise’s hips, stabilizing her pelvic fracture. After Pratt brings Denise’s x-rays to Susan, she tells him to go help Chen. Pratt makes an “I’m going to have a really bad day” face. Chen’s working on Katie right next to Denise’s trauma room, and she doesn’t hide how she feels, so Neela can see her glaring through the window. She asks Chuny if Pratt and Chen are together.

Neela’s alone again with Denise, trying to hold the sheet around her steady. Denise is worried about Hannah, but Neela doesn’t know anything about the other crash victims and can’t give her any information. Abby and Carter lose Hannah’s pulse and try to revive her. Denise passes out again, and Neela tries not to panic about being the only one around to help her. Elizabeth arrives, clocks Neela’s British accent, and asks if she’s from the East End. Nope, West London. (Translation: Elizabeth thinks Neela’s poor because she’s Indian. Shut up, Elizabeth.)

Chuny returns and alerts Chen and Pratt to the fact that their patient is unstable. Elizabeth’s annoyed that no one discovered that Denise has internal bleeding. Chen tells Neela to go get her labs, calling Neela “you.” Speaking of labs, Abby calls to get Hannah’s, which seem to indicate kidney damage. Denise’s labs aren’t complete, so Neela goes straight to the doctor working on them and urges him to hurry. He tells her the blood work shows something abnormal.

Neela runs back to the ER and tells Elizabeth that Denise has a rare form of anemia that will require non-type-specific blood. Neela looked at the slide herself and confirmed this. She thinks that the anemia caused Denise to pass out and crash the car. Pratt’s proud of Neela for moving fast and bringing back a diagnosis that will help them treat Denise successfully. Neela’s proud of herself for doing something so helpful on her first day.

Now the phones are messed up. Sigh. Pratt sends Neela to start examining patients on her own and present the cases to him. Gallant meets her and makes small talk, noting that Chicago must be a big adjustment for Neela. He assumes she’s moved there from India, but Neela lived in London starting when she was 11, and she went to school in the U.S. (Yale for undergrad, Chicago for med school). He takes her with him to start seeing patients.

Romano is back at work, so…yay. His crankiness was not stored in his reattached arm, so he’s still mean now that it’s been removed. Frank continues being racist about Neela. SHUT UP, FRANK. Carter and Abby have stabilized Hannah, so he goes off with Pratt to do something else. He tells Abby to call him if she needs him. Abby says she won’t. Guys, I don’t think she means that just about Hannah.

Pratt wants Carter to see his patient, Mr. Williams, who has HIV and an infection that isn’t responding to treatment. Prtt comments that there must be some astronomical weirdness going on because his and Carter’s girlfriends are both mad at them. Yeah, blame the universe for that. Anyway, Pratt was hoping to get Mr. Williams into some program that will help with his medication, but he can’t start for a couple of months. Mr. Williams can’t afford the prescription he’s already received. Carter determines that his infection has spread, so he’s now qualified for Medicaid and new medications. The bad news is he now has AIDS.

Susan and Abby discuss Carter again; Susan thinks it’s a good sign that he went straight to see Abby after returning to the U.S. She advises Abby to tell Carter how his sudden departure made her feel, and let him make it up to her. More construction wackiness, now in the bathroom. Abby complains that Carter’s acting like nothing happened. Susan opts for the men’s room instead of finding an available women’s bathroom. She and Abby keep chatting while Malik finishes up at the sink. He’s strangely unsurprised that the women are there.

Neela gets a break from Frank’s racism when she treats a patient named Mrs. Ferguson who admires the color of her skin. Gallant is a good teacher, and he’s definitely confident in his own medical skills, though he’s been that way for a while. Weaver gets a taste of her own medicine when Romano yells at her about…something. Who cares? Frank tells Carter that Millicent’s executor called again, and he’s on his way to try to catch Carter in person.

Susan urges Abby to talk to Carter, and they agree to get coffee when they both have a break. Mr. Williams tells Carter that he can’t get his medication until he gets his Medicaid card, which will take a few weeks. He can’t afford to pay for the medication out of pocket until then. Carter says he’ll call the pharmacy and see what he can do.

Neela draws blood from Mrs. Ferguson as she tells Neela about losing her husband, whom she married when she was a teenager. She encourages Neela not to wait too long to get married. The guy doesn’t have to be handsome, just nice. Neela’s amused. The construction workers stop at 2:30, since they’ve been working since 7:00. Weaver’s annoyed. Laura Innes should sue someone for this storyline.

Pratt checks in with Neela and basically steals her back from Gallant. Chen looks on, glaring again. Ming-Na should sue someone, too. The phone at the admit desk is ringing, and Jerry and Frank aren’t around, so Neela answers it. It’s a long-distance call for Carter. When Frank returns, Neela reports that the caller says someone named Luka has died. Everyone at the desk is stunned.

Carter and Abby take a walk on their coffee break, and he tells her about how crazy things were in the Congo. He knows the experience was life-changing, but he’s not sure exactly how yet. Abby asks about Luka, making Carter think that’s all she wanted to discuss. He tells her Luka is “more than fine.” Well, not according to the person Neela just talked to!

Abby complains that she and Carter never really talk. She can never tell what he’s thinking. Why did he go to the Congo without telling her? Did he mean to hurt her? Carter says no; he just wanted to do something meaningful. She asks if he thought about her while he was gone. He says he did, but he doesn’t give any details about whether those thoughts were, for example, “I miss Abby,” or more along the lines of, “Thank God I’m thousands of miles away from that harpy.”

Abby starts to go inside, so he complains that she always walks away when things get tough. She returns and says that Carter makes everything about her problems. He has his own problems he hasn’t dealt with. Carter wonders why he came back at all. He can’t get a pharmacy in the richest country in the world to give Mr. Williams his medication. While he’s yelling, Chuny comes outside and gives Abby the news that Luka’s dead.

Carter tries to contact someone in Kisangani while the rest of the staff mourns together. Gallant tells Neela that Luka was an attending, but they weren’t close. She goes back to Mrs. Ferguson, but she’s been moved, so Neela assumes she was taken for a procedure. She presents a patient to Pratt and makes a diagnosis. Chen starts quizzing her, letting her know that her diagnosis might be wrong. Pratt sides with Neela, but Chen overrules them.

She leaves and Pratt follows her to chastise her for being too hard on Neela. Chen complains that he was all over her, and it humiliated Chen. Malik comes to get them, announcing that Mrs. Ferguson is bleeding out. She was supposed to have constant monitoring, and Neela takes responsibility for not doing it. Malik moved her to a room for privacy and made a note on the board. Gallant insists that this isn’t Neela’s fault, it’s his. Either way, Mrs. Ferguson is in bad shape.

In the lounge, Carter tries to track down Luka’s father in Croatia, but his last name is common there and Abby doesn’t know his first name. Carter decides to get it from the Alliance de Medicine Whatever instead. He plans to go back to the Congo and get Luka’s body himself. He feels responsible since he left Luka behind. He grabs an empty bag and starts stuffing medical supplies into it to take with him. Weaver catches him, so he tells her to bill him.

Pratt finds Neela sitting with Mrs. Ferguson’s body and tells her that the woman’s death wasn’t her fault. She asks him what a TWA is. Pratt speaks Frankese: It means third-world assassin. Neela, go back to HR! Wait, I told you not to go the first time. Make a note of all this crap, just to have it on the record. To try to cheer her up, Pratt takes her to the post-op wing so she can see that Denise made it through surgery. Neela’s day has been so long that she’s surprised that happened just this morning. Pratt tells her he’ll see her tomorrow.

Abby follows Carter as he leaves the hospital to go to the airport. She begs him not to go, but Carter ignores her. She tells him she can’t keep doing this. He almost pauses, but he keeps going. Abby, I would consider that a break-up. Go celebrate.

Thoughts: I’m mostly just okay with Neela – I don’t love her or hate her – but I do really like Parminder Nagra, and I think she’s great in the role. Plus, the character gets a journey we haven’t seen before, which is nice.

Chen is about to become unbearable. You have been warned.

Who approved Carter to work a shift just hours after a long trim home from the Congo, when he must have horrible jet lag?

November 23, 2021

ER 9.20, Foreign Affairs: Luka Antes Up

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

No Chase? Sad

Summary: Gordana comes to the ER looking for Luka so she can report that her patient, Ante, is on his way to Chicago, arriving that night. They’ve arranged for him to have surgery at another hospital, but not for two more weeks. His mother sent him early because he’s getting worse. Without the surgery, he won’t survive.

Jack Carter is back in town for Millicent’s funeral, to which he’ll be wearing a red tie, since that’s what his mother liked. Millicent’s lawyer is there to tell Carter that the family foundation’s board has called an emergency meeting. Millicent’s will states that Carter is to become president of the board. Jack is clearly unhappy to be passed over, but he says that’s a good fit. Carter knows he’s lying, and that Millicent gave him the position because she was disappointed in Jack as a son. Hey, Carter, maybe don’t insult your father on the day of his mother’s funeral. He doesn’t want the job, but he also knows he can’t walk away.

Abby gets ready at her apartment, worried that she’s wearing too much lipstick for her boyfriend’s grandmother’s funeral. Eric breaks in, having left his treatment center after getting into a fight with someone over Jell-o. Abby guesses he isn’t taking his medication. He says he is, but not his full dosage. He wants to try a different facility. Abby asks why he didn’t call her and tell her there was a problem. He says he doesn’t know, but I’m guessing it’s because he hates being a grown man who keeps having to turn to his sister for help.

At County, Romano has lowered himself to treat a boy with stomach pain. His mother doesn’t like Romano, and though she speaks Spanish and needs Chuny to translate, I don’t think Romano has any problem catching on. Paramedics bring in a minor league baseball player who passed out during a game. Romano treats him with Luka, who then goes to Weaver to tell her they need to try again to get the powers that be at County to approve Ante’s surgery. He says he’ll arrange everything, including a pro-bono crew. Weaver tells him not to get his hopes up too much, but she’ll work on it.

Luka gets straight to work, asking Jerry to track Ante’s flight while he puts together a surgical team. Romano thinks his baseball player has long QT syndrome, a heart problem. He’s supposed to be done for the day, but he decides to stick around and follow up instead of passing the patient along to Susan.

At the cemetery, Carter introduces one of Millicent’s friends to Jack. She has no idea who Jack is. Ouch. Abby hasn’t arrived yet, even though Carter sent a car for her, so he doesn’t want to start the service yet. Back at County, Romano tells the ball player that treating his condition will require surgery and months of rest before he can go back to playing baseball. The player’s wife objects, knowing no team will want him after that. He’s supposed to get his big break soon. Amazingly, Romano backs down and agrees to treat the player with medication for now. In exchange, he wants box seats if the player makes it to the majors.

Chuck finds a yawning Susan and sings “Wake Up, Little Susie” to her. They’re signing their annulment papers that afternoon. Luka asks him what he’s doing that night. Abby finally makes it to the cemetery, so the service can begin. She’s brought Eric with her and has left him in their limo to watch cartoons and drink. He gets out during the service to pee. As Carter silently begs to wake up from this nightmare, Abby slips away to keep Eric from joining the service. They start bickering, and their voices carry and interrupt the minister. Jack joins the group as Eric knocks over some flowers, then falls into the open grave. Womp womp.

Bact at County, Luka tries to talk Dorset into serving as a support surgeon during Ante’s operation. Dorset has a date with a brunette from radiology, but Luka knows who he’s talking about and warns that he’ll be disappointed. Dorset asks if Elizabeth will also be at the surgery. At the roach coach, Chuck and Susan try to pick a reason for their annulment. He volunteers to take all the blame for their drunken decision to get married. They sign the papers, and after they say a cheerful goodbye, Susan goes back to work.

Luka approaches Elizabeth about Ante’s surgery, offering her anything she wants in return, like babysitting or lawn mowing. She admires him for trying to help Ante, but she thinks he’s acting rashly. Luka says this is Ante’s only chance. Elizabeth asks if Dorset’s participating, and though she claims it’s a problem that he is, she agrees to help.

Back at the cemetery, Abby has drugged Eric to keep him from causing more trouble. She apologizes to Carter for the disruption. She knew she couldn’t leave Eric home alone, and she thought he would stay in the limo. She’ll drop him off at County and then go to the Carters’ house for the reception. Carter doesn’t think she should attend. Abby knows he’s still mad that she prioritized Eric over him, but Eric needs her help. Carter tells her to go help him, then.

Paramedics bring in three members of the Mitchell family – a mom and her kids, Turner and Noelle – who were shot in a drive-by at their house. As Luka’s working on Turner, he gets a call that Ante is doing poorly on his flight. Turner’s stabilizing, so Susan lets Luka go deal with Ante’s case instead. Elizabeth takes over tending to Turner, so Susan goes to help Pratt with Noelle. It turns out she wasn’t shot; Mrs. Mitchell pulled a bookcase down on top of her to protect her when the shooting started, and Noelle now has a spinal injury.

Romano’s at home in his giant, gorgeous kitchen, boiling water. He accidentally catches his reattached arm on fire, but since he has no feeling in that arm, he doesn’t notice until he sees the flames. Weaver attends a committee meeting about Ante’s surgery, but she can’t convince the other doctors present that they should help him. Luka interrupts to complain that they never seem to debate when a rich person needs an artificial heart. They have the ability to save people who don’t have money, but they don’t want to.

Jack finds Carter hiding in an office during the reception, and Carter apologizes for what he said about Millicent being disappointed in Jack as a son. He ducked out of the reception because he didn’t feel like mingling with people he doesn’t know. He’s also embarrassed about what happened with Abby and Eric. Jack assures him that he and Abby shouldn’t feel responsible.

Pratt chats with Noelle as she’s sent up for surgery. Romano arrives and tells “Denzel” (AKA Gallant) to bring him some antibiotics. Gordana returns, and Luka promises her that no matter what, Ante will be brought to County. Gallant thinks Romano is going to try to humiliate him again, but Romano wants treatment from someone who won’t go blabbing to everyone that he burned himself. The injuries are bad, and Gallant isn’t sure he has the training and skills to treat them. Romano tells him to get Susan instead, since she’s the least annoying of all the ER doctors. Gallant says he needs a surgeon. “I am a surgeon,” Romano reminds him.

Carter shows up looking for Abby, but she hasn’t come in with Eric. Mrs. Mitchell’s oldest child, Curtis, shows up and Susan tells him that his mother and brother are doing okay. Noelle is getting scans to determine whether her paralysis is permanent. Curtis asks his mother if she saw who the shooters were. Mrs. Mitchell realizes he wants their names so he can go after them. She begs him not to do anything.

Romano checks on the ball player, telling his wife that she doesn’t have to explain why they’ve decided not to go for the aggressive treatment. Gallant told Weaver about Romano’s injury, so she examines his arm and tries to encourage him to have a procedure he needs. Romano knows that’ll end with him losing parts of his arm, and he doesn’t want that. She urges him to at least have a consult with plastic surgery.

Abby arrives as Curtis blows up at Susan over his family’s situation. Carter calms him and starts to tend to a cut he got when he took out his anger on an IV stand. He has a gang tattoo, though his mom convinced him to leave the gang. He suspects that they were behind the drive-by because they saw him as an easy target.

Weaver tells Luka that the board won’t approve Ante’s surgery, but they said that if, hypothetically, a hypothetical boy with Ante’s condition showed up hypothetically needing the surgery Ante needs, he would be treated off the record. Pleased, Luka goes to the airport himself to pick up Ante.

Carter tells Curtis that Noelle’s chances of walking again are unknown. Curtis tells his sister that he’s going to sort everything out at home. A couple of his friends arrive to take him off to get revenge. Carter tries to talk them out of it, but Curtis sees himself as a warrior who needs to fight for his family.

Luka and Chuck fly Ante from the airport to County as the boy declines. The rest of Luka’s recruits gather, having been promised various things for donating their time (one guy is getting Cubs tickets). Elizabeth and Dorset are all, “Oh, you’re here? I hadn’t thought about that possibility!” Gordana meets the helicopter on the roof, and Chuck helps her and Luka keep Ante stable on the way to the OR. Elizabeth assures Luka that the surgical team will take it from here.

Chuck and Susan meet up for an official-ish goodbye, though Susan notes that they don’t have to stop seeing each other just because they’re no longer married. Weaver finds Luka watching Ante’s surgery from a gallery and tells him some high-level board members aren’t pleased with what Luka pulled, but they’ll deal with that later. Luka admits that he wanted to be a hero and feel like a doctor again.

Gallant asks Romano how he is as Romano leaves the ER. Romano pretends he doesn’t know what Gallant is talking about. Carter checks on Mrs. Mitchell, keeping quiet about the fact that Curtis left to go kill some people. Elizabeth and Dorset take a walk downtown together, and she reveals that she agreed to do Ante’s surgery without getting anything in return from Luka. Dorset wants to go out with Elizabeth, who’s hesitant to agree to a date. She’s about to accept a ride home when she spots Romano moping by the water.

She asks Dorset for a rain check, then joins Romano, who laments that he was simply making tea when he burned himself. He doesn’t think he’s ever going to regain feeling in his arm. Elizabeth urges him not to do anything that will cause another delay in his recovery. But Romano has decided that his best option is to amputate his arm. Elizabeth reminds him that there’s a possibility for recovery down the line, but Romano doesn’t want to wait. He asks Elizabeth to set up his surgery.

Abby runs into Luka while looking for Carter and congratulates him for his success with Ante’s surgery. He tells her he’s going to the Congo in a couple of days for his work with the Alliance de Medicine Whatever. She hugs him goodbye and tells him to take care of himself. Carter joins Pratt to help him with his new patient, once of Curtis’ friends. Chen offers to take over so Carter and Abby can leave, but Carter has a hard time letting go of this case. He eventually storms out, and Abby follows to try to talk to him. He angrily tells her that he needs some time alone. After she leaves, he cries, and she doesn’t come back to comfort him. BREAK UP ALREADY!

Thoughts: I want a guy who will sing to me when he see me in the hallway. Where’s my Chuck??

Like in the previous episode, it’s hard to pick a side between Abby and Carter. She was right not to leave Eric home alone, but bringing him to the cemetery wasn’t a good idea. She should have take him to County.

It says a lot that Romano asks Gallant to help him, even after Romano’s insulted him in the past. I think it’s partly because he thinks Gallant is good at what he does and partly because he thought Gallant would do whatever Romano wanted.

November 16, 2021

ER 9.19, Things Change: Abby to the Rescue (Again)

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

Don’t get attached to the new med students. They won’t be staying

Summary: A man on a Chicago street is having a really bad night. He’s shaking, and when he tries to take some pills, he drops them. Plus, he’s hallucinating snakes and people with needles, and his senses seem amplified. He ends up in the ER, where Susan and Abby tend to him. Weaver is also in the ER for the day, doing damage control for the mess Romano made in just one day running the place.

Carter has received a package from the Alliance de French Whatever, even though he keeps claiming he’s not going overseas. Luka’s going to the Congo, though. Carter thinks Weaver’s just working a couple of shifts in the ER to keep up appearances. Romano brings him a group of med students, since Carter’s still chief resident and is supposed to teach them stuff. When paramedics bring in a patient who had a heart attack, Carter uses him as a teaching case.

Abby tells Susan that a medevac helicopter is bringing in a patient. Susan asks if it’s Chuck’s unit. She’s smitten by him, even though they’re supposed to be getting their marriage annulled. Abby finds medication in their patient’s jacket (the guy who was hallucinating before), which provides his name, James. He’s taking an anti-psychotic, and may have taken too many, which caused his heart to stop. He tells Susan that the pills keep “them” from finding him.

Jerry sticks his head into the exam room to tell Abby that Eric’s on the phone. She’s shocked by the news, since she hasn’t heard from him in two months. James is worried that “they” can scan him in the ER, but Abby assures him that, because radiology is above them, the floors and walls are lined with lead. This calms his down. Abby rushes to take Eric’s call, but he got impatient waiting and hung up. He told Jerry he’d call back in an hour. Abby asks if he sounded okay, but Jerry wasn’t paying attention. She calls Maggie to let her know that Eric contacted her.

Abby then goes to help Pratt with a patient named Andrew, whom Romano is annoyed hasn’t been seen and moved along yet, since he just has a sore throat. Abby says he has a fever, too, and Romano replies that he’s never asked for a nurse’s opinion. Okay, but he did ask Abby for information last week. I guess that’s okay with him since it didn’t involve her take on something. Anyway, Romano examines Andrew himself and tells Pratt to get rid of him.

Romano has more important things to do, like talk to a woman. That woman happens to be Gordana, Luka’s med-school friend who contacted him about a pro-bono operation. Everything has been approved, and Gordana has come to observe the procedure. Her presence in the ER makes Luka happier than he’s been all season. He invites her to shadow him as he helps Susan take care of the patient brought in by helicopter (and yes, it was Chuck’s unit – hi, Chuck!).

Abby and Weaver chat about a patient whose mother may be making him sick because of Munchausen by proxy. Romano and Weaver bicker a little before he goes to work with Luka and Susan. Susan checks the intubation Chuck performed, promising that it’s not personal; she always checks paramedics and flight nurses’ intubations.

Romano goes to get Elizabeth, who’s consulting on Chen and Gallant’s patient, Mona, who has stomach pain. Elizabeth says it’s gas, but Gallant thinks she has a mass. Romano suggests that they admit her and give her a full work-up. Elizabeth ignores him and leaves, not wanting to admit a patient she doesn’t think needs to be admitted. This isn’t the way to clear up beds in the ER.

Abby calls her in to examine Luka and Susan’s patient, and Romano and Elizabeth bicker through the process. Luka thinks the complication the patient is experiencing is from Chuck’s intubation. Susan defends him, since she checked his work and it was fine. Plus, if he did screw up, it was because it’s hard to hear in a helicopter, and he might not have realized he’d done something wrong.

Susan drops something and chastises Abby, who points out that Susan made the mistake. Susan lashes out by kicking Gordana out of the trauma room because there are too many people there. The patient’s lung isn’t inflating, so Luka brings up the intubation again. Elizabeth sarcastically says that Romano’s leadership skills sure are helping raise morale in the ER. Abby’s like, “The patient’s getting worse, in case anyone wants to focus on him.”

Carter finds a new teaching case for the med students, who all seem to know their stuff, though they ask a lot of questions. He sends them off to see other patients/stop bugging him. He delivers match letters to Gallant and Pratt, who are both happy with their results. Gallant will be staying at County for his residency, and Pratt will be transferring to Northwestern.

The med students try to ask Abby questions, but she’s focused on finding out if Eric has called back yet. Gordana asks her to tell Luka that she has to leave. They chat about Luka, whom Gordana says was the class clown back in Croatia. He was always happy and had a contagious laugh. Abby’s not familiar with that side of him. Gordana acknowledges that he’s changed. Yeah, maybe it was the whole thing where his wife and kids died. Gordana expected to find him married with a family by now. It’s what his late wife would have wanted.

Susan apologizes to Abby for being short with her in the trauma room, while Abby acknowledges that she wasn’t as focused as she should have been. Susan asks Frank if Chuck’s unit has left yet. He tells her to find out by going up to the roof. If there’s no helicopter there, they left. Susan asks Frank if he’s taking anything for his high cholesterol. When he says no, she replies, “Good.”

Abby has finally learned how to deal with the psych department: Tell them you’re bringing up a patient unless they come to the ER to do an assessment. She goes back to James, who’s anxious again. He fights her as she tries to help him, so she firmly but kindly reminds him that she’s trying to help him. Of course, this is when Eric calls back.

James seems to calm down, so Abby picks up the phone in the exam room. But James’ hallucinations are back, and this time he’s hearing things as well as seeing them. He thinks he’s in some lab, having been captured by people who want to hurt him. He attacks Abby, who manages to pull the fire alarm. She curls up on the floor until James lets her go and runs out of the room. In the hallway, he hallucinates people being experimented on. Abby runs after him, but he makes it outside and takes off.

The rest of the ER has to keep running while the fire alarm is blaring. It’s just another thing that makes Pratt happy he’ll soon be working at Northwestern. He suggests that Chen get a job there, too, but she keeps being drawn back to County. Pratt invites her to celebrate his match with him, but before they can make plans, Gallant interrupts to take Chen back to Mona. She’s septic now, and Romano blames Elizabeth, since she didn’t take Mona’s complaints seriously. Yet it’s Romano who gets punished by having Mona throw up on him. Ew, and it’s right over the ulcer he has on his reattached arm.

Carter consults with the med students, who are a big help in moving patients along. Jerry tells Carter he has a phone call, but Carter has to run to take care of a patient. Jerry passes the call on to Weaver, since the caller says it’s urgent. Moments later, she goes to Carter’s trauma room and tells him to let her take over his patient while he goes to the phone. The call is about Millicent. Carter isn’t really paying attention to Weaver, but he realizes from her face and tone of voice that Millicent has died.

Carter keeps working on his patient, even though it seems pointless. He’s able to stabilize the patient’s heart, but he was without oxygen for so long that he might never wake up. Carter leaves the trauma room and tries to collect himself. Meanwhile, Gordana is still at the hospital, and she’s learned that there’s a problem with her patient’s visa. No one will tell her the specifics because they’re not family.

Weaver chastises Abby for calling a social worker for their possible Munchausen case, since Adele called DCFS. Okay, then go yell at Adele. Leave Abby alone. She’s trying to find out where Eric is while dealing with the fact that she was attacked not that long ago. This patient isn’t even a real storyline! It’s filler! Susan finds Chuck, who’s upset that she questioned whether he intubated his patient correctly. She tells him that the patient’s lung wasn’t inflating. Chuck says the same thing she did earlier about how it’s hard to hear breath sounds on a helicopter.

She pulls him into a room to tell him he should have caught the problem before the patient got to the ER. She stood up for him, which offends him. He thinks she did it because she’s a doctor and he’s a nurse. Susan admits that might have been part of it. Doctors complain about EMTs all the time. Chuck starts laughing, since he and his fellow flight nurses complain about doctors all the time. He tries to kiss her, ignoring the fact that there’s a dead body in the room. Luka and Gordana find them before they can start making out. Luka tries very hard to hide a smile.

Romano asks Gordana to help him do a procedure on Mona that he doesn’t think she would survive in the ER. Carter tries to call his mother while keeping up with his patients. He finds Romano and Gordana doing Mona’s procedure together, which is probably not allowed because I doubt Gordana is licensed to practice in the U.S., but oh, well. She’s so good at what she’s doing that Romano is nice enough to let Carter leave his shift early.

Luka asks Carter if he knows anyone at the State Department. They need help getting Gordana’s patient into the U.S. Luka, my man, this is the worst possible time to ask Carter for a favor, and he already doesn’t like you. Carter asks Jerry to find Abby, then calls his father, who’s trying to make a flight to Chicago. Carter’s grief is starting to catch up to him, and he’s fighting to keep the emotion out of his voice.

Abby finds him, but before they can talk, Pratt needs Carter’s help with Andrew. He’s sicker than Romano thought, and he needs some sort of procedure. While they work, Carter asks Abby if she’s ready to leave when they’re done. She is, but there’s some confusion about where they’re going next. Abby thinks Carter is going with her to Des Moines to get Eric. Carter had no idea he’d gotten in touch, and that Abby is planning to go pick him up. In turn, Abby had no idea that Millicent died.

Once they’re done with Andrew, Carter tells Abby that his grandmother called just a few days ago about some charitable thing. He didn’t pick up the phone because it was something he wasn’t interested in. She called last night and he ignored the call again. Abby tries to reassure him that Millicent had a great life, and Carter was a big part of it. She died in her sleep, so she was peaceful and didn’t feel any pain.

Abby still plans to go to Des Moines, even though Carter wants her to stay and support him as he makes funeral arrangements. He doesn’t think it would do much harm for Eric to stay off his meds another day, since he’s been off them for weeks. Abby’s worried that Eric will disappear again if she doesn’t go to him immediately. She’ll be back in just a few hours. Annoyed, Carter tells her to go ahead; Millicent will still be dead when she gets back.

Romano has saved Mona, and now he’s left dealing with Carter’s med students. He hands them off to Pratt, who tells them that Romano’s failure to give Andrew thorough care led to a major complication. Pratt must feel emboldened by all these witnesses, because there’s no way he would call Romano out like this if it were just the two of them. Romano sends the students away, then tells Pratt he gets to work night shifts for the next month. That’s not the punishment he thinks it is, since Pratt doesn’t mind working nights.

Susan tries to convince Luka that she and Chuck were definitely not going to get naked in that exam room right before he and Gordana found them. Luka’s still amused. Susan argues that having sex with her husband (technically) in the hospital would have been better than Luka having sex with a patient’s mother. Luka notes that at least they did it in an empty room.

Carter’s still at the hospital, planning to pick up his father at the airport on the way home, so Weaver asks him a medical question. She then addresses the patient he worked so hard to save. She thinks Carter should take a few days off of work. Romano has the med students doing a procedure on Carter’s patient, since Romano doesn’t think the man will recover. Carter kicks all the students out and blasts Romano for using a man who’s still alive as a practice cadaver. He cleans up after them.

Abby meets up with Eric in a diner in Des Moines. He’s happy to see her, and though he looks pretty rough, he seems stable. She can’t help noting that he called her instead of Maggie. Okay, maybe Eric isn’t so stable after all, since he thinks people keep looking at him. But of the two mentally unstable people Abby has dealt with today, Eric’s the easy one.

Elizabeth finds Romano cleaning his ulcer and tells him that, while he saved Mona, she still needs surgery since Romano wasn’t able to do everything himself. She takes over treating the ulcer for him and says she would have diagnosed Mona properly if Romano hadn’t butted his way into the case. He caused more problems by trying to help. Romano admits that the ulcer doesn’t hurt, which is a bad sign. He’s running out of possibilities for regaining full use of his arm. Elizabeth hesitates to say that he might be better off having it amputated.

Luka and Gordana hang out at his place, still unable to get information on her patient. Luka thinks Anspaugh might be able to help. Gordana notes how far Luka’s come from when he was in med school, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates. Now he has a busy life, since everyone in America seems busy.

Abby and Eric missed their flight back to Chicago, so she calls Carter to let him know they’re spending the night in Des Moines. She gives Eric his medication, and he resigns himself to taking it for the rest of his life. She tells him they all thought he was dead, except Maggie. Eric wonders what happens next. He can’t keep disappearing like their mother, then waiting for Abby to save him. She suggests that he get into a treatment program, and he asks if she’ll help him.

Carter finally makes it to Millicent’s house, though without his father, who’s going to take a later flight. The funeral home hasn’t come yet to get Millicent’s body. One of her employees tells Carter that Millicent was a wonderful woman. He goes upstairs to his grandmother’s bedroom, where Frances Sternhagen has probably been paid more than I make in a year to lie very still and look dead. Carter pulls a chair up to her bed and finally lets himself cry.

Thoughts: Gordana should stay on the show if only because we might get to see Happy Luka all the time. I’m desperate for Happy Luka.

Abby handles her attack incredibly well. She immediately tells Frank to call security and cancel the fire alarm. Then she tries to catch James, when she would be justified in letting someone else deal with him. Abby’s awesome.

I’m not sure where I stand on Carter and Abby’s dueling emergencies. On one hand, Eric couldn’t wait, and Abby planned to be back to support Carter later. On the other hand, if your partner loses a loved one, you should be there for them. If the tables were turned and, say, Maggie died, Carter would be by Abby’s side the whole time. Then again, he was childish about her choosing Eric over him. Like, you can be upset, but…say that. Say, “I’m frustrated and disappointed that you’re prioritizing your family over mine.” This is why their relationship is bad. They’re horrible at communicating with each other.

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