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!

January 18, 2022

ER 10.6, The Greater Good: Policies Schmolicies

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

I wish I could’ve found a good picture of them with the puppy

Summary: Susan is reading The Red Badge of Courage out loud to Ben while he works on his miniatures. So basically, this is a remix of her plotline with Sean. Ben tells her she doesn’t have to keep coming over and hanging out with him. Susan casually says that she doesn’t have the book, as if reading it is the only reason she comes over. Ben says that Stephan Crane died of TB when he was just 29. “Cheery,” Susan and I both say.

Doc Magoo’s is now a kind of combo mini-mart/deli. Like Wawa! I miss Wawa. Frank’s a fan, since they’re giving away donuts to celebrate their opening. As he and Sam are heading back to the hospital after a coffee run, a woman named Denny gets out of a cab, asking for help. She’s 24 weeks pregnant and thinks she’s having a miscarriage. It’s not her first.

Jerry found some golden retriever puppies outside his building and has found homes for five of the six. Chen immediately falls in love with the remaining dog, but she can’t adopt her since her building doesn’t allow pets. Coop can’t have a dog because of his asthma. No one cares, Coop. A woman named Tara comes by with some food and gifts from a drug company, and Jerry gives her a spot where she can set up her stuff. Chen hands the puppy off to Lester, who asks what’s wrong with her, as if he thinks this is his next patient. On this show, that’s a fair assumption.

Pratt, Coop, and Malik are watching a police chase on TV when Sam pulls Pratt away to tend to Denny. Chen tells Lester that they’re hoping the carjacker is able to evade the police for a few more blocks – if he crashes, he’ll be out of their jurisdiction by then and they won’t have to take care of them. He crashes just then, because police chases always end in a crash, and the staff laments that he’ll end up at County.

Abby’s still on her surgical rotation, and she’s having trouble standing up to the ER staff when they try to talk her into taking patients up to surgery. Elizabeth tells her the ER staff is just trying to dump patients off on surgery so they can free up beds. She sends Abby to do a consult, telling her to be strong. In the ER, Luka is doing fast rounds again, and Romano is proud. He tells Luka to bill for plenty of treatments he’s not providing, so the hospital can make money.

Pratt gives Denny an ultrasound that shows that her baby is healthy and she hasn’t miscarried yet, though she’s already dilated two centimeters. Neela presents a case to him as he’s getting ready to tend to the driver from the police chase, Kevin. Kevin a guy who cut him off for ruining his escape. Another driver, Collins, is right behind him.

Susan and Sam notice that a bunch of male staff members are enjoying Tara’s company. One of Sam’s previous hospitals tried to ban these kinds of visits from drug reps, but the residents complained because they wanted the free food. Susan says that’s how the reps get the staff hooked – free stuff. She warns Sam to keep Luka away from Tara, since “he’s been known to give away free physicals.” Heh.

Sam goes back to the triage desk, where an angry guy complains about his bill. She calmly tells him she can’t help him with that. The guy yells that he waited 11 hours for some “quack” to tell him that his kid had a virus and would get better on his own. Sam pointedly asks if the kid did, in fact, get better on his own.

The guy demands to see the doctor whose care he so angrily objects to. It was Carter, so you’d think the guy would have to back down, since no one’s going to call Carter in the Congo and have him work this out. Instead, he slams a trash can against the window separating him from Sam. She continues keeping her calm, telling the guy that’s a bad idea, then waiting until a security guard handles the guy for her.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Zack who fell six feet and hurt his shoulder. He may need stitches in his head, too, and he tells Luka he doesn’t need anything to numb the pain. Pratt and Romano work on Collins, and Pratt asks Abby to start an IV. Abby’s there as a med student, not a nurse, so that’s not part of her responsibilities right now. Romano praises her for holding that boundary.

Next door, Chen oversees Coop and Neela as they work on Kevin. Amazingly, Chen keeps it professional with Neela. She goes to tell Abby that Kevin might need surgery, so Abby says she’ll call Elizabeth. Romano mocks her for calling “Mommy” and says he’ll make the decision. He sends Abby to Kevin instead of letting her intubate Collins. She doesn’t have time to do her consult before Romano comes over, so Romano has Neela join Pratt for something he needs while Abby does her job with Kevin.

Luka chats with Zack until a social worker named Ron arrives and reveals that Zack is a resident in a youth facility. He got hurt trying to run away during an outing. Zack refuses to go back to the facility. Ron says Zack has a conduct disorder and is off his medication. He tells Luka to give Zack Haldol. Zack is definitely angry and probably on the verge of getting violent, but sedation seems a little extreme. He begs Luka not to make him go back to the facility.

Luka gives Zack his stitches, and though Zack might regret not taking anything for the pain, he’s been on so many medications over the past few months that he doesn’t want anything else. This is the first day he’s felt normal in months. Luka can’t tell him whether he’ll help Zack stay out of the facility; he has to wait until Zack’s mother arrives.

Pratt’s waiting for a consult from neurology, but Luka doesn’t think it’s necessary since his patient’s scans are clear. Keeping her there is a waste of time and resources. Pratt’s also tending to the angry guy from the triage area, who’s complaining of chest pain. Luka asks him a few questions and determines that the guy just had an anxiety attack. He looks over his kid’s bill and decides he should have only been charged a few hundred dollars. Well, take it up with Carter.

Romano tells Luka that when insured patients come in, the staff charges for stuff they don’t necessarily need so they can make up for their losses with uninsured patients. “I thought I was his favorite,” Abby quips when Luka joins her at the admit desk. Tara tries to talk to them about an antibiotic she wants the hospital to stock, but Luka isn’t interested.

Susan tells Sam that Ben is coming in that afternoon so she can make sure he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication. Sam should let him in instead of making him wait in triage. Pratt presents Denny’s case to Susan, who thinks Denny is probably going to deliver prematurely, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Frank tells Pratt that Chen is flirting with Coop, so Pratt should step in. Apparently Frank’s decades as a cop made him an expert in body language.

As Jerry tries to get Susan to adopt the puppy, Neela presents a patient to Pratt. He agrees with her diagnosis and gives her some instructions, but Luka overrules him. The tests and medication are expensive, and the patient can be released without them. After Luka leaves, Pratt tells Neela to follow his original orders. Neela wisely turns to Susan, who tells her that Luka outranks Pratt.

Collins’ wife Patricia arrives, and Neela offers to take her to see her husband. She mentions organ donation, so now we know how things turned out for him. Abby says Neela’s starting to get on her nerves because she’s so perfect. Susan dismissively says she’s just a med student. Abby reminds Susan that she’s a med student, too. Susan jokes that Neela bugs her, too, and she and Abby can hate Neela together.

Denny’s continuing to have contractions, and Pratt tells her that she’s going to have the baby really early. Denny doesn’t want to have a preemie who will eventually get sick and die. Pratt tries to convince her that her baby has a chance, but Denny says she’s not having the baby this way. Pratt fills in Abby, Susan, and Luka, the latter of whom doesn’t think they should spend money on one baby when they’re shutting down a program to prevent lead poisoning, which would help a bunch of kids.

Pratt doesn’t know what to do, since Denny is adamant about not having the baby. Abby notes that the baby is above the hospital’s viability threshold for weight and weeks of development, so Denny doesn’t get a say anymore. The hospital will try to keep the baby alive no matter what she wants. Luka thinks the policy is ridiculous and Denny should go to a different hospital if she wants something different. Romano tells him this is an instance of natural selection. Susan advises Pratt to make a decision based on what’s in Denny’s best interest.

Luka goes back to Zack, whose mother has arrived. Luka tells her that her son is being overmedicated. She admits that she had a drug problem and let Zack run wild. The facility told her that the medications were necessary. Zack doesn’t think his behavior was bad enough to justify being sent away, but his mother was branded unfit, so it sounds like she overcorrected.

Ben hasn’t come by for his appointment, so Susan tries calling him. Neela tells her that Patricia refuses to agree to have her husband’s organs donated. She’s letting Patricia sit with his body for now. Abby tries to reassure Susan that Ben, who isn’t answering his phone, is fine. A doctor comes down from neonatology, but Denny isn’t in her bed. Pratt thinks Luka talked her into going to another hospital.

A cab driver comes in asking for help with a woman who’s bleeding in her backseat. Pratt and Luka run outside and find Denny there; she was trying to go to another hospital, but she realized the baby’s coming. The guys are mad at each other for following the rules/not following the rules. They rush Denny to a trauma room and quickly deliver the baby, a boy. Denny asks for them to let him die. She says she doesn’t want him.

Pratt wants to start working on the baby, but Luka says he needs to be weighed first – if he’s less than 500 grams, he’s considered unviable and they can let him die. Pratt tells Neela and Malik to prepare for intubation in case the baby’s over 500 grams. He is, so they continue working, even though Denny keeps protesting.

Abby checks on Patricia, who tells her that Collins’ sister is coming to say goodbye. Patricia hears all the action next door, and Abby tells her they’re working on a premature baby. Patricia sadly says that she and her husband were starting to try to get pregnant. Abby gently brings up organ donation, but Patricia doesn’t want to put him through more trauma. Abby tells her that his organs would save a lot of people. Patricia says her husband is very caring and generous, so donation is something he would want. She starts to come around as Abby gives her more details about how he could help others.

Susan calls the police to check on Ben as Alex shows up looking for Sam. He asks if they’ve seen any patients with weird disorders today. He claims he wants to be a doctor, but there’s no way that’s why he’s curious about weird disorders. Frank guesses that Alex is already dissecting neighborhood pets. Jerry offers to let Alex see the puppy, but Alex would rather visit the morgue. This isn’t a new request, and Sam has already told the staff not to take him there. Frank warns Jerry that Alex is probably getting into devil worship, and Jerry should keep an eye on the puppy.

Ben finally shows up, and he’s brought Susan flowers, so she can’t be too mad that he’s late. He also wants to give her The Red Badge of Courage. Susan tells Chen that she wants to make sure Ben is stable from his possible suicide attempt before she cuts off ties with him. Frank notes that the book is a first edition, which makes Chen think that Ben has a crush on Susan. Susan feels bad that he sacrificed everything for his career and has nothing left.

Denny’s not doing well, but OB’s taking their time coming to the ER. Weaver ducks in to complain that Zack is still waiting around. Luka’s been waiting on some labwork, but Weaver tells him it’s in. Luka says he doesn’t want to send Zack back to the facility. People are focusing on policies too much and forgetting that Zack is a human being. Weaver blows off Luka’s concerns and tells Neela to discharge Zack.

An OB finally arrives as Luka hands Denny off to Pratt. Pratt tells Denny that the baby is doing better than expected. Luka rushes to stop Ken from taking Zack back to the facility, but there’s not much he can do. A social worker with privileges at County authorized the Haldol, and Zack is totally out of it. All Luka can do is apologize to him.

Tara chooses this moment to try to talk to Luka again about medications, and since she’s heard about his time in the Congo, she offers to put together some packages for him. Luka asks why the drug company hasn’t been working on new malaria treatments instead of expensive antibiotics. It’s because there’s no profit in malaria drugs. Luka grabs a trash can and starts throwing out Tara’s free giveaways and food while he rants about her company. She says she’ll come back when he’s not as busy.

Susan returns Ben’s book, not wanting to accept such a pricey gift. She tells him it’s not really appropriate. Ben apologizes if he made her uncomfortable, but she assures him there are no hard feelings. Coop tries to chat with Chen again, and for the record, she tells him to call her Deb, even though a couple seasons ago she objected to that nickname. Sigh. Whatever. He wants to go out, but she has to take her parents to the airport.

Sam asks Jerry to find Alex, who definitely shouldn’t be allowed to wander around the hospital unsupervised. And he definitely shouldn’t be out of anyone’s sight long enough to go across the street to the mini-mart, which is where he is. Luka’s there, too, playing a video game that’s not alleviating his stress very well.

Pratt tells Denny that she’s going to be okay, and the baby is about to go up to the NICU. Denny doesn’t want to see him. Elizabeth’s been trying to reach Abby, who’s ignored her pages so she can stay with Patricia. She convinced Patricia to donate Collins’ organs. Elizabeth chastises her for missing out on opportunities related to her surgical rotation because she was doing things nurses usually do. She already does that stuff well. She needs to learn how to distance herself from her patients so she can be a good doctor.

Romano finds the puppy, which Susan has decided to take to Ben as a seeing-eye dog. Without any training. Without giving Ben a heads up. The dog isn’t even housebroken. Come on, Susan. Frank tells Sam that Alex is across the street at the jumbo-mart. That’s not a jumbo-mart, it’s mini! That’s why I called it a mini-mart! Alex is still hanging out with Luka, who bought him ice cream. That’s kind of weird on its own – don’t buy food for kids when their parents aren’t around! – but also a bad idea because it turns out Alex has diabetes. Sam’s understandably ticked at Luka.

Susan takes the puppy to Ben, who asks if she’s stalking him. Denny goes to see her baby, expecting him to die pretty soon, though it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going to happen. Susan and Ben go for a walk with the puppy and talk about their backgrounds a little. Apparently Susan’s mom died while Susan was off the show.

Ben thinks Susan’s father must be proud of her for being a doctor. She says they’re not close. Ben gets it – he has a daughter he hasn’t spoken to in years. Susan urges him to reconnect with her, but she blames him for things that happened when his wife died. Ben’s wife had cancer, and though they both knew she was going to die, he couldn’t accept the finality of her illness.

Sam continues yelling at Luka in the ER. Neela asks him for instructions for a patient, and he tells her to look at the price list on the back of her chart. She’s already performed a bunch of expensive tests when she could have done a thorough physical and given the patient a very inexpensive medication. Luka, hon, you’re mad at the healthcare system, not Neela.

Pratt’s annoyed that Luka discharged one of his patients without giving her a lumbar puncture. Luka says she didn’t need it. Pratt asks if Luka’s going to keep taking away his patients when Pratt doesn’t do things Luka’s way. Luka says that Pratt’s way of practicing method is inefficient. “And letting babies die is?” Pratt replies. Luka asks if he really thinks he saved the baby. He’ll probably need lifelong care. Will Pratt provide it?

Pratt says they’re not treating patients in a hut like he thinks Luka did in the Congo. They have technology and capabilities to treat patients, so why not use them? Luka says they could have treated a ton of other kids with all the money they would have saved by letting Denny’s baby go. Pratt reminds him that this is Chicago, not the Congo, and maybe Luka should go back to Africa. Luka replies that maybe Pratt should go there. Pratt understandably interprets that as a racist comment, but Luka means that Pratt will learn that there’s more to medicine than policies and bureaucracy.

Abby practices some sutures on Collins’ body after his organs have been harvested. She remembers her conversation with Patricia, and we get to hear more about how Collins’ organs will give other people new chances at life. People will see again, get their health back, and recover from conditions that used to be fatal. I guess you could say that Patricia’s decision to donate her husband’s organs fits with the title of the episode: It’s for the greater good.

Thoughts: Zack is played by Michael Angarano. Tara is played by Sarah Shahi.

Why is Susan getting the same plot she’s already done? Why isn’t her plot about her relationship with Chuck, who’s more interesting than half the main cast? (Okay, it looks like the real answer is that Donal Logue was on another show at the time, but still!)

Remember when Luka tried to force a woman to deliver her baby when she didn’t want to? What a difference three seasons and a trip to the Congo make.

The puppy falls asleep in Bob Newhart’s arms while Susan and Ben are on their walk, and it’s FREAKING ADORABLE.

January 11, 2022

ER 10.5, Out of Africa: In Transition

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

Oh, Henry. If only you were a real wizard and could have used magic to stop what’s about to happen

Summary: Luka is on an El train, on his way to his first shift back at County after his ordeal in the Congo and recovering from malaria. Life in Chicago is a lot different from where he just was – no El trains, loud music, or people worrying about stocks in Kisangani or Matenda. Luka smiles at a poster advertising a stage production of The Lion King.

The ER is crazy, but at least most of the crazy is now contained to the triage area. “New furniture, same patients,” Chuny tells Luka. As soon as he steps out of the triage area, Frank tells him to call Weaver. Luka meets Morris (ick, sorry about him, Luka), then takes his time before having to check in with Weaver. Frank comments that everyone’s wild because it’s Halloween. Yeah, because normally, it’s really calm there.

A woman named Mrs. Martin bangs on the triage window until Luka opens the door for her. Her baby, Adam, fell out of a shopping cart, and Mrs. Martin isn’t sure if he hit his head. Her older son, Henry, who’s about 11, says he did hit his head, but he didn’t cry. Luka decides he should be examined ASAP. Me, realizing which episode this is: “Oh, no. Ohhhhhhhh, no.”

A woman named Sam Taggart arrives, looking for Abby. Frank tells her Abby’s off today, so she should come back tomorrow. Down the hall, an angry patient starts trashing an exam room he was locked inside until he could calm down. A security guard wants to pepper spray him, but Pratt notes that the spray will affect other people. He tells Chuny to give the guy some Haldol instead.

Pratt and Coop grab a mattress they can use to hold the guy down while Morris injects him. The holding-down part goes fine, but Morris hesitates to use the Haldol. Wandering down the hall, Sam grabs the syringe and does the job for him. Romano arrives and hopes Sam works there. Fortunately, she does – she’s a nurse.

Sometime later, Sam takes a turn as triage nurse, managing to calmly handle all the impatient patients (…heh), including one who calls her “little girl.” Romano asks what today’s excuse is for the waiting area being “a stinking, overpopulated cesspool of humanity.” Sam suggests it’s the health care system. He tells her that if she wants, she can stab a staff member in the neck, which will make all the patients head somewhere else. Sam asks Morris to examine someone, but he finds an excuse to do something else, as he constantly does.

Romano asks Frank which doctor he should be angry with today. Frank tells him Luka is back, and Romano calls him Colonel Kurtz. Susan admires Romano’s new arm, and he offers to give her a demonstration of what it can do. Susan smoothly says he’ll have to buy her a drink first. I get the feeling Susan has never let sexual harassment get to her in her life.

Luka works with Neela but dismisses Morris when he offers his help. Luka tells Mrs. Martin that they’ll get a CT of Adam’s head and then wait until he wakes up. Neela asks if she can draw Adam’s blood, but Morris says it’s not a good case for a student. He assures Mrs. Martin that while Neela’s a student, Morris himself is a doctor. Yeah, that doesn’t mean you want him around your baby, ma’am.

Back at the admit desk, Romano is showing off how his arm works. Pratt calls him Robo-Doc. Romano tells Pratt to do his job. They bicker about Pratt making doctors in other departments mad, but Pratt doesn’t let it get to him. Romano continues doing demonstrations, but he squeezes a vial of something too hard and it breaks. Susan quips that he shouldn’t use that arm to do a rectal exam.

Adam is having trouble breathing, so Morris decides they should intubate him. Neela thinks they should get Luka. Luka’s on the phone with Weaver, who’s annoyed that she’s had to wait to talk to him, like, he’s working, Kerry. Chill. Chuny pulls him back into the trauma room in time to stop Morris from intubating Adam. Susan checks in, but Luka has everything under control. He tells Morris why intubation would have been a bad idea, teaching him while also chastising him for moving too fast.

In the hallway, Mrs. Martin tells Susan that she was in a rush because she forgot to buy hot dogs for Henry’s school’s barbecue, and she must not have strapped Adam into the cart right. Susan sends Henry to get his mother a drink so she can talk to Mrs. Martin alone. Mrs. Martin admits that she’s been taking Zoloft, and maybe she’s having a bad reaction to it. She and her husband are going through a divorce, and he’s trying to take away their kids.

Susan reluctantly asks if Mrs. Martin has been drinking. Mrs. Martin says no, but Susan can smell alcohol on her. She asks Mrs. Martin to take a blood alcohol test to prove her claim that she’s not drunk. When Mrs. Martin asks if Susan can make her take it, Susan says that’s not a good reply. Mrs. Martin begs not to take the test, saying she just made a mistake.

Susan leaves to examine a man named Ben whose neighbor called an ambulance when he didn’t answer his door. He’s a little imbalanced and his heart isn’t stable. He may have taken too much of his heart medicine. Luka joins Gallant to tend to a man with a knee injury. Gallant wants him to get an x-ray, but Luka determines that he doesn’t need one. He explains to Susan that without x-rays in the Congo, he learned different ways to diagnose.

Susan tells him that she thinks Mrs. Martin has been drinking, so they should call a social worker. Since Adam needs to be admitted overnight, Luka advises her to let another department handle the family so they can continue seeing patients. Susan notes that they’ll fall through the cracks. Luka wants to avoid a “bureaucratic mess,” but Susan doesn’t want the family to come back after another incident. Luka gives in.

Neela presents a patient to Luka, brushing off the patient’s comment that she speaks English “good” with, “Better than you, in fact.” I think Susan is rubbing off on her. As they’re talking, Romano asks if Pratt is in a trauma room with Susan. Neela tells him it’s Gallant, and Romano says he always gets Gallant and Pratt confused. “Must be the goatee,” he says. Sure. We believe you. Luka tells Neela she can discharge her patient; he can come back if his labs are abnormal, but there’s no point in him waiting around. Romano comments that he should send everyone to the Congo to learn how to work more efficiently.

He takes Pratt to a patient he needs to be discharged, but Pratt wants to wait for a surgical consult. Romano says he’ll do it, but Pratt would prefer someone who still has surgical privileges. Abby arrives wearing a white lab coat and says she’s the surgical consult. She’s gone back to med school and has started her surgical rotation. That explains the loan she wanted her ex to co-sign – she needed tuition money. “You waited three-and-a-half hours…for Abby?” Romano asks Pratt. Abby smiles to herself.

After the consult, Abby tells Susan that this seemed like the right time to go back to med school. She only has a year left anyway. As soon as she paid her tuition, she was put right back into rotation. Thanks to Elizabeth’s familiarity with Abby, she’s already being trusted to do consults. Abby will still take some nursing shifts for the money, so she’s going to be pretty stressed and tired. Susan teaches her a mnemonic, then happily tells Sam that Abby’s there from the OR when she needs a consult.

Luka admires how Abby looks in her coat as she tries to shift from nurse responsibilities to doctor responsibilities in a trauma setting. Romano calls Elizabeth for her so she can determine whether the patient needs surgery. Then he interrupts to tell Elizabeth that the patient will be going up to the OR, and Abby didn’t need to ask her first.

He tells her to do something nurse-like, but Sam says she’ll do it. Romano calls her “Miss Haldol” and tells her he finds mute girls covered in blood sexy, so she should keep her head down and her mouth shut. “You sound just like a guy I used to date,” Sam replies. “He’s dead.” Luka steps in, offering to show Abby how to do a procedure. Romano tells him to skip the mentoring, then gives Abby another nurse instruction. She struggles to keep her cool but manages to ignore him and keep doing her job.

Susan tells Mrs. Martin that Adam’s CT looks promising, but they still have to wait until he wakes up to know for sure that he’s okay. She warns that a social worker is coming to talk to Mrs. Martin. Mrs. Martin says that never helps, indicating that there have been other incidents. She insists that nothing was every that major.

Romano keeps overseeing Luka’s patient until he finally announces it’s time to stop working on him and take him to surgery. Fortunately, Frank calls Romano away, leaving the others in peace. Luka then leaves to talk to Weaver, like, talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire. Abby’s the highest-ranking person in the trauma room now. Sam blows off Neela for knowing less than her, which is the opposite of how it usually is, with med students embarrassing themselves by thinking they know more than nurses.

Weaver wants Luka to commit to working 36 hours a week. While they’re talking, a woman named Athena is hoping to be seen next, and Morris is still slacking. Luka offers to do six 12-hour shifts a week, which would actually be a break from his seven 18-hour shifts in the Congo. Also, he needs the money. Weaver asks for a month’s notice the next time Luka wants to leave town for a long stretch. He gives her double that, saying he’ll be going back to the Congo in two months. He doesn’t know how long he’ll be gone. Weaver approves the arrangement.

Mrs. Martin talks to Susan and a social worker, Ken, about how Henry burned his hand two months ago while he was home alone. Mrs. Martin explains that she had a job interview and was only gone an hour. But no one picked Henry up from school one day, and a teacher had to take him home. Mrs. Martin says her husband dropped the ball.

Ken tells her that based on this pattern and Susan’s suspicions about Mrs. Martin’s drinking, Adam and Henry will be removed from Mrs. Martin’s home and sent to live with their father full-time until she can get herself together. Ken says the case will probably be resolved within six months. Mrs. Martin tells him and Susan that she had breakfast with her lawyer, and he ordered her a Bloody Mary. He told her everything would be okay.

Neela hangs out with Henry, who carries a drumstick around with him as kind of a magic wand. Not that he really believes in magic. Mrs. Martin comes in to say goodbye just as the boys’ father arrives. Henry tells him what happened, and Susan and Neela tells him that Adam’s awake and showing signs of a good prognosis. Mr. Martin tells his ex that she’s free to screw up her own life, but not their children’s. Mrs. Martin says it was an accident – she was upset. Mr. Martin points out that nothing is ever her fault. She storms out.

Elizabeth is upstairs, operating with Dorset, when the reason they’ll never make it as a couple (and the reason this is his last episode) comes out via a nurse relaying a phone message: He’s married. Abby’s there, and we know she knows Elizabeth and Dorset have been dating, so that’s some gossip she can share with Susan later.

Back in the ER, Susan checks in with Ben, who has vision problems thanks to macular degeneration. She busts him for overdosing on his heart medication and asks if he’s suicidal. He’s 71 and going blind – he doesn’t think suicidal thoughts are abnormal. Susan wants him to talk to a psychiatrist, and he determines that if he volunteers to do so, she won’t keep him there involuntarily (basically, do this or I’ll make you). She tells him he’ll only be there a few hours, but if she has him put on a psych hold, he’ll be there for days. Kind of an easy choice, huh?

Mrs. Martin could also use a psychiatrist, but instead, she’s being left alone while Mr. Martin and Henry stay with Adam. Henry goes looking for his mother to let her know his brother’s waking up. She leaves the ER, passing Susan and Luka in the ambulance bay and telling them she forgot something in her car. That something is a bottle wrapped in brown paper.

Morris and Coop come back from a break, Morris complaining that he hates County. Yeah, well, County hates you, too. Go away. They pass Mrs. Martin’s car, where she’s locking the doors. Instead of a bottle of alcohol, the brown paper holds a bottle of lighter fluid. She pours it on herself and then lights a match. Henry runs out into the ambulance bay just in time to see his mother lighting herself on fire. And now you know why I said “oh, no” when I realized which episode this was.

Luka races to the car as Susan tells a nurse to take Henry back inside. Luka breaks a window with a gurney, and Susan grabs a blanket from an ambulance so he can open the car door without burning himself. Mrs. Martin is still alive and able to get out of the car, but she’s completely on fire. Luka and Coop smother the flames with the blanket until Susan puts them out with a fire extinguisher. Morris, as usual, does nothing.

They get Mrs. Martin to a trauma room, but she looks really bad. Like, super-bad. Horrific. Catastrophic. Hold on, let me grab a thesaurus. Horrendous. Okay, you get it. Luka tells her they need to put a tube down her throat, so she won’t be able to talk. When she asks how long she’ll be intubated, he doesn’t answer. She guesses she’s going to die. Luka asks if she wants to be intubated, and she says she wants to talk to Henry first.

Morris is, as usual, completely useless, and even throws up while Luka, Susan, and Sam are doing their jobs. Coop determines that Mrs. Martin only has a 10 percent chance of survival. Even then, she’ll probably get an infection and die from that. Coop thinks she deserves the right to refuse care, but Susan says that since she’s suicidal, she doesn’t get a say.

Dorset slams the nurse who outed him as married, like, she’s not the one who’s having an affair. Don’t be a child. He tries to talk to Elizabeth, starting off with the excuse that his wife is currently in Boston. That doesn’t help, and neither does the news that she’s still in med school. Elizabeth asks if he hid pictures of his wife when he had her over. He asks if Elizabeth is going to call her and rat him out.

She goes to the lounge, looking for coffee, and Abby offers her a cup. She tries to strike up a conversation about their patient, indicating that she’s not going to say anything about Elizabeth and Dorset. Elizabeth can’t believe she worried that she was dating too soon after Mark’s death when the real problem was the person she was dating. Abby brainstorms names to call Dorset, finally cracking Elizabeth up when she suggests “wanker.” Elizabeth says she knew he was a bad guy. Abby tells her there’s no shame in that.

Luka, Susan, and Sam keep working on Mrs. Martin, deciding not to intubate her until she’s seen her kids. Luka offers to talk to Mr. Martin, but Susan says she’ll do it. She’s distressed about the whole situation and doesn’t like the thought of Henry seeing his mother like this. Luka thinks he could also be traumatized by never seeing her again. He tells Susan that she was right to look out for the kids. Susan can’t agree with her own actions, since things are turning out like this.

She goes to talk to Mr. Martin, who’s shocked that his wife would do something like this. He says that Mrs. Martin told Henry to lie – they went to buy beer, not hot dogs. Susan assures Mr. Martin that Adam will be okay, so at least there’s some good news. He regrets filing for custody instead of just grabbing the kids and running.

Susan tells him that Mrs. Martin wants to see Henry. She gets that Mr. Martin is angry, but his ex is going to die, and he needs to decide what’s best for the kids in the long run, even if that means seeing their horrendously burned mother so she can say goodbye. Henry speaks up, saying he doesn’t want to see her. Susan assures him that they won’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to.

At the admit desk, Sam, Coop, and Morris discuss Mrs. Martin’s actions. Morris and Coop think she’s nuts for doing what she did, but Sam gets how the threat of losing your children could make you crazy. Pratt flirts with her, so it’s a good thing Chen isn’t in this episode. Morris’ shift is over, but he doesn’t want to leave and be branded a wuss. Pratt tells him it’s too late for that.

Romano proves that he can still do some stuff with his prosthetic arm, though Pratt wants to make the stitches he just gave someone a little cleaner. Ben asks to talk to Susan, since he’s still waiting for his psych consult. We get a shot from his point of view, which shows that things are blurry in his periphery, and the middle of his visual field is just one big blob. He decides to discharge himself.

Athena finally gets to see a doctor when she’s brought back in by paramedics. Morris doesn’t want to admit to not seeing her hours ago for what he thought was a hangover and cut on her head. She waited 11 hours and left without being seen. It turns out she has a massive head injury and is now critical. Morris, to his credit, steps up to try to fix his mistake, but he’s not great at being a doctor, so Luka takes over.

Susan and Neela bring Adam into Mrs. Martin’s trauma room so she can see him for probably the last time. Good thing he’s a baby and will never remember this. Neela tells Mrs. Martin that he’s going to be fine. Mrs. Martin asks about Henry, then guesses he’s not going to come see her. She decides it’s better that way. She asks Neela to help her write her older son a letter. She asks him to try to forget what happened and just remember that his mother loved him.

Morris does all he can for Athena, but Luka decides they can’t save her. Just a five-minute exam would have picked up that she had a brain bleed, and they could have gotten her to the OR. Luka tells Morris that Athena had nowhere else to go. “If we can’t find a way to take care of people like her, nobody will,” he says.

Morris flees the ER as a patient in the hallway yells for help. He comes back and wheels the patient’s gurney out to the ambulance bay. Coop follows, and Morris announces that he’s quitting. Coop says they didn’t come this far for Morris to just walk away. Morris replies that he only got this far because Coop carried him. Pratt comes outside and tells Coop to let Morris go. Coop thinks Pratt is just testing Morris, but he’s not. Pratt tells Coop that not everyone is cut out to be a doctor.

Susan tries to call Ben, and when he doesn’t answer, she calls the police to report a possible suicide. Some paramedics are leaving after bringing in a patient, so she asks them for a ride to Ben’s house. He’s there, completely fine – he probably didn’t answer the phone because he’s listening to loud music while painting some miniatures.

Outside the hospital, Abby and Elizabeth chat with Sam, who tells them working at County is different from her last few jobs, but nothing she can’t handle. Here, she gets more pauses in the action. She confirms that Abby’s “in transition” between nurse and doctor, and says it’s a good place to be. Abby and Elizabeth invite her to get something to eat with them, but Sam’s shift isn’t over, and she’s waiting for her “guy.” That would be her son, Alex, not a boyfriend or husband. Alex is about ten and really annoying.

Inside, Luka pulls a Mark, mobilizing Neela, Coop, and Gallant to help him clear out the waiting area. He promises that by 10:00, everyone will have been seen. At Ben’s, he tells Susan he kept his promise to wait to see a psychiatrist, but no one ever showed up. He used to make architectural models, but he had to stop when his vision started worsening. Now he makes miniatures as a hobby. Susan offers to arrange help for Ben around the house, but he doesn’t seem interested. She makes him promise not to kill himself in the next 72 hours. “But Monday would be okay?” he replies. He promises to stay alive.

Luka does fast rounds with Coop, Neela, and Gallant’s patients, and though Romano thinks they’re a little crazy, he can’t argue with the results. Luka may be back in Chicago, but he’s brought his Congo experiences back with them and is proving that you don’t need expensive tests and supplies to practice medicine.

Thoughts: Ben is played by TV legend Bob Newhart, who got an Emmy nomination for this role. Ken is played by Daniel Dae Kim.

I find Sam pretty annoying in her early days, but after that I warm up to her, and eventually kind of like her. My feelings for Linda Cardellini never change, though – I love her.

I like how Susan handles checking in with Luka. As soon as she’s sure he has his trauma case under control, she deals with the family. It’s like she’s letting Luka know she trusts him to handle things and is ready to be back at work without actually saying it.

January 4, 2022

ER 10.4, Shifts Happen: Being Greg Pratt

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

Dear writers, we do not need any more Pratt-centric episodes, thank you for your time

Summary: Pratt gets ready for work and rushes to buy a newspaper before the guy who sells them closes up. Even though it’s sunny out and seems like it’s the morning, due to Pratt’s activities (like showering and making eggs), it’s actually 6:28 p.m. Elizabeth calls her nanny from Dorset’s bed so she can say good night to Ella. The nanny thinks she’s still at work. Elizabeth obviously feels guilty for missing time with her daughter, but Dorset tells her she’s allowed to have some downtime. Elizabeth just feels weird sneaking out of her house for sex. It is fun, though. They decide to have some more of that fun before heading to work.

Abby’s almost done with her shift and is passing off her patients to some nurse we don’t know. “Have we met?” Pratt asks the nurse. “No,” she replies bluntly before walking away. Ha! Abby tells Pratt that there are a bunch of new nurses on duty, all recent graduates. Frank: racist remark. Shut up, Frank. Coop: dumb remark. Shut up, Coop. Gallant pops in to be neither racist nor dumb, but also to offer nothing of substance. Come back, Gallant! Save me from these buffoons! Jerry invites Coop to a Cubs game. At least someone likes that guy.

Pratt hasn’t even been on shift for a minute when he gets summoned by Malik, then Neela, then two med students, Andy and Lester. Lester would have asked Coop for help, but he saw Pratt first. He also could have turned to Morris, but he’s treating a patient. Susan realizes he’s been treating that patient for a long time, since she’s pretty. She tells him to work harder to clear the board. Pratt lets Coop know that picking up Morris’ slack isn’t helping him.

Weaver is also annoyed about the slow pace in the ER, and since she’s decided to work there once a month to keep up her skills, she’s going to try to whip the place into shape. Susan says she kind of misses “Little Stumpy.” Abby’s supposed to be leaving, but Pratt enlists her to help him with an angry patient named Mathers. He’s been sent over from another hospital, supposedly because County can provide him with care the other place couldn’t, but he thinks it’s because he doesn’t have insurance and now he’s a welfare case. Pratt tells him he’ll get the best care possible for his broken leg.

After dismissing a woman who’s begging for help delivering her baby – a baby she’s been pregnant with for seven years – Pratt tells the med students that they have 12 hours to clear the board. In the process, they’ll show the doctors on the day shift how it’s done. I’m sure they’ll take notes and try to be better doctors because of your inspiration, Pratt.

Romano is finally getting a prosthetic arm that doesn’t have a hook for a hand. He hasn’t had all the training he needs to operate it, but he demands that the prosthetist – who definitely doesn’t get paid enough to deal with him – give it to him now. Mathers continues complaining as Pratt and Abby tend to him (though Pratt is mostly focusing on teaching the med students). He tells Neela to put in a central line, since Mathers is a former IV drug user and they’re having trouble inserting an IV in his veins. Mathers objects because Neela’s so young. Pratt quips that she’s almost 16.

He tells Lester to arrange for surgery for Mathers no more than three hours from now. He starts to head out, but Abby notes that Neela needs to be supervised. Pratt asks Gallant to do that, then goes to use the bathroom. Before he can get there, he stops to help Chen deal with a difficult patient, since the new nurse working with her isn’t being helpful. Chen guesses that Pratt’s already interested in the new nurse. He thought the two of them were fine, because Pratt has no idea how to read a woman, let alone Chen.

Weaver stalls Pratt from his trip to the bathroom by quizzing him about his patients. One of them, Betsy, is appreciative because Pratt helped get her a consult. Coop admires Pratt’s style, and Pratt tells him to get his own. Back in Mathers’ trauma room, Neela’s having some trouble with the central line, and Mathers is unhappy again. Chen takes over, ignoring Mathers when he makes a racist comment. After she leaves, Neela asks Gallant and Abby if Chen hates her. Neela isn’t interested in Pratt, and she wonders if she should tell Chen that. Abby says to let it go, since Pratt and Chen broke up.

Neela chooses not to listen to Abby, never a good idea. She tells Chen that Pratt is a flirt, but Neela didn’t do anything to spark his interest. She apologizes if she did anything to make the situation worse, and she hopes Chen won’t punish her for Pratt’s interest. Chen acts like she’s horrified that she would be accused of singling out a med student just because her boyfriend has a crush. She makes a show of checking Neela’s name tag, as if she’s forgotten her name, then says she’s hard on all the med students, especially the women. Neela should worry more about her skills and less about Pratt.

Betsy’s still in the ER, so Pratt offers to find out what’s taking so long with her consult. Andy presents a patient to him, a guy named Ed who suddenly found himself unable to speak while he was fighting with his wife. She thinks he was just being dramatic. Susan offers to stick around after her shift, since it’s busy and there’s only one attending in the ER, but Pratt lets her go.

Paramedics bring in an elderly woman named Ms. Crawford who’s having breathing problems. Her preteen granddaughter, Erika, is with her. Jerry has sneaked a peek at a loan application Abby’s trying to submit via fax, and he tells her that she’ll never get any money with her low credit score. Thanks for your help, Jerry.

Weaver, Neela, and Coop tend to Ms. Crawford, and Erika objects when they start removing her clothes. She exclaims that her grandmother has a DNR, but Erika doesn’t know what that means. Neela thinks it must be true, since Erika wouldn’t know the term if her family hadn’t discussed it. But without paperwork, Coop says they have to keep treating Ms. Crawford. Weaver tells Neela to find a way to contact Erika’s mother.

Pratt examines Ed while he and his wife keep bickering. Gallant pulls him away to pass off some patients who are supposed to be Morris’. He’s disappeared, and Gallant was supposed to leave a while ago, so he can’t keep looking for him. Ed’s wife tells Pratt that Ed has gone silent again. She thinks he’s messing with her. Pratt tells a nurse named Severa to get him a psych consult. “Yes, doctor,” she replies.

Lester tells Pratt that he has a patient who was bitten by a rat. He’s helpfully brought it with him in case they need to test it for rabies. This is the last straw for one of the new nurses, who didn’t go to nursing school for this sort of thing. Pratt finally makes it to the bathroom, where he catches Morris on the phone with someone, asking how to treat his patients. Pratt yells at him for being a second-year resident who should know how to do his job.

Abby goes to Luka’s for a late dinner, at Gillian’s invitation. It’s 10:00, but Gillian offers her leftovers. She’s on her way home to Montreal, so she and Luka have a long goodbye kiss right in front of Abby. Luka reveals that Gillian has a boyfriend. OH, LUKA. He tells Abby it’s complicated. Oh, you think? Back at County, Elizabeth is in a bad mood because Pratt called her for an unnecessary consult. Also, because she’s not still in bed with Dorset. Pratt gives instructions to Severa, who again replies, “Yes, doctor,” making him wonder if she speaks English. She says she does.

The board is down to 30 patients, but there are still 50 in the waiting area, so it’s not technically an accomplishment. Pratt tries to talk Frank into going to get him some food. Ed asks Pratt for an update on his condition, and Pratt notes that he’s talking again. Ed says it comes and goes. Pratt sends him back to his room so he won’t miss his consult with a “special doctor.”

Betsy finally gets her consult, but the doctor, Hampton, is annoyed because Betsy comes in three times a month for demerol. Pratt insists that she has a real illness and needs medication and to be admitted. Hampton can put a note in her chart if she wants, and she can take the heat for not admitting Betsy, but she needs to take responsibility for her patient. Hampton won’t, so Pratt reluctantly tells Lester to discharge Betsy.

Abby and Luka go for a walk, talking about his time in the Congo. He misses being in a place that let him get out of his own head. He appreciated the downtime there more. Abby mentions Carter, insisting she’s fine without him. She’s even on the way to being happy. She’s started to make some decisions about her life, but she doesn’t want to give any details in case she jinxes it. She gets a page asking her to work another shift, and though Luka encourages her to pretend she didn’t see it, she says she needs the money.

Abby returns to County, and Weaver surprises her by trying to make small talk. She even says Abby’s one of the best nurses in the ER, and she hopes Romano’s changes don’t drive her away. Neela comes by asking for paper and crayons for Erika (who’s too old for that, but whatever), and Weaver tells her to focus on patients, not babysitting.

Pratt channels Mark a little to make some quick decisions and discharge some patients. Morris is still slacking, so Pratt takes over his treatment of a kid named Damian who swallowed a quarter. (Can I just say that this kid is too old to be swallowing coins? Because he’s too old to be swallowing coins. Is there even one writer on this show who understands children?) Morris thinks the coin will just pass through Damian’s system, but Pratt wants them to remove it with an endoscope. This will mean a little revenge on Hampton, the gastrointestinal specialist on call.

Paramedics bring in some car accident victims, and with a shortage of trauma rooms, Pratt takes one to Ms. Crawford’s and makes Neela move her somewhere else. Mathers is yelling again, but everyone’s trying to ignore him. Morris and Coop tend to one of the car accident victims (Morris makes Coop do his rectal exam) while Pratt treats another, a teen who’s in really bad shape. Morris leaves the room instead of offering to help.

A nurse tells Pratt that psych won’t see Ed until he has a head CT. Pratt doesn’t think he needs one; he’s just upset because his wife is leaving him. Jerry then tells Pratt that Hampton won’t see Damian until the morning. She’s also going to complain to Romano tomorrow. Oh, and she thinks Pratt is…a word that normally isn’t allowed on network TV. Thanks for letting that one go, censors! Randi wants to liven up the night shift with disco music. Abby tells her it’s too loud. This is Randi’s last episode, by the way, so enjoy her five seconds of screentime.

Abby and Elizabeth end up in the elevator with their patients at the same time, and Dorset tries to sneak in for some time with Elizabeth before he realizes she’s not alone. Abby asks if the two of them ever got together. “Who?” Elizabeth asks dumbly. Then she admits they’re dating. Abby’s happy, but Elizabeth thinks she’s covering for her opinion that Elizabeth is dating too soon after Mark’s death. Neela treats Mathers, though she’s not supposed to be doing what she’s doing without a resident’s supervision. Weaver stops her, and Neela rats out Morris for not doing his job.

Ed’s CT is clear, so he can go see psych now. He objects to needing a psych consult, especially since it’ll just make his wife even more convinced that he’s crazy. Weaver gives Pratt more work to do, which means he has even less time to listen to Ed say he doesn’t need psychiatric help. He asks for medication to get him through the night. Pratt tells Severa to give Ed two milligrams of Obecalp, then discharge him. She’s confused about the medication, but after Pratt asks if she knows what it is, she says, “Yes, doctor.”

Neela goes to check on Erika, who asks what DNR means. Neela explains that it means someone doesn’t want to be kept alive by machines. She offers to take Erika to a room where she can get some sleep, but Erika wants to stay with her grandmother, who has said she sleeps better with Erika near her. After Neela lets her into the bed, Pratt ruins the nice moment by telling her to get back to work. Neela comments that it’s hard to figure out where you should be spending your time. Pratt doesn’t care – he wants the board cleared.

Lester tells her that Pratt is tough but is good at his job. He asks if she knows what Obecalp is, since he hasn’t been able to find any. Weaver overhears and tells him it’s placebo spelled backwards. She calls Pratt out for giving Ed saline, which seems to have calmed him down. It’s a violation of medical ethics, and he could sue. Pratt tells Severa to cancel the “Obecalp,” but she says she never gave it to him.

Damian’s parents are impatient about how long it’s taking for his endoscopy. Pratt doesn’t think it’ll be a problem for him to wait until the morning, since he’s stable. But the family’s been there for 14 hours, and Damian’s having trouble breathing – why can’t this emergency room handle this emergency? Speaking of emergencies, Weaver helps Abby with a patient she sent to get a CT even though he wasn’t completely stable, which means he should have had a doctor with him. Weaver beats herself up for taking the risk.

Andy excitedly tells Coop that Pratt is trying a special trick to remove the quarter in Damian’s throat. Pratt calmly does the same move I think Dorset did a few episodes ago, acting like he does this all the time. Abby winds up serving as the triage nurse again as Pratt warns her that bars are about to close, which means they’re going to get an influx of patients. He dances with Randi for a little while until a patient yells at them for blasting music while he’s trying to sleep.

Abby takes over triage from Malik, first talking to a patient who complains of a toothache he’s apparently had for a year. Maybe he should be friends with the woman who’s been pregnant for seven years. Damian’s dad brings him back in, since he was feeling nauseous in the parking lot, and asks Abby to have Pratt see him just in case. Instead, Damian gets an express ticket to the OR when he coughs up blood. I guess Pratt’s trick wasn’t as successful as he thought.

Elizabeth blasts Pratt for doing his procedure in the ER, but Pratt thinks the real problem is that the quarter was in Damian’s throat long enough to cause major complications. She tells him he’s lucky the family was just leaving the hospital when this happened. If they’d already been back home, Damian wouldn’t have made it back for treatment in time. As Pratt’s leaving the surgical floor, he runs into Weaver, who still feels guilty for not keeping a better eye on her patient.

Pratt heads back to the ER, where Ed has just collapsed. Coop determines that he has a carotid tear, which caused a clot in his neck. He doesn’t look good. Abby ends her turn as triage nurse early so she can make a phone call in Ms. Crawford’s room. She asks her credit card company if she can get a cash advance. She ends the call when she realizes that Ms. Crawford has died. She tells Neela that she’ll need to wake Erika and move her somewhere else so they can give Ms. Crawford’s bed to another patient.

Pratt checks on Mathers, who’s finally stopped complaining about everything. Pratt realizes he’s just been scared about losing his leg. He promises they’ll get Mathers into surgery really soon, even though that’s what he’s been hearing for hours now. Pratt tells Weaver to have Coop cover for him, then storms into an OR where an orthopedic surgeon is taking his sweet time in an operation. Pratt offers to assist so someone can go to the ER and take care of Mathers. Meanwhile, Neela carries Erika, who’s still asleep, to another room.

It’s morning when Abby shows up at her ex-husband’s house. Richard is now remarried and has a baby. No one in the home seems particularly happy, so Abby may have dodged a bullet. She asks Richard to co-sign a loan with her. She reminds him that she never asked him for alimony or any kind of spousal support, so he kind of owes her. Back at County, Romano yells at Pratt about all the stunts he pulled the night before. Pratt probably won’t take it personally, since Romano never liked him.

Pratt passes everyone off to Susan, then leaves along with Coop. Gallant praises Coop for making Ed’s diagnosis. Pratt gets no praise for everything he did for his patients overnight. Coop says he’s going to the gym before he goes home to get some sleep. Pratt declines to tag along, and instead goes home alone, the only person who cares how much he did during his shift.

Thoughts: Rossif Sutherland, who plays Lester, is Donald Sutherland’s son/Kiefer Sutherland’s brother.

Maybe I need a hobby but for years I haven’t been able to get over how Elizabeth puts on her bra at Dorset’s place. Obviously the normal way wouldn’t work on TV because you would see too much, but no one puts on a bra that has a clasp in the back by putting on the cups first.

Gillian schmillian – Luka doesn’t look at her the way he looks at Abby. I think he wants to get back together. Unfortunately, he’s about to get distracted by someone else.

December 28, 2021

ER 10.3, Dear Abby: The Breakup Heard ‘Round the Hospital

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

Guess who!

Summary: Abby is giving a tour to a group of new second-year residents, giving both them and us a glimpse of the new “cage,” the triage area. There’s now a desk where an admit nurse will speak to each patient, start a chart, and determine whether the patient needs to be seen immediately instead of sitting in the waiting room. The new residents will be joining Pratt, who will definitely not look down on them for being clueless newbies who don’t know their way around County as well as he does.

Police officers drag out an angry patient who tells Susan he’s going to come back for her. She sighs and tells him to bring her a latte when he does. Abby finishes the tour and asks if the residents have any questions. One, Archie Morris, asks why the patient board is see-through. Abby says it’s so they can see through it. Frank hopes he never needs treatment at County.

Abby’s eager for Luka to arrive at County after being flown out of the Congo. Connie and Lydia complain to her that Romano has scheduled them for fewer shifts than usual. Senior nurses’ hours are being cut so he can bring in travel nurses, who cost less money. Connie urges Abby to talk to him. Then Yosh tells her that she lost the nurses’ lottery and has to be the admit nurse for a few hours. Abby says there’s no statistically possible way she can lose the lottery every time. Abby, you’re the head nurse. Stop the lottery and make a schedule.

Her day is about to get better when Frank points out that Luka has arrived (along with Gillian). Before Abby can go greet him, Pratt and Neela ask for her help. Abby’s able to hand a patient off to Susan and almost catch up to Luka as he’s wheeled to an elevator. She’s just seconds too late to get to him before he’s taken upstairs.

Romano goes to the hospital’s prosthetist to get his new prosthetic arm, but he’s annoyed that it’s not the one he thought he was getting. His insurance won’t cover the one he wants. Also, this one has a hook, so no matter how annoying Romano is, he’s definitely right here. Back in the ER, Abby’s stuck at the triage desk, dealing with people who are angry about having to wait, kids who won’t behave, and general weirdos. Eventually she examines a teenager named Elle who’s sick enough to get seen immediately.

Susan asks Abby how Luka is. She has no idea, since she hasn’t had time to go see him. She also hasn’t had time to talk to Romano about the nurses’ schedules. Frank tells Abby he popped in to say hi to Luka, then chastises her for not visiting him yet. Abby calls upstairs to check on Luka, but Gillian has come back to the ER and tells her that he’s doing well enough to want a meatball sub. She recognizes Abby’s name because Carter talked about her in the Congo. She hands over the letter Carter asked her to give Abby. Abby starts reading, her face falling.

Romano crashes a meeting in Weaver’s office to throw a tantrum about his inferior prosthetic arm. Even though he’s yelling, he makes a good point that he should get better insurance coverage from the hospital where he lost the arm in the first place. Weaver calmly tells him to leave, so Romano leaves a long scratch in a table on his way out.

Abby is finishing the letter outside the hospital when the other nurses all walk by, announcing that they’re staging a walkout. Abby can’t deal with them and the letter and her job all at once, so she dismisses the nurses, crumples up the letter, throws it on the ground, and goes back inside. Frank complains about her littering and picks up the letter.

Pratt runs into one of the residents, Coop, who’s using his asthma inhaler. This is the only interesting thing about this character. Don’t get too attached. Pratt tells him that he and the other residents need to start picking up the pace. Coop’s been doing fine, and he makes excuses for Morris and the other resident whose name there’s no point in remembering because this is the only episode she’s in.

Pratt checks on Neela, who’s chanting a prayer while stitching up a patient. Pratt doesn’t think the patient requires a prayer since he’s not dying. Neela says it was a private prayer. Chen’s my-boyfriend-is-talking-to-someone-else-with-breasts radar goes off and she sends Neela on an errand. She reminds Pratt of their dinner plans that night.

Coop joins a trauma Susan and Morris are working on, instead of helping Pratt clear the board. Malik brings in Elle’s scans, which show that she’s experiencing heart failure. Abby counts down the remaining seconds of her turn as triage nurse and ditches her current patient. Frank, who’s holding her letter behind his back, tells her all the nurses left, so there’s no one to relieve her at the triage desk. Except we just saw Malik, so…

Romano tells Frank that everyone who signed the nurses’ petition and left for the walkout needs to be in the lounge in five minutes or they’ll be fired. Abby lies that they’re on a break, not staging a walkout. Also, she thinks Romano can’t fire nurses, but he says he can if they walk off the job. Abby runs off to get her co-workers as Frank admires Romano’s hook, saying it suits him.

Before Abby can find the nurses, a car pulls into the ambulance bay and a teen with a gunshot wound gets out, asking for help. The car he was in just drives off. Get better friends, Bobby. He starts declining quickly, and Pratt and Abby try to stabilize him in a trauma room. Abby thinks they need to open his chest, and she starts prepping him even though Pratt says it’s too early to make that decision. When Susan joins them, Abby and Pratt gripe about each other, and Susan sides with Pratt, believing Abby was too quick to jump to an invasive procedure.

Romano lends a hand (…sorry) in the ER, examining a girl who can’t take her eyes off of his prosthetic. He hands her off to Morris. Elizabeth comes down to help with Bobby, who’s still not stable. Abby suggests her idea again, then snaps at med students who are in her way. Elizabeth finally opens Bobby’s chest. Frank has started passing Abby’s letter around to other staff, so they know she’s been dumped. “Fun” fact: Carter uses the word “unfettered” in it. Shut up, Carter. Romano grumbles about the nurses, whom Jerry jokes are hiring a hit man.

Coop completely fails to read the room and introduces himself to Romano like they’re going to be close colleagues. Romano tells him to go up to the roof to meet a patient being brought in by helicopter. He should wave his arms and stand in the middle of the landing pad. Coop notes that Romano used to be a surgeon (though Romano still considers himself one), then asks if he has a scalpel attachment for his prosthetic. Instead of screaming at Coop, Romano calmly gives him some stern warnings. Coop talks back. Dude, I know he’s a jerk, but he’s still your superior. Romano yells for Coop to stay out of his face.

Elizabeth has run out of ways to try to save Bobby. Abby tries to get her to keep working, since he’s young and was doing well enough earlier to walk into the ER. Elizabeth doesn’t think he can be saved, and she declares his time of death. Neela and Coop treat a patient who fell while sanding the hull of a boat. He’s brought a cloud of fiberglass dust with him, which sets off Coop’s asthma.

A cardiologist tells Susan that Elle has pulmonary hypertension. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not good. Pratt tells Abby that six nurses were fired, which means there are only four left on their shift. He apologizes for not opening Bobby’s chest sooner, but Abby isn’t sure it would have made a difference. He tells her that he thinks “it’s Carter’s loss.” Abby doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Neela and Morris treat Coop, who’s not having any luck with asthma treatments. Neela accidentally gives him too much medication, thanks to a miscommunication from Morris. It messes with Coop’s heart rate, so Abby runs over to shock him back into rhythm. She congratulates Morris and Neela for saving their first resident.

Abby asks Malik to cover for her for a few minutes so she can go see Luka. Malik is just as busy as she is, and he can’t spare the time. He tells her he’s sorry about her and Carter. Abby asks how he knows about their breakup. He points the finger at Jerry. Abby’s been waiting for substitute nurses, but only one has arrived, an elderly woman named Edna. Even she knows about Abby and Carter’s breakup.

Abby asks Susan if she’s heard about the letter, but it sounds like Susan’s been too busy for gossip. She tells Abby that Elle’s diagnosis means she probably won’t live past the age of 21. Her parents don’t want her to know until after she has a test to confirm her condition, but the results won’t be in for three days. Abby thinks that’s ridiculous – Elle already knows something’s wrong. Susan tells her they have to honor the parents’ wishes.

A teacher has brought in some students to visit a classmate, and they’re lost, so Abby offers to take them to the children’s ward. The teacher asks if any of the students want to be nurses. Nope, they all want to be doctors. I know it’s supposed to be a blow to nurses, but who can be upset that these kids are aiming high? Good for you, kids! Just start saving your allowance now – med school is expensive.

Weaver blasts Romano for interrupting her meeting and for firing six nurses. Abby walks up with the kids as they’re bickering with each other. Weaver warns Romano not to fire anyone else. Romano calls her a b&^$%, either not noticing or caring that there are young kids around. Weaver says that she’s Romano’s boss, and as long as she is, he’s HER b&^$%. Abby hides a smile at that, and Romano rewards her with a gross procedure. She hands the kids off to Jerry, who’s carrying a bunch of blood bags. The kids all scream. Well, kids, you won’t be able to do that when you’re doctors.

Abby checks on Elle, who’s confused about why a cardiologist examined her since she thought her problem was with her lungs. Abby carefully says the heart and lungs are connected, so Susan was probably just being thorough by calling in a cardiologist. Elle asks if everything’s okay; her parents are acting weird. Abby avoids the question and tries not to give anything away.

Pratt meets Chen for dinner, surprised that her parents are also there. She ran into them downtown and they invited themselves along. Cue some awkward silence. Neela goes to Susan, having been told by cardiology that she should listen to a patient for a murmur. That patient is Elle, and now she knows something’s wrong with her heart. Oops! Susan pulls Neela out of the room to talk about the case, stopping when she catches Morris stealing an unconscious patient’s meal. Then it gets worse – that patient had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and is at risk of bleeding out.

Elizabeth returns to help Susan and Malik try to save the patient. Elizabeth tells Malik to page Dorset and tell him that Elizabeth needs him “badly.” Susan smirks. Abby tends to Elle, who’s distressed because no one will tell her what’s wrong with her. Just as Abby’s about to tell her, Susan bursts in and drags Abby out. Abby complains that they’re teaching Elle not to trust them when she needs them the most. Susan chastises her for going rogue more than once today. Abby’s trying to make calls that nurses aren’t allowed to make.

Dorset joins Elizabeth, Susan, Abby, Coop, and Morris with their patient. Elizabeth is impressed with his charm, but he’s kind of annoying. Susan agrees with me. He quizzes Coop and Morris about something, but they don’t know the answer. Abby does, so Dorset tells the residents, “You two have just been nurse-slapped.” He might get doctor-slapped if he keeps being so nonchalant while Susan’s anxious about the patient. Once things are under control, Dorset takes the patient to surgery, grinning egotistically. Coop and Morris admire his guts.

Gallant shows up for a shift and gets filled in on the latest gossip about Luka and the breakup letter. Romano asks what the letter says, so Jerry starts reading it. Abby grabs it and asks if anyone hasn’t read the letter. “I haven’t,” says a nearby patient. Heh. She blasts Jerry and Frank for looking at her personal mail. Lydia, Connie, and Yosh return with their own letters – they’ve been suspended for 90 days. Abby declares that she hates her job. Walking by, Edna tells her it’ll get better.

Chen’s parents have already ordered something for the table, and they speak Mandarin in front of Pratt until Chen tells them to stop. After asking about Pratt’s family, the Chens say that their daughter is going on a trip with them to China to rediscover her ancestry. Chen says they already talked about this and she’s not going. Her father says it’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from. Pratt asks if that’s a quote from Confucius. Chen’s mother says it’s just common sense.

Back at County, Dorset and Elizabeth flirt while Romano and I both roll our eyes. Elizabeth agrees to an hour-long coffee date. Romano goes to an empty trauma room, takes off his prosthetic, and throws it through a window. This show loves broken glass, huh? I wonder if he thinks his insurance company should cover the cost of that, too.

After dinner, Chen apologizes for surprising Pratt by bringing her parents to dinner. She doesn’t think they hate him; they just want her with someone “more traditional.” In other words, they want her to date a Chinese guy. Pratt says she should tell them to relax, since they’re not getting married or anything. Chen asks what they’re doing, then. Pratt says they’re having fun. He doesn’t think either of them is ready to settle down. That’s the wrong answer, and Chen tells him to find himself a new “bang buddy.” Yeah, I think they call them friends with benefits.

Speaking of sex, that’s what Elizabeth and Dorset are doing in the backseat of a car. Well, good for her, I guess. Abby finally finds time to go see Luka, and the two of them have a friendly reunion. She asks if he read Carter’s letter, and he says no like it would have been crazy for him to even think about it. He thinks Carter just wanted to explain why he was staying in the Congo. Being over there changes you, and Luka thinks Carter found himself. Abby jokes that she didn’t know he was missing. She says the relationship was doomed from the beginning, so it’s good that it’s over.

Luka says it’s weird to be back. Maybe he’s changed, too. Abby says change is good, and she’s looking into some for herself. Gillian joins them, kindly telling Abby that it was nice to finally meet her after hearing so much about her. Abby throws out the letter as she heads back to the ER and goes in to see Elle again, this time to tell her what everyone’s been keeping from her.

Thoughts: Morris is played by Scott Grimes. Coop is played by Glenn Howerton. Bobby is played by Zac Efron.

In the words of Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation, Morris is the wooo-ooooo-oorst.

Carter’s letter is the equivalent of saying, “You can’t fire me – I quit.” Does he think Abby asking for her key back wasn’t the end of the relationship?

I’m surprised Carter thinks Abby’s smart enough to know what “unfettered” means. Or maybe he defines it for her after he uses it in the letter.