March 21, 2023

ER 13.1, Bloodline: Who Had the Worst Day?

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

These two…

Summary: Police are securing the scene at County after Steve and Rafe shot up the ER. Weaver’s in the ambulance bay, looking shaken. She asks an employee who saw the fugitives leave if Sam was with them. He confirms that they dragged a woman out of the hospital. Weaver tells a cop Sam’s name and insists that he find her. Then she instructs Lily to have the ER shut down to incoming traumas and page Luka.

Frank heard about the shootings and came in to lend a hand. He’s a little shaken when he sees Jerry, who’s still being worked on in a trauma room. Aw, they fight a lot but they’re buddies! Weaver assures him that Jerry will be okay. She and Chuny find Timmy, who’s alone and scared. Weaver advises a cop to get a cut on his leg checked out, but he’s just going to bandage himself up and get back to work.

In the getaway van, Rafe and Steve change clothes and complain about how things went wrong. Sam tells Steve that Alex’s insulin level is peaking and he needs to eat something. It sounds like Steve doesn’t know much about his son’s diabetes. Back at County, Weaver checks in on Jerry and his team, who are waiting for the equipment Abby was supposed to get. Weaver says she’ll go find it. Instead, she finds Abby unconscious and bleeding outside the suture room. Then she hears Luka thrashing around and sees what the fugitives did to him.

Pratt and Neela are still at the cemetery, but when they hear about the shootings and what happened to Abby, they head to the hospital. Weaver and Chuny take care of Luka, who’s mostly fine and just wants to be with Abby. She’s awake now but dazed. A quick exam reveals that the baby is okay. It also reveals that it’s a boy. Weaver thinks there could be a problem with the placenta, which means Abby could need a C-section. Abby doesn’t agree, but she tells Weaver to send her to OB for an exam. She asks Luka to stay back and take care of Jerry.

Weaver continues running the ER, letting Pratt and Neela know when they arrive that Jerry’s heading to surgery and Abby’s okay. Neela goes straight to Abby, who insists that there’s nothing to worry about. Neela wants to go to OB with her anyway: “For fun, we can play Who Had the Worst Day?” The fugitives ditch the van for another vehicle in a convenience store parking lot, and Sam convinces Steve to get Alex something to eat. He and Mary stay back with Alex while Rafe goes in with Sam. Steve tells Alex to stand up straight and be a man; he’s not a little kid anymore. Yeah, I guess being kidnapped by your own father makes you grow up pretty fast.

Morris and Ray are having trouble stabilizing Jerry, so Luka takes over. They don’t think he’s well enough to work, so once he’s helped out a little, they make him sit down. Sam wisely keeps her eye on the convenience-store cashier and a security camera, making sure she’s caught on film stealing food. Rafe catches her, too, and averts her plan to get busted by someone who can help her.

Luka talks Morris through Jerry’s tough intubation, which is finally successful. They quickly send him up to surgery with Dubenko, who tells Luka that everyone from his floor is doing what they can to help out the ER doctors. Coburn examines Abby and tells her that while the baby is okay, she’s in preterm labor. She’s at risk for a placental abruption, which means she needs a C-section, just as Weaver guessed. Abby clearly doesn’t what that, but she doesn’t object.

On the way out of the store, Sam asks to use the restroom. This finally gives her a moment away from Rafe, and she writes a note on a paper towel saying she’s been kidnapped. She leaves her hospital badge with it. Again, Rafe catches her and ruins her plans. When she starts to leave, he grabs her by the hair and threatens to hurt Alex if she tries anything clever again.

Abby’s in pain now but doesn’t think she’s having contractions. Her placenta seemingly hasn’t abrupted, either, but Coburn wants to run tests. She knows Abby knows the risks and the steps they need to take in case the baby is born prematurely. Abby refuses to accept that she might deliver two-and-a-half months early. In two weeks, the risks will go way down; she’ll stay on bed rest until then. She wants Coburn to stop thinking about the worst-case scenario. Frustrated, Luka notes that that’s Coburn’s job. Abby finally agrees to the recommended treatment.

Things have calmed down a little in the ER, at least in terms of patients, so Weaver says they can reopen for traumas. Her leadership is definitely what’s gotten everything under control (plus, I assume, everyone’s willingness to work a little harder to make up for the colleagues who are currently unable to do their jobs). The fugitives get stuck at a railroad crossing, and Rafe impatiently drives around the gates. A cop starts following them and eventually pulls them over, so Steve loads his gun and tells everyone to be cool. As the cop is either running their plates or calling for backup, Rafe takes off again.

Jerry’s mother has arrived at County, and Morris tells her about his condition, optimistic about his prognosis. Mrs. Markovic has nothing nice to say about County. She claims that Jerry could have gone to Harvard and then law school. You know, if Harvard hadn’t rejected him four times. She asks how much Jerry’s treatment will cost. Morris is impressively patient with her but flees as soon as he can.

He joins Neela, who’s observing Jerry’s surgery. Dubenko is his typical calm self even through complications. Neela has a hunch about what’s causing a problem with Jerry’s heart, and Dubenko follows through and stabilizes him. He asks Neela to scrub in. I guess Neela’s rough day isn’t so bad anymore.

The fugitives end up in a police chase, and Sam begs Steve to let her and Alex out, since he doesn’t need hostages anymore. Instead, they continue the chase, and the cop ends up in a truly scary crash that’s really impressive by stunt standards. When Sam asks again to be released, Steve yells that she’s not leaving.

Abby and Luka worry about her as they wait to see what happens with the baby. Abby says they’re not ready, but Luka thinks they are. He asks if they can name the baby after his father, Mongo. Abby tries to stay diplomatic, but Luka admits that he’s kidding. His father’s name is actually Josef. Abby suddenly doubles over in pain and says she thinks her water broke. She’s actually bleeding again, and the baby’s heart rate starts dropping. Coburn guesses it’s an abruption, so Abby needs to go to the OR.

The fugitives stop at a junkyard and fight about what they should do next. Alex asks Sam if Steve is going to hurt them. She promises him that everything will be okay. When the fugitives go into some old building, Sam and Alex start searching their things for weapons or car keys. Sam promises that she won’t let anyone hurt Alex. They hear gunshots from the building and rush back to the car. Steve emerges and just asks if they’re hungry. I think it’s safe to say that Rafe and Mary are no longer part of this.

Pratt checks on Frank, who says that he always believed that nothing ever really changes – there’s always war and there are always bad guys. Today, he feels like the world is getting worse. Pratt disagrees. Today was a just a rough one for them. As Neela scrubs in to help Dubenko, Abby anxiously awaits her C-section. Morris and Pratt watch together as Neela joins Dubenko. Luka monitors Abby’s blood loss as Coburn does the C-section. The baby isn’t in great shape, and Abby and Luka wait to hear him cry as Neela and Dubenko wrap up Jerry’s surgery.

The baby isn’t breathing, and the NICU doctors need to move him out of Abby’s OR. Abby’s bleeding and isn’t clotting, making her worry that she’s going to bleed out. She tells Luka to go to the NICU with the baby, yelling at him when he says he wants to stay with her. She doesn’t want the baby to be alone. Luka reluctantly leaves as Coburn tries to stop Abby’s bleeding.

After Alex falls asleep in the backseat of the getaway vehicle, Steve sits with Sam and talks about the stars as if this is just a normal family road trip. She tells him that she was going to ask him what happened to turn him into this person, but she thinks he was always on this path. Steve says he loves Alex, no matter what Sam thinks. Sam’s like, “Yeah, you really did a great job showing that today.”

Steve says that Sam is right to be mad. It’s his fault that their family split up. Now the three of them need to stay together. He’d rather all of them die than be separated again. He starts kissing Sam, telling her he doesn’t want her to be afraid of him. She doesn’t need to be. He lowers her to the ground and starts removing her clothes. She’s too tired to fight, and Alex is asleep just a few yards away, so she stays quiet and still while Steve rapes her.

Coburn has tried multiple ways to stop Abby’s bleeding but nothing has been successful. Her last option is a hysterectomy. Weaver goes to the NICU to let Luka know that Jerry’s in recovery. Unfortunately, there’s no news on Sam. Weaver can empathize with Luka, since Henry spent some time in the NICU. She tries to keep him optimistic. Luka’s exhausted and overwhelmed, and he can barely keep his emotions inside. Weaver tells him to go be with Abby, implying that she’ll stay with the baby so he won’t be alone.

Neela, Pratt, and Morris tell Jerry how they saved him. Mrs. Markovic comes in and complains about how she’s had to sit in the waiting room for hours and missed water aerobics. She’s annoying, yes, but she was also clearly scared, and she’s relieved that Jerry’s going to be okay. Morris tries to get in good with her with some Yiddish, since she’s a stereotypical Jewish mom, but she’s not impressed.

Luka goes back to Abby, who’s relieved to hear that other than being premature, the baby is doing pretty well. She asks if one child will be enough for Luka. She wound up having to have a hysterectomy. Luka assures her that one is all they need. Abby’s disappointed not to be able to go to the NICU for at least 24 hours, but Luka has connected some sort of monitoring system to his phone, and they’re able to watch the baby like he’s on a video monitor. Abby wants to name him Joe. She doesn’t remember much about her father, but he liked Joe Frazier because he was a “pure fighter.”

Luka goes to the restroom to wash up a little. He breaks down, finally allowing himself to cry. He’s already lost a wife and two children, and he almost lost his partner and his third child today, but he knows he needs to stay strong. He picks up a trash can and throws it at a mirror.

Steve falls asleep after he’s done with Sam, and she finally gets her moment to run away. Alex is already in the getaway car, so she just has to get the keys and drive. She pauses instead and goes back to Steve, taking his gun. She aims it at him, checking to make sure he’s still asleep, then fires it three times.

Thoughts: Mrs. Markovic is played by the late Estelle Harris.

Frank’s concern over Jerry in no way makes up for his general horribleness, but it’s very sweet. It’s nice to see how much everyone likes Jerry.

I hate how TV shows always fall back on pregnant women having to have emergency hysterectomies. Leave women alone!

March 14, 2023

ER 12.22, 21 Guns: A Bad Day to Die

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

These are their “everything is completely fine” faces

Summary: Pratt is heading off to a graveside service for Gallant, which only he, Gallant’s parents, and Neela will be attending. There will be another memorial later that the County staff can go to. They tell Pratt to give Neela their good thoughts. Haleh introduces Weaver and Sam to a woman named Mary who’s an EMT trainee and is going to spend the day shadowing in the ER. Then she drops Mary in Sam’s lap.

Ray asks Pratt how Neela’s doing, since she hasn’t returned his calls. Pratt says she’s better than expected, but she probably needs some space from her ex-roommate. He might complicate things. They learn that Neela’s skipping the funeral, having said that she’s not up to it. So I guess she’s not doing as well as Pratt has led on.

Abby wakes up to the sounds of Luka talking to himself in Croatian while trying to put together a crib. He’s had insomnia because of Gallant’s death and the mess with Clemente, and he’s using his extra waking hours to prepare the nursery. He talks to the baby in Croatian, and Abby tells him how much she appreciates all he’s doing. Also, maybe they should talk about where their relationship stands. “You’re right – let’s get married,” Luka says.

Weaver meets with Anspaugh before they go before a committee to discuss the Clemente situation. A patient who had a toe amputated after being treated by Clemente is going to sue. Weaver says that Clemente was cleared by the Impaired Physicians Committee and never tested positive for drugs on the job. She doesn’t believe he ever compromised patient care. Anspaugh doesn’t think that matters. Clemente’s on a list of bad doctors posted by the state board. Weaver should have checked it.

The board is upset with Weaver’s hiring practices, but she argues that she hired the best attending she could find. Anspaugh notes that she knew Clemente’s history, including the unspecified Newark incident we keep hearing about. Weaver says that was complicated, and it wasn’t clear what really happened. Anspaugh chastises her for not keeping a better eye on Clemente. She notes that she’s not in the ER much anymore; she doesn’t know what goes on down there. That’s another problem: The board isn’t sure that Luka is capable of running the ER. Weaver thinks that’s ridiculous; he’s doing well enough with what he has.

Luka’s a little cool toward Abby as they work on a patient together, so it’s not surprising to learn that she didn’t answer his sort-of proposal the way he’d hoped she would. It’s not that she doesn’t love him or want to be with him – she doesn’t think they should get married just because they’re having a baby. Plus, their lives are about to change completely, and she’d like to get through becoming a parent before she adds another major change.

Weaver calls Luka away to tell him that she’ll be out of the ER for a while for a meeting about Clemente. She makes it seem like Luka’s to blame for Clemente getting out of control, since he saw all the warning signs but didn’t fire Clemente. Luka worries that he’s going to get fired next. Weaver says that if she weren’t chief of staff, Luka might not be in charge of the ER.

Pratt goes to Neela’s place to try to talk her into going to the funeral. She’s not ready to say goodbye, since she thinks that means she’s going to forget Gallant. She’s already started to. She’s obsessed with trying to figure out why Gallant went back to Iraq. Pratt says he did what he felt was right. He wanted to be part of something bigger than himself. Pratt gets that now that he’s been to Darfur. Sometimes trying to make a difference means taking risks. He assures Neela that no one wants to forget Gallant. The funeral is part of that.

This is Morris’ last day at County, since he’s taken that pharmaceutical job, so he’s making a video of all his colleagues saying nice things about him. Abby reluctantly participates, saying she feels like a hostage, since he told her what to say. A kid named Timmy comes in with a stomachache, and Morris punishes Abby by assigning her to his case. Abby has to tend to an elderly man named Mitch first, so Jerry hangs out with Timmy.

Two of Mitch’s friends tell Abby that when he didn’t show up for a trip with their church group, they started praying. They had visions that led them to Mitch, who was half a mile from the church. Sam is next for Morris’ video, which she thinks is for his parents. She tells him to go see a patient who needs a rectal exam, but Morris refuses. He’s not treating any patients today who are old, young, or need rectal exams. Only hot women for Morris!

Mary’s not a very fast learner, so Sam takes her for more observation. She tries to get information on Mitch out of his friends, but they don’t know much about his condition or medications. Ray examines Timmy as Jerry chats with him about the school play he was in. Timmy wanted to play a bunny but got stuck as a strawberry instead. Jerry feels his pain – he wanted to be the Cowardly Lion in a production of The Wizard of Oz, but he was cast as a Munchkin instead. (Clearly this was before Jerry got really tall.)

Paramedics bring in a prison inmate named Rafe who was injured in a fight. His sparring partner was Steve, and the fight ripped open his stitches from his appendectomy. Sam hears him yelling in the hallway. Luka has no patience for Mary’s lack of medical skills or what he sees as Sam’s failure to properly train her. Mary may be the one woman in history to not be attracted to Luka.

Pratt and Neela ride to the funeral with the casualty officer who told Neela about Gallant’s death. He lets them know that Gallant’s parents requested a military honor for the service. Neela clearly just wants everything to be over. Once Mitch is stable, Abby tells his friends that it looks like he took too many pills by accident. One of the women says she can feel something bad there. She asks if everything’s okay with Abby’s baby. Abby says things are fine, but she doesn’t seem confident. The women hope that she believes in God, because they couldn’t have brought children into the world without faith in a higher power.

Sam apologizes to Luka for being a little off her game in the ER. Mary’s dragging her down. Mary tells Sam that Luka needs to lighten up a little. Sam just says that it’s his department. She obviously wants to check on Steve, whom Ray says is going to be fine. He won’t make her treat her ex. They go tend to Rafe, who’s having breathing problems and needs to be intubated. Sam tells Mary that they’re using something called vec (vecuronium), which will sedate him for the procedure. Ray decides that he doesn’t need intubation yet.

A prison guard asks how long Rafe will be there. Rafe snaps at him and the guard taunts him. Sam tells the guard that as long as inmates are at County, they’re patients, not prisoners. Rafe appreciates her compassion. At the cemetery, Neela numbly sits through the funeral. Everyone flinches at the 21-gun salute. Neela remembers her last in-person fight with Gallant, when she tried to talk him out of not going back to Iraq. She also remembers the first time they expressed interest in each other and how happy she was to see him when he got back to Chicago.

Rafe will have to spend the night at County, but his injuries aren’t too serious. He tells Sam that Steve started the fight and is “a wrong number.” Sam should stay away from him. She leaves Mary to keep an eye on Rafe while she goes to see Steve in the suture room. Her back is turned to the window into the trauma room next door, but Steve has an eye on it. He watches as Mary suddenly puts a cloth over Rafe’s guard’s mouth, then uncuffs Rafe. She comes into the suture room with a gun. As Rafe drags his unconscious guard into the room, Mary orders Sam to close the blinds.

Morris gets a patient to say a bunch of nice things about him. I don’t think she knows English well enough to get what she’s saying. Morris, this is really sad. Jerry and Timmy play a computer game at the admit desk as Luka reviews a chart and sees that Mary screwed up some vitals again. Ray tells him that Steve is back after a jail brawl.

Rafe puts on a guard’s jacket and tells Sam that she’s going to wheel Steve out like he’s going back to prison. Sam warns Steve that once he crosses this line, he won’t be able to cross back over. He tells her that he’s been busted for a bunch of stuff and will be in prison for a long time. She yells that that’s what he deserves. Rafe breaks up the argument and tells Sam that if there’s anything they haven’t anticipated, she needs to mention it now.

Luka’s on his way to check on Rafe, who he sees isn’t in his trauma room. He goes next door to the suture room, and Mary moves the blinds away a little to say she needs a second. Sam shakes her head, trying to tell Rafe not to get him involved. But Mary opens the door and suddenly Luka is in the middle of the prison break. He tries to overpower Steve, and Sam yells for Rafe not to shoot him. Instead, Mary injects Luka with a syringe full of vec. Steve beats him up and knocks him out.

Sam checks on Luka, telling Mary that the vec paralyzed his muscles and made him stop breathing. She uses a bag to give him oxygen and begs Rafe and Steve to let her intubate him. If she doesn’t, he’ll die. Steve doesn’t want a murder on his hands, so he sends Mary (who is clearly Rafe’s girlfriend) to get their getaway van while Sam takes care of Luka. Mary runs into Abby, who’s looking for an ultrasound machine. Mary keeps her out of the suture room, telling her that Luka went somewhere else. Abby starts to open the door, her eyes still on Mary, and Rafe points his gun at her. She figures out where Luka went and cluelessly walks away.

At the funeral reception, Colonel Gallant tells Pratt and the casualty officer how Sitting Bull told his warriors, “This is a good day to die.” That’s how soldiers should think, and it’s how Colonel Gallant raised his son to think. Neela gives him Gallant’s medals, since to her, they only mean that her husband is dead. Colonel Gallant comments that this is a hard time for all of them. Neela is furious that he seems to think Gallant had a noble death. He could have convinced his son to stay in the U.S. Instead, he made Gallant want to go back. It would have been easier to convince him to stay for a better reason: Because they loved him.

Sam shakily tries to intubate Luka, apologizing to him, since he can hear and feel what’s going on. She asks Steve why he got her involved in this. Steve says this was all Rafe’s idea. Rafe’s eager to leave, and he’ll go with or without Steve. Sam asks for one last try, enlisting Steve to help her with the intubation. She’s successful, and she refuses to leave with the guys until she’s sure Luka’s stable. She’s relieved to see him open his eyes.

Rafe turns out the lights, leaving Luka alone in the dark as he, Steve, and Sam leave together. Morris and a couple of cops stop them to ask Sam about Mitch, who’s been declared a missing person. She tells them to check in sutures. Morris doesn’t catch on (no surprise there), and he doesn’t recognize that the guard with Sam and Steve is actually Rafe.

Steve wants to take a different exit, since there are cops around now, but they’re close to the front door, so Rafe insists that they keep going. Jerry asks Sam for paperwork, which she claims is in sutures. As she walks by the admit desk, she turns around and pulls a Donna, calling Abby “Abigail” to let her know that something’s wrong. Abby immediately catches on.

The cops who were with Morris ask Rafe to come back. He, Steve, and Sam make it out the first set of doors and into the waiting area. It’s quiet in there, except for the noise of the coin a girl has just put in a vending machine. Steve gets up from his wheelchair, and he and Rafe start shooting into the ER. Jerry shields Timmy while Abby dives for cover, falling over a cart full of charts. The cops fire back, but they’re not very good shots, which is actually a good thing, because Steve has Sam pressed up against him.

As the guys reload, two more cops step off an elevator. Rafe shoots them and the guys run out to the ambulance bay. Mary is just pulling up in their getaway van, and Sam struggles against Steve when he tries to get her inside. She tells him to stop shooting and go. He should think about Alex. “I already did,” Steve replies. He opens the door to reveal that Alex is in the back of the van with duct tape on his mouth and wrists. As soon as Sam registers what’s happening, she jumps in the van. Cops make it outside and shoot at the getaway van, which makes a clean escape.

Abby’s ears are ringing as she gets up. Police start taking care of the crime part of the shooting while Zadro calls out for people to indicate if they need medical attention. Haleh checks on Abby, who has a cut on her head but seems fine otherwise. As the staff assesses the scene, Abby discovers that Jerry was shot. He would not recommend the experience. But he saved Timmy, so at least he got to be a hero.

Mary speeds down the highway as the escapees try to figure out what to do next. Steve says that he prayed for God to make him a better man, and after a while, God finally started talking back. He told Steve that losing Sam was where his life fell apart, so he could fix everything by getting her back. I assume God wasn’t the one who came up with the escape plan or the idea to kidnap Alex.

Abby, Morris, and Haleh work on Jerry, though Abby has trouble with a procedure and Morris hands it off to Ray. Abby says she’s a little dizzy from hitting her head, but she can still work. She asks Ray if Luka took a patient to the OR. Ray says he hasn’t seen Luka. He’s tied to a gurney in the suture room, and though he manages to thrash around enough to move it across the room, he can’t accomplish much on his back, with a tube down his throat.

Pratt and Neela have gone back to the grave site. She asks if this is something she’ll never get over. He thinks it’ll make it stronger, and she’ll move on with her life, because that’s all she can do and it’s what Gallant would want. He keeps getting calls from the hospital and says he thinks something’s happening over there.

Jerry’s declining, and Morris tells him they would really appreciate if he would crack a joke right now. He thinks Jerry’s bleeding somewhere they haven’t noticed yet. Weaver comes in and is shocked to see Jerry injured. Morris keeps insisting that he’s bleeding internally. The team finally figures out that it’s his chest, so Abby goes to get some kind of machinery.

She ends up in the trauma room where Rafe was treated, and Luka can see her through the window in the suture room. He watches as she doubles over in pain, then looks down to see blood on her hand from between her legs. She puts her hand on the window between them, then slides down the wall, passing out. Luka thrashes desperately on the gurney, unable to do anything as Abby bleeds out just a few feet away.

Thoughts: Linda Cardellini (Sam) and Parminder Nagra (Neela) are both really good in this episode. Then again, I’ve never seen them in anything where they weren’t really good.

It’s so completely (and frustratingly) in character for Weaver to try to pin the Clemente stuff on Luka when she’s the one who hired him, and Luka handled things the best he could. Bad Kerry! Bad!

Obviously I would never encourage anyone to do what Steve, Rafe, and Mary do here, but using Mary as a kind of inside woman is pretty brilliant.

That’s it for season 12. Up next: Forest Whitaker and more John Stamos.

January 17, 2023

ER 12.14, Quintessence of Dust: The Smoking Gun

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

Have I mentioned how much I like John Leguizamo? ‘Cause I really like John Leguizamo

Summary: The day shift is on its way out, and Pratt is passing some patients on to Abby before going to a charity bachelor auction. Morris says that only the 50 hottest bachelors in Chicago are participating, and as the 51st, he just missed the cut-off. Haleh questions Pratt’s claims that his Black girlfriend is okay with him, also Black, being auctioned off to rich white women. “Take it easy, Angela Davis,” Pratt says, pointing out that they might not all be white.

With Clemente still MIA, County has been working with some moonlighting and temporary attendings. Abby doesn’t like them since they never know what’s going on, but Morris appreciates that, since he was able to get one to buy dinner for a whole shift. Clemente has missed four shifts now, and Morris and Jerry assume he’s been hanging out with Jodie.

They’re right, as they’re currently in bed, her doing a crossword puzzle, him offering up answers while tied to a bedpost. He gives her the word “quintessence,” which is from Hamlet and means “no higher form.” They’re both naked and neither is sober, thanks to what I assume is coke. He has no interest in leaving, and they haven’t gone anywhere in a week.

Pratt is “sold” for $600 to someone who is decidedly not a rich white woman, unless it’s a woman with a very deep voice. The next morning, Jerry shares a postcard from Carter, who hasn’t been very good at keeping in touch. Morris fights with Albright, then asks Luka to weigh in on “Dr. Stalin” and her tendency to take over their turf. Albright mocks him for the new nickname, and Morris says that in college, he spent a semester in Germany. Luka gives him a look. “Where we studied…Russia,” Morris says, taking a stab in the dark.

Albright tells Luka that her residents need trauma training so they can clean up the ER staff’s messes. Morris doesn’t think they’ll get much out of that training. The ER residents, however, need to be able to handle anything and everything. Albright taunts that they definitely need more training, which Morris and Weaver agree is cold. Albright calls Morris a sissy, then tries to whine to Luka again. He tells them to work things out themselves.

Weaver’s covering for Clemente but has to stay off her feet as much as she can, thanks to her hip injury, so I’m not sure how much she’ll be able to do. Frank suggests having her talk to Albright about her attitude, since they’re both a demeaning, gendered insult I refuse to repeat. Shut up, Frank. Abby is on my side, but Albright doesn’t mind guys seeing her that way, since it means they respect her. Uh, I don’t think they do. Morris doesn’t, at least.

When Pratt arrives, everyone wants to know how much money he went for at the auction. The other employees had a pool, but it doesn’t sound like anyone guessed that someone would pay $600 for dinner with him. He admits that a guy won, and all the male staff members at the admit desk stare at him. “Is he cute?” Ray asks. Everyone cracks up. Pratt says he didn’t meet the guy.

The others tease that maybe the guy will pay for dinner, but that he shouldn’t assume that means anything. Abby’s annoyed that they’re being homophobic, though I don’t think they are. It’s not like they’re saying it’s gross that Greg’s having dinner with another man. Morris tells Luka that his woman is getting weird. Abby threatens to hit him with a hole puncher if he ever refers to her as someone’s woman again. Luka pulls her away before she follows through on that. She confides that she’s on edge because she’s waiting for some test results about the baby.

Paramedics bring in a 60-something homeless man named Dexter who was beaten by some teenagers. They were trying to steal his can opener, of all things. He thinks they were taking part in a dare. Also, he wants his can opener back. Jodie and Clemente go shopping at the mini-mart, still stoned. They’re loud and giggly and generally the exact kind of people you don’t want to encounter when you’re shopping.

Abby and Luka call Coburn to get the test results, which Abby is anxious about and Luka is characteristically optimistic about. He holds her hand as she gets the news that everything looks good. Jodie and Clemente go to his apartment, barely through the door before they start undressing. They don’t realize that Jodie’s husband, Bobby, is lurking in the shadows. He tells Jodie to get her things, but she refuses to leave with him. Bobby hurls racist slurs at Clemente, who orders him out. Jodie blurts out that she filed for divorce.

Bobby turns apologetic, just like a typical abusive spouse when they realize they’ve crossed a line. He doesn’t want to leave Jodie there with Clemente. Clemente defuses things before they can get bad by advising Bobby to leave and call Jodie later. Bobby goes, and Clemente comments that that went pretty well, considering. But Bobby returns moments later and fires a gun at them.

Frank and Morris tease Pratt some more about his “man date.” Morris reveals that he had four dates with a trans woman. I’m sure he handled it very maturely and calmly when he found out. Sam asks for morphine for a patient who was supposed to be in the OR by now. Morris, of course, complains to Albright, then announces that he’s forbidding his residents from writing orders for patients she’s keeping in the ER until they’re ready for surgery. Albright writes the orders herself, gives them to Abby, and tells her that Morris is “a little penis.” Abby’s like, “I just walked in; why are people putting me in the middle of their fights?”

She and Luka go out to the roach coach, discussing whether they want to find out the baby’s sex. He does, but she’s not quite ready for the pregnancy to feel so real. Luka reminds her that the baby’s 16 weeks along, so it’s already pretty real. She wonders if there’s anyone they need to tell. Um, do you mean other than your mother?

Clemente speeds down the street and crashes his car in the ambulance bay. Jodie’s in the backseat, covered in blood. Luka, Abby, and Sam start taking care of her, and she asks for Clemente, then says, “He shot me.” Ray is still with Dexter, who practices piano chords as a nervous habit. Ray recognizes them and they start talking about music. When Ray was younger, his father listened to jazz records by a musician with the same last name as Dexter. Turns out that was Dexter himself.

Clemente assures Jodie that her injuries aren’t anything to worry about. When Luka asks, Clemente tells him that Bobby shot Jodie. The staff is skeptical, since it sure sounded like Jodie was saying that Clemente shot her. He jumps in to help take care of her, but Luka shuts him down. Pratt comes in and happens to be close enough to catch Clemente when he starts to collapse. Pratt drags him to the next trauma room for treatment for a shoulder wound. Clemente tries to use that to convince Sam that he wasn’t the shooter.

He calls instructions into the next room, where Weaver joins the team to try to stabilize Jodie. She determines that Jodie needs surgery immediately, and since Albright hasn’t responded to Sam’s previous pages, they should contact Dubenko instead. He’s just finished a procedure with Neela where she screwed something up. He chastises her for it and tells her not to get defensive or make excuses. However, he’s sympathetic since he knows Gallant went back to Iraq.

Jodie’s losing a lot of blood, so Luka isn’t happy that Albright is missing and Dubenko took so long to come to her trauma room. Neela goes to help Pratt and Weaver with Clemente, and they’re a little amused by how she acts like a surgeon. He’s anxious about Jodie’s condition and yells more instructions to her trauma team. Weaver tells him that Luka knows what he’s doing. Clemente thrashes around, trying to get up, and he knocks Weaver to the floor. She responds by putting him in restraints.

Albright joins Dubenko and Neela as they’re operating on Jodie. Neela has to admit that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Morris comes in to fight with Albright more, and when Neela tells him this is a bad time, he says he can’t hear her because she’s dead to him. Wait, Neela found a way to get Morris to stop talking to her? Teach it to everyone else, Neela! Albright asks Dubenko to make Morris go away. Morris taunts her for tattling to her attending, and Dubenko tells Albright to get rid of the annoyance. Morris is gleeful that she’s been kicked out of surgery.

Back in the ER, Haleh, Chuny, Ray, and Frank gossip about what happened to Clemente and Jodie. Frank is sure that Clemente shot himself to make it look like he was an innocent victim. Pratt tells them to knock it off. Chuny gives Ray a wallet she found, which happens to belong to Dexter. Inside, Ray finds a newspaper wedding notice for a woman named Sarah, who has Dexter’s last name.

Clemente lets himself into Jodie’s OR, where Neela still doesn’t know what she’s doing. Dubenko says they’ll probably have to remove one of Jodie’s kidneys. Clemente objects, so Dubenko sends him to observe outside the OR. Neela wants to try to save Jodie’s kidney, and Dubenko is open to suggestions. She’s not sure what to do, and he tells her to think like he’s not there and she’s in charge. He ignores Clemente as he continues protesting, then gives Neela the go-ahead to try her idea.

Morris: (yelling at Albright). Albright: (declaring war). Me: (screaming into a pillow). Abby and Haleh don’t like how Albright treats them; they think she’s only interested in the male residents. Abby’s eating her third ice cream sandwich of the day, and Morris casually asks if she’s pregnant. She pauses before making a “that’s completely absurd!” face. He says it must be true, so she tries to deflect by accusing him of being in love with Albright. They both clam up when Pratt asks what they’re talking about.

Ray has contacted Sarah, wanting her to know that her father’s at the hospital. He didn’t attend her wedding since he didn’t want to be seen in his current state. She tells him that she would have paid for a suit for him, but he firmly says he doesn’t want her money. She asks him to stay with her and her husband, at least for a little while. He says that’s not right for him.

Neela, Dubenko, and their team work calmly and steadily on Jodie. Pratt brings Clemente a copy of Jodie’s tox screen, upset that Clemente didn’t mention in the ER that she’d used drugs. He figures that Clemente didn’t want to be treated himself because he would have been tested, too. Pratt hopes Clemente has a good story to tell the police, because right now it looks like he’s the shooter. Jodie’s the only one who can clear him.

Luka runs into Alex and gives him a hockey puck he got at a recent game. They chat a little about how Sam wants Alex to go to college but he wants to be a NASCAR driver. Dexter left without Ray signing off on his discharge, and he most likely went back to the streets. Pratt’s “date” has arrived, and everyone’s surprised to see that it’s a woman. Pratt pretends he was just joking about a man winning him at the auction.

Jodie’s surgery is over and Albright isn’t happy that Neela scrubbed in or has a good rapport with Dubenko. Albright is Neela’s supervisor during this elective, so Neela should be trying to impress her. Neela says she’s not trying to impress anyone. Albright threatens payback if Neela ever tries to prevent her from joining an operation again. Excuse me? Neela didn’t do that at all. Shut up, Albright.

Clemente wants to see Jodie in the ICU, and apparently no one’s called the police or anything, because no one stops him. He thanks Neela, who says they did their best. Luka kindly tells Sam about his and Abby’s baby so she doesn’t have to hear it from someone else or with a bunch of other people. Sam can’t cover her surprise and what’s most likely some grief over what she won’t ever get to have with him again.

Clemente talks more Shakespeare to an unconscious Jodie, as if people actually do stuff like this in real life. Weaver comes by and says she heard that the surgeons were able to save Jodie’s kidney. Unfortunately, the blood loss and other complications mean Jodie could have neurological damage. Weaver tells Clemente that the police went to his place and found drugs. They think he shot Jodie. He asks about the gun, which the police didn’t find. Then he asks if he’s fired. “Not yet,” Weaver says.

Pratt heads out with his date, whose friend “bought” Pratt for her. He has the biggest grin on his face when he says good night to Ray. Dexter is right out on the corner, collecting change. Ray tries to talk him into working on his relationship with Sarah, but Dexter’s still resistant. Ray takes him to Ike Ryan’s, where Dexter starts playing the piano and singing “Many Rivers to Cross.” Everyone at the bar is captivated.

Abby finally calls Maggie to tell her about the baby. We don’t hear her response, but she must be ecstatic. Clemente reluctantly leaves Jodie’s side so he can talk to the police. Sam leaves the ER with Alex, saying goodbye to Luka. Luka finally gets a chance to read Carter’s postcard, which sends us into a glimpse of Carter and Debbie in Africa. But we’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out more about what they’ve been up to.

Thoughts: Albright and Morris, either make out already or shut up. No, wait – make out already AND shut up.

Dubenko was annoying when he first came on the show, but he’s growing on me a little. He shows Neela a good balance of toughness and kindness, and he never loses patience with her during surgery. I also like how he handles Morris, Albright, and Clemente. No matter what’s going on, he always puts the patient first.

I think it’s sweet that Luka still makes an effort to be friendly to Alex. Even better, Alex is comfortable talking to him.

November 29, 2022

ER 12.7, The Human Shield: Better Off Dead

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:00 pm by Jenn

Sir, I’m going to need you to start taking hints. Like, immediately

Summary: A man named Vincent Jansen and a ten-year-old girl named Sydney are eating breakfast in a coffee shop. Sydney isn’t hungry, so she’s coloring on her place mat. Jansen spots someone across the room on the phone, watching him, and asks the waitress for the bill. The waitress says there’s a delay because a machine is out. Jansen gets antsy and pays in cash, telling Sydney they’re going. She decides not to take her picture with them.

They leave through the kitchen, and Jansen scans the parking lot, then takes Sydney’s hand. He tells her he liked her picture and they should keep it. Sydney notices before he does that a police car is speeding toward them. Jansen picks her up, then points a gun at the cops who emerge from the car. He holds Sydney in front of him as the titular human shield and heads toward their car. Paramedics arrive next, including Zadro and a guy named Tony Gates. They hide while a cop shoots Jansen, then approaches to check on Sydney. She’s been hit as well.

At County, Sam yells for security since a big guy named Darrel is holding Clemente up against a wall. He doesn’t appreciate Clemente’s method of checking him for internal bleeding. Clemente wipes Darrel’s own crap on his nose, which gets Darrel to drop him. On the plus side, he’s not bleeding internally! On the down side, now he wants a tetanus shot.

K.J. is MIA, and Eve wants to punt him from the ER. He’s a volunteer, so she should probably calm down. Clemente gathers the residents to tell them they’ll be introducing new equipment and procedures to bring the ER into the 21st century. For starters, they’ll have patient communication boards so patients who are intubated can point to or mark questions or requests. Abby uses her board to write, “This is a%$,” which she flashes at Ray behind Clemente’s back.

Next, the ER will be using something called freedom splints instead of wrist restraints. The splints look like oversized versions of those floaties you put on kids’ arms before they learn how to swim. Clemente and Eve request a volunteer to demonstrate, so Pratt kicks Jerry’s wheelie chair toward them. Neela arrives during the demonstration, and since she’s dressed up, Frank and Clemente make comments (Clemente’s are in Spanish) that should definitely get them disciplined for sexual harassment. She’s dressed up because Gallant is coming to visit. Yay!

Sam pops out of an exam room to tell Clemente that Darrel put his head through a supply cabinet. Clemente tells Ray to distract Darrel (like a rodeo clown) so he can give him a tranquilizer. Why not put the freedom splints on him? Luka comes by, announcing that there are gunshot victims coming in and getting everyone mobilized. Well, except Jerry, who’s still stuck in the freedom splints.

While waiting for the ambulances, Luka tells Abby that a father used his daughter as a human shield. She lets him know that Clemente is making some changes in the ER. She wonders if he’s going to be the new head, which is the rumor. Luka clarifies that she’s talking about the guy who got her and Neela suspended for working on a chimp. If Clemente wants the job, Luka says he can have it: “Maybe he can open a petting zoo in the doctors’ lounge.” Heh.

Sydney arrives first, and when Abby asks her name, she says Jansen calls her Mezoti. (Apparently this is a Star Trek reference.) A cop explains that Jansen isn’t Sydney’s father – he kidnapped her. This cop, Yau, is the one who took down Jansen, but he insists that he had a clear shot and didn’t hit Sydney. He thinks Jansen’s gun accidentally fired when he went down. Sydney asks if Jansen’s dead. She’s also concerned because she dropped her stuffed dog.

Sam tends to a college freshman whose dormmates drew on his face while he was passed out. Frank bugs her about firing Haleh, and of course, when Sam says she was just following orders, he makes a Nazi comparison. Hey, Frank? Don’t compare the firing of one person to mass genocide. Also, shut up. He gives her a letter that Steve sent from prison.

Pratt joins Luka as an ambulance brings in a cop named Howe who was shot in the arm during the gunfight. Luka was told that Jansen had critical injuries, but he’s not there yet. K.J. finally turns up and Pratt sends him to the blood bank. Howe’s really anxious about his injuries, which Pratt and Ray assure him are fixable. Eve distracts Howe by talking about which station he’s from. Her father and brother are cops, and it turns out she and Howe both know a guy named Joe. Howe asks if he’s Eve’s brother. Nope – he gave her her first orgasm. Pratt, Ray, and a paramedic all stare at her for that.

Dubenko’s still using his robot, which saves him a trip to the ER if a patient doesn’t need his immediate attention. He does a consult on Sydney, then goes to check on other patients. Yau tells Luka and Abby that Sydney has been IDed as a girl who was kidnapped in upstate New York in August. She confirms to Abby who she is. Yau quietly says that they need to give her a rape exam. Sydney still just wants to know if Jansen is dead. Chuny checks Sydney and finds signs that Jansen raped her multiple times. Sydney explains that they played a “married game” and Jansen loves her.

Jerry ducks in to tell Luka that Jansen has been brought in. Luka leaves Abby and Chuny to take care of Sydney, and joins Neela to tend to a guy who…let’s be honest, they maybe shouldn’t expend too much energy saving him. Luka’s annoyed that the paramedics didn’t insert a chest tube, but Zadro says they didn’t have time. Jansen shot through their windshield and almost hit Gates. Gates flirts with Neela, who snaps at him to stop it. Yes! Yes, Neela! That’s the way to handle that! Clemente wants to lend a hand but Luka freezes him out.

Howe’s still freaking out about his injuries, so Eve distracts him again. Sam comes to get something and offers to take over for her. Sydney asks if anyone found her stuffed puppy. No, but Yau got her mom on the phone. Abby tells her that Sydney is doing well and is a brave kid. She holds the phone so Sydney can talk to her.

Dubenko comes to the ER in person as Abby assures Sydney that they’re going to take care of her and she’s safe there. Sydney asks about Jansen, and Abby says she doesn’t need to worry about him anymore. Clemente comes in next and talks down to Sydney like she’s five instead of ten. He and Abby disagree about whether Sydney’s low blood pressure is bad or good, based on the treatment Clemente wants to start. Abby would like to confer with Luka, but Clemente shuts her down, since Dubenko backed up his treatment choice.

Luka, Neela, and Malik stabilize Jansen, and Luka praises Neela for her work. He’s heard that Gallant is visiting and hopes to see him this time, since he didn’t the last time Gallant was in town. Neela’s looking forward to a longer visit with him. Jansen wakes up, then thrashes against the team. He grabs Neela’s arm, even though he’s cuffed to the bed, and Luka has to help free her. A cop comes over with his gun drawn, but Luka tells him not to shoot.

He blames Jansen’s impulse-control problems on his head injury, which otherwise shouldn’t cause any lasting damage. Jansen asks where Sydney is and Neela replies, “Safe from you.” He insists that he took care of her and didn’t hurt her. Luka doesn’t buy that, since he raped her. Jansen says she loves him and needed and wanted him. The team ignores him as Dubenko comes to see if he needs surgery. Jansen says he’s sure that Neela wants him to die. She replies that she wants him to shut up. He needs surgery, but he says maybe the team should let him die.

K.J. brings blood to Howe’s trauma room, and while Pratt’s working, he tells K.J. that Eve isn’t happy with him. K.J. says she doesn’t like him. Pratt tells him to respect her because he’s on her turf and is lucky to be working there. He could be doing his community service in a soup kitchen instead. Howe’s arm starts spraying blood and K.J. passes out. Yep, I was waiting for that.

Luka goes to check on Sydney and is annoyed that Clemente is going with a different treatment plan than Luka would have. Neela calls him back to Jansen as Jerry comes in to tell Clemente that Darrel stopped breathing while he was getting a CT scan. For the record, this Darrel stuff doesn’t go anywhere, so I don’t know why they keep bringing him up. Clemente gives Abby instructions for Sydney’s treatment, leaving her to once again have to decide whether to listen to him or Luka.

Jansen’s declining but there won’t be an OR open for him for another ten minutes. Luka doesn’t particularly want to save him, but he thinks Jansen deserves to rot in prison instead of take the easy way out by dying, so he’ll do what’s necessary. Dubenko calls for emergency surgery right there in the ER. Meanwhile, Sydney also declines, and when Abby summons Luka to help her, he overrules Clemente’s instructions.

Howe’s good now, so Pratt goes to make sure K.J.’s okay. He thinks passing out will actually work in K.J.’s favor – now Eve will feel sorry for him and hold off on booting him. Eve tells the cops waiting for news on Howe’s condition that he’s okay. Sam learns that she comes from a family of cops and was engaged to one before he was killed on the job. Sam asks why a prisoner might be transferred from one state to another. Steve is being moved from Colorado to Chicago. Eve says she’ll see what she can find out.

Zoe is back in the ER, this time with her father. He found the prescription Neela gave her and wants to talk to her. Neela’s busy and Sam won’t give Zoe’s father any information that Zoe won’t provide herself, so he threatens a malpractice suit. He has lawyers! Sam, unphased, replies that she has Jerry, who will gladly remove him from the hospital if he doesn’t sit down and wait quietly for Neela. Once he’s subdued, Jerry tells Sam that he hates violence. Sam knows, but Zoe’s father doesn’t. Jerry gives him an intimidating look to continue the act.

Dubenko uses Neela’s hands as clamps as he operates on Jansen. Jerry comes in to tell Neela that a lieutenant in Iraq is on the phone for her with an urgent message. Neela doesn’t have time to realize what that could mean before Jansen starts bleeding out. Luka and Abby also have to cut Sydney open in the ER, and things don’t look good.

Neela and Dubenko stabilize Jansen, who’s then taken up to the OR. Clemente joins Abby and Luka, shocked that Sydney’s condition was as bad as it turned out to be. He thought his treatment plan was reasonable. Luka snaps that Clemente killed her. Abby tells them that they need to keep Sydney alive until her parents arrive, since they think they’re on their way to reunite with her. Luka doesn’t think they can save her, but Clemente wants to keep working.

Gates tries to chat with Neela, who couldn’t be less into him or more obvious about it. Still, he tries to invite her to a hockey game. When she turns him down, he asks if she’s into opera or the theater instead. Buddy, learn to take a hint. Nope, instead he invites her to hang out at home and help him study (he’s a fourth-year med student). Instead of telling him that she’s not interested and/or is seeing someone else, she just says she might hang out another time. Neela, what happened to that backbone you’ve been showing all episode?

She finally has time to call back the lieutenant. She asks Frank if he has anything sarcastic to say. Knowing she’s probably about to get bad news, he quietly says no. As Neela dials the lieutenant, Zoe’s father approaches her and demands to know what Zoe’s prescription is for. Neela refuses to tell him anything. Ray overhears from down the hall and steps in to take the heat for Neela. She pulls him away and reminds him that he committed statutory rape. He should let this go and let Neela take care of this.

Clemente and Abby are still working on Sydney, while Luka has moved to the corner to show that he’s not taking part in this anymore. Abby finally tells Clemente that he needs to stop. Poor Sydney dies without getting to see her parents again and without her stuffed dog.

Neela reaches the lieutenant, who tells her over a staticky connection that there was an incident in Mosul that resulted in a lot of casualties. When the connection clears, he says that Gallant…has a heavy patient load and won’t be able to visit as scheduled. He asked the lieutenant to let her know. Gallant himself is totally fine, to Neela’s relief.

Clemente still thinks his treatment plan for Sydney was the right choice, since it works 95 percent of the time. Luka coolly says that he should tell her family that. He doesn’t care that Clemente did what he thought was best – not everyone agreed. Though Luka knows enough about Clemente from their brief time working together to know that he would have done what he wanted even if Dubenko hadn’t supported it.

Luka says the staff has been there a long time, and Clemente needs to fit in with them, not the other way around. They fight over taking risks and trying to be more cutting-edge, and Clemente angrily says that when he sees a problem, he wants to fix it. His nose suddenly starts bleeding, and Eve rushes over with some tissues. She thinks they should hold a debriefing and help everyone calm down, since people seem tense today. Ray’s like, “Can’t we just drink instead?” He asks Sam who she thinks would win in a fight between Luka and Clemente. You know, that’s a great question.

Abby finds Clemente bleeding, and when he blames it on Luka, she reasonably thinks Luka hit him. Clemente insists that he’s fine but Abby takes care of him anyway. He tells her he’s sorry about Sydney. Whatever Luka thinks, Clemente was trying to save her. He seems to be grasping now that he screwed up, and Sydney’s death is hitting him harder.

Luka asks Weaver if she’s found someone to run the ER. Since Clemente is a front-runner, Luka offers himself up to be considered for the role. She doesn’t think it’s his “style,” but he’s ready to change that. Eve tried to make the debriefing mandatory but Luka doesn’t care. He gives his own version of a debriefing at the admit desk: “Today sucked. Good night.”

Pratt gleefully accepts a patient so he has an excuse not to go to the debriefing. Neela doesn’t have anyone to go to the dinner she planned for Gallant, so she invites Ray to take his place. Eve, Abby, and Clemente were the only ones who showed up for the debriefing, so Eve calls time of death on it and lets Abby go. At least Clemente thought it was a good idea. They agree that the department needs work and a kick in the butt.

Yau thinks Sydney might be better off dead after everything she’s gone through. Abby doesn’t feel like anyone deserves that. He gives her Sydney’s stuffed dog, which was finally recovered from the parking lot where the shootout took place. She sadly tucks the dog in next to Sydney’s body. On their way out of the hospital, Neela and Ray run into Zoe’s father. More specifically, Ray’s face runs right into his fist. Neela yells for security as Zoe’s father beats up Ray, then threatens to kill him if he ever goes near Zoe again.

Abby goes to Luka’s apartment to confront him for putting her in the middle of his issues with Clemente. Luka won’t drop it, since he thinks Clemente’s treatment plan was wrong. Abby tells him it doesn’t matter who was wrong or right – Sydney died. She was ten years old and had already suffered for months. Abby can’t stop thinking about what she must have gone through and how scared she was. She hates that they couldn’t save her. As she fights back tears, Luka slowly approaches her. He takes her face in his hands and kisses her. Then he pulls back and they just look at each other.

Thoughts: Gates is played by John Stamos. Jansen is played by C. Thomas Howell.

Laura Innes (Weaver) directed this episode.

The way Pratt forces Jerry to “volunteer” for Clemente and Eve’s demonstration cracks me up. I love when the characters goof off together.

It really did feel up until now like they were going to put Abby and Clemente together. That makes Abby and Luka’s kiss even more surprising. And I really like them together, so I think it’s a great development.

October 26, 2021

ER 9.16, A Thousand Cranes: Just Doing Our Job

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

Oh, this is still happening? We’re still supposed to be invested in this?

Summary: Carter has bought an engagement ring for Abby and is keeping it in his locker at work. He shows it to Susan and tells her he’s going to propose tonight. Well, he kind of already did, but Abby didn’t give him an answer. Chen comes in and asks if they want anything from Doc Magoo’s. She runs into Luka as she heads over and they chat for a few moments. Across the street, someone runs out of the diner and gets in an SUV, which makes a U-turn and drives off.

Chen and Luka go over to Doc Magoo’s together, discussing Yiddish terms Luka’s learned from a workplace sensitivity manual Weaver is making him read. The lights are on in the diner and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” is playing, but at first it looks like no one’s inside. The doctors find a customer slumped over in a booth, dead. Chen spots blood on the floor behind the counter, and she and Luka follow it to a walk-in freezer. Three more people are inside, two dead from gunshot wounds but one still alive.

Maggie is still in town, and she thinks Eric may have gone to see some family friends. Abby tries to reassure her that, wherever he is, he’ll be okay. She tells Maggie that Carter proposed, but she doesn’t think he meant it, so she didn’t say yes or no. She calls in to work and learns that there was a shooting at Doc Magoo’s and she’s needed in the ER. Before she leaves, she extends an invitation for Maggie to stay with her a few more days. Maggie’s ready to go home, though, especially if Eric might come looking for her there.

At County, Chen and Luka help paramedics take Trina, the surviving victim, to County. Luka is shaken by the whole situation and tells Weaver he needs a minute. Sean is being released, so he stops by the ER to see Susan before he goes home for hospice care. Pratt and Gallant are playing basketball at a YMCA with a bunch of guys. One of them fouls Pratt, who falls against a metal bench and cuts his hand. He wipes the blood on his shirt, then starts to attack the guy who fouled him. Gallant breaks up the fight before it can start.

Back at County, the shooting is being discussed on the news. Jerry notes that the reporter only mentions four deaths but not the single survivor. Carter asks Abby to get sushi with him that night after she takes Maggie to the bus station. Susan doesn’t think sushi is romantic enough for a proposal dinner. Carter tells her it’s about misdirection, which Susan thinks is a bad idea.

Luka and Chen continue treating Trina, who tells the police that there were two shooters. She saw them drive off in an SUV. Chen realizes that she may have seen that same SUV from across the street. She was too far away to see what the men looked like, but she thinks one of them was Black.

Sometime later, two of the cops from the ER pull Pratt and Gallant over. (One is named Palnick; the other doesn’t get a name, so I’ll call him Peña after the actor playing him,) They comment on Pratt’s nice car, so he explains that he and Gallant are both doctors. When the cops mention that there was a shooting at a diner, Pratt quickly guesses why they were pulled over. He invites the cops to search his car and tells them they were playing basketball at the YMCA. Palnick thinks they’re drug dealers. Peña finds Pratt’s bloody shirt, which is enough for the cops to decide they have reason to handcuff Gallant and Pratt.

They’re taken to the police station and questioned separately. Pratt plays basketball at the YMCA a couple times a week with his friends; Gallant doesn’t know their names, so this may have been his first time. Gallant feels hassled while Pratt seems bored. The cops clearly don’t buy their stories that they’re doctors, or that that means they didn’t kill a bunch of people in the diner across from their workplace. An officer just says they fit the profiles of the killers.

Weaver learns what’s going on and tells Jerry to send IDs to the police station so the cops will finally accept that Pratt and Gallant are who they say they are. She then tells Susan that Sean’s mother wants Susan to stay away from her son before he goes home. Susan would rather hear how Sean feels. At the police station, the cops release Pratt and Gallant without any apologies for interrogating or detaining them.

Weaver tells Luka that he can take on non-critical cases for a while until he readjusts to working in the ER. Luka claims he’s fine and doesn’t need special treatment or help. She wants him to talk to someone in psych anyway, just as a formality. Pratt and Gallant make it to County, and while Pratt basically acts like what happened with the cops is normal, Gallant is upset and wants to do something to protest. Pratt tells him that no matter how perfect they are, they’ll always be the first suspects when something happens. After being a suspect enough times, you get the message that you’re not ever going to be treated like white people.

Susan sneaks in a visit with Sean, who doesn’t seem completely content with his decision to stop fighting his cancer. He keeps thinking about all the stuff he won’t get to do. He always thought he had more time, even when he was really sick. Susan decides they should play hooky and find something fun to do so Sean won’t just go home and wait to die.

Maggie comes by the ER to get lunch with Abby, who’s a little too busy to take a break. Her next patient, Levine, is still drunk from Valentine’s Day party five days ago. Maggie decides she should just head out now, since Abby won’t have time to hang out with her. Carter walks her out as Maggie starts crying – she was holding out hope that Eric would show up and her whole family could have some time together. Carter offers to drive her to the bus station.

Luka goes to see Dr. Myers, acting like he doesn’t need help. He acknowledges all the stuff he’s been through (losing his family, losing Abby, getting in the car accident with Harkins) but doesn’t expect Myers to be able to help him. Well, it’s more that Myers can’t fix him in just one session, and obviously Luka isn’t going to agree to come back if he doesn’t have to. He tells Myers to let Weaver know that he fulfilled his responsibility by coming by.

News update: Police are chasing an SUV they think is carrying the Doc Magoo killers. Weaver guesses that the police haven’t considered the cost and resources involved in a chase. Jerry thinks they hope the suspects will die in a car crash so the police don’t have to deal with them anymore. Gallant adds that they might not even have the right suspects.

Elizabeth reminds us that she’s on this show by commenting that the police are supposed to be on the side of the public. They play the odds like doctors do. The last time she flew to London, security pulled two Arab men out of the line and it made her feel more secure. Gallant asks if she thinks the police would pull over two Arab men driving through Chicago. Elizabeth says no, since there aren’t a lot of terrorist acts in Chicago. Gallant asks if she seriously thinks racial profiling is a legitimate tool for law enforcement. Elizabeth just says that a lot of people do. ELIZABETH, STOP TALKING.

Chen and Pratt check in with each other in the lounge, trying to decompress from the day’s stresses. He gets upset when she says she told the cops she thought the suspect she saw was Black. He tells her she fed into what the cops wanted – a Black killer. Chen objects to him trying to paint her as racist. Pratt says that when a cop has his foot on the back of your neck, it’s hard to feel like the whole world isn’t racist.

Carter and Maggie get stuck in traffic on the way to the bus station, which gives them time to chat. She’s worried about both of her children, though Carter says she doesn’t need to worry about Abby. Maggie mentions the proposal, telling Carter that even though being with Abby is a lot of work, it’s worth it. Carter says he spends a lot of time thinking about how things could go wrong, but there’s something about her that keeps bringing him back to her.

Susan and Sean ride a Ferris wheel, talking about a story his sister once read about a girl who tried to make a thousand paper cranes in hopes that she could then wish to get better. Susan guesses that Sean has made a lot of cranes himself. He tells her he has a different wish, then gives her a little kiss. This storyline is so weird. Paramedics bring in Palnick, who was injured in the crash Jerry foresaw happening with the Doc Magoo suspects. Now Pratt and Gallant are in a position of power, though Gallant doesn’t want Palnick as a patient. Pratt reminds him that it’s their job to treat anyone who needs treatment.

Back on the road, Maggie admires the ring Carter wants to give Abby, and they talk about how Maggie was never able to make a marriage work. She asks if the two of them have discussed having kids. Carter knows that Abby doesn’t want to pass on her genes if they mean having a child with bipolar disorder. Maggie hopes that the two of them communicate better than Abby and her ex-husband. She also hopes that Carter doesn’t want or expect Abby to change. He’s lucky to have her as she is, and he needs to love her no matter what.

Palnick protests having Gallant and Pratt as his doctors, but Weaver tells him he doesn’t get to choose who treats him. He tells Pratt that when the police pulled him and Gallant over, they were just doing their job. Pratt replies that he needs to let the doctors do their job now. Gallant determines that Palnick’s condition isn’t as serious as they previously thought. When he and Pratt are left alone with Palnick, Pratt taunts that this must be pretty scary for the cop: “Now it’s just you and a couple of n%$@#* with knives.”

As Carter and Abby go to dinner, Susan takes Sean home to his annoyed mother. His sister says Sean told her Susan’s the only doctor he’s ever met who’s like a friend. Also, he thinks she’s hot. At County, Pratt demands that Palnick apologize to Gallant, who made a diagnosis that saved him a lot of pain and unnecessary treatment. Palnick doesn’t see the big deal, since Gallant didn’t suffer any harm from what the police put him through. The cops were just doing their jobs. Gallant storms out, and Pratt tells Palnick that he should have just apologized.

Instead of going out for sushi, Carter and Abby are at a very fancy restaurant, which he’s bought out for the night so they’re the only patrons. He tells her he’s waited a long time for a relationship that he thought would last. He thinks he’s in the right place now for that. Is Abby? She says yes, so Carter reaches into his pocket to pull out the ring box. He continues that they’re growing and changing in good ways. Abby, however, isn’t sure people ever really change. Carter puts the box back in his pocket without Abby seeing it. She’s surprised that he bought out a whole restaurant and nothing special is happening.

Sean gives Susan a paper bag and tells her to open it later. He hopes that after he dies, he’ll understand what everything means. He wants Susan to know how much her friendliness has meant to him. She assures him that she knows. Weaver praises Gallant for diagnosing Palnick correctly, but she doesn’t want him to resist treating anyone ever again. Peña gives Gallant the closest he’ll get to an apology, admitting that they “overstepped” that morning. He appreciates Gallant for treating Palnick.

Weaver asks Luka how things went with Myers. Luka pretends he’s all better now. Outside, he runs into Chen again and they look over at Doc Magoo’s, which is surrounded by police tape. He wants her to remember that they saved Trina even as horrible things were happening. After he leaves, Pratt joins Chen and admits that he’s always acted like the police’s racism doesn’t bother him, but it does. He’s happy the real killers were caught. (No word on their races.)

Susan takes Sean’s bag to the waterfront and finds a bunch of origami cranes inside. She pours them out into the water. Abby and Carter go to her place, where Abby gets a call from Maggie, who’s stuck in Wisconsin because of a snowstorm. She tells Abby what she said to Carter about wishing the two of them and Eric could have had some time together. While Carter’s in the other room, Abby moves his jacket and finds the ring box in its pocket. She puts it back without mentioning it to him.

Thoughts: Palnick is played by Jeff Perry. Peña is played by Michael Peña. Levine is played by Chris Pine in his on-screen debut.

Okay, Pratt is totally right about racism in law enforcement, and the cops definitely racially profiled him and Gallant, but Chen did nothing wrong. If the guy she saw was Black, then IDing him as a Black guy isn’t racist. If he wasn’t Black and she said he was, that’s a different story, but we never find out if that’s the case.

I like the contrast between how Pratt and Gallant react to the police. Gallant is visibly annoyed and wants answers and justice. As the son of a career military man (and being in the military himself), he’s used to order and respect. This is new to him. Pratt stays calm and responds like he’s been taught how to act, because he most likely was. He knows what to do and not do. He’s from a place where this happens all the time, so to him, this is routine. Both guys’ actions are very in line with their characters.

Carter and Abby are nowhere near being ready to get married. This plot development is dumb.

October 19, 2021

ER 9.15, A Boy Falling Out of the Sky: False Hope

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:55 pm by Jenn

Oh, goody, a plot about a dying child. Those are always fun

Summary: Carter comes home from Belize and immediately spots the bottle of alcohol Abby bought in the middle of the night. She’s asleep, even though her alarm is going off. Weaver goes to Luka’s place to yell at him for taking too much time off. The rumor is that he quit his job, but since there’s nothing official stating that, Weaver has put him on the schedule for that day. If he doesn’t come in by noon, he’s fired. As Weaver leaves, a guy runs up and grabs her purse. He tries to flee by running into the street, where he’s hit by a car. Weaver tries to help him, but he runs off again.

Carter lets Abby sleep while he cleans up her place a little. He pointedly puts the cap back on the bottle without saying anything about it. He offers her coffee and aspirin for her hangover, again without directly addressing it. Abby plans to go to work so she can keep busy and try not to think about her brother’s disappearance. Carter assures her that they’ll find him. She thanks him for coming back from his trip.

At County, Weaver complains about the inconvenience of having all her stuff stolen. She tells the staff to be on the lookout for her mugger. Susan bugs Chen for not being available to bail her out of a bad date the night before. She wound up going on that set-up date after all, since the guy kept calling, and it was so bad that she considered faking a seizure to make an escape. Chen admits that she spent the night at Pratt’s.

Gallant asks Susan for help with his patient, an elderly woman named Mrs. Langston. She has Alzheimer’s and wandered out of the house. Her husband didn’t notice she was gone, so she was outside in the cold for a while. Susan notices that Sean is back in the ER; he may have pneumonia. “Did you miss me?” he teases Susan. “No,” she says bluntly, though she’s kidding.

Pratt is spending the day on a paramedic ride-along, but he’s not allowed to assist, which means he has no control, and you just know it’s killing him. The EMTs bend the rules a little when they find a dead man and ask Pratt to pronounce him dead so they can pass him off to the coroner and get out of the cold.

Carter falls asleep on Abby’s couch and wakes up when Maggie arrives. Abby’s at County now, helping Weaver with a patient named Zeki who got sick after smoking meth. His friends aren’t concerned. Zeki needs new friends. He begs Weaver and Abby not to call his parents. Abby goes off to tend to a boy named Jared whose mother accidentally hit him with her car.

Susan chats with Sean about unconventional pets like rats and snakes. She doesn’t have any pets, though, since she’s only good at taking care of people, not animals. She got sea monkeys once and was disappointed to learn that they’re just brine shrimp. Chen teases her that Sean just came back because he has a crush on her, and Chuny calls him Susan’s boyfriend. Susan tries to confirm that Chen and Pratt are dating. Chen wonders if that’s what Pratt thinks.

Carter and Maggie arrives to talk to Abby, who’s now working on Jared with Weaver. Abby thinks they’re there to give her bad news, and she’s not prepared to hear it. She leaves the room, so Carter takes her place on the trauma team. Susan tells Sean that he does have pneumonia, and the lesions from his cancer haven’t shrunk, even after he’s received more chemo. He tries to be positive by noting that at least they haven’t grown.

Abby returns to Jared’s trauma room, where he’s been unresponsive for four-and-a-half minutes. Weaver gently tells his mother, Mrs. Kroll, that if a patient hasn’t breathed on his own for five minutes, he’s most likely brain dead. Nothing changes over the next 30 seconds, so they hook him up to a ventilator. Now his parents will have to decide if he should stay on the machines keeping him alive. Mrs. Kroll asks the staff to wait until her husband gets there. She tells Abby that Jared hates when she leaves. He ran out of the house to give her one last hug.

Carter tries to calm Maggie, who insists on talking to Abby about any help they might be able to get in looking for Eric. The FAA and Coast Guard won’t tell her anything; they just keep directing her to the Chicago police. Carter offers to talk to a desk sergeant he knows there, but Maggie wants Abby to be involved. Carter says he’ll work on that. Weaver tells him that if Abby needs to go, she should. Weaver’s surprised she came to work.

Luka hasn’t arrived, so Weaver’s day isn’t getting any better…until Gallant tells her that a guy in triage may be her mugger. Then Gallant’s day gets worse when he learns that pathology lost his patient’s pap smear and he’ll have to perform it again. Weaver ID’s the mugger and demands her purse. He tries to run again, but security’s on his tail, and Weaver’s able to close one of the ER’s new security doors before he can go anywhere.

Abby’s worried that Maggie’s mental health is unstable (and she does seem kind of manic, but it’s understandable since her son is missing). She asks Carter to deal with Maggie. He thinks Maggie can actually help. Jared starts declining, so they run in to try to stabilize him until his father arrives. Susan tells Sean’s mother about his condition, and Mrs. Simmons asks to care for her son at home. In other words, she expects Sean to die, and she wants it to happen at home. Sean, however, thinks he can beat the pneumonia, since his white cell count is up. Mrs. Simmons notes that after that, he’ll still have cancer. He’s been strong for a long time and shouldn’t have to spend the end of his life in the hospital.

Pratt helps bring in a woman named Kelly who’s in labor. He asks Chen if he can spend the night at her place since he’s fumigating his apartment. Chen tells him she has plans with Susan, who’s been depressed and lonely recently. Kelly objects when Chen sends Pratt back out in the ambulance, since she loves him – she likes that he thinks she’s sexy while pregnant.

Susan checks on Mrs. Langston, whose Alzheimer’s has taken away her ability to speak English and knocked her back to her first language, French. Susan only remembers a tiny bit of French from high school. Whatever, this plot doesn’t go anywhere. Abby and Carter keep working on Jared and are finally able to stabilize him. Mrs. Kroll gets frustrated when Abby asks if she wants them to keep trying to keep him alive. Of course she does – he’s her son.

On her way to the bathroom, Abby tries to ignore Maggie, who’s spoken to a police officer and gotten information about search-and-rescue missions. She thinks they should go to Cleveland to start one up. Abby says they should just wait to hear something from the FAA. She doesn’t see the point in searching anyway – she’s sure that Eric is dead. Maggie refuses to believe that Eric was suicidal, since he was taking his medication and going to therapy. But Abby thinks he came to see her because he wanted to say goodbye, and he was peaceful because he had a plan to end his life.

Gallant is supposed to wait for his patient’s second pap smear results, which means hanging out in a room full of dead bodies while the pathologist does other stuff. He decides to leave the sample instead. As he does, one of the bodies in the room starts moving. “Is that supposed to happen?” he asks the pathologist. Um, no, Gallant, corpses aren’t supposed to move.

Chen has an awkward encounter with Pratt in the lounge, thinking he’s judging her for placing her baby for adoption. He tells her he has sympathy for her, but everyone makes mistakes when they’re young. Yeah, it was two years ago, dude. Pratt says that if Chen feels guilty, that’s her issue; he doesn’t care either way. Of course, by saying that, he’s implying that there’s something for her to feel guilty about.

The conversation ends when Susan tells Pratt and a paramedic that the dead man they found isn’t really dead. He was super-drunk, and the alcohol in his blood acted like antifreeze. She chastises them for not warming him up before pronouncing him dead. Then she punishes Pratt by ordering him to give the man a bath. Make that a bubble bath, at the man’s request. (That makes Gallant feel better about getting scared to death in the morgue.) (No pun intended.)

Mrs. Simmons tells Susan that she doesn’t want Sean to keep suffering. Susan is willing to let Sean make his own medical decisions, since he seems so determined to live. Mrs. Simmons tells her that he didn’t want to do his second round of chemo. He only did it because his mother wanted him to. He had finally accepted that he was going to die, but his new friendship with Susan has given him false hope. Mrs. Simmons thinks that if Susan tells Sean to stop pursuing treatment, he’ll listen.

Mr. Kroll arrives and learns that Jared isn’t showing any signs of brain activity. Maggie watches from down the hall as he asks Carter for any kind of hope. Carter tells the Krolls that they can keep stabilizing Jared, but they can’t keep him alive indefinitely. Abby notices Maggie watching and approaches her. Maggie says she knows she might be giving Eric too much credit for turning things around, but she’s not ready to write him off. The last time she saw him, he was alive. Until someone proves otherwise, that’s her reality. She’s going to Cleveland to arrange a rescue mission.

Susan tries to talk Sean into rethinking what’s best for him right now. Sean guesses that Mrs. Simmons put her up to this. He asks what she would do in his position, but she can’t answer that. Sean quietly says that he doesn’t want to die. Susan tells him that in that case, he should fight with everything he has.

Luka makes it in before noon, which means Frank has lost a bet. He gets right to work when Gallant tells him that Zeki is seizing. Zeki also has a really high fever, and Luka’s first instinct to bring it down is to carry him outside and put him down in the snow. Back in the ER, the Krolls try to prepare to say goodbye to their son. Abby’s cell phone goes off, making her jump. She takes the call in the next trauma room as Carter removes Jared from life support. Eric’s plane has been found in Michigan – intact. There was no crash, which means Eric is probably alive. Abby rushes to the El station to stop Maggie from going to Cleveland.

Weaver isn’t happy with Luka’s methods, but he’s brought Zeki’s temperature down and probably saved his organs, so he considers it a win. At Doc Magoo’s, Abby and Maggie study a map to figure out where Eric is. Abby says that Maggie was right about him not wanting to kill himself. Maggie says it could have easily gone another way. They need to make sure that Eric knows they don’t see him as a burden. She wants to try to get in touch with him or go look for him, but Abby says they should wait for him to make the first move. Meanwhile, they need to proceed with life as usual.

Chen teases Pratt about his not-dead patient, and they smooth things over a little. He hopes she doesn’t feel like he judged her for placing her child for adoption. She shows him a picture of the boy, Michael, and Pratt’s amused to see that he’s half Black. Then things go downhill again because Pratt made plans with one of the paramedics (I think her name is Christine), since Chen said she was busy. He invites Chen to come along, but she declines and complains to Susan in the lounge.

Pratt complains to Carter as well, though Carter isn’t sure why Pratt’s ranting to him. He’s also not sure why he’s still at the hospital, since he had the day off. Weaver chastises Luka for missing half his shift and orders him to work a double. Later, at home, Weaver tells Sandy that she doesn’t want to wait before they try again to have a baby. This time, she thinks Sandy should get pregnant.

Sandy makes the understandable point that she has a physical job she can’t do while pregnant. Weaver notes that she could take leave. She wants Sandy to feel how wonderful it is to carry a child. Sandy worries that Weaver will think of her as less of a woman because she doesn’t want to do something so many women want to do. Even when Weaver asks Sandy to do this for her, Sandy says no.

Abby’s smoking on the hospital roof, though she tells Carter she’s trying to quit. He’s a little annoyed that she keeps disappearing on him. She thanks him again for coming back from vacation, then suggests that he run away from their relationship before they go much further. She’s a magnet for misery and she doesn’t want Carter to keep having to deal with it.

Carter reminds her that Eric is alive, so it’s okay for Abby to be a little happy. Abby wishes she’d come back from the El station to thank Carter again for being here for her. She feels like her life will always be on hold because of her family. Carter shouldn’t feel like he has to stick with her through that. She says he doesn’t want her to love him. Carter argues that he should get to decide what he wants. He wants her to stop being so afraid and so careful. He also wants to marry her. Abby tells him he’s crazy. “Well, then I’ll fit right in,” he replies with a little smile.

Thoughts: Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, who play the Langstons, were married in real life.

I know Abby wants to keep busy but she can’t think it’s a good idea to work while she’s distracted. This isn’t a job where you can get away with mistakes.

The actress playing Mrs. Kroll is excellent in what had to have been a difficult role to play. It can’t be easy to play a character who did something horrible – and feels horrible about it – but still deserves a huge amount of sympathy.

Trivia: Weaver likes Jane Austen and is reading Mansfield Park for the third time.

October 5, 2021

ER 9.13, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Need Help? Luka and Abby Have Some Guidelines

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

Do you think Noah Wyle ever felt inadequate next to Goran Visnjic? I mean, how could he not?

Summary: Abby is having what she would probably consider a normal day in the ER, dealing with a boy named Zavery who acts like a monkey. His mom says his psychiatrist thinks he should act out his impulses to pretend he’s an animal. I say let the kid do what he wants, since his life can’t be easy with a name like Zavery. Susan’s patient is a wrestler named Aidan, and she can’t help commenting that his hobby is keeping him in good shape. Susan, don’t hit on your patients!

Luka examines a man named Mr. Carmichael who has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. He wants to file a lawsuit against tobacco companies, but Luka thinks he should take responsibility for giving himself cancer by smoking and focus instead on making his last months meaningful. Mr. Carmichael threatens to add Luka to his lawsuit for covering for Big Tobacco. Luka tells him he won’t live long enough to make it to court. He complains to Weaver that Americans never take responsibility for their behavior.

As paramedics bring in a woman named Brenda, Romano comes looking for Weaver…and kisses her on the lips. The ER has just received $2.4 million in funding, thanks to Alderman Bright. He’s bringing in a camera crew that afternoon for a photo op. Romano tells Weaver to make sure no patients end up in the photos, even though the whole point of the funding is to help those patients.

Leon bangs on the door to his and Pratt’s apartment until Pratt lets him in. A friend of his, Biz, is in the hallway, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his chest. Leon thinks Pratt can take care of him in their apartment, but Pratt says he’ll need to go to the hospital. Biz doesn’t want that, since the police will get involved. Leon admits that they were shoplifting from a liquor store and Biz was shot by a security guard.

The funding has put Romano in a good mood, and when he runs into Gallant in the lounge, he strikes up a conversation about what Gallant’s studying. Romano’s arm is out of the contraption he’s been wearing for weeks, but it’s not back to normal – he drops the mug he’s holding. There goes his good mood.

Luka, Carter, and Abby tend to Brenda, who has an animal trap on her hand. She was demonstrating the cruelty of fur trapping in a college lecture, and I’d say this is a good object lesson. As they’re working, Luka asks Carter if he’s going to Chechnya or the Congo. It turns out Carter has signed on to work with the Alliance de Medicine Internationale, a Doctors Without Borders-type group. This is the first Abby’s hearing about it. Luka’s thrilled for Carter, since he’ll be making a difference in an underserved country.

Romano talks to his surgeon about his arm and what he can do to recover his regular function. The surgeon notes that it’s a miracle that he has his arm attached at all. Abby questions Carter about his decision to go abroad, which he claims he’s talked to her about before (though it sounds like it was more in an “I’d like to do that some day” capacity than an “I’ve signed on for this and need to pick my location” capacity). Meanwhile, Susan borrows a sweater from Chen, since Zavery threw poop at her.

Gallant tells Carter that McNulty is in triage and seems altered. Two cops come in looking for a fellow officer shot during a robbery attempt, but Susan hasn’t heard anything, and Frank didn’t know the shooting victim coming in was a cop. Susan takes Romano to Aidan for a surgical consult; he has an abscess on his butt from steroid usage, and the infection has spread to a very unfortunate place. Susan isn’t sure Romano should be letting a resident do the operation instead of Elizabeth.

As Sutter, the cop who was shot, comes in, Carter and Gallant tend to McNulty. Susan and Abby try to calm Zavery, who hides under his gurney. They get him to come out by saying they’ll have to send him back to the zoo without using the gorilla scope. They use a special light to check for a scratch on his eye, and though there’s no sign of that, the light illuminates something else: a pale stain on the sweater Susan borrowed from Chen.

Pratt comes in with Biz, telling Carter he found him somewhere. Malik mentions that a cop was also shot, and Biz might be the culprit. Pratt realizes that Leon wasn’t completely honest with him about what happened. A cop questions Sutter, who says there were three robbers at the liquor store, but he doesn’t know who shot him. (Also, we never find out if there really were three; we only know about two.) The cop asks Pratt to move away from Biz’s head so Sutter can confirm whether he was there. Pratt ignores him, and since Sutter needs surgery ASAP, it’s not the right time for this.

There’s only one available OR (I guess Aidan’s surgery is already in progress), so Carter, Pratt, and Elizabeth discuss who should go first, Sutter or Biz. A cop protests that Biz shouldn’t be given priority over Sutter. Pratt thinks Biz is stable enough to wait, so he tells Elizabeth that Sutter can go first, even though Carter isn’t sure Biz will stay stable.

Abby treats a teenager named Helen who’s feeling sick and is sure she has something horribly wrong with her, like a tumor. When Susan comes to examine her, Abby asks if she’s going to say anything to Chen about the stain. Susan kind of wants to remain in denial that the stain was semen. Abby’s curious about who that semen came from. Pratt? Frank? Jerry? Susan is half amused, half disgusted.

Romano oversees a resident, Jensen, while he operates on Aidan, but Romano is definitely an “if you want something done right, do it yourself” guy. He takes over one-handed, but it soon becomes clear that he can’t do what he needs to do. In another OR, Elizabeth is joined by a new surgeon, Eddie Dorset. He flirts with her before showing her a procedure that fixes a complication she thought would take a long time to repair. It requires them to touch, and Elizabeth gets a little flustered.

Harkins stops by to finish some paperwork and confirm plans with Gallant that night. Luka tries to talk to her, but she’s not interested. He apologizes and promises that he never meant to hurt her. She says he should have slowed down. Anyway, say goodbye to Harkins, because this is the last time we see her (and possibly the last time she’s even mentioned).

The cops question Pratt about finding Biz in the street and whether he had a gun with him. Pratt says he didn’t hear gunshots or see anyone else around. Abby asks Carter when he plans to go overseas and abandon her in America. Carter’s surprised that she seems so against this – she was supportive when Luka went back to Croatia to work. For some reason, Abby doesn’t want Carter to ditch her and go help people who desperately need medical care.

McNulty is back to his normal self, which means Carter thinks he’s ready for a lecture about not taking care of himself. McNulty says he gave his medication to a patient who couldn’t afford his own. Carter gets summoned to help Pratt with Biz, who’s declining. Leon shows up while they’re working, so Pratt asks Abby to take him to an exam room for a wound check (really so he can be hidden from any cops who might recognize him). They’re unable to save Biz, and Leon is sad to hear the news from Pratt.

Elizabeth joins Romano so she can keep an eye on him and Jensen. She offers to scrub in and make sure the surgeons have done everything right. Luka, Susan, and Abby are tending to a young woman they thought had overdosed on drugs, but her friend reveals that she only overdosed on food. She has bulimia, which Luka doesn’t consider a reasonable eating disorder. It’s not like she’s malnourished because she doesn’t have enough food to feed herself and her kids. He’s furious that the woman wanted to come to the hospital and have her stomach pumped so she doesn’t gain weight.

Pratt catches Carter talking to Leon about Biz, having obviously figured out how this all fits together. Pratt sends Carter away and makes sure Leon didn’t say anything incriminating. He’s mad that Leon didn’t tell him the truth about what happened. If Leon had a gun and was shooting at the police, this is really, really bad. Leon begs Pratt to help him stay out of jail.

Susan asks Abby to talk to Luka about his attitude; he seems depressed. Abby declines, since she’s annoyed that Luka made Carter want to be an “adventure doctor.” Dorset comes to the ER and introduces himself to Elizabeth, then invites her to get coffee. Susan and Abby, standing nearby, fail to convincingly pretend they’re not eavesdropping. Elizabeth turns Dorset down, at least for now, and he says he’ll ask again some other time.

Abby and Susan assure her that she wasn’t rude. Elizabeth admits that she’s gun-shy about dating; plus, it hasn’t been all that long since she lost Mark. Maybe she overreacted to a friendly invitation for a casual cup of coffee. Susan says she thinks Mark would want his widow to get on with her life.

Bright arrives for the photo op and downplays how huge his donation will be for the ER. Weaver hopes County earned it because they’re so important to the community, and not for any other reason, like the fact that she covered up Bright’s syphilis. Bright admits that he might not have chosen them to get the money if he hadn’t been treated there, but he expects that they treat all their patients as well as they treated him.

Abby asks Carter if he wants to work in a foreign country because he’s inspired by the service McNulty provides through his clinic. Abby, it’s time to drop this. Carter says he’s not going right now, and when he does go, it’ll only be for a couple of weeks, so Abby needs to chill. He gives McNulty instructions for taking care of himself, then gives him another check. This time, McNulty accepts it, though he confirms that he won’t have to name the clinic after Carter.

Luka asks Weaver for some time off so he can “sort things out,” but she tells him to do that on his own time. He walks out of the ER anyway. Abby follows him but quickly shifts her attention to a more pressing matter: Eric is there. They go to Doc Magoo’s to catch up, and he admits that he ran away because he was afraid he would end up like their mother, and he didn’t want Abby to see him like that.

Eric is grateful to Abby for trying to help him. He’s worried that he let her down after she tried to protect him for so long. Abby promises that he could never let her down. Eric wishes he was a kid again because Abby was always there to take care of him. He worries about her because no one takes care of her. He feels like he abandoned her after everything she did for him and Maggie.

Eric apologizes, even though Abby says he doesn’t have to, and says he loves her. He’s doing better now, though he knows that might not last. He shows Abby a picture of his new “girlfriend,” a plane he bought. He sold pretty much everything he had to pay for it. He plans to do hunting and fishing charters in Wisconsin.

Susan goes back to Helen, who probably just has a virus. (If you feel like this plot was meaningless, you’re not alone. This is just setting up some stuff for the next episode.) Chen invites Susan to get dinner, though Susan wants to spend the evening alone. She finally addresses the stain on the sweater, which Chen claims was club soda. She’s a little offended that Susan thought she brought a semen-stained sweater to work. But when she’s alone in the lounge, Chen throws out the sweater.

Carter tells Pratt he wants to help him with any kind of trouble he or Leon might be facing. Pratt says he’s fine, but he and Carter both know he’s not. Carter thinks the cops will focus on Biz. If Leon were to disappear for a while, they probably wouldn’t go looking for him. Pratt says he tries to keep Leon out of trouble, but his friends keep pulling him into criminal activities, and Pratt can’t keep an eye on him 24/7. Carter tells him to stop blaming himself. After he leaves, Pratt asks Gallant to do him a favor.

Abby tells Carter that Eric showed up and seems to be doing great. He wants to take Abby to see his plane. Carter makes sure she’s not going to actually ride in the plane. Abby tells him not to go to Chechnya. Elizabeth does Aidan’s post-op examination and tells Romano about a minor complication. For the most part, Aidan will be fine, which means Romano and Jensen got lucky.

Gallant takes Leon to the bus station to send him to stay with Greg’s aunt. Leon is upset that Pratt won’t be coming to say goodbye. He thinks Pratt’s mad at him. Gallant promises he isn’t and insists that Leon get on the bus without talking to Pratt. So that’s it for Leon, too. At least he made things more interesting than Harkins did.

Back at County, Romano goes to the roof to tell Jensen that Aidan will be fine, and Jensen will do better next time. Jensen agrees, because he won’t go into the OR with Romano again. After he leaves, a helicopter flies over, startling Romano. He steps up to the edge of the roof, possibly thinking about jumping. He drops his surgical cap over the ledge instead.

Carter goes to McNulty’s clinic, but it’s closed up and no one’s answering the phone. A cop driving by asks if he needs help, and when Carter says McNulty might be sick, he helps Carter get inside. The whole place is empty. Carter’s confused, since he thought the clinic had been there for years. The cop says it was only open for a few weeks. McNulty could have been a scam artist the whole time, and Carter fell for the scam. Meanwhile, Pratt goes home to his now-quiet apartment, alone with his thoughts.

Thoughts: Fun fact: Heather DeLoach, who plays Helen, was Bee Girl.

Harkins was a waste of Leslie Bibb’s talents and a waste of a character. I guarantee we’ll all forget about her within the next three episodes.

It’s really out of character for Abby to not want Carter to go overseas. She was just saying in the last episode that he should use his privilege to help people. This is an excellent way to do that. And she’s definitely independent enough to be fine without Carter for a few weeks or months. I don’t get it.

I also don’t get Susan always thinking Abby should help Luka with his problems. That’s not Abby’s job. They broke up a long time ago and they both moved on. He’s not her responsibility anymore.

’00s music alert: Coldplay’s “Clocks”

September 28, 2021

ER 9.12, A Saint in the City: Men of the People

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

Thanks for stopping by and causing a fight, Millicent

Summary: Pratt is talking to the head of maintenance at County, trying to get Leon a new job. The boss is skeptical that Leon can work, since he has a cast on his hand from injuries sustained from his recent beating. Also, the boss hates doctors, since they’re so arrogant. Pratt pleads for Leon to get a chance, and the boss gives in.

In the ER, a woman named Jessie has just been brought in after a car accident. She’s asking for her husband, Tom, who’s having to be cut out of the car. There’s a problem with lighting in the ER, and just as Susan tells Jerry to call someone from engineering, they come back on. A woman also comes in, yelling that everything’s okay and no one should panic.

Weaver knows what she’s talking about – an alderman named John Bright is being brought in after falling off the stage where he was giving a speech. Weaver treats Bright like a VIP and tells him he doesn’t have to answer when Susan asks if he’s been drinking. He proudly says he’s in AA and just got his two-year chip. Weaver tells him he’s in the best hospital in Chicago. Of course, that’s when the lights go out again.

As Weaver rushes Carter and Pratt to get Jessie out of her trauma room so Bright can be brought in, Leon comes looking for Pratt. He happily tells Pratt he got the job in maintenance, which means the two of them will be working together. The lights go out again. What’s the point of this? Pratt tells Leon they’ll celebrate that night, but Leon has already been assigned to the late shift. He promises he can find the place where he’ll need to pick up his uniform by himself.

Bright’s assistant demands a fax number so her office can issue a press release. Bright knows the ER sees around 100,000 patients a year, so he appreciates all the attention Weaver and Susan are giving him. Susan determines that Bright has a ligament injury, and Weaver says she’ll call their top orthopedist. A guy in scrubs says they should get a tox screen first. He’s a journalist, and he wants to know if Bright is using drugs. Weaver kicks him out. “Have you ever heard of the First Amendment?” the journalist asks. “Have you ever heard of an awake colonoscopy?” she shoots back.

Luka arrives for a night shift as Carter’s leaving for something fancy, judging by the tux he’s wearing. Tom is coming in, and Carter asks Jerry to make sure he and Jessie get connected. He tells Susan he has to go to a fundraiser and present a check. He then tries to hand off a patient to her, a woman named Mrs. Hawkes who has a bad cough. Susan says she probably has the flu, and Carter should give her to Pratt just to bug him.

Abby’s going with Carter to the fundraiser, though fancy parties aren’t really her thing. She’s excited to get free food. She wonders what a canape is. Carter promises that next time, they’ll do something she wants to do. You know, something plebeian. Chuny gives him a wolf whistle as she passes by, and he jokingly threatens to circulate a petition about her harassment. I’m glad we’re all joking about this.

Sarah comes looking for Carter, knowing he wanted McNulty to come back in. He won’t take time off from his clinic to take care of his own health, even though he’s not managing his diabetes well. Tom comes in and Carter assures him that Jessie’s stable. Sarah wants Carter to talk to McNulty since he won’t listen to her about looking after his health. She’s afraid he’s eventually going to die. Carter has to rush off to take care of Jessie, who’s no longer stable, but he tells Sarah he’ll try to stop by and see McNulty at his clinic.

Pratt determines that Mrs. Hawkes has pneumonia and will need to be admitted to the ICU. He takes her kids, Martin and Rachel, to get a soda while Susan talks to her. Martin suggests that they call their brother, Doug, who’s 20. Mrs. Hawkes doesn’t want to stay in the hospital, but Susan insists that she’s too sick to leave. Mrs. Hawkes says they can call her aunt to come look after her kids. When Pratt mentions Doug, Mrs. Hawkes says she doesn’t want him around the kids.

Chuny grabs Pratt to help Carter with Jessie, who’s being brought back to the ER after crashing during a CT. Carter thinks Pratt missed something and thought she was stable when she wasn’t. Luka and Gallant are taking care of Tom, who needs surgery for internal bleeding. He asks to see Jessie first. Luka opens the door between their trauma rooms, but Carter tells him to close it. Jessie’s too far gone to save, and Luka volunteers to break the news to Tom so Carter can leave.

Weaver’s annoyed that the staff isn’t working faster to get Bright assessed and released. She tells Susan that he’s a good guy; he helped finance a domestic-abuse shelter. Susan informs her that Bright might not be so good after all – she found a sore on his penis that might be syphilis. Weaver says that if the test comes back positive, she’ll handle talking to him.

Luka tells Tom that Jessie’s brain was deprived of oxygen for too long, and she’s not going to wake up. He needs to go to surgery now. Tom doesn’t want to leave her in the ER to die alone, and Luka tells an impatient Romano that he’s not going to rush Tom. Romano says that if Luka doesn’t have Tom in the OR in the next ten minutes, he’ll take out Luka’s spleen instead.

Weaver and Bright talk about how hard it is for County to treat patients with such limited resources. Romano joins them and chastises Weaver for not getting Bright a private room. Bright says he wants to be with the people he serves so he can see what they experience. As Romano leaves, he quietly orders Weaver to get Bright a private room.

Weaver tells Bright about the sore Susan found. He already suspected he had syphilis. He’s only had one partner in the past year, so at least it’ll be easy to alert anyone who may also be infected. Unfortunately, Weaver has to report the case to the public health department, and it’ll go on Bright’s medical record. Since he has to release his records when he goes up for reelection, voters are going to find out. Bright promises that he and his partner will get treated, but he’d like privacy for both of them.

Someone called Doug after all, and though his siblings are big fans, he doesn’t come off as responsible or a good role model. His mother tells him to leave, suspecting he’s high. Doug says that Mrs. Hawkes gets drunk while the kids are around, so it wouldn’t be much worse for them to see him get high. Before Mrs. Hawkes can argue more, she starts coughing up blood. Pratt reveals to Susan that he called Doug. He was just trying to help. Susan says he can best help his patients by listening to them and honoring their wishes.

Weaver tries to intercept Bright’s lab work, which has already been sent for testing. She asks Jerry to cancel the order. Pratt apologizes to Susan for calling Doug; he thought he was doing the right thing. She chastises him for making a tough situation worse. But Mrs. Hawkes’ aunt is unable to take care of the kids, so Doug might be their only option. The doctors tell Doug that Mrs. Hawkes will be in the ICU for at least a week, and the kids need a place to stay. Doug is the only person who can step up, though he’s not exactly eager to do it.

Luka tries to convince Tom to go to the OR; he could die without surgery. Tom refuses to go until Jessie has died. Jessie’s heart monitor shows her flatlining, and Luka tells Tom that she’s gone. He finally agrees to go to surgery. But Luka has just removed one of the leads connecting her to the machine, and she’s still alive. Luka, no! That can’t be in the Hippocratic Oath!

Chuny brings Weaver Bright’s lab work, which confirms that he has syphilis. Weaver says she asked Jerry to cancel the order because the sample was mislabeled. Pratt is now tending to Jessie, which confuses Weaver, since Luka pronounced her dead an hour ago. She blasts Jerry for not canceling Bright’s lab order, like, don’t make him the fall guy in your crazy scheme.

Weaver asks Luka about Jessie, and he admits that he basically faked her death so Tom would go to surgery. Weaver is stunned and asks what will happen when Tom comes out of surgery and finds out his wife is still alive. Luka says he’ll call it a miracle. Weaver tells him he’s not acting in the best interest of his patient, but Luka argues that Tom is his patient, not Jessie. They get interrupted when paramedics bring in a nine-year-old boy named David who fell out of his bunk bed.

Abby’s enjoying herself at the fundraiser, which is for a $58 million music hall. She and Carter wonder what McNulty would be able to do for his clinic with $58 million. Millicent greets them, having forgotten that she’s met Abby before. Abby immediately sticks her foot in her mouth, asking what canapes are. Are they different from appetizers? Millicent is like, “John, please stop bringing dumb people into my orbit.” She wants Carter to take his father’s place on some board, as his father will be taking Millicent’s place. She thinks Carter needs to stop acting like a “disaffected youth” and start fulfilling his responsibilities to the family.

As Weaver and Luka examine David, who has some old bruises, Malik comes in looking for guidance on Jessie. Luka says she has a DNR and can’t be saved, so they shouldn’t bother to do anything for her. Weaver disagrees, wanting to keep treating her until Tom’s out of surgery and is able to make decisions for her care. Romano pulls her out of the trauma room to complain that Bright hasn’t been discharged after five hours in the ER. Weaver should be treating him as even more of a VIP than she already has been.

Back at the fundraiser, Abby tells Carter that his response to his grandmother was rude. Uh, I think it’s rude of her to dismiss his career as a hobby and expect him to drop it so their family can continue making a bunch of money. Carter tells her the family business is basically just showing up places and giving away money. If he worked for the family full-time, he’d be like “Prince Charles without the castle.” He warns Abby not to try to tell him what to do with his life.

Luka and Chuny tend to David, whose father is just now arriving. He tells Luka that David gets hurt all the time. It’s gotten worse since his mother left. Mr. Scott thinks his son just doesn’t pay attention. Luka, however, thinks Mr. Scott is abusing his son. Susan brings in Adele to help Doug figure out where Martin and Rachel should stay. Mrs. Hawkes’ chances aren’t good. Doug doesn’t think he can take them in, so the kids will probably end up in foster care. Pratt doesn’t like that sound of that, especially since the kids will most likely be split up.

Doug is overwhelmed and leaves. Pratt follows him and tries to convince him to take in his brother and sister. Doug knows his mother’s right about him not being responsible enough for that. Pratt thinks he’ll surprise himself with what he’ll be able to do for his siblings. Doug tells him that he never should have called. Everyone who’s judged him is right. “Make them wrong,” Pratt challenges, but Doug says he can’t.

As Weaver “fixes” the mislabeling problem with Bright’s sample, Carter and Abby leave the fundraiser, chatting awkwardly. He doesn’t appreciate her lecturing him about his family. He doesn’t want to be like his father, doing whatever Millicent wants so that rich people can get nice paintings and see pretty tile floors when they go to the symphony. Abby encourages him to change what the Carter Family Foundation does. He should find something he’s passionate about. Carter says he’s already passionate about his job.

Abby tells him that he shouldn’t be ashamed of being born into wealth. Carter claims he’s not, but since he drives a Jeep and has a two-bedroom apartment instead of a mansion, he’s not exactly embracing it. He wants everyone to think he’s just like them, a man of the people. Carter says he has a job that makes a difference. Abby thinks that’s great, but his money could make a big difference, too. Carter says the family’s money came from the coal market during the Great Depression. In the winter of 1933, when children froze to death, his family just got richer. Abby says there are still plenty of kids freezing to death.

Weaver discharges Bright, telling him that she’s taken care of keeping his diagnosis off of his medical record. She lies to Susan that he tested negative for syphilis. Luka has called security to keep Mr. Scott away from David; DCFS hasn’t come to assess the situation yet. Weaver doesn’t think Luka has done everything he should have to confirm his suspicions. She goes to see David, who says he and his father are actually really close. He admits that he didn’t fall out of bed – he jumped.

Carter goes by McNulty’s clinic, hoping to convince him to accept a more effective treatment for his diabetes. After all, he won’t be able to help others if he doesn’t take care of himself. McNulty doesn’t want judgment or help from a guy in a tux. Carter ignores him and writes him a check so he can get some newer and better equipment for the clinic. McNulty chalks up his interest to white liberal guilt and tears up the check. “I’m not here to make you feel better,” he says. Carter still wants to help, so McNulty tells him to sweep the floor.

Doug returns to the ER, having decided to take Pratt’s advice and try to disprove everyone’s judgment of him. He’s afraid he’ll let down his siblings, but Pratt encourages him to do his best. He apologizes to Susan for getting so involved in the case, but she’s not too upset about it. Pratt gets a call and leaves his shift early once again. Weaver complains, then tells Luka that David isn’t being abused. He hurts himself so Mr. Scott will stay home and spend time with him.

Elizabeth pops in with four minutes left in the episode to tell Luka that Tom is out of surgery. Okay, ‘bye, Elizabeth! Luka checks on Jessie and tells her that Tom will be okay, so she can let go now. In the lounge, Susan gives Weaver a baby gift, which is really sweet, except for the fact that Weaver lost the baby. The chances of miscarrying an embryo implanted through IVF are 30%, a fact Weaver is obviously keeping in mind so she won’t mourn too much.

Leon is at the police station, having been found in a possibly stolen car with a shotgun and some guys with criminal records. A cop assures Pratt that Leon didn’t commit any crimes, but since he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he got busted. He lets Pratt go see Leon as a favor, since the doctors at County have always been so good to the cops.

Leon tearfully tells Pratt that he just wanted to tell his so-called friends about his new job. Pratt breaks it to him that since he missed his first shift, he probably doesn’t have that job anymore. Also, Leon can’t get bail until the morning, so he’ll have to spend the night in lockup. Leon cries and begs Pratt not to leave, but Pratt doesn’t have a choice.

Thoughts: Bright is played by Bruce Weitz. Doug is played by Aaron Paul.

I love Weaver treating Bright like he’s the president while I had to look up what an alderman is. (Apparently it’s a Chicago thing. They’re basically the same as a city councilman.)

Weaver’s actions were obviously bad, but at least she didn’t try to secure funding first.

Abby’s right. Carter can’t complain that his family’s foundation doesn’t help enough people, then do nothing to change that. Like, if you feel bad that your family has too much money and others don’t have enough, maybe…do something?

’00s music alert: Jason Mraz’s “The Remedy,” which fittingly plays when Carter goes over to McNulty’s clinic, because Carter thinks he’s McNulty’s remedy.

July 27, 2021

ER 9.3, Insurrection: No, Really, Hospital Security Is a Joke

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

Is this why this guy was on “Oz”?

Summary: It’s another crazy day in the ER, made all the more fun by a homeless man who’s singing “how you doin’?” to people to the tune of “Rock Me Amadeus.” That would get old really fast. Weaver blames Susan for the backup in seeing patients, but Susan says she’s doing the best she can, and Weaver’s welcome to see if she can do better. The only thing they agree on is that Harkins needs to take How You Doin’ Guy outside. Weaver says she’ll see if another hospital can take some of their overflow patients.

Things are so busy that Abby has to call her brother, Eric, to cancel their lunch plans. She tells him to page her and they’ll reschedule for dinner. Meanwhile, Carter is trying to deal with a patient who insists Carter is trying to kill him. Security is taking their sweet time coming to help. Apparently they’ve been spending most of their time ticketing staff members’ cars. As Susan and Carter discuss how to get the stickers off, then how to get blood out of suede, Carter’s patient wrecks his exam room. The doctors just ignore him. How You Doin’ Guy comes up and asks Susan how she’s doin’. “Groovy,” she replies.

Elsewhere, Pratt tries to impress Chen by showing her an x-ray from a patient who got a vibrator stuck inside him – a vibrator that’s still vibrating. Chen isn’t moved. She once had a patient who got a bowling pin stuck inside him. A patient named Mr. Mullen complains to Pratt that he’s in a lot of pain from a slipped disc and needs a painkiller shot. Like Chen, Pratt isn’t moved. Mullen comes in all the time asking for Demerol, so Pratt is sure he’s just a drug-seeker.

The head of security, I guess, comes to the ER to basically tell Susan and Weaver to stop calling. They’re understaffed and have had a bunch of turnover. Plus, the guys who stay only get $10 an hour. That sounds like a you problem, security guy. You’re not providing the service you’re supposed to provide. Fix it. Carter tells Pratt to get rid of Mullen as he and Harkins take on a new patient, a young prostitute who won’t give her name (it’s Tina. I don’t play this nameless game). A john ran her over with his car.

Susan, Abby, and Gallant tend to a man named Phillip who fell out of bed in his long-term-care home and hurt his hip. This is pretty impressive since he has end-stage Huntington’s and isn’t really mobile. Susan tells Abby that Luka’s been asking for her; she was supposed to come assist him 45 minutes ago. Abby’s day is so busy that she’s an hour and 45 minutes behind on her tasks. Susan comments that this will just make Luka more upset than he already was. Abby’s clueless about the fact that he’s unhappy that she’s dating Carter.

Carter asks Abby to get Tina a detox bed. She’s only 12, but on top of being a prostitute, she’s also addicted to cocaine. Carter suggests that he, Abby, and Eric all go out for dinner that night. Pratt observes while Harkins tries to remove the vibrator from the guy who decided to see how far he could insert it. Poor Harkins.

Abby finally joins Luka, who’s gone ahead with whatever she was supposed to help him with. His patient tried to vacuum out her period. You can…do that? Well, you shouldn’t – it could lead to very serious complications. The patient sees this as a blow against the patriarchy. I’m surprised she agreed to be treated by a male doctor. Abby and Luka keep their conversation with each other short and professional.

Stella is back, and Gallant deals with her again while a nurse named Kathy gets annoyed with Luka. It’s pretty clear that they slept together and she’s not happy with the way things ended. Abby asks Luka if he’s okay, but I don’t think he wants to tell her how he feels about her moving on with a guy he doesn’t really like.

Carter tells Tina that she has an abscess thanks to an STD. Tina finally tells him her name, and he advises her to stop smoking crack if she wants to live past 12. He offers to get her a detox bed, but Tina knows that won’t fix her whole life. Carter thinks she should start with the first step. He also threatens to keep all the money she came in with until she agrees to treatment. Okay, that can’t be legal. Tina says Carter doesn’t know what life is like for her, but he says it’s not too late for her to turn things around and have a normal life.

Carter ignores a man trying to get his attention so he can tell Gallant to get rid of Stella again. She needs to stop coming to the ER like Gallant is her personal doctor. Carter finally pays attention to the man, who he realizes is Eric. In the waiting room, Mullen is getting agitated, since he’s been waiting four hours to be seen. He’s especially mad when Abby ditches him to greet Eric. Carter tells Mullen that Pratt is just concerned that he’s building up a tolerance to Demerol.

Eric asks if the ER is like this every day. Mullen says that, yes, he’s in pain every day, and yes, every time he comes in, the doctors don’t want to help him. He thinks that if he came in wearing a suit and tie, he’d get treated sooner. Pratt gives him a prescription and tells him to leave, but Mullen doesn’t want his offer of Vicodin. He yells that the doctors must think they’re heroes, but they’re not doing anything or helping anyone. He kicks over a row of seats, knocking some poor injured man to the ground. Carter tells Mullen to get out.

Abby takes Eric to the lounge, where they discuss Maggie, who’s doing well. She got a dog with a vitamin deficiency that requires a special diet. Maggie cooks him bacon and eggs every morning. Eric’s hopeful that this time, Maggie will stay stable. He apologizes for not showing up for her last crisis, but Abby forgives him. As she gets summoned back to work, she tries to make dinner plans with Eric, but he doesn’t have much time in Chicago. He’s been reassigned and has to report to his new Air Force base in the morning.

Abby interrupts the conversation to find and deliver a baggie of fingertips to Chen. (Two neighbors tried to trim their hedges by holding a lawn mower in the air.) Unfortunately, the tips are all mixed together in the same bag. As a guy who’s probably Tina’s pimp arrives and demands her clothes, Eric tells Abby that he’s now going to be stationed in Nebraska, which will mean he’s closer to both Abby and Maggie. With all the craziness Abby is dealing with during this whole conversation, answering questions from staff and patients, she tells Eric her job is similar to his as an air-traffic controller. He offers to wait for her somewhere else so she can get back to work.

Phillip’s mother, Mrs. Burke, has arrived, feeling horrible that the home she placed him in didn’t give him high-quality care. Chen and Pratt sort fingertips while Abby searches for Eric. She questions Pratt’s decision to give one guy an extra thumb. Carter joins them, and Chen says they’re playing a match game. “Pratt’s having a little trouble fingering it out,” Abby quips. She’s so proud of herself!

Carter thinks Tina’s been admitted to detox, but Abby hasn’t gotten her a bed yet. Frank tells them that she left with some guy. Abby apologizes for not realizing that the guy with Tina shouldn’t have been there. Thanks to security’s shortcomings, people can just wander around the ER and do whatever they want. Suddenly, Frank realizes that something’s going on nearby, and he quietly draws Carter’s attention to it.

Mullen has returned and grabbed Chen. He’s holding a gun to her head to try to force Pratt to give him a shot of Demerol. Pratt calmly tells everyone in the exam area to stay still. He sends Abby to the drug lock-up to get Demerol. As she gets it, she whispers to a clueless Harkins to call the police. Mullen complains again that no one at the hospital cares, but Pratt says they do now. Yeah, and it only took a gun held to a doctor’s head to do the job.

Mullen boasts that he’s the one in charge now. Usually the doctors get to decide who’s in pain and who isn’t, but today, he gets to make the decisions. Carter looks on helplessly as Mullen points his gun at Abby, asking to see the label on the bottle she’s brought back. Eric comes in, worried about his sister, and Abby tells him to stay back. Carter tries to get Mullen to put down the gun, but he refuses.

As Abby injects Mullen, he asks Pratt why he wanted to be a doctor. Pratt admits that it was partly for the money; the rest is complicated. Mullen can’t believe he really wanted to help people. Or maybe all the doctors there did, but then they realized there are too many people to help. Mullen lets Chen go, creepily kisses Abby on the temple, thanks her, and heads out. He turns back, pointing his gun at Pratt, and yells at him to remember it for next time. Then he just walks out of the ER.

…But he doesn’t get far, because Abby gave him a ton of Demerol and knocked him out. Weaver tells Gallant to get him a bed (with restraints) and call psych. We’ll see if they get there faster than security. Carter thinks Abby should take a break, but she says she’s fine. He asks Weaver about the metal detectors that were once supposed to be set up in the ER. She tells him there’s a security plan in the works.

Eric checks on Abby, wondering how she can keep working in a place like this. Maybe she does this because she’s self-destructive. Abby insists that she’s happier than she’s been in a long time. He asks about her previous plan to go to med school, but she doesn’t have time to chat. (Besides, going to med school doesn’t guarantee her safety, especially if she ends up working at County again.) She tells him she won’t have time for dinner and wishes him a safe trip.

In the lounge, Carter is fighting with Weaver about how money shouldn’t be an excuse for lax security. Metal detectors were supposed to be installed two years ago, so she can’t blame recent budget cuts for the fact that they’re not there. Weaver notes that metal detectors have to be manned, which means hiring people, which means more money.

Carter demands more security stat. Weaver tells him to just focus on clearing the board, but Carter yells that he can’t do that. They’re so busy that he barely had two minutes to spend with a 12-year-old prostitute/crack addict. Her pimp was able to just walk in and leave with her. Weaver tries again to make excuses, but Carter shouts that she needs to fix this. After he storms off, Weaver weakly tells the rest of the staff to just treat their patients.

Pratt praises Carter for at least trying to do something. Carter digs out the Yellow Pages and starts looking for a security company so he can order metal detectors. Meanwhile, Susan fills Elizabeth in on what happened. I’m sure Elizabeth wishes she’d stayed in England. Phillip is declining, and he’ll need to be placed on a ventilator so he can breathe. Mrs. Burke knows that once he’s intubated, he’ll never come off the machine.

Carter orders metal detectors, then tells Gallant again to get rid of Stella. Weaver hangs up the phone and chastises him for ordering six detectors instead of letting the procurement department handle things. This isn’t Carter’s job, and he doesn’t want it. He argues that they shouldn’t have to risk their lives to work there. Weaver gets that, but they have to be responsible about how they handle big purchases. Carter says the irresponsible thing was letting this go on for so long.

Weaver tells him that she’s been working on this for months while Carter just saw patients. He can’t get involved now. Carter announces that he’s going to the ambulance bay to wait for the detectors arrive. After a few moments, Abby goes to join him. Frank follows next, along with some nurses. Weaver tries to reason with Luka, who says they have patients to care for, but he thinks Carter’s right. He joins the walk-out, asking Carter if he has a plan. Carter smiles a little and says no. Yeah, you’re adorable and this is a hilarious situation.

Pratt goes to get a snack from a vending machine in a quiet hallway and finds Chen there, trying to calm herself. He offers to buy her M&Ms and makes small talk with her, for once trying to do more than just flirt with her. He’s sorry that Chen got dragged into a dangerous situation. Pratt didn’t want to give drugs to an addict, but he would never do anything to put Chen’s life at risk. She’s his future love slave. Ew. He was doing well until then.

Pratt says he gets a little punchy when he’s scared, but Chen thinks she has more reason to be scared, since she almost “had a cap busted in [her] head.” Pratt laughs at her, as he should. He tries to hug her, and though she resists, she eventually lets him comfort her. When she feels better, she asks for her M&Ms. Then they notice through the window that people are standing in the ambulance bay and wonder if there’s been an evacuation.

Abby thinks Carter should address the people who have walked out with them. When Pratt and Chen join them and ask what’s going on, Abby tells them to “talk to Norma Rae.” Carter says they’re not working until they have more secure conditions. Weaver comes outside and announces that anyone who’s not on a scheduled break is in violation of their work contract and in danger of being fired. Carter notes that the contract promises to provide them with a safe working environment. Weaver replies that they’re already taking steps to make sure what happened today doesn’t happen again.

Luka reminds Weaver that she always says they’re working on something, but the staff never sees any changes. Weaver doesn’t think this is the best way to try to solve the problem. An ambulance arrives and Gallant starts to bring the patient into the ER, but Carter yells at him not to. Weaver points out that Gallant is a student; he can’t be fired, but he can be failed. Carter stares Gallant down, daring him to cross the picket line. Gallant backs down and joins the walk-out.

Susan is still working, and she tells Mrs. Burke it’ll be a while until they can get Phillip a bed. Mrs. Burke tells her that he was an opera singer before he got sick. She prayed that he wouldn’t develop Huntington’s, and she thought her prayers had been answered, since he got to age 29 without developing any symptoms. But the disease took everything from him, including his voice.

Susan goes outside, but just to ask Abby for more lab work for Phillip. She acknowledges the walk-out but wants to keep treating patients. Carter thinks the walk-out will force people to pay attention, which will allow them to get back to their patients. As an opera song plays, Mrs. Burke watches Phillip sleep. Carter argues with Susan about how they should handle the sucky healthcare system. He can’t put up with it anymore.

Mrs. Burke looks at Phillip’s monitors as Carter reminds Susan that a staff member was murdered on duty and no one did anything about security. (I would argue that the problem goes all the way back to Mark’s assault.) Carter just wants to protect everyone who comes into the hospital. It’s way too easy to get a knife or gun through the doors. Mrs. Burke turns off Phillip’s ventilator and gives him a little embrace.

Carter and Susan keep arguing about the best way to deal with the situation. Carter says they have to make a move today; otherwise, there’s no point in trying. Susan says she’s more focused on today’s patients than tomorrow’s. She heads back inside, and Abby gets up to follow her. She turns toward Carter first, and he nods, as if she needs his permission to do her job. Susan returns to Phillip’s trauma room and realizes that Mrs. Burke has turned off the ventilator. Susan turns it back on without saying a word. Phillip has coded, and when Abby comes in, both women pretend it happened naturally.

The strikers have probably been outside for hours, since it’s night now. Carter still has no plans or any idea what’s going to happen. Weaver pulls him aside to tell him that the metal detectors will be arriving soon, and they’re working on hiring a new security firm. They’ll also be putting some security measures in the waiting room.

Carter thanks her for her work, but the only thanks she wants is a clear board. She warns that Carter will probably have to face a disciplinary board. Also, since they need money for the new measures, they’ll have to either fire three senior nurses or cancel lab and x-ray services after 10 p.m. Carter gets to make the decision, since he forced the move. He chooses to fire the nurses, and Weaver takes it a step further by telling him to choose who has to go. Carter doesn’t share these details with the strikers, just letting them know a deal has been reached.

Chen wants to go back to work, which is pretty amazing. She sends Pratt home, since his shift ended hours ago. Romano appears just long enough to yell at Carter for playing Spartacus and leaving the ER short-handed. Carter laughs because a guy who had his arm reattached made a joke using the word “hand.” Yeah, you definitely want to laugh at Romano. That’s always a good move. Romano’s annoyed that he had to take over scut work, and he doesn’t want Carter to pull a stunt like this again.

Harkins apologizes to Carter for not joining the walk-out – Weaver cornered her and gave her a speech about what it means to be a doctor. Carter tells her she’ll have to figure that out herself. Leon arrives, saying he’s looking for a doctor, and Carter sends him to the waiting room. Gallant is still dealing with Stella, by the way. Leon comes back to the admit desk, again asking for a doctor, so Frank calls for security. Yeah, because the guys who didn’t show up when there was a hostage situation are definitely going to handle Leon, who’s doing nothing wrong.

Gallant tries to talk to Leon, who’s getting more agitated. A couple of security guards who decided to finally do their job today grab Leon and wrestle him to the floor as he asks for someone named G. Gallant eventually gets Leon to say that he’s looking for Pratt. Carter’s shift was supposed to be over hours ago, but he’s going to honor Weaver’s wishes and stay until he clears the board. Harkins has become his pet student, so I think she’s staying as well. “So you’ve decided to die here,” Susan quips to Carter. Not a great joke for a guy who did almost literally die on the job a couple years earlier.

Abby, Chen, and Susan decide to go out and have some fun. Well, really, the other two are going to force Abby to go out with them. Abby again looks at Carter like she needs him to approve of her plans. Susan calls her out on it this time. She gets Phillip’s doctor on the phone and lets him know that Phillip was treated in the ER but died. She’s going to bypass the coroner and have the body released to the mortuary. Looks like Mrs. Burke’s secret is safe with Susan.

Gallant takes Leon home, learning along the way that Leon moved in with Pratt and his mother when he was nine. Leon isn’t sure what happened to his family, and he doesn’t care – Pratt is his family. Pratt is annoyed that Leon went out by himself and got lost. He barely thanks Gallant for making sure Leon got home safely.

How You Doin’ Guy is back in the ER. Can’t security tackle him, too? The metal detectors arrive, and Frank lets Carter sign for them. How You Doin’ Guy is the first to walk through one. At a club, Abby and Susan talk about how Susan’s having trouble finding a nice guy to date. She got stood up for tonight, but Abby thinks the guy would have turned out to be boring anyway. A waitress brings Susan a drink and asks if Abby wants one, but Abby says no. Chen, meanwhile, is crowd-surfing. It’s a strange way to deal with the trauma of the day, but it makes her happy.

Thoughts: Mrs. Burke is played by Shirley Knight. Eric is played by Tom Everett Scott.

Abby calling Carter “Norma Rae” is both accurate and an inside joke, since Norma Rae was played by Sally Field.

This is the first time I can see Pratt’s leadership potential. I’m sure Carter wanted to swoop in and deal with Mullen, but I think he was right to mostly let Pratt handle things. Otherwise, Mullen might have felt outnumbered and done something really stupid.

I also appreciate Carter taking a stand, but this wasn’t the way to do it. This just punished the patients. Forcing Gallant to strike was also inappropriate. And it would have been nice if Carter had shown more concern for Chen, his longtime friend, after she had a gun put to her head. He made it about the principle of the matter rather than the fact that people he knew and cared about were traumatized.

May 11, 2021

ER 8.14, A Simple Twist of Fate: Did You Learn Your Lesson?

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

This looks like something out of “The X-Files”

Summary: Susan’s asleep – drink! Lydia wakes her up in the lounge, where she was just going to rest her eyes for a little while. That was hours ago, and now she just has a few more hours until she has to be back at work. Weaver wants her help now with an animal attack, since Mark is in the pediatric ICU with Ella. Susan is eager to get updates on Ella’s condition, though it doesn’t seem to have changed.

At the admit desk, Weaver and Frank are fighting about bagels. A pharmaceutical company has brought over a bunch of food and branded products to try to get the hospital to use their drugs. Weaver doesn’t like how the company will just add the marketing costs on to their drug prices, and elderly patients will be the ones paying the jacked-up amounts. Frank is willing to accept the consequences. Weaver gives Susan an update on Ella, then puts her to work. Susan goes for a bagel, but Weaver guilts her into giving it up.

Up in the pediatric ICU, a doctor is ready to extubate Ella and see if she’ll breathe on her own. Mark and Elizabeth lend a hand with what is obviously a doll. After a tense few moments, Ella wakes up and starts breathing. Joyce is still hiding out from Brian, waiting for him to head out for the day before she leaves Abby’s apartment. She’s going to visit him at his school later that day (hoping he won’t get angry while he’s with his study group) to tell him things need to change.

Abby is firm with her: If he won’t commit to changing, Joyce has to leave him. She tells Joyce she’s free to stay in the apartment while Abby’s at work. Joyce hopes the group therapy Abby has recommended will actually help, since Brian wouldn’t continue counseling sessions the last time they tried. She thinks that if Brian knows she’s serious about leaving, he’ll change. Abby leaves for work, passing Brian’s apartment and trying to avoid him. Brian asks if she’s seen Joyce, and Abby pretends she hasn’t.

Mark lets Susan know that Ella’s doing really well. In fact, if she doesn’t have any seizures in the next 48 hours, they’ll know she’s okay. Paramedics bring in the animal attack victim, who was bitten by a sloth. Wow, embarrassing. Dude, you got attacked by the laziest animal in the world. Maybe you should lie and tell people it was a tiger. Chen spots Mark heading back to the pediatric ICU and tells him she didn’t file the mandatory paperwork reporting Ella’s drug overdose. Mark says he’ll take care of it.

Eleanor is still by Mickey’s side as he gets ready to start chemo again. He doesn’t have a lot of options, other than medications he didn’t receive last time. Eleanor worries that he’s being experimented on. Carter tells her it’s more about luck. He advises Eleanor to leave and get some rest, but Eleanor doesn’t want to leave Mickey alone while he gets his treatments.

Susan tends to a woman named Ginger who accidentally swallowed a ring. Okay, let’s be more specific: She was sucking a guy’s fingers and swallowed the ring. Even more specifically: It’s the guy’s wedding ring, and Ginger isn’t his wife. Susan says Ginger will just pass the ring in the next few days, but the guy would like to get the ring back before his wife notices it’s missing. Susan suggests an endoscopy, but Ginger objects even before she knows that it involves having a tube shoved down her throat.

Yosh tells Susan he’s sick and heading home. Frank is also sick. Susan joins Abby to help with a patient, but Abby gets called away to take a call from Joyce. She accidentally locked herself out of Abby’s apartment and is worried that she won’t get back in without Brian finding out she’s there. Abby tells her to come to County and get her key.

Elizabeth gives Ella a bottle as Kit tells Mark that Rachel’s on the phone for him. Elizabeth asks if Rachel’s been charged with anything. When Mark says no, Elizabeth figures out that he didn’t tell the police about the drugs. Mark’s excuse is that he wasn’t the attending physician at the time, so it’s not his responsibility. Elizabeth doesn’t think Rachel deserves any special treatment – she was in possession of Ecstasy and a baby consumed it. It’s a crime. Mark doesn’t think that having Rachel arrested is a solution here. Elizabeth wants him to do something, anything, to deal with the problem he’s been avoiding for months. He hasn’t even contacted Jen yet.

Frank is too sick to keep working, which leaves Susan out one desk clerk and four nurses. Frank says he’s called in people to fill in for the sick employees who, coincidentally, all ate the food from the drug company. Chen realizes she’s next up for illness. Frank tells her he’ll add her name to a class-action suit. Abby goes home to get Joyce and discovers that Brian found her first and beat her up. Joyce doesn’t want to go to the hospital, but Abby can tell just by looking at her that her cheekbone is broken.

Susan treats a man who was impaled by a falling icicle. Weaver comes in to tell Susan she’s sick and has to go home. Oh, Weaver. You couldn’t resist the lure of the bagels, could you? I get it. Carter isn’t sure the person starting Mickey’s treatments is qualified, but Babcock reminds him that County is a teaching hospital. The person should probably be supervised, though. Mickey starts coughing up blood, but it’s not from anything the inexperienced doctor did. While Carter and Babcock discuss options, Eleanor runs out.

Carter follows her and reminds her that he’s only helping with Mickey’s case because she asked him to. Eleanor struggles to say she couldn’t handle seeing Mickey in so much pain. Carter asks what she expected. This is just what she did with Bobby – she bailed when she couldn’t handle watching him suffer, and now she’s leaving Mickey alone when he needs support the most.

Paramedics bring in a girl named Ariel who started wheezing while eating alone at a buffet. Mark has decided to continue avoiding his problems by working for a few hours. Ariel was eating shrimp and lobster, so it’s pretty obvious that she triggered an unknown allergy. As Mark gives drug orders, he suddenly finds himself unable to say the name of a medication. Susan is concerned.

Abby takes care of Joyce, who keeps making excuses for her and Brian’s explosive relationship. She claims that 95% of the time, he’s awesome. She didn’t get a chance to tell him he needs to get help, so Abby thinks she can assume that Brian isn’t going to change. While Elizabeth is on the phone, Rachel slips in to see her sister. Elizabeth manages to not blow up at her, but she tells Rachel that if she really wants to make things better, she can move out. Rachel doesn’t try to fight her.

The ER is started to fill up, and Susan’s the highest-ranking person on shift, so she has a lot to keep an eye on. The fill-in desk clerk is someone from accounting, which probably isn’t the best fit, but oh, well. Rachel tells Mark that Jen is going to buy her a ticket back to St. Louis, but she’ll need a ride to the airport. Mark tells her no one wants her to leave Chicago; she just needs to give Elizabeth some space. Rachel tells him that Elizabeth told her straight out to leave the house. Mark promises to talk to her, but Rachel is willing to go, since Elizabeth doesn’t want her there.

While trying to convince Rachel to be patient, Mark bites his tongue hard enough to make it bleed. He sends Rachel home so they can talk more that night. Meanwhile, Susan talks to Ariel’s mother and stepfather, who tell her that Ariel has put on some weight recently and is eating a lot. Susan offers to have her talk to a nutritionist.

She notices Mark bleeding and tells him to stick his tongue out for her to examine. His tongue goes to the side, even though he thinks he’s sticking it out straight. He and Susan both realize that that may be a problem. Mark goes to the bathroom and studies his face in the mirror, trying to determine if there’s anything else he should worry about. After splashing some water on his face, he bangs his head against the paper-towel dispenser a couple of times. Yeah, that’ll help.

Luka’s annoyed that he just got off an airplane, he’s in to work on his day off, and Susan doesn’t have anything in the ER under control. Susan is very Weaver-ish toward him. Abby welcomes Luka back from his work with Doctors Without Borders and says she was expecting a postcard while he was gone. He tells her she should get email. Aww, 2002, you cutie. Anyway, the two of them are back to being friendly, like they never had a horrible breakup.

Susan gives Mark a quick neuro exam and thinks he’s fine. Mark disagrees, guessing that his tumor is back. She tells him he should get an MRI if he’s really worried, but this could be from stress over Ella, or just inflammation from his treatments. Mark blows her off and goes to treat a new patient, a little boy who got burns from an airbag after a car accident. Mark’s immediately angry that his father let him sit in the front seat.

The writers bring back that early-series plot about substitute nurses who don’t have the same work ethic as the regular ER nurses, this time with Abby filling Carol’s role. Brian shows up and demands to see Joyce; he knows she spent the night at Abby’s and came here with her. He claims that Joyce tried to hit him with a baseball bat. Abby tells him that Joyce is speaking to the police, so if he really wants to see her, they can go right now. That scares him off.

Elizabeth comes down to the ER to tell Mark that Ella’s neurological scans are all fine. She’s annoyed that he’s working instead of staying with their daughter. She announces that she’s going to go home to shower and change her clothes. Mark replies that the “evil daughter” is there, so she should beware. He’s upset that Elizabeth told Rachel to leave. Elizabeth asks what it will take for Mark to finally realize that this is an impossible living situation.

Mark says he won’t choose between his daughters, but Elizabeth tells him she’s choosing for him. He asks what message it sends to Rachel if he lets Elizabeth send her away. Elizabeth thinks she’ll realize that she has to grow up and take responsibility, that her actions have consequences. Mark thinks Rachel has learned that already – she’ll never do anything to harm Ella again. Elizabeth hopes he’s right, because as long as Rachel is living in their house, Elizabeth and Ella won’t be.

Joyce won’t talk to the cops and takes back her story that Brian hurt her. They can’t find him, so Abby gives them a couple of places to look. She tells Joyce that Brian came back the hospital looking for her. Abby and Luka want to find Joyce a safe place to stay, but Joyce wants to go home. Abby asks what will happen in the future of Joyce and Brian have kids. Does Joyce want him to hurt children, too? She needs to wake up and see that this is her chance to get away. If she goes back to Brian, she’s sending the message that what he does to her is okay.

Carter catches up with his mother at the family’s mansion. Eleanor has made arrangements to go to Cape Cod for a little while. Carter tells her that kids get over stuff, and if she goes back to the hospital right now, Mickey will forget that she abandoned him. Eleanor thinks Carter was right about her getting too involved, but he thinks he was wrong about that.

Eleanor points out a tree in the yard where Carter and Bobby would built a fort and play Tarzan and Cheetah. Bobby pushed Carter out once, but Carter didn’t rat out his brother. Eleanor never really thought about how Bobby’s death affected Carter. In fact, she never spent much time as Carter’s mother at all. Carter asks if she has time now.

She tells him she doesn’t want to betray another little boy. Bobby believed her when she told him he would get better, but he didn’t. Carter says Bobby was just pretending. He didn’t want Eleanor to be sad. He made Carter promise to make their mother happy. They hug, and Eleanor tells Carter she loves him, something I doubt he heard much, if at all, when he was growing up.

Abby’s back at home, talking to Joyce on the phone from wherever Joyce is spending the night. She buzzes up a pizza delivery guy, but the person who comes to her door is Brian. He acts apologetic and admits he needs help. He just wants to talk to Joyce, even if she won’t forgive him. Abby refuses to tell him where Joyce is. Brian starts getting aggressive, saying he won’t let Abby take his wife away from him. She tells him to leave or she’ll call the police. As soon as he’s gone, she locks the door. When he knocks again, Abby calls 911, then, for some reason, opens the door (with the chain on). Brian kicks it in.

Sometime later, Abby wakes up alone in her apartment, her face bloody. She locks the door again, then locks herself in the bathroom. Back at County, Susan talks to Ariel about how she needs to eat better. Ariel is fine being overweight, and though Susan says it’s important for her to be comfortable with her body, gaining a lot of weight in a short amount of time could lead to health problems. Plus, she’ll be in high school soon, and she’ll want to attract boys. Susan, come on. Ariel says she hates boys and doesn’t ever want them to touch her.

Susan starts to figure out that Ariel’s stepfather is doing something horrible to her, but then we abandon that plot so Susan can help Luka take care of Abby. Luka doesn’t like that Brian knows where Abby lives. He nicely looks away while Susan and Connie help Abby put on a gown. He wants to give her morphine, since she may have a broken nose, but Abby doesn’t want any narcotics. Susan notices a bruise on Abby’s thigh and wonders if Brian raped her. Luka, unlike Brian, is able to hide his rage.

Elizabeth returns to County, where Mark is sitting with Ella. He wants to talk about Rachel, but Elizabeth has had enough of thinking about her for the day. Susan gives Abby a rape exam but doesn’t find any signs that she was assaulted. Other than her nose, she’s fine, at least physically. She doesn’t seem to regret stepping in to help Joyce. Susan offers to let Abby stay with her until Brian’s in police custody, and it takes Abby a while to accept her help.

Susan tells Luka that Abby’s okay, then lets him go home. Things are quiet again and the admit desk isn’t a disaster area. That’s thanks to Jerry, who apparently retired but now wants to come back to work. Unfortunately, he snagged a bagel and some cream cheese, so he’s probably not going to want to be at work much longer.

Luka tracks Brian down at a bar Abby said he frequents and gives him a taste of his own medicine. Brian still blames Abby for taking away Joyce, but Luka says Brian did that himself. Brian promises to move out of the building and never come near Abby again. Luka makes it clear that if he ever touches Abby again, Luka will finish him off.

Back at County, Carter and Eleanor both sit with Mickey while he undergoes whatever it was he was supposed to undergo when he started coughing up blood. It’s tough for Eleanor, but Carter looks proud of her. Meanwhile, Mark gets an MRI.

Thoughts: I think at this point it was pretty common knowledge that this was Anthony Edwards’ last season, so no one was too surprised when Mark’s tumor came back. It’s hard to write out a character married to another character without either sending them both away or killing one off.

I like that Rachel basically accepts that there will be consequences for her actions and seems willing to face them. When Elizabeth tells her to move out, all Rachel says is that she’ll have to call Jen. She doesn’t make excuses or beg to stay. I think she genuinely doesn’t want to make things harder for Elizabeth.

I vaguely remember reading about a woman who diagnosed her own brain tumor after watching this episode and realizing she had the same tongue problem as Mark. Who says TV isn’t educational?

Abby cracking the door open for Brian makes no sense. She knew how dangerous he was. It seems out of character for her.

This episode should have been a springboard for Abby and Luka to get back together. Unfortunately, it’s not, and we end up having to endure a bunch of crap instead.

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