May 26, 2020

ER 6.8, Great Expectations: Happy Thanksgivi-Birthday

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

Want to feel old? These girls are now college-age

Summary: This episode is all about Carol, so we follow her as she gets up in the morning, gets on an El train, falls asleep, and almost misses her stop. She slips on the El steps and drops the pie she’s carrying. She’s too pregnant to bend over and pick it up, so she just kicks it to the side. Outside the hospital, Cleo is jumping rope, in case we haven’t gotten the hint yet that she’s very fit. Carol tells Cleo that she used to be that thin. No one cares, Carol.

Weaver’s surprised to see Carol, since yesterday was supposed to be her last day of work before her maternity leave. Carol has come in to show Lydia how to do a report, but she’s late and Lydia’s already gone. Connie invites Carol to stay for the staff’s Thanksgiving potluck, but Carol decides to go home and nap before she spends the holiday with her family. Malik asks about the pie she was supposed to bring and Carol says it was a casualty of her pregnancy.

On her way back out, Carol runs into Carter and Chuny, who are having a snowball fight. This is before Carter gets traumatized and forgets how to have fun. A stray dog has found Carol’s pie and is having a nice Thanksgiving feast of his own when Carol returns to the El. Just moments after she sits down on a train, her water breaks.

She gets off the train and sits on a bench in a station, which is where Luka finds her 15 minutes later. She’s trying to get up the strength to get on a train and go back to County, but she’s had a couple contractions. I would think a crowded, moving train is the last place you’d want to be while in labor anyway. Luka tells her they’ll wait for the next train; if it doesn’t come in five minutes, he’ll call an ambulance.

Back at County, things are so quiet that Malik and Dave are playing a modified game of hockey. Dave’s goofing off in a wheelchair and flips over backward when Malik hits him with the can they’re using as the puck. Weaver tells Dave that things will start picking up as people in Chicago start having dinner and get sick. I imagine there will also be some carving knife-related injuries. Carter has a medical mystery and shares it with Weaver, but it’s Dave who diagnoses the patient with poisoning from a tropical fruit. Carter’s skeptical, since Dave isn’t the smartest guy, but Weaver thinks it’s worth looking into.

Luka gets Carol on a train just as she has another contraction. A man on the train wants to pull the emergency cord, but Luka tells him not to stop the train, since they’re only going one stop. They bicker for a little bit until Carol yells at the guy not to pull the cord. Mark has the day off, and he, David, and Rachel are spending Thanksgiving with Elizabeth. This is her first time meeting David and Rachel. She doesn’t impress them with her pilgrim hat (which was supposed to be a table decoration) or her lack of a working TV, which means David can’t watch football.

Carol’s contractions are getting closer together, and Luka declares that she’s in active labor. He advises her to hum to help get through the contractions – it helped his wife when she was in labor. Carol’s too distracted to comment on the mention of Luka’s wife. They do some off-key humming for a while. Carter tells Dave that his diagnosis was correct, and he wants to know how Dave knew what was wrong with the patient. Dave says he’s seen it before; he spent some time in the jungle. After Carter bugs him a bit, Dave admits that he went to med school in Grenada. He didn’t have the grades to go to a U.S. school, but the end result is the same – he and Carter are both M.D.s.

Luka finally gets Carol on her feet, and as they head down the big staircase from the El station, she asks about his wife. He mentions that they had two children, but his family doesn’t live in Croatia anymore. (More details on that in later episodes.) Carol has to stop and sit on the steps, but Luka doesn’t want to delay the trip to the ER any longer. She passes out, so he picks her up and carries her the rest of the way to the hospital. Carol regains consciousness as Weaver, Luka, and Carter are taking her to a trauma room. Carol thinks she’s fine to just go up to the labor and delivery ward, but Weaver wants her in the ER.

Mark praises Elizabeth for being willing to put up with his family on Thanksgiving. She’s much more hospitable than Rachel deserves, as Rachel turns up her nose at the bacon Elizabeth put on the turkey. She reminds Elizabeth that Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, since it’s to commemorate the pilgrims leaving the Brits’ persecution. Elizabeth notes that the pilgrims then turned around and persecuted the Native Americans. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

David insists on carving the turkey, wanting to show Mark that he’s still capable of doing things since Mark doesn’t think he is. In fact, Mark wants to send him to a nursing home. Mark corrects that it’s a retirement community, but David notes that it has nurses. In the kitchen, Rachel accidentally drops the bowl holding the mashed potatoes.

Luka leaves Carol to tend to an elderly woman who skipped her last dialysis appointment to get her hair done for her birthday. Now she’s in congestive heart failure, so I’m going to say it probably wasn’t worth it. On top of that, the ambulance that brought her to the hospital was hit by a car. Luka isn’t sure if her heart problems are due to her kidney issues or the accident.

Weaver examines Carol and announces that she’s already dilated to 10 centimeters. There’s no time to get her to labor and delivery, so she’ll have to deliver in the ER. Carter wants to be part of the delivery, but Carol isn’t willing to let him participate in something so intimate. Weaver agrees with her decision to kick him out of the room. He goes next door to help Luka with his patient, who’s gone downhill fast.

Mark is summoned from his family Thanksgiving to go to County, since he’s Carol’s birthing coach. He tells David and Rachel he’ll take them home, but the two of them and Elizabeth decide to have Thanksgiving together without him. Mark tells Elizabeth to lock them in a closet if they cause her any trouble. Rachel’s off to a good start, insisting that she’s not going to eat any turkey, since animal fat is bad for your heart. Her grandfather isn’t here for that brattiness.

Weaver, Chuny, and Haleh help Carol through her delivery, but they determine that they’ll need some help from L&D. Weaver calmly tells Carol that the first baby’s heart rate is down, but as long as it stays above 80, everything’s okay. Next door, Luka and Carter are unable to save their patient. Luka sadly wishes her a happy birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, it’s about to be Carol’s twins’ birthday. Cleo comes in to help with the end of the first twin’s delivery, but Weaver has no trouble finishing up by herself. The baby is a girl and seems to be healthy. She’s also way bigger than a newborn would be, and having Carol comment that she’s small just draws more attention to it. Carol has already picked out a name, Tess. One down, one to go!

Up on the L&D floor, a nurse named Abby Lockhart takes over Carol’s care. This is the most competent and confident we will see Abby for a while. Carol asks Weaver to stay with Tess as she’s taken away to get cleaned up. Mark arrives as Carol learns that there’s time for her to have an epidural before she delivers the second baby. She tells him she quits. She apologizes for pulling him away from his family, but Mark would rather be with her.

At Elizabeth’s, David is using various Thanksgiving dishes to illustrate the story of D-Day. Elizabeth is somehow not chugging wine to get through this. Mark helps the anesthesiologist, Babcock, prepare for Carol’s epidural, which she orders Babcock to get right the first time. Does Carol have to micromanage everything? Dr. Coburn comes in and mistakes Mark for the babies’ father rather than Carol’s birthing coach. Carol’s OB is out of town, so Coburn is covering her practice.

David tells Elizabeth about witnessing the death of one of his Naval shipmates, who fell overboard. He’s happy to have gotten a homecooked meal from Elizabeth, his first since Ruth died. David asks how Mark is dealing with his mother’s death. Elizabeth says he doesn’t talk about it much, and Elizabeth doesn’t push him on it. David says he’s always been a mystery. Ruth was the only one who could understand him. David feels like she was a bridge for him and Mark; with her gone, David has lost the connection to his son. Rachel’s been in the bathroom for a long time, so Elizabeth goes to check on her. Rachel tells her to go away.

Mark flips through the TV channels in Carol’s room, making her wonder if she’s boring him. She’s very happy to have gotten the epidural. Mark leaves to call Elizabeth, and Carol asks him to call her mother as well. Mark asks pointedly if there’s anyone else he should call. But no, Carol doesn’t want to contact the father of her children while she’s delivering them, thank you. Abby asks another nurse if there’s an open OR, making Carol worry that she’ll need a C-section. Abby tells her they just need to be cautious in case the baby rotates and becomes breech.

Back at Elizabeth’s, Rachel’s hiding out in the bathroom because she just started her first period, at the young age of ten. Elizabeth only has tampons and doesn’t want to start Rachel off on them, so she sends David out to get pads. He’s not that familiar with them, so Elizabeth tells him to ask a clerk for help. “What if he’s a guy?” David asks reasonably.

Carol’s ready to deliver the second baby, and the heart rate is dropping, so Abby checks her again. She realizes the umbilical cord is cutting off the baby’s oxygen, which means Carol needs to deliver immediately. Since she’s only six centimeters dilated, she’ll need an emergency C-section. In the OR, Coburn and Mark butt heads a little, and though she lets him take charge for a while, Coburn gets the final say in what happens. Carol’s terrified and begs Mark not to let the baby die. The second baby is also a girl, and though she’s not as immediately healthy as her sister, she improves quickly.

On his way back from the store, David slips on some ice outside Elizabeth’s apartment building and cuts his head. He tells Elizabeth he wants a drink before she takes him to the hospital for stitches. Back at County, Carol is bleeding, because women never have smooth deliveries in TV dramas. Coburn decides she needs a hysterectomy. Carol won’t consent, and Mark asks Coburn to come up with another solution. He tells her to respect Carol’s decision, since she’s a nurse and knows the risk of not having a hysterectomy.

Thanks to blood loss, Carol passes out before her fate is decided, and she wakes up in a recovery with two healthy babies. Mark tells her that the hysterectomy wasn’t necessary after all. Abby tells her to thank Mark for advocating for her. Mark teases that she should have some more babies since the first two came out so well. Carol doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

Mark asks Carol what she wants to name the second baby. Carol invites him to name her, suggesting that they give the baby Mark’s mother’s name. Carol doesn’t like the name Ruth, but Ruth’s middle name was Katherine, and Carol likes the name Kate, so Kate it is. Abby sends Mark to the ER to check on David, and after he leaves, Carol asks Abby if she can make a long-distance call on her room phone. She’s finally going to call Doug.

Elizabeth stitches up David in the ER and informs Mark that Rachel started her period. Luka interrupts to ask how Carol is. Mark tells him she had two girls and everyone’s fine. Elizabeth leaves Mark to finish up with David while she visits Carol. David tells Mark that he likes Elizabeth. Abby teaches Carol to nurse, then leaves to go tend to someone else. She tells Carol she was very brave. Carol is left alone with her two girls on their first Thanksgiving/first birthday, and Carol realizes for the first time how much work she’s in for.

Thoughts: Tess Ross? Poor kid.

Dave going to med school at “the Harvard of Grenada” makes me think of Jimmy from Better Call Saul going to the University of American Samoa. (Goooo, Land Crabs!)

Enjoy bratty Rachel, because that’s who we’re stuck with from now on.

May 19, 2020

ER 6.7, Humpty Dumpty: Things Went a Lot Better the Last Time Carter Was in Charge

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


Summary: Mark is playing Tetris at 5:30 in the morning, unable to sleep because he’s feeling stressed about his father coming to visit. He’s arriving that afternoon and staying through Thanksgiving. At County, Haleh wakes Benton up in the on-call room so he can help with a trauma. A church choir in town for a gospel festival was in a bus accident. Carter informs Benton that he’s the triage officer today, having requested more responsibility as a senior resident. In other words, he’s pretty much running the ER, which means he can tell Benton what to do. Benton checks to make sure he’s actually awake and not having a nightmare.

Carter goes to another trauma room to check on Cleo, who calls him John, which just…sounds weird. He bugs Lucy about arriving late in between second-guessing his colleagues’ decisions. He gets knocked off his high horse by a little boy who needs someone to take him to the bathroom. With no one else around to do the job, Carter escorts the boy himself.

Carol has reached the stage of her pregnancy where she can’t really do anything, so she’s been assigned to help out at the front desk. She’s a little bit of a diva about it, asking people to do stuff for her. Luka was sent away when Lawrence was hired, but now that Lawrence has been let go, Luka’s back. Yay! Elizabeth checks in on Benton while he’s operating, and he asks her for some time off to attend his custody trial. He agrees to work other shifts to make up the time. There’s a big car accident somewhere, and Benton is asked to go to the scene to take care of people. Elizabeth says she’ll go instead.

Romano holds a staff meeting, which Carter tags along to with Mark. Weaver told him he couldn’t come, but Mark didn’t know that, so, as Weaver notes, Carter played Mommy against Daddy. Romano wants Carter out, so Mark asks if he wants the staff to think they’re just there to serve him without knowing what goes on behind the scenes. Romano has no problem with that. But he admires Carter’s little trick to get admitted to the meeting, so he can stay.

A teen named Chad Kottmeier is brought in by his mom, who’s sure his behavior has changed because he’s using drugs. Lucy doesn’t want to give him a drug test when he denies using, so Mrs. Kottmeier asks for someone with more seniority. Cleo steps in and asks Chad directly if he objects to being tested. Chad gives in, mostly just wanting his mom to shut up. Outside the room, Lucy calls Cleo on questioning her decision. Cleo advises her to take the path of least resistance more often. Lucy tells her to take the case herself.

A woman comes in with a gunshot wound, having been accidentally shot by her husband when he tried to scare her to stop her hiccups. Carter wants the case, but Weaver tells him to do something administrative instead. He has to review charts from the past 72 hours and call anyone who wasn’t given the appropriate antibiotics. Then he can check the hospital’s compliance on TB mask fitting. Carter now resents asking for more administrative experience.

Elizabeth arrives at the scene of the huge accident and starts triaging patients. One guy, Dean, is stuck in his car. Dave asks Carol to order a test for him, but she says she’s just answering phones. Cleo tells Lucy she understands how hard it is to be a fourth-year med student; she feels comfortable enough to fly solo, but she’s not allowed to yet. She sends Lucy to check out the rest of the choir members who haven’t been seen yet. Dave calls Carol from a phone booth to ask her to order his test. Heh.

A detective named Cruson asks Elizabeth if there was a passenger in Dean’s car, which he’s finally been removed from. In truth, it’s not Dean’s car – he carjacked the real owner. Dean won’t answer the detective’s questions, and he’s bleeding from his carotid artery, so Elizabeth is more concerned with saving him than helping the police. Cruson is desperate for information, so Elizabeth tells Dean she’ll let him bleed to death if he doesn’t tell her where the carjacking victim is. Dean says she’s in Lincoln Park. Pam the paramedic, who’s listening in, is like, “I do NOT get paid enough to deal with this kind of thing.”

Elizabeth delivers Dean to County in handcuffs, which aren’t really necessary, since his massive carotid bleeding is going to keep him from doing anything threatening. A nurse from the jail ward comes to the ER to ask Carol to visit Meg; she had her baby and wants to see Carol. Carter tries to invite himself to join Elizabeth and Benton in treating Dean, but Haleh sends him to do the TB-mask testing instead.

Benton tells the officer with Dean to take off his handcuffs so they can roll him over and check him for more injuries. The cop refuses so Benton tells Lily to get some bolt-cutters. His bluff successfully called, the cop removes the cuffs. Lucy stitches up the choir director, Mr. Owens, noticing that he’s having some breathing issues. He admits that he has congestive heart failure, but he’s more focused on the gospel festival and making sure his choir is ready than he is in taking care of his health.

Dean’s carjacking victim is brought to the hospital with multiple stab wounds. Chuny notices abrasions that indicate that she was raped. Cruson asks the woman, Sandra, for a description of her attacker, but she’s pretty out of it and just asks for her husband. Luka sends Cruson out of the trauma room so he and Weaver can take care of Sandra.

Cruson goes to Dean’s trauma room, where Elizabeth notices that he’s showing weakness on one side of his body. Benton thinks it’s just because she tied off his carotid, but Elizabeth guesses that he’s having a stroke. Cruson objects when Malik throws out some of Dean’s clothes, since they’re covered in blood. Elizabeth agrees to keep the rest of his belongings in case they have Sandra’s blood on them. Cruson leaves to get an arrest warrant.

Next door, Sandra is bleeding a lot, and the blood bank doesn’t have any O-negative readily available. Chuny runs around the ER, asking if any staff members are O-negative. Carter is, so he comes to the trauma room, still wearing a TB mask, to donate. Elizabeth and Benton install a shunt in Dean’s neck, hoping they can save him so he can go on trial for his crimes. As soon as he’s donated blood, Carter wants to join a trauma, but he’s not steady enough to help.

Sandra’s husband, Ron, arrives as Weaver and Luka are about to cut her chest open. They hear music and send Haleh to find out where it’s coming from. She finds the gospel choir practicing in an exam room, Lucy’s compromise to get Mr. Owens to stick around while they wait for some test results. Haleh reluctantly tells them they have to leave, so Mr. Owens decides they’ll go outside to sing.

Cleo gets Chad’s drug-test results, which are negative, though his liver is functioning abnormally. Carol gets dizzy getting off her stool at the counter, so Cleo wants her monitored. Sandra is getting worse, while Dean has stabilized enough for surgery. Elizabeth stays behind to answer Ron’s questions about how Weaver and Luka are treating Sandra. Sadly, they’re unable to save her.

An OB determines that Carol’s babies are fine, but she needs to be resting instead of working. Mark comes to check on her and agrees with the OB. He tells Carol that David didn’t get on his flight to come to Chicago, and his neighbor went to check on him but couldn’t find him. Mark is a lot more calm than I would be about not knowing where my elderly father was.

Cleo busts Chad for being drunk and tells him she’ll need to tell his mother. Chad doesn’t care, since Mrs. K. also has a drinking problem. Luka and Weaver have the unfortunate job of having to tell Ron that they need to perform a rape exam on his dead wife. To add insult to injury, they need to make sure he didn’t rape her.

Dean has a lot of injuries and may not be able to be put back together (like Humpty Dumpty. Like the episode title. Get it?). Cruson has his warrant and is ready to do his job to get Dean charged with murder one. Outside the hospital, Lucy continues treating Mr. Owens while he conducts his choir. He’s insistent that they leave for the festival, promising that he’ll come back as soon as they’ve performed. Lucy has to get a doctor’s approval to let him leave against medical advice.

Cleo brings Adele to the ER to try to get Chad some treatment. Lucy asks Cleo to talk to Mr. Owens about his treatment, but she’s too late – the choir’s bus is already pulling away. Lucy laments that she didn’t get Cleo sooner; she thought she could handle the situation. Mark gets a message that David went to the airport this morning, so his failure to arrive in Chicago doesn’t make sense. He gets a call to go up to the sixth floor to see Lawrence, who’s undergoing a neurological exam where he has to identify pictures of things like funnels and volcanoes. He’s not enjoying it.

Weaver and Luka examine Sandra’s body and confirm that she was raped. Mark invites Lawrence to get coffee while he waits for some test results. Mark has called Lawrence’s son, since he needs a caregiver to participate in a clinical trial. Lawrence didn’t want his son involved and doesn’t think he’ll babysit his father anyway. Mark notes that Lawrence took care of his son as a child; now his son can return the favor. Lawrence admits that he was always too busy to be much of a father. He doesn’t want to be a burden.

Mark is optimistic that the trial will give Lawrence more time, though Lawrence doesn’t see the point. Mark ask if he’s going to give up because he’s too proud to ask for help. Lawrence doesn’t think it matters – the end result is the same. He thinks it’s too late for any trials or treatments to make a difference in his condition.

Romano tells Elizabeth that Dean raped Sandra. Someone at the public defender’s office has heard that Elizabeth coerced Dean into telling her where Sandra was, and Romano would like to hear from her whether that’s true. Elizabeth admits that it is, which means the confession, having been coerced, could be thrown out in court. Not to mention how unethical it is to threaten to withhold treatment like Elizabeth did.

Carol finally goes to visit Meg, who’s spending her last few minutes with her baby before he’s taken away by Social Services. Meg asks Carol to talk to someone about letting her take him to jail with her. Carol owes her, since she’s the reason Meg got arrested. Carol says she did what she thought was best for Meg and the baby. Meg asks if being away from her new son for ten months is what’s best for him. Carol thinks she can get him back if she proves she’s turned her life around. Meg calls her self-righteous and begs Carol to do something. Carol says she can’t, and leaves while Meg screams at her.

Lawrence waits for his son in the ER while Cleo tells Mrs. K. that Chad needs treatment for his drinking. Mrs. K. says she didn’t give Cleo permission to do anything except test Chad for drug use. Cleo asks if Mrs. K. is avoiding the truth because she has her own drinking problem. Mrs. K. storms off.

Carter gets in over his head with a patient, unsure of why he’s having seizures. Lawrence is sitting right outside the trauma room, so Carter asks for his help. Lawrence says he doesn’t work at County anymore, but Carter’s desperate, so Lawrence comes in to help. He quickly diagnoses the patient, having had a similar case 20 years ago, and gives him the proper treatment. “Score one for the absent-minded professor,” he quips to Weaver and Carter.

Weaver acknowledges that the patient would have died if Lawrence hadn’t been there. She, too, wouldn’t be where she is without Lawrence’s guidance. She asks what he’s going to do. Lawrence tells her that he and his son talked, and they’ve made arrangements to live together.

Mr. Owens returns to the ER, upset that he missed the festival. It’s not clear, but it sounds like Lucy sent paramedics to the festival to bring him back, claiming that he needed treatment for carbon-monoxide poisoning. David shows up next, having taken a later flight because his first one was overbooked and he wanted the $200 passengers were offered to get off the plane. Mark gives him a tour of the hospital.

Weaver thanks Luka for his good work on a difficult case. She calls him by his first name, the sign of trust he previously mentioned to Carol he was hoping for, and tells him she wants him to take Lawrence’s slot as a permanent doctor. He doesn’t ask about his salary, sure that Weaver will be fair. Benton and Elizabeth operate on Dean, her lamenting that Sandra died and him pointing out that at least she didn’t die alone. Dean starts crashing and Elizabeth hesitates before shocking him back to stability.

Thoughts: Chad is played by Emile Hirsch.

I didn’t realize until he showed up that this episode kicks off the horrible Dean Rollins story arc. Kill me now.

I’m imagining myself telling my boss to do my job herself, like Lucy does with Cleo. Hold on. Imagining it…imagining it…and…it doesn’t end well. Watch your attitude, Knight.

April 14, 2020

ER 6.2, Last Rites: Mark vs. Weaver, Round 1 of 1 Billion

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

I will not apologize for finding this man attractive. I WILL NOT

Summary: Elaine enters the ER in slow motion, for some reason. She wanders around looking for Carter, because, as we know, security at County is a joke and people can just walk around whenever and wherever they want. She finds him and asks what time he’s off work. Elaine, try the phone next time.

Mark is in San Diego, cleaning up his parents’ house after his mother’s funeral reception. He checks on a sleeping Rachel, then goes to the garage, where David is making a linen chest he once promised to make for Ruth. He thanks Mark for his eulogy, and Mark says the color guard at the funeral was nice. David says that Ruth’s death doesn’t feel real yet.

A new doctor, Malucci (sorry, Dr. Dave), has started at County. He and Lucy tend to a teenager who keeps getting beaten up for dressing punk/goth. Lucy can’t believe that his principal hasn’t done something to stop the bullying. Carter tells Dave to call plastic surgery for one of the teen’s injuries, but Dave thinks he can handle it himself. We get to see more of the differences between these two when Dave gives Lucy vague treatment instructions while Carter gives her specific ones.

Dave notices his fellow newbie, Cleo, arriving at work and calls her Jackie Joyner. She tells him to get a life. Do better, Cleo. Reggie brings in a drunk guy who flirts with Jeanie. Reggie calls her his fiancée, but Jeanie tells Yosh they’re “not exactly” engaged. Romano leads a surgeons’ staff meeting, which Benton ignores to chat with Elizabeth. Romano announces that Elizabeth is now associate chief of surgery. This is news to her.

Carter treats a young woman named Amy whose cancer has spread all over her body, including to her brain, leaving her with an altered mental status for weeks. Her father, Mr. Stehly, tells Carter that she has a DNR and doesn’t want to go back to the ICU. He brought her in to be made more comfortable, but not for any other treatment.

Mark comes back from California and goes straight to work. Carter brings him into Amy’s case. Weaver has instituted a new charting system where every complaint a patient has is detailed on a different form. Sounds tedious. Elizabeth bursts into Romano’s office 15 minutes later than he expected her to come confront him. He tells her he gave her the position as associate chief because he needs her to smooth things over with their colleagues. In other words, she gets to do all the stuff he doesn’t want to do. Elizabeth doesn’t want the job, but she knows she needs to take it.

Carlos is doing a lot better and hasn’t exhibited any side effects from the HIV medications he’s started receiving. In fact, he’s well enough to be discharged. He’s going to an intake center since no appropriate foster family has been found (and his mother died yesterday). Jeanie worries that he won’t get the care he needs.

Carol assists Luka as he treats a boy with a sore throat. The boy asks about Luka’s accent, so Carol asks where he’s from (Croatia). She asks if he’s going to give the boy Tylenol for his fever. Luka says no, since fevers have a purpose. They’re the body’s natural way of fighting infection. Carol notes that Tylenol would make the boy feel better.

Benton meets with a therapist who’s been assigned to assess his family dynamic for his attempts to keep Carla and Roger from taking Reese to Germany. She asks about Benton’s feelings toward Roger. Benton doesn’t think Roger has anything to do with the custody situation, even though, you know, Reese lives with the guy. Benton is confident that Carla won’t be able to take Reese out of the country.

While doing something on the surgical floor, Carter spots Elaine as she’s about to have a consultation with Elizabeth. Carol checks on a patient named Vanessa who’s been admitted from her nursing home. Carol notices a Sacred Heart on a journal Vanessa has with her, and the two talk about their religions. Vanessa laments that her husband’s Catholicism didn’t help him at the end of his life. However, she’s so sick that she’d appreciate going to Heaven right now. Carol offers to find her a priest to talk to, but Vanessa declines.

Jeanie tells a DCFS social worker named Bob that she’d like to take Carlos in. She hasn’t been screened or trained yet, so Bob says that won’t be possible. However, he thinks he might be able to approve of her taking Carlos while they look for a foster family for him. Jeanie thinks she’ll be able to get licensed in the meantime and keep him longer. Carlos brings Reese to her meeting with the therapist, and Benton inadvertently gets a point in his favor when Reese cries over being taken away from him.

Mark and Carter do a procedure on Amy that will make her more comfortable. Elizabeth comes by and checks on Mark, asking how David is doing. Mark isn’t sure how he’ll adjust to life without his wife. He heard about Elizabeth’s new role and wonders what Romano’s up to – why did he pick her? Elizabeth’s offended and says she’s considering accepting the role. Dealing with Romano is a small price to pay for the freedom she’ll get. She tells Mark to stop being passive-aggressive about how he feels. He warns her that Romano has screwed her over in the past, so there’s no reason to think he won’t do it again.

Carter’s annoyed that Dave did his patient’s stitches on his own without calling plastic surgery. Dave says he consulted with them and they thought he did a great job. Carol brings him Vanessa’s chart, but Dave trusts whatever Carol’s done to treat her and doesn’t bother to follow up. Elaine shows up to see Carter again, pretending she had a meeting nearby and came by to ask him to lunch.

Dave runs in from the ambulance bay, asks Randi about an empty ambulance outside, then heads back out. He tells Carter that there’s a construction accident down the street. Dave grabs some supplies while Carter uses the radio to call for an ambulance whose crew is currently inside it. The two of them run to the accident site, where a man named Joe is trapped under a bunch of stuff. Carter needs to intubate him, but he doesn’t have a lot of room to work, so Dave has to serve as his eyes from a higher vantage point. By the time paramedics arrive, Carter’s done.

Amy wakes up while her father’s out of the room and begs Mark to help her: “I don’t want to die today.” She agrees to be put on a ventilator, though it’s likely she’ll never be able to come off of it. She repeats that she doesn’t want to die. Lydia reminds Mark that Amy has a DNR, but he wants to override it.

While Joe is brought into the hospital, Mr. Stehly confronts Mark for ignoring Amy’s DNR. Weaver gets involved, trying to smooth things over. She tells Mr. Stehly to get the paperwork proving Amy has a DNR. He wants Amy to be taken off the ventilator, but Weaver agrees with Mark that she shouldn’t be taken off until she can breathe on her own.

The paramedics give Dave the evil eye as Carter introduces him to Benton as a new resident. He encourages Dave to call Benton “Dr. Pete.” Ha! Dave tries to run the trauma, but Benton edges him out, then gives the same treatment instructions. When Dave objects, Benton kicks him out of the trauma room. Dave doesn’t get why someone who outranks him and doesn’t know anything about him might not trust his medical skills. Zadro tells him that if he wants to play paramedic, he has to leave his patients with the doctors after they get to the hospital.

Mr. Stehly threatens to call a lawyer, but Mark thinks his actions were justified. Weaver next moves on to breaking up a fight between Dave and the paramedics. Carter’s handling it well already, noting that the EMTs were MIA, and the site was just down the street. Another EMT points out that they could have gotten a call and would have had no idea that Carter and Dave took some of their equipment.

Zadro offers to take things outside with Dave, who’s ready to fight him. Weaver rolls her eyes at both of them and sends the EMTs off. Then she yells at Carter and Dave for ditching their responsibilities at the hospital to do a job they weren’t trained or covered for. The hospital could have been hit with a major trauma while they were gone, and they would have been down two doctors. Dave is like, “But that didn’t happen, did it? That means it’s all okay!” Weaver, whose patience with people is never above a 5 on a scale from 1 to 10, is already at a 2 with Dave.

Bob is upset to discover that Jeanie had Carlos tested for HIV without his mother’s consent. He doesn’t think it will affect her chances of becoming his foster mother, though; she clearly cares about the baby. However, his director won’t approve the arrangement. Jeanie asks if her race or HIV status are factors. Bob says race isn’t, but her HIV status doesn’t help. Not matter how Jeanie approaches the situation and how well-suited she is to care for Carlos, Bob won’t budge.

Benton tries to take Joe into surgery, but Romano banishes him back to the ER and gives Elizabeth the procedure. He reminds Benton that it was his choice to take the trauma fellowship. To add insult to injury, Elizabeth’s new role as associate chief gives her the honor of being allowed to operate by herself. Mark’s having a stressful day, but he doesn’t take Carol’s suggestion to take more time off from work. He already took a week off, as if burying his mother was a restful vacation.

Vanessa is declining and asks Carol when the priest is coming. Carol hasn’t called one, since Vanessa told her not to, but she promises to find one. Weaver learns that Jeanie wants to become a foster parent and tells her she gave Bob a great referral. Jeanie says it’s not going to work out; some things aren’t meant to be.

Weaver tells Mark that she needs a detailed record of the care Mark gave Amy. Mark snipes that her new charting system will help with that. Weaver tells him this is serious, and he’s put the hospital in a bad position. Mark notes that Amy’s over 18 and gave him clear instructions. Weaver replies that Mark overrode a signed DNR.

Carter interrupts to ask how he should treat Amy. Weaver and Mark give him different instructions, then fight about whether Amy was mentally competent to revoke her DNR. Carter’s like, “Oh, crap, Mom and Dad are fighting.” Weaver says that she’s not sure Mark is in a state of mind to be objective about his patient, so she’s taking over. Mark says she’ll have to fire him first. Weaver ignores him and tells Carter to call her if Amy codes. Mark tells Carter to call him instead.

Carol has a hard time finding a priest before Vanessa dies. She’s also looking for Dave and asks Lucy where he might be. She quips that he’s probably off doing a search-and-rescue mission with the Coast Guard. Luka is on his way out for the day but offers to stay to help Carol with Vanessa, since Dave isn’t around to approve her treatment.

Romano chastises Elizabeth for taking a conservative approach to her solo surgery. She tells him to lay off Peter and let him back in the OR. Romano says he was just messing with Benton. He does want Elizabeth to oversee Benton’s procedures, which is quite a reversal from a couple seasons ago, when Benton was Elizabeth’s boss. Romano hands over a list of people Elizabeth will need to terminate (so he doesn’t have to do it himself).

Carter asks Elizabeth about his “patient,” Elaine, and why she was on the surgical floor. Elizabeth says she came for a second opinion about a breast cancer diagnosis. She’ll need a mastectomy. Haleh calls Carter to Amy’s room, where she’s crashing. Carter wants to shock her, but Weaver joins him and refuses to let anyone resuscitate Amy. Not only does she have a DNR, but she has no chance of making a meaningful recovery.

Vanessa mistakes Luka for a priest, so he plays along, telling her that she can die in peace. Carol looks on as he gives her a blessing. Mark returns to Amy’s room and gets Carter to give her CPR, then tells Weaver that if she doesn’t let him shock Amy, he’ll quit. Weaver gives in but asks him how far he’s going to go to try to save her. She wanted a ventilator, but would she want this? Mark tells her to shut up or leave. As Vanessa dies, Amy’s heart gives out and Mark decides to declare her dead. Weaver follows him out of the trauma room, but he’s in no mood to talk to her.

Jeanie goes to see Reggie at the police station and tells him she wanted to accept when he proposed and get married right away. She didn’t because she thought it might be for the wrong reason – getting married to help her chances of getting Carlos. Now that she knows she can’t have Carlos, she’s realized that she really does want to marry Reggie. Aw, now he can call her his fiancée for real.

Carol isn’t sure about the ethics of Luka pretending to be a priest, but he thinks it’s fine since he just gave her a blessing, which anyone can do. What’s important is that she held on to her faith. He just threw out a little Latin and a little Croatian and faked it. Carol feels the babies moving around, and Luka asks if he can touch her stomach. I guess Carol learned something from Dorothy last week because she lets him. After Carter and Elaine have sex, she guesses from the way he’s looking at her that he knows why she was meeting with Elizabeth. She covers herself up and tells him to leave.

Carla tracks down Benton and asks if he hired a PI to ask her friends questions about her. Benton says he hired a lawyer but doesn’t know if that lawyer hired a PI. Carla says that Roger’s job in Germany is a great opportunity and Benton shouldn’t keep him from it. Benton says he’s Reese’s father…but Carla says he might not be. UM, WHAT? She slept with someone else around the time he was conceived. Benton firmly replies that Reese is his son, then walks away.

Thoughts: Amy is played by Paige Moss.

I know Dave is obnoxious. I know. But…he’s so cute!

I love that when Dave comes in asking about the ambulance, he tells Carter to call 911. It sounds so weird to hear someone saying that in a hospital. In fact, when they get to the site and Carter asks if anyone has called 911, a worker asks, “Ain’t you the 911 guys?” Heh.

I’m not a lawyer, but I think if Benton’s name is on Reese’s birth certificate, that’s enough for him to have legal rights.

August 20, 2019

ER 4.14, Family Practice: Remember How Benton Couldn’t Fix His Mother? Same Thing Here

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

These clothes just scream “Dad”

Summary: Mark has just arrived in San Diego to visit his mother, who was injured in a fall at home. David meets him at the airport and tells him his friend is on her way to surprise him. Cynthia has invited herself to come out to California, wanting to help the family. Mark pretends to be happy. The three go straight to the Naval hospital where Ruth is being treated, and Mark learns that there’s more going on than just a knee injury. Ruth has been assigned a neurologist and is exhibiting some strange behavior.

Ruth is happy to meet Cynthia, mostly because she’s not as sour as Jen. (Amen to that.) She thinks Rachel has inherited that characteristic from her mother. Oh, just wait, Ruth. As Mark and Cynthia leave her to sleep, Mark demands a meeting with the neurologist, Sayers. His mother isn’t acting like her usual self.

Mark and Cynthia try to figure out if Ruth could have suffered a head injury when she fell. David wasn’t there and doesn’t know what happened. Mark disagrees with Sayers’ opinion that Ruth’s brain scans are okay. David thinks Sayers is right about her loony behavior just being a side effect of the morphine she was given. Cynthia assures him that Mark will figure everything out. Mark talks to Sayers on the phone, demanding an MRI the next day.

The three head to David and Ruth’s house, where Cynthia is very cheery for someone who just got off a long flight, lost her baggage, and spent some time at a hospital. Mark is sure that David likes her, since what’s not to like? She comments that he’s probably beating himself up for what happened to Ruth. Mark says that would be a first.

Cynthia gives him a backrub and they talk about all the places Mark lived growing up, before the family came to San Diego. (Trivia: He preferred Kate Jackson to Farrah Fawcett, whom he found scary.) Things get romantic, because who doesn’t want to get it on in his childhood bedroom with his father down the hall? They can hear David coughing from his bedroom.

The next morning, Mark and David meet with Sayers, who understands Mark’s concerns. Ruth’s history of high blood pressure puts her at risk for a stroke, but her CT didn’t show anything that worried Sayers. He wants to do a neuro exam before giving Ruth an MRI or any more tests. Mark doesn’t want to delay anything. The men’s conversation is interrupted for a flag raising. Everyone present salutes except Mark.

Mark attends his mother’s MRI while David disappears somewhere. Mark guesses he went home to work on the wheelchair ramp he’s building for Ruth. Ruth starts getting agitated in the MRI and screams for her son to get her out. Everyone watching who’s dealing with aging parents tries not to cry as Mark comforts her.

Back at home, Mark tells David that Ruth’s symptoms indicate that a series of small strokes has caused dementia. The doctors can’t do much for her rather than wait and see. Mark takes out his frustration on a weight bag; apparently he used to box. The next morning, Mark sees that Ruth has been going somewhere every Thursday, but David isn’t sure where. In case it wasn’t already made clear, David is very independent and really doesn’t care what his wife is up to. David ducks out before Mark can start a fight about smoking, even though he’s taken it up again himself.

Sayers performs a neuro exam on Ruth, who can’t remember things he’s asked her to remember or interpret a common saying. Mark sees firsthand that her condition is serious. He goes to the medical library to do some research. Later, back at home, he smokes in the yard, having left Cynthia in bed after some dissatisfying sex. She joins him outside and talks about how generous and considerate he is. Mark sarcastically says he’s a caretaker, “a magnet for needy people. They find me wherever I go.” She thinks he’s including her in that group.

Ruth undergoes a spinal tap so the doctors can rule out encephalitis. Mark’s pushing Sayers for aggressive testing, wanting to make sure they know what they’re dealing with. Sayers says that if his mother were in this position, he’d be horrible at supporting her, since he doesn’t have the temperament for emergency care. Mark says he doesn’t have the temperament for passive treatment. Yeah, Mark, there’s nothing passive about you (*cough* break up with Cynthia already *cough*).

Mark wants a second opinion, so Sayers says he’ll ask the chairman of the neurology department to weigh in. Mark objects, wanting a civilian doctor. He takes Cynthia to a bar, telling her that Ruth’s weekly appointments were with a psychiatrist. An officer at the bar chastises them for coming in alone; they’re supposed to be in the company of a retired officer to be there, and David hasn’t arrived yet. Mark snaps at him, so the officer, Admiral Jackson, says Mark should pay for his drink. He knows who Mark is and says he’s as stubborn as David.

Mark doesn’t remember meeting Jackson previously, when Mark was in high school, considering going to the Naval Academy. Mark says that was his father’s dream. Jackson reveals that David was in line to become an admiral, but he took himself out of the running for his family. He leaves as David arrives. David announces that Ruth is coming home tomorrow, which is news to Mark. The two argue about all the testing, the last straw for David being one for syphilis.

David starts struggling for breath as he yells Mark for thinking so poorly of his parents. Cynthia plays peacemaker, but there’s no making peace between these two. David tells Mark to go back to Chicago and leave them alone. Mark reveals Ruth’s weekly trips to a psychiatrist, which go against the seemingly picture-perfect life David keeps pretending they have. Distressed, David stops breathing and Mark has to give him mouth-to-mouth.

Now both of Mark’s parents are in the hospital, with David under observation in the Naval hosital’s ER for a few hours. He asks Mark not to tell Ruth what happened. Mark half-heartedly apologizes about upsetting his father and says he’s canceled any further testing for Ruth. Now, though, David wants to find out what’s really wrong with her.

Mark chats with Ruth’s psychiatrist, Dr. Black, who was prescribing her Paxil for depression and didn’t know she had hypertension. He’s already met Dr. Hemmings, the second opinion Mark has called in. Black agrees with Sayers’ diagnosis, whether or not Mark wants to accept it. Mark says it’s about her care, not her diagnosis. Black offers to give him any information he wants on Ruth’s depression, since she signed a release for him to do so, but Mark would rather hear it from her.

He gets home from a long run and Cynthia gives him a message that Hemmings wants to push up their meeting. She’s an old friend of Mark’s from med school. She invited Cynthia to join them, but Cynthia thinks Mark wants to speak to Hemmings along. He meets her at a playground where her kids are playing; unlike Mark and Jen, she waited a while to have children. In fact, she’s currently on maternity leave, though she’s happy to help Mark. She speaks highly of Sayers, who hasn’t impressed Mark yet.

Hemmings is surprised that Mark went into emergency medicine instead of family practice. She was a driven student while he was a family man; now she’s enjoying time with her family while Mark is a cowboy. He indicates that he might want a family again someday. Hemmings thinks he means with Cynthia. She finally gives Mark the news he needs to hear: Ruth might never be the person she used to be again.

At the hospital, Mark apologizes to Sayers, who easily forgives him. He knows Mark acts the way he does because his father was in the Navy. Sayers was the same way, though he followed in his father’s footsteps. Suddenly news of a mass casualty, the aftermath of a crashed helicopter. Mark and David try to stay out of the way as patients are brought into the ER. They both give some reassurances to the injured pilot, who keeps saying that he was unable to pull up the…whatever you pull up to make the helicopter fly. Despite not being a doctor, David has better bedside manner than Mark.

The pilot stops breathing, and Mark jumps in to help his medical team. He doesn’t have staff privileges and isn’t licensed in California, but one of the other doctors asks him to walk an intern through inserting a chest tube anyway. He tells her to follow Mark’s orders just like she would any other doctor. David watches as Mark does the same things he does every day, seeing for the first time how his son works.

The next day, David and Ruth both get to go home. Ruth and Cynthia look through some of Mark’s childhood things, like a model plane he wanted because he thought it was the one his father flew. (It wasn’t, and David wasn’t pleased.) Then Ruth starts talking about sex, which is…awkward. But the awkwardness isn’t over: Ruth says sex isn’t enough to keep a marriage together, if they’re counting on that; Mark says they’re not counting on anything; Cynthia finally gets the hint that their relationship isn’t going anywhere; David walks in with pizza all, “What’d I miss?”

So Mark and Cynthia go for a walk, and he dumps her. She feels foolish for coming all the way out to California like she was part of the family. Mark says she means a lot to him, and he didn’t intend to lead her on. He though they were just having fun together. Cynthia’s heard this before, which makes her think she’s the problem. Mark wishes he hadn’t let things go on so long when he knew they weren’t going to last. Cynthia tells him that when he gets back to Chicago in a week, they don’t have to talk.

Mark tends to Ruth like the caregiver he is. He complains that David doesn’t pay enough attention to her to take care of her. He asks if Jackson was telling the truth about David giving up his chance at becoming an admiral. Ruth explains that she asked him to come back to live with the family because Mark was having trouble with a childhood bully. He never complained about derailing his career to be with them.

Ruth says that Black tells her that Mark and David are responsible for their own feelings, but she blames herself for their poor relationship. She didn’t want a baby – she’d only gone on a few dates with David, and it was too soon. She loved Mark after he was born, and she tried to make up for her reservations, but she feels like she’d already ruined his relationship with David.

Mark wakes up in the middle of the night (alone; Cynthia’s already gone back to Chicago) to a crashing noise, then Ruth yelling for her husband. She was trying to cook something and started a fire on the stove, then fell. While Mark is cleaning up after all the disasters, he sees David taking care of Ruth and trying to comfort her.

The next day, Mark takes David to a beach they used to come to when Mark was a child. David announces that he’s stopped smoking, for Ruth. He’s quit a 15-year two-pack-a-day habit cold turkey. Mark asks him about his career working on an aircraft carrier, clearly having never cared before to talk to his father about his life.

David liked the early mornings best; he could watch the sunrise over the ocean and have a few minutes to himself before all the dangerous work began. Like Mark, lives were always at stake for his whole workday. David says he’s proud of Mark, and Mark thanks him for helping him get to where he is. They head back to the house to look after Ruth together.

Thoughts: Sayers is played by Holmes Osborne.

If you haven’t gotten enough of Mark’s parental issues, just wait until season 6.

I found Cynthia annoying during the series’ original run, but all these years later, she’s not as bad as I remember. Yeah, her cheeriness would probably get old after a while, and she’s kind of a mess, but she’s also friendly and compassionate. She would make a good nurse (if she could get it together enough to get through school).

July 2, 2019

ER 4.7, Fathers and Sons: Each Unhappy Family Is Unhappy in Its Own Way

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

Thanks for showing up for two scenes, Julianna

Summary: Doug and Mark are driving somewhere in California, and Mark is demonstrating that he’s not a good companion for a road trip. They’re basically in the middle of nowhere, at the place where Doug’s father died. Doug is ready to meet with the authorities and get everything squared away so they can go home. They meet with someone from Highway Patrol and learn that Ray had a woman in the car when he crashed. He was also extremely drunk, and he killed another driver.

They go to the scene of the crash, where someone has set up a roadside cross as a memorial for the other driver. Doug says that his father never planned to hurt anyone, but then again, he never planned to do anything. If Doug had killed his father himself, he would have saved others a lot of trouble. Next the guys go to the motel room where Ray was staying with a woman the manager thinks was his wife. She says they were a nice couple. Doug doubts they were married, though.

Mark finds some photos of Doug and his mom, which makes him think Ray still cared about them. He also finds a box containing pawn tickets and some home movies. Doug laments that everything in the room is his inheritance. The manager tells them that Ray’s car is still parked at the motel; he must have been driving his girlfriend’s car at the time of the crash. To Doug’s surprise, Ray’s is a convertible he’s had since the ’70s. He gets behind the wheel and turns on some jazz.

The guys swap out their rental car for the convertible, which Doug tells Mark he learned to drive in. Ray would show up after months away and take Doug on long road trips. He’d wake Doug up in the middle of the night and let him drive on empty roads. Doug admits that his father had some good moments. Then the car breaks down, which is a fitting metaphor for Doug and Ray’s relationship. The guys check the trunk for a gas can and find a ton of baby stuff.

The guys spend the night in the car and get some help from a passing driver in the morning. They go to a rundown neighborhood to try to find the family of Pedro Lopez, the man Ray killed in the crash. A kid tells them everyone’s at Lopez’s funeral. The guys go to the church where the funeral is taking place and sit in the back. Lopez’s young son sees them and innocently waves to Doug. Afterward, Mark tries to remind Doug that the accident wasn’t his fault. The priest comes to chat with them, and Doug blurts that his father killed Lopez. The priest thinks that coming to the funeral shows that he loved his father.

The guys take Ray’s pawn tickets to the shop they came from to find out what he pawned. Mark talks about how he’s always wanted a pocketwatch to hand down to a child. Instead, he buys a necklace for Cynthia. The shop owner gives them the things Ray pawned – a video projector, a Rolex, and a ring Ray made his girlfriend pawned. Or maybe she was his wife after all, because the shop owner says she and Ray kept their wedding rings.

Doug calls Carol from the motel to tell her he wishes she were with him. Mark overhears the end of the conversation, and Doug tells him he called someone he’s been seeing for a few months. He won’t tell Mark who it is. Mark asks if it’s Jen, then Cynthia, then Chuny, then Anna. Finally, Doug tells him it’s Carol. Mark is stunned but happy for the couple. He asks if Carol makes Doug take a lie-detector test every week. Doug gets revenge by spraying him with beer.

Mark sets up the movie projector while Doug looks through Ray and his girlfriend’s things, trying to find out more about their movements. There are a bunch of pictures of her holding a baby, which means Doug could have a little brother or sister out there somewhere. He tells Mark that Ray had so much power over him – he would tell himself not to get excited over his father’s visits, but when Ray showed up, Doug would be happy. He could pretend that he had a normal family. Ray had so much control, he even ended their relationship without Doug’s consent.

Mark confides that he doesn’t have a good relationship with his father, either. His father put in 30 years in the Navy and was never promoted or given the recognition he deserved. They start up the projector and watch home movies from Doug’s childhood. Doug gets one last look at what started out as a normal childhood.

The next day, the guys visit Lopez’s grave, where Doug announces that he loves Carol. He’s never felt like this about anyone. They complain about the heat in California, even though it’s November, and Mark mentions that he lived there for a while as a kid. His parents are in San Diego, just four hours away. Doug decides that they’ll skip their meeting with a guy from the funeral home and go see Mark’s parents.

Mark’s mother, Ruth, is thrilled to see him. Doug listens to Mark’s advice about admiring Ruth’s Hummels, but ignores his warning not to drink her iced tea. She invites the guys to spend the night. Mark notices an oxygen tank in the living room, which Ruth says belongs to Mark’s father, David. She tries to downplay his condition, but Mark guesses that he has emphysema.

Doug quickly decides to bail and run some errands so Mark can be alone with his parents. Mark goes to the garage to see his father, who’s doing some woodworking. He’s neither overly surprised nor excited to see his only child. Their stilted conversation soon turns to a small argument when Mark chastises David for smoking (even though Mark has recently taken it up himself). David doesn’t want his advice, or really, any conversation whatsoever.

Mark sneaks a peek in the bathroom medicine cabinet, finding stacks of unopened nicotine gum. He talks to Ruth about David’s failure to take good care of himself, revealing that he saw David’s blood-pressure medication. Ruth says it’s hers, and she has her blood pressure checked regularly at the base commissary. Mark nags her about her and David’s health until she tells him to stop.

Doug isn’t back in time for dinner, so the Greenes have an awkward meal together. David smokes and coughs through it. Mark suggests that they get ice cream together, but David wants to keep his weekly club night with his friends. Ruth tries to make him change the night, then tells Mark to go to the club with him. Doug doesn’t realize that he’s missing an extremely uncomfortable family dinner. After his parents leave the room, Mark takes a drag off his father’s cigarette, because he’s a hypocrite.

David falls asleep in front of the TV, using his oxygen tank. Ruth finds Mark smoking outside, and he lies that he’s quitting soon. She reminds him that he used to flush her cigarettes down the toilet when he was a kid. Mark mentions that David’s going to miss his club meeting, but Ruth admits that he only makes it to them half the time. When he does go, he doesn’t stay long, since most of his friends don’t go. But they still like their life near the base.

Ruth tells Mark that David really does miss having him close by, no matter how he acts. Mark doesn’t believe that, noting that David has never shown his love. Why should Mark have to work harder on their relationship when David doesn’t? Ruth tells him he always assumes he knows more about people than he actually does.

Doug finally returns, having confirmed that the baby wasn’t Ray’s. Mark tells him what he missed and turns down Doug’s suggestion that he stay a little longer while Doug finishes up the stuff with his father. Mark says that Doug didn’t miss much by not having his father around as a kid. Doug doesn’t get how Mark can’t see how good he has it. David was always around, and he’s still with Ruth. Whether or not it’s what Mark would have wanted, it was love. Compared to Doug’s life, Mark grew up in a ’50s sitcom.

Doug’s next stop is Flagstaff, to talk to Ray’s wife’s family. He gives Mark a note to give to Carol when he gets back to Chicago. Doug apologizes for their fight, but Mark says he was right. He’s tired of pitying himself and acting like a victim. He’s spent his whole life fearing that something would spin out of control. Becoming a doctor helped him get some power over the chaos. When he was attacked, the chaos won out. Now Mark doesn’t know who he is: “The person I was died in that bathroom, and I don’t know what’s going to take his place.”

When the guys return to their motel in the morning, they’re surprised to see Carol there. The three of them go out to the desert and find a spot to spread Ray’s ashes. Doug doesn’t know what to say to mark the occasion, so he just says he both hated and loved his father. The three of them drink a toast to Ray and enjoy the view together.

Thoughts: This show is so much easier to recap without all the medical stuff. I mean…imagine that.

How YOU doin’, black-T-shirted George Clooney?

Isn’t it a little in poor taste to use alcohol for a toast to a guy who died (and killed two others) driving drunk?

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