February 13, 2018

ER 1.4, Hit and Run: Maybe Carter Can Teach Doug How to Show His Emotions

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

Try not to focus on how this kid was also an evil character on “Buffy”

Summary: I guess all season 1 episodes have to feature someone being woken up, because this one starts with Benton waking Carter. Carter asks if he’ll ever get used to having to function on just a few hours of sleep. Benton claims that he gets sluggish if he sleeps more than three hours. Doug asks Mark how his day off was; Mark complains that Jen and Rachel have gone to Detroit for a job interview. Doug thinks that Mark sees Susan as a temptation.

Susan’s patient is ahead of his time, in that he’s too busy talking on his cell phone to speak to her. Doug’s patient is a young boy named Ozzie whose mother thinks he’s having trouble hearing. In reality, Ozzie just can’t hear the voices that his mother hears, like those of her dead mother and Princess Diana. Doug tells Carol to get a psych consult. Ozzie’s worried that they’ll be separated, which they probably should be, at least temporarily, while his mother’s yelling at people who aren’t there.

Carter presents a patient to Benton, and surprisingly, Benton agrees with his ideas for treatment. A woman named Vilma comes in with chest pain and a history of heart problems. Doug mentions to Benton that he and Dr. Langworthy are both vying for the same fellowship; since Langworthy is a year ahead, she may have an edge. She also knows the answer to a medical question Benton has. Both doctors jump on the next trauma case, a 17-year-old victim of a hit-and-run.

Vilma’s in a lot of pain, but after she burps, she starts feeling better. I hope her health insurance covers that. Div talks with Ozzie’s mother, who stopped taking the medication that kept the voices at bay. She’ll need to be admitted, which means someone needs to make arrangements for Ozzie. Carol tells Doug that a social worker’s calling a group home. Benton and Langworthy’s patient has been pulseless for more than half an hour, so they reluctantly call his time of death. Carter, who tried to help out, is saddened, but Haleh reminds him that patients die all the time.

Susan tries again with her patient, Harry, who’s been having abdominal pain on and off for a year. He’s never seen his doctor about it because he’s too busy working. Harry interrupts the examination to take another phone call. Benton sends Carter to get breakfast, but Langworthy hijacks Carter to tell him to track down their hit-and-run patient’s family. Benton complains about Langworthy’s power grab, telling Carter to report back to him, not her.

Ozzie’s mother is taken away, kicking and yelling, as he looks on. She even bits Div as she fights her admission to the psych ward. Ozzie takes off, but only Carol notices. Mark determines that Vilma’s heart is fine, but she has an arm spasm that makes him realize that her internal defibrillator is misfiring. She’ll have to see a cardiologist after all. Susan treats Div’s bite as he complains about the mistreatment he gets from patients. Ozzie’s hiding out in the exam room and listens in.

Carter doesn’t have much to go on for the hit-and-run patient’s identity; he’s going to have to match him with a yearbook photo. He wishes he could do more. As he’s heading off to find Benton, he comes across an electric wheelchair moving around by itself. Tag looks at a patient for Doug, then mentions that Doug’s been “attentive” to Carol since her return. Doug tries to pretend it’s not a big deal.

Susan tells Harry that he may have ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome. He’ll need to decrease stress in his life, which he knows he can’t do. I mean, he has to sell ten million…somethings so he can go to Palm Springs! What could be more important? Benton’s brother-in-law, Walt, stops by after fixing up Benton’s car. Carter eavesdrops as Walt talks about the date he’s taking Benton’s sister Jackie on that night. Benton will be staying with his mother, who has undisclosed problems.

Carol finds Ozzie in the exam room and tells him that the doctors are going to try to make his mom better. Ozzie’s upset because Doug said they could stay together, but they’ve already been separated. Carol invites him to hang out with her while they find out when he can see his mom. Harry tells Susan he’ll follow up with a specialist, then tries to make a “business machine” sale. (How specific.)

As Vilma’s being taken through the lobby, her arm spasms again and she knocks over a tray Carter’s carrying, spilling urine samples everywhere. Another electric wheelchair starts running by itself. Mark realizes that Harry’s cell phone is to blame for the wheelchairs malfunctioning and for Vilma’s defibrillator misfiring. Oh, technology.

Carter gets a yearbook from the hit-and-run victim’s high school and prepares to figure out who he is. The task makes him emotional. Carter IDs the patient as Steven Tierney and sees that they had a few things in common. Benton tells Carter to call Steven’s parents but let Langworthy tell them their son is dead.

Doug wonders if Mark has ever considered hooking up with Susan, despite being married to Jen. What if Jen took a job and moved away? What if Jen cheated first? (Ooh, foreshadowing!) Doug basically offers to play matchmaker if Mark ever wants his services. Mark’s next patient is a man with chest pains who happens to be handcuffed to a barely dressed woman. Jerry seems amused. Carol leaves Ozzie with him to look at pictures of diseased body parts.

It turns out that Mark’s patient, Neil, isn’t married to the woman he’s handcuffed to. Jerry discovers this when Neil’s wife shows up looking for him. The handcuffed woman panics, revealing that Neil’s wife is her boss. Benton examines one of Susan’s patients, then berates her for calling him in for a case of arthritis. Susan insists that her problem is surgical, but Benton disagrees. Jerry goes looking for Neil’s wife, but she’s missing. He realizes that Ozzie is missing, too.

Carter calls the Tierneys, telling them that Steven was in an accident and is in serious condition. While Neil’s wife wanders around, Doug asks Carol to make a call for him about a patient from a few months ago. She responds coldly, and he calls her on her behavior. She tells him he shouldn’t have lied to Ozzie about being able to stay with his mother, even though it was obvious they would have to be separated. It’s just like Doug to make something up so he could avoid a big, emotional scene.

Susan’s arthritis patient definitely needs surgery, so she tells Haleh to page Morgenstern. Malik uses bolt-cutters to remove Neil and his mistress’ handcuffs just before Neil’s wife comes in. Unfortunately, the cuff itself doesn’t come off of Neil’s wrist, and his wife sees it. Mark, Lydia, Connie, and Malik play dumb when she asks to see her husband’s clothes. She easily figures out what’s going on and busts the mistress, Priscilla. Neil will probably not be going to his own home when he’s released from the hospital.

Morgenstern blasts Susan for not getting a surgical consult for her patient, whose appendix has ruptured. Benton is mature enough to admit that he examined the patient but didn’t think she needed surgery. Since Morgenstern wants Langworthy, not Benton, to assist him in surgery, Benton has to go with Carter to tell the Tierneys that their son is dead. But when they go into the trauma room to see the body, they tell the doctors that the boy isn’t their son. Carter’s life flashes before his eyes.

A guy named Bob comes in with some steaks for Mark, who saved his life a year earlier. He declares August 25th Dr. Greene Day. The steaks come with a side of bear hug. Mark offers to share the food with Susan, but she already has a date. She reveals that she’s been dating Div. A drug addict is going through withdrawal a few feet away, and Susan comments that he sounds like a car alarm that won’t shut off. She and Mark start humming in harmony with the addict.

Carter finally figures out the hit-and-run victim’s real identity and tells his real parents that he’s dead. I mean, I assume they’re the right parents and he got the right kid this time. I don’t think Benton would let him make the same mistake twice. Morgenstern berates him again for missing the appendicitis diagnosis, knowing Benton didn’t listen to the patient like Susan did. But he wants him to assist in another procedure, so he’s not going to hold a grudge.

Tag summons Doug to where he’s chatting with Ozzie so they can tell the child that he has to go to a group home. Doug finally tells Ozzie that his mother’s sick and needs to go to a special hospital to get better. Ozzie says he hates his mother, then breaks my heart by crying. Carol takes in the sight of her ex being a sweet guy to a cute little kid.

Benton tells Langworthy that he got to do surgery with Morgenstern. Unfortunately, that means he didn’t get off work in time to look after his mother, so Walt and Jackie had to miss their anniversary dinner. Walt’s ticked that Benton doesn’t pull his weight with his mom. Benton says he forgot and will come by on his next three nights off. Walt chastises him for “forgetting” about his family.

Jerry runs into Carter outside, and Carter confides that he might quit. He can’t even remember why he wanted to be a doctor. Benton told Carter’s advisor that he was doing an “adequate” job, but Carter figures that assessment will change after his big screw-up today. Suddenly a car screeches up carrying a woman in labor. Carter starts to deliver the baby while Jerry goes inside to get help. Carter completes the delivery himself and, I assume, now has a reason to come back to work tomorrow.

A tipsy Doug takes Carol some flowers after work, but a half-dressed Tag answers the door, and Doug immediately regrets the decision. He pretends that his car broke down and he wanted to come in while he waited for a tow truck. The flowers are for his date. He flees, but Carol chases him to the El and yells at him for thinking that she would accept this gesture as romantic. Did he think she would immediately invite him back into her life and her bed?

Doug apologizes, but Carol’s not done. She thinks he believes he still loves her, but will eventually get distracted by someone younger. She won’t let him put her through the same things he put her through before. Doug apologizes again, but Carol’s done listening.

Thoughts: Walt is played by Ving Rhames.

Early/mid-’90s cell phones will always be funny to me. They’re so big! Why did we think they needed to be so big?

I think I found the humming scene funnier than I should have. I guess doctors have to make their own fun.

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January 23, 2018

ER 1.1, 24 Hours: Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the News

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 8:48 am by Jenn

This show is brought to you by the color sea green

Summary: Dr. Mark Greene is woken by Nurse Lydia Wright at 5 a.m. so he can see a patient. He tells her to give the patient to an intern, but she tells him it’s Dr. Ross. Mark heads to the mostly quiet ER, where Doug Ross is drunkenly singing “Danny Boy” to himself. Mark and Nurse Wendy Goldman start to sober him up in an exam room as Doug tells Mark about a date who was surprised to learn how sexy a pediatrician could be.

Doug asks if Mark and his wife, Jen, have resolved their problems. He hopes Mark doesn’t leave the ER. Wendy asks Mark if Doug does this a lot; Mark says it’s just on Doug’s nights off. He goes back to bed, but Lydia wakes him again to ask a question. She wakes him for real at 6:30 so he can start his shift.

Dr. Susan Lewis and Dr. Peter Benton are also on duty. Desk clerk Jerry Markovic is done for the day and heads out with the shift change. Benton sees on the news that a building has collapsed, which means a number of patients will be coming in, and Benton will have lots of people to operate on. Mark gives instructions to his intern, then strikes them all so they can prepare for the mass casualties coming in.

As Nurse Carol Hathaway takes a patient, Doug wakes up hungover. Benton works calmly on his patient, with a better bedside manner than we will ever see again over the next six seasons. Despite his adventures the night before, Doug steps in to help, working with Nurse Haleh Adams. Benton tells a surgeon that he’d better save a patient’s hand, since he told the patient they would. The other surgeon knows that Benton would love to do the operation, but he’s only a resident, so he’s years away from being able to handle it himself.

Susan’s patient only has minor facial injuries, and also lets us know that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and the hospital is called Cook County General. He asks if Susan’s married; she says no, since she’s a doctor. He starts to ask her out, but she shuts him down, saying that he wouldn’t want to fall on his face again.

Benton takes over Doug’s patient just before she starts coding. They work to shock her heart back into rhythm. Doug helps Susan with her next patient while Nurse Malik McGrath tries to get Benton to check out some more people. He’s still working on Doug’s patient, and is able to revive her. Mark tells the son of one of the victims of the building collapse that his father died. The son pounds on Mark a little, then breaks down in tears.

Once things have quieted down, the doctors go to a lounge to do paperwork and catch each other up on their patients. Benton complains that the nurses keep coming to the doctors’ lounge and drinking their coffee, but Mark makes him calm down. The doctors hope that their new medical students, who are starting that day, will be better than the last bunch.

Carol comes in with more paperwork, and Benton confronts her for being a coffee thief. She tells him to make more. Benton complains that they work 90 hours a week for very little money; they shouldn’t have to make their own coffee. Carol has no sympathy.

Mark rushes off to the cafeteria to see his wife, assuring Susan that everything’s fine. (Spoiler alert: It’s totally not.) Mark and Jen’s daughter, Rachel, is also there, being cute and eating grilled cheese for breakfast and showing no signs of the brat she’ll become in a few seasons. Jen asks if Mark is going to go to an interview for a job elsewhere; the hours would be better, allowing them to spend more time together. Mark doesn’t seem that excited about taking a job somewhere else.

Later in the morning, med student John Carter arrives in a tailored white coat, which the doctors quietly make fun of. Carter is Benton’s third-year surgical student, and Benton isn’t that excited about having to teach him. He gives Carter (and us) a quick tour and a run-down of things he’ll need to know. Despite being a third-year, Carter has never started an IV, which doesn’t help Benton’s impression of him.

As they pass Carol, Benton mentions that “she goes with an orthopod who used to be a Big 10 tackle and looks like King Kong.” (Who says “goes with”?) Then he takes five seconds to teach Carter how to start an IV. Carter tries to take notes on everything Benton says, but he’ll never be able to remember it all. Benton introduces Carter to Dr. David Morgenstern, the head of the ER, warning that he eats students for lunch. Morgenstern says that Benton is one of the best residents at the hospital, and Carter’s lucky to learn from him.

Benton takes Carter to a suture room to stitch up a woman’s hand. Meanwhile, Doug meets his own student, Tracy Young, who seems immune to his charms, somehow. Wendy calls Benton away, so Benton leaves Carter to finish with the woman by himself. Tracy is much more confident with her first patient, though she could use some help with bedside manner (that’s where Doug’s charms help). They determine that their young patient has an ulcer, most likely because of his super-type-A mother.

Benton checks on Carter, criticizing him for taking so long with the woman. The woman is pleased with the work and asks when she should come back to get the stitches removed. Carter makes something up. Susan does some labwork, then gives Carol some instructions for a patient. Carol is clearly a higher-up, as other nurses come to her with questions. She also used to date Doug, and obviously regrets that they’re not still together.

Carter’s next patient is Officer Martin, who accidentally shot himself in the leg. Carter tries to start an IV but is hopelessly incompetent. Officer Martin asks how often Carter has done this before. “I’d hate to tell you how often I’ve done this before,” Carter replies. Officer Martin complains about his wife, who he was fighting with when the accidental shooting occurred. Officer Martin needs some anger management, and his wife should probably move out.

Mark and Carol tend to a man who had double vision when he woke up. Since he doesn’t have any other symptoms, Mark doesn’t want to waste the patient’s money by calling in a neurologist. He should just go home and come back if the double vision returns. The man accuses Mark of refusing to treat him because he’s black. Since Mark appears to be Jewish, at least according to the patient, he should be more sympathetic to discrimination. Mark tells Carol to call neurology and bill the patient for the consult.

A cab driver runs in and announces that there’s a woman in labor in his cab. Mark grabs Carter to help him bring the woman in from the snow. Carter has to put his hand between the woman’s legs to hold the baby in before they get to a trauma room. Doug comes in to help, but the baby comes so fast that Mark is the only one ready to deliver it. Carter just stares at the miracle of birth, amazed. Benton tells Carter to go back to his actual job; the ER doctors can screw things up on their own.

An x-ray tech takes a long time with Officer Martin’s x-rays, only telling Benton what he already knows. Mark’s next patient has an injured ankle and only wants to know if he gets workers’ comp. Mark thinks he should be glad he’s still alive, unlike the next patient over. Doug diagnoses a young boy with an ear infection, and the boy’s mother comments to Haleh that Doug is handsome. “He knows it,” Haleh remarks.

Carter asks Benton for his next patient, but Benton tells him he can go have lunch. Carter says he’s fine and wants to keep working. Benton tells him not to be a hero – it may be a while before he gets to have dinner, so he should eat when he can. Tracy is shocked to see that a crack dealer in the ER is just a kid. She has to call security in case the dealer’s rival gang members come in to finish him off.

Just as things are getting hectic in the ER again, Mark announces that he’s going off to an appointment. He meets with a Dr. Harris, who has a job opening in a private practice that will pay Mark tons of money. Harris thinks that the ER is for young doctors. Mark will be much happier going to conferences around the world and working in a calm, nice-looking facility. Mark still isn’t that enthusiastic.

It’s 3 p.m. and the snow has turned into rain. Mark returns to Cook County, where Doug asks about his interview. He also wants to know about the rumor that Mark hooked up with a technician. Doug knows it’s not true; Mark is faithful to Jen. Mark adds that he’s also too tired to cheat.

Susan leaves her patient, Mr. Parker, to take a phone call from a guy named Paul. He wants to go out; she thought they broke up. She goes back to Mr. Parker with bad news: There’s something in his lung, and it might be bad. Susan doesn’t want to say anything definitive, but Mr. Parker wants a straight answer.

She finally tells him that, with his history, he could have cancer, but he shouldn’t jump to conclusions until he’s had more tests. Then she tells him that he probably has six months to a year to live, if that. Mr. Parker thinks this is a good time to take his wife to the Bahamas. He thanks Susan for being straight-forward, then remarks that at least now he doesn’t have to quit smoking. He starts to cry, but Susan tells him that, in her job, she’s learned that nothing’s certain. He hugs her, then leaves. Susan takes a moment to collect herself, then goes back to work.

A nicely dressed woman named Mrs. Raskin tells the desk clerk, Timmy, that she needs medical attention. He directs her to Mark, who hesitates to take care of her hangnail, since it’ll cost a lot of money. Mrs. Raskin is wearing a fur and wouldn’t be out of place in Millicent Carter’s circle of friends, so she doesn’t care. She’s very familiar with Mark and even knows that Jen is studying for the bar exam.

There’s another shift change, and Jerry and Nurse Connie Oligario come in as some other nurses head out. Carol takes something from the drug lockup before leaving for the night. Carter stitches up the foot of a teenager who’s upset that she crashed her father’s new Cadillac. When her dad arrives, at first he’s just happy that she’s okay, but when the news sinks in, he’s pretty angry. Carter makes a great “if I sit very still, they won’t know I’m here” face.

Benton criticizes Carter’s speed again, telling him that since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, they’re going to have a lot of people to look after. One of them is a little boy who swallowed a key. His mother is more concerned about being locked out of the house than she is about the fact that her kid ate something that wasn’t food. Doug and the kid giggle at her.

Carter questions a patient who denies that she’s pregnant, even when Carter warns that she could have an ectopic pregnancy that could require surgery. He takes the case to Benton, who gets the girl to admit that she’s had sex. He agrees with Carter’s assessment that she has an ectopic pregnancy.

Mark and Susan have coffee, and he complains about Jen’s expectations of him and how often she laments the little time they get to spend together. Mark gets paged, and the two return to the ER, where the staff is practically silent. Doug is shaken, wondering how this could happen “to her, of all people.” An ambulance arrives with “her” – it’s Carol, and she’s unconscious from an overdose.

Lydia asks why she would overdose, but Mark chastises that they don’t ask that about any other patient who overdoses, so they can’t ask it here. Mark and Susan work on Carol as other staff members, including Doug, watch. Mark finally notices and has Malik close the curtain around them so they can have some privacy.

Morgenstern is called in, but he’s not sure if they should keep trying to save Carol. Mark thinks they have to keep working, if just for the morale of the unit. Morgenstern tells him everyone’s looking to him: “You set the tone.” They all feel guilty and angry and scared because one of their colleagues is in the ER, but they need to take care of her, then take care of everyone else. He repeats that Mark sets the tone and will need to get the unit through this crisis.

Doug can’t believe that, after a day when she seemed so normal, Carol would try to kill herself. Mark tells him to go get some coffee, but Doug has a hard time making himself leave. Meanwhile, Benton takes on a patient who was stabbed, but Carter struggles to keep down his lunch. Mark notices him going outside for fresh air and follows him. Unlike Benton, who’s spent the whole day telling Carter to move faster, Mark tells him to take his time.

Carter apologizes for getting sick and emotional, but Mark says he shouldn’t be sorry. There are two kinds of doctors: those who get rid of their feelings and those who hold on to them. It’s more important to help the patients than think about their own feelings, but it’s not easy to keep them inside. Sometimes it’s enough to make Mark want to quit. He tells Carter again to take his time recovering, then reveals that Benton got sick all the time in medical school, so Carter shouldn’t take any crap from him.

Once he’s better, Carter finds Benton and tries to make small talk. Benton says not to worry about what just happened, but he shouldn’t make a habit of it. Susan talks to an administrator about Carol; she thinks Carol took the right drugs to get the job done, so she knew exactly what she was doing. No one had any idea that she was suicidal, even her fiancé. The administrator worries about how the hospital will look now.

Mark wants to admit a patient, Mr. Larkowski, who has an ulcer and pancreatitis. Larkowski starts crying, thinking that Mark is trying to sugarcoat his real diagnosis. Mark assures him that he doesn’t have cancer. Larkowski doesn’t seem to hear him, so Mark says firmly that he’s okay – he just needs to stop smoking and drinking. Larkowski’s more upset about that than he is about being terminally ill.

Doug treats a baby who fell out of his crib, according to his babysitter. Doug tells her that the baby was beaten, so he’s calling the proper authorities. The babysitter worries that she’ll get in trouble. Mark treats a woman who burned her legs when she accidentally spilled hot water she was pouring into the sink. She tries to flirt, but Mark stays professional. Lydia witnesses the whole thing and gives some great “you have to be kidding me” faces.

Benton’s next patient was supposed to undergo an operation for an aortic aneurysm next month, but it’s leaking. He needs immediate surgery, but no one’s available to do it. Benton tells Susan to call Morgenstern in; Benton will get things started. Susan reminds him that, as a resident, he’s not qualified, but Benton knows the patient will die if he doesn’t go to the OR immediately. He admits to the anesthesiologist that he’s scared, but he thinks he’s the patient’s only chance at survival.

Just before it’s time to scrub in, Benton sticks his head into another OR and announces that he’s operating next door and would like some help when the surgeons are done. They think he’s joking. Benton gets started, and though the bleeding and beeping alarms indicate that things aren’t great, he keeps his cool and repairs the leak. Morgenstern and another doctor are on their way, and Peter comments that now he has all the help he wanted before.

While working on a patient, Mark stops and says he can’t give up working in the ER. Lydia tells him Jen is on the phone, and he tells her to say he’ll call back. Benton and his thrown-together team take a break while waiting for Morgenstern, and Benton’s about to start jokingly reflecting when Morgenstern finally comes in. He blasts Benton for the ugly incision he made on the patient, then takes over. Benton starts to leave, disappointed not to be acknowledged for his life-saving measures. Morgenstern then praises him for doing the right thing. Benton quietly celebrates with a fist pump in the hallway.

Doug’s patient’s mother has arrived, and she’s annoyed that Doug hasn’t given the baby anything that will calm him down. She blames the babysitter for the baby’s skull fracture, but Doug knows the sitter isn’t responsible for that or the other injuries the baby has sustained in the past. The mother also denies responsibility, but Doug has seen enough abuse to know she’s lying. He yells at her for beating a child, then takes out his anger on Tracy. He assures the sitter that the baby will be okay, and that she did the right thing.

Benton finds Susan in the lounge and asks after Carol, who isn’t doing well. A young cop brings in a man in diabetic ketoacidosis, and is proud of himself when Mark says he probably saved the man’s life. Jerry, unimpressed: “What do you want, a medal?” After tending to the patient, Mark realizes he didn’t call Jen back. He decides to wait until the morning.

Benton checks on the man he operated on, who’s doing well in recovery. The patient’s wife is grateful that Morgenstern came so quickly and saved her husband. She wants to thank Benton, too, but he pretends he only helped out a little. Doug apologizes to Tracy for yelling, and she invites him to get coffee. It’s safe to assume that they end up in bed together after that, but we never see her again, so who knows?

As Carter finishes his day of doing stitches by doing more stitches, Susan falls asleep while listening to a call-in radio show. A caller is complaining about how much doctors charge for their services. Susan just rolls her eyes. Benton goes off to get some sleep in an empty room, while Carter decides that the chairs in a hallway are comfortable enough. Mark asks Lydia for another 6:30 wake-up call, just like that morning. It comes before he knows it.

Thoughts: I make no promises about recapping the entire series, since it’s 15 freaking seasons. But I’ll see what I can do.

Mr. Parker is played by the late Miguel Ferrer, George Clooney’s cousin. Carter’s pregnant patient is played by a very young, unrecognizable Shiri Appleby, who also plays Daria in season 15. Officer Martin is played by Troy Evans, who later plays Frank Martin. Officer Martin’s first name is Jonathan, but I think we’re supposed to assume that he and Frank are the same character.

Most people probably know this, but Carol was originally supposed to die. The audience liked her character, so the writers saved her.

Speaking of likable characters, Benton is more likable here than at any other point in the series. And he’s still kind of annoying here.