October 15, 2021

Netflix’s BSC 2.7, Claudia and the Sad Goodbye: Tea and Sympathy

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:26 pm by Jenn

😦

Summary: Claudia has been learning how to make tea the traditional Japanese way. Mimi’s instructions are very specific, and she insists that Claudia get them right every time to honor the person the tea is for. Yes, even when that person is Janine. One night, Mimi comes by Claudia’s room while she’s painting, but she doesn’t want to interrupt Claudia’s time with her muse, so she only stays long enough to say goodbye. The next morning, Claudia is stunned to learn that Mimi died in her sleep.

Mr. and Mrs. Kishi try to be reassuring – Mimi had health issues, but her death was peaceful; she was old, and this was just her time; all that stuff people say when someone dies. Mimi had already made plans for her funeral, since she wanted things done traditionally. Part of that tradition is that no visitors are allowed in the house until the funeral. Claudia feels trapped, like she’ll spend the rest of her life in a house without Mimi.

Claudia decides to spend a few days at Stacey’s house so her life will feel normal. She’ll grieve later. Since the Kishis can’t have guests, Kristy hosts a BSC meeting (complete with candy), and Claudia even attends that. Mary Anne is grieving more than Claudia, who thinks Mimi would want them to carry on like usual. But people keep talking about Mimi, which makes Claudia feel like the center of attention, which she doesn’t want.

Claudia knows she’ll have to go home after the funeral, but she wants just one more night before she has to face reality. She only spends a few minutes at home before announcing that she wants to go back to Stacey’s. However, things aren’t great there, so Claudia heads back home…only to realize that while Mimi was clearly ready to die, since she knew when she said goodbye to Claud that it would be the last time, Claudia isn’t ready to go on without her.

She goes over to Mary Anne’s, where Mary Anne confronts her about not feeling her grief. Claudia sadly says that she can’t stop feeling it. It’s like she can’t breathe and everything’s over and no one understands. Mary Anne does – not because she lost her mother, but because she felt the effects of her father’s grief for years. When he finally let it out, he was able to move on. Grief hurts, but it has to. Then you can heal and become stronger.

Claudia makes herself go home, but her grief turns into anger when she catches Janine and Ashley going through Mimi’s jewelry. Claud accuses Janine of stealing from their grandmother and Ashley of acting like she’s at a garage sale. Janine gets upset that Claudia left her alone to try to comfort their parents, who are really struggling. Ashley’s been a great support, and not just as a friend – Janine and Ashley are dating. Mimi figured it out a few weeks ago and was happy when Janine confirmed it. She wanted to give Ashley one of her bracelets, but Janine says she won’t give it to her unless Claudia approves. Claudia does, since it’s a gift of love.

Claudia notes that Mimi always brought the family together, so with her gone, they’ll have to belong to each other instead of just Mimi. Claudia invites her family, the BSC girls, and Ashley to her room and serves them all tea. They reminisce about Mimi together, and it helps Claudia handle her grief. She knows she’ll always miss Mimi, but that means Mimi will always be with her.

The details:

  • All the younger girls’ acting has improved since season 1 (not that they were ever bad), but Momona Tamada, who plays Claudia, is exceptional in the scene where she talks to Mary Anne about her grief.
  • I really love how the episode includes little bits about Japanese traditions.
  • Karen’s allowed to sit in on the BSC meeting at Kristy’s house. Intruder! Intruder!
  • Also, she says Mimi visited her in a dream, wearing a white gown like she was getting married. She’s now in love with Ben Brewer, the ghost that haunts the Thomas/Brewers’ attic. When Mrs. Kishi hears about this later, she approves, since Mimi was a widow for a long time. However, they might be in a love triangle with Mimi’s late husband.
  • Looks like I was wrong – Stacey’s parents have been fighting and her dad has been working a lot. If there’s a third season, I’m sure we’ll see them split up.

The differences/changes:

  • I’m glad they don’t drag out Mimi’s death like they do in the book. That would have been traumatic.
  • Janine says she hasn’t told her parents about Ashley yet, but it’s not clear if she means she hasn’t told them they’re dating or that she likes girls. I don’t think we’d get a storyline about homophobia, though.

June 29, 2021

ER 8.21, On the Beach: I Will Try to Fix You

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

If you need to grab some tissues, I won’t make fun of you

Summary: We last saw Mark passing the torch to Carter, and we know he died sometime after that, but what happened in the time between? Let’s find out! We go with Mark as he leaves County for the last time and endures a crowded El ride home. He watches a father with his young daughter in his lap. At home, he checks in on Rachel, who’s already asleep.

He himself can’t sleep, and Elizabeth finds him in the kitchen in the middle of the night. He’s making a list of things he always wanted to do (sail around the world, play third base for the Cubs and win the World Series, start a rock band). The only thing on the list he could reasonably do right now is have noisy sex in a public place. (Elizabeth is willing to participate.)

Mark gets a little down as the list runs to things he’d like to do with his daughters as they grow up. He says he hasn’t been a very good father. When Rachel needed him growing up, he was hundreds of miles away. The last item on his bucket list is “fix Rachel.” Well, she’s probably halfway to fixed after what happened with Ella, but I don’t think he can finish the job now.

The next day, Mark picks Rachel up after school, offering her a mint since she was totally smoking a cigarette and NOT holding it for a friend. Rachel, no one in the history of parents has ever believed that lie. He tells her they’re going somewhere, but he doesn’t know where. They end up in Hawaii, where Mark sky-dives while Rachel watches from the ground. A local guy asks her if her father’s having a midlife crisis. “Something like that,” she replies.

Mark is up early the next morning for a swim. Then he wakes Rachel up for what he calls a history lesson – a lesson about his history. In their rental Jeep, she complains about the music he’s playing, and he seems surprised that she doesn’t like Todd Rundgren. She’s probably never even heard of him, Mark. He points out places he used to see all the time growing up, like the Arizona memorial. He loved living in Hawaii.

They visit the Naval base where Mark lived as he talks about what he and his friends did. The Greenes lived there for three years, the longest time they ever stayed in one place. His first job was at the pool, as a junior janitor. He only made $1.25 an hour, but it was enough to buy records and weed. Rachel’s surprised that her father smoked pot as a teenager.

Next they go see the Missouri and Mark talks about being allowed to visit his father’s warship sometimes. David would introduce Mark to all the other sailors and show him the helm. He was about Rachel’s age. She wonders why Mark didn’t join the Navy. Mark admits that he was mad at David for never being around. They fought a lot, about everything – Mark’s clothes and friends and haircut (yes, he had hair). David resented Mark’s politics, and Mark hated David’s, so he would provoke him. Mark didn’t like the idea of devoting his life to patriotism and honor, like David did. He wishes he could take it all back.

Mark thinks David was hard on him because he was worried. He thought Mark was making bad choices. Mark was more into girls and Bruce Lee movies and surfing than the things David thought were important. Rachel’s surprised again by one of her father’s childhood interests. They go to the beach so he can give her a surfing lesson. She does pretty well for a first-timer.

That night, the reality of the situation hits Rachel and she gets emotional. She goes to talk to Mark, who’s asleep outside their hotel room. (Is that a lanai? I think it’s called a lanai.) She sneaks a pill from one of his prescriptions and a mini-bottle of booze. Oh, Rachel. She doesn’t realize that Mark has woken up and sees her take a drink.

The next day, the two head to a rental house. Rachel’s annoyed with her father and refuses to listen to his music choice, “Imagine.” She’s also annoyed with the new accommodations, specifically the lack of TV in her room or a swimming pool. He tells her they had to move to a new place because the hotel was getting too expensive – especially the mini-bar charges. Busted! Rachel asks what they’re supposed to do in this new place without all the fancy hotel amenities. I don’t know, Rachel – what is there to do in Hawaii, a place many people would love to visit? Forget what I said about her being halfway fixed.

Rachel gives Mark the silent treatment at dinner that night, but the next day, she’s a little more reasonable. Mark had teaching her to drive on his bucket list, even though she’s too young, so he takes her out in the Jeep. She struggles with the stick shift and wants to try an automatic instead, but Mark thinks it’s better to start with the harder method. He won’t let her quit just because it’s hard.

That afternoon, Rachel invites Mark to go to the beach with her, but he’s taking a nap. When he wakes up, he keeps his face turned from her so she doesn’t see the patch he has to wear over one eye, since it won’t stay closed. It looks like one of his arms isn’t working as well as the other, too. He meets her on the beach and asks what kind of music she’s listening to through her headphones. She says he wouldn’t like it.

Mark turns off her music and asks her when she started getting high. Rachel lies that she doesn’t use drugs, but Mark, who was stoned for most of the eighth grade, knows the signs. He asks if she knows what happened to three of his Vicodin. She suggests that he forgot he took them. GIRL. NO. Mark asks what else she’s using. Rachel gets huffy because her father doesn’t believe that she doesn’t use drugs, even though she once brought ecstasy into his house. Take her home, Mark. She doesn’t deserve a Hawaiian vacation.

Rachel runs away, but Mark chases after her and admits that he doesn’t know what to do with her. He doesn’t have time to work out everything that’s gone wrong with them. He feels horrible that Rachel had to grow up without her father, who then got remarried and had a new baby. She was also stuck with Jen as a mom, which…enough said. It makes sense that Rachel would want to get high. But when Mark’s gone, what will she do? Who will keep her from killing herself? Mark admits that he’s scared about what will happen to Rachel after he dies. He gets that it sucks for her – it sucks for him, too. Rachel still won’t talk to him.

Walking home after some more surfing, Mark suddenly collapses and starts seizing. This is what sparks Rachel to call Elizabeth, as we saw in “Brothers and Sisters.” Elizabeth brings Ella to Hawaii, where Mark and Rachel have moved into a big rental house with a beautiful view of the beach. He spotted a rental sign while driving around and decided to shell out the money for it, since…you know, he’s going to die anyway. Might as well live it up first.

Elizabeth tells Mark that Rachel was terrified when she witnessed his seizure. He hasn’t seen a doctor; he just started taking more of his anti-seizure medication. Elizabeth thinks he should have a CAT scan and a full workup. Mark doesn’t see the point. She tries to talk him into going back to Chicago, but Mark says he doesn’t want to go home. He knows his time is limited, and he wants to die somewhere beautiful.

Mark agrees to buy Rachel a surfboard she’s never going to use since there’s no ocean in Missouri. Elizabeth asks if Rachel, who has her headphones on and is ignoring them, has been distant the whole trip. Yes, Elizabeth, she’s been her normal self. When they go into a surf shop to get a board, it becomes clear that that’s not really the purpose of the visit. Rachel has a crush on a guy who works there, Kai, and just wanted an excuse to see him.

Back at home, Rachel listens in as Mark sings Ella to sleep with “Over the Rainbow.” He needs Rachel’s help to get up from his rocking chair. He tells Rachel she made him sing that song to her for years when she was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid. Rachel doesn’t remember that, or at least pretends not to. She doesn’t think it’s important anyway. Things from her childhood and Mark’s family are just boring and useless. She doesn’t care about them and doesn’t want to hear about them.

Rachel’s tantrum and slamming of the door on her way out of the house wake Ella, so Mark volunteers to put her back down for her nap. Meanwhile, Elizabeth follows Rachel to the beach and asks her how long she plans on acting like a brat. Mark isn’t perfect, but he’s trying to make things up to her. Rachel will have to grow up fast; she can’t act like a child anymore. If she keeps being a brat, she’ll miss the last little bit of time she has with her father. This is her last chance. If she blows it, she’ll hate herself for the rest of her life.

Mark takes a nap, and when he wakes up, he finds that the weakness in his limbs is getting worse. He’s barely able to stand up, and when he tries to take a step, he falls on the floor. He slams the ground and says a word that starts with S that isn’t usually allowed on network TV, which means the show either paid off Standards and Practices or paid a big FCC fine to let that get through. (It must be a lifetime allowance, because I watched this on Pop and they allow the word, too.)

Elizabeth helps Mark down to the beach, still bugging him about seeing a doctor. He still doesn’t see the point. Rachel’s off somewhere with Kai, and Mark is okay with it, since Kai’s a nice kid. Elizabeth is surprised he’s not worried about what the two might be doing together. Mark tells her he wants to write letters to Rachel and Ella. He tried to do it himself, but his handwriting has gotten bad because of his limb problems, so he needs Elizabeth’s help.

He’ll write letters the girls can open on special occasions, like graduations and wedding days. He wonders if it’ll be cruel to remind them of his death on what should be happy days, but Elizabeth is sure they’ll love the messages. She’s fighting back tears, but she wants to help him with the letters, no matter how hard they might be to write.

Rachel gets home after Mark’s asleep and addresses her father’s decline in health for the first time. Elizabeth tells her he doesn’t have much time left. Rachel goes up to Mark’s room, and he wakes up and tells her he was just dreaming about her. He remembers how she used to love balloons. When he bought them for her, she would let them go. He asks her to sit with him.

Mark says he was trying to figure out the things he should have told Rachel already – the things fathers should say to their daughters. He finally decided to tell her to be generous in everything. Her time, her love, her life. He asks her not to cry for him after he dies. Rachel says she won’t. Mark says again that she should always be generous. As he falls asleep, she tells him she remembers him singing “Over the Rainbow” to her. She puts her headphones on him and plays him Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s beautiful version of the song.

The next morning, Elizabeth is up early, playing on the beach with Ella. Mark is still listening to the song, imagining himself in the empty ER. Elizabeth watches Rachel and Kai in the water together. Mark imagines approaching them under a tree, then sees Elizabeth and Ella smiling together. When Elizabeth goes to check on him, he’s dead.

Mark’s family and friends hold his funeral back in Chicago. All his ER co-workers are in attendance, as well as some former colleagues like Benton, Cleo, and Swift. Jen’s there, too, but who cares about Jen? After the service, riding off in a limo, Rachel asks Elizabeth if she can visit Ella at Christmas and on summer break. Elizabeth tells her that of course she can. Rachel asks the driver to pull over at a house with balloons tied to a for-sale sign. She gets out of the limo, unties one of the balloons, and lets it go.

Thoughts: Ella is played (I think just in this episode) by Alex Kingston’s (Elizabeth) real daughter, Salome.

George Clooney declined to appear at the funeral because he didn’t want to distract from the point of the episode, which was Anthony Edwards’ farewell (the same reason he didn’t want his return in “Such Sweet Sorrow” to distract from Julianna Margulies’ goodbye episode). We’ll pretend Doug and Carol were there and we just didn’t see them.

Confession time: When I first watched this episode during the original run, I teared up a little at the end, when Rachel releases the balloon. When I’ve watched it since then, I’ve been fine. This time, for some reason, I started crying around when Mark asked Elizabeth to help him with the letters, and I didn’t stop until the end. So if you cried watching this episode, you’re not alone.

’00s music alert: “Crawling in the Dark” by Hoobastank

Goodbye, Anthony Edwards. You must have left a loooooot of money on the table by leaving.

June 22, 2021

ER 8.20, The Letter: Filling the Void

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:53 pm by Jenn

Yep, there it is

Summary: Susan is back from her trek to New York, and she offers up a brief recap of what happened on Third Watch: Chloe took off with Susie after Susan and the cops found her, and she’s now hanging out in a hotel upstate. Susan’s worried about Chloe’s sobriety and ability to care for Susie, who should be in school. Carter notes that she could get Chloe declared an unfit mother, which means Joe would get custody of Susie, if he wants it. They should have just had Susan take Susie back. Also, where was Susie during the last episode? Eh, who cares?

An angry patient named Toby comes looking for his prosthetic leg, which he accuses Susan of stealing. Susan’s like, “Why would I want your leg? I don’t need three legs.” Apparently this happens to Toby a lot. Carter tries to check some test results on the computer, but the server’s down because they’re loading new software. Frank tells him to check the fax machine instead. Pratt is waiting for his match letter, which will tell him which hospital he’ll be working in for his residency. He forgot to pick his up from the dean’s office (how do you forget something so important??), so he asked to have it sent there.

Carter notices that there’s a letter from Mark on the fax machine. He’s written to the “ER gang.” Carter reads it to the staff members at the admit desk. It’s about Rachel and Ella playing together on the beach, and how relaxing it is for Mark to just hang out in the sand without having to work. More staff members gather, half-listening to the letter while they do their jobs.

Mark says (via Carter’s reading) that he sometimes wished he’d chosen a different career, but being gone has made him realize that working at County was the best choice he ever made. He knows that his co-workers are fantastic doctors and nurses, and their skills will make up for his absence. Haleh doubts that.

Mark says he had to leave the way he did, without saying goodbye to anyone, but he wants them to know how much he values his co-workers and their time together. He wanted to say more personal things to some of them (hint: Susan), but he thinks they know how he felt about them. The letter ends with a note that Rachel and Ella are happy because they finally found the perfect seashell. The staff thinks there was more to the letter but the fax machine jammed.

Carter turns the page and his face falls. Susan notices and urges him to continue. Carter says that the next page is from Elizabeth. She reports that Mark died at sunrise that morning, his favorite time of day. Elizabeth sent his letter so the staff would know that he was thinking of them. He liked knowing they would have good memories of him. Fighting back tears, Carter tells Frank to post the letter on a bulletin board so everyone can read it. Then everyone goes back to work.

Al is back, and Pratt has learned his lesson about paying attention to his blood sugar. Al wants Mark, and since Mark isn’t there, he says he’ll come back tomorrow. Carter keeps treating him anyway. He notices that Weaver has arrived at work and is reading Mark and Elizabeth’s letter, since she wasn’t at the admit desk earlier. Pratt wants to bet Carter $20 that Al’s glucose is over 400. Shut up, Pratt.

Abby also notices Weaver reading the letter and tries to gently interrupt her. Weaver’s annoyed that the letter was posted on the bulletin board, but Abby notes that it was for the whole staff. Yeah, but it would have been nice to tell everyone first, instead of letting them learn the news about the death of a colleague from a letter. Anyway, they have work to do.

Paramedics bring in a girl named Melissa who was injured in a car accident with her father, Dan. Melissa’s calm until the door between her and Dan’s trauma rooms opens and she sees her father being treated. Carter and Abby work on Dan together, struggling to get him a clear airway. Romano joins them and tries to take over, since Carter isn’t moving fast enough with his scope. Romano gets scalpel-happy and cuts an airway for Dan. It’s not pretty, but it’s successful. Romano tells Carter to move faster next time.

Chloe calls looking for Susan, so we get some more closure on that storyline. She and Joe split up, but he’s taking her back. That means he’ll be looking after Susie while Chloe goes to rehab. Right now, Susan has another kid to worry about – Melissa has a mass in her lung. The poor girl came in after a car accident and now has to be told that she has cancer.

Weaver stitches up a man named George who accidentally cut himself. This has happened before, and last time he promised Weaver he wouldn’t use a knife again, but here we are. (George has Down syndrome, and though he appears to be independent in most ways, he still needs a little looking after.) Weaver sees Romano reading Mark and Elizabeth’s letter, which distracts her from George, who’s picking at his stitches. She snaps at him and complains that he doesn’t listen to her. Luka tells her to take a break. Weaver apologizes to George and goes to an exam room to cry.

Haleh lets Susan know that Romano overrode a canceled surgical consult for Melissa and is inserting a chest tube. While Susan tries to keep Melissa calm, Romano throws his weight around in the ER, earning himself a spot on Haleh’s hate list. Well, let’s be honest – he was probably already on it. Romano unceremoniously tells Melissa that she needs surgery and rushes her to the OR.

Weaver and Sandy were supposed to go on a date (yay!), but Sandy thinks Weaver should hang out with her staff so they can mourn Mark together. Weaver says they’re not her friends, so they’re not about to hang out together after hours. Sandy and her firefighter co-workers stick with each other after they lose someone, and she thinks the ER staff should do the same. Weaver says that she and Mark were always at odds, and she always treated their working relationship like a competition. She knew Mark was going to die, but she never thought she’d feel so sad about it. Maybe they were friends after all.

Pratt tells Carter that after Al was told he needed dialysis, which he really doesn’t want, he passed out. Pratt calls him a MIMP, as in someone who has multiple medical problems. Carter would like Pratt to stop making up acronyms and medical terms. He’s willing to give Al dialysis in the ER, but Pratt thinks they should pass him on to another department and let them figure out what’s wrong with him.

Frank gives Pratt his match letter as Gallant invites Carter to get drinks with him and some other staff members. It’s sad that no one else mentioned that to Carter. Pratt’s annoyed that his match letter has placed him at County, his last choice. I don’t think Carter’s any happier about it. Chen arrives and reads the letter.

Susan and Abby get giant drinks at a place called the Lava Lounge, where Mark once had a birthday party. For the record, Gallant has a Coke instead of alcohol, which I think is adorable. They want to toast Mark, and they choose Susan to do the honors, but she’s not sure what to say. Luka does the toast in Croatian but doesn’t translate for anyone. Weaver arrives with Sandy, and Haleh murmurs, “Looks like we’re going public.” Everyone keeps it professional and friendly, not saying anything about how Weaver is dating a woman.

Romano and Shirley operate on Melissa while discussing Mark’s death. Romano makes a mistake that will extend the surgery through the night. He notes that our bodies are supposed to keep us alive, but they can turn on themselves. No one is safe from injury or illness, even young girls like Melissa, or fathers of young girls, like Mark.

The Lava Lounge bartender is flirting with Susan when Carter shows up. She sends him out back to see Abby, who’s smoking and tipsy. She tries to keep things light, but he’s not amused. Abby asks how many lives Carter thinks Mark saved during his years as a doctor. If he saved one person every shift and worked five shifts a week for ten years, he probably saved thousands of people. Abby thinks Mark was a better superhero than Superman. Carter quips that if he knew Abby went for that kind of guy, he would have shaved his head a long time ago.

Abby notices that Carter’s sadder than expected and asks if he’s okay. They look at each other for a long, long time, as if they’re about to kiss. Carter suggests that they go somewhere else. She thinks he wants to take her to a topless bar or a tattoo parlor, but he wants to go to “Bill’s place” – an AA meeting.

Abby heads back to the bar, refusing to go with Carter, but he keeps stepping into her path. Abby notes that she can’t go to a meeting drunk. Plus, it’s voluntary, so he can’t force her. Carter ignores her, saying she’s going to a meeting no matter what. When she keeps protesting, he picks her up and throws her over his shoulder. She calls out for help, then bites him, which makes him drop her. The bartender checks on them and they tell him everything’s okay. Then they head off to get some food.

At Doc Magoo’s, Carter tells Abby about a patient who sends Mark a crate of lobsters every Memorial Day as thanks for a procedure. Once the staff ate surf ‘n’ turf on the roof. Abby thinks they should pretend Mark’s still alive so the lobsters keep coming. She tells Carter that she didn’t start drinking after Brian’s attack – she started on her birthday. If she hadn’t been drinking again, she probably wouldn’t have opened the door for Brian. She’s sobered up, so Carter wants to take her to a meeting before she has to work. Abby says no, since she needs to sleep, but if Carter will back off, she’ll go to a meeting later in the day.

Chen finds the two of them and reveals that Carter, who’s been up all night, has a 7 a.m. shift. Al is declining, and Carter isn’t sure what his wishes are, since Mark took care of him most of the time. After they stabilize him, Al says he doesn’t want any more efforts to keep him alive. Susan is also back at County, waiting for news on Melissa. Romano had to work all night, but he successfully removed her tumor. In other good news, Dan is also going to be okay. Romano notes that Melissa’s tumor has a 50% mortality rate, so it was actually good that she was in the accident – otherwise, they wouldn’t have found the tumor.

Chen isn’t sure she and Carter should respect Al’s request, since there’s no note in his chart. Carter thinks Mark expected to be there at the end of Al’s life, so he didn’t think notes were necessary. Chen tells Carter that Al is his patient, so he can have the final call. Meanwhile, someone’s yelling at Pratt in Italian. Carter and Chen do rock paper scissors to decide who will step in to help. Carter loses, so Chen dismisses him with an “arrivederci.”

Pratt asks Carter to make a call and help him get matched at another hospital. He obviously thinks he’s too good to work at County. Carter says they’re there to serve an underserviced community, and Pratt was chosen to help, so he needs to accept it. Carter then finds Susan crying in the lounge, finally expressing her feelings about Mark’s death. She wishes she could just pretend he moved away. She’s reeling over the fact that they caught Melissa’s tumor before she had any symptoms, while Mark’s tumor didn’t get detected until it was too late.

Carter gently says that they only save who they can. Susan wishes life made more sense than that. They both say they miss Mark already. While Susan was away from Chicago, she thought about him sometimes, but she always thought he would be around. Carter says it’s good to miss him, since that keeps him close to them.

Weaver accidentally interrupts as they’re hugging and starts to clear out Mark’s locker. She wants to save Elizabeth the trouble; plus, Pratt needs a locker. She heard about Carter’s power struggle with Romano, but Carter admits that Romano was right – Carter took too long with Dan. Weaver announces that with Mark gone, Carter’s the doctor with the longest tenure at County. People will see him as the person they want to fill Mark’s void. Carter notes that it’s a big void.

Weaver gets overwhelmed looking at Mark’s things and asks Carter to finish clearing out the locker. Carter does, finding Mark’s stethoscope and taking it for himself. Then he waits for an ambulance with Abby, who confirms she went to an AA meeting. He asks if she went for herself or because she told Carter she would. She says she went for him. Great, now he’s going to be smug.

The two take their patient, who was shot in the face, to a trauma room. Gallant struggles to take care of a patient who looks so bad. He barely manages to keep working while Carter still needs his help. Afterward, Carter finds Gallant in the ambulance bay and tells him to take his time recovering. Gallant admits that sometimes he’s not sure he can be an ER doctor.

Echoing a conversation Mark and Carter had in the first episode of the series, Carter tells Gallant there are two kinds of doctors. They either get rid of their feelings or hold on to them. If Gallant holds on to his feelings, he’ll get sick sometimes. People come into County in distress or sick, sometimes dying, and looking for help. Helping them is more important than how the doctors feel. After eight years, Carter still gets sick sometimes. He tells Gallant to take another minute if he needs it.

Carter goes back inside as Susan leaves for the night. She straightens Mark and Elizabeth’s letter and puts extra tacks in the pages to hold them down. Carter checks on Al, who thinks he’s Mark. He’s grateful that Mark always treated him like a human being. Carter sits with him and tries to comfort him about his impending death. Al wishes he’d been a better person and done more with his life. Carter says he did enough. He promises to stay with Al as he dies.

Time passes. Patients come in, doctors treat them, and Mark and Elizabeth’s letter remains on the bulletin board. A gust from a fan in the doorway makes the first page fly away. No one notices because their jobs – and their lives – go on.

Thoughts: George is played by Chris Burke, the third major cast member fromΒ Life Goes On to appear onΒ ER, after Kellie Martin and Chad Lowe.

I wonder why they chose to show everyone’s reactions to Mark’s death before we see his actual death. And then there’s another episode after that, which moves on to completely different stuff. Seems like an odd way to write out your star.

Is Carter’s behavior with Abby supposed to be appealing here? He’s the star of the show now, with Anthony Edwards leaving – are we expected to enjoy watching our new protagonist basically kidnap his love interest to force her to do something she doesn’t want to do? He literally throws her over his shoulder like he’s a caveman. And how are we supposed to feel about Abby, who then willingly goes with Carter, as if she’s forgiving him for his actions?

The Carter/Gallant scene should have meant that Gallant would become the new Carter. I wish that had happened instead of the coming amplification of Pratt.

February 16, 2021

ER 8.2, The Longer You Stay: The ER Vortex

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

Pictured: Weaver not admitting she screwed up

Summary: Carter is wrapping up a busy shift where he saw 140 patients, possibly a shift record. Haleh is wrestling beer away from Pablo and asks Abby for help, but Abby clocks out before she can be forced to stick around. Elizabeth arrives with Ella, looking for Mark, and Abby says that she thinks he quit. Chen asks Weaver for help with a patient, but Weaver reminds her that she’s chief resident now, so she needs to make decisions on her own.

Elizabeth finally finds Mark, who was supposed to meet her in the parking lot to take Ella so Elizabeth could start her shift. She thinks they need a weekend nanny so they don’t have to do childcare hand-offs like this. Mark already objected to a weekday nanny, so he won’t go for that. Elizabeth tells him they’re not bad parents for hiring nannies. If Mark wants them to raise Ella on their own, he needs to be done with work when he said he would be.

Abby leaves at the same time as Carter, telling him he’s stubborn for not asking Weaver about an attending position. Instead, he’s still looking around for other jobs. Chuny tries to get Abby to come back in and find a vein in a patient they’re having trouble sticking. Abby refuses, telling Carter she has to be back at work at 7 a.m., so she needs to go home. She repeats that he needs to talk to Weaver.

Instead of going home himself, Carter goes back to the ER and asks Weaver how her search for a new attending. When he mentions that he’s thinking about applying, she seems surprised but not opposed to the idea. Chen asks Carter to finish up with a patient, since everyone’s swamped, but Carter has dinner plans with his parents. She manages to wear him down. As a reward, Pablo pees on him. Womp womp.

Carter’s patient is a heavy-metal roadie who had a mishap with a special effect. Carter realizes this will take longer than expected. The roadie’s buddy passes out when Carter injects the roadie with a big needle, and Chuny realizes he’s not breathing. Now Carter has two patients. Elizabeth is also struggling, since she has to talk to a patient’s mother while dealing with a crying Ella. Mark finally relieves her, and Elizabeth declares that they’re not taking weekend shifts anymore.

Carter blames drugs for the roadie’s buddy’s condition, and the roadie confesses that they took GHB. Carter tries to hand them off to Cleo, but she tells him there’s a mass trauma coming in – a stampede. The roadie realizes it happened at the concert where the band he roadies for was opening for Metallica. Chuny warns Weaver that the roadies may have mixed alcohol with GHB, so they’ll need to keep an eye out for that in other patients.

One of the stampede victims is a seven-year-old named Kevin, because seven-year-olds just love Metallica. As Benton is helping Cleo with him, a police officer tells him that Reese may have been brought into another hospital in the city. Benton wonders where Carla is, since Reese was supposed to be with her.

Abby goes to Luka’s new place, where he’s playing a video game on his new Playstation. He got that and a huge aquarium, but hasn’t bought furniture yet. Abby was hoping to go out to dinner instead of spending the night alone while her boyfriend kills zombies in a game. When did Luka turn into such an American?

Carter keeps trying to hand off his patients, but no one will let him go. Kevin’s babysitter finally finds him, and Elizabeth chastises her for taking a seven-year-old to a heavy-metal concert. She says her boyfriend brought the tickets over, and they were going to be home before Kevin’s parents returned. Somewhere, Kristy Thomas is seething.

Remember Sam, the PI Weaver hired to find her birth mother? He claims he’s found her. If Weaver wants more info, she can call him later. Luka and Abby go to a bar he goes to a lot – so much that a waitress named Nicole knows his name and his regular order. Abby was hoping for food, but the bar stopped serving two minutes earlier. Luka talks Nicole into getting her something anyway.

Harmony, the girlfriend of one of the concert victims (the guitarist, I believe), comes in, anxious about how he is. Her friend, Dianna, thinks a big reddish stain on the ceiling is blood. Harmony starts wheezing from her asthma, and when Carter listens to her chest, he detects a possible heart problem. He asks Haleh to find someone to give her a workup, and Haleh’s like, “Hey, you just volunteered yourself! Congratulations!”

Benton finds Reese at the other hospital; he was in a car accident but only has minor injuries. A nurse insists that Benton talk to a doctor to get more details. A doctor named Skoft confirms that Carla was driving the car Reese was in, but she won’t tell Benton where or how Carla is, since he’s not related to her.

Harmony tells Carter she’s been having some trouble with a new piercing. Carter guesses that’s what’s causing the problem with her heart. The piercing happens to be…down south, so Carter and Yosh get a nice sight. When Carter says they’ll have to drain the infection, Dianna takes offense, for some reason, and jumps on his back. Carter throws her off and she slams into a window. Yosh says he’ll make up a new chart for Carter’s newest patient.

While Luka plays pool at the bar, Abby chats with another patron, who would love to get a medical professional to look at whatever he has that’s making pus. Carter cancels his dinner plans while his original patient yells for treatment. Chen has disappeared, and Carter demands that someone find her and make her do some work. Malik has a question about one of Abby’s patients, and since Carter doesn’t know the treatment details, he tells Malik to call her. Then he decides to do it himself so he can yell at Abby.

Abby’s smoking outside the bar when Carter calls to ask if she’s having a good time. No, Carter, she’s not. He blames Abby for talking him into going back in to talk to Weaver, which got him “sucked back into the ER vortex.” Luka comes outside and chastises Abby for smoking after she said she was going to quit. Weaver tells Carter she’s going to Doc Magoo’s for a little while, since things are dying down. He says they’re definitely not, and he’s juggling five patients when he’s not even supposed to be working. She tells him he can leave. Meanwhile, Luka’s annoyed that Abby isn’t enjoying herself, or something.

Benton finally learns why no one would tell him how Carla is: She’s dead. Roger arrives and Benton gives him some details about her condition before the doctors realized they couldn’t save her. For someone who supposedly told Carla he never loved her, Roger is pretty shaken up. While he’s saying goodbye to his wife, Benton goes back to Reese and tries to explain to him that Carla’s gone. Reese is too young to understand and keeps asking for his mom. I’m not crying, you’re crying!

A man named Paul is brought into County after having chest pain all day. His brother (he never gets a name, but my closed captioning calls him Glenn, so we’ll go with that) says he thought it was from something he ate. Dave takes the lead on the case, asking Glenn if Paul does drugs. Glenn doesn’t think so, but they haven’t seen each other in a while, and Paul was pushing himself to put together an art show, so it’s possible. Dave determines that Paul is having a heart attack, even though he’s only 27. He needs Chen or Weaver to approve of the treatment he recommends.

Romano checks in on Elizabeth as she operates on Kevin. She starts leaking breast milk during the procedure, and since that’s not sterile, Romano kicks her out of the OR. A bunch of groupies have swarmed the ER, because security just lets anyone in the building. Carter finally gets back to his first patient, who complains that there aren’t enough doctors on staff. Yeah, no kidding. Carter takes a break to tell another patient’s mother that he’s on a ventilator after he stopped breathing. The mother’s nose starts bleeding. Another patient for Carter!

Chen finally reappears and joins Dave to treat Paul. His tox screen hasn’t come back yet, but Dave is pretty sure he OD’d on cocaine, and they can’t wait too long to start treating him. Chen asks for Weaver, but she’s not responding to pages, so Chen approves of Dave’s ideas for Paul’s treatment. As they’re about to start, Paul’s tox screen comes back negative for drugs. Moments later, his heart starts failing.

Luka is still socializing at the bar, so Abby announces that she’s taking a cab home. He thought she was coming back in and didn’t realize that she hadn’t. Luka follows her out to the street, and Nicole comes out a little later to give Luka back his credit card. She tells him his drinks were on the house, since they want to make sure he comes back in the future. Abby rolls her eyes. She decides to walk home, and Luka follows, annoyed with her for being rude. She tells him to go back inside and keep having fun with his new friends.

Carter pops into the trauma room where Dave and Chen are trying to revive Paul and immediately offers a diagnosis neither of them considered: Marfan syndrome. It affects connective tissue, including around the heart. Paul’s supposed drug overdose was actually an aortic dissection, and the medications Dave and Chen gave him made it worse.

Luka and Abby keep bickering as they taken an El home. He tells her she has a bug up her anus (ooh, so close), and she tells him he’s immature. He points out that she doesn’t even know what she wants. She plays games like she’s a teenager who can have any boy she wants, but she treats them all badly. Abby challenges him to just call her a whore straight out. “You’re not that pretty! You’re not that special!” he says. Abby spits out that she’s pretty enough for him in the dark.

Luka continues that she’s never happy and doesn’t seem capable of it (the same conversation Abby had with Maggie). Abby says that didn’t matter to him six months ago. He says that if she’s not depressed or ashamed, she’s just angry. “And you’re married to a ghost,” she fires back. Luka says that at least he treats her with respect. Yeah, telling her she’s not pretty or special is really respectful.

Carter, Dave, and Chen struggle to save Paul, but he’s losing too much blood. The nurses have been paging Weaver for 15 minutes, but she’s still not responding. Carter remembers that she said she was going across the street. Abby and Luka are still fighting about all her issues and everything he’s had to put up with to be with her. He doesn’t know how to help her or be with her. Abby says she doesn’t want help. Luka eventually announces that he’s done, and Carter can have Abby.

Dave thinks the only way to save Paul is to cut open his chest. Chen refuses to do so without Weaver, so she sends Carter to Doc Magoo’s to get her. He runs across the street, slipping on a puddle and landing on his back. After he collects himself, he finds Weaver at Doc Magoo’s with Sam. By the time they get back to the trauma room, it’s clear that Paul can’t be saved. “You killed him,” Weaver tells the doctors.

Roger asks Benton to take Reese for the night, since he needs to make arrangements for Carla’s body. Benton’s like, “Take my son? To my house? You’re asking me to take my son to my house? Was this not the obvious thing that was going to happen now that his mother is dead?” Roger promises he’ll see Reese sometime in the next couple of days.

Weaver questions Dave and Chen’s treatment decisions, surprised that they didn’t diagnose Marfan’s. Chen also didn’t look at the x-rays before approving of Dave’s suggested treatment. Dave says they had to make a quick decision since Weaver wasn’t available. Weaver yells that that’s part of their job, but they didn’t look at the information the right way. Dave doesn’t think she should get a say here since she didn’t answer her pages. Weaver tells him that in a perfect world, he wouldn’t get to see patients. If Dave knew how do be a doctor and cared about his patients, Paul would still be alive.

Carter speaks up that Paul’s condition was so bad when he came in that he probably wouldn’t have survived surgery even if they’d diagnosed him in time. Weaver says they’ll never know, since Dave screwed up so badly. Dave notes that Paul’s family should be screened for Marfan’s, since it’s genetic. Weaver says she’ll handle that and orders the other three not to talk to anyone about the case.

Abby gets ready for bed alone in her own apartment while Elizabeth has to wake Mark up to clean up Ella after a diaper blow-out. Is he deaf? How could he not hear her crying right next to him? Anyway, Elizabeth is a jerk now, and it’s hard to feel sorry for her for all the stuff she’s been going through related to having a newborn and being a working mother. Carter finally finishes up with that one quick patient who was only supposed to take a few minutes to treat. Weaver returns to Doc Magoo’s, looking for her pager, which she’s lost. She finds it in a bathroom stall.

Edson (ugh, Edson) tells Carter that his nosebleed patient needs surgery thanks to a defect caused by excessive cocaine use. Carter has a shift at noon, so he’s going to catch a nap somewhere in the hospital instead of going home. Edson tells him that’s a bad idea, since the longer he stays there, the harder it will be for him to leave. Carter spots Chen in Paul’s trauma room, rethinking everything they did. Reese wakes up in the middle of the night after having a bad dream, and Benton lets him into his bed.

Thoughts: Roger has been recast with Vondie Curtis-Hall. Nicole is played by Julie Delpy. One of the doctors who tends to Reese is played by Kal Penn.

The reason for Carla’s death is that the show was sick of Lisa Nicole Carson (who was rumored to be having psychological issues), so they just got rid of Carla. The resulting plot was kind of ridiculous, when you think about it. But maybe it’s better than having to watch Benton and Carla keep fighting.

Pretty bold of Sam to charge Weaver for a search she didn’t authorize, after he screwed up so badly last time.

August 18, 2020

ER 6.20, Loose Ends: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Parent/Child Relationships

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

Can’t snark on this

Summary: Mark is getting ready to face another day of tending to David, whose health has declined a lot. He’s still stubborn, though, and thinks Mark should go back to work. David has a craving for a Bloody Mary, and though Mark says it’s not a good idea, David points out that he’s dying already, so what could it hurt? While David’s getting worse, Carter’s getting better, at least physically, and is up early to work out. Millicent is pleased that he’s getting back to his old self.

At County, Luka asks Carol if things are okay at home, since she hasn’t answered his calls recently. He gives her some flowers from his neighbor’s garden and wishes her a happy birthday. She’s surprised that he knew it was her birthday. He moves in for another kiss, but she’s not that interested, so when Connie comes to get Luka, Carol’s kind of relieved.

Carter comes in after checking out a condo in Lincoln Park, which Dave says is too yuppie-ish an area for him. Carter points out that Dave is a yuppie. Dave objects, but Chuny says Carter’s right. Dave asks Weaver if he’s a yuppie. “No, but you will be when you grow up,” Weaver replies. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! She asks for a sub for Mark’s shift that night, and Carter volunteers, since he’s the senior resident.

Weaver has a meeting about paramedic services and asks Carol for some data she was supposed to compile. Carol realizes she forgot to do it. Mark makes David breakfast, and though David isn’t hungry, he’d rather feed himself than be fed like a child. Abby and Dave treat an elderly patient, and Dave allows Abby to do her first intubation. Carter brings in some new technology that will show him and Dave exactly what Abby sees during the procedure.

Elizabeth examines a woman named Claire who vomited blood and passed out at work. Claire wants to leave, since her condition isn’t serious, but she can’t even sit up without getting dizzy. Elizabeth tells her she can leave after her IV is empty and she’s rehydrated. Outside the room, she tells Lydia that Claire has severe eating disorders and needs a psych hold.

Weaver goes looking for Carol, who’s disappeared while supposedly working on Weaver’s data. Luka figures some nurses took her to Doc Magoo’s for a birthday breakfast. Carter and Dave guide Abby through her first intubation while Dave brainstorms other uses for the camera. Abby does the procedure perfectly, and Dave says it’s easy when you have a good teacher. Abby agrees, turning to Carter, the real leader in the room.

At home, Mark accidentally breaks a container of David’s medication, then cuts his hand on the glass. David gives him medical instructions, as if Mark didn’t learn all that in medical school. He needs stitches, but he doesn’t want to leave David at home while he goes to the hospital. Benton examines a man named Mr. Fulton who needs surgery for complications following treatment he received previously. Benton learns that Luka was his previous doctor.

Elizabeth leaves County to take a suture kit to Mark’s so he doesn’t have to leave David. Lydia assures her that Claire will have to stick around for a while, since her IV is on a slow drip and won’t be empty for a couple of hours. Carol dropped the ball on the data, so Weaver had to postpone her meeting. She confronts Carol for being too busy to handle one of her responsibilities and not saying anything. Carol promises that she can handle it.

Amira delivers a birthday present to Carol – a package full of boxes of animal crackers. They’re from Doug. She explains to Amira and Chuny that Doug would always bring her animal crackers when he went to the store, and Carol would always put a box in his Christmas stocking.

Dave goes to get a new case from the front desk and learns that Carter has already taken care of some of them. Dave is about to start with a guy named Mr. Barclay, but one of his patients stops breathing, so Dave hands him off to Chen. Then Chen has to ditch Barclay for a four-year-old named Kenny who’s having seizures. Barclay thinks he’s a higher priority, because of course he does. Chen isn’t sure what’s wrong with Kenny and asks someone to get Weaver to help her.

Benton asks Luka about his treatment of Mr. Fulton and his failure to follow up to make sure Fulton was seen in a vascular clinic. Luka says he made the referral, but Benton knows that a high-risk patient who lives alone, like Fulton, might not make the appointment. Luka says he made the appointment himself.

Benton thinks Luka should have asked a nurse to call Fulton, or called himself to make sure Fulton was completing his treatment. Luka asks if Benton does that for all his patients. Benton says he does, when the patients are high-risk. Older Black men are especially high-risk, and Luka should know that. He needs to remember that there’s more to emergency medicine than “treating and streeting.” Luka tells Benton that’s not something he needs to learn.

Weaver joins Chen with Kenny, who’s been seizing for 30 minutes. It seems to be due to low blood sugar, but treatment isn’t improving it. The seizures finally stop, and Weaver tells Chen she’s not sure what’s wrong. She notices that one of Carol’s patients’ IV bags is empty and sends her to change it. Carol grumbles about it, and Weaver asks if something’s bothering her. Carol tells Weaver to come right out and say something if she has a problem. Carol complains that she has a heavy patient load and two children in daycare – she doesn’t need Weaver bugging her on top of that. Weaver tells her to just do her job.

Paramedics bring in a man who fell while crossing some El tracks. Barclay still wants his simple wound check, which he’s been waiting hours for. Dude, you’re going to have to almost get hit by a train like this guy to be a priority. Sit down. Carter and Dave work together again, Dave moving quickly while Carter is calm and methodical. Doris the paramedic announces that Barclay stole her ambulance.

Elizabeth stitches up Mark, who compliments her work. (Well, she’s a surgeon. She’d better be good at this.) David invites her to stay a little while and have tea with him. Luka joins Carter and Dave, who think their patient has internal bleeding and can’t agree on which part of his body they should be more worried about. Luka sides with Carter, who manages to stabilize the patient.

Chen tells Weaver that her research has helped her diagnose Kenny with a rare metabolic disorder called MCAD. Weaver apologizes to Carol for being so hard on her, but Carol agrees that she needs to be more on top of things. Weaver offers her any help she might need, saying she knows Carol pretty well after working with her for five years. Carol admits that she hates her life. She loves her job and the girls, but she hates that she ended up a single mother. Weaver offers to let her take some extra personal days whenever she needs them.

Chen tells Kenny’s parents about his genetic disorder, which Chicago hospitals don’t test for when babies are born. If they’d known that Kenny had MCAD when he was born, they would have known to give him sugar water when he got sick, which would have prevented his seizures. Carter accepts a call from an ambulance stating that the driver is bringing in some patients. The driver is Barclay, who was flagged down by some people with food poisoning while he was on his way to Mercy for treatment. Doris tells him not to let the patients throw up on the floor, since she just cleaned it.

Before Elizabeth goes back to County, David wants to give her a string of pearls he once gave Ruth. Elizabeth doesn’t feel right accepting the necklace, but David insists. He tells Mark to help her put them on. Back at County, Chen tells Romano that they need to screen babies for rare metabolic disorders. Romano notes that that would mean spending millions of dollars on tests that only diagnose a few kids. Chen tells him to go ahead and explain to Kenny’s parents why they can’t allocate resources for tests that could have saved their child.

Barclay arrives with the sick patients, and Doris takes him away to treat him/beat him up. In another ambulance, a man and his six-year-old daughter come in after a car accident. Dave takes the daughter, Shelly, while Carter and Abby take the father. Elizabeth returns and learns that Deraad won’t put Claire on a psych hold. She may have eating disorders, but she’s capable of making her own decisions, which basically means she has the right to continue harming herself. She’ll only get psych treatment if she requests it.

David seems a little confused while Mark is bathing him, asking where Elizabeth is and whether Mark has to go to work. He likes the smell of the soap Mark is using, the same Ivory that Ruth used to use. Mark remembers smelling it on her when she kissed him goodnight. David says he was the one who bathed Mark when he was a baby. He tells Mark he’s a good doctor. The day he became one was the proudest day of David’s life. He gets emotional and tells Mark he loves him. Mark says it back to him.

Shelly isn’t badly injured, but Cleo joins Dave to finish her examination. Shelly objects to having her pants removed, and Dave sees blood in them. He thinks she has an injury from the accident, but Cleo doesn’t find anything. Dave realizes what’s going on and gently asks Shelly some age-appropriate questions about whether anyone has touched her inappropriately. Guess what? Shelly’s dad is a child molester! Congratulations on scarring your child for live, Shelly’s dad!

Dave goes straight to the trauma room next door and attacks Shelly’s father, accusing him of molesting Shelly. Carter kicks him out and tells him to follow the proper procedures for an investigation. Dave insists on assisting Cleo in continuing Shelly’s examination.

Carol helps Luka with a patient as he asks if she has plans for her birthday. She doesn’t, so he offers to cook her dinner. Kenny’s mother tells Chen that he may have permanent brain damage. She’s brought in her daughter, Emma, and wants Chen to give her the test Kenny should have been given as a baby.

Elizabeth thinks Claire’s mother can talk her into staying in the hospital for treatment, so she’s broken confidentiality to get her to the hospital. Claire’s mother is shocked to see how unhealthy her daughter has gotten. Meanwhile, Dave reads Green Eggs and Ham with Shelly to distract her while Cleo does her examination.

Mark wakes up from a nap on his couch to discover that David has passed away. He straightens his father’s nightshirt a little, then kisses him goodbye. Luka and Carter take care of a patient who’s having a heart attack, and Carter determines that he needs a procedure they don’t usually do in the ER. Luka has already left to tend to someone else, and Haleh won’t assist Carter, so he says he’ll do it himself. Haleh tells him she’s getting Luka.

Weaver tells Elizabeth that David died, and Mark will call her when the people from the funeral home leave. Elizabeth doesn’t have much time to react before she has to go to Claire’s room to try to convince her to stay in the hospital. Claire refuses, so Elizabeth lets her go. She realizes she went too far in trying to help Claire and needs to back off. If Claire doesn’t care enough to try to stay alive, Elizabeth won’t care, either.

Carter finishes the procedure he wasn’t supposed to do, telling Luka that the patient would have died if they’d sent him up to cardiology, as Luka had ordered. Luka reminds Carter that they’re supposed to work together, so he should have told Luka what he was doing. Weaver finds Dave stitching up Shelly’s father without enough painkillers and orders him to do it properly. Dave tells her to go ahead and take over.

Chen pages Romano to consult on Kenny’s case (and also meet his mother and sister in hopes of guilting him into changing his mind about offering genetic tests at birth). Chen is starting a petition about getting the tests instated at County. Romano can’t refuse while Kenny’s mother is right there, so he signs the petition. Nice work, Chen. Weaver reminds Carter that he’s still a resident and isn’t allowed to do procedures like the one he did in the ER without an attending present. Carter offers Dave a big trauma coming in, but Dave has seen enough for the day.

Luka finds Carol moping on the roof and tries to start a conversation about where things might be going with them. She tells him it’s not going to work out, literally saying, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Elizabeth goes to Mark’s place, where he’s trying to hold it together to finish some paperwork and call people to tell them David died. When David moved to Chicago, Mark promised not to sell his house in San Diego, but now there’s no point in keeping it. He breaks down in tears and Elizabeth holds him.

Thoughts: At this point in the original run, it was common knowledge that Julianna Margulies was leaving the show, and it was pretty obvious that Carol would go off to be with Doug. It was hard not to feel sorry for Luka, but then again, I always liked Doug and Carol together, so it was exciting to think they might get a happy ending.

Speaking of Carol and Doug, their traditions with the animal crackers are really cute. He’s more romantic than we’ve gotten to see.

Dave should have had Randi beat up Shelly’s father. Maybe Doris, too – she could have used an outlet for her anger at Barclay.

July 7, 2020

ER 6.14, All in the Family: This Place Is Killing Me

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

Pour one out

Summary: Weaver arrives at County for a night shift in the middle of a slow spell. The Valentine’s Day party is still going on, and the music is still loud, though at least it’s more Valentine-y now (“More Today Than Yesterday”). Luka and some nurses are discussing Malik’s no-polish manicure, which he says women love. Weaver asks them to turn down the music, then tells the staff they can party for five more minutes before getting back to work.

In the lounge, Abby’s on the phone with someone, trying to work out some kind of payment. (Come back for the exciting explanation in a future episode.) Carol gets ready to go home, still feeling stung by the loss of Robbie and Julia’s parents. Weaver comments that it must be nice that she has her girls to go home to. Randi needs a doctor for a patient who’s supposed to be Carter’s, so Weaver tells her to find him. Pablo comes in with a foot injury, and Weaver’s pleased to see that he’s alive, since he hasn’t been around for more than a year. Haleh thinks he was deported, then snuck back into the country.

Dr. Deraad has finally managed to get himself to the ER, though it’s way too late for him to be able to help anyone and also people have been horribly injured because of his negligence and I can’t look at him anymore. Weaver’s unfamiliar with the whole Paul situation and can’t tell Deraad where to find him. She goes to treat an injured man dressed as Cupid, then runs into Chen, who needs help dealing with the toxicology department. Weaver stops outside Paul’s exam room and sees blood on the floor. When she opens the door, she’s horrified by what she sees inside.

Mark, Elizabeth, and their parents are still at the restaurant; Mark and Elizabeth have loosened up enough to sing “Piano Man” together. Alex Kingston is a talented woman but…not musically. Elizabeth’s pager goes off in the middle of the song, so she mercifully stops singing. Mark keeps going alone, getting as far as “Bill, this place is killing me” before his pager goes off as well.

Back at County, things have gone from slow to chaotic as the staff starts tending to Carter and Lucy. They’ve put together that Paul must have attacked them, but they have no idea where is or if he’s still in the hospital. Lucy has multiple stab wounds and has lost a lot of blood; Weaver’s shaky when she tries to take care of her. She’s upset that Carter and Lucy were bleeding to death while the staff was having a party, completely oblivious.

Luka heads up tending to Carter, who’s not doing as badly as Lucy. Abby notes that she was just talking to him. Connie shows a couple of cops the scene of the crime, and Deraad tells them the attacker was Paul, though he doesn’t know anything helpful about the patient. Benton races to the ER at an Olympic-qualifying speed, having heard that Carter was injured, and takes over his care. Weaver and Dave determine that Lucy needs surgical attention, so Haleh brings Benton over to her trauma room.

Abby goes to a supply cart in the hallway, looking for an infuser kit for Carter. Instead, she finds the knife Paul stashed there after the attacks. Connie recognizes it as the cake knife that disappeared from the lounge. Abby tries to gather herself so she can keep looking for the kit. A cop asks her if Carter’s awake and if he’s going to survive. Abby doesn’t have any answers for him.

She goes back to Carter’s trauma room, where he wakes up confused. Chen tries to reassure him, getting protective when a cop tries to question him. Carter sees Lucy in the next room, but Abby can only tell him she’s alive, not how badly she’s hurt. Chen pulls Benton back to Carter’s room, telling him that Carter has an injury to his kidney.

Mark and Elizabeth arrive at County, leaving their parents in the car. Benton stays with Carter as he’s taken up to surgery. Weaver asks Luka questions about Paul, but Luka isn’t sure what happened. Mark and Elizabeth join them with Lucy, who’s still unstable, and Elizabeth determines that they need to open her chest. When Weaver advocated for a sternal saw in the ER, she never could have expected she’d be using one on Lucy. Everyone’s uneasy watching someone they know get sawed open. Together, Weaver, Elizabeth, Mark, Luka, and Dave manage to get Lucy’s heart rate stabilized.

As soon as Lucy’s in the elevator on her way to the OR, the ER is quiet again. Luka and Mark think they were able to help Lucy enough to keep her alive. Weaver leaves the hospital, brushing off people who need to talk to her, and goes outside for some fresh air. She throws up in a garbage can, then goes back inside to her responsibilities.

Anspaugh gets word of the attacks and tells Benton he’s scrubbing in on Carter’s surgery. Carter knows his injuries are bad, but Benton stays calm and promises to take good care of him. “I’m glad it’s you,” Carter says. Benton heads for the scrub room as Lucy is brought up to be operated on by Romano and Elizabeth. Anspaugh, Benton, and Elizabeth scrub in together, all silent as they think about the stakes of what they’re about to do.

Down in the OR, Luka asks Amira why the nurses thought they needed a six-inch butcher knife to cut a cake. Amira argues that she’s not the one who brought it; she couldn’t even find it. She doesn’t know how Paul was able to get his hands on it. Weaver tells her to get Carter and Lucy’s emergency-contact info but not make any calls herself. She asks Mark what he knew about Paul, which isn’t much. Mark says Carter was supervising Lucy, and Weaver wonders who was supervising Carter. She’s upset that Mark left early and didn’t pass the case off to Luka.

Mark says he reviewed the patient board with Luka before he left, but Luka says he didn’t know that Paul was psychotic. Mark replies he didn’t know, either – no one presented the case to him. Luka says he was managing the whole board and didn’t know that Paul had gone from stable to possible dangerous. Weaver points out that he was having a party, not doing his job. Mark tells her that they both thought Carter and Lucy had everything covered.

Chuny interrupts to announce that Paul’s pregnant wife, Samantha, has arrived. Lucy left her a message letting her know that Paul was in the hospital. Luka takes her off to tell her what’s going on. As Cleo returns from an errand, having missed the entire chaotic situation, Mark enlists her to help him with a patient being brought in by helicopter.

Samantha doesn’t believe Luka’s claims that Paul stabbed two people and ran away. She denies that he could ever hurt anyone. Luka tells her that Paul may have schizophrenia. Benton and Anspaugh operate on Carter, and Benton’s usual calm, methodical demeanor is out the window. Anspaugh keeps his cool, stopping Benton from doing anything drastic like removing Carter’s injured kidney. Next door, Elizabeth and Romano are tense as they operate on Lucy, who’s still losing blood.

The patient brought in by helicopter is a man who was injured when a heavy stream of oil hit him while he was fixing a pipe. (Apparently that’s a bad thing to have happen.) David comes looking for Mark, wanting to know how long he and Isabelle will have to wait before Mark and Elizabeth can take them home. Of course, Mark doesn’t know.

Luka and Samantha talk to a detective who asks Samantha where Paul might have gone. She’s still in denial that he’s dangerous – if he was, why didn’t the doctors take more precautions? Luka tells her they don’t have any answers, but no matter what’s going on, Paul needs help. Samantha suggests that he might have gone to the roof of their apartment building, since he likes to go there to be alone.

Lucy’s operation is calmer now, and her surgeons are lamenting how horrible it is that Paul attacked her. Carter’s condition is much better, and Benton and Anspaugh have managed to save his kidney. Anspaugh notes that he could live with just one, but Anspaugh didn’t want to remove an organ. Alarms start going off and they realize there’s a problem with Carter’s lumbar artery. He’s suddenly at risk for paralysis.

David and Isabelle sit in the waiting area, wondering if this is a normal day at work for their kids. Abby and Chen receive a patient brought in by paramedics after being hit by a car. Chen recognizes him as Paul and tells Abby to get Weaver. Paul’s altered again, making paranoid rants and complaining that “they” wouldn’t stop sticking him. Weaver tries to head up his care, but she gets overwhelmed and asks Mark to switch patients with her. He sends Cleo up to the OR with their oil guy (I don’t know his name; I’ll call him Exxon) to wait for a surgeon to become available.

Elizabeth and Romano are done operating on Lucy and somewhat pleased with her condition, figuring it’s the best they could hope for. Romano’s called away for a phone call, so Elizabeth goes in alone when she learns that Lucy’s waking up. Thanks to a stab wound to her neck and a subsequent thoracotomy, Lucy can’t speak, but she’s able to whisper a thank you to Elizabeth for saving her.

Benton and Anspaugh are finishing up with Carter, so Shirley asks Anspaugh to operate on Exxon. Benton tells her to get Elizabeth instead, ordering Shirley to have Cleo stay with Exxon until Elizabeth can get to him. Just as Elizabeth is about to go to the OR with Exxon, Lucy suffers what she’s able to self-diagnose as a pulmonary embolism. Elizabeth and Romano debate whether or not to thin her blood, since that could cause post-surgical complications.

Mark tells Samantha that Paul is doing okay and is now talking to a psychiatrist. Mark wants her to wait before she sees her husband. Lucy’s incision is bleeding a little, but Elizabeth tells her that’s normal because of the medication she was given. She does have a pulmonary embolism, but they’ll be able to fix it. Elizabeth can tell that Lucy’s scared, and she promises to get her through this.

Chen and Dave go over to Doc Magoo’s, done with their shifts but not wanting to go home before they know if Carter and Lucy will be okay. Abby and Luka are already there for the same reason. Back at County, Lucy wants to stay awake while Elizabeth takes care of her embolism. Romano assures her that they’ll save her – after all, they put a lot of time and money into her training, so her death would be a big waste. He offers to talk her through the procedure so she knows what’s going on.

Lucy’s alarms go off again, so Romano opens her up in a procedure room, knowing she doesn’t have time to get to the OR. This delays Elizabeth from operating on Exxon, so Anspaugh tells Benton to go take care of him. Benton quickly determines that Exxon’s stable enough to wait a little longer, so he tells Cleo to stay with Exxon while he goes back to Carter.

As Elizabeth and Romano take care of the clots Lucy’s forming, Exxon starts to go downhill. Cleo can’t keep waiting for a surgeon; she thinks Exxon tore an artery, and the only way she knows how to fix it is by opening his chest. Lucy’s also doing worse, and Elizabeth and Romano have to shock her heart. Benton finally returns to Cleo and Exxon, blasting her for opening the patient instead of continuing to wait for a surgeon.

Romano and Elizabeth continue trying to stabilize Lucy, but Romano determines that they can’t do any more for her. He has Elizabeth stop shocking her, and they wait quietly while Lucy’s heart stops. Upset, Romano throws the equipment tray across the room, then decides they need to try to save Lucy again. This time it’s Elizabeth who says they can’t do it. R.I.P Lucy Knight.

Paul is calmer now, so Deraad lets Samantha come see him. Paul remembers bits of the events of the day, like the blue cake. He says he had to do what he did because the doctors were trying to take his internal organs. Samantha finally accepts that something’s not right with her husband. Paul begs to go home, only concerned with feeding his dog.

Mark leaves Paul’s room and goes to the front desk, where Weaver’s face tells him all he needs to know about Lucy’s fate. Benton finishes up with Exxon, then asks Cleo about Carter, who’s now in recovery. He tells her she was right to make the decisions she did about Exxon; he regrets putting her in such a tough position. She tells him that there was a complication with Lucy.

Haleh and Lydia have joined the group at Doc Magoo’s, and they’re reminiscing about a prank Carter pulled on Lucy. He told her to do a pelvic exam on a well-known patient named Vanessa, leaving out the part where Vanessa’s a drag queen. Chuny interrupts the fun by coming over with news about Lucy. Back at County, Benton examines Carter to make sure he has full function in his legs. Carter thanks him, then asks how Lucy is. Benton ignores him to continue the examination, which is all Carter needs to know.

Elizabeth finally makes it home early in the morning, looking like she’ll never stop picturing the things she saw today. Paul’s room is still blocked off as a crime scene, marked with both police tape and Valentine’s Day decorations. Carol is back on shift, and she points out to Mark that they’re down a resident and a med student. They ask Abby to work another shift. Mark takes a moment to himself, then goes off to take care of a patient. Weaver finds Romano stitching Lucy’s chest closed on the surgical floor and helps him finish up with her body.

Thoughts: Samantha is played by Liza Weil.

I absolutely hate TV and movie scenes where people throw up, but I give a pass to the scene where Weaver does because I think her reaction to the trauma is realistic. She’s portrayed as cold and uncaring a lot of the time, but here we get to see that even she can’t turn off all her emotions when a colleague is involved. The same goes for Romano when he gets angry after Lucy flatlines. He hates almost everyone, but he was proud of the way she fought for Valerie, and he’s genuinely sad that he couldn’t save her.

Imagine being Carol and leaving work for the night thinking everything’s normal, then coming in the next morning and being told that one of your co-workers was murdered. How does everyone on this show not have some form of PTSD?

August 10, 2019

The X-Files 11.10, My Struggle IV: The Last Good Chance

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

And so we end as we began: With these two nerds chasing a mystery

Summary: Our last-ever episode-beginning voiceover comes from Jackson. He knows his original name was William, and that he’s somehow connected to Scully and the future. He doesn’t know what his role will be in the future, but his visions are starting to make him understand. He doesn’t want any part in the suffering that will come.

Jackson had a happy childhood, and started to develop powers at a young age, such as breaking a window by stomping his foot. In middle school, he made a bully’s ears bleed. Every time kids at his school caught on that he was different, he had to leave. Eventually, Jackson started using his powers for evil, such as changing traffic lights with his mind and causing accidents. He was sent to a school for delinquents, and when forced to go to therapy, he would make stuff up.

Someone from the government caught on, so Jackson started lying low. He realized people were watching the house, which made him want to stay in line. Then he decided to play a joke on Sarah and Brianna, which got out of control and put him back on the radar of some powerful people. Now his parents are dead and he’s being hunted.

Jackson wants answers about who he is and how to get his life back. He wanted to ask Scully, but he thinks he can only get the answers from his father, a man he’s seen in his visions: CSM. CSM is with Mulder, threatening to kill him, though Mulder doesn’t think he can go through with it. CSM raises his gun and fires.

At what must be an earlier time (though he’s in the same clothes), Mulder goes to the Timberland Motel in Norfolk, Virginia, looking for Jackson. Back in D.C., Kersh tells Skinner that Mulder’s been going off about a conspiracy on the Internet. Skinner needs to rein him in. Kersh announces that he’s closing the X-Files and taking Mulder and Scully’s badges.

Tad’s latest live stream is about the coming global contagion that Scully and Jackson had visions about. It shows footage of Mulder at the motel. Kersh doesn’t care if the conspiracy is rooted in any kind of truth; it’s going to cause mass panic and needs to be shut down. As he leaves Kersh’s office, Skinner gets a call from CSM, who says the contagion is coming because Skinner didn’t find Jackson.

Scully finds Skinner and tells him Mulder needs his help. She knows he’s with Jackson, and that they’re both being pursued. Skinner tells her that Kersh is ending everything; Mulder’s started something that can’t be stopped. Scully says she made the claims on the Internet, not Mulder – and they’re all true. Skinner asks where Mulder and Jackson are.

15 hours earlier, Scully goes to Mulder’s house while on the phone with Reyes. She thinks Jackson has been captured in Tennessee and is being taken to Maryland. As CSM lights a cigarette outside the car Reyes is calling from, she tells the agents this may be their last good chance to save their son. Mulder asks what she means. Reyes says that whoever controls Jackson also controls the future. Then she hangs up.

Mulder wonders if he and Scully can trust Reyes. CSM doesn’t appear to have any suspicions about who Reyes was just talking to. Scully doesn’t think Jackson is really on the plane, but Mulder wants to believe Reyes’ claims. What if this really is their last good chance? Scully sends him off, telling him to come back alive.

A plane lands in Braddock Heights, Maryland, carrying only Mr. Y. He goes into a hangar, which Mulder manages to sneak into, briefly evading some armed guards. When they find him, he overpowers one and grabs his gun. He confronts Mr. Y, who says they couldn’t catch Jackson. Mulder asks why everyone wants him. Mr. Y says Jackson has something everyone wants – something they would kill for.

A guard approaches, so Mulder turns and shoots him. While Mulder’s distracted, Mr. Y reaches for a gun under his desk, but Mulder is faster than him and shoots him dead before Mr. Y can fire. Well, probably dead. It’s The X-Files, after all. Jackson is also dealing with armed guards on what looks like an abandoned ship. Cue the extended action sequence, in which Jackson outruns multiple men, then hides in a homeless encampment, making himself look like someone else.

Mulder calls Scully to tell her he hasn’t had any luck finding Jackson yet, but he did get to engage in some payback. Scully reports that there’s a cluster of recent lottery winners in Tennessee. Mulder goes to the convenience store where one of the winning tickets was sold; the kid who bought it seemed to know exactly which numbers to play. Security footage confirms for Mulder that it was Jackson.

Scully has a vision, which gets interrupted when Mulder calls to tell her that Jackson cashed in his ticket, then hitched a ride somewhere with a truck driver. The agents think he’s heading northeast. Someone arrives at the convenience store and plants a tracking device in Mulder’s car before Mulder heads off on Jackson’s trail.

Scully calls Tad to tell him a conspiracy he needs to talk about on his show. Jackson tells the truck driver that he has superpowers. Scully outlines the contagion for Tad as Mulder tries to get the truck to pull over. Jackson proves his powers to the truck driver by changing the radio station with his mind, then turns into a monster. The driver pulls over with Mulder right in front of him. But it’s not the truck Jackson’s in.

Tad asks Scully if he can name her as his source for the contagion information. She says he can credit her as a federal agent. She adds that Mulder is the planet’s only hope. She and Jackson have a shared vision of CSM shooting Mulder, who then falls into a body of water. Scully calls Mulder to warn him that he’s in danger, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to know where Jackson went after he left the truck.

The man who placed the tracker in Mulder’s car sees that he’s coming up on him, but Mulder’s now going in the opposite direction. As the tracker pulls his car over, he spots Jackson leaving the drain pipe he’s been hiding in and walking down the road. He offers Jackson a ride to his destination, Norfolk.

Mulder gets there first, going to a house. Jackson pays Sarah a visit, throwing some snark at Sarah’s friend Maddy. Mulder’s at Brianna’s, wanting to know if Jackson has been there. She says they don’t talk anymore, but Mulder thinks she’s covering for him. Brianna says Jackson’s in a lot of trouble, but if Mulder wants answers, he’s asking the wrong girl.

Over at Sarah’s, Jackson tells her that he can’t live like this anymore. She urges him to go to the police, but he says they killed his parents because he’s a freak. Sarah firmly says he’s not. He tells her suicide is an option to end his life being hunted, but another choice is running away with Sarah. Thanks to his lottery winnings, they could go anywhere. Since Sarah’s parents are coming home, she offers to meet him somewhere later. He says he’ll be at the Timberland.

Mulder goes to Sarah’s sometime later, but she doesn’t want to tell him anything if she can’t be sure Jackson trusts him. Mulder says he’s Jackson’s father. Maddy calls bull. As Price and some men find a car full of blood, we go back to the beginning of the episode, when Mulder got to the Timberland. He tells Jackson he’s his father, and whether or not Jackson believes that, he gives Mulder a chance to explain himself. Mulder just hugs him and promises to protect him.

The blood in the car belongs to the man tracking Mulder, who looks like he basically exploded. But now Price has a way to track Mulder. As she and her men head to the Timberland, Jackson tells Mulder that the people looking for him are never going to stop. He knows what’s going to happen because of his visions. Mulder says that Scully has the same ones. Jackson asks why Mulder doesn’t. He doesn’t want to live in a world where what’s going to happen happens. Mulder offers to help, but Jackson knows from the visions that Mulder’s going to die.

As Jackson argues that Mulder’s just helping his pursuers find him, Price and her men prepare to burst into the motel room and start shooting. Jackson hears or senses them outside and tells Mulder it’s too late. He tells Mulder to go out the back, but Mulder isn’t about to leave Jackson behind again. The men burst in and start to restrain Mulder and Jackson. Jackson tells Mulder to get down, then starts making the men, then Price, explode. When they’re all dead, Jackson runs away.

Mulder calls Scully as she’s talking to Skinner in the earlier scene. Other people at the motel are filming the chaos, which explains how footage of Mulder ends up on Tad’s live stream. Scully tells Mulder she’s going to join him in Norfolk, but Mulder doesn’t think it’ll matter – Jackson won’t listen to reason. Scully is sure that he’ll listen to her. She tells Skinner this is no longer about the FBI, so he can’t rein her in like he’s supposed to. Skinner invites himself along to Norfolk.

Tad begins his live stream as Reyes and CSM arrive at the Timberland. He points out Mulder on the footage, naming him the FBI source and saying he witnessed the execution of military personnel who arranged an assault on a teenager. What happened was so insane that it can only be part of a kind of conspiracy the world has never seen before. CSM finds the tracker’s device, which will lead him to Mulder.

Kersh texts Skinner a bunch of times, complaining about Mulder’s antics. Dude, go back to Seattle Grace Mercy West or whatever it’s called and leave these people alone. Scully asks why Skinner is violating Kersh’s orders. Skinner knows how important it is to find Jackson, and says he’s explained before why he’s willing to risk his career. He has information about Jackson…and who his father is.

Mulder has tried to call Sarah to find out where Jackson might have gone, but Maddy’s the one he talks to instead. She sends him to an old sugar factory. Scully’s stunned by Skinner’s news about Jackson. Somehow, some way, she and Skinner spot Mulder’s car on the way to the factory, and they chase after him. As Scully goes into the factory to find her boyfriend and/or son, Skinner spots CSM and Reyes’ car and approaches it with his hands up.

Scully thinks she sees Jackson, but she loses him. She finds Mulder instead. Outside, Skinner pulls his gun. Reyes starts to back up the car, but CSM moves the gearshift into drive and stomps on the gas pedal, forcing her toward Skinner. He shoots, hitting Reyes. Oh, good job, Skinner. Mulder and Scully hear gunshots outside and realize Skinner’s in trouble. CSM speeds toward him as Skinner runs, but he gets trapped between his own car and CSM and is run over.

Mulder tells Scully that Jackson doesn’t want to be found. They need to let him go – there’s nothing they can do. They can’t protect him. Jackson knows that Scully loves him, though Scully doesn’t get how he could. Well, it’s because the person she’s talking to is Jackson, not Mulder. The real Mulder finds them, but Jackson runs away again. As they run around the factory some more, CSM gets out of the car and takes Skinner’s gun.

More running. Even more running. Jackson spends, like 50% of this episode running. Mulder ends up outside, where CSM stops him and demands to know where Jackson is. Mulder says Jackson would rather be dead, now that he knows the truth. CSM is ready to kill Mulder, even though, as Mulder points out, he’d be shooting his firstborn son. CSM notes that he shot his secondborn, so this isn’t a big deal.

Once again, we’ve come back around to a scene from the beginning of the episode, with CSM ready to shoot, and Mulder saying he doesn’t think CSM can do it. CSM says Mulder doesn’t know him very well, then shoots. Mulder falls into the water…then appears behind CSM. He shoots CSM a bunch of times and shoves him into the water, where I think we can all agree that CSM is really, truly, finally dead. Probably.

Scully joins Mulder, who tells her that CSM shot Jackson thinking he was Mulder. Scully reminds him that Jackson wanted them to let him go. Mulder’s distraught, saying Jackson was their son. She corrects him – Jackson was an experiment, just an idea. She carried him and gave birth to him, but she wasn’t his mother.

“But for so long, I believed,” Mulder says. “What am I now if I’m not a father?” Scully tells him he is a father. She puts his hand on her stomach. He says it’s impossible that they conceived a child, and she says she knows, but it’s still true. They hug, exhausted and heartbroken but also hopeful. And somewhere in the water, Jackson surfaces, still alive.

Thoughts: Maddy is played by David Duchovny’s daughter West, which…is really the only explanation you need for why the character is in the episode.

I’m going to pretend that Skinner’s still alive. He deserved better.

Can’t wait for this baby to grow up and ask why Mommy and Daddy call each other by their last names.

And that’s it for the series! It was a bumpy ride sometimes, but I’m glad I rewatched it.

Up next: something completely different.

May 18, 2019

The X-Files 10.4, Home Again: Do You Think Band-Aid Appreciated the Product Placement in This Episode?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:35 pm by Jenn

Cheery

Summary: In West Philadelphia, a “relocation project” is underway. This is a nice way of saying that the city is moving homeless people to an old hospital in Bucks County. They’ve enlisted the fire department to use a hose to give them an incentive to move. Joseph Cutler, a guy in charge of the project, warns another group of homeless people that their street is next. They all run off when a garbage truck arrives and a huge man with a Band-Aid on his nose gets out.

Band-Aid Nose Man (his given name, apparently) follows Cutler to his office as the lights go out. Cutler gets spooked and calls the police while pulling a gun out of his desk drawer. BANM just stands outside the office for a few moments, then bursts in and literally tears Cutler’s arms off. Then he calmly walks back to the garbage truck, gets in the back, and lets himself get compacted with the trash.

Mulder and Scully come to the crime scene the next day and meet Detective Aaron Dross. He knows about their experience with “spooky cases,” and though he called the FBI for backup, he doesn’t want to give them the case. Scully reminds him that since Cutler was a federal employee, the case falls under their jurisdiction.

The agents start looking for clues, quickly realizing that they won’t get any on BANM – he left no fingerprints or footprints. Scully says it looks like Cutler was torn apart, which she doesn’t think would be possibly for a human being to do. Scully. Sweetie. Do you remember anything you’ve experienced in the past 23 years? Mulder looks out the window and sees a painting of a large man on a billboard nearby.

As Dross comments that the homeless in the city hate Cutler, Scully gets a call from her brother, Bill. She’s stunned by what he tells her: Their mother is in the ICU, having had a heart attack. Mulder immediately sends her off to be with her family. As she leaves, he notices a security camera over the door.

Footage from that and other cameras doesn’t show Mulder and Dross much, but it allows Mulder to figure out, from Cutler’s eyeline, that his attacker was very tall. Also, there was no artwork on the billboard last night, so maybe it was painted as a response or comment on Cutler’s murder. Before Mulder can go on the hunt for the person who painted the large man, he realizes there’s an extra-sticky Band-Aid on the sole of his shoe.

Scully goes to Beatus Medical Center in D.C., where Maggie’s on life support. A nurse tells Scully that her mother regained consciousness briefly and repeatedly asked for someone named Charlie. That would be Scully’s other brother, who’s estranged from Maggie. Scully’s surprised that she only asked for Charlie. She tells Maggie that she’s been where Maggie is, and she knows her father and Melissa are there, but Scully, Bill, William, and Charlie are all still alive. They’d like her to stick around.

Back in Philly, Mulder wants access to the roof of a building that will get him closer to the billboard. He overhears a woman named Nancy Huff fighting with a guy named Daryl Landry about the relocation project and Cutler. Landry worked with Cutler; Nancy’s president of the Bucks County School Board. She hates that the project is moving people out of Philly so they can build a big apartment building.

Landry notes that the hospital the homeless are being moved to is empty. They’re being moved to a safe place away from drugs. Nancy doesn’t want the “downtown people” in a building just a couple blocks from a high school; after all, if one of the homeless killed Cutler, they shouldn’t be around kids. Mulder tells them they’re both speaking for themselves while trying to speak for others. He wants to know who speaks for the homeless. “The Band-Aid Nose Man,” says a homeless man nearby, pointing to the billboard. Mulder asks for details, but the man doesn’t offer any.

In D.C., after a flashback of Mulder sitting by Scully’s bed while she was comatose, Scully looks through the jewelry Maggie was wearing when she was admitted to the hospital. One piece is a quarter on a chain. Bill calls, still trying to get a flight out of Germany. As another patient in the ICU flatlines and is taken away, Scully tells Bill that she won’t say if Maggie will die before he arrives. She’ll keep Maggie on life support, as per her wishes.

Mulder gets the Band-Aid from his show analyzed, but there’s nothing on it. No, really nothing – the analyst couldn’t identify organic or inorganic materials. Scully questions her mother’s treatment and learns that she changed her advance directive last year. Scully thought she wanted to be kept on life support, but now Maggie has a DNR.

In Philly, two guys study the painting of the large man, which they’ve pulled down from the billboard. They’ve been doing this with all the drawings by this artist, and selling them to collectors. As one guy calls a collector, the cart that the painting is on starts moving by itself. When the guy looks back at the panel, the artwork is gone. The guy’s partner finds him dead, thanks to BANM, who kills the partner as well. Blood splatters on the empty panel, which is now signed “Trashman.”

Maggie’s doctor tells Scully that it’s time to extubate her so they can respect her wishes. That doesn’t necessarily mean Maggie will die immediately. Mulder arrives at the hospital, and Scully is clearly pleased to have some support. Back in Philly, the homeless are put on a bus to be taken to Bucks County, but Nancy has gotten an injunction to have them turned away.

Mulder fills Scully in on his discoveries and his theory that Cutler’s killed, dubbed the Trashman, thinks he’s helping the homeless by getting rid of the people trying to relocate them. He’s pretty sure the Trashman will kill again. Scully tells him that Maggie asked for Charlie, but no other family members. She doesn’t even know where Charlie is. Scully doesn’t know why Maggie would change her living will, or why she wears the quarter necklace. Maggie gets extubated as Scully laments that her medical team doesn’t care about all the unanswered questions Scully has.

In Philly, Nancy listens to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” on her way home to her mansion. It’s full of modern conveniences like a Keurig and a trash compactor. The garbage truck arrives soon after, and BANM lets himself into the house. Nancy sees some globs of green stuff on her stairs, with maggots swarming them. When she sees BANM, she tries to run from him, but she’s no match for him. Once he’s killed her, he destroys any evidence in the trash compactor.

In D.C., Scully and Mulder sit by Maggie’s bed, and she wonders if they ever came across someone who could will someone back to life. Mulder says he invented that while sitting by Scully’s bedside while she was comatose. She teases that he’s a “dark wizard.” Charlie calls, having been tracked down by Bill, and Scully asks him to say something to Maggie through the phone. She thinks this will bring Maggie back to life. Charlie talks to his mother, impatiently asking why she wanted to see him. Maggie wakes up, happy to see Mulder. “My son is named William, too,” she tells him, then flatlines.

When orderlies come to retrieve Maggie’s body so they can harvest her organs, Scully yells at them to leave. Mulder comforts her as she clutches the quarter necklace. She hates that Maggie’s last words were about a grandchild Scully gave away. She begs Mulder to take her back to Philly so she can get back to work. When he gently declines, she leaves.

Both agents go to see Mulder’s analyst, who’s analyzed paint samples from the Trashman’s signature on his artwork. The paint is a high-end brand carried in only one store in central Pennsylvania. Now wearing the quarter necklace, Scully stakes out the store, following in her car as Mulder tracks a teen who buys some spray paint. They tail him to an old building, and he grants them access, then runs off.

Mulder complains about having to take the stairs in the dark. Scully points out that “back in the day,” she took the stairs all the time, while wearing three-inch heels. “‘Back in the day’ is now,” Mulder replies. They get out their trusty flashlights and come across someone who looks human, then something that…definitely doesn’t. They follow the possible human, who tells them he’s in danger but doesn’t want their help.

They burst into the room where he’s holed up and see a sculpture that looks like BANM. The possible human tells them they can put their guns away – he’s tried guns, and they don’t work. He doesn’t want them to use their flashlights, either. If he can’t see “them,” and “they” can’t see him, he won’t be hurt. Meet the Trashman.

He tells the agents that the people who live on the streets get treated like trash. People who throw away their trash in the proper places feel like they’re doing the right thing. Once the trash is carted away, it’s not the people’s problem anymore. But then the trash goes into a landfill, and toxins from the plastics go into the water. People don’t think there’s a problem if they don’t see it.

The Trashman says he was trying to give the voiceless a voice through his art. His pictures look down on the people who think they’re superior. He thought up BANM, but he didn’t kill anyone – that’s all on BANM. The Trashman has made other sculptures that came to life, like what the agents saw in the hallway, and they’ll go away eventually, but BANM is different. Trashman thinks he’s a tulpa.

Mulder disagrees that tulpas exist (even though, you know, he’s dealt with one), and even if a thought form could be real, it wouldn’t hurt anyone. The Trashman thinks all the time he spent thinking about his BANM artwork brought him into being. Scully has flashbacks of delivering William and of seeing him move the mobile as she looks around the Trashman’s studio. He says we just hold the pencil or clay, and if you think really hard, spirits come to you and take on a life of their own. Scully remembers introducing William to Mulder for the first time, then her mother’s recent death, then telling Mulder that she gave William up.

The Trashman says BANM came to him in his dreams, from another world, and now it’s alive. It has its own life and does what it wants. The Trashman just wanted to scare people who were taking dignity away from the homeless. He thought something violent, and it went into his artwork and made it violent. BANM thinks that’s what he’s supposed to be.

Scully says that if it was the Trashman’s idea, it’s his responsibility. He’s just as bad as the people he hates. Mulder thinks that Landry is BANM’s next target. He got the injunction lifted, and the Trashman knows that he’s moving the homeless to Bucks County tonight.

The agents go looking for Landry as he takes the homeless to Bucks County. We know he’s evil because he doesn’t care that a man has been separated from his dog. Everyone goes to their new rooms as Landry follows a weird smell and the sound of buzzing flies. Looks like BANM has beaten the agents to finding him. There are globs and maggots, just like at Nancy’s house, and Landry keeps going down the dark hallway they’re in, because he’s an idiot.

Landry spots BANM behind him and runs. The agents arrive with the Trashman and hear him screaming as BANM corners him in a bathroom. They’re too late – BANM has already killed Landry. Scully wonders how BANM was able to leave the room, since there’s only one entrance/exit, and they’re standing in it. All he’s left behind are a Band-Aid and some flies. Sometime later, the Trashman returns to his basement studio to collect some of his things. BANM’s sculpted head has been replaced with a smiley face, and there’s a painting of him on the exterior wall of the building.

Scully and Mulder take Maggie’s ashes to a little beach and sit on a log to chat. Scully thinks Maggie asked for Charlie because she wanted to make sure he was okay before she died. She made him, so he was her responsibility. Her last works about William were a message that Mulder and Scully need to make sure William’s okay, even though they can’t see him.

Scully says they made a sacrifice to keep him safe, but she still thinks of him all the time. (Also, she calls Mulder “Fox.”) She thinks Mulder will get all his questions answered, and she’ll be there when he does. But Scully’s own mysteries will never have an answer. She’ll never know if William thinks of her or feels doubt because his birth parents gave him up. Does he have the same unanswered questions that Scully has about the quarter? “I need to believe that we didn’t treat him like trash,” Scully says. Mulder doesn’t know how to respond, so he just holds her.

Thoughts: John DeSantis (BANM) is six-nine. Yow.

So…both of Scully’s brothers are kind of jerks. At least Melissa was okay, so Scully wasn’t completely surrounded by annoying siblings growing up.

Please admire my restraint in beginning this recap, “In West Philadelphia,” but not continuing he lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

March 9, 2019

The X-Files 9.15, Jump the Shark: The Good Fight

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 12:40 pm by Jenn

“What do you mean, a press pass for a conspiracy-theory paper isn’t good enough for a medical conference?”

Summary: Morris Fletcher gives us a voiceover narration about the Lone Gunmen and their adventures over the past few years. Over the course of their spin-off, they hired an intern named Jimmy Bond, and made an enemy of a woman named Yves Adele Harlow, who later became an ally. Morris calls the guys idealists but warns that “those who fight the good fight don’t always win.”

20 miles west of Harbor Island in the Bahamas, Morris is enjoying some time with a woman who is definitely not his wife. They’re in the Bermuda Triangle, which he claims he named. There are powerful forces underwater that haven’t yet been discovered by humans. Some men board their boat and give Morris a message: He’s fired. They pour gas on the boat, take off with Morris’ girlfriend, and throw a stick of dynamite on the boat. Morris jumps overboard as it explodes, destroying blueprints of a spaceship.

Morris ends up at the U.S. Coast Guard Base in Miami, where he requests a meeting with Doggett and Reyes. He’s in trouble for violating an act regarding federal secrets, thanks to his lax attitude toward checking in with former employer every month. He tells the agents he used to work at Area 51 and was one of the Men in Black. Doggett and Reyes are unimpressed.

Morris announces that he wants to make a deal to save his life. Reyes tells him that his girlfriend, Brittany, has turned up safe and told the agents what happened on the boat. Morris asks for protection in exchange for all the details of the government’s alien cover-up. The documents recovered from the boat are just the tip of the iceberg. But Reyes has no interest in that iceberg, since the blueprints are of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space.

Morris explains that he was freelancing for a foreign billionaire who believed Morris was in the Bermuda Triangle to get him a UFO the Air Force lost. The billionaire learned Morris was lying and now wants him dead. Reyes and Doggett, still unimpressed, start to leave, but they stop when Morris calls out, “Super-soldiers!” He may be able to find one for the agents to talk to.

Doggett and Reyes go to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and ask the guys to help them find Morris’ super-soldier. They recognize her as Yves, who disappeared a year ago. They laugh at the idea that she’s a super-soldier; they thought she was just a hacker. Morris joins the group, and the guys react badly. They warn the agents that Morris is a professional liar. He hired them to find Yves so he could kidnap her. Morris tells the agents that they shouldn’t rely on the Lone Gunmen to help them find Yves.

She’s currently at Hartwell College in Kearny, New Jersey, where she sprays a professor named Houghton with some kind of substance. A colleague sees her running away, then finds Houghton’s body, bloody from a big hole in his chest. The Lone Gunmen search for her, using anagrams of her name, which is itself an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald. Morris amuses himself by making fun of their newspaper and not knowing who the Ramones are. He tells Langly to cut his hair and grow up already.

Langly gives an impassioned speech about how Joey Ramone is his hero because he never gave up, no matter how many times people tried to knock him down. And he’s not really dead, since guys like him live forever. Morris really doesn’t care. He thinks it would be easier to find Yves if they had her real name, which he claims is Lois Runce. They don’t believe him.

There’s a knock at the Gunmen’s secret door, which they say no one knows about, though it seems like Yves might. Jimmy’s the knocker, though, and he collapses as soon as the door opens. Once he’s recovered, he tells the guys he’s been all over the world looking for Yves, whose real name he confirms is Lois Runce. He found her in Kearny, but she ran away from him. Jimmy thinks she killed someone.

Yves throws whatever she pulled out of Houghton’s chest in a furnace and says, “One down.” Doggett and Reyes go to Hartwell and meet John Gillnitz, the colleague who saw Yves running away after killing Houghton. He has no idea why anyone would want to kill Houghton; he studied immunology in sharks.

Apparently the Lone Gunmen aren’t the greatest hackers in the world, as we’ve been led to believe, because they have to ask a guy named Kimmy for help tracking down Yves. They think she’s coming to D.C., and they want Kimmy to hack a satellite so they can keep an eye on her. The Gunmen head out, leaving Jimmy behind to look after Morris.

Doggett and Reyes go to the medical examiner’s office in New Jersey to find out what’s going on with Houghton’s body. His chest contains bioluminescence, and the ME says it looks like it bled out of him. Also, he had past operations, which the ME thought were from a pacemaker insertion, but he actually found living tissue grafted into Houghton’s chest. It looks like it held something that’s now missing. Reyes guesses that Yves killed Houghton to remove whatever was inside him.

The agents question Morris, who claims not to know anything about Houghton or his murder. Kimmy’s having trouble with his hacking, since the Lone Gunmen’s equipment is awful. They told the agents they’d cleared out a lot of their stuff because they were getting better equipment, but Kimmy knows they’re actually broke and had to sell their stuff to pay their rent. No one’s reading their paper, thanks to Morris – when he took Yves, the Gunmen spent all their money trying to find her.

Byers calls Reyes and summons her to the Hotel Farragut, where the Gunmen have found Yves. She’s followed a man to his room, seemingly to do to him what she did to Houghton. The Gunmen burst into the room to stop her, allowing the man to knock her out and escape.

Jimmy and the agents come to the hotel, but the man, alias Leonard Southall, has disappeared. Since Yves was able to be rendered unconscious, the Gunmen figure she’s not really a super-soldier. Jimmy doesn’t believe that Yves was really going to kill Southall, but she confirms that was her plan. If she doesn’t finish her mission, innocent people will die.

Everyone returns to the Lone Gunmen’s lair so Yves can confront Morris for sending everyone after her. He’s wearing a tracking device that Yves thinks he was going to activate when he knew Yves had been captured. The whole thing, including the stuff with the boat and Brittany, was a scam to get the agents and the Gunmen to track Yves down for him.

Yves reports that the billionaire Morris works for is her father. He’s a murderer, and she hates everything he stands for. Jimmy reminds Yves that she’s a murderer, too. Her excuse is that Houghton was a terrorist her father paid to do research that would lead to the development of a weapon. He was carrying a virus inside him, wrapped in shark cartilage. Southall has the same thing inside him, and is basically a human time bomb. At 8:00 tonight, in five hours, it’ll rupture and kill anyone within five or six miles. Yves doesn’t think Morris knew all the details of the terrorism plot.

The Gunmen get to work finding Southall while Morris tries to give them encouragement that the end of their newspaper doesn’t mean the end of good guys fighting for what’s right. Maybe it’s time to pass the torch. Byers doesn’t know what they would do instead, though. Like Joey Ramone, he doesn’t want them to ever give up.

Langly and Kimmy get Southall’s location, and since he’s in Jersey, Yves guesses he’s going to Hartwell. She’s right, and they send a group of authorities to capture Southall. However, medical testing finds nothing in Southall to indicate that he has a virus inside him. Doggett thinks they have the wrong guy. Yves says there must be someone else, but time’s running out – it’s already 7:00. The real second man goes to a medical conference, where a security scan doesn’t detect anything off about him. It’s John Gillnitz.

The good guys wonder why Southall would go to Hartwell if he supposedly wasn’t involved in the terrorism plot. Morris uses Three-Card Monte as a metaphor to help them understand that he’s a decoy. The real second man is probably hiding in plain sight. Yves easily figures out it’s Gillnitz.

The Gunmen, Yves, and Jimmy head to the conference, but a security guard doesn’t accept the Gunmen’s press passes. Jimmy takes a unique approach to the situation: He yells out Gillnitz’s name, then headbutts the security guard so they can get past him. They all chase Gillnitz, willing to do whatever it takes to protect everyone the virus could harm, even if it means killing Gillnitz.

The Gunmen find the terrorist with just two minutes left until 8:00. Jimmy and Yves don’t hear them yelling, which means the Gunmen have to save the day on their own. Frohike pulls a fire alarm, which triggers fire doors and traps them in a hallway with Gillnitz. Yves and Jimmy arrive in time to see Gillnitz collapse and spasm from the bioluminescence leaking out of him. The doors are airtight, and the Gunmen have already been exposed, so Yves won’t let Jimmy try to save them. The Gunmen tell Yves and Jimmy to keep fighting the good fight and never give up.

Sometime later, the Gunmen are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Kimmy says a tearful goodbye to them, then leaves Scully, Doggett, Skinner, Yves, and Jimmy with their coffins. Skinner pulled some strings to get them buried their, and feels it was the least he could do. Scully tells Jimmy and Yves that the Gunmen meant a lot to her, and she’s not sure they knew it. Jimmy says no one knew that the Gunmen were such heroes.

Morris arrives to repeat what Langly said about how people who don’t give up never die. He’s not sure what that means. Scully says that, like everyone else buried there, the world is a better place because the Gunmen were in it. They’re gone, but they’ll live on through their friends.

Thoughts: Yves is played by Zuleikha Robinson. Gillnitz is played by Marcus Giamatti, brother of Paul.

Goodbye, lovely Gunmen. I hope your afterlife has better hacking equipment.

I don’t have words for how much I love Michael McKean.

If my parents named me Lois Runce, I’d change my name, too.

February 26, 2019

ER 3.11, Night Shift: He Gant Take It Anymore

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

‘Bye! See you on “House”!

Summary: Mark and Chuny are on their way to County to work a night shift. Things are quiet when they arrive, and they learn there are no patients in the ER. Mark mentions that he’s up for tenure, and his biggest competition is Weaver. She’s currently working on a research study about the effects of exercise on night-shift workers. She’s enlisted Wendy to help her get the staff to do things like jumping jacks. Lydia isn’t bored enough yet to participate.

Keaton is packing up her office and practicing her Urdu in preparation for her move to Pakistan. Carter stops by, then has to hide when Gant comes in looking for him. Carol learns that the ER budget is screwed up, so two nurses have to be fired. The three on the chopping block are Malik, Chuny, and Connie. Carol only has until 8 the next morning to decide who to get rid of.

Randy entertains herself by drawing on the empty patient board while the nurses discuss how they would want to die if they had the choice. Chuny picks OD while Malik thinks a stroke is the way to go. Connie points out that he wouldn’t necessarily die. Doug arrives and apologizes to Carol for surprising her with Charlie on Christmas Eve. Carol reports that the girl stole Helen’s silverware. Doug announces that his New Year’s resolution is to stop being so charitable.

Weaver tells Mark that they need to do a safety check, which involves running down a checklist and keeping the ER up to code. Doug volunteers himself and Carol to do it. She reminds him that he was going to stop being charitable. Wendy asks if anyone wants to participate in Weaver’s study, and everyone yells, “No!” Hey, don’t take it out on the messenger.

Gant finally finds Carter and complains that Benton hasn’t given him the time off he requested to go see his girlfriend. Carter points out that since Monique seems to have moved on to another guy, going to see her probably won’t do anything. Carter lies about being busy so he doesn’t have to go get dinner with Gant. He’s tired of listening to Gant complain about Monique.

A woman named Shelly comes in with symptoms of meningitis. She refuses any treatment, even a shot of antibiotics. Mark warns that she could die, but Shelly, who sounds mentally addled, doesn’t care. Mark doesn’t think she’s competent to refuse treatment and wants to work her up. Lydia and Chuny tell him that, thanks to new hospital regulations, he’ll have to go through the risk management department first.

Carol and Doug check out a trauma room and write down all the potential safety risks. Weaver attempts to get Jeanie to agree to her study, and Jeanie attempts to use her HIV as an excuse not to participate (she’s not sure she’s healthy enough not to skew the results). They head into the trauma room where Carol and Doug are working, and Carol accidentally drops a clock on Weaver’s head when Jeanie bumps into her ladder. She needs stitches, so Randi finally has a patient to put on the board.

Carter’s in the ER when a patient comes in via ambulance, so he tries to elbow his way into a case that should be overseen by Doyle. They disagree about which of the patient’s complaints needs attention first. The patient shuts down the discussion by revealing that he just wants a flu shot. Malik recognizes him as a frequent visitor who calls 911 and plays possum when he wants a ride to the hospital. Carter generously tells Doyle the patient is all hers.

Benton asks Anspaugh about continuing to work in pediatric surgery after Keaton works. Anspaugh tells him to talk to a doctor named Kenner. Shelly knows that Mark wants to give her a spinal tap without her consent, so she talks to the hospital’s lawyer, Guinet. He thinks Shelly is mentally competent to make her own decisions, which means a possible lawsuit if Mark proceeds. Guinet tells Mark, Lydia, and Chuny that their jobs could be at risk if they do anything without Shelly’s consent. They should put her on a psych hold and call for a consult first.

Weaver bugs Jeanie about her study while she gets her stitches. She and Wendy shut down all of Jeanie’s attempts to turn them down, and Weaver adds a drop of guilt to get Jeanie to change her mind. Since the only patient in the ER is Shelly, and no one’s allowed to even touch her, the staff is back to being bored. Lydia’s trying to find her family.

Doug and Carol are continuing their safety check when Charlie shows up asking for money. She needs to pay a pimp $100 so he’ll leave her alone. Doug thinks she’s lying, so he sends her away. Charlie yells that he’s a pervert, got her pregnant, and now won’t pay for her abortion. “Lovely girl,” Carol comments as she and Doug leave.

Benton tries to get a few moments with Kenner, who’s busy. He gives Gant some assignments on top of the assignments he’s already trying to complete. Apparently no one else Benton supervises ever has to do any work. Connie and Chuny read personal ads in the lounge while Mark does paperwork. Things get awkward when one of the men who wrote an ad sounds like Mark. He insists it’s not him.

Psych finally sends someone for a consult, but it’s an intern, since no one in psych actually takes anything seriously in the ER. Doug and Carol end up in a storage hallway where they used to make out when they were dating. Shelly’s temperature is up to 103.5, so Mark and Lydia think they need to get a move on her treatment. The psych intern ignores them and continues his assessment, which Shelly passes. (She even throws in an insult – when he tells her to spell “world backwards,” she replies, “U-O-Y-W-E-R-C-S,” which is “screw you” backwards.)

The intern tells Mark that Shelly’s status is fine, so she’s allowed to refuse treatment. Mark notes that the intern is making a life-or-death decision for Shelly. The intern says she has the right to make her own decision, even if it’s a bad one. Mark demands to see someone higher up.

One of Kenner’s patients declines while Kenner’s still in surgery, so Benton takes over his care. He’s annoyed that Gant isn’t around. Jeanie has to ride an exercise machine with dark glasses on, so her body thinks it’s night. Between scenes, Gloria Reuben fires her agent. Benton finds Gant hanging out with Carter in the cafeteria and yells at him in a room full of people for not doing his job properly. If he makes another lazy, stupid mistake, he’s gone. Carter tries to cheer his friend, but he’s called away for a code.

Carol admits that when she and Doug were together, she wasn’t happy with herself. Now, she feels more confident and in control. She even got a B+ on her chemistry midterm. Carol confides that she has to fire two nurses and has no idea who to choose. Doug tells her that he was happier when they were together.

Carter and Doyle meet up while running to another wing of the hospital for a code. All they find are a maintenance worker and an overflowing toilet. When they finally get to the patient, the maintenance worker is putting his CPR training into use and doing their job for them. Once the patient is stable, Doyle tells the maintenance worker that Carter can take him to the broken toilet.

Doug and Carol talk about Charlie and how many chances she should get. Carol thinks they have to cut her off at some point, which Doug finds familiar. Chuny reads Mark the personal ad she and Connie wrote for him. They call him handsome and say he likes motorcycles. Mark hasn’t ridden the bike in a while and doesn’t want to mention it, since he could attract “motorcycle chicks.” Chuny says she’s one of them.

Lydia realizes that Shelly’s gone and alerts Mark. He finds her on a bus bench, and when she won’t go back inside, he picks her up and carries her in. They’re giving her a spinal tap when Guinet arrives and notes that they haven’t gotten a psych hold. He takes down Mark, Lydia, Chuny, and Malik’s names in case of legal action.

Doug teases Carol for falling asleep while they were having a deep conversation. Now she only has five hours to decide who to fire. But there’s a bigger problem – Charlie’s returned to the hospital covered in blood, having been beaten. Gant tells Carter that he thought about telling Anspaugh about Benton’s treatment of him, but maybe Benton’s right and he’s not as on top of things as he could be.

Weaver makes Jeanie run around outside while Wendy drives her around in a golf cart. Where did they get a golf cart? Charlie has a broken jaw and wrist, plus some facial injuries. Carol thinks she may have been raped. Malik tells Chuny and Carol his million-dollar idea: flypaper in a can. You spray it on your car, then peel it and all the bugs sticking to it off in one sheet. He’ll call it Bug Off. His second idea: stethoscope condoms.

Benton returns to Kenner’s patient and tells Kenner the treatment he gave him. He’s doing better, and Kenner’s appreciative, but not appreciative enough to bring Benton onto his team just yet. Benton says that he and Keaton just didn’t mesh, so she won’t give him a recommendation. Kenner urges him to have another discussion with Keaton about that meshing, and get her to give the recommendation.

Doug wants to get Charlie to tell him what happened before he gives her a rape exam. Carol runs into her three nurses on the chopping block, seeing how much they’re enjoying each other. Carter and Keaton spend their last few minutes together in her office, unable to get to the unlocked door before Benton can open it and see them together. Carter tries to hide his identity by putting a book in front of his face. Nice try, Carter.

Chuny thinks Mark showed a lot of guts by standing up to Guinet. Guts, stupidity – it’s all the same, right? He tells her he’s going to take full responsibility, so she doesn’t need to worry. Shelly’s spinal fluid shows she does have meningitis, so I guess this was all worth it. Carol goes looking for the nursing budget, and Randi says she took a look and figured out how to solve everything. If ER nurses work eight-hour shifts instead of 12-hour shifts, the hospital can stop paying them overtime and will save more than enough money to keep everyone on staff.

Keaton asks Benton if he’s going to be discreet about her relationship with Carter, or if he’s going to use it to blackmail his way into another pediatric rotation. That thought hadn’t even crossed Benton’s mind. He doesn’t want Keaton’s recommendation if it isn’t based on his work as a doctor. Keaton tells him he’s going to be a great surgeon, but not one who operates on children.

Shelly’s brother George arrives, having finally been tracked down by the police. He heard from her a few days ago, when she called to say she was sick. She doesn’t have any psychiatric problems, so her mental state was the result of the meningitis. Carter tells Benton that he and Keaton never discussed Benton, and definitely never said anything negative about him. Again, the thought hadn’t crossed Benton’s mind.

Anspaugh calls Benton over to discuss a complaint Gant has made about yelling at him in the cafeteria. Benton argues that Gant neglected his duties, so Benton had every right to chastise him. Gant says that he should have addressed him privately. Since Carter was present, Anspaugh asks his opinion. Carter says he understands why Gant’s upset, but given the circumstances, Benton was justified in his actions. Anspaugh tells Gant to toughen up, and next time something like this happens, he should discuss it with Benton before tattling to Daddy.

Carol gathers the nurses to announce that she thinks she’s solved the budget problems without having to fire anyone. The nurses aren’t happy that they have to give up overtime and work more hours for less money. Lydia reminds everyone that there’s a contract negotiation coming up, so if management tries to float this plan, the nurses will walk.

Carter tries to smooth things over with Gant, but Gant doesn’t blame him for speaking his mind when he was put on the spot. Carter leaves him to go search for something to do. Doug takes Charlie for a CAT scan and gently asks if she was raped. She asks him not to tell the police or a social worker, then says she was. Chuny catches Mark as he’s leaving and he invites her to get breakfast with him. He needs to ride his bike around a little to charge up the battery, so she offers to ride with him.

Jeanie drops out of Weaver’s study when she learns she’ll have to get in some sort of glass box to have her lung function tested. Not wanting all of her research to be for nothing, Weaver puts Wendy in the box. Doug tells Carol that Charlie was raped, and he clearly has no intention of keeping his promise not to tell the police or a social worker. Mark and Chuny skip breakfast in favor of a romp in his bed. Oh, and he still has the dog.

After a long, quiet shift, the ER finally gets a trauma. A man was hit by an El train after either jumping or falling onto the tracks. His face is injured, so no one can tell who he is. Benton tells Lydia to page Gant, and as Carter and Doyle bicker once again, the patient’s pager goes off. Doyle realizes that Gant is the man they’re trying to save. The episode ends with them still working, but it’s time to say goodbye to Omar Epps: Gant is dead.

Thoughts: You have to love that every member of the main cast wound up working a night shift together. That’s not contrived at all.

If the budge issues hadn’t gotten sorted out, Carol’s probably could have still been solved easily. Chuny and Malik put the hospital at risk by following Mark’s orders, so Carol could have fired them without having to make her own decision.

Find me one person who thought Mark and Chuny made a good couple. Just one. And did that person also think Carter and Keaton made a good couple?

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