March 28, 2023

ER 13.2, Graduation Day: The Kitchen Sink

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

Everyone should have a Maggie to sit with them when things get hard

Summary: Sam has been driving her and Alex’s getaway car all night, and she’s so out of it that she’s barely able to swerve out of the way of an oncoming truck. She stops at a diner to call someone for a ride, knowing it’s not safe for her to keep going on her own.

At County, Joe is under the care of Dr. Rabb, who tells Abby and Luka that they’ll need to trust her to do what’s best for their baby. Abby knows a little of what to expect, since she did a rotation there, but she’s never seen it from this side before. She wants to know what color her son’s eyes are. Luka tells her they’re blue. Neela had asked Luka if she could come visit, but Abby isn’t ready to see anyone yet. Too bad, because Maggie’s here!

Sam called Elliot, who comes to meet her at the diner. She’s worried that she’s going to be arrested for killing Steve. Elliot points out that she was justified, but she tells him that she was free and clear. She could have gotten away, but she went back specifically to kill Steve. Elliot tells her not to repeat that to anyone – they’ll be the only people who know. She can get away with a self-defense claim.

It’s business as usual at County, with Weaver still in charge while Luka’s with his family. Neela took a nap during her impromptu night shift, and Pratt tells her to go home and rest. He expects that Gallant’s parents will want to see her. In the NICU, Maggie’s the only person who doesn’t understand all the medical jargon being tossed around about Joe. Rabb tells her that Abby was a star student during her rotation there. Maggie guesses that she never let herself be proud of that.

As Maggie marvels over the baby’s heartbeat, Luka quietly tells Abby that he didn’t ask her to come to Chicago. Abby isn’t too upset about her presence, though, especially since she seems stable. Neela brings the new parents coffee and meets Maggie for the first time. There might be a problem with Joe’s heart, and Abby has to tell Maggie that they can’t just fix it right away. This is going to be a long journey.

Gates, who we last saw getting surgery from Neela in the field, brings in a guy who covered himself in tinfoil and tried to climb some tower. Gates says hi to Neela (who he calls Mayday) as she’s leaving and says he’s glad she’s okay after the big shootout the day before. He’s disappointed when she doesn’t banter with him. Pratt tells him that her husband just died. As the two of them and Weaver are trying to subdue Tin Foil Guy, Pratt spots Sam arriving in the ER. She tells Weaver that a friend dropped her off and that she needs a rape exam. Weaver gives her a hug.

Maggie takes notes on Joe’s treatment and disapproves of a student doing a procedure on him. He’s actually a resident, but even Abby isn’t convinced that he knows what he’s doing. Rabb gently tells her that he’s doing a good job. Maggie is writing everything down so she can look it up later. She brings up the connection between smoking and premature labor, and Abby says she quit two years ago. Maggie notes that stress could have caused the early delivery. Luka defuses the tension by telling her about the shooting and Abby’s fall. Rabb says the cause of the early delivery doesn’t really matter.

A nurse invites Abby to come to a lactation seminar, and Maggie goes with her. Luka stays behind with Joe and talks to him in Croatian. Abby wants privacy while she pumps breast milk, which Maggie finds ridiculous. Maggie, you’re going to want to pick your battles here. Abby’s doing an amazing job keeping it together, but we all know she could snap at any minute.

Weaver and Haleh tell Sam about Joe and Jerry’s condition as they do her rape exam. Sam says she knew that Steve was a thief, but she never thought he was capable of what he did yesterday. She feels responsible. Weaver asks what happened to the fugitives, and Sam says they’re all dead.

One week later: Gates and Zadro go out in the pouring rain to tend to a guy who Gates thinks OD’d. Gates gives him Narcan, injecting it in a way Zadro says they’re not supposed to. Gates radios county to try to get permission to do something else, but Pratt shuts him down. Gates lies to Zadro that he gave approval. Zadro warns that if he’s lying, Zadro won’t back him up.

Luka takes a break from an ER shift to check on Joe. They’ve been trying to wean him off his ventilator, but he’s had a bit of a setback. Rabb asks if Abby and Luka have made a decision about a trial involving a hypertension drug. Abby thinks the risks are too high; they still have other options they haven’t tried. Maggie attempts to weigh in, but Abby doesn’t appreciate that. Rabb wisely dismisses herself from the conversation.

Abby complains that Rabb has been pushing them to do the trial for a week. Luka accuses her of always seeing the worst in people. Abby disagrees, and besides, this is their child they’re talking about. Luka also dismisses himself from the conversation. Maggie gently tells Abby that he could be right. The new drug might turn everything around for Joe. They should follow their instincts. Abby snaps at her mother to shut up. She didn’t ask Maggie to come or be involved, so maybe she should leave.

Morris comes by County to visit his former colleagues and brag that his new job with the pharmaceutical company is sending him on a trip to Vegas. Then he admits that he hates the job and wants to come back to County. Gates and Zadro arrive with their patient, and Zadro learns that Gates lied to him. Pratt threatens to report him.

Weaver attends a meeting about Clemente, where Anspaugh announces that he’s firing Luka. Amazingly, Weaver takes responsibility, but Anspaugh points out that she’s not the one who kept Clemente on after he proved to be trouble. Apparently Weaver said previously that she told Luka to get rid of Clemente and that he ignored her. She admits that that’s not true. As she leaves the meeting, Morris begs her to get his job back. Like literally begs on his hands and knees. She tells him she can’t help him – she’s no longer the chief of staff.

Luka determines that Gates’ patient didn’t actually overdose. He doesn’t know what’s actually wrong with him, though, so he just keeps trying different things to see if something works. Pratt says they’re throwing the kitchen sink at him. Gates is still there, and he suggests a condition that’s pretty rare. He knows about it because he got a question about it wrong on his boards and had to look it up later. Luka lets him administer a treatment, since they have nothing to lose. It does the trick.

Morris tries to bug Luka about getting his job back, but Luka doesn’t have time for him. Maggie sneaks Abby some coffee, which they aren’t supposed to have in the NICU, and tells her about a time when Eric was hospitalized as a baby. He almost died, and Abby’s father thought they should just say goodbye to him. Maggie ignored what the doctors said and refused to give up on her son. Abby says she’s not like Maggie, but Maggie thinks she is. She needs to find the strength to get through this. Abby isn’t sure she can. “You’ve spent your whole life getting strong enough to do this,” Maggie replies.

Luka returns to the NICU to try to talk to Abby again about the drug trial. Maybe the kitchen sink method will work for Joe. Abby’s worried that something will go wrong; they won’t be able to undo it. But Luka seems confident enough that it could work, so Abby agrees.

One week later: The drug trial was successful and Joe has made huge improvements. Luka and Maggie are able to convince Abby to leave the NICU for a little while. The nurses aren’t thrilled that Maggie will be staying behind. Elliot goes with Sam to talk to a detective or ADA or someone (it’s never specified) about what she claims happened to Steve. Elliot throws his weight around and pressures the guy to stop pursuing murder charges.

Neela runs into Abby and Luka as they’re taking their break outside. They only chat for a little while, and Luka says Neela’s doing fine at work, but it’s clear she’s struggling. She’s been staying at Abby’s, and Abby figures that she might as well give up her apartment since she’s always at Luka’s. Luka wants to revisit his sort-of marriage proposal right before everything went haywire. He’s not going to pressure Abby, and she doesn’t see the point in publicly proving her love for him. Luka agrees that marriage can wait until later.

One of Joe’s monitors starts beeping, and though Maggie’s concerned, a nurse just turns off the alarm and says it happens all the time. Then something else beeps, followed by another alarm. Maggie wants Rabb to come see Joe, but the nurse says she’s overreacting. Maggie thinks Joe’s breathing too fast, and she demands that the staff get Rabb there now.

It turns out she was right to worry, since Joe needs to be intubated. Rabb even says that it’s a good thing Maggie was watching him. Joe needs surgery, and Maggie tells Albright not to let any residents operate. Abby wants to call a chaplain and have Joe baptized just in case he doesn’t get better.

Neela gets drunk with a couple of strangers at a bar who walk her out, giving off vibes that she shouldn’t be alone with them. Fortunately, Gates and Zadro arrive just then and Gates gets her away from them. One of the guys gets rude, so Gates beats them both up. Zadro, request a new partner. You deserve better than this guy.

Anspaugh is operating on Joe, so Maggie should be happy. A chaplain performs the baptism and Luka watches from the OR while Abby observes from the gallery. Gates takes Neela home (well, to Abby’s) and she puts on music and drunkenly dances. She wants Gates to stay, and when he says he’s going to leave after he gets her settled, she grabs him and kisses him. To his credit, he stops it and asks if she can call someone to come stay with her. She says she doesn’t have anyone.

Maggie joins Abby in the gallery, where Abby’s starting to simmer with fear. She says she can’t keep pretending everything’s going to be okay. Maggie urges to her to let all the bad things go. Admittedly, she didn’t have a lot of reasons to be optimistic while she was growing up, but she’s not a child anymore. She needs to believe that Joe will be okay. He starts declining, and Abby turns off the intercom so she doesn’t have to hear bad news. She tells Maggie she’s trying to stay positive.

Two weeks later: Word has spread that Weaver’s taking the heat for what happened with Clemente, and that she’s been demoted. Ray asks Neela (who’s wearing sunglasses indoors, so I assume she’s hungover) if she’s talked to Abby recently. She thinks Abby and Luka want privacy for a while. Gates and Neela run into each other for the first time since her drunken antics and she starts to apologize. He says he’s glad he was the one who took her home. Pratt hands out white coats to the interns who are about to start working in the ER. One of them is Gates. Now he and Neela will see each other all the time! Oh, boy!

Sam asks if anyone’s heard from Jerry, who was supposed to be released from the hospital the day before. Frank says they just talked. Because they’re secretly best friends! Morris is still at the pharmaceutical company, unable to enjoy any of the perks that come with the job. Saving Jerry was difficult but possibly the best moment of Morris’ life. He feels silly working a fancy job now. He’s figured out what’s important and wants to practice medicine again. He just needs Luka to get back to him about getting his job back.

Elliot comes in to tell Sam that the DA has finally declared Steve’s death justifiable homicide, so the whole ordeal is over. You know, except for the part where Sam and Alex were taken hostage and she was raped and then killed her son’s father. At least she can stop worrying about going to jail. Elliot asks if she’s talked to Alex about what happened. Sam says he just knows that Steve is dead, but not the details. Elliot offers to help her with anything else she might need.

Morris gives a presentation to some doctors, trying to get them on board to prescribe a drug from his company. Pratt pulls him out to tell him that Luka is going to offer him his job back. Morris ducks back into the meeting to tell the doctors that his drug is a scam. Neela gets drunk again at the hospital’s graduation party for the interns, but this time she keeps her lips to herself. She introduces Ray to Gates, setting up the new love triangle for the season.

Morris wants to be allowed to call Weaver “Kerry” now that their colleagues. That’s a no, Archie. Luka comes by, saying that Abby wanted to tag along but decided this wasn’t the night for it. Weaver asks how she’s holding up, and Luka says she’s okay. With all that, it would be understandable if viewers assumed that Joe died…but he didn’t! He’s home with his mom, who’s been so grateful for Maggie’s visit that she wants her to come back sometime. She couldn’t have gotten through the NICU experience without Maggie.

Maggie laughs because Abby’s been defiant ever since she was a child. She teases that she hopes Joe causes Abby as much pain and agony as she caused Maggie. Abby tells Maggie that she doesn’t have to leave just yet, but Maggie assures her that she can handle parenting on her own. Back at the party, Luka shows his colleagues pictures of his son and passes out cigars.

Thoughts: Yes, Maggie is overbearing in this episode and Abby is justified in being annoyed with her, but think about what it means that she dropped everything to come help out and provide support. The Maggie from Abby’s childhood would never have done that. Look how far she’s come. And I love how she takes notes and tries to remember everything that’s important. That’s someone you want in your corner.

Weaver is so maternal toward Sam when she shows up in the ER. It’s really sweet.

Frank to Morris, who’s wearing a purple shirt: “What’d you do, mug a pimp?” Morris: “Yeah, your dad says hi.” Pratt: (cracking up)

How mean that they made us think Joe died. Don’t be so mean, show!

March 14, 2023

ER 12.22, 21 Guns: A Bad Day to Die

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

These are their “everything is completely fine” faces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 10, 2023

ER 12.13, Body & Soul: Dance Lessons

Posted in TV tagged , at 5:04 pm by Jenn

Ally Walker, who plays Fran, should be a lot more famous than she is. She’s really good

Summary: A man named Nate Lennox is at a skating rink, watching people ice skate from his power wheelchair. He goes out onto the ice in his chair, which an employee tells him is unsafe. Nate ignores him. He’s sent to County, where paramedic Doris tells Ray and Haleh that his medic-alert bracelet says he has ALS (AKA Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Ray wonders how Nate got out of his home unaccompanied. Haleh thinks he could have been abandoned. Ray notes that he’s wearing clean clothes and recently had a shave, so he’s obviously being well cared for. Nate’s chair keeps rolling away, and Ray realizes that he uses a computer screen with an eye sensor to move around. He guesses that Nate wants to leave. Sam comes in to help, recognizing Nate. He uses a speech-synthesizer program (like Stephen Hawking) to state that he doesn’t want any help. He wants to leave.

Since Nate has pneumonia and isn’t getting enough oxygen, Ray won’t let him go. However, he’s not sure how aggressive Nate’s treatment should be. Ray wouldn’t want to live like him. He tells Nate that his oxygen levels are dropping and they need to know if he wants heroic measures. Nate just repeats that he wants to go home. Ray isn’t sure he knows where he is. Haleh brings in Nate’s medical records, and Sam remembers that she and Neela treated him for shortness of breath about a year ago.

2004: Nate leads a med-school lecture, despite having trouble speaking. When he goes to County, Sam and Neela give him a respiratory treatment. Neela knows who Nate is, since she went to his med school, though she didn’t take his class; she had credits that transferred from Yale. She’s very familiar with his work and cited it in a paper she co-authored as an undergrad. He asks why she’s in the “cesspool” that is County and what her specialty will be. He figures it’ll be some kind of surgery, but she thinks surgeons are awful.

Nate’s assistant, Fran, arrives and is happy to hear that he’s going to have a consultation with a speech pathologist. She gently tells him that it’s getting harder to understand what he’s saying. He replies that people just need to listen better. A doctor named Ames, who they know well, brings in a computer for Nate to use. Nate tells Neela to think about what she’s doing, because she might realize that she doesn’t belong at County. Neela jokes to Sam that maybe he misses her slushies back at the mini-mart. Heh.

Her shift is ending, so she passes her patients on to Abby. Abby recognizes Nate’s name and goes to see him. He’s not happy about being given the computer to help with his speech, so he knocks it to the floor. Ames gets the message but warns that Nate is delaying the inevitable. At the very least, Fran and Abby want him to wear a medic-alert bracelet. Ames also wants him to wear a respiratory aid at night. Nate laments that every time he wakes up, he’s lost another function.

Today: Fran is grateful that Nate was wearing his medic-alert bracelet. She’s not sure why he went to the ice rink. He slipped out of the house while she was taking a nap. Luka comes in, and though Fran remembers him from a past appointment, he doesn’t seem to remember her or Nate. He tells Fran that they’ll need to make a decision about either intubating Nate or putting him on a ventilator. This may be the “natural endpoint” of his disease. Fran gets that the best thing might be to just make Nate comfortable.

Abby joins the group, asking Nate why he went out by himself. He uses the computer to say, “In motion” and “free.” She declares that he needs to be intubated, but Fran says she’s not sure he would want that. Abby clears Nate’s airway and says they’ll wait until he’s more coherent and can tell them what he wants.

After a little more treatment, Abby reminds Nate that they once discussed him getting a trach tube. He said he wanted to stay alive until there was a stem-cell cure. Haleh comes in to gather help for a trauma, and Luka leaves. Abby pushes Nate to state whether or not he wants a trach. Fran tells her that conversation was a long time ago. Now Nate’s worried about ending up on life support, unable to communicate. They can’t be sure if he was really communicating earlier or if he was just making random eye movements.

Abby tells Fran that if they do the trach, Nate will be able to go home quickly. She thinks Fran could use some help at home, since she’s clearly exhausted. Fran doesn’t want help and doesn’t seem to think she needs it, but it doesn’t look like she’s doing everything well enough to keep Nate healthy. He has a G-tube for feeding, which was placed in 2002 after he had a choking spell.

2002: Nate and Fran are at a dinner for the graduating class. Nate starts choking just as Anspaugh is announcing that he won the Teacher of the Year Award. Pratt is his doctor at County, and he tries to convince Nate that it’s time for him to get a feeding tube. Ames points out the benefits, including a longer life. Anspaugh comes by and says he’ll put Nate on the surgical schedule, since Romano isn’t available right now. They can cancel if Nate changes his mind.

Alone with Pratt, Nate asks if Abby’s around. It’s a quiet night, and he thinks something’s off. Pratt tells him that Mark just died, so a lot of people took off for his memorial. To drive home that we’re in the past, Lily mentions that Chen wants Pratt to do something. Pratt gives Lily attitude that she definitely doesn’t deserve, and Nate tells Pratt he’s pretty arrogant for an intern. Oh, you have no idea. Nate says he’s either very smart or very insecure. Hmm, could be both. Pratt says he plans to move on to Northwestern, assuming he gets in.

As he starts giving Nate information about the procedure to insert the feeding tube, Nate gets teary. Fran returns and explains that one of the side effects of ALS is an inability to regulate emotions. Nate calls it “emotional incontinence.” Pratt thinks there must be something he can take for that, but Nate doesn’t want to deal with the medication’s side effects. He’s upset that he’s a burden on Fran already, and it just keeps increasing.

Today: The staff takes care of the feeding-tube problems, then tests Nate’s lung function. It’s not good, so Abby pushes for a trach again. She tells Nate it’s his best chance of recovering from the pneumonia. Nate finally seems to agree, saying, “Okay,” but then he says, “I’m okay.” Fran and Sam think he’s refusing the trach. Fran believes he’s ready to die, but Abby doesn’t want to stop treating him.

They present the situation to Luka, who says that since Fran has Nate’s power of attorney, she gets to make the call. Abby thinks that Nate expressed his wishes and they need to respect that. Luka tentatively tells Fran that if that’s the case, they can’t go against Nate’s wishes. Fran asks Sam to find Ames, and Abby tells her to get Dubenko so they can do the trach procedure.

Neela does it as part of her surgical elective, but when Nate starts bleeding, Dubenko has to change to another procedure. Fran regrets giving in to Abby. Neela calls for morphine, but Fran says no. Sam reads in Nate’s chart that he had a bad reaction to it back in 2001.

2001: Nate falls down some stairs while chatting with a student. While he’s being treated for a broken wrist at County, he tells the student to get back to work – they’re aiming for a Pulitzer Prize. Fran is annoyed that Nate took the stairs instead of an elevator. Luka is the treating doctor, and he tells Nate that Ames thinks it’s time for him to start using a wheelchair, because of the loss of strength in his legs.

Nate shouldn’t look at it as losing the ability to walk; he’ll be conserving his energy so he’ll be able to do more things. Nate resists turning into an invalid. He’s not optimistic about a cure for ALS; Bush Jr. just banned federal funding for the research that would find one. Nate’s trying to hold on to hope, but it’s getting harder and harder.

Fran leaves to talk to Ames, and Luka chats with Nate about her. Even though she acts like his wife, she’s his employee. He’s surprised she stuck around, since she could have gone to law school or business school. They almost got together at one point, but he wised up. Nate asks if Luka’s married, and Luka just shakes his head. Nate thinks it’s because he understands that work is more important than family.

Luka notes that some people can find balance. Nate says that that’s okay for ER doctors, but not scientists who are trying to make breakthroughs like he is. He doesn’t see a problem with being married to his career. It’s a good partner. Just then, he vomits from the morphine. As far as bad reactions go, that’s not too horrible.

Today: Fran thinks that if the staff can’t get Nate’s bleeding under control, it’s a sign that they’ve done enough. Abby says it’s a detour and they can get back on track. Dubenko finds the problem – Neela poked through something she shouldn’t have because Nate has unusual anatomy. They finish the procedure but Nate may have suffered damage from lack of oxygen to his brain.

Sam shows Fran how to take care of the trach, since Fran still wants to do everything for Nate herself. She thinks it’s easier since he’s made her get rid of a lot of caregivers. She lets others take care of Nate at night, but it’s hard for her to see other people give him what she doesn’t think is the best care. Abby brings over Nate’s computer to see if he’ll communicate, but he ignores her. Fran wants to take him home, since she promised to keep Nate there as much as possible.

She’s been working for him for 21 years. It started as a job, but now it’s much more. In 1999, he was presenting a paper at a symposium in Boston, and they decided to add a couple days to the trip just to relax. They went sailing in Cape Cod, and she felt like everything in her life was falling into place. He was diagnosed just a couple weeks later.

1999: Nate has gotten an MRI and some blood tests, and he tells Fran that he has ALS. The average life expectancy is four years, but some patients progress, then plateau. Then again, there are a couple of patients who live with it for decades. As he goes to an ice rink to play hockey, he tells Fran about all his treatment options. Fran offers to help out in more than just her usual capacity.

Today: Nate put his research aside so he could put all his energy into fighting his disease. Fran explains that he didn’t want to start something and then have it taken away. Sounds like she means a relationship instead of something professional. Nate finally uses the computer to talk, indicating that his mental state is normal again. He wants the trach removed. He appreciates that Abby fought for it, but he’s ready to end things before he loses his ability to communicate and expresses his wishes and needs.

Abby thinks this is a temporary setback and they can slow down his decline. Fran quietly says that Nate has already decided. He repeats that he wants the trach removed. Abby shakes her head and says she can’t do it. Nate asks to leave, adding, “Poker.” Fran explains that he wants to play poker with his friends at home. Abby tells Nate that he can’t go home like this.

Either they wear her down or someone overrules Abby because Nate is allowed to go home. He plans to turn off his ventilator and die tonight. Abby keeps trying to convince him to stay in the hospital a couple more days, but he refuses to be “a soul trapped in a corpse.” She asks when he stopped trying to fight the disease. He says he’s too tired.

Abby tells him that if he receives treatment for the pneumonia, he’ll plateau. He could live another 40 years, like Stephen Hawking. He’s still advising and publishing; he still has a pretty full life. If he beats the pneumonia, he could hang on until there’s a cure. Nate asks what will happen if he doesn’t beat it. Abby promises to be with him at the end, making sure he’s comfortable. She’ll willingly take him off the ventilator and let him go. She bets him $10 he’ll recover. Nate is impressed with the doctor she’s become, and she tells him she isn’t sure she’d have made it this far without him.

1999: Abby is in Nate’s class pre-diagnosis, when he’s passionate about teaching and captivates his students. It’s easy to see why he’s later named Teacher of the Year. Afterward, Abby asks him to approve her decision to drop the class. She failed the midterm and doesn’t think she’ll do any better on the final. It’s a required course, so he notes that she’ll have to take it at some point. She says she’s thinking of taking a year off and reconsidering things.

Nate’s surprised and thinks she doesn’t really want to be a doctor. Abby’s overwhelmed because of everything she has to memorize. He asks if she likes sports or skating or dancing. She admits that she liked taking ballet as a kid. He tells her to stop memorizing and start thinking conceptually. Biochemistry is a dance of life. He says some stuff about molecules that I don’t get, then drops the figure he’s holding, saying he’s not usually so clumsy.

Abby still wants to drop the class, but Nate invites her to come see him during office hours for “dance lessons.” After three weeks of extra help, he guarantees that she’ll ace a makeup midterm. He bets her $10. Abby is still overwhelmed and uncertain, but Nate is positive that she can improve. “If nothing else, I will teach you how to fight,” he says.

Today: Abby goes to the skating rink and enjoys the freedom she has to move around however she wants. No word on how Nate is or whether he took her bet.

Thoughts: Nate is played by human garbage pile James Woods.

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

Can we not with the “here’s how one patient influenced the lives of a bunch of County staff” episodes? Especially when it’s a patient we’ve never seen before?

September 20, 2022

ER 11.19, Ruby Redux: The Weight of Responsibility

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

May we all make it to our 80s sharp enough to memorize all the dialogue Red Buttons has in this episode

Summary: Susan and Chuck have been looking for a house, but they haven’t found anything they like yet. She’s getting ready for an interview that she hopes will let her secure tenure. Chuck is willing to go back to work, and he suggests that Susan get a job at a private hospital to make more money. Susan doesn’t care that much about the money, though, and she likes working at County. She feels like she belongs there. She finally finds an outfit she thinks is right for her interview, but it has a stain on the back. Cosmo laughs at her.

Ruby Rubadoux, who we last saw all the way back in season 2, has been brought to County after fainting, though he denies that he fainted. He’s skeptical about Neela being his doctor, since she doesn’t look old enough to be one, or even have a high school diploma. Ruby’s 85 now but still as mentally sharp as he was almost ten years ago.

Carter’s rounding with the interns, and it looks like he’s built up a good rapport with them. Ruby’s not happy to be at County, but Neela doesn’t get that it’s because of his history there. When he spots Carter, he says he doesn’t want Carter anywhere near him – Carter killed his wife. The interns scatter as if he’ll kill them, too. Carter seems confused.

Neela’s shift is over, so she hands Ruby off to Abby. Meanwhile, Susan has her tenure interview, which is conducted by a panel of six people, including Anspaugh, Weaver, Dubenko, and her onetime rival Kayson. She’s won a teaching award three times, but she’s only been published four times, which is why she’s been working with Morris on a paper. Since she hasn’t brought in grant money, she hasn’t quite met the bar the panel has set, despite her rave reviews as a doctor and instructor.

Abby detects that Ruby has a heart murmur, so she wants to run some tests and take an x-ray. He thinks Abby’s a nurse, so he doesn’t want to listen to her. She tells him she’s a doctor, but since she’s not his doctor, that doesn’t change his attitude toward her. She agrees to let a more experienced doctor take over his care. She’s probably happy to have an excuse to avoid him for a while.

Paramedics bring in a woman named Mary who was stabbed by her husband. She retaliated by shooting him. Sam forgot that she was supposed to stock something in a trauma room, and Chuny’s not happy about it. Sam’s been having a hectic morning, and she’s not in a good mood, so of course she takes it out on Luka. Pratt calms Mary while asking her questions, and he perks up when he learns what neighborhood she lives in.

Abby tells Carter about Ruby’s condition, but Carter doesn’t want to get involved in his case. Abby talks him into it. Ruby’s not happy about that, and it just gets worse when he realizes that Carter doesn’t remember him or his wife, Helen. Ruby says he knew that she didn’t have much time left, but he’s upset that Carter put her through everything he did. He refuses to let Carter examine him until Abby tells him it’s necessary.

After the examination, Haleh comments to Carter that Ruby is more of a handful than he was all those years ago. She doesn’t think Carter should spend too much time worrying about what happened back then, since he was just a student. Susan passes through the ER, trying to get out and go home without getting bugged, but Jerry tells her that a meeting she’s supposed to attend got moved to 3:30. She just worked a night shift and doesn’t want to hang around that long.

Carter looks up Helen’s chart in the hospital’s records department while Kayson examines Ruby and determines that he needs surgery for a narrowed heart valve. Kayson is the first doctor to gain Ruby’s respect, though he’s warmed a little toward Abby. She clarifies that he understands the risks of having heart surgery at the age of 85. He might not be a good candidate, and he needs to consider all his options. Ruby calls her “doll” and dismisses her concerns, since she’s not the one who can fix his heart. Okay, maybe he hasn’t warmed toward her after all.

Abby talks to Carter and Kayson about Ruby’s shaky health, which she thinks should rule him out as a good surgical candidate. Kayson, of course, doesn’t value her opinion. She reminds him that Ruby gets to make the decision here. Carter defends her attempts to advocate for her patient, but Kayson is still dismissive. He’s the surgeon, so he makes decisions about surgery.

Pratt has called Olivia in to talk to Mary, since her neighborhood is one that Ceasefire serves. Olivia’s surprised that Pratt was able to find some hope in Mary’s situation. Then again, she knows that he’ll take advantage of any excuse to spend time with her. He asks her to have dinner with him, supposedly so she can teach him about domestic violence counseling. She agrees to meet him at her office that evening.

Birdie and Rebecca are back in the ER, this time because Birdie’s sick. Ray thinks she has a lung infection, but Birdie says that when she came in a week ago, Abby didn’t mention anything about that. As Anspaugh is explaining Ruby’s condition and the surgery to him, Abby interrupts to ask if they’re really going forward with this. Anspaugh says that it’s the only way to definitively treat Ruby’s condition at this stage. Abby makes an argument against surgery, but Anspaugh seems satisfied that he’s been fully informed of the situation and possible consequences. He’s unhappy that she disagreed with senior staff in front of a patient.

Jake surprises Abby by coming up behind her and covering her eyes, even though he knows she must hate that. Nice. What does she see in this guy? He’s just returned from a trip to San Francisco to check out a hospital he might work at after he’s done with med school. He’s also considering staying at County, which would conveniently allow him to stick close to Abby.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Dirk who crashed while street luging. Pratt and Luka seem impressed, while Sam is like, “Congratulations, you’re an idiot.” He might have a spinal injury. While Abby’s trying to talk to Carter about Ruby, Ray tells them that Birdie and Rebecca are back. Carter thinks he can discharge Birdie, since she has family who can help take care of her, but Abby objects. Carter defers to her and tells Ray to call a social worker, since the sisters are panhandlers.

Abby finally gets to tell Carter that she doesn’t think Ruby has been fully informed of his options. Carter says she should talk to him, then, but she knows he won’t listen to her. Carter isn’t fully listening (to be fair, the lure of ordering Girl Scout cookies is hard to resist), and Abby calls him on it. She insists that he talk to Ruby, no matter what happened with them in the past. He tells her that this is an obstacle she’ll face as a doctor – trying to get through to a patient who doesn’t want a young, female doctor. If she can’t succeed with Ruby, she should move on.

Jerry wakes Susan from a nap she wasn’t really able to take before her meeting. She checks in on Pratt, Luka, Ray, and Sam, who are sawing through Dirk’s helmet to remove it. She then goes to her meeting, which is Morris’ presentation about why he should be chief resident. There are slides. No way is Susan going to stay awake the whole time.

Ray catches Birdie and Rebecca trying to leave before a social worker can talk to them. They tell him it’s important for them to leave now so they can be near the El during rush hour. They offer to write a note so he doesn’t get in trouble for not being able to keep them around. They’re kind of awesome. Ray lies that his boss is mad at him for letting too many patients go. He’s at risk of being demoted and sent to work in the morgue. Birdie and Rebecca see through his story but admire the attempt.

After Dirk is taken away for scans, Luka asks Sam what’s up with her. She’s mad that he seemed to be encouraging Dirk’s dangerous activities. He tells her he wasn’t and she’s overreacting. She throws a couple of towels at him, but instead of the fight escalating, they both start laughing. She apologetically says she’s having a rough day and has a headache. He tells her she can leave early, and if anyone has a problem with that, they can complain to him.

Pratt helps Abby insert a central line in Ruby. Even though they seem to be doing everything right, his heart becomes unstable. Morris pitches a scheduling system that has something to do with circadian rhythms. Carter gets a page and claims he has to go help in the ER (Susan doesn’t believe him). Birdie and Rebecca’s niece, Shelley, arrives and tells Ray that she’s been trying to get them to move in with her. They value their independence too much to accept her support.

Carter’s page was real, and he rushes to help Abby, Pratt, and Haleh stabilize Ruby. Pratt notes that if he can’t tolerate a central line, he won’t survive heart surgery. Abby says he wants it, which Pratt doesn’t think is a good enough reason. Weaver is okay with naming Morris chief resident, especially since it’s better and easier than hiring someone from the outside. Susan notes that Weaver came from the outside. Luka joins them, agreeing with Susan that Morris would be a bad choice. He tries to get Carter on his side, but Carter has enough on his plate and is staying out of this.

Thanks to Ruby’s instability, as well as a broken rib and complications he suffered while receiving chest compressions, his surgery has been postponed. Abby’s a little smug about it, but honestly, I think she should be. Pratt goes to Ceasefire, where Olivia’s leading a community development meeting. She puts him on the spot, making him talk about jobs in health care.

Luka tries to chat with a woman with five kids, none of whom seems to have ever sat still for more than a minute at a time. Sam teases him a little before leaving for the night. Something’s definitely up with her, as her mood goes south as soon as she leaves him. In the ambulance bay, Carter tells Abby what happened with Helen years ago. He felt pressured to move her along, so he had her dumped in a nursing home. Abby doesn’t think it’s that big a deal, since they dump patients in other departments all the time. Carter admits that he told Ruby what he wanted to hear about his wife instead of the truth.

As a student, Carter wanted everyone to like him, but he also wanted to impress his superiors. Abby gets that. Plus, Carter’s orders to get rid of Helen came from the chief of surgery, so he had no choice but to comply. When Helen died a few days later, Ruby was surprised. Carter tries to push responsibility off on his attending, since he didn’t have any authority as a student.

Pratt chats with some attendees after the meeting, and one asks if he’s related to Charlie Pratt, a parks and rec employee. Pratt says no. (He’s lying, and we’ll meet Charlie in a few episodes.) Olivia’s pleased that he finally came to see what her work is like, and she’s going to reward him for being a good sport by having dinner with him. Now, though, he’s not in the mood.

The thing on Sam’s mind is her period, it seems, because she goes to a drugstore to buy a pregnancy test. The clerk who rings her up makes an “isn’t this exciting!” face. Sam makes an “I could kill you with my bare hands right now” face. Carter catches Ray leaving early and busts him for letting Birdie and Rebecca go without speaking to a social worker. He doesn’t think sending them home with Shelley is good enough. Ray hasn’t done everything he’s supposed to, and he hasn’t told Carter enough about his patients for Carter, the attending, to be responsible for everything he’s supposed to.

A light bulb goes off in Carter’s head and he goes to Ruby’s room. All he says is that he’s sorry. Ruby can’t believe that Carter’s still working at County almost ten years after Helen’s death, and he didn’t even remember her. Carter says he made mistakes with both Helen and Ruby. Ruby knows, and he regrets bringing his wife there. He scoffs when Carter says he tried.

Carter notes that he wasn’t experienced, and the situation became more complicated than he was equipped to handle. “All you had to be was a human being,” Ruby says. Carter lied to him and Ruby believed him. Then he lost the woman he loved. Carter sits down by his bed and tells him that while his condition can be fixed with surgery, it might not be his best option. His chances of fully recovering are small, and there’s a big possibility that he’ll never leave the hospital. Without surgery, he won’t get better, but he’ll have more time with his loved ones. Carter lied about Helen all those years ago, but he’s not lying now.

Thoughts: Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

Katie Mitchell, who plays Shelley, is married to Michael B. Silver, who plays Myers.

This was Red Buttons’ (Ruby) last action role, and it looks like he’d basically retired a few years before this, so it’s nice that he came back for one of Noah Wyle’s last episodes as the star of the show.

Birdie thinks Abby looks like a young Patty Duke. She’s absolutely right.

September 6, 2022

ER 11.17, Back in the World: Keep Moving Forward

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

I’m Steve now. You’re welcome

Summary: Kirk has returned to the ER and is asking for Neela. She’s supposed to be done with her shift, but Abby tells her to tend to him first. Pratt asks if Neela’s talked to Gallant since she helped arrange for Jamila to be treated at County. Pratt insists on talking to Gallant the next time he’s in touch, since Neela didn’t give him the chance during their previous phone call.

He takes an interest in a woman named Olivia who’s talking to a patient who came in with a minor stab wound. Even though someone has already taken care of the patient, Pratt gets involved in the case so he has an excuse to talk to Olivia. She’s with a group called Ceasefire that tries to prevent violence. She’s surprised Pratt hasn’t heard of it, since County sees so many shooting victims. Pratt just gets to take advantage of another excuse to try to talk to her more. She’s not interested.

Sam gets stuck in traffic while driving Alex to school. He tells her that Steve (who never returned after “Drive”) wrote him a letter and claims he’s coming to visit soon. Sam tries to gently remind Alex that Steve often makes promises that he doesn’t keep. Neela agrees to examine Kirk again even though she’s never found a major problem with him. Dubenko tells her that Jamila has arrived, and he’d like to talk to Gallant. Neela’s shocked to learn that Gallant came to Chicago with Jamila.

Carter’s finally using his family’s fortune for health care: He’s making plans to build a clinic. He’s working with County, and Anspaugh and Weaver are directly involved. Everything seems like it’s going great, but Carter’s disappointed that an HIV/AIDS care plan has been scrapped. He doesn’t care if it’s too hard to staff that part of the clinic – he won’t sign off on pretty grounds and a restaurant if it means patients with HIV and AIDS can’t get the treatment they need.

Paramedics bring in a 12-year-old named Victor who has a gunshot wound. He explains that he had a gun in his pocket for protection and it accidentally went off. Neela leaves Gallant a message, wanting to know if he’s really in Chicago. Abby busts her for ditching Kirk, but Neela thinks this is more important. She lies that she knew Gallant was coming. She admits that she has feelings for him, though she’s not sure how they developed when they’ve only spoken once in the past year. Their letters were all “speculative,” so nothing could have formed there.

Neela confides that she’s furious that Gallant came back to Chicago and didn’t reach out to her. But she also feels like she’s fooled herself into thinking he would want to get in touch. Abby’s like, “I don’t think you need my input on this conversation you’re having with yourself.” Neela wonders if she’s pathetic for making up a love life she doesn’t really have. Abby thinks it makes sense that her friendship with Gallant led to romantic feelings.

Gallant goes to see Jackson’s family and give his daughter the llama he bought her. Back at County, Pratt notices a scar on Victor’s stomach. Apparently he’s been shot before. His mother, Mrs. Hopkins, arrives and isn’t surprised to hear that Victor had a gun on him. She reminds him that she told him to keep the safety on.

Sam explains to Susan that Victor is an “aspiring vigilante.” His mother gave him the gun. Time for a social worker to get involved! Susan tells Sam that someone called for her, sounding agitated. She got a similar call the day before. Sam thinks it was a patient she took care of last week and there’s nothing to worry about. Luka overhears and suspects she’s keeping something from him.

Neela tries to keep her cool while talking to Kirk, who doesn’t seem to want to accept that he has a muscle spasm and won’t heal overnight. He keeps coming back because he believes in Neela and thinks she can fix him. She agrees to do a full exam, during which she discovers that he’s wearing a unitard under his clothes. She tells him to change into a gown, but he says he can’t. His wife used to call him Clark, like Clark Kent. She said she saw through his facade to his “secret strength.” She died a few months ago. Now he wears a superhero unitard on bad days to make him feel better.

Sam tells Luka that she thinks Steve is the one who’s been calling her. She doesn’t want to run away again, and she also doesn’t want Luka to take this on, since it’s her problem. He corrects that it’s their problem. Pratt presents Victor’s case to Carter, and the two learn more about his problems. He insulted a classmate who shot him on his way home from school last year. The shooter only spent a few months in juvie and is now back at school. Mrs. Hopkins didn’t know what to do to protect her son, so she gave him a gun.

As Neela hands off all her cases to Luka so she can leave, Carter starts talking to Haleh and Lily about Gallant’s rumored return to the States. The nurses think he went to Texas to visit his parents. Once she’s done with her shift, Neela goes out to the roach coach to get her usual daily order. She spots Gallant coming over from the El and runs into his arms. Just friends, eh?

They go to popular County hangout Ike’s to talk about why Gallant didn’t tell Neela he was in Chicago. He says he was only at County briefly because he had to go do something. He came back to see her. He thought it would be easier to leave without seeing her, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. She tells him everyone wanted him to visit, but he feels strange “being back in the world.” He doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions about what it’s like in Iraq.

Neela asks how long he can stay. Gallant has to fly back in the morning, since he was only given enough time to get Jamila settled. Frank calls to bug Neela about a chart, but she brushes him off. She asks Gallant about a scar on his forehead, which he says wasn’t from anything major. She ignores a page as he tells her about going to see Jackson’s family. It hurt him to have to show up in uniform because he knows Jackson’s wife had to get the news about his death from men in uniform.

Kirk won’t leave County and won’t listen when Abby tells him that Neela’s gone for the day. She decides to track Neela down and make her deal with him. Steve shows up and Luka intercepts him before he can see Sam. Pratt asks Olivia to talk to Victor, hoping she can work her anti-violence magic on him and get him off that path before he goes too far down it.

Neela and Gallant play pool and flirt until Abby shows up. She changes her mind about getting Neela to deal with Kirk, since Neela’s having a good time. Olivia talks to Victor and Mrs. Hopkins, trying to convince the boy that he can be tough by staying away from trouble instead of getting in the middle of it. Maybe one day he can be the president and fix schools so kids don’t have to live in fear. Victor wants to be a pilot instead, but either way, he’ll need to stay out of trouble.

He doesn’t know how to avoid bad kids since they follow him around. Olivia volunteers Pratt to walk him to school for a week. Pratt objects, but you know he’ll go along with this if it means Olivia might go out with him. She tells Victor that if he gives up his gun, she’ll have someone walk him both to and from school every day after that. Each week, that someone will be bigger and scarier.

Steve insists on seeing Sam, and Luka struggles to keep him calm until she’s available. As Victor’s being taken up for surgery, Sam examines him and finds that he has some tingling in one of his legs. She looks at his x-rays and sees that the bullet is missing a chip. Ray wants to keep things moving, but Sam’s worried that they’ll be operating in the wrong place. Ray protests, so Sam sends him to talk to Carter. She spots Luka with Steve and almost walks away, then goes to talk to her ex on her own.

She tells Steve that her relationship with Luka is serious, and he claims to be glad that it’s working out for her. He asks if anyone’s called or come looking for him. It’s nothing big; he just owes someone money. He asks to borrow some from Sam so he can take Alex on a short trip. After that, he may not see Alex for a while. Sam reminds him that Alex has school. Steve doubts he’ll miss much, since he’s in the third grade. She tells him that Alex is in the fifth grade. She won’t agree to the trip, and surprisingly, Steve backs down. She offers to let him see Alex (with her present), but Steve says he needs to get going. She also agrees to give him money.

Gallant and Neela discuss her struggles to adjust to her role as an intern. She’s trying to figure out who she is after being seen a certain way for so long. He tells her she can be someone different if she wants. At County, Frank tells Luka that he got bad vibes from Steve and had a detective friend look him up. There’s a warrant out for his arrest in Colorado.

Luka approaches Sam to discuss that with her, but she rushes off to make sure Ray did what she told him to. He did, and Sam was right about a bullet fragment being in an artery. He and Pratt both praise her for making a good catch. She returns to Luka, who tells her that Steve committed a robbery and someone got hurt, so he’s in a lot of trouble. Luka wants to call the police, but Sam won’t send her son’s father to prison.

Susan bugs Sam to work a few hours of overtime, refusing to take no for an answer. People have lives, Susan. It’s not her fault you’re short-handed. Luka tells Sam he’ll go home and relieve Alex’s sitter. Susan wants to emerge from her baby cocoon and have more of a social life, so she invites Carter to bring Wendall over for dinner with her and Chuck. Carter accepts the invitation but declines for Wendall, who stopped talking to him after Kem’s phone call. He admits that he feels like he’s “fallen off the tracks” and hasn’t been able to get back on.

Olivia asks Pratt to call her office after Victor’s surgery and let her know how he’s doing. She also fully intends to make him walk Victor to school for a week. Pratt complains that he’s busy, but she won’t accept that as an excuse. Stopping violence is like containing an epidemic with vaccines and medication. Ceasefire reacts to every shooting, even ones where there are no injuries, and arranges a neighborhood response any time a gun is fired. If they stigmatize violence, death rates will drop. It’s working, and she invites Pratt to come by the organization and see for himself.

Neela takes Gallant to her and Ray’s apartment so they can change clothes and then go to dinner. Meanwhile, Luka goes home and catches Steve about to leave with a bunch of his and Sam’s stuff. Alex let him in, and Steve sent the sitter home, then robbed the place. Luka tells him to put everything back. Steve argues that he gets to take back things he gave Sam. Luka decides not to fight him and just go inside.

Steve stops him, and though Luka warns him not to start anything, Steve hits him. Alex comes out just in time to see Steve and Luka fighting. He has a bag with him and says Steve is taking him on a beach trip. He thinks Sam told Steve it was okay. Luka tries to send Alex back inside, but Steve reminds him that Alex isn’t his kid. Luka quietly tells Steve he’s not going anywhere with Alex, and he shouldn’t want to, considering the trouble Steve is in. Steve tells Alex to go back in; they’ll take their trip another time. Aww, now Luka looks like the bad guy.

Neela and Gallant both get changed, and though he’s just wearing a T-shirt and jeans, she’s put on a nice dress. As she turns off the lights to leave, he catches her arm to make her stop. They start kissing and their new outfits quickly come off. Pratt will be soooooo happy that Neela finally got some, since that’s what he’s been wanting for her for a while.

Later that night, while Neela’s asleep, Gallant writes a letter. She wakes up as he gets back in bed and asks about the wound on his arm that was still bandaged when we first joined him in Iraq. He tells her that he had to run into a firefight to get to a patient. He never expected to be in the middle of combat. That firefight is also how he got the scar on his forehead. He wound up having to shoot an Iraqi soldier to protect himself and his patient. Neela’s desire to be someone different resonates with him because he just wants to go back to who he was. “All we can do is keep moving forward,” she says.

The next morning, they go to County to see Jamila before Gallant has to fly back to Iraq. Neela gets paged to the ER, but Gallant doesn’t want to go with her; he says it’s because he doesn’t have time to talk to everyone, but he obviously doesn’t feel comfortable doing it. She’s been paged to help take care of Kirk, whose back pain was actually a rare symptom of a heart problem. She feels horrible for missing it, but it sounds like it’s a hard symptom to catch.

Sam tries to talk to Alex, who’s angry that she wouldn’t let him go off with Steve. She tells him that she, Alex, and Luka are a team now, and Luka had to make a decision last night. He made the one that was best for Alex. Sam assures Alex that it’s okay for him to feel sad. He starts to let out his sadness, and instead of pushing her away, he hugs her.

Neela asks Chuny to call the burn unit so she can let Gallant know she’s been pulled into a trauma. She doesn’t have time, though, and she declines when Abby offers to take over for her. Gallant comes by the trauma room, so Pratt ducks out to talk to him. Gallant has to leave to catch his plane, but he gives Pratt a letter to give to Neela. She’s not supposed to open it unless something happens to him. Pratt says nothing will, but Gallant wants her to have it just in case.

Neela moves with the trauma team as they rush Kirk out of the ER and into an elevator. She and Gallant don’t have time to say goodbye to each other, but they’re able to exchange looks that say how much they’ll miss each other. Luka drives Alex to school, though Alex won’t talk to him. That night, Neela puts Gallant’s letter in a box where she’ll hopefully never have to get it back out. Gallant returns to his camp in Iraq with his own envelope from Neela. She gave him a piece of her jewelry to remind him of her. They both meet medevac helicopters, doing similar jobs in very different places, still thinking of each other.

Thoughts: Steve is now being played by Garret Dillahunt (who I like a lot better in the role). Mrs. Hopkins is played by Adina Porter.

If Neela thinks she only made up a possible relationship with Gallant, County staff is feeding that delusion. Throughout the whole first half of the episode, everyone asks her if she’s seen him.

I want to hug Kirk. What a sweet guy.

June 7, 2022

ER 11.4, Fear: This Episode Will Wreck You

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

People come and people go but Noah Wyle continues to cling to his paycheck

Summary: A man is pounding on the door of the third-floor apartment where a woman named Nichelle lives with her young kids, Kali, Saige, and Tamira. The man threatens to kill them, then fires a bullet through the door. Nichelle moves the kids away as Saige asks what’s going on. The man starts breaking down the door, and Nichelle looks at her only escape option: a window.

Elizabeth is on her way to work, talking to Carter on the phone about how she’s facing a meeting with a committee about Douglas’ transplant. Ella is with her, looking at pictures of Mark and his parents. She’s now old enough to understand that her father and grandparents are dead, though she may not get exactly what that means. Apparently Alex never goes to school because Sam always has to find something for him to do; today he’ll be going to a science museum. She brings up the possibility of moving in with Luka, and while Alex is interested, he doesn’t jump straight to saying yes.

Neela’s new job at the mini-mart across the street from County definitely isn’t very stimulating. Howard buys a coffee, and when he takes forever to count out exact change, Abby says she’ll pay for it. She tells Neela she thinks Howard has OCD. Abby is spending the day on a paramedic ride-along, having been unable to talk her way out of the mandatory requirement by pleading that she gets carsick.

Carter talks to Weaver about the meeting that could lead to Elizabeth losing her medical license and/or job at County. He wants to speak on her behalf and take some responsibility, since he talked Elizabeth into doing the transplant, but Weaver notes that he wasn’t the one who picked up a scalpel. As a cheery Pratt arrives for his shift, Weaver tells Carter that she thinks some doctors are using work to deal with PTSD. Carter assures her that Pratt’s fine, but Weaver says she wasn’t talking about him.

She’s concerned that Carter is taking on more work so he doesn’t have to face his grief over the baby’s death. That could cause him to relapse. A woman named Wendall Meade tries to join them in the elevator but they don’t catch the door for her in time. Weaver reminds Carter that he’s been through a lot and is an addict, so he shouldn’t tempt fate. He promises that there won’t be a problem. Weaver will take his word for it, but she won’t approve him to work extra shifts. She encourages him to do something fun that doesn’t involve hanging around the hospital.

Susan’s back from maternity leave and wants to take on the role of chief of emergency medicine. She turned it down previously, but her circumstances have changed. She’s realized she’s not a baby person, and Chuck is fine being a stay-at-home father as long as Susan can earn enough to make up for the loss of his salary. She’ll get $1,000 more a week, but she’ll have to make a two-year commitment, which is fine with Susan. Weaver happily hands off some of her responsibilities.

Abby’s ambulance is the one that responds to the scene showing the aftermath of what happened at Nichelle’s apartment. She and Saige are fine but Kali and Tamira are lying on the pavement outside the building, badly injured. Nichelle tells the paramedics that her husband tried to kill the kids. Kali’s conscious and she asks Abby if she’s an angel who’s going to take her to Heaven.

Pratt quizzes the med students, showing them the exact amount of patience you would expect. He takes them with him as he examines a man named Mr. Hayslip who has some bumps on his shoulder. These bumps are what he was asking the med students about, so now he understands why they were clueless. He spots Chen down the hall and goes to greet her. She was supposed to get the cast on her leg from the shooting/car crash removed, but she doesn’t want to wait for an available orthopedist, so she borrowed a cast-cutter to do it herself. Pratt offers to lend a hand.

The paramedics start to take Tamira and Kali to the hospital. Nichelle worries that her husband will come back, but a paramedic (Dumar) promises that the police will protect them. Nichelle doesn’t want to split up the kids, so Abby convinces the paramedics to take Nichelle and Saige along, too. Dumar reminds Abby that she’s just supposed to be doing a ride-along.

Pratt removes Chen’s cast, which he notes doesn’t have anything written on it. Chen admits that she hasn’t left her house in weeks. She only came in because her father had to be admitted for a third round of pneumonia, among other problems. Pratt says she could have called him for a ride, but Chen isn’t eager to get back in a car with him. She asks if he ever thinks about Elgin. I’m guessing he thinks about Elgin a lot but doesn’t want to admit it.

Kali and Tamira arrive at County, and Carter and Pratt take over their care. Nichelle is understandably distraught, and Carter tell Chuny to get her connected with Social Services (and also get her out of the trauma room). He asks Abby if they caught the father. Dumar tells Abby they have another call to take, but Abby is in nurse mode and doesn’t want to leave Kali, so she tells Dumar she’ll wait until they come back after their next run. He reminds her that she has to do 12 hours of ride-alongs to get the proper amount of credits.

Elizabeth undergoes interrogation at the committee meeting, which is attended by Weaver, Anspaugh, and Kayson. She dances around the question of whether the rest of the surgical team knew they were participating in an illegal operation. Elizabeth stresses that there was a time crunch, so they had to bypass regular procedures. And since Douglas is doing great, she doesn’t see the problem. You know, other than the part where everything she did was illegal. She thinks breaking the law is less important than saving Douglas. Anspaugh notes that Derek was the patient; Douglas just benefited from his death.

Weaver reminds Elizabeth that she broke hospital policy, as well as state and federal laws. Any of those infractions are grounds for her termination and/or revocation of her license if the situation is reported to the state board. Dubenko arrives and Elizabeth objects to his presence, even though he’s on the medical ethics committee (which, as Kayson points out, she would have known if she’d followed protocol and presented the case to them). Weaver looks sad, but there’s nothing she can do here. Elizabeth will just have to wait for the committee’s decision.

She joins Luka, Ray, and Sam as they take care of Tamira, who’s four and just keeps calling out for her mother. Luka tries to distract her with a conversation about the Wiggles. He explains that he likes to keep up with kids’ TV so he has something to talk to younger patients about. “I hate the bloody Wiggles,” Elizabeth says as she heads next door to check on Kali. Carter asks how the meeting went; he doesn’t think Elizabeth will face any steep consequences. Kali asks for “angel,” making sure Abby’s still with her.

The med students duck into the room to tell Pratt that Mr. Hayslip has a huge mass in his chest. Carter tells Pratt he can go; he’s fine with just Howard as backup (and Abby’s still there until she needs to go back on the ride-along). Sam calls Elizabeth back to Tamira, who’s declining. She asks if they should bring Nichelle back in to say goodbye, but Elizabeth is confident that they can save Tamira.

Susan is already struggling in her new role and wonders if the universe is punishing her for being a bad mother. She and Jerry complain to each other about how Neela isn’t great at making coffee or toasting bagels. Weaver nags Susan to step up her pace, then informs her that another ER is closing for renovations soon, so County will have double the patients. Jerry simultaneously congratulates Susan on her promotion and submits a request for time off/demand for a raise/letter of resignation if he doesn’t get both.

Kali is unstable both physically and mentally. Nichelle panics over her and Tamira’s conditions, believing the staff isn’t doing enough for them. Abby calms her and assures her that they’re helping the girls. Pratt and the med students return to Mr. Hayslip with the unfortunate news that he has stage 4 lung cancer. The lumps are a sign that it’s spread to his skin. Pratt tells the med students to stay with Mr. Hayslip for emotional support, but probably also because he doesn’t want to deal with them anymore.

He goes to Kali’s trauma room and takes over for Howard. Dubenko gives Pratt and Carter some instructions, mentioning a piece of equipment they didn’t know was available. Saige comes in, asking hesitantly if his sister is going to die. Carter promises that they’ll do everything they can for her. He tells Howard to take Saige out of the room, but Howard says that’s a social worker’s job. Next it would fall to a nurse, but Chuny’s the only one there and Carter needs her. Saige says he’d rather talk to Pratt anyway (possibly since they’re both Black), so Pratt leaves with him.

As Carter’s complaining that no social worker has arrived, Wendall shows up. She tells him she’s covering two hospitals at the same time, so she has an excuse for being late, but she’d like to know his for being a jerk. Chuny smiles at that as she borrows something from Tamira’s trauma room, where Elizabeth and Dubenko are both consulting. When Tamira declines, they both rush to stabilize her. Dubenko wins and Elizabeth isn’t happy about it.

Wendall meets with Nichelle, who’s too traumatized to talk about what happened. She just wants to pray for her daughters to live and her husband to die. She laughs/cries that he gave her her children, and now he’s going to take them away. Saige asks Pratt if Nichelle will be okay. Pratt stays optimistic, both about the family surviving and about the police protecting them. Saige wets himself, and Abby tells Pratt where he can get the boy some clean scrubs.

A detective tells Abby that the police haven’t had any luck finding Nichelle’s husband. He may have left the state a year ago. No neighbors saw or heard anything, so the police haven’t been able to confirm that he was there. He goes to talk to Nichelle, who says her husband drinks a lot, so he might be at a bar.

Dubenko surprises Elizabeth by praising her for performing Douglas’ transplant. Just when she gets the chance to start liking him, he overrules a decision she made for Kali. Howard brings Abby back to Kali’s trauma room, where Dubenko’s equipment hasn’t done what he hoped it would do. Kali heartbreakingly murmurs that she wasn’t a bad girl and she wants to go to Heaven. “I want to go with you, angel,” she tells Abby before passing out.

Howard counts to himself (“one, two, three, squeeze”) over and over as he bags Kali so she can breathe. He has to concentrate harder as the other staff in the room communicate, tossing out numbers that interfere with his counting. Eventually it becomes too much for him and he yells for everyone to shut up. Meanwhile, Sam tells Luka that the girls’ conditions made her want to call Alex. He asks if she’s decided whether or not they’re ready to move in. Susan overhears and jokingly warns Sam not to do it. Sam tells Luka they’re discussing it but need a little more time to decide.

Howard’s OCD interferes again as he asks Abby to triple-check things on Kali’s chart before giving her another transfusion. While his desire to do everything right is admirable, they don’t have the luxury of time here. Pratt tends to Saige, who admits that he was scared back in the apartment. He wishes he’d done something to stop what happened. Pratt reminds him that he’s just a kid. Saige thinks that, as the oldest, he’s responsible for his sisters, even though he’s only nine. Pratt says that he couldn’t have stopped his father from what he did. “He was never there,” Saige reveals.

Kali’s doing much worse, and Howard is convinced that it’s because they screwed up her last transfusion. Wendall brings Nichelle in, wanting her to be with her daughter (though Carter doesn’t think that’s a good idea). Carter, Abby, and Elizabeth are prepared to keep working on Kali, but they all realize that they can’t do anything for her. They stop so Nichelle can say goodbye to her. When Nichelle realizes they’re done trying to save Kali, she just yells, “No!” over and over.

Elizabeth goes to Weaver’s office, where she learns that Weaver has advocated for her to stay on at County, just in an instructional position (without tenure) instead of as a surgeon. Elizabeth notes that she’s worked there for seven years and will lose tenure because of a single patient. Weaver reminds her that she broke the law and had to have known there could be serious consequences. Elizabeth thought she would get more support and appreciation for saving Douglas’ life.

She threatens to go public about the hospital’s willingness to let Douglas die if the state board revokes her license. She feels like what she did was extraordinary. Weaver agrees, but that’s not what the hospital is there for. They have enough trouble meeting the community’s basic needs. Elizabeth asks if they’re really expected to get through each day doing just enough when they can do so much more.

Abby finds Howard packing up his locker in the lounge. She wants him to talk about his obvious OCD, but he won’t listen. She assures him that the staff didn’t do anything wrong – Kali’s father, not the staff, is responsible for her death. Howard thinks his thoroughness should be praised instead of scrutinized. As he storms out, Abby tells Susan what’s going on. With Howard quitting, Susan has yet another problem to deal with.

Abby goes back to Kali’s trauma room, where Carter is cleaning up her body. She can tell he’s struggling to deal with the death of a child. He asks how she’s doing and she admits that this was a hard day. She feels for both Carter and Nichelle, having lost children. Pratt comes in to tell them that Saige said he hasn’t seen his father in a while. Someone has also uncovered the news that his father died a year ago.

Susan scrambles to find a first-year intern who qualified to match at County but doesn’t currently have a job. Somehow there are only four in the whole country. Ray offers to talk to a friend who took off a year to live with wolves. Yeah, we’re going to pass on her, Ray, but thanks for your help. Jerry thinks Susan could change Howard’s mind, but she tried, and all he did was unlock and relock his car doors. Ray mentions a neurologist who wants to get into emergency medicine. The downside is that he’s 60. Ray, stop helping! Susan is happy to learn of a candidate in Milwaukee, but Sam brings her down by revealing that Tamira died in the OR.

Wendall and Pratt tell Abby and Carter that police confirmed Nichelle’s husband’s death last year. According to Saige, Nichelle struggled to function after he died. She wound up taking Valium three times a day, then stopped when she ran out of money last week. The doctors guess that quitting cold turkey after months of taking it caused psychosis and hallucinations. Abby wonders what really happened in the apartment, since Saige hasn’t told anyone.

Abby’s in trouble for missing her ride-along, like, is this her last chance ever to do it or something? Nichelle has received some Valium, so Wendall, Carter, and Pratt hope she’ll be able to tell them what happened. Susan calls an intern candidate, but he probably won’t be a good fit in Chicago since he doesn’t speak English. There’s another prospect but his tattoos and piercings outnumber Ray’s, so that’s probably a bust, too.

Carter and Wendall gently ask Nichelle to explain what happened in the apartment. She’s not sure, but she’s lucid enough to know that her husband wasn’t there, since he’s dead. We see the opening of the episode again, this time without anyone banging on the door or shooting into the apartment. No wonder Saige was confused – his mother was yelling at someone who wasn’t there. Nichelle remembers the hallucination, then what happened to Kali and Tamira: She told them to jump out the window so their father couldn’t get to them. Saige is only alive because he wouldn’t jump, too.

Abby goes across the street to invite Neela to get dinner with her. Neela still has an hour left of work; her shifts at the mini-mart are longer than at the hospital. Plus, the only skills she’s learning at the mini-mart are ones like cleaning out the hot dog machine. Susan joins them and orders a coffee and an intern to replace Howard. Abby tells her that Neela’s having a very early midlife crisis combined with a delayed teen rebellion. Susan is desperate, though, and she knows Neela can’t be enjoying her new job. She’s right, and it just takes one complaint from a customer to get Neela to agree to take Howard’s spot.

Carter meets up with Elizabeth by the river, where she tells him she’s not taking Weaver’s offer. There isn’t enough of a future for her at County, so she’s leaving. Carter offers to talk to Weaver for her but Elizabeth feels good about walking away now. She’s lost Mark and other friends, and she has no reason to stay in Chicago. She’s known that for a while now but hasn’t let herself accept that she needs to close this chapter of her life and move on.

He asks where she’s going to go next. She hasn’t made a firm decision but she plans to go back to England for a while. She asks Carter to apologize to everyone and say goodbye for her. She doesn’t want to cry in front of everyone. She starts to leave, turning back when Carter asks what to tell everyone. “Tell them…it’s been lovely,” she replies.

Thoughts: Wendall is played by Mädchen Amick.

Goodbye to Alex Kingston, who smartly decided after a full season of getting nothing to do that it was time to leave. She’ll be back a couple more times, though.

Now that I’ve recapped this episode, I plan to never watch it again, and hopefully someday forget about it entirely. It’s heartbreaking just thinking about it.

I think it’s really interesting that Alex asks Sam if she wants to live with Luka. I don’t see him as the sort of person who thinks of others a lot.

April 12, 2022

ER 10.18, Where There’s Smoke: I Wish I Hadn’t Already Used “Sandy, Can’t You See I’m in Misery?” as a Title

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:04 pm by Jenn


Summary: Sandy and Weaver have gotten into the swing of this parenting thing and are preparing for their day. Both of them have to work, so Florina will be looking after Henry. Florina clearly loves her daughter and grandson but isn’t quite so affectionate with Weaver (I don’t think she’s a fan of Henry having two mommies). Weaver and Sandy are obviously very happy together. This means something bad is going to happen.

Luka shows up at Sam and Alex’s on his way home from a late shift. Alex jokes that he must have missed them. Sam sends him off to school, then suggests that she and Luka find a way to fill the couple of minutes before she has to leave for work. Luka’s tired but not too tired for sex. So to sum up, the two of them are together and Alex doesn’t seem to care.

At County, Abby and Neela are thinking about the results of their recent board exams, which they haven’t opened yet. Neela doesn’t think she has a future as a doctor, between her clashes with staff members and the fact that she accidentally killed someone. Chen tells her she’s not a good doctor until she’s killed someone. Neela thinks Chen isn’t in that club. If only she knew about Chen’s major screw-up when she was a med student.

Susan arrives in the ER in a wheelchair, accompanied by a guy named Levine (who made her use the wheelchair because she wasn’t walking fast enough for his liking). He’s from risk management and will be interviewing everyone involved in Luis’ case. Carter is the one being named in the family’s lawsuit because he was the attending in charge, but he’s conveniently in the Congo, visiting Kem. Neela gets to go first. Susan doesn’t think she has anything to worry about. Luis’ medical records slipped through the cracks; no one did anything wrong.

Pratt wants to fix Gallant up with a woman he knows, but Gallant isn’t interested. Elizabeth compliments Gallant on some procedure he did and suggests that he switch to surgery if he gets tired of emergency medicine. Chen tells Pratt to present a patient to her since Susan’s with risk management. She seems tired, but she says her father is doing better.

Pratt’s patient is a John Doe with hypothermia and high blood sugar. Pratt thinks he’s homeless, but Chen notes that his fingernails look well taken care of, so he might have wandered off from his home. Then he pees on her. Womp womp. Elizabeth complains to Weaver that the surgical department is in shambles and they need someone to represent them in bargaining for their salaries. Weaver informs Elizabeth that she was chosen as the new department head a couple months ago and no one bothered to tell her. So I guess Elizabeth gets to be that bargaining representative.

Abby examines a patient named Halpern who’s complaining of back pain and wants Vicodin. She and Gallant immediately clock him as a drug-seeker. Susan and Neela meet with Levine, and Neela sticks with Gallant’s story that he gave the order for Demerol. (She kind of has to, since telling the truth would put him on the hook for a crime.) Susan studies Neela really closely but doesn’t suspect that she’s lying. She tells Neela that a friend of hers is doing a study on stroke treatments and needs med students to help with research, if Neela’s interested.

Chen complains that Susan will be with Levine all day, leaving Chen as the only attending on the floor. Jerry tells Sam that Luka called and said something about coffee. Chen approves of the Sam/Luka pairing and confirms that she never hooked up with Luka. “I went in a completely different direction,” she says, waving to Pratt.

The John Doe is awake and identifies himself as Bob Jones. He says he’s homeless, but Chen is still skeptical. His diabetes was under control until recently. Bob won’t say what caused it to get out of control. Chen says she’ll called Social Services, an idea Bob approves of since he needs a place to live. She realizes that Pratt should be handling this and goes to question him. He’s been on the phone with her father’s nurse, who reported that her father set off a smoke alarm while trying to cook a steak. Pratt thinks he should be restrained when he’s in bed.

Sam announces that they’re about to receive a bunch of patients from a fire and building collapse. Chen will need Susan’s help now more than ever. She’s currently with Levine and Abby, the latter of whom thinks Neela made the right call with Luis. She doesn’t know if what Neela and Gallant say happened is really what happened, and she wonders if there’s a cover-up. Jerry comes to get the women to help with the new patients.

The rest of the staff jumps to action, helping two firefighters, Tommy and Andy. Susan tells Abby to take the lead tending to Andy. Susan immediately recognizes the next patient as Sandy. She’s awake and talking, and even remembers Neela from the NICU. But she breathed in some stuff she shouldn’t have, so Susan warns that they may need to intubate her. Sandy asks to talk to Weaver first, and though Susan doesn’t think they should wait, she agrees to hold off for a little bit.

Gallant joins Chen and Pratt to take care of Tommy, who looks really bad. Gallant catches a problem the other doctors didn’t. Chen sends Pratt to help Abby while letting Gallant stay with her, because why not bug your ex with a show of power in the middle of a mass trauma? Pratt fixes Andy’s dislocated knee, and it’s SUPER-GROSS. Thanks a lot, show.

Weaver finally gets to Sandy’s trauma room and learns that she needs surgery. She’s right on time because Sandy starts declining. Weaver takes over her partner’s care, and Susan, Neela, and Sam don’t have the heart to make her stop. Andy’s disappointed to learn that his knee injury might sideline him from the career he’s always wanted. Sorry, buddy, we don’t have time to care about you. Tommy’s doing poorly, so Pratt goes over to help. Chen still wants to let Gallant take the lead, and she’s in danger of driving a wedge between the guys.

As Weaver intubates Sandy, Andy suddenly has trouble breathing. Pratt’s still busy with Tommy, so Abby can’t get him to come back and help her and Malik. She keeps the door open between Andy’s exam room and Tommy’s trauma room, and Pratt and Chen yell instructions to her. Abby can’t intubate Andy because of swelling in his airway, so she decides to cut a hole in his throat. She also decides not to mention what she’s doing to Pratt and Chen. Oh, and she’s never done this before. When she’s done, she tells Pratt and Chen what she did. Chen’s pleased with her initiative.

Tommy’s dead, and Gallant feels especially bad about not being able to save him. Sandy’s about to go up to surgery, and Elizabeth doesn’t realize who she is until Susan tells her. She offers to let Weaver observe. Neela kindly tells Weaver she’ll say a prayer. Some of Sandy’s fellow firefighters walk alongside her gurney as she’s moved, soon joined by Sandy’s mother and brother, Eduardo. (The baby is with Eduardo’s wife.) Florina tells Weaver to take care of Sandy. Weaver spots a firefighter breaking down over the news of Tommy’s death.

Gallant has his turn with risk management. Levine asks why Carter didn’t write notes on the chart before he left the country. Did he need time to get his facts straight? Gallant just says they were busy that night. Levine asks if Gallant feels like Carter is a good attending. Gallant says yes, so Levine asks why he didn’t present to Carter. Susan has the same question, since Carter couldn’t have been far away.

Levine questions whether Carter knew the decisions Gallant was making. Gallant says no, and that he wanted to handle the case himself. Maybe he’s not as competent as he thought he was. Gallant agrees to include all this in his testimony if the case proceeds and he’s deposed, but he might not be able to be present. He’s being deployed to Iraq. STUPID SHOW!

Abby and Gallant return their attention to Halpern, whose records show that he’s asked for Vicodin at multiple hospitals but doesn’t currently have any in his system. Another of Sandy’s brothers, Carlos (a fellow firefighter), arrives and asks for an update on Sandy. She’s still in surgery, and Elizabeth chats with Weaver about her while she operates. Weaver notes that they met at County. Elizabeth says it’s the last place she expected to find a partner. Weaver replies that she misses Mark, too.

Abby asks Neela a question about medication and Neela answers like it’s something she’s known for decades. She finally opened her test results and found out she passed her boards, but she’s not as happy as she should be. She isn’t sure it means anything. She suggests that they go out and celebrate anyway, but Abby isn’t in the mood. She finds Susan giving herself some sort of exam because she’s having contractions.

Anspaugh joins Elizabeth in the OR as Sandy starts declining. He questions Weaver’s presence but Elizabeth says it’s fine. Sandy’s heart isn’t pumping blood, so Elizabeth tells Weaver they need to open her chest. Gallant asks Halpern about all the caffeine in his system. Halpern blames over-the-counter migraine medication, which doesn’t help his back pain. It turns out he’s a veteran and doesn’t have good enough insurance to cover what he needs. The VA won’t admit that his migraines are related to his service. Gallant guesses that he sells Vicodin to pay for his migraine medication.

Neela runs into Gallant and asks how his meeting with risk management went. He just says things will be fine. She apologizes for being distant, but she’s struggling to deal with all the lying and cover-ups. Gallant tells her about his deployment – he’s going to Texas tomorrow and will finish his residency there, then go to Iraq. Neela guesses that he’s lying about being deployed. He offered to go because he’s a coward. Now he’s going to leave Neela to deal with the fallout of their cover-up. “Go to bloody Iraq,” she says, “and tell yourself you’ve done something noble.”

Susan’s contractions have stopped, but she needs to go on bed rest for five weeks. She and Abby lament what a bad day they’ve had. On top of the risk management meetings and their patients, Abby failed her boards. Susan thinks it’s just because she has to work so much that she didn’t have time to study. Abby puts it in perspective, saying at least she didn’t have a burning building collapse on her. She can take them again.

Anspaugh and Elizabeth continue working on Sandy but don’t make any progress. Weaver realizes – has probably realized for a while – that they’re not going to save her. She sadly tells them they can stop trying. Sandy’s gone.

Weaver sits with Sandy’s body for a long time, then asks Elizabeth to remove her intubation, even though there’s a law that it has to stay in. She tells Elizabeth that even though she had to talk Sandy into getting pregnant, once Henry was born, Sandy wanted to have a bunch of kids. “What am I supposed to do now?” Weaver whispers. Elizabeth offers to tell Sandy’s family, but Weaver wants to do it.

Susan asks Gallant if people know he’s leaving. He says no, apparently not wanting anyone to make a big deal about it. She tells him that while he made a stupid mistake, there were a lot of factors that led to Luis’ death. Gallant says that if the case goes to court, the Army will let him come back and testify. Susan doesn’t think it’ll get that far. People don’t sue doctors they like, and Luis’ wife liked Gallant, so the case will probably go away. They wish each other well with his deployment and her baby.

Weaver goes to the waiting area to tell Sandy’s family and friends that she’s dead. Sam is leaving as Luka’s arriving early to spend time with her before his shift. She tells him that Sandy died, but he doesn’t recognize her name. Ouch. Gallant plays basketball with Pratt for the last time before leaving for his deployment, which will last at least a year. Pratt thinks he’s a little too casual about going into a war zone. He says he’ll miss Gallant, who’s honorable, a quality Pratt isn’t sure he’s ever encountered in someone before. He tells Gallant not to get himself killed.

Sam goes home, where Alex is listening to loud music and is in a good mood. It’s because his father, Steve, has come by. Sam’s bad day just got worse. Abby checks in on Weaver, who’s alone with just Sandy’s firefighter gear. She breaks down and Abby comforts her. I engrave Laura Innes’ name on an honorary Emmy.

The next day, Gallant is about to leave for the airport when Neela comes to see him. She gives him a rabbit’s foot for good luck and thanks him for putting himself on the line for her career. She kisses him and tells him he has to come back. He says he will, and she’d better be a great doctor when he returns. She sheds a couple of tears as he rides off on a cab.

Weaver goes to Eduardo’s house to pick up Henry, who spent the night. Eduardo tells her that Henry isn’t there. It’s nothing personal; he’s always liked Weaver. But the Lopezes are Henry’s blood relatives, and they’re keeping Sandy’s son. Weaver hears him crying and starts to fight her way past Eduardo into the house, but he pushes her away and slams the door on her. She bangs on the door, demanding her son back.

Thoughts: Levine is played by Armin Shimerman, AKA Snyder. Andy is played by Rob McElhenney.

All these years later, I’m still mad they killed off Sandy. I also resent having to watch this right after “Becoming, Part 2.”

I don’t get why the show suddenly backed off of Gallant and all but wrote him out after this, but made us put up with Morris for the rest of the series.

I’m not saying what Halpern’s been doing is right, but…I’m also not saying it’s a bad idea.

February 1, 2022

ER 10.8, Freefall: Helicopter 2: The Helicoptering

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

So long, farewell, don’t come back

Summary: Romano is overseeing a trauma case Abby, Sam, and Neela are working on together. It’s not going well. Abby made the wrong call with medications, and Romano gets Neela to tell him what she should have used instead. (He is, unsurprisingly, racist in the process.) The patient doesn’t make it, but it’s okay because it’s just a practice dummy.

It’s Thanksgiving, but Abby doesn’t have any family in town, so she doesn’t seem too disappointed to have to spend the holiday at work. The ER is busy, and Luka can’t find a room for his patient, Mr. Garland, who has pneumonia. He needs IV antibiotics and isn’t thrilled to be away from his family on Thanksgiving. Luka asks Abby about her training, and she laments that she looked dumb. He thinks she’ll catch on in time.

Frank is annoyed that no one on the night shift decorated the admit area for the holiday. He thought his only responsibility was organizing the staff potluck. Sam has left Alex home alone, which sounds like a disaster in the making. She’s happy to only be working until 3:00, when she’ll get to spend Thanksgiving with her son for the first time in years.

Neela goes to grab a coffee from the desk and learns that the nurses have a coffee club with monthly dues. Looks like Abby’s still in the club. Susan’s overseeing med-student assignments, so maybe she’s more involved with them than I previously thought. Pratt catches Morris picking through charts for a patient who doesn’t have something gross wrong with them. Frank snaps a picture of the two of them with an old camera he found. He wonders what else is on the film roll.

Abby tends to a woman named Loren who worries that she’s having a miscarriage. She’s also HIV-positive. Lily asks Abby to work a nursing shift that night, even though she usually only does them on weekends. Susan offers to let her off her med-student rotation at 5:00 so she can take a nap before clocking back in. Abby resists taking one for the team, but agrees to work if no one else can come in.

Morris examines a man who’s been treating his glaucoma with some special medication his nephew gave him. That “special medication” should stay in his pocket so any cops who happen to be in the ER don’t see it. (That’s my way of saying it’s pot.) Coop is taking care of a man named Fritz who accidentally cut himself with an electric carving knife.

Paramedics bring in a man named Mr. Westbrook who was in a car accident. Pratt and Elizabeth quiz Morris as they start to work, but Morris wants to go back to his glaucoma patient. Pratt chastises him for giving up a great learning opportunity. Abby asks for a second person to be in the room while she performs a pelvic exam, but when Neela offers, Abby turns her down. Luka’s having trouble getting Mr. Garland admitted, but Mr. Garland is very patient and is willing to wait. That makes a total of one patient in the hospital who understands that you can’t always get treated right away.

As Neela learns what a turducken is, Abby does Loren’s pelvic exam and confirms that she’s miscarrying. Loren suddenly passes out, so Abby calls the admit desk to get Frank to find someone who can help her save her patient. Westbrook doesn’t want to be treated at County, so he starts to call his lawyer. (No, I don’t know why he thinks he needs a lawyer.) Pratt tells him he can’t use his cell phone in the ER, but Westbrook ignores him.

Pratt takes the phone from him just as Romano arrives. Westbrook went to Wharton with County’s CEO, which makes him a VIP, so Romano’s there to suck up and berate Pratt for not giving him special treatment. Pratt says he treats all his patients the same. Romano regrets letting Pratt continue working at County after his previous missteps. Pratt refuses to sign any papers allowing Westbrook to be transferred to another hospital, even if tests show he’s stable enough to go. Romano says it doesn’t matter, because Pratt’s fired.

Loren’s stable, despite some blood loss, but she’ll need to have a procedure to complete her miscarriage. Abby acts like it’s not a big deal, but Luka pulls her out of the room to say that because of some fibroids, it won’t be that simple. Abby needs to be more careful about what she tells patients. Pratt has ignored Romano and is still seeing patients. He even tries to get back on Westbrook’s case. Romano tells him that they’ll be meeting with Weaver and Anspaugh at the end of Pratt’s shift. Pratt comments to himself that this is the only way Romano can avoid spending Thanksgiving alone.

Frank snaps another candid picture as various staff members do various medical things. Morris gives his patient a prescription and tells him to stop using pot. Gallant arrives as Luka and Sam tend to patients who have had to hang out in the hallway because the ER is too full for them. Mr. Garland is still being patient; it helps that he likes to people-watch. Luka tells Sam to get restraints for him, which confuses her, since Mr. Garland is totally calm.

Coburn comes to see Loren, who needs exploratory surgery and could need a hysterectomy if Coburn can’t control her bleeding. Loren refuses to consent to that. Abby pulls Coburn out of the room to ask her to consider other options. She thinks Coburn is jumping to the most damaging solution because Loren has HIV.

Romano intervenes and sides with Coburn. He doesn’t think a woman who has HIV should be having children. Abby notes that Loren’s viral load is low and her chances of transmitting HIV to a baby are less than 3%. Romano says Loren will die before her kid turns ten. Coburn agrees to try something less invasive, but she can’t promise not to have to perform a hysterectomy.

Chuck brings Susan some flowers that he says he took from a dead patient at another hospital (I can’t tell if he’s joking or not). He wants to get together that night, but Susan isn’t interested. Westbrook’s transfer has been approved, and Chuck will be one of his flight nurses. Romano declines to accompany his patient to the roof as he’s loaded in the helicopter. Fair.

Abby sends Loren to surgery, promising to scrub in on her procedure later. Coop discharges Fritz, who says he doesn’t need painkillers – he’s immune to pain after ten years of marriage to his wife, Berta. Neela gives a girl helium (apparently it’s used for asthma patients sometimes) and demonstrates some good bedside manner.

Frank tells Romano that Westbrook left his watch in his trauma room, so Romano tells Neela (“Indira”) to take it to the roof. Frank thinks Romano won’t take it himself because he’s scared. Romano takes the bait and says he’ll go with Neela. As they’re leaving, Morris’ patient returns and complains that Morris stole his medication. Morris is currently in an alley, about to smoke that medication.

Luka and Sam take Mr. Garland to the ICU, and Luka uses restraints to attach him to a pillar so the ICU staff can’t get rid of him. Luka lies that Mr. Garland is a troublemaker and might leave against medical advice. He doesn’t buy Kit’s excuse that they can’t take more patients, since the ER accepts more than they can accommodate all the time.

Romano and Neela are quiet as he tries to hide his anxiety in the elevator on the way to the roof. The muzak is Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” When they reach the roof, Romano has a bit of a staredown with the helicopter. He stays in the elevator while Neela takes the watch to Westbrook. As Chuck is loading Westbrook on the helicopter, a flight nurse from the hospital where they’re taking Westbrook says that they’re at capacity and Chuck can’t come. Chuck says he has to, for insurance purposes, so the other nurse will have to leave.

Romano rushes back downstairs and outside to the ambulance bay, needing fresh air. He spots Morris smoking and sends him to the admit desk for a timeout. He’s not allowed to move until Romano comes to get him. On the roof, Neela and a nurse head back to the elevator after putting Westbrook on the helicopter. A strap on their gurney gets caught and they pause to free it. The helicopter suddenly comes back down, spinning on its side. Debris flies at Neela and the nurse, and a big chunk of metal hits the nurse in the back. The helicopter tips over and falls off the roof.

In the ICU, Luka and Sam are bickering over whether it’s okay to force the staff to admit Mr. Garland. Outside, the helicopter explodes, rocking the hospital. It falls out of the sky into the ambulance bay, landing right on top of Romano. No, really. No, REALLY. Romano is dead, and it’s because a helicopter fell on him. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

The ER staff starts preparing for mass traumas. Abby tells Susan that there was a helicopter crash, and Susan immediately worries that Chuck was involved. At this moment, she realizes she cares about him more than she thought. Abby gives Neela and Lester a crash course on triage and sends them to the ambulance bay to assess patients. Morris stays put at the admit desk, since Romano told him not to move.

Susan goes outside to see how bad the situation is. Uh, it’s bad. A bunch of people are hurt and a bunch of stuff is on fire. Susan is still worried about Chuck, but she has to set that aside to take care of a patient. Fritz is hurt but wants the staff to work on Berta first. Abby tells Susan she can go wait inside and let everyone else take care of the patients, but Susan isn’t going to sit out a mass trauma, even though she’s having trouble keeping her emotions under control.

The ICU is on fire and the phone lines are dead, so the staff can’t call for help from other departments. Luka has to undo Mr. Garland’s restraints to move him to safety, but he can’t find the key. Freaking A, Luka. Back outside, the staff is moving quickly to get patients into the ER. A firefighter tells Susan that so far, four people have been declared dead. Abby again gives Susan the chance to sit this out, but Susan won’t take it.

Luka tries to help a woman whose intubation melted because of the fire. ICK. He and Sam are both keeping their cool as they deal with critical patients in the middle of a smoky room. Weaver arrives outside, relieving Susan of her position as the current highest-ranking staff member. She’s not happy that Susan doesn’t know where Luka and Romano are, since she’s supposed to be the incident commander, but when Susan tells her that Chuck was on the helicopter, Weaver backs off.

Weaver joins Gallant to treat Fritz as Berta is taking up to surgery. Anspaugh has also arrived, having selflessly skipped out on Thanksgiving dinner to come lend a hand. Staff members transport patients around, including Dwight, who may have a concussion. Pratt praises Severa for continuing to work with an injured hand.

And then, like an angel from Heaven, Chuck steps off an elevator. He got taken off the flight at the last minute and has brought down another patient instead. Coop, who’s working with Susan, spots Chuck across the ER and comments that he thought Chuck was dead. Chuck gives Susan a wave through the window, having no clue that she thought the worst had happened. She runs to him and grabs him in a tight hug. He complains that the flight nurse who came with the helicopter wouldn’t let him fly with her. Susan points out that that woman saved his life. She has to go back to work, but she takes a moment to be relieved that he’s okay, with just a scrape on his back.

Luka’s having trouble with his patient in the ICU, and the department is short-staffed, so it’s basically just him, Sam, and Kit taking care of everyone. Luka finally stabilizes his patient, then goes to help Kit as Sam heads to the OR to get some more supplies. In the ER, Pratt is tending to a patient with a carotid injury that’s left him paralyzed. From the next trauma room, Weaver tells him to send the patient to surgery. Pratt doesn’t think he’ll live that long, so he preps for a procedure in the trauma room.

Coop’s asthma is acting up, so he takes some helium, which of course makes him sound funny. Suddenly Chuck collapses in an exam room. Abby realizes his back is bleeding. Neela goes looking for a doctor, but everyone’s busy. She goes back to Abby, who’s working with Lester to revive Chuck. He needs to be intubated, but none of the med students wants to take the lead. Abby steps up and gets it done, but Chuck has an injury to his spleen and needs a central line, something an attending usually handles.

Luka, Sam, and Kit are working on the last critical patient in the ICU. Trivia: Sam used to be a surgical tech. Somehow, there’s an OR available, and Anspaugh takes the patient right up, complaining that he has to miss Thanksgiving. Oh, wah. At least you don’t have metal in your spleen like poor Chuck does. Sam realizes she’s two hours past the time she was supposed to go home. Luka tells Mr. Garland that his burns aren’t too bad. “I liked it better downstairs,” Mr. Garland replies. “I only had pneumonia downstairs.”

Fritz doesn’t make it, and once Weaver declares him dead, she goes next door to check in with Pratt. He couldn’t get a surgeon to take his patient up, so he’s doing the procedure Weaver told him not to do. She’s surprised to see that the procedure worked and the patient is no longer paralyzed. I’m sure Pratt will get yelled at later, but for now, it’s hard to argue with his results.

Neela goes looking for an attending again, which is how Susan learns that Chuck is now a patient. Abby admits to doing procedures she wasn’t supposed to as a med student, but she gets Susan to sign the paperwork saying she did them. Elizabeth comes to get Chuck so he can go to surgery. Susan heads up with them, tearfully thanking Abby for saving his life. Abby and Neela have their first quiet moment in hours, wondering if the chaos is over.

Later, Coburn tells Abby that she tried to be conservative while treating Loren but she ultimately had to do a hysterectomy. I think Abby’s just grateful that she considered all her options before making the decision. Alex arrives, excited because there was a big disaster. He invites Luka to join him and Sam for dinner at a diner, since Sam didn’t have time to cook. Sam resists, but Alex talks her into letting him come.

Anspaugh goes to get Pratt so they can have their meeting with Romano, who’s MIA (of course). Weaver is still tending to a patient and tells them to fill her in later. Romano has sent Anspaugh a bunch of Pratt’s disciplinary letters, and it’s enough to merit a suspension, but Anspaugh doesn’t buy any of it. Since Romano’s the only one who’s complained, and he didn’t bother to show up to this meeting, Anspaugh won’t take him seriously. Plus, he saw Pratt in action today and knows he’s a great doctor.

Alex wants French toast for dinner. No one cares. He’s annoyed with Sam for ruining their Thanksgiving, and he starts to burn a little figurine in the candle on the table. Luka wisely excuses himself. Sam asks Alex why he invited Luka, and why he considers a man over the age of 30 his friend. She knows Alex is trying to fix them up. Alex says Luka’s his friend, not Sam’s.

Abby gave some orders for a patient hours ago, but because of all the chaos, none of the nurses completed them. Abby confuses the patient by saying she’ll do it, since she’s a nurse now. Lester and Neela ask Abby a couple of questions about treatments, and she demonstrates her medical knowledge. Someone took the time to develop the pictures Frank took earlier, and Lily and Chuny laugh over one of Pratt. Morris is still at the desk, since Romano hasn’t let him out of timeout. Pratt can’t believe he sat out the entire mass casualty.

The other pictures on the film roll are from a couple Christmases ago, and Chuny points out Mark to Neela. Lily gives Abby one of her with Romano in the background. There’s a staff photo that includes Mark and Carter, and Lily asks if anyone has heard from Carter recently. Frank says he sent a postcard a month ago. Chuny asks how he is, and Abby says she doesn’t know. Cut to Carter in the Congo, with a beard and a woman named Kem who wants him to come back to bed. So I’d say he’s doing pretty well.

Chuck is out of surgery, and Susan visits him with the flowers he gave her earlier. He jokes that he should fake his death more often. He knew the two of them would end up spending the evening together. Awww, you guys, she loves him! Outside, Abby returns from a coffee run and meets up with Neela, who’s impressed with how well they handled the day’s crisis. It was a roller-coaster. She usually hates them, but she liked this one. Abby offers her coffee, and Neela says she’s not in the club, but Abby bought an extra one. Meanwhile, a crew lifts up the helicopter and finds Romano’s body underneath.

Thoughts: Kem is played by the fantastic Thandie Newton, who is ten times more talented than she ever gets to show in this series.

I have to wonder what went through Paul McCrane’s (Romano) head when he found out how his character was going to die. “A helicopter? Again? …Seriously?”

Ugh, naming a German character Fritz is so lazy.

The scene where Susan and Chuck reunite gets me every time. Even if you don’t like or care about them together, you have to enjoy that moment.

November 2, 2021

ER 9.17, The Advocate: How I Killed Your Lover

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

Haaaaaaaave you met Keith?

Summary: Weaver is at a City Council meeting, arguing against the closing of a clinic that helps a huge amount of underserved people. Thanks in part to Alderman Bright, the vote goes in her favor. He’s proud of her tenacity and thinks she could become surgeon general someday. As the two of them go to his office to chat, he dodges a call from someone about an amendment allowing gay marriage. Bright says he’s sympathetic to the cause but it will never pass, and he won’t allow the amendment to tank his bill.

Alone in his office, Bright tells Weaver that he needs a favor. Remember how he has syphilis? His partner is showing symptoms as well. Make that his top-secret partner who happens to work for him. It’s all consensual and legal, and the two are in love, so this isn’t an issue of Bright wanting Weaver to break any laws. He just needs her to treat his partner and not tell anyone. Weaver says no, since she could lose her license, and she’s already risked it once to treat Bright himself. He tells her he understands…but they’re voting that afternoon to possibly eliminate emergency services at County, so…you know…she might want to change her mind.

Carter’s Jeep is in the shop, so Millicent has him dropped off at County before she goes to do whatever it is she does all day. He gives her back the engagement ring he’d planned to give Abby, since he never offered it to her. He doesn’t think Abby knows he was planning to propose. Carter suspects that Millicent is relieved, since she’s never exactly sung Abby’s praises. Millicent gives the ring back to him and tells him she trusts his choices. He can marry whomever he wants.

It’s that time of year when med students put in their bids for where they want to serve their residency. Gallant is considering specializing in emergency medicine and staying at County. He still has a few years left in his military obligations, but he can roll them into his residency. As a guy shows up looking for Weaver, Susan complains about all the drinking that lands people in the ER around St. Patrick’s Day. On a positive note, she’s looking forward to a quick trip to Las Vegas with Chen and some other co-workers. Susan tries to sneak a peek at Abby’s hand, but she’s not wearing a ring, so Susan just looks weird.

Luka, Elizabeth, and Abby start to tend to an unidentified teenager who was found unconscious at Union Station. Myers wants to talk to Luka, who was supposed to continue having sessions with him but keeps blowing them off. He doesn’t see the point in therapy. As Myers leaves, Luka voices over that it’s hard to connect with the patients he treats. They come in at their most vulnerable, and the staff gets to know a little more about them, but it’s all temporary. There’s no real connection. The voiceover is coming from a conversation Luka’s having at another time with someone we can’t see.

Elizabeth asks her patient, now ID’d as Molly, if she remembers what happened to her. She’s been participating in a boot camp-type program for troubled teens, and she says one of the counselors beat her. Elizabeth wants to call Molly’s mother, but Molly says her mother was the one who sent her to the boot camp.

The guy looking for Weaver finally finds her and reveals that he’s the secret partner Bright wanted her to treat. Weaver tries to keep a poker face over the fact that he’s, well, a he, since she assumed Bright was seeing a woman. Keith is also a lot younger than Bright; he’s in grad school. As Weaver gives him a shot of penicillin, Keith says that he hopes he didn’t give Bright syphilis. OH, HONEY.

Carter treats a woman named Mrs. Sanberry, who’s showing signs of arsenic poisoning from the wood-processing plant where she worked for many years. Away from the patient, he and Abby commiserate over how Mrs. Sanberry and her husband keep sniping at each other. Molly’s mother, Mrs. Banks, arrives, having been called by the boot camp. She claims that Molly ran away the second day of camp, so no one there could have assaulted her. Mrs. Banks sent her there because she’s been acting out for three years. Elizabeth silently thinks about how lucky she is that Rachel no longer lives in her home.

Anspaugh tells Weaver that County’s budget has passed without any cuts. He appreciates whatever she’s been doing to maintain a good relationship with Bright. Just then, Frank tells Weaver that Keith has been brought back in after passing out across the street. When Susan wonders if he has any allergies, Weaver realizes he must be having a reaction to the penicillin she gave him. She lies that she doesn’t know why he was looking for her earlier.

Once Keith is stable, Weaver leaves a message for Bright to call her back ASAP. She casually tells Susan that Keith works at City Hall, but Susan has already connected the dots, since Keith and Bright both have syphilis. (She thinks Bright left without having it treated, though, since Weaver covered up his treatment.) Weaver plays innocent, saying they don’t know for sure that Keith’s allergic reaction was to penicillin.

As Keith regains consciousness, Weaver finds an excuse to send Abby out of his trauma room so she can talk to him alone. She tells him that the doctors will figure out what happened, but he needs to keep quiet about his connection to Bright. “We have to protect him,” she insists. She suggests a cover story: Keith took a friend’s penicillin so he wouldn’t have to see a doctor.

Frank thinks he got rabies from a fish that bit him while he was reeling it in. Carter says it’s just an infection. Thanks for your contribution to this episode, Frank. Abby confirms for Carter that Mrs. Sanberry has high levels of arsenic in her blood; maybe she’s depressed and tried to kill herself. He notices a patch on the back of Abby’s neck, and she tells him she’s trying to quit smoking. In fact, she stopped smoking a few days ago, but Carter didn’t notice.

Molly isn’t happy about her mother being at the hospital, since Mrs. Banks lied about where they were going when she took her to the boot camp. Elizabeth angrily tells Molly to stop yelling and struggling. Instead, Molly kicks an equipment tray into her mother’s face. As Elizabeth has Molly restrained, Mrs. Banks tells Weaver that her daughter has been acting out like this since she was two.

Luka has a new patient who doesn’t even make it to a trauma room before Weaver tells him to declare time of death. The man is Sikh and was shot by someone who tried to order him to leave a bus. Cool, another reason to feel depressed about racism in America, and for Luka to feel depressed about everything in general. Weaver notices Susan and Abby extubating Keith and goes in to make sure he doesn’t say anything he shouldn’t. Keith tells Susan and Abby exactly what Weaver suggested he say – he took a friend’s penicillin when his ex-girlfriend told him she had syphilis.

Gallant is struggling to examine a very unhappy baby who might have an ear infection. He blows up a glove like a balloon, which makes the baby happy. Gallant asks Luka to write him a recommendation for his dean’s file, but Luka declines without giving a reason. Weaver tries to reach Bright again, then confronts Luka for blowing off therapy with Myers. He insists again that he doesn’t need it.

Keith is declining again, this time because of a perforation in his stomach. Weaver blames Abby for bagging him too hard. Susan defends her, but Weaver ignores her. Abby checks in next door, where Molly is experiencing a complication from her assault. She has a hematoma near her eye, and the collection of blood is affecting her vision. Elizabeth has to make a small incision next to her eye to drain the blood. Molly gets scared and asks for her mother to stay with her.

Luka voices over that when a patient is scared, you say everything will be okay, no matter how bad things are. Secretly, he’s always disgusted with himself, with his co-workers, and with the system. Elizabeth makes the incision. It’s gross. Ugh. I have a thing about eye trauma. Elizabeth leaves Luka to stitch Molly up so she can go help Weaver and Susan with Keith, who needs surgery.

Now that she’s not scared anymore, Molly no longer has any desire to see her mother. Luka points out that she was just there holding Molly’s hand, so she must care. Molly argues that that doesn’t make up for all the years they’ve spent fighting. She thinks her mother hates her. She doesn’t care, since Molly hates her, too. Luka thinks she’s still the scared girl she was just a few minutes ago. It’s better for Molly to be at home with someone she constantly fights with than on the street, being assaulted. Molly asks him to talk to Mrs. Banks about letting her come home.

Weaver watches Keith’s surgery through a gallery window, unable to do anything when the surgeons lose his pulse. Luka and Gallant fix up the guy who shot the Sikh man, which you know Luka is thrilled about. Romano comes by for a consult and accidentally gets his reattached arm stuck under the head of the patient’s bed. Obviously he doesn’t have enough feeling in the arm to notice.

Carter and Abby send Mrs. Sanberry off for treatment, now a little amused about how much she and her husband fight. Hey, Pablo’s back! Hi, Pablo! Carter invites Abby to get dinner, but she has plans…with her AA sponsor. She’s back on the wagon. Gallant tells Luka he’s thinking of applying to County for his residency match; he wanted a letter of recommendation for his application. Luka still doesn’t want to write it.

The two hear yelling from the ER and rush in to find the baby choking on the glove balloon Gallant blew up for him. Luka fishes around the baby’s throat for it, trying to go by feel instead of sight. He voices over that he has a lot of skills as a doctor – maybe not the same skills as his colleagues, but enough to help him save lives. Just today, he helped save Molly’s sight, and he saved the baby. But he didn’t feel anything.

Anspaugh wants to meet with Weaver and Romano, but Bright is just now arriving at the hospital, so Weaver wants to deal with him first. She’s quietly furious with him for not taking her calls earlier, and for forcing her to treat Keith off the record. He didn’t survive surgery. Before Bright can react to the news, Romano approaches, and Bright puts on his politician face to pretend he’s just there to check on a staff member.

He takes Weaver to a quiet spot where they have enough privacy for her to rant about everything that went wrong. Bright argues that he told Keith he was going to receive penicillin, and Keith clearly didn’t know he was allergic to it, so this would have happened whether he was treated off the record or in the manner he should have been.

Weaver wants to come clean, but Bright thinks all their tracks have been covered, so there’s no reason. Weaver is upset that a man died and Bright doesn’t seem to care. He says he does, but for someone who claims to have been in love with Keith, he sure doesn’t seem upset that Keith is dead. He tells Weaver that if she confesses to something that wasn’t her fault, people will treat her like it was.

Bright asks if Keith said anything about him, and Weaver assures him that he didn’t. “He loved you, and I killed him trying to hide that for you,” she tells him. He wants her to make an appearance at a press conference addressing Keith’s death, but Weaver would clearly rather be anywhere else. As she walks away, Bright congratulates her for her successes of the day.

Weaver goes to the meeting with Anspaugh and Romano, which is already tense. Anspaugh has decided to remove Romano as chief of staff and give Weaver the position. After storming out because he’s a child, Romano goes to Elizabeth for treatment for some scrapes he got when his arm was stuck in the bed. He’s running out of patience for making a full recovery, and he knows no one else thinks he’ll regain full use of his arm. He wonders if they all think this is karma. Yeah, he’s brutally honest, but isn’t that better than lying? He doesn’t think he deserves this.

As they leave work together, Carter gets Abby to confirm that she knew he was going to propose the other night. He says the moment didn’t feel right, but he’s not sure why. Maybe that means something in their relationship isn’t working. Abby basically gives him permission to break up with her. Carter says he’s confused because she’s suddenly a completely new person, with her nicotine patch and her return to AA. It’s great if it’s real, meaning she wants to be different, but not if she’s only doing this to prove something to him.

Abby angrily says it’s not about him. She woke up sick of herself, and she wouldn’t blame Carter if he’s sick of her, too. She feels like she’s always disappointing him and that will never change. Carter yells at her to stop with her “fatalistic, black-cloud, nothing-good-is-ever-going-to-happen routine.” Abby says it’s not a routine – that’s who she is. Carter asks what he has to do to get through to her. Well, nothing, right now, because he just gets in his now-fixed Jeep to leave. As Abby heads off on foot, Carter follows her and they silently make up. This relationship is ridiculous.

Luka tries to convince Mrs. Banks to let Molly come home, but Mrs. Banks refuses. Elizabeth, holding Ella, intervenes and tries to reason with Mrs. Banks in a much calmer way. Mrs. Banks thinks Molly will just go back to her old ways. She can’t keep dealing with a daughter who doesn’t want to change. She tells Elizabeth to enjoy Ella while she’s still too young to hate her mother.

In the lounge, Gallant admits to Luka that he feels horrible that the baby choked on the glove. Luka tells him not to worry about it, since they saved the baby. He adds that Gallant is one of the best medical students to come through County in a long time, and the hospital would be lucky to have him if he matched there.

As Luka leaves, he voices over that a recommendation letter from him wouldn’t mean much. He just goes through the motions at work, day after day. It looks like he’s talking to someone in an office, but it’s not Myers – it’s a woman. He tells her about a cartoon he once saw of a man stuck in a room with two doors. One door says, “Do not enter,” and the other says, “Do not exit.” All the man can do is sit there. The camera pulls back to show that Luka’s not in an office after all, and he’s definitely not talking to a therapist. His conversation partner is a prostitute, and she’s ready to get down to business.

Susan happily finishes up her shift as Chen arrives, already dressed for a night in Vegas before they even get on the plane. The news is showing Bright’s earlier press conference about Keith’s death. Weaver is standing behind him, looking shell-shocked. Bright only says generic things about Keith, as if he was just a normal member of Bright’s staff. In the present, Susan and Weaver exchange a glance, Susan looking like she’s horrified and disappointed by Weaver’s actions.

Thoughts: Keith is played by Josh Radnor (hence my recap title).

This episode is pretty timely, since boot camps for troubled teens have been in the news recently.

I really like Susan standing up to Weaver for Abby. As I’ve said before I love how Susan doesn’t look down on Abby for being a nurse – she treats her as an equal. I think it’s because Susan’s spent so many years in the ER and gets how hard all the nurses work.

I don’t think anything ever comes from Weaver’s actions in this episode – not in terms of consequences, but in how what she did affects her. I hate when something big happens and the writers never follow up.

October 12, 2021

ER 9.14, No Strings Attached: In an Instant

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

When your boss is arguing with his boss and you’re just trying to do your job

Summary: Carter, Abby, and Weaver help a paramedic bring in a teenager named Gayla who was hit by a car outside her school. Paramedic Dwight tells Chen and Pratt that a 16-year-old plowed through a crowd of her classmates, resulting in multiple trauma cases. Romano checks on them and predicts that their patient will die and Gayla will need surgery. He assures Gayla that she’ll be fine, since he never lets anything bad happen to pretty girls like her. Good thing she’s not ugly – he’d let her die!

Anspaugh stops by the ER and asks Romano to chat, even though Romano wants to take Gayla to surgery. Anspaugh reminds him that he doesn’t have OR privileges; he can only observe. As Anspaugh leaves, he congratulates Weaver for something. Abby and Susan wait for an ambulance, talking about whether 16 is too young for someone to be allowed to drive. Susan asks if Carter might be able to cover one of her shifts, but he’s on his way to Belize for a scuba trip. Susan mentions that she agreed to go on a set-up date.

Paramedics bring in another teen victim, Sasha. She’s followed by Helen, the driver of the car that hit everyone. Chen and Pratt’s patient isn’t responsive, so Weaver tells them to declare her dead already. Helen’s distressed to see what bad shape she’s in.

Frank complains to Chen that Bright has sent Weaver a bottle of champagne, probably at the taxpayers’ expense. Carter spots Pratt flirting with Chen and asks her what that’s about. Chen says they’re not exclusive. Maggie calls, but Abby doesn’t want to delay her departure to talk to her. She tells Carter that her mother is trying to make things up to her and be a family again. How dare she!

Chuny asks Susan to tend to a teenager named Sean who’s in the waiting area (he’s not from the car incident). First, Susan talks to Gallant about Helen, who only has minor injuries. Either a scene was cut from the last episode or she had tests done between episodes, because Helen has been diagnosed with hepatitis. She claims that she hit her classmates because she swerved to avoid a squirrel in the road. Frank tells Susan that her set-up date called, asking to change the restaurant where they were supposed to meet.

On the OR floor, Romano learns that some of his responsibilities are changing. Weaver comes up to tell him she’s about to go to a press conference. She hopes he’s not too disappointed about the liaison role he missed out on. Romano says that, unlike the person who got the slot, he has two good legs. Yeah, but only one good arm, so…shut up, Romano. He figures Bright appointed Weaver to the position because he wants something from her. She shoots back that not everyone is an “opportunistic a%$#&^@” like Romano. I guess the censors figured since they let one swear word through last season, there’s no harm in letting that one through, too.

Carter and Abby have a quickie at her place before he leaves for Belize. She tells him she has “Afternoon Delight” stuck in her head. She bugs him by singing it off-key. When the phone rings, she unplugs it. Back at County, Bright holds a press conference announcing that Weaver has been named the medical liaison to the county’s public health care administration. Anspaugh and Romano are in attendance, and only one of them is happy about it.

Of course, since Weaver’s a woman, a reporter (also a woman – come on, lady, don’t do that!) asks how holding this position on top of her regular job will affect Weaver’s personal life. Bright says Weaver’s single, then jokes that the two of them should get together. Romano barely keeps from rolling his eyes.

Susan reluctantly changes her date from a steakhouse to someplace the guy will be comfortable in as a vegan. Sean has to explain what that is to her. He’s still waiting for her to treat him, but he’ll have to keep waiting, since paramedics are now bringing in an elderly woman named Wilma. Her daughter Sharon is her caretaker and thinks Wilma has something other than pneumonia, which she’s had before.

Pratt flirts with Chen again, this time in the drug lock-up, then apologizes for flirting in front of other people. He’s okay with keeping things professional so their colleagues don’t gossip about them. Too late, since Chuny spots them together and is obviously going to tell everyone about this. She thinks Pratt’s in love with Chen, who doesn’t seem as into him.

Pratt examines a man named Vitelli who’s struggling with symptoms of pernicious anemia. He’s felt a lot better after his diagnosis, since he sticks to his doctor’s recommendations, but his doctor died, so now Vitelli needs someone else to administer his medication. He shows Pratt his card identifying him as the president of a group for people with pernicious anemia.

Susan tells Sharon that Wilma has a kidney infection on top of other health problems. A couple of girls from Helen’s school show up, looking for information on their friends. Susan can’t tell them anything, since they’re not family. One of the girls decides to interrogate Helen about what happened. The other girl protests, since Helen’s a freak. Helen tells Susan they’re popular; obviously, Helen isn’t.

Bright is pleased with his new working relationship with Weaver, though Susan isn’t sure exactly what she’ll be doing. She asks if it’ll help them get extra nurses added to each shift. Luka hasn’t shown up for work, so Weaver calls him and leaves him a message ordering him to come in. If he doesn’t, she’ll call INS, tell them his green card is fake, and have him deported. There’s a side of Weaver that Bright will most likely never see.

Gallant is hesitant to go treat Helen, for some reason. Frank tells Abby that Maggie left two more messages and insisted that Abby call her back. He then offers to run a background check on Susan’s date. She says she already looked into him and he’s never been arrested. Frank notes that that just means he’s never been caught. Susan tries to get Abby to agree to go out that night so she has an excuse to skip her date.

Pratt, Chen, and Abby go out to a cab in the ambulance bay, where the driver has brought in an unconscious woman. She wakes up as they’re treating her for stab wounds and identifies herself as Monica. Her driver tells the staff to look in her bra for money so he can collect his fare – he’s sure Monica’s a hooker. Pratt kicks him out. Romano brings in some students and quickly determines that Monica doesn’t need surgery. As they leave, Abby asks Chen who should sign the chart for the surgical consult. Romano angrily tells her he’s still head of surgery and chief of staff.

Weaver helps Gallant tend to Helen, who’s sure her classmates will now hate her even more than they already did. Weaver tries to reassure her that they won’t; it was an accident. She lost control of her car in the rain. When she examines Helen’s eyes, she starts asking about any muscle problems Helen might have. She brings Susan in and reveals that Helen might have Wilson’s disease, which causes copper to build up in her brain and liver. Susan missed it when Helen was there before.

Wilma is declining, and Susan tells Sharon that it might be time to let her go, since she’s so old and sick. Sharon says she needs her mother, but not the way Susan thinks – she needs Wilma’s Social Security checks. Monica tells Chen and Abby that one of her regular clients went nuts and stabbed her. She only works as a prostitute to provide for her kids. It allows her to be there when they get home from school. She just works after they go to bed. Chen objects to her leaving her kids alone at night.

A police officer named Beechum arrives, and Monica says she doesn’t want to talk to him. Abby goes to greet him and learns that he’s not there for Monica – he’s there for Abby. Eric disappeared while flying his new plane. That’s why Maggie’s been trying to reach Abby all morning. Abby goes to the lounge to call the FAA and try to find out what happened. Eric’s plane disappeared from radar, so they don’t have much to go on. Abby has already tried to page Carter at the airport in hopes of reaching him before he flies out to Belize, but she hasn’t called Maggie back yet. She asks Susan not to talk to anyone about this.

Abby heads back to her shift, and Chuny tells her that Monica’s kids are in the waiting area. They think she was mugged. Chen tells Abby that Monica lied to the cops about what happened to her; she said she fell through a window. Haleh gives Pratt Vitelli’s lab results, which show that he doesn’t have pernicious anemia after all. Looks like someone’s doctor wasn’t as thorough as he should have been.

Abby tends to Monica’s remaining minor wounds as her kids bicker like regular siblings. It no doubt makes Abby think about her own childhood with Eric. Weaver gets confirmation that Helen has Wilson’s disease and lets her and her father know. (The hepatitis was a misdiagnosis caused by a build-up of copper in her liver.) It causes jerky movements, which may be why Helen crashed her car.

Frank, Haleh, and Chuny do some Internet research on Susan’s date, and since he’s hot, she decides she might be able to put up with him being a vegan. Despite Abby’s insistence that no one find out, the nurses know about Eric’s disappearance. She worries that people are gossiping about her, but Susan promises that they’re just concerned.

Chen talks to a social worker about Monica and her kids; he thinks they should be removed from her care. Abby objects, since they’ve seen much worse cases of neglect. Chen tells her that, as a nurse, Abby doesn’t get a vote. Susan talks to Wilma about signing a DNR, but it doesn’t look like she’s in the right mental state to make that kind of decision right now.

Gallant finds Abby smoking on the roof and offers to help her in her quest for information about Eric. She asks if he believes that people can die instantly. Time can slow down right before a disaster or tragedy. But maybe if your plane crashes into Lake Superior at 200 miles per hour, you don’t feel any pain or fear. Gallant asks why she thinks the plane crashed nose-first. Abby pauses, then lies, “I don’t know.”

Later, Gallant gives Pratt a postcard Leon sent from Baltimore. He seems to be doing well there. As Pratt heads out, he exchanges greetings with Amira, who’s definitely interested in him. Vitelli is still hanging around the ER, unsure what to do with himself. All his friends have pernicious anemia, so they’re too tired to go out. He built his whole life around a disease he doesn’t actually have. Now what?

Carter calls and Abby tells him that Eric’s plane disappeared. She tries to downplay how serious this could be. Carter immediately offers to come home, but she says they should wait. Eric could turn up at any moment. She tries to stop herself from crying as she heads back to work, trying to distract herself from her personal problems.

Susan checks on Helen, who asks if any other teens died in the accident. She confirms that only a girl named Terri died; not Sasha. Sasha was meaner, though none of the popular girls was ever nice to her. Susan hears yelling in the hallway and looks out to find the social worker taking Monica’s kids away. Chen only sees the situation as black and white – Monica left her kids alone at night, so she shouldn’t be allowed to keep them. Abby, who was left alone many times as a kid, just says, “Yeah.”

Weaver stabilizes Wilma, despite Susan’s attempts to get her to sign a DNR. Susan tells Weaver that she thinks Helen purposely hit her classmates with her car. The Wilson’s disease is just a coincidence. Weaver isn’t sure about that. Susan finally gets around to seeing Sean, who has a clotted PICC line (a catheter in his arm). He has it because he’s undergoing treatment for testicular cancer.

Romano checks on Gayla, who, of course, is fine, because she’s pretty. He tells Anspaugh that he’ll limit his supervisory duties, as Anspaugh wants, but he still wants to be kept on the surgical schedule, even if he can’t operate right now. Anspaugh wants him to spend more time working with students.

Weaver tells Helen and her father that she needs to speak to a psychiatrist. She’s come around to agreeing with Susan that Helen may have deliberately hurt her classmates. Susan chats with Sean while she takes care of him. Abby heads out for the night, pretending everything’s totally fine in her life and she can spend the evening alone. When Susan’s date arrives to pick her up, Susan lies that she needs to stick around to take care of Sean. Also, they shouldn’t reschedule. Susan doesn’t feel an instant connection with him, and she doesn’t want to give up steak. Hey, better to get that out in the open now, right?

After having sex on Pratt’s couch, he and Chen talk about Leon’s departure from Chicago. He’s used to living with a bunch of kids, so he prefers a lot of noise. Living alone is weird for him. He asks Chen if she wants kids, unaware that she once had a baby. She tells him about that, and it kind of puts a damper on their evening.

Meanwhile, Abby goes home and ignores the 17 messages on her answering machine. She stays up late, smoking, then tries to call Maggie, who doesn’t pick up. Sometime later, Abby goes to the grocery store in the middle of the night and buys a bottle of alcohol.

Thoughts: Sean is played by Patrick Fugit. Sharon is played by June Squibb.

Please, Romano wouldn’t want Weaver’s liaison position. He would hate anything to do with public health because he thinks the public is full of idiots.

Gallant should have been the next Carter and I’ll be mad about it until the day I die.

I’m not sure why the writers decided Susan’s only real plot this season should be befriending a teenager, but at least she’s getting to do stuff now.

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