December 4, 2018

ER 2.21, Take These Broken Wings: The Kids Are All Right (But Their Parents Aren’t)

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:11 pm by Jenn

Sherry Stringfield is really good in this story arc

Summary: Susan is talking to someone about Susie, and her struggles with being alone now. Susie’s birthday is coming up, and Susan won’t be with her for it. She’s trying to see the positive side of not having to take care of a baby, saying that her life is going back to the way it was before she was Susie’s mother. She follows a woman into a church to return her dropped scarf, and chats with the priest for a minute. The choir is practicing a song for a christening, and Susan is overwhelmed. The priest asks if he can help her.

At County, Mark is going over the patient load with Weaver and amusing himself by putting some of Rachel’s plastic spiders on the board. Weaver says Susan’s late, but Mark says she worked a few extra hours the night before, so she doesn’t have to come in yet. He thinks Weaver just wants her to be late so she can use it as an excuse not to nominate Susan for chief resident. Lydia interrupts to show off her engagement ring – she and Al (the police officer, not Jeanie’s ex) are engaged.

Doug and Karen go jogging, continuing to be an actual interesting couple while still being kind of gross because of her past with his father. Mark and Weaver keep discussing Susan as they start working on a patient who’s beyond saving. Well, Lydia and Haleh do all the work while Mark and Weaver talk. Lydia shows Haleh her ring over the patient’s body.

Susan goes to the hospital’s daycare to pay her bill, but Dottie, the woman who would deal with it, is on her way out the door for a field trip. Susan looks around the room where Susie spent her days but will never return. All that’s left of her is a pair of paint handprints. At some other point in time, Susan tells someone about Susie’s birth and how much she felt like a part of her niece’s life.

Mark tells Jerry to clear a curtain area since Loretta’s on her way in. Mark treats her as gently and kindly as he always does. Carol finds Susan taking a moment to herself and offers to listen if Susan ever wants to talk. Susan doesn’t. Carol then goes to talk to Riley, chastising him for filing a complaint against Shep. Riley says the job shouldn’t be done the way Shep does it. Carol asks who died and left him the voice of wisdom. “Raul, that’s who,” Riley shoots back. She tells him to get off his high horse and learn something from Shep. But an investigation into Shep’s behavior has already started.

Mark examines Loretta and tries to assure her that her kids are being looked after. Shep complains to Carol about the investigation and how Riley has no right to say anything about his behavior because he’s so new. Carol is siding with Shep and plans to tell the investigator that the kid he pushed just stumbled into the table. But she would appreciate if Shep would go away and leave her alone.

Lydia’s trying to wrangle Loretta’s kids as Carter and Doug take in a ten-year-old patient named T.C. She’s feeling sick and wants to be fixed ASAP so she’ll be ready for a basketball tournament that weekend. As a baby, she had an operation on her liver, and I’m no doctor but I’m pretty sure her yellow skin means something’s wrong with her liver again. Her coach tells Doug that her parents are on the way, but he has to leave her there to go look after the rest of the kids on his team.

Iris appears to still be involved with Mark, since he’s the one she comes to when she has an allergy attack thanks to a photo shoot with cats. Loretta’s kids, Annie and Jimmy, steal her camera while she’s with Mark. A woman brings in her six-month-old, Grace, who isn’t breathing after a seizure. Susan and Weaver try to stay calm while the mother, Mrs. Ramsey, panics. Susan has trouble intubating the baby, so Weaver takes over.

Annie and Jimmy use the camera lens as a telescope to spy on Iris. They also catch Lydia and Al making out. Carter busts them by yelling so loudly that he scares both them and the lovebirds. They flee to a trauma room and spy on Susan, who thinks they’re cute. Her monologue continues as she talks about her childhood. She wishes Chloe had stayed as competent as she was in her younger years, so she would have been a better mother.

Doug and Karen meet up for lunch, and if you’ve never seen a woman in designer clothes eat a hot dog from a street vendor, here’s your chance. She tells Doug that she heard from Ray, who’s living it up on her dime in Mexico. Doug’s surprised that he doesn’t want to see her. Karen wonders if he doesn’t want Ray to come back and find out that his son is sleeping with his girlfriend. Is this all just some bizarre revenge scheme?

Carter and T.C. talk about basketball while Benton examines her. Benton demonstrates that he does actually know how to talk to a young patient by contributing to the conversation. T.C. needs a new liver, and this illness moves her up the waiting list; she’ll also have to stay hospitalized until she gets a transplant. Al (Jeanie’s ex, not Lydia’s fiancé) shows up and asks Benton to examine him since he’s coming down with something.

Iris gets her camera back, and Mark is about to ask her out, I think, when they’re interrupted by a little girl named Lily. She has a hermit crab stuck on her hand, and she’s afraid he’ll die if they cut him off. Iris knows a trick to save the crab, thanks to a Jacques Cousteau ripoff documentary, and she uses some water to do the trick.

Weaver ends up examining Al, and learning that he and Jeanie are married but separated. He thinks he has the flu and just hasn’t been able to shake it for a few weeks. Everyone who’s seen any episode of this show after this one: “Oh, sweetie, no.” Al (okay, I’m calling him Al G. from now on because this freaking show won’t cut me a break) brings in a guy who roughed him up a little, leaving him bruised for his engagement celebration at the Ritz Carlton.

Jeanie learns that Al is at County and takes a look at his chart. She excuses herself as quickly as she can and calls to expedite his test results. Carol meets with the investigator, David Haskell, who presents Shep and Riley’s different narratives of the event in question. Shep says he gave the boy a light shove, while Riley says Shep “slammed” him. Carol lies that she was in the room the whole time, because otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to witness the shove.

Doug tells Mark about his fight with Karen and her accusations about his desire for revenge. Mark says that Ray stealing Karen’s money isn’t Doug’s fault. But Doug feels bad because he knows Ray doesn’t have the money – it’s the cash he gave Doug. Mark urges him to give it back, but Doug already spent half of it on Brett’s treatment. Mark decides he’s done trying to puzzle out this situation.

Susan confronts Weaver for not telling her everything she found on Grace’s examination – she’s being abused. Weaver calmly says she’s handling things, and Susan doesn’t need to get involved in dealing with Mrs. Ramsey. Susan’s distressed that they can’t do more to solve the situation. All they can do is help Grace. Susan monologues about Grace and how she’s never going to find out how things turned out. It’s part of her job, though; she treats a patient and then sends him or her on his way. She admits that Weaver impressed her in her attitude toward the case.

Carter tells T.C. that even though her illness is scary, she’ll be okay for a few months in case a transplant doesn’t come quickly. And once she gets a new liver, she’ll be fine. Carter offers to hang out with her while she’s in the hospital and watch the playoffs with her. T.C.’s sad that she won’t get to play in her own tournament. Mark meets Susan for a late lunch, and she complains that Weaver took over Grace’s intubation. She’s going to therapy, and she’s doing a little better, but she’s not happy. Mark wishes he could do more to help.

Susan monologues that it would be a lot easier if she were helping a patient through a difficult time, instead of going through it herself. In med school she learned how to deliver bad news, but as a doctor she learned that those simulations weren’t realistic. The first person she gave bad news to just walked away. Now that Susan’s had all sorts of experience delivering bad news, she knows how to move on. But now that she’s the one dealing with it, she can’t move on. She can still feel Susie with her, and she doesn’t want to move on.

Riley asks Carol about her interview, reporting that Haskell is dropping the investigation. He knows Carol sided with Shep, which isn’t going to help him. Riley doesn’t think Shep should be working right now – he’s dangerous. Mark gives Loretta some encouragement as she faces another operation. The hardest part for her is taking care of her kids, so Mark has agreed to let them stay with him tonight. Annie and Jimmy come by, having spent some time helping Lydia bandage up Al G.

Doug visits his mom, who guesses that he’s there to borrow money. She couldn’t help him when he was a kid desperate for his father’s attention, but she can help him now, and she’s happy to do so. Weaver brings Al’s chart to Jeanie, who’s already guessed what his diagnosis is: HIV. Weaver wanted to give her the heads up that she should get tested, since he could have been positive for years.

Doug goes to Karen’s and announces that he wants to be with her. But first he needs to come clean about the money. He gives her a check and says he wants her to have it back, not mentioning that he actually spent half of it and got a reimbursement from his mother. Karen appreciates the gesture, revealing that the $25,000 Ray gave Doug was only a drop in the bucket of what he stole from her: $250,000. Dang, Karen’s loaded! (Well, she was before Ray took some of it.)

Shep wants to celebrate the investigation being dropped, but Carol isn’t in the mood. Jeanie goes to Al’s room to give him the news that’s going to change his entire life. Susan monologues about a dream she keeps having where Chloe lets her take Susie for a while. She knew she would have to leave Susie someday, but she didn’t know how much she would love her. She returns to the church, this time with the stuffed dog she was going to give Susie for her birthday. She cries as she leaves it in a pew. She monologues that having Susie made her feel, for the first time in a long time, like she wasn’t alone.

Thoughts: Lily is played by Kyla Pratt. Dottie is played by Emily Kuroda.

Anthony Edwards directed this episode.

Between The X-Files using hard-to-spell names and this show using the same names for multiple characters, I’m faced with a recapping challenge I haven’t dealt with since that reason of The Amazing Race when everyone was named Steve or Jon.

The spiders Mark puts on the board keep sliding down and making me jump.

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November 27, 2018

ER 2.20, Fevers of Unknown Origin: For Crying Out Loud

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 4:59 pm by Jenn

If I woke up in bed with Jen, I’d make this face Mark is making, too

Summary: Carol’s on an EMT run with Shep and Riley, so we can see more of Shep’s declining stability. Yay! Doug has landed in bed with Karen, and it takes Doug, like, five minutes to realize that he spent the night with his father’s girlfriend, or whatever she is to him. Neither of them is that disturbed by it, though.

Carol and the paramedics are called to a basement where a water heater has exploded. A little girl is trapped under some debris. Riley’s flustered, so Carol does his job for him and revives the girl. She objects when Shep tells the girls’ parents they can’t ride to the hospital with her. He thinks they’re drunks, and since they were dumb enough to let their daughter sleep near an unstable heater, they…don’t deserve to stay with her and try to keep her from being scared, I guess.

Susan was supposed to have the day off, but she’s at work, pretending that giving up Susie isn’t affecting her. She imagines herself searching her apartment while Susie cries. Weaver thanks her for filling in on short notice, promising she’ll be able to go home in a few hours. Susan says she can stay for a full 12-hour shift.

Morgenstern summons Mark and Weaver for what they think is an announcement of who won resident of the year. He promises that he submitted her name. Carter wants to assist on a breast reconstruction; Benton doesn’t really care. He thinks plastic surgery is a dumb specialty. The paramedics bring in the girl from the basement, and Doug and Benton will be working on her together, trying to ignore the tension between them.

Susan stitches up a blind woman who was mugged. Thanks to a self-defense course, the use of her cane as a weapon, and some sharp teeth, the woman not only got away with minor injuries, she also bit off the tip of the mugger’s pinky. She’d like to keep it as a souvenir. The girl from the basement, Becky, isn’t badly injured, and Shep credits Carol with taking good care of her. Benton finds a hernia and sends Becky to surgery.

Morgenstern wants to talk to Mark and Weaver about who should be chief resident next year. Mark nominates Susan, but Weaver isn’t sure she has all the qualities they want in a chief. Morgenstern agrees with her that they shouldn’t jump to any decisions. Hicks tells Carter that he hasn’t seen enough pediatric patients to graduate, so he’ll need to work with Doug for the next four weeks instead of assisting in plastics cases.

Connie brings her baby to visit, which makes Susan feel awkward. She thinks about her apartment search again. Lydia and Haleh enlist her to help them with a woman named Joanne who passed out in a crosswalk. She’s pregnant and is worried that she’s suffering another miscarriage. Susan thinks Joanne’s dizziness and high blood pressure are a result of her pregnancy, but Joanne says she’s had dizziness in between pregnancies. Susan decides she needs an ultrasound before she’s sent to OB.

Mark and Weaver go in to check on the case, since OB is upset that Susan hasn’t turned Joanne over to them yet. Weaver urges Susan to let her go already, sure that Joanne has preeclampsia. But Susan has correctly guessed that Joanne has a mass that’s causing her health problems and will need surgery. Fortunately, the baby should be fine. Mark congratulates Susan for the catch, though Weaver thinks OB would have figured it out.

Shep complains to Carol that Riley is a weak partner. He’s mad that Raul died trying to help lost causes in their fair city. Mark tells Randi that he and Jen are trying to work with a mediator to sort out their divorce. Randi says she doesn’t believe in divorce (but she doesn’t believe in marriage either). As an ailing Loretta comes in, Doug watches Days of Our Lives in the lounge with Lily and Haleh. He assures Carter that working in pediatrics won’t be too demanding for him.

A woman brings in her father, Mr. Dellanova, who has heart problems and is feeling sick. Susan almost immediately realizes that he took too much digitalis. This time, Weaver lets her take control, trusting that Susan knows what she’s doing. Benton chats with a Dr. Bradley, who wonders why Benton took almost three months to file a report about Vucelich’s fraud. He gives back the report, since Vucelich has added an addendum to his study listing all the data Benton thought he’d left out. Vucelich now claims that he always intended to include it.

Mark treats Loretta for dehydration connected to her chemotherapy. He’s annoyed that her doctor isn’t paying enough attention to her concerns, which include radiation burns that another patient said she shouldn’t have. Weaver wants Susan to present Mr. Dellanova’s case to some med students, but Susan doesn’t see the point. Weaver tries to get Mark to back her up and convince Susan to think more like a teacher. As they discuss her, Susan has trouble concentrating and flashes back to her apartment search again.

Doug gets a message from Karen, so Mark teases him a little. Doug says they have a “mutual acquaintance.” As Mark is about to go track down Loretta’s doctor and yell at him for sucking so badly, Jen shows up in hopes of working out their divorce settlement without their lawyers.

Carol and the paramedics go to an apartment building to tend to a teenager who was shot. One of his friends calls Carol a whore, so Shep grabs him by the neck. The victim is in bad shape, and as Shep tries to work on him, the boy’s brother keeps getting in the way. Shep eventually shoves him out of the way, but the boy hits his head on a coffee table and knocks himself out. Shep doesn’t care.

Carter thinks his patient just has the flu, but Doug thinks a seven-day fever of unknown origin is more than that. He diagnoses Kawasaki’s, and it’s a good thing he reviewed the case, because missing that could have been fatal. I’m thinking Carter isn’t as good to go on graduation as he thinks he is.

Susan stabilizes Mr. Dellanova, then tells his daughter that she’s surprised he took the wrong dosage, since it was right in the bottle. He doesn’t need glasses, but he also has trouble reading the paperwork he’s supposed to sign. Susan guesses correctly that he’s unable to read and has always hidden it from his daughter. She thinks he should tell her and let her help him. Mr. Dellanova asks if Susan has children, so of course she flashes back to her search again. We get it, show!

The paramedics bring in the brothers and Doug sticks around to tend to one, which means Karen has to wait to go to lunch with him. She goes to watch him in action, because apparently you can just wander around County without anyone caring. Doug and Benton work on the shooting victim while Carter, Carol, Weaver, and Harper work on the brother. Shep admits to pushing him, but Riley thinks he’s downplaying the seriousness of the situation. Shep tells him off for not keeping his mouth shut.

Doug’s finally ready for lunch, but seeing all the blood in the ER has made Karen lose her appetite. She’s concerned that she can’t reach Ray, who’s supposedly in the Cayman Islands with some of her money. But who cares, when she has his son? Mark finally finds Loretta’s doctor, Howard, who clearly doesn’t care about the side effects she’s suffering or the fact that she’s overwhelmed with her condition and treatments. I think he’s confused that Mark cares about a patient so much.

Carter tricks Benton into attending a surprise party in a trauma room – he’s been named resident of the year. Weaver tells Mark that Susan showed all the qualities they want in a chief resident today; she just wishes Susan would be like this all the time. As he’s leaving for the night, Doug maturely congratulates Benton for his honor. Hicks tells Benton that Vucelich seems to have nominated him for the award.

Carter says goodbye to Harper, who’s going…somewhere. Who cares? She’s leaving the show. Shep complains to Carol that Riley’s filing an incident report about his violent behavior. He wants Carol to agree with him that he didn’t do anything that bad. While Mark and Jen work out some custody arrangements without any complications, Susan treats a man named Mr. Johnston who claims he accidentally cut off the tip of his pinky while making a sandwich. He also has a testicular injury courtesy of a cane. Susan and Haleh strap him to a gurney while they call the police.

Mark and Jen…oh, freaking A. Mark and Jen just had sex. She doesn’t know what to tell her new boyfriend, Craig. Mark points out that she’s had to confess to infidelity before. Jen thinks he only slept with her as an act of revenge. In other ill-advised-couple news, Doug and Karen go to a nightclub together.

Susan goes home to her empty apartment and reminisces about when it wasn’t so empty. Then we learn why she’s really been so distressed: Chloe and Joe have taken Susie and moved across the country. When they were leaving, Susan ran up to her apartment to look for one of Susie’s toys while Susie cried in the car. Susan got so worked up that she started crying, too. Chloe found the toy, and Susan realized that she has to let the baby go for good.

Thoughts: Joanne is played by Romy Rosemont. She was also in a Grey’s Anatomy episode with Scott Michael Campbell (Riley). And she’s married to Stephen Root! I had no idea!

Carter treats a little boy, and when he tells the kid to take a deep breath, the kid takes the hugest, most overexaggerated breath ever. I love it.

Sleeping with you doesn’t get revenge on you, Jen. It only punishes Mark. Also, on another show, this probably would have led to a pregnancy and a paternity mystery, so thank God this doesn’t go there.

November 20, 2018

ER 2.19, Fire in the Belly: That Fire Is Actually Your Appendix Rupturing, and Thanks to Benton, You Now Have Sepsis

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:07 pm by Jenn

But at least she doesn’t have sepsis!

Summary: Carol’s asleep – drink! Shep wakes her up and tries to talk her into calling in sick so they can spend the day doing nothing together. Carol needs the money, so she wants to work, but she gives Shep her blessing to play hooky alone. He just wants to spend a day away from sick people. They’ll find some cows and have sex near them. The cows will have to be sexy, and they’ll have to be okay with a live sex show, I guess. Carol says they can go somewhere that weekend.

At County, Benton gets some patient information from Jeanie, then learns from Hicks that a doctor has refused to work with him because of either his behavior regarding Vucelich or what happened with Doug and Brett. Harper is thrilled to reunite with a college buddy, Dale Edson, who’s going to be a surgical resident at County soon. Carter silently freaks out about his girlfriend possibly dumping him for another guy.

Doug is still hooking up with Hulda, apparently, and he wants Mark to double date with them and another woman that night. Mark’s not interested, and Doug hopes he’s not delaying getting back into dating. He gets a loan application so he can get money to help him pay for Brett’s cancer treatment. Susan tells Mark she has to miss some M&Ms that afternoon so she can go to court and fight Chloe over getting custody of Susie.

Benton continues being persona non grata as Susan and Haleh deal with a cranky patient named Mrs. Garvey. She had chest pain earlier, but when Susan explains how she wants to monitor her, Mrs. Garvey complains that Susan’s being condescending. She keeps asking to have things explained to her again. Carter asks to run a code, so Mark and Benton humor him and let him give out orders for an incoming trauma. But when the patient comes in, she’s already dead. In fact, Dale guesses she’s been dead at least three hours. Carter was all ready for nothing.

The patient’s young son, Jeremy, has also come in, but he’s in shock and isn’t talking. Shep tells Doug and Carol that a neighbor heard the patient and her boyfriend arguing that morning. Carol worries that the boyfriend will come after Jeremy, since he seems to have witnessed his mother’s murder. Benton realizes, almost before it’s too late, that Mrs. Mendoza, a patient Jeanie sent home with food poisoning, actually needs to have her appendix removed.

Weaver brings in some techs to set up equipment in trauma rooms so they can record procedures. Mark doesn’t think that’s a good idea, but Morgenstern has already signed off. Carter wants to do Mrs. Mendoza’s appendectomy, but Benton brushes him aside. The other doctors participating wish she’d come in sooner. Mrs. Garvey complains about the things Susan has written about her on her chart, calling her difficult. Again, she asks Susan to explain thinks multiple times. Susan has no patience, but I think she makes it pretty clear that Mrs. Garvey needs immediate treatment to keep her heart from exploding.

A detective tries to talk to Jeremy, but Doug gets protective and sends him out of the room. Carter digs for information on Harper and Dale’s relationship; she says they never dated, but they did hook up once. Chuny finds a possible surgical case and decides to give it to Dale. Carter grabs it before she can. Iris the video director is there with the video techs and still wants to cast Mark in something. Now she wants him to be the spokesperson for some exercise equipment.

Hicks agrees that Carter’s patient needs surgery, and unlike Benton, she’s willing to let Carter do the appendectomy. Benton’s still working on Mrs. Mendoza when Carter shows up next door. Benton asks someone to close the blinds just before Mrs. Mendoza codes. Weaver explains Mrs. Garvey’s condition to her with a lot more patience than Susan. Apparently Susan’s explanation of Mrs. Garvey’s health didn’t convince her to have a necessary procedure; instead, the patient was going to leave AMA (against medical advice). Weaver tells Susan to work on her anger issues.

Carter’s appendectomy patient doesn’t need an appendectomy after all, but he does have a toothpick in a place it shouldn’t be, which explains his stomachache. Hicks congratulates Carter on his first toothpick-ectomy. Meanwhile, Benton tells Mrs. Mendoza’s husband that she made it through surgery, and he thinks she’ll recover, but it’s possible she won’t. Mr. Mendoza is understandably upset that his wife was discharged when she clearly shouldn’t have been.

Shep and Carol go to check on Jeremy, who’s not only wandering around the hospital alone, but has also found his mother’s dead body. Come on, County staff. This shouldn’t be hard to handle. Susan tries to fight her “walking anxiety attack” as she leaves for the day. Iris invites Mark to get lunch, but Mark turns her down, still not getting that she wants to date him. Doug’s father spends him a bunch of money, so Mark thinks Brett’s cancer treatment should be all taken care of.

Benton blasts Jeanie for not giving Mrs. Mendoza a thorough examination. She insists that she did; if Benton didn’t think she was thorough enough, he should have checked her out himself. Hicks tells Carter that they’re going to be ranking surgical interns from now on. Those who fall into the bottom third of the bunch will be cut from the program. So it would have been nice if Carter had been able to do an appendectomy today.

Carol, Shep, and Riley try to tend to an unstable patient who’s wearing a vest full of old buttons. Riley doesn’t know who LBJ is, because a) he’s a baby and b) public schools are awful. The patient attacks Carol, and Shep retrains him with so much force that the patient stops breathing. Shep is about to intubate him when Malik finds the patient’s pulse. Then the patient clocks Shep. Fun day at County!

Susan meets up with her father outside the courthouse, but he doesn’t want to go to the hearing. Even though he’s told Susan he’d back her up, he know can’t choose between his daughters. Henry says that Joe, Chloe’s fiancé, is a great guy. Unlike her past boyfriends, who were mostly criminals, Joe is on the right side of the law – he’s a cop.

Doug keeps bugging Mark about going on the double date, and Mark keeps refusing. He finally reveals that, as he’s been with Jen since they were teens, and he’s never cheated, she’s the only person he’s ever had sex with. Doug laughs because he can’t begin to understand what that’s like. Mark admits that he’s nervous about the possibility that he won’t impress any other woman he might sleep with. Doug just laughs some more.

Carter overhears a radio transmission about an incoming trauma and asks Doug if he can run it. Doug says he already promised the next trauma to Dale. The patient is coming in 15 minutes, so Carter asks Jerry to page him in ten minutes, then invites Harper and Dale to have lunch with him in the cafeteria.

Susan and Chloe appear before an arbitrator who wants to help them settle Susie’s custody without going to court. Susan lists all of Chloe’s past problems, but Chloe thinks she’s done enough to turn herself around and show she’s responsible. The arbitrator gives her three overnight visits a week and warns Susan that if she keeps going with the fight for custody, she’ll lose. She should think about the possible damage she’ll cause by continuing the fight.

As Carol fixes Shep up after his altercation with Button Guy, he complains about the city and says they’re not raising their kids there. Carol somehow keeps herself from responding to his assumption that they’ll be having kids together. But he’s right – her future children will not be raised in Chicago. Mrs. Mendoza has sepsis, and Hicks has seen from her chart that Benton sent her home without a full examination. She thinks it was obvious that Mrs. Mendoza was at risk for a ruptured appendix. She points out that he jumped on Doug for a similar mistake.

Carter gets a page that he pretends is about some labs he was waiting for. While Harper and Dale stay in the cafeteria, completely clueless about Carter’s scam, he runs to the ER and steals Dale’s trauma. Hicks comes in to watch as Carter performs a successful procedure. Mr. Mendoza thinks Benton is going above and beyond with his wife, since he’s been sitting by her bed all day. Benton admits that he wasn’t completely honest earlier. He didn’t examine her, so he didn’t catch her condition before it became serious.

Hicks asks Carter to tag along as she takes his patient to surgery. Dale and Harper arrive just as they’re leaving, and Harper easily figures out what Carter pulled on Dale. Susan takes Susie to her parents’ and drops her off with Chloe for the night. Joe is friendly and invites Susan to stay for dinner. Susan hesitates, but Chloe and Henry encourage her to spend some time with her family.

Weaver goes over a recording of Carter’s trauma with some bored staff members and highlights him wiping his nose on his glove before grabbing a piece of equipment. She wants to compare it to a trauma Dale ran earlier in the day. Just as Mark asks Iris to have dinner with him, the tape starts playing Doug and Mark’s conversation about how Mark has only ever slept with Jen. Everyone has a good laugh as Mark runs away.

Jeanie wants to know if Benton hates her, since he doesn’t even look at her when they talk. He claims he’s past their failed relationship, but he certainly doesn’t do or say anything to make her feel like that’s true. Jeanie, face it – he’s just not a warm person. It’s not about you. Doug’s loan gets denied, so Mark encourages him to use Ray’s monetary gift to pay for Brett’s treatment. Doug doesn’t want to have to thank him.

Apparently Iris wasn’t scared off by Mark’s lack of sexual experience, as she’s accepted his dinner invitation. At the Lewises’, Joe tells Susan that she did a great thing by taking care of Susie. He reveals that he and Chloe met in AA. He knows he’s not really supposed to get involved with a newcomer to the program, but they two of them won’t get married for a while. Susan isn’t sure she’ll even make it a year staying sober.

Harper’s ticked about Carter’s behavior and calls him a weasel. He’s more interested in doing procedures than maintaining their relationship. They’re done. But at least a mime at the carnival they’re at gives him a giant balloon as a consolation prize. Doug learns from the detective on Jeremy’s mom’s case that Jeremy did, indeed, witness his mother’s shooting, but not in the way everyone thought. He grabbed a gun to shoot the boyfriend but accidentally killed his mom instead. Everyone have a great night!

Mark and Iris’ date ends in bed, and she teases that she taped them. Shep drives Carol home in his ambulance, saying that he thinks Jeremy is going to be haunted by his actions for the rest of his life and will end up like Button Guy. They come across a fight, and Shep gets distracted while calling for police backup. He almost hits a pedestrian, who responds by breaking the ambulance’s windshield. Shep tackles him and beats him up. He yells at Carol when she tries to pull him off.

Doug goes looking for his father and finds Karen instead. They get a little flirty and start drinking together. Benton gives Hicks some of Vucelich’s files and announces that he’s going on the record about Vucelich’s fraud. He’s done making excuses for not doing the right thing. Susan tells Chloe that she’s not convinced that she’s changed, and Susan’s still mad about her past screw-ups. Chloe really believes that she can be a good mother, or at least she wants to be. Susan sees them off to bed, listening to Chloe sing “Blackbird,” the same song Susan sang to Susie right after she was born.

Thoughts: Ugh, Dale Edson. I can’t stand that guy.

“It’s Nuremberg Chicken day.” Do I want to know what that is? Why would you name a dish that?

Jeanie continues to amaze me in thinking that Benton is anyone other than who he always presents himself to be. Girl, just keep things professional and become friends with everyone who hates him. He’s doing you a favor by not talking to you.

 

November 6, 2018

ER 2.17, The Match Game: You Can Cut All the Tension With a Scalpel

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

I guess they give them white uniforms so they can be bleached, but it’s still a dumb idea

Summary: Mark rides his new motorcycle to work and tells Jerry he feels like a Hell’s Angel. Jerry admires the beard he’s growing, though it’s taken him a week to get it to where it is. He’s also ditched his glasses for contacts. Someone’s having a midlife crisis! Jerry tries to invite himself along on an evening out with Doug and Mark, but Doug doesn’t take the bait. Hicks tells Benton that Vucelich published his study, so Benton’s accusations haven’t gone anywhere. Since he isn’t willing to take it to the ethics committee, Hicks thinks he should keep his mouth shut.

Carter’s so nervous about finding out which hospital he’s matched with that he’s throwing up in a bathroom. Harper is unbothered and possibly amused. Susan and Chloe meet up for breakfast, and it’s super-awkward. Chloe credits Susie as her motivation for turning her life around. She’s been clean for five months and is engaged. (If she’s getting married to a guy she’s known less than five months, I don’t think she’s as put-together as she thinks.) Chloe says she wants to be Susie’s mother, and Susan replies that Chloe leaving was the best thing that’s ever happened to the baby.

Carol has to wear an all-white nurse’s uniform to work, now that she’s signed on with a temp agency. Her hours were cut in half, and her earthworms died, so this is her best chance to make some extra money. Doug teases her by making sure she sees that Jeanie has been named Employee of the Month. Up in daycare, Susan finally puts some security in place, ordering the staff not to let Chloe see Susie without permission.

Mark treats a patient named Mr. Bartoli who had chest pain after a romantic encounter with a postmistress. Mark recognizes his enhancing ointment as digitalis, which can cause a heart arrhythmia. Mr. Bartoli thinks Mark can relate to being a bald guy with low testosterone who needs some help. Carter thinks his hopes of being matched with County are going to be dashed, which he deserves after the way he’s been acting over the past few weeks. He vows to put his patients first from now on. He gets his first chance with a teenager named Brett who was in a car accident, then with the teen’s grandfather, Mr. Bowman.

Shep is back at work, now partnered with baby EMT Riley. He’s not happy about it. Mr. Bowman is more worried about Brett than himself, so he doesn’t let Carter give him a full exam. Carter quickly moves on to try to help other people. Brett has a leg injury, and Mr. Bowman notes that he injured the same knee a few months ago playing basketball. Benton asks to see his previous chart.

Other car accident victims arrive, including Freddie, who claims to be sober but has track marks on his arms. Mark runs around helping various people, and assists Susan in saving Freddie’s life. It’s hard for her to be happy about it since Freddie caused the crash and killed one of the victims. Carter examines a man named Mr. Ledbetter who wants to go to work so he can continue trying to make partner. Carter says he wouldn’t feel right about letting Mr. Ledbetter leave without a full workup.

Brett’s leg isn’t broken, but Benton thinks he has the beginnings of a tumor. He can’t believe the doctor who treated him the last time he was there didn’t catch it. Carol checks the chart and sees that the doctor was Doug. Mark thinks the tumor is small enough that it would be easy to overlook, but Benton doesn’t think that changes the fact that Doug misdiagnosed Brett. Mark tells Benton not to say anything to the family – he’ll talk to them.

Carter gets his match letter and is thrilled to see that he’ll be doing his residency at County next year. He wants to spend his lunch break celebrating with Harper. Lydia brings in a filthy man named Hugo, and the nurses try to figure out whose turn it is to clean him up. After a round of Rock Paper Scissors, Carol gets the task. She tries to hand it off to Jeanie, but Jeanie knows this is a nurse’s job.

Freddie’s mother arrives and denies that her son uses drugs. Susan says he tested positive for cocaine, but Freddie’s mother says it was wrong. Susan yells that he got drunk and high, drove a car, injured a bunch of people, and killed a girl. She gets a slap in return. Carter calls his father to share his good news, but their phone connection is bad because his father’s on a boat and Carter has a ’90s cell phone. He tells Mr. Ledbetter that he’ll need to see a hematologist for severe anemia, then takes off to hang out with Harper.

Mark tells Doug about his missed diagnosis, then calls in Kathy Snyder, a hospital lawyer. Kathy says that they have no legal obligation to tell Brett’s family that they missed the tumor on his last visit, which means they won’t know that they can sue for malpractice. Mark agrees that they should keep quiet. Doug volunteers to tell Mr. Bowman about his grandson’s condition; it’s his case and his responsibility.

Hugo sings “Younger Than Springtime” while Carol hoses him off in a shower. Jeanie comes in to get Carol for something, and Carol accidentally sprays her with the hose, making herself feel better. In the lounge, Susan tells Mark that she’s fighting to make sure Chloe can’t take Susie back. She notices that his usual brown eyes are now blue, thanks to his new contacts. She gets a page and frantically tells Mark to send security to daycare.

Jeanie asks Carol to tend to a patient who’s throwing up, since that’s a nurse’s job. Carol gets her back by telling her to stitch up Hugo’s bleeding hand, as that’s a job for a physician’s assistant. Susan races up to daycare, thinking Chloe has shown up, but it turns out the staff paged her so she would be able to watch Susie take her first steps.

Doug tells Mr. Bowman that Brett has a tumor, but the doctor coming to take care of him is terrific and has had a lot of success with patients like Brett. Later, Benton approaches Mr. Bowman and realizes that no one told him that Doug missed the tumor four months ago. He complains to Mark, saying that whether or not they have a legal obligation to come clean, they should do so for ethical reasons. Mark brushes him off.

Doug pleads with a doctor to take on Brett’s case, offering to pay part of Brett’s bill and make up some of the cost by working in the doctor’s clinic. The doctor accepts the offer. Carol gleefully tells Mark that Hugo tripped on his way out of the hospital, and now Jeanie has to give him more stitches. Susan tells Mark that Susie took her first steps, which has turned her whole day around.

As Mr. Bowman thanks Benton for what he did for Brett, the little devil and little angel on Benton’s shoulder scream in his ears for a few moments. The little devil wins, and he decides to come clean. Mark examines a woman named Iris who suffered a minor head injury while working on an infomercial. Haleh laughs silently as Iris hits on Mark, equally hoping to cast him in an infomercial and get him into bed. Mr. Ledbetter’s still waiting for test results, since Carter hasn’t returned and hematology never showed up. He tells Susan to fax the results to his office, since he’s leaving.

Mr. Bowman confronts Doug for not telling him that he missed the tumor four months ago. Doug apologizes, but Mr. Bowman doesn’t think he’s sincere. Doug wants to continue trying to set up Brett’s care with the oncologist, but Mr. Bowman is done with his “help.” Meanwhile, Carter and Harper celebrate at a hotel with sex and champagne.

Iris also wants to celebrate, inviting Mark to dinner once he tells her that her brain scans are fine. She wants him to do an infomercial about a blood-pressure drug that also helps with male pattern baldness. Mark was led to believe that some women see baldness as a sign of virility. “Who told you that, some bald guy?” Iris laughs. Jeanie hands Hugo back off to Carol to get him a cab, because this stupid plot still isn’t over.

Susan has to give Mr. Ledbetter the bad news that he has leukemia. Carter and Harper have moved their celebration to a giant bubble bath, which he accidentally drops his pager into when it goes off. Shep and Riley bring in a girl who was injured at gymnastics practice, and Shep complains about Riley’s sloppy IV-insertion technique. The tension spreads to Doug and Benton, as the former doesn’t want to work with the latter, knowing that Benton was the one who ratted him out to Mr. Bowman. Mark has to step in and send Benton away.

Carter finally returns to the hospital, taking his sweet time to respond to his page. Susan blasts him for not realizing from Mr. Ledbetter’s examination that he has cancer. Carter’s tipsy, so when Hicks invites him to scrub in on an operation, he has to decline. Hicks tells him that ignoring his pages was bad enough, but drinking while on call is truly horrible. In fact, it’s grounds for expulsion. Carter whines that he just matched at County. I highly doubt she cares, dude.

Doug and Mark decide to call off their guys’ night out, though Doug thinks Mark should go without him. Haleh and Lydia agree with each other that Benton did the right thing by telling Mr. Bowman about the missed diagnosis. Carter’s received enough congratulatory gift baskets to feed the entire hospital, but he’s back to puking in the bathroom. Mark assures him that he can’t be expelled without a hearing, though he could lose his match. Mark will try to help.

Shep comes in to tell Carol that Riley backed into a homeless man in the parking lot. Yep, it’s Hugo. He was out in the ambulance bay, waiting for the cab Carol never called for him. Doug and Benton encounter each other in the lounge, both keeping their mouths shut this time. Carol and Jeanie tend to Hugo together, realizing that their rivalry has caused enough damage.

Mark confronts Benton for going against his orders and causing trouble for Doug and the hospital. Benton says that if Doug had done his job, Brett wouldn’t be facing amputation. Mark says that telling the family wasn’t Benton’s decision to make. He knows Benton is trying to ease his guilty conscience since he didn’t blow the whistle on Vucelich. “The truth is a lot easier to tell when it’s not your own career on the line,” he notes.

Carol chastises Shep for being so hard on Riley. Shep thinks he’s being punished for going into the fire and causing Raul’s death. Carol reminds him that he saved three kids, but to Shep, that’s not as important as the fact that he killed his best friend. Doug tells Susan that he saw dozens of kids the day he treated Brett, so he didn’t have time for an extensive exam. He acknowledges that Benton didn’t do anything wrong in telling Mr. Bowman. Susan notes that Doug is the one who has to pay for the mistake, but Doug says Brett’s the one who has to face the worst consequences.

Mark goes out to a bar and runs into Kathy. She helps him look for a lost contact, which somehow got stuck in his goatee. Susan takes Susie home, trying to avoid Chloe, who’s staked out the apartment. Chloe has gotten a lawyer and plans to file for visitation rights. Susan announces that she’s adopting the baby, no matter how badly Chloe wants her back.

Jeanie runs into Benton at Doc Magoo’s and tells him he did the right thing. Benton says he “broke the code,” which reminds Jeanie of a story Mae once told her. As a child, Benton turned in a kid for stealing money, and wound up blacklisted with a broken nose. Benton says he’s never learned to keep his mouth shut. At home, Susan reads Susie Goodnight Moon, clinging to what might be one of her last nights with her baby.

Thoughts: Mr. Bartoli is played by Richard Schiff. Iris is played by Joanna Gleason.

“Ha ha, my patient got hurt and now Jeanie has to do more work!” Shut up, Carol.

The number of times Carter should be fired, or at least harshly disciplined, throughout the series is probably in the double digits.

October 30, 2018

ER 2.16, The Healers: Deadbeats and Dead Friends

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

The first of many times something will blow up on this show

Summary: Shep and Raul are done with a shift and about to go get breakfast when they’re sent to help out at a fire. Susan’s also up early and looking ahead to a big day of making moves to adopt Susie. Shep and Raul go to the site of the fire, an apartment building; explosions keep going off and people are coming outside on fire. A woman begs Shep to go in and get her kids, since she could only make it out with one. Raul tells Shep to wait for firefighters to arrive, but Shep goes in anyway.

Mark has taken off his wedding ring but feels weird about it. Doug notes that Jen definitely isn’t wearing hers, since she’s moved on to another guy. He reminds Mark that he asked why he wasn’t getting any action; wearing a wedding ring while trying to date is pretty dumb. Mark asks if Doug wants to hang out that night, but Doug has plans with his father. Carol takes a call from Dwight the paramedic about victims being brought in from a fire. She isn’t looking forward to having to take care of burn victims.

Susan meets with a social worker who tells her she has an advantage since she’s related to Susie. Chloe’s been gone for five months, and Susie’s father didn’t respond to any notices Susan placed in the paper trying to contact him, since the social worker thinks a judge will be fine with terminating their birthrights. Susan was expecting a lot more hurdles in the process, but it looks like she’ll be formalizing the adoption without any complications.

Dwight brings in the first burn victim, telling the staff that the fire and explosions were from a math lab in the building. Mark and Doug work on the patient like he’s anyone, but Carter has a lot of trouble looking at him. Lydia realizes that Shep and Raul’s unit responded to the fire, and it’s not clear whether both of them made it out all right. Doug volunteers to let Carol know, not that she has any time to find out if her boyfriend’s okay while the ER is dealing with multiple traumas.

After some chaos, Carol learns that one of the paramedics, either Shep or Raul, might be en route to the hospital as a patient. She goes outside to wait for the next ambulance, trying not to panic. Susan arrives and joins in the madness, though everyone has either been taken off for treatment or declared dead. Mark’s annoyed that she’s late, since Weaver didn’t tell him that Susan wouldn’t be in when Mark thought she would. Susan says she was somewhere important, and he says her job is important, too.

Paramedics bring in a kid they say was saved by someone from Shep’s unit. Shep is the hero, and he suffered some minor injuries when the floor went out from under him. Raul is MIA. Doug works on the kid with Riley the baby paramedic while Mark and Carol take care of Shep. He’s worried about Raul, saying over and over that Raul was right behind him when he fell through the floor. Jerry pops in to say that they found Raul, but he won’t say what his condition is.

Susan examines a firefighter who tells her that Shep and Raul went into the building without the proper gear. If they hadn’t, the kids they saved would have died. Doug’s kid is still in bad shape, thanks to carbon monoxide, and he’ll need to be taken to another hospital for treatment. Raul finally comes in, badly burned and having trouble breathing. He asks for the truth about his condition, so Mark tells him it’s bad. Raul is at least relieved to hear that Raul’s mostly okay.

Next door, Shep insists on being unstrapped from his backboard so he can go see his partner. Carol refuses, threatening to put him in restraints if he keeps fighting her before they’re sure he’s not badly injured. She agrees to go find out how Raul is while Shep is taken for x-rays. He asks her to tell Raul that he thought Raul was right behind him – Shep didn’t mean to leave him behind.

Mark tells Carol that Raul has burns on 85-90% of his body. In other words, things are really bad. Doug comes in to try to help, even though Mark, Benton, and Carter are all there. The burn-unit doctors are busy, so Benton volunteers himself and Carter to do a procedure. Mark rounds up Doug, Susan, and Carol so they can discuss some of their patients. They shake their heads at a missing mother who apparently left her kids to fend for themselves after her meth lab caused the fire.

Carol explains what’s happening to Raul while Benton and Carter do their thing. Carter is still having trouble, struggling to cut into Raul’s damaged skin while Raul is looking at him. He finally decides he can’t handle it, so Mark steps in. As a burn doctor finally arrives, Doug talks to a kid named Max, one of the kids abandoned by their mom. He doesn’t know where she might have gone. The burn doctor volunteers to tell Raul how bad his condition is, but Carol says she’ll do it. Firefighters line the hallway and give him their positive thoughts as he’s taken for treatment.

Well, well, well, guess who’s back? It’s freaking Chloe. Since Randi wasn’t around for all the drama, she doesn’t know that just letting Chloe go up to daycare without telling Susan she’s there isn’t a good idea. While Carol takes on the unfortunate task of telling Shep that Raul’s in bad shape, Carter tells Benton that he’s not sure he can handle taking care of burn patients again. Benton blankly says that he can. This is one of the worst situations they’ll have to deal with, and Carter didn’t get sick or faint, so he did okay.

The missing mom arrives with one of her kids, who she didn’t realize needed to come to the hospital. Mark, Susan, and Doug revive him, feeling little sympathy for the mom. Raul’s family arrives, but they won’t have much time to spend with him – his doctor thinks he won’t survive the night. Mark sends Doug off to the Bulls game, thinking that since he’s come so far with his father, he should see things through.

Carol tells Raul how bad his condition is, and he asks not to be put on a ventilator when he’s unable to breathe anymore. She assures him that the kids he helped save are going to be fine, thanks to him. He admits that he’s scared, and she tries to comfort him. Susan catches Lydia crying in the lounge; despite being a veteran nurse who’s seen multiple traumas over the years, sometimes she can’t handle all the emotions that come with her job.

Doug waits for Ray outside the game, but he doesn’t show. At the hospital, the nurses don’t want to go home yet, and the firefighters who battled the fire earlier don’t know what to do other than hang around the hospital. Lily invites them to get something to eat with the nurses. Susan finally learns that Chloe’s around and races to daycare. Doug gets tired of waiting for his father and leaves, disappointed by Ray’s absence once again.

Chloe hasn’t run off with Susie, as Susan feared, but of course her return is going to throw a wrench in Susan’s adoption plans. Carol goes to get Shep to take him to see Raul, but Shep blames himself for Raul’s condition. Raul wanted to wait for the firefighters and their gear, but since Shep went into the building, Raul decided to follow. Carol warns that Shep will regret it forever if he doesn’t go see Raul, as hard as that may be.

Doug tracks down Ray at a restaurant, where he’s dining with a woman named Karen. Ray claims that he left a message at the hospital that he would have to miss the game for a meeting. He would have been at the game if he could have. Doug’s smart enough not to buy the lies Ray’s been telling his whole life. Doug was at the game, and Ray was where he’s always been – somewhere else.

Ray says he can’t change the past, as if he’s trying to make the present any better. Doug blames his inability to commit on his deadbeat dad. Over the years, he’s turned into Ray. Ray reminds him that he’s 34 and can’t blame his life on his father anymore. It’s his choice whether or not to be responsible.

The firefighters and some of the ER staff share memories of Raul at Doc Magoo’s. Lily reveals that Shep is afraid of heights, so he always makes Raul do anything high up. A paramedic laughs that Raul’s Christmas present to Shep was skydiving lessons. Once they’re done with happy memories, things turn somber, and even the perpetually stone-faced Randi gets sad. Shep visits Raul and apologizes for the way things have turned out. And then Raul dies, but it’s off-screen, but this whole thing is really about Shep, so that’s not really a surprise.

Thoughts: The firefighter Susan examines is played by Michael Cudlitz. The burn doctor is played by Gregory Itzin. Karen is played by Marg Helgenberger.

Shep’s downward spiral begins…now.

Once again, County daycare’s security sucks, if Chloe can just walk in whenever she wants.

October 23, 2018

ER 2.15, Baby Shower: Regular-Baby Baby Mamas

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:52 pm by Jenn

For the record, Abraham Benrubi is only one inch shorter than Scottie Pippen

Summary: Benton is in bed, but he’s not asleep, so don’t drink. He rides an exercise bike while going over the steps of a surgical procedure. He scrapes frost off of his car window, but the car won’t start. When he gets to work, his procedure has been canceled, which leads him to ask Hicks if there’s a problem. Since he left Vucelich’s study, he’s been underused. Hicks points out that with Vucelich, Benton had a ton of stuff to do; now he has to wait for the schedule to catch up with him.

Benton passes the time by doing some paperwork before he’s paged to the ER to try to save a man who jumped on the El tracks. He takes over the case from Mark, obviously eager to prove that he’s still a good doctor. Mark quips that when he’s done taking this guy to surgery, he can come back to the ER and help all the other patients by himself.

Susan was looking forward to sleeping in, since she doesn’t start work until 11, but Susie didn’t get the memo. Moments later, a woman named Mrs. Pearline buzzes Susan’s intercom to say she’s there to do a home inspection for Susie’s adoption. Susan’s place is a mess, and she’s tired from working late the night before, but if she doesn’t agree to the visit now, she’ll have to go back on a waiting list for a long time.

Doug still has the Bulls tickets his father gave him, not wanting to trash good seats just because they came from Ray. Jerry tells Doug and Carol that Scottie Pippen was at the hospital the day before with a kid from his tutoring program. Doug doesn’t believe him. Jerry shows him the autograph Scottie signed, but Doug thinks it’s a fake because he doesn’t know how to spell Pippen. No one else on staff saw Scottie, so no one can back up Jerry’s claims.

Connie’s heavily pregnant, working her last shift before going on maternity leave. She’s overdue and will be induced in a few days if nothing happens. Doug teases that an elephant’s gestation period is two years. Carter’s planning to ask Benton to rewrite his letter of recommendation for Carter to get a fellowship that only has six open slots for 90 applicants. The original recommendation just says that Carter has “put forth a consistent effort.” Carter’s obsessed with this application and plan, but he stops when Harper asks how long it would take after intercourse for a pregnancy test to turn out positive.

Connie brings down some laboring women, announcing to the ER that the sprinkler system on the OB ward is going off, so everyone needs to be moved to other parts of the hospital. So be prepared for the staff to deliver a bunch of babies through the whole episode. Benton assists with his patient’s surgery, though the other doctors think he’s a lost cause. One tells Benton that he’s free to do anything he wants surgically since they’re now looking at a teaching exercise – there’s nothing left to save.

Mark tends to a mother named Christy, who will need to be helped along in her delivery. Jerry tells Chuny to back him up on his claim that Scottie Pippen was in the ER yesterday. She jokes that Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman were also there, and she, Connie, and Jerry in a basketball game. Coburn comes to assess the situation with all the laboring women, though Weaver says the ER staff can handle it. Coburn is skeptical, since Mark is one of those staff members. She quickly takes over with Christy.

As Harper draws some of her own blood for a pregnancy test, Doug tells Christy that her baby is healthy. Coburn tensely gives some instructions as she heads off to take care of more women. She changes her mind and stays when Mark realizes that Christy has a surprise second baby coming. She never knew she was having twins, despite having an ultrasound months ago. The second baby is breech, but Mark calmly handles the delivery, never letting Christy see that this could be a complication. Everyone’s happy, both for Christy and for Mark.

Susan makes it to work, stressed after what she thinks was a disastrous home visit. She asks Mark to lie when a social worker comes in to do work-site interviews. Mark’s next patient, Monica, wants to be induced, but since the ER doesn’t have enough monitors for everyone, they need to wait until she labors naturally. Monica’s not happy about this. Susan meets her next patient, Tina, who’s only 13. Her mother can’t be reached, but the couple who will be adopting her baby are there with her.

Harper brings in a patient to share Tina’s room, a woman named Ms. Clark who’s straight out of The X-Files – she thinks her pregnancy is the result of an alien abduction. Apparently Mulder and Scully won’t take her calls, though. Harper sends Ms. Clark’s bloodwork to the lab, adding in her own vial for a pregnancy test. Susan sneers to Lydia about a father who’s being supportive of the mother of his child; she thinks men like that give women false hope that guys like him actually exist.

Carter joins Benton in the ER to kill some time observing before his interview. He asks Benton if he had time to do another draft of his recommendation letter. Benton says he only did one draft, but Carter has lost his nerve and doesn’t ask for another. A doctor brings in some med students to watch Benton “raise the dead,” as he’s still trying to save his patient. Benton just says that he knows how to fix the man, so he’s doing his job.

As Connie passes through the ER, Weaver, Lydia, Jeanie, and Chuny talk about some beet soup at Doc Magoo’s. The story going around is that it’s inducing labor in pregnant women. Weaver says there’s a scientific basis; a lot of plants contain an ergot derivative that makes the uterus contract. Jeanie tells Susan that one of the laboring women, Leah, may be using crack, so they need to pay extra attention to her.

Mark delivers Monica’s baby as she tells her husband he’ll be having the next one if he doesn’t get a vasectomy. Connie has a short temper with Monica’s screaming, but when they deliver the baby and realize she weighs about ten pounds, Connie tells Monica to scream all she wants. The baby isn’t breathing, and as Doug tends to her, he guesses that Monica developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. Mark is again calm with the mom.

Susan and Jeanie talk to Leah, telling her they’ll have to run a tox screen on her since she has a history of drug use. Leah is annoyed that Jeanie told Susan about her past crack abuse. She insists that she’s clean and has learned from the mistakes she made when she was younger. Doug has revived Monica’s baby, and Monica is now super-friendly and happy. She kisses both Doug and Mark, declaring her love for them.

Carter meet some of the other candidates for the fellowship he wants, quickly realizing that they’re much more accomplished than he is. Susan tends to Tina, who’s struggling a lot with her labor. The adoptive father worries that she’s depending on him and his wife too much. They’re adopting her baby, but not her.

A woman named Anna arrives in labor, but what’s one more baby delivered in the ER? She tells Mark that she has breast cancer but had to stop treatment when she found out she was pregnant. She only has a few months left to live. Mark asks someone to page Coburn, but Anna resists. She calls her OB on a giant cell phone that looks funny even for a mid-’90s piece of technology.

Doctors keep rotating in and out to assist Benton as he continues his marathon surgery. He thinks there’s no harm in trying everything they can. A doctor tells him that the patient’s mother is a nurse at the hospital, so at least one person will be grateful if Benton’s work is successful. Leah’s tox screen comes back negative, so Jeanie apologizes for suspecting that she was using. A friend of Leah’s comes to visit, and Jeanie reluctantly lets her stay.

As Weaver tells Jeanie that something odd came up in Ms. Clark’s bloodwork, Tina is rushed away to deliver. Mark loses his cool for the first time all day, telling Anna (who’s also a doctor) to stop giving instructions and just focus on delivering. Then he tells the nurses to do exactly what Anna said. Weaver summons Harper to Ms. Clark’s room, asking why she ran a pregnancy test on a woman who appears to be nine months along. Harper can’t hide her joy when she hears that the pregnancy test came back negative. Labs confirm that Ms. Clark is also not having a baby, just a lot of gas.

As Jerry chats with a man about cigars, Scottie arrives to thank him for his help the day before. Jerry asks him to stay put while he runs off to find a witness. He chooses Mark, who’s in the middle of delivering Anna’s baby. Jerry runs back to the desk to get Scottie and bring him to Mark, but he’s already gone. “Is he kind of a tall guy?” Wendy, clearly not a sports fan, asks.

Susan coaches Tina through her delivery, telling her she’s doing better than a lot of adult women. Leah asks to use the bathroom, declining when Jeanie offers to accompany her. Jeanie gets suspicious and follows her, watching as Leah pauses in front of the bathroom door instead of going on. She gives Jeanie some drug paraphernalia, brought to her by her friend. She admits that she used drugs a little during her pregnancy and is frustrated that she’ll never get clean.

A man who was working on the sprinkler system was electrocuted, so the ER staff finally has a different kind of patient to work on. Anna has delivered a healthy baby but is now sad to remember that she won’t get to spend much time with her daughter before her impending death. So that’s depressing. Mark and Doug check in with another new mom, Leslie, the one with the super-supportive partner, Harris. Susan wants to clone him, and Leslie and Harris say that might be possible someday, since they’ve already used modern technology to conceive their baby.

There’s only one mother left who’s close to delivery, which means the ER staff has delivered nine babies to eight mothers, with very few problems. Coburn lets Mark know that she’s pleased with his work. Christy’s husband arrives after spending the whole day trying to find a replacement for his bus route. Doug happily introduces him to his new sons, and he promises that today will be the last time he’s not there for them. Doug is sure he’ll be a great father. Leah’s the last mom to deliver, and though the baby seems fine now, Leah’s drug use could have lasting effects. Doug tells her she’ll probably be allowed to keep the baby, though he’s clearly not thrilled about that.

Carter does his interview with Hicks and some other doctors, having to do a trick with a magnet, a knot, a string, and a coffee can while he answers questions about surgical procedures. He screws up the trick, and Hicks asks what he would do if he made a mistake like that in surgery. Carter simply says that he would prepare the damage and proceed. Hicks likes that answer. Another doctor admits that the trick might not actually be possible; what’s important is his temperament. That combined with his academic achievements, board scores, and letters of recommendation are what they’re looking at.

Vucelich gave him a glowing recommendation, but Carter’s worried about Benton’s. The doctors are pleased that Carter survived working with Benton, but they’re even more pleased with Benton’s words of praise. The final question in the interview is why Carter wants to be a surgeon. He pauses, then says that when he sees people who are sick or injured, he knows he can fix them, so that’s what he wants to do. Sounds like Carter isn’t too different from Benton after all.

Connie learns that Leslie had beet soup at Doc Magoo’s the night before. Lydia, Chuny, and Susan giggle to themselves, then put on poker faces when Connie looks at them. The ER staff realize that Leslie and Harris aren’t the perfect couple they thought – they’re actually with other people. Specifically, Leslie and her partner used Harris as a sperm donor so they could have a baby. Harris and his partner will be the baby’s godfathers. Susan knew she was right about the situation being too good to be true.

Benton’s finally done with surgery, and the patient’s alive, for now. Carter brings him dinner and thanks him for setting the bar high for him and being a good example. Now that Tina’s seen her baby, she’s not sure she can go through with the adoption. She doesn’t think taking care of a baby is as hard as everyone says. Plus, her mom will help her. You know, the mom who’s been out of contact all day and is just now arriving to be with her daughter. The adoptive parents are devastated, realizing that their plans aren’t going to work out.

Doug goes to see Ray, surprised that he’s at such a nice hotel. He’s even more surprised to learn that Ray owns the place. Doug returns the Bulls tickets, saying he’s no longer playing along like he and his mother did when Doug was a child. He’s not going to let Ray get away with dropping in, giving him presents, and disappearing again. A father sticks around for his kids’ childhood, and Ray never did, so he’s no father. Ray says that Doug and his mother deserved better.

Doug mentions that he helped deliver a bunch of babies today. Ray starts to tell Doug about the night he was born – he and Doug’s mother were at a cabin (a cabin that the bank later took back, Doug notes) and had to skate across a lake to get to the hospital. Doug, unlike his father, decides to stick around for this story.

Connie clocks out of work, annoyed that no one’s around to say goodbye, since she’ll be gone for a while. She heads across the street to Doc Magoo’s and orders beet soup. Just then, a bunch of her co-workers burst out of the kitchen to throw her a surprise baby shower. Mark jokes that after Connie has some soup, they can go back across the street and deliver her baby. Meanwhile, Doug and Ray play foosball together at the hotel, spending more time together than they have in years.

Thoughts: Christy is played by Nia Long. Anna is played by Lindsay Crouse.

“What kind of soup should our diner serve, along with sandwiches, burgers, and pie?” “…Beet?” “Oh, yeah. Definitely beet.”

One of Carter’s competitors for the fellowship is named Andrea Zucker. Is that a nod to Andrea Zuckerman on Beverly Hills, 90210? This Andrea is also from California.

Dear everyone: If a friend brings you drugs while you’re in the hospital to have a baby, get new friends.

October 9, 2018

ER 2.13, It’s Not Easy Being Greene: Off Days and Days Off

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:51 pm by Jenn

ANGST! SO MUCH ANGST!

Summary: Mark is out for a jog on a snowy day, on his way to the hospital even though he has the day off. Haleh calls him dedicated while Chuny calls him sad. Weaver tells Susan that she and Morgenstern think Susan would make a great chief resident next year. She gives Susan instructions on a procedure she’s performing while talking about time management and how Susan will be able to balance her job responsibilities and Susie.

Carol’s upset to learn that she’s had her shifts cut. It doesn’t get better when Jeanie complains that she’s been given more shifts. Jerry tells Carol that she can join an investment club for $2,000 and get $10,000 to $20,000 within ten days. Carol educates him on the wonders of pyramid schemes. Let’s hope it’s not too late for Jerry to get out. Vucelich tells Benton that he wants him to go to Paris to present info on their study. They’ll need to find another patient for the study soon, since some Norwegian doctors are doing the same research.

Benton asks Malik where Carter is, and Malik says Carter’s late but will be coming any minute. Cut to…a sex joke, since Carter’s in bed with Harper. He tells her some of the things he thinks about to “delay the inevitable,” like procedures and equipment inventory. I think it’s safe to say that Carter has the world’s worst pillow talk.

Mark tells Susan that Jen is suing for full custody of Rachel, and is painting him as a distant father. They give each other TB tests while they discuss the possibility of Susan becoming chief resident. She’s not sure she could do it while working fewer hours than other chiefs have. Mark advises her to be warmer with Weaver, since they’ll be working closer if Susan becomes chief. Doug learns that Mark is working on his day off and just laughs.

Benton sticks Carter in the ER while he goes hunting for another study participant. Carol chats with a patient named Mrs. Henry who got dizzy while working in her garden. She raises earthworms, which generate a beloved kind of fertilizer and sell for a good amount of money. Carol’s inspired to go into this line of business. Mark’s patient, Alan, had a seizure and now has an erratic heartbeat.

Carter wants to get an interview for his residency, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s interested. Harper brings him an x-ray, thinking her patient has an aortic aneurysm and needs to see Vucelich. Carter can’t see the calcification she thinks is on the scan and advises her not to call Vucelich. She passes the patient along to Carter and goes off to help Mark. Seconds later, Susan glances at the x-ray, sees what Harper saw, and diagnoses an aneurysm.

Alan’s heart rhythm gets more erratic, so Mark kicks his wife, Mrs. Wimbur, out so he and Harper can try to figure out what’s wrong with him. He’s smart enough to know that nurses are valuable sources of information, and he asks Haleh and Lydia for their input (low potassium and cocaine, respectively). They stabilize Alan, but only briefly.

Carter presents Harper’s patient’s x-ray to Vucelich and Benton, who confirm that Harper’s diagnosis was right. They praise him for the catch, and he doesn’t tell them that Harper was the one who read the x-ray correctly. Lydia and Haleh, however, were both wrong about Alan, and Mark still doesn’t know why he’s having heart problems. Alan gets worse, requiring CPR, but after 20 minutes, he’s not any better. Susan joins the group and first suspects what Haleh did, that cocaine is a factor. When Mark says he’s clean, she says Alan might be acidotic.

More time passes and Doug comes in to try to help. Eventually, close to an hour goes by, and the doctors are unable to save Alan. Mark laments that he was only 32. He gives the bad news to Mrs. Wimbur, but he’s unable to tell her what caused her husband’s death. She blames Mark, since she was originally told that Alan could be saved.

While Jerry tries to escape his pyramid scheme, Susan tells Weaver that she officially wants to be considered for the chief position. Weaver’s like, “Oh, great! Now go take care of some more patients.” Carol takes Mrs. Henry for tests, though Mrs. Henry is worried about having to leave her worms in her truck. She figures no one will steal them, even though they’re worth $5,000, but she fears that they’ll freeze to death. She asks Carol to bring them into the hospital and feed them some table scraps.

Susan’s patient, Mrs. D’Angelo, is suffering a lot of pain from stones in her gall bladder. She wants surgery, but since her condition isn’t life-threatening, her insurance won’t pay for it. (God bless America.) Mark calls pathology to ask for a rush on Alan’s autopsy so he can answer his medical mystery. Susan tells him to go home, but Mark doesn’t appreciate being accused of killing a patient and running the risk of being sued. Susan assures him that he did everything right.

Vucelich and Benton operate on Harper’s patient while Carter assists by suctioning. The patient has a bad reaction to the anesthesia, and Vucelich blames Benton for not getting a full history. Once he starts getting things under control, Vucelich realizes that since the patient had never had an operation before, he wouldn’t have known about an intolerance to the anesthesia, so he wouldn’t have mentioned it in the history. He extends an olive branch to Benton by inviting him to lunch. Weaver gives Susan some advice on Mrs. D’Angelo’s treatment; it sounds like she’s trying to teach, but Susan takes it as criticism.

Mark meets with Morgenstern and Kathy Snyder, a hospital attorney, who announces that they’ve worked out a settlement with Sean O’Brien. Morgenstern’s happy to put this behind them, but Mark isn’t – this will be a black mark on his record and will follow him for the rest of his medical career. Kathy points out that they could lose millions if they go to trial. Mark insists that he didn’t do anything wrong, so he shouldn’t admit that he did. Kathy says that experts disagree. Morgenstern does, too, but Mark refuses to settle. He’ll hire his own lawyer and fight on his own if he has to.

Carol and Chuny take a look at Mrs. Henry’s worms, which Carol sees as a key to getting the money she needs to fix up her house. Lydia feeds them some yogurt. Harper finds Carter to bask in the glory of making her diagnosis, but her mood quickly darkens when she realizes that Carter didn’t give her any credit with Vucelich. He says he meant to, but everything happened fast. Harper doesn’t accept his excuse that Vucelich and Benton just assumed that he’d made the catch.

Mark tells Susan about the settlement and how Morgenstern is blaming him for Jodi’s death. Susan says that it was a tough diagnosis that any of them could have missed. But when Mark asks what she would say if she were called to testify in court, she doesn’t want to give an answer.

Jerry tries to convince Malik to start their own investment club, but Malik’s no idiot. Carol goes looking for the worms, but they’re missing from the room where she stashed them. Doug examines a teenager named Ray who’s been having headaches and dizziness, but seems mostly fine.

Carter interrupts Vucelich and Benton’s lunch to tell them that Harper made the diagnosis. Vucelich blasts him for taking credit, but since the patient isn’t a candidate for the study, it doesn’t really matter who made the diagnosis; no one will get a finder’s fee. After Carter leaves, Vucelich calls him a “strange boy.” Benton questions the patient’s exclusion from the study, but Vucelich just casually says that the patient has neurological problems that make him ineligible.

Susan tells Mrs. D’Angelo that they’re not going to give her an ultrasound because it’s clear what her problem is. There’s no point in spending the money. She’s been able to secure a slot for surgery at the end of the year, but since it’s only February, that doesn’t do Mrs. D’Angelo any good. Carol, Lydia, and Wendy (R.I.P. Vanessa Marquez) find the worms outside and rush them to a trauma room to warm them up. Susan rushes in to help, thinking they have a real, human patient. She makes a hilarious patient as Carol tries to break the worms out of the block of ice they’ve become.

When nothing abnormal shows up on Ray’s tests, Doug talks to him, trying to find out if his problems are stress-related. Ray says things are fine, but he’s clearly upset about something. He tells Doug that there’s something wrong with him. Doug thinks he’s just having normal teenager anxieties, but Ray has a secret: He’s come to the conclusion that he’s gay. He doesn’t know what to tell his father or brothers. He’s sick of pretending to be someone he’s not.

Doug calls for a psych consult, just wanting to give Ray someone to talk to. Haleh doesn’t appear to agree with this form of treatment. Benton tells Harper she made a good call with the aneurysm, but it’s too little too late. Susan calls Harper and Carter in to help tend to a patient as Weaver looks on. Harper tells Carter to shut it when he tries to offer some help. Mark and Doug meet up at a diner, where Mark admits that he may have killed Alan. He heard a murmur on examination, and he should have done more to save him. Doug thinks Mark is holding himself to too high of a standard.

Harper screws up something on the patient, and Carter tries to take the blame, but Harper wants to own up to her own mistake. Susan and Weaver discuss treatments, but Susan makes it clear that she’s not going to give in to Weaver just because Weaver has seniority. Susan ends up being right, and she gloats a little too much, asking Weaver questions that she would normally ask an intern or med student.

Mark goes to the morgue to find out if Alan’s autopsy has solved any mysteries. Haleh advises Doug to talk to Ray himself instead of continuing to wait for a psych consult. She asks if Doug is trying to avoid having a difficult conversation with Ray because he’s gay. Doug insists that he’s not homophobic, but he doesn’t think he’s the right person for the conversation because he has no expertise on the subject. Haleh doesn’t seem convinced.

The pathologist, Dr. Upton, doesn’t find anything abnormal with Alan’s heart. She tells Mark that medicine is an art, and it’s ambiguous. Sometimes there are no answers. In this case, she can’t determine Alan’s cause of death. Mrs. Henry is ready to be released, but her worms won’t be going home with her. Carol couldn’t save them. She gives the news as if she’s telling any patient’s family about a death.

Jeanie finds Benton looking over the protocol for Vucelich’s study. He wants to know if Vucelich is dropping patients with bad outcomes from his study so his results won’t be skewed. Harper yells at Carter for his behavior all day, which he blames on his poor odds at getting a residency at County. He’s forgotten a bunch of Benton’s patients’ orders and has to keep working.

Weaver calls Susan on getting a fact wrong in her impromptu Q&A in the trauma room. Susan finally blows up at her, saying it’s not worth it to be chief resident if she’ll have to put up with Weaver always looking over her shoulder. But Weaver thinks this reaction means Susan’s more qualified to be chief resident than she thought. Ray’s father arrives to take him home, and Ray pretends his trigonometry classes are the cause of his headaches. (Dude, I feel you.) Doug invites him to talk if he ever wants to, but Ray’s ready to go back to being his fake self.

Benton goes looking for records on Helen Rubadoux, who was also dropped from Vucelich’s study. He pulls out a few more files while he’s at it. Jerry’s come into a bunch of money, thanks to his pyramid scheme, so he’s ending the day on a good note. Carol has been able to salvage a few worms (she claims Mrs. Henry gave her some), so she’s going to see if she can make some money with them. Carter finally finishes his tasks and apologizes to Benton for being an idiot earlier. He also has to confess to being late with some orders. Looks like the golden child is slipping. Benton finds something interesting in a patient file and makes a phone call.

Mark smooths things over with Susan, admitting that he was in denial. He’s not sure he should keep practicing medicine. Susan says they all ask themselves that. Mark hopes the job is worth losing his family over. He now knows that Alan’s death wasn’t his fault. He did everything right and Alan died anyway. The lesson is that they can’t win. Mark asks if anyone thought it was strange that he came to work on his day off. Susan lies that they didn’t. (She’s a bad liar but he doesn’t catch on.) Then Mark ends his day the way he began – running.

Thoughts: Freaking animal plots. Just…why?

Carol: “What happened to those worms in radiology?” Susan: “They’re doing a consult.” Ha!

Mark needs a hobby. I don’t even think about work when I have a day off.

October 2, 2018

ER 2.12, True Lies: Heirs Apparent

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:09 pm by Jenn

Could you be mean to this man? Never

Summary: Rachel’s asleep – drink! Mark wakes her up and serves her breakfast, getting the hang of this single-father thing. Jen calls to check on them, and for some reason thinks Mark is bad-mouthing her to their daughter. Rachel’s struggling with her parents’ split and the fact that they live so far apart. She thinks Mark will eventually move back home. He decides to distract her with pancakes and ice skating.

Helen is well enough to be discharged from County and moved to a nursing home. Vucelich avoids questions from Ruby about when she’ll be able to walk. He invites Benton to a dinner party at his place that night; he’ll be able to put in some face time with some prestigious bigwigs. He’s also encouraged to bring a guest. Ruby’s concerned that Helen isn’t really ready to leave the hospital, but all the doctors involved think she is. Carter ushers them out the door, as he’s been told over and over is his goal. Whatever happens to Helen, she’s not his responsibility anymore.

Mark brings Rachel to the hospital for a few minutes before they go ice skating. She holds Susie while Mark tells Susan that the past few days have been tough. He invites her to come skating with them, an idea Rachel doesn’t like. She’s starting to display the attitude we’ll see a lot of when she’s a teenager. Carol tells Doug that his dad keeps calling, but Doug doesn’t want to talk to him.

Carter tells Benton that he finally got rid of the Rubadouxes. He asks who Benton will take to Vucelich’s party, vetoing his first choice, Jackie. Carter suggests Jeanie, laughing at the idea of Benton bringing his sister to a party full of surgeons and their trophy wives. Benton knows he’s right and quickly invites Jeanie to the party. She accepts once they establish that it’s not a date.

A patient comes in after a car accident that left him impaled on a guardrail. (Owwwwww.) A maintenance man has to bring in a saw to cut him off of it. Mark, Susan, Rachel, and Susie go skating (Susie’s in a little sled; it’s cute), but only three of them have a good time. Rachel clearly doesn’t like that her father has a new woman in his life, even though they’re just friends.

“My first medical consult!” the maintenance man declares as he finishes his work with the saw. Hicks arrives to help Benton and Carter take the patient to the OR so Vucelich can operate on him. Just then, the Rubadouxes return – Helen passed out. Benton tells Carter to take care of her but not “make a career” out of her. In other words, treat her and street her again.

The skaters return to the hospital, where E-Ray is filling in for a sick Jerry. Desk clerk is actually a better job for E-Ray than nurse, as he’s better with computers and administrative tasks than he is with medicine. He’s also a licensed daycare worker, so he offers to look after Rachel. Hicks and Benton operate on Mr. Guardrail, waiting for Vucelich to join them. Since he’s going to take a while to get there, Benton insists he can do the operation himself. Hicks agrees to let him.

A drunk woman is brought to the ER in respiratory distress, and Susan soon loses her pulse. Lily sees from her ID that her name is Barbara Dean, and today is her 50th birthday. She looks older than that, probably as a result of lots of partying. Helen (whom Ruby calls Sylvie, which is really confusing) is unconscious, and Carter and Jeanie tell Ruby that she may have had a stroke. Ruby’s worried that he was right about her leaving the hospital too soon.

E-Ray entertains Rachel by showing her pictures of skin lesions. He thinks she’ll benefit from “confronting [her] fears in a supportive and nurturing environment.” Susan calls Barbara’s daughter, who wants nothing to do with her mother. Lily finds her medical records, which show lots of alcohol-related injuries and illnesses. Doug’s father calls yet again, and Doug tells E-Ray to say he died. Carol has big news for everyone: Morgenstern is in the suture room, wearing a Catholic schoolgirl’s uniform. They all run off to see.

Benton’s attempts at surgery aren’t going so well, and he loses his shot at proving himself when Vucelich finally arrives to relieve him. Hicks takes responsibility, saying she let Benton’s enthusiasm cloud her judgment. Benton just looks on as she and Vucelich finish up. Aww, poor Benton. Now he won’t get to sit at the big kids’ table!

Ruby’s distressed over Helen’s condition, and Carter isn’t as sympathetic or gentle as he’s been in the past. A bunch of staff members giggle over Morgenstern’s clothes, considering taking a picture they can use as blackmail material for the next several years. Mark and Susan finally go in and learn that Morgenstern lost control of a caber, a huge log thrown in the Highland Games. His schoolgirl’s uniform is really traditional Scottish attire. Mark determines that his leg is probably broken.

Benton tells Jeanie he has to stay late at work, so their dinner non-date is off. Noah and his brother Kenny come in after being hit by a car; Noah only has minor injuries, but Kenny’s hurt pretty badly. Noah says that he doesn’t know where their mother is, and their father isn’t around. (It seems like the actor screwed up the line, or it was poorly written; it’s the mother who isn’t around.) Carol recognizes him as a previous County visitor.

Carter gets stuck between a rock and a hard place, where Ruby is the rock and Benton is the hard place. Carter’s trying to get Helen admitted to County, but Benton thinks he’s spending too much time on something unimportant. Barbara has a do-not-resuscitate order in her records, but Susan wants to put her on a respirator to treat her breathing problems. Barbara refuses to revoke the DNR.

Benton tries to leave a message with Vucelich’s assistant canceling his attendance at the dinner party. The assistant says that unless he has a terminal illness that will kill him before the party, he’d better be there. She also admits that he’s a last-minute addition because someone else canceled, and Vucelich’s wife doesn’t like empty chairs. He should think of this like surgery: If Vucelich requests his presence, he shouldn’t decline.

Morgenstern plays bagpipes in the suture room while waiting for his x-rays to come back. He’s disappointed that having to wait to get a cast on his leg means he’ll miss partaking in the haggis and reciting Robert Burns’ “To a Haggis.” He practices while Mark takes a phone call. Benton tells Jeanie he can make it to dinner after all, so she’ll be expected there, too. Jeanie is somehow fine with this.

Rachel plays jacks with Malik, who’s used to playing with girls since he has four sisters. Carol tells Doug that she remembers Noah because he came in with his father last fall after his father passed out drunk. DCFS is now getting involved. Doug blasts Dave Donovan, the DCFS rep, for not getting the kids out of their home where they’re obviously unsupervised. Dave says he’s familiar with the family and didn’t think the kids needed to be removed – their father’s gotten sober and is going to AA. The kids were playing hooky; their dad isn’t responsible for what happened to them.

Jeanie bugs Carter to tell Ruby that Helen’s doing poorly, so he needs to prepare himself to say goodbye. Carter brushes her off. Barbara’s daughter, Karen, comes in but doesn’t want to actually talk to her mother. Susan urges her to make peace before Barbara dies. After making calls to multiple departments in an attempt to get Helen admitted, Carter finally gets neurology to accept her for a nerve study she’s probably not really qualified for. He no longer cares; he just wants her off his hands. He also still won’t tell Ruby how serious Helen’s condition is.

Mark decides it’s time to tell Rachel that he and Jen aren’t going to get back together, and he won’t be moving home. He wishes it didn’t have to be this way. Jen arrives to pick her up, but Rachel doesn’t want to leave her father. She screams as Jen carries her away. Benton goes to Vucelich’s party, where Jeanie is already socializing and is probably better liked than Benton will ever be.

Kenny and Noah’s father comes to County, and Doug interrogates him on where he was while his kids were playing in the street and getting hit by a car. Carol tries to mediate as Doug blasts the father for making multiple visits to the ER in the past because of his drinking. Carol finally pulls Doug aside and tells him to call his dad if he wants to yell at a father. Noah and Kenny’s dad is doing the best he can.

Morgenstern’s family comes to see him in the ER, playing bagpipes and drums. They’ve even brought the haggis. Haleh enjoys herself until she learns what’s in haggis. Karen’s now sitting with Barbara, remembering the times she saw her mother unconscious when she was a kid. She used to be afraid or angry; now she doesn’t have the energy to be either. She’s not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Vucelich’s dinner party is exactly how you would expect a dinner party full of rich, white people to be. Benton praises the work of one of his colleagues, and another says that Vucelich considers him “the heir apparent.” Benton confides to Jeanie that after his horrible showing in surgery that day, he doesn’t think he’ll be the heir anymore. He expects Vucelich to kick him off his study. The two of them try to figure out which part of their meal is a truffle.

As Doug sees Noah’s father hugging him, trying desperately to be a good parent, Vucelich asks Benton if they can speak alone. Benton prepares himself for the worst. Barbara’s declining quickly, and since she signed a DNR, there isn’t much Susan can do for her. Now Karen wants more time with her mother, and she’s distressed when Barbara flatlines and Susan and Lily do nothing.

Vucelich offers Benton a cigar and booze, neither of which he wants to partake in. (I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before, but Benton doesn’t drink.) Benton apologizes for performing badly in surgery and backs up Hicks’ earlier assertion that he overstepped his bounds. But Vucelich knew that would happen, and that Hicks would keep an eye on things. He likes that Benton keeps one eye on details and one on the horizon, like all good surgeons.

Vucelich says he enjoys looking at puzzles and assessing risks. Benton replies that that’s why he’s enjoyed being on Vucelich’s team. Vucelich wasn’t sure, since Benton never expresses that enjoyment. He was afraid he was seeing something in Benton that Benton doesn’t see in himself. Benton says he wants to see it. Vucelich likes that. Back at County, Doug finally calls his father but hangs up before he gets an answer. Susan and Mark come in, and the three end their tough day with some of Morgenstern’s family’s booze.

Ruby finds Carter as he’s doing paperwork and blasts him for lying. He knows now that Helen will never get better, and will never be able to leave the hospital. He’s sure that Carter knew the whole time but didn’t say anything, even though Ruby thought they were friends. Carter argues that he was just doing his job. He admits that he doesn’t know if Helen got worse because she was released from the hospital.

Carter lists all the things he did for her, but Ruby knows that he only sees him and Helen in terms of their problems, not as people. He just wants Carter to tell him the truth. Carter yells that Helen’s dying, and Ruby thanks him, finally getting confirmation of what he’s been fearing. He no longer wants Carter to call him by his nickname. They are definitely not friends.

Thoughts: Vucelich’s assistant must really hate Benton, because why else tell him he didn’t make the first cut for the guest list?

Carter, Benton, and Vucelich are lucky that Ruby never sues for what could probably be classified as medical malpractice.

Yvonne Zima (Rachel) is great in this episode, and especially impressive when you realize that she was only seven at the time.

It seems like this episode confirms what’s been obvious for a while – Benton’s way of practicing medicine doesn’t work. Carter tried it and got burned. He’s a much better doctor when he ignores Benton and forms a relationship with his patients. He has to see them as people, like Ruby says, and not like medical cases to be worked through before he can go home for the day.

September 25, 2018

ER 2.11, Dead of Winter: Jeanie Deserves Better Than…Just…All of This

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

I’ll be your mommy, you cutie pie

Summary: It’s a snowy, windy night in Chicago, and the ER is relatively quiet. Jeanie learns that a baby in respiratory arrest is on the way in, and she goes to wake Susan. Susan promises she’s getting up, but Jeanie has to go back and make sure, like a mom waking her child for school. Elsewhere in the city, Mark is alone in his quiet apartment, living the bachelor life. At least he can drink juice straight out of the bottle without anyone getting on his case.

Shep and Raul respond to what they think is a call to tend to a drunk man who slipped on some stairs and hit his head. The police on the scene actually have something much more important for the paramedics to deal with: a dirty apartment full of kids in tattered clothes. There are no adults at home, and the oldest child isn’t even ten.

Susan fills Mark in at the hospital – in all, 22 kids were found in the apartment. They’re all malnourished, and the parents haven’t been identified or found. The police arrested a man who claimed to be an uncle. Some of the kids are now at County, with lots of medical problems because of their malnutrition and neglect. Doug takes charge while Mark talks to one of the older kids, Ty. Some of the kids are his siblings, and some of the others may be his cousins, but he’s not clear on everything. Shep tells Mark that only about half the kids had clothes.

Ruby listens nervously as Benton, Carter, and Vucelich discuss Helen’s condition nine days after her surgery. Though the surgery went fine, Helen is experiencing some complications, including paraplegia. Benton thinks she should go to a care facility. Vucelich disagrees and asks for Carter’s opinion. Carter thinks a few more days of treatment at County will do the trick. Vucelich allows him to take over the case.

Mark and Lydia examine Ty, who says he’s always made sure the kids have enough to eat. His mom gives him her food stamps when she doesn’t need them. He asks about Trey, who has cerebral palsy. Mark says he’ll check on him, asking Lydia to find a dental school that can send students to examine the kids’ teeth. (Smart thinking.) He learns from Susan and Jeanie that at least one of the kids has lice, so all the kids will need to be treated. He tells Susan she can leave, since her shift is over, but Susan wants to stick around and make sure all the kids are okay.

Doug and Malik are examining Trey, who has cigarette burns and welts. Someone better be going to jail after all this. Benton goes to the front desk to answer a page but instead runs into Al (Jeanie’s husband, not Lydia’s boyfriend). Even though Carter said that Jeanie told him she and Al are through, Al is there to pick Jeanie up for breakfast. In the midst of the crazy morning, Mark gets a summons from a process server. Jen is filing for divorce.

Pete Tuteur from the Department of Children and Family Services arrives as Jeanie, Malik, and Chuny give the kids lice treatments. Jeanie demonstrates that she’s great with kids, and one of the girls must agree with me, because she asks if Jeanie will be her mommy. Benton checks in with Carter, who hasn’t decided yet what to do for Helen. He give a nurse some instructions, ignoring her when she tells him the risks.

Pete tells Mark that a couple of the kids from the apartment are supposed to be living with their grandmother, but he hasn’t located her yet. The kids’ alleged uncle is living large on all the government payments he gets for taking in the kids. His other money comes from selling crack. Mark thinks this is an argument for welfare reform, because this situation must be the norm, and everyone must be taking advantage of the system. Shut up, Mark.

Susan needs a surgical consult for one of the kids, who has a mass. Mark tells her that Jen has served him with divorce papers, so he’ll have to get a lawyer. Susan invites him to hang out with her at home that evening, but he declines. Shep and Raul stop by again, and Randi admires how cute Raul is. Shep and Carol tell her Raul’s gay, so she’s not his type. Benton gets another page, and again doesn’t know who it’s from. Randi is no help.

Shep tells some of the staff about how horrible the conditions were in the apartment. He blames the kids’ mothers – why can’t “these people” just take care of their children? Benton and Malik take offense to the phrase, while Randi defends Shep, saying he didn’t mean anything racist. Shep says if he’d meant something discriminatory, he would have said “black people” instead of “these people.” Malik calls him David Duke anyway.

Carol jumps in as Shep goes off about personal responsibility. He points out that Benton’s a surgeon while Shep, a white guy, is a paramedic. Benton says it’s not that simple, and the system doesn’t work equally for everyone. Shep says it seems to be working pretty well for Benton. Jeanie pulls Benton away, but Malik makes sure Shep knows the argument is his fault.

Loretta comes in with her kids, Annie and Jimmy, and Mark determines that Jimmy has strep throat. The family has moved into a new house, and Loretta is still at her new job. Lydia takes the kids to the family room so Mark can talk to Loretta about some vaginal bleeding she’s been having. Jeanie brings Benton in to examine Susan’s patient, Michael, as Benton realizes that Jeanie’s the one who’s been paging him. He complains that she’s been wasting his time by not waiting around to tell him what she needs. Susan points out that things have been hectic in the ER all day.

Benton isn’t very gentle in his examination of Michael, and after he’s done and leaving in a huff, Jeanie follows. She tells him that if he’s mad, he should take it out on her, not a scared little boy. “Is that it?” Benton asks, saying possibly the worst thing he could say right now. Jeanie keeps standing up to him, finally telling him to either find a way to be compassionate or leave medicine.

Mark tends to a man named Mr. Mills who appears to have had a heart attack. Benton could learn a lot from Mark, who’s able to take charge of the patient and steer his son outside without being rude, short, or heartless. Jeanie goes to meet with her supervisor, Bobbi, who wants to go over Jeanie’s first student assessment. She’s skilled, but not assertive enough, and she may not be cut out for the ER. Jeanie thinks the assessment is from Benton, but it’s from Carol. Bobbi accepts that Carol might be annoyed that Jeanie’s encroaching on her turf, but Jeanie still needs to demonstrate that she can cut it in the ER. Jeanie promises she can.

Doug has learned that Jen has filed for divorce, and he’s surprised that Mark couldn’t make things work. What does that mean for Doug in the future? (Don’t worry, Doug. You’ll be just fine.) Susan’s still at work, and Mark tells her to leave by 5. A woman named Mrs. Proulx arrives, looking for the kids from the apartment. She’s their grandmother, and it seems like she has no idea what kind of conditions they were living in.

Carter butts heads with a nurse again, then shares a cup of coffee with Ruby. Ruby tells him about Helen’s past in musical theater. Carter admits he did Pippin and The Fantasticks in school. I can’t believe no one else is around to hear this and tease him about it later. Ruby emotionally tells Carter that he’s not ready to lose his wife.

Jeanie pulls Carol aside to talk about her assessment. Carol says Jeanie is “competent but timid.” She needs to become more aggressive to survive in the ER. Jeanie asks if she’s done something to offend Carol, but Carol promises that her critiques aren’t personal. Jeanie needs to stop waiting around to be told what to do. But Carol also doesn’t like that nurses with 20 years of experience have to answer to physician’s assistants with only a few months of training. Jeanie says that she took four years to complete two years of school because she had to work full-time. Carol doesn’t care – Jeanie has to stop looking for validation and just do her job.

Benton tells Vucelich that Helen’s paralysis isn’t getting better. Vucelich thinks it’s a small price to pay, considering how badly she needed the surgery they performed on her. Benton’s worried that he’s to blame for the complications, but Vucelich assures him that his technique was perfect. They’ll have to exclude Helen from Vucelich’s big study, though. He formally invites Benton to join the team. Mark tells Mr. Mills’ son, Howard, that his father’s prognosis isn’t good. Howard thinks he’s ready to die, especially in the wake of the death of his wife of 50 years. Benton gets some extra money and perks from joining Vucelich’s team, so his day is looking up.

Susan tells Mrs. Proulx that Trey is well enough to be taken into custody by DCFS, and he’ll be going to an emergency shelter. There will be a court hearing next week, when Mrs. Proulx can attempt to get custody. She tells Susan and Pete that the kids were living with her until a month ago, all with their own beds. Then their mother took them, insisting that she was doing better. Mrs. Proulx says their mom used to be a great parent, but drugs changed all that. She says goodbye to the kids, reminding Ty to take care of Trey. She leaves the hospital sad and alone.

Mark’s next patient is having stomach pains and thinks she just overate. He assigns Jeanie to give the patient a rectal exam and collect a stool sample. Chuny smiles to herself over Jeanie’s bad fortune until Mark tells her to help. Carter tells Vucelich that Helen’s condition still isn’t changing. Vucelich tells him that’s not important – they just need to get her “buffed up” so they can send her to a care facility. She’s not going to get better, so they just need to polish her up and send her off to be someone else’s problem. Carter worries that the things he’s tried have made Helen worse, but Vucelich reminds him that she’s dying no matter what.

In the cafeteria, Shep tries to make peace with Malik, who’s not interested in appeasing a white guy who wants to make sure the black guy likes him. Carol and Raul try to call Shep away, but he persists. Malik finally says he doesn’t think Shep is a bigot, though he clearly does. Shep loudly tells Carol and Shep how he can’t be racist because his EMT partner is Latino and they play basketball with a bunch of other non-white people. Malik manages to not laugh at him from the next table.

Benton examines Mark’s patient, Mrs. Saunders, and realizes that she didn’t overeat – she’s in labor. Her sister’s shocked since she didn’t know she was pregnant, and supposedly went through menopause. Jeanie joins Benton to deliver the baby, despite the fact that neither really knows how. Ruby thinks Helen’s doing better, and that Carter will be able to fix her up. Carter gently tells him that Helen may need long-term care. Ruby insists that Helen is strong and will eventually be able to go home with him. He appreciates that Carter, unlike his colleagues, actually cares about them.

Doug and Chuny tell Mark that Mrs. Saunders wound up having twins. In much more depressing news, Loretta has cancer. Her phone isn’t working, so Mark decides to go to her house and give her the news in person. Jeanie meets Al at Doc Magoo’s, unsure what he wants to talk about. He tells her that they should give their marriage another try. They can even have kids, like she’s wanted. Jeanie’s tired, both from her exhausting job and from how much work this relationship is. Al says he’s done playing around and is ready to get serious, but Jeanie just walks out.

As Mark looks for an address that doesn’t appear to exist, Benton tries to make up for his earlier treatment of Michael. He explains that the boy has a hernia and needs to have an operation to fix it. Michael’s scared, but Benton tells him he’ll be fine and it’s not a big deal. He even agrees to stay with Michael for a while. Mark decides to go to Susan’s after all, and the two settle in for the evening with pizza and beer. Carter is woken up by his pager, having given the number to Ruby. Ruby has some questions for his new favorite doctor, and Carter probably has some regrets about his kindness.

Thoughts: Carter looks like he’s playing dress-up in his white doctor’s coat.

Jeanie calling out Benton for acting like a child is sooooo satisfying.

Shep: “My sister dated a black guy for two years.” Ha! Shep doesn’t even have a black friend he can use for an “I have black friends” argument – he has to go with his sister’s ex!

September 18, 2018

ER 2.10, A Miracle Happens Here: A Christmas Carol

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

It’s Santa! I know him!

Summary: Shep’s alarm goes off at 5:45, and he has to be rudely awoken by some annoying Santa-themed rap. Carol’s already up and around, trying to get a fire going in her newly discovered fireplace, since the furnace went out during the night. She can’t get the flue open, so Shep suggests that they have Christmas at his place. Carol insists on having it in her new home and tries to think of ways to make it work. Shep will probably win this round, since there’s now a hole in the roof letting snow in.

Some carolers sing “Carol of the Bells” at the hospital, and their lovely voices almost make up for their hideous outfits. (The women are wearing caps with snowmen on them. If they have children, those kids are now dead from the humiliation.) The group is from the recovery wing, and they invite the ER staff to sing for them at 4 p.m. Apparently Carol made the arrangements but didn’t tell anyone. Unfortunately, no one can sing. Susan and Doug try to volunteer Mark, who’s not in yet, as he’s with the hospital’s lawyer. Sean O’Brien is suing him.

The lawyer tells Mark that the case is going to take a long time to move forward, and he plans to settle anyway. It’s better to leave Mark with a black mark on his record than for the hospital to have to pay out a million dollars. Mark heads off to find a bathroom, running into Sean and his son, who’s now about a year old. Sean definitely doesn’t want to make small talk with the man he’s suing for his wife’s death.

Some costumed skaters doing an on-ice nativity play were injured by a Zamboni, so Susan, Doug, and Harper are busy in the ER. Officer Al eases Susan’s fears by reporting that baby Jesus was played by a doll. However, the Zamboni driver appears to be drunk, so I think he’ll be spending Christmas in jail. Meanwhile, Mark will be spending it moping by himself, since his family is in Milwaukee and his wife is sleeping with someone else.

Carter wants to observe an operation Benton’s performing, but he hasn’t finished his work from the night before, since he was busy trying to comfort a patient’s family. No one’s going to be a nice person on Benton’s watch, even on Christmas Eve, so Carter doesn’t get to observe. Carol tries to round up participants for the carol singing that afternoon, but no one wants to sing. Doug mentions that the cops are charging the Zamboni with a DUI, even though he wasn’t technically driving a car. Mark dubs it a ZUI.

Benton scrubs in with a couple other surgeons who a) don’t want to make small talk with him and b) don’t even know his name. Vucelich informs them that their patient has changed his mind about having surgery, but he thinks he and Benton might be able to get him to change it back. Carol tends to a patient named Stan Calaus who cut himself while carving a wooden toy. He and his wife used to sell their goods at craft fairs; now he has a whole crew helping out, and they still have more orders than they can keep up with. Carol tells him he would make a great Santa, but he must hear that a lot.

Vucelich tells Benton that part of being a surgeon who employs cutting-edge techniques is selling his methods to patients. He lets Benton take the lead in convincing the patient, Mr. Chamberlain, to let them operate. Mark has signed up to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Doug nicely offers to take one of those shifts. Mark would rather work than spend the holidays alone; Rachel will be with Jen until Christmas night.

Shep brings in an unconscious woman named Hanna Steiner who was carjacked. Mark notices tattooed numbers on Hanna’s arm, and he and Shep have to tell Malik that that means she’s a Holocaust survivor, because wherever Malik went to school growing up, the school system sucked. Mr. Chamberlain tells Benton and Vucelich that he doesn’t care what techniques they’re using; his wife, Macy, wants him to wait, so he is. Carter arrives with Macy, having convinced her that the procedure is the way to go. This is the family Carter spent the night talking to, and they love him now. Vucelich rewards him with the offer of scrubbing in.

Hanna regains consciousness and asks about Tirzah, her granddaughter. She was in the car when it was stolen. The car has been found by the police, but there was no baby inside. Mark and Haleh’s day just got a whole lot worse. They try to call Hanna’s son, but she doesn’t think that’ll do any good, since he lives far away. Mark tries to encourage her to get a CT scan while they wait for news on the baby. Hanna says something in Yiddish, and when Mark understands her, Hanna decides to defer to his medical recommendation.

Al shows Susan the ruby earrings he wants to give Lydia for Christmas. He’s uncertain about the choice, since they’re nothing that special or expensive, but Susan promises that they’re perfect for Lydia. She finds Mark fighting with Jen on the phone about wanting to keep Rachel with her a couple more days so she can go to a party with her cousins. He complains to Susan about Jen’s horrible timing in having an affair. She invites him to spend the holiday with her, Susie, and her parents, though I’m not sure that’s better than spending it alone.

Vucelich and Benton operate on Mr. Chamberlain as Carter observes closely. Vucelich thinks Benton is lucky to have a student with such a good rapport with patients. He lets Benton finish up, but Benton gets flustered since they’re rushing for a personal-best operating time. They don’t break their record, thanks to Benton, but Carter gets to help out, so at least one person in the operating room is happy. Weaver spots an old friend named Mlungisi who’s in town for a visit. She hugs and kisses him, showing more affection than she will in the entire rest of the series. Carol, Mark, Haleh, and Randi are stunned.

As a man rushes his teen son in with a bullet wound in his shoulder, Mark chats with Hanna, trying to help her stay positive that Tirzah will be found safe. She covers the numbers on her arm and tells him it’s easier to be a victim of discrimination when you’re a child because you don’t know any different. Mark notes that she’s seen the worst in people. Hanna says she’s also seen the best, like Tirzah.

Mark tries to assure her that the carjacker just wanted the vehicle, so he won’t hurt the baby. Hanna knows that the best way to get revenge on those who have hurt you is to keep living your life like they don’t own you. But then something like this happens and you remember that everything can be taken from you. Hanna admits that when she was getting her CT scan, she prayed for the first time in 50 years. She asks if Mark knows Yiddish and if he’s religious. Mark says he’s the child of a lapsed Catholic and an agnostic Jew. She teases that he’s no good to her; she can’t ask him to pray for her family. Mark says he’ll try.

The staff is supposed to go to a restaurant for a party later, but since it’s snowing and traffic isn’t moving much, Carol thinks everyone who’s still there at 4 p.m. might as well go sing with her. Susan says her voice is so bad that when she sings to Susie, the baby goes to sleep immediately as a defense mechanism. Carol says they can both just mouth the words, though that won’t be any good if no one else is singing. Carol tries to enlist Carter, but he pleads “chronic tone-deafness and acute stage fright.”

Mark agrees with Carol that Stan looks familiar – just like Jerry Garcia. Apparently it’s Show Susan the Earrings You Bought for Your Girlfriend Day, because Carter wants Susan’s opinion on the earrings he’s going to give Harper. Unlike Al’s rubies, Carter bought Harper real diamonds. He’s worried that she’ll think they’re too much, since they haven’t been dating that long. Susan says Harper will be happy that he thought to get her something so nice.

Some teens bring in a priest who was shot at his church. Jeanie is horrified that someone would shoot a priest. Weaver has arranged to take some time off so she can be with Mlungisi while he’s in town, and since Mark was already scheduled to work, it’s not a hassle. Harper and Randi try to get Weaver to tell them how she and Mlungisi know each other. Weaver just says that she had a farm in Africa.

Susan and Jeanie work on the priest, who asks to speak to Diablo, one of the boys who came in with him. Susan wants the priest to stay calm, but he insists, so Jeanie goes to get Diablo. A baby is being brought in after being found in an adult theater (oh, classy), and the police think she might be Tirzah. Mark and Doug check her over, but she seems fine, just unhappy. Hanna wanders in and recognizes her as Tirzah.

The priest tells Diablo that his shooter wasn’t from the L.G. (which we can assume is a gang). He gives Jeanie his rosary beads for Diablo. Carol checks on Stan, who’s sending off his wife and kids to finish up their work. Mrs. Calaus promises she has both their maps, the naughty and the nice. Carol tells Stan that she’s enjoyed being his nurse today; everyone else she’s encountered has been scroogey. Stan tells her she has to find the Christmas spirit within her rather than rely on other people to show it.

Carol changes her methods, telling some of the staff that she’s going to sing Christmas carols, and they can join her if they’d like. No one does, but at least she doesn’t feel grumpy anymore. Susan and Jeanie rush the priest to an elevator to take him to surgery, but they have to take him back to the trauma room when he destabilizes. The teens who brought him in are eager for information, which the staff don’t have time to provide. Hanna wisely takes Tirzah out of the room while they’re working.

Mark discovers that the bullet severed the priest’s aorta, so they get some scans. By the time Jeanie returns with the films, the priest is dead. The teens are devastated and ask for a priest to deliver last rites. In a much cheerier part of the hospital, Carol sings a respectable version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” to some patients in the recovery wing. Mark, Susan, Doug, Carter, Harper, Malik, and Lydia join her, making up their own lyrics. No one sounds good, but Carol appreciates their effort, and the patients are happy to see them.

Benton lies down in an on-call room, reciting Scripture about Jesus’ birth to himself. Lily grabs him to come take care of an elderly woman named Helen Rubadoux who may have an aortic dissection. When Carter arrives to help, Benton puts him to work doing what he does best – talking to the patient’s husband, Ruby. Carol goes looking for Stan, but he’s already left. The window in his room is open, and Carol thinks she hears sleigh bells. (Also, Stan Calaus is an anagram for Santa Claus. Sigh.)

Carter tells Ruby that Helen needs surgery, and though her odds of survival are only 50/50 because of her age, it’s necessary to give her any chance at all. He suggests a new procedure that will complete the surgery faster, lowering the odds that Helen will have a heart attack. Even better, Vucelich developed the procedure and would perform the operation himself. Ruby asks Carter if that’s what he would do, and Carter says it is, so Ruby gives his consent.

Diablo calls someone to report that the priest has died, so they need to make the L.G. pay. Jeanie hangs up the phone and reminds Diablo that the priest said it wasn’t the L.G. Diablo thinks he lied to keep a truce between gangs. Jeanie asks if the priest would want them to keep up the gang war in his name. She gives Diablo the rosary beads and tells him to help the man who always tried to help others.

Hanna’s large family has arrived with a menorah, wanting to celebrate Hanukkah with her in the hospital. Mark and Hanna both think they should leave and let Hanna rest, but the family doesn’t want her to be alone. As Vucelich and Benton prepare for Helen’s surgery, the staff learns that the snow has forced them to cancel their Christmas party. Carol says she wishes she could have everyone over to her house, but without heat, it wouldn’t be fun. Shep reveals that he spent the day fixing the fireplace, so everything’s good. Carol suddenly wishes she hadn’t invited everyone over.

Mark joins the Steiners as they light their menorah and play dreidel. One of Hanna’s granddaughters says that the letters on the dreidel mean “a miracle happened there.” Hanna’s happy that the family had their own miracle in Tirzah’s safe return. And there was a second miracle – Hanna and Mark prayed together. Hanna felt for decades that God had forsaken her, but she realized today that He’s always been with her in the form of her family. Mark decides to leave the family by themselves.

Things are very festive at Carol’s, and even Benton comes by after he finishes Helen’s surgery. Harper and Lydia admire each other’s earrings, deciding they each like each other’s pairs better. They consider switching, not thinking Al and Carter would notice, but Susan stops them. Jeanie tells Benton she was thinking about him today, knowing this is his first Christmas without his mother. He tells her she made him memorize the Bible verses he was reciting to himself earlier, and always liked to hear him say them on Christmas Eve. Benton notes that this is also Jeanie’s first Christmas on her own.

Shep finds Carol scrounging for more cups in her kitchen and announces that he loves her. That’s fine on its own, but then he goes further, saying he wants to spend his life with her and have kids with her. Okay, you’ve been dating for, like, three months. Slow down. Carol isn’t ready to make a big commitment, but she does appreciate hearing that he loves her.

Mark calls Rachel, promising that Santa will find her at her grandparents’ house. He asks if she wants to stay for the party with her cousins, knowing that if she does, he won’t get to spend Christmas with her. He promises they’ll have their own “post-Christmas, post-Hanukkah, pre-New Year’s Day celebration” when she gets there. He goes back to work as some staff have a joyful snowball fight outside the ER doors.

Thoughts: Ruby is played by the late Red Buttons. The priest is played by Tony Plana.

Clooney mouthing the final “bohm” in “Carol of the Bells” made me lose it.

Carol: “Last chance to spread some holiday cheer.” Benton: “What?” Exactly. “Holiday cheer” is a foreign language to Benton.

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