October 12, 2021

ER 9.14, No Strings Attached: In an Instant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 5, 2021

ER 9.13, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Need Help? Luka and Abby Have Some Guidelines

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:56 pm by Jenn

Do you think Noah Wyle ever felt inadequate next to Goran Visnjic? I mean, how could he not?

Summary: Abby is having what she would probably consider a normal day in the ER, dealing with a boy named Zavery who acts like a monkey. His mom says his psychiatrist thinks he should act out his impulses to pretend he’s an animal. I say let the kid do what he wants, since his life can’t be easy with a name like Zavery. Susan’s patient is a wrestler named Aidan, and she can’t help commenting that his hobby is keeping him in good shape. Susan, don’t hit on your patients!

Luka examines a man named Mr. Carmichael who has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. He wants to file a lawsuit against tobacco companies, but Luka thinks he should take responsibility for giving himself cancer by smoking and focus instead on making his last months meaningful. Mr. Carmichael threatens to add Luka to his lawsuit for covering for Big Tobacco. Luka tells him he won’t live long enough to make it to court. He complains to Weaver that Americans never take responsibility for their behavior.

As paramedics bring in a woman named Brenda, Romano comes looking for Weaver…and kisses her on the lips. The ER has just received $2.4 million in funding, thanks to Alderman Bright. He’s bringing in a camera crew that afternoon for a photo op. Romano tells Weaver to make sure no patients end up in the photos, even though the whole point of the funding is to help those patients.

Leon bangs on the door to his and Pratt’s apartment until Pratt lets him in. A friend of his, Biz, is in the hallway, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his chest. Leon thinks Pratt can take care of him in their apartment, but Pratt says he’ll need to go to the hospital. Biz doesn’t want that, since the police will get involved. Leon admits that they were shoplifting from a liquor store and Biz was shot by a security guard.

The funding has put Romano in a good mood, and when he runs into Gallant in the lounge, he strikes up a conversation about what Gallant’s studying. Romano’s arm is out of the contraption he’s been wearing for weeks, but it’s not back to normal – he drops the mug he’s holding. There goes his good mood.

Luka, Carter, and Abby tend to Brenda, who has an animal trap on her hand. She was demonstrating the cruelty of fur trapping in a college lecture, and I’d say this is a good object lesson. As they’re working, Luka asks Carter if he’s going to Chechnya or the Congo. It turns out Carter has signed on to work with the Alliance de Medicine Internationale, a Doctors Without Borders-type group. This is the first Abby’s hearing about it. Luka’s thrilled for Carter, since he’ll be making a difference in an underserved country.

Romano talks to his surgeon about his arm and what he can do to recover his regular function. The surgeon notes that it’s a miracle that he has his arm attached at all. Abby questions Carter about his decision to go abroad, which he claims he’s talked to her about before (though it sounds like it was more in an “I’d like to do that some day” capacity than an “I’ve signed on for this and need to pick my location” capacity). Meanwhile, Susan borrows a sweater from Chen, since Zavery threw poop at her.

Gallant tells Carter that McNulty is in triage and seems altered. Two cops come in looking for a fellow officer shot during a robbery attempt, but Susan hasn’t heard anything, and Frank didn’t know the shooting victim coming in was a cop. Susan takes Romano to Aidan for a surgical consult; he has an abscess on his butt from steroid usage, and the infection has spread to a very unfortunate place. Susan isn’t sure Romano should be letting a resident do the operation instead of Elizabeth.

As Sutter, the cop who was shot, comes in, Carter and Gallant tend to McNulty. Susan and Abby try to calm Zavery, who hides under his gurney. They get him to come out by saying they’ll have to send him back to the zoo without using the gorilla scope. They use a special light to check for a scratch on his eye, and though there’s no sign of that, the light illuminates something else: a pale stain on the sweater Susan borrowed from Chen.

Pratt comes in with Biz, telling Carter he found him somewhere. Malik mentions that a cop was also shot, and Biz might be the culprit. Pratt realizes that Leon wasn’t completely honest with him about what happened. A cop questions Sutter, who says there were three robbers at the liquor store, but he doesn’t know who shot him. (Also, we never find out if there really were three; we only know about two.) The cop asks Pratt to move away from Biz’s head so Sutter can confirm whether he was there. Pratt ignores him, and since Sutter needs surgery ASAP, it’s not the right time for this.

There’s only one available OR (I guess Aidan’s surgery is already in progress), so Carter, Pratt, and Elizabeth discuss who should go first, Sutter or Biz. A cop protests that Biz shouldn’t be given priority over Sutter. Pratt thinks Biz is stable enough to wait, so he tells Elizabeth that Sutter can go first, even though Carter isn’t sure Biz will stay stable.

Abby treats a teenager named Helen who’s feeling sick and is sure she has something horribly wrong with her, like a tumor. When Susan comes to examine her, Abby asks if she’s going to say anything to Chen about the stain. Susan kind of wants to remain in denial that the stain was semen. Abby’s curious about who that semen came from. Pratt? Frank? Jerry? Susan is half amused, half disgusted.

Romano oversees a resident, Jensen, while he operates on Aidan, but Romano is definitely an “if you want something done right, do it yourself” guy. He takes over one-handed, but it soon becomes clear that he can’t do what he needs to do. In another OR, Elizabeth is joined by a new surgeon, Eddie Dorset. He flirts with her before showing her a procedure that fixes a complication she thought would take a long time to repair. It requires them to touch, and Elizabeth gets a little flustered.

Harkins stops by to finish some paperwork and confirm plans with Gallant that night. Luka tries to talk to her, but she’s not interested. He apologizes and promises that he never meant to hurt her. She says he should have slowed down. Anyway, say goodbye to Harkins, because this is the last time we see her (and possibly the last time she’s even mentioned).

The cops question Pratt about finding Biz in the street and whether he had a gun with him. Pratt says he didn’t hear gunshots or see anyone else around. Abby asks Carter when he plans to go overseas and abandon her in America. Carter’s surprised that she seems so against this – she was supportive when Luka went back to Croatia to work. For some reason, Abby doesn’t want Carter to ditch her and go help people who desperately need medical care.

McNulty is back to his normal self, which means Carter thinks he’s ready for a lecture about not taking care of himself. McNulty says he gave his medication to a patient who couldn’t afford his own. Carter gets summoned to help Pratt with Biz, who’s declining. Leon shows up while they’re working, so Pratt asks Abby to take him to an exam room for a wound check (really so he can be hidden from any cops who might recognize him). They’re unable to save Biz, and Leon is sad to hear the news from Pratt.

Elizabeth joins Romano so she can keep an eye on him and Jensen. She offers to scrub in and make sure the surgeons have done everything right. Luka, Susan, and Abby are tending to a young woman they thought had overdosed on drugs, but her friend reveals that she only overdosed on food. She has bulimia, which Luka doesn’t consider a reasonable eating disorder. It’s not like she’s malnourished because she doesn’t have enough food to feed herself and her kids. He’s furious that the woman wanted to come to the hospital and have her stomach pumped so she doesn’t gain weight.

Pratt catches Carter talking to Leon about Biz, having obviously figured out how this all fits together. Pratt sends Carter away and makes sure Leon didn’t say anything incriminating. He’s mad that Leon didn’t tell him the truth about what happened. If Leon had a gun and was shooting at the police, this is really, really bad. Leon begs Pratt to help him stay out of jail.

Susan asks Abby to talk to Luka about his attitude; he seems depressed. Abby declines, since she’s annoyed that Luka made Carter want to be an “adventure doctor.” Dorset comes to the ER and introduces himself to Elizabeth, then invites her to get coffee. Susan and Abby, standing nearby, fail to convincingly pretend they’re not eavesdropping. Elizabeth turns Dorset down, at least for now, and he says he’ll ask again some other time.

Abby and Susan assure her that she wasn’t rude. Elizabeth admits that she’s gun-shy about dating; plus, it hasn’t been all that long since she lost Mark. Maybe she overreacted to a friendly invitation for a casual cup of coffee. Susan says she thinks Mark would want his widow to get on with her life.

Bright arrives for the photo op and downplays how huge his donation will be for the ER. Weaver hopes County earned it because they’re so important to the community, and not for any other reason, like the fact that she covered up Bright’s syphilis. Bright admits that he might not have chosen them to get the money if he hadn’t been treated there, but he expects that they treat all their patients as well as they treated him.

Abby asks Carter if he wants to work in a foreign country because he’s inspired by the service McNulty provides through his clinic. Abby, it’s time to drop this. Carter says he’s not going right now, and when he does go, it’ll only be for a couple of weeks, so Abby needs to chill. He gives McNulty instructions for taking care of himself, then gives him another check. This time, McNulty accepts it, though he confirms that he won’t have to name the clinic after Carter.

Luka asks Weaver for some time off so he can “sort things out,” but she tells him to do that on his own time. He walks out of the ER anyway. Abby follows him but quickly shifts her attention to a more pressing matter: Eric is there. They go to Doc Magoo’s to catch up, and he admits that he ran away because he was afraid he would end up like their mother, and he didn’t want Abby to see him like that.

Eric is grateful to Abby for trying to help him. He’s worried that he let her down after she tried to protect him for so long. Abby promises that he could never let her down. Eric wishes he was a kid again because Abby was always there to take care of him. He worries about her because no one takes care of her. He feels like he abandoned her after everything she did for him and Maggie.

Eric apologizes, even though Abby says he doesn’t have to, and says he loves her. He’s doing better now, though he knows that might not last. He shows Abby a picture of his new “girlfriend,” a plane he bought. He sold pretty much everything he had to pay for it. He plans to do hunting and fishing charters in Wisconsin.

Susan goes back to Helen, who probably just has a virus. (If you feel like this plot was meaningless, you’re not alone. This is just setting up some stuff for the next episode.) Chen invites Susan to get dinner, though Susan wants to spend the evening alone. She finally addresses the stain on the sweater, which Chen claims was club soda. She’s a little offended that Susan thought she brought a semen-stained sweater to work. But when she’s alone in the lounge, Chen throws out the sweater.

Carter tells Pratt he wants to help him with any kind of trouble he or Leon might be facing. Pratt says he’s fine, but he and Carter both know he’s not. Carter thinks the cops will focus on Biz. If Leon were to disappear for a while, they probably wouldn’t go looking for him. Pratt says he tries to keep Leon out of trouble, but his friends keep pulling him into criminal activities, and Pratt can’t keep an eye on him 24/7. Carter tells him to stop blaming himself. After he leaves, Pratt asks Gallant to do him a favor.

Abby tells Carter that Eric showed up and seems to be doing great. He wants to take Abby to see his plane. Carter makes sure she’s not going to actually ride in the plane. Abby tells him not to go to Chechnya. Elizabeth does Aidan’s post-op examination and tells Romano about a minor complication. For the most part, Aidan will be fine, which means Romano and Jensen got lucky.

Gallant takes Leon to the bus station to send him to stay with Greg’s aunt. Leon is upset that Pratt won’t be coming to say goodbye. He thinks Pratt’s mad at him. Gallant promises he isn’t and insists that Leon get on the bus without talking to Pratt. So that’s it for Leon, too. At least he made things more interesting than Harkins did.

Back at County, Romano goes to the roof to tell Jensen that Aidan will be fine, and Jensen will do better next time. Jensen agrees, because he won’t go into the OR with Romano again. After he leaves, a helicopter flies over, startling Romano. He steps up to the edge of the roof, possibly thinking about jumping. He drops his surgical cap over the ledge instead.

Carter goes to McNulty’s clinic, but it’s closed up and no one’s answering the phone. A cop driving by asks if he needs help, and when Carter says McNulty might be sick, he helps Carter get inside. The whole place is empty. Carter’s confused, since he thought the clinic had been there for years. The cop says it was only open for a few weeks. McNulty could have been a scam artist the whole time, and Carter fell for the scam. Meanwhile, Pratt goes home to his now-quiet apartment, alone with his thoughts.

Thoughts: Fun fact: Heather DeLoach, who plays Helen, was Bee Girl.

Harkins was a waste of Leslie Bibb’s talents and a waste of a character. I guarantee we’ll all forget about her within the next three episodes.

It’s really out of character for Abby to not want Carter to go overseas. She was just saying in the last episode that he should use his privilege to help people. This is an excellent way to do that. And she’s definitely independent enough to be fine without Carter for a few weeks or months. I don’t get it.

I also don’t get Susan always thinking Abby should help Luka with his problems. That’s not Abby’s job. They broke up a long time ago and they both moved on. He’s not her responsibility anymore.

’00s music alert: Coldplay’s “Clocks”

September 28, 2021

ER 9.12, A Saint in the City: Men of the People

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

Thanks for stopping by and causing a fight, Millicent

Summary: Pratt is talking to the head of maintenance at County, trying to get Leon a new job. The boss is skeptical that Leon can work, since he has a cast on his hand from injuries sustained from his recent beating. Also, the boss hates doctors, since they’re so arrogant. Pratt pleads for Leon to get a chance, and the boss gives in.

In the ER, a woman named Jessie has just been brought in after a car accident. She’s asking for her husband, Tom, who’s having to be cut out of the car. There’s a problem with lighting in the ER, and just as Susan tells Jerry to call someone from engineering, they come back on. A woman also comes in, yelling that everything’s okay and no one should panic.

Weaver knows what she’s talking about – an alderman named John Bright is being brought in after falling off the stage where he was giving a speech. Weaver treats Bright like a VIP and tells him he doesn’t have to answer when Susan asks if he’s been drinking. He proudly says he’s in AA and just got his two-year chip. Weaver tells him he’s in the best hospital in Chicago. Of course, that’s when the lights go out again.

As Weaver rushes Carter and Pratt to get Jessie out of her trauma room so Bright can be brought in, Leon comes looking for Pratt. He happily tells Pratt he got the job in maintenance, which means the two of them will be working together. The lights go out again. What’s the point of this? Pratt tells Leon they’ll celebrate that night, but Leon has already been assigned to the late shift. He promises he can find the place where he’ll need to pick up his uniform by himself.

Bright’s assistant demands a fax number so her office can issue a press release. Bright knows the ER sees around 100,000 patients a year, so he appreciates all the attention Weaver and Susan are giving him. Susan determines that Bright has a ligament injury, and Weaver says she’ll call their top orthopedist. A guy in scrubs says they should get a tox screen first. He’s a journalist, and he wants to know if Bright is using drugs. Weaver kicks him out. “Have you ever heard of the First Amendment?” the journalist asks. “Have you ever heard of an awake colonoscopy?” she shoots back.

Luka arrives for a night shift as Carter’s leaving for something fancy, judging by the tux he’s wearing. Tom is coming in, and Carter asks Jerry to make sure he and Jessie get connected. He tells Susan he has to go to a fundraiser and present a check. He then tries to hand off a patient to her, a woman named Mrs. Hawkes who has a bad cough. Susan says she probably has the flu, and Carter should give her to Pratt just to bug him.

Abby’s going with Carter to the fundraiser, though fancy parties aren’t really her thing. She’s excited to get free food. She wonders what a canape is. Carter promises that next time, they’ll do something she wants to do. You know, something plebeian. Chuny gives him a wolf whistle as she passes by, and he jokingly threatens to circulate a petition about her harassment. I’m glad we’re all joking about this.

Sarah comes looking for Carter, knowing he wanted McNulty to come back in. He won’t take time off from his clinic to take care of his own health, even though he’s not managing his diabetes well. Tom comes in and Carter assures him that Jessie’s stable. Sarah wants Carter to talk to McNulty since he won’t listen to her about looking after his health. She’s afraid he’s eventually going to die. Carter has to rush off to take care of Jessie, who’s no longer stable, but he tells Sarah he’ll try to stop by and see McNulty at his clinic.

Pratt determines that Mrs. Hawkes has pneumonia and will need to be admitted to the ICU. He takes her kids, Martin and Rachel, to get a soda while Susan talks to her. Martin suggests that they call their brother, Doug, who’s 20. Mrs. Hawkes doesn’t want to stay in the hospital, but Susan insists that she’s too sick to leave. Mrs. Hawkes says they can call her aunt to come look after her kids. When Pratt mentions Doug, Mrs. Hawkes says she doesn’t want him around the kids.

Chuny grabs Pratt to help Carter with Jessie, who’s being brought back to the ER after crashing during a CT. Carter thinks Pratt missed something and thought she was stable when she wasn’t. Luka and Gallant are taking care of Tom, who needs surgery for internal bleeding. He asks to see Jessie first. Luka opens the door between their trauma rooms, but Carter tells him to close it. Jessie’s too far gone to save, and Luka volunteers to break the news to Tom so Carter can leave.

Weaver’s annoyed that the staff isn’t working faster to get Bright assessed and released. She tells Susan that he’s a good guy; he helped finance a domestic-abuse shelter. Susan informs her that Bright might not be so good after all – she found a sore on his penis that might be syphilis. Weaver says that if the test comes back positive, she’ll handle talking to him.

Luka tells Tom that Jessie’s brain was deprived of oxygen for too long, and she’s not going to wake up. He needs to go to surgery now. Tom doesn’t want to leave her in the ER to die alone, and Luka tells an impatient Romano that he’s not going to rush Tom. Romano says that if Luka doesn’t have Tom in the OR in the next ten minutes, he’ll take out Luka’s spleen instead.

Weaver and Bright talk about how hard it is for County to treat patients with such limited resources. Romano joins them and chastises Weaver for not getting Bright a private room. Bright says he wants to be with the people he serves so he can see what they experience. As Romano leaves, he quietly orders Weaver to get Bright a private room.

Weaver tells Bright about the sore Susan found. He already suspected he had syphilis. He’s only had one partner in the past year, so at least it’ll be easy to alert anyone who may also be infected. Unfortunately, Weaver has to report the case to the public health department, and it’ll go on Bright’s medical record. Since he has to release his records when he goes up for reelection, voters are going to find out. Bright promises that he and his partner will get treated, but he’d like privacy for both of them.

Someone called Doug after all, and though his siblings are big fans, he doesn’t come off as responsible or a good role model. His mother tells him to leave, suspecting he’s high. Doug says that Mrs. Hawkes gets drunk while the kids are around, so it wouldn’t be much worse for them to see him get high. Before Mrs. Hawkes can argue more, she starts coughing up blood. Pratt reveals to Susan that he called Doug. He was just trying to help. Susan says he can best help his patients by listening to them and honoring their wishes.

Weaver tries to intercept Bright’s lab work, which has already been sent for testing. She asks Jerry to cancel the order. Pratt apologizes to Susan for calling Doug; he thought he was doing the right thing. She chastises him for making a tough situation worse. But Mrs. Hawkes’ aunt is unable to take care of the kids, so Doug might be their only option. The doctors tell Doug that Mrs. Hawkes will be in the ICU for at least a week, and the kids need a place to stay. Doug is the only person who can step up, though he’s not exactly eager to do it.

Luka tries to convince Tom to go to the OR; he could die without surgery. Tom refuses to go until Jessie has died. Jessie’s heart monitor shows her flatlining, and Luka tells Tom that she’s gone. He finally agrees to go to surgery. But Luka has just removed one of the leads connecting her to the machine, and she’s still alive. Luka, no! That can’t be in the Hippocratic Oath!

Chuny brings Weaver Bright’s lab work, which confirms that he has syphilis. Weaver says she asked Jerry to cancel the order because the sample was mislabeled. Pratt is now tending to Jessie, which confuses Weaver, since Luka pronounced her dead an hour ago. She blasts Jerry for not canceling Bright’s lab order, like, don’t make him the fall guy in your crazy scheme.

Weaver asks Luka about Jessie, and he admits that he basically faked her death so Tom would go to surgery. Weaver is stunned and asks what will happen when Tom comes out of surgery and finds out his wife is still alive. Luka says he’ll call it a miracle. Weaver tells him he’s not acting in the best interest of his patient, but Luka argues that Tom is his patient, not Jessie. They get interrupted when paramedics bring in a nine-year-old boy named David who fell out of his bunk bed.

Abby’s enjoying herself at the fundraiser, which is for a $58 million music hall. She and Carter wonder what McNulty would be able to do for his clinic with $58 million. Millicent greets them, having forgotten that she’s met Abby before. Abby immediately sticks her foot in her mouth, asking what canapes are. Are they different from appetizers? Millicent is like, “John, please stop bringing dumb people into my orbit.” She wants Carter to take his father’s place on some board, as his father will be taking Millicent’s place. She thinks Carter needs to stop acting like a “disaffected youth” and start fulfilling his responsibilities to the family.

As Weaver and Luka examine David, who has some old bruises, Malik comes in looking for guidance on Jessie. Luka says she has a DNR and can’t be saved, so they shouldn’t bother to do anything for her. Weaver disagrees, wanting to keep treating her until Tom’s out of surgery and is able to make decisions for her care. Romano pulls her out of the trauma room to complain that Bright hasn’t been discharged after five hours in the ER. Weaver should be treating him as even more of a VIP than she already has been.

Back at the fundraiser, Abby tells Carter that his response to his grandmother was rude. Uh, I think it’s rude of her to dismiss his career as a hobby and expect him to drop it so their family can continue making a bunch of money. Carter tells her the family business is basically just showing up places and giving away money. If he worked for the family full-time, he’d be like “Prince Charles without the castle.” He warns Abby not to try to tell him what to do with his life.

Luka and Chuny tend to David, whose father is just now arriving. He tells Luka that David gets hurt all the time. It’s gotten worse since his mother left. Mr. Scott thinks his son just doesn’t pay attention. Luka, however, thinks Mr. Scott is abusing his son. Susan brings in Adele to help Doug figure out where Martin and Rachel should stay. Mrs. Hawkes’ chances aren’t good. Doug doesn’t think he can take them in, so the kids will probably end up in foster care. Pratt doesn’t like that sound of that, especially since the kids will most likely be split up.

Doug is overwhelmed and leaves. Pratt follows him and tries to convince him to take in his brother and sister. Doug knows his mother’s right about him not being responsible enough for that. Pratt thinks he’ll surprise himself with what he’ll be able to do for his siblings. Doug tells him that he never should have called. Everyone who’s judged him is right. “Make them wrong,” Pratt challenges, but Doug says he can’t.

As Weaver “fixes” the mislabeling problem with Bright’s sample, Carter and Abby leave the fundraiser, chatting awkwardly. He doesn’t appreciate her lecturing him about his family. He doesn’t want to be like his father, doing whatever Millicent wants so that rich people can get nice paintings and see pretty tile floors when they go to the symphony. Abby encourages him to change what the Carter Family Foundation does. He should find something he’s passionate about. Carter says he’s already passionate about his job.

Abby tells him that he shouldn’t be ashamed of being born into wealth. Carter claims he’s not, but since he drives a Jeep and has a two-bedroom apartment instead of a mansion, he’s not exactly embracing it. He wants everyone to think he’s just like them, a man of the people. Carter says he has a job that makes a difference. Abby thinks that’s great, but his money could make a big difference, too. Carter says the family’s money came from the coal market during the Great Depression. In the winter of 1933, when children froze to death, his family just got richer. Abby says there are still plenty of kids freezing to death.

Weaver discharges Bright, telling him that she’s taken care of keeping his diagnosis off of his medical record. She lies to Susan that he tested negative for syphilis. Luka has called security to keep Mr. Scott away from David; DCFS hasn’t come to assess the situation yet. Weaver doesn’t think Luka has done everything he should have to confirm his suspicions. She goes to see David, who says he and his father are actually really close. He admits that he didn’t fall out of bed – he jumped.

Carter goes by McNulty’s clinic, hoping to convince him to accept a more effective treatment for his diabetes. After all, he won’t be able to help others if he doesn’t take care of himself. McNulty doesn’t want judgment or help from a guy in a tux. Carter ignores him and writes him a check so he can get some newer and better equipment for the clinic. McNulty chalks up his interest to white liberal guilt and tears up the check. “I’m not here to make you feel better,” he says. Carter still wants to help, so McNulty tells him to sweep the floor.

Doug returns to the ER, having decided to take Pratt’s advice and try to disprove everyone’s judgment of him. He’s afraid he’ll let down his siblings, but Pratt encourages him to do his best. He apologizes to Susan for getting so involved in the case, but she’s not too upset about it. Pratt gets a call and leaves his shift early once again. Weaver complains, then tells Luka that David isn’t being abused. He hurts himself so Mr. Scott will stay home and spend time with him.

Elizabeth pops in with four minutes left in the episode to tell Luka that Tom is out of surgery. Okay, ‘bye, Elizabeth! Luka checks on Jessie and tells her that Tom will be okay, so she can let go now. In the lounge, Susan gives Weaver a baby gift, which is really sweet, except for the fact that Weaver lost the baby. The chances of miscarrying an embryo implanted through IVF are 30%, a fact Weaver is obviously keeping in mind so she won’t mourn too much.

Leon is at the police station, having been found in a possibly stolen car with a shotgun and some guys with criminal records. A cop assures Pratt that Leon didn’t commit any crimes, but since he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he got busted. He lets Pratt go see Leon as a favor, since the doctors at County have always been so good to the cops.

Leon tearfully tells Pratt that he just wanted to tell his so-called friends about his new job. Pratt breaks it to him that since he missed his first shift, he probably doesn’t have that job anymore. Also, Leon can’t get bail until the morning, so he’ll have to spend the night in lockup. Leon cries and begs Pratt not to leave, but Pratt doesn’t have a choice.

Thoughts: Bright is played by Bruce Weitz. Doug is played by Aaron Paul.

I love Weaver treating Bright like he’s the president while I had to look up what an alderman is. (Apparently it’s a Chicago thing. They’re basically the same as a city councilman.)

Weaver’s actions were obviously bad, but at least she didn’t try to secure funding first.

Abby’s right. Carter can’t complain that his family’s foundation doesn’t help enough people, then do nothing to change that. Like, if you feel bad that your family has too much money and others don’t have enough, maybe…do something?

’00s music alert: Jason Mraz’s “The Remedy,” which fittingly plays when Carter goes over to McNulty’s clinic, because Carter thinks he’s McNulty’s remedy.

September 21, 2021

ER 9.11, A Little Help from My Friends: Working in the ER Is a Team Sport

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:56 pm by Jenn

Who acts like this??

Summary: Luka is brooding. I know this isn’t big news, but the music wants us to think it is. He, Abby, and Susan head to an M&M to discuss their treatment of Rick. Anspaugh kicks things off, but instead of sticking with them, we go to Weaver and Sandy’s place, where they’re turning an office into a nursery. They’re very cute and happy together.

Back at the M&M, Abby and Luka tell the audience that they thought Rick had the flu. Susan starts to talk about how the intubation went wrong, but all the questions are really for Luka. He admits his mistakes, though Anspaugh says they aren’t there to assign blame. The point of an M&M is to discuss what went wrong and hopefully learn from it.

Luka points out that he was hungover and knew he shouldn’t be working. He also didn’t listen when Abby recommended more tests. He’s ready to face the consequences for his actions. For the record, Rick is still alive, but Luka figures he’s all but dead, so he freely admits to “killing” Rick. As he leaves, Romano asks if anyone verified that there are real medical schools in Croatia. Shut up, Romano.

In the lounge, Susan tells Luka not to let Romano get to him. He appreciates her attempts to defend him and says the hearing committee was more than fair. Susan knows any one of them could have been in this position. Luka isn’t sure he still has a job, but Susan says Weaver was just asking for him.

A guy named Chip has come in to get some help with his insomnia and obsessive thoughts. He stopped sleeping three days ago, so Susan wonders what happened to kickstart the insomnia. Chip says he’s having relationship issues. Pratt arrives for a shift and sets off a metal detector (which means those things are actually being used – good to know). He says it’s his pager and he always sets off the detector. A security guard won’t buy that as an excuse, and he insists on searching Pratt’s bag. Carter steps in to make peace as the guard finds a gun in the bag.

Pratt says he found the gun behind a Dumpster outside and was going to give it to a real police officer. He guesses that someone left it there while receiving treatment and will pick it up when they leave. The guard doesn’t believe Pratt’s story and says he’ll have to call the police. Pratt runs off to help a patient, and when the guard starts to follow him, Carter steps in again. He points out that Pratt will be around for a while, so the guard can talk to him later.

Outside, a woman has just brought in a man she’d hired to cut down a dead tree in her yard. The man, Jose, fell about 20 feet from the tree to the roof. Meanwhile, paramedics bring in a 93-year-old man named Mr. Gilman who started having chest pain while having sex with his wife. While assisting Weaver and Luka, Gallant gets a note from Harkins, who will be leaving the hospital today. So Luka didn’t kill her, either.

In the next trauma room, another security guard decides this is a good time to confront Pratt about blowing off the first security guard. Sure, sure, Jose and his unstable pelvic injuries can wait. Carter kicks them out. Pratt promises that this situation isn’t what he thinks. Susan returns to Chip, who’s reached that point in his sleepless desperation where he’s crying. She tells him she’ll reach out to psych again to get someone to come talk to him. Susan then runs into a teenager named Anastasia who took some sort of drug before a math tournament.

Luka’s sent to the ICU to review something for a patient, and while he’s there, he asks about Rick. A nurse tells him Rick may need dialysis. Luka introduces himself to Rick’s mother, who knows Luka treated him in the ER but may not know about everything that went wrong. She asks if Rick was afraid. Luka doesn’t think so, since he was joking around with Laura.

Romano spots them talking and pulls Luka out of the room to chastise him. He knows Luka wants to be honest with Rick’s mother, but he can’t just come right out and say he screwed up and now her son is going to die. Luka’s free to take the blame when he’s around his colleagues, but he can’t admit any guilt to Rick’s family. If he doesn’t control his emotions, more patients will be harmed. Romano goes a step further, telling Luka to take the rest of the day off and warning that if he’s seen with Rick’s family again, he’s fired.

Would you be surprised to learn that psych is backed up and can’t send someone to talk to Chip? No, I didn’t think so. Susan promises that they’ll give him something to help him sleep as soon as psych determines that it won’t interfere with what he’s already taken. Chip worries that people will hate him. Susan asks if he did something. He tells her that his girlfriend caught him with someone else. No, not another woman. No, not another man. Her ten-year-old son. Chip claims he didn’t do anything, but he was about to. He doesn’t want to be like this.

Mr. Gilman has declined, but Gallant is able to stabilize his heart. Weaver stops by to check on the case, and Haleh notices blood on her coat. She guesses that Weaver brushed up against a bleeding patient. Pratt and Chuny tend to a man who came in with Jose and provided information on the situation (basically, they recently came to Chicago from Nicaragua and joined Jose’s uncle’s business). The man is hesitant to admit that they’re undocumented, but Pratt assures him that it’s not a problem and they’ll receive any medical treatment they need.

Susan calls psych again, insisting that Deraad come down to see Chip immediately. She spots Anastasia erasing a patient board so she can write an equation up there. Chen discovers that she took Ritalin, which has given her both enough intelligence to write a theorem proving the existence of God and a photographic memory to write all the patients’ names back on the board.

The security guards take Pratt off for a chat as Susan tries to get approval to take Chip up to psych. She gets rejected, but Chip has wandered off anyway. Weaver goes to an exam room and gives herself an ultrasound. She’s not comforted by the results. Abby walks in, unaware that anyone was in there, and Weaver numbly says that she can’t find the baby’s heartbeat. Abby continues searching with her, but there’s nothing there. She encourages Weaver to go home, but Weaver wants to stay.

Mr. Gilman’s wife, Coco, arrives, and let’s just say she’s not 93. (Going by ages in IMDb, she’s 37.) Abby calls Jerry and Pratt out for ogling her. Kayson consults on Mr. Gilman’s case, informing the couple that his prognosis isn’t good. He could have a fatal heart attack at any time. Mr. Gilman weakly whispers to Gallant, “When can I bang her?” Gallant can’t figure out how to react to that. Coco says they’re trying to have a baby. Gallant can’t figure out how to react to that, either. Kayson says that when Mr. Gilman can walk up two flights of stairs without getting winded, he’ll be free to do whatever he wants.

Weaver changes into scrubs so she can continue her shift as if she hasn’t just suffered a major loss. In the lounge, Anastasia has made a dome out of coffee cups. Carter thinks it’s impressive, but he ruins it by touching a cup and making the whole thing collapse. Weaver comes in just then, and if you look closely, you can see Laura Innes start to laugh, then turn around so she doesn’t ruin the take. She asks about Pratt and the gun, which should lead to an automatic suspension. Also, Carter bought the metal detectors, so he should be monitoring what goes on there.

Outside, the woman who brought in Jose is trying to leave, and Pratt is standing in front of her car to stop her. Car vs. man is no contest, so she gets away. Carter comes out and points out to Pratt that the men she brought in know her address, so they can report her to the police. Pratt doesn’t think the police will do anything. (Also, they’ll probably deport the men for being undocumented, but Pratt and Carter don’t bring that up.)

Carter wants to know what’s going on with Pratt: He comes in late, leaves during his shift, and brought a gun to work. Carter says he’s seen Pratt’s “type” before. Careful, Carter. Pratt argues that Carter doesn’t know anything about him. Carter warns him that if he continues this behavior, he’ll throw away his career.

Paramedics bring in a 20-something-year-old named Rosemary who briefly lost consciousness after hitting her head. They restrained her because she’s flailing around. Weaver realizes that Rosemary’s flailing is actually her attempts to communicate – she uses sign language. Weaver signs “hi” to her to let her know she’s figured out that Rosemary is deaf. She knows enough sign language to ask Rosemary what’s wrong and determine that she’s septic.

Chen starts to examine an elderly man named McNulty, but he would prefer a male doctor, so she hands him off to Carter. McNulty quickly gets annoyed because he’ll have to wait for treatment. The medical system is all screwed up and just makes patients mad. Having heard the man’s assistant, Sarah, call him Dr. McNulty, Carter suddenly makes the patient a priority. Sarah explains that some kids broke into their clinic looking for drugs, and McNulty got hurt trying to fight them off.

He insists that he’s fine, but Sarah tells Carter that the kids hit him over the head with a bat. He was unconscious for a few minutes and has some cuts from broken glass. Carter tries to convince McNulty to stay for tests, even though McNulty has determined he’s fine. He bets Carter $10 that his CT will be negative. Carter hands him off to Abby, telling her to run some tests McNulty didn’t say he would do. He’ll also need a tetanus shot, since his last one was in 1949. First Abby takes a boy to the bathroom, clueless about the danger lurking when Chip follows him in.

Carter confronts Pratt for discharging the second guy from the tree accident without consulting him. He asks some questions about the stitches Pratt is giving a patient, because all of a sudden Carter wants to do his job and teach his students. Pratt knows what this is really about and says again that the gun wasn’t his. He was going to throw it in the river after work. Carter asks why he didn’t do it before work. Pratt just says he was late.

Susan asks Abby if she’s seen Chip, and is relieved to learn that he’s still in the hospital. As soon as Abby tells her he’s in the bathroom with a kid, Susan panics. Fortunately, the kid is fine and didn’t even see Chip. Chip, however, isn’t fine – he’s hiding in a stall and has carved the word “evil” into his forehead.

Weaver tells Rosemary that she has a bladder infection that spread to her kidneys. She determines that Rosemary didn’t tell her parents she wasn’t feeling well because she doesn’t want them to know that she’s sexually active. While discussing treatment, Weaver pauses and excuses herself, since she’s cramping. Gallant asks for her help with something, but she tells him to go to someone else.

On his way to do that, Gallant catches Coco straddling Mr. Gilman and has to separate them. Poor Gallant has to explain to her that, no, she can’t have sex with him in his trauma room, and not just because he could have a heart attack. Adding another complication to the mix, Mr. Gilman’s children, Bob and Mattie, arrive to check on their father. Mattie clearly hates Coco (who’s young enough to be Mattie’s daughter), but Bob seems to like her.

Deraad finally comes to the ER, but since Chip hasn’t hurt anyone or himself, he can’t be admitted to psych. Abby notes that he has to be kept away from children, and Susan tells Deraad that Chip needs to be in some sort of program and on medication. Deraad tells her he can’t admit a patient just for his thoughts. Susan says this is their chance to intervene before Chip acts on those thoughts. Deraad agrees to put him on a psych hold if he articulates a plan for harming a child.

Anastasia and her fellow mathletes are sent away, which means Chen needs something to do. I mean besides flirt with Pratt. Gallant asks Jerry to call the legal department for Mr. Gilman and his family. Pratt gets a call from Leon and announces that he has to leave. Weaver tries to gather herself in the med lock-up, where Abby finds her and tries to convince her to go up to the OB floor. Her miscarriage hasn’t finished, and though Weaver wants to let it happen naturally, Abby at least wants her to be monitored.

McNulty’s too impatient to wait for Carter to give him stitches, so he’s fixing himself up on his own. Since no one can find Weaver, Gallant asks Carter to get involved in Gilman’s case. Coco wants to collect her husband’s semen so she can inseminate herself. Mattie argues that Mr. Gilman is senile, but Bob says he’s just horny. Gallant tries to tactfully explain to Carter that Mr. Gilman has agreed to undergo electroejaculation. “Come again?” Carter says with a barely straight face. Basically, some guy – who has made a career out of this – ejaculates Mr. Gilman.

Mattie says that Coco is only doing this because there’s money involved. If she doesn’t get pregnant before Mr. Gilman dies, she doesn’t get any of his money. And $7 million is a whole lot of money to miss out on. Coco knows her rights, and those rights include her husband’s semen, so Carter and Gallant probably can’t stop this. Paramedics bring in a trauma patient, and Carter makes his escape, leaving Gallant to wait for a hospital lawyer.

Carter and Chen treat the new patient, though they decide they need more help. Weaver’s MIA, and Luka and Pratt both left, so they’re out of luck. Pratt’s now at home, where Leon is crying and bleeding. It turns out the gun was his, and Pratt took it so Leon’s supposed friends couldn’t get it. Those friends are more like enemies, though, since they stabbed Leon and beat him up.

Chen and Carter’s patient doesn’t make it, and I’m sure three doctors being gone didn’t help. McNulty’s labs have come back, and Carter wants to discuss them with him, but he left and Chuny can’t reach him on the phone. An OB examines Weaver and encourages her to take some time off from work. Abby’s very kind to her boss, who can’t bring herself to say how grateful she is. Abby offers to give her a ride home later. As she leaves, Rosemary walks by and sees Weaver in a hospital bed.

Coco got her semen, and she’s no longer interested in her husband’s condition. Chen and Jerry laugh with/at Gallant over the case and the word “electroejaculator.” Carter comes to the admit desk looking for Pratt, who just happens to be on the phone, wanting help from Gallant. Carter goes to Pratt’s place instead of Gallant, both to yell at Pratt and to help Leon, who doesn’t want to go to the hospital. Carter tells Pratt this isn’t smart. “Everything in my life is not smart,” Pratt replies. Carter guesses that Leon doesn’t want to go to the hospital because the police will probably get involved.

Susan gets Chip to tell Deraad that if he doesn’t get admitted, he’ll hurt his girlfriend’s son. Deraad finally agrees to admit him. Weaver checks on Rosemary, who still hasn’t called her parents. She doesn’t want them to know that she has a boyfriend – she thinks they’ll be disappointed, and they’re already disappointed because she’s deaf. Rosemary asks Weaver why she was in a hospital bed. Though she’s been speaking in all her conversations with Rosemary, who can read lips, Weaver sticks with sign language to communicate that she had a miscarriage. Rosemary puts a comforting hand on hers, and Weaver breaks down.

Pratt tells Carter that Leon, whom he calls his brother, isn’t technically family. He came to live with Pratt and his mother when Pratt was six and Leon was nine. When Pratt’s mother died nine years later, Leon became like a father to him. Leon got into a bar fight and was shot in the head, which left him with mental disabilities. Now Pratt takes care of him on his own.

Carter reminds Pratt that in the ER, the staff works as a team. That means covering for each other and leaning on each other. If Pratt doesn’t get that, he should find a job that doesn’t require trusting people. Pratt admits that he’s never been big on trust. Carter points out that that leads to a lack of trust from other people. Self-sufficiency is great, but asking for help is better, and it doesn’t make you weak. Pratt’s like, “Yeah, I hear you, but I’m not really listening to you.”

Thoughts: McNulty is played by the recently deceased Ed Asner. Bob is played by Michael Durrell, AKA Dr. Martin from Beverly Hills, 90210. Gilmore Girls fans would recognize Sarah as Liz Torres, AKA Miss Patty.

McNulty has the same name as the main character on The Wire, whose boss, Rawls, was played by John Doman. Doman also plays Deraad on ER. I’m guessing that’s not a coincidence.

I would need drugs to get through a math tournament, too.

September 14, 2021

ER 9.10, Hindsight: One of the Writers Saw “Memento” So Now We Have to Watch a Backward Episode

Posted in TV tagged , , at 4:56 pm by Jenn

Sorry not sorry I find broody Luka so hot

Summary: An ambulance is carrying a patient to the hospital, along with a passenger one of the paramedics thinks is from County. In the ER, Frank is trying to spread Christmas cheer by dressing as Santa, but he’s not great at it. (We learn later that Christmas is the following week.) The kids keep getting scared. Abby tries to get Pratt to stick around in case he’s needed, but he’s not feeling as generous as the holiday should make him feel.

In one of the trauma rooms, Susan looks grim. Abby approaches a woman named Laura and escorts her into the trauma room, where her fiancé, Rick, is unconscious. He thought he was stressed from exams, but clearly something more serious was going on. Some carolers are singing in the hallway, and Weaver practically bah-humbugs them. Susan and Abby tell her how poorly Rick is doing. Weaver orders Abby to get Luka back to the hospital. Abby tries to argue that he’s not ready. Susan says he missed what was wrong with Rick, and Abby says Luka’s burned out.

Jerry’s dressed as Santa, too, so now we have dueling Santas. Romano’s staying out of that. (He’s also staying out of the episode, since this is the only time we see him.) The ambulance arrives, carrying Harkins and Luka. Luka just has some cuts and scrapes, but Harkins is in bad shape. Gallant clearly blames Luka. Luka says Harkins was walking at the scene, but now she’s pretty unresponsive. Gallant asks Luka what happened.

To find that out, we have to go back in time. Oh, yeah, this episode moves backward. We join Luka and Harkins in his car, which has crashed. To add insult to injury, Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is blaring on the radio. Luka tells Harkins to call 911 while he goes to check on the people in the car they hit. On his way, he spots a homeless person putting a giant plastic candy cane in a shopping cart.

The people in the other car are a father and son, and the father doesn’t realize that Luka was the other driver. The kid, Dwayne (talk about adding insult to injury – don’t name your kid Dwayne), is having trouble breathing, so Luka goes back to his car to get a toolkit. He needs pliers for something. Harkins is mad at Luka, like, that can wait; let’s take care of people’s injuries first.

When they get back to the other car, Dwayne is unconscious. Luka uses a scalpel to cut into his airway, then removes whatever’s blocking it. After paramedics take the father and son away, Harkins, who’s been struggling to stay upright, collapses. Luka thinks she might have internal injuries.

In the ambulance on the way to County, Luka tries to take control of Harkins’ care. The paramedic in the back with him doesn’t want to do anything too invasive, but Luka knows that Harkins will go into cardiac arrest without…whatever it is he needs to do. He stabilizes her, then broods.

We rewind again to the moments just before the car crash. Luka’s driving too fast on icy roads while bickering with Harkins about a medical case. He thinks she’s too inexperienced to know what she’s talking about. As they fly around a corner, Harkins spots the same homeless person who picked up the candy cane. Luka swerves to avoid hitting him.

Rewind! Chen tells Luka that the OR is ready for a preteen patient named Jane. He lets her take over the case, even though he caught whatever’s wrong with Jane because he insisted that she have a head CT. Abby finds Luka in the lounge, planning to leave his shift early (he was filling in for someone anyway). Abby lectures him that what he does outside the hospital only remains his personal business until it prevents him from doing his job or hurts his patients. She wonders if he even cares that there’s a kid in the ER who’s as good as dead.

Luka obviously cares, but he can’t bring himself to respond to her. He leaves the lounge without a word. On the street, Harkins catches up to him and asks him to get coffee with her. She thinks he could use some company. Luka says he must have given her the wrong idea last night. Harkins assures him that he didn’t. She asks him to give her a ride home.

Rewind: Susan, Harkins, and Chuny are tending to Rick. Abby’s also in the trauma room, looking shell-shocked. Luka thought Rick had the flu, so he stayed in the waiting area for longer than he should have, since no one thought he was a critical case. Susan asks Abby about Luka’s treatment choices, but Abby doesn’t know what he did. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough to help Rick. Abby says that Rick was a lot sicker than anyone realized.

Rewind: Susan, Luka (who has a small cut on his cheek), Chuny, and Harkins try to stabilize Rick, who isn’t breathing on his own. Luka has trouble intubating him. Harkins determines that Rick has suffered some sort of brain injury. Luka goes to update Laura, reporting that Rick has leukemia but didn’t know it. If he’d gotten blood tests earlier, he could have received the proper treatment in time. Unfortunately, he went too long without oxygen and probably won’t recover.

Laura’s understandably upset that Rick wasn’t treated sooner. Luka agrees that he should have received better care. Laura asks if Luka believes in God, or believes God punishes people. He tells her this wasn’t God’s doing. She asks him to pray with her, but Luka tries to pass her off to a hospital chaplain. Laura ignores him and takes his hand to start praying.

Rewind: Luka has started treating Rick and thinks he’s about to stabilize. He tells Susan that Rick had pulmonary edema (fluid in his lungs) and had to be intubated. Susan realizes that that intubation went into Rick’s esophagus, which means he hasn’t been receiving enough oxygen. Luka first blames the difficult sight line through Rick’s vocal cords, then says a nurse might have accidentally moved the tube. Chuny gives him a great “I KNOW you didn’t just say that” look.

Susan offers to take over Rick’s care, but Luka keeps working. The team finally gets Rick’s blood work, which alerts them that he has leukemia. That’s making him bleed, which has led to sepsis. Luka tells Susan that Rick just had a simple fever when he came in. There was no reason to believe that he had anything other than the flu.

Rewind: Luka tells Harkins that an operation could save Jane; Harkins should have done what Luka told her to do when he told her to do it. He adds that whatever happens outside the hospital shouldn’t affect their work. Harkins asks if this is about last night. Oh, boy, I hope whatever happened last night is worth all this build-up!

They go to Rick’s trauma room, informing him that he’ll need to be intubated and put on a ventilator. Rick’s last words before being intubated are instructions for Laura to hock her engagement ring if she needs money. Luka has trouble intubating Rick (as we already know), and he has Chuny take Laura out of the room, since she’s starting to panic. Since Rick starts stabilizing after the intubation, it makes sense that Luka wouldn’t realize he’d done something wrong.

Rewind: Pratt suggests that Frank dress like Santa every day. “Why not? You dress like a doctor,” Frank shoots back. Yosh is looking for tinsel, which for some reason is in the drug lock-up. Also, there was a “security breach” and one of the branches on Yosh’s menorah got bent. Fun fact: Yosh converted to Judaism at some point. Pratt compares him to Sammy Davis, Jr. Ah, yes, the only other person of color to ever convert to Judaism. Thanks for your input, Pratt.

A detective comes in asking for information on a man named Vladko, who was assaulted. Luka and Pratt treated him but claim not to remember what happened to Vladko’s attacker. They tell the detective he can look around. Abby tells Luka that Rick’s hemoglobin is low, so they should give him a more extensive work-up. Luka doesn’t seem too concerned, and he needs to stabilize Jane first, so he passes the job on to Abby.

Jane is seizing, and Luka’s annoyed that she’s still in the ER instead of having a CT. Harkins says they’re backed up, but Luka doesn’t accept that as an excuse. He tells Harkins to let CT know that he’s bringing Jane up whether they’re ready for her or not. But first he has to go tend to Rick, who’s starting to show signs of having fluid in his lungs. Luka gives some treatment instructions, then ducks out to take Jane up for her CT.

Rewind: Luka and Abby examine Rick, who doesn’t seem too sick. Luka says he shouldn’t have to stick around too long for treatment. He gives Abby instructions for tests, disagreeing with her suggestion that they check his hemoglobin. He thinks Rick just needs to be hydrated. Abby asks if she and Luka are okay, after last night. Luka looks blank, so she clarifies that something happened in a bedroom. He doesn’t remember – he was drunk. He brushes that off and tells Abby not to worry so much about Rick. He just has the flu.

Rewind: Susan is tending to Luka, who’s just received the cut on his cheek. Someone dressed as an elf punched him. As Laura thanks Luka for looking after Rick, the elf tries to excuse his punch by claiming he was just reaching up for something. Abby chats with Rick and Laura, who are about to have a visit from his parents. Laura thinks they don’t approve of the couple’s engagement (they’re only 19 and 20) or of Laura in general. Rick and Laura are going to elope to Reno on New Year’s Eve.

Susan cleans up Luka’s cut and lightly chastises herself for hosting a party last night even though she had to work today. She’s on call through the holidays since she’s single and doesn’t have a family. Luka says he doesn’t mind working on Christmas; the holiday isn’t what it’s supposed to be anymore. He and his family used to spend lots of time together, but with them gone, he doesn’t do anything. Susan invites him to come to her place for Christmas dinner and hang out with her and her friends who can’t get home for the holidays.

Rewind: Luka and Pratt take care of an old man who wants to file charges against his attacker. His daughter arrives and asks about what happened. She’s upset that the hospital is also treating her father’s attacker. They shouldn’t be helping the person who attacked a harmless old man.

In the hallway, Pratt tells Luka that they should just be honest about what happened. Luka argues that they’re dealing with an 80-year-old man who was just trying to outrun his past. At the admit desk, Frank tries to get rid of two elves who are trying to get in to see their friend. He’s using Yosh’s menorah as a kind of cattle prod to get them to back off. When Frank asks if the guys don’t have reindeer to milk, one of the elves throws a punch, hitting Luka instead.

Rewind: Abby asks Harkins if she got home okay the night before. She warns Harkins to be careful. People are gossiping about her and Luka. Harkins insists that there’s nothing going on. Abby tells her that Luka doesn’t always think things through. Pratt and Luka tend to their old guy while next door, Gallant is trying to calm another old guy, obviously this guy’s attacker. The two men yell at each other until Gallant takes his patient to surgery.

Rewind: Luka and Harkins examine Jane, who was at hockey practice when she suffered a head injury. Luka tells Harkins to make sure she gets a CT. His shift is supposed to be over, but he decides to hang around until Jane is discharged. Gallant offers to show Harkins some interesting case, then asks how long she stayed at Susan’s the night before. So clearly a) Gallant has a crush on Harkins and b) he doesn’t know she left the party with Luka.

Rewind: Pratt and Luka chat with their older patient, finally cluing us in that he’s the man who attacked Vladko. The man, Ivo, reveals that Vladko worked for the Ustasha, Croatia’s version of the Gestapo. He told them where to find Ivo’s family. Ivo was able to hide, but his whole family was taken away and he never saw them again. Seeing Vladko 60 years later, living his life like he never committed atrocities, set Ivo off. He remembers Vladko’s face like he just saw him yesterday. Obviously this is when Luka decides to help Ivo evade arrest.

Rewind: Chen arrives to fill in for someone. She wants to know what’s going on with Luka and Harkins; they were dancing at Susan’s party. Luka has been at work for a couple of hours, hungover, and it sounds like he’s the one Chen is there to take over for. Paramedics arrive with Ivo, and when Luka learns that he’s Croatian, he offers to stick around and translate, if necessary. Abby tells him he can go.

Rewind: Weaver’s impatiently waiting for Luka to arrive. Carter pops into the episode for the first time so we can learn that he’s going to Boston for the holidays. Luka and Harkins arrive at the same time, and Weaver tells Luka he’ll only need to stay for a couple of hours until Chen can come in. Frank, Yosh, and Chuny notice that he and Harkins came in together. Gallant doesn’t think Harkins is the type to hook up with an attending. Carter passes his patients on to Luka, telling him Jane is complaining of a migraine and Rick seems to have the flu. So Luka wasn’t the only one who didn’t think Rick’s case was serious.

Rewind: Abby tries to nicely shoot down Frank’s plan to dress as Santa. Weaver asks Abby to call Luka and have him come in; she has to go to a meeting and the ER is busy. Abby knows he’s not in good shape to work, but Weaver doesn’t listen to her. When Abby calls Luka’s apartment, Harkins answers. Abby doesn’t recognize her voice. She tells Luka to come in for a couple of hours, and when he resists, Weaver orders him in. Harkins realizes she shouldn’t have answered the phone.

Rewind: The staff does a Secret Santa gift exchange at Susan’s party. She winds up with edible underwear, and Carter gets fuzzy handcuffs. These people learned nothing from “Secrets and Lies.” Gallant and Harkins seem pretty close, even sharing a cup. Abby’s present is a snow globe, but her Secret Santa doesn’t identify him- or herself.

Abby and Carter get ready to leave, since he has a night shift. She goes to the bedroom to get her coat and runs into Luka. He turns a key on the bottom of the snow globe, which plays “What Child Is This?” (That’s a pretty good indication that he was her Secret Santa.) He notes that he and Abby don’t talk much anymore. She says they should fix that. They can get coffee sometime or have dinner with Carter. Luka touches her arm and says he misses her. Abby thinks this is the alcohol talking, so they should wait until another time to have this conversation.

Luka says that Abby doesn’t seem happy. She says she is. He wants her to be happy, but if she’s not, she should admit it. He admits that he made mistakes in their relationship. “Don’t make another one,” she warns. She heads out with Carter as Luka continues drinking. Harkins invites Luka to come dance with everyone else, telling him when he declines that she’s not going anyway.

Sometime later, the two end up at his apartment. She’s not there to sleep with him – she seems to just want to make sure he’s okay – but when he turns on the charm, no one can blame her for giving in. Harkins doesn’t resist a kiss from him, though she says she’ll sleep on the couch. Luka asks why she wants to be a doctor. He became one to help people. She assures him that he does that every day. Luka continues that he just helps strangers, and he won’t be doing that tomorrow, since he won’t be working.

We jump back (well, forward) to the beginning of the episode. As Weaver, Susan, and Abby work on Harkins, Gallant asks Luka what happened. All Luka says is that Harkins needed a ride home.

Thoughts: Three recognizable guest stars in this episode:

I hate stunt episodes! Hate them! (When we get to the Buffy episode “Once More, With Feeling,” I’ll deny ever saying this.)

Today we mourn the loss of Luka’s Viper. I cared about it more than Harkins.

September 7, 2021

ER 9.9, Next of Kin: “Define ‘Family’”

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

This is a good look for Tom Everett Scott

Summary: Abby’s asleep – drink! She wakes up when she hears glass breaking somewhere in her apartment. Maggie’s making breakfast and Eric’s watching TV, even though it’s not even 5 a.m. They’re about to take Eric to a psych treatment center, and he’s not happy about it. Abby reminds him that they agreed to this – aggressively treating his bipolar disorder now will help him more down the road. Eric regrets agreeing to that.

At County, Carter examines a kid named Timmy who complained of having a headache but says nothing happened to give him the headache. He and his brother are tight-lipped about what they were playing that led to this. Well, it turns out that the brothers like to play a game where the older boy holds Timmy up by the ankles and lets go to see how long it takes him to hit the ground. (Answer: Not very long.) Carter and Susan laugh over how Timmy has a concussion but still wouldn’t rat out his older brother. Susan notes that that would make him a squealer. Susan has a sister; she gets it.

Susan’s supposed to be done for the day after a night shift, but Jerry tells her that Weaver wants her to cover for her. Chen and Carter wonder why she keeps missing work. Chen’s disappointed because she and Susan were supposed to go salsa dancing that night. A teenager in the waiting room asks if Carter and Chen are doctors. When they confirm this, the girl says she can’t do this, then runs out. After a moment, a baby starts crying. The doctors realize that the girl has abandoned a baby in the ER. Carter runs outside to catch her, but she’s gone.

The Wyczenskis go to the treatment center and meet Eric’s new doctor (he doesn’t get a name; I’m calling him DeMunn, the actor’s last name). It’s an outpatient place where Eric will attend therapy sessions, but can also take field trips and art classes. Eric complains that there’s no playground for recess. While Maggie takes him to meet some other patients, Abby talks to DeMunn, who’s hesitant to prescribe any further medications for Eric until he’s reviewed Eric’s chart. Abby says she can give him any information he needs. DeMunn would prefer to talk to his patient instead.

Carter and Chen tend to the baby, who’s dehydrated but otherwise seems okay. He had to have been delivered recently, since his umbilical cord is still attached. It was clamped off with a Powerpuff Girls barrette. Carter tells Harkins that, under safe-haven laws, the mother won’t suffer any consequences for leaving the baby at the hospital. Chen thinks she made a responsible decision, though Harkins disagrees. Is she just going to go back to her life like nothing happened?

Carter leaves to help with a trauma – a man and his 12-year-old daughter were in a car accident. The father, Gil, is in bad shape, but his daughter, Morgan, just has an ankle injury. Harkins and Pratt tend to her while Carter, Chen, and Elizabeth treat Gil. He mumbles that Morgan’s mother isn’t in the picture because she “doesn’t understand.” Elizabeth determines that Gil will need surgery. Next door, Pratt assures Morgan that her dad will be okay, since the hospital’s second best doctor is helping him. Pratt is, of course, the best doctor at County.

Eric participates in an art class at the facility; the patients are supposed to cut pictures out of magazines that best describe how they feel during their manic phases. Eric asks for a Viagra ad. DeMunn tells Abby and Maggie that the exercise helps patients identify what’s seductive about their mania. The facility will help them move toward self-discipline and structure. He promises that Eric will adapt. After all, Maggie did.

Abby and Maggie head out, though Maggie isn’t sure this is the best place for Eric to receive treatment. Abby admits that it’s kind of dumb to have adults make collages, but emotionally, Eric is at the age where that might help. Maggie disagrees. She knows Eric feels like his mother and sister are trying to take away his personality – his bipolar disorder is part of what makes him…him. Abby says it’s also destroying him.

Maggie thinks he would be okay just seeing a psychologist on his own and trying to hold down a job. Abby asks how they’ll make sure he keeps taking his medication. Maggie reminds her that they can’t force Eric to go to therapy or take his medications. Abby doesn’t think Maggie knows what will work. Maggie calls her out for always criticizing how she handled her illness. Abby says Maggie isn’t an expert – she doesn’t know best. Maggie thinks that, in this case, she might. She’s also Eric’s mother. Abby says that after spending 30 years in and out of hospitals, Maggie isn’t anyone’s mother.

Chen checks on the baby, who’s still in the ER since there are no available beds in pediatrics. Connie appreciates having a healthy baby in the ER for once. She doesn’t know how anyone could give him up. Chen – who, as we know, placed her baby for adoption – keeps a poker face as she says that she’s sure his mother had her reasons.

Susan’s annoyed that Luka is missing, so she has to deal with med students in his place. Aren’t they Carter’s responsibility? Anyway, Gallant wants her to see his patient, Melody, who may have food poisoning. She doesn’t want to be admitted, but she’s a nurse, so she knows they can’t release her until they’ve gotten her vomiting under control. Her boyfriend, Bill, says she can’t come to his place since he just got new rugs. For some reason, Susan doesn’t recognize that as an obvious joke.

Elizabeth tells Gil that surgery may take him out of commission for a while. He doesn’t want them to call Morgan’s mother; Morgan barely remembers the woman who abandoned them. Luka finally shows up, telling Susan his alarm clock didn’t go off. She guesses he was actually in bed with someone. Luka comes in at the same time as an elderly woman named Matilda who fractured her hip. She was on the floor for two days, unable to reach her medication, which is especially bad because she has diabetes.

The ER needs Morgan’s bed, so Pratt and Harkins take her to an exam room. She asks to use the bathroom, so Pratt tells Harkins to give her a bedpan. They give her some privacy, but Harkins goes in when she hears Morgan drop the bedpan. Morgan yells for her to stay out, but it’s too late. Harkins walks in on her and realizes that Morgan has male anatomy. She shares the news with Pratt, switching to male pronouns, because this was 2002 and no one cared about misgendering trans people. Pratt tells her to find Morgan’s mother.

He goes to see Morgan, who’s impatient to see her father. He asks why she wears girls’ clothes. Morgan confidently says that she’s a girl; she just has the wrong body. Pratt thinks she’s too young to think that way. Morgan says she’s always known it. Her father obviously supports this, and even moved her to Chicago so she could start over at a school where no one knows she’s transgender. Pratt thinks they’ll find out eventually, but Morgan says they’ll just keep moving anytime people find out. When she’s old enough, she’ll have gender confirmation surgery.

Pratt asks how Morgan’s mother feels about this. Morgan sadly says that she has a new family now. Pratt tells her that someone needs to come get her, since her father will be in surgery for a while. A family friend won’t cut it; Morgan’s mother needs to come. Morgan says that her mother thinks she’s a freak, just like Pratt obviously does. She begs him not to call her mother. Pratt gives in, telling Harkins not to do anything yet.

Leon arrives, upset because he was just fired from his job. He claims he didn’t do anything wrong. Carter gets a call from an Anita Coffee, a fake name Abby gave Jerry, for some reason. He meets her in the ambulance bay so they can go to Doc Magoo’s together for a break. Luka chats with Matilda, who passes out while Susan is examining her. Oh, hey, Yosh! Where have you been? When Matilda revives, she complains that they woke her up from a nice nap.

Melody’s son, Jeremy, arrives to check on his mother. They had the same thing for dinner the night before, and he’s not sick, so she might not have food poisoning after all. He’s annoyed that Melody and Bill didn’t call to let him know Melody was in the hospital. Jeremy offers to stay with Melody so Bill can go to work, but Bill says he can stay. It’s clear that Jeremy doesn’t like him even before he tells Susan that Bill can be a jerk sometimes.

Abby tells Carter that she thinks things will be fine after Eric’s first day in treatment. They’ll get into a routine; she’ll work days and “keep an eye on him” at night. Carter obviously disagrees with her plan to basically babysit her brother. He thinks she and Maggie should share the responsibility. But Abby knows from history that Maggie isn’t reliable. After all, she’s abandoned her children many times before, back when they were too young to have to take care of themselves.

Gil declines in surgery, and Elizabeth isn’t able to save him. Matilda is facing surgery herself, and as she awaits it, she flirts with Luka a little. She’s been single her whole life, and though she has a few regrets about never getting married, she did have time to do other things, like become a great chess player. Yosh tells Susan that Weaver wants her to take her place at a finance meeting. Gallant tells her that Melody doesn’t have food poisoning – she overdosed on aspirin. Susan’s confused, since the dosage she took wouldn’t be lethal, but as a nurse, she would also know it was too high.

Chen and Connie are brainstorming names for the baby. Susan tells them not to ask for her input – she named her dog Puddles. “Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she quips. Carter suggests Rudyard. “Hasn’t he suffered enough?” Chen asks. Elizabeth tells Carter that Gil died, so they’ll need to inform Morgan. Harkins doesn’t know if Pratt has contacted her mother. She tells Carter and Elizabeth about Morgan’s situation, still insisting that Morgan’s a boy. Shut up, Harkins. Carter tells her to call Morgan’s mother, since she’s Morgan’s next of kin.

Abby returns to the treatment center to get Eric, but DeMunn tells her he withdrew from the program and left. Maggie came to get him an hour ago. Pratt pays a visit to Leon’s boss to find out why Leon was fired. The boss accuses Leon of letting people into his store after hours so they could rob the place. Pratt insists that Leon wouldn’t knowingly participate in a crime. Even if the robbers were his friends, they must have tricked Leon into helping him. The boss calls Leon dumb, which really makes Pratt mad. Leon was shot in the head; he’s not dumb. Pratt tells the boss to leave Leon out of his reports about the robbery.

Morgan’s mother, Mrs. Garding, arrives and learns that her ex-husband is dead. (Carter also misgenders Morgan. Bad Carter!) Mrs. Garding is aware that Morgan lives as a girl; she and Gil split up because they disagreed about letting her do that. Carter wants Mrs. Garding to be there when Morgan learns that Gil died. Uh, maybe they should ask Morgan what she wants? She’s not happy to see her mother, and she’s much less happy to learn that Gil didn’t survive.

Harkins flirts with Luka, who checks on Matilda again. She notes that he doesn’t even have to try with women. Well…have you seen his face? She pulls out a checkbook and tells him she’s giving him a tip. He’s not allowed to take her money, but Matilda’s 82 and frugal, so she doesn’t see the point in hoarding it. She basically forces Luka to take her check.

At the admit desk, Harkins asks Luka if that’s ever happened to him before. He’s very casual about the whole thing and hasn’t even looked at the check to see how much Matilda gave him. Susan overhears the conversation and reminds Luka that it’s unethical to take a patient’s money. Luka brushes this off, saying the check will probably bounce anyway. Harkins reports that it’s for $10,000.

Gallant looked up Melody’s records and tells Susan she’s been to County a few times for various injuries. They guess that Bill is abusing her. Abby confronts Maggie for taking Eric out of the facility, but Maggie reminds her that people with bipolar disorder only get better if they want to. Abby asks if they’re supposed to just wait until Eric feels like getting treatment. Does Maggie have a plan? She does: She’s taking Eric to Minnesota with her tomorrow. He’ll stay with her and Maggie will try to help him get treatment.

Abby thinks the facility in Chicago is the best thing for Eric right now, especially when Maggie can’t be sure she can keep Eric on the path he needs to be on. Maggie says that she knows Abby feels like she’s the only one who has ever been there for both Maggie and Eric. But Maggie’s here now, and she’s going to help.

Melody and the baby have been sharing a room for a while, but there’s room for the baby in pediatrics now. Melody asks to see him before he goes. She tells Chen she loves babies at this age, when they really need their parents. Chen sends him off, feeling bittersweet. Susan checks on Melody, asking if she’s felt depressed recently. Was Melody trying to get sympathy or trying to get away from her boyfriend? It’s obvious that someone is hurting her, and she needs to turn him in. Melody says she can’t. She needs a few days; he’s joining the Navy, and then she’ll be free. Susan’s surprised to learn that Melody’s abuser is Jeremy, not Bill.

Pratt returns to County and learns that Gil died and Mrs. Garding has arrived. He’s upset that Harkins ignored him and follows Carter’s instructions instead. He finds Mrs. Garding cutting Morgan’s hair so she’ll look like a boy. Pratt can’t talk her out of doing what she thinks is right for her child, who will no doubt be miserable as she adjusts to living with her unsupportivemother and a stepfather who probably doesn’t know she’s transgender.

The baby’s mother returns to the ER and tells Chen she changed her mind – she wants her baby back. Harkins snottily asks when she’ll change her mind again. The mother, Romy, tells Chen that she’s not scared anymore. She thinks her mother will help her raise the baby. Chen sends Romy up to see the baby, telling Harkins that she’s going to at least try to be a mother. Harkins asks how that works when Romy originally abandoned the child.

Matilda declines, and since she has a DNR, Susan and Haleh have to let her go. Luka’s disappointed that no one told him she was dying. Susan tells Jeremy that Melody needs to stay for observation. Coincidentally, she’ll be in the hospital the exact amount of time remaining before Jeremy ships out. Gallant’s confused, so Susan fills him in. Luka overhears and remarks that her “stretching” of Melody’s diagnosis sounds unethical.

Abby and Maggie track Eric down in a hotel, but Eric doesn’t want his sister in his life right now. She tells him he needs help and can’t do this by himself. He needs someone he can trust and rely on. Eric says Abby isn’t that person anymore. She doesn’t really understand what he’s going through. She’s not like Eric and Maggie, and she never will be. Maggie tells Abby she’ll call when they get settled back in Minnesota, but Abby says she shouldn’t bother.

Pratt’s annoyed that he has to work after his shift was supposed to have ended, since he left during his shift. He’s also obviously annoyed that Carter overrode his instructions about Morgan, but Carter says he couldn’t just wait until Pratt came back. Pratt chastises him for not listening to what Morgan wanted. Carter says he followed procedure. Whether Pratt likes it or not, Mrs. Garding is Morgan’s only family. “Define ‘family,'” Pratt replies. As he leaves the lounge, he sees Morgan leaving with her mother, looking betrayed because Pratt wasn’t there to help her advocate for what she wanted.

Romy and her mother leave with the baby, stopping to talk to Chen. Romy’s mother didn’t know her daughter was pregnant, but now that she knows about the baby, it looks like she’s going to help raise him. Chen is sad to see another baby leave her life. Susan tries to talk her into going out for a drink, but Chen isn’t in the mood. Luke probably is, as he’s cashing Matilda’s check and now has thousands of dollars to spend however he wants.

Pratt tells Leon he couldn’t get his job back, though Leon’s already looking in the want ads for a new one. Pratt calls him out for buying an Xbox. Leon says his friends gave it to him – they must have won it. Pratt helps him realize that his friends stole it. Carter goes to Abby’s apartment, where she’s smoking outside. She tells him she’s going to let Maggie and Eric leave, and she doesn’t want to talk about it. She’s done trying to take care of her family.

Thoughts: Romy is played by Jurnee Smollett.

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

I don’t like angsty Abby. I want to go back to fun Abby.

Pratt is, again, really good with patients. If I were Morgan, I would feel really comfortable around him. I would even go so far as to stay he would make a good pediatrician. Harkins, on the other hand, can stuff it.

I think the show handles Morgan’s storyline well (I mean, other than the sad ending). The way she talks about herself, like having the wrong body, is in line with what other trans people say. She’s not ashamed and her father doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her.

’00s music alert: Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe”

August 31, 2021

ER 9.8, First Snowfall: The New Normal

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

Poor Gallant

Summary: Gallant is on the phone with someone from Eric’s base, trying to get Abby some information, since she doesn’t even know where he was taken. Abby has to step away to end a fight between a babbling homeless man and another patient. Carter tells her that he was able to find out that Eric was in the brig for a few days, but has now been sent back to his base in Nebraska. Gallant can’t get any more news than that, so Abby decides to just go to the base.

Carter wants to tag along (sound familiar?), but he has a shift. Abby insists that she can handle this by herself. He tells her she can’t just walk onto an Air Force base; she needs a sponsor. She should take Gallant with her. Abby still thinks she can handle this alone, but Carter gets Gallant to agree to go with her anyway. Carter plans to join Abby later. As he sends them off to the airport in a cab, snow starts falling. It snows all night, and by the end of Carter’s shift, it’s blocking the ambulance bay.

As Nathan tries to get himself going, Carter tries to get an update on his flight, which has been delayed. The homeless man is still hanging around and talking to himself about math. Carter tells Nathan that the snow stopped, but they’re pretty much stuck in the hospital. Nathan still has 12 hours left on his shift, though with the snow paralyzing the city, it might be quiet.

Abby calls Carter from the base and he tells her that with three feet of snow on the ground and the El shut down, he’s not going anywhere for a while. He notices Nathan studying his hands, which are shaking. Eric’s commanding officer makes Abby get off her phone, since she’s a civilian. He doesn’t know where Eric is; if Eric had been arrested, he would have been brought to the base, but he’s not there. He tells Abby to go back to her hotel and wait for more information. Abby tells him that Eric needs a psych evaluation and medication ASAP.

Elizabeth manages to make it to County for her shift, though her nanny couldn’t get out of her house, so Elizabeth had to bring Ella to work with her. The good news is that the El is up and running again. Abby takes a smoke break, ignoring Gallant’s warnings not to, not just because they’re on a military base but because there’s a truck full of jet fuel nearby. They finally get in touch with a Lt. Ottenson, Eric’s attorney. Eric has been taken to a hospital on base.

Back in Chicago, Luka wisely uses cross-country skis to get to work. Carter’s on his way to the El station, planning to take a train to the airport and wait for a flight to Nebraska. Luka’s surprised that Carter didn’t go with Abby. Susan asks Carter to stick around, since Weaver can’t get to work and multiple trauma cases are coming in. Carter reluctantly agrees to stay.

On the way to see Eric, Abby learns that he’s being medicated and is now coherent. He’s facing a hearing to determine whether he was mentally competent when he went AWOL, in which case they can punish him for his actions. If he wasn’t, he won’t have to worry about being court martialed. He’ll just get a medical discharge, and if he’s stable, they’ll probably release him from the hospital right away.

Abby’s annoyed that no one called her. Eric shouldn’t be released before she can determine the best treatment options for him. Ottenson says that if they asked Eric if he wanted his family to be contacted, he probably would have told them to call Abby. But it looks like he named someone else as a contact, because Maggie’s already at the hospital.

At County, Susan, Elizabeth, and Nathan tend to one of the new trauma patients – two boys and their mother were hit by a drunk driver while building a snowman on their lawn. The dad was spared simply because he went inside to get a carrot for the snowman’s nose. One boy, Toby, is unable to be saved, so Elizabeth moves on to the other, Matt, while Luka tends to the mother. Matt is in bad shape but is alive and conscious. Elizabeth tells Carter that if his mother hadn’t jumped in front of him, Matt would be dead.

In Nebraska, Maggie tells Abby that she was able to talk to Eric on the phone. Abby says that he has bipolar disorder; she could feel it right away. She regrets not telling Maggie, and instead interfering to the point where she got Eric arrested. Maggie tells her not to blame herself. It turns out Maggie knew about Eric’s mental-health issues all along. She just thought he had situational depression from PTSD.

Abby can’t believe that Maggie didn’t connect the dots between Eric’s symptoms and her own bipolar disorder. Does she know anything about her disease? Maggie’s like, “You mean the mental illness I’ve been dealing with for decades? Do I know anything about the disorder I manage on a daily basis? No, I’m in no way familiar with this illness. What was it called again?” Abby asks why Maggie didn’t tell her what was going on. Maggie admits that Eric didn’t want Abby to know.

Elizabeth thinks Matt and Toby’s mother, Sylvia, is too far gone to save, but Luka wants to keep working on her. The boys’ father has arrived (he doesn’t get a name; I’ll call him Jeff after the actor playing him), and Elizabeth tells Nathan to keep him out of his wife’s trauma room. Jeff refuses, even though the sight of what Elizabeth and Luka are doing to save her makes him throw up.

Chuny comes over to tell Elizabeth that Matt isn’t getting enough oxygen. Carter thinks one of his broken ribs punctured his heart. Elizabeth goes over to help him and Harkins, but she thinks Matt’s heart muscle is too damaged to fix. She glances up just as Susan is taking Toby’s gurney through the hallway. Susan gives her a slight shake of the head to indicate that Toby is beyond help.

This gives Elizabeth an idea: Toby is brain dead, but his organs are fine. She tells Jeff that Matt needs heart and lung transplants in the next six hours or he’ll die. With Jeff’s permission, they can transplant Toby’s organs into his brother. One of Jeff’s sons is dead, but they can still save the other. Jeff desperately asks Elizabeth to save both boys. Can’t they wait a couple days to see if Toby wakes up?

Susan needs Elizabeth’s help, and Weaver wants her to assist in taking care of the drunk driver (a request Elizabeth firmly turns down), so Elizabeth assigns Nathan to talk Jeff into consenting to the transplant. They only have one shot at saving Matt. Jeff isn’t in the right state of mind to make this decision, so Nathan needs to get him to understand how important this is.

Abby’s impatient to see Eric, who’s talking to Ottenson. Gallant wants to stick around and help, but Abby thinks he’s accomplished what she needed him to do, so he can leave. Plus, he has a test coming up and should use this time to study, not play phone tag for Abby and Maggie. Ottenson comes to get Maggie so she can see Eric; he still doesn’t want to see Abby.

Luka, Susan, and Elizabeth try their hardest to revive Sylvia while Nathan talks to Jeff about the transplant. Susan thinks he’ll succeed, since he’s good at talking patients into stuff. Matt is declining, so Elizabeth helps Carter and Chuny try to keep him alive for the transplant. Nathan announces that Jeff has given his consent, so Elizabeth tells him to take Toby up to the OR.

The second Matt is stable, Elizabeth says they’re taking him up, too. Carter thinks it’s too soon, since he could decline again at any moment, but Elizabeth wants to take advantage of this window and do the transplant. Jeff goes up with Toby, promising him that he won’t feel any pain. Sadly, despite Luka’s best efforts, Sylvia doesn’t survive.

As Elizabeth and Carter take Matt up to the OR, Jeff asks Elizabeth to promise that this will all work out. Elizabeth can only say they’ll do their best. Jeff again comforts Toby (even though the boy can’t hear him), saying that he’s going to help his brother. He tells Nathan he’d like to take Toby to Sylvia’s room so she can say goodbye. Nathan doesn’t want to have to tell him that his wife is dead.

Carter keeps Matt’s heart beating while Elizabeth scrubs in, impatiently waiting for the transplant team. Elizabeth and Carter get Matt on bypass and remove his damaged heart as quickly as possible. When the surgeon arrives to take over, Elizabeth and Carter step aside. All Carter can say is, “Wow.”

Maggie tells Abby that Eric is having trouble accepting that his sister saw him in a manic state. He’s medicated now, but he’s emotionally exhausted and ashamed. Maggie warns Abby not to be confrontational. Abby finally gets to see Eric, who’s in uniform and ready for his hearing. She notes that he wanted to leave the Air Force anyway, so…hey, it all worked out!

Abby justifies her actions by saying she loves Eric and was worried about him. He thinks she believes he’s crazy and unstable. He was actually enjoying himself. (Yeah, that’s the mania. You would have felt different if you’d been in the depression part of the cycle.) She wants him to come back to Chicago with her, but Eric has no interest in that. Abby points out that without medication, Eric is likely to go down the same route as their mother, struggling for years to keep her life together. She urges Maggie to confirm that she’s right. Instead, Maggie leaves the room.

Abby’s upset that Eric called Maggie instead of her. Maggie’s unreliable and undependable; meanwhile, Abby spent three days trying to find Eric so she could help him. Eric doesn’t feel sorry for her. He’s the one whose career is over. He thinks Abby’s just mad that she didn’t get to be his savior. Abby argues that Eric needs help, and Maggie screwed up the first time he turned to her. Eric corrects her: He doesn’t need help, and he didn’t go to Maggie. She sent him to a doctor because she saw that something was wrong. Abby says Maggie wasn’t wrong. Eric asks why he’s not allowed to call her, then.

Nathan has the unfortunate job of taking care of the drunk driver. His dyskinesia is getting worse, and the driver asks if he has Tourette’s. Elizabeth joins them as the driver continues badgering Nathan. He’s surprised Nathan’s allowed to treat patients while in this condition. Nathan says they let him work on patients they don’t care about. He asks if the driver has any idea what he did. The driver thinks he just hit a snowman – he doesn’t realize that he ran over three people, killing two of them.

Maggie urges Abby to give Eric time to adjust. They don’t want him to feel like they’re ganging up on him. Maggie doesn’t think Eric needs to be hospitalized after he’s discharged. Abby says that’s not her decision. Maggie tells her that Eric has to accept that he has bipolar disorder and figure out how to accommodate it. Abby argues that until then, he needs to be supervised so he keeps taking his medication. Maggie tells her that he might decide to stop taking it sometimes, but this is like AA: It has to be his decision. Right now, it’s too early for him to want to be healthy.

Abby says that she’s been living with this disease her entire life and doesn’t want a lecture about it. Of course, Maggie’s the one who’s actually living with it, so she has a different perspective on it. Abby angrily asks if Maggie and Eric have some bond now that they both have the same disorder. Maggie tells her to focus on the fact that her brother is struggling. There’s no quick fix – Eric will be dealing with this for the rest of his life.

Nathan tries to ignore the drunk driver while he examines a girl named Kiley. His dyskinesia causes him to accidentally jam a scope in Kiley’s ear. She isn’t hurt, but she’s spooked, so Nathan decides to call it quits. He doesn’t listen when Weaver tells him to keep working.

Elizabeth finds Jeff sitting on the floor of Sylvia’s trauma room, so now he knows that he’s lost both his wife and one of his sons. She tells him that Matt is undergoing the transplant. She invites him to wait in a waiting room near the OR, but Jeff can’t bring himself to leave the room. He tells her what a normal day would be like right now for his family. Elizabeth says he made the right decision. Jeff tells her that everything was white this morning, and the boys were excited to stay home with their parents.

Elizabeth confides that she knows what Jeff is feeling. He doesn’t believe that, since he doesn’t even know what he’s feeling. She tells him that her husband died just six months ago. This is the first time we’ve heard her talk about him since then. She says she tried to continue on with her life like everything was normal, but that’s impossible.

You can’t run away from your grief. Life after losing a loved one is “like this big, relentless wave.” You have no choice but to ride it. You try to hold on to what you’ve lost and carry on without shutting yourself off from everything. Elizabeth knows that in the future, when Jeff looks into Matt’s eyes, he’ll see “the beautiful things that live on in him.” Jeff says he needs Matt to be okay. Elizabeth promises that he will be, then embraces him.

The board overseeing Eric’s hearing hasn’t seen enough evidence to prove that Eric was mentally incompetent when he went AWOL, so they won’t let him go. Eric is demanding due process. Abby tells Ottenson that he needs psychiatric treatment, which he’s not going to get while he’s in confinement. Eric tells Abby that since he was gone less than 30 days, he shouldn’t have to face any serious consequences. He didn’t hurt anyone or act irresponsibly. He just wanted a change. Abby points out that he went AWOL, which is serious in the military. Eric eggs her on to call him crazy. He knows he’s not like Maggie, no matter what Abby thinks.

Elizabeth finds Nathan on the roof, his medication having finally kicked in and calmed his dyskinesia. She gives him his evaluation for his surgical rotation, but Nathan doesn’t see the point in reading it. Elizabeth notes that he only has two modes: blind optimism and self-pity. Nathan figures it’s better to just face the facts. Parkinson’s is eventually going to overcome him. He just thought he would have more time.

Elizabeth asks if that means he’s just going to give in. Nathan thinks that’s what she wanted. She says she wanted him to recognize his limitations. He saved Matt today because he was able to connect with Jeff and help him make the right decision. Anyone can stitch up a patient or insert a chest tube. Nathan has a gift, and he needs to find a way to share it. As Elizabeth leaves, she says she kept her promise to fail him.

Abby and Maggie reconnect, and Abby asks her mother to back her up on her decision to get Eric committed so he doesn’t stay in military jail. Maggie agrees. Abby apologizes for her behavior; she’s angry about the situation and, surprisingly, angry at Maggie for having to go through this again, even though it’s not her fault. Maggie thinks Abby is really angry that Maggie passed her bipolar disorder on to Eric. She gets that Abby feels like a mother to her brother, but Maggie’s the one responsible here. Now she needs to be his mother for once.

Carter calls Abby to check in, pretending he’s still in Chicago when he’s actually just now arriving at the base. Weaver has taken over Kiley’s care, but Nathan wants to finish her ear examination. This time he has Kiley hold the scope herself. Once he’s again made a connection with someone and shared his gifts, Elizabeth takes him up to Matt’s OR. Matt’s transplant is done, and Elizabeth wants Nathan to be the one to shock his heart – formerly Toby’s heart – into rhythm. Elizabeth comments that now, Matt’s brother will always be with him.

Thoughts: Matt is played by Josh Hutcherson.

I have to give a shoutout to Jeff Kober, who plays Jeff. He usually plays villains (and is really good at it), so it’s interesting to see him as just a normal guy. He always gets typecast, but here he shows that he can be subtle and loving.

The sequences where Carter and Elizabeth rush the boys to the OR and then try to calm down afterward are so good. It’s like watching an action movie without the explosions or violence.

Maggie should have continued her AA metaphor by telling Abby that the best help for someone who’s struggling comes from someone who’s been there.

August 24, 2021

ER 9.7, Tell Me Where It Hurts: Going Too Far

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

This is the closest Chen gets to having a plotline

Summary: Weaver is attending an ultrasound, and…no, wait. Weaver is having an ultrasound. She’s pregnant! She and Sandy are going to be moms! In the ER, Chen is quizzing Gallant and Harkins, who are answering her questions like there’s a prize at stake. She tells them to calm down. Susan goes looking for a doctor to apply a cast to someone, but everyone’s either busy or away. Luka’s back at work after his suspension, but he’s sleeping. “With who?” Susan quips.

She takes Harkins to an exam room, but her patient isn’t breathing. She’s also a nun, which makes Susan feel even worse. Malik wakes Nathan, who was taking a nap during a long shift. Susan’s nun didn’t survive, and Frank is worried that God will strike her dead for killing the woman. Shut up, Frank. Paramedics bring in a John Doe who’s getting more and more agitated. Nathan winds up punching him in the face and knocking him out. He blames his dyskinesia.

Jody arrives, looking for Eric, who ditched her when they had a fight while they were coming back from visiting her parents. Abby thinks he just went back to his base, but Jody called there and learned that Eric has been on an unauthorized absence for two weeks. In other words, he’s AWOL.

Elizabeth comes to the OR to examine a man named Mr. Seaton who has pancreatic cancer and doesn’t seem to be responding well to treatment. One of his complications may need to be fixed surgically. Elizabeth doesn’t think that will help, which means Seaton is probably looking at hospice care as his only remaining option. He likes that idea more than being in the hospital, so he decides not to pursue further treatment.

Luka, Weaver, and Abby tend to a teen named Greg who was shot in the eye. It’s gross. The shooter was Greg’s ten-year-old brother, Tommy. He was playing with their father’s gun, and when Greg tried to take it from him, it accidentally went off. Nathan tells Susan that he disagrees with Elizabeth’s decision to let Seaton die without looking at other treatment options. Susan reminds him that he’s a med student, so he can’t get into this. They’re going to respect Seaton’s wishes.

As Luka finishes up with Greg, a guy named Mike arrives and introduces himself. Apparently Luka slept with Mike’s wife, Heather. Mike is pretty calm about the whole thing, basically just asking Luka to stop sleeping with his wife. Luka seems kind of embarrassed, knowing that his actions are affecting his fling’s husband and kids.

Abby tries to call Eric, who doesn’t answer the phone. Susan notes that at least she hasn’t killed anyone. She figures her next patient should be someone with a swollen scrotum, since it’s unlikely that he’ll die under Susan’s care. Carter tries to have a conversation with Abby about Eric, but Harkins needs him to do his job first. Abby goes to the lounge and calls the medical facility on Eric’s base. She pretends she’s treating him and needs to see his medical records. When asked who the treating doctor is, she names Carter. Abby, no!

Luka bumps into Chuny, and it’s awkward, but at least they’ve stopped fighting. He checks on Greg, who can’t see out of his injured eye. As Chuny leaves the exam room, Luka tells her he’s sorry “about everything.” She is, too. And apparently that’s all it takes. Good to know! Greg thinks his father will be mad, even though, as Luka points out, he probably saved his brother’s life.

Abby starts to tell Carter what she did, but they get interrupted by their jobs again. A neighbor heard a child crying and called an ambulance for his mom, Tong-Ye, who had passed out in the backyard. Luka makes an impatient call, trying to contact a surgeon for Greg, and is displeased to learn where the doctor is. While Carter, Abby, Gallant, and Harkins are tending to Tong-Ye, who may have overdosed on something, Eric calls Abby back. Abby fumbles the phone and loses the call.

Nathan has asked a psychiatrist to talk to Seaton, since he thinks Seaton is depressed and is making an impulsive decision not to seek treatment. Now, he’s open to discussing his options. One of them is a procedure called a whipple, a six-hour operation with a ton of recovery time. Elizabeth is unhappy that Nathan would offer that as a possibility when Seaton is in no way a good candidate. Nathan thinks they should give Seaton all his options and let him decide. Elizabeth tells him to stop trying to help.

Tong-Ye’s tox screen shows that she took barbiturates, which is bad enough on its own, but the doctors have also discovered that she’s pregnant. They’re not sure if she speaks English, so Carter wants to bring Chen in to translate. I don’t know, continuing to yell everything might start working if he gets his volume just right.

Now that things have calmed down, Abby confesses her actions to Carter. She thinks it was worth it, since Eric’s medical records show that he took a leave of absence for PTSD after an incident where a plane almost crashed. Carter reminds her that air-traffic controlling is a stressful job. Abby notes that Eric was never medicated for the PTSD; maybe he was depressed instead, which was a sign that he has bipolar disorder. All his symptoms fit both PTSD and bipolar disorder. Eric never told the doctors that he has a relative with bipolar disorder, so they weren’t looking for it.

Susan’s latest patient has died. She and Malik aren’t sympathetic, since he was obese. Nathan finds their comments offensive, and Susan apologizes, saying she’s just having a bad day. “Not as bad as him,” Nathan and I both say. Luka drives his car onto a golf course to corner a surgeon named Abrams and bring him back to County to operate on Greg before he loses his sight permanently. It’s…kind of awesome.

Weaver notes that Susan has seen a lot of patients today (not that it’s doing them any good). She announces that she’s going to be taking some time off for some personal reasons. With Romano out, Susan will probably have to fill in some gaps. Frank says that’s a bad idea. Susan slams him for making smart comments about people’s deaths. As Chuny calls her away to tend to another patient, Jerry bets Frank $20 that Susan will kill that guy, too.

Carter has asked Gallant about Eric’s leave (since Gallant is also in the military), and he tells Abby that if this is Eric’s first time going AWOL, and if he can prove extenuating circumstances, he might just get a minimal punishment. Jerry gives Gallant a note from Harkins, calling her Gallant’s girlfriend. Abby doesn’t want Carter talking to Gallant about Eric, like that’s Abby’s biggest problem right now.

A couple comes in looking for the child who was brought in with Tong-Ye. The staff assumed that she’s the boy’s mother, but she’s his nanny. Carter asks the father, Mr. Yeung, if Tong-Ye uses drugs or if she’s been depressed. Mr. Yeung says Tong-Ye isn’t the type to try to harm herself. Maybe she was struggling to sleep because she was up with the boy, Aidan, all week while he was sick. Carter then asks if Tong-Ye has a boyfriend and might be having problems in her personal life. Mr. Yeung says he would probably know if she did; she’s lived with the family for four years.

Seaton and his family have decided to try the whipple, and Elizabeth isn’t happy about it. She knows his chances of recovering and living another year are small. She takes a jab at Nathan for becoming “the patron saint of the terminally ill.” Since he got her here, he gets to assist.

Carter wants Tong-Ye to be admitted overnight for observation, so Mr. Yeung wants to move her to a private facility. He asks her in Mandarin why she overdosed, then tells Carter that she said it was an accident. In fact, she did exactly what Mr. Yeung guessed she did – she took a couple of sleeping pills with a glass of wine. Carter is skeptical that Mr. Yeung is telling him the truth.

Nathan is struggling in Seaton’s surgery, since he’s been up for more than 24 hours and his medication schedule is off. Just the person to participate in a tricky six-hour surgery! Nathan’s dyskinesia and inexperience lead to a mistake that could have been fatal if Elizabeth wasn’t paying such close attention. Down in the ambulance bay, Susan’s next patient is an 11-year-old victim of a motorcycle accident, and she immediately tries to pass him off to another doctor so her death curse doesn’t continue with a child.

Carter wisely has Chen talk to Tong-Ye alone in case there’s something Mr. Yeung is trying to hide. Chen tells Carter that she didn’t know she was pregnant. He asks her to ask Tong-Ye if she’s sleeping with her boss. Tong-Ye admits that she is. Susan tries to get Weaver to take over caring for the 11-year-old, Quinn, but Weaver is working on his father. She reassures Susan that she’ll be fine.

Mr. Yeung tells Carter that the family’s personal doctor is on his way to have Tong-Ye moved to another facility. Carter asks what his real relationship is with the nanny. He asks straight out if Mr. Yeung has been sleeping with her. Mr. Yeung starts to walk away, offended by the question, but he stops when Carter announces that Tong-Ye says he’s the father of her baby. Mr. Yeung says that’s not Carter’s business.

Eric shows up, and it looks like Abby’s suspicions that he has bipolar disorder are correct, because he’s kind of manic. Luka has successfully arranged surgery for Greg, though Abrams isn’t happy about being dragged away from his precious golf game to do his job. He tells Luka that ophthalmology isn’t an emergency specialty. Really? Even if a patient is at risk of losing his eyesight without emergency surgery?

Abby questions Eric about his leave, which he claims was authorized; someone must have messed up the paperwork. He suggests that the two of them and Carter take a trip to Vegas. Abby asks about Eric’s PTSD, but he says air-traffic controllers claim it all the time to get vacation. She admits that she got his medical records and knows that he never told the Air Force that his mother has bipolar disorder.

Eric’s annoyed about that, but not as annoyed as he’s about to be: MPs have arrived to arrest him for going AWOL. Eric says he had someone covering for him, but that person got into an accident. He was about to leave to go back to the base. He just stopped by the hospital to let Abby know that he’s okay. The MPs ignore him and arrest him. Abby asks if she can give Eric something to calm him down, but they won’t let her.

Luka joins Susan with Quinn, who isn’t doing well. When Chen comes by to ask if she can help, Luka says they’re fine, but Susan wants someone to take over. Like he did with Nathan, Luka calmly talks Susan through an intubation. As soon as she’s done, she asks Chen to take over, not wanting to stick around this case any longer than necessary. Weaver comes over as well, but she doesn’t think Quinn can be saved. Luka figures out what’s wrong and keeps working, never showing any stress. Thanks to him, the team is able to stabilize Quinn.

Once Chen is done there, she returns to Tong-Ye to help Carter explain to her that she can leave the Yeungs and stay in a shelter. Chen is familiar with Tong-Ye’s situation – young women are brought over from China with the promise of work, but they end up as indentured servants. Tong-Ye says, in flawless English, that she can’t leave her baby. Carter promises that no one will take her baby, but Tong-Ye doesn’t mean the one she’s carrying. Aidan is also her child.

Elizabeth checks on Seaton in the ICU, but he’s not breathing on his own. Looks like all of that trouble was for nothing. Abby is upset that she didn’t do more for Eric earlier, and now can’t do anything for him. Carter promises to get him a good lawyer and help him through this. Well, that’s what Carter always suggests – fixing things with money.

Outside, Weaver tells Susan that Quinn should be fine, and she thinks Susan would have figured out what was wrong with him if she’d stuck around. Susan believes that Quinn would have been her fourth victim of the day. Weaver corrects that she didn’t kill her other three patients; she was just unable to save them. She’s saved twice as many without any struggle. She just needs to go home, rest, and come back to fight again tomorrow. Then Weaver jokes that if Susan loses another patient, she’s fired.

Sandy joins the two of them, and as she and Weaver are leaving for the night, she asks if Weaver gave Susan their news. The two of them happily announce that they’re having a baby. Susan is surprised but happy. Back inside, Mr. Yeung tries to take Tong-Ye out of the hospital, but Carter won’t let him. Tong-Ye doesn’t want to lose her job; she has to send money to her family back in China. Plus, she doesn’t want to leave Aidan. She spends more time with him than the Yeungs do anyway, so the arrangement works. Carter and Chen realize that Aidan doesn’t know that Tong-Ye is his mother. That doesn’t matter to her, since she knows the truth.

Elizabeth tells Nathan that she knows he faces challenges because of his Parkinson’s, but if he were any other student, she’d fail him. And, as she reminds him, he wanted to be treated like any other student. Nathan says he just has to make adjustments to accommodate his Parkinson’s. Elizabeth says straight out that he’s disabled and can’t safely treat patients. She will only pass him on this rotation if he promises to go into a specialty that doesn’t require him to treat people physically. Nathan can’t promise that, so Elizabeth tells him she’s going to fail him.

Susan ends her day with a sad-looking meal, home alone. Luka ends his at a bar, chatting with a woman who wants to take him to bed. He takes a call from Heather and tells her to stop calling him. The woman at the bar suggests that they leave together and find some trouble to get into. He’ll have to pay her, though. At first Luka declines, but then he changes his mind.

Carter goes to Abby’s place, where she’s been trying to get information about Eric. There’s a bottle of wine on her counter, and she tells Carter she bought it on the way home but hasn’t had any. She just wants to be able to stop worrying. He hugs her and tells her he’s sorry that she turned out to be right about Eric. Abby thinks Carter would be smart to run away now and not get involved with her screwed-up family. He jokes that they should get their families together for the holidays and see what happens.

Abby admits that she’s scared for her brother. It’s unfair that such a good kid has grown up to have to deal with this illness. Carter promises again that they’ll get him through this. He tries to convince Abby that there’s nothing she could have done to prevent this from happening. She says that Eric was the only constant, reliable thing in her life when she was younger. Carter says that’s not true anymore – he’s there, and he’s not going anywhere.

Thoughts: If one of my brothers went behind my back to get my medical records, it would take me a LOOOOOONG time to forgive him.

Can’t Elizabeth turn down a patient’s request for surgery if she doesn’t think the benefits would outweigh the risks? Isn’t it in the hospital’s best interest to not subject someone to a procedure that only has a small chance of making him better?

I have to assume that the only reason Tong-Ye hid that she speaks English is so Mr. Young wouldn’t find out. Otherwise, that was a dumb plot development.

August 17, 2021

ER 9.6, One Can Only Hope: Nothing Personal

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

Somewhere, Millicent is freaking out about Carter being here

Summary: Elizabeth is talking to one of her patients, a man who has cancer she wasn’t able to remove in surgery. He probably won’t live more than a few more years. As Elizabeth flees the room before she gets too emotional, she overhears Romano on the phone, yelling at his insurance provider because they won’t let him have all the therapy he needs to get his arm where he wants it to be. They think he’s permanently disabled, though Romano argues that he’s not, since he’s still working.

After the insurance agent hangs up on him, Romano tells Elizabeth that Nathan has complained that she won’t put him on call. Romano agrees with Nathan that he should get a chance to show that he can do 36-hour shifts even with Parkinson’s. Elizabeth says it’s bad enough that Nathan has to treat patients. Romano accuses her of having something against doctors with disabilities. He doesn’t want trouble from the ACLU, so he tells Elizabeth to give Nathan what he wants (as long as he doesn’t kill anyone).

A teenager named Sara has been brought into the ER by a police officer after she was found unconscious on an El train. Abby helps Harkins examine her, then gets summoned to help with a trauma case. Jerry tells Abby that Weaver has scheduled a meeting with her and HR to talk about the nurses’ petition. Abby has no idea what he’s talking about.

Eric surprises Abby in the ER, having brought in his sick girlfriend, Jody. Eric rented a small plane for a few days, and the two have stopped in Chicago while on a long trip. He thinks Jody might have food poisoning. She throws up on Abby’s shoes, which is definitely a great way to make a memorable impression on your new boyfriend’s sister. Meanwhile, a man comes in with a gunshot wound. He objects to having an Asian doctor and Black nurse. Guess you should have gotten shot in an all-white community, man.

Abby asks Eric how he and Jody met. He says she works at a bookstore on his Air Force base. Abby asks if Jody’s in school, since she’s a lot younger than Eric. He says she’s “21, almost.” This is like how Rena was going to be 20 in September. Abby’s surprised that Eric is able to afford renting a plane so he and his girlfriend can go on vacation.

The racist patient asks for an American doctor. Elizabeth informs him that Chen is an American doctor. As Abby arrives to help, Harkins comes through, looking for a missing Sara. The racist patient makes more racist comments, which is a big mistake when your Asian doctor is holding a giant needle. He finally passes out, which makes everyone happy. Harkins bugs Abby to help her find Sara, but Abby has more important things going on right now, even if that thing is treating a racist.

Once that guy’s stable, Nathan brings Elizabeth next door to help Carter with a woman named Alison who collapsed in a crosswalk. Elizabeth finds signs that she’s had lung and liver surgery. Plus, she carries oxygen around with her. Elizabeth tells Nathan that if he has issues with his rotation, he needs to talk to her, not Romano, since Elizabeth is the one evaluating his work. Nathan notes that he did tell her his concerns.

Alison tells Carter that she has a genetic disorder that affects her liver and lungs. Nathan is obviously affected by dealing with a patient with a chronic disease. Carter wants to intubate Alison, but she objects. Nathan suggests a special mask that will help her breathe better instead.

Next door, Abby asks Haleh if she’s heard about a petition from the nurses. Haleh says they all signed it. Pratt comes in, annoyed that no one told him there was a patient with gunshot wounds. Chen gleefully calls him a trauma queen. Heh. Malik tells Abby that the petition has to do with Luka. The racist wakes up and complains that the doctors cut through his tattoo to insert a chest tube. He calls Chen a racial slur and threatens to cut her up, too. She’s shaken but tells Pratt she’s fine.

Nathan wants to help evaluate Alison to see if she’s eligible for a lung transplant. Elizabeth tells him to do chart work instead. “Can I go to the ball after that?” he asks. After Elizabeth leaves, Carter tells Nathan that she’s a good teacher. Uh, not today. Abby goes back to Jody, who tells her that Eric went outside to smoke. Abby’s surprised by that news.

She spots Luka and complains that because of him, she’s being “sent to the principal’s office.” The nurses are all mad at him because he’s been treating them poorly. Harkins still can’t find Sara, so Abby asks Jerry to help her. Jerry pretends he’s too busy to do that. Abby finally tells Harkins to call security. She goes outside to find Eric, but he’s not there. Susan tells Abby that he went down the street to buy her a lottery ticket. (There’s lots of comments sprinkled throughout the episode about the lottery, but don’t waste any energy thinking about it.)

Abby catches up to Eric and asks when he started smoking. She doesn’t think anyone picks up that habit once they pass the age of 25. She tells him Jody is doing better, and isn’t pregnant, which Abby suspected she might be. She wonders why Eric is acting so out of character. He says he’s just in love and having a good time. Suddenly a man starts yelling from the stairs to the nearest El platform. Abby sends Eric to get a gurney and goes to the stairs, where Sara is unconscious again. She starts having a seizure.

Carter checks on Alison, who isn’t able to take the medication that would most benefit her because she’s allergic to it. She has pneumonia for the fifth time that year and has stopped taking her anti-rejection medication. She tells Carter that she wants to sign a DNR. Nathan encourages her to try antibiotics, but Alison is tired of the suffering caused by her damaged organs. She’s ready to die.

Abby gets Sara back to the ER, where Elizabeth diagnoses her as being an idiot teenager who took drugs at a party. Carter asks for another witness in Alison’s room while she signs her DNR. Later, Eric and Jody make out in the ER, so I guess she’s feeling better. Carter’s amused, but Abby’s not sure this is exactly true love.

A police officer named Wetterling comes in with injuries to her hand from a broken car window. It sounds like she might have been responding to the shooting that brought in the racist guy, but we never get any follow-up on that case. Abby has to go to her meeting with Weaver and HR, so she passes Wetterling off to Nathan. Meanwhile, Alison’s father, Mr. DeLuca, arrives and tells Carter he can talk Alison into wanting to live. Carter advocates for his patient, respecting her wish to stop undergoing unhelpful treatments.

Nathan stitches up Wetterling as Elizabeth gives him tips to get around his limitations. Wetterling is new on the job and says it’s much different than she expected. Elizabeth thinks that in that case, she should look into other career options. Hint, hint, Nathan! Harkins comes to get Elizabeth to deal with Sara, and Nathan follows her out to ask if she thinks Wetterling has PTSD. Elizabeth tells him to call a social worker. Nathan thinks helping their patients in all aspects of their care is part of their job. Elizabeth reminds him that he’s on a surgical rotation and needs to act like a surgeon. Nathan shoots back that that means acting like he doesn’t care.

Thanks to some article she recently read, Harkins has realized that Sara took Special K (ketamine), which didn’t show up on her tox screen. That means she may not have taken drugs willingly. Upstairs, Abby joins Weaver, Romano, and Mary the nursing director (last seen years ago talking to Carol about various things) for the meeting about Luka. Abby thinks they’re making too big a deal about a bad hookup between Chuny and Luka. But all the ER nurses have signed a petition complaining about Luka – all the nurses except Abby.

Mary comments that Abby’s relationship with Luka must have ended much better than Chuny’s did. Romano wasn’t aware of these romantic relationships. “So it’s true – you’re all suckers for the accent,” he says. There’s a committee meeting in a few weeks that will determine whether Luka needs to be punished. Until then, they need to calm everyone down.

Nathan brings Alison flowers and keeps her company while her father takes a break. She says her dad is in denial about how bad her condition is. He still thinks there’s hope. Nathan says he does, too. Abby returns to the ER and tries to brush Eric off so she can talk to Luka before Weaver gets to him. She’s too late. Eric asks if he and Jody can stay with Abby while they’re in town, and she agrees. The conversation doesn’t end before Weaver finishes with Luka, who’s upset that Abby didn’t warn him.

Weaver asks Elizabeth to give Sara a rape exam, even though Elizabeth isn’t an ER attending. Weaver is shorthanded since Luka has just been suspended while his conduct is investigated. Abby’s apologetic, but she couldn’t go up against Mary. Luka’s annoyed that she didn’t warn him ahead of time. I’m guessing that’s why Weaver didn’t tell her about the meeting earlier.

Harkins does Sara’s rape exam, though Abby isn’t sure this is a good case for her to learn on. Since Sara’s unconscious, Elizabeth thinks it’s fine. Chuny comes by to announce that Sara’s father has arrived and to ask if she should let him in. What do you think, Chuny? Do you think he’d want to watch this? The exam reveals semen and a small tear, so Sara had some sort of sexual contact.

Elizabeth sees Nathan in with Alison and asks Carter if they’re dating now. Carter doesn’t think Nathan will be a good fit as a surgeon, but he does well with patients. Hey, same with Carter! Well, sometimes. Pratt chats with Chen, working his way up to asking her out for a drink. She flinches when there’s a crash nearby, and Pratt guesses that she’s still spooked after her encounter with the racist patient (and probably also her encounter with Mullen). She points out that they deal with unstable people all the time, so this is nothing new, but Pratt knows she’s shaken.

Abby and Haleh discuss a trauma coming in – a car ran into a bunch of people waiting in line to buy lottery tickets. Haleh says that the petition against Luka isn’t anything personal. She likes him fine. The nurses do stuff like this every couple years to send a message. Abby asks if Haleh even knows what happened. Haleh says it doesn’t matter. Another nurse asked for her support, so Haleh gave it. She’s been working there for 17 years. Doctors come and go, but nurses run the ER, even when they’re underpaid and underappreciated. She won’t let her co-workers get taken for granted.

Nathan tries to convince Alison not to give up, since she’s still able to use her brain, if not her body. Plus, if she holds out long enough, she could still be alive when someone finds a cure for her condition. As Elizabeth moves Alison to her own room, Alison tells Nathan that she often dreams about the ocean. She can’t swim up to the top and she can’t breathe. Nathan tells her that she keeps breathing when she’s awake because her body knows it’s not her time to die yet.

Sara’s awake, and the last thing she remembers is taking a train into the city with some friends. Elizabeth tells her that she may have been drugged. Sara’s father, Mr. Pasbalas, is in the room, so when she promises that she doesn’t do drugs, she might be lying. Before Elizabeth can tell Sara anything more, Mr. P. pulls her out of the room. He doesn’t want her to tell Sara that she may have been raped. Elizabeth notes that Sara could remember later. Mr. P. wants to protect her now, since he couldn’t protect her before.

Paramedics bring in one of the lottery victims, who has something stuck in his head that definitely shouldn’t be there. Eric calls from Abby’s place with a crucial question about where she keeps her blender. Yes, Eric, your milkshake is more important than this guy who probably needs brain surgery. Nathan comes in to tell Elizabeth that Alison doesn’t want to be discharged after all. She wants to talk to someone about a liver transplant.

Mr. DeLuca tells Carter that Nathan talked Alison into staying alive. Carter notes that Alison already signed a DNR. Also, she’s not a great candidate for a liver transplant. Once they’re alone, Carter chastises Nathan for changing Alison’s mind; keeping her alive long enough for a transplant (if she even qualifies) will take a lot of work. Nathan thinks it’s worth it if Alison gets to live.

Carter says that Alison’s reality is that she’s dying. Nathan replies that stem cells are also a reality, whether or not the government approves their usage. Alison has a genetic disorder, and stem cells could fix it at a genetic level. Carter thinks that’s decades away, but Nathan says it’s closer to five years. Carter argues that Alison faced her mortality and almost got her father to accept it. Nathan has now made her condition about himself. He’s given Alison false hope.

Nathan thinks Carter should have given Alison more of his time, like Nathan did. Carter wants Alison to be able to die with dignity. Nathan starts to outline how stem cells can help, but Carter stops him, since he already knows the issues. Alison doesn’t care about the politics surrounding stem cells. Nathan exclaims that the politics are what’s killing her. Stem cells could cure all sorts of diseases and disorders, including Parkinson’s. Carter would love to believe in a miracle like that, but right now, Alison’s dying. He wants her to be able to do that well. Nathan notes that she’s only 26; no one dies “well” at that age. Carter is just giving up.

Carter takes the problem to Elizabeth, who says that if Nathan was able to change Alison’s mind so easily, she wasn’t ready to sign a DNR. Carter argues that Nathan is giving her a distorted reality. He hopes Nathan is right about scientific developments, but they won’t help Alison. He wants Elizabeth to supervise her student more closely.

As various people watch the lottery draw in the ER, Carter flirts with Abby in the lounge before they leave to meet Eric and Jody for dinner. Abby wishes she could have some time alone with her brother. She confides that she thinks Eric is acting strange. He’s spontaneous and flighty and a little too happy. Carter asks if Abby might be a little sensitive to the signs of bipolar disorder because of her experiences with her mother. Yeah, but since bipolar disorder can be genetic, maybe she should be sensitive to it.

Chen and Pratt end the day at his place, making out. Before they can get too naked, Leon bursts in, excited because he won some money in the lottery. Chen decides not to stick around. Back at County, Weaver tells Abby that Luka agreed to get counseling. If he goes through with it, Weaver wants him back on the schedule as quickly as possible. She also thinks Abby should have been more on top of the situation. Abby points out that she didn’t agree to become nurse manager.

Elizabeth has agreed to what Mr. P. wants and is going to send Sara home without telling her she may have been raped. Because she’s a minor, they have to honor Mr. P.’s wishes. Speaking of honoring people’s wishes, Elizabeth is putting Nathan on call the next night. That means a 32-hour shift.

She goes to finish up with Sara, deciding at the last minute to tell her that she may have been raped. Mr. P. has the right to protect her, but Elizabeth thinks Sara deserves to know what happened. Sara’s upset that she was examined without her consent. She wasn’t raped – the sex was all consensual. So was the drug use. Special K makes sex more fun. She does this every weekend. Yeah, sometimes she has seizures, but the people she hangs out with usually have medications to stop them. Also, all the guys say she’s the best.

Abby and Eric reminisce about their high school shenanigans while out on their double date. Eric reveals that he’s on extended leave and is going to interview for a job at O’Hare. He’s looking at options for after he leaves the Air Force. They’re at some outdoor restaurant with line dancing, and Eric gets Abby to dance with him by threatening to tell Carter about one of her exes. Jody manages to talk Carter into dancing, too, because no one can resist the charms of the Chicks’ music.

On her way home, Elizabeth encounters Nathan on an El platform. They chat about Alison, who was approved to be put on the list for a liver transplant. Elizabeth says it’s nice to know that you’ve had a positive effect on someone’s life. She hopes Alison will stay alive long enough to get a transplant. Nathan’s struggling with some dyskinesia, and when the train arrives, he’s unable to get up from the bench he’s sitting on. Elizabeth offers to wait with him for the next train, but he tells her to head home. She’s sure he’ll make it to his shift the next night.

Thoughts: Jody is played by Lake Bell in her very first TV appearance.

I get that Nathan is unhappy with Elizabeth, but freaking A, don’t talk to your superior like that! Especially a superior in charge of grading you! This is the equivalent of calling Chen a racial slur while she’s holding a big needle.

Why does Luka get suspended for being a jerk but Romano never faces any consequences for being a jerk AND being racist and sexist? Though I guess if he got suspended every time he offended someone, he’d never be able to work.

If Pratt could think a little more before he speaks, he would be great for Chen. I think he really does care about her beyond just getting laid.

’00s music alert: the Chicks’ “Long Time Gone.”

August 10, 2021

ER 9.5, A Hopeless Wound: Down the Drain

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

Look who dropped by to hang out for a while!

Summary: It’s 5:07 p.m. on Halloween and Elizabeth is leading two little ducklings – I mean students – through the ICU. They don’t know the answer to her question, and she’s not very impressed. She sends them home, then gets ready to leave herself so she can take Ella trick-or-treating. She tells a nurse that Ella’s going as a cow. Last year, she was Dorothy, Elizabeth was the Cowardly Lion, and Mark was the Scarecrow. As in “if I only had a brain.” The guy who had a brain tumor went as the Scarecrow. Oh, boy. Anyway, this year Elizabeth is going to be a farmer.

Before she can leave, a nurse tells her that a third med student, Paul Nathan, is on his way. He missed his first day of the surgical rotation, and Elizabeth isn’t willing to stick around and talk to him. But Romano also wants to see her, so she can’t leave yet. Would Romano really delay Elizabeth so that her toddler daughter can’t go out and get free candy? Yes, yes, he would.

Down in the ER, Carter is dressed as a skeleton and Abby is dressed as an old-fashioned nurse (but really, a sexy nurse). They’re annoyed because they thought everyone was going to dress up, but they’re the only two who did. Abby got there first and didn’t warn Carter, since she didn’t want to be the only one in costume. Frank says he didn’t dress up because he doesn’t celebrate Pagan holidays about devil worship. Abby tells him that in that case, he can’t have any candy; it’s only for Satanists.

Luka and Chuny are fighting, and the normally calm Chuny declares that she’s not working with him anymore. She complains to Abby that he treats nurses like they’re idiots. Luka and Susan tease Abby about her costume. She gets Luka back by saying she should have worn the schoolgirl outfit he once bought her. He tells Susan and Frank she’s kidding, but they don’t believe him.

Romano’s back in the OR, determined to show that he can operate again. He’s practicing on a pig. Elizabeth points out that he’s not cleared to do surgery, even on animals. He’s annoyed that she made some decision about rounds without consulting him. He thought she would stay loyal to him instead of going behind his back to make changes with Weaver. Elizabeth notices that the pig’s tail is starting to move – I guess the anesthesiologist didn’t calculate the dosage properly. Elizabeth has to help the surgical team wrestle the pig.

Later, Romano gets a checkup on how much he’s able to move his arm. His doctor tells him he needs to give himself at least nine months before he finds out how permanent his limitations are. Romano asks for the odds that he’ll get full function back. The doctor says they’re 20%, but because of Romano’s inability to flex and move certain ways, he may not be able to operate again. He can still be chief of staff, at least. Romano proves that he does have some dexterity by giving his doctor the finger.

Paul Nathan arrives and meets Romano, who’s surprised that he’s a lot older than most med students. Nathan says he’s changing careers. He asks about Romano’s arm, which is in a complicated contraption, and Romano says he has tennis elbow. Downstairs, victims of an apartment fire are arriving. One of them, Amy, looks really bad. Another, Ed, has burns on his hands, which he sustained while he was trying to put out someone else who was on fire.

Nathan’s down there now, so Susan puts him to work. She tosses him a pen, which he fumbles, and she sarcastically says, “Nice catch.” Carter tries to wrangle concerned loved ones who want more details than the doctors and fire department have provided them. Nathan examines a guy named Jason who has an infection on his leg that needs to be monitored in case it spreads. He then joins Luka to treat Ed, who’s concerned because he can’t feel his hands. Nathan doesn’t know what to tell him, since he doesn’t know how bad Ed’s injuries are.

Romano comes down to check on Elizabeth, who’s working with Pratt to help a man named Wynn whose Halloween mask melted onto his face. Looks like Elizabeth won’t be taking Ella trick-or-treating anytime soon. Romano tries to help by opening some supplies, but it’s too hard to do with one hand. When he turns to leave, he runs into Lily, jostling his reattached arm. He pretends he’s okay and tells Elizabeth he’s going to go check on “the rest of the kids.” None of them need his help, though.

Carter and Abby tend to Amy as Nathan comes in, finally finding Elizabeth. She doesn’t have time to listen to his excuses for missing his rotation that morning. Carter tells Nathan she’s just being short with him because she’s trying to help a critical patient. Nathan tells Elizabeth he sent her a letter explaining things. Frank pops into the trauma room to tell Elizabeth that her nanny’s on the phone, as if Elizabeth can just drop everything and take the call. The nanny’s supposed to get on a plane at 10:30, so Elizabeth tells Frank to tell the nanny to bring Ella to County.

Nathan wants to be helpful, and Elizabeth tells him he can do that by being quiet. Then she realizes he can help with minor cases in the ER. He’s supposed to be doing a surgical rotation, but Elizabeth figures he’s capable of taking histories and presenting cases to attendings. As Nathan takes a pill, Jason’s girlfriend comes to get him, reporting that Jason’s x-rays are back. The infection is spreading, and Nathan alerts Romano to the case. Nathan thinks Jason has necrotizing fasciitis, AKA flesh-eating bacteria.

Romano compliments him on the catch and rushes Jason to surgery before the infection kills him. Susan also praises Nathan, hopeful that he made the diagnosis in time. She introduces herself and offers her right hand, which he shakes with his left. She starts to head back to the ER, but he tells her he needs a minute. He has Parkinson’s and can’t move as fast as everyone else.

Of course, Romano can’t operate on Jason, so he bugs Elizabeth to hand her patient off so she can come up to the OR. Carter reminds Elizabeth that she still needs to deal with Nathan. Nathan thinks he’s allowed to leave, since the critical patients have been taken care of, but Elizabeth tells him he owes her eight hours of work. He protests that he has rounds at 6 a.m. Elizabeth welcomes him to the life of a surgeon.

Before Nathan can figure out what to do, a guy asks him where he can find a patient. Nathan takes him to the group of loved ones still waiting for news. A nun joins them and Pratt tells her to wait with the others. He thinks she’s a drag queen in costume, but she’s an actual nun. She’s dropping off food and housing vouchers for the people who lived in the apartment building. That’s an awesome service to the community. Thank you, nun. Does this mean Pratt is going to Hell?

Romano hangs around while Dale operates on Jason. Whatever the surgical version of backseat driving is, Romano’s doing it. He wants Elizabeth to take over, since he thinks she’ll do a better job of saving Jason’s leg without cutting out anything unnecessary. Elizabeth calls her nanny to tell her not to bring Ella after all; she doesn’t think she’ll need to stay for more than another hour. She suggests that the nanny take Ella to her house so she can finish packing. Then when Elizabeth comes to pick up Ella, she can drive the nanny to the airport.

As Elizabeth is finishing up the call, which she’s on while scrubbing in, she accidentally drops her wedding ring in the sink. She asks a scrub nurse to call the engineering department, but they won’t be in the building until the morning. To add insult to injury, Romano is demanding that Elizabeth come into the OR stat. Jason’s leg is more important than Elizabeth’s ring. In between yelling back at Romano, Elizabeth calmly (and smartly) asks the scrub nurse to get someone to tape off the drain so no one else uses the sink.

Terry, the guy who asked Nathan for help, is there to see Wynn. Pratt tells Terry that Wynn will need to be on a ventilator until his lungs heal, and he’ll need skin grafts for his injuries, but his prognosis is good. Nathan notices how concerned Terry is about Wynn, but Pratt ignores the human feelings in the room because he has a job to do. (Also, Terry and Wynn are clearly a couple, and we find out later that Pratt is homophobic, so that might have something to do with his attitude here.)

Paramedics bring in a guy who accidentally drank a mandrake smoothie and is now high and bouncing around on a gurney. Abby, Luka, and Chuny try to tend to him. Luka and Chuny disagree about how to handle him, and when he grabs Chuny’s butt, Chuny says she’s out. Abby tells Luka to be more sensitive. Luka doesn’t seem to get that anything’s wrong.

Elizabeth takes over Jason’s surgery, annoyed that Romano keeps giving instructions. He wants her to remove just the infected tissue and treat everything else with antibiotics and oxygen therapy. Elizabeth notes that there’s a lot of damage, but Romano wants a more conservative treatment so Jason can keep more of his leg.

Word of Nathan’s condition has spread (okay, maybe I shouldn’t say that right after a paragraph about a guy with a quickly spreading infection), and the staff are gossiping about him. Susan thinks he has it well enough under control to practice medicine, but Luka notes that Parkinson’s is progressive; how many years can Nathan be a doctor?

Weaver was supposed to be taking a sick day, but with all the chaos of the apartment fire, she’s decided to come in. She’s in a bad mood (worse than usual) and demands that they turn on the air conditioner. Luka notes that it’s already cold. Frank remarks that this is the biggest day of the year for Weaver’s “kind” (Wiccans, not lesbians, Pratt). Pratt thinks Weaver’s going through menopause. Susan and Abby call him out for being sexist.

Chuny asks Abby to talk to Luka for her. Weaver meets Nathan, whom Pratt calls their “newest oldest med student,” and brings him and Abby with her to meet an ambulance bringing in a newborn with breathing problems. The midwife who delivered the baby hands him to Nathan, and Abby immediately takes him. The mom, Simone, hasn’t delivered the placenta yet, so she needs medical care herself, but she’s more worried about the baby.

Luka lets Nathan help treat the newborn, giving him guidance and telling him to relax so his tremors don’t make him want to give up. Up in the OR, Elizabeth and Dale want to amputate Jason’s leg, but of course Romano objects. Elizabeth shuts him down by invoking the title of the episode – Jason has a hopeless wound. Romano realizes she’s right and reluctantly approves of the amputation.

Nathan’s symptoms are getting worse, and he’s having trouble keeping his balance. Abby checks on him, but he downplays what’s going on. She appreciates that he’s the first person all day to notice that her costume is supposed to be retro, not sexy. She tells him that he can come to her if he ever needs anything.

Nathan says that his tremors and balance problems (dyskinesia) are due to the medication he takes to keep him from freezing up. He takes more of it while he’s working, but it makes the tremors worse. He jokes that it helps dispel the myth that all Black people have rhythm. Abby comments that if she were diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she’d go on a long vacation instead of take a demanding job. Nathan says he was on vacation when he first noticed his symptoms. Getting his diagnosis put things in perspective for him.

Simone’s doing okay, but the baby is still struggling. Luka tells her that he has a genetic disorder that has damaged a lot of his organs and bones. He notices Nathan’s dyskinesia and asks him to leave the trauma room before he gives Simone the news that the baby will have major delays and probably won’t live past the age of two.

Afterward, Abby calls Luka out for being insensitive and sending Nathan away. He argues that he didn’t want an audience when he gave Simone the horrible news. Abby tells him she’s been getting complaints about him from their co-workers. Well, specifically, Chuny. Luka doesn’t see the big deal. Haleh hands a patient off to Abby, not wanting to deal with a groper (maybe mandrake guy; I don’t know). Abby asks the patient’s status. “He’s gonna die if he tries that again; that’s his status,” Haleh replies. I love her.

Abby tells Luka that all the nurses’ complaints come to her now, since she’s the manager. That means she gets to counsel Luka when they complain about him. He’s allowed to give nurses orders and critique their work, but if there’s a problem, he needs to bring it to her. Luka asks who he should complain to about Abby. She tells him to try fighting for the nurses instead of fighting against them. He replies that she should sew swastikas on her costume. Abby must be tired because all she can think to say is that he sucks. He taunts that she’s creating a hostile work environment.

Nathan can’t find Luka, so he tells Weaver that Simone’s baby has a fever. Weaver takes over the case and promises Simone that they’ll do all they can for him. She may be cranky today, but she’s gentle and patient with Simone. Elizabeth calls her nanny again to promise she’s on the way home. She tells Romano that she and Dale did the right thing by amputating Jason’s leg. Romano is going through an adjustment period just like Elizabeth did after she had Ella. When your circumstances change, you start seeing patients differently. Romano will get over it.

Romano says he knows most people don’t like him. He doesn’t care, since he doesn’t like them, either. But he’s good at what he does. Every day, he saves people no one else will help. If he can’t do that anymore, he doesn’t know what he’ll do or who he’ll be. Elizabeth sympathetically says that he’s a wonderful surgeon and she’s sure he’ll be able to keep operating. He puts a hand on her face, like they’re having an intimate moment. Elizabeth flees as fast as she can.

The nanny arrives with Ella, unable to keep waiting for Elizabeth. Amy’s declining, so Elizabeth hands Ella off to Lily while she gets back to work. Next door, Luka finds Chuny giving Simone’s baby medication, which he thought Simone had agreed she didn’t want. Chuny says Weaver gave her instructions, even though the baby is Luka’s patient. He doesn’t want the baby’s life to be prolonged, since he has no chance at a meaningful life. Nathan tries to defend Chuny, but Luka says this isn’t his case.

Nathan and Abby go to Amy’s trauma room, where Carter tries to squeeze in some teaching. Chuny comes over to tell Abby she’s filing a grievance against Luka. Nathan tries to help out by hanging more saline on an IV, but a tremor causes him to pierce the bag. Elizabeth sends him away. Abby thinks she was too harsh; he’s doing a pretty good job, considering he has Parkinson’s. This is the first Elizabeth is hearing about that.

It’s 10:09 p.m. I don’t think the time stamps are really necessary. Anyway, Amy’s stable. Chuny throws the baby’s labs at Luka, which leads Abby to comment to him that she’s glad they made up. Hey, take that up with Chuny. Luka didn’t do anything there. He tells Abby he warned Chuny, but won’t elaborate. Abby realizes that they slept together. So that makes one co-worker and one patient’s mother Luka has hooked up with. Luka notes that Abby never complained about their extracurricular activities. Abby points out that she never let their relationship affect her job. He needs to fix this.

Pratt sends Wynn off to the ICU while Terry laments that he can’t visit him. He wishes he’d lied and said he’s Terry’s brother. Pratt is slowly gaining sympathy for the couple, and he tells Terry that Wynn’s lungs are getting better. Terry should be allowed to visit him in the morning. Simone tells Luka that she spent years trying to conceive via IVF and was about to give up when she got pregnant. Luka gently tells her that the baby isn’t going to survive, even if they treat him. He wants to know if she wants them to try to keep the baby alive. Simone doesn’t know what to do.

Nathan is hanging out with Ella, who seems content with a lollipop and is probably too young to understand that she could have had a ton more candy tonight. Elizabeth is annoyed that Nathan didn’t tell her he has Parkinson’s. He snarks that he’s sorry he embarrassed her. He was late today because his doctor wanted him to have an MRI.

Elizabeth apologizes for making him stay late. She’ll give him a pass on the physical aspects of this rotation as long as he keeps up with the other parts. Nathan wants to do everything, but Elizabeth warns that these six weeks will be exhausting and stressful. He says he’s here to treat patients. He doesn’t want special treatment – he wants to learn along with his classmates. Elizabeth tells him to think about it further and come back in two days. She thinks he’ll need tomorrow to rest up after a long night. Nathan insists that he’s fine.

Abby wakes Weaver from a nap so she can pronounce time of death for a patient. Weaver asks if they ever heard back from the neonatal ICU about admitting Simone’s baby. It’s a moot point, though – the baby has died. Weaver tells Abby to get a social worker while she moves Simone to a quiet room so she can spend as much time as she wants with the baby.

A drunk guy tells Abby she’s the most beautiful nurse in the hospital. She has class. Also, can he play with her breasts? Has anyone not sexually harassed Abby today? I guess the baby didn’t. The drunk whines that he’s dying (he’s not) and wants to “go to Heaven on the bosom of a beautiful woman.” Abby quips that his HMO doesn’t cover that.

Elizabeth is finally on her way home when Romano delays her. He used a laparoscopic camera to find and retrieve her wedding ring from the drain. He also apologizes for touching her face. I’m sorry, ROMANO just apologized for BEING INAPPROPRIATE? Did Hell freeze over?? Elizabeth assures him that he’ll work through this. He says of course he will.

Elizabeth and Ella get on an El train to go home. The next morning, they ride a train back to County, where Nathan joins his fellow students for rounds. He’s ten times more competent than they are. He may not be able to operate on patients, but at least he’ll be able to diagnose them and treat them with kindness.

Thoughts: Nathan is played by the awesome Don Cheadle, who got an Emmy nomination for the role. No matter how many times I watch the series, I always forget hes in it until I get to this episode. Jason’s girlfriend is played by Katee Sackhoff.

Laura Innes directed this episode.

Rejoice, because this is the last time we ever have to see Dale Edson!

We don’t see Luka do much teaching throughout the series, but he’s good at it when he lets Nathan help him with the baby. He’s clear with his instructions, he’s authoritative without being harsh, and he doesn’t let Nathan think his physical limitations are an excuse not to be successful. He basically lets Nathan know that he can do the job despite everything working against him. That said, Luka’s a jerk for the rest of the episode, so it’s hard to say something nice about him.

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