January 25, 2022

ER 10.7, Death and Taxes: Now ER Stands for “Ecccch, Romano”

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

When Bob Newhart took a shot at something that wasn’t comedy, he really went all in

Summary: Susan is lying awake in bed, and there’s a clock ticking in the room, which is probably supposed to mean something. Chuck, who I just complained wasn’t around enough, brings her coffee and they talk about how time is moving fast. Oh, maybe that’s what the clock is for. Susan’s accountant calls to remind her that they’re meeting that day; Susan’s getting audited. It’s especially annoying because she always files the basic form. It makes sense to her since she’s single and doesn’t have kids. “You want some?” Chuck asks. She says yes, but doesn’t seem that excited. He suggests that they go for it. They won’t find anyone better than each other.

At County, Romano complains about the see-through board, then slams Gallant for not being a good doctor. He’s written a complaint about Pratt and makes him sign it. He’s planning to collect a bunch of stuff about Pratt until he has enough to justify firing him. Romano grabs Chen’s butt with his prosthetic arm and claims it was an electrical malfunction. She finds it suspicious that it only happens around women. Why, why, WHY won’t anyone go to HR?

Sam’s on the phone, trying to convince Alex’s school that he doesn’t really have chicken pox and can go to class. They don’t listen, so Alex has to stay at the hospital until Sam can find him a sitter. Alex greets Luka, and Sam tells Luka to keep his distance. Abby’s finished her surgical rotation and is now on her ER rotation. Luka welcomes her “home.”

Paramedics bring in a family who were in a car accident – Eric, Stacie, and two young kids. The baby, Colin, may have been injured because his sister, Katie, got him out of his car seat so he would stop crying. Eric doesn’t think he and Stacie are hurt enough to need treatment, but Neela says the shock of the crash could make them unable to assess all their injuries. Luka quizzes his students (Neela, Lester, Abby, and Andy this time) on treating babies, and Abby makes a face when he won’t let her answer anything. He notes that she already knows this stuff.

Romano tries to give Abby a task but realizes she’s “playing doctor” today. He says he’ll find a nurse who isn’t kidding herself. Unfortunately for Sam, that’s her. Susan tells Romano that she has to meet her accountant at noon, so she can’t skip her lunch hour like she often does. Romano comments that he didn’t know the hospital paid her enough to get audited.

As he and Susan are talking, Romano grabs Sam’s butt. She slams him against a wall, pulls off his prosthetic hand, and tells Susan to have to exorcised. Romano threatens to have Sam fired, so she threatens to sue him for sexual harassment. I’m going to give this round to Sam. Susan tells Romano he can have his hand back at the end of the day if he can behave himself. Okay, that’s a step too far. Get all the women in the ER and in surgery to file a class-action harassment suit already.

Ben is back for a check-in with Susan, and he still has a crush on her. Sam offers to draw Ben’s blood for her, but Susan says it’s fine. She tells Ben that if his bloodwork comes back showing that he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication, she won’t make him come in for any more check-ins. Ben tries to hide his disappointment over not having an excuse to see her regularly. He invites her to have dinner with him, and Susan accepts, which she definitely knows is a bad idea.

Sam apologizes to Susan for freaking out on Romano, which…Sam…don’t apologize. Really. Susan says the hand is locked up. Morris is back at work, despite having quit, since his father threatened to cut him off. Pratt smells pot on him, but Morris says his roommate smokes. Abby examines Colin as Eric is declared healthy enough to be discharged. Stacie mentions that he’s not the kids’ father. He also doesn’t seem to want to be a father, and he doesn’t like the kids. Luka oversees his students as they trwat the family, and he gently disagrees with Abby on treatment for Colin. Stacie comments that maybe Abby is like her, in that she’s “better with babies than with school.”

Neela joins Chen to treat a man named Jimmy who has a minor stab wound from a jailhouse brawl. Sam comes in to tell Chen that there’s a phone call for her from China. Chen thinks it’s her parents just checking in from their trip there, but Sam says the call is from the embassy. Neela continues tending to Jimmy, noting that he’s doing time for breaking and entering. He tells her he broke into his stepfather’s house because his stepfather locked him out.

Ben is still in the ER, waiting for a cab. Sam asks if he’s okay, and he says life is great when you’re blind and getting blinder. In the lounge, Chen tells Susan that her parents were in a car accident in China. She’ll need to go over there to get more information and tend to them. Pratt gets the news from Susan and follows Chen out, hugging her when she starts crying. Aww, he still cares about her.

The ER is now down an attending, and amazingly, Romano offers to fill in. He dumps some stuff on Gallant, and Susan asks why he finds it so fun to humiliate people. Romano calls Pratt a hoodlum, just to drive home the point that he’s a jerk. Abby comments that if it makes Pratt feel better, everyone in the hospital is made to “suffer at his hand.” Har har.

Abby presents a patient, Franny, to Susan. She came in with heart palpitations and chest pain, but she says she just got dizzy at work and is fine now. She wants to leave to pick up her daughter from preschool. Susan says she’ll probably need to stay overnight for monitoring. Franny is really stressed, with her three kids and full-time job, but Abby and Susan won’t let her go.

Abby admits to Susan that she’s having a little trouble keeping up with her fellow med students. Susan promises that it’ll get better. Abby asks if she wants to get dinner that night, but Susan says she has a date, and not with Chuck. She says they’re at the point in their relationship where they should either be spending all their time together or none of their time together. She’s leaning toward none.

Ben goes home and works on his miniatures, which are hard for him to see even with a magnifying glass. Back at County, Alex wants to hang out with Luka, who knows that’s a bad idea. Elizabeth does a surgical consult on one of Coop’s patients, Persky, and complains when Coop says Luka told him Persky didn’t need bloodwork even though he might have appendicitis. Elizabeth refuses to proceed without it. Luka makes up a number and says he just didn’t put the results in the chart. Elizabeth isn’t an idiot and she orders another test.

She complains to Abby that everyone in the ER is annoying, unlike the people in the surgical department. Abby has a guess as to why, and his name is Romano. He needs someone to help transport a 12-year-old patient from another hospital, but he considers Abby useless. He chooses Gallant, calling him an “affirmative action hero,” and Sam. Luka says the nurses can keep an eye on Alex while Sam is gone. Yeah, I’m sure they have time for that.

Abby tells Susan that Franny wants to leave. Susan’s trying to reschedule her appointment with her accountant, so Abby tries to deal with Franny on her own. Franny’s getting frantic (Franntic?), and when she gets up to leave, she collapses. Abby says her pulse is really weak. Neela stitches up Jimmy, then sends him off for some tests. When he gets up, Neela notices blood where he was sitting. Pratt’s there, and he sends Neela away when Jimmy yells for her to leave. Pratt guesses that Jimmy was raped, but Jimmy doesn’t want to talk about it. Pratt tells him he’ll get to stay out of jail a little longer if he agrees to get treatment.

In a development that absolutely everyone could see coming, the nurses have already lost track of Alex. Franny’s heart is beating too fast, and she says she doesn’t think this has ever happened before. Neela joins the case, and when Susan compliments her assessment, Abby complains that Susan never praises her the way she praises Neela. Susan didn’t realize that, and she tries to smooth things over by pointing out that she gives Abby her time, an even better honor.

Ben’s trying to vacuum at home, and his new puppy isn’t too happy about it. Alex is still shadowing Luka and being annoying. Persky has been eating, so Luka discharges him, since having an appetite means he most likely doesn’t have appendicitis. (Also, they wouldn’t be able to operate now that he’s eaten.) He tells Persky to come back if his symptoms get worse. Luka tries to send Alex to the lounge, but Alex is too annoying to listen.

Pratt asks Chuny to find him an attending to assist with a rape exam. Luka volunteers, but Pratt turns him down. He goes to Romano instead, but Romano isn’t interested in doing a rape exam on a man, so he tells Pratt to do it and he’ll sign off on it. Pratt knows an attending is supposed to do it, and he can’t figure out why Romano, who’s always on his case about not following protocol, is willing to break the rules this time.

Gallant and Sam go to pick up their transfer patient, a girl with leukemia who might have an infection. The community hospital where she was being treated has had to eliminate their pediatric department because of budget cuts. Gallant and Sam find the girl, Michelle, unconscious. Gallant quickly determines that she’s septic, and the hospital didn’t do enough to monitor her condition.

Sam pulls him away from Michelle and her parents to say that the girl isn’t stable and either shouldn’t be moved or should be intubated before they leave. She’ll most likely stop breathing in 20 minutes. Gallant says County is 15 minutes away, and this hospital isn’t equipped to help Michelle, so staying is a bad idea. They’ll treat this like a paramedic emergency.

Franny’s heart rate is back to normal, and Abby advises her to get some rest, but Franny says she can’t. She admits that she doesn’t sleep much. Abby asks if she’s gotten any help, and she doesn’t mean a nanny. She thinks Franny’s been drinking or taking something to give her energy. If she has, that could explain her heart problems. Franny reveals that she’s been taking drugs and asks Abby not to tell her husband. Abby gives Susan the news that Franny’s been using meth.

Eric rushes in with Colin, who fell asleep on the way home and now won’t wake up. He thinks the doctors must have missed something. While Ben gets ready for his date with Susan, she, Abby, and Neela take care of Colin. Abby says she checked him for head injuries earlier, and she didn’t notice anything on his CT. Susan tells Eric she’s sorry they didn’t catch this earlier. Then she chastises Abby for not being more thorough. Hmm, sounds like that’s really her supervisor’s mistake, doesn’t it?

Later, when another the CT has been done and Colin’s in surgery, Susan tells Abby that it was an easy mistake to make. Plus, she was working under an attending who also didn’t see anything on the CT. Abby thinks that if she can’t trust her clinical skills, she shouldn’t be here. Susan offers to review the case with her and use this as a teaching opportunity.

Gallant and Sam arrive with Michelle, and though Susan’s supposed to go to her audit, she decides to stick around. Ben accidentally cuts himself while cooking and gets angry. Gallant defends his decision to move Michelle to County and not intubate her, since she was still breathing on her own. Frank tells Susan that Ben is on the phone, but she’s obviously too busy to take the call.

Elizabeth tells Morris that the patient he asked her to do a consult on has bad cramps, not pancreatitis. She sees that Persky is in the waiting room, having left and come back. Also, he’s a lot worse. Elizabeth determines that his appendix burst, so he’ll need surgery. Persky refuses anesthesia, since that killed his mother. Elizabeth goes off to find Luka and yell at him.

Michelle is unresponsive, and Susan pushes Gallant to stop trying to revive her. She knows he feels guilty, but she reminds him that he didn’t give her cancer, so he’s not fully responsible for her death. Yeah, that doesn’t make him feel better. Ben is either waiting for Susan to call or trying to decide if he should call her again. The record he was listening to ends and he just listens to it click.

Neela checks on Jimmy and asks if he plans to report his assault. Maybe he can be transferred somewhere else. She promises that no one will think less of him for being raped, including his girlfriend. Jimmy says he doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore – now he’s the girl. Alex is getting an education in handling frantic patients as he watches Luka deal with one. Alex thinks it was cool. Luka offers to give him an x-ray (and charge the ER for it), just for fun. Dude, Sam was angry that you gave her kid ice cream. You think she’ll be okay with this?

Also angry: Elizabeth, who tells Luka that discharging Persky made his life (and hers) a lot harder. Luka says the tests she wanted wouldn’t have been definitive anyway. Persky followed Luka’s instructions to come back if his symptoms worsened, which means “the system worked.” Yeah, but now he has to have major surgery, and Elizabeth has to miss time with Ella.

Susan has been trying to call the IRS all day with no luck. Pratt gets her to agree to do Jimmy’s rape exam (and she calls Romano a homophobe for not doing it). Speaking of Romano, he chastises Abby for screwing up with Colin. Susan tells him she’s taking Jimmy from him, since Pratt thinks that would be better. Romano says Pratt is like a rabid dog that needs to be put down before he infects anyone else. Romano finishes what he starts, so he’ll do the exam. I’m sure Jimmy will be thrilled.

Frank tells Susan that the IRS called and they’re not happy that she’s been putting them off. Ben also called and canceled dinner. Neela lets Susan know that Franny has agreed to get counseling, and DCFS has decided they don’t need to get involved right now. Susan’s skeptical that Franny will turn things around by herself, but she tells Neela to go with her gut. Neela admits that she can have trouble reading people well. She never suspected that someone like Franny would use meth. Susan says that people are capable of anything in some situations.

Ben tapes a note that says, “Do not resuscitate” to his chest, picks up a gun, and shoots himself in the head.

Chuny helps Romano with Jimmy’s rape exam, which Romano should seriously never do because he has horrible bedside manner. Neela gives him Jimmy’s labwork, which shows that he has AIDS. Jimmy barely reacts to the news, then says at least now he knows he won’t have to live with his humiliation forever. Romano seems unhappy that he’s not more upset. Meanwhile, Susan goes over Colin’s case with Abby, but neither can see his injury on his first CT. Susan realizes it’s because there was no injury then.

Ben is brought to the hospital, and Susan starts working on him with Pratt and Sam before she realizes who the patient is. She tells Pratt to let Ben die. It’s what he wanted. Abby brings Ken to see Eric, having determined that Colin’s head injury didn’t come from the car accident. Eric probably hurt him. Eric gets angry, so it’s a good thing security’s there to deal with him. Also, calling your girlfriend’s baby a “stupid kid” doesn’t make you look like less of a jerk.

Sam finds Alex playing a video game with a patient, which is better than sneaking around the morgue or trying to watch an operation. Sam thinks Alex has made a new friend, and Alex asks if they can have him over for Thanksgiving, since he doesn’t really have family. Franny thanks Neela for her help, then heads back to her family, seemingly not planning to change anything about her routine.

Abby asks Neela a question about something, and Neela rattles off the answer like Abby just asked for her birthday or phone number. Neela suggests that the two of them study together sometime. She’s good at the academic part of med school and Abby’s good at the rest of it. They could help each other. Susan finishes Ben’s chart and wraps up her shift with her mind clearly elsewhere. She does at least tell Romano where she hid his hand: in the tampon machine in the women’s bathroom.

Thoughts: Franny is played by Betsy Brandt, who coincidentally later became famous for a role on a show about meth. Jimmy is played by Efren Ramirez. Eric is Austin Sanders.

Why did they make Alex so obnoxious? It’s not good TV. And making us watch Alex and Romano in the same episode is just cruel.

The end of Ben’s plotline makes the whole thing feel pointless. Susan went out of her way to be nice, and when she didn’t take one phone call from him, he killed himself? What is Susan supposed to take from this? Then again, I’m not sure if Susan took anything away from her friendship with Sean, who’s also probably dead by this point, so whatever.

Another reason to praise Abby and Susan’s friendship: Susan offered to help Abby figure out where she’d screwed up with Colin even though she’s not responsible for med students and was really busy. Yay, friendship! And also yay for Abby and Neela studying together instead of resenting or being jealous of each other!

January 18, 2022

ER 10.6, The Greater Good: Policies Schmolicies

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

I wish I could’ve found a good picture of them with the puppy

Summary: Susan is reading The Red Badge of Courage out loud to Ben while he works on his miniatures. So basically, this is a remix of her plotline with Sean. Ben tells her she doesn’t have to keep coming over and hanging out with him. Susan casually says that she doesn’t have the book, as if reading it is the only reason she comes over. Ben says that Stephan Crane died of TB when he was just 29. “Cheery,” Susan and I both say.

Doc Magoo’s is now a kind of combo mini-mart/deli. Like Wawa! I miss Wawa. Frank’s a fan, since they’re giving away donuts to celebrate their opening. As he and Sam are heading back to the hospital after a coffee run, a woman named Denny gets out of a cab, asking for help. She’s 24 weeks pregnant and thinks she’s having a miscarriage. It’s not her first.

Jerry found some golden retriever puppies outside his building and has found homes for five of the six. Chen immediately falls in love with the remaining dog, but she can’t adopt her since her building doesn’t allow pets. Coop can’t have a dog because of his asthma. No one cares, Coop. A woman named Tara comes by with some food and gifts from a drug company, and Jerry gives her a spot where she can set up her stuff. Chen hands the puppy off to Lester, who asks what’s wrong with her, as if he thinks this is his next patient. On this show, that’s a fair assumption.

Pratt, Coop, and Malik are watching a police chase on TV when Sam pulls Pratt away to tend to Denny. Chen tells Lester that they’re hoping the carjacker is able to evade the police for a few more blocks – if he crashes, he’ll be out of their jurisdiction by then and they won’t have to take care of them. He crashes just then, because police chases always end in a crash, and the staff laments that he’ll end up at County.

Abby’s still on her surgical rotation, and she’s having trouble standing up to the ER staff when they try to talk her into taking patients up to surgery. Elizabeth tells her the ER staff is just trying to dump patients off on surgery so they can free up beds. She sends Abby to do a consult, telling her to be strong. In the ER, Luka is doing fast rounds again, and Romano is proud. He tells Luka to bill for plenty of treatments he’s not providing, so the hospital can make money.

Pratt gives Denny an ultrasound that shows that her baby is healthy and she hasn’t miscarried yet, though she’s already dilated two centimeters. Neela presents a case to him as he’s getting ready to tend to the driver from the police chase, Kevin. Kevin a guy who cut him off for ruining his escape. Another driver, Collins, is right behind him.

Susan and Sam notice that a bunch of male staff members are enjoying Tara’s company. One of Sam’s previous hospitals tried to ban these kinds of visits from drug reps, but the residents complained because they wanted the free food. Susan says that’s how the reps get the staff hooked – free stuff. She warns Sam to keep Luka away from Tara, since “he’s been known to give away free physicals.” Heh.

Sam goes back to the triage desk, where an angry guy complains about his bill. She calmly tells him she can’t help him with that. The guy yells that he waited 11 hours for some “quack” to tell him that his kid had a virus and would get better on his own. Sam pointedly asks if the kid did, in fact, get better on his own.

The guy demands to see the doctor whose care he so angrily objects to. It was Carter, so you’d think the guy would have to back down, since no one’s going to call Carter in the Congo and have him work this out. Instead, he slams a trash can against the window separating him from Sam. She continues keeping her calm, telling the guy that’s a bad idea, then waiting until a security guard handles the guy for her.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Zack who fell six feet and hurt his shoulder. He may need stitches in his head, too, and he tells Luka he doesn’t need anything to numb the pain. Pratt and Romano work on Collins, and Pratt asks Abby to start an IV. Abby’s there as a med student, not a nurse, so that’s not part of her responsibilities right now. Romano praises her for holding that boundary.

Next door, Chen oversees Coop and Neela as they work on Kevin. Amazingly, Chen keeps it professional with Neela. She goes to tell Abby that Kevin might need surgery, so Abby says she’ll call Elizabeth. Romano mocks her for calling “Mommy” and says he’ll make the decision. He sends Abby to Kevin instead of letting her intubate Collins. She doesn’t have time to do her consult before Romano comes over, so Romano has Neela join Pratt for something he needs while Abby does her job with Kevin.

Luka chats with Zack until a social worker named Ron arrives and reveals that Zack is a resident in a youth facility. He got hurt trying to run away during an outing. Zack refuses to go back to the facility. Ron says Zack has a conduct disorder and is off his medication. He tells Luka to give Zack Haldol. Zack is definitely angry and probably on the verge of getting violent, but sedation seems a little extreme. He begs Luka not to make him go back to the facility.

Luka gives Zack his stitches, and though Zack might regret not taking anything for the pain, he’s been on so many medications over the past few months that he doesn’t want anything else. This is the first day he’s felt normal in months. Luka can’t tell him whether he’ll help Zack stay out of the facility; he has to wait until Zack’s mother arrives.

Pratt’s waiting for a consult from neurology, but Luka doesn’t think it’s necessary since his patient’s scans are clear. Keeping her there is a waste of time and resources. Pratt’s also tending to the angry guy from the triage area, who’s complaining of chest pain. Luka asks him a few questions and determines that the guy just had an anxiety attack. He looks over his kid’s bill and decides he should have only been charged a few hundred dollars. Well, take it up with Carter.

Romano tells Luka that when insured patients come in, the staff charges for stuff they don’t necessarily need so they can make up for their losses with uninsured patients. “I thought I was his favorite,” Abby quips when Luka joins her at the admit desk. Tara tries to talk to them about an antibiotic she wants the hospital to stock, but Luka isn’t interested.

Susan tells Sam that Ben is coming in that afternoon so she can make sure he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication. Sam should let him in instead of making him wait in triage. Pratt presents Denny’s case to Susan, who thinks Denny is probably going to deliver prematurely, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Frank tells Pratt that Chen is flirting with Coop, so Pratt should step in. Apparently Frank’s decades as a cop made him an expert in body language.

As Jerry tries to get Susan to adopt the puppy, Neela presents a patient to Pratt. He agrees with her diagnosis and gives her some instructions, but Luka overrules him. The tests and medication are expensive, and the patient can be released without them. After Luka leaves, Pratt tells Neela to follow his original orders. Neela wisely turns to Susan, who tells her that Luka outranks Pratt.

Collins’ wife Patricia arrives, and Neela offers to take her to see her husband. She mentions organ donation, so now we know how things turned out for him. Abby says Neela’s starting to get on her nerves because she’s so perfect. Susan dismissively says she’s just a med student. Abby reminds Susan that she’s a med student, too. Susan jokes that Neela bugs her, too, and she and Abby can hate Neela together.

Denny’s continuing to have contractions, and Pratt tells her that she’s going to have the baby really early. Denny doesn’t want to have a preemie who will eventually get sick and die. Pratt tries to convince her that her baby has a chance, but Denny says she’s not having the baby this way. Pratt fills in Abby, Susan, and Luka, the latter of whom doesn’t think they should spend money on one baby when they’re shutting down a program to prevent lead poisoning, which would help a bunch of kids.

Pratt doesn’t know what to do, since Denny is adamant about not having the baby. Abby notes that the baby is above the hospital’s viability threshold for weight and weeks of development, so Denny doesn’t get a say anymore. The hospital will try to keep the baby alive no matter what she wants. Luka thinks the policy is ridiculous and Denny should go to a different hospital if she wants something different. Romano tells him this is an instance of natural selection. Susan advises Pratt to make a decision based on what’s in Denny’s best interest.

Luka goes back to Zack, whose mother has arrived. Luka tells her that her son is being overmedicated. She admits that she had a drug problem and let Zack run wild. The facility told her that the medications were necessary. Zack doesn’t think his behavior was bad enough to justify being sent away, but his mother was branded unfit, so it sounds like she overcorrected.

Ben hasn’t come by for his appointment, so Susan tries calling him. Neela tells her that Patricia refuses to agree to have her husband’s organs donated. She’s letting Patricia sit with his body for now. Abby tries to reassure Susan that Ben, who isn’t answering his phone, is fine. A doctor comes down from neonatology, but Denny isn’t in her bed. Pratt thinks Luka talked her into going to another hospital.

A cab driver comes in asking for help with a woman who’s bleeding in her backseat. Pratt and Luka run outside and find Denny there; she was trying to go to another hospital, but she realized the baby’s coming. The guys are mad at each other for following the rules/not following the rules. They rush Denny to a trauma room and quickly deliver the baby, a boy. Denny asks for them to let him die. She says she doesn’t want him.

Pratt wants to start working on the baby, but Luka says he needs to be weighed first – if he’s less than 500 grams, he’s considered unviable and they can let him die. Pratt tells Neela and Malik to prepare for intubation in case the baby’s over 500 grams. He is, so they continue working, even though Denny keeps protesting.

Abby checks on Patricia, who tells her that Collins’ sister is coming to say goodbye. Patricia hears all the action next door, and Abby tells her they’re working on a premature baby. Patricia sadly says that she and her husband were starting to try to get pregnant. Abby gently brings up organ donation, but Patricia doesn’t want to put him through more trauma. Abby tells her that his organs would save a lot of people. Patricia says her husband is very caring and generous, so donation is something he would want. She starts to come around as Abby gives her more details about how he could help others.

Susan calls the police to check on Ben as Alex shows up looking for Sam. He asks if they’ve seen any patients with weird disorders today. He claims he wants to be a doctor, but there’s no way that’s why he’s curious about weird disorders. Frank guesses that Alex is already dissecting neighborhood pets. Jerry offers to let Alex see the puppy, but Alex would rather visit the morgue. This isn’t a new request, and Sam has already told the staff not to take him there. Frank warns Jerry that Alex is probably getting into devil worship, and Jerry should keep an eye on the puppy.

Ben finally shows up, and he’s brought Susan flowers, so she can’t be too mad that he’s late. He also wants to give her The Red Badge of Courage. Susan tells Chen that she wants to make sure Ben is stable from his possible suicide attempt before she cuts off ties with him. Frank notes that the book is a first edition, which makes Chen think that Ben has a crush on Susan. Susan feels bad that he sacrificed everything for his career and has nothing left.

Denny’s not doing well, but OB’s taking their time coming to the ER. Weaver ducks in to complain that Zack is still waiting around. Luka’s been waiting on some labwork, but Weaver tells him it’s in. Luka says he doesn’t want to send Zack back to the facility. People are focusing on policies too much and forgetting that Zack is a human being. Weaver blows off Luka’s concerns and tells Neela to discharge Zack.

An OB finally arrives as Luka hands Denny off to Pratt. Pratt tells Denny that the baby is doing better than expected. Luka rushes to stop Ken from taking Zack back to the facility, but there’s not much he can do. A social worker with privileges at County authorized the Haldol, and Zack is totally out of it. All Luka can do is apologize to him.

Tara chooses this moment to try to talk to Luka again about medications, and since she’s heard about his time in the Congo, she offers to put together some packages for him. Luka asks why the drug company hasn’t been working on new malaria treatments instead of expensive antibiotics. It’s because there’s no profit in malaria drugs. Luka grabs a trash can and starts throwing out Tara’s free giveaways and food while he rants about her company. She says she’ll come back when he’s not as busy.

Susan returns Ben’s book, not wanting to accept such a pricey gift. She tells him it’s not really appropriate. Ben apologizes if he made her uncomfortable, but she assures him there are no hard feelings. Coop tries to chat with Chen again, and for the record, she tells him to call her Deb, even though a couple seasons ago she objected to that nickname. Sigh. Whatever. He wants to go out, but she has to take her parents to the airport.

Sam asks Jerry to find Alex, who definitely shouldn’t be allowed to wander around the hospital unsupervised. And he definitely shouldn’t be out of anyone’s sight long enough to go across the street to the mini-mart, which is where he is. Luka’s there, too, playing a video game that’s not alleviating his stress very well.

Pratt tells Denny that she’s going to be okay, and the baby is about to go up to the NICU. Denny doesn’t want to see him. Elizabeth’s been trying to reach Abby, who’s ignored her pages so she can stay with Patricia. She convinced Patricia to donate Collins’ organs. Elizabeth chastises her for missing out on opportunities related to her surgical rotation because she was doing things nurses usually do. She already does that stuff well. She needs to learn how to distance herself from her patients so she can be a good doctor.

Romano finds the puppy, which Susan has decided to take to Ben as a seeing-eye dog. Without any training. Without giving Ben a heads up. The dog isn’t even housebroken. Come on, Susan. Frank tells Sam that Alex is across the street at the jumbo-mart. That’s not a jumbo-mart, it’s mini! That’s why I called it a mini-mart! Alex is still hanging out with Luka, who bought him ice cream. That’s kind of weird on its own – don’t buy food for kids when their parents aren’t around! – but also a bad idea because it turns out Alex has diabetes. Sam’s understandably ticked at Luka.

Susan takes the puppy to Ben, who asks if she’s stalking him. Denny goes to see her baby, expecting him to die pretty soon, though it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going to happen. Susan and Ben go for a walk with the puppy and talk about their backgrounds a little. Apparently Susan’s mom died while Susan was off the show.

Ben thinks Susan’s father must be proud of her for being a doctor. She says they’re not close. Ben gets it – he has a daughter he hasn’t spoken to in years. Susan urges him to reconnect with her, but she blames him for things that happened when his wife died. Ben’s wife had cancer, and though they both knew she was going to die, he couldn’t accept the finality of her illness.

Sam continues yelling at Luka in the ER. Neela asks him for instructions for a patient, and he tells her to look at the price list on the back of her chart. She’s already performed a bunch of expensive tests when she could have done a thorough physical and given the patient a very inexpensive medication. Luka, hon, you’re mad at the healthcare system, not Neela.

Pratt’s annoyed that Luka discharged one of his patients without giving her a lumbar puncture. Luka says she didn’t need it. Pratt asks if Luka’s going to keep taking away his patients when Pratt doesn’t do things Luka’s way. Luka says that Pratt’s way of practicing method is inefficient. “And letting babies die is?” Pratt replies. Luka asks if he really thinks he saved the baby. He’ll probably need lifelong care. Will Pratt provide it?

Pratt says they’re not treating patients in a hut like he thinks Luka did in the Congo. They have technology and capabilities to treat patients, so why not use them? Luka says they could have treated a ton of other kids with all the money they would have saved by letting Denny’s baby go. Pratt reminds him that this is Chicago, not the Congo, and maybe Luka should go back to Africa. Luka replies that maybe Pratt should go there. Pratt understandably interprets that as a racist comment, but Luka means that Pratt will learn that there’s more to medicine than policies and bureaucracy.

Abby practices some sutures on Collins’ body after his organs have been harvested. She remembers her conversation with Patricia, and we get to hear more about how Collins’ organs will give other people new chances at life. People will see again, get their health back, and recover from conditions that used to be fatal. I guess you could say that Patricia’s decision to donate her husband’s organs fits with the title of the episode: It’s for the greater good.

Thoughts: Zack is played by Michael Angarano. Tara is played by Sarah Shahi.

Why is Susan getting the same plot she’s already done? Why isn’t her plot about her relationship with Chuck, who’s more interesting than half the main cast? (Okay, it looks like the real answer is that Donal Logue was on another show at the time, but still!)

Remember when Luka tried to force a woman to deliver her baby when she didn’t want to? What a difference three seasons and a trip to the Congo make.

The puppy falls asleep in Bob Newhart’s arms while Susan and Ben are on their walk, and it’s FREAKING ADORABLE.

January 11, 2022

ER 10.5, Out of Africa: In Transition

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

Oh, Henry. If only you were a real wizard and could have used magic to stop what’s about to happen

Summary: Luka is on an El train, on his way to his first shift back at County after his ordeal in the Congo and recovering from malaria. Life in Chicago is a lot different from where he just was – no El trains, loud music, or people worrying about stocks in Kisangani or Matenda. Luka smiles at a poster advertising a stage production of The Lion King.

The ER is crazy, but at least most of the crazy is now contained to the triage area. “New furniture, same patients,” Chuny tells Luka. As soon as he steps out of the triage area, Frank tells him to call Weaver. Luka meets Morris (ick, sorry about him, Luka), then takes his time before having to check in with Weaver. Frank comments that everyone’s wild because it’s Halloween. Yeah, because normally, it’s really calm there.

A woman named Mrs. Martin bangs on the triage window until Luka opens the door for her. Her baby, Adam, fell out of a shopping cart, and Mrs. Martin isn’t sure if he hit his head. Her older son, Henry, who’s about 11, says he did hit his head, but he didn’t cry. Luka decides he should be examined ASAP. Me, realizing which episode this is: “Oh, no. Ohhhhhhhh, no.”

A woman named Sam Taggart arrives, looking for Abby. Frank tells her Abby’s off today, so she should come back tomorrow. Down the hall, an angry patient starts trashing an exam room he was locked inside until he could calm down. A security guard wants to pepper spray him, but Pratt notes that the spray will affect other people. He tells Chuny to give the guy some Haldol instead.

Pratt and Coop grab a mattress they can use to hold the guy down while Morris injects him. The holding-down part goes fine, but Morris hesitates to use the Haldol. Wandering down the hall, Sam grabs the syringe and does the job for him. Romano arrives and hopes Sam works there. Fortunately, she does – she’s a nurse.

Sometime later, Sam takes a turn as triage nurse, managing to calmly handle all the impatient patients (…heh), including one who calls her “little girl.” Romano asks what today’s excuse is for the waiting area being “a stinking, overpopulated cesspool of humanity.” Sam suggests it’s the health care system. He tells her that if she wants, she can stab a staff member in the neck, which will make all the patients head somewhere else. Sam asks Morris to examine someone, but he finds an excuse to do something else, as he constantly does.

Romano asks Frank which doctor he should be angry with today. Frank tells him Luka is back, and Romano calls him Colonel Kurtz. Susan admires Romano’s new arm, and he offers to give her a demonstration of what it can do. Susan smoothly says he’ll have to buy her a drink first. I get the feeling Susan has never let sexual harassment get to her in her life.

Luka works with Neela but dismisses Morris when he offers his help. Luka tells Mrs. Martin that they’ll get a CT of Adam’s head and then wait until he wakes up. Neela asks if she can draw Adam’s blood, but Morris says it’s not a good case for a student. He assures Mrs. Martin that while Neela’s a student, Morris himself is a doctor. Yeah, that doesn’t mean you want him around your baby, ma’am.

Back at the admit desk, Romano is showing off how his arm works. Pratt calls him Robo-Doc. Romano tells Pratt to do his job. They bicker about Pratt making doctors in other departments mad, but Pratt doesn’t let it get to him. Romano continues doing demonstrations, but he squeezes a vial of something too hard and it breaks. Susan quips that he shouldn’t use that arm to do a rectal exam.

Adam is having trouble breathing, so Morris decides they should intubate him. Neela thinks they should get Luka. Luka’s on the phone with Weaver, who’s annoyed that she’s had to wait to talk to him, like, he’s working, Kerry. Chill. Chuny pulls him back into the trauma room in time to stop Morris from intubating Adam. Susan checks in, but Luka has everything under control. He tells Morris why intubation would have been a bad idea, teaching him while also chastising him for moving too fast.

In the hallway, Mrs. Martin tells Susan that she was in a rush because she forgot to buy hot dogs for Henry’s school’s barbecue, and she must not have strapped Adam into the cart right. Susan sends Henry to get his mother a drink so she can talk to Mrs. Martin alone. Mrs. Martin admits that she’s been taking Zoloft, and maybe she’s having a bad reaction to it. She and her husband are going through a divorce, and he’s trying to take away their kids.

Susan reluctantly asks if Mrs. Martin has been drinking. Mrs. Martin says no, but Susan can smell alcohol on her. She asks Mrs. Martin to take a blood alcohol test to prove her claim that she’s not drunk. When Mrs. Martin asks if Susan can make her take it, Susan says that’s not a good reply. Mrs. Martin begs not to take the test, saying she just made a mistake.

Susan leaves to examine a man named Ben whose neighbor called an ambulance when he didn’t answer his door. He’s a little imbalanced and his heart isn’t stable. He may have taken too much of his heart medicine. Luka joins Gallant to tend to a man with a knee injury. Gallant wants him to get an x-ray, but Luka determines that he doesn’t need one. He explains to Susan that without x-rays in the Congo, he learned different ways to diagnose.

Susan tells him that she thinks Mrs. Martin has been drinking, so they should call a social worker. Since Adam needs to be admitted overnight, Luka advises her to let another department handle the family so they can continue seeing patients. Susan notes that they’ll fall through the cracks. Luka wants to avoid a “bureaucratic mess,” but Susan doesn’t want the family to come back after another incident. Luka gives in.

Neela presents a patient to Luka, brushing off the patient’s comment that she speaks English “good” with, “Better than you, in fact.” I think Susan is rubbing off on her. As they’re talking, Romano asks if Pratt is in a trauma room with Susan. Neela tells him it’s Gallant, and Romano says he always gets Gallant and Pratt confused. “Must be the goatee,” he says. Sure. We believe you. Luka tells Neela she can discharge her patient; he can come back if his labs are abnormal, but there’s no point in him waiting around. Romano comments that he should send everyone to the Congo to learn how to work more efficiently.

He takes Pratt to a patient he needs to be discharged, but Pratt wants to wait for a surgical consult. Romano says he’ll do it, but Pratt would prefer someone who still has surgical privileges. Abby arrives wearing a white lab coat and says she’s the surgical consult. She’s gone back to med school and has started her surgical rotation. That explains the loan she wanted her ex to co-sign – she needed tuition money. “You waited three-and-a-half hours…for Abby?” Romano asks Pratt. Abby smiles to herself.

After the consult, Abby tells Susan that this seemed like the right time to go back to med school. She only has a year left anyway. As soon as she paid her tuition, she was put right back into rotation. Thanks to Elizabeth’s familiarity with Abby, she’s already being trusted to do consults. Abby will still take some nursing shifts for the money, so she’s going to be pretty stressed and tired. Susan teaches her a mnemonic, then happily tells Sam that Abby’s there from the OR when she needs a consult.

Luka admires how Abby looks in her coat as she tries to shift from nurse responsibilities to doctor responsibilities in a trauma setting. Romano calls Elizabeth for her so she can determine whether the patient needs surgery. Then he interrupts to tell Elizabeth that the patient will be going up to the OR, and Abby didn’t need to ask her first.

He tells her to do something nurse-like, but Sam says she’ll do it. Romano calls her “Miss Haldol” and tells her he finds mute girls covered in blood sexy, so she should keep her head down and her mouth shut. “You sound just like a guy I used to date,” Sam replies. “He’s dead.” Luka steps in, offering to show Abby how to do a procedure. Romano tells him to skip the mentoring, then gives Abby another nurse instruction. She struggles to keep her cool but manages to ignore him and keep doing her job.

Susan tells Mrs. Martin that Adam’s CT looks promising, but they still have to wait until he wakes up to know for sure that he’s okay. She warns that a social worker is coming to talk to Mrs. Martin. Mrs. Martin says that never helps, indicating that there have been other incidents. She insists that nothing was every that major.

Romano keeps overseeing Luka’s patient until he finally announces it’s time to stop working on him and take him to surgery. Fortunately, Frank calls Romano away, leaving the others in peace. Luka then leaves to talk to Weaver, like, talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire. Abby’s the highest-ranking person in the trauma room now. Sam blows off Neela for knowing less than her, which is the opposite of how it usually is, with med students embarrassing themselves by thinking they know more than nurses.

Weaver wants Luka to commit to working 36 hours a week. While they’re talking, a woman named Athena is hoping to be seen next, and Morris is still slacking. Luka offers to do six 12-hour shifts a week, which would actually be a break from his seven 18-hour shifts in the Congo. Also, he needs the money. Weaver asks for a month’s notice the next time Luka wants to leave town for a long stretch. He gives her double that, saying he’ll be going back to the Congo in two months. He doesn’t know how long he’ll be gone. Weaver approves the arrangement.

Mrs. Martin talks to Susan and a social worker, Ken, about how Henry burned his hand two months ago while he was home alone. Mrs. Martin explains that she had a job interview and was only gone an hour. But no one picked Henry up from school one day, and a teacher had to take him home. Mrs. Martin says her husband dropped the ball.

Ken tells her that based on this pattern and Susan’s suspicions about Mrs. Martin’s drinking, Adam and Henry will be removed from Mrs. Martin’s home and sent to live with their father full-time until she can get herself together. Ken says the case will probably be resolved within six months. Mrs. Martin tells him and Susan that she had breakfast with her lawyer, and he ordered her a Bloody Mary. He told her everything would be okay.

Neela hangs out with Henry, who carries a drumstick around with him as kind of a magic wand. Not that he really believes in magic. Mrs. Martin comes in to say goodbye just as the boys’ father arrives. Henry tells him what happened, and Susan and Neela tells him that Adam’s awake and showing signs of a good prognosis. Mr. Martin tells his ex that she’s free to screw up her own life, but not their children’s. Mrs. Martin says it was an accident – she was upset. Mr. Martin points out that nothing is ever her fault. She storms out.

Elizabeth is upstairs, operating with Dorset, when the reason they’ll never make it as a couple (and the reason this is his last episode) comes out via a nurse relaying a phone message: He’s married. Abby’s there, and we know she knows Elizabeth and Dorset have been dating, so that’s some gossip she can share with Susan later.

Back in the ER, Susan checks in with Ben, who has vision problems thanks to macular degeneration. She busts him for overdosing on his heart medication and asks if he’s suicidal. He’s 71 and going blind – he doesn’t think suicidal thoughts are abnormal. Susan wants him to talk to a psychiatrist, and he determines that if he volunteers to do so, she won’t keep him there involuntarily (basically, do this or I’ll make you). She tells him he’ll only be there a few hours, but if she has him put on a psych hold, he’ll be there for days. Kind of an easy choice, huh?

Mrs. Martin could also use a psychiatrist, but instead, she’s being left alone while Mr. Martin and Henry stay with Adam. Henry goes looking for his mother to let her know his brother’s waking up. She leaves the ER, passing Susan and Luka in the ambulance bay and telling them she forgot something in her car. That something is a bottle wrapped in brown paper.

Morris and Coop come back from a break, Morris complaining that he hates County. Yeah, well, County hates you, too. Go away. They pass Mrs. Martin’s car, where she’s locking the doors. Instead of a bottle of alcohol, the brown paper holds a bottle of lighter fluid. She pours it on herself and then lights a match. Henry runs out into the ambulance bay just in time to see his mother lighting herself on fire. And now you know why I said “oh, no” when I realized which episode this was.

Luka races to the car as Susan tells a nurse to take Henry back inside. Luka breaks a window with a gurney, and Susan grabs a blanket from an ambulance so he can open the car door without burning himself. Mrs. Martin is still alive and able to get out of the car, but she’s completely on fire. Luka and Coop smother the flames with the blanket until Susan puts them out with a fire extinguisher. Morris, as usual, does nothing.

They get Mrs. Martin to a trauma room, but she looks really bad. Like, super-bad. Horrific. Catastrophic. Hold on, let me grab a thesaurus. Horrendous. Okay, you get it. Luka tells her they need to put a tube down her throat, so she won’t be able to talk. When she asks how long she’ll be intubated, he doesn’t answer. She guesses she’s going to die. Luka asks if she wants to be intubated, and she says she wants to talk to Henry first.

Morris is, as usual, completely useless, and even throws up while Luka, Susan, and Sam are doing their jobs. Coop determines that Mrs. Martin only has a 10 percent chance of survival. Even then, she’ll probably get an infection and die from that. Coop thinks she deserves the right to refuse care, but Susan says that since she’s suicidal, she doesn’t get a say.

Dorset slams the nurse who outed him as married, like, she’s not the one who’s having an affair. Don’t be a child. He tries to talk to Elizabeth, starting off with the excuse that his wife is currently in Boston. That doesn’t help, and neither does the news that she’s still in med school. Elizabeth asks if he hid pictures of his wife when he had her over. He asks if Elizabeth is going to call her and rat him out.

She goes to the lounge, looking for coffee, and Abby offers her a cup. She tries to strike up a conversation about their patient, indicating that she’s not going to say anything about Elizabeth and Dorset. Elizabeth can’t believe she worried that she was dating too soon after Mark’s death when the real problem was the person she was dating. Abby brainstorms names to call Dorset, finally cracking Elizabeth up when she suggests “wanker.” Elizabeth says she knew he was a bad guy. Abby tells her there’s no shame in that.

Luka, Susan, and Sam keep working on Mrs. Martin, deciding not to intubate her until she’s seen her kids. Luka offers to talk to Mr. Martin, but Susan says she’ll do it. She’s distressed about the whole situation and doesn’t like the thought of Henry seeing his mother like this. Luka thinks he could also be traumatized by never seeing her again. He tells Susan that she was right to look out for the kids. Susan can’t agree with her own actions, since things are turning out like this.

She goes to talk to Mr. Martin, who’s shocked that his wife would do something like this. He says that Mrs. Martin told Henry to lie – they went to buy beer, not hot dogs. Susan assures Mr. Martin that Adam will be okay, so at least there’s some good news. He regrets filing for custody instead of just grabbing the kids and running.

Susan tells him that Mrs. Martin wants to see Henry. She gets that Mr. Martin is angry, but his ex is going to die, and he needs to decide what’s best for the kids in the long run, even if that means seeing their horrendously burned mother so she can say goodbye. Henry speaks up, saying he doesn’t want to see her. Susan assures him that they won’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to.

At the admit desk, Sam, Coop, and Morris discuss Mrs. Martin’s actions. Morris and Coop think she’s nuts for doing what she did, but Sam gets how the threat of losing your children could make you crazy. Pratt flirts with her, so it’s a good thing Chen isn’t in this episode. Morris’ shift is over, but he doesn’t want to leave and be branded a wuss. Pratt tells him it’s too late for that.

Romano proves that he can still do some stuff with his prosthetic arm, though Pratt wants to make the stitches he just gave someone a little cleaner. Ben asks to talk to Susan, since he’s still waiting for his psych consult. We get a shot from his point of view, which shows that things are blurry in his periphery, and the middle of his visual field is just one big blob. He decides to discharge himself.

Athena finally gets to see a doctor when she’s brought back in by paramedics. Morris doesn’t want to admit to not seeing her hours ago for what he thought was a hangover and cut on her head. She waited 11 hours and left without being seen. It turns out she has a massive head injury and is now critical. Morris, to his credit, steps up to try to fix his mistake, but he’s not great at being a doctor, so Luka takes over.

Susan and Neela bring Adam into Mrs. Martin’s trauma room so she can see him for probably the last time. Good thing he’s a baby and will never remember this. Neela tells Mrs. Martin that he’s going to be fine. Mrs. Martin asks about Henry, then guesses he’s not going to come see her. She decides it’s better that way. She asks Neela to help her write her older son a letter. She asks him to try to forget what happened and just remember that his mother loved him.

Morris does all he can for Athena, but Luka decides they can’t save her. Just a five-minute exam would have picked up that she had a brain bleed, and they could have gotten her to the OR. Luka tells Morris that Athena had nowhere else to go. “If we can’t find a way to take care of people like her, nobody will,” he says.

Morris flees the ER as a patient in the hallway yells for help. He comes back and wheels the patient’s gurney out to the ambulance bay. Coop follows, and Morris announces that he’s quitting. Coop says they didn’t come this far for Morris to just walk away. Morris replies that he only got this far because Coop carried him. Pratt comes outside and tells Coop to let Morris go. Coop thinks Pratt is just testing Morris, but he’s not. Pratt tells Coop that not everyone is cut out to be a doctor.

Susan tries to call Ben, and when he doesn’t answer, she calls the police to report a possible suicide. Some paramedics are leaving after bringing in a patient, so she asks them for a ride to Ben’s house. He’s there, completely fine – he probably didn’t answer the phone because he’s listening to loud music while painting some miniatures.

Outside the hospital, Abby and Elizabeth chat with Sam, who tells them working at County is different from her last few jobs, but nothing she can’t handle. Here, she gets more pauses in the action. She confirms that Abby’s “in transition” between nurse and doctor, and says it’s a good place to be. Abby and Elizabeth invite her to get something to eat with them, but Sam’s shift isn’t over, and she’s waiting for her “guy.” That would be her son, Alex, not a boyfriend or husband. Alex is about ten and really annoying.

Inside, Luka pulls a Mark, mobilizing Neela, Coop, and Gallant to help him clear out the waiting area. He promises that by 10:00, everyone will have been seen. At Ben’s, he tells Susan he kept his promise to wait to see a psychiatrist, but no one ever showed up. He used to make architectural models, but he had to stop when his vision started worsening. Now he makes miniatures as a hobby. Susan offers to arrange help for Ben around the house, but he doesn’t seem interested. She makes him promise not to kill himself in the next 72 hours. “But Monday would be okay?” he replies. He promises to stay alive.

Luka does fast rounds with Coop, Neela, and Gallant’s patients, and though Romano thinks they’re a little crazy, he can’t argue with the results. Luka may be back in Chicago, but he’s brought his Congo experiences back with them and is proving that you don’t need expensive tests and supplies to practice medicine.

Thoughts: Ben is played by TV legend Bob Newhart, who got an Emmy nomination for this role. Ken is played by Daniel Dae Kim.

I find Sam pretty annoying in her early days, but after that I warm up to her, and eventually kind of like her. My feelings for Linda Cardellini never change, though – I love her.

I like how Susan handles checking in with Luka. As soon as she’s sure he has his trauma case under control, she deals with the family. It’s like she’s letting Luka know she trusts him to handle things and is ready to be back at work without actually saying it.

January 4, 2022

ER 10.4, Shifts Happen: Being Greg Pratt

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

Dear writers, we do not need any more Pratt-centric episodes, thank you for your time

Summary: Pratt gets ready for work and rushes to buy a newspaper before the guy who sells them closes up. Even though it’s sunny out and seems like it’s the morning, due to Pratt’s activities (like showering and making eggs), it’s actually 6:28 p.m. Elizabeth calls her nanny from Dorset’s bed so she can say good night to Ella. The nanny thinks she’s still at work. Elizabeth obviously feels guilty for missing time with her daughter, but Dorset tells her she’s allowed to have some downtime. Elizabeth just feels weird sneaking out of her house for sex. It is fun, though. They decide to have some more of that fun before heading to work.

Abby’s almost done with her shift and is passing off her patients to some nurse we don’t know. “Have we met?” Pratt asks the nurse. “No,” she replies bluntly before walking away. Ha! Abby tells Pratt that there are a bunch of new nurses on duty, all recent graduates. Frank: racist remark. Shut up, Frank. Coop: dumb remark. Shut up, Coop. Gallant pops in to be neither racist nor dumb, but also to offer nothing of substance. Come back, Gallant! Save me from these buffoons! Jerry invites Coop to a Cubs game. At least someone likes that guy.

Pratt hasn’t even been on shift for a minute when he gets summoned by Malik, then Neela, then two med students, Andy and Lester. Lester would have asked Coop for help, but he saw Pratt first. He also could have turned to Morris, but he’s treating a patient. Susan realizes he’s been treating that patient for a long time, since she’s pretty. She tells him to work harder to clear the board. Pratt lets Coop know that picking up Morris’ slack isn’t helping him.

Weaver is also annoyed about the slow pace in the ER, and since she’s decided to work there once a month to keep up her skills, she’s going to try to whip the place into shape. Susan says she kind of misses “Little Stumpy.” Abby’s supposed to be leaving, but Pratt enlists her to help him with an angry patient named Mathers. He’s been sent over from another hospital, supposedly because County can provide him with care the other place couldn’t, but he thinks it’s because he doesn’t have insurance and now he’s a welfare case. Pratt tells him he’ll get the best care possible for his broken leg.

After dismissing a woman who’s begging for help delivering her baby – a baby she’s been pregnant with for seven years – Pratt tells the med students that they have 12 hours to clear the board. In the process, they’ll show the doctors on the day shift how it’s done. I’m sure they’ll take notes and try to be better doctors because of your inspiration, Pratt.

Romano is finally getting a prosthetic arm that doesn’t have a hook for a hand. He hasn’t had all the training he needs to operate it, but he demands that the prosthetist – who definitely doesn’t get paid enough to deal with him – give it to him now. Mathers continues complaining as Pratt and Abby tend to him (though Pratt is mostly focusing on teaching the med students). He tells Neela to put in a central line, since Mathers is a former IV drug user and they’re having trouble inserting an IV in his veins. Mathers objects because Neela’s so young. Pratt quips that she’s almost 16.

He tells Lester to arrange for surgery for Mathers no more than three hours from now. He starts to head out, but Abby notes that Neela needs to be supervised. Pratt asks Gallant to do that, then goes to use the bathroom. Before he can get there, he stops to help Chen deal with a difficult patient, since the new nurse working with her isn’t being helpful. Chen guesses that Pratt’s already interested in the new nurse. He thought the two of them were fine, because Pratt has no idea how to read a woman, let alone Chen.

Weaver stalls Pratt from his trip to the bathroom by quizzing him about his patients. One of them, Betsy, is appreciative because Pratt helped get her a consult. Coop admires Pratt’s style, and Pratt tells him to get his own. Back in Mathers’ trauma room, Neela’s having some trouble with the central line, and Mathers is unhappy again. Chen takes over, ignoring Mathers when he makes a racist comment. After she leaves, Neela asks Gallant and Abby if Chen hates her. Neela isn’t interested in Pratt, and she wonders if she should tell Chen that. Abby says to let it go, since Pratt and Chen broke up.

Neela chooses not to listen to Abby, never a good idea. She tells Chen that Pratt is a flirt, but Neela didn’t do anything to spark his interest. She apologizes if she did anything to make the situation worse, and she hopes Chen won’t punish her for Pratt’s interest. Chen acts like she’s horrified that she would be accused of singling out a med student just because her boyfriend has a crush. She makes a show of checking Neela’s name tag, as if she’s forgotten her name, then says she’s hard on all the med students, especially the women. Neela should worry more about her skills and less about Pratt.

Betsy’s still in the ER, so Pratt offers to find out what’s taking so long with her consult. Andy presents a patient to him, a guy named Ed who suddenly found himself unable to speak while he was fighting with his wife. She thinks he was just being dramatic. Susan offers to stick around after her shift, since it’s busy and there’s only one attending in the ER, but Pratt lets her go.

Paramedics bring in an elderly woman named Ms. Crawford who’s having breathing problems. Her preteen granddaughter, Erika, is with her. Jerry has sneaked a peek at a loan application Abby’s trying to submit via fax, and he tells her that she’ll never get any money with her low credit score. Thanks for your help, Jerry.

Weaver, Neela, and Coop tend to Ms. Crawford, and Erika objects when they start removing her clothes. She exclaims that her grandmother has a DNR, but Erika doesn’t know what that means. Neela thinks it must be true, since Erika wouldn’t know the term if her family hadn’t discussed it. But without paperwork, Coop says they have to keep treating Ms. Crawford. Weaver tells Neela to find a way to contact Erika’s mother.

Pratt examines Ed while he and his wife keep bickering. Gallant pulls him away to pass off some patients who are supposed to be Morris’. He’s disappeared, and Gallant was supposed to leave a while ago, so he can’t keep looking for him. Ed’s wife tells Pratt that Ed has gone silent again. She thinks he’s messing with her. Pratt tells a nurse named Severa to get him a psych consult. “Yes, doctor,” she replies.

Lester tells Pratt that he has a patient who was bitten by a rat. He’s helpfully brought it with him in case they need to test it for rabies. This is the last straw for one of the new nurses, who didn’t go to nursing school for this sort of thing. Pratt finally makes it to the bathroom, where he catches Morris on the phone with someone, asking how to treat his patients. Pratt yells at him for being a second-year resident who should know how to do his job.

Abby goes to Luka’s for a late dinner, at Gillian’s invitation. It’s 10:00, but Gillian offers her leftovers. She’s on her way home to Montreal, so she and Luka have a long goodbye kiss right in front of Abby. Luka reveals that Gillian has a boyfriend. OH, LUKA. He tells Abby it’s complicated. Oh, you think? Back at County, Elizabeth is in a bad mood because Pratt called her for an unnecessary consult. Also, because she’s not still in bed with Dorset. Pratt gives instructions to Severa, who again replies, “Yes, doctor,” making him wonder if she speaks English. She says she does.

The board is down to 30 patients, but there are still 50 in the waiting area, so it’s not technically an accomplishment. Pratt tries to talk Frank into going to get him some food. Ed asks Pratt for an update on his condition, and Pratt notes that he’s talking again. Ed says it comes and goes. Pratt sends him back to his room so he won’t miss his consult with a “special doctor.”

Betsy finally gets her consult, but the doctor, Hampton, is annoyed because Betsy comes in three times a month for demerol. Pratt insists that she has a real illness and needs medication and to be admitted. Hampton can put a note in her chart if she wants, and she can take the heat for not admitting Betsy, but she needs to take responsibility for her patient. Hampton won’t, so Pratt reluctantly tells Lester to discharge Betsy.

Abby and Luka go for a walk, talking about his time in the Congo. He misses being in a place that let him get out of his own head. He appreciated the downtime there more. Abby mentions Carter, insisting she’s fine without him. She’s even on the way to being happy. She’s started to make some decisions about her life, but she doesn’t want to give any details in case she jinxes it. She gets a page asking her to work another shift, and though Luka encourages her to pretend she didn’t see it, she says she needs the money.

Abby returns to County, and Weaver surprises her by trying to make small talk. She even says Abby’s one of the best nurses in the ER, and she hopes Romano’s changes don’t drive her away. Neela comes by asking for paper and crayons for Erika (who’s too old for that, but whatever), and Weaver tells her to focus on patients, not babysitting.

Pratt channels Mark a little to make some quick decisions and discharge some patients. Morris is still slacking, so Pratt takes over his treatment of a kid named Damian who swallowed a quarter. (Can I just say that this kid is too old to be swallowing coins? Because he’s too old to be swallowing coins. Is there even one writer on this show who understands children?) Morris thinks the coin will just pass through Damian’s system, but Pratt wants them to remove it with an endoscope. This will mean a little revenge on Hampton, the gastrointestinal specialist on call.

Paramedics bring in some car accident victims, and with a shortage of trauma rooms, Pratt takes one to Ms. Crawford’s and makes Neela move her somewhere else. Mathers is yelling again, but everyone’s trying to ignore him. Morris and Coop tend to one of the car accident victims (Morris makes Coop do his rectal exam) while Pratt treats another, a teen who’s in really bad shape. Morris leaves the room instead of offering to help.

A nurse tells Pratt that psych won’t see Ed until he has a head CT. Pratt doesn’t think he needs one; he’s just upset because his wife is leaving him. Jerry then tells Pratt that Hampton won’t see Damian until the morning. She’s also going to complain to Romano tomorrow. Oh, and she thinks Pratt is…a word that normally isn’t allowed on network TV. Thanks for letting that one go, censors! Randi wants to liven up the night shift with disco music. Abby tells her it’s too loud. This is Randi’s last episode, by the way, so enjoy her five seconds of screentime.

Abby and Elizabeth end up in the elevator with their patients at the same time, and Dorset tries to sneak in for some time with Elizabeth before he realizes she’s not alone. Abby asks if the two of them ever got together. “Who?” Elizabeth asks dumbly. Then she admits they’re dating. Abby’s happy, but Elizabeth thinks she’s covering for her opinion that Elizabeth is dating too soon after Mark’s death. Neela treats Mathers, though she’s not supposed to be doing what she’s doing without a resident’s supervision. Weaver stops her, and Neela rats out Morris for not doing his job.

Ed’s CT is clear, so he can go see psych now. He objects to needing a psych consult, especially since it’ll just make his wife even more convinced that he’s crazy. Weaver gives Pratt more work to do, which means he has even less time to listen to Ed say he doesn’t need psychiatric help. He asks for medication to get him through the night. Pratt tells Severa to give Ed two milligrams of Obecalp, then discharge him. She’s confused about the medication, but after Pratt asks if she knows what it is, she says, “Yes, doctor.”

Neela goes to check on Erika, who asks what DNR means. Neela explains that it means someone doesn’t want to be kept alive by machines. She offers to take Erika to a room where she can get some sleep, but Erika wants to stay with her grandmother, who has said she sleeps better with Erika near her. After Neela lets her into the bed, Pratt ruins the nice moment by telling her to get back to work. Neela comments that it’s hard to figure out where you should be spending your time. Pratt doesn’t care – he wants the board cleared.

Lester tells her that Pratt is tough but is good at his job. He asks if she knows what Obecalp is, since he hasn’t been able to find any. Weaver overhears and tells him it’s placebo spelled backwards. She calls Pratt out for giving Ed saline, which seems to have calmed him down. It’s a violation of medical ethics, and he could sue. Pratt tells Severa to cancel the “Obecalp,” but she says she never gave it to him.

Damian’s parents are impatient about how long it’s taking for his endoscopy. Pratt doesn’t think it’ll be a problem for him to wait until the morning, since he’s stable. But the family’s been there for 14 hours, and Damian’s having trouble breathing – why can’t this emergency room handle this emergency? Speaking of emergencies, Weaver helps Abby with a patient she sent to get a CT even though he wasn’t completely stable, which means he should have had a doctor with him. Weaver beats herself up for taking the risk.

Andy excitedly tells Coop that Pratt is trying a special trick to remove the quarter in Damian’s throat. Pratt calmly does the same move I think Dorset did a few episodes ago, acting like he does this all the time. Abby winds up serving as the triage nurse again as Pratt warns her that bars are about to close, which means they’re going to get an influx of patients. He dances with Randi for a little while until a patient yells at them for blasting music while he’s trying to sleep.

Abby takes over triage from Malik, first talking to a patient who complains of a toothache he’s apparently had for a year. Maybe he should be friends with the woman who’s been pregnant for seven years. Damian’s dad brings him back in, since he was feeling nauseous in the parking lot, and asks Abby to have Pratt see him just in case. Instead, Damian gets an express ticket to the OR when he coughs up blood. I guess Pratt’s trick wasn’t as successful as he thought.

Elizabeth blasts Pratt for doing his procedure in the ER, but Pratt thinks the real problem is that the quarter was in Damian’s throat long enough to cause major complications. She tells him he’s lucky the family was just leaving the hospital when this happened. If they’d already been back home, Damian wouldn’t have made it back for treatment in time. As Pratt’s leaving the surgical floor, he runs into Weaver, who still feels guilty for not keeping a better eye on her patient.

Pratt heads back to the ER, where Ed has just collapsed. Coop determines that he has a carotid tear, which caused a clot in his neck. He doesn’t look good. Abby ends her turn as triage nurse early so she can make a phone call in Ms. Crawford’s room. She asks her credit card company if she can get a cash advance. She ends the call when she realizes that Ms. Crawford has died. She tells Neela that she’ll need to wake Erika and move her somewhere else so they can give Ms. Crawford’s bed to another patient.

Pratt checks on Mathers, who’s finally stopped complaining about everything. Pratt realizes he’s just been scared about losing his leg. He promises they’ll get Mathers into surgery really soon, even though that’s what he’s been hearing for hours now. Pratt tells Weaver to have Coop cover for him, then storms into an OR where an orthopedic surgeon is taking his sweet time in an operation. Pratt offers to assist so someone can go to the ER and take care of Mathers. Meanwhile, Neela carries Erika, who’s still asleep, to another room.

It’s morning when Abby shows up at her ex-husband’s house. Richard is now remarried and has a baby. No one in the home seems particularly happy, so Abby may have dodged a bullet. She asks Richard to co-sign a loan with her. She reminds him that she never asked him for alimony or any kind of spousal support, so he kind of owes her. Back at County, Romano yells at Pratt about all the stunts he pulled the night before. Pratt probably won’t take it personally, since Romano never liked him.

Pratt passes everyone off to Susan, then leaves along with Coop. Gallant praises Coop for making Ed’s diagnosis. Pratt gets no praise for everything he did for his patients overnight. Coop says he’s going to the gym before he goes home to get some sleep. Pratt declines to tag along, and instead goes home alone, the only person who cares how much he did during his shift.

Thoughts: Rossif Sutherland, who plays Lester, is Donald Sutherland’s son/Kiefer Sutherland’s brother.

Maybe I need a hobby but for years I haven’t been able to get over how Elizabeth puts on her bra at Dorset’s place. Obviously the normal way wouldn’t work on TV because you would see too much, but no one puts on a bra that has a clasp in the back by putting on the cups first.

Gillian schmillian – Luka doesn’t look at her the way he looks at Abby. I think he wants to get back together. Unfortunately, he’s about to get distracted by someone else.

December 28, 2021

ER 10.3, Dear Abby: The Breakup Heard ‘Round the Hospital

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

Guess who!

Summary: Abby is giving a tour to a group of new second-year residents, giving both them and us a glimpse of the new “cage,” the triage area. There’s now a desk where an admit nurse will speak to each patient, start a chart, and determine whether the patient needs to be seen immediately instead of sitting in the waiting room. The new residents will be joining Pratt, who will definitely not look down on them for being clueless newbies who don’t know their way around County as well as he does.

Police officers drag out an angry patient who tells Susan he’s going to come back for her. She sighs and tells him to bring her a latte when he does. Abby finishes the tour and asks if the residents have any questions. One, Archie Morris, asks why the patient board is see-through. Abby says it’s so they can see through it. Frank hopes he never needs treatment at County.

Abby’s eager for Luka to arrive at County after being flown out of the Congo. Connie and Lydia complain to her that Romano has scheduled them for fewer shifts than usual. Senior nurses’ hours are being cut so he can bring in travel nurses, who cost less money. Connie urges Abby to talk to him. Then Yosh tells her that she lost the nurses’ lottery and has to be the admit nurse for a few hours. Abby says there’s no statistically possible way she can lose the lottery every time. Abby, you’re the head nurse. Stop the lottery and make a schedule.

Her day is about to get better when Frank points out that Luka has arrived (along with Gillian). Before Abby can go greet him, Pratt and Neela ask for her help. Abby’s able to hand a patient off to Susan and almost catch up to Luka as he’s wheeled to an elevator. She’s just seconds too late to get to him before he’s taken upstairs.

Romano goes to the hospital’s prosthetist to get his new prosthetic arm, but he’s annoyed that it’s not the one he thought he was getting. His insurance won’t cover the one he wants. Also, this one has a hook, so no matter how annoying Romano is, he’s definitely right here. Back in the ER, Abby’s stuck at the triage desk, dealing with people who are angry about having to wait, kids who won’t behave, and general weirdos. Eventually she examines a teenager named Elle who’s sick enough to get seen immediately.

Susan asks Abby how Luka is. She has no idea, since she hasn’t had time to go see him. She also hasn’t had time to talk to Romano about the nurses’ schedules. Frank tells Abby he popped in to say hi to Luka, then chastises her for not visiting him yet. Abby calls upstairs to check on Luka, but Gillian has come back to the ER and tells her that he’s doing well enough to want a meatball sub. She recognizes Abby’s name because Carter talked about her in the Congo. She hands over the letter Carter asked her to give Abby. Abby starts reading, her face falling.

Romano crashes a meeting in Weaver’s office to throw a tantrum about his inferior prosthetic arm. Even though he’s yelling, he makes a good point that he should get better insurance coverage from the hospital where he lost the arm in the first place. Weaver calmly tells him to leave, so Romano leaves a long scratch in a table on his way out.

Abby is finishing the letter outside the hospital when the other nurses all walk by, announcing that they’re staging a walkout. Abby can’t deal with them and the letter and her job all at once, so she dismisses the nurses, crumples up the letter, throws it on the ground, and goes back inside. Frank complains about her littering and picks up the letter.

Pratt runs into one of the residents, Coop, who’s using his asthma inhaler. This is the only interesting thing about this character. Don’t get too attached. Pratt tells him that he and the other residents need to start picking up the pace. Coop’s been doing fine, and he makes excuses for Morris and the other resident whose name there’s no point in remembering because this is the only episode she’s in.

Pratt checks on Neela, who’s chanting a prayer while stitching up a patient. Pratt doesn’t think the patient requires a prayer since he’s not dying. Neela says it was a private prayer. Chen’s my-boyfriend-is-talking-to-someone-else-with-breasts radar goes off and she sends Neela on an errand. She reminds Pratt of their dinner plans that night.

Coop joins a trauma Susan and Morris are working on, instead of helping Pratt clear the board. Malik brings in Elle’s scans, which show that she’s experiencing heart failure. Abby counts down the remaining seconds of her turn as triage nurse and ditches her current patient. Frank, who’s holding her letter behind his back, tells her all the nurses left, so there’s no one to relieve her at the triage desk. Except we just saw Malik, so…

Romano tells Frank that everyone who signed the nurses’ petition and left for the walkout needs to be in the lounge in five minutes or they’ll be fired. Abby lies that they’re on a break, not staging a walkout. Also, she thinks Romano can’t fire nurses, but he says he can if they walk off the job. Abby runs off to get her co-workers as Frank admires Romano’s hook, saying it suits him.

Before Abby can find the nurses, a car pulls into the ambulance bay and a teen with a gunshot wound gets out, asking for help. The car he was in just drives off. Get better friends, Bobby. He starts declining quickly, and Pratt and Abby try to stabilize him in a trauma room. Abby thinks they need to open his chest, and she starts prepping him even though Pratt says it’s too early to make that decision. When Susan joins them, Abby and Pratt gripe about each other, and Susan sides with Pratt, believing Abby was too quick to jump to an invasive procedure.

Romano lends a hand (…sorry) in the ER, examining a girl who can’t take her eyes off of his prosthetic. He hands her off to Morris. Elizabeth comes down to help with Bobby, who’s still not stable. Abby suggests her idea again, then snaps at med students who are in her way. Elizabeth finally opens Bobby’s chest. Frank has started passing Abby’s letter around to other staff, so they know she’s been dumped. “Fun” fact: Carter uses the word “unfettered” in it. Shut up, Carter. Romano grumbles about the nurses, whom Jerry jokes are hiring a hit man.

Coop completely fails to read the room and introduces himself to Romano like they’re going to be close colleagues. Romano tells him to go up to the roof to meet a patient being brought in by helicopter. He should wave his arms and stand in the middle of the landing pad. Coop notes that Romano used to be a surgeon (though Romano still considers himself one), then asks if he has a scalpel attachment for his prosthetic. Instead of screaming at Coop, Romano calmly gives him some stern warnings. Coop talks back. Dude, I know he’s a jerk, but he’s still your superior. Romano yells for Coop to stay out of his face.

Elizabeth has run out of ways to try to save Bobby. Abby tries to get her to keep working, since he’s young and was doing well enough earlier to walk into the ER. Elizabeth doesn’t think he can be saved, and she declares his time of death. Neela and Coop treat a patient who fell while sanding the hull of a boat. He’s brought a cloud of fiberglass dust with him, which sets off Coop’s asthma.

A cardiologist tells Susan that Elle has pulmonary hypertension. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not good. Pratt tells Abby that six nurses were fired, which means there are only four left on their shift. He apologizes for not opening Bobby’s chest sooner, but Abby isn’t sure it would have made a difference. He tells her that he thinks “it’s Carter’s loss.” Abby doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Neela and Morris treat Coop, who’s not having any luck with asthma treatments. Neela accidentally gives him too much medication, thanks to a miscommunication from Morris. It messes with Coop’s heart rate, so Abby runs over to shock him back into rhythm. She congratulates Morris and Neela for saving their first resident.

Abby asks Malik to cover for her for a few minutes so she can go see Luka. Malik is just as busy as she is, and he can’t spare the time. He tells her he’s sorry about her and Carter. Abby asks how he knows about their breakup. He points the finger at Jerry. Abby’s been waiting for substitute nurses, but only one has arrived, an elderly woman named Edna. Even she knows about Abby and Carter’s breakup.

Abby asks Susan if she’s heard about the letter, but it sounds like Susan’s been too busy for gossip. She tells Abby that Elle’s diagnosis means she probably won’t live past the age of 21. Her parents don’t want her to know until after she has a test to confirm her condition, but the results won’t be in for three days. Abby thinks that’s ridiculous – Elle already knows something’s wrong. Susan tells her they have to honor the parents’ wishes.

A teacher has brought in some students to visit a classmate, and they’re lost, so Abby offers to take them to the children’s ward. The teacher asks if any of the students want to be nurses. Nope, they all want to be doctors. I know it’s supposed to be a blow to nurses, but who can be upset that these kids are aiming high? Good for you, kids! Just start saving your allowance now – med school is expensive.

Weaver blasts Romano for interrupting her meeting and for firing six nurses. Abby walks up with the kids as they’re bickering with each other. Weaver warns Romano not to fire anyone else. Romano calls her a b&^$%, either not noticing or caring that there are young kids around. Weaver says that she’s Romano’s boss, and as long as she is, he’s HER b&^$%. Abby hides a smile at that, and Romano rewards her with a gross procedure. She hands the kids off to Jerry, who’s carrying a bunch of blood bags. The kids all scream. Well, kids, you won’t be able to do that when you’re doctors.

Abby checks on Elle, who’s confused about why a cardiologist examined her since she thought her problem was with her lungs. Abby carefully says the heart and lungs are connected, so Susan was probably just being thorough by calling in a cardiologist. Elle asks if everything’s okay; her parents are acting weird. Abby avoids the question and tries not to give anything away.

Pratt meets Chen for dinner, surprised that her parents are also there. She ran into them downtown and they invited themselves along. Cue some awkward silence. Neela goes to Susan, having been told by cardiology that she should listen to a patient for a murmur. That patient is Elle, and now she knows something’s wrong with her heart. Oops! Susan pulls Neela out of the room to talk about the case, stopping when she catches Morris stealing an unconscious patient’s meal. Then it gets worse – that patient had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and is at risk of bleeding out.

Elizabeth returns to help Susan and Malik try to save the patient. Elizabeth tells Malik to page Dorset and tell him that Elizabeth needs him “badly.” Susan smirks. Abby tends to Elle, who’s distressed because no one will tell her what’s wrong with her. Just as Abby’s about to tell her, Susan bursts in and drags Abby out. Abby complains that they’re teaching Elle not to trust them when she needs them the most. Susan chastises her for going rogue more than once today. Abby’s trying to make calls that nurses aren’t allowed to make.

Dorset joins Elizabeth, Susan, Abby, Coop, and Morris with their patient. Elizabeth is impressed with his charm, but he’s kind of annoying. Susan agrees with me. He quizzes Coop and Morris about something, but they don’t know the answer. Abby does, so Dorset tells the residents, “You two have just been nurse-slapped.” He might get doctor-slapped if he keeps being so nonchalant while Susan’s anxious about the patient. Once things are under control, Dorset takes the patient to surgery, grinning egotistically. Coop and Morris admire his guts.

Gallant shows up for a shift and gets filled in on the latest gossip about Luka and the breakup letter. Romano asks what the letter says, so Jerry starts reading it. Abby grabs it and asks if anyone hasn’t read the letter. “I haven’t,” says a nearby patient. Heh. She blasts Jerry and Frank for looking at her personal mail. Lydia, Connie, and Yosh return with their own letters – they’ve been suspended for 90 days. Abby declares that she hates her job. Walking by, Edna tells her it’ll get better.

Chen’s parents have already ordered something for the table, and they speak Mandarin in front of Pratt until Chen tells them to stop. After asking about Pratt’s family, the Chens say that their daughter is going on a trip with them to China to rediscover her ancestry. Chen says they already talked about this and she’s not going. Her father says it’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from. Pratt asks if that’s a quote from Confucius. Chen’s mother says it’s just common sense.

Back at County, Dorset and Elizabeth flirt while Romano and I both roll our eyes. Elizabeth agrees to an hour-long coffee date. Romano goes to an empty trauma room, takes off his prosthetic, and throws it through a window. This show loves broken glass, huh? I wonder if he thinks his insurance company should cover the cost of that, too.

After dinner, Chen apologizes for surprising Pratt by bringing her parents to dinner. She doesn’t think they hate him; they just want her with someone “more traditional.” In other words, they want her to date a Chinese guy. Pratt says she should tell them to relax, since they’re not getting married or anything. Chen asks what they’re doing, then. Pratt says they’re having fun. He doesn’t think either of them is ready to settle down. That’s the wrong answer, and Chen tells him to find himself a new “bang buddy.” Yeah, I think they call them friends with benefits.

Speaking of sex, that’s what Elizabeth and Dorset are doing in the backseat of a car. Well, good for her, I guess. Abby finally finds time to go see Luka, and the two of them have a friendly reunion. She asks if he read Carter’s letter, and he says no like it would have been crazy for him to even think about it. He thinks Carter just wanted to explain why he was staying in the Congo. Being over there changes you, and Luka thinks Carter found himself. Abby jokes that she didn’t know he was missing. She says the relationship was doomed from the beginning, so it’s good that it’s over.

Luka says it’s weird to be back. Maybe he’s changed, too. Abby says change is good, and she’s looking into some for herself. Gillian joins them, kindly telling Abby that it was nice to finally meet her after hearing so much about her. Abby throws out the letter as she heads back to the ER and goes in to see Elle again, this time to tell her what everyone’s been keeping from her.

Thoughts: Morris is played by Scott Grimes. Coop is played by Glenn Howerton. Bobby is played by Zac Efron.

In the words of Jean-Ralphi from Parks and Recreation, Morris is the wooo-ooooo-oorst.

Carter’s letter is the equivalent of saying, “You can’t fire me – I quit.” Does he think Abby asking for her key back wasn’t the end of the relationship?

I’m surprised Carter thinks Abby’s smart enough to know what “unfettered” means. Or maybe he defines it for her after he uses it in the letter.

December 21, 2021

ER 10.2, The Lost: Carter Isn’t the Only Savior With the Initials J.C.

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

If nothing else, the Africa episodes were good for Luka, looks-wise

Summary: Carter’s on his way back to the Congo to make arrangements in the wake of Luka’s death. On the plane, a man named Steve introduces himself and guesses that Carter is flying to Africa for business, possibly for Coca-Cola. Carter doesn’t want to make small talk, but Steve doesn’t get the hint. He tells Carter he works for the American embassy. Carter eventually explains that he’s going back to the Congo to retrieve the body of a murdered friend. Interesting that he says “friend,” not “colleague.” After they land, Steve gives Carter his business card in case he wants to meet up sometime.

Gillian and Charles meet Carter at the airport, and the three get drinks before heading out. Gillian is too upset to talk about Luka. Charles tells Carter that there have been thousands of deaths in just the past two weeks, and there are too many bodies for the Red Cross to have found and identified Luka’s. So Carter’s mission here is going to entail more than just signing some paperwork.

The three meet up with a guy named Andre who works for the Red Cross. They were able to rescue some civilians from the rebel soldiers, and they received a list of the known dead, as well as some personal items they could use to identity people’s remains. Among them was Luka’s ID badge, which has blood on it. Carter asks about retrieving Luka’s body, but they’ll have to wait until the fighting dies down. That could take weeks or even months.

Andre suggests a few people who might be able to give Carter and Gillian more information. One of them, Debbie, is familiar to Gillian; she works for the Red Cross in Kisangani. Gillian tells Carter that she’s his type, though Carter wonders how Gillian knows what his type is. He wishes he’d stayed in the Congo instead of going back to Chicago. Gillian points out that he probably would have been killed, too.

We rewind to 22 days earlier, when Gillian, Carter, and Luka said goodbye as Gillian and Carter left Luka in Matenda. The last thing Carter said to Luka was to not get himself killed. Well, to be fair, Luka’s never wanted to listen to Carter.

In the present, Carter talks to a U.S. embassy official named Bob, who notes that since Luka wasn’t a U.S. citizen, this is going to be even more complicated. To make matters worse, Croatia doesn’t have an embassy in the Congo. Bob tells Carter that the rebel soldiers hate westerners because they believe they’re stealing the country’s natural resources. Carter asks if they can make some sort of exchange for Luka’s body. Bob doubts that the rebels would play by the rules of war. All Carter can do is be patient.

Yeah, he’s not going to do that. He calls on his new buddy, Steve, who doesn’t have any suggestions that Carter and Gillian haven’t already tried. Off the record, Steve says that money will get them a lot further than official channels. Good thing Carter’s super-rich! He and Gillian go to an exchange place and get $20,000. That’s a pretty good deal, actually. I’d pay a lot more than that for Luka.

19 days earlier: Luka wakes up during the night as government soldiers are passing the clinic in Matenda. Patrique tells him they’re retreating, which means the rebel soldiers will heading their way soon. Luka takes a long look at the bodies the soldiers are transporting with them.

Present: Carter, Gillian, and Charles arrive in Kisangani, which is now crowded with refugees. Carter reunites with Angelique and gives her all the supplies he stole from County (which he pretends were donations). She asks him to assist her in surgery.

17 days earlier: The boy with whooping cough is better. Gillian calls Luka on the radio from Kisangani to warn him that the fighting near Matenda is getting worse. She asks him if he’s warned Patrique that he’s in for an increase in patients. Chance’s mother, Sakina, gives Luka a cross necklace to thank him for taking care of her daughter. Luka says he’s not a very good Christian, but Sakina doesn’t think he would be helping in the Congo if that were true.

Present: Carter and Gillian meet up with Debbie, and judging by the look on his face, she really is his type. He asks if she can help him get into Kivu, the place they believe Luka’s body has been taken. Debbie chastises Carter for trying to buy his way to Luka – the Red Cross is only safe as long as they’re neutral in the civil war, and handing out money makes them look like they’ve taken a side. Carter asks what they can do instead. Debbie says they’ll just have to wait. But as Carter’s leaving, Debbie (calling him Richie Rich) says she needs a doctor to help her transport some injured people out of Kivu. Someone in a camp there could know something about Luka.

16 days earlier: The rebel soldiers are on their way. Patrique tells Luka they need to leave the clinic, but Luka’s sick, possibly from malaria. He rallies himself enough to carry Chance as everyone from the clinic hides in the jungle. Patrique urges Luka to take some medication, but Luka wants to save it for the patients. The pouring rain is probably not going to help his condition.

Present: In Matenda, the clinic has been burned down, and Carter yells at the soldiers guarding it for destroying a place that could have helped them if they needed it. Charles finds the remnants of a massacre in a tent and learns that the bodies of the dead were taken to Kasese. That could be where Luka is.

15 days earlier: Luka and Patrique have been abandoned by the rest of their group out of fear of being found with foreigners. Patrique sent some of their medication with the group but kept some for Luka. Sakina and Chance have stayed behind, and Luka tells Patrique and Sakina to leave him and get somewhere safe. They refuse. Patrique thinks they’ll be safe if they go back to the clinic; the rebels probably won’t go back there.

Present: Carter asks Debbie for a vehicle so he can go to Kasese, but she needs his help where they are. Gillian tends to a woman who thinks she might be pregnant. All of the women in the area were raped by the rebel soldiers. Carter starts to examine another patient, but then he spots two familiar faces, the boy with whooping cough and his father. The father tells Gillian that the rebel soldiers found them in Matenda.

15 days earlier: Luka, Patrique, Sakina, and Chance return to the clinic in Matenda, believing the rebel soldiers have already left. They’re wrong. The soldiers emerge from the jungle, stalking them like predators. Patrique tells his group to keep walking. They do until a soldier stops Luka and punches him.

Present: Carter spends his evening drinking and listening to his iPod, technology Debbie isn’t familiar with, maybe because she’s been working so much in parts of Africa that don’t typically have Apple products. She asks if he has any music by the Chicks. Carter blows a raspberry. Hey, don’t disrespect the Chicks, man!

After confirming that all the boy’s father knew is that Luka and Patrique were left behind in the jungle, Carter asks if Debbie ever worries that the soldiers around them will start shooting just for the heck of it. She says she tries not to think about it. He admits that before he came to the Congo, he had no idea what was going on there. Since there’s no oil there, Americans don’t care. People are being murdered every day and westerners have no clue.

Debbie asks why Carter’s in the Congo, since he doesn’t seem like the type to volunteer there. He’s not a peace-seeking hippie or an adrenaline junkie. Carter says he’s not sure why he’s there. His relationship is falling apart, and it’s simpler to be in a place where he can help people who need help. Debbie tells him that in the morning, they’ll go to Kasese.

14 days earlier: Luka, Patrique, and some other men are kept hostage in the clinic, fully aware that Sakina is being raped nearby. One of the hostages is a geologist who doesn’t speak French and has no idea what’s going on. He asks Patrique to tell the rebel soldiers that he’s an innocent scientist. More soldiers arrive as Sakina is dragged out of another tent and left with Chance. The soldiers then take a hostage to that tent and shoot him.

Present: Carter, Gillian, and Debbie go to Kasese and are shown to an abandoned building (possibly a former school) where bodies are being kept. Gillian gives Carter a chance to back down, but he starts to head into the building.

14 days earlier: As the soldiers start taking the hostages’ personal items, Luka asks Patrique if he’s religious. Luka grew up Catholic and went to church with his mother twice a week. He liked the music. He stopped going after his children died; he couldn’t believe in a God who would let something like that happen. As another hostage is dragged away to be killed, Luka says it’s hard to feel the presence of a higher power at a time like this. He apologizes for letting Patrique stay with him instead of sending him with the rest of their group. Patrique tells the soldiers that they’re doctors, but they don’t care. One of them shoots Patrique dead.

Present: Carter enters the abandoned building, which is full of corpses. He tells Gillian to stay outside, since it’s a grim situation, but she’s far enough into the building that she can tell when he finds Patrique’s body. A soldier points Carter toward a white body, but when Carter rolls him over, it’s not Luka – it’s the geologist. Carter shows the soldier a picture of Luka, and the man identifies him as a priest.

14 days earlier: The soldiers drag the protesting geologist to the tent and kill him. Luka is the only hostage left. He waits quietly for the soldiers to come get him, looking up at the sun and the trees. He stands up and begins praying. A soldier (the same one now with Carter) announces that he’s a priest. Sakina echoes that, and since Luka’s still wearing her cross necklace, the soldiers all believe it. They kneel next to him and listen to him pray.

Present: The soldier takes Carter, Gillian, and Debbie to a refugee camp. Sakina and Chance are there, as is Luka. He’s sick but alive. Carter, Luka, Gillian, Charles, Sakina, and Chance head to safety, and Carter arranges a flight to the U.S. for Luka. He gives Luka a letter to give to Abby. Carter’s going to stay in the Congo for a while and take over for Luka. He tells Luka to tell Abby that Carter was lost but is now found. Luka kisses Carter’s cheek and thanks him for the rescue.

Carter, Debbie, and Angelique watch the plane take off, then head back to work. Debbie still can’t believe Carter doesn’t like the Chicks. You’re going to need to get over that, Debbie. Anyway, Luka’s safe, and we’re about to get a break from Carter for a few episodes. I love a happy ending!

Thoughts: Debbie is played by Mary McCormack.

This is, admittedly, not one of the worst Africa episodes. I’d say it’s actually the best, not that the bar is very high.

Also, scruffy Luka is a gift to us all.

December 14, 2021

ER 10.1, Now What?: Suddenly ER Stands for “Everyone’s Racist”

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

It’s Neela time!

Summary: We revisit the end of “Kisangani,” with Carter going to Abby’s apartment after returning from the Congo. She wakes up and lights a cigarette, because what better way to deal with your estranged boyfriend letting himself into your apartment at 5:30 in the morning? He apologizes for the way he left a couple weeks ago. Abby just asks him to return her key. He drops it on a side table as he leaves.

The next morning, a woman named Denise picks up a girl named Katie for a carpool with two other kids, Hannah (her daughter) and Matthew. They get stuck in traffic. Elsewhere in the city, Pratt runs to catch an El train. He gets on one just in time and strikes up a conversation with a woman who admires the fact that he’s a doctor. Denise is starting to move out of the stuck traffic when she suddenly passes out. Her car hits another and flips over. She regains consciousness in time to see a truck heading toward the car, unable to stop in time.

Pratt continues his conversation on the train until it stops because of a delay. That delay is most likely related to the car crash, which happened just outside County. Abby talks to a firefighter and relays to Chen, Haleh, Malik, Gallant, and Jerry that there are four people trapped in Denise’s car, plus one under a car across the street. Exposition lets us know that Gallant graduated the day before and is now an intern. Also he was fourth in his class. Yay, Dr. Gallant!

The entrance to the hospital is full of construction workers and equipment as Weaver’s plan to change the triage area is underway. Weaver yells at a guy for making a lot of noise. Yelling to express your annoyance at someone for being loud isn’t a great strategy, by the way. You’re just adding to the noise. Chen looks for Susan as Frank complains to Weaver about furniture. Weaver yells at the construction guy again.

In the middle of the chaos, Neela Rasgotra, a third-year med student, arrives for the first day of her ER rotation. Frank makes a comment about the hospital not hiring Americans anymore. Congratulations, Neela – you’ve gone from entering the hospital to having a reason to file a complaint with HR in the fastest time ever! But don’t bother, because HR does nothing around here.

Abby goes to retrieve Susan from the bathroom, where she’s apparently been spending a lot of her free time hooking up with Chuck. The annulment went through, but their relationship is just heating up. Abby tells Susan that Carter’s back in town. Susan guesses that he screwed up his attempt to apologize to her. Weaver: more yelling. I’m tired already.

Frank turns Neela over to Susan, calling Neela a TWA. Weaver: more yelling. Denise is finally extracted from the car and brought into the ER. Hannah’s right behind her. Weaver confirms that Gallant’s officially a doctor and turns him loose to take on doctor responsibilities. Pratt hasn’t made it in yet, so Weaver tells Jerry to page him until he calls back. The construction work makes all the computers go down. Weaver is confronted by a worker’s butt crack. I wonder if I can pretend the show ended with season 9 and stop recapping right now.

Pratt finally gets to County, arriving at the same time as Carter. Paramedics are also wheeling in Matthew, so Pratt tells Weaver he’s only late because he was helping them. Carter takes in the changes to the ER and asks Frank where the lounge is, since it’s been replaced by the triage area. Weaver asks him if he brought Luka back with him. Behind her, a piece of glass falls out of a window pane. Carter finds a plastic bag of his stuff hanging on the door of his locker, with a note from Abby that just says, “You forgot your stuff.”

Pratt, Gallant, and Haleh tend to Matthew, who doesn’t seem to have any serious injuries. Pratt spots Neela in a trauma room and takes an interest. He offers her and Susan his help with Denise, who doesn’t know how the crash happened. Pratt basically volunteers himself as a private tutor for Neela, giving her more one-on-one attention than residents usually give med students.

Frank tells Carter that the executor of Millicent’s estate has been trying to reach him for weeks. Haleh welcomes Carter back, but he’s not really paying attention, since he responds, “You, too.” He crumples up the note Frank gave him with the lawyer’s phone number, then joins Susan, Pratt, and Neela. Since they have things under control, he goes next door to see how Chen and Abby are doing with Hannah. Jerry tells them that another kid is coming in, so Chen goes to take care of Katie, leaving Carter and Abby alone. They start clashing right away.

Chen goes next door to ask Susan if she can take one of the nurses she’s working with. She sees how close Pratt is to Neela and makes an “I STRONGLY disapprove of this” face. He was flirting with someone on the train, too! Your boyfriend is a big flirt, Chen! Either dump him now or learn to live with it. Pratt introduces Neela to Chen, who greets Neela coolly. Susan makes a “there’s about to be some DRAMA” face.

Carter tells Abby that he found his stuff and got her “subtle” message. Susan goes to check on Hannah while Pratt has Neela hold a sheet around Denise’s hips, stabilizing her pelvic fracture. After Pratt brings Denise’s x-rays to Susan, she tells him to go help Chen. Pratt makes an “I’m going to have a really bad day” face. Chen’s working on Katie right next to Denise’s trauma room, and she doesn’t hide how she feels, so Neela can see her glaring through the window. She asks Chuny if Pratt and Chen are together.

Neela’s alone again with Denise, trying to hold the sheet around her steady. Denise is worried about Hannah, but Neela doesn’t know anything about the other crash victims and can’t give her any information. Abby and Carter lose Hannah’s pulse and try to revive her. Denise passes out again, and Neela tries not to panic about being the only one around to help her. Elizabeth arrives, clocks Neela’s British accent, and asks if she’s from the East End. Nope, West London. (Translation: Elizabeth thinks Neela’s poor because she’s Indian. Shut up, Elizabeth.)

Chuny returns and alerts Chen and Pratt to the fact that their patient is unstable. Elizabeth’s annoyed that no one discovered that Denise has internal bleeding. Chen tells Neela to go get her labs, calling Neela “you.” Speaking of labs, Abby calls to get Hannah’s, which seem to indicate kidney damage. Denise’s labs aren’t complete, so Neela goes straight to the doctor working on them and urges him to hurry. He tells her the blood work shows something abnormal.

Neela runs back to the ER and tells Elizabeth that Denise has a rare form of anemia that will require non-type-specific blood. Neela looked at the slide herself and confirmed this. She thinks that the anemia caused Denise to pass out and crash the car. Pratt’s proud of Neela for moving fast and bringing back a diagnosis that will help them treat Denise successfully. Neela’s proud of herself for doing something so helpful on her first day.

Now the phones are messed up. Sigh. Pratt sends Neela to start examining patients on her own and present the cases to him. Gallant meets her and makes small talk, noting that Chicago must be a big adjustment for Neela. He assumes she’s moved there from India, but Neela lived in London starting when she was 11, and she went to school in the U.S. (Yale for undergrad, Chicago for med school). He takes her with him to start seeing patients.

Romano is back at work, so…yay. His crankiness was not stored in his reattached arm, so he’s still mean now that it’s been removed. Frank continues being racist about Neela. SHUT UP, FRANK. Carter and Abby have stabilized Hannah, so he goes off with Pratt to do something else. He tells Abby to call him if she needs him. Abby says she won’t. Guys, I don’t think she means that just about Hannah.

Pratt wants Carter to see his patient, Mr. Williams, who has HIV and an infection that isn’t responding to treatment. Prtt comments that there must be some astronomical weirdness going on because his and Carter’s girlfriends are both mad at them. Yeah, blame the universe for that. Anyway, Pratt was hoping to get Mr. Williams into some program that will help with his medication, but he can’t start for a couple of months. Mr. Williams can’t afford the prescription he’s already received. Carter determines that his infection has spread, so he’s now qualified for Medicaid and new medications. The bad news is he now has AIDS.

Susan and Abby discuss Carter again; Susan thinks it’s a good sign that he went straight to see Abby after returning to the U.S. She advises Abby to tell Carter how his sudden departure made her feel, and let him make it up to her. More construction wackiness, now in the bathroom. Abby complains that Carter’s acting like nothing happened. Susan opts for the men’s room instead of finding an available women’s bathroom. She and Abby keep chatting while Malik finishes up at the sink. He’s strangely unsurprised that the women are there.

Neela gets a break from Frank’s racism when she treats a patient named Mrs. Ferguson who admires the color of her skin. Gallant is a good teacher, and he’s definitely confident in his own medical skills, though he’s been that way for a while. Weaver gets a taste of her own medicine when Romano yells at her about…something. Who cares? Frank tells Carter that Millicent’s executor called again, and he’s on his way to try to catch Carter in person.

Susan urges Abby to talk to Carter, and they agree to get coffee when they both have a break. Mr. Williams tells Carter that he can’t get his medication until he gets his Medicaid card, which will take a few weeks. He can’t afford to pay for the medication out of pocket until then. Carter says he’ll call the pharmacy and see what he can do.

Neela draws blood from Mrs. Ferguson as she tells Neela about losing her husband, whom she married when she was a teenager. She encourages Neela not to wait too long to get married. The guy doesn’t have to be handsome, just nice. Neela’s amused. The construction workers stop at 2:30, since they’ve been working since 7:00. Weaver’s annoyed. Laura Innes should sue someone for this storyline.

Pratt checks in with Neela and basically steals her back from Gallant. Chen looks on, glaring again. Ming-Na should sue someone, too. The phone at the admit desk is ringing, and Jerry and Frank aren’t around, so Neela answers it. It’s a long-distance call for Carter. When Frank returns, Neela reports that the caller says someone named Luka has died. Everyone at the desk is stunned.

Carter and Abby take a walk on their coffee break, and he tells her about how crazy things were in the Congo. He knows the experience was life-changing, but he’s not sure exactly how yet. Abby asks about Luka, making Carter think that’s all she wanted to discuss. He tells her Luka is “more than fine.” Well, not according to the person Neela just talked to!

Abby complains that she and Carter never really talk. She can never tell what he’s thinking. Why did he go to the Congo without telling her? Did he mean to hurt her? Carter says no; he just wanted to do something meaningful. She asks if he thought about her while he was gone. He says he did, but he doesn’t give any details about whether those thoughts were, for example, “I miss Abby,” or more along the lines of, “Thank God I’m thousands of miles away from that harpy.”

Abby starts to go inside, so he complains that she always walks away when things get tough. She returns and says that Carter makes everything about her problems. He has his own problems he hasn’t dealt with. Carter wonders why he came back at all. He can’t get a pharmacy in the richest country in the world to give Mr. Williams his medication. While he’s yelling, Chuny comes outside and gives Abby the news that Luka’s dead.

Carter tries to contact someone in Kisangani while the rest of the staff mourns together. Gallant tells Neela that Luka was an attending, but they weren’t close. She goes back to Mrs. Ferguson, but she’s been moved, so Neela assumes she was taken for a procedure. She presents a patient to Pratt and makes a diagnosis. Chen starts quizzing her, letting her know that her diagnosis might be wrong. Pratt sides with Neela, but Chen overrules them.

She leaves and Pratt follows her to chastise her for being too hard on Neela. Chen complains that he was all over her, and it humiliated Chen. Malik comes to get them, announcing that Mrs. Ferguson is bleeding out. She was supposed to have constant monitoring, and Neela takes responsibility for not doing it. Malik moved her to a room for privacy and made a note on the board. Gallant insists that this isn’t Neela’s fault, it’s his. Either way, Mrs. Ferguson is in bad shape.

In the lounge, Carter tries to track down Luka’s father in Croatia, but his last name is common there and Abby doesn’t know his first name. Carter decides to get it from the Alliance de Medicine Whatever instead. He plans to go back to the Congo and get Luka’s body himself. He feels responsible since he left Luka behind. He grabs an empty bag and starts stuffing medical supplies into it to take with him. Weaver catches him, so he tells her to bill him.

Pratt finds Neela sitting with Mrs. Ferguson’s body and tells her that the woman’s death wasn’t her fault. She asks him what a TWA is. Pratt speaks Frankese: It means third-world assassin. Neela, go back to HR! Wait, I told you not to go the first time. Make a note of all this crap, just to have it on the record. To try to cheer her up, Pratt takes her to the post-op wing so she can see that Denise made it through surgery. Neela’s day has been so long that she’s surprised that happened just this morning. Pratt tells her he’ll see her tomorrow.

Abby follows Carter as he leaves the hospital to go to the airport. She begs him not to go, but Carter ignores her. She tells him she can’t keep doing this. He almost pauses, but he keeps going. Abby, I would consider that a break-up. Go celebrate.

Thoughts: I’m mostly just okay with Neela – I don’t love her or hate her – but I do really like Parminder Nagra, and I think she’s great in the role. Plus, the character gets a journey we haven’t seen before, which is nice.

Chen is about to become unbearable. You have been warned.

Who approved Carter to work a shift just hours after a long trim home from the Congo, when he must have horrible jet lag?

December 7, 2021

ER 9.22, Kisangani: Culture Shock

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

This shot of Luka is a gift to us all

Summary: We started the season in the Congo, and we’re ending it with Carter heading there to meet up with Luka for Alliance de Medicine Whatever work. The man next to him on the plane to Kinshasa warns that he’ll have a lot to do in Kisangani. After hours of traveling, Carter meets up with a man named Charles, who’s flying with him to Kisangani. He tells Carter that Luka’s still working at a clinic in another town for a little while. Charles says that all the women there love Luka. Well, of course.

On a bumpy drive to their destination, Carter asks Charles if he’ll be dealing with any conditions more than others. Charles says it depends on the day. When they arrive at their accommodations in Kisangani, they’re met by a bunch of refugees huddled in an open tent to stay out of the rain. They’re quieter than the ER patients Carter deals with every day, and most likely have more urgent needs.

Carter spends the night on a cot, surrounded by mosquito netting (which doesn’t seem to be doing its job), then reports for his first day at the clinic. He meets a surgeon named Angelique, who gives him a quick rundown of the illnesses they see most and the medications they use to treat them. They mostly have antibiotics, and if infections don’t respond to them, there’s not much the staff can do. She introduces Carter to Gillian, and the two women talk about him in French, which he doesn’t speak. Gillian is man crazy, it seems, so Angelique guesses she already has a crush on Carter.

Gillian tells Carter that Angelique is originally from India and has worked in Kisangani for six years. Carter will be one of four doctors at the clinic, all from different countries. Charles is in charge of logistics and supplies. (I’m not sure where he’s from; the actor playing him is Swiss.) There are five nurses, but patients’ family members pitch in a lot. Carter thinks the nurses at County might stop complaining if they had the same patient load as the nurses in this clinic. He has no idea – the admit area is so busy, Carter thinks he’s already on a patient ward.

He and Gillian treat some patients together, sending as many people home as possible, even when they have something like malaria. They don’t have enough beds to admit everyone who should be admitted. Gillian uses some diagnostic tests rather than blood work to determine that a boy has polio. His father is devastated. Carter is clearly blindsided by how serious his patients’ conditions are compared to the people he treats in Chicago.

Gillian joins Carter for lunch, which is apparently horrible. He compliments her English, and she teases him because he assumed her French accent means she’s not a native speaker (she’s from Montreal). She’s only been in Kisangani for ten days, but that’s just this time around – she spends a month there every year. She calls it her penance for her wildness in the rest of her life.

Angelique joins them and asks Gillian in French how Carter’s doing. Gillian says he’s competent but out of his depth when it comes to the “primitive conditions.” Carter calls them out for obviously talking about him right in front of him. He tells them he works with Luka, and Angelique and Gillian exchange a glance. When Angelique asks what Luka’s like back home, Gillian decides to leave the conversation.

Angelique tells Carter that Luka went to another town, Matenda, a few days ago with an immunization team. The clinic doesn’t get vaccines often, and refrigeration is tough when they do, so they went as quickly as they could. They were supposed to return yesterday. Angelique isn’t worried, since it happens.

Carter goes back to work, finding a man and woman sitting by a wall, waiting for treatment. He tells a nurse that the woman has died. The man says he knows. His wife has been dying of AIDS for months, and he didn’t know where else to go. Carter’s shellshocked again. Are you getting the theme here? How Carter, a privileged white guy from the U.S., is stunned by the conditions people experience in other countries? Are we all on the same page here? Good.

On day 6 of his African adventure, Carter is communicating more with his patients (through translators) and getting to know them more. The lights go out while he’s making rounds. Outside, Luka arrives in a makeshift ambulance with a couple patients with gunshot wounds and one with a machete wound. Angelique yells for Charles to start their generator so they can do their jobs. The lights come on as Carter and Gillian use whatever tools they have available to treat a patient.

The clinic is running out of oxygen, and they only have a few hours left of fuel for the generator. If they turn out all the lights, they can ration their supply. Carter thinks his patient needs surgery, but Angelique says that would be a waste of their resources. She’s familiar with the kind of ammo he was shot with, and she knows that even with treatment, the patient will most likely die. She’ll go treat the other patients, and if the lights are still on after that, she’ll come back.

Charles runs through the clinic, turning off the lights, as Angelique and Luka operate on her last patient. Carter and Gillian’s patient needs more blood, but they’re out. Carter suggests that they donate. Gillian reminds him that they can’t save everyone. The lights flicker, which Gillian recognizes as the staff rolling the generator to get every last drop of fuel.

Angelique finishes with her last patient, then comes back to Carter’s to see what she can do with their last half hour of generator power. Carter assists in surgery, which means somewhere, Benton is chuckling. They’re wrapping up when the lights go out again, so Angelique says they’ll have to pack the patient’s wounds and come back tomorrow, assuming he survives the night. Gillian notices that the man is bleeding from his fingertips and gums, which means his blood isn’t clotting. Carter tries to massage the patient’s heart, working even after Angelique tells him it’s time to give up. The man’s family watches the whole time.

Carter finally gets a chance to talk to Luka, who’s taken up smoking, that rebel. Luka’s going back to the other clinic the next day to continue treating some patients who can’t be moved to Kisangani. Gillian gives him a cool welcome back, and Carter quickly puts together that Luka and Gillian have hooked up. Gillian guesses that Carter’s upset about the patient they weren’t able to save, so she shares some good old-fashioned American Pepsi with him.

She heads off to bed, announcing that she hopes someone will join her. Luka ignores her and asks Carter how Abby is. Carter thinks Luka believes he and Gillian hooked up, and he promises they didn’t. Luka’s like, “So does that mean I’m free to join her in bed?” Luka, I’m 100 percent sure Carter doesn’t want to spend a single second thinking about your sex life, so just go do whatever you want and let him pretend he doesn’t know anything about it.

On day 10, one of Carter’s patients from his first day at the clinic returns, since her malaria medication isn’t working. Two new doctors arrive from the U.S., so Carter gets to be the veteran with some newbies. Angelique tells him that Charles is bringing in some vaccines the next day, and if he can find a nurse to tag along, he can go to Matenda with an immunization team. Carter picks Gillian, and though I’m sure Angelique thinks it’s because she’s pretty, it’s really because she’s one of only two nurses in this episode, and the only one who got paid to say more than one line of dialogue.

The next day, Carter, Charles, and Gillian head to Matenda, passing the bodies of people who have been killed in the country’s ongoing war. Their driver, Patrique, is from the Congo and remembers how beautiful and peaceful things were when he was a child. In Matenda, they reunite with Luka, who’s happy to have Carter’s help in vaccinating a long line of patients. He teaches Carter a little French so he can tell the kids not to be afraid. (Yes, Luka speaking French is just as delightful as you’d imagine.)

One of the patients has a bad cough, and Carter guesses he has whooping cough. The boy gets admitted to the clinic, though Carter can only give him basic antibiotics. After work, Carter asks Luka if he told the boy’s father they can save him. Without stronger antibiotics, the boy doesn’t have a chance. Carter laments not being able to give him a $10 medication that’s easily available in the U.S. But Luka’s still optimistic: They vaccinated 200 kids today, which means they saved 200 lives in a single afternoon, something they never do in Chicago.

That night, some of the staff hang out and listen to Willie Nelson’s version of “Willow Weep for Me” (Charles chose the music; he went to college in Texas). Luka ends a dance with Gillian by dipping her. Carter gives a happy bow in response. Moments later, bombs hit the site just a few feet away. Everything is quiet for a few moments, but then a woman runs up, carrying a screaming child. Her foot was blown off by a bomb.

Carter and Luka move quickly to treat the girl, Chance, even as bombs continue blasting and gunfire can be heard. Patrique announces that they need to evacuate their patients. Rebels are getting closer, but Luka won’t move until they’ve stopped the Chance’s bleeding. The staff does their best to ignore the sounds of war outside. Willie Nelson takes over the soundtrack as they finish up and rush Chance and their other patients into the relative safety of the jungle.

They all spend the night there, and in the morning, Chance is doing well. Carter praises Luka for his surgical skills. Luka says he’s done this before. He knows war starts with patriotism and talk of pride, but it always leads to death. The people of the Congo want the same things every parent does. They want their children to be safe no matter where their country’s borders are or who their president is.

Carter admits to not knowing the politics of the situation, like, of course not – you’re a rich white dude from America. You probably couldn’t even find the Congo on a map before you got on the plane. Luka notes that Americans fight wars a lot differently than people in other countries. American soldiers get to maintain a lot of distance from the people they kill.

Carter argues that American soldiers died in Iraq. Luka points out that back in America, people don’t suffer the starvation and assaults that the civilians in warring third-world countries do. Back in Croatia, Luka was won over by all the newspapers and reports that urged the country to fight for freedom. Then his family was killed and all of that felt pointless. His children were dead – nothing else mattered.

The group heads back to the clinic, passing bodies on their way. They find one man who’s still alive and bring him with them. The rebels took the clinic’s stash of food and some supplies, but the staff will continue their work anyway. Patrique identifies the man they found as a government soldier. I don’t think it matters who he is; Luka’s going to treat him anyway.

The boy with whooping cough isn’t getting better, but Luka tells Carter to keep using the same treatment he’s been using. Chance, on the other hand, is doing well. The soldier doesn’t want to stay at the clinic, and he insists on going back to his regiment. Carter will let him go when he can walk again. Luka argues with Charles about whether they should go back to Kisangani or stay in Matenda. Luka says at least three of their patients will die if they’re moved. He suggests that the others go back to Kisangani and leave him behind in Matenda.

Charles is okay with this, but Gillian isn’t. She knows Luka can’t take care of all three patients by himself with only Patrique’s help, since Patrique doesn’t have any medical training. Luka orders her to go back to Kisangani, reminding her that in a few days, a group will come back to get him. If you thought Abby was stubborn, Gillian is even more so, and she’s giving Luka a run for his money.

Some rebel soldiers arrive, and Charles explains to them why the clinic staff is there. One of the soldiers seems skeptical that they’re all with an aid group. The rebels pull the government soldier from the group and drag him off. They make everyone else get on their knees while one rebel holds a gun to Luka’s forehead. As Patrique continues begging for their lives, the rebel turns to Carter.

Patrique tells the rebel that Carter tried for a long time to save his brother (the man who died after being shot). Carter recognizes one of the younger rebels as that patient’s family member. Satisfied that the group is telling the truth about being with an aid organization, the rebels start to leave, but not before killing the government soldier. Carter’s seen murder before, but this seems more brutal. He can’t call the cops and have them bring the rebel to justice.

Later, Luka and Gillian kiss goodbye while Carter and Charles try to avert their eyes. Luka’s stay in the Congo is pretty open-ended, so Carter asks what he should tell Weaver when he gets back to Chicago. Luka doesn’t care. Carter tells him not to do anything stupid like get himself killed. Luka takes a moment, then goes back to the clinic to keep working.

Gillian cries on Carter’s shoulder, then his lap as they ride back to Kisangani. Sometime later, he returns to Chicago and lets himself into Abby’s apartment. Didn’t they basically break up? Eh, whatever. She’s asleep, and he doesn’t wake her to say he’s back. He just sits on the bed and probably thinks about how all his experiences in the Congo have made him a new person, or whatever.

Thoughts: The Africa episodes are the ultimate in white saviorism – well-meaning but ultimately pointless because they’re not helping anyone. They’re just the show patting itself on the back for shining a light on what some people go through around the world, but they don’t really offer any solutions, and they only show the negative parts of Africa. Also, they apparently filmed these episodes in Hawaii.

I’m surprised Carter doesn’t speak French. Wouldn’t he have learned it at some fancy private school? Maybe he took Latin.

I’m disappointed that there’s only a brief mention of how Luka watched his family die in a war and is now volunteering in a region that’s in the middle of its own war. How does he not have debilitating PTSD?

I feel like I just started season 9 a couple weeks ago, but we’re already done. Up next: Neela, Sam, Morris, and Thandie Newton.

November 30, 2021

ER 9.21, When Night Meets Day: Total Eclipse of the Carter

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

It’s the 200th episode, so they set something on fire, just for fun

Summary: Carter opens the heavy blinds in his bedroom to a bright, sunny day. He heads to County for a shift, taking over for Pratt, who worked overnight. He’s getting through his punishment from Romano, a month’s worth of night shifts. Pratt has no sympathy for Susan, who’s only had to work three nights in a row. Susan tells Carter that there’s a group of patients who want to be released by 2:16 p.m. so they can see an eclipse. “The moon blocks out the sun – big deal. I’ve got a billboard outside my apartment that does the same thing,” she says. Pratt has just one more night at County before he moves on to Northwestern.

This episode goes back and forth between the night and day shifts, so we skip ahead to the start of Pratt’s last County shift that night. He slept through the eclipse and doesn’t care that he missed it. He repeats what Susan said almost verbatim. Carter’s still there, talking to a woman with two young kids about something that doesn’t seem happy.

Pratt notes that there are a bunch of Buddhists in the ER. Carter explains that a nun died. He’s also treated a six-year-old girl with cyanide poisoning and dealt with a man who died of a heart attack. He passes a patient back to Pratt because the poor guy has been there for 20 hours. Carter heads out without really saying goodbye to Pratt, who reminds him that this is his last shift at County. Carter wishes him luck in the future.

Day: Weaver tells a guy with a dump truck not to park in the ambulance bay while some workers are remodeling the triage area. Chen chats with Carter, who’s leaving for a vacation in Rio the next day. Paramedics bring in a woman who tells them she was forced to do something because “it’s all ending today.” 2:16 p.m. will mark the end of the world. Carter laments that he’ll miss it because he has to work.

Next, he and Elizabeth tend to a gang member who was shot. Gallant asks him to examine the Buddhist nun. The ER is busy, so when Weaver comes down, Carter hopes she’s going to help out. She’s not. She also hasn’t fired Romano, as Carter hopes – he’s on medical leave. The woman who was talking about the end of the world is now unconscious, and Carter thinks she’s on drugs. Peña thinks that since she’s out, he doesn’t have to follow up on her claim that someone tried to kill her. Yeah, that’s how it works. Once someone falls asleep, there’s no more crime to investigate.

Carter blows off a guy he thinks is a drug-seeker so he can check in on the nun, Zuin-an. She has cancer and ended her chemo treatments a few months earlier because they weren’t doing anything. A fellow nun, Kito, brought her to the ER because she’s in pain and hasn’t been drinking anything. Zuin-an touches Carter’s face and says in Japanese, as translated by Kito, “So much sadness.”

Night: Doc Magoo’s is on fire. It sounds like it never reopened after the murders there, so no one was inside. Pratt tries to use this as an excuse to end his shift early. Susan doesn’t fall for it. Abby tries to wrangle her patient, who stepped outside to smoke even though he’s there being treated for a bleeding ulcer. Priorities, you know? There’s an explosion at Doc Magoo’s, which Pratt thinks should justify leaving early.

Day: Romano’s about to go in for surgery to have his arm amputated. He asks Elizabeth to write, “Not this one, idiot” on his good arm. He passive-aggressively invites her to observe his surgery, you know, if she feels like it. She already has an operation on her schedule, but she says she’ll scrub in if she can. Just in case she can’t make it, he insists that she add “idiot” to “not this one.” He asks if she thinks he’s doing the right thing. Elizabeth says yes, but Romano still doesn’t like it.

Night: A firefighter comes in with an eye injury, I think from the blast at Doc Magoo’s. The woman and kids Carter was dealing with are still hanging around the trauma room that once held the man who died of a heart attack. He’s been taken to the morgue, but his wife hasn’t been able to bring herself to leave yet. Pratt starts to find another trauma room for the firefighter so the family can take their time, but the woman says they’ll leave. One of the kids gives Pratt a long look before he leaves.

Day: Carter and Gallant treat a teen named Turner, who has a scar on his belly from a recent splenectomy. Carter’s surprised that he’s already out and about doing gang stuff. Turner indicates that he didn’t have a choice, since a gang killed his brother and hurt his sister. Carter realizes that this is Curtis’ brother. So now we know what happened when Curtis and his friends went out for revenge. Carter moves on to help Chen treat a 12-year-old girl named Heather who fell off a tour boat and has been unresponsive for 45 minutes. Her father’s watching through a window, so Carter doesn’t want to give up just yet.

We go back and forth between day, where Carter’s trying to keep Heather alive, and night, where she regains consciousness. In the daytime, Carter tells Heather’s father that her lungs may have sustained damage and her brain may have been deprived of oxygen for a long time. In the nighttime, Pratt gives Heather’s father the good news that she’s going to be fine.

Day: Elizabeth checks on Turner, commenting to Carter that gang members seem to keep getting younger. Carter’s alleged drug-seeker is still asking for medication. He checks on Zuin-an, who knows she doesn’t have much time left. Kito tells him that Zuin-an has the gift of seeing inside people. The women met while serving prison sentences (Zuin-an for demonstrating for human rights in North Korea), and Kito says Zuin-an saved her. She’s touched to see Zuin-an embrace “her death and rebirth.” That’s how you realize your purpose. Carter seems touched, too.

More back-and-forth: Pratt treats a boy with impetigo, NOT scabies like his mother suspects. She insists that he didn’t get the infection at her house. Ma’am, Pratt fully doesn’t care. Carter treats a woman who claims she hurt her wrist in a fall, but was probably beaten. Pratt tries to get a woman to accept that she has gall stones because she has unhealthy eating habits. Carter treats a man named Mr. Dressler who though he was having a heart attack but seems to just have indigestion.

Pratt puts a cast on a college cheerleader (oh, poor Pratt, such a tough job chatting with attractive patients). Carter finally lets his drug-seeker have Demerol…but he comes back that night, giving Pratt a different name so he can get more Demerol. Both doctors say they’re putting a note in his chart to alert other staff to his behavior, but if he’s using different names when he comes in, that won’t do anything.

Night: Pratt looks forward to moving on to Northwestern, where he doubts he has to clean up after people who soil themselves on their gurneys. Susan chats with two firefighters until Abby sends them away to do things like roll up their hoses (dirty!), polish their poles (also dirty!), and feed their little spotted dog (…not sure). Susan asks if she’s cranky or flirting. Outside, Turner is brought back in.

Day: Carter wants to call Turner’s mother, but Turner doesn’t think she’d understand why he feels the need to get revenge for Curtis’ death. What he really means is that she’d kill him if she knew what he was doing. Carter wants him to see that there’s more available to him in life. Turner says that where he lives, there isn’t. Carter points out that if Turner dies, no one will be left to take care of his mother and sister.

Chen announces that there’s a mass trauma coming in – a bunch of people tried to commit suicide. One man says that he jumped out a window so he couldn’t be forced to drink something that would kill him. Peña clarifies that a cult thought the eclipse was signaling the end of the world. Carter realizes that the cult members all drank cyanide.

There’s back-and-forth with Turner, who’s fine during the day shift and critical during the night shift. Pratt tries to stabilize him while giving orders for other patients. In the day shift, Malik tells Carter that Mr. Dressler does have a heart issue after all. Now, though, Carter’s too busy to do anything for him.

We get a split screen as Carter tends to a mother and daughter from the mass suicide, and Pratt and Abby try to save a woman who was stabbed and had her baby ripped out of her womb. Carter struggles with his patients, but Pratt and Abby stabilize theirs. As the daughter wakes up, Carter catches Turner stabbing a rival gang member in his bed. He rushes to save the patient, and Turner’s able to run away. That night, Pratt and Susan go back to working on Turner, but they can’t do anything for him.

Romano has a lot of complaints as he heads into surgery. Is anyone surprised? Elizabeth is in the ER, so she’s not there to give him support or make sure the surgical team doesn’t screw up. Pratt treats the firefighter with the eye injury, then checks on Mia, the mother whose baby was stolen. He notices a man he blew off earlier clutching his heart.

Carter finally gets back to Mr. Dressler, who’s now having a heart attack. Carter offers to call his wife, but Mr. Dressler says she took their kids to the park to watch the eclipse. He already left her a message. So now we know who the woman and kids from earlier belong to, which means we also know Mr. Dressler’s fate. Carter takes a call from his father, who has to miss their trip to Rio. Weaver interrupts to bug him about stuff, and he roars at her that he’s on the phone. When he hangs up, Weaver tells him she’ll help out for the rest of the shift. Oh, and he has the gang member’s blood on him.

Carter goes to see Mr. Dressler, who’s waiting to be taken for treatment. Mr. Dressler has a bad feeling about his condition and wants to write his family a letter in case he doesn’t make it. Carter assures him that his chances are really good. Also, he doesn’t have a pen, and he has other stuff to deal with right now, so someone else will have to help Mr. Dressler with his letter.

Elizabeth makes it to Romano’s OR as Weaver and Carter climb into the dump truck outside to help a crew guy who fell from some scaffolding. He’s in the perfect spot to see the eclipse, which is probably a nice distraction for him. Pratt checks on the man with chest pain, Ray, who doesn’t have a regular doctor because his Medicare doesn’t start until next year. Every time he has an EKG or goes to a clinic, his heart is stable, so he can’t convince anyone that he needs treatment. Pratt declares that he’s Ray’s doctor now.

Jerry summons Pratt to the phone for a call about Mia’s attack. Chen brings Carter and Weaver some supplies, then takes over for Carter so he can treat Zuin-an. Pratt tells Abby that the call was to report that someone left Mia’s baby in an alley. The caller’s wife brought the baby home and said it was hers. The husband had seen a news report about Mia’s attack and put everything together. I guess he left the baby in the alley so he wouldn’t get ID’d and get his wife in trouble.

A bunch of stuff happens at once: Some monks gather in Zuin-an’s room and begin a ritual as she dies. Pratt and Abby get to the alley. Chen and Weaver treat the worker in the truck. Romano’s surgery continues. Pratt tries to listen for the baby. The eclipse happens over Weaver and Chen’s shoulders. Susan turns up her headlights so Pratt and Abby can see better in the alley. The eclipse takes away Weaver and Chen’s light, but firefighters free the patient from whatever he was impaled on, so they’re able to move him. Romano is officially a one-armed man. Zuin-an dies. The baby cries and Pratt finds him.

Luka calls the ER from the Congo and tells Carter that the clinic where he’s working is down a doctor. He’d like Carter to call his contact at the State Department and help move along another doctor’s visa. Carter doesn’t really have a contact, just a family friend who was an ambassador. Luka pauses for a second to listen to a nurse named Gillian who’s talking to him in French. He tells Carter that there’s a cholera epidemic in the refugee population and the clinic is swamped.

Carter has already gotten his shots and visa for the Alliance de Medicine Whatever stint he wound up not doing, so he volunteers to go to the Congo and help out for a couple of weeks. Luka would appreciate it. Carter has to end the call, since Mr. Dressler is declining. Pratt, Abby, and Susan get the baby to the hospital and determine that he’s healthy. Even though he had a traumatic start to life, Pratt is sure things will get better for him.

Mr. Dressler’s wife and kids arrive, and Carter asks Gallant and Malik about the man’s letter. Carter didn’t tell them that Mr. Dressler wanted to write it, so no one gave him a pen or paper. Elizabeth tends to some post-op bleeding Romano’s having as he comes out of the anesthesia. He loopily tells her he loves her. Yeah, buddy, she totally knows. Everyone knows.

Pratt gets to be the one to reunite Mia with her baby. Carter tries hard to save Mr. Dressler, but Gallant gets him to accept that they can’t do it. Carter goes to talk to Mr. Dressler’s wife and children, which is what he was doing when Pratt arrived for the night shift. Since Mr. Dressler didn’t get to write his letter, Carter tells his family that he loved them.

While wrapping up his shift, Pratt assures Ray that he’s stable and will be able to stay that way with medication. Ray praises him for being good at his job. Pratt says goodbye to Chen, who congratulates him for surviving his time at County. Carter leaves as well, running into Abby and making awkward conversation with her. He feels bad for failing Mr. Dressler. “Nothing’s right here,” he says. The two of them haven’t talked in a week, and it doesn’t look like Carter wants to address that now.

Abby says that Luka called her, so she knows that he convinced Carter to go to the Congo. Carter laments that he won’t be going on vacation in Rio, but at least he won’t be at County. Doc Magoo’s is still on fire, another emergency Carter can’t do anything about. Pratt goes into the wreckage the next morning and finds a first-aid kit, the only thing still intact. Weaver tells him he’s welcome back at County if he ever wants to pick up a shift.

Haleh has some follow-up questions about Ray, and though Pratt could just walk away and let Chen handle everything, he goes back to the ER to wrap everything up. He doesn’t want to let Ray slip through the cracks. Apparently Pratt thinks he can change where he’s matched, because now he wants to stay at County. I’m sure he would have been disciplined for something within two days of starting at Northwestern, so maybe this is for the best.

Thoughts: The back-and-forth stuff gets a little tedious here, but I like that, for once, we get to see some follow-up with patients.

Pratt may be annoying and arrogant and a bunch of other things, but he also knows his stuff and really cares about people. He was willing to let Mr. Dressler’s family stay in the trauma room as long as they needed. He’s really happy to be able to give Heather’s father good news. And the whole thing with Ray shows that he gets how important County is to many of the patients, and how crucial it is for the doctors to pay attention to what they need.

Wish I could yell at my boss like Carter does and face zero consequences. Must be nice. (If my boss is reading this: I would never yell at you.)

November 23, 2021

ER 9.20, Foreign Affairs: Luka Antes Up

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

No Chase? Sad

Summary: Gordana comes to the ER looking for Luka so she can report that her patient, Ante, is on his way to Chicago, arriving that night. They’ve arranged for him to have surgery at another hospital, but not for two more weeks. His mother sent him early because he’s getting worse. Without the surgery, he won’t survive.

Jack Carter is back in town for Millicent’s funeral, to which he’ll be wearing a red tie, since that’s what his mother liked. Millicent’s lawyer is there to tell Carter that the family foundation’s board has called an emergency meeting. Millicent’s will states that Carter is to become president of the board. Jack is clearly unhappy to be passed over, but he says that’s a good fit. Carter knows he’s lying, and that Millicent gave him the position because she was disappointed in Jack as a son. Hey, Carter, maybe don’t insult your father on the day of his mother’s funeral. He doesn’t want the job, but he also knows he can’t walk away.

Abby gets ready at her apartment, worried that she’s wearing too much lipstick for her boyfriend’s grandmother’s funeral. Eric breaks in, having left his treatment center after getting into a fight with someone over Jell-o. Abby guesses he isn’t taking his medication. He says he is, but not his full dosage. He wants to try a different facility. Abby asks why he didn’t call her and tell her there was a problem. He says he doesn’t know, but I’m guessing it’s because he hates being a grown man who keeps having to turn to his sister for help.

At County, Romano has lowered himself to treat a boy with stomach pain. His mother doesn’t like Romano, and though she speaks Spanish and needs Chuny to translate, I don’t think Romano has any problem catching on. Paramedics bring in a minor league baseball player who passed out during a game. Romano treats him with Luka, who then goes to Weaver to tell her they need to try again to get the powers that be at County to approve Ante’s surgery. He says he’ll arrange everything, including a pro-bono crew. Weaver tells him not to get his hopes up too much, but she’ll work on it.

Luka gets straight to work, asking Jerry to track Ante’s flight while he puts together a surgical team. Romano thinks his baseball player has long QT syndrome, a heart problem. He’s supposed to be done for the day, but he decides to stick around and follow up instead of passing the patient along to Susan.

At the cemetery, Carter introduces one of Millicent’s friends to Jack. She has no idea who Jack is. Ouch. Abby hasn’t arrived yet, even though Carter sent a car for her, so he doesn’t want to start the service yet. Back at County, Romano tells the ball player that treating his condition will require surgery and months of rest before he can go back to playing baseball. The player’s wife objects, knowing no team will want him after that. He’s supposed to get his big break soon. Amazingly, Romano backs down and agrees to treat the player with medication for now. In exchange, he wants box seats if the player makes it to the majors.

Chuck finds a yawning Susan and sings “Wake Up, Little Susie” to her. They’re signing their annulment papers that afternoon. Luka asks him what he’s doing that night. Abby finally makes it to the cemetery, so the service can begin. She’s brought Eric with her and has left him in their limo to watch cartoons and drink. He gets out during the service to pee. As Carter silently begs to wake up from this nightmare, Abby slips away to keep Eric from joining the service. They start bickering, and their voices carry and interrupt the minister. Jack joins the group as Eric knocks over some flowers, then falls into the open grave. Womp womp.

Bact at County, Luka tries to talk Dorset into serving as a support surgeon during Ante’s operation. Dorset has a date with a brunette from radiology, but Luka knows who he’s talking about and warns that he’ll be disappointed. Dorset asks if Elizabeth will also be at the surgery. At the roach coach, Chuck and Susan try to pick a reason for their annulment. He volunteers to take all the blame for their drunken decision to get married. They sign the papers, and after they say a cheerful goodbye, Susan goes back to work.

Luka approaches Elizabeth about Ante’s surgery, offering her anything she wants in return, like babysitting or lawn mowing. She admires him for trying to help Ante, but she thinks he’s acting rashly. Luka says this is Ante’s only chance. Elizabeth asks if Dorset’s participating, and though she claims it’s a problem that he is, she agrees to help.

Back at the cemetery, Abby has drugged Eric to keep him from causing more trouble. She apologizes to Carter for the disruption. She knew she couldn’t leave Eric home alone, and she thought he would stay in the limo. She’ll drop him off at County and then go to the Carters’ house for the reception. Carter doesn’t think she should attend. Abby knows he’s still mad that she prioritized Eric over him, but Eric needs her help. Carter tells her to go help him, then.

Paramedics bring in three members of the Mitchell family – a mom and her kids, Turner and Noelle – who were shot in a drive-by at their house. As Luka’s working on Turner, he gets a call that Ante is doing poorly on his flight. Turner’s stabilizing, so Susan lets Luka go deal with Ante’s case instead. Elizabeth takes over tending to Turner, so Susan goes to help Pratt with Noelle. It turns out she wasn’t shot; Mrs. Mitchell pulled a bookcase down on top of her to protect her when the shooting started, and Noelle now has a spinal injury.

Romano’s at home in his giant, gorgeous kitchen, boiling water. He accidentally catches his reattached arm on fire, but since he has no feeling in that arm, he doesn’t notice until he sees the flames. Weaver attends a committee meeting about Ante’s surgery, but she can’t convince the other doctors present that they should help him. Luka interrupts to complain that they never seem to debate when a rich person needs an artificial heart. They have the ability to save people who don’t have money, but they don’t want to.

Jack finds Carter hiding in an office during the reception, and Carter apologizes for what he said about Millicent being disappointed in Jack as a son. He ducked out of the reception because he didn’t feel like mingling with people he doesn’t know. He’s also embarrassed about what happened with Abby and Eric. Jack assures him that he and Abby shouldn’t feel responsible.

Pratt chats with Noelle as she’s sent up for surgery. Romano arrives and tells “Denzel” (AKA Gallant) to bring him some antibiotics. Gordana returns, and Luka promises her that no matter what, Ante will be brought to County. Gallant thinks Romano is going to try to humiliate him again, but Romano wants treatment from someone who won’t go blabbing to everyone that he burned himself. The injuries are bad, and Gallant isn’t sure he has the training and skills to treat them. Romano tells him to get Susan instead, since she’s the least annoying of all the ER doctors. Gallant says he needs a surgeon. “I am a surgeon,” Romano reminds him.

Carter shows up looking for Abby, but she hasn’t come in with Eric. Mrs. Mitchell’s oldest child, Curtis, shows up and Susan tells him that his mother and brother are doing okay. Noelle is getting scans to determine whether her paralysis is permanent. Curtis asks his mother if she saw who the shooters were. Mrs. Mitchell realizes he wants their names so he can go after them. She begs him not to do anything.

Romano checks on the ball player, telling his wife that she doesn’t have to explain why they’ve decided not to go for the aggressive treatment. Gallant told Weaver about Romano’s injury, so she examines his arm and tries to encourage him to have a procedure he needs. Romano knows that’ll end with him losing parts of his arm, and he doesn’t want that. She urges him to at least have a consult with plastic surgery.

Abby arrives as Curtis blows up at Susan over his family’s situation. Carter calms him and starts to tend to a cut he got when he took out his anger on an IV stand. He has a gang tattoo, though his mom convinced him to leave the gang. He suspects that they were behind the drive-by because they saw him as an easy target.

Weaver tells Luka that the board won’t approve Ante’s surgery, but they said that if, hypothetically, a hypothetical boy with Ante’s condition showed up hypothetically needing the surgery Ante needs, he would be treated off the record. Pleased, Luka goes to the airport himself to pick up Ante.

Carter tells Curtis that Noelle’s chances of walking again are unknown. Curtis tells his sister that he’s going to sort everything out at home. A couple of his friends arrive to take him off to get revenge. Carter tries to talk them out of it, but Curtis sees himself as a warrior who needs to fight for his family.

Luka and Chuck fly Ante from the airport to County as the boy declines. The rest of Luka’s recruits gather, having been promised various things for donating their time (one guy is getting Cubs tickets). Elizabeth and Dorset are all, “Oh, you’re here? I hadn’t thought about that possibility!” Gordana meets the helicopter on the roof, and Chuck helps her and Luka keep Ante stable on the way to the OR. Elizabeth assures Luka that the surgical team will take it from here.

Chuck and Susan meet up for an official-ish goodbye, though Susan notes that they don’t have to stop seeing each other just because they’re no longer married. Weaver finds Luka watching Ante’s surgery from a gallery and tells him some high-level board members aren’t pleased with what Luka pulled, but they’ll deal with that later. Luka admits that he wanted to be a hero and feel like a doctor again.

Gallant asks Romano how he is as Romano leaves the ER. Romano pretends he doesn’t know what Gallant is talking about. Carter checks on Mrs. Mitchell, keeping quiet about the fact that Curtis left to go kill some people. Elizabeth and Dorset take a walk downtown together, and she reveals that she agreed to do Ante’s surgery without getting anything in return from Luka. Dorset wants to go out with Elizabeth, who’s hesitant to agree to a date. She’s about to accept a ride home when she spots Romano moping by the water.

She asks Dorset for a rain check, then joins Romano, who laments that he was simply making tea when he burned himself. He doesn’t think he’s ever going to regain feeling in his arm. Elizabeth urges him not to do anything that will cause another delay in his recovery. But Romano has decided that his best option is to amputate his arm. Elizabeth reminds him that there’s a possibility for recovery down the line, but Romano doesn’t want to wait. He asks Elizabeth to set up his surgery.

Abby runs into Luka while looking for Carter and congratulates him for his success with Ante’s surgery. He tells her he’s going to the Congo in a couple of days for his work with the Alliance de Medicine Whatever. She hugs him goodbye and tells him to take care of himself. Carter joins Pratt to help him with his new patient, once of Curtis’ friends. Chen offers to take over so Carter and Abby can leave, but Carter has a hard time letting go of this case. He eventually storms out, and Abby follows to try to talk to him. He angrily tells her that he needs some time alone. After she leaves, he cries, and she doesn’t come back to comfort him. BREAK UP ALREADY!

Thoughts: I want a guy who will sing to me when he see me in the hallway. Where’s my Chuck??

Like in the previous episode, it’s hard to pick a side between Abby and Carter. She was right not to leave Eric home alone, but bringing him to the cemetery wasn’t a good idea. She should have take him to County.

It says a lot that Romano asks Gallant to help him, even after Romano’s insulted him in the past. I think it’s partly because he thinks Gallant is good at what he does and partly because he thought Gallant would do whatever Romano wanted.

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