March 14, 2023

ER 12.22, 21 Guns: A Bad Day to Die

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

These are their “everything is completely fine” faces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 7, 2023

ER 12.21, The Gallant Hero and the Tragic Victor: Do No Harm

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:08 pm by Jenn

Don’t make me say goodbye to him!

Summary: 25 kilometers southwest of Mosul, Gallant is dozing in a convoy when his fellow soldiers start shooting. The convoy stops and everyone runs out to fire on the enemy. A soldier tells Gallant that a driver was hit, so Gallant goes to tend to him. He decides they can’t wait for a helicopter to come get the corporal; they need to put him in a truck and drive him to an aid station.

The corporal dies along the way, but one of the other soldiers thanks Gallant for trying to save him. Someone notes that the corporal just got engaged. The other soldier asks if Gallant has a “girl” back home. No, but he has a woman. As Gallant starts talking about his wife, something explodes and the truck goes up in flames.

Clemente is still struggling with sleeping at night and overcoming his paranoia that Bobby is going to come after him again. He grabs a baseball bat when he hears noises in the apartment above his, then peeks out his peephole. Elsewhere in Chicago, Morris wakes up in bed with Albright. He’s thrilled to have finally scored with her and snaps a picture of her asleep. Ugh.

At County, Jane is having a deep conversation with Abby about how animals in the wild often eat their young, but when human women kill their children, we call them crazy. Does that means lions are also crazy? Abby’s like, “I’ve never been so happy to have paramedics bring me an assault victim.” The victim is a man named Dennis, who was injured in a home invasion. His kids, who are coming in another ambulance, were also hurt.

Ray doesn’t believe Morris’ claim that he went to Albright’s place for a drink and she basically tore his clothes off. He shows Ray the photo he took, but it’s not very clear. As Abby, Neela, Ray, and Morris start tending to Dennis, that jerk cop Hollis tells them that they don’t have any leads on his attacker because there were no witnesses. Albright comes in and treats Morris like she always does, except for the fact that she calls him Mo. “That little vixen’s getting punished tonight,” he tells Abby and Ray. Excuse me while I throw up.

Pratt is back from Darfur and admits that his experiences there were overwhelming. He downplays his heroics, though. Dennis’ kids arrive, a three-year-old named Eddie and a ten-year-old named Sean. Sean has minor injuries but Eddie lost consciousness on the way to the hospital. Sean wants to stay with his brother, since Eddie will get scared without him.

Clemente joins Luka and Sam to take care of Eddie as they wonder what happened. Clemente guesses that the people who attacked the family were high on meth. As usual, he and Luka butt heads about treatment options. Clemente’s shaky and repeats himself, making it clear to Luka that something’s wrong with him. Clemente blames lack of sleep.

Luka pulls him out of the trauma room once Eddie’s stable and asks if he’s on drugs. Clemente swears he hasn’t taken anything and offers to take a drug test right there. Luka reminds him that he’s an attending and needs to be on top of things. Clemente gets defensive and goes back to Eddie. Luka tries to talk to him more, but Frank has something more important for him to deal with: Two soldiers are there looking for Neela. One of them is a military casualty officer.

Abby and Clemente move on to help Ray and Chuny with Dennis. Luka comes in looking for Neela, who’s in surgery. He tells the staff that officers are looking for Neela, and they immediately guess what’s going on. Clemente’s nose starts bleeding, and it’s a good thing Luka has already left the room because he would be even more convinced that Clemente’s on drugs.

After surgery, Neela gets a page to go to the ER, but Shirley (hi, Shirley!) tells her that Dubenko is eager to talk to her right now. Chuny tends to Clemente’s nose while he talks Abby through Dennis’ difficult intubation. Once they’re done, Ray double-checks that Abby’s okay staying with Clemente while he goes to find Neela. Clemente takes offense.

Dubenko tells Neela that the hospital is funding an additional slot for a surgical residency, and if she wants it, it’s hers. Her elective got her really interested in surgery, and she’s happy to make the switch. She gets another page from the ER, so Dubenko sends her down with plans to celebrate later. Albright informs Neela that she’ll be her attending. Neela pretends she’s looking forward to that.

In the ER, Sam and Chuny point Neela toward Luka, unable to hide that she’s in for bad news. Neela’s too excited about her residency to catch on. Ray finds her next, and she’s disappointed that he’s not as happy about her news as she is. He tries to prepare her for what she’s about to hear. She finally gets that something’s happening when she runs into Abby, who solemnly tells her that there are two men from the Army there to see her.

She approaches them in the waiting room and asks them to give her the news right there rather than wait until they go somewhere more private. The casualty officer breaks the news that Gallant was killed in action. Neela protests that Gallant is a medic, not a soldier. The officer tells her that he was killed by a roadside bomb. Neela fights back tears and says she can’t do this right now – she’s working. She grabs a chart from the admit desk and goes back to seeing patients.

The casualty officer asks Abby to tell Neela that he and his colleague, a chaplain, are there to help in any way they can. Abby asks if Gallant’s parents have been notified. They haven’t, but if Neela would like, the casualty officer and chaplain can take care of that. The officer gives Abby a packet of information on handling Gallant’s remains and other administrative responsibilities.

Clemente comes up to ask if Gallant was killed by friendly fire. He starts blathering about “right-wing cronyism” and the deficit and other stuff, until Sam pulls him away. He apologizes to her and Abby for his rant. Abby suggests that he go lie down for a little while, since his nose is still bleeding. He insists that he’s fine. I think any patient he tries to treat right now would disagree.

Abby checks on Pratt, who had hoped to ride the high of his happiness at being back in a first-world country all day. Hollis tells them that Sean won’t tell the police anything, so they still have no leads. Dennis is unconscious, Eddie’s in a coma, and the kids’ mother is in rehab. He asks Pratt to try talking to Sean. Pratt attempts to impress Sean with an x-ray, on which Jane sees old rib fractures.

Pratt gently gets Sean to open up to him. Sean admits that when he took a toy away from Eddie (not to be mean; sounds like it was something Eddie shouldn’t have been playing with), Eddie started crying, and Dennis shook him to make him stop. Then he punched Sean and threw him into a chair. Dennis went back to hurting Eddie, so Sean hit him with a baseball bat until he stopped.

Ray finds Neela on the roof and listens quietly as she talks about how quickly everything has changed. She still wants to keep working, but he tells her to go home and take care of herself. Neela cries and says that she doesn’t have a home. She also doesn’t have a husband anymore. All she has is the hospital.

Abby takes a moment to herself in the drug lock-up, trying to wrap her head around the fact that Gallant is dead. Luka says she can go home, but she doesn’t want to leave him and Clemente alone to handle traumas. Luka says that Weaver knew that Clemente had problems before she hired him, and now she’s paying for it. Abby points out that Luka’s in charge of the ER. She suggests that they take a quick vacation somewhere warm before the baby comes.

Just as they’re cheering up, Neela comes in to get something. They encourage her to go home, but she says she has things to do. She hasn’t even called Gallant’s parents yet. She insists on telling them instead of letting the casualty officer and chaplain do it. Luka tells her that they left a packet for her at the admit desk. Neela says that if everyone wants her to go home, she’ll go.

Dennis is declining, and Clemente tells Sam to give him chest compressions. He disapproves of her technique and takes over. He wants a medication they don’t have, something he read about in a journal. Sam glances at Abby, who gives her a look like, “This is all for nothing; let him do what he wants to do.” Clemente won’t declare Dennis dead when Abby says they should, but he eventually stops trying to revive Dennis. He complains that they should have used a different treatment.

Luka runs into Clemente as he’s babbling about coffee on his way outside. Frank offers to go after him, but Luka says to let him go and tell Luka when he comes back. He hears Pratt venting to Jane about what Dennis did to his sons. He’s upset that despite all their technology and first-world treatments, they couldn’t protect the kids. Sean had to kill his father because no one was there to help him. Meanwhile, the U.S. spends billions of dollars on a war that’s killing teenagers. Luka asks if Pratt called the police. Pratt spits out that arresting people is the only thing the U.S. is good at.

Clemente talks to himself as he brings coffee back to the hospital. A homeless man says he knows Clemente – he’s a killer. Clemente realizes that his bloody nose made a mess on his shirt. The homeless man starts yelling about doctors killing people. Clemente says he got bloody saving someone’s life. He walks into the street and almost gets hit by a cab.

He fights with the driver, breaking a headlight and jumping up on the hood of the cab. He takes off his shirt, egging the driver on to fight with him. The driver calls him a psycho, and Clemente says he’ll show the guy psychosis, then smashes the windshield. The driver asks if he’s on drugs. Again, Clemente’s ready for a drug test, only this time he just pees right there on the cab.

Abby leaves Neela a message offering to pick up anything she might want to eat before she comes to visit. Ray tells her that Neela seems to just want to be alone. Sam thinks it would be better for her to be around people right now. Police come in with Zadro as he wheels in Clemente, who tells Sam that he got jumped. He objects to Zadro saying that he’s altered. He’s in restraints because he was combative and handcuffs because he assaulted some people.

Clemente thinks he’s the victim of xenophobia. He tells Sam to let the police know that he’s an attending. Sam and Abby try to convince him to let them look at a cut on his leg, but he gets agitated about being restrained. He asks Abby not to give him Haldol, since he’s not crazy. She tells Ray to get Luka, and Clemente mocks Ray for running to “Daddy.” He tells Sam not to give him Haldol, but she ignores him. Clemente reminds Abby that he’s her attending, and her Hippocratic Oath says to “do no harm.” The Haldol starts working and he passes out.

Pratt goes to see Sean, who Jane let stay with Eddie. Pratt lets Sean know that he’ll have to live with a foster family until his mom gets back. Eddie will have to stay in the hospital for a while, but he’s showing signs of improvement, and Sean will be able to visit him. Pratt gently tells Sean that the doctors couldn’t save Dennis. The poor ten-year-old is distraught that he’s going to go to Hell for killing his father. Pratt thinks God will make an exception since Sean was trying to save Eddie.

Abby leaves Clemente with Nelson the psychiatrist so she can go see Neela. Clemente’s tox screens are clean, but Morris isn’t sure that’s a good thing, since it means there must be something psychological going on. Luka checks with Pratt to make sure he’s doing okay transitioning back from Darfur. Pratt says he was just rattled earlier because of Gallant. Luka tells him it’s good to have him back. Pratt thanks Luka for making him go, and Luka invites him to tell him about his experiences sometime.

Abby goes to Neela’s with dinner and groceries. Neela called Gallant’s parents, and it looks like the reality of the situation is catching up with her. Abby offers to spend the night, not just to be with Neela but because it would be a nice break from Luka’s snoring. Neela says that Gallant used to snore when he was drunk. She had to come home and find a photo of him because she couldn’t picture him. She thinks that one day she won’t remember what he looks like. Abby doubts that.

Nelson tells Luka that he’s putting Clemente on a 72-hour hold. With no drugs in his system and no history of major psychological disorders, he thinks Clemente’s claim of sleep deprivation is to blame, along with PTSD from what happened to him and Jodie. Clemente feels bad for the way he acted in front of “the kids” (the residents, I assume). He says he’s passionate and can’t keep his pace “without spinning off the road at some point.” He wishes it hadn’t happened on Luka’s watch. Luka assures him that it’s okay. Clemente expresses his appreciation for Luka’s kindness.

Neela opens the packet from the military, which contains a videotape with her name on it. Gallant made it for her in case something happened to him. She cries as he tells her that he loves her and their wedding day was the happiest of his life. She makes him strong. He knows she didn’t want him to go back to Iraq, but he did what he had to do. She’s the kindest and most beautiful person he knows, and he wants her to be happy. He’ll always be with her. She should find someone else (even though that person won’t be as fine as Gallant is) and start a family. He’ll love her forever.

Thoughts: Boooooo to Gallant dying. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

I can’t imagine being a military casualty officer for more than, like, a week. Having to deal with that much death would wreck me.

I’m impressed with Sam and Abby for maintaining their professionalism while treating their boss. That couldn’t have been easy.

February 28, 2023

ER 12.20, There Are No Angels Here: At Least We Tried

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

I bet the actors hated the Africa episodes. They had to be hot and sweaty the whole time

Summary: I regret to inform you that we are still in Darfur. Pratt and Stephen are working at the clinic, comparing their countries’ problems. Pratt thinks Hurricane Katrina is comparable to the millions of dollars in aid the U.S. promised Sudan, then didn’t give. Stephen says that without international intervention, nothing in Darfur will change. Pratt says that the rest of the world will just continue telling the U.S. to get out of Sudan.

Stephen thinks Pratt is smart enough to believe differently. Pratt notes that the U.S. gets involved in other countries’ fights too quickly. Stephen replies that when “the solution” comes to Darfur, it won’t be quick. Pratt tells him that gangs fight all the time in the U.S., and sometimes the police just have to wait until the dust settles. “Step back and wait – that sounds like an excellent foreign policy while people are suffering,” Stephen says. Pratt argues that plenty of Americans come to Darfur to help out. Stephen is still curious about why Pratt is really there.

The two of them keep bickering (but not in a mean way) as they go to help a baby in the camps. Stephen teases that sometimes he feels like Carter is more African than Pratt is. Pratt wants to take the baby to the hospital, but the mother is hesitant to agree. Stephen starts coughing up blood because of the issues he’s been having stemming from his childhood illness. Pratt wants him admitted to the clinic.

The next day, Zahra tells Carter about a pregnant woman who has hepatitis E. Carter thinks Zahra is overreacting about how sick the woman, Rashida, is. Hepatitis E is easily treatable. Zahra tells him that in Sudan, a lot of people get it from contaminated water, and more than 30 percent of them die. Rashida is in bad shape, and her mother is fully aware that she’s going to die. She asks if they need the bed. Carter says Rashida can stay.

As Pratt comes to get Carter to look at the baby, Stephen tries to convince his colleagues that he can go back to work. Debbie ignores him, and Carter says that Stephen can’t leave until Carter signs off on his chart. “This is why people hate doctors,” Stephen quips. Carter is starting to examine the baby when he gets called away to take care of Ishaak, who’s been shot. Stephen wants to help, but Carter refuses to let him out of bed.

Ishaak tells Carter and Pratt that Janjaweed fighters shot him. Pratt notes that Ishaak has a hard time staying out of trouble. Carter and Zahra explain that Ishaak is a sheik, a leader the other people at the camp look up to. Pratt thinks he should stop trying to unite people, since it just makes him a target. Pratt, shut up. Just…freaking A, why would you say that to someone? Carter tells Ishaak that he needs to be taken into town so he can be treated in a hospital.

Some military officials arrive and ask Debbie if Ishaak is being treated there. She won’t tell them, and she reminds them that they can’t just walk into the camp. One of the officials, Sadig, says that if there are no violations, they’ll leave. Stephen stands up to him as well, but the officials go into the clinic. When they find Ishaak, Sadig tells Carter and Pratt that Ishaak has to fill out a form and file a report about the shooting before he can receive medical attention. The officials restrain Carter and Pratt, then take Ishaak away, knocking Stephen down and smacking Pratt in the head with a rifle on the way.

Stephen gives Pratt stitches and tells him that the officials will probably bring Ishaak back after they’ve interrogated him. Pratt doesn’t think he’ll survive that long. Stephen says that’s probably intentional. Carter’s taking care of the baby, and Pratt joins him, wanting to finish out the workday even with his injury. Carter has determined that there’s nothing more they can do for the baby, but Pratt insists on giving him chest compressions. Carter puts his hand over the baby so Pratt can’t do them.

Pratt asks if they’re just going to watch the baby die. Carter says his mother will, but they have to move on to other patients. He asks Zahra to tell the baby’s mother how sorry they are for her loss. He knows what it’s like to lose a child. The mother is surprised that babies die in Western hospitals.

Ishaak’s wife, Sittina, comes to chastise Debbie and Pratt for letting the officials take Ishaak. She thinks they targeted him because he tells people that it’s not safe to go back to their villages, unlike what they’ve been told. Sittina is pregnant and has been having contractions. Things progress quickly and Carter determines that she’ll be having the baby tonight. Sittina insists on going to the police station to see her husband, but the staff will only take her to the residential compound where the doctors live.

When they arrive, Zahra tells the doctors that they’re late for movie night. Some guy wants to watch Deuce Bigalow again. Carter needs to ask his colleagues at County to send them some better movies. He tells Pratt that the generators are turned off at night for everything except cold storage, but if people are hanging out there, the electricity will be kept on.

Debbie’s annoyed that Stephen keeps downplaying his condition and refusing treatment. He promises that he’ll do less if he starts to get worse. Debbie insists that he have the shunt inserted that Carter recommended. That would require a trip to Khartoum or Nairobi, though, as well as a long recovery, and Stephen doesn’t want to be away from the clinic for that long. Debbie notes that he’ll be away from them permanently if he dies.

She goes outside, where it’s started raining, and Carter joins her to invite her to talk. She says crying every once in a while is her way of dealing with all the difficulties of being there. She’s not crying because of Stephen; he only makes her angry, not sad. She asks what will happen if Stephen doesn’t get treatment. Carter says he’ll get worse. Debbie replies that he’s already at that point.

Stephen sees some police arriving outside and tells the others to hide Sittina. The police are the same officials who took Ishaak from the camp. They think the doctors brought Sittina to the compound, but Carter lies that there are no patients there. He refuses to let them search the compound. They go in anyway, and Debbie tries to keep Sittina quiet. Pratt puts some music on and pretends that the room Sittina is in is an occupied bathroom. Sadig pulls a gun on him and breaks down the door. All he finds is Debbie, who’s taking a shower. She hid Sittina behind some shelves.

Sittina thinks something’s wrong with the baby, and the doctors confirm that the baby’s in distress. They’ll have to perform a C-section. Fortunately, they have the right medication to make it painless, and the baby is okay. Pratt has trouble getting Sittina to stop bleeding after the delivery, though. She tells the doctors that if the police find out who she and Ishaak are, they’ll kill Ishaak. The two of them helped form the HRD, a human-rights group.

As Sittina passes out, Pratt announces that she needs a hysterectomy. They won’t be able to take her to a hospital until the next day. Carter thinks he can operate well enough to buy her some time, but not much. Pratt’s upset that travel takes so long in Darfur. He acknowledges that at least he didn’t convince the others to keep Sittina at the clinic, which would have been worse for her. He wants to try to make the trip to the hospital. “If she dies making the journey, well, at least we tried,” he says.

Carter offers to go with them, but Stephen thinks he should go to the police with Debbie and try to get Ishaak released. At the police station, Carter and Debbie again come up against Sadig. They politely ask to see Ishaak so they can treat his injuries, but Sadig refuses. Meanwhile, Pratt and Stephen come across some Janjaweed on their way to the hospital. Knowing that stopping puts them at risk of having Sittina and the truck taken, Pratt drives straight through their roadblock.

Sadig speaks to a superior and reports that he won’t let them see Ishaak, either. Carter thinks this could be solved with money. When Sadig still won’t budge, Carter threatens to tell the superior that he walked in on Debbie while she was showering. Or maybe he’ll tell the consulate that Sadig violated an American woman’s privacy. “How much money?” Sadig asks. But by the time he finally lets Carter and Debbie into the cell where a bunch of people have been detained, Ishaak is dead.

The Janjaweed’s bullets caused some problems for Pratt and Stephen’s van, including a flat tire, so Pratt pulls over at a village to see if someone can change it. Yeah, I don’t think people living in burned-out villages in Darfur would know more about car maintenance than you do, Pratt. The people who weren’t burned out of the village died there, so there’s no one around.

Carter and Debbie take Ishaak’s body with them when they leave the police station and deliver him to the camp. It turns out he’s not dead after all – Carter lied to get him past the police. Nice job, Carter! Ishaak needs a chest tube, but the clinic doesn’t have the supplies for that, so Carter has to improvise. He tells Debbie to try to get Stephen on the radio. She thinks he and Pratt are probably at the hospital by now.

They’re not, since the van is in worse shape than Pratt thought. They don’t have any water, so he uses a bag of saline to cool down the overheated engine. A Janjaweed fighter finds them, and he doesn’t listen when Stephen explains that they’re taking a woman to the hospital. He hits Stephen, so Pratt tackles him. He gets his hands on the fighter’s gun and shoots him, though it’s not clear if it was intentional or if the gun accidentally went off.

Pratt wants to try to save the fighter, but Stephen tells him they have to get out of there before more fighters come. There’s nothing they can do for the fighter. Pratt and Stephen rush to drive off, but the engine has seized. Stephen doesn’t think he can make the trip on foot. He suggests that Pratt leave him with a gun in case more fighters come. Sittina says something in Arabic and Stephen replies. He translates for Pratt that she called them angels, and he said there are no angels here. “Speak for yourself,” Pratt replies.

He pulls Sittina through the desert on a makeshift wheeled gurney. He asks if she’s ever been to Mozambique. He’d much rather be there, since they have nice beaches. He spots a truck in the distance and, knowing they’re either about to be saved by good guys or killed by bad ones, decides he’s done walking.

Good news: The truck carries a man and his son, and they agree to take Pratt and Sittina to the hospital. The son, who speaks English, asks Pratt if he’s from England like James Bond or America like “Rambro.” Pratt says yes to that, mostly to shut the kid up. “Good stuff,” the boy says, giving him a thumbs up. They get to the hospital without any trouble and Pratt hands Sittina off to the staff there. He’s exhausted but clearly would have kept moving if he’d had to. “Good stuff,” the boy says again, giving him another thumbs up. He imitates Pratt as he leans back on a bench to rest.

Ishaak has improved and is asking for Sittina, but Carter and Debbie haven’t heard any news from Stephen or Pratt. Instead of letting Debbie sit around and worry, Carter takes her with him to introduce Ishaak to his daughter. The father and son drive Pratt back to where he left Stephen, but he’s not in the now-burned-out van. All Pratt finds is the container he keeps his medicine in.

Ishaak holds his daughter as he tells Carter and Debbie that he and Sittina had hoped to be back in their village before the baby came. They didn’t want her to be born in the camp. He hopes that they’ll be able to go home before she grows up. Carter tells him that they haven’t been able to find out anything about Sittina yet. Ishaak is confident that she got to the hospital.

Pratt arrives and reports that Sittina is, in fact, at the hospital and will be okay. When Debbie asks about Stephen, Pratt has to admit to leaving him on the road. He gives Debbie the medicine container. She wants to go out and look for Stephen, but Carter notes that it’ll be dark soon. They can go first thing in the morning. Pratt tells him that Stephen made him keep going. Carter acknowledges that they both did what they had to do. He gives Pratt a minute to clean up and collect himself before he gets back to work. Pratt asks Ishaak if he’s picked out a name for the baby. It’s Amala, which means hope.

The doctors keep treating patients as the people around them try to make the best of a horrible situation. Some kids are running around the camp, and Pratt notices when they suddenly start yelling and gathering around someone. It’s Stephen! He somehow managed to walk back to camp (which he jokes was safer than Pratt’s driving). Pratt is thrilled to see him, but not as thrilled as Debbie. She and Carter figure this is a good time to start his treatment.

As Stephen and Debbie head to the clinic, Pratt tells Carter that while he has his own way of being, he does see and feel what’s going on around him. He never wanted to witness this kind of suffering (no one would), but he’s glad he came there. Carter is, too, joking that he’s going to let Pratt take the blame for the destruction of the van. He adds that they’ll take the cost out of his paycheck. “What do you mean? We actually get paid for this?” Pratt says. Heh. A boy runs up, takes Pratt’s hand, and leads him off to whatever adventure Pratt’s going to have next.

Thoughts: Okay, I’ll admit, this was one of the better Africa episodes. Maybe it’s because I was more invested in the characters than in previous episodes. I wasn’t expecting a happy ending, and it felt really satisfying. (Especially considering the next three episodes are sad and intense.)

Can we make Pratt stay in Darfur and have Stephen take his place at County? Debbie can come, too.

I hadn’t see this episode before, so I fell for Carter’s lie about Ishaak being dead, and I was legitimately mad that his story ended that way. Nice fooling, Carter.

I’m sorry but I just find it so cheesy when movie and TV characters name babies Hope. I like the name; it’s just so overused in that “it’s because we have to keep having hope” way. That said, Amala is a pretty name.

February 21, 2023

ER 12.19, No Place to Hide: The Worst Possible Moments

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

I know she’s only 12 but I would still trust her to look after me more than I would trust Morris

Summary: Clemente leaves a message for Jodie just saying hello. He’s at the hospital at night, and he’s pretending that things are really busy, but they’re not. Jane (oh, hey, it’s Jane) comes to him for confirmation that it’s okay to discharge a patient. He doesn’t know her, since she’s been working nights, and he’s suspicious about who she is. Well, she only shows up every 15 episodes or so, so I can buy that he’s never met her.

Pratt calls and Clemente tries to confirm that he said one of his patients could have Vicodin. Clemente thinks the guy is a drug seeker, but Pratt okays the prescription. Clemente says that he was just thinking about the time they talked on the roof.*** (12.11) Pratt thinks something’s wrong with Clemente and asks if Jodie’s okay. She is, but Bobby keeps sending Clemente sympathy cards. The latest one came with dead goldfish. Ew. That Bobby guy is super-messed up. Anyway, Pratt’s packing to go to Darfur*** (12.18). In the process, he finds a pair of earrings.

Clemente writes a prescription for Vicodin for Pratt’s patient, but not as much as Pratt promised him. He’s the last patient Clemente needed to see, since the shift has been really slow. Jerry’s on his way out, and Clemente offers to walk out with him. He suggests going to get a beer, but Jerry has a date. Clemente heads off alone, clearly uneasy about walking by himself at night. He thinks he’s being followed, but his patient just happens to be walking in the same direction. Time for a psych consult, Clemente!

Weaver is done with physical therapy after her hip surgery*** (12.16) and no longer needs to use her crutch. It’s going to be weird to see her without it. Morris joins Luka and Abby as paramedics bring in a patient, and Abby asks why he’s wearing a suit. Morris lets her know it’s Prada. The patient is impressed and asks him to be her doctor. Abby moves on to another patient, a 12-year-old named Ruthie. She’s accompanied by a dog. Oh, goodie, more fun with animals. That’s always enjoyable.

A sheriff’s van arrives and a prison guard tells Luka that the patient inside may have appendicitis. To Luka’s surprise and displeasure, the patient is Steve. Abby examines Ruthie, who crashed while driving a car. Yes, again, she’s only 12. She wanted to pick up her grandmother’s prescriptions before school. She’s lived with her grandmother, Mrs. Pooler, since her parents died when she was a baby. She bugs Mrs. Pooler to let Abby check her out, since she has a bad cough. The dog, Bob, isn’t allowed to stay, but Ruthie says that if he gets kicked out, she’ll go with him.

Morris’ patient, Lenore, fell while cleaning her windows. She’s a little hyper, and Ray wonders if she’s on meth. Morris worries about getting his suit dirty and makes Jane hold his jacket. He confides that he’s accepted the pharmaceutical job he was told about in the previous episode. It doesn’t start for a few months, but he got a signing bonus. “Always been my dream, pushing overpriced meds to people who probably don’t even need them,” Haleh says. “Always been my dream to hold Dr. Archie’s coat,” Jane replies. Heh.

Abby examines Mrs. Pooler, who’s had her cough for three or four years…since Jimmy Carter was president. Ruthie corrects that it’s since Mrs. Pooler wishes Carter were president. Apparently Mrs. Pooler writes his name in every time. Abby asks Mrs. Pooler when Carter was elected. Mrs. Pooler just says it was “sometime before this latest bozo.” (This was 2006, so “bozo” is correct, as well as an understatement.) Her biggest complaint about politicians is that they keep raising the price of stamps. They’re up to 19 cents now! Mrs. Pooler would like to get Ruthie home before Easter, which Abby notes was last week.

Albright comes to examine Lenore and have yet another obnoxious encounter with Morris. He overrides her decision to take Lenore to surgery. Luka lets Sam know that Steve is in the hospital and offers to have another nurse treat him. She insists that she can handle it. He’s been getting letters from Alex and knows about her new part-time job and new home. He’s happy for them. Steve is wearing a cross necklace, and it seems he’s both turning over a new leaf and getting protection from his fellow religious prisoners. He thinks that Sam believes he’s faking his pain just to get a break from prison.

After examining Steve herself, Neela tells Clemente that Steve claimed to be in a ton of pain but isn’t now. Clemente finds that “convenient.” Yeah, or his appendix burst and he’s on his way to a massive infection. Neela starts to tell him about Sam and Steve’s past, but Sam dismisses her and tells him herself. Clemente goes to see Steve, still not believing that he has appendicitis. He wants to discharge Steve, but Neela thinks he’s actually sick.

She apologizes to Sam for bringing up her connection to Steve, and Sam says she just doesn’t like people protecting her. Neela tells her to check Steve’s blood counts again. Sam thinks Neela’s being overly cautious for her benefit, but Neela really thinks Steve has appendicitis. She isn’t going to take his history of being shady into consideration.

Some tests have shown Abby that Mrs. Pooler has dementia. Now the question is whether she can continue taking care of Ruthie. Abby has called social services, and she warns that they may suggest putting Ruthie in foster care. Ruthie thinks she can take care of her grandmother, since she knows all her medications. She cries and begs her grandmother not to let this happen. She doesn’t want anything to change. Mrs. Pooler tells her that when Ruthie’s parents died, she thought nothing would ever be the same. Then the two of them were able to turn the worst possible moments into years of the best possible moments.

Morris has changed out of his suit into scrubs. He tells Jane that he convinced himself that he’s great without it. “What did you spill?” Haleh asks. “Coffee,” he admits. Heh. Albright comes back in to yell at Morris for not sending Lenore to surgery. But he discovered that Lenore takes lithium, which means her symptoms might not be related to her injuries. He’s so sure that she doesn’t need surgery that he sticks a needle in her belly right in the hallway to prove himself right.

Weaver is still using her crutch out of habit, but when she gets to County, she puts it in her locker. For the first time, she walks into the ER without it. No one mentions it. Outside, Luka bugs Abby about calling social services for Ruthie, since Abby doesn’t want to separate her from her grandmother. She wants to fight for them to stay together. Luka argues that kids shouldn’t be caretakers. Abby, of course, spent years taking care of both her mother and her brother, so she has a different perspective. She wouldn’t have wanted to be taken from Maggie when she was 12. Luka gently says that Ruthie doesn’t get to decide. Just then, Ruthie runs by.

Frank loudly announces to Neela that Steve’s bloodwork is back, so of course Clemente hears and gets annoyed that Neela didn’t listen to him. It turns out that Steve is getting worse, and Albright agrees that he could have appendicitis. When they check on Steve, he’s visibly sick, thanks to that massive infection that I, someone with no medical training, mentioned earlier. Clemente seems to feel bad, and he hints to Neela that Steve can stay in the hospital as long as he needs.

Bobby calls Clemente to ask if he’s getting any sleep between his long work hours. Bobby came by the hospital to drop something off but got scared off when he saw the sheriff’s van. He thinks Clemente hired protection. Clemente says he’s not playing Bobby’s games. Bobby’s like, “No problem, this is all completely innocent. Oh, by the way, what time do you plan on going home tonight?”

As Ruthie returns with shopping bags, Clemente confides to Abby that he hasn’t been sleeping well and asks for a prescription for Ambien. She only writes one for two pills, expecting him to find his own doctor and get a prescription from them. Heh, that’s basically what he said to the guy who wanted Vicodin. Clemente is literally getting a taste of his own medicine.

Abby checks in with Ruthie, who says she wasn’t running away. Abby didn’t think she was, since she figured Ruthie wouldn’t leave Mrs. Pooler or Bob. Ruthie hands over the keys to Mrs. Pooler’s car and shows Abby the cookbooks and months’ worth of El passes she bought. She also got a book for caregivers of people with dementia. She’s confident that she and her grandmother can handle things on their own. Abby says she’ll need home-care workers and visits from social services. Ruthie’s okay with that.

Morris tries to hide from Albright, who corners him in the drug lock-up to blast him for what happened with Lenore. After some bickering, she finally, finally, FINALLY grabs him by the front of his scrubs and they make out. Olivia comes in to do her Crossfire thing and Jerry gives her an envelope Pratt left her with her earrings. They’re not hers. Womp womp!

Pratt’s on the plane to Darfur, and since his seatmate is a pretty woman, of course he chats with her. Vatima works for the Ministry of Education in the capital, Khartoum. Pratt gets to make himself look good by saying he’s going to Darfur to work with refugees. Vatima tells him they’re actually IDPs, internally displaced persons.

She asks why he’s going, and he lies that he wanted to try something different, rather than admitting that he broke the law and his boss made him go. She’s skeptical that he gets what he’s in for. The brutality and tragedy are on a much bigger scale than what he’s experienced in Chicago. The world debates whether Darfur is undergoing genocide, rather than doing anything to help. “This is not debate – this is paralysis,” Vatima says. “Can you treat that, Dr. Pratt? Can you cure paralysis?”

When the plane lands, Pratt gets questioned by customs officials, and of course he’s patient and respectful while waiting for them to wrap things up. Debbie’s outside with a driver named Ibrahim who’s rocking out to the Beach Boys. They go inside to try to move things along. Pratt complains that the officials were way too interested in a book he brought with him. Well, maybe they like to read and they were just discussing the author! Maybe one read it and was recommending it to the other! Learn Arabic and find out!

Pratt continues complaining, this time about the roads and the heat. Ibrahim puts “I Got You, Babe” in the cassette player and Debbie sings along. Pratt can’t believe that they’re in the middle of nowhere and “this cat’s got Sonny and Cher.” “This cat” speaks English, you doof. Some men ride beside the car on horses, and Ibrahim IDs them as Janjaweed. They force him to stop the car. Debbie tells Pratt not to do or say anything as they get out. It’s Pratt’s biggest challenge ever!

Ibrahim speaks to one of the men in Arabic and gets kicked in the face. The men want to separate Pratt from Debbie, but he refuses to leave her. She calmly says that the men won’t hurt her. She explains that Pratt is an ex-pat doctor and doesn’t have a gun. She tells Pratt to say who he is in English. He does, saying they’re all doctors and they’re just there to help.

The Janjaweed dismantle the car, then leave. Pratt examines Ibrahim, whose nose might be broken. They’ll have to walk to the camp. I guess the Janjaweed took Pratt’s shoes, because he’s barefoot. He retrieves a bottle of mouthwash before they go. When they come to the camp, Pratt quickly sees why Vatima warned him about not being prepared. It’s full of people who live in makeshift tents and have pretty much nothing.

As Pratt bandages his feet, he’s joined by a man who’s missing most of one of his. Yeah, I don’t think Pratt’s going to get any sympathy here. He looks around the medical clinic, which is just a big tent. He offers to help with a patient but Zahra chases him off. He runs into Stephen and offers him help as well, mistaking him for a patient since he’s hooked up to an IV. Stephen explains that Zahra’s patient was raped, and it’s their custom for only female staff to take care of rape victims.

He’s heard about Pratt’s harsh welcome to the country and assures him that the Janjaweed don’t usually hurt doctors or NGO workers. He’s on an IV because of a stomach virus. Carter joins them with boots for Pratt, and Stephen teases that they’ll take up a collection for him later. Carter takes Pratt on a quick tour of the camp, asking for the latest news from County. Pratt tells him that Susan left, which Carter already knew. He talks about Clemente, then the residents. Carter clearly just wants to know about Abby. Pratt surprises him with the news that she’s back with Luka and they’re having a baby. Carter’s happy for them.

There’s a commotion nearby and a man named Ishaak explains to Carter and Pratt that some of the people in the camp grabbed a Janjaweed fighter from his horse. They’re now beating him up. Pratt’s distressed, but Carter tells him to let Ishaak handle it. The two Americans just stand by while the man is beaten. Eventually a boy drops a big rock at his head.

Pratt lies awake that night, then tries to get drunk off his mouthwash (which is actually some kind of clear alcohol that he put green food coloring in). Carter checks on him and welcomes him to Darfur. Great, can we go home now? Oh, there’s another episode of this? Fantastic.

Thoughts: Mrs. Pooler is played by Diane Ladd.

After Haleh and Jane have their exchange about dreams, Haleh gives Jane a little nod and a great look that says, “I like you. Keep up that dry wit.”

Weaver mentions Morris’ suit when she sees him in the ER, even though he’s already changed out of it. I love the idea of the gossip grapevine talking about the suit so much that it gets al the way to Weaver.

Not to give Clemente too much credit, since what he really needs is therapy, but I’m impressed that he asked for a prescription for Ambien instead of forging one of just stealing some.

Having everything suddenly shift to Pratt 2/3rds of the way through the episode is so clunky.

February 14, 2023

ER 12.18, Strange Bedfellows: Listen Up

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

Pictured: Three actors I really like

Summary: Sam is asleep – drink! She’s in her new bed at Elliot’s house, which is big and nicely decorated and just generally screams, “THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE HAVE MORE MONEY THAN YOU WILL EVER SEE IN YOUR LIVES!” They chat about his three children and his late wife. He’s hosting a dinner for his board of directors that night, and he wants Sam to hold off his nighttime treatment until afterward. He tells her that he’ll have his housekeeper make her and Alex breakfast, and Sam can borrow a car.

Neela’s meeting up with Gallant’s parents later in the day; they’re in town for a family wedding. She confides to Abby that she doesn’t think they want to advertise that she’s their daughter-in-law. She’s back to working in the ER after her surgical elective, and Morris teases her about being back with the “commoners.” Abby smells something gross and realizes it’s Morris. Apparently there was an issue with a colostomy bag that a shower didn’t quite clear up.

Sam gets dropped off in a nice car and Morris comments that she has a sugar daddy. “Jealous?” Abby asks. Luka tells her that he’s been emailing with Carter. He needs help in Darfur and asked Luka to come join him. It’s not clear if Luka told Carter that he’s expecting a baby (or if he said anything about him and Abby being back together), but he promises he would be back before the baby comes. He won’t go if Abby doesn’t want him to. She says he doesn’t need her permission, and he can go if he thinks it’s something he should do, which is code for, “You better not think this is something you should do.”

Olivia goes to Pratt’s apartment, and he quickly tries to hide the evidence that he entertained another woman the night before. (He’d better hope she stays in the shower, because she’s still there.) He pretends to be sick and won’t let Olivia in. When she hears the water in the shower turn off, she puts it together and leaves. Can’t say you don’t deserve that, Pratt!

Morris has looked up the Mercedes that dropped Sam off and ID’d it as a car that costs $100,000. He asks her who “Daddy Warbucks” is. “Go kill another patient, Morris,” she replies. To be fair, his last patient who died had lung cancer and was 97, so I don’t think that’s on Morris. The Gallants call Neela to let her know that they’re there. Ray wants to talk about their living arrangements, thinking she wants to move out because there’s a problem between them. Really, it’s because she’s married now and shouldn’t have a roommate. She’s started looking for a new place.

Gallant’s parents – Colonel Gallant and Gloria – are happy to see Neela and are very warm toward her. Ray runs off before meeting them. Back in the ER, paramedics bring in a teen named D’Shawn who crashed a stolen car. The girl in his backseat hasn’t been ID’d, but we’ll find out her name is Brook, so that’s what I’m calling her. Colonel Gallant asks to shadow Neela and see how things work in the ER. He was a medic in Vietnam, so Gallant’s decision to go into medicine didn’t completely come out of nowhere.

Ray and Sam take care of D’Shawn, who’s conscious but just mumbles. The cops who came in with him think he’s on drugs. One of them – Hollis, the cop who brought in Darnell and made Pratt draw his blood – has a wound on his face and says D’Shawn took a swing at him. Neela talks Colonel Gallant through everything she and Abby are doing with Brook as if he’s a med student. Abby’s not thrilled about it. Morris joins them and he and Neela run things together.

Sam asks D’Shawn to be still as they move him off of the paramedics’ backboard. Hollis yells at him, and Ray suggests that they tape his head down so he doesn’t move when he gets a CT. Sam is much more sympathetic, noting that he has to be in a lot of pain. She’s curious about how D’Shawn’s jaw was broken, since an airbag couldn’t have done it.

Neela, Morris, and Abby are having trouble intubating Brook because of [something medical that has to do with her not opening her jaw]. As a nurse, Abby treated someone who had that reaction to a medication, and she knows of another medication that should fix it. Neela wants to cut into Brook’s neck instead, but Abby snaps at her not to. Her diagnosis is correct, and they’re able to stabilize Brook.

Brook’s CT is normal, so Abby wonders why she stopped breathing in the first place. Luka says it could be from drugs or alcohol. She’s still unconscious, so she can’t confirm or deny that. Abby asks Luka if he’s decided whether or not he’s going to Darfur. She doesn’t like that he’s putting the call on her. Luka promises that it’ll just be a couple of weeks, but she knows he can’t say that for sure. The last time he went to do medical stuff overseas, he almost died.

D’Shawn is eager to get out of his trauma room, and Morris and Ray guess that his head injury is making him combative, because there’s no alcohol or drugs in his system. Uh, maybe it’s because he’s Black and Hollis is a full-on jerk. He tells D’Shawn that if Brook dies, he’ll be facing murder charges and a prison sentence of 25 years to life “with [his] homies.” Any white guy who says “homies” unironically is someone who shouldn’t be trusted.

Colonel Gallant tells Neela that she’ll learn a lot working under Abby’s command. Neela starts to tell him that they’re actually on the same level, then changes her mind and just says Abby is great. Gloria wants to take Neela shopping for housewares, and she’s more than happy to go without Colonel Gallant. The two of them bicker about Gallant’s absence.

Paramedics bring in an elderly man named Jim who was attacked by an equally elderly woman named Fredna. She hit him with her husband’s urn. Luka notices a scar on Jim’s chest that Jim says is from a pig heart valve transplant. “You’ve got a pig head, too, philanderer!” Fredna calls after him. Okay, that was pretty good.

Brook’s declining, and Ray joins Abby and Morris to take care of her. Jim is also declining, and Fredna tells Luka and Sam to let him die. Sam jokes that they sound like they’re married. Abby comes to ask Luka for guidance on Brook, and he advises her to talk to D’Shawn and find out if she took drugs. Fredna realizes that Jim is worse off than she thought, and now she’s legitimately worried.

Abby asks D’Shawn if Brook has any medical conditions. D’Shawn can’t talk because of his broken jaw, and one of his hands is also injured, so Abby asks Hollis to undo his handcuffs to let him write something with the other hand. Hollis says no. Abby decides to take off his restraints, ignoring Morris’ warning that he’s dangerous. As they continue talking, we see the scene from D’Shawn’s perspective; their speech is muffled, like they’re underwater. He makes movements with his hand until Ray realizes what’s going on – D’Shawn is deaf and has been trying to sign something.

Ray determines that D’Shawn reads lips, then asks him if Brook took drugs. D’Shawn signs something in response but Ray doesn’t know what he’s saying. Abby gives him one of the patient communication boards that have recently been put to use in the ER, and D’Shawn writes an X and a G to indicate that Brook took Ecstasy and GHB. While Abby goes to tend to her, D’Shawn writes Brook’s name for Ray. Hollis pretends to be apologetic, but Ray won’t excuse what he’s sure was police brutality.

He goes with Morris to help Abby with Brook, and Abby again makes a call about her condition that Morris doesn’t want to be patient to confirm. Ray asks Jerry to find a sign language interpreter, but it turns out Jerry speaks it. (He’s trilingual, but he doesn’t say what else he speaks along with English and sign.) Morris deals with a kid who’s very unhappy to have to wear a cast on his arm for six weeks. “You suck,” he tells Morris. He hits Morris’ hand with the cast just as a pharmaceutical rep approaches him to discuss medications.

Pratt offers to help Luka and Sam with Jim, whose pig valve was damaged when the fight with Fredna raised his blood pressure. Pratt assures her that he’ll be okay. Jerry interprets for D’Shawn that he and Brook went to a party, and he couldn’t wake her up, so he rushed her to the hospital. Ray notes that the car was reported stolen. D’Shawn explains that it’s Brook’s parents’ car, and she snuck out. Abby asks why D’Shawn didn’t stop for the police. He wanted to get Brook taken care of first, and he thought he could just explain everything when they got to the hospital.

Ray asks why D’Shawn fought with the police. D’Shawn says he fought them in self-defense. He couldn’t communicate with them since they don’t sign. Brook has never gotten drunk like this before. D’Shawn doesn’t drink, since he’s an athlete. Abby tells him that he probably saved Brook’s life. He thanks her and Ray for helping her (and, I would imagine, for listening to him).

Neela has lunch with the Gallants and learns that Colonel Gallant has arranged a residency for Gallant in Oklahoma. Gloria’s optimistic that he’ll want to stay in Chicago with Neela. Colonel Gallant assures Neela that she’ll get used to moving around whenever Gallant gets relocated. I don’t think Neela thought about that when she agreed to marry him.

Gloria doesn’t seem to have appreciated seeing the world as much as Colonel Gallant has. Yeah, winter in Anchorage doesn’t sound much fun, and their other postings were in places like Indiana and North Dakota. Colonel Gallant reminds his wife that they also got to go to Italy and France. They’ve had a good life. He asks Neela if she and Gallant have discussed having children. Well, since they haven’t even decided where to live, probably not.

Brook is conscious and doesn’t seem to have any neurological problems. She tells Abby and Jerry that, ironically, D’Shawn is the only person in her life who listens to her. The pharmaceutical rep, Jordan, wants to talk to Morris about a job at her company as the director of physician relations. He would get to travel, he wouldn’t have to work nights or weekends, and he wouldn’t have to work with any bodily fluids. Plus, his starting salary would be around $300,000 and he’d be eligible for bonuses. $300,000 – that’s three Mercedeses!

Fredna insists on sticking around while Jim is in surgery so he won’t be alone when he wakes up. Pratt advises him not to make her mad again. Jim says he can’t help it – he’s a ladies’ man. Hey, so is Pratt! Do you think he’ll learn anything from this? Luka praises him for his help, then comes up with an excellent solution to two of his problems. Pratt needs a change in perspective and Carter needs help in Darfur, so Pratt will be going over there for a month. He’s going to be an attending soon, which means he’ll be responsible for tons of a decisions. This is a great time for him to practice.

Neela takes the Gallants to her apartment, which I’m sure they’re thrilled about her sharing with a guy who isn’t their son. When Gloria goes off to make a phone call, Colonel Gallant apologizes to Neela for their constant bickering. Neela acts like she’s used to it, since her parents are the same. Colonel Gallant announces that they’re separating. They haven’t told anyone yet; they wanted to wait until after this family wedding. They want to tell Gallant themselves. Okay, maybe don’t tell Neela before him, then. Don’t make her keep a secret from her husband!

Luka wants to finish the Darfur conversation with Abby, but she thinks it’s over. They’re not married and don’t live together and haven’t defined their relationship, but he promised they would parent together, so she doesn’t like the idea of him leaving. She also doesn’t like that he wants to go, and she doesn’t like that she doesn’t want him to go. She admits that she’s scared and doesn’t want to do this alone. But she will if she has to. Luka tells her that he’s sending Pratt. “To help you with the baby?” she asks. Heh. He clarifies that he’s sending Pratt to help Carter. Well, he lies that Pratt volunteered. Abby’s very relieved.

Alex comes by and mentions to Luka that he and Sam moved to an awesome house. Luka doesn’t know about Sam’s new job with Elliot, but this explains her new chauffeur. She tells him they’re doing great, in a way that says, “You don’t need to worry about us, but I know you do.” Neela checks on Gloria, who guesses that her husband told Neela about their separation. She can tell that Gallant and Neela really love each other, and she wishes that love could be enough for everyone. She still loves Colonel Gallant.

Neela starts to say that there could be a chance for them to reconcile, but Gloria interrupts to ask if she knows why Gallant volunteered to go back to Iraq. Neela thinks he felt like he was needed there, and he has a strong sense of duty. Gloria replies that she compromised and sacrificed for years because of duty. Gallant is just like his father. They’re soldiers, and they’ll always choose war over their wives. Neela needs to remember who she is and do what she wants, which includes staying in Chicago.

With all of her basic needs now met, Sam actually has time to relax in the evenings. Well, she’d have time if Elliot’s housekeeper didn’t come get her to tend to her boss. He lost consciousness during his dinner party (in a room away from the crowd, fortunately), and Sam determines that he needs a transfusion, or at least oxygen. Elliot refuses, since that’ll take him away from the party for too long. She reminds him that he hired her to take care of him. He notes that he’s her boss, so she has to listen to him. Sam decides this might not be the best arrangement after all.

Brook’s parents are having her transferred to another hospital, and from the way they completely ignore D’Shawn, I don’t think he’s welcome to come with her. A police sergeant confirms that D’Shawn didn’t steal their car; they reported it stolen when they came home early and didn’t realize that Brook had taken it. Hollis apologizes for the “misunderstanding,” and for assuming that D’Shawn was in a gang because he was “flashing gang signs,” AKA using sign language. D’Shawn flashes one last sign at them: the middle finger. Nicely done, D’Shawn. Jerry figures he doesn’t need to interpret that.

Morris thinks it’s a good thing that Ray didn’t meet the Gallants. He’s not sure how Ray is able to live with Neela. None of the women Morris has ever slept with will give him the time of day now. “Neither one of them? I’m shocked,” Frank quips. Ha! Ray realizes that Morris thinks he slept with Neela. Actually, everyone thinks he did.

Frank gives Pratt some stuff that Luka left for him related to his trip to Darfur. Pratt is cranky, and Olivia, who’s just arrived, comments that he must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. She asks who he slept with, and he says it was no one. He apologizes, but Olivia isn’t in a forgiving mood.

Pratt uses the “we never said we were exclusive” excuse, tagging on that he never meant to hurt her. She notes that if he thought it was okay to sleep with someone else, he wouldn’t have pretended to be sick. Excellent point! Pratt tells her he likes her and wasn’t trying to mislead her. He can’t keep talking about this, though, since he has to shift his focus to his trip to Darfur. Olivia thinks he’s lying about that, which is totally fair of her.

Elliot compromised with Sam by taking oxygen with him back to the party. He even sat the whole time and listened to people instead of doing all the talking. He’s ready for his transfusion now. Sam seems to have softened, especially since he’s proven that he doesn’t have to be stubborn or in charge all the time.

Ray gets home as Neela’s packing to go stay at Abby’s, since Abby’s at Luka’s most nights. He’s sad to see their cohabitation end, but he doesn’t try to talk her out of going. She gives him back a T-shirt of his that she stole to sleep in, then says she’ll get more of her stuff tomorrow. He follows her out to her cab and says he wishes he didn’t feel the way he feels right now. She’s the best friend he’s ever had. Neela doesn’t respond – she just gets in the cab and leaves.

Thoughts: When it comes to parents, Gallant hit the casting jackpot: Colonel Gallant is played by Ernie Hudson and Gloria is played by Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Laura Innes (Weaver) directed this episode.

Apparently we’ll be seeing Hollis a bunch more times. Ugh.

We’ve had this ridiculous problem with Abby before, where she’s outspoken all the time but won’t say straight out that she doesn’t want Luka (or, in the past, Carter) to leave. It’s okay to say you’re not comfortable with it! You’re pregnant and anxious and totally justified in not wanting Luka to go halfway across the world! You should say so!

More Alex/Luka cuteness: Alex has to wear a suit jacket as part of a school uniform now, and when Luka sees him in it, he asks if Alex is getting married.

February 7, 2023

ER 12.17, Lost in America: No Honor

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

Abed Nadir and an Oscar nominee

Summary: Ray is asleep – drink! He wakes up when he hears Neela making noise in the living room while looking for a laser pointer. She’s nervous about a presentation she’s making at a trauma conference. She doesn’t feel like she’s prepared because Ray distracted her with ’70s horror movies. He wipes something off of her collar in a very relationship-y way as she says she’s usually more organized. They seem to realize that they’re standing pretty close together, and it gets a little awkward.

On the way to County, Luka’s bugging Abby about having the baby baptized. She’s against it since she’s not religious and thinks it’s weird to spiritually purify a baby. “You thought that was bad, you should see a bris,” says Rodney, the guy who runs the roach coach. News of Abby’s pregnancy has spread so much that even he’s heard it. Luka wants to continue his family’s tradition of infant baptism, but Abby sees it as initiation into a club she doesn’t want to be in.

She changes the subject to complain about Rodney wanting to give her decaf instead of regular coffee when there’s no medical evidence that a small amount of caffeine is harmful to babies. Luka’s like, “There’s also no medical evidence that a small amount of water and prayer is harmful to babies.” For some reason, the whole thing makes Abby think of Rosemary’s Baby.

Clemente has to undergo drug testing as a condition of continuing to work at County. There’s tension between him and the woman in charge of testing him. It’s dumb. Luka gets a message from Frank that Carter called, and he’s annoyed that Frank didn’t tell him earlier. Abby gives him a card to sign for Weaver. She’s doing well post-surgery and will be starting rehab soon. Morris needs someone to help him with a Spanish-speaking patient, so Luka tells him to get Clemente. Apparently he’s on house arrest and has made a special arrangement to come back to work. Ray bets he won’t show up on his first day back.

Morris gives Abby a patient with a rash, then changes his mind, not wanting “our baby” to wind up with an infection. He clarifies that “our” means belonging to the whole ER, like a mascot. Clemente shows up with bagels, and no one really knows how to greet him. The awkwardness is broken by more awkwardness, this time from a patient named Sadler who announces, “I think I’ve just committed suicide.”

Sam and Ray examine Sadler as he calmly explains that he purposely overdosed and expects to be placed on a three-day psych hold. Sam asks why he came to the hospital if he wants to die. He says he didn’t want to die alone. He only took acetaminophen, and it doesn’t seem like he did much damage, so a psych consult is what he needs more than anything else.

Paramedics bring in a college student named Nimet whose boyfriend found her bleeding in her dorm room. She’s been stabbed, and the knife cut her trachea, so it’s pretty impressive that she can still talk. A cop wants to talk to her boyfriend, Frick (I’ve love to know what that’s a nickname for). Abby volunteers to intubate Nimet, but Luka thinks it might be tough for her. Okay, well, let her try and then step in if she needs help.

Neela wanders around the expo portion of the trauma conference, which is full of technology. Luka takes over Nimet’s intubation from Abby, which is a really bad look for him. Haleh also grabs some machinery before Abby can, since it’s heavy. When Sam offers to take over chest compressions from her, Abby’s like, “I’m pregnant, not made of glass. Everyone leave me alone.”

Morris has a jar full of what his patient thinks are fibers produced by Morgellons. Clemente’s pretty sure it’s lint. He tells Morris to spend his time on patients he can actually help. He starts to apologize to Morris and Ray for leaving the ER shorthanded, but Ray says it’s fine. Morris cuts him off again when he offers to answer any questions they might have. A man comes in with chest pain and Clemente gives Morris and Ray instructions for treatment, as if they don’t know what to do already.

Luka, Abby, Sam, and Haleh haven’t been able to stabilize Nimet, and they’re having trouble getting a surgical consult since everyone’s at the big conference. Abby gets called away for another patient just as the team gets Nimet intubated. Frank brings in Nimet’s mother, Riza, and brother, Mahir. Mahir immediately attacks Frick and tells him to stay away from Nimet.

Abby and Clemente commiserate over how quickly your neatly ordered life can change. People at work only see a part of you, but they make your whole life about that part. Abby is barely able to get a word in as Clemente talks. Once things have calmed down in Nimet’s trauma room, Riza laments to Sam and Luka that men turn to violence so often. Mahir idolizes Nimet but has never liked Frick. Sam gets a phone call and snaps at the caller not to contact her at work.

As she leaves to take care of Mahir’s injuries from his fight with Frick, Riza tells Luka that her daughter’s name means “blessing.” Her father used to call her Madame Curie because she seemed to study them when she was born, and he thought she might become a scientist. He died when his daughter were little; he was a reporter and was shot by the Turkish Hezbollah.

Riza came to the U.S. so her children could grow up in a country where they wouldn’t be killed for speaking the truth. Luka simply says that he understands. Riza worked two jobs to provide for her children, but it was worth it because of how well they did. Nimet got a full scholarship and is majoring in journalism, following in her father’s footsteps. Luka tells Riza that she’s done well for her children. She says she’s tried.

Neela runs into Dubenko at the conference, and he tells her that a lot of people are interested in hearing her presentation on seatbelts and mediastinal injuries. A colleague named Weisner wonders why Dubenko wasn’t invited to speak on a panel with him. After he leaves, Dubenko warns Neela that Weisner is the kind of guy who always wants to be seen as the smartest person in the room. He’s going to ask her about a paper he wrote, so she needs to be ready. But she should relax! Everything will be fine! Neela has stage fright stemming back to a childhood pageant and is having flashbacks. Dubenko gives her a beta blocker to help her calm down.

Lemoyne is back, since he only kept his chains off for a week and his skin didn’t get the chance to heal. Ray tells him to keep them off for a month. Oh, no, not a month without the bling! Poor Lemoyne. Chuny tells Ray that Neela called with an urgent message – he needs to find her copy of Weisner’s paper in her locker and fax it to her. (Ray knows what this is about, and he also knows her locker combination.) Chuny says that Neela promised to watch any ’70s movie he wants, “even the extended version of Dawn of the Dead.”

Instead of going straight to Neela’s locker to get the paper, Ray checks on Sadler. It turns out he didn’t overdose on acetaminophen after all. He thinks he should wait around and see a psychiatrist anyway. Uh, yeah, definitely. Sam tends to Mahir, asking what happened with Frick. He says Nimet shouldn’t be with a guy like Frick. He lives in the “jock dorm,” where a student was gang-raped last term. He thinks that at the very least, Frick knew what was going on.

Sam goes to help Luka with Nimet, and he asks about the phone call she got. She says it was nothing. He knows her well enough to know she’s downplaying something, and he asks if there’s anything he can do. She tells him she enrolled Alex in a tutoring program, and she maxed out her credit card paying for it, so now she’s behind on rent. Unsurprisingly, Luka starts to offer to loan her money, but she won’t take it.

Ray tries to send Neela’s fax, but it takes a long time and doesn’t go through, so he asks Frank to send it from another machine. Ray needs to present a patient to an attending, and since Clemente isn’t doing anything, he volunteers. Ray says he already started with Luka and will wait for him. Clemente presses him to explain why he keeps giving Clemente attitude. They need to leave what happened with Jodie in the past.

Ray tries to act like everything’s fine, but Clemente knows it’s not. He tries to bond with Ray over having a drug-soaked weekend, something Ray has probably done, seeing as how he’s in a band. He insists that he never came to work high. Ray asks if he wants a medal. Clemente tells him to stop being self-righteous – he knows Ray drinks, so why is that okay but Clemente’s drug use isn’t? Clemente was cleared by the Impaired Physicians Committee, and he’s Ray’s attending again, so Ray needs to show him some respect.

Nelson comes to the ER to see Sadler but doesn’t think he needs to be put on a psych hold since he’s not actively suicidal. Ray thinks that’s ridiculous. Nelson says he can’t hold Sadler since the ward is full. He’ll also have to wait 14 weeks for an appointment with a psychiatrist, which is even more ridiculous than discharging a man who clearly has something very, very wrong with him.

A teen girl tells Frank that she’s looking for Morris. She’s there with three younger kids, all of whom share her red hair (including the kid who’s Black). Luka tries to chat with Clemente, who thinks Luka has been trying to avoid him. To be fair, Luka has been really busy. Clemente goes with him to help Nimet, who’s destabilizing. Clemente decides to put her on bypass, something they’ll have to do themselves even though they don’t normally do in the ER. Surprisingly, Luka’s on board. He explains to Riza that this will buy more time before they can get Nimet to surgery.

Morris meets with the redheaded kids, who reveal that that they’re all the products of the same sperm donor. They weren’t supposed to be able to find out who that donor was, but a sibling registry gave them information about each other, so the oldest, Hana, emailed the younger kids. Then the youngest, Max, hacked into the sperm bank’s records and found their father’s name: Archibald Morris. Happy Father’s Day, Morris!

Ray tells Sadler that he’s free to leave. Sadler thinks that a suicidal gesture is enough for a psych hold, even if that gesture was just taking two pills. Ray says that Nelson doesn’t think he’s suicidal. Sadler switches to trying to claim that he’s homicidal. Ray finally just asks him what’s going on. Sadler admits that he needs a place to stay over the weekend. He’s in love with his best friend’s fiancée, and he doesn’t trust himself not to stop the wedding. Ray says he’ll talk to Nelson again. He asks if Sadler has told his crush how he feels. “That’d be crazy,” Sadler replies.

Riza tries to reassure an unconscious Nimet as the trauma team gets ready to put her on bypass. Abby’s as unsure as the others about this treatment, but Luka and Clemente want to proceed. Riza tells Nimet that someone’s daughter is getting married and has a bunch of bridesmaids; Nimet needs to get better so she can help Riza embroider their dresses. Abby and Clemente work together to do what they need to for Nimet’s bypass, which immediately starts improving her condition.

Neela has some technical problems with her presentation, but they soon get overshadowed by some activists who throw paint at her podium and start chanting about rats having rights. Neela yells over them that her study didn’t include any rats. Overwhelmed by the noise and whatever’s happening because of the beta blocker, Neela collapses.

Morris happily introduces Ray to his children. Hana stole her mother’s car and drove 60 miles to get there, Michael is a master of “Dance Dance Revolution,” Melia is a professional jump roper (that’s a thing? A thing ten-year-olds can be?), and Max is a computer genius. Morris tries to introduce them to Abby next, but she’s too busy to even pretend to be interested. “Okay, she hates kids,” Morris says bluntly.

Abby apologizes for snapping at Sam earlier, and she won’t let Sam excuse her behavior by blaming her pregnancy hormones. Abby knows that Sam was just trying to help. It’s strange for her to have something as personal as a pregnancy be known to everyone. Sam notes that when she was pregnant, everyone was ashamed, especially her parents. She thinks it’s nice that everyone wants to share this with Abby.

Nimet’s nose starts bleeding, so the trauma team returns to treat what they think might be internal bleeding. They hope that stopping the blood-thinning heparin they gave her for the bypass will help. But the heparin appears to have caused an intracranial hemorrhage, and there’s nothing they can do. Mahir prays as Riza begs the doctors to keep working on Nimet. When she tells Mahir to stop, he yells that this wouldn’t have happened if Riza had made Nimet stay at home. Riza is desperate for some option that will save Nimet, but there’s nothing.

Luka tells Clemente that his idea was good; it gave Nimet the only chance she had. That doesn’t make Clemente feel better. At a bar after the conference, Dubenko apologizes for giving Neela too big of a beta blocker. He once ate a hash brownie before a presentation in Amsterdam, thinking it wouldn’t kick in until he was done. Instead, he made a fool of himself in a room full of biochemists – in a fake French accent, no less. Neela’s experience doesn’t seem so bad anymore. She’s also glad that all the reasons her presentation was a disaster were outside of her control.

Neela tells Dubenko that her life is normally really boring. Yeah, she planned a wedding in a day and is now getting drunk with her attending, but she’s not usually like that. All she wants to do is go home and hang out with Ray. Dubenko thinks it’s nice that they get along so well. Maybe he’ll find a roommate. They would definitely be easier to house train than the dog he was thinking of getting.

Luka tells Abby that she should go home without him while he talks to Riza about donating Nimet’s organs. Abby has thought about the baptism and decided she’s okay with it if it’s that important to Luka’s family. Morris’ kids have to get home, and he’s eager to find a time to see them again. They’re not sure when they can get together again, so Morris takes a picture with them.

Sam goes to Elliot’s house after work, ready to be interviewed for the job as his home-care nurse. He thinks they’ve already done enough to satisfy the interview process. Neela goes home, where Ray is cooking and has rented The Omen to watch with her. She blurts out that she thinks she should move out. She’s pretty sure they both know why.

Luka approaches Riza so she can sign for Nimet’s things. He tells her this is the hardest thing a parent can experience. Riza asks how to protect children from all the evil in the world. Luka reluctantly tells her that they can’t. She says that after 9/11, Mahir was beaten up at school and called a terrorist for being Muslim. He devoted himself to Islam and cut himself off from all his friends who weren’t fundamentalists. He wanted Nimet to do the same.

Riza still sees her son and daughter as they were when they were children, playing in the park. She brought them to the U.S. to find freedom and justice. Today she feels like she’s lost both of her children. Mahir believed that Nimet was disgracing their family and herself. “Doctor, tell the police to search my house first,” she says. “They should look into Mahir’s room for the knife.” Luka realizes that Nimet’s death is an honor killing. Riza says that’s what it’s called, “but there is no honor here.”

Morris shows off the picture of his kids to Clemente, who invites him to get dinner together. Morris already has plans to listen to Michael’s online radio show and brush up on trigonometry so he can help Melia with her homework. Uh, I think if she’s ten and taking trig, she probably doesn’t need help. Morris still has no idea what to say to Clemente, but at least their small talk is a little less awkward. Alone in the locker room, Clemente grabs a pillow and blanket from his locker and settles in for the night on the couch. He doesn’t want to go home to his apartment alone.

Thoughts: Riza is played by Shoreh Aghdashloo. Mahir is played by Danny Pudi.

Not only are none of the three Turkish characters in this episode played by Turkish actors, but none of them are of the same ethnicity. Aghdashloo is from Iran, Pudi is half Indian, and Zina Zaflow, who plays Nimet, is from Iraq.

As far as attention-grabbers go, it’s hard to top “I think I’ve just committed suicide.”

If you ask me, someone who’s willing to be put on a psych hold so he doesn’t ruin a wedding really could benefit from some therapy.

January 31, 2023

ER 12.16, Out on a Limb: Who Will You Be Now?

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

No disrespect to Gallant but this pairing makes much more sense than him and Neela

Summary: Weaver is on her way to County to help out on her day off, since Clemente is on leave and Neela is still doing her surgical elective. Luka tells her to go home and spend the day with Henry instead. Henry’s schedule is full, though, as he’s going to a museum with Mrs. Lopez. Weaver figures she might as well help out since she’s already there.

Chuny read some article about potty training babies at six months, which Abby finds ridiculous. (So does everyone else who’s ever been around a six-month-old baby.) Morris announces that there’s a statewide blood shortage, so they need to be conservative with transfusions. Then there’s something dumb about oysters being an aphrodisiac and Morris claiming it’s true. I don’t care.

Weaver isn’t just at County to work – she’s there to cancel her hip surgery, which she was supposed to have that afternoon. But her excuse is that the ER is busy and they begged her to come in. Her surgeon, Kline, doesn’t buy it, since she’s already rescheduled twice. She needs to just have the operation. Kline thinks it’s simple: She’s in pain, so she needs to fix it. Weaver sticks to her story about the ER.

Ray treats a man named Lemoyne whose rings and bracelets are so tight that they’re cutting off his circulation. Also, his neck hurts because of all his chains. A small price to pay for glamor, right? Ray sees that his chains have eroded into his skin (!!!) and he has an infection. He’ll have to remove his chains. Lemoyne refuses, since he never takes them off, even in bed (“the ladies love the bling”).

Weaver finds kielbasa in a fridge that’s supposed to hold medications. Abby points the finger at Frank, so Weaver says, “Tell him to keep his sausage to himself.” I’m not touching that one. Not touching it at all. Abby shows her a 3D sonogram, which Weaver coos over. She runs into a supply cart and is almost overcome with pain. She tries to brush it off and keep chatting with Abby, who says that Luka wants to find out the baby’s sex while she wants to be surprised. Abby’s feeling great in her second trimester, and Weaver says Sandy felt the same. When she rounds a corner and is alone, she starts crying from the pain.

Neela arrives with a big container of cookies for an Army Spouse Club meeting that night. She tells Ray and Morris that the staff can have one cookie each. Yeah, I’m sure someone will enforce that rule. Paramedics bring in a teenager named Donna who hit a jogger with her car. Abby bonds with Donna’s passenger, Katie, since they both have uncommon, tough-to-pronounce last names. Donna’s in bad shape, and Ray and Weaver disagree over how to treat her.

Katie’s not as bad off, and she tells Abby and Chuny that she and Donna skipped school to go to the mall. They left because Donna had a headache. She fainted in the car and Katie was unable to pull it over. The jogger they hit, Highsmith, is also conscious and in pretty good spirits, all, “This is what I get for trying to get in shape.” Luka sees Weaver taking pills in Donna’s trauma room and asks Neela to see if she needs any help. She definitely does, since she drops a syringe and can’t bend over to pick it up. Sam does it for her.

Pratt shows Neela an x-ray of a guy who’s a “professional regurgitator.” A what now? He swallowed a lightbulb and needs surgery. Neela doesn’t find this nearly as fascinating as I do. Pratt tells her that Jose is being released today. Neela replies that he has an infection and has to stay another week. She assumes that things went well when Pratt told Luka how he covered for Darnell. They certainly went well in Pratt’s head, clearly the only place he’s said anything to Luka so far.

Katie has bruises on her arms that Abby originally thought were from the accident, but they’ve spread. They’re also on her legs. Abby and Chuny quickly jump into action to get Katie tested and isolated. Abby runs to Donna’s trauma room, where she’s being declared dead, to announce that the girls have meningococcemia. Weaver calls for everyone who’s come in contact with the teens to start prophylactic treatment.

Katie’s parents arrive but can’t see her while she’s in isolation. The staff is working on contacting kids from the girls’ school to let them know they’ve been exposed. They’re getting a medication called Cipro from other hospitals, since they don’t have enough on hand. Abby can’t take it because she’s pregnant, so she looks into alternative treatments. Luka doesn’t think Cipro would hurt the baby, but Abby doesn’t want to rely on the assurance that it’s “probably safe.”

Pratt goes to visit Jose for what doesn’t seem like the first time. A man named Richard Elliot is brought in by his driver after he lost consciousness in the car. He doesn’t want to undergo tests, since he knows what’s wrong – he has myelodysplastic syndrome, a problem with his bone marrow. It’s treated with chelation and transfusions.

Frank makes an announcement over the intercom telling the owner of the huge SUV in the ambulance bay to move it. Elliot’s like, “That’s me, gotta go,” but Morris and Sam don’t want to release him. He can barely stand without falling over, so he gives in and consents to a transfusion. He tells Sam that he usually gets them at home. He keeps his own personal blood supply that he buys on eBay. (He’s kidding.)

Luka made Abby get the shot of Cipro, and he advises her not to stress too much about the possibility that she caught meningococcemia from Katie. She doesn’t want reassurance or hot chocolate. Luka says they’re in this together, but she wants him to let her worry when she needs to. He offers to worry along with her. She says okay, so he asks how long they should worry. She says 10 or 20 minutes.

Luka bought pizza for the staff in what Frank thinks is an effort to make up for their exposure to a potentially deadly disease. Neela reports that all the surgeons are mad at her because they have to take Cipro. Frank left out her cookies, and Neela’s surprised to see that there are still plenty left. She asks for opinions and Chuny says, “Reviews are still coming in” in a way that really means, “Your average rating is zero stars.” She and Frank gesture to Morris behind Neela’s back that he shouldn’t eat one. After Neela leaves, Frank puts a “biohazard” sticker on the container.

Ray wants to bring a date to his and Neela’s apartment that night, and he begs Neela to…give him permission? To bring over a date? When he’s always been allowed to before? I don’t know. Abby invites Neela to have dinner with her, since she’d like to dine with someone who doesn’t nitpick everything she eats. Neela wants to throw Abby a baby shower, but Abby thinks it’s too early to think about that. She seems to be putting off coming to terms with how completely her life is going to change when she becomes a parent.

Abby spots Weaver practicing bending over, which she’s still unable to do. Weaver admits to canceling her surgery. She says it’s not a good time for it; Henry and the ER need her too much. Abby notes that Henry will just get more active as he gets older. She guesses that Weaver is scared. Weaver won’t confirm or deny that, but she turns away, obviously trying to hide tears, which is all the answer Abby needs.

Paramedics bring in a drunk guy named James who was beaten up in a bar brawl over a March Madness game. His equally drunk buddies are being loud and obnoxious, and they don’t think the fight or James’ injuries are a big deal. Sam checks in on Elliot, who seems to have been observing her while she was tending to another patient and showcasing her excellent bedside manner. He complains that he pays $20,000 for a boutique doctor and can’t get in touch with him when he needs to. Sam jokes that if boutique nurses exist, she wants in.

Elliot thinks nurses and teachers should be paid as much as pro basketball players and movie stars. Sam definitely doesn’t disagree. She asks what Elliot does for a living. He does something with hedge funds, which explains how he can afford to spend $20,000 on a doctor. Sam gives him a blanket without him even asking, since she noticed that he was cold.

James’ heart rhythm is unstable, and Luka tells his friends to call his parents. Luka kicks them out of the trauma room, and Pratt slams them for acting like idiots while their friend is in such bad shape. One of the guys, Phil, says they’re not always like this. They’ve been friends since they were kids. Pratt advises him to find some new friends. Phil confesses that he’s the one who hit James. Pratt knows that friends can take things too far sometimes, and he softens toward Phil. He assures him that everyone’s done something they wish the could take back.

During a coffee break, Weaver asks how Abby would describe her. Abby goes with words like “doctor” and “mother,” while Weaver’s fishing for the label of “disabled person.” It’s how she’s always been and how she sees herself. She’s never thought of herself as broken or handicapped, so she doesn’t feel like she needs to be fixed. Without her pain and sudden limitations, she’d never even think about surgery. The operation will allow Weaver to get around without her crutch, but Weaver wonders what else she’ll be giving up. Who will she be afterward?

Elliot is done with his treatment and very grateful for the care Morris and Sam provided him. He tells Sam that he fired his personal doctor, who never got back to him. Alex comes in with some cuts and bruises on his face from some older kids at his school. They stole his cell phone, too, those jerks. Elliot gets to see Sam’s maternal side as she comforts her son. He’s supposed to be discharged in a wheelchair, but he charms Sam into letting him walk out. He chats with her about his own grown kids, one of whom has been trying to convince him to move to Florida.

Pratt finally approaches Luka to tell him about how he covered for Darnell. Meanwhile, a couple of Donna and Katie’s classmates come in because one of them, Michelle, wants to see if a bruise on her neck is from meningococcemia. Abby diagnoses her with a hickey, and the other girl says she told her so. Morris asks Abby what she thinks Pratt and Luka are talking about. Abby suggests that they’re talking about him.

Neela goes to get her cookies, but instead she gets an intervention from Frank, Morris, and Ray. They try to delicately tell her that the cookies are horrible. She storms out. Ray talks Weaver out of treating a dislocated shoulder, knowing she’s not in the shape to do it right now. She decides to talk to Kline again about her surgery.

Luka’s unhappy with Pratt and warns that he’ll have to report this to the state medical board. They’ll likely suspend his license, which means his whole career will be in jeopardy because of one bad decision. He asks if Pratt would risk his career for someone who did what Pratt did. He suspends Pratt for five days and advises him to use the time to think about what it means to be a doctor. Pratt thanks him but Luka says not to, since this isn’t a reward.

Ray is done for the day, and he hands off a patient named Mr. Gauthier to Abby. He hit his head “trying to stop an epidemic.” That epidemic? Children being horrible in public. He told a kid at a coffee shop to use his inside voice, and the kid’s mom threatened to call the police. Mr. Gauthier left but tripped over a stroller on his way out. Abby gasps, not because of his injury but because she just felt the baby move for the first time. “Great. It’s all about you, isn’t it?” Mr. Gauthier asks sarcastically.

I guess Weaver didn’t eat anything all day and no one took her surgery slot because Kline is going to operate on her as scheduled. She looks like she regrets changing her mind again when she goes over the list of possible complications. Neela’s late to the Army Spouse Club meeting, but fortunately, she shows up with store-bought cookies instead of her own. The hostess doesn’t know how army wives like her are able to handle being married to both the military and their careers.

Sam and Alex run into Elliot as they’re leaving the hospital. Alex admires his SUV and Elliot offers to give him a ride any time he wants. Sam sends him to the mini-mart to get a soda, and Elliot tells his driver to tag along. He gives Sam his card and tells her that on top of firing his doctor, he fired his home-care nurse. He’d like Sam to take her place.

Sam is flattered but doesn’t want to quit her job. Elliot says this would be part-time and the hours would be flexible. She’d have to work overnight, so he would be happy to have her and Alex move in with him. Sam thinks that’s nuts. Elliot tells her that his house is so big that she and Alex could have their own space. His housekeeper has lived there for 15 years and he barely sees her. She could watch Alex after school. Sam is resistant to what she thinks is a pity offer. Elliot wants her to see this as opportunity rather than charity. She admits that it just seems weird to her. He tells her to think about it and get back to him.

Neela chats with the other Army spouses, one of whom is pregnant and will give birth before her husband gets home from deployment. She’s okay with it since she knew what she was getting into when she married a soldier. She appreciates the support she gets from the group. Another woman says it’s a small price to pay while their spouses serve their country.

Neela brings up the management of the war and weapons of mass destruction, which causes tension. The sole male group member asks how she can support what Gallant is doing if she doesn’t support the war. Uh, because there’s a huge difference between “I’m proud of my husband for the sacrifices he’s making for our country” and “I don’t think our government is handling this war well, and my husband shouldn’t have to be fighting in it in the first place.”

One wife says that their duty is to support their spouses’ duty. Neela replies that her duty is to be a good wife and doctor, not to let herself be brainwashed by “some pseudo-patriotic delusion.” Everyone in the room falls silent. I bet Neela wishes she’d brought those horrible cookies so she could have the pleasure of watching some of these people get sick.

Weaver summons Abby to her bed before she’s taken in for surgery. She wants Abby to be Henry’s legal guardian if something happens to her in surgery. (The Lopezes are great and all but they’re getting older.) Abby notes that Luka’s part of her life, but Weaver doesn’t have a problem with him taking in Henry. Weaver admits that it’s hard being alone, and she’s always felt like she could depend on Abby. Abby says she can and accepts the paperwork that would make the arrangement official.

Neela heads home, surprised to hear “Unchained Melody” through her apartment door. When she enters the apartment, Ray is alone, watching a basketball game. He’s also a little teary and trying to cover it. She accuses him of secretly watching Ghost after his date stood him up. He won’t admit to the movie, but he does admit to the failed date.

Neela asks if it’s possible to kick yourself out of a club. She tells him she’s proud of Gallant, but she feels like she can’t share her feelings with the other Army spouses. She feels pathetic for living like a college student with a roommate. Ray tries to cheer her up by pulling up a World Poker Tour game he recorded for her on the DVR. As they settle in to watch together, Weaver receives anesthesia for the operation that will change her life.

Thoughts: Julia Ling, who plays Michelle, returns for a few episodes in season 14 as Mae Lee Park.

Why is Morris the person calling Katie and Donna’s classmates about possible exposure? That seems like something he would make an intern do. Actually, it seems like something you would call the school administration about and let them handle.

There’s a nice throwaway moment where Luka thanks Lily for her work on James and says she did well. It must be so nice for an overworked, underappreciated nurse to get that kind of recognition from anyone, especially someone who’s senior staff.

Leaving aside the fact that they just met and she doesn’t know anything about him, Sam’s job offer from Elliot sounds like hitting the nursing lottery. Money for something she knows how to do easily AND free housing AND someone to watch Alex after school? There almost has to be a catch.

January 24, 2023

ER 12.15, Darfur: Stop Enabling Carter’s Hero Complex!

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

Carter’s back on his white savior B.S.

Summary: Carter, who recently sent a postcard to his old co-workers in Chicago, is in Darfur at Debbie’s request. A doctor named Stephen brings him some tea during the night to help with his cough, which is caused by the dryness in the air. Debbie’s been volunteering there for a few weeks, and she and Stephen are dating. He’s grateful to have another doctor there. They hear gunfire outside from the local militia fighters, the Janjaweed, and Stephen tells Carter that he’ll learn to sleep through it.

At County, Morris gets bitten by a kid. Good kid! Bite him again! Frank presents Abby with a gift basket full of baby stuff, which lets her know that her secret is out. Morris admits to spreading the word because people were commenting on Abby’s weight and he wanted to “defend” her. Weaver tells the staff that Clemente is back on the schedule. Everyone thinks it’s too soon after what happened with Jodie. Frank comments that that situation is apparently similar to what happened when Clemente was in Newark. Weaver defends him, saying he’s not the only one at County with tricky personal issues.

Clemente’s at the police station, being questioned for the fifth time about what happened. They still think he shot Jodie. Clemente points the finger at Bobby, but he has a false alibi that says he was in New Jersey at the time. Jodie’s comatose, so there’s no eyewitness available to back up Clemente’s story. The police suggest that he hire a lawyer.

In Darfur, Debbie is in for a long day treating patients on top of dealing with other problems. She tells Stephen that the Janjaweed shot up the reservoir, which will limit their water supply. She thinks Stephen should be as upset as she is. He reminds her that they’ve handled this before and already know what to do. He advises her to do her “downtown dog. Down-and-out dog?” Heh. She bribes Stephen and Carter to listen to her by offering bottles of Coke.

Carter checks on a sick boy and admires the drawings his younger brother has been making. They’re of him and his father fighting the Janjaweed. He offers it to Carter. Clemente arrives for his first shift back after the shooting and asks Abby if people have been talking about him. Uh, of course. She thinks he should have taken a little more time off before coming back. Clemente insists that he didn’t shoot Jodie. Abby just casually says, “Okay.” He goes to Luka to ask where he should start his shift, but Luka doesn’t want him back at work yet. It would be bad for both him and the patients.

Stephen determines that Carter’s stay in Darfur is open-ended. He comments that it’s hard to have a long-distance relationship in their line of work. There’s a woman in London he falls in love with whenever he’s in town; when he leaves again, they fall out of it. Debbie has the same arrangement with a guy in Spain. “What happens in Darfur stays in Darfur,” Carter quips. A couple of kids playing soccer run by them and the doctors kick the ball with them briefly.

Carter asks when the refugees might be able to go home. Stephen isn’t sure. The government is funding Arab militias so they can find and kill rebels, which they do by destroying villages, killing men, and raping women. The survivors end up at the refugee camp. Carter says the Janjaweed have turned the country into the Wild West. Stephen’s not pleased that the U.S. Congress went on vacation after Kofi Annan and Colin Powell dubbed the crisis genocide. “When the faces are black, the world moves slow,” he says.

They spot Debbie leading a yoga class with some kids and joke that they want to join. Just then, a boy runs up carrying a younger boy who’s sick. Their mother went on a trek to get wood and they’re not sure where their father is. Carter promises to fix the boy up before his mother gets back. Meanwhile, some Janjaweed fighters ambush some women in the desert.

Stephen lets the boys who just arrived listen to his iPod. He and Carter are taken to one of the women ambushed in the desert, Gada, who’s covered in blood. The two of them and a nurse named Zahra start tending to her, but when Carter finds signs of rape, Zahra tells him to back off. Gada doesn’t want men examining her. Zahra tells Carter that they can bring in Gada’s husband, Lwendo, but they can’t let him know that Gada has been “shamed.” Stephen explains that some Sudanese men disown their wives after they’ve been raped.

The latest trauma at County is a 14-year-old marching-band member named Jose who was hit by a car. He’s worried about missing practice and getting benched for regionals. Malik calls Pratt out of his trauma room, saying that Darnell is there to talk to him. Darnell has a cut on his head from a fight, and he admits that he had a few drinks at a co-worker’s party. Pratt’s upset that he went back on his promise to get sober. Darnell just wants to get fixed up before K.J. sees him like this. “Stop coming in like this,” Pratt replies.

Clemente visits Jodie as Pratt stitches Darnell up. Darnell has been going to AA meetings but is struggling to maintain his sobriety. He asks about Jose, wondering if he’ll be all right. Carter tells Gada’s husband that she was attacked, and he asks if she was “shamed.” Carter just says she was beaten. Her injuries aren’t too serious, but there are two long cuts on her thigh. When her husband sees them, he walks out of the medical tent. Stephen tells Carter that it’s a mark of rape. Someone probably should have taught him that earlier.

Neela comes to the ER to see if Jose needs surgery, and Abby and Pratt bicker over whether she should have made him a higher priority. Pratt’s sure that Jose is bleeding internally and wants Dubenko or Albright to come see him. Neela calls for a scan, which Pratt thinks is unnecessary. Neela just doesn’t want Jose to have surgery if he doesn’t absolutely need it. And if he does, they need to know what they’re dealing with – surgeons don’t like surprises. Pratt reminds her that she’s not a surgeon. She tells him she is today.

Pratt continues trying to advocate for Jose, worried that he’ll decline before his scans are done and they won’t have time to get him to the OR. Neela says it’s her call. Jose’s father arrives with a cop who wants to ask him about the driver who hit him. Jose says he was Black and was driving a blue pickup with Bears bumper stickers. Pratt makes a realization. He heads straight to Darnell and tells him that Jose ID’d someone matching his and his car’s descriptions. Darnell tries to plead innocence, but Pratt is on to him.

Carter and Stephen go looking for Lwendo and learn that he went after the Janjaweed. Carter wants to try to find him and stop him. Stephen and Debbie warn him against it, since he could get himself killed, but it’s Carter, and we all know he’s going to go no matter what they say. Stephen volunteers to go with him (probably a good idea at the very least because he speaks the language and Carter doesn’t).

Pratt brings Albright to Jose during his scans, wanting to make sure that Neela doesn’t miss anything. Neela’s annoyed, but Jose starts declining just then. Pratt manages to not say, “I told you so.” Clemente goes back to Jodie’s room, blasting an ICU doctor for skipping her during rounds. The doctor says they just checked on her ten minutes ago. Clemente asks if they’re just going to sit back and do nothing. Well, there’s nothing they can do until they know her neurological status, so they’re going to wait. And maybe give Clemente a tranquilizer.

Bobby calls Clemente to basically rub it in that he shot his own wife and framed Clemente. Clemente warns that when Jodie wakes up, Bobby will face the music. Bobby says that Clemente might have gotten out of New Jersey clean but he won’t this time. “She was mine, and you never should have touched her,” he says. Ew.

While Jose’s in surgery, Pratt chastises Darnell for screwing up after Pratt risked his job to cover for him. Darnell insists that he’s trying to get sober. Pratt urges him to turn himself in for hitting Jose. It’s the best way he can teach K.J. about integrity. I’m surprised Darnell doesn’t mention that K.J. would likely wind up in foster care if Darnell went to jail.

Carter wonders what Lwendo hopes to accomplish by going after the Janjaweed. Stephen tells him that men like Lwendo lose more and more pride every day. They can’t provide for their families without getting killed, so they have to let their wives do it. Then the wives get attacked. Lwendo just wants to be a man again. They arrive at a checkpoint but there’s no one around. Carter wants to keep going, but Stephen isn’t willing to put them at more risk. As they’re turning the truck around to leave, some military officials drive up.

Gada’s worried about her husband, and even more worried when Zahra tells her where he went. Debbie asks her to tell Gada that doctors went to find him. The military officials search Stephen and Carter’s truck for weapons, which Carter thinks is ridiculous; they’re doctors. He starts to explain that they’re looking for the husband of a woman who was raped. Stephen and a military official both tell him to shut up.

The official pulls out a gun but puts it away when Stephen says something to him in Arabic. They’re allowed to leave. Carter complains that the military could have helped them find Lwendo. Stephen says there’s a lot of corruption there. The U.S. would rather deal with Salah Gosh (a national security advisor in Sudan) to get information on the war on terrorism. They can’t do that if they cross Al Bashir (Sudan’s president). Carter notes that they wouldn’t be able to get oil from the area, either.

He tries but fails to convince Stephen to keep going. Stephen has to pull over to take some medication. He confides that he has cirrhosis from a childhood illness. They spot some smoke nearby and Carter is able to guilt Stephen into going to check it out. Stephen, stop enabling him! He’ll never learn his lesson!

Darnell wound up doing the right thing and turned himself in to the police. K.J. understandably bummed about it. Carter and Stephen come across some blood near where they saw the smoke, and they see some Janjaweed fighters beating and scalding Lwendo with boiling water. Stephen doesn’t want to try to help him, since they’ll just get killed, too. The fighters point guns toward them, having heard noises from that direction, but the men are hidden by a sand dune and are protected from the bullets.

The fighters turn back to Lwendo and seemingly let him go. As he’s walking away, one of them shoots him in the back. As soon as the fighters drive off, Carter races over to Lwendo to put his trauma training to use. Stephen doesn’t think they can keep him alive long enough to get him to their camp or a hospital. Carter ignores him and starts CPR.

Jodie wakes up, to Clemente’s surprise, and remembers what happened. For someone who was just in a coma for who knows how long, she seems totally fine. She even still wants to be with Clemente. K.J. tells Pratt he’s going to stay with his aunt while Darnell’s in jail. Pratt feels bad for what happened, but K.J. assures him that it’s not his fault. He’s fully aware of his father’s alcoholism. He’s grateful that, unlike Darnell’s other friends, Pratt tried to get him to step up.

Neela lets Pratt know that Jose’s surgery went well and he’s doing okay. She apologizes for not listening to Pratt’s concerns. Again, instead of saying he told her so, Pratt is mature and lets it go. Really, he’s just worried about Jose and blames himself for what happened, since he covered for Darnell the last time he faced legal trouble. Neela’s upset that Pratt didn’t do anything to stop a drunk driver from hurting someone. Since Darnell took responsibility for his actions, she thinks Pratt should do the same with Luka.

Luka and Abby are discussing baby names, and it appears Luka’s getting inspiration from famous ’90s singers, since he suggests Celine and Jewel. Abby teases that they could go with Charo or Liberace. He says they should name the baby after the next person to walk through the ER doors. It’s Clemente, so never mind.

Word has spread that Jodie’s awake, and Clemente hopes that now that his name has been cleared, he can go back to work. Luka wants him to be evaluated by the Impaired Physician Committee first. He’ll need medical and drug tests and a psych evaluation. Clemente reluctantly agrees. As he’s leaving, Bobby calls again, and Clemente tells him that Jodie’s currently telling the police what he did. Bobby happens to be in his car at the corner, and he honks to get Clemente’s attention, then mimes shooting a gun at him. Clemente chases after him but loses him in traffic.

Carter and Stephen take Lwendo’s body to the refugee camp so Gada and their kids can see him. Aww, sorry you had a bad day and couldn’t save someone, Carter. This is definitely all about you! Some men prepare Lwendo’s body and people at the camp hold a funeral for him. “From the earth God created you, to the earth God will return you, and from the earth God will bring you out again,” Stephen translates for Carter.

Thoughts: If I say my prayers and eat my vegetables and help little old ladies cross the street, can I be spared ever having to watch another Africa episode? Please? (Apparently there are still at least two more, so the answer is no. Boo.)

Aw, K.J. turned out to be a good kid. I like that he was grateful to Pratt instead of hating him, because he would have been justified if he’d been mad.

Wow, Bobby’s an idiot. Why would you purposely hang out right outside the building where, at any minute, your shooting victim could wake up and send the police after you?

January 17, 2023

ER 12.14, Quintessence of Dust: The Smoking Gun

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

Have I mentioned how much I like John Leguizamo? ‘Cause I really like John Leguizamo

Summary: The day shift is on its way out, and Pratt is passing some patients on to Abby before going to a charity bachelor auction. Morris says that only the 50 hottest bachelors in Chicago are participating, and as the 51st, he just missed the cut-off. Haleh questions Pratt’s claims that his Black girlfriend is okay with him, also Black, being auctioned off to rich white women. “Take it easy, Angela Davis,” Pratt says, pointing out that they might not all be white.

With Clemente still MIA, County has been working with some moonlighting and temporary attendings. Abby doesn’t like them since they never know what’s going on, but Morris appreciates that, since he was able to get one to buy dinner for a whole shift. Clemente has missed four shifts now, and Morris and Jerry assume he’s been hanging out with Jodie.

They’re right, as they’re currently in bed, her doing a crossword puzzle, him offering up answers while tied to a bedpost. He gives her the word “quintessence,” which is from Hamlet and means “no higher form.” They’re both naked and neither is sober, thanks to what I assume is coke. He has no interest in leaving, and they haven’t gone anywhere in a week.

Pratt is “sold” for $600 to someone who is decidedly not a rich white woman, unless it’s a woman with a very deep voice. The next morning, Jerry shares a postcard from Carter, who hasn’t been very good at keeping in touch. Morris fights with Albright, then asks Luka to weigh in on “Dr. Stalin” and her tendency to take over their turf. Albright mocks him for the new nickname, and Morris says that in college, he spent a semester in Germany. Luka gives him a look. “Where we studied…Russia,” Morris says, taking a stab in the dark.

Albright tells Luka that her residents need trauma training so they can clean up the ER staff’s messes. Morris doesn’t think they’ll get much out of that training. The ER residents, however, need to be able to handle anything and everything. Albright taunts that they definitely need more training, which Morris and Weaver agree is cold. Albright calls Morris a sissy, then tries to whine to Luka again. He tells them to work things out themselves.

Weaver’s covering for Clemente but has to stay off her feet as much as she can, thanks to her hip injury, so I’m not sure how much she’ll be able to do. Frank suggests having her talk to Albright about her attitude, since they’re both a demeaning, gendered insult I refuse to repeat. Shut up, Frank. Abby is on my side, but Albright doesn’t mind guys seeing her that way, since it means they respect her. Uh, I don’t think they do. Morris doesn’t, at least.

When Pratt arrives, everyone wants to know how much money he went for at the auction. The other employees had a pool, but it doesn’t sound like anyone guessed that someone would pay $600 for dinner with him. He admits that a guy won, and all the male staff members at the admit desk stare at him. “Is he cute?” Ray asks. Everyone cracks up. Pratt says he didn’t meet the guy.

The others tease that maybe the guy will pay for dinner, but that he shouldn’t assume that means anything. Abby’s annoyed that they’re being homophobic, though I don’t think they are. It’s not like they’re saying it’s gross that Greg’s having dinner with another man. Morris tells Luka that his woman is getting weird. Abby threatens to hit him with a hole puncher if he ever refers to her as someone’s woman again. Luka pulls her away before she follows through on that. She confides that she’s on edge because she’s waiting for some test results about the baby.

Paramedics bring in a 60-something homeless man named Dexter who was beaten by some teenagers. They were trying to steal his can opener, of all things. He thinks they were taking part in a dare. Also, he wants his can opener back. Jodie and Clemente go shopping at the mini-mart, still stoned. They’re loud and giggly and generally the exact kind of people you don’t want to encounter when you’re shopping.

Abby and Luka call Coburn to get the test results, which Abby is anxious about and Luka is characteristically optimistic about. He holds her hand as she gets the news that everything looks good. Jodie and Clemente go to his apartment, barely through the door before they start undressing. They don’t realize that Jodie’s husband, Bobby, is lurking in the shadows. He tells Jodie to get her things, but she refuses to leave with him. Bobby hurls racist slurs at Clemente, who orders him out. Jodie blurts out that she filed for divorce.

Bobby turns apologetic, just like a typical abusive spouse when they realize they’ve crossed a line. He doesn’t want to leave Jodie there with Clemente. Clemente defuses things before they can get bad by advising Bobby to leave and call Jodie later. Bobby goes, and Clemente comments that that went pretty well, considering. But Bobby returns moments later and fires a gun at them.

Frank and Morris tease Pratt some more about his “man date.” Morris reveals that he had four dates with a trans woman. I’m sure he handled it very maturely and calmly when he found out. Sam asks for morphine for a patient who was supposed to be in the OR by now. Morris, of course, complains to Albright, then announces that he’s forbidding his residents from writing orders for patients she’s keeping in the ER until they’re ready for surgery. Albright writes the orders herself, gives them to Abby, and tells her that Morris is “a little penis.” Abby’s like, “I just walked in; why are people putting me in the middle of their fights?”

She and Luka go out to the roach coach, discussing whether they want to find out the baby’s sex. He does, but she’s not quite ready for the pregnancy to feel so real. Luka reminds her that the baby’s 16 weeks along, so it’s already pretty real. She wonders if there’s anyone they need to tell. Um, do you mean other than your mother?

Clemente speeds down the street and crashes his car in the ambulance bay. Jodie’s in the backseat, covered in blood. Luka, Abby, and Sam start taking care of her, and she asks for Clemente, then says, “He shot me.” Ray is still with Dexter, who practices piano chords as a nervous habit. Ray recognizes them and they start talking about music. When Ray was younger, his father listened to jazz records by a musician with the same last name as Dexter. Turns out that was Dexter himself.

Clemente assures Jodie that her injuries aren’t anything to worry about. When Luka asks, Clemente tells him that Bobby shot Jodie. The staff is skeptical, since it sure sounded like Jodie was saying that Clemente shot her. He jumps in to help take care of her, but Luka shuts him down. Pratt comes in and happens to be close enough to catch Clemente when he starts to collapse. Pratt drags him to the next trauma room for treatment for a shoulder wound. Clemente tries to use that to convince Sam that he wasn’t the shooter.

He calls instructions into the next room, where Weaver joins the team to try to stabilize Jodie. She determines that Jodie needs surgery immediately, and since Albright hasn’t responded to Sam’s previous pages, they should contact Dubenko instead. He’s just finished a procedure with Neela where she screwed something up. He chastises her for it and tells her not to get defensive or make excuses. However, he’s sympathetic since he knows Gallant went back to Iraq.

Jodie’s losing a lot of blood, so Luka isn’t happy that Albright is missing and Dubenko took so long to come to her trauma room. Neela goes to help Pratt and Weaver with Clemente, and they’re a little amused by how she acts like a surgeon. He’s anxious about Jodie’s condition and yells more instructions to her trauma team. Weaver tells him that Luka knows what he’s doing. Clemente thrashes around, trying to get up, and he knocks Weaver to the floor. She responds by putting him in restraints.

Albright joins Dubenko and Neela as they’re operating on Jodie. Neela has to admit that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Morris comes in to fight with Albright more, and when Neela tells him this is a bad time, he says he can’t hear her because she’s dead to him. Wait, Neela found a way to get Morris to stop talking to her? Teach it to everyone else, Neela! Albright asks Dubenko to make Morris go away. Morris taunts her for tattling to her attending, and Dubenko tells Albright to get rid of the annoyance. Morris is gleeful that she’s been kicked out of surgery.

Back in the ER, Haleh, Chuny, Ray, and Frank gossip about what happened to Clemente and Jodie. Frank is sure that Clemente shot himself to make it look like he was an innocent victim. Pratt tells them to knock it off. Chuny gives Ray a wallet she found, which happens to belong to Dexter. Inside, Ray finds a newspaper wedding notice for a woman named Sarah, who has Dexter’s last name.

Clemente lets himself into Jodie’s OR, where Neela still doesn’t know what she’s doing. Dubenko says they’ll probably have to remove one of Jodie’s kidneys. Clemente objects, so Dubenko sends him to observe outside the OR. Neela wants to try to save Jodie’s kidney, and Dubenko is open to suggestions. She’s not sure what to do, and he tells her to think like he’s not there and she’s in charge. He ignores Clemente as he continues protesting, then gives Neela the go-ahead to try her idea.

Morris: (yelling at Albright). Albright: (declaring war). Me: (screaming into a pillow). Abby and Haleh don’t like how Albright treats them; they think she’s only interested in the male residents. Abby’s eating her third ice cream sandwich of the day, and Morris casually asks if she’s pregnant. She pauses before making a “that’s completely absurd!” face. He says it must be true, so she tries to deflect by accusing him of being in love with Albright. They both clam up when Pratt asks what they’re talking about.

Ray has contacted Sarah, wanting her to know that her father’s at the hospital. He didn’t attend her wedding since he didn’t want to be seen in his current state. She tells him that she would have paid for a suit for him, but he firmly says he doesn’t want her money. She asks him to stay with her and her husband, at least for a little while. He says that’s not right for him.

Neela, Dubenko, and their team work calmly and steadily on Jodie. Pratt brings Clemente a copy of Jodie’s tox screen, upset that Clemente didn’t mention in the ER that she’d used drugs. He figures that Clemente didn’t want to be treated himself because he would have been tested, too. Pratt hopes Clemente has a good story to tell the police, because right now it looks like he’s the shooter. Jodie’s the only one who can clear him.

Luka runs into Alex and gives him a hockey puck he got at a recent game. They chat a little about how Sam wants Alex to go to college but he wants to be a NASCAR driver. Dexter left without Ray signing off on his discharge, and he most likely went back to the streets. Pratt’s “date” has arrived, and everyone’s surprised to see that it’s a woman. Pratt pretends he was just joking about a man winning him at the auction.

Jodie’s surgery is over and Albright isn’t happy that Neela scrubbed in or has a good rapport with Dubenko. Albright is Neela’s supervisor during this elective, so Neela should be trying to impress her. Neela says she’s not trying to impress anyone. Albright threatens payback if Neela ever tries to prevent her from joining an operation again. Excuse me? Neela didn’t do that at all. Shut up, Albright.

Clemente wants to see Jodie in the ICU, and apparently no one’s called the police or anything, because no one stops him. He thanks Neela, who says they did their best. Luka kindly tells Sam about his and Abby’s baby so she doesn’t have to hear it from someone else or with a bunch of other people. Sam can’t cover her surprise and what’s most likely some grief over what she won’t ever get to have with him again.

Clemente talks more Shakespeare to an unconscious Jodie, as if people actually do stuff like this in real life. Weaver comes by and says she heard that the surgeons were able to save Jodie’s kidney. Unfortunately, the blood loss and other complications mean Jodie could have neurological damage. Weaver tells Clemente that the police went to his place and found drugs. They think he shot Jodie. He asks about the gun, which the police didn’t find. Then he asks if he’s fired. “Not yet,” Weaver says.

Pratt heads out with his date, whose friend “bought” Pratt for her. He has the biggest grin on his face when he says good night to Ray. Dexter is right out on the corner, collecting change. Ray tries to talk him into working on his relationship with Sarah, but Dexter’s still resistant. Ray takes him to Ike Ryan’s, where Dexter starts playing the piano and singing “Many Rivers to Cross.” Everyone at the bar is captivated.

Abby finally calls Maggie to tell her about the baby. We don’t hear her response, but she must be ecstatic. Clemente reluctantly leaves Jodie’s side so he can talk to the police. Sam leaves the ER with Alex, saying goodbye to Luka. Luka finally gets a chance to read Carter’s postcard, which sends us into a glimpse of Carter and Debbie in Africa. But we’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out more about what they’ve been up to.

Thoughts: Albright and Morris, either make out already or shut up. No, wait – make out already AND shut up.

Dubenko was annoying when he first came on the show, but he’s growing on me a little. He shows Neela a good balance of toughness and kindness, and he never loses patience with her during surgery. I also like how he handles Morris, Albright, and Clemente. No matter what’s going on, he always puts the patient first.

I think it’s sweet that Luka still makes an effort to be friendly to Alex. Even better, Alex is comfortable talking to him.

January 10, 2023

ER 12.13, Body & Soul: Dance Lessons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

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

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