November 29, 2022

ER 12.7, The Human Shield: Better Off Dead

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:00 pm by Jenn

Sir, I’m going to need you to start taking hints. Like, immediately

Summary: A man named Vincent Jansen and a ten-year-old girl named Sydney are eating breakfast in a coffee shop. Sydney isn’t hungry, so she’s coloring on her place mat. Jansen spots someone across the room on the phone, watching him, and asks the waitress for the bill. The waitress says there’s a delay because a machine is out. Jansen gets antsy and pays in cash, telling Sydney they’re going. She decides not to take her picture with them.

They leave through the kitchen, and Jansen scans the parking lot, then takes Sydney’s hand. He tells her he liked her picture and they should keep it. Sydney notices before he does that a police car is speeding toward them. Jansen picks her up, then points a gun at the cops who emerge from the car. He holds Sydney in front of him as the titular human shield and heads toward their car. Paramedics arrive next, including Zadro and a guy named Tony Gates. They hide while a cop shoots Jansen, then approaches to check on Sydney. She’s been hit as well.

At County, Sam yells for security since a big guy named Darrel is holding Clemente up against a wall. He doesn’t appreciate Clemente’s method of checking him for internal bleeding. Clemente wipes Darrel’s own crap on his nose, which gets Darrel to drop him. On the plus side, he’s not bleeding internally! On the down side, now he wants a tetanus shot.

K.J. is MIA, and Eve wants to punt him from the ER. He’s a volunteer, so she should probably calm down. Clemente gathers the residents to tell them they’ll be introducing new equipment and procedures to bring the ER into the 21st century. For starters, they’ll have patient communication boards so patients who are intubated can point to or mark questions or requests. Abby uses her board to write, “This is a%$,” which she flashes at Ray behind Clemente’s back.

Next, the ER will be using something called freedom splints instead of wrist restraints. The splints look like oversized versions of those floaties you put on kids’ arms before they learn how to swim. Clemente and Eve request a volunteer to demonstrate, so Pratt kicks Jerry’s wheelie chair toward them. Neela arrives during the demonstration, and since she’s dressed up, Frank and Clemente make comments (Clemente’s are in Spanish) that should definitely get them disciplined for sexual harassment. She’s dressed up because Gallant is coming to visit. Yay!

Sam pops out of an exam room to tell Clemente that Darrel put his head through a supply cabinet. Clemente tells Ray to distract Darrel (like a rodeo clown) so he can give him a tranquilizer. Why not put the freedom splints on him? Luka comes by, announcing that there are gunshot victims coming in and getting everyone mobilized. Well, except Jerry, who’s still stuck in the freedom splints.

While waiting for the ambulances, Luka tells Abby that a father used his daughter as a human shield. She lets him know that Clemente is making some changes in the ER. She wonders if he’s going to be the new head, which is the rumor. Luka clarifies that she’s talking about the guy who got her and Neela suspended for working on a chimp. If Clemente wants the job, Luka says he can have it: “Maybe he can open a petting zoo in the doctors’ lounge.” Heh.

Sydney arrives first, and when Abby asks her name, she says Jansen calls her Mezoti. (Apparently this is a Star Trek reference.) A cop explains that Jansen isn’t Sydney’s father – he kidnapped her. This cop, Yau, is the one who took down Jansen, but he insists that he had a clear shot and didn’t hit Sydney. He thinks Jansen’s gun accidentally fired when he went down. Sydney asks if Jansen’s dead. She’s also concerned because she dropped her stuffed dog.

Sam tends to a college freshman whose dormmates drew on his face while he was passed out. Frank bugs her about firing Haleh, and of course, when Sam says she was just following orders, he makes a Nazi comparison. Hey, Frank? Don’t compare the firing of one person to mass genocide. Also, shut up. He gives her a letter that Steve sent from prison.

Pratt joins Luka as an ambulance brings in a cop named Howe who was shot in the arm during the gunfight. Luka was told that Jansen had critical injuries, but he’s not there yet. K.J. finally turns up and Pratt sends him to the blood bank. Howe’s really anxious about his injuries, which Pratt and Ray assure him are fixable. Eve distracts Howe by talking about which station he’s from. Her father and brother are cops, and it turns out she and Howe both know a guy named Joe. Howe asks if he’s Eve’s brother. Nope – he gave her her first orgasm. Pratt, Ray, and a paramedic all stare at her for that.

Dubenko’s still using his robot, which saves him a trip to the ER if a patient doesn’t need his immediate attention. He does a consult on Sydney, then goes to check on other patients. Yau tells Luka and Abby that Sydney has been IDed as a girl who was kidnapped in upstate New York in August. She confirms to Abby who she is. Yau quietly says that they need to give her a rape exam. Sydney still just wants to know if Jansen is dead. Chuny checks Sydney and finds signs that Jansen raped her multiple times. Sydney explains that they played a “married game” and Jansen loves her.

Jerry ducks in to tell Luka that Jansen has been brought in. Luka leaves Abby and Chuny to take care of Sydney, and joins Neela to tend to a guy who…let’s be honest, they maybe shouldn’t expend too much energy saving him. Luka’s annoyed that the paramedics didn’t insert a chest tube, but Zadro says they didn’t have time. Jansen shot through their windshield and almost hit Gates. Gates flirts with Neela, who snaps at him to stop it. Yes! Yes, Neela! That’s the way to handle that! Clemente wants to lend a hand but Luka freezes him out.

Howe’s still freaking out about his injuries, so Eve distracts him again. Sam comes to get something and offers to take over for her. Sydney asks if anyone found her stuffed puppy. No, but Yau got her mom on the phone. Abby tells her that Sydney is doing well and is a brave kid. She holds the phone so Sydney can talk to her.

Dubenko comes to the ER in person as Abby assures Sydney that they’re going to take care of her and she’s safe there. Sydney asks about Jansen, and Abby says she doesn’t need to worry about him anymore. Clemente comes in next and talks down to Sydney like she’s five instead of ten. He and Abby disagree about whether Sydney’s low blood pressure is bad or good, based on the treatment Clemente wants to start. Abby would like to confer with Luka, but Clemente shuts her down, since Dubenko backed up his treatment choice.

Luka, Neela, and Malik stabilize Jansen, and Luka praises Neela for her work. He’s heard that Gallant is visiting and hopes to see him this time, since he didn’t the last time Gallant was in town. Neela’s looking forward to a longer visit with him. Jansen wakes up, then thrashes against the team. He grabs Neela’s arm, even though he’s cuffed to the bed, and Luka has to help free her. A cop comes over with his gun drawn, but Luka tells him not to shoot.

He blames Jansen’s impulse-control problems on his head injury, which otherwise shouldn’t cause any lasting damage. Jansen asks where Sydney is and Neela replies, “Safe from you.” He insists that he took care of her and didn’t hurt her. Luka doesn’t buy that, since he raped her. Jansen says she loves him and needed and wanted him. The team ignores him as Dubenko comes to see if he needs surgery. Jansen says he’s sure that Neela wants him to die. She replies that she wants him to shut up. He needs surgery, but he says maybe the team should let him die.

K.J. brings blood to Howe’s trauma room, and while Pratt’s working, he tells K.J. that Eve isn’t happy with him. K.J. says she doesn’t like him. Pratt tells him to respect her because he’s on her turf and is lucky to be working there. He could be doing his community service in a soup kitchen instead. Howe’s arm starts spraying blood and K.J. passes out. Yep, I was waiting for that.

Luka goes to check on Sydney and is annoyed that Clemente is going with a different treatment plan than Luka would have. Neela calls him back to Jansen as Jerry comes in to tell Clemente that Darrel stopped breathing while he was getting a CT scan. For the record, this Darrel stuff doesn’t go anywhere, so I don’t know why they keep bringing him up. Clemente gives Abby instructions for Sydney’s treatment, leaving her to once again have to decide whether to listen to him or Luka.

Jansen’s declining but there won’t be an OR open for him for another ten minutes. Luka doesn’t particularly want to save him, but he thinks Jansen deserves to rot in prison instead of take the easy way out by dying, so he’ll do what’s necessary. Dubenko calls for emergency surgery right there in the ER. Meanwhile, Sydney also declines, and when Abby summons Luka to help her, he overrules Clemente’s instructions.

Howe’s good now, so Pratt goes to make sure K.J.’s okay. He thinks passing out will actually work in K.J.’s favor – now Eve will feel sorry for him and hold off on booting him. Eve tells the cops waiting for news on Howe’s condition that he’s okay. Sam learns that she comes from a family of cops and was engaged to one before he was killed on the job. Sam asks why a prisoner might be transferred from one state to another. Steve is being moved from Colorado to Chicago. Eve says she’ll see what she can find out.

Zoe is back in the ER, this time with her father. He found the prescription Neela gave her and wants to talk to her. Neela’s busy and Sam won’t give Zoe’s father any information that Zoe won’t provide herself, so he threatens a malpractice suit. He has lawyers! Sam, unphased, replies that she has Jerry, who will gladly remove him from the hospital if he doesn’t sit down and wait quietly for Neela. Once he’s subdued, Jerry tells Sam that he hates violence. Sam knows, but Zoe’s father doesn’t. Jerry gives him an intimidating look to continue the act.

Dubenko uses Neela’s hands as clamps as he operates on Jansen. Jerry comes in to tell Neela that a lieutenant in Iraq is on the phone for her with an urgent message. Neela doesn’t have time to realize what that could mean before Jansen starts bleeding out. Luka and Abby also have to cut Sydney open in the ER, and things don’t look good.

Neela and Dubenko stabilize Jansen, who’s then taken up to the OR. Clemente joins Abby and Luka, shocked that Sydney’s condition was as bad as it turned out to be. He thought his treatment plan was reasonable. Luka snaps that Clemente killed her. Abby tells them that they need to keep Sydney alive until her parents arrive, since they think they’re on their way to reunite with her. Luka doesn’t think they can save her, but Clemente wants to keep working.

Gates tries to chat with Neela, who couldn’t be less into him or more obvious about it. Still, he tries to invite her to a hockey game. When she turns him down, he asks if she’s into opera or the theater instead. Buddy, learn to take a hint. Nope, instead he invites her to hang out at home and help him study (he’s a fourth-year med student). Instead of telling him that she’s not interested and/or is seeing someone else, she just says she might hang out another time. Neela, what happened to that backbone you’ve been showing all episode?

She finally has time to call back the lieutenant. She asks Frank if he has anything sarcastic to say. Knowing she’s probably about to get bad news, he quietly says no. As Neela dials the lieutenant, Zoe’s father approaches her and demands to know what Zoe’s prescription is for. Neela refuses to tell him anything. Ray overhears from down the hall and steps in to take the heat for Neela. She pulls him away and reminds him that he committed statutory rape. He should let this go and let Neela take care of this.

Clemente and Abby are still working on Sydney, while Luka has moved to the corner to show that he’s not taking part in this anymore. Abby finally tells Clemente that he needs to stop. Poor Sydney dies without getting to see her parents again and without her stuffed dog.

Neela reaches the lieutenant, who tells her over a staticky connection that there was an incident in Mosul that resulted in a lot of casualties. When the connection clears, he says that Gallant…has a heavy patient load and won’t be able to visit as scheduled. He asked the lieutenant to let her know. Gallant himself is totally fine, to Neela’s relief.

Clemente still thinks his treatment plan for Sydney was the right choice, since it works 95 percent of the time. Luka coolly says that he should tell her family that. He doesn’t care that Clemente did what he thought was best – not everyone agreed. Though Luka knows enough about Clemente from their brief time working together to know that he would have done what he wanted even if Dubenko hadn’t supported it.

Luka says the staff has been there a long time, and Clemente needs to fit in with them, not the other way around. They fight over taking risks and trying to be more cutting-edge, and Clemente angrily says that when he sees a problem, he wants to fix it. His nose suddenly starts bleeding, and Eve rushes over with some tissues. She thinks they should hold a debriefing and help everyone calm down, since people seem tense today. Ray’s like, “Can’t we just drink instead?” He asks Sam who she thinks would win in a fight between Luka and Clemente. You know, that’s a great question.

Abby finds Clemente bleeding, and when he blames it on Luka, she reasonably thinks Luka hit him. Clemente insists that he’s fine but Abby takes care of him anyway. He tells her he’s sorry about Sydney. Whatever Luka thinks, Clemente was trying to save her. He seems to be grasping now that he screwed up, and Sydney’s death is hitting him harder.

Luka asks Weaver if she’s found someone to run the ER. Since Clemente is a front-runner, Luka offers himself up to be considered for the role. She doesn’t think it’s his “style,” but he’s ready to change that. Eve tried to make the debriefing mandatory but Luka doesn’t care. He gives his own version of a debriefing at the admit desk: “Today sucked. Good night.”

Pratt gleefully accepts a patient so he has an excuse not to go to the debriefing. Neela doesn’t have anyone to go to the dinner she planned for Gallant, so she invites Ray to take his place. Eve, Abby, and Clemente were the only ones who showed up for the debriefing, so Eve calls time of death on it and lets Abby go. At least Clemente thought it was a good idea. They agree that the department needs work and a kick in the butt.

Yau thinks Sydney might be better off dead after everything she’s gone through. Abby doesn’t feel like anyone deserves that. He gives her Sydney’s stuffed dog, which was finally recovered from the parking lot where the shootout took place. She sadly tucks the dog in next to Sydney’s body. On their way out of the hospital, Neela and Ray run into Zoe’s father. More specifically, Ray’s face runs right into his fist. Neela yells for security as Zoe’s father beats up Ray, then threatens to kill him if he ever goes near Zoe again.

Abby goes to Luka’s apartment to confront him for putting her in the middle of his issues with Clemente. Luka won’t drop it, since he thinks Clemente’s treatment plan was wrong. Abby tells him it doesn’t matter who was wrong or right – Sydney died. She was ten years old and had already suffered for months. Abby can’t stop thinking about what she must have gone through and how scared she was. She hates that they couldn’t save her. As she fights back tears, Luka slowly approaches her. He takes her face in his hands and kisses her. Then he pulls back and they just look at each other.

Thoughts: Gates is played by John Stamos. Jansen is played by C. Thomas Howell.

Laura Innes (Weaver) directed this episode.

The way Pratt forces Jerry to “volunteer” for Clemente and Eve’s demonstration cracks me up. I love when the characters goof off together.

It really did feel up until now like they were going to put Abby and Clemente together. That makes Abby and Luka’s kiss even more surprising. And I really like them together, so I think it’s a great development.

November 22, 2022

ER 12.6, Dream House: Monkey Business

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

Whoever’s responsible for this storyline, show yourself

Summary: Gallant is coming to visit in a few days, and Neela would really like her and Ray’s apartment to be clean when he gets there. Not that Ray has time to clean, between shifts at the hospital, gigs with his band, and bringing home a new bed buddy every couple of nights. The most recent, Zoe, is still there, using Neela’s toothbrush. Ray trusts her not to take anything when they leave her behind to go to work.

Abby and Frank try to eavesdrop on Clemente as he talks quietly on the phone at the admit desk. He’s doing a favor for someone involving an infant warmer, and he recruits Abby to assist him. He tells her to keep things quiet. She asks if they’re going to be treating his illegitimate love child. Nope, it’s a baby chimp. Yeah, you read that right. They’re treating a chimp named Darwin. Kill me now.

Eve tells the nurses that some changes they were hoping for have been approved, but in exchange, they have to give up working overtime. Dubenko arrives in the form of a robot, more or less – he’s working remotely but still maintaining a presence via a screen on top of a mobile metal body. The future is here! Abby does a double take when she sees him.

Haleh sends Pratt to the waiting room, where Chaz has asked to see him. Eve reminds Haleh that no overtime means no overtime, including working shifts in other departments. Haleh isn’t happy to be busted, but she apologizes and says it won’t happen again. We all know that means she just won’t get caught again.

Clemente and Abby examine Darwin as Clemente tries to ease Abby’s discomfort with treating a chimp. It should be fine, since chimps and humans share 96 percent of their DNA. Abby asks if Clemente knows Darwin’s handler because they went to clown school together. Joke’s on her, since the handler actually worked at Ringling Brothers and Clemente had “kind of a circus thing.” He asks if there’s anyone else they can get to help, since he can’t spend all day with a chimp. Abby leaves to get some equipment and Morris offers to help, since he loves babies. She blows him off and enlists Neela instead.

Chaz is at County because he hurt his hand while fighting with Charlie (not a physical fight, though; Chaz got mad and punched something). He tells Pratt that he always felt like there was something going on that he didn’t know about. When he met Pratt, things clicked. Everything was great when he first showed up, but when he cut off Charlie, things went downhill. Chaz feels like Pratt cut him off, too, and he wants a relationship with his brother.

As someone bangs on the door of the suture room where they’re treating Darwin, Clemente tells Abby that baby chimps are susceptible to sepsis. Eve calls the room phone to tell Clemente that it would be really nice if he would do his job and treat some patients. Clemente leaves, telling Abby and Neela to keep the chimp healthy. And then for some reason, “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson comes on the soundtrack (you know, “put the lime in the coconut”), because this plot is wacky! Morris comes in, still wanting to help, and thinks they’re just treating a really ugly baby. Maura Tierney and Parminder Nagra deserve better.

Inez tells Pratt that Chaz is talking to a social worker. He yells at her for filling out a chart for Chaz. Since she has Eve looking over her shoulder and is a mandatory reporter when abuse is suspected, I’m on Inez’s side here. And not just because Pratt’s annoying. Pratt tells the social worker, Liz, that he’s familiar with Chaz’s family and knows they’re stable. Chaz confirms that there was no physical fight; he hit a chair. Liz doesn’t believe him so Pratt announces that Chaz is his brother. That’s enough for her to defer to him.

Sam gets sprayed with some sort of IV fluid by an agitated patient, and Eve finds her while she’s changing into a dry scrub top. She’s pleased with how Sam encouraged Inez recently and praises Sam’s interpersonal skills. She has the respect of younger nurses and the trust of older ones. Eve wants her to move into nursing administration so she can help with staff education and implementing policies. Sam isn’t interested until she learns that the promotion comes with a raise. Unfortunately, her first task is to fire Haleh.

Sam balks at having to do that, but Eve notes that Haleh has been warned three times about breaking the overtime rules. Sam suggests counseling her, but Eve isn’t interested in that. She asks Clemente about the patient being seen in the suture room. He says the patient is a VIP for privacy issues. Eve needs a name for the board, so Clemente says he’s Darwin Magilla. He’ll be transferred back to his referring facility, which is close to where he lives. His mom couldn’t come because she doesn’t drive.

As Clemente runs away before he can be asked anything more, Sam tells Eve that she’s not going to fire Haleh. Eve says she’ll be gone no matter who fires her. She realizes that Sam has never fired anyone before, so she just needs to learn how. Eve will teach her later. So now Sam has to work a shift with Haleh, knowing the whole time that Haleh’s going to be fired.

Clemente returns to the suture room, where Abby and Neela tell him that Darwin’s doing better. They think he should stay for observation, but Clemente wants him gone ASAP so they don’t get caught. He realizes the two residents have grown attached to the chimp and don’t want to see him go. He tells them to discharge Darwin so they can get back to work: “There’s a giraffe out there clogging up triage.” Heh.

Paramedics bring in a 12-year-old named Barry who was crushed by some scaffolding at a construction site. His father, Paul, had a heart attack while trying to dig him out. Pratt, Morris, and Inez tend to Barry until Pratt goes next door to help Ray and Haleh with Paul. Clemente wanders in to observe and Pratt goes back to Barry, figuring out that he has a problem Morris hasn’t discovered yet.

They talk to Barry about the construction site – his father is building his mother’s dream house. Robo-Dubenko checks in, and Barry’s like, “Is that a…?” Morris tells Barry that County is really advanced. Paul is still unconscious after being stabilized, and Clemente and Robo-Dubenko disagree over his best course of treatment. Clemente wants to try induced hypothermia.

Sam tries to make small talk with Haleh without letting on that anything’s wrong. Haleh thinks that even as tough as Eve is, the energy she’s bringing to the ER is going to be good for everyone in the long run. Neela overhears and asks Sam if Eve is really working out well. Sam says she’s a terrorist. Zoe shows up just then and asks Neela for help.

Clemente uses some equipment he apparently stole from his last hospital to induce Paul’s hypothermia. Robo-Dubenko is skeptical that it’s the right treatment. Clemente shoves the “little mechanical b%$@#” out of the trauma room and into the drug lockup. The thing Zoe needs Neela’s help with is pain when she pees. Neela thinks she just has a bladder infection brought on by too much sex. As she’s taking down Zoe’s information, she learns that Zoe is only 14.

Barry looks in on Paul from his trauma room, asking Pratt when he’ll wake up. He spills that Paul cheated on Barry’s mother and she kicked him out. He’s building the house to try to make it up to her. Barry’s mother arrives and Ray tells her that they’re working on waking Paul up. Neela comes to get Ray, informing him that Zoe’s there and, by the way, only 14. “In prison math, I believe 14 equals five to ten,” she says. P.S. Zoe has chlamydia. Ray defends himself, saying he didn’t know how old she was. Neela makes the outrageous suggestion that he talk to the people he sleeps with before they jump in bed.

Ray confronts Zoe, who says she never told him her age because he never asked. Turns out she’s still in the eighth grade – she’s not even in high school yet! She figured Ray wouldn’t like her if she knew she was only 14. He tells her he also doesn’t like courtrooms and prisons and guys named Hank who want to do…you know, the stuff prisoners named Hank might do to you. Neela gives Zoe a prescription and tells her she’ll need to undergo more tests. Zoe wonders who she caught chlamydia from. Ray asks how many possibilities there could be. “Wait, were we being monogamous?” she exclaims.

Eve comes to get Sam so she they can fire Haleh together. Sam begs Eve not to go through with this, but Eve wants to send a message to the other nurses that there are consequences to breaking the rules. They meet with Haleh and break the news that she’s being let go. Eve leaves Sam behind when they’re done, acting like this was just something to cross off her to-do list. And now poor Sam looks like the bad guy.

Chaz goes to say goodbye to Pratt before he leaves, and Pratt puts the blame for the family dynamics on Charlie. Chaz thinks he went through some things that he never talked about – maybe some things that Pratt’s mother never told him the truth about. Luka arrives just as Abby’s getting the results of her recent mammogram. They’re normal. Haleh asks Frank to forward anything for her to her house. Abby lets her know on behalf of everyone that they’re sorry to see her go. Haleh says she’ll come visit sometime. Now everyone’s unhappy with Sam for being the messenger.

Clemente gets a page and tells Abby they’re in a “code banana” situation – Darwin is being brought back. Sam follows Haleh out and tells her how horrible she feels about her firing. Halah covered for Sam tons of times, and she’s mad that Sam was willing to pull the trigger here in exchange for some extra money. But she didn’t know she would have to fire you! Haleh, don’t be mad at Sam! You both just need hugs!

Pratt finds Charlie on a basketball court and accuses him of calling Pratt’s mother a liar. He snaps at Charlie not to ever call him “son.” He’s not one of the Ceasefire kids who think Charlie’s a good mentor. He’s not a role model. Charlie tells him that he doesn’t know everything that happened when Pratt was a kid. Pratt doesn’t want to hear it. He warns that if Charlie isn’t careful, he’ll lose Chaz the way he lost Pratt. He shouldn’t talk to Chaz about Pratt.

Charlie thinks that since Chaz asked what happened, he deserves to know. Pratt’s mad that Charlie only told Chaz his side of the story. Pratt’s mother raised him without any help from Charlie, and he feels like she wasted her life. Charlie says that he tried to come back but she wouldn’t let him. He doesn’t want to have this discussion when they’ve both clearly had rough days, so he tells Pratt to come by his house sometime. He wants Pratt to have something that used to belong to him and Pratt’s mother anyway. Pratt demands that he hand it over right now.

Darwin’s having trouble breathing, so his handler, Alonzo, brought him back. (He also takes care of Darwin’s mother, Cookie, and their owner’s llama.) Apparently Darwin did develop sepsis after all, and Clemente doesn’t think they can save him, but Abby wants to keep working. Well, yeah – no one wants to be the one to tell someone that their baby monkey died.

Charlie takes Pratt to his place but Pratt won’t go inside. Charlie rings the bell instead of unlocking the door, then tells Chaz he has to get something for Pratt. (I thought this was building up to the news that Charlie’s wife kicked him out, but that doesn’t happen.) Chaz thinks Pratt went to talk to Charlie because of him. Chaz invites Pratt in for dinner, and Pratt finally gives in. Back at County, Neela feels bad that the girl Ray liked turned out to be jail bait. On the plus side, she didn’t give him chlamydia. He’ll have to get tested for other stuff, though.

Neela goes to the suture room, where Clemente and Abby are still trying to save Darwin. It’s been more than half an hour, and Clemente thinks they’ve put him through enough and need to let him go. Alonzo wants to get Cookie so she can be with him when he dies. She should know why her baby was taken away from her. Clemente doesn’t see the point but Abby and Neela think it’s a good idea. He tells them they’re taking this too far. “Oh, come on, you’re the one that started this whole monkey business,” Abby reminds him. She realizes what she said and whispers, “I didn’t mean to say that.”

Charlie’s family sits down for dinner without him. Pratt learns that his stepmother had surgery for a broken hip at County, and he had no idea. Charlie hasn’t found what he was trying to get for Pratt, so Pratt follows him to the basement while he keeps looking. He asks why Charlie didn’t tell him that Evelyn had surgery at County – Pratt could have helped. Charlie says he didn’t seem to be in the mood.

He gives Pratt a stack of letters his mother wrote Charlie while he was in prison. He also has a picture of Pratt with his mother when he was a kid. Charlie says he made mistakes and never denied them. He went to prison for “stupid, petty stuff” and has regretted his decisions, but life is more complicated than Pratt things.

Cookie is at the hospital, and she gives Abby a little kiss for helping to make Darwin comfortable. I again request that someone kill me now. Darwin dies. Cookie pets him and grooms Abby. Maura Tierney calls her agent. Clemente checks in with Morris, who tells him that Paul’s treatment worked. So that’s one patient Clemente saved today and one he didn’t.

Abby tells Clemente that they see a lot of patients and some days they don’t even register for her, so she’s not sure why it was so sad to see Darwin die. Clemente reveals he’s facing suspension – apparently Eve wasn’t pleased when she found out about his super-top-secret patient. He wanted a robot and a monkey as a kid, and now he’s over it. Throughout the episode, Clemente has been calling Abby “Lockhart,” and she’s corrected him with her first name every time. This time when she does it, he says he knows her name.

Something else that’s been happening all episode: Clemente’s phone keeps ringing. It happens again as he’s heading out, and he tells the woman on the other end, Jodie, to stop calling him. She yells something unintelligible. He won’t tell her where he is, only saying he’s not in New York. She yells so much that he can’t get a word out, so he throws the phone in a bin of infectious waste.

On his way home, Pratt starts reading his mother’s letters to his father. He ends up at an abandoned house and sits on a bench outside to keep reading. Charlie finds him there and Pratt tells him this is where he and his mother lived. He’s upset that his mother pushed Charlie away when he tried to come back into their lives. He asks what Charlie did to make her hate him.

Charlie says he got into trouble, so maybe Pratt’s mother was trying to protect him. When Charlie got out of prison, he wanted them to be a family. Pratt notes that he was still a kid when his mother died, but Charlie didn’t show up. Charlie says he tried, but Pratt had moved to Detroit by then. Charlie regrets giving up instead of looking for him. He had his second family by then and was trying to hold them together.

Charlie’s done his penance and continues to do it every day. He still needs forgiveness from Pratt, though. Pratt acknowledges that he’s heard everything Charlie’s said, and he gives him a hug, but the past is past. Even if the truth is more complicated than what Pratt knows about the past 20 years, Charlie wasn’t there. It doesn’t matter why – he was gone, and they can’t change that. Charlie insists that they can fix their relationship, but Pratt disagrees. Instead of pressing, Charlie just sighs and walks away. Pratt looks at the picture of himself and his mother as he goes.

Thoughts: Imagine being in the writers’ room of this show when someone pitched a plot about a chimp. How would that person not get laughed out of the room?

Neela’s “oh crap oh crap oh crap” fake smile when she realizes Zoe’s a teenager is Emmy-worthy.

I don’t think I could ever go back and visit a workplace I was fired from, especially not while the people who fired me were there. In fact, I’d probably refuse to go, and I’d tell my co-workers that if they ever wanted to see me again, they’d have to come to me.

Were they trying to make us think that Abby and Clemente were going to get together? Otherwise I don’t get the stuff with her name.

November 15, 2022

ER 12.5, Wake Up: Learn Your Lessons Well

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

Hi, I work here now

Summary: Weaver has hired a new attending named Victor Clemente, but he hasn’t shown up for his first shift yet. Morris notes that he’s not making a great first impression, and if someone like Morris knows that, it’s really bad. Luka’s on his way out but offers to come back if Clemente never comes in. Weaver tells Morris to find a moonlighter instead. Luka runs into Abby as he’s on his way upstairs. She asks why, then decides she doesn’t want to know: “Last time I reached out to someone, Dubenko tried to make me his concubine.”

Pratt shows up just as Sam brings a man with chest pain in from the waiting room. Morris asks if Susan is on, and Weaver makes the official announcement that she’s no longer working at County. Weaver brought in Clemente to replace her, and they’re forming a search committee for the new department head. Ray pops in from his toxicology elective to remind everyone that he has a gig that night. Apparently it’s at a strip club. Well, a gig is a gig, right?

Morris hands out assignments to a couple of pre-med students, one of whom comments that they’re not really doctors. “That never stopped Morris,” Pratt quips. High five, Pratt. That might be the funniest thing you’ve ever said. They’re research assistants who are supposed to collect data for Weaver. She tells Pratt to step up his responsibilities as a senior resident, and also don’t bug her while she’s working in the lounge.

Sam comes to get Pratt to take care of her patient, who stops Pratt before he can administer some nitro for his chest pain. The patient did coke, drank tequila, and took three Viagra the night before. Sounds like a party! Pratt asks why he didn’t say something, and the patient notes that doctors are supposed to take a history. It turns out the patient is Clemente, and he’s just learned that at least one of the doctors at County isn’t as competent as he’d hoped.

Weaver tries to convince Clemente that Pratt is normally very thorough, as if it’s okay that he slipped up one time when he could have killed someone. She considers sticking around the ER, but Clemente says that he and “Dr. Kevorkian” will keep things moving smoothly. He excuses his stunt by saying he just wanted to get the lay of the land. At another hospital, he took things even farther and had to submit to a rectal exam. Here, it sounds like he just had to have his chest shaved. That said, it took 24 minutes for him to have his vitals taken, which is ridiculous.

Morris agrees and eagerly introduces himself to Clemente, who’s like, “Got it, you’re the kiss-up.” He acknowledges that his EKG was administered quickly, but Pratt was sloppy. Pratt defends himself, saying the ER is busy. Clemente replies that they’re always busy, and even though they don’t have a lot of time to spend with each patient, they need to be efficient, like marksmen. They need to hone in on the important symptoms, hit the target with a single shot, and move on. Abby whispers to Neela that he needs a psych consult.

Clemente asks who Abby is, and when she tells him, he says Weaver talked to him about her. It wasn’t all good. He shifts focus to clearing the board, though he doesn’t want to use the actual board. He’d rather do walking rounds. Neela tells Abby that she thinks Clemente is kind of hot. Abby reminds her that she’s dating Gallant. “He’s at war and so are my hormones,” Neela replies.

Luka’s upstairs to visit Blaire, whom he’s become friendly with since she came out of her coma. She’s having trouble with her muscles, but she’s improving. She’s also in a pretty good mood, considering her situation, though she’d be happier if someone would let her smoke pot. She asks Luka if her doctor has said anything about the accident that put her in a coma. All she remembers is going with her mom for her final fitting for her wedding dress. Now her mother is dead and her fiancé has ditched her. She hasn’t spoken to him yet.

Morris compliments Clemente’s shoes, to which Clemente replies, “Get laid, Morris.” He speaks English, Spanish, and Russian, which is three more languages than Morris can speak coherently. (I’m really enjoying having someone around who dislikes Morris as much as I do but isn’t too scared to say so out loud.) Pratt ducks out of rounds when he recognizes a former colleague named Dorsey, who’s there to visit a patient.

Luka cheers Blaire on as she calls her ex-fiancé, Jason. Her neurologist tells Luka that she’s making great progress. He’s been treating her for a few years, so he knows the details of her car accident, but he doesn’t think she should know yet. It turns out the car accident wasn’t actually a car accident: Blaire and her mother were carjacked, and Blaire’s mother was raped and shot. Blaire tried to fight off the carjackers and got pistol-whipped. She probably only survived because someone interrupted.

Luka thinks she should know everything, but her neurologist wants to hold off until she’s stronger. She should also hear the news from someone she’s close to. Luka notes that she doesn’t have any family. The neurologist tells Luka that Blaire will be filled in when the time is right. This guy obviously doesn’t know Luka or he’d have guessed that Luka’s probably going to tell Blaire himself.

The residents discuss a patient who has migraines that she used to have treated by the removal of spinal fluid. Clemente knows of a better treatment and even knows which issue of the Annals of Medicine it appeared in. “If you ever say he’s hot again, I’ll kneecap you,” Abby tells Neela. Haleh pulls Abby away to go see Stephanie, who’s up in oncology and is really upset.

A nurse up there tells Abby that Stephanie’s upset because she can’t have reconstructive surgery after having a breast removed, due to an enlarged lymph node. She threw a tantrum and broke a mirror. Stephanie doesn’t want to see Abby, whom she blames for her situation – Abby talked her into getting traditional medical treatment, and now she could have cancer.

Abby tries to reassure her that her feelings are normal and she needs to be patient. Stephanie’s still focused on finding a husband, and she doesn’t think anyone will want to marry a woman who could need chemo for the next ten years. Ma’am, I think your priorities are out of whack. Abby tells Stephanie that since her doctors are having trouble making a diagnosis, she might not have cancer. If she does, at least they caught it early. She did what she needed to do and it was brave. Stephanie doesn’t agree, but Abby acknowledges that she’s in a scary situation. Stephanie blows her off and starts to leave the hospital, but she ends up staying.

Abby takes care of some cuts Stephanie got from breaking the mirror while Stephanie talks about going on dating sites. She hasn’t heard from Lou since she had surgery. Abby’s glad that she found out early that he’s not a good catch. Stephanie doesn’t want to freeze her eggs or lose the chance to nurse any babies she might have. She asks if Abby’s scared that she’ll end up just being an aunt, or “forced to adopt some kid from Cambodia.” Because adoption is just a last resort when you can’t have biological children, and Cambodia is a cesspool where the only kids available for adoption are from the bottom of the barrel? Shut up, Stephanie.

She’s obviously jumping to her worst-case scenario, and Abby tells her that there’s a chance that she’ll have her reconstructive surgery and get to fulfill her dreams. Stephanie doesn’t think Abby understands where she’s coming from. But Abby’s grandmother and aunt both died of breast cancer, so she knows the possible outcomes. However, she herself has never even had a mammogram.

Paramedics bring in a stabbing victim named Tony, and the pre-med students hurry to take notes and ask him questions. Despite taking a knife to the neck, Tony is very calm, though he’s not happy with his attacker, who happens to be his wife. Clemente chases the pre-med students off, saying the patients aren’t here for their amusement.

In the cafeteria, which we haven’t seen in ages, Blaire tells Luka that Jason is married now. She’s struggling to grasp that things that feel recent to her happened years ago, and everyone around her has moved on. Also, Jason only came to see her twice when she was in the hospital. Ugh, you’re better off, Blaire. Luka asks if Blaire would have wanted Jason to wait around for her to wake up, which no one thought would happen. That’s fair, but…twice! He only saw her twice! He was going to marry her, and that’s all she meant to him! Blaire jokes that she could become his mistress. I kind of love Blaire.

Clemente quizzes the residents while they take care of Tony. Tony asks if they can hurry up treating him so he can go stop his wife before she sets fire to his truck. Apparently he cheated on her…with her mother. Your truck is the least of your worries, man. Clemente wants Tony to get a thorough exam, even though there are no indications that he needs one. Pratt gets fed up and leaves, since he doesn’t like being overruled by (checks notes) his boss.

Sam’s on the phone with Eve, who’s given her a bunch of tasks to do. One is emphasizing the importance of using hand sanitizer before touching patients. Sam gives Chuny a pin to remind everyone to “scrub or rub.” Chuny thinks that sounds kinky. Pratt calls Olivia to set up a date as he returns from a trip to the mini-mart. Charlie’s waiting outside the hospital when he gets back. He claims he’s there to see a sick friend. Pratt snarks that he might have another illegitimate kid inside. Charlie wants to hang out with his son, but Pratt has no interest in developing a relationship with him.

Charlie reminds Pratt that he has a younger brother. Chaz wants to get to know him. (I guess his sister doesn’t.) Pratt’s mad that Charlie would use Chaz like that. Plus, they only met once. Charlie doesn’t know what Pratt’s mother told him about his father, but he guesses it wasn’t the whole story. He wants to explain himself. Pratt snaps that he doesn’t have the time for that, and Charlie needs to drop it. Charlie says he will, but Pratt will have to live with that decision.

Blaire talks to Luka about her mother. They never really discussed marriage, but when she learned that Blaire and Jason were engaged, she jumped right in to help plan the wedding. Blaire asks Luka to stop at a window so she can look outside. She begs him to take her to the other side of the hospital so she can see Lake Michigan. Luka’s hesitant, since she shouldn’t even be out of her room, but she’s really charming and it’s Luka, so of course he’s going to take her.

Neela and Morris discuss Clemente, whom she doesn’t like. He needs to give it a rest with the non-stop teaching. Morris agrees, and Neela reminds him that he complimented Clemente’s shoes. Morris doesn’t think finding someone annoying means you can’t say nice things to them. Upstairs, Ray is super-bored in the poison-control center, and he calls Jerry to complain. Jerry tells him to picture all the women there naked. Ew, Jerry.

Paramedics bring in a girl named Lola who was crushed by a teen or 20-something named Tommy who fell off a ride at a fair. Hoping drugs are involved, Ray volunteers himself to help out. Dorsey ducks into Lola’s trauma room to say goodbye to Pratt, who’s working with Neela and Chuny. Dorsey notices a roach on the floor and stomps on it. Pratt jokes that he just killed their mascot. Dorsey invites him to hang out with some of their old colleagues that night.

Neela goes to Tommy’s trauma room to try to help Morris and Haleh, since Tommy’s really combative. Ray joins them, but Haleh thinks Pratt should be in there. He tells her to get Clemente instead. Neela votes no on that, saying they can handle Tommy themselves. Clemente comes in anyway, passive-aggressively wondering why no one summoned him. He sends Haleh to get his briefcase at the admit desk, then determines what Tommy took.

Haleh brings his briefcase and Clemente uses a piece of demo equipment inside to do some sort of scan. Neela’s impressed and not so annoyed by him anymore. Clemente’s not happy with Ray now, though, since he jumped to give Tommy a medication because he assumed Tommy was on drugs. Clemente tells the team that even if they don’t like him, the shouldn’t let their personal feelings affect patient care.

Dubenko comes to the ER to visit Abby before being released from the hospital after his cancer surgery. In case anyone was curious, everything is…functioning properly. Also, he had a “date” with Shauna and knows that Abby’s to thank. Lou finally turns up to see Stephanie, and it turns out that a) he didn’t know Stephanie was having a breast removed and b) the last time he tried to visit her, she didn’t want to see him. He’s called her a few times and she never told him why she was there. She just said she wasn’t in a good place to date. Lou’s still interested, though.

Neela interrupts Clemente while he’s playing with a GameBoy; he thinks she should get one for herself. She apologizes for not calling him in to help with Tommy’s trauma. He tells her that the treatment she wanted to give him – a surgical procedure – should only be a last resort. Neela thought he fit the criteria. Clemente gets what it’s like to be a resident who thinks they know everything, but there are always new things to learn. He’s there to teach her.

Neela notes that there are some things residents want to do on their own. Clemente knows, but it’s more important to give patients the proper care. He sees the residents as an investment in the future. When they save a life, he gets a return on his investment. P.S. He thinks Neela should consider a surgical elective, since she was so quick to want to do something surgical to Tommy.

Abby takes Lou to see Stephanie, who’s surprisingly pleased to see him and invites him to stay a while. As she’s leaving the floor, Abby convinces herself to schedule a mammogram. Back in the ER, Ray’s supervisor chastises him for missing morning rounds and ditching the poison-control center. Ray argues that he’s trying to identify a plant that a Buddhist monk ingested. The supervisor can’t ID it, either, but just a glance at it from outside the room gave Clemente the answer. He writes, “Tobaco gigante!” on a tablet and holds it up to the window. Ray runs with it and takes credit for the win. (Clemente’s okay with it.)

Weaver’s unhappy that Clemente sent her pre-med students away instead of letting them collect data like they’re supposed to. He tells her they were getting in the way and he didn’t want to overstep by telling them to back off. Instead, he told them the study was useless. Weaver quietly says that she knows what happened at Newark, where Clemente used to work, and no one wants a repeat. Nearby, Abby eavesdrops.

Clemente reminds Weaver that she hired him to make the ER more efficient. If they start to employ bedside registration, her study really will be irrelevant. Weaver tells him she has a $100,000 grant that says otherwise. He asks why they don’t go digital with that kind of money. She shuts him down, saying she runs the hospital, so every decision made there goes through her.

To no one’s surprise, Luka has taken Blaire to the roof so she can look out at the lake. She teases him for worrying so much, but to be fair, as he says, he’s always had things to worry about. After a pause, she asks if he thinks God or science is the reason she woke up. He tells her that he’s seen very religious people unhelped by prayer, and he’s seen skeptics have miraculous recoveries. Blaire wonders if it was fate instead. Luke just says he’s glad they’re both there and able to wonder about it. Good answer!

Pratt goes to the Ceasefire offices to meet Olivia and comes across a session Charlie’s leading with some teen boys. He tells them that if they get a girl pregnant, they’ll face “18 years of lockdown.” Half of their paycheck will go to the government and the other half to the baby’s mother. If they miss a child-support payment, the mother will come after them. Now Pratt knows – or thinks he knows – why Charlie didn’t want to be his father.

Blaire and Luka chat about Croatia and Chicago. She has a brief flash of a woman next to a car and tells him that she’s starting to recover her memories of her mother’s death. She’s started piecing together that there was no car accident, and she’s desperate to know what really happened. But as she gets more and more agitated, her speech slows and she can’t get out a full sentence.

He rushes her to the ER, where he tells Abby and Clemente that she’s stopped talking. Clemente tries to kick him out, thinking he’s just a friend, but Abby tells him who Luka is, and Clemente backs off. He tries to run their standard protocol for a patient in Blaire’s condition, since no one bothers to tell him what her situation is. Luka ignores him and sends Abby to the pharmacy to get what he knows Blaire needs.

Weaver joins the doctors as Luka tells Clemente that the medications Blaire’s neurologist was giving her woke her from her coma, so she just needs more of them. Clemente’s hesitant to go with that theory, but Weaver’s willing to let Luka do this. She does warn him that if he’s wrong, there could be an inquiry. Luka figures it’s worth a try. Weaver agrees to give him five minutes to try to help Blaire.

Clemente happily steps aside, making Luka the doctor on record in case Blaire’s family sues. Luka’s like, “Good thing she doesn’t have any family – gimme those drugs!” They wake Blaire up, but then she starts seizing. It’s not clear if it’s the result of withdrawal from the drugs she was given before or a reaction to the ones Luka just gave her.

Ray leaves his gig with a girl named Zoe who’s not coy at all about wanting to spend the night with him. Neela, Morris, and Jerry arrive late, since Clemente made them find journal articles to justify all their treatments today. Ray would much rather leave with Zoe than spend time with his co-workers, and though Morris is considered for a double date with one of Zoe’s friends, he’s definitely not cool enough to make the cut.

Blaire is unconscious again, which means Luka’s brooding again. Abby tries to reassure him that he might not be responsible for her decline. Weaver tells him that a state conservator agreed to let Blaire be admitted for two days. If she doesn’t start improving in that time, she’ll be sent back to her nursing facility.

Pratt and Olivia go to an open-mic night with Dorsey. Pratt’s giving Olivia the cold shoulder since she didn’t tell him that Charlie would be at Ceasefire when Pratt came by. Oh, boo-hoo. Be a grown-up. She notes that Charlie’s helping teens. Pratt tells her that he ends up sewing up those teens after they leave Ceasefire. Olivia argues that his father tries to help them before they get to Pratt. Pratt tells her that Charlie isn’t his father beyond getting his mother pregnant. He made the same mistake he’s telling the kids not to make.

Pratt leaves, and Olivia follows him out to tell him that as much as he might hate Charlie, Charlie’s a good guy. He spends 20 hours a week at Ceasefire, runs a basketball league, and rehabs houses for poor people. That’s what’s bugging Pratt – he’s waited his whole life to spit in Charlie’s face, and now he’s learned that Charlie isn’t a villain. Olivia refuses to let Pratt walk away angry, but instead of talking through his issues, they just go home and have sex.

Also having sex: Ray and Zoe. Not having sex, but getting naked: Abby, who has her mammogram after work. Neither having sex nor getting naked: Luka and Blaire, who are still in the ER. Even though she’s unconscious, he tells her the truth about what happened to her and her mother.

Thoughts: Clemente is played by John Leguizamo. Zoe is played by Kat Dennings.

Mekhi Pfifer (Pratt) and Jeffrey D. Sams (Dorsey) were also in Soul Food together, and Linda Cardellini (Sam) and John Leguizamo were in Bloodline together after this. (That reminds me: I never finished Bloodline.) Also, he’s not in this episode but I just found out and might as well put it here: Garret Dillahunt (Steve) is in season 3 of Dead to Me, which reunites him with Linda Cardellini.

Maura Tierney (Abby) actually did develop breast cancer in 2009, but her treatment was successful an as far as I know, she’s been in remission since then.

Blaire and Luka would have made a cute couple.

Imagine if Danny Glover invited you to have gumbo with him AND YOU SAID NO. Crazy.

’00s music alert: “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt

November 8, 2022

ER 12.4, Blame It on the Rain: Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

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

Six years in a coma and her hair still looks better than mine

Summary: There’s a thunderstorm brewing outside and Frank counts between the thunder and lightning to determine that it’s getting closer to County. Abby heads out for a coffee run anyway before starting her shift. Eve tells Morris that the ER is getting backed up, so they should move some people along. Morris doesn’t care for her opinion, even though she’s ten times smarter than he is. In fact, she claims that her knowledge of human anatomy is so extensive, she could kill him with one finger. Do it! Do it! She ends up just poking him in the collarbone, which is good enough for me. (For now.)

Weaver slips on the floor behind Morris and he catches her before she falls. He crows that he saved her life. She asks why things are so busy, shutting him up when he starts to answer because she wants to hear from Eve instead. Eve says all the ERs in the city are nearing max capacity. Weaver sides with her about moving on more patients who don’t need extensive workups. As thunder rumbles again, Jerry cringes.

On her way back with coffee, Abby drops something, and when she crouches to pick it up, a car has to swerve to miss hitting her. He yells at her for going out in the rain. She throws a cup at him and blasts him for not paying more attention in the crosswalk. She has a good arm, and it must be pretty satisfying, but someone’s going to be upset about not getting their coffee.

Pratt has done what Morris couldn’t and helped clear the board at the end of his shift. He tells Morris that “Doc Rock” (AKA Ray) will be with him, but Ray is actually stating a toxicology elective. Neela, who’s leaning toward neurology, didn’t get an elective. Morris tells her she still has to do some paramedic ride-alongs, since she didn’t do them as an intern.

Abby returns with wet donuts and spilled coffee. Still, it’s better than Sam’s situation, which is working nights and barely seeing Alex. Haleh arrives, complaining that rain makes Chicagoans idiots. She’s there to fill in for a sick Conni, but Eve won’t let her work since she’s already maxed out her overtime. Poor Haleh turns right around to head back into the rain. Eve asks Sam to fill in until she can find another nurse.

A woman named Blaire is brought in from a nursing facility for treatment for an infection. She’s been comatose for six years. Luka doesn’t think she needs to be treated in the hospital, but the guys transporting her don’t get paid to make return trips and they have another patient to pick up, so they just ditch her. Sam volunteers to work with Luka, but Eve sends her off to work somewhere else. Luka complains to Weaver, who says that Eve gets to make all nursing decisions.

Ray checks in with his supervisor, who’s studying snake venom. That means there are snakes all over his lab, which is right up Ray’s alley. He’ll be working in the poison-control center, though, which means answering phone calls and telling people whether or not they’re dying, I guess. Back in the ER, paramedics bring in a woman named Judy who was in a car accident. She tells Weaver and Neela that someone forced her off the road. Her baby, Grace, is arriving in another ambulance, and Neela takes Judy, leaving Weaver to wait for Grace.

Dubenko comes to the ER to consult on a patient who fell on a fence post and now has it sticking out of his leg. Yeah, I’d say he needs surgery, all right. Abby asks if Dubenko’s okay, admitting that she saw him getting examined on the oncology floor. He reveals that he has prostate cancer, but it doesn’t sound like he’s too worried about it – they caught it early and his prognosis is good once he has surgery. Abby offers to talk if he wants to, which is pretty generous of her, considering she’s never wanted to talk to him before.

Frank tells Abby that a patient who just came in was scalded by coffee thrown at him while he was driving by the hospital. She’s not a suspect since he thinks the culprit was a nurse. “Probably someone from ICU. They’re really wacky up there,” Abby says. Sam calls her over to help with a man named Lee who’s having chest pain. Grace arrives, and paramedics tell Weaver that she was ejected from Judy’s car; her car seat must not have been secure. Judy tells a police officer about the driver who forced her off the road. She thinks he and his passenger wanted to steal her car.

Weaver bumps Luka and Blaire from a trauma room so she can take care of Grace. He comes over to help her, offering to take over the case. Weaver thinks he doesn’t trust her skills since she hasn’t worked in the ER in a while. They disagree about whether Grace needs an intubation or has a head injury. Weaver wants to follow her gut, which says that she should be intubated.

Neela tries to reassure Judy about Grace as she stitches up a cut on Judy’s cheek. Judy wishes she’d waited to go out until the rain had stopped, but Grace was fussy and Judy thought a drive would calm her down. Weaver asks Jerry to go buy a present for a birthday party Henry’s going to. Jerry’s anxious about going out in the storm. After all, he’s pretty tall, so he could get struck by lightning. Weaver advises him to run “in a zigzag pattern.”

There don’t seem to be any hard feelings between Weaver and Luka, though he still doesn’t approve of Grace’s intubation. Judy’s husband, Brad, arrives as Frank snarks that he thought Luka and a nearby Sam were supposed to stay 50 feet apart. He tells Luka he’s better off without her. New policy: Everyone is now advised to stay 50 feet away from Frank.

Lee is doing better and doesn’t appear to have had a heart attack, but he may have angina, so he needs to stick around for observation and tests. Shauna, the woman who came in with him, says she’ll come back later. Abby advises her to stay in case the cardiologist has questions for her and Lee. Abby thinks Shauna is Lee’s wife, but she’s actually his “satisfaction facilitator.” In other words, people have sex with her because they’re not getting enough fulfillment from their partners.

While Luka’s tending to Blaire, Abby asks him what kind of man goes to a “satisfaction facilitator” (which she, like me, thinks is just a fancy name for a call girl). He thinks it’s a smart move, actually. Dubenko interrupts to take Abby up on her offer for a chat. Weaver takes Brad to see Judy, and they both assure Judy that Grace should be okay. After Brad leaves to see Grace, Judy apologizes to Neela for crying so much, since she’s not usually like that.

Ray tells a caller that Venus fly traps aren’t lethal if ingested, then jokes that big ones like to eat animals and children. The caller isn’t amused. Neither is Ray’s supervisor. Dubenko asks Abby if she told anyone that she saw him on the oncology floor. She didn’t and she won’t. He tells her that the surgery he’s decided to have has a 25 percent chance of affecting his ability to have an erection. Abby silently prays for a huge trauma to interrupt the conversation as he talks about possible treatments after that.

Dubenko’s shaken by the thought of never having sex again, and he uses a bunch of words to say that he wants to hook up with Abby in case it’s his last hurrah. She figures out where he’s going partway through the question. She kindly tells him that she’s flattered but not interested. He asks if she’d sleep with him after the surgery, just to let him see if everything still works. Nope, sorry. Abby gets summoned for a trauma, and she asks Dubenko, “You wanna hop on? I mean, are you coming?” Oh, Abby.

A cop brings Judy some mugshots to see if she can identify the man who ran her off the road. She says everything happened too fast for her to remember anything, then shortly says she can’t look. She tells Neela that the rain caused the car to skid and made it hard to see what was happening. But she also says that she kept driving even though she knew she was going to hit a wall.

She didn’t know that Grace’s car seat wasn’t clicked in properly. She would never purposely hurt her baby. Neela asks if she crashed the car intentionally. Judy confides that sometimes she feels overwhelmed, and she just wanted it to stop. She won’t answer Neela’s question about whether she crashed to hurt herself.

Neela goes to Luka to talk about the possibility that Judy has postpartum depression. He approves her request to get a psych consult. She can’t tell Brad what’s going on, so she tells him Judy needs to stay for more observation. She asks if Judy drinks or uses drugs, pretending she’s just worried about drug interactions. Brad hasn’t noticed anything Neela would see as a red flag, but then again, when you have a three-month-old baby, your whole life is upside-down and it’s easy to miss things.

Eve asks Luka to confer with her so they can clear out some patients. She tells him about a new policy: When they call for a consult, the resident who’s supposed to be on call has 60 minutes to respond, or an attending gets paged instead. All the departments agreed except psych. Yeah, ’cause then they’d have to do their job!

Luka’s annoyed that Blaire hasn’t been picked up yet to be taken back to her facility. The facility’s assistant director is there, since they have a policy of checking on patients before they’re transferred. She explains that they had Blaire taken to County because they don’t have the staff to give her the treatment she needed on short notice. Blaire doesn’t have any family; her mother died in the crash that left her in a coma, and her boyfriend ditched her a long time ago. She gets ditched again when Luka goes to tend to a man named Lawrence who was hit by a car.

Myers (hey, it’s Myers! He’s been gone a long time) comes to talk to Judy, who pretends she never said anything to Neela to make her a candidate for a psych consult. Since Myers doesn’t see any signs of depression, he can’t keep her there. Eve is with the driver who hit Lawrence, who just has pain in his thumbs. Aww, poor baby. Neela goes to Weaver about Judy, wondering if she should call social services. Weaver advises her to talk to Brad and see if he can convince Judy to admit herself.

Jerry’s MIA, having never returned from Weaver’s errand. Weaver doesn’t get why everyone’s so worried about a guy who went out in the rain. Lawrence’s kids arrive and Sam starts to take them to see him. Eve tells her she got a replacement for Conni, so she can go home. Sam wants to stay with the kids, but she’ll be off the clock if she does. Be a nice person on your own time, Sam!

Neela talks to Brad about Judy’s mental state, which he thinks is fine. He still believes Judy’s story that she was forced off the road. Neela encourages him to ask her what really happened. Eve sends Inez away while she’s trying to work with Luka, making Luka wonder if he’s allowed to work with any of the nurses. Looks like it’s more that he’s grumpy and Eve doesn’t want her nurses subjected to that. She sends Inez back to him when Abby needs something that Inez doesn’t know how to do. Luka calls in Sam to assist him instead, and Eve watches from the next trauma room as the exes work together completely professionally and comfortably.

Judy has changed her story, due to supposed confusion, but Brad still doesn’t believe that she crashed the car on purpose. Neela threatens to put her on a forced psych hold, but he calls her bluff. Lawrence has internal injuries, and Sam tells his kids that they’re going to try to fix him, but his condition is serious. His oldest kid, Jason, feels horrible because he was supposed to go get their dinner but he didn’t want to go out in the rain. Lawrence went instead and got hurt.

Jason recognizes the driver and grabs the phone he was talking on while he was driving. He throws the phone aside and asks what was so important that he had to take the call while he was driving. Luka pulls Jason off and calmly tells him that he needs to look after his younger and brother sister right now. (Luka also tells the driver to shut up, which is awesome.)

Inez lets Luka know that one of his patients is getting agitated. He thinks she’s confused when she says it’s Blaire, since people in comas don’t get agitated. Well, at some point in the past few minutes, Blaire came out of her coma. Luka’s hesitant to tell her what happened, especially since that means breaking the news that her mother died.

He chats with Sam, who was able to reach family members who can come be with Lawrence’s kids. Eve pulls Inez aside to tell her that she has great potential but isn’t doing enough to improve her skills. Sam steps in to say that if Eve wants the ER to run efficiently, she needs to let the people who work well together continue to team up. She also needs to treat them like professionals. Sam and Luka proved that they can work the same shifts, and if Eve isn’t convinced, she doesn’t know her job as well as she thinks she does. Eve reveals that she already changed the schedules and Sam can go back to her regular shift.

Sam gives Inez a pep talk, assuring her that every newbie runs into the same problems she’s been having. If she needs help, she can come find Sam. Shauna returns to see Lee just moments before his wife, Viv, shows up. She has no idea who Shauna is. Abby lies that she’s from cardiology, and Shauna sells it by repeating all the medical stuff Abby just told them. When they’re alone, Shauna thanks Abby for the cover and offers her services if Abby ever needs them. Abby spots Dubenko and asks if Shauna does pro bono work. [Insert your own pro bono/pro boner work joke here.]

Neela goes over Myers’ head to try to get Judy a second assessment. Jerry finally returns with Weaver’s toy, which is scorched. Frank guesses that Jerry got hit by lightning…again. Weaver doesn’t buy that until he gives her her change, which is all melted together. She rushes him to the ER to get some tests done (he seems fine, though).

Neela finally gets a doctor to agree to assess Judy. She also gets Weaver to agree to back up her theory of postpartum depression. But Judy won’t agree to stay, and Brad still doesn’t believe that there’s anything wrong. Neela warns that Judy could act on her impulses again, and something worse could happen – she or Grace could die. Judy and Brad ignore her and drive off into the rain.

Thoughts: Blaire is played by Stana Katic. Judy is played by Megan Ward. Degrassi fans will recognize Daniel Clark (Jason), who played Sean.

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

Blaire’s eyes are slightly open even though she’s comatose, so shoutout to Stana Katic for staring at nothing for a long time without blinking.

For the record, Abraham Benrubi is 6’7″. You read that right.

November 1, 2022

ER 12.3, Man With No Name: Nursing a Grudge

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

I wouldn’t mess with any one of these people

Summary: Luka’s asleep – drink! He fell asleep watching TV after a night of drinking and smoking. Oh, no, Luka, not nicotine! He wakes up when his housekeeper shows up. He tells her that Sam, who hired her, moved out. She disapproves of his messy living conditions. What’s Spanish for “bachelor pad”?

At County, Morris tries to wrangle a kid dressed as a Power Ranger while Weaver leads a tour for a couple of grant officers. They’re thinking about doing a pilot study at the hospital. Morris complains to her about Eve Peyton, the new nurse manager, who’s slowing things down in the ER. Abby clarifies that she’s just holding a staff meeting. Morris says they’re only allowed to do that if he gives them permission. Wow, Morris, how does your head fit through the door?

Weaver tells Abby the rumors she’s heard are semi-true – Susan is shopping around for a tenured position somewhere else. What they don’t mention is that the last time we saw her, in “Cañon City,” was her last official episode. Pratt joins Abby in telling Morris to chill about the nurses having a meeting. Morris goes to pull Sam out, but she ignores him, then tells him to shut up. Eve calls him out for interrupting and questions the treatment he wanted Sam to administer. In about 15 seconds, she proves to know more than Morris.

Luka arrives late for a shift as Weaver is wrapping up with the grant officers. While she’s berating him, they hear yelling. A man with horrible burned skin runs into the ambulance bay, asking for help. Morris has changed his tune about the nurses, telling Abby and Pratt that they’re “autonomous professionals” and are allowed to have a meeting whenever they want. Pratt guesses that Eve read him the riot act. “It was all a blur,” Morris says.

Weaver and Luka bring in the burned patient, pulling in Sam and Inez to help them. That means Sam and Luka will be working together, which should be lots of fun for everyone around them. Neela takes Frank’s picture at the admit desk, explaining to Pratt that she’s putting together a care package for Gallant. She invites him to come up with something to put in. Frank, for example, has put in a porn movie. Neela takes it back out.

K.J.’s still volunteering at the hospital and still unhappy about it. Olivia comes by to see Pratt after visiting a gang member who was stabbed. They have lunch plans, so I guess they’re officially dating. She mentions that she saw Charlie last week and he mentioned that he’d come by County. Pratt says he wasn’t there long, and they don’t have much to talk about.

The burned man (who’s the titular man with no name, so I’ll use the name of the actor playing him, Raphael) tells Inez that he doesn’t know what happened to him. Eve oversees her and Sam’s work, but Luka doesn’t appreciate her taking on a leadership role in the middle of a trauma, especially one he should be running. Weaver wisely pulls Eve out of the room.

Penny’s back for another trauma rotation, and Abby suggests that Neela help her with her patient, a man dressed in a bodysuit decorated with human anatomy. Heh, it’s a body bodysuit. He slipped and fell while doing an educational performance at a school. (His song about the reproductive system is called “Ova Here, Ova There.” I love it.) He knows more about anatomy than Penny does, and he complains that she doesn’t know how to do her job even though she has pictures to let her know what’s where. Neela points out that they’re not all accurate – for example, he doesn’t have any genitalia.

Abby puts up a hand at the last minute as Neela takes her picture for Gallant’s care package. Neela made him a mix CD but is hesitant to include it. Apparently Gallant likes Barry Manilow. Okay, let’s keep all the male staff members from finding out about that – Gallant will never hear the end of it. She has some other options and is probably overthinking this.

Raphael has been intubated, and since he didn’t identify himself and doesn’t have anything on him to identify him, the police aren’t able to contact his family. Luka and Sam are a little awkward around each other but keep things civil. She asks him to keep his plans with Alex for that weekend; it’ll be good for all of them. Luka wants them to move slowly and not make any final decisions about their relationship just yet. Sam tells him they’ve been pretending and she doesn’t want to do that anymore. After Abby sends Sam off to do something, Luka angrily punches the cage around the med lock-up where they’ve been talking.

Inez and Abby try to restrain a drunk, combative 16-year-old named Erik who thinks he’s smarter than them because he got a 2200 on his SAT and they work for the County. Yeah, but they don’t have to have a Foley catheter inserted in them because they just wet themselves, so I think they’re doing better than you, budy. Abby chats with Luka, amazed that Raphael was able to walk up to the hospital after suffering such severe burns. He joins Sam to treat an 11-year-old named Robbie who crashed his motorized scooter. Eve steps in to help but Luka turns her down. Then he hands the case off to Pratt.

Robbie crashed because a roller-blader named Stephanie ran into him after getting dizzy. Abby notices a burn on her stomach and guesses it came from Robbie’s scooter’s tailpipe. Luka thinks Stephanie is bleeding internally. Morris takes her date, Lou, off to fix up a cut. He left his shoes at the place where they rented the blades, so he’s still wearing the wheels. Inez asks Abby what Morris does, and Abby replies that he’s chief resident. “No, seriously,” Inez says. Heh.

Pratt has trouble intubating Robbie, so he tells Sam to get a fiberoptic scope set up. Dubenko comes to the ER to examine Stephanie and complains that Luka called him in before it was necessary. Something else is making him grumpy, but it doesn’t stop him from teaching his favorite student, Abby. They determine that Stephanie has anemia, not internal bleeding, so her case isn’t surgical. He tells Luka to use his medical skills next time before he calls a surgeon. Oh, no, Luka was too proactive in making sure a woman didn’t bleed to death! What a horrible doctor he is!

Eve has questions for Sam, not about Robbie or her work but about Luka. Sam tries to get him to come back to Robbie’s trauma room, but he’s a little busy taking care of Stephanie. He asks Stephanie if there’s anything in her medical history they should know. She mentions testing positive for BRCA1, a genetic mutation that increases your chances for breast and ovarian cancer, but she doesn’t have any tumors.

Eve bugs Sam about how long it’ll be before Luka comes back to Robbie. Sam manages not to reply that she’s not his personal assistant and doesn’t read minds. Eve goes to Stephanie’s trauma room to bring Luka over to Robbie, since he needs a doctor with more experience than Pratt. Luka thinks he’ll do fine with Robbie, but Eve insists that he switch cases. As Abby asks Stephanie questions to determine if something has made her sick, Eve grabs some equipment to take to Robbie’s trauma room. Luka calls her Ms. Peyton, but Eve says she has a Ph.D., so he should actually call her Doctor.

Stephanie finally reveals to Abby that she’s been doing experimental treatments in Mexico to try to prevent her from developing cancer. Abby realizes that the treatments gave her lead poisoning. Stephanie didn’t say anything sooner because she was afraid of what would happen to her medical coverage. Luka finally goes to Robbie’s trauma room, where Eve is showing Pratt how to do a difficult intubation. She sharply advises Luka to train the residents better on these kinds of procedures (and also stop thinking that nurses aren’t as competent as doctors).

Sam’s impressed with Eve already, but Eve is wary of Sam – she’s figured out that she has a history with Luka. Sam promises that it won’t be an issue. Pratt hopes he didn’t screw up too badly with Robbie, since he told Luka he could handle the intubation. Malik and Inez complain to Sam about Eve (Malik says that if he weren’t a feminist, he would call her a b%$@#) and her micromanagement. “Beware the blood countess,” Frank says.

Pratt has had the brilliant idea of sending Gallant a pizza. While I’m sure he would love a classic Chicago-style pie, he probably wouldn’t find it edible after it spent a week in transit. K.J. suggests looking into flash-freezing. Pratt plans to come up with another idea. Gallant will at least get a picture of the pizza. I guess this is an it’s-the-thought-that-counts situation.

Morris chats with Lou about his relationship with Stephanie. They met at a Jewish speed-dating event. Morris isn’t Jewish but he once had a crush on a girl who was, so he spent a lot of time in a synagogue. Lou has only been on a few dates with Stephanie but he really likes her. Robbie is brought back to the ER for more help with his breathing. Eve helps Luka and Pratt with him while lecturing Luka for not prioritizing the more critical patient earlier. She thinks he ditched Robbie because he didn’t want to work with Sam.

Neela’s still trying to figure out what to send Gallant. She wrote him a poem (on scented paper!), but the only compliment Abby can think to give it is, “It rhymes.” She tells Neela that men at war have “certain needs,” and Neela should meet her in the family room in ten minutes. Looks like Frank’s porn is going to get some equally naked company!

Eve again bugs Luka about the Sam situation, but he says it’s not a problem. However, he also says they’re still a couple, which…come on, buddy. You’re not. Eve says she’ll back off and just focus on how the nurses are best put to use in the ER. Luka accepts this and drops his prickliness. In the family room, Abby takes boudoir photos of Neela. Morris hears through the window when Abby tells Neela to take her bra off, and he stands on a chair to try to see through a high window. The Power Ranger shoots him with a Nerf gun and he falls off.

Abby goes back to Stephanie, who should recover from her lead poisoning. Abby suggests that she talk to a real doctor about her BRCA1. Stephanie already did, after her mother died of cancer. She’s not interested in having her breasts or ovaries removed as a preventive measure. She wants a husband and kids, and what guy would want her if she lost her breasts? Plus, she’d still have a 10 percent chance of getting cancer, and she’d lose months to recovery with no guarantees. It’s like picking between poisons.

Robbie’s father arrives and thinks that Luka wants to take him into a private room for a talk because Robbie died. He runs through the ER, calling for his son. Robbie’s not dead, but he does have swelling in his brain and he’s hooked up to a bunch of machinery. His mother apologizes for letting him ride the scooter without a helmet. His father attacks her and Luka has to wrestle him to the ground until security can restrain him.

Weaver stitches up a cut on Luka’s brow, telling him that until they can replace Carter and Susan, she’ll be taking shifts. Luka asks a cop for an update on Raphael, who still hasn’t been able to tell anyone his name. Pratt catches Frank eating Gallant’s pizza, and Frank tells him to send one from a place that does overnight shipments. To Iraq? Morris offers to take more photos for Neela if she wants. She and I both tell him to shut up. He tries to pull rank, demanding to know and see what she and Abby were doing in the family room on the clock. Neela shows him a picture of a gross abscess instead. Ha!

Abby has talked Stephanie into consulting with an oncologist, though Stephanie is sure she already knows what they’ll say. She doesn’t want to give up pieces of her body. Abby notes that if she gets cancer, she won’t be able to get the things she wants. Stephanie asks what Abby would do in her position. Abby says that life sometimes changes when we don’t want it to, and she hopes she would be brave enough to change, too. As she’s leaving the floor, she spots Dubenko getting an exam from an oncologist.

Luka admits to Sam that he shouldn’t have left Robbie. He did it for the wrong reason. He suggests that they try again tomorrow for a peaceful working relationship. Eve hears the tail-end of their conversation, and after Luka leaves, she questions Sam about their relationship. Sam says they’re done, but Eve doesn’t think that’ll ever truly be the case. She doesn’t want them working together, so Sam’s schedule will have to change. If she doesn’t agree, she’ll get transferred to another part of the hospital.

Neela takes Gallant’s care package home, where Ray is “having a sleepover.” At least one of them is getting some. Abby stops by Ike Ryan’s on her way home to pick up a takeout order and finds Luka moping at the bar. She tells him about Stephanie, who’s at a point in her life where she worries that she’ll never have the things she wants. Abby feels bad for her. Luka asks if she misses drinking. “You’d be a terrible sponsor,” she teases. She suggests that he cut himself off since he’s had plenty of beer.

Neela tries to write a letter to Gallant while Ray and his overnight guest have sex in the next room. The guest is extremely loud. Poor Neela. Abby takes Luka home, where he lights a cigarette and says he can’t stop thinking about Raphael. His body was so damaged but he was desperate to live. Abby notes that he survived. Luka wonders if anyone would know who he was if he were in Raphael’s position. She thinks she would.

Abby looks around at the mess, for once the together, stable person. Luka falls asleep and she leaves him in front of another movie. It’s High Plains Drifter, starring Clint Eastwood as a man known only as the Stranger. A character says someone named Sam is right, and another asks what happens after their impending showdown. “Then you live with it,” the Stranger replies.

Thoughts: Eve is played by Kristen Johnston.

I’m disappointed that Sherry Stringfield (Susan) doesn’t get a proper second send-off. Fortunately, we do see her again later in the series.

I love how Inez seems a little timid at first, but then when she has to deal with Erik, a flicker of feistiness comes out.

Enjoy those sexy photos of Neela with pictures of babies and animals in the background, Gallant! Maybe the family room wasn’t the best choice of setting.

It’s probably bad that I didn’t notice that Ray hadn’t been in the episode yet until he popped up six minutes from the end.

’00s music alert: Cable Car” by the Fray

October 25, 2022

ER 12.2, Nobody’s Baby: Last Resorts

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

I was wrong – Ray does have a heart after all

Summary: Despite all but breaking up after finding Alex, Sam and Luka are still together. Sort of. She’s clearly not into it anymore, but fully breaking up means moving out, so she needs to find a new apartment first. Luka hasn’t gotten the hint, as he thinks they just need some time apart, which he would use to visit his father back in Croatia. Sam tells him that she’s looking for a new place to live. She needs to think things over before they do anything else.

Abby races to catch an El train, annoyed when a couple of women she asked to hold the doors ignore her. She meets up with Neela and they notice the women talking about them. One of them comments snarkily that Neela’s shoes look comfortable and match her backpack. What is this, middle school? On the way off the train, one of the women hurts her ankle. Neela examines it for her, telling her she may have broken it. The woman says she wants a second opinion, so Neela tags in Abby, who says, “Your ankle may be broken and you’re a b%$@#.”

At County, Morris complains to Pratt that Abby, Ray, and Neela are all liabilities. They’re more competent than you are, pot boy. He says they have no brain, no courage, and no heart. I’m not sure which is which. Neela has no courage and Ray kind of has no heart, but Abby definitely has a brain. Also, when Morris says they need to go see the wizard, Pratt is skeptical that he would consider himself that.

Morris announces his presence to the residents, reminding everyone that he’s the chief. Abby calls him “Big Chief Pain in the A%$.” Morris gets all, “Don’t make fun of people with Native American heritage! I’m 1/16th Chocktaw!” Abby’s not on screen but I assume she’s rolling her eyes. Chuny says that Jake sent everyone a postcard from San Francisco. So if anyone was wondering how things worked out between him and Abby (and I doubt anyone was), there’s your answer.

Luka brings in three interns, including Jim, who worked with Ray in the previous episode. Chuny tells him that one of his patients may have died. As Morris heads off with the interns, Ray tells Abby and Neela to pick numbers between 1 and 10. The winner, Neela, gets to pick between Jim and another intern, Munson. Ray has apparently already called dibs on the third, Clemons.

Paramedics bring in a pregnant woman named Claire who was in a car accident and is now having contractions. Ray thinks she’ll be giving birth today, so she asks Sam to call her friend Toni so she can be there. Luka tries to pull Sam aside for a chat, but Sam says she’s too busy. She also won’t let Luka try to hand her work off to a new nurse named Inez.

Ray does a little teaching, telling Clemons that the #1 rule in the ER is if you don’t know something, just fake it. Remind me never to consent to getting medical care from Ray. He tells her to go get something, but she doesn’t know what it is, so she asks Abby. Abby tells her that the #1 rule in the ER is if you don’t know something, ask. That’s how you learn. Yes, that’s definitely a better rule than Ray’s. Abby heads off without telling Clemons how to use the thing Ray told her to get, so Clemons turns to Neela. Neela’s #1 rule in the ER is if you don’t know something, look it up. If someone gives you the answer, you’ll just forget it.

Abby checks in with Munson, who is a man of few words (and possibly also little knowledge, since he’s reading a scan backwards). She tells Pratt that she doesn’t think Munson likes her. Pratt scoffs at that, since everyone likes her. He also thinks she did a great job teaching Jake. He’s under the impression that Jake isn’t at County now because he didn’t match there.

Chuny asks Pratt to get on the radio and pronounce a death for some paramedics. Who knew that was allowed? Paramedics bring in a kid who passed out at a mall food court. Abby quizzes Munson on what to do, and he’s hesitant and leaves something out. She assures him he’ll get the hang of it. “I know,” he replies shortly. You know, buddy, you’re not making a great first impression here.

After Pratt’s done pronouncing the patient dead for the paramedics, Chuny tells him there’s someone in the waiting room who asked to see him. It’s Charlie. Pratt pretends not to know him and tells Chuny to make him wait. You would dare make the great Danny Glover wait?? Monster! Pratt goes to check in with Ray, who’s giving Claire an ultrasound. The baby’s breech and Claire’s already started delivering him without even realizing. Everyone stays calm, but the previously serene Claire is now getting anxious.

Toni arrives and Luka tells her that Claire wasn’t injured in the car accident. Toni explains that Claire is a surrogate, and her baby is actually Toni and her husband’s. Luka can’t tell Toni how the baby is without Claire’s consent. He still wants to talk to Sam, who’s still busy. Luka, get the hint. You look pathetic right now. Claire’s labor is progressing, but since she’s almost full-term, the only problem seems to be the baby being breech.

Pratt grabs Inez for a trauma involving a shooting. He asks if she’s worked one before and she shows him a scar on her arm from her own shooting experience. She simply explains that she grew up in the Bronx. Neela and Jim go see their next patient, Drew, who happens to be the woman who hurt her ankle at the El station. She wonders if her day could get any worse.

Pratt runs into Charlie when he walks through the waiting room to receive his next patient. Charlie guesses that Pratt knows who he is, and he asks why Pratt came to his house. Pratt says he wanted to see Charlie for himself, and now he’s done with him. Charlie follows him to the ambulance bay, saying he didn’t know Pratt was in Chicago (he was in Detroit before that). He understands Pratt’s anger toward him and wants to explain himself. Pratt replies that he doesn’t need anything from Charlie and never has. He doesn’t want to see Charlie anymore.

Charlie ignores him and tells him that he has a half brother and sister; they’re Pratt’s family, too. Jocelyn is in college and Chaz is a high school senior with a swim meet that night. Pratt scoffs that family is suddenly important to Charlie. Charlie keeps talking as Pratt and Inez start working on their patient. Charlie, go inside and ask for a guy named Luka. You two will probably get along really well. He tells Pratt he’s sorry he walked away and doesn’t want his son to make the same mistake.

Abby, Luka, Sam, and Malik work on the boy from the food court (I’ll call him Johnny Doe), and Abby catches a mistake Luka almost makes with a medication. She lets Munson take charge but he’s still tentative. Pratt brings in his patient and tells the other team to take Johnny somewhere else. Luka agrees but Abby thinks it’s too soon to move him.

She asks Luka if she did something wrong or isn’t handling the case correctly. He tells her that Sam’s moving out, which is all Abby needs to know about why he’s not himself today. She offers to listen if he wants to talk, but he notes that if he wanted to talk, Sam would probably be staying put. Abby’s like, “Now I know our breakup was your fault.” Heh.

Coburn comes to the ER to examine Claire. Oh, hey, Coburn! Where ya been? Whatcha been up to? Delivering babies, I bet. Claire objects to the recommendation of a C-section, but there’s a 25 percent chance that there will be complications if she delivers naturally. With a C-section, there’s only a 2 percent chance. Coburn agrees to wait to make a final decision.

Ray’s frustrated that Claire isn’t thinking about what’s best for the baby. Coburn reminds him that she can’t do anything without Claire’s consent. Ray notes that she’s the surrogate, not the baby’s actual mother. Coburn says it’s still her body at question here, and she has the right to refuse surgery.

Abby tries to sneak a peek at Jake’s postcard but gets called away. Chuny tells her that Johnny’s friends, who ditched him at the mall (little jerks), are there to find out what’s going on. When Abby asks if Johnny took something, they try to run off again. Chuny wrangles them and Abby interrogates them until they spill that Johnny, whose real name is Liam, is having problems because his parents are divorcing. The only thing they can offer up that’s medically relevant is that his family is vegetarian, but Liam ate two big cheeseburgers.

Liam’s unresponsive now, so Abby goes back to him. She quizzes Munson some more, but Malik knows the answers better than he does. Abby realizes that Liam could have a metabolic issue. She wants to draw his blood right in the ER lobby instead of waiting for him to go upstairs for more tests. The sample needs to be cold, so she tells Munson to get some ice. He grabs the first cold thing he sees, Morris’ Frappuccino. Abby puts a vial of blood in it and sends Munson to the lab.

Ray tries to get Claire to understand the risk she’s taking by not agreeing to the C-section. This runs up against Sam’s attempts to keep her calm. Claire keeps refusing the C-section, since she wants to have her own kids some day. I guess she doesn’t get that it’s possible to give birth naturally even after a C-section. She asks to consent as a last resort, only if the baby’s in danger. That’s good enough for Ray, and he downplays the risks Sam tries to go over with her. They bicker in the hallway and Sam reminds Ray that part of his job is informing the patient of possible outcomes.

Pratt’s gunshot victim isn’t doing well, and Neela tells him they need to pronounce her dead. He does, then chastises her and Ray for second-guessing him when they don’t know as much as he does. Well, if you think you can save her, then keep working! Don’t give in to them and then pretend they have the authority here! Can everyone just leave their personal problems outside the hospital, please?

Liam’s doing worse and Luka isn’t happy that Abby never passed him on to the ICU. But it turns out her guess about a metabolic problem was right, and she knows how to treat it. She tells Luka how she applied her knowledge of the patient’s emotional state (depression over the divorce) and physical state (normally a vegetarian) to determine what was wrong. (She thinks Liam’s family is vegetarian because his metabolic disorder makes him unable to handle the protein in meat.) Luka and Malik both praise her for the catch.

Luka goes out to meet an ambulance and finds Alex playing basketball on the hoop no one uses anymore. He clearly still wants Alex to be a part of his life, but it’s not clear if Alex feels the same way. Really, I think he doesn’t know how to feel because he’s not used to having a father figure who actually wants to spend time with him. Neela brings Abby with her to take care of Drew, who’s either been waiting for six hours or is someone who exaggerates. I’m guessing it’s the latter, since she threatens to call their supervisor if they don’t treat her well.

Toni’s husband, Rod, has arrived and is upset that Claire won’t consent to the C-section. They have a contract in which she says she’ll undergo any necessary medical procedures related to the pregnancy. If Claire doesn’t consent, Rod threatens not to pay her for her service. He’ll get a court order if he has to. Ray tries to defuse the situation, now taking Claire’s side because he can’t do anything to force her to consent.

Rod and Toni tell Ray that they spent a ton of time and money trying to conceive but kept having miscarriages. They gave Claire the last of their embryos. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a way to parent a child that doesn’t involve a pregnancy or a surrogacy. Like, maybe there are kids out there who don’t have parents, and they can be matched up with people who want kids but can’t have them? Maybe there’s some procedure that could be ADOPTED to make that kind of arrangement easy to ADOPT?

Anyway, the baby’s heart rate is dropping, so Ray sends her to labor and delivery. Claire insists that Rod trust her – she knows her own body. She also doesn’t want him or Toni to be with her when she gives birth. I’m surprised there’s nothing in this supposedly iron-clad surrogacy contract demanding that they be present.

Pratt tells the daughter of his shooting victim that her mother was shot during a robbery attempt and they couldn’t save her. The daughter asks how the hospital found her, and whether her mother said anything. She has no interest in seeing her mother’s body – they were estranged, each waiting for the other to budge and admit she was wrong about some long-ago fight. “I guess I win,” the daughter says sadly. Hey, do you think Pratt will take anything from this experience and apply it to his own life?

Coburn delivers the baby naturally, but Ray thinks they need to switch to a C-section because his heart rate keeps dropping. He presses Claire to consent. Coburn basically ignores him and keeps delivering. The baby isn’t breathing and doesn’t have a pulse. Ray isn’t very gentle when he tells Claire, so Coburn kicks him out of the room. “I thought I could do it,” Claire says.

Pratt goes to the school Charlie told him Chaz attends so he can watch his brother’s swim meet. He doesn’t let Charlie know he’s there, but he smiles proudly when his brother does well. Ray tells Rod and Toni that the baby’s oxygen deprivation may have caused neurological damage. Rod wants to go home: “We didn’t pay to have a brain-dead baby.” He would be “normal” if they’d done the C-section. Hey, Rod? You’re a piece of crap. Toni tells Ray they were going to name the baby David, then leaves with her husband, though she’s at least sadder about that than Rod is.

Liam’s doing better, and he tells Abby that one of his friends thinks she’s a MILF. Amused, Abby says she’s not a mother, she’s a doctor. Okay, but you can be both! Also, this is foreshadowing! Abby finally gets to see Jake’s postcard, but instead of reading it, she tears it up. Neela catches her. Morris looks over Neela’s charts from the day and micromanages her. Abby claims not to have anything to run by him.

Clemons asks Abby to help her with something since Ray never came back from labor and delivery. Abby figures he stayed to hit on the nurses there. Instead, he’s sitting with David, whose chances of overcoming the neurological damage are slim. Also, his parents abandoned him and Claire doesn’t consider him hers. Coburn tells Ray that there’s nothing more he can do for David. Ray replies that the baby had a rough day and shouldn’t spend his first night alone.

Pratt waits around after the swim meet and congratulates Chaz on his performance. Chaz remembers meeting him but doesn’t know who he is. Pratt reveals that he’s Chaz’s half brother. Chaz says he heard rumors about Charlie having another child but never knew they were true. He’s stunned but handles the situation well, just saying he’s happy to meet Pratt.

Charlie finds them together and is also happy that his sons have met. He invites Pratt to come to dinner with the family, but Pratt isn’t ready for that. Jocelyn and her mother, Evelyn, come in, and Charlie tells them who Pratt is. I think Evelyn might know about him, but she’s surprised to hear Charlie be so open about him. She and Pratt are polite to each other while Jocelyn just stands there, a little confused. Charlie tells Pratt that this is hard for all of them but Pratt should get to know his family. Pratt replies that they’re just Charlie’s family.

Luka goes home and finds his place quiet for the first time in months. There’s nothing to do but drink a beer and mope alone. It’s okay, Luka – your life is about to get a lot better. And we’re going to enjoy it, too!

Thoughts: If my friend was carrying my baby and refused a less risky procedure in favor of a riskier delivery without any explanation other than. “I don’t want to,” I’d definitely be upset. But I also wouldn’t abandon my child just because he wasn’t born completely healthy, so that’s where my sympathy for Toni and Rod ends.

Ugh, Luka, don’t tell Alex that the breakup wasn’t your idea. Don’t make Sam the bad guy here.

Jokes aside, I’m very pro-adoption and wish people would consider it over the time, money, and physical and emotional toll of failed IVF and surrogacy.

October 18, 2022

ER 12.1, Cañon City: Move It Along

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

Broody Luka’s coming back, y’all

Summary: It’s 1 a.m. on Tuesday, and after being unable to find Alex for more than four hours, Sam and Luka have turned to the police. They’re not too worried, since runaways tend to return home within 24 hours. Sam notes that Alex doesn’t have that long, since he didn’t take insulin with him. After leaving the police station, Sam has a bunch of ideas for places to keep looking. Luka tries to convince her to go home, since the police told them to be there in case he calls. He calmly tells Sam that Alex knows how to take care of his diabetes. “He’s not coming back,” Sam predicts.

The guy who Alex (who’s been recast, since the other kid playing him was on another show) hitchhiked with has dropped him at a truck stop. When he sees a police car, he hides in a pickup bed on the back of one of those big haulers that transports cars. The driver heads out without knowing he has a stowaway.

At 8:00, Morris welcomes the day shift after what was apparently a rough night shift (probably made worse by his hangover). Pratt tells Ray that since he’s a resident now, AKA an R2, he gets to run the board. Susan and Pratt quiz him on stuff, nudging him to in turn teach the new interns. He needs to brush up on his medical knowledge so he can teach it whenever it comes up. A woman who’s been waiting in the waiting area for hours asks Susan if there’s a place she can go nurse her child. Susan realizes halfway through her answer that the child in question is, like, six.

Luka wakes Sam to show her that Alex has been featured on the local news; there’s an Amber Alert out for him. She wants to start making calls again, but Luka thinks they should just wait until someone contacts them with information. When she ignores him, he gives in and starts making calls, too. But then a call comes in and Sam rushes to answer it.

At County, Susan leaves Ray in charge of a trauma case with Jane, Haleh, and an intern named Jim assisting him. Haleh’s amused because the interns know more than Ray does. I’d be less amused and more worried, but I would never question Haleh’s judgment, so I’ll let it go. Sam and Luka return to the police station, where they’re assured that there are alerts and photos everywhere about Alex. Despite that, no one has called in any information. But there’s a report of an unidentified boy in a diabetic coma in a hospital in Davenport, Iowa.

Of course Sam wants to go there, and Luka can’t convince her to wait until the boy is identified. He points out that if it’s not Alex, they’ll have driven 200 miles away and will just have to drive back if Alex turns up in Chicago. Sam frantically says that she can’t just sit around and wait for news. It’s pretty clear that she’s going whether Luka comes or not.

Susan asks Haleh how Ray’s trauma went, then invites her to give him feedback. Ooh, get nervous, Ray. Haleh says that Ray didn’t do much teaching, and he seemed distracted by the interns’ questions. He was obviously frustrated, which caused tension in the trauma room and kept the team from working together. It could have delayed them from figuring out the diagnosis.

Susan tells Ray this is part of the process of improving his skills and leadership abilities. Ray doesn’t appreciate being evaluated by a nurse, but Susan points out that Haleh has been there a long time and knows a lot. He argues that he was just trying to treat the patient. She reminds him that part of his job is teaching.

In Davenport, Sam and Luka learn that the unidentified boy was found at a mall. It’s not Alex. In the parking lot, Sam screams in frustration, then tells Luka again that she doesn’t think Alex will come home. She decides that their next destination should be Colorado, where Steve is in prison.

The breastfeeding six-year-old, Mason, is a difficult patient for Ray. Susan and Pratt are secretly thrilled. They pull him out of the exam room to tell him to stop micromanaging the interns – he needs to trust Jim’s skills. Sam and Luka are headed to Cañon City, and Luka notes that he’s always wanted to go to Colorado. Well, I think sightseeing will have to wait, buddy. He asks Sam what she and Alex fought about before he left. She says it was “the usual.” He guesses that means it was about his and Sam’s relationship. Sam wishes she’d told Alex the truth about Steve.

Neela reports for the night shift and Ray warns her that she’s in for a lot of scrutiny from the attendings. He advises her to be friendly with the interns. She’s responsible for what they do, but she shouldn’t question them. Neela’s on with Morris and an intern named Teddy who’s very enthusiastic about starting off his internship with an overnight shift. Neela’s nowhere near as optimistic.

Sam and Luka stop at a gas station and she asks the clerk if he’s seen Alex. They have a nine-hour drive ahead of them and Sam’s cell battery is almost dead. (I guess this was before you could buy a charger in any gas station in the country.) She thanks Luka for coming on the rescue mission.

Neela is a much better teacher than Ray, but she’s taking it way overboard, talking about math and labwork for a patient who just has a fractured rib. The impromptu lesson ends when paramedics bring in a stabbing victim. Teddy’s excited for his first trauma as a doctor. Neela even lets him insert a chest tube. She asks Morris to lend a hand, chastising him when he delegates everything instead of doing his job.

Luka drives while Sam sleeps, but she wakes up when he turns on the windshield wipers to clear away some dead bugs. She had a dream about Alex when he was a toddler and disappeared while she was shopping. Luka confides that he once lost his son at the beach. His wife didn’t want Luka to take him, and he got mad, thinking she didn’t trust him.

He left his son for just a minute while he was getting a bucket and shovel. Two hours later, the police found him and determined that he wandered away to play with a dog. They called Luka’s wife, who picked him up. Luka turned on the kitchen sink and cried with relief. Sam softly asks the boy’s name, which was Marko. Luka assures her that Alex will be fine.

At 3 a.m., Neela complains about the load on the night shift. Frank tells her she’s a downer. Because everything Frank says is covered in roses and rainbows? Morris wants to take a nap, and he thinks Neela should be pleased to be “queen of the night shift.” She’d rather clear the board before the day shift shows up. Frank asks for a copy of her schedule so he can avoid working with her. Oh, shove it, Frank.

Neela goes with Teddy to treat a man who has an abscess. Teddy already examined him, but apparently not carefully enough, since he didn’t detect a murmur that Neela quickly catches. Teddy just compliments Neela’s teaching skills and thanks her for saving him from the huge mistake he just made. Yeah, this guy won’t last three days at County. I’m dying to hear what Haleh thinks of him.

Sam takes over driving but is so exhausted that she can barely stay awake. She opens a window and turns up the music, but she’s still too out of it to swerve and avoid hitting an antelope. A guy pulls over to help, and since the animal is still alive, he decides to shoot it and put it out of its misery. Sam wants to get back on the road, despite the damage to the car. The gunshots the man fires snap her back to reality.

Another mistake from Teddy puts one of his and Neela’s patients in bad condition. She tells Teddy that being a good doctor is less about intelligence and more about being thorough and meticulous. Teddy’s making glaring errors and needs to remember that he’s responsible for lives here. Neela can’t watch everything he does. He needs to stop being appreciative and apologetic, too – it’s weird. Teddy starts crying and leaves.

While the car is being towed in for repair, Luka considers his and Sam’s options for getting to Colorado. Sam takes a page from Alex’s book and decides to hitchhike. She’s desperate to get to Alex, who’s been without insulin for two days. As Abby arrives for the day shift, Morris chastises Neela for not waking him to help clear the board. Punch him in the face, Neela! You’ll probably get fired and maybe even arrested, but it would be sooooo worth it! Abby takes over running the ER, and she immediately runs circles around Ray and Neela, quizzing and teaching the interns without boring them.

Sam and Luka catch a ride in the back of a trailer, and for the first time she wonders why he came with her. He may care about Alex but he’s not Alex’s father. “I’m just not ready for this to be all there is in my life,” Luka says. Sam replies that she can’t bring back his kids. If she has to choose between Luka and Alex, she’ll always pick Alex.

Luka says he’s not asking her to choose but she disagrees. “I don’t want what happened to my family to be the end of my story,” he tells her. “I was a good father; I can be a good father again.” Sam still doesn’t want to have another child, and it’s not about him. She wants her life back.

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies in some small town (Cañon City, I assume) recognize Alex from his missing poster. Sam reunites with him at a hospital, though he’s in pretty good condition considering. She’s half relieved, half mad. Alex is half mad, half sad since he couldn’t find Steve.

Abby might be impressive at running the ER but her interns haven’t lived up to Pratt’s expectations yet. She helps them move things along, and though the nice thing to do would be to praise her, Pratt says nothing. Sam takes Alex to Steve’s prison, having finally told him where his father is. Alex pauses outside, trying to decide whether he actually wants to go in. Sam wishes his life wasn’t like this. He tells her he wants to go in, and she goes with him, leaving Luka outside.

Pratt looks on as Abby continues clearing the board practically on her own. He tells her she’s ignoring her interns; she has to teach and lead while keeping things on track. At least Susan’s proud of her. Also, she notes that Pratt used to be just like Abby, so ha ha! Sam lets Alex have some time alone with Steve and joins Luka outside. She doesn’t get why Alex loves Steve so much when Steve clearly doesn’t care about them. She thanks Luka again for his support.

“Now what?” he asks. Sam says that Luka can’t really want the mess of her life in his. He thinks he should be allowed to decide that for himself, but since Alex is in the middle, Sam can’t let him do that. He reminds her that Steve is in prison, so she doesn’t have to run anymore. She says she’s not – she just doesn’t want what Luka wants. She heads back inside, again leaving Luka behind. It’s a metaphor, you guys! I know that not because I’m intelligent but because I’m thorough and meticulous. I hope Haleh is proud.

Thoughts: Linda Cardellini (Sam) is really good in this episode. Another actress might have gone too big or melodramatic with this storyline, but she plays it realistically.

Wait, that huge party Ray and Morris went to was on a Monday night?

It says so much about Sam and Luka’s relationship that after all these months together, he never told her his children’s names.

I don’t know if they didn’t see the Amber Alert or what but no one at County seems worried about Alex or concerned that their co-worker is going through something horrible.

October 11, 2022

ER 11.22, The Show Must Go On: We Only Part to Meet Again

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

Okay, ‘bye!

Summary: Sam and Luka discuss their plans for that evening as he walks her out of the ER after she’s finished a shift. She tells him that Alex keeps asking when he can visit Steve. He doesn’t know that Steve is in prison. Apparently Steve said he would explain things to Alex but never did, and Sam just…didn’t do anything. Well, there’s no way that decision will ever come back to haunt anyone!

Carter arrives with a bunch of pizza, having apparently volunteered to throw his own going-away celebration. He’s following through on his vow to Kem to return to Africa and eventually win her back. Sam says goodbye, sorry that she’ll miss his party. The staff organized a surprise farewell for Carter and Sam just accidentally ruined it. Luka tells him to keep quiet.

Jerry complains that after 11 years, Carter only bought the staff pizza. I was going to say that Jerry’s ungrateful, but Carter’s super-rich, so it’s a legitimate complaint. Carter goes to take care of an 11-year-old named Janell who hurt her wrist while playing volleyball in gym class. She has a lot of questions about medical stuff.

Ray’s wrapping up a shift as Pratt gives the new batch of interns a tour of the ER. One of them is Jane. Morris invites Ray to watch a baseball game with him, but when Ray says he’s going to a party, Morris decides that sounds like more fun. Pratt tells the interns to look at how tired the rising residents are; the interns are the before picture and the residents are the after.

Abby, Neela, and Ray still can’t quite grasp that they’re about to be residents. Ray hasn’t signed his employment contract yet, though, since he’s still thinking about what Susan said. Maybe this isn’t the right place for him. The new interns try to help Pratt calm an agitated patient, and one of them gets knocked down. “Lucky for us, interns bounce,” Haleh comments.

Ray reluctantly lets Morris tag along to his party, though he doesn’t think Morris will have fun since he doesn’t know anyone there. Morris thinks they’ll be able to connect over music. The partygoers are mostly hanging out on the decks of what looks like a multi-story duplex or condo building.

Morris is excited to get to hang out with regular people after spending so much time at the hospital. Ray’s like, “Please be cool around my friends, you dork.” Morris wants to talk to Ray about his lack of initiative, like, this is a party. Stop talking about work. They say hi to a couple of Ray’s friends, including a guy named Riley who was hoping Ray would bring Neela. Morris proudly says he’s chief resident. “Wow! That means, like, nothing to me,” Riley replies. Heh.

Janell watches and asks questions as Carter examines another patient. The school nurse who came in with her tells her to stop bothering Carter, but Janell doesn’t think she’s annoying him (she is; he’s just being nice about it). Jerry tells Carter that the sewer problem from the previous episode is still an issue, so there’s only one available OR. Do you hear that, people of Chicago? Only one of you can have surgery at a time. Be careful.

An actor from a community theater production is brought in after getting hit in the head with a piece of scenery. He’s dressed as a cow, and Neela comments that it’s a good thing she’s not Hindu. He’s followed by another actor, this one with burns. He explains that they’re putting on a musical about the Great Chicago Fire (hence the cow). Carter spots Haleh and Malik leaving, and they give him two different excuses why.

Pratt goes looking for K.J., who’s still doing community service at County. He tells Carter they’ll miss him when he leaves. Carter hopes to see him at his surprise party, which Pratt claims not to know anything about. He checks in with K.J., who’s completed his assignments for the day but is still hanging around because his father hasn’t come to pick him up yet. Pratt offers to take him home after they go to Carter’s party.

One of Ray’s friends, Benny, shows off his new tattoo, the opening guitar chords from “Free Bird.” Ray advises him to keep an eye on the redness around the tattoo’s edges. His friend teases him for sounding like a real doctor. Ray decides to own it because it impresses a woman name Jessica. Another friend, Molly, asks if Ray has anything for the heartburn her pregnancy is giving her. Her husband, Kyle, asks for “mellowing agents” instead.

Ray’s done with the medical talk and invites Jessica to go get a drink with him. She’s surprised he’s a doctor, since she just thought he was a musician. He throws a couple of beers down to friends on the lawn, then chats with Jessica about how his double life is going. Morris approaches, asking about drinks, and Jessica informs Ray that Morris has been telling everyone that he’s Ray’s boss.

Back at County, the cow (Mike) and the burn victim (Stan) bicker while Neela and Abby treat them. Stan hopes he isn’t left with scars, since he uses his body a lot in his work. Neela guesses that he’s a porn star. Luka pulls Abby aside to say he’s going to leave for a while to go to Carter’s goodbye party at Ike Ryan’s. They’re closed to trauma because of the plumbing issues, so he doesn’t expect any emergencies. Which of course means there will be at least one. Luka tells her he’ll come back in half an hour, and then she can go to the party.

Sam goes home and finds a letter for Alex from Steve. She pulls it out of the envelope before he can see that it came from a prison. Alex is annoyed that she won’t give it to him until he’s finished his homework. He comes close to calling her a nasty word he should never use. On top of not getting his letter, he’s upset because he knows Sam and Luka aren’t getting along, and he’s worried they’ll have to move again.

Luka shows up at Ike Ryan’s with Carter, who pretends to be surprised. Ray makes out with Jessica on a deck but has to leave her when Kyle tells him Morris is throwing up inside. As Ray goes in, Kyle runs into Molly, telling her he’ll join her on a deck after he talks to some people inside. Ray finds Morris in a corner, lamenting that he’s not as laidback as Ray is. People don’t expect much of Morris, which is part of the reason he wanted to be chief resident. Ray admits that he’s just good at faking it.

Morris feels sick again, so Ray heads off to get him some water. Just as he’s about to step back onto a deck, it drops. It falls down to the next level, sending all three floors of decks crashing down. Kyle yells for Molly and runs for the stairs to go find her. Jessica is sitting on a railing, which is still holding up, but she no longer has any way to get down. As Ray watches in horror, the railing breaks and Jessica falls onto the debris and bodies below.

Ray and some other people race outside. Despite not being much of a leader at work, Ray immediately takes charge, telling someone to call 911. He guesses there are at least 20 people with injuries. Jessica’s alive but impaled on something, so Ray tells someone to stay with her and keep her still. Morris just looks on, shell-shocked, as Ray assesses the situation. He yells for everyone to be quiet, then assures them that paramedics are coming. They need to uncover as many people as they can without moving anyone until Ray has checked them over.

Stan and Mike’s director shows up at County, hoping they can return to the show and redeem the second act. Abby doubts the actors are up to resuming their roles, but the director says they’re professionals: “The show must go on.” Abby asks why the show can’t stop sometimes. Shhh, Abby, it’s a metaphor! The show is THIS show! It’s going on without Noah Wyle! You get second billing now and your career is set for life, so shhhhh!

Morris finally starts helping with the triage efforts at the party, which Ray is still running calmly and confidently. Molly’s alive and seems to be okay, but she’s worried about her baby. Ray finds Benny under a bunch of rubble, identifying his arm from his tattoo. He hears ambulances in the distance, finally coming to help.

Alex finishes his homework and goes to get his letter. He asks Sam if they’ll ever live with Steve again. He thinks Steve has a steady job as a river guide. Sam tells him straight out that they won’t be living with him again. Paramedics load up the injured partygoers, but Ray isn’t sure if there are more under the rubble. Zadro notes that it took the paramedics eight minutes to get there, which means Ray assessed about 25 people in less than ten minutes. Ray notes that there was no paperwork to slow him down.

He’s not sure why County is closed to trauma, and he doesn’t think the hospitals the paramedics plan to take the victims to will be able to handle the patients’ injuries. Zadro tells him they’ll go to County if Ray can get them to agree. Ray calls, surprising Chuny, and tells Abby that County needs to open to trauma. Abby balks at taking more than one critical case, but Ray insists that they take five – they’ll die if County doesn’t accept them. (Make that four, since one just died.)

Abby keeps hesitating, and Chuny reminds her that their radio calls are recorded. Abby finally agrees to take four patients, then mobilizes the staff to move people around and get ready for traumas. It’s a good thing the new interns are still there and can help out. Abby tells Chuny to page Luka and get him to come back from the party.

Luka tells the guests that they should enjoy themselves because Weaver’s paying for all their food and drinks. He tells Carter what his father used to say when a friend went on a journey and when Luka came to work in the States: “We only part to meet again.” Carter’s touched. As everyone claps and clinks glasses, Luka’s pager goes off, but he doesn’t hear it.

Neela, Chuny, and Jane take care of Molly when she’s brought to County. They realize she’s in labor (fortunately, she’s almost full-term). Neela confidently runs her treatment while Abby takes charge of another case next door. Ray’s with a friend named Nick, who needs surgery for a bad leg injury. Dori reminds Ray that there’s only one available OR.

OB is busy, so Neela proceeds with Molly’s delivery herself. She keeps going even when there’s a complication but ultimately decides she needs to switch with Abby, since Abby has OB experience. Molly and Kyle tell her that the baby is a girl and they’ve already named her Janis (I’m guessing on the spelling; since they’re musicians, I assume she’s named for Janis Joplin). Luka hasn’t responded to his page, so Abby sends an intern to Ike Ryan’s to get him. Molly needs a C-section and they can’t wait.

The party at Ike Ryan’s has quieted down, and Pratt and K.J. head out. Haleh tells Carter to make sure his toast is ready because he’ll need to say something to the remaining partygoers. While he heads to the restroom, Abby’s messenger intern races to the bar. Luka finally returns to County and joins Neela and Ray to help save Riley. The messenger intern gets sick, so…maybe he should find another career.

Haleh tells Luka that Abby’s doing some procedure on Molly that she probably shouldn’t be doing. Instead of stopping her or yelling at her, Luka just joins her team and lets her keep going. Abby delivers the baby, who seems fine, and takes a moment to let out a breath of relief that everything turned out well. Pratt drives K.J. home and finds his father, Darnell, passed out on their porch after drinking. Judging from the way K.J. acts, this is a common occurrence. Pratt’s mad that Darnell didn’t pick up his son. He’s the only father K.J. has.

After learning that Jessica’s stable and going in for surgery, Ray checks on Nick. He’s not doing great, but he’s still able to flirt with Neela. Sam gets a call about her credit card and realizes that Alex stole it. Carter’s still in the restroom at Ike Ryan’s, trying to figure out what to say to his colleagues. He practices in a mirror, saying he feels like he grew up with all of them. But when he goes back to the bar, only one guest is left, an orderly Carter doesn’t even know (he came for the free food). He’s watching a slide show with pictures of Carter and his co-workers from over the years.

All the traumas have been dealt with, and Ray, Abby, and Neela finally get a chance to breathe. Morris arrives, having been sent to another hospital for a quick sobering up, and asks if they need anything. They’ve already handled it all, so he goes to lie down. Thanks for showing up and doing nothing the whole episode, Morris! Susan arrives with Carter, who she says was hugging the orderly when she got to his party. Janell is still in the ER, and Carter says he’ll take her as his last patient.

Sam runs in, asking if Luka has heard from Alex. Carter talks to Janell’s parents, telling them she probably has a future in medicine, what with all the knowledge she’s soaked up during her time in the ER. Her parents ask if Carter remembers them. Janell’s mother went into premature labor in 1994, and since there was no time to get her to the OB floor, Carter delivered Janell in the ER. Carter doesn’t remember but Janell thinks it’s cool. (He did help deliver a baby in the first episode, and though there’s no way to know if it was Janell, I’m willing to believe it was.)

Sam tells Luka that Alex tried to use her credit card to buy a bus ticket. They wouldn’t let him, and when they called the police, he took off. Luka thinks he’s probably hiding at a friend’s house. Sam wants to go out looking for him (she left a babysitter at the apartment in case he comes back). Even though Alex also stole some money, Luka doesn’t think Sam should worry that he’s going to run away. She has good reason to worry, though, since Alex didn’t take any medication with him for his diabetes. Luka agrees to get some from lockup and go with Sam to find him.

Pratt stands outside a brownstone for a few moments, then goes up to ring the doorbell. He tells the guy who answers that he’s looking for Charlie Pratt. The guy, who’s a few years younger than Pratt, says that’s him, so Pratt figures he has the wrong address. But then an older man comes to the door and says he’s also Charlie. (We’ll find out later that the other Charlie goes by Chaz.) Pratt got his name from Ceasefire, which Charlie does some work with. Pratt decides to just leave, but he stops when Charlie asks, “You all right, son?” He invites Pratt in, but Pratt leaves.

Ray joins Abby and Neela as they fill out paperwork about their cases. He’s just confirmed that Jessica’s going to be okay. Neela advises him to go home and get some rest, but he wants to be at the hospital when his friends wake up. Carter comes in to say goodbye and tell them about a letter he wrote years ago. Mark always had his interns write themselves a letter to open on the last day of their residency. Carter’s says that he’s scared and has a lot to learn, and he hopes he learns quickly (and doesn’t kill anyone). It also says that if he’s good at his job, he can become an attending some day, and that’s all he needs. He gives it to Abby, who’s a little teary.

Carter walks through the ER, remembering things his co-workers said to him over the years, including Mark’s “you set the tone” pep talk. In the ambulance bay, he finds Morris doubled over and still feeling sick. “You set the tone, Morris,” Carter says. “Huh?” Morris replies. Carter laughs and says, “Never mind,” then leaves for the last (but not really the last, because he’ll be back) time.

As “Free Bird” plays, Ray decides to sign his contract to work at County. Abby gives him and Neela pads of paper so they can write themselves letters. Sam calls some of Alex’s friends as she and Luka drive around the city, trying to figure out where he might be. He’s on the side of a highway on-ramp, hitchhiking. A pickup truck pulls over and he gets in.

Thoughts: Charlie is played by Danny Glover. Janell is played by Keke Palmer.

The revelation that Pratt’s father’s name is Charlie makes his attitude toward Charlie in “Time of Death” even clearer. (I think it’s also significant that Charlie named his second son after himself, not his first, and the second son is the one he didn’t abandon.)

The deck collapse freaks me out SO MUCH. Even more than the multiple shootings and stabbings and other traumas we see on the show. It gives me a full-body shudder.

I don’t want to talk about how Morris is the one to get the “you set the tone” speech, so I’ll just complain about how only guys get it throughout the series.

I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see Weaver saying goodbye to Carter. He worker with her longer than any of the other remaining doctors.

’00s music alert: “Pain” by Jimmy Eat World, “Right to Be Wrong” by Joss Stone

Season 11 is done! Up next: John Leguizamo and a surprise pregnancy (unrelated).

October 4, 2022

ER 11.21, Carter Est Amoureux: The Kid Stays Out of the Picture

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

They actually filmed this in Paris. Seems like a lot of money to spend on just a few scenes

Summary: Carter is at the site of the clinic he’s funding, where construction has begun. Abby shows up and congratulates him for getting tenure. She thinks he should be more excited than he is. He notes that she only has a couple of weeks left in her internship and will soon be a resident. She feels like it went fast. She asks who Joshua was (since the clinic’s being named for him), and he tells her that was the baby.

Monday morning: Susan throws Morris into the deep end as he starts his new role as chief resident. On top of his work duties, he’s expected to host parties and happy hours (and fund them himself). Susan hands out contracts to the interns who will soon become residents. She tells Ray they’ll need to meet later to talk about his.

Sam and Luka have taken Susan’s advice and started couples counseling. In their first session, Sam does all the talking. When asked by the therapist, Meredith, why they came in, Sam says plainly, “I don’t think Luka and I should be together.” Hmmm, I’m pretty sure a lot of people in the audience agree. Including me. Sorry, Sam!

Neela, Pratt, and Chuny try to take care of a patient who’s yelling and thrashing around. To be fair, his hair got caught in some engine part and pulled off his scalp. Then when he tried to free himself, he injured his hands. Neela runs the trauma but forgets to order a medication, which means she might not quite be ready for her upcoming residency. Frank comes in to tell Pratt that a friend of his is there and wants to talk to him. The friend is Darnell, whose birthday party Pratt attended in the last episode.

Luka insists that he’s happy in his and Sam’s relationship, but she’s frustrated because he never talks about anything deep or shows his emotions. She never knows what’s going on with him. Meredith tries to get him to open up, but Luka just repeats that he’s happy. He doesn’t get why Sam isn’t. Everything in their lives is good, so she should be. That just frustrates Sam more. Meredith asks if anything in particular prompted them to start therapy. Sam names her pregnancy scare and expresses her relief that the test turned out negative. That seems to strike a nerve with Luka, though he barely reacts.

There’s a leak in the ceiling in the ER, and the patient it drips on is very unhappy about it. Abby and Neela dismiss him since he’s an alcoholic in withdrawal, but I think he has a legitimate complaint. They talk about how Jake’s still traveling to check out hospitals where he might want to do his internship. Then Neela wonders why Carter got tenure but Susan didn’t. Kem calls to talk to Carter, but he’s not around so Frank takes a message.

Neela asks if tenure is based on how much money someone has. Ray thinks Carter got it because of his donation for the clinic, which is more or less a hospital wing. Chuny figures they bypassed Susan, even though she’s well-qualified, because people like Carter, and because he’s a man. “Oh, put your bra back on, Gloria Steinem,” Frank says. Trip him, Chuny! Poke him in the eye!

Darnell is at County because his teenage son, K.J., needs to serve some community-service hours after getting busted for graffiti and marijuana possession. That’s not as bad as the stuff Pratt and Darnell did at his age, but they were able to outrun the police. Pratt is open to letting K.J. do his hours at County, and though he can’t grant permission, he’ll ask whoever can.

Sam tells Meredith that part of the reason she doesn’t want to have another child is because it wouldn’t be fair to Alex. Luka thinks Alex would like to have a bigger family. Sam spits out that he has one. Though the two of them were sitting close together at the start of the session, they’re now at opposite ends of the couch. Meredith plays peacemaker, telling Luka that the decision to have kids is difficult when one person in the relationship already has one.

Sam says she didn’t want a child the first time she got pregnant. Plus, she doesn’t get why Luka would want to have more kids after what happened to his first two. He’s not happy with her for bringing that up. Sam complains that he never talks about his family. Luka doesn’t think it helps anything to discuss them. She replies that they’re a huge part of who he is, and he won’t let her see that part.

Frank lets Carter know that Kem called again (of course, he’s as inappropriate as he can be without prompting a complaint to HR). A maintenance worker tells the ER staff that he took care of the leak in the ceiling, by which he means he put a bucket under it. The leak is from a toilet on the OR floor, and they have to wait for it to drain before they can fix it. It’s going to be another hour or two.

Carter calls Kem, reaching their mutual buddy Charles instead. He gives Carter bad news. Susan tries to get Ray to understand that while he has the potential to be a great doctor, his heart doesn’t seem to be in it. Once his internship is up, he should get a job that pays that bills and lets him work on his music. He shouldn’t sign a contract to work at County unless he’s completely sure it’s what he wants to do.

Carter tells Abby that Kem’s mother is in the hospital in Paris. He’s on his way to meet up with Kem there. After Sam and Luka’s session, he basically acts like they didn’t just cut their relationship wide open and leave it bleeding in the OR. (I thought a medical metaphor would be appropriate here.) That makes her madder than anything that happened in the session itself.

Tuesday morning: As Carter arrives in Paris, Susan tells Luka that Kem’s mother has meningitis. She’s also immunosuppressed from chemo. Oh, man, meningitis on top of cancer? That would suck. Neela complains about Morris’ new schedule, which has her working five nights in a row and Abby pulling two shifts back to back. Ray, however, gets every weekend off. Morris claims that there was no bribery involved, then hints that U2 tickets would help the others get better shifts.

Luka asks if it’s too late to give the chief resident position to Abby. Susan knows Morris isn’t “the sharpest shovel in the shed,” but he’s good with all the paperwork the job requires. Plus, it’ll keep him too busy to see a lot of patients. She likens it to community service. Sam gives Luka the silent treatment, and Jerry suggests that Luka buy her flowers. K.J. was approved for “volunteer” work, and Pratt tells Jerry to have him transport samples. Sounds like a very unfun way to do community service.

Pratt asks Neela if she studied antibiotics last night, since she forgot to order one for her patient the day before. He reminds her that she’s about to be supervising interns, so she needs to know her stuff. The two of them meet paramedics bringing in an eight-day-old baby with sepsis. In Paris, Carter goes straight to the hospital and uses his limited French to find Kem’s mother, Fabienne. Kem is shocked to see him, since her message about her mother wasn’t exactly an invitation for him to come. It turns out Fabienne’s condition isn’t as bad as Carter assumed. Also, Kem isn’t alone – she has a friend named Michel with her. Awkward!

Pratt, Neela, and Chuny work on the baby, and this time Pratt’s satisfied with Neela’s recommended treatment. He ducks out to take care of another patient and she easily slips into the role of running the case. At the admit desk, Jerry complains to Pratt that K.J. isn’t doing anything. Pratt clarifies that he didn’t volunteer to be there; he’s on probation. Jerry asks what he did, as if it’s any of his business. Pratt messes with him by saying it was second-degree murder. Morris believes him. Be dumber, Morris.

Abby presents a case to Pratt, who doesn’t respond or give any comment about her treatment plan. He tells Morris there’s no way the interns will be ready to supervise their own interns in two weeks. Kem chases down Carter, who’s decided to just turn right around and go home. She downplays the significance of Michal’s presence, saying he’s friendly with her mother. He and Kem dated, and she gets Carter to admit that he’s jealous. He asks if they’re sleeping together, then decides he doesn’t want the answer. Hey, Carter, remember Wendall? Remember sleeping with her? Yeah. Shut up.

Kem asks if Carter hasn’t been dating. She also calls him dramatic when he acts like he just wants to go home. She thinks it’s sweet that he dropped everything and flew to see her. Sweet, not a total waste of time and money? Carter’s all passive-aggressive until she invites him to at least stay for the night. Ugh, Kem deserves better.

The baby’s doing better but Pratt’s not happy that Neela used her umbilical stump for IV access. It’s not clear what the problem is. Kem and Michel drop Carter off at hotel and she makes plans to have breakfast with him in the morning. He snarks about Michel, and for some reason she seems to think it’s cute instead of immature.

Pratt pulls Neela out of the baby’s trauma room to slam her for placing an umbilical line without supervision. She tries to hold back her emotions as she says she’s done them before. He thinks it’s been too long, though. She reminds him that he told her to take initiative. He tells her she didn’t use common sense, and she needs to ask for help when she’s doing something she’s not familiar with. Neela starts crying, and though Pratt’s annoyed, he backs off a little. He tells her she got lucky this time, since the baby stabilized, but she needs to use her head.

Kem calls Carter early the next morning and makes him jump on a train. She makes up stories for the other passengers; all of them involve relationships that aren’t particularly happy or are doomed because someone’s dying. He asks what their story is. Instead of answering, she makes him close his eyes so he’ll see the Eiffel Tower when they come out of the train tunnel.

Wednesday morning: Neela tries to gather herself enough to go in to work. She meets up with Abby and Jake, who basically act like she has no choice but to go do her job. Morris wants to paint his office, but Susan doesn’t want to give up any of the money in her budget for it. Sam is still giving Luka the silent treatment, which is totally mature and professional and won’t tick off their co-workers at all.

Neela and Ray work on a stabbing victim as Rebecca and Birdie (R.I.P., Louise Fletcher) watch from the exam area. Even with Pratt looking over her shoulder, Neela works with confidence, and this time she gains his praise. Carter and Kem chat, getting the attention of a little girl. This just makes it clear that the one thing they’re not talking about is the child they lost.

The leak is at it again in the ER, and Abby has to move another patient out of its path. Susan decides they should close to incoming traumas until maintenance offers up a better fix than a bucket. As Abby and Jake start working on a patient named Arnold together, he mentions that he’s thinking about staying at County for his internship. Then stay! We don’t care! This is never going to last anyway!

Chuny tells Abby that Rebecca and Birdie are back, so Abby goes to talk to them. Rebecca was strangled, and Abby thinks she was attacked while they were panhandling. Rebecca says that Birdie saved her by stabbing her attacker. It turns out that Neela and Ray’s stabbing victim is Shelley, Rebecca and Birdie’s niece who took them in.

Kem takes Carter to a park she played in as a child when her family wasn’t in Kinshasa. They didn’t stay in Paris long because it was hard to be a biracial family (her father was Black and her mother is white). Speaking of biracial children, Carter notes that Joshua would be a year old now. Kem goes quiet, then says she’s going back to the hospital.

He stops her and asks what they’re doing. He still loves her and knows she still loves him. They talk for hours on the phone and tell each other everything. He makes her happy. Why aren’t they together? Kem notes that she didn’t like living in Chicago. Carter says they don’t have to stay there. She doesn’t want to take him away from his life there, but he’s willing to give up everything for her.

“Kem…we had a baby and he died,” Carter says softly. “It’s a tragedy that happens to people, and it happened to us.” It doesn’t have to define them – they’re stronger than that. They can even have another baby. Kem starts crying, then apologizes. She changes the subject again and leads him out of the park. Hey, Sam, does your therapist have any openings?

Abby asks Ray if he ever followed up on Rebecca and Birdie after he let them go home with Shelley. He says he called, but there’s only so much he can do. Carter goes back to the hospital with Kem and just stands there while she, Fabienne, and Michel chat. Fabienne comes up with an excuse for Kem and Michel to leave, then tells Carter that he’s giving up on Kem too easily.

She recognizes his bracelet, the one Kem gave him for Christmas that used to belong to her father. Fabienne says that life is about both joy and grief: “You can’t know real happiness until you’ve had sorrow to contrast it with.” Kem hasn’t learned that yet. Kem overhears and tells Fabienne to leave Carter alone.

Shelley’s not doing well, and Pratt determines that they won’t be able to save her. Ray realizes that he made a mistake that led to…some medical complication I don’t understand. While Susan makes calls about the ceiling leak, Abby and Jake rush to Arnold, whose breathing problems have gotten worse. Neela checks on Rebecca, who’s okay, and assures her and Birdie that Shelley didn’t suffer. Birdie’s shaken up and promises that she didn’t mean to kill Shelley. The sisters loved their niece.

Abby, Pratt, and Jake stabilize Arnold, and Pratt blames Abby for his decline. Susan, who’s a good teacher, unlike some people, turns it into a teaching moment. Abby figures out her error on her own, and Susan tells her it’s a common mistake that interns make. She’s sure Abby won’t make it again. Meanwhile, Neela forces Ray to tell Rebecca and Birdie that Shelley died because of his mistake, not because Birdie stabbed her.

On the way to the airport, an emotional Carter asks his cab driver to turn around. Jake tries to cheer up Abby about her mistake, then tells her he’s thinking of putting down County as his first choice for his internship. She doesn’t want him to pick it if it’s just because she’s there. Ray and Neela interrupt before things can get too awkward. Neela reveals that Shelley was making Rebecca and Birdie panhandle because she needed money for her drug habit. She got violent when they didn’t make enough money.

Morris joins the group and knocks Abby, Ray, and Neela for making errors. Speaking of people who suck at teaching and leading. Everyone goes off in different directions, including Jake, who doesn’t want to talk to Abby anymore. Carter’s cab gets stuck in traffic, so he heads off on foot in the pouring rain, because this is apparently a rom-com now. He races to Kem’s apartment and announces that he’s moving back to Africa. They can start over and do what they didn’t do before. He’ll wait as long as she needs, but he’s not going to live without her.

Thoughts: Ugh, Kem is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl now.

Sam, if you don’t want another kid, you can just say that. You don’t have to bring Alex into it.

Wish I had tenure and the money to fly to Paris at the drop of a hat, then just turn around to leave ten minutes later.

I take back what I said about Pratt being a good chief resident candidate. Don’t yell at people, Pratt!

September 27, 2022

ER 11.20, You Are Here: Drink Every Time Someone Says “Tenure”

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

Unfortunately, this is Chuck’s last episode. Thanks for not dying, Chuck!

Summary: Ray’s alarm clock goes off and he wakes up…on the floor, for some reason. There’s a woman in his bed, so it’s not clear why he didn’t stay up there with her. She offers him some cocaine, but he has to go to work. Pratt plays basketball with a friend, who asks who he’s taking to a party that night. Pratt forgot that their friend Darnell was having a birthday party. This friend guesses that Pratt’s too busy to come. He hasn’t been to their old neighborhood for a while.

Luka’s trying to shave at his and Sam’s place but he’s run out of shaving cream. She tells him from outside the bathroom that there’s more in a drawer. He has cream all over his hands, so he grabs a towel to wipe it off. This dislodges something hidden in the stack of towels: a box from a pregnancy test. Luka puts it back before Sam sees that he found it, and he doesn’t say anything about it.

Carter goes to Weaver’s office, where she tells him that he’s been awarded tenure. He didn’t expect it for another year or so, but she says he earned it. His job is pretty much set for the next 30 years. In traffic on the way to work, Luka first tries to get Sam to open up by being passive-aggressive. Then he asks straight out if the pregnancy test was positive or negative. It was negative, which explains why she didn’t tell him about it. He wishes she hadn’t kept it a secret. Sam finds that funny, since Luka never talks about himself, which means she can never tell when he’s being honest.

A teen named Eugene is in the ER, and Morris and Neela guess that he’s going to give one of the same stories he always does, either that his pills aren’t working or that he lost them. Neela feels bad for him, since his sickle cell anemia has made him dependent on narcotic painkillers, but Morris just sees him as an addict. Pratt reminds him that they take all complaints seriously and sends him to take care of Eugene. Instead, Morris hands him off to Ray, who doesn’t realize Eugene is being dumped on him.

Even though Weaver wanted it kept quiet until she’d talked to a few people, Jerry has heard about Carter getting tenure from someone on his “IM buddy list.” Awww, I miss IMing with my buddies. Ray examines Eugene, who’s complaining of foot pain, but can’t treat him without his mother’s consent. Eugene’s annoyed that he’ll have to come back after she’s off work and spend more time in the waiting area.

Carter tracks down Susan to let her know that he got tenure. She’s surprised, since she didn’t know he’d even applied. He says he was encouraged to apply early. He figures that she’ll get it, too. Susan has her own news to give, though she doesn’t want to: Morris has been named chief resident. He can’t wait to rub it in his father’s face that he accomplished his goal.

Eugene hasn’t left, even though Ray sent him home. Pratt and Neela tell Ray that he’s a frequent flier and knows how to work the system. Morris announces to his co-workers that he’s chief resident. Absolutely no one responds. Pratt’s annoyed, but Susan notes that he turned down the role, so what could they do? Chuny reports that a bunch of patients are coming in after an explosion in an apartment building. Morris gives people instructions to get set up, as if they wouldn’t already know what to do during a mass trauma. Neela wonders how Abby will respond when she hears that Morris is chief resident.

“Jesus Christ,” Abby says. But it’s in an appropriate setting, since she’s in a church, attending the baptism of Jake’s niece. Har har. Back at County, Ray has to duck out of helping with the mass trauma to deal with Eugene, who now says he can’t walk. Ray jumps back in as Carter and Susan start taking care of a woman named Marilyn. She’s having heart problems but it isn’t clear why. When Susan takes a step back to think things over from the basics, she realizes Marilyn has cyanide toxicity. It’s usually fatal, but since Susan caught it early, Marilyn has a good chance.

Ray ducks out again, busting Eugene for walking around when he said he couldn’t. Eugene credits the IV morphine he was given. Ray removes the IV and tells him that now that he’s gotten his “fix,” he can leave. Eugene insists that he needs to stay. He begs to be admitted just for the night. Ray refuses, earning praise from Haleh.

Pratt, Morris, and Neela take care of a guy named Anthony who jumped out of the apartment building to escape the fire. Pratt and Neela disagree with Morris about…something medical. You know. Sam tries to reassure Anthony that even though his roommates haven’t been brought to County, they aren’t necessarily dead; they could be at another hospital. Anthony says he told them to follow him, then jumped. Morris continues focusing on whether he or Pratt is right, instead of trying to comfort his patient.

Paramedics bring in a 12-year-old named Megan who burned both of her hands. Luka thinks she was too young to be left home alone. Hey, just because Alex needs to be supervised 24/7 doesn’t mean every preteen does. Marilyn is doing better but insists that she needs to go home. Carter tells her that her building was damaged in the fire. She says that’s not where she lives. Sam and Luka treat Megan, who tells them her parents went to the mall with her brother. Luka’s short with Sam, which means they’ve traded roles this week, since usually that’s what she does.

After the baptism, Jake and Abby go to a reception at some relative’s house. It seems like everyone already knows who she is, despite not having met her before. They also really want her to have kids. Abby, this would be a good time to fake a page and say you have to run off for a medical emergency. They know you’re a doctor; they won’t question you.

As Susan and Carter keep tending to Marilyn, she tells them that she went to the apartment building to meet someone she’s been talking to online. She got lost and wound up studying a map that told her, “You are here.” It made her realize she’d made a mistake. Jerry tells Susan that Weaver’s looking for her. She wants to meet that evening, so Susan will have to wait all day to learn whether or not she got tenure. To add insult to injury (or, more appropriately, injury to insult), Susan sticks her finger in one of Marilyn’s wounds and gets cut by something sharp.

Sam tells Megan that her parents are on their way to the hospital. Megan wants Sam to play up her injuries so her parents think she almost died. She clearly resents that her mother got remarried and had another child. Jerry comes by to let Sam know that Anthony’s roommates didn’t survive. She suggests to Luka that they call a social worker for Megan. Something’s off with her family. Luka thinks Sam should give Megan a chance to deal with the trauma of the fire before making her talk to a social worker.

Marilyn’s deep wound came from glass, and her rapid HIV test came back negative, so other than needing a tetanus shot, Susan should come out of this fine. She asks Dubenko if Weaver has already announced which surgeons got tenure. She has, so Susan wonders when she’ll hear about hers. Dubenko says only one surgeon got it.

Sam goes behind Luka’s back and asks Susan to okay a call to a social worker for Megan. Ooooh, Sam. Instead, Susan pulls Luka into the conversation. He and Sam both get upset, so Susan tells them to leave their relationship issues at the door when they get to work. If things are bad, they should see a therapist. If they can’t work together peacefully, they shouldn’t work the same shifts. P.S. Megan gets a social worker.

Neela and Ray complain to Pratt that after just a few hours under Morris’ supervision, they’re fed up with him. Also fed up: Jerry, who keeps having to take messages from Pratt’s friends bugging him to go to the party. Pratt tells Carter that non-medical people don’t get what it’s like to work a 12-hour shift. When Morris tries to rally everyone for a trip to Ike’s after work, Carter comments that medical people don’t always get it, either. Everyone tells Morris that they have plans already.

Jerry and some nurses have gotten Carter a cake to celebrate his tenure. Morris is jealous and Susan is just frustrated that she hasn’t gotten news of her own yet. The celebration gets cut short when Marilyn’s husband arrives. He’s confused about why she was in an apartment building when she said she was going to a dance class. Carter plays innocent. Mr. Marilyn asks him to just tell Marilyn that he’s there.

Susan goes to Weaver’s office early, having already guessed that she didn’t get tenure. Weaver blames budget cuts, lack of publications, and other strict criteria Susan didn’t meet. Susan notes that she’s been an attending two years longer than Carter and has excelled in every role she’s been given. She thinks Weaver denied her tenure to keep her running the ER instead of doing research. This way, Weaver doesn’t have to think about the ER or care about what happens there.

Weaver tells Susan that no one fell for her recent push to get grants after seven years of not writing anything. She should be up to a million dollars by now, instead of just the $75,000 she’s brought in. Grants pay Susan’s salary, and she should be embarrassed by her failure in that area. Susan says she probably would have gotten tenure if she’d written a big check for a new wing, like Carter did with his clinic.

Ray’s trying to wrap up for the night so he can go to a gig. Neela’s annoyed with him for once again acting like medicine isn’t his full-time job. As Ray tries to hail a cab on the street, he runs into Eugene outside. He offers Eugene money for the El, then tells him that the hospital isn’t going to admit him or give him any more medication, so he should go home. Eugene says he can’t – his mother’s boyfriend is there, and he “does stuff.” Ray slowly realizes that Eugene isn’t safe at home.

Sam wants Luka to say straight out that he’s mad at her for going behind his back. He won’t, which just proves what she said earlier – he doesn’t talk about things with her. He buries his feelings and pretends he doesn’t have them. He tells her he just doesn’t have a need to share his feelings all the time, especially at work. Poor Haleh has to interrupt.

Carter runs into Susan, who tells him she didn’t get tenure, and that it seems like he got her slot. She’s obviously frustrated about it but doesn’t want to admit it. He guesses that she feels like he bought the slot, even though he’s fulfilled all the other criteria as well. Susan blurts out that he never wanted tenure. This is her home – it’s where she started and where she wants to stay. As for Carter, it seems like half the time, he’d rather be anywhere else.

Pratt’s basketball buddy comes by to pick him up and make sure he goes to Darnell’s party. Ray brings Eugene back in and has him admitted. He tells Pratt that Eugene was raped. Megan recognizes another patient as someone from her building. She tells Sam that the neighbor used to bring food to someone else. She guesses that guy didn’t make it. Megan says that she was the one who called 911, but they didn’t respond as quickly as she thought they would. She called them before she did it. She tried to put out the fire, but it got out of control. Just then, her parents arrive, so Sam doesn’t get to follow up.

The reception is still going on at Jake’s relative’s house, and I really can’t believe Abby’s stayed so long. He tells her his family loves her. Well, except one aunt who didn’t appreciate when Abby says she’s not sure Heaven and Hell exist. Jake says he’s a “pick-and-choose Catholic”; he obeys some commandments and rules, but not all of them. He guesses that Abby finds his large family overwhelming. She does, but she says it’s in a good way. She tells him she never thought families like this actually existed. Jake’s very lucky. That said, she wants to get out of there.

Pratt goes to Darnell’s party, catching up with a bunch of people he hasn’t seen in a while. He seems genuinely happy to have given up a quiet night at home. Susan is annoyed that Ray admitted Eugene; she thinks he’s dumping Eugene on the next shift so he can go to a gig. If he wants to be a rock star, he needs to keep it to the weekends. Medicine is a career, not a plan B. It’s either what he wants to do or it isn’t. Ray’s like, “I can’t believe I’m getting yelled at for doing a nice thing.”

On the drive home, Sam tells Luka that Megan started the fire for attention. Sadly, now she has to live with three deaths and a bunch of injuries on her conscience, plus spend time in juvie. Sam wonders why she and Luka can talk about anything other than their relationship. Maybe Susan was right and they should see a therapist.

Pratt and some of his friends go out to a baseball field after the party and drink on the bleachers. One of the guys recently got laid off, and the others tease that he should become a doctor. It can’t be that hard if Pratt does it. One of the guys has a gun, and he wants to liven up the after-party how they used to, by shooting out lights. He fires at a light on the field, getting the attention of the cops. The guys all run off, laughing.

Ray checks on Eugene, lamenting that he didn’t ask more about his personal life to find out what Eugene’s been going through. Ray offers to stay until Eugene’s mom arrives, even though that means missing his gig. Eugene sees his guitar case and asks if he’s a musician. “Not tonight,” Ray replies.

Susan ends her day moping at home. Chuck tries to cheer her up over not getting tenure. She wishes she hadn’t gotten her hopes up or thought about what they could have used the money for. She really wanted the honor. Still at County, Carter calls Kem and tells her he got tenure. Yes, he got what Susan wanted, and yes, he’s happy, but at least Susan has the person she loves right by her side.

Thoughts: Pratt would have made a great chief resident. If Morris was the second best option, County has a major staffing issue.

Practically the first thing one of Jake’s uncles says to Abby is, “So you divorced or never married?” Dude! Manners!

We all know I don’t get the appeal, but it’s nice that Pratt has a bunch of friends and that they’re so eager to hang out with him.

I’m not sure what the scene at the baseball field was trying to say. That Pratt can never truly escape his past? That he has at least one friend who makes bad decisions? That if Pratt had made different decisions, he might also be the sort of person who carries around a gun and shoots it off for no reason?

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