October 5, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

’00s music alert: Coldplay’s “Clocks”

September 7, 2021

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

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

This is a good look for Tom Everett Scott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: Romy is played by Jurnee Smollett.

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

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

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

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

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

August 31, 2021

ER 9.8, First Snowfall: The New Normal

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

Poor Gallant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: Matt is played by Josh Hutcherson.

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

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

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

August 24, 2021

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

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

This is the closest Chen gets to having a plotline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2021

ER 9.6, One Can Only Hope: Nothing Personal

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

Somewhere, Millicent is freaking out about Carter being here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 27, 2021

ER 9.3, Insurrection: No, Really, Hospital Security Is a Joke

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

Is this why this guy was on “Oz”?

Summary: It’s another crazy day in the ER, made all the more fun by a homeless man who’s singing “how you doin’?” to people to the tune of “Rock Me Amadeus.” That would get old really fast. Weaver blames Susan for the backup in seeing patients, but Susan says she’s doing the best she can, and Weaver’s welcome to see if she can do better. The only thing they agree on is that Harkins needs to take How You Doin’ Guy outside. Weaver says she’ll see if another hospital can take some of their overflow patients.

Things are so busy that Abby has to call her brother, Eric, to cancel their lunch plans. She tells him to page her and they’ll reschedule for dinner. Meanwhile, Carter is trying to deal with a patient who insists Carter is trying to kill him. Security is taking their sweet time coming to help. Apparently they’ve been spending most of their time ticketing staff members’ cars. As Susan and Carter discuss how to get the stickers off, then how to get blood out of suede, Carter’s patient wrecks his exam room. The doctors just ignore him. How You Doin’ Guy comes up and asks Susan how she’s doin’. “Groovy,” she replies.

Elsewhere, Pratt tries to impress Chen by showing her an x-ray from a patient who got a vibrator stuck inside him – a vibrator that’s still vibrating. Chen isn’t moved. She once had a patient who got a bowling pin stuck inside him. A patient named Mr. Mullen complains to Pratt that he’s in a lot of pain from a slipped disc and needs a painkiller shot. Like Chen, Pratt isn’t moved. Mullen comes in all the time asking for Demerol, so Pratt is sure he’s just a drug-seeker.

The head of security, I guess, comes to the ER to basically tell Susan and Weaver to stop calling. They’re understaffed and have had a bunch of turnover. Plus, the guys who stay only get $10 an hour. That sounds like a you problem, security guy. You’re not providing the service you’re supposed to provide. Fix it. Carter tells Pratt to get rid of Mullen as he and Harkins take on a new patient, a young prostitute who won’t give her name (it’s Tina. I don’t play this nameless game). A john ran her over with his car.

Susan, Abby, and Gallant tend to a man named Phillip who fell out of bed in his long-term-care home and hurt his hip. This is pretty impressive since he has end-stage Huntington’s and isn’t really mobile. Susan tells Abby that Luka’s been asking for her; she was supposed to come assist him 45 minutes ago. Abby’s day is so busy that she’s an hour and 45 minutes behind on her tasks. Susan comments that this will just make Luka more upset than he already was. Abby’s clueless about the fact that he’s unhappy that she’s dating Carter.

Carter asks Abby to get Tina a detox bed. She’s only 12, but on top of being a prostitute, she’s also addicted to cocaine. Carter suggests that he, Abby, and Eric all go out for dinner that night. Pratt observes while Harkins tries to remove the vibrator from the guy who decided to see how far he could insert it. Poor Harkins.

Abby finally joins Luka, who’s gone ahead with whatever she was supposed to help him with. His patient tried to vacuum out her period. You can…do that? Well, you shouldn’t – it could lead to very serious complications. The patient sees this as a blow against the patriarchy. I’m surprised she agreed to be treated by a male doctor. Abby and Luka keep their conversation with each other short and professional.

Stella is back, and Gallant deals with her again while a nurse named Kathy gets annoyed with Luka. It’s pretty clear that they slept together and she’s not happy with the way things ended. Abby asks Luka if he’s okay, but I don’t think he wants to tell her how he feels about her moving on with a guy he doesn’t really like.

Carter tells Tina that she has an abscess thanks to an STD. Tina finally tells him her name, and he advises her to stop smoking crack if she wants to live past 12. He offers to get her a detox bed, but Tina knows that won’t fix her whole life. Carter thinks she should start with the first step. He also threatens to keep all the money she came in with until she agrees to treatment. Okay, that can’t be legal. Tina says Carter doesn’t know what life is like for her, but he says it’s not too late for her to turn things around and have a normal life.

Carter ignores a man trying to get his attention so he can tell Gallant to get rid of Stella again. She needs to stop coming to the ER like Gallant is her personal doctor. Carter finally pays attention to the man, who he realizes is Eric. In the waiting room, Mullen is getting agitated, since he’s been waiting four hours to be seen. He’s especially mad when Abby ditches him to greet Eric. Carter tells Mullen that Pratt is just concerned that he’s building up a tolerance to Demerol.

Eric asks if the ER is like this every day. Mullen says that, yes, he’s in pain every day, and yes, every time he comes in, the doctors don’t want to help him. He thinks that if he came in wearing a suit and tie, he’d get treated sooner. Pratt gives him a prescription and tells him to leave, but Mullen doesn’t want his offer of Vicodin. He yells that the doctors must think they’re heroes, but they’re not doing anything or helping anyone. He kicks over a row of seats, knocking some poor injured man to the ground. Carter tells Mullen to get out.

Abby takes Eric to the lounge, where they discuss Maggie, who’s doing well. She got a dog with a vitamin deficiency that requires a special diet. Maggie cooks him bacon and eggs every morning. Eric’s hopeful that this time, Maggie will stay stable. He apologizes for not showing up for her last crisis, but Abby forgives him. As she gets summoned back to work, she tries to make dinner plans with Eric, but he doesn’t have much time in Chicago. He’s been reassigned and has to report to his new Air Force base in the morning.

Abby interrupts the conversation to find and deliver a baggie of fingertips to Chen. (Two neighbors tried to trim their hedges by holding a lawn mower in the air.) Unfortunately, the tips are all mixed together in the same bag. As a guy who’s probably Tina’s pimp arrives and demands her clothes, Eric tells Abby that he’s now going to be stationed in Nebraska, which will mean he’s closer to both Abby and Maggie. With all the craziness Abby is dealing with during this whole conversation, answering questions from staff and patients, she tells Eric her job is similar to his as an air-traffic controller. He offers to wait for her somewhere else so she can get back to work.

Phillip’s mother, Mrs. Burke, has arrived, feeling horrible that the home she placed him in didn’t give him high-quality care. Chen and Pratt sort fingertips while Abby searches for Eric. She questions Pratt’s decision to give one guy an extra thumb. Carter joins them, and Chen says they’re playing a match game. “Pratt’s having a little trouble fingering it out,” Abby quips. She’s so proud of herself!

Carter thinks Tina’s been admitted to detox, but Abby hasn’t gotten her a bed yet. Frank tells them that she left with some guy. Abby apologizes for not realizing that the guy with Tina shouldn’t have been there. Thanks to security’s shortcomings, people can just wander around the ER and do whatever they want. Suddenly, Frank realizes that something’s going on nearby, and he quietly draws Carter’s attention to it.

Mullen has returned and grabbed Chen. He’s holding a gun to her head to try to force Pratt to give him a shot of Demerol. Pratt calmly tells everyone in the exam area to stay still. He sends Abby to the drug lock-up to get Demerol. As she gets it, she whispers to a clueless Harkins to call the police. Mullen complains again that no one at the hospital cares, but Pratt says they do now. Yeah, and it only took a gun held to a doctor’s head to do the job.

Mullen boasts that he’s the one in charge now. Usually the doctors get to decide who’s in pain and who isn’t, but today, he gets to make the decisions. Carter looks on helplessly as Mullen points his gun at Abby, asking to see the label on the bottle she’s brought back. Eric comes in, worried about his sister, and Abby tells him to stay back. Carter tries to get Mullen to put down the gun, but he refuses.

As Abby injects Mullen, he asks Pratt why he wanted to be a doctor. Pratt admits that it was partly for the money; the rest is complicated. Mullen can’t believe he really wanted to help people. Or maybe all the doctors there did, but then they realized there are too many people to help. Mullen lets Chen go, creepily kisses Abby on the temple, thanks her, and heads out. He turns back, pointing his gun at Pratt, and yells at him to remember it for next time. Then he just walks out of the ER.

…But he doesn’t get far, because Abby gave him a ton of Demerol and knocked him out. Weaver tells Gallant to get him a bed (with restraints) and call psych. We’ll see if they get there faster than security. Carter thinks Abby should take a break, but she says she’s fine. He asks Weaver about the metal detectors that were once supposed to be set up in the ER. She tells him there’s a security plan in the works.

Eric checks on Abby, wondering how she can keep working in a place like this. Maybe she does this because she’s self-destructive. Abby insists that she’s happier than she’s been in a long time. He asks about her previous plan to go to med school, but she doesn’t have time to chat. (Besides, going to med school doesn’t guarantee her safety, especially if she ends up working at County again.) She tells him she won’t have time for dinner and wishes him a safe trip.

In the lounge, Carter is fighting with Weaver about how money shouldn’t be an excuse for lax security. Metal detectors were supposed to be installed two years ago, so she can’t blame recent budget cuts for the fact that they’re not there. Weaver notes that metal detectors have to be manned, which means hiring people, which means more money.

Carter demands more security stat. Weaver tells him to just focus on clearing the board, but Carter yells that he can’t do that. They’re so busy that he barely had two minutes to spend with a 12-year-old prostitute/crack addict. Her pimp was able to just walk in and leave with her. Weaver tries again to make excuses, but Carter shouts that she needs to fix this. After he storms off, Weaver weakly tells the rest of the staff to just treat their patients.

Pratt praises Carter for at least trying to do something. Carter digs out the Yellow Pages and starts looking for a security company so he can order metal detectors. Meanwhile, Susan fills Elizabeth in on what happened. I’m sure Elizabeth wishes she’d stayed in England. Phillip is declining, and he’ll need to be placed on a ventilator so he can breathe. Mrs. Burke knows that once he’s intubated, he’ll never come off the machine.

Carter orders metal detectors, then tells Gallant again to get rid of Stella. Weaver hangs up the phone and chastises him for ordering six detectors instead of letting the procurement department handle things. This isn’t Carter’s job, and he doesn’t want it. He argues that they shouldn’t have to risk their lives to work there. Weaver gets that, but they have to be responsible about how they handle big purchases. Carter says the irresponsible thing was letting this go on for so long.

Weaver tells him that she’s been working on this for months while Carter just saw patients. He can’t get involved now. Carter announces that he’s going to the ambulance bay to wait for the detectors arrive. After a few moments, Abby goes to join him. Frank follows next, along with some nurses. Weaver tries to reason with Luka, who says they have patients to care for, but he thinks Carter’s right. He joins the walk-out, asking Carter if he has a plan. Carter smiles a little and says no. Yeah, you’re adorable and this is a hilarious situation.

Pratt goes to get a snack from a vending machine in a quiet hallway and finds Chen there, trying to calm herself. He offers to buy her M&Ms and makes small talk with her, for once trying to do more than just flirt with her. He’s sorry that Chen got dragged into a dangerous situation. Pratt didn’t want to give drugs to an addict, but he would never do anything to put Chen’s life at risk. She’s his future love slave. Ew. He was doing well until then.

Pratt says he gets a little punchy when he’s scared, but Chen thinks she has more reason to be scared, since she almost “had a cap busted in [her] head.” Pratt laughs at her, as he should. He tries to hug her, and though she resists, she eventually lets him comfort her. When she feels better, she asks for her M&Ms. Then they notice through the window that people are standing in the ambulance bay and wonder if there’s been an evacuation.

Abby thinks Carter should address the people who have walked out with them. When Pratt and Chen join them and ask what’s going on, Abby tells them to “talk to Norma Rae.” Carter says they’re not working until they have more secure conditions. Weaver comes outside and announces that anyone who’s not on a scheduled break is in violation of their work contract and in danger of being fired. Carter notes that the contract promises to provide them with a safe working environment. Weaver replies that they’re already taking steps to make sure what happened today doesn’t happen again.

Luka reminds Weaver that she always says they’re working on something, but the staff never sees any changes. Weaver doesn’t think this is the best way to try to solve the problem. An ambulance arrives and Gallant starts to bring the patient into the ER, but Carter yells at him not to. Weaver points out that Gallant is a student; he can’t be fired, but he can be failed. Carter stares Gallant down, daring him to cross the picket line. Gallant backs down and joins the walk-out.

Susan is still working, and she tells Mrs. Burke it’ll be a while until they can get Phillip a bed. Mrs. Burke tells her that he was an opera singer before he got sick. She prayed that he wouldn’t develop Huntington’s, and she thought her prayers had been answered, since he got to age 29 without developing any symptoms. But the disease took everything from him, including his voice.

Susan goes outside, but just to ask Abby for more lab work for Phillip. She acknowledges the walk-out but wants to keep treating patients. Carter thinks the walk-out will force people to pay attention, which will allow them to get back to their patients. As an opera song plays, Mrs. Burke watches Phillip sleep. Carter argues with Susan about how they should handle the sucky healthcare system. He can’t put up with it anymore.

Mrs. Burke looks at Phillip’s monitors as Carter reminds Susan that a staff member was murdered on duty and no one did anything about security. (I would argue that the problem goes all the way back to Mark’s assault.) Carter just wants to protect everyone who comes into the hospital. It’s way too easy to get a knife or gun through the doors. Mrs. Burke turns off Phillip’s ventilator and gives him a little embrace.

Carter and Susan keep arguing about the best way to deal with the situation. Carter says they have to make a move today; otherwise, there’s no point in trying. Susan says she’s more focused on today’s patients than tomorrow’s. She heads back inside, and Abby gets up to follow her. She turns toward Carter first, and he nods, as if she needs his permission to do her job. Susan returns to Phillip’s trauma room and realizes that Mrs. Burke has turned off the ventilator. Susan turns it back on without saying a word. Phillip has coded, and when Abby comes in, both women pretend it happened naturally.

The strikers have probably been outside for hours, since it’s night now. Carter still has no plans or any idea what’s going to happen. Weaver pulls him aside to tell him that the metal detectors will be arriving soon, and they’re working on hiring a new security firm. They’ll also be putting some security measures in the waiting room.

Carter thanks her for her work, but the only thanks she wants is a clear board. She warns that Carter will probably have to face a disciplinary board. Also, since they need money for the new measures, they’ll have to either fire three senior nurses or cancel lab and x-ray services after 10 p.m. Carter gets to make the decision, since he forced the move. He chooses to fire the nurses, and Weaver takes it a step further by telling him to choose who has to go. Carter doesn’t share these details with the strikers, just letting them know a deal has been reached.

Chen wants to go back to work, which is pretty amazing. She sends Pratt home, since his shift ended hours ago. Romano appears just long enough to yell at Carter for playing Spartacus and leaving the ER short-handed. Carter laughs because a guy who had his arm reattached made a joke using the word “hand.” Yeah, you definitely want to laugh at Romano. That’s always a good move. Romano’s annoyed that he had to take over scut work, and he doesn’t want Carter to pull a stunt like this again.

Harkins apologizes to Carter for not joining the walk-out – Weaver cornered her and gave her a speech about what it means to be a doctor. Carter tells her she’ll have to figure that out herself. Leon arrives, saying he’s looking for a doctor, and Carter sends him to the waiting room. Gallant is still dealing with Stella, by the way. Leon comes back to the admit desk, again asking for a doctor, so Frank calls for security. Yeah, because the guys who didn’t show up when there was a hostage situation are definitely going to handle Leon, who’s doing nothing wrong.

Gallant tries to talk to Leon, who’s getting more agitated. A couple of security guards who decided to finally do their job today grab Leon and wrestle him to the floor as he asks for someone named G. Gallant eventually gets Leon to say that he’s looking for Pratt. Carter’s shift was supposed to be over hours ago, but he’s going to honor Weaver’s wishes and stay until he clears the board. Harkins has become his pet student, so I think she’s staying as well. “So you’ve decided to die here,” Susan quips to Carter. Not a great joke for a guy who did almost literally die on the job a couple years earlier.

Abby, Chen, and Susan decide to go out and have some fun. Well, really, the other two are going to force Abby to go out with them. Abby again looks at Carter like she needs him to approve of her plans. Susan calls her out on it this time. She gets Phillip’s doctor on the phone and lets him know that Phillip was treated in the ER but died. She’s going to bypass the coroner and have the body released to the mortuary. Looks like Mrs. Burke’s secret is safe with Susan.

Gallant takes Leon home, learning along the way that Leon moved in with Pratt and his mother when he was nine. Leon isn’t sure what happened to his family, and he doesn’t care – Pratt is his family. Pratt is annoyed that Leon went out by himself and got lost. He barely thanks Gallant for making sure Leon got home safely.

How You Doin’ Guy is back in the ER. Can’t security tackle him, too? The metal detectors arrive, and Frank lets Carter sign for them. How You Doin’ Guy is the first to walk through one. At a club, Abby and Susan talk about how Susan’s having trouble finding a nice guy to date. She got stood up for tonight, but Abby thinks the guy would have turned out to be boring anyway. A waitress brings Susan a drink and asks if Abby wants one, but Abby says no. Chen, meanwhile, is crowd-surfing. It’s a strange way to deal with the trauma of the day, but it makes her happy.

Thoughts: Mrs. Burke is played by Shirley Knight. Eric is played by Tom Everett Scott.

Abby calling Carter “Norma Rae” is both accurate and an inside joke, since Norma Rae was played by Sally Field.

This is the first time I can see Pratt’s leadership potential. I’m sure Carter wanted to swoop in and deal with Mullen, but I think he was right to mostly let Pratt handle things. Otherwise, Mullen might have felt outnumbered and done something really stupid.

I also appreciate Carter taking a stand, but this wasn’t the way to do it. This just punished the patients. Forcing Gallant to strike was also inappropriate. And it would have been nice if Carter had shown more concern for Chen, his longtime friend, after she had a gun put to her head. He made it about the principle of the matter rather than the fact that people he knew and cared about were traumatized.