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.

July 6, 2021

ER 8.22, Lockdown: The Hot Zone

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

Carter to the rescue, once again

Summary: If you still have pandemic anxiety, you might want to skip this one.

It’s quieter than usual in the ER, even with some nurses out taking a training course. Weaver calls in and Abby, Susan, and Pratt discuss how she chipped a tooth while on vacation in Barbados (the implication being that she’ll be late to work because she has a dentist appointment). Abby asks for some extra help from Pratt and Gallant with tasks the nurses normally do. Guess which guy is willing to help and which isn’t. Go ahead, guess. Carter forces the issue by giving them assignments.

Paramedics bring in two lawyers who burned their feet walking on hot coals at a business retreat. They blame each other for the incident. Carter smells smoke and realizes that the male lawyer’s clothes are on fire. He and Abby quickly put out the flames, though when Abby deploys a fire extinguisher, she sprays Carter more than she does the fire. They’re just getting the wackiness out of the way early, since the rest of the episode is pretty bleak.

Stan is back, wanting a place to rest since he’s sick. Chen has no sympathy; she has the flu and can’t just crawl into bed and rest. Pratt makes a sexual-harassment-y comment about how he’d like to see her in bed. Stan asks the doctors to remember their “hippo oath” to be nice to people. Chen makes Pratt deal with him.

Abby and Carter tend to the lawyers, disagreeing over whether or not they should be able to take baths or showers while their feet heal. Malik speaks for the audience when he tells Abby and Carter to kiss and make up. Thank you, Malik. An accident brings in a bus full of senior citizens, along with their driver, Marge, and the driver of the car they collided with, Colin. Carter lets Pratt take the lead with Colin but tells him to get Susan to help him. The seniors all seem to have minor injuries, but now there’s a lot for the doctors to deal with.

A man in the waiting area tells Abby that he and his sick kids have been waiting for a long time and would really like to get treated. Abby has to brush him off to deal with emergencies. Luka tends to Marge while Susan joins Pratt to treat Colin. They make a paramedic stick around and help since the nurses aren’t back from their training course yet. Susan asks Abby to take Pratt’s place with Colin, since she knows what she’s doing and he doesn’t.

Carter and Gallant try to wrangle all the seniors so they can all be assessed. One of the seniors is Chinese and takes an interest in Chen, doing that motherly thing where you feel someone’s forehead to see if they’re sick. Another patient complains about foreigners (shut up, dude) and says Marge was mad while driving; she started twitching. Carter lets Pratt and Luka know that Marge may have had a seizure.

Gallant has finally gotten around to the sick kids in the waiting area, the Turners, and he thinks Carter should take their case. As soon as Carter sees them, he gets concerned. The kids have had little white spots all over their faces for three days. Carter tries to stay calm as he tells Gallant to put masks on the kids. He goes to the lounge to find the hospital’s collection of posters about different illnesses. The one he finds makes him even more concerned.

He tells Gallant to get Susan, then rushes the kids, Adam and Bree, to an exam room. He quietly tells Susan that he thinks they have smallpox. Susan is sure it’s something else, like chicken pox with a weird presentation. After all, no one’s seen a case of smallpox in the U.S. since the ’40s. Carter says that if that’s what it is, they’ll have to go into lockdown.

Susan calls the health department and is ordered to lock down the ER. The rest of the staff on duty has been informed of the possible danger, and they’re all calmly discussing the situation so none of the patients gets worried. Chen realizes that she saw the kids a few days ago but sent them home because she thought they just had the flu. The same flu she now thinks she has.

Carter tells Chen that she needs to be quarantined. Susan’s the highest-ranking doctor on duty, so she hands out assignments: Chen will quarantine, Jerry will look at activity logs to see who was around the Tuesday the kids were there, and Luka will determine which patients are really critical and need to stay in the ER. Susan tells everyone to stay calm and act like this is a routine thing. Luka notes that maintenance guys are locking the ER doors, so she’ll need to come up with something to explain that to the patients.

Carter’s upset that the Turners were in the waiting area for 45 minutes without anyone seeing them. Abby reminds him that they were dealing with a big trauma and are down three nurses. She wants to help him treat the kids, even if that means risking exposure. Meanwhile, the lawyers and seniors are getting antsy and want to know why they’re not allowed to leave. Susan uses the PA system to tell everyone they have a possible public health concern. Until they know more, no one can enter or leave the ER. No one’s happy with that.

Mrs. Turner tells Abby and Carter that her husband works for the State Department and the family just returned to the States after living in Central Africa. The parents aren’t sick, but Carter guesses that they’re incubating the virus, so they need to be isolated for 10 to 14 days. They also need to tell the doctors everyone they’ve been in contact with since Mr. Turner got back. Since their kids are in school, that’s…a lot of people they might have spread the virus to. Abby tries to keep the Turners calm by saying these are just precautions; nothing’s been confirmed yet. She tells Carter to remember to stay calm so the parents don’t freak out.

Gallant checks on Chen, who’s not so much worried about having smallpox as she is about having to sit out a possibly major case. Stan claims he was at the hospital on Tuesday, so he joins Chen in quarantine. She still thinks she just has the flu. Stan starts singing “Fever,” which really doesn’t help. Gallant lets Susan know that none of the seniors has major injuries, so at least that trauma has been dealt with. But now the police are outside to maintain order.

Luka wants to take Marge to get a head CT, but Susan reminds him that no one’s supposed to leave the ER. Marge doesn’t seem altered, so Susan thinks she can wait. David Torres arrives from the public health department and tells Susan he’ll take over the situation. The CDC is on their way from Atlanta. Torres’ first instruction is for the hospital to turn off the air-conditioning, even though it’s 80 degrees outside. “Welcome to the hot zone,” he tells a protesting Susan.

Carter tries to assure the Turners that the kids are doing okay, but Mrs. Turner is too upset about the situation to listen. She wishes they hadn’t moved to Africa. She thinks they were the targets of a bioweapon. Stop watching Fox News, Mrs. Turner. While his parents are bickering, Adam tries to get their attention – something’s wrong with Bree. She’s not getting enough oxygen, so Carter decides to intubate her.

They don’t have a pediatric intubation tray in the room, so Abby starts to go get one, but she’ll have to go through a trauma room to get it. They determine that they need a decontamination room for everyone who leaves the Turners’ room. Carter tells Pratt they need to move Colin so they can put Bree in his trauma room. Pratt thinks they’re making too big a deal out of things – they don’t even know if they’re really dealing with smallpox.

Weaver arrives at the hospital with no idea that there’s a lockdown. Haleh and Lily join her outside, having left their training course, and the three try to find out what’s happening. No one bothered to shut down the ER to paramedics, so when Doris brings in a gunshot victim named Marta, she’s a little annoyed not to be able to drop off her patient. A cop at the door refuses to let them in, and also ignores a woman (I think her name is Kristen) who’s there to see her fiancé, who we later learn is Colin.

In the new decontaminatiom room, Abby asks Carter how long he thinks they’ll be stuck there. He says maybe a day or two. Everyone who thought we would just have two or three weeks of school shutdowns and social distancing laughs for five minutes straight so they don’t cry. Carter says they’ll probably have to spend the night together. He asks if Abby’s scared, and she questions whether he means scared of smallpox or of waking up next to him.

They return to Adam’s room, where he’s still stable, but Bree is declining in her new trauma room. Carter tells Abby to get Susan, but Pratt’s right outside, so Abby brings him in instead. Out in the ambulance bay, Weaver, Lily, Haleh, and Doris try to treat Marta with limited medical supplies. They’ve managed to get Romano on the phone to request more supplies, and he tosses something down to Doris. He reports that security is waiting by the hospital’s freight elevator so they can transport Marta to the OR without going through the ER.

The media has heard about the lockdown, and a reporter asks Weaver what’s going on. She still doesn’t know, and she’s too busy trying to save Marta to talk to them. They’re broadcasting live, so everyone in the ER watches as Weaver tries to ignore the reporter’s questions. Dude, she’s trying to save someone’s life. Your scoop isn’t important.

When the reporter asks what kind of disease can shut down a hospital, Susan begs Weaver to watch her words. She’s not the problem, though: The reporter knows that a smallpox response team has been contacted. The second he says “smallpox,” the patients in the ER freak out. Meanwhile, Carter, Abby, and Pratt can’t get Bree’s heart to restart. Her mother demands someone with more experience, but they tell her no one else is available. Next door, Mr. Turner sits with Adam, trying not to panic.

Luka, Susan, and Torres work on calming the now-angry ER patients, who don’t think they need to listen to the doctors telling them to stay put. The normally calm, level-headed Gallant erupts, telling the patients that the hospital is surrounded by police, so if they try to leave, they’ll be arrested. Malik grabs Susan and tells her Carter needs help, but it’s too late – Bree has been down for 40 minutes, and they can’t get her heart to restart. Bree’s dead, and the possible epidemic has its first casualty.

In the decontamination room, Carter chastises Pratt for fighting him when he said they needed to stop working on Bree. Pratt thinks they could have done more. Carter disagrees and tells Pratt he doesn’t know enough about the treatment he wanted to try; it wouldn’t have helped. Pratt notes that it’s Carter’s job to teach him. Yeah, maybe not in the middle of a situation like this, Pratt. He needs to keep quiet and follow Carter’s lead. “Then lead!” Pratt yells. Dude, he is! And he’s not even the person in charge!

Abby interrupts to announce that the CDC has told them to double-shroud Bree’s body so whatever she has can’t spread. Pratt offers to do it, but Carter wants him off the Turners’ case. He thinks Pratt’s sick, so he asks Abby to take his temperature, which is 101.4. Pratt’s annoyed that Carter always has to be right. Pratt, go quarantine with your crush.

As one of the lawyers surveys people in the waiting area to find out how long they’ve been there, someone catches Malik removing all the fans from the ER. Susan is on the phone, demanding food for the angry patients. The other lawyer takes down people’s names, threatening the ER with a class-action lawsuit alleging false imprisonment and emotional distress. Susan tells him the public health department has the right to lock the place down.

She gets distracted when she hears a familiar voice on the TV. It’s Jerry, who’s called into a live news broadcast to talk about the lockdown. He must have read up on smallpox, because he sounds like an expert on the subject. He assures the public that only people who have been in close contact with the infected are at risk. Susan pulls him off the phone and Malik gives Jerry a high five.

Carter and Abby let the Turners say goodbye to Bree before they double-shroud her body. Mrs. Turner is still upset with Mr. Turner, and he now blames himself for the kids’ illness. Torres is overseeing as two women take a biopsy from Adam; the sample will go to Atlanta for the CDC to analyze. Adam’s having more trouble breathing, and he’s worried that he might die like his sister. Carter assures him that she wasn’t scared, since she was asleep when she died. He promises that they won’t let Adam die, too.

Chen needs to use the bathroom, but no one’s responding to her call button. Stan offers her his portable urinal. Luka brushes off some annoyed patients as he goes to check on Marge. He asks how she was able to get a commercial driver’s license, since he’s discovered that she has epilepsy. She claims she hasn’t had a seizure in years. Luka thinks she’s getting her medication through back channels. She put all the seniors in danger, and Colin is still in critical condition. Just then, Colin starts declining, so Luka joins Susan and Gallant to work on him.

Carter has decided to intubate Adam, since he has lesions in his throat that are making it harder for him to breathe. He has trouble with the intubation, so Abby goes to get Luka to help him. Luka’s working on Colin, so he can’t help. Where’s Susan? Carter tells Abby to get Romano instead, since Adam needs a surgical procedure, but since Romano’s in the surgical wing, he can’t come to the ER. He tells Carter he’s on his own for now. Carter decides he had enough training in his brief time as a surgical intern to be able to do this.

The patients are demanding food, and Susan has left Jerry to deal with them. He’s not as good at this as he was on the news. Carter and Abby struggle with Adam’s procedure and have to ask Mr. Turner to squeeze the oxygen pump that will help Adam breathe. Okay, seriously, why isn’t Susan helping? Outside, a woman named Dr. Lutz arrives from the CDC and tells Weaver she’s taking over the ER.

Carter and Abby still can’t secure Adam’s airway, and Carter finds it too hard to work with a mask on his face. He asks Abby to take it off, fully exposing himself to the virus as he finally finishes the procedure successfully. Someone should really turn off the TV in the ER, since the news is showing pictures of smallpox victims from the past, and that’s not going to make anyone feel better. Jerry thinks has has “a pox,” but Susan tells him it’s just a cold sore. SUSAN. THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING. While they’re doing absolutely nothing useful, the lawyers are breaking into a vending machine to feed the masses.

Chen has finally gotten up the nerve to pee in the quarantine room. She asks Stan and Pratt to talk to cover the noise. Pratt says they don’t have anything in common, but he probably said the same about Pablo and they ended up hitting it off. Stan doesn’t feel like singing, but when Pratt starts up “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” Stan joins in.

Carter tells Mrs. Turner that Adam is stable but is still at risk for organ failure. Abby’s in the decontamination room, reading up on smallpox. She tells Carter that if they were dealing with the hemorrhagic form, they’d be in a lot more trouble, since it’s 98% fatal. She asks if he thinks it would have made a difference if she’d sent the Turners back for treatment sooner. Carter says it probably wouldn’t have.

Susan sends Gallant to get Abby so they can set up a vaccine clinic. Chen tells Gallant to get some medication – Stan’s having seizures. Pratt thinks he’s in alcohol withdrawal. He and Chen are able to stabilize him, but the effort tires them out. Abby, Torres, and Lutz watch a video showing them how to administer smallpox vaccines, which involves lots of little pokes. I’m sure everyone’s going to love that. The patients demand the vaccines, but Lutz notes that they haven’t even confirmed that they’re dealing with smallpox yet.

Susan tries to calm the patients as they start getting aggressive, but they’re fed up with being detained without being told anything. One of them grabs a gurney, and he and some other guys run down a hallway with it to use it as a battering ram on the ER doors. Luka and Jerry are unable to stop them. (There’s a great shot in here of the lawyers tied up with police tape so they stop bugging people. Probably not legal, but a smart move.)

Carter hears the commotion and goes to check on things. Jerry has basically given up on everything and is hiding by the admit desk. A cop tells everyone outside that they need to go across the street – they want to increase the perimeter around the hospital. Weaver asks to talk to someone with more seniority. The cop tells her to go home and be glad she didn’t make it in to work today.

The gurney/battering ram has made it through one set of ER doors, and as the guys ramming it try to get through the next set, Carter steps in. He sends feedback through the PA system, which quiets everyone down. Then he announces that a girl has died from a mystery illness and her brother is still sick. The doctors don’t know what it is or how they got it, but they need to contain it. They’re not trying to deny anyone their civil rights – they’re trying to protect everyone. If the patients are…well, patient, everyone will get through this. And if not, there are armed cops outside to make them.

Lutz learns that Adam’s biopsy showed some sort of orthopox; it may not be smallpox, but it’s something. Everyone just needs to sit tight and wait for more information. Luka tries to look on the bright side by pointing out that they only have two critical patients; since they’ve closed to paramedics, no more will be coming. Okay, but if everyone else gets sick and starts dying, you’re in a lot of trouble.

Torres tells Carter and Abby that they’ve handled things great so far, but since they’ve been exposed, they’ll have to be quarantined with Pratt, Chen, and Stan. This is an outbreak with unknown origins, so they need to be extra-cautious. Abby and Carter can’t just get vaccines and go home. Torres promises that it won’t be much longer.

Carter’s hot and sweaty, so Abby makes him check his temperature, but it’s normal. She puts an ice pack on his neck, which, let’s be honest, is just a way for the writers to get them in close contact with each other. She hopes the worst of this is over and asks Carter to tell her they’ll be okay. Instead, he kisses her. I know that when I’ve been exposed to a deadly illness, I like to kiss people who might not have had my same level of exposure. Carter says everything will be fine. Okay, well, call me when you’re on month 16 of a pandemic.

Thoughts: You may recognize Heidi Swedberg (Mrs. Turner) as George’s doomed fiancée on Seinfeld.

I’m really impressed with all the staff and Torres’ ability to pretend to be calm in the face of a possible catastrophe. I’d be crying and rocking back and forth in a corner.

Say goodbye to season 8! Next up: Abby’s family saga continues, Luka gets really weird, the Africa stuff begins, and something with a helicopter.

December 29, 2020

ER 7.17, Survival of the Fittest: Dave Isn’t the Only Fool This April Fools’ Day

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

I would feel sorry for Dave, but he brought this on himself, really

Summary: Cleo is trying to treat an elderly woman named Mrs. Howard who is a little altered (she thinks she needs to get her children from the school bus, but it’s 10 a.m. and she’s too old to have school-age children). Benton comes by and Cleo asks him to examine Mrs. Howard, since he removed her gall bladder last month. She claims to remember Benton, but she might be pretending.

Carter chases a boy named Simon through the ER until he hides in a supply closet where Abby’s working. Simon is scared to have his blood drawn, and Carter doesn’t appear to have much sympathy for him. Abby tries to help Carter with the blood draw, but it still doesn’t go well. Carter, try working on your bedside manner.

Yosh pulls Abby away to help him and Malik subdue a patient who’s thrashing around on a gurney. The patient has a pillowcase over his head; Malik says he cut up his face. Luka enters, takes a syringe of Haldol from Yosh, and injects the patient…who’s actually Dave. He, Yosh, and Malik were trying to play an April Fools’ joke.

Weaver criticizes the jokesters for goofing off instead of doing work. Dave is struggling to stay awake with ten milligrams of Haldol in his system. Weaver tells him to go sleep it off, then heads off to do something productive. Someone has tied empty cans to the bottom of her cane, and she accuses Dave, who says it wasn’t him.

Rena has come to the ER to help keep Simon calm for his blood draw by blowing bubbles. This both distracts him and helps him blow through the pain. The blood draw goes perfectly, and now Rena looks more competent than Carter. The two of them chat, having not talked since he decided they shouldn’t date because of their age difference.

Paramedics bring in a man named Eddie who was shot by police. They think he held up a liquor store. One of the cops, Grant, has a minor arm injury, and his partner taunts that if he’s good while Benton examines him, he’ll get a lollipop. Mrs. Howard is still in a gurney in the hallway, yelling that she needs her wallet and purse so she can leave. Everyone’s just ignoring her. Abby notes that Carter is in a good mood now after being a jerk earlier. She figures that seeing Rena made him happy.

A school bus pulls up outside to deliver a middle-schooler named Stuart who’s having an asthma attack. A teacher tells Carter and Abby that there were fumes on the bus. Carter can’t let the other students on the bus come into the hospital in case it’s a Hazmat situation, so they’ll have to say outside in the cold. Elizabeth takes Eddie up to surgery, promising Mark that it shouldn’t be too much work or take too much time.

Carter and Abby help Stuart onto a gurney as some boys on the bus mock him. Guys, your teacher is RIGHT THERE. How dumb are you? Stuart tells Carter and Abby that they were on a field trip to see an art exhibit. (Carter, sophisticate that he is, knows it’s a Gaugin exhibit.) Romano asks Elizabeth if she can still reach the table in the OR, considering her pregnant belly keeps growing. She shoots back that at least she can see the table. A short joke! How mature! She asks him to order her pizza and ice cream so she can eat after surgery.

Weaver starts moving Mrs. Howard out of the hallway as Benton tends to Grant’s injury (also in the hallway). Carter asks Weaver to help him with Stuart, so she hands Mrs. Howard off to Chuny, but Chuny then gets called away to help with another patient. Mrs. Howard decides to just leave on her own. The hallway is busy, so no one notices at first when she approaches Grant and takes his gun.

Grant’s partner, Kimble, pulls her own gun and tells Mrs. Howard to drop hers. Benton calmly but authoritatively tries to deescalate the situation, and Grant tells Mrs. Howard to drop the gun so no one gets hurt. Kimble keeps her weapon pointed out Mrs. Howard, who’s now crying and doesn’t seem to get how dangerous the situation is. There’s a long moment where nothing happens, but then Mrs. Howard turns and points the gun at a child in the hallway. Kimble fires at her twice. (For the record, because this will come up: Kimble is white; Mrs. Howard and Grant are Black.)

Benton and Weaver rush Mrs. Howard to a trauma room to try to save her. Kimble and Grant go over what happened – they asked her three times to drop the gun, and she didn’t respond. They’re not sure what they’ll tell their superiors about how Mrs. Howard got her hands on Grant’s gun. Benton comments loudly that he guesses one shot wasn’t enough, because there’s a lot of damage. He murmurs to Weaver that he hopes the cops get their stories straight.

The fire captain who keeps turning up tells Mark that he hasn’t detected any serious substances on the bus. He thinks one person smelled something, maybe nail polish remover, and mass hysteria went through the crowd. Some of the kids actually got sick, though, so they need to be examined. Luka takes a girl named Emily while Dave talks with a couple of girls who seem to already have crushes on him. The three bullying boys are so dumb that they’re smoking nearby. Wow, I don’t miss middle school at all.

Benton and Weaver are still working on Mrs. Howard when detectives arrive to question Grant and Kimble. Grant seems much more worried about the possibility of Mrs. Howard dying than Kimble does, even though Kimble was the one who pulled the trigger. Luka examines Emily, who has questions about the chemical that may or may not have been on the bus. She reveals that she might be pregnant.

Since detectives are still working the crime scene, the doctors have to find new places to treat their patients. Cleo is surprised to hear that Mrs. Howard has died, thanks to Kimble. Stuart is shaken by the incident, since he was in the hallway, and he asks Carter if he was scared. Carter says he was, but he moved in front of Stuart on instinct to make sure he was safe. Stuart is still wheezing, and he claims not to know what might have triggered his asthma. Carter thinks he’s hiding something.

Up on the OR, Elizabeth asks Shirley to rub her back while she operates on Eddie. Of course, this is when Romano comes by to check on her. Eddie has more injuries than Elizabeth realized, so her short, simple surgery is going to take longer than she thought. Romano thinks it’s too much for Elizabeth to handle in her “delicate” condition. She tears up and he tells her there’s no crying in the OR; “that’s what the ladies’ room is for.” And the HR department is for you, Romano.

Carter tells Mark what Stuart admitted to him: Some of the kids on the bus were huffing solvent. They held a rag to Stuart’s face and forced him to breathe in some of it. MIDDLE-SCHOOLERS ARE THE WORST. Carter asks Mark to leave Stuart’s name out of whatever comes next. Two of the girls from the bus then tell Mark that Dave fell asleep while they were talking. Abby finds him and wakes him up, sending him back to work with the imprint of his stethoscope on his cheek. Yeah, he should definitely be treating patients right now.

Mark confronts the three bullies and asks what they were huffing. They won’t tell him what the solvent was, so Mark decides they’ll have to undergo tests to determine what it was. He takes the ringleader, Bo, to an exam room, where Mark and Malik use a big needle to scare him into blurting out that they huffed spot remover. Apparently that stuff is bad for your liver.

Carter goes to the hospital daycare looking for Rena. Another volunteer there appears to have heard of him. While waiting, Carter goes to check out a 3D model of the human body and accidentally knocks all the organs out of it. (Hilariously, a kid in the scene seems really amused by his fumbling.) Carter tries to put it back together, and the volunteer teases him, asking if he’s really a doctor. Heh. Anyway, Carter tells Rena that he’s changed his mind and wants to keep seeing her. She says she’ll think about it.

Cleo doesn’t get why Mrs. Howard became so agitated after Cleo left her to do rounds elsewhere in the hospital. She also doesn’t know why Mrs. Howard would want a gun. She joins Mark to treat a woman named Laura who was just in a car accident. She’s eager to get to her OBGYN to have her eggs harvested; there’s only a small window for that to happen. Mark tells her that she appears to have a small blood clot in her brain, which may have caused her to pass out while driving. She’ll need blood thinners, so she can’t have her eggs harvested today. Laura still wants to leave, so Cleo suggests that they get her doctor to come to County.

Luka confirms that Emily’s pregnant, which she’s excited to hear. She thinks that she’s capable of raising a child on her own. She tells Luka she’s wanted her baby her whole life. You know, all 13 years of it. Benton goes back to tending to Grant’s injury as Grant defends Kimble’s actions. She was forced to make a split-second decision, and she followed all the guidelines. Benton sarcastically asks if the guidelines cover shooting little old ladies.

Grant notes that Mrs. Howard could have hurt someone. Benton says that all he knows is that an elderly Black woman is dead. Grant denies that race had anything to do with Kimble’s decision to shoot. Okay, but she could have shot Mrs. Howard in the arm. Grant said he would have done exactly what Kimble did. He trusts her; she’s a good person. She’s a single mother and a widow, and an investigation could really harm her career. Kimble was trying to protect innocent people, and Benton should keep that in mind when the detectives interview him.

Bo’s tests come back and are bad enough that he needs to be admitted to the ICU. Luka asks Abby to talk to Emily about telling her mother she’s pregnant (even though she’s only 13, being pregnant gives her emancipation, which means Luka has to stick to doctor/patient confidentiality). Mark tells Bo that his liver is failing, thanks to the amount he’s been huffing. He’ll need a transplant.

Cleo lets Mark know that Laura is crashing. The blood clot has caused a stroke and done something to her spinal cord, leaving her with quadriplegia. Benton speaks with a detective about what happened to Mrs. Howard and expresses his displeasure over how Kimble handled things. Mrs. Howard was frail and scared; Kimble could have easily taken the gun from her. The detective notes that she could have hurt someone. Benton insists that Kimble didn’t need to shoot her.

Emily’s mother, Mrs. Perrault, arrives, believing Emily’s being treated because of the fumes on the bus. Luka clues her in by asking about Emily’s last period and whether she has a boyfriend. Mrs. P. blasts her daughter for getting knocked up and tells her she’ll be having an abortion. Emily vows to have the baby and be a better mother than her own. Looks like that wouldn’t take too much work.

Carter tells Stuart that they found out what caused his asthma attack, and no one knows that he ratted out the bullies. Even if they do know, Bo’s not going to be an issue. Stuart’s upset that he had to change into a hospital gown in front of everyone; he’s not the slimmest, most fit child. Carter tells him about another chunky, unpopular kid who spent his time studying instead of hanging out with classmates. He went to med school, and at his graduation, he cut out all his haters’ tongues with a scalpel. Carter…no.

Romano has joined Elizabeth in surgery and found more damage that needs fixing. The procedure the patient needs takes five hours, and Elizabeth refuses to let Benton take over. She just needs a bathroom break. Romano threatens to replace her, so Elizabeth calls his bluff and asks Shirley to insert a catheter so she can relieve herself in the OR. Both of them are being childish and ridiculous, and if I were Shirley, I would quit right now and get a job at a hospital that only employees professionals.

Stuart is suddenly popular with two of his classmates because he knows how to download musical ringtones to their phones. (To really date this episode, they want Papa Roach and Blink 182.) Rena appears to have arranged the new friendship. Carter asks her to dinner again, but she has to study for a midterm the next day. He offers to help her study, and just as she’s about to accept, Abby comes by. Carter suddenly acts like their plans are still uncertain. Rena thinks their age difference is still an issue, so Carter tells her that Abby used to have a thing for him. When Rena asks if they used to date, Carter doesn’t exactly deny it.

Chuny tells Benton that Mrs. Howard’s family wants to talk to him. Cleo lets him know that Mrs. Howard’s sodium level indicates that she was severely dehydrated, which led to her confusion. Neither of them paid enough attention to her lab work to notice this. If they had, they could have given her an IV and prevented her from becoming altered. Benton says that Kimble is to blame here, not the doctors.

Laura’s husband, Greg, arrives to sit with his comatose wife. Mark thinks the fertility drugs Laura was taking caused her stroke. Greg had no idea that Laura was planning to sell her eggs to a couple for $80,000. People pay that much for eggs?? Have these people heard of adoption? It costs half that! Anyway, Greg’s business is doing poorly and he’s about to file for bankruptcy, so Laura must have come up with a way to save them.

Rena introduces herself to Abby and says she hopes Abby doesn’t mind her and Carter spending time together. Abby’s confused about why she would mind, and especially confused when Rena tells her that Carter said they dated. Luka gives Emily an ultrasound as she reads her horoscope in a fashion magazine. He’s understandably skeptical that she’s up for this huge responsibility. Emily thinks she’s more mature than Mrs. P. was when she gave birth at 16. She’s eager to see a social worker, knowing that she’ll be able to sign up for welfare.

Mark finds Greg fighting with Laura’s doctor, Alexander, who’s come to harvest Laura’s eggs. Since Laura gave consent to have the harvest done that day, Alexander can do it without Greg’s permission. Plus, Greg doesn’t have the money to pay for Laura’s long-term care, so he should welcome the $80,000. Mark tells her that the fertility drugs could have caused Laura’s condition, but Alexander has used them for years and has never seen this happen. She guesses that Laura had an underlying medical condition that the drugs exacerbated.

Elizabeth and Romano are almost done in surgery, and Romano is too egotistical to praise her for toughing it out. She hides her exhaustion until she’s alone. Carter notices that Abby is being cold to him, so she tells him she knows he lied to Rena about them being exes. She didn’t correct Rena, so now Carter owes her one. Abby also told Rena that she dumped Carter, though Carter doesn’t think that would happen.

Alexander harvests Laura’s eggs while Mark assures Greg that she’s not in any pain. Meanwhile, Benton talks to Mrs. Howard’s children, who are surprised that their mother got so agitated. She’s had dementia for a long time, and Benton tells them that there are a lot of factors that could make it worse – in this case, dehydration. Mrs. Howard’s daughter had her doubts about her mother’s nursing home before and thinks the staff wasn’t taking good enough care of her. She knows Mrs. Howard appreciated Benton’s kindness.

Dave is finally taking a nap, but Luka wants him to wake up to a surprise: He’s using a skin-sealing substance to glue Dave’s hand to his face. What is this, a frat house? At least Luka’s in a good mood. Carter and Rena start to leave together, but Mark asks Carter to stay behind to do some chart reviews. Carter begs off, saying he was going to help Rena study. Is that what the kids are calling it these days? They can’t get their stories straight about the subject they’ll be studying, but Mark lets them go anyway.

Elizabeth comes down to the ER so she and Mark can finally go home. Instead, they stay put since Romano has sent her pizza and ice cream, just as she wanted. Elizabeth is proud of herself for getting through such a difficult case. Now, though, she doesn’t know why she felt the need to prove that she could be competent while pregnant. Why keep working so hard when she doesn’t have to? She’s decided to start her maternity leave now.

Thoughts: The IMDb says Mrs. Howard is played by the same actress who played the woman I called Dorothy in “Leave It to Weaver.” She has the distinction of getting to die twice on the same show.

I can’t figure out what Malik, Yosh, and Dave’s plan was for their joke. And two of those guys are smart – they had to know there was a huge chance something would go wrong. Why use real Haldol when there was such a big possibility that someone would get injected with it?

I assume Bo became a bully because he was upset that his name is Bo.

Rena, just FYI, saying things like “it’s a school night” doesn’t help downplay the age difference between you and Carter.

September 29, 2020

ER 7.4, Benton Backwards: So Men Only Turn Violent Because of Women, Eh?

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

Worst first date EVER

Summary: Benton is looking for a new job now that Romano has had his privileges revoked at County. He’s not having any luck, and he’s taking it out on Cleo. She’s annoyed that he won’t talk to her about his troubles and won’t let her help him find a new job. At County, Carter’s having much more luck: He’s allowed to work on trauma cases again. He can only work on two patients at a time, which means he’ll have a lot of downtime to do things like read medical journals.

Carter’s first patient of the day is a homeless man who may not be able to be saved. Dave helps him out while asking if Carter knows anyone who could join him and his buddies for a hockey game that night (playing, not watching). Carter focuses on the patient, wanting to warm him up before they have to admit they can’t save him. Some pigeons fly out of the man’s coat as the doctors and nurses work. Carter’s the only person in the room who ignores the birds to keep shocking the patient.

The wacky mass trauma of the day is an explosion at a salon that sent a bunch of pageant contestants to the ER. Audrey (AKA Miss Skokie) is concerned that the burns on her legs will prevent her from competing that night. Malik is distracted by all the beautiful women in the ER. Dave asks him to join his hockey game, ignoring Mark when he volunteers himself, since he played hockey in college. No uncool people allowed, Mark.

Dave gives Chen a patient, calling him “daddy material.” Hush, Dave. Chen’s mom calls, and Chen tells Frank to say she’s with a patient and can’t talk. Frank refuses to lie, so Chen picks up the phone and pretends she’s been avoiding her parents because she’s busy, not because she’s hiding something. Carter’s homeless patient seems to have died, so he’s free to take a new patient, a guy who got a little sloppy with his superglue. Weaver gives him a second patient, a guy who cut his hand on a tin can.

Benton tracks down a doctor named Gottschalk who has an opening on his faculty. Dr. G. has already filled the position with someone who has excellent recommendations and references; he implies that Benton doesn’t have those things. Benton figures that Romano must have bad-mouthed him around town to prevent him from getting hired anywhere. Back at County, Weaver tries to help an elderly man, Archie, who thinks he’s about to ship out for Korea. She gives Abby instructions for his care.

Carter treats his second patient, giving him a shot to numb his pain before giving him sutures. Abby comes in to get something, and Carter mentions that he’s going to an 8:00 meeting that night, in case Abby wants to join him. Chen treats a boy named Kenneth who has a genetic disorder that has led to his spleen becoming enlarged. His mother, Mrs. Stein, wants any treatment possible to prolong his life, even though he’s end-stage. Chen agrees to talk to a surgeon about removing Kenneth’s spleen, but Mark doesn’t think that’s appropriate for his care.

Luka spots a pigeon feather in Abby’s hair and pulls it out for her. Her confidence from their kiss has diminished, but she’s still brave enough to ask him on a date. He suggests going out that night. Benton comes to County to confront Romano for getting him blackballed from every hospital in town. Romano says that there’s a per-diem position open at County, and though it doesn’t come with benefits (or respect, really), it’s Benton’s if he wants it. “You couldn’t pay me enough to work for you again, you arrogant little prick,” Benton replies. Romano advises him to work on his people skills.

Legaspi compliments Weaver’s shirt before telling her that Archie has an infection but not a psych disorder. Unfortunately, his nursing home has given away his bed. As Weaver chases away a bunch of guys who are clamoring for the pageant contestants’ attention, Legaspi says that since Archie talks like a veteran, he might actually be one, which means he’s entitled to VA benefits. She knows someone at another hospital who could help them.

Benton asks Weaver if there’s any chance he could work as a liaison between the ER and the OR. She reminds him that he stole as many patients as he could from the ER when he was a resident. Benton actually has a good idea for the position – if he taught the residents some procedures they could do in the ER, fewer of them would need surgeons. He could also expedite surgical patients and set schedules. Weaver agrees to the job…if Benton can get Romano to agree to it. Good luck, Benton.

Romano comes to the ER to talk to Chen about Kenneth, agreeing with Mark that surgery isn’t right for him. Chen wants to give Kenneth more time with his family, but Romano isn’t about to start caring about a mother’s wishes or about extending a little boy’s life. He comments on all the pageant contestants, saying the explosion is a commentary on how some people pursue beauty at all costs. They have some nice legs, though.

Speaking of legs, Audrey’s upset about hers, since it’ll be hard to hide her burns during the pageant. She tells Mark that he may find the whole thing stupid, but she’s pre-med and is trying to get a scholarship. Mark asks Malik to call someone named Ms. Pruitt, then tries to get himself recruited for Dave’s hockey game again. Dave says it’s rough (meaning Mark, who’s middle-aged, isn’t up for it), but Mark insists he’s tough enough.

Carter joins Luka to treat a patient with multiple gunshot wounds. Archie watches from the hallway until Weaver finds him. He talks about a military buddy who was killed in battle and asks if Weaver has seen war. She says she hasn’t, but he knows she’s seen people die. Weaver gently tells Archie that he can’t go back to his nursing home. He refuses to go to the VA, getting agitated at the idea. He hugs Weaver and begs her not to let them take him away.

Chen has to tell Mrs. Stein that she couldn’t get anyone to approve surgery for Kenneth. Mrs. Stein insists that he’s still aware of his surroundings, even though he’s unconscious. Chen tells her that it’s likely that he wouldn’t survive the operation. Mrs. Stein thinks Chen believes she’s selfish for trying to keep him alive as long as possible. Chen will understand once she has her own baby.

Luka and Carter have trouble stabilizing their patient, so Carter uses a stitch he probably learned from his days as a surgical intern to fix some damage. It works, and Luka and Haleh praise him for the trick. Legaspi tells Weaver that Archie is AWOL from the Korean War. He was a corporal who deserted while on leave in 1951. Now, 50 years later, the Army wants to punish him. Legally, the doctors can’t do anything for him, but it’s not like everyone on this staff always follows the letter of the law.

Benton tracks down Elizabeth, who’s been avoiding his calls because she doesn’t know what to say to him about Romano’s antics. He asks her to get the word out that he’s looking for a job. She knows of an opening in Philadelphia, so if Benton’s desperate and willing to move away, that could be a possibility. Shirley tells Benton that he’s needed in the ER – not for a patient but for his family.

Carter and Haleh are getting their patient ready to be taken to surgery when a teenage girl comes to the trauma room to check on her. She calls herself the patient’s sister, but judging from the way she pulls out a gun and fires bullets into the patient, either she’s lying or they have a really bad family dynamic. Carter is shaken and steps aside as some other staff members run in to try to save the patient. He guesses they won’t be able to.

Benton goes to the ER, where Jackie has brought her son Jesse (with Reese tagging along) in to be treated for wounds he got from a fight. Cleo is tending to him and says it’s nothing serious. Jackie’s worried because he hit his head (someone slammed him into a locker), so Cleo tries to reassure her. Luka checks on Carter, telling him that the shooter was found. She’s only 15. He suggests that Carter take the rest of the day off to recover from the trauma.

Benton thinks Jesse is just going through normal teen issues, but Jackie tells him that Jesse’s changed. He has a girlfriend who’s “pretty rough.” Jesse’s gotten violent and disobedient, even shoving his father. Jackie asks Benton to try to talk to him. Abby and Luka meet up to go on their date as Chen tries to find a surgeon who will agree to operate on Kenneth. Mark reminds her that they can’t always follow through when they give patients hope.

Dave tests Mark’s hockey skills and reflexes with crutches and a roll of bandages. Mark passes the test, so Dave allows him to play with his team. Legaspi has pulled a stunt with a dead patient’s social security number in order to get Archie admitted to another nursing home. Weaver objects, but not forcefully enough to get Legaspi to call off the plan. They learn they’re headed to the same seminar, and Legaspi offers to save Weaver a seat.

Ms. Pruitt arrives in the ER and assures Audrey that she can use makeup to disguise her wounds for the pageant. Mark decides not to tell Audrey that Ms. Pruitt normally uses her makeup skills on corpses. Elizabeth is annoyed that Mark is playing hockey instead of doing something boring with her. He never even mentioned that he plays hockey. Then there’s kissing. Like the boy in The Princess Bride, I would like to skip the kissing.

Carter takes out his frustrations of the day on a punching bag at his grandparents’ house. Millicent is surprised to see him home early; he lies that things were slow. She admits that she wanted him to feel uncomfortable being back in the ER so he would leave. That way, she wouldn’t have to ask him to. She knows Carter likes his job, but he can do it just as well in private practice. He doesn’t have to destroy himself to save others. The ER is where Lucy died, and where Carter almost did. It’s where his addiction began. Millicent thinks it’s beating Carter’s beautiful spirit out of him. Carter promises that he’ll be fine, but she doesn’t believe him.

Abby and Luka play foosball at a bar (she’s better at it than he is), and he suggests that they play pool on their next date. There’s a table in the lobby of the hotel where he lives. He gets a discount on his room rate in exchange for working as the hotel’s doctor. Abby is skeptical about how enjoyable that is, but Luka likes the arrangements – he gets maid service and all the amenities of a hotel. He invites her to come see his room sometime. But not like that! Not, like, for sex! He doesn’t want to sleep with her! He does want to kiss her, though.

Benton sits Jesse down for a man-to-man talk about how Jesse’s new girlfriend has changed his behavior. Benton has the safe-sex talk with his nephew, though Jesse says he’s not doing anything. He’s annoyed that his parents won’t treat him like the man he thinks he is. Buddy, I’m not sure your voice has finished changing, so let’s hold off on calling you a man. Benton notes that he’ll need to show his parents respect if he wants it in return.

Elizabeth tells Benton that she’s gotten him a spot as an attending in Philadelphia. Cleo isn’t as excited by the news as Benton is. It’s only an hour-long flight, so they can keep seeing each other. Abby and Luka leave the bar for a walk by the water. They’re comfortable enough with each other now to hold hands. Suddenly, a man comes up behind them, hits Luka over the head with a pipe, and demands Abby’s purse. Luka grabs the man and throws him on the ground, slamming his head into the pavement over and over until Abby makes him stop.

There’s more violence at the hockey rink, where Mark gets slammed into some boards. That will be important later. Carter returns to County, telling Weaver that it’s important for him to finish his shift. She tells him to stick to minor cases, but Elizabeth overrides that by calling him in to help her take care of the mugger.

Benton goes to Carla’s restaurant to tell her about his new job in Philadelphia. He wants to work out a visitation schedule with Reese. Carla is never going to allow Reese to fly to another state by himself – as far as she’s concerned, their joint-custody arrangement only applies to Chicago. Plus, Benton fought Carla and Roger when they wanted to move to Germany. Carla tells him that if he doesn’t stay in Chicago, he’ll have to give up custody. He made the rules, and she’s just playing by them. He throws a plate of food at the wall in protest. Sorry, whoever ordered that for dinner. You’ll have to wait a little longer because someone had a tantrum in the kitchen.

Abby thinks Luka needs sutures for the wound from the mugger’s pipe, but he wants to keep watching the team working on the mugger. A detective asks them what happened as Carter, Elizabeth, and Haleh struggle to save the mugger. The detective determines that since Luka thought his and Abby’s lives were in danger, it’s pretty clear that he acted in self-defense. Of course, being cleared legally won’t help Luka feel less guilty about hurting someone, and it won’t erase what Abby had to witness. She brings Cleo to look at Luka’s head wound, but he still won’t leave the window where he’s watching the trauma.

Out of options that will allow him to both work and keep custody of his son, Benton goes to Romano’s office to grovel. Down in the ER, Carter and Elizabeth admit defeat and declare the mugger dead. Luka walks out of the hospital without saying anything to Abby. Luka’s season-long brood-fest starts…now!

Thoughts: No one seems concerned that Jesse is suddenly several years older than he used to be, so I guess we should just ignore it.

Benton is kind of living the dream – telling off your jerky boss but still ending up with a successful career.

Romano must not have the same reputation outside of County as he does inside if people believe the bad things he says about Benton. A reference check from a jerk should never be taken seriously without an investigation.

Once again, Chen treats a boy named Kenneth who has a genetic disorder.

You know, metal detectors would be really helpful in protecting the ER staff and patients. Guess when they get installed? Season 9. Freaking A.

April 21, 2020

ER 6.3, Greene With Envy: How Dare Someone Be Better at Medicine Than Mark!

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


Summary: A gray-haired man has come to the ER looking for Weaver. Randi shows him a badge that Weaver has been handing out to employees. It lists the four qualities she wants all of them to have: creativity, accountability, respect, and excellence. Hey, that spells CARE! What a coincidence! Malik escorts in a guy with a stab wound in his arm and brings in Lucy to treat him. The gray-haired man tends to him instead. He uses a blood-pressure cuff as a tourniquet and stops the man’s bleeding. He notes that he employed the creativity from Weaver’s badge. Weaver introduces Lucy to the man, Gabe Lawrence, the ER’s new attending.

Mark is next to meet Lawrence, whom he’s heard a lot about…except for the part where Lawrence is the new attending. Over at Doc Magoo’s, Benton talks to a lawyer about Carla’s claim that Reese isn’t Benton’s. The lawyer doesn’t think that will be an issue – if Carla had doubts about Reese’s paternity, she should have said something three months ago when Benton filed for custody. The lawyer suggests that Benton do a DNA test to make sure Reese is really his before he puts himself through a whole trial. Benton doesn’t see the point.

Carter, Carol, and Elizabeth work on a 16-year-old boy named Josh who was shot. Romano comes in and tries to get Elizabeth to postpone an operation she was supposed to perform later so he can have the OR. She refuses, since her patient needs a mastectomy more than Romano’s needs his operation. Romano gives up a lot faster than I would have expected. Carter asks Elizabeth if her patient is Elaine. When he calls Elaine a family friend (yeah, a family friend he’s seen naked), Elizabeth decides they shouldn’t be talking about her.

Romano assigns Elizabeth to show a journalist around the hospital. The journalist is doing a story on Romano, but he figures she’d rather spend time with Elizabeth than him. Good guess. Mark and Chuny treat a patient who flirts with Chuny and asks about her badge. Mark hasn’t gotten one yet. Lucy and Luka tend to a woman named Lauren who claims she hurt her arm falling off a ladder. Luka seems skeptical.

Weaver shows Lawrence around as Jeanie opens some wedding presents from the nurses. She and Reggie are going to New Orleans that night to get married. Weaver gives her a badge, which she calls a Core Values badge, though shouldn’t that be CARE Values? She tells Jeanie to always wear it, quipping that she can take it off on her wedding night.

Lawrence gives Mark’s patient a neurological exam and teaches Carter a way to detect head trauma without any scans. He thinks the patient can be released. Benton takes Reese to Cleo, thinking he might be sick. Cleo notes that it must be nice having him nearby all day, in the hospital’s daycare. She diagnoses Reese with an ear infection and asks Benton if he had them as a kid, since they’re often hereditary. Benton says he didn’t.

Mark can’t find his patient, whom Lawrence has already discharged. He finds Lawrence in the lounge, telling Elizabeth about the history of the stethoscope. Mark is annoyed that Lawrence let his patient go without a CT. Lawrence says he gave the patient instructions on what to do if he exhibits signs of head trauma. Mark notes that he could pass out, and since he lives alone, no one would know. Lawrence asks Elizabeth for her opinion, and though Elizabeth tries to decline to answer, she admits that Lawrence did enough to examine the patient.

Mark confronts Weaver for hiring Lawrence without saying anything. Weaver only found out he was available a few days ago. Plus, he’s one of the founding fathers of emergency medicine, so Mark should be happy they have him. Mark reminds her that her badges list respect as a core value, so she should have shown him some. Carter surprises Elaine as she’s waiting to be taken for her mastectomy. He wants to make sure she knows that he doesn’t see their relationship (or whatever it is) as just sex. He’s willing to support her through her medical treatment. Elaine tells him to go away, but Carter doesn’t want to.

Luka looks up Lauren’s records and sees that she’s been treated at County for various injuries. She’s also been to other hospitals. He thinks she’s being abused. When he and Lucy return to Lauren’s exam room, her husband, Pauly, is with her. He backs up her story that she fell off a ladder. Lauren acts like nothing’s wrong, which, of course, she would do if she were being abused and didn’t want anyone to know.

Romano introduces Elizabeth and Mark to Paula, the reporter Elizabeth will be showing around. Josh, who’s now on a ventilator but doing okay, gets a visit from his cousin, whose arrival sends Josh into distress. Carol sends the cousin out of the room as Lawrence comes in to help her out. Josh keeps his eyes on his cousin and mimes shooting a gun. Carol realizes that he’s trying to say that his cousin (well, “cousin”) was his shooter.

Lawrence goes after the cousin, who takes off running. Someone sees him pull a gun and screams that he has a weapon. Elizabeth shields Paula as a security guard faces off with the cousin in a hallway. Mark pulls a patient into a room as shots are fired. Benton runs to the exam room where Reese was being seen and finds Cleo protecting him and some other kids. The cousin shoots until he runs out of bullets, then takes off. I’m sure he’ll be picked up by the cops pretty quickly, since there were about three dozen witnesses.

Dave gets off an elevator and enters an eerily quiet ER. Elizabeth and Lawrence rush to tend to the unconscious security guard, who’s bleeding. In a trauma room, they realize he wasn’t shot – the blood is from a cut on his hand. He’s unconscious because he fainted. Dave, always eager to be in the middle of things and probably sad that he missed all the danger, quickly offers his help, so Lawrence tells him to give the security guard stitches. The staff checks on all the patients who were near the shootout, but no one was hurt.

Mark and Cleo take the next patients brought in, the Bradleys, a father and son who were in a car accident. Mrs. Bradley says they asked the paramedics to take them to another hospital, as recommended by their doctor, but the paramedics brought them to County since it was closer. Paula’s nearby and asks if paramedics can ignore a patient’s wishes. Cleo tells Mrs. Bradley that until her son, David, has some tests, he’s not going anywhere.

Elaine is overwhelmed and tells Elizabeth she’s not ready for surgery. Elizabeth invites her to go for a walk and talk things over. The nurses give Jeanie some flowers as she heads out with Reggie. Weaver pulls them into the lounge to give them another wedding gift: Carlos. Thanks to some urging from Weaver, Adele has gone to bat for the couple and gotten approval for them to take Carlos in temporarily. Once Jeanie gets approved as a foster patient, they can reevaluate and maybe make it permanent. Reggie and Jeanie decide to get married in Chicago instead of New Orleans.

Lawrence treats a 12-year-old girl named Crystal who has sickle-cell anemia. Mark looks over his orders afterward and tells Chuny to add a couple of tests. Luka pulls Pauly away from Lauren as she’s being discharged and tells him he thinks Pauly is mentally ill and dangerous. Pauly says Luka’s the one who’s ill. When he returns to Lauren, security guards are there to restrain him. Luka’s having him involuntarily committed. Lucy tells him this is a horrible idea – if psych doesn’t find any problems with Pauly, they’ll just send him home to Lauren. Luka says he’s giving Lauren a chance.

Elizabeth tells Elaine that she can delay her surgery, but not for long. Elaine wonders what will happen to her breast after it’s removed. She doesn’t like the idea of it just being thrown away. Elizabeth tells her that a lot of women have had mastectomies. Elaine wonders how she can be with anyone again once her breast is gone. She wishes she could still be herself. Elizabeth says she can. Elaine tells her to make sure she cuts everything during the surgery.

Lawrence tries to cheer Crystal up about her illness: the gene that causes sickle-cell anemia also protects her against malaria. He discharges her as Mark asks about the labs he added, which haven’t come back yet. Lucy brings in Deraad to tell Luka that he can’t have Pauly committed. He doesn’t appear to be a danger to himself, and there’s no proof that he hurt Lauren. Luka asks Deraad to come talk to Pauly with him. This goes horribly: Luka accuses Pauly of hurting Lauren, but she denies it. Luka baits him, making Pauly angrier and angrier until he decks Luka. Luka’s like, “Yeah, he’s definitely not a danger to others.”

Crystal’s labs come back, and Mark tells Lawrence there’s a problem. The two run after Crystal and her parents, who are just leaving the ER, and tell them to come back in. Lawrence missed something huge. The Bradleys’ doctor, Jacobs, comes to the ER and tells Cleo that David is going to be transferred. Cleo doesn’t feel comfortable having him moved and asks for half an hour while a test comes back. Jacobs won’t back down.

Mark gives Crystal an ultrasound to show her and her parents what Lawrence missed: She’s pregnant. Further, it’s an ectopic pregnancy, so she needs emergency surgery. Lawrence asks Mark if he was checking up on him, but Mark says he was just looking after the patient. Cleo has given in and is helping move David out of the hospital when he crashes. Carter and Benton take over his care, wondering why he was being transferred.

Jeanie and Reggie go to a courthouse to get married, but they only have a few minutes before it closes. They’ve brought Randi along as a witness, and Weaver was supposed to be their second, but she’s not there. They spot a UPS guy and all get the same idea. Back at County, Paula tries to observe as Carter and Benton treat David, but Benton kicks her out. He talks Carter through a procedure he’s never done before, and together they stabilize David.

The UPS happily holds Jeanie’s flowers as a judge marries Jeanie and Reggie. Carlos gets fussy, so Jeanie has to delay the vows for a few moments so she can try to quiet him. The bride and groom both seem thrilled with their new reality. Elizabeth finishes up with Paula, who questions Benton’s decision to let Carter do a procedure he’d never done before. Elizabeth promises that, in this teaching hospital, residents are carefully supervised. Mark thinks Elizabeth should have turned down Romano’s request to show Paula around.

Luka and Carol chat about his decisions regarding Pauly and Lauren. Luka gets that he made things worse by provoking Pauly in front of witnesses. Carol thinks that maybe now Lauren will get how dangerous her husband is. She didn’t go up to psych with him, which is a good first step. Cleo tells the Bradleys that David’s stable and now in surgery. Jacobs praises her for catching what was wrong with him, but Cleo’s annoyed that she gave in to his demands. If she’d just waited until his tests came back, they could have operated in a controlled environment.

Elaine comes through her operation fine and next faces reconstructive surgery. Weaver tells Luka that now that Lawrence is an attending, he won’t be needed anymore. No, don’t send the pretty away! Pauly’s released and heads home with Lauren. Mark, Lawrence, and Dave take care of a gunshot victim together, and Lawrence uses a foley to make a balloon and put pressure on the patient’s wound to stop the bleeding. Mark has to admit that he’s a skilled doctor.

Carter looks in on Elaine in recovery but decides not to go in and talk to her. Carol passes Luka as he’s walking home and offers him a ride. Jeanie and Reggie pick up some baby supplies after their wedding, and Reggie picks out a toy police car for Carlos. Mark tries to smooth things over with Elizabeth, by which I mean he asks her to apologize for siding with Lawrence earlier. She teases that he’s jealous and is afraid he might learn something.

Benton asks Jackie if Reese looks like him. “Hope not. He’s got enough problems,” Jackie says, exactly as any sister would. Benton asks if he had a lot of ear infections as a kid. Jackie doesn’t remember, but she knows he was always getting sick from something, which explains why he became a doctor. Carol drives Luka home and learns that he’s living on a boat. Mark and Elizabeth end their day in bed, and I don’t think anyone needs to know anything more than that.

Thoughts: As shown above, Lawrence is played by Alan Alda, who got an Emmy nomination for this role. Mr. Bradley is played by Felicity’s dad.

Erica Gimpel (Adele) and Cress Williams (Reggie), who have their first scene together in this episode, later played Wallace’s parents on Veronica Mars.

Guys, don’t forget to run every hiring decision by Mark. He is, after all, in charge of the ER. Oh, wait – no, he’s not. Shut up, Mark.

Mark should stop second-guessing Lawrence and keep a better eye on Luka, because…yikes.

June 4, 2019

ER 4.3, Friendly Fire: Weaver’s in Charge and Everything Is…Fine

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

Same, Cynthia

Summary: Doug drives Carol to an El platform so they can keep pretending they’re not practically living together. At County, Tabash tells Benton and Carla that Reese is doing well enough to probably be able to go home the next week. Time for the next Benton/Carla disagreement: Should Reese be circumcised? Carla is pro; Benton is against. He considers his opinion the final decision.

Instead of working, Mark passes work off to Anna and watches Jerry Springer in the lounge. Weaver, meanwhile, takes on more work, accepting the position of acting chief of emergency services. Anspaugh confides that not everyone is a fan of Morgenstern’s management practices. Weaver already has a plan to get things back under budget, even if it means making enemies. She’s fine with that – just like many reality-show participants, she’s not here to make friends.

Cynthia arrives for her first day of work, confusing Carol, who didn’t realize Mark had given her the job. Weaver quickly starts changing policies and practices while Carter hunts for Henry. Carol complains to Mark that he hired a dud, but Mark, like Benton, thinks his decision is the final word.

Carla asks Anna if she thinks Reese should be circumcised. Anna says it’s something she recommends for patients, and Carla shouldn’t have any second thoughts. Carla asks her to do it. Since Anna and Chasity are getting all the cases Carter’s missing, Carter’s available to take a trauma patient after a motorcycle accident. No one can insert an IV, so Carter opts for a central line. Maggie comes in and pulls rank, taking over the case and sending Carter to do sutures.

Al comes in after an incident with a crane at a construction site. He’s scraped up but mostly fine. Weaver questions why Doug’s salary is being paid by the emergency services department, which means they’re underwriting his fellowship. She’d like to read his research proposal.

Carter continues hunting for Henry, then complains to Mark that Doyle pulled him from a trauma and gave it to Anna. She’s been doing that a lot lately. Mark tells Carter that he’ll have to keep doing sutures unless he can get Henry to do them for him. Carter gets a call on his hilarious mid-’90s cell phone, but reception in the hallway isn’t great. Anna warns about how big a bill he could be racking up.

Jeanie fixes up Al while a paramedic tends to his friend Bill. He mentions that Al fell on him, so all the blood on him is Al’s. Jeanie and Al both freeze. Carol takes care of Casey, a guy from the same construction site who grabbed a live cable to try to save everyone else. Casey’s boss doesn’t want him to report his hand injuries to workers’ comp so the boss doesn’t get in trouble. Carol notes that that will keep Casey from receiving disability while he’s out of work.

Anna hands a case off to Carter, a woman named Kirsten whose husband was unable to wake her this morning. He doesn’t know of any illness or injuries she had that would leave her unconscious. Carter does a test to determine if there’s something wrong with Kirsten’s brain stem, and he clearly doesn’t like the results, but he doesn’t want to tell Kirsten’s husband, Josh, that anything bad has happened.

Benton goes to visit Reese and catches Anna in the middle of circumcising him. Benton argues that Carla had no right to ask Anna to do the procedure. Carter shows Mark Kirsten’s scans and shares his diagnosis of an infarction. Mark agrees and says she’ll probably start declining quickly. Carter feels horrible that he has to tell Josh that his 27-year-old wife is about to die. Mark casually reminds him to ask about organ donation.

As Carol’s gathering Casey’s things, she finds a joint and realizes that he was high at work. He thinks his status as a hero cancels out the fact that he may have caused the situation that led to his heroics in the first place. Carol heads off to fill in Casey’s boss. Cynthia’s first day is going well, but there seems to be some skepticism (at least from Jerry and Haleh) that she should have been hired.

Heather pops in again, trying to get Mark to go out with her. Mark begs off, claiming it’s not because he doesn’t want to spend time with her. A man named Ed comes in with a gunshot wound to the leg, accidentally sustained when he was cleaning a gun. His wife, Glenda, wants to take some of their other weapons into the hospital since they’re expensive and can’t be left in their car. Malik tells Jerry to stash it behind the admit desk.

Carla and Benton bicker about the circumcision, and I’m just going to say that they’re both in the wrong here. He was a jerk for putting his foot down without discussion, and she was a jerk for going behind his back. She thinks he was just against the circumcision because he isn’t circumcised. Benton doesn’t think that’s a big deal. Carla says the real problem is that he shut her down.

Carter has given the bad news to Josh that Kirsten had a stroke and is going to die soon. Josh is in denial, thinking she could still get better, and doesn’t want to just do nothing until she dies. Carter pauses a respectable amount of time before mentioning organ donation. Fortunately, Josh responds well, saying that Kirsten would want to help people. But suddenly, that conversation is out the window: Kirsten’s awake.

Mark, Weaver, and Doyle are working on Ed when Carter pulls Mark out to see Kirsten. Mark’s shocked, since people with her kind of stroke don’t ever wake up. He sees for himself that Kirsten is awake, then reexamines her scans. Rather than a stroke, Kirsten has an aneurysm that caused swelling in her brain stem, which led to her loss of consciousness. She’ll need an MRI right away before the aneurysm bursts.

Jeanie asks Al if Bill knows his HIV status. Al says no, and he doesn’t see the point in telling him, since Bill didn’t have any cuts, so he couldn’t have been infected. Jeanie disagrees about keeping quiet, but Al’s afraid that word will spread and he’ll end up without a job. Jeanie thinks the responsible thing is to tell Bill so he can get tested just in case.

Glenda shows Jerry her collection of guns while Ed is getting x-rays. The couple has some connection to a guy who trains “patriots” on using weapons. Cynthia asks if she means a guy like David Koresh. Glenda’s face indicates that that was the wrong thing to say.

She offers to sell Jerry a grenade launcher, which I’m sure he’d have a lot of use for in Chicago. She promises Cynthia that it’s unusable; it’s illegal to sell usable ordnance. But there’s a kit he can get that will change that. Jerry jokes about shooting his neighbor’s loud dog. Not funny, Jerry. Also not funny: The weapon is actually loaded after all, and Jerry accidentally fires a grenade through the lobby, out the door in the ambulance bay. He hits Ed and Glenda’s truck, setting off all the ammo inside.

Firefighters put out the resulting fire, and Glenda is arrested as she protests that the weapons are her personal property. Cynthia has ringing in her ears, so Mark checks her over. She tells him that, even after this, she feels safe at County, thanks to all the doctors. Somehow they start talking about Death of a Salesman, and how sad it is when Willy Loman looks back over his life and realizes there was nothing there.

Benton, Elizabeth, and Anspaugh operate on Ed, the latter two hitting it off well. Paramedics bring in Laura, Carol’s bulimic patient from the previous week; her eating disorder has led to her vomiting blood. Doyle’s mad that Laura wasn’t admitted to psych when she was last at County. When she learns that Mark didn’t authorize it, Doyle complains that they’re picking up his slack.

While undergoing an MRI, Kirsten starts declining again. Carter tells Josh that she needs immediate surgery, but Josh no longer trusts the doctors’ decisions. First they said she was going to die; then she woke up and seemed fine. He doesn’t think Kirsten really needs surgery. Mark steps in and tells Josh that she’ll die without it. Josh backs down and consents to the operation.

After Ed’s surgery is over, Elizabeth tells Benton that she thinks Anspaugh is a gasbag. She’s not used to “old tossers” coming to the OR; in the U.K., they’re too lazy. Benton is amused and tells her she can feel free to keep speaking her mind. At the admit desk, Haleh, Malik, and Connie giggle over how there was an actual explosion on Weaver’s first day in charge. Weaver overhears and says she’s just glad no one was hurt.

She reminds Doug that she wants to read his research, then goes to help Doyle with a patient. She tries to gain Doyle as an ally, warning that the county would love to close the ER. All her policy changes are an attempt to save it. She really hopes some people will understand and come on board. Doyle’s like, “…Yes, I am so on board, scary lady.”

Mark bursts into an OR to try to pull a surgeon named Corelli out of a procedure to operate on Kirsten. Doug and Elizabeth tend to a boy with a hernia, and she praises his bedside manner with kids. Carol’s in and out of the room as Elizabeth asks Doug to go out on the town with her. Carol dismisses herself before Doug can tell Elizabeth he’s seeing someone. That’s not a problem for Elizabeth, who really just wants people to spend time with.

Al and Jeanie tell Bill that he may have been exposed to Al’s HIV. Bill’s upset that Al never told him or their co-workers. He agrees to get tested, but since Jeanie also has HIV, Bill doesn’t want her touching him. Doug chases down Carol to tell her that he has no interest in Elizabeth and certainly didn’t flirt with her. He told her he was seeing someone but didn’t mention Carol’s name. If Carol wants to keep dating, she’ll have to trust him.

Carter gives Mark the good news that Kirsten got to surgery in time and has a great chance at a full recovery. He wants to take Mark to see Josh so Josh can thank him, but Mark gives Carter all the credit. Carol tells Mark that Laura’s now going to be admitted to psych. Mark admits that he screwed up by not having her admitted before. Carol lets him off easy, but Mark says he didn’t go the extra mile in patient care. Carol doesn’t think it should just be the doctor’s responsibility. There needs to be a safety net.

Haleh tells Carol that Weaver is punching everyone out, like she threatened. Interns will take over the nurses’ tasks. Weaver tells Carol that nurses spend the ends of their shifts slacking off anyway. They don’t generate income, so their extra hours shouldn’t be compensated. Carol’s like, “Yeah, saving money is definitely more important than the patient care we provide.”

Mark decides to go out with Heather after all, I guess because he doesn’t want to be Willy Loman looking back on his pointless life. Weaver tells Jerry that he has almost a month’s worth of unused vacation time, so she suggests that he take it now. Doyle reminds Carter that he was supposed to be doing sutures today, but he kept doing other things. Carter accuses her of giving Anna special treatment because of a personal interest. Doyle laughs that off, then compliments Anna’s hair when she comes in.

Carter appreciates that Anna gave Kirsten’s case to him, so he offers to return the favor with dinner. Instead, Anna asks for help figuring out tax deductions. He invites her to chat about it over dinner, because he can’t take a hint. She tells him she has to do laundry tonight, so he invites himself along.

Doug and Carol meet up on an El platform, and she’s past her jealousy over Elizabeth. Mark and Heather go to dinner, and he tells her he’s missed her. Carter slums it in a Laundromat, which leads to physical comedy with a shaking dryer. The sandwiches Anna gets them for dinner end up in a machine with the clothes. Mark and Heather try to have sex, but he either can’t perform or is just left unsatisfied. He wants to smoke, but she asks him to do it outside, since she’s allergic. He decides to just leave instead.

Thoughts: Fun with out-of-context quotes: “What happened to that boy’s penis should have been left up to me.”

Today’s lesson: You can keep any weapons you want at the front desk as long as you say they’re not usable. Security won’t even notice.

I believe the situation was that Abraham Benrubi needed time off to do another show, so they had to find a way to temporarily write him out. They couldn’t have gone with something less ridiculous?

May 1, 2018

ER 1.15, Feb. 5, ’95: There Are Two Snakes in This Episode, and Mark Is Married to One of Them

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


Summary: Mark and Carter are in a speeding ambulance, on their way to an accident scene. A small plane missed its runway and hit a car, injuring the driver. Mark knows the patient is in critical condition, but he still takes the time to tell Carter everything he’s doing. Carter just whines that gas is leaking on his new coat. Once the patient has been rescued from her car, Mark and Carter start chatting about Carter’s eventual specialty. He hasn’t picked one yet, but his parents want him to go into cardiology.

There isn’t much room in the helicopter taking the patient to the hospital, so Mark goes with her, leaving Carter behind. There’s a dumb scene where one of the guys in the chopper can’t hear Mark over the engine, so Mark says he wants to have sex with the guy’s wife. (Ocean’s 11 uses almost the exact same joke, so I’m going to pretend Clooney stole it from here.)

Carter finally makes it back to the hospital, where Chen’s stressing out over a presentation she’s supposed to be working on. She complains that Benton works them too hard, so there’s no time for her to do anything else. Benton overhears and tells her she can switch to dermatology if surgery is too difficult for her. He then punishes her by assigning her to insert a Foley catheter in a patient.

Paramedics bring in a man named Jonathan who collapsed while playing handball. He thinks he’s having a heart attack, but Mark suspects a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in his lung. Even though his EKG shows heart trouble, Mark still thinks something else is wrong. However, when Susan wants to run tests on Jonathan’s heart, he goes along with her plan.

Carol’s patient, Mr. Conally, has been having bad headaches. Also, he thinks he’s dead. Susan and Mark realize that he was right about Jonathan’s condition, and Mark needs to remove the embolism in the ER. Carter asks to observe, and Benton’s only too happy to have an excuse to get rid of him and Chen for a while. He then criticizes Haleh for not following his exact orders on a case. She tells him if he’s having a bad day, he shouldn’t take it out on her.

Morgenstern walks Mark through Jonathan’s procedure, which goes perfectly. Doug and Carol tend to a teen named Harold who was bitten by his pet pit viper. He’s not sure if the snake is venomous, but he’s brought it with him in case anyone wants to take a look. Unfortunately, the snake is now missing from Harold’s bag. Doug and Carol try not to run screaming from the room. Susan chastises Mark for disagreeing with her while they were working on Jonathan. She thinks he’s disrespecting her.

A woman named Grace is brought in from her hospice center, where she’s been living after ending treatment for breast cancer. She asks Mark to let her die. Carol gathers some staff members to reveal the new crash carts she’s been trying to snag for a long time. Doug wanders through the area with a golf club, looking for Harold’s snake.

Chen asks Benton for a break so she can work on her presentation. Benton’s unimpressed, but not any more impressed when Carter says he’s already finished with his. They meet up with Haleh, who has a new patient for them but won’t write down anything Benton says. She tells him she’s not comfortable taking his orders, so he should write them himself.

Grace is in a lot of pain, and Mark isn’t sure he can stop it. Morgenstern tells him that oncology discovered that Jonathan has a polyp. If he hadn’t had the embolism, it would have gone undetected and caused a lot of trouble. Morgenstern is impressed with Mark’s work and wants him to become an attending at County when his residency is over.

A 12-year-old named Yummy (…I don’t know) is brought in with multiple gunshot wounds. Carter is shocked to learn from paramedic Doris Pickman that he was caught in a gang battle, and was armed with his own weapons. Grace asks if she can go back to her hospice center, since there isn’t much more the ER can do for her. However, she’d have to come back later for more pain medication, so she’s not sure if she wants to leave.

A boy wanders through the ER, pulling a gun on Bob when she tries to get him to leave. He finds Yummy’s room, where they’ve just pronounced him dead. Benton tells the boy he’s too late. The boy points his gun at everyone, then runs off. Carter’s the only person who seems to think this is an unusual experience.

Carter, Chen, and Benton attend the seminar where the students will be making their presentations. Carter’s well prepared, talking about how to treat a certain type of fracture, but Benton’s clearly bored. Chen’s even better prepared, using a projector and passing out booklets full of handouts. Suddenly Carter feels like he didn’t do enough.

Grace dozes, asking for her daughter. A caregiver tells Mark that Grace gave up custody to her ex-husband when she entered the hospice to die. Grace wakes up and again asks Mark to kill her; she can’t take the pain anymore. Susan’s next patient is a hockey coach who, unlike Jonathan, definitely has something wrong with his heart. Carol’s annoyed that the new cart she put in the trauma room earlier isn’t there anymore.

Doug visits Diane in her office, sensing that she doesn’t like him. He goes off with Jake to play basketball. Benton has learned his lesson and writes all his orders down for Haleh. She nitpicks his abbreviations, then tells him he should insert the patient’s IV and nasogastric tube himself. Benton plays along.

After Susan stabilizes her patient, Mark makes a peace offering by asking what he should do for Grace. He knows that if he gives her a little more morphine, she’ll stop breathing. Susan won’t tell him what she would do in his position – why should she help him when he wasn’t there for her? Mark argues that this is a professional situation, not a personal one. He admits that he misses their friendship.

Carter complains to Chen that she showed him up with her presentation. He desperately needs a good recommendation from Benton so he can get a surgical internship. Chen is surprised – she’s seen plenty of residents and knows he’s not up to it. She admits that her mother is the chief of surgery at another hospital, which makes Carter think she has a leg up. Chen says her mother won’t help her, and didn’t even want her to go into medicine. Carter stops listening to the conversation when he finds Harold’s snake in a supply cabinet.

Grace is now asking for someone named Billy in her sleep. Mark has a hard time leaving her alone to go work on another patient. Carol, Doug, Carter, Connie, Bob, and Lydia sneak up to cardiology in search for their missing crash carts. There’s a lot of running and hiding, including in the women’s bathroom. A woman hears them giggling and checks under the door of the stall most of them have piled into, but somehow, only Carol’s feet are visible under the door.

Connie and Bob snag the carts, but on their way to the elevator, Carol spots a doctor named Dunphy who’s in their path. Doug knows her and uses his charm to distract her. Lydia comments that he’s remarkable. Carol tells her that’s why they slept together on the first date. He rang her doorbell, and the next thing she knew, they were rolling around on her kitchen floor. “I gotta start dating again,” Lydia says.

Susan tells Mark that the hockey coach is going to be fine. Grace, however, has died. Susan guesses that Mark helped her along. He’s a little bit in shock over his actions, but she doesn’t judge him. She also seems to be back on good terms with him. Benton complains to Carol about Haleh’s behavior, asking her to change their schedules. Carol refuses, since Benton’s on all the time, and rescheduling Haleh would mean she never works. She reminds Benton that Haleh’s been a nurse for 20 years, so she knows what she’s doing. Nurses, not doctors, make the ER run smoothly.

Mark goes home and tells Jen that Morgenstern offered him an attending position. She’s upset that he accepted without discussing it with him first. Oh, like she discussed her job decisions with him ahead of time? Jen may spend another year in Milwaukee, which means they’d be in a long-term marriage longer than expected. She’s upset that she put her plans on hold for six years while Mark finished med school and went through his internship and residency. Now she wants things to be about her.

Carol checks on Mr. Conally again, asking if he’s still dead. He is, but his head feels better. Benton finally makes it home, where Jeanie is finishing up her first day taking care of Mae. She thinks she can help Mae with her mobility. Though the work wasn’t easy, Jeanie likes Mae and wishes she’d known her before her health started to decline. For some reason, we end the episode with Benton doing dishes.

Thoughts: Mr. Conally is played by Bobcat Goldthwait.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five episodes that will need this new “hospital security is a joke” tag.

I really, really need to know the background for Yummy’s name.

Benton’s dumb enough for ticking off a nurse, but he’s incredibly clueless for ticking off Haleh.

It’s weird when we see parts of the hospital other than the ER. They’re so quiet and empty.