October 4, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 27, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 20, 2022

ER 11.19, Ruby Redux: The Weight of Responsibility

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

May we all make it to our 80s sharp enough to memorize all the dialogue Red Buttons has in this episode

Summary: Susan and Chuck have been looking for a house, but they haven’t found anything they like yet. She’s getting ready for an interview that she hopes will let her secure tenure. Chuck is willing to go back to work, and he suggests that Susan get a job at a private hospital to make more money. Susan doesn’t care that much about the money, though, and she likes working at County. She feels like she belongs there. She finally finds an outfit she thinks is right for her interview, but it has a stain on the back. Cosmo laughs at her.

Ruby Rubadoux, who we last saw all the way back in season 2, has been brought to County after fainting, though he denies that he fainted. He’s skeptical about Neela being his doctor, since she doesn’t look old enough to be one, or even have a high school diploma. Ruby’s 85 now but still as mentally sharp as he was almost ten years ago.

Carter’s rounding with the interns, and it looks like he’s built up a good rapport with them. Ruby’s not happy to be at County, but Neela doesn’t get that it’s because of his history there. When he spots Carter, he says he doesn’t want Carter anywhere near him – Carter killed his wife. The interns scatter as if he’ll kill them, too. Carter seems confused.

Neela’s shift is over, so she hands Ruby off to Abby. Meanwhile, Susan has her tenure interview, which is conducted by a panel of six people, including Anspaugh, Weaver, Dubenko, and her onetime rival Kayson. She’s won a teaching award three times, but she’s only been published four times, which is why she’s been working with Morris on a paper. Since she hasn’t brought in grant money, she hasn’t quite met the bar the panel has set, despite her rave reviews as a doctor and instructor.

Abby detects that Ruby has a heart murmur, so she wants to run some tests and take an x-ray. He thinks Abby’s a nurse, so he doesn’t want to listen to her. She tells him she’s a doctor, but since she’s not his doctor, that doesn’t change his attitude toward her. She agrees to let a more experienced doctor take over his care. She’s probably happy to have an excuse to avoid him for a while.

Paramedics bring in a woman named Mary who was stabbed by her husband. She retaliated by shooting him. Sam forgot that she was supposed to stock something in a trauma room, and Chuny’s not happy about it. Sam’s been having a hectic morning, and she’s not in a good mood, so of course she takes it out on Luka. Pratt calms Mary while asking her questions, and he perks up when he learns what neighborhood she lives in.

Abby tells Carter about Ruby’s condition, but Carter doesn’t want to get involved in his case. Abby talks him into it. Ruby’s not happy about that, and it just gets worse when he realizes that Carter doesn’t remember him or his wife, Helen. Ruby says he knew that she didn’t have much time left, but he’s upset that Carter put her through everything he did. He refuses to let Carter examine him until Abby tells him it’s necessary.

After the examination, Haleh comments to Carter that Ruby is more of a handful than he was all those years ago. She doesn’t think Carter should spend too much time worrying about what happened back then, since he was just a student. Susan passes through the ER, trying to get out and go home without getting bugged, but Jerry tells her that a meeting she’s supposed to attend got moved to 3:30. She just worked a night shift and doesn’t want to hang around that long.

Carter looks up Helen’s chart in the hospital’s records department while Kayson examines Ruby and determines that he needs surgery for a narrowed heart valve. Kayson is the first doctor to gain Ruby’s respect, though he’s warmed a little toward Abby. She clarifies that he understands the risks of having heart surgery at the age of 85. He might not be a good candidate, and he needs to consider all his options. Ruby calls her “doll” and dismisses her concerns, since she’s not the one who can fix his heart. Okay, maybe he hasn’t warmed toward her after all.

Abby talks to Carter and Kayson about Ruby’s shaky health, which she thinks should rule him out as a good surgical candidate. Kayson, of course, doesn’t value her opinion. She reminds him that Ruby gets to make the decision here. Carter defends her attempts to advocate for her patient, but Kayson is still dismissive. He’s the surgeon, so he makes decisions about surgery.

Pratt has called Olivia in to talk to Mary, since her neighborhood is one that Ceasefire serves. Olivia’s surprised that Pratt was able to find some hope in Mary’s situation. Then again, she knows that he’ll take advantage of any excuse to spend time with her. He asks her to have dinner with him, supposedly so she can teach him about domestic violence counseling. She agrees to meet him at her office that evening.

Birdie and Rebecca are back in the ER, this time because Birdie’s sick. Ray thinks she has a lung infection, but Birdie says that when she came in a week ago, Abby didn’t mention anything about that. As Anspaugh is explaining Ruby’s condition and the surgery to him, Abby interrupts to ask if they’re really going forward with this. Anspaugh says that it’s the only way to definitively treat Ruby’s condition at this stage. Abby makes an argument against surgery, but Anspaugh seems satisfied that he’s been fully informed of the situation and possible consequences. He’s unhappy that she disagreed with senior staff in front of a patient.

Jake surprises Abby by coming up behind her and covering her eyes, even though he knows she must hate that. Nice. What does she see in this guy? He’s just returned from a trip to San Francisco to check out a hospital he might work at after he’s done with med school. He’s also considering staying at County, which would conveniently allow him to stick close to Abby.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Dirk who crashed while street luging. Pratt and Luka seem impressed, while Sam is like, “Congratulations, you’re an idiot.” He might have a spinal injury. While Abby’s trying to talk to Carter about Ruby, Ray tells them that Birdie and Rebecca are back. Carter thinks he can discharge Birdie, since she has family who can help take care of her, but Abby objects. Carter defers to her and tells Ray to call a social worker, since the sisters are panhandlers.

Abby finally gets to tell Carter that she doesn’t think Ruby has been fully informed of his options. Carter says she should talk to him, then, but she knows he won’t listen to her. Carter isn’t fully listening (to be fair, the lure of ordering Girl Scout cookies is hard to resist), and Abby calls him on it. She insists that he talk to Ruby, no matter what happened with them in the past. He tells her that this is an obstacle she’ll face as a doctor – trying to get through to a patient who doesn’t want a young, female doctor. If she can’t succeed with Ruby, she should move on.

Jerry wakes Susan from a nap she wasn’t really able to take before her meeting. She checks in on Pratt, Luka, Ray, and Sam, who are sawing through Dirk’s helmet to remove it. She then goes to her meeting, which is Morris’ presentation about why he should be chief resident. There are slides. No way is Susan going to stay awake the whole time.

Ray catches Birdie and Rebecca trying to leave before a social worker can talk to them. They tell him it’s important for them to leave now so they can be near the El during rush hour. They offer to write a note so he doesn’t get in trouble for not being able to keep them around. They’re kind of awesome. Ray lies that his boss is mad at him for letting too many patients go. He’s at risk of being demoted and sent to work in the morgue. Birdie and Rebecca see through his story but admire the attempt.

After Dirk is taken away for scans, Luka asks Sam what’s up with her. She’s mad that he seemed to be encouraging Dirk’s dangerous activities. He tells her he wasn’t and she’s overreacting. She throws a couple of towels at him, but instead of the fight escalating, they both start laughing. She apologetically says she’s having a rough day and has a headache. He tells her she can leave early, and if anyone has a problem with that, they can complain to him.

Pratt helps Abby insert a central line in Ruby. Even though they seem to be doing everything right, his heart becomes unstable. Morris pitches a scheduling system that has something to do with circadian rhythms. Carter gets a page and claims he has to go help in the ER (Susan doesn’t believe him). Birdie and Rebecca’s niece, Shelley, arrives and tells Ray that she’s been trying to get them to move in with her. They value their independence too much to accept her support.

Carter’s page was real, and he rushes to help Abby, Pratt, and Haleh stabilize Ruby. Pratt notes that if he can’t tolerate a central line, he won’t survive heart surgery. Abby says he wants it, which Pratt doesn’t think is a good enough reason. Weaver is okay with naming Morris chief resident, especially since it’s better and easier than hiring someone from the outside. Susan notes that Weaver came from the outside. Luka joins them, agreeing with Susan that Morris would be a bad choice. He tries to get Carter on his side, but Carter has enough on his plate and is staying out of this.

Thanks to Ruby’s instability, as well as a broken rib and complications he suffered while receiving chest compressions, his surgery has been postponed. Abby’s a little smug about it, but honestly, I think she should be. Pratt goes to Ceasefire, where Olivia’s leading a community development meeting. She puts him on the spot, making him talk about jobs in health care.

Luka tries to chat with a woman with five kids, none of whom seems to have ever sat still for more than a minute at a time. Sam teases him a little before leaving for the night. Something’s definitely up with her, as her mood goes south as soon as she leaves him. In the ambulance bay, Carter tells Abby what happened with Helen years ago. He felt pressured to move her along, so he had her dumped in a nursing home. Abby doesn’t think it’s that big a deal, since they dump patients in other departments all the time. Carter admits that he told Ruby what he wanted to hear about his wife instead of the truth.

As a student, Carter wanted everyone to like him, but he also wanted to impress his superiors. Abby gets that. Plus, Carter’s orders to get rid of Helen came from the chief of surgery, so he had no choice but to comply. When Helen died a few days later, Ruby was surprised. Carter tries to push responsibility off on his attending, since he didn’t have any authority as a student.

Pratt chats with some attendees after the meeting, and one asks if he’s related to Charlie Pratt, a parks and rec employee. Pratt says no. (He’s lying, and we’ll meet Charlie in a few episodes.) Olivia’s pleased that he finally came to see what her work is like, and she’s going to reward him for being a good sport by having dinner with him. Now, though, he’s not in the mood.

The thing on Sam’s mind is her period, it seems, because she goes to a drugstore to buy a pregnancy test. The clerk who rings her up makes an “isn’t this exciting!” face. Sam makes an “I could kill you with my bare hands right now” face. Carter catches Ray leaving early and busts him for letting Birdie and Rebecca go without speaking to a social worker. He doesn’t think sending them home with Shelley is good enough. Ray hasn’t done everything he’s supposed to, and he hasn’t told Carter enough about his patients for Carter, the attending, to be responsible for everything he’s supposed to.

A light bulb goes off in Carter’s head and he goes to Ruby’s room. All he says is that he’s sorry. Ruby can’t believe that Carter’s still working at County almost ten years after Helen’s death, and he didn’t even remember her. Carter says he made mistakes with both Helen and Ruby. Ruby knows, and he regrets bringing his wife there. He scoffs when Carter says he tried.

Carter notes that he wasn’t experienced, and the situation became more complicated than he was equipped to handle. “All you had to be was a human being,” Ruby says. Carter lied to him and Ruby believed him. Then he lost the woman he loved. Carter sits down by his bed and tells him that while his condition can be fixed with surgery, it might not be his best option. His chances of fully recovering are small, and there’s a big possibility that he’ll never leave the hospital. Without surgery, he won’t get better, but he’ll have more time with his loved ones. Carter lied about Helen all those years ago, but he’s not lying now.

Thoughts: Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

Katie Mitchell, who plays Shelley, is married to Michael B. Silver, who plays Myers.

This was Red Buttons’ (Ruby) last action role, and it looks like he’d basically retired a few years before this, so it’s nice that he came back for one of Noah Wyle’s last episodes as the star of the show.

Birdie thinks Abby looks like a young Patty Duke. She’s absolutely right.

September 13, 2022

ER 11.18, Refusal of Care: Do More

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

From nurse to patient

Summary: Abby and Jake are asleep – drink! When she wakes up, she realizes they overslept and only have half an hour to get to the hospital for rounds (he’s on another ER rotation). She’s worried that people will talk when he shows up wearing the same clothes he had on the previous day, since he spent the night at her place.

At County, Pratt practices his Spanish, claiming he wants to relate better to the community. “Oh, yeah? What’s her name?” Neela asks. Heh. Luka’s done with a night shift, so Sam asks him to take Alex to soccer practice that afternoon. Luka thinks they should continue keeping their distance from each other, since Alex is still upset with Luka for not letting him go off with Steve.

Morris has teamed with Susan for a paper, and he’s taking it surprisingly seriously. Carter guesses that Susan’s working with him because he’s the only resident desperate enough to write about their topic. Neela asks Susan to let her run a trauma so she can feel a little more ready for the next year of her residency. Susan tells her to take the next patient, a woman named Elena who passed out. But Elena tells Neela, Susan, and Sam not to do anything until her lawyer has arrived. She’s on a hunger strike to protest her son’s deportation, and she’d rather gets the INS’s attention than stay alive.

Abby and Jake head to the hospital together, debating whether anyone will remember what he was wearing the day before. They run into a co-worker Abby doesn’t know, and Jake introduces her as his girlfriend. That makes her feel like they’re in middle school. Jake thinks she doesn’t want people to know they’re dating. They keep getting splashed with water and mud, and I guess it’s supposed to be funny. It also gives their colleagues a chance to tease them for matching when they change into scrubs. Frank clarifies that everyone thinks Abby and Jake are dating.

Elena accepts a warm blanket and water, but nothing else. Her lawyer, Coe, arrives and agrees with Elena that her condition might get the proper authorities to pay attention to her cause. You know, if it doesn’t land her in a coma first. They’re trying to get a new hearing for Elena’s teenage son, Santiago.

Elena came to the States in 1989 and has a green card. Her brother brought Santiago to Chicago seven years ago, and after Santiago was arrested for attempted robbery, he was transferred to immigration. Elena’s desperate to keep him from being deported to El Salvador – she’s convinced that he’ll be killed there. Coe has paperwork stating that Elena is competent to start a hunger strike and refuse nutrition even if she loses consciousness. Just giving her an IV would constitute felony assault. Coe will call the police if the staff tries to treat her without her consent.

Carter’s still working on his clinic, and he’s gotten support for HIV/AIDS treatment, as well as a daycare for either those patients’ children or for children who have HIV and AIDS themselves (it’s not clear). Weaver says they’re ready to start bidding with contractors, and she’d like for Carter to get personally involved in finding corporate sponsors. Carter says his family’s foundation will cover all the construction costs, plus an endowment for uninsured patients. He doesn’t want any corporate sponsors. In exchange, he wants to name the clinic, but he’d like to discuss that with some people first.

Abby examines an elderly woman named Birdie who was mugged. She and her sister, Rebecca, name two different streets where the crime occurred, and they claim they didn’t get a good look at the mugger. When Chuny takes Rebecca to get something to drink, Abby asks if Birdie wants to tell her anything in private. She suspects that Birdie was actually hurt by someone she lives with. Birdie promises that she’s safe in her home with Rebecca.

Coe asks Susan to talk to Elena’s case worker at the INS when she calls. Susan isn’t sure what to tell her. Frank tells Abby that he’s familiar with Rebecca and Birdie – they’re panhandlers. He’s upset that they’ve been left to beg for money in their advanced age. Wendall comes to the ER to talk to Elena and mentions that she recently read an article about Elena’s hunger strike. Frank can’t imagine going without food for as long as Elena has. He’s already hungry just a couple of hours after breakfast. Frank and I finally have something in common: The inability (and lack of desire) to skip a meal.

Weaver’s pleased with Carter’s philanthropy and asks how much involvement he wants to have with the clinic. He’d like a seat on the board and might see some patients, but he doesn’t want to be the director. Weaver has already collected some names of potential directors, and Carter has his eye on someone. She asks why Carter is suddenly building a clinic and donating all this money. He says Chicago needs it. Weaver gets that, but why is Carter moving forward now? He tells her that he’s been at County for 11 years and they haven’t done enough. He wants to do more.

While Carter tries to talk to Wendall but instead gets the brush-off, Pratt, Ray, and Jake tend to a woman named Debra who fell down a flight of stairs at work. She’s worried about how big her hospital bill will be. Chuny notes that she’s eligible for workers’ comp, but Debra is a temp, so she doesn’t qualify. She tries to downplay her condition, which is tough to do when you have a collapsed lung and possible internal bleeding. She protests her treatment but Pratt tells the team to keep working, since he thinks Debra is combative because she has a head injury.

After a talk with psych, Wendall tells Susan and Neela that Elena has been declared competent to refuse nutrition. Coe tries to get them to agree not to treat Elena, but before they can, Elena starts seizing. Coe tells the team to let her seize. Sam wants to treat her, but Wendall stands by Elena’s decision. Neela argues that they have a duty to tend to their patient. It’s up to Susan, who’s the most senior person on the case, but all she’ll allow is oxygen as a comfort measure. Neela goes a step farther, giving Elena Ativan to stop her seizure. Susan kicks her off the case.

Pratt and Ray have sedated Debra so they can fix her dislocated hip. Carter oversees as Pratt shows Ray what to do instead of doing it himself like he might have just a few weeks ago. While Jake’s doing some procedure on Debra, his scrub pants fall down. He’s wearing sterile gloves, so he asks Pratt to pull them back up for him. Pratt the homophobe refuses, and Ray pretends he’s too busy. Chuny claims she can’t because of sexual harassment liability. Someone should go get Abby.

Speaking of Abby, she spots Jake through the window and does a double take. Chuny snaps a picture of him, like, who’s liable for sexual harassment now? Abby tells Carter that she’s reviewing Rebecca and Birdie’s old charts because she suspects they’re the victims of elder abuse. She’s also asked Wendall to get involved, which leads to more awkwardness between her and Carter.

Elena’s stable but Susan isn’t sure she can keep going without nutrition. The staff wants to respect her wishes but not if this all ends up being for nothing. Sam notes that Santiago still might not get a new hearing, and he would have to live with his mother’s death on his conscience. Elena feels guilty for not being around when Santiago was little. She had him snuck into the States when he was 12, so his immigration status is on her. Sam thinks she’s done all she could and should accept treatment. Elena still won’t consent.

A man who doesn’t speak English tries to communicate with Frank at the admit desk. Abby is able to figure out that his wife is in their car, in labor. Pratt joins her to go to the car, where the wife is already ready to deliver. Pratt’s shaky grasp of Spanish fails him when he confuses “empuja” (push) with “puta” (whore). While the husband beats Pratt up for that, Abby calmly takes over the delivery.

Frank tells Susan that Chuck is on the phone for her, and that Cosmo might be sick. She has to deal with Morris and ignore Coe for a minute before she can take the call. Coe has gotten in touch with someone from INS, and he appreciates Susan for telling whoever it is that if Santiago doesn’t get a new hearing, Elena will probably die.

Neela tries to defend her actions with Elena, but Susan thinks that giving her Ativan was the equivalent of trying to revive a patient with a DNR. Neela says Elena was suffering; Neela couldn’t just watch her die. Susan tells her that she should have left the room. She agrees that withholding treatment from a patient who needs it isn’t right, but they have to follow the rules.

Pratt rejoins Ray and Carter, who have discovered that Debra may have cancer. Ray’s sad for her, since she’s nice. “I hear that’s a risk factor for cancer,” Pratt quips. Wendall meets with Rebecca and Birdie, noting that they’ve been mugged a number of times in the past couple of years. Birdie says it’s an “occupational hazard.” Abby ask why they have to panhandle. “Because they aren’t hiring at Hooters,” Rebecca jokes. Abby suggests calling social services, who’ve already been to the sisters’ place. They have excuses for everything, including reasons not to change their lives.

Sam wonders if INS might let Santiago visit Elena, since she could be dying. Susan notes that he might be able to get her to eat. Pratt and Ray go back to Debra, and during a breast examination, Pratt detects a mass. She’s aware of it but never got it checked out. She’s not interested in surgery now, thinking that if you operate on cancer, it spreads and kills you.

Abby gives Rebecca and Birdie some money as she sees them off. “No wonder your patient satisfaction scores are so high,” Sam teases. Santiago arrives in an INS van as Neela, Frank, Ray, and Chuny wonder if Jake wears boxers or briefs. Okay, this is definitely sexual harassment. They ask Abby, who says he goes commando. Abby, don’t encourage them!

Santiago knew that Elena was protesting his detention but wasn’t aware that she’s been on a hunger strike for 41 days. He gets to see Elena for the first time in six months, and he urges her to let the staff treat her. Pratt and Ray discuss Debra, whose reaction to her diagnosis doesn’t surprise Pratt. She’s from an area where people don’t get preventive treatment, so by the time they get a diagnosis, it’s too late to save them. Then their friends blame the surgery, since they were fine before it.

They return to Debra, trying to talk her into a biopsy so they can figure out how to treat her. Ray thinks she’s resisting because of money; if she does have cancer, she’ll qualify for state aid. Debra says it’s not about money. The doctors can’t get through to her, since she’s been sick for two years now and has been getting by fine. They tell her they want to help her, but other than medicine, they can’t – they can’t get her to and from treatments or take care of her when she’s sick from chemo.

Santiago asks Elena why she’s risking her life. He tells Susan and Sam to force her to eat. He doesn’t want Elena’s help; he can take care of himself. He wishes she’d forgotten about him and left him in El Salvador. As the guards with him remove him from the room, Susan asks what his problem is. Santiago says he didn’t ask his mother to go on a hunger strike on his behalf. Susan thinks it might be better if he gets deported.

He tells her that his life in El Salvador was good, no matter what Elena says. She ruined it. Susan notes that Elena wanted them to be together. Santiago didn’t spend much time with his mother, though, since she had to work two jobs. Susan tells him that she wanted a better life for him. “You think it worked out?” Santiago asks, holding up his handcuffed wrists. He thinks Elena’s doing this for herself, not him, because she feels guilty. If she wants to die, they should let her.

Carter asks Wendall if she wants to get lunch or dinner with him, but she doesn’t seem interested. They both admit that they feel bad about how things ended between them. She wishes she’d been able to figure out what was going on in his head, like she can with patients. He offers to bring her some stuff she left at his place. She says she’ll come by and get it – he can just leave it on the front steps. Ooh, ouch.

Susan doesn’t think Santiago’s visit will get Elena to break her hunger strike. An INS agent says it’s too bad that she’ll die and Santiago will get deported anyway. There’s still a chance that he’ll get a new hearing, though it might not do anything. Sam lets Susan know that Elena is now unconscious and unresponsive. Frank has learned from the Internet that the longest some IRA prisoners in Belfast were able to go without food was 45 days, four days longer than Elena.

Morris has been working on his and Susan’s paper all day, and he’s sure that they can get it submitted on time. Susan doubts it, but he’s desperate, since he needs something to make him look better as a candidate for chief resident. She tells him it’ll take more than being published. Carter chats with Debra but is also unable to convince her to have a biopsy or get treatment. Pratt’s not happy, but Carter reminds him that they have to respect her wishes. They can’t do anything if she doesn’t trust the medical system.

Abby and Jake treat a man named Adrian who’s having problems with his thyroid. While Jake’s doing something with his eye, he starts coughing and his eyeball BULGES OUT OF THE SOCKET. AHHHHHHHH! This show should come with a trigger warning. Sam confides to Neela that she only would have waited about five minutes longer than Neela did to give Elena Ativan. Elena’s awake now, and when Sam and Neela go check on her, they discover that someone has given her an IV that contains multivitamins. Neither of them gave orders for it. Sam guesses it was Susan.

Luka arrives for a new shift and helps Abby and Jake with Adrian. Apparently they just need a paper clip. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Adrian’s kind of freaked out, but much less than you’d expect. It helps that Abby, Jake, and Luka are all so calm. They fix him up and it’s like nothing happened. BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET.

Susan tells Elena that she gets to choose if she wants more nutrition after her IV is done. She’s getting attention from the press now, and INS is taking her seriously. She’s done all she can, so it’s okay for her to end her hunger strike. Elena refuses until Santiago is allowed to stay in the States.

She tells Susan and Sam that he wasn’t always like this. He did one stupid thing, then joined a gang in jail. She tried hard when he was younger, but you can never know how your child will turn out. Susan and Sam get that no matter how hurt and angry Santiago is, Elena would still do anything for him. Susan thinks he still cares about her. She lies that the last thing he said to her before he left was, “Please don’t let her die.”

Pratt brings in a woman named May to talk to Debra. She’s a breast cancer survivor whose illness started the same way as Debra’s. Pratt tells Ray that the cancer ward has “navigators” who help patients through the treatment process. (What an awesome idea!) He thinks Debra might listen to May more than she’s listened to the doctors.

Wendall goes to Carter’s brownstone, but he hasn’t put her stuff outside, since he’s just now getting home. He invites her inside but she declines. As he’s giving her things to her, the phone rings, but this time he doesn’t answer. Abby and Jake leave work together, brainstorming how to label each other since she objects to “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” He thinks she’s scared of something, but she says she just doesn’t want to move too fast. He tells her she has two weeks to get that sorted out. Then he wants to take her to a big family gathering, his niece’s baptism.

It’s a good thing Carter didn’t answer the phone while Wendall was there because Kem called. He immediately calls back after listening to her message and tells her he’d like to name the clinic the Joshua Carter Center. Joshua is what they named the baby. Back at County, Elena has agreed to eat. She prays over the meal, and Sam and Susan join her to say, “Amen.” She cries as she breaks her hunger strike with Jell-o. Meanwhile, Susan talks to Cosmo over the phone, reciting his favorite book, Hippos Go Berserk. Unlike Elena, Susan’s biggest problem is that her son just doesn’t want to go to sleep.

Thoughts: Birdie is played by Louise Fletcher.

If Elena wouldn’t let the staff treat her, why didn’t they just release her? Doesn’t refusing medical care mean you’re not a patient anymore? Also, she was taking up a bed.

I’m surprised that Sam, who we’ve seen sympathize with parents in the past, isn’t more supportive of Elena’s efforts.

I bet they charged Adrian $90 for that paper clip.

Though we don’t find out what happens to Debra or what she decided, when Susan’s on the phone in the last scene, we see Debra passing by with May, holding her hand. I think May got through to her.

August 23, 2022

ER 11.15, Alone in a Crowd: Have MERCI

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

Another excellent performance by a guest star

Summary: Sam and Luka are walking to work when they pass some students getting off a bus. One of them bumps into Sam and apologizes, calling her “ma’am.” Sam’s surprised that she’s aged out of the “miss” category. She asks if Luka would guess that’s old enough to have a fifth-grader if he didn’t know her. He says he can see here with a toddler, but she’s not interested in doing the whole baby thing all over again. She asks if Luka thinks about having kids. It’s not something she can imagine doing at this point in her life.

A woman named Ellie Shore is trying to wrangle her kids for their after-school activities. Her sons, Christopher and Lucas, are fighting, and her teenaged daughter, Erin, gets annoyed when Ellie says she can’t go to a friend’s house. Ellie sends the kids off with their father, Dan, then goes to the kitchen to clean up. She suddenly collapses on the floor.

In an ambulance, Ellie tries to convince the paramedics that she doesn’t need to go to the hospital. They don’t listen. We see things from Ellie’s point of view as Luka, Abby, and Sam start caring for her at County. She continues insisting that she doesn’t need medical attention. But a shot of Ellie shows that she definitely does – she can’t move her face, and all the things she thinks she’s said out loud have been garbled.

Neela gets ready for work while Ray and his band have a loud jam session in the living room. Ray offers to give her a ride in, since he’s also working, despite their attempts to work opposite shifts. He had to switch with someone because the band has a gig coming up. He asks if Neela’s okay with some of the guys staying there, but he doesn’t wait for her to answer. One of the guys asks if she plays an instrument. Yes – the viola. Well, at least they’re nice.

We’re back in Ellie’s POV as she wonders why no one’s listening to her when she says she’s fine. She decides to talk louder, which doesn’t have any effect on her speech. Luka tells her she’s at County, which Ellie isn’t happy about. She starts to realize that things aren’t actually okay when Luka tells her to squeeze his hand and she finds that she can’t feel half of her body. Sam removes Ellie’s clothes, which distresses her more, since she didn’t plan to stay in the hospital.

Carter and Wendall go for a run together, something she does all the time that he clearly doesn’t enjoy. She notes that they’ve been seeing each other for three months. Back at County, Jane and a couple other students ask Pratt questions (two about patients, one about dating on a low budget). He’s obviously starting to embrace his role as a kind of mentor. He even agrees to attend some sort of dinner to accept an honor County is receiving. Morris thinks he’s sucking up to Susan, but Pratt says he would never do that.

Morris invites anyone who’s interested to go out for drinks after work. He wants to celebrate the fact that Weaver’s on vacation, as well as gain some allies, since he wants to eventually become chief resident. Neela agrees to go, since it’s better than going back to her apartment and dealing with Ray’s bandmates. Pratt also accepts Morris’ invitation, and they scamper off when Susan asks if the “big kids” are being excluded.

Ellie realizes that she’s not actually able to say anything out loud. She doesn’t know what could be so wrong with her, since she’s healthy and only 35. She starts worrying about her kids, who will need to be picked up, but all she can do to get the staff’s attention is gesture like she wants to write something. Sam notices and brings her a pen and paper. However, her writing is illegible. Luka tells her that she probably had a stroke, and it’s affecting her ability to communicate. Ellie thinks that the effects have to be temporary, since only old people have strokes.

Abby runs into Jake, and Chuny gives her a pointed smile when she spots them together. Abby’s getting self-conscious, so she wants to spend a little less time with Jake when they’re at work. She says she’s only told one person about them (Neela), and he claims he hasn’t told anyone. Speaking of Neela, she seems to be contemplating moving back in with Abby, since her place is quieter than Ray’s.

Neela goes to the waiting area for her next patient, a little boy named Clayton who got some minor injuries from falling off the kitchen counter. His brother and sister, Tucker and Bridget, are with him; Tucker, the oldest, is probably no older than 13. He says their father went to get coffee, then leaves to find him while Neela takes Tucker and Bridget into the ER.

As a neighbor of Ellie’s brings her kids in, Sam gives Ellie a blanket and a comforting smile, which makes Ellie think that her condition isn’t that bad after all. Then again, Sam’s a nurse, so maybe she doesn’t know what’s going on. Abby’s a doctor and isn’t smiling as much, which could mean it’s bad. As for Luka, he’s tall and handsome. Yeah, you lucked out here, Ellie.

Her kids come in to see her, and she’s concerned by how worried they are about her. Erin says she was fine the last time they saw her. Ellie starts coughing, and Sam and Abby send the kids away so they can help her. They wind up putting her on a ventilator. When she wakes up from sedation for her intubation, she’s distressed because she can’t move.

A CT doesn’t show any hemorrhaging in Ellie’s brain, so a neurologist named Medford guesses she has a clot. Abby suggests TPA, but if Ellie’s stroke happened more than three hours ago, the treatment could cause a brain bleed. Her best outcome is the restoration of collateral flow. Then she can have physical therapy. Medford tells Abby and Sam that patients in Ellie’s condition don’t often make a meaningful recovery. There’s one other option, though: a procedure called MERCI, where a catheter is inserted in the brain to remove the clot. It basically reverses the stroke, but there are major risks.

Ellie’s getting more distressed, since she can’t see now and she can’t let anyone know. (It looks like the issue is just that she can’t open her eyes, not that she’s blind.) While Sam and Abby are examining her, Sam asks if Luka has ever talked to Abby about his kids. She notices that Ellie’s crying. Abby thinks that one of the sedatives they gave her wore off before the other medication, which means she’s still paralyzed but is now conscious enough to realize it. Ahhh! Nightmare!

Paramedics bring in a man named Kevin who got caught in the middle of a riot while running an errand for his grandmother. Susan overhears Morris saying he can’t have any more pain medication until they make sure he’s actually hurt. Well, the paramedic said he had burns, and you can’t exactly fake those, so…I’d say he’s hurt.

Luka tells Susan they should remove Morris from their list of potential chief residents. There aren’t any better candidates, though. Luka thinks Pratt could do it, and he points out that med students and interns already go to him when they have questions. Susan has a lot of reservations about him and hasn’t seen him demonstrate the leadership qualities a chief resident needs.

Abby and Sam take Ellie back to the ER as Ellie internally begs for someone to help her. Luka reassures her that she’s experiencing a normal side effect of her treatment, and they’ve given her something to calm her down. When she wakes up, she’ll be able to open her eyes again. Dubenko pulls Abby away to tell her that a patient they treated the day before was experiencing abdominal pain because of a condom full of cocaine. He suggests that she write up the case for publication. He’ll help her. Abby protests, since she doesn’t like him, but he talks her into it.

Neela examines Clayton, whose injuries aren’t serious. He and Bridget mention that they were making dinner when he fell. Neela praises them for being grown-up and helping their parents. Tucker brings in their father, Mr. Davis, and Neela smells alcohol on him. He says he just had a beer. She goes to Pratt for guidance, but he’s already helping a bunch of people. He reminds Neela that he’s not the only third-year resident she can turn to. Yeah, but isn’t Morris her only other option? No one wants his help.

Ellie wakes up and is relieved that her condition has improved – well, improved so that she’s back to where she was when she was brought in. Sam kindly talks to her like she can hold up her end of the conversation. She even senses when Ellie has caught a whiff from a nearby patient who’s soiled herself. Sam treats that patient nicely as well, but Ellie must be worrying that she’ll also end up unable to care for herself.

Ray, Morris, and Chuny treat Kevin, skeptical when he says he wasn’t part of the riot. Outside the room, Morris tells Ray not to worry if he’s unable to spot con artists. It took Morris until his second year to get good at it. Ellie sings “I Think I Love You” in her head as Luka examines her. She notices that he’s not wearing a wedding ring and has a sexy accent. Then she’s embarrassed for feeling like a teenager with a crush. Her heart starts racing and she gets dizzy. She flatlines, but they stabilize her.

Dan arrives and Luka tells him what they’ve figured out: Ellie’s stroke was probably caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, which sent a clot to her brain. He apologizes for the pain Ellie just went through, but the good news is that they can give her the right medication. Ellie’s happy to see her husband and wants to comfort him more than she wants his comfort.

Luka and Abby tell Dan that they want to try the MERCI procedure. Ellie’s on board, but Dan’s hesitant because of the risks involved. Doing nothing will keep her alive, but not the kind of alive Ellie wants to be. She wishes they could hear her giving consent. She’s able to move her arm, and when Dan comes to her bedside, she tries to communicate to him that she wants the procedure. Something gets through to him and he gives his consent.

Neela updates Mr. Davis on Clayton’s condition as he scarfs down a meal tray the hospital provided to him and the kids. They took the El in to the hospital, so Neela offers them a cab voucher. Bridget’s really excited about that. Morris signs off on Neela’s treatment, but she thinks there’s something strange going on with the family. Morris dismisses her concerns about Mr. Davis having had what he said was only one beer.

Sam and Abby take Ellie for the MERCI procedure while gossiping about Medford, who’s rumored to be sleeping with a med student. Hmm, he and Abby have something in common! They say goodbye to Ellie, who’s not happy about being left with strangers now that she’s come to like the ER staff. She’s also not happy that the procedure, which involves a catheter being inserted through her groin, requires her to have some of her pubic hair shaved.

Abby goes to Dubenko’s office so they can work on her paper together. He wants to work over dinner in a restaurant. Um, red flag. Speaking of dinner, Carter and Wendall have attempted to cook something, but they end up ordering a pizza instead. Wow, they’re so interesting, aren’t they? Kevin’s grandmother arrives and confirms his story that he went out to run an errand for her, not to take part in a riot. Pratt isn’t happy to hear that Morris accused Kevin of lying.

He pulls Morris out of the room to confront him. Morris doesn’t think he was out of line, since people lie all the time about this sort of thing. But Kevin’s Black, so Pratt thinks Morris made a racist assumption. Susan listens in as Pratt tells him to go apologize to Kevin and his grandmother. She praises him for showing some leadership and tells him that Carter and Luka want him to apply to be chief resident. Pratt isn’t interested.

Luka and Sam meet with Ellie’s family to talk about her condition. Luka tells them to support each other and send her good thoughts. Erin’s upset because she was nasty to her mother earlier, but Luka assures her that Ellie knows she didn’t mean what she said. He tells the family he’ll check on Ellie for them. As the MERCI procedure starts, Ellie focuses herself by thinking about her kids’ births. Luka comes in so she’ll have someone familiar with her.

Abby and Dubenko go to dinner, and he tries to make small talk when it’s clear she just wants to get started on her paper. This is obviously a date disguised as work. Ellie’s feeling down, and as the doctors find the clot, she contemplates just letting go. Carter and Wendall have followed up dinner with sex, and she settles in at his place for the night without any discussion about whether she’ll stay.

Ray and Neela shop together at the mini-mart, discussing the possibility that Morris will be chief resident. Neela thinks it should be Pratt. Mr. Davis comes in alone and Neela asks where the kids are. Clayton has a concussion, so he needs to be monitored all night. Mr. Davis ignores her, then finally reveals that he doesn’t have any kids. Tucker paid him a few dollars to pretend that he was the kids’ father.

Ellie revisits some happy memories as the procedure continues. Even the noisy, messy times were good. Neela returns to the hospital and tries to find a social worker to help her with the Davises. Six hospitals are sharing two for the night shift, so it could be a while. Ray thinks that Tucker is responsible enough to look after Clayton for the night. Neela wonders why he lied about his father. They guess that the address he wrote on the paperwork is right, though, so Neela decides to go over and check on the family. Pratt approves her request to leave, telling her to take Ray with her.

Carter wakes up to a phone call from Kem. Ooooooh. Wendall gets dressed and leaves, understandably not wanting to lie in bed next to her boyfriend while he talks to his ex. Carter follows her out and apologizes for being rude. Wendall asks if she’s just a diversion for him until he and Kem are in the same country.

Carter paints this like he’s just being nice because he and Kem had a child together, as if he doesn’t still love her and want to be with her. And let’s not forget that he’s living in the house he bought for them to live in together. Wendall’s annoyed that Carter didn’t tell Kem he was in bed with someone else. (That would have been weird, but he could have at least left the room for the call.) He tries to assure her that he’s committed to their relationship, but he can’t say what she wants him to say. He just apologizes again. She appreciates his honesty, but she’s done with him.

The doctors doing the MERCI procedure are able to reach the clot, and the retrieval goes perfectly. Luka decides to take Ellie back to the ER to take her off the ventilator, to be on the safe side. Neela and Ray go to the Davises’ apartment, and Tucker wakes up his brother and sister, expecting that they’re going to be split up and sent to different foster homes. Their mother is the only parent around, and she’s in a bedroom with a towel tucked under the door. Neela and Ray quickly determine that she’s dead. Tucker says she got sick a week ago.

Jake, Jane, Abby, and a couple other students show up to Morris’ get-together. Morris offers himself up as a mentor to the others, but I don’t think anyone’s interested. Pratt skips the gathering and goes home, perfectly content to drink beer and watch sports by himself. Ellie returns to the ER, now showing no signs that she had a stroke. When she’s extubated, the first thing she says to Luka and Sam is, “Thank you.” They look on happily as her family comes in to see her.

Thoughts: Ellie is played by Cynthia Nixon. Bret, one of Ray’s bandmates (who says and does nothing in this episode but is in a couple more after this), is played by Misha Collins. Camryn Grimes, who plays Erin, is Scott Grimes’ (Morris) niece.

This episode highlights again what a good nurse Sam is, but we also get to see Luka shine in the bedside-manner department – not because he’s warm and fuzzy but because he explains things so patients understand them and helps keep them from worrying when they don’t need to.

I love when Ellie can’t think of the rest of the chorus of “I Think I Love You” – Cynthia Nixon’s delivery of “I don’t know the rest” is hilarious.

August 16, 2022

ER 11.14, Just As I Am: Not Quite Perfect

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

And now we know where Weaver got her red hair from

Summary: Weaver is outside a hotel on a windy night. She looks determined as she goes in and knocks on a door, calling for someone named Helen. She tells Helen she doesn’t want to leave things like this. But if Helen does, Weaver will go away like they never met.

Sam and Susan head into County together as snow falls. Susan’s not thrilled with the weather but Sam is in a great mood. Sounds like someone’s living arrangements have turned out great. In the waiting area, a woman with a gash in her leg asks to be seen; she was cut by the blade of someone’s ice skate. It’s not clear if it was on purpose or not.

Abby and Neela talk about Jake, who’s been spending the night at Abby’s recently. He’s working nights and it’s closer to the hospital, but Neela doesn’t think the arrangement is solely based on convenience. Abby assures her that they’ve been getting to know each other in ways that aren’t just physical. Apparently Jake’s name is really George. It’s a funny story! Kind of! Abby realizes that Neela doesn’t care.

Luka hands off patients to Carter and Weaver as he wraps up a night shift. Ray’s also leaving, and Neela tells him a couple of things about their shared apartment, which doesn’t sound like a great place to live. Susan tells a curious Neela and Jane that Weaver’s going to work a couple of shifts a month to stay up on her skills and see what the department needs. Neela thinks Susan must find that awkward, but Carter tells her Susan loves it since Weaver runs everything and Susan gets a break from being in charge.

Pratt comes in as Weaver, Abby, and Jane are starting to tend to a man who was stabbed. Weaver tells Pratt to take Jane and see a patient with Pick’s disease (a type of dementia). Pratt protests but Weaver doesn’t listen. Poor Pratt, he has to work with someone who knows what she’s doing and just happens to talk a little more than he’d like. Boo-hoo.

Dubenko and Jake come to the ER to see if the stabbing victim needs surgery. They heard he was stabbed with a screwdriver and wonder what kind it was. Dubenko seems to like Jake, and Jake appears to be doing well in his surgical rotation. Weaver, however, doesn’t like Dubenko questioning her decisions. Susan ends their bickering by calling Weaver away to see a patient named Sharon who said Weaver treated her before. Dubenko leaves Jake in the ER with “Mr. Screwdriver” (thanks for coming up with a name for him so I don’t have to) and instructions to stitch him up. This will leave Jake and Abby in each other’s orbits for a while.

Sharon is actually Helen, and since Weaver doesn’t recognize her, this means we’ve rewound to an early time. Sharon tells Weaver that she’s not sure she really needed to come to the hospital. She said she had shortness of breath but she seems fine now. She asks Weaver if she likes her job and whether she always wanted to be a doctor. The answer to both questions is yes. Helen thinks that means Weaver was lucky because she got the opportunity to fulfill her dream. Weaver asks Haleh to pull up Helen’s records from the last time she was in the ER.

Pratt tries to examine the woman with Pick’s, Mrs. Devon, who cut her hand. Her daughter, Charlotte, is understandably upset that her condition is worsening and she might not be able to be cared for at home anymore. When Weaver quizzes Jane on Pick’s disease later, Jane gives her a textbook answer, and Weaver guesses that she didn’t learn anything from Pratt. Okay, but does anyone? Weaver wants Jane to learn how to handle real patients and their families. She tells Pratt to help Charlotte find a facility for her mother, even though that’s something a social worker would normally do.

Weaver asks Sam if Mr. Screwdriver has been taken care of yet. Sam hesitantly says that Dubenko wanted the ER staff to do some things first (in violation of Weaver’s orders). Abby and Jake chat about something weird she said in her sleep (“let’s polka”), then get busted by Weaver for…I don’t know, taking a moment out of their day to to laugh with each other. Chill, Weaver.

Haleh tells Weaver that “Sharon” doesn’t have any records from a previous visit, and now she wants to leave. Weaver finds her in the ambulance bay and asks her to wait until her test results are back. Helen says they’re unnecessary because she’s not sick. She just needed a reason to come to the hospital. Her real name is Helen, and she’s Weaver’s mother.

Weaver cancels Helen’s tests and wraps up some loose ends so she can take a long break. Abby and Jake don’t even get berated for hanging out. Frank is shocked that Weaver’s leaving during a shift. She and Helen go to a diner, where Helen says she got a letter Weaver sent her four years ago. She wanted to see Weaver in person instead of writing her back. She’s in town for a week, though Weaver notes that she lives in Indiana and could have easily come to Chicago anytime.

Weaver’s upset that she spent so much time tracking Helen down, and Helen didn’t get back to her for four years. (Though I guess you could argue that Weaver could have also gone to see her at any time, so this is kind of on both of them.) Helen starts to leave but Weaver begs her to stay. Helen says she’s in Chicago with her church choir for a festival concert. Weaver’s face falls a little when she realizes that Helen is a devout Christian. Helen has to go to a rehearsal but wants to talk with Weaver again.

When Weaver goes back to County, she interrogates Jake and Abby while they’re working on a trauma with Dubenko, Susan, and Sam. Dubenko wants Jake to insert a chest tube, which Weaver isn’t sure he’s ready to do. While she’s lecturing him, her ice queen demeanor slips a little. Susan assures her that they have things under control, so Weaver leaves. “That was fun,” Sam says. Heh. Susan would like to know why Weaver’s so mad at Jake and Abby.

Carter and Neela examine a woman named Mrs. Bulowski who has neck pain. She and her husband both insist that Demerol works best for her and she can’t take anything else. Carter suspects that she’s an addict. Neela thinks they should give her the benefit of the doubt and the medication. Weaver hears the tail end of their conversation and sides with Neela, mostly because giving Mrs. B. the drugs will get her to leave.

Weaver checks on Jane, who’s giving Mrs. Devon stitches, and asks where Pratt is. Jane tells her obvious lies to cover up the fact that Pratt dumped Mrs. Devon on her to do other stuff. Weaver finds him and chastises him for not following her instructions to supervise Jane. In the background, Abby and Jake start to leave a trauma room, then go right back in so Weaver won’t see them. Heh. Weaver complains that the residents aren’t good at their jobs, but Susan tells her Pratt isn’t the problem. Weaver should take another break.

She actually listens. She goes to the church where Helen said her choir was holding their concert and hears them rehearsing the hymn “Just As I Am.” Helen spots her but tries to keep her focus on the music. When they get the chance to talk, Weaver notes that some of the choir members brought their families. Helen reveals that she’s divorced and has two children in their 20s. Weaver says she always imagined Helen with a “happily-ever-after family.” Helen tells her that the divorce was difficult but her church saved her.

Weaver drops her crutch, and Helen asks why she needs it. Weaver explains that she has congenital hip dysplasia. Helen worries that that came from her, but Weaver says there’s no way to know. Helen reveals that part of the reason she came to Chicago now was that she recently learned that Weaver’s father died. Weaver thinks she means her adoptive father, but Helen is talking about her birth father.

They go for a walk and talk about Weaver’s biological father, Cody. He and Helen were teenagers when Helen got pregnant. She lived in South Carolina and was sent to a home for pregnant teens in Indiana, where she had family. Helen and Cody both wanted to live together and keep the babies, but they were too young for that to work. Helen decided that Weaver needed a family who could take better care of her.

Weaver admits that she’s not sure things turned out for the best. Yes, she had two parents and a happy childhood, but she always felt like she’d been rejected. Helen’s sorry that she was never able to see or hold Weaver after she was born. No one told her that Weaver had a hip problem. Weaver says she used to wonder if that was why she was given away – because she was “not quite perfect.” Helen tells her that all Jesus’ children are perfect. Weaver asks if Cody went with Helen when she moved to Indiana. Helen says she never saw him again. She thought about him over the years, though she thought about Weaver more.

Neela tries to deal with the Bulowskis, who are upset that Mrs. B. is still in pain even after being given Demerol. Carter thinks she’s talked Neela into giving her more. Weaver returns to a busy ER, now in a better mood. She doesn’t even comment when she catches Abby and Jake chatting while stitching up Mr. Screwdriver together. She knows Dubenko gave Jake a bunch of orders that would keep Mr. Screwdriver in the ER for a long time, so she doesn’t blame Jake for him still being there.

Ray comes in to fill in for Morris, who’s sick. Weaver hands the Bulowskis off to him, telling him to review Mrs. B.’s chart and get rid of them. Jane helps Charlotte find a facility for Mrs. Devon, since Pratt couldn’t be bothered. At least he’s checking in on Mrs. Devon herself. She keeps dropping a tissue box on the floor so he’ll keep picking it up. I think he’d rather deal with that than get another lecture from Weaver, though.

In the lounge, Weaver confides in Susan that “Sharon” is her birth mother. Susan’s happy that her long search is finally over. Weaver is also happy, as well as nervous because she hasn’t shared everything about her life yet. She tells Susan they’re going to dinner but she’ll try to stop back at County later.

Helen and Weaver talk a lot at dinner, giving us a little information about Weaver’s past: Her adoptive parents were “wannabe missionaries” who set up schools and did civil engineering stuff in Africa. Weaver was singled out more for being white than for using a crutch. They moved to Minneapolis when she was 12, and her parents both died when she was in college. Helen’s sorry that they didn’t get to see her become a doctor. She’s proud of Weaver.

Weaver’s bigger regret is that her parents didn’t get to meet Henry. She shows Helen a picture of herself, Henry, and Sandy. Helen thinks Sandy is the baby’s nanny and that Weaver has a husband. Weaver glosses over the details of how she became a single parent without mentioning who Henry’s other parent was. Helen quotes scripture to remind her to keep her faith and stay close to God.

Weaver tries to gather herself in the restroom before going back to her and Helen’s conversation. She gets to see pictures of Helen and Cody when Helen was pregnant. Helen mentioned earlier that they were 14 and 15 at the time, but seeing a picture of them drives home how young they were.

Weaver finally tells Helen that Sandy was her partner, Henry’s other mother. Helen is stunned by the realization that her daughter is a lesbian. Since Weaver didn’t come out until after her adoptive parents had died, Helen notes that they never knew about the choice she made. Weaver says firmly that it’s not a choice, it’s who she is and how she was born. Helen wants to pray, but Weaver refuses to sit there while Helen no doubt tries to ask God to forgive her sins.

Helen follows her out of the restaurant and apologizes for offending Weaver, though she believes homosexuality is wrong: “It’s not what God created.” Weaver asks why people like her always say things like that. Helen replies that people like Weaver are dismissive of people of faith. Weaver argues that Helen doesn’t have faith that God knew what He was doing when He made Weaver the way she is.

Helen says God loves her and created her, but Weaver thinks that sounds threatening somehow. Why is it that while people are being murdered and dying of starvation, Christians think gay people are dangerous? “The world isn’t perfect,” Helen says. “It’s what we make it.” Weaver notes that Helen just said it was perfect because of God. Weaver knows all the same scriptures; she grew up in the church. She also knows that “the welcome sign’s not out for everyone.”

Helen asks if she hates all faith. Weaver tearfully says she just hates that her own faith excludes her and tells her she’s a sinner because of the people she loves. Helen still believes it’s because Weaver made a choice to love women. Weaver replies that the only choice she made was to stop living a lie about who she is. “I was alone in my soul,” she says. Helen decides to end things there and go back to her hotel.

Ray can’t get rid of the Bulowskis, who are frequent fliers at other hospitals. He asks Carter to get rid of them so Weaver doesn’t get mad. Carter calmly tells Mrs. B. that her regular usage of Demerol may have caused a dependence. Mr. B. blows up at him, saying he doesn’t understand pain like Mrs. B. does. Wrong! Carter doesn’t mention his own struggles with addiction, though.

Mr. B. looks like he’s going to take a swing at Carter, so Carter hits him first, then restrains him. Mrs. B. jumps on his back, and when Ray pulls her off, she clocks him in the face with a bedpan. Neela picks it up and goes over to help Carter, then realizes, “What the hell am I doing?” Ha! Security breaks things up as Weaver arrives and asks who’s winning. Sam’s amused that Neela almost jumped into the fight. Jerry wishes he’d gotten to see that.

Charlotte had to go pick up her kids, so Jane is looking after Mrs. Devon (and doing a pretty good job of it). Pratt gives Weaver an update, then tells her he’s willing to oversee Jane again. He’s realized that she’s really good at her job. And he’s probably also realized that he can get her to do everything he doesn’t want to. Luka comes in a little early to see Sam, since they don’t get to spend much time together while he’s working nights.

We’re back at the first scene of the episode, with Weaver going to Helen’s hotel room. We skip ahead to Helen letting her in and brewing some coffee. She’s been thinking about their reunion for a long time and never pictured it going the way it did. She wonders if Weaver turned out the way she did because she was given up. Weaver says Helen doesn’t get to feel guilty for placing her for adoption, then make herself feel better because Weaver had a good life. If Helen’s disappointed, it should be in the limitations of her faith, not Weaver’s life.

Helen says she gave birth and then gave up her child for what she thought were all good reasons. She later realized that she broke her own heart. Her faith was the only thing that gave her hope and courage. She can’t abandon it, too. Weaver asks Helen if she can accept her daughter for who she is. Helen says she can love her, but Weaver doesn’t want love without acceptance. She tells Helen it was nice to finally meet her, then hugs her goodbye and leaves.

Thoughts: Helen is played by Frances Fisher, who’s only five years older than Laura Innes. She was originally supposed to be played by Sissy Spacek, who’s only three years older than Fisher.

Laura Innes is always great but she really brings her A game in this episode. She makes you feel sad for Weaver for how her long journey to find her birth mother has ended up.

People spent years wondering why Weaver needed a crutch. The explanation is a little anticlimactic.

August 9, 2022

ER 11.13, Middleman: Grow Up

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

I really don’t know the point of Dubenko at this point in the series, other than to be annoying

Summary: Pratt’s awake in bed, listening to a woman named Lena as she makes sex-like sounds in his shower, thanks to a lack of hot water. He suggests that they both call in sick to work so they can spend the day in bed, but Lena’s a lawyer and can’t just skip a court appearance. She can’t see Pratt that night, either, since she’s going out with friends for someone’s birthday. Pratt has a run of night shifts coming, so it’ll be a while before they can meet up again. Lena isn’t sad about that, though – she tells Pratt she doesn’t see a future with him. She wants to be with someone who’s more of an adult.

At County, Carter quizzes the med students and interns while handing out assignments. Ray immediately asks Sam to give his patient an IV, but Pratt tells him to do it himself now that he’s a resident. Carter agrees that everyone should insert their own IVs today. Ray complains that Carter and Pratt are making up pointless rules just because they can. Abby comments that he woke up on the wrong side of the waterbed this morning.

Susan’s trying to schedule shifts but doesn’t have enough attendings available. Carter suggests that she hire some part-timers, but she says they already have budget problems. Pratt tells Sam to schedule a patient for a CT, and she tells him an attending needs to sign off on that, a rule recently put in place to cut down on unnecessary scans. Susan notes that Pratt barely examined his patient anyway, so he can’t know for sure that the patient needs a CT. Pratt grumbles that he’s been ordering his own CTs since he started at County. He asks Carter to back him up in calling the rule dumb, but Carter says it’s Susan’s ER.

Pratt tries to treat a patient who just demands painkillers. Morris tells Pratt about all the complaints a frequent flier has come in with. Pratt says she’s just lonely and makes the same complaints every time so she can hang out for a few hours. He advises Morris to call Wendall to come talk to her.

Susan’s applying for a grant to study the effects of some medication, and she enlists Pratt to do the scut work, promising to put his name on the paper. Pratt doesn’t care about research or publishing, which will hurt him in a few years when he’s going up against published doctors for jobs. Pratt snarks that he’s going to write a paper about abusive attendings. Boo hoo, she made a couple of rules. Would you rather have Romano back?

Abby works with Jake again, but all he can focus on is the fact that she turned him down when he asked her out. She reminds him that she’s his supervisor right now, so it wouldn’t be right. He points out that it’s only temporary. She can’t let a “false sense of hierarchy” stand in their way. They go together to see a patient named Mrs. McDow who’s having chest pain.

Pratt examines a boy named Thomas who complained of feeling sick that morning. His stepmother, Andrea, brought him in and explains that he and his older brother, Casey, are staying with her and her husband while his mother does prison time for drugs. (None of this backstory ends up being relevant. I don’t know why she’s oversharing.) Pratt sees a gash on Thomas’ chest and asks where it came from. Casey gives Thomas a look that seems kind of intimidating, and Thomas says he doesn’t remember what happened.

Jane is less than eager to help Susan with her grant research, but at least it gives her an excuse not to do Ray’s scut work. Wendall chats with a woman named Ms. Slattery who has chronic pain and has never been able to get any help at County (no, I don’t know why she keeps coming back). Wendall asks Ray why he called her to the ER to talk to a patient who doesn’t want her help. Ray admits to passing Ms. Slattery along to complain to someone else so he didn’t have to listen to her. Wendall’s pleased when Pratt asks her to talk to Thomas, since that’s a situation where she might actually be helpful.

Paramedics bring in a man named Lysander who was shot in the chest. (His mom named him after the character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream because she wanted him to have the name of a romantic hero. Instead, she probably doomed him to a childhood full of wedgies.) Dubenko joins Luka and Pratt to treat him as Lysander talks about how strange the situation is. A cop comes in and handcuffs him to his gurney, telling the doctors that he’s being charged with assault.

Sam goes in with Wendall to talk to Thomas, who tells them he got hurt climbing a fence. He didn’t want to say anything because he thought he might get in trouble for ripping his shirt, which he borrowed from Casey. Casey assures him that it’s not a big deal. Mrs. McDow’s EKG shows that she might have a problem with her heart muscle. Abby and Jake practically flirt right in front of her.

Susan implements a policy about tracking the time spent charting, then gives Abby some surveys to hand out. I think Susan has taken delegation too far. Carter doesn’t like that she’s trying to get a grant from a pharmaceutical company. She reminds him that the makers of Zarictal, the drug he was railing against in the last episode, give County over $50,000 in grants every year. Carter thinks they should be more “creative” about finding funds. It’s a conflict of interest that the hospital relies on money from pharmaceutical companies.

Susan tells him that she never expected to have to suck up to corporations, but that’s medicine. Carter says they owe their patients better. She argues that this is how they keep their doors open so they can treat any patients at all. He thinks they’re compromising their independence. Susan tells him a lot of doctors had to learn about compromising in med school, something he never had to think about because he always had all the money he needed (and then some).

Luka and Dubenko disagree on where Lysander’s bullet may have traveled and whether or not he needs surgery. Dubenko wants to be the one to decide, since he’s a surgeon and Luka isn’t. Lysander asks Pratt if the doctors are actually fighting over him. Luka won’t back down, insisting that Lysander get a CT scan. Dubenko signs paperwork to have Lysander admitted to the ER as a surgical patient, meaning he gets to make the decisions now.

Luka broods over this on a coffee run with Sam. She tells him surgeons and ER doctors always battle like this, and he shouldn’t take it personally. He needs to let this go. I don’t know, I think if a bullet’s involved, maybe they should err on the side of caution. Paramedics bring in a guy named Dan who was shot with an arrow during a frat hazing ritual. A frat brother who came in with him tells Jane he didn’t think Dan would actually let them shoot arrows at him. “I’m glad I’m not a guy,” she replies.

Pratt discharges Thomas, but Wendall asks Andrea to keep him around a little while longer. She chastises Pratt for asking her to consult, then ignoring her assessment. He notes that her assessment was that Thomas’ injury matched his story, so there’s no need for her to do anything else. She says she won’t sign off on Thomas’ discharge until she’s talked to him alone. Pratt scoffs that he doesn’t need her to sign off.

Morris asks Wendall to take a teen girl’s sexual history for him, since he thinks she would rather talk to a woman. Wendall complains that the ER doctors keep dumping their patients on social workers and making them do things they don’t want to do themselves. She tells Pratt he should have paged her before discharging Thomas. He notes that she’s now said the doctors call her too often and not often enough. He tells Andrea that Thomas can go.

Dan will need surgery to remove the arrow, but first he needs an IV in the ER. Abby tells Jane she can do it, and Jane says Jake told her Abby was cool about letting med students do procedures. That’s what convinced her to switch with him. Abby’s confused, and Jane clarifies that Jake exchanged his remaining shifts with her so he can work nights with Neela as his supervisor. He claimed it’s because he wants to see how other interns work.

Luka ropes Pratt into helping him with a procedure to see if Lysander has internal bleeding. Pratt reminds him that Lysander is Dubenko’s patient now, but Luka doesn’t care. Carter tries to make small talk with Susan before apologizing for being a bad team player. She apologizes as well, saying she has a lot going on and took out her frustrations on him. Carter almost misses being an intern, when the higher-ups made all the big, adult decisions and protected them from all the administrative stuff.

Wendall tells Carter she’s blacklisting the ER for the rest of the day. No one listens to her – doctors only care about what other doctors have to say. If the residents need babysitters for their patients, they can call candy stripers. Carter’s really confused. Luka talks Pratt through Lysander’s procedure, then has to leave to take care of another patient. Pratt sends Jane with him and stays behind with Sam. He seems willing to risk getting caught in there by Dubenko.

Lysander comments that Luka seems like a good boss. His own boss is a year younger than he is and makes Lysander call him Mr. Meegly. Last night Lysander rearranged a display at their store, and this morning his boss made him change everything back. He’s not allowed to make those kinds of decisions in his own department. Lysander has spent 14 years working holidays and covering for Mr. Meegly while he cheats on his wife. Today Lysander nabbed a gun from the store and fired it into the air in Mr. Meegly’s office. He’s proud of himself, even though it resulted in Mr. Meegly shooting him and the police arresting him.

Dubenko catches Pratt at the end of the procedure and basically calls Luka’s bluff – if he’s so sure that Lysander needs exploratory surgery, they’ll do it right there in the trauma room. Okay, Dubenko, this is a lesson for Luka, not Pratt. Don’t drag Pratt into it. Fortunately, he’s just messing with Pratt. Pratt defends Luka, who normally tries to talk the staff out of doing unnecessary tests. Dubenko thinks the doctors should be more restrained.

Luka comes in and tells Dubenko to address his Luka-related issues with him, not Pratt. Dubenko accuses Pratt of defying his orders to do Lysander’s procedure. Luka says that surgeons often blow off the ER doctors, so he’s developed intuition about what kind of treatment his patients need. Dubenko says he relies on evidence, and the evidence here doesn’t point to Lysander having a significant amount of internal bleeding. He decides to step things up to get Lysander a bed so Luka no longer has access to him.

Mrs. McDow needs to have a vessel unblocked, and Abby offers to call her family to come be with her. She doesn’t have anyone local, so Jake says he’ll hang out with her, since his shift is almost over. Abby admires this and praises his work on his ER rotation, but she won’t talk about the elephant in the room. He pointedly doesn’t bring it up, either.

Pratt good-naturedly tells Luka to leave him out of his next turf war with Dubenko. Luka says it’s about the patient, not a power struggle. Pratt asks why Luka’s so sure he’s right and Dubenko, who’s seen hundreds of gunshot wounds, is wrong. Luka just wants to listen to his intuition. Pratt says he made them look foolish, but Luka isn’t worried about that.

Abby says goodbye to Jake, since they’ll be working different shifts from now on. He finally finds himself unable to keep up their standoff, and he tells her straight out that he switched to night shifts so he wouldn’t be her student anymore, which should allow them to date. After she fills out his evaluation, he wants to take her out. She says no, but obviously he’s not going to listen.

Jane asks Pratt if he’s thought about being a surgeon. He tells her his surgical rotation in med school was enough. Sam lets Pratt know that Lysander is yawning, even though he doesn’t seem tired. He tells her to call Dubenko. Thomas comes back in, this time via ambulance, after having been found beaten on his school playground. Morris remembers that Pratt and Wendall dealt with him earlier.

Pratt thinks Lysander has an injury to his diaphragm, so Luka helps him set up a procedure to confirm it. Lysander makes a phone call while they’re working, wanting to tell his boss’ wife that he’s been cheating on her…and also that Lysander loves her. Luka, Pratt, and Sam all seem to find this sweet. P.S. Pratt was right about Lysander’s injury.

Ray calls Sam to Thomas’ trauma room, where he, Carter, and Morris are trying to revive the boy. Wendall comes in and is horrified to see him covered in bruises. As Dubenko takes Lysander to surgery, Pratt passive-aggressively chastises him for being wrong about his condition. Dubenko thinks he should write up the case. Pratt gets him to admit that Luka was right all along, though Dubenko is pretty willing to confirm it. Lysander thanks Pratt, saying this might have been the best day of his life.

Pratt goes to Thomas’ trauma room to offer extra help and realizes the patient is his from that morning. Wendall wishes she’d finished her interview with him. Thomas’ injuries are extensive and Carter doesn’t think they’ll be able to save him, but Pratt won’t give up on a child, especially when his family hasn’t arrived yet.

After almost 45 minutes, they’re finally there, and Sam says they can go see him. She watches Casey, who stays out of the trauma room while his father and stepmother go in. He admits to Sam and Wendall that he saw some kids going after Thomas. They always bugged him about his clothes, which is why Casey loaned him a shirt. He tried to get Thomas to tell someone. His look of intimidation earlier wasn’t conveying, “Don’t say anything,” it was saying, “You need to speak up now.” But Thomas kept quiet because the kids threatened to kill him if he told. They’re only in the sixth grade.

Sam goes back into the trauma room as Carter and Pratt determine that they can’t do any more for Thomas. A few moments after they’ve stopped working on him, Pratt wants to try again, and Carter has to put his hands on Pratt’s to get him to stop giving Thomas chest compressions. Thomas’ father and stepmother are heartbroken, and the staff in the room aren’t any happier.

Abby turns in her evaluation of Jake, apologizing to Susan for not getting a chance to work on her surveys. Susan says it doesn’t matter, since they’re so backed up with everything. Abby asks if Carter’s press conference really screwed them that badly. Susan’s worried that the pharmaceutical company that makes Zarictal will pull their funding from County, leading other companies to do the same. Abby knows the powers that be will find money to keep the ER open, like they always do.

Susan confides that she could lose her job. Her tenure’s up for review and she hasn’t brought in enough money to get it. She’s supposed to bring in at least $100,000 a year. She compares it to being pimped out. She’s been working on the grant because it’s an easy way to bring in money. Now that she has Cosmo and Chuck, she can’t risk losing her job.

Luka tells Pratt that Lysander’s injury was pretty major, so Pratt saved his life. Pratt can’t be happy, though, since all he can think about is how he failed Thomas. Luka tells him they all missed what was going on, including Wendall. Pratt admits that he pulled rank on her. He hates how much responsibility fell into his lap today.

Neela clocks in for her night shift, surprised that Abby’s only handing off a couple of patients. Sam asks if anyone wants to go out; Abby says no but Susan says yes. Jane gives her some materials she asked for; she’s the only person Susan delegated to who completed her assignment. Susan offers to buy her a drink, and though Jane says no, she’ll take a recommendation instead. Ray praises her for that move. Sam invites Ray to come out with her and Susan, but he jokes that it would be weird to drink with an attending. Neela tells him that the plumber came to their now-shared apartment and fixed the shower. He’s happy but owes her $80.

Wendall takes a walk with Carter, reeling from how things turned out with Thomas because she didn’t do her job. Carter wants to make her feel better but she just wants to vent and cry. Pratt shows up at Lena’s friend’s birthday dinner so he can announce that his job is serious, which makes him an adult, whether she sees that or not. Whatever she’s looking for, he hopes she finds it. I hope she finds a guy who doesn’t interrupt her when she’s with her friends so he can toot his own horn. I also hope she finds a guy who doesn’t go to her home with a flimsy excuse to see her, like Jake does with Abby. She needs to sign some paperwork to bring an official end to his ER rotation. Once it’s done, she kisses him. Ugh. Abby deserves better!

Thoughts: Eddie Jemison (Lysander) is probably best known as Livingston in the Ocean’s 11 movies, which of course starred a certain ER alum.

Are we supposed to find Jake’s behavior endearing? I don’t. Abby said no, bro. Back off.

When Pratt diagnoses Lysander, he says that Sam noticed his yawning. Sam gives him a grateful smile, like she’s half pleased that he listened to her and gave her credit and half proud that he made the catch. I like that moment.

August 2, 2022

ER 11.12, The Providers: Was It Worth It?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 4:59 pm by Jenn

Not sure why they felt the need to bring Henry back, but okay

Summary: Sam and Luka are getting ready for the day at their now-shared place. She asks if he’s working the same shift as Neela. Apparently that keeps happening, and Sam thinks it’s because Neela has a crush on Luka. Does Neela even get a say in when she works? Luka is skeptical but Sam says everyone has noticed, even people who don’t work in the hospital. She also thinks Luka encourages it. How can he encourage it if he doesn’t know what’s going on? Sam hopes she doesn’t have to get in a “nasty chick fight” with Neela. Yeah, me, too, because that would be ridiculous.

At County, Abby tries to remember the last time she had a date. She thinks it was April, with the guy who rode a motorcycle. Apparently that was the only interesting thing about him. Neela’s last relationship was with a professor her third year of med school. Oh, Neela. The two of them are grateful to have work to keep their minds off of the sex they’re not having. Cue Luka entering the lounge.

Susan tells Carter that patient-satisfaction scores are up slightly. Is this the only thing she cares about now? She thanks him for helping her make the transition to her new role easier. He replies that he can’t think of anyone he’d rather have as his boss. Paramedics bring in a 16-year-old named Katie who crashed a car while her father, Gabriel was teaching her to parallel park. She got dizzy and thinks she might have mixed up the gas and brake pedals.

Susan posts the new scores, optimistic that they’ll continue getting better. Abby credits her motivational speeches. Susan pairs the interns with attendings for the day, placing Abby with herself and Neela with Luka. She also assigns Jake to work with Abby. The three baby doctors go outside to meet an ambulance delivering two patients, Rod and Amanda. They were rear-ended while having sex in a car, and…well…let’s just say they’re unable to separate from each other. Rod isn’t nearly as amused as Neela is.

They take the patients into the ER while Jake and Rod discuss the scene of the accident, Rod’s car. Jake notes that it’s pretty small for their kind of activities. Amanda says they didn’t have much of a choice, since her husband was home. Neela leaves Abby and Jake with those two crazy kids so she can join up with Luka. Now that he knows that everyone thinks she has a crush on him, he’s a little uneasy around her. Maybe sending her to take care of someone’s infected anal fissure will help ease the tension between them?

Carter and Ray examine Katie, who had a kidney transplant last year. She has polycystic kidney disease and spent seven years waiting for a donor. (Her blood type combined with some antibody panel make her a tough person to match with.) Her doctors finally decided that she’d grown enough to be able to get one of Gabriel’s kidneys. In addition to her normal anti-rejection meds, Katie takes an anti-seizure drug because she had an aneurysm. Carter thinks her current problems might be kidney-related.

Luka pulls Carter out of the room and asks him to take Neela off his hands. Carter’s fine with that, calling Neela the “Punjabi powerhouse.” Carter, you don’t have to say every thought out loud. Luka quickly hands Neela off. Rod and Amanda have finally been separated, and they’ll have to take it easy for a few weeks while he recovers from a pelvic injury. Abstinence? Oh, no! Amanda’s like, “I can think of five sex moves off the top of my head that don’t involve the pelvis. We’re good. Oh, hey, I just thought of a sixth.”

Katie’s mother, Hannah, arrives and quickly starts fighting with Gabriel over him giving their daughter driving lessons. Gee, I wonder why these two aren’t together anymore. Carter pulls them out of the room to get a more detailed family history, and also so Katie doesn’t have to listen to them. She tells Neela that her illness went on for so long that it became too much for her parents and they split up.

Gabriel and Hannah continue bickering as they tell Carter about Katie’s medications. She’s been doing well, partly because of an expensive medication called Zarictal, which Gabriel took a second job to be able to afford. Hannah says she was doing fine before, but Gabriel points out that she couldn’t get a driver’s license while on her other anti-seizure medication. Hannah thinks that’s something pointless to worry about after all the years Katie was so sick. She backs off, saying that they need to accept that their daughter will never be completely healthy. Gabriel disagrees.

Hannah storms off, and Carter (acting like nothing happened) asks Gabriel to get in touch with Katie’s neurologist so they can discuss her medications. He then asks Neela to look up Zarictal. She had a patient on it last year and says it’s new but effective for treating seizures. “You kids and your fancy book-learning,” Carter teases. He tells her to find out if there have been reports of kidney problems in patients who take it.

Abby meets her and Jake’s next patient, George, who has some sort of skin issue around his penis. Abby can’t believe she has another patient with problems down there. George wonders if his recent increase in self-pleasure has caused his problem. Abby’s like, “This is fantastic. Just fantastic.” Neela tells Carter that there’s a study that suggests a connection between Zarictal and renal failure. Three more possible cases have been sent to the FDA. She suggests that Carter call the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug. Carter appreciates how proactive she’s being.

While he’s on hold, Katie’s heart starts acting up. Carter thinks it’s because of excess potassium and suspects that she’s heading toward kidney failure. He’s able to stabilize her, and he decides to have her undergo dialysis to remove the extra potassium. He warns Katie’s parents that she might need another transplant. Neela tells him that the pharmaceutical company said they’ll get back to him within a week. Katie’s neurologist arrives, and he’s a familiar face: George Henry, Carter’s one-time med student.

Jake asks Abby if she’s doing all right. He didn’t realize the last time they spoke that she’d just gone through a traumatic experience. Susan eavesdrops as Abby politely implies that she doesn’t want to talk about it. As soon as she’s ditched Jake, she asks Susan why she paired them. She doesn’t need or want a med student. Susan asks if there’s something wrong with Jake, then realizes that Abby likes him. “We never had this conversation,” Abby says, walking away. Susan teases that she must have had enough of doctors by now.

Carter asks Neela to see if there’s anything on the Internet about Zarictal causing renal toxicity. She’s concerned about causing trouble so he tells her to post a request for information that will help them figure out the best way to treat Katie. He’s put Katie on the transplant list, but Henry thinks he’s jumping the gun. He wants to do a biopsy and see if Katie’s rejecting the kidney, which they could treat.

Carter agrees, then pulls Henry away from Katie’s parents to tell him about the possible connection between Zarictal and kidney failure. Henry trusts the clinic trials that were performed and the FDA’s judgment that the drug should be approved. Carter reminds him that the FDA has approved other medications that proved dangerous later. Henry argues that Zarictal has improved Katie’s quality of life. Oh, then it must be fine!

Henry’s surprised that Carter’s still working at County. “I guess I’m just a masochist that way,” Carter quips, sharing a look with Haleh, who’s been there even longer. He didn’t expect Henry to give up research for a job with patients. Henry says he’s married and has two young kids, so his priorities changed. One of those priorities was money. He asks if Carter’s married or has kids. Carter just says, “Not yet.”

Sam arrives for a shift and chastises Neela for putting her coffee mug down on the nursing schedule. Sam, this isn’t a good look for you. Paramedics bring in a guy who fell off his roof while taking down Christmas lights. Neela joins his trauma so she has the chance to work with Luka. He tells her she can do a procedure he promised to let her do earlier, which ticks off Ray. Sam comes in while they’re working and sees Neela and Luka working very close to each other. Shut up, Sam. You haven’t said anything yet but shut up anyway.

Dubenko does Katie’s biopsy, and the fact that she doesn’t look away while he sticks a gigantic needle in her means she’s pretty cool. He then goes to Luka, Neela, and Ray’s patient to take him to surgery. Neela finds a reason to make small talk with Luka, who keeps things professional. Of course Sam doesn’t see that, because she only sees the things he does that make her mad.

Carter asks Henry why he put Katie on Zarictal. Henry heard about it from another neurologist, one Carter suspects is paid by the pharmaceutical company to tout their drug. Henry doesn’t think it matters, since the drug works. Gabriel tells them that if Katie needs another kidney, he wants to be the donor again. That means he’d be down to zero kidneys and would need dialysis for the rest of his life. Carter doesn’t think it’s ethically possible, and he doesn’t know of any responsible doctor who would agree to do it.

Lily gives Carter a fax from a neurologist confirming that there have been patients on Zarictal who have suffered renal failure. Henry knows, which is why he’s been monitoring Katie’s renal function. The pharmaceutical company sent out caution letters all over the country to keep doctors in the loop. In other words, Henry knew the risks and kept Katie on the drug anyway.

Weaver finds Carter and asks about the warning he had Neela post on the Internet about Zarictal. He says it was a request for information. Now doctors and the head of the pharmaceutical company are calling. Weaver doesn’t think that Carter should have jumped to conclusions without more information. One sick patient doesn’t mean there’s a problem.

Getting heated, Carter argues that the company didn’t run trials on patients with preexisting kidney problems. Weaver tells him that they can’t document every side effect. Carter’s exceeding the boundaries of what he should be doing as a doctor. He loudly asks if she’s telling him how to do his job.

Susan tries to defuse the situation, but Weaver takes Carter to the drug lock-up and tells him that all the medications they use save lives. The companies that make them donate the money that allows them to continue treating patients. Carter thinks this one company is hiding negative trial results. Weaver tells him that medicine advances when they put drugs out on the market and see how they work. Carter says that’s naïve. She reminds him sternly that his job is to treat patients, not “start a crusade.” Susan jokingly tells Carter that he’s not allowed on the computer anymore.

Over at the mini-mart, Neela admits to Abby that she has a crush on Luka. Abby thinks it’s a little weird, though I’m not sure why. Because Abby dated him? Neela realizes she’s establishing a pattern: “I’m a slut for authority.” She asks about Jake, and Abby says they should both ignore their crushes and hope their feelings go away.

Sam is short with both Luka and Neela, because of course she is. Dubenko tells Carter that Katie’s kidney is failing and Zarictal might be to blame. He doesn’t want to get involved in this mess, though, since people are mad that Carter’s raising the alarm. He advises Carter not to make the people who fund the hospital mad. They tell Katie’s parents that she needs another transplant and hint at Zarictal being the cause. Gabriel is understandably upset that he upended his life to pay for the drug that wound up making his daughter worse.

He slams Henry for never telling them that there was a problem. Henry says that since the drug is so new, they couldn’t have known about any complications this soon. Katie will need dialysis again while she waits for another transplant, and there’s no telling how long that will last. Gabriel reminds Henry that they made a lot of sacrifices because Henry said the drug was worth it.

Abby observes as Jake inserts a chest tube in a patient in a trauma room. She helps him guide it in, putting her hand on his. Sam watches them talk in hushed voices, using what could be construed as double entendres (“a little bit deeper”), and looks like she wants to ask if they’d like some privacy. She spots Luka and Neela working together and wonders if someone put something in the water. Luka tells Neela that he hopes he didn’t give her the impression that their relationship is anything other than professional. She assures him that she gets that.

She checks on Katie, whose heart problem seems to have been resolved. Hannah tells her that Gabriel had to leave for his second job as a security guard (the job he took to afford the Zarictal). Katie’s illness made him laser-focused on doing everything he can for her. Neela tries to convince Hannah that the road ahead of the family isn’t completely bleak.

Henry admits to Carter that he was aware that Katie might develop renal toxicity, but there was only one report about it, and it was in an obscure journal. Carter points out that he could have easily found more information. Henry says he can’t search for side effects for every patient. He has 20 alone on Zarictal, and all of them are doing well. Carter asks if he’s on the payroll for the pharmaceutical company or something. Henry says he’s part of an ongoing study and sends them monthly progress reports. And yes, he gets compensated. Carter hopes he’s up-to-date on his malpractice insurance.

Henry argues that he’s just getting reimbursed for helping the company monitor a new drug. Carter tells him they only accept the data that they like. Henry says he’s trying to be a “cutting-edge” doctor. That’s what his patients want. Gabriel is outside in the ambulance bay when the two of them come out, and he listens as Ray joins them and alerts them to the fact that Gabriel can hear them.

They approach Gabriel, who says he was about to go to work but then realized there was no point. They realize he’s holding a gun and try to keep him calm. He tells Henry that he put everything in his hands but Henry let Katie down. Henry says that Katie can still have a long life while undergoing dialysis. Gabriel points the gun at him, and when the doctors try to calm him again, he asks why he shouldn’t use it.

Carter suggests that they go inside and see Katie and Hannah. Gabriel says again that he wants to give Katie his kidney. Carter tells him there’s a possibility that can happen, though he’s obviously just saying that to keep Gabriel from getting more upset. He asks Carter to fix Katie. While the doctors are turned away, trying to figure out how to get him back inside calmly, Gabriel puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger.

Carter, Neela, Ray, Sam, and Dubenko end up trying to save Gabriel in the trauma room next to where Katie’s sleeping. Dubenko quickly determines that he has no brain activity. Henry offers to be the one to tell Hannah, since he’s the family’s doctor. Carter rushes to try to make arrangements for Katie to receive one of Gabriel’s kidneys, but there’s a hurdle in the form of consent.

The press has heard about what happened and flocked to County. Weaver doesn’t want to give them any details. Susan sends Carter to talk to them, since he’s the doctor on Katie and Gabriel’s cases. Neela and Sam end up alone in Gabriel’s trauma room, and Neela admits that Luka’s help and attention confused her. Sam seems to have realized that this is all innocent and nothing she needs to worry about. Plus, Katie and Gabriel’s situations kind of make this relationship drama seem tiny.

Carter answers some reporters’ questions the best he can while Jake asks Abby if she wants to get dinner with him. She turns him down but tells him not to take it personally. He says he thought there was something between them. Abby admits that there might be, but it’s not going to go anywhere. There are a few reasons, but the biggest is that he’s her student. Jake jokingly offers to fail this rotation or drop out of med school.

Susan, Luka, and Carter watch his press conference on a news broadcast. He announces that Katie was taking Zarictal and he thinks it caused her renal failure. Susan warns that he may have committed slander and could cost County millions of dollars. Carter doesn’t think the free pharmaceutical swag is worth prescribing drugs that harm people. Susan’s in charge of the ER, so she can talk to the press next time. Luka praises Carter for what he did, but Carter doesn’t think it matters.

Everything has been approved and Katie will be allowed to receive Gabriel’s other kidney. Hannah hasn’t told her yet about his death. While she and a transplant coordinator talk to Katie about the transplant, Henry chats with Neela about her internship. He thinks they’ll tell Katie that her father loved her, “maybe too much.”

He lets Carter know that Katie’s going to surgery, then says that while he can’t take responsibility for how the system works, he can do his job better going forward. Carter tells him that’s all any doctor can do. Henry isn’t sure why he was surprised that Carter’s still at County – it’s where he belongs. He appreciates how Carter treated him when he was a med student.

Susan tells Carter that the two of them and Weaver have to meet with Anspaugh in the morning. I predict that Anspaugh will pretend to be upset with Carter, then secretly admit that he did the right thing. Carter apologizes in advance in case Susan has to deal with the aftermath of the mess he caused. He goes to treat another patient, this one with a much less serious problem than Katie. The patient tells Carter about an arthritis medication a clinic doctor gave him that let him do things he hadn’t been able to do in years. It was a miraculous drug.

Thoughts: Gabriel is played by Tom Irwin, AKA Graham Chase. One of the reporters is played by Larry Bagby III, AKA Larry Blaisdell.

Someone must have been feeling bold to name a character in a sex-related plotline Rod Dixon. (Also, fun fact: Brady Smith, the actor who plays him, is married to Tiffani Thiessen.)

Sam, hon, if you’re going to date someone hot, you have to be prepared for the probability that other people will also find him hot. Laugh it off and get on with your day.

I don’t buy Weaver as being so deep into an administrative role that she doesn’t care about patient care. This is a Romano plot, not a Weaver plot. She’s justified in being mad about Carter riling people up, but she can’t argue with him caring more about a patient than funding.

July 26, 2022

ER 11.11, Only Connect: Ready to Erupt

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

Oh, just get together already

Summary: Abby’s lying awake in bed just before her alarm goes off. It looks like she’s been awake for a while. On an El train, Sam and Luka discuss a concert she told Alex he couldn’t go to before Luka bought him a ticket. “It was only 50 bucks,” says the rich doctor. He thinks Sam’s worried about money and should let him pay for stuff sometimes, but really, this should be about the fact that she made a parenting decision and Alex played Luka against her. Luka thinks Sam’s worried about losing her independence. She’s annoyed that he’s once again telling her what she’s supposedly really mad about.

Neela’s still staying at Abby’s, so Abby hasn’t had to be alone in the aftermath of her kidnapping. Not that she seems to want anyone around, taking care of her. Neela asks if Abby’s really ready to go back to work that afternoon. Abby is, unsurprisingly, ready to go back to her normal life instead of dwelling on her feelings. She blurts out that she needs some space, and Neela says she’ll find her own place to live.

At County, Neela and Jane ask Pratt and Ray about rumors that the ER could close for financial reasons. Pratt tells them that that rumor goes around every year; it’s just a bluff for a government bailout. Neela wonders why the attendings are meeting in a trauma room. Pratt reminds her that they meet every month. She points out that they usually do it in a conference room. Neela, chill. Pratt tells everyone to get back to work, but Morris joins them and gets just as paranoid as Neela. Pratt tells him the attendings are talking about cutting a resident.

Weaver looks out the window and sees a group staring at her and the attendings, so Pratt tells everyone to disperse. Cut to the meeting, where they’re discussing what color to paint the conference room. Well, it’s not so much a discussion as Weaver declaring that they’re going with lime green because it’s her favorite color. Then they start talking about actual important stuff, including patients’ satisfaction scores. Abby is still the only resident with a decent score.

As the meeting moves out of the trauma room so it can be used for its intended purpose, Luka says that they need to teach the residents to connect better with their patients. Carter asks if he’s “the Croatian Dr. Phil.” Shut up, Carter. Susan notes that the residents can’t even communicate with each other. Luka says that med school turns people into scientists, and it’s up to County’s staff to turn those scientists into doctors. Weaver gives him the green light to work with the residents, since he can’t make them worse at their jobs.

Herb Spivak is hanging out in the waiting area, trying to convince people that they can sue the hospital for making them wait so long for treatment. Sam wheels in a patient, asking a teen named Amy to take a seat. She says she’d rather stand, and her brother, Cullum, says the seats are too small for her. Amy and I both tell him to shut up.

Sam tries to pass her patient off to Pratt, who mistakes her note that he “can’t bear weight” for an insistence that he “can’t wait.” Nearby, Carter advises Luka to start with Pratt in his new Better Communication Initiative. Morris offers a patient any amount of Vicodin he wants to just go away. Carter adds Morris to the list of top priorities. Yeah, I don’t think even Luka could fix him.

Wendall chats with Carter, who’s done with his night shift and is going to come back in a few hours to pick her up for dinner. Luka tells him to enjoy this part of the relationship, where they’re all happy and stuff, because he’s going to be spending the night fighting with Sam. Or you could back off and let her live her life. Just saying.

Sam assigns Neela to Amy, who has a cut on her head because Cullum hit her with a lamp. Ugh, that kid. Amy’s too nice to smack him when he makes another comment about her weight, but Sam has her back and drags Cullum out of the waiting area by his coat. Outside, Susan slips on some ice while coming back from a coffee run. Herb tries to talk her into suing the hospital for any injuries she may have sustained. (She’s fine.) She tells him she’ll have him kicked out if he tries to solicit any more clients.

Luka checks in on Neela as she’s examining Amy, then observes as Pratt talks to his patient, Meacham. Meacham is a fan of dad jokes, but Pratt doesn’t even give him a polite laugh. I would laugh at your jokes if I were your doctor, Meacham. Luka asks Sam for something, but she complains that she’s too busy to help him. Also, she definitely doesn’t want to.

She lets Amy know that her mother’s on the way. Amy clarifies that that’s her foster mother, Cullum’s mom. Amy’s been with the family for about ten months. She tells Sam and Neela that Cullum’s been acting out because he needs his medications adjusted. He has ADD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Neela and Sam decide that since Amy’s a foster child in an unstable home, they need to get a social worker involved.

Luka chastises Pratt for not communicating well with Meacham. He needs to show his patients that he cares and is paying attention to everything they say. Neela hears this from down the hall and gets a free lesson. Pratt doesn’t see the point in making patients feel less ignored, since they have to wait so long for treatment that it’s impossible for them not to feel that way. Neela decides she needs to redo Amy’s examination. Luka tells her that when patients trust their caregivers, they heal faster.

Jane comments to Neela that it’s hard to work with Luka since he’s so attractive. Neela acts like she’s never noticed how hot he is. Hon, get your eyes checked. Paramedics bring in a teenaged John Doe with multiple gunshot wounds. Sam determines that he’s probably too injured to save, but Luka wants to give it a try anyway. Jane guesses that they’re just going to treat the patient like they’re practicing on him. Luka tells Neela to take the reins.

Some guy yells at Pratt in the ambulance bay, complaining that he could be having a stroke and Pratt won’t examine him. Pratt calmly tells him to go back to the waiting area. The guy threatens to sue, saying his lawyer has an office right nearby. Herb has set up an RV as a mobile law office so dissatisfied County patients can get legal support as soon as they walk out of the ER.

Luka has Neela keep working on their patient, even though there’s no way he’ll live. Sam can’t hide her annoyance at having to continue giving chest compressions to a corpse. Luka finally calls time of death, and Neela thanks him for showing her how to do a new procedure. Jane notes that the John Doe’s bright blue sneakers are brand-new. She wonders what he was thinking when he put them on this morning.

After Neela and Jane leave, Sam complains that Luka wasted time and energy on a guy who wasn’t going to live. She thinks that if Neela and Jane hadn’t been there, he would have declared the patient dead before he even came into a trauma room. Luka notes that he was able to teach them a procedure that they could one day use to save a life without the traditional supplies. Sam says she can’t waste her time on teaching cases; she has too much other work to do.

He reminds her that County is a teaching hospital, and part of their job is training doctors. She argues that it’s also a real hospital, and her real patients didn’t get their real medications because she spent 30 minutes helping someone who couldn’t actually be helped. Luka asks what she’s really mad about, because it can’t be this. Of course, Sam is upset that he’s again telling her that she’s mad about something other than what she’s mad about.

Neela looks for a new apartment at the admit desk. Ray tells her he just got a great two-bedroom apartment but his intended roommate backed out. The rent would be way cheaper than the studio she’s looking at, but then again, she’d have to live with Ray. She says she’ll think about it. Morris spots Herb in the waiting area again and goes to handle him, which is probably good since Pratt was going to do it and there’s no way that would end well.

Amy’s foster mother, Kitty, arrives and repeats to Neela what Amy said – Cullum needs to have his medications adjusted. Neela suggests that Kitty talk to a social worker; DCFS might also get involved in the case. Kitty downplays things, since kids fight and sometimes get hurt. Neela doesn’t want to break the rules, since this is standard when a foster child is involved. Kitty asks her to call this off, since she doesn’t want Amy to be taken away. Kitty genuinely loves her.

A second gunshot victim is brought in after a gang shootout. Pratt tells “Calamity Jane” to do a procedure she’s never done before. Susan observes as he, Ray, and Morris work together. Morris says that Herb wouldn’t leave because he claimed to be visiting a client. Ray intubates the patient but Pratt determines that he did it wrong. Instead of letting Ray try again, Pratt takes over to do it himself. Susan suggests that he try teaching instead. Nope! Pratt is definitely an “if you want something done right, do it yourself” guy.

Neela stitches up Amy’s cut, assuring her that she’ll only have a small scar. Kitty offers to take her to a salon and give her a hairstyle with bangs to cover it. When she leaves to go check on Cullum in the family room, Neela, sensing that Amy’s upset, invites her to open up. Amy says she knows she’s going to get removed from her foster home. She’s taken on a lot of responsibility when it comes to Cullum, but it’s the only home she’s been in where she’s not ignored or abused. She’s never felt needed before like Kitty needs her.

Neela tries to head off Sam before she calls a social worker, but it’s too late. They realize that Herb has put cups in the waiting area that have his face and phone number on them. Neela tells Sam that she jumped the gun and they don’t need to get a social worker involved in Amy’s case. Sam reminds her that it’s their regular procedure.

Remember Penny? She’s back. She’s doing something with Sam’s patient, since Jane said that Luka told her that Sam needs help today. Oh, Luka. Pratt continues to not really teach Ray and Morris while treating their patient. Susan tells him to manage his team, and he says he’s trying. She tells him he’s criticizing the residents and making them nervous. He replies that she’s doing the same thing to him.

After they stabilize the patient – or, I guess, Pratt stabilizes him – Susan withholds praise for his ability to do all the work he did in 15 minutes. He’s not supposed to do it all himself. Pratt doesn’t want to hear her “touchy-feely crap” just because the attendings had a “group hug” earlier. He’s not an intern. Susan tells him to stop acting like one. He’s responsible for teaching people under him, and he can either build or destroy their confidence. Pratt says the choice is really between building them up and saving people, and he’ll always go with the patient.

Wendall confers with Neela after chatting with Kitty and Amy. She thinks Amy should be removed from the home. Neela notes that she’s happy where she is, and there’s no guarantee that her next home will be better. Luka weighs in, siding with Neela, so Wendall says she’ll consider letting Amy stay put if Kitty agrees to take parenting classes. Eh, I think the better idea is for Cullum to take stop-being-annoying classes.

Luka busts Herb for trying to get business from Sam. Herb claims he’s waiting for treatment for a sore throat. Morris suggests that they treat him like a psych patient and restrain him. Listen, it’s not the worst idea Morris has ever had. Abby arrives and everyone welcomes her back warmly. Neela makes a call about the studio apartment she was looking at, but it doesn’t even have its own bathroom, so whoever listed it for $900 a month was really pressing their luck. Neela decides to take the risk and live with Ray. They work different shifts and might not even see each other.

A woman named Mrs. Barnes comes in, looking for her grandson, Michael. From his description, which includes blue sneakers, Neela realizes he’s the first John Doe shooting victim. She asks Mrs. Barnes to wait until she gets an attending, but Mrs. Barnes is anxious for news and goes looking for someone who can give it to her. Neela finally blurts out that they can’t confirm Michael’s condition until his body has been ID’d. Mrs. Barnes collapses in tears.

Susan fills Luka in on the situation and Neela’s umpteenth communication failure. Susan insists that basic people skills can’t be taught – people are either able to relate to others or they aren’t. Ray offers them croissants, which Herb brought for the staff. Susan throws them out, disappointing Ray, who thinks pastries are pastries, whether they’re provided by an annoying lawyer or not.

Abby gets right back in the swing of things, acting like she didn’t just go through a traumatic experience. Neela tells Amy that Wendall has agreed not to take her out of Kitty’s home. Amy is super-grateful and gives Neela a big hug. Luka’s pleased with Neela’s work, and she says she took his advice about connecting with patients. She laments that she didn’t do so well with Mrs. Barnes, though. He tells her she just needs more experience, then walks her through the process of informing someone about a patient’s death. Neela starts beating herself up, but he says she’s still learning.

Abby examines a woman with a big wound on her face; she’s supposed to be in a wedding and is worried that she’ll ruin the photos. Jane reminds her that everyone will be looking at the bride. Haleh took care of a patient for Sam at Luka’s request, clearly annoyed that he asked for special treatment for his girlfriend when all the nurses are busy. Abby finishes with her patient, advising her not to try to pluck her eyebrows in a moving car in the future. Oh, honey. What about that sounded like a good idea?

On her way out of the exam room, Abby nearly gets trampled by a patient Ray is chasing through the ER. Dubenko welcomes her back and starts to tell her about some colleague he contacted about trauma. It’s hard to hear since a couple is yelling for information about their son, Tevin. When the husband calls Haleh a b&^$% (ooh, bad call, my man), Abby flinches. It’s the first time all day she’s shown that she really was affected by her kidnapping. She goes back to her patient to show Jane how to do a certain kind of stitch. But when she’s about to start stitching, she decides she can’t stomach it just yet.

Susan tried to get security to make Herb move his RV, but when he threatened to sue, they backed off. Abby tells her that she may have come back too soon and isn’t in the right frame of mind to work. Susan is completely understanding and tells her to take all the time she needs. On her way to catch an El train, Abby encounters Jake.

Susan lets herself into Herb’s RV, where Meacham and Jerry are both lounging. Jerry! No! Bad clerk! Morris is there, too, but I’m not really surprised. Herb thinks Susan’s there to hire him so she can sue the hospital over her fall. Back at County, Sam confronts Luka for interfering with her work and life. Wendall interrupts to tell Luka that she has bad news about Amy’s case.

Abby dropped her phone, so Jake offers to see if he can fix it. He teases her for not noticing that he was gone for a week over the holidays. He went to Yellowstone, which he learned was an active volcano. It’s way overdue to erupt. If it did, it would wipe out most of the country and cause climate chaos all over the world. People would die in an instant. That’s how fragile life is, though Abby must already know that from working in the ER. Jake says it’s almost irrelevant, though, since the human lifespan is so short. Amused, Abby asks if he’s high.

Neela takes Mrs. Barnes to the morgue as Pratt takes Tevin’s parents to his trauma room (he’s the gunshot victim Pratt saved). Mrs. Barnes tells Neela that Michael’s mother died when he was five, and she raised her grandson on her own. Neela gently assures her that he didn’t suffer and wasn’t in pain. As Pratt lets Tevin’s parents in to see him, Neela tells Mrs. Barnes that she can take as much time as she needs to say goodbye to her grandson. But guess what – she doesn’t need any. The body in the morgue isn’t Michael, and the body in Tevin’s post-op bed isn’t Tevin.

Haleh calls Abby about a patient, and instead of trying to deal with things over the phone, Abby heads back to County. There, Weaver is furious that Michael and Tevin got mixed up. Susan blames a communication failure and takes full responsibility. Pratt does, too, noting that none of the doctors knew there were two John Does an hour apart, let alone that they were both 16-year-old Black boys with gunshot wounds. Neela adds that she and Pratt didn’t speak to each other about the cases or check the board.

Weaver asks who worked each trauma and whether there was any overlap in staff. Jane speaks up that she worked on both cases. Weaver doesn’t even know who she is. Jane says she put a name alert on the board. Susan asks why she didn’t say anything, and Jane replies that no one ever listens to her or even remembers when she’s in a room.

Herb shifts from trolling for law clients to trolling for people who want to join his timeshare pyramid scheme. Susan spots him and yells for security, which makes him run. Abby resumes her shift, telling Jake that she was just taking a break when she ran into him earlier. Luka takes over dealing with Tevin’s parents, telling Pratt that all they’ll remember from this is honesty and a doctor who cares. Pratt guesses that Susan wants him off the case, but he asks to go in with Luka and finish his job.

Security kicks Herb out, though he complains to Susan and Ray that his civil rights have been violated and the staff can’t keep him out of a public institution. Ray notes that his office is being towed. That finally gets him off their backs. But as Susan and Ray are going back inside, they hear a crash. Neela sees Amy leaving with a woman from DCFS and learns that she’s being taken to a group home. Amy’s understandably mad at Neela for telling her everything would be okay.

Neela blasts Wendall for going behind her back and having Amy removed from her home. Wendall says new information came up and Luka signed off on the change in plans. Neela goes to yell at him as Carter arrives to pick up Wendall. Wendall rants to him about all the annoying doctors she had to put up with today. Instead of commiserating or trying to defend his colleagues, Carter just tells her she’s right.

Luka wanted to wait until the end of Neela’s shift to tell her about Amy. She thinks he was trying to protect her. He tells her that there was a pattern of incidents that made it clear that Amy wasn’t safe in Kitty’s home. She’s sustained a number of injuries over the past few months, and though each one individually wasn’t a big deal, together they showed that things were bad. (I’d say they also show that Cullum’s medication isn’t the problem, or someone’s been negligent if it’s needed adjustment for this long.) Neela laments that she got Amy’s hopes up. Luka says he didn’t want to tell her about the change in plans because he didn’t want to bring down her confidence.

Ray examines Herb, who says he used to have a lot of money but made some bad business decisions. Susan takes some pleasure in making him sign a bunch of documents to protect the hospital from liability. Abby apologizes to Neela for being short with her that morning, but Neela appreciates the push to find her own place. Abby tells her to take her time moving in with Ray, and also, why is she moving in with Ray? Neela asks if Abby ever develops crushes on co-workers. Since Abby’s dated two of them, I’d say yes, she does.

Luka and Sam coolly wait for an El train together, so I guess that fight’s not over. She tells him he’s good at teaching other people how to communicate, and it’s something they should try in their relationship. I think she communicates just fine; he’s the one who needs to listen. He breaks the tension by trying to pin his communication issues on the fact that English isn’t his first language. Once Sam is smiling, he breaks the tension further by admitting that she was right about $50 being too much to spend on a concert ticket.

Thoughts: Mrs. Barnes is played by sitcom legend Marla Gibbs.

I feel for Amy and Kitty. I know a kid I’m pretty sure has ODD and it’s extremely frustrating. I’d still rather live in that house than take my chances with another foster family.

Herb gives me Saul Goodman vibes this time around. Better call Spivak! (Gus Fring would have taken him out in five seconds, though.)

July 12, 2022

ER 11.9, ‘Twas the Night: Chen’s Father Wants to Take a Long Winter’s Nap

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

No final Carter/Chen scenes? Tragic

Summary: Chen is cleaning out her father’s bedpan in her kitchen when he calls for her from the living room. She doesn’t come fast enough for his tastes so he breaks something to get her attention. They have a conversation in Mandarin, the only English coming from Chen when she says she can’t do something. He begs her until she changes her mind.

Carter goes with Wendall to buy a sofa bed her brother can sleep on when he comes to visit. Since the store doesn’t want to make a delivery on Christmas Eve, Carter suggests that they tie it to the roof of his car and take it themselves. As Wendall goes to finalize the sale, Carter notices a girl nearby who’s choking. He gives her the Heimlich and saves her, but her parents misinterpret what’s happening when they see him with his arms around her. Carter starts to explain that he’s a doctor, then decides to just flee the scene.

At County, Sam and Luka discuss Christmas traditions while waiting for an ambulance. She wants to let Alex open a present on Christmas Eve, which is what she did as a kid; Luka says no way. Sam notes that if Alex opens something tonight, he won’t be so eager to open more in the morning, which will give them a chance to sleep in. Plus, it’s fun. Luka teases that Sam just wants to open a gift tonight, too.

The ambulance they’re waiting for carries a man named Robert who fainted and hit his head. Abby joins Sam and Luka as they discuss how cold it’ll be that night. A number of homeless people are already gathered in the hospital, seeking warmth, and are waiting to be taken somewhere else for the night. Abby sees on Robert’s chart that he has lupus and hepatitis C, among other problems.

Luka tells Morris to stop eating and get to work. Susan wants Abby to get on it, too, before Abby can even take off her coat. Carter’s at work now, and Susan asks him to keep bugging the proper authorities to come get all the homeless people in the waiting area. She and Weaver talk about their holiday plans and make arrangements to get together. They’re friends now! Their kids are totally going to be best friends one day! Weaver gives Carter a Secret Santa gift, not bothering to hide that she’s regifting something.

Robert’s wife, Carol, arrives as Abby’s trying to get in touch with his regular doctor. Carol is super-involved in her husband’s care and thinks her personal files on his condition are more thorough than his medical records. Abby can’t get Robert’s doctor to come see him, since he thinks Robert’s problem is with his heart, not his kidneys. Carol provides the name of Robert’s cardiologist and wonders why no one’s writing things down. Maybe because you’ve already written everything down?

Ray helps shepherd some of the homeless people while Neela works with a fourth-year med student, Jake Scanlon, who just transferred to County. Ray tells the homeless people that they’re going to a Holiday Inn, courtesy of the mayor. He’s lying, but he thinks it’s okay because now all the people who aren’t really sick are leaving, and the staff can focus on the ones who actually need treatment.

Luka and Sam are off for the night, and before they leave, they check in with Abby on Robert’s care. She’s now trying to get his cardiologist to come see him. Chen is supposed to be working but when she comes by to pick up medication for her father, she asks Luka to cover for her. She offers to work New Year’s for him. Luka turns her down but Chen says it’s a family emergency. Though Luka clearly feels bad, he won’t take her shift.

Jerry introduces Chen to a woman named Margaret who will be filling in as a desk clerk for the night. Apparently she’s a Grinch. Robert’s cardiologist won’t even come in to examine him, so Abby’s in a bind now. She tells Jake he can go home, since med students don’t have to work on holidays, but he says he volunteered. Abby thinks that’s crazy. She’s even considering inventing a family next year so she can take Christmas off.

She tells Robert and Carol that the cardiologist thinks Robert’s kidneys are causing his problems, so he’s passing the buck like Robert’s regular doctor did. Maybe Robert should get new specialists. Jake must be pretty smart because he recognizes an acronym Abby uses, while Malik doesn’t. Chen asks Susan for one last shift switch after weeks of them, but Susan can’t cut her any more slack. Chen thinks that Carter, Abby, and Morris can handle everything, but Susan doubts it. Chen says she understands, then quits.

Ray’s done with his shift, which means we don’t have to see him anymore in this episode, yay! Paramedics bring in a boy named Harry who was hit by a car. Carter orders Ray to stay, ignoring the fact that he has a flight to catch. Nooooo, we were going to get a break from him! Harry’s mother, Mrs. Price, and her daughter Mattie tell the staff that Harry was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Harry sweetly reassures his little sister, who must be scared to see him in the hospital.

Abby tries again to reach Robert’s doctor, sympathizing with him for not appreciating how pushy Carol can be. Carol hears her but doesn’t say anything about Abby’s comments. Pratt’s on his way out to some party or concert or something – he’s looking forward to seeing a just-becoming-famous-at-the-time Kanye West. He delays his departure when a pretty woman named Raphaella shows up asking for a doctor. She specifies that she’s there for Morris, who appears to be her boyfriend.

Susan tells Abby, Neela, and Pratt that Chen just quit. Susan thinks she’s just burned out. Neela gives Abby a present she found in the lounge with her name on it. Someone thought her Secret Santa gift should be a book about rats and lice. At least that person spent a decent amount of money, unlike Neela’s Secret Santa, who gave her a Pez dispenser. Still, I’d rather have Pez than that book.

Pratt leaves as Malik escorts in a man named Beidermeier, who needs detox for an IV drug addiction. Abby catches Margaret removing all the angels from the admit desk’s collection of Christmas decorations; she wants to keep religious artifacts out of the public hospital. Abby, who isn’t even religious, tells her to put them back. Susan tells Carter that Chen quit, but he’s barely listening, since he’s taking care of Harry. Susan decides that they should close to trauma. Ray complains about how much the homeless people in the waiting area smell. Shut up, Ray. Especially since patients are listening, including Mrs. Price.

Susan seems to have decided to stick around, but Ray still wants to leave. He says he promised his mother he’d come visit for Christmas. No one cares, Ray. While Harry’s stable and they’re waiting for him to be taken to surgery, Carter goes to help Abby with Robert. Susan wants to go home for a couple of hours, then come back to lend a hand, but Carter tells her to take the whole night off; he’ll call her if they get busy.

Robert’s declining and having more trouble breathing because of fluid in his lungs. Abby tells Carter that no one will come give him dialysis to help with the fluid since he just had dialysis yesterday; they insist that the fluid is from some other problem. Abby thinks they rushed him through dialysis because they were busy due to the holidays. She’s waiting to hear back from the renal attending.

A new surgeon, Agbo, comes to examine Harry, so Carter goes back to him. He tells Abby that no one knows what her patients need better than she does. She ducks out of Robert’s room to apologize to Carol, who isn’t too broken up about being called pushy (I assume she’s been called that before). She’s brought down Robert’s extensive medical records from wherever they’re stored so Abby doesn’t have to wait for them. Compared to the hospital’s records, Carol’s are much faster to get through, so Abby agrees to look at them.

Pratt goes to Chen’s house, and though she tries to send him away, he follows her in when her father calls for her. Pratt determines that he’s sundowning, getting worse at the end of the day. He notices that Chen has a large supply of Ativan and potassium. He guesses she’s planning something and demands to know what’s going on.

Harry’s getting worse, and Agbo realizes he may have nicked a blood vessel while doing a procedure on him. Mrs. Price prays for her son while the staff works on him. Mattie blurts on that this is her fault. Mrs. Price yells for her to be quiet, so Carter snaps at them both to leave. Mrs. Price won’t go, and Carter’s too busy to follow up. Once Harry’s stable, Carter tells Neela to take Mattie to the family room and page a social worker.

Abby checks on Robert, who’s stable now. She wants him to have his head scanned to be sure he doesn’t have any brain injuries from his fall (plus, he had a brain infection in the past). Jake offers to take him since Abby needs to discharge another patient. Neela hangs out with Mattie, asking if she’s excited for Santa to come tonight. Mattie sadly says that Santa isn’t coming for her.

Ray joins them and tries to connect with Mattie by saying that he and his brother fought a lot as kids. Sometimes kids get hurt by accident. Mattie admits that she was mad at Harry and threw his book out of the car. When he went to get it, a car hit him. Ray assures her that it’s not her fault that Harry was hurt. Mattie’s upset that she couldn’t help her brother and had to get her mother. This negates the story Mrs. Price told about being in the car with the kids. Mattie says she was at work, and the kids were alone in the car – they live there.

Chen has told Pratt that her father has asked her to help him commit suicide. He no longer wants the treatments and equipment that are the only things keeping him alive. He asks her every day to help him die. Chen doesn’t want to just remove the support methods and let him die naturally; it would take days and he would suffer. Pratt suggests putting him in a nursing home, but Chen tells him that as a Chinese woman, she has to respect her elders.

After a short break where they both calm down, Pratt presses Chen again to at least put her father in a nursing home for a month so she can have a break. As doctors, they do everything they can every day to save people, even if they only get a few more hours. Chen can’t just take someone’s life away. She says that quality of life is what matters. She can’t let her father keep living the way he is. Since she can provide him with what he needs, she’s going to. Pratt asks why she hasn’t done it already. He thinks she knows it would haunt her for the rest of her life. She admits that she hasn’t worked up the courage yet.

When midnight strikes, Margaret makes a deadpan declaration: “Christ is born.” Abby catches her unplugging Christmas lights and threatens to beat her to death with a fruitcake if she does it again. I think Santa’s skipping Abby this year. Neela complains that they’re having a “loser’s Christmas.” She should speak for herself, since Raphaella’s visit has made Morris’ night a lot more fun.

Abby examines a little boy named Rudolfo, and I can’t believe she doesn’t make a Rudolfo/Rudolph comment. Neela thanks Ray for trying to help with Mattie. He admits that he’s an only child. Just leave, Ray. Something happened to Robert’s central line when he was getting scanned, and now he’s bleeding. Because of a lupus complication, he can’t clot properly. Carol worries that this will be what kills him. She says she’s not ready for him to die. Abby sends Jake to get blood so she can fix Robert’s central line. Carol wants a surgical attending to do it instead.

Harry’s still stable, and Carter tells Mrs. Price that they’ll keep him in the ER overnight before sending him to the ICU. Neela gets her to tell the full story about the family’s situation. She left her husband three weeks ago and didn’t have any place to stay with the kids. It was fine while they were in school, but the kids had nowhere to go when Christmas vacation started. She had to leave them in the car while she worked. Taking them back to their father is out of the question – he’s abusive, and while Mrs. Price was willing to put up with it herself, she left when he turned on Harry.

Carter gently says that they’re concerned about everything Mrs. Price has gone through. Wendall comes in with Mattie, and Mrs. Price says she told the kids not to say anything about their situation because she was afraid they would be taken away. She has a job, so their living conditions are just temporary. She won’t call them homeless. Wendall knows of a house they can stay in with other people fleeing domestic violence. She promises it’s safe. Mrs. Price apologizes to Mattie for yelling and asks her daughter not to be scared of her. Mattie apologizes, too, but Mrs. Price says she didn’t do anything wrong.

Carter confers with Wendall, who says the only bad guy here is the hit-and-run driver (well, and Mr. Price). They shouldn’t punish Mrs. Price. They pass Morris and Raphaella, who got food from the cafeteria’s “holiday feast” that doesn’t actually look edible. Carter invites Wendall to get dinner with him but she says she just lost her appetite. Just then, Margaret tells Carter that Kem is on the phone for him. Ohhhhhh! Carter can’t take his eyes off of Wendall as he talks to Kem.

While Chen sleeps, Pratt gets up to tend to her father. He gets agitated, so Chen gives him a sedative and tells him she’s sorry for what he’s going through. Pratt finally sees just how bad his condition has gotten. Back at County, Morris lets Raphaella give staples to an unconscious Santa. Neela calls him out for violating HIPAA, among other policies. Then she has to run to help Carter break up a fight between Margaret and Beidermeier, whom she caught stealing from drug lock-up. She wants to have him arrested but Carter just tells her they’ll handle things without her.

Dubenko is in the ER to do Robert’s central line, though he’s decided to let Abby do it herself. He trusts her skills and doesn’t care what Carol wants. Abby thanks him for coming in and he says it’s his job, like he’s surprised she would expect him not to come in on Christmas Eve. He tells Abby that legally, the attendings she called have to come in or they could lose staff privileges. They’re taking advantage of the fact that she didn’t stand up to them. Abby, like many interns and other female doctors, wants to be popular instead of an advocate for her patients. He offers to finish up with Robert while she deals with the attendings. P.S. He’s her Secret Santa.

Jake goes with Abby as she gets back on the phone. He takes responsibility for the hiccup with Robert’s central line, but she says the tech is at fault. Plus, she shouldn’t have sent a student with Robert. Jake promises that the complication won’t happen again. Abby asks what he’s learned and he replies that he should always go home when she tells him to.

Chen has another conversation with her father in Mandarin, and from the tone, it’s clear even to non-Mandarin-speakers that they’re saying goodbye. She tells Pratt that he thanked her and said she was a good daughter. Pratt assures her that she is. She fills a syringe with potassium, and though Pratt offers to inject her father, she decides to do it herself. He’s barely conscious, so he dies peacefully. Chen says something to him in Mandarin and kisses him goodbye.

A drunk Santa asks for a cab voucher in the ER. Instead of asking where his sleigh is, Jake just says they’re not ready to discharge him. A dialysis tech finally arrives for Robert, happy to make double overtime for a holiday job but confused about why he’s treating someone he just treated yesterday. Abby pretends that Robert’s doctor gave orders for dialysis, but the tech guesses that he never came in to see his patient. The tech isn’t surprised, since the doctor is a jerk, but he needs official orders. Abby asks him to get started and then call the doctor. Carol finds out that Abby went behind the attending’s back and thanks her.

Wendall pulls Carter away from a patient to give him a Christmas present (another regift). He lies that he has something for her but didn’t bring it. She tells him to give it to her on her birthday in a few weeks. She casually asks about his phone call, apparently knowing exactly who Carter was talking to. He just says Kem is good. He’s amused by Wendall’s gift, a head lamp. He thanks her with a kiss, and she leaves as soon as she can.

Morris and Raphaella bring a bunch of sliders to the night staff. Abby and Neela determine that Rudolfo only needs antibiotics, but they decide to get him admitted to pediatrics so he can spend the night in a warm bed. Rudolfo worries that Santa won’t find him since the hospital doesn’t have a chimney. They tell him Santa can find anyone, since he sees everything, but Rudolfo will have to go to sleep before he comes. Abby and Neela guess that Rudolfo’s father doesn’t have any presents for him, so they decide to get him something from the mini-mart across the street.

Chen sits with her father’s body for an hour or so, then tells Pratt she’ll call the mortuary in the morning. She’ll then have to take her father to China to be buried next to her mother. After that, she’ll probably visit their hometown and see some relatives, but now that she’s quit her job, she has no plans beyond that. Pratt offers to help with anything she needs. Chen thanks him for what he’s already done and cries in his arms.

Though Neela is Sikh and her family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, she’s used to England’s holiday traditions, as well as her family’s affection for “anonymous kindness.” She takes Abby to the child-life center so they can take all the toys and books there and give them to the homeless kids in the ER. (Wendall kindly provided a key.) Tomorrow they can shop the post-Christmas sales to replace everything they take. They don’t have wrapping paper but Neela says they can steal bows from the cafeteria’s decorations.

A homeless woman sings “O Holy Night” as Abby and Neela play Santa. Margaret decides to shut up for once and not tell the woman to keep her religious music to herself. Carter and Wendall distribute blankets to the homeless adults, who I hope get presents, too. Ray comes back with a story about not getting a flight out and a hint that he might not really have been going to see his mother. He reports that it’s snowing. Abby tells Neela that Ray was going to see a girlfriend, not his mother. He tricked Neela into taking his shift with a family-related sob story. Grr!

The staff goes outside to look at the snow. Robert’s doctor arrives, furious that Abby approved his dialysis without his agreement. Abby stands up for herself and says she actually did him a favor since he didn’t come in when he was supposed to. If he reports her for going behind his back, she’ll report him for not doing his job. Everyone heads back inside as Neela gets revenge on Ray with a snowball to the back. Chen calls a mortuary to report that her father died in his sleep overnight. She gets permission for Pratt to sign the death certificate, since he’s already there. And with that, Chen’s secret is safe.

Thoughts: Jake is played by Eion Bailey. Mrs. Price is played by Dale Dickey.

Farewell to Ming-Na, who stayed on the show a lot longer than I would have, considering how little she got to do and how much the writers disrespected Chen.

Why is everyone so against working on Christmas Eve? If it’s between then and Christmas, choose Christmas Eve. Then you won’t miss out on seeing your kids open their presents.

I had Harry’s plotline confused with one from a different episode, so I wasn’t expecting a happy ending (which is sad, since I shouldn’t expect a sad ending in a Christmas episode).