December 8, 2020

ER 7.14, A Walk in the Woods: Snow Doubt

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

Here comes the brooding

Summary: It’s 5:45 in the morning and Benton wants Cleo to wake up and see the snow outside. Also, he wants to have sex. Mark and Elizabeth are also awake early, since the baby has started kicking. Elizabeth keeps thinking about the movie Alien. Mark calls the baby Amanda, which is an…interesting choice. His choice for a boy is Matthew, after his grandfather. Not David, after his father? They mention that this is the last day, but don’t specify what that means.

Weaver has spent the night at Legaspi’s again, and Legaspi is ready to give her closet space for some of her things. That was quick. Luka and Abby are in bed together (is everyone in Chicago awake this early?), and she asks him what he’s thinking about. Luka’s thinking about Bishop Stewart, which Abby notes is a strange topic to have in mind while you’re having sex. She suddenly asks his wife’s name. Speaking of strange topics to have in mind while you’re having sex…

A little later in the morning, everyone’s at work, doing various things like treating patients and having big meetings to discuss whether Mark should be working in the ER. Chen returns from her eight weeks of maternity leave and jumps right back into work. She and Abby tend to a preschooler named Zack who had a seizure at school. Abby breaks off to help one of Stewart’s priests get him out of his car. She rejoins Chen and suggests that they give Zack a spinal tap. Chen doesn’t think they’ve reached that point yet.

Benton has set up shop in a small office/supply room with a blinking light so he can fulfill his new duties as the director of diversity. He’ll be interviewing med-school applicants. Romano asks him to deal with an applicant named William who has come to County to complain about not being asked back for an interview. Back in the ER, Zack hasn’t regained consciousness, and Abby insists that they give him a spinal tap. Chen finally agrees and gets Carter to back up her decision (I think because they don’t have parental consent yet).

Luka examines Stewart, who may have pneumonia. His lupus could lead to complications, but pneumonia could also cause problems with his lupus. Luka wonders why he came to the hospital instead of calling his own doctor. Stewart just says he prefers Luka’s care. Chen does Zack’s spinal tap, which is clear, but Carter notices a rash developing on his face. He realizes that Zack might have measles. Chen doubts that, since no one gets measles anymore. When Zack’s mother, Mrs. Woodman, arrives, she reports that her kids haven’t been vaccinated.

We’ve finally found someone Frank gives the proper amount of respect to: Elizabeth. She yells at him about missing films and he calls her “ma’am.” Somewhere, Weaver is jealous. It turns out the “last day” Mark and Elizabeth were talking about was his last day of radiation treatment. It ended anticlimactically. Dave congratulates him and asks if he got to keep the tumor after it was removed. Mark says he didn’t really want to keep it. A doctor named Wilson introduces himself to Mark and reveals that he’s been asked to evaluate his competency. Fun day!

Carter and Chen bring Cleo into Zack’s case, and she tells them to do what we’ve all become familiar with these past few months: contact tracing. They’ve put Zack in a room with a special ventilation system so he doesn’t get anyone else sick. Carter tells the teacher who came in with Zack that she needs to inform the school about his condition so all the other kids can get tested. Mrs. W.’s husband is bringing in their daughter to get tested.

Mrs. W. says she’s not irresponsible; she just believed anti-vaccine literature over doctors’ expertise. Zack starts to decline, so Carter goes back to help Chen and Abby stabilize him. They have to intubate him so he can breathe. Chen wants to to the intubation, but Carter doesn’t think she should do it on her first day back.

The priest, Joe, tells Luka that Stewart was on his way to the ordination of a man who was in Stewart’s parish as a child. Luka’s annoyed that Stewart thinks he’s well enough to leave the hospital right now. Stewart says he’ll come back in a few hours, after he performs the ordination. Luka tells him he won’t live that long if he leaves the hospital. Stewart tells him it’s in God’s hands. “God could give a damn,” Luka replies. Stewart still plans to leave.

Weaver runs into Legaspi, who’s chatting with a friend named Christy. Christy has heard all about Weaver and wants to get to know her. Legaspi suggests that they have dinner, but Weaver is hesitant. Dave comes by as Legaspi and Christy are leaving and asks Weaver if Christy is Legaspi’s girlfriend; he’s heard that Legaspi is gay. Weaver lies that she doesn’t know.

Mark confronts Weaver for having his competency evaluated. Wilson is going to interview a bunch of staff members, and he could end up pulling Mark’s license. Weaver tells him he’s being melodramatic, as if it’s bad for him to be so concerned about losing his job. Then again, she’s justified in being concerned since his behavior has changed. Mark says he wouldn’t have come back to work if he couldn’t do the job. Weaver tells him she’s not the only person who’s been concerned. This is about patient safety.

Cleo complains to Carter that rich people think only poor kids need to be immunized. If everyone stops getting vaccinations, we’ll see a resurgence of diseases like measles and polio, and suddenly the rich people will be clamoring for vaccines. Or they’ll just deny that anything bad can ever happen to their children and/or claim that the cure is worse than the disease and/or be more afraid of their children developing autism (which has not been definitively linked to any vaccine, no matter what Jenny McCarthy says) than dying of a preventable disease. Or maybe I’m editorializing. Carter and Cleo learn that no one told the paramedics who brought Zack in about his measles, so they’re still using their ambulance.

Luka broodily watches from a window as Joe takes Stewart to the ordination. Benton goes to the university’s records room and looks up William’s application. The employee he talks to (who’s Black) recognizes him as the new director of diversity and mentions that her son wouldn’t have his job with Morgan Stanley without affirmative action. Benton asks her for files from past applicants who were accepted, so he can compare them to William’s file. He also takes a look at his own application.

Abby finds Luka brooding, this time outside, and encourages him to take Stewart oxygen and check on him at the ordination. Luka is willing to let him handle his condition himself, since Stewart knew what he was doing. Cleo brings Benton lunch and he tells her about his investigation. He found his file with three others marked AA – affirmative action. His grades and MCAT scores were good, but not compared to other applicants that year. William’s grades and scores are even better than Benton’s, and he didn’t get an interview.

Luka has taken Abby’s advice after all and is at the church where the ordination is taking place. Stewart is in bad shape and probably wouldn’t make it through the service, no matter how badly he wants to. He knows he’s dying, but he wants to stay. He tells Luka about the night he decided to become a priest, after years of thinking about it. He went for a walk in the snowy woods behind his father’s house and got lost. Stewart was scared, but when he looked up at the falling snow, he felt God’s presence. It was “like pouring wine into an empty glass.”

Now, though, he’s worried that he wasted his life. He may not have accomplished everything God wanted him to. Stewart admits that he’s afraid of dying. Luka tells him he needs to go back to the hospital. Stewart starts reciting Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd…”), and when Joe comes to get him, Stewart says that he needs to skip the processional.

Luka accompanies him into the sanctuary as Stewart asks when he abandoned his faith. When people have a strong passion for their religion, that’s God. When they feel lost, that’s their own humanity. We put up barriers and let our pain and egos distance us from God, but He’s always there. Stewart takes his place at the front of the sanctuary, looking like there’s nothing wrong with him.

Benton, Romano, and Coburn are on the committee conducting med-school interviews. They meet with a string of applicants who all have different goals and backgrounds, but one reason for wanting to be doctors: They want to help people. The doctors don’t seem especially impressed by any of the applicants, but then again, I’m not sure any of the three of them have ever been impressed by anyone.

Elizabeth yells at Weaver for having Mark evaluated for problems that are easily explained by his tumor treatment. Weaver calmly tells her that she might not be objective in this situation. Elizabeth insists that Mark isn’t endangering anyone and calls Weaver a demigod. Legaspi looks on as Weaver says she’s just fulfilling her responsibilities. Elizabeth spits out that she hopes someday Weaver has a potentially fatal illness so Elizabeth can sit by and do nothing to help her.

Benton, Romano, and Coburn discuss the applicants, deciding who to recommend to the full committee. Benton wants to put William back in the running. His MCAT scores were only in the 91st percentile, but he had a high GPA and was class president. Romano and Coburn object, but Benton argues that MCAT scores don’t determine how well you’ll do in med school.

Romano reminds Benton that affirmative action is illegal. Benton notes that there were no Black or Latino candidates in the pool today. Romano says the admissions policy is color-blind, and if William didn’t make the cut, that’s too bad. Benton thinks they should give a second chance to applicants who don’t get the same opportunities as others. He insists that they interview William.

Luka watches the ordination ceremony from a dark corner as Carter goes to the ICU to check on Zack. He’s declining again and the code team is struggling to get his heart beating. They end up having to let him go. Back at the church, Luka has flashes of memory of the snowy funeral for his wife and children.

Weaver, Legaspi, and Christy have dinner with another friend, all lesbians. In fact, Christy and the other friend have both slept with Legaspi. Christy jokes that Legaspi probably brought a U-Haul on her second date with Weaver. (Apparently there’s a stereotype about lesbians moving fast in their relationships. Weaver doesn’t get it.) Weaver excuses herself early, telling Legaspi that she doesn’t belong with the group. She cares about Legaspi but doesn’t want to adopt the lesbian lifestyle.

Stewart collapses after the ordination, and Luka is unable to wake him up. Elizabeth meets Mark at home, where he tells her that Wilson has recommended him for formal testing. It’ll take five days and cover multiple areas. Luka takes Stewart back to County, then goes outside and looks up at the snow that’s still falling. He tells Abby that he couldn’t find the forest. She doesn’t know what he means. He tells her that Stewart is dying, but Abby thinks that with all the miracles they experience, one more could be coming.

Thoughts: Christy is played by Megan Follows.

I don’t fault Weaver for having Mark evaluated, but she should have told him ahead of time. This is a “do unto others” situation, and you know she would want to be informed if she were in his position.

Remember my last recap, where I said I wanted Mark to yell at anti-maskers? Now I want him to yell at anti-vaxxers.

November 3, 2020

ER 7.9, The Greatest of Gifts: Merry Kissmas

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

Sorry, but Carter holding a baby isn’t as hot as Luka holding a baby

Summary: It’s early in the morning a little before Christmas, and Chicago is experiencing its first major snowfall of the winter. Carter stayed past the end of his shift to help with a big car accident, and even took over running things from the temp attending who was filling in for Mark. Weaver apologizes for having Carter work nights, but now that Mark has left his position, he was needed. She tells him to take an extra hour in his day off before he has to report back to work in the afternoon.

Carter heads home and crawls into bed, but moments later, his pager goes off. Back at County, Chen is in labor, and has summoned Carter as her birthing coach. She thought she could deliver by herself, but she decided she needed a friend with her. Carter is sweetly supportive and willing to give up sleep to stay with her.

At Cleo’s, she and Benton are asleep, but she wakes up when she hears voices in the living room. He tells her it’s just Kynesha, who’s been staying there, but Cleo makes him go check on her. Kynesha has brought a friend over and is complaining about how uptight Cleo is. She tells Benton that her friend is just staying there for a little while since she got locked out of her house.

Mark and Elizabeth are in New York to see a specialist. Mark notices a boy in a red hat with pompoms on it and remembers seeing the same hat on a kid in Chicago at Thanksgiving. Elizabeth wonders if it’s a sign. Mark makes a dark joke, and Elizabeth urges him to be optimistic. Mark thinks he’s just going to hear more bad news from the specialist. He hasn’t told Rachel about his tumor yet, and Elizabeth believes it’s because he thinks the specialist can help him, and he wants to be able to tell his daughter that he’ll be okay.

The parents Chen has chosen to adopt her child have arrived, wanting to be there for the birth. Carter greets them and lets them know that everything’s going well, but Chen is uneasy about letting them be in the room. James and Linda aren’t happy that they traveled all the way from Portland only to be sidelined. They worry that Chen is going to change her mind about the adoption. Carter promises that he’ll bring the baby to them as soon as he’s born. (For the record, James is Black and Linda is Asian, giving the baby adoptive parents of the same races as his birth parents.)

Down in the ER, Randi suggests that they send Chen flowers. Weaver tells Randi to leave her alone (probably because she knows Chen is placing the baby for adoption and doesn’t want to be congratulated for giving birth to a child she won’t raise). Legaspi comes down for a consult, and Weaver gives her a Christmas present. She has the hiccups, so Legaspi suggests that she drink water upside-down.

Cleo complains to Benton that what was supposed to be a single night hosting Kynesha has turned into a week. Benton hasn’t been able to find Kynesha’s mother, and he doesn’t want to hand her over for foster care. Cleo says she’s manipulating Benton. She gets two more days before Cleo kicks her out.

Just as Benton notices a little girl sneaking around near the ER, he hears a woman yelling and runs to help her. Her son, Jeff, was attacked by a dog, which bit through a facial artery that’s bleeding a lot. Weaver hiccups through the trauma. Chen has progressed quickly, and it’s already time to have the baby. Carter coaches her as Coburn handles the delivery. Chen doesn’t look at the baby and declines to hold him.

Later, Chen thanks Carter again for being there for her. He tries to downplay exactly how much of her anatomy he saw. She thinks he was surprised that the baby is half Black; she never told him who the baby’s father is. The baby is now with his adoptive parents, who would like to see Chen. Carter assures her that the parents seem great. He offers to stick around a little longer, but Chen talks him into leaving.

Mark checks in for some language tests and mapping at the hospital in New York. Elizabeth is eager to meet the specialist, Burke, but he’s busy and probably won’t see them until later in the day. Weaver reassures Jeff’s mother, Shelly, that he’ll be okay and his scars shouldn’t be too bad. Mona, the owner of the dog, shows up and Shelly demands that she put the dog down. Too bad she does this in front of Mona’s son, who now has to worry about his dog dying. Thanks, Shelly, and merry Christmas, Mona’s son.

Benton spots the little girl he saw earlier hiding in a utility closet. The girl, Taylor, says she hurt her foot, so he goes in to check it out. She’s supposed to be in the blood bank, donating blood to her sister, Nicole, who has leukemia. Every time Nicole gets sick, Taylor has to go to the hospital, too, in order to help her. This time, they’re going to a procedure called leukapheresis, where Taylor’s blood is drawn, some white blood cells are removed, and her blood is replaced. Benton promises he can heal her foot without taking any of her blood.

Carter grabs a nap in the on-call room but gets woken up again by his pager. Chen is trying to leave the hospital and wants a ride home. A social worker suggested that she see the baby, saying it’s better for both sets of parents. Chen admits that she’s not sure she can say goodbye. Mark undergoes an MRI while looking at pictures and doing a kind of word-association thing. Elizabeth observes as a couple of doctors look at his scans and debate whether he should have surgery. She’s upset by how casually they discuss his chances and how much time he might have left.

Lily tells Cleo that Kynesha is on the phone, saying something about Cleo’s car. Kynesha claims it was stolen by unknown thieves. While Cleo calls the police, Romano yells at Benton for “stealing” Taylor and refusing to take her to the blood bank. Also, he calls her “it,” so I don’t think Romano is in the Christmas spirit this year. Benton wants Taylor’s parents to come get her, and he wants someone to fully explain to her the procedure she’s going to undergo to help her sister. Romano cares more about Nicole and orders Benton to send Taylor to the blood bank.

Carter tells James and Linda that Chen has reluctantly agreed to see the baby. Linda’s worried that Chen will regret not seeing him before the adoption papers are signed in three days, which might make her change her mind about the adoption. The social worker suggests that Carter take the baby to Chen, and after Chen is done saying goodbye, she can hand the baby back to Linda. Carter takes the baby to his birth mother, who cries over him.

In New York, Mark is nervous about the conversation doctors are having about his best course of treatment. They still haven’t met Burke, and Mark wonders if he only meets patients he can help. He knows the MRI tech didn’t think he could be helped. Mark wishes the discussion group called itself something other than the Tumor Board, though Elizabeth notes that the name is fitting. They make up new names to amuse themselves. Mark asks if Elizabeth will still have the baby if he doesn’t survive. She says she will.

Weaver’s hiccups went away, but only temporarily, so cross a spoonful of sugar off the list of attempted remedies. Malik passes along his mother’s hiccup cure, standing on your head and swallowing. Legaspi comes back to the ER to see if Jeff needs counseling after his dog attack. Weaver asks if she’s opened her present yet. Carter comes back down for another nap, but James follows, distressed that Chen wants to nurse the baby.

Jeff is worried that his father will be mad about what happened. He was going to “put it back” before his dad found out. Legaspi thinks he’s upset about the dog attacking him unprovoked, but Jeff reveals that there was provocation. He opened his Christmas present early – a BB gun – and tried it out on the dog. (Cue the entire audience saying, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”)

Linda now regrets forcing Chen to see the baby. The social worker is familiar with this kind of dilemma and knows Chen will come around when she sees how well Linda and James are going to care for the baby. They send Carter to talk to Chen, who is doubting her decision to place the baby for adoption when she has the means to take care of him. Carter reminds her that James and Linda really want him, and Chen is giving them a wonderful gift.

Chen worries about what could happen if her child tracks her down in 18 years and wants to know why she gave him up. Carter thinks the truth is enough: Chen wanted to give him a good home. She feels like a coward, and like she’s choosing her bigoted parents over her child. Carter tells her to keep them out of this. If she wants to keep the baby, she can. If not, she needs to know she’s not abandoning him. She’s creating a family.

The police find Cleo’s car, which she thinks Kynesha stole and then abandoned when it broke down because she couldn’t drive stick. She tells Benton to bring Kynesha to see her, or she’ll send the police to Kynesha. Taylor’s mother, Melissa, comes to the ER to get her, and Benton tells her that Taylor feels she was only born to help Nicole. Melissa fully admits that they had an additional child because they were desperate to save Nicole (though they were planning to have more kids anyway). She hates being judged as if she’s done something wrong. Melissa loves Taylor no matter how useful she is for her sister.

The social worker brings James and Linda to Chen’s room so she can give the baby to them officially. They tell her they’re naming him Michael. Chen gives him over and Linda sings “Baby Mine” from Dumbo. Elizabeth gets a call from Price telling her that her malpractice case may go to trial. Yeah, Elizabeth, no one cares anymore. There’s much more important stuff going on.

Burke finally arrives and gives Mark and Elizabeth the news that, despite what the Tumor Board thinks, he believes the tumor is operable. It hasn’t invaded Mark’s language center as much as the surgeon in Chicago thought. Burke has perfected a procedure to remove the tumor, and many of his patients have survived 24 months and counting. He has a slot open for surgery on December 31st, so Mark can start the new year without his tumor.

Carter’s next attempt at a nap is interrupted yet again when victims of a van/motorcycle crash are brought into the ER. Dori (the nurse played by a Real Housewife) finds painkillers in the motorcycle rider’s pocket. Benton and Cleo come home to find Kynesha on the front steps, worried about the whole car situation. She didn’t take it, but she thinks her friend from that morning did. She didn’t want to say anything because she thought Cleo would kick her out. She has nowhere else to go.

Carter tends to some of the people from the van, kids on their way to a Christmas pageant. He winds up in the biker’s trauma room, looking for something in a cabinet. The biker’s painkillers are on the counter, and Carter grabs a bottle and takes a couple of pills, almost on autopilot. Moments later, he realizes what he did and runs to the bathroom to throw up the pills. He fights back tears over his impulsive decision.

He quickly pulls Abby away from a patient and tells her he took two Vicodin, then threw them up. Then he hands them over to her, like, at least put them in a cup or something! EW! Abby asks if he’s going to tell Weaver. Carter knows he’ll either lose his job or get sent back to rehab. He’s not sure this counts as a relapse, since the pills never got into his system. Is this the “I didn’t inhale” defense? Abby tells him to say he’s sick so he can get out of his shift and go to an AA meeting with her.

Mark and Elizabeth hang out at Rockefeller Center, watching people skate, as he goes over his plan to fly out and see Jen and Rachel so he can tell them about his diagnosis and treatment. He mentions living New York for a couple of months as a kid, which Elizabeth didn’t know about. Mark says he can’t tell her everything; he has to keep her interested. He regrets that he’s gotten sick, which she didn’t sign up for, but she reminds him that marriage means sticking together through all the hard times. Mark spots another kid in that red pompom hat, and Elizabeth says it must not be a sign after all.

Dave is annoyed that Weaver wants him to do another shift, since Carter had to leave. Dave thinks Carter just wants to sleep. Hey, at least you’re getting a scene in this episode. Luka’s not in it at all. Weaver’s still hiccuping, so she tries Randi’s remedy, drinking a cup of water after dropping a lit match in it. Legaspi comes to thank her for her gift, a first edition of a book she loves. However, she doesn’t want to be friends with Weaver, since Weaver is straight and Legaspi isn’t.

Weaver argues that they get along well and should keep hanging out. Legaspi kisses her, clarifying that she can’t just be friends with someone she has feelings for. On the plus side, it looks like Weaver’s hiccups are gone. Chen’s mother calls her hospital room, but Chen doesn’t want to talk to her. She’ll be spending Christmas alone while Michael starts his life with his new parents.

Thoughts: Lots of familiar faces in this episode:

Helping Chen through labor is the first good thing Carter’s done in this season, and the first time he’s seemed like his old self. I appreciate that the show never tried to put the two of them together – they just let them be friends.

How do you drink water upside-down without choking? Well, I guess if you’re choking, you’re not hiccuping, so there you go.

September 15, 2020

ER 7.2, Sand and Water: Law and Disorder

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

This is her happy face, apparently

Summary: Elizabeth is having a bad morning: She had to run out of Mark’s apartment in her robe, her hair still wet from the shower, to try to stop a traffic cop from writing her a ticket. She’s upset that Mark’s building doesn’t have guest parking, and she refuses to take his spot, because it’s much more fun to complain. Also, he drank all the milk and put the empty carton back in the fridge. Mark should probably stop joking around; she’s not in the mood.

He offers to pay the ticket, since he paid the others. Elizabeth can’t believe he never mentioned that she’s gotten tickets before. She tells him she’s not staying there anymore. It’s not just the parking – things leak, and there are things scurrying around in the walls. Does Mark know what kind of creatures scurry around in walls? “Bunnies?” Mark suggests. To cap it all off, Elizabeth’s hair dryer blows out the electricity. Womp womp.

Carter attends an AA meeting and is surprised to see a familiar face: Abby. Later, he returns to the hospital for the first time since rehab and congratulates Benton on being made an attending. Reese is with Benton, and he’s as cute as ever, as well as bigger. Mark and Weaver discuss whether Carter’s really ready to come back to work, especially since County is where he started using. Weaver is ready to throw him back into ER work, but Mark thinks it’s a bad idea.

A woman named Regina comes to the ER yelling about being in labor at 22 weeks pregnant. Chen thinks it’s false labor, but the contractions are coming every three minutes. Abby’s also dealing with a pregnant patient; now that she has to wait to continue her med-school training, she’s working as an OB nurse again. She gets called to the ER to help with Regina.

Luka examines a woman named Glenda who’s been receiving 24-hour home care after a stroke. He tells the woman who brought her in, Judy, that Glenda might not be able to make her own medical decisions anymore. Abby joins Chen to try to help stop Regina’s labor, but they quickly realize that they may have to deliver the baby.

Carter looks over all the terms of his reemployment, like submitting to random drug tests and attending 90 AA or NA meetings in the first 90 days of his return. He, Mark, and Weaver will meet regularly to make sure he’s handling things well. Carter also has to take a medication that would block the effects of narcotics if he were to use them. They ask him to take the first dose in front of them. Carter smarmily shows them his empty mouth after he takes it, then apologizes. Mark accepts that things will be tough in the beginning.

Regina’s husband, Joseph, joins her in the ER as Chen and Abby realize that the medication they’ve been giving her for the baby is harming her. They need to deliver right away. Mark and Weaver arrive in time to help, which is good because Chen can’t handle it and has to run out of the trauma room.

When Weaver checks on her later, she’s sympathetic to Chen’s difficulty with the case but tells her she needs to keep taking care of Regina. She’s being considered for chief resident next year, so she needs to show that she’s a good leader. Chen announces that she’s pregnant – 22 weeks along, just like Regina. She’s worried about how her parents will react to the news. Weaver tells her to take the rest of the day off.

Cleo wants to pass off Mr. Fletcher (the patient who teased Benton about Cleo acting like his wife in the last episode) to Benton, but he resists, since the guy’s a jerk. Yeah, well, him yelling into your stethoscope is nothing compared to him groping Cleo, so I have to side with her here – Benton should take him.

Regina is still in the trauma room, holding the baby, who’s not going to survive (and apparently they’re not going to bother to do anything to keep him alive). She tells Abby that her husband is looking for a priest to baptize the baby. The couple tried for a baby for years before they gave up, then unexpectedly got pregnant. Regina thinks he looks perfect, just a little small. She thinks he could survive – maybe he’s a miracle. Abby doesn’t want to have to tell her that she’s wrong.

Judy asks Luka about Glenda’s condition, but Luka isn’t sure he should discuss it with someone who’s not a family member. He thought Judy was Glenda’s nurse, but she’s actually Glenda’s partner. Mark asks Elizabeth to move up their scheduled Friday date to that night, since he has a surprise planned.

Luka tells Judy that Glenda most likely won’t recover from this latest stroke. Weaver joins the case and asks Judy if Glenda has a DNR. Judy doesn’t know, but she doesn’t think Glenda would want to be kept alive if she has no quality of life. Weaver tells her that without instructions from a family member or someone with Glenda’s power of attorney, they have to keep her alive. Judy can’t make medical decisions for Glenda since they’re not legally married.

There are no priests available, so Abby tells Randi to start calling parishes around the city to find one. Can’t Luka just fake it again? A woman named Maureen comes from the financial department to tell Benton that he can’t admit Fletcher to County. He sold his Medicare to a bankrupt HMO and has run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in dialysis charges. Romano won’t allow him to be admitted after he’s stabilized in the ER. Benton won’t accept her instructions for treating a patient since she’s not a doctor. She tells him to take it up with Romano.

Joseph laments to Abby that Regina was super-prepared and diligent in her pregnancy. She spots a neonatologist and a group of med students in with the baby. She blasts the neonatologist for using the baby as a show-and-tell exhibit. He argues that he’s supposed to examine every baby born with genetic anomalies. Abby tells him that the baby’s father is outside the room and believes the group is doing something to save the baby. The neonatologist tells Abby to transfer the baby to the OB floor, but Abby insists on letting him stay in the ER. Dave complains about needing the room, but Abby’s not going to listen to him, either.

Benton brings Fletcher’s case to Romano, who tells him to push back against the financial department for not admitting him. When Benton mentions that they’re following Romano’s orders, Romano reviews the chart and agrees with…well, himself. Fletcher has been treated numerous times before and doesn’t have an emergency, so they should discharge him. Benton tells him that’s a violation of EMTALA, the law regarding emergency treatment.

Romano goes to examine Fletcher himself and asks why he skipped his last dialysis appointment, which led to his condition. Fletcher doesn’t like Romano, as if anyone does. Romano tells Benton to send Fletcher away. He knew the consequences of skipping his appointment, and he’s abusing the system. Romano gives Benton money to buy Fletcher a bus ticket to Wisconsin so he can bug the doctors there instead.

Judy tries to get in touch with Glenda’s brother, who lives out of town, so he can make medical decisions for her. Once Luka learns that the couple has been together for 27 years, he says that’s enough to qualify Judy as someone who can make decisions for her partner. Weaver thinks they can stabilize Glenda; without a next of kin, they’re required to save her. Luka thinks Judy should be considered Glenda’s next of kin. Weaver admits that she agrees, but they have to follow the law. Luka tells her to manage the case herself, if that’s what she’s going to decide.

Regina and Joseph decide to give the baby the name they’d already decided on, Julian. Joseph asks how much longer he’ll live. Abby isn’t sure; it could be minutes or hours. Joseph wants to take him outside so he doesn’t have to die in the hospital. Regina reminds him that they’re waiting for a priest. Coburn pulls Abby out of the room to chastise her for not coming back to her patient in OB. She needs to be on the OB floor, not the ER. Mark steps in and says he asked Abby to stay. Coburn has to back down.

Benton tries to sneak Fletcher into an OR, but Romano has warned Shirley that Benton would try this and barred her from allowing it. Romano spots them from the OR where he’s operating and wags his finger at Benton. Abby finally gets hold of a priest five hours after Julian’s birth. She tells Luka that Regina might be right about the baby being a miracle. Luka says that in ten years or so, medicine will have progressed enough for babies like Julian to be saved. Abby wants to try more to help him, but Luka tells her that his time is almost over. All they can do is make that time good.

Weaver gives Glenda some breathing support, then talks with Judy about Glenda’s relationship with her brother. They disagreed about how to take care of their father when he was hospitalized with cancer. After Glenda’s first stroke, she asked Judy to make sure she didn’t die like her father, hooked up to machines. Weaver says they’ll do everything they can to reach Glenda’s brother. Judy replies that he doesn’t know Glenda like she does. Judy doesn’t want to lose Glenda, but she knows what Glenda wants.

Julian has stopped breathing, but just as Luka is about to allow Abby to declare his time of death, he starts breathing again. Weaver finally reaches Glenda’s brother on the phone and tries to get him to understand that there’s very little chance that Glenda will recover. She invites him to talk to Judy about Glenda’s wishes, but he’d rather keep his sister alive (the sister he hasn’t spoken to in years, by the way).

Romano asks Dave if he’s seen an investigator he’s heard is snooping around to look into the hospital’s Medicare compliance. Said investigator, Sandy, is questioning Fletcher about his day at County. Romano swoops in and pretends they were just about to take Fletcher up for surgery. Sandy says there was an anonymous tip that Romano was violating EMTALA and kicking Fletcher out. She tells Romano she’ll be auditing every patient he’s had transferred out of County in the past month. Benton tries to explain himself, but Romano tells him to hush. I hope Benton’s already spent the money Romano gave him for Fletcher’s bus ticket.

Mark takes Elizabeth to her surprise – a house. She loves it. He urges her to check out the fridge, since she’s complained that his doesn’t keep things cold enough. He tells her to check out the special feature in the ice-maker. Elizabeth opens the freezer, then immediately closes it. Inside is an engagement ring. Mark proposes and she accepts.

Over a music montage set to Beth Nielsen Chapman’s “Sand and Water” (gotta get that episode title in the episode somehow), a priest baptizes Julian on the roof of the hospital while Weaver reluctantly puts Glenda on the machines she didn’t want to be put on. Between the dead baby, the lesbian couple without legal rights, and Romano’s general jerkiness, this isn’t a cheery episode.

After watching the baptism, Abby goes to Doc Magoo’s and runs into Carter. She tells him about her ex’s failure to pay her tuition, which landed her back in nursing. He invites her to sit with him, wanting to make up for being a jerk to her when she turned him in to Mark. He now knows that by telling Mark that Carter was using drugs, she might have saved him. They share a cigarette as Abby tells him about her horrible day looking after a dying baby.

She asks if Carter is curious about why she was at the AA meeting that morning. Carter says he was going to be patient until she shared at a future meeting. Abby says she’s an alcoholic and has been sober for five years. Carter asks her to be his sponsor, which she thinks is a ridiculous idea. She’s barely keeping her own life together right now. Carter would like to have a sponsor he knows through work, even though men and women aren’t supposed to sponsor each other. Abby eventually agrees to work the steps with him until he finds a permanent sponsor. Her first instruction as his mentor is that he has to eat a hot fudge sundae with her.

Thoughts: I’m impressed that Chen got to 22 weeks without anyone realizing she was pregnant.

The robot baby in this episode is so creepy. It looks like something out of The X-Files.

Oh, good, we’ve reached the part of the series where Elizabeth becomes really annoying for no apparent reason.

Mark and Elizabeth’s engagement feels fast, even though they’ve been together for more than a year. We don’t see them in a lot of romantic scenes, so it’s hard to think of them as a couple ready to take this step. Maybe what I’m really saying is that there’s no chemistry there, so it doesn’t feel like they’re a couple at all.

September 8, 2020

ER 7.1, Homecoming: Yeah, He’s Sober, But He’s Also a Jerk Now

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

This is art

Summary: Carter and Benton have just arrived in Atlanta so Carter can check into rehab. He learns for the first time that it’s a 90-day program. He’s in a bad mood, understandably, and Benton recognizes that he’s in withdrawal. Margaret, the woman who checks Carter in, tells Benton he should leave so Carter can do this on his own. Benton tells Carter that he can do this, then heads off.

Carter asks for something for his nausea, but he has to go to a group therapy session first, even though it’s the middle of the night. He spits off the side of a staircase, like, who raised you, Carter? I know Millicent didn’t teach you to act like that. He says group therapy isn’t what he needs right now. Margaret tells him that if he doesn’t want to follow the rules, he can leave. She even tells him where he can score drugs. That seems like a bad idea, but okay. She delivers Carter to his first therapy sessions.

Four months later, there’s pandemonium in the ER. Cleo’s chasing a patient with a needle around while Malik tries to deal with a plumbing problem. The maintenance staff has gone on strike, and a bunch of the transport staff has staged a sick-out in solidarity. Weaver tells Malik to break open the door to the maintenance closet if he needs to. A group of new med students complains that they’ve been waiting to be greeted, but Weaver doesn’t care.

When Mark gets to work, unaware of the strike, he asks why the admit desk looks different. Frank explains that they’ve remodeled it for an open floor plan, which is supposed to be safer. Oh, wow, they only waited seven months after Lucy’s death to try to do something about security. Good job. The construction crew won’t cross the maintenance staff’s picket line, so the remodel is unfinished. Mark’s clueless about all this stuff because he’s been camping.

Abby remarks that the new med students look like children. Mark offers to show them around. Weaver sees Malik walking around with a fire axe and realizes that when she sarcastically told him to use one to get into the maintenance closet, she should have been clearer that she wasn’t serious. Coburn is giving someone an ultrasound of a healthy baby boy. The mother? Chen. Coburn asks if she’s arranged to take time off after the birth. Chen admits that she hasn’t told anyone about her pregnancy yet. Coburn notes that she won’t able to hide it much longer.

In Atlanta, Carter and his ugly goatee are preparing for an exit interview so he can leave rehab. His counselor tells him it’s okay to say that he doesn’t have all the answers and he’s scared. Rehab is meant to break an addict down, like in the military, then build him up and start to function again. He’s supposed to leave feeling happy and confident. Carter acknowledges that pride is what got him here in the first place.

The counselor asks if Carter has taken responsibility for his addiction. Carter says he has, but he wants his life back. He’s not going to let the addiction beat him. The counselor says it took him four tries to stay sober. Carter doesn’t appreciate his counselor’s…well, counseling, and doesn’t look eager to stay in touch after he leaves rehab.

Romano and Elizabeth meet with Benton to finish an interview determining whether he’ll be promoted to attending. This means he’ll be working with residents, which he claims he likes. Romano asks if he’s applied anywhere else or gotten any other offers. Benton says Romano isn’t allowed to ask him that. Dude, tell him you applied to Johns Hopkins and they offered you a million a year, then see if Romano will top it.

Romano notices that Elizabeth keeps scratching her hands and tells her to cut it out. Benton and Romano diagnose her with poison ivy from her camping trip with Mark. Romano cuts the meeting short (apparently not the first time), and Benton tells Elizabeth that he’s never going to get the job offer. She asks whether the poison ivy will spread. Benton says it depends on what she touched last, before she washed her hands.

Cut to Mark scratching his junk. I hate you, show. I hate you a lot. Dave asks him about it and notes that he’s probably not making a good impression on the med students. Paramedics bring in a high school football player named Mike who took a bad hit in a game. Mark tells Dave to give the med students a tour, then examines Mike, who thinks the other team – his school’s rivals – targeted him for an illegal hit.

Dave and the med students watch Luka and Abby try to save a patient who’s not going to be able to be saved. Dave asks if one of the students can practice a procedure, since it’s not like they’ll cause any further harm. Weaver sends Dave to talk to the patient’s husband and pretend they might still be able to save his wife. Weaver then tells Abby that her name isn’t on the list for another ER rotation. Abby says it’s on her schedule, so Weaver thinks there was just an error because of confusion caused by the strike.

Carter completes his check-out process with Margaret, who tells him Benton will pick him up at the airport in Chicago. He’s not exactly friendly when he says goodbye to her. Luka tells his patient’s husband, Mr. Bristol, that he wasn’t able to save her. Mr. Bristol blames himself for not calling an ambulance sooner. Luka tells him that there was nothing he could have done – it was just Mrs. Bristol’s time to die.

Elizabeth, now wearing gloves, has told Mark about her poison ivy; she didn’t know what it was when she picked it for a bouquet of wildflowers. Okay, can we stop talking about this now? Mark tells Mike’s mother, Mrs. Palmieri, that he doesn’t have any serious injuries, though they were worried about that before, since his hands were numb. Mark says it might have been because he was hyperventilating.

Dave has abandoned the med students to see patients, so they’re stuck without anything to do again. Mark tells him to get their help, but Dave tries to pass them off to Cleo instead. Cleo hasn’t been useful at all since she joined the show and she’s not about to start now, so she says no unless Mark asks her himself. She goes to chat with Benton, commenting that none of the med students are Black. Benton doesn’t think it’s a big deal; they’re a small group. The patient asks if they’re married, teasing that Cleo talks to Benton like they are.

Abby lets Mr. Bristol sit with his wife’s body, then tells Luka it was nice of him to keep working on her even though there was nothing he could do. Luka doesn’t think it matters, since Mr. Bristol still blames himself. They wonder how long the couple was married, and Luka asks Abby about her own marriage. Abby says her divorce became final last month. She’s keeping her married name, the only good thing she got out of the marriage. Her maiden name is Wyczenski, so…good plan.

Haleh has to move aside some garbage in the hall on her way to talk to Mark, who’s getting a shot from Elizabeth for his poison ivy. Mike is now having chest and abdominal pain. He sent his mom to check on the score of the football game, and he wants to go back if his team is losing. Mark tells him to get comfortable because he’s staying for a while. He lets Mrs. P. know that Mike might have broken a rib, which could have punctured his liver. Mrs. P. beats herself up for letting her son play a dangerous sport.

Chen arrives for her shift as another football player is brought in. Mrs. P. recognizes him as the guy who hit Mike. Looks like Mike’s team got some payback by breaking his leg. Carter’s seatmate on his flight back to Chicago tries to make small talk. Carter lies that he was in Atlanta visiting a friend and teaches high school English in Chicago. The seatmate notes that he must get paid well, since they’re in first class. Carter goes to the bathroom to try to get himself together.

The Bristols have been moved to a hallway, since doctors needed the trauma room. Abby tells Mr. Bristol that transport will come get Mrs. Bristol’s body soon. Malik reports that a cheerleader is being brought in after being attacked. It turns out she was at the football game. Weaver tells Abby that the registrar’s office never received her tuition payment, which Abby’s ex-husband was responsible for. Abby has to wait three months to return to her clerkship. She leaves the hospital angrily.

Carter returns from the bathroom without his goatee, thank God. A flight attendant busts him for smoking in the bathroom, which is a federal offense. He’s not exactly apologetic, and the flight attendant definitely doesn’t get paid enough to deal with this sort of thing. Plus, since she addressed him as Dr. Carter, now his seatmate knows he lied about his job. (Though he could be a high school teacher with a Ph.D. Ever think of that, nosy seatmate?)

Mark tells Mrs. P. that Mike has some internal bleeding, but if they operate now, his outlook is good. He stays so calm through the conversation that it would be impossible for Mrs. P. to not think everything will turn out fine. Weaver summons Romano to the ER to tell him the maintenance strike has made working there unbearable. If someone called the county to report the pileup of trash, they’d get fined. Romano tells her to troubleshoot it herself. He’s not going to approve the raise the maintenance staff wants.

Romano grabs Benton as he’s heading to the airport so they can finish his attending interview. They carry the interview into the bathroom, because Romano’s bladder takes precedence over everything else, I guess. Benton gets that Romano wants him to promise that he’ll be a team player and take whatever Romano throws at him. Once he agrees, Romano officially offers him the attending fellowship.

Abby tracks down her ex-husband, Richard, at a driving range and accuses him of not paying her tuition just to mess with her. The three months she’ll miss because of him will put her a year behind in her residency. Richard makes an excuse about the IRS and deductions, but Abby doesn’t care – he ruined something that was important to her. She took care of him while he was in med school, and then he cheated on her and is screwing with her life.

Richard notes that he didn’t make her depressed or miserable. She did that herself. She trashes his golf clubs as he says he wasn’t the one who decided to change up her life and start a new job. Yeah, how dare she want to become a doctor? What’s wrong with her? Once Abby’s done with the clubs, she tells Richard that he’s in violation of their divorce agreement, so he’ll be hearing from her lawyer.

Benton heads out again, trying to pass by the picketers in the ambulance bay. Nat asks him to take a different route, since the local news is there. On his way back through the hospital, Benton encounters Chen and notices that she’s upset, but he senses that she doesn’t want to talk about it. Weaver enlists him to help with a mass casualty – there was a riot at the football game. The ambulances make the picketers disperse as they arrive at the hospital.

Mr. Bristol and his wife are still in the hallway, and he seems to not be paying attention to the chaos around them. Mike will have to wait for his operation, thanks to bigger emergencies and lack of operating space because of the strike. Mark tells Mrs. P. that they’ll have to drain some of the blood from Mike’s injury in the ER instead. Benton realizes he’s not going to make it to the airport to get Carter. He grabs a med student named Ryan for help.

Elizabeth and Mark do Mike’s procedure as he says he can’t believe all the chaos is because of him. Ryan meets Carter at the airport, having been sent to pick him up instead of Benton. Chen passes Mr. Bristol in the hallway and realizes he’s unconscious. He brought all his wife’s medications to the hospital with him, and it looks like he purposely overdosed on them. Mark and Elizabeth have a little trouble with Mike’s procedure and he ends up having a heart attack. Mark starts to lose his cool a little, but Elizabeth keeps hers.

Luka joins Chen and Malik to try to save Mr. Bristol. In the next trauma room, Mark and Elizabeth keep working on Mike as his teammates crowd around the window to see if he’ll be okay. Ryan tries to strike up a conversation with an uninterested Carter about working in the ER and all the action there. Back at County, Mark and Elizabeth struggle to stabilize Mike, very aware that his mother is watching. Chen and Luka aren’t able to save Mr. Bristol, who at least gets to be with his wife now.

Next door, Mike is doing so poorly that Elizabeth thinks someone should prepare Mrs. P. in case he doesn’t make it. Mark asks Chen to take over for him so he can talk to Mrs. P. He warns that, while they’re doing everything they can for Mike, he might not survive. Mrs. P. reminds Mark that he said everything would be fine. Mark says the complication Mike experienced was very rare. Mrs. P. orders him to promise that he’ll save her son.

Mark returns to the trauma room and tells the staff that they’ll keep working on Mike until he says they’re done. Word spreads that Mike might die, and one of his teammates attacks the guy who hit him. There’s a brawl in the ER, and Dave gets caught in the middle of it. Weaver tries to use her crutch to break up some of the fights. Stuff gets broken, including a computer and the window to Mike’s trauma room. There’s so much noise and chaos that Elizabeth has to tell Mark that they’ve gotten Mike’s heart beating again. Outside, Ryan delivers Carter to the hospital, but instead of going in, Carter just goes home.

Thoughts: Mike is played by Wentworth Miller. Ryan is played by Jonathan Mangum. Margaret is played by Paula Newsome, and if you’re not familiar with her, you need to watch Barry immediately.

Gathering an entire therapy group whenever a new member arrives, even in the middle of the night, sounds like a terrible idea. Won’t the group automatically resent the new person for making them get out of bed?

Carter’s goatee makes him look like a bass player in a late ’90s band. Or maybe like a Spin Doctor.

I’m not saying I would want people to start a riot over me, but Mike must feel good knowing how much his teammates and classmates care about him.

September 1, 2020

ER 6.22, May Day: Out of Options

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

Yeah, you walk into this, you know things aren’t good

Summary: Two empty swings are swaying back and forth on a playground as a helicopter lands nearby. Benton and Luka emerge and meet up with some police officers. Three people have been shot in a school, and one is dead. Luka seems surprised that someone opened fire in a school, because he’s not from America and because it’s only 2000, so this wasn’t happening that much yet.

Benton checks out a boy who was shot through the eye. He’s awake and alert, amazingly. Luka declares another shooting victim too far gone to help, then checks on a boy named Nicholas who begs Luka to call his father. A cop tells Luka that the school is being evacuated from the front of the building; they’ve arrested two suspects, but there might be another.

Benton comes to help Luka with Nicholas, who was shot in the leg. They’re discussing which boy to transfer to the hospital first when more shots are fired. A cop tells them the third suspect is coming out of the building. After a few more shots, a sniper takes down the shooter just outside the school door.

The police search the shooter for more weapons or explosives, then allow Benton and a couple of paramedics to come tend to him. Benton treats him like any other patient, managing to ignore the fact that this guy shot some kids. Luka asks if it’s okay for him to take Nicholas to the hospital in the helicopter. Benton wants to transport the shooter instead, but Luka doesn’t listen to him.

At County, Carter, Abby, Randi, and Connie are watching a news report about the situation. Dave’s jealous that Benton and Luka got to go to the scene, then jealous again when Carter says he’ll take a patient coming in. The shooter is bleeding out, so Benton tries to get Luka to leave the helicopter and let the shooter take Nicholas’ place. Luka refuses. Benton argues that his patient is more critical than Nicholas, but Luka points out that Benton’s patient killed people. Benton eventually has to back down because the helicopter is taking off.

Carter and Weaver examine a man who hit a parking structure with his car. Abby finds a goiter on his neck, making Weaver think that the patient has a thyroid problem. That could explain why he’s so combative. Carter gives the man some fentanyl, then pockets the vial it was in. Carter and Abby work together to fix the man’s dislocated hip, but the man kicks Carter across the room. Weaver calls for Dave to take Carter’s place, but Carter says he can keep working.

Once the patient has been taken for x-rays and the trauma room is empty, Carter injects himself with the rest of the fentanyl. Abby comes back in, and even though Carter’s back is to her, she can tell something’s going on. He pretends everything’s fine, but once Abby has left again, he kicks himself for taking such a big risk.

Luka gets Nicholas to the hospital and meets up with Elizabeth. Mark finds Dave using a screwdriver to remove a wood screw from a patient’s leg. The patient won’t accept any pain medication, saying it’ll interfere with his healing process. (Not seen: Carter calling dibs on that guy’s pain meds.) Mark tells Dave that the guy has to at least stop screaming and scaring other patients. He asks Carter if he’s okay after being kicked, then tries to talk about Carter’s therapy, since Carter told him he’d call a psychiatrist. Carter clearly hasn’t.

Carter joins Luka and Elizabeth to take care of Nicholas. Through the trauma-room window, Carter spots Abby talking to Mark and worries that they’re discussing him. They’re actually discussing a man named Mr. Tanner who got hurt playing rugby. He thinks he only hurt his clavicle, but his chest is blue. He blames the dye on his new jersey. Mark notices that Abby seems distracted, and she asks for a minute to talk.

Nicholas starts declining as Weaver discovers that the bullet that entered his leg has made it to his heart. He needs immediate surgery. Benton makes it to the hospital, having failed to save the shooter, as paramedics bring in an 18-year-old college student named Gloria who was stabbed in the abdomen.

Benton tells Luka that the shooter died after Luka abandoned him at the scene. Luka has no sympathy for the guy. Benton reminds him that they’re supposed to prioritize the most critical patient. Luka thinks he was justified in rushing Nicholas in first, since his condition could have gotten worse at any time (and, as we know, did). They yell at each other for a minute until Weaver tells them to cut it out.

Mark calls Weaver away as Luka tries to argue his side of the battle with Benton. She tells him to go help Cleo with Gloria. The police are questioning her about who stabbed her; she says the guy was “darker, maybe Mexican.” Luka examines Gloria and asks her how far along she is in her pregnancy. She denies that she’s pregnant, even though she looks almost full-term.

The baby’s heart rate seems fine, but the placenta has been damaged, which means Gloria might need a C-section to save the baby. Luka tries to reassure her that the baby will be fine, but Gloria only cares about what might happen to her. When Luka says her life isn’t at risk, Gloria tells him not to do a C-section.

Carter and Dave go to the lounge, where Mark, Weaver, and Abby are having a meeting. They stop talking while the guys are in the room. Mark asks Dave to leave, then tells Carter that Abby saw him inject himself in the trauma room. Abby confirms this. Carter lies that he was just cleaning up, but the patient’s chart shows that he didn’t receive the full vial of fentanyl, and the rest of it isn’t accounted for.

Carter says he must have poured the rest down the sink, which is hospital procedure. Weaver reminds him that he’s supposed to have a witness for that. Carter brushes it off, saying they all do this sort of stuff. Just because he had meds left over doesn’t mean he took them himself. No one believes him. Carter asks Abby why she didn’t talk to him if she thought she saw him do something he shouldn’t have.

Mark asks if Carter’s still taking pain medication for his stabbing injuries. Carter says that’s between him and his doctor. Mark asks him straight out if he’s overmedicating. Carter challenges Mark to accuse him of being addicted to drugs, then tells the group that they’re ridiculous for thinking that. He gaslights Abby for making up a story about him, then asks if he can go back to work.

Coburn comes to the ER to examine Gloria, determining that she needs a C-section right away if they want to save the baby. Gloria refuses to consent. Coburn can’t operate without Gloria’s permission, which means if the baby dies, it dies. Luka’s shocked that Coburn has no power in this situation. He thinks he might be able to get Gloria declared incompetent to make her own medical decisions. He suspects that she stabbed herself. Coburn agrees to operate if psych says Gloria isn’t in her right mind.

Elizabeth and Benton operate on Nicholas, discussing how Luka bought the boy some extra time by putting him on the helicopter. Benton notes that Luka didn’t know that Nicholas’ condition was this bad. Elizabeth can sympathize with Luka’s difficulty in prioritizing a patient who hurt other people. Nicholas starts bleeding but the surgeons can’t figure out what’s wrong. Benton finds another injury from another bullet and works fast to fix it before Elizabeth has to shock Nicholas’ heart.

Tanner is disappointed to learn that he’ll have to miss an upcoming rugby tournament. Weaver pulls Mark away from him to tell him she had a hypothetical conversation with the legal department about Carter. Without more evidence that he’s using drugs, they can’t keep him from working with patients. Mark asks if they can have him take a drug test. Weaver points out that since Carter’s taking prescribed pain medication, he’ll test positive no matter what. Asking him to take the test will just make him madder.

Weaver wants to get him help, but since he hasn’t admitted to anything, that will be hard. Mark thinks Carter might open up to him if he doesn’t feel threatened. Weaver wonders how they all missed the signs that Carter was using drugs. Mark says that it’s Carter – he’s not the sort of person who would become an addict, so no one even considered it.

Deraad talks to Gloria while Cleo tries to stay optimistic that she’ll agree to the surgery. Nicholas’ father arrives, and Luka fills him in on Nicholas’ condition. Cleo takes him upstairs while Deraad tells Luka that Gloria understands her options and the potential consequences. She’s competent to make her own decisions. Luka disagrees, arguing that Gloria’s a danger to the baby. Deraad says Gloria can make decisions about her own body. Without a court order, they can’t do anything.

Mark finds Carter smoking in the ambulance bay, because on this show, psychological and physical trauma lead to smoking. Carter apologizes for getting so angry and insists that he’s okay. Mark calls him out for not seeing a psychiatrist after saying he would. Carter says his behavior is all justified because of his attack, and though he’s had to take more pain medication to get through the day at work, it’s all been prescribed. Mark tells Carter that he needs help. Carter asks to deal with it himself, but Mark assigns him to do chart work for the rest of his shift.

Benton and Elizabeth have finished Nicholas’ surgery and think the case would make a great write-up for a medical journal. They bicker over who gets to keep the bullet. Weren’t there two bullets? Cleo catches them acting friendly with each other and obviously isn’t pleased. Chill, Cleo. Abby apologizes to Carter for causing trouble for him but says she felt it was her responsibility to tell Mark and Weaver what was going on. Carter isn’t interested in hearing her excuses.

Abby checks on Tanner and finds him unconscious. Carter realizes he must have injured his lung and works to stabilize him. Mark tries to take over, but Carter’s far enough along in the procedure to argue that he can finish it. He remembers Mark banned him from working with patients and walks away, fishing for a “thank you.” Meanwhile, Luka’s impatient to get a court order for Gloria’s C-section and thinks he can get her to change her mind.

Mark, Weaver, Chen, and Benton gather in the lounge to plan an intervention for Carter. Chen worries that he’ll feel like they’re ganging up on him, but if the four of them don’t move now, they’ll need to pass things along to a committee. Weaver says they’ll leave Romano out of it. Benton warns that Carter will probably just walk out, but Weaver isn’t intimidated.

Anspaugh joins the group as Cleo and Luka determine that Gloria is out of options – if she doesn’t have the C-section now, the baby will die. Gloria asks for another doctor. Luka decides to move forward without legal rights, at the risk of losing his license. Cleo manages to convince him that he can’t violate Gloria’s rights, no matter what happens as a result.

Carter tells Weaver he’s done with the charts, so if he’s not allowed to see patients, he’s going home. She takes him to an exam room, where he immediately figures out that he’s facing an intervention. He tries to leave, but Anspaugh calmly tells him he needs to be quiet and listen. Mark tells Carter they’ve bought him a ticket to Atlanta and gotten him a spot in a rehab center in Atlanta that specializes in doctors with addictions. Carter insists again that he’s only taking what’s been prescribed for him and doesn’t have an addiction.

Mark continues that Carter can’t work at the hospital if he doesn’t get treatment. He can either go to rehab and receive support from the hospital when he’s finished it, or he’ll be fired. Anspaugh tells Carter that everyone in the room cares about him and no one is judging him. Carter doesn’t believe that. He’s gone through a few horrible months since his attack, and he’s never complained or missed a shift. He hasn’t endangered patients or done his job any worse than before the attack.

Chen reminds him that he gave Mrs. Watts the wrong medication and put her into anaphylactic shock. Carter replies that Chen almost killed a patient, too. If they’re talking about mistakes, no one in the room is immune. Weaver says Carter has exhibited drug-seeking behavior, then demands to see his wrists. Carter shows that they’re clear, so Weaver requests that he take off his watch. He leaves the room, announcing that he quits.

Anspaugh asks if they’re done. Benton says no and follows Carter to the lounge. Carter says he doesn’t need this job and never has. He storms out, but Benton follows him again, telling him he’s getting in Mark’s van and going to Atlanta. Carter refuses over and over.

Benton asks where it will end – right now it’s fentanyl, but Carter could end up like Chase, unable to care for himself and living in a facility. That hits a nerve, and Carter punches him. Benton tells Carter that it’s fine if he wants to fight, but Carter’s still going to rehab. Carter starts crying, finally realizing how much of a mess he’s gotten into. Benton hugs him and tries to reassure him.

Luka, Cleo, and Lily deliver Gloria’s stillborn baby naturally in the ER. She doesn’t want to see him. Mark and Elizabeth check in with Weaver, who doesn’t know if Carter has gotten on the plane, though he did let Benton take him to the airport. Romano makes a pointless appearance in the episode to tell Elizabeth she needs to do an operation with him instead of going home with Mark. Mark nicely invites Weaver to get something to eat, but she wants to stay at the hospital and wait for word from Benton. The legal department finally calls to approve Gloria’s C-section. They’re almost as bad as psych!

Luka mopes at an El station, possibly thinking about how Gloria could have saved her child while Luka couldn’t save his. Or maybe he’s thinking about how Carol ran off with another man and now he’s alone. Don’t worry, Luka! Your life is about to get better! Then worse. Then better again. And on and on for seven or eight more years. And at least you’re not Carter, on a plane to Atlanta to check into drug rehab. Though Carter, unlike Luka, isn’t alone: Benton’s with him. He couldn’t save the shooter that morning, but he’s going to save someone else.

Thoughts: Poor Abby. Mark shouldn’t have confronted Carter while she was present. I mean, Carter would have known she was the one who went to Mark and Weaver, but they put her in a really bad position.

I understand Benton’s argument that the patient in worse condition should have priority, but would he want to be the one to tell Nicholas’ family, “Sorry we couldn’t save your kid, but hey, at least we saved the guy who killed him”?

Having Benton be the one to keep pushing Carter to admit his problems and get help is perfect. They haven’t interacted much in the past few seasons, but Benton is still the one person Carter never wants to cross.

Season 6 sped by. Next: Sally Field, bad times for Mark and Luka, and guess who’s gay?

May 26, 2020

ER 6.8, Great Expectations: Happy Thanksgivi-Birthday

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

Want to feel old? These girls are now college-age

Summary: This episode is all about Carol, so we follow her as she gets up in the morning, gets on an El train, falls asleep, and almost misses her stop. She slips on the El steps and drops the pie she’s carrying. She’s too pregnant to bend over and pick it up, so she just kicks it to the side. Outside the hospital, Cleo is jumping rope, in case we haven’t gotten the hint yet that she’s very fit. Carol tells Cleo that she used to be that thin. No one cares, Carol.

Weaver’s surprised to see Carol, since yesterday was supposed to be her last day of work before her maternity leave. Carol has come in to show Lydia how to do a report, but she’s late and Lydia’s already gone. Connie invites Carol to stay for the staff’s Thanksgiving potluck, but Carol decides to go home and nap before she spends the holiday with her family. Malik asks about the pie she was supposed to bring and Carol says it was a casualty of her pregnancy.

On her way back out, Carol runs into Carter and Chuny, who are having a snowball fight. This is before Carter gets traumatized and forgets how to have fun. A stray dog has found Carol’s pie and is having a nice Thanksgiving feast of his own when Carol returns to the El. Just moments after she sits down on a train, her water breaks.

She gets off the train and sits on a bench in a station, which is where Luka finds her 15 minutes later. She’s trying to get up the strength to get on a train and go back to County, but she’s had a couple contractions. I would think a crowded, moving train is the last place you’d want to be while in labor anyway. Luka tells her they’ll wait for the next train; if it doesn’t come in five minutes, he’ll call an ambulance.

Back at County, things are so quiet that Malik and Dave are playing a modified game of hockey. Dave’s goofing off in a wheelchair and flips over backward when Malik hits him with the can they’re using as the puck. Weaver tells Dave that things will start picking up as people in Chicago start having dinner and get sick. I imagine there will also be some carving knife-related injuries. Carter has a medical mystery and shares it with Weaver, but it’s Dave who diagnoses the patient with poisoning from a tropical fruit. Carter’s skeptical, since Dave isn’t the smartest guy, but Weaver thinks it’s worth looking into.

Luka gets Carol on a train just as she has another contraction. A man on the train wants to pull the emergency cord, but Luka tells him not to stop the train, since they’re only going one stop. They bicker for a little bit until Carol yells at the guy not to pull the cord. Mark has the day off, and he, David, and Rachel are spending Thanksgiving with Elizabeth. This is her first time meeting David and Rachel. She doesn’t impress them with her pilgrim hat (which was supposed to be a table decoration) or her lack of a working TV, which means David can’t watch football.

Carol’s contractions are getting closer together, and Luka declares that she’s in active labor. He advises her to hum to help get through the contractions – it helped his wife when she was in labor. Carol’s too distracted to comment on the mention of Luka’s wife. They do some off-key humming for a while. Carter tells Dave that his diagnosis was correct, and he wants to know how Dave knew what was wrong with the patient. Dave says he’s seen it before; he spent some time in the jungle. After Carter bugs him a bit, Dave admits that he went to med school in Grenada. He didn’t have the grades to go to a U.S. school, but the end result is the same – he and Carter are both M.D.s.

Luka finally gets Carol on her feet, and as they head down the big staircase from the El station, she asks about his wife. He mentions that they had two children, but his family doesn’t live in Croatia anymore. (More details on that in later episodes.) Carol has to stop and sit on the steps, but Luka doesn’t want to delay the trip to the ER any longer. She passes out, so he picks her up and carries her the rest of the way to the hospital. Carol regains consciousness as Weaver, Luka, and Carter are taking her to a trauma room. Carol thinks she’s fine to just go up to the labor and delivery ward, but Weaver wants her in the ER.

Mark praises Elizabeth for being willing to put up with his family on Thanksgiving. She’s much more hospitable than Rachel deserves, as Rachel turns up her nose at the bacon Elizabeth put on the turkey. She reminds Elizabeth that Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, since it’s to commemorate the pilgrims leaving the Brits’ persecution. Elizabeth notes that the pilgrims then turned around and persecuted the Native Americans. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

David insists on carving the turkey, wanting to show Mark that he’s still capable of doing things since Mark doesn’t think he is. In fact, Mark wants to send him to a nursing home. Mark corrects that it’s a retirement community, but David notes that it has nurses. In the kitchen, Rachel accidentally drops the bowl holding the mashed potatoes.

Luka leaves Carol to tend to an elderly woman who skipped her last dialysis appointment to get her hair done for her birthday. Now she’s in congestive heart failure, so I’m going to say it probably wasn’t worth it. On top of that, the ambulance that brought her to the hospital was hit by a car. Luka isn’t sure if her heart problems are due to her kidney issues or the accident.

Weaver examines Carol and announces that she’s already dilated to 10 centimeters. There’s no time to get her to labor and delivery, so she’ll have to deliver in the ER. Carter wants to be part of the delivery, but Carol isn’t willing to let him participate in something so intimate. Weaver agrees with her decision to kick him out of the room. He goes next door to help Luka with his patient, who’s gone downhill fast.

Mark is summoned from his family Thanksgiving to go to County, since he’s Carol’s birthing coach. He tells David and Rachel he’ll take them home, but the two of them and Elizabeth decide to have Thanksgiving together without him. Mark tells Elizabeth to lock them in a closet if they cause her any trouble. Rachel’s off to a good start, insisting that she’s not going to eat any turkey, since animal fat is bad for your heart. Her grandfather isn’t here for that brattiness.

Weaver, Chuny, and Haleh help Carol through her delivery, but they determine that they’ll need some help from L&D. Weaver calmly tells Carol that the first baby’s heart rate is down, but as long as it stays above 80, everything’s okay. Next door, Luka and Carter are unable to save their patient. Luka sadly wishes her a happy birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, it’s about to be Carol’s twins’ birthday. Cleo comes in to help with the end of the first twin’s delivery, but Weaver has no trouble finishing up by herself. The baby is a girl and seems to be healthy. She’s also way bigger than a newborn would be, and having Carol comment that she’s small just draws more attention to it. Carol has already picked out a name, Tess. One down, one to go!

Up on the L&D floor, a nurse named Abby Lockhart takes over Carol’s care. This is the most competent and confident we will see Abby for a while. Carol asks Weaver to stay with Tess as she’s taken away to get cleaned up. Mark arrives as Carol learns that there’s time for her to have an epidural before she delivers the second baby. She tells him she quits. She apologizes for pulling him away from his family, but Mark would rather be with her.

At Elizabeth’s, David is using various Thanksgiving dishes to illustrate the story of D-Day. Elizabeth is somehow not chugging wine to get through this. Mark helps the anesthesiologist, Babcock, prepare for Carol’s epidural, which she orders Babcock to get right the first time. Does Carol have to micromanage everything? Dr. Coburn comes in and mistakes Mark for the babies’ father rather than Carol’s birthing coach. Carol’s OB is out of town, so Coburn is covering her practice.

David tells Elizabeth about witnessing the death of one of his Naval shipmates, who fell overboard. He’s happy to have gotten a homecooked meal from Elizabeth, his first since Ruth died. David asks how Mark is dealing with his mother’s death. Elizabeth says he doesn’t talk about it much, and Elizabeth doesn’t push him on it. David says he’s always been a mystery. Ruth was the only one who could understand him. David feels like she was a bridge for him and Mark; with her gone, David has lost the connection to his son. Rachel’s been in the bathroom for a long time, so Elizabeth goes to check on her. Rachel tells her to go away.

Mark flips through the TV channels in Carol’s room, making her wonder if she’s boring him. She’s very happy to have gotten the epidural. Mark leaves to call Elizabeth, and Carol asks him to call her mother as well. Mark asks pointedly if there’s anyone else he should call. But no, Carol doesn’t want to contact the father of her children while she’s delivering them, thank you. Abby asks another nurse if there’s an open OR, making Carol worry that she’ll need a C-section. Abby tells her they just need to be cautious in case the baby rotates and becomes breech.

Back at Elizabeth’s, Rachel’s hiding out in the bathroom because she just started her first period, at the young age of ten. Elizabeth only has tampons and doesn’t want to start Rachel off on them, so she sends David out to get pads. He’s not that familiar with them, so Elizabeth tells him to ask a clerk for help. “What if he’s a guy?” David asks reasonably.

Carol’s ready to deliver the second baby, and the heart rate is dropping, so Abby checks her again. She realizes the umbilical cord is cutting off the baby’s oxygen, which means Carol needs to deliver immediately. Since she’s only six centimeters dilated, she’ll need an emergency C-section. In the OR, Coburn and Mark butt heads a little, and though she lets him take charge for a while, Coburn gets the final say in what happens. Carol’s terrified and begs Mark not to let the baby die. The second baby is also a girl, and though she’s not as immediately healthy as her sister, she improves quickly.

On his way back from the store, David slips on some ice outside Elizabeth’s apartment building and cuts his head. He tells Elizabeth he wants a drink before she takes him to the hospital for stitches. Back at County, Carol is bleeding, because women never have smooth deliveries in TV dramas. Coburn decides she needs a hysterectomy. Carol won’t consent, and Mark asks Coburn to come up with another solution. He tells her to respect Carol’s decision, since she’s a nurse and knows the risk of not having a hysterectomy.

Thanks to blood loss, Carol passes out before her fate is decided, and she wakes up in a recovery with two healthy babies. Mark tells her that the hysterectomy wasn’t necessary after all. Abby tells her to thank Mark for advocating for her. Mark teases that she should have some more babies since the first two came out so well. Carol doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

Mark asks Carol what she wants to name the second baby. Carol invites him to name her, suggesting that they give the baby Mark’s mother’s name. Carol doesn’t like the name Ruth, but Ruth’s middle name was Katherine, and Carol likes the name Kate, so Kate it is. Abby sends Mark to the ER to check on David, and after he leaves, Carol asks Abby if she can make a long-distance call on her room phone. She’s finally going to call Doug.

Elizabeth stitches up David in the ER and informs Mark that Rachel started her period. Luka interrupts to ask how Carol is. Mark tells him she had two girls and everyone’s fine. Elizabeth leaves Mark to finish up with David while she visits Carol. David tells Mark that he likes Elizabeth. Abby teaches Carol to nurse, then leaves to go tend to someone else. She tells Carol she was very brave. Carol is left alone with her two girls on their first Thanksgiving/first birthday, and Carol realizes for the first time how much work she’s in for.

Thoughts: Tess Ross? Poor kid.

Dave going to med school at “the Harvard of Grenada” makes me think of Jimmy from Better Call Saul going to the University of American Samoa. (Goooo, Land Crabs!)

Enjoy bratty Rachel, because that’s who we’re stuck with from now on.

May 7, 2019

ER 3.21, Make a Wish: I Hope Carol Wished for a Less-Creepy Fake Baby

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

Yeah, this looks like a guy who’s ready to go back to his stressful job

Summary: Carter finds Benton before an ER shift to discuss their transplant case from the previous week. He’s starting to think he’s in the wrong place. He loves surgery, but he’s not completely satisfied. Benton doesn’t know what that means. Carter doesn’t like that surgeons don’t get to know their patients better.

Anna’s getting acclimated to working at County, and has undergone an extensive security check. Weaver says they’re beefing things up in the wake of Mark’s attack. He’s coming back to work today, and Weaver wants everyone to work together to give him a light load. Doug mentions that it’s Carol’s birthday, which annoys her, since he promised he wouldn’t. But he also told everyone last year, so it can’t be a secret anymore, right?

Jeanie and Al are fully back together and making out in her kitchen. He gets distracted by her microwave, complaining that she never let him have one. Back at County, Carla’s in labor, and Coburn can no longer do anything to stop it, even though it’s two months early. Time for Benton to become a father!

Mark arrives for his first shift post-beating. He has a cast on his hand and a huge, ugly bruise around his eye, which should put his patients right at ease. He meets Anna, who mentions that she’s kind of already met him, though he was unconscious at the time. Mark jumps in to help Doug and Carol with a trauma, but Doug urges him to take it easy.

Benton is a great birthing coach, if what you want in a birthing coach is a guy who ignores you to ask your doctor questions about your treatment. Coburn eventually tells him to shut up and be helpful. Security is adding cameras, bulletproof glass, and armed guards, which we know from future seasons will do absolutely nothing.

Mark thinks everyone’s overreacting. The better plan is to change how they deal with patients and families. Weaver isn’t convinced that a patient or family member was responsible for Mark’s attack. Mark points out that the ER is slow, and some patients have been sitting around for hours. Anyone would get mad enough to attack someone. Chuny hands him some charts, which he drops, and when he bends down to pick them up, he can’t hide that he’s still in pain.

Anna joins Coburn for Carla’s delivery, and Benton rolls his eyes over the fact that she’s just a resident. Despite that, Anna definitely knows what she’s doing, and doesn’t have any trouble taking charge when she needs do. In the lounge, Doyle offers Mark the opportunity to choose from a variety of weapons like pepper spray and stun guns. She admits that she keeps a gun in her car. She once used it to scare off a guy who tried to rob her at a drive-through. Mark decides to “pass on the armaments,” but Carter takes a look, and promptly gets pepper spray in his eyes.

Coburn and Anna deliver the baby, who’s not doing well (and also, the fake baby they use for this scene is really disturbing). Benton finds himself in the rare position of being helpless. Carol laughs as she washes out Carter’s eyes, and he complains about how lousy his life is going right now. He asks about her willingness to start her whole career over in med school. Mark comes in for a few moments, and Carter’s like, “I know I just maced myself, but Mark looks worse than I do.”

Carla’s distressed not to have any news on the baby, and it doesn’t help that her gurney is briefly parked outside a room where happy mothers are holding their healthy babies. Mark and Carter tend to a trauma patient named Harry who crashed his car in a suspected DWI. Carter doesn’t smell alcohol on the guy’s breath. Harry seizes, and Mark accidentally gets his broken hand caught under him.

Benton goes to the NICU to find out the baby’s treatment plan. The neonatologist, Tabash, fills him in, then tells him what he should pass along to Carla. Right now, they have to wait and see how he responds to his current treatment. Tabash asks the baby’s name, but Benton and Carla haven’t decided on that yet.

Doug tells Carol that their co-workers are throwing her a surprise birthday party. She thinks he’s joking, since he mentioned it earlier, but now he’s gotten an invitation and knows it’s real. Fortunately, since Doug knows Carol doesn’t like celebrating her birthday, he can get her out of it. The excuse they’re using: Carol’s having dinner with Doug. Carol calls it a trap, but Doug calls it a rescue.

Jeanie learns from Anna that Carla had the baby, who’s struggling. Anna says she’s worked on lots of preemies but never gets used to it. Randi mentions that Mark’s obsessed with treating patients quickly now, and Weaver says he just needs a few days to settle back in. Doug checks in with Mark, who thinks a week off work was enough time away. He gave the police a list of people who might have attacked him. He feels like he got a wake-up call and will now remember to use better bedside manner.

Jeanie goes to the NICU, where Benton tells her how bad off the baby is. Carla’s sitting with him but has asked Benton to stay in the hallway. Jeanie guesses that Benton hasn’t told his family or co-workers about the baby yet. She encourages him to reach out to his support system. She also tells him to stop standing in the hallway.

Carter and Connie treat a man named Lensky who has bad stomach pain. Weaver pulls Carter aside to report that Mark thinks Lensky’s waiting too long for a surgical consult. Carter and Weaver agree that he probably has a perforated ulcer, so Anspaugh will need to examine him. Doug and Carol need to treat a boy named Russell who broke his wrist, and Doug is willing to try to fix it without painkillers. Russell yells as soon as they approach him, so Doug changes his mind.

Benton tells Tabash that Carla will want to know all the possible outcomes for the baby. Tabash says all parents want that, but they can’t see the future. Benton is concerned with the baby’s eyesight, even knowing that’s not the biggest problem he could face. Carter tells Mark that he talked to Harry’s mother, who mentioned that he was going to a pre-employment screening for his new job. She also said she was relieved that the police didn’t find any marijuana on Harry. Harry appears to have drunk so much water to dilute his urine and clear out the pot that he gave himself water intoxication.

Thanks to the painkillers, Russell is much happier. He’d like his dad to be with him, but his dad can’t handle medical stuff and is staying out of the room. Russell says his father usually sings to him, so Carol volunteers Doug to take his place. Doug invites her to do a duet. For some reason, Doug opts for “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.” You know, every kid’s favorite song in 1997.

Anspaugh’s annoyed that Carter made him come to the ER for a consult he didn’t really need. Any senior resident should know this was a surgical case. Carter tells Lensky he needs surgery, but Lensky panics and tries to leave. Carter asks if something happened to him or someone else that has made him so opposed to surgery. Lensky confides that his father died during a gallbladder operation, a procedure the surgeon said over and over was simple. Now Lensky’s wary about trusting another surgeon.

Later, Carter tells Weaver that he tried his best but couldn’t change Lensky’s mind. He’s dreading Anspaugh’s disapproval. Weaver gives Carter some ideas of what he can do next. Before Carter can get too down about the situation, Haleh brightens his day with Harry’s labs. Carter was right about the water intoxication.

Mark meets with a detective who tells him all the leads he gave the police have been cleared. The detective is surprised that Mark isn’t happier about the news. Carter tells Mark that he was right about Harry, but Mark doesn’t really care. Tabash wants to give the baby nitrogen oxide, since it’s helped some full-term babies. There’s a risk of development problems, but sticking with the current treatment has its own risks. Benton and Carla need to discuss their options.

Weaver follows Mark outside, and he tells her he was wrong about all his possible attackers. He thought he was starting to piece things together, but now the police say it was just a random attack. For the first time in his life, Mark is the victim, not the person treating the victim. Weaver reminds him that they see those victims every day, and they can’t let themselves get overwhelmed with the thought that they could be in the same position. He says it makes them different from their patients, but Weaver thinks it makes them the same.

Carter tells Anspaugh that Lensky declined surgery, but Carter has discovered that he doesn’t need it after all. The ulcer has spontaneously sealed itself off. Anspaugh insists that Lensky needs surgery, but Carter found an article that says he can be treated medically. “You think this is about what he wants?” Anspaugh asks. Carter says yes, of course, but Anspaugh reminds him that surgeons cut.

Carter disagrees – if he can find a medically acceptable treatment that his patient agrees with, he should do it. Anspaugh is bothered by the fact that Lensky is refusing a necessary procedure, but it bothers him even more that Carter is helping him go against a surgeon’s recommendations.

Mark snaps at Lily, so yeah, Weaver, he’s getting better. As Carol and Doug head out for their dinner together, she learns that a temp clerk will be working at the admit desk that night. E-Ray won’t tell Carol why, like it’s a government secret. Mark runs into Nina, who wants him to meet with a counselor who specializes in PTSD. He denies that he needs that kind of treatment. He claims things are getting back to normal, and he doesn’t appreciate Nina being a shrink with him. So that near-relationship is definitely over.

Benton apologizes to Coburn for being so intense during the birth, but it’s not like this is the first time she’s had to deal with a father who wasn’t being calm. Carla’s doing fine, at least physically, and Benton thinks it’s time to let her know what’s going on with the baby’s treatment. Doug takes Carol home so she can change for their dinner, but it’s a trap after all – the surprise party is at her house.

Al surprises Jeanie at home with a garage door opener. He always thought they were dumb, but I guess since Jeanie got him a microwave, he felt the need to repay her kindness. Carol’s guests brought booze but no food, so that party’s going to be fun. Doug teases her about drinking milk straight out of the carton. He tells her he wanted to make up for all the lousy birthdays she’s had in the past.

Carter asks Weaver what he would have to do to switch from surgery to emergency medicine. Would he have to redo his residency? Weaver asks if he’s talked to Mark, but Carter knows better than to bring that up when Mark’s being so grouchy. On his way out of work, Mark gets nervous in the parking garage, thinking a guy walking by is going to attack him. He only feels safe when he gets in his car.

Carol gets a nice birthday cake with a ton of candles. The women at the party put rings around the candles, saying that’ll make Carol’s wish come true. If she’s wishing for what I think she is, it will. As she blows out the candles, Benton stands in the hallway outside the NICU, watching his son.

Thoughts: Yeah, a guy with a broken hand and busted ribs is exactly who you want taking care of you in an emergency.

I know it’s not as respected or whatever as being a doctor, and his family would flip out, but Carter should just be a nurse.

Maybe I need shorthand fro the phrase “Anspaugh is annoyed.”

’90s music alert: Better Than Ezra’s “Desperately Wanting.”

April 30, 2019

ER 3.20, Random Acts: Who Among Us Hasn’t Wanted to Punch Mark in the Face?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 4:51 pm by Jenn

Nice makeup job here

Summary: Doug and Mark are playing golf, though Mark isn’t very good at it. Doug thinks he needs to play more, to really lean into that “all doctors play golf” stereotype. At County, Hicks tells Benton that he’s been invited to help out with a transplant operation. Benton nicely asks if Carter can help out, too. Al wakes Jeanie up on his couch; she spent the night after having a little meltdown. He tells her his medication has changed because of some resistance. She suggests new medications, but he’ll have to enroll in a study to get them. Jeanie offers to help him with that, though it’ll require her to talk to Greg.

At County, Carol is reading aloud from some story Jerry found at the admit desk. It’s trashy romance, and the characters are all based on ER staff. A psych patient causes a ruckus, telling Mark that chaos is his destiny. Benton meets Carla for a doctor’s appointment, and she tells him she’s no longer going to Lamaze classes with him, since he acts like a drill sergeant. Coburn’s running really late, so Carla tells Benton to go back to work.

Randi denies authorship of the story, since she wouldn’t produce something with so many typos. Mark spots Doug discussing golf with Anspaugh and wonders if he’s trying to butter up Anspaugh for work. Chuny and Randi say he’s trying to get an invitation for a golf game at an exclusive country club. Mark is supposed to go to a meeting at Rachel’s school, but he gets sidetracked by a patient.

Jeanie asks Greg if there’s an opening in the study Al wants to be in. Greg invites her to dinner, but Jeanie declines, and not for the first time. She admits that she’s looking for a study slot for Al, not herself. Mark oversees as Doyle stitches up a girl named Alyssa whose father doesn’t want Mark to leave his daughter’s care to a student. Mark promises that Doyle is capable of the job and can consult with a senior doctor if necessary. Mark and the dad bicker a little, but Mark leaves anyway.

Carter prepares a young man named Carl for surgery to donate a kidney to his sister, Jean. Jean jokes that she offered to trade her stereo for the organ. The siblings have a great relationship and are concerned about each other’s treatment. Chris Law shows up looking for Mark, wanting to discuss some paperwork.

Doug practices his putting while Carol continues enjoying the romance story in the lounge. Doug’s character is immediately identifiable as him. Anspaugh asks Doug to take care of the son of a country club member, noting that good treatment might lead to an invitation to play at the club. Carol asks to tag along as his guest, then says she couldn’t go, since the club doesn’t allow women, black people, or Jews. In denial, Doug says they’ve changed those rules.

Returning from the meeting at Rachel’s school, Mark runs into Chris in the hospital parking lot. He’s upset that his mother received a hospital bill, since Kenny didn’t survive. He blames the hospital for killing Chris, and he’s also not happy that they lost the body, so his funeral had to be delayed two days. No one’s paying the bill until the hospital apologizes. If they send another bill, Chris will have to fight someone, maybe Mark.

Mark shares the encounter with Doug later, and Doug suggests alerting security, but Mark brushes it off. While Doug tends to Peter, Anspaugh’s VIP patient, Benton and Carter assist with Carl and Jean’s transplant operations. Carter gets to take Carl’s kidney to his sister, which makes Benton nervous. Carter takes the task very seriously, makes the other surgeon laugh, and is allowed to scrub in for the transplant.

While talking to Peter, Doug gets curious about how often the boy falls down. He does a quick test that tells him something about the boy’s eyesight. Carol catches Weaver taking a peek at the romance story, where her character isn’t written very nicely. Carol tells her it’s not supposed to be taken so seriously. Then she gets the idea that Weaver wrote the story. Weaver says she didn’t.

Paramedic Pam rushes in with her grandfather. She stopped by to see him on her day off, and her recent training on stroke protocol makes her think he had one. Jean’s surgery goes well, but Carl starts to decline while his surgeon is closing up. Carol thinks Doug ran more tests than necessary on Peter, but an ophthalmologist confirms Doug’s suspicion that the boy has a genetic disorder that could lead to blindness.

Mark and Weaver tend to Pam’s grandfather, Ralph, whom everyone calls Gramps. Pam asks if they’re going to give him TPA, the usual treatment for a stroke. After she leaves to make a call, Weaver tells Mark that she thought this would happen – people who learn about strokes now think TPA is a miracle cure when it can actually make things worse. Mark tells her they’ll follow protocol, but he’s on the stroke team and Weaver isn’t. He promises he won’t administer TPA if Gramps isn’t the right candidate for it.

Jeanie preps Al for his interview for the drug study, though he doesn’t think he deserves her help. She tells him they’re friends, and this is what friends do. Mark tells Weaver that Gramps is a candidate for TPA, but Weaver still won’t sign off. Mark asks her to tell Pam about the risks and prepare her for the possibility that her grandfather will die. She should hear it from someone who isn’t going to push her into a treatment.

Carl is stabilized, and Benton and Carter are invited to a post-op debrief with the other surgeons. Greg asks to interview Al personally, which is a really, really bad idea. He digs into how Al contracted HIV and whether he’s living with anyone. He’s not, which is a strike against him, since the study requires a strict regimen. Al says his ex-wife is around to provide backup if he needs it; in fact, she’s back in his life. Greg tries not to die inside.

Pam agrees to the TPA, so Mark administers it. In the surgeons’ debrief, they go over the two operations to determine how they can perform them better in the future. Carter excuses himself to go check on Jean. Weaver, Jerry, Doyle, and Randi have decided that Carol wrote the romance story. Carol thinks Weaver’s trying to throw suspicion off of herself. Doyle says it had to be written by “an incurable romantic who is very warped.” Carol says she’s not warped.

Doug sends Peter and his parents off to a specialist, advising them to make sure he knows his condition isn’t his fault. Carol and Anspaugh both look on, impressed. Carol apologizes for accusing Doug of ordering unnecessary tests, but nowadays, he’s so glib that she’s never sure what’s real with him. Lydia passes by and congratulates Carol for writing a great book. Doug jokes that she stole the idea from him.

Carter tells Jean that Carl had some complications but is going to be okay. Carter’s going to see if the two can be put in the same room. Weaver introduces Doug to Anna Del Amico, a new resident doing an emergency pediatric elective before she starts work in a few months. Greg tells Jeanie that Al has been accepted into the trial. Now he knows why Jeanie has been resistant to going out with him. He thinks Al manipulated Jeanie into helping him get new meds. Jeanie admits that she doesn’t know if she still loves him.

In the bathroom, Mark runs into Jerry, who asks if Carol has ever expressed any interest in him. Jerry’s character in the romance story is portrayed in a very flattering way, and since Jerry thinks Carol wrote the book, he believes she’s into him. Mark asks if Carol’s ever said anything about him.

Jerry leaves, and moments later, someone emerges from a stall and attacks Mark. He slams Mark’s head into a mirror and throws him in a stall. Mark gets up to leave, but the attacker pounces again, pounding on Mark some more and stomping on his hand. Mark loses consciousness and bleeds on the bathroom floor.

Right outside, Weaver, Doyle, and Chuny discuss the story. Chuny doesn’t like how she was portrayed. She walks right by the bathroom door just as she and Weaver are wondering where Mark is. Carl and Jean are reunited, but Benton chastises Carter for missing the debriefing. Once again, Carter has focused on his patients’ well-being instead of the medicine. Benton gets a message from Carla, who called from Coburn’s office.

Doug heads into the bathroom and is shocked to find Mark unconscious and covered in blood. Anna helps him check Mark over. The two of them, Weaver, Lydia, and Malik rush him to a trauma room, chasing Chuny out after she gets emotional at the sight of her ex. Coburn tells Benton that Carla started having contractions, so she’s being admitted in hopes of preventing early labor (she has eight weeks to go). Carla tells Benton that she thinks she knows when the baby was conceived. He’s already figured it out. They agree that it seems like a long time ago.

Jeanie and Al are back at his place, wishing they hadn’t taken their previous relationship for granted. They won’t be doing that anymore. She kisses him, so it looks like Greg is officially out of luck. Things start getting more physical, and Al rushes out to buy condoms. She laughs, something he’s missed while they were apart.

Mark’s mostly okay, other than a broken hand, but no one knows who attacked him. Randi brings up Chris, and Doyle says a psych patient kind of threatened Mark. Anna goes to take care of one of Doug’s patients so Doug can stay with Mark. Weaver tells Anna it’s not usually this crazy in the ER, which is a total lie. She sends everyone off to do their jobs instead of waiting for news on Mark.

Weaver heads next door, where Gramps is doing much better. Weaver admits that Mark made the right call. Carol tries to calm Doug, who’s anxious about his friend. When Mark regains consciousness, Mark and Carol are with him and assure him that he’ll be okay. Doug jokes that he signed Mark up for a double shift that weekend. Mark just wants to know what happened.

Thoughts: Alyssa is played by Heather Matarazzo.

I found Anna boring in the show’s original run, but after rewatching her episodes, I like her.

So of course, the two big questions are who attacked Mark, and who wrote the story? I think someone associated with the Laws had to be responsible for the attack. It’s too much of a coincidence of them not to have been. And I really don’t know who wrote the story, but I wish the show had revealed that.

April 16, 2019

ER 3.18, You Bet Your Life: Who Would Pick Al Over Greg??

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

Nope, wrong choice

Summary: Mark has been having a little trouble juggling parenting and work, now that Rachel’s staying with him, so he’s been late taking her to school for a few days. Rachel’s annoyed by that, and by her after-school arrangements to play with a girl she doesn’t really like. At County, Benton goes looking for Carla, who’s already been sent home. Coburn catches him looking at her chart and chastises him for violating Carla’s privacy. She already knows that Benton is the baby’s father. Benton asks about a test Coburn ordered, but she tells him to ask Carla.

Greg wants to make weekend plans with Jeanie, who’s in a bad mood because she found out her viral load has gone up. Plus, today would have been her and Al’s ninth wedding anniversary. Greg reminds her that she had the flu last week, which explains her increased viral load. It should be undetectable again soon. He wants to give her happy memories of her former anniversary by going away for the weekend.

Jerry has leased a new car, though Malik is surprised he could afford it. Anspaugh tells Mark that he and Weaver both applied for a teaching job, and though Mark is the better candidate, he hasn’t published any articles. He needs to find an interesting case and write it up soon. No pressure, but if he doesn’t, Anspaugh will look foolish for backing him to the hiring committee.

Carol’s reading over a textbook and thinking of all the questions she screwed up on the MCAT. Doug tries to cheer her up, but he can’t erase the fact that nurses don’t exactly have a glamorous job, and they have to take orders from younger doctors. Carter and Lydia treat a gambler named Bartok (though he prefers to call himself an investor, since he uses scientific methods to place his bets). Carter agrees to place a $5 bet. Bartok asks to keep his hat on, which is part of his “scientific” methods – he always keeps it on after he makes a bet.

Al comes by with flowers for Jeanie, but she doesn’t want to celebrate their horrible marriage. Now they’re both in a bad mood. Marks tends to a woman named Ida who has stomach pain and thinks she needs surgery. She’s already had five of them, but Mark thinks they might have been unnecessary. He thinks she has porphyria, which can be misdiagnosed as a surgical ailment. If Mark’s right, this could be the perfect case for him to publish.

Paramedics bring in an unidentified woman they found unconscious in a car near a cemetery. Mark confirms his porphyria diagnosis, foreseeing his case study being published in all sorts of newspapers. Haleh bursts his bubble when she realizes that Ida is a psych patient who likes having surgery. Benton tries to call Carla, then talks to Carter about Bartok; Carter wants to stick with him for the day to make sure he doesn’t get overlooked. Amazingly, Benton approves of this, even though it takes Carter out of the OR for the day.

The unidentified woman was found with a bunch of pills, including some for HIV, so Weaver and Jeanie guess that she OD’d. One of the pill bottles says her name is Suzanne. The staff isn’t sure about one of the medications she took, so Jeanie suggests calling Greg to help them out. She wonders what made Suzanne want to hurt herself.

While Jerry brags to someone on the phone about his new car, Weaver gets a call for “Dr. Markovic” from a cryogenics lab. Apparently he’s been making donations at a sperm bank, pretending to be a doctor, and has used the proceeds for his car. Jerry thinks it’s fine; women focus on the fact that he’s tall and has an IQ of 150, not on his fake medical credentials. Weaver doubts he has an IQ of 150 (hers is 145) and challenges him to take a test to prove it. If he doesn’t score a 150, she’ll bust him for lying.

The nurses find a wedding ring on Suzanne’s finger, but her address on her pill bottles is for a motel, and someone who works there says she lives alone. Suzanne has two pictures of a child in her car, and Greg finds the girl familiar. Suzanne regains consciousness and tells Jeanie the girl is her daughter. “I killed her,” she says.

Carter checks on Bartok, who has an intestinal blockage and will need surgery. Bartok’s scared, but Carter tells him the chief of staff will be taking care of him. Bartok asks for his phone so he can call his daughter. Carol is giving an injection to a patient when Doyle stops her, saying he needs an IV instead. The patient, a former Marine, doesn’t have a problem with a second needle stick.

Nina comes down to the ER to see Ida and flirt with Mark a little. She panics when she learns that Mark left Ida alone in her trauma room. See, Ida has a habit of eating things she shouldn’t when she’s been denied surgery, so she’ll have to undergo it anyway. This time, she’s eaten medical instruments.

Benton lies that Carla’s one of his surgical patients so someone other than Coburn will let him see Carla’s ultrasound tape again. Greg figures out that Suzanne’s daughter, Katie, was one of his patients, but she died of AIDS-related pneumonia last month. Jeanie realizes that Suzanne blames herself for Katie’s death because she gave Katie HIV.

Carter shows Bartok’s chart to Anspaugh, but Anspaugh thinks he’s too sick for surgery – he’s septic already. Carter thinks Bartok will have a better shot with surgery, but Anspaugh doesn’t want to take the risk, and probably not just because it’ll make the hospital look bad for losing a patient. Carter gives the news to Bartok, who thinks the doctors are just pushing him aside to let him die. Carter promised that he would be okay, and now he’s gone back on his word. Carter decides he can’t just let things end there.

Doyle needs to draw blood from the Marine, but she’s having a lot of trouble with it. Carol advises Weaver to help her, but Weaver thinks Doyle needs to learn sometime. Carol complains that nurses should be allowed to do this kind of procedure, since they know what they’re doing. Carter takes Bartok’s case to Hicks, who agrees with Anspaugh that it’s too much of a risk to operate. She admits that he could have a chance if they act quickly, and Carter says Bartok’s okay with just having a chance.

Mark sees all the stuff Ida swallowed on her X-ray and realizes this could be the unique case that will get him ahead. Thanks to some methanol she ingested, Suzanne is now blind. Jeanie tells her that her husband is on his way and asks if there’s anything Suzanne wants to tell him. Suzanne just says she’s sorry.

Jerry takes his IQ test while Weaver keeps an eye on him nearby. I don’t think the front desk is the ideal place for this test, and Weaver should probably be treating patients instead of reading and babysitting Jerry, but okay. Jerry attempts to ask Doug for help, but Weaver tells him it’s an IQ test, not a survey. Doug is called away to treat a teenage girl, Betsy, who had a gallbladder attack on her way to prom.

Suzanne’s husband, Roger, arrives and is pleased to learn that his wife is dying and is pain. She cheated on him, got AIDS, and gave it to their child, so this is what Roger’s been waiting for. Hicks and Carter operate on Bartok, though Carter’s the only person who thinks it’s worth it. Anspaugh interrupts to tell Hicks that he rejected Bartok as a poor surgical candidate. Obviously Hicks didn’t know that, so Carter went to Mommy when Daddy said no. Anspaugh is furious, and Carter will have to beg for his job at the end of the day. Hicks tells Carter to scrub out.

Mark wants to remove the surgical instruments from Ida through an endoscopy, but she refuses, still wanting surgery. Mark changes her mind by telling her how invasive and traumatic an endoscopy is. But before Mark can do the procedure, he gets called to Rachel’s school to pick her up. Benton shows Carla’s ultrasound to a neonatologist named Tabash, who tells him everything looks fine. He’s not happy to learn that Benton went behind Carla’s back to get more information.

Betsy needs to have her gallbladder removed right away, which means she’ll have to miss the prom. She’s willing to take antibiotics and risk getting worse if she can delay the surgery until tomorrow. Doug tries to negotiate with her so she can go to prom, then check back into the hospital as soon as it’s over. Betsy’s more stubborn with Doug, but it’s good practice for when he has to deal with his own teenage daughters.

Mark meets with Rachel’s teacher, who asks if she has any restrictions…because of her leukemia. Apparently she’s been telling her classmates that she’s dying of cancer. After a fight with a popular girl, Rachel is now on the outs with a lot of her classmates. Doyle and Carol take care of a patient together, but things get awkward when Doyle insists she can insert a central line and Carol doubts her abilities. Doyle snaps at her, so Carol says she’ll call a surgeon to do it.

Doug sends Betsy and her date, Jeffrey, to the prom in an ambulance. Betsy has to stay on an IV and isn’t allowed to eat or smoke, so I’m not sure how much fun she’ll have, but at least she won’t have to miss the dance. Carter meets with Anspaugh and Hicks, who are more than ready to terminate his residency. Carter has no regrets, since they gave Bartok another chance. He survived the surgery, which just makes Carter look like more of a hero.

Doyle wants to give her patient a medication that could harm his kidneys, but she ignores Carol’s warnings. Since Doyle is the only doctor in the room, the nurses have to follow her orders. Doug comes in and takes over, effectively ending the Doyle/Carol stand-off. Suzanne’s declining and thinks that Greg is her husband. She begs for his forgiveness, so Jeanie tells Greg to just say he forgives her. Greg resists, disappointing Jeanie.

Weaver scores Jerry’s IQ test and tells him he did horribly – worse than if he’d just guessed on everything. She forces him to call the sperm bank and change his profile. Mark returns with Rachel, and Weaver tells him she performed Ida’s endoscopy, which Mark had told Haleh to delay until he got back. Weaver wants to co-author a paper with Mark about Ida, entitled “The Woman Who Ate the ER.”

Doyle tracks down Carol and calls her out for her attitude and second-guessing Doyle’s orders. She doesn’t care if she’s younger than Carol – Doyle is the doctor and Carol is the nurse. Doug overhears, so not only has Carol been embarrassed by the icy student council president, but it happened in front of the hot captain of the football team.

Speaking of confrontations, Mark tells Rachel what her teacher said about her lies. Clearly she just craves attention from her father, and thinks being sick will do the trick, since he spends his days taking care of sick people. Suzanne dies, and Greg approaches Jeanie while she’s wrapping things up with the body. Jeanie brushes off his apology over not pretending to be Roger, but she’s not ready to go away with him for the weekend.

Carter visits Bartok post-op and tells him that while he’s going to recover, they had to remove so much of his intestine that he’ll never be able to eat solid food again. He can still drink and smoke, though, so he’s okay with that. Bartok asks how the horse he bet on did, but Carter doesn’t know. Bartok decides it doesn’t matter.

Jerry has retrieved Jeanie’s flowers and put them on the front desk, because Jerry has very low standards for things. Malik is now taking over his sting and is setting up an appointment at the sperm bank as “Dr. McGrath.” Benton finally goes to Carla’s place to tell her he wants to be a father to their child. She gives in and tells him to come back that weekend to help out around her apartment.

Carol tells Doug that Doyle’s right – she hates taking orders from someone younger. They come from the same neighborhood, and Doyle got through med school, but Carol can’t even get through the door. Doug tells her she can always get through his door. “Anything in a bra can get through your door,” she points out. He claims he’s reformed and raised his standards. He greets Betsy as she and Jeffrey return to the hospital, happy that he let them go to the prom.

Rachel falls asleep in the lounge waiting for her father to get off work. Haleh brings him a case that would be great for an article, but Mark’s in dad mode now and tells her to give it to Weaver. Hicks informs Carter that he’s on probation but somehow still has a job. She wanted to kick him out, but Anspaugh wants him to stay. This is his last chance, and he needs to remember that he’s not a law unto himself.

Jeanie goes to Al’s and apologizes for being rude about the flowers when he was just trying to be nice. He asks if she really thinks their entire marriage was a disaster. They agree that some things were good, and he takes responsibility for the bad ending. He doesn’t blame her for hating him. Jeanie says she doesn’t hate him, and she doesn’t want to be mad anymore. She admits that she misses him, then hugs him.

Thoughts: Nina, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but calling a psych patient a “fruitcake” isn’t exactly professional.

So do Rachel and Jen live in Chicago again? Rachel’s in school there, and Mark didn’t have to go far when he visited at Christmas, but I don’t think a move was ever mentioned.

Listen, I have nothing against Al. He’s fine. But…he’s not a better choice than Greg! Jeanie made a mistake.

April 9, 2019

ER 3.17, Tribes: Black, White, and Greene

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

Okay, let’s keep the child out of the ER

Summary: Mark, Doug, Carter, and Malik are playing basketball outside the hospital when an ambulance brings in a combative patient named Mr. Thomas. He OD’d on his son’s jimson weed tea, and the son is worried about how his father will react when he comes down. Carol is dealing with a college student named Lori who’s worried she’s pregnant. She got drunk at a party and may have hooked up with a guy named Mike, but it might not have been consensual.

Thomas, still high, admires his family jewels, which Weaver isn’t as impressed by as he is. Thomas wonders if Malik’s are prettier and grabs his butt. Whatever Malik gets paid, it’s not enough. Benton arrives outside, and Mark suggests that he and Doug play Benton and Carter in a game of two on two. Benton declines, because the idea of bonding with his co-workers has no appeal to him.

Once the basketball playing is over, Mark helps Lily wrangle a woman named Babs who’s either mentally unstable or on drugs. Thomas’ son has brought in the tea his dad drank, and Weaver is barely able to stop Jerry before he drinks some. Carol tells Lori that a drug screen shows she was roofied. Lori feels stupid for trusting Mike. She’s not sure they should call the police, since she’s not positive that she was raped. Carol calmly says they’ll finish her evaluation and see if there’s any evidence.

Paramedics bring in two gunshot victims from a drug deal gone bad. One is black and one is white. The black victim isn’t hurt too badly, so Mark prioritizes the white one. Doyle takes care of the black one, Kenny, assuring Mark that he’s not armed. Kenny’s brother, Chris, arrives and tries to find out who shot him. He’s furious that Mark is tending to the white guy, Brody, and seemingly ignoring Kenny. Mark says they’re taking care of both guys, and the hospital treats everyone the same.

Kenny starts declining, so Mark joins Doyle in working on him. No one will tell Chris what’s going on, so he turns to the only other black man in the room, Malik. Malik recognizes Kenny’s name and tells Mark he’s a star high school basketball player. Chris runs to the trauma room next door and asks Benton to come take care of his brother. Mark keeps working, asking someone to get security to remove Chris from the room, since he’s getting aggressive.

Carter chats with Babs, who’s now lucid. She tells him she’s had chest pain for a few weeks. Jeanie seems to have moved past her hesitation to sleep with Greg, because she’s gathering supplies and would like Weaver to write her a prescription for a diaphragm. She’s still nervous, though, and isn’t sure she wants to potentially expose Greg to HIV when they’re still at the beginning of their relationship. Then, without even knowing who she is, Jeanie meets Carla, who’s been brought in after a car accident.

Mark meets Brody’s parents and tells them he’s stable but will need surgery. Chris overhears the polite conversation and complains that Mark is treating the white family like their VIPs. Mark insists that, based on the initial exam, Brody was in worse condition than Kenny, so he was prioritized. Chris spits that when Mark saw Kenny, he just thought of him as “another shot [n-word].”

Mark joins the Brodys, telling them that their son was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and was an innocent bystander. But the Brodys have some information that turns the whole case around: Brody is often in the wrong place at the wrong time because he’s a crack addict. That means, while Mark assumed Kenny was a drug dealer, he was actually the innocent bystander.

Carol examines Lori and determines that she was raped. Lori jumps to the worst-case scenario, worrying that she’s contracted an STD. Carol has already called a counselor, and she wants Lori to call the police, at the very least to get Mike off the streets before he can attack anyone else. What’s worse, if he’s combining roofies with alcohol, he could kill someone. Lori asks Carol to stay with her, and Carol promises she will.

Carter calls the hospital that released Babs before she came to County and yells at them for dumping her because she doesn’t have insurance. Kenny’s basketball coach, Stan, comes to the hospital with some of his fellow players, who are upset about their friend being hurt. They’re pleased that Chris has already been there and is probably taking care of things.

Carla’s baby seems to be fine, but she needs stitches and an x-ray of her ankle. She confides in Jeanie that she hates needles and plans to have a natural birth. Chris and the basketball players want to be let onto the surgical floor while Kenny’s in surgery, but Jerry won’t give them access. He complains to Mark that “the natives are restless.” Connie accuses him of making a racist comment, but Jerry defends the use of the word “natives” because the guys are locals. Mark tells Jerry to watch his mouth.

Doyle says that the basketball players think Kenny was shot by someone who bet on the other team for a championship basketball game. Mark can’t believe that someone would be shot over a sport. Connie points out that people are shot over basketball shoes. Doyle suggests that Mark set the guys straight and tell them that Brody was a drug dealer. Mark notes that that’s a privacy violation, and the police need to take care of that stuff.

Rachel and Jen arrive with the news that Jen’s mother had a stroke in Florida. They’re heading down there, which means Rachel will have to miss school, as well as soccer practice. Mark suggests that Rachel stay with him instead. Jen doubts that Mark can balance work and parenting, but Mark insists that he can handle it.

Benton and Hicks operate on Kenny while they discuss Carter’s transfer to Hicks’ team. Benton claims not to have a problem with it, as long as it’s for Carter’s own good. Carter sees that Babs has an abnormal EKG and needs to be admitted for monitoring. She shouldn’t have been sent away from the other hospital. Lori leaves, grateful that Carol stayed by her side through her ordeal.

Jeanie chats with Carla, who’s definitely decided to let Benton keep his distance from the baby. She thinks that if he were to try to be a responsible parent, he’d spend the whole time wishing he were somewhere else. Weaver treats a ring bearer who swallowed his mom and stepdad-to-be’s wedding rings right before the ceremony. The bride and groom will have to wait until he passes the rings. The ring bearer thinks this is awesome.

Paramedics bring in a man named Mr. Brown who was hit by a car while crossing the street in a wheelchair. Weaver objects to a paramedic’s use of the word “handicapped” and suggests “person with a disability” instead. She quickly determines that Brown is drunk, and possibly high on something. He objects to having his stomach pumped, but Weaver ignores him.

Because Carla has A-negative blood, she’s also rh-negative, which could cause a problem with the baby if the father is rh-positive. Carla’s torn between getting stuck with a needle and asking Benton his blood type, neither of which seems like a fun activity to her. She opts for the less painful one, telling Jeanie that the baby’s father actually works at County. Jeanie’s stunned when she learns it’s Benton.

Carter tries to track down a cardiologist named Smith who treated Babs years ago. That’s like finding a needle in a haystack. A number of Kenny’s friends have come to the hospital and are hanging around the hallway, so Mark asks Malik to send them to the waiting area. Malik just loves having a white man ask him to talk to other black people so he doesn’t have to do it himself.

Rachel’s still around, waiting for a babysitter to pick her up, and asks why Mark isn’t taking care of Jen’s mother. He promises that she’s getting good care from the doctor where she lives. Another gunshot victim arrives, this one from the school playing Kenny’s in the championship. Doug thinks someone shot him as payback for Kenny. Mark locks eyes with Chris, who certainly doesn’t seem broken up about this.

Mark handles the trauma while he squares away arrangements for Rachel. Because single parents can have it all! Brown has used a bunch of drugs, and he asks if Weaver is going to bust him for “wheeling under the influence.” He thinks he’s justified in taking drugs because he’s paralyzed. She guesses that he’s not doing physical therapy after the gunshot wound that put him in the wheelchair. She tries to counsel him about adjusting better, but Brown isn’t interested in that, or in rehab.

Kenny’s doing poorly in surgery and will most likely never be an athlete again, if he even survives. Jeanie comes by to pull Benton aside and ask his blood type. She tells him Carla’s in the ER with minor injuries, and she wants him to share his blood type. Benton doesn’t know it, so Jeanie will draw some to find out. The newest gunshot victim is stable, and Doyle wonders if the game will be canceled. The staff guesses there will be more victims.

Mark tries to smooth things over with Chris, telling him that Kenny was injured during a drug deal but wasn’t involved. The rival player shouldn’t have been targeted since Kenny wasn’t shot on purpose. Chris balks at being accused of arranging the shooting, but Mark just wants him to spread the word so no one else tries to get revenge. Chris thinks he’s being profiled. Mark yells that he sees gunshot victims every day, but Chris doesn’t care, since Mark has never seen his brother bleeding to death in the ER.

Carter finally tracks down Babs’ former doctor and records, which let him know that her EKG hasn’t always been abnormal, so it’s a good thing she’s in the hospital. Benton gives Jeanie his blood sample, wondering if he should swing by the ER and see Carla. She didn’t say she wanted to see him, so he heads back to surgery. Mark asks Malik to tell Kenny’s family he’s still in surgery so they can have an update. Malik is again annoyed to be Mark’s messenger.

Weaver tells Mark about Brown, still interested in getting him into rehab. Then Mark heads to another trauma, as a fourth gunshot victim has come in. Weaver lies about Brown being motivated to get sober so she can get him a bed in rehab. Hicks comes to collect the latest trauma patient, and Doug praises Carter for saving him. She gives them the bad news that Kenny died in surgery. She apologizes for keeping Carter in the ER all day, but he’s not unhappy about it.

Doug examines two Little League players who collided during the game. Their fathers start arguing, so Doug sends them out of the room, telling them not to let their sons become rivals off the field. Mark asks Malik to come with him when he tells the Laws that Kenny died. Malik finally puts his foot down and reminds Mark that he’s a nurse – if he’s scared, he should call security. Mark goes to the waiting area alone and tells Chris that his brother died.

Carla’s started laboring, so Coburn has to give her an IV to give her medication to stop it. Jeanie offers to do the needle insertion, knowing Carla hates needles. Weaver tries to convince Brown to check into rehab, offering painkillers if he’ll try it for a few days. Brown accepts. Jeanie calms Carla by telling her to imagine a happy place. Carla won’t share where that place, since “it’s X-rated.” Heh.

Rachel’s sitter hasn’t arrived, so Doyle offers to take her to Doc Magoo’s for dinner. She’s still in the ER when the Laws and Kenny’s friends walk past, mourning Kenny. Rachel asks if Mark took care of Kenny like her grandmother’s doctors are taking care of her. Doyle says he did. Mark asks Haleh if she thinks he made racist assumptions when Kenny first came in. Haleh diplomatically says that black and white people see the world in different ways. White people often say certain things don’t have to do with race, but for black people, everything has to do with race.

Babs has a heart attack, so Mark rushes to help Carter, who stabilizes her. Coburn gives Carla an ultrasound, quizzing Jeanie on the procedure. They determine that the baby is a boy, which makes Carla happy. Mark beats himself up for thinking Babs was on drugs, as if he hasn’t made enough mistakes today. He tells her she’ll be fine, thanks to Carter. “Never shoulda smoked that crack, huh?” she responds.

After their day of saving gunshot victims, Hicks tells Benton that she has space for him on her team of general surgeons. Instead of being ambitious and seeking a tough specialty, he should focus on healing people. At first it looks like he’s going to decline, but he accepts. This means he’ll be working with Carter again, which amuses him.

Worried that putting off tending to Kenny led to his decline, Mark has talked to the surgeons, but there’s no way to know for sure. He admits to Doug that he does make assumptions based on race, and he tries not to act on them, but…you know. Racism. Doug says Mark is the least cynical person he knows.

Brown goes back on his deal with Weaver, leaving the hospital without checking out rehab. Weaver predicts that he’ll be back. Lydia’s like, “Yeah, he’ll be back to get drugs.” Mark tells Malik that he was right to call him on his behavior today. Appeased, Malik rejoins the basketball game. Benton goes to see Carla, who’s asleep, and watches the tape of her ultrasound, getting his first glimpse of his son.

Thoughts: Brown is played by Clifton Collins, Jr. Thomas is played by Richard Fancy.

Carla: still enjoyable for now. It’s weird.

Mark’s bedside manner in this episode is as faint as his hairline. He’s usually much better than this.

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