June 11, 2019

ER 4.4, When the Bough Breaks: Surprise! Benton Is Human After All!

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

Cue mass casualty in 3…2…

Summary: Benton drops some things off at Carla’s apartment in preparation for Reese’s homecoming. She thinks he’s being overly cautious, but Benton doesn’t want her to have to wait for paramedics if something happens. For a first-time mom, Carla is very confident that everything will go fine. Meanwhile, Doug and Carla go rollerblading; she’s good and he’s inexperienced.

Jen surprises Mark at his apartment to complain that Rachel fell asleep at school. Rachel claimed that Mark let her stay up late the last time she visited. Jen thinks Mark’s assault is messing with him psychologically. No kidding, Jen! Until Mark is more like his normal self, Jen will be keeping Rachel away from him.

Carter’s gotten into motivational self-help stuff, in an attempt to turn around his year, since it hasn’t been going that great yet. He and Anna meet their new med students, James and Ivan, and Carter eagerly takes on the job of getting them acclimated. Thanks to his refusal to wear a helmet while rollerblading, Doug banged his head and gets an ice pack in the ER. Carol pretends not to know what happened.

Connie alerts everyone at the admit desk to a televised police chase involving a motorcycle. Weaver has finally gotten her hands on Doug’s research study, which lets children control their own pain medication, and encourages him to use data from another study to finish it. Doug isn’t interested in her help in getting a grant, but Weaver thinks he’ll have to leave for private practice by the end of the year if he doesn’t get one.

Since Carter had a bad experience with his last med student, Anna tells him he can choose between Ivan and James this time. Both guys seem competent, though, so Carter will probably be okay no matter who he gets. Paramedics bring in a guy named Jeremy who was hit by a car when he walked into traffic. He claims he’s an angel, and he can sense pain in Mark.

Benton meets up with Carla, whose friend Daphina has come to drive her and Reese home (Benton’s on duty). Benton doesn’t like her. Elizabeth sees him with his son and notes that he’s pretty secretive, since she had no idea he had a child. Benton gets paged back inside, so Carla impatiently sends him back to work.

Anna examines a boy with asthma whose mother, Mrs. Landeta, would prefer to have him treated by Doug. The police chase is still underway, though Doug and the nurses think the police are about to finish it off. Mrs. Landeta asks Doug to take over her son’s case, so Anna reluctantly steps aside. Speaking of being pushed aside from a job, Al has lost his at a construction site. He figures he’ll end up getting shut out of every site in the city. Jeanie tries to give him encouragement, but Al knows the kind of people he’s dealing with.

Carter calls Benton to the ER to consult on a patient he’s sure will end up needing surgery. Benton reminds him that he has to get an ultrasound first, but Carter’s sure of the outcome and thinks it makes sense to warn Benton early. Anna complains to Carol that Doug is patronizing; she can’t believe that Carol ever dated him. Carol says that Mrs. Landeta is just used to Doug. Weaver says that Doug has trouble dealing with strong women. He doesn’t know how to handle women he can’t charm or vilify.

Doris is back for treatment and unhappy to have to wait. The police chase has ended with a crash into a school bus, and the victims will be coming to County. Doris is going to have to wait a lot longer now. Weaver sends someone to find Mark, who’s smoking on the steps of an El platform when he sees ambulances speed by on their way to County.

Cynthia’s thrust into the middle of her first trauma, trying to coordinate communicating with the victims’ families. They’re mostly middle-schoolers on a field trip. Elizabeth’s patient isn’t happy to hear that her nearly amputated arm will have to be fully amputated so it can be reattached. Benton displays some actual good bedside manner with her.

In the middle of the chaos, Jeanie goes off to tend to a man who fell off a roof while installing a satellite dish. Mark thinks his young patient is a goner, but Doug wants to keep working on him, since he’s a child. Ivan can’t handle all the trauma and gets sick, so Benton makes Carter take him out. Jeremy looks on while Carter assists Weaver with an intubation.

Carol sees a trail of blood in the hallway and follows it to a bathroom, where Doris is bleeding. Jeanie’s patient goes south and needs a chest tube, a procedure Jeanie’s not supposed to perform. Connie tries to get Mark to help her, but Mark’s busy with his patient. Carol realizes that Doris is in labor despite her insistence that she’s not pregnant. Mark hears her yelling and rushes to help the baby Carol just delivered. He’s not breathing, and Doris accuses Carol of dropping him. Benton comes by and is shaken by the sight of the preemie.

With all the doctors still busy, Jeanie and Chuny are left to insert a chest tube on their own. Doris thinks she’s in labor again (it’s just the placenta), and she yells at Carol, “Don’t drop this one!” (It’s not funny, but…it’s also a little funny.) Jeanie’s patient’s son finds Weaver and tells her to come help Jeanie, who doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing. Well, dude, you were the one urging her to do the procedure, so…hush.

While Mark, Benton, and Carol work hard to save Doris’ baby, Jeanie successfully inserts the chest tube just as Weaver comes in. She has to admit that she used her finger instead of a clamp, which is beyond the restrictions of her job. Weaver sends her away. Mark decides that the baby can’t be saved and has to tell Benton to stop doing chest compressions. Mark doesn’t notice how difficult this is for Benton, but Carol does. Benton goes straight for the phone and calls Carla to check on Reese.

Weaver compliments Carter on the method he used to help her with the intubation. He credits Benton, and Weaver says Carter was lucky to have him as a mentor. Too bad Carter doesn’t have the same relationship with Ivan, who’s still recovering from his bad reaction to the trauma. Doug apologizes to Anna for stealing her patient from her, but Anna’s willing to let that go. James comes in from his lunch break, unaware that there was a mass casualty in the ER while he was gone.

Weaver tends to Officer Mulvahill, the cop who crashed into the bus while he was chasing the motorcyclist. He’s not hurt too badly, but he’s upset with himself for causing the crash that injured so many others. Benton operates with Elizabeth, who mentions again that she was surprised to learn he has a child. She thought he was too ambitious and driven to have a family. He surprises her again by telling her that Carla isn’t his wife.

Jeremy complains about negative energy in the hospital, then spies on Mark and Cynthia while they talk. Jeremy tells Mark that Cynthia likes him. Doug tells Carol that he worked things out with Anna, but Carol thinks Anna isn’t as cool with the situation with the patient as she’s let on. Weaver tells Carol to fill out an incident report about Doris’ baby in case she wants to make a statement. Carol doesn’t think she has to worry about the ramblings of a crack addict, but Weaver reminds her that she was suspended last year, so she needs to be extra-careful.

The motorcyclist is brought in, having finally been captured, and Weaver passes him off to Carter so she doesn’t accidentally-on-purpose hurt him. Jeanie tries to defend her actions with her patient, but Weaver tells her that when they agreed to let her keep working at County, she agreed to not do certain things. Apparently Jeanie should have just let the patient die if she had to.

Carter spots a welt on the motorcyclist’s body, which a police officer says is the result of the guy sliding into a fence. Yeah, it definitely doesn’t look baton-shaped. Carol asks Mark to back her up in her insistence that she didn’t drop the baby. Mark agrees with Carol that Doris’ statement won’t hold water, but since he didn’t see the delivery and whether or not Carol dropped the baby, he can’t give an eyewitness statement. Carol interprets this as him indicating he doesn’t believe her.

Doug gets back to Mrs. Landeta and her son (Jaime), whose breathing is better but who now has diarrhea. Doug suggests getting a stool sample, which Anna also wanted earlier but didn’t mention to him. Doris has asked for a lawyer, so Carol probably shouldn’t be her nurse anymore, but whatever. Doris says again that she didn’t know she was pregnant; if she had, she would have stopped using crack. No one’s told her yet that the baby didn’t survive. She figures she would have messed up the child anyway. But she still asks Carol if she’s physically able to have another one.

Carter sends Ivan off for the night, hoping he’ll have a stronger stomach tomorrow. Benton’s making one last call to Carla before he leaves work on time for once. When Chuny gets Carter to tend to the worsening motorcyclist, Benton tags along to help out. He chastises Carter for not getting a surgical consult even though the patient seemed stable. So, to sum up, no matter what Carter does, Benton disapproves.

Cynthia tells Mark that Jeremy’s family has been found; he’s supposed to be on medication but may have stopped taking it when he came to Chicago for college. Anna urges Carter to talk to Benton about how he treats Carter, as if he hasn’t been this way for three years now.

Doug tells Anna that he’s determined that Jaime doesn’t have asthma after all – he has strongyloides, a parasite, and the prednisone Doug was going to give him would have made him worse. He thinks Anna suspected this but didn’t say anything. The two of them bicker about how their personal issues shouldn’t get in the way of patient care. Cynthia interrupts so Doug can tell the mother of his and Mark’s patient that he died. Now Anna feels bad about her petty squabbles with Doug.

Benton wants to stay late to operate on the motorcyclist, but Elizabeth offers to do the surgery instead so he can go home to Reese. She warns that she probably won’t be this generous again, so he should take advantage. Mark prepares to give Jeremy some Haldol, but Jeremy says he doesn’t want to feel normal. Mark shouldn’t run away from fear. He needs to make friends with it and embrace the light; it’ll save him.

Carter follows Benton as he leaves, complaining that there’s no point to his mistreatment anymore. Benton tries to brush him off, but Carter refuses to let him walk away. Benton finally tosses him to the ground. That leads to more complaining from Carter, who thinks he’s earned Benton’s respect after three years. Benton says he threw that respect away when he left surgery for emergency medicine. Benton took time to mentor him, but when Carter decided to leave, he went to Anspaugh instead. Carter apologizes, but he doesn’t sound that sorry. Benton tells him to stop seeking approval.

As Doug goes back to his research, Mark tells Carol that he learned Doris’ baby died in utero two days ago. Carol’s still upset, but Mark says it’s not about whether or not he believed her story – he would have been on her side no matter what. Carol says he should have been on Doris’ side. She’s been in the ER multiple times, and Mark never gave her a pregnancy test. Mark doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and though Carol can’t really disagree, she thinks more can be done for their less fortunate patients.

Weaver’s cooled off about the Jeanie situation, but she tells Jeanie that she had the right to be mad. After all, Weaver fought for Jeanie to keep her job, and Jeanie repaid her by doing something she wasn’t supposed to. Jeanie needs to remember that her decisions affect others. Jeanie admits that if she had to make that decision again, she might do the same thing.

Mark and Cynthia leave at the same time, and she asks him to walk her to the El platform, since it’s nighttime. He offers her a ride home instead. Benton goes to Carla’s and takes in the heartwarming scene of mother and son cuddling together. Despite his difficult day, he gets to end it on a good note.

Thoughts: Daphina is played by Merrin Dungey. Jeremy is played by David Denman.

Shout-out to the girl playing Elizabeth and Benton’s patient, who truly howls like someone whose arm is falling off.

One of the other patients was drawing on his hand with a pen, and when the bus crashed, the pen got lodged in his hand. Why did I decide to watch this show again?

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.

February 19, 2019

ER 3.10, Homeless for the Holidays: Employee X

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

It’s Doug’s best day ever!

Summary: Jeanie meets up with Weaver at Doc Magoo’s after a meeting with her doctor. Her viral load is now undetectable on her new medication, and she thinks County might now be okay with her continuing to work there. Weaver is less hopeful, but she’s also upset that Jeanie’s been sidelined with administrative tasks instead of seeing patients. Whatever happens, however, at least Jeanie’s health is good.

Randi criticizes Mark’s choice of Christmas presents for Rachel, a sled. Gant likes it, but his judgment might be compromised, since he’s been working for about 24 hours. Things get even worse for him when his girlfriend, Monique, calls to cancel their holiday plans.

Weaver meets with Mark and Anspaugh to discuss Jeanie. She can’t be fired because she’s HIV-positive, but it’s legal to make her life miserable, basically. Anspaugh tells Weaver and Mark to come up with a fair policy they can apply to any staff member with HIV. This means the two feuding doctors will have to work together.

Gant still has ten more hours to go before he gets a holiday break, part of which he’ll be spending with Carter’s family (but not Monique). Doug’s trying to buy his mom some last-minute flowers, but Carol hangs up the phone while he’s on hold to force him to see patients. She doesn’t want to hear his holiday complaints, since her mother started her prep for their traditional Ukrainian Christmas celebration at 5 a.m.

Doug asks Mark what his meeting with Anspaugh was about. Mark says they’re working on a departmental policy on HIV-positive workers, which makes Doug think there’s someone in the ER with HIV. Weaver and Carol treat a drag queen, Miss Understood, who had a fight with her boyfriend over who was cooking their Christmas goose and now has chest pains. She’s still clutching the goose and refuses to give it up, but Carol out-stubborns her.

Rumors are now circulating that someone in the hospital has HIV. Jeanie overhears Connie and Randi talking about it but keeps a poker face. Carol tries to get her to stitch up a patient, but Jeanie says she’s doing triage again. As Charlie arrives with Ahmed, the baby Doug has been trying to get into the hospital. Doyle tends to a woman named Beth who has some bad facial injuries and a possibly broken jaw. Doyle sees in her chart that she’s been there before multiple times and angrily guesses that Beth’s husband is abusive.

Mark and Weaver get to work on the policy, trying to balance federal law with state regulations. Mark argues that he’s concerned, not a bigot, and no one wants to fire Jeanie. They just need to remember their responsibility to their patients. Weaver notes that they also have a responsibility to Jeanie, who’s a good employee. If they reveal her personal information, they could get sued. Mark says this is bigger than Weaver’s loyalty to a friend.

Doug’s treating a baby who snacked on mistletoe when he notices Charlie and Ahmed. She’s worried that Ahmed’s mother, Gloria will realize that Charlie brought him there and will be upset. Doug doesn’t care, telling Charlie to get Gloria to the hospital. Paramedics bring in a homeless man, Collins, who has burns and a yappy dog named Nick. Collins makes Mark promise not to send the dog to a kennel.

Doug determines that Ahmed has a mass in his abdomen and will probably need surgery. Gloria hasn’t arrived yet and there are no other adult relatives, so there’s no one to give consent. Charlie wishes she’d brought him in sooner, since Ahmed’s tumor is affecting his kidney function, but Doug praises her for getting the child medical treatment.

Keaton, Benton, and Carter operate on Ahmed while Carol tries to get a history from a woman who was found dancing with elves at Marshall Fields. She’ll only speak through a reindeer hand puppet and will only give her name as Blitzen, “the most overlooked of all the reindeer.” Carol decides to write Blitzen down as the woman’s name.

Doyle’s telling Beth about a shelter she can go to when her husband, Mr. Lang, arrives. He pretends that she was hurt when she fell down some stairs. Doyle coolly sends him back to the waiting area, saying they still have some things to do. Mark tries to find Nick something he’ll eat, but the dog is picky. Also, Collins’ condition is declining. As Carol’s trying to get “Blitzen” a psych consult, a man arrives looking for her.

Nick finally gets some food, finding Miss Understood’s goose. Ahmed comes through surgery fine, but he’ll need to stay in the hospital for a while. Doug tells Charlie that he has to call Social Services, since Gloria didn’t do anything when Ahmed got sick. Charlie’s worried that Gloria will throw her out. Doug agrees to give Gloria a chance to explain herself.

Keaton wants to make last-minute Christmas Eve plans with Carter, so he says he’ll try to get out of things with Gant and his family. Doug treats Charlie to lunch and tries to get her to open up about her family life. She ran away from home in Cleveland because her mom had a string of bad boyfriends who often turned their attention to Charlie. She hasn’t talked to her mother since.

After 34 hours of work, Gant is ready to party with the rich people. Carter says he might not make it to his family’s party, because there’s a “girl” he wants to go see. Gant understands, but Carter feels bad. Not bad enough to give up Keaton, of course.

Weaver and Mark keep discussing their policy, overhearing Lily and Chuny as they gossip about the employee who might have HIV. Mark decides to address this head-on, but this leads to a debate among the nurses. Chuny doesn’t think a worker with HIV should be involved in a bloody trauma. Carol doesn’t see the problem as long as the person wears gloves.

Connie asks if the worker, whom Mark is calling Employee X, got HIV from a needle stick. Doyle doesn’t see why it matters. Haleh says that universal precautions are supposed to prevent transmission, and Lydia notes that they work on HIV-positive patients using those precautions. As Jeanie comes by, Mark says they’re trying to determine whether patients have the right to know that their doctor or nurse or whoever has HIV.

Chuny asks if there’s an actual Employee X, or if this is all hypothetical. Weaver says they’re just discussing policies for now. Employee X could be anyone. Tired of being talked about, Jeanie steps forward and says, “Would everyone stop calling me Employee X? I am HIV-positive.”

Weaver and Mark continue their discussion in the lounge, now with Jeanie present. Mark would be uncomfortable with letting Jeanie participate in a trauma involving deep, penetrating wounds, but Jeanie says she wouldn’t be comfortable with that either. She’s been more careful since she got her diagnosis, and she would never want to harm a patient. Mark knows this, but they need to reconcile state and federal policies.

Jeanie wants to continue helping people, which is why she hasn’t quit her job. She asks what else Mark is concerned about. He notes that dementia can be a sign of full-blown AIDS, and would obviously put patients at risk. Jeanie says that some hospitals have someone monitor employees with HIV to keep an eye on their health. Weaver volunteers to do that for Jeanie. Coming out of the meeting, Jeanie realizes that her co-workers are now looking at her differently. Carol says she wishes she’d known about Jeanie’s HIV, obviously implying that she would have been nicer if she had.

Doyle and Malik tell Mr. Lang that Beth will probably have to stay overnight for observation. They send him back to the waiting area as they wheel a covered gurney outside. Beth is on the gurney, sneaking out to go to the bus station. Doyle even gives her money for her bus ticket and food. Then she tells Malik the money was really his, as he won the employees’ bowl game pool.

Mark looks for an animal shelter that will take Nick, ignoring Chuny when she reminds him that he told the now-dead Collins he wouldn’t send the dog away. Mark’s mad that he had to pay Miss Understood $50 for the goose Nick ate. Chuny guilts him into changing his mind by telling him the shelter will kill the dog if they can’t find him a home. But hey, now Rachel might have a better Christmas present.

Gloria comes to the hospital, furious that no one will give her Ahmed. Doug can tell she’s high, which certainly isn’t going to make him hand over the kid. Charlie’s mad when Doug threatens again to call Social Services. She though he was different from every other adult she’s met with any kind of power.

Mark bathes Nick in the lounge sink and tells Doug he’s giving the dog to Rachel. Doug offers to help with the bath if Mark gives him $20 (he lost his wallet). It’s a good thing he doesn’t pay up front, because the dog escapes. Mark slips and hits his head, staying behind while Doug chases down the dog. Needing stitches, Mark turns to Jeanie for help, extending an olive branch.

Carter and Keaton are exchanging Christmas presents when Benton comes by Keaton’s office. Carter hides under her desk. Benton wants to do another pediatric rotation and hopes Keaton will give her replacement a recommendation (she’s going to Pakistan, remember). Keaton says Benton is a great surgeon, but it’s not enough for pediatrics. He only took the rotation to challenge himself; he doesn’t have a passion for pediatrics. Benton leaves without a recommendation for another specialty, saying he doesn’t want to waste any more of Keaton’s time.

While Jeanie stitches him up, Mark tells her she’s an asset to the ER. He wants her to stay. However, she’ll have to work within the limits they’re setting up, and Jeanie knows Mark wouldn’t be comfortable with her, say, giving Rachel stitches. Doug brings the dog back, then heads off to spend Christmas Eve alone.

Jeanie tells Mark she’s sorry she lied about her health. After he leaves, Carol comes into the lounge and tries to relate to what Jeanie’s going through now that the news about her health is out. When she came back to work after attempting suicide, she felt like everyone was staring at her. Carol hopes the two of them can become friends.

Charlie’s waiting for Doug at his place, having gotten his address from his wallet, which she stole. She has no place to go since, as suspected, Gloria kicked her out. Al visits Jeanie at the hospital and gives her some Christmas cards that were sent to them as a couple. He also has the star they used to put at the top of their Christmas tree. They reminisce about the early days of their marriage.

Carter goes looking for Gant, who fell asleep finishing his charts. Since Gant is doing his scut work, Benton has time to visit Carla and give her a gas station poinsettia. Apparently her standards are low because she lets him come in. At Carol’s, where she’s hosting Ukrainian Christmas, her mother chastises her for not having an extra chair for an unexpected visitor. It’s tradition, but also a necessity when Doug shows up with Charlie, wanting Carol to take her in for the night.

Mark takes both the dog and the sled to Jen’s house, but sees that Rachel has already gotten two puppies for Christmas. Jen’s new husband, Craig, spots him as he’s leaving and notes how coincidental it is that Mark brought a dog. Rachel doesn’t seem to care that Nick is scraggly and not as young or cute as her puppies. Mark pretends the dog is his and can barely hide his glee when Nick bites Craig. Charlie enjoys herself with Carol’s family, and Carol agrees to let her spend the night. Carter and Keaton spend the evening in bed, discussing her move to Pakistan. They recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Okay, leave already.

Mr. Lang falls asleep waiting for his wife at the hospital, and Doyle just lets him stay there. She tells Jeanie that the tree in the waiting area is missing something. She thinks Jeanie was gutsy for coming forward as Employee X. Jeanie realizes that she has the one thing that will make the tree look complete – the star Al brought her. Doyle says that since the star is from Jeanie’s first Christmas with Al, it’s an heirloom and should go on her family tree. But Jeanie says that’s exactly where it is.

Thoughts: Miss Understood’s drag cabaret act is the Mighty Morphin Gender Changers. That is BRILLIANT.

34 hours of work should be illegal.

I’ve always liked how much Weaver fights for Jeanie. I think it stems from having a disability – she’s most likely been mistreated at work, so she wants to stand up for someone else who’s being mistreated.

Apparently escaping from your abusive husband is just that easy.

When Benton comes by, Keaton tells him she was just “reviewing some anatomy.” Cough.

December 11, 2018

ER 2.22, John Carter, M.D.: When Bad Things Happen

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

He’s officially responsible for stuff. I’m scared

Summary: The County staff is jamming to some music on a relatively quiet day in the ER. Mark and Weaver are still discussing whether Susan should be chief resident. Weaver yells at Jerry to turn down the music, but Malik wants to do a verse first. Weaver finally agrees with Mark about Susan, though Mark has had to make a deal for the arrangement.

Susan treats a patient who says her name is June Allyson, so she’s probably not mentally competent. Susan thinks she has Alzheimer’s and wandered away from whoever was supposed to be keeping an eye on her. Mark and Weaver attend a staff meeting with Morgenstern, saying goodbye to an attending who’s moving to Iowa. Weaver has been touted as his replacement, but Mark has hesitated to agree until now. This is the deal he’s made with her: He supports Weaver as attending in exchange for her support of Susan as chief resident.

Carol has asked Shep to see a psychiatrist, but he doesn’t think he needs one. Carol tells him that he’s become so erratic, she worries that he’ll exhibit road rage the next time someone cuts them off in traffic. He tells her she sounds like Riley. Carol says that Riley was right about the circumstances surrounding the investigation into Shep’s behavior, and admits that she lied for him. Shep insists he’s fine and refuses to see a psychiatrist. Carol predicts that something horrible will happen if he doesn’t.

Carter invites Benton to his graduation, which everyone in his family will be attending (including his mythical sister who doesn’t exist after this season). Benton says he didn’t even go to his own graduation, which…sounds exactly like him, and I bet his mom was ticked. Carter says he can come by a cocktail party his father’s throwing for him; the mayor is even supposed to come. Benton thinks Carter’s sucking up, because he doesn’t understand that some people are nice for no reason. He doesn’t see their relationship going beyond teacher and student.

Mark tells Weaver that he did his part and she’s going to be the new attending. She’s excited to have the chance to bring about change (and also get a raise). Mark tries to confirm that Weaver will hold up her end of the bargain and back Susan as chief resident. Weaver suggests someone else, then says she’s joking. Jerry, Chuny, Malik, and Lily aren’t happy with Weaver’s new position, but Mark says he’s happy with the decision.

Paramedics bring in a newborn who was sent home just 12 hours ago, only a day after he was born. Now he’s not breathing. Carol is angry that a hospital would send a mother and baby home so soon after delivery. Lily tells her that hospital is their hospital. Jeanie asks Chuny to draw some of her blood for a test she’s been putting off.

Carter checks on T.C., then asks her doctor, Davitch, about her worsening condition. She’s moved up to the highest priority on the transplant list. Davitch asks Carter to join him while he talks to T.C.’s parents, since Carter’s familiar with the case. Doug comes to examine the newborn, Joseph, and quickly diagnoses him with a heart condition. Carol’s mad that the condition wasn’t caught before Joseph was discharged.

Carter and Davitch tell T.C.’s parents that she’s been moved up the transplant list. Davitch keeps getting paged, so he asks Carter to stay with the parents and answer any questions they have. Davitch doesn’t seem to know Carter, so he doesn’t realize that this is exactly the job for him. Once Joseph is sent to surgery, Doug asks Mark if the rumor is true that Weaver’s going to be the new attending. Mark defends her again. He tells Doug he got a call from a pharmacy about Doug writing a prescription for 100 Percodans for Karen. Doug confirms that it’s a legit prescription; Karen hurt her knee and travels too much to get regular refills.

Al finds Jeanie after an appointment and thanks her for staying with him when he got home from the hospital. He asks her some medical questions, and she tries to give him encouragement, but it’s hard to find anything good in his new HIV diagnosis. Al thinks it’s a little funny that his doctor gave him condoms, since “the horse is kind of out of the barn on that one.” Jeanie doesn’t find the humor there. She tells him she’s getting tested but hasn’t gotten the results yet. Al may have been HIV positive for as long as ten years, so he needs to contact anyone he’s slept with in that time period. It’s a long list.

Carol complains to Weaver and Susan about Joseph not getting the proper care after his delivery. Susan notes that not all serious conditions are apparent right after birth. Carol says that patients trust them; they told Joseph’s mother that it was safe to take him home, and she believed them. Weaver says it’s about money – if they spend it on healthy postpartum mothers, they don’t have it for other patients. June cuts the tension by parading through the waiting area naked, singing “June Is Busting Out All Over.”

Vucelich and Benton wind up in an elevator together, apparently seeing each other for the first time since Benton accused Vucelich of fraud. They discuss Benton being named resident of the year, which he knows was due in part to Vucelich’s recommendation. Vucelich’s study has earned the hospital a ton of money, even though he included the negative outcomes. (They weren’t statistically significant.) Both men dance around the whole scandal without mentioning it outright.

Carter’s about to leave for a fancy lunch with his parents when Jerry tells him T.C.’s parents have left him messages. He puts them off so he doesn’t annoy his father by being late. Morgenstern tells Carter that there’s one spot left for him on a plastic-surgery residency team, which will put him ahead of his peers. This also means he won’t be working under Benton anymore.

Mark tells Susan that Weaver is going to back her as chief resident, which should secure the title for her. Susan and Carol examine a patient named Kenny who has a cough he hasn’t been able to shake. Susan wants to give him a TB test. Mark meets Jen at Doc Magoo’s, where she announces that she and Craig (the guy she cheated on Mark with, I think) are getting married. Hey, do you think Craig knows that Jen and Mark slept together again? I bet he doesn’t!

Doug goes looking for Karen so he can ask about her prescription. He wrote it for 10; she apparently added an extra 0. Karen denies this, but since prescription pads come in triplicate, Doug can easily check his copies and see if she’s lying. She sticks to her story, then gives him the pill bottle and tells him to count the Percodans.

Susan tells Kenny that there’s a density in his lung; it’s not TB, but they’ll need to run more tests. Kenny doesn’t have insurance, and he doesn’t have any extra money to spend, so he’d rather leave than learn more about his condition. Susan and Carol can’t change his mind. Loretta’s back in the ER, having had surgery a few days earlier, but Lydia thinks she’s just scared and needs to talk to Mark to ease her mind.

Susan and Carol had to let Kenny leave, which Carol’s mad about. She argues with Susan about not doing more in terms of billing so Kenny had more options than just walking out. Susan says she did her job, telling the patient his options and letting him made his own decision. Loretta asks Mark to be her kids’ guardian in case something happens to her. She’s not surprised when he declines, though he appreciates being asked. He tells her she’s going to be fine anyway, and Loretta agrees.

Carter goes to T.C.’s room to talk to her parents, but they’ve gone to get food. T.C.’s worried that she’s not going to make it. Carter tells her that her new status on the transplant list means that she gets the next one that’s available. T.C.’s saddened that in order to live, someone else has to die. He reminds her that she’s not responsible for any bad things that lead to a death that gives her a new liver.

T.C. worries that nothing bad will happen this week that leads to a transplant. Carter assures her that bad things always happen around there. (Not the best way to encourage a kid, but okay.) T.C. notes that bad things are already happening to her. Even though he’s already late to get to his graduation, Carter offers to hang around for a while and keep T.C. company.

The nurses are unhappy to learn that Susan hasn’t been named chief resident after all. Mark finds out and confronts Weaver, who says she offered Susan the job, but Susan turned it down. Jeanie corners Benton in the lounge and, before she can chicken out, blurts out that Al has AIDS. (I thought he had HIV? The show seems to go back and forth on that.) Since Jeanie and Benton “were careful but not that careful,” he needs to get tested.

Mark, Carol, and Wendy tend to a girl named Monique who was hit by a car while riding her bike. Morgenstern hands out diplomas at graduation, but Carter isn’t there to get his. He’s playing cards with T.C., pretending he didn’t have anywhere important to be. Monique needs ankle surgery, but her insurance wants her moved, which means she has to be sent across town in an ambulance while her injury is still unstable. Carol is furious, but Mark won’t challenge the insurance company’s decision, since doing so would cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Carol’s response: “I quit.”

She heads straight for the lounge and starts clearing out her locker, listing all the horrible things they’ve had to deal with today. Mark points out that they also treated a ton of people who have nowhere else to go. He warns that Carol will feel awful about this decision in the morning. Carol says she’ll feel great about it.

Carter finds Benton sitting on the floor of a trauma room (ooh, that can’t be clean) and admits that he missed his graduation and cocktail party. Hey, now he has something in common with Benton! Benton says he missed his graduation because he was assisting in surgery. Carter says he was keeping T.C. company while her parents talked to her doctor. Benton points out that now Carter’s the doctor. Carter doesn’t know any more than he did this morning, but now everything’s changed. He’s sad he missed the ceremony.

Mark tracks down Susan and tells her that Carol quit. Susan confirms that she turned down being chief resident, inadvertently screwing up Mark’s deal. She says that every few months she gets a case like Kenny’s that makes her think about how little time we all have, and how we need to figure out how to fill that time. Susan had Susie, but now all she has is work. It’s not enough for her.

Carol heads home and tells Shep she left County. She was getting her shifts cut back and had to work nights too often, so she was sick of the job anyway. She’ll make more money working per diem or in home health care. Shep senses that things are about to end, as he says he wishes that things could have kept going the way they were. Carol says that something bad happened, and he needs to deal with it. If he won’t, she’s done with him. It took her a long time to get her own life together, so if he doesn’t have his together, she can’t take care of him.

Mark tells Doug that Jen’s getting remarried; Mark feels pathetic for being left behind. Doug says he never liked her and only pretended to for Mark’s sake. Mark encourages him to list all of Jen’s horrible qualities. Doug tells Mark that Karen forged the prescription, and he knows he needs to get away from her, but…she’s hot! What can he do? He asks Mark to list her positive qualities.

Carter asks Morgenstern if it’s too late to change his mind about his job for next year. Now he wants to work on Benton’s team. Morgenstern thinks Benton will be pleased to have him on board. He’s even left Carter a present: a white coat with his name on it. Susan invites him to give it a test drive by helping out with a trauma. Carter puts it on, and Susan calls for him to join her, using his new title: Dr. Carter.

Thoughts: ‘Bye, Shep! I won’t miss you.

Trivia: Carter’s middle name is Truman. You know, in case it wasn’t clear that he came from a WASP family.

Carter, T.C. did you a favor. Graduations are BORING. (To be fair, though, I don’t actually remember much of my college graduation. The guy next to me was having an anxiety attack the entire time, and I spent the whole ceremony trying to calm him down.)

Done with season 2! Time for Carla, Anspaugh, and Benton driving an intern to suicide. Good times.

November 27, 2018

ER 2.20, Fevers of Unknown Origin: For Crying Out Loud

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

If I woke up in bed with Jen, I’d make this face Mark is making, too

Summary: Carol’s on an EMT run with Shep and Riley, so we can see more of Shep’s declining stability. Yay! Doug has landed in bed with Karen, and it takes Doug, like, five minutes to realize that he spent the night with his father’s girlfriend, or whatever she is to him. Neither of them is that disturbed by it, though.

Carol and the paramedics are called to a basement where a water heater has exploded. A little girl is trapped under some debris. Riley’s flustered, so Carol does his job for him and revives the girl. She objects when Shep tells the girls’ parents they can’t ride to the hospital with her. He thinks they’re drunks, and since they were dumb enough to let their daughter sleep near an unstable heater, they…don’t deserve to stay with her and try to keep her from being scared, I guess.

Susan was supposed to have the day off, but she’s at work, pretending that giving up Susie isn’t affecting her. She imagines herself searching her apartment while Susie cries. Weaver thanks her for filling in on short notice, promising she’ll be able to go home in a few hours. Susan says she can stay for a full 12-hour shift.

Morgenstern summons Mark and Weaver for what they think is an announcement of who won resident of the year. He promises that he submitted her name. Carter wants to assist on a breast reconstruction; Benton doesn’t really care. He thinks plastic surgery is a dumb specialty. The paramedics bring in the girl from the basement, and Doug and Benton will be working on her together, trying to ignore the tension between them.

Susan stitches up a blind woman who was mugged. Thanks to a self-defense course, the use of her cane as a weapon, and some sharp teeth, the woman not only got away with minor injuries, she also bit off the tip of the mugger’s pinky. She’d like to keep it as a souvenir. The girl from the basement, Becky, isn’t badly injured, and Shep credits Carol with taking good care of her. Benton finds a hernia and sends Becky to surgery.

Morgenstern wants to talk to Mark and Weaver about who should be chief resident next year. Mark nominates Susan, but Weaver isn’t sure she has all the qualities they want in a chief. Morgenstern agrees with her that they shouldn’t jump to any decisions. Hicks tells Carter that he hasn’t seen enough pediatric patients to graduate, so he’ll need to work with Doug for the next four weeks instead of assisting in plastics cases.

Connie brings her baby to visit, which makes Susan feel awkward. She thinks about her apartment search again. Lydia and Haleh enlist her to help them with a woman named Joanne who passed out in a crosswalk. She’s pregnant and is worried that she’s suffering another miscarriage. Susan thinks Joanne’s dizziness and high blood pressure are a result of her pregnancy, but Joanne says she’s had dizziness in between pregnancies. Susan decides she needs an ultrasound before she’s sent to OB.

Mark and Weaver go in to check on the case, since OB is upset that Susan hasn’t turned Joanne over to them yet. Weaver urges Susan to let her go already, sure that Joanne has preeclampsia. But Susan has correctly guessed that Joanne has a mass that’s causing her health problems and will need surgery. Fortunately, the baby should be fine. Mark congratulates Susan for the catch, though Weaver thinks OB would have figured it out.

Shep complains to Carol that Riley is a weak partner. He’s mad that Raul died trying to help lost causes in their fair city. Mark tells Randi that he and Jen are trying to work with a mediator to sort out their divorce. Randi says she doesn’t believe in divorce (but she doesn’t believe in marriage either). As an ailing Loretta comes in, Doug watches Days of Our Lives in the lounge with Lily and Haleh. He assures Carter that working in pediatrics won’t be too demanding for him.

A woman brings in her father, Mr. Dellanova, who has heart problems and is feeling sick. Susan almost immediately realizes that he took too much digitalis. This time, Weaver lets her take control, trusting that Susan knows what she’s doing. Benton chats with a Dr. Bradley, who wonders why Benton took almost three months to file a report about Vucelich’s fraud. He gives back the report, since Vucelich has added an addendum to his study listing all the data Benton thought he’d left out. Vucelich now claims that he always intended to include it.

Mark treats Loretta for dehydration connected to her chemotherapy. He’s annoyed that her doctor isn’t paying enough attention to her concerns, which include radiation burns that another patient said she shouldn’t have. Weaver wants Susan to present Mr. Dellanova’s case to some med students, but Susan doesn’t see the point. Weaver tries to get Mark to back her up and convince Susan to think more like a teacher. As they discuss her, Susan has trouble concentrating and flashes back to her apartment search again.

Doug gets a message from Karen, so Mark teases him a little. Doug says they have a “mutual acquaintance.” As Mark is about to go track down Loretta’s doctor and yell at him for sucking so badly, Jen shows up in hopes of working out their divorce settlement without their lawyers.

Carol and the paramedics go to an apartment building to tend to a teenager who was shot. One of his friends calls Carol a whore, so Shep grabs him by the neck. The victim is in bad shape, and as Shep tries to work on him, the boy’s brother keeps getting in the way. Shep eventually shoves him out of the way, but the boy hits his head on a coffee table and knocks himself out. Shep doesn’t care.

Carter thinks his patient just has the flu, but Doug thinks a seven-day fever of unknown origin is more than that. He diagnoses Kawasaki’s, and it’s a good thing he reviewed the case, because missing that could have been fatal. I’m thinking Carter isn’t as good to go on graduation as he thinks he is.

Susan stabilizes Mr. Dellanova, then tells his daughter that she’s surprised he took the wrong dosage, since it was right in the bottle. He doesn’t need glasses, but he also has trouble reading the paperwork he’s supposed to sign. Susan guesses correctly that he’s unable to read and has always hidden it from his daughter. She thinks he should tell her and let her help him. Mr. Dellanova asks if Susan has children, so of course she flashes back to her search again. We get it, show!

The paramedics bring in the brothers and Doug sticks around to tend to one, which means Karen has to wait to go to lunch with him. She goes to watch him in action, because apparently you can just wander around County without anyone caring. Doug and Benton work on the shooting victim while Carter, Carol, Weaver, and Harper work on the brother. Shep admits to pushing him, but Riley thinks he’s downplaying the seriousness of the situation. Shep tells him off for not keeping his mouth shut.

Doug’s finally ready for lunch, but seeing all the blood in the ER has made Karen lose her appetite. She’s concerned that she can’t reach Ray, who’s supposedly in the Cayman Islands with some of her money. But who cares, when she has his son? Mark finally finds Loretta’s doctor, Howard, who clearly doesn’t care about the side effects she’s suffering or the fact that she’s overwhelmed with her condition and treatments. I think he’s confused that Mark cares about a patient so much.

Carter tricks Benton into attending a surprise party in a trauma room – he’s been named resident of the year. Weaver tells Mark that Susan showed all the qualities they want in a chief resident today; she just wishes Susan would be like this all the time. As he’s leaving for the night, Doug maturely congratulates Benton for his honor. Hicks tells Benton that Vucelich seems to have nominated him for the award.

Carter says goodbye to Harper, who’s going…somewhere. Who cares? She’s leaving the show. Shep complains to Carol that Riley’s filing an incident report about his violent behavior. He wants Carol to agree with him that he didn’t do anything that bad. While Mark and Jen work out some custody arrangements without any complications, Susan treats a man named Mr. Johnston who claims he accidentally cut off the tip of his pinky while making a sandwich. He also has a testicular injury courtesy of a cane. Susan and Haleh strap him to a gurney while they call the police.

Mark and Jen…oh, freaking A. Mark and Jen just had sex. She doesn’t know what to tell her new boyfriend, Craig. Mark points out that she’s had to confess to infidelity before. Jen thinks he only slept with her as an act of revenge. In other ill-advised-couple news, Doug and Karen go to a nightclub together.

Susan goes home to her empty apartment and reminisces about when it wasn’t so empty. Then we learn why she’s really been so distressed: Chloe and Joe have taken Susie and moved across the country. When they were leaving, Susan ran up to her apartment to look for one of Susie’s toys while Susie cried in the car. Susan got so worked up that she started crying, too. Chloe found the toy, and Susan realized that she has to let the baby go for good.

Thoughts: Joanne is played by Romy Rosemont. She was also in a Grey’s Anatomy episode with Scott Michael Campbell (Riley). And she’s married to Stephen Root! I had no idea!

Carter treats a little boy, and when he tells the kid to take a deep breath, the kid takes the hugest, most overexaggerated breath ever. I love it.

Sleeping with you doesn’t get revenge on you, Jen. It only punishes Mark. Also, on another show, this probably would have led to a pregnancy and a paternity mystery, so thank God this doesn’t go there.

October 2, 2018

ER 2.12, True Lies: Heirs Apparent

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:09 pm by Jenn

Could you be mean to this man? Never

Summary: Rachel’s asleep – drink! Mark wakes her up and serves her breakfast, getting the hang of this single-father thing. Jen calls to check on them, and for some reason thinks Mark is bad-mouthing her to their daughter. Rachel’s struggling with her parents’ split and the fact that they live so far apart. She thinks Mark will eventually move back home. He decides to distract her with pancakes and ice skating.

Helen is well enough to be discharged from County and moved to a nursing home. Vucelich avoids questions from Ruby about when she’ll be able to walk. He invites Benton to a dinner party at his place that night; he’ll be able to put in some face time with some prestigious bigwigs. He’s also encouraged to bring a guest. Ruby’s concerned that Helen isn’t really ready to leave the hospital, but all the doctors involved think she is. Carter ushers them out the door, as he’s been told over and over is his goal. Whatever happens to Helen, she’s not his responsibility anymore.

Mark brings Rachel to the hospital for a few minutes before they go ice skating. She holds Susie while Mark tells Susan that the past few days have been tough. He invites her to come skating with them, an idea Rachel doesn’t like. She’s starting to display the attitude we’ll see a lot of when she’s a teenager. Carol tells Doug that his dad keeps calling, but Doug doesn’t want to talk to him.

Carter tells Benton that he finally got rid of the Rubadouxes. He asks who Benton will take to Vucelich’s party, vetoing his first choice, Jackie. Carter suggests Jeanie, laughing at the idea of Benton bringing his sister to a party full of surgeons and their trophy wives. Benton knows he’s right and quickly invites Jeanie to the party. She accepts once they establish that it’s not a date.

A patient comes in after a car accident that left him impaled on a guardrail. (Owwwwww.) A maintenance man has to bring in a saw to cut him off of it. Mark, Susan, Rachel, and Susie go skating (Susie’s in a little sled; it’s cute), but only three of them have a good time. Rachel clearly doesn’t like that her father has a new woman in his life, even though they’re just friends.

“My first medical consult!” the maintenance man declares as he finishes his work with the saw. Hicks arrives to help Benton and Carter take the patient to the OR so Vucelich can operate on him. Just then, the Rubadouxes return – Helen passed out. Benton tells Carter to take care of her but not “make a career” out of her. In other words, treat her and street her again.

The skaters return to the hospital, where E-Ray is filling in for a sick Jerry. Desk clerk is actually a better job for E-Ray than nurse, as he’s better with computers and administrative tasks than he is with medicine. He’s also a licensed daycare worker, so he offers to look after Rachel. Hicks and Benton operate on Mr. Guardrail, waiting for Vucelich to join them. Since he’s going to take a while to get there, Benton insists he can do the operation himself. Hicks agrees to let him.

A drunk woman is brought to the ER in respiratory distress, and Susan soon loses her pulse. Lily sees from her ID that her name is Barbara Dean, and today is her 50th birthday. She looks older than that, probably as a result of lots of partying. Helen (whom Ruby calls Sylvie, which is really confusing) is unconscious, and Carter and Jeanie tell Ruby that she may have had a stroke. Ruby’s worried that he was right about her leaving the hospital too soon.

E-Ray entertains Rachel by showing her pictures of skin lesions. He thinks she’ll benefit from “confronting [her] fears in a supportive and nurturing environment.” Susan calls Barbara’s daughter, who wants nothing to do with her mother. Lily finds her medical records, which show lots of alcohol-related injuries and illnesses. Doug’s father calls yet again, and Doug tells E-Ray to say he died. Carol has big news for everyone: Morgenstern is in the suture room, wearing a Catholic schoolgirl’s uniform. They all run off to see.

Benton’s attempts at surgery aren’t going so well, and he loses his shot at proving himself when Vucelich finally arrives to relieve him. Hicks takes responsibility, saying she let Benton’s enthusiasm cloud her judgment. Benton just looks on as she and Vucelich finish up. Aww, poor Benton. Now he won’t get to sit at the big kids’ table!

Ruby’s distressed over Helen’s condition, and Carter isn’t as sympathetic or gentle as he’s been in the past. A bunch of staff members giggle over Morgenstern’s clothes, considering taking a picture they can use as blackmail material for the next several years. Mark and Susan finally go in and learn that Morgenstern lost control of a caber, a huge log thrown in the Highland Games. His schoolgirl’s uniform is really traditional Scottish attire. Mark determines that his leg is probably broken.

Benton tells Jeanie he has to stay late at work, so their dinner non-date is off. Noah and his brother Kenny come in after being hit by a car; Noah only has minor injuries, but Kenny’s hurt pretty badly. Noah says that he doesn’t know where their mother is, and their father isn’t around. (It seems like the actor screwed up the line, or it was poorly written; it’s the mother who isn’t around.) Carol recognizes him as a previous County visitor.

Carter gets stuck between a rock and a hard place, where Ruby is the rock and Benton is the hard place. Carter’s trying to get Helen admitted to County, but Benton thinks he’s spending too much time on something unimportant. Barbara has a do-not-resuscitate order in her records, but Susan wants to put her on a respirator to treat her breathing problems. Barbara refuses to revoke the DNR.

Benton tries to leave a message with Vucelich’s assistant canceling his attendance at the dinner party. The assistant says that unless he has a terminal illness that will kill him before the party, he’d better be there. She also admits that he’s a last-minute addition because someone else canceled, and Vucelich’s wife doesn’t like empty chairs. He should think of this like surgery: If Vucelich requests his presence, he shouldn’t decline.

Morgenstern plays bagpipes in the suture room while waiting for his x-rays to come back. He’s disappointed that having to wait to get a cast on his leg means he’ll miss partaking in the haggis and reciting Robert Burns’ “To a Haggis.” He practices while Mark takes a phone call. Benton tells Jeanie he can make it to dinner after all, so she’ll be expected there, too. Jeanie is somehow fine with this.

Rachel plays jacks with Malik, who’s used to playing with girls since he has four sisters. Carol tells Doug that she remembers Noah because he came in with his father last fall after his father passed out drunk. DCFS is now getting involved. Doug blasts Dave Donovan, the DCFS rep, for not getting the kids out of their home where they’re obviously unsupervised. Dave says he’s familiar with the family and didn’t think the kids needed to be removed – their father’s gotten sober and is going to AA. The kids were playing hooky; their dad isn’t responsible for what happened to them.

Jeanie bugs Carter to tell Ruby that Helen’s doing poorly, so he needs to prepare himself to say goodbye. Carter brushes her off. Barbara’s daughter, Karen, comes in but doesn’t want to actually talk to her mother. Susan urges her to make peace before Barbara dies. After making calls to multiple departments in an attempt to get Helen admitted, Carter finally gets neurology to accept her for a nerve study she’s probably not really qualified for. He no longer cares; he just wants her off his hands. He also still won’t tell Ruby how serious Helen’s condition is.

Mark decides it’s time to tell Rachel that he and Jen aren’t going to get back together, and he won’t be moving home. He wishes it didn’t have to be this way. Jen arrives to pick her up, but Rachel doesn’t want to leave her father. She screams as Jen carries her away. Benton goes to Vucelich’s party, where Jeanie is already socializing and is probably better liked than Benton will ever be.

Kenny and Noah’s father comes to County, and Doug interrogates him on where he was while his kids were playing in the street and getting hit by a car. Carol tries to mediate as Doug blasts the father for making multiple visits to the ER in the past because of his drinking. Carol finally pulls Doug aside and tells him to call his dad if he wants to yell at a father. Noah and Kenny’s dad is doing the best he can.

Morgenstern’s family comes to see him in the ER, playing bagpipes and drums. They’ve even brought the haggis. Haleh enjoys herself until she learns what’s in haggis. Karen’s now sitting with Barbara, remembering the times she saw her mother unconscious when she was a kid. She used to be afraid or angry; now she doesn’t have the energy to be either. She’s not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Vucelich’s dinner party is exactly how you would expect a dinner party full of rich, white people to be. Benton praises the work of one of his colleagues, and another says that Vucelich considers him “the heir apparent.” Benton confides to Jeanie that after his horrible showing in surgery that day, he doesn’t think he’ll be the heir anymore. He expects Vucelich to kick him off his study. The two of them try to figure out which part of their meal is a truffle.

As Doug sees Noah’s father hugging him, trying desperately to be a good parent, Vucelich asks Benton if they can speak alone. Benton prepares himself for the worst. Barbara’s declining quickly, and since she signed a DNR, there isn’t much Susan can do for her. Now Karen wants more time with her mother, and she’s distressed when Barbara flatlines and Susan and Lily do nothing.

Vucelich offers Benton a cigar and booze, neither of which he wants to partake in. (I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before, but Benton doesn’t drink.) Benton apologizes for performing badly in surgery and backs up Hicks’ earlier assertion that he overstepped his bounds. But Vucelich knew that would happen, and that Hicks would keep an eye on things. He likes that Benton keeps one eye on details and one on the horizon, like all good surgeons.

Vucelich says he enjoys looking at puzzles and assessing risks. Benton replies that that’s why he’s enjoyed being on Vucelich’s team. Vucelich wasn’t sure, since Benton never expresses that enjoyment. He was afraid he was seeing something in Benton that Benton doesn’t see in himself. Benton says he wants to see it. Vucelich likes that. Back at County, Doug finally calls his father but hangs up before he gets an answer. Susan and Mark come in, and the three end their tough day with some of Morgenstern’s family’s booze.

Ruby finds Carter as he’s doing paperwork and blasts him for lying. He knows now that Helen will never get better, and will never be able to leave the hospital. He’s sure that Carter knew the whole time but didn’t say anything, even though Ruby thought they were friends. Carter argues that he was just doing his job. He admits that he doesn’t know if Helen got worse because she was released from the hospital.

Carter lists all the things he did for her, but Ruby knows that he only sees him and Helen in terms of their problems, not as people. He just wants Carter to tell him the truth. Carter yells that Helen’s dying, and Ruby thanks him, finally getting confirmation of what he’s been fearing. He no longer wants Carter to call him by his nickname. They are definitely not friends.

Thoughts: Vucelich’s assistant must really hate Benton, because why else tell him he didn’t make the first cut for the guest list?

Carter, Benton, and Vucelich are lucky that Ruby never sues for what could probably be classified as medical malpractice.

Yvonne Zima (Rachel) is great in this episode, and especially impressive when you realize that she was only seven at the time.

It seems like this episode confirms what’s been obvious for a while – Benton’s way of practicing medicine doesn’t work. Carter tried it and got burned. He’s a much better doctor when he ignores Benton and forms a relationship with his patients. He has to see them as people, like Ruby says, and not like medical cases to be worked through before he can go home for the day.

September 11, 2018

ER 2.9, Home: Jen Is at the Top of Santa’s Naughty List

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 5:08 pm by Jenn

I’m sure those pencils will keep him warm when he’s sleeping outside in Chicago in December

Summary: Doug’s asleep – drink! Susan wakes him up and asks him to examine Susie, who has a cough. Doug pronounces her happy and healthy, which must be because Susan’s so great with her. They hand the baby off to Connie and go to meet another baby, this one much sicker than Susie. As Haleh takes the frantic parents out of the trauma room, Doug decides that the baby can’t be saved. He has to tell Susan a couple times to stop trying to revive him. Doug gives the horrible news to the parents as Susan takes Susie back from Connie.

Carter and Harper have worked things out and are dating, or whatever the kids call it when they spend a lot of time together and hook up. They try to make out in an elevator but Benton interrupts. They get clumsy in their attempts to find a quiet place where they can be alone, then have to pretend they’re looking for someone’s films when they realize Susan is in their hiding spot. (Thank you, Susan and Benton. I didn’t want to watch that.)

Carol brings stuff in for the hospital’s Christmas drive, trying to get rid of some things her mother wants to off-load since she’s moving. Doug and Mark laugh at her old records and baton. Carter and Harper finally find a make-out spot, but it’s the hospital chapel, and they’re soon joined by some nuns. These two are definitely going on Santa’s naughty list.

Shep shaved! It’s a Christmas miracle! He thinks Carol should be sadder about her mom selling her childhood home. He’s brought in an unidentified patient who’s now drawing something in an exam area. Doug and Mark tend to a man named Ethan Brown who was hurt in a hit-and-run. He’s able to ask for his wife through his possibly broken jaw, but Mark wants him to leave on his oxygen mask and stop trying to talk.

Carol tells Shep’s patient, Mr. Sullivan, that he can’t smoke in the hospital. She and Jeanie tend to his minor wounds as he tells them he’s an architect. He doesn’t seem completely mentally aware, so Carol tells Jeanie to call psych. As Benton notices a hickey on Carter’s neck, the two of them check out Ethan. Jeanie tells Carol that she’s identified Mr. Sullivan, whose real name is Joshua Shem. He has schizophrenia and ran away from his residential home. Because it’s his third time running away, they won’t take him back.

Doug told Mark he can’t work that night, so some of the female employees wonder if he’s going on a date. He remains mum. Ethan’s wife arrive, frantic at first but much calmer when Mark assures her that her husband will be okay. A teenager comes in with her sister, Reba, who was treated for injuries at a skating rink but had a seizure on the way home from the hospital. Looks like she has a head injury that the doctor who treated the cuts on her legs didn’t discover. (That doctor will also be on the naughty list.)

A police officer who came in with Ethan tells Mark and Susan that a witness told him who was driving the car that hit him: his wife. Mark quickly tells Lydia to call security, but Mrs. Brown has already found her husband and is trying to finish what she started with her car (this time with her bare hands). Ho ho ho, Mrs. Brown is getting coal in her stocking.

Mark tells Susan he’s spending the holidays with Jen’s family, clearly a sacrifice he doesn’t really want to make. Susan checks on Reba, who says she doesn’t remember what happened, then promptly has another seizure. Carter runs into Vucelich in the bathroom and says that Benton wanted to have an interview with him, but Carter forgot to sign him up. Vucelich agrees to see Benton anyway.

Susan struggles to end Reba’s seizures, finally guessing that she’s having an allergic reaction to the lidocaine she was given at the previous hospital. Records faxed over from St. Anne’s show that she was given a toxic dose. Weaver thinks Susan should write a case report, then have the hospital pay for her to present it in Miami. Susan doesn’t think she can take time away from the ER to do the necessary research, then leave town when she has both work and family responsibilities. She worries that Mark is disappointed in her for turning down the opportunity.

Dr. Myers meets with Joshua, who declines the offer of medication. He just wants to work on his drawing and go home (though he doesn’t actually have a home). Myers can’t hold him, since he’s not a danger to himself or others, and Joshua says he can take care of himself. Jeanie thinks Myers is just checking this case off his to-do list, but Carol defends him. Myers gets dozens of cases like Joshua every day and does everything he can for his patients. They’ll just have to stall and hope they can find Joshua a new residential home.

Carter, now wearing a huge bandage on his neck, tries to rearrange his plans with Harper since he now has to stay for Benton’s interview. He still hasn’t told Benton about the interview, though. When he tries to bring up the subject, Benton says he doesn’t want to participate in the study Vucelich is interviewing doctors for. Good job, Carter!

Carol catches Joshua trying to leave and admires his drawing of an arch. He says he draws what “they” tell him to draw. She tells him about her new house, and he identifies the style and interior. He tells her there’s a fireplace she didn’t know about. Weaver asks why Joshua hasn’t been discharged, and Carol says she wants to put a sterile dressing on one of his cuts. She’s actually stalling by offering Joshua food, but Weaver’s fine with letting him warm up and have a meal.

Carol hears Doug on the phone, confirming his plans for the evening and promising the person he’s talking to that she’ll look beautiful no matter what she wears. He still won’t give any details on who he’s meeting. Mark then gets a call from a hospital in Milwaukee and learns that Jen and Rachel were in a car accident. Rachel’s fine but Jen’s hurt. Doug offers up his car keys as Mark rushes off to see his family.

Susan calls the hospital back and tries to get information on Jen, but she has no luck. It makes her wonder if County is this tight-lipped. Lydia mentions that she used to date an OR tech at the hospital, so Susan makes her call him. Carter recognizes the arch from Joshua’s drawing as the Sullivan Arch, which he’s seen pictures of in an installment at the Art Institute. Carol remembers that Joshua introduced himself as Mr. Sullivan.

Shep amuses himself by looking through Carol’s old yearbook and the things her friends wrote. He wants to rescue it from being given away. Weaver tells Susan that Morgenstern wants to talk to her about presenting Reba’s case – he’s excited for this great opportunity. Benton ruins Carter and Harper’s plans by giving them more work to do. Jeanie calls around, looking for a place for Joshua, with no luck.

Benton goes to his interview with Vucelich, which turns into a field trip. Joshua’s mother, Madeline, arrives but says she can’t take him home. He’s let go of everything in his past and won’t stay. He was going to be an architect, but a breakdown in college derailed his plans. Madeline gives Joshua some money and pencils, the old thing he still cares about.

Morgenstern helps Susan and Carter tend to a man who fell off a ladder while setting up a Christmas display. He laments that he crushed Rudolph, though he should be more upset about the long, sharp thing sticking out of his arm. I know I am. Morgenstern tells Susan how great Reba’s case sounds, but she again declines the opportunity. He reminds her that she’s a candidate to be chief resident next year. Susan knows she needs to start publishing, but she thinks she’s taken on enough responsibility and doesn’t need “extra credit.”

Mark makes it to the hospital in Milwaukee, and I guess the episode ran short because we have to see him running around instead of just going right to Rachel and Jen. Jen is stable but has a broken leg and possible internal injuries. Despite being a doctor at County, Mark has no standing at this place, so he’s kept away from her as she’s treated.

Susan gets a Christmas card from Chloe that’s full of money. Anyone else would be excited to get $3,000, but Susan isn’t appreciative. Doug, who knows all about deadbeat relatives, advises her to take what she can get. In Milwaukee, Mark finds Rachel and meets a guy named Craig, who was in the accident with her and Jen. In fact, he was driving their car when they were hit. Mark’s too distracted to understand the significance of this.

Jeanie can’t find a place for Joshua, but he’s already taken off. She wonders if she’s cut out for doing this kind of work, since her previous job as a physical therapist let her see her patients’ progress. Carol says they just have to do what they can for everyone. She finds Joshua’s pencils under his bed.

Vucelich takes Benton to an operation so he can see firsthand the work Vucelich does. Benton knows his stuff and is suddenly interested in joining Vucelich’s study. Vucelich tells him to scrub in. In Milwaukee, Jen’s doctor tells Mark that she doesn’t have internal injuries, and surgery to repair her leg went fine. Craig asks Mark to translate from medical jargon to English.

Doug’s dinner date is with his mother, Sarah, and though his relationship with his father is nonexistent, he and his mother get along well. He tells her his father called, and she guesses that he wants money or is up to something. Doug isn’t worried and promises that his father can’t touch them ever again.

Carol takes Joshua’s pencils to the Sullivan Arch, which Joshua has made his home. He says they’re all he needs, but she gives him a blanket, too, ensuring her spot on Santa’s nice list. Carter finally finishes his extra work and meets up with Harper, who’s chatting with Jeanie. She guesses that they’re dating, but Carter says they don’t have time in medical school. Harper mentions that she’s going into the Air Force after med school. Carter teases that she’s going to become an astronaut after that.

Susan runs into a neighbor while doing laundry, and doesn’t correct the neighbor when she thinks Susan is Susie’s mother. It looks like that sounds good to her. Carol puts on some music at home, and she and Shep take hammers to a wall to uncover the fireplace Joshua told her was there. They celebrate by dancing and making out to “Take a Letter Maria.”

The lyrics “take a letter Maria / address it to my wife / say I won’t be coming home” foreshadow the conversation Mark is about to have with Jen (well, if Jen were the husband and Mark were the wife). He’s figured out that Craig isn’t just a friend or co-worker or second cousin or whoever she was going to pretend he was. Jen’s in love with him. Merry Christmas, Mark: Your wife is cheating on you.

Thoughts: Joshua is played by Adam Goldberg.

Jen’s father is a reverend. WELL, HIS CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS SURE DIDN’T STICK.

Susie’s at that age where babies babble in almost-intelligible language. I love that age.

July 31, 2018

ER 2.3, Do One, Teach One, Kill One: Mark’s Greene, But Carter’s Greener

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:10 pm by Jenn

Okay, I’m not mad at this

Summary: Mark and Jen have spent the past few days together in Milwaukee, and things are going so well that she gets in the shower with him. For some reason, he thinks this is a good time to bring up his idea to spend a few nights back in Chicago when he has to work early the next morning. He’ll stay at Doug’s, though Jen doesn’t like the thought of Mark being around Doug’s parade of girlfriends and one-night stands. At County, Carter presents a patient named Ed to Benton, briefly getting distracted when he sees Harper. But Benton agrees with his assessment and allows him to make Ed his own patient.

Carol does another ride-along with Shep and Raul, going with them to an apartment building to check on a landlady’s tenant. The man is dirty, overweight, has a bunch of rabbits, and is singing to himself. When he says he doesn’t want to go to the hospital, Shep and Raul start to leave, since they can’t force him. Carol doesn’t think he’s mentally competent to make decisions about his own health. Shep resists, since he just cleaned the rig, but Carol wins the argument.

Susan brings Susie in to daycare, annoyed to see that she already has four patients lined up. Weaver tells her that since she’s a resident, she needs a larger load. Wendy tells the doctors that she’s working on an article about Mark for a nursing newsletter and will be interviewing them. Benton leaves Jeanie a message to arrange a meet-up. Chuny’s interested in knowing more about his personal life. Mark examines the singing man, Mitchell, and tells Carol he’s at risk for a cerebral hemorrhage. Mitchell cries and asks what will happen to his rabbits while he’s gone. Carol volunteers Shep to look after them.

Haleh brings Doug a four-year-old HIV-positive boy named Chia-Chia, whose mother, Mei-Sun, couldn’t wake him. Doug quickly determines that Mei-Sun gave the boy too much Dilantin, a seizure medication. Carter shows Harper how to perform a pleural tap on Ed. At first Carter’s successful at draining fluid from the patient’s lungs, but then Ed starts bleeding. Carter hesitates when Harper says they should get Benton, but he soon realizes he’s in over his head.

Doug gets the Dilantin out of Chia-Chia’s system and assures the boy that everything’s okay. Benton rushes Ed to the OR, making Carter think he’ll be out of the running for a surgical residency next year. Yeah, because that’s what’s important right now – not the fact that you botched a procedure and endangered your patient’s life. Wendy interviews Haleh, who says that Mark was really helpful when he first started working at County. “So would you say that, back them, he was sort of…green?” Wendy asks. “No, Wendy. I would never say that,” Haleh replies.

Hicks and Benton work to save Ed as Carter apologizes for his screw-up. Hicks is understanding and reveals that Benton, her best student, once made a similar mistake. Because of Ed’s drinking habit, he screwed up his veins and liver, so his health wasn’t going to hold out much longer anyway. He needs a more extensive procedure to save his life. Benton notes that Carter accidentally did Ed a favor.

Susan comes across a patient named Mr. Holthouse who’s using a Tibetan singing bowl to help him relax. He determines that she’s under a lot of stress and offers to tell her about some relaxation techniques. She tells him she’s more relaxed than she looks. Jerry reveals that he’s been promoted to supervising emergency services coordinator, though the promotion is in title only, and doesn’t come with any extra benefits or responsibilities. It makes Jerry want to wear a tie to be fancy, though. Mitchell starts seizing, and Mark and Carol try to do the math to determine how much Dilantin to give him. (Is this episode sponsored by the makers of Dilantin?)

Mei-Sun tells Doug that she usually takes Chia-Chia to a pediatric clinic upstairs, but they see a different doctor every time and often have to wait a number of hours to be seen. Doug has new medication for Chia-Chia and asks Mei-Sun if she can read English. She gets offended, thinking he’s implying that she gave her son too much Dilantin because she couldn’t read the instructions. Doug realizes that she was given two prescriptions and followed both correctly. The clinic is to blame for the overdose. He tells Mei-Sun to bring Chia-Chia to him the next time he needs a doctor.

Despite having a spinning feeling, Mr. Holthouse is able to stand on his head. Weaver questions Susan’s decision to order a CT scan for a case of vertigo. They bicker a little, and Weaver ends up telling Susan to run all procedures by her. Mitchell didn’t survive the hemorrhage Mark feared he would have, so his rabbits are now owner-less. Shep feels bad for both the animals and their owner.

Doug calls one of the clinic doctors to blast him for giving Chia-Chia a prescription that, combined with one he was already given, put his life in danger. Susan complains to Mark about Weaver and asks him to tell her to back off. Carter observes as Hicks and Benton continue working on Ed, eventually fixing his liver. However, his heart is weak and they wind up having to try to shock him into rhythm.

Weaver brings up her problems with Susan to Mark, thinking Susan resents Weaver’s position. Mark delicately says that Weaver’s assertiveness might be causing a communication problem. Ed doesn’t survive his surgery, which means Carter’s first official patient has died. Benton reminds him that Ed was really unhealthy; he probably would have died of liver failure within a month if his heart hadn’t given out. Carter reluctantly goes to inform Ed’s family of his death. Benton tells him this kind of experience is how he’ll learn and become a better doctor.

Doug jokes around in his interview with Wendy, pausing to check out a woman passing by. She’s Randi Fronczak, the new clerk. She needs a physical before she can start work, and Mark silently signals that Jerry shouldn’t assign Doug the task. Malik tells Carol that a huge guy who’s high on PCP has climbed on top of an ambulance. Susan diagnoses Mr. Holthouse with inner-ear inflammation, which will heal, though he’ll have to stop standing on his head and floating in his sensory-deprivation tank for a little while. He wants to give her his prayer bowl.

Mark joins Carol, Shep, and Raul outside to try to get the high patient off the ambulance. (He doesn’t get a name, but since he’s on angel dust, I’ll call him Mr. Angel.) Mr. Angel hits Raul with something, so Mark takes Raul inside to get fixed up. Carol thinks she can talk Mr. Angel down, but Mr. Angel isn’t in a rational place; he keeps yelling for someone named Mara. He expresses his displeasure at her absence by pulling the lights off the top of the ambulance and tossing them on the ground.

Jerry asks Susan to give Randi a physical, which Susan “completes” by telling Randi to inhale and exhale. Ed’s roommate, Olaf, shows up, and Carter has to tell him about Ed’s death. Olaf doesn’t care – he just wants the remote control Ed hid from him. Carol and Shep come up with a plan where Carol distracts Mr. Angel while Shep climbs up to inject him with Haldol. Mr. Angel starts spitting at Carol, but Shep doesn’t let that stop him. Benton tracks down Jeanie and tells her they really need to meet. Doug runs into Chloe, who’s visiting Susie and thinks she’s sick (she’s not). Chloe acts a little strange when Doug asks if Susan knows she’s there.

Susan and Haleh work on a prisoner named Curtis who swallowed razor blades to earn himself a trip to the hospital. He put tape on the blades first, so he hasn’t caused any internal damage. Weaver thinks they should leave the blades inside him, but Susan wants to remove them. At an impasse, Susan tells Harper to get Mark. Mark sides with Weaver, telling Susan they can remove the blades if he starts bleeding later.

Chuny presents Carter with Ed’s liver, which was removed so it could be taken to pathology. He’s in charge of taking it there. Mark gives Wendy an interview, telling her about an intense case he once handled. The patient died, though, so it’s not really a compelling story. Susan goes to do something on a computer at the front desk and discovers that Weaver loaded an instructional program using her own voice. This is the last straw for Susan, who storms off to complain some more to Mark.

Doug agrees to let Mark crash at his place, though they might not be the only people there. Neil yells at Doug for yelling at one of his residents, then warns that he’s dangerously close to losing his job. Even his buddy Mark won’t be able to help him. Carol hears Susan ringing the prayer bowl in the bathroom but decides not to ask any questions. Harper finds Carter with Ed’s liver and suggests that they “give him a send-off.”

Carol runs into Shep and Raul as they’re fixing up their rig, and Shep asks Carol to go out with him. She tells him this isn’t a good time, but it’s not a no forever. Shep teases that she’s dated too many doctors; she’s “shopping in the wrong part of the store.” Instead of looking for Gucci, she should be in the automotive department. This wins her over, and she agrees to a date. Meanwhile, Benton waits for Jeanie, but she doesn’t show up to meet him.

Doug checks in on Chia-Chia and finds Mei-Sun crying in his room. She feels guilty for giving her son HIV, and thinks she’s being punished since he’s sick and she’s healthy. Doug tries to comfort her. Benton waits for Jeanie at her car and angrily asks how long he has to wait for her to tell Al about their affair. She’s upset that he made an ultimatum. Benton figures this is her answer – she’s not going to leave her husband for him. Doug and Mark go to Doug’s place, where Hulda the flight attendant has let herself in to wait for her boyfriend. She’s not concerned about Mark seeing her naked, something I don’t think he’ll be telling Jen about.

As Susan’s leaving for the night, she runs into Chloe, who’s on something. She has a big plan to sell stuff at a flea market, but apparently not a flea market in Chicago. She’s leaving to make some money, and she’s not taking Susie with her. Susan is now, suddenly, a single mother. In less angsty ends to the day, Carter and Harper take Ed’s liver to a bar and raise a glass to the man.

Thoughts: Mei-Sun is played by Lucy Liu.

Show, if having Shep cuddle a bunny was an attempt to get me to like him, it didn’t work. Nice try, though. (And it’s a good look for Ron Eldard.)

This week in pointless plots: Wendy’s. Poor Wendy.

July 10, 2018

ER 1.25, Everything Old Is New Again: Goodbyes, Both Spoken and Unspoken

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

Clooney should trademark that look

Summary: Carter’s asleep – drink! Malik wakes him up for a trauma, and since no other doctors are available, Carter’s somehow in charge. The 14-year-old patient shot himself in a suicide attempt and needs a crike, a procedure in which a hole is cut in his throat. Lydia is able to outline the steps for Carter, because nurses are awesome, but Benton arrives in time to do the actually cutting. When he learns that Carter was about to do it, Benton just chuckles. He remembers that this is Carter’s last day as a med student, and instead of giving him some advice or words of wisdom, he gives administrative instructions.

It’s raining when Carol wakes up on what’s meant to be her wedding day. Amazingly, the rain doesn’t annoy her. Chloe and Susie are staying with Susan, and though Chloe was invited to the wedding, she doesn’t feel strong enough to go. Susan thinks she is. At County, Mark encourages Doug to go see Diane and tell her how he feels. Doug thinks the breakup is for the best, though he feels bad for Jake. Benton tells Carter that he needs to fill out an assessment of their time together. Carter’s thrilled to get to write down his feelings about the rotation.

Mark tries to talk to his next patient, a drunk woman named Bonnie who would rather have a cigarette than any medical treatment. Carter gives Benton a horrible assessment, with some egging on from Haleh. Out of a possible 40 points, Carter gives Benton 16. He feels a little bad, but Haleh points out that Benton had to evaluate Carter as well, so he’s probably not going to get any kind treatment there.

Swift helps Mark with Bonnie, overruling Mark’s diagnosis and recommending conservative treatments. As soon as he leaves, Mark overrules his overruling. Doug and Carter meet with a preteen named Caleb who’s feeling sick after finishing chemo. Caleb’s annoyed at their concern, so Doug tells him they can’t rule out meningitis, which can cause irritability, because the irritability might just be from Caleb’s personality. (Basically: “Stop being a brat so we can figure out what’s wrong with you.”)

Benton runs into Jeanie, who claims she hasn’t returned his calls because she’s been busy. Also, he shouldn’t call her at home. She asks to meet him later so they can talk. Mark was right about Bonnie’s diagnosis, and instead of being offended, Swift praises him for making a tough call. Then he tells Mark that the hospital has been served with a wrongful-death suit over what happened to Jodi O’Brien. Mark is upset but not surprised.

Benton examines Susan’s patient, Thomas, who has end-stage AIDS. Since Benton has no bedside manner, Susan explains things to Thomas’ partner, Jason. An oncologist sees Caleb, admitting him for antibiotics. Carter has no responsibilities, somehow, so he offers to hang out with Caleb and his sister, Sarah. Caleb continues being irritable, so Carter gives him one last chance to be nice and ask Carter to stay. Caleb declines.

Thomas is declining, and Benton tells Jason that he may need surgery. Thomas’ mother has power of attorney and is on her way, but possibly not quickly enough. As Susan heads out to get ready to be Carol’s bridesmaid, Benton tells Carter that the person who was going to take the ER sub-internship went elsewhere. The slot is open again, and it’s Carter’s if he wants it. Carter excitedly accepts, then races to take back the assessment he turned in. It’s too late – Hicks already has it.

Swift tells Mark that he’s going to take Morgenstern’s recommendation and hire him as an attending. Mark wants to discuss it with Jen, but he’s grateful for the offer. At Doc Magoo’s, Benton laments to Jeanie that he didn’t get to say goodbye to his mother. She tells him that she likes him, but this is about Mae. Benton says they’d both like to think that. (This scene is really vague. I’m pretty sure she’s trying to say they have nothing connecting them except Mae, while he’s saying there’s chemistry there.)

When Susan gets home to grab her wedding outfit, she finds Susie there alone, and Chloe nowhere to be found. She’s left a note saying she went to buy cigarettes, which is such a deadbeat-parent cliché. Carter asks Hicks if he can get his evaluation back for some edits, but instead, Hicks offers to show him Benton’s evaluation of him. Surprisingly, Benton had nothing but positive things to say about Carter. Carter pretends he just filled out a negative review because he was upset about not getting the sub-internship. Hicks graciously allows him to retract his evaluation, as long as he fills it out honestly.

Thomas’ mother, Marjorie, sings a lullaby to her unconscious son. Benton recommends a procedure, but Marjorie doesn’t want Thomas to endure any further pain. Benton agrees to keep up the current treatment in hopes that it’ll work. Outside the room, Jason tells Benton that Marjorie made the decision Thomas would have made. He wants to take Thomas home to die, but Benton thinks he should stay so they can manage his pain. Jason says that Thomas’ loved ones have already said their goodbyes, but they’re still not ready to let him go.

Doug tells Caleb’s father that he seems to have an infection unrelated to his chemo. Carter comes back to try to befriend the kid again, this time succeeding with an offer to play Mortal Kombat. Susan has to take the baby to the wedding and hand her off to the Greenes, since Chloe didn’t come back in time. The wedding party greets Carol outside the church, and everyone’s ready to proceed…but Tag isn’t there.

Benton sits with Thomas, holding his hand and inevitably thinking of his mother. Carol finds Tag sitting by himself, worrying that she doesn’t love him as much as he loves her. She assures him that she wouldn’t marry him if she didn’t love him. She admits that he’s right, but she still wants to be with him. Tag doesn’t feel the same, so we have a runaway groom.

At County, Connie teases Doug that Carol and Tag must be hitched by now. I guess Connie didn’t get invited to the wedding? That sucks – Haleh and Lydia got to be bridesmaids. Jake comes by to try to fix Doug and Diane’s relationship, but Doug knows it’s unfixable. He admits that sometimes he hurts people without knowing why.

Now that Caleb has softened a little, Carter opens up to him: His own brother had cancer as a child and sometimes took out his anger on Carter like Caleb does on his sister. Carter knows he was just trying to mask his pain. As Sarah looks on, Caleb tentatively asks if Carter’s brother made it. Carter says no, but he had a different kind of cancer than Caleb does. Plus, it was a long time ago, and medicine is better now – and the kids are tougher.

The wedding is off, but everyone gathers for the reception anyway. Malik wonders what will happen to the food. When Rachel says she’s hungry, Mark decides it’s okay to raid the buffet. The bridesmaids and Jen are ready for the open bar. Doug goes to the church, where the non-bride is crying in a pew. She asks what’s wrong with her, and why she can’t fall for a good guy. Doug says Tag is boring, which makes Carol laugh. She confides that she’s afraid she’ll never be happy. He assures her that she will be, not even realizing that when she is, it’ll be with him.

Carter thanks Benton for teaching him over the course of the year. Benton tells him he’ll be a good doctor, possibly the first kind words he’s ever said to Carter’s face. The reception is going on as if the wedding actually happened, and when Carol arrives, she expresses her gratitude for having friends who care about her. She’s had a great year because of them. Everyone dances to “Tequila,” and it looks like the actors are really enjoying themselves. Of course, Doug can’t keep his eyes off of the non-bride.

Back at the hospital, Carter turns in the contents of his locker, ready for a summer off before he begins his sub-internship in the fall. Sarah tells him that she hopes one day she can make a difference in someone’s life like he did for Caleb today. Rolando encourages Carter to come back and visit sometime, unaware that Carter will be working there in the fall. He heads off as the busy hospital continues to operate without him.

Thoughts: One season down, 14 to go! Things are about to get a lot more interesting. (Two words: Kerry Weaver.)

I was expecting Marjorie to be hateful and judgmental, which would be an easy direction for the show to go with that storyline. I’m glad they didn’t.

The plot parallels in season 1 don’t hit you over the head like they do in later seasons. It’s nice.

The Carol/Tag breakup is so anticlimactic, but she really wouldn’t have been happy with him. He’s a jerk, though. If you don’t think it’s a good idea, call it off before everyone gets to the church.

 

July 3, 2018

ER 1.24, Motherhood: Cue “The Circle of Life”

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

Welcome to the madhouse, Susie

Summary: Susan’s asleep, so drink! Chloe wakes her up to announce that she’s going into labor. Well, really, she’s been in labor for a while; her contractions are now just two minutes apart. Susan quickly gathers her things including a giant boombox, and they rush to County. Susan hands her sister off to Carter, who isn’t very helpful with the Lamaze breathing. By the time Susan has put on a gown to help out with the delivery, the baby is already crowning.

Susan and Nurse Chuny Marquez deliver while Carter tries to find the right cassette to play. He fails, so Susan and Chloe provide their own soundtrack, singing the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” Mothers everywhere curse Chloe for having such a fast, easy delivery. Everyone else watching rolls their eyes, because the baby is gigantic and at least three months old.

Susan shows the baby off to Carol, still stunned that she delivered her own niece (and on Mother’s Day). Carol hopes to start trying for a baby soon after she gets married, though right now she’s just trying to get through all the preparations. Tag’s family is in town and driving her crazy. As they run up to the roof to meet a helicopter, Mark tells Carter that he’s been picked for the ER sub-internship he applied for. Carter hasn’t heard back about the surgical sub-internship yet, and needs to accept or decline the ER one by the end of the day.

Doug arrives at work and tells Rolando that there’s a horse in his parking spot. Rolando isn’t sure if that necessitates a call to security. Susan and Carol tend to a man named Josh who fell unconscious after mixing ammonia and bleach to clean his kitchen. In the trauma room next door, Mark, Carter, and Benton tend to a teenager named James who was impaled on rebar. Hicks comes by to help, so Mark goes over to check on Susan and Carol, who have things under control.

A scout mother named Dolores brings in some sick kids she’s diagnosed with giardia from contaminated water. Doug gets puked on. Mark checks out a girl named Joanie who appears to have the flu, but he wants to do a spinal tap to make sure she doesn’t have meningitis. Benton operates on James, actually letting Carter do some stuff for once. Benton even seems to be in a good mood, at least until things start going south for James.

Diane comes by to invite Doug along while she and Jake go house hunting. She tells him that, depending on how things go, Doug may one day get an invitation to live with them. Cue Doug’s internal screaming. Benton sends Carter off to do some charts and labs, allowing him to scrub in on another operation later if he does all the work. Then Benton has to tell James’ mother that he didn’t survive surgery. Happy Mother’s Day, James’ mom!

Carol fights with Tag over the phone, disagreeing with his insistence on having dinner with his mother three nights in a row. When she hangs up, she tells Mark and Susan that their wedding caterer canceled and the bridesmaids’ dresses are late. Mark summons Carter into the lounge to ask if he’s made a decision about the ER sub-internship. Carter turns it down, thinking he’ll get the surgical one. Mark says that people look down on medical doctors while surgeons get all the praise. But he thinks Carter will excel in any specialty.

Susan and Chloe’s mother, Cookie, comes to see her new granddaughter. She is…not very maternal. Chloe and baby Susie are supposed to move in with Chloe’s parents when they get out of the hospital, but Cookie was under the impression that they’d have more time to get ready. She starts badmouthing the baby’s father, which Susan decides is her cue to leave.

A girl named Kaitlin was playing in a mother-daughter softball tournament when she was stung by bees. Her mother, Mrs. Sandburg, thinks Kaitlin’s allergic, since she herself is allergic. Doug decides not to have a lengthy discussion with her about genetics. Carter stitches up a woman who passed out after drinking too much at a Mother’s Day brunch. Joanie doesn’t have meningitis, but Mark is concerned that her heart murmur might be worsening because of an infection.

Linda invites Doug to have drinks with her and her mother, or, when he turns down that offer, meet up with her afterward. She’s impressed when he resists the temptation to cheat on Diane. Benton, Susan, and Connie receive a patient who may have had a heart attack. Carter’s allowed to intubate the man, but Susan has to lend a hand. Cookie pops in to talk to her daughter, who’s a little busy. The trauma is soon over when the doctors find out what’s obstructing the patient’s airway: his dentures.

Carter’s next patient is supposed to be a very old woman named Ada who cut her arm. Unfortunately, she’s no longer conscious, and possible not even still alive. While various people run around in the background to tend to Ada, Cookie tells Susan that Chloe and the baby can’t come home with her. Susan will have to help her make other plans. Susan’s upset that her parents have changed their minds after promising to help. Cookie finally admits that she doesn’t want to take care of another child after parenting her own.

Carol and Susan take a break together, lounging in beach chairs on the hospital roof. They decide that while Tag honeymoons in Paris, Susan and Carol will go to Hawaii. They’ll leave Chloe and the baby with Tag’s family. Susan might even stay in Hawaii forever. Their fantasies end when Susan gets paged back to the ER, where Chloe’s giving the baby a little tour. Doug finds her and tells her she should wait a while before taking the baby around lots of people.

A man bursts into the ER with a woman named Nina who overdosed on drugs. Chloe is drawn to the sight, most likely remembering her own struggles with drugs. She asks Connie to take the baby back to the nursery. Joanie needs a valve replacement, and Mark tries to reassure her mother, Mrs. Lafferty, that it’s a routine procedure and nothing to worry about.

Carol and Susan return to work, still wearing their sunglasses from the roof. Susan finds Chloe crying on a staircase, overwhelmed by all the bad things she’ll have to protect her daughter from. After all, their parents couldn’t keep Chloe from getting into trouble. Chloe thinks she’ll feel better when she finally gets home. Susan decides not to tell her that she won’t be going to their parents’ house.

As Hicks tells Benton that a decision has been made about something – a decision Benton doesn’t agree with – two female gangbangers come in, one with a gunshot wound to the head and one with stab wounds. Rosario, the stabbing victim, insists that she’s fine and demands that the doctors let the other woman, Angelina, die. She probably will, as she’s so badly injured that Mark wants to see if she’s an organ donor. Just then, a third woman storms in and screams at Rosario for cutting off her ear. Malik has to tackle her and drag her out.

Jerry comes in to tell Benton that Mae’s nursing home is on the phone with an urgent call. Carter takes a moment to worry about him. Hicks then tells him that he hasn’t received the sub-internship. Once their traumas are done, Doug teases Susan, calling her Big Susie (since the baby is now Little Susie). He also praises Malik for his tackling skills. Malik tells Mark that the woman brought Rosario’s ear with her. Fun!

Benton races to Mae’s facility and learns that her heart stopped that afternoon. Using language similar to what Benton used when he told James’ mother about James’ death, the doctor tells Benton that Mae has died. Jackie and her children are also there, and Benton finds his sister sitting in their mother’s room, where her body is still in her bed. After a hug, Jackie leaves Benton alone to have some private final moments with Mae.

Mark and Doug are both at work late (Mark’s waiting for Jen to come in from Milwaukee), so they play some basketball. Doug is uncertain about moving in with Diane, and asks if Mark knew when the time was right to make that decision with Jen. He figures that if he’s not sure, he’s not ready. Mark asks if Doug’s lack of readiness has anything to do with Carol’s upcoming wedding. He shoots a basket, saying that if he makes it, Doug’s ready, and if he doesn’t, Doug isn’t. We don’t get to see what happens.

Susan gives Susie her first astronomy lesson, pointing out some constellations. Carter comes by to meet the baby and get some feedback on his decision to turn down the ER sub-internship. Susan says it’s too late, since Mark has already offered it to someone else. Jen arrives at the hospital just as Joanie’s condition deteriorates. Poor Jen has to wait while her husband saves a little girl’s life. How sad for Jen! Her life is so hard!

Diane goes by Doug’s house and sees him with Linda. He insists that nothing happened, then says that he’s just having a bad reaction to her suggestion that they move in together. He tells her this won’t happen again, but Diane thinks it will. Joanie has stabilized enough for surgery, and the surgeon is just as reassuring as Mark was. Carol and Jen eat pizza and compare pre-wedding disasters. Jen claims that Mark wanted a big wedding but she didn’t. When Mark finally joins them, Jen pretends to be understanding about the delay, but we all know she’s mad.

Jeanie comes to the nursing home, where Benton is still finishing up making arrangements for Mae’s body. He notes that he’s used the language Mae’s doctor did many times, about how they did everything they could to save Mae, but he’s never had to hear it himself. He thought he would be better prepared. Jeanie takes his hand as he gets emotional over his inability to fix his mother. Then the hand-holding turns to kissing. Back at County, as Benton mourns a death, Susan celebrates a birth, singing “Blackbird” to her new niece.

Thoughts: This episode was directed by Quentin Tarantino. Yeah, you read that right. Dolores is played by Kathy Griffin, so I’ve officially hit my yearly limit of having to watch her in things.

Want to feel old? Little Susie would now be 23.

I wonder why they killed Mae off so quickly. Did they realize that her story was too much of a burden on Benton? It was the inevitable ending for the plot, but it came on so fast.

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