June 8, 2021

ER 8.18, Orion in the Sky: Delaying the Inevitable

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

The passing of the torch, I guess

Summary: Mark is shooting baskets by himself outside the hospital when Carter comes out, upset that one of his frequent patients finally died. He kept trying to get her to quit smoking, but she never did, and her COPD finally killed her. Carter’s mad that she didn’t take responsibility for her health and instead expected Carter to fix her all the time. Mark tells him that they can only do so much. As hard as it is to treat noncompliant patients, it’s even harder to be those patients.

Freaking Greg Pratt comes out to get Carter, and…hold on, I need a minute. I have to prepare myself to deal with this guy. Okay. Carter introduces him to Mark. Pratt is finishing up his internship and will become a resident over the summer. He thinks he’s seen pretty much everything and is ready for the ER. Ha ha ha ha, no one’s ready for the ER, Pratt.

Mark goes back to work, declining Abby’s offer of green tea to boost his immune system. Frank is giving people a career aptitude test, which is kind of weird in a place where the employees have supposedly already devoted their lives to one career. Gallant’s responses are placing him “somewhere between rock star and lion tamer.” Okay, that’s pretty cool.

Carter gives Pratt a brief tour of the ER before he meets Frank, who decides to nickname Pratt “Junior.” Weaver’s going easy on Mark, not loading him up with too many critical patients. He grabs Abby to help him with a patient, a woman named Norma who’s having trouble breathing. Weaver explicitly tells the others they need to lighten Mark’s load. Pratt’s the only one who doesn’t get why.

Luka brings Norma’s son Jeffrey to her trauma room and offers to take the case from Mark. Mark’s not happy about that. He tells Jeffrey that Norma (who has some sort of chronic illness) probably has aspiration pneumonia, and they can insert a special IV line to help her, but first they need to know if she has a DNR. Jeffrey tells him to wait for his sister Linda to arrive, since she’s a lawyer and handles all of that side of Norma’s illness. Mark says there isn’t time to wait; Jeffrey needs to decide how they treat Norma. He approves Mark’s suggestion.

Carter and Pratt go see a patient named Willa who was found unconscious at work. Her colleague says he thinks she has a mummy’s curse. No, wait, there’s a connection there, I swear! Willa is an Egyptologist, and she passed out on the floor of Nefertiti’s tomb. Carter’s like, “Sure, okay. I’ve heard crazier.” Chuny needs a doctor for another patient, so Pratt offers to leave, not realizing that his patient has a penile fracture. As he leaves, Chuny notices that he’s going into the wrong exam room. Carter just says he’ll figure it out. And that’s how Pratt tried to examine the penis of a man with a punctured eardrum.

Jeffrey calls Linda, who refuses to come to the hospital. Norma wanted to die at home, so Linda’s upset that Jeffrey had her taken to the hospital. Jeffrey says she’s right – he should have just let her die. Mark gently says it’s okay if he’s not ready to let his mother go. Jeffrey says he’ll always want more time with her. He can’t keep delaying her death forever. Mark determines that Norma won’t be able to breathe on her own for much longer, so Jeffrey needs to decide whether Mark can intubate her or if he should just let her die. He tells Mark to do everything he needs to save her.

Mark drops the tube he’s trying to insert, so…maybe he shouldn’t be working anymore. He leaves the trauma room and heads to the lounge. Frank tells him Jen is going to be a little late for their planned meeting that afternoon. Speaking of things that should be delayed as long as possible. Susan asks what Weaver’s aptitude-test results were, but Frank says she’s not participating. If he had to guess, she’d best be suited for a job as a prison warden or a beauty pageant organizer.

Weaver checks on Mark in the lounge, suggesting that he ease up on heavy cases. He insists he’s fine. Why is she being so passive about this? Be Weaver! Tell him what he can and can’t do! Mark says he just wants to keep doing his job, as usual. She notes that he can’t do everything he used to, thanks to his treatments and his tumor. She asks him to take over Pratt’s orientation. If Mark were anyone else, Weaver would send him home, but she thinks he can recognize his limitations.

So Mark and Pratt team up to examine a patient named Stan before Mark goes to Doc Magoo’s to meet with Jen. She finally has some compassion for her ex-husband. And it only took a brain tumor and a death sentence! Rachel was supposed to spend the summer with Jen, but Jen’s willing to let her stay with Mark so they can spend more time together. She’s sorry that things between her and Mark ended so badly. She’s even willing to take responsibility for the breakdown of their marriage, even though Mark says they’re both to blame. He wouldn’t change any of it.

He tries to talk to her about his updated will, but Jen’s too shaken up to listen. Mark tells her that he’s started a college fund for Rachel. Jen says they can talk about that over the summer, when he brings Rachel to St. Louis. He tells her he’s not sure he’ll be able to make that trip. Jen doesn’t care – she won’t discuss this right now. Mark notes that there might not be another time, but Jen isn’t ready to accept that.

Back at County, Mark helps Chen with a patient named Al (not to be confused with the other two Als who have been on the show; this one was in the very first episode). He’s homeless and possibly has schizophrenia, since he keeps talking about ghouls putting spikes through his shoes. Pratt finds that amusing, which means Pratt needs a lesson on mental illness. Mark is familiar with Al’s delusions and treats him respectfully. Pratt suggests a psych consult, to which Al responds, “Screw you, Junior.” Frank would be proud. Mark tells Pratt to work on his bedside manner.

He moves on to treat a man named Freddy who was found in an alley, possibly having overdosed. His girlfriend, Shane, insists that they’re both clean. When Freddy is revived by NARCAN, a medication used to reverse drug overdoses, he sits up and pulls out the tube the paramedics put down his throat. He gets combative, demands his wallet, and walks out. I guess he’s okay, then.

Shane goes with Freddy, telling Mark that he’s upset because the paramedics lost his stuff. An orderly is bringing a gurney down the hall and accidentally rams it into Shane, who falls down. Freddy and the orderly start wrestling each other. Shane reveals that she’s pregnant, and the hit from the gurney has kickstarted labor. Luka joins Mark and Abby to help her. He tells them that Freddy passed out, so at least they don’t have to worry about a combative patient anymore.

Shane isn’t sure when she’s due, but Luka determines that she’s about 28 weeks along. Mark thinks she might need an emergency C-section. He stumbles on his way to the trauma room next door, where Carter and Chuny are trying to treat Freddy. Abby brings him back to Shane, who’s about to deliver the baby. After the birth, Mark and Abby have trouble getting the baby to breathe, and Mark asks Shane what drugs she’s used while pregnant. Shane continues insisting that she’s clean.

Next door, Carter has trouble intubating Freddy, so Mark heads back over to help him. He slips on the floor, which is slick from blood and a leaky window that’s letting in rain from a thunderstorm. After he collects himself, he calmly works with Carter to get Freddy intubated. When he returns to Shane’s trauma room, where the baby’s doing a little better, Abby gives him Shane’s tox screen results. Mark lectures Shane on taking opiates and cocaine, drinking, and not getting prenatal care. Mark makes her confront the bad decisions she’s made and the effects they’ll have on her child. Okay, he should definitely not be working anymore.

Mark goes to the oncology ward for a round of chemo, looking at the pictures on the walls of pleasant outdoor scenes. Pratt calls from the ER, needing his help. Mark takes his IV with him, asking the nurse administering chemo to send someone to find him so he can get his other treatment. Al is worse, and he wouldn’t calm down until Pratt promised to get Mark. Abby hooks Mark’s IV bag to Al’s IV stand so they don’t have to maneuver around Mark’s stand. When Pratt asks why Mark has an IV, Mark quips that it’s to reduce his blood-alcohol content. Heh.

Abby tests Al’s blood sugar and sees that he hasn’t been taking his insulin. Al says there’s a lot to remember. Pratt wasn’t aware that Al had diabetes, which means he didn’t do a very good job getting his patient’s history. (Also, if Al comes in a lot, which it seems like he does, since Mark knows him so well, his chart should say that he has diabetes. You suck, Pratt.) Pratt just stands there, confused, while everyone else treats Al. He talks back to Mark after Mark gives him some helpful medical advice. Abby gives Pratt a look like, “You’re going to learn very quickly not to talk to anyone like that.”

Mark pulls Pratt away to chastise him for not giving Al a proper work-up. Pratt says it didn’t seem necessary. Mark tells him to stick to learning while Mark does the teaching. Pratt asks if he seems like a punk to Mark. Mark says no (I say yes), so Pratt says he doesn’t want to be treated like one. He doesn’t want this to be a situation where Mark’s the old guy showing the new guy the ropes. Mark tells him if he doesn’t like how this is working, he can leave.

Later, Carter defends Mark, saying he’s a good doctor. Pratt thinks he’s burned out. He can’t figure out what Mark’s problem is. Susan informs him that Mark has a brain tumor that’s going to kill him. When Weaver checks on the group, Carter tells her that Pratt was just saying how much he’s benefiting from Mark sharing his experiences. Heh. Pratt wishes the staff would tell him more things. Oh, the guy who’s seen everything hasn’t actually seen everything, huh?

Stan’s test results are back, and he has something his regular doctor should have caught. Mark laments that he’ll have to get the news from ER doctors he’s never met. Pratt apologizes – sort of – for being egotistical and forgetting that he’s there to learn. Mark guesses that someone told Pratt he’s dying, which made Pratt feel bad about being…well, a prat. Mark calls Stan’s doctor, who’s on vacation, and tears into him for not catching his patient’s super-obvious prostate cancer. I think Pratt’s impressed.

Linda’s finally at the hospital, and she’s not happy that Jeffrey approved treatments for Norma when she has a DNR. Linda has power of attorney and wants to take Norma home. She thinks the doctors can’t accept that Norma wants to die; it would be like they’d have to admit defeat. Mark approves of the plan, then goes to the hallway to meet the chemo nurse and get his other treatment. Elizabeth asks if he’s feeling okay, and he tells her he’s tired of people asking him that.

Mark takes his treatment in a bed next to Al’s, trying to comfort him as he gets upset about being separated from his cart. Mark watches through the window as Elizabeth removes Norma from the machines keeping her alive so she can die at home. The chemo nurse ignores everything around her, only focusing on how annoying it is to administer the treatment. Mark suddenly realizes this isn’t what he wants. He stops his treatment and offers to help Al find his cart.

Willa is conscious and a little embarrassed because she has aspergilloma, a fungus superstitiously called the curse of the mummy. She thinks her colleagues will mock her. Pratt explains that she probably got it on a recent trip to Egypt. Mark has trouble with his speech while giving medication orders, and Chuny’s concerned. Willa thinks she got sick because she works too much. Like Joni Mitchell said, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. “I hate that song,” Mark says.

Elizabeth comes to tell him that oncology is ready to give him his other treatment, but he tells her that he’s done. She doesn’t think he should make a big decision like this on his own, without thinking it over more. Mark says this could be the last important decision he gets to make. Elizabeth desperately wants him to keep receiving treatments, since they could prolong his life, but Mark knows they would only give him a couple more months. She wants that extra time for herself and the girls.

Elizabeth notes that they see patients all the time who are living past when doctors told them they would. She doesn’t want Mark to give up. Mark says he’s not – he’s making a choice. He’d rather have two good months than four months stuck in bed as a helpless patient. He hates the looks doctors and nurses give patients who are dying. Elizabeth still won’t listen, but Mark tells her he wants to die the way he’s lived.

He goes with Pratt to tell Stan that he has cancer. Pratt is possibly the last person I would want to hear bad news from, but Mark lets him deliver it anyway. When Pratt can’t figure out what to say, Mark steps in. Stan doesn’t think Mark’s being sincere when he says he knows what’s going through Stan’s mind right now. Pratt leaves the room, finally realizing that he’s in way over his head here.

Mark returns to Al, who wants to leave. Mark says he does, too. He tells Al that it’s going to become harder for him to take care of himself, so if he has any family who can take care of him, he should call them. Al says that he wants whatever’s going to happen to him to happen outside, not at the hospital. Mark signs his discharge papers and lets him go.

Mrs. Raskin, Mark’s old buddy from the first episode, is back with another painful hangnail. Mark loses his sympathy immediately, saying his inoperable brain tumor is worse than her problem. He leaves her to tend to a little girl named Katie who’s been waiting for treatment for two hours. She has a splinter under her fingernail and is afraid to have anyone look at it, since she knows it’ll hurt.

Mark tells her to close her eyes and picture something. Katie’s class has been studying Greek mythology, and sees Orion’s Belt. She explains that Orion couldn’t beat the scorpion, so he jumped into the sea. Artemis put him in the sky to keep him away from the scorpion. While she’s talking, Mark removes her splinter without her even noticing. He thanks her, telling her she was his very last patient.

Mark tells Haleh to deal with Mrs. Raskin (and tell her to never come back), then says good night to Pratt, who admits that he learned a lot today. In the lounge, Mark tells Weaver that Pratt is cocky and eager, which makes him a good fit for the ER. He takes some things from his locker as Weaver tries to work out the schedule for next month. He tells her to make sure her work doesn’t become her life.

After passing some patients on to Carter, Mark heads out, exchanging goodbye salutes with Al. He and Susan see each other across the ER but don’t speak. The only person Mark explicitly says goodbye to is Abby, who thinks he’s just leaving for the night, not forever. Carter walks Mark out to the ambulance bay, where Mark picks up the basketball and notes that it needs air. He tosses it to Carter and repeats what Morgenstern once said to him: “You set the tone.” Then he leaves work for the last time.

Thoughts: Jeffrey is played by Wilson Cruz. Shane is played by Lori Petty.

I thought I had more time before I had to deal with Pratt. Sigh. I NEEDED more time.

Mark absolutely shouldn’t have been working on major cases. They should have had him treating sprains and sore throats. I mean, come on.

I like the parallels between this episode and the first one, not just because there are callbacks but because they show how work can become routine. Kind of a “the more things change, the more they stay the same” situation. And that routine can become so normal that it just becomes your life, which is what Mark was warning Weaver against.

February 23, 2021

ER 8.3, Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic: Bleeding Hearts

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

The new and definitely-not-improved Rachel

Summary: Benton is leaving Reese with Jackie for the day, and Jackie looks a little shaky about taking care of a child, but Benton doesn’t have any other choices, now that Carla is dead. Carter’s over at his grandmother’s house, listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (so we can get the episode title from one of their songs) before work. Millicent wants him to see a doctor about the back injury he suffered when he fell while running over to Doc Magoo’s. He says it’s an exacerbation of his stabbing injury.

Abby’s moving her things out of Luka’s apartment post-breakup. She grabs her jacket from the coat rack, which she accidentally knocks over, right into the new aquarium. She cracks the glass and water starts leaking out. As Mark and Elizabeth arrive at County, still struggling with sleep deprivation, Abby calls around to try to get a replacement aquarium. They’re pricey and she doesn’t know if she needs one for saltwater or freshwater fish. She spots Luka entering the ER and quickly hangs up.

The ER is full of patients, so Mark does some quick rounds to determine who can be discharged quickly. One of the patients is a kid with his hand stuck in a piggy bank, and Mark asks who’s sick, the kid or the pig. The kid doesn’t appreciate it but I think it’s funny. Weaver disapproves of Mark fast-tracking procedures and skipping all the details on people’s charts. Chen asks her a question about a patient, but instead of answering, Weaver takes the patient from her. This frees up Chen to take care of an abandoned newborn brought in by a paramedic named Niki.

Benton tells Cleo that Reese keeps asking to sleep with him; Reese says he’s having nightmares but won’t go into detail. Cleo feels bad for Reese, who must be confused about his mother not being around. Benton can’t believe that his son will grow up without a mother, and there’s nothing Benton can do about it. Dave tells Cleo he treated one of her patients, which makes her mad. She says she was waiting for a surgical consult, but Dave chastises her for chatting with her boyfriend instead of working. And when Dave thinks you’re slacking, you’re really in trouble.

Abby hides in an exam room while trying to avoid Luka, but instead encounters Carter. He stepped on some broken glass at Millicent’s house and is trying to remove a piece of it from his foot by himself. Abby tells him that she and Luka broke up, and Carter manages not to cheer out loud. When Carter leaves the room and Luka asks if he’s seen Abby, Carter sends him in the opposite direction to give Abby more time to hide out.

Carter joins Chen to treat the newborn, who was left at a church just moments after birth. They both have trouble inserting an IV to give the baby fluids, so Carter suggests inserting a line in her umbilical cord. He hasn’t done this since he was an intern, so Chen is hesitant and wants to get a more senior doctor. Carter insists he can do it.

Dave starts to ask Mark a question, but he gets distracted when he sees Niki down the hall. He follows her into an elevator, because Dave will follow a pretty woman anywhere if it means he can get some. She’s heard about him (more specifically, she’s been warned about him) and isn’t happy to be followed. She’s even less happy when the now-full elevator stops.

As Luka and Abby are finally forced to work on a patient together, Mark spots a familiar face in the ER: Rachel (now recast and slightly older). She took a train from St. Louis by herself, since Jen kicked her out. Chen and Carter keep working on the baby, noting that whoever delivered her tied off the umbilical cord with a shoelace. Chen thinks it’s time to ask Weaver for help, but Carter calmly inserts a line in the umbilical cord and is able to give the baby fluids.

The people in the stuck elevator are impatient to get out, but Dave stays calm, probably because he’s exactly where he wants to be. A patient named Eldon feels sick, but Dave tells everyone that if they all chill, everything will be fine. Eldon ignores him and vomits blood. Wow, Eldon, you found one of the few ways you could make this experience even worse. Good job.

The last time we saw Rachel, she was sweetly accepting her grandmother’s pearl necklace from Mark. Now she’s listening to loud music, talking about being a vegetarian, and complaining about her mother. She doesn’t go into detail about why Jen kicked her out, just saying Jen is crazy. Mark insists that they call Jen to let her know where Rachel is, though Rachel doesn’t think she’ll care. Elizabeth stops by the ER and is surprised to see Rachel. Mark just says she and Jen are having mother/daughter issues, which Elizabeth knows all about.

Eldon isn’t breathing, so Dave and Niki work together to revive him. Dave also keeps his eyes on the other passengers, making sure one of them keeps another from falling when she starts to pass out. Luka and Abby are also working together, keeping things professional but chilly. He tells her he’s sorry if he hurt her, and she says he didn’t. He just wants her to be happy, which she never seemed to be with him. Really? To me, she seemed happier with him than she ever did anywhere else. Also, I guess Luka’s allowed to brood but no one else is.

Dave and Niki continue working on Eldon, enlisting other passengers as nurses. Everyone’s pleased when Dave successfully performs a tricky procedure. Romano comes to the ER to bicker with Weaver over how Dave, Chen, and Carter treated Paul, the patient they failed to diagnose with Marfan’s. Weaver says it’s tricky to recognize, so it’s not the doctors’ fault that they screwed up. Romano reminds her that that’s why they have attendings. Weaver pretends she was just busy somewhere else, not across the street on personal business. Romano urges her to find a scapegoat if necessary.

The stuck elevator finally gets unstuck and all the passengers flee, other than Eldon. In other good news, Carter and Chen have stabilized the newborn. The woman who found the baby at the church comes by to see how she’s doing. She asks Carter to let her sister see the birthmark on the baby’s chest. She thinks it’s a sign of the Virgin Mary (it looks a little like a bleeding heart) and that it helped her arthritis. Chen thanks Carter for his help, and he says he’s available whenever she needs.

Abby didn’t have time to get the glass out of Carter’s foot before Chen needed his help, so she sits him down to keep working at it. She tells him about her mishap at Luka’s apartment, which she hasn’t mentioned to him. Carter advises her to replace the aquarium so Luka doesn’t think she broke it on purpose. Abby says she’s working on it but needs help getting a new tank into the apartment. Carter guesses that she means she needs his help, and he’s not on board. Abby reminds him that she removed glass from his foot, so like the animals in the fable about the thorn in the paw, he owes her.

Chen learns that Carter discharged the patient Weaver took from her, so she thinks Weaver didn’t trust her to treat the patient correctly. Carter reminds Chen that Weaver made her chief resident, so she must have some faith in Chen’s abilities. Chen thinks she only got the position by default.

Mark brings Elizabeth in to consult on a patient named Mrs. Tanzi who may have appendicitis. She has dementia and her health has deteriorated to the point where she can’t take care of herself or recognize her husband. He thinks she’s ready to die, so he wants to turn down the surgery Elizabeth says she needs. Mark is willing to agree, but Elizabeth isn’t.

Rachel interrupts while they’re discussing the patient, crying because Jen flipped out about her running away and threatened to send her to summer school. She thinks Jen hates her. Weaver goes looking for Dave, who’s needed to help with a trauma, and finds him with Niki in the back of her ambulance. They’re on a break, and they’re not fully clothed. Weaver tells Dave he’s fired. He tries to talk his way back into his job, but Weaver sticks to her decision. She erases his name from the patient board, and after she leaves, he writes it back in.

Mark calls Jen, who’s on her way to Chicago to retrieve her devil’s spawn. Mark spots one of his patients trying to leave before having his shoulder injury x-rayed. The patient says he saw the baby, so he’s going back to his rugby game. Mark’s understandably confused. Dave tries to get Mark to talk to Weaver on his behalf, but Weaver spots him and kicks him out again. Things get more hectic for Mark as Mr. Tanzi tells him that his wife isn’t in her bed. He’s worried that she wandered off. Mark goes to deal with that, telling Rachel to hush and Dave to talk to Weaver himself.

Cleo wraps up a loose end in a non-plotline when she learns that, after weeks of preventive treatments, she’s HIV-negative. She feels like she’s gotten her life back. Carter goes back to the baby’s trauma room, since she’s in distress again. He jokes to Chen that she might be worn out from performing miracles. He suggests that they repeat one of her blood tests. Weaver finds Mrs. Tanzi in the room and has a nurse take her back to bed. Chen discovers what’s wrong with the baby, and Carter gives her the credit for deciding to repeat the blood test, so Weaver will think she did something right. Weaver isn’t impressed, though.

Mr. Tanzi is surprised that his wife is suddenly better. Mark thinks that her appendix burst, which temporarily relieved her pain. He tries to talk Weaver into giving Dave his job back, noting that he’s not the first employee to have sex in the hospital (Mark himself has done that). Mr. Tanzi thinks his wife’s going to stay this lucid, so he changes his mind about her having surgery. Mark tells him her lucidity probably won’t last, but Mr. Tanzi wants her to be given every possible chance to stay alive.

After they leave the room, Weaver tells Mark that he’s not doing what’s best for the patient. Mark tells her that she’s free to take his patient away like she took Chen’s from her. Weaver argues that she was justified in firing Dave, considering his history of insubordination and disrespect. Mark tells her she can’t get rid of an employee just because they don’t get along. If she fired everyone she fought with in the ER, they’d have no staff.

Abby and Carter take an empty aquarium to Luke’s place, but Abby realizes too late that she left her key inside, so they can’t get in. She thinks a window might be open, so she makes Carter bend over so she can boost herself up on his back and reach the fire escape. It’s stuck, of course. She left the aquarium leaning against the building, and it starts to wobble and fall over. Carter rushes to catch it and leaves Abby dangling from the fire escape.

Jen is in Chicago now, and Mark sits her and Rachel down in the lounge to make them work things out. He thinks they’re both to blame for the breakdown in their relationship – Rachel needs to be more responsible and Jen needs to work less. Jen says they’ll figure things out when they get home. Rachel refuses to go back to St. Louis with her. She storms out, and Jen asks Mark to help them, but he has to go do his job.

Paramedics bring in a young woman who was hit by a car. Witnesses said she was already lying in the crosswalk before she was hit. Benton notices that she has a severed umbilical cord, and Haleh sees that she’s missing a shoelace. Looks like we found the mom of the miracle baby. Over at Luka’s, Abby and Carter have set up the new tank, but as they’re leaving with the old one, someone rings the doorbell. It’s the police.

The doctors stabilize the miracle baby mama, Anna, who claims that she doesn’t have a baby. In fact, she says she was never pregnant. Mark brings the baby into her trauma room and tries to get her to face reality. Anna finally admits that she left the baby at the church, thinking God would protect her. Chen says He did, and some people even think the baby is a miracle.

Carter calls his lawyer from the back of a police car, though Abby notes that they haven’t been charged with anything yet. She wonders what they would even be arrested for – “aquatic mischief?” Luka arrives and Abby starts worrying that he’ll press charges. Instead, Luka tells the police to let them go. Carter urges Abby to talk to him, but she wants to put that off.

Mark prepares to send Rachel back to St. Louis, telling her she can call him any time. She asks if she can stay in Chicago and live with him. She guilts him by saying she wants to get to know Ella and spend more time with Elizabeth, who’s a great role model. Mark seems open to the idea, even though it would be a huge change for Rachel.

Elizabeth operates on Mrs. Tanzi while Babcock talks about how mentally incompetent the patient is and how they shouldn’t bother trying to save her. Shut up, Babcock. Elizabeth is so sleep-deprived that she falls asleep during a lull in the procedure. She denies it, saying she was just resting her eyes. Babcock is skeptical, of course, but so is Shirley, and when Shirley’s worried, we should all pay attention.

As Benton is scrubbing in to operate on Anna, Jackie shows up with Reese. She can’t bring herself to spend time with Reese because he reminds her of Jesse. Benton tells Romano he’ll find someone to look after Reese while he operates, but Romano tells Benton to go spend quality time with his son. When Benton’s back is turned while he’s picking up Reese, Romano signs to Reese, “Take care of your father.”

Chen finds Dave moping in the ambulance bay and tries to assure him that Weaver will back down once she’s not so mad at him. Of course, she’s always mad at Dave, so… Dave thinks they’re right to be on the hot seat for not saving Paul. Dave was so intent on saving the patient that he didn’t look closely enough at his x-rays to see what the real problem was. Chen says that Paul’s death just means Dave is a real doctor. Medicine is the only thing Dave’s ever been good at, and he doesn’t want to give it up.

Abby and Carter go to her apartment, talking about a time she borrowed a car without permission (so, stole) to buy Wham tickets. Her upstairs neighbors are fighting, and the woman next door to Abby suggests that someone go up and talk to them. (This is possibly setting up a plot later in the season, but it doesn’t quite hold together, so it’s kind of pointless.)

When Elizabeth is done with Mrs. Tanzi’s surgery, Mark asks how she would feel about letting Rachel move in. He’s sure she would help out around the house and provide free babysitting. Elizabeth figures that Mark has already told her she can stay, so her opinion doesn’t really matter. Except we all know Elizabeth is the boss in this relationship, so if she said no, Mark would listen. Anyway, Rachel gets to stay, and we’ll all suffer the consequences.

Dave is finishing up his shift, and Weaver isn’t happy about it. He knows that if she really wanted to fire him, she would have to go through review and disciplinary committees, which would inevitably refer him for counseling instead of terminating him. Weaver points out that he has five letters in his file for unprofessional behavior and has been counseled for those five instances. He’s also failed two rotations. She might not be able to fire him outright, but she can make sure he can’t work in the ER anymore.

Dave thinks Weaver has it out for him because he doesn’t suck up to her. He knows he goofs around, but he’s also a good doctor. He thinks this is about her not liking him, not his performance. Weaver confirms that she doesn’t like him – he doesn’t respect his co-workers or the hospital. He thinks he’s a cowboy about medicine, but he can’t back it up. He makes mistakes that kill people.

The writers decide to throw in a dab of character background in some of Dave’s last minutes on screen: He tells Weaver he needs the job because he has a child to support. This is news to her, since he’s never mentioned being a father. Dave notes that she’s never asked about his personal life. Weaver repeats that he’s fired. He rants that she’s sad and cold-hearted, and no one likes her. The ER is so important to her because she has nothing else in her life. He ends the fight by calling her a “Nazi [gay slur I won’t repeat].” And thus Dave ends his last speaking appearance by losing all the sympathy he’d been building up.

Thoughts: Don’t cry for me because Dave is leaving. Rejoice with me because soon we’ll have Gallant.

’00s music alert: Cake’s “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”

“Too broken to fix?” “It was more like a crack.” Those familiar with later seasons of the show might agree that this exchange about Luka’s aquarium is a metaphor for his relationship with Abby. Okay, I’ll stop talking like an English major now.

Mark calls Dave and Niki’s romp in the ambulance an “unauthorized physical.” Funny, when Mark and Jen got caught doing the same thing in a bathroom, I said she was “giving him a physical.”

December 3, 2019

ER 5.5, Masquerade: The Scariest Thing This Halloween Is the Stupidity of the Future Doctors of America

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

Peter Benton (can ya dig it?)

Summary: It’s Halloween, and Jerry’s plotting something. He stashes something behind a Dumpster in the ambulance bay, then tries to pretend he didn’t. Mark and Chuny meet an ambulance bringing in a woman named Coco who’s babbling. She claims to be pregnant, but the paramedics don’t think she is. Jerry calls someone to report that their plan is in motion.

Weaver tells Lydia that the night shift isn’t wearing costumes this year, since they might scare the patients. I don’t think Lydia’s French-maid costume will scare anyone, except maybe a patient who thinks he or she is being treated by an actual maid instead of a certified nurse. Weaver suggests festive pins instead. She thanks Randi for reading her memo about costumes, but Randi, who’s wearing a suit not unlike one Weaver might wear, has dressed up as “a total stiff.”

Yosh sends Doug to the new pediatric area of the ER, telling him there’s a child with puncture wounds. It’s just a prank organized by Carol, who wants to kiss her boyfriend with vampire fangs. He’s not amused, which is pretty interesting since, as Carol points out, he’s pulled plenty of pranks in the past. He wants to be more serious now that he’s an attending. He’s also asserting some power by insisting on signing off on all pediatric patients. That means he’ll be looking over Mark and Weaver’s shoulders.

Mark asks Carol to help him with Coco, who continues to claim to be nine months pregnant without any evidence. Mark asks for a tox screen and psych consult. Elizabeth has dressed up as a milkmaid, I guess, because she loves Halloween. Benton teases her for thinking that Halloween involves romantic hayrides. After all, they’re in Chicago. He says he has something against costumes. Elizabeth is sure that when he was a kid, there was someone he wanted to be. Benton claims there wasn’t. Dale ruins Elizabeth’s bad mood by giving her annoying work to do.

Weaver brushes off a man who comes to the ER looking for Mark; she’s busy trying to get a computer to work. Lily brings a wheelchair and some medical supplies into the ER, saying she found them in the ambulance bay. Jerry offers to take care of putting it away, then takes it right back outside. Carter arrives with Roxanne, who’s going to a teamster party that night, which gives her an excuse not to help Carter chaperone a dorm party. Lucy catches them as they’re about to make out, and she doesn’t get the hint that Carter wants her to go away. He gives her a fake arm so she can practice inserting IVs.

Weaver gives Carter a bunch of files so he can present a case at a conference the next day. She notes that it would be good experience for someone who eventually wants to be chief resident. Paramedics bring in a drunk man named Joe who claims he wants to quit drinking. Carter tells Lucy to set him up for detox.

Mark meets up with the man who was looking for him, Dan Litvak, a potential new chief for County. Weaver recognizes his name and beats herself up for not being more polite to him earlier. Doug gets a real patient, a kid named Jared who had an allergic reaction to his clown makeup. That means he’ll have to skip trick-or-treating. Jeanie promises to find him something fun around there instead. “Fun stuff around here sucks,” Jared declares, possibly making George Clooney break character and laugh.

Mark checks in on Coco, who would like to know where her baby is. He tells Carol to give her Haldol, an antipsychotic. Weaver finds an excuse to talk to Mark so she can wrangle an introduction to Litvak. She pretends not to know who he is or why he’s there. She learns that he’s there for his second interview, and the search committee plans to vote tonight on who to hire. Weaver didn’t think the vote was until next week. Litvak isn’t very impressed with his supposed competition for the job.

Lucy does well with the fake arm, so Carter agrees to let her try an IV on a real patient. She’s apologetic for not being truthful with him before, but he admits that he wasn’t supervising her closely enough. They head off to take care of Joe, but he’s fled the hospital. Lucy hopefully asks if anyone else needs an IV.

As Elizabeth tries to guess who Benton wanted to be as a kid, they meet up with Reese, who’s come by for a visit. He’s adorably dressed as a bee. Carla says they just came from a party at Jackie and Walt’s, and she was unable to convince Walt to put on one of his ’70s “supa-dupa-fly” costumes and come with them. Elizabeth makes sure to get a picture of Reese with his parents.

Thanks to the Haldol, Coco is now coherent, but she still says she’s pregnant. Carol tells her she’s not, but Mark realizes they didn’t get a pregnancy test, so it’s possible she is. Coco tells them she has schizophrenia and stopped taking her medication when she found out she was pregnant. The Haldol could leave the baby with malformed limbs.

Benton and Weaver work on a trauma patient together, debating whether a sternal saw should be used in the ER or just the OR. She thinks his preferred way of doing things is too slow. Mark confirms that Coco’s pregnant, but they don’t know if the Haldol affected the fetus. Coco wonders if she’s really up for carrying the pregnancy to term, since it means staying off her meds. Mark thinks she should wait a little while before she makes a decision.

Later, Mark tells Carol that he thinks Coco might terminate the pregnancy. Carol notes that that would get him off the hook for possibly harming the baby. She invites him to get a drink after work, but he has plans to meet up with Jen for some kind of talk. Carter tells Lucy that she can leave early, since everything in the ER is under control. She heads off to get ready for the party he’s chaperoning.

Joe is brought back in, repentant over leaving earlier. He says again that he wants to quit drinking and make a fresh start. The drink he left the hospital to have will be his last. Mark says he’ll get Joe a detox bed if he promises not to run off again. He’s decided to believe Joe when he says he’ll stay; he was a cynic with Coco, and look how that turned out. Carol decides to get some extra insurance by taking Joe’s clothes.

Weaver tries to examine a little girl named Amanda who won’t stop screaming. Doug steps in to come up with a way to test her without using needles. Benton, Elizabeth, and Jeanie tend to a preteen named Barbie Klingman who was in a car accident. She has an abdominal bruise from her seatbelt, which may mean she has a bowel injury that will require exploratory surgery.

Litvak observes as Doug and Weaver keep tending to Amanda, using a pad that gives her a painkiller without an injection. Weaver, never Doug’s biggest fan, is very pleased with the method. Litvak is familiar with it, as his hospital participated in some trials. Lucy’s one of only a few people at the dorm party, so Carter feels comfortable going off to do some work for his presentation. Lucy offers to be in charge while he’s gone, as if the three med students there need a chaperone.

Benton, Romano, and Dale operate on Barbie, who still has glitter on her face from her princess costume. Romano makes some Benton-seriously-report-him-to-HR comments about how Benton and Elizabeth should check into a jungle-themed hotel room for the night. The surgeons find a couple of masses in Barbie’s abdomen that appear to be abnormal lymph nodes. Instead of letting Elizabeth scrub in, Dale sends her to pathology to get the masses tested.

Jeanie tries to get Doug to realize that he can’t see every pediatric patient on his own, so he needs to send some to the regular ER. Rachel comes by to hang out in the lounge while Mark and Jen talk. She mentions that she and Jen are moving to St. Louis, which is news to her father. Elizabeth returns to the OR with results from the biopsy of the masses. They’re testicles.

Carter returns to the dorm, where the party has really gotten going. Maybe a little too much. For example, the med students have set some furniture on fire and are in the process of throwing it out a window. These people are studying to be doctors. Pray you never get sick. Lucy’s been drinking, so she’s not much of a chaperone. Carter gives the fire-starters a fire extinguisher, then declares the party over. A tipsy Lucy doesn’t get why and asks if they were too loud. “No, the furniture was too on fire,” Carter replies.

Mark complains to Carol that once again, Jen has made a major life decision and he’s the last to know. Carol laments that it’s right on the heels of Mark getting to spend extra time with Rachel. Mark was able to convince the necessary people to give Joe a detox bed, but he’s taken off again. Mark is having a really bad night.

Elizabeth sits with Dale as he tells the Klingmans (Klingmen?) that Barbie is biologically male, but her anatomy didn’t develop properly, making her appear female. She’ll need estrogen to continue life as a girl. They had to remove the testicles because other people with her condition have developed malignancies. Elizabeth tells the Klingmans that Barbie’s genetics don’t matter; she was raised as a girl, so she’s a girl. However, her male anatomy means she’ll never have children.

Elizabeth says they’ll get the Klingmans in touch with a genetic counselor to figure out how and when to give Barbie the news. As they leave, Dale compliments Elizabeth on her skills at speaking with patients’ family members. Just when it looks like he might not be a 100% horrible person, he cracks that the Klingmans will have to change Barbie’s name to Ken. IT’S CALLED INTERSEX, DOCTOR. Look it up.

Lucy and some fellow med students keep drinking in their lounge, complaining about the horrible assignments they’ve been given by their residents. Lucy uses the fake arm to hold a shot for her. At County, Weaver tells Romano how important it is for the ER staff to be able to use a sternal saw in traumas. Romano doesn’t think it would get enough use or would fit within the standard of care. Weaver says the current standard of care is poor anyway. Romano advises her to do a study and enlists Benton to work on it with her. Benton doesn’t support the idea, but Romano thinks Weaver’s proposal will fail anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

Elizabeth’s good mood from earlier is faltering, and she’s not sure she’ll be up to a date with Benton after they’re off work. He calls Walt to ask for help in turning things around. Mark goes to Doc Magoo’s with Jen and Rachel so they can talk about how Jen is moving to another state and hasn’t said anything yet. Mark surprises her by not fighting her decision to move. They can’t both spend every day with Rachel, and he accepts that. Spending extra time with her over the summer helped him see that he and Jen need to think about her more than themselves.

Barbie wakes up after surgery and laments not being able to go trick-or-treating. She at least had fun making her costume with her mother. Elizabeth finds her tiara and puts it on her. Lucy, Bernard, and a third student are now pretty drunk, and think their fourth friend, Willie, has passed out from overindulging. They pull the prank on him where you put shaving cream on someone’s hand and then tickle his nose with a feather. Willie doesn’t regain consciousness, making Lucy realize that something’s really wrong. She sends the guys to call 911 while she gets Carter.

Carter determines that Willie’s not breathing, so he gives Willie CPR. His reward is vomit in his mouth. As an ambulance arrives, Lucy realizes that Willie took liquid ecstasy. Another student says a classmate, Branch, also took some, so Lucy rushes off to check on him. Mark settles a sports bet with Officer Al, then learns that Joe has turned up at a liquor store. Mark offers to call off the bet if Al will get Joe and bring him back to the ER.

Lucy and Carter find Branch passed out in a bathroom and give him CPR together. Benton checks on Elizabeth, who’s working late with Dale (though he calls her a “great little intern”). Benton pulls rank and tells Dale to let her leave already. Elizabeth is back to being excited about Halloween and wants to put her costume back on before she and Benton go out. She’s also still trying to guess his childhood dream job.

Al brings in Joe…only he’s not Joe. He’s Lloyd, Jerry’s cousin, and has used the hospital supplies Jerry took for him to enter a costume contest. He’s proud to have won an honorable mention. Weaver compliments Doug on all his work over the day, then gives him charts for all the patients the other doctors saw, since he said he wanted to sign off on all of them. Suddenly Weaver likes this new process. Carter and Lucy accompany Branch and Willie to the hospital, but since Lucy’s been drinking, Carter won’t let her assist.

Elizabeth exits the hospital to find Benton in one of Walt’s “supa-dupa-fly” suits, leaning against a vintage card. He’s filled the backseat with hay and gotten his nephew, Peanut, to take them for a hayride. Music comes on, and Benton notes that Elizabeth never figured out who he wanted to be as a kid. She recognizes the song as the theme from Shaft.

Weaver gives Jerry a bill for all the supplies he borrowed for Lloyd. He doesn’t have the money, so he’ll get some of it taken out of his paycheck for the next ten weeks. Mark tells Weaver that the search committee voted to hire Litvak as the new chief. He has a huge ego, so he wasn’t Mark’s first choice. He admits that he voted for Weaver. Jerry has a question about his paycheck garnishments, but now that Weaver won’t be in charge anymore, she decides to tear up the bill. She puts on some devil horns as she leaves for the night.

Carol stays late with Doug as he unloads some supplies in his new workspace. He gets her back for her earlier prank by pretending to cut himself with a box cutter. Carter meets up with Lucy back at the dorm after determining that Branch and Willie will be fine. Lucy says she didn’t know they were doing drugs, but Carter blasts her for not being better at being in charge. Lucy notes that she wasn’t responsible for policing everyone – he was supposed to be in charge. Carter chastises her for not being more mature. You were supposed to be in charge, Carter! Gaaaah!

And now, my favorite Benton/Elizabeth moment ever: As Peanut drives them around Chicago, Benton leans back coolly, channeling Richard Roundtree. Elizabeth sings along with the song and he teases her about not having rhythm. She cracks herself up by playing air tambourine badly enough that Benton has to ask what she’s doing.

Thoughts: You still can’t convince me that Benton was ever actually a child. He’s like Chidi from The Good Place – a 40-year-old in a child’s body.

Parents, don’t name your kid Barbie. She’ll never be able to escape “where’s Ken?” jokes. Also, don’t name your child Branch. That’s just mean.

Bravo to Kellie Martin for doing all the party scenes on skates, since Lucy was dressed as a roller-skating ’50s waitress.

July 16, 2019

ER 4.9, Obstruction of Justice: Two Protests With Very Different Results

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

These two really should have ended up together

Summary: Jeanie’s worked her last day at County but is up the next morning to go sign papers. Al is still confident that he’ll find work in Atlanta, though he’d appreciate Jeanie not nagging him about getting a job. Synergix sends some computer equipment over to County so they can work there on a trial basis. Weaver tells Anspaugh that she thinks Jeanie’s rumblings about getting litigious over her termination weren’t serious. The budget will be proof enough that they needed to let people go. Anspaugh praises Weaver for her handling of a difficult situation.

Mark’s hungover from his drunken antics with Cynthia the night before. She’s worn his lingerie gift to work, and she gives him a peep show in the doctors’ lounge. Doug was supposed to be back at work today, but he called to say his car broke down. Carol wants to make it very clear that he called the hospital, not her personally. Mark and Cynthia emerge from the lounge, and Carol and Chuny should probably hose it down before they go in.

Jeanie goes to Doc Magoo’s to meet up with a couple of lawyers Doyle knows. The fact that she’s never been disciplined works in her favor, but I’d say the fact that she performed a procedure she wasn’t supposed to because of her HIV doesn’t. Anyway, Jeanie wants her job back. At County, Carter asks Anna and Randi if he can borrow a dollar to get a soda. I guess he doesn’t have anything in his wallet smaller than a $50. Anna gives him a buck, noting that, according to legend, JFK also never carried cash on him. She lets him keep the change.

Carter’s cousin Chase shows up, calling Carter “Scooter,” which I’m going to need an explanation for. At least Anna now has a nickname to use for her least favorite colleague. Chase needs medical treatment for what he says is a spider bite. West meets Mark, who’s fine with the Synergix partnership because it means less work for him. West shows Weaver a new verbal dictation system that includes a hands-free mic.

Carol finds Cynthia in the restroom and tells her that there can be no more sex in the lounge. Cynthia laughs that off, saying she was just “trying to cheer up three of the Seven Dwarfs: Grumpy, Sleepy, and Doc.” She thinks Carol should be happier about Mark’s happiness. Jeanie shows up for work, saying she’s not going to accept her termination. Yeah, that’s…not how that works, Jeanie.

Carter and Chase chat about how their grandparents want Chase to be the next prominent successor of the family, working with the family company. Carter has no interest in that, and Chase is being overlooked despite already working for the company. Weaver and Carol tend to a man named Mr. Jackson who says he needs pain medication for a sickle cell crisis; someone stole his Percodans. Carol and Weaver think he’s a drug-seeker and won’t give him the dose he says he needs.

Paramedics bring in a mother and daughter hurt in a car accident. The mother is unconscious, and the daughter, Allison, is having trouble speaking. Weaver brings West in to help her with Allison. Benton and Elizabeth come in to replace West, and Benton shows the best bedside manner he’s ever displayed when he tells Allison they won’t let her die. Next door, her mother regains consciousness but soon flatlines. Elizabeth takes Allison to surgery for leg injuries.

Chuny tells Weaver that Jeanie clocked in for work. Carol can’t get anyone on the phone at the clinic Jackson says he usually goes to, which makes his story seem even fishier. He demands Demerol, but Weaver still won’t budge. Then she goes to confront Jeanie. She points out that Jeanie’s off the payroll and is no longer covered by malpractice insurance. Jeanie says she won’t see anymore patients, but she’s not leaving. Weaver threatens to have her forcibly removed from the hospital. Jeanie says Weaver can do what she needs to do, and Jeanie will do the same.

Allison’s mother dies in the ER, and Benton volunteers to take the news up to Allison in the OR. Herb arrives to shadow Mark, who hasn’t told anyone what’s really going on. Herb just wants to do a couple of sutures, nothing big. Mark’s like, “Cool, I can go from one malpractice suit to another!” Chase invites Carter to go to lunch, but Carter declines because he has to work. He explains to Anna that his family thinks he’s just dabbling in medicine and will quit sooner or later.

A screaming woman named Darlene is brought in after apparently being beaten up by her husband. Both spouses are drunk, and the husband, Eddie, says Darlene ran him over with her car. The cops believe him, though Darlene says she was trying to get away from her husband. She knows Billy, the officer who accompanied them in, is just siding with Eddie because they’re buddies. He’s handcuffed Darlene, but Carter makes him remove the cuffs so he can do his job. Billy demands that Carter get Darlene’s blood-alcohol level.

Benton tells Elizabeth that Allison’s leg injury is too bad to be repaired; they need to amputate. Elizabeth wants to do a procedure that she thinks will save the leg. Benton thinks Elizabeth just wants a guinea pig to practice the procedure on. Romano, of course, gets the tiebreaker, and he’s eager to see Elizabeth perform her procedure.

Weaver tells Mark that Jeanie is still fired, no matter what kind of protest she wants to stage. She hasn’t been able to reach Anspaugh. Mark’s happy he doesn’t have to deal with the stuff Weaver does. He gives Herb some scrubs and asks for some details on how, exactly, Herb plans to defend him from the Laws’ lawsuit (…heh). Herb says it doesn’t matter.

Billy urges Eddie to back him in filing charges against Darlene for assault with a deadly weapon. Apparently they’ve tried to press charges against her before, but Eddie always backs down. While Carter and Anna are telling Eddie that he’s not badly injured, Billy tries to force Chuny to draw Darlene’s blood for a blood-alcohol test. Darlene starts declining, so Carter and Anna rush to help her. Carter tells Billy he’ll need to get a warrant before they’ll agree to the blood draw. He knows both his and Darlene’s rights.

Apparently scrubs and a stethoscope are all you need to pass as a doctor, since Malik and Doyle both mistake Herb for one. Doyle thinks he’s from Synergix. It helps that he knows some medical stuff, having hired an ER doctor to teach him some terms and procedures. Mark sends him to the lounge to practice sutures on a pig’s foot.

Doug arrives and the nurses immediately put him to work. Carol runs up to him, eager for a reunion, but has to tone it down when she remembers other people are there. West invites Weaver to a Synergix conference in the Caribbean next week, which is definitely not an excuse for them to be alone in the tropics without anyone knowing that they’re totally sleeping together.

Mark sends Doug to an exam room to examine a patient complaining of insomnia and a loss of appetite. Doug suggests a psych consult, but Mark wants Doug to handle it himself. The patient is really Carol, and Mark wanted to give them some time alone. Cynthia catches them making out, and though Carol is briefly embarrassed about doing the same thing she told Cynthia not to do, she lets it go so she can go back to kissing her secret boyfriend.

Carter asks Mark what he should do if the police want blood from a patient who’s refused to give it. Herb tells him that he’s allowed to side with the patient and decline. He offers a consult if Carter needs one, but Mark pulls him away. Weaver catches Jeanie trying to help Yosh with a patient, and she’s finally fed up. She tells Chuny to call security, like Chuny should be dragged into this. She’s already on the phone, since Anspaugh is calling to summon Jeanie for a meeting.

Darlene’s blood alcohol is .270, but her vomit doesn’t show any pill fragments, so that’s one less thing for Carter and Anna to have to deal with. Billy arrives with the warrant for Darlene’s blood and asks for the stomach contents as well. That’s not on the warrant, so Carter flushes them right in front of Billy. Billy responds by arresting him for destroying evidence. Mark tries to step in, but Carter is nonchalant, knowing he was just protecting his patient’s rights.

Anspaugh, Jeanie, Weaver, and one of Jeanie’s lawyers meet to discuss the possibility that Jeanie was fired for something other than budget cuts. There’s a case for discrimination and a violation of the disciplinary process. Anspaugh determines that Jeanie will drop the matter if she gets her job back. He promises to have a decision today. After Jeanie and her lawyer leave, Weaver tells Anspaugh that if he hires Jeanie back, he’ll be giving in to blackmail. But Anspaugh knows the case could blow up, and he doesn’t want to deal with the bad PR.

Benton assists while Elizabeth and Romano perform her procedure on Allison. Mark asks Cynthia to find him when Rachel is dropped off at the hospital for a dentist’s appointment. Cynthia’s excited to meet her boyfriend’s daughter. Mark tries to call the hospital’s lawyer for Carter, but they’re not quite sure what to do. To add insult to injury, Darlene and Eddie are in the process of making up. “Carter went to jail for this?” Mark asks Anna dryly.

At the police station, Carter tries to name-drop, saying the commissioner is a family friend. The officer booking him is unimpressed. Carter smiles during his mug shot, because he has no idea what he’s doing. Carol asks Doug for advice on handling Jackson; she can’t figure out if he’s a drug-seeker or if he’s actually in pain. Either way, he’s not happy. Doug examines him, talking to him about what might have brought on his crisis. He tells Jackson to trust him, and Doug will trust him in turn. He gets Jackson to visualize a calm place, which helps him relax.

Weaver tells Jeanie that she can have her job back. Jeanie immediately gets back to work, ignoring Weaver when she claims the termination was never about her HIV. In the OR, Allison declines, and Benton tries hard to revive her. Romano decides they can’t take the time to give her CPR; they need to cut open her chest for compressions. Herb asks Mark to let him help reduce a woman’s dislocated elbow. He reminds Mark that they had a deal that would let Herb do actual procedures. Mark gives in, and Herb is thrilled to get to help.

Rachel arrives and immediately makes friends with Cynthia. While Mark’s distracted, Herb helps himself to a patient chart. Mark asks Cynthia to take Rachel to the dentist for her so he can figure out how to help Carter. Mark stops Herb from doing more sutures without supervision, but when they come across a patient in distress, Herb grabs a crash cart and shocks the patient before Mark can react. The patient stabilizes.

Jeanie meets up with Al and gives him the news that she got her job back. But Al has gotten the job he wanted in Atlanta and is eager to move. Jeanie doesn’t want to just walk away from a job she fought for. Al thinks she doesn’t believe in him. Jeanie knows he wants to keep his HIV status quiet in Atlanta, which will make her feel like they’re running away. Al wants a fresh start; Jeanie may have a life in Chicago, but he doesn’t. Jeanie says he doesn’t get what her job means to her.

Because he only committed a misdemeanor, Carter doesn’t have to wait for a fingerprint check, and he can leave lockup as soon as he pays his $100 bond. He tells the cop who booked him to run one of his credit cards. The police station only accepts cash, though, and all Carter has is the change Anna let him keep from her dollar.

At County, Mark decides that his deal with Herb is too much trouble, so it’s over. When Herb hears that Carter’s in jail, he tells Weaver it’s not a big deal. Then he tells Mark that he’s already taken care of his case – he got a buddy to convince the Laws to drop the charges. The patient Herb saved sings his praises in the hall as Herb leaves, pleased with his exciting day.

Jen shows up to get Rachel, unhappy to learn that Mark sent her off with Cynthia. She’s even less happy when she discovers that the two went to a salon after the dentist, and Cynthia let Rachel dye her hair pink and purple. (Fortunately, it’ll wash out.) Mark pretends he’s not upset, but he does ask for a night off from Cynthia.

Anna objects to letting Carter stay in jail all night when they can easily get a bail bondsman to get him out. She also knows they can’t call his family for help. Mark sends her off to handle things. Doug gives Jackson some medication, and Weaver complains that he helped a drug-seeker get exactly what he wanted. Doug believes Jackson’s story and says he can’t function without pain medication. Weaver says people live in pain but suck it up. Doug thinks she’s suffering the consequences of all the responsibilities she’s taken on.

Cynthia emotionally apologizes to Mark for overstepping her boundaries with Rachel. She thinks Jen hates her now (to be fair, I don’t think there are many people Jen doesn’t hate). Mark tries to comfort her. Carter is left in lockup with a muscled guy who knows he’s a doctor. Despite his angry demeanor, the guy is also in for obstruction of justice. He pulls down his pants, freaking Carter out, but he just wants Carter to examine a bump. Carter’s actually about to when Anna arrives with his bail. He’s so happy to see her that he kisses her.

Anna jokes that this is Carter’s Christmas present. She tells him that Darlene did, in fact, try to kill Eddie, but they’ve made up. Carter laments that he could have had lunch with Chase after all. Anna notes that it’s expensive to have a rich friend. Benton brings Elizabeth some tea as she checks on Allison after surgery. Her leg is still attached, but now she’s in a coma. Elizabeth wonders if she did surgery because of personal reasons, not because it was best for Allison. Benton admits that he also struggles with the balance between helping and being ambitious.

Weaver has to take a break on a bench as she heads home that night. Jeanie thinks Al has already left by the time she gets home, but he’s still around, wanting to see if she’s changed her mind. Jeanie says again that she’s worked too hard to walk away from her job, no matter how she’s been treated there. Al doesn’t want to walk away from their relationship, either. They’ve been together on and off since they were teens. But this is where it ends for them, and it’s the last time we’ll ever see Al.

Thoughts: Jackson is played by Hill Harper.

I’m totally sympathetic to Jeanie, but showing up to your job after you’ve been laid off makes you look crazy.

I’m so disappointed we didn’t get a scene where Millicent got a call about her grandson getting arrested for standing up to the police.

Remember how Anspaugh was painted as tough and tyrannical when he was first introduced? He’s actually very fair and level-headed.

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.

Next page