May 3, 2022

ER 10.21, Midnight: Just Bad Luck

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

You will want tissues for this

Summary: Carter and Kem are at their brownstone, opening baby gifts. Elizabeth sent a book called The American Way of Birth. Heh. Carter tells Kem not to let her OB, Dr. Ford, see it; the author thinks American OBs are greedy. Kem has her own criticisms about America’s technology-reliant obstetric practices, which don’t seem to help anything, considering the country’s horrible infant mortality rate. Carter thinks it’s at least better than the Congo.

They’re trying to pick out a paint color for the nursery, as well as brainstorm baby names. Carter likes the name George. Pros: the first president and the quiet Beatle. Cons: the current (at the time) president. Carter asks the baby if he would rather be born on the floor of a mud hut in Africa (shut up, Carter) or in a modern hospital in America. The baby doesn’t express a preference.

Steve returns to Sam’s apartment after taking Alex to school, and she confronts him for giving Alex a condom. Steve doesn’t see the big deal. Also, I think he wants it back so he can sleep with Sam. He tries to butter her up but she’s not in the mood. She asks him to stay with Alex that night because she has something to do. He guesses she has a date.

It’s the day before Abby, Neela, and Lester graduate med school. Pratt isn’t especially congratulatory, since all that means is they’ll be more responsible for their patients. Morris is…also there. Neela’s going to the airport at midnight to pick up family members from London. She has around 18 coming. Lester’s family’s coming, too, but no one cares about Lester. Abby’s mother and brother aren’t coming. She says they’re not that close: “We’re more like survivors of a particularly brutal carjacking than family.” The med students seem like more of a family, considering the way they trade off coming up with insults for Pratt.

Sam does, indeed, have plans with Luka that night, and she’s so eager to spend time with him that she doesn’t care if they actually do anything. They greet an ambulance bringing in an elderly man named Mr. Ferguson who’s altered and thinks the paramedics stole his watch. Frank is back at work and people are surprisingly happy to see him. He claims that he and his wife were getting on each other’s nerves anyway, but from what we saw of her and their relationship after his heart attack, I feel like they never annoy each other.

Carter’s hovering over Kem a little, wondering if she’s been counting the baby’s kicks. She hasn’t, since he’s very active, but she tells him she will so he’ll leave her alone. Neela’s concerned about Elgin, since a test shows he has a heart issue but he hasn’t made an appointment to discuss it or get treatment. She’s worried that his condition is worse than it seems. Pratt brushes her off since Elgin is too young to have the problems she thinks he might have.

Abby presents Mr. Ferguson to Luka while Mr. Ferguson presents his bare butt to us. Thanks, show! Luka confirms that Abby’s graduating the next day and asks if she’s gotten the results of her retaken boards yet. She hasn’t, which means she can walk in the graduation ceremony but won’t get her diploma until she passes the boards. In case you were wondering, Morris: No, we don’t care what you think about that.

Rachel shows up at the admit desk, looking for Elizabeth. Jerry recognizes her but Frank doesn’t. Carter rushes Kem to County, parking his Jeep in the ambulance bay and giving the keys to a security guard to move it. Neela tries to call Elgin but can’t reach him. Abby, like Luka, doesn’t think he’s as sick as Neela believes. Mr. Ferguson wanders by, fully naked, and Abby calls him “Larry Godiva” and asks Malik to take him back to his room. Steve sends Sam a bunch of ice cream sundaes, which she hands out to her co-workers.

Once she’s seen Rachel (and her boyfriend, B.J.), Elizabeth calls Jen to let her know she’s in Chicago. Jen had no idea since Rachel doesn’t live with her anymore. She and a friend got a place together. Who’s renting an apartment to two teenagers?? Lawson interrupts to talk to Elizabeth about a patient, then a date. Elizabeth keeps the conversation professional, but Rachel guesses they’re seeing each other. She and B.J. want to stay with Elizabeth for a couple of days while Rachel looks at Chicago colleges. Elizabeth is fine with that as long as they sleep in separate bedrooms.

Sam explains the sundaes to Abby and Neela: She was working in an ice cream shop at the mall when she and Steve met. Abby chastises Frank for eating ice cream so soon after bypass surgery. Sam talks about how hot Steve was when they were younger. He’d come pick her up at school in his Mustang and they’d go to an arcade or park somewhere. Her parents protested but Sam ignored them. Then, of course, she got pregnant.

Dr. Ford examines Kem, but sadly, as the two of them and Carter all figure out on their own, the baby has no heartbeat. Dr. Ford can’t pinpoint the reason and says they might never know what happened. Kem will have to be induced and deliver the baby. Carter can’t wrap his head around how Kem could be completely healthy and still have a stillbirth.

Neela bugs Pratt about Elgin again; he called in sick to work and she’s really worried about him. She wants to go by his place and examine him there. Morris: Stupid comment. Pratt doesn’t want Neela going alone, since Elgin lives in a rough neighborhood, so he agrees to go with her after his shift. (She has to buy him dinner in exchange.)

Weaver tells Abby to get control of Mr. Ferguson so he doesn’t keep walking around the ER naked. This is a stupid plot. Frank gets a call from security and tells Luka that his car alarm is going off in the parking garage. Morris invites Neela to go to dinner with him to celebrate wherever her match letter says she’ll be working next year. He’s sure she’ll get a good placement. Abby, however, is going to disappoint wherever she matched because she hasn’t passed her boards yet.

Kem is taken to a private room, and though the nurses tending to her are kind, that doesn’t help her feel better. It also doesn’t help that they’re on the OB floor and can hear other people’s babies crying. Luka goes to the garage, where Steve is waiting for him at his car. He tries to make small talk, but Luka wants to cut to the chase. Steve says he’s screwed things up with his family, but this time he’s going to fix everything. He doesn’t see a place for Luka in Sam and Alex’s life.

Pratt and Neela go to Elgin’s apartment and leave him a note since no one’s home. As they’re leaving, they run into Elgin, who’s coming home and doesn’t feel well. He hasn’t taken any of the medical advice Neela gave him previously, and she wants to run some tests. Elgin has to take care of his younger siblings, though, so Pratt tells him to come in another time. Neela doesn’t feel right about letting his long-term needs slide while he takes care of his short-term needs.

Luka wants to go to Abby’s graduation, which she’s so uninterested in that she might not even go herself. She’s not sure she’ll even get to practice medicine, so why go to the ceremony, and why have anyone she cares about there? Weaver pulls her aside to ask if she’s gotten her match list. Off the record, County put Abby in their top 20, so if she put them on her list, she’ll probably get to work there.

Abby guesses that Weaver knows she failed her boards the first time. Weaver says that if she hypothetically fails again, the intern program expecting her might hypothetically delete her from their list. That would hypothetically give her the chance to match with her second choice. Abby says then she would hypothetically lodge a complaint with the national board about that program’s chief of staff discussing something she shouldn’t.

Sam meets up with Luka for their date, but he says he’s too tired for it. She easily guesses that Steve is somehow involved. Luka tries to use Alex as an excuse, thinking he’s confused about Sam dating Luka while Steve is around. Carter offers to call Kem’s family in the Congo, but she doesn’t want anyone to know yet that the baby died. At Elizabeth’s, Rachel tells her that Dave called. She’s figured out that Elizabeth is dating two guys at once. Elizabeth finally asks why she’s really in Chicago. Rachel admits that she needs plan B, the morning-after pill.

Kem’s labor is progressing but she still has hours to go. She tries to remain stoic when Carter leaves for a short break; she obviously doesn’t want him to go, but she also doesn’t want to ask him to stay. He chats with an expectant father whose wife is having their fourth girl. Carter acts like he’s any other father in the maternity ward, just waiting for his baby to arrive.

Steve tries to seduce Sam again at her place, and she’s still not interested. She asks if he said something to Luka at County. Steve says he wants another chance with her, but she just tells him not to approach Luka again. Steve continues his attempted seduction, progressing to kissing Sam and telling her he loves her. She manages to keep fighting temptation to do something she know she’ll regret.

Kem is finally in active labor, and she and Carter tearfully welcome their son. Dr. Ford determines that the baby was so active that he accidentally tied a knot in the umbilical cord, which led to his death. There’s nothing Kem could have done to prevent it: “It was just bad luck.” Kem refuses to look at the baby. As Carter takes a break, Jack finds him in the hallway. Carter goes to him like a child and cries as his father holds him.

A few hours later, Chen, Elizabeth, and Weaver discuss the news about the baby. Morris tries to be sympathetic but doesn’t sound like he actually cares. Neela takes her family on a tour of the hospital, keeping her cool when they come across a still-naked Mr. Ferguson. Abby! Do your job! I guarantee that the kids in the family will only remember this from their entire time in Chicago.

In Kem’s room, a nurse does the things normally done with a newborn – clipping a lock of hair, taking a footprint, etc. Kem still won’t look at the baby. Elizabeth asks Lawson to write Rachel a prescription for plan B and some other medications. Dr. Ford tells Carter that she wants Kem to stay in the hospital for the rest of the day as a precaution, but not in the maternity ward. She also wants Kem to hold the baby. If she doesn’t say goodbye, she’ll regret it for the rest of her life.

Elizabeth gives Rachel her prescriptions, as well as some birth-control pills. She explains that she got Lawson to write the prescriptions because Jen will inevitably find them, and Elizabeth doesn’t want to be connected to them. Smart! Rachel asks about Elizabeth’s two boyfriends, assuring her that Mark would be okay with her dating. He would want her to be happy. They both say they miss him.

Abby and Luka visit Carter, who appreciates their support but doesn’t want them to hang around too long. He also dismisses Jack, who won’t leave because he’s finally decided to be a good parent. Neela looks for Abby as their class gets ready to graduate, but she’s not there. Carter gently tells Kem that when they move her to another room, they’re going to take the baby away. He wants her to hold him. Kem doesn’t respond.

Luka is late to the graduation ceremony, which means he missed a speech from Molly Ivins, but he doesn’t know who that is, so whatever. Susan’s there, even though she’s a week overdue and is supposed to be on bed rest. Lester shows Neela the top of his cap, which has a greeting for his mom. Aw. Neela’s still looking for Abby.

Paramedics bring in Elgin, who has fluid in his lungs from congestive heart failure, one of the things Neela was worried about. Hmmm, maybe people should have listened to her. Abby arrives at graduation just seconds before her name is called. Trivia: Her middle name is Marjorie. Luka, Susan, and Sam give her a standing ovation. Neela gets her own from her family.

Jack finds Carter studying the lock of the baby’s hair. He says that when Carter’s brother Bobby died, he hated everyone’s platitudes (“there are no words,” etc.). He tries to remind Carter that the baby’s death was an accident. “The whole thing was an accident,” Carter replies. Jack reminds him that he and Kem love each other. Carter isn’t sure she’ll want to try for another child.

Luka and Susan congratulate Abby and invite her to get something to eat with them, but she turns them down. Luka spots Sam, who’s brought Steve and Alex with her, but keeps his distance. Abby calls Maggie and lets her know that she just graduated. If I were Maggie, I’d be mad that my daughter didn’t invite me to her big day, but whatever.

Carter goes back to Kem, telling her again that the baby is going to be taken away. They’ll never see him again. He admits that he doesn’t know what to say or do. The death was an accident; they didn’t do anything wrong. He loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Right now, though, they need to say goodbye to their son. Carter needs to figure out how to help Kem do that. He asks her to help him. Kem, who’s been silent every time Carter has tried to talk to her, finally sits up in bed and agrees to hold the baby. She cries over him as Carter just repeats that he loves them.

Thoughts: Dr. Ford is played by Blair Brown.

Thandie Newton and Noah Wyle are both excellent in this episode, dealing with really difficult material. It’s some of Wyle’s best acting on the show.

B.J. looks exactly like the kind of guy you’d expect Rachel to date, by which I mean the last guy you would want your daughter to be with.

When Sam and Steve met, she was 15 and he was 23. GROSS.

April 19, 2022

ER 10.19, Just a Touch: Abby and Psych Go Together Like Pratt and Flirting

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

Would you trust this woman to help you through your mental-heath crises?

Summary: Sam comes home from a trip to the grocery store to find Steve teaching Alex to play the guitar. Steve gives her some money to help pay her bills, as well as to ease his guilt over never supporting his child. She’s clearly not happy to have him around but also doesn’t want to send him away, since Alex loves him so much. Also, I think when he plays the guitar, she remembers what made her fall for him back when they were teens.

At County, Morris and Malik are struggling to subdue a very agitated patient, Mrs. Garrison. Luka steps in, since he’s familiar with her, and tells Morris not to restrain her; she’ll be fine once they give her Haldol. Mrs. Garrison makes him regret that decision by biting him, then grabbing Morris’ junk. Scott Grimes, why haven’t you called your agent yet? I know you’re on a hit show, but at what cost?

Weaver talks to a lawyer named Brooks who fills her in on the Lopezes’ case for wanting to take Henry away from her. Since Sandy was his birth mother and Weaver never legally adopted him, she doesn’t have rights. Weaver says they were in the middle of the adoption process. Brooks says the baby’s biological father could help by giving Weaver his parental rights, but he was an anonymous donor, so that won’t get them anywhere.

Brooks promises to try to come up with temporary arrangements that will let Weaver see her son. The good news is that Illinois doesn’t discriminate against same-sex couples when it comes to custody. But Weaver’s single now, and she has a demanding job that eats into her time with Henry. The Lopezes have a blood connection to Henry and are able to take care of him 24/7. Weaver offers to change her schedule and even quit if she has to.

Luka’s surprised to see Weaver at work. It’s like he’s never met her before. She’s not going to sit at home crying. She tells Brooks that she has the money to fight the Lopezes in court. She wants them to know that, too. After Brooks leaves, Weaver notices Morris icing his junk and is truly speechless. Writers, this is not compelling TV. Fix it.

Luka chats with Sam, saying that Alex must be excited for spring break. He suggests that they take him bowling. Sam says that Steve is in town; he shows up unannounced every once in a while. She wishes he would go away for good. He only stays long enough to raid her fridge and wrack up a big phone bill. And, I assume, to make Alex think he’s sticking around for good this time, then break his heart.

Abby is doing a psych rotation, and she jokes to Sam and Luka that she’s keeping an extra ID on her so no one mistakes her for a patient. Pratt finds Lester and Morris fighting over a patient Lester says Morris is trying to steal. The patient is an attractive woman, so Pratt takes her for himself. Neela tells the guys they’re ridiculous, then gets assigned to care for a woman who’s throwing up. The woman happens to have blue skin. I guess Morris and Lester don’t consider her attractive enough to treat. That’s discriminatory against blue people!

Mrs. Garrison is now stable, just as Luka predicted. Abby admits to him that she’s a little scared about her psych rotation – not because of the patients but because she’s enjoying it. She asks how he’s doing and he tells her about Steve. Uh-oh, someone feels threatened! As if anyone would choose another guy over Luka. Uh, unless that someone was George Clooney.

Carter asks Abby to get Chen’s father admitted; he fell and hurt his arm, which means he’ll be even less able to care for himself than usual. Chen complains that he keeps driving away home-care nurses, so Abby offers to help out, since she needs extra money. She asks about Kem, whom Carter just got back from visiting. She’s probably not as desperate to be done with her pregnancy as Susan is. Abby says she threatened to deliver the baby herself if it doesn’t hurry up and get born already.

Pratt examines his stolen patient, Ms. Campbell, who has back pain but doesn’t know why. She has a swollen lymph node and hasn’t had a mammogram or done any breast self-exams, so Pratt decides to do one himself. He brings Sam over, since hospital protocol is to have a woman present when a male doctor does a breast exam.

Pratt tries to lighten the mood before he puts his hands all over a stranger’s chest. Sam takes a phone call, so she’s still in the vicinity but not paying attention. Pratt examines Ms. Cambell, telling her how to do a self-exam each month. Ms. Campbell looks really uncomfortable, but Pratt doesn’t feel anything concerning.

Paramedics bring in a man named James who was in a car accident and is agitated and demanding pain medication. Luka gives him to Pratt and tends to the driver of James’ car, Rena. James tells Pratt that he met Rena last night, and she was driving him home after they spent the night at her place. Neela helps Luka with Rena, who asks for Pratt to be her doctor. Pratt finishes up with James, then goes next door to help with Rena, whom he doesn’t recognize. She reminds him that they met on the El last year and hooked up. Pratt pretends he remembers her.

Abby goes to the psych floor and meets up with her supervisor, Dr. Nelson. He tells her she can lead his group therapy session today. Way to spring it on the patients that their usual doctor won’t be there. James is ready to be discharged, and he doesn’t see a point in waiting to see how Rena is. Pratt and Sam are unimpressed. Rena needs surgery, and she asks Pratt to come visit her later. He says he will, which makes Luka think they’re friends.

Pratt asks Neela to do something for a patient, but she’s helping out with research on stroke treatments in the neuro lab, which Pratt calls the “mouse house.” She feels like she’s not effective in the ER and is looking for other areas to be useful. She goes back to the blue puker, Denise, whose vomiting has been accompanied by weakness in her hands and feet. Her blue skin is apparently normal – it’s a side effect of medication she takes for a heart arrhythmia. Guys at her school call her Smurf, because of course they do.

Pratt determines that Ms. Campbell must have strained a muscle without realizing it. She’s not satisfied with the diagnosis, but he tells her how to treat it and to come back if she gets worse. He gets called away to tend to a woman named Jordan who passed out. Ms. Campbell asks Sam if she can talk to Pratt’s supervisor. Ruh-roh! And in more ruh-roh! news, Steve is there. He wants to take Sam to lunch (with Alex). Alex is currently showing Luka the guitar Steve bought him. Sam silently begs Steve to leave. Neela helps Pratt with Jordan, and they disagree about her diagnosis and treatment options.

Chen finds Carter in the lounge, making arrangements for someone to bring him paperwork he was supposed to go sign somewhere. (I think Carter was visiting Chen at home when her father fell, and he came with her to make sure everything’s okay.) He asks her opinion on nursery themes, then realizes she never got to pick out a theme for her own baby. She assures him that she’s not offended. She’s been thinking about her son a lot. After her father dies, she won’t have any more family. Carter asks if she’s ever gotten to visit her son. She says no, and he suggests that she go. “Maybe I should have kept him,” Chen replies.

Abby runs the group-therapy session, which mainly involves trying to keep the patients from yelling at each other. When they won’t stop fighting, Abby lights a cigarette. Suddenly the patients all agree on something – Abby’s breaking the rules. Watching from outside the room, Nelson is pleased. Abby puts out the cigarette and starts a discussion about personal goals.

Ms. Campbell tells Weaver that Pratt made her feel uncomfortable because he seemed to enjoy giving her a breast exam. Weaver assures her that he’s professional, but she’s free to file a formal complaint. Ms. Campbell doesn’t want to go that far; she just wanted to make her feelings known and ask for someone to talk to Pratt.

As Weaver goes looking for him, she asks Sam if there was anything unusual about the exam. For example, why did Pratt give a breast exam to someone who complained of back pain? Sam says she didn’t know the woman’s medical complaints and was on the phone the whole time. Morris says it sounds like Pratt TUBEd Ms. Campbell. Weaver overhears and asks where that term came from. Morris looks around for someone to blame.

Jordan regains consciousness and Pratt tells her that she seems healthy, so they haven’t determined what made her pass out. She says she had seizures as a kid but grew out of them and hasn’t had one for about 20 years. Weaver pulls Pratt away to ask him about Ms. Campbell. She accuses him of giving Ms. Campbell an unnecessary exam so he had the excuse to feel her up. This could lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Pratt notes that he could have saved Ms. Campbell’s life if he’d found anything during the exam. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Her symptoms fit with those of breast cancer. Weaver asks if the exam had anything to do with Pratt being attracted to Ms. Campbell. He thinks Weaver would have done everything he did if she were in his position. Then he asks if she’s ever gotten turned on while performing a breast exam. Pratt, stop talking.

Weaver thinks Pratt’s use of the term “TUBE” is a smoking gun. Pratt insists that he didn’t come up with it; he heard it in med school. Plus, if Ms. Campbell had been that uncomfortable, she should have said something. Weaver suggests that she was intimidated, which makes Pratt think she’s maligning him for being Black. She says it’s not about race, but to Pratt, more things are about race than white people think.

The argument ends when Weaver takes a call from Brooks and Pratt gets summoned to tend to Denise, who’s collapsed. Neela tells him about her heart arrhythmia as she joins him. Pratt blasts Morris for opening his big mouth and getting him in trouble with Weaver. Morris lies that he didn’t say anything: “That hot patient was complaining about you.” Ugh.

Neela notes that when male doctors refer to female patients as “hot,” they’re not getting things off on the right foot. She asks Pratt if he can understand how Ms. Campbell must have felt coming to the ER and having a stranger grope her. Malik reports that Denise, who’s now stable, doesn’t have any of her heart medication in her system. She had to have stopped taking it weeks ago for her level to be zero. Pratt asks Neela if Denise said anything about why she might stop taking her medication. “Maybe because men are idiots,” Neela replies. Is that your professional diagnosis?

Sam has been roped into lunch with Steve and Alex after all, and she’s definitely not enjoying herself. After Alex leaves the table to play pinball, Steve compliments her on her parenting and says Alex is a “cool kid.” Uh, no, he’s not. She tells him about all the trouble Alex causes, which Steve thinks is amusing. After a minute of him making small talk, Sam asks straight out how long Steve will be in Chicago, since he’s never around for long. He says he might stick around this time.

Luka wants to send Jordan out of the ER for more tests and treatment, but Pratt says he hasn’t figured out what happened yet. Luka doesn’t think she had a seizure. Pratt notes that Jordan has a baby, so it wouldn’t be wise to send her home without knowing she won’t pass out again. He wants her to have an EEG.

Neela gives Pratt some info on Denise (we don’t get the end of that storyline), and Luka wishes her good luck on her work in the neuro lab. After she leaves, Pratt asks Luka if he feels awkward giving breast exams to attractive women. He agrees with Pratt that it’s strange for both parties. Pratt allows that he might come across as unprofessional and asks how Luka keeps that from happening. Luka just thinks of breast exams as no different from any other medical procedure. Morris shares a tip he picked up from an attending on his OB rotation: He pretends he’s examining his mom. Morris, shut up some more.

Neela goes to the neuro lab and gets a tour from a guy named Colin. He’s in a Ph.D. program and has been there for eight years. DUDE. He has to discover something new in neuroscience to get his degree. Neela will be working with Colin, a guy named Yuri, and some mice. Neela doesn’t seem too happy about that last part.

Jordan’s husband, Nick, arrives with their daughter as Jordan is undergoing an EEG. It’ll take a few hours to determine if she’s having unusual brain activity. Pratt blasts Sam for not being more helpful during Ms. Campbell’s exam. He insists that he tried to put her at ease without being creepy. Sam says he’s a flirt.

She compliments his package, trying to give him a taste of his own medicine. Pratt insists again that he was completely professional; he wasn’t even thinking anything inappropriate. Even if he was, she couldn’t read his mind. Sam says everyone can read his mind. He’s a guy, and guys only think about food, sports, and sex. Women don’t appreciate always being ogled.

Malik comes to get Pratt, telling him that Jordan’s having a seizure. Luka joins him to help but Pratt has already stabilized Jordan. He thinks that once she goes on the proper medication, she’ll be fine. But Luka examines the EEG results and tells Pratt that Jordan didn’t have a seizure – she faked it. She doesn’t need a neurologist, she needs a psychiatrist.

Abby says goodbye to one of her patients (in Klingon, since that’s all he’ll speak), then chats with Nelson, thinking he doesn’t approve of her behavior during the group session. Instead, he says he’s never seen the patients respond to anyone like they did to her. It might be because they were scared of her, though. He offers to help her quit smoking, but Abby’s not interested.

Jerry has either volunteered or been volunteered to stand in for Ms. Campbell so Pratt can demonstrate for Weaver how her exam went. Malik walks in to get Weaver and will mostly likely be teasing Jerry about this for the next ten years or so. Weaver tells Pratt he’ll have to present a lecture to the med students about “gender sensitivity.” Jerry, you can put your shirt back on.

Neela’s finding her new assistant role interesting. She accidentally spills some coffee on a sample Yuri’s using, which will set him back six weeks. Maybe you shouldn’t keep your cup right next to your sample, then. Abby tells Pratt that Jordan may not have faked her seizure. She could be experiencing some disorder that manifests itself like this. But Jordan doesn’t want to stick around to talk to her, and they can’t make her stay. “That was my easiest consult all day,” Abby quips.

Luka gives Sam some pictures from the camping trip they took with Alex. She tries to smooth things over about Steve’s visit, as if it’s her fault that he’s there, or she should feel bad about it, or she’s given any indication that she wants to ditch Luka for him. Pratt goes to the surgical floor and asks Elizabeth how Rena is. She had a lot of injuries but Elizabeth thinks she’ll be okay. Lawson comes by next and asks Elizabeth to dinner, but she has plans. Dave arrives to pick her up, and Elizabeth tries not to freak out about her two boyfriends meeting each other. Lawson seems to get that she’s seeing Dave, but not vice versa.

Abby asks Weaver for more nursing shifts so she can pay her med-school tuition. Weaver’s trying not to cry, so Abby tells her to take time off to grieve. Weaver says she doesn’t have that luxury. She lost her partner and is trying not to lose her son, too. She had to fight just get him for the weekend. Abby offers to help however she can. Weaver thanks her, then reveals that Abby’s tuition has been paid through graduation.

The Lopezes have brought Henry to the hospital so Weaver can take him for the weekend, but first she has to sign a form promising to give him back. Absolutely ridiculous. Florina’s there, but the person who hands Henry over is Sandy’s brother Carlos, and he tells Weaver he doesn’t agree with his parents’ desire to take her child from her. He knows Sandy would be upset if she knew what was happening – she would want Weaver and Henry to be together.

Abby tracks down Carter, having guessed that he’s the one who paid her tuition. She won’t take the money – she’s not a charity. Carter wants her to think of it as an investment. He already has more money than she’ll ever make. Abby jokes that in that case, she’ll take a new car, too. A guy rides up on a motorcycle and Abby heads off with him, telling Carter she’ll pay him back. He chastises the guy for not wearing a helmet, and Abby flips him off.

Pratt’s by Rena’s side when she wakes up post-surgery. She didn’t think he would come, even though he said he would. After all, he said he would call and never did. She’s realized that he doesn’t remember her. Pratt confirms that, but she says it’s okay. I think she’s just happy to have a friendly face with her now.

Thoughts: Brace yourselves because I’m going to defend Pratt: He didn’t do anything wrong. He was completely professional. If I were his patient, I would have felt at ease. The only criticism I have is that he should have asked Ms. Campbell if she was comfortable with him doing the exam or if she wanted a female doctor instead.

That said, Ms. Campbell was completely justified in speaking up. If your doctor or nurse or whoever does something that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to say something.

Imagine how horrible a person you’d have to be to respond to your daughter’s death with, “Let’s take her kid away from her grieving partner, who love him and hasn’t harmed him in any way.”

How effective can your group therapy be if the patients all hate each other?

March 29, 2022

ER 10.16, Forgive and Forget: Tanks for Nothing

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

What are the odds that this episode would come up just TWO DAYS after a guest star won an Oscar?

Summary: Elizabeth’s having a home-cooked dinner with Dave while their kids play together. He asks about Mark’s death, then confides that he and his daughter Sydney’s mother were never married. The mother was only 20 when she had Sydney, and she left three weeks later. (For the record, Steven Culp was 49 here, and if Sydney is three like Ella, he was 46 when she was born, which means there was a 26-year age difference between him and her mother. EW.) Elizabeth isn’t impressed with the meal, but she likes Dave enough to kiss him. Both their daughters see but don’t seem to care.

Sam goes to Luka’s after having not seen him for a few days. His body language says he’s not up for a visitor right now. It could have something to do with the fact that there’s someone in his shower. Sam gets the hint and leaves without seeing that Luka already has a visitor: Gillian. At County, Abby tries to help Morris with a patient named Welling who’s demanding pain medication for a back problem. He claims he doesn’t have medical records because the VA burned them. Abby wants him to have a psych consult, but Morris says psych has seen him multiple times and won’t admit him.

Welling tells Abby he’s not suicidal, but he’s homicidal toward Morris. Abby asks Morris to have him admitted for high blood pressure, which I’m guessing is just the result of his anger. He threatens to get a tank and frag Morris, then leaves the hospital. Sam arrives for a shift and makes awkward small talk with Luka. Chen is back at work, and Neela brings her a patient who needs stitches after a fight with her girlfriend. Frank: inappropriate homophobic comment. Neela tells him he’s a horrible man and people hate his discriminatory remarks. She only wants silence from him from now on. Frank: comment about how she’s PMS-ing. Shut up, Frank.

Carter tells Luka that Gillian left him a message about having dinner. When Sam joins them, Carter tells Luka they’ll talk more later. She takes Luka to see a new patient, a 13-year-old named Brian who’s having testicular pain with no known cause. Brian silently indicates to Luka that he doesn’t want Sam there for his examination. Though he’s really polite, he comments that Sam is hot when she leaves.

Paramedics bring in a man named Charlie who’s septic. He’s been under his daughter Dahlia’s care after a brain injury left him unable to walk or talk. Carter warns Dahlia that Charlie might not survive the infection, but he doesn’t appear to have a DNR or any kind of record of what he would want in this kind of situation. Dahlia insists that the doctors help him.

Sam comes in while Luka is examining Brian, who quickly covers himself up. Luka thinks Brian has an infection, but Sam worries it’s something more serious and if they wait for his labwork to come back, he could have complications that lead to him losing a testicle. Luka snaps at her and Sam asks if he’s mad at her for stopping by his place.

She wants to clarify that when she said they should slow things down, she didn’t mean stop seeing each other altogether. Luka reminds her that she wants a casual relationship. Sam says if it’s a choice between something serious and nothing, she’d prefer something serious. Luka softens and tells her to follow up on her suspicions about Brian’s condition, just in case.

As paramedics bring in a new patient, Morales tells Pratt, Abby, and Sam that a guy stole a tank from the National Armory. Abby immediately goes to Morris and drags him to the admit desk, where a bunch of people are gathered to watch what’s basically a police chase on the news, only with a tank instead of a car. The driver is, of course, Welling. Supposedly he doesn’t have ammo, but if he wanted to hurt Morris, well, this would probably do the trick.

Sam and Elizabeth discuss the tank as Elizabeth does a procedure on Charlie. Lawson comes in, having planned to do his own procedure, and Elizabeth tells him it’s not necessary. He complains about her poaching his patient, which is hilarious because when they first met, he was stealing Elizabeth’s cases. They bicker a little, then confirm that they’re on for dinner that night. Elizabeth asks Sam how men are able to argue with you one minute, then turn around and ask about your plans.

Sam tells Chen that she doesn’t think Dahlia understands how serious her father’s condition is. Chen says he has a good chance, but Sam notes that even if he recovers, he’ll still need care 24/7. Chen reminds her that Dahlia’s responsible for her father’s medical decisions, despite only being 19. She knows her father better than the staff does.

Pratt and Carter check on the tank situation, wondering if Welling is just driving around for fun or if he has a destination in mind. Frank tells them all the equipment the tank has on board (he looked it up on Weaver arrives and tells everyone at the TV to go back to work because “it’s not the moon landing.” Carter notes that Welling is six miles away, but a detective with Weaver says they’ve put up roadblocks and are going to make him detour until he runs out of gas. Morris doesn’t think that’s enough. “They’re also getting a helicopter with a gigantic magnet,” Abby says. Heh.

Abby and Morris bicker about Welling’s psychiatric state as the staff learns that roadblocks mean nothing to a tank. Welling’s fine with just driving over anything in his path. The detective runs off to figure out a plan B. Or maybe he’s running off to hide so he doesn’t have to deal with this situation anymore. Abby pretty much has no sympathy for Morris, who is probably regretting not listening to her, just as everyone who doesn’t listen to Abby ultimately does.

Sam and Brian chat about the tank until Luka arrives to announce that Brian has chlamydia. He admits to having some hookups with classmates. He just needs antibiotics, and he’s pretty casual about the whole thing. Sam is upset, as well as a little worried that one day Alex will be in this situation. Lester gets a few seconds of screentime as Frank carries some boxes around. Gillian comes by to solidify plans with Luka for that night, and Sam sees her kissing him goodbye.

Paramedics bring in some car accident victims, including a man named Hector and his seven-year-old son Oscar. And when I say “car accident,” I don’t mean they crashed their car. I mean Welling’s tank crashed into them. Hector is very anxious about Oscar, and he asks the staff to get in touch with his wife. Neela goes to ask Frank to handle that. Frank: racist comment. He ducks into the drug lockup to make the call, then sinks to the floor in pain.

Oscar is even more anxious than Hector, which just makes things more tense in his trauma room. That’s on top of the tension already between Luka and Sam. She even throws a suture kit at him when he requests one. Luka just calmly asks for another one. Pratt asks if they need Dr. Phil. Ugh, no. The staff tries to treat the scared seven-year-old, whose understanding of English isn’t clear (and Chuny isn’t available). Sam finally comes up with a simple solution: She opens the door between Oscar and Hector’s trauma rooms so they can see and hear each other. They both calm down right away.

Neela goes to call a surgeon and finds Frank unconscious. Pratt comes to help her as Neela determines that Frank is having a massive heart attack. Carter tells Pratt to stay with him while he goes to get assessed. Pratt praises Neela for saving Frank. The detective has decided that they should evacuate the ER, which Weaver isn’t happy about. Morris volunteers to leave, since he’s the target. She tells him to stand in the street and “play Tiananmen Square.”

Luka tries to convince Sam that he and Gillian didn’t do anything – she has a boyfriend. Yeah, and she had a boyfriend the last time you hooked up. What else you got? He adds that Sam said she didn’t want to be exclusive. Sam thinks he moved on pretty quickly, since they had that conversation just a few days ago. Luka says he forget Gillian was coming to visit. Sam pretends she doesn’t care, since Luka’s already slept with every nurse in the ER.

Brian has called some girls he slept with so they can get tested for chlamydia. Luka gives them a little speech about how they might regret casual sex later. Buddy, they’re not listening, and if they knew about your sexual history, they would just laugh in your face. Sam checks on Charlie and tries to determine whether he wants to keep receiving treatment.

Kayson climbs out of whatever hole he lives in to do a procedure that might keep Frank from needing surgery. Frank wakes up during it and Pratt tells him what’s going on. Kayson thinks Pratt is causing Frank distress, so he tells Pratt to leave, but Frank asks him to stay. Pratt doesn’t like Frank or Kayson, but he’d rather make Frank feel better than do anything Kayson wants, so he stays.

Abby and Carter go outside, where the police are setting up roadblocks outside the hospital (they’ve also closed the ER, so it’s calm now). Abby looked at Welling’s old charts and thinks that his history of drug abuse indicates that he’s experiencing drug-induced psychosis. Carter notes that psych never admitted him, so Abby shouldn’t feel bad that she didn’t catch his problem. She regrets not being able to help someone who needed it.

As Neela comes to get Carter, Frank’s wife and daughter arrive. That’s right – Frank’s married! And he has a daughter! She has Down syndrome! That’s probably supposed to make us feel sympathy for Frank but he’s still a bigot so it doesn’t work! I also can’t believe someone married that guy! Charlie’s not responsive anymore, and Sam tells Chen that he doesn’t want any more treatment. Carter lends a hand as he starts declining.

Frank tells Pratt about his time in Vietnam as he undergoes Kayson’s procedure. He was in danger plenty of times but never really thought about it. Half of his unit was Black, and they were all cocky guys just like Pratt. He remembers their names and laments their deaths. “You are what those boys could have been,” he tells Pratt just before he declines.

Carter and Chen try to stabilize Charlie as Sam says they’re just torturing him. Dahlia tells them intensely not to stop helping him. Neela goes to get an update on Frank, who needs a stent. Pratt wants to help, and though Kayson doesn’t want his assistance, he does need a second pair of hands. Pratt does a great job, but Kayson won’t give him any credit. At least Neela’s there to witness it.

Abby, Morris, Lester, Chuny, and some others watch from a window as Welling arrives on the corner of their street. The police are completely useless against a tank, but Welling gets trapped when he comes up against a couple of snowplows he can’t get past, and a truck pulls up behind him to block him in. Morris is eager to see him arrested, while Abby wants him to get a psych evaluation. Police surround the tank, open the lid (is that what it’s called?), and throw in a stun grenade, then shoot down at Welling. Abby’s horrified.

She runs to the scene to help the paramedics as they rush Welling to the ER. He’s alive and basically says, “I told you I would be back.” Abby orders Morris to help her, Carter, and Chuny tend to him. Morris takes a little while to get himself going, but he eventually jumps in to do his part. He even asks to scrub in when Welling goes up for surgery. He tells Abby they saved him. She just looks at him and walks away silently.

One of Brian’s hookups has an abscess that could require surgery and might cost her a fallopian tube. Sheesh. Use condoms, kids! Luka asks Sam to get coffee, but she spots Gillian returning to the ER and says no. Neela chats with Frank’s wife, Connie, who mentions how she always dreaded a call about him being hospitalized while he was a cop, not a desk clerk. He took the clerk job because he wanted to put money away for their daughter, Janie. Neela lies that, yes, Frank talks about her all the time. Connie says he loves his job and always has stories to tell. He’s even mentioned Neela and how bright she is.

Sam tells Dahlia that Charlie may have suffered more mental damage from being deprived of oxygen. She should consider putting him in a facility. Dahlia asks if Sam thinks people get what they deserve. When she was in school, her father called every day to see if she would be home when he got there. He wanted to make sure they’d be alone. Dahlia would shower and wait for him in her room. She doesn’t give any details, but I think we all know what she’s implying and how gross it is, and I’m sure we’re all wondering why she doesn’t dump him in a long-term-care facility and never talk to him again. Maybe she wants to watch him suffer.

Gillian and Luka kiss outside the hospital, so…sorry, Gillian’s boyfriend. She realizes that Luka doesn’t want things to go farther with her because he’s interested in Sam. After his surgery, Pratt tells Frank he’ll have to start eating better. “I’m in Hell, right?” Frank replies. Neela brings in Connie and Janie, and Frank’s demeanor changes from jerk to warm. Elizabeth tells Pratt that Kayson has banned from the lab, then praises him and Neela for saving Frank.

Sam heads home with Alex, who’s going to have a great night eating McDonald’s and watching horror movies totally inappropriate for his age. Luka’s outside their door, but Sam doesn’t want to talk, since she’s figured out that Gillian was at Luka’s when she went over, and she feels stupid for thinking he wanted to be with her. Luka apologizes, but Sam brushes him off. She goes inside, then comes back out to invite him to join her and Alex. And then hopefully she apologizes off-screen for being childish and throwing the suture kit at him, because…come on.

Thoughts: Dahlia is played by Jessica Chastain.

The tank stuff feels like it would be better suited to Grey’s Anatomy.

Shout-out to Neela for confronting Frank for his bigotry instead of just being like, “Oh, that’s Frank for you” like everyone else. is available if anyone wants a memorable URL.

March 8, 2022

ER 10.13, Get Carter: Tagalongs

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

Sam, like me, wants to know when we’ll be done with “The Kem and Carter Show”

Summary: Elizabeth sends Ella off to a play date and birthday party with a friend before going to work. She chats a little with the friend’s father, Dave, who’s taking the kids to an aquarium. That sounds a lot more fun than the difficult-to-pronounce operation Elizabeth will be performing. At County, Kem tags along to work with Carter, wanting to spend the day observing activities at the hospital. Weaver says it’s okay, though she thinks Kem would prefer a shopping spree. Why do people keep suggesting that for her?

Weaver reminds Frank to make sure everyone gathers at 9:00 for a dedication. He jokes to Carter that they’re renaming the hospital after Romano. Kem starts shadowing Sam, who, like Weaver, thinks she should find something more interesting to do. She should go to the aquarium with Ella! Gallant arrives with an ambulance, doing one of his twice-yearly required ridealongs.

Abby goes to ask Frank about some labs and finds him in pain at the admit desk. He thinks he’s having a heart attack. She starts to help him, but it turns out he just has indigestion from his breakfast pierogies. Carter tries to enlist Luka to help with a patient, but Luka (who looks awesome in a suit) isn’t working. Weaver complains that Susan is late for work because she was asleep. She asks Susan to take charge of the ER until the hospital finds a replacement for Romano. Susan appreciates the offer but turns it down because she has something else to deal with in her life: She’s pregnant.

Luka joins Carter after all before going to give a lecture to med students about making medical decisions without tests. Carter suggests that Kem sit in on the lecture. Luka and Sam bicker over whether the patient needs certain tests; she says yes because it’s protocol, he says no because the patient isn’t that injured. Sam ends the argument by telling Luka to save his lectures for the med students. Oh, just kiss already.

Frank gathers everyone for the dedication, where Weaver gives a little speech about how generous Romano was. The hospital is opening a center for LGBT health care and naming it after Romano. Abby and Pratt are amused. As soon as Weaver has uncovered the name plaque, which includes a horrible picture of Romano, she drops her formal, this-is-all-for-show demeanor and sends everyone back to work.

Pratt was supposed to talk to someone in risk management, but he missed the appointment, so Weaver arranged another one. Abby thinks the eyes on Romano’s plaque follow you when you move. Carter thinks his prosthetic arm is going to hunt Weaver down and strangle her. Elizabeth comes down too late for the dedication, which Carter calls “post-mortem payback.” Pratt flirts with a nurse (who, to be fair, started it), then joins Sam to take care of a patient whose friends tied him to a toboggan and sent him down an icy hill. Since the patient might have a spinal injury, Pratt wants to bring Carter in.

Gallant goes out on another ambulance run, but there’s a domestic dispute in the apartment they report to, so the paramedics want to wait for police backup before they go in. Kem questions Frank about patients’ records and how many people leave without getting medical attention. He’s not helpful, so she turns to Weaver instead. Carter saves both of them by sending Kem to Luka’s lecture.

Elizabeth asks Weaver if Romano really left a donation for the hospital to establish an LGBT center. Weaver says it was up to the hospital board to decide what to do with the money, and they chose an underserved community. Mm-hmm. I’m sure Weaver didn’t influence that decision at all. Back at the apartment building, the police arrive and find a couple in the middle of a fight. It’s not clear who the aggressor is.

Luka gives his lecture to a bunch of students who either aren’t interested or don’t know their stuff. Probably both, actually. Pratt works on the human toboggan, Doug, who explains that his injuries and hypothermia came from an initiation for his hockey team. Carter joins Pratt and disagrees with his assessment that Doug might have a spinal-cord injury. He thinks his lack of sensation is from the cold and he doesn’t need an MRI. Pratt overrules him after he leaves, telling Sam to order an MRI.

A risk management rep named Bob finds Pratt and asks him questions about Martin’s case. Pratt takes full responsibility for his mistake, but that’s not the problem – the hospital is going to have to shell out a lot of money because of that mistake. Once Gallant and the other paramedics are done with the feuding couple, Gallant hears a kid crying in a closet. A bullet flies through the door and a cop draws his gun. Gallant gets him to back off as he opens the door and reveals a scared kid with a gun he accidentally fired.

Luka’s lecture turns into a discussion between him and Kem about billing and savings. She thinks hospitals should scare a scanner so the patients don’t have to pay more to make up for the loss of money when fewer scans are performed. Carter asks Sam how Alex is, since the last time he saw the kid, he’d given himself stitches. Carter thinks Alex will become a brain surgeon one day. “Or a grave robber,” Sam replies.

Luka complains to Carter that Kem derailed his lecture. Oh, boo-hoo. She made a reasonable point. Kem is now talking to Neela, who tells her there’s a three-month wait to be seen in a clinic, which is why so many people come to the ER for routine health care. She goes to tend to a couple of kids who have a bad cough, as does their mother, Mrs. Lemonier. Since she has a French accent, Kem talks to her in French and learns that she’s from Haiti. Kem thinks the family has whooping cough.

Carter asks Kem how the lecture was, and she says Luka’s a great teacher. That cracks him up. He sends her to the infectious disease lab as Gallant and the other paramedics bring in the wife from the domestic fight. Neela and Kem chat about Neela’s experiences in America and how much people eat and drink here. Carter tends to the wife from the domestic fight, then checks on the son, Rudy. Gallant says he’s fine physically, but a little shaken (I think Gallant is, too).

Next Carter checks in with Doug and learns that Pratt sent him for an MRI. Sam won’t let him take out his frustration on her. She complains to Abby and Chuny that she’s tired of the doctors thinking the nurses work for them. Chuny says the patients think the same way. Sam complains about Luka, too, and Chuny teases Abby about their past relationship. She also calls Abby the “ER slut.” Oh, really, Chuny? She’s a slut for dating two doctors in five years? Shut up. Also, you dated Mark and slept with Luka, so if Abby’s a slut, what are you? Lester comes up to ask Abby if they’re still on for that night. Sam and Chuny laugh, and Abby tells them they’re studying together. She notes that Chuny has no place to talk. Chuny tells Sam that Luka “gets around.”

Kem talks to an infectious-disease doctor and asks if she can visit the hospital’s AIDS ward. The doctor tells her that 15 years ago, they had a whole floor of AIDS patients. Now they just see a few inpatients in general medicine. Kem isn’t used to a hospital where patients with complications from AIDS are treated and discharged so quickly. The doctor shows her the outpatient clinic, but there are only about a dozen people, and none of them are nearly as sick as Kem’s patients in the Congo.

Back in the ER, Carter confronts Pratt over sending Doug for an MRI. Pratt says he was trying to be thorough. Carter reasonably says that the next time Pratt disagrees with his orders, he should talk to Carter instead of going behind his back. Neela presents another patient, Mr. Morgan, to Carter, who again disagrees with Pratt over an assessment. He thinks Pratt is trying to hand off Mr. Morgan so he doesn’t have to do a procedure on him. He guesses Pratt is nervous because of what happened to Martin. When Carter says he’ll do the procedure himself, Pratt steps up.

Kem finds Carter and tells him the doctor she spoke to in infectious diseases was nice and helpful, but she’s way behind getting the results he’s gotten with his patients. A nurse invites Pratt to hang out with her and some colleagues that night, but he’s not having a great day and just wants to go home after his shift. Chen calls just then from China and gives Pratt some bad news.

Elizabeth comes to the ER looking for a surgical patient and is annoyed to learn that a doctor named Lawson took him for a different procedure without telling her. Neela grabs Pratt to help with Mr. Morgan, who’s getting worse, so Pratt gives the phone to Elizabeth and tells her that Chen’s mother died. Kem takes Carter to see Mrs. Lemonier, who has another child at home with her mother. The grandmother is sick but doesn’t trust American doctors, so she wouldn’t come to the hospital. Kem asks Carter to make a house call. He says no, so she gives him puppy-dog eyes until he asks Gallant to make an ambulance run.

Carter then joins Pratt, Neela, and Sam with Mr. Morgan. Pratt knows what’s wrong – the exact complication he was worried about – so Carter tells him to fix it. Pratt does, then storms out to take care of patients he’s allowed to make decisions about. Well, first he’s going to mope in drug lockup for a little while.

Carter goes looking for both Kem and Pratt, and Frank jokes that they could be together. Yeah, Pratt wishes. It turns out Kem went with Gallant and the paramedics to get Mrs. Lemonier’s mother and baby. (They needed a translator.) It’s a good thing they went because the grandmother is really sick and reported that a number of people in the apartment building are, too. Carter’s annoyed that Kem could have exposed herself to illnesses that could affect the baby. Well, then you probably shouldn’t have brought her to the hospital at all.

Pratt gets pulled in to help Carter as Sam tries to deal with a frequent patient named Louie. Instead of letting her give him a shot, he picks her up. Sam yells for security but Abby quickly defuses the situation by threatening to call Louie’s mother. She even gets him to apologize to Sam. Apparently you just have to give Louie a piece of gum before you give him a shot. Sam’s more amused than annoyed. Abby wants to make sure Sam doesn’t think Luka is a player – he’s a good guy. Sam says she’s not looking for a relationship right now, though she wouldn’t say no to regular sex.

As a man comes in with an injury he thinks came from a bullet (how can you not be sure about that?), Sam tells Gallant that Rudy’s mother will be discharged the next morning, so DCFS will put Rudy with a foster family for the night. Gallant suggests that they just let Rudy stay with his mom. Sam knows that’s not protocol, so Gallant comes up with an excuse to admit him.

He tells Rudy he can stay, and no, he can’t have the gun back. Rudy’s upset that he no longer has a way to protect his mother from his father. His dad likes to turn out the lights so Rudy doesn’t see him hurting his mother. Gallant tries to promise that Rudy’s father won’t come back, but Rudy knows he will, because he always does.

Carter and Pratt are unable to save Mrs. Lemonier’s mother, but Carter assures Pratt that he did everything right with her treatment. The possible gunshot patient was accidentally shot by his wife, who mistook him for an intruder. Carter realizes the bullet traveled up his femoral vein and is now up by his heart. He’ll need surgery to remove it before it gets into one of his lungs.

Carter tracks down Pratt and tells him that he once worked a shift where seven patients died. When Pratt first came to County, he was arrogant and reckless. His confidence has been rattled, but he shouldn’t try to play it safe if that’s not what’s best for his patients. Bad things will happen, but they need to keep doing their jobs. Pratt did what he thought was best for Martin. He needs to stop feeling sorry for himself and keep working.

While Carter is bugging Kem about not eating lunch, Sam takes him to a hall full of patients from the Lemoniers’ building. Kem spread the word to them about whooping cough and invited them to get vaccinated. Elizabeth returns to the ER for another surgical patient, but again, Lawson took him upstairs already. Elizabeth is annoyed that she stayed after her shift for an operation that someone just stole from her.

She goes to the OR to confront Lawson, who not only stole her patient but didn’t present him with all his options before starting a procedure. Once Lawson (who’s British and kind of handsome) is done, he tells Elizabeth she can have the patient back. She’s at a loss for words and doesn’t know how to respond to this guy who’s so charming about taking her cases.

Doug thanks Pratt for treating him – he’s doing much better and isn’t paralyzed. Pratt finds Rudy with his mom, distressed because she’s sedated and won’t wake up. Rudy blames himself for her injuries because he didn’t protect her. Pratt tries to reassure him, saying a few things similar to what Carter said to him. Things happen that we can’t control, so we just do our best.

Carter and Sam administer vaccines while Kem translates their instructions to the French-speaking patients. Carter enlists Luka to help, telling him that Kem enjoyed his lecture. Apparently she was the only one. Weaver comes across the impromptu vaccine clinic and objects to it. Kem gently stands up to her, and when Carter jumps in to help, Weaver tells him Kem’s doing just fine explaining herself. She allows the vaccinations to continue but announces that no one else is allowed to go to Africa. Heh.

Paramedics bring in a patient who needs a procedure Carter worries Pratt might not be comfortable doing. But Pratt’s confident that he can do it since Luka taught him. Carter remarks to Luka that at least someone listened to him. Elizabeth goes to pick up Ella after the birthday party and ends up chatting with Dave while the kids finish the movie they’re watching. He’s nice and funny, and he has wine, so it’s not a bad way to end the day.

Gallant returns from an ambulance run with dinner for Rudy and a flashlight so he doesn’t have to worry about the lights going out again. Luka and Sam wind up on the same El train on the way home, and he apologizes for being kind of a jerk that morning. They’re standing close because the train is crowded, and she gets bold and kisses him.

Carter meets up with Kem at the mini-mart across the street, where she’s bought a ton of junk food. He throws a bunch of it out. Dude! I’m overruling Weaver here – go back to the Congo and learn about not wasting luxuries. Anyway, Kem seems to be the only character who had a good day, and she wants to come back to County tomorrow. Carter says no way, because Weaver threatened to fire him if he brought her back.

Thoughts: Bob is played by Sterling K. Brown.

I like how Sam shuts down anyone trying to drag her into a disagreement with someone else. When Carter’s annoyed that Pratt disobeyed his orders, she says it’s not her job to make residents listen to attendings. Haleh would totally approve of her toughness.

I would love for someone to tell Pratt what Carter was like as a newbie, just so Pratt doesn’t start believing Carter is better than him or anything.

March 1, 2022

ER 10.12, NICU: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

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

Abby! Gets! Stuff! Done!

Summary: Sam and Carter are running to a trauma room to help Pratt with a sick baby. Pratt has a hard time intubating the baby, so Carter takes over. Gillespie, a resident from pediatrics, joins them and guesses the baby has a heart problem. Abby and Neela come in as well, since they’re on their NICU rotation. Sam’s the only nurse there, so Pratt taps Abby in to do some nurse duties. He goes with the others as they take the baby to the NICU.

The parents are distressed because the baby just saw a doctor recently, and there was no indication that he had a heart problem. The father wants to talk to someone who has more knowledge. Carter tells him the baby might need surgery and promises the baby is in good hands. In the elevator on the way to the NICU, Pratt chats with Abby and Neela, who just started the rotation. Pratt thinks they’ll enjoy all the procedures they’ll get to do. He and Sam wish them good luck and hurry back to the ER, admitting that they hate the NICU and the med students are screwed.

Day 1, 8:45 a.m.: Another student passes patients along to Abby from the night shift. Lester is supposed to be doing the same with Neela, but he didn’t write anything down. He tells her about one baby, whose brain isn’t functioning but who can be kept alive indefinitely on life support. He’s been there for two months since his mother won’t let him go. Her prayer group comes every day to pray with her for a miracle.

Abby and Neela join Dr. Rabb, the director of neonatology, for morning rounds. She’s stern and fairly humorless. Gillespie is the opposite, and I need him to shut up. A student presents a patient, and Abby asks Neela for clarification on his condition. Rabb is impressed with Neela’s knowledge. A nurse named Virgie asks the student if she’s given the baby a nickname yet. She suggests Thor. Rabb explains that they give the babies “tough-guy nicknames” so they’ll seem stronger.

Abby presents Jacob, the baby from the ER, and Rabb asks questions about his diagnosis. Abby isn’t sure about one answer, and Rabb tells her not to guess if she doesn’t know something. She tells Jacob’s parents that the medicine they’ve tried isn’t working, so Jacob needs surgery. Abby says the OR can’t take him for 48 hours, but Rabb says he can’t wait that long. Her bedside manner isn’t great, but she does assure Jacob’s parents that the surgery should cure him. She lets Abby nickname the baby, but Abby just goes for Jake.

The department gets a call for help with a delivery, so Gillespie and Neela head out. Rabb tells Abby to go, too, but Abby wants to stay with Jacob. Rabb reminds her that part of her job is covering deliveries. Abby talks her way into taking over Jacob’s care. (To be fair, Abby used to be an OB nurse and has delivered plenty of babies, so this is probably a better use of her time.)

Neela clarifies with Gillespie that the NICU is on call 24/7. Well, yes, Neela – babies don’t wait for daylight hours to be born. Gillespie says that while they do see some really sick babies, most of the time they’re fine and the NICU is just there as a precaution. Neela asks to do an intubation if one is necessary. He says they should be looking into easier, more lucrative rotations.

Gillespie and Neela make it to the patient just after the baby’s born. He’s six weeks early and the mother didn’t have any prenatal care. Gillespie walks Neela through his care as the mother delivers a second baby. He’s annoyed that no one told them they were dealing with twins so they could bring more doctors in. He tells Neela to take care of the second baby, a girl, but the baby isn’t breathing.

Day 8, 7:30 p.m.: Rabb tells the students that this rotation is like a marathon. They need to eat and sleep when they can, and not stick around if they don’t have to be there. Neela presents the first twin, who’s doing well. His sister isn’t. Neela objects to her nickname, Inga, but Virgie says she didn’t come up with her own fast enough, so the twins are Dirk and Inga. Neela had hoped to call the girl Surinder, which means “warrior.” Virgie says she’s thinking too much.

Anyway, Inga has pneumonia, and Neela thinks she needs bypass before her lack of oxygen causes brain damage. Rabb disagrees, but Neela keeps advocating for her idea. Abby backs her up, and Rabb eventually allows it. Abby says Rabb already thinks she’s an idiot, so Abby had nothing to lose by supporting Neela. She’s working that night, and she tells Neela she can leave, but Neela wants to talk to the twins’ parents first.

Virgie blasts Abby for changing a baby’s diaper, since it screwed up Virgie’s records. She orders Abby to find the discarded diaper and weigh it. Meanwhile, Neela goes to see the twins’ parents, the Tsengs, but Jacob’s father, Kyle, bugs her for an update first. He strikes up a conversation with Mr. Tseng, who says he and his wife were visiting from China when the babies came early. When Kyle asks if they’re okay, Mr. Tseng just says that Dirk is strong.

Neela explains the procedure Rabb is doing on Inga, which she’s optimistic about. Mrs. Tseng stays with her while Mr. Tseng goes to feed Dirk. Mrs. Tseng notes that if Inga had been born in China, she wouldn’t have access to the medical care she’s getting here. They wanted their daughter to be born in America so she could have more options. Neela realizes the babies’ birth in America was intentional. Mrs. Tseng says she and her husband wanted their kids to have a good life – isn’t that why Neela’s parents sent her to America?

Abby can’t find some supply she needs, but the prayer-group mom tells here where it is. She’s been there with her baby for nine weeks and has picked up some stuff. Carter’s visiting Jacob, who’s doing well but might need more surgery in a few years. Abby gives Jacob’s mother, Helen, some more details and assures her the additional procedure isn’t that invasive. Carter’s impressed with Abby’s knowledge and confidence. Abby wishes Rabb felt the same way.

Carter tells her that he and Kem took a tour of the delivery “suites” at County, which he doesn’t think really qualify as suites. He admits to being scared about being a father, especially when he’s standing in the NICU, seeing all the things that can go wrong. Abby tells him he’ll be a great father. He replies that she’ll be a great doctor.

Abby’s sent to help with a delivery, and Neela offers to come along, since she doesn’t think she’ll be able to sleep if she goes home. Their next mom just needs a forceps delivery, and it’s standard to have the NICU help out, which is good in this case because the baby needs extra help when she’s delivered. Abby and Neela get her fixed up without the parents catching on that there’s anything wrong.

Neela gets paged back to the NICU to help Gillespie with Inga. The procedure Neela advocated for isn’t working, and Inga needs surgery. Neela feels responsible because she pushed for the treatment, but Abby says Rabb wouldn’t have approved it if she didn’t agree with Neela.

Inga starts seizing and Neela tells Virgie to give her medication for it. Virgie won’t take med orders from students, so Abby administers something else. Virgie warns that Rabb will kick them off the rotation. Abby says she’ll take full responsibility. Neela, however, feels enough guilt since her suggestion has probably left Inga beyond help. She starts crying on her way out of the ward, since she can’t get the exit keypad to work and she just wants out.

Day 17, 3:15 p.m.: Dirk is about ready to be discharged, and while Inga is still sick, she’s proving to be stronger than expected. Abby tries not to criticize a woman who has named her baby Cher but spelled it Chair. Gillespie asks Abby and Neela if they’ve heard any good dead-baby jokes recently. Neela hits him with the seriousness of Inga’s condition – she might never wake up. She complains to Rabb that they’re spending millions of dollars to keep babies alive when half of them will never have meaningful lives.

Rabb notes that decades ago, Inga would have been considered too premature and small to be “viable.” In other countries, she still would be. Neela doesn’t think they did her much good, considering all the complications she’ll face. Rabb says they gave her a chance. They do their best. There are no guarantees in medicine, and if Neela can’t handle that, she should find a different job.

Abby helps get a baby ready for discharge, then goes to take care of Jacob, who’s septic. She tells his parents that he’s tough and will get through this. Virgie takes a picture of the Tsengs with Dirk, which will go up on a wall with photos of the babies who have previously been discharged. Rabb joins Abby as she intubates Jacob.

Virgie takes another picture of the Tsengs, who ask Neela to join them. They’ve decided to keep calling their son Dirk, since the name has brought them luck. Mrs. Tseng takes a long look at Inga before they leave. Neela tells her it’s normal to be nervous about taking a newborn home, but they’ll be great. She expects to see the Tsengs tomorrow, when they come back to visit Inga. Abby’s successful at intubating Jacob, whose parents are losing hope every time he has a setback.

Abby and Neela meet up across the street and get coffee. Neela’s struggling to deal with the uncertainty of being a doctor. She thought she would love being a med student. Abby notes that they’re supposed to try different rotations to find out their best fit. Neela blurts out that she had a baby brother who died when he was just six days old. She was three at the time, and all she remembers from that time is eating ice cream in her mother’s hospital room. She can’t stand being in the NICU, which is sad all the time.

Abby thought she would hate it, too, since she was freaked out by premature babies when she was an OB nurse. But she’s seen that part of the rotation is supporting the parents, and her troublesome childhood has made her great at that. They get paged back to the hospital to help with another delivery, and they’re shocked when they see who the mother is (well, one of the mothers): Sandy! After Weaver’s miscarriage, Sandy didn’t want to get pregnant, but clearly she came around, and now the couple has a little boy, Henry.

He’s having trouble breathing, and though Gillespie doesn’t want Weaver to get too close while the team works on him, Abby says it’s okay. She reassures Weaver that it’s nothing serious, and it turns out she’s right. Henry will just need some antibiotics and a little time in the NICU. Neela invites Weaver to cut the umbilical cord.

Day 21, 5:45 a.m.: Neela arrives at the NICU with two cups of coffee, one for her and one for Abby, who fell asleep at the end of her shift. Jake is worse and needs more surgery. The Tsengs haven’t come back, and they haven’t even called to check on Inga. Elizabeth comes to get Jake for surgery, saying they don’t have time to wait for his parents to come back. They arrive just as Elizabeth is leaving with the baby. They’ve brought their daughter with them, and Abby lets her meet her little brother for the first time.

Neela checks on the prayer-group mom, who told her friends not to come today. The baby is now three months old. His mom thought she could pray hard enough to convince God to give her a miracle. But now she doesn’t want her son to suffer anymore. Pratt complains to Abby that one of his patients got bumped from surgery for Jake. Oh, waaaah, your person can wait. Unfortunately, Jake is too far gone to save, and Elizabeth apologetically tells Abby there’s nothing she can do. To his credit, Pratt is sorry.

Abby starts to go tell Jake’s parents what’s going on, but Pratt thinks she should take a minute to get herself together. She doesn’t want them to have to keep waiting and wondering. He advises her to let Rabb give them the bad news. Abby knows Pratt wouldn’t do that if he were in her position. She talks to Jake’s parents as Pratt watches through a window, unable to hear their obvious distress.

While Neela tries to get in touch with the Tsengs, Abby wraps Jake up like he’s any other baby so his parents can hold him until he dies. Rabb tells her that she helped his family and they’ll remember her for the rest of their lives. Rabb advises Abby to consider making neonatology her specialty. Abby thinks Rabb is mocking her, but Rabb says Abby is one of the best students she’s ever had.

Neela has learned that the Tsengs went back to China. The family they have in the U.S. doesn’t know how to reach them. Henry is going well and is about ready to go home, but he’ll need a few more days of medication, unless Weaver and Sandy let Rabb do a lumbar puncture. Weaver would be fine with that if this were her patient, but since he’s her son, it’s a completely different decision. Sandy, however, is fine with it since it means they can go home.

Rabb tells Abby she can do the procedure. Sandy asks Rabb to do it instead, but Weaver trusts Abby and changes Sandy’s mind. Neela asks Rabb what will happen to Inga. If she survives, she’ll either be adopted or go to a long-term-care facility. And since there can’t be that many people out there eager to adopt a child with special needs (and whose special needs haven’t even been determined yet), we can probably rule that out.

Neela doesn’t think the Tsengs would just abandon their baby like this. Rabb says they’re probably scared and believe she’s better off this way. Neela might do the same if she were alone in a foreign country with no job, home, or money. Neela says she wouldn’t, and neither would Rabb. Rabb replies that Neela can’t know what she would do without actually being in the situation. If she keeps judging people, she’ll come to hate being a doctor. Weaver praises Abby’s technique on the lumbar puncture, which Abby admits to doing after 30 hours on call.

Day 22, 5:00 p.m.: It’s the last day of Abby and Neela’s NICU rotation, so they get to pass their patients off to a new set of students. Weaver brings Abby a bottle of champagne because Henry’s lumbar puncture came back without any red blood cells, which they call champagne tap. Weaver and Sandy ask Abby to take their going-home picture with them.

Neela takes the Tsengs’ picture with Dirk off the wall and sticks it to Inga’s incubator. Abby takes her to the roof so they can smoke cigars and drink champagne to celebrate the end of their rotation. (It’s actually cider, because Weaver knows Abby doesn’t drink, and I think it’s awesome that she remembered that.) Neela says she’ll never specialize in neonatology in a million years, but Abby should. She thinks every attending probably wants Abby for their department, though. Abby has something that makes her special, while Neela’s having a harder time picking stuff up. So for the first time, Abby’s on top and Neela’s falling behind.

Thoughts: One of the babies is named Humphrey. Who would do that to a poor, defenseless child?

It’s a shock to learn that Sandy went through a whole pregnancy without Weaver telling anyone, but it’s Weaver, so it makes sense. She hates sharing her personal life with her colleagues.

I like how they show Abby and Neela’s friendship progressing – at first they just chat a little, but then they’re bringing each other coffee (and know each other’s usual orders) and celebrating stuff together.

February 22, 2022

ER 10.11, Touch and Go: Pratt’s Disregard for Authority Is a Pain in the Neck

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

Yeah, yeah, fairy-tale romance, whatever

Summary: Carter’s asleep – drink! He wakes up alone in a very nice bed in his family’s mansion. Kem got up early, since she’s still on Congo time. The housekeeper complains to Carter that she insisted on cooking eggs. Chill, housekeeper. Kem is adjusting to being a self-sufficient woman in a house of excess, where everything is taken care of for you and you have your choice of six sets of glasses in the morning. Carter thinks she’ll get used to it in no time.

He has to work, so he offers to have someone take her on a shopping spree. Because that’s what Kem wants to do – spend lots of money on stuff she doesn’t need, then go back to a third-world country where women are still getting their drinking water from a river. She steals his socks so she can slide on the polished floors. When did Kem turn into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Why isn’t she talking about how many AIDS patients they could house in just the foyer of the mansion?

At County, Abby’s shift is supposed to be over but she’s still finishing up. Weaver complains that Susan called in sick but didn’t sound that sick on the phone. Frank and I both guess that she’s love sick and spending time with Chuck. He offers to call in an attending to take Susan’s shift, but Weaver says Carter’s coming back. That seems like news to Abby.

Morris…whatever. Abby asks Weaver to sign off on a miscount of Valium so the night nurses can go home. Weaver won’t do it, even though they’re only missing 10 milligrams. Gallant’s allowed to leave, though, since it’s slow and he’s just an intern. I feel like saying someone can go home because it’s slow is just jinxing things. Paramedics bring in an elderly woman from a nursing home, and Sam looks down her nose at them for not being more respectful of a possibly dead woman.

Gallant goes home to see Valerie, who’s been in Chicago longer than I would think a teacher could stay during the school year. He’s surprised to find Pratt there. Looks like someone got over his hesitance to hook up with a woman with MS. Gallant asks how many times Valerie has had Pratt over to have sex in Gallant’s bed. Yikes. Pratt leaves, deciding at the last minute that kissing Valerie goodbye in front of her angry brother is probably a bad idea. Gallant just tells Valerie to wake him at noon so he can take her to the airport.

Back at County, Abby’s basically being held hostage until the night nurses can account for the missing Valium. Luka tells Weaver that his last day of work will be January 18th; he’ll be heading back out with the Alliance de Medicine Whatever. She tells him to submit his resignation and she’ll take it to whatever committee approves that sort of thing. She adds that County needs Luka just as much as the Congo does.

Pratt arrives late, and Luka guesses it’s because he was with Valerie. How does Luka know and Gallant doesn’t?? Luka’s patient, Mrs. Webster, is elderly and has dementia, so when she declares her love for Pratt, he just says thanks. He butts heads with Luka on some patient until a man and his family come to share good news with Luka: The kids finished therapy for an illness Luka diagnosed and now get to come home. The father says Luka will be their only doctor from now on. Luka declines to admit that he’s not going to be in the country much longer. Neela comments to Pratt that patients seem to really like Luka.

Pratt asks her, Lester, and some unnamed other med student a question that none of them knows the answer to. Abby doesn’t know it, either. Carter and Kem arrive, and Sam, who hasn’t met Carter yet, thinks they’re patients. Once she finds out who he is, she’s friendly. Chuny, Haleh, and Malik are even friendlier as they welcome Carter back and meet Kem. He announces the pregnant by telling the staff that Kem has an appointment with an OB upstairs.

Pratt also greets Carter and manages not to flirt with Kem in front of her boyfriend. Carter sends her up to his appointment, then takes the next patient brought in, a man named Larry who was in a car accident. His 19-year-old son, Martin, was driving and crashed because his father passed out. Martin wears a neck brace for ankylosing spondylitis, a disorder that causes spinal vertebrae to fuse.

Luka’s happy to see Carter back, and he joins him and Morris to work on Larry. Morris proves he knows at least one medical thing, which is enough to impress Carter. Luka mentions Kem, whom he never met while he was in the Congo. Carter’s happy to have access to technology he didn’t have in Africa. He goes next door to help Pratt, Sam, and the med students with Martin. He’s having trouble breathing and might need to be intubated. Carter tells Pratt to have an anesthesiologist come in to help. Pratt complains about how Carter and Luka have both changed their ways because of their time in Africa.

Frank comes in to tell Sam that the principal from Alex’s school called and wants her to come there. Did Alex blow something up? I bet he blew something up. It was only a matter of time. Pratt tells Sam to get a nurse to cover for her. Shut up, Pratt. You’re not her boss. When Neela goes to Larry’s trauma room to get something, Luka asks her to read his EKG output. Morris says he can do it, but Luka ignores him. Ha ha! Everyone knows you suck, Morris. Larry tells Luka that his son his fragile.

Carter has hooked Martin up to a ventilator, though Pratt thinks they need to secure an airway another way. He lets Carter go when it’s time for Kem’s appointment. Abby comes in to take Sam’s place until another nurse can get there. Pratt laughs at her, for some reason. Shut up some more, Pratt. Carter arrives at Kem’s appointment in time to see the ultrasound, which shows that they’re having a boy.

Abby has counted all the Valium again and gotten the same number as before. She tells Haleh, Malik, and another nurse that she’s going to call Weaver at home and hope she’ll let them go. As she sits on a desk to make the call, she finds a syringe. It contains the Valium Abby’s been looking for – and it was in Weaver’s coat pocket. Abby just tells Weaver that she found the Valium in someone’s pocket. Weaver replies that whoever left it there is an idiot.

Abby spots Carter and Kem showing off their ultrasound photo and starts to walk in the other direction. Then she decides to be mature and go talk to them. She and Carter have a polite conversation, which includes his almost complete lack of interest in her return to med school and her fake excitement over the baby. Luka defuses the tension by joining them. Kem’s happy to meet him since she credits him as the reason she and Carter met. After Kem and Carter leave, Luka asks if Abby’s okay. She wonders if Carter got Kem pregnant right after he got to the Congo.

Paramedics bring in a stabbing victim who really doesn’t want to be in the hospital. His leg is bleeding and he needs a tourniquet, so Luka tells Neela to take off his belt and use it. Neela sidesteps the opportunity to remove a hot guy’s belt and instead uses her own. Luka sits on the guy, a trick he says he learned from a nurse in the Congo. He even gives Pratt instructions while he’s riding the gurney down the hall with the patient.

Pratt finds Mrs. Webster wandering around and takes her back to her room so she doesn’t get caught up in all the traffic in the ER’s hallways. Carter has Morris and Lester present a patient named Mrs. Hulsey to him. She’s supposed to be going to a headache clinic for her migraines, but she hasn’t been able to recently because she doesn’t have childcare. Her kids are with her, and she asks if they can get something to eat. As she names foods, Morris, who’s been feeling sick all day, gets more and more nauseous. He eventually throws up, which makes Lester throw up. Carter tells Morris to go home.

Larry talks to Pratt about Martin, whom Pratt thinks should be allowed more freedom as a 19-year-old. As Larry goes in for a CT, his condition becomes unstable. Pratt runs in with an unnamed med student so they can help him as the scan continues, even if it means they get exposed to radiation.

Carter tells Luka that he realized Mrs. Hulsey’s migraines were from malnutrition because she can’t afford enough food for her family. He’s having her admitted and has gotten the kids some food. Luka tells Carter he’s going back to the Congo in two weeks. Carter says Kem is also going back soon, but she’ll come back to Chicago to have the baby. Carter kind of misses the Congo, but Luka thinks that’ll change after some more time taking hot showers and using all the medical supplies he wants.

Neela comes to get Carter as Martin’s breathing gets worse. No anesthesiologist ever came to tend to him. Carter calmly handles the problem, then goes to find an anesthesiologist himself. Meanwhile, Pratt has the radiologist continue Larry’s scan despite the safety risks. Elizabeth objects to Pratt’s methods, but he points out that he’s helping her see where Larry’s bleeding is coming from. She’s pleased when the risk pays off.

Neela goes looking for Carter but instead wakes up Abby, who’s a) trying to nap and b) tired of everyone talking about Carter. Pratt goes to help Neela with Martin instead, deciding that they can’t wait anymore and Martin needs to be intubated. Carter comes in as he’s working, having finally found an anesthesiologist, but Pratt moves his scope the wrong way, forcing Martin’s neck back too far and breaking his vertebrae. Martin ends up stable but possibly paralyzed.

Shellshocked, Pratt goes to get a drink of water. Mrs. Webster tries to give him some encouragement, but Pratt doesn’t want to hear it. He asks a nurse to restrain her so she’ll stay in bed. Sam returns with Alex, and Frank relays a message from the nursing director that if Sam takes one more emergency break, she’s on probation. She dodges Luka’s questions about Alex, then approaches Carter to ask a favor.

Paramedics bring in a woman named Ruthie who’s been in hospice care with AIDS-related lymphoma. Gallant is back to fill in for Morris, and he’s not happy about it. Pratt apologizes for the surprise he and Valerie gave Gallant that morning, but Gallant says he didn’t look too sorry. Luka keeps tending to Ruthie as the guys try not to throw things at each other.

Carter stitches up a wound Alex got from trying to give himself stitches. Sam tries to seek assurance that all kids do crazy things like this, but Carter can’t give that to her. Pratt and Gallant keep bickering until Luka finally tells them to take it outside. “Just when it was getting good,” Ruthie says. Heh. In the hallway, Pratt says Gallant doesn’t get to have an opinion on whether Pratt is good enough for Valerie. They’re right outside the door where Abby was trying to sleep, and she decides to give up on trying to nap.

Sam calls Pratt away so he can find out how bad Martin’s neck injury is. Meanwhile, Luka tells Ruthie that she has a tumor in her heart and needs surgery. She doesn’t see the point, since it’ll just mean spending more time in the hospital when her time is already almost up. Abby clocks in early for a med-student shift, wanting to be useful since she can’t sleep. Sam casually asks if their insurance covers therapy. Yes, yes, good idea! Alex badly needs to be under the supervision of a psychiatrist!

Valerie arrives, wanting to talk to Gallant before she heads home. He thinks she’s really there to see Pratt, but she insists that she wanted to make up with her brother. She promises to be more considerate next time. That kind of implies that she plans to sleep with another one of his colleagues in the future. I recommend Luka.

Larry’s out of surgery and will be fine, but Martin…not so much. Pratt tells Elizabeth that he’s a quadriplegic now, thanks to Pratt’s actions. He spots Valerie getting in a cab and rushes outside to talk to her. He’s happy about the time they’ve spent together, and he suggests coming to visit her the next time he has a couple days off. Valerie, however, sees this as a vacation fling and doesn’t want it to continue beyond that.

Luka’s hanging out with Alex in the lounge and is more amused about what he did than he should be. He promises Sam that he didn’t show Alex how to give himself stitches. Sam admits that she did. She had the ridiculous idea that he would never try it. Ma’am, have you met your son? She leaves, and Alex complains to Luka that she’s freaking out over nothing. Luka tells him to just do what his mom says.

He follows Sam out of the lounge and lets her vent about how hard it is to parent Alex on her own. He doesn’t think she should give any thought to what people say about him (namely, that he’s a freak). Luka says he stuck tweezers into an electrical socket when he was Alex’s age, despite knowing better. Kids do dumb things, and Alex will be fine.

Pratt is sad to learn that Mrs. Webster died. Well, that was out of the blue. Carter meets the paramedics as they bring in a 16-year-old shooting victim. He’s followed by a nine-year-old named David who was also shot. Pratt goes to see Martin and lets him know that Larry will be okay. He adds that there was a problem with Martin’s spinal cord during his intubation, and it looks like he’s now paralyzed. Way to gloss over the details there, Pratt.

Carter, Abby, and Gallant work on the first shooting victim, with Carter simultaneously teaching the med students. Sam and Neela work on David with Luka, who cautions that if they don’t stop the bleeding in David’s arm quickly, it will have to be amputated. Carter keeps calmly working on the other victim as Luka just as calmly makes a temporary repair to David’s injury that should hold him until he can get to surgery. Neela’s impressed.

Carter finally determines that his patient won’t make it, though he and his team have done everything they can to try to save him. Once the trauma’s over, Carter tells Abby he’s glad she went back to med school. She says she is, too. He tells her she never should have left, as if she had any choice in the matter, what with the lack of funds. He comments that she seems happy. She says he does, too. Sounds like Carter wants to ease his conscience about dumping her. He invites her to come hang out with him and Kem, but that’s too much for her.

Alex has fallen asleep in the lounge, so Luka offers to carry him to Sam’s car. Carter meets up with Kem, who’s enjoying the first snow she’s seen since she was a kid. He and Luka say good night to each other as Carter leaves with his new love interest and Luka helps his future love interest with her kid. Sam offers Luka a ride home, but he says he has something to take care of first. He goes to Weaver’s office, where she catches him changing something on his resignation letter. He wants to stay at County longer than he’d planned.

Pratt goes to a bar after work, and Gallant joins him, not to bug him about Valerie but to offer support since he had a rough day. Gallant says that Valerie is his only sister (I’m not sure that’s consistent with what we’ve heard before, but okay), so the family is overprotective of her. Pratt mentions that his mother died when he was 12. He got used to being by himself. People only have themselves. Gallant disagrees, but he comes from a big, close-knit family and Pratt doesn’t.

Pratt tells Gallant to say whatever he wants to say, then leave. Gallant starts to say something about Valerie, but Pratt interrupts that she played him. Gallant says he tried to warn Pratt. He’s sorry things ended like they did. He leaves, and Pratt drinks by himself at the bar, most likely worrying about the big lawsuit Martin’s family is going to hit him with.

Thoughts: I want some sort of prestige drama with Thandie Newton, Maura Tierney, and Linda Cardellini. Mostly because I don’t think I can watch any more of Westworld, I couldn’t get through The Affair or Bloodline, and I’m impatient for the next season of Dead to Me.

I assume Scott Grimes was questioning his career choices around this time, with his five minutes of screentime every other episode and thrilling plots such as Morris gets busted smoking pot and Morris throws up and goes home.

Shoutout to Abby for how maturely she handles seeing her ex, who dumped her in a letter, with his new pregnant girlfriend.

February 8, 2022

ER 10.9, Missing: Shut Up, Alex

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:06 pm by Jenn

“The good news is your injuries will heal. The bad news is you’re an idiot. You can buy pot anywhere! How did you screw up so badly?”

Summary: Alex is asleep – drink! His room is basically a shrine to gross and creepy things. Sam wakes him up so he can come to the hospital with her since his school is starting late that day. At County, Abby, Neela, and Lester are taking a practice board exam at the admit desk. Frank and Weaver rush Abby at the end so she can get back to work. She goes to see a patient who’s much more eager to get to his job than Abby is.

Frank tells Gallant that someone named Valerie left him a message. Susan teases him, but she’s his sister. Pratt asks what she looks like, and since they’re twins, Gallant says to picture him in a dress. Lester says that in high school, he wore fishnets and stilettos for a musical. He also shaved his legs. Thanks for sharing, Lester.

Frank announces that there’s a memorial scheduled for Romano. Pratt says he must have hurt a helicopter in a past life. He’s the only one who laughs at that. Pratt thinks everyone should give more thought to karma. Neela notes that if he’s that concerned about karma, he shouldn’t joke about it. The memorial is in the hospital chapel at 2:00, and Susan thinks someone from the emergency department should go. Hmm, sounds like you just volunteered yourself.

Sam and Alex arrive and greet Elizabeth, who’s looking at the memorial that’s been set up outside for the victims of the crash. Among the flowers and candles are a couple of pictures of Romano, one of which also features Elizabeth. Inside, paramedics bring in two teenage car accident victims, Johanna and Thomas. On top of his injuries from the crash, Thomas has gunshot wounds. Elizabeth asks Weaver to speak at Romano’s memorial service, but Weaver won’t even commit to going. She just says they’ll honor the fact that Romano worked in the ER.

Susan, Abby, and Lester work on Thomas, and Abby’s demonstration of her knowledge about what they’re doing makes Susan guess that she aced her practice test. Lester says they haven’t finished scoring each other’s tests yet. Weaver comes in to try to get Susan to speak at the memorial. She also takes over the trauma, as if she’s doing Susan a favor that Susan should repay.

Thomas asks about Johanna, who’s being treated in the next trauma room. She tells Luka, Neela, and Gallant that she was in the car when Thomas came running from wherever he was, trying to avoid gunfire. Alex is outside the trauma room, watching Luka work. He goes next door and Alex follows. Weaver tells Luka that she’s not technically working this shift, but she’s around if they need her. Romano was supposed to be working today.

Once Thomas is sent to get x-rays, Luka, Abby, and Lester go to check on Johanna. Luka questions Gallant’s assessment and suggestion for tests, but Gallant sticks to his decision. Luka says he agrees, so it’s a good thing Gallant didn’t back down. Neela gets a phone call and moves to the side of the room to take it. Johanna hears her speaking Punjab and asks what language it is. Neela gets more and more frustrated throughout the call, ending it by saying in English that she can’t come.

Sam tries to confine Alex to the admit desk, as if that’ll last. He steals some stuff as Luka, Susan, and Frank talk about how Luka’s selling some of his belongings before he goes back to the Congo. Luka chats with Alex, who complains that he has to wrestle in gym class today. He asks to tag along while Luka treats someone, and though Luka says no, Alex winds up with him anyway. Luka puts a splint on his arm so he can have an excuse not to participate in gym class.

They talk about Africa until Pratt comes to present a patient to Luka. Apparently he’s gotten over their rivalry. While they’re talking, paramedics bring in a man who lost a bunch of fingers in a chainsaw mishap. Pratt asks about Alex’s wrist, and he says Sam twisted it when she was drunk. Ugh, this kid is the worst. Luka sends him to the lounge without actually ensuring he gets there. Of course, Alex takes a detour to watch the gross trauma with the fingers.

Johanna tells Neela that she and Thomas went to the south side to buy pot. Chicago is the farthest Johanna has ever been from home. She and Thomas have been “hanging out” there for a few weeks. Gallant brings Thomas in, telling Johanna that his condition isn’t too serious, but he’ll need to be admitted for a few days. The teens hesitate to let the doctors call their parents, who don’t have phones. Thomas says he’ll provide a neighbor’s phone number, though Johanna doesn’t want to speak to their parents.

Elizabeth asks Susan and Abby if they’re going to Romano’s memorial. She doesn’t think he has any family. Alex is hanging out in the room, and he takes off when Sam comes in. Abby asks about a patient and realizes she screwed up his diagnosis. Fortunately, he’s not real; he’s from the practice test. A hand surgeon arrives to get the patient who lost his fingers, but the women realize that one of the digits has disappeared.

Sam immediately suspects Alex and interrogates him about the finger. When he asks which one is missing, she flips the bird. That must be incredibly satisfying for her. She doesn’t find the finger in Alex’s bag, but she does find something else he stole. He continues playing innocent while trying to hide the splint Luka put on his wrist.

The rest of the staff looks for the missing finger, which requires digging through the trash. Susan tries to hand off the task of speaking at the memorial to Abby. Sam drags Alex to Luka and confronts him for the fake splint. Luka tries to argue that finding the finger is the more pressing issue right now. Sam complains that Alex has been “playing doctor” with Luka, a poor choice of phrase. Luka repeats the story Alex told him about being bullied at school, but Sam says he made it up. So he’s a liar AND a kleptomaniac. Great kid.

Since Alex won’t tell Sam where the finger is, Luka takes a turn. All he has to do is crouch down so he’s on Alex’s level and say his name. Alex quickly admits that he put the finger in the fridge in the lounge. He knew it needed to stay cold. Sam’s upset that Alex stonewalled her but immediately told Luka the truth. Alex says he asked more nicely. Sam sends him off to school as Frank tells Luka he’s “a real Mr. Rogers.”

Pratt takes the next trauma, an unidentified girl of about five or six who was found in the park, cold and unconscious. He tells Abby to intubate the Janie Doe, but Abby’s on a nursing shift, not a med-student shift, so she can’t. Pratt presses the issue, so Abby gives in. She does it successfully while demonstrating again that she knows her stuff, even if she can’t prove it in a test.

Neela calls Johanna and Thomas’ neighbor, who says he’ll let their parents know where they are but isn’t sure when they’ll be able to hire a car. Gallant asks what her call was about earlier. She tells him her sister just had a baby, and her parents want her to go to India for a Sikh naming ceremony, but it would require a two-week trip. Neela hates feeling guilted about missing family celebrations. Her parents don’t get the pressures of studying to be a doctor. They run a restaurant, and Neela’s the first person in the family to pursue a career like this. Her parents are proud but scared.

She tells Thomas and Johanna that she spoke to their neighbor, and Johanna worries that their parents will make them go home. Neela asks if they’re runaways. The teens explains that they’re Amish, which means they’ve always lived separate from the rest of the world. They’re on rumspringa, when Amish teens get to experience the outside world before deciding whether they want to commit to being Amish for the rest of their lives.

Luka, Pratt, Abby, and Haleh keep working on Janie Doe, finally stabilizing her. Peña tells them that there haven’t been any recent reports of missing girls matching her description. The police are looking into older reports. It’s 2:00, but Elizabeth is the only one at the chapel for the memorial (though Lester and another med student stop by to grab some free pastries).

Back in the ER, Abby is concerned about Janie’s family not knowing where she is. Ken the social worker thinks the police are doing all the right things to try to find them. Abby urges him to check files for foster children in case Janie got passed around to different families and someone lost track of her. Ken gently says that he wants to help, but without the girl’s name, he can’t do much. Plus, it’s more likely that her parents ditched her or someone kidnapped her. She could even be a runaway, though Abby thinks that’s unlikely since she’s so young. Abby’s anxious about this, so Ken appeases her by agreeing to dig a little.

Neela finds Johanna smoking outside and lets her know that her mother is on her way. Johanna says she loves her family and hometown, but it’s not an exciting place to live. She’s sure her mother will see this incident as a sign that Johanna should go home. Neela thinks it’s up to Johanna, but Johanna explains that if she chooses not to stay Amish, her family and community will shun her.

The outside world is scary, but it’s full of possibilities. Johanna doesn’t think she’ll be able to go back home after seeing everything there is to experience in the world. Neela asks how Thomas feels about it. Johanna says he’s ready to go home. She asks what Neela would do in this situation. Neela can’t relate, but if she were Johanna, she would go home.

Susan sends a patient named Mr. Benitez to get some more tests, just to be on the safe side. She has Neela take his wife and son to the family room. As she does, she tells Mrs. Benitez a little more about her husband’s condition and what the test will detect. Luka overhears and asks Neela her opinion on the case. She doesn’t think it matters, since she’s just a med student, and Luka tells her that if she believes that, she’s right.

Luka then tries to apologize for Sam for the situation with Alex. She tells him she doesn’t want the two of them hanging out. She’s sure Luka’s a good guy, but he doesn’t know anything about raising kids. Oh, Sam. Ken tells Abby that the police found a couple whose daughter disappeared from a mall a couple of years ago. They’re on their way in to see if Janie is their child.

Gallant has arranged for the med students to hang out with him and Valerie later. Pratt’s annoyed that he wasn’t invited. Johanna’s mother arrives and Abby takes her to see her daughter. Luka questions Susan’s treatment decisions for Mr. Benitez, arguing that his condition will worsen. The problem is that if Susan gives him the treatment for the condition they’re not yet sure he has, he’ll get sick. But if she waits, he could get worse. She tells Neela not to talk to Luka about Susan’s treatment decisions anymore. Hey, don’t get mad at Neela!

Johanna’s mother, Mrs. Lambright, tells Johanna and Thomas that both of their families want them to come home, get baptized, and get married. The teens need to realize that this isn’t the right life for them. Frank overhears Abby and Neela talking about them and says the Amish are a cult. Lester says it’s more like a club. Abby gives him his score from his practice test, 97%. Neela humbly says she got 93%. She hasn’t finished scoring Abby’s test yet.

Gallant meets up with Valerie in the lounge and says they’ll go across the street to Ike’s (the new Doc Magoo’s) after his shift. Pratt comes in and introduces himself, immediately turning on the charm. Valerie is not immune to it. Pratt invites her and Gallant to hang out at Ike’s later, fully knowing that that’s where everyone was going to meet up anyway.

Mrs. Lambright asks to use the phone, which Abby’s surprised she’s allowed to do. Mrs. Lambright says the Amish don’t hate technology; they just don’t let it take over their lives. Abby tells Neela and Frank that Thomas is going home after he’s recovered, but Johanna is still trying to decide what she wants to do.

Peña brings in Larry and Judith, the couple who might be Janie’s parents. Their daughter’s name is Kendra. Frank gets a call about Mr. Benitez and tells Susan he’s crashing in radiology. She, Luka, and Neela go to save him, determining that he had an allergic reaction to the dye he was given for his test. Larry and Judith go see Janie, and while Judith badly wants to believe the girl is their daughter, Larry is sure she isn’t.

Mr. Benitez doesn’t make it, and Luka thinks Susan should have given him the treatment that could have made him sick. Susan doesn’t think this could have been prevented. The normally soft-spoken Neela loudly breaks up their argument and reminds them that a man is dead and his family needs to be informed. That’s more important than who was wrong or right. Ken tells Abby that he’s been looking through records but hasn’t found anything about Janie. Abby’s unhappy that a girl went missing and no one seemed to notice.

Neela invites Abby to go hang out with Gallant and Valerie so they can try to salvage their rough day. Abby wants to stay with Janie until she’s admitted. Neela says a nurse can do that, and Abby reminds her that she is a nurse. Neela notes that she’s also a med student. They leave together and Pratt tags along. Dude, this makes you look so desperate. It’s not cute.

Neela stays back when she notices Johanna with her mother. Johanna has decided not to go home, and she’s also not going to stay with Thomas while he’s in the hospital. After she leaves, Mrs. Lambright tells Neela that Johanna is the oldest of seven. Her siblings were happy when they thought she would be coming home. Neela assures her that Johanna will be okay. Mrs. Lambright accepts that she can’t make her daughter come home if she doesn’t want to.

Sam has left for the day, but she calls to tell Frank that Alex is missing. He gives the phone to Luka, who tries to calm her. Fortunately, Alex is in the waiting area, so Sam can stop worrying. He tells Luka that he had to wrestle in gym after all. He doesn’t think Luka should go back to Africa – it’s dangerous. Luka tells him that Sam is worried about him. Alex says she’s a loser, and Luka snaps at him for being rude. Alex is upset that they move around so much, and he thinks his mother wishes she hadn’t had him. Yeah, well, I wouldn’t blame her for that.

Pratt and Valerie start flirting as soon as he arrives at Ike’s. It’s a bar, so Abby probably shouldn’t be there, but she just has a soda while Neela drinks. They bond over needing to get their stuff together and being away from their family. Neela reluctantly gives Abby her practice test score, 52%. She quips that Abby should think of it as half full.

Elizabeth is back at the outdoor memorial, and Weaver finds her there and apologizes for missing the service. Elizabeth says that County was all Romano had, and he lost everything he ever had there. She wishes there were more to say about his whole life. Weaver says he’ll be missed whether they realize it or not. Yeah, no, I don’t think that’s true. Elizabeth finds some flowers left by the staff and burns the card that came with them.

Back at Ike’s, Neela admits to having an outburst while Luka and Susan were fighting. “What’s happening to our little girl?” Pratt teases. Neela drunkenly complains that she always either gets looked on with pity, because people think she grew up poor in Calcutta, or is seen as docile and proper because of her British accent. But she doesn’t feel Indian, British, or American. She asks if Abby ever feels like she doesn’t know who she is. “No, but I’m very well-adjusted,” Abby replies.

Gallant and Valerie are ready to call it a night, and Pratt decides to walk out with them. It’s only then that he discovers that Valerie uses crutches like Weaver’s to walk, and sometimes uses a wheelchair. For some reason, Pratt now thinks it was inappropriate for him to have flirted with her. She tells him she was diagnosed with MS when she was 22, and before that, she was “normal.” She doesn’t think of herself as limited. She strongly hints that she’s still able to have sex, and wouldn’t mind having it with Pratt.

Sam takes Alex home, with Luka accompanying them. She apologizes for being rude to Luka earlier. Maybe she was wrong to think that her son doesn’t need a man in his life. His father sucks, but he had the qualities she was looking for in a boyfriend back when she got pregnant with Alex at 15. She’s more like a big sister to him than a mother. Luka assures her that all parents worry about how they’re doing, and kids are resilient. Alex peeks in on them as Sam thanks Luka for helping out, then hugs him.

Janie wakes up, and Weaver and Haleh extubate her since she’s able to breathe on her own now. Weaver asks the girl’s name, but she’s shy and doesn’t answer until after Weaver has left and Haleh’s there on her own. Her name is Amanda. Sam checks on Alex, probably to see if he’s killed any puppies since she sent him to bed. He pretends to be asleep as she tells him she loves him.

Thoughts: Valerie is played by Joy Bryant, who was also in Honey with Mekhi Phifer (Pratt). Thomas is played by Finn Wittrock. Judith is played by Niecy Nash.

In “Secrets and Lies,” Gallant said Valerie had cerebral palsy, not MS, so someone picked up the continuity of him having a twin sister who’s a teacher, but not the rest of the details about her character. Also, he said her name was Susan, but I assume someone realized that would be confusing, since there’s already a Susan on the show.

Elizabeth, come on, you don’t ask for a eulogy from a woman who despised the person being memorialized. Don’t put that kind of pressure on Weaver.

How badly do you have to screw up a weed sale to get shot?

February 1, 2022

ER 10.8, Freefall: Helicopter 2: The Helicoptering

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

So long, farewell, don’t come back

Summary: Romano is overseeing a trauma case Abby, Sam, and Neela are working on together. It’s not going well. Abby made the wrong call with medications, and Romano gets Neela to tell him what she should have used instead. (He is, unsurprisingly, racist in the process.) The patient doesn’t make it, but it’s okay because it’s just a practice dummy.

It’s Thanksgiving, but Abby doesn’t have any family in town, so she doesn’t seem too disappointed to have to spend the holiday at work. The ER is busy, and Luka can’t find a room for his patient, Mr. Garland, who has pneumonia. He needs IV antibiotics and isn’t thrilled to be away from his family on Thanksgiving. Luka asks Abby about her training, and she laments that she looked dumb. He thinks she’ll catch on in time.

Frank is annoyed that no one on the night shift decorated the admit area for the holiday. He thought his only responsibility was organizing the staff potluck. Sam has left Alex home alone, which sounds like a disaster in the making. She’s happy to only be working until 3:00, when she’ll get to spend Thanksgiving with her son for the first time in years.

Neela goes to grab a coffee from the desk and learns that the nurses have a coffee club with monthly dues. Looks like Abby’s still in the club. Susan’s overseeing med-student assignments, so maybe she’s more involved with them than I previously thought. Pratt catches Morris picking through charts for a patient who doesn’t have something gross wrong with them. Frank snaps a picture of the two of them with an old camera he found. He wonders what else is on the film roll.

Abby tends to a woman named Loren who worries that she’s having a miscarriage. She’s also HIV-positive. Lily asks Abby to work a nursing shift that night, even though she usually only does them on weekends. Susan offers to let her off her med-student rotation at 5:00 so she can take a nap before clocking back in. Abby resists taking one for the team, but agrees to work if no one else can come in.

Morris examines a man who’s been treating his glaucoma with some special medication his nephew gave him. That “special medication” should stay in his pocket so any cops who happen to be in the ER don’t see it. (That’s my way of saying it’s pot.) Coop is taking care of a man named Fritz who accidentally cut himself with an electric carving knife.

Paramedics bring in a man named Mr. Westbrook who was in a car accident. Pratt and Elizabeth quiz Morris as they start to work, but Morris wants to go back to his glaucoma patient. Pratt chastises him for giving up a great learning opportunity. Abby asks for a second person to be in the room while she performs a pelvic exam, but when Neela offers, Abby turns her down. Luka’s having trouble getting Mr. Garland admitted, but Mr. Garland is very patient and is willing to wait. That makes a total of one patient in the hospital who understands that you can’t always get treated right away.

As Neela learns what a turducken is, Abby does Loren’s pelvic exam and confirms that she’s miscarrying. Loren suddenly passes out, so Abby calls the admit desk to get Frank to find someone who can help her save her patient. Westbrook doesn’t want to be treated at County, so he starts to call his lawyer. (No, I don’t know why he thinks he needs a lawyer.) Pratt tells him he can’t use his cell phone in the ER, but Westbrook ignores him.

Pratt takes the phone from him just as Romano arrives. Westbrook went to Wharton with County’s CEO, which makes him a VIP, so Romano’s there to suck up and berate Pratt for not giving him special treatment. Pratt says he treats all his patients the same. Romano regrets letting Pratt continue working at County after his previous missteps. Pratt refuses to sign any papers allowing Westbrook to be transferred to another hospital, even if tests show he’s stable enough to go. Romano says it doesn’t matter, because Pratt’s fired.

Loren’s stable, despite some blood loss, but she’ll need to have a procedure to complete her miscarriage. Abby acts like it’s not a big deal, but Luka pulls her out of the room to say that because of some fibroids, it won’t be that simple. Abby needs to be more careful about what she tells patients. Pratt has ignored Romano and is still seeing patients. He even tries to get back on Westbrook’s case. Romano tells him that they’ll be meeting with Weaver and Anspaugh at the end of Pratt’s shift. Pratt comments to himself that this is the only way Romano can avoid spending Thanksgiving alone.

Frank snaps another candid picture as various staff members do various medical things. Morris gives his patient a prescription and tells him to stop using pot. Gallant arrives as Luka and Sam tend to patients who have had to hang out in the hallway because the ER is too full for them. Mr. Garland is still being patient; it helps that he likes to people-watch. Luka tells Sam to get restraints for him, which confuses her, since Mr. Garland is totally calm.

Coburn comes to see Loren, who needs exploratory surgery and could need a hysterectomy if Coburn can’t control her bleeding. Loren refuses to consent to that. Abby pulls Coburn out of the room to ask her to consider other options. She thinks Coburn is jumping to the most damaging solution because Loren has HIV.

Romano intervenes and sides with Coburn. He doesn’t think a woman who has HIV should be having children. Abby notes that Loren’s viral load is low and her chances of transmitting HIV to a baby are less than 3%. Romano says Loren will die before her kid turns ten. Coburn agrees to try something less invasive, but she can’t promise not to have to perform a hysterectomy.

Chuck brings Susan some flowers that he says he took from a dead patient at another hospital (I can’t tell if he’s joking or not). He wants to get together that night, but Susan isn’t interested. Westbrook’s transfer has been approved, and Chuck will be one of his flight nurses. Romano declines to accompany his patient to the roof as he’s loaded in the helicopter. Fair.

Abby sends Loren to surgery, promising to scrub in on her procedure later. Coop discharges Fritz, who says he doesn’t need painkillers – he’s immune to pain after ten years of marriage to his wife, Berta. Neela gives a girl helium (apparently it’s used for asthma patients sometimes) and demonstrates some good bedside manner.

Frank tells Romano that Westbrook left his watch in his trauma room, so Romano tells Neela (“Indira”) to take it to the roof. Frank thinks Romano won’t take it himself because he’s scared. Romano takes the bait and says he’ll go with Neela. As they’re leaving, Morris’ patient returns and complains that Morris stole his medication. Morris is currently in an alley, about to smoke that medication.

Luka and Sam take Mr. Garland to the ICU, and Luka uses restraints to attach him to a pillar so the ICU staff can’t get rid of him. Luka lies that Mr. Garland is a troublemaker and might leave against medical advice. He doesn’t buy Kit’s excuse that they can’t take more patients, since the ER accepts more than they can accommodate all the time.

Romano and Neela are quiet as he tries to hide his anxiety in the elevator on the way to the roof. The muzak is Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” When they reach the roof, Romano has a bit of a staredown with the helicopter. He stays in the elevator while Neela takes the watch to Westbrook. As Chuck is loading Westbrook on the helicopter, a flight nurse from the hospital where they’re taking Westbrook says that they’re at capacity and Chuck can’t come. Chuck says he has to, for insurance purposes, so the other nurse will have to leave.

Romano rushes back downstairs and outside to the ambulance bay, needing fresh air. He spots Morris smoking and sends him to the admit desk for a timeout. He’s not allowed to move until Romano comes to get him. On the roof, Neela and a nurse head back to the elevator after putting Westbrook on the helicopter. A strap on their gurney gets caught and they pause to free it. The helicopter suddenly comes back down, spinning on its side. Debris flies at Neela and the nurse, and a big chunk of metal hits the nurse in the back. The helicopter tips over and falls off the roof.

In the ICU, Luka and Sam are bickering over whether it’s okay to force the staff to admit Mr. Garland. Outside, the helicopter explodes, rocking the hospital. It falls out of the sky into the ambulance bay, landing right on top of Romano. No, really. No, REALLY. Romano is dead, and it’s because a helicopter fell on him. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

The ER staff starts preparing for mass traumas. Abby tells Susan that there was a helicopter crash, and Susan immediately worries that Chuck was involved. At this moment, she realizes she cares about him more than she thought. Abby gives Neela and Lester a crash course on triage and sends them to the ambulance bay to assess patients. Morris stays put at the admit desk, since Romano told him not to move.

Susan goes outside to see how bad the situation is. Uh, it’s bad. A bunch of people are hurt and a bunch of stuff is on fire. Susan is still worried about Chuck, but she has to set that aside to take care of a patient. Fritz is hurt but wants the staff to work on Berta first. Abby tells Susan she can go wait inside and let everyone else take care of the patients, but Susan isn’t going to sit out a mass trauma, even though she’s having trouble keeping her emotions under control.

The ICU is on fire and the phone lines are dead, so the staff can’t call for help from other departments. Luka has to undo Mr. Garland’s restraints to move him to safety, but he can’t find the key. Freaking A, Luka. Back outside, the staff is moving quickly to get patients into the ER. A firefighter tells Susan that so far, four people have been declared dead. Abby again gives Susan the chance to sit this out, but Susan won’t take it.

Luka tries to help a woman whose intubation melted because of the fire. ICK. He and Sam are both keeping their cool as they deal with critical patients in the middle of a smoky room. Weaver arrives outside, relieving Susan of her position as the current highest-ranking staff member. She’s not happy that Susan doesn’t know where Luka and Romano are, since she’s supposed to be the incident commander, but when Susan tells her that Chuck was on the helicopter, Weaver backs off.

Weaver joins Gallant to treat Fritz as Berta is taking up to surgery. Anspaugh has also arrived, having selflessly skipped out on Thanksgiving dinner to come lend a hand. Staff members transport patients around, including Dwight, who may have a concussion. Pratt praises Severa for continuing to work with an injured hand.

And then, like an angel from Heaven, Chuck steps off an elevator. He got taken off the flight at the last minute and has brought down another patient instead. Coop, who’s working with Susan, spots Chuck across the ER and comments that he thought Chuck was dead. Chuck gives Susan a wave through the window, having no clue that she thought the worst had happened. She runs to him and grabs him in a tight hug. He complains that the flight nurse who came with the helicopter wouldn’t let him fly with her. Susan points out that that woman saved his life. She has to go back to work, but she takes a moment to be relieved that he’s okay, with just a scrape on his back.

Luka’s having trouble with his patient in the ICU, and the department is short-staffed, so it’s basically just him, Sam, and Kit taking care of everyone. Luka finally stabilizes his patient, then goes to help Kit as Sam heads to the OR to get some more supplies. In the ER, Pratt is tending to a patient with a carotid injury that’s left him paralyzed. From the next trauma room, Weaver tells him to send the patient to surgery. Pratt doesn’t think he’ll live that long, so he preps for a procedure in the trauma room.

Coop’s asthma is acting up, so he takes some helium, which of course makes him sound funny. Suddenly Chuck collapses in an exam room. Abby realizes his back is bleeding. Neela goes looking for a doctor, but everyone’s busy. She goes back to Abby, who’s working with Lester to revive Chuck. He needs to be intubated, but none of the med students wants to take the lead. Abby steps up and gets it done, but Chuck has an injury to his spleen and needs a central line, something an attending usually handles.

Luka, Sam, and Kit are working on the last critical patient in the ICU. Trivia: Sam used to be a surgical tech. Somehow, there’s an OR available, and Anspaugh takes the patient right up, complaining that he has to miss Thanksgiving. Oh, wah. At least you don’t have metal in your spleen like poor Chuck does. Sam realizes she’s two hours past the time she was supposed to go home. Luka tells Mr. Garland that his burns aren’t too bad. “I liked it better downstairs,” Mr. Garland replies. “I only had pneumonia downstairs.”

Fritz doesn’t make it, and once Weaver declares him dead, she goes next door to check in with Pratt. He couldn’t get a surgeon to take his patient up, so he’s doing the procedure Weaver told him not to do. She’s surprised to see that the procedure worked and the patient is no longer paralyzed. I’m sure Pratt will get yelled at later, but for now, it’s hard to argue with his results.

Neela goes looking for an attending again, which is how Susan learns that Chuck is now a patient. Abby admits to doing procedures she wasn’t supposed to as a med student, but she gets Susan to sign the paperwork saying she did them. Elizabeth comes to get Chuck so he can go to surgery. Susan heads up with them, tearfully thanking Abby for saving his life. Abby and Neela have their first quiet moment in hours, wondering if the chaos is over.

Later, Coburn tells Abby that she tried to be conservative while treating Loren but she ultimately had to do a hysterectomy. I think Abby’s just grateful that she considered all her options before making the decision. Alex arrives, excited because there was a big disaster. He invites Luka to join him and Sam for dinner at a diner, since Sam didn’t have time to cook. Sam resists, but Alex talks her into letting him come.

Anspaugh goes to get Pratt so they can have their meeting with Romano, who’s MIA (of course). Weaver is still tending to a patient and tells them to fill her in later. Romano has sent Anspaugh a bunch of Pratt’s disciplinary letters, and it’s enough to merit a suspension, but Anspaugh doesn’t buy any of it. Since Romano’s the only one who’s complained, and he didn’t bother to show up to this meeting, Anspaugh won’t take him seriously. Plus, he saw Pratt in action today and knows he’s a great doctor.

Alex wants French toast for dinner. No one cares. He’s annoyed with Sam for ruining their Thanksgiving, and he starts to burn a little figurine in the candle on the table. Luka wisely excuses himself. Sam asks Alex why he invited Luka, and why he considers a man over the age of 30 his friend. She knows Alex is trying to fix them up. Alex says Luka’s his friend, not Sam’s.

Abby gave some orders for a patient hours ago, but because of all the chaos, none of the nurses completed them. Abby confuses the patient by saying she’ll do it, since she’s a nurse now. Lester and Neela ask Abby a couple of questions about treatments, and she demonstrates her medical knowledge. Someone took the time to develop the pictures Frank took earlier, and Lily and Chuny laugh over one of Pratt. Morris is still at the desk, since Romano hasn’t let him out of timeout. Pratt can’t believe he sat out the entire mass casualty.

The other pictures on the film roll are from a couple Christmases ago, and Chuny points out Mark to Neela. Lily gives Abby one of her with Romano in the background. There’s a staff photo that includes Mark and Carter, and Lily asks if anyone has heard from Carter recently. Frank says he sent a postcard a month ago. Chuny asks how he is, and Abby says she doesn’t know. Cut to Carter in the Congo, with a beard and a woman named Kem who wants him to come back to bed. So I’d say he’s doing pretty well.

Chuck is out of surgery, and Susan visits him with the flowers he gave her earlier. He jokes that he should fake his death more often. He knew the two of them would end up spending the evening together. Awww, you guys, she loves him! Outside, Abby returns from a coffee run and meets up with Neela, who’s impressed with how well they handled the day’s crisis. It was a roller-coaster. She usually hates them, but she liked this one. Abby offers her coffee, and Neela says she’s not in the club, but Abby bought an extra one. Meanwhile, a crew lifts up the helicopter and finds Romano’s body underneath.

Thoughts: Kem is played by the fantastic Thandie Newton, who is ten times more talented than she ever gets to show in this series.

I have to wonder what went through Paul McCrane’s (Romano) head when he found out how his character was going to die. “A helicopter? Again? …Seriously?”

Ugh, naming a German character Fritz is so lazy.

The scene where Susan and Chuck reunite gets me every time. Even if you don’t like or care about them together, you have to enjoy that moment.

January 25, 2022

ER 10.7, Death and Taxes: Now ER Stands for “Ecccch, Romano”

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

When Bob Newhart took a shot at something that wasn’t comedy, he really went all in

Summary: Susan is lying awake in bed, and there’s a clock ticking in the room, which is probably supposed to mean something. Chuck, who I just complained wasn’t around enough, brings her coffee and they talk about how time is moving fast. Oh, maybe that’s what the clock is for. Susan’s accountant calls to remind her that they’re meeting that day; Susan’s getting audited. It’s especially annoying because she always files the basic form. It makes sense to her since she’s single and doesn’t have kids. “You want some?” Chuck asks. She says yes, but doesn’t seem that excited. He suggests that they go for it. They won’t find anyone better than each other.

At County, Romano complains about the see-through board, then slams Gallant for not being a good doctor. He’s written a complaint about Pratt and makes him sign it. He’s planning to collect a bunch of stuff about Pratt until he has enough to justify firing him. Romano grabs Chen’s butt with his prosthetic arm and claims it was an electrical malfunction. She finds it suspicious that it only happens around women. Why, why, WHY won’t anyone go to HR?

Sam’s on the phone, trying to convince Alex’s school that he doesn’t really have chicken pox and can go to class. They don’t listen, so Alex has to stay at the hospital until Sam can find him a sitter. Alex greets Luka, and Sam tells Luka to keep his distance. Abby’s finished her surgical rotation and is now on her ER rotation. Luka welcomes her “home.”

Paramedics bring in a family who were in a car accident – Eric, Stacie, and two young kids. The baby, Colin, may have been injured because his sister, Katie, got him out of his car seat so he would stop crying. Eric doesn’t think he and Stacie are hurt enough to need treatment, but Neela says the shock of the crash could make them unable to assess all their injuries. Luka quizzes his students (Neela, Lester, Abby, and Andy this time) on treating babies, and Abby makes a face when he won’t let her answer anything. He notes that she already knows this stuff.

Romano tries to give Abby a task but realizes she’s “playing doctor” today. He says he’ll find a nurse who isn’t kidding herself. Unfortunately for Sam, that’s her. Susan tells Romano that she has to meet her accountant at noon, so she can’t skip her lunch hour like she often does. Romano comments that he didn’t know the hospital paid her enough to get audited.

As he and Susan are talking, Romano grabs Sam’s butt. She slams him against a wall, pulls off his prosthetic hand, and tells Susan to have to exorcised. Romano threatens to have Sam fired, so she threatens to sue him for sexual harassment. I’m going to give this round to Sam. Susan tells Romano he can have his hand back at the end of the day if he can behave himself. Okay, that’s a step too far. Get all the women in the ER and in surgery to file a class-action harassment suit already.

Ben is back for a check-in with Susan, and he still has a crush on her. Sam offers to draw Ben’s blood for her, but Susan says it’s fine. She tells Ben that if his bloodwork comes back showing that he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication, she won’t make him come in for any more check-ins. Ben tries to hide his disappointment over not having an excuse to see her regularly. He invites her to have dinner with him, and Susan accepts, which she definitely knows is a bad idea.

Sam apologizes to Susan for freaking out on Romano, which…Sam…don’t apologize. Really. Susan says the hand is locked up. Morris is back at work, despite having quit, since his father threatened to cut him off. Pratt smells pot on him, but Morris says his roommate smokes. Abby examines Colin as Eric is declared healthy enough to be discharged. Stacie mentions that he’s not the kids’ father. He also doesn’t seem to want to be a father, and he doesn’t like the kids. Luka oversees his students as they trwat the family, and he gently disagrees with Abby on treatment for Colin. Stacie comments that maybe Abby is like her, in that she’s “better with babies than with school.”

Neela joins Chen to treat a man named Jimmy who has a minor stab wound from a jailhouse brawl. Sam comes in to tell Chen that there’s a phone call for her from China. Chen thinks it’s her parents just checking in from their trip there, but Sam says the call is from the embassy. Neela continues tending to Jimmy, noting that he’s doing time for breaking and entering. He tells her he broke into his stepfather’s house because his stepfather locked him out.

Ben is still in the ER, waiting for a cab. Sam asks if he’s okay, and he says life is great when you’re blind and getting blinder. In the lounge, Chen tells Susan that her parents were in a car accident in China. She’ll need to go over there to get more information and tend to them. Pratt gets the news from Susan and follows Chen out, hugging her when she starts crying. Aww, he still cares about her.

The ER is now down an attending, and amazingly, Romano offers to fill in. He dumps some stuff on Gallant, and Susan asks why he finds it so fun to humiliate people. Romano calls Pratt a hoodlum, just to drive home the point that he’s a jerk. Abby comments that if it makes Pratt feel better, everyone in the hospital is made to “suffer at his hand.” Har har.

Abby presents a patient, Franny, to Susan. She came in with heart palpitations and chest pain, but she says she just got dizzy at work and is fine now. She wants to leave to pick up her daughter from preschool. Susan says she’ll probably need to stay overnight for monitoring. Franny is really stressed, with her three kids and full-time job, but Abby and Susan won’t let her go.

Abby admits to Susan that she’s having a little trouble keeping up with her fellow med students. Susan promises that it’ll get better. Abby asks if she wants to get dinner that night, but Susan says she has a date, and not with Chuck. She says they’re at the point in their relationship where they should either be spending all their time together or none of their time together. She’s leaning toward none.

Ben goes home and works on his miniatures, which are hard for him to see even with a magnifying glass. Back at County, Alex wants to hang out with Luka, who knows that’s a bad idea. Elizabeth does a surgical consult on one of Coop’s patients, Persky, and complains when Coop says Luka told him Persky didn’t need bloodwork even though he might have appendicitis. Elizabeth refuses to proceed without it. Luka makes up a number and says he just didn’t put the results in the chart. Elizabeth isn’t an idiot and she orders another test.

She complains to Abby that everyone in the ER is annoying, unlike the people in the surgical department. Abby has a guess as to why, and his name is Romano. He needs someone to help transport a 12-year-old patient from another hospital, but he considers Abby useless. He chooses Gallant, calling him an “affirmative action hero,” and Sam. Luka says the nurses can keep an eye on Alex while Sam is gone. Yeah, I’m sure they have time for that.

Abby tells Susan that Franny wants to leave. Susan’s trying to reschedule her appointment with her accountant, so Abby tries to deal with Franny on her own. Franny’s getting frantic (Franntic?), and when she gets up to leave, she collapses. Abby says her pulse is really weak. Neela stitches up Jimmy, then sends him off for some tests. When he gets up, Neela notices blood where he was sitting. Pratt’s there, and he sends Neela away when Jimmy yells for her to leave. Pratt guesses that Jimmy was raped, but Jimmy doesn’t want to talk about it. Pratt tells him he’ll get to stay out of jail a little longer if he agrees to get treatment.

In a development that absolutely everyone could see coming, the nurses have already lost track of Alex. Franny’s heart is beating too fast, and she says she doesn’t think this has ever happened before. Neela joins the case, and when Susan compliments her assessment, Abby complains that Susan never praises her the way she praises Neela. Susan didn’t realize that, and she tries to smooth things over by pointing out that she gives Abby her time, an even better honor.

Ben’s trying to vacuum at home, and his new puppy isn’t too happy about it. Alex is still shadowing Luka and being annoying. Persky has been eating, so Luka discharges him, since having an appetite means he most likely doesn’t have appendicitis. (Also, they wouldn’t be able to operate now that he’s eaten.) He tells Persky to come back if his symptoms get worse. Luka tries to send Alex to the lounge, but Alex is too annoying to listen.

Pratt asks Chuny to find him an attending to assist with a rape exam. Luka volunteers, but Pratt turns him down. He goes to Romano instead, but Romano isn’t interested in doing a rape exam on a man, so he tells Pratt to do it and he’ll sign off on it. Pratt knows an attending is supposed to do it, and he can’t figure out why Romano, who’s always on his case about not following protocol, is willing to break the rules this time.

Gallant and Sam go to pick up their transfer patient, a girl with leukemia who might have an infection. The community hospital where she was being treated has had to eliminate their pediatric department because of budget cuts. Gallant and Sam find the girl, Michelle, unconscious. Gallant quickly determines that she’s septic, and the hospital didn’t do enough to monitor her condition.

Sam pulls him away from Michelle and her parents to say that the girl isn’t stable and either shouldn’t be moved or should be intubated before they leave. She’ll most likely stop breathing in 20 minutes. Gallant says County is 15 minutes away, and this hospital isn’t equipped to help Michelle, so staying is a bad idea. They’ll treat this like a paramedic emergency.

Franny’s heart rate is back to normal, and Abby advises her to get some rest, but Franny says she can’t. She admits that she doesn’t sleep much. Abby asks if she’s gotten any help, and she doesn’t mean a nanny. She thinks Franny’s been drinking or taking something to give her energy. If she has, that could explain her heart problems. Franny reveals that she’s been taking drugs and asks Abby not to tell her husband. Abby gives Susan the news that Franny’s been using meth.

Eric rushes in with Colin, who fell asleep on the way home and now won’t wake up. He thinks the doctors must have missed something. While Ben gets ready for his date with Susan, she, Abby, and Neela take care of Colin. Abby says she checked him for head injuries earlier, and she didn’t notice anything on his CT. Susan tells Eric she’s sorry they didn’t catch this earlier. Then she chastises Abby for not being more thorough. Hmm, sounds like that’s really her supervisor’s mistake, doesn’t it?

Later, when another the CT has been done and Colin’s in surgery, Susan tells Abby that it was an easy mistake to make. Plus, she was working under an attending who also didn’t see anything on the CT. Abby thinks that if she can’t trust her clinical skills, she shouldn’t be here. Susan offers to review the case with her and use this as a teaching opportunity.

Gallant and Sam arrive with Michelle, and though Susan’s supposed to go to her audit, she decides to stick around. Ben accidentally cuts himself while cooking and gets angry. Gallant defends his decision to move Michelle to County and not intubate her, since she was still breathing on her own. Frank tells Susan that Ben is on the phone, but she’s obviously too busy to take the call.

Elizabeth tells Morris that the patient he asked her to do a consult on has bad cramps, not pancreatitis. She sees that Persky is in the waiting room, having left and come back. Also, he’s a lot worse. Elizabeth determines that his appendix burst, so he’ll need surgery. Persky refuses anesthesia, since that killed his mother. Elizabeth goes off to find Luka and yell at him.

Michelle is unresponsive, and Susan pushes Gallant to stop trying to revive her. She knows he feels guilty, but she reminds him that he didn’t give her cancer, so he’s not fully responsible for her death. Yeah, that doesn’t make him feel better. Ben is either waiting for Susan to call or trying to decide if he should call her again. The record he was listening to ends and he just listens to it click.

Neela checks on Jimmy and asks if he plans to report his assault. Maybe he can be transferred somewhere else. She promises that no one will think less of him for being raped, including his girlfriend. Jimmy says he doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore – now he’s the girl. Alex is getting an education in handling frantic patients as he watches Luka deal with one. Alex thinks it was cool. Luka offers to give him an x-ray (and charge the ER for it), just for fun. Dude, Sam was angry that you gave her kid ice cream. You think she’ll be okay with this?

Also angry: Elizabeth, who tells Luka that discharging Persky made his life (and hers) a lot harder. Luka says the tests she wanted wouldn’t have been definitive anyway. Persky followed Luka’s instructions to come back if his symptoms worsened, which means “the system worked.” Yeah, but now he has to have major surgery, and Elizabeth has to miss time with Ella.

Susan has been trying to call the IRS all day with no luck. Pratt gets her to agree to do Jimmy’s rape exam (and she calls Romano a homophobe for not doing it). Speaking of Romano, he chastises Abby for screwing up with Colin. Susan tells him she’s taking Jimmy from him, since Pratt thinks that would be better. Romano says Pratt is like a rabid dog that needs to be put down before he infects anyone else. Romano finishes what he starts, so he’ll do the exam. I’m sure Jimmy will be thrilled.

Frank tells Susan that the IRS called and they’re not happy that she’s been putting them off. Ben also called and canceled dinner. Neela lets Susan know that Franny has agreed to get counseling, and DCFS has decided they don’t need to get involved right now. Susan’s skeptical that Franny will turn things around by herself, but she tells Neela to go with her gut. Neela admits that she can have trouble reading people well. She never suspected that someone like Franny would use meth. Susan says that people are capable of anything in some situations.

Ben tapes a note that says, “Do not resuscitate” to his chest, picks up a gun, and shoots himself in the head.

Chuny helps Romano with Jimmy’s rape exam, which Romano should seriously never do because he has horrible bedside manner. Neela gives him Jimmy’s labwork, which shows that he has AIDS. Jimmy barely reacts to the news, then says at least now he knows he won’t have to live with his humiliation forever. Romano seems unhappy that he’s not more upset. Meanwhile, Susan goes over Colin’s case with Abby, but neither can see his injury on his first CT. Susan realizes it’s because there was no injury then.

Ben is brought to the hospital, and Susan starts working on him with Pratt and Sam before she realizes who the patient is. She tells Pratt to let Ben die. It’s what he wanted. Abby brings Ken to see Eric, having determined that Colin’s head injury didn’t come from the car accident. Eric probably hurt him. Eric gets angry, so it’s a good thing security’s there to deal with him. Also, calling your girlfriend’s baby a “stupid kid” doesn’t make you look like less of a jerk.

Sam finds Alex playing a video game with a patient, which is better than sneaking around the morgue or trying to watch an operation. Sam thinks Alex has made a new friend, and Alex asks if they can have him over for Thanksgiving, since he doesn’t really have family. Franny thanks Neela for her help, then heads back to her family, seemingly not planning to change anything about her routine.

Abby asks Neela a question about something, and Neela rattles off the answer like Abby just asked for her birthday or phone number. Neela suggests that the two of them study together sometime. She’s good at the academic part of med school and Abby’s good at the rest of it. They could help each other. Susan finishes Ben’s chart and wraps up her shift with her mind clearly elsewhere. She does at least tell Romano where she hid his hand: in the tampon machine in the women’s bathroom.

Thoughts: Franny is played by Betsy Brandt, who coincidentally later became famous for a role on a show about meth. Jimmy is played by Efren Ramirez. Eric is Austin Sanders.

Why did they make Alex so obnoxious? It’s not good TV. And making us watch Alex and Romano in the same episode is just cruel.

The end of Ben’s plotline makes the whole thing feel pointless. Susan went out of her way to be nice, and when she didn’t take one phone call from him, he killed himself? What is Susan supposed to take from this? Then again, I’m not sure if Susan took anything away from her friendship with Sean, who’s also probably dead by this point, so whatever.

Another reason to praise Abby and Susan’s friendship: Susan offered to help Abby figure out where she’d screwed up with Colin even though she’s not responsible for med students and was really busy. Yay, friendship! And also yay for Abby and Neela studying together instead of resenting or being jealous of each other!

January 18, 2022

ER 10.6, The Greater Good: Policies Schmolicies

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

I wish I could’ve found a good picture of them with the puppy

Summary: Susan is reading The Red Badge of Courage out loud to Ben while he works on his miniatures. So basically, this is a remix of her plotline with Sean. Ben tells her she doesn’t have to keep coming over and hanging out with him. Susan casually says that she doesn’t have the book, as if reading it is the only reason she comes over. Ben says that Stephan Crane died of TB when he was just 29. “Cheery,” Susan and I both say.

Doc Magoo’s is now a kind of combo mini-mart/deli. Like Wawa! I miss Wawa. Frank’s a fan, since they’re giving away donuts to celebrate their opening. As he and Sam are heading back to the hospital after a coffee run, a woman named Denny gets out of a cab, asking for help. She’s 24 weeks pregnant and thinks she’s having a miscarriage. It’s not her first.

Jerry found some golden retriever puppies outside his building and has found homes for five of the six. Chen immediately falls in love with the remaining dog, but she can’t adopt her since her building doesn’t allow pets. Coop can’t have a dog because of his asthma. No one cares, Coop. A woman named Tara comes by with some food and gifts from a drug company, and Jerry gives her a spot where she can set up her stuff. Chen hands the puppy off to Lester, who asks what’s wrong with her, as if he thinks this is his next patient. On this show, that’s a fair assumption.

Pratt, Coop, and Malik are watching a police chase on TV when Sam pulls Pratt away to tend to Denny. Chen tells Lester that they’re hoping the carjacker is able to evade the police for a few more blocks – if he crashes, he’ll be out of their jurisdiction by then and they won’t have to take care of them. He crashes just then, because police chases always end in a crash, and the staff laments that he’ll end up at County.

Abby’s still on her surgical rotation, and she’s having trouble standing up to the ER staff when they try to talk her into taking patients up to surgery. Elizabeth tells her the ER staff is just trying to dump patients off on surgery so they can free up beds. She sends Abby to do a consult, telling her to be strong. In the ER, Luka is doing fast rounds again, and Romano is proud. He tells Luka to bill for plenty of treatments he’s not providing, so the hospital can make money.

Pratt gives Denny an ultrasound that shows that her baby is healthy and she hasn’t miscarried yet, though she’s already dilated two centimeters. Neela presents a case to him as he’s getting ready to tend to the driver from the police chase, Kevin. Kevin a guy who cut him off for ruining his escape. Another driver, Collins, is right behind him.

Susan and Sam notice that a bunch of male staff members are enjoying Tara’s company. One of Sam’s previous hospitals tried to ban these kinds of visits from drug reps, but the residents complained because they wanted the free food. Susan says that’s how the reps get the staff hooked – free stuff. She warns Sam to keep Luka away from Tara, since “he’s been known to give away free physicals.” Heh.

Sam goes back to the triage desk, where an angry guy complains about his bill. She calmly tells him she can’t help him with that. The guy yells that he waited 11 hours for some “quack” to tell him that his kid had a virus and would get better on his own. Sam pointedly asks if the kid did, in fact, get better on his own.

The guy demands to see the doctor whose care he so angrily objects to. It was Carter, so you’d think the guy would have to back down, since no one’s going to call Carter in the Congo and have him work this out. Instead, he slams a trash can against the window separating him from Sam. She continues keeping her calm, telling the guy that’s a bad idea, then waiting until a security guard handles the guy for her.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Zack who fell six feet and hurt his shoulder. He may need stitches in his head, too, and he tells Luka he doesn’t need anything to numb the pain. Pratt and Romano work on Collins, and Pratt asks Abby to start an IV. Abby’s there as a med student, not a nurse, so that’s not part of her responsibilities right now. Romano praises her for holding that boundary.

Next door, Chen oversees Coop and Neela as they work on Kevin. Amazingly, Chen keeps it professional with Neela. She goes to tell Abby that Kevin might need surgery, so Abby says she’ll call Elizabeth. Romano mocks her for calling “Mommy” and says he’ll make the decision. He sends Abby to Kevin instead of letting her intubate Collins. She doesn’t have time to do her consult before Romano comes over, so Romano has Neela join Pratt for something he needs while Abby does her job with Kevin.

Luka chats with Zack until a social worker named Ron arrives and reveals that Zack is a resident in a youth facility. He got hurt trying to run away during an outing. Zack refuses to go back to the facility. Ron says Zack has a conduct disorder and is off his medication. He tells Luka to give Zack Haldol. Zack is definitely angry and probably on the verge of getting violent, but sedation seems a little extreme. He begs Luka not to make him go back to the facility.

Luka gives Zack his stitches, and though Zack might regret not taking anything for the pain, he’s been on so many medications over the past few months that he doesn’t want anything else. This is the first day he’s felt normal in months. Luka can’t tell him whether he’ll help Zack stay out of the facility; he has to wait until Zack’s mother arrives.

Pratt’s waiting for a consult from neurology, but Luka doesn’t think it’s necessary since his patient’s scans are clear. Keeping her there is a waste of time and resources. Pratt’s also tending to the angry guy from the triage area, who’s complaining of chest pain. Luka asks him a few questions and determines that the guy just had an anxiety attack. He looks over his kid’s bill and decides he should have only been charged a few hundred dollars. Well, take it up with Carter.

Romano tells Luka that when insured patients come in, the staff charges for stuff they don’t necessarily need so they can make up for their losses with uninsured patients. “I thought I was his favorite,” Abby quips when Luka joins her at the admit desk. Tara tries to talk to them about an antibiotic she wants the hospital to stock, but Luka isn’t interested.

Susan tells Sam that Ben is coming in that afternoon so she can make sure he’s taking the right amount of his heart medication. Sam should let him in instead of making him wait in triage. Pratt presents Denny’s case to Susan, who thinks Denny is probably going to deliver prematurely, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Frank tells Pratt that Chen is flirting with Coop, so Pratt should step in. Apparently Frank’s decades as a cop made him an expert in body language.

As Jerry tries to get Susan to adopt the puppy, Neela presents a patient to Pratt. He agrees with her diagnosis and gives her some instructions, but Luka overrules him. The tests and medication are expensive, and the patient can be released without them. After Luka leaves, Pratt tells Neela to follow his original orders. Neela wisely turns to Susan, who tells her that Luka outranks Pratt.

Collins’ wife Patricia arrives, and Neela offers to take her to see her husband. She mentions organ donation, so now we know how things turned out for him. Abby says Neela’s starting to get on her nerves because she’s so perfect. Susan dismissively says she’s just a med student. Abby reminds Susan that she’s a med student, too. Susan jokes that Neela bugs her, too, and she and Abby can hate Neela together.

Denny’s continuing to have contractions, and Pratt tells her that she’s going to have the baby really early. Denny doesn’t want to have a preemie who will eventually get sick and die. Pratt tries to convince her that her baby has a chance, but Denny says she’s not having the baby this way. Pratt fills in Abby, Susan, and Luka, the latter of whom doesn’t think they should spend money on one baby when they’re shutting down a program to prevent lead poisoning, which would help a bunch of kids.

Pratt doesn’t know what to do, since Denny is adamant about not having the baby. Abby notes that the baby is above the hospital’s viability threshold for weight and weeks of development, so Denny doesn’t get a say anymore. The hospital will try to keep the baby alive no matter what she wants. Luka thinks the policy is ridiculous and Denny should go to a different hospital if she wants something different. Romano tells him this is an instance of natural selection. Susan advises Pratt to make a decision based on what’s in Denny’s best interest.

Luka goes back to Zack, whose mother has arrived. Luka tells her that her son is being overmedicated. She admits that she had a drug problem and let Zack run wild. The facility told her that the medications were necessary. Zack doesn’t think his behavior was bad enough to justify being sent away, but his mother was branded unfit, so it sounds like she overcorrected.

Ben hasn’t come by for his appointment, so Susan tries calling him. Neela tells her that Patricia refuses to agree to have her husband’s organs donated. She’s letting Patricia sit with his body for now. Abby tries to reassure Susan that Ben, who isn’t answering his phone, is fine. A doctor comes down from neonatology, but Denny isn’t in her bed. Pratt thinks Luka talked her into going to another hospital.

A cab driver comes in asking for help with a woman who’s bleeding in her backseat. Pratt and Luka run outside and find Denny there; she was trying to go to another hospital, but she realized the baby’s coming. The guys are mad at each other for following the rules/not following the rules. They rush Denny to a trauma room and quickly deliver the baby, a boy. Denny asks for them to let him die. She says she doesn’t want him.

Pratt wants to start working on the baby, but Luka says he needs to be weighed first – if he’s less than 500 grams, he’s considered unviable and they can let him die. Pratt tells Neela and Malik to prepare for intubation in case the baby’s over 500 grams. He is, so they continue working, even though Denny keeps protesting.

Abby checks on Patricia, who tells her that Collins’ sister is coming to say goodbye. Patricia hears all the action next door, and Abby tells her they’re working on a premature baby. Patricia sadly says that she and her husband were starting to try to get pregnant. Abby gently brings up organ donation, but Patricia doesn’t want to put him through more trauma. Abby tells her that his organs would save a lot of people. Patricia says her husband is very caring and generous, so donation is something he would want. She starts to come around as Abby gives her more details about how he could help others.

Susan calls the police to check on Ben as Alex shows up looking for Sam. He asks if they’ve seen any patients with weird disorders today. He claims he wants to be a doctor, but there’s no way that’s why he’s curious about weird disorders. Frank guesses that Alex is already dissecting neighborhood pets. Jerry offers to let Alex see the puppy, but Alex would rather visit the morgue. This isn’t a new request, and Sam has already told the staff not to take him there. Frank warns Jerry that Alex is probably getting into devil worship, and Jerry should keep an eye on the puppy.

Ben finally shows up, and he’s brought Susan flowers, so she can’t be too mad that he’s late. He also wants to give her The Red Badge of Courage. Susan tells Chen that she wants to make sure Ben is stable from his possible suicide attempt before she cuts off ties with him. Frank notes that the book is a first edition, which makes Chen think that Ben has a crush on Susan. Susan feels bad that he sacrificed everything for his career and has nothing left.

Denny’s not doing well, but OB’s taking their time coming to the ER. Weaver ducks in to complain that Zack is still waiting around. Luka’s been waiting on some labwork, but Weaver tells him it’s in. Luka says he doesn’t want to send Zack back to the facility. People are focusing on policies too much and forgetting that Zack is a human being. Weaver blows off Luka’s concerns and tells Neela to discharge Zack.

An OB finally arrives as Luka hands Denny off to Pratt. Pratt tells Denny that the baby is doing better than expected. Luka rushes to stop Ken from taking Zack back to the facility, but there’s not much he can do. A social worker with privileges at County authorized the Haldol, and Zack is totally out of it. All Luka can do is apologize to him.

Tara chooses this moment to try to talk to Luka again about medications, and since she’s heard about his time in the Congo, she offers to put together some packages for him. Luka asks why the drug company hasn’t been working on new malaria treatments instead of expensive antibiotics. It’s because there’s no profit in malaria drugs. Luka grabs a trash can and starts throwing out Tara’s free giveaways and food while he rants about her company. She says she’ll come back when he’s not as busy.

Susan returns Ben’s book, not wanting to accept such a pricey gift. She tells him it’s not really appropriate. Ben apologizes if he made her uncomfortable, but she assures him there are no hard feelings. Coop tries to chat with Chen again, and for the record, she tells him to call her Deb, even though a couple seasons ago she objected to that nickname. Sigh. Whatever. He wants to go out, but she has to take her parents to the airport.

Sam asks Jerry to find Alex, who definitely shouldn’t be allowed to wander around the hospital unsupervised. And he definitely shouldn’t be out of anyone’s sight long enough to go across the street to the mini-mart, which is where he is. Luka’s there, too, playing a video game that’s not alleviating his stress very well.

Pratt tells Denny that she’s going to be okay, and the baby is about to go up to the NICU. Denny doesn’t want to see him. Elizabeth’s been trying to reach Abby, who’s ignored her pages so she can stay with Patricia. She convinced Patricia to donate Collins’ organs. Elizabeth chastises her for missing out on opportunities related to her surgical rotation because she was doing things nurses usually do. She already does that stuff well. She needs to learn how to distance herself from her patients so she can be a good doctor.

Romano finds the puppy, which Susan has decided to take to Ben as a seeing-eye dog. Without any training. Without giving Ben a heads up. The dog isn’t even housebroken. Come on, Susan. Frank tells Sam that Alex is across the street at the jumbo-mart. That’s not a jumbo-mart, it’s mini! That’s why I called it a mini-mart! Alex is still hanging out with Luka, who bought him ice cream. That’s kind of weird on its own – don’t buy food for kids when their parents aren’t around! – but also a bad idea because it turns out Alex has diabetes. Sam’s understandably ticked at Luka.

Susan takes the puppy to Ben, who asks if she’s stalking him. Denny goes to see her baby, expecting him to die pretty soon, though it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going to happen. Susan and Ben go for a walk with the puppy and talk about their backgrounds a little. Apparently Susan’s mom died while Susan was off the show.

Ben thinks Susan’s father must be proud of her for being a doctor. She says they’re not close. Ben gets it – he has a daughter he hasn’t spoken to in years. Susan urges him to reconnect with her, but she blames him for things that happened when his wife died. Ben’s wife had cancer, and though they both knew she was going to die, he couldn’t accept the finality of her illness.

Sam continues yelling at Luka in the ER. Neela asks him for instructions for a patient, and he tells her to look at the price list on the back of her chart. She’s already performed a bunch of expensive tests when she could have done a thorough physical and given the patient a very inexpensive medication. Luka, hon, you’re mad at the healthcare system, not Neela.

Pratt’s annoyed that Luka discharged one of his patients without giving her a lumbar puncture. Luka says she didn’t need it. Pratt asks if Luka’s going to keep taking away his patients when Pratt doesn’t do things Luka’s way. Luka says that Pratt’s way of practicing method is inefficient. “And letting babies die is?” Pratt replies. Luka asks if he really thinks he saved the baby. He’ll probably need lifelong care. Will Pratt provide it?

Pratt says they’re not treating patients in a hut like he thinks Luka did in the Congo. They have technology and capabilities to treat patients, so why not use them? Luka says they could have treated a ton of other kids with all the money they would have saved by letting Denny’s baby go. Pratt reminds him that this is Chicago, not the Congo, and maybe Luka should go back to Africa. Luka replies that maybe Pratt should go there. Pratt understandably interprets that as a racist comment, but Luka means that Pratt will learn that there’s more to medicine than policies and bureaucracy.

Abby practices some sutures on Collins’ body after his organs have been harvested. She remembers her conversation with Patricia, and we get to hear more about how Collins’ organs will give other people new chances at life. People will see again, get their health back, and recover from conditions that used to be fatal. I guess you could say that Patricia’s decision to donate her husband’s organs fits with the title of the episode: It’s for the greater good.

Thoughts: Zack is played by Michael Angarano. Tara is played by Sarah Shahi.

Why is Susan getting the same plot she’s already done? Why isn’t her plot about her relationship with Chuck, who’s more interesting than half the main cast? (Okay, it looks like the real answer is that Donal Logue was on another show at the time, but still!)

Remember when Luka tried to force a woman to deliver her baby when she didn’t want to? What a difference three seasons and a trip to the Congo make.

The puppy falls asleep in Bob Newhart’s arms while Susan and Ben are on their walk, and it’s FREAKING ADORABLE.

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