March 10, 2020

ER 5.19, Rites of Spring: There Are No Accidents

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:53 pm by Jenn

And so it begins

Summary: Carol is snacking on Saltines (because she’s pregnant) while doing some spring cleaning in a trauma room. Mark is happy about her sudden urge to spruce things up. He runs into Elizabeth and they chat about a seminar they’ll both be at that afternoon (he’s attending, she’s presenting). Things are slow in the ER, so Jerry and Carter are throwing around a Frisbee. Mark takes them outside to teach them proper throwing technique. Mobalage adds his own advice as he comes in for work. He tells Mark that he got amnesty because of his torture in Nigeria, and he’s going to go back to school to get his civil engineering license. Happy ending!

Coco is scheduled to come to the clinic with her baby. Social Services has agreed to let Carol be in charge of making sure she takes her medication and is caring for the baby properly. Lynette reminds Carol that she’s heading up the clinic now, so she should be informed of these kinds of developments. Carol apologizes for not telling Lynette that she’d made the arrangements. Lynette chastises that she should have asked for permission first.

Fun fact: The ER staff has a fantasy baseball league, but they call it rotisserie baseball because it’s only 1999. Romano tells Carter that some area hospitals are doing a mentorship program with students from a local magnet high school. He wants Carter to show County’s kid around. He gets a whole five minutes’ notice. Lucy is still on her psych rotation, and her current patient is Michael, a law student who smashed his car. His wife, Sally, says he doesn’t use drugs and has never shown any signs of psychological problems. She thinks he’s just been under a lot of stress.

Benton checks in on Jeanie, who’s responding well to her hepatitis medication. She brushes him off, not wanting to discuss her health with him. Lynette tells Carol that Coco’s late and hasn’t been seen at her halfway house all morning. Carol worries that Coco has backed out of her agreement to be monitored at County. Just as she’s getting disappointed that Coco isn’t going to keep her promises, Coco shows up. She thought the appointment was at noon, so she’s actually early. Lynette realizes she wrote the time down wrong in her own book.

Elizabeth has calmed down about Benton’s interest in the trauma fellowship she also wants, and she apologizes to him. He hasn’t made up his mind yet about whether he’s going to stick with cardiothoracics. She tells him he should go for the trauma fellowship if he does want it; they should have the advantage since it’s their hospital.

Lucy’s resident, Myers, is annoyed that she’s not done with Michael yet since he has a bunch of other stuff for her to do. Mark overhears and tells her that her job is to work with patients, not do her resident’s work. Lucy says that the students who act as their residents’ servants get better grades. Mark tells her that’s not the important part of her training; it’s about talking and listening to patients.

Jeanie does triage in the busy waiting room, apologizing to an older man named Reverend Lynn for his long wait. He understands that she has a lot of people to tend to and isn’t impatient. He has a blood blister in his fingernail and just needs it drained, but Jeanie notices that he also has swollen joints from rheumatoid arthritis. Rev. Lynn doesn’t feel like the fact that he has to take a bunch of medication is that big of a burden. He also thinks that accidentally hitting his thumb with a hammer was something like divine intervention. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have gotten to meet Jeanie.

Carter finds Antoine Bell, his magnet student, and takes him on a tour of the ER. Anspaugh and Elizabeth operate together, discussing the presentation she’ll be giving that afternoon. Anspaugh asks what she thought of the sternal-saw paper Benton and Weaver wrote. It was accepted by the Annals of Emergency Medicine and might bring in the grant money the hospital needs to fund the trauma fellowship. Elizabeth realizes that could be a huge advantage for Benton in getting the fellowship.

Lucy asks Michael some questions about the stress he’s been under and what put him over the edge to smash the car. It becomes clear during the conversation that this is an area Lucy could really excel in. She gets him to admit that he drinks not to cope with stress but because it quiets the voices in his head. They wanted him to hurt his wife, which Michael would never do. He hit the car instead of Sally.

Carol happily examines Coco’s baby as Coco reads the meticulous records she’s been keeping about her care for him. Everything is normal with him, and Coco’s been doing exactly what she should for him. She knows she needs to be as perfect as possible so she doesn’t lose him. Fortunately, she’s getting a lot of good support at the halfway house.

Mark treats a patient who put his foot through a picture frame while fighting with his wife. The patient thinks Mark’s smart for not being married, since women just drive you crazy your whole life. I guarantee that this man regularly refers to women as “broads.” Yosh (whose sexuality I don’t think is ever confirmed, but who I’m pretty sure is gay) pretends he understands. The patient is annoyed to have to stay off his feet for a couple of weeks since he loves ballroom dancing. He urges Mark to go dancing and attract a bunch of women.

Jerry asks Carter if he can take Antoine on a tour of the morgue. He thinks Antoine is from a Scared Straight program. Carter corrects him, and Jerry says he just assumed Antoine (who’s black) was there as a punishment. Psst, Jerry, you’re being racist. Carter grabs Antoine to observe a trauma as Carol starts to take her next patient, a preteen named Seth who put his hand through a window. Why are people putting their limbs through glass so often? The kid is angry and kicks Carol for asking to see his injury. His foster mother, Mrs. Morgan, says he’s been causing some trouble.

Carter’s patient, Mr. Cho, was stabbed in the neck during a robbery. Carter notices his hoarse voice and suspects a nerve injury. Antoine hangs back and watches, half intrigued and half overwhelmed. Benton takes the case over from Elizabeth, asking why she didn’t page him to the ER. A police officer asks Carter and Benton to hold off on intubating Mr. Cho until he’s been questioned. His wife was killed in the robbery, and the police want Mr. Cho’s testimony so they can find the killer. Mr. Cho asks the doctors to let him help the police. Carter realizes Antoine has left the trauma room.

Romano notices that Elizabeth looks glum and tells her that Anspaugh says she has a good chance of getting the trauma fellowship. Romano wasn’t aware that Benton had applied for it. Rev. Lynn has had to wait for someone to drain his blister since Jeanie doesn’t feel comfortable doing it. She admits that she has hepatitis and doesn’t want to risk infecting him. Rev. Lynn doesn’t see that as a big risk and trusts her to do it. He reminds her that he doesn’t believe in accidents.

Lily and Chuny wonder why Antoine left the ER – was he freaked out by the blood or the presence of the police officer? Carter tells them that Antoine isn’t a criminal; he’s doing an independent study project. Lucy comes to see Seth, who’s been moved around to different group and foster homes over the past few years because of his aggressive behavior. He’s on a bunch of medication, which Lucy thinks is part of the problem. She asks about some symptoms he might have, like clumsiness. Mrs. Morgan tells her that Seth hurt himself because he lost his balance, not because he was having an outburst.

Carter finds Antoine in the lounge and goes easy on him for leaving during the trauma, in case it was because of all the blood. But Antoine left because he wanted to learn more about Mr. Cho’s injury. He’s looked it up in a book and now understands the mechanics of what happened. Antoine clearly has the intelligence and drive to become a great doctor. Paramedics bring in a man named Frank who fell while jogging and impaled his chest on a sprinkler head. Carol feels some pain while moving him onto an exam table and limps out of the trauma room.

Benton and Elizabeth come in and disagree about Frank’s possible injuries. Frank looks back and forth between them like he’s watching a tennis match. Carol pulls Mark out of the room to tell him she was cramping earlier and is now spotting. She tells him for the first time that she’s pregnant. He gives her an ultrasound but can’t find a heartbeat. He thinks it’s just because she’s not far enough along; she should get a vaginal ultrasound instead. Carol tells him that she hasn’t given Doug the news yet. She wants to wait until the second trimester, in case she has a miscarriage.

Antoine observes as Carter examines a sick toddler named Lonnie. Carter thinks Lonnie has lead poisoning from the peeling paint in his apartment walls. While operating together, Romano hints to Benton that he knows he’s trying to go behind Romano’s back to get the trauma fellowship. Carter and Antoine look at Lonnie’s blood cells in a lab and determine that he has anemia. Antoine’s familiar with the condition, and when Carter tells him that poorer kids like Lonnie are more at risk, Antoine gets that it’s because they live in older buildings.

After surgery, Benton asks Romano straight out if he’s upset about something. Romano’s annoyed that he talked Benton up for the cardiothoracic fellowship, and now Benton wants the trauma fellowship. Benton promises that he wasn’t going to take the cardiothoracic fellowship for granted. It’s still his first choice. I don’t think Romano believes him. He says that if Benton needs help figuring out his future, Romano will take the cardiothoracic fellowship off the table.

Mark invites Carol to go do something to distract her before her ultrasound appointment. She wants some time alone, and besides, he has to go to the seminar. Coco returns with the baby, asking if Carol would have to tell someone if Coco didn’t do something right. Lucy talks to Seth about his birth mother, who was killed in a car accident caused by his father. Lucy can relate a little to Seth’s situation, since her father was never around when she was a kid. She doesn’t press Seth to talk about his family, but he opens up to her about his father’s alcoholism and absence in his life.

Elizabeth has trouble getting a cab to the seminar, and while trying not to throw a tantrum over losing one, she drops all her slides for her presentation. Mark runs into her and suggests that they take the El. Carol helps Coco give her baby a bath, which Coco was nervous about doing on her own. Carol praises her for asking for help. Also, the baby is cute and happy, and this is much more appealing than a lot of things Carol has to do at work, so she probably appreciates the break.

Carter catches Antoine chatting with some friends outside the hospital and takes him back inside. He tells him he doesn’t have to wear the tie his mom made him put on. Carter offers him some advice for this program or any other job Antoine might have in the future: Don’t goof off with your friends when you’re on the clock. Antoine starts to say he had a good reason, but Carter doesn’t need an excuse. He just wants Antoine to know what Carter expects of him.

Mark helps Elizabeth put her slides back in order on the El. She apologizes for fighting with Benton during Frank’s trauma. Mark thinks she and Benton are still together, and when Elizabeth says they’re not, Mark comments that he needs better sources of information at work. They have ten minutes before Elizabeth’s presentation…and they’ll be even later than that, because it’s the weekend, so the train they’re on doesn’t make all its regular stops.

Benton comes to take care of Rev. Lynn’s blister; the two of them know each other, since Mae was one of Rev. Lynn’s parishioners. Rev. Lynn puts together that Jeanie is the same woman Mae used to talk to him about. She called Jeanie her comforting angel. Rev. Lynn says again that he and Jeanie didn’t meet by accident. He wants to offer some healing prayers, and Jeanie agrees to take any help she can get. The three of them hold hands as Rev. Lynn silently prays, then touches Jeanie’s forehead as if he’s blessing her. She opens her eyes like something inside her has gotten lighter.

Mark and Elizabeth finally make it to the hotel where the seminar is being held, but they’re in the wrong place and accidentally crash a wedding reception. They run through the bar on their way to the right spot and Mark laughs over a pig ice sculpture. As they wait for an elevator, he asks an older man with a much younger woman (most likely being paid for her company) if they’re there for the conference. Elizabeth’s amused. They decide to take the stairs, which lead them to a storeroom. They realize they’re locked in.

Back at County, Antoine introduces Carter to a woman he knows and her toddler, Andre. He thinks Andre might have lead poisoning. That’s why his friends came by the hospital – Antoine asked them to get Andre and his mother because Andre has the same symptoms as Lonnie. Carter should be proud – it’s his mentee’s first day and he’s already made a diagnosis. Antoine’s time in the ER is supposed to be over by now, but he asks to stick around to see what happens.

Myers discusses Seth with Carl Deraad, the head of the psych department. He agrees with Lucy’s assessment that Seth is being overmedicated. Lucy says he also needs therapy; he’ll benefit a lot from just being listened to. Deraad is pleased with Lucy’s work and approves her request to continue to meet with Seth after her psych rotation ends and she goes back to the ER.

Jeanie gets some tests done and is shocked to see that her liver functions are almost normal. She thinks worrying over her hepatitis made her worse. Benton notes that praying with Rev. Lynn might have helped, too. Carol goes to her ultrasound as Mark and Elizabeth talk about her adjustment to living in the U.S. They both admit to being lonely sometimes. Someone finds them in the storeroom, but by the time they get to the conference room, the seminar is over. They decide to get a drink together.

Jeanie goes to Rev. Lynn’s church, despite not being religious or much of a churchgoer. He tells her it’s a start. The ultrasound tech also has trouble finding a heartbeat, but it’s there, so Carol can relax. Mark and Elizabeth get to know each other at the hotel bar, loosening up with the help of alcohol and some childhood story of Mark’s with the punchline, “Timmy fed the squirrels!” Tango music comes on at the wedding next door and Mark invites Elizabeth to crash it and dance with him. All of a sudden, County has a new couple.

Thoughts: Sally is played by Jessica Capshaw.

Mark is in a really good mood this whole episode, and it’s never explained, but my guess is that helping Mobalage made him overcome any lingering issues he had from his own trauma.

The risk if impaling myself on a sprinkler head is the reason I’m giving from now on for why I don’t jog.

March 3, 2020

ER 5.18, Point of Origin: Weaver Is the Ultimate April Fool

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

Don’t worry, Mobalage, Mark will make it all better

Summary: Carol’s asleep – drink! She’s dozing on her couch when her mom comes by, surprised that she’s not at work. There are two more things that would surprise Helen if Carol told her about them: 1) Doug left town, and 2) Carol’s pregnant. Benton is annoyed to learn that Romano rescheduled one of his procedures, which means he’ll have to miss an appointment at a school he wants Reese to attend. Benton has to drop the phone when Reese takes a knife out of the dishwasher. Unimpressed with the potholder Benton gives him instead, Reese makes his own fun, dropping his hearing aids in the toilet.

Weaver’s at a nursing home, worried about the health of one of the residents, Kathy. She demands that the nurse on duty call an ambulance. The nurse says that Kathy has a DNR, and besides, Weaver isn’t her doctor. Weaver says she’s Kathy’s daughter. At County, Carter’s impressed that Lucy’s going to be running a group counseling session just a couple of weeks into her psychiatric rotation. Lucy says she’s actually good in this area.

Carol’s late to work but Haleh doesn’t care. Mark comes in and asks Carter what he should do. He explains to Haleh and Lucy that Carter is running the ER for the day. There are no pens at the desk, which Jerry says is someone’s idea of an April Fool’s joke. That someone is him; he took all the pens so everyone would ask to borrow his, then get a shock from the pen. Mark warns him to watch his back.

Mobalage’s lawyer finds Mark and tells him she can’t get him a disability continuance for his immigration case unless he remains in the hospital. Mark thinks he can arrange that, but the lawyer heard that Elizabeth is discharging Mobalage. Benton has to keep Reese in daycare for another month because he missed the school meeting, and now he has to call whoever’s examining Reese’s hearing aids to make sure they weren’t damaged. Romano hangs up the phone for him because he’s a jerk. Benton urges Elizabeth to get away from him while she can. She tells him she’s looking at a trauma fellowship, which would do the trick.

Mark asks Elizabeth about Mobalage’s discharge, which she says she couldn’t really stop, since she didn’t feel comfortable lying to INS about him (makes sense, since her own immigration status could be endangered). Mobalage’s lawyer tells her that now he has nothing keeping him from going to court. Elizabeth thinks that if he shows the judge his scars, the judge will immediately allow him to stay in the U.S. The lawyer says Mobalage will have to testify about the torture he underwent in Nigeria, something he’s never spoken about before.

Weaver accompanies Kathy to the hospital and gives Carter instructions for her treatment. Carter offers to take over her care, reminding Weaver that he’s in charge for the day. Weaver won’t acknowledge his authority. Mark wants Mobalage to meet with a psychiatrist who can help him tell his story to the judge. To give Mobalage some time to consider it, Mark gives him a wheelchair and tells him to pretend he’s in pain.

Romano and Benton are operating with a hotshot doctor named Weinstein. He inseminates horses in his spare time, so…that’s fun. I’m not sure Benton has ever related to anyone less. Weinstein gets a call from a drug rep and asks to push the procedure to that afternoon. After all his scrambling that morning to get to work and rearrange his schedule, Benton now has nothing to do.

At the Roach Coach, Carol and Elizabeth chat about Carol’s pregnancy. She wanted a baby just a few months ago, but now she’s alone and isn’t sure she can handle single motherhood. When she counsels pregnant women who aren’t sure what to do, she tells them to go with their gut. Carol’s not sure what her gut is telling her to do.

Mark asks Elizabeth to “treat” Mobalage for any kind of issue she can think of. They just need to buy time while his lawyer tells the judge he’s been readmitted to the hospital. Elizabeth reluctantly agrees. Carter can’t find his stethoscope and thinks Jerry took it as a prank. Jerry finds that kind of prank unoriginal. Weaver tells her PI, Sam, that she’d like more information on Kathy and her biological father. She goes to see Kathy, who’s altered and thinks Weaver is someone named Claire. Weaver promises they’re taking good care of her.

Carter and Lydia treat a boy who seems to have an illness like meningitis, but not exactly. Carter questions the boy’s father about anything the boy could have ingested at home. The father admits that he had a little bit of cocaine. Big day for Dad – a trip to the ER and inevitable questioning from the police and CPS. Benton checks on Reese in daycare and finds him sitting by himself while the other kids have music time.

Weaver tries to get Kathy admitted while Mark congratulates Carter for his treatment of the boy. Weaver shocks herself on Jerry’s pen, so he’ll probably turn up dead tomorrow. Kobe asks Mark to sit with Mobalage while he meets with the psychiatrist, since Mobalage trusts him. Mobalage talks a little about the torture he experienced in Nigeria, but he says he doesn’t remember everything that happened.

Paramedics bring in Coco, who they found on the street after giving birth. She’s frantic and probably isn’t on her medication. The baby’s doing okay under Carol and Carter’s care, but when Coco sees Carol tending to the boy, she accuses Carol of stealing him. Weaver calmly tries to take her back to her trauma room. Coco starts to go with her, then shoves Weaver to the ground and tries to grab the baby from Carol. Carol protects him while trying to keep him from Coco.

Benton asks Weaver what they’re going to do with the data they collected in that long-ago sternal-saw study they were doing together. He wants them to write a paper together, since it was a joint study. He then mentions the ER surgical fellowship he heard about from Elizabeth. He might be interested in it. Mobalage’s lawyer tells Mark that the judge has caught on to the doctors’ stall tactics, so Mobalage has to give a deposition tomorrow. Mark and the psychiatrist tell her that Mobalage doesn’t remember being tortured. Unfortunately, that might not help his case.

Weaver checks on Kathy as Carol tends to her. Carol says a case like Kathy’s is less complicated when there’s no family; they just have to follow the DNR orders. Chuny can’t punch in because of a broken time block, so she asks Carter what she should do. They go back and forth for a while, but Chuny breaks, making Carter realize she’s pulling an April Fool’s joke on him. She says Malik put her up to it. Not your best work, Malik. Carter gets revenge by giving her Jerry’s pen.

A tech tells Carter that a scanner will be down for another four hours. Carter decides to close the ER to neurological traumas. Coco is now stable and apologizes for attacking Carol. Carol has no hard feelings and assures her that the baby’s okay. Coco went off her medications while she was pregnant, not wanting them to harm the baby. She knew there was a risk of getting out of control, but she got through the nine months. Now she can go back on her meds and stay stable. She already loves her son and wants to do what’s best for him, but she’s worried he’ll be taken away from her.

Carter and Lydia take care of a sick baby whose preschool-age brother is banging on stuff in the room with an arm in a cast. The tech Carter spoke to earlier shows him the baby’s scans – she has multiple rib fractures. Carter asks Chuny to call CPS and security, thinking the baby’s short-tempered mother, Mrs. Gleason, is abusing her kids. He finds a reason to have the baby taken somewhere else, then tells Mrs. Gleason that they need more information. Her son already has a broken arm; how did her daughter get so many broken ribs? Mrs. Gleason is understandably furious and denies being abusive.

Mark tries to get information about Mobalage’s torture out of Kobe. She explains that he wrote a story that angered people in a position of power. In Nigeria, he was an engineer and a very warm person. She says she can’t give Mark any details about the torture. It sounds like she’s resigned to going back to Nigeria if that’s the way the immigration case turns out.

Carol asks Weaver about some medication she gave Kathy despite her DNR status. Weaver says she’ll make the judgment call on her patient’s treatment. Carol points out that Doug made judgment calls, and Weaver got mad at him for them. Weaver says he made his own trouble. Carol replies that Weaver certainly didn’t help him at all. Weaver asks if Carol thinks she drove Doug out of County. They bicker some more about double standards until Weaver announces that Kathy is her mother.

She continues that she was adopted and hired a PI to find her birth mother. She never imagined that she’d find an old woman; she always thought her birth mother was a teenager who couldn’t keep her. She wanted more time so they could have a meaningful conversation. Instead, she found a dying woman. Carol offers to call for a consult and try to get Kathy treatment that will buy her more time.

Benton and Romano’s big operation is over, so Romano tells Benton he can go home and see his “munchkin.” Annoyed, Benton says his name is Reese. As if Romano cares. Also annoyed: Elizabeth, who has heard that someone else is interested in the trauma fellowship and has guessed it’s Benton. She’s upset that he’s trying to steal a position that was her idea.

Benton tells her he didn’t know that, and he didn’t even say he wanted the fellowship, just that he wanted more information. He doesn’t like cardiothoracics, so he’s looking for something else, especially if it means more time with Reese. Elizabeth accuses him of using his son to try to screw her over. Benton tells her to just take the job; he doesn’t want it. Elizabeth tells him she doesn’t want it by forfeit. If he wants the job, he should go after it: “I’ll still get it.”

Carter meets with the tech again, finally finding his stethoscope. What was the point of that? Anyway, the Gleason baby has had 28 different fractures in her few months of life. Carter suspects abuse even worse than he first thought, but then finds something suspicious: The baby had four fractures when they first x-rayed her, but now there’s a fifth. They realize that the baby may have osteogenesis imperfecta, AKA brittle-bone disorder, and Carter accidentally hurt her when he held her down to do a lumbar puncture. He kicks himself for jumping to conclusions about abuse.

Weaver meets up with Sam, who tells her about Kathy’s life. Claire was her daughter, who died in her mid-20s. Weaver says that Kathy’s blood type is O-positive, but Weaver is AB. Kathy can’t be her mother. Weaver tells Sam he should be more careful. He pleads with her not to fire him, since his mistake shouldn’t affect her desire to search for her family. She fires him anyway. Carol tells Lucy to call her resident about Coco and her baby. Coco thinks Lucy is too unqualified to evaluate her and determine something as important as whether she’ll be a fit mother.

In the men’s room with Mark, Jerry asks what it means when your urine is blue. Mark laughs and tells him someone pranked him, probably by putting methylene blue in his brownies. Jerry vows revenge, and Mark reminds him that he warned Jerry to watch his back. After Jerry leaves, Mark pauses and looks at himself in the mirror, getting an idea. Weaver visits Kathy one last time, pretending to be Claire when Kathy calls her that. Kathy declares her love for her daughter and Weaver says it back.

Mark takes Mobalage into the men’s room and tells him about his own traumatic experience. He used to have dreams about his attack, and he relived everything over and over. He can still feel exactly what he felt at the time. Mark’s memories make him wonder why he didn’t fight back. This sparks something in Mobalage’s brain, and he starts remembering his own traumas. He can picture everything as if it’s in the room with them, happening all over again. He remembers wishing for death but not wanting to leave his family.

Instead of ending the episode on the mixed blessing of Mobalage remembering trauma (though that might give the judge a reason to keep him from going back to Nigeria), we end on a happy note. Carol goes to see a doctor for a prenatal appointment – she’s going to keep the baby. Of course, we know that she’s in for much more than she expects.

Thoughts: Mobalage’s lawyer is played by Anna Gunn.

See? Mark is a white savior.

Surgeons can just postpone an operation right before it’s about to start, for a reason that’s not medical? Ugh.

It’s interesting that Elizabeth is the only person Carol has told about her pregnancy. They’re not particularly close. We’ve only seen them hang out together outside of work once. Why her and not, say, Haleh?

February 25, 2020

ER 5.17, Sticks and Stones: Sweet-Faced, Do-Gooder Baby Doc Is Carter’s Wrestling Name

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

I think Weaver might have developed a little crush on Kornberg

Summary: Now that George Clooney has left the show to be a movie star Doug has run away to the West Coast, Carol is living alone. Sad music tells us how to feel when she wakes up alone in the middle of the night. Carter is having a much better night, loving his shift on a paramedic ride-along. He tells Doyle and Jerry that they’ve brought in a crazy woman. If a woman in a large birdcage, dressed as a bird and making bird noises is crazy, then he’s right. She pecks at Jerry’s hand and stares at him. Yosh, who appears to know a lot about birds, tells Jerry that his gaze is threatening her.

Carol mopes on her coach, watching a home-shopping channel. At County, Malik brings Weaver to a patient he thinks Jerry will want to meet. His name is Kornberg, and he injured his knee wrestling. Malik questions the reality of pro wrestling and calls Kornberg a fake. Kornberg picks him up and swings him around a few times before slamming him on a gurney. Weaver yells for security, concerned until Malik and Kornberg reveal that they were just playing around to mess with her. She’s not amused (I know, shocking).

Lucy’s patient of the week is Mrs. Fong, an elderly woman who had a seizure. She’s agitated, and her son explains to Lucy that she doesn’t remember him telling her he and his wife were leaving. Lucy asks the younger Fongs to stick around since Mrs. Fong only speaks Mandarin, and there’s no translator. The younger Mrs. Fong wants to give her mother-in-law some herbs for her upset stomach, but Lucy thinks they should wait until her tests come back.

Carter goes back out for his ride-along, taking some ER supplies with him while telling Weaver to her face that he’s not stealing. Weaver chastises Malik for making Kornberg do something physical while he has a knee injury. Malik says Kornberg is used to it. Jerry’s taking pictures with him now, so Weaver tells everyone to leave the patient alone.

She apologizes to Kornberg for all the attention and starts to treat his injury. Kornberg has had multiple injuries and says putting on a show every night is harder than dealing with the pain. Weaver notes that pro wrestling is a job for show-offs, but Kornberg doesn’t seem to like the fame. He says he just gives the fans what they want. She asks what he would rather be doing. Kornberg admits that he’d like to grow sugar beets on a farm in Montana. He knows it sounds crazy, but Weaver promises she’s not laughing at him.

Lucy shows Mrs. Fong’s scans to Doyle, who offers to give the family the diagnosis Lucy has made. The Fongs’ daughter, Emily, has joined them and is there to hear that her grandmother has cancer. Mr. Fong reveals that they’ve known about his mother’s cancer for a year. Emily didn’t know, since she was away at school. She’s upset about the secret, and even more upset when her parents say they won’t be telling Mrs. Fong about her illness. They think it’ll depress her and she’ll die faster. They forbid Lucy from saying anything.

Lucy goes outside for some fresh air and runs into Emily. She says her parents can get traditional, and there’s no reasoning with them. Lucy tells her that her grandmother probably only has a few months to live. Emily wishes she’d known earlier so she could spend more time with her. There are available treatments, but Lucy doesn’t see how they could treat Mrs. Fong without telling her what they’re treating her for. Emily disagrees with her parents’ decision and thinks her grandmother would want to fight the cancer if she knew about it.

A patient comes in with food poisoning and recognizes Kornberg. Jerry has offered to take Kornberg to radiology instead of calling for transport, so they can chat more. Weaver gets annoyed on Kornberg’s behalf about all the attention he’s getting, while Kornberg just takes it in stride. Lucy asks Mrs. Fong, with Emily translating, who she wants to make decisions about her health. Mrs. Fong wants her son to make decisions, and for communication to go through him. A year ago, he told her she had TB. Lucy murmurs that he must have thought that was a better diagnosis than cancer. Guess what English word Mrs. Fong happens to know? That’s right – cancer!

Carter and the EMTs he’s riding with come to the scene of a brawl between a landlord and some angry tenants. The landlord, Leonelli, has shut off the heat for people who haven’t paid their rent. The tenants have considered calling the police but don’t think that will lead to anything good. The brawl starts up again and people start throwing beer bottles. Poor Zadro takes some glass to the face. The EMTs load Leonelli into the ambulance, but one paramedic, Lars, stays outside to try to get the crowd to back off.

Mrs. Fong has another seizure, and Mr. Fong blames Lucy since she told her about her diagnosis. On the street, Zadro calls for police backup as the crowd starts rocking the ambulance. Zadro has some blood in his eye from his injury, and Lars is still stuck outside, so Carter’s left to drive. The crowd is heavy and right up next to the ambulance, making it hard to move anywhere. Carter starts it up anyway and heads down the street, accidentally driving over someone lying on the ground. Carter wants to stop and pick him up, but Zadro tells him to keep going, knowing the crowd will try to attack Leonelli again if they don’t get away.

It’s morning now, and Carol and Mark run into each other at the Roach Coach. She’s had a headache for a few days, and Mark wants her to have a neurological exam and head CT. Carol says they both know the headaches are from stress. She and Doug haven’t spoken in a while, which probably isn’t helping. Mark says it’s okay to miss him; he misses Doug, too. Carol claims she likes living alone.

Carter hands Leonelli off to Weaver in the ER, then calls to check on the ETA of the ambulance that picked up the guy he ran over. He lectures Leonelli a little about how he handles his tenants. Leonelli complains that they make a mess and don’t pay their rent. Carter says turning off their heat isn’t the solution. Weaver kicks Carter out of the trauma room and tells him to stay away from Leonelli.

Mrs. Fong may not wake up from her seizure, which could have been accompanied by a stroke. Mr. Fong asks Doyle for a more senior doctor; he’s not happy with his mother’s care. Doyle tells him that Lucy did everything right. Kornberg’s still in the ER, politely listening as the food-poisoned fan goes on about one of his old matches. Jerry brings in some boxes addressed to Doug, and Carol offers to put them away.

Weaver fills Mark in on Carter’s mishap as Carter gets ready to take care of the guy he ran over: “Ambulance vs. pedestrian, and we were the ambulance.” Maybe he should go to a different hospital? Though I guess if the same person who hurt the guy also saves him, that might stave off a lawsuit. Carol takes the boxes to the now-empty pediatric ER, a new location for her to mope in.

Carter’s victim is 17-year-old Avery, and his pelvis is crushed. Doris chastises Carter for driving the ambulance when he wasn’t supposed to. Lars explains that he was trapped outside, and Carter says Zadro couldn’t drive, so he had no other choice. Lydia asks why they didn’t wait for police backup. Carter could really do without the comments from the peanut gallery, thank you.

Jeanie’s back at work and reacting well to the medication she’s taking for the hepatitis. She’s going to take it easy and just do triage paperwork. Weaver tells her that Al called looking for her after Jeanie left him a message about her diagnosis. Jeanie doesn’t see any reason to talk to him, since they’ve already discussed everything in their lives to death. Getting hepatitis C from him is the last straw for her. Weaver invites her to get lunch together, but Jeanie says she has plans with a friend.

Carter helps stabilize Avery, who needs surgery. His father wants to talk to a doctor, and Carter volunteers, wanting to take full responsibility for what he did. Mark tells him to stick to a discussion of Avery’s medical condition. (In other words, “don’t say anything that could get us sued.”) Mark wants a report of everything that happened so he can defend Carter’s actions. Carter tells Avery’s father about his injuries and treatment, skipping over the details about how he wound up in this condition. Avery’s father is ready to find out more and make someone pay.

Jeanie works with Baker, who’s misplaced his prescription pad. Isn’t that like a cop misplacing his gun? Mark checks on Carol, who tells him to stop treating her like she has a brain tumor. (Viewers who know what’s in Mark’s future: *cringe*.) He recognizes Kornberg but can’t place him. Jerry tells him who he is, but Mark thinks he’s a former football player. Baker wants to go out with Jeanie, but she awkwardly tells him she’s seeing someone else. Be happy for her, Baker! He’s a great guy!

Weaver, Jerry, and Lydia get an alarm from a bathroom and realize the patient Weaver sent in there must be having a medical emergency. The door’s locked, but that’s no problem for Kornberg. He uses his head to make a hole in the door, then blacks out. As Jerry gets ready to end his shift, he brags to Randi about the cool stuff he experienced and shows off a picture he took with Kornberg.

Mobalage is brought in from the county jail, dehydrated from a hunger strike. Carol tells Randi to get Mark. Carter apologizes to Leonelli for taking out his anger on him. Leonelli says he’s been through worse and will never let “some sweet-faced, do-gooder baby doc” get under his skin. Now he has a scar to show off to the judge when he takes his tenants to court. So I guess someone didn’t learn his lesson. In better news, Avery’s going to be okay.

Weaver chats with Kornberg as she treats his new injuries. He tells her that feats of strength like his recent stunt are expected when you’re as big as he is. He likes to keep people happy, even when it means meeting everyone’s expectations and giving up what he wants to do. He’s always helping people move and agreeing to play Santa. Carol takes Mark to Mobalage, who hasn’t spoken since he was arrested for stabbing Kobe. When Mark talks to him, he comes across as catatonic. Mark tells him that Kobe’s in a coma, but there’s a good chance that she’ll wake up. He thinks Mobalage’s response to her news about being raped was out of his control.

Emily tells Lucy that Mrs. Fong is awake but confused. Mr. Fong wants another doctor, but Lucy stands up for herself. It helps that Lucy is now willing to go along with the family’s plan not to tell Mrs. Fong that she has cancer. This means lying that she has epilepsy, which I can’t imagine is ethical. Reggie comes by and says hi to Jeanie as she takes a phone call from a pharmacy. A prescription she wrote (since Baker couldn’t find his pad) was supposed to be for four tablets of Vicodin, but the pharmacy’s version says it’s for 40.

Elizabeth tells Mark that Kobe is close to coming out of her coma. The two of them talk to Carol about her headaches, brainstorming what could be causing them – maybe carbon-monoxide poisoning? Carol rolls her eyes and walks away. Weaver catches an older man talking to Kornberg and asks him to leave the wrestler alone. The older man is also Kornberg – he’s the wrestler’s father. He’s grateful for Weaver’s treatment and proud of his son’s heroics. But he also wants to turn them into a publicity opportunity and have Kornberg visit the children’s ward. Weaver tries to put a stop to that.

Mark, Elizabeth, and Carol tend to a 12-year-old girl who fell off a balcony. Mark has trouble intubating her because there’s too much blood to see what he’s doing. Carol remembers all the pediatric supplies that just arrived and gets a kit that will do the trick. She notes that Doug saved another kid. Mark thinks Carol should take the credit.

Jeanie asks Reggie to arrest her patient, Debbie, for forging a prescription by changing 4 to 40. Reggie tells her she’ll have to spend a lot of time on the case, which will just get thrown out because it’s probably Debbie’s first offense. Jeanie still wants the arrest. Reggie suggests that she write a new prescription for five pills; Debbie won’t be able to change it to 50. Then Jeanie can go to dinner with him. She says she can’t – she’s seeing someone else. JEANIE, NO!

Zadro calls in to say that he’s bringing in a gunshot victim: Lars. Kobe is now awake and wants to know where Mobalage is. Mark says that he doesn’t think Mobalage meant to hurt her; he had a PTSD episode. Kobe reveals that Mobalage didn’t stab her – she stabbed herself. Lars is rushed into the ER, and Benton and Mark take over his treatment. Zadro tells them that the shooters were waiting for them when they got to the neighborhood. Carter guesses that, since Lars was driving the ambulance, the shooters thought he was Carter. They were gunning for him.

Kornberg thanks Weaver for her kindness, even though she wasn’t able to get him out of the visit to the children’s ward. It wasn’t all bad, though – he got to make some kids happy, he made his father proud, and a boy gave him a balloon. Lars is taken to surgery, and Carter promises Zadro that he’ll be in the OR the whole time. Benton thinks that’s a bad idea, so Anspaugh tells Carter to observe from the gallery.

Mark tells Mobalage that Kobe woke up and explained what really happened. Mobalage had a PTSD episode when the paramedics and police showed up the night of the stabbing, so he ran away. He didn’t tell them what really happened because he blamed himself for Kobe’s rape. He left her alone, and the men came after her because of him. Because Mobalage didn’t know how to respond when Kobe told him about her rape, she must have felt alone again, which made her want to die. Mark tells him that Kobe needs him now.

Benton and Anspaugh operate on Lars while Carter watches impatiently and tries to offer help. Benton’s like, “I just spent two weeks in a hot, racist, backwoods town, and you are being more annoying than anything I experienced there.” Kobe gives her statement to the police, so the DA drops the charges against Mobalage. Unfortunately, he came into the U.S. on a forged visa, so he’s going to be deported to Nigeria.

Carter reads Lars’ scans and relays the information to Anspaugh and Benton. Neurology arrives, having been summoned by Carter, but they’re not needed yet. Carter watches helplessly as Lars’ heart starts to give out. Jeanie tells Weaver that Al doesn’t have hepatitis C, so she must have contracted it from a patient. While she was worrying about giving HIV to a patient, she didn’t think about a patient making her sick instead. Weaver invites her to get coffee and chat, but Jeanie still wants to be alone. Maybe Carol and Jeanie should form a support group.

Speaking of Carol, Elizabeth finds her still putting away boxes in the pediatric ER. Mark finally convinced her to have some bloodwork done, and her carbon-monoxide levels are fine. But Carol has put her headaches together with a late period and come up with a diagnosis herself: She’s pregnant. Benton and Anspaugh are unable to save Lars, and Carter spends a few moments with the body of the man who was most likely killed in his place. Zadro is waiting in the hallway, and Carter goes to give him the news about his partner.

Thoughts: It’s clearer than ever in this episode that Weaver is a very good person to have in your corner.

Kornberg, I would absolutely move to Montana and grow sugar beets with you. You seem awesome. I wouldn’t have to actually eat the beets, though, right?

40 Vicodin? Nice try, Debbie. Should have gone with 14. Uh, not that I’m advocating this.

February 11, 2020

ER 5.15, The Storm, Part 2: “It’s Time to Go”

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

Say goodbye to this pretty face

Summary: There are a bunch of injured kids trapped in a crashed school bus, and they are NOT happy about it. Mark triages them and puts his experience communicating with the EMTs to good use. One girl, J.J., has been trapped for half an hour, but she has as long as six hours before her broken leg will put her at risk of needing an amputation. Mark is impressed with Zadro’s medical knowledge; Zadro says he’s taking the MCATs soon. (I guess he doesn’t do well, or he decides not to go to med school, because he stays a paramedic.)

At County, Carol asks Anspaugh to reconsider closing the clinic. He tells her he doesn’t trust her judgment anymore. She doesn’t see why all the patients who rely on the clinic have to be punished because she screwed up. She offers to quit so Anspaugh can find someone he does trust to take over running the clinic. Out in the city somewhere, Doug seems okay after his crash, but Jeanie is unconscious.

The County staff prepares for mass casualties while Jerry tries to duck out, since his shift is over. Weaver tells him and any nurses who were hoping to leave that they’re stuck helping out. Benton is trying to decide where he should do the locum tenens work Romano suggested he take on. The good: He could make as much as $4,000 for a week’s work. The bad: He may have to go to rural Minnesota in the middle of winter.

Carol finds Lynette packing up clinic stuff and tells her that Anspaugh agreed to keep it open. Carol’s out, but she gets to keep her ER job. She thinks Lynette should take over running the clinic. Lynette doesn’t want all the responsibility, but Carol promises to help her out. She tries to guilt-trip Lynette by pointing out that all the clinic patients will be left without medical care if the clinic shuts down.

Carter tells Chuny that whatever she thinks Lucy and Carter were doing in that exam room earlier, it was all totally innocent. Chuny doesn’t buy it. Carter tries to argue that Lucy’s like a little sister to him. Plus, he’s still dating Roxanne. Chuny thinks Roxanne is too pushy, so he should choose Lucy instead.

Kids from the bus crash start coming in, so everyone gets to work. The trauma room where Ricky died is still considered a crime scene, but Weaver tells Carol to tear down the police tape, since they need the space. She sends Carol through all the rooms to see what everyone’s dealing with. Jerry tells Weaver about someone who needs sutures, and she tells him to find Jeanie. Jeanie’s out, so Carol offers to find Doug. Weaver adamantly says no to that.

An ambulance comes to the scene of Doug and Jeanie’s crash, where she’s still unconscious. Always wear your seatbelt, kids. Doug examines her, then lets the paramedics take her to the hospital. At the scene of the bus crash, a crane operator is ready to move the bus so the remaining kids can be removed. J.J. is still doing okay, but a boy named Dennis has stopped talking, which concerns Mark. The fire captain orders all the rescue workers out of the bus while the crane lifts off the top, but Mark refuses to leave J.J. The crane only takes a few moments to do its job, and J.J. is freed.

Mark goes to check on Dennis, who’s stuck in a spot that’s hard to get to. The fire captain sends Mark to take care of other patients while paramedics free Dennis. Mark promises J.J. he’ll meet her at the hospital. The captain tells Mark that the kids with major injuries have been taken to the hospital; everyone left just has minor injuries. Mark heads to the hospital in an ambulance with a proud Zadro: All the kids have survived.

Parents are arriving at the hospital and are desperately trying to get information on their kids, but Randi can’t help them much. Mark comes in with Dennis and hands him off to Weaver. She gives him some info on the other kids he took care of, then sends him to get cleaned up. Carter takes a kid named Anthony who was found in the snow, probably having been thrown out of the bus by the crash.

Elizabeth tends to J.J. and tells Mark that chances are good that her leg will be okay once she has surgery. Mark tells J.J. he’ll go find her parents for her. He quietly has a conversation with Elizabeth about how long it’s been since J.J. was injured. Elizabeth offers to have her taken to another hospital if an OR doesn’t become available soon. Mark tells her to start making calls.

While he’s helping out with the chaos still going on in the ER, Kobe tries to get his attention. Mobalage is supposed to have surgery tomorrow, but Kobe thinks it might be a mistake. She’s not sure it’s necessary. Nearby, someone gives Carol some news and she runs outside to the ambulance bay. Mark takes in a new patient and tells Kobe to wait for him in the waiting room. Malik tells Mark that Doug and Jeanie were in an accident, and Jeanie’s hurt.

Doug tries to head up the trauma when Jeanie is brought to the ER, but Weaver sends him away. He asks to work on some of the kids, but Weaver yells that he’s not working there tonight. Connie tells Mark that she can’t find a phone number for J.J.’s parents. With Jeanie and Doug out of commission, the ER is shorthanded, so Mark tells Jerry to find someone to call in residents who have the night off. J.J.’s hit the four-hour mark, but Romano isn’t concerned. Mark tells Elizabeth to call another hospital anyway.

Carol tends to Doug’s minor wounds from the car accident as he apologizes for all the trouble he’s caused. He offers to ask Anspaugh to keep the clinic open. She tells him she already took care of it, and Lynette is going to take it over. Carol says they just have to accept what happened and move on. But Doug has decided to resign and take full responsibility for what he did.

He knows he’s risked his relationship with Carol and may have ruined his friendship with Mark. He’s done at County: “It’s time to go.” Carol asks where he’ll go. Doug liked the Pacific Northwest when he was in med school, and there’s a job opening in Portland, so he’ll move there. He asks Carol to come with him. She can’t see herself leaving her hometown, her family, her friends, or her job, even for Doug. He asks her again to come with him. Carol tells him they’ll talk about it later.

The last crash victim comes into the ER, which is now calm. Mark realizes that Kobe has been waiting for him this whole time. He asks Carol to talk to her about her concerns over Mobalage’s surgery. Carol makes her wait some more. Despite a concussion, Jeanie doesn’t have any serious head injuries. However, some of her bloodwork is abnormal, though most likely not because of the accident. Benton and Weaver want to run tests and biopsy her liver.

Carol remembers Kobe (poor Kobe keeps getting brushed aside) and finally says she’s ready to talk. Kobe knows that Mobalage’s surgery will allow him to have sex again, but she’s not sure she’ll be able to. When they first got together, she could sense that he wasn’t interested in a sexual relationship. Carol says she just needs to help him through his struggles.

Kobe starts to leave, then confides to Carol that after Mobalage went into hiding in Nigeria, soldiers came to their home and raped her. She never told her husband. Now she’s not sure she can have sex again. Carol urges her to tell Mobalage, reminding Kobe that he loves her. Kobe worries about how he’ll handle the news.

Weaver checks on Jeanie, who can sense that there’s something she doesn’t know about her condition. She admits to feeling a little run-down recently and worries that her HIV is now AIDS. Weaver tells her that her T-cell count is normal, so her HIV isn’t an issue here, but she might have hepatitis C. Jeanie can’t believe that after she’s spent all this time worrying about her HIV, hepatitis snuck up on her.

Carol shares Kobe’s secret with Mark, and the two decide to find a therapist for both her and Mobalage. Carol then tells Mark that Doug is going to resign. Mark thinks that might be a good idea. He’s done dealing with Doug’s screw-ups, despite their closeness. Carol says that Doug wants her to move to the West Coast with him. She gets emotional as she says she can’t remember a time when she didn’t love him. Mark says he’d miss her, probably even more than he would miss Doug.

Carol gets back to work, sending Anthony’s mother in to see him. Mark comments that he feels like an intern again after working all night. Doug is packing up his things when Richard comes by the pediatric exam room, surprised to see him still at work. He figured Doug made life-or-death decisions, then went home to drink martinis. Doug tries to defend his actions, but Richard just cares that he wasn’t there when his son died. Doug stole that from him.

Mark scarfs down breakfast, disgusting Carol. They’re both in the ER when Kobe is brought in with stab wounds to her chest. Zadro says that Mobalage was panicking and didn’t want to let the paramedics into their home. He ran off and police had to break down the door to let the paramedics get inside.

Carter asks Lucy to talk about their incompatibility and how much they bug each other. Obviously, they shouldn’t be pursuing a relationship. Lucy suggests that they just have sex. Carter says no, that the kiss was a mistake, and they need to leave it in the past. Lucy says she was just kidding. Besides, he’s not her type; he’s too closed-off and isn’t in touch with his feelings. Carter says he’s very in touch with his feelings – for example, right now he’s feeling angry. Lucy thinks they sound like her grandparents, who fight all the time. However, after 56 years of marriage, they still have great sex.

Just after a trauma team finishes working on Kobe, Carol catches Mobalage sneaking into the ER. She tells him that Kobe is still alive but going to surgery. She’s not sure if Kobe will survive. Mobalage trashes the trauma room, attracting Weaver’s attention. Carol calmly asks Weaver to get Mark and security, adding that Mobalage has PTSD. Mobalage starts sobbing, and when Mark, Weaver, and a security guard arrive, they’re not sure what to do.

Carol finds Doug by Jeanie’s bedside, and he tells her that Anspaugh accepted his resignation (and without saying anything like, “Good riddance”). Julian the geneticist stood up for Doug with the police, so he’s not facing any charges for Ricky’s death.

Doug can tell that Carol doesn’t want to move away with him. She asks if he’s really leaving. He says there’s nothing for him in Chicago. Carol notes that she’s there, so he asks her again to go with him. She tells him she wants him to stay. Doug says he has to go. He starts to walk away, and she cries as she tells him she doesn’t want to wake up alone tomorrow. Doug comes back and kisses her, but ultimately he walks away for real.

Sometime later, Doug and Mark hang out by the water for a goodbye drink. They keep their conversation light instead of talking about all the reasons Doug is leaving, or how he’s abandoning the love of his life, or how he almost ruined a bunch of people’s careers. They decide to go play basketball together. And then a couple years later, Doug calls Mark and asks if he wants to team up with him and nine other guys to rob some casinos. Okay, maybe not.

Thoughts: Goodbye, George Clooney. Your departure was inevitable, but still sad. See you when you’re super-famous.

I have a theory about why Carter and Lucy didn’t get together: I think Noah Wyle said no. He’s admitted that he wasn’t very nice to Kellie Martin when she was on the show, and I suspect he didn’t like working with her. We know actors on the show were able to influence storylines on at least one other occasion (Eriq LaSalle infamously asked for Benton and Elizabeth to break up), so it’s possible that Wyle influenced this one.

I admire the show for not giving Jeanie any horrible, life-threatening injuries. You know, like they do with main characters in future seasons.

February 4, 2020

ER 5.14, The Storm, Part 1: Doug Should Have Used a Little More Ratiocination

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

Bad! Idea!

Summary: Doug’s asleep – drink! He’s in a chair at Joi’s house, where he and Carol have spent the night to give Joi support. Ricky has survived the night, though Doug didn’t think he would. Carol has to go to work, and as she’s leaving, she thanks Doug for staying at the house overnight. Doug goes to check on Joi, who says this time before dawn is her favorite time of day. She slept a little last night and dreamed about Ricky back when he was healthy. He was always trying to make her laugh.

Ricky’s in pain again, but Joi just gave him medication an hour ago, so he can’t have more for a little while. Ricky’s sister comes in asking for water, and Joi goes off to help her and put her back to bed. Doug promises to take care of Ricky. He opens the PCA machine and increases Ricky’s dose, even though that will affect his breathing. Joi comes back in and says she doesn’t know how much more she can take. She begs Doug to help them. She wants her son’s suffering to end.

At County, the staff learns from the TV news that a snowstorm is moving in. Lynette teases Jerry for planning to go ice-fishing. Jerry uses the word “oxymoron,” which he learned from a word-a-day calendar. Today’s word is “ratiocination.” Connie doubts that will come up in everyday conversation. Randi knows the word thanks to her Jesuit high school education.

Weaver informs Mark that, until the search committee finds a permanent ER chief, Romano will be taking on the role. No one’s thrilled, least of all Doyle. Romano overhears Weaver calling him an “egotistical, arrogant, mean-spirited, sexist little bullet-head.” And those are his good qualities! He gives Mark and Weaver a bunch of his tasks, calling it delegation. Then he asks Mark if he’s offended by Weaver calling him a bullet-head, since Mark is also bald. He may even need to investigate for a harassment charge.

Doug comes to work, telling Carol that Ricky was still alive when he left the Abbotts’ house. Lucy bugs Dale about watching Titanic with her; he and Carter both think it’s a chick flick. She wonders whatever happened to sensitive ’90s men. Dale “quips” that they’re all gay. Go away, Dale. Carter spoils the end of the movie for him. After Lucy leaves, Carter asks Dale if they’re getting serious. Dale says Lucy is. Carter tries to ask if they’ve had sex, but Dale says he doesn’t want to “damage Lucy’s reputation.” I’d say dating you is enough damage already, Dale. He’s happy enough trying to see Lucy’s thong through her scrubs.

Benton meets with a sign language teacher in the cafeteria so he can start communicating with Reese (who’s already picking up a lot of the language). The teacher thinks she and Benton should meet three times a week, which would cost a lot of money. There are some good videos Benton can watch, but the teacher thinks it would be better to meet one-on-one. And then we never see her again.

Mark runs into Mobalage and asks him how his appointment went with the urologist. Mobalage says everything is fine. Mark invites him to ask any questions he might have, but Mobalage doesn’t have any. Mark guesses that Mobalage didn’t actually go to the appointment. Mobalage admits that he hasn’t told Kobe that he needs a doctor. Mark offers to explain things to her.

While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Chuny wonders where the snowstorm is. Carol tells her it’s the calm before the storm. I see the writers are trying out some foreshadowing in this episode. The ambulance arrives carrying Ricky, who’s just barely still alive. Carol’s confused as to why Joi called paramedics, since she wanted Ricky to die at home. Mark asks about extraordinary measures, and Joi says not to use them. But Ricky’s father, Richard, overrides her, and Mark listens to him.

Carol lets Doug know what’s going on while Mark and Weaver take care of Ricky. Doug tells Richard that he was overseeing Ricky’s care, and Ricky shouldn’t have survived the night. Richard hits him. Ricky has been unresponsive for too long, and Mark and Weaver decide there’s nothing more they can do. Mark declares him dead. He stitches up the cut Richard left on Doug’s cheek, asking what’s going on. Doug says he didn’t know Richard was even in the picture. Carol only knew that Joi and Richard were separated.

In the scrub room, Benton tells Elizabeth and Romano how expensive it’ll be to help Reese. Elizabeth can’t believe the U.S. expects medical residents to live in what’s basically poverty. Romano says it’s how the public health-care system can afford to treat “freeloaders” (meaning poor people, of course). Elizabeth calls him despicable as she leaves. Romano suggests that Benton sign up for a locum tenens program, which will send him to rural hospitals for brief periods of time to fill in for other doctors. It would earn him a few extra thousand dollars.

The snow is moving in, and Jerry thinks everyone should be allowed to go home early, since schools and workplaces around the city are releasing everyone. No such luck. Mark tells Weaver that they might have to put up with Romano as their boss for months. Weaver wonders what she did in a past life to deserve that. Mark says he has Viking ancestors; maybe they pillaged Romano’s ancestors. Chuny thinks Mark would have looked good in a big, horned hat. Chuny, you already had your chance with Mark. Stop it. Mark urges Weaver to reenter the search for a chief, but Weaver doesn’t want to be that foolish again.

A man named Dan shows up looking for Richard, one of his co-workers. It’s just Doug’s horrible luck that Richard is a state’s attorney. He’s asked Dan to open an investigation into Ricky’s death. The police have also been notified. Maybe they’ll investigate where Richard’s been the past few weeks while his son was dying.

Joi tells Doug that she and Richard have been separated since their older son died. She called him to tell him that Ricky was about to die. He didn’t get the message until last night, and when he arrived too late to do anything, he lost it. Doug gently tells her that she needs to leave Ricky’s side so the nurses can finish up with him. Mark pulls Doug away to tell him that the police want to talk to him: Richard is accusing him of murdering Ricky.

Paramedics bring in a woman who was injured during a tae bo class. (For those who are too young to remember, or who have completely forgotten about this ’90s trend, it’s basically taekwondo combined with aerobics.) Her unnamed instructor is supposed to just be a regular guy, but he’s played by Billy Blanks, the actual creator of tae bo. Lucy’s more interested in learning about the classes than in treating the patient. Carter manages to get her back on track. As Lucy stitches up the patient, Carter tries to keep himself from trying to see her thong through her scrub pants. She catches him staring, but she’s just amused.

Mark tells Doug that Julian, the geneticist Doug talked to about the PCA machine, doesn’t know anything about Ricky receiving pain medication at home. He never approved the use of the PCA machine. Doug admits that he took it from Carol’s clinic after she called in a favor from a supplier. The police have a warrant to take the PCA, and Mark wants to know if they’re going to find anything he should know about. Doug just says he doesn’t know. He tells Mark he gave Joi the code to enter a different dosage, then went to work. He thinks Mark would have done the same thing.

Weaver warns that Anspaugh is on his way to find out what’s going on. Mark tells her what Doug said, and Weaver realizes they’ll have to come clean about how they covered up Doug’s breach of protocol in the pain study. If they don’t, it’ll all come out anyway. Weaver blasts Doug for betraying their trust. Doug says she’s been gunning for him for years. She tells him he can destroy his career if he wants, but she won’t let him destroy hers. Mark asks if Doug has called a lawyer. Doug doesn’t think he needs one – he did the right thing.

Carol tells Dan that Ricky had a genetic disorder and was going to die no matter what. Dan asks about the PCA machine and how dosages of medication are dispensed. Joi told Richard that Doug gave her the code to change the dosage, then showed her how to do it. This is news to Carol, who up until this point thought Ricky’s death was due to his ALD.

Anspaugh yells at Mark and Weaver for the cover-up in front of Romano, Julian, and Harriet. They’ll be convening a disciplinary committee to discuss what should happen to Doug, but Harriet doesn’t want them to make any decisions until they know if Richard is going to sue. Weaver’s astonished that Doug would be allowed to keep working. Romano asks about the clinic, and Anspaugh announces that it will be closed. He tells Mark and Weaver that they may be subject to disciplinary action, too. He’s extremely disappointed in them.

The snow has started when Jeanie arrives at work, unaware of all the drama she missed. The nurses fill her in. Carter goes looking for Lucy, who hasn’t taken a new patient since the kickboxer came in. Billy is giving her a private tae bo lesson in an exam room. When Carter comes in, Lucy accidentally kicks him in the chest. Well, at least now Lucy has a new patient to take care of.

Jeanie checks on Doug, who’s removed himself from the drama by doing paperwork in an empty exam room. She asks if there’s anything she can do. He notes that she’s the first person who’s asked him that all day. He’s been banished to the realm of paperwork, possibly forever, and Mark won’t tell him anything. Dan is ready for a chat, so Doug steels himself for an interrogation.

Mobalage chooses this horrible time to find Mark so he can talk to Kobe. Mark tells her that Mobalage may need surgery, and the couple really needs to talk to each other about it. He offers to leave them alone, but Mobalage wants him to stay. Doug meets with Dan and learns that Ricky’s death is being investigated as first-degree murder. If Doug showed Joi how to change the dosage, he could be held accountable for Ricky’s death.

Dan goes over some of the facts, mentioning that the PCA machine is empty, but Doug stops him and says that Ricky was going to die, maybe in hours, maybe in days. Doug couldn’t have done anything to stop that. He didn’t want Joi to have to watch a second son die of a genetic disorder she passed on to him. Sometimes you can’t save a child; you can just stop their suffering. Dan asks if Doug was relieving Ricky’s suffering or his own. Why didn’t he administer the final dosage himself? Why did he leave? Dan thinks it’s because Doug knew he was doing something wrong.

Lucy tends to Carter, which is really just an excuse for them to be really close to each other. He whines about a cut on his forehead, so she calls him a baby and kisses it. Things are about to get romantic, but Carter preemptively says they shouldn’t go too far; she’s his student. Lucy ignores him and moves in for a kiss.

“Storm’s finally here,” Doug tells Carol as she joins him outside. Okay, show, we get it. She tells him that the clinic has been closed because she used clinic resources to get the PCA machine. She’s upset that Doug used equipment she procured to kill Ricky. Doug says he didn’t want to get her involved, as if Carol wasn’t already involved. Was he ever planning to tell her? Doug admits that he hadn’t decided.

Carol reminds Doug that he promised Mark he wouldn’t prescribe narcotics without Mark or Weaver’s approval. Doug says he was willing to live with the consequences. Carol reminds him that Weaver and Mark are facing disciplinary actions, and the clinic patients will have to get care somewhere else. (To be fair, Mark and Weaver chose to cover up Doug’s previous actions, so that’s on them. And I doubt anyone could have expected the clinic to close because of this. But her point stands.)

Carol says that Doug’s actions have led to consequences for a bunch of people. She’s not sure he even cares. She starts to leave, saying that Doug doesn’t need anyone anyway. He’s a narcissist who just ruins people’s lives. Doug apologizes, but that’s nowhere near enough for her. She tells him that’s what he always says after he screws up something huge.

Airports have been closed, the roads are awful, and the ER staff is now dealing with all of the displaced clinic patients on top of their own, so no one’s happy. Weaver realizes that Carter’s out of commission, thanks to Lucy. She sends Chuny to go see if he can get back to work or if they need to call in a sub. Carter’s busy, but not at his job – he and Lucy are making out. He stops before they can do anything that would get them in trouble. Chuny almost catches them and guesses that they were up to something. And that’s even before she sees that Lucy’s put her sweater back on inside-out.

Joi finds Doug moping outside somewhere and quips that they don’t look like dangerous felons. YEAH, THIS IS REALLY SOMETHING TO JOKE ABOUT, JOI. When her older son died, she cried a lot, feeling like she’d died, too. She thought she would never feel love or happiness again. Ricky cheered her up by reading to her and telling her jokes. She wishes Doug could have seen him back then. Doug reminds her that she still has her daughter, as if that’ll make up for losing two sons. And that’s if she doesn’t get arrested or lose custody. Anyway, she’s grateful to Doug.

Weaver notices a mark on Carter’s neck, which he says must be from hitting something when he fell after Lucy kicked him. Yeah, he must have fallen on someone’s lips. Malik checks out Lucy (ew, Malik), and Jerry tells Carter that Roxanne left him a couple of messages. Chuny has spread the word about Carter and Lucy, and everyone in the hospital knows they hooked up. Carter says nothing happened.

Doug tells Mark that he’s going to tell Anspaugh that he begged Weaver and Mark not to report him when he broke protocol with the pain study. He’ll say he promised to report himself, which was why Mark and Weaver didn’t do anything. Mark doesn’t think more lying is the best way to handle this. Doug says he wants to help, but Mark is done with him. No more “favors.”

That storm we keep hearing about has finally come into play: A school bus was flipped by a snowplow, and a bunch of kids are trapped inside. Firefighters have asked for a doctor to come to the scene. Doug wants to go with Mark, since he’s a pediatrician, but Mark refuses to let him come. Doug decides to go on his own, and Jeanie invites herself along.

The scene of the crash is bad, and firefighters are waiting for a crane to come and lift the bus up so they can get everyone out. In some nice continuity, Mark’s point of contact is the fire captain from “Exodus.” Doug and Jeanie drive to the scene, avoiding conversation about his actions. He notes that she never asked if he did what everyone says he did. Jeanie hopes he did, so Ricky could stop suffering. Thanks to her HIV, she’s often thought about what she would want in that situation. Unfortunately for her, she may need to think about that soon, because Doug’s car skids on the ice and they slam into something. To be continued…

Thoughts: The sign teacher is played by Marlee Matlin. She gets this one scene and never comes back. What a waste of her talent.

Remember Billy Blanks? I wonder if he’s still living off all that money he made.

Having Anspaugh disappointed in you must feel like having your grandfather disappointed in you. It might be worse than getting sued.

Like I said before, Mobalage’s story is mostly just to make Mark a white savior, but I have to acknowledge how he treats Mobalage. Mark doesn’t push him to talk, and he treats him like an equal. He genuinely wants to help.

January 28, 2020

ER 5.13, Choosing Joi: People Are Dying and Risking Their Medical Licenses, But at Least There Are Dogs

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:53 pm by Jenn

One of these men was in an Oscar-nominated movie. The other was in “Top Gun”

Summary: Carol is asleep – drink! – but Doug is lying awake in bed, thinking about how he broke protocol for Ricky Abbott. He leaves the house and boards an El train while super-serious music plays. Carol wakes up alone and goes downstairs to brood on the couch. Doug goes to County and tries to get some work done, also alone. It’s lonely when you’ve ignored the rules to do whatever you want.

When Carol gets to work, Jerry tells her that Doug is drinking coffee on the roof, alone. Are you getting the theme here? Doug assures her that he didn’t come to the roof to jump. It’s always good to make a joke about suicide to someone who once attempted it. He thinks Weaver and Mark are going to try to use the Ricky situation as an example for why County shouldn’t have made Doug a pediatric attending. Carol says that he put the patient first, which is what they’re supposed to do. Oh, you enabler.

Elizabeth chats with Weaver at Doc Magoo’s, trying to give her some ammo to back up Doyle’s sexual-harassment accusations against Romano. Weaver asks if he ever gave Elizabeth a reason for ending her fellowship. Elizabeth says she didn’t think he had to give a reason. But there must have been one, since the funding was there and she wasn’t replaced. Elizabeth mentions that he asked her out and she rejected him, but they can’t know for sure if that was connected to the termination of the fellowship. No, I’m sure it was just a coincidence. Romano tries to join the women, who scurry away.

Malik brings a woman named Alice to the clinic so Carol can evaluate her cough. The woman doesn’t think she needs an exam, but it’s really because she doesn’t want anyone getting too close because they might discover that she smuggled a dog in with her. Carol’s face: “You have to be kidding me.” Hey, at least she’s not bringing the dog in to be treated. Malik reluctantly agrees to hold Sparky during Alice’s exam.

Anspaugh wants to know why some charts that were sent out for review have been returned to him. Carol says that that’s normal procedure; they always come back to the interim chief. “That’s you again, right?” Malik asks innocently. “Thank you for straightening that out, Malik,” Anspaugh says dryly, making Carol laugh.

A man named Richard comes in with chest pain, and a janitor named Mobalage moves aside so the doctors can work in the trauma room. Weaver thinks Richard is too young for a heart attack. Anspaugh catches Carter pretending to be a patient to teach some med students in the patient/doctor class Mark recently assigned him to.

Doug meets with Mark and Weaver, who repeat what they told him before about keeping his protocol breach from anyone above them. However, they want to co-sign any prescriptions he wants to write for schedule II narcotics (morphine, methadone, etc.). Doug seems surprised that that’s his only punishment. He tells them he doesn’t have a compulsion for breaking the rules (uh-huh, okay). He thinks they would have done the same thing he did if they’d seen how much pain Ricky was in. Mark says they have seen that kind of pain before.

Joi has brought Ricky back to the hospital; she knows he doesn’t have much time left, based on her older son’s condition toward the end of his life. She doesn’t want Ricky hospitalized for the rest of the time he has. Doug and Carol suggest a home PCA machine so Ricky can receive pain medication there.

In the OR scrub room, Benton, Lucy, and Elizabeth discuss the benefits and drawbacks of performing a mastectomy on a woman with breast cancer. Elizabeth thinks male surgeons, including Benton, see the patients for their problems, not as people. Romano chases the others out so he can question Elizabeth about her breakfast with Weaver and also be sexist.

Elizabeth says she knows he knows he’s being accused of harassment. Romano thinks Weaver is going to push the issue and dig up something just to stick it to him. He wonders what would happen if it came out that Elizabeth was sleeping with Benton while she was his intern. She tries to laugh this off, saying that they were together before that. Romano asks if Anspaugh knew that. If not, Benton could get fired. “You wouldn’t dare,” Elizabeth says, as if she doesn’t know that he absolutely would dare.

An x-ray tech studies Alice’s scans and tells Carol that her cough doesn’t seem to indicate anything serious. Carol wants another scan, thinking that Alice is at risk for a pulmonary embolism. She hasn’t shown any symptoms, but Carol has a gut feeling. The x-ray tech won’t authorize an expensive test based on Carol’s intuition, especially since Alice doesn’t have insurance. Carol says she’ll pay for it herself. Uh, with what money?

Anspaugh has gotten Mark to agree to review the charts that were returned to him. Weaver laughs over what a sucker he is. They pass by Mobolage as he slips a little on the wet floor he’s cleaning. Richard is stable, but Weaver wants to discuss his high cholesterol. She and Doyle urge him to ask his family about any history of high cholesterol or heart issues. Richard can’t, though, because he’s adopted.

Carol catches Alice as she’s leaving before getting her last scan. Alice says she has to get back on the road – plus, she can’t leave her dogs in her van while it’s so cold outside. Oh, she didn’t mention? Sparky has a dozen friends. Doug tries to convince a geneticist/old residency buddy, Dr. Julian, to sign off on Ricky’s home PCA machine. Julian resists, since Joi doesn’t have experience with home care, but he agrees to talk to his team.

Carter has his students practice examining each other’s lymph nodes, which leads to the discovery that one of them, Strauss, has an enlarged one in his neck. Carter’s sure there’s nothing to worry about, but he wants Strauss to get a biopsy just in case. Yeah, that’s rarely good.

Mark introduces himself to Mobalage and asks to examine his back, which is clearly hurting him. Mobalage says it’s been sore for a long time, so it’s not a big deal. Mark talks him into it and makes friendly small talk while getting ready. Mobalage reacts to his preparations like he’s about to be interrogated and/or tortured. He gets angry when Mark asks him remove his shirt, storming out as he yells over and over for Mark to stop it.

Carol and Malik have snuck all of Alice’s dogs into her clinic exam room, passing them through windows and rewarding them with cheeseburgers. Alice points out that Malik will have to take them outside later. Mark has asked Jerry to get some info on Mobalage, but housekeeping hasn’t gotten back to him. Mark mentions that Rachel needs glasses, and he and Weaver commiserate over having to get them as kids. Bad eyesight runs in Mark’s family, and Jerry comments that red hair must run in Weaver’s. Not that she would know, since she’s adopted. Like Richard. Got it?

While Malik calls Jerry from the clinic to help him with the dogs, Carol secures a home health-care agency to provide the PCA machine for Ricky. Doug tells Joi that the machine will deliver medication like an IV delivers fluids, but she can also give a booster every two hours. After that, the machine will automatically lock. *cough remember this for the next episode cough*

Elizabeth tells Weaver that she wants to take back the things she told her about Romano – she doesn’t think there was any harassment involved. She won’t be testifying or contributing to any official record. Weaver guesses that something happened to bring about this change in attitude. She spots Jerry and Malik walking all the dogs but is too surprised to say anything.

Mark and Carter get Strauss ready for his biopsy; he still thinks it’s nothing to worry about. Carol’s gut was right and Alice is at risk for a pulmonary embolism. She’ll have to be admitted for a few days. Carol promises to make sure the dogs are looked after. Jerry comes in and accidentally frees the dogs into the rest of the hospital.

Doug tells Mark that he arranged for the PCA machine for Ricky and needs to have Mark sign off on it. Mark tells him to get someone from genetics to approve it. Carol catches a dog and walks it by Mark, pretending this is just part of her normal job. Doug signs something, most likely forging a signature, and gives Carol the paperwork for the PCA machine. Mark finds Mobalage, who apologizes for his outburst. Mark wants to make sure he’s okay, assuring him that his job isn’t at risk. He asks again to examine Mobalage’s back. Mobalage has a different medical condition he wants to discuss: impotence.

Weaver confronts Romano for changing Elizabeth’s mind about dropping her harassment accusations. Romano claims he’s eager for the investigation to continue since he wants to be vindicated. But without Elizabeth’s testimony, the investigation has been closed. Weaver’s going to keep all the witness statements, though. She’s surprised that Romano gave Doyle such a negative evaluation, since her other reviews were all good. Maybe, if he were to take some time to really think about her work, he might change his mind. And then Weaver might put the new evaluation in the file with all the accusations.

Mobalage stays calm this time as Mark gives him a basic examination and chats with him some more. Mobalage is from Nigeria, and though he likes Chicago okay, his wife, who works in the hospital cafeteria, doesn’t like the cold weather. In some possible foreshadowing, Mark says it must be nice to work in the same place as your wife. He pulls down the back of Mobalage’s hospital gown and sees what he didn’t want to show earlier – a bunch of horrible-looking burn scars. Mark just says they seem to have healed well. Mobalage says they’re not a problem. And no, he wouldn’t care to discuss them.

Jerry gives Weaver a message from someone named Sam who says he’ll meet her at Doc Magoo’s. Randi thinks it’s for a date, but Weaver laughs at the idea. As she takes Doyle to the lounge to tell her the Romano investigation has been closed, Carter tells Strauss that he has cancer. Fortunately, it’s treatable and his chances of recovery are good. Carol has arranged for a pet rescue group to take Alice’s dogs the next day, but for tonight, staff members will have to take them home with them. There are plenty of volunteers – the nurses all seem to be dog lovers, and Malik has bonded with Sparky.

Joi calls Carol from home, worried that the PCA machine isn’t working. Carol tries to calm her down. Mark can’t determine a physical reason for Mobalage’s impotence, so it may be due to trauma. For example, if he was beaten, his injuries could have impeded blood flow. Mark recommends that he see a urologist.

Doyle goes hunting for Romano in the surgical wing but instead finds Elizabeth. She guesses that Elizabeth is the reason that the investigation has been dropped. She must want to protect her job and her position in the surgeons’ club. Elizabeth lies that she’s right. Carol tells Doug about Joi’s concerns, though he doesn’t think the PCA machine will make much difference. Ricky may not make it through the night. Carol tells him that she promised Joi that they would come by her house. Doug doesn’t see the point, so Carol says she’ll go by herself.

Mobalage introduces Mark to his wife, Kobe, only telling her that Mark helped him with some back pain. At Doc Magoo’s, Weaver meets Sam, who turns out to be a PI. She’s made appointments with him before but always canceled them at the last minute. Now she wants his help to find her birth parents.

Knowing how much work Anspaugh has been dealing with lately, Romano wants to offer himself up as ER chief, at least temporarily. Anspaugh is more than happy to give him the job. Leave it to Romano to try to get a promotion while framing it as a favor. Doug stops by Joi’s after all and helps out with Ricky’s care. As he said before, there’s not much he and Carol can do, but at least they’re there to support Joi.

Thoughts: Mobalage is played by Djimon Hounsou.

Mark and Weaver could have headed off a lot of problems if they’d forbidden Doug from ever treating Ricky again. Then again, it’s not like he would have listened.

The Mobalage plot is very Mark Is a White Savior, Please Praise Him, but it’s a good spotlight for Hounsou.