December 20, 2022

ER 12.10, All About Christmas Eve: Jingle Bell Shock

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

This doesn’t capture even a tenth of how cute Luka is in this episode

Summary: Luka’s on his way to work, and he’s in a great mood. He’s even wearing a Santa hat, since it’s Christmas Eve. He gives a Furby to a hospital employee who needed to buy one, then asks how Pam the paramedic’s mom is doing and gives her a book. He hands out candy canes to kids in the waiting area and “ho ho ho”s his way into the ER. He gives a scarf to Frank (who says the last time he got a present was when a helicopter fell on Romano) and a neon stethoscope to Neela. Morris gets NSYNC’s greatest hits and Pratt and Ray get Bears tickets.

As an additional present, they don’t need a full staff in the ER this evening, so Luka’s going to let some of them leave early with pay. Pratt predicts that this will jinx them into being swamped. The residents play rock paper scissors to determine who gets to leave. Neela is apparently the queen of the game, and she knocks out Morris, Pratt, and Ray. She and Gallant are heading to Jamaica for their honeymoon, so now she has extra time to pack.

Morris calls Clemente an “evil elf” when he comments that Morris must be gay since he likes NSYNC. How professional, Clemente. Frank advises him to call Jodie, since she’s been calling incessantly yet again. Clemente asks if they can change the main number. Of…the hospital? Frank suggests that Clemente work somewhere with a different extension – maybe Cambodia.

Luka tries to surprise Abby with a kiss but instead scares her into almost dropping the cake she brought in for the hospital’s Christmas party. He offers her a present he got her but she says she can’t open it now. He’s fine with her opening it the next morning, which makes her wonder if they made plans to spend Christmas together. Apparently she agreed to it last night. She doesn’t remember, and he teases that that’s probably not the only thing she forgot saying. Y’all, he is SO HAPPY. It’s unbelievable.

As Sam was informed previously, Steve has been moved to a Chicago prison from Colorado. She visits him and tries to find out why he was moved, but he won’t tell her. He asks if she still has a bunch of stuff he gave her and Alex, then warns that some authorities might come looking for them. Sam tells him not to try to contact Alex. Steve claims he’s found God and is changing, but she doesn’t want to hear it.

Paramedics bring a woman named Tamara to the ER after a car accident. She starts seizing as Luka and Ray tend to her. Haleh’s looking for people to sing with her at the staff party that night, and when Eve volunteers, Haleh says she needs people who will have her back, not stab her in it. OOH. Haleh, watch out or you’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list. Actually, now that I think about it, Santa wouldn’t dare put Haleh on the naughty list. Morris volunteers next, insisting that he can sing. Haleh tells him he can audition. She extends that invitation to Weaver, too, but Weaver decides to keep up her ten-year streak of abstaining.

Abby discusses a patient with Clemente, an elderly man named Mickey who started out with a cough and is now experiencing pain. Tamara’s awake and alert, and she knows it’s Christmas Eve and she’s in Chicago, but she thinks it’s 1986. Ooh, so close. Just 20 years off. She needs a medication that’s only in the drug lockup, and Haleh tells Luka and Ray she can’t go get it because she’s the only nurse in the trauma room. Eve comes in and clarifies that they’re short some of the nursing staff because Santa Luka sent them home.

Neela’s on her way out for her honeymoon, and she confides to Abby that she’s nervous because she and Gallant are having Christmas dinner with his parents before they go to Jamaica. Gallant told them about the marriage over the phone, and apparently their response was to hang up. Luka pulls Abby away for some “department chief business,” like, keep it in your pants for 20 minutes, Luka. A kid uses a crutch to hold mistletoe over Abby and Neela’s heads and urges them to kiss: “Britney and Madonna did it.” Sorry, kid. You’ll need to ask Santa for something else.

Ray tells Tamara and her husband, C.J., that she has a condition caused by low sodium. She’ll need to stay overnight, even though she feels better, but Tamara doesn’t want to be away from her kids on Christmas. Abby and Luka discuss their plans for the next day, and he tries to get her to guess what her present is. Ray interrupts to get Luka to convince Tamara to stay. Abby tells Luka that he’s going to love what she got him. He doesn’t think she actually got him a present. She makes some guesses about her gift, and he tells her to page him when she figures it out.

Eve makes plans with her boyfriend on the phone, then chastises Sam when she shows up late for her shift. She’s not too upset, though, and she tells Sam that her football-playing boyfriend (a linebacker for the Bengals) might flake out on her. Weaver and Pratt go to meet an ambulance bringing in a six-year-old named Danielle who was shot. Her mother, Nadine, explains that she was an innocent bystander caught in some crossfire. She talks to the police while Weaver, Pratt, and Abby work on Danielle. Chuny finds Danielle’s Christmas list as Pratt tells her to contact Olivia.

Some sunglasses-wearing blind kids sing carols in the ER as victims of some sort of holiday disaster argue with each other. There’s a Santa, a guy credited as Hanukkah Harry, and a guy credited as Kwanzaa Kenny. I don’t think I want any more details. Luka and Ray talk to Tamara, who doesn’t get or care about the risk she’s taking by leaving the hospital now. She reveals to Luka that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a few months ago and has a very poor prognosis. She doesn’t want to pursue treatment, and she intends to spend Christmas with her family, who don’t know she’s sick yet.

Abby lets Nadine know that they’re still working on stabilizing Danielle so she can have surgery. Nadine laments that their neighborhood has always been dangerous. Her husband is out of town and will be back tonight, but she hasn’t been able to reach him yet to tell him what happened. Haleh continues to try to recruit singers, giving Clemente a pass when he proves he’s not very talented. Clemente tells Mickey that his blood tests are normal, so he can go home. His cough is probably from a virus. But Mickey’s having chest pain all of a sudden, so he should probably stick around.

Sam asks Santa, Harry, and Kenny questions I said I didn’t want the answer to, like what happened. Harry explains that someone complained that their company only celebrates Christmas, so their boss made things more diverse. And then I guess they started fighting? We never find out. Santa makes an inappropriate comment about an overweight patient, so Eve threatens to hurt him. Okay, I know he’s a jerk but you can’t threaten physical violence against Santa! You’ll get coal in your stocking for the rest of your life!

A surgeon named Jessica Albright, who’s covering for Dubenko, comes to Danielle’s trauma room to complain that she hasn’t been sent to surgery yet. Oh, so sorry the unstable six-year-old gunshot victim wasn’t able to align with your schedule, ma’am. Weaver tries to pull rank to make Albright back off, but she’s not impressed. She’s annoyed that they’re holding an OR for a patient who hasn’t been sent up yet. Again, she’s six, and she’s not stable. Shut up, Albright.

The sunglasses-wearing singers are still at it, and unlike carolers we’ve seen here before, they’re on the quieter side, so I don’t think they’re disturbing anyone. Tamara and C.J. leave with Luka’s blessing, since she promised to come back after her kids open their presents in the morning. Eve complains to Sam that her boyfriend is going to spend Christmas at his mother’s, without Eve. Sam suggests that they spend New Year’s together instead.

Santa is rude to the blind carolers, which means this guy should never, ever be allowed to play Santa again. Eve tells him to sit down and shut up. Santa continues mocking them, so Eve punches him, then pours his urine sample on him. Okay, she’s definitely getting coal this year. Weaver thinks it’s time to bring Nadine into Danielle’s trauma room to say goodbye; they’re not going to be able to save her. Olivia’s been waiting with Nadine, but she leaves when Pratt comes to get her. Pratt reluctantly tells Nadine that they haven’t been able to save her daughter. Nadine should go be with her now.

Weaver gently explains to Nadine that they’ve done everything they can for Danielle, but she’s lost too much blood. Nadine reminds her unconscious daughter that God does things for a reason, and maybe this is because God wants Danielle to be with Him. Weaver puts a hand on Pratt’s arm so signal to him to stop giving Danielle chest compressions. Nadine tells Danielle that she can let go if it’s time. God and her parents don’t want her to be in pain. Nadine promises that she and her husband will always love Danielle, and she doesn’t need to be afraid. Suddenly Danielle’s heart starts beating again on its own.

Santa demands that Eve be fired, but it doesn’t look like Sam is going to corroborate his story about what happened. The carolers can’t/won’t, and they think he deserved it anyway. Santa complains to Clemente, who spots a woman at the admit desk and flees. It seems Jodie has gotten tired of calling and has come to see Clemente in person. He tells Frank to get rid of her, then hides behind a bunch of IV stands so he can get down the hall without being seen.

Olivia tells Nadine that the owner of the store where she and Danielle were shopping IDed the shooters, and the police are on the way to arrest them. Pratt tries to get Danielle’s OR back, but now she has to wait. He promises Nadine that if no one comes down in the next two minutes, he’ll take Danielle upstairs himself. I’d love to see Albright try to argue with him. His stubbornness would come in handy here.

Abby auditions for Haleh with “Silent Night.” Let’s just say that no one will be able to sleep in heavenly peace while she’s singing. Chuny is even worse (though I suspect that Laura Cerón is singing badly on purpose, because her voice is actually nice; she just can’t stay on key). Ray proves why he plays guitar in his band instead of singing. After his audition, he tells Morris that Haleh makes Debbie Allen’s character in Fame look like Mother Teresa.

Luka blasts Eve for attacking Santa, but she has no regrets. He tells her to apologize or she’ll lose her job. Eve gloats that only the nursing supervisor can fire her. Mickey has undergone a bunch of tests but none of them has turned up anything. Now he has a headache. Clemente accuses him of making it all up and tells him he needs to leave so an actual sick person can have his bed. It sounds like Mickey’s just lonely and doesn’t want to spend the holidays alone.

Jodie approaches Clemente, so he makes up a disease Mickey has that will keep Clemente busy treating him. Jodie, an ICU nurse, calls bull. Clemente tells Haleh to admit Mickey, then tries to get rid of Jodie. She’s married to a cop, and Clemente is justifiably worried that the guy will track him down.

Luka and the nursing supervisor question Sam about Eve’s behavior. Sam doesn’t want to talk behind her boss’ back, especially when there isn’t a lot of positive stuff to say about her, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. She objects to the nursing supervisor’s decision to fire Eve the day before Christmas. Clemente tries again to send Jodie away. He didn’t know she was married when they got together, and he broke up with her when he found out. He wants her gone before her husband finds him. Jodie thinks he still has feelings for her, so they should act on them while she’s in town.

Danielle finally gets taken up to surgery, though Albright doesn’t think they can save her. Can we have Dubenko back, please? I don’t even like him that much, but he’s definitely better than this twit. Weaver praises Pratt’s work on their patient. He tells Olivia that the police should make the shooters come to the hospital to see what they did. She takes him to the ambulance bay, where a bunch of people are holding a candlelight vigil for Danielle. Unfortunately, Chuny comes out to tell Pratt that they lost Danielle’s pulse, and she’s on her way back to the trauma room.

Sam runs into Eve, who’s crying in the lounge – not because she got fired but because her boyfriend broke up with her. Sam realizes too late that Eve doesn’t know about her termination yet. Clemente has to get right back to work after a quick hook-up with Jodie; he tells her he’s setting up a new life for himself and needs to avoid drama. She says that her husband, Bobby, hit her, and obviously she couldn’t go to the police. She left him and would clearly like to be with Clemente now. He’s free to contact her at her hotel while she’s in town.

At the admit desk, Frank and Abby tease Clemente a little about Jodie (Abby’s talked to her multiple times when she’s called). Abby tells him his fly is down. Luka takes Abby with him to meet an ambulance, asking her what she’ll be cooking for Christmas. She asks if he has amnesia about their previous relationship, since she definitely doesn’t cook.

The police did, indeed, bring Danielle’s shooters to the hospital so they can see the consequences of their actions. Weaver rejoins Pratt to try to stabilize her. Olivia asks if she can bring in the shooters, and Pratt sends Nadine out since she doesn’t want to see them. The shooters deny that they shot a little girl; they didn’t realize the bullet went through someone else and hit her. Pratt tells them that Danielle’s probably not going to survive. When they’re in jail, they should remember what they did to her. He hopes it was worth it.

Eve confronts Luka for getting her fired on Christmas Eve. He tells her she’ll be missed. “Bite me,” she snarls. All you’re doing is getting yourself more coal, Eve. She says she tried to do something good and elevate the ER. “Screw yourselves. You all suck,” she tells the staff around the admit desk, fulfilling everyone’s fantasy of what they’d say if they were fired or quit their job dramatically. When Sam tries to calm her, Eve accuses Sam of trying to steal her job and calls her Judas. Nope, that’s Easter.

Pratt checks on Nadine while Danielle’s in surgery and tells her that things are looking much better for her. He promises that the shooters will pay for what they did. Nadine would prefer if they would stop instead. The community turns their backs on the kids and doesn’t educate them, then wonders why things like this happen. Pratt notes that people have choices. “Some people don’t know they do,” Nadine says.

Luka’s first shift as the chief of the ER is done, and Weaver thinks he did pretty well. The mother of the kid Alex spent the day with brings him to Sam, letting her know that he told his friend that his father is dead and that his friend’s father is going to die, too. The mom thinks Alex needs help, and until he gets it, he’s not going to be hanging out with her son. Luka offers to help Sam out, but she brushes him off.

She asks Alex why he lied about Steve, and Alex says that he doesn’t need his father, which is basically the same. Sam insists that Steve loves Alex, but Alex thinks a father who really loved him would call. He doesn’t think Steve misses him. When Sam says he does, she’s lying for him.

The staff holds their party at Ike Ryan’s, and it looks like the only singer who made the cut to sing with Haleh is Morris. She sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” while Abby buys a snow globe at the mini-mart, because Luka was right and she didn’t get him anything. Clemente plays chess with Mickey (aww!) and Sam takes Alex to visit Steve. Pratt sits with Nadine until her husband finally arrives.

Abby leaves the hospital, walking through the growing vigil for Danielle. Morris finally gets to sing something, and he sounds terrific. Abby joins Luka at the party and gives him the snow globe, which is only part of his present. She opens hers, a compass. “It seems we always find each other,” he explains. She takes him outside so they can talk in private. She’s really enjoyed the past few weeks that they’ve been back together, and she doesn’t want to ruin their rekindled relationship. But she has big news: She’s pregnant. With that, Luka’s awesome Christmas ends with him in shock.

Thoughts: Has anyone on this show ever had a planned pregnancy? It might just be Weaver and Sandy, and that was only out of necessity.

Honestly, Luka being as happy as he is makes anything I might want for Christmas feel insignificant. I feel like I’ve gotten presents for the next five years.

When Morris loses rock paper scissors to Neela, he tries to argue that his paper is actually sheet metal. Ha!

I admit I’m a sucker for montages of bad auditioners. They should have given us more.

November 15, 2022

ER 12.5, Wake Up: Learn Your Lessons Well

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

Hi, I work here now

Summary: Weaver has hired a new attending named Victor Clemente, but he hasn’t shown up for his first shift yet. Morris notes that he’s not making a great first impression, and if someone like Morris knows that, it’s really bad. Luka’s on his way out but offers to come back if Clemente never comes in. Weaver tells Morris to find a moonlighter instead. Luka runs into Abby as he’s on his way upstairs. She asks why, then decides she doesn’t want to know: “Last time I reached out to someone, Dubenko tried to make me his concubine.”

Pratt shows up just as Sam brings a man with chest pain in from the waiting room. Morris asks if Susan is on, and Weaver makes the official announcement that she’s no longer working at County. Weaver brought in Clemente to replace her, and they’re forming a search committee for the new department head. Ray pops in from his toxicology elective to remind everyone that he has a gig that night. Apparently it’s at a strip club. Well, a gig is a gig, right?

Morris hands out assignments to a couple of pre-med students, one of whom comments that they’re not really doctors. “That never stopped Morris,” Pratt quips. High five, Pratt. That might be the funniest thing you’ve ever said. They’re research assistants who are supposed to collect data for Weaver. She tells Pratt to step up his responsibilities as a senior resident, and also don’t bug her while she’s working in the lounge.

Sam comes to get Pratt to take care of her patient, who stops Pratt before he can administer some nitro for his chest pain. The patient did coke, drank tequila, and took three Viagra the night before. Sounds like a party! Pratt asks why he didn’t say something, and the patient notes that doctors are supposed to take a history. It turns out the patient is Clemente, and he’s just learned that at least one of the doctors at County isn’t as competent as he’d hoped.

Weaver tries to convince Clemente that Pratt is normally very thorough, as if it’s okay that he slipped up one time when he could have killed someone. She considers sticking around the ER, but Clemente says that he and “Dr. Kevorkian” will keep things moving smoothly. He excuses his stunt by saying he just wanted to get the lay of the land. At another hospital, he took things even farther and had to submit to a rectal exam. Here, it sounds like he just had to have his chest shaved. That said, it took 24 minutes for him to have his vitals taken, which is ridiculous.

Morris agrees and eagerly introduces himself to Clemente, who’s like, “Got it, you’re the kiss-up.” He acknowledges that his EKG was administered quickly, but Pratt was sloppy. Pratt defends himself, saying the ER is busy. Clemente replies that they’re always busy, and even though they don’t have a lot of time to spend with each patient, they need to be efficient, like marksmen. They need to hone in on the important symptoms, hit the target with a single shot, and move on. Abby whispers to Neela that he needs a psych consult.

Clemente asks who Abby is, and when she tells him, he says Weaver talked to him about her. It wasn’t all good. He shifts focus to clearing the board, though he doesn’t want to use the actual board. He’d rather do walking rounds. Neela tells Abby that she thinks Clemente is kind of hot. Abby reminds her that she’s dating Gallant. “He’s at war and so are my hormones,” Neela replies.

Luka’s upstairs to visit Blaire, whom he’s become friendly with since she came out of her coma. She’s having trouble with her muscles, but she’s improving. She’s also in a pretty good mood, considering her situation, though she’d be happier if someone would let her smoke pot. She asks Luka if her doctor has said anything about the accident that put her in a coma. All she remembers is going with her mom for her final fitting for her wedding dress. Now her mother is dead and her fiancé has ditched her. She hasn’t spoken to him yet.

Morris compliments Clemente’s shoes, to which Clemente replies, “Get laid, Morris.” He speaks English, Spanish, and Russian, which is three more languages than Morris can speak coherently. (I’m really enjoying having someone around who dislikes Morris as much as I do but isn’t too scared to say so out loud.) Pratt ducks out of rounds when he recognizes a former colleague named Dorsey, who’s there to visit a patient.

Luka cheers Blaire on as she calls her ex-fiancé, Jason. Her neurologist tells Luka that she’s making great progress. He’s been treating her for a few years, so he knows the details of her car accident, but he doesn’t think she should know yet. It turns out the car accident wasn’t actually a car accident: Blaire and her mother were carjacked, and Blaire’s mother was raped and shot. Blaire tried to fight off the carjackers and got pistol-whipped. She probably only survived because someone interrupted.

Luka thinks she should know everything, but her neurologist wants to hold off until she’s stronger. She should also hear the news from someone she’s close to. Luka notes that she doesn’t have any family. The neurologist tells Luka that Blaire will be filled in when the time is right. This guy obviously doesn’t know Luka or he’d have guessed that Luka’s probably going to tell Blaire himself.

The residents discuss a patient who has migraines that she used to have treated by the removal of spinal fluid. Clemente knows of a better treatment and even knows which issue of the Annals of Medicine it appeared in. “If you ever say he’s hot again, I’ll kneecap you,” Abby tells Neela. Haleh pulls Abby away to go see Stephanie, who’s up in oncology and is really upset.

A nurse up there tells Abby that Stephanie’s upset because she can’t have reconstructive surgery after having a breast removed, due to an enlarged lymph node. She threw a tantrum and broke a mirror. Stephanie doesn’t want to see Abby, whom she blames for her situation – Abby talked her into getting traditional medical treatment, and now she could have cancer.

Abby tries to reassure her that her feelings are normal and she needs to be patient. Stephanie’s still focused on finding a husband, and she doesn’t think anyone will want to marry a woman who could need chemo for the next ten years. Ma’am, I think your priorities are out of whack. Abby tells Stephanie that since her doctors are having trouble making a diagnosis, she might not have cancer. If she does, at least they caught it early. She did what she needed to do and it was brave. Stephanie doesn’t agree, but Abby acknowledges that she’s in a scary situation. Stephanie blows her off and starts to leave the hospital, but she ends up staying.

Abby takes care of some cuts Stephanie got from breaking the mirror while Stephanie talks about going on dating sites. She hasn’t heard from Lou since she had surgery. Abby’s glad that she found out early that he’s not a good catch. Stephanie doesn’t want to freeze her eggs or lose the chance to nurse any babies she might have. She asks if Abby’s scared that she’ll end up just being an aunt, or “forced to adopt some kid from Cambodia.” Because adoption is just a last resort when you can’t have biological children, and Cambodia is a cesspool where the only kids available for adoption are from the bottom of the barrel? Shut up, Stephanie.

She’s obviously jumping to her worst-case scenario, and Abby tells her that there’s a chance that she’ll have her reconstructive surgery and get to fulfill her dreams. Stephanie doesn’t think Abby understands where she’s coming from. But Abby’s grandmother and aunt both died of breast cancer, so she knows the possible outcomes. However, she herself has never even had a mammogram.

Paramedics bring in a stabbing victim named Tony, and the pre-med students hurry to take notes and ask him questions. Despite taking a knife to the neck, Tony is very calm, though he’s not happy with his attacker, who happens to be his wife. Clemente chases the pre-med students off, saying the patients aren’t here for their amusement.

In the cafeteria, which we haven’t seen in ages, Blaire tells Luka that Jason is married now. She’s struggling to grasp that things that feel recent to her happened years ago, and everyone around her has moved on. Also, Jason only came to see her twice when she was in the hospital. Ugh, you’re better off, Blaire. Luka asks if Blaire would have wanted Jason to wait around for her to wake up, which no one thought would happen. That’s fair, but…twice! He only saw her twice! He was going to marry her, and that’s all she meant to him! Blaire jokes that she could become his mistress. I kind of love Blaire.

Clemente quizzes the residents while they take care of Tony. Tony asks if they can hurry up treating him so he can go stop his wife before she sets fire to his truck. Apparently he cheated on her…with her mother. Your truck is the least of your worries, man. Clemente wants Tony to get a thorough exam, even though there are no indications that he needs one. Pratt gets fed up and leaves, since he doesn’t like being overruled by (checks notes) his boss.

Sam’s on the phone with Eve, who’s given her a bunch of tasks to do. One is emphasizing the importance of using hand sanitizer before touching patients. Sam gives Chuny a pin to remind everyone to “scrub or rub.” Chuny thinks that sounds kinky. Pratt calls Olivia to set up a date as he returns from a trip to the mini-mart. Charlie’s waiting outside the hospital when he gets back. He claims he’s there to see a sick friend. Pratt snarks that he might have another illegitimate kid inside. Charlie wants to hang out with his son, but Pratt has no interest in developing a relationship with him.

Charlie reminds Pratt that he has a younger brother. Chaz wants to get to know him. (I guess his sister doesn’t.) Pratt’s mad that Charlie would use Chaz like that. Plus, they only met once. Charlie doesn’t know what Pratt’s mother told him about his father, but he guesses it wasn’t the whole story. He wants to explain himself. Pratt snaps that he doesn’t have the time for that, and Charlie needs to drop it. Charlie says he will, but Pratt will have to live with that decision.

Blaire talks to Luka about her mother. They never really discussed marriage, but when she learned that Blaire and Jason were engaged, she jumped right in to help plan the wedding. Blaire asks Luka to stop at a window so she can look outside. She begs him to take her to the other side of the hospital so she can see Lake Michigan. Luka’s hesitant, since she shouldn’t even be out of her room, but she’s really charming and it’s Luka, so of course he’s going to take her.

Neela and Morris discuss Clemente, whom she doesn’t like. He needs to give it a rest with the non-stop teaching. Morris agrees, and Neela reminds him that he complimented Clemente’s shoes. Morris doesn’t think finding someone annoying means you can’t say nice things to them. Upstairs, Ray is super-bored in the poison-control center, and he calls Jerry to complain. Jerry tells him to picture all the women there naked. Ew, Jerry.

Paramedics bring in a girl named Lola who was crushed by a teen or 20-something named Tommy who fell off a ride at a fair. Hoping drugs are involved, Ray volunteers himself to help out. Dorsey ducks into Lola’s trauma room to say goodbye to Pratt, who’s working with Neela and Chuny. Dorsey notices a roach on the floor and stomps on it. Pratt jokes that he just killed their mascot. Dorsey invites him to hang out with some of their old colleagues that night.

Neela goes to Tommy’s trauma room to try to help Morris and Haleh, since Tommy’s really combative. Ray joins them, but Haleh thinks Pratt should be in there. He tells her to get Clemente instead. Neela votes no on that, saying they can handle Tommy themselves. Clemente comes in anyway, passive-aggressively wondering why no one summoned him. He sends Haleh to get his briefcase at the admit desk, then determines what Tommy took.

Haleh brings his briefcase and Clemente uses a piece of demo equipment inside to do some sort of scan. Neela’s impressed and not so annoyed by him anymore. Clemente’s not happy with Ray now, though, since he jumped to give Tommy a medication because he assumed Tommy was on drugs. Clemente tells the team that even if they don’t like him, the shouldn’t let their personal feelings affect patient care.

Dubenko comes to the ER to visit Abby before being released from the hospital after his cancer surgery. In case anyone was curious, everything is…functioning properly. Also, he had a “date” with Shauna and knows that Abby’s to thank. Lou finally turns up to see Stephanie, and it turns out that a) he didn’t know Stephanie was having a breast removed and b) the last time he tried to visit her, she didn’t want to see him. He’s called her a few times and she never told him why she was there. She just said she wasn’t in a good place to date. Lou’s still interested, though.

Neela interrupts Clemente while he’s playing with a GameBoy; he thinks she should get one for herself. She apologizes for not calling him in to help with Tommy’s trauma. He tells her that the treatment she wanted to give him – a surgical procedure – should only be a last resort. Neela thought he fit the criteria. Clemente gets what it’s like to be a resident who thinks they know everything, but there are always new things to learn. He’s there to teach her.

Neela notes that there are some things residents want to do on their own. Clemente knows, but it’s more important to give patients the proper care. He sees the residents as an investment in the future. When they save a life, he gets a return on his investment. P.S. He thinks Neela should consider a surgical elective, since she was so quick to want to do something surgical to Tommy.

Abby takes Lou to see Stephanie, who’s surprisingly pleased to see him and invites him to stay a while. As she’s leaving the floor, Abby convinces herself to schedule a mammogram. Back in the ER, Ray’s supervisor chastises him for missing morning rounds and ditching the poison-control center. Ray argues that he’s trying to identify a plant that a Buddhist monk ingested. The supervisor can’t ID it, either, but just a glance at it from outside the room gave Clemente the answer. He writes, “Tobaco gigante!” on a tablet and holds it up to the window. Ray runs with it and takes credit for the win. (Clemente’s okay with it.)

Weaver’s unhappy that Clemente sent her pre-med students away instead of letting them collect data like they’re supposed to. He tells her they were getting in the way and he didn’t want to overstep by telling them to back off. Instead, he told them the study was useless. Weaver quietly says that she knows what happened at Newark, where Clemente used to work, and no one wants a repeat. Nearby, Abby eavesdrops.

Clemente reminds Weaver that she hired him to make the ER more efficient. If they start to employ bedside registration, her study really will be irrelevant. Weaver tells him she has a $100,000 grant that says otherwise. He asks why they don’t go digital with that kind of money. She shuts him down, saying she runs the hospital, so every decision made there goes through her.

To no one’s surprise, Luka has taken Blaire to the roof so she can look out at the lake. She teases him for worrying so much, but to be fair, as he says, he’s always had things to worry about. After a pause, she asks if he thinks God or science is the reason she woke up. He tells her that he’s seen very religious people unhelped by prayer, and he’s seen skeptics have miraculous recoveries. Blaire wonders if it was fate instead. Luke just says he’s glad they’re both there and able to wonder about it. Good answer!

Pratt goes to the Ceasefire offices to meet Olivia and comes across a session Charlie’s leading with some teen boys. He tells them that if they get a girl pregnant, they’ll face “18 years of lockdown.” Half of their paycheck will go to the government and the other half to the baby’s mother. If they miss a child-support payment, the mother will come after them. Now Pratt knows – or thinks he knows – why Charlie didn’t want to be his father.

Blaire and Luka chat about Croatia and Chicago. She has a brief flash of a woman next to a car and tells him that she’s starting to recover her memories of her mother’s death. She’s started piecing together that there was no car accident, and she’s desperate to know what really happened. But as she gets more and more agitated, her speech slows and she can’t get out a full sentence.

He rushes her to the ER, where he tells Abby and Clemente that she’s stopped talking. Clemente tries to kick him out, thinking he’s just a friend, but Abby tells him who Luka is, and Clemente backs off. He tries to run their standard protocol for a patient in Blaire’s condition, since no one bothers to tell him what her situation is. Luka ignores him and sends Abby to the pharmacy to get what he knows Blaire needs.

Weaver joins the doctors as Luka tells Clemente that the medications Blaire’s neurologist was giving her woke her from her coma, so she just needs more of them. Clemente’s hesitant to go with that theory, but Weaver’s willing to let Luka do this. She does warn him that if he’s wrong, there could be an inquiry. Luka figures it’s worth a try. Weaver agrees to give him five minutes to try to help Blaire.

Clemente happily steps aside, making Luka the doctor on record in case Blaire’s family sues. Luka’s like, “Good thing she doesn’t have any family – gimme those drugs!” They wake Blaire up, but then she starts seizing. It’s not clear if it’s the result of withdrawal from the drugs she was given before or a reaction to the ones Luka just gave her.

Ray leaves his gig with a girl named Zoe who’s not coy at all about wanting to spend the night with him. Neela, Morris, and Jerry arrive late, since Clemente made them find journal articles to justify all their treatments today. Ray would much rather leave with Zoe than spend time with his co-workers, and though Morris is considered for a double date with one of Zoe’s friends, he’s definitely not cool enough to make the cut.

Blaire is unconscious again, which means Luka’s brooding again. Abby tries to reassure him that he might not be responsible for her decline. Weaver tells him that a state conservator agreed to let Blaire be admitted for two days. If she doesn’t start improving in that time, she’ll be sent back to her nursing facility.

Pratt and Olivia go to an open-mic night with Dorsey. Pratt’s giving Olivia the cold shoulder since she didn’t tell him that Charlie would be at Ceasefire when Pratt came by. Oh, boo-hoo. Be a grown-up. She notes that Charlie’s helping teens. Pratt tells her that he ends up sewing up those teens after they leave Ceasefire. Olivia argues that his father tries to help them before they get to Pratt. Pratt tells her that Charlie isn’t his father beyond getting his mother pregnant. He made the same mistake he’s telling the kids not to make.

Pratt leaves, and Olivia follows him out to tell him that as much as he might hate Charlie, Charlie’s a good guy. He spends 20 hours a week at Ceasefire, runs a basketball league, and rehabs houses for poor people. That’s what’s bugging Pratt – he’s waited his whole life to spit in Charlie’s face, and now he’s learned that Charlie isn’t a villain. Olivia refuses to let Pratt walk away angry, but instead of talking through his issues, they just go home and have sex.

Also having sex: Ray and Zoe. Not having sex, but getting naked: Abby, who has her mammogram after work. Neither having sex nor getting naked: Luka and Blaire, who are still in the ER. Even though she’s unconscious, he tells her the truth about what happened to her and her mother.

Thoughts: Clemente is played by John Leguizamo. Zoe is played by Kat Dennings.

Mekhi Pfifer (Pratt) and Jeffrey D. Sams (Dorsey) were also in Soul Food together, and Linda Cardellini (Sam) and John Leguizamo were in Bloodline together after this. (That reminds me: I never finished Bloodline.) Also, he’s not in this episode but I just found out and might as well put it here: Garret Dillahunt (Steve) is in season 3 of Dead to Me, which reunites him with Linda Cardellini.

Maura Tierney (Abby) actually did develop breast cancer in 2009, but her treatment was successful an as far as I know, she’s been in remission since then.

Blaire and Luka would have made a cute couple.

Imagine if Danny Glover invited you to have gumbo with him AND YOU SAID NO. Crazy.

’00s music alert: “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt

November 1, 2022

ER 12.3, Man With No Name: Nursing a Grudge

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:05 pm by Jenn

I wouldn’t mess with any one of these people

Summary: Luka’s asleep – drink! He fell asleep watching TV after a night of drinking and smoking. Oh, no, Luka, not nicotine! He wakes up when his housekeeper shows up. He tells her that Sam, who hired her, moved out. She disapproves of his messy living conditions. What’s Spanish for “bachelor pad”?

At County, Morris tries to wrangle a kid dressed as a Power Ranger while Weaver leads a tour for a couple of grant officers. They’re thinking about doing a pilot study at the hospital. Morris complains to her about Eve Peyton, the new nurse manager, who’s slowing things down in the ER. Abby clarifies that she’s just holding a staff meeting. Morris says they’re only allowed to do that if he gives them permission. Wow, Morris, how does your head fit through the door?

Weaver tells Abby the rumors she’s heard are semi-true – Susan is shopping around for a tenured position somewhere else. What they don’t mention is that the last time we saw her, in “Cañon City,” was her last official episode. Pratt joins Abby in telling Morris to chill about the nurses having a meeting. Morris goes to pull Sam out, but she ignores him, then tells him to shut up. Eve calls him out for interrupting and questions the treatment he wanted Sam to administer. In about 15 seconds, she proves to know more than Morris.

Luka arrives late for a shift as Weaver is wrapping up with the grant officers. While she’s berating him, they hear yelling. A man with horrible burned skin runs into the ambulance bay, asking for help. Morris has changed his tune about the nurses, telling Abby and Pratt that they’re “autonomous professionals” and are allowed to have a meeting whenever they want. Pratt guesses that Eve read him the riot act. “It was all a blur,” Morris says.

Weaver and Luka bring in the burned patient, pulling in Sam and Inez to help them. That means Sam and Luka will be working together, which should be lots of fun for everyone around them. Neela takes Frank’s picture at the admit desk, explaining to Pratt that she’s putting together a care package for Gallant. She invites him to come up with something to put in. Frank, for example, has put in a porn movie. Neela takes it back out.

K.J.’s still volunteering at the hospital and still unhappy about it. Olivia comes by to see Pratt after visiting a gang member who was stabbed. They have lunch plans, so I guess they’re officially dating. She mentions that she saw Charlie last week and he mentioned that he’d come by County. Pratt says he wasn’t there long, and they don’t have much to talk about.

The burned man (who’s the titular man with no name, so I’ll use the name of the actor playing him, Raphael) tells Inez that he doesn’t know what happened to him. Eve oversees her and Sam’s work, but Luka doesn’t appreciate her taking on a leadership role in the middle of a trauma, especially one he should be running. Weaver wisely pulls Eve out of the room.

Penny’s back for another trauma rotation, and Abby suggests that Neela help her with her patient, a man dressed in a bodysuit decorated with human anatomy. Heh, it’s a body bodysuit. He slipped and fell while doing an educational performance at a school. (His song about the reproductive system is called “Ova Here, Ova There.” I love it.) He knows more about anatomy than Penny does, and he complains that she doesn’t know how to do her job even though she has pictures to let her know what’s where. Neela points out that they’re not all accurate – for example, he doesn’t have any genitalia.

Abby puts up a hand at the last minute as Neela takes her picture for Gallant’s care package. Neela made him a mix CD but is hesitant to include it. Apparently Gallant likes Barry Manilow. Okay, let’s keep all the male staff members from finding out about that – Gallant will never hear the end of it. She has some other options and is probably overthinking this.

Raphael has been intubated, and since he didn’t identify himself and doesn’t have anything on him to identify him, the police aren’t able to contact his family. Luka and Sam are a little awkward around each other but keep things civil. She asks him to keep his plans with Alex for that weekend; it’ll be good for all of them. Luka wants them to move slowly and not make any final decisions about their relationship just yet. Sam tells him they’ve been pretending and she doesn’t want to do that anymore. After Abby sends Sam off to do something, Luka angrily punches the cage around the med lock-up where they’ve been talking.

Inez and Abby try to restrain a drunk, combative 16-year-old named Erik who thinks he’s smarter than them because he got a 2200 on his SAT and they work for the County. Yeah, but they don’t have to have a Foley catheter inserted in them because they just wet themselves, so I think they’re doing better than you, budy. Abby chats with Luka, amazed that Raphael was able to walk up to the hospital after suffering such severe burns. He joins Sam to treat an 11-year-old named Robbie who crashed his motorized scooter. Eve steps in to help but Luka turns her down. Then he hands the case off to Pratt.

Robbie crashed because a roller-blader named Stephanie ran into him after getting dizzy. Abby notices a burn on her stomach and guesses it came from Robbie’s scooter’s tailpipe. Luka thinks Stephanie is bleeding internally. Morris takes her date, Lou, off to fix up a cut. He left his shoes at the place where they rented the blades, so he’s still wearing the wheels. Inez asks Abby what Morris does, and Abby replies that he’s chief resident. “No, seriously,” Inez says. Heh.

Pratt has trouble intubating Robbie, so he tells Sam to get a fiberoptic scope set up. Dubenko comes to the ER to examine Stephanie and complains that Luka called him in before it was necessary. Something else is making him grumpy, but it doesn’t stop him from teaching his favorite student, Abby. They determine that Stephanie has anemia, not internal bleeding, so her case isn’t surgical. He tells Luka to use his medical skills next time before he calls a surgeon. Oh, no, Luka was too proactive in making sure a woman didn’t bleed to death! What a horrible doctor he is!

Eve has questions for Sam, not about Robbie or her work but about Luka. Sam tries to get him to come back to Robbie’s trauma room, but he’s a little busy taking care of Stephanie. He asks Stephanie if there’s anything in her medical history they should know. She mentions testing positive for BRCA1, a genetic mutation that increases your chances for breast and ovarian cancer, but she doesn’t have any tumors.

Eve bugs Sam about how long it’ll be before Luka comes back to Robbie. Sam manages not to reply that she’s not his personal assistant and doesn’t read minds. Eve goes to Stephanie’s trauma room to bring Luka over to Robbie, since he needs a doctor with more experience than Pratt. Luka thinks he’ll do fine with Robbie, but Eve insists that he switch cases. As Abby asks Stephanie questions to determine if something has made her sick, Eve grabs some equipment to take to Robbie’s trauma room. Luka calls her Ms. Peyton, but Eve says she has a Ph.D., so he should actually call her Doctor.

Stephanie finally reveals to Abby that she’s been doing experimental treatments in Mexico to try to prevent her from developing cancer. Abby realizes that the treatments gave her lead poisoning. Stephanie didn’t say anything sooner because she was afraid of what would happen to her medical coverage. Luka finally goes to Robbie’s trauma room, where Eve is showing Pratt how to do a difficult intubation. She sharply advises Luka to train the residents better on these kinds of procedures (and also stop thinking that nurses aren’t as competent as doctors).

Sam’s impressed with Eve already, but Eve is wary of Sam – she’s figured out that she has a history with Luka. Sam promises that it won’t be an issue. Pratt hopes he didn’t screw up too badly with Robbie, since he told Luka he could handle the intubation. Malik and Inez complain to Sam about Eve (Malik says that if he weren’t a feminist, he would call her a b%$@#) and her micromanagement. “Beware the blood countess,” Frank says.

Pratt has had the brilliant idea of sending Gallant a pizza. While I’m sure he would love a classic Chicago-style pie, he probably wouldn’t find it edible after it spent a week in transit. K.J. suggests looking into flash-freezing. Pratt plans to come up with another idea. Gallant will at least get a picture of the pizza. I guess this is an it’s-the-thought-that-counts situation.

Morris chats with Lou about his relationship with Stephanie. They met at a Jewish speed-dating event. Morris isn’t Jewish but he once had a crush on a girl who was, so he spent a lot of time in a synagogue. Lou has only been on a few dates with Stephanie but he really likes her. Robbie is brought back to the ER for more help with his breathing. Eve helps Luka and Pratt with him while lecturing Luka for not prioritizing the more critical patient earlier. She thinks he ditched Robbie because he didn’t want to work with Sam.

Neela’s still trying to figure out what to send Gallant. She wrote him a poem (on scented paper!), but the only compliment Abby can think to give it is, “It rhymes.” She tells Neela that men at war have “certain needs,” and Neela should meet her in the family room in ten minutes. Looks like Frank’s porn is going to get some equally naked company!

Eve again bugs Luka about the Sam situation, but he says it’s not a problem. However, he also says they’re still a couple, which…come on, buddy. You’re not. Eve says she’ll back off and just focus on how the nurses are best put to use in the ER. Luka accepts this and drops his prickliness. In the family room, Abby takes boudoir photos of Neela. Morris hears through the window when Abby tells Neela to take her bra off, and he stands on a chair to try to see through a high window. The Power Ranger shoots him with a Nerf gun and he falls off.

Abby goes back to Stephanie, who should recover from her lead poisoning. Abby suggests that she talk to a real doctor about her BRCA1. Stephanie already did, after her mother died of cancer. She’s not interested in having her breasts or ovaries removed as a preventive measure. She wants a husband and kids, and what guy would want her if she lost her breasts? Plus, she’d still have a 10 percent chance of getting cancer, and she’d lose months to recovery with no guarantees. It’s like picking between poisons.

Robbie’s father arrives and thinks that Luka wants to take him into a private room for a talk because Robbie died. He runs through the ER, calling for his son. Robbie’s not dead, but he does have swelling in his brain and he’s hooked up to a bunch of machinery. His mother apologizes for letting him ride the scooter without a helmet. His father attacks her and Luka has to wrestle him to the ground until security can restrain him.

Weaver stitches up a cut on Luka’s brow, telling him that until they can replace Carter and Susan, she’ll be taking shifts. Luka asks a cop for an update on Raphael, who still hasn’t been able to tell anyone his name. Pratt catches Frank eating Gallant’s pizza, and Frank tells him to send one from a place that does overnight shipments. To Iraq? Morris offers to take more photos for Neela if she wants. She and I both tell him to shut up. He tries to pull rank, demanding to know and see what she and Abby were doing in the family room on the clock. Neela shows him a picture of a gross abscess instead. Ha!

Abby has talked Stephanie into consulting with an oncologist, though Stephanie is sure she already knows what they’ll say. She doesn’t want to give up pieces of her body. Abby notes that if she gets cancer, she won’t be able to get the things she wants. Stephanie asks what Abby would do in her position. Abby says that life sometimes changes when we don’t want it to, and she hopes she would be brave enough to change, too. As she’s leaving the floor, she spots Dubenko getting an exam from an oncologist.

Luka admits to Sam that he shouldn’t have left Robbie. He did it for the wrong reason. He suggests that they try again tomorrow for a peaceful working relationship. Eve hears the tail-end of their conversation, and after Luka leaves, she questions Sam about their relationship. Sam says they’re done, but Eve doesn’t think that’ll ever truly be the case. She doesn’t want them working together, so Sam’s schedule will have to change. If she doesn’t agree, she’ll get transferred to another part of the hospital.

Neela takes Gallant’s care package home, where Ray is “having a sleepover.” At least one of them is getting some. Abby stops by Ike Ryan’s on her way home to pick up a takeout order and finds Luka moping at the bar. She tells him about Stephanie, who’s at a point in her life where she worries that she’ll never have the things she wants. Abby feels bad for her. Luka asks if she misses drinking. “You’d be a terrible sponsor,” she teases. She suggests that he cut himself off since he’s had plenty of beer.

Neela tries to write a letter to Gallant while Ray and his overnight guest have sex in the next room. The guest is extremely loud. Poor Neela. Abby takes Luka home, where he lights a cigarette and says he can’t stop thinking about Raphael. His body was so damaged but he was desperate to live. Abby notes that he survived. Luka wonders if anyone would know who he was if he were in Raphael’s position. She thinks she would.

Abby looks around at the mess, for once the together, stable person. Luka falls asleep and she leaves him in front of another movie. It’s High Plains Drifter, starring Clint Eastwood as a man known only as the Stranger. A character says someone named Sam is right, and another asks what happens after their impending showdown. “Then you live with it,” the Stranger replies.

Thoughts: Eve is played by Kristen Johnston.

I’m disappointed that Sherry Stringfield (Susan) doesn’t get a proper second send-off. Fortunately, we do see her again later in the series.

I love how Inez seems a little timid at first, but then when she has to deal with Erik, a flicker of feistiness comes out.

Enjoy those sexy photos of Neela with pictures of babies and animals in the background, Gallant! Maybe the family room wasn’t the best choice of setting.

It’s probably bad that I didn’t notice that Ray hadn’t been in the episode yet until he popped up six minutes from the end.

’00s music alert: Cable Car” by the Fray

September 20, 2022

ER 11.19, Ruby Redux: The Weight of Responsibility

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

May we all make it to our 80s sharp enough to memorize all the dialogue Red Buttons has in this episode

Summary: Susan and Chuck have been looking for a house, but they haven’t found anything they like yet. She’s getting ready for an interview that she hopes will let her secure tenure. Chuck is willing to go back to work, and he suggests that Susan get a job at a private hospital to make more money. Susan doesn’t care that much about the money, though, and she likes working at County. She feels like she belongs there. She finally finds an outfit she thinks is right for her interview, but it has a stain on the back. Cosmo laughs at her.

Ruby Rubadoux, who we last saw all the way back in season 2, has been brought to County after fainting, though he denies that he fainted. He’s skeptical about Neela being his doctor, since she doesn’t look old enough to be one, or even have a high school diploma. Ruby’s 85 now but still as mentally sharp as he was almost ten years ago.

Carter’s rounding with the interns, and it looks like he’s built up a good rapport with them. Ruby’s not happy to be at County, but Neela doesn’t get that it’s because of his history there. When he spots Carter, he says he doesn’t want Carter anywhere near him – Carter killed his wife. The interns scatter as if he’ll kill them, too. Carter seems confused.

Neela’s shift is over, so she hands Ruby off to Abby. Meanwhile, Susan has her tenure interview, which is conducted by a panel of six people, including Anspaugh, Weaver, Dubenko, and her onetime rival Kayson. She’s won a teaching award three times, but she’s only been published four times, which is why she’s been working with Morris on a paper. Since she hasn’t brought in grant money, she hasn’t quite met the bar the panel has set, despite her rave reviews as a doctor and instructor.

Abby detects that Ruby has a heart murmur, so she wants to run some tests and take an x-ray. He thinks Abby’s a nurse, so he doesn’t want to listen to her. She tells him she’s a doctor, but since she’s not his doctor, that doesn’t change his attitude toward her. She agrees to let a more experienced doctor take over his care. She’s probably happy to have an excuse to avoid him for a while.

Paramedics bring in a woman named Mary who was stabbed by her husband. She retaliated by shooting him. Sam forgot that she was supposed to stock something in a trauma room, and Chuny’s not happy about it. Sam’s been having a hectic morning, and she’s not in a good mood, so of course she takes it out on Luka. Pratt calms Mary while asking her questions, and he perks up when he learns what neighborhood she lives in.

Abby tells Carter about Ruby’s condition, but Carter doesn’t want to get involved in his case. Abby talks him into it. Ruby’s not happy about that, and it just gets worse when he realizes that Carter doesn’t remember him or his wife, Helen. Ruby says he knew that she didn’t have much time left, but he’s upset that Carter put her through everything he did. He refuses to let Carter examine him until Abby tells him it’s necessary.

After the examination, Haleh comments to Carter that Ruby is more of a handful than he was all those years ago. She doesn’t think Carter should spend too much time worrying about what happened back then, since he was just a student. Susan passes through the ER, trying to get out and go home without getting bugged, but Jerry tells her that a meeting she’s supposed to attend got moved to 3:30. She just worked a night shift and doesn’t want to hang around that long.

Carter looks up Helen’s chart in the hospital’s records department while Kayson examines Ruby and determines that he needs surgery for a narrowed heart valve. Kayson is the first doctor to gain Ruby’s respect, though he’s warmed a little toward Abby. She clarifies that he understands the risks of having heart surgery at the age of 85. He might not be a good candidate, and he needs to consider all his options. Ruby calls her “doll” and dismisses her concerns, since she’s not the one who can fix his heart. Okay, maybe he hasn’t warmed toward her after all.

Abby talks to Carter and Kayson about Ruby’s shaky health, which she thinks should rule him out as a good surgical candidate. Kayson, of course, doesn’t value her opinion. She reminds him that Ruby gets to make the decision here. Carter defends her attempts to advocate for her patient, but Kayson is still dismissive. He’s the surgeon, so he makes decisions about surgery.

Pratt has called Olivia in to talk to Mary, since her neighborhood is one that Ceasefire serves. Olivia’s surprised that Pratt was able to find some hope in Mary’s situation. Then again, she knows that he’ll take advantage of any excuse to spend time with her. He asks her to have dinner with him, supposedly so she can teach him about domestic violence counseling. She agrees to meet him at her office that evening.

Birdie and Rebecca are back in the ER, this time because Birdie’s sick. Ray thinks she has a lung infection, but Birdie says that when she came in a week ago, Abby didn’t mention anything about that. As Anspaugh is explaining Ruby’s condition and the surgery to him, Abby interrupts to ask if they’re really going forward with this. Anspaugh says that it’s the only way to definitively treat Ruby’s condition at this stage. Abby makes an argument against surgery, but Anspaugh seems satisfied that he’s been fully informed of the situation and possible consequences. He’s unhappy that she disagreed with senior staff in front of a patient.

Jake surprises Abby by coming up behind her and covering her eyes, even though he knows she must hate that. Nice. What does she see in this guy? He’s just returned from a trip to San Francisco to check out a hospital he might work at after he’s done with med school. He’s also considering staying at County, which would conveniently allow him to stick close to Abby.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Dirk who crashed while street luging. Pratt and Luka seem impressed, while Sam is like, “Congratulations, you’re an idiot.” He might have a spinal injury. While Abby’s trying to talk to Carter about Ruby, Ray tells them that Birdie and Rebecca are back. Carter thinks he can discharge Birdie, since she has family who can help take care of her, but Abby objects. Carter defers to her and tells Ray to call a social worker, since the sisters are panhandlers.

Abby finally gets to tell Carter that she doesn’t think Ruby has been fully informed of his options. Carter says she should talk to him, then, but she knows he won’t listen to her. Carter isn’t fully listening (to be fair, the lure of ordering Girl Scout cookies is hard to resist), and Abby calls him on it. She insists that he talk to Ruby, no matter what happened with them in the past. He tells her that this is an obstacle she’ll face as a doctor – trying to get through to a patient who doesn’t want a young, female doctor. If she can’t succeed with Ruby, she should move on.

Jerry wakes Susan from a nap she wasn’t really able to take before her meeting. She checks in on Pratt, Luka, Ray, and Sam, who are sawing through Dirk’s helmet to remove it. She then goes to her meeting, which is Morris’ presentation about why he should be chief resident. There are slides. No way is Susan going to stay awake the whole time.

Ray catches Birdie and Rebecca trying to leave before a social worker can talk to them. They tell him it’s important for them to leave now so they can be near the El during rush hour. They offer to write a note so he doesn’t get in trouble for not being able to keep them around. They’re kind of awesome. Ray lies that his boss is mad at him for letting too many patients go. He’s at risk of being demoted and sent to work in the morgue. Birdie and Rebecca see through his story but admire the attempt.

After Dirk is taken away for scans, Luka asks Sam what’s up with her. She’s mad that he seemed to be encouraging Dirk’s dangerous activities. He tells her he wasn’t and she’s overreacting. She throws a couple of towels at him, but instead of the fight escalating, they both start laughing. She apologetically says she’s having a rough day and has a headache. He tells her she can leave early, and if anyone has a problem with that, they can complain to him.

Pratt helps Abby insert a central line in Ruby. Even though they seem to be doing everything right, his heart becomes unstable. Morris pitches a scheduling system that has something to do with circadian rhythms. Carter gets a page and claims he has to go help in the ER (Susan doesn’t believe him). Birdie and Rebecca’s niece, Shelley, arrives and tells Ray that she’s been trying to get them to move in with her. They value their independence too much to accept her support.

Carter’s page was real, and he rushes to help Abby, Pratt, and Haleh stabilize Ruby. Pratt notes that if he can’t tolerate a central line, he won’t survive heart surgery. Abby says he wants it, which Pratt doesn’t think is a good enough reason. Weaver is okay with naming Morris chief resident, especially since it’s better and easier than hiring someone from the outside. Susan notes that Weaver came from the outside. Luka joins them, agreeing with Susan that Morris would be a bad choice. He tries to get Carter on his side, but Carter has enough on his plate and is staying out of this.

Thanks to Ruby’s instability, as well as a broken rib and complications he suffered while receiving chest compressions, his surgery has been postponed. Abby’s a little smug about it, but honestly, I think she should be. Pratt goes to Ceasefire, where Olivia’s leading a community development meeting. She puts him on the spot, making him talk about jobs in health care.

Luka tries to chat with a woman with five kids, none of whom seems to have ever sat still for more than a minute at a time. Sam teases him a little before leaving for the night. Something’s definitely up with her, as her mood goes south as soon as she leaves him. In the ambulance bay, Carter tells Abby what happened with Helen years ago. He felt pressured to move her along, so he had her dumped in a nursing home. Abby doesn’t think it’s that big a deal, since they dump patients in other departments all the time. Carter admits that he told Ruby what he wanted to hear about his wife instead of the truth.

As a student, Carter wanted everyone to like him, but he also wanted to impress his superiors. Abby gets that. Plus, Carter’s orders to get rid of Helen came from the chief of surgery, so he had no choice but to comply. When Helen died a few days later, Ruby was surprised. Carter tries to push responsibility off on his attending, since he didn’t have any authority as a student.

Pratt chats with some attendees after the meeting, and one asks if he’s related to Charlie Pratt, a parks and rec employee. Pratt says no. (He’s lying, and we’ll meet Charlie in a few episodes.) Olivia’s pleased that he finally came to see what her work is like, and she’s going to reward him for being a good sport by having dinner with him. Now, though, he’s not in the mood.

The thing on Sam’s mind is her period, it seems, because she goes to a drugstore to buy a pregnancy test. The clerk who rings her up makes an “isn’t this exciting!” face. Sam makes an “I could kill you with my bare hands right now” face. Carter catches Ray leaving early and busts him for letting Birdie and Rebecca go without speaking to a social worker. He doesn’t think sending them home with Shelley is good enough. Ray hasn’t done everything he’s supposed to, and he hasn’t told Carter enough about his patients for Carter, the attending, to be responsible for everything he’s supposed to.

A light bulb goes off in Carter’s head and he goes to Ruby’s room. All he says is that he’s sorry. Ruby can’t believe that Carter’s still working at County almost ten years after Helen’s death, and he didn’t even remember her. Carter says he made mistakes with both Helen and Ruby. Ruby knows, and he regrets bringing his wife there. He scoffs when Carter says he tried.

Carter notes that he wasn’t experienced, and the situation became more complicated than he was equipped to handle. “All you had to be was a human being,” Ruby says. Carter lied to him and Ruby believed him. Then he lost the woman he loved. Carter sits down by his bed and tells him that while his condition can be fixed with surgery, it might not be his best option. His chances of fully recovering are small, and there’s a big possibility that he’ll never leave the hospital. Without surgery, he won’t get better, but he’ll have more time with his loved ones. Carter lied about Helen all those years ago, but he’s not lying now.

Thoughts: Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

Katie Mitchell, who plays Shelley, is married to Michael B. Silver, who plays Myers.

This was Red Buttons’ (Ruby) last action role, and it looks like he’d basically retired a few years before this, so it’s nice that he came back for one of Noah Wyle’s last episodes as the star of the show.

Birdie thinks Abby looks like a young Patty Duke. She’s absolutely right.

September 6, 2022

ER 11.17, Back in the World: Keep Moving Forward

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

I’m Steve now. You’re welcome

Summary: Kirk has returned to the ER and is asking for Neela. She’s supposed to be done with her shift, but Abby tells her to tend to him first. Pratt asks if Neela’s talked to Gallant since she helped arrange for Jamila to be treated at County. Pratt insists on talking to Gallant the next time he’s in touch, since Neela didn’t give him the chance during their previous phone call.

He takes an interest in a woman named Olivia who’s talking to a patient who came in with a minor stab wound. Even though someone has already taken care of the patient, Pratt gets involved in the case so he has an excuse to talk to Olivia. She’s with a group called Ceasefire that tries to prevent violence. She’s surprised Pratt hasn’t heard of it, since County sees so many shooting victims. Pratt just gets to take advantage of another excuse to try to talk to her more. She’s not interested.

Sam gets stuck in traffic while driving Alex to school. He tells her that Steve (who never returned after “Drive”) wrote him a letter and claims he’s coming to visit soon. Sam tries to gently remind Alex that Steve often makes promises that he doesn’t keep. Neela agrees to examine Kirk again even though she’s never found a major problem with him. Dubenko tells her that Jamila has arrived, and he’d like to talk to Gallant. Neela’s shocked to learn that Gallant came to Chicago with Jamila.

Carter’s finally using his family’s fortune for health care: He’s making plans to build a clinic. He’s working with County, and Anspaugh and Weaver are directly involved. Everything seems like it’s going great, but Carter’s disappointed that an HIV/AIDS care plan has been scrapped. He doesn’t care if it’s too hard to staff that part of the clinic – he won’t sign off on pretty grounds and a restaurant if it means patients with HIV and AIDS can’t get the treatment they need.

Paramedics bring in a 12-year-old named Victor who has a gunshot wound. He explains that he had a gun in his pocket for protection and it accidentally went off. Neela leaves Gallant a message, wanting to know if he’s really in Chicago. Abby busts her for ditching Kirk, but Neela thinks this is more important. She lies that she knew Gallant was coming. She admits that she has feelings for him, though she’s not sure how they developed when they’ve only spoken once in the past year. Their letters were all “speculative,” so nothing could have formed there.

Neela confides that she’s furious that Gallant came back to Chicago and didn’t reach out to her. But she also feels like she’s fooled herself into thinking he would want to get in touch. Abby’s like, “I don’t think you need my input on this conversation you’re having with yourself.” Neela wonders if she’s pathetic for making up a love life she doesn’t really have. Abby thinks it makes sense that her friendship with Gallant led to romantic feelings.

Gallant goes to see Jackson’s family and give his daughter the llama he bought her. Back at County, Pratt notices a scar on Victor’s stomach. Apparently he’s been shot before. His mother, Mrs. Hopkins, arrives and isn’t surprised to hear that Victor had a gun on him. She reminds him that she told him to keep the safety on.

Sam explains to Susan that Victor is an “aspiring vigilante.” His mother gave him the gun. Time for a social worker to get involved! Susan tells Sam that someone called for her, sounding agitated. She got a similar call the day before. Sam thinks it was a patient she took care of last week and there’s nothing to worry about. Luka overhears and suspects she’s keeping something from him.

Neela tries to keep her cool while talking to Kirk, who doesn’t seem to want to accept that he has a muscle spasm and won’t heal overnight. He keeps coming back because he believes in Neela and thinks she can fix him. She agrees to do a full exam, during which she discovers that he’s wearing a unitard under his clothes. She tells him to change into a gown, but he says he can’t. His wife used to call him Clark, like Clark Kent. She said she saw through his facade to his “secret strength.” She died a few months ago. Now he wears a superhero unitard on bad days to make him feel better.

Sam tells Luka that she thinks Steve is the one who’s been calling her. She doesn’t want to run away again, and she also doesn’t want Luka to take this on, since it’s her problem. He corrects that it’s their problem. Pratt presents Victor’s case to Carter, and the two learn more about his problems. He insulted a classmate who shot him on his way home from school last year. The shooter only spent a few months in juvie and is now back at school. Mrs. Hopkins didn’t know what to do to protect her son, so she gave him a gun.

As Neela hands off all her cases to Luka so she can leave, Carter starts talking to Haleh and Lily about Gallant’s rumored return to the States. The nurses think he went to Texas to visit his parents. Once she’s done with her shift, Neela goes out to the roach coach to get her usual daily order. She spots Gallant coming over from the El and runs into his arms. Just friends, eh?

They go to popular County hangout Ike’s to talk about why Gallant didn’t tell Neela he was in Chicago. He says he was only at County briefly because he had to go do something. He came back to see her. He thought it would be easier to leave without seeing her, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. She tells him everyone wanted him to visit, but he feels strange “being back in the world.” He doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions about what it’s like in Iraq.

Neela asks how long he can stay. Gallant has to fly back in the morning, since he was only given enough time to get Jamila settled. Frank calls to bug Neela about a chart, but she brushes him off. She asks Gallant about a scar on his forehead, which he says wasn’t from anything major. She ignores a page as he tells her about going to see Jackson’s family. It hurt him to have to show up in uniform because he knows Jackson’s wife had to get the news about his death from men in uniform.

Kirk won’t leave County and won’t listen when Abby tells him that Neela’s gone for the day. She decides to track Neela down and make her deal with him. Steve shows up and Luka intercepts him before he can see Sam. Pratt asks Olivia to talk to Victor, hoping she can work her anti-violence magic on him and get him off that path before he goes too far down it.

Neela and Gallant play pool and flirt until Abby shows up. She changes her mind about getting Neela to deal with Kirk, since Neela’s having a good time. Olivia talks to Victor and Mrs. Hopkins, trying to convince the boy that he can be tough by staying away from trouble instead of getting in the middle of it. Maybe one day he can be the president and fix schools so kids don’t have to live in fear. Victor wants to be a pilot instead, but either way, he’ll need to stay out of trouble.

He doesn’t know how to avoid bad kids since they follow him around. Olivia volunteers Pratt to walk him to school for a week. Pratt objects, but you know he’ll go along with this if it means Olivia might go out with him. She tells Victor that if he gives up his gun, she’ll have someone walk him both to and from school every day after that. Each week, that someone will be bigger and scarier.

Steve insists on seeing Sam, and Luka struggles to keep him calm until she’s available. As Victor’s being taken up for surgery, Sam examines him and finds that he has some tingling in one of his legs. She looks at his x-rays and sees that the bullet is missing a chip. Ray wants to keep things moving, but Sam’s worried that they’ll be operating in the wrong place. Ray protests, so Sam sends him to talk to Carter. She spots Luka with Steve and almost walks away, then goes to talk to her ex on her own.

She tells Steve that her relationship with Luka is serious, and he claims to be glad that it’s working out for her. He asks if anyone’s called or come looking for him. It’s nothing big; he just owes someone money. He asks to borrow some from Sam so he can take Alex on a short trip. After that, he may not see Alex for a while. Sam reminds him that Alex has school. Steve doubts he’ll miss much, since he’s in the third grade. She tells him that Alex is in the fifth grade. She won’t agree to the trip, and surprisingly, Steve backs down. She offers to let him see Alex (with her present), but Steve says he needs to get going. She also agrees to give him money.

Gallant and Neela discuss her struggles to adjust to her role as an intern. She’s trying to figure out who she is after being seen a certain way for so long. He tells her she can be someone different if she wants. At County, Frank tells Luka that he got bad vibes from Steve and had a detective friend look him up. There’s a warrant out for his arrest in Colorado.

Luka approaches Sam to discuss that with her, but she rushes off to make sure Ray did what she told him to. He did, and Sam was right about a bullet fragment being in an artery. He and Pratt both praise her for making a good catch. She returns to Luka, who tells her that Steve committed a robbery and someone got hurt, so he’s in a lot of trouble. Luka wants to call the police, but Sam won’t send her son’s father to prison.

Susan bugs Sam to work a few hours of overtime, refusing to take no for an answer. People have lives, Susan. It’s not her fault you’re short-handed. Luka tells Sam he’ll go home and relieve Alex’s sitter. Susan wants to emerge from her baby cocoon and have more of a social life, so she invites Carter to bring Wendall over for dinner with her and Chuck. Carter accepts the invitation but declines for Wendall, who stopped talking to him after Kem’s phone call. He admits that he feels like he’s “fallen off the tracks” and hasn’t been able to get back on.

Olivia asks Pratt to call her office after Victor’s surgery and let her know how he’s doing. She also fully intends to make him walk Victor to school for a week. Pratt complains that he’s busy, but she won’t accept that as an excuse. Stopping violence is like containing an epidemic with vaccines and medication. Ceasefire reacts to every shooting, even ones where there are no injuries, and arranges a neighborhood response any time a gun is fired. If they stigmatize violence, death rates will drop. It’s working, and she invites Pratt to come by the organization and see for himself.

Neela takes Gallant to her and Ray’s apartment so they can change clothes and then go to dinner. Meanwhile, Luka goes home and catches Steve about to leave with a bunch of his and Sam’s stuff. Alex let him in, and Steve sent the sitter home, then robbed the place. Luka tells him to put everything back. Steve argues that he gets to take back things he gave Sam. Luka decides not to fight him and just go inside.

Steve stops him, and though Luka warns him not to start anything, Steve hits him. Alex comes out just in time to see Steve and Luka fighting. He has a bag with him and says Steve is taking him on a beach trip. He thinks Sam told Steve it was okay. Luka tries to send Alex back inside, but Steve reminds him that Alex isn’t his kid. Luka quietly tells Steve he’s not going anywhere with Alex, and he shouldn’t want to, considering the trouble Steve is in. Steve tells Alex to go back in; they’ll take their trip another time. Aww, now Luka looks like the bad guy.

Neela and Gallant both get changed, and though he’s just wearing a T-shirt and jeans, she’s put on a nice dress. As she turns off the lights to leave, he catches her arm to make her stop. They start kissing and their new outfits quickly come off. Pratt will be soooooo happy that Neela finally got some, since that’s what he’s been wanting for her for a while.

Later that night, while Neela’s asleep, Gallant writes a letter. She wakes up as he gets back in bed and asks about the wound on his arm that was still bandaged when we first joined him in Iraq. He tells her that he had to run into a firefight to get to a patient. He never expected to be in the middle of combat. That firefight is also how he got the scar on his forehead. He wound up having to shoot an Iraqi soldier to protect himself and his patient. Neela’s desire to be someone different resonates with him because he just wants to go back to who he was. “All we can do is keep moving forward,” she says.

The next morning, they go to County to see Jamila before Gallant has to fly back to Iraq. Neela gets paged to the ER, but Gallant doesn’t want to go with her; he says it’s because he doesn’t have time to talk to everyone, but he obviously doesn’t feel comfortable doing it. She’s been paged to help take care of Kirk, whose back pain was actually a rare symptom of a heart problem. She feels horrible for missing it, but it sounds like it’s a hard symptom to catch.

Sam tries to talk to Alex, who’s angry that she wouldn’t let him go off with Steve. She tells him that she, Alex, and Luka are a team now, and Luka had to make a decision last night. He made the one that was best for Alex. Sam assures Alex that it’s okay for him to feel sad. He starts to let out his sadness, and instead of pushing her away, he hugs her.

Neela asks Chuny to call the burn unit so she can let Gallant know she’s been pulled into a trauma. She doesn’t have time, though, and she declines when Abby offers to take over for her. Gallant comes by the trauma room, so Pratt ducks out to talk to him. Gallant has to leave to catch his plane, but he gives Pratt a letter to give to Neela. She’s not supposed to open it unless something happens to him. Pratt says nothing will, but Gallant wants her to have it just in case.

Neela moves with the trauma team as they rush Kirk out of the ER and into an elevator. She and Gallant don’t have time to say goodbye to each other, but they’re able to exchange looks that say how much they’ll miss each other. Luka drives Alex to school, though Alex won’t talk to him. That night, Neela puts Gallant’s letter in a box where she’ll hopefully never have to get it back out. Gallant returns to his camp in Iraq with his own envelope from Neela. She gave him a piece of her jewelry to remind him of her. They both meet medevac helicopters, doing similar jobs in very different places, still thinking of each other.

Thoughts: Steve is now being played by Garret Dillahunt (who I like a lot better in the role). Mrs. Hopkins is played by Adina Porter.

If Neela thinks she only made up a possible relationship with Gallant, County staff is feeding that delusion. Throughout the whole first half of the episode, everyone asks her if she’s seen him.

I want to hug Kirk. What a sweet guy.