June 29, 2021

ER 8.21, On the Beach: I Will Try to Fix You

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

If you need to grab some tissues, I won’t make fun of you

Summary: We last saw Mark passing the torch to Carter, and we know he died sometime after that, but what happened in the time between? Let’s find out! We go with Mark as he leaves County for the last time and endures a crowded El ride home. He watches a father with his young daughter in his lap. At home, he checks in on Rachel, who’s already asleep.

He himself can’t sleep, and Elizabeth finds him in the kitchen in the middle of the night. He’s making a list of things he always wanted to do (sail around the world, play third base for the Cubs and win the World Series, start a rock band). The only thing on the list he could reasonably do right now is have noisy sex in a public place. (Elizabeth is willing to participate.)

Mark gets a little down as the list runs to things he’d like to do with his daughters as they grow up. He says he hasn’t been a very good father. When Rachel needed him growing up, he was hundreds of miles away. The last item on his bucket list is “fix Rachel.” Well, she’s probably halfway to fixed after what happened with Ella, but I don’t think he can finish the job now.

The next day, Mark picks Rachel up after school, offering her a mint since she was totally smoking a cigarette and NOT holding it for a friend. Rachel, no one in the history of parents has ever believed that lie. He tells her they’re going somewhere, but he doesn’t know where. They end up in Hawaii, where Mark sky-dives while Rachel watches from the ground. A local guy asks her if her father’s having a midlife crisis. “Something like that,” she replies.

Mark is up early the next morning for a swim. Then he wakes Rachel up for what he calls a history lesson – a lesson about his history. In their rental Jeep, she complains about the music he’s playing, and he seems surprised that she doesn’t like Todd Rundgren. She’s probably never even heard of him, Mark. He points out places he used to see all the time growing up, like the Arizona memorial. He loved living in Hawaii.

They visit the Naval base where Mark lived as he talks about what he and his friends did. The Greenes lived there for three years, the longest time they ever stayed in one place. His first job was at the pool, as a junior janitor. He only made $1.25 an hour, but it was enough to buy records and weed. Rachel’s surprised that her father smoked pot as a teenager.

Next they go see the Missouri and Mark talks about being allowed to visit his father’s warship sometimes. David would introduce Mark to all the other sailors and show him the helm. He was about Rachel’s age. She wonders why Mark didn’t join the Navy. Mark admits that he was mad at David for never being around. They fought a lot, about everything – Mark’s clothes and friends and haircut (yes, he had hair). David resented Mark’s politics, and Mark hated David’s, so he would provoke him. Mark didn’t like the idea of devoting his life to patriotism and honor, like David did. He wishes he could take it all back.

Mark thinks David was hard on him because he was worried. He thought Mark was making bad choices. Mark was more into girls and Bruce Lee movies and surfing than the things David thought were important. Rachel’s surprised again by one of her father’s childhood interests. They go to the beach so he can give her a surfing lesson. She does pretty well for a first-timer.

That night, the reality of the situation hits Rachel and she gets emotional. She goes to talk to Mark, who’s asleep outside their hotel room. (Is that a lanai? I think it’s called a lanai.) She sneaks a pill from one of his prescriptions and a mini-bottle of booze. Oh, Rachel. She doesn’t realize that Mark has woken up and sees her take a drink.

The next day, the two head to a rental house. Rachel’s annoyed with her father and refuses to listen to his music choice, “Imagine.” She’s also annoyed with the new accommodations, specifically the lack of TV in her room or a swimming pool. He tells her they had to move to a new place because the hotel was getting too expensive – especially the mini-bar charges. Busted! Rachel asks what they’re supposed to do in this new place without all the fancy hotel amenities. I don’t know, Rachel – what is there to do in Hawaii, a place many people would love to visit? Forget what I said about her being halfway fixed.

Rachel gives Mark the silent treatment at dinner that night, but the next day, she’s a little more reasonable. Mark had teaching her to drive on his bucket list, even though she’s too young, so he takes her out in the Jeep. She struggles with the stick shift and wants to try an automatic instead, but Mark thinks it’s better to start with the harder method. He won’t let her quit just because it’s hard.

That afternoon, Rachel invites Mark to go to the beach with her, but he’s taking a nap. When he wakes up, he keeps his face turned from her so she doesn’t see the patch he has to wear over one eye, since it won’t stay closed. It looks like one of his arms isn’t working as well as the other, too. He meets her on the beach and asks what kind of music she’s listening to through her headphones. She says he wouldn’t like it.

Mark turns off her music and asks her when she started getting high. Rachel lies that she doesn’t use drugs, but Mark, who was stoned for most of the eighth grade, knows the signs. He asks if she knows what happened to three of his Vicodin. She suggests that he forgot he took them. GIRL. NO. Mark asks what else she’s using. Rachel gets huffy because her father doesn’t believe that she doesn’t use drugs, even though she once brought ecstasy into his house. Take her home, Mark. She doesn’t deserve a Hawaiian vacation.

Rachel runs away, but Mark chases after her and admits that he doesn’t know what to do with her. He doesn’t have time to work out everything that’s gone wrong with them. He feels horrible that Rachel had to grow up without her father, who then got remarried and had a new baby. She was also stuck with Jen as a mom, which…enough said. It makes sense that Rachel would want to get high. But when Mark’s gone, what will she do? Who will keep her from killing herself? Mark admits that he’s scared about what will happen to Rachel after he dies. He gets that it sucks for her – it sucks for him, too. Rachel still won’t talk to him.

Walking home after some more surfing, Mark suddenly collapses and starts seizing. This is what sparks Rachel to call Elizabeth, as we saw in “Brothers and Sisters.” Elizabeth brings Ella to Hawaii, where Mark and Rachel have moved into a big rental house with a beautiful view of the beach. He spotted a rental sign while driving around and decided to shell out the money for it, since…you know, he’s going to die anyway. Might as well live it up first.

Elizabeth tells Mark that Rachel was terrified when she witnessed his seizure. He hasn’t seen a doctor; he just started taking more of his anti-seizure medication. Elizabeth thinks he should have a CAT scan and a full workup. Mark doesn’t see the point. She tries to talk him into going back to Chicago, but Mark says he doesn’t want to go home. He knows his time is limited, and he wants to die somewhere beautiful.

Mark agrees to buy Rachel a surfboard she’s never going to use since there’s no ocean in Missouri. Elizabeth asks if Rachel, who has her headphones on and is ignoring them, has been distant the whole trip. Yes, Elizabeth, she’s been her normal self. When they go into a surf shop to get a board, it becomes clear that that’s not really the purpose of the visit. Rachel has a crush on a guy who works there, Kai, and just wanted an excuse to see him.

Back at home, Rachel listens in as Mark sings Ella to sleep with “Over the Rainbow.” He needs Rachel’s help to get up from his rocking chair. He tells Rachel she made him sing that song to her for years when she was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid. Rachel doesn’t remember that, or at least pretends not to. She doesn’t think it’s important anyway. Things from her childhood and Mark’s family are just boring and useless. She doesn’t care about them and doesn’t want to hear about them.

Rachel’s tantrum and slamming of the door on her way out of the house wake Ella, so Mark volunteers to put her back down for her nap. Meanwhile, Elizabeth follows Rachel to the beach and asks her how long she plans on acting like a brat. Mark isn’t perfect, but he’s trying to make things up to her. Rachel will have to grow up fast; she can’t act like a child anymore. If she keeps being a brat, she’ll miss the last little bit of time she has with her father. This is her last chance. If she blows it, she’ll hate herself for the rest of her life.

Mark takes a nap, and when he wakes up, he finds that the weakness in his limbs is getting worse. He’s barely able to stand up, and when he tries to take a step, he falls on the floor. He slams the ground and says a word that starts with S that isn’t usually allowed on network TV, which means the show either paid off Standards and Practices or paid a big FCC fine to let that get through. (It must be a lifetime allowance, because I watched this on Pop and they allow the word, too.)

Elizabeth helps Mark down to the beach, still bugging him about seeing a doctor. He still doesn’t see the point. Rachel’s off somewhere with Kai, and Mark is okay with it, since Kai’s a nice kid. Elizabeth is surprised he’s not worried about what the two might be doing together. Mark tells her he wants to write letters to Rachel and Ella. He tried to do it himself, but his handwriting has gotten bad because of his limb problems, so he needs Elizabeth’s help.

He’ll write letters the girls can open on special occasions, like graduations and wedding days. He wonders if it’ll be cruel to remind them of his death on what should be happy days, but Elizabeth is sure they’ll love the messages. She’s fighting back tears, but she wants to help him with the letters, no matter how hard they might be to write.

Rachel gets home after Mark’s asleep and addresses her father’s decline in health for the first time. Elizabeth tells her he doesn’t have much time left. Rachel goes up to Mark’s room, and he wakes up and tells her he was just dreaming about her. He remembers how she used to love balloons. When he bought them for her, she would let them go. He asks her to sit with him.

Mark says he was trying to figure out the things he should have told Rachel already – the things fathers should say to their daughters. He finally decided to tell her to be generous in everything. Her time, her love, her life. He asks her not to cry for him after he dies. Rachel says she won’t. Mark says again that she should always be generous. As he falls asleep, she tells him she remembers him singing “Over the Rainbow” to her. She puts her headphones on him and plays him Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s beautiful version of the song.

The next morning, Elizabeth is up early, playing on the beach with Ella. Mark is still listening to the song, imagining himself in the empty ER. Elizabeth watches Rachel and Kai in the water together. Mark imagines approaching them under a tree, then sees Elizabeth and Ella smiling together. When Elizabeth goes to check on him, he’s dead.

Mark’s family and friends hold his funeral back in Chicago. All his ER co-workers are in attendance, as well as some former colleagues like Benton, Cleo, and Swift. Jen’s there, too, but who cares about Jen? After the service, riding off in a limo, Rachel asks Elizabeth if she can visit Ella at Christmas and on summer break. Elizabeth tells her that of course she can. Rachel asks the driver to pull over at a house with balloons tied to a for-sale sign. She gets out of the limo, unties one of the balloons, and lets it go.

Thoughts: Ella is played (I think just in this episode) by Alex Kingston’s (Elizabeth) real daughter, Salome.

George Clooney declined to appear at the funeral because he didn’t want to distract from the point of the episode, which was Anthony Edwards’ farewell (the same reason he didn’t want his return in “Such Sweet Sorrow” to distract from Julianna Margulies’ goodbye episode). We’ll pretend Doug and Carol were there and we just didn’t see them.

Confession time: When I first watched this episode during the original run, I teared up a little at the end, when Rachel releases the balloon. When I’ve watched it since then, I’ve been fine. This time, for some reason, I started crying around when Mark asked Elizabeth to help him with the letters, and I didn’t stop until the end. So if you cried watching this episode, you’re not alone.

’00s music alert: “Crawling in the Dark” by Hoobastank

Goodbye, Anthony Edwards. You must have left a loooooot of money on the table by leaving.

June 1, 2021

ER 8.17, Bygones: If Your Husband’s Dying, It’s Time to Stop Fighting

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

This is Mark’s “oh, crap, something’s wrong” face

Summary: Let’s check in on Elizabeth, shall we? Ever since Rachel accidentally almost killed Ella, Elizabeth and Ella have been staying in a hotel. It doesn’t look fun, and Elizabeth doesn’t look happy. While Mark shaves at home, cutting himself, Elizabeth does a puzzle with Ella until the nanny arrives. Elizabeth’s trying to get Ella to say “mama,” but Ella isn’t cooperating. Rachel is keeping up her new personality, doing her homework and getting ready for school on time. On the way to work, Elizabeth spots Mark leaving the El station and stays back so he won’t see her.

At County, Romano tells Elizabeth that since she hasn’t gone down to the ER all month, she’s on trauma call this week instead of catching up on elective surgeries. Mark examines a woman named Joanne who started feeling sick while bird-watching. Her husband, Paul, thinks she had a panic attack, but Joanne objects. She asks Mark to find a place to hold on to some eggs they found that may be about to hatch.

Jerry offers the staff some vegan brownies from his sister’s new baking business. You may be shocked to learn that they’re not very popular among this crowd. Gallant’s wearing his military uniform since he just attended a recruitment breakfast. He didn’t get any potential soldiers, but he did get a college student’s phone number. Mark’s like, “I have something else for you – these eggs.” Yes, I want to be treated by the intern who’s carrying around a nest of eggs all day like a crazy person!

Weaver issues some orders as everyone gets started with the day’s work. Susan offers Mark a vegan cookie, but he knows he’ll just throw it up later (and not because of the ingredients). Abby apologetically tells Jerry, “There’s something to be said for animal fat.” Elizabeth comes down as a man comes to the admit desk, looking very sad. He doesn’t talk, but Chen sees that his jacket is embroidered with his name, Martin.

She has Malik take him to an exam area so she can deal with a woman being brought in with burns from a school fire. A firefighter tells Weaver that the fire is massive enough that all engines in the area are dealing with it, so they should prepare for a bunch more patients. On top of that, Weaver has a patient with stab wounds.

Abby’s still working the night shift and is still staying at Luka’s. Carter offers her a room at his family’s mansion, in case she wants better accommodations. Susan overhears and asks Carter if he’s made any progress in getting together with Abby. (Clearly not.) She bumps into Elizabeth, who doesn’t appear to know that Susan has been hanging out with Mark so much.

While Gallant looks for a baby warmer for the eggs, Elizabeth joins Mark and Weaver to treat the stabbing victim, Diana. She’s a college student who was attacked in her bed. The friend who found her, Shelly, says she didn’t see anything and doesn’t know who would attack Diana. Susan comes in during the trauma to remind Mark that he’s supposed to be somewhere. Mark asks her to have his appointment changed. Shelly passes out, so Weaver goes to take care of her, leaving Mark and Elizabeth behind to treat Diana together. They stay polite and professional.

Carter tries to make conversation with Martin, who still isn’t talking. Carter doesn’t think this is an emergency that should be dealt with in the ER, but Chen can’t help feeling like there’s something off with him, so she wants to help. They determine that Martin isn’t deaf, so his inability to speak isn’t connected to his hearing. Chen asks him to write down what’s wrong with him.

Elizabeth and Romano operate on Diana as he berates Elizabeth for taking too long in the trauma room before bringing her to the OR. He asks if she and Mark are still fighting, and if their separation is temporary or permanent. He advises her to “stay away from love – it does things to the brain.” Diana starts declining, so maybe Romano should pay more attention to her than Elizabeth.

Mark tells Joanne that she has extensive liver damage. She realizes that some foraged mushrooms she recently ate must have poisoned her. If they can’t come up with a successful treatment option, she may need a liver transplant. A second stabbing victim comes in, making Chen worry that they’re looking at a killing spree. Lily comes in to tell Weaver that a wall collapsed at the school that’s on fire, injuring some firefighters. Chen spots Martin outside the trauma room and asks Lily to take him back to his exam area. Weaver’s patient, the second stabbing victim, is able to whisper to Weaver, “I loved her.”

Elizabeth runs into Stan on her way back to the ER, where Susan is giving Mark some eye drops. Elizabeth asks about charges on her and Mark’s credit card from New York. He lies that he ordered something over the phone. Joanne’s sister, Terry, arrives so they can find out if she’s a match to possibly donate part of her liver to Joanne. Terry’s a college basketball player whose team has made it to the playoffs, and that’s more important to her than saving her sister. Elizabeth is okay with putting the brakes on the discussion until they know more.

Weaver finds Shelly in the second stabbing victim’s trauma room, where the victim is hooked up to a ventilator. Shelly IDs her as Renee, Diana’s roommate. The two aren’t close; in fact, Diana’s moving out in a few weeks to live with Shelly. Weaver gives Shelly the sad news that Diana didn’t survive. Chen tells Martin that she called his house and heard his voice on his answering machine, so she knows he can talk. He gives her his hat, and she gets that he’s trying to tell her something, but she can’t figure it out.

Elizabeth tells Terry that they can try some treatments for Joanne, but a transplant would completely cure her, so that’s the best option. Terry guesses that she’s a match. She doesn’t want to take on the risk of undergoing surgery, and she doesn’t want to sit out the rest of the season (her last, since she’s a senior). She asks if Joanne can wait a month for surgery. Elizabeth says that’s not a good idea. Terry asks what they would do if Joanne didn’t have a family match. She’d have to go on a waiting list for an unrelated donor. Elizabeth thinks Joanne would donate if she were Terry, but Terry disagrees.

The conversation is interrupted when a car comes speeding into the ambulance bay and crashes into the roach coach. Charlie, the guy who runs the cart, takes a hit and suffers burns from some hot water. The people in the speeding car bring in a boy named Viktor who almost drowned in the bathtub. Mark wonders why Viktor’s parents, the Evanses, brought his doctor with them instead of just bringing him straight to the ER. They also didn’t try to resuscitate him.

Weaver and Elizabeth are tending to Charlie when Ella’s nanny shows up in the ER with her. Mark questions Viktor’s doctor, Felicia, who calls herself a “socialization therapist.” She takes a call from another patient, so Mark sends her into the hallway. As she leaves, he spots Elizabeth with Ella and the nanny. Fortunately, they’re there for a good reason, not an emergency: Ella said her first word, and the nanny wanted to bring her to her parents. Despite Elizabeth’s efforts to make “mama” Ella’s first word, she said “dada.”

Mr. Evans explains to Mark that they were playing a bonding game with Viktor. The bath was supposed to recreate the womb. Mark isn’t clear on how dunking a kid in water bonds him to his parents. Elizabeth sends him to the hallway to see Ella, then returns to Charlie, who good-naturedly complains about having Weaver as his doctor since she never buys from the roach coach. Haleh tells Weaver that Renee’s mother has arrived. Weaver asks if there’s any news on the firefighters at the school, which, of course, means she wants news on one specific firefighter.

She talks to Renee’s mother about her condition, which is stable but uncertain. Renee’s mother is sad to hear that Diana died. Weaver asks about Renee’s moods and behavior recently, but her mother doesn’t think that’s relevant, since Renee’s a victim here. Weaver reveals that Diana had defensive wounds on her arms from trying to fight her attacker, but Renee doesn’t. Her mother insists that Renee didn’t hurt Diana and definitely didn’t hurt herself. She thinks Diana and Renee were best friends.

Mark tells the Evanses that Viktor’s stable but on a ventilator. They’ll need to speak with a social worker. Mr. Evans tells Mark that they adopted Viktor from Prague last year, and he hasn’t connected with them yet, so they brought in Felicia. Mark coolly says that they put Viktor in danger; if they needed counseling, they should have gone to a real counselor.

Later, Elizabeth goes looking for Mark, but he’s not in the ER. She asks Susan where Mark is – she knows Susan is covering Mark’s patients, and it’s clear that something’s going on. Susan just tells Elizabeth to talk to Mark. Elizabeth presses her, so Susan tells her to think about what might be going on that Mark might want to protect her from. Elizabeth figures it out and confirms her hunch with a visit to the oncology department, where Mark is receiving chemo. He sees her and realizes his secret’s out.

Back in the ER, Weaver and Carter tend to a firefighter who made it out of the school fire. He tells Weaver that a few firefighters are still in the school, their whereabouts unknown – and Sandy’s one of them. Elizabeth tries to brainstorm treatment options for Mark, but he tells her that even with what he’s already doing, he has ten months left at most. She’s sad that he didn’t tell her the tumor was back, but he doesn’t think she could have helped him. He didn’t expect her to come back and be his wife just because he got sick. I guess he means he didn’t expect her to drop her anger at him and Rachel just because he’s dying.

Chen sent Martin to psych, but I’m not sure how anyone could have helped him there if he still won’t talk. He offers his hat to Chen again, still not getting his message through to her. He puts on a matching scarf, so Chen guesses that someone knit the accessories for him, and something happened to that person. Weaver goes to tend to an uninjured boy from the fire who tells her that the firefighter who saved him was a woman. Weaver asks Jerry to call and find out if all the firefighters have been found.

Carter shows Susan his “box of wonders,” a basin holding all the stuff he’s scoped out of patients’ stomachs. She recognizes one of her pens. Amazingly, it still works. She ditches it when she finds out it was scoped from a different part of the body, not a stomach. Ew, Carter, why would you keep that? Elizabeth tries to gather herself before returning to the surgical floor, where Terry tells her she won’t donate to Joanne. Joanne has always been selfish, so Terry wants to be selfish as well.

Furious, Elizabeth goes to Romano’s office, looking for someone to yell at, but he’s not there. She sits down and cries. When Romano enters, she tries to hide her emotions, then tells him that Mark’s tumor is back. Romano demonstrates sympathy, even trying to justify Mark’s decision not to tell Elizabeth anything; maybe Mark was protecting her. She laments that they haven’t worked out their problems. She says she doesn’t think she can be the strong one again. She doesn’t think Mark expects her to be by his side anyway. Is she supposed to move back home just to watch Mark die? “Yes,” Romano replies softly. After all, they’re married and she loves him.

Adele tells Chen that police found Martin’s mother’s body after an apparent heart attack. She thinks Martin’s inability to speak is a conversion disorder brought on by the trauma of finding her. He has a sister coming in from out of state, and psych has agreed to let Martin stay until she arrives. Adele moves on to the Evanses (busy day for her) while Mark blasts Felicia for her unorthodox methods. She thinks she’s already made progress with Viktor, so…I guess she should be allowed to do whatever she wants.

Viktor wakes up and reaches for his mother’s hand, so Felicia is even more convinced that her methods work. As Adele warns the Evanses that this is abusive behavior and they might not get to keep Viktor, Mark has trouble with his hearing; everything gets echo-y. Haleh notices that something’s wrong with him. Mark decides he needs to cut his shift short, and when Weaver chastises him, he announces that he just had a round of chemo and is going home early.

Luka comes home from a day out and finds Abby looking at apartment listings (and drinking a beer). Luka’s been dating, as we’re about to kick off that weird period in the series where he’s a womanizer. He doesn’t say anything about Abby’s drinking, just asking her if there are more beers in the fridge. Abby, just live there. You and Luka are fun together, even when you’re not dating.

Carter leaves for the night, running into Susan in the ambulance bay. She looks down, like she’s coming to terms with Mark’s impending death. Carter feels bad for accusing her of sleeping with Mark when she really was just trying to help him. Gallant leaves for the night, hiding something under his jacket. Carter and Susan bust him and see that some of the eggs hatched. Aw, ducklings! Susan accidentally breaks an unhatched egg. I hope the ducklings imprint on Gallant. That would be awesome.

Weaver tracks down Sandy, who made it out of the fire completely fine. Weaver wants to talk, but Sandy isn’t interested. Finally Weaver admits that she was worried when Sandy went missing. Sandy was right – kissing Weaver in front of her co-workers did her a favor. She kisses Sandy passionately and the two hug each other.

Elizabeth leaves the hotel and moves back into the house with Ella. As a peace offering, she asks Rachel to look after Ella while she checks on Mark. Rachel has figured out that Mark’s tumor is back but hasn’t said anything to him. Elizabeth prepares herself for another round of taking care of her sick husband, then gets to work. Instead of discussing their problems or Mark’s illness, they just talk about Ella’s first word.

Thought: Mr. Evans is played by Peter Scolari.

I don’t think the writers were implying anything when they made the stabbing storyline about same-sex attraction while also revisiting Weaver’s attraction to Sandy, but the optics certainly don’t look good.

Holidays with Joanne and Terry’s family are going to be REALLY awkward from here on.

I like how Susan handled things with Elizabeth. It was unfair of Mark to put her in a position of keeping secrets from his wife, but Susan found a way to fix that without actually betraying his trust. (Though at this point, Susan betraying his trust is the least of his problems.)

May 18, 2021

ER 8.15, It’s All in Your Head: Yay, It’s Time for Doom and Gloom!

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

Admit it, you wouldn’t be able to resist this

Summary: Mark is in New York, in the waiting room of Dr. Burke’s office, where someone decided it was okay to play the song “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” Hey, person who chooses the music, don’t play that for patients with brain tumors! Burke looks at Mark’s brain scans and determines that his tumor has returned. This time, it’s inoperable.

The tumor will grow and affect Mark’s normal functions like speaking and talking. His only option is gamma knife radiation treatment, which he can have in Chicago, but it’ll only give him four or five months. Burke notes that the original tumor was expected to kill Mark, but instead, he lived long enough to get married and have another child. In other words, he’s dying and just needs to deal with it. Thanks for your help, Burke!

Back at home, Rachel is still on her best behavior, making breakfast for her father. Elizabeth left him a message asking him to bring some of Ella’s things to the hospital when he comes in for his shift. Rachel thinks that Mark went to New York for a conference. He’s set to work a double shift, which can’t be a good idea.

At County, Carter is getting off the night shift and passing patients off to Chen. Chen keeps getting messages from someone named Randall, so Frank offers to handle her possible stalker for her. Jerry and Frank are working together for the first time, and it doesn’t seem to be going well. Paramedics bring in a teenager named Theresa who’s been in a coma for a year and is taken care of at home. Her mother thinks she’s in discomfort, though Chen isn’t sure how she can tell.

Frank tells Abby that Luka called and wants her to meet him in the ambulance bay with a patient’s x-rays. Frank and Jerry bicker instead of helping her find what she needs. She takes the x-rays outside, where Luka pulls up, followed by a cop. He explains that he was about to get a speeding ticket, so he told the cop he had an emergency, then used Abby to make it look like he was telling the truth. It works.

Carter joins them outside, surprised that Abby volunteered to work an undesirable shift. She explains that it keeps her out of her building while Brian’s home – he’s out on bail until his trial. Abby doesn’t seem to have any lasting effects from her attack, or at least she doesn’t admit to Carter that she has any. He tries to make sure that she’s not suffering from depression or PTSD.

Susan catches up to Mark at the roach coach, where he tells her his tumor’s back and he’s going to start the gamma knife treatment today. He hasn’t told Elizabeth anything. Susan is just getting off a shift, and she offers to come back later to see if he’s okay after his treatment. She doesn’t want him to go through this alone.

Frank tells Mark that he’s firing “that new guy,” AKA Jerry. If Jerry doesn’t go, Frank will. I think we know who everyone would choose if forced to decide which one of them should keep his job. Mark jumps right into his shift while Malik and Chuny help Abby look for a new apartment. Luka offers to let her stay with him until she finds a place to live. Abby says she doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Luka asks why not. “Yeah, Abby, why not?” Chuny teases. Abby comments that Luka’s new sportscar seems flashy, but Luka’s like, “YOLO! Also, if you move in with me, you only have to sleep with me on the weekends. Haha, JK, LOL…unless…”

Elizabeth is called to the ER to consult on Mark’s patient, Mr. Nevinger, who has some serious burns and is having trouble breathing. It’s awkward for the estranged spouses to work together, but honestly, it’s about the same as if Benton were called in to consult for any other doctor. Mark goes to talk to Mr. Nevinger’s wife, who’s a nurse at Mercy and is familiar with possible treatments for her husband’s condition. She explains that he was painting furniture in their garage when he sustained the burns.

Mark and Elizabeth have a short, cold conversation about their shared patient before he asks her and Ella to come home. She tells him she’s not trying to punish him for anything; she just obviously doesn’t want Ella to be around Rachel. They’re staying in a hotel right now, and Elizabeth can’t say when she’ll feel comfortable coming back home.

Weaver joins Mark to treat a boy named Aaron who’s unable to feel his limbs after a sledding accident. A cop explains that Aaron’s father got drunk or stoned and pulled Aaron and a friend on a sled behind a snowmobile. Weaver notices that Mark keeps looking at the clock. He talks to Aaron’s father, Mr. James, who says he knew it was wrong to pull the boys in the snowmobile, but the kids talked him into it.

The father of Aaron’s friend tells Mark that Mr. James shouldn’t be allowed to operate any kind of motor vehicle, since he only has half a brain. He’s not just being mean – Mr. James tells Mark that a few years ago, he suffered a head injury in a construction accident, and now his mental capacity is lower. So really, I’d say whoever let Mr. James be in charge of kids is the person responsible for this accident.

Abby learns that she no longer has to appear in court to testify against Brian – the trial has been canceled. Now she really will need to move, since she can’t count on Brian going to jail. Mark tells Mr. Nevinger that his wife and kids are there to see him, and he’ll need to talk to them now, since he’ll have to be intubated. His lab work shows that he was taking amphetamines. Mr. Nevinger admits that he’s been working two jobs and needs help to keep going. Mark guesses that he lit up some meth while painting in the garage, and the ignited fumes caused his injuries.

Romano bugs Elizabeth about…eh, who cares? He wants her to do some paperwork Benton was supposed to come by and finish up. Chen gets flowers from Randall, so Frank offers to run a background check on him. Jerry thinks law enforcement should stop invading people’s privacy. The fight escalates until the two get physical and accidentally slam Chen into the desk. Boys, boys, you’re both idiots! There’s enough idiocy to go around!

Paramedics bring in a man named Dennis who has multiple gunshot wounds. His eight-year-old daughter Brianne is with him but doesn’t appear to be injured. Elizabeth joins Chen to work on Dennis while Weaver and Gallant check on Brianne. Gallant tells Weaver that cops found her hiding under a table; it looks like she saw her father’s shooting.

Weaver turns on the impressive child-whisperer skills we’ve seen her use before. She refuses to let the cops talk to Brianne until she’s talked to a psychiatrist. A detective points out that Brianne might be able to ID the person who shot her father. Dennis is a drug dealer and murder suspect, so if his shooter finds out there was a witness, he might come after her. Brianne’s mother is an addict and a possible suspect, so they can’t rely on her to offer support. Elizabeth tells Weaver that Dennis didn’t survive.

Mark goes in for treatment, trying to keep things light. When the tech tries to keep things light as well, Mark isn’t as amused. It’s hard to joke about brain matter. Elizabeth comes to the ER looking for Mark, since they have an appointment for Ella, but Mark didn’t tell anyone where he was going. The tech advises Mark to have someone responsible stay with him that night in case he suffers any side effects. Mark says Rachel will be there, though he mentioned earlier that she was spending the night at a friend’s house. Mark goes straight from treatment to Ella’s appointment, but it’s already over.

The assistant DA who was supposed to be prosecuting Brian tells Abby that he cut a deal for parole and 40 hours of community service. 40 hours?? Rory Gilmore got 100 hours for stealing a boat! The ADA says that since Brian has no prior arrests, he got off easy. He’ll have to go to therapy, but Abby knows that won’t do anything. The ADA says it doesn’t help that someone beat Brian up a few hours after he attacked Abby. Abby didn’t know about that, though the ADA doesn’t believe that.

Mark checks on Aaron, who’s recovering feeling in his limbs. He tells Aaron that his father should have known better than to pull kids on a sled behind his snowmobile. Aaron says he does know better, but the kids convinced him to do it. Mark leaves to talk to Elizabeth, who’s understandably upset that he missed Ella’s appointment. The good news is that Ella’s recovering well from the overdose, but she might show long-term effects in the future.

Weaver gently tells Brianne that her father died. She needs to talk to the police so they can find the person who killed Dennis. Brianne admits that she saw her father’s shooter and can ID him, but she doesn’t want to tell the police. Weaver thinks it was Brianne’s mother, but she’s wrong: It was Brianne herself. She just wanted to watch TV, but he told her he would shoot her if she turned it on while he was asleep. She decided to shoot him first.

Mr. Nevinger doesn’t want to see his wife and kids, but this is the last chance they’ll have to talk to him, since Mark needs to intubate him soon. Mrs. Nevinger insists that she can handle seeing her husband in his rough condition since she’s seen patients in worse shape. Mark lets her into her husband’s trauma room, but no one stops her from looking at his lab work. She’s furious that he broke his promise to quit using drugs. Abby spots Brian heading into the building as she gets home, and she realizes she can’t handle going inside.

Back at County, Adele tells Mark that they can’t reach Aaron’s mother, so they’re not sure what to do with the boy right now. Mr. James is facing consequences for his actions, despite his reduced mental capacity. Mark thinks the boys should be punished, but Adele couldn’t get them to admit that they pressured Mr. James to pull them. Mark confronts Aaron, who has no sympathy for his father. Aaron says Mr. James could have put his foot down with the boys, but he didn’t. Mark tells Aaron that Mr. James has lost everything – his wife, job, and family – but thinks he and Aaron are still buddies. Aaron needs to be a better buddy.

Mark is starting to feel the effects of his treatment, and Susan finds him taking a break in the ambulance bay. She bugs him to tell Elizabeth about his condition. It won’t take long for her or Rachel to figure it out. Mark knows they’ll start treating him differently as soon as they know, and he doesn’t want them foreseeing his death while he’s still alive. He gets lightheaded when he stands up, so Susan insists on taking him home.

Elizabeth is surprised to learn from Haleh that Mark went home a little early. She takes over Mr. Nevinger’s care, telling him to worry about getting better instead of the possible effects his condition might have on his marriage. She tells him to give his wife some time. Yeah, let her stay in a hotel with your kids until she comes around. It might help that you could be dying.

Once Mr. Nevinger is in the burn unit, Elizabeth talks to Mrs. Nevinger, who doesn’t want to have anything to do with her husband right now. Elizabeth tries to convince her that her husband needs her. Mrs. Nevinger says her sons need a father, but instead they have a drug addict with major burns. Elizabeth argues that Mr. Nevinger is still the same person they thought he was. Mrs. Nevinger remains unsympathetic to her husband’s pain, but Elizabeth thinks he’s suffered enough.

Weaver suspends Frank and Jerry for fighting, but they say nothing happened. Chen even backs them up. Carter shows up for another night shift, so Chen gets to pass patients off to him like he did to her that morning. Randall shows up, and Carter helps Chen come up with an excuse not to go out with him. He’s persistent, so she finally tells him that she doesn’t think things will work out between them. I’ll take him! He’s cute! Chen tells Carter that Randall is waaaaay too invested in a relationship with her after just one date, during which she gave him a hand job during a movie. Carter chokes on his dinner.

Abby goes to Luka’s to take him up on his offer to stay with him. She leaves when she realizes there’s already a woman there, but Luka changes her mind, clarifying that there are multiple people there hanging out. Elizabeth meets up with Benton (oh, hi, Benton!) to go over his paperwork, and she confesses that she thinks she may have left Mark. She asked him to put his family first, but he won’t do it. Well, at least not in the way she wants him to, which means putting her and Ella ahead of Rachel. She confides that she blames Mark for the overdose. Benton asks what would happen if Mark did send Rachel away.

Susan tends to Mark, who thinks he can take care of himself. He realizes he can’t close one of his eyes, so Susan tapes it shut for him so he can sleep. She puts a blanket over him and lets him sleep with his head in her lap. So, to sum up, the only person who knows Mark is dying is the woman he once had romantic feelings for. There’s no way this could go wrong!

Thoughts: Vondie Curtis-Hall (Roger) directed this episode. The tech who does Mark’s treatment is played by his wife, Kasi Lemmons, who’s known more for her directing than her acting.

I think Theresa’s plot was cut from the episode, or maybe just the broadcast I recapped from. Apparently she was pregnant. The plot is mentioned in the episode description, so it’s weird to cut it from the episode, but oh, well.

Luka’s complete personality shift starts here and carries over into season 9. I’ve never understood what kicked it off.

“You give a guy a hand release during Harry Potter and he wants to marry you” is not a sentence I ever expected or wanted to hear. Also, shame on you, Chen! That’s a children’s movie!

May 11, 2021

ER 8.14, A Simple Twist of Fate: Did You Learn Your Lesson?

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

This looks like something out of “The X-Files”

Summary: Susan’s asleep – drink! Lydia wakes her up in the lounge, where she was just going to rest her eyes for a little while. That was hours ago, and now she just has a few more hours until she has to be back at work. Weaver wants her help now with an animal attack, since Mark is in the pediatric ICU with Ella. Susan is eager to get updates on Ella’s condition, though it doesn’t seem to have changed.

At the admit desk, Weaver and Frank are fighting about bagels. A pharmaceutical company has brought over a bunch of food and branded products to try to get the hospital to use their drugs. Weaver doesn’t like how the company will just add the marketing costs on to their drug prices, and elderly patients will be the ones paying the jacked-up amounts. Frank is willing to accept the consequences. Weaver gives Susan an update on Ella, then puts her to work. Susan goes for a bagel, but Weaver guilts her into giving it up.

Up in the pediatric ICU, a doctor is ready to extubate Ella and see if she’ll breathe on her own. Mark and Elizabeth lend a hand with what is obviously a doll. After a tense few moments, Ella wakes up and starts breathing. Joyce is still hiding out from Brian, waiting for him to head out for the day before she leaves Abby’s apartment. She’s going to visit him at his school later that day (hoping he won’t get angry while he’s with his study group) to tell him things need to change.

Abby is firm with her: If he won’t commit to changing, Joyce has to leave him. She tells Joyce she’s free to stay in the apartment while Abby’s at work. Joyce hopes the group therapy Abby has recommended will actually help, since Brian wouldn’t continue counseling sessions the last time they tried. She thinks that if Brian knows she’s serious about leaving, he’ll change. Abby leaves for work, passing Brian’s apartment and trying to avoid him. Brian asks if she’s seen Joyce, and Abby pretends she hasn’t.

Mark lets Susan know that Ella’s doing really well. In fact, if she doesn’t have any seizures in the next 48 hours, they’ll know she’s okay. Paramedics bring in the animal attack victim, who was bitten by a sloth. Wow, embarrassing. Dude, you got attacked by the laziest animal in the world. Maybe you should lie and tell people it was a tiger. Chen spots Mark heading back to the pediatric ICU and tells him she didn’t file the mandatory paperwork reporting Ella’s drug overdose. Mark says he’ll take care of it.

Eleanor is still by Mickey’s side as he gets ready to start chemo again. He doesn’t have a lot of options, other than medications he didn’t receive last time. Eleanor worries that he’s being experimented on. Carter tells her it’s more about luck. He advises Eleanor to leave and get some rest, but Eleanor doesn’t want to leave Mickey alone while he gets his treatments.

Susan tends to a woman named Ginger who accidentally swallowed a ring. Okay, let’s be more specific: She was sucking a guy’s fingers and swallowed the ring. Even more specifically: It’s the guy’s wedding ring, and Ginger isn’t his wife. Susan says Ginger will just pass the ring in the next few days, but the guy would like to get the ring back before his wife notices it’s missing. Susan suggests an endoscopy, but Ginger objects even before she knows that it involves having a tube shoved down her throat.

Yosh tells Susan he’s sick and heading home. Frank is also sick. Susan joins Abby to help with a patient, but Abby gets called away to take a call from Joyce. She accidentally locked herself out of Abby’s apartment and is worried that she won’t get back in without Brian finding out she’s there. Abby tells her to come to County and get her key.

Elizabeth gives Ella a bottle as Kit tells Mark that Rachel’s on the phone for him. Elizabeth asks if Rachel’s been charged with anything. When Mark says no, Elizabeth figures out that he didn’t tell the police about the drugs. Mark’s excuse is that he wasn’t the attending physician at the time, so it’s not his responsibility. Elizabeth doesn’t think Rachel deserves any special treatment – she was in possession of Ecstasy and a baby consumed it. It’s a crime. Mark doesn’t think that having Rachel arrested is a solution here. Elizabeth wants him to do something, anything, to deal with the problem he’s been avoiding for months. He hasn’t even contacted Jen yet.

Frank is too sick to keep working, which leaves Susan out one desk clerk and four nurses. Frank says he’s called in people to fill in for the sick employees who, coincidentally, all ate the food from the drug company. Chen realizes she’s next up for illness. Frank tells her he’ll add her name to a class-action suit. Abby goes home to get Joyce and discovers that Brian found her first and beat her up. Joyce doesn’t want to go to the hospital, but Abby can tell just by looking at her that her cheekbone is broken.

Susan treats a man who was impaled by a falling icicle. Weaver comes in to tell Susan she’s sick and has to go home. Oh, Weaver. You couldn’t resist the lure of the bagels, could you? I get it. Carter isn’t sure the person starting Mickey’s treatments is qualified, but Babcock reminds him that County is a teaching hospital. The person should probably be supervised, though. Mickey starts coughing up blood, but it’s not from anything the inexperienced doctor did. While Carter and Babcock discuss options, Eleanor runs out.

Carter follows her and reminds her that he’s only helping with Mickey’s case because she asked him to. Eleanor struggles to say she couldn’t handle seeing Mickey in so much pain. Carter asks what she expected. This is just what she did with Bobby – she bailed when she couldn’t handle watching him suffer, and now she’s leaving Mickey alone when he needs support the most.

Paramedics bring in a girl named Ariel who started wheezing while eating alone at a buffet. Mark has decided to continue avoiding his problems by working for a few hours. Ariel was eating shrimp and lobster, so it’s pretty obvious that she triggered an unknown allergy. As Mark gives drug orders, he suddenly finds himself unable to say the name of a medication. Susan is concerned.

Abby takes care of Joyce, who keeps making excuses for her and Brian’s explosive relationship. She claims that 95% of the time, he’s awesome. She didn’t get a chance to tell him he needs to get help, so Abby thinks she can assume that Brian isn’t going to change. While Elizabeth is on the phone, Rachel slips in to see her sister. Elizabeth manages to not blow up at her, but she tells Rachel that if she really wants to make things better, she can move out. Rachel doesn’t try to fight her.

The ER is started to fill up, and Susan’s the highest-ranking person on shift, so she has a lot to keep an eye on. The fill-in desk clerk is someone from accounting, which probably isn’t the best fit, but oh, well. Rachel tells Mark that Jen is going to buy her a ticket back to St. Louis, but she’ll need a ride to the airport. Mark tells her no one wants her to leave Chicago; she just needs to give Elizabeth some space. Rachel tells him that Elizabeth told her straight out to leave the house. Mark promises to talk to her, but Rachel is willing to go, since Elizabeth doesn’t want her there.

While trying to convince Rachel to be patient, Mark bites his tongue hard enough to make it bleed. He sends Rachel home so they can talk more that night. Meanwhile, Susan talks to Ariel’s mother and stepfather, who tell her that Ariel has put on some weight recently and is eating a lot. Susan offers to have her talk to a nutritionist.

She notices Mark bleeding and tells him to stick his tongue out for her to examine. His tongue goes to the side, even though he thinks he’s sticking it out straight. He and Susan both realize that that may be a problem. Mark goes to the bathroom and studies his face in the mirror, trying to determine if there’s anything else he should worry about. After splashing some water on his face, he bangs his head against the paper-towel dispenser a couple of times. Yeah, that’ll help.

Luka’s annoyed that he just got off an airplane, he’s in to work on his day off, and Susan doesn’t have anything in the ER under control. Susan is very Weaver-ish toward him. Abby welcomes Luka back from his work with Doctors Without Borders and says she was expecting a postcard while he was gone. He tells her she should get email. Aww, 2002, you cutie. Anyway, the two of them are back to being friendly, like they never had a horrible breakup.

Susan gives Mark a quick neuro exam and thinks he’s fine. Mark disagrees, guessing that his tumor is back. She tells him he should get an MRI if he’s really worried, but this could be from stress over Ella, or just inflammation from his treatments. Mark blows her off and goes to treat a new patient, a little boy who got burns from an airbag after a car accident. Mark’s immediately angry that his father let him sit in the front seat.

The writers bring back that early-series plot about substitute nurses who don’t have the same work ethic as the regular ER nurses, this time with Abby filling Carol’s role. Brian shows up and demands to see Joyce; he knows she spent the night at Abby’s and came here with her. He claims that Joyce tried to hit him with a baseball bat. Abby tells him that Joyce is speaking to the police, so if he really wants to see her, they can go right now. That scares him off.

Elizabeth comes down to the ER to tell Mark that Ella’s neurological scans are all fine. She’s annoyed that he’s working instead of staying with their daughter. She announces that she’s going to go home to shower and change her clothes. Mark replies that the “evil daughter” is there, so she should beware. He’s upset that Elizabeth told Rachel to leave. Elizabeth asks what it will take for Mark to finally realize that this is an impossible living situation.

Mark says he won’t choose between his daughters, but Elizabeth tells him she’s choosing for him. He asks what message it sends to Rachel if he lets Elizabeth send her away. Elizabeth thinks she’ll realize that she has to grow up and take responsibility, that her actions have consequences. Mark thinks Rachel has learned that already – she’ll never do anything to harm Ella again. Elizabeth hopes he’s right, because as long as Rachel is living in their house, Elizabeth and Ella won’t be.

Joyce won’t talk to the cops and takes back her story that Brian hurt her. They can’t find him, so Abby gives them a couple of places to look. She tells Joyce that Brian came back the hospital looking for her. Abby and Luka want to find Joyce a safe place to stay, but Joyce wants to go home. Abby asks what will happen in the future of Joyce and Brian have kids. Does Joyce want him to hurt children, too? She needs to wake up and see that this is her chance to get away. If she goes back to Brian, she’s sending the message that what he does to her is okay.

Carter catches up with his mother at the family’s mansion. Eleanor has made arrangements to go to Cape Cod for a little while. Carter tells her that kids get over stuff, and if she goes back to the hospital right now, Mickey will forget that she abandoned him. Eleanor thinks Carter was right about her getting too involved, but he thinks he was wrong about that.

Eleanor points out a tree in the yard where Carter and Bobby would built a fort and play Tarzan and Cheetah. Bobby pushed Carter out once, but Carter didn’t rat out his brother. Eleanor never really thought about how Bobby’s death affected Carter. In fact, she never spent much time as Carter’s mother at all. Carter asks if she has time now.

She tells him she doesn’t want to betray another little boy. Bobby believed her when she told him he would get better, but he didn’t. Carter says Bobby was just pretending. He didn’t want Eleanor to be sad. He made Carter promise to make their mother happy. They hug, and Eleanor tells Carter she loves him, something I doubt he heard much, if at all, when he was growing up.

Abby’s back at home, talking to Joyce on the phone from wherever Joyce is spending the night. She buzzes up a pizza delivery guy, but the person who comes to her door is Brian. He acts apologetic and admits he needs help. He just wants to talk to Joyce, even if she won’t forgive him. Abby refuses to tell him where Joyce is. Brian starts getting aggressive, saying he won’t let Abby take his wife away from him. She tells him to leave or she’ll call the police. As soon as he’s gone, she locks the door. When he knocks again, Abby calls 911, then, for some reason, opens the door (with the chain on). Brian kicks it in.

Sometime later, Abby wakes up alone in her apartment, her face bloody. She locks the door again, then locks herself in the bathroom. Back at County, Susan talks to Ariel about how she needs to eat better. Ariel is fine being overweight, and though Susan says it’s important for her to be comfortable with her body, gaining a lot of weight in a short amount of time could lead to health problems. Plus, she’ll be in high school soon, and she’ll want to attract boys. Susan, come on. Ariel says she hates boys and doesn’t ever want them to touch her.

Susan starts to figure out that Ariel’s stepfather is doing something horrible to her, but then we abandon that plot so Susan can help Luka take care of Abby. Luka doesn’t like that Brian knows where Abby lives. He nicely looks away while Susan and Connie help Abby put on a gown. He wants to give her morphine, since she may have a broken nose, but Abby doesn’t want any narcotics. Susan notices a bruise on Abby’s thigh and wonders if Brian raped her. Luka, unlike Brian, is able to hide his rage.

Elizabeth returns to County, where Mark is sitting with Ella. He wants to talk about Rachel, but Elizabeth has had enough of thinking about her for the day. Susan gives Abby a rape exam but doesn’t find any signs that she was assaulted. Other than her nose, she’s fine, at least physically. She doesn’t seem to regret stepping in to help Joyce. Susan offers to let Abby stay with her until Brian’s in police custody, and it takes Abby a while to accept her help.

Susan tells Luka that Abby’s okay, then lets him go home. Things are quiet again and the admit desk isn’t a disaster area. That’s thanks to Jerry, who apparently retired but now wants to come back to work. Unfortunately, he snagged a bagel and some cream cheese, so he’s probably not going to want to be at work much longer.

Luka tracks Brian down at a bar Abby said he frequents and gives him a taste of his own medicine. Brian still blames Abby for taking away Joyce, but Luka says Brian did that himself. Brian promises to move out of the building and never come near Abby again. Luka makes it clear that if he ever touches Abby again, Luka will finish him off.

Back at County, Carter and Eleanor both sit with Mickey while he undergoes whatever it was he was supposed to undergo when he started coughing up blood. It’s tough for Eleanor, but Carter looks proud of her. Meanwhile, Mark gets an MRI.

Thoughts: I think at this point it was pretty common knowledge that this was Anthony Edwards’ last season, so no one was too surprised when Mark’s tumor came back. It’s hard to write out a character married to another character without either sending them both away or killing one off.

I like that Rachel basically accepts that there will be consequences for her actions and seems willing to face them. When Elizabeth tells her to move out, all Rachel says is that she’ll have to call Jen. She doesn’t make excuses or beg to stay. I think she genuinely doesn’t want to make things harder for Elizabeth.

I vaguely remember reading about a woman who diagnosed her own brain tumor after watching this episode and realizing she had the same tongue problem as Mark. Who says TV isn’t educational?

Abby cracking the door open for Brian makes no sense. She knew how dangerous he was. It seems out of character for her.

This episode should have been a springboard for Abby and Luka to get back together. Unfortunately, it’s not, and we end up having to endure a bunch of crap instead.

May 4, 2021

ER 8.13, Damage Is Done: Child Endangerment

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

Alex Kingston’s makeup in this episode really makes her look sick

Summary: Elizabeth has the flu, and Ella is taking advantage of not being watched every second to cause some trouble, like toilet-papering the hallway. Elizabeth thinks she can still make it in to work, but Mark insists that she stay in bed. The nanny won’t be able to come over for a little while, so Rachel offers to look after Ella until she gets there. Elizabeth says she wouldn’t want to ask Rachel to give up her Saturday. I think that’s code for “I don’t trust you to watch my daughter, but I’m not going to say it out loud.” Mark thinks the arrangement works out perfectly.

At County, Romano chats with Susan about being a member of the Polar Bear Club. He tells Weaver that he’s come up with a solution to her problem of having too much admin work to take care of while still seeing patients. He wants Susan to take over some of the responsibilities that usually fall to the chief resident. Weaver asks why Romano’s interfering with her job. He tells her Susan is basically her assistant now, so she needs to suck it up. Also, she needs to stop kissing people in public. “So you’re gay, huh?” Frank asks Weaver. When she confirms this, he tells her she’s going to Hell. Shut up, Frank.

Carter tells Susan about how he had to take care of her mother after her drunken, Xanax-fueled sickness. Mark is at work now and calls home to check on Elizabeth. Susan laments agreeing to pick up some of the slack in the ER, since it’s left her with a bunch of paperwork. She comments to Mark that she doesn’t think Weaver likes her. Mark notes that Weaver doesn’t like anyone. Except Sandy. And Gallant. And sometimes Carter.

Chen arrives for her first shift back on staff, and though she’s short with Weaver, Weaver treats her like any other doctor. Mark asks Chen for $20 for Cleo’s going-away present. Really, dude? Paramedics bring in a man named Donald Brower who was injured by a mail bomb. His six-year-old daughter, Jessica, was also hurt. Weaver and Chen jockey for the position of second-in-command while Mark treats Brower. Weaver asks Brower who might have sent him a bomb, and he responds, “My wife.”

Mark gets annoyed with Weaver’s attempts to take over for Chen and sends Weaver to help Susan and Carter with Jessica. Weaver throws her weight around with that trauma, telling Carter and Susan to loosen the blood-pressure cuff they have around Jessica’s wrist. When they do, blood shoots out of her injured hand. Jessica isn’t too happy with that. Susan tries to get rid of Weaver, who leaves as Abby comes in to tell Carter that Eleanor is in the ER. She came in with a boy from the cancer center where she’s been volunteering.

Eleanor tells Carter that the boy, Mickey, was doing a photo shoot for a spring mailer when he got lightheaded. His doctors didn’t answer the phone, since it’s Saturday, so Eleanor had him brought to County. Mickey has been in remission from leukemia for a year, but he lives in a foster home, so he may be the unluckiest kid in Chicago. Eleanor requests a private room for him.

Mark and Chen keep working on Brower, eventually having to cut open his chest. Jessica is stable but needs surgery on her hand. Her mother arrives and, after checking on Jessica, runs to her husband’s trauma room. She’s a medical researcher, so Mark speaks to her like she’s a colleague instead of a family member who knows nothing about medicine. Dr. Brower says she told her husband not to worry, that they would be safe. When Mark tells her that they’ve been trying to revive her husband for 30 minutes with no response, she says they can let him go.

Gallant takes care of a man named Manny who’s both diabetic and blind. He comes in sometimes to get his toenails clipped. He predicts that Gallant will one day be a gifted doctor. Manny admires Chen’s perfume when she approaches, but Gallant sneezes right after, which doesn’t give Chen a great first impression of him. When she introduces herself, Gallant comments that he’s heard a lot about her. Only good things, he promises. Manny adds that the bad things aren’t her fault. Gallant explains that Manny has a sixth sense about people. He also has a guide dog, Stinky, who takes a liking to Weaver.

Weaver pulls Chen aside to tell her she needs to drop her attitude toward Weaver. Chen promises that she won’t let it interfere with patient care. Weaver says the last thing she needs is staff members who don’t get along. “Then maybe you should quit,” Chen replies. Hold on…just imagining myself saying that to my boss…yeah, it doesn’t end well. Shove it, Chen.

Mark tells Dr. Brower that the police want to talk to her, but he got them to agree to wait until Jessica’s out of surgery. Dr. Brower explains that her lab has been using DNA to try to create embryos – basically, cloning humans. The bomb was meant for her. She asks to observe Jessica’s surgery, and though Mark thinks her mother side is stronger than her doctor side in terms of being able to handle it, he promises to ask if she can.

Gallant is still sneezing, so maybe he shouldn’t be the one clipping Manny’s toenails. Frank snaps at Gallant for landing one in his coffee, but Manny tells Gallant that Frank is harmless. Gallant actually reminds Frank of his son. (Manny may be missing the mark here. We never hear about Frank having a son.) Gallant kindly tells Manny that he’s Black. Manny reminds him that he’s blind.

Mickey is a pro at having his blood drawn, and he senses that it makes Eleanor uncomfortable, so he tells her she doesn’t have to watch. Eleanor insists that she’s fine. Carter, however, is annoyed and leaves. At home, Elizabeth gets up and finds Rachel playing with Ella. Rachel is suddenly a very pleasant, helpful stepdaughter and offers to make Elizabeth tea. She hopes that Elizabeth’s nearness to Ella doesn’t make the baby sick.

Carter praises Chen for how hard she worked on Brower, even though he didn’t make it. On the flip side of the coin, Weaver has some questions about her medication choices for a patient. Carter thinks they’re valid concerns. Stinky starts following Weaver around, which she doesn’t appreciate. Chen is equally unappreciative of how Carter just sided with Weaver instead of her. She thinks Carter actually likes Weaver, which makes sense to her, since he has a thing for older women. Surprisingly, Carter doesn’t mention that last year, he dated a 19-year-old.

Instead of going back to Mickey and Eleanor, Carter accepts a new patient, Leslie. She and her 13-year-old daughter, Stacy, were in a minor one-car accident. Leslie is very, very drunk, but seems to only have minor injuries (though she’ll have some major injuries if she calls Haleh “honey” again). She tells Carter she’s heartbroken because her fiancé left her.

Susan and Abby take care of Stacy, who insists she’s fine, though she has major bruising from a seatbelt. Susan criticizes Leslie for driving drunk without her own seatbelt. Stacy reveals that she was the one who was driving. She often takes over when Leslie’s too drunk to drive. This was her first accident in three years. Outside the room, Susan and Abby debate whether the situation is crazy or brilliant. Abby is, unsurprisingly, on the side of the teenager who becomes the adult to look after her mother.

Elizabeth wakes up from a nap to hear Ella crying. Rachel runs in with her, worried because Ella’s sweaty and upset. Ella throws up, and Elizabeth sees pill fragments in the mess – Ella must have swallowed something. While Elizabeth calls Mark, Rachel leaves the room, then returns with a plastic bag. She reveals that she had Ecstasy in her backpack, and one or two pills are missing. Elizabeth calls 911 instead.

Carter and Abby continue the discussion about Leslie and Stacy’s dynamic. Carter wants to get Social Services involved, even if it means Stacy ends up in foster care. At the very least, Leslie’s committed child endangerment. Abby says she’ll handle talking to the police. Carter checks on Mickey, who’s waiting to see a doctor from oncology in case his cancer has relapsed. Eleanor wishes Carter would get more involved in the case. She insists on staying with Mickey at least until his foster parents arrive, though Carter knows that might not be good for her.

Dr. Brower has gotten permission to watch Jessica’s surgery, and Mark watches with her. Dr. Brower wonders if her daughter will remember her father when she’s older. Mark says that Rachel broke her arm when she was Jessica’s age, but the only thing she remembers from that year is seeing Muppets on Ice. Kids tend to remember the good things, so Jessica will remember her dad. Romano lets Dr. Brower know that Jessica will most likely come out of this with limited use of her hand, but since she’s young, she’ll be able to adapt.

Abby comes to get Mark, telling her that his daughter is coming in with an Ecstasy overdose. He understandably thinks she means Rachel. He asks Abby for more information, but since Abby didn’t take the call from the paramedics, she can’t tell him anything. Mark says he should have seen this coming, since he knew Rachel was getting into trouble. When he gets to the ER, he’s stunned to see that the patient is Ella, not Rachel.

Mark and Elizabeth try to dictate Ella’s care while Chen and Abby work on the baby. The parents object when Chen suggests that they shock Ella to get her heart back into normal rhythm. Chen quietly tells Abby to get Weaver. Manny’s done with his treatment but has lost track of Stinky. Gallant took him for a walk, learning along the way that he’s allergic to dogs.

Weaver joins Ella’s trauma, gently trying to convince Mark that he needs to step aside. Mark refuses. Once Ella has been stabilized, Weaver and Mark are able to talk Elizabeth into lying down somewhere else. As they’re leaving, Ella declines again. Weaver and Chen tag-team to get Mark to realize that if Ella weren’t his child, he would be making different, more aggressive treatment decisions. He finally steps back and lets them treat her.

Rachel comes to the hospital as Eleanor complains to Carter that Mickey’s been waiting for a long time to see a doctor. She stole his lab work and wants Carter to interpret it for her. Carter tells her that Mickey’s out of remission. Eleanor asks Carter to talk to his doctor and try to ensure he gets more personal treatment than the faceless, nameless patients the oncology department usually sees. Carter asks why Eleanor has taken so much interest in Mickey’s care. He warns her that Mickey might not survive, so Eleanor will just be reliving what she went through with Carter’s brother, Bobby.

Ella is stable again, but she’s been intubated and is unconscious. Susan brings Rachel to the trauma room, and Mark blasts his older daughter for endangering his younger daughter. Rachel says the drugs weren’t hers, like that’s the issue here. She thinks Ella will be okay, since she just ate one pill. Mark yells that Ella almost died and could end up with brain impairments. Rachel cries and says she’s sorry.

Up in the ICU, Elizabeth refuses to let Babcock help treat Ella. I’m not sure why he would, since he’s an anesthesiologist, but now he says he’s a critical care attending, so I don’t know what’s going on. When Babcock tries to examine Ella, Elizabeth yells at him and shoves him out of the room. Romano arrives during the fight and lets Elizabeth get rid of him.

Back in the ER, Mark tells Weaver that Ella’s doing better, but she’ll have a long recovery ahead of her. Weaver says she’ll be praying for the family. He thanks her for taking such good care of his daughter. Stacy returns to the ER after talking to the police; she tells Abby and Carter that Leslie was arrested for DUI but can be bailed out in a little while. Carter’s confused, since Stacy was driving the car. Abby and Stacy both lie that no one ever said that. Abby tells that this is Leslie’s best chance for recovery.

On her way out for the night, Abby spots Manny in the waiting area…dead. Poor Stinky is ownerless. In the ICU, Elizabeth asks Mark if he called the police on Rachel. She refuses to talk to her stepdaughter, which is understandable. Susan and Romano decide to buy dinner for Mark and Elizabeth so they don’t have to leave Ella. Weaver and Chen say polite good nights to each other, having demonstrated that they can work together even if they hate each other.

Stinky follows Weaver again, and since she doesn’t want him to be taken away by Animal Control, she decides to take him home with her. And then we never hear about him again, so let’s hope she finds another home for him. Joyce comes to Abby’s door begging to be let in. She tells Abby to turn out the lights, then keeps silent when Brian comes by looking for her. Abby wants to call the police again, but Joyce says that’ll make him madder. They just need to wait until he calms down. Joyce asks to stay for a while, and Abby says she can.

Carter checks on Mickey and finds Eleanor asleep by his bed. Mickey laments that the doctors keep talking to Eleanor about him but won’t tell him anything. He knows his cancer is back, but he thinks he’ll have a better time getting through it than he did last time. He was by himself then. Rachel cries alone in a hallway while Elizabeth and Mark stay by a comatose Ella’s side. Mark tries to stay positive that their daughter will recover, but Elizabeth is more realistic. She knows Ella might never wake up.

Thoughts: Leslie is played by Mackenzie Phillips.

Susan and Carter have absolutely no chemistry. Zero. She has more chemistry with Romano. If I didn’t know Susan and Carter were together, I wouldn’t guess it from watching them.

If you asked a patient who was responsible for his injuries and he said, “My wife,” wouldn’t you think, “This woman is dangerous – don’t let her in his trauma room” when she showed up? That was a dumb attempt at unnecessary drama in an episode full of plenty of real drama.

I’m impressed that Gallant made it all the way to his mid-20s before learning he’s allergic to dogs.

’00s music alert: Pink’s “Get the Party Started”

April 27, 2021

ER 8.12, A River in Egypt: Private Lives

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

Insert your own joke here about Christina Hendricks having experience with mad men

Summary: Abby’s asleep – drink! Once again, she’s woken up by Brian and Joyce’s fighting. This time it’s worse, as Brian hits Joyce and she screams for help. Over at the Greene/Corday house, Rachel’s up in the middle of the night, eating a snack and watching one of the Killer Tomatoes movies (maybe a jab at George Clooney, who was in one of them). Mark joins her, remembering how they used to watch The Smurfs together early in the morning when she was a toddler.

He sees that her boots are wet and busts her for going out. She tells him she went for a walk; the middle of the night is the only time she can go out, since she’s basically on house arrest. It’s like living in a prison. When Elizabeth calls down, wondering what’s going on, Rachel calls her the warden. She regrets coming to live in Chicago and announces that she’ll go back to St. Louis. Then she leaves, slamming the door, which wakes Ella.

Abby called the police on Brian, but Joyce won’t file a report, so they can’t do anything other than keep Abby’s complaint on record. Brian is acting like nothing happened. He comments that Abby must be a light sleeper. Eleanor is still at Millicent’s house, also acting like everything’s normal. She even offers to make breakfast for Carter. She asks about Jack, who’s back in the city but hasn’t been in touch with his estranged wife. Carter tells her to leave him alone for a while, but she wants Carter to act as a go-between for them. She thinks she can fix her broken marriage.

On her way out of the building, Abby runs into Joyce, who apologizes for being so loud. She downplays how serious the situation was – they just have a lot of history and passion. Abby notices that Joyce is limping and offers to take a look at her injured ankle. Joyce declines. At County, Carter and Susan talk about Eleanor’s weirdness and how hard the divorce must be on her.

Weaver’s impressed that Gallant was able to get a patient approved for surgery despite the surgeons’ reluctance to operate. Susan teases that he’s a teacher’s pet. Mark and Carter are both amused. Hey, it’s better than being on Weaver’s bad side. Paramedics bring in a rapper who calls himself Diamond Z, who was stabbed in a brawl at a club. He was also kicked in the junk. His girlfriend, Aisha, has some minor injuries, too.

Frank lets Weaver know that Sandy left a message for her. Chuny and Malik gossip about how Sandy’s gay; Chuny’s cousin used to flirt with her in high school but she never paid attention to him. Oh, yeah, then she must be a lesbian. Chuny asks Weaver if she and Sandy are friends, but Weaver says Sandy probably just wants to check in on a guy from her unit who Weaver treated.

Susan grabs Abby to help her with a patient, an inmate named Mike Kinney who was stabbed in prison. He declines pain meds, saying he wants to feel the pain because it reminds him he’s still alive. Next door, Mark, Carter, and Yosh tend to Diamond Z, who refuses to let Yosh put a catheter in his penis. No men get near Diamond Z’s penis! None! Chuny delivers a message to Carter from Jack, who’s already on his way out of town for another business trip.

Weaver calls Sandy to tell her not to stop by, since Weaver’s waaaaaay too busy to chat, and for absolutely no other reason. She spots Chen down the hall with Romano. Well, that can’t be good. Diamond Z has been joined by his “bro,” C.C., and is fine with him sticking around while Carter talks about his test results. Diamond Z has chlamydia, which he knows comes from “nasty booty.” He and Aisha aren’t using protection, but he’s sure Aisha didn’t give it to him. Carter wants him to be tested for HIV just in case.

He notices that Abby’s tired, and she tells him she was up all night, but not for fun. He teases that Frank looks tired, too. Abby then puts a horrible image in all of our heads by joking that she and Frank were up all night having sex. Not cool, Abby. Carter tells her to test Aisha for chlamydia. After learning that Romano has summoned her for a meeting, Weaver casually asks Carter if he knows why Chen is there. He doesn’t. C.C. asks Carter to give him a chlamydia test. Carter tells him he can only contract it through sex, which C.C. already knows.

Mark got in touch with Jen about Rachel, but Jen isn’t sure they should let Rachel move back to St. Louis just because she wants to. Elizabeth thinks Mark should consider sending her to boarding school. She’ll learn responsibility and form a sense of community. It worked for Elizabeth. Mark thinks it worked because she’s British. Elizabeth guesses that Mark is just waiting for this fight to blow over so he doesn’t have to make any tough decisions.

Paramedics bring in a man named Mr. Echevarria, who passed out while waiting for a cab outside a hotel. Meanwhile, Susan stitches up Kinney, whose stab wounds are all too shallow to be life-threatening. She wonders if he stabbed himself so he could get a day pass out of prison. Kinney says Susan is the first woman he’s talked to in 14 months. She replies that in high school, she was voted Most Likely to Marry a Convict.

She learns that Kinney is on death row, scheduled to be executed in June of 2002. He appreciates knowing exactly when he’ll die, unlike people who go about their lives with no idea of when they’ll breathe their last breath. Some of them will never have the chance to apologize for things they’ve done. Susan gets uncomfortable with the conversation. Kinney asks if she can find a reason to keep him in the hospital for a little longer, just so he doesn’t have to go back to his cell. She agrees to keep him for observation. A guard promises to straighten Kinney out.

Mr. E. shows signs of heart damage, and Mark thinks he started having a heart attack last night but ignored the symptoms. Mr. E. insists on getting to the church where his daughter’s getting married, but he also doesn’t want anyone to call and tell her he’ll miss the wedding. Elizabeth notes that she’ll wonder where he is when he doesn’t show up to walk her down the aisle. Mr. E. says she won’t.

C.C. has chlamydia, and apparently didn’t feel the need to tell Carter until now that he also has HIV. Carter asks if Aisha knows this. Carter is slower than the members of the audience who have already figured out what’s really going on here. He tells Diamond Z that he tested positive for HIV, though Diamond Z claims not to know how he contracted it, since he doesn’t use needles and he isn’t gay.

Carter says Aisha should be tested. Diamond Z doesn’t want to tell her she’s been exposed, and he definitely doesn’t want word getting out that he has HIV. He decides to just leave. Carter tries to get Aisha to stick around for more tests, but Diamond Z rushes her out. C.C. stops them, urging Diamond Z to come clean. Diamond Z punches him and leaves.

Weaver goes to Romano’s office, where he, Chen, and a lawyer have been waiting impatiently. Long story short, Chen wants her job back. She and Weaver bicker about whose fault it was that Paul died, and whether Weaver acted professionally when she put the burden on Chen. Romano tells them to end the catfight, so Weaver says that, while she respects Chen’s skills as a doctor, there’s no job opening.

Chen’s lawyer finally puts all the cards on the table: They’ll file suit unless Chen gets her job back, has her record expunged, and gets a statement of correction placed in her file to clear her reputation. Weaver tells Chen to grow up; she can’t screw up and then whine about being mistreated. I’m surprised Chen doesn’t bust out her knowledge of Weaver’s missing pager right here.

C.C. asks Carter and Abby if Diamond Z has HIV (which, of course, they can’t tell him). Carter has finally figured out that C.C. has been hooking up with Diamond Z, not Aisha. C.C.’s viral load has been undetectable, and Diamond Z only “gives,” so he figured they were safe. Besides, Diamond Z doesn’t consider what they do sex. He says he’s on the DL, the down low. Apparently a number of men who consider themselves straight do some sexual acts with men for reasons they claim have nothing to do with attraction to men. Diamond Z only does it with men because women stress him out.

Aisha doesn’t know anything about this, and C.C. says he was just waiting for the day when Diamond Z would be honest with her. He never thought about the possibility that he would pass something to Diamond Z that would then be passed to Aisha. Carter asks C.C. to try to get in touch with Aisha so they can bring her back to the hospital and give her an HIV test. Abby has questions about the DL, and whether it means Diamond Z is bisexual. Carter is fine with the DL designation, but Abby’s like, “A man who has sex with another man, no matter what kind of sex, is not a straight man.” DL just means denial.

Joyce has come to County to get her ankle examined; she tells Weaver that she fell while rolling around in Heelies. Abby keeps her mouth shut about the possible real cause of Joyce’s injury. When they’re alone, Joyce says that she’s as abusive to Brian as he is to her, which I guess makes it okay. Abby notes that Brian isn’t the one getting treated at the hospital. Joyce says he’s the only guy she’s ever loved. Abby asks her to talk to a social worker and at least get some suggestions of how to deal with things. She thinks Joyce came to County for a reason.

Romano comes to the ER to talk to Weaver, taunting that he would have had her paged but he couldn’t be sure she was wearing her pager. OOOH. That was a good one, actually. Weaver brushes off Chen’s accusations, but Romano tells her that a waitress at Doc Magoo’s went on record with a statement that she saw Weaver looking for her pager at the end of the night.

He’s willing to give in to Chen’s demands of being reinstated and getting an apology from Weaver. Weaver notes that she would no longer have any authority over Chen. Romano tells her that they settled with Paul’s family, and he’s not going to risk reopening the case because Weaver screwed up. Chen doesn’t really want to sue the hospital; she just wants her job back.

As Mr. E.’s daughter, Maria, arrives at County in her wedding dress, Weaver is called in to treat a declining Kinney. She notices bruising on his side, and she and Susan realize that he has a broken rib that collapsed his lung. Kinney tries to decline treatment, saying he’s ready to die. Weaver ignores him and works to save him. Kinney tells her that they’ll just keep beating him.

Carter goes to the airport to talk to Jack before he leaves town. This is boring! No one cares about this storyline! Jack tells Carter that Eleanor wants to negotiate with him instead of ending the marriage. Carter thinks that’s fair – Jack needs to take some time to decide if he really wants to end his marriage. Jack already has, thanks to Carter. He got lost in his marriage and can’t find his way back to his wife. He warns Carter that Eleanor is “an emotional vampire.”

Maria had no idea her father was coming to the wedding, since they’ve been out of contact for six years. He regrets not letting her come home. Mark eavesdrops on the conversation, so we can really grasp the parallel that sending Rachel back to St. Louis might ruin his relationship with her. Maria tells her father that she’s happy, and she doesn’t need Mr. E. anymore.

She leaves to return to her big, fancy wedding with all its nonrefundable deposits. Her father didn’t care when she called him from Kansas, begging to come home, so she doesn’t care now. Mark tries to play peacemaker, reminding Maria that Mr. E. wanted to be at her wedding. Maria calls him cold and heartless for turning his back on her. She won’t let Mark make her cry, since her makeup took so long to do. Ugh, Mr. E., you’re probably better off without her.

Susan asks Kinney’s guard how he managed to break ribs while lying on a gurney. The guard says he was flailing against the guardrails, so the guards had to restrain him. Apparently they needed a nightstick to do that. The guard asks why Susan cares, since Kinney is a murderer. She rushes back into the trauma room when she hears the clatter of Kinney’s gurney hitting the floor. Weaver says he flipped it. Now he has a head injury on top of everything else, and Susan doesn’t see the point in trying to save him, since he’s going to be executed anyway. Weaver says a suicidal death-row inmate can’t consent to a DNR, so they have to treat him.

Sandy arrives, and though she doesn’t really want to talk to Weaver, she allows Weaver to say what she wants to say. Weaver pretends she just wanted to see if Sandy was okay after a big fire. Abby interrupts to ask Weaver to approve a request for Joyce to speak to someone from Social Services. Weaver sends her away so she and Sandy can be alone (as alone as they can be in the busy hallway right outside the waiting area), but she doesn’t know what to say.

Sandy thinks Weaver’s playing games and avoiding her. Weaver’s fighting back tears by now. Chen interrupts next, demanding to talk to Weaver. Sandy decides to leave, but Weaver begs her to stick around. Sandy finally grabs her and kisses her in full view of the admit desk. Abby and Malik just stare, but Chen looks amused. Yeah, people being outed without their consent is hilarious, isn’t it, Chen?

Abby gives Joyce a bag that the staff calls an escape kit – money, phone numbers, and other resources that she could use to leave Brian. Joyce denies that she doesn’t feel safe with Brian. Abby brings Adele in to talk to her anyway, but Joyce knows that Brian will get upset if he finds Adele talking to her. I guess this has happened before. Mark pulls Abby into the hallway so she can hold up a phone for Mr. E. One of the choir boys at the church where Maria is getting married is going to hold up another phone so Mr. E. can listen to the wedding. Aww, that’s sweet.

Connie asks Abby if she saw “it” (obviously meaning Weaver and Sandy’s kiss). She heard it was steamy. Weaver has given in and agreed to reinstate Chen, though she’ll have to start back by working overnights. Chen doesn’t agree to that, and she also won’t report to Weaver while she’s working. Chen says they both know what Weaver did. Weaver replies that they also know what Chen did, and of the two of them, Weaver isn’t the one who killed a patient. If Chen were more thorough, she wouldn’t have needed Weaver there in the first place.

The nurses are gossiping about the Big Kiss, of course. Kinney is in a post-op coma, so he’ll either die like that or be executed. Weaver doesn’t care. Susan notes that his care will cost thousands of dollars a day, only for him to end up dead by execution. Weaver still doesn’t care. As Aisha returns, Weaver tells Malik to find something to do other than stand around awkwardly and think about how he saw her kissing Sandy.

Mark takes Rachel for a walk by the river and tells her that he and Jen agreed that she should stay in Chicago. He’s worried that their relationship will be harmed if she goes back to St. Louis. He’s already missed too much of her life and isn’t going to let her leave mad. They both need to try harder and listen to each other. Rachel says she doesn’t want to be treated like a kid. Mark says that’s fair, but he also doesn’t want to be treated like an old man.

Brian arrives at County and Abby tries to keep him out of Joyce’s room so he doesn’t see Adele. He acts like their domestic problems aren’t that big, just the sort of stuff every couple faces. Adele leaves just as they reach Joyce’s room, so Brian doesn’t realize that his wife was talking to a social worker. He and Joyce leave, acting like things are great. She doesn’t take the escape kit with her.

Weaver goes to the fire station to confront Sandy for outing her to her co-workers. Sandy shouldn’t be allowed to make choices for other people. Sandy notes that she didn’t choose to be lied to or spend time with someone who pretends she’s someone she isn’t. Weaver is understandably upset that she got outed in her workplace, where she chooses to keep her private life private. Sandy criticizes her for hiding who she is because she doesn’t want to face how other people will react. She thinks she did Weaver a favor.

Eleanor is still trying to do domestic stuff at Millicent’s house, and Carter finds her changing a lightbulb when he gets home. She’s drunk. She tells Carter she spent the afternoon at a children’s cancer center, the place she agreed to support charitably after Millicent blew them off. It seems like seeing children with cancer reminded her of the son she lost to the disease years ago. She’s also upset because Millicent wants her to leave.

Carter checks Eleanor’s pulse and asks if she’s on something. She admits that she’s been taking Xanax. That plus the alcohol makes her sick later, and Carter tends to her as she throws up. Eleanor asks him if he wants her to leave like Millicent does. He says no. Eleanor says he was right – she failed him. But she failed his brother first. She didn’t take him to a doctor when he started getting sick, which delayed his diagnosis. Carter says it only delayed it by a month or so, not enough to make a big difference, but Eleanor is mad at herself for not doing more for him.

Thoughts: Diamond Z, Aisha, and C.C.’s dialogue was clearly written by white people with no business pretending they know how Black people talk.

Telling a colleague to grow up isn’t quite the mature, professional behavior you think it is, Weaver.

Between the DL thing and Joyce’s Heelies, this is a very late ’90s/early ’00s episode.

I wonder why they had Carter involved in the DL storyline instead of Weaver, for that extra punch about hiding and being in denial.

April 20, 2021

ER 8.11, Beyond Repair: Worst Birthday Ever

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:04 pm by Jenn

Two people who had very bad days

Summary: Abby’s asleep – drink! She wakes up to the sound of her neighbors yelling at each other. She ignores her ringing phone but rushes to pick it up when she realizes Maggie is calling to wish her a happy birthday. Weaver and Sandy’s relationship has moved along quickly, and they’ve spent the night together. Sandy teases Weaver about her snoring. This is easily the happiest we’ve ever seen Weaver in six seasons.

Carter brings Millicent home from her rehab center, and they’re surprised to find Eleanor at the mansion. Millicent clearly hates Eleanor and doesn’t bother trying to hide it. Leaving for work, Abby passes her warring neighbors, Joyce and Brian. Brian is terse but Joyce is friendly and invites Abby over for coffee sometime. She also offers Abby a ride, though the car isn’t working, so she couldn’t follow through on that even if Abby had said yes.

Eleanor has agreed to go to a luncheon for a pediatric cancer charity, since Millicent doesn’t want to attend. Carter tells Eleanor she doesn’t have to go; Millicent always accepts their offers to look good, but never actually goes. With Jack out of town, Eleanor has decided to stay a while, knowing she won’t have to run into him. Carter tells her he knows they’re getting divorced. She doesn’t seem too broken up about it.

Paramedics bring in a homeless man named Andy who was found in a Dumpster. Abby recognizes him as a frequent patient nicknamed Icicle Andy. The ER is cold, and Frank blames the holes in the ozone layer. Abby passes Andy off to Susan as Frank remarks that he thought Andy died last year. “The iceman cometh back,” Abby replies. Heh. When Susan, Abby, Gallant, and Malik try to warm Andy up, Abby accidentally snaps off one of his frostbitten fingers. “Ah, he gave you the finger, huh, Abby?” Malik quips. Heh again.

A boy named Douglas wanders in and Abby tries to get him to leave. He’s looking for his mom, who he says was treated in that trauma room. Abby takes him out and passes him off to Frank to look for his mother. Frank might not typically be a good choice for someone to look after a child, but he just asks Douglas if he wants a donut.

Abby then joins Luka to treat a woman named Meryl who fainted after feeling sick for a few days. She’s been taking fertility drugs and might be having a bad reaction to them. She tells Abby she got tired of waiting for the perfect man and decided to have a baby on her own. Abby notes that she hasn’t seen Luka lately, and he tells her he’s been working nights. His new year’s resolution is to help out more, so he’s going to spend some time working with Doctors Without Borders.

Mark complains to Frank about the temperature, and Frank tells him to get used to the cold since we’re moving toward another Ice Age. Mark tells Elizabeth that he found a lighter in Rachel’s clothes, and since Andrew was smoking pot, now they have reason to believe that Rachel is, too. Mark considers searching her room, but Elizabeth thinks that’s too big a violation of her privacy.

Carter and Chen do some window shopping at the mall, pausing at a toy store so she can look at a kids’ doctor’s set. She laments that she’s not allowed to send any presents to her son. But his parents are still in touch with her and sent her a video of him walking. Chen worries that all of the decisions she’s made recently have been bad. She reveals that she asked a waitress at Doc Magoo’s if she remembers Weaver getting any pages the night Paul died. The waitress didn’t remember pages, but she saw Weaver come back later and find her pager in the bathroom. Now Chen is armed with some very damning information about her former boss.

Andy didn’t make it, so Abby and Malik do whatever nurses do after a patient dies. Abby finds Blackhawks tickets in Andy’s pocket, and Malik tries to call dibs. She tells him that’s grave-robbing. Malik argues that no one’s going to claim the body of a homeless man, so the tickets will just go to waste. Abby ignores him and keeps the tickets.

After giving Gallant some guidance on a patient (demonstrating that she still has her med-school knowledge), Abby sees that Frank still hasn’t returned Douglas to his mother. Frank can’t find any records of a woman with her name checking in that morning, and he thinks someone just dumped Douglas there. Abby disagrees, since Douglas said his mother was treated in a trauma room.

Richard shows up and takes Abby across the street for coffee so he can tell her he’s getting remarried. Dude, on her birthday? I’m glad Abby left him. His fiancée is a teacher and has a six-year-old son, so Richard will finally get to have the kid he’s always wanted. Abby didn’t realize he wanted to be a father. She, like me, can’t believe he told her this today of all days. He doesn’t know what she means, since he obviously forgot that it’s her birthday. Abby graciously tells him that she hopes this marriage works out better than theirs did.

Carter and Susan have lunch in the lounge, and Abby catches them kissing. Carter apologizes for not telling her sooner that they’re dating. He tries to downplay the relationship as a friendship, but Abby notes that Carter’s never kissed Frank like that. She tells Carter not to worry about it. Douglas is still hanging around the ER, so Abby offers to bring him some food. She bugs Frank to work harder to find his mother. Frank asks if he can have the Blackhawks tickets if he succeeds.

Gallant can’t find Luka, and Meryl’s having trouble breathing, so Abby tries to help. As Luka joins them, Frank tells Abby that he thinks he found Douglas’ mother; she came in last night with a headache that was actually a brain bleed. Douglas spent all night in the waiting room with no idea what was going on. To make things worse, his mother died. Abby tells Frank to find Douglas’ father and bring him some food.

After Abby has successfully figured out what’s wrong with Meryl and helped stabilize her, she bugs Frank some more about his lack of people-finding skills. She tells him to act like the cop he used to be. Weaver was the mother’s doctor, and she’s not in yet, so Frank offers to page her and make her come in and tell Douglas his mother died. Too late – Douglas overhears the conversation, so Abby has to give him the news herself. He refuses to believe that she’s dead and runs around the ER, looking for her.

While Douglas was running around and crying himself to sleep, Frank found his father, who’s on a business trip in Australia. He can’t get a flight out until the next night, so they’ll have to turn Douglas over to Social Services. Could this kid’s day get any worse? Gallant asks Abby if they do psych transfers to other hospitals – he has a patient with minor injuries from a slip-and-fall who wants to be taken somewhere else. Abby goes to see the patient herself and is stunned to see that it’s Paul Sobriki.

Abby has security restrain Paul, who asks Susan to call his caseworker. Abby pulls Susan out of the room to tell her who Paul is. She wants to have him transferred before Carter can see him, but since Paul might have a head injury, Susan doesn’t want him moved yet. Abby tells her to at least move Paul to another room, since he’s in the same trauma room where he stabbed Carter and Lucy. She adds that they need to erase his name from the board so Carter doesn’t find out he’s there.

Abby takes Douglas to the morgue so he can be completely and utterly traumatized by the sight of his mother’s dead body. Abby’s like, “Maybe my day isn’t so bad after all.” When they return to the ER, Weaver chastises Abby for taking him, but Abby needed a way to get to him believe that his mother was dead. She hasn’t called Social Services yet, since she’d rather find a family member who can take Douglas until his father gets to Chicago. Weaver reminds her that that’s not her job.

Randi’s entertaining herself by reading people their horoscopes. Frank’s is pretty accurate – he’s cranky and no one likes him. Carter is open to new ideas and is compassionate. Randi asks Abby for her sign, but Abby isn’t interested in hearing her horoscope. Carter notices that his patient was moved from the suture room, and Abby distracts him from going to see the patient who was put in there instead (Paul).

Paul’s caseworker tells Susan that Paul was found not guilty of his attacks on Carter and Lucy because of his schizophrenia. He spent some time in a psych facility, but he’s now out on conditional release. The caseworker thinks Paul is justified in being agitated right now, since he’s been out on release for just a few days and was brought to the scene of his crimes. Apparently a professor from Paul’s law school got some colleagues to help arrange for his early release.

Abby’s annoyed, but the caseworker doesn’t think Paul will become violent again. He wants Paul’s restraints to be removed. Abby objects, but the caseworker notes that Paul is lucid and coherent, and has been stable for more than a year. He needs to be treated with respect right now. Abby laughs at that, but Susan seems to agree with the caseworker.

Gallant needs Abby’s help with something again, and she’s not happy about it. Meryl is upset that the drugs that were supposed to be helping her get pregnant have led to serious medical problems instead. She hates that women grow up praying they won’t get pregnant when they don’t want to; then, when they do want to, they can’t. She hopes she didn’t miss her chance. A few years ago, she had an abortion. She wanted to wait until she was ready to have kids, but maybe she waited too long.

Chuny reminds Abby to call Social Services for Douglas, and as Abby goes to the phone, she spots Samantha Sobriki with the little girl she was pregnant with when Paul attacked Carter and Lucy. Malik bugs Abby about the hockey tickets, and she’s apparently gotten tired of the whole thing, so she hands them over, telling him that Susan wants one of them. Carter approaches Abby just as Paul is wheeled down the hall. Abby tries to keep Carter from seeing Paul, but the second Carter hears Paul’s voice, he recognizes it.

Carter slowly approaches Paul, who apologizes. Samantha tells Carter that Paul’s out on conditional release and even has a job. Paul says the person who attacked Carter and Lucy wasn’t him. He’s in treatment and is okay now. Carter blankly says he’s glad Paul is okay, then goes down the hall to the bathroom. As “Battleflag” comes up on the soundtrack, Carter splashes water on his face, looking over his shoulder to make sure no one’s behind him. He seems okay, then leans over and throws up in the sink.

Weaver and Sandy go to the Blackhawks game together, but Weaver panics when she spots Susan and Malik there. Sandy easily figures out that Weaver’s not out at work. She’s upset that Weaver came on to her but is now trying to hide their relationship. Sandy says she doesn’t have time to be with a woman who doesn’t want anyone to know they’re together.

Douglas talks to his dad on the phone, getting the promise that he’ll be in Chicago the next day. His dad lives in L.A., so Douglas will have to move, but Abby thinks he’ll like California, where it’s warm and sunny and he can go to Disneyland. Samantha approaches Abby with a note for Carter and tries to convince Abby that Paul isn’t a threat to anyone. He has a disease, but he’s being treated – the goal of any hospital. She won’t give up on her husband or their family. Abby wishes her good luck.

She finds Carter in the lounge and gives him the note, which he won’t take. She invites him to get dessert across the street, but Carter says he has to get home. He pretends everything’s fine. A social worker tries to take Douglas somewhere for the night, but Douglas begs to stay with Abby instead. She tells him she’s not at the hospital all the time, but he can come visit her whenever he wants. She has to watch as the social worker carries him away, crying.

Gallant has more questions for Abby, who’s fed up with him treating her like she’s his attending. If he wants to be a doctor, he needs to start acting like one. Aww, Gallant. It’s not you. Mark goes to Rachel’s bedroom to talk to her, but she’s not there, so he starts snooping through her things. In her backpack he finds a cigarette pack that holds both cigarettes and condoms.

Rachel catches him and says she bought the cigarettes on a dare and got the condoms in health class. Mark accuses her of lying, but Rachel says it doesn’t matter what she says, since he never believes her. Mark confirms that he can’t trust her. Rachel dramatically yells that she’s smoking, taking drugs, and having sex. Okay, but can you do all that quietly?

Carter hired a private-duty nurse for Millicent, but Eleanor sent her home, planning to take care of Millicent herself overnight. Carter asks why Eleanor is suddenly in town, making big decisions. She should stop trying to be helpful, since she doesn’t actually help. Carter’s made all of Millicent’s medical decisions, so Eleanor needs to consult with him. Eleanor says she’ll call the nurse back, but she’s not leaving – she won’t let Jack break up their family.

Carter scoffs that they’re barely a family, since Eleanor hasn’t been much of a part of it for 20 years. Eleanor tries to leave the conversation, but Carter refuses to let her make herself out to be the wronged party. He reminds her that he was stabbed, and Eleanor and Jack didn’t come see him for three weeks. They’ve kept their distance for Carter’s whole life.

Eleanor asks if Carter blames her for his addiction. He yells that he blames her for not being his mother. His brother died as a child, and Eleanor checked out of the rest of her maternal duties. Eleanor doesn’t know how to respond, so she just goes to bed. Carter notes to himself that she’s running away like she always does.

Abby runs into Joyce again when she gets home; Joyce is hanging out in their brownstone’s lobby until Brian falls asleep, so they don’t have another fight. She offers Abby a beer and invites her to sit with her and unwind. Abby takes a drink, setting her sobriety back to zero. She tells Joyce it’s her birthday, and Joyce wishes her a happy birthday, unlike everyone else in her life who couldn’t be bothered to all day (except Maggie).

Thoughts: Joyce is played by Christina Hendricks.

Hey, Carter, maybe be more available to your med students so Gallant doesn’t have to keep turning to Abby for help. Why fight so hard to become chief resident if you’re not going to do the job?

I’m surprised they didn’t do more to connect Abby to Meryl’s storyline, since it’s so heavy-handed. I’m also surprised that there’s really no follow-on on Carter and Paul’s encounter. We should have at least seen Carter considering/talking about taking painkillers or talking about going to a 12-step meeting or even making an appointment with Deraad. Instead, he yells at Eleanor and then doesn’t talk about it again.

April 6, 2021

ER 8.9, Quo Vadis?: It’s a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World

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

I need you two to stop

Summary: Jackie has just dropped Reese off at County’s daycare after keeping him at her house for the night. Benton comes by to see his son, but he only gets to spend a minute with Reese before Shirley summons him to the ICU. Benton’s supposed to be off in five minutes, as if Romano cares. Then he gets paged to the ER. As they leave the daycare room, Jackie reminds Benton that Carla once said she wanted him to spend Father’s Day with Reese. He needs to tell the judge that at the custody hearing that morning.

Susan sent Millicent lilies, but she’s made a bad impression yet again, since Millicent is allergic to them. Carter notes that lilies are also for funerals, so that’s another mistake. Millicent is recovering from her broken hip and is more worried about Jill than herself (fortunately, Jill is also recovering, and Millicent gave her some money to head off a lawsuit). Benton comes to the ER, wondering why Elizabeth can’t do whatever it is he’s supposed to be there to do. Mark expositions that she’s been cleared to perform surgery again after all those patient deaths. Frank is skeptical that she didn’t do anything wrong.

Benton joins Luka and Gallant to try to save a woman who was shot. Elizabeth comes in to relieve Benton, who has to rush off to court. The patient is brain-dead, and Elizabeth tells her husband, Mr. Pruitt, that there’s nothing they can do for her. She mentions that Mrs. Pruitt has an organ-donor card. Mr. Pruitt says he guesses that’s what she wants.

Mark calls Elizabeth in to help him with a teenager named Rudy who was injured during a boxing match. They chat while working, and Mark asks Elizabeth to help Rachel with her math homework after work. (It’s that or the Revolutionary War, and it makes sense that Elizabeth, a Brit, would want to opt out of that subject.) Luka bugs Weaver about getting Nicole rehired, even though she was busted for stealing. Weaver reminds him that County has a zero-tolerance policy about theft. Plus, Luka didn’t screen her better before helping her get hired. Uh, I think that’s HR’s fault, but okay.

After spending a moment with Carter, doing their weird version of flirting, Susan joins Gallant to tend to a teen named Jorge. He’s Rudy’s brother, as well as Rudy’s boxing opponent. Their father, Mr. Escalona, lets Jorge know that Rudy will be okay. Jorge gets very stoic when his father comes in, sending up a red flag to Susan and Gallant that something strange is going on here.

Benton meets up with his lawyer, Ms. Prager, before the hearing, and she tells him to be as stoic as Jorge when people are testifying. Their judge, Alter, tends to favor the mother in custody cases, though that won’t be an issue here. Ms. Prager thinks Benton’s tie is showy, so her assistant gives Benton his own tie. Ms. Prager tells Benton not to get too emotional during his own testimony. Benton criticizes his new tie as the whitest one he’s ever seen. The assistant is like, “…It’s blue.” Ha, and also, that guy’s not white, but okay.

Carter and Abby tend to a woman who keeps having an allergic reaction for unknown reasons. (I don’t know her name, so I’ll call her Allegra.) She and her husband are in Chicago on their honeymoon. Abby and Chuny spot Nicole entering the ER, most likely to meet with HR and get officially fired. Abby suggests that Allegra has a latex allergy, but she hasn’t had any contact with latex recently. She and her new husband stopped using condoms when they got married. Meanwhile, Susan tells Jorge that Rudy’s unconscious but his vitals are good.

In court, Roger’s lawyer, Wharton, guides him through testimony about his closeness with Reese and his ability to maintain a flexible schedule. Unlike Peter, Roger has never needed or wanted to pass him off to someone else for childcare. Because…not having a flexible schedule makes you a bad parent who doesn’t want to spend time with his child? Having to rely on help makes Benton less of a father? Ugh. Roger also testifies that Reese has said Roger’s place is his home.

Elizabeth talks to Mr. Pruitt about donating Mrs. Pruitt’s organs, but he hasn’t quite accepted that they have to harvest the organs while her heart is still beating. He doesn’t get that brain death means death death, no matter which organs are still working. Elizabeth gives him some more time to sit with his wife and figure out what to do.

Abby mentions to Luka that she saw Nicole and is sure she’ll find another job. Luka says she might want to stop working now that she’s pregnant. Abby is surprised that Nicole wants to keep the baby. She’s even more surprised that Luka wants to help her raise the baby. She asks if Nicole actually took a pregnancy test, and if Luka saw the results. Luka gets defensive, which is fair, but also, Luka, you’re so dumb.

Mr. E. regrets letting Rudy get in the ring with Jorge, since some weak arteries in his head mean he could possibly hemorrhage. Mark tells Mr. E. that it’s actually a preexisting condition, and it’s fixable. Gallant thinks Jorge blames himself for his brother’s condition. Carter asks Susan and Abby if they’ve ever heard of someone being allergic to semen. He thinks that’s what’s going on with Allegra. A boy named Sean comes in with his foot stuck in a toilet. Well, that’s a new one. Sandy accompanies him in the ambulance and reunites with Weaver. Nicole’s back in the ER, and Abby manages to be nice to her for once, offering her some coffee.

Back in court, Cleo testifies that Benton is a wonderful father to Reese. Wharton asks about her relationship with Benton, which hasn’t been stable. In fact, they broke up a while ago and just got back together recently. What if Cleo and Benton break up again in the coming weeks, months, or years? I don’t know, Wharton – what if Benton dies, like Carla did? What if Roger dies? What if a giant asteroid hits Earth and we all die, except Reese? What then?? Have you thought about that??

Wharton asks about the incident where Reese got hurt while Cleo was watching him. He chastises Benton for letting Cleo take care of Reese when he was supposed to be in Benton’s care. Freaking A, are people not allowed to use babysitters in this guy’s world? Also, Benton’s lawyer sucks, because she’s not doing enough to object or mentioning that Wharton keeps interrupting Cleo when she tries to respond to his questions.

Abby gives Nicole regular coffee, probably trying to trick her into drinking caffeine to show she’s not really pregnant or doesn’t care about the baby. It doesn’t work. Abby offers to give Nicole an ultrasound, since she hasn’t had a prenatal exam yet or even confirmed that she’s really pregnant. She tells Nicole this isn’t the way to “get” Luka.

Abby has questions about Nicole’s father; at one point she said her father killed himself, but then she said he kicked her out when she was a teenager. Nicole clarifies that the father who kicked her out was really her stepfather. “I guess you have an answer for everything,” Abby remarks. “I guess everything is your business,” Nicole replies. Ooh, point to Nicole. Abby says she just doesn’t want Luka to get hurt. Nicole says she wants him to be happy. Abby tells her that a made-up life won’t accomplish that. If this is all real, great. If not, Luka’s smart enough to figure it out.

Weaver and Sandy chat a little about the night they met and how Sandy’s one of very few female firefighters in the city. Sandy says she’s like one of the guys. She hasn’t had her hand checked out, since she doesn’t like doctors. Oooh, Sandy, you’re about to like a doctor very soon. Rudy has stopped breathing, and Mark determines that the pressure in his brain has increased. As he’s trying to stabilize Rudy, Rachel calls to check in. Go away, Rachel. Mark and Gallant end up having to shock Rudy’s heart.

Luka thinks he has a solution to Elizabeth’s problem getting Mr. Pruitt to agree to donate his wife’s organs: Take her to the OR, turn off her ventilator, wait until her heart stops beating, and then get him to consent to the organ donation. After two minutes of cardiac arrest, they can remove her organs without any damage from lack of oxygen.

Elizabeth doesn’t see the point in rushing Mr. Pruitt. Luka tells her that this is the only circumstance under which Mr. Pruitt will agree to the organ harvesting. Elizabeth is annoyed that he gave Mr. Pruitt that option without consulting her. She’s the one who has to get consent, and she’s the one who has to do the actually harvesting.

Carter has a hypothesis he wants to test on Allegra and her husband. They just need an empty exam room (preferably one without a dead body in it). Mark and Gallant haven’t been able to revive Rudy, and Mark tells Mr. E. that they’re not going to be able to. He invites Mr. E. and Jorge to say goodbye before Rudy dies. Mr. E. praises his son for fighting hard and never giving up. Jorge gets distressed hearing Mr. E.’s goodbye message and yells at him to shut up.

Luka and Nicole take a walk by the water, and he tells her not to worry about working while she’s pregnant. Nicole doesn’t want to just lounge around and be a kept woman, even if it means Luka covers her rent. She has a friend who’s opening a café and needs help…but the café is in Montreal. She appreciates Luka’s generosity, but she’s ready to move on.

Luka asks to talk more after his shift, but Nicole says she’ll call him in a few days. He worries that she’s mad at him or thinks he’s mad at her. Nicole says that he talked himself into loving her, but this isn’t real. Luka tells her he made an OB appointment. Nicole says it’s not necessary – she’s not pregnant. She didn’t want to lose him, so she came up with a way to keep him around, but it was all a lie.

Susan and a patient hear some noises coming from an exam room, but Carter says they’re just from maintenance workers doing their job. Lies! The noises are Allegra and her husband banging. Carter tells Susan he’s “conducting a clinical trial.” She teases him for running a brothel. He argues that it’s not a brothel if they’re married. (Also, no money is changing hands. But still, I don’t think Weaver would care about the details if she found out what was going on.)

Mark gets Rudy’s labwork back and asks Mr. E. if he’s ever taken stimulants. Mr. E. says he’d never let Rudy take drugs. They found ephedra in his blood, and Jorge explains that it must have come from the power supplements Rudy was taking. Mark says the ephedra probably raised Rudy’s blood pressure and led to a blood vessel in his brain rupturing. Jorge tells Mr. E. that Rudy wanted to power up so he could make their father proud.

Mr. E. is upset that Jorge knew what Rudy was doing and didn’t stop him. Jorge notes that Mr. E. was always pushing Rudy, so he felt like he didn’t have a choice. Rudy was just a kid. Mr. E. says Rudy wanted to be a champ, but Jorge argues that that was what their father wanted. He’s done with boxing and letting Mr. E. press his children to excel. Mr. E. says Jorge was born with a gift, so Jorge ruins the gift by punching a wall and injuring his hand.

Jackie comes to the courthouse to give Benton some moral support. Benton tells her that Roger is making it sound like Benton calls him for help with Reese all the time, when he’s only asked for help a couple times. Jackie thinks they should bust Roger for perjury. She tells Roger to leave them alone and tell the truth. “Get your own family!” she yells.

Carter finds Susan in an exam room next to Allegra and her husband’s, and accuses her of listening to them have sex. Dude, if they’re loud enough to be heard in the ER, she didn’t need to get closer. Also, how long do they need to go at it for Carter’s hypothesis to be proven or disproven? I’m all for the scientific method, but this is overkill. Finally, the sex stops, and the two go check on the patient. Mark and Gallant walk by, and Mark asks what’s going on. Susan tells him to ask Carter. Gallant makes a face that says, “I know exactly what’s going on, and you two are very naughty.”

Mark and Gallant tell Jorge he’ll be in a cast for a few weeks. As Mark leaves to treat someone else, Gallant tries to assure Jorge that everyone has daddy issues. Jorge says it’s different for him, since Mr. E. is so old-school. He’s from Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. before his kids were born. He was a great boxer in Cuba, and when he tried to leave, his hands were broken. He pushed his kids to have what was taken from him. Gallant urges Jorge to talk to Mr. E. about his feelings on the situation.

Allegra and her husband weren’t able to…fully test Carter’s hypothesis. What, you mean they weren’t able to finish while in an exam room in a busy hospital where anyone could walk in at any time? Preposterous! Carter tells them to use condoms until they can test the hypothesis under medical supervision. Allegra wonders why she would suddenly develop an allergy to semen. Carter and Susan say it could be the result of having multiple sex partners. Allegra’s like, “Okay, yeah, that makes sense.” Her husband isn’t happy to hear that.

Paramedics bring in a 16-year-old who fell off a lamppost. A cop tells Mark and Carter that he and a girl were stealing street signs. Mark recognizes the patient as Andrew, then easily (and correctly) guesses that the girl is Rachel. The teens aren’t under arrest, but a cop wants to take Rachel to the police station to scare her a little. Mark approves. Meanwhile, Sandy returns to the hospital, having decided she wants a wound check after all.

Wharton questions Benton about his work hours and childcare arrangements. He notes that Jackie had trouble taking care of Reese right after Carla died, then brings up Jesse. Is Jackie stable enough to take care of a child when she’s still grieving the death of her own child? Is she taking psychiatric medication with side effects that could hamper her ability to take care of a child? Getting angry, Benton tells Wharton to start asking questions about his parenting abilities and how he’s taken care of Reese for years. There’s nothing more important to him than his son.

At the end of the day, Ms. Prager chastises Benton for blowing up on the stand. He doesn’t regret it, since he said what he had to say. The judge seems to be leaning toward Roger, so Ms. Prager tells Benton they need to do something to tip the scales toward him. Right now, his work hours are hurting him the most, so he needs to make some sacrifices to put Reese first.

The cop who busted Andrew and Rachel returns Rachel to the hospital after her little field trip of fear at the police station. Mark tells her that Andrew tested positive for marijuana, so he has some questions about whether Rachel has used pot, too. She’ll need to provide the answers in a cup. Rachel complains that Mark doesn’t trust her, as if she’s given him even one reason to trust her over the past five episodes.

Luka tells Abby that Nicole’s leaving town and there’s no baby. Abby very graciously doesn’t say, “I told you so.” Allegra’s back in the ER, having finished Carter’s research in a pickup truck. Looks like his hypothesis was right. Benton’s also back and being sent to the OR. Gallant talks to Mr. E. about arrangements for Rudy’s body, and Mr. E. expresses regret over his fight with Jorge. He doesn’t think Jorge understands his reasons for pushing his sons so much. Gallant says Jorge might surprise him. Mr. E. joins Jorge in the room where Rudy’s body is still lying, and the two hug each other and cry.

Elizabeth hands Mrs. Pruitt off to Benton; her husband finally consented to the organ harvest, but he still needs some hand-holding. Benton doesn’t want to hold anyone’s hand, and since Elizabeth has been dealing with Mr. Pruitt all day, he tells her to deal with it. Elizabeth says he just wants to talk to the surgeon who will be doing the harvesting. Benton sucks it up and acts human, learning that the Pruitts have a young daughter, and Mr. Pruitt will now be parenting her alone. Benton blankly tells him he’ll have to do the best he can. Wow, that was almost like compassion! Good job, Benton!

Weaver tends to Sandy’s hand and makes small talk about her co-workers. Then Weaver takes a huge leap and asks Sandy if she’d like to go out sometime. We don’t find out Sandy’s response, but she does confirms that Weaver has read her right as a fellow lady lover. Rachel tested negative for pot, and Mark tells her he had to test her because he has to make sure she’s safe – that’s more important than not making her angry. Rachel, a typical teen, doesn’t want to hear it.

Benton starts Mrs. Pruitt’s organ harvest, turning off her ventilator and waiting for her heart to stop. Carter and Susan chat about Allegra and her husband – apparently there’s a way for them to have a baby that involves washing the husband’s sperm and then doing artificial insemination. Susan thinks it’s weird that they had sex in a truck, but it’s not as weird as when she once had sex on a Ferris wheel. Carter asks for more tales of Susan’s strangest sexual encounters. Guys, just kiss already. Oh, hey, they listened to me! Ew, no, stop. It’s weird.

Mrs. Pruitt’s heart is still beating after almost an hour, and she’s breathing on her own, so Benton can’t harvest her organs yet. He tells Shirley they’ll have to keep waiting. I guess there’s a metaphor here for how Benton also has to be patient and can’t rush the custody fight. But also, he could be stuck there all night, which means he has to spend more time away from Reese. So much for making sacrifices.

Thoughts: Sean is played by future Two and a Half Men half man Angus T. Jones. IMDb says Keegan-Michael Key is also in this episode, but I didn’t see him. And chances are you’ve seen Tom Wright, who plays Wharton, in something, but Magicians fans will know him as Santa. (For those who aren’t familiar with The Magicians, yes, I mean Santa Claus.)

“Quo vadis?” means “where are you going?” Not sure why the show thought the Latin was necessary.

The Nicole plot is so pointless. The show was able to land Julie Delpy as a guest star and this is the crap they give her?

Ah, yes, teens stealing street signs. I live near an exit 69, and that sign had to be replaced quite a few times when I was younger because people kept taking it.

March 23, 2021

ER 8.7, If I Should Fall from Grace: Plenty of Goofuses, Just One Gallant

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

Never fear, Gallant is here!

Summary: Med student Michael Gallant is reporting to County for his first day of work, and we are all the better for it. He finds a child’s glove on the floor and tries to turn it in to a lost and found box, but the ER doesn’t have one, since, as Haleh explains, someone stole it. Gallant is supposed to meet Carter at 8:00 a.m., but he’s so excited for his first day that he’s early. (We’ll also find out later that he’s in the military, where, if you’re not early, you’re late.)

Susan speaks to a patient named Fred who says he hasn’t been feeling like himself lately. It all started when a woman bit him on the neck. Susan tells him it’s a hickey. Gallant meets Mark while Elizabeth yells at Luka about a patient she thinks will need surgery. Luka notes that she doesn’t usually come to the ER until a patient’s labs are back, so she doesn’t need to be bugging him right now. Elizabeth tells Mark that she thinks Luka is just pretending he doesn’t need a surgical consult because he doesn’t want Elizabeth to do it, thanks to all of her recent patient losses.

Frank is annoyed that there aren’t any donuts in the lounge. Abby tells him they’re out of petty cash, though he knows they had $50 yesterday. Susan mentions having a patient who thinks he’s a vampire, and Abby calls him Count Fred, then asks if he’s alone in his exam room. She tells Susan that Fred is a vampire, in that he drinks people’s blood. Indeed, the two of them and Gallant find Fred drinking from a blood bag. Welcome to the show, Gallant!

Carter isn’t in any rush to get to County to meet his new student, since he takes the time to intervene in an argument between Millicent and her driver, Alger. She thinks he’s lying about a car not working so she won’t try to drive. Carter points out that she has a driver, so she doesn’t need to drive. Millicent doesn’t want a chaperone. As she gets up to ask him a question, she suddenly passes out.

Without Carter to guide him, Gallant is bugging Abby about sneaking him a couple of cases so he can get started at his job. Nicole has moved on from transporting supplies to learning to become a nurse’s aide, which amuses Abby. Luka calls both of them over to help him with a patient named Jeremy who was in a skateboarding accident. Gallant comes in to watch as Luka makes Abby teach Nicole stuff. Nicole doesn’t know how to do anything (fair, since she’s just starting her training), but Gallant is able to make a correct diagnosis.

Carter brings Millicent in, which gives Susan a chance to make a better second impression than her first one (not like that’s hard). Millicent insists she’s fine, but she briefly passes out again. Susan tries to reassure Carter that it could be nothing serious. Gallant is so eager to do something helpful that he asks Cleo if he can intubate Jeremy. Yeah, no, definitely not. Benton joins them and sends Gallant away, annoyed that Gallant is asking so many questions. You’d think Benton would be thrilled to have someone like Gallant there, since he’s basically the opposite of William White.

Nicole praises Luka for saving Jeremy’s life, then goes back to…whatever she was doing. Abby confronts Luka for letting Nicole be in the trauma room and do things she’s not qualified to do. Luka thinks Abby’s just mad because he likes Nicole. That may be part of it, but Abby also doesn’t want Luka to break the rules for his new girlfriend. By making Abby teach Nicole, he prevented Abby from helping him save Jeremy.

As Benton is heading to the OR to operate on Jeremy, a process server gives him a subpoena: Roger is suing for custody of Reese. A mall security guard named Hilliker asks Luka how Jeremy is; he’s the person who called 911 after Jeremy’s accident. Gallant notices that Hilliker is limping, and Hilliker explains that he twisted his ankle chasing Jeremy and his friends through the mall, trying to get them to leave.

Abby tries to treat a nun who insists on letting Carter change her bandage. Looks like she and her fellow sister have crushes on him. “What is it with you and nuns, Carter?” Haleh asks. I’m going to need more details on that. Carter’s too busy worrying about Millicent, so Abby says she’ll take care of the nun. She also has to clean up a patient who puked, so she decides this is the perfect time to teach Nicole the ways of nursing.

Elizabeth was supposed to operate on a patient, but the case was given to Dale. (Ugh, that guy. Fortunately, we don’t have to actually see him.) Romano tells her she’s not back on service today – they have to wait for the CDC to wrap up their investigation. The good news is that, while there was a criminal investigation, there was no evidence that Elizabeth deliberately killed anyone. Romano doesn’t think the deaths have anything to do with Elizabeth, but he has to follow the CDC’s rules. He thinks Elizabeth should enjoy her downtime by spending time with Ella and catching up on dictation.

Instead, Elizabeth confronts Kit while she’s drawing blood from a patient in the ICU. She thinks Kit was actually injecting something into the patient’s IV. Kit explains that the IV was clogged, so she injected something to improve the flow. Elizabeth doesn’t believe her until she finds the vial Kit used. Poor Kit. So underappreciated.

Hilliker chats with Luka about the years he spent as a police officer before becoming a security guard. Luka then goes to talk to Jeremy’s mother, Mrs. Norris, while Jeremy’s in surgery. When Hilliker follows, Jeremy’s friend Russ calls him out for chasing them at the mall. He accuses Hilliker of throwing a stick at them, which caused Jeremy’s wipeout. Hilliker says he just asked the kids to leave.

Mrs. Norris believes Russ, and there’s some yelling until Luka sends Hilliker back to his exam room. Gallant comes running back a moment later to report that Hilliker seems to be having a heart attack. While Luka treats him, Hilliker tells him that the kids were taunting him. Jeremy stole his hat and threw it in a fountain. Oh, well, in that case, Hilliker was totally justified in throwing something at him and putting him in the hospital.

Elizabeth starts reviewing charts and questioning doctors she’s worked with on her now-dead patients. One of them tells her that Babcock, the anesthesiologist, is really the person she needs to talk to. Benton and Romano wrap up Jeremy’s operation, and Romano notes that Benton seems to be in a bad mood. Benton doesn’t open up to him, of course. He goes to tell Mrs. Norris that Jeremy came through surgery, but it’s not clear if he’ll ever wake up.

Gallant takes his eagerness to Mark, who’s normally happy to have a new shadow but finds Gallant a little too intense. He asks Susan to save him. Susan says that at least Gallant seems nice. Mark says they all start out that way; then they turn into residents like Carter. Susan comments that she wishes they were all like him. Mark thinks she means that in a way other than professionally.

Carter tells Susan that it looks like Millicent has something called Shy-Drager, which as far as I can tell from some brief Internet research is a degenerative neurological disorder that eventually makes your whole body shut down. Yikes. He finally meets Gallant, but he’s not really in the mood to be a teacher right now. Abby takes pity on Gallant (and probably Carter, a little) by offering to find him a case to work on.

Elizabeth goes back to the ICU, this time to apologize to Kit and ask her about some patients. Once again, Babcock’s name comes up. Kit tells Elizabeth that sometimes Babcock will insist on removing a patient’s central line instead of letting a nurse do it. That sets off alarm bells in Elizabeth’s head.

Back in the ER, Gallant questions a patient who took some of her husband’s old penicillin. He demonstrates both medical knowledge and good bedside manner. As he’s leaving, another patient, Grace, suggests an underlying condition the patient might have. She’s a second-year med student, but not at County, so Gallant doesn’t appreciate her input. Grace tells Carter that Gallant is bad at taking patient histories, so they should test the patient for something he missed. Carter agrees.

He starts examining Grace, who thinks she’s coming down with the flu and wants some medication to keep her going. Carter learns that she’s in both med school and law school at the same time. Gallant meets Nicole, who tells Luka that Abby showed her how to bathe a homeless man. Luka seems to guess that Abby is punishing Nicole, so he tells her to shadow Malik or Haleh instead. Trust me, Luka, they’ll do the same thing.

Hilliker only had an anxiety attack, not a heart attack, and Luka lets Gallant give him the good news. Nicole follows him to Hilliker’s exam room, where they find him hanging from the ceiling. Gallant sends Nicole to get help, then uses a scalpel to cut through the belt Hilliker hanged himself with.

Carter tells Millicent that she has Shy-Drager, which affects her blood pressure and could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Most people who have it die within ten years. Millicent says she’s not sure she wants to live that long anyway, so she’s not bothered. She just wants to go home.

Abby finds Nicole crying in the ambulance bay and makes herself extend some kindness. She reports that Hilliker will be okay, thanks to Gallant, and Nicole shouldn’t let it bother her too much. Apparently people try to commit suicide in the ER all the time. How lovely. Nicole tells her that her father hanged himself, and she was the one who found his body. Abby asks if Luka knows about this. Nicole has never told him. She admits that she’s not sure she can handle this job. Abby tells her it’s not always this bad, and it’s okay for her to cry.

Elizabeth tells Mark that she’s found one commonality in all her cases: Babcock. She’s upset that he didn’t step forward when he found out Elizabeth was being investigated. Uh, how did the investigators not notice that he was involved in so many of her cases? Frank gives Mark a message from Rachel’s school: She was suspended. Yep, sounds about right.

Luka checks on Hilliker, who’s told Gallant everything. Gallant relays that Hilliker doesn’t want them to call the police, since he still has friends on the force. Also, Hilliker lost his wife last year. Again, not an excuse for what he did. Gallant tells Luka that Hilliker took the job as a security guard so he could help people. Dude, it doesn’t matter! He made a kid wipe out on his skateboard, and now the kid might be in a coma forever!

Carter tells Grace she’s rundown and should probably pick which career path she wants to take instead of trying them both. She tells him her parents will only pay for her to go to med school if she also graduates law school. Carter wonders why she doesn’t have health insurance, since her parents are both lawyers. Grace says she has a complicated relationship with them. Hmm, sounds familiar. Carter tells her to eat better, reduce her stress, and make sure she’s sleeping well. That’s pretty much impossible for Grace, so she asks for some halcyon. Carter doesn’t think that’s a good idea, but Grace talks him into it.

He then updates Susan on Millicent, who went home with Alger. Susan notes that they need to call the DMV so Millicent’s license will be revoked. Carter hasn’t gotten that far – he didn’t want to make Millicent’s life worse by telling her she can’t drive anymore. Plus, he doesn’t feel like he can call the DMV to rat out his own grandmother. Susan offers to do it for him. Abby calls Carter back to Grace, who passed out. Susan comes along to help and notices cuts on Grace’s arm.

Elizabeth tries to talk to Romano as he scrubs in for surgery, but Babcock is in the room, so it’ll have to wait. Benton meets Jackie at Doc Magoo’s to get some advice on what to do about the subpoena. Her friends from the courthouse said he shouldn’t fight it, in case it makes him look like has something to hide. He should get a DNA test and prove that Reese is his biological son. Benton worries that he’ll prove the opposite instead.

Elizabeth looks through Babcock’s lab (I guess he’s doing some side experiments) but doesn’t find anything incriminating. Babcock catches her, but she covers by saying she just had some questions about some cases. Then she pretends she got paged so she can leave. Babcock asks her to return the keys she took to open some things she shouldn’t have been looking through.

Carter and Susan question Grace, who says she self-harmed and had an eating disorder as a kid because of a difficult home situation. Carter doesn’t believe her and asks to look at her other arm. He thinks she has an infection from recent cutting. Susan questions how well she has her eating disorder under control. Grace doesn’t want to listen to any more accusations, so she starts to leave. Carter wants to keep her on a psych hold, since she could be a danger to herself.

Gallant arrives as Grace gets agitated, insisting that the doctors are making too big a deal out of this. Carter just wants to help because he knows what it’s like to refuse it when you need it most. Grace sneers at Gallant for watching this unfold, since he wasn’t smart enough to make the diagnosis she did. Susan calls for a sedative, which just makes Grace more upset. Yeah, she’s totally stable. She begs the doctors to let her go, saying they’ll ruin everything. Instead, Carter lets Gallant sedate her.

Mark picks Rachel up from school, where she’s in trouble for threatening a girl she thinks is trying to steal Andrew from her. She says it’s not a big deal, though she’s been suspended with a threat of expulsion if there’s another offense. Mark tells her she can’t ride to school with Andrew anymore and she’s grounded for a month. Also, she has to do chores. She didn’t have to do chores already?? Come on.

Rachel complains that her father’s being too hard on her, when really, he’s basically doing the bare minimum of parenting. He tells her he sees all sorts of teenage girls at the hospital who wind up in horrible situations because no one cares about them. She’s just cursed with a father who actually cares.

Cleo finds Benton in the daycare room, playing with Reese. He tells her that Jackie suggested he take a DNA test. Cleo knows Carla claimed Reese isn’t Benton’s, and she tells him that, whatever biology says, Benton is Reese’s father. She invites them to have dinner at her house that night. Reese gets annoyed that they can’t go home, since Benton still has work to do. Reese asks for his other daddy instead.

Carter has apparently given Millicent the news that she’s not allowed to drive anymore, but she ignored him and has been driving around for a couple of hours just to stick it to him. Susan got Carter to call the DMV, but now he might have to report his own grandmother to the police. Susan offers to go to Millicent’s and wait with Carter to make sure she gets home safely.

Babcock has told Romano about Elizabeth’s snooping, so the three of them are now in Romano’s office to sort everything out. Elizabeth tries to play innocent, then decides to just put everything out there. Babcock is next to play innocent, telling Romano that Elizabeth’s dead patients shouldn’t have been considered eligible for surgery anyway.

Elizabeth points out that they all died from the same post-op infection. Babcock’s like, “If they hadn’t had surgery, there would be no post-op, and they wouldn’t have died.” Romano decides that until the health department wraps up their investigation, Elizabeth and Babcock will both be kept out of the OR. Both of them refuse to work with each other ever again. Romano kicks them both out of his office, hilariously sending them off with, “God is love.”

Gallant’s shift is over, but he decides to stick around and study. He goes to see Grace, offering her a book so she can study for an upcoming exam. She apologizes for taking out her problems on him. Since they’re both struggling with the same topic, they start studying together. Elsewhere, Benton gets swabbed for a DNA test.

While waiting for Millicent at her mansion, Carter tells Susan about his fentanyl addiction. He’s been sober for more than a year now. She asks to see the scar from his stabbing, which is such a bizarre way to respond to someone’s trauma. Carter recognizes that there’s some “adolescent sexual tension” between them and admits that he used to have a crush on her. She says she liked him, too, but he was a med student and he was a resident. Carter notes that he’s a resident now. He’s glad Susan came back to Chicago. Thank you, Millicent, for arriving just then, before anything can happen.

Thoughts: Grace is played by Bellamy Young. Russ is played by Dan Byrd.

My love of Gallant blinded me to the fact that his early eagerness could be kind of annoying. But Lucy was eager, too, and at least Gallant comes in with more skills than she did.

If you were hoping for a satisfying conclusion to Elizabeth’s plotline…sorry. We don’t get one.

Is it even possible to do med school and law school at the same time without only sleeping half an hour at night?

Carter and Susan never made sense to me as a couple, and I don’t know why they didn’t put him with Abby right away, since it was always obvious that things were heading in that direction.

March 16, 2021

ER 8.6, Supplies and Demands: My Two Dads

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

Seriously, guys, send Rachel back now

Summary: Benton is playing basketball with Reese at Jackie’s house before heading off to work. Jackie is surprised that Roger is going to be picking Reese up that afternoon for a family party. She says the cousin having the party isn’t Reese’s “real” cousin. Jackie, shush. Benton shuts her down, but Jackie argues that Reese must be confused to still have Roger in his life when they’re not really family anymore. Benton says he’s just giving Roger time to adjust to the changes – something Jackie should understand. She doesn’t appreciate that.

While driving to work, Elizabeth talks to someone on the phone in an attempt to help a patient she operated on. Rachel got her precious cell phone, and in exchange, she’ll be watching her baby sister that afternoon. Mark notices glitter on her cheek and asks if she’s starting a trend. Apparently it’s already a trend. Mark drops Elizabeth off before taking Rachel to school a little late. Rachel asks to be dropped off a few blocks away so no one sees her father’s minivan.

Susan has dragged Carter to a yoga class in hopes of helping him deal with the pain in his back. They talk through the whole thing, which I think is a no-no. He tells her that Millicent’s lab work has all come back fine, so aside from her fainting spell, she seems to be healthy. Susan asks about Carter and Abby, noting that there seems to be something going on there. He says they’re just friends. Susan thinks he doesn’t want to be Abby’s rebound after her breakup with Luka. Carter tries to hold a pose but ultimately falls over, taking Susan down with him.

The two head to County after the class, arriving just as a call comes in about an apartment fire. Supplies are moving around slowly since the person delivering them around the hospital is new. That person turns out to be Nicole, who of course got the job thanks to Luka. Abby is less than thrilled to have to see both her ex and his crush all day.

The patient Elizabeth was trying to help over the phone is Mrs. Wilson, the woman Elizabeth operated on in the previous episode. Elizabeth has to spend the day being shadowed by Carmen from County’s infection-control department. Mrs. Wilson’s daughter, April, doesn’t want her mother to keep suffering if it’s her time to go. Elizabeth promises to keep working on Mrs. Wilson, but a nurse notes that she has a DNR. April knows that her mother wouldn’t want to be placed on a machine, so she resists Elizabeth’s plans to help her. Elizabeth wants to proceed anyway.

Victims of the apartment fire start coming in, along with a firefighter who hurt his ankle. Luka and Abby tend to him as he semi-flirts with Abby. Mark examines a little girl while Carter treats her mother next door. Elizabeth comes to see if she needs surgery, and Carmen calls her out for starting to use her stethoscope without cleaning it after using it on another patient.

Once they’ve finished with the patient, Mark asks Elizabeth how Mrs. Wilson is. Elizabeth tells Carmen she wants some privacy while she talks to her husband, but Carmen has to watch Elizabeth at all times. Despite her annoyance with Carmen, Elizabeth is taking the situation very seriously and is desperate not to lose another patient. Mark reminds her that she can’t save everyone. Elizabeth would settle for just not killing everyone.

Abby tries to examine a man who insists on seeing a doctor. Abby promises she won’t be shocked by whatever he did to himself with scissors. She is, though. I’m going to go with…home circumcision. Susan examines a college student named Laura who first thought she had a bad hangover but now thinks it’s something else. Susan guesses she has the flu, which matches Stanley the med student’s diagnosis. Susan goes to talk to Stanley but instead tries to ease Carter’s back pain. She tells Stanley she agrees with his diagnosis for Laura, but he needs to sign up for patients so they don’t get seen twice.

Luka tries to explain the Nicole situation to Abby, who says it’s none of her business. Then she makes it her business anyway, commenting that Luka seems to be going out on a limb for her. Luka says he just got a friend a job; they’re not dating. Abby guesses that he’s also let her move in with him. He says he’s just trying to help her, but Abby notes that he doesn’t have to help everyone. Hmm, maybe Mark should repeat what he said about doctors not being able to save everyone.

Carter has overheard part of the conversation and asks Abby what her problem is with the situation. She tells him Luka has a new project. And no, she doesn’t care. Not at all. The percentage that Abby cares about this is 0.00. Mrs. Wilson is still declining, and when Elizabeth tries again to stabilize her, Benton reminds her that Mrs. Wilson has a DNR. Elizabeth just wants to use machines to support Mrs. Wilson until she can figure out what’s wrong with her. Benton tells the nurses to stop treating her. When Elizabeth grabs paddles to shock Mrs. Wilson, Benton tells her to look at April, who’s watching.

Abby checks on the flirty firefighter, who’s definitely interested in her, then goes with Benton to deal with the scissors guy, Rick. Indeed, he tried to circumcise himself. Since he got halfway through, Benton offers to either finish the job or just sew him up. Rick wants to ask his girlfriend her opinion first – she’s the reason he wanted this in the first place. She said she was a neat freak and didn’t want to date a guy with foreskin. As they leave the room, Abby asks Benton if she should call for a psych consult. “Nah, I just think he’s stupid,” Benton replies.

Luka tends to a guy named Wes who has a protein deficiency that keeps him from clotting. He’s supposed to get regular treatment, but he hasn’t been able to get to a hospital for it recently. He asks about food at the hospital, so Nicole offers to get him a sandwich. Susan tries to make small talk with Abby, admitting that Carter said she and Luka just broke up. Abby doesn’t really want to talk about her personal life, but at least she’s stopped resenting Susan for asking her to do tasks that are, you know, her job.

Mrs. Wilson has died, and Elizabeth asks a pathologist, Dr. Upton, to check her body for signs of infection. Dr. Upton tells Elizabeth that she disagrees with what others are saying about her. Implying that becoming a mother has affected Elizabeth’s work is “sexist crap.” Elizabeth notes that they live in a man’s world, so they have to put up with that. “Not until they perfect cloning,” Dr. Upton replies. That’s the spirit!

Rick’s girlfriend, Sara, has arrived, and she, like Benton, thinks he’s an idiot for trying to circumcise himself. She doesn’t care if he finishes the procedure or just gets sewn up. She pulls Abby out of the room and confides that she pretended she didn’t want to date a guy with foreskin because she needed an excuse to dump him. Oh, honey. Rick is going to send you his medical bills.

Paramedics bring in a college student named Andy who was unresponsive when his roommate tried to wake up him. The roommate tells Susan they went to a party the night before, and when they went to bed, Andy said he felt sick and had a stiff neck. Abby notices spots on Andy’s hands, leading Susan to realize that he has meningococcemia. Since it’s contagious, everyone will need to wear masks and gowns while treating him. They’ll also need to inform his college in case other students have been exposed.

Abby grabs Carter to help Susan out with the sudden emergency. Carter has finally given in to Stanley’s offers and let him try acupuncture on Carter’s back, so he’ll have to get the needles removed first. Susan realizes that Laura goes to the same school as Andy, so she may have meningococcemia, too. Laura was already discharged, so someone will have to find her and bring her back to the hospital for testing. Susan goes on the hunt, learning from Frank that Laura was looking for orange juice, so he sent her to the cafeteria.

Thanks to Nicole’s incompetence, Abby can’t find the supplies she needs. Carter gets impatient since Nicole can’t identify the tools he needs, but Luka tells him to go easy on her, since it’s her first day. Carter’s like, “I have a dying college student here, but yeah, we’ll wait a few minutes while Nicole digs through a box of supplies.” Laura’s not in the cafeteria, so Susan has to run around the hospital for a little while. She finally spots Laura leaving through the ambulance bay. Susan’s able to call outside to her and get her to stay put.

On his way to the OR, Benton takes a phone call from Roger, who’s complaining about Jackie. Benton tells Elizabeth that Roger is his new shadow. Elizabeth suggests that they introduce him to her shadow, Carmen. She apologizes for continuing to try to save Mrs. Wilson even after Benton told her she shouldn’t. He lets it go, knowing she’s stressed about becoming a mother. Elizabeth takes a little offense to that, but Benton adds that having Carmen watching her every move can’t help. Elizabeth asks if he’s ever seen her screw up. Benton thinks she’s just in a slump right now and shouldn’t doubt her skills. If he or Reese ever needed surgery, he’d come to Elizabeth.

Carter and Abby struggle to stabilize Andy, who must have a fast-moving strain of meningococcemia. Susan performs a spinal tap on Laura, who reveals that she kissed Andy at the party the night before, so…no contact tracing needed there. Next door, Andy flatlines, and Carter shakes his head to let Susan know through the window that he’s not going to make it. Stanley notices spots on Laura’s feet, which means she’s getting worse.

Luka goes back to Wes, who tested positive for opiates. He blames the pain from his condition, but Luka guesses he uses heroin, which isn’t exactly prescribed for pain. He thinks Wes uses the permanent catheter port in his chest to shoot drugs (also not exactly prescribed behavior). Luka tries to talk to Wes about rehab, but Wes isn’t interested and wants to leave. Luka still has to finish treating the cut on Wes’ hand, and Nicole is just now bringing his sandwich, so Wes decides to stay a little longer. Nicole points out to Luka that removing Wes’ port won’t stop him from using drugs.

Susan tries to reach Laura’s parents as Carter joins her to put her on a ventilator. Susan can’t believe she misdiagnosed Laura, but Carter thinks it was reasonable of her to think Laura just had the flu. They’ve already contacted Laura and Andy’s college, and all the students in their dorm will get antibiotics to try to head off any infections. County staff who worked on either patient will also need preventive meds.

The firefighter flirts with Abby again, then asks her out for coffee. She tells him she’s not available. He guesses she’s seeing someone, but Abby says she’s not sure. Hey, Abby? Yeah, hi. You’re not. You broke up with Luka, and Carter is totally interested in Susan now, so you’re single. Go out with the firefighter.

In case Elizabeth’s day wasn’t already bad enough, she has to operate with Dale. Ugh, this guy. Carmen is overly vigilant, and Elizabeth finally tells her to get out, since she’s driving everyone crazy. Carmen won’t leave, since she’s just doing her job, so Elizabeth threatens to call security. “Catfight pending,” Dale says. SHUT UP, DALE. Elizabeth gets summoned to Romano’s office, and she tells Carmen not to follow her.

Frank has two messages for Benton from Jackie and Roger. He thinks they’re feuding. Benton says to let them, refusing to take the messages. Abby urges Sara to break up with Rick directly, since her indirect method obviously didn’t work. Benton tells them that Rick will be fine, and when he learns of Sara’s failed breakup attempt, he tells her to go finish the task right now. Abby argues that she should wait a few weeks. She once accidentally killed a boyfriend’s cat, then stayed with him for two more weeks. This should be worth at least three.

Romano has brought in a new investigator, Dr. Bain from the county health department. Nothing turned up in Elizabeth’s cultures, and Carmen doesn’t have a problem with her practices, but there has to be something going on that has led to so many of Elizabeth’s patients dying. Bain invites Elizabeth to come clean about anything she might need to come clean about, because she could be facing a criminal investigation.

Bain continues that all of Elizabeth’s patients were elderly and in marginal health. All of them died of post-op sepsis while under Elizabeth’s care. One’s family specifically asked Elizabeth to euthanize her. In a nutshell, Bain thinks Elizabeth might see herself as an angel of mercy, ending sick people’s lives so they don’t have to suffer. Romano immediately comes to Elizabeth’s defense and tells Bain the discussion is over.

Nicole is done with her shift and waiting for Luka. She tells Abby that she always wanted to be a nurse. The nurses were very kind to her at the hospital where her mother died. Luka can’t find Wes, and Nicole guesses that he left so Luka wouldn’t remove his port. Luka asks if she told Wes he was going to remove it, either purposely or accidentally letting Wes know he should take off.

At home, Elizabeth is greeted by loud music and a crying baby. Rachel’s on the phone and ignoring her sister. Elizabeth asks her to be more responsible and less self-centered. Rachel says that if Elizabeth is so worried about Ella, she should quit her job and stay home with her. The two fight over who gets to give orders and who has to obey rules in the house until Rachel storms out. Listen, Elizabeth, send her back to St. Louis now. Save yourself a lot of pain in the future.

Back at County, Susan is staying late, since she wants to be nearby when they determine Laura’s condition. Roger shows up to pick a fight with Benton – he was late picking Reese up, so Jackie wouldn’t let Roger take him. Benton says they need to rethink Roger’s visitation. Roger blames Jackie, and Benton reminds him that Jackie is Reese’s aunt. Roger replies that he’s Reese’s father.

Benton doesn’t like that, and he tells Roger it’s time for him to let go of his stepson. Reese only has one father, Benton. Roger announces that they both know that’s not true: Carla told him that Benton isn’t Reese’s biological father. Benton warns him to shut up. Roger accuses Benton of thinking he’s more important to Reese than Roger is. Benton tells him to stay away from him, Reese, and Jackie.

Carter and Abby go for a walk by the water, and she mentions that the firefighter asked her out. Carter seems supportive of any decisions she makes to date guys other than him. Abby has learned a lesson from Sara about not being direct and admits that she turned down the firefighter because she was waiting to see if things developed with her and Carter. Carter notes that she didn’t do much to move things forward between them.

She reminds him that he gave her an ultimatum. It wasn’t really an ultimatum, though – he just said he couldn’t keep being her friend if she was only going to talk about her relationship problems. Abby thinks that breaking up with Luka was a good indication that she was ready to be with Carter. He asks why she cares so much about what Luka thinks if they’re really over. Abby says they have a history after a year together. If Carter wants someone without a history, he’ll have to find a virgin. Carter replies that he can just settle for a girlfriend who isn’t so hung up on someone else. She tells him he doesn’t have to settle for anything.

Mark didn’t seem to deal with a lot of traumas at work today, but at home, he’s putting out fires left and right. He’s letting Rachel spend some time at Andrew’s so she and Elizabeth can cool off. Now he’s trying to reassure Elizabeth that she has nothing to worry about in any investigation that might take place. She admits that she feels guilty for her patients’ deaths and for taking it out on Rachel.

Mark thinks she was justified in being mad at Rachel for not doing what she said she would do. Elizabeth is worried that she can’t balance motherhood and work. Mark comforts her, promising that they’ll get through everything they’re facing. They have each other and their kids – that’s a lot. At County, Laura regains consciousness, making Susan hopeful that she’ll be okay.

Thoughts: Benton’s attitude while examining Rick is so funny. He stays completely professional, but when he first looks at the damage, he glances at Abby like he’s thinking, “Did you see this? Is he serious with this?” You can see he’s deducting points from Rick’s IQ through the whole scene.

I looked up Wes’ deficiency, which it turns out is a form of hemophilia. I don’t know why the show didn’t just say that. Anyway, it’s also called Christmas disease, after the first person diagnosed with it. What a horribly misnamed disease. “Ooh, Christmas disease – does that mean I get extra presents?” No, it means you’re at increased risk of bleeding to death. Fa la la la la la la I’m so sorry.

I want a spin-off starring Dr. Upton.

Rejoice with me, friends, because we’re almost done with Dale. He’s only in one more episode after this.

Brace yourself: I’m going to say something nice about Romano. He’s definitely a judgmental jerk, and it’s clear he thinks he’s better than all of his colleagues, but when Elizabeth’s ethics are called into question, he has her back. He knows she’s good at her job and that she has integrity. As annoying as he is, he recognizes his colleagues’ accomplishments and talents.

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