May 15, 2018

ER 1.17, The Birthday Party: And Benton’ll Cry If He Wants To

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

Still not in the top 10 of weirdest things to happen in the ER

Summary: It’s the middle of the night, but Doug’s awake, and not in bed with the woman he hooked up with the night before. He doesn’t even know her name (though she doesn’t know his either, so they’re equally pathetic). He leaves, saying he has to go to work, even though it’s 4 a.m. Things are slow and Doug’s not actually on duty for a while, so he goes to the lounge to do paperwork. Carol’s still around, since she didn’t want to leave Tatiana. Doug tells her he’ll keep an eye on her while Carol gets some sleep before her morning shift.

Benton’s asleep on Jackie’s couch but wakes up when his nephew, Jesse, comes into the living room. Jackie reminds him that it’s their mother’s birthday, and there will be a party that night. He tells her he’ll have to rearrange his schedule but promises to be there. This is easier said than done, as he can’t find someone to change shifts with him.

Carter faces off with a patient who has poured gasoline all over himself and is threatening to light a lighter. Carter thinks he’s bluffing and warns that he’ll just set off the sprinklers, soak himself, and be embarrassed. The guy calls Carter’s bluff right back, saying there’s no sprinklers in the hallway. Carter starts to take the situation seriously and attempt to approach the guy and get his lighter. Benton ends the stand-off by spraying a fire extinguisher while Lily grabs the lighter.

Doug’s patient is a little boy who stuck his head in his father’s taxidermied tiger. His father blames his multiple viewings of The Lion King. Doug will have to remove the tiger’s jaw with a bone saw to free the child. His father objects, since the tiger’s been in his family for decades. Susan and Mark’s patient is more critical; she’s a frequent visit named Rene who often comes in looking for Demerol. They have to pump her stomach, and it’s not the first time.

Carol talks to a social worker named Mrs. Brown about Tatiana’s options, which aren’t great. There’s a children’s home/hospice that will take her, but that doesn’t sound appealing. Carol sadly watches her leave. Benton treats a man who lost a finger while boning a fish. His co-workers brought in a big crate of fish, which Chen and Carter will have to look through to find the missing finger. At least it’s on ice, which will give it a better chance of being reattachable.

Mark tells Rene’s father that she’s stable after overdosing on a mixture of drugs. He suggests that the family send her to in-patient treatment, which her father says didn’t work last time. Chen and Carter search the fish while discussing which sub-internships they might pursue for next year. Carter’s contemplating staying in the ER, though Chen warns that there’s only one spot. Benton unofficially gets to make the final decision. Chen has already applied. She also finds the missing finger.

Doug and Benton work on a little boy who might have a spinal injury. Another boy comes into the trauma room, covered in blood, and says, “I killed him. I killed Drew.” Doug determines that he isn’t injured, just in shock, but the boy, Kyle, says he shot his brother. Carol and Lydia tend to a man named Mr. Thornberg who’s in the late stages of lung cancer and is altered mentally. Susan and Mark play rock, paper, scissors to determine who takes the case. (Susan loses.)

On the phone with Walt, Benton promises again that he’ll be at the party. Carter overhears and thinks it’s Benton’s birthday. He asks about his chances for getting the trauma sub-internship; since 12 others have already applied, Benton puts his chances at 1 in 13. Mark’s like, “You’re aware that that was a really dumb question, right?” After Benton leaves, Carter tells Mark that it’s his birthday. Mark mentions that it’s also Rachel’s birthday. Carter thinks they should throw together a party. Mark advises him to work with Lydia on that.

Drew and Kyle’s father, a police officer named Thomas, has arrived, and Doug has to tell him that Drew needs surgery and might not live. Thomas keeps telling a crying Kyle to be quiet, but he eventually sits down and hugs him. He guesses that the gun Kyle shot Drew with was his service weapon. Carol and Lydia chat with Mr. Thornberg’s friend, who met him at church and started taking care of him since he doesn’t have a family. She says it felt like the right thing to do.

Rene’s boyfriend, T.J., is now with his girlfriend, and is trying to argue that she didn’t mean to hurt herself. Rene wants to go home with him instead of checking into a treatment center. Rene’s father knows there’s no use in arguing. Hicks learns that Benton wants to change shifts and calls him on rearranging his schedule a number of times recently. It’s not forbidden, but it upsets a balance Hicks and Morgenstern want their residents to experience. Benton starts to tell her that his mother’s sick, and she suggests that he take a break from the program and rejoin next year if necessary. Benton isn’t about to do that.

Lydia summons Benton to an exam room where two sisters are writhing in their beds. Carter and Malik are there for the big reveal: Carter has hired belly dancers for what he thinks is Benton’s birthday. Other staff members gather for the entertainment while Doug and Carol tend to a little girl who fell off a balcony onto her driveway. Doug remarks that it’s a “tough day to be a kid.”

Later in the day, Carol and Tag look at a church for their wedding; she declares that she hates it. She’s obviously just in a bad mood because she’s worried about Tatiana. She wants to do more to help the girl…like adopt her. Tag asks how much time Tatiana has left; he doesn’t want to adopt a child and then spend years watching her die. Carol is able to look past that, just wanting to help. But she assures Tag that he’s not a bad person for not feeling the same way.

Carter’s convinced that Benton is lying about today not being his birthday. Mark tells Susan that he has a patient who’s celebrating his 60th anniversary. She says her longest relationship was 60 weeks, and she doesn’t think she’ll ever get married. As Diane comes to the ER looking for Doug, Jeanie shows up and asks Benton if he can give her a ride to Mae’s party. Her husband can pick her up afterwards. Benton didn’t realize Jeanie was married, since she takes off her ring when she works with her physical therapy patients. He tells her he may not make it to the party after all.

Doug checks out a boy named Billy who may be anemic. He blames Billy’s diet, which has left him malnourished. Billy’s mother, Mrs. Larson, has four kids and has to rely on food stamps. In the winter, some of her money has to go to heat, so there’s little left for food. Doug has Lydia give her the names of some food banks and shelters, though Mrs. Larson doesn’t want to go to one. He tells her sternly that Billy’s teeth are rotting, so she needs to get him food wherever she can.

Malik tells Doug that the girl who fell off the balcony is stable, but Malik found a footprint on her back. Doug speeds off to the waiting area to confront the girl’s father, Wilson, who Doug thinks is abusive. Malik and Jerry have to restrain him before Wilson becomes the ER’s next patient. Doug has to cool off outside, but Mark doubts that Wilson will press charges; he has bigger things to worry about, now that he’s being investigated for child abuse. Doug refuses to apologize, and Mark says he doesn’t need to, but he’ll probably have to go to therapy. He adds that Diane’s still waiting around for Doug.

Carol stops Mr. Thornberg from smoking, but he figures one more cigarette won’t do any additional harm. I mean, he might ignite his oxygen tank, but okay. Police accompany a white supremacist into a trauma room after he was stabbed. Benton, Malik, and Connie are all there to tend to the man who has a death threat against people of their color tattooed on his arm. Lily wonders how he feels about Asians.

Doug finally makes it over to see Diane, who, let’s be honest, is totally turned on by his attack on Wilson. Carol and Jerry leave for the night, giving instructions to Rolando, the next desk clerk on duty. Jerry remarks that he doesn’t think they lost anyone today, though the verdict is out on the white supremacist. Benton and Hicks are about to operate on him, which means Benton has an excuse to keep avoiding the multiple phone calls Jackie has made.

As Carol goes to see Tatiana in her new group home, Mark goes home for Rachel’s birthday party, which is full of screaming girls. Jen’s ticked, but she got help from a co-worker. Then Mark gets ticked when he learns that Jen bought Rachel a Super Nintendo after he thought they agreed not to get her one. He has another present for Rachel, though it’s one Susan asked him to pass along. Jen announces that she’s accepted the offer to extend her job in Milwaukee. Since Mark made a decision on his own about his job, she feels like she could do the same.

Benton makes it home too late for the party; Mae’s already in bed. Poor Jeanie has to sit there and watch Benton and Jackie be passive-aggressive with each other. Benton laments that he missed the party to save the life of a man who would love to see him dead. Back at the hospital, Malik wakes Susan and tells her that Rene’s back, having overdosed again. Susan wants to keep the zero-deaths streak alive, so she works hard to save Rene while her father waits outside the trauma room, a place he’s become familiar with.

Thoughts: Mrs. Larson is played by Janel Moloney.

Jesse must get aged later on, because he’s only four here, but in season 7, he’s closer to 14 or 15.

Ving Rhames looks so much like Mos Def in this episode that I did a double take.

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February 27, 2018

ER 1.6, Chicago Heat: The Temperature Isn’t the Only Thing That’s High

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

Ughhhhhhh

Summary: Mark is, yes, sleeping, but this time he’s at home. He gets called in to work on his day off, and he has to take Rachel with him. Carol tells him that Mercy has closed to trauma, and another ER has lost power, so County’s the only one open. Also, it’s really hot, even though it’s October, and the air-conditioning isn’t working, so everyone’s a little moody. Until Rachel’s babysitter can come get her, she’ll have to hang out at the hospital, with all the dead bodies and stuff.

Lydia takes Rachel, so Mark goes in to help Doug with a five-year-old named Kanesha who’s experiencing heart problems. He tells Kanesha that he’ll bring Rachel in to meet her when she’s feeling better. Jerry tells Mark that a pizza delivery guy called to say he was stabbed and is driving himself to the ER. Unfortunately, the driver either passes out or forgets to hit the brakes, and his car crashes right into the ER. Tag steps out of an exam room, takes in the scene, and quips, “Somebody order a pizza?” Thanks, Tag.

Kanesha now has a fever on top of her congestive heart failure. The doctors are stumped and decide they need more information from the family. Benton examines the delivery guy, who only needs a Band-Aid. His “stab wound” is only a scratch. The delivery guy insists that it was a really big knife.

Jerry and the nurses make bets about a patient’s blood alcohol level. They range from .200 (Wendy) to .550 (Susan). Susan’s sister Chloe arrives to be annoying for the first of too many episodes. She couldn’t pay her rent, even with a handout from Susan, so she needs a place to stay for a few days. Susan says no, but Chloe wears her down, promising not to screw up again. It’s implied, but not confirmed until later episodes, that her screwups involve drugs. Susan orders her not to have any friends over.

Kanesha’s father, Mr. Freeman, tells Mark that she had some heart problems years ago, but they were supposedly resolved. He’s worried, while his other daughter, a teenager, is just bored. Kanesha’s hypertensive now, making Mark wonder if she ingested poison. Ivan is back yet again, having shot someone who was trying to rob him. Mark, Doug, and a woman from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) tell Mr. Freeman that Kanesha’s okay, and doesn’t have congestive heart failure – she overdosed on cocaine.

Ivan’s caused a lot of damage to the robber, a teenage boy. Benton takes care of everything himself, telling Carter to stay out of the way. Susan and Malik tend to a patient named Monty who’s HIV-positive and has been drinking. Susan warns him not to mix alcohol with his medication. Langworthy comes to the ER to look at the robber, but Benton won’t give up his position in charge of the trauma.

Mark takes Rachel to meet Kanesha, and they have a really cute five-year-old conversation. Rachel wanders over to the next trauma room and gets an eyeful of Benton and Langworthy pulling open the robber’s chest. Mark finally pulls his daughter away, saying that someone bad must have hurt the robber. Carter stitches up a cut on Ivan’s head as Ivan defends his decision to shoot before he could be shot. He thinks anyone else would do the same in that situation.

Doug apologizes to Carol for ambushing her at home, but she’s not receptive. He winds up in an elevator with Tag, who’s a little more gracious. After all, he gets why Doug would want to still be with Carol. Benton and Langworthy do…something, then rush the robber to the OR. Ivan sees them going, seemingly realizing for the first time how serious things are.

The drunk patient’s blood alcohol level is .473; Lydia was the closest, having used her patent technique that involved smelling him. Mark complains to Jerry about a dead body that hasn’t been moved all morning. A pharmaceutical rep named Linda Farrell brings in a pizza to try to get on Jerry’s good side. She claims she’s supposed to meet Mark (who runs off to hide), and says she’ll wait when Susan tells her Mark is busy.

As Carol helps Tag fix a patient’s dislocated shoulder, he tells her that Doug is still in love with her. Carol says that he always wants what he can’t have. Tag wants them to live together again, but Carol is hesitant. Another patient in the room is enjoying the scene. She wonders if Carol’s unsure about moving in with Tag because of Doug. Carol says she’s standing in her own way. Mr. Freeman tells the woman from DCFS that the cocaine wasn’t his, and he doesn’t know how she got it. The home doesn’t seem dangerous, so Kanesha won’t be removed from it. Doug, however, isn’t going to send her home until he’s confident that she’ll be safe.

Susan finds her locker open a crack and realizes that her wallet is empty. She’s annoyed but not surprised. Div tells her to report her credit card stolen, even if it means Chloe gets arrested. Susan can’t bring herself to go that far, but she’d like Div to talk to Chloe as a psychiatrist. She’ll just introduce Div as her boyfriend to cover up what he does. Div notes that the conversation could reveal some deep, dark secret Susan doesn’t know about. He won’t go along with the scheme.

Benton breaks the news to Ivan that the robber isn’t going to be okay. Ivan says he was scared. He wants to stick around, probably in denial that things won’t turn out all right. After Benton leaves, Ivan starts to cry. Rachel goes back to see Kanesha before she leaves, and Mark asks Doug how long he’s going to keep her there when she doesn’t need to be admitted. Rachel suggests that Kanesha live with Mark. Mark tells her that some families don’t have both a mom and a dad, but things work out anyway.

Doug tells Carol that Tag accepted his apology, so maybe all three of them can be adults around each other. He tells her again that he’s sorry, offering to let her hit him if it’ll make him feel better. Linda interrupts to flirt, and Carol chooses that moment to take him up on his offer and punch him in the arm. She’s totally jealous that Linda might become the new object of his affection.

Monte tell Susan that he’d like to get into a program to deal with his alcoholism. But he needs money – just $100, or even $50. Susan refuses to give him anything. Things get heated, and Jerry has to drag Monte away as he yells that he was only asking Susan for help.

Mr. Freeman confronts Doug for keeping his daughter from him. He thinks it’s a race issue, and says Doug has no right to judge him. “Watch me,” Doug replies as he walks away. (I think Connie’s judging him, too, and that can’t be about race.) The robber doesn’t survive surgery, and when Rachel asks Benton if he made the boy better, Mark says they tried but couldn’t. Rachel confirms that Benton’s sad, and asks why he’s not crying. He says he’s crying in his heart.

Connie tells Doug that Mr. Freeman was right about Doug having a racial bias in this case. Doug thinks he’s making the right decisions to protect a little girl. Connie suggests that they ask Mr. Freeman if he’ll take a drug test. They can also find out who’s been hanging around the house, and drug-test other people. The drunk patient cleans up nicely, and is now standing upright, so I guess he’s sober again. Jerry still hasn’t moved the dead body, so Rachel gets another look at him as she leaves.

A detective questions Benton, who tells him that, according to Ivan, the robber had shot him twice. He thinks Ivan was justified in defending himself and doesn’t belong in jail. The detective reveals that the robber was unarmed this time. Ivan chased him out of the store and shot him on the street. Benton tells Ivan that the boy died, but I guess the police aren’t going to arrest him, because he just leaves.

Doug tells Mr. Freeman that his drug test was negative, but his teenage daughter’s was positive. Mr. Freeman isn’t surprised. He asks if Doug has kids. (He does – a son – but we never meet him, and Doug rarely talks about him.) Mrs. Freeman died not long ago, and she and her older daughter fought a lot in the months before her death. Mr. Freeman thinks his daughter is trying to harm herself because of her grief. He doesn’t know what to do for her. Doug promises that he can help.

As Mark puts Rachel to bed, she asks if he would fix her if she got hurt. He says he would. She wants to confirm that he wouldn’t let her die. Mark says that she’s the most important thing in the world to him; he would do anything to make her better. Susan gets home and finds that Chloe, who’s not there, has left a mess everywhere. To add insult to injury, her TV and VCR are missing. Div’s there, and he decides he’ll talk to Chloe and get her some help.

Thoughts: Andrea Parker (Linda) will always be Miss Parker to me.

It’s so weird watching Rachel as an adorable, sweet little kid when I know what a horror she is as a teenager.

A five-year-old ingested cocaine and the police don’t get involved? Huh?

February 20, 2018

ER 1.5, Into That Good Night: If Anybody Had a Heart

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:49 pm by Jenn

I care more about this guy than I do about Mark

Summary: It’s 4 p.m., and Doug and Carter are continuing the show’s tradition of having doctors woken up at the beginning of the episode. Mark is on the phone with Jen, telling her he has to work and can’t meet up with her. Doug and Susan both tell him to go. They’ll probably regret that, since some accident victims are coming in. One is Sally, a woman who’s almost seven months pregnant, and another is the female gang member who hit her with her car. Sally’s injuries are minor, but she may be in early labor.

Mark meets Jen by the river and she tells him she’s been offered a federal clerkship in Milwaukee. He’s happy for her, even though it’s far away. She suggests that he transfer to a hospital there. Mark doesn’t want to give up his chief residency, so he thinks Jen should just commute. She points out that she’ll have less time with Rachel that way. Mark agrees to make some calls and look for a job in Milwaukee. Jen reminds him that she’s made a lot of compromises, so it’s his turn to do the same.

Sally’s baby is in distress, and when her water breaks, the doctors can no longer try to stop her labor. It’s time for her to go up to labor and delivery. Mark returns and tells Susan about the possible move to Milwaukee. Benton and Carter tend to the gang member, Ms. Suarez, who claims she hasn’t used any drugs.

Jerry’s amazed that the board is so light. He’s probably just jinxed it. Sally gave birth in the elevator, but the baby is premature and its lungs haven’t completely developed yet. Carter pulls Doug aside to ask about the possibility of an STD in a patient who feels a burning sensation when he urinates. Doug tells him how to do a test, then lets Carter know that he knows they’re not talking about a hypothetical patient. Yes, Carter hooked up with Liz, and he probably didn’t use a condom.

A cop wants to take Suarez in to the station; she stole the car she hit Sally with. Benton wants her to stay in the hospital, since she could have serious injuries, and he gets to overrule the cop. Susan’s on the phone with her mother when another trauma comes in. The patient, Samuel Gasner, had a heart attack, but the EMTs have already gotten him stabilized. He needs a heart transplant and has been on a waiting list for a while. He’s in town from Cleveland for a builders’ convention. Samuel passes out, but the doctors quickly revive him. For someone who needs a new heart, he’s in pretty good spirits.

Doug’s next patient is a girl named Sandy who’s having an asthma attack. Doug tells her mother they’ll need to get rid of their cat. Sally’s husband arrives and learns that the baby was born. Samuel’s EKG doesn’t say anything different than it usually does; he asks what he always asks: “Am I going to make it tonight?” His heart stops again and they shock him back into rhythm. He says he doesn’t usually have two episodes in one day.

Mark asks Benton if it’s too late for Samuel to have a heart transplant, assuming they can get him one. Samuel doesn’t think he’ll survive the night. Sandy, however, is doing better, but will need to start taking asthma medication. Susan tells Carol that Mark might move to Milwaukee, though she doesn’t think he’d be happy there. Carter sees Benton practicing tying one-handed knots and wonders if he ever goes home. Benton claims to be listening to Snoop Dogg, but he’s really listening to a cardiology book on tape.

Kayson examines Samuel as he talks about how weird it is to sit around waiting for someone to die so he can get a transplant. He jokingly asks if Mark will lend him his heart for the weekend. Samuel has a nine-year-old daughter and laments missing so much of her life so he could travel for work.

Carter asks Jerry if he’s received test results for his patient, “Car…tere.” Benton calls around for a heart for Samuel, but, as he notes to Mark, they can’t just pull one out of thin air. Ivan the liquor store owner is back with another gunshot wound, but this one was self-inflicted. He got a gun for protection and accidentally shot himself in the foot. He’s grateful that in America, you can get seen by a doctor without having to bribe one with vodka, like in Russia.

Susan asks Benton how hard it is to find a heart with type A blood. Apparently pretty hard, since Kayson and another doctor, Flint, are just happy not to be Samuel. Susan suggests putting Samuel on heart-lung bypass until they find a donor. Kayson says the stress would kill him. He has a transplant team on call, so if a heart becomes available, Samuel can be in surgery within 20 minutes.

In the lounge, Doug amuses himself by playing wheelchair basketball, using Carter as a backboard. Carter explains to Mark that he lost a bet. Lydia has to remind Doug that he’s a doctor and has patients to take care of. Carter makes small talk with Mark about Milwaukee and Samuel. Mark’s never had a patient like Samuel before. He tells Carter to get some sleep while he waits for Benton to call it a day.

Doug advises that an elderly patient get x-rays after a fall, but she resists since she thinks she’s pregnant. Doug promises they won’t hurt the baby, then hands her off to Lydia, pretending the woman really is pregnant. Susan tells Div that she’s worried about Kayson being on her review board. Div thinks she should relax – Kayson “loses so many patients, he gets endorsements from funeral homes.” Susan’s a good doctor, and she shouldn’t be so concerned with what the attendings think of her.

Mark lets Samuel know that his wife’s on her way. Samuel’s extremely pale now and knows his chances of surviving are pretty slim. Mark tells him that without a transplant, he probably won’t live through the night. It’s 2 a.m. already, so that means he has very little time left. He invites Mark to call him by his first name instead of Mr. Gasner.

The cop waiting for Suarez has been standing around for hours; Benton finally tells him that she died. The cop doesn’t really care. Benton finally leaves, which means Carter can go home, but since he only has five hours before he has to be back on call, so he doesn’t see the point in leaving. Susan brings him in to observe an intubation.

Sally’s husband thanks Doug for taking such good care of his wife and baby, who’s supposed to be okay. A friend of Susan and Carter’s patient tells Susan that they were playing a drinking game. The patient, Daniel, had 15 or 20 tequila shots, as well as some beer. His blood alcohol is .832 and he needs dialysis.

Samuel’s wife, Elaine, and daughter, Sarah, arrive at the hospital. Mark tells Elaine that they only have a couple of hours to find a donor heart before Samuel most likely dies. Mark checks on Samuel, who starts to tell him a joke, then stops. He tells him that every decision you make in life counts, but then you die anyway. Cheery! Samuel cries, saying he’s not ready to die and leave his family. He asks to see his daughter.

Mark steps out to get Sarah, but has to take a moment to collect himself. Carol asks him not to tell her that she should be grateful to be alive. He says that’s not what he was thinking, but he doesn’t say what he was really thinking about. He calls around again for a heart, simultaneously telling Susan that he thought marriage would be easier. If he moves to Milwaukee, he’d have to be a junior resident. It’s a step down, but, as Samuel said, “it all counts.”

Sandy’s back in the ER at 4 a.m., and her mother admits to Doug that she didn’t get her the medication she needs. It costs $30, she doesn’t have the money, and Medicaid won’t pay for it for another week. Doug looks for a spare inhaler and medication samples that will hold Sandy over until then. Carter asks Jerry for his lab results again, and Jerry reveals that he put them on the bulletin board. A group of staff members have gathered around to see the results. Liz is back in the ER, picking her next doctor to hook up with: Kayson.

Sarah goes to see her father, completely aware that he doesn’t have much time left. She tearfully asks Mark why he can’t fix Samuel. He admits that they can’t fix everything. Sandy’s doing better, but Doug can’t find a spare inhaler for her, so she’ll need to go to a clinic the next morning. Her mother argues that she can’t take time off of work to take her there. Doug insists that it’s her only option.

Samuel’s time is almost up, and Elaine is with him. Mark and Carol try to revive him when his heart stops again, and their attempts at CPR allow him to tell Elaine that he loves her and Sarah. Susan checks on Daniel, making him promise that he’ll never drink this much again. She thinks he can spare the few million brain cells he’s lost.

Doug finds Mark playing basketball outside the hospital and asks to borrow $40 so he can run an errand. He tells Mark to go home, but I guess Mark didn’t learn the real lesson Samuel wanted him to learn, which is that he needs to treasure his time with his family instead of spending his spare minutes at the hospital.

Doug buys Sandy’s medication and inhaler and takes it to her building, which is full of people who, like Sandy’s mother, can’t afford to take time off of work to take their children to clinics. She promises to take Sandy in for treatment. Mark finally goes home and tells Jen that he’ll move to Milwaukee if that’s what she really wants to do. But now she’s okay with commuting, since she knows Mark would hate the move. Rachel comes in, happy to see her father, and the family snuggles in bed together.

Thoughts: Sally is played by Brenda Strong.

Carter, if you were too dumb to use a condom, please don’t become a doctor.

“Div, there are a lot of subjects that interest me, and believe me, your ex-wife tops my list.” Hee!

January 23, 2018

ER 1.1, 24 Hours: Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the News

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 8:48 am by Jenn

This show is brought to you by the color sea green

Summary: Dr. Mark Greene is woken by Nurse Lydia Wright at 5 a.m. so he can see a patient. He tells her to give the patient to an intern, but she tells him it’s Dr. Ross. Mark heads to the mostly quiet ER, where Doug Ross is drunkenly singing “Danny Boy” to himself. Mark and Nurse Wendy Goldman start to sober him up in an exam room as Doug tells Mark about a date who was surprised to learn how sexy a pediatrician could be.

Doug asks if Mark and his wife, Jen, have resolved their problems. He hopes Mark doesn’t leave the ER. Wendy asks Mark if Doug does this a lot; Mark says it’s just on Doug’s nights off. He goes back to bed, but Lydia wakes him again to ask a question. She wakes him for real at 6:30 so he can start his shift.

Dr. Susan Lewis and Dr. Peter Benton are also on duty. Desk clerk Jerry Markovic is done for the day and heads out with the shift change. Benton sees on the news that a building has collapsed, which means a number of patients will be coming in, and Benton will have lots of people to operate on. Mark gives instructions to his intern, then strikes them all so they can prepare for the mass casualties coming in.

As Nurse Carol Hathaway takes a patient, Doug wakes up hungover. Benton works calmly on his patient, with a better bedside manner than we will ever see again over the next six seasons. Despite his adventures the night before, Doug steps in to help, working with Nurse Haleh Adams. Benton tells a surgeon that he’d better save a patient’s hand, since he told the patient they would. The other surgeon knows that Benton would love to do the operation, but he’s only a resident, so he’s years away from being able to handle it himself.

Susan’s patient only has minor facial injuries, and also lets us know that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and the hospital is called Cook County General. He asks if Susan’s married; she says no, since she’s a doctor. He starts to ask her out, but she shuts him down, saying that he wouldn’t want to fall on his face again.

Benton takes over Doug’s patient just before she starts coding. They work to shock her heart back into rhythm. Doug helps Susan with her next patient while Nurse Malik McGrath tries to get Benton to check out some more people. He’s still working on Doug’s patient, and is able to revive her. Mark tells the son of one of the victims of the building collapse that his father died. The son pounds on Mark a little, then breaks down in tears.

Once things have quieted down, the doctors go to a lounge to do paperwork and catch each other up on their patients. Benton complains that the nurses keep coming to the doctors’ lounge and drinking their coffee, but Mark makes him calm down. The doctors hope that their new medical students, who are starting that day, will be better than the last bunch.

Carol comes in with more paperwork, and Benton confronts her for being a coffee thief. She tells him to make more. Benton complains that they work 90 hours a week for very little money; they shouldn’t have to make their own coffee. Carol has no sympathy.

Mark rushes off to the cafeteria to see his wife, assuring Susan that everything’s fine. (Spoiler alert: It’s totally not.) Mark and Jen’s daughter, Rachel, is also there, being cute and eating grilled cheese for breakfast and showing no signs of the brat she’ll become in a few seasons. Jen asks if Mark is going to go to an interview for a job elsewhere; the hours would be better, allowing them to spend more time together. Mark doesn’t seem that excited about taking a job somewhere else.

Later in the morning, med student John Carter arrives in a tailored white coat, which the doctors quietly make fun of. Carter is Benton’s third-year surgical student, and Benton isn’t that excited about having to teach him. He gives Carter (and us) a quick tour and a run-down of things he’ll need to know. Despite being a third-year, Carter has never started an IV, which doesn’t help Benton’s impression of him.

As they pass Carol, Benton mentions that “she goes with an orthopod who used to be a Big 10 tackle and looks like King Kong.” (Who says “goes with”?) Then he takes five seconds to teach Carter how to start an IV. Carter tries to take notes on everything Benton says, but he’ll never be able to remember it all. Benton introduces Carter to Dr. David Morgenstern, the head of the ER, warning that he eats students for lunch. Morgenstern says that Benton is one of the best residents at the hospital, and Carter’s lucky to learn from him.

Benton takes Carter to a suture room to stitch up a woman’s hand. Meanwhile, Doug meets his own student, Tracy Young, who seems immune to his charms, somehow. Wendy calls Benton away, so Benton leaves Carter to finish with the woman by himself. Tracy is much more confident with her first patient, though she could use some help with bedside manner (that’s where Doug’s charms help). They determine that their young patient has an ulcer, most likely because of his super-type-A mother.

Benton checks on Carter, criticizing him for taking so long with the woman. The woman is pleased with the work and asks when she should come back to get the stitches removed. Carter makes something up. Susan does some labwork, then gives Carol some instructions for a patient. Carol is clearly a higher-up, as other nurses come to her with questions. She also used to date Doug, and obviously regrets that they’re not still together.

Carter’s next patient is Officer Martin, who accidentally shot himself in the leg. Carter tries to start an IV but is hopelessly incompetent. Officer Martin asks how often Carter has done this before. “I’d hate to tell you how often I’ve done this before,” Carter replies. Officer Martin complains about his wife, who he was fighting with when the accidental shooting occurred. Officer Martin needs some anger management, and his wife should probably move out.

Mark and Carol tend to a man who had double vision when he woke up. Since he doesn’t have any other symptoms, Mark doesn’t want to waste the patient’s money by calling in a neurologist. He should just go home and come back if the double vision returns. The man accuses Mark of refusing to treat him because he’s black. Since Mark appears to be Jewish, at least according to the patient, he should be more sympathetic to discrimination. Mark tells Carol to call neurology and bill the patient for the consult.

A cab driver runs in and announces that there’s a woman in labor in his cab. Mark grabs Carter to help him bring the woman in from the snow. Carter has to put his hand between the woman’s legs to hold the baby in before they get to a trauma room. Doug comes in to help, but the baby comes so fast that Mark is the only one ready to deliver it. Carter just stares at the miracle of birth, amazed. Benton tells Carter to go back to his actual job; the ER doctors can screw things up on their own.

An x-ray tech takes a long time with Officer Martin’s x-rays, only telling Benton what he already knows. Mark’s next patient has an injured ankle and only wants to know if he gets workers’ comp. Mark thinks he should be glad he’s still alive, unlike the next patient over. Doug diagnoses a young boy with an ear infection, and the boy’s mother comments to Haleh that Doug is handsome. “He knows it,” Haleh remarks.

Carter asks Benton for his next patient, but Benton tells him he can go have lunch. Carter says he’s fine and wants to keep working. Benton tells him not to be a hero – it may be a while before he gets to have dinner, so he should eat when he can. Tracy is shocked to see that a crack dealer in the ER is just a kid. She has to call security in case the dealer’s rival gang members come in to finish him off.

Just as things are getting hectic in the ER again, Mark announces that he’s going off to an appointment. He meets with a Dr. Harris, who has a job opening in a private practice that will pay Mark tons of money. Harris thinks that the ER is for young doctors. Mark will be much happier going to conferences around the world and working in a calm, nice-looking facility. Mark still isn’t that enthusiastic.

It’s 3 p.m. and the snow has turned into rain. Mark returns to Cook County, where Doug asks about his interview. He also wants to know about the rumor that Mark hooked up with a technician. Doug knows it’s not true; Mark is faithful to Jen. Mark adds that he’s also too tired to cheat.

Susan leaves her patient, Mr. Parker, to take a phone call from a guy named Paul. He wants to go out; she thought they broke up. She goes back to Mr. Parker with bad news: There’s something in his lung, and it might be bad. Susan doesn’t want to say anything definitive, but Mr. Parker wants a straight answer.

She finally tells him that, with his history, he could have cancer, but he shouldn’t jump to conclusions until he’s had more tests. Then she tells him that he probably has six months to a year to live, if that. Mr. Parker thinks this is a good time to take his wife to the Bahamas. He thanks Susan for being straight-forward, then remarks that at least now he doesn’t have to quit smoking. He starts to cry, but Susan tells him that, in her job, she’s learned that nothing’s certain. He hugs her, then leaves. Susan takes a moment to collect herself, then goes back to work.

A nicely dressed woman named Mrs. Raskin tells the desk clerk, Timmy, that she needs medical attention. He directs her to Mark, who hesitates to take care of her hangnail, since it’ll cost a lot of money. Mrs. Raskin is wearing a fur and wouldn’t be out of place in Millicent Carter’s circle of friends, so she doesn’t care. She’s very familiar with Mark and even knows that Jen is studying for the bar exam.

There’s another shift change, and Jerry and Nurse Connie Oligario come in as some other nurses head out. Carol takes something from the drug lockup before leaving for the night. Carter stitches up the foot of a teenager who’s upset that she crashed her father’s new Cadillac. When her dad arrives, at first he’s just happy that she’s okay, but when the news sinks in, he’s pretty angry. Carter makes a great “if I sit very still, they won’t know I’m here” face.

Benton criticizes Carter’s speed again, telling him that since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, they’re going to have a lot of people to look after. One of them is a little boy who swallowed a key. His mother is more concerned about being locked out of the house than she is about the fact that her kid ate something that wasn’t food. Doug and the kid giggle at her.

Carter questions a patient who denies that she’s pregnant, even when Carter warns that she could have an ectopic pregnancy that could require surgery. He takes the case to Benton, who gets the girl to admit that she’s had sex. He agrees with Carter’s assessment that she has an ectopic pregnancy.

Mark and Susan have coffee, and he complains about Jen’s expectations of him and how often she laments the little time they get to spend together. Mark gets paged, and the two return to the ER, where the staff is practically silent. Doug is shaken, wondering how this could happen “to her, of all people.” An ambulance arrives with “her” – it’s Carol, and she’s unconscious from an overdose.

Lydia asks why she would overdose, but Mark chastises that they don’t ask that about any other patient who overdoses, so they can’t ask it here. Mark and Susan work on Carol as other staff members, including Doug, watch. Mark finally notices and has Malik close the curtain around them so they can have some privacy.

Morgenstern is called in, but he’s not sure if they should keep trying to save Carol. Mark thinks they have to keep working, if just for the morale of the unit. Morgenstern tells him everyone’s looking to him: “You set the tone.” They all feel guilty and angry and scared because one of their colleagues is in the ER, but they need to take care of her, then take care of everyone else. He repeats that Mark sets the tone and will need to get the unit through this crisis.

Doug can’t believe that, after a day when she seemed so normal, Carol would try to kill herself. Mark tells him to go get some coffee, but Doug has a hard time making himself leave. Meanwhile, Benton takes on a patient who was stabbed, but Carter struggles to keep down his lunch. Mark notices him going outside for fresh air and follows him. Unlike Benton, who’s spent the whole day telling Carter to move faster, Mark tells him to take his time.

Carter apologizes for getting sick and emotional, but Mark says he shouldn’t be sorry. There are two kinds of doctors: those who get rid of their feelings and those who hold on to them. It’s more important to help the patients than think about their own feelings, but it’s not easy to keep them inside. Sometimes it’s enough to make Mark want to quit. He tells Carter again to take his time recovering, then reveals that Benton got sick all the time in medical school, so Carter shouldn’t take any crap from him.

Once he’s better, Carter finds Benton and tries to make small talk. Benton says not to worry about what just happened, but he shouldn’t make a habit of it. Susan talks to an administrator about Carol; she thinks Carol took the right drugs to get the job done, so she knew exactly what she was doing. No one had any idea that she was suicidal, even her fiancé. The administrator worries about how the hospital will look now.

Mark wants to admit a patient, Mr. Larkowski, who has an ulcer and pancreatitis. Larkowski starts crying, thinking that Mark is trying to sugarcoat his real diagnosis. Mark assures him that he doesn’t have cancer. Larkowski doesn’t seem to hear him, so Mark says firmly that he’s okay – he just needs to stop smoking and drinking. Larkowski’s more upset about that than he is about being terminally ill.

Doug treats a baby who fell out of his crib, according to his babysitter. Doug tells her that the baby was beaten, so he’s calling the proper authorities. The babysitter worries that she’ll get in trouble. Mark treats a woman who burned her legs when she accidentally spilled hot water she was pouring into the sink. She tries to flirt, but Mark stays professional. Lydia witnesses the whole thing and gives some great “you have to be kidding me” faces.

Benton’s next patient was supposed to undergo an operation for an aortic aneurysm next month, but it’s leaking. He needs immediate surgery, but no one’s available to do it. Benton tells Susan to call Morgenstern in; Benton will get things started. Susan reminds him that, as a resident, he’s not qualified, but Benton knows the patient will die if he doesn’t go to the OR immediately. He admits to the anesthesiologist that he’s scared, but he thinks he’s the patient’s only chance at survival.

Just before it’s time to scrub in, Benton sticks his head into another OR and announces that he’s operating next door and would like some help when the surgeons are done. They think he’s joking. Benton gets started, and though the bleeding and beeping alarms indicate that things aren’t great, he keeps his cool and repairs the leak. Morgenstern and another doctor are on their way, and Peter comments that now he has all the help he wanted before.

While working on a patient, Mark stops and says he can’t give up working in the ER. Lydia tells him Jen is on the phone, and he tells her to say he’ll call back. Benton and his thrown-together team take a break while waiting for Morgenstern, and Benton’s about to start jokingly reflecting when Morgenstern finally comes in. He blasts Benton for the ugly incision he made on the patient, then takes over. Benton starts to leave, disappointed not to be acknowledged for his life-saving measures. Morgenstern then praises him for doing the right thing. Benton quietly celebrates with a fist pump in the hallway.

Doug’s patient’s mother has arrived, and she’s annoyed that Doug hasn’t given the baby anything that will calm him down. She blames the babysitter for the baby’s skull fracture, but Doug knows the sitter isn’t responsible for that or the other injuries the baby has sustained in the past. The mother also denies responsibility, but Doug has seen enough abuse to know she’s lying. He yells at her for beating a child, then takes out his anger on Tracy. He assures the sitter that the baby will be okay, and that she did the right thing.

Benton finds Susan in the lounge and asks after Carol, who isn’t doing well. A young cop brings in a man in diabetic ketoacidosis, and is proud of himself when Mark says he probably saved the man’s life. Jerry, unimpressed: “What do you want, a medal?” After tending to the patient, Mark realizes he didn’t call Jen back. He decides to wait until the morning.

Benton checks on the man he operated on, who’s doing well in recovery. The patient’s wife is grateful that Morgenstern came so quickly and saved her husband. She wants to thank Benton, too, but he pretends he only helped out a little. Doug apologizes to Tracy for yelling, and she invites him to get coffee. It’s safe to assume that they end up in bed together after that, but we never see her again, so who knows?

As Carter finishes his day of doing stitches by doing more stitches, Susan falls asleep while listening to a call-in radio show. A caller is complaining about how much doctors charge for their services. Susan just rolls her eyes. Benton goes off to get some sleep in an empty room, while Carter decides that the chairs in a hallway are comfortable enough. Mark asks Lydia for another 6:30 wake-up call, just like that morning. It comes before he knows it.

Thoughts: I make no promises about recapping the entire series, since it’s 15 freaking seasons. But I’ll see what I can do.

Mr. Parker is played by the late Miguel Ferrer, George Clooney’s cousin. Carter’s pregnant patient is played by a very young, unrecognizable Shiri Appleby, who also plays Daria in season 15. Officer Martin is played by Troy Evans, who later plays Frank Martin. Officer Martin’s first name is Jonathan, but I think we’re supposed to assume that he and Frank are the same character.

Most people probably know this, but Carol was originally supposed to die. The audience liked her character, so the writers saved her.

Speaking of likable characters, Benton is more likable here than at any other point in the series. And he’s still kind of annoying here.