December 18, 2018

ER 3.1, Dr. Carter, I Presume: Who Wouldn’t Want This Inexperienced Doof in Charge of Their Medical Care?

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

A nice, angst-free moment

Summary: Carter arrives for his first day as an intern at 5:45 a.m. on July 4th. Basically the only thing that’s changed is that now he has a locker and a white coat. He’s in for a ton of hard work, but Susan thinks he’s up for it. He meets his fellow interns, who include Dale and Dennis Gant. The group then meets their supervisor, Dr. Melvoin, who tells them all the places they have to be and when. They won’t be sleeping much this year, and they have no idea what they’re in for. Also, Benton is their boss, and they’ll never be able to please him. So…things are going to go great!

A little over an hour later, Benton arrives for work, running into Jeanie. She reveals that she tested positive for HIV. Benton hasn’t gotten his results back yet, but they’re due back today. Jeanie lets him know that she’s going to tell Mark her news. Benton doesn’t know what to say. Doug and Mark play handball in a park and talk about how Mark has been going on dates. So apparently things with Iris didn’t work out.

Benton quizzes his interns on some stuff, settling on Dale as the most competent of the group. He barely acknowledges Carter’s existence, only paying attention to him to assign him to the ER for the day. Chuny tells Lydia she heard a rumor that County is closing down because of budget cuts. Carol, who is inexplicably back after quitting in the last episode, is worried that she’ll lose her income.

Susan interprets Carter’s assignment to the ER as a sign that Benton trusts him. Lydia isn’t so sure that Carter should be responsible for surgical assessments. Mark and Weaver discuss administrative stuff, which she’s more than eager to revamp. She has a new method for keeping track of patients’ conditions while protecting their confidentiality. Carol hopes she’s kidding.

Carter’s first patient as a real doctor is an annoyed woman with abdominal pain. He doesn’t see the need to give her a close exam, since she’s had abdominal surgery before and most likely just has adhesions. Benton stops by and chastises Carter for taking so long and letting more patients pile up. Carter says that his patient needs surgery, so it’s not like he was slacking off. Behind his back, Lydia shakes her head. Benton makes him do the rectal exam he was trying to get out of doing.

Carter complains loudly about the new board, and of course Weaver overhears. He goes to a trauma room to do a procedure on a patient, getting eyerolls from Susan and Mark when he calls a nurse “nurse” instead of using her name. He has trouble with the procedure, accidentally nicking the patient’s lung. Benton takes over, so Carter sulks out of the room. 12 hours into Carter’s first shift, Susan looks over travel brochures for tropical, exotic locations. Everyone’s having trouble with Weaver’s new board procedures except Benton, who simply read and memorized Weaver’s notes.

As he gets a message that his test results are in, Jeanie goes to County’s HIV-AIDS clinic to get started on her treatment. She chats with a man in the crowded waiting room who advises her to get treatment someplace where no one knows her. He was a surgical tech at a different hospital, and when management found out he was sick, he was given awful assignments. It’s not legal for an HIV-positive worker to be fired for his or her status, but management can make their lives miserable however they want.

Benton’s test was negative, though it’s hard to tell because he doesn’t make any facial expressions when he gets the news. It’s only clear he’s okay when Carter asks if he is, and Benton says yes. Everyone’s excited for a staff July 4th party that afternoon; Mark tells Doug that they’re playing softball against some paramedics. A nurse calls out, and Carol begs for someone to fill in since she’s supposed to play in the game. Haleh teases that she can always quit again. Lily offers to stay a little late if Carol comes back early. Carter asks her to bring him back a bunch of food.

Melvoin warns Carter that he’s in for a lot of victims of violence tonight. Carter realizes that he’s covering both the surgical floor and the ER on his own. That seems like a great idea for a guy who became a doctor just weeks ago. Benton goes to a barbeque at Jackie and Walt’s house, happy to be healthy. Jackie thinks he’s less interested in spending time with family than he is in hanging out with an old friend of his, Carla Reese. And by “old friend” I mean “woman he used to hook up with.” She’s still interested in him.

Weaver asks Jeanie if she ever got tested for HIV after Al tested positive. Jeanie lies that she’s negative. Jerry pitches for County at the game, but no one’s happy with his performance. County’s losing 17 to 3. Carol spots Shep, who’s moved out in the wake of their breakup, and has seemingly already found a new girlfriend. The players pause for some fireworks, wondering who’s in charge at the hospital.

That would be Weaver, who’s overseeing a trauma with Carter. He finally gets some sleep, but Haleh wakes up at 3:05 a.m. to ask if she can give a patient some Tylenol. Moments later, she asks about feeding a patient. This appears to be a game the nurses play with doctors who need to be knocked down a few pegs. Connie continues the game by paging Carter to the ER, then having everyone pretend they weren’t responsible for the page. Weaver tells him to apologize immediately for whatever he might have done to earn the nurses’ wrath.

Carter’s brand-new coat gets bloody, so he ditches it to go help Weaver and Carol with a patient named Jim. He’s an alcoholic who makes frequent appearances in the ER. Malik tries to get Carter to go somewhere, and Carter gets annoyed with him and snaps at him. Jim gets revenge on Malik’s behalf by throwing up all over Carter.

Carter then has to run to the surgical floor and try to figure out how to treat a post-op patient who’s doing poorly. His two options for treatment are both risky if Carter’s wrong about the patient’s problem. Carter wakes up the attending, Dr. Karubian, who remains in shadows in a dark room as he gives Carter orders and tells him to go away and shut up.

Weaver pages Carter back to the ER, which is quickly filling up. Carol asks him if he wants dopamine for a patient. “I don’t know! Somebody call the doctor!” Carter yells. Carol reminds him that he’s the doctor. Just as things start calming down, Gant shows up, wanting to lend Carter a hand. They’re stitching up a patient when Carter hits the 24-hour mark on his shift. They head off for another breakfast and humiliation session with Benton.

Benton is just arriving, and tells Jeanie that he tested negative. She asks if he’s told anyone about her status. She’s decided not to tell anyone. Benton isn’t sure he can keep this a secret, even if it means that Jeanie’s personal life would be out there for everyone to know about. Weaver dumps more administrative stuff on Mark, who decides he’s done trying to deal with her nightmare board. He tells everyone they’re going back to the old way of doing things.

Randi gives Doug a bunch of messages from someone named Gretchen who keeps calling for him. Mark, Susan, and Carol tease him, asking what kind of bimbo he’s going to bed with now. He surprises them by saying that Gretchen is in mergers and acquisitions at a bank and is a Rhodes Scholar. Haleh and Connie tell Lydia that they’ve tamed Carter, who tries to make up with the nurses by bringing them donuts.

Gretchen comes to see Doug, and he tries to keep her away from his friends so they won’t find out that she’s not who he said she is. It’s too late, though; they already figured he wouldn’t date a Rhodes Scholar. Seconds after they make dinner plans, he calls and leaves her a message canceling.

At 7:55 p.m. on July 5th, Carter is probably starting to feel like he should just live at the hospital. He and Mark are enjoying some sparklers when Carter gets paged to the ER yet again. Mark offers to take the patient so Carter can take a little break. He has two hours left in his monster shift, and Mark knows he’ll survive it.

Thoughts: Gant is played by Omar Epps. Dr. Karubian (well, his voice) is played by David Schwimmer.

Welcome to the season of the Doug/Carol reunion slow burn. Be patient – it’s worth the wait.

It looks like County’s softball team is called the Scrubs. Heh.

December 11, 2018

ER 2.22, John Carter, M.D.: When Bad Things Happen

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

He’s officially responsible for stuff. I’m scared

Summary: The County staff is jamming to some music on a relatively quiet day in the ER. Mark and Weaver are still discussing whether Susan should be chief resident. Weaver yells at Jerry to turn down the music, but Malik wants to do a verse first. Weaver finally agrees with Mark about Susan, though Mark has had to make a deal for the arrangement.

Susan treats a patient who says her name is June Allyson, so she’s probably not mentally competent. Susan thinks she has Alzheimer’s and wandered away from whoever was supposed to be keeping an eye on her. Mark and Weaver attend a staff meeting with Morgenstern, saying goodbye to an attending who’s moving to Iowa. Weaver has been touted as his replacement, but Mark has hesitated to agree until now. This is the deal he’s made with her: He supports Weaver as attending in exchange for her support of Susan as chief resident.

Carol has asked Shep to see a psychiatrist, but he doesn’t think he needs one. Carol tells him that he’s become so erratic, she worries that he’ll exhibit road rage the next time someone cuts them off in traffic. He tells her she sounds like Riley. Carol says that Riley was right about the circumstances surrounding the investigation into Shep’s behavior, and admits that she lied for him. Shep insists he’s fine and refuses to see a psychiatrist. Carol predicts that something horrible will happen if he doesn’t.

Carter invites Benton to his graduation, which everyone in his family will be attending (including his mythical sister who doesn’t exist after this season). Benton says he didn’t even go to his own graduation, which…sounds exactly like him, and I bet his mom was ticked. Carter says he can come by a cocktail party his father’s throwing for him; the mayor is even supposed to come. Benton thinks Carter’s sucking up, because he doesn’t understand that some people are nice for no reason. He doesn’t see their relationship going beyond teacher and student.

Mark tells Weaver that he did his part and she’s going to be the new attending. She’s excited to have the chance to bring about change (and also get a raise). Mark tries to confirm that Weaver will hold up her end of the bargain and back Susan as chief resident. Weaver suggests someone else, then says she’s joking. Jerry, Chuny, Malik, and Lily aren’t happy with Weaver’s new position, but Mark says he’s happy with the decision.

Paramedics bring in a newborn who was sent home just 12 hours ago, only a day after he was born. Now he’s not breathing. Carol is angry that a hospital would send a mother and baby home so soon after delivery. Lily tells her that hospital is their hospital. Jeanie asks Chuny to draw some of her blood for a test she’s been putting off.

Carter checks on T.C., then asks her doctor, Davitch, about her worsening condition. She’s moved up to the highest priority on the transplant list. Davitch asks Carter to join him while he talks to T.C.’s parents, since Carter’s familiar with the case. Doug comes to examine the newborn, Joseph, and quickly diagnoses him with a heart condition. Carol’s mad that the condition wasn’t caught before Joseph was discharged.

Carter and Davitch tell T.C.’s parents that she’s been moved up the transplant list. Davitch keeps getting paged, so he asks Carter to stay with the parents and answer any questions they have. Davitch doesn’t seem to know Carter, so he doesn’t realize that this is exactly the job for him. Once Joseph is sent to surgery, Doug asks Mark if the rumor is true that Weaver’s going to be the new attending. Mark defends her again. He tells Doug he got a call from a pharmacy about Doug writing a prescription for 100 Percodans for Karen. Doug confirms that it’s a legit prescription; Karen hurt her knee and travels too much to get regular refills.

Al finds Jeanie after an appointment and thanks her for staying with him when he got home from the hospital. He asks her some medical questions, and she tries to give him encouragement, but it’s hard to find anything good in his new HIV diagnosis. Al thinks it’s a little funny that his doctor gave him condoms, since “the horse is kind of out of the barn on that one.” Jeanie doesn’t find the humor there. She tells him she’s getting tested but hasn’t gotten the results yet. Al may have been HIV positive for as long as ten years, so he needs to contact anyone he’s slept with in that time period. It’s a long list.

Carol complains to Weaver and Susan about Joseph not getting the proper care after his delivery. Susan notes that not all serious conditions are apparent right after birth. Carol says that patients trust them; they told Joseph’s mother that it was safe to take him home, and she believed them. Weaver says it’s about money – if they spend it on healthy postpartum mothers, they don’t have it for other patients. June cuts the tension by parading through the waiting area naked, singing “June Is Busting Out All Over.”

Vucelich and Benton wind up in an elevator together, apparently seeing each other for the first time since Benton accused Vucelich of fraud. They discuss Benton being named resident of the year, which he knows was due in part to Vucelich’s recommendation. Vucelich’s study has earned the hospital a ton of money, even though he included the negative outcomes. (They weren’t statistically significant.) Both men dance around the whole scandal without mentioning it outright.

Carter’s about to leave for a fancy lunch with his parents when Jerry tells him T.C.’s parents have left him messages. He puts them off so he doesn’t annoy his father by being late. Morgenstern tells Carter that there’s one spot left for him on a plastic-surgery residency team, which will put him ahead of his peers. This also means he won’t be working under Benton anymore.

Mark tells Susan that Weaver is going to back her as chief resident, which should secure the title for her. Susan and Carol examine a patient named Kenny who has a cough he hasn’t been able to shake. Susan wants to give him a TB test. Mark meets Jen at Doc Magoo’s, where she announces that she and Craig (the guy she cheated on Mark with, I think) are getting married. Hey, do you think Craig knows that Jen and Mark slept together again? I bet he doesn’t!

Doug goes looking for Karen so he can ask about her prescription. He wrote it for 10; she apparently added an extra 0. Karen denies this, but since prescription pads come in triplicate, Doug can easily check his copies and see if she’s lying. She sticks to her story, then gives him the pill bottle and tells him to count the Percodans.

Susan tells Kenny that there’s a density in his lung; it’s not TB, but they’ll need to run more tests. Kenny doesn’t have insurance, and he doesn’t have any extra money to spend, so he’d rather leave than learn more about his condition. Susan and Carol can’t change his mind. Loretta’s back in the ER, having had surgery a few days earlier, but Lydia thinks she’s just scared and needs to talk to Mark to ease her mind.

Susan and Carol had to let Kenny leave, which Carol’s mad about. She argues with Susan about not doing more in terms of billing so Kenny had more options than just walking out. Susan says she did her job, telling the patient his options and letting him made his own decision. Loretta asks Mark to be her kids’ guardian in case something happens to her. She’s not surprised when he declines, though he appreciates being asked. He tells her she’s going to be fine anyway, and Loretta agrees.

Carter goes to T.C.’s room to talk to her parents, but they’ve gone to get food. T.C.’s worried that she’s not going to make it. Carter tells her that her new status on the transplant list means that she gets the next one that’s available. T.C.’s saddened that in order to live, someone else has to die. He reminds her that she’s not responsible for any bad things that lead to a death that gives her a new liver.

T.C. worries that nothing bad will happen this week that leads to a transplant. Carter assures her that bad things always happen around there. (Not the best way to encourage a kid, but okay.) T.C. notes that bad things are already happening to her. Even though he’s already late to get to his graduation, Carter offers to hang around for a while and keep T.C. company.

The nurses are unhappy to learn that Susan hasn’t been named chief resident after all. Mark finds out and confronts Weaver, who says she offered Susan the job, but Susan turned it down. Jeanie corners Benton in the lounge and, before she can chicken out, blurts out that Al has AIDS. (I thought he had HIV? The show seems to go back and forth on that.) Since Jeanie and Benton “were careful but not that careful,” he needs to get tested.

Mark, Carol, and Wendy tend to a girl named Monique who was hit by a car while riding her bike. Morgenstern hands out diplomas at graduation, but Carter isn’t there to get his. He’s playing cards with T.C., pretending he didn’t have anywhere important to be. Monique needs ankle surgery, but her insurance wants her moved, which means she has to be sent across town in an ambulance while her injury is still unstable. Carol is furious, but Mark won’t challenge the insurance company’s decision, since doing so would cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Carol’s response: “I quit.”

She heads straight for the lounge and starts clearing out her locker, listing all the horrible things they’ve had to deal with today. Mark points out that they also treated a ton of people who have nowhere else to go. He warns that Carol will feel awful about this decision in the morning. Carol says she’ll feel great about it.

Carter finds Benton sitting on the floor of a trauma room (ooh, that can’t be clean) and admits that he missed his graduation and cocktail party. Hey, now he has something in common with Benton! Benton says he missed his graduation because he was assisting in surgery. Carter says he was keeping T.C. company while her parents talked to her doctor. Benton points out that now Carter’s the doctor. Carter doesn’t know any more than he did this morning, but now everything’s changed. He’s sad he missed the ceremony.

Mark tracks down Susan and tells her that Carol quit. Susan confirms that she turned down being chief resident, inadvertently screwing up Mark’s deal. She says that every few months she gets a case like Kenny’s that makes her think about how little time we all have, and how we need to figure out how to fill that time. Susan had Susie, but now all she has is work. It’s not enough for her.

Carol heads home and tells Shep she left County. She was getting her shifts cut back and had to work nights too often, so she was sick of the job anyway. She’ll make more money working per diem or in home health care. Shep senses that things are about to end, as he says he wishes that things could have kept going the way they were. Carol says that something bad happened, and he needs to deal with it. If he won’t, she’s done with him. It took her a long time to get her own life together, so if he doesn’t have his together, she can’t take care of him.

Mark tells Doug that Jen’s getting remarried; Mark feels pathetic for being left behind. Doug says he never liked her and only pretended to for Mark’s sake. Mark encourages him to list all of Jen’s horrible qualities. Doug tells Mark that Karen forged the prescription, and he knows he needs to get away from her, but…she’s hot! What can he do? He asks Mark to list her positive qualities.

Carter asks Morgenstern if it’s too late to change his mind about his job for next year. Now he wants to work on Benton’s team. Morgenstern thinks Benton will be pleased to have him on board. He’s even left Carter a present: a white coat with his name on it. Susan invites him to give it a test drive by helping out with a trauma. Carter puts it on, and Susan calls for him to join her, using his new title: Dr. Carter.

Thoughts: ‘Bye, Shep! I won’t miss you.

Trivia: Carter’s middle name is Truman. You know, in case it wasn’t clear that he came from a WASP family.

Carter, T.C. did you a favor. Graduations are BORING. (To be fair, though, I don’t actually remember much of my college graduation. The guy next to me was having an anxiety attack the entire time, and I spent the whole ceremony trying to calm him down.)

Done with season 2! Time for Carla, Anspaugh, and Benton driving an intern to suicide. Good times.

December 4, 2018

ER 2.21, Take These Broken Wings: The Kids Are All Right (But Their Parents Aren’t)

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:11 pm by Jenn

Sherry Stringfield is really good in this story arc

Summary: Susan is talking to someone about Susie, and her struggles with being alone now. Susie’s birthday is coming up, and Susan won’t be with her for it. She’s trying to see the positive side of not having to take care of a baby, saying that her life is going back to the way it was before she was Susie’s mother. She follows a woman into a church to return her dropped scarf, and chats with the priest for a minute. The choir is practicing a song for a christening, and Susan is overwhelmed. The priest asks if he can help her.

At County, Mark is going over the patient load with Weaver and amusing himself by putting some of Rachel’s plastic spiders on the board. Weaver says Susan’s late, but Mark says she worked a few extra hours the night before, so she doesn’t have to come in yet. He thinks Weaver just wants her to be late so she can use it as an excuse not to nominate Susan for chief resident. Lydia interrupts to show off her engagement ring – she and Al (the police officer, not Jeanie’s ex) are engaged.

Doug and Karen go jogging, continuing to be an actual interesting couple while still being kind of gross because of her past with his father. Mark and Weaver keep discussing Susan as they start working on a patient who’s beyond saving. Well, Lydia and Haleh do all the work while Mark and Weaver talk. Lydia shows Haleh her ring over the patient’s body.

Susan goes to the hospital’s daycare to pay her bill, but Dottie, the woman who would deal with it, is on her way out the door for a field trip. Susan looks around the room where Susie spent her days but will never return. All that’s left of her is a pair of paint handprints. At some other point in time, Susan tells someone about Susie’s birth and how much she felt like a part of her niece’s life.

Mark tells Jerry to clear a curtain area since Loretta’s on her way in. Mark treats her as gently and kindly as he always does. Carol finds Susan taking a moment to herself and offers to listen if Susan ever wants to talk. Susan doesn’t. Carol then goes to talk to Riley, chastising him for filing a complaint against Shep. Riley says the job shouldn’t be done the way Shep does it. Carol asks who died and left him the voice of wisdom. “Raul, that’s who,” Riley shoots back. She tells him to get off his high horse and learn something from Shep. But an investigation into Shep’s behavior has already started.

Mark examines Loretta and tries to assure her that her kids are being looked after. Shep complains to Carol about the investigation and how Riley has no right to say anything about his behavior because he’s so new. Carol is siding with Shep and plans to tell the investigator that the kid he pushed just stumbled into the table. But she would appreciate if Shep would go away and leave her alone.

Lydia’s trying to wrangle Loretta’s kids as Carter and Doug take in a ten-year-old patient named T.C. She’s feeling sick and wants to be fixed ASAP so she’ll be ready for a basketball tournament that weekend. As a baby, she had an operation on her liver, and I’m no doctor but I’m pretty sure her yellow skin means something’s wrong with her liver again. Her coach tells Doug that her parents are on the way, but he has to leave her there to go look after the rest of the kids on his team.

Iris appears to still be involved with Mark, since he’s the one she comes to when she has an allergy attack thanks to a photo shoot with cats. Loretta’s kids, Annie and Jimmy, steal her camera while she’s with Mark. A woman brings in her six-month-old, Grace, who isn’t breathing after a seizure. Susan and Weaver try to stay calm while the mother, Mrs. Ramsey, panics. Susan has trouble intubating the baby, so Weaver takes over.

Annie and Jimmy use the camera lens as a telescope to spy on Iris. They also catch Lydia and Al making out. Carter busts them by yelling so loudly that he scares both them and the lovebirds. They flee to a trauma room and spy on Susan, who thinks they’re cute. Her monologue continues as she talks about her childhood. She wishes Chloe had stayed as competent as she was in her younger years, so she would have been a better mother.

Doug and Karen meet up for lunch, and if you’ve never seen a woman in designer clothes eat a hot dog from a street vendor, here’s your chance. She tells Doug that she heard from Ray, who’s living it up on her dime in Mexico. Doug’s surprised that he doesn’t want to see her. Karen wonders if he doesn’t want Ray to come back and find out that his son is sleeping with his girlfriend. Is this all just some bizarre revenge scheme?

Carter and T.C. talk about basketball while Benton examines her. Benton demonstrates that he does actually know how to talk to a young patient by contributing to the conversation. T.C. needs a new liver, and this illness moves her up the waiting list; she’ll also have to stay hospitalized until she gets a transplant. Al (Jeanie’s ex, not Lydia’s fiancé) shows up and asks Benton to examine him since he’s coming down with something.

Iris gets her camera back, and Mark is about to ask her out, I think, when they’re interrupted by a little girl named Lily. She has a hermit crab stuck on her hand, and she’s afraid he’ll die if they cut him off. Iris knows a trick to save the crab, thanks to a Jacques Cousteau ripoff documentary, and she uses some water to do the trick.

Weaver ends up examining Al, and learning that he and Jeanie are married but separated. He thinks he has the flu and just hasn’t been able to shake it for a few weeks. Everyone who’s seen any episode of this show after this one: “Oh, sweetie, no.” Al (okay, I’m calling him Al G. from now on because this freaking show won’t cut me a break) brings in a guy who roughed him up a little, leaving him bruised for his engagement celebration at the Ritz Carlton.

Jeanie learns that Al is at County and takes a look at his chart. She excuses herself as quickly as she can and calls to expedite his test results. Carol meets with the investigator, David Haskell, who presents Shep and Riley’s different narratives of the event in question. Shep says he gave the boy a light shove, while Riley says Shep “slammed” him. Carol lies that she was in the room the whole time, because otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to witness the shove.

Doug tells Mark about his fight with Karen and her accusations about his desire for revenge. Mark says that Ray stealing Karen’s money isn’t Doug’s fault. But Doug feels bad because he knows Ray doesn’t have the money – it’s the cash he gave Doug. Mark urges him to give it back, but Doug already spent half of it on Brett’s treatment. Mark decides he’s done trying to puzzle out this situation.

Susan confronts Weaver for not telling her everything she found on Grace’s examination – she’s being abused. Weaver calmly says she’s handling things, and Susan doesn’t need to get involved in dealing with Mrs. Ramsey. Susan’s distressed that they can’t do more to solve the situation. All they can do is help Grace. Susan monologues about Grace and how she’s never going to find out how things turned out. It’s part of her job, though; she treats a patient and then sends him or her on his way. She admits that Weaver impressed her in her attitude toward the case.

Carter tells T.C. that even though her illness is scary, she’ll be okay for a few months in case a transplant doesn’t come quickly. And once she gets a new liver, she’ll be fine. Carter offers to hang out with her while she’s in the hospital and watch the playoffs with her. T.C.’s sad that she won’t get to play in her own tournament. Mark meets Susan for a late lunch, and she complains that Weaver took over Grace’s intubation. She’s going to therapy, and she’s doing a little better, but she’s not happy. Mark wishes he could do more to help.

Susan monologues that it would be a lot easier if she were helping a patient through a difficult time, instead of going through it herself. In med school she learned how to deliver bad news, but as a doctor she learned that those simulations weren’t realistic. The first person she gave bad news to just walked away. Now that Susan’s had all sorts of experience delivering bad news, she knows how to move on. But now that she’s the one dealing with it, she can’t move on. She can still feel Susie with her, and she doesn’t want to move on.

Riley asks Carol about her interview, reporting that Haskell is dropping the investigation. He knows Carol sided with Shep, which isn’t going to help him. Riley doesn’t think Shep should be working right now – he’s dangerous. Mark gives Loretta some encouragement as she faces another operation. The hardest part for her is taking care of her kids, so Mark has agreed to let them stay with him tonight. Annie and Jimmy come by, having spent some time helping Lydia bandage up Al G.

Doug visits his mom, who guesses that he’s there to borrow money. She couldn’t help him when he was a kid desperate for his father’s attention, but she can help him now, and she’s happy to do so. Weaver brings Al’s chart to Jeanie, who’s already guessed what his diagnosis is: HIV. Weaver wanted to give her the heads up that she should get tested, since he could have been positive for years.

Doug goes to Karen’s and announces that he wants to be with her. But first he needs to come clean about the money. He gives her a check and says he wants her to have it back, not mentioning that he actually spent half of it and got a reimbursement from his mother. Karen appreciates the gesture, revealing that the $25,000 Ray gave Doug was only a drop in the bucket of what he stole from her: $250,000. Dang, Karen’s loaded! (Well, she was before Ray took some of it.)

Shep wants to celebrate the investigation being dropped, but Carol isn’t in the mood. Jeanie goes to Al’s room to give him the news that’s going to change his entire life. Susan monologues about a dream she keeps having where Chloe lets her take Susie for a while. She knew she would have to leave Susie someday, but she didn’t know how much she would love her. She returns to the church, this time with the stuffed dog she was going to give Susie for her birthday. She cries as she leaves it in a pew. She monologues that having Susie made her feel, for the first time in a long time, like she wasn’t alone.

Thoughts: Lily is played by Kyla Pratt. Dottie is played by Emily Kuroda.

Anthony Edwards directed this episode.

Between The X-Files using hard-to-spell names and this show using the same names for multiple characters, I’m faced with a recapping challenge I haven’t dealt with since that reason of The Amazing Race when everyone was named Steve or Jon.

The spiders Mark puts on the board keep sliding down and making me jump.

November 27, 2018

ER 2.20, Fevers of Unknown Origin: For Crying Out Loud

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

If I woke up in bed with Jen, I’d make this face Mark is making, too

Summary: Carol’s on an EMT run with Shep and Riley, so we can see more of Shep’s declining stability. Yay! Doug has landed in bed with Karen, and it takes Doug, like, five minutes to realize that he spent the night with his father’s girlfriend, or whatever she is to him. Neither of them is that disturbed by it, though.

Carol and the paramedics are called to a basement where a water heater has exploded. A little girl is trapped under some debris. Riley’s flustered, so Carol does his job for him and revives the girl. She objects when Shep tells the girls’ parents they can’t ride to the hospital with her. He thinks they’re drunks, and since they were dumb enough to let their daughter sleep near an unstable heater, they…don’t deserve to stay with her and try to keep her from being scared, I guess.

Susan was supposed to have the day off, but she’s at work, pretending that giving up Susie isn’t affecting her. She imagines herself searching her apartment while Susie cries. Weaver thanks her for filling in on short notice, promising she’ll be able to go home in a few hours. Susan says she can stay for a full 12-hour shift.

Morgenstern summons Mark and Weaver for what they think is an announcement of who won resident of the year. He promises that he submitted her name. Carter wants to assist on a breast reconstruction; Benton doesn’t really care. He thinks plastic surgery is a dumb specialty. The paramedics bring in the girl from the basement, and Doug and Benton will be working on her together, trying to ignore the tension between them.

Susan stitches up a blind woman who was mugged. Thanks to a self-defense course, the use of her cane as a weapon, and some sharp teeth, the woman not only got away with minor injuries, she also bit off the tip of the mugger’s pinky. She’d like to keep it as a souvenir. The girl from the basement, Becky, isn’t badly injured, and Shep credits Carol with taking good care of her. Benton finds a hernia and sends Becky to surgery.

Morgenstern wants to talk to Mark and Weaver about who should be chief resident next year. Mark nominates Susan, but Weaver isn’t sure she has all the qualities they want in a chief. Morgenstern agrees with her that they shouldn’t jump to any decisions. Hicks tells Carter that he hasn’t seen enough pediatric patients to graduate, so he’ll need to work with Doug for the next four weeks instead of assisting in plastics cases.

Connie brings her baby to visit, which makes Susan feel awkward. She thinks about her apartment search again. Lydia and Haleh enlist her to help them with a woman named Joanne who passed out in a crosswalk. She’s pregnant and is worried that she’s suffering another miscarriage. Susan thinks Joanne’s dizziness and high blood pressure are a result of her pregnancy, but Joanne says she’s had dizziness in between pregnancies. Susan decides she needs an ultrasound before she’s sent to OB.

Mark and Weaver go in to check on the case, since OB is upset that Susan hasn’t turned Joanne over to them yet. Weaver urges Susan to let her go already, sure that Joanne has preeclampsia. But Susan has correctly guessed that Joanne has a mass that’s causing her health problems and will need surgery. Fortunately, the baby should be fine. Mark congratulates Susan for the catch, though Weaver thinks OB would have figured it out.

Shep complains to Carol that Riley is a weak partner. He’s mad that Raul died trying to help lost causes in their fair city. Mark tells Randi that he and Jen are trying to work with a mediator to sort out their divorce. Randi says she doesn’t believe in divorce (but she doesn’t believe in marriage either). As an ailing Loretta comes in, Doug watches Days of Our Lives in the lounge with Lily and Haleh. He assures Carter that working in pediatrics won’t be too demanding for him.

A woman brings in her father, Mr. Dellanova, who has heart problems and is feeling sick. Susan almost immediately realizes that he took too much digitalis. This time, Weaver lets her take control, trusting that Susan knows what she’s doing. Benton chats with a Dr. Bradley, who wonders why Benton took almost three months to file a report about Vucelich’s fraud. He gives back the report, since Vucelich has added an addendum to his study listing all the data Benton thought he’d left out. Vucelich now claims that he always intended to include it.

Mark treats Loretta for dehydration connected to her chemotherapy. He’s annoyed that her doctor isn’t paying enough attention to her concerns, which include radiation burns that another patient said she shouldn’t have. Weaver wants Susan to present Mr. Dellanova’s case to some med students, but Susan doesn’t see the point. Weaver tries to get Mark to back her up and convince Susan to think more like a teacher. As they discuss her, Susan has trouble concentrating and flashes back to her apartment search again.

Doug gets a message from Karen, so Mark teases him a little. Doug says they have a “mutual acquaintance.” As Mark is about to go track down Loretta’s doctor and yell at him for sucking so badly, Jen shows up in hopes of working out their divorce settlement without their lawyers.

Carol and the paramedics go to an apartment building to tend to a teenager who was shot. One of his friends calls Carol a whore, so Shep grabs him by the neck. The victim is in bad shape, and as Shep tries to work on him, the boy’s brother keeps getting in the way. Shep eventually shoves him out of the way, but the boy hits his head on a coffee table and knocks himself out. Shep doesn’t care.

Carter thinks his patient just has the flu, but Doug thinks a seven-day fever of unknown origin is more than that. He diagnoses Kawasaki’s, and it’s a good thing he reviewed the case, because missing that could have been fatal. I’m thinking Carter isn’t as good to go on graduation as he thinks he is.

Susan stabilizes Mr. Dellanova, then tells his daughter that she’s surprised he took the wrong dosage, since it was right in the bottle. He doesn’t need glasses, but he also has trouble reading the paperwork he’s supposed to sign. Susan guesses correctly that he’s unable to read and has always hidden it from his daughter. She thinks he should tell her and let her help him. Mr. Dellanova asks if Susan has children, so of course she flashes back to her search again. We get it, show!

The paramedics bring in the brothers and Doug sticks around to tend to one, which means Karen has to wait to go to lunch with him. She goes to watch him in action, because apparently you can just wander around County without anyone caring. Doug and Benton work on the shooting victim while Carter, Carol, Weaver, and Harper work on the brother. Shep admits to pushing him, but Riley thinks he’s downplaying the seriousness of the situation. Shep tells him off for not keeping his mouth shut.

Doug’s finally ready for lunch, but seeing all the blood in the ER has made Karen lose her appetite. She’s concerned that she can’t reach Ray, who’s supposedly in the Cayman Islands with some of her money. But who cares, when she has his son? Mark finally finds Loretta’s doctor, Howard, who clearly doesn’t care about the side effects she’s suffering or the fact that she’s overwhelmed with her condition and treatments. I think he’s confused that Mark cares about a patient so much.

Carter tricks Benton into attending a surprise party in a trauma room – he’s been named resident of the year. Weaver tells Mark that Susan showed all the qualities they want in a chief resident today; she just wishes Susan would be like this all the time. As he’s leaving for the night, Doug maturely congratulates Benton for his honor. Hicks tells Benton that Vucelich seems to have nominated him for the award.

Carter says goodbye to Harper, who’s going…somewhere. Who cares? She’s leaving the show. Shep complains to Carol that Riley’s filing an incident report about his violent behavior. He wants Carol to agree with him that he didn’t do anything that bad. While Mark and Jen work out some custody arrangements without any complications, Susan treats a man named Mr. Johnston who claims he accidentally cut off the tip of his pinky while making a sandwich. He also has a testicular injury courtesy of a cane. Susan and Haleh strap him to a gurney while they call the police.

Mark and Jen…oh, freaking A. Mark and Jen just had sex. She doesn’t know what to tell her new boyfriend, Craig. Mark points out that she’s had to confess to infidelity before. Jen thinks he only slept with her as an act of revenge. In other ill-advised-couple news, Doug and Karen go to a nightclub together.

Susan goes home to her empty apartment and reminisces about when it wasn’t so empty. Then we learn why she’s really been so distressed: Chloe and Joe have taken Susie and moved across the country. When they were leaving, Susan ran up to her apartment to look for one of Susie’s toys while Susie cried in the car. Susan got so worked up that she started crying, too. Chloe found the toy, and Susan realized that she has to let the baby go for good.

Thoughts: Joanne is played by Romy Rosemont. She was also in a Grey’s Anatomy episode with Scott Michael Campbell (Riley). And she’s married to Stephen Root! I had no idea!

Carter treats a little boy, and when he tells the kid to take a deep breath, the kid takes the hugest, most overexaggerated breath ever. I love it.

Sleeping with you doesn’t get revenge on you, Jen. It only punishes Mark. Also, on another show, this probably would have led to a pregnancy and a paternity mystery, so thank God this doesn’t go there.

November 20, 2018

ER 2.19, Fire in the Belly: That Fire Is Actually Your Appendix Rupturing, and Thanks to Benton, You Now Have Sepsis

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

But at least she doesn’t have sepsis!

Summary: Carol’s asleep – drink! Shep wakes her up and tries to talk her into calling in sick so they can spend the day doing nothing together. Carol needs the money, so she wants to work, but she gives Shep her blessing to play hooky alone. He just wants to spend a day away from sick people. They’ll find some cows and have sex near them. The cows will have to be sexy, and they’ll have to be okay with a live sex show, I guess. Carol says they can go somewhere that weekend.

At County, Benton gets some patient information from Jeanie, then learns from Hicks that a doctor has refused to work with him because of either his behavior regarding Vucelich or what happened with Doug and Brett. Harper is thrilled to reunite with a college buddy, Dale Edson, who’s going to be a surgical resident at County soon. Carter silently freaks out about his girlfriend possibly dumping him for another guy.

Doug is still hooking up with Hulda, apparently, and he wants Mark to double date with them and another woman that night. Mark’s not interested, and Doug hopes he’s not delaying getting back into dating. He gets a loan application so he can get money to help him pay for Brett’s cancer treatment. Susan tells Mark she has to miss some M&Ms that afternoon so she can go to court and fight Chloe over getting custody of Susie.

Benton continues being persona non grata as Susan and Haleh deal with a cranky patient named Mrs. Garvey. She had chest pain earlier, but when Susan explains how she wants to monitor her, Mrs. Garvey complains that Susan’s being condescending. She keeps asking to have things explained to her again. Carter asks to run a code, so Mark and Benton humor him and let him give out orders for an incoming trauma. But when the patient comes in, she’s already dead. In fact, Dale guesses she’s been dead at least three hours. Carter was all ready for nothing.

The patient’s young son, Jeremy, has also come in, but he’s in shock and isn’t talking. Shep tells Doug and Carol that a neighbor heard the patient and her boyfriend arguing that morning. Carol worries that the boyfriend will come after Jeremy, since he seems to have witnessed his mother’s murder. Benton realizes, almost before it’s too late, that Mrs. Mendoza, a patient Jeanie sent home with food poisoning, actually needs to have her appendix removed.

Weaver brings in some techs to set up equipment in trauma rooms so they can record procedures. Mark doesn’t think that’s a good idea, but Morgenstern has already signed off. Carter wants to do Mrs. Mendoza’s appendectomy, but Benton brushes him aside. The other doctors participating wish she’d come in sooner. Mrs. Garvey complains about the things Susan has written about her on her chart, calling her difficult. Again, she asks Susan to explain thinks multiple times. Susan has no patience, but I think she makes it pretty clear that Mrs. Garvey needs immediate treatment to keep her heart from exploding.

A detective tries to talk to Jeremy, but Doug gets protective and sends him out of the room. Carter digs for information on Harper and Dale’s relationship; she says they never dated, but they did hook up once. Chuny finds a possible surgical case and decides to give it to Dale. Carter grabs it before she can. Iris the video director is there with the video techs and still wants to cast Mark in something. Now she wants him to be the spokesperson for some exercise equipment.

Hicks agrees that Carter’s patient needs surgery, and unlike Benton, she’s willing to let Carter do the appendectomy. Benton’s still working on Mrs. Mendoza when Carter shows up next door. Benton asks someone to close the blinds just before Mrs. Mendoza codes. Weaver explains Mrs. Garvey’s condition to her with a lot more patience than Susan. Apparently Susan’s explanation of Mrs. Garvey’s health didn’t convince her to have a necessary procedure; instead, the patient was going to leave AMA (against medical advice). Weaver tells Susan to work on her anger issues.

Carter’s appendectomy patient doesn’t need an appendectomy after all, but he does have a toothpick in a place it shouldn’t be, which explains his stomachache. Hicks congratulates Carter on his first toothpick-ectomy. Meanwhile, Benton tells Mrs. Mendoza’s husband that she made it through surgery, and he thinks she’ll recover, but it’s possible she won’t. Mr. Mendoza is understandably upset that his wife was discharged when she clearly shouldn’t have been.

Shep and Carol go to check on Jeremy, who’s not only wandering around the hospital alone, but has also found his mother’s dead body. Come on, County staff. This shouldn’t be hard to handle. Susan tries to fight her “walking anxiety attack” as she leaves for the day. Iris invites Mark to get lunch, but Mark turns her down, still not getting that she wants to date him. Doug’s father spends him a bunch of money, so Mark thinks Brett’s cancer treatment should be all taken care of.

Benton blasts Jeanie for not giving Mrs. Mendoza a thorough examination. She insists that she did; if Benton didn’t think she was thorough enough, he should have checked her out himself. Hicks tells Carter that they’re going to be ranking surgical interns from now on. Those who fall into the bottom third of the bunch will be cut from the program. So it would have been nice if Carter had been able to do an appendectomy today.

Carol, Shep, and Riley try to tend to an unstable patient who’s wearing a vest full of old buttons. Riley doesn’t know who LBJ is, because a) he’s a baby and b) public schools are awful. The patient attacks Carol, and Shep retrains him with so much force that the patient stops breathing. Shep is about to intubate him when Malik finds the patient’s pulse. Then the patient clocks Shep. Fun day at County!

Susan meets up with her father outside the courthouse, but he doesn’t want to go to the hearing. Even though he’s told Susan he’d back her up, he know can’t choose between his daughters. Henry says that Joe, Chloe’s fiancé, is a great guy. Unlike her past boyfriends, who were mostly criminals, Joe is on the right side of the law – he’s a cop.

Doug keeps bugging Mark about going on the double date, and Mark keeps refusing. He finally reveals that, as he’s been with Jen since they were teens, and he’s never cheated, she’s the only person he’s ever had sex with. Doug laughs because he can’t begin to understand what that’s like. Mark admits that he’s nervous about the possibility that he won’t impress any other woman he might sleep with. Doug just laughs some more.

Carter overhears a radio transmission about an incoming trauma and asks Doug if he can run it. Doug says he already promised the next trauma to Dale. The patient is coming in 15 minutes, so Carter asks Jerry to page him in ten minutes, then invites Harper and Dale to have lunch with him in the cafeteria.

Susan and Chloe appear before an arbitrator who wants to help them settle Susie’s custody without going to court. Susan lists all of Chloe’s past problems, but Chloe thinks she’s done enough to turn herself around and show she’s responsible. The arbitrator gives her three overnight visits a week and warns Susan that if she keeps going with the fight for custody, she’ll lose. She should think about the possible damage she’ll cause by continuing the fight.

As Carol fixes Shep up after his altercation with Button Guy, he complains about the city and says they’re not raising their kids there. Carol somehow keeps herself from responding to his assumption that they’ll be having kids together. But he’s right – her future children will not be raised in Chicago. Mrs. Mendoza has sepsis, and Hicks has seen from her chart that Benton sent her home without a full examination. She thinks it was obvious that Mrs. Mendoza was at risk for a ruptured appendix. She points out that he jumped on Doug for a similar mistake.

Carter gets a page that he pretends is about some labs he was waiting for. While Harper and Dale stay in the cafeteria, completely clueless about Carter’s scam, he runs to the ER and steals Dale’s trauma. Hicks comes in to watch as Carter performs a successful procedure. Mr. Mendoza thinks Benton is going above and beyond with his wife, since he’s been sitting by her bed all day. Benton admits that he wasn’t completely honest earlier. He didn’t examine her, so he didn’t catch her condition before it became serious.

Hicks asks Carter to tag along as she takes his patient to surgery. Dale and Harper arrive just as they’re leaving, and Harper easily figures out what Carter pulled on Dale. Susan takes Susie to her parents’ and drops her off with Chloe for the night. Joe is friendly and invites Susan to stay for dinner. Susan hesitates, but Chloe and Henry encourage her to spend some time with her family.

Weaver goes over a recording of Carter’s trauma with some bored staff members and highlights him wiping his nose on his glove before grabbing a piece of equipment. She wants to compare it to a trauma Dale ran earlier in the day. Just as Mark asks Iris to have dinner with him, the tape starts playing Doug and Mark’s conversation about how Mark has only ever slept with Jen. Everyone has a good laugh as Mark runs away.

Jeanie wants to know if Benton hates her, since he doesn’t even look at her when they talk. He claims he’s past their failed relationship, but he certainly doesn’t do or say anything to make her feel like that’s true. Jeanie, face it – he’s just not a warm person. It’s not about you. Doug’s loan gets denied, so Mark encourages him to use Ray’s monetary gift to pay for Brett’s treatment. Doug doesn’t want to have to thank him.

Apparently Iris wasn’t scared off by Mark’s lack of sexual experience, as she’s accepted his dinner invitation. At the Lewises’, Joe tells Susan that she did a great thing by taking care of Susie. He reveals that he and Chloe met in AA. He knows he’s not really supposed to get involved with a newcomer to the program, but they two of them won’t get married for a while. Susan isn’t sure she’ll even make it a year staying sober.

Harper’s ticked about Carter’s behavior and calls him a weasel. He’s more interested in doing procedures than maintaining their relationship. They’re done. But at least a mime at the carnival they’re at gives him a giant balloon as a consolation prize. Doug learns from the detective on Jeremy’s mom’s case that Jeremy did, indeed, witness his mother’s shooting, but not in the way everyone thought. He grabbed a gun to shoot the boyfriend but accidentally killed his mom instead. Everyone have a great night!

Mark and Iris’ date ends in bed, and she teases that she taped them. Shep drives Carol home in his ambulance, saying that he thinks Jeremy is going to be haunted by his actions for the rest of his life and will end up like Button Guy. They come across a fight, and Shep gets distracted while calling for police backup. He almost hits a pedestrian, who responds by breaking the ambulance’s windshield. Shep tackles him and beats him up. He yells at Carol when she tries to pull him off.

Doug goes looking for his father and finds Karen instead. They get a little flirty and start drinking together. Benton gives Hicks some of Vucelich’s files and announces that he’s going on the record about Vucelich’s fraud. He’s done making excuses for not doing the right thing. Susan tells Chloe that she’s not convinced that she’s changed, and Susan’s still mad about her past screw-ups. Chloe really believes that she can be a good mother, or at least she wants to be. Susan sees them off to bed, listening to Chloe sing “Blackbird,” the same song Susan sang to Susie right after she was born.

Thoughts: Ugh, Dale Edson. I can’t stand that guy.

“It’s Nuremberg Chicken day.” Do I want to know what that is? Why would you name a dish that?

Jeanie continues to amaze me in thinking that Benton is anyone other than who he always presents himself to be. Girl, just keep things professional and become friends with everyone who hates him. He’s doing you a favor by not talking to you.

 

November 6, 2018

ER 2.17, The Match Game: You Can Cut All the Tension With a Scalpel

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

I guess they give them white uniforms so they can be bleached, but it’s still a dumb idea

Summary: Mark rides his new motorcycle to work and tells Jerry he feels like a Hell’s Angel. Jerry admires the beard he’s growing, though it’s taken him a week to get it to where it is. He’s also ditched his glasses for contacts. Someone’s having a midlife crisis! Jerry tries to invite himself along on an evening out with Doug and Mark, but Doug doesn’t take the bait. Hicks tells Benton that Vucelich published his study, so Benton’s accusations haven’t gone anywhere. Since he isn’t willing to take it to the ethics committee, Hicks thinks he should keep his mouth shut.

Carter’s so nervous about finding out which hospital he’s matched with that he’s throwing up in a bathroom. Harper is unbothered and possibly amused. Susan and Chloe meet up for breakfast, and it’s super-awkward. Chloe credits Susie as her motivation for turning her life around. She’s been clean for five months and is engaged. (If she’s getting married to a guy she’s known less than five months, I don’t think she’s as put-together as she thinks.) Chloe says she wants to be Susie’s mother, and Susan replies that Chloe leaving was the best thing that’s ever happened to the baby.

Carol has to wear an all-white nurse’s uniform to work, now that she’s signed on with a temp agency. Her hours were cut in half, and her earthworms died, so this is her best chance to make some extra money. Doug teases her by making sure she sees that Jeanie has been named Employee of the Month. Up in daycare, Susan finally puts some security in place, ordering the staff not to let Chloe see Susie without permission.

Mark treats a patient named Mr. Bartoli who had chest pain after a romantic encounter with a postmistress. Mark recognizes his enhancing ointment as digitalis, which can cause a heart arrhythmia. Mr. Bartoli thinks Mark can relate to being a bald guy with low testosterone who needs some help. Carter thinks his hopes of being matched with County are going to be dashed, which he deserves after the way he’s been acting over the past few weeks. He vows to put his patients first from now on. He gets his first chance with a teenager named Brett who was in a car accident, then with the teen’s grandfather, Mr. Bowman.

Shep is back at work, now partnered with baby EMT Riley. He’s not happy about it. Mr. Bowman is more worried about Brett than himself, so he doesn’t let Carter give him a full exam. Carter quickly moves on to try to help other people. Brett has a leg injury, and Mr. Bowman notes that he injured the same knee a few months ago playing basketball. Benton asks to see his previous chart.

Other car accident victims arrive, including Freddie, who claims to be sober but has track marks on his arms. Mark runs around helping various people, and assists Susan in saving Freddie’s life. It’s hard for her to be happy about it since Freddie caused the crash and killed one of the victims. Carter examines a man named Mr. Ledbetter who wants to go to work so he can continue trying to make partner. Carter says he wouldn’t feel right about letting Mr. Ledbetter leave without a full workup.

Brett’s leg isn’t broken, but Benton thinks he has the beginnings of a tumor. He can’t believe the doctor who treated him the last time he was there didn’t catch it. Carol checks the chart and sees that the doctor was Doug. Mark thinks the tumor is small enough that it would be easy to overlook, but Benton doesn’t think that changes the fact that Doug misdiagnosed Brett. Mark tells Benton not to say anything to the family – he’ll talk to them.

Carter gets his match letter and is thrilled to see that he’ll be doing his residency at County next year. He wants to spend his lunch break celebrating with Harper. Lydia brings in a filthy man named Hugo, and the nurses try to figure out whose turn it is to clean him up. After a round of Rock Paper Scissors, Carol gets the task. She tries to hand it off to Jeanie, but Jeanie knows this is a nurse’s job.

Freddie’s mother arrives and denies that her son uses drugs. Susan says he tested positive for cocaine, but Freddie’s mother says it was wrong. Susan yells that he got drunk and high, drove a car, injured a bunch of people, and killed a girl. She gets a slap in return. Carter calls his father to share his good news, but their phone connection is bad because his father’s on a boat and Carter has a ’90s cell phone. He tells Mr. Ledbetter that he’ll need to see a hematologist for severe anemia, then takes off to hang out with Harper.

Mark tells Doug about his missed diagnosis, then calls in Kathy Snyder, a hospital lawyer. Kathy says that they have no legal obligation to tell Brett’s family that they missed the tumor on his last visit, which means they won’t know that they can sue for malpractice. Mark agrees that they should keep quiet. Doug volunteers to tell Mr. Bowman about his grandson’s condition; it’s his case and his responsibility.

Hugo sings “Younger Than Springtime” while Carol hoses him off in a shower. Jeanie comes in to get Carol for something, and Carol accidentally sprays her with the hose, making herself feel better. In the lounge, Susan tells Mark that she’s fighting to make sure Chloe can’t take Susie back. She notices that his usual brown eyes are now blue, thanks to his new contacts. She gets a page and frantically tells Mark to send security to daycare.

Jeanie asks Carol to tend to a patient who’s throwing up, since that’s a nurse’s job. Carol gets her back by telling her to stitch up Hugo’s bleeding hand, as that’s a job for a physician’s assistant. Susan races up to daycare, thinking Chloe has shown up, but it turns out the staff paged her so she would be able to watch Susie take her first steps.

Doug tells Mr. Bowman that Brett has a tumor, but the doctor coming to take care of him is terrific and has had a lot of success with patients like Brett. Later, Benton approaches Mr. Bowman and realizes that no one told him that Doug missed the tumor four months ago. He complains to Mark, saying that whether or not they have a legal obligation to come clean, they should do so for ethical reasons. Mark brushes him off.

Doug pleads with a doctor to take on Brett’s case, offering to pay part of Brett’s bill and make up some of the cost by working in the doctor’s clinic. The doctor accepts the offer. Carol gleefully tells Mark that Hugo tripped on his way out of the hospital, and now Jeanie has to give him more stitches. Susan tells Mark that Susie took her first steps, which has turned her whole day around.

As Mr. Bowman thanks Benton for what he did for Brett, the little devil and little angel on Benton’s shoulder scream in his ears for a few moments. The little devil wins, and he decides to come clean. Mark examines a woman named Iris who suffered a minor head injury while working on an infomercial. Haleh laughs silently as Iris hits on Mark, equally hoping to cast him in an infomercial and get him into bed. Mr. Ledbetter’s still waiting for test results, since Carter hasn’t returned and hematology never showed up. He tells Susan to fax the results to his office, since he’s leaving.

Mr. Bowman confronts Doug for not telling him that he missed the tumor four months ago. Doug apologizes, but Mr. Bowman doesn’t think he’s sincere. Doug wants to continue trying to set up Brett’s care with the oncologist, but Mr. Bowman is done with his “help.” Meanwhile, Carter and Harper celebrate at a hotel with sex and champagne.

Iris also wants to celebrate, inviting Mark to dinner once he tells her that her brain scans are fine. She wants him to do an infomercial about a blood-pressure drug that also helps with male pattern baldness. Mark was led to believe that some women see baldness as a sign of virility. “Who told you that, some bald guy?” Iris laughs. Jeanie hands Hugo back off to Carol to get him a cab, because this stupid plot still isn’t over.

Susan has to give Mr. Ledbetter the bad news that he has leukemia. Carter and Harper have moved their celebration to a giant bubble bath, which he accidentally drops his pager into when it goes off. Shep and Riley bring in a girl who was injured at gymnastics practice, and Shep complains about Riley’s sloppy IV-insertion technique. The tension spreads to Doug and Benton, as the former doesn’t want to work with the latter, knowing that Benton was the one who ratted him out to Mr. Bowman. Mark has to step in and send Benton away.

Carter finally returns to the hospital, taking his sweet time to respond to his page. Susan blasts him for not realizing from Mr. Ledbetter’s examination that he has cancer. Carter’s tipsy, so when Hicks invites him to scrub in on an operation, he has to decline. Hicks tells him that ignoring his pages was bad enough, but drinking while on call is truly horrible. In fact, it’s grounds for expulsion. Carter whines that he just matched at County. I highly doubt she cares, dude.

Doug and Mark decide to call off their guys’ night out, though Doug thinks Mark should go without him. Haleh and Lydia agree with each other that Benton did the right thing by telling Mr. Bowman about the missed diagnosis. Carter’s received enough congratulatory gift baskets to feed the entire hospital, but he’s back to puking in the bathroom. Mark assures him that he can’t be expelled without a hearing, though he could lose his match. Mark will try to help.

Shep comes in to tell Carol that Riley backed into a homeless man in the parking lot. Yep, it’s Hugo. He was out in the ambulance bay, waiting for the cab Carol never called for him. Doug and Benton encounter each other in the lounge, both keeping their mouths shut this time. Carol and Jeanie tend to Hugo together, realizing that their rivalry has caused enough damage.

Mark confronts Benton for going against his orders and causing trouble for Doug and the hospital. Benton says that if Doug had done his job, Brett wouldn’t be facing amputation. Mark says that telling the family wasn’t Benton’s decision to make. He knows Benton is trying to ease his guilty conscience since he didn’t blow the whistle on Vucelich. “The truth is a lot easier to tell when it’s not your own career on the line,” he notes.

Carol chastises Shep for being so hard on Riley. Shep thinks he’s being punished for going into the fire and causing Raul’s death. Carol reminds him that he saved three kids, but to Shep, that’s not as important as the fact that he killed his best friend. Doug tells Susan that he saw dozens of kids the day he treated Brett, so he didn’t have time for an extensive exam. He acknowledges that Benton didn’t do anything wrong in telling Mr. Bowman. Susan notes that Doug is the one who has to pay for the mistake, but Doug says Brett’s the one who has to face the worst consequences.

Mark goes out to a bar and runs into Kathy. She helps him look for a lost contact, which somehow got stuck in his goatee. Susan takes Susie home, trying to avoid Chloe, who’s staked out the apartment. Chloe has gotten a lawyer and plans to file for visitation rights. Susan announces that she’s adopting the baby, no matter how badly Chloe wants her back.

Jeanie runs into Benton at Doc Magoo’s and tells him he did the right thing. Benton says he “broke the code,” which reminds Jeanie of a story Mae once told her. As a child, Benton turned in a kid for stealing money, and wound up blacklisted with a broken nose. Benton says he’s never learned to keep his mouth shut. At home, Susan reads Susie Goodnight Moon, clinging to what might be one of her last nights with her baby.

Thoughts: Mr. Bartoli is played by Richard Schiff. Iris is played by Joanna Gleason.

“Ha ha, my patient got hurt and now Jeanie has to do more work!” Shut up, Carol.

The number of times Carter should be fired, or at least harshly disciplined, throughout the series is probably in the double digits.

October 30, 2018

ER 2.16, The Healers: Deadbeats and Dead Friends

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

The first of many times something will blow up on this show

Summary: Shep and Raul are done with a shift and about to go get breakfast when they’re sent to help out at a fire. Susan’s also up early and looking ahead to a big day of making moves to adopt Susie. Shep and Raul go to the site of the fire, an apartment building; explosions keep going off and people are coming outside on fire. A woman begs Shep to go in and get her kids, since she could only make it out with one. Raul tells Shep to wait for firefighters to arrive, but Shep goes in anyway.

Mark has taken off his wedding ring but feels weird about it. Doug notes that Jen definitely isn’t wearing hers, since she’s moved on to another guy. He reminds Mark that he asked why he wasn’t getting any action; wearing a wedding ring while trying to date is pretty dumb. Mark asks if Doug wants to hang out that night, but Doug has plans with his father. Carol takes a call from Dwight the paramedic about victims being brought in from a fire. She isn’t looking forward to having to take care of burn victims.

Susan meets with a social worker who tells her she has an advantage since she’s related to Susie. Chloe’s been gone for five months, and Susie’s father didn’t respond to any notices Susan placed in the paper trying to contact him, since the social worker thinks a judge will be fine with terminating their birthrights. Susan was expecting a lot more hurdles in the process, but it looks like she’ll be formalizing the adoption without any complications.

Dwight brings in the first burn victim, telling the staff that the fire and explosions were from a math lab in the building. Mark and Doug work on the patient like he’s anyone, but Carter has a lot of trouble looking at him. Lydia realizes that Shep and Raul’s unit responded to the fire, and it’s not clear whether both of them made it out all right. Doug volunteers to let Carol know, not that she has any time to find out if her boyfriend’s okay while the ER is dealing with multiple traumas.

After some chaos, Carol learns that one of the paramedics, either Shep or Raul, might be en route to the hospital as a patient. She goes outside to wait for the next ambulance, trying not to panic. Susan arrives and joins in the madness, though everyone has either been taken off for treatment or declared dead. Mark’s annoyed that she’s late, since Weaver didn’t tell him that Susan wouldn’t be in when Mark thought she would. Susan says she was somewhere important, and he says her job is important, too.

Paramedics bring in a kid they say was saved by someone from Shep’s unit. Shep is the hero, and he suffered some minor injuries when the floor went out from under him. Raul is MIA. Doug works on the kid with Riley the baby paramedic while Mark and Carol take care of Shep. He’s worried about Raul, saying over and over that Raul was right behind him when he fell through the floor. Jerry pops in to say that they found Raul, but he won’t say what his condition is.

Susan examines a firefighter who tells her that Shep and Raul went into the building without the proper gear. If they hadn’t, the kids they saved would have died. Doug’s kid is still in bad shape, thanks to carbon monoxide, and he’ll need to be taken to another hospital for treatment. Raul finally comes in, badly burned and having trouble breathing. He asks for the truth about his condition, so Mark tells him it’s bad. Raul is at least relieved to hear that Raul’s mostly okay.

Next door, Shep insists on being unstrapped from his backboard so he can go see his partner. Carol refuses, threatening to put him in restraints if he keeps fighting her before they’re sure he’s not badly injured. She agrees to go find out how Raul is while Shep is taken for x-rays. He asks her to tell Raul that he thought Raul was right behind him – Shep didn’t mean to leave him behind.

Mark tells Carol that Raul has burns on 85-90% of his body. In other words, things are really bad. Doug comes in to try to help, even though Mark, Benton, and Carter are all there. The burn-unit doctors are busy, so Benton volunteers himself and Carter to do a procedure. Mark rounds up Doug, Susan, and Carol so they can discuss some of their patients. They shake their heads at a missing mother who apparently left her kids to fend for themselves after her meth lab caused the fire.

Carol explains what’s happening to Raul while Benton and Carter do their thing. Carter is still having trouble, struggling to cut into Raul’s damaged skin while Raul is looking at him. He finally decides he can’t handle it, so Mark steps in. As a burn doctor finally arrives, Doug talks to a kid named Max, one of the kids abandoned by their mom. He doesn’t know where she might have gone. The burn doctor volunteers to tell Raul how bad his condition is, but Carol says she’ll do it. Firefighters line the hallway and give him their positive thoughts as he’s taken for treatment.

Well, well, well, guess who’s back? It’s freaking Chloe. Since Randi wasn’t around for all the drama, she doesn’t know that just letting Chloe go up to daycare without telling Susan she’s there isn’t a good idea. While Carol takes on the unfortunate task of telling Shep that Raul’s in bad shape, Carter tells Benton that he’s not sure he can handle taking care of burn patients again. Benton blankly says that he can. This is one of the worst situations they’ll have to deal with, and Carter didn’t get sick or faint, so he did okay.

The missing mom arrives with one of her kids, who she didn’t realize needed to come to the hospital. Mark, Susan, and Doug revive him, feeling little sympathy for the mom. Raul’s family arrives, but they won’t have much time to spend with him – his doctor thinks he won’t survive the night. Mark sends Doug off to the Bulls game, thinking that since he’s come so far with his father, he should see things through.

Carol tells Raul how bad his condition is, and he asks not to be put on a ventilator when he’s unable to breathe anymore. She assures him that the kids he helped save are going to be fine, thanks to him. He admits that he’s scared, and she tries to comfort him. Susan catches Lydia crying in the lounge; despite being a veteran nurse who’s seen multiple traumas over the years, sometimes she can’t handle all the emotions that come with her job.

Doug waits for Ray outside the game, but he doesn’t show. At the hospital, the nurses don’t want to go home yet, and the firefighters who battled the fire earlier don’t know what to do other than hang around the hospital. Lily invites them to get something to eat with the nurses. Susan finally learns that Chloe’s around and races to daycare. Doug gets tired of waiting for his father and leaves, disappointed by Ray’s absence once again.

Chloe hasn’t run off with Susie, as Susan feared, but of course her return is going to throw a wrench in Susan’s adoption plans. Carol goes to get Shep to take him to see Raul, but Shep blames himself for Raul’s condition. Raul wanted to wait for the firefighters and their gear, but since Shep went into the building, Raul decided to follow. Carol warns that Shep will regret it forever if he doesn’t go see Raul, as hard as that may be.

Doug tracks down Ray at a restaurant, where he’s dining with a woman named Karen. Ray claims that he left a message at the hospital that he would have to miss the game for a meeting. He would have been at the game if he could have. Doug’s smart enough not to buy the lies Ray’s been telling his whole life. Doug was at the game, and Ray was where he’s always been – somewhere else.

Ray says he can’t change the past, as if he’s trying to make the present any better. Doug blames his inability to commit on his deadbeat dad. Over the years, he’s turned into Ray. Ray reminds him that he’s 34 and can’t blame his life on his father anymore. It’s his choice whether or not to be responsible.

The firefighters and some of the ER staff share memories of Raul at Doc Magoo’s. Lily reveals that Shep is afraid of heights, so he always makes Raul do anything high up. A paramedic laughs that Raul’s Christmas present to Shep was skydiving lessons. Once they’re done with happy memories, things turn somber, and even the perpetually stone-faced Randi gets sad. Shep visits Raul and apologizes for the way things have turned out. And then Raul dies, but it’s off-screen, but this whole thing is really about Shep, so that’s not really a surprise.

Thoughts: The firefighter Susan examines is played by Michael Cudlitz. The burn doctor is played by Gregory Itzin. Karen is played by Marg Helgenberger.

Shep’s downward spiral begins…now.

Once again, County daycare’s security sucks, if Chloe can just walk in whenever she wants.

September 25, 2018

ER 2.11, Dead of Winter: Jeanie Deserves Better Than…Just…All of This

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

I’ll be your mommy, you cutie pie

Summary: It’s a snowy, windy night in Chicago, and the ER is relatively quiet. Jeanie learns that a baby in respiratory arrest is on the way in, and she goes to wake Susan. Susan promises she’s getting up, but Jeanie has to go back and make sure, like a mom waking her child for school. Elsewhere in the city, Mark is alone in his quiet apartment, living the bachelor life. At least he can drink juice straight out of the bottle without anyone getting on his case.

Shep and Raul respond to what they think is a call to tend to a drunk man who slipped on some stairs and hit his head. The police on the scene actually have something much more important for the paramedics to deal with: a dirty apartment full of kids in tattered clothes. There are no adults at home, and the oldest child isn’t even ten.

Susan fills Mark in at the hospital – in all, 22 kids were found in the apartment. They’re all malnourished, and the parents haven’t been identified or found. The police arrested a man who claimed to be an uncle. Some of the kids are now at County, with lots of medical problems because of their malnutrition and neglect. Doug takes charge while Mark talks to one of the older kids, Ty. Some of the kids are his siblings, and some of the others may be his cousins, but he’s not clear on everything. Shep tells Mark that only about half the kids had clothes.

Ruby listens nervously as Benton, Carter, and Vucelich discuss Helen’s condition nine days after her surgery. Though the surgery went fine, Helen is experiencing some complications, including paraplegia. Benton thinks she should go to a care facility. Vucelich disagrees and asks for Carter’s opinion. Carter thinks a few more days of treatment at County will do the trick. Vucelich allows him to take over the case.

Mark and Lydia examine Ty, who says he’s always made sure the kids have enough to eat. His mom gives him her food stamps when she doesn’t need them. He asks about Trey, who has cerebral palsy. Mark says he’ll check on him, asking Lydia to find a dental school that can send students to examine the kids’ teeth. (Smart thinking.) He learns from Susan and Jeanie that at least one of the kids has lice, so all the kids will need to be treated. He tells Susan she can leave, since her shift is over, but Susan wants to stick around and make sure all the kids are okay.

Doug and Malik are examining Trey, who has cigarette burns and welts. Someone better be going to jail after all this. Benton goes to the front desk to answer a page but instead runs into Al (Jeanie’s husband, not Lydia’s boyfriend). Even though Carter said that Jeanie told him she and Al are through, Al is there to pick Jeanie up for breakfast. In the midst of the crazy morning, Mark gets a summons from a process server. Jen is filing for divorce.

Pete Tuteur from the Department of Children and Family Services arrives as Jeanie, Malik, and Chuny give the kids lice treatments. Jeanie demonstrates that she’s great with kids, and one of the girls must agree with me, because she asks if Jeanie will be her mommy. Benton checks in with Carter, who hasn’t decided yet what to do for Helen. He give a nurse some instructions, ignoring her when she tells him the risks.

Pete tells Mark that a couple of the kids from the apartment are supposed to be living with their grandmother, but he hasn’t located her yet. The kids’ alleged uncle is living large on all the government payments he gets for taking in the kids. His other money comes from selling crack. Mark thinks this is an argument for welfare reform, because this situation must be the norm, and everyone must be taking advantage of the system. Shut up, Mark.

Susan needs a surgical consult for one of the kids, who has a mass. Mark tells her that Jen has served him with divorce papers, so he’ll have to get a lawyer. Susan invites him to hang out with her at home that evening, but he declines. Shep and Raul stop by again, and Randi admires how cute Raul is. Shep and Carol tell her Raul’s gay, so she’s not his type. Benton gets another page, and again doesn’t know who it’s from. Randi is no help.

Shep tells some of the staff about how horrible the conditions were in the apartment. He blames the kids’ mothers – why can’t “these people” just take care of their children? Benton and Malik take offense to the phrase, while Randi defends Shep, saying he didn’t mean anything racist. Shep says if he’d meant something discriminatory, he would have said “black people” instead of “these people.” Malik calls him David Duke anyway.

Carol jumps in as Shep goes off about personal responsibility. He points out that Benton’s a surgeon while Shep, a white guy, is a paramedic. Benton says it’s not that simple, and the system doesn’t work equally for everyone. Shep says it seems to be working pretty well for Benton. Jeanie pulls Benton away, but Malik makes sure Shep knows the argument is his fault.

Loretta comes in with her kids, Annie and Jimmy, and Mark determines that Jimmy has strep throat. The family has moved into a new house, and Loretta is still at her new job. Lydia takes the kids to the family room so Mark can talk to Loretta about some vaginal bleeding she’s been having. Jeanie brings Benton in to examine Susan’s patient, Michael, as Benton realizes that Jeanie’s the one who’s been paging him. He complains that she’s been wasting his time by not waiting around to tell him what she needs. Susan points out that things have been hectic in the ER all day.

Benton isn’t very gentle in his examination of Michael, and after he’s done and leaving in a huff, Jeanie follows. She tells him that if he’s mad, he should take it out on her, not a scared little boy. “Is that it?” Benton asks, saying possibly the worst thing he could say right now. Jeanie keeps standing up to him, finally telling him to either find a way to be compassionate or leave medicine.

Mark tends to a man named Mr. Mills who appears to have had a heart attack. Benton could learn a lot from Mark, who’s able to take charge of the patient and steer his son outside without being rude, short, or heartless. Jeanie goes to meet with her supervisor, Bobbi, who wants to go over Jeanie’s first student assessment. She’s skilled, but not assertive enough, and she may not be cut out for the ER. Jeanie thinks the assessment is from Benton, but it’s from Carol. Bobbi accepts that Carol might be annoyed that Jeanie’s encroaching on her turf, but Jeanie still needs to demonstrate that she can cut it in the ER. Jeanie promises she can.

Doug has learned that Jen has filed for divorce, and he’s surprised that Mark couldn’t make things work. What does that mean for Doug in the future? (Don’t worry, Doug. You’ll be just fine.) Susan’s still at work, and Mark tells her to leave by 5. A woman named Mrs. Proulx arrives, looking for the kids from the apartment. She’s their grandmother, and it seems like she has no idea what kind of conditions they were living in.

Carter butts heads with a nurse again, then shares a cup of coffee with Ruby. Ruby tells him about Helen’s past in musical theater. Carter admits he did Pippin and The Fantasticks in school. I can’t believe no one else is around to hear this and tease him about it later. Ruby emotionally tells Carter that he’s not ready to lose his wife.

Jeanie pulls Carol aside to talk about her assessment. Carol says Jeanie is “competent but timid.” She needs to become more aggressive to survive in the ER. Jeanie asks if she’s done something to offend Carol, but Carol promises that her critiques aren’t personal. Jeanie needs to stop waiting around to be told what to do. But Carol also doesn’t like that nurses with 20 years of experience have to answer to physician’s assistants with only a few months of training. Jeanie says that she took four years to complete two years of school because she had to work full-time. Carol doesn’t care – Jeanie has to stop looking for validation and just do her job.

Benton tells Vucelich that Helen’s paralysis isn’t getting better. Vucelich thinks it’s a small price to pay, considering how badly she needed the surgery they performed on her. Benton’s worried that he’s to blame for the complications, but Vucelich assures him that his technique was perfect. They’ll have to exclude Helen from Vucelich’s big study, though. He formally invites Benton to join the team. Mark tells Mr. Mills’ son, Howard, that his father’s prognosis isn’t good. Howard thinks he’s ready to die, especially in the wake of the death of his wife of 50 years. Benton gets some extra money and perks from joining Vucelich’s team, so his day is looking up.

Susan tells Mrs. Proulx that Trey is well enough to be taken into custody by DCFS, and he’ll be going to an emergency shelter. There will be a court hearing next week, when Mrs. Proulx can attempt to get custody. She tells Susan and Pete that the kids were living with her until a month ago, all with their own beds. Then their mother took them, insisting that she was doing better. Mrs. Proulx says their mom used to be a great parent, but drugs changed all that. She says goodbye to the kids, reminding Ty to take care of Trey. She leaves the hospital sad and alone.

Mark’s next patient is having stomach pains and thinks she just overate. He assigns Jeanie to give the patient a rectal exam and collect a stool sample. Chuny smiles to herself over Jeanie’s bad fortune until Mark tells her to help. Carter tells Vucelich that Helen’s condition still isn’t changing. Vucelich tells him that’s not important – they just need to get her “buffed up” so they can send her to a care facility. She’s not going to get better, so they just need to polish her up and send her off to be someone else’s problem. Carter worries that the things he’s tried have made Helen worse, but Vucelich reminds him that she’s dying no matter what.

In the cafeteria, Shep tries to make peace with Malik, who’s not interested in appeasing a white guy who wants to make sure the black guy likes him. Carol and Raul try to call Shep away, but he persists. Malik finally says he doesn’t think Shep is a bigot, though he clearly does. Shep loudly tells Carol and Shep how he can’t be racist because his EMT partner is Latino and they play basketball with a bunch of other non-white people. Malik manages to not laugh at him from the next table.

Benton examines Mark’s patient, Mrs. Saunders, and realizes that she didn’t overeat – she’s in labor. Her sister’s shocked since she didn’t know she was pregnant, and supposedly went through menopause. Jeanie joins Benton to deliver the baby, despite the fact that neither really knows how. Ruby thinks Helen’s doing better, and that Carter will be able to fix her up. Carter gently tells him that Helen may need long-term care. Ruby insists that Helen is strong and will eventually be able to go home with him. He appreciates that Carter, unlike his colleagues, actually cares about them.

Doug and Chuny tell Mark that Mrs. Saunders wound up having twins. In much more depressing news, Loretta has cancer. Her phone isn’t working, so Mark decides to go to her house and give her the news in person. Jeanie meets Al at Doc Magoo’s, unsure what he wants to talk about. He tells her that they should give their marriage another try. They can even have kids, like she’s wanted. Jeanie’s tired, both from her exhausting job and from how much work this relationship is. Al says he’s done playing around and is ready to get serious, but Jeanie just walks out.

As Mark looks for an address that doesn’t appear to exist, Benton tries to make up for his earlier treatment of Michael. He explains that the boy has a hernia and needs to have an operation to fix it. Michael’s scared, but Benton tells him he’ll be fine and it’s not a big deal. He even agrees to stay with Michael for a while. Mark decides to go to Susan’s after all, and the two settle in for the evening with pizza and beer. Carter is woken up by his pager, having given the number to Ruby. Ruby has some questions for his new favorite doctor, and Carter probably has some regrets about his kindness.

Thoughts: Carter looks like he’s playing dress-up in his white doctor’s coat.

Jeanie calling out Benton for acting like a child is sooooo satisfying.

Shep: “My sister dated a black guy for two years.” Ha! Shep doesn’t even have a black friend he can use for an “I have black friends” argument – he has to go with his sister’s ex!

September 18, 2018

ER 2.10, A Miracle Happens Here: A Christmas Carol

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

It’s Santa! I know him!

Summary: Shep’s alarm goes off at 5:45, and he has to be rudely awoken by some annoying Santa-themed rap. Carol’s already up and around, trying to get a fire going in her newly discovered fireplace, since the furnace went out during the night. She can’t get the flue open, so Shep suggests that they have Christmas at his place. Carol insists on having it in her new home and tries to think of ways to make it work. Shep will probably win this round, since there’s now a hole in the roof letting snow in.

Some carolers sing “Carol of the Bells” at the hospital, and their lovely voices almost make up for their hideous outfits. (The women are wearing caps with snowmen on them. If they have children, those kids are now dead from the humiliation.) The group is from the recovery wing, and they invite the ER staff to sing for them at 4 p.m. Apparently Carol made the arrangements but didn’t tell anyone. Unfortunately, no one can sing. Susan and Doug try to volunteer Mark, who’s not in yet, as he’s with the hospital’s lawyer. Sean O’Brien is suing him.

The lawyer tells Mark that the case is going to take a long time to move forward, and he plans to settle anyway. It’s better to leave Mark with a black mark on his record than for the hospital to have to pay out a million dollars. Mark heads off to find a bathroom, running into Sean and his son, who’s now about a year old. Sean definitely doesn’t want to make small talk with the man he’s suing for his wife’s death.

Some costumed skaters doing an on-ice nativity play were injured by a Zamboni, so Susan, Doug, and Harper are busy in the ER. Officer Al eases Susan’s fears by reporting that baby Jesus was played by a doll. However, the Zamboni driver appears to be drunk, so I think he’ll be spending Christmas in jail. Meanwhile, Mark will be spending it moping by himself, since his family is in Milwaukee and his wife is sleeping with someone else.

Carter wants to observe an operation Benton’s performing, but he hasn’t finished his work from the night before, since he was busy trying to comfort a patient’s family. No one’s going to be a nice person on Benton’s watch, even on Christmas Eve, so Carter doesn’t get to observe. Carol tries to round up participants for the carol singing that afternoon, but no one wants to sing. Doug mentions that the cops are charging the Zamboni with a DUI, even though he wasn’t technically driving a car. Mark dubs it a ZUI.

Benton scrubs in with a couple other surgeons who a) don’t want to make small talk with him and b) don’t even know his name. Vucelich informs them that their patient has changed his mind about having surgery, but he thinks he and Benton might be able to get him to change it back. Carol tends to a patient named Stan Calaus who cut himself while carving a wooden toy. He and his wife used to sell their goods at craft fairs; now he has a whole crew helping out, and they still have more orders than they can keep up with. Carol tells him he would make a great Santa, but he must hear that a lot.

Vucelich tells Benton that part of being a surgeon who employs cutting-edge techniques is selling his methods to patients. He lets Benton take the lead in convincing the patient, Mr. Chamberlain, to let them operate. Mark has signed up to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Doug nicely offers to take one of those shifts. Mark would rather work than spend the holidays alone; Rachel will be with Jen until Christmas night.

Shep brings in an unconscious woman named Hanna Steiner who was carjacked. Mark notices tattooed numbers on Hanna’s arm, and he and Shep have to tell Malik that that means she’s a Holocaust survivor, because wherever Malik went to school growing up, the school system sucked. Mr. Chamberlain tells Benton and Vucelich that he doesn’t care what techniques they’re using; his wife, Macy, wants him to wait, so he is. Carter arrives with Macy, having convinced her that the procedure is the way to go. This is the family Carter spent the night talking to, and they love him now. Vucelich rewards him with the offer of scrubbing in.

Hanna regains consciousness and asks about Tirzah, her granddaughter. She was in the car when it was stolen. The car has been found by the police, but there was no baby inside. Mark and Haleh’s day just got a whole lot worse. They try to call Hanna’s son, but she doesn’t think that’ll do any good, since he lives far away. Mark tries to encourage her to get a CT scan while they wait for news on the baby. Hanna says something in Yiddish, and when Mark understands her, Hanna decides to defer to his medical recommendation.

Al shows Susan the ruby earrings he wants to give Lydia for Christmas. He’s uncertain about the choice, since they’re nothing that special or expensive, but Susan promises that they’re perfect for Lydia. She finds Mark fighting with Jen on the phone about wanting to keep Rachel with her a couple more days so she can go to a party with her cousins. He complains to Susan about Jen’s horrible timing in having an affair. She invites him to spend the holiday with her, Susie, and her parents, though I’m not sure that’s better than spending it alone.

Vucelich and Benton operate on Mr. Chamberlain as Carter observes closely. Vucelich thinks Benton is lucky to have a student with such a good rapport with patients. He lets Benton finish up, but Benton gets flustered since they’re rushing for a personal-best operating time. They don’t break their record, thanks to Benton, but Carter gets to help out, so at least one person in the operating room is happy. Weaver spots an old friend named Mlungisi who’s in town for a visit. She hugs and kisses him, showing more affection than she will in the entire rest of the series. Carol, Mark, Haleh, and Randi are stunned.

As a man rushes his teen son in with a bullet wound in his shoulder, Mark chats with Hanna, trying to help her stay positive that Tirzah will be found safe. She covers the numbers on her arm and tells him it’s easier to be a victim of discrimination when you’re a child because you don’t know any different. Mark notes that she’s seen the worst in people. Hanna says she’s also seen the best, like Tirzah.

Mark tries to assure her that the carjacker just wanted the vehicle, so he won’t hurt the baby. Hanna knows that the best way to get revenge on those who have hurt you is to keep living your life like they don’t own you. But then something like this happens and you remember that everything can be taken from you. Hanna admits that when she was getting her CT scan, she prayed for the first time in 50 years. She asks if Mark knows Yiddish and if he’s religious. Mark says he’s the child of a lapsed Catholic and an agnostic Jew. She teases that he’s no good to her; she can’t ask him to pray for her family. Mark says he’ll try.

The staff is supposed to go to a restaurant for a party later, but since it’s snowing and traffic isn’t moving much, Carol thinks everyone who’s still there at 4 p.m. might as well go sing with her. Susan says her voice is so bad that when she sings to Susie, the baby goes to sleep immediately as a defense mechanism. Carol says they can both just mouth the words, though that won’t be any good if no one else is singing. Carol tries to enlist Carter, but he pleads “chronic tone-deafness and acute stage fright.”

Mark agrees with Carol that Stan looks familiar – just like Jerry Garcia. Apparently it’s Show Susan the Earrings You Bought for Your Girlfriend Day, because Carter wants Susan’s opinion on the earrings he’s going to give Harper. Unlike Al’s rubies, Carter bought Harper real diamonds. He’s worried that she’ll think they’re too much, since they haven’t been dating that long. Susan says Harper will be happy that he thought to get her something so nice.

Some teens bring in a priest who was shot at his church. Jeanie is horrified that someone would shoot a priest. Weaver has arranged to take some time off so she can be with Mlungisi while he’s in town, and since Mark was already scheduled to work, it’s not a hassle. Harper and Randi try to get Weaver to tell them how she and Mlungisi know each other. Weaver just says that she had a farm in Africa.

Susan and Jeanie work on the priest, who asks to speak to Diablo, one of the boys who came in with him. Susan wants the priest to stay calm, but he insists, so Jeanie goes to get Diablo. A baby is being brought in after being found in an adult theater (oh, classy), and the police think she might be Tirzah. Mark and Doug check her over, but she seems fine, just unhappy. Hanna wanders in and recognizes her as Tirzah.

The priest tells Diablo that his shooter wasn’t from the L.G. (which we can assume is a gang). He gives Jeanie his rosary beads for Diablo. Carol checks on Stan, who’s sending off his wife and kids to finish up their work. Mrs. Calaus promises she has both their maps, the naughty and the nice. Carol tells Stan that she’s enjoyed being his nurse today; everyone else she’s encountered has been scroogey. Stan tells her she has to find the Christmas spirit within her rather than rely on other people to show it.

Carol changes her methods, telling some of the staff that she’s going to sing Christmas carols, and they can join her if they’d like. No one does, but at least she doesn’t feel grumpy anymore. Susan and Jeanie rush the priest to an elevator to take him to surgery, but they have to take him back to the trauma room when he destabilizes. The teens who brought him in are eager for information, which the staff don’t have time to provide. Hanna wisely takes Tirzah out of the room while they’re working.

Mark discovers that the bullet severed the priest’s aorta, so they get some scans. By the time Jeanie returns with the films, the priest is dead. The teens are devastated and ask for a priest to deliver last rites. In a much cheerier part of the hospital, Carol sings a respectable version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” to some patients in the recovery wing. Mark, Susan, Doug, Carter, Harper, Malik, and Lydia join her, making up their own lyrics. No one sounds good, but Carol appreciates their effort, and the patients are happy to see them.

Benton lies down in an on-call room, reciting Scripture about Jesus’ birth to himself. Lily grabs him to come take care of an elderly woman named Helen Rubadoux who may have an aortic dissection. When Carter arrives to help, Benton puts him to work doing what he does best – talking to the patient’s husband, Ruby. Carol goes looking for Stan, but he’s already left. The window in his room is open, and Carol thinks she hears sleigh bells. (Also, Stan Calaus is an anagram for Santa Claus. Sigh.)

Carter tells Ruby that Helen needs surgery, and though her odds of survival are only 50/50 because of her age, it’s necessary to give her any chance at all. He suggests a new procedure that will complete the surgery faster, lowering the odds that Helen will have a heart attack. Even better, Vucelich developed the procedure and would perform the operation himself. Ruby asks Carter if that’s what he would do, and Carter says it is, so Ruby gives his consent.

Diablo calls someone to report that the priest has died, so they need to make the L.G. pay. Jeanie hangs up the phone and reminds Diablo that the priest said it wasn’t the L.G. Diablo thinks he lied to keep a truce between gangs. Jeanie asks if the priest would want them to keep up the gang war in his name. She gives Diablo the rosary beads and tells him to help the man who always tried to help others.

Hanna’s large family has arrived with a menorah, wanting to celebrate Hanukkah with her in the hospital. Mark and Hanna both think they should leave and let Hanna rest, but the family doesn’t want her to be alone. As Vucelich and Benton prepare for Helen’s surgery, the staff learns that the snow has forced them to cancel their Christmas party. Carol says she wishes she could have everyone over to her house, but without heat, it wouldn’t be fun. Shep reveals that he spent the day fixing the fireplace, so everything’s good. Carol suddenly wishes she hadn’t invited everyone over.

Mark joins the Steiners as they light their menorah and play dreidel. One of Hanna’s granddaughters says that the letters on the dreidel mean “a miracle happened there.” Hanna’s happy that the family had their own miracle in Tirzah’s safe return. And there was a second miracle – Hanna and Mark prayed together. Hanna felt for decades that God had forsaken her, but she realized today that He’s always been with her in the form of her family. Mark decides to leave the family by themselves.

Things are very festive at Carol’s, and even Benton comes by after he finishes Helen’s surgery. Harper and Lydia admire each other’s earrings, deciding they each like each other’s pairs better. They consider switching, not thinking Al and Carter would notice, but Susan stops them. Jeanie tells Benton she was thinking about him today, knowing this is his first Christmas without his mother. He tells her she made him memorize the Bible verses he was reciting to himself earlier, and always liked to hear him say them on Christmas Eve. Benton notes that this is also Jeanie’s first Christmas on her own.

Shep finds Carol scrounging for more cups in her kitchen and announces that he loves her. That’s fine on its own, but then he goes further, saying he wants to spend his life with her and have kids with her. Okay, you’ve been dating for, like, three months. Slow down. Carol isn’t ready to make a big commitment, but she does appreciate hearing that he loves her.

Mark calls Rachel, promising that Santa will find her at her grandparents’ house. He asks if she wants to stay for the party with her cousins, knowing that if she does, he won’t get to spend Christmas with her. He promises they’ll have their own “post-Christmas, post-Hanukkah, pre-New Year’s Day celebration” when she gets there. He goes back to work as some staff have a joyful snowball fight outside the ER doors.

Thoughts: Ruby is played by the late Red Buttons. The priest is played by Tony Plana.

Clooney mouthing the final “bohm” in “Carol of the Bells” made me lose it.

Carol: “Last chance to spread some holiday cheer.” Benton: “What?” Exactly. “Holiday cheer” is a foreign language to Benton.

September 11, 2018

ER 2.9, Home: Jen Is at the Top of Santa’s Naughty List

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

I’m sure those pencils will keep him warm when he’s sleeping outside in Chicago in December

Summary: Doug’s asleep – drink! Susan wakes him up and asks him to examine Susie, who has a cough. Doug pronounces her happy and healthy, which must be because Susan’s so great with her. They hand the baby off to Connie and go to meet another baby, this one much sicker than Susie. As Haleh takes the frantic parents out of the trauma room, Doug decides that the baby can’t be saved. He has to tell Susan a couple times to stop trying to revive him. Doug gives the horrible news to the parents as Susan takes Susie back from Connie.

Carter and Harper have worked things out and are dating, or whatever the kids call it when they spend a lot of time together and hook up. They try to make out in an elevator but Benton interrupts. They get clumsy in their attempts to find a quiet place where they can be alone, then have to pretend they’re looking for someone’s films when they realize Susan is in their hiding spot. (Thank you, Susan and Benton. I didn’t want to watch that.)

Carol brings stuff in for the hospital’s Christmas drive, trying to get rid of some things her mother wants to off-load since she’s moving. Doug and Mark laugh at her old records and baton. Carter and Harper finally find a make-out spot, but it’s the hospital chapel, and they’re soon joined by some nuns. These two are definitely going on Santa’s naughty list.

Shep shaved! It’s a Christmas miracle! He thinks Carol should be sadder about her mom selling her childhood home. He’s brought in an unidentified patient who’s now drawing something in an exam area. Doug and Mark tend to a man named Ethan Brown who was hurt in a hit-and-run. He’s able to ask for his wife through his possibly broken jaw, but Mark wants him to leave on his oxygen mask and stop trying to talk.

Carol tells Shep’s patient, Mr. Sullivan, that he can’t smoke in the hospital. She and Jeanie tend to his minor wounds as he tells them he’s an architect. He doesn’t seem completely mentally aware, so Carol tells Jeanie to call psych. As Benton notices a hickey on Carter’s neck, the two of them check out Ethan. Jeanie tells Carol that she’s identified Mr. Sullivan, whose real name is Joshua Shem. He has schizophrenia and ran away from his residential home. Because it’s his third time running away, they won’t take him back.

Doug told Mark he can’t work that night, so some of the female employees wonder if he’s going on a date. He remains mum. Ethan’s wife arrive, frantic at first but much calmer when Mark assures her that her husband will be okay. A teenager comes in with her sister, Reba, who was treated for injuries at a skating rink but had a seizure on the way home from the hospital. Looks like she has a head injury that the doctor who treated the cuts on her legs didn’t discover. (That doctor will also be on the naughty list.)

A police officer who came in with Ethan tells Mark and Susan that a witness told him who was driving the car that hit him: his wife. Mark quickly tells Lydia to call security, but Mrs. Brown has already found her husband and is trying to finish what she started with her car (this time with her bare hands). Ho ho ho, Mrs. Brown is getting coal in her stocking.

Mark tells Susan he’s spending the holidays with Jen’s family, clearly a sacrifice he doesn’t really want to make. Susan checks on Reba, who says she doesn’t remember what happened, then promptly has another seizure. Carter runs into Vucelich in the bathroom and says that Benton wanted to have an interview with him, but Carter forgot to sign him up. Vucelich agrees to see Benton anyway.

Susan struggles to end Reba’s seizures, finally guessing that she’s having an allergic reaction to the lidocaine she was given at the previous hospital. Records faxed over from St. Anne’s show that she was given a toxic dose. Weaver thinks Susan should write a case report, then have the hospital pay for her to present it in Miami. Susan doesn’t think she can take time away from the ER to do the necessary research, then leave town when she has both work and family responsibilities. She worries that Mark is disappointed in her for turning down the opportunity.

Dr. Myers meets with Joshua, who declines the offer of medication. He just wants to work on his drawing and go home (though he doesn’t actually have a home). Myers can’t hold him, since he’s not a danger to himself or others, and Joshua says he can take care of himself. Jeanie thinks Myers is just checking this case off his to-do list, but Carol defends him. Myers gets dozens of cases like Joshua every day and does everything he can for his patients. They’ll just have to stall and hope they can find Joshua a new residential home.

Carter, now wearing a huge bandage on his neck, tries to rearrange his plans with Harper since he now has to stay for Benton’s interview. He still hasn’t told Benton about the interview, though. When he tries to bring up the subject, Benton says he doesn’t want to participate in the study Vucelich is interviewing doctors for. Good job, Carter!

Carol catches Joshua trying to leave and admires his drawing of an arch. He says he draws what “they” tell him to draw. She tells him about her new house, and he identifies the style and interior. He tells her there’s a fireplace she didn’t know about. Weaver asks why Joshua hasn’t been discharged, and Carol says she wants to put a sterile dressing on one of his cuts. She’s actually stalling by offering Joshua food, but Weaver’s fine with letting him warm up and have a meal.

Carol hears Doug on the phone, confirming his plans for the evening and promising the person he’s talking to that she’ll look beautiful no matter what she wears. He still won’t give any details on who he’s meeting. Mark then gets a call from a hospital in Milwaukee and learns that Jen and Rachel were in a car accident. Rachel’s fine but Jen’s hurt. Doug offers up his car keys as Mark rushes off to see his family.

Susan calls the hospital back and tries to get information on Jen, but she has no luck. It makes her wonder if County is this tight-lipped. Lydia mentions that she used to date an OR tech at the hospital, so Susan makes her call him. Carter recognizes the arch from Joshua’s drawing as the Sullivan Arch, which he’s seen pictures of in an installment at the Art Institute. Carol remembers that Joshua introduced himself as Mr. Sullivan.

Shep amuses himself by looking through Carol’s old yearbook and the things her friends wrote. He wants to rescue it from being given away. Weaver tells Susan that Morgenstern wants to talk to her about presenting Reba’s case – he’s excited for this great opportunity. Benton ruins Carter and Harper’s plans by giving them more work to do. Jeanie calls around, looking for a place for Joshua, with no luck.

Benton goes to his interview with Vucelich, which turns into a field trip. Joshua’s mother, Madeline, arrives but says she can’t take him home. He’s let go of everything in his past and won’t stay. He was going to be an architect, but a breakdown in college derailed his plans. Madeline gives Joshua some money and pencils, the old thing he still cares about.

Morgenstern helps Susan and Carter tend to a man who fell off a ladder while setting up a Christmas display. He laments that he crushed Rudolph, though he should be more upset about the long, sharp thing sticking out of his arm. I know I am. Morgenstern tells Susan how great Reba’s case sounds, but she again declines the opportunity. He reminds her that she’s a candidate to be chief resident next year. Susan knows she needs to start publishing, but she thinks she’s taken on enough responsibility and doesn’t need “extra credit.”

Mark makes it to the hospital in Milwaukee, and I guess the episode ran short because we have to see him running around instead of just going right to Rachel and Jen. Jen is stable but has a broken leg and possible internal injuries. Despite being a doctor at County, Mark has no standing at this place, so he’s kept away from her as she’s treated.

Susan gets a Christmas card from Chloe that’s full of money. Anyone else would be excited to get $3,000, but Susan isn’t appreciative. Doug, who knows all about deadbeat relatives, advises her to take what she can get. In Milwaukee, Mark finds Rachel and meets a guy named Craig, who was in the accident with her and Jen. In fact, he was driving their car when they were hit. Mark’s too distracted to understand the significance of this.

Jeanie can’t find a place for Joshua, but he’s already taken off. She wonders if she’s cut out for doing this kind of work, since her previous job as a physical therapist let her see her patients’ progress. Carol says they just have to do what they can for everyone. She finds Joshua’s pencils under his bed.

Vucelich takes Benton to an operation so he can see firsthand the work Vucelich does. Benton knows his stuff and is suddenly interested in joining Vucelich’s study. Vucelich tells him to scrub in. In Milwaukee, Jen’s doctor tells Mark that she doesn’t have internal injuries, and surgery to repair her leg went fine. Craig asks Mark to translate from medical jargon to English.

Doug’s dinner date is with his mother, Sarah, and though his relationship with his father is nonexistent, he and his mother get along well. He tells her his father called, and she guesses that he wants money or is up to something. Doug isn’t worried and promises that his father can’t touch them ever again.

Carol takes Joshua’s pencils to the Sullivan Arch, which Joshua has made his home. He says they’re all he needs, but she gives him a blanket, too, ensuring her spot on Santa’s nice list. Carter finally finishes his extra work and meets up with Harper, who’s chatting with Jeanie. She guesses that they’re dating, but Carter says they don’t have time in medical school. Harper mentions that she’s going into the Air Force after med school. Carter teases that she’s going to become an astronaut after that.

Susan runs into a neighbor while doing laundry, and doesn’t correct the neighbor when she thinks Susan is Susie’s mother. It looks like that sounds good to her. Carol puts on some music at home, and she and Shep take hammers to a wall to uncover the fireplace Joshua told her was there. They celebrate by dancing and making out to “Take a Letter Maria.”

The lyrics “take a letter Maria / address it to my wife / say I won’t be coming home” foreshadow the conversation Mark is about to have with Jen (well, if Jen were the husband and Mark were the wife). He’s figured out that Craig isn’t just a friend or co-worker or second cousin or whoever she was going to pretend he was. Jen’s in love with him. Merry Christmas, Mark: Your wife is cheating on you.

Thoughts: Joshua is played by Adam Goldberg.

Jen’s father is a reverend. WELL, HIS CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS SURE DIDN’T STICK.

Susie’s at that age where babies babble in almost-intelligible language. I love that age.

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