Saturday, September 24, 2005

ER 12.1 Canon City

Previously on ER, apparently nothing else happened except with Sam and Luka. Steve wrote a letter to Alex from jail. Sam lied to Alex about where Steve is. Luka told Sam she needed to tell Alex the truth. Alex stole money and credit cards from Sam and ran away. Sam and Luka go looking for him and Luka tells her “it is all going to be okay”, which viewers know that anytime anyone on this show says that, it never is. Carrying a backpack and hitchhiking, Alex is picked up by a guy in a pickup truck.

Luka and Sam are at the Police Station. Captioning tells us that it’s “1:00 AM Tuesday”. Sam says that he’s 12 and is asked the last time she saw him, which she says was “around 8:30”, plenty of time for Luka to get the new haircut he’s sporting. Nice continuity. Sam looks beat – I feel really bad for her, must be horrible. Luka’s chewing on his lips. Cop asks if there are any friends or relatives that he could be with, but Sam shakes her head and says they’ve been calling, driving around. Female cop asks about trouble at school, any fights. Sam admits they had an argument. She went upstairs to get ready for bed and got a call an hour later about an authorization for a bus ticket on her Visa. The cops ask “ticket to where” and Sam sadly says “Colorado”, and explains that “his dad is there”. Female cop asks about whether there are drugs or violence in the home, to which Luka replies “Alex has a good home”. I know she had to ask the question, but the detective is already annoying me with the attitude she is projecting. She asks about the dad and whether they’ve contacted him to let him know Alex may be headed there. Sam says “he’s not that easy to get a hold of”. When asked, she winces and doesn’t answer, so Luka fills in “he’s in prison”. Sam admits that Alex didn’t know that. Now she’s starting to get pissed about why they aren’t doing something like calling Amtrak or the airlines, to which the male detective tells her they wouldn’t let him on without parental consent. Female cop asks for a recent photo like she’s asking what time it is. I’m a little annoyed with the cops’ responses here. They don’t seem really concerned. Maybe it’s because Alex is 12 and they know he ran away that makes a difference, but just the other day in my area there was a missing kid and within an hour of the report the state police had TV shows interrupted to issue an amber emergency alert. Male cop tells them this happens all the time and 9 out of 10 times they come back home within 24 hours. Sam drops the bomb that Alex “doesn’t have 24 hours”, he’s a diabetic and in that time he could be in a coma.

Luka and Sam are leaving the police station. He’s trying to get her attention but she’s rattling on about where they need to check. She’s getting more and more frantic and Luka calmly tells her that they were told to go home in case Alex calls. She tries to open the door to Luka’s SUV and it’s locked and she’s desperately yanking on it and pleading with him to open it. She’s just about to really lose it. Luka opens it using the keyless entry, which as I am writing it sounds vaguely naughty, but it could just be because it’s Luka and my mind automatically goes there. Luka’s trying to be reassuring and tells her that Alex knows how to monitor his carbs and stay hydrated, but Sam on the verge of tears says “He’s too smart. He’s stubborn and resourceful and smart. He’s not coming back.”

Cut to a soda being dropped in a machine. A kid, obviously Alex, grabs it. I was just going to ask whether he should be drinking that, but notice that the can is silver, so it’s probably Diet Coke which I guess is okay. There’s a new Alex. Newlex. He’s cute. I wasn’t crazy about the old one, so hopefully this one will make me not detest the character. He’s outside what looks like a supermarket when a truck beeps its horn. Then Newlex gets something from another vending machine, but we can’t see what it is. I don’t know how much carb monitoring can be done on vending machine food because when I was on the Atkins diet, there wasn’t anything in there that I could eat. Newlex spots a State Trooper and starts to run away. Newlex stows away in a pick-up on the back of a car carrier driven by a trucker who looks like Charlie Daniels, while a keyboard and violin variation of the ER theme plays in the background. How does Newlex know where the truck is going? Maybe he just figures because the guy is wearing a cowboy hat that it will be somewhere in rodeo country.

Goran’s first in the credits!!! Well, that ends that the debate on the boards. They went with seniority. Liking it. Either that or Goran Visjnic has a better agent that Maura Tierney does. Although technically, Laura Innes has been the longest surviving regular cast member, she’s only allotted about 20 minutes and like three episodes total airtime per season and I’m sure this episode is not one of them. And loving the fact that they finally retired the chair roll. Scott Grimes made the opening credits. Oh, goodie. I guess Morris is sticking around. They replaced the Carter med student head hanging shot with the one of Neela sliding to the floor and crying. Good choice. I love Neela.

Close-up of Morris. Now I kind of like Scott Grimes as an actor and all, but that is not a face that needs to be seen closeup. And since I’m re-watching this show after 3½ glasses of shiraz, it’s really not a pretty sight. Morris shakes his head and mutters “the day shift” and kisses Darlene Connor on the forehead with a loud lip smackin’ “Mwah!” and says “there is a God”, to which she rightfully replies “ewww.” I’m sure this will start a frenzy of Archie and Jane fanfics. What would be their shipper nickname? Do we even know her last name? Do I even care? Some no-name, non-important not-to-be-seen-again-might-as-well-be-a-Star-Trek-red-shirt-
expendable-crew-member-med-student exposits “Hard night?”, which Morris ignores in favor of trying to kiss Susan’s ass and run the board. As she eats an apple, she stops Morris and tells Ray that he’s on. Ray’s all “huh?” and Pratt tells him as a second year resident it’s his turn to run the board. Ray stutteringly takes charts from Morris to give the run-down. Every chart he reads off, Morris has to interject with more info than is needed. Since when did Morris become competent? Must be trying to impress Lewis, who doesn’t react in any way. Ray hands a chart to Darlene/Jane, and goes on about a 19 year old who drank a gallon of anti-freeze (did she think it was a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew or something? Yikes), and Lewis stops him in mid-handoff to say that this is a good teaching case. Pratt interjects something about Ray taking a minute and telling them about some medical term that I didn’t catch and don’t feel like rewinding to check. Ray tries to bluff his way through saying “it’s pretty new” and Susan’s all “yeah, but what does it do?” Pratt tries to get him to explain it to the interns. Ray gives a half-assed answer, Pratt rolls his eyes and walks away, and Darlene and Red Shirt put forth some answers, which Susan acknowledges and tells them to get “it early and avoid dialysis”. Ray tells them he’ll make a handout of this for them to read, and Pratt tells him that R2’s need to do the reading before rounds start, to which Ray bitches “how, I just got here?” and Susan tells him to “get here early” and Morris pipes in snapping his fingers that “teaching should be spontaneous, off the cuff”. Right, Morris. Ray shoots him a look. Just then a crunchy granola type mom interrupts to ask if there is a place where she can breastfeed because they have been waiting in chairs for hours. Susan starts to point her to the family room, and then realizes that the kid at her side is at least six year’s old, and sort of stops in mid-sentence before continuing that it’s “down the hallway”. Love Susan’s WTF reaction. All she does is move her eyes with a sort of half smirk, but it’s the type of move Sherry Stringfield is so good at. And can I add that I love Susan’s hair. Sucks that she’s leaving. I want her hair. I’m throwing a plea out for a screencap with her hair so I can take it to the Hair Cuttery. Please?

Pratt’s like “how old is that kid?” and Susan laughingly says he’s got to be at least six. Ray says how freaky it is. Yeah, Ray, like your black eyeliner isn’t?

Sam is asleep on Luka’s couch, and he’s holding out a coffee cup and saying her name. She awakes with a start asking if Alex has called, Luka tells her no, but they are showing his picture on TV. Well, good, there’s the Amber Alert. Luka’s apartment is the batcave. He’s a doctor. Can’t they afford some 100 watt lightbulbs? Sam wants to know how long she was asleep and Luka assures her it was only an hour. She wants to start calling everyone again, Luka wants to keep the phone lines open because they were told that they would be called with any new info. Sam dismisses him and starts dialing her mobile. Luka bites his lip and looks away. He clearly disagrees with her but I think realizes that she feels she needs to do something. Sam calls someone named Debbie, Luka gives in and makes a call on his cell. As they are dialing, the apartment phone rings. Sam runs to it and answers.

Cut to trauma. Susan asks Haleh for the bullet. Apparently a car accident victim. Susan asks Ray what his plan is. Ray says he’ll intubate and get a head CT. Lewis agrees and says she’ll be in Curtain 2. Ray looks up incredulously and starts to stop her, but she cuts him off and tells him to call her if he needs her. Darlene tells him that she guesses Lewis trusts him, which Ray doesn’t seem sure of, but turns his attention back to the patient and stars spouting off orders to Darlene and Red Shirt. Red Shirt asks if he can intubate, and Ray tells him he might want to observe one first. Darlene asks why they are using some drug and Ray matter-of-factly answers her. I really can’t follow the medical terms, so don’t expect verbatim recapping. I may just end with “yada, yada, yada” or some such. Darlene haughtily replies that she “knows that, but isn’t it true that” whatever drug causes whatever side effect. Ray just answers “maybe”, but Darlene won’t let him off the hook. Wow, Darlene is sure spouting off the jargon about internal bleeding. Haleh is watching this exchange very curiously. Ray blows Darlene off that they use it because it’s a “good drug”. Haleh pointedly tells Ray that the sats are at 92. Ray is sort of explaining the intubation procedure to Red Shirt, but gets exasperated when Red Shirt asks questions and dismisses them. Red Shirt keeps asking and Ray’s annoyed, “More observation and less conversation … we tube her then we can chat. Okay?’ Darlene raises her eyebrows at this and Haleh pointedly tells Ray “7 1/2 “. Ray says “okay, um, thank you” to Haleh who give him the “uh huh, I’ve seen your type before” look. I love Yvette Freeman. Her facial expressions say it all.

Sam and Luka are at the Police Station and wonder why they couldn’t just be given whatever the information is over the phone. Boy, could this female detective be any more bored. Nice attitude considering you’re giving a distraught mom some potentially bad news. She tells Sam that they haven’t found Alex yet, but 12,000 flyers have gone out and they’ve notified hospitals and state police, the authorities in Colorado, and they’ve had some play on TV. She leads them into an office and tells them to sit while she goes over whom all the police have contacted, but they have no leads. Male cop comes in. Stupid female cop asks Sam if they’d heard from Alex. Does she really think Sam wouldn’t have already told her that? Would they be that stupid on Without A Trace? Maybe I should start watching that on Thursdays. Although bloated Anthony LaPaglia really doesn’t compare to luscious Luka, so I guess the point is moot. Sam wants to know why they wanted them to come to the station. The two previously bored looking cops seem a bit more animated when they exchange looks and tell her that there is a report of an unidentified minor in a diabetic coma. They make Sam get more agitated and have to ask repeatedly “where is he?” before they tell her that he’s in Davenport, Iowa. I understand the heightening of drama, but I really don’t believe cops would hem and haw and force you to drag that type of devastating information out of them.

As Luka and Sam hurriedly exit the police station, Luka tells her that it is over “200 miles” and that he would probably be identified before they get there. Sam retorts that if it is him, they will be that much closer to where he is. Luka replies that if it’s not they’ll be that much further. Visibly upset, Sam tells him that she can’t just sit and wait by the phone for someone to call, for a stranger to say that they’ve found Alex in a ditch somewhere. She is on the verge of losing it. I totally sympathize. I’d have gone ballistic by this time. She pushes past a frustrated Luka to get to the driver’s side of the SUV.

Ray, Haleh, a random nurse and I think another med student are pushing car crash on a gurney out of trauma. Ray barks orders to tell Dubenko that the second hemocue was 12.1. Susan comes up and asks if the patient is going to the OR, and Ray says yes, that the FAST was positive, needs an ex-lap. Thank God for Closed Captioning or I wouldn’t have gotten any of that. Not only is this show poorly lighted, but everyone mumbles. Susan asks Haleh how it went. Haleh says it was a little rough. Susan ask if she wants to give Ray any feedback. Haleh matter-of-factly states that “there wasn’t much teaching”, and that Ray got distracted by questions from the interns. Ray says “well, they wouldn’t shut up”. I don’t normally like Shane West, but his deadpan delivery of that line was really funny. Susan halts him from interrupting and Haleh responds that Ray’s frustration prevented all of them from working as a team and there was tension in the room. Ray looks incredulous while Haleh continues that it could have caused a delay in diagnosis, to which Ray scoffs, “oh, please”. Susan sincerely thanks Haleh, and Ray does so sarcastically. Ray confronts Susan “what was that all about”. Susan returns that it’s about improving skills to become a better teacher and leader. Ray’s not convinced and wants to know since when nurses evaluate residents. Susan dismisses him by saying that Haleh has been there longer than anyone and she knows. Ray keeps arguing and Susan tells him that he needs to create a positive learning environment.
Ray thinks Susan is picking on him.

I really love Susan’s hair.

Luka and Sam are driving while “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” is playing on the radio. Foreshadowing what will happen to this relationship? Sam thinks they’ve missed what they are looking for, but Luka says they haven’t driven far enough yet. Then Sam spots the hospital. Is Chicago that close to Iowa that they could get there that quickly? I’m not interested enough to look on a map so I’ll just have to trust them that it is.

Sam takes off like a bat out of hell out running towards the entrance. Luka must be sauntering in because Sam is already at the Admit desk and he still hasn’t entered the building yet. Sam is frantically ringing the bell for someone to come to the desk. A nurse comes and Sam asked about diabetic coma kid. Cut to nurse, Sam and Luka walking down a corridor while the nurse talks about how a security guard found the boy behind the JC Penney’s at the mall. Yikes. It ain’t a pretty sight behind our local Penney’s, can’t imagine a kid being back there. Nurse says the kid didn’t have an ID. Sorry, I have to take exception to this. What type of ID would a 12 year old have? Unless she is talking about a Medic Alert for his diabetes, this makes no sense. She spouts off what his sats are, while Sam shakes her head and shoots a look at Luka. The nurse explains that they just missed the doctor, who went home to get his digital camera so they could take a picture of the kid to send to the police in Chicago. Wouldn’t the hospital already have some type of camera and at least a fax machine on the premises? I know here that hospitals are required to have cameras on hand to document victims of violent crimes. Whatever. Predictably, it’s not Alex.

Outside the hospital, Luka is calling someone on his cell to update them. Sam asks him if there was any news and he says no. Sam distraughtly starts screaming “Damn it, Alex!” Luka tells Sam that Erika is fine staying at the apartment until they get back. Sam sadly says “He’s not coming home, Luka”. Luka starts to say something and then stops. Luka looks almost bored. He walks over to Sam and stops. For God’s sake, Luka, hug her! He puts his hand on her shoulder and leans a little towards her. Finally. Jeez. Though it’s basically a “there, there” pat on the back type comforting. What’s up with that? These two have been in a loving relationship for over a year? You’d never know it. Sam asks Luka for the car keys. He drops them in her hand and asks “where are we going?”, and she quietly answers “Colorado” before walking away. Luka actually makes duck lips before looking away. He’s been hanging around Abby too long.

Speaking of, 15 minutes in, first commercial break and no Abby. Wow, that’s got to be a first. Maybe she’s taking Carter to the airport.

Breastfeeding mom, kid (who’s a redhead and bears more than a passing resemblance to Danny Partridge), Red Shirt and Ray are looking at an x-ray. Ray says “no infiltrate” and Red Shirt is like yeah, I already told you that. Breast Mom asks if everything’s okay, and Ray says it’s not pneumonia. He asks Red Shirt about a couple of tests, which were all clear, and then asks Danny to open his mouth. Danny doesn’t want to. It seems Ray is repeating all the stuff Red Shirt has already done. Red Shirt is Dr. Babinski, but since I doubt he’ll be back after this episode, I’ll keep calling him Red Shirt. Danny starts throwing a tantrum when Ray wants him to get in a gown again. Susan and Pratt are watching at the window and exchange looks. They open the door and ask for Ray, who excuses himself and steps out into the hall. They ask Ray what he’s doing. He’s says he’s looking for the fever source, and Susan tells him that Red Shirt said there wasn’t one. Ray dismisses it with a “you know these interns, always gotta check up on them”, and Susan narrows her eyes at him and says “yeah, but not for 20 minutes” and reminds him that interns ARE doctors, so you have to trust they know something. Ray’s like “they were students last week, they don’t know what they are doing”. Looks like they gave Abby’s story about micromanagement from the spoilers to Ray. Interesting. Maybe they gave her his story, which probably makes more sense anyway. If she were actually in this episode. Ray is wearing a t-shirt but I can’t read what it says because of his lab coat, though it doesn’t look like appropriate work attire to me. Pratt tells them that they had the board cleared, but now they are backed up again. Ray doesn’t think that’s his fault. Pratt tells him he liked him better when he was “the closer”. I thought that was Kyra Sedgwick?

Luka and Sam are in the SUV, Sam’s driving. They are on some kind of interstate but I don’t know where. Luka apparently can’t get service on his cell phone. He must have Verizon. This happens to me all the time and it’s really annoying. Sam says they are about 30 miles from Omaha. Thanks, Sam. Luka asks Sam where in Colorado, but she’s not paying attention and is like “huh?” He asks “where’s Steve?” and Sam says “Canon City” but pronounces it “Cannon”, though the title of this episode is Canon City with the squiggle over the middle “n” which I’m pretty sure from junior high Spanish means it should be pronounced like “Canyon”. Luka wants to know where it is. Sam doesn’t know, but says she thinks it’s in the mountains. That narrows it down, Sam. Luka tells her he’s never been to Colorado but has always wanted to go. Sam’s not interested in Luka’s small talk, although it’s Luka so I guess I should say “little talk”. He says he heard it’s beautiful and Sam replies “yeah”. The way she said this implies that she’s been there before. Luka asks what Sam and Alex were fighting about. Sam tries to shake it off as “the usual”. Luka purses his lips, he’s been doing that a lot this episode, and asks if it’s because of him. Sam corrects him saying “Us”. Sam berates herself that she should have told him the truth, and Luka not getting it, says “he knew we were having trouble”. Sam’s like, duh, I meant the truth about Steve. Luka takes this in and the look on his face is like he realizes that he’s really not involved in this.

Ray is giving Neela the lowdown about attendings leaving you high and dry in traumas and nurses critiquing you. He tells her “be nice to the newbies or you’ll get dinged”. Darlene comes up and asks Ray if she can give more morphine to a patient. He asks if she thinks he needs it and she snarkily replies “No, I just want him to stop breathing”. Hee. Ray says “fine” and he and Neela keep walking. He tells her that she’s responsible for every little thing the interns do, but if you question the history they’ve taken, they get “testy”. He’s so psyching Neela up for her shift. Especially when they get to the admit desk and we see that she’s stuck working with Morris. A new intern who looks like the lead singer from Right Said Fred introduces himself as “Teddy Marsh” to Neela. Fred seems a little too excited that his first shift is an overnight. Morris tells Neela she’s in charge and her mission is to clear the board by morning. Poor Neela. Ray had Susan AND Pratt. Neela tells Ray “I’m so screwed”. Yeah, honey, you are. Ray looks at the board and says that antifreeze overdose has been there all night waiting to go up to the ICU. Wouldn’t you think that if someone has to go to the Intensive Care Unit, they would have paid a bit more attention to them? Pratt, Susan, and Red Shirt are waiting at the board and tell Neela to hurry up because the day shift wants to go home. Susan tells Neela she’s running rounds and hands her some charts. Neela smiles and walks up to the board.

Sam is showing Alex’s picture to a convenience store owner. Luka is outside gassing up the car and watching her. Sam looks so sad. She comes out to him and tells him it’s about nine hours to Denver and they should make it by morning. He tells her she should try to sleep and he’ll drive. She tries to insist that she’s fine, but he says he’s awake now, but probably won’t be in a few hours. Sam bitches that her cell phone battery is almost dead and she should have brought her charger. Yeah, you really should have. I know she’s upset and probably isn’t thinking too clearly, but if your mobile is the only way people have to contact you, wouldn’t you make sure it would keep working? She opens the passenger door and sits leaning out of the car. She sighs, and looks at Luka, who is leaning on the car with his arms crossed looking off in the direction of the store. She says “hey, Luka?” He looks at her and she says “thank you”. He nods at her. I don’t get Luka’s distance here. Though I am appreciating his hotness.

Neela is at the board droning on. By the looks on everyone’s faces, they’ve been at this for quite a while. She’s going on and on, and Fred asks Darlene what any of this has to do with a fractured rib and she replies “absolutely nothing”. Ray says to Susan, “I have a date”. Susan tells him to go, because they could be there all night. Pratt starts bitching that it’s been 20 minutes and they are only on their second patient. Neela looks at him incredulously and Susan pipes in that Neela should stay focused on the clinically relevant teaching points. Neela says she is. She says the interns need to know what all this means, but Morris points out that not right now they don’t because Chuny is coming in with a stabbing victim. Susan sends Neela and Fred to take it and has Pratt finish running the board. Fred is all excited for his first trauma. Doris the paramedic gives the bullet. Neela points them to trauma one. Cut to them cutting into the patient side. Great, I was wondering when we’d see blood this episode. Neela is talking Fred through putting in a chest tube, but he’s having trouble so she takes over. She can’t do it with the instrument either, and sticks her finger in to find “the tract”. She asks Fred if he entered the thoracic cavity. He says he thought he did. She asks if he felt lung tissue and he said it felt warm and soft. Neela’s says lung tissue “expands and contracts with ventilation”. Fred’s expression is like “oh, yeah, that’s right”, which is ridiculous because doesn’t everyone know that lungs expand? He apologizes and says he’ll do better next time. Morris walks in and asks how it’s going. Neela asks if he can start a central line, and Morris begs off saying he has a “cue ball vs. cheek to sew up”. Neela reminds him that a trauma patient takes priority. Morris starts reading off how good the sats are and what’s the big deal? His guy needs a “three layer closure on a complex facial lac”. Neela’s like “that could take two hours” and tells him to let Plastics do it because someone needs to keep an eye on the board. Morris says not to worry about it because he already told the nurses to send up labs and x-rays to him, and reminds Neela that she has it under control, which she so does not. Why did they make him main cast? He’s not an arrogant yet compelling asshole like Romano, he’s just an asshole.

Sam’s asleep and Luka’s driving. “Tracks of My Tears” is playing. These music choices are not subtle at all. Things start splatting on the windshield, and Luka turns on the wipers, which wakes Sam up. He tells her it’s bugs and it was getting hard to see. Damn, they must have been some huge bugs. I thought they were only that big in Florida. Luka says they passed Grand Island an hour ago, so they are still in Nebraska. Sam says they need to get to a phone and call Chicago. It’s 1:30 am. It’s weird that they gave us the captioning with the time in the opening scene, but haven’t done it since. Why bother in the first place? Bad direction. Sam talks about her dream. It’s about Alex when he was 2 or 3 and she lost him in a department store. Luka nods. He starts volunteering a story about losing his son on the beach – he’s smiling about it. He says Danijela didn’t want Luka to take him, but he insisted and was mad that she didn’t trust him. So they had a big fight and she let them go. Sam doesn’t know there are beaches in Croatia. I think she really needs some remedial geography. If my extremely hot boyfriend were from a foreign country, I would at least break out the atlas. Luka laughingly tells her there are miles of beaches. He continues with his story. The beach was really crowded that day, and they found a spot to put their stuff and went down to the water. They wanted to build a sand castle, so Luka went back to their stuff to get the shovel and bucket and when he came back, his son was gone. Luka looked everywhere, but couldn’t find him. Sam asks how long he was missing. Luka, still smiling, replies “two hours”. He sighs. She asks “where was he?” Luka tells her that he followed some boy with a dog, and the police found him wandering. He knew his name so they called the house and Danijela answered. When Luka got home, his son was in the bath with his sister having a great time. Luka went into the kitchen and cried by the sink, “with the water running”. Awww. Sam asks “what was his name?” She didn’t even know his son’s name? What? They’ve been together for a year. That’s really weird. She knew he lost his family. She never asked his kids’ names? I would think they would have talked about stuff like that. God, this relationship sucks. Luka replies “Marko”, and then tells Sam that Alex will be alright. That they’ll find him. Sam isn’t convinced.

10:30 – still no Abby. I’m starting to think Maura Tierney’s not in this episode. Weird.

Neela’s at Admit bitching that it’s 3:00 am and it should have slowed down by now. Frank walks by and says “You’ve got a dark cloud, Neela. Always have” and walks away. Shut up, Frank. Chuny unhelpfully says there are 12 more out in triage as they speak. Morris gives Neela an update on a neuro patient and then says he’s going to lie down for a few hours, cool? Neela’s jaw drops and she tells him that there are three intubated patients and a full board, which he thinks she is more than capable of managing. Neela stares him down. He’s like, what? And then he tells her “that’s what’s fun about being an R2, you get to be Queen of the Night Shift”. Neela doesn’t want to be queen, besides isn’t that Abby’s job? Neela just wants to get the board cleared. Frank wants a copy of Neela’s schedule, so that he can make sure he doesn’t work those nights. Again, shut up, Frank. Neela rightfully ignores him, she so can’t believe Morris is actually going to sleep and leaving her with this mess. Fred wants to present a patient to Morris, who blows him off and says only to wake him if it is really important. Fred can’t believe he is going to bed, and Neela monotonely responds “Yep, it’s you and me against the world”. She then tells Fred that Chuny had her correct one of his orders because he ordered milligrams instead of micrograms. That doesn’t sound good. At the rate he’s going, Fred won’t get Intern of the Year. He probably won’t even be around next week. He’s another Red Shirt. Fred’s upset because he realizes that could have been a really serious mistake. Neela sympathetic with him and assures him it was caught in time so there was no harm done. He thanks her for fixing it and she tells him it’s okay, you have to learn somehow. He then presents her with a 37 year old tattooed skinhead with a deltoid abcess. Oh, lovely. Pus. Please for the love of God, don’t show it. Tattoo is sitting in almost complete darkness. I know it’s supposed to be the middle of the night, but the lighting on this show really sucks. Fred updates Neela on the exam, which was normal, except for the huge festering wound on the upper arm. Fred introduces Neela to Tattoo and smilingly says she’s “his supervisor”. Neela listens to Tattoo’s heart as he starts talking about how satisfying it is when the doctors cut open his wounds and the pus comes pouring out. Yum. They’re making me hungry. Neela shushes him so she can hear. Fred starts getting the cutting instruments ready as Neela disgustedly takes her stethoscope off. She excuses herself to Tattoo, or Mr. Kingsley as Fred informs her, and says they’ll be back in a minute. She and Fred go out into the hall where she confronts him about whether he listened to the patient’s heart. Fred says yes. So Neela calls him on the fact that he didn’t pick up the heart murmur. Fred’s like he has a murmur? Neela jargons about just how much a murmur Tattoo has. Fred actually says “Wow. Big miss”. Then he says he’ll listen again. Fred is clearly an idiot. Neela’s like, excuse me, but you can’t miss a murmur in an IV drug user, because it could be endocarditis, which is an infection of a heart valve or the inner lining of the heart (thank you, Google). Fred tries to suck up to Neela by telling her how he heard she was smart, but didn’t realize what an awesome teacher she was. And then thanks her for saving his ass. Neela just looks at him as he walks away. Yeah, real good teaching there.

Luka is asleep in the car. What the hell are they listening to on the radio? Sam’s not even 30, I’m expecting some Coldplay or at the very least Dave Matthews, but this stuff sounds like my parents’ oldies station. Again with the subtlety, it’s Brenda Lee’s Emotions (you can find song and lyrics here Uh oh, Sam’s falling asleep at the wheel. That’s what happens when you play the equivalent of elevator music. She turns up the sound and sticks her head out the window in an attempt to wake up a bit. Doesn’t work, and she starts drifting off. Something then smashes the windshield. What did she hit? That went really fast. I just rewound that and slowed it down and it looks like she hit a deer. She pulls the car off to the side, as Luka starts to wake up. Gee, Luka, didn’t the sound of glass breaking and the front of the car crumbling make any impression? He’s like “what was that?” Sam looks terrified when she tells him she doesn’t know. I know how she feels. I hit a deer once and believe me, it ain’t pleasant. Luka blows out a breath and gets out of the car. Luka doesn’t seem too concerned that front of his SUV is smashed up and there is blood all over it. Yikes. Sam is appropriately upset and starts saying “Oh, God” and alternately putting her hand to her chest or running it through her hair. Luka grabs what looks like a flashlight from the glove compartment and tells Sam to “wait here” as he goes to see what she’s hit. Sam is shaking and then runs after him as we see Luka come up to what looks like a deer lying by the side of the road. Sam wants to know if it’s dead, but Luka doesn’t think so. They kneel next to the deer. Geez, people, even I know you don’t get that close to a wounded animal. A car stops and a guy with a baseball cap asks if they need help. He tells them it’s an antelope. Wow. He says it did a real number to the car and asks them if they are okay. Luka’s just kind of staring at him and then says “yeah”. Guy tells them he has a rifle in his truck and goes to get it. Sam stares at him and looks like she’s going to be sick. She starts running back to the car as Luka says her name. She tells him they have to keep going. She passes Guy with the rifle and gets back in the car. Luka tries to reason with her that the car is wrecked and the radiator is leaking. He tells her the windshield is shattered and she won’t be able to see. She ignores him and keeps trying to turn the car over, but it won’t. She starts yelling “Come on!” and pounding the steering wheel as Guy fires a shot into the antelope. Then he fires another. Sam stops and she and Luka look at each other. Are the rifle shots symbolizing the death of this relationship? One can only hope.

Neela and Fred are at Admit and he’s laughingly telling her how their syphilis patient has had over 50 partners in the last 90 days. That’s prolific. Fred says the patient wants to know if the partners could come there for treatment, which Neela says is fine as long as they wait until sunrise. Hee. Chuny yells for Neela that there’s a problem with one of her patients. Neela and Fred follow her to a patient that is having trouble breathing. Fred says the guy was fine and wasn’t wheezing. Neela says you can’t wheeze if you can’t move air. She gives Chuny an order for albuterol, which Chuny doesn’t think is a good idea because the guy is throwing PVC’s, which is news to Neela. She angrily asks Fred why he didn’t bother to mention a “toxic theophylline level”? Fred stutters that he didn’t know and admits he didn’t check because he didn’t think they would get the tests back before tomorrow. Neela glares at him as the patient says he was wheezing bad so he had taken some extra pills. Neela tells Chuny to have him moved to trauma and to hold off on the albuterol until they stabilize his arrhythmia, as Fred looks down. Neela excuses herself and pointedly looks at Fred before stepping out into the hall. He follows her trying the ass-kissing again about how great she was in there and how in control. Neela’s having none of it and tells him to listen. She tells him you don’t have to be that smart to be a good doctor. “You just have to be thorough, systematic and meticulous”. He’s says he’s trying and she retorts “not hard enough”. She reminds him how many things he’s screwed up this shift. Neela’s ripping Fred a new one, but doing it very politely. He tries to pass it off as his first shift. She realizes that but reminds him that he is responsible for real lives and that she can’t watch everything he does. He says he knows that and starts to thank her, grabbing her upper arms, which she shrugs off. She starts to tell him about his attitude, and then just says that it is “contrite and appreciative. It’s just weird”. Fred starts to cry and says he guesses he just doesn’t get it. Neela gets upset that he’s upset and wants to talk to him, but he walks away saying he’s going to get some coffee and asks if she needs anything. Neela calls after him that they’ll work on the next one completely together, but he waves her off. She calls after him that it might help him identify what some of his “deficiencies” are. Yelling about his deficiencies down a crowded hallway is really going to help with his esteem. I can’t believe she made him cry. Neela is the Barbara Walters of the ER. She says “bollocks” under her breath. Hee.

Sam is sitting on the curb outside a garage. Luka squats next to her but doesn’t fully get his butt down on the curb. He tells her a truck is towing the car in and asks if she called Chicago. She nods. He tells her the guy inside gets off at 7:00 am and will give them a ride to North Platte, so again, they are still in Nebraska. Luka says they can catch a bus to Denver or rent a car. Sam asks if North Platte is an hour east and Luka nods. She gets up and walks away, Luka calling after her. She goes out to the Interstate 80 sign and sticks out her thumb. Guess we know now where Alex learned it. Luka can’t believe she’s doing this, but she tells him that Alex has been off insulin for two days now and that he could be out there dying.

Well, hello Abby! 45 minutes in – wow. That must be a record. She asks Neela how it went as they walk toward the board. Neela just says “not well”. Abby starts to ask her about it when we hear Pratt complaining about the board and how it’s not yet 8:00 am and the day already sucks. Morris walks up to Pratt, Susan and some med student who looks like Flounder from Animal House. Neela says good morning to Pratt and Morris starts bitching at her that she should have called him and how he hates leaving the board a mess for the day shift. Abby gives him a “yeah right” look and looks down, while Neela smirks at him and says that most of the patients are waiting on beds. Susan says “this is ridiculous. Antifreeze overdose has been here since yesterday morning”. Waiting on ICU? This hospital really does suck. Neela pointedly says “Case in point”, to which Morris blusters “what have you been doing all night?” Neela gets in his face and says “taking a bubble bath and eating bon bons”. Hee. Morris glares at her and walks away as Neela tells Abby what to expect. Pratt snaps his fingers at Abby to get a move on. Abby walks up to the board and takes charge. She turns to the new intern, who introduces herself as Lana Clemons. Abby introduces her to Flounder, who is Dr. Sackowitz, and explains that Pratt is the senior and Lewis is the Attending. Susan asks Neela where her intern is and Neela says she sent him home early. Abby starts running the board with Curtain One, 22 year old with myelomenigocoele. She asks the interns what that is and Lana says “spina bifida” to which Abby responds “Excellent!” and exposits how it is the most common congenital neurologic deficit compatible with life. Thank God Abby is there to tell them that because I am sure they didn’t learn that in med school. Abby asks them how it happens. Flounder responds that the neural tube doesn’t close in utero. Abby smugly says “uh huh” and how it is most likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors and then flippantly departs the wisdom “ladies remember to take your folate”. That Abby. She’s so knowledgeable and witty. Susan looks amused. Abby moves on to why the patient is there and says to rule out shunt obstruction, which is a common ER complaint and asks their approach. Lana says “shunt series” and Abby replies “before that”. Flounder says “tap the reservoir”. Abby condescendingly is like “Guys. Before you do anything? Take a history.” Flounder and Lana both do the Homer Simpson “d’oh” face, while Abby spouts off symptoms of shunt obstruction. Lewis grins at Pratt who just raises his eyebrows and cocks his head. Of course Abby comes in and turns the board around in 2 minutes. Abby is Super Doc. What a surprise. But I basically like Abby so I won’t bust on her too much for this. I’m sure considering how much screentime she normally gets there will be plenty of opportunities to dump on her throughout the rest of the season.

Luka and Sam are riding in the back of what looks like Sanford and Son’s truck. Sam says she’s like “a bad trailer park version of herself”. I thought she already was the trailer park version, but whatever. She glances at Luka, but he doesn’t seem to be paying attention. She asks him what he’s doing there. He looks at her and tells her he cares about Alex. She nods, but tells him he can’t replace Steve. Ewww. Why would he want to? Luka says he knows, but he’s just not ready for this to be all there is in his life. Sam looks at him and tells him she can’t bring his kids back. She has her own child and if it is a choice between Luka and Alex, she will always choose Alex. Luka tells her that he’s not asking her to choose, and she says “of course you are”. Did I miss something? I don’t remember Luka asking any such thing of her. He just looks at her and says “I don’t want what happened to my family to be the end of my story”. Well put. He tells her he was a good father and can be again. Sam asks “What if it’s not what I want?” Well, here it is – the basic incompatibility issue. Luka wants kids – Sam doesn’t. He asks why she doesn’t want to have children with him. She rightfully tells him that it’s not about him, she just doesn’t want any more kids. She says she’s done and wants her life back. They both look away as we fade to commercial. They obviously still care for each other, but this is a pretty definitive difference. I see both points. Sam was a teen mom, and missed out on a lot. She’s still young and she should be allowed to live her life. I know someone who was a teen single mom and at 33 her kid is in college and she’s out having the time of her life while the rest of us are just starting to have kids. Wouldn’t trade situations with her because she had it really rough, but having her kind of freedom at this age is looking pretty good when I’m still changing diapers.

We are riding along with some police officers. In the back. Behind the cage. Are we under arrest? I guess it can be considered a crime to still be watching this show. There’s the captioning again to tell us that it is 11:00 am Wednesday. The cops are talking about football. Thrilling. Oh, looks like a mountain town so I’m guessing we’re in Colorado. The cops go to pull over some guy who stops in the middle of the road with his blinkers on, when the passenger side cop grabs a clipboard with what looks like a missing kid flyer and says “hang on”. He gets out of the car and goes over to a kid sitting on a bench with his head in his hands. The cop asks him “Alex Taggert”? How did he know it was Newlex? The kid on the bench has a hooded sweatshirt on with the hood up and his head is in his hands so there is no way this cop saw his face. The cop keeps asking Newlex if he is Alex Taggert, but Newlex doesn’t respond. He finally looks up.

Cut to Sam running down the hall of a hospital. She gasps when she sees Newlex sitting on a gurney and runs over to hug him. Newlex totally doesn’t respond as Sam just rocks him. Luka walks up as Sam introduces herself to Dr. Collins, the doctor with Newlex. She asks how he is. The doc says Newlex was lethargic when he got there and his glucose level was 375, which alarms Sam, but the doctor says that it wasn’t “too critical”. Sam keeps stroking Newlex’ face and kissing him as the doc explains that they gave him glucose and saline and he’s doing much better. Luka stands in the background with his hands on his hips Sam tearily asks the doctor if he could give them a minute as she continues to hug Newlex. The doctor walks away, and Luka turns away also. Sam softly says “damn it, Alex”. He assures her that he’s okay and that he drank lots of water. She tells him he was lucky and he responds that he knows how to monitor his sugar. Sam’s starting to lose it as she tells him that he is a diabetic 12 year old and asks “what the hell were you thinking?” Newlex looks away and sadly says how he checked all over but he couldn’t find Steve. And he starts to cry. Sam embraces him.

I like Sam a lot in this episode. Maybe because I would have reacted much the same if it had been one of my kids.

Abby’s erasing something from the board and asks Pratt how they’re doing. He tells her they’re knee deep in triage and she whines that she’s going as fast as she can. And Pratt says “yeah, but that’s more than I can say for your interns”. Abby slaps her hands and says “say no more” and walks over to Flounder, who is suturing an unconscious teenage girl with a scalp lac. He starts to give Abby the details, but she’s paying no attention because she’s turned away to grab what looks like a nail gun. She leans over and nonchalantly starts stapling the girls head. Yuck. Flounder’s like “uh, Abby?” and she replies that cosmetic repair is not an issue with the scalp. Flounder tells her he’s never used a skin stapler and she says he’ll do it next time, “just point and shoot” as she dabs some gauze at the head wound. Lana interrupts that there’s a guy with abdominal pain in distress and spouts off the labs she’s ordered as they walk over to a heavyset guy on a gurney. Abby asks him how he’s feeling. He’s says he can’t get comfortable. Abby starts to roll him and pounding on his lower back asks if it’s worse when she does this, which he shrieks in reply. She lets him roll back and tells him he has a kidney stone. Lana asks how she knows that and Abby snottily replies, “I just do”. Okay, remember what I said about liking Abby? I take it back. She’s only been onscreen for like five minutes and she’s being insufferable. She cancels all the other lab orders and gives new ones to Nurse Dorie. She tells George he’ll feel fine in about 10 minutes. Lana asks if she should wait for the pain meds to take effect, and Abby tells her no, she should go get another chart. She walks over to the board, exchanging a look with Pratt. As she passes, he sort of shakes his head. My thoughts exactly, G.

Sam and Newlex are outside the prison. She asks him if he’s sure and tells him he doesn’t have to. Newlex’ lip is quivering. She apologizes to him and says “I wish this wasn’t your life”. Newlex looks at her and tells her it’s okay, he wants to go. Luka is standing by the car watching them. Poor Luka. Definitely on the outside looking in.

Abby is kneading some woman’s neck and repeatedly asking “here?” She finally hits a spot that makes the woman yell. Abby asks for lidocaine and starts to draw a needle. Lana asks “Lidocaine?”, but Abby ignores her. Abby tells the woman as she’s injecting her that she has a knot in her muscle and this shot will help. Woman yells again, and Abby says she’ll be right back. Abby’s not teaching – she’s doing. She walks over to Flounder who has a young girl with abdominal pain. He gives Abby the history and Abby asks the girl to stand up. Pratt is watching. The girl’s mom asks Abby if she thinks it’s appendicitis and Abby condescendingly says “I’ll tell you in a minute”. Abby wants the little girl to hop and shows her how. Nice hopping. Abby asks her to do it again. She and the girl smile at each other and Abby says “excellent”, then tells Flounder it’s not an appy. Walking away she tells Flounder “clear liquids, recheck in the A.M.”, then asks Yelling Woman how her headache is, which of course is gone. Abby keeps walking and tells Pratt as she passes by that she’s “about to clear the rack”. Pratt smugly says “oh, yeah?” At the board Abby sips her Evian and snottily says that she saw all the patients herself so they wouldn’t get behind. Pratt says “bet you’re feeling pretty good about that” and Abby nods, and says “I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out”. Pratt responds “You haven’t”. Abby’s surprised and turns around and says “what?” Pratt gives her a rundown of all the things she should have been showing her interns and how she was ignoring them. She replies “yeah, they were moving like slugs” and tells Pratt that he told her to “step it up”. I don’t think calling your subordinates “slugs” is going to help endear you to anyone, Abby. Pratt reminds her that she’s a resident now and her job isn’t just to “move the meat”. I could insert a really rude comment here about both Luka and Carter, but it’s late and I’ve already spent way too much time on this recap, so I’ll just let it slide. Nurse Dorie comes over to tell them that the woman in Exam 3’s fever spiked, so Abby says she should go. As she flounces away Susan strolls by and says “Nice job on the board Abby” which makes the ducklips she was sporting after getting the smackdown from Pratt even more pronounced and she rolls her eyes and keeps walking.

Pratt asks Susan “what’s the matter with her?” Susan dismisses it that she’s a new R2 and she’ll catch on. God, I hope so because she’s really intolerable right now. Pratt laments that it will be a long year, and complains to Susan that Abby’s not supervising or teaching and that she’s doing everything herself. Susan says it reminds her of someone she used to know, and walks away as Pratt grimaces. Love how Susan calls him on doing the same thing when he was a second year. Continuity. Never thought I’d see it.

Luka is sitting outside the Visitors Entrance to the prison. Sam comes out and sits next to him. Luka asks “How is he?” and Sam replies “full of crap, like always”. Luka meant Newlex. Sam says he wants to spend some time with his dad. Sam left them alone since there was only 10 more minutes for visiting hours and she figures Steve can’t screw him up to bad in that short of time. I wouldn’t count on that, Sam. Then she says “God knows he’ll try”. If she really feels that way, why would she leave Newlex alone with him? Sometimes she is infuriating. Luka tries to assure her that Newlex will figure it out. Sam shakes her head and goes on about what a bastard Steve is and how he doesn’t care about them but Newlex loves him anyway. She looks at Luka and sincerely says “thank you”. He asks for what and she says for coming. He ducks his head, then looks up at her and asks “Now what?” She looks away and tells him “Luka, you cannot possibly want this for your life. This mess”. Luka thinks he should get to decide that for himself, but Sam says “no”, because it’s not just her she has to worry about. She starts to go back in to check on Alex as Brenda Lee starts playing again in the background. Are they piping it in through the prison’s outdoor speakers? Luka thinks Steve’s in prison so she shouldn’t have to run anymore. I didn’t used to like the way Sam reacted to things, but she’s really right on the money here when she replies as she walks away, “I’m not running … I just don’t want what you want”. Self-awareness. Nice. Paying attention, Abby? I think this relationship is over, but I liked the way they played it out here. No animosity, just realization of different wants. Very realistic. Hopefully they’ll still be able to work together, but I doubt it.


At 2:40 PM, October 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very funny! Look forward to next week.

At 11:09 AM, October 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your recaps, the are a nice blend of the serious and the humorous. I have started looking forward to your recaps, I usually check your blog several times over the weekend looking for the latest recap.

At 8:15 PM, May 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved it! Very cool your blog =)


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