"Hit and Run"
Original airdate: 5/30/94 (10/6/94 Eastern Standard Time)
Happy Memorial Day. Today, Chicago pauses to remember the episodes have come to pass, “Previously on E.R.” Should you choose to ignore them, that marvelous wench History will be bound to repeat herself. In a mocking tone. Like did History stutter?
Who did the voiceover on this week’s “Previously On,” by the way? No doctor I recognize. They must be letting CNAs intro the show or something. Healthcare reform indeed.
Let us pay Memorial Day tribute by beginning in the on-call room. We always begin here, remember? We all of us, serving god and country, waking up Carter? Carter, wake up! First day of the rest of your life. Time to do rounds or go home, suture fast die young, time to use some forceps like you’re serious.
Time to acknowledge that I’ve been spelling Mark Greene’s name without the final ‘e’ up until now. Alright? I fixed it. Remember that tomorrow when you wake up and face the world again.
Even with an extra vowel to bear, Dr. Greene is light as air today because Jen is out of town! He can cheat with abandon as Dr. Ross-Clooney charitably points out, aiming his permaboner at Susan Lewis. Excellent suggestion, R-C. Greene’s into her, she’s into him, soul-shaking orgasms all around! But godfuckit, How unbearable will it be when Jen gets back from Detroit? Stifling their romance. Still “on island time,” not shutting up at all about anything.
Doug-George and Carol treat a patient together, in ceremonial remembrance of when they share every patient. This one is a kid named Ozzie, and we pause again to remember when Chicago ran out of names six years ago today. Ozzie’s mom has a case of bipolar disorder that could be diagnosed from space. She puts on a show of pacing around the room and yelling at Princess Di, just in case any astronauts or at-home viewers happen to be dim. The docs call down for a psych consult, and Ozzie looks at Dr. Ross-Clooney with pleading eyes.
“Will I still be allowed to live with my mom?,” he asks from some distant place beneath his bowl cut.
Dr. Ross-Clooney can’t lie to this poor kid, already so wise beyond his years. He just can’t and then he does, promising Ozzie that he and his mom will stay together. Carol and Ozzie both sense that he’s being dishonest and hunky.
All of this is of negligible consequence compared to this new patient named Vilma, who has her own minipaddles living inside of her! The Paddles, but tiny! Slow down! I hardly can!
What I’m saying is that Vilma appears to be having a heart attack. She’s one Russian, large enough to be several, and she has an eensy-weensy defribulator implanted right into her heart. While most Chicago hospitals do not allow you to BYOD, County is pretty liberal about this, especially on holidays.
For seven eternities, no one addresses whether or not we’re going to use Vilma’s Paddles Within, or how we’d even go about doing so. Borrowers-sized physicians? Jumper cables? Goal-oriented journaling? Nothing is clear, except that what looks like a heart attack is surely not one. The docs keep scrambling for a diagnosis until…
Vilma opens her mouth and lets out the sound of Pangaea re-aligning. It is a burp. It’s tremendous. It replaces the air supply of the entire hospital, and everyone learns what the inside of Vilma smells like. Once the rubble settles over this massive geological event, Vilma has been cured entirely and Chicago has become an isthmus.
Down in the County General basement, Dr. Benton was left in a Petri dish overnight and underwent meiosis. He is now two joylessly ambitious black surgeons. We’ll call one of him Dr. Sarah Langworthy. Dr. Benton and Dr. Langworthy is in fierce competition with himself over something called the Starzl Fellowship. May the best him win.
Dr. Cvedic has completed his evaluation of Ozzie’s mom, and R. Clooney asks whether or not she’s Bipolar. It’s the question on everyone’s mind, and Cvedic is proud to announce, “Oh floridly, yes!”
Here, we stiffen. We watch and wait. Bitch, this Chicago. Original gangland. Tryna drop vocab like it be a single, shit. If there’s a deed that will never go unpunished by street justice, by god Cvedic it’s vocab.
Cue music and the Running of the Trauma Nurses as a hit-and-run victim is rushed in. Benton and Langworthy race to be first to treat him with lifesaving one-upmanship. During the entire course of the trauma, it’s neck-and-neck! Hard to say which doctor is keeping him alive more deliberately. Dr. Langworthy eventually gives up on administering some extremely on-purpose CPR, and the boy is pronounced dead. Carter, who had held exactly one tube during the entire ordeal, is positively crestfallen.
It turned out to be a total stalemate between Benton and his spinoff, but so get this: Langworthy, you know the chick one? She makes this sick power play where she makes Carter figure out the kid’s identity and notify his grieving relatives! It’s baller because Benton, you know the bummer one? He gets pissed because Carter is actually his intern. Fuckin’ A. I love sports, bro, and any simulacra thereof.
Dr. Lewis has been given a Jew. Not as gift so much as a patient, and he is fat. She walks into his room and only to find him taking a business call on his hulking early model RAZR. Consummate fridge salesman that he his, he makes no move to hang up the phone. Lewis walks out as quickly as she came in, fully intending to return him for store credit.
Now hold on… this re-gifted Jew came in just moments after Vilma “The ‘Quake” Zevallo. Two fat patients? Two mind-boggling instances of wireless technology? On all fronts, threats to County’s core values: svelte-ness and pagers. Something is definitely going on and the government is definitely behind it! Or aliens.
Ozzie goes missing. Carter walks by a power-scooter scootering on its own accord. VING RHAMES SURFACES. VILMA’S MINIPADDLES GO HAYWIRE. Chaos around every corner; frightened doctors clutching at their pagers and prominent collarbones. The earthbound emergency staff tilt their faces skyward, lit greenly, hair windblown. The aliens are surely getting closer. Or the government!
Or maybe all of this is the cosmic consequence of Dr. Cvedic’s earlier vocab-drop. Chicago’s planetary axis leaning just slightly this way under the weight of its thesaurus. We revisit him in his follow-up examination of Ozzie’s Mom, where fate patiently awaits him.
“This is redress for your patois!” screams the bi-pole, clamping down on his forearm with her teeth.
Blood drawn and justice realized, bizarro-Chicago resets itself. Vilma cools it with the defribulation as soon as Harry “The Fridgadier” Stopak turns off his anvil-sized phone. Carol finds Ozzie. Carter picks up where the Memorial Day observance left off.
In a moving paean to his fretful incompetence, he misidentifies the car crash victim from earlier and convinces the wrong set of parents that their son is dead. Fretfully.
Greene and Lewis, lovers always of camp and spectacle, decide to keep history alive by mounting a full-on reenactment of episodes past in which they don’t fuck. Theatrically, they don’t fuck. After the performance Lewis reveals to Greene that she’s involved with Div Cvedic, whose first and last name is that.
Benton doesn’t get the Starzl fellowship, pouts, and absorbs Langworthy back into his amniotic sac. Morgenstern invites him to assist on a Whipple, which is called that. Benton does, and the procedure ends in Ving Rhames angry. No further explanation is required for the ultimate anger of Ving Rhames.
All in all, it’s been a successful Memorial Day. We remembered how things Once Were and have thoroughly ensured that it’s also exactly how things Now Are. The doctors, nurses and patients of County have stood united in patriotism to foil progress, learn nothing, and change little.
It’s not easy either. Carol comes frighteningly close to seeing Doug-George Ross-Clooney for what he is: America’s Last Great Asshole. But instead, R-C finally admits his fib to young Ozzie, explains the end of his childhood with the phrase “Presbyterian Home,” and gives that boy a big handsome hug. He looks up at Carol over Ozzie’s shoulder, and all is forgiven by decree of her yearnin’ loins.
Even Carter teeters on the brink of self-worth when he safely delivers a baby in the back of a taxicab. He immediately nullifies his newfound dignity, however, by appearing to perform sloppy cunnilingus during the delivery.
In a gesture that he hopes will lead to something similar, Ross-Clooney dons a suit and brings a bouquet to Carol’s apartment. Then! Her fiancé answers the door despite the overwhelming fifty percent chance that he wouldn’t. R. Clooney backs off, apologetic, and an incensed Carol chases him up to the El station. She confronts him there with actual anger, in spite of the handsome! She looks right into his face and rather than render it in marble, yells at it. In no uncertain terms, she tells him that showing up drunk and horny at her door was an unsavory choice. She tells him she won’t let herself get hurt again. I never thought I’d say this, none of us did, but Doug-George Ross-Clooney has been snubbed this night.
The flowers he bought lay strewn across the pavement. They reek of decisions made and progress realized. The unholy stench makes us yearn for the burps and farts of yore.