So, I've been thinking about how these four episodes were supposed to remind us all why critics are calling ER "revitalized." The past three, though, have sort of only put the "shite" in "revitalized," so this must be The One. This must be the episode that will redefine all other episodes. I'm ready.
Carter swings open his locker to put something away, and stumbles upon a little blue box. He stares at it. "That's funny," he thinks. "I always thought the instrument of my doom would come in something blacker." Behind him, Susan schlumps into the lounge and groans that tonight's graveyard shift is crawling slower even than the drunkest zombie. Her hair's down. It's shiny. It looks nice, actually. Vital. Revitalized? Maybe. But I feel like ER doctors should either have it up, or wear a hairnet, or something, because what if they're like me, and their hair sheds profusely at the worst times? Isn't she scared she'll dump a few hundred strands inside some cut-up accident victim? Susan notices that Carter's acting spacey. Carter turns, holds out the ring box, and opens it. Susan blinks. "I love you, too, Carter, but it's over," she cracks. He laughs and admits that he's going to propose to Abby that night. "Actually, I already did, but...badly," he sighs. Susan gasps, "She said no?" Carter amends that Abby simply didn't say anything, so he needs to do it right this time. Susan cradles the box and stares at the ring, which is a rectangular-looking stone but with rounded edges, and little diamonds inset into what looks like a platinum band. Carter explains that it belonged to his great-grandmother; her husband gave it to her the day he left for the army. "You know, I don't think she'll mind that it's second-hand," Susan teases. Heh. Although personally, I could totally see her hating it and acting all put-upon about having to wear it anyway, but maybe she's a better person than we think she is... Yeah, I know, I was laughing too.
Chen enters and offers to buy Carter and Susan some grub at Doc Magoo's. They smilingly decline, so Chen exits; outside, she runs into a sedate Luka outside the hospital. He's reading in the early-morning darkness. She tries to make pleasant small talk about a patient, but Luka kills the mood: "He died." Chen's like, "Uh, oh, hmm," and coughs up a toenail. He goes back to reading. She bends down a little to try to catch his eye. "Way to start the day, huh?" she says. Luka grunts. She offers to buy him breakfast, an offer he both accepts and seems to appreciate. As he stands, we see an SUV pulling away from Doc Magoo's, doing a U-turn, and speeding away. "What are you reading?" she asks. "Workplace Sensitivity Manual," he groans. "Weaver wants me to learn it." Why? Is this an old thing, or is this because he walked out the other week? Whatever. It's really just an excuse for Luka to mispronounce "putz" as "pootz," and recite words like "schmuck" and "peckerwood," and marvel at crazy American slang, because Croatians don't comprehend saucy language. Except, when was this manual written? The 1950s? I haven't called anyone a peckerwood...well, ever. But that will end today.