We get a nice sampling of old ER moments before the new episode starts. We're reminded that Abby is an alcoholic who's been sober for five years, and that she was around when schizophrenic Paul Sobriki terrorized the hospital, stabbed Carter, and killed Lucy. Finally, Abby confessed to her mom, Sally Field, that she'd had an abortion and never told her then-husband, Richard.
It's minus-29 degrees in Chicago -- so, just another spring morning. Abby "The Twelve Steps of Post-Christmas Letdown" Lockhart is lying in what looks like the coziest, warmest bed ever. My bed-envy radar is bleeping like an episode of The Jerry Springer Show. Through the wall, she can hear the couple upstairs -- at least, I think they're upstairs -- bickering loudly. The husband seems to think his wife is a bitch of some sort, so she throws in his face that she's paying for his education right now and that he treats her more like a slave than as an equal partner. He would prefer it if she'd kindly wait five minutes each morning before unleashing her inner hellcat, and she requests that he seal his baconhole for two seconds. You've heard this love story before. The prattle doesn't matter; what does is that Abby looks tired and a mite haggard rolling out of bed, as though she's used to waking up to this particular verse of "Shut Up, You Fucking Bitch (This Fork Ain't Just for Eatin')" and isn't overjoyed to know all the words. "Both of you shut up," she mumbles. The phone rings, and she ignores it until Sally Field's shrill voice fills the air. "Hello, Abby? Are you there?" she asks. "Abby? I thought I'd catch you before your shift." She's calling to wish Abby a happy birthday. Smiling as much as she ever does, Abby picks up the phone to thank her mother for remembering. She seems genuinely pleased.
Across town, or so I presume because it's an easy transition, Sandy Lopez puts the kettle on and rushes back to bed. Evidently it's cold, a problem that could be solved by eschewing her tank top and boxers and investing in some righteous flannel pajamas. Sandy snuggles up against a lump. The lump jumps. It's Kerry "Cold as Ice" Weaver, shocked by her lover's chilly feet. They spoon, Sandy cupping Kerry and giggling that Kerry snores really loudly. Laughing, Kerry protests innocence, and the mock argument devolves into a flirtatious pillow fight and tickle session. They retreat under the covers.