ER
Beyond Repair

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Heathen: B | Grade It Now!
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Beyond Repair

Given that Sandy has just exposited that it's 7:30 AM, it seems weird that John "Too Low for Zero" Carter is now wheeling Gamma inside her house. Apparently she's an early riser and she lives on the edge by tempting frostbite at every turn. Carter informs her that he's hired a nurse to take care of her; Gamma, put off, insists that her half-dozen servants could amply do the job. "If it gets any colder, I'm wintering in The Bahamas...alone," Gamma says pointedly. Suddenly, the thermometer plummets below minus-40. The world's coldest wind blows down the stairs, and her name is Eleanor "Mary McDonnell" Carter. Gamma reads my recap. "Is it just me, or is it freezing in here?" she mutters, underscoring my point. Apparently, Eleanor didn't notify anyone of her plan to visit, and claims she's there to help out with Gamma's recovery. "How are you feeling, Millicent?" she asks, coldly. "I've been better," Gamma says, eyeing her suspiciously. The Ice Queen exposits that her husband, Stephen Keaton -- or "Jack Carter," if you prefer -- is stuck in Kansas City on an extended business trip. Carter blinks hard. "We missed the pleasure of your company at Christmas," Gamma lies. "You know how the holidays can be," Eleanor frosts, her smile never quite reaching her empty eyes. Carter is also shocked to learn that Eleanor, who has always preferred staying in hotels, will deign to sleep at the manor. "It is freezing in here," Gamma crabs quietly.

A pretty, low-key redhead stands on the ground floor of Abby's building, her grouchy husband sitting on the steps. He's played by Matthew Settle, a.k.a. smoldering Lt. Speirs on Band of Brothers. He's got shaggier hair and sports a knit cap, but there's definitely some smoking embers in there, hinting at the hottie within. He condescendingly grills his wife about all the things she probably did to mess up the car, but she swears she checked everything. "Did you leave the lights on again?" he accuses her. "No, I didn't," she answers patiently. "You probably did," he sighs. Abby appears, clearly uncomfortable at having to pass the couple whose domestic unrest she knows quite intimately. Matthew asks her for jumper cables, but Abby takes the El and isn't equipped with them. He angrily snatches the keys from his wife and lopes outside. Brushing aside his rudeness, the woman eagerly introduces herself to Abby as Joyce, saying that she and her husband just moved to Chicago from Virginia; she excuses him by claiming he's "not a morning person." And from what we've heard before, he's not a night person, either. I guess the afternoon is when he really comes into his own. Joyce is white as snow, and Matthew's aura is a lot darker, so that helps us unravel the tricky good vs. evil equation in this relationship. Joyce notes that they're in 205, which is apparently right next to Abby, although when we heard them fighting before, we saw that they live upstairs. "I guess we're neighbors," Joyce says happily. "Just a wall between us," Abby says wryly, trying to leave. Joyce offers her a ride to work. "It's really cold out there," she warns. Abby declines politely. Just then, Matthew enters and barks that, of course, Joyce flooded the engine. She shoots Abby an "Oops, color me embarrassed!" look. "Welcome to Chicago," Abby says, fleeing outside. Once there, when the full weight of the chill wallops her in the chest, she curses, "SON of a BITCH!" and takes off toward the El station.

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