Carter trots downstairs and catches The Big Chill donning her coat and wrap. He assumes she's leaving, but it turns out she's filling Gamma's place at a Pediatric Cancer Society function. "She wasn't planning on going," Carter says. "She just does that for effect." Well, then Gamma is a bitch. Seriously, why else would she promise to attend stuff and then bail? For sport? Eleanor flatly states that the society actually seemed to expect Gamma's presence, so she's happy to substitute. She makes a remark about seeing Carter that night, and he's astounded that his mother will be staying. "Unless I'm not welcome," she prods coldly. Carter, aware that his parents are divorcing, wonders if she's just covering for his father, who by the last report was in Denver, not Kansas City. Suddenly, he realizes that his mother thought Stephen would still be there; she claims they left things "open-ended" and seems a tad unnerved that Carter knows about the divorce. "It's good to see you," she says casually, pecking him almost imperceptibly and leaving a perfect icicle on Carter's cheek. She leaves him speechless.
Outside County General, Dr. Susan "Hair That's Too Cold to Grow Out" Lewis shivers in her lab coat and waits for a patient that sanitation workers found in a dumpster. She spies Abby approaching and hands the man off to her, because Abby has the luxury of a coat. Abby doesn't wholly appreciate this, given that she hasn't clocked in yet, but it's too early to pick a fight, and the nearest can of whoop-ass is frozen to a bench.
"Oh, MAN!" Susan chatters in the lobby. Frank trots over merrily, extolling the joy of an empty waiting room and low patient traffic. "Nothing like Arctic temperatures to keep the freaks at home," he crows. Onto the table, he dumps a box of Burberry-glazed Krispy Kreme donuts that play Cake songs and drive Jeeps painted to look like Tylenol. Susan complains that the hospital thermostat is broken, and Michael "Smell Ya Later, Benton" Gallant shows up to point out that maintenance workers are working on the problem. Frank, though, doesn't like the freezing weather. "This is what we get for punching holes in the Ozone Layer," Frank grumbles. No, this is what you get for living in Chicago. Susan points out that the Greenhouse Effect is supposed to make things warmer. That's what passes for a joke on this show. Abby wheels in Icicle Andy, apparently a recurring wintertime patient, and Gallant ships him off to an exam room while Susan makes Abby remove her plain winter overcoat and don one in fashionable plaid instead.