Previously on ER: in season seven, Abby confessed to Carter that she's an alcoholic who's been sober for five years, making her almost six years on the wagon until she took a drink with Joyce. Brian, Joyce's husband, beat up Abby, and she stayed with Luka until Brian returned to Idaho. Newcomer intern Pratt rubbed people the wrong way, yet somehow resented being treated like the know-it-all punk he is. Finally, from The Flashback Vault, Susan cuddled her niece Suzy while warning her reformed-junkie sister, Chloe, that she might not have the stuff to be a good mother.
Abby "Home Perm" Lockhart gingerly opens the door to her apartment and enters, lugging inside her belongings, her mop of fluffy, curly hair, and a copy of Poofs, I Did It Again: Curlers for Dummies. Dr. Luka "Insert Drooling Noise Here" Kovac follows with a suitcase, then exits to bring up more of her stuff, leaving Abby alone in her place. She wanders into the bathroom and flicks on the light; her gaze falls upon the blood-stained cloth she held to her wounds when Brian hit her. It's pretty gross that her cloth is still there, because we know she lived in the apartment for a little while after The Beating, meaning it sat there getting crusty on the edge of her sink while she showered and primped every day. Maybe dried blood doubles as a great exfoliating scrub. Abby stares at herself in the mirror, as if remembering what she saw on the night her left eye got a shocking makeover.
As Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen fiddles around with paperwork at the front desk, new County General intern Dr. Greg "Won't Get A Nickname Until He Becomes More Than A One-Dimensional Caricature" Pratt prepares to exhibit terrible taste in women. "You like macaroni and cheese?" he asks, not looking up but clearly talking to Chen. "No," she replies, also not looking up. Pratt laments that it's a shame, because mac and cheese is all he has for dinner. "Too bad," Chen says lightly, heading off to check on some patients. Pratt trails her. "Well, it's not so bad if you kick in a few bucks for a nice bottle of wine," he oozes. Chen ignores him and moves on to a second patient. Pratt persists. "Are you asking me out?" she marvels. "I'll pass." Pratt, being a prick and an idiot, doesn't get it. "I don't like mac and cheese," Chen shares. "Well, then you cook something," Pratt smiles. "I don't think so," Chen says. "I'm not making you dinner." Go Chen! Keep up the rejection. But Pratt keeps trying, having apparently never met a woman he couldn't beat over the head with his unique brand of arrogance and non-charm. "I just figured you'd want to eat first," Pratt shrugs. Chen, having reached another patient's bedside, glares playfully at Pratt. Oh, dear. The armor is cracking. Gross. "Before things get hot and heavy," continues Pratt, leaning over an old man to leer at Chen. "I can do that all by myself," Chen retorts. Pratt fondles his stethoscope, delirious and horny. Although I guess the luster of "doctor/patient" sex fantasies sort of wears off once you're actually a doctor. Do you suppose people in the medical field play sex games like "Middle-class suburban couple" or "construction beefcake/mini-skirted ad exec"? Whatever the costume drama, Pratt is staging it in his head right now. Pablo, the old male patient, widens his eyes and drools, "Did someone say 'sex'?" I'm sure County General patients never tire of hearing too much information about their physicians' personal lives. Chen asks Pablo if he likes macaroni and cheese. "I love it," Pablo says, hoping this is still part of the sex discussion. Chen smirks and tells Pratt, "You've got yourself a date." Pratt's all, "Someday, I'm going to melt that ice queen with the healing glow of my crotch."
Abby pulls spoiled food from her fridge and winces. Luka -- oh, my. Luka has a power tool, and he's clearly not afraid to use it. Never before have I wanted to be an electric drill. Well, not this badly, anyway. He is installing a new deadbolt on Abby's door while she sips a beer and cleans out the refrigerator. A knock at the door interrupts Luka's drill power. Bastard knock! Damn you! Luka shoots an inquisitive glance at Abby, wondering if she's expecting someone; Abby shrugs that she isn't, and appears to give the nod for Luka to open the door. Nowhere here does anyone suggest using the peephole. So naturally, when Luka cracks open the door, he comes face to face with a bouquet-wielding Dr. John "D'oh!" Carter, who'd stopped by to check up on his lady crush.