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Chaos Theory

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Chaos Theory

Now we’re in Hamburg, Germany, where a lot of biohazardous materials are apparently stored. A scientist Germans something about the sample he’s examining. “Wilkommen sauerkraut,” he says. “Bitte bratwurst volkswagen,” replies his colleague. “Ich bin ein wienerschnitzel!” they agree. And so, as the dialogue is very clearly set up for us, off we go to Atlanta. A woman at Infectious Disease Control looks at a bunch of brightly colored bars labeled “CONGO” on her computer screen, gasps at the daring and glory displayed by designers of the new fall line of monkeypox graphs, and prints out the page. She runs it to two stressed men discussing vaccination and evacuation plans. “Look at this,” the woman says. They ignore her. “LOOK AT THIS,” she finally screams. “We picked this up from a missionary hospital thirty miles east of Mbandaka.” It’s a pox virus infecting apes and children; the Bongos of Thank God Science’s Timing Is So Convenient bang us straight to an image of the Chicago virus’s structure overlapping with that of the new Congo strain. They’re virtually identical. “Jody,” intones a stressed man. “Get. Me. Chicago.”

In Chicago, Abby “I Choose to Booze” Lockhart and John “You Booze, You Lose” Carter are shut into a room that peeks into the front desk area. Both of their tongues are in the proper places. She idly opens and closes the blinds, watching her colleagues confer. Carter is trying to make shadow puppets behind a screen, and what he’s got looks like a jellyfish. Or, you know, an upside-down hand. “There,” he says in triumph. “That’s a wolf.” Abby turns lethargically to look at his jellyfish. “A wolf with leprosy, maybe,” she cracks. Carter emerges from behind the screen. “I don’t think you’re appreciating the degree of difficulty, even without this rash,” he says blithely. This grabs her attention. He smirks that he was teasing about the rash. Oh, Carter. You and your poxy sense of humor. “This doesn’t look good,” Abby says, gesturing toward the front desk area but uttering the metastatement of the century. At reception, Dr. Luka “Old Man Pants” Kovac sighs morosely, his thick black belt chafing his armpits painfully. Dr. Susan “David Caruso got CSI: Miami And All I Got Was This Lousy Lab Coat” Lewis bites her lip in dread, stares right at Abby, then slowly sashays over to the intercom. As Abby and Carter brace themselves, Susan admits they’re being forced to evacuate the entire hospital. “Everyone but you,” she adds. Abby and Carter gape, and we go to commercial wondering why, if this episode picked up ten minutes after “Lockdown” ended, Carter and Abby are acting like they weren’t just sucking face.

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