ER
Damaged

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Damaged

Previously on ER: Abby became a doctor, while Neela had second thoughts about becoming one. Luka convinced Sam to come back to Chicago and stop running from Steve. And Kem returned to Africa without Carter.

We begin in a dark room, wind blowing through the open windows and making the curtains dance. This is Carter's bedroom, and I like to think he keeps it cold to chill any warm impulses emanating from his loins. The alternative is...no. Kem's disembodied voice wails, "John!" Carter sits bolt upright in bed, sweating and throwing off the covers. A baby cries. Carter charges into the would-be nursery and stops, panting, expecting to see Kem and instead seeing nothing -- but that might be because the show has a shadow fetish and refuses to have scenes in people's houses that require light. The noise of Kem and the child disappears, and Carter exhales hard: His life still bites.

Next, we visit another bed across town. A figure lies in bed. Then the figure rolls awake and turns on a lamp.... Oh, you got me, I'm totally kidding about that last part. In part because of the aforementioned distaste for watts, the only thing the guy turns on is me, because the guy is Luka, and he's in a wifebeater. Rrowr. We cut into a living room that's also dark, and a door opens and closes, and for another period of seconds, no shapes are distinguishable. As the camera pans, it's apparent suddenly that Luka has exited the bedroom and is seeking Sam, who is standing at the open window staring outside. Luka hugs her from behind. "He'll come back," Sam says absently. "We won't have any idea when...." Like he's a serial killer. Or a stalker. Or a wind-up Steve-In-The-Box. Luka promises that they'll deal with it when it happens. "I don't know why you'd want to," Sam sighs. Oh, honey. Lake Michigan's nearby, if you're that eager to go fishing. She moves across the room and looks at Alex, who is asleep. "I can think of a reason," Luka says cryptically. Then he closes the window and oh-so-casually suggests that Sam and Alex need a bigger place, so they should come live with him. "What?" she gasps. "Luka, if we all move in together, it's gonna be because it's something we all want, not because you think we need to be protected." She turns on her heel. "Hey," Luka calls to her. Sam grumbles that she's going to take a shower. "HEY," Luka repeats firmly. Sam reluctantly turns around, and man, does that exchange reek of a father dealing with his petulant child. But instead of threatening to spank her, grounding her, or trying to make her eat brussels sprouts (fiendish -- fiendish), Luka simply holds up a spatula and asks if she wants her eggs scrambled or fried. Sam stares at him for a second, realizes that this is a détente, and says with a trace of conciliation and an ounce of mischief, "Poached." Then she heads for the shower. Luka stares. "Poached," he utters, the wind firmly out of his sails and probably directing itself over to Carter's place to heave through his open windows and chill El Puffy's sperm to a halt.

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