ER
Hindsight

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Heathen: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Hindsight

The Flash of So That's Where He Got That Thing. Luka nurses a wound on his left cheek as a short, doughy man in a red hat whines about whether Luka plans to press charges. "You punched me in the face!" Luka says sharply. Abby appears. "What happened?" she asks. "Vicious midget," Luka replies. Hee. The vicious midget objects to this characterization, but no one pays attention because he's served his lone purpose -- that being, to break skin on Luka's cheek so that the makeup artists would have something fun to do this Christmas. Luka ices his face grumpily. Cynthia shows up next to introduce herself to Luka and thank him for looking after her boyfriend. We are all supposed to privately pity her, but I'm kind of over it; this was a case where knowing the ending didn't make me at all interested in what happened when Rick was healthy. "Doc, I was just reaching up," the vicious midget insists. "With a clenched fist?" hisses Luka. "I'm four-eleven," counters the midget. "My fists are always clenched." Susan drags Luka away to fix up the wound before any other fists fly.

Rick and Cynthia. They're smiling and happy while Abby does nurse-type things to Rick. Cynthia confides that his parents are arriving and she's scared of them because they're both lawyers. Luka is so in danger of getting his ass slapped -- hmm, rrowr -- with a lawsuit for all the stuff he spouted earlier about how Rick should've gotten better care. That's the dumbest thing ever. Hangovers generally make you sick, not stupid. Cynthia leans toward Abby and whispers conspiratorially that Rick's parents think they're too young to get married, then she shows off the ring. Rick teases that it's cubic zirconia. "Shut up! It is not!" whines humorless Cynthia. Dump her, Rick. Dump her while you're still alive! Then we learn that he's nineteen and she's twenty, so that we can be overcome with the tragedy of the lost young life. "We met in church," Cynthia says needlessly, so that we can be overcome with the tragedy of the lost young holy life. "We're going to elope [on New Year's Eve] to Reno," Rick adds, so that we can be overcome by the lost, young, holy, should've-chosen-Vegas life. "There's no time like the present, right?" Rick says, smiling lovingly at Cynthia. Oh, bah. I hate it when TPTB tries to go for my heartstrings, because it's always so blatant and painful and easy to deflect, so they always miss and it comes off like they're trying to cop a cheap feel.

Susan cleans Luka's cheek scrape, which is much smaller here than it was through the rest of the episode. I didn't realize cheek scrapes could stretch as they healed. That's mighty inconvenient. "Shouldn't you be gone by now?" Susan asks. "I keep trying to leave," sighs Luka. Susan commiserates. "I learned a valuable lesson: Never host a party when you have to work the next day," she says. Then she gripes that the single people get screwed during the holidays because everyone else gets time off to be with spouses and kids, and they're stuck covering the rush. "I don't care," Luka shrugs. "Christmas is not what it's supposed to be, anyway." Susan wonders what that means. I figured it was going to be a treatise on the meaning of the holiday versus crass commercialization, but instead Luka explains that in Croatia they went hayriding and cut down their own trees, because apparently, Christmas is supposed to be a cross between The Waltons and Monty Python's Lumberjack Song. "My wife made fish the night before and turkey for Christmas Day," he reminisces. "Sounds perfect," Susan says, and there's totally a hint of sarcasm in her voice, like she can't tell what's so wrong or vastly different about Christmas American-style. "Yeah," Luka mouths. Susan then cordially invites Luka to Christmas dinner at her place with a couple of her friends. "Your orphan friends?" he grins. "Just folks who can't get home, or don't want to," she replies. Abby interrupts to bring grim news that Rick's blood-pressure has plummeted. "Who?" Luka asks. "Flu kid," Abby reminds him. "Put him in a room," Luka says. "I already did. He's been waiting all morning," Abby says, a touch of irritation in her voice. Which is justified, except it also can't be the first time anyone's been overlooked or kept waiting in the ER. It feels like that happens every week. Didn't Carter and Abby ignore a pox-infested family in "Lockdown" long enough to get the whole hospital shut down? Right. Glass houses are expensive to repair, Abby, so put that rock down. "You should think about joining us, Luka," Susan offers again. "I will, thanks," he says half-heartedly, ducking out of the room.

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