Benton walks into the ambulance bay, where hundreds of bags of garbage are all piled up. He gets to the barriers separating the picketers from the hospital, greets Nat, and they exchange pleasantries. Benton starts to move one of the barriers to let himself out, but Nat stops him. Benton asks, "What are you doing?" Nat quietly asks, "Go around the other way, would you?" Benton starts to say that he's late, and Nat explains, "The news is here." Benton glances up and sees an anchor lady setting up a shot. Benton wishes Nat luck and duly heads back to the hospital to cut through to the other entrance. Chen sits on a bench outside, sniffling. He calls her name, and she says she's on break, and sniffles some more. Her legs are crossed to obscure her lap. He asks if she's all right, and she says she's fine. Just then the sirens start, and Weaver comes running out, telling Benton that a "mass cas" is coming in: "a riot at a high-school football game." Benton protests that he was "just leaving to pick up somebody" (and under the circumstances I don't know why he wouldn't beg off by explaining that somebody is Carter), but Weaver curtly says, "Not anymore, you're not." The picketers dive for cover as the ambulances pull in.
Okay, when they said "riot," they weren't kidding. Stretchers pour in bearing football players, cheerleaders, a mascot in a Viking costume, and even one unfortunate tromboner. As the action swirls around him, B.B. sits in the hall with his wife's corpse, clutching his sad little baggie of meds to his chest. Mark wheels into a trauma room with the mascot (named Mitch), and sees that Mike is still there, with Elizabeth. As Mike and Mitch shoot the shit, Mark tells Elizabeth he thought she'd be operating. She growls, "They're backed up; half the rooms are empty, but filthy because of this custodial work stoppage." Custodial -- what? Work stoppage? Is there a strike, or something? Wait, we got that. We did. Look, let me use these wads of wet toilet paper to spell out "WE GET IT" on the sodden men's room floor, and prove it. As they prepare to wheel out the Viking, Mike asks, "Who won?" "Nobody," answers Mitch. See? What they did there? When you riot at a high-school football game, nobody wins. Mark asks how soon Elizabeth might be able to get an OR, and she says the nurses are cleaning one now (and they must just love that), but there's another, more critical patient in the queue ahead of Mike, and that she'd planned to do a pericardiocentesis right where they are. "All this so that housekeeping doesn't get an extra dollar an hour," Mark growls, as if he's all friend of the working man and wasn't totally dissing the strike earlier. Much earlier. Around 1 AM when I recapped that scene. Sigh. Mike asks whether they're saying that he doesn't need an operation anymore, and Mark explains that it means he'll have to wait a little longer.