Oh, Jeebus. Why won't someone close to Noah Wyle just tell him that he shouldn't grow facial hair, like, ever? He's at the clinic, shooting pool, and sporting a very unfortunate and embarrassing little half-assed Maynard G. Krebs beard with no moustache. Anyway, he exposits, "So what are you supposed to talk about in an exit interview, anyway?" John Doe (for it is he; Pooh said it was, and I said it wasn't, and I was wrong. I think he's lost weight; his neck looks thinner than it was in Boogie Nights) says you're supposed to say that you don't have all the answers, and Carter says, "No argument there." John Doe: Scared? Carter: Can't remember a time when I wasn't. John Doe: Good. Carter: That's it? John Doe: "We're like the Army, okay? We break you down, make you face your addiction, then we build you up. You start to function. You feel healthy, confident." Carter chalks his cue and mutters, "Don't worry. Pride is what got me into this." John Doe says, "Yeah..." and, with his back to John Doe, Carter snorts and rolls his eyes. John Doe continues, "And deep down you feel like this is something that just happened to you." Carter disagrees: "No, I took responsibility. I take responsibility. I'm going to get my life back. It's not going to beat me." John Doe decides that now is the time to make it all about John Doe: "Yeah. That's what I thought. The first three times. But I hope you do." Yeah, he's really lost weight. Anyway. He drops a card on the pool table (and who buys a pool table with puke-orange felt? It looks like a cheap guitar case) and tells Carter to call anytime, day or night, if he wants to talk. Carter snaps, "Are we done?" John Doe twelve-steps: "You're just getting started." Carter hoarsely says, "Is this where I'm supposed to say thank you?" John Doe says, "Some people do." Carter sticks out his hand and, without meeting John Doe's eye, murmurs, "Thank you." John Doe says, "You're welcome." John Doe, ladies and gentlemen! Meet him again for the first time.
In his office, and with Benton behind him, Robert "Rocket" Romano suspends a ceremonial knife of some kind from a strand of fishing wire. A frazzled Elizabeth "Key Limey" Corday pushes open the door, causing Romano to observe, dryly, that "someone's still on vacation time." She apologizes breathlessly and asks whether they've finished the interview; Romano says they were just getting to that. Elizabeth nervously rubs her palms together as Romano asks where they left off last time, and Benton cracks, "You were just about to give me the job." Did Benton just make a joke? On his own? As the citizens of Hell think about getting their sweaters out of storage, Romano commends Benton for "developing a sense of humour," and they all sit down. Faculty responsibilities. Attending. Resident research. Benton says he likes working with residents, and Romano calls him a liar, says that he likes abusing residents, and that he doesn't "exactly have the best track record when it comes to research." OH BURN. (We all remember the Ron Rifkin plot line? Dr. Vucelich? Heart-disease research? Fudged results? Right?) Benton calmly replies, "That can change." As Elizabeth continues worrying her hands like a dog at a bone, Romano asks where else Benton applied. Benton says, "You can't ask me that," and without a trace of emotion, Romano retorts, "Oh, no. Someone call the Interview Police. Has anyone offered you anything?" Benton reminds Romano that he can't ask that either, but Romano presses him until Benton cagily offers, "I've looked elsewhere as a backup, but Gideon's Crossing wasn't hiring, City of Angels already has two hunks on staff, and Chicago Hope's been cancelled." Just kidding. He says he'd prefer to stay at County as an attending. Elizabeth stares at him intently. Woman, take your meds! Romano pretty much says the same thing, in question form, and she says, "My hands itch, for some reason." Romano's pager goes off and he tells her to cut it out, before inspecting his pager. Benton glances at her hands and asks, "Linear vesicles, probably a phytodermatitis. Are you allergic to any plants?" Wow, good thing he was there, because where else could Dr. Corday get an expert medical opinion? She tells him she doesn't think she has any plant allergies. He asks if she has a garden, and she offers, "I went camping." Romano drawls, "Tell me you know what poison ivy looks like." I wouldn't be able to identify poison ivy on a bet, and I've been camping. Wide-eyed, Elizabeth repeats, "Poison ivy. Is that in Wisconsin?" "Oh, boy," Romano snorts, and books, telling Benton they'll have to pick this up again later. Benton asks when, Romano carelessly says that his office will take care of it and, as he takes off, Benton mutters, "He's never going to give me this job." Elizabeth, rubbing her palms together with great gusto, says, "Of course he will, he's just being Robert." Benton tells her not to scratch, blah blah, the usual, and Elizabeth asks, "It won't spread, will it?" Benton replies, "Well, that depends on what you touched last, before you washed your hands." He leaves, and she breathes, "Oh, dear." Get it? Because she was in Wisconsin with Mark, and...get it? With Mark? And they were...do you get it now? How about now? No?
Well, fortunately for you, the next shot is Mark...inducing hysterical blindness across North America by having a good old-fashioned scratch at his nads. Sars contends that this is a shout-out to me, since Mark is scratching his nads while always being on mine. Fortunately for the next generation of America's doctors, Mark uses his other hand to distribute orientation packets to the students. Blah blah tour blah the only stupid question is the one you don't answercakes. Dr. Dave and his new nasty-ass highlights overhear and he tells Mark he has a question: "Something wrong with the Australian boys?" Mark glances around chairs for aggressive rugby players or Suzuki Outback endorsers, but Dr. Dave explains, "You're scratching Down Under." Mark is shocked to have been observed despite the fact that he was scooping up heaping mittfuls of testicle, there, and Dr. Dave says, "Oh, yeah. Doesn't make a good first impression." Hee! Mark lunges toward the counter, perhaps hoping to catch some of the students as they snicker, "Dude, did you check out Scratchy McGoodies? Talk about your Doc Itch [tm Lingo]." Just kidding, he actually lunges toward the counter because paramedics are wheeling in a trauma: a seventeen-year-old high-school football player named Mike Palmieri "got hi-lowed in mid-air," suffered a brief loss of consciousness, and complains of neck and chest pain. Dr. Dave asks whether Mike can move his extremities, and Doris says that he can, but that because of the numbness in Mike's hands, the paramedics didn't want to take his helmet off. Mark thanks her, tells Dr. Dave he's got Mike and that Dr. Dave should give the med students the tour, and introduces himself to Mike. Very calmly (considering), Mike asks whether his neck is broken; Mark brightly tells Mike that they'll check that out.