Previously on ER: Kerry Weaver tentatively asked out a Sandy Lopez, but they didn't set a date. Carter noticed how stifled his father seems. Abby confronted Neecole about being pregnant, saying that a made-up family won't win Luka's heart; Neecole told Luka that she's not really pregnant, and fled. Peter found out he's not Reese's biological father, and got locked in a thorny custody battle with Roger -- which he's currently losing. Roma Maffia, the lawyer, ordered Peter to reshuffle his priorities.
Drs. John and Susan "Two Turtle Doves" Carter/Lewis leave the El station together, bantering about basketball. He's teasing her about being a Phoenix Suns fan, and can't believe she's not a die-hard Bulls fan. Do the writers think it's 1996? The Bulls stink now. Very passé. Carter teases that she's probably a Diamondbacks fan, too -- and he says it with disdain, which dates the taping of the show, because the Diamondbacks won the World Series this year. Anyway, it's all light-hearted prattle, the kind Carter and Susan always have, to prove to the world they have chemistry. "I didn't even get breakfast out of this deal," Susan grouses jokingly. "This deal" makes it sound like they slept together, but I sort of doubt it, since they barely kissed. Carter offers to buy her a donut at the Roach Coach, and a cup of coffee with it. "Big spender," Susan grins. Carter's mobile phone rings, and whoever's on the other end clearly surprises Carter with some news. When he hangs up, he happily tells Susan his parents will be staying in Chicago for the holidays. "First time in nine years," he glows. Susan's wearing yet another Burberry coat -- this time it's a black trenchcoat with rolled-up sleeve cuffs in the telltale plaid. She wore it in the last episode, too. I'm beginning to think Sherry Stringfield is just a Burberry mannequin.
Dr. Peter "O Little Town of" Benton"hem" barges out of the OR, trailed closely by Dr. Robert "Bah Humbug" Romano. "[Vascular surgery is] like sex, isn't it, Peter?" he sighs. "Messy, fun, and when done right, you leave satisfied." Wow, how badly does this man need a girlfriend? Romano compliments Peter's hands, and offers to let him assist on a local alderman's high-profile surgery. This passes for a Christmas present in Romano's little, little world. Before Benton can really respond, Romano has already ordered the on-duty receptionist to clear Benton's Monday schedule. Benton panics and begs Romano to slow down and talk to him about pressing schedule issues. "He's on trauma call in the ER that night," the nurse says. Romano tells her to dump the shift onto Elizabeth's shoulders, because she's the only surgeon who enjoys working down there. Romano should be careful. Elizabeth might be pissed, and she hasn't been declawed yet, or tested for rabies. "I have a situation with my son," Benton tries to explain. "What else is new?" Romano sighs distractedly. Benton informs his boss that he'll need more flexible hours. "In by twelve, out by four, and we all make the evening news," Romano chirps. Benton isn't just talking about the alderman's surgery that day, although Romano is too wrapped up in that to hear anything else. He tells Benton that twenty other surgeons would kill for this chance, so Benton should bloody well admit it now if he's not interested. "Are you in, or out?" Romano intones, in what I hope is not an uncomfortable, sad quasi-nod to Clooney's latest movie, as if to extol the career of The First One to Escape the Titanic. Benton wrestles with himself, then grunts, "I'm in," and flees. Romano zips off in the other direction. "Did I ever tell you you're my hero?" he breezes over his shoulder. Huh. A Bette junkie. Who'd have known.