ER
I'll Be Home For Christmas

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I'll Be Home For Christmas

Abby wheels a baby into the nursery. The kid was delivered by a shoe salesman in Marshall Field's. Nothing eases contractions quite like trying on some Nine West boots. As she hands off the baby to a nurse, Abby spies Neecole lying in a bed, her hair fanned out around her face, just so. This arouses Abby's suspicion, because no one's hair does that. She convinces the nurse to hand over Neecole's chart, flips through it frantically, and pales when she reads the words. "How far along was she?" Abby whispers. "Eight weeks," the nurse says. Abby looks tortured.

Benton sprints into a very modern-looking office building that's meant to be the Surgi-Center where Cleo works. Sure enough, Dr. Cleo "O Come All Ye Fembots" Finch punches the co-ordinates into her internal GPS and ends up right next to Benton. He wheedles and pleads and pushes until she agrees to push the Center's director to interview him on the spot for its vacancy. "Cleo," Benton says softly. "Cleo, I need to talk to him." Cleo's actually almost charming about it, unable to understand the rush, but finally giving in to his urgency. Because they're a couple. Except that we missed the actual reconciliation, and missed why he deserves a favor from her. I appreciate that scripts can get fat sometimes, but this show's done a shoddy job of trimming, because it's ended up with fragments of storylines that don't really resonate at all. I'm talking more about Luka's plot, but the Cleo/Peter romance certainly suffered, too. I can't help harping on it; it really bugs me. I feel like we're being cheated. This is discount ER, and we're paying full price.

Neecole scurries out of her hospital room, only to run smack into a waiting Abby. "I thought you left," Abby says. "Tonight," Neecole snips. Abby explains that Luka's been searching for her madly. Neecole doesn't respond. "You told him you weren't pregnant," Abby says, confused. "I'm not," Neecole frosts. Abby obviously wants an explanation, but Neecole refuses to supply one. Feeling responsible for this whole mess, Abby apologizes to Neecole for making assumptions about her condition. "No, you were right," Neecole says. "He did everything he could. I thought his kindness was love, but it's not." Because you're a liar, and a thief, and we hate you. Go away, already! Stop trying to milk us for sympathy. Neecole whispers that Luka deserves not to know, and thanks Abby in advance for not telling him. For the zillionth time, Maura Tierney looks off into space and screws her face into a conflicted expression. This is how they utilize an Emmy nominee?

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