Last time on ER, a med student named Erin Harkins dipped herself in sass, rolled around in a crunchy coating of spunk, and served herself up to Carter on a plate of I Know You're Chief Resident But I Refuse To Let You Ignore Me. Pratt has a roommate who seems a bit...simple-minded. And that's it. Apparently, that's all that mattered from last week, which makes you wonder.
A random vagrant wanders through the hospital rattling some Tupperware and singing, "How you doin'?" Joey Tribbiani can rest easy, because Random Vagrant is using this to far less successful effect. Dr. Kerry "Leave It To" Weaver surfs angrily through the mobbed halls, throws an elbow Random Vagrant's way, and pops out at Reception to snarl about patients being parked in inconvenient places. "No beds," Dr. Susan "Emmanuel" Lewis sighs. She's rifling through a pile of charts higher than this show's ratings, handing cases off to Dr. Michael "Damn, I Just Want To Pinch His Cheeks" Gallant. "Susan, I know the system is overwhelmed, but..." and as Weaver condescendingly encourages Susan to manage things better, Susan interrupts with a bellow: "Kerry, I swear to you, I'm about to lose it, so unless you want to take over...." Weaver nods crisply and says that they can move non-critical patients off monitored beds and into the hallways. Way to go, Kerry. Based on the amount of crap you just tripped over in the hallways, I'm sure no one thought of that. Susan says as much, winning an irritated look from Kerry that's interrupted only by the dulcet tones of Random Vagrant, the soundtrack to today's not-at-all recycled sense of mayhem. "How you doin'?" he sings. "Does he have to be here?" Susan snaps at nobody. A nurse answers that he can leave once his "banana bag" is done. "Then do it outside," snaps Susan. "Are you serious?" the nurse asks. "YES," Frank, Weaver, and Susan all spit in unison.
In the background, Abby "Blonde Ambition" Lockhart quietly tries to reach her brother, Eric, on the telephone. Weaver floats down the halls yelling rude things at the patients gathered there. That's one way to clear the rush -- piss them off enough that they go elsewhere. Maybe she'll cane a few of them. Abby leaves a message with Eric that says she's too swamped to meet him for lunch, but that they should certainly try to have dinner that night.
From the hallway, Dr. John "True Man?" Carter screams for Frank to call Security. There's a man freaking out in an exam room, thrashing around behind the closed door and yelling that he doesn't belong there. "You'll kill me!" he wails. Damn, this man has definitely watched the show before. "Your patient?" Susan asks, approaching and hanging out next to him. Carter nods. The guy behind the door is throwing needles around, trashing the furniture, and having a good old time doing it. Carter cracks the door. "Mr. Barney, we won't kill you -- we want to help you," he says. The man growls and hurls something at Carter's schnozz; he slams the door just in time, and ducks for good measure. Carter and Susan bitch about Security, and how basically all the officers do is ticket the doctors' cars and stick nagging orange decals all over the bumpers. While they exposit that their security guards blow mountain lions, Mr. Barney is doing to the room what we all wish we could do to that other Barney -- jumping up and down, kicking, tearing, slamming, and basically ripping things to shreds. It's the perfect time for Random Vagrant to sing his way into our hearts. "How you doin', how you doin'?" he giggles, throwing his coin Tupperware under Susan's nose. She levels him with a flat stare. "Groovy, how you doin'?" We go to credits plagued with the pain of not knowing the answer. It is agony.