So, true to form, NBC started this episode a bit early, and this was a first attempt at taping with TiVo, so of course it kicked on right at 10 PM and I missed the "previously on" and may have missed part of the opener. Sorry about that.
Dr. Mark "It's baaaa-aack!" Greene sits alone in a posh waiting room. ["If that's where it started, all you missed were some establishing shots of New York." -- Wing Chun] A receptionist kindly apologizes for the delay. "I can wait," Mark says listlessly, weighed down by the heavy chips of irony sitting on his shoulders. Suddenly, out comes his brain surgeon, Dr. Humperdinck, a.k.a. Chris Sarandon. He's smiling at a glowing female patient who's ever so grateful that she's about to receive life-saving surgery. Scrooge McMark glowers at her slightly. He's been there, done that, and sold the tumor-in-a-jar on eBay for barely more than the price of postage. Humperdinck greets Mark warmly and exchanges pleasantries about his flight. "Elizabeth with you?" Humperdinck asks. "Not this time," sighs Mark. They disappear into his office.
Humpy points to an x-ray film of Mark's brain. It's blank. Mystery solved. Let's all go home. Actually, there's a mark on the film that corresponds with the site from which Mark's tumor was removed. Mark desperately throws out ideas -- some vaccine is causing inflammation of the area, or perhaps it's a side effect of radiation. But Humpy dusts off his finest set of syllables and uses them in perplexing order to convey that none of Mark's simple, easy-to-understand theories is correct. "I'm afraid it's definitely tumor re-growth," Humperdinck says flatly. Mark gulps, and tries to remain stoic even as fear creeps into his eyes. He twitches a tad. "How soon can you operate?" Mark quizzes. Humperdinck clears his throat in order to ensure clear delivery of the fatal news: "I think no man will suffer as greatly as you will," he hisses, jacking the machine up to fifty while the six-fingered man gawks in heady terror. Mark is stunned to learn that his tumor is inoperable. "The tumor invaded the eloquent areas of the brain that control speech and motor function," explains Humperdinck. "If I start digging around in there now, the side effects would be devastating. You wouldn't be able to walk, talk, feed yourself." Mark points out that the same will happen if his tumor's allowed to grow anew. "So what are my options, other than sticking a shotgun in my mouth?" Mark smiles joylessly. ["Hey, hey now! Don't rule that one out so hastily! -- Wing Chun] Humperdinck suggests Stereotactic Radio Surgery, performed with a Gamma knife, which is available in Chicago. Why can't they do it in New York? Mark flew all this way, and isn't Humperdinck a brain specialist? Oh, I get it -- Gamma herself lives in Chicago, and it's her knife. Sterling silver, too. The Hump says the average life after Gamma surgery lasts four to five... "Years?" Mark brightens. "Months," Humpy says quietly. The last drop of hope vanishes from Mark's eyes and hitchhikes to a better place. Humperdinck tries to console him. "You should've been dead a year ago," he notes, with jarring frankness. "You got married, saw your daughter be born...I'd say that was time well-spent." Mark just stares emptily at him, as if to say, "Dude, have you MET Elizabeth?"