Weaver comes out of curtain 3 and walks up to Carter, asking him whether he has a minute. Disgustedly, he says, "No. I'm done with these. If you guys don't want me to see patients today, I'm going home." Weaver tells him that he can't leave yet, and that she wants to talk to him. He reluctantly turns back and asks, "Is this my suspension?" She says, "Not here. Come on," and beckons him into curtain 3.
When Carter pushes the door open, the first person he sees is an even-more-dour-than-usual Benton. Carter gets wise to the sitch pretty quick, and chuckles, "Give me a break," reaching for the door to walk back out. Weaver prevents him from doing so. Mark asks him to listen, and Carter yells, "No, I told you, I am on painkillers for my back, but I'm functioning." Weaver closes the door as Anspaugh tells him, "Dr. Carter, you would be wise to be quiet and listen." Carter splays his arms out in an "okay, go for it" gesture, then abruptly crosses them with his hands in his armpits.
We get a shot of the whole room: Chen is the closest to the door, with Anspaugh and Mark a few feet behind her, and Benton leaning against the far wall. It's a nice shot, actually. Mark says, "My van is parked outside. We have a ticket to Atlanta. There's a drug rehab -- there's a drug rehab centre there that specializes in treating doctors with addiction." Carter wipes his mouth and declares, "Well, that's great, but I'm on prescribed painkillers, and that doesn't make me an addict, and I think you all know it." He makes for the door, but Mark yells, "I'm not finished!" Carter turns back, staring at the floor, and Mark, with tears creeping into his voice, says, "It's apparent to all of us that you have a drug problem. Therefore, we cannot allow you to continue working here, or anywhere else, as a physician. So you have two choices: Get in the van, go to the airport, check yourself in, and when you come back, we will support you in any way that we can." Carter squeaks, "Or...I'm fired?" Mark says, "Yeah." Benton looks down. Carter sneers, and turns to look at the door, until Anspaugh says, "Everyone in this room cares about you. No one is judging you." Carter angrily says, "Yes, you are. You've already judged me. You [to Anspaugh] have no idea what I've been through these last few months, but I've been here. I've showed up. I haven't made excuses, I haven't complained --" Weaver interjects, "That's not the point," but Carter shouts her down: "No, that is the point. Can anybody tell me that, uh, uh, that I have endangered patients?" Um. I can, but I think Chen'll get to that. He continues: "Can anybody here say that my performance has changed? Hm? That I'm some kind of liability?" Carter glances to Benton, who stares back unflinchingly; Carter can't hold that gaze for long, and seems grateful when Chen pipes up, "John, you put a patient into anaphylactic shock by giving her bactrim when she told you that she was allergic to it." Yep, there it is. Carter walks slowly toward her until she's forced to back away from him (and it occurs to me that when James van der Beek as Dawson goes into his overblown, glaring, staring, nostril-flaring fits, he's aiming at a performance like this one -- where the performer is scary and unpredictable and genuinely menacing, but naturally the Beek is not one one-hundredth the actor Noah Wyle is), and spits, "And you almost killed somebody by leaving a guide wire in their chest. Is this about mistakes? Hm? Who here hasn't made a mistake? Hell, I saved your ass [to Mark] this afternoon!" Weaver interrupts again: "John, you've demonstrated compulsive drug-seeking behaviour." "When? Just tell me when," he demands, and she snaps, "You know, I think mainlining fentanyl in the trauma room qualifies." Carter throws up his hands and insists, "Well, I told you I didn't do that. You wanna call me a liar, fine, call me a liar, but I didn't do that." Weaver plays her trump: "Okay, show us your wrists." "What?" Carter chokes, and she repeats, much more loudly and sternly, "Show us your wrists." There is a beat as Carter flicks his eyes around the room, looking for any port in a storm, and, finding none, he sarcastically asks her, "Are we looking for track marks?" "Yeah," she says sadly. Carter proffers his wrists for the length of a second, and then takes off his lab coat and bitterly offers to roll up his sleeves. "Take off your watch," Weaver orders. Carter hesitates, fussing with his lab coat as if considering it, and then tightly says, "Uh, you know -- you know what? Forget it. Forget it," storming to the opposite door. Mark calls at his back, "This is your only chance, Carter." Carter, throwing his lab coat at Mark, snaps, "Great. I quit," and walks out. Anspaugh asks, "Well. Is that it?" Uh. Yeah. Thanks for coming out, Spanky. Benton replies, "No," and follows Carter out.
In the lounge, Carter angrily empties his locker. Benton storms in and asks what he's doing. Without once looking at him, Carter says, "I don't need this. I've never needed this. I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to help people, but I don't need their damn job." Benton says, "Carter, you don't want to do this." Carter snorts, "I'm not doing it -- they are."