Previously on ER, Chen and Malucci misdiagnosed Paul, a patient, and that mistake led to his death. Weaver reamed them, at which time Malucci points out that they paged her three times during the ordeal. Weaver fired Malucci, in part because she needs a scapegoat and partly, we suspect, because she took umbrage with his attitude (and the fact that she caught him humping a medic in an ambulance). Luka and Abby broke up. And, many, many moons ago, Weaver and Mark complained that Dr. Susan Lewis was leaving the hospital. As her train pulled away from the station, Susan leaned out and waved farewell to her would-be boyfriend, Mark Greene. "Goodbye," she called. And a nation wept. Except me, because although she's a good actress, I never thought she deserved to be deified, as she has been by so many critics and fans. But hey, I'm open-minded. And the show needs a jolt.
A train pulls slowly into the station and stops. Sherry "David Caruso" Stringfield's blonde head pokes out of the train and peers down its length, looking to see if her career is waiting right where she left it. This is the heralded return of Susan Lewis, motoring back onto screens in a symbolic reversal of the scene in which she left. Susan pauses long enough to really irritate the people behind her, then hops off the train and almost runs into a reunited couple making out on the platform. Dazed, she roams the street, refusing to give change to a homeless man and almost walking into a cyclist. The whole time, Susan looks awed and confused by her surroundings. Is she Crocodile Dundee? Where has she been, East Podunk?
Approaching the hospital with an air of trepidation, Susan watches as Dr. Cleo "Susan's Already Had More Screen Time Than I've Had All Season" Finch spars with a paramedic who brought in an "unconscious" man. "That's rigor mortis and lividity!" Cleo corrects, exasperated. The medic tries to leave the body with her, but Cleo insists they take it to the morgue. Susan stares, beginning to realize you truly can't come home again, because inevitably, some of your family has fled to go make movies or sing backup with Tina Turner.
Inside, Frank is refusing service to a flasher: "Let me know when you start paying taxes and wearing clothes." Another unknown-to-Susan, Abby "Have They Rescheduled The Emmys Yet?" Lockhart, hands out medication to a family and appears slightly harried. Susan politely asks where Mark might be. "Talk to the clerk," Abby dismisses her. Frank motors behind the reception desk, tailed by a young punk who's been waiting forever to get a boil removed and doesn't think a two-minute procedure should require an entire day of sitting. Frank figures this kid should fuck off, except he's marginally more polite than I. Susan quizzes Frank on Mark's whereabouts. "Fill this out, then come back here," Frank says, handing Susan a form. Grinning, but not without a tinge of a sneer at being mistaken for a patient, Susan explains that she is Mark's lunch date. "Chairs are thataway," Frank points, not impressed. Susan makes him promise to alert Mark to her presence. "You might want to know my name," she offers, backing away -- and right into Dr. Luka "Hot Hot Hot" Kovac. Again, Susan begs for help locating Mark, but Luka is preoccupied and barks an order to Yosh. "[Mark is] a friend of mine," Susan explains, hoping this will give her some credibility, when in fact it should lead to her permanent exile. Luka waves her off with a "hang on," and whirls right into reception, where he encounters Abby. "Have you still not forgiven me?" she asks. "My angelfish died," he replies. I can't relate to this. He had it for two weeks, it never knew him, and didn't fetch the paper or pee in his slippers or snuggle with him on the couch. He won't miss the slippery bastards. Anyway, Abby promises to buy him another. "I had two," Luka notes. "I'll buy you three," Abby bargains.