Previously on ER, this guy named...Marv? Marcus? Martin? I can't remember, but he got some kind of brain growth. It's hard to say -- they've barely dealt with it. But he's got a maximum of ten months to live, if the chemotherapy works. His estranged wife Elizabeth returned home to care for him. Meanwhile, Abby slept at Luka's because her abusive neighbor Brian hadn't moved out of her building.
I should point out off the bat that I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of the show's earlier episodes, least of all the very first season. It's not that I didn't watch it, but I just didn't watch it with particular attention to detail. Like, I'd be on the computer playing Tetris -- and kicking ass at it, too, mind you -- while my mother wept over the latest patient death and fell in love with the program. So consider this my heartfelt apology for missing some of the synergies and references that the writers will drop into Mark's last episodes; fortunately, though, the forum regulars have been great at noting those. And Wing Chun might be able to weigh in, too. ["Except that I started watching it regularly with the second-season premiere, so as long as it's about something that happened after that, I'm all set." -- Wing Chun]
Cue the Droopy Music of Ten Months To Live. Dr. Mark "The End is Nigh" Greene is shooting hoops outside County General, and he's doing it in slow motion. I'm sure he'd prefer to be moving quickly but, you know, he's dying. Mark dribbles and shoots. He scores. And that's a sentence I hope I'll never read outside this context. Next, he shows off his ball-handling skills and dribbles through his legs...oh, good lord, now I'm snickering like a ten-year-old. Deep breaths. Sobering thoughts. Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day. And...we're good to continue. Mark keeps making baskets with a loud, pumped-up swoosh noise. That takes us into not-slow motion. What is that? Normal motion? Keep Walking, Nothing To See Here motion?
Dr. John "Hey, Remember When I Was Having Shocking Back Pain 'Relapses'? Yeah, Me Neither" Carter storms out of the ER in a right tantrum and heaves a metal chart to the ground. Mark wonders if Carter's somehow been savaged by the office supplies. "I just pronounced Blue Bertha," Carter spits. Yes, yes he did, and he pronounced it well. Ta-da! Thank you. I'll be here all through Sweeps Week, ladies and gentlemen. Apparently, Blue Bertha is one of Carter's regular patients, and she just died of some lung disease. Mark idly shoots hoops, adopting a serene air to contrast Carter's dejection. It's like he's elevated himself past this sort of angst. It's creepy. Carter rambles that Blue Bertha disobeyed all his advice about quitting smoking, and that he'd often spot her lighting up on the way out of the hospital after treatment. "Behind the crack, no rim," Mark says. I hate Mark's lines. He scores, and Carter rebounds. Absently, Carter shoots and misses, still bemoaning Blue Bertha's disobedience. Mark's all, "That's an H for you," because he thinks they're playing Horse. Except Carter totally doesn't care. "I call this the Spirit Killer," Mark says, turning around so his back's to the basket and heaving the ball back over his head. Swish. He makes it. ["Yeah, he makes it in three cuts, so even if we're supposed to think Mark is great at basketball, now we know Anthony Edwards isn't." -- Wing Chun] Carter is impressed, and follows that up with a major air ball. Mark finally addresses Carter's concerns. "Whether they take our advice or not, it's up to them," he says. Carter laments that Bertha would still be alive if she'd listened. "As hard as it was to deal with Blue Bertha, it's still harder to be Blue Bertha," Mark the Doctor-Patient says, with the wisdom of one who's trying very hard to learn a special lesson. Honestly, I feel like it's too soon in the show for Mark to talk about empathizing with the patient and the patient's right to refuse care. He's gettin' way ahead of himself.