ER
Quo Vadis?

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Quo Vadis?

Mark ups the paddle charge to 360, but Rudy isn't reviving, having lingered in asystole for forty-five minutes. Jorge and Papa Escalona watch from outside, finally out of the way. Mark wants Gallant to continue compressions, because he's going to notify the family before calling time of death.

"Rudy hasn't had a heartbeat in almost an hour," Mark begins. Papa Escalona isn't pleased. Mark explains that Rudy had a massive hemorrhage, which damaged the part of the brain that controls the heart. "You said you could fix it," chokes Papa. Patiently, Mark explains that it all happened too quickly, and all the drugs and resuscitation techniques they've tried have failed spectacularly. "Do you want to say goodbye before we stop?" he inquires gently. Papa, upset, accepts his son's fate and inches inside the trauma room. Jorge is more reluctant, but his face is frozen in a mask of vacancy. I totally don't care about him. Rudy's been a more endearing actor, and his part has consisted of babbling two sentences and then lying on a board with his eyes closed. "You fought hard, Rudy," Papa blubbers. "I'm proud of you." The man rubs his son's buzz-cut head and collapses against it, sobs shuddering through his body. "We love you, mijo," he weeps, using the contracted form of mi hijo, or "my son." Jorge tenses visibly. "Shut up!" he shouts. "Shut up, shut up! Can you hear me? Shut up!" He storms out of the trauma room, leaving his crying father alone with his grief. Well, alone but for Gallant and Lily, who obediently keep up with compressions and pumping oxygen into Rudy's body. "Let us know when you want us to stop," Mark says, leaving after this egregious misuse of the royal "us." I swear Gallant gives him a look that indicates he agrees with me, and that Mark is a big ol' delegating slacker, but perhaps I'm fantasizing again.

Since this is where the commercials fall, I feel comfortable interjecting that I'm watching Letterman as I type, and Noah Wyle seriously just said something close to this: "I'm continually amazed that, despite our best efforts, [ER is] still on the air." He was being self-effacing, but I laughed out loud. For a long time.

During the commercial break, Luka and Neecole wandered to a scenic bench, because life-altering conversations tend to be easier when they take place in a pretty setting. The blue screen is obvious and awful, but I'm not going to harp on it, as I think it's plausible that ER scotched its plans to shoot on location because of September 11. Although that doesn't excuse the staff's complete lack of finesse with a fairly standard TV and film trick. Luka leans against a railing while Neecole perches uncomfortably on the bench, staring at the skyline and hoping for snow so that she can see Chicago blanketed in white. "Yeah, it's pretty, until your car won't start," Luka giggles, looking happy for the first time all season -- well, except for two seconds in the premiere, when he thought Abby was moving in with him. Neecole ponders shoveling sidewalks for money, but Luka suggests that she stop working and take care of herself and the baby, because he's got her expenses covered. Staring at her hands, Neecole claims she's spoken to a friend who might have a job for her. "That was quick," Luka rejoices, genuinely excited for her. "He's opening a café in Montreal, and he wants me to help run it," Neecole continues, unable to look at Luka's falling face. Why did she make that idiotic comment about Chicago in the snow, if she was planning all along to move to Montreal? I wonder if she's testing him somehow. Luka, stunned, blurts that he can't move to Montreal.

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