When Night Meets Day

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Heathen: B | Grade It Now!
When Night Meets Day

The nun is in pain. Carter offers to give her some morphine, but says it will hurt her breathing. A bunch of bald dudes in religious garb are there, ready to sing Zuin-an to her rest. They all approve of him administering the medicine, which basically means they know she's about to die and they're just really eager to whip out the gongs and get this party started.

Chanting begins. Gonging begins. That sound carries us through a bunch of moments spliced together: Abby and Pratt desperately seeking the baby in the north alley, construction men cutting the rebar so they can carry Man-Kebab downstairs, and Romano's arm getting hacked off by a whirring bone saw. Ew, that's so nasty. It sounds like an episode of Trading Spaces, and I half expect to see Ty Pennington running around with the arm, using it to pick people's noses and pat their hair and wank himself. ["Part of me can't believe ER is ripping off a device -- the montage over the funereal Buddhist chanting -- that Six Feet Under used a year ago, and another part of me is just proud that ER knows enough to steal from its betters." -- Wing Chun]

The nun continues to expire. Susan shows up in the alley with a car and flicks on the headlights to help the search for the baby. The surgeon offers to let Elizabeth make the final chop on Romano's arm, but she refuses a tad queasily, choosing instead to actually pick up the damn thing and drop it into what looks like an industrial-sized Ziploc bag. Good. It'll stay fresher longer this way. Once she lets go of the arm, Elizabeth exhales and looks a bit shaky, certainly moved by what just happened to Romano.

The nun Zuin-an draws her last breath as the chanting slowly grinds to a halt. Over a shot of her still, placid face, we hear a baby cry, because when this show can't think of anything else to do, it turns to (a) babies, and (b) the juxtaposition of life and death. Pratt spies the baby behind some fencing and pulls it out; he, Abby, and Susan stand there cooing at the thing, and we fade to black wondering if they know that it's Rex the Wonder Preemie, and that the evil little tyke might well have chopped himself out of the uterus just to make trouble.

And, oh, there's the money: sweaty, panting Luka. He's calling Carter from the Congo to beg for help -- one doctor got evacuated, and another is detained because of visa trouble. Luka still harbors the notion that Carter has State Department contacts that can finesse the situation, but sadly, the only finesse Carter has comes in a blue bottle. Carter chuckles mirthlessly that his family friend used to be the Ambassador to Uruguay, but that Carter has never even met him; Luka still wishes Carter would put in the call. As Carter watches the mourners pay respects to the dead Zuin-an, he listens to Luka talking about the cholera epidemic and the refugees and the immigration problems. A lightbulb flickers on over Carter's head: He too could become a Buddhist nun, and shave his head, and carry percussion instruments with him in case rhythmic chanting is required. But Luka's voice interrupts the glories of this daydream, so Carter offers to pitch in for a few weeks, having had his shots and being in possession of a valid visa. Luka is happy to hear it, but they get disconnected, and my dose of sweaty satisfaction is over.

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