Third Watch
The Self-Importance Of Being Carlos

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Welcome to Hell. We Have an Entire Wing Devoted to You.

At the diner, Bosco and Carlos are having lunch. In the Carlos-o-Phone of his inner monologue, we hear him wonder why everybody thinks he's so self-centered. He's interrupted by Bosco asking if he's listening. Oh, sweet irony, thy name is Carlos. Bosco tells Carlos not to feel so bad about the class. As they're talking, a woman in a black skirt walks by, and both of them stop to lean and watch. Then they continue the conversation. Two peas in a pod, these guys are. Bosco complains that he does his job well, but still gets cited for not being a sweetheart to criminals. Yokas, my hero, shows up and sits next to Bosco. She mothers him, telling him that he can finish eating, but he'll just want a sandwich later when they go on call. She asks what they're talking about. "Compassion," Carlos answers. "So that was a pretty short conversation," she says. Hee hee. Bosco says that he has feelings, to which Yokas responds that of course he has feelings, they're just buried out in a shallow grave somewhere out in Jersey. Man, she's two for two. Carlos complains that he didn't learn compassion in foster care. Bosco says that he learned from his father to hit women in the gut, not the face. And Yokas learned that a good drunk is a quiet drunk who doesn't disturb the neighbors. Are we done watching Monty Python's Worst Childhood skit? Carlos asks Yokas where she learned to be decent. She's taken aback and says it's an odd way of putting it.

Next is a montage of Carlos asking people what compassion is. Why don't you just imitate Foreigner and tell people you want to know what love is? Jimmy's answer is that it's caring for others. But fighting fires is just his job. Carlos insults him by implying that if his Jimmy doesn't care about his job, he's just there because baseball didn't work out and he screwed up in life. Jimmy responds by firing up a big buzz saw and aiming it menacingly at Carlos.

Next, Carlos asks Alex, the female firefighter, why she got into her job. Turns out that she was just getting back at her dad, a multi-generation firefighter who had told her she would never be successful. So for her, it's not about compassion either: it's about spite. Carlos also deduces that she doesn't really care about people trapped in fires: she's just an adrenaline junkie. Interesting theory. "Labels are so misleading," she says, and then talks about how rocky road ice cream isn't really "rocky road." This is not terribly inspired TV writing, I'm afraid to say.

In the ambulance, Carlos tries to start a conversation with Doc about what Doc is reading in the newspaper. Doc gives one-word answers, clearly not in the mood to talk to Little Compassionate Boy Lost. Doc asks what's going on. Carlos complains that he can never have a conversation with Doc. Doc complains that Carlos always squirms whenever they have a long conversation. "Am I really that bad?" Carlos asks. He says he doesn't have good people skills and wants Doc to teach him how to care more. Doc chuckles. "This is not funny to me," Carlos says, and asks Doc to help. "You just used the word 'me' four times in five seconds," Doc says. He points out that Carlos needs to stop thinking of himself and start thinking of other people. He tells Carlos about a volunteer opportunity to clear out abandoned tenements. Carlos says he's down for it, but doesn't want to get up so early. Oh, man, you just know this isn't gonna work.

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Third Watch

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