Wonderland
20/20 Hindsight

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Chuck: D | Grade It Now!
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Face-Offs
e driver and showcases the hard-as-nails determination that undoubtedly got her where she is today. She's a no-nonsense kind of gal -- bet she's wearing Easy Spirits. Completing the stereotype, Strickler attributes her outburst to "six months of not getting any." Yuck, Ms. Strickler; that's one piece of information we really didn't need. "You too?" says Bobby, giving us yet another nugget of insight that we could happily have lived without. Bobby and Strickler enter the hospital, and Strickler reveals that Rickle had a run-in with a woman in a bookstore shortly before the Times Square debacle -- Strickler's got a statement from the woman and thinks the incident provides a perfectly rational motive for the shooting. She feels that Rickle is "using his mental illness as a shield, Bobby. If he knows it was wrong, he's responsible." Bobby says that's a big "if" and that if the DA is after a poster child for the death penalty because Rickle killed a cop, they've got the wrong guy. Bobby's involvement with the defense suddenly dawns on Strickler, and she confirms that she's too late to convert Bobby to her side.

"I want to kill him," brays an old woman in a glassed-in interview room. She's talking at Abe, about her fifty-one years of marriage to what she terms "a blob of wasted space" -- turns out she woke up at 3AM, poised over her husband's body with a pair of scissors from the other side of the apartment. To add the punch that only a dramatic reenactment can, she whips the scissors out of her purse, leaps to her feet, and assumes the position. Abe flips, people start yelling, and several pair of hands yank the scissors out of her hands. Everyone's yelling (oh, look, there's a Hasid patient, bowler, curls and all) as the old woman's husband -- looking admittedly blobby -- strolls into HQ. She starts screaming at him and beating on the glass, and he looks exasperated, slowly shakes his head and then, getting into the volatile spirit of the affair, yells at his wife to shut up. Abe asks the blonde -- Dr. Heather Miles -- to lend a helping hand, and they start trying to calm the feuding spouses.

Neil is grilling Lyla about her medical education -- wondering if she took Defensive Medicine, if she taught it to her students in her "Intro to Emergency Psych." Yes, she says. Would that, he inquires, include assessing a patient's risk for violence? Indeed it would, says Lyla, and that she would recommend over-estimating. But, he asks, does she follow her own advice? Lyla, sensing with good reason that this is a somewhat conspiratorial conversation, since nobody's husband could really be this big a jerk, says she knows that the Special Review board will try to trick her. Neil, because he may actually be this big a jerk, tells Lyla to answer the question; she explains herself yet again. He keeps grilling her about her decision, about specific points where she might have failed, pointing out that she didn't obtain a medical history, wondering whether she asked the right questions. "What are the right questions, Neil?" she replies, getting more and more pissed. He tells her she's got to do better; she doesn't sound very convincing. She says, "I didn't know I needed to." While Neil may think he's doing Lyla a favor by preparing her for the board's inquisition, she could probably do with at least some support mixed in with the antagonism. In a show that's all about surface drama and tension, Martin Donovan's slow boil (so effective in his many excellent film roles) seems out of context; he keeps coming off as a prudish jerk because his subtleties don't mix with the overbearing sensibility of the rest of the show. So far his talent seems wasted -- too bad. So, Neil goes on to point out all the elements in Rickle's condition that contradict Lyla's story -- paranoid schizophrenic, refusing meds, long history of mental problems and psychiatric supervision, and tells Lyla, "You should have seen him coming a mile away." He asks if she understands that she's poised to be the witch in the upcoming witch hunt, that the board wants and needs her to fail so they can pin the blame on a nice, compact point of closure. If that happens, he says, "You lose your job, you lose your license to practice medicine, and you and I are in a world of hurt. Do you get that?" Sure, Neil, it's all about you and your world of hurt. Fed up with being pestered by her husband, Lyla gets up, shoves in her chair, and stalks out of the restaurant, making a scene without really making a scene.

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Wonderland

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