TV Review: ER Episode 12.12

Thursday, January 12, 2006

From NBC: With Clemente (John Leguizamo) missing in action, Dr. Dubenko volunteers to take the day shift but ends up feeling overwhelmed. Ray (Shane West) is put in a very awkward situation when his young former girlfriend comes into the ER with serious abuse-related injuries. With a baby in their future, Kovac (Goran Visnijic) and Abby (Maura Tierney) venture out for some baby shopping. Meanwhile, Neela (Parminder Nagra) recieves word that she has been selected for the surgery elective that she had been hoping for. Mehki Phifer, and Sharif Atkins also star.

My Rating: 2 out of 4

For some reason, this episode of ER titled "Split Decisions" didn't have as much power and intensity as past episodes. We finally learned what the big secret between Neela and Gallant that had been hinted at in previous for weeks now, and that was the only highlight of this show episode for me. The highlight being we finally know. That and some cute scenes with Abby and Luka as we see them away from the hospital baby shopping. These two are going to be really cute with all this baby stuff.

A good majority of this episode took place in the ER. Clemente is missing, so Dubenko comes in and works as attending on the ER floor. He is a surgeon, so he doesn't handle the hustle and bustle of the ER floor very well. His main case is of an elderly woman that is brought into the hospital in a vegetative state. she's been that way for a few years he discovers after talking with her husband, and this puts a bit of a problem into play.

He wants to admit her into ICU, but the hospital powers that be won't because she has no help for survival. They don't want to spend the money needed on a lost cause. Sad case, but true to life. The husband even offers to pay out of his own pocket to get her a few days in ICU, but Dubenko won't take his money. He does find a way to help her though by the end of the episode.

The other case brought into the ER is the young girl that had been sleeping with Ray. She returns, and Ray finds out her father has beat her. She can't return home, but she has no place to go in Chicago. She does have a sister in California, but no way to get there. If he doesn't find a way, she will be put into foster care. He ends up collecting money for a plane ticket, and sends her off just before her father arrives at the hospital.

What about Neela and Gallant? The focus of this episode was truly on them this week. With Abby and Luka definitely moving forward with the baby, things are settled there. The young newlyweds are moving forward with their lives, looking for an apartment. However, before they go look, the couple heads to the V.A. hospital to visit one of Gallant's friends from Iraq. The young soldier was the one injured when a mine went off. This was shown on an earlier episode when Gallant made an appearance. The young man practically begs Gallant to talk to his doctor's so he can return to battle in Iraq.

This is a catalyst that brings Michael to discuss his own desires to return to action in Iraq. An admission that throws Neela for a loop. The two talk in the empty apartment they had planned to make their home, and Michael tells her how he can't stay. He had tried, but he just can't. This moment should have had more impact for me, but it really didn't I think most fans suspected he wanted to return to Iraq. Him saying so wasn't really a shock. I do feel bad for Neela though. She looked heartbroken.

I'm not sure what it was with this episode of ER, but it just didn't grab me at all. The big focus of tonight's episode really felt like a big let down. An absent Clemente also made things a bit slow. He had thrown in some new life into the series with his arrival, but I think his exit is eminent. Didn't see a preview for next week, so we have some time off from the series. Maybe its needed. ER will return with an all new episode on February 2nd.


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