ER: Another Thursday at County

by Lynn Connolly

dr banfield

The second episode of the much awaited – certainly by me – new season of ER began with Dr Morris introducing the new batch of interns to the ER. We also met ball-breaker Catherine Banfield – pictured above – the new chief of the ER which would’ve been Greg’s job had he not shuffled off the mortal coil last week.

Banfield is played by Oscar-nominated Angela Bassett but I have to say, I didn’t feel the love for her character at all. Dr Banfield was all suppressed emotions and fierce will of iron stuff which felt a bit trite and predictable, however, maybe I’ll warm to her before the series ends…

Anyway, we caught up with the County team as everyone in the ER was erm_1502_06trying to cope with the loss of Greg which wasn’t helped when Dr Banfield arrived in the department.

However, there wasn’t much time for hostilities as one of the patients brought in to the ER was a budding bio terrorist who had a lethal secret that endangered them all… he was packing Ricin under his shirt, which was discovered as Gates cut through the man’s clothes in order to treat him.

As that was going on, Banfield was rubbing Archie up the wrong way by lording it over him in the trauma room and questioning his clinical decisions. Morris had been working a super-long shift and was in no mood to have the new chief chucking her weight about.

The brilliantly eccentric Dr. Crenshaw was similarly stressed and was calling surgeon Lucien at home for advice on how to approach a pancreatic op when Andrew Wade, Crenshaw’s new intern, introduced himself. Poor lamb has no idea what it’s going to be like for him being mentored by the fabulous Crenshaw!

Speaking of Lucien, Neela was doing her best to get him to come back to work and to get Dr Anspar to take him back, but neither mule was for shifting. However, the suave Dr Brinner arranged a staff sit in outside his neela and brinnerUncle Donald’s office – that’s Anspar by the way – to protest for Lucien’s return.

Cynical attempt to get into Neela’s pants again? She certainly thought so but smoother-than-a-cashmere-cod-piece Brinner denied it and made Neela feel presumptuous and foolish for suggesting he’d acted as he had to impress her.

Meanwhile, Sam examined a patient who had a rash on his shoulder. The poor guy had been waiting for five hours but as Sam needed to figure out the exact cause of his infection, he needed to wait around a bit longer, which he wasn’t chuffed about but at that moment, that Gates raised the alarm; his patient had Ricin and had exposed everyone in the room to it, including three of the new interns and one other patient.

The fire department and hazmat team were summoned as Banfield sealed off the trauma room and began the evacuation of the ER. Tony meanwhile had to operate on the terrorist because his broken leg was bleeding out. As they were all stuck in the trauma room with few supplies, Gates had to operate without any anaesthetic which the new interns couldn’t help but feel served the man right. After all, he could have just signed their death warrants and that of the young asthmatic in the next bed.

The patient’s name was Felix and he told Tony that the Ricin was meant for government officials. He said he wanted revenge on them for his wife dying in the Pentagon bombing of 9/11.

Meanwhile, Sam’s rash patient was eager to leave so the best she could do was to give him an injection of antibiotics and a prescription to bring back the next day for another shot and with that, he was offski.

erm_1502_10Back with Gates, after a life and death struggle to stabilise Felix – complete with several “Charging to 360. Clear!” – the hazmat team constructed a plastic corridor through which Tony and the rest of the exposed folks had to go to be decontaminated.

Meanwhile, as the ER slowly got back to work, Paramedics delivered a drug overdose patient who was wearing a county ID bracelet. It was Sam’s rash patient. While Archie attempted to revive him, Banfield noticed ‘track marks’ on his ankles that Sam had clearly missed. The team couldn’t resuscitate the patient so Banfield announced he was dead and berated Sam for missing the fact that he was an IV drug user.

Later, while Archie was helping to get the front desk back in order, Banfield got up his nose once again and he started yelling at her about how she’d come storming in, taking Greg’s job, and giving orders.

He wasn’t having it was the gist but neither was she and in a quiet controlled voice, she told him he must never speak to her like that again. She added that he needed to get a grip and act like a leader. Her words clearly sunk in leaving a chastened Archie looking tired and remorseful. Here’s his outburst…

Outside in the decontamination tent, Tony and the interns heard that the Ricin wasn’t in a form that was toxic and Sam told the relieved interns they were free to go home. She also told her new love Tony that she was glad he didn’t die… me too; he’s one of the fittest blokes ever to don scrubs!

As the show closed, Neela dropped by Lucien’s apartment to try to persuade him to fight for his job. Lucien listened to her but said he’s decided it’s time for him to move on. Will he really leave or will Neela make him see sense?

erm_1502_15The closing shot was of Banfield sitting alone in her home with a picture of her family on the table beside her. It’s going to turn out that Banfield’s been in County ER before, but not as a doctor!

Tune in next week for episode three, The Book of Abby but in the meantime, let us know what you think of the new Dr Banfield and the new crop of interns!

As I said at the beginning, I’m not really down with Banfield at all; she’s too controlling and repressed but I did like the new interns. The disorganised but opinionated Daria impressed me, as did the Barbie doll lookalike Tracy.

I’m sure it won’t be long before she loses her obsession with her looks once she’s been worked for 24 hours straight in the toughest hospital of them all! Dang I love it…

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.