Serial Watcher – ER – Episode 13-16

This week’s episode, “Crisis of Conscience” was much better than last week’s effort. There were many reasons, but the main one? Sara Gilbert as a dominatrix!

It’s been 19 years since Sara Gilbert made her first appearance as little Darlene Conner on Roseanne. From a bratty little kid she blossomed into a dark, serious young lady, and this week she finally made it to where she belonged all along – A dominatrix queen. It was beautiful sight. Darlene is all grown up and she plays big girls games. The only way this could have been any better is by pairing her with someone other than Dr. Crenshaw. While he is creepy, he’s not “Sara Gilbert” creepy. But still seeing her in that role was well worth watching the episode.

But this episode was good not only because of the whole dominatrix thing. After last week’s “Dying is Easy” which felt like something we’ve seen 20 times before, this week just felt fresh, even if it wasn’t really.

Sean Young made a guest appearance as woman who’s dying of an unexplained liver failure, leaving two sons behind. Gates quickly figures out she tried to kill herself, and when he learns the reasons for doing so, he takes his time when she codes. That can be seen as assisting her suicide. While he doesn’t seem to have any moral problems with his own actions, he seemed rather startled when he learned towards the end that the eldest son also assisted the suicide, by conveniently leaving around the bottle of cleaning fluid she drank. So why was Tony so upset over the son’s actions, while he practically did the exact same thing? Is it that Tony’s a stranger and not family? Did he suddenly realize what he did? I don’t know, but this moral dilemma wasn’t the only dilemma we were faced with this week. Kovac also had one, while dealing with the same patient, as he had to decide whether or not to put down her real cause of death on the chart, and taking away her life insurance payments from her sons. He ended up doing the “right” thing in this case, but he seemed to debate this issue more than Tony debated whether to assist in the suicide or not.

The other main storyline this week also featured a major moral dilemma, as Neela learns that Manish is selling his kidney for $50,000. I have to admit that this storyline took me by surprise, as the hospital staff didn’t have the sanctimonious reaction to that news that was expected. Instead, Dr. Dubenko took a very cold, calculated approach that supported this action, raising the obvious question of why should the organ donor be the only one who gets nothing from the transplant. Of course this didn’t change Neela’s mind and she left the OR refusing to take part in this (And perhaps jeopardizing her surgery program), but it was surprising to see the show take a somewhat radical approach to the whole organ transplant policy.

And then there were the killer cheerleaders. If Bring It On taught us anything is that cheerleaders can be real tough ladies and absolute bitches. But it didn’t prepare us for this cheer leading hazing rituals. It’s as if they were no longer high-school students were transformed into G.I Jane. Remind me to stay away from pep rallies in the future you never know how these things might end up.

This episode did have one giant miss and that was the use of Andy Dick. Andy Dick is a stunt casting, and stunt casting should be done well. It should be given enough thought and attention in order to have an effect. This was just done poorly. He wasn’t allowed to be “Andy Dick” (It doesn’t matter what character he plays, he always brings himself to it) and he was on the screen for less than five minutes. They could have done so much more with him, and unless he returns in future episodes, it was just a waste.

But the one thing that will stay with me for ever from this episode is Sara Gilbert as a dominatrix. And that’s more than enough for me. And I hope to see her evolve in that role in the future. Oh yes.

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