No matter how many times I watch this episode I am sucked into the fun and revelations of some of my favorite characters. Through their interactions we are given glimpses of their families, their pasts, their hopes and their characters. A sexual harrassment clinic in a blandly decorated college classroom. We are introduced to Michael Gallant and his dedication to his family and his military career. We catch glimpses of the happy childhood and early marriage of Luka Kovac. We get the comparative families of Carter's well to do - yet sad - upbringing and Susan's relatively normal middle class childhood. We hear Susan's reasons for returning to Chicago....and Luka skirting the issue of his reasons for leaving Croatia. We experience a hauntingly beautiful siloquoy from Hamilet in Croatian. We get to see the sparring of the two men for the affection and attention of Abby come to life in a playfully intense fencing match. Abby. Maura Tierney completely steals the episode as the bridge between all of the characters. The Virgin Game. The confession of being a reality show junkie. The 'girl talk' seeding of a wonderful friendship with Susan. The curiosity about the Carter millions. Acknowledging that she knows as little about Luka as she does about Carter. She also gives a tremendously powerful testament about nursing as a career. (So moving that I was later disappointed that she would go back to medical school.) Nicely written and wonderfully directed, all five actors clearly shown in each of their own moments. It was a fun break from the ER. But not altogether complete. We did get a dominatrix patient...and her client.... whose 'bag of tricks' was the reason for the retraining session in the first place. Hilarious and disturbing....and a whole lot of fun.
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