ER
Four Corners

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Four Corners

Carter and the ice sculpture that is his mother arrive at the party, pausing long enough for her to straighten his tie and chip the frost off his ear. Stephen Keaton from Family Ties wanders over, alleging that he's Carter's father and pausing to passive-aggressive something about whether their driver got lost. "John had something more pressing," brats the icicle. Equally coolly, Carter corrects her by saying that a patient required urgent attention. "Gamma is lying down," Stephen says, then establishes that he and his wife will stay at a hotel rather than bunking at Gamma's house. This perturbs Carter, who wants to check on Gamma but who is instead commanded to go "introduce himself" to a senator's daughter, which is socialite shorthand for "check for a naked ring finger and childbearing hips."

Instead, Carter does neither, preferring to roam aimlessly until he arrives in the mansion's study, whereupon he gazes pensively at a portrait of two young boys that I'll wager are the young brothers Carter. The butler interrupts his trance to alert him that he's got a friend waiting to see him.

Naturally, Carter's mystery friend is Luka. No! Abby. Sorry, I mixed up the legs of the love triangle. She informs him that, moments after he slammed down the telephone in a blaze of testosterone, the chagrined Dr. Wiseman hurried over to admit Holly and get her settled in a proper hospital room. "Amazing what a little 'pull your thumb out' can do," she chuckles. Abby looks great. I've always loved Maura Tierney; anyone who can turn in a composed, clever performance opposite the wailing banshee Sally Field has run my gauntlet. Carter politely asks whether Abby nibbled on anything from the buffet. "I couldn't decide between smoked tongue pâté and the whitefish mousse," she grins. They giggle, because it's such a ridiculous choice -- obviously, the mousse wins every time. Carter cracks that they're fresh out of pigs in a blanket.

The duo ceases strolling at a bench near a broken birdbath. Carter recalls that his grandfather loved riding around the lawn on his power mower. "He drove into the birdbath?" snorts Abby. "Well, he was having a fatal M.I. at the time," Carter answers calmly. Abby coughs and hides her face, so far beyond a mere foot in her mouth that she's actually chewing on her own upper thigh. Carter's probably envious. They both try to stifle laughter, but can't, especially when Carter keeps talking: "Not a bad way to go. Sunny day...get on the mower..." Abby sobers up long enough to apologize for crashing the reception, but she claims she felt overwhelmed with distress at the idea that Carter's grandfather died and he kept it quiet.

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