ER
Makemba

Episode Report Card
Heathen: C- | 1 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Makemba

Celine's had her baby, and Boston proclaims it in good health. Carter explains that the antiretroviral drugs he's gotten for her will cut down the transmission rate, and that if she doesn't breastfeed, it could be even lower. Celine's heartbroken that her milk is dangerous; Carter extols the virtues of formula, until Boston pulls him aside and points out that it's a powder and Celine's living in a refugee camp, and probably would contaminate it with water that would kill the kid with dysentery. Carter's like, "Fine, I'll get her Evian all the time just like she's J.Lo or something." Boston wonders if he can sustain that eight times a day for six months to two years. Carter's stubborn and insists that he can. Boston thinks that's insane. Carter thinks it's a fine way to spend Gamma's money. Gamma's corpse throws up all over itself, because it would rather he donated it to the DAR, or endowed a monthly tea party for snooty old crones.

At another social function, there are more long, drawn-out, one-sided political discussions about how America sucks. I'm all for free speech, but this show should at least attempt a balanced perspective, rather than having Carter sit there chortling and waving his hands and saying, "I voted for the other guy!" He's like a library of bad bumper stickers. Boston's like, "Is it always this tedious here?" Carter pretty much confirms it. A guy takes over the ranting until Angelique yells at him to shut up because they all get it, they hear it, and they want him to stuff it. Or at least mix it with sweet nothings. Angelique grabs him and takes him off to dance. Slowly, everyone else joins them, leaving Kem and Carter alone at the table. As if no one would've snatched her away for a quick boogie. She's too hot to have been left there. Carter smiles at her, his usual smarmy self, until she asks where "his friend" is. That seems a bit weird -- Debbie knew Kem well enough to introduce her by her full name, yet Kem's like, "Yeah, that dried-up blonde who worked some place and was here that time." Carter says she's on a food convoy to Goma, and at his prodding, Kem admits that Peter's away at a conference in Nairobi doing things that are almost as boring as what we've been forced to sit through so far. Carter can't hear her, so he scoots down the table and sits across from her.

"How's your study coming?" he asks. She grins that it's full, with a perfect adherence rate. Carter is impressed. The Beard twitches with lust. This thing is aching to belong to a pirate, I think. Kem and Carter make small talk for a while -- she's half-Congolese, with a French mother who left her father and raised her in London, and of course Carter's a native of Chicago with Snow White for a mother, a controlling patrician grandmother, and Captain Spineless for a dad. Kem's never been to America. "I've seen it in the movies," she shrugs with a giggle. The Beard swigs some moonshine and contemplates asking her to suck on its peg leg. Carter cuts it off by asking her to dance. They leave.

We fade to Kem and Carter back at the table later that night, after the place has clearly closed. He's asking what her most embarrassing moment is and she's cutely refusing to tell; right as she admits that it involved a lack of clothing, the lights come on inside. "Oh, thank God," Kem says, calling out a thank-you in French to the woman who flipped the switch. Then they get up to leave and don't go inside at all, which is weird to me. I can't really figure out what they were waiting for, but evidently, it was just their cue to walk across the set. Chattily, Kem asks what happened to Celine. "She's doing great," Carter smiles. "I got her on ARVs." Kem's stunned. Carter says he had a friend ship him the pills. "You smuggled them in?" she gasps. "No, I used FedEx," he says, amused. Kem shakes her head and walks away from him. Carter doesn't get it. Kem wheels and spits that all drugs entering the country have to go through the ministry. "You didn't have the resources to include her in your study," Carter counters. So? The law is the law, ass. Kem can't believe how expensive that is, nor that Carter paid for the drugs out of his own pocket. "I could treat four patients a year with what you're spending every month!" she gapes. Then she rants that it took her two years of blood and sweat to get all the approvals, and the funding, and then Carter trots along with his checkbook and his FedEx account and threatens her work by acting like Santa Pharmacist. He doesn't really get what she's saying. "It's not sustainable," she seethes. "What happens to that poor woman when you leave? Are you going to keep on shipping her drugs for the rest of her life?" Carter shrugs with a condescendingly approving smirk that he was planning on it, yes. Kem challenges him: how will he monitor her progress? How will he prevent her from sharing the drugs with her kids, which helps none of them? How will the FedEx guy find her? "What's going to happen to your patients when your funding ends?" Carter retorts, still grinning. I want to slap the smirk off his face. It's like he's mocking her. He broke the rules, and he's mocking her for being upset about his self-righteousness. I so did not miss Carter. He's roundly unappealing now, and not just because The Beard is now sucking on two wenches and sporting a parrot. Kem's just upset that Carter's started Celine on these drugs without necessarily being able to ensure that he can continue supplying her. "And you can?" Carter says. Kem nods defiantly, her eyes flashing, and spits that she's trying to show the world that ARV therapy works her way, and that she can save cash with the generics, in addition to millions of lives. Carter throws up his hands with a twinkle. "I'm just trying to save one," Carter says. Whoa there, John, you're going to throw out your back if you so vigorously keep trying to pat yourself on it. Kem snaps, "One's not enough!" She stalks away. Are we supposed to think this sort of exchange is what made her fall for Carter? I can buy that he digs her, but he is so condescending and smarmy to her and his beard is such a combination of Ugly Pirate and Maurice Gibb that it's unfathomable to me that Kem lets Carter see her naked.

At the hospital the next day, Charles runs up to Carter and tells him that Kem's there looking for Celine. Carter is alarmed to learn that Kem has spoken to Angelique, and runs out to find them. When he does, Kem is speaking gently to Celine in French while Angelique crosses her arms and fixes him with a stony gaze. Still with an element of "Ride me, Long John," but mostly pissed. "You shipped in drugs," she accuses. Carter's like, "Hey, whatever." Which sucks, because if he'd gotten in trouble, that whole clinic might've, too. Ass. Checkbooks don't solve everything. Kem turns to Carter and tells him that she's enrolling Celine in her program. "I thought you were full," he says, surprised. "I was," she says, leaving. Carter follows her, so she says, "I met this rich American who can afford to commit fifteen thousand [dollars] a year to my study for the next five years," she says. Wow. She's got balls. "You can afford that, can't you?" she says, softening a bit. Carter, bemused, nods. That kind of money will allow forty more people into her program, so Kem's letting Celine be one of them. Carter doesn't know when to stop, so he suggests that she admit the two kids, too. Kem sighs. "Don't push your luck, Doctor," she says. Carter nods and smiles, and Kem pauses, and then runs up to him and kisses him on each cheek. Carter glows like a little kid, because he's snagged a woman by doing nothing but act like a shitmunch. A little kid watches him and grins. Carter shrugs and giggles. We fade to black thinking that now The Beard has taken on a startling lumberjack element, and we wonder if Carter wears high heels and a bra, and wishes he'd been a girlie just like his dear papa. It so wouldn't surprise me if Captain Spineless wore lingerie, by the way. Not that I ever need to see Stephen Keaton in a teddy, so let's all pray I'm wrong.

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