ER: The couples, the wedding and the commitment in I Do

I Do tells as story about an impromptu wedding, but it is another couple who we hear firmly state their commitment to each other.

Episode 9 in season 12, titled I Do, is yet another episode that shows just how well thought-through the ER stories are. It starts with Neela and Michael having fun under the covers and we understand that Michael spontaneously asked Neela to marry him that same day. We spend the episode thinking that the title refers to them, watching them happy, giddy and nervous as they plan the wedding that takes place later at the hospital chapel.

Luka’s reply is as much a commitment as any wedding vow.

Not until the absolute last second do we realise that the words in the title did not refer to their wedding at all, or at least not only, but to Luka’s ”I do” to Abby’s question, if he really thinks they should be doing this (being together). Luka’s reply is as much a commitment as any wedding vow. Although he whispers it, his statement is loud and clear.

I do A and LNeela says “I do” in the morning on the train, stating that she does want to get married, but we never get to hear them say the words during the ceremony. The difference between the last shot of Luka and Abby hot and heavy in bed, and the one of Neela and Michael on the train, gives us a hint of the different fates of their relationships, unfortunately.

I do N and MThe reality of that impromptu decision seems to have caught up with the young doctors and, in addition of the expression in their faces and their body language, I can’t help but to put relevance to the fact that they are riding backwards on the train.

Read more about I Do in the post about Luka’s story, where it is presented from his perspective: ER’s Abby and Luka, part 1: Luka’s story through 10 episodes

I Do is written by Lydia Woodward and directed by Gloria Muzio.

Note! Photo and video are screenshots from DVD. Material owned by Warner Bros Entertainment Ltd.

More about great episodes here: ER: Great episodes
Like Abby and Luka? Check this page out: ER’s Abby and Luka

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ER’s Abby and Luka: 10 moments showing how Split Decisions is encompassing everything about these two

Split Decisions — while sweet, serious, hilarious and hot — touches on so many pain points of Abby and Luka’s past at the same time as it so charmingly shows their utter excitement of the future.

I didn’t realise at first that writing about Split Decisions would be such a long post. Although I love the episode I have never seen it as an absolute favourite, but watching it again, I see how brilliantly it touches on so many pain points of Abby and Luka’s past at the same time as it shows their excitement of the future, and it does this while sweet, serious, hilarious and totally hot.

The quick glances they share are filled with uncertainty and care, grief and sadness, compassion, love and understanding in the middle of all excitement. All in just about a second.

There are so many delicate scenes with them adjusting to the fact that they are having a baby. The scenes are confirming just how it was never about not wanting for Abby, only to have the courage to keep the baby. Now she is so excited, yet at the same time so scared, in the sweetest emotional mix. Here are 10 glorious moments:

1. The excitement of having a baby

That first bedroom scene, filmed partly from above, is just filled with little miracles including Luka’s groaning answer “barely” to her demanding “are you awake?” And yes, although the hormones keeps her from sleeping, it is obvious, so does her excitement.

SD excitementIt is worth noting that it is mostly Abby’s excitement that is expressed in this whole episode. That Luka wanted more than anything to have another child we already know and we learn that he has already told his father. And that very happy “we’re having a baby” says all about what he feels. Yet, in the rest of the episode, and actually all through the pregnancy he is rather low-key about it. He has no need to express that excitement, he happily bears it inside of him, perhaps on purpose letting Abby’s excitement be prominent.

2. Jokingly facing Abby’s past

Abby has no plan telling her mother until maybe he’s in high-school, she tells Luka. “He?”  ”I just think I would be better with a boy. The mother-daughter dynamics just scares the hell out of me.” I love how they are so much more comfortable with talking to each other. Not only does Abby express her feelings about her mother, Luka has the courage to joke a bit about it, remember how he emphasises ”your mother”?

3. The comfortable breakfast scene with the uncomfortable subject

SD breakfastThen there is the breakfast scene with Abby declaring she wants be prepared and therefor go comparison-shopping. They are so comfortable together at the table you get the feeling she has already moved in, but they still dance around the subject about actually doing so. Luka has kind of asked her once, and Abby broke up with him, so he won’t do that mistake again. Abby seems defensive and starts taking about her own apartment. She is obviously scared about committing and moving in, still it might be that she would have wanted Luka to ask. Abby in a nutshell these days, excited but super-scared, and Luka is taking it easy, he won’t push as he did once before.

4. Luka never getting those jokes

First he is as usual not getting Abby’s joke. “Maybe a little mobile of famous Croatian diplomats?” Ok, it was not the best of jokes, although Abby tells it adorably. Later he makes me squirm uncomfortably as he is trying to make a joke about identical twins and custody and just fails miserably. He should just leave it be.

5. That crotch glance!

SD crotch glanceI can’t help but blush a little every time I watch Abby’s quick glance at Luka’s crotch while uttering her infamous ”if your mutant Croatian seed causes me to have twins…”. Is that only me?

6. Saying it out loud for the first time

Again Abby’s excitement and the need to make it real shines through when Abby tries to express it out loud when the nice clerk lady asks who it is for: ”It’s for me… us. We’re having a baby. Together.” Finally, she got to say it and it felt good.

It reminds me of an episode in season 13 when they have decided to get married, but Luka does not want to tell the colleagues in the ER. He does say it to a random pair of patients though, and you could feel how he loved saying it out loud, to make it real, without revealing it everybody.

7. Being a normal guy

SD Abby and Luka making faceIt’s is not often Luka gets to be the “normal” guy, in this case the one that is not happy to be be shopping, trying things on etc. The subtle eye-roll and making that one face is rather sweet and funny though, because we know he really wants the baby and actually is the epitome of support. It’s like Luka wants it to be normal, not always have everything affected by his past. Then again, it will pop up…

8. Thoughtfully facing Luka’s sad past

SD Abby and Luka yesMaybe this is my favorite moment of the episode, the looks they give each other before and after Luka answers “yes” to the question from the clerk lady if the baby is their first. Abby didn’t know what to answer, but Luka quickly came to her rescue. It’s alright he seemed to say, there is no need to give all the details to a complete stranger. And the quick glances they share are filled with uncertainty and care, grief and sadness, compassion, love and understanding in the middle of all excitement. All in just about a second.

9. The screwball comedy when facing Luka’s embarrassing past

SD ScrewballThen it suddenly turns into screwball comedy as a woman from the hospital pharmacy walks into the baby store and Abby forces Luka to hide behind the stalls. He does not get why and Abby’s ”Oh Luka, every woman who works in the hospital knows who you are. Trust me” is funnily double-sided, if you ask me. Does she mean they know him because he is the tall, hot and handsome doctor at the ER or because he slept with half of them those months as he slowly fell into his depression?

10. The hotness and that magical fall to the floor

SD Hotness 2They make their way to the changing room and the rest is just sweet, hot and heavy conjoining. I just need understand how they in practice did that falling towards the floor? The squeaky rabbit letting us know they reached the bottom just finishes this Luby episode that is nothing but pure perfection.

The episode is written by R. Scott Gemmill and directed by Richard Thorpe.

Note! All photos are screenshots from DVD. Material owned by Warner Bros Entertainment Ltd.

You find more about Abby and Luka here: ER’s Abby and Luka
And more ER : More ER greatness

ER’s Abby and Luka: Using all their strength in 300 Patients

300 Patients is a beautiful but sad Christmas episode where Abby with a push from the hospital chaplain finally finds the courage to ask for help.

”Sometimes using all your strength means asking for help” is the message of the story the chaplain, played by Reiko Aylesworth, tells Abby in the lounge at the ER. ”I thought maybe you needed to hear it” is her reply when Abby asks her why she told her the story. And she was right, Abby did need to hear that.

Remember way back in season 8 when Abby and Luka broke up. “I don’t want help, I don’t want to be pitied. I don’t want to be saved” she told Luka. Her childhood, abandoned by her father and coping with a “crazy” mother, made her feel inferior and people trying to help her made her feel patronised. She had no-one to rely on as a kid and had been used to take of herself, so she wanted to be independent. And now she is also utterly ashamed.

Screenshot toralil, 300 PatientsThe Christmas episode of season 14, 300 Patients, is a truly heartbreaking one, although not tragic as such. The scene at home that starts with Luka playing with Joe, preparing him for the impending flight to Croatia, and Abby coming to sit behind them before the finally gets the courage to take the chaplain’s advice. This is probably one of my favourite Luby moments ever.

Abby is terrified of admitting the truth – the drinking, the cheating and the putting Joe in danger – afraid of what will happen if she does. Luka’s pain is somewhat the same, knowing something wrong, but also afraid of finding out and what that will do to them, confronting her without daring to ask the questions out loud. Abby’s kissing him on the neck before finally saying those words: ”I need help.” Luka freezing, but then never taking his eyes away from her. Two people so evidently in fear and in pain.

Screenshot toralil, 300 patients
Their continuous scene is four minutes long, which seems really unusual for a such a scene, just two persons talking quietly. It’s a heartbreaking one. The confession, the sadness, the wish to get more information than there is a strength to offer. There is no fighting or arguing. The blame is put only on themselves, never on each other.

Screenshot toralil, 300 Patients
“This is how we do it together, you have to help me do it alone”, is Abby’s final solution for them to move on. The guilt ridden Abby knows this is on her to fix. He will take Joe to the funeral in Croatia. She will go to a rehab facility. The heartbroken, but ever supportive Luka, finds his strength to – reluctantly – agree. It’s not a happy Christmas for the two of them, but finally they are on some kind of path forward, without quite knowing yet where it will lead.

300 Patients, also the 300th episode of ER, is written by Joe Sachs and David Zabel and directed by John Wells.

Note! All photos are screenshots from DVD. Material owned by Warner Bros Entertainment Ltd.

For more about  ER, check out: ER’s Abby and Luka and ER: Favourite episodes

ER’s Luka and Carter: The journeys, the brutality and the beauty of Kisangani and The Lost

In Kisangani and The Lost we get a brutal story about war and its victims, a glimpse of the fantastic work of Doctors Without Borders as well as the seeing Carter and Kovac find new purpose and meaning in life.

Nine years into ER it shows with grandiosity how it is still an amazing show. In two episodes, the last of season 9, Kisangani, and the second of season 10, The Lost, the screenwriters John Wells and David Zabel together with the director Christopher Chulack do not only tell an incredibly captivating and brutal story about war and its victims but also about Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans Frontières and their fantastic work. They also manage to magically weave in the inner journeys of two doctors, which both come to an end somewhere on the road in Congo. John Carter goes to Kisangani to find a greater purpose in life. Luka Kovac goes there to find any purpose at all, or maybe he goes there to die.

ER Kis 6
Luka spent season 9 being depressed. It was triggered by Abby choosing Carter instead of coming back to him. The reason itself was more likely the pain over the family that died and the guilt of being alive himself. You could also sense a death wish when Luka after having caused the death of a patient drove his Porsche into a building. After using a prostitute as therapist and getting an ultimatum from Weaver he tries to shape up before he decides to once again join Doctors Without Borders.

ER Kis 2
Carter comes from a very wealthy family and working as an ER doctor at the county hospital for little money seemed like a way for him to do good and give back in a way that his parents did not. When he realises that Abby is not the woman for him at the same time as his beloved grandmother dies he is distraught and when Luka asks him to come to Kisangani he knows he wants to go.

ER Kis 1
It’s a somewhat shocked and astounded Carter that realises the situation at the primitive hospital he has arrived to and gets a lesson in what symptoms means what diseases and what medicines are available. Both we and Carter get brutally aware of the everyday life where pneumonia and malaria are the milder ailments, polio, aids and not to forget the shooting and machete injuries, the worse.

ER Kis 5
While Carter sees the bad things, there is not enough or the right medicines to help, Luka sees the good: “We vaccinated 200 kids today. We saved their lives.” At the very basic clinic in Matenda Carter starts to feel at ease. Luka laughs and seems really happy in the midst of everything. He seems to be at home. When the war comes close he refuses to go back to Kisangani, he won’t leave his patients. He seems utterly calm and in harmony as he tends to his patients after Carter and the others have left. He is not afraid of the danger because Luka is not afraid to die.

ER Kis 9
When the rebels come back he runs to the woods with a child in his arms and it’s like he gets to do what he could not do with his own family. When his malaria stops him he urges the others to continue without him. Captured with tied hands, shaking from the fever, bruised and prepared to die, Luka says a prayer for the first time in a very long while, a prayer that actually saves him. Maybe he is not supposed to die after all. Luka is believed to be dead though and Carter comes back to Congo to find his body. Back in Africa and looking for his colleague he realises that he should stay. He has found his calling at the same time as Luka found his will to live.

ER Kis 4
What is so beautiful with this story also is how Carter and Luka find the respect for each other. While they both were pining for Abby they pretended it wasn’t there, but the fact that Luka asked Carter to come shows that of course there was some respect there already. In Congo it didn’t just grow unlimited. No, it almost feels like love when Luka reaches for Carter to give him a kiss on the cheek and thanks him for saving him. Maybe if you have stood on your knees next to each other, with guns pointed at your heads, there are no other feelings left to have for each other, even if you once fought over the same woman.

Note! All photos are screenshots from DVD. Material owned by Warner Bros Entertainment Ltd.

For more about  ER, check out: ER’s Abby and Luka and ER: Favourite episodes

ER’s Abby and Luka: The banter, the stubble and the declaration in Witch Hunt

In Witch Hunt Luka gives his final confirmation that he is ready for the relationship with Abby at the same time as her insecurities are starting to surface.

Once in a while there is a great Luby episode that is not named after the Luby storyline. Witch Hunt refers to the story of Weaver and Legaspi, but still it’s very significant in the Luby season 7 narrative.

In the previous episode The Crossing, Luka makes his reluctant confession to the dying bishop and finally manages to put his guilt behind him and focus on the future and his relationship with Abby.

Screenshot toralil, Witch Hunt, Abby and Luka
It is a new Luka we see in the opening of Witch Hunt. First of all, they are in Abby’s apartment. We know Abby complained earlier that they always spent their nights in Luka’s hotel room (”the room-service guy has seen all my pajamas”).

Secondly he is happy with a big smile on his face as he is sneaking up on a sleeping Abby with coffee. She starts off making a joke already before she has opened her eyes and they continue the cute morning banter about breakfast, being a morning person and Luka’s choices of places to live. They are both very cheerful and light-hearted.

Luka has bought the morning paper and is comfortably settling in Abby’s bed (and in her life) to start planning his quest for an apartment. He does no longer feel like a visitor in Chicago. He is ready to make it a permanent home. It’s a continuation of what he said in A Walk in the Woods, he is ready to go home (and really be with Abby).

The cheerfulness do not follow them to work. Abby leaves a baby alone in the examination room for a second and the baby disappears. (I was actually shocked she left a small baby alone on a bed, and thought the story would be the baby falling down, but no, it got snatched.)

As the police is looking for the child Luka approaches Abby at the ambulance bay, cautiously trying to comfort and distract her by asking her to help him with a pair of twin patients.

Screenshot toralil, Witch Hunt, Abby and Luka
Abby’s ”you should get someone else” is declaring how her insecurities is coming to surface, here about her capabilities at work, later about her fear of being in an emotional relationship just waiting to get hurt. She wants him to leave her alone, on which he replies that he can’t.

”I want YOU” Luka emphasises, clearly referring not only to Abby the nurse, but to Abby the woman. This is his final confirmation that he is ready for their relationship to be something more. She is no longer something that happened to him, something he feels ambiguous about. He wants her, he chooses her and he is letting her know.

Witch Hunt is written by R. Scott Gemmill and directed by Guy Norman Bee.

Note! All photos are screenshots from DVD. Material owned by Warner Bros Entertainment Ltd.

For more about ER, check out: ER’s Abby and Luka and ER: Favourite episodes

ER’s Abby and Luka: How the ending perfectly fit their stories

The stories of Abby and Luka get the endings that perfectly reflects the journeys they have travelled through their nine years in the County General’s ER.

I love how the writers, led by David Zabel, focus on different things in Abby and Luka’s last (main) episodes respectively and emphasize their separate personal journeys as well as their common one.

The Chicago Way (14×19)

Luka’s last episode is really The Chicago Way, where he mourns, contemplates and takes to heart that nothing stays the same and there is no magical happily ever after. When one is weak the other one has to be strong and if they just keep rowing the boat, they will be okey.

He loves Abby, he wants their family and he knows finally how to let go of the pain. The show ends for him having what he longed for from the beginning – a family again, not just with anyone though, but with someone he truly loves.

Screenshot toralil, Abby and Luka kissing in The Chicago Way

The Book of Abby (15×03)

Abby’s last episode, The Book of Abby, gives a testament to her personal and professional growth over the years. She is now very confident in her role as a doctor. Her self criticism has turned into self confidence, she is even prepared to joke about it and show it off.

The episode also emphasises on ”keeping your head up” telling Abby to stop stumbling around, looking down at her problems and failures, but instead to look forward and see the possibilities as she and Luka moves to Boston. She has learned to let go of her fears and that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but something that requires strength.

Screenshot by Tora, The Book of Abby

It’s hard to imagine a better ending for these two. Their respective journeys have taken them to where they are now and made a loving and successful relationship possible. The ER writing team knew them so well, had a clear vision of where they were heading and understood how to give them a perfectly fitting ending. Not all long running shows manage to do that for their main characters.

Note! All photos are screenshots from DVD. Material owned by Warner Bros Entertainment Ltd.

For more about ER, check out: ER’s Abby and Luka and ER: Favourite episodes

ER’s Abby and Luka: Looking for answers in A Walk in the Woods

Season 7 is the one where Abby and Luka are struggling to connect and in episode 14, Luka’s patient the bishop helps them on a new path.

In October 2001, The New York Times called Abby and Luka’s season 7 hookup “the most fascinating relationship on prime-time TV”. I totally agree although I have slightly different take on the relationship itself. There is no doubt these two were attracted to each other and that they cared about each other. Still they are struggling to really connect as the fear of letting someone in and the hesitation of getting close to someone again is looming.

A Walk in the Woods is depicting much of this and it starts off with four amorous morning scenes with four couples of the show. The last ones out are Abby and Luka who just concludes some morning loving and I have always loved this after-sex small talk that has so much in it. I find it very sweet and intimate in their own, introverted kind of way and the way Abby cautiously start to talk and explore is something the really have not done before.

I have also come to love that whole episode and realising how that first scene sets up the rest of the episode for these struggling love birds.

Screenshot by toralil, A Walk in the WoodsThe scene itself is beautiful:

  • Abby’s tender kissing of his hand as they finish sex.
  • Their sweet mutual check to see if the other one is okey.
  • How Luka first says “nothing really” before honestly telling her he is thinking about the bishop at the hospital.
  • How Abby feels comfortable to make a joke: ”Making love with me makes you think about a priest with lupus?”
  • Luka laughing, appreciating the joke.
  • Abby using the ”making love”-words again as she is noticing that Luka looks at her when doing that.
  • How Abby connects Luka’s thinking about the bishop with him thinking about his past, and hesitates but then asks him about his dead wife.
  • How Luka never stops touching her, stroking  her hand, her hair and letting his lips touch her head.
  • How Luka quietly tells Abby what she wants to know.
  • How Abby is not threatened by his answers, but happy he had loved.

It’s all very soft and low-key and shows their relationship is more to them then just something casual. That the want to connect even though they are struggling to do it. They talked, even if not using so many words. They opened up, if only just a little bit.

Screenshot by toralil, A Walk in the WoodsIn a later scene Abby goes to find Luka in the ambulance bay, and I love that fact that she goes and finds him (”we always seem to find each other”). He is upset about the bishop leaving the hospital against medical advice. Abby understands him, not only that he is worried about the bishop, but that Luka needs him. She is the one telling him to go after the bishop and help him, understanding it will also help Luka.

Screenshot by toralil, Abby and Luka in A Walk in the WoodsThe bishop’s story about a walk in the woods, when he was feeling lost, not knowing which way to go, as he tells Luka at the church, becomes Luka’s story. And when Abby again comes to find Luka in their final scene, Luka is also looking for answers in the snow. He too is lost and confused, not finding it as easy as he first thought perhaps to actually move on with another woman. When Abby shows up he takes another look towards the sky before deciding he is ready to go home with her and be with her, not only physically but emotionally. It will just takes another visit to the bishop and a heartbreaking confession before he is completely ready.

A Walk in the Woods is written and directed by John Wells.

Note! All photos are screenshots from DVD. Material owned by Warner Bros Entertainment Ltd.

For more about ER, check out: ER’s Abby and Luka and ER: Favourite episodes