“Scrubs” Recap: My Full Moon

By Stacey Harrison

No J.D., no problem. In what I’m pretty sure is a first for the show, Zach Braff does not appear in a single shot, nor is his voice even used (a la an episode earlier this season), and there is no narration by any character. Yet the episode still has the “my” in the title for some reason. He’s not the only one missing. Cox, Carla, Janitor, Jordan, Ted and Kelso are all no-shows. Still, it’s a decent episode — one of the better ones this year — delving into some of the nitty gritty of being a doctor and pulling off that signature Scrubs balance between silly comedy and poignant drama.

J.D.’s absence is explained right away — even though Elliot isn’t supposed to tell the whole story — by saying he’s taken Sam to Disneyland. Turk is put out, re: pouting like a baby, because they were supposed to go to Disneyland together when they both turn 40. Elliot is covering for J.D. (So, does she work at the hospital, or is she still private practice? And if she’s private practice, how can she cover for J.D.? I’m confused.) and is stuck at the hospital overnight with Turk and the interns. Said interns are getting a bit big for their britches, thinking they know it all, and the two make it their quest to dispel them of that notion before the night is over. They get off to a good start with a nice joke involving Turk jumping out of a hazardous waste barrel and scaring the bejesus out of them.

They each get assigned various oddball patients, with the glasses dude (Howie?) trying to coax a crazy guy into telling him how he poisoned himself. The man believes everyone he meets is a pod person. Katie tries to get a loony patient to not bite at his newly sutured arms. Sunny needs to get a woman with privacy issues to pass gas so they can be sure a recent surgery was successful, and Derek is showing off how good he is at sticking needles in people. Well, Howie is outright lied to, Katie’s advice falls on deaf ears, Sunny finds she has privacy issues of her own, and Derek inadvertently makes a woman’s lung collapse.

Elliot has trouble of her own, convinced that a patient is anorexic, despite the woman’s claims to the contrary. It causes some deep navel-gazing on her part, as she and Turk watch the interns try to figure it all out and musing on their own time before they were real doctors. It’s an odd conversation, including a tangent on what would have happened had they hooked up instead of picking J.D. and Carla. The image of Turk’s sex dream involving naughty nurse Elliot from seasons yore popped up in my head, so the bit wasn’t a total loss.

The interns eventually overcome their troubles, the funniest being Sunny forever tainted by “30 years of repression” after her patient finally farts. Turk, being a guy, has to ask how it smelled. “Like hot dogs,” she says, confirming his previous theory about female flatulence. Derek and Denise hook up, with her being turned on by his humiliation at hurting a patient, and the knowledge that he used to be 260 pounds. She’s a chubby chaser, remember. The lack of confidence excites her.

Elliot discovers her patient is indeed not anorexic, but HIV positive. While she’s fulfilled at having solved the mystery, it ends up taking a toll. That all leads to a really weird ending monologue by Elliot about her frustration at being a doctor. She can’t get past causing patients trauma by giving them bad news. Enough so that she says if she ever settles down with a family and doesn’t need the money, that she would give up being a doctor. Very out of character, but keep in mind that the final episode is only weeks away, and that it involves J.D. moving to a different hospital. No doubt they’re setting up a final thread for Elliot to sew up.

Highlight: The Todd getting major screen time, informing Howie that only he is allowed to high-five. And the fact that he lets an “I nailed it” comment slide without converting it into a Todd-ism should show you how serious he is.

Lowlight: The HIV-vie. Really, really bad. The world is just not ready for an HIV-inspired dance.

Next week begins the two-part oceanside wedding of Janitor and Lady. They’re calling it “My Soul on Fire,” but I prefer “Scrubs Goes to the Beach!!!” These are the kinds of things shows do on their way out.