Fangirl Sunday – Three Rivers ep 5 “Alone Together” #AlexOLoughlin

A key episode in the series, “Alone Together” examines the themes of love in the face of incredible difficulties: Adultery, bitterness and the inability to find compromise, just to name a few.

Donor: Jackson White, West Virginian, intentional adulterer, accidental nudist

Recipient: Boyle, theater professor, intensely unpleasant person

Transplant Type: Liver

Medical Dilemma: There isn’t one, this is pretty cut and dry on the medical side of things. The drama we do have, however, is the struggle of Dr. Lee to do his best for a patient who takes every opportunity to be rude, demeaning, and derogatory to him in return.



A police SWAT team gets into position outside an apartment door in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood. Detective Philip Lombardi, backed up by a female partner, identifies himself and they move in to arrest their suspect. The detectives corner the criminal in his infant’s bedroom and there’s an intense standoff, which Lombardi resolves peacefully. However, as the arrest is being made, Lombardi falls to the floor in pain, clutching his left arm — it appears he’s having a heart attack. His partner calls an ambulance and directs he be taken to Three Rivers…

Kuol catches up with Andy and Ryan in the halls of the hospital and shows off his new Rock Band guitar controller, a gift from the church which is supporting Kuol’s stay in the United States. Kuol wants the keys to Andy’s hospital-based-hotel-room… not for the same reasons you or I would want them, but for access to the large screen tv he’s heard is in there – to enhance his rock n’ roll gaming experience.


Andy says no and tries to walk off but Kuol body-checks him in a way we can only dream of doing ourselves and asks again; Andy insensitively wonders how a guy from Sudan even ever heard of MotΓΆrhead (reminds me of Mick & Beth’s “I like Dashboard Confessional” / “No you don’t.”) and Kuol turns on the guilt, turning his request for Andy’s room key into his dying request, which, hmm…. we wouldn’t go that far to get into his room, now, would we? πŸ˜‰

Andy teasingly threatens to cancel Kuol’s heart transplant if he doesn’t leave him alone and Kuol stomps off in a mock huff… as Andy realizes Kuol stole his room keys! Go Kuol!


The scene transitions to West Virginia (about an hour’s drive away from Pittsburgh) for a semi-funny, semi-serious scene of a naked man sneaking out of his lover’s house as his wife threatens everyone in the general vicinity with her revolver. Jackson, the cheating cheater, is hit by a garbage truck as he attempts to cross the street with only a pizza box covering his nethers. That had to be an ugly scene for the paramedics!

Back at Three Rivers ER, the ambulance has delivered Philip Lombardi to Lisa, who takes over his care. Andy appears in the ER and puts his arm around the female detective asking if she is ok, and this is Rena, the wife from whom Andy is separated.


Andy and Philip greet each other as old friends, and when Andy tells Philip that Lisa’s “the best,” Rena gets a jealous little glint in her eye. Some medical discussion occurs, Andy wants a chest x-ray, the head of the ER wants to proceed without it, and Lisa is caught in the middle… and what’s a girl to do? She lets Andy run the x-ray.

After the x-ray, Andy and Rena discuss Philip’s relationship with his fiancee, Rebecca, and Andy asks Rena if she’s interested in going to couples counseling – she says she has to think about it…


All the other show’s characters we haven’t seen thus far (Dr. Jordan, Dr. David Lee & Dr. Miranda Foster are visiting with a very difficult patient, Professor Boyle. He has thrown up on the floor instead of the receptacles provided, and is making rude and racist comments to the three of them. His liver condition is deteriorating rapidly. It appears this difficult man will soon be dead.

Back in Wheeling, WV, Jackson’s wife, mourning over her cheating husband’s death, has agreed to allow the hospital to collect his liver for donation. Ryan makes the match to Professor Boyle as the doctors and nurses celebrate, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – Boyle will soon be out of the hospital and out of their lives.


Dr. Jordan sends Miranda and Ryan to Wheeling for the procurement while David stays behind to do Boyle’s pre-op, seeing this assignment as a “punishment.”

Andy and Lisa review Philip’s x-rays and determine that the standard treatment for his MI (“heart attack”) could exacerbate other internal bleeding going on in his heart – a dangerous aortic aneurysm. Philip needs surgery right away or he will die. Unfortunately, those anti-clotting medications he was given to treat the heart attack he didn’t have make immediate surgery impossible; until his blood can coagulate again, surgery will have to wait. Rebecca is understandably distraught at this news, but Andy and Rena do their best to comfort her.


Dr. Jordan and Dr. Lee deliver the news to Boyle that he’s been matched to Jackson’s liver, and his reaction is understated to say the least. Dr. Jordan tells David to get on that pre-op work and Boyle requests that someone else – not a resident – does his treatment. He works in a few personal insults towards Dr. Lee in making this request. Dr. Jordan will have none of it though, keeping her assignments as stated.


Rebecca is permitted to visit with Philip for a minute before Andy begins surgery. Their love is so fresh, touching, and pure, coming later in life and all the more valued for that. Rena and Andy, looking in on them are highly affected, and hold hands as they watch.


Doing the pre-op work, Boyle continues to needle David, who does his best to put up a defensive front. However, an ill-placed comment about Boyle’s lack of visitors or gifts in his room generates a swift and strong reaction. It is revealed that Boyle’s partner died of AIDS during a time (anytime in the last 30 years up until last week, actually) when a gay man’s partners were not allowed visitation in their hospital rooms. David is sufficiently chastised and unable to respond or look Boyle in the face.

Dr. Jordan rips into Dr. Lee for his behavior in Boyle’s room. David defends himself, saying he didn’t say anything out of line. Dr. Jordan’s opinion is that patients facing their imminent mortality get a “pass” on their bad behavior. David pouts and asks if he’s just supposed to put up with Boyle and Dr. Jordan plays the ace up her sleeve: David’s a good doctor with the potential to be a great one. But he has to learn to “love the unlovable.” All his life he’s been on a pedestal, a child of privilege, smarter than average, charming and handsome. Blessed in every respect. He hasn’t run into much adversity and has always been well liked. Boyle presents a challenge which David has never yet encountered.


Wheeling, we have a problem. It appears the liver has been double-booked, and the local physician, Dr. Yorn, is about to procure it for his patient, making it unavailable for Boyle. Ryan gets on the phone to UNOS while Miranda frantically tries to intervene, to prevent the liver from slipping through their fingers.

Miranda tries to block Yorn’s enterence to the surgical suite and a scuffle ensues. She’s pulled away from the door by a security guard, and her arms fly into Yorn’s face, breaking his nose as if she’d punched him. Whoops! Miranda is hilariously, literally, BODILY LIFTED by the security guard and moved out of the operating room.

Rebecca and Rena are waiting in Andy’s office. On Andy’s desk is a picture of him and Rena kissing… Awww! Rebecca encourages Rena to patch things up with Andy on the basis of “if it all ended tomorrow,” as she tearfully considers a future without Philip. Meanwhile, Andy and Pam perform the aneurysm repair surgery on Philip. After a few tense moments, the stent is successfully deployed.

An alarm sounds and Dr. Jordan rushes into Boyle’s room. Boyle, feeling he is dying, wishes his old doctor, Dr. Foster (aka Miranda’s father) were still alive to treat him. His emotion evokes a similar reaction in Dr. Jordan — it appears the relationship between old Dr. Foster and Dr. Jordan was maybe more than a professional one… but just how close was their friendship?


Andy comes to tell Rena and Rebecca about the success of the stent but he’s hardly arrived when Pam rushes in with news Philip has crashed. It’s back to the OR. Instead of trying the same procedure again, Andy decides to do the full aneurysm repair, which includes cutting open Philip’s chest. Though there’s a chance Philip’s blood may not be clotting yet, it’s a chance they have to take. Pam and Andy work frantically to correct Philip’s aneurysm, but he’s bleeding profusely, making their work difficult and his blood pressure drop dangerously low.

Back in Wheeling…. the liver belongs to Boyle, Miranda begins her procurement. Dr. Yorn is going to send Miranda the bill for his rhinoplasty. She doesn’t give two flips. She got the liver and that’s all she cared about. Go Miranda!


Andy tells Rena and Rebecca the surgery was a success. Rebecca rushes off to visit with Philip, but before she does, emphatically thanks Andy and gets a great hug in while Rena looks on, impressed with her husband and happy her partner’s life is on the mend.


The liver has arrived so Dr. Jordan brings a heavily sedated Boyle into the operating room. Before he goes under though, he talks about how Dr. Jordan loved Dr. Foster… that they were lovers… Pam, attempting to leave Dr. Jordan with some dignity, says that people say crazy things when they’re under sedation. Everyone in the OR – and there are a LOT of people in this particular OR – nod vigorously in agreement.


Miranda walks in with the cooler containing the liver and everyone stares at her. Boyle’s still rambling on so the anesthesiologist puts a mask on him to prevent any further words…


Andy and Rena talk over their marital woes in the Three Rivers courtyard. In truth, they are both married to their jobs, places where their priorities are evident. “When’s the last time you didn’t spend Thanksgiving with Pam?” Rena asks, rhetorically. Andy finds there’s nothing he can say to Rena to make her relent. It’s a confusing situation. Andy wants kids. Rena maybe wants them with a man who isn’t addicted to work. But she admits she also prioritizes her career. Andy says that having a life with Rena is more important than saving lives at the hospital. But somehow, they can not get on the same page. They love each other though, so they kiss and part ways.


David Lee sits in Boyle’s recovery room waiting for his patient to come to. The surgery was a success. David brought Boyle flowers in apology and appreciation and takes the extra step to wipe the man’s tears, showing his true (if learned) servant’s heart. Boyle apologizes to David and thanks him. An amazing scene, moving and so well performed by these fine actors!


The next morning, Andy is startled awake by the sound of the Rock Band game, speakers apparently turned up to 11. It’s Kuol! Andy is cranky at the invasion but Kuol explains how lonely it gets in the hospital… and Andy’s just putty in Kuol’s hands. Andy doesn’t have a wife, but he does have a friend! Aww!



So what we have here is a very important episode of Three Rivers! Character growth for David Lee, development of Miranda Foster, background on Sophia Jordan and her relationship with Miranda’s father as well as finally meeting Rena, and seeing her with Andy! The trade-off for having so much character stuff was the minimum attention paid to the donor Jackson White – though we did get Sally White’s statement, which sets the theme of the episode: if you love someone, you must set them free.


General information on Organ Donation: Becoming a Donor (Organ, Understanding Donation .

If you are not yet a registered organ donor, please consider doing so. You can register here for USA,Canada, Australia, the UK, France and Germany .

NEW INFORMATION: If organ donation is not for you, there are other ways you can contribute to help your “fellow man” in need:

Blood donation One alternative to help those with blood loss is blood donation. One pint of blood, which takes about fifteen minutes to donate, can save three lives. And then you get a cookie! Visit America’s Blood Centers to find a donation center near you.

Bone Marrow From the website for the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. “For people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant.” Imagine if your bone marrow could cure a child with leukemia! I encourage you to visit this website and register as a donor. This is a donation you make while still living and in the words of Rebecca from this episode, “if you save one life, you save the world.”


42 thoughts on “Fangirl Sunday – Three Rivers ep 5 “Alone Together” #AlexOLoughlin

  1. I loved this episode so much It said a great deal and not always with words and Dr Andys FACE aka Alex’s acting OMG !!!!!
    Thank you so much for this SJ2. It’s lovely!!!

    • Many thanks! I felt Andy’s need to work things out with Rena played out in how he treated Philip – risky but potentially very rewarding! He really put all his effort into this patient & Alex did an amazing job with it.

  2. Thanks Ess for another great one of my favorite “Summer Sunday” posts, as I call them. This was a fantastic episode and the scenes with Kuol were so funny – I love him! It’s so good to have fun moments like these in a serious show, too.

  3. What a fantastic picspam/revu job this week! πŸ™‚

    My fave ep! Cuz as you said, it’s all about character development. Andy/Kuol bromance was epic. Epic! Would love to see the actor on 5-0 as someone from McG’s past. πŸ˜‰ Dr. Lee’s journey was also epic. Miranda as comic relief was unexpected, but fabulous! LOVED Alfre telling Dr. Lee that grumpy guy “gets a big fat flaming pass!”. πŸ˜† Loved the West Virginia widow chastising dead-Jackson for his taste in mistresses cuz “I’ve seen her shoe collection”. πŸ˜†

    As to Andy and Rena, soooo many feeeels. 😦 One of them being that Kelly Overton MUST have read this script and complained to producers, “but my character would never say this to him. She doesn’t want to have his children? LOOK AT HIM”!!!!!!!!! Amirite? πŸ˜‰

      • “Rena just didn’t want to be with Andy & that’s that.” <<<— THIS! exactly. Her reasons, while they make sense on some level really don't make sense. Did they not discuss this before they got married? anyway, she has a man who loves her unconditionally, you'd like to think that's common and easy to find but just like she saw with her partner, it's not always easy to find and just because she's beautiful doesn't mean her next man will love her like Andy. I get really annoyed at Rena because of this. The fact she didn't even want to do counseling spoke volumes. No matter what came out of her mouth, she had other reasons for not wanting to be with Andy.

        Not to mention I want to punch her every time I watch the scene where she grabs Andy's hand in the hospital room. Don't lead him on like that and then kick him in the heart later on. I hate that!

        • The only reason I want to give Rena the benefit of the doubt is that they said she & Andy knew each other since they were really young…. She knows all the bad stuff about him that we don’t… And we never really will…. FUCBS.

    • The only thing that scares me about them bringind Owiso Odero on (Kuol) is that that they’d probably let everyone else on show have scenes with him with the EXCEPTION of Alex. Bastards. #stillbitter

      Kuol is that person we all want to know. He’s the kind of person that makes you a better person for having known them. You know when you see them that they will make you feel better about yourself and life in general. They are rare gems but they exist. I had one in my life. #Thankful

      The “big fat flaming pass” makes me laugh every time. πŸ™‚ The WV widow was tragically underused….she was awesome. Funny and touching all at the same time. I really loved every moment she was on screen.

      Hahahaa! poor Kelly!! You’re so right!

      • Oh glory, you probably right. They’d put Owiso Odero in a side story with the cousins, or Danno and Gabby. πŸ™„
        Such a shame for HIM TR was canned… this was an amazing role for him.

        Not so much for Kelly. Bless her. Scripts cheated her outta a real performance.

        • It was a WONDERFUL role for Owiso and I’ve looked at his IMDB and sadly he hasn’t done much since then. FU CBS!!! You had a real treasure here!

          Kelly…you know she actually did do a great performance…I think maybe we’re all just a little too “WTF are you thinking” to notice. LOL!! I mean, she had to ACT like she didn’t want Andy….

  4. Excellent Fangirl Sunday! I really enjoyed seeing Dr Lee deal with his patient. A huge lesson in compassion. One of the great points of this show, really.

    I was so happy to learn more about Andy and Rena, although I think Rena is insane. πŸ™‚ It was just great to get more insight into his personal life and see what makes him tick. That must be a terrible dilemma, to want a home life yet be such a talented doctor. He needs to be with someone who can work around his doctor life, I guess, and Rena can’t do that.

    Side note: I thought it was funny that she carried a tactical gun like Steve does. Flashlights FTW?

    And of course, shirtless, robe, guitar, messy bedhead….*iz ded*

    “we wouldn’t go that far to get into his room, now, would we” <—I would

    • I’m sure Rena is an incredibly BAMF police detective with all the right accessories!! I wish I understood her better.

      And πŸ˜† I was wondering who would be first to confess they’d do anything for Andy’s key!!! Quite the prize!!!

      • I think with Dr. Jordan saying “sometimes you have to rip it all apart to put it back together again” would have come into play with Andy and Rena later on…and then maybe we would have understood Rena better. But now we’ll never know. Thank you CBS. NOT!

    • The hightlight of this entire episode to me (besides Andy and Kuol) was Dr. Lee and his patient. Compassion. It was needed and learned on both sides. Dr. Jordan’s comment about learning to love the unlovable was an epic statement and one that is the cornerstone of good medical care. You have to put your own feelings to the side for the most part and treat every patient as a patient…not as one who has a personality you may not like, beliefs you may not agree with or desires you don’t want to fulfill. To be a good doctor/nurse/admin/any level…. you have to get past yourself and see the patient for their illness.

      I really felt for both characters. Dr. Lee had every right to be mad and distant with Boyle yet he had to learn to get past himself. Boyle had to get past the wrongs done to him in the past to be able to accept the kindness and care given to him at present. It was a huge story and it touches me every single time i watch this episode. Remarkable performance done by both these actors.

      • Well said!

        I didn’t feel all that as deeply the first time I watched, maybe because I was focused on the Andy and Rena drama. The interactions between Lee and Boyle were much more poignant to me the second time I watched, when I could appreciate the depth of what they were saying.

        In some ways, I think the lessons for Boyle were the much harder ones to learn. You said it perfectly in that he had to accept the kindness given to him in the present. Dr. Lee had to grow up and learn an important lesson, espcially for a health caregiver, but it probably wasn’t as deeply personal to him. Perhaps, though. Definitely remarkable performances!

        • “In some ways, I think the lessons for Boyle were the much harder ones to learn” – ACA! While the issue was very personal to each of them, I think Boyle probably had the harder one. He was dying. Dying from an undignified and painful disease…who could blame him for being so full of hate? He didn’t seem to be a racist, he loved Dr. Jordan, unless he only had an issue with asians but i think more to the point he saw a young, handsome man who had money, charm, well liked, successful….who better to hate on when you’re lying on your death bed? For whatever reason he centered on Dr. Lee and it took a big, big man to step back, rethink it and move forward. Brava to Mr. Boyle.

  5. So much story in one episode. Thank you SJ2 for the lovelies and recap.

    I had to tweet Daniel yesterday after watching. He is so good in this role. And the line Boyle delivers: you are a man of much substance and grace. Uh, was so touching.

    Meeting Rena, Andy’s eye goes to Reed. Breaks my heart and makes me uncomfortable at the same time. Marriage vs workaholics, wow.

    And of course AOL cuteness beyond belief. Love how he says I’n instead of I’m still and how he pronounces coffee more like cafe. Why is it so sexy that he lives in a hotel? Mmmmm mind drifting.

    • That’s so cool you tweeted Daniel after the episode. πŸ™‚ I hope he appreciated it, I’m sure he did. I wonder if he was as ripped up as Alex was when it was cancelled?

      Andy and Dr. Reed….you can tell from the very beginning they had a bit of a flirtatious/attraction but Andy was always all about Rena. She was always on his mind. It was an uncomfortable, yet realistic situation for sure.

    • “substance and grace” yes, what a great line and a compliment David deserved after he learned his lesson with humility and openness. An amazing storyline all around, I’ve never seen anything quite like it on another show.

  6. First of all, thank you Steph, you did a fantastic job with this ep. Like with Lady Ess, this ep is one of my fav’s as well.

    Probably because of my job I could completely emphatize with David. In my case it’s less of a rasistic thing as ppl usually know it, but more a case of men coming from countries where their women still have no say in any matter. Then here comes little me, german of all things, and tells them what to do & what to pay & getting them to pay for their children. Harsh as it may sound in such moments you can’t effort to think about what the one opposite you may have gone through in their lifes. You’ve to take a stand & make it clear that you’re not going anywhere & the other just as to live with and adjust to it.

    Only after you did that can you try and build a better rapport, as it happened with David and Boyle too. They had it all out first before some respect could be given to each other. Lines had to be drawn first, once those are respected both sides can move forward.

    Rena & Andy, another storyline in this ep I enjoyed. They showed a relationship where the saying ‘Just because you love one another deeply, doesn’t mean you’re meant for each other’ becomes part of life. A sad saying, but nevertheless true in their case. You can feel their love for each other, but circumstances & their own convictions of what they deem important for their lifes (mainly saving others in their respective jobs) won’t bring them on the same level what’s needed to make a good family life.

    Also Andy’s fight for Philips life…seriously this show brings us more life-lessons than any other I’ve ever seen…going step by step, instead of rushing in full tilt and getting a disastrous result.

    Loved this ep from start to finish.

    • Jess I applaud you for the work that you do, it doesn’t sound like an easy job especially when you throw in gener bias which is sometimes even more deep rooted than race bias.

    • The reminder that we should be slow to judge others until we have walked with them on their journey is never a bad one… This is truly an extreme case but still one we can apply to our own lives…. I could never condone Boyle’s treatment of Lee but he did deserve more sympathy than he was getting from his resident doctor.

  7. Another heart rendering, emotional episode. Seeing Rena and Andy together was bittersweet. As much as I hated her for being honest, I loved her for being honest. But one thought crossed my mind (well more than one but..) if she was willing to have a baby w/another man, not a work-a-holic, would that mean she’d stop being a work-a-holic?? I doubt it. A lot of thought and soul searching went into this episode, they touched on a lot. Everyone had their own battles to fight. Seeing this show again after so many years makes me realize that, like Moonlight, it was a show that was just a head of its time.

    • ” if she was willing to have a baby w/another man, not a work-a-holic, would that mean she’d stop being a work-a-holic??” – i also doubt it. I agree with Steph that she didn’t want to have kids with Andy and this was an excuse…some truth to it, but also an excuse. Andy was willing to go to counseling, who knows…maybe one or both of them would have opened up to some form of adjustment but she wasn’t willing.

    • I think 3R may have been constrained by the limits of USA style of television…. I imagine a shorter season of longer episodes or mini movies in two or three parts… Like Sherlock or other BBC dramas on television currently…. Would have given the opportunity to tell the same good stories, but in greater depth. Just a thought. Doing everything this show wanted to achieve in 40 minutes a week, for potentially 24 weeks a year was a tall order.

  8. I just looked at the pics (again). So lovely and wonderful gifs too Ess. Great that Steph helps out with the recaps πŸ™‚

    • ACA!! Steph and Kim both are helping with the 3R recaps and it’s a huuuuuuge help! It’s also nice to have someone cap from a different POV.

      Thanks for the compliment! woo woo!

  9. I loved this episode “Alone together” – characters development in the plot. It’s about all about love in several perspectives and difficulties. Some were created by themselves in their inability to truly surrender to each other. It’s difficult to keep the commitment and sometimes the love is just not strong enough to cross our own barriers. That said, i don’t understand Rena. How can she give up without a fight? Even when Andy wants a second chance, be a true partner. She doesn’t know that true love is not easy to find? It’s sad that we never find out the rest of the story.

    Boyle and Dr. Lee story was beautiful exposed here by Ess and i think that we all love the friendship between Andy and Kuol. When they are onscreen i start to smile. It’s inevitable because they are amazing together.

    Thank you for your brilliant recap and pic spam.

    • Andy and Kuol. I may get heat for this but they’re my favorite of Alex’s on-screen bromances. No offense to any others but they just light up my world when they’re onscreen together. I just screencapped next weeks episode and

    • O.O. whose initials look more like an emoticon than a name had such excellent comedic timing, just excellent-and a brilliant smile, too. He is definitely a lovable actor….and Kuol a lovable patient. No need for a Dr. Lee/Boyle style lesson for anyone here. πŸ™‚

  10. Great recap, captured what is so special about this ep. One of my favorites really.

    Totally agree that Rena is nuts to walk away from Andy, unfortunately we don’t know their history, and never will. Thanks to Jerkoff CBS. Obviously both workaholics and that never works out for the kids. I don’t have kids, never wanted them, but if that man was standing in front of me asking if I wanted to have kids with him, well I don’t think “yes” is a big enough word… LOL

    Of all the great character development in this show, Dr. Lee was probably the most touching. I think the ending, with its 1/2/3 hits, killed (Rena/Andy; Dr Lee/Boyle and Andy/Kuol). Damn if something wasn’t in my eye the last 10 minutes. Hate when that happens.

    And Kuol. I just love him.

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