ER: The Chicago Way (season finale)
(S14E19) Now, let the speculation begin!
Did you really think that ER would end its fourteenth season with everything all honky-dory at County General? You haven't watched it recently, have you? Fact is, the season-ender for the last few years has been some sort of cliffhanger. Last season the fate of Neela was unknown. The year before it was Abby and Luka. A few years before that the fates of Pratt and Jing-Mei were undecided.
Now we have two (or three, or four) characters to consider as potential victims. But, who will be the lucky -- or in this case, unlucky -- one who will end up as a patient in their very own Emergency Room when season 15 of ER begins? Let's take a look at the candidates. Oh, by the way, spoilers ahead if you didn't watch the last three minutes of the episode.
The most likely candidate in that exploding ambulance was Greg Pratt. That's because his life was going just swell in this episode. He was up for Chief of Emergency Medicine, he was in love and about to ask Bettina to marry him, and his brother was accepted into college ... his first step towards pre-med. Everything was looking up. Since no one on ER can be too happy or successful (except Doug Ross and Carol Hathaway, but they left Chicago years ago), Greg is looking to be the one who volunteered.
The next candidate would be Sam Taggart. Sam's life has also settled down somewhat this season and she seems to be in a good place with her new boyfriend Tony. Granted, she still has some baggage to let loose, but she and Gates look to be headed in the right direction. She could be the one who was in the ambulance because she can be very headstrong when it comes to sticking to a decision. That, and she really hasn't been in any peril since her kidnapping at the end of the 12th season.
The third candidate, and the one I believe was in the ambulance, was Pratt's brother. The simple reason is that he had such a small role in this episode that it was almost a final good-bye to the character. Also, he was riding the same luck train like his older brother. And, if I'm not mistaken, his rig was the one in the ambulance bay when Art Masterson was brought out. Having Greg's younger brother take the brunt of the damage when the ambulance exploded would be even worse on Pratt if he was in the rig himself.
There are three other options. The first is that no one except Art and the Federal agents were in the ambulance when it exploded. That's probably not very likely, as the producers of ER like to put their characters in peril any chance they get. But, with it being their last season and everything, maybe they had a change of heart. The second option is that both Pratt and Sam were on the rig when it exploded, which puts them both in peril and places a 50-50 chance that only one of them will survive.
The third, and most far-fetched, option is that Abby was the one who got injured from explosion fragments. Again, here we have a character who just ran into a good streak of luck (getting back together with Luka). Since the producers love to mess with Abby they could have certainly painted the target on her head.
While you ponder all of those choices let's discuss the actual ambulance explosion. Can anyone say the word 'predictable'? How about 'telegraphed'? Just from the way they were talking in the ambulance bay you could see something was going to happen. That, and the strange guy washing down the bay itself as well as the lingering shot of the ambulance as Abby passed it on the street. Plus, all those mentions of the Witness Protection Program, the Turkish mob, and informants just screamed out that something was going to happen. I'm just glad it didn't happen inside the ER this time...that place has gotten torn up enough.
Finally, let's talk about Steve Buscemi as Art Masterson. Buscemi is a great actor; however, no matter what he does, he always seems to play the same type of guy: honest and pleasant to a point, yet creepy. Same thing this time around. It was a solid performance, but it just seemed like the character Buscemi portrayed was one that we have seen before in the movies or other television series.
All righty, then. One more time around the horn for the other things going on and around County General:
Neela, Neela, Neela. I had such high hopes for you when it came to that wanker Simon. I thought you were stronger, that you could avoid the power to shag that the fine doctor exudes. Yet, in a time of weakness, you caved. I'm a bit disappointed, to tell you the truth. Hopefully, this won't be a long-term relationship.
What's the deal with Dubenko? Did Neela's anger towards Lucien at the end of last week's episode finally get to him, making him feel guilty enough to quit? Frankly, all of the grandstanding he did at the M and M seemed to be out of his own guilt than of the questions that the audience was posing.
After the mess that was their marriage this season, Luka and Abby finally realized how stupid they both had been and decided to stay together. As one of the bigger cheerleaders of Abby I'm glad that this chapter of the disaster that is her life is closed. Now, as long as she didn't get all blown-up when the ambulance exploded things should be okay next season.
Good to see Kevin Moretti back to tie up some loose plot threads. Many fans of the show felt blindsided when he left earlier this season, especially since the fate of his son was unknown. Now we all know the rest of the story, plus Luka punched his lights out. So, he can now leave ER without any concerns.
This was a pretty star-packed episode. In addition to Buscemi and Stanley Tucci there was also one more appearance of Hal Holbrook as the hospice patient.
That's all folks! Next time -- we begin the final season of ER. Have a good summer.
|Greg Pratt||684 (40.2%)|
|Sam Taggart||168 (9.9%)|
|Greg's Brother||621 (36.5%)|
|None of them||230 (13.5%)|