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ER: And In The End ... (series finale)

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 3rd 2009 1:01PM

No, George Clooney did not show up for the series finale of ER.

But it was a pretty good finale anyway. It's impossible to please all fans of a long-running show in a series finale because we expect too much, and what we expect can change depending on whether you've been watching it since the beginning or just started four years ago. Do they focus on the old cast members coming back and focus on the people who have been there for the past few years? Do they tie up all loose ends neatly in a bow or leave things open-ended because that's how life is? ER managed to do both last night.

After the jump, the good and bad about the last episode of ER.

The Good:

- The return of Sherry Stringfield, Laura Innes, and Eriq LaSalle. We saw LaSalle come back a few weeks ago, but it was good to see him their with his son (played by the same actor, I believe, a nice touch), and it was very satisfying to see him interact with Alex Kingston again. This was easily a plot (that they used to date) they could have just forgotten about, but they actually got their own scene together to show the audience that they're still friends. That was great.

- More time for the nurses and other staff. It was great that they gave longtime cast members like Laura Ceron, Abraham Benrubi, Deezer, D, Ellen Crawford, and Yvette Freeman so much time. Some of these characters I don't even think we've seen much of in the past year or two.

- The original opening! The long theme song and even the classic images of early episodes of the show. Glad to see some TV shows think of things like this for the finale.

- Kem comes back, but she and Carter don't get back together. This felt kinda real and right, didn't it? I would have bet money that she was going to come back for the Carter Center dedication and they would start over again and everything would be OK. But that wasn't the case. She showed up to support him, but not necessarily to get back together with him. And then we saw Carter staying up all night playing basketball so he could call her, but then the big trauma came in at the end and we were left hanging as to whether he actually called her or the job came first.

- Tony and Sam get together. Really satisfying to see this happen.

- The return of Rachel Greene, this time as a medical student. Nice way to bookend the show.

- That final shot of County, showing the entire building, with the giant logo at the top and how the building fits into the Chicago skyline. Not sure if we've ever seen that before. I liked it.

- No one died in an explosion or had a helicopter fall on top of them.

The Bad:

- Too much time taken up by faceless patients and who-the-hell-cares new cast members. ER has always been a show about looking forward and not looking bad, and they've been aggressive with introducing new characters, killing off old characters, not giving closure to certain characters, and trying to be realistic (so-called) about "life goes on." But having a group of new medical people we hardly know sit around and reminisce about their med school history? With 15 minutes left in the show? That was a weird decision. (Though a "Good inside of a Bad" for Alexis Bledel, who somehow made her new character feel like she really belonged there.)

- Angela Bassett. I thought it was odd from the very start that ER would introduce this new, major character in the last season of the show. What happened to her child was heartbreaking, of course, but I always thought she was an odd fit into the show. Maybe if she had another season we'd warm to her and she'd feel right there, but it never happened. We didn't even see her husband or that little baby in this episode. I guess it was good that she was the cast member who had to act like the stern one in this episode, wondering who the hell these people (Susan, Rachel, etc) were and why they were getting in the way in her ER. Of course, I think longtime fans were saying, "no, who are you?"

- It was a half hour too long. I think they could have tightened it up a little bit by cutting out a storyline or two.

- Marilu Henner? Who cares?

- It would have been good to see Dr. Anspaugh one last time. He still works at County!

Overall, a pretty good finale. Check it out here if you missed it.

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Stuman714 from Indy

There will never be another show or series like ER that is truly from the old 'must see tv' years. I was very pleased and thrilled with the way they handled the finale.
Bravo to all!!


April 04 2009 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

did the story line with the mom who had a (partial) heart transplant ever come to a close?

April 04 2009 at 4:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bravo, well done, no crazy explosions, no hostage situation, thank god ER went out with such grace. The ending of that show just made me feel like County was a real place and all the characters and storylines were real life and were going to continue even though we weren't watching. just great

April 04 2009 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone else catch the "dig" at Grey's Anatomy with the old doctor who fractured his penis....god I'm going to miss this show.

April 04 2009 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And the actress who played the doomed twin-birth mother. Is it my imagination, or did she really frakking (am I allowed to say that anymore?) sound like she was in agony.

April 03 2009 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I, too, thought it was a nice, simple touch to show Reece played by the original actor. I also felt Mark Greene smilling from heaven, because as the recap episode during the first hour showed, his final wish was to "fix Rachael."

This finale reminded me of the Gilmore Girls finale in the fact that life does go on for the characters, we just aren't invited to the party anymore.

April 03 2009 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guess Who

Finale was well done - not perfect, but considering that ER has killed off so many regular cast members - it limited some of the creative choices.

Bookending the series with Carter was a good choice - although a few more solid answers would have been nice. The episode was heavy with symbolism but nothing pretentious (like the use of the word pretentious).

I've never cared for the actress that played Mark Green's daughter, and somehow I doubt she has spent her time in acting class in the past few years - but her characters return made sense and was welcome. I must note how great Sherry Stringfield looks after 15 years - personally, I'd like to see Carter end up with Susan...

On a final note - yes NBC we get it - you want us to watch "Southland" - we'll see what happens - now stop mentioning it every 3 minutes.

*****Where is the "Life on Mars" finale review?

April 03 2009 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Bragg

Excellent analysis overall, although I love Alexis Bliedel. Actually it made me think they should have had her on the show all season.

Yeah, no Anspaugh (or Coburn)?? What gives???

April 03 2009 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thinking back on the episode, did ANY of the patients survive besides the baby? I mean the critical patients, not the cut head/fractured penis/etc. patients. Frankly, that was what turned me off from the show back in the '90s. It seemed like the most pessimistic hospital show ever. Yes, I know that people die and they needed to lose patients to retain credibility as a realistic show, but everything just always seemed so bleak. It would've been nice if at least one patient at least had things looking up in the end. You had Ernest Borgnine losing his wife, the mother of the babies pouring all her blood out on the trauma room floor only to be rushed to the OR to die and practically be forgotten by the staff, and Drunk girl coming out of her coma and seeming doomed to remain a vegetable. Who did I miss?

April 03 2009 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As much as I enjoyed the show(and i've been a veiwer almost since the beginning),did it seem to anyone else besides me that they were setting up a spin-off or a sequel or something?

Why bring in a bunch of new characters on the very last show?And also set up the possiblities of continuing older plotlines.like Tony/Sam and Elizabeth/Peter?

I think NBC has something up their sleeve.Time will tell.

April 03 2009 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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