Scrubs: My Finale (series / season finale)
by Joel Keller, posted May 6th 2009 11:25PM
(S08E18) Since I have no idea whether this is truly the end for Scrubs or not, I hedged my bets on the season vs. series finale label. I will say this, though: If this is indeed the end for the folks at Sacred Heart, they couldn't have gone out any better than they did tonight.
Tonight's finale hit on all the same themes that have carried the show for eight years: people grow and change, but life at the hospital just keeps going. Someone leaves, someone dies, someone makes a life-changing decision, and life keeps going. "It's just a day," as Cox almost-convincingly said during one of J.D.'s attempts at getting an emotional goodbye from his mentor. He's right. And as Sacred Heart didn't make such a big deal out of J.D.'s departure, neither did the show. He didn't even turn to look back at the ICU as he turned the lights off. Well, he did, but I'll talk about that after the jump...
Think about what it was like on the last day at any job you've ever had: people may shake your hand and wish you well, and you may even get a cake, but for the most part, you walk out alone to face a hopeful but uncertain future. It was good to see J.D. do the same, even though his brain filled the hospital's entry hall with everyone alive or dead who crossed paths with him during his eight years. But what also happens on your last day is that work still needs to get done, which was represented well here by J.D. having to tell a patient that his mom has Huntington's Disease and that he may have it, too. Again, life and work don't stop just because you're leaving. So it was good to see J.D. experience that, as well.
I also enjoyed the fact that there were no big resolutions to everyone's storylines. Kelso's going to become a traveling doc for Locum Tenens, Elliot has sneak-moved-in to J.D.'s house (nice move on her part, sacrificing her commute so J.D. can be closer to his son), Jordan's trying to be nice "for her stupid kids," and we know the Janitor's name. That's about it.
Oh, and what is his name? I think his final fake-out for J.D. was to call himself Glenn Matthews, and that orderly who called him Tommy (or Tony... he seems more like a Tommy to me) was probably closer to the truth. But knowing how much Janitor has lied to everyone over the years, you can never be 100% sure of what his name is. Funny that he knew all along that J.D. dropped that penny in the door all those years ago, but it was even funnier that he kept it.
The rest of what J.D. saw projected on his "Goodbye J.D." sheet only represented what his future might hold: marriage and kids with Elliot, his son marrying Turk's daughter, Christmases with the Turks and the Cox/Sullivans. But even J.D. knows that it's all just speculation. At least he felt good about his decision to leave, even if it affects his primary relationship -- with Turk, silly! -- forever.
My biggest laugh-out-loud moment was Cox's reaction when he realized that J.D. heard the entire heartfelt speech Sunny prodded him into giving. Good to see that, under all the rants and professions that he cared less about J.D. than he did about Hugh Jackman (man, I'd love to see that rant book J.D. made), we all knew he felt otherwise. But the high praise he gave J.D. -- he even called him "my friend" -- surprised even me. And the fact that, after all that, he still didn't physically reciprocate on that hug J.D.'s been waiting for eight years to give rang true to me. The fact that he didn't punch Newbie in the face as he was "going in" was probably about all the warmth J.D. was going to get from his mentor.
More fun stuff:
- Ted's broken-record reaction to Kelso's leaving and his helpfulness in giving Jordan something to insult, namely his blotchy face. "It got like that on its own!"
- "Hooch is crazy!"
- I think they hit just about everyone except Tara Reid and Mandy Moore in that hallway walk fantasy sequence. Even Kathryn Joosten, who shined in the pivotal early season one episode "My Old Lady" was there. Oh, on second look, Masi Oka wasn't there, either. But he's a bit busy.
- Janitor calling M. Night Shyamalan "Muhnight."
- Nice job by Denise to over-play her dramatic exit during her "play" with Janitor. And it was good to see J.D. use the same technique to get Sunny to prod Cox into that speech.
- Jordan carrying over her "walk away when bored" move from the previous episode.
- Bill Lawrence showing up in the final scene as the janitor who takes the Goodbye J.D. sign down. That man's acted more this season than he probably has in his whole life combined.
- Not much Judy Reyes in this episode, but Carla's last scene with J.D. -- calling him "Bambi" for the first time in years -- was understated and touching. And how could Carla and Elliot not have gotten the point of the J.D./Turk hugs until now. "It's happening!" was all Turk could say when he saw it.
- Nice to see the goodbye between Turk and J.D. happen in "My Chief Concern" and not here. It was fitting that their goodbyes flamed out early, with the ultimate "Eagle!" spin.
- Oh, and I loved how Lawrence and company made fun of the whole "turn and shut off the lights as you leave" scene that has ended too many series finales. I always wondered how all the lights at Cheers turned off via one switch, for instance.
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but I leave it to you folks to discuss it here. You know how I feel about the show coming back (and so does Mr. Lawrence). Hopefully, if he brings it back, it'll be in a different-enough form that it becomes a whole other show, a la Frasier and Joey. Let's just hope that the new show is closer to the former and not the latter.