"ER" Finale: Was It One to Cherish?
There are several different ways that a series can conclude.
It can choose to go the “very special” route with tons of goodbyes and special moments. It can go the flashback route with a look back at the show’s history or through the return of familiar characters. Or it can go the life goes on route and let you know that these people will keep doing their thing, even if we aren’t watching.
“ER” combined all three of those in its finale tonight by allowing us to say goodbye to familiar characters, and by showing us that even though the faces may change, County General will continue to save lives.
But if I’m being completely honest, I was a little disappointed…
“ER” has always been a show about special episodes—you know the ones that the promos tell us “to cherish.” But tonight, when it should have been more special than ever, I thought it came up short.
The problem was that the episode couldn’t make up its mind whether it was paying tribute to the past or saluting the present. Although I think it’s great that so many actors came back for the show’s final season, in this particular episode, they were a distraction. It was great seeing Lewis, Benton, Corday and Weaver again, but we had already said our goodbyes to them, so doing it again while saying goodbye to the show seemed like overkill. Plus, Benton had already had his moment in the episode where he helped save Carter’s life. It would have been better to have just let that end there.
But there was one familiar face that was a welcome return for the finale—Hallee Hirsh as Rachel Greene, Mark Greene’s daughter. Rachel was interviewing to be a med student in the ER at County and step into her father’s shoes. It was a nice way to bring the show full circle as Carter taught her, just as her dad helped teach him.
And it was nice to see Carter’s story come full circle, since much of the early part of the show was through his eyes. But I didn’t like that his relationship with Kim was still sort of left up in the air. I would’ve preferred they give it some closure. Not having the former regulars around for Carter to entertain may have made that happen.
And speaking of regulars, some of them got short changed tonight—not by the returning characters, but by a brand new one who actually made her debut in this episode. I think Alexis Bledel is a talented actress and she was perfectly cast in the role. I just don’t think it was fair that she got more time than some of the regulars when we just met her. I know it’s that full circle thing again, but I just didn’t like it.
What I did like was seeing John Stamos and Linda Cardellini taking over the George Clooney and Julianna Marguiles’ roles. Stamos’ Gates even played basketball with Carter as an homage to the basketball action of years past with Clooney and Anthony Edwards. It’s a shame Stamos didn’t get more time on this show, because he was made for it.
Honestly, I think maybe the most disappointing thing about the episode is that I didn’t cry. It’s not that I was looking forward to crying, it’s just that I was so sure that I would. But the show didn’t leave us any time for tears as the doctors and nurses gathered outside the ER to tend to the victims of the latest major trauma. And Carter urged Rachel to join in just as her dad would have done with Carter.
Maybe after 15 years of hit-us-over-the-head dramatic moments, the writers felt that a subtle moment like that was the best way to say goodbye. And maybe they were right. I guess I was just a little surprised…
What did you think? Was the final episode everything you were hoping for or were you disappointed? Be sure to post your thoughts…
Photos Credit: James Stenson/NBC