The creators of Friends knew in advance that the 10th would be their final season so they were able to carefully craft the series’ final episodes.
In the last season, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) married boyfriend Mike (Paul Rudd) on a snowy night outside of Central Perk. Joey (Matt LeBlanc) guests on a game show and his longtime agent Estelle dies. Monica (Courteney Cox Arquette) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) wanted to have a baby but couldn’t conceive so they decided to adopt the child of young pregnant mom Erica (Anna Faris). They also decided to buy a house and move to the suburbs. Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Ross (David Schwimmer) broke up once again at the start of the season and Rachel later decided that she and baby Emma would move to Paris for an exciting job with Ralph Loren.
In the second-to-last episode, Rachel had gone to Ross’ apartment because he was upset that she didn’t say goodbye to him at her going away party. She tells him that it wasn’t because she doesn’t care but because she cares too much. They fight and soon share passionate kisses. Meanwhile, Erica goes into labor.
On May 6, 2004, NBC said farewell to the incredibly popular sitcom. After watching for 10 years on Thursday nights, viewers were treated with an hour-long episode of Friends entitled “The Last One.” Here’s what happened.
We pick up the morning after. Rachel is getting dressed and ready to leave Ross’ apartment when he wakes up. She compliments him on the new love-making moves that he’s learned in their time apart. He says a co-worker gave him Sex for Dummies as a joke but says, “Who’s laughing now?” and the opening credits roll.
Monica and Chandler are at the hospital with Erica who is still in labor. Monica goes to use the bathroom and leaves Chandler to have hopelessly awkward conversation with Erica.
Phoebe stops in at Joey’s apartment and he shows her his housewarming gift for Monica and Chandler — a baby chick and duck. Joey feels they will be the perfect gift and says that, when they’re old, they can go to that “special farm” where Chandler brought the other chick and duck. Knowing they’d actually died, Phoebe hesitantly agrees. Ross arrives and they tell him that Erica is in labor.
Ross asks about Rachel’s whereabouts and tells them about their reunion last night. As he talks to them, Ross realizes that he wants to get back together with her. Ross and Rachel talk privately later and agree that their night together was wonderful. Ross is crushed when Rachel hugs him and says that it was the perfect way for them to say goodbye.
Back at the hospital, Erica is in full labor. She gives birth to a beautiful boy who the couple later name Jack, after Monica’s dad. Then, the doctor (John Rubinstein) tells them that the second baby isn’t far behind. This is a complete surprise to Erica, Monica and Chandler. When asked, Erica says that the doctors had told her both heartbeats were really strong but she just thought that they were talking about her’s and the baby’s. Chandler’s a little freaked out but Monica is stern and they, of course, will take both babies. Erica then gives birth to a little girl, who they name Erica after the birth mother. Monica and Chandler are elated that they now have one baby of each sex. Erica thinks the couple will make great parents, even Chandler.
Ross sits at Central Perk with Phoebe and Joey and tells them about his talk with Rachel. They tell him that he has to tell her how he feels. If Rachel knew, she might not go to Paris. Rachel arrives and says that she just dropped Emma off at her Mom’s. Rachel will fly to Paris, get settled and then her Mom will bring the baby.
As Ross goes to tell Rachel his feelings, Gunther (James Michael Tyler) gets to her first and confesses his long crush She says that she loves him too, though not in the same way. She’s a bit tearful and leaves a crushed Gunther while Ross stands in disbelief about what has just happened.
Later, at Monica’s and Chandler’s apartment, Phoebe and Joey are preparing a little party for the baby’s homecoming. Joey has painted a “welcome home” sign but it’s messy and he keeps accidentally sitting on the wet paint.
Ross enters and says that he’s not going to tell Rachel his true feelings after seeing Gunther get shot down. Phoebe tries to convince him that he has to talk to her before she leaves. Phoebe’s husband Mike arrives with a beautifully painted poster, much to Joey’s chagrin.
Rachel steps in and says that her ride to the airport is downstairs and she’s upset that she won’t be able to see the baby before she leaves the country. Joey says that the new parents called to say they’d be arriving any minute and that they have a big surprise. Just then, Monica enters with one baby and then Chandler with the other. Ross asks if the hospital knew they took more than one baby and the couple explain what happened.
Mike comments to Phoebe that he wants to have a baby with her. Phoebe is a bit surprised but agrees to it and says they should have a whole bunch.
Tearfully, Rachel says goodbye to her friends and quickly leaves after embracing with Ross. Joey & Phoebe discuss the positives and negatives of Ross leaving his relationship with Rachel unresolved. After a moment, Ross decides he has to tell Rachel how he feels and wants to go after her. Phoebe offers to drive him to the airport in her cab. It’s a crazy ride. Read part two…