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.” The first part can be found here. Here’s how it ended.
As Monica and Chandler pack, Joey goes next door to get the baby chick and duck but can’t find them. The couple follow after awhile and Joey tells them about the gift. Chandler is thrilled, while Monica, not so much. As she goes back to the apartment, she steps on something and crushes it. Fortunately it’s just a bagged egg roll that Joey had left on the floor. Chandler and Joey eventually find the baby birds but they’ve gotten trapped inside the beloved foosball table. The table won’t open so they’ll have to destroy the table. The two take a few solemn moments to say goodbye.
Ross and Phoebe arrive at the airport and search for Rachel. They have to buy tickets to be able to get through the boarding gate. Meanwhile Rachel is in line and searching for her boarding pass. Ross and Phoebe buy tickets and then can’t find Rachel’s flight. Ross calls Monica and eventually finds out that Rachel’s flight leaves from Newark Airport, not JFK Airport where they are. We see Rachel get on the plane at Newark and the door closes.
Despite Ross’ protests that they’ll never make it to Newark in time, they drive there anyway. On the way, Phoebe suggests that Ross call Rachel on her phone. He refuses so Phoebe calls her anyway and makes up a story. Phoebe says she’s had a premonition that the plane will crash due to a faulty left phalange (Phoebe’s sometimes fictional last name used several times over the series’ run). Rachel scoffs but the passenger next to her (Jim Rash) overhears the conversation, gets nervous and soon after has the other passengers panicking and leaving the plane. Rachel finally gives in and follows the mob.
Back at Joey’s apartment, the two men can’t bring themselves to destroy the table. Monica checks in and gladly does the job, mostly without tools. The two birds are safe and Chandler suggests that they stay with Joey for the time being. Joey is happy because it will give Chandler a reason to visit. Chandler says he has more reasons than that. The two share a lame cool-guy handshake and then a big hug.
Ross and Phoebe arrive at Rachel’s boarding gate just as Rachel gets on the plane (the phalange has been fixed). She doesn’t hear Ross calling to her and disappears down the corridor. The flight attendant won’t let Ross follow her so Phoebe screams Rachel’s name and Rachel comes rushing back. Ross tells Rachel that he loves her and asks her not to leave. She’s touched but, after all they’ve been through, just can’t deal with it and gets back on the plane. The door closes and the attendant locks it.
We next see Phoebe at Monica and Chandler’s apartment telling them the news. She says that she dropped Ross at his apartment, as he didn’t want to see anyone right now. When Ross arrives at home, he turns on his answering machine to find a message from Rachel from the plane. She’s sorry that she hurt him and realizes, through the course of leaving the message, that she truly loves him. Ross is incredulous as he hears Rachel frantically tell the stewardess that she has to get off the plane. When the message cuts off, Ross is yelling at the machine “Let her off the plane! No! No! Did she get off the plane?!?” Rachel’s voice comes from behind and says, “I got off the plane.” He turns to see her in the doorway and they embrace and kiss. They talk and agree to stay together.
The next day, in the final scene at Monica and Chandler’s empty apartment, the friends are all together. Joey looks around and asks, “Has it always been purple?”
Chandler warmly tells his babies, “Look around you guys. This was your first home. And, it was a happy place filled with love and laughter. But more important, because of rent control, it was a friggin’ steal!”
Phoebe asks if they realize that they’ve all lived there at some point. Ross points out that he hasn’t but Monica reminds him of the summer during college that he lived with Grandma and tried to be a dancer. Ross says, “Do you realize that we almost made it 10 years without that coming up?”
Monica remembers that she and Chandler have to turn in their apartment keys. After they put their keys on the counter, all of the friends leave theirs as well.
The friends start to hug and say tearful goodbyes. Rachel asks if they have time to get some coffee first. They agree to do that and Chandler asks, “Where?” The friends work their way out the door and down the hall out of sight.
The song “Embryonic Journey” by Jefferson Airplane begins to play in the background. The camera pans across the empty apartment and finally settles on the trademark yellow frame around the eyehole on the door. Fade to black. The credits roll over various scenes of New York City at night. End of series.
Shortly after the episode aired, a DVD was released containing the broadcast version and an extended version of the episode. The additional footage consisted of a couple additional scenes at the beginning. Phoebe and Joey are packing up the apartment and realize that Ross doesn’t know Erica went into labor. She asks Joey if he thinks they should call him and Joey is unsure because Rachel’s probably still yelling at him. Cut to Ross and Rachel kissing passionately and wondering if they should go any further. They stop momentarily and then decide to go ahead. After the credits, we see Monica and Chandler try to find Erica’s room and mistakenly walk in on another birth. The rest of the episode is basically the same with a few extended scenes and additional jokes.