As the title of the episode says… “And in the End…” the long-running ER went out as it came in, with bright lights, sirens blaring, and doctors scrambling to save patients.
For those who can remember that far back, or who’ve caught the early episodes on DVD or in syndication, there were many homages to the pilot and early episodes.
Back in the ER for the first time since she was laid off in 2003, nurse Lydia (Ellen Crawford) wakes Archie (Scott Grimes) from sneaking forty winks in a darkened exam room, just as she had done to the late Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) in the memorable first few moments of the series. Newbie Julia (Alexis Bledel) delivers bad news to a patient in a similar way that Susan (Sherry Stringfield) had done to a good-guy patient played by Miguel Ferrer. The ever-excellent Ernest Borgnine says farewell to his elderly wife, in a tip of the hat to another early tear-jerking storyline.
There are other nods to the past as well such as reappearances by old friends like Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes), Susan Lewis, John Carter (Noah Wyle), and Mark’s widow, Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston). Peter’s son Reese, who we last saw as a young child, has grown into a teenager and is doing well, in spite of being hearing impaired. Carter is seen working on his jump shots, just as Mark had suggested that he do in their last talk together.
Mark is also well represented by his now-adult daughter, Rachel. The product of a broken home, she’s certainly gone through her share of changes and problems. In some ways, it seemed like a big leap of logic to think that she’d want to work at the same place that robbed her of so much daddy-daughter time. Still, the job was so important to him that her being there worked and had just the right amount of sentimentality.
Though the series has definitely gone past its prime, the producers and cast (past and present) did a very admirable job in giving the show a fitting final season and last episode. In these days of quick cancellations, few other shows are as lucky. If NBC’s schedule was in better shape, you have to wonder if the series would have been given the same opportunity to say farewell.
What did you think? Was the series finale all that you hoped for? Could it possibly measure up?
Image courtesy NBC.