ER Final Episode ‘And In The End’ Review: A Major Trauma

May 28, 2009 by  
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ER – AND IN THE END: Thursday 28th May, More4, 9pm ALERT ME

It’s hard to believe that after 15 years ER is coming to an end.

For fifteen adrenalin packed years the show that pioneered the use of the frantic fast-paced dolly shots, bringing the viewer right into the heart of the action, has been a trailblazer in every sense.

From the before-its-time in-depth storytelling to a sexy and prodigious young cast, via becoming the most expensive programme in TV history, ER has led the way into an age of increasingly sophisticated television.

And here we are, 15 years later; older, wiser, emotionally drained…

I haven’t seen an episode of ER in years so watching the final ever episode was a bit like taking a nostalgic trip down the memory lane of my televisual youth. I used to enjoy watching the first series of Friends followed by the first series of ER on a little portable TV with a crap reception in my bedroom and feeling like I’d discovered something really special.

Since then other shows have trodden the path first cleared by ER, yet there still remains something fresh about the hospital drama’s humourous, touching, warts-and-all view of modern America.

The final episode is, although it both pleases and disappoints me to say so, just another episode of ER. It’s good in the sense that the last thing I wanted, and something that ER has done on a number of occasions, was an overly thick layer of cheese to take away from this landmark episode. Yet, like a junkie faking illness to score some prescription meds, I was left still wanting.

Yes, there’s a nice collection of faces from the past who do their best to invoke the old ER spirit and there’s also the feeling that County General will continue long after the cameras have stopped rolling. But all the while what I was really waiting for was one of those rooftop helipad incidents, or a fire in an orphanage.

Perhaps the strength of the episode, like the series, lies in its subtle examination of the human condition played out through the people that come through Count General’s doors. If 15 years of ER had taught me anything it’s that there’s a life lesson to be learned from every stitch and stomach ulcer.

In a touching tribute to the show the plug is pulled on a life support system for an old lady with a Do Not Resuscitate order. Her tearful husband’s bewilderment echoes through the years; ‘So… that’s it?’

Good drama.

Jack McKay