Today's entry in the television meme is not a hard one, but a cumbersome one. "Favorite series finale." There are a few problems with series finales though: 1. Most of them suck because the show had peaked seasons ago 2. The show gets cancelled before it gets a proper finale thus making the actual series finale kind of stupid or leaving off at a bad place 3. They get all weird or existential or they rely on clips from before 4. They piss me off.
Even shows like Twin Peaks, The Wire, Sleeper Cell, Flashforward, and Daybreak all had series finales that irked me in some way, despite my love for the show. Hell the Sopranos would have gotten it if not for th....(blackout). It just seems by the finale they don't care anymore. So I narrowed it down to two: Six Feet Under and E.R. Both had series finales and both were extremely good. So I really can't choose. That was of course until I re-watched both episodes. While Six Feet Under's last 8 minutes were brilliant television, the rest of the episode wasn't up to par. On the other side, ER was a lot more consistant and the finale suited the theme of the entire episode.
Still here is the ending to Six Feet Under because it deserves mentioning...that and it still makes me cry like a little girl every time I see it...
But in the end I chose ER... Here's what happened in case you didn't see it:
As per usual the last episode of ER follows many different branching paths, each following a main character and each varying in drama. The main focus of the episode though revolves around Dr. Julia Wise, a new doctor at County General. She is wide eyed and optimistic and willing to help in any way she can. At first she helps out Dr. Carter and Dr. Brennan deliver a pair of twins. Things seem okay until the second baby comes out. The mother's uterus had seemed to invert after the first baby and she wouldn't stop bleeding. They perform an emergency C-Section and get the other child out as soon as possible and send her to the OR. After that she goes on to deal with her other patients.....
Meanwhile Dr. Archie, dealing with the stress of his fellow employees as well as his new place in power is now having to deal with the latter half of his 24 hour shift. After crashing on a cart for a few hours he is awoken to help an eldery lady who had broken her wrist and was found wandering. She is a nice lady who compliments Archie on his soft and strong hands. Archie then spends the rest of the episode helping out Beverly (the old lady), patching up her wrist and finding her family while avoiding any and all other cases because he wants to get out on time. Beverly leaves with her daughter but is found again, having wandered off but no more injured then she was before.
Meanwhile (you will hear this A LOT) Samantha is dealing with a few things: 1. It's her birthday for one and she is forced to spend it at the ER 2.Her son is acting weird and has wandered off promising a surprise for her 3. That surprise being the dream car she always wanted that was fully restored and fixed up by her son and her on and off boyfriend Dr. Gates. 4. Dealing with said on and off boyfriend.
While all that is happening, she and Dr. Gates are helping Marjorie Manning and her husband. Marjorie has MS and is on many medications. It turns out she suffered a pulmonary edema and has sepsis as well. She is terminally ill and will die soon but Mr. Manning isn't willing to let her go. But Sam and Dr. Gates are there to help and slowly but surely help Mr. Manning realize that maybe it's time to let her go. This is probably one of the more heartwarming scenes in the entire episode and Ernest Borgnine is especially great.
...After dealing with an interesting start to her day at County, Julia is now dealing with her patients, specifically a homosexual man whose dealing with some breathing problems. It turns out he has terminal cancer but instead of going through with treatment, he decides that he lived a good long life and that he was going to enjoy his last remaining parts of his life with his devoted partner. Julia takes this kind of hard, having grown somewhat attached to the man and his partner.
MEANWHILE during this entire episode Dr. Carter, now having left the ER after helping deliver the baby, is attending the opening of his new center, a clinic for underprivileged people or people without insurance that he named after his son who passed away. Dr. Benton, Dr. Weaver, and Dr. Lewis are there as well, celebrating with Dr. Carter and catching up on old times. Kem, Carter's ex, shows up and after an awkward hello says goodbye to Dr. Carter. All of the doctors go to a bar along with Dr. Corday and Rachel...
...Rachel is the doctor of Mark Greene, a former county doctor who died in a past season. She goes to the ER to become a potential med student and sign up for the teaching program there. Everyone that knows her is happy to see her and Carter, whilst at the ER and before leaving for the opening of the center, leads Rachel around the ER and gives her tips on what to do and not do if she does go through with this. After the center opening Rachel joins the other doctors at the bar and it turns out she made it.
MEANWHILE (this is the last meanwhile) Dr. Gates, in between helping out babies and older couples is dealing with a case of his own. A teenage girl is in a coma with alcohol poisoning after drinking too much at a party. Gates calls the parents but doesn't get an answer. He then calls the parents of one of the friends and it turns out that the parents of said friend were supplying the alcohol. Gates finds this reprehensible and calls the cops on them. When Gates finally gets a hold of the parents they come and ask for her to be transferred to Mercy. Gates doesn't want that and wants to keep monitoring her, despite what the parents say. Eventually the girl wakes up but thrashes around before just laying there in a daze. The parents opt out and let Gates take her for a CT scan to check for brain damage.
After going to the bar the doctors and Rachel all stand outside and talk, continuing to reminisce about the past and talk about the future. Benton and Corday stay and talk after everyone else had left and talk about what could have been.
Rachel and Dr. Carter get back to the ER only to walk into a disaster protocol. An industrial explosion had just happen and almost everyone was injured with a minimum of eight casualties. One by one each doctor gets a patient with different problems going on and as the ambulances keep on arriving only Julia and Carter are left. Julia is overwhelmed but Carter reassures her as the camera pans out to this:
Showing the entire hospital for the first time. All this is happening while the theme song is playing in the background.
This is a brilliant episode. ER lost its step after a while and eventually became dull. Every season there was a new reason NOT to watch the show. But the last season was a powerful one and each episode was great. They brought back old favorites and reminded us why we loved the show. This last episode was a powerhouse and a fitting conclusion showing that just because the show is over, life still goes on in the hospital and it's going to keep on going.
Yes there are some comical parts but I cut them out because of how brief they were...