Checking out of County General . . . the series finale of "ER"

Alexkingston_er_240_001 So what did you guys think?

What I loved:

1. The episode mimic the structure of the pilot by following a 24-hour period in the ER and having Lydia (Ellen Crawford, who I don't think has been on the series since 2003) wake up Archie just like she woke up Mark Greene 15 years ago.

2. We had the return to the opening credits of "ER" and that the original cast was there.

3. In classic "ER" form, there were some comical medical cases (the fight between the bride and her mother-in-law) and some terrifying ones (the mom who died after giving birth to twins).

4. Again, in classic "ER" form, there were famous guest stars including Ernest Borgnine and Marilu Henner.

5. That Tony was indignant with the man who provided his teenage daughter and her friends with alcohol. We always knew he had picked up the torch that Doug and Luka left behind, but it was good to be reminded of it.

6. The sweet but awkward moment between Benton and Corday. Elizabeth always had so much more spark with Peter than she did with Mark. Just getting to hear her say "Peter" again was a real treat.

7. That Rachel Greene returned and that she was played by Hallee Hirsch who had played Rachel for so many years. It was a wonderful through line to see the ER through her perspective.

8. That the episode ended with the entire staff moving on to the next medical emergency and Carter running back into the hospital.

9.That so much was left open ended -- will Carter and Kem reconcile? Will he return to work at Chicago County full time? What became of the little girl whose mother had a failed heart transplant? What about the teen with alcohol poisoning? Leaving us without complete closure reinforces the idea that life in the ER will go on and on and on. (Cue "Don't Stop Believing" now). Especially that at the end the camera pulled us away from the show we've watched for 15 years.


What I Thought Was Just Okay

1. I love Alexis Bledel. But I found it somewhat distracting that she was the new medical resident. Maybe it's because I watch too much TV but there was still a part of me that was like "Why is Rory Gilmore here?" If she had guest starred on an earlier episode I wouldn't have thought anything of it but that she showed up for the first time in the series finale took me out of the moment. Plus I kind of wanted Carter not Simon to give her the pep talk speech when she said she didn't think she was cut out for the job.

2. I liked seeing Corday, Benton, Weaver and Lewis again but there was something rather awkward about the way they were worked into the storyline. The show was in a bit of a quandary because they really couldn't do anything but tell us the characters were doing well but that left all their scenes kind of sans plot. The episode that saw the return of George Clooney and Julianna Marguiles was a stronger episode.

3. And speaking of Clooney -- really you couldn't be interviewed for the one hour retrospective? Really? Also conspicuously absent Ming-Na and Gloria Reuben.

Quotes of the Week

"Of course not. I also watch 'Jon & Kate Plus 8.' It's amazing how they make it all work." Cappie to Casey about how he spent his summer on "Greek."

"Dude, what are you wearing?" Randy to Allison on "American Idol."

"God it's amazing how little has changed around here." Rachel Greene on the series finale of "ER."

"Hello Ben. Welcome back to the land of the living." Locke to Ben on "Lost." Thanks to Michelle for the quote.

"Check it out there's actually fans, though not many of them. Still for fans they sure do complain a lot." Dean to Sam on "Supernatural" about the people who read the "fictional" books called "Supernatural." Thanks to Sandy for the quote.

"There's a teen wolf on the court. How is that even legal?" Marshall coaching kindergarten basketball team on "How I Met Your Mother." Thanks to Caroline for the quote.

"You two are a match made in a very frightening part of heaven." Chuck to Casey about Alex (guest star Tricia Helfer) on "Chuck." Thanks to Gil for the quote.

"Oh my gawd. This is quite possibly the worst coffee I've ever tasted. It's actually kinda fascinating. It tastes like uh .. it tastes like a monkey peed in battery acid. Try some?" Rick Castle to Kate Beckett on "Castle." Thanks to Candy for the quote.

Exchange of the Week

"What the hell are you doing Tubby?" Miles to Hurley on "Lost."

"Checking to see if I'm disappearing." Hurley's response.

"What?" Miles to Hurley.

"'Back to Future' man. If we came back in time to the island and changed stuff so if little Ben dies he'll never grow up to be big Ben who is the one who made us come back here in the first place which means we can't be here and therefore dude we don't exist." Hurley's response. Never has Hurley spoken for the fans more.

A Fun Link

So I told you on Wednesday that I liked the new series "Southland" quite a bit. Now you can check it out next Thursday's premiere, by clicking here. I'll have a review of the series in next week's column.

That's all for today. I postponed the discussion about the new season of "Rescue Me" until Monday (I wanted to have the chance to watch a few more episodes). I'm also back next week to talk about the return of "Fringe" (it's about time), the series premiere of "The Unusuals," "Southland," and "Harper's Island." And we'll have to discuss the season finale of "Friday Night Lights." Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com. Have a great weekend. Talk to you on Monday.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal