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Recap:"A Long, Strange Trip"

It seemed especially fitting in this last season that attention was paid to a part of the rich history of the ER we hadn't seen before. When we first met Oliver in tonight's episode, he appeared to be another homeless casualty, confused and injured, who found his way to the doors of the County General. Little did we know that this particular patient was in fact one of the founding fathers of the ER, an esteemed physician who had been a pioneer of emergency medicine at County. Luckily for the woman who came in misdiagnosed with lung cancer, the doctor's diagnostic ability was still in tact. Noticing the swelling behind her ear, he quickly alerted Gates and Brenner to the fact that her cancer was actually tuberculosis, "the great imitator." It was truly a treat to see William H. Macy return as Dr. David Morgenstern, one of my all-time ER favorites and Oliver's de facto caretaker. Dr. Morgenstern was always a great character - warm, earnest, forthright and often a little eclectic in his approach. (Anyone else remember how he used to mentor Mark with his calm, confident advice or the episode when he found renewed purpose after suffering a mild heart attack?) Morgenstern's return was a nice piece of storytelling all around. Throughout the episode, we saw the perspective of the dementia-stricken doctor as he viewed current events through an altered point of view. (It was great fun to see Tony, Morris, Neela, Sam, Brenner and Chuny playing 1960s versions of themselves.) No surprise that tonight's well-crafted episode was directed by Mimi Leder, who brought us some of the most memorable and beloved early season episodes such as the unforgettable "Love's Labor Lost" and the Season 1 finale (and one of my personal favorites) "Everything Old is New Again." It is nice to see that the actors aren't the only ones coming back for a final farewell. For Full Recap Read Here .

Recap: "Love is a Battlefield"

The lesson we were presented with in this week's episode was a simple one: appearances can be deceiving. An emotionally-detached, steely ER chief can be secretly longing for motherhood. A thrice-divorced couple can share a deep, abiding love. A quiet teenager can be harboring a dark secret. And two very different couples can derail their own happiness and ignore their best instincts in the face of fear, confusion and doubt. Archie's case seemed to be a straightforward biking accident involving a teenage girl. But as the story unfolded, we learned that the strain between her overbearing, abusive boyfriend and her clueless parents had driven her to a point of desperation. Sadly, despite Archie's best efforts to get to the truth, tragedy ensued. (One positive side note was the continuance of Archie's flirtation with the female police officer. It would be great to see him finally get what he really wants - a chance to create a family of his own.) As Gates and Sam continued to struggle with their break-up, they were confronted with an older couple who, on the surface, appeared to be similarly mismatched. As Sam learned of Tony's indiscretion with Daria, her jealously bubbled to the surface, but I honestly don't know how she can blame him considering the numerous times she has rebuffed him. The writers really have gone out of their way to make Sam come off as selfish, erratic and a little bipolar. Can't we just move things along with these two and let them get on with it already? Are we going to have to endure some sort of psychotic breakdown with Daria or will she accept that Tony is meant to be with Sam? Meanwhile, despite my hope that Ray comes back and he and Neela end up together, I do really like her with Dr. Brenner and was happy to see they finally got out of their own way. Clearly, Neela is torn between her feelings for a far-away Ray and a here-and-now Brenner. But who will ultimately win her heart remains to be seen. Other tidbits: * Frank's mention of Neela's former career as a convenience store clerk made me smile. Nice nod to ER history * Banfield referring to Frank as Crocodile Dundee and his incessant, paranoid itching after exposure to the guy with lice * The return of Chuny (good to see you, girl!) and Dr. Coburn's ongoing work with Banfield * A sneak peek at another homecoming in two weeks Source here

Episode Recap: "Dream Runner"

"The toughest thing is making the right call when it counts." In life, we don't usually get the chance to see how different choices can have dramatically different outcomes, but the concept certainly makes for good storytelling. This week's triple take on a day in the life of the ER showed how minor alterations can make all the difference. It also showed how, as Neela's fortune ultimately confirmed, "Your actions are the seeds of fate." The skillfully crafted interweaving of stories was the highlight of this week's episode. As Neela struggled to help her young patient fight a serious infection, Tony, Morris, Banfield and Sam ran into some contention about how to best approach the treatment of the seriously injured "dream runner," a young man whose inability to go into a paralytic state during sleep caused him to physically act out his dreams. (An interesting underscore to this storyline was the street musician outside the hospital playing the Tears for Fears song "Mad World," which includes the lyric: "the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.") In each case, Neela's participation played a critical role in helping determine the course of treatment. As she became more honest, more confident and more vocal in her suggestions, the outcomes improved. It was really interesting to watch the subtle changes that occurred as each potential outcome unfolded. Sam went from just handing the hockey tickets over to Tony to letting him take Alex to the game. Neela and Brenner's encounters became less awkward as Neela became more open with him, finally culminating in a steamy hotel hook-up. Morris went from whining about Banfield's mood swings (courtesy of some serious hormones) to complaining about how Tony was allowing himself to be emasculated. Jerry was, of course, Jerry - his return engagement is perfectly timed as we approach the end of the road. And it goes without saying that it was wonderful to see Alex Kingston return very briefly as Dr. Elizabeth Corday though I really would have enjoyed it more if a) NBC hadn't ruined the surprise and b) she had actually visited the ER. (On a side note, who else was a little rattled by the revelation that Ella is now eight years old? How time flies.) For Full Recap click here

Neela ans Simon forever!

I love these two!

ER Recap: "Separation Anxiety"

It's a new year in the ER, but it comes laced with a touch of melancholy. Each week brings us closer to that final episode and for someone who has spent many, many Thursdays following the escapades of the staff at County General, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do when it ends. The pace seemed a little slower tonight as this episode set the stage for some upcoming storylines and (dare I say it?) returns. Neela befriended a precocious sickle cell patient who said to her the words we've all been thinking: "You're a total player, huh?" No kidding. On the one hand we have Ray, the best friend with whom she shares a deep bond and on the other hand we have Brenner, the mischievous bad boy who is clearly smitten. Did I mention they are both gorgeous? Poor Neela. It's hard out there for a beautiful surgeon. Angela Bassett has certainly dialed back the intensity in her portrayal of ER chief Dr. Banfield. And thank goodness for that because for a while there, I was worried that she was going to literally clench herself to death. Her attempts to start a family were a nice way to prompt a visit from the ever-reliable Dr. Coburn. I also loved her interaction with the two brothers struggling to maintain their bond in the face of overwhelming challenges. Thankfully, the connection between the siblings was strong enough to convince the older brother to cooperate with the police, but I have to ask — who else is thinking that these two boys are going to end up back in Cate's life in some way? As Cate and her husband continued to work through their issues, Tony and Sam's relationship splintered even further. I, for one, am really struggling to understand how Sam can continue to blame Tony for the events that lead to Alex's accident. For a woman who shot her ex-husband to death while her son watched, her ongoing anger at Tony's lapse in judgment seems a little overwrought. And while helping the fellow Iraq vet get his life back together clearly meant a lot to Tony, it also opened many old wounds for him. To make matters worse, little Miss Daria, who has been mooning over Tony for weeks, saw her opportunity tonight as a very drunk and emotionally vulnerable Dr. Gates offered himself up with no strings attached. However, I am not getting the impression that Daria is going to be satisfied with a one-night stand. Finally, Archie enjoyed a few nice moments with an undercover female narcotics officer who entrusted her secret to him. Can't Archie catch a break and meet a girl who is actually accessible? And is it too much to ask that she doesn't spit in his face? You better hurry, Archie. There's not much time left. Source here

Recap: "The High Holiday"

Christmas came to ER for the last time this week and it brought some bittersweet moments, some unhappy endings and a surprise or two. Oh, and hash brownies. It wouldn't be Christmas in the ER without someone dressed in a Santa suit, and who better than our old friend Jerry to do the honors? I laughed out loud when he talked about the fact that he had been in Alaska tending bar — a tongue-in-cheek reference to Abraham Benrubi's retreat to the now-defunct Men in Trees. Wherever he was, it was great to see the big guy again. I am also glad that they have softened Banfield's edges a bit. Her newfound friendship with Archie is entertaining to watch and her interaction with the lesbian couple facing an uncertain future showed that she actually does have a very compassionate side. The healing has definitely begun for this complex character and it seems that her marriage is getting back on track as well. While I was happy to see Alex on the road to recovery, I am absolutely furious that Sam is willing to throw out her relationship with Tony as a result of the accident. Tony made a rookie mistake by giving in to Sarah and Alex, but to blame him for the outcome is unreasonable. It seems obvious that the writers are just creating obstacles to Sam and Tony's ultimate happiness (see Luka and Abby, the last three years), but this latest bump is annoying, to say the least. The storyline about the couple facing deportation was a great excuse to bring back old friend Dr. Coburn. Who else loved the face she made when the intern asked her if she was sure about the baby's diagnosis? To still see these familiar faces turning up many years later is very rewarding for the long-term viewers. All in all, this episode is not up there with Jeanie's star on the ER tree, but it was a nice reminder of all the holiday goodwill that has been summoned over these 15 years. We have a few weeks to breathe before new episodes resume on Jan. 8. Enjoy your holidays and see you in the New Year! read full recap from: TvGuide

Episode Recap: "Let it Snow"

As has often been the case over the past fifteen years, a nasty Chicago snowstorm brought trauma and drama to the ER tonight. And while the staff kept the lights on back at County General, Morris and Banfield bonded in Omaha while the weather kept them stranded at a conference and gave them an opportunity to experience each other in a new light. Tony and Sam faced the biggest challenge of their relationship as Tony's unfortunate decision set off a tragic chain of events including an accident, a death and an uncertain fate for Alex. I once again remembered tonight why I have repeatedly voiced my dislike for Sarah. Her lashing out at Sam after the accident was just another example of what a petulant, angry little teen nightmare she is. I had to agree with Sam that Tony hasn't exactly done a bang-up job in the parenting department, but she also channeled all of her anger and fear over Alex's condition in the wrong place. However, as a parent, the situation tonight pretty much summoned to the surface all of the worst nightmares about what can happen to your child, even when they are trying to do the right thing. I had a feeling at the very end that something was going to go terribly wrong and as Sam opened up to Tony, I kept waiting. It's not often that we are left with a cliffhanger like what we had tonight, but I am going to hold out hope that they won't let the last Christmas in the ER be the one where Sam's son dies. Please let me be right on that one. Even more difficult to watch was the young brother of the accident victim who could not comprehend the loss of his sister. However, all I could think to myself was how could any parents jet off to Europe and leave a five-year-old in the care of his sixteen-year-old sister. Meanwhile, could they have found a more adorable child with a cuter lisp? It might just be me, but that just made the whole thing even sadder. It was appropriate that Chas was the one who stuck it out with the boy though, having recently lost his own sibling he probably had a solid grasp on what the child was feeling. read from: TvGuide

A Neela & Ray happy ending!

I've been an ER fan ever since... since abby & luka tandem is over.. I guess it will be nice to see neela and ray together.. they've been separated for quite a long time now and seeing them together is great.. maybe they could end the ER season finale with a nice happy ending... They look great... hope that will come in the next episode before ER ends...

Abby

Is anyone as sad as I am that Abby is gone? She was the last original charactor. It would have been nice for her to end the show. She is missed every week.

Episode Recap: "Heal Thyself"

The question for this week is really simple. At what point did you start crying? For me, it pretty much started before the episode even began as Eriq LaSalle delivered an eloquent memorial to ER creator Michael Crichton. It seemed especially fitting to have one of the original cast members bid a final farewell to the man who started it all. (Now Eriq, we need you back in scrubs with your best Benton scowl as soon as possible.) From that point, the well was primed, so to speak. With all the hype that has come in advance of Anthony Edwards' bittersweet return, I waited anxiously on my couch, tissue box nearby. After all, I still can't even think about his final episode without tearing up. (Go ahead — watch the clip. But if you are at work while reading this, be prepared.) And when I hear that version of "Over the Rainbow" (the Hawaiian-influenced reimagining by the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole), I am immediately taken back to those final moments when Mark's life and loved ones flashed before his eyes and he pictured himself in the empty ER. read full recap from TvGuide