Thursday, November 13, 2008

ER, "Heal Thyself": Greene day

I basically said all I had to say about tonight's "ER" in yesterday's column. Feel free to weigh in on the return of Mark Greene -- and of some other familiar faces -- in the comments.

17 comments:

the2scoops said...

Jerry! Kerry! Two Arm Kung-Fu Grip Romano!

It was great to see the return of Anthony Edwards as Dr. Greene, and it felt, for lack of a better word, natural. You nailed the contrast between Edwards and Bassett's acting style. The appearance was nicely played, but didn't feel like it was the central driver of the episode. Looking forward to the rest of the ER Final Season Victory Lap.

And nice opening acknowledging the passing of series creator Michael Crichton.

BeeLew in Chicago said...

Anthony Edwards was great. He slipped so easily back into the role as Dr Greene. The episode gave me fond memories of the days of Edwards, Clooney, Wylie, and Marguilles(sp).

R I P Michael Crichton

Anonymous said...

Definitely handled with more tact and skill than frankly I was expecting. But while I would have previously described Angela Bassett's character/storyline/acting as angsty, for me the whole kaboodle has slipped right down into maudlin. Just sticking around for some Carter/Benson action at this point, because this final season is just one big Emotional Sledgehammer.Dea

Pamela Jaye said...

Yup. I can't argue with your assessment.
The only other thing I noticed was how it was possible for Edwards to look *older.*

It's Thursday night. I see dead people... (and some of them actually make sense)

so which character was the surprise?
I thought I'd caught Andrew's post in my email but apparently not.

Sad about Michael Crichton.

Brian said...

Just sticking around for some Carter/Benson action at this point

Robert Guillaume is making an appearance?

the2scoops said...

Jerry was a pleasant surprise, trucked in all the way from Alaska.

And man, between this and seeing the Night Court cast, i'm feeling old.

Byron said...

I started rewatching ER from the beginning last year, and I got to where Mark was ditching work for the arcade. I felt so sad for him then, and I remembered that the rest of his life was just crap followed by crap followed by dying. I stopped watching then, and I don't think I could bring myself to watch this episode. That poor, fictional man.

Stacie said...

Damn, he was good.

Evie Garland said...

I pretty much stopped watching ER when Edwards left, but tuned in last night to see his guest spot. I couldn't help laughing at how much ER just recycles old plot lines over and over. When the old woman died and the intern was sad I said, "oh look, he's playing the Carter role, but not as well as Noah Wyle did." As someone who isn't following this season, I thought the whole thing with Dr. Greene was so throw-away. He comes back and all we get to see him do is try to save a kid and then have a heart-to-heart with his mother? I've already seen him do that 100 times. The only saving grace was that Dr. Courday only appeared via telephone.

DolphinFan said...

So far, ER has done a terrific job of bringing back characters for this last-season victory lap: the Jeanie Boulet episode from last year was outstanding, the Return of Dr. Greene was perfectly done, and there were nice touches in the single scenes for Kerry Weaver and Rocket Romano. I especially liked that both characters were IN character--Kerry's trying to help Mark but being somewhat overbearing in the process, and Romano's mixing cruelty (the line about how no one told Mark to get cnacer) with humanity (the look he gives Mark three seconds later, when he knows what he said was disgusting, and then a pause before he swallows his regret and just walks back to his work).
I do wonder, continuity-wise, where this episode fit into Season 8's chronology (because it took place in 2002). Everyone knew here that Mark's brain tumor had come back, he and Elizabeth weren't back together in their home, and the only visible sign he was badly ill was the way he kept rubbing his head in pain. I'd have to put "Heal Thyself" between S8 episodes "Bygones" and "Orion in the Sky", with the caveat that Mark and Elizabeth's phone talk in HT means that they were considering whether she truly would return home for good.
All in all, I'm glad Anthony Edwards came back. He did a great job.

Anonymous said...

I wish they'd left Elizabeth out of it altogether. And I liked her. But I didn't remember the details of their relationship and didn't want to.

I thought Edwards looked exactly the same, not older. Helps that he was supposed to be so ill, I suppose.

Pamela Jaye said...

just re-watching bits of ER

Banfield re: her son -
"I never got away from the feeling that somehow I'd be able to hold him again"


apparently she's on the wrong show...

dez said...

I liked seeing Mark, Kerry, Jerry, and especially Romano back. Made me all nostalgic and sniffly.

What's with all the seeming dislike for Elizabeth?

DolphinFan said...

Dez:

In order to keep Mark's personal life as miserable and story-producing as possible, the writer-producers turned Elizabeth Corday from a brilliant surgeon with a smart, bold and enjoyable personality into a shrill, angry, frankly unrecognizable person in Season 8. The last straw for many fans came when she walked out on Mark because he wouldn't toss his idiot daughter Rachel out of the house (and don't get me started on Rachel, fans hated her in S8 even more than Elizabeth) and thus spent a lot of time not knowing or seeming to care that his tumor had recurred and was then fatal. After Mark died, Alex Kingston stayed on the show for Seasons 9 and 10 but didn't really have much to do. And to the extent fans had any problem with her beyond the S8 debacle, her Season 11 departure arc was pathetic--rushed, out of character, overly banking on hatred for Kerry Weaver (Elizabeth deliberately broke a law in large part because she wanted to spit in Kerry's face). I personally think Kingston is a superb actress and it wasn't her fault that Elizabeth ended up being worse than present-day Jan Levinson.
Anyway, that's why fans don't care much for her, miss her, or regret she didn't appear in the flashback.
Hope this summed that all up.

dez said...

Thanks, dolphinfan! I can't believe I forgot all that, though I do remember hating Rachel quite a bit.

T said...

It was nice to see Greene, Romano, and Weaver again. In theory, it was a good idea to tie the story to something in the present. But I think the producers are overestimating how much the audience can care about Angela Bassett's character, Dr. Banfield.

Three things going against it: (1) It's the last season. Everyone knows it's the last season. Psychologically, it's hard to invest in someone new. What we want is to see existing stuff get resolved (and, sure, cameos from the old cast). (2) We all kind of knew the show would be going the maudlin route with Banfield's backstory. (3) What Alan mentioned about Bassett's intensity (though tonight there was indeed more range and subtlety, beyond that one harsh expression she opted to wear since her arrival).

If anyone has done it, is it worth going back and rewatching the first three seasons? Do they hold up to our memory of them?

Pamela Jaye said...

I've done it. I'm not sure that, for me, they had anything so great to live up to. But once I'd done it - well, I got lucky, cause that was the year the show picked back up and got somewhat interesting again and NBC decided not to cancel it.

So yeah, for me, I think they were better the second time around. For one thing, I had years of bad crap to compare them to (Leguzamo, Third Rock girl, Sam's husband holding everyone hostage (hated that guy), Guest Star of the Week dying for an hour (I'll exempt Cynthia Nixon - that was interesting, if terrifying), and of course, our regular Political Message frim Africa (sorry - if I want to be preached to, I can go to church or some news program).

I do miss Mark and Doug and Carol and Susan and Peter and Carter and nurses who actually had names. So I watched through, two or three years ago, and it was good. Mark finding a swallowed battery with a metal detector was fun. (A Shift in the Night was good in general)

Plus you can see guest cast who were later famous (Brad Whitford, Janel Moloney, Kirsten Dunst) and of course Carter's Love Interest of the Season. (I do hope they kept him with Kem, at least)