Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ER: What's your favorite episode, and why?

So, I'm trying to do some early brainstorming on all the things I'm going to write next week about the finale of "ER." And one of the naturals is to do, as I usually do at the end of iconic series, a Best Episodes list. I have a bunch of obvious ones in mind -- the pilot, "Blizzard," "Love's Labor Lost," "Hell and High Water," "Exodus" (pictured above) -- but, as always, I'm open to suggestions, especially if you can articulate why you feel yours was one of the show's strongest hours.

In particular, I'm curious to see if anyone can make a strong case for an episode from after, say, Anthony Edwards left.

119 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The Letter" [season 8]: Mainly because The Carter/Abby hookup did not happen in the way I though it would. The closing shot of the letter on the bulletin board is great.

dez said...

Is one of those the one where Lucy was killed and Carter was stabbed? I don't know the names of the eps the way you do, but if it's not on you list, I nominate it. That was a very powerful episode. I'd also suggest the one where Pratt died, mostly because they managed to make me care (and cry about) a character who usually annoyed me to no end (not as much as Archie used to annoy me, but still).

DonBoy said...

I don't know episode titles, but here's something: after weeks of Neela and Michael Gallant doing a long-distance romantic slow-burn, he comes back from Iraq, and she jumps into his arms, and they're glowing with love, and I realized then that I never, ever believed any "romance" involving Mark Greene, John Carter, yes, even Ross and Hathaway..but this just lit up the screen.

Or, I could just be in love with Parminder Nagra. You can't prove a thing.

TL said...

Funny thing about ER -- I watched it obsessively until about the time Anthony Edwards left, but once I stopped, I've forgotten almost everything about it. The only episodes that stand out in my mind are the S2 episode where Clooney saved that kid during the flood (perhaps the "Hell & High Water" you refer to?) and the live episode (I don't remember if it was actually good or just technically impressive).

Oh, and I vaguely recall that the one Quintin Tarrantino directed had a woman walk in with a severed ear.

Bobman said...

Is one of those the one where Lucy was killed and Carter was stabbed? I don't know the names of the eps the way you do, but if it's not on you list, I nominate it.

I agree with this; I haven't watched ER since Dr. Greene died, but the episodes I remember most are Greene's death and the episode where David Krumholtz stabs Lucy and Carter.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, to clarify the ones I already listed:

-Pilot: this is obvious

-Blizzard: early season one episode where the staff deals with a blizzard; the first pure all-action episode they did

-Love's Labor Lost: Greene delivers a baby, but the mother dies

-Hell and High Water: Doug Ross rescues the kid in the storm drain

-Exodus: Carter takes charge when the ER has to be evacuated after a chemical spill (also known as the one where Doug and Carol are trapped in an elevator with a girl whose bypass machine is unplugged)

Amit said...

I absolutely nominate the one where carter and lucy were stabbed, but I really think it should be the one when they're stabbed, and then the one right after when they tried to save them. I think the one when they were stabbed was Be Still My Heart. While it was a good episode, it was really the last 5 minutes that anybody really remembers, and then the next episode when they save them.

Tiana said...

Gallant: "You know, earlier, in the ambulance bay, I was thinking of asking you out." Neela: "And I was thinking of saying yes."

In last week's episode, this little clip made me remember how much I loved this couple! Now that I think about it, Neela always did make me feel something for her when she was in the midst of a love triangle. I'm glad they let her get back with Ray....I've always felt bad about his legs!

It was nice to see all the old guys and girls come back. I'll kinda miss it!
Does anyone know if Haleh is the only person left who has been on the show since the first season?

Yet another anonymous said...

Alan, damn you! I have stopped doing what I should be doing in order to wikipedia ER episodes. I agree with those you've mentioned (most definitely Be Still My Heart when Lucy and Carter get stabbed, and then All in the Family, which is the aftermath).

In going through the summaries, I realize how many episodes were a lot more simple in scope than later ones with falling helicopters and tanks coming toward the ER, dealing more with character than plot, which I think was the highlight of this show. One episode I forgot but I now remember as loopy (all right, gimmicky) fun was "Ambush," the live documentary in the ER. Seeing the actors on the spot, yet having such a great time was catching.

Another favorite? Additional aftermath of the stabbing, when Carter got addicted to pain meds, and Benton took him to rehab. I love that relationship.

Sadly, I don't think I've even gone through half the episodes yet. Looking forward to reading others' recollections.

(What was surprising to me was that Clooney was on as long as he was!)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Does anyone know if Haleh is the only person left who has been on the show since the first season?

Chuny has as well. Wikipedia claimed that there were six characters who'd been around since the beginning, but I'd assume they're all nurses.

Also, wasn't Haleh gone for a little bit, possibly before she lost all the weight?

Alan Sepinwall said...

(What was surprising to me was that Clooney was on as long as he was!)

One of the many reasons why Clooney is awesome: he fulfilled his contract (more or less; John Wells wrote him out before his final season was over so they could immediately do a bunch of episodes showing there was more to "ER" than Clooney), even when he had become so famous and in-demand that he could have weaseled his way out of the contract much earlier (see Caruso, David).

Zehava said...

The episode in Hawaii with Greene and his daughter right before he dies. Almost entirely not in the ER. Every single time I have watched it I have sobbed...just randomly flipping channels and watching reruns and it still will cause me to sob all of these years later.....

Yet another anonymous said...

And another thing that endears him to me, Alan, was that he came back in the last season for a bit cameo that was only for the fans. He is such a 'big' star now that he could've gotten out of it, but he didn't.

Another set of episodes I loved? Anything to do with Greene and his dad, the remarkable John Collum. The Ross/Greene road trip, Greene's mom's passing, and most memorably the reconnection of father and son in Chicago. The scenes from the last really had me crying, when TV could still make me cry, rather than my 401-K balance.

Anonymous said...

Fathers and Sons from Season 4. The one where Doug and Mark go to California to settle Doug's dead father's estate, er, car.

They end up going to visit Mark's parents in San Diego as well. It was the first episode where we met Mark's dad whose story arc I really loved.

We learn a lot about why Mark and Doug are the way they are due to their often turbulent relationships with their fathers. The scene with Mark and Doug watching old movies and drinking beer always chokes me up.

Then when Carol shows up at the end and smiles at Doug and he smiles back you could cut the chemistry with a knife. Great episode.

Andrew said...

Any chance you might write a "worst of" article about ER as a companion to this one? Sure, it's not exactly an appropriate way of celebrating an influential series, but any post-mortem that doesn't mention its many, many blunders over the years will feel incomplete.

andythesaint said...

Other faves:

"Secrets and Lies" [season 8]: Breakfast Club homage with Carter, Abby, Kovac, Lewis, and Gallant stuck using their weekend for a harassment seminar. While Greene was still around, I'd say this episode served to pass the torch, and illustrate that the show would still be in capable hands.

"Everything Old Is New Again" [season one]:
Hathaway's aborted wedding with Tag.

"Fathers and Sons" [season four]:
Ross and Greene's California adventure to collect Doug's dad's remains.

"Middle of Nowhere" [season five]:
Benton fills in at a Mississippi clinic.

As for post-Greene, maybe one of the Carter and Kovac in Africa episodes, "Kisangani" or "The Lost"?

Anonymous said...

You absolutely must include the episode following the stabbing of Lucy and Carter, where everyone comes together to try to save their lives. I tivo that episode every time it airs in repeats, and it affects me strongly every single time. I also agree that the season finale that year, where Carter's drug addition is discovered and Benton takes him to rehab, was a high point.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The episode in Hawaii with Greene and his daughter right before he dies.

Oh, I hate that one. Hate it hate it hate it. As I've said a bunch of times (including earlier today on Throwing Things), I would think back so much more fondly on the Death of Greene arc if his last appearance had been in "Orion in the Sky," the last episode where he worked in the ER, and that we found out about his death in "The Letter" without having to actually watch it -- and all the time with his awful daughter -- the following week.

Avi said...

Everyone always remembers that the great one was the one where Lucy and Carter were stabbed. But actually they are remembering the next one where everyone in the ER tries to save them but Lucy still dies.
It's called All in the Family. That's probably the saddest episode I've ever seen on any series. Only All Alone from Six Feet Under's last season comes close.

I've only seen first 10 seasons. Some great ones are Union Station (where Susan leaves), episodes from Choosing Joi to The Storm 2 (Clooney's closing arc), and Laura Innes' directorial debut Power was also quite memorable.

Can't think of any good episodes from later seasons. The Africa episodes were the most interesting ones, at least they tried something new with those.

I'm still laughing at that stupid and random cliffhanger at the end of season 10. No wonder I stopped there.

I'm only guessing here but maybe they got some good ones out of Carter's departure in season 11? Usually major characters leaving meant good eps.

kendall said...

I haven't watched in years, but there was a string of good episodes with Tom Everett Scott and Sally Field as Abby's brother and mother. There was a good one where he was missing (AWOL?) that I remember.

And Julianna's final episode with the surprise Clooney at the end.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if you want to talk about mistakes, I can tell you the exact story that made me stop watching ER. I can't tell you the name, but it was set on prom night and a limo with two couples in it was involved in an accident. They brought in both boys and one girl. They mentioned several times that the other girl wasn't brought in from the scene and that they didn't know where she was. Then they never resolved the situation -- never mentioned if she was dead, brought into a different hospital, nothing. My husband and I rewatched that episode no less than 4 times to see if we could figure out what happened. They just dropped the ball on the story. It made me so crazy that I had to quit watching the show (this was post-Doug and Carol and the quality had been steadily declining anyway).

Linda said...

Oh, my, yes -- Hathaway's wedding-that-wasn't to Tag. The montage at the end of that episode is, in my opinion, one of the best ever, on any show. The shots of people dancing at the "reception" are relatively subtle, but you get a huge amount of emotional information about Mark's relationship with Doug, the way EVERYBODY understands about Doug and Carol, the way Carol knows it's okay that she didn't get married...I adore that episode. One of the things the show did so well when it was good was develop individual relationships with great specificity, and that scene, where "Tequila" melts into the ending...ooh, I love that.

Chaddogg said...

The only acceptable answer is "Hell and High Water." One, because of Doug Ross saving the kid that should have died in the storm/flood drain.

But more importantly, because of the B) story, where a kid came in with really nothing wrong with them, and Harper and Carter treated her, only to have her die unexpectedly. Absolutely and unequivocally devastating. I'll never forget the devastating shot of the press swarming the family of the kid who died, mistakenly thinking they were the parents of the kid that Doug Ross saved on camera.

Another choice: "Motherhood", the Tarantino directed episode that was pretty awesome.

Trefusius said...

The episode with the death of the paramedic (possibly called The Healers?). The character was the partner of the other paramedic who was dating Hathaway for a while. I remember being absolutely devastated by it. I do not, apparently, remember any of the character names.

keever said...

I've always been fond of "The Long Way Around," the one in which Carol is held hostage in the convenience store that Ewan McGregor's character is robbing (poorly). Not for nothing was he nominated for a guest actor Emmy.

mjryan said...

Yes, Trefuis - that was the episode that the partner paramedic was burned, right? Very, very touching.

I think you should companion the episode where Lucy and Carter got stabbed with the one following. That shocking conclusion makes anything that went before forgettable, but the ending was astounding. Whenever I get irritated with spoilerphobes I remember how shocked - and spoiler-free - I was for that episode and how much better it was because of it, and I give the spoilerphobes major slack and consider joining their ranks.

David said...

I thought "Tribes" and the ensuing arc of Mark Greene's beating & the following trauma was quite good - especially "Random Acts" and "Make a Wish."

El Marpla said...

As for episodes after Greene´s death, i would recommend Kisingani. I really liked Carter´s first African trip and Luka´s episode in Africa is great too. Pratt´s not so much.

How about that episode told backwards, like the Seinfeld episode? I dont remember the name now.

Another episode to remember is Ray Liotta´s from a couple seasons back.

Faye said...

I definitely agree with Carol's not-wedding to Tag, Fathers and Sons (if only for Carol's appearance), Union Station (so love that one), Choosing Joi and the live episode. I loved the Jeannie - Scott Anspaugh arc. I think perhaps in long running serial drama it is particular arcs not just episodes that should be remembered as well, as that truly the defining narrative form of TV.

Maybe Lucy's death episode - although I HATED that character and also felt emotionally manipulated with the final 'unable to save her' surgery when they turned the sound on the ECG (?) waaay up so the flatline was anviled in. I had totally forgotten it was Krumholtz that did the deed.

For me my favourite is Exodus, coz i'm John Carter devotee. I remember calling a friend afterwards to say i'd just seen the best er episode ever.

I have watched every episode of er (for my sins, its a ritual i cant leave) and have cried many times in the later series, but I just cant remember any of the episodes distinctly - perhaps this is because so many of us have seen the early episodes multiple times (in the UK i spent a whole university vacation watching daytime double bills) compared to the later lesser seasons? I dont know

Pale Writer said...

Of course the Carter/Lucy episode. Seeing Romano sewing Lucy up was absolutely heartbreaking because it made my heart swell for Lucy, who I loved, and for Romano, who I wanted to love and needed a reason to.

Of course The Letter. That episode guts me every time.

There was also an episode where two firemen are hurt in a fire, and one has 3rd degree burns over 90% percent of his body, and Carter freezes up. Benton takes him aside later and tells him that he'll never see anything worse than that in the ER. I remember it because I think it was the first time that the Carter/Benton relationship was humanized. Up until then, it was a lot of teacher/student dominance, but that was one human being talking to another.

Anonymous said...

"There was also an episode where two firemen are hurt in a fire, and one has 3rd degree burns over 90% percent of his body, and Carter freezes up. Benton takes him aside later and tells him that he'll never see anything worse than that in the ER."

When the terrorists attacked Glasgow airport and one died and the other terrorist was burned, I asked my friend, who's an A&E doctor, if the burned guy was going to live to face trial. His matter-of-fact face when he said, "No," was chilling. No one in the UK media had reported anything of the kind. I'll never forget that ER episode, and the ensuing situation.

jengod said...

Yeah, the one where they stabbed Carter, and the one where they dropped a helicopter on Romano. The latter was ER at is Baroque height. :)

jengod said...

Oh, and the one where they had to do sexual harassment training and Kovac did Hamlet in Croatian. :)

Greg said...

Wow, I'm shocked more people haven't seconded the nomination of "Love's Labor Lost." I can still remember watching it, 14 years later. It started out as a regular episode and by the end I was so into the story, I felt like a friend of mine had just died. Just an amazing piece of television. It absolutely deserved to be named one of the best TV episodes by TV Guide a few years later. When Greene told someone (was it Carter or Deb?) to go drag someone from the delivery floor down to the ER to tell him what to do, I jumped out of my seat to try to help out this poor SOB. Then I remembered I was watching a piece of fiction, not actually there in real life. Wow. I've seen some good episodes of TV since, but nothing has been nearly as memorable as "Love's Labor Lost."

Linda said...

The episode after the stabbing is another great one, definitely -- I remember reading a very beautiful description of it -- yes, description -- that focused on how devastating it was when Lucy, who was such an eager little nerd, was instantly able to diagnose her own ultimately fatal pulmonary embolism as she was experiencing it. It's not in the recap, so I don't know where I read it, but I remember that just that description made me weepy. Something like, "Lucy, corker that she always was..." and then I can't remember. But anyway.

Hyde said...

In particular, I'm curious to see if anyone can make a strong case for an episode from after, say, Anthony Edwards left.

The episode where Ray Liotta played the alcoholic whose body simply gave out on him, and which if memory serves took place in real time, always made an impression on me. I'm thinking that was about 5 years ago.

Other than that, I would go with the usual standbys: the pilot, Doug-in-the-drain, and "Love's Labors Lost." But I tend to remember story arcs more than individual episodes. Something like Benton having to deal with the realization that his son was deaf, and dealing with that the way a Peter Benton would and not as a long-suffering saint--I don't recall seeing that story told on TV before.

Ellie said...

You've all mentioned the ones I would come up with. I don't have a single favorite, but the one that had the most lasting impact on me was "Love's Labors Lost." I was 100% unspoiled--and pregnant--when I saw it. I could barely breathe for a week.

JustMe said...

I'd also put for consideration - the road trip with Doug & Mark, Carol & Ewan McGregor in the 7-11, the Breakfast Club episode, "taking you home" (Carol's final episode, whatever it was called), "Take these broken wings" (where Susan talks about losing baby Chloe), the Bob Newhart episode, the Sally Field episode.

Karim Amir said...

"Hell and High Water" is a masterpiece, as was "All in the Family."

One of my favorite post-Edwards episodes is Season 13's Jigsaw, with Dr. Morris treating a patient (Shawn Hatosy) with multiple personalities. That was the episode that finally made me a fan of Scott Grimes.

One more: Season 10's "The Lost"--the episode in which Carter goes to Africa to presumably pick up the body of Kovac. Powerful.

Anonymous said...

More recently, I thought this season's episode with the Neela recurring dream was interesting, mostly becasue you did not know in the end if any of it was real or what it meant. I was suprised that episode got so little mention on this board.
Of course my all time favorite and the The one that got me hooked on the show was Love's Labor lost. So intense for its time. I was upset for days afterwards, feeling bad for fictional Mark Greene. What a heartbraking episode.

Anonymous said...

Love's Labor Lost is the one that hooked me on ER in the first place (plus it has a pre-Josh Lyman Bradley Whitford as the dad). In terms of the post-Edwards era, I was surprisingly moved by Pratt's death - I didn't like him or Lucy, but each of them died knowing what was about to happen to them, which is a complete gut-punch. NICU from Season 10, featuring Abby and Neela's rotation there, is a good one too.

Anonymous said...

Also put me down as a fan of the Mark Greene dies in Hawaii episode. I really like that episode. yes his kid was a brat, but those last days with her still meant something.
also put me down as a fan of the very last scene of Mark Greene in the Hospital with girl with splinter. What a perfect way to end his last day of work. That scene will always be perfect and the show in Hawaii does not ruin it at all. Just like the Mark Greene flashback this season does not ruin it either.

Anonymous said...

I also like the Gallant in Iraq episode. Funny that so many people are mentioning episode's outside the hospital. I guess it the excpetions you remember more.

Anonymous said...

I liked the one where the balcony collapsed when Ray and Morris were at a party. Mainly because the episode happened shortly after it happened in real life where a balcony collapsed at a party in Chicago. Being from Chicago everyone who has every been to a party at one of those types of apartments could relate.

SwanTheDuck said...

One episode I really loved was "The Greatest of Gifts" from Season 7 - when Chen has her baby and struggles with her decision to give it up for adoption. Carter was her coach. I always liked the relationship between Carter & Chen and wished they'd done more with it.

DolphinFan said...

OK, let me travel back in time a little, after saying that all of the episodes mentioned at first are classics (the best of the bunch was "Hell and High Water"):
*"Night Shift", in Season 3, when Omar Epps maybe slips/probably jumps to his death on a train platform, and Carter and Benton page him and the number beeps on his belt and they realize what's happened...
*"May Day", the Season 6 finale. It had action, moral dilemmas, and Carter being busted as a drug addict.
*"When Nights Meets Day". It was the next to last episode in Season 9 and fit together two very different shifts for Carter and Pratt around a rare lunar eclipse.
*"Alone in a Crowd". Season 11 sees Cynthia Nixon turn in the best guest-starring one-shot in the show's history.
*"Murmurs of the Heart". Season 13 ep that brought the Forest Whitaker storyline to a thrilling conclusion and had a heartbreaking story involving Gates, Neela, and his spurned ex-lover's suicide.
*From this final season, "Old Times". Several stars come back and it's like they were gone for about 15 seconds.

I'm glad the WGA strike only delayed a final season of tribute for ER. This show will definitely be missed.

Anonymous said...

I loved the character of Abby--so there have to have been some noteworthy episodes which highlighted her stories and are whorthwhile to include on this list.

The episode following the shoot-up of the ER where she goes into premature labor was very well done. (Followed the summer hiatus to start the new season.)

The arc with Abby and her mom (and brother) were, IMO, very well handled and given the length of the series and time devoted to these characters, provided some real insight into why she was the way she was.

Anonymous said...

The one where Omar Epps jumped in front of the train and was brought to the ER. When Benton had him paged, the beeper went off on the ER table.

Rick said...

"One More for the Road"- the season 3 finale. If I had stopped watching there, I would forever remember ER as the best show ever. Everything came together so perfectly, with every storyline wrapped up- down to Doug showing up at Carol's door.

Then they returned for the 'live episode' and did 13 years of gimmick television rather than character drama.

Zack Smith said...

Watching Clooney's return, it reminded me that my favorite episodes were the ones that combined high melodrama with subtle emotions.

What drove me crazy as the show went on was how the empahsis was placed more and more on the Giant Disasters, and on interoffice hook-up. Really, aside from such exceptions as Ross/Hathaway, the show never quite pulled off romantic subplots (and a few that worked, like Corday/Benton, were killed for stupid reasons).

Like some posters have said, I liked certain arcs more than episodes. The arc with Greene saving the wrong patient, then getting beaten, then trying to recover from it, added some darker layers to an otherwise optimistic character, and they could have done more with that. Ditto stuff like Benton's dying mother in the first season, or Carter's drug addiction.

One favorite I had was Jeannie Boulet dealing with Scott Anspaugh. The episode where Scott revealed he was ready to die (I forget the title) was very well done, and Gloria Reuben had a nice moment at the beginning where Jeannie sort of broke down in the shower while singing Green Day's "Good Riddance" to herself. The song was massively overused in TV at that time, but it somehow seemed fresh and touching the way she did it.

In terms of over-the-top, I always dug it when Jerry had the grenade launcher, because it was so unexpected and over-the-top. Stuff like the helicoptor and the tank were just ridiculous, though.

The show sort of permanently became dull for me around 2003, when most of the new crop of doctors settled in. ER sort of became the place where interesting young actors went to rest -- Linda Cardellini, Parminder Nagra, Shane West, etc. never quite had the shaded characters they'd done on other shows/movies.

(I did like how Scott Grimes stuck around, because he came in on the otherwise predictable arc of the slacker doctor who can't hack it, then wound up outlasting his more competent counterpart, played by a pre-SUNNY Glenn Howerton).

Toward the end of the original cast's run, I began to get tired of the "special" episodes outside the ER. What I liked in the early years was that Carter was goofy, Benton was tightly wound, Greene was a little too earnest, that sort of thing. And it got to the point where the characters were all made super-mature and heroic, and that wasn't as much fun to watch.

It was either that, or they just faded away. When Lewis came back, for example, she just seemed...there. Or Corday, whom the producers literally ran out of material for.

I think the official "jump the shark" ep was when Romano got crushed by the helicoptor. At that point, you had most of the younger cast in place, most of the vets out the door, and a ridiculous situation of the week.
That was kind of the point where I realized I didn't care any more.

This has just turned into free-flow rambling about ER. Sorry, I haven't thought of this show in a long time!

Jennifer said...

Love's Labor Lost is my all time favorite episode. After that I think the episode where Lucy died was excellent, and I don't remember much about the episode, but Gloria Reuben crying in the shower upon learning Scott Anspaugh had died/was soon to die was one of the most moving moments the show has ever had.

Annie T. said...

All my faves have already been mentioned. I just wanted to add that I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks of ER as divided into two sections - before and after Dr. Greene's death. I think that people who did not watch ER until later seasons equate the show with George Clooney. I personally feel that Anthony Edwards was the heart of ER and when he left, I stopped watching it. So, I'm on the side of those who sob every time they see the Hawaii episode. I haven't watched ER in many many years, but I'll tune in to see the end.

M.A.Peel said...

The final shot of "Be Still My Heart" is for me the most innovative shot in tv history. I have never gasped like that as a tv viewer before or since.

Mark and Corday's wedding episode. "Sailing Away"--Carter and Abby drive to Oklahoma to save Sally Field.

Then there are great moments, if not the best episodes: Benton showing up as Shaft to make Corday happy on Halloween; Greene taking his dying father out on a boat one last time; Kovac confessing to the bishop, with the entire Lord's Prayer

Post Greene: the Don Cheadle episodes. "Hindsight"

Adam said...

Wow, I'm shocked more people haven't seconded the nomination of "Love's Labor Lost."

It's not only the best ER episode but perhaps the best episode of a network tv drama in the past ~20 years. It's on a level with "Two Cathedrals" on TWW, with Lost's "The Constant" and "Walkabout," etc. There's not much more to say.

Three more to highlight:

"Last Call" -- "Doug Ross hits rock bottom when a woman he picks up in a bar has to be rushed to the ER. Doug knows nothing about her however." Also has Benton/Carla/Jeanie and Keeton/Benton/Carter issues.

"Tribes" -- the Law family, Greene and race.

"Of Past Regret and Future Fear" -- Michael Rappaport's slow death from hypocalcemia.

M.A.Peel said...

"Of Past Regret and Future Fear" -- Michael Rappaport's slow death from hypocalcemia.

Adam, you made my night. I was wracking my brain to remember the detail of hypocalcemia to list that episode. It haunted me for weeks, it was so quietly chilling. It was such a comparatively simple problem, and there was NOTHING they could do to reverse it or the inevitable death. Capturing that poignancy is what ER did better than anything on TV.

Withnail said...

There were episodes after Anthony Edwards left?

anna_p said...

I would say Hell & High water - but then, I'm also from the school of not caring once the Anthony Edwards era was over - and wobbly toward the end of that...

Nugget said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nugget said...

Whoops. Error.

Weaver was always my favorite character, so two of my favorite episodes put her front and center:

"Partly Cloudy, Chance of Rain" (Season 8) -- Poor Gallant was in trial-by-fire mode out in the field while Weaver finally got a chance to be hella-awesome. And that's when Weaver met her future wife, Sandy. Aww.

"Where There's Smoke" (Season 10) -- Laura Innes' proves that she's the master as Weaver deals with Sandy's sudden and tragic death. I could have done without the final scene of Sandy's family taking Henry away, but Abby holding Kerry as she sobbed made up for it.

*sniffle*

Anonymous said...

I agree with most everything that has been mentioned. I just wanted to pointed a couple of characters that have stayed with me - Mobilage and his wife Kuby. He'd been tortured in Africa - played by Djimpn Honsou.

One of the best story arcs ER every did! Has stayed with me for over a decade.

M.Chavez said...

Of course all the comments I pretty much agree with. If I may add one of the most harrowing eps I ever saw, 'Fear', a mother throws her kids out their apt. window to escape their abusive father, until we discover that she's been hallucinating. The silence at the moment you see the kids jump out the window willingly just ripped my heart out.

A different ep. had a scene that also touched me... Benton has his deaf son in the hospital with him (prob for deaf counseling, etc.) and for a split second you see Romano sign 'I love you' to the boy without Benton seeing it. Romano's humanity revealed for that split second was angelic. This was at the height of the "Romano is a sexist, abusive jerk" scenes so it made it esp. touching to see.

bsangs said...

I don't know episode titles and haven't watched ER in years. When I watched regularly, nothing moved me more than the episode dring which Bradley Whitford's character lost his wife, while their newborn lived. I cried like a baby.

Pamela Jaye said...

before I read 60 comments, I want to say Exodus - probably for the same reason as you - I actually love the mass casualty eps (unless they are taks or helicopters or planes in the street) and then there's Carter in charge.

Notably, another mass cas. ep, The Crossing, has Denny Duquette pinned under a train. It's not in my faves (a list i haven't written) but it's a big Luka ep.

Sand and Water nearly broke my heart, but I think it was the song more than the ep. Loved the song, learned the song (and the bacstory) but it was 2 weeks efore I could get thru singing the whole thing without crying (I Will Follow You Into The Dark was almost as bad)

A Shift in the Night is another ep saved on my DVR - I just love Mark Green and the night from hell that would never end - including treating patients with metal detectors in the waiting room, and Mrs Landingham's hysterical blindness.

Also, Such Sweet Sorrow - just for the ending.

is a captcha of inesess ironic?

Pamela Jaye said...

after Mark

The Student - (this is the ep Tiana is quoting, btw - though, my luck, someone has saod this already. a "find" does not pull it up, though) where Neela, pushed to take more responsibilty and not be so tentative in order to prove she is up to being picked up as a resident at County, kills a patient and is covered for by Gallant, who then leaves, along with Carter, for other lands.

Pamela Jaye said...

Haleh was definitely gone for one ep, due to the fact that, with it being a season opener which followed close on the season ender, there wasn't a way to account for her massive weight loss having occurred in two weeks or so.

Also she was in Fred Savage's show, Working - i think - but I don't know if that kept her off ER and I don't think it was near Chaos Theory.
I noticed last week, she seems to have regained a lot :-(

and I miss Lydia and always pregnant nurse, and disappearing Wendy -is Malik gone too?

Adele said...

I loved Lucy, loved her with all my heart and the shock of seeing her on the floor after Carter was stabbed in 'Be Still My Heart' will always stay with me. It wasn't an end of season finale, mid season if I can remember correctly. It was horrifying to hear all the staff singing while Carter and Lucy lay there, losing all there blood, gazing wordlessly at one another. I shiver now to think of it.

All in the Family which was the following episode was fantastic too. This episode made me love Weaver. The way she shut the party down, discovered Lucy and Carter, turned the situation around but mainly it was her dealings with a dying Lucy that made Weaver truly real to me. I am tearing up just thinking about it.

Excuse me while I go and weep, I am such a goop!

Pamela Jaye said...

Can I do the I don't like it list?

you may be reminded of some eps you like in here.

Anything Sam has ever done without Amy Madigan

Random one-patient "let's get an Emmy" eps from season 12(?) (raped lady, Liotta, etc. I was okay with Cynthia Nixon)

Anything outside the hospital-Convenience store robbery (Carol's great with duct tape and glue but I hate hostage eps), Abby gets kidnapped by gang, road trips of any sort, from Abby and Mom to Mark & Doug to Sam goes to Colorado
Doctors without Hospitals: Darfur and other places
Also Leguziamo and 3rd Rock Chick. (that season nearly made me stop watching)

Sam, Sam, more Sam. Teen Jennifer.

And could I add that I love Neela and Ray, sibce we are finally on the ER topic? I've held that well since last week, I think. I did cry happy tears at the end.

Mark & Elizabeth's wedding day was once written up TWoP style. I loved the writeup. Can't remember what I thought of the ep.

Hell & High Water! I didn't see it till its 3rd airing. I think the overhype killed it for me.

Did Grey's Writers recently watch Loves Labor Lost, btw?

Alan Alda wasn't favorite, but he *was* interesting. Newhart too.

I too hate the Hawaii ep (see? not in hospital) except for the song at the end.

Sally Field's annoyingness as... Maggie? makes me appeciate Nora Walker a lot. But I shouldn't really need any more proof of talent from the star of Sybil...

(what happened at the end of season 10? I did my reruns 3 years ago)

Story Telling Methods eps

I also hated the backwards" Luka ep (I had to rewind a lot and watch it "forwards" - but there was a Rashomon ep (I think) "Four Corners"(?) and "Night and Day" was pretty good IIRC

The director/producer in Ambush (the libe ep) was Lisa Edelstein, btw

Anonymous said...

I agree with so many of the above posts... But I want to add my favorite line, which has been echoed throughout the series, and at each change of the head of the ER. That is, "You set the tone..." It was even said when Carter returned a couple of weeks ago, when he said to Archie, "You did it, Archie, you set the tone." I love that motif.

Pamela Jaye said...

The one out of hospital ep I did like was Carter and Lucy's trek to find the father of the dying girl.

Anonymous said...

No doubt: "Motherhood."

Pamela Jaye said...

another thing someone just reminded me of - when Mark walked out to talking to Carter (I think it was die to the burn victim) the scene is repeated almost identically years later with Carter and Gallant. (the dialog and the looming shadow especially)

Pamela Jaye said...

Oddly, I *was* spoilered for Lucy's stabbing. But I really couldn't expect the world to wait two years for me to catch up.
Speaking of which - I never saw the last two eps of Veronica Mars and I'm officially giving up trying. how did it end?

Pamela Jaye said...

I too, vote for Omar Epps killing himself over Benton. He never would have made it with House.
obviously there are way too many good eps - so perhaps Omar's beeper going off could be a good "moment" (the conversation betweem Benton & Carter - in the following ep i think - about how they just don't talk about things - that may have been the first time Carter stood up to Benton)

No one else mentioned (so far) the ep where Ross brings his unconscious and nameless date to the ER - or drives off and nearly kills Jeannie. I'm guessing this is cause Doug screwed up on pretty regular basis.

(btw, the recent ep carried on the confusion - Doug was not a resident, he was a fellow. He may or may not have ever been a resident at County. It was once mentioned that he previously worked, elsewhere, with Kerry - a bigger addict would know. Sometimes, early on, someone did call him a resident, but he wasn't. it was confusing at the time)

Pamela Jaye said...

Chen & Pratt also had an interesting ep euthanizing her dad. I found it interesting mostly because I never before found Pratt sympathetic (just full of himself)

Also, the mentally handicapped "relative" of Pratt's that got sent away - like Chuck on Happy Days, was never mentioned again. (I'm not sure they were really related. Also Danny Glover never returned)

A nice thing about the killer copter ep was Susan figuring out she loved.. um... Chuck (okay, I'm all Chucked out now)

Pamela Jaye said...

thanks to Adam for the previuosly unmentioned Michael Rappaport (when someone said Is he going to live? No - this is what I thought of. Also, Shep's partner's name was Raul. (and then there was Sandy's death and Kerry's right for custody)
I also sobbed over Pratt's death (and wonder if Archie ever did pass his boards)

I always thought that, with all the tanks and copters and planes crashing in the street, ER would end by just blowing up Chicago.

but ep 300 was quiet and remembering (though mostly *recent* patients were remembered, not people like Domino Heart girl (what is it with people on LVAD's? they never make it...)

I suppose we can at least be happy it won't end with a snow globe.

BF said...

A lot of these will be "seconded"-es, but here goes:

"Last Call" (Season 3): Doug's rock-bottom moment

"Night Shift" (Season 3): Gant's beeper

"Gut Reaction" (Season 4): Terrific use of Green Day's 'Good Riddance'

And then I checked out somewhere around Season 6 or 7.

Yet another anonymous said...

And, coincidentally, Blizzard is on TNT in about 20 minutes, which means that Love's Labour Lost will be on in about 10 days. Set your DVRs and bring out the Kleenex.

Adam said...

It is fortuitous that they're re-airing season one right now. Damn, Carter was so young.

We've been doing revisits all week look at Throwing Things on topics of note -- today is Love on ER, before that we covered favorite guest stars. Hop on over.

Anonymous said...

I found the episode where Benton had to treat the skinhead and miss his mother's birthday a powerful showcase for LaSalle, who didn't get the accolades he deserved.

And I thought the show jumped the shark with the Mare Winningham storyline, where she plays the psycho fake doctor obsessed with Greene. Greene's death spiral, and the show's, started for me with that.

Josh said...

"Blizzard" is on TNT this morning if anyone is interested.

Alan Sepinwall said...

God, "Blizzard" is still awesome. I love all the role reversals (Carter studying x-rays while the radiology doc does sutures, the biker cutting off Carter's cast), and, of course... BOB! I miss Bob. Maybe my favorite obscure "ER" character they never did enough with.

Anonymous said...

I find the episode at the end of Alan Alda arc where his character and Weaver have a conversation in the trauma room about the reality of his condition to be extremely moving. At the other end of the spectrum, I also enjoyed the episode where members of the staff are playing a softball game while Carter is stuck at the hospital. I think this is the Season 2 premiere, "Welcome Back Carter."

Anonymous said...

I vote for episodes that have Randi behind the desk as opposed to Bob, Frank, Jerry, SVU's Benson, or the hippy guy who was also in the press corp on The West Wing.

Susan said...

"Love's Labour Lost" is definitely the best ep ever. Strangely, what sticks with me about that episode is how likeable they made the couple in the beginning - with the mom-to-be joking about how often she has to go to the bathroom, etc. They sketched them out in a few minutes, but it was enough for us to care so much about what happened to them.

I absolutely love the Doug/Carol reunion on the dock in Seattle.

For comedy, I liked the one where Mark tried to date three women at once. After years of watching his marriage fall apart, it was to see him in a light-hearted romantic situation.

I stopped watching after Mark died, so I missed a lot of Abby episodes, but I think her early best was "The Dance We Do" - the one where Sally Field guest stars for the first time (I think) as her mom and has the freakout in a department store, then disappears.

And I second, third and fourth the nominations for Blizzard, All in the Family, and Hell and High Water.

I don't remember a lot of episodes in full as much as I remember moments, but the moment where Benton finally shows his anger at Carter for leaving surgery for the ER (the scene took place at the entrance to the stairs for the el) was so powerful.

renee said...

First time poster. I am usually content to read the astute comments of the other bloggers and leave it at that. But I felt that I had to chime in here. The episode that guest starred Ray Liotta as the dying patient who had estranged his family through his own actions. He died alone with only the Er staff to comfort him as he passed. The episode never fails to elicit tears.

Rocephin said...

As a medical professional (who was a med student at the time), "Love's Labor Lost" is without a doubt to me the finest episode. While the specific set-up (unable to find an OB to deliver the baby) is unrealistic, the episode resonated because it so truly captured the great fear of anyone going into medicine: that you can be in a position where you make each of the right moves and yet the case still spirals out of control. What made it more gripping was that it was not a "trauma" where things happen in minutes, but a progression over hours going from vague misgivings that something wasn't right to the catastrophic end which truly was an emergent situation. Still gives me chills thinking about it.

Redsmom said...

An episode that stounds out and I have remembered forever is where they find out the drug addict had his girlfriend chop his arm off with an ax to get pain meds. That still freaks me out.

Redsmom said...

Oh, and Helah was on a sit com that got cancelled. Then she came back skinny.

Erin said...

How about the one where Jeannie Boulet confronts her husband after she finds out he gave her HIV?

Love Labor's Lost is the single most memorable to me. I know a few people, including my husband, who were so disturbed by it that they refused to ever watch the show again after that episode.

Put in another vote for the Carter/Lucy stabbing episode. I don't actually remember the one after it where they tried to save them, but I remember being so affected by the scene where he is stabbed and falls under the bed and sees Lucy lying on the floor that I had trouble going to sleep afterwards.

Jeff L said...

Holy CRAP there are a lot of ER fans here! Alan, maybe after SportsNight, you should re-watch & review the first few seasons of ER.

One I loved that I haven't seen mentioned is when Benton, while mentoring under Abby Keaton, nearly kills an infant in the ER. It's the first (only?) time I remember Benton really being humbled. The episode as whole might not rise to the "great" level (I have no memory of the other stories) but that arc was awesome.

Waaaay up above, someone mentioned Mark's Dad. Loved the whole arc, but the one where the Dad actually dies gets me every time, mostly when Mark is bathing his Dad, and the Dad mentions he used to bathe Mark as a baby. Getting chills just writing about it.

I also love the one where Anspaugh's son, Scott, dies. The relationship between Jeannie and the son was note perfect -- as was Anspaugh's respect and caring for what Jeannie did for his son. Another great multi-episode arc, ending really really well.

And I'll also Nth Lucy's death.

Geez, apparently I like ER the best when someone croaks! :)

Hal Incandenza said...

Agree with a lot of these (in particular: LLL, BSMH, HoHW, The Letter, The Blizzard, AITF, May Day, the Backwards Episode, and Everything Old is New Again...i.e. the one where Tag calls off the wedding. I recall the ER softball team being a nice touch there). BSMH will always be my favorite, in large part because it includes maybe the greatest musical cue ever (Battleflag as Carter gets and reacts to being stabbed).

I'd also like to nominate--and I haven't seen it in the comments yet--"Rampage," the season seven finale. Re-reading the capsule summary, it does sound a bit over the top ("The father of the abused boy that Mark treated last week goes on a shooting rampage throughout the city, looking for anyone connected with the placing of his son in a foster care facility.") but the ending, where Greene is in an elevator that's not working and he fakes using the paddles on the father, and then watches him die, still gives me chills to this day. Great, great stuff.

Josh said...

It appears as if TNT is airing these episodes in order and started from the beginning not long ago. Given that, keep your eyes (and DVR's) open for "Love's Labor Lost" in the next couple of weeks. IMDB does a good job of keeping track of when the episodes will be airing. Weekdays at 10/9 AM CT. And no, I don't work for the network.

Tara said...

Everyone else has mentioned all the classics like "Love's Labor Lost" and "All In the Family" but my favorites are:

"Bloodline" and "Graduation Day" - the first two episodes of season 13. The first one deals with the aftermath of the shooting rampage that ended season 12, and the fight to save Jerry's life, and also Abby and Luka's baby. The second one fakes you out at the end and makes you think baby Joe might not have survived. Great stuff.

"Blackout" from season 14 - because I think it's Maura Tierney's single finest performance during her entire run on the series, which is saying a lot since she was consistently phenomenal.

My other favorites are:

"The Dance We Do" from season 7 with Sally Field.

"Secrets and Lies" from season 8.

"First Snowfall" from season 9.

"NICU" from season 10.

"Skin" from season 11 where Abby is taken hostage in the back of an SUV.

And from season 12, I particularly love "The Human Shield" and "If Not Now" where Abby has to choose to keep her and Kovac's child or have an abortion.

Anonymous said...

Alan, thanks for mentioning Bob. I could not think of her name, even though that character has stayed with me over the years.

Kathie said...

My favorite episode is Carol's last, when she realizes that Doug is the one for her and travels to Seattle.

Night Shift with the ringing cell phone.

When Cynthia Nixon had the stroke and was unable to talk.

I had forgotten about the one where Abby was taken hostage.... that ranks right up there too. She was my favorite character.

Pamela Jaye said...

Damn. My DVR missed Blizzard (also I can't remember why I would need kleenex)

Anyone have a Top 10 Mass Casualty/Disaster ep list for ER? I always wanted to get those on the box...

Double damn. I lost my last thought while typing that last sentence.

While I'm not remembering it... I checked out of ER emotionally... I can't even remember when. By season 12 (I think - when were all the Africa and White Guy/Dark Hair type episodes?) I was almost out physically. I was taping over ER tapes.
Then I saw the Pilot in my "upcoming" list on the DVR, as well as a few season one ep descriptions. I missed Susan! and Peter! and Mark!

I decided to watch. My choices? One ep per day on thee WB daytime or 2 eps per day on TNT. I chose the WB. Got to season 5 and they dropped it or stopped existing. Had to wait a week and then start over on TNT. By the time the actual show got good again, I was ready to care a bit more. (and had tons of backstory

anyone remember the woman who was on ER twice? as two different people? (this was my misplaced thought)
Second time Luke stopped to help her with her car and she lost her legs.

ER in bulk can be like a big cozy serialized novel.
I dislike movies, as I don't get enough return for the time spent. I "meet" people and they are gone in 90 minutes. A good series gives you the same people for a long enough period that you see them grow and they become like old friends.

Pamela Jaye said...

great news - I did not prevent the DVR from recording Blizzard this morning!
(so I *will* watch it again, soon)

(I've also requested season 1 DVDs from the library. I have homemade ones now but they are from TNT and don't have goodies)

Pamela Jaye said...

the moment where Benton finally shows his anger at Carter for leaving surgery for the ER

there is nothing new under the sun.
last week (or so) they did this on Grey's

also, hypocalcemia - not the diagnosis, but the prognosis (like Lucy's PE and Pratt's ... carotid artery laceration?) remnds me now of CutThroat Bitch. Oh and! the guy in the plane crash who was conscious while they were doing CPR on him, but would die as soon as they stopped.
I never did figure out what was his injury.
Would this be the People Who Are Already Dead trope? (is trope right?)
It's very intense. (I heard it was once done with a subway car, but that would derail the topic)

Alan, I don't envy you having to write this article.
(and I wish I had time for throwing things!)

Anonymous said...

It's not a FAVORITE episode per se, but Season 12's "The Gallant Hero and the Tragic Victor" was superb. The first part of the title resonated because it showed how the ER reacted to losing someone they all loved--and seeing their dear colleague Neela become a widow--and the second part because it marked the merciful end of John Leguizamo's unremittingly horrible turn as Dr. Victor Clemente.

Pamela Jaye said...

Alan, thanks for mentioning Bob. I could not think of her name


apparentlt no one else can either

ER @ digiserve died while I was going thru my rewatch. Thanks to archive.org

for the FAQ and partial episode summaries/commentary from the long-ago die-hard (especially the famous Scott whats-his-name) fans, who, I guess, eventually got lives :-(

If the recap of April Showers (?) (Mark's wedding) is there - read it.

Pamela Jaye said...

allow me to quote from the review:

Now, a few hiccups in the wedding day plans would have been fine.... But the endless saga of Mark Greene's attempt to get to his wedding sent ER spinning off into the realm of farce. Did I turn on a Marx Brothers movie by accident? Are the Keystone cops showing up in a moment? ...Or perhaps it was closer to an tale from ancient mythology as the hero overcomes obstacles and circumstances to accomplish his crusade. Consider the procession of impediments:

1. Pouring rain on their wedding day
2. Rachel misses her flight
3. Mark leaves his wallet at work
4. Airports shut down; out-of-town guests can't make it
5. Mark's van towed
6. Limo company loses their reservation
7. Tree falls on track, shutting down the El
8. Engine seizes on Mark's bus
9. Cell phone breaks
10. Car accident shuts down street in front of Mark and Peter
11. Mark bloodies his nose, ruining his shirt

Hey, I don't mind if Mark has to work a little to get to the church. But when his journey more closely resembles The Odyssey, I draw the line. As he got out of the ambulance at the church, I expected a giant Cyclops to step out from the shadows and give battle. (Mark would have defeated the beast by putting a psych hold on it after hastily charting his findings that it was a danger to itself and others.)

and that wasn't even the whole review - much less the summary

Pamela Jaye said...

die-hardS
sigh

Pamela Jaye said...

for those of you living in a cave - the long overpriced TV Guide has a semi-commemorative ER issue in stores now. And since you don't subscribe (and I don't either) you get to choose whether you want Sam and Tony or Carol & Doug (Ted & Alice are extra)

j0nas3 said...

I don't know the episode title, and so far a search has proven fruitless, but there was an ep when both Weaver and Greene took 3 prospective medical students for a day, and in the end all 3 of Mark's signed on and none of Kerry's. I always enjoyed episodes that showcased Greene's skill as a teacher.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised to see some recommendations for "Secrets and Lies," AKA The Breakfast Club episode. I thought that was a very disliked episode. The only good thing about it is Kovac reciting Shakespeare in Croatian. But everyone laughing at Carter for losing his virginity to a 20-something at the age of 11? Horrible!

Pamela Jaye said...

[313] {#60}--"Fortune's Fools" (97 Jan 30)
Mark and Kerry lead ER tours of visiting students,
with differing results;

you're not wrong - that *was* hard to find. I figured Google was my best shot and searched for "episode mark kerry take 3 students"

(it wouldn't find anything ER till I added "episode")

it was in the ER FAQ 5.00, Section 3: Episodes (3/8)

I love fans - they are *so* helpful - even for posterity. I read a lot of the summary/reviews years and years after they were written, when I was doing the rewatch. Some of them had medical commentary. The Polite Disent of its day.

special K said...

I couldn't even make it through the seasons after Doug left. The show felt lost. I remember feeling incredibly depressed watching Mark and Elizabeth being thrown together despite total lack of chemistry, so I stopped watching then. It's too bad, the first 4 years or so of this show were incredible.

I have to agree with those vote for "Everything Old Is New Again" [season one]: Hathaway's aborted wedding with Tag. Great, great season finale.

Bix said...

If you choose anything from the latter days, it has to be "Blackout." Maura Tierney was so good that it was painful to watch.

I don't know I agree with including the Dennis Gant (Omar Epps) suicide episodes. While the reveal was brilliant, I thought the show didn't get the viewers invested in the character or the character's friendship with Carter nearly as much as they could have for the drama to really work.

Bobley IV said...

This show sucked. It went on 10 seasons too long. I wish George Clooney was never born. Farewell drama queens, I'm going to watch 'Scrubs', oh, face!

Anonymous said...

Two eps always stand out for me:

1) The ep when Greene died. Really well done. (Plus the weird irony that we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii when that ep was on -- Greene died in Hawaii)

2) The ep with guest star Ray Liotta. Really dark but a well done ep with Pratt on Liotta's character's road to death.

Anonymous said...

Haleh and Malik I believe are the only 2 characters to make it all the way. Unless you include Anspaugh and kasan, but they are both very seldom seen. I loved the episode from last season where that criminal gets shot right next to morris, I was shocked! Hated the way they handled it in the next eppy though.

Pamela Jaye said...

There's one more. I just remembered.

I can't remember who, other than Deb, took the fall for this but there was one time Kerry went across the street - it has to do with finding her mother - and she left her pager. She never answered when all the people she was supposed to be teaching were paging her. I'm guessing the patient died. People were blamed. And she wouldn't admit it. She let them take the fall.
At least for a while.

It seems as if Kerry didn't have a lot of the good eps or moments listed above - but this one (it might be a storyline) it was intense.

Of course not so intense that I thought of it before Cate just left everyone in the ER and went off with her husband....

jose c said...

Quote from our host: ""The episode in Hawaii with Greene and his daughter right before he dies."

Oh, I hate that one. Hate it hate it hate it."

Me too. It's like they went and showed Doug Roberts on the tin can, being in the fight, gasping out some last breath about "the bucket".

At the end of "The Letter" the friends who I have watched ER with since about season 2 and I agreed that was about as elegant a way to say goodbye to a character as you could, and then they just HAD to go do the weepy tear jerker the next week. It just pissed me off.

My fave - "Exodus"

jose

Anonymous said...

"Love's Labours Lost" remains one of the best episodes of any television show ever. It is remarkable.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if these have been mentioned, but I thought the NICU episode (season 10, ep. 12) where Abby and Neela work a rotation in the NICU was exceptionally good.

And the one I remember as the most powerful, the most excruciating episode, is "Midnight" (season 10, ep. 21), where Carter and Kem have to deal with the still-birth of their child.

Anonymous said...

I suppose I am partial to the newer episodes, but I've been watching some of the old lately and I'll second the vote on the episode where Benton works in Mississippi for a couple weeks. That was great!! Also, "I Don't" - Luby wedding was a unique episode largely because there are very few like it. It was funny, heartwarming, dramatic and tragic at the same time.
A few of my personal favorites are "An Intren's guide to the galaxy" and "There are no Angels here"... just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I recognize that this post is a year old..
With that said:

I'm breaking down everything I remember, as I have watched this faithfully on TNT since summer.

Chilling:
21 guns- this episode left me shaking. And when the van opens and we see Sams son in it, AND when Luka is still strapped stuck as Abby goes into labor.
Free Fallin- I actually had a soft spot for Romano, that was hard.
Omar Epps's suicide
They find the workers at Doc Magoos dead/hurt
Be Still in My Heart- actually not a Lucy fan, but when he finds her in blood. Wow.
Mark's attacker episodes.
Episode where Pratt, Chen, and patient get shot at over road rage, crash into river.
Plane crash- same night where Doug nearly kills Jeanie I beleive.

Love:
Anything with Doug/ Carol, mainly "I don't want to wake up alone tomorrow", left me sobbing.
I loved Abby/Carter, felt that was best. I liked when she had to wear a bridesmaid dress to Carters grandparents charity :)
Luka/Abby delivery in Bloodline. WOW. slow motion by David Grey in that was perfect.
Carter/African girl.. Sad about baby
Corday/Mark.. Wow, lived them.
Ray/Neela when he says you're the best friend Ive ever had.

Heartbreaking/nostalgic
Blizzard- made me love the show.
Pilot- well done
Fathers and Sons- great road trip, Carol at end :)!
Such Sweet Sorrow
Great expectations I think when Carol goes into labor on the L with Luka
Grocery store holdup with Carol.
One where Carter is in charge in evacuation.
On the Beach- cried like a baby. What a well acted plot.

Those are my faces:)
Show is the best..

Pamela Jaye said...

Oh Anaonmous, you may never read this either. I did my rewatch of ER, I'd guess about 4 years ago.

The episodes where the cast was in danger really upset me (they loved to do that to Abby, didn't they?)

I loved the mass casualty eps - especially... um... Exodus, where Carter evac'ed the ER.

Loved Doug and Carol years before Meredith and Derek (I love Meredith) and Such Sweet Sorrow was awesome. The revisit, years later, was wonderful. To see them happily together... in Seattle? (I wonder what that hospital's name was. I know 2 that it was not)

Old "friends"...

Anonymous said...

My top 5 all time ER episodes:
1. All in the Family-by far the most rivoting and gut renching episode of any tv series I have ever seen.

2.The Letter-The first 5 minutes are very touching and the reactions of Carter, Susan, and the others standing around the desk bring the tears out everytime. The end scene with the letter on the board blowing in the wind is a very thought provoking moment.

3. Love's Labour Lost-Another very rivoting episode. Starts slow but ends leaving you with your mouth open and your stomach in your throat.

4.Hell and High Water-Best Clooney Episode by Far

5.On The Beach-This episode would have been higher on the list but it is just too sad. I felt like Mark Greene was a real person and not just a fictional character.

Honorable mention goes to all of the Christmas episodes.