ER: Season 15 - Oh, Brother (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we’ve decided to take a look at each episode of the 15th and final season of ER. On this occasion, it’s the sixth episode, entitled Oh, Brother.
What’s the story? Chaz Pratt (Sam Jones III), now a med student, begins his ER rotation. Morris (Scott Grimes) takes him under his wing and shows him some risky procedures, endangering a patient and raising the ire of Banfield (Angela Bassett). Gates (John Stamos) invites Sam (Linda Cardellini) and Alex to move in with him and Sarah.
Why so good? It was essentially just another day in the ER but Oh, Brother offered compelling proof of why this medical drama has been able to run for as long as it has.
The medical stories were intriguing, the guest stars of the highest calibre, and the everyday lives of its central characters as engrossing as ever. Nothing much happened, really, but there were laughs, scares, touching interludes and impassioned confrontations throughout. Above all else, you cared about everything and everyone.
Of the main characters, it was Scott Grimes’ Archie Morris who probably emerged as the pick of the regulars, his reckless desire to teach Greg Pratt’s medical intern, Chaz, the ropes and afford him opportunities he wasn’t ready for ultimately placing the life of a patient in critical danger.
Grimes, as ever, got the mix just right, flitting from a heightened state of boyish enthusiasm, to a puppy-dog look of vulnerability as his rash actions brought stark reprimands from his superiors.
A scene between himself and Angela Bassett’s Dr Banfield in a lift was particularly poignant, as Grimes took the dressing down that was owed to him, and set about offering some form of explanation for his actions. He is a character clearly still coming to terms with the loss of a friend… and Banfield recognised his attempts to do so, and remained harsh but fair.
Sam Jones III, as Chaz, also came into his own in this episode, neatly balancing the bravado of a wide-eyed student grasping at every opportunity, with a growing uncertainty over his place in the scheme of things, and his role in the near-tragedy that ensued.
Like we said, you cared about what happened to both Morris and Chaz… as well as the patient they placed in danger.
The patient in question was a junior boxer named Derrek Taylor (Chadwick Boseman) who had taken one too many batterings in the ring as he tried to build a career and step out from the shadow of his father – played, intriguingly, by Carl Weathers, aka Apollo Creed in the Rocky films.
Morris was approached by the father to dissuade his son from entering the ring again, for fear of permanent brain damage or worse… and despite being loathe to do so, eventually advised Derrek against pursuing his ambitions any further.
The scenes between father and son were typically well-played, while the confrontations between Grimes and Weathers were similarly rousing. It was good to see Weathers making a guest appearance.
Elsewhere, Gates went through the emotional ringer as he, by turns, attempted to persuade nurse Taggart to move in with him, to care for an ex-soldier turned homeless veteran who bore the same tattoo as his own, and tried to ignore the obvious crush of a co-worker. The latter element, in particular, brought some welcome smiles.
And there was more insight into the history of Angela Bassett’s Dr Banfield, as her personal life (and demons) threatened to enter the ER, along with her husband bearing news that her in-laws were coming to stay.
Though initially very frosty to the idea, Banfield slowly warmed to the task of playing host… clearly still carrying some emotional shame from whatever it is that still haunts her (involving the loss of a child).
But she was helped considerably by desk clerk Frank (Troy Evans), who took a break from his usually grouchy demeanour to provide Banfield with an unlikely recipe for impressing her guests, as well as the ingredients themselves. Again, it led to a touching moment between the two of them that genuinely warmed the heart.
Like we said… just another day in the ER. But another memorable one all the same…
What did you think?
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