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ER: Season 15 - The Beginning of The End (Review)

Noah Wyle in ER

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

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 16th episode, entitled The Beginning of The End.

What’s the story? Valentine’s Day in the ER finds Neela (Parminder Nagra) spellbound by Brenner (David Lyons). Determined to have a baby, Banfield (Angela Bassett) comes up with a plan but has difficulty getting her husband on board. Neela performs surgery on a young girl’s mother. Dr Carter (Noah Wyle) surprises the staff with a visit to the ER. Gates (John Stamos) treats a strange patient who may have ingested a toxin while hunting for mushrooms, and Morris (Scott Grimes) finds his relationship with Officer Claudia Diaz (Justina Machado) becoming difficult.

Why so good? Another of the ER‘s most enduringly popular veterans made his long-awaited return in The Beginning of The End and it was as fond a reunion as we’d been hoping for.

Noah Wyle’s Dr John Carter had been one of the show’s longest servants before his departure to Africa, but his return was brilliantly realised and indicative of a small guest run.

Carter was always a kind, sensitive soul. He cared, was good at his job and always had time for his colleagues. Those that knew and remembered him greeted his return with a warm welcome.

Morris, in particular, beamed with happiness at Carter’s presence, while Neela also enjoyed a brief little interlude with him. And once she’d heard that Carter had been trained under Dr Greene, she wasted little time in agreeing to let him take on some shifts.

But why did Carter return? He kept being asked, and he kept delivering vague answers. It depended on a number of things. The answer became apparent as the episode drew to its poignant close. The doctor is in need of a transplant, and the final few seconds saw him gazing despondently, lost in his thoughts, as he received some dialysis.

Being reunited with Carter was like being reunited with an old friend, and Wyle played him perfectly. He looked a little older, wise and is possibly more world-weary, but he still had plenty of time for his former colleagues and clearly still held the old ER in high esteem. He’s a welcome re-addition to this final series.

Elsewhere in the episode, the emotional drama continued to be strong. Morris encountered difficulties in his relationship with Officer Diaz as it became clear a suspect they had brought in had been beaten by officers.

Morris determined to uncover the truth and bullishly set about enabling Diaz to reveal the truth, but inadvertently put her in an even tighter spot where she faced going against her colleagues. The two had words… and we wonder what the implications will be.

Gates and Sam, meanwhile, continued to look longingly at each other, pondering whether their decision to split was the right one, while Neela continued to be won over by Brenner’s charms.

And Banfield persisted in her efforts to find a way to conceive, even though her options are becoming increasingly reduced.

We watched, we cared, we laughed and we cried with all of them. As ever, ER kept us thoroughly entertained.

Read our review of the previous episode

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