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ER: Season 15 - The Book of Abby (Review)

ER star Maura Tierney

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 third episode, entitled The Book of Abby.

What’s the story? Abby’s first day as an Attending is bittersweet. Neela is hurt when she finds out Abby’s news from someone else. Abby and the new ER Chief argue over how to treat a gunshot victim. Abby comes to Sam’s aid when she faces a nurses’ disciplinary board.

Why so good? Can we stop with the tear-jerking episodes, please? Two weeks after Mekhi Phifer’s Dr Pratt departed, it seems we’ve said farewell to another long-serving series regular, Abby (Maura Tierney). And while she rode off into the sunset (so to speak), the episode wasn’t without its emotional moments.

The voiceover that book-ended proceedings may have been more Grey’s Anatomy style sillliness than ER quality, but Tierney was still afforded some very nice moments in an episode that was almost entirely devoted to her final day.

Highlights included her impromptu dancing lesson with desk clerk Frank (Troy Evans), her confrontation with a medical review board on behalf of Nurse Sam Taggart (Linda Cardellini) and her early, tearful exchange with Neela (Parminder Nagra) when it was revealed that she would be leaving. The interplay between Tierney and Nagra was particularly affecting.

Nicest of all, however, was a moment between Abby and Nurse Haleh (Yvette Freeman) when the two of them added Abby and Kovac’s locker name tags to a hidden wall of past ER incumbents – a reminder of the good and the great who have passed through the County corridors.

The hopeless romantics (of which I’m included) will also have been wiping away the tears (of happiness) as Abby said farewell to her colleagues for the final time, and then walked into the arms of her waiting husband, Luka (Goran Visnjic), before driving off for a new job in Boston.

Abby is one of those enduring characters who have been as integral to ER‘s success as the likes of Carter, Ross and Greene. She’s had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster, been at death’s door on at least a couple of occasions, and is more often than not her own worst enemy. And while she’s charmed and frustrated in equal measure, she’s always been worth rooting for.

Tierney, too, has given the character a no-nonsense quality – she’s charming when she needs to be, ugly at others. When dealing with alcoholism, she’s been a horribly mean-spirited person to be around; yet, her on-off relationship with Visnjic’s patient Kovac finally (and deservedly) offered her the support and redemption she subconsciously craved.

Their send-off, which had shades of Ross and Hathaway, was a fitting end to a long-running saga – and we couldn’t help but smile at the couple’s happiness.

Coming so soon after Pratt’s departure, though, you can’t help but wonder whether the absence of two such charismatic performers won’t leave too big a hole for the remainder of the series to cope with. We suspect not… but it’s very much a sign that the series is coming to a close.

Of the episode niggles, I could have done with seeing more of Kovac – why didn’t he go and embrace his former friends for a final time? While some of the storylines felt a little contrived for Abby’s benefit.

But in most respects, this was another great episode – and a suitably fitting send-off for another of the show’s finest characters. We’ll miss you Abby Lockhart – just as we’ll eventually miss this show.

Read about the previous episode

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