ER: Season 15 - The Family Man (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 15th episode, entitled The Family Man.
What’s the story? A car accident in the ambulance bay injures a woman with a young child and leaves the mother in need of surgery with a significant recovery time. Brenner (David Lyons) has difficulty finding a family member to care for the daughter. Gates (John Stamos) treats an elderly patient who refuses treatment because he’s afraid his condition will prolong an inevitable death. Morris (Scott Grimes) impresses Claudia (Justina Machado) and her family. Neela (Parminder Nagra) tells Brenner about her job offer from North Carolina.
Why so good? The Family Man was a solid, if unspectacular entry into the 15th and final series of ER by virtue of the fact it just went about its business in typically unfussy manner.
The medical cases were compelling and afforded former An Officer & A Gentleman star Louis Gossett Jr. a nice guest appearance, the personal issues rumbled along nicely, while the balance between drama and humour expertly maintained, as ever.
Once again, the bulk of the humour was left to Scott Grimes’ superb Archie Morris and his continued relationship building with Claudia. On this occasion, a date was transformed into a family engagement when the hapless surgeon found himself having to don a superhero cape to impress a children’s party.
Grimes ability to deliver a bewildered expression is one of the show’s many current strengths and he got plenty of opportunity to impress as he was first introduced to Claudia’s relatives, and then attempted to convince the kids of his super-hero ability.
The actor went from hero to zero and back to hero as he stepped up, got shot down and then was given the opportunity to properly impress by taking his young charges to the ER to show them his medical prowess in action. The relationship between Morris and Claudia is building nicely and one hopes it’ll herald a happy series ending for Grimes in particular.
Elsewhere, Gates’ attempts to persuade an elderly patient (Gossett Jr) into undergoing a routine, but life-saving procedure, was well-realised and beautifully played between the two actors.
It was also refreshing to find Gosset Jr in a role that didn’t require a different take on his usual bullish military commander persona… even though there was mention of a former career in the armed forces.
And David Lyons’ increased sensitivity was once again exercised as he attempted to come to the aid of the young girl of a woman who needed prolonged hospital admission by persuading her infuriatingly immature father to step up and take responsibility.
In typical ER fashion, however, not every story had a happy ending… and the final shot [involving Brenner] was particularly poignant and well-acted.
Indeed, there was only one minor gripe, which came courtesy of the pre-episode recap. One of the scenes alluded to a meeting we’d previously seen Neela have with the returning Dr Corday in the Dream Runner episode. But… and we may be wrong, this meeting (as seen) never took place given that it happened in Neela’s subconscious.
A slip… but only a minor one…
What did you think?
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