Follow Us on Twitter

ER: Season 15 - The High Holiday (Review)

John Stamos in ER

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 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 tenth episode, entitled The High Holiday.

What’s the story? A package for Morris (Scott Grimes) from his deceased father is delivered to the ER. Sam (Linda Cardellini) has some anxiety over Alex being removed from the ventilator. A woman with a high risk pregnancy worries that she will be deported. An old friend returns to celebrate the holidays.

Why so good? After maintaining such consistently high standards for the majority of its final season, there was always going to be a slightly disappointing episode… and The High Holiday provided it.

The episode wasn’t bad, merely average. And given that it took place at Christmas, it was probably a little too sentimental. But then ER‘s one Achilles heel has often been the Christmas episode, when the writers seem to pander to the all-consuming need for schmaltz and hope.

Nevertheless, there were some nice moments. The return of Abraham Benrubi’s former desk clerk Jerry was primary among them… especially as he got to help Morris sell his father’s old stock, before confessing that work had been hard to come by since returning to Chicago. Will we see more of him now that Banfield gave him his old job back? We hope so…

There was also some of the usual nice touches of humour as several interns were forced to stop working after accidentally consuming hash brownies!

But the main dramatic element felt a bit limp. The ongoing tensions between Sam (Cardellini) and Gates (John Stamos) over Alex’s accident resulted in Sam informing Gates that their relationship was over… and she would be moving out.

Sam’s inability to commit to a relationship has long been frustrating, and her character’s actions seemed irrational in the context of proceedings. She’s not particularly sympathetic at the best of times… but far from feeling any sense of despair on behalf of Gates, you can’t help but feel he’s dodged a bullet.

Stamos, however, was as brilliant as ever, and his heartache was well realised, expertly counter-balancing the sense of relief and joy he found at finally being able to help the homeless ex-soldier he has been treating for some weeks.

The main medical case involving a woman with a high risk pregnancy who worried that she would be deported also found a predictably sappy resolution, as Neela (Parminder Nagra) stepped in to ensure that mother and child could make a clean getaway before immigration intervened. It warmed the heart, but lacked the gritty realism of other episodes.

Like we said, The High Holiday was perfectly watchable throughout… but in a final season that’s so far spoiled us with classic episode after classic episode, this one felt a little bit limp. Better luck next time…

Read our review of the previous episode

What did you think?