Review: Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Outpatients outtakes. Easter Egg.
Episode titles: Ambush, Something New, Friendly Fire,
When the Bough Breaks, Good Touch, Bad Touch, Ground Zero, Fathers
and Sons, Freak Show, Obstruction of Justice, Do You See What
I See?, Think Warm Thoughts, Sharp Relief, Carter's Choice, Family
Practice, Exodus, My Brother's Keeper, A Bloody Mess, Gut Reaction,
Shades of Gray, Of Past Regret and Future Fear, Suffer the Little
Children, A Hole in the Heart.
IT WAS pretty much business as usual in the ER for season 4 -
a series which began with the aftermath of the hospital attack
on Dr Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) as well as the introduction
of new faces, Maria Bello and Alex Kingston.
George Clooney continued to break hearts and create moral dilemmas
in his role as Dr Doug Ross - although the seeds were sown towards
the end of the series to prepare for his departure in the following
While the relationship between Dr Carter (Noah Wyle) and his
mentor, Dr Benton (Eriq La Salle) continued to build momentum,
culminating in Carter coming-of-age and forcing Benton to stop
treating him as a student.
The consistently high standards of storywriting were also maintained,
with the balance between the personal lives of the ER staff and
the medical traumas they had to deal with handled with typical
Stand-out episodes included a road
trip between best friends, Dr Greene and Dr Ross, during which
Clooney heads to California to identify his dead father's body,
while Greene returns to San Diego to visit his family.
And an episode entitled Exodus, in which the ER must be evacuated
when several workers at a chemical plant track benzine all over
the floors, prompting Dr Weaver to be overcome by the poison and
Dr Carter to take over the evacuation.
Both were classic examples of how the series excels by developing
the story arcs of each character, while also being able to deliver
stand-alone medical episodes of the highest order.
Exodus was a tense affair that continually raised the stakes,
while the road-trip between Ross and Greene included some wonderful
interplay between two great actors.
Of the story arcs that drew the most interest, Carter's treatment
of a serial rapist presented viewers with another strong moral
dilemma, as did his attempts to treat his heroin-addicted brother,
Chase, who ended up brain-dead come the end of the series.
And while there was nothing to rival the intensity of Mark Green's
attack (from season three) or the forthcoming depature of Doug
Ross (season five), or even the stabbing of Dr Carter (season
six), season four consistently entertained with its deft blend
of tragedy, humour and compelling human drama.
It is a must-have box set for long-term fans of the series, as
well as those still lamenting the loss of one of its biggest assets
- a certain George Clooney.
While for those who have only recently become hooked by the Channel
4 drama, it also provides an intriguing insight into the early
days (and cast) of this acclaimed hospital drama.