ERThis repeat of the season premiere made me recall three distinctive things: 1) It was the first episode without Noah Wyle in the opening credits, and I remember not missing him that horribly, only because they had been downplaying Carter's importance and not featuring him as much as they usually did towards the end of last season.2) It was the first episode with Dominic Janes

as the new Alex (Sam's son). I found out literally the night after I wrote about Oliver Davis being replaced in the role exactly why it was done: Per ER's former casting director Sara Isaacson, they loved Oliver, but they got tired of working around his Rodney schedule, so they recast him. Poof! New Alex. 3) This was Linda Cardellini's best episode this season. She did such a phenomenal job, especially when Sam finally found the missing Alex. But that's not saying much since they've turned Linda's Sam into what I like to call a "coffee-cup character" someone who stands around reacting to everyone around her, often carrying a prop like a coffee cup and sipping out of it while giving brilliant facial expressions because the writers aren't creating anything exciting for her character. Come on, ER. Remove the coffee cup and write something exciting for Linda to do. I take it they're waiting for sweeps for Sam to finally find out about Luka and Abby dating again, let alone having a baby? Drop that cup!  Dave Anderson

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