As I prepped for tonight's episode, it suddenly hit me that for the last fifteen years,
ER has been a part of my life; next September, it won't be. I guess that it's true that all good things must come to an end and with that in mind, tonight's tragic loss was a fitting, though truly sad, beginning to the final leg of this journey.
Greg Pratt wasn't always an easy character to love, or even like for that matter. However, over the years Pratt matured from a brash, headstrong know-it-all into a poised and gifted doctor and a beloved character in the ER. It was a fitting tribute that so many of the people he worked with, mentored and loved were a part of his final moments. As Neela, Gates, Abby, Sam and Morris all valiantly tried to save his life in the wake of the ambulance explosion, the most gut-wrenching scene for me was when the severity of his injuries became clear and the tears streamed down his face while his friends desperately tried to help him. I imagine there are few things scarier than being a doctor in the midst of your own trauma, understanding the extent of the danger and the fear in the faces of the people trying to save you.
As I write this recap, I am literally still trying to catch my breath from all the crying I did tonight. As Pratt's half-brother Chaz, Haleh and Neela wheeled Pratt's lifeless body through the ER for the last time, the sadness was overwhelming. I will admit to you all that I cried hysterically during that scene and I'm sure I wasn't alone. I've written before how it is the secondary characters that have added depth and kept the history of the show alive and this was true again tonight. As Malik, Haleh and Chuny all looked on, Frank ran to push the elevator button and gave Pratt a touching final tap on the shoulder. It was also appropriate that mention was made of Luka being at the funeral, Kerry sending a fruit basket and Carter's gift from Africa, a place where Pratt had visited and grown, as both a doctor and a person. The posthumous announcement that Pratt was going to be ER chief definitely stung, but even worse for me was Archie's heart-breaking scene with Bettina as he handed her the engagement ring that Pratt had in his pocket.
As the staff gathered at Ike's for their own memorial to Pratt, we were reminded that the past will continue to play a role in this story. As in real life, tragic and inexplicable things happen to good people, but life goes on. Time and time again,
ER has covered this territory so well, which is one of the main reasons so many of us have come back every fall for fifteen years. This final season will surely be filled with tears, reminiscences and familiar faces. But for me, I think it is very important to avoid overshadowing the stories of the past seven years with contrived, ratings-grabbing stunts. The original cast definitely caught lightning in a bottle but
Anthony Edwards and
Eriq La Salle passed the torch to actors such as
Mekhi Phifer who in turn kept us riveted with their complex, nuanced performances no matter where the writers took us. It is my hope that the series stays true to those stories and gives us the ending that the fans and cast deserve. (And please, let
some of those endings be happy ones, ok?)
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As I prepped for tonights episode it suddenly hit me that for the last fifteen years ER has been a part of my life next September it wont be I guess that its true that all good things must come to an end and with that in mind tonights tragic loss was a fitting though truly sad beginning to the final leg of this journeyGreg Pratt wasnt always an easy character to love or even like for that matter However over the years Pratt matured from a brash headstrong know-it-all into a poised and gifted doctor and a beloved character in the ER It was a fitting tribute that so many of the people he worked with mentored and loved were a part of his final moments As Neela Gates Abby Sam and Morris all valiantly tried to save his life in the wake of the ambulance explosion the most gut-wrenching scene for me was when the severity of his injuries became clear and the tears streamed down his face while his friends desperately tried to help him I imag