Haleh really summed it up best when she said, "We're gonna miss you so damn much." And so again this week, we said goodbye to a dear friend. Happily for us (and not altogether unexpectedly) Luka and Abby got the ending — and the new beginning — they deserved and we the fans were rewarded for our patience (and, frankly, sheer endurance) and were treated to a graceful and touching departure befitting these two beloved characters. At last, a happy ending.
"I'm a skilled practitioner and an excellent teacher. It's just getting too hard to deny." Abby's newfound swagger on her last day was a treat to behold, but, Abby Lockhart wasn't always this good. In fact, it's easy to forget she wasn't even always a doctor (though Abby herself reminded us of that as she told Sam, "Nurses have to stick together.") In fact, Abby was probably one of the more flawed characters to roam the halls of County over the course of these 15 years. At times, as she struggled with her depression and alcoholism, her failed relationships and her familial baggage, it seemed that Abby would be overtaken by her demons. These struggles were aptly reflected in the voiceover tonight featuring passages from the Book of Job. Like Job, Abby has been continually tested and. at times, lost confidence in herself and in those she loved. In the hands of a less skilled actress, many of Abby's missteps would have been hard to overlook. (Don't even get me started on her near-disastrous one-night-stand last season.) But as portrayed by the marvelously subtle and criminally underrated Maura Tierney, Abby's humanity always shone through and it is what has anchored her character during even the worst of times. As she interacted with the young man reeling from the mistake that almost killed his coach, Abby was able to draw upon her own history to provide counsel and hope. "I've been on the ledge."
Abby really turned a corner when her relationship with Luka blossomed so I was thrilled to see Goran Visnjic pull a "Clooney" and provide us with some happy closure. True to form, Abby avoided tears and emotional farewells at all costs, waiting until her very last day to share the news of her departure. The tears began to flow for me when she had that moment with Lucien and Neela in the operating room. Her nearly wordless goodbye with Neela was very poignant and very true to the tentative affection that they've demonstrated throughout their friendship. Her rant on behalf of Sam called her to reflect on — and rage against — some of the professional struggles and bureaucratic red tape she endured as an ER nurse and doctor. Her farewell with Archie in the ambulance bay, noting that he managed to make her final moments all about him, provided a much needed laugh after her touching goodbye waltz with Frank.
However, for me, the scene that really struck a nerve (and had me crying buckets once again) was when Haleh showed Abby the wall filled with the name plates of the doctors who have come and gone, and Abby added "Kovac" and "Lockhart" to the mix. That one brief image brought back a flood of memories and a surprising sense of loss as we inch closer to the end of the journey. I am hopeful that there is deeper meaning in Carter's missing name plate, but either way, I'm here for the ride and I'm getting my tissues ready.
Haleh really summed it up best when she said, "We're gonna miss you so damn much." And so again tonight, we said goodbye to a dear friend. Happily for us (and not altogether unexpectedly) Luka and Abby got the ending — and the new beginning — they deserved and we the fans were rewarded for our patience (and, frankly, sheer endurance) and were treated to a graceful and touching departure befitting these two beloved characters. At last, a happy ending.