Anthony Edwards' 'ER' return: What did you think?

Eredwards_lLast night, Anthony Edwards became the first in what is expected to be a long line of former ER cast members who return to the mothership to pay homage during the show’s last season, courtesy of an episode that finally explained the way Angela Bassett’s Dr. Cate Banfield became the ice-cold, short-haired control freak she is today: Her son died at County General while under the treatment of Edwards’ Dr. Greene, and as she struggled to save a girl in the present day, she flashed back to that horrible event and the doctor who couldn’t save her boy.

Well, we knew the dead guy was only reappearing in flashback. And courtesy of NBC’s kind publicity department, we’ve known for a while now those flashes would happen to Banfield. But did it all have to be so hackneyed? The too-obvious references to Mark’s brain tumor (all that sweating! all that grimacing!), the cliche indicators of Banfield’s frigid transformation (she used to wear cute cardigans!), and the closing moments that were supposed to be moving but just made me cringe all fell significantly below the bar this show has set for itself over the years. And while it was great to see Edwards—plus bonus cameos from Laura Innes, Paul McCrane, Haleh’s old hair, and that cute EMT girl—I wish they’d found a way to work Dr. Greene into the story via a character I care more about. It’s not just that Bassett hasn’t been around enough for me to grow emotionally attached; the battleaxe acting choices she’s made so far aren’t helping. Though with Maura Tierney gone, it’s hard to say who might have been a better choice– how about giving Yvette Freeman her own hour? The woman has more than earned it.

But just because I’ve never missed an episode of this show in 14 years doesn’t mean I’ve gotta be right. What did you think, PopWatchers? Any of you loyalists like last night’s hour better than me? Did any old fans come back just to see Edwards? And will you tune in for Clooney et al, if they appear?

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Comments (129 total) Add your comment
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  • Caroline

    I stopped watching five years ago, but I tuned in hoping for a mention of Carter. I was disappointed. Oh, well, I’m used to it with this show. :)

  • CJ

    “how about giving Yvette Freeman her own hour”
    Amen! She completely deserves it. I was happy to see my beloved Jerry, even if only for a second!

  • Katie K.

    As one of the last known watchers of ER whose lasted since season 1, I’ve been frustrated with this last season because no one that I’ve cared about is sticking around for the final hurrah. I thought that maybe with Dr. Green’s return I’d get the warm-fuzzys that I’ve been wanting from the final season but all it did was remind me of the tragedy that was Dr. Green’s cancer. Thanks a lot.
    P.s. I did like Eriq LaSalle’s shout out to Michael Crichton. A touching bonus for the night

  • Meg

    I loved Jerry. It was fantastic to see him again! And maybe it’s just me, but Paul McCrane will always be the kid with the red-headed afro from Fame…I still have a hard time seeing him as Dr. Romano.

  • rita

    Were we watching the same show? I was in tears for the last 15 minutes. I think Angela Bassett is doing a great job.

  • Ryan

    I thought it wasn’t bad. I stopped watching years ago but having Greene and the others (don’t forget Jerry!) back was really cool in an emotional episode. I don’t fault them for the tumor references because they needed to show you where in the old timeline this story fell

  • Woody7

    I liked it. Dr. Greene was ER. It was bittersweet, because we all know how his story ended, but it was good to see him back on tv. Everyone I was watching it with was pleased with the outcome. I do think that NBC shouldn’t give so much away in their previews.

  • Heather

    Maybe cliched, maybe contrived – but I cried like a baby. Damn you, ER!

  • nykolus

    thank you, rita! i thought it was great. and getting surprise after surprise when past cast members walked in and out. great ep.

  • Yogi

    I used to be the biggest ER fan, but after Green left, I left. It was nice seeing kind , sensitive Dr. Green back in his element. I actually enjoyed the episode.

  • Anonymous

    I too wish the flashbacks had been given to someone with more of a connection to Dr. Greene. I also hated that I had to wait a half hour to see him.

  • Michelle

    I came back to see Dr. Greene. I haven’t watched ER regularly since Carter left. I, too, wish they’d had his flashback involve someone we cared about more. But then again how many people are still around from that time? I appreciated seeing Jerry, Romano and Carrie again! *sniff* I miss Dr. Greene!

  • Tony N

    It was like having a nice visit from some old friends. I look forward to the rest of the season.

  • Justin

    I thought it was good. The reason they refered to Mark’s brain cancer because the flashback was in the time Mark had the cancer and it was good to see him,Weaver,Romano,and Jerry we couldn’t have asked more of them to bring Dr.Greene back for just one episode. Carter will be back we’ve seen that he is coming back its just a matter of time now. Anyways Anthony Edwards short return to ER last was by far the best episode in this final season. I hope that George Cloony takes a page out of Edwards’ book and return for at least 1 episode not for a flashback neither i mean write it in the story for him to return to the ER for something or whatever they can think of to write him in for an episode. So Caroline don’t worry Carter is coming back and i hope he comes and stays for the rest of the shows final season. So as i said Anthony Edwards short return was a success in my mind it does suck that none of the first castmembers are in the cast anymore but this is it for this show so enjoy it.

  • Sina

    Without Kovak or Abby, I just don’t care anymore. Now that one of televisions greatest couples are not on ER anymore, I don’t care to watch.

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