If you have a conversation with someone about favourite TV shows and you mention ER as one of yours, you are likely to talk to someone who used to watch the show but has given up on it.
"Oh I stopped watching when George Clooney left," they might say, or "it's not the same as it was." Well I suggest showing them this episode as an example of how fine a show this is. Sure, the format is in excess of 13 years old; sure, a lot of the original characters we have known and loved have gone (Sherry Stringfield's departure this season was atrocious, she hadn't had a decent storyline for a while so I am unsurprised , but as an original character she deserved a better departure - I hope to see Susan Lewis return on day soon...)
But the one thing this show can produce is original loveable characters, and NO character or actor is bigger than the show, the departures of Mark Greene and Carter (and Clooney to a certain extent) have proved that.
This particular episode was stellar. Stellar writing, stellar screenplay, stellar performances. Maura Tierney (Abby) is exceptional as Abby, but I believe it is Linda Cardellini (Sam) who absolutely shines in this episode, as she has throughout her time with the show (a shame that the child actor who plays her son was replaced, for continuity purposes).
In my opinion this episode is a true return to form, not since the season 6 two parter "Be Still My Heart/All In The Family" have I been so on the edge of my seat with adrenaline, ER should be available on prescription as a stimulant...