Season 15 Episode 14

A Long, Strange Trip

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Feb 05, 2009 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
125 votes
  • A typical day in the ER brings back an old friend, an old mentor and an old disease. It was an episode that I had once hoped to see.....and did.

    This is the first time in many episodes that I have had the heart - and interest - in actually writing a review this season. Based on the previews I was looking forward to this one. I was looking forward to seeing William H. Macy in the ER again. I knew it would be a sepcial moment. Interestingly enough the ONLY current character that knew his 'Dr. David Morgenstern' was Chuny. And it was sweet. But the episode didn't belong to Macy, as I thought it would. It belonged to the story surrounding the old guy on the gurney. The wanderer from a nursing home who had been assaulted on the street. The 'dreamer' who came 'home' when he needed help...and who was effectively portrayed by the actor that gave us Ron Howard. Dr. Oliver Kostin was played by his father, Rance Howard.

    Intercut through a bevy of stories that brought us Sam's sister a diabetic shoplifter trying to beat the system to purchase her insulin, a TB patient misdiagnosed with cancer and a polio patient in an iron lung who was a candidate for a totally rocking surgery. Totally.

    This was an episode that was a blend of the old and the new. In his advanced state of dementia, Dr. Kostin saw the 'old' ER with period costuming, dialog and equipment. And then saw the new ER that he envisioned as the 'dreamer' who once said per Morgenstern that 'a person had a better chance of surviving a bullet wound in Viet Nam than a car accident in Chicago.' He heard himself called a 'dreamer' in his head and then watched as the ER team went into practiced action to stabilize a gunshot wound in the next trauma room. His dream come true. It was a beautifully done moment.

    I thought the gathering around his gurney as Dr. Morgenstern told them all what they owed to the older man would be schmaltzy. It wasn't. It was carried off excellently by the wonderfully expressive Macy. There were some interesting camera angles as well.

    And so I bought the story of Dr. Kostin. I loved seeing the medical advances portrayed as they were. I loved Neela's insistence in pursuing the NOTES surgical procedure for her iron lung patient, Dubenko's confusing reluctance to be positive in the face of despair, Kostin's silent bedside diagnosis of a now unfamiliar TB in a neighboring patient and the absolutely perfect casting choice of Shannon Woodward to play Sam's sister rounded out what was a very, very nice episode. Bravo!
  • Now he is back to where he belongs! An old doctor who had developed ER medicine came back and had seen some good medical improvement before his final breath.

    This episode is very special and well written. It was classic to present some emotional scenes as the show's standard. Moreover, all casts looked great in the ancient medical uniforms (during the delusional flash back scenes of the old man). The storyline is very nice to portray a story of an old doctor who had developed the ER system came back and finally rested in peace after he had seen some good medical improvement as he wished. It began with a mystery old guy wondered into ER. While, staffs are trying to get his identity, this old guy helped Dr. Brenner to correctly diagnose a cancer case as a TB patient instead (even though he was losing track of time). Finally, Dr. Morris noticed him as an ER medical legend and Dr. Morgenstern returned to ER for him as well. Dr. Morgenstern asked to move his former mentor into the trauma room for some privacy while they took off the ventilator. Fortunately, the old doctor got to see some medical development at his final.

    For some character development, Sam got to see her out off touch sister and tried to deal with their mother issue. Furthermore, Dr. Morris got some silly police threats for seeing Officer Diaz, while Dr. Rasgotra's future job is still ambiguous.
  • Emotional..

    I am not even why but that episode just made me cry.. Maybe even before they realized who the old man is and Morgenstein showed up.. there was just something. Maybe that lady who shoplifted in order to buy her daughter, who soon gives birth, a cradle. Maybe it was Sam and her sister and their way of dealing with things and what they have to do.. and how she has been running from it all for 15 year..

    But mostly, I think that episode, with those old flashbacks, maybe little made us realize that we should be lucky living in world where we are - that we can call emergency service and there is change that we will be helped.. Maybe that was the message and that made me cry but some weird reason.. I just couldn't stop.. Oh.. when I react to bringing back Morgenstein like that.. what I will be if Carter or anyone else comes back..
  • Beautiful classic episode...

    This episode really delivered. After a couple of disappointing weeks, finally ER gets it right. The installment was interesting on all points. The sick doctor who managed to save a life for his last hurrah made me want to stand up and cheer. As a younger type person, I feel weary of people older than me who chant about the good old days. What a refreshing reality to see someone who believed things could be better in the future and acted to see it happen. Medicine has improved and I am so glad.

    When Sam's sister showed up, I will admit I assumed she was there because she was in some kind of trouble. That long lost family member in trouble story has been done and redone on ER. This was a nice change. The actress in this role was very dynamic and both women made their relationship completely believable. As a huge fan on contrasts, I thought this episode was a wonderful example of the stories that can be told to show the vast difference in our human nature. The mother who would sacrifice all for the child who needed more. The old doctor who fought for the ability to care for patients in unimaginable ways in the ER. The younger doctor (Dubenko) who couldn't imagine a new method would actually work better for appendectomy patient.

    Lastly, kudos to the costuming and props people. It was really interesting to see the changes in technology and tools. This was a great episode.
  • This episode was exactly what ER was all about since the very first episode. Good to see it brought back to being about Medicine instead of a evening soap opera!

    This episode was exactly what ER was all about since the very first episode.
    Good to see it brought back to being about Medicine instead of a evening soap opera!
    Episodes like this make me very sad to know it will all come to an end soon.
    I just wish they would change their minds and keep the show going.
    If they kept episodes like this rolling out instead of the all about love crap that was going on over the last couple years the ratings would skyrocket with no limits !
    This was by fart one of the best episodes I have seen of any TV show in the past 10 years.
  • people helping people thats what this episode was about.

    I had a good amount of tears in my eyes from watching this episode. This is what ER is about, these types of episodes. one of the best episodes this season by far. im glad some of the older cast is coming back. It shows that they really care about the show to make an appearance such as morganstern, jerry and upcoming dr ross. The flashbacks were amazing as well like the technology they had back then and now was so cool loved the way they did that. I just wish it wasnt ending so soon. Long live ER :)
  • At a certain age, people will start to think of their contribution to society. This episode inspires and touches the hearts of those people.

    Any decent doctor has an inner desire to change the world or at least, make a difference. Searching for your niche and doing well in it is a constant inner longing. This episode gives a glimpse of the rewards of a lifetime of good decisions and a job well done. It inspires people (or doctors like me in particular) to do well in our chosen field because in the end, we can only do so much but each choice we make may benefit someone or even many. Kudos to Dr. Sachs for writing this. If others get inspired to do better in making the world better because of this, Dr. Sachs gets credits for the afterlife. Yes, it is that good.
  • Through the eyes of Oliver, we see how the ER used to be.

    In this episode of ER, the following happens. Sam's sister, Kelly turns up at the ER to see Sam. An old man, named Oliver is brought into the ER after being mugged. When they track down the man who attacked him, they find a retired watch from County among his belongings. He used to work at County. We learn that Kelly has signed over her designs to Billabong for about $2million. Kelly tells Sam that since she is going to be travelling she wants to move their mother to Chicago so that Sam can visit her whilst she is away. It is here that we learn that Sam hasn't spoken to her mother since she was 15 years old. Oliver manages to diagnose a woman with T.B., whilst every other test showed she had terminal cancer. When further tests are run, it is confirmed that she has T.B. We also learn that Oliver has dementia. Sam learns that her mother stopped all contact between her and her sister. Sam sent letters, phoned, but their mother won't let her speak to her sister and she didn't pass on the letters. Oliver was the Chief of the ER back over 40 years ago. They move him into Trauma 1, and every gathers round whilst he breathes his last breathe. Throughout the episode, through the eyes of Oliver, we see how things would have happened in this episode of ER, if it was 40 years ago.
  • An episode demonstrating what ER is all about

    I tuned in expecting a very good episode (in keeping with the rest of season 15 so far) and found myself watching a SUPERB one. As well as the wonderful story of the woman forced to shoplift to make ends meet there was the usual pleasure of spending an hour with characters I have come to enjoy..everyone from Frank to Dubenko without exception.

    Then there was the storyline with Oliver, the Doctor
    who was responsible for the whole thing and the view
    of 'our' ER as it would have looked in the sixties.
    This was wonderful - and it particularly affected me because my Grandfather is currently suffering those same conditions including dementia. The message that shines from this episode is the respect we owe to all those who came before us and paved the way - and just because someone is elderly and ill that doesn't mean they can't make some contribution to society. I also have to mention one of the greatet actors alive today - William H Macy. He elevated this episode in just a few scenes as only those of his calibre can.

    One of teh best - if not THE best episode of ER that I have seen. Gonna miss this show.
  • A very touching episode.

    A very touching episode centered mainly around a once great doctor named Oliver Kostin, who has dementia. He stumbles to the ER apparently the victim of an attack of some sorts. Gates and Morris are treating him when the former Dr. David Morgenstern enters the hospital. He has them put Oliver in a room and commences to tell stories of his Oliver's greatness. Dr. Morgenstern has medical POA over Oliver, who also has a DNR order. Sadly Dr. Oliver Kostin passes away.

    A woman is admitted to the ER with supposed cancer and is on the brink of death. Dr. Oliver Kostin is next to her and starts pointing and grabs something from one of the doctors to write on and writes TB. As it turns out the woman has TB and not cancer and should make a full recovery barring complications from a drug resistant strain.

    A man is admitted who relies on an Iron Lung because of polio. It is determined that he has an appendicitis and needs surgery. Since he uses his stomach muscles to breath it could cause a problem. Neela wants to call in a specialist doctor that can extract it through his mouth. Dr. Dubenko has reservations about performing an experimental surgery on the man but agrees. The surgery is performed and goes very well.

    A woman with diabetes is admitted but has also stole lipstick from a store so the police are waiting for her to be discharged so they can arrest her. The doctor's put is of as long as they can. The woman's daughter who is about to have a baby, is furious with her for what she had done, until Sam points out that she steals to by insulin and to by her baby a crib. One of the best episodes of the season.