Season 15 Episode 19

Old Times

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Mar 12, 2009 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
219 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A former mentor and colleague visits Carter in his time of need as he waits for a kidney transplant. Meanwhile, a woman is grief-stricken over the sudden death of her grandson. Sam and Neela are stuck at the airport with transplant organs in hand. Banfield bonds with a baby abandoned at the ER.moreless

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  • A Missed Opportunity And An Inaccurate Portrayal

    A missed opportunity by ER to accurately portray Lifeguard organ donor flights, which are an everyday part of the aviation/medical landscape, but which this episode dealt with very clumsily ( a generous description). An excerpt from my blog post, at Robert Henry Fitness, which is based on my own past personal experience as Lifeguard pilot:

    Unfortunately and most disappointingly, this facet of aviation was maligned or at least very poorly represented in one of the last episodes of the long-running TV show ER, a show which could have used its platform to portray organ donor Lifeguard flights in a more positive and more accurate light. In that episode of ER, entitled "Old Times", which included the return of Julianna Marguiles and George Clooney, the jet which was supposed to be waiting for the returning medical team and organ(s), had instead departed. The medical team portrayed by series regulars then received sideways looks from a customer service representative at a private jet terminal when the team told the rep that a human heart was in the cooler. The team was then placed on a charter flight which was already occupied, as I recall, by a rock band. This was a very poor representation of what really transpires with Lifeguard organ flights. (Reportedly, this episode was written by John Wells, one of the show's executive These flights are usually flown under contract and are an ongoing service between the charter company and the medical facility. A flight crew would not abandon a medical team. Indeed, a member of the medical team calls ahead to one of the pilots via cell phone to let the flight crew know that the team will be arriving back at the plane in, say, 30 minutes. The flight crew then makes any necessary preparations for a smooth and timely departure. These flights are everyday occurrences and occur all over the .moreless
  • A big reunion, a gift to longtime fans

    Indeed "very special." After nearly a decade's absence from the show, some old time favorites return in Clooney, Margulies and La Salle. One could have been worried in advance that their appearances would either feel contrived or that some of them would only have an inconsequential cameo - Clooney being the most likely, seeing that he is now Academy Award winner George Clooney and one of Hollywood's best-paid stars. Would he even have the time to shoot material for an actual story?

    Turns out, he did. And so did the others. And while, let's face it, the scenes we got felt like scenes we had seen before, it was just plain great to be reminded of ER's glory days and the two central stories played out sincere, moving and natural. All of these characters, including Carter, add a lot of class to these final episodes of the series and act as a kind of validation that ER indeed had to stay on the air for this long. How else would we have gotten an opportunity to see the ever-angsty Doug & Carol now in a place where they work as a well-oiled machine both in their relationship and professionally? How else would we have come to a story in which Peter Benton can finally drop his "bow to your superior master" routine with Carter and treat him like the friend he is, if not years after their collaboration and at that friend's hospital bed?

    It speaks of an episode's quality when such illustrous guest stars like Susan Sarandon and Ernest Borgnine (both with amazing performances) only get mentioned this far into a review. They're simply throwing everything into these last episodes. You can feel the writers' love for this show now more than in the last four years or so.

    Now on to the final three episodes. Let's hope they keep making each of them as memorable as this one.moreless
  • In whats sure to be one of the most remembered episodes of the series, we see the return of Dr. Ross, Dr. Benton, and Nurse Hathaway for a final farewell to the show they helped become the phenomenon it first did.moreless

    This episode was great, it had all the touching moments you'd expect from all the reunions that occur. Seeing where Dr. Ross and Nurse Hathaway are after all these years and Dr. Carter leaning on the help of his original mentor all brought back a flood of memories that's are indescribable. On top of this spectacle of emotion lies an amazing episode where we see great performances from Susan Sarandon and the other guest stars. It very much felt like one of the original episodes of the show in cinematography and character development. I dont know how they're going to top this with the remaining episodes.moreless
  • Very special is not enough said about this episode..

    It was just amazing episode.. beautiful story, emotional, some really sad moments and some moments when it looked all is going wrong.. but in the end.. there was a happy ending.

    I just cannot not mention how happy I was to see Carol, Doug and Benton back.. Carol used to be my favorite char on early seasons.. and the whole feeling of the first seasons.. it was brilliant.. and now bring all those old familiar faces back in this way.. and reveal what has come of them.. that they all did found their happy endings.. it's just incredible.

    I most say I specially loved Carter's part in this episode. The whole dynamic between him and Benton.. it had not changed trough years.. and all about him and Kim.. It was just so beautiful episode.. so optimistic..moreless
  • Ross, Hathaway and Benton are back!

    I liked Doug and Carol living happily in Seattle and dealing with the donation of the organs of a teenage boy whose grandmother is Susan Sarandon. I really loved that they mentioned they twin daughters having a spelling exam.. it was cute. One of my favorite moments was when Doug talked with Sam and Neela trying to find out if there is someone that worked with him that is still there. I kinda missed that he mentioned Carter, then he would maybe know that one of the kidneys is for him...

    It surprised me to see Benton working in the NW hospital but I'm glad he was there for Carter all the time. All in all really touchy and tearjerker chapter. Really great to remember Old Times.moreless
Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon


Guest Star

Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine

Paul Manning

Guest Star

Christian Clemenson

Christian Clemenson

Dr. Kurtag

Guest Star

Yvette Freeman

Yvette Freeman

Nurse Haleh Adams

Recurring Role

Laura Cerón

Laura Cerón

Nurse Chuny Marquez

Recurring Role

Troy Evans

Troy Evans

Frank Martin

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: When Carter is being prepped for surgery, his belly is briefly shown being covered with betadine, and there is no laparotomy scar to be seen. In the Season 6 episode "All in the Family," Carter got a full midline incision when he was operated on after being stabbed.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Carter: Very romantic. Deathbed.
      Benton: (smirks) I know your surgeon.

    • Dr. Kurtag: There's been a delay.
      Carter: What kind of delay?
      Dr. Kurtag: No idea. Kidney's coming from the west coast.
      Carter: But they say it's going to happen?
      Dr. Kurtag: They say there's been a delay. Soon as your kidney's in the air, we'll haul you up to pre-op.
      Carter: So... may not happen?
      Dr. Kurtag: What?! You were doing something more important today?

    • Ross: You guys are from Chicago?
      Neela: Yup.
      Ross: Where? I used to work there.
      Sam: County.
      Ross: No kidding. I did my residency there.
      Neela: Really?
      Sam: What?!
      Neela: You were a surgeon?
      Ross: No, Pediatrics. Emergency Pediatrics. Is Kerry Weaver still kicking around?
      Neela: No, she left a couple of years ago.
      Ross: Hmm... Peter Benton? (Sam shakes her head no) Susan Lewis? (Sam shakes her head again)
      Neela: Was, uhm, Abby Lockhart around when you were there?
      Ross: No.
      Sam: Greg Pratt?
      Ross: Nope. (he smiles a bit, looks rueful, then turns to Neela) You're in surgery, right?
      Neela: Yeah.
      Ross: How about Anspaugh?
      Neela: Yup. (she smiles and looks at Sam, who nods with a grin) He's still there.
      Ross: Yeah?
      Neela: Yeah.
      (they all smile and look at each other)
      Ross: (getting up and turning to leave) Well, you say hello to him for me. Tell him Doug Ross said "hi."
      Neela: Sure.

    • Carol: You okay?
      Doug: Just tired.
      Carol: Why don't you go home? You've been on since last night. I can finish this.
      Doug: No, I'm gonna stick around. How were the girls this morning?
      Carol: Complaining. Thursday spelling test.
      Doug: You know, I'm a very good speller.

    • Dr. Brenner: (to Lucy) You know, having someone that you really care about, who you really love, who's sick, that's a lot like running a marathon. Be sure to take one step at the time, one day at the time. But if you keep running and having faith that it'll happen, then one day, eventually, you finish the race.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Beginning with this episode, the music used at the opening of the "Previously on ER" segment changes from what was used from Season 13 onwards to a new piece, distinguishable by its three strong opening beats of percussion. This new opening would last through the penultimate episode of the series.

    • When Benton is talking to Carter about his surgeon, he mentions that Dr. Kurtag "trained at the Brigham." Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), in Boston, Massachussetts, is Harvard Medical School's second largest teaching affiliate. BWH represents the 1980 merger of three Harvard-affiliated Boston hospitals: the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, and the Boston Hospital for Women. Interestingly, the first successful kidney transplant was performed in 1954 at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.

    • George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, and Eriq La Salle all reprise their roles of Dr. Doug Ross, Carol Hathaway, and Dr. Peter Benton, respectively. Clooney left in the Season 5 episode "The Storm (Part 2)" and returned for an uncredited cameo in the Season 6 episode "Such Sweet Sorrow." That episode also marked Margulies's last appearance as a series regular. La Salle left in the Season 8 episode "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and made brief appearances later that season in "It's All in Your Head" and "On The Beach." Like Anthony Edwards and Noah Wyle earlier this season, all three actors are listed in the opening credits as main stars rather than being billed as special guests or as making guest appearances.

    • Previous title: "In Times of Old"