Season 11 Episode 22

The Show Must Go On

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM May 19, 2005 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (21)

Write A Review
out of 10
177 votes

    unfortunately I have to write 100 words when I was just trying to reach the people who run this site to inform them that they miscredited an actor in this episode. The role of "Z" was played by Stephen Lelliott, not Jeremy Lelliott, who is Stephens brother, and a better known actor. I hope they fix this soon as it makes this site less credable, and misrepresents the two actors. I really don't care this much but I have to write 100 words to post this. 100 words is a lot of words! for crying out loud there should be a better way to contact this site, or post something about this site.
  • Au revoir, Carter

    Oh.. and now this happens - last of the original cast is now gone - 11 years later. Would I believe it? It has really been 11 seasons full of action, tragic stories and emotions. And Carter as been such a great part of it all. I cried - oh, how I cried when those slides were shown and when those voices echoed - Doug, Green, Carol.. oh.. I miss all of those old characters.

    But it was not only Carter - it was Ray realizing it can be about him too. The way he took this over and managed the scene - he was really good and Abby, Neela and Ray alone trying to save everyone. They are new team now. And Morris - he will set a tone.

    Oh, it was such a beautiful episode.
  • It was emotional.

    This was a very emotional series finale. Carter left after so many years and he had a party with friends at the hospital and ha made a short speech but to himself and i think this speech was pretty cool because carter really grew up in that hospital. Also ray proved he can be a good doctor after seeing many people that fell down because of a collapse. Also in this episode Carter met an eleven year old girl and then he found out that he delivered that girl eleven years ago when he was a student in er. So we could see how many years he spent in that hospital. That was really good to see carter's progress among years. With emotional scenes, er made its season finale and carter left the hospital for his love.
  • Carter's final day in the ER see's him enjoying a farwell party!

    So Carter is saying farewell to the ER, a shame to see him leave after 11 years but as he said that's were she is in Africa.He certainly has made an impact on the show past and present and all the people in the ER.A memoir of his time when he treated the 11 year old girl he delivered as a med student, the shock but content at this memory was great to see.I felt for him when he was reciting a speech in the bathroom to discover everyone had left when he returned,the life of an ER doctor as he knows so well.However it was good to see references to past cast members with the slideshow and his sarcastic "you set the tone" to Morris.He really added something to the show and it is a true shame to see him leave.

    The balcony collapse made me jump i was like what the heck happened , those were some excellent stunt scenes it was so realistic.Ray handled it so well even in such a cricis with his friends.Him , Abby and Neela really proved their worth by treating them without assistance(all the attendings,residents at Carters party).Abby was evidently shown as the leader performing a procedure way beyond her but pulling it off.That little smile from Luka implying she was ready for residency.The 3 of them did themselves proud.
  • I certainly felt it in my heart when John Carter left after 11 years of terrific drama on ER.

    I guess it wasn't as traumatic as seeing Dr. Mark Greene go. Carter is certainly still alive and doing well on the show even now, snce Noah Wylie had a few good guest appearances last season. Still, it's quite a shame that we have none of the original 6 doctors on the show anymore. It would really be something to see Doug and Carol again...yeah, like that would happen! This episode was pretty touching in it's own right. John Carter walks out of County General, remembering all the people he both knew, and loved, and leaving his memory and his magic touch to the rest of the doctors that still work today....
  • Not that good

    Because its the ER finale I was expecting much much more from this episode especially because its the one where Carter leaves and hes been such a main character and everything for like years and years. So I was really quite disappointed that the younger doctors seemed to suck up all the screentime. I think we should have definitely seen Carter more, and maybe Luka too - just cause he's hot, lol. no, but really, if Luka is going to be the star they need to set that up now and everything cause they might not get to later.
  • Farewell Carter!

    Carter leaves Chicago in this season finale. I thought that Noah Wyle deserved a better exit than this though. Could've been a bit more dramatic. But at least his exit was acknowledged.

    Rays storyline was rather impressive I thought. It was interesting to see how the interns worked under that much pressure, with most of the residents and staff at Carters farewell dinner. Well done to the writers of ER for a fantastic episode, and farewell Carter!
  • Carters last day at the ER and poor Ray is on a party that goes wrong

    I think that this episoda was good but I think that it should have been more about Carter, I mean he has been in the show sense the very first episode and now he´s leaving!
    I think that Carter should have stayed at the ER not gone to Africa again...

    And now to the good stuff, I think that it was very exiting about that porch collapse. I think that Ray did a great job to take care of most of the people, later does he get help but i mean it was his friends. Very well done of the writers!

    And in the end does Alex leave because he want´s to visit his dad...:/
  • Awful. Noah Wyle deserved WAY more than this.

    When Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) died in season 8, they gave him full three goodbye episodes ("Orion in the Sky", "The Letter" and "On the Beach"). Back then, I cried and missed Mark, because he deserved that.

    Carter's been around for eleven years. He arrived as a shy and funny med student. Survived his resident Dr. Benton. Had inumerous love affairs. Lost great friends such as Anna Del Amico, Lucy Knight and Mark himself. From Carter to intern, to resident, to Chief Resident, to finally Attending Physician, Carter was everything ER meant to us, its faithful fans.

    I was sad that he was leaving the ER for Makemba, but he makes him happy, and so let it be it. But he deserved, like Mark, an episode all to himself. There was a poor mention to Mark, and a blurry photograph of Doug. We heard Carol's and Benton's voices far away, and he didn't even HUG Abby, who had been such an important person in his life.

    But bad episode or not, we'll all miss him.
  • A new era of 'ER'

    I is amazing how all the good characters leave. Can the show continue without Carter? I think it will but it will never be the same. (I thought the same thing when Mark died)
    Which direction will the show now take?

    This was a decent episode but Sam and Luka really annoy me.
  • The Show Must Go On takes us into ER's new era as Carter departs the show, the interns become residents, Pratt confronts his family, and Luka moves toward leadership while trying to save his relationship with Sam.

    What a finale! We said a bittersweet goodbye to Dr. Carter (until we meet again), the Three Musketeers proved their mettle and took their places as residents, and the role of ER leader passed to Dr. Kovac, at long last. Oh, and we got a good trauma and a good cliffhanger into the bargain. What more do we need? ER hasn’t presented a finale like this in years.

    The episode opens with Luka and Sam being Luka and Sam: not communicating. Steve’s in jail, Alex doesn’t know, and Dr. Non-Communication reminds Nurse Don’t Tell the Kid that she’s not communicating much herself where Steve is concerned. Can this relationship be saved? Only time will tell. Carter’s arrival soon redirects the action as we follow the Kisangani Kids into the ER for Carter’s last hours, while Sam bugs out, determined to stay in “do as I say not as I do” mode. Luka and Carter soon depart for Carter’s farewell party, which provides the episode’s lightest moments as well as its most poignant: Luka’s heartfelt farewell toast, and Carter’s brief viewing of pictures of the early cast.

    Meanwhile, in another part of Chicago… the second pivotal part of our story unravels as Ray and hanger-on Morris head for a party in an old wooden apartment house. Just as Carter’s party begins with a lively pool game, Ray’s ends with a balcony collapse, and the action kicks into high gear. The episode’s centerpiece is the balcony collapse, and it’s very effectively done. It also serves as an epiphany of sorts for each of the interns. Initially unable to reach Luka, Ray, Abby and Neela must cope with the victims of the collapse, and the episodes energy ratchets up. And cope they do, in fine style, until Luka’s decisive arrival, now clearly the man in charge (did I see a shot of him coming through the trauma room doors destined for the fall credits?) As the action winds down, we are afforded one last sentimental moment with Carter, who shares the lessons he learned via a letter, and a tear-inducing walk down the hall with the echoes of the past surrounding him. He departs with a final exhortation to a sobering Morris, to “set the tone.” But is Morris the man to do it? That remains to be seen.

    Of course, life’s not so easy at Casa Luka-and-Sam, where Alex realizes Sam is about to go back into “run away from my problems” mode, and move them yet again. A letter from Steve has arrived, to what effect? Sam soon finds out as a phone call alerts her Alex and her credit card are headed for parts unknown. Meanwhile, Pratt has made his way to his father’s house and comes face-to-face with him for the first time. As the episode closes, as Pratt walks away, and Carter departs, we see Alex hit the road to the strains of Lynard Skynard’s “Freebird”, with Luka and Sam in hot pursuit.

    This was a satisfying episode from beginning to end, setting the agenda for each character in turn. Carter’s departure was potentially tricky given he will return for a story arc next season, but was handled well as leadership slowly shifted from his character to Kovac’s as the episode progressed. There was no ambiguity here: Pratt’s early removal from the scene helped establish Luka as the new lead male character. One strength of the episode was the avoidance of what could have been a cliché moment: Carter’s delivery of the now-traditional line “you set the tone”. By the point in the episode where it came, it was clear who will be setting ER’s tone come fall, and delivered to Luka, the line wouldn’t have worked. Instead, it was wisely part of a lighter moment, where Carter recognizes the seeming heir apparent, Morris, is far from up to the job. Rather than leave it there, Carter is given his own moment that remembers the past, but also recognizes Noah Wyle’s rather unique history with the show, as he gives a letter he once wrote to himself to the three interns, and quietly walks away. It was a suitable, and dignified exit for a character we know we will see again.

    Some might disagree, but in a sense, the episode was as about much Goran Visnjic’s ascendance to the lead as Noah Wyle’s departure from it. Too long consigned to “B” stories, moody longing for a family, and an occasional stellar featured episode, Goran Visnjic has consistently turned in a first rate performance as the complex and enigmatic Luka Kovac, a character who after six years has plenty of story potential and room to grow. Along with Maura Tierney, he represents the last, but important tie to the original cast, and I look forward to seeing where he will take the series as it enters its next era.

    The Show Must Go On was written by David Zabel, always a good sign, and as usual, he gives us a compelling, fast paced story that is strongly character-driven. The producers would be wise to designate him the executive producer for Season 12 (and to jettison Dee Johnson entirely), particularly given his affinity for the Kovac and Pratt characters. He effectively balances three critical components: Carter’s sentimental departure, Luka’s first steps toward leadership as he copes with a fractious relationship, and the interns’ trial-by-fire transition to residency. Pratt’s and Sam’s stories seem to be quieter background stories, until the surprise ending when Sam, joined by Luka, suddenly comes front-and-center. The absence of Kerry, and too-brief appearance by Susan are noticeable, and Pratt’s story seemed oddly small, given it set up his first storyline of the fall. But The Show Must Go On was about the future, as the title tells us, and by the episode’s end, the show clearly will go on.
  • From standard episode to classic ER to old tired storyline. Not bad in one hour!

    This episode was hard to classify. I went through a number of different thoughts and opinions throughout the course of the episode. It went from filler episode to classic ER to tired storylines and I'm not quite sure where it landed in the end.
    The incident at the party was classic ER, just when everything seemed like just an ordinary episode something happens which makes it one of the most medically special ones. Like when Romano lost his arm or there was the big train crash where they had to amputate a leg on site. Having Ray in the middle of this situation was great, I really like his character and I'm excited to see where they will go with it. I've always had a soft spot for the cocky guys who are really nice inside only they don't always like to show it. I hope he stays on the show for at least another season.
    It was a nice last episode for Noah Whyle. That storyline got the right amount of screen time, it was not made into too huge an event like when Anthony Edwards left the show. I loved the scenes with Carter and Kovac, those two have not always gotten along but somehow they seem to be really good friends. The slides Carter watched were great as well, nice seeing him together with Benton especially and Green and Ross as well.
    What brought this episode down for me was that it was once again the Abby Lockhart show. I don't get why Abby is always so extremely good at everything and people rely on her and she's just the übermänchen. Seriously. She's got a poor attitude, far too much arrogance and is not fun to watch. I love Maura Tierny, but this character needs to be toned down or preferably dropped. Her personality is anything but perfect but it would be nice if she wasn't professionally perfect all the time as well. I'm sick of Abby Lockhart and I hope to see a lot less of her in season eleven.
    Carter left the torch to Morris... But I take it Kovac will be the one to actually carry it. I hope so, Luka Kovac is one of the best characters on the show. Too bad things seem to be going south with Sam.

  • Carter's last day at County. Ray takes charge when a balcony collapses at a party that he's attending. three interns manage the traumas until Luka arrives, at which time mantle of leadership is passed to him. Alex escapes to go see dad and Luka and Sam g

    It\'s a shame to see Dr. Carter leave county, he grew up in there, he almost lose his life in there, he found love and sorrow. That hospital was his life, but i guess he needed to reach another level. By the way the patient he delivered was a nice thing. The drama with that collapsing porch was awesome and i absolutly love the way Ray tried to stay calm and help as much people as he could. Also i like that he doesn;t look like a doctor but it's a good one. Pretty good episode.
  • En Puerto Rico es mi serie preferida; la escena del balcon fue tan real que me puso pena es que pudieron darle mas enfasis a esa escena. Fue muy real, pero le falto dramatismo. Que Carter se vaya es una pena. El tipo esta rico y actu

    Este episodio del Show must go ... no le vi sentido con el tema.En Puerto Rico es mi serie preferida; la escena del balcon fue tan real que me puso pena es que pudieron darle mas enfasis a esa escena. Fue muy real, pero le falto dramatismo. Que Carter se vaya es una pena.
    El tipo esta rico y actua muy bien.
  • Growth and Goodbyes

    ER is good at two things, character growths and goodbyes. This episode demonstrates both well. The character growth was especially well done. Ray came up big, and may have answered the question of how much he wants to be a doctor. We will be a great one when he applies himself. At the scene of the accident, he was huge in accessing 24 patients quickly, and probably saved a lot of lives. Between himself, Nila and Abby, they ran the traumas like pros.

    For the most part, the Carter goodbye was also well done, with one exception that I will get to shortly. Kovac's toast was extremely touching. I'm sure he has a hard time saying goodbye, as Carter had saved his life by finding him in Africa. I also love the fact that the slideshow featured past friends Mark, Carole, Benton and Ross. We also hear quotes from Mark, Carole and Benton as he's walking the hall for the last time. Most notably, "You set the tone, Carter". This is a quote that is used now and then throughout the series, and is used to pass the torch. (Morganstern said it to Mark, Mark said it to Carter, Carter now says it to Morris. Morris of course, does not get it.)

    Another nice touch is Carter aiding an 11 year old girl's broken wrist, and he finds out that he delivered the very same girl's birth. I cannot think of a better going away present for him.

    Now the exception I mentioned earlier, and this lost points in my rating. The goodbye between Carter and Abby was very weak. Seeing that they helped each other through addictions, knife attacks and bi-polar family members, not to mention their love affair, the goodbye should have been better.

    Things to look forward to in the coming season -- Pratt looking up his father, played by Danny Glover. There's a lot behind this that we don't yet know. Not to mention that you can't get a better person to play this role. Glover is a huge name in movies and a great talent. The cliff hanger was Sam and Kovac looking for Alex who ran away looking for their son.

    It will be interesting to see if Sara Gilbert's character returns. She matched as an intern at County, but Gilbert has been cast in a new comedy Twins on the WB. It's not impossible to still guest star in ER, but seeing it's on a rival network, we may not see her again. At least, for a while.
  • Rebuttal to unicorn6's review.

    Another viewer wrote a review and said it was the worst series finale for ER. Granted, one of them has to be the worst one, but I think those are harsh words, and this was not the bad episode he/she said it was. There wasn't much to support that in his/her review. Only that Morris was a stupid character, and that it wasn't a good cliffhanger.

    Re: Morris. The fact that he is stupid is the whole point. Good series has someone you love to hate. I.e., M*A*S*H had Frank Burns. ER has had several characters like this, including Romano and Weaver. It provides conflict, and conflict provides drama. Morris is not a good doctor. He can probably be a good administrator, but he needs people skills. His staff will not respect him, and we'll see good story lines come from this conflict. We'll cheer against him, and cheer for Ray, Nila and Abby that will have to work under him.

    Re: Cliffhanger. Admittedly, they are not the most heart stopping, but they're not bad either. Pratt's father. There's something big here that we'll learn about next year. With Danny Glover on board, I guarantee this will be a classic story line. They did a great job casting this role. The best job they've done since casting Sally Field as Abby's mom. I predict an Emmy nomination at minimum for Danny Glover. Sam's pre-adolescent son, Alex running away to find his dad. You cannot get much more dramatic than that. Not to mention that the issues between Sam and Kovac are still unresolved.

    This episode wasn't so much about cliff hangers, and you don't always need a cliff hanger. This was about Carter, and then about Ray, Nila and Abby. Those three are going to be the ones to carry on the show, and they needed a strong performance by them in the ER. They did a great job with that.

    Everybody has a right to their opinion, and I'm not saying that the author of the for mentioned editorial is wrong. But if you're going to slam a series or episode, give a little more detail to back it up. At the same time, if you're going to say an episode is the best ever, also give detail to back it up.
  • It was regretful to see Dr. Carter exit ER, but wasn't too bad.

    No one wanted to see the classic Dr. John Truman Carter leave ER. His exit was not as strong as that of stars Kellie Martin and Anthony Edwards, but it was peaceful. There is no doubt that it would have been better and had a little more of Carter himself. But after all he had been through, it was good to see him leave happy. No one wanted to see him die, and those that did are not true ER fans. He left with a smile on his face to the sound of \"Freebird\" which was a nice exit. I would have liked him to pass the tourch to Pratt, but that wasn\'t necessary. Much like the exit of his mentor, Dr. Peter Benton, his exit wasn\'t big, but it was nice.
  • Dr carter is leaving the hospital and they throw a part for him so the emergency room is shut down. Ray goes to a party with morris where a balcony colapses and so ray has to convince abby to open the er to help his friends

    this episode is a typical series finale. big dramatic and action packed middle to it with an emotional and teary end. it also provided a bit of background into the kind of pressure that ray faces from his friends and this then provided a bit more depth and scope to the character which we will most probably see more of next season.
  • OK but it could have been so much better

    This was a pretty poor episode, in the long run of things. Basically it was all about Carter, and saying goodbye to him. For those viewers who really didnt care about him going this was a wasted installment.

    So careter left, oh well many popular characters have left in the course of the show. Im sure that next season there will be a new male lead

    The other stroy in the episode was the callopse of an apartment block that it just so happens that ray and morris are there to lend a hand.

    Several stitches later and one new baby carters says his final goodbyes and leaves County general.
  • The worst series finale I have EVER watched!

    I liked the bit when Ray helped out at the collasped house and when he persuaded Abby to take the casualties. Morris is the most stupidest character inthe WHOLE show! For a character leaving and it being a series finale it wasn't left on a very good cliff-hanger! I will probably not watch the next series as this one was so broing and hard to get into at the beginning.
    ER writers you could MUCH MUCH BETTER!! from an EX-fan!
  • Ray comes to the rescue

    Well not much of a Clifhanger was it, i don't care much about Alex but i sure first episoide of next season will be Luka & Sam looking for him and finding him. Shane West, this episoide proved when he's given a good story-line he can do well. For the Ray-hater on this place, this prove how great he can be. i'm glad it took something like collaspe of that stair-well platform to make him realise he wanted to be a doctor.

    Carter, well it's nice fare-well party, really found it amusing when Carter came from toliet everyone has gone. That girl he delivered, that was a nice touch the writer. i wonder who will replace him?, There one doctor short now.

    Did anyone understand Pratt & danny glover, it said he was his father but he didn't reconise him.