Somewhat obsolete in this post-Grey’s Anatomy landscape, it’s hard to remember when ER ruled the medical drama roost. Now that it’s in its last year, and television viewers have to endure the season long good-bye, Season 10 is released on DVD.

Just five years ago, Season 10 was one of those pivotal years if only for the amount of cast turnover during the season. We still have some holdover faces from the original season, Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle), Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) and Jerry Markovic (Abraham Benrubi) and a few nurses to give roots to the series for long time fans. In a lot of ways, ER was Carter’s show, especially once he became the last of the original cast members to hold down the show. This season had the same feel as when David Duchovney decided to only do half the episodes of a season of X-Files before actually calling it quits, leaving the show limping along rather than just folding up.

This season introduced the characters of nurse Samantha Taggart (Linda Cardellini), Dr. Neela Rasgotra (Parminder Nagra), and Dr. Archie Morris (Scott Grimes). Because of the nature of it sprawling cast, the show left some characters with not much to do and thus nowhere to go except leave. This partially explains the departure of Dr. Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston), though Dr. Romano (Paul McCrane) was killed off as a punchline (reminiscent of when L.A. Law used an elevator shaft to get rid of Rosalind Shays).

“I wanted to feel like I was really doing something.” –Carter

ER revolves around workplace dynamics and relationships. The drama realizes that real life comes down to relationships, both those among the staff as well as with and around their patients. Relationships are messy, but they also are only part of what it means to become fully human. Despite the hospital heroics (and, mind you, why anyone would choose to ever go to a hospital that features so many disasters happening to and within it, no one quite explains), this is life in the ordinary. Like many of us, they’re going through the motions, stuck in empty patterns, too often characterized by this sense of an unfulfilled existence. It leads some to find peace, redemption, and purpose by getting perspective in Africa. For some, it’s simply a matter of getting outside of their own heads, drawing on a sense of a bigger mission: the calling of being a doctor or healer.

“I couldn’t believe in a God that would allow such things to happen … It’s really hard to feel the Holy Spirit’s presence on a day like today.” –Kovac

Reconciliation is not a human quality. God’s mission, reconciling humanity to Himself, was His initiative. In response to this, the Christian church should be a community of people who refuse to be content with human pain and suffering. We are the answer to the problem of evil. We are the ones who believe in a gospel of liberation. We need to accept our new existence as agents of reconciliation

Doctors and nurses do it because invest themselves sacrificially in the lives of others. They do it, largely without thanks, because they are crusaders in their own way, using medicine as their sword, working in the trenches of man’s inhumanity to man, day after day, without any rounds of applause. They join in God’s mission to be a blessing to the world. That is what redemption is all about. Bring reconciliation and healing to this world by being God’s hands.

“It’s simpler here. People need help, I can help.” –Carter

ER manages to retain its air of preachiness as relevance, some episodes feeling like a series of “one to grow” on moments. The show’s strength and weakness has always been the chemistry between the (hopefully interesting) characters, like the eventual dynamic between Dr. Gregory Pratt (Mekhi Pfifer) and Morris. With season 10, we have a lion in winter. Too bad we have to see this once venerable show limp along for another five years.

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