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Sweeps Day 15: Dmann's Seen Greene Exit ER!!

I am – Hercules!!

It’s never easy to watch Anthony Edwards die. As with last week’s installment, “Dmann” bestows three and a half stars.

ER 8.21 FAQ

What's it called?

"On the Beach"

What does TV Guide say?

" Anthony Edwards, who has been a mainstay of ER since its premiere in 1994, plays Dr. Mark Greene for the last time. In the affecting episode (written and directed by executive producer John Wells), Mark is in Hawaii after leaving County General to enjoy what little time he has left. With him is his daughter Rachel, and Mark hopes the trip will give the often antagonistic pair a chance to reconnect and heal some old wounds before it's too late. Then the unexpected arrival of Corday and baby Ella allows the weakening Mark to see his fractured family reunited."

What is TV Guide not telling us?

There's not a lot to tell, or spoil. Last week's letter told us how the episode is going to end. This week bridges the gap from Mark Greene walking out of the ER to that point. Mark does the things on his "I always wanted to do" list (as much as possible, with Rachel (and later Elizabeth and Ella) in tow.

So why Hawaii?

He lived there longer than anywhere. They do a lot of looking at the places he grew up, Rachel learns to surf, stuff like that.

So is Rachel cool with all this?

Yes and no. To Mark's face, she isn't any more moody than normal, maybe even a little less. When Mark isn't around, her behavior has changed. She isn't sneaking painkillers and mini bar liquor bottles to ease her pain. Rachel may do stupid things, but she knows what is going on, and so does Mark. The inevitable confrontation is understated and feels real. The whole episode feels real, uncomfortable and kind of creepy, seeing as how we know how it ends. Hallee Hirsh does a wonderful job in this role, not overplaying the part, and having a remarkable amount of confidence (for a 15 year old) acting in a fairly small bikini.

So what about Elizabeth and Ella.

They show up halfway through. The bigger focus is on Rachel. Even Elizabeth gets her best scene with Rachel.

So Mark is ok until the end?

Not at all, he slowly and progressively deteriorates.

So give us a real spoiler, dude!

No. I won't do it. Compressing the events of "On the Beach" to a spoiler would lessen the impact of the events in the episode.

What's good?

Acting, acting, acting. There are really only 4 real performances in show this week. Everything that could be spoiled was, last week. No big "Doug meets her on the docks" moment, just solid work from talented writers, director and cast. Last week was better, and I still wouldn't mind if they had left the saga of Dr. Mark Greene right there, but all things considered, completely worthwhile.

What's not so good?

It may feel a little overly sentimental to some people, but if you don't expect that from the start, why are you watching the farewell episode for a character dying of an inoperable brain tumor.

Dmann's rating for "ER" 8.21?


The Hercules T. Strong Rating System:

  • ***** better than we deserve
  • **** better than most motion pictures
  • *** actually worth your valuable time
  • ** as horrible as most stuff on TV
  • * makes you quietly pray for bulletins

I am – Hercules!!

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Readers Talkback
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  • May 9, 2002, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Four years on this board and I've never succumbed to it, but

    by Toby O Notoby

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  • May 9, 2002, 11:08 a.m. CST


    by TJL5714

    Maybe this is a quasi-spoiler, but if you look at the TV Guide's Close-Up for the episode, you'll see Eriq La Salle and Michele Michelle as guest stars. Only reason I could see them showing up is for a funeral. I think it would be very fitting if they were able to pull another surprise cameo from Clooney and Margulies for such a scene, but it's not going to matter in the end. I'm expecting a very grabbing episode in spite of any spoilers or cameos -- the episode where Mark left the ER was one of the most emotional to watch, IMO.

  • May 9, 2002, 1:06 p.m. CST


    by jenniferkate

    I don't know if I can take watching this one... lately ER has been emotionally exhausting. BTW-did Susan find her niece? I didn't watch TW because I was watching the Gilda Radner movie.

  • May 9, 2002, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the review...

    by DarkAngelCher

    Thanks for the review Dmann. I will only watch ER tonight because of your synop. Thanks again. :)

  • Why mention how she is in a small bikini? It's like Herc's obsession with Dawn in leather pants from the UPN promo stills. It's funny, no judgement. Keep up the good work. Hey I just had a thought. Now that Anthony Edwards is off ER, he can rejoin the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies...Number 3 wasn't the same without him.

  • May 9, 2002, 6:16 p.m. CST

    Josef K & Devilcat, what do you expect?

    by BrashHulk

    This site is crammed to the gills with socially-retarded fanboys, with the biggest and baddest one leading the pack. The lure of young flesh just serves to remind these sad people (who normally come in two cliches - the roundboy who grows some sort of facial hair to hide multiple chins, or the skinny chainsmoking boy who grows spotty facial hair to try and look cool) that if they were going to have ANY chance with a beautiful woman that they'd better catch them young and try to impress them with their pseudo-intellectualness before the girl attains a little wisdom and tells these losers to brush off. Believe me, after going to sci-fi/fantasy conventions for almost twenty years and hitting the odd movie festival here and there, I've seen it over and over again. About the only thing that saves these poor wretches is that none of them ever have the actual balls to do anything more than drool over the young chicks from a very safe distance - lest the girl make eye contact with them and send them scurrying into the nearest bathroom.

  • May 9, 2002, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Live damn you!! LIVE!!!!

    by Knightwing2040

    Where is Haslhoff when you need him?! It would be funny as hell to see him try to revive Dr.Green on the beach all "Baywatch: Hawaii" style. Cha!

  • May 9, 2002, 11:04 p.m. CST

    No Ross? No Hathaway?

    by BLADE

    In the words of Mark Green> SHIT!

  • May 9, 2002, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Oh dear Lord, I just watched this episode...

    by Led Gopher

    and I have no problem admiting that I cried my eyes out. I just couldn't stand it, the show will never be the same w/o A.E. Fantastic episode. I think I smell an Emmy in Mr. Edwards' future. They seem to like it when ppl die.

  • May 9, 2002, 11:20 p.m. CST

    I knew I shouldn't have watched

    by Danimal60914

    I found out yesterday my dad may have lung cancer. It was too much to deal with after watching ER. I'm a wreck.

  • May 9, 2002, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Little girl in bikini

    by Mr_Morden75

    Well, I for one do enjoy to see a young girl's beautiful body in a small bikini...

  • May 9, 2002, 11:24 p.m. CST


    by ForgetfulLenny

    Now, I think that ER has one of the best opening credit sequences ever, so I always pay plenty of attention. This episode had Eriq la Salle and Michael Michele in the opening credits. I wonder if it was just because of the cameos at the end? But that seems like a bit of an effort instead of just mentioning them as special guest stars. Has there been a last minute conract signing? Will Dr. Benton be back to whip Pratt into shape? I damn well hope so. I lost my favorite character when Peter Benton transferred... But at least Romano will quench my thirst.... And damn stright with the pseudo-pedophilia... She looked damn hot in her tiny bikini!

  • May 9, 2002, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Despite the fact that Doug and Carol were not at the funeral...

    by agentcooper

    ...I still wept like a baby. This show is the best ever on television. Even better than my beloved "Twin Peaks." We'll miss you Mark. Carter, you set the tone now...

  • May 10, 2002, 12:05 a.m. CST

    I almost cried

    by Zadillo

    It wasn't enough to actually make me cry, but this episode did give me a lump in my throat, which is really unusual for any TV or movie to do for me. This episode was very well done I think, not as exploitive as I think many shows would do.

  • May 10, 2002, 12:11 a.m. CST


    by Big Andy

    I just might admit to being a little misty-eyed during this show as well. A big contributing factor was that incredible rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Does anyone know who sang that?

  • May 10, 2002, 12:29 a.m. CST

    This cold hearted bastard almost broke down for this one.

    by TheMatarife

    Very close. I can't even remember the last time that happend.

  • May 10, 2002, 1:21 a.m. CST

    As for the song near the end...

    by Rybock

    It was a oft played version of "Somewhere over the Rainbow"/"What a wonderful World" by Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole. He was a Hawaiian singer who died 5 years ago at age 38 due to his weight condition - he apparently was once 757 lbs. You can look on Yahoo - there are still af ew fan sites around.

  • May 10, 2002, 8:45 a.m. CST


    by KennyB

    OMG didn't quite tear up but man it was tearin' the ass outta me!

  • May 10, 2002, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Greene Exit

    by DirkPitt

    Very poor not having Ross and Hathaway at the funeral.

  • May 10, 2002, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Talk to Me Goose

    by BabyArm

    While the show was emotional (if a little forced; how can it not be sad to watch a dying guy trying to connect with his daughter), it will never have the same cutural impact as when Mother Goose died. That one scene in th ewater makes me not want to watch that whole segment of the movie. Dr. Green may be a great character, but no one will ever say "Paging Dr. Green" with the emotion of "Talk to me Goose."

  • May 10, 2002, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Young Dr. Green

    by dcervera

    When Mark was talking about his troubles growing up, and mentioned the crowd he hung out with, did anyone else half-expect him to mention Jeff Spicoli?

  • May 10, 2002, 12:55 p.m. CST

    I blubbered like a big baby...I can't believe how much this

    by superhero

    It's weird...Greene isn't even a real person but this episode devastated me. I guess, even though we'll have re-runs, the thing that tears me up is that no matter how many re-aired episodes we see I'll always know that Mark Greene as a character is just destined to end tragically. Despite all the suffering and hoping for this guy who always seemed to want the right things and almost always got the shaft it just sucks that he never got some sort of happy ending. I guess the hardest thing and the greatest thing about this episode was that it's just SO MUCH like real never goes or ends just how you thought it would. Man, that episode tore me apart...I loved Dr. Greene's character-the everyman, the Frank Capra character, the center of ER. I honestly don't know if Carter can pick up the slack...he's always been sort of annoying to me in a way. Man, that last shot of Rachael looking up at the balloon...powerful stuff ...powerful stuff...

  • May 10, 2002, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Greene as the Frank Capra character?!?!

    by Triumph the Dog

    Tell me, which Frank Capra character: (a) was brutally beaten in a restroom; (b) killed a patient; (c) died of brain tumor ? Greene was more of an Arthur Miller character. The guy had more hard luck than Willie Loman.

  • May 10, 2002, 3:27 p.m. CST

    They can bring back Michael Ironside but not Doug and Carol?

    by Goody2shoes

    And what about Morgenstern? Oh well. It's not like they're wanting for work. This actually made me shed a tear (which I have strict rules against). I don't even know why, it's not like the ending was a surprise or anything. I'm curious as to why Chuny (sp) wasn't at the funeral or featured in last week's episode. She and Mark dated for a (very short) while.

  • May 10, 2002, 4:35 p.m. CST the post...a character is NOT what happened to th

    by superhero

    What happened to Dr. Greene is not what he is...You comment is likening ER to a Miller play and NOT Dr. Greene to one of Miller's characters. Greene was honest and forthright. A humble and caring individual who ALWAYS had the odds stacked up against him but tried his hardest to do the right thing. If that's not a Capra character then I don't know what is...It CERTAINLY isn't Wily Loman and if you actually think that then you need to go re-read Mr. Miller's play 'cause I don't think you got it the first time...

  • and about this kid who hung around who they later found out was really 21. Seriously, it looks like Edwards is in the lead for that Emmy award. Very well done episode. One other note, I believe this was only the second time in history the word shit was used in a U.S. prime-time series on a big 4 braodcast network (mini-series, movies, and BBC shows do not count.)-----later------m

  • May 10, 2002, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Yeah, nothing says "Capra...honest and forthright" like killing

    by Triumph the Dog

    I simply must get that "special edition director's cut" of "It's a Wonderful Life" where George Bailey kills Mr. Potter then lies to the bank examiner about it so that the Savings and Loan is saved. Or perhaps the one of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" where Mr. Smith kills his political rivals and leaves them in the park with a forged suicide note so that they can't vote against his populist bills.

  • May 11, 2002, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Just thought I'd chime in about underage girls.

    by Rain_Dog

    I'm nineteen, and even I think Dawn and Dr. Green's daughter are off limits. Men in their thirties drooling over girls in their mid-teens is more than a little disturbing. As if there aren't enough women over eighteen over whom to bash one's bishop. And while I can sympathise with Harry over Jennifer Connely circa Labyrinth, I was significantly younger than her when she was in that movie, so that's OK. I certainly don't watch the movie now and think "Cor, I'd like to give that fourteen year old a good seeing to." (although Connely in Rocketeer, that's a different story. Fuckin' 'ell, if she hadn't recently metamorphosed into Ally McBeal I'd probably consider taking on stalking as a career).