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ER - The Complete Eighth Season

1 rating: 5.0
A movie

Full of tragedies and sweeping changes, the eighth season of the long-running medical drama welcomes two new cast members to County General--Michael Gallant (Sharif Atkins) and Gregory Pratt (Mekhi Phifer)--and says farewell to Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle) … see full wiki

Cast: Mekhi Phifer
Release Date: 2001-2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about ER - The Complete Eighth Season

ER - Season 8

  • Aug 13, 2010
Pros: casting remains tight, scripts are complete, continuity

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line: Michael Crichton 10/23/42 - 11/4/08

Season 8 was sort of a turning point for me in the series. I thought, from this point on, the show became rather dark. Yes, I am fully aware these are simply actors playing a part but, for some, they had been part of my Thursday night for eight years. I had grown comfortable with them, knew their quirks, accepted their faults and their quiet mercies. It wasn’t that the show became more vile or even evil, it was the fact that the characters changed their own humanity and became the guy or gal living next door. We also lost a few main characters during Season 8 and picked up a few new ones.

Our new introductions to the staff are:
Mekhi Phifer as Dr. Gregory Pratt
Sharif Atkins as Dr. Michael Gallant
Sherry Stringfield returns as Dr. Susan Lewis

Season 8 episodes include:
Four Corners:
Investigation is underway regarding the death of the patient in the care of Mark and no one questions what happened except Elizabeth. Carter’s grandfather dies and his parents arrive for the funeral, at odds with each other. Luka asks Abby to live with him and Kerry, after being away on a surprise vacation, returns and worries that Romano told everyone she was gay. Dr. Chen is given the chief resident position, one that Carter was hoping for, Benton’s sister is still wrestling her demons after her son died. Dr. Legaspi gets a job in San Fran and leaves County General. As a treat, we are blessed with patients from a brawl on a talk show, with disastrous results.

The Longer You Stay:

At the end of his shift, Carter goes to Kerry to ask about an attending position and gets roped back into the ER after a stampede at a rock concert. Luka and Abby break up because Luka thinks there is ‘something’ between her and Carter. Kerry gets information about her birth mother and she is out of the ER when an emergency hits. Dr. Dave and Chen make a mistake with a patient, killing him, and lay the blame on Kerry because she didn’t answer her pager. Kerry, unable to find her pager, drops the ball into Chen and Dr. Dave’s court, resulting with suspensions for both. Carla and Reese are in an automobile accident, Carla dies, leaving Benton to raise Reese on his own. Mark and Elizabeth are suffering new baby blues trying to work their schedules and home life.

Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic:
Dr. Dave refuses to honor his suspension and continues working. When he gets trapped in an elevator with an ill patient and a paramedic, he manages to save the mans life and celebrates by having sex with the paramedic in her ambulance … while on duty … Kerry, at the end of her rope, fires him on the spot.

Never Say Never:

Well, who knew? Dr. Lewis returns to Chicago looking for a job and Mark hires her without clearing it through Kerry. As she gets reacquainted with the staff, Elizabeth shows a bit of jealousy. Kerry and Dr. Chen clash, again, and she quits. Benton gets stuck in surgery and is forced to call Roger, Carla’s ex-husband, to pick up Reese at school.

Start All Over Again:
Dr. Lewis faces a typical day of madness, making her feel like she has returned home. Abby sees a bit of spark between Dr. Lewis and Carter and rethinks her decision to leave Luka. With Rachael living fulltime with Mark and Elizabeth, they are soon being introduced to the stress of having a teenager around, along with all its problems. Cleo gets a better job outside of Chicago, leaving the staff. Elizabeth loses another post-op patient due to infection and is under investigation for cleanliness. Roger tells Benton he is filing for custody of Reese. Carter’s grandmother arrives in the ER after all fall.

Supplies and Demands:
Luka has the local barmaid hired in the ER as a runner but things suddenly start to ‘come up missing’ and are discovered in her possession. She tells Luka she is pregnant and he wrestles with the news, deciding the best thing would be to marry her. Abby confronts her, she admits to Luka she isn’t pregnant but Abby sees her later in the GYN clinic having an abortion. Problems continue and Elizabeth and her infectious disease shadow, Rachael causes more problems at home, Benton and Roger get into an altercation and a guy arrives at the ER who tried to circumcise himself with scissors, to please his girlfriend … ouch!

If I Should Fall From Grace:
Carter’s new med student, Michael Gallant, arrives quiet and soft spoken. He’s 3rd year, in the Army, and very competent. Carter finally tells Dr. Lewis about his stabbing and addiction to pain meds. Benton takes a DNA test to prove his parentage of Reese. Carter’s grandmother continues to suffer from dizziness.

Partly Cloudy, Chance of Rain:
The DNA test comes back, Benton is not Reese’s biological father so now the real fight begins. Neither Benton or Roger are related to Reese and both are suing for custody. Kerry has to perform an emergency C-section at an accident site, with Gallant’s help, surrounded by live electrical wires. She also meets paramedic Sandy Lopez and the sparks are flying in more ways than one. Carter’s grandmother arrives at the ER with a broken hip after an automobile accident and becomes delusional in the MRI.

Quo Vadis?:
Carter and Dr. Lewis offer an unusual test for a newlywed couple that may be allergic to sperm. Kerry asks Sandy Lopez on a date.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas:
Benton perjurers himself to get custody of Reese. Romano refuses to change Benton schedule and Benton quits, going to work with Cleo outside Chicago. They buy a home and move in together. Carter’s father visits for Christmas, telling him he and his mother are getting a divorce. Kerry and Sandy go on a date and she confesses she hasn’t ‘came out’ at the hospital.

Beyond Repair:
Abby has new neighbors and they seem to be using each other as sparring partners, with her on the short end of the stick. Abby tries to help her but is unsuccessful. At work she discovers Luka is leaving for two months to work in Bosnia for Doctors Without Borders. Her ex-husband tells her he is getting married, and she sees Carter and Dr. Lewis in an intimate setting. Not a great birthday all around. To top it off, Paul Sobricki has returned to the ER with a head wound … he’s the guy that stabbed Carter and killed Lucy Knight. Abby tries to keep him away from Carter but they eventually meet in the hallway. Carter has his own problems. His mother is in town, whining about everything and Dr. Chen tells him she has evidence that Kerry didn’t have her pager with her the night of the emergency. Mark finds cigarettes and condoms in Rachael’s room.

A River in Egypt:
Chen comes back to the hospital with proof in hand, forcing Romano to hire her back, over Kerry’s objections. Lopez, fed up with Kerry’s mincing around, plants a big fat smooch on her in the ER, surprising all the staff. The altercations between Abby’s neighbors are getting more intense and the girl hides out in Abby’s apartment for safety.

Damage is Done:
Mark is in the middle of treating victims of a letter bomb when his own baby is rushed into the ER, suffering from an overdose of Ecstasy, which Rachael had left lying around. Gallant spends an entire shift working on a blind man and caring for his dog, which he is highly allergic to. Kerry and Chen work under tense conditions but it softened when Kerry leaves for the day with a new friend in tow.

A Simple Twist of Fate:
Mark and Elizabeth are at the turning point in their marriage after the near death of their baby Ella. Elizabeth moves out, leaving Mark and Rachael at the home together. Mark fears his brain tumor has returned and it is confirmed after a trip to New York. Abby gets paid back, in the worst way, for protecting her neighbor when the husband breaks in and beats her up. Luka tracks him down and threatens to kill him, compromising the case against him for assault.

It’s All in Your Head:

Mark’s prognosis isn’t good, he has about 5 months to live. Abby, fearing for her life, moves into Luka’s apartment on a temporary basis.

Secrets and Lies:

Treatment for an unusual patient lands Abby, Dr. Lewis, Gallant, Luka and Carter in an all day sexual harassment seminar. When the director is late, they begin to interact and learn all kinds of things about each other. Carter and Luka have a tense moment, while dueling with swords by the way. Dr. Lewis realizes there is nothing between her and Carter and they break up.

Elizabeth has been successfully avoiding Mark but eventually Dr. Lewis tells her Mark’s tumor has returned. Mark tells the staff his prognosis and Kerry worries when Lopez is missing at a fire.

Orion in the Sky:
A new hotshot, Dr. Gregory Pratt, blazes in on the scene all full of himself. He is assigned to Mark, which goes against everything Pratt believes in. When he is finally told about Mark’s illness, he realizes he has learned much more than he thought he would in one short day. Mark’s final patient, a little girl with a splinter, tells him the story of the constellation Orion, leaving him feel his job was well done. He has decided to quit chemo and die in peace. Abby, learning the neighbor has moved out, decides to return to her apartment. We, as the observers, seem to be the only ones that know this is Mark’s last day as he silently walks from the building. Meeting Carter in the ambulance bay, he ‘turns the reins’ over to him, telling him to set the pace.

Brothers and Sisters:
Dr. Lewis gets a message on her answering machine from her six year old niece that mommy is sick. When she finally traces the call down, it is in NY and she flies there to find her sister and niece. A nice melding of shows brings Officers Boscorelli and Yokas from Third Watch on the investigation. They find Chloe but little Suzie isn’t with her. Pratt does an unauthorized procedure on a patient, pulling Gallant into it, getting them both in trouble. Romano, the twerp, signs Kerry up as the spokesperson for the Women’s Health Coalition but, in a rare show of kindness, urges Elizabeth to take the time off when she gets an emergency call from Rachael in Hawaii about Mark.

The Letter:
A faxed letter arrives from Mark and everyone is excited as Carter reads all the things Mark is doing in Hawaii with Rachael. Silence falls over the ER when the last page reveals that Mark passed away that morning. The letter is posted on the bulletin board and we watch as several people, not in attendance when the letter was read, stop to share their own personal time with their memories of Mark. Even Romano stops, hangs his head, and walks away. A small wake is held at the local bar and Kerry arrives with Sandy in tow, officially outing herself to the staff.

On the Beach:
In review, we see Mark and Rachael spending his final time together in Hawaii as he tries to instill some values in her while he still has time. When he has a grand mal seizure, Rachael phones Elizabeth who arrives with Ella to spend his final days with him. The funeral is held back in Chicago with almost the entire staff in attendance.

Kerry is late for work and Chen has a fever. Already suffering a staff shortage, no one pays attention to the family that has set for 4 hours waiting to see a doctor but once Carter sees them, all hell breaks loose. He suspects smallpox and the entire ER is locked down awaiting for the CDC to arrive to confirm his suspicions. Pratt, Chen, and a frequent flyer Stan, all feverish, are locked into quarantine. Carter and Abby, who had treated the children, are locked into their own room, ending the scene with a long awaited kiss. But we still don’t know if it is smallpox or just a like pox.

It was a great loss to me for Mark Greene to leave the show. He was one of the starting players in this drama and the glue that held everything together in times of stress. Fittingly appropriate, he turns things over to Carter in the ambulance bay, where they shared a lot of time together. There is one scene in the opening credits of the series that shows Carter sitting in the ambulance bay, head in his hands. It was his first day and I remember the scene well and how Mark came to him and offered him advice.

In Season 8 we see this scene repeated when Gallant, after a stressful case, slumps in his own dejection in the ambulance bay wondering, as did Carter, if he had chosen the wrong line of work. Carter, as is fitting, comes to Gallant and almost mirrors the advice that Mark had given him 8 years earlier. This is just another example of the passing of the torch from one leader to another. It is also an immense sign of the growth we have seen in Carter over this period of time from the fresh-faced yearling to the sturdy buck. He is a good leader and teacher and the ER will benefit from his guidance.


Related reviews:
ER - Season 1
ER - Season 2
ER - Season 3
ER - Season 4
ER - Season 5
ER - Season 6
ER - Season 7
ER - Season 8 - you are here
ER - Season 9


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