I think that this one went too far

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My wife and I both watched this episode and had somewhat similar reactions to it. Now, she is hard to gross out or shock because she works in the medical field, but this one profoundly disturbed her, and the more she thought about it, the more she disliked the episode. It bothered me too, for reasons that I'm not sure I completely am able to articulate.

The whole episode was like a great big spring that was slowly being cocked, and suddenly released like a bomb right at the end. I found myself wondering whether they could have taken the storyline about the kids and stretched it out quite a bit farther than they did.. kind of like they did with Raul in "The Healers" or the mother in "Love's Labor Lost". The parents and the kids were more like an afterthought in this ep.. something to fill space along with the elderly lady and the tiff between Greene's med students. The whole episode more or less coasted until the last 45 seconds when all hell breaks loose... and then they leave you hanging for a week.

My wife and I think that the writing is starting to lose momentum, and so they are starting to rely on shock value to maintain the impact of the show. "Let's see.. we've used sex, competition, humor, suspense, nudity and even a live broadcast. Hey... we haven't tried the horror approach yet! Let's try something really gory this time!" I think this ep went too far. If I wanted to see that kind of graphic violence, I'd rent Scream or some similar horror flick. Furthermore, the music was as disturbing as the imagery, I couldn't get that blasted tune out of my head for some time afterwards.

It would be nice if they could close up some of the dangling story lines instead of looking for new and better ways to shock their viewers. It would also be nice if they could concentrate on more thorough story and character development instead of throwing graphic and terrible images in our faces. To their credit, they did not show Lucy being stabbed. If they had, I would consider that an unpardonable breach of viewer trust. As it is, I think they crossed a line with this episode. Hello NBC... kids do watch these shows? Yes?

I'm not saying that the writing is totally lacking in substance, but I do feel that it is not what it once was. I guess "erratic" is the best word I can find for it. One minute it's a soap opera, the next minute it's a medically focused drama, and last night, it was a horror show. It sure looks like they are resorting to shock value to try and maintain the impact of what is otherwise a good show. It will be interesting to see what they do with this story next week.

Jim K.

-- Jim K. (Karpman@aol.com), February 11, 2000


I think at the very least they should have had a viewer's discretion warning at the beginning of the show - but then again, that might have given away the "shock" ending.

-- Tom (tparsonst5@hotmail.com), February 11, 2000.

You make some good points. I hope thaat the guys in charge will try better ways to keep this the best show on TV!

-- Dianne Woima (bobwoima@yahoo.com), February 11, 2000.


Kellie Martin was on Regis & Kathylee and she said something big was going to happen. She also said she was having trouble with the lines and the medical terminology so she needed off the show. She said Noah Wylie was patting her on the head and teasing her about being short.

-- rabbitoy (icon51@aol.com), February 11, 2000.

While I agree with some of your points, the part about kids watching this show doesn't sit well with me. Children should not be up until 11:00pm in the first place, let alone watching a show like ER, even without the horror of last nights show. Basically the whole premise and content of the show is inappropriate for children.

I do definitely agree with you about the kids losing their parents seeming like it was just thrown in there to pass time. Clear through to the end, I kept wondering if they were going to follow up and let us know if a relative or anyone was going to come and claim them. The only hope is that since next weeks episode is going to have to be a continuation of the same night, maybe they will cover it then.

Other than that, I did like the episode a lot, although I think I am still in shock over what happened at the end. I can say one thing though, I will definitely be tuned in next week.

-- Karrie (johnandkarrie@erols.com), February 11, 2000.

I'm not so sure why some folks think this episode went "too far". Much more graphic gore and tension goes on on other shows, like "Homicide" and "NYPD Blue". In a Hitchcock-esque way, this show had very little blood in the murder scene (really, much more is seen when they show "surgeries"), and the build-up was stuff you had to use your mind for.

It was incredibly well-done. If it's too much for you, switch to Sesame Street tapes.

-- Susan (yelserp1@hotmail.com), February 11, 2000.

I work in the medical profession as well, and I was also disturbed for some reason. I thought that the episode was well written and was not to graphic for the viewers. You may think that they went overboard, but how many people do you think are going to tune in next week? Alot!!

-- (frederick.walker@dm.af.mil), February 11, 2000.


I couldn't agree more. It didn't bother my husband that much, but I sat in open-mouthed shock for several minutes after the closing credits. I have a low tolerance for blood, guts, horror, etc. and I've noticed that this season in particular the show has been more and more reliant on these things. It didn't start out that way - six years ago you saw hardly a drop of blood in comparison to what they show now. Last night was definitely over the edge for me - I found it extremely disturbing. I also would've appreciated a "due to violent content" warning. What I saw last night definitely did _not_ belong on network TV, and it kept me awake for some time afterwards. That image of Lucy's face as she lay on the floor looking at Carter will haunt me for some time to come. I am angry at NBC because I know this was nothing more than a sweeps-month ratings gimmick and I felt manipulated and betrayed into watching something that horrified me, but I'm angrier at myself for being duped into it. Lessons learned, right?


-- Shannon M. (mays@sec.gov), February 11, 2000.

Jim, I agree with everything you said. It was too much. For me, it wasn't just the blood that made it awful, but the loud music and the look on Lucy's face, it was so horrible. Shock value! It should not be necessary for a show like ER.

-- Crys (CGates@Hemar-Rousso.com), February 11, 2000.

Honestly, what version of ER have you been watching for the past five plus years? It has often been much more graphic and bloody than last night's ep imo. I was able to see the the last part of the ep (the stabbing) that seems to have some people upset... and, really, there was very little blood in it... most of the events were left to the imagination, so maybe it wasn't ER that went to far, it's that your own imagination is too intense. It was certainly creepy, but I think they did an outstanding job making it as creepy and intense and dramatic as they did. Bravo, ER, sounds as though you hit the ball out of the park.

-- l. (bearcatiscool@yahoo.com), February 11, 2000.

For Pete's sake, people, stop whining. As several people have pointed out, there was virtually no blood in that last part. They showed more blood and guts on Romano's dog! And for all this gnashing of teeth about oh, how far ER has fallen to have to resort to shock value, what's happened to the writing, blah blah blah, you sure do have short memories. I believe it was the very first season (first episode I ever watched actually) they ran "Love's Labors Lost" about the woman dying in childbirth - plenty of gore and shock value in that one. And how about the one where Mark gets beat up in the bathroom? You don't get much more graphic than that on a prime time network show. If it bothered you that much, you would have quit watching by now, but you haven't, so just can it. Give kudos to the cast and everyone for giving us such a remarkable show - it's certainly more than you can say about 99% of the crap that's on these days.

-- Shawn (macs3@tidalwave.net), February 11, 2000.

A few points (some already mentioned) A) The show is specifically on a 10pm so that small children aren't up to view it. B) It is a MEDICAL DRAMA, not a light hearted comedy. There will be blood, quick short bits, and undeveloped stories. (ER will usually leave stories undeveloped for a reason and revisit them later in the season) C) This is not the first time that a crime or stabbing for that matter, has happened on ER. I think we all can agree that Kellie Martin's superb acting job in the final scene is the reason that we probably didn't sleep well. (Her expression will stay in my mind until next week)

In summary, IT'S A SHOW! It's ratings week. We all knew that SOMETHING was going to happen. We've seen other network shows use nudity, scandal and lack of moral values to "beat the compition". ER chose to use the departure of one of their regulars and a LOT of suspense to boost their ratings. It showed no more or less blood than it has in the past. Actually, I thought it was relatively tame as far as blood. Yes I was shocked with the ending, but pleasantly surprised that the show would throw me off.

I did spend the better part of the show trying to figure out what was wrong with the "patient". I'm not sure I have the answer yet, but the last scene helped.

Sorry to disagree with you Jim.

-- Swanny (liguevs@aol.com), February 11, 2000.

You didn't even really see much of Carter being stabbed since they focused on Caarter's frontal view and the stabbing was done from the back (ie: no knife entry, didn't see a wound only a spreading blood stain, etc.)

I didn't find it tastless, and believe me it shocked and haunted me too. Like others, I give the credit for the shock and scare to Kelli and Noah for their unbelieveable acting.

-- Barbara Sirois Doyle (barbara@sirois.com), February 11, 2000.

<< In a Hitchcock-esque way, this show had very little blood in the murder scene (really, much more is seen when they show "surgeries"), and the build-up was stuff you had to use your mind for. It was incredibly well-done. If it's too much for you, switch to Sesame Street tapes. >>

I'm more of a Blue's Clues man, myself... Seriously, I completely understand that this is a medical drama, and that guts and gore are part of the overall persona of the show. We saw Raul when he was burned in the fire. We saw Charlie when she was mangled by the attack on her. We saw Greene when he was attacked in the can. We saw the woman in Love's Labor Lost practially be sawed in half. And of course, we see people upchuck and cough blood on a routine basis. Still, there was just something gratuitous and gnawingly macabre about this episode.

I know that there are people on other boards that are saying, "Yeaaaa Lucy got slashed! Who-hoo, I couldn't stand her..blah blah blah". That to me is completely sick, and I don't think that Lucy Knight was the show's best character, but certainly not the worst. There's no pleasure to be taken in such a violent and bloody act, so I guess I don't really understand what makes this such a "fantastic" episode. What were the writers trying to say? That we live in a world where bad people do bad things to good people? Most of us are already aware of that and don't care to have it shoved in our faces.

Anyway, my primary point (for the benefit of those who think that I was saying that ER's next new character should be a purple dinosaur) was that I think the writers are utilizing a momentous, macabre and violent storyline to boost ratings and elevate interest in the show, when historically it was the intricate plot and character development (together with superb acting and accurate representation of medical subject matter) that made ER a great drama to begin with. This episode did nothing to increase my evaluation of the show as a whole, and in fact, may have ratcheted it down a notch or two.

Jim K.

-- Jim K. (Karpman@aol.com), February 11, 2000.

Well Jim, you may just want to go join that purple dinosaur in his la- la land, because reality sure seems to be bringing you down. You say that "I think the writers are utilizing a momentous, macabre and violent storyline to boost ratings and elevate interest in the show." Of course they are!! Ever heard of sweeps week?? The ugly truth of the matter is that you don't hook people, grab a huge share, and get to jack up your ad rates with intricate plot twists and subtle character development - you don't have time. The goods news is that sweeps week doesn't come along very often, so the rest of the season we get to enjoy those very same plot twists and character development that, I agree, make this such a quality, substantive show. But you gotta hook people first to get 'em watching, after which you can give 'em the stuff they will appreciate in the long run.

And let's get real here - it's not just TV shows that do this. It's the only way people sell things, by getting in your face, hanging a big sign on the front window, running a commercial that gets your notice, putting colorful ads in magazines. You can't expect them to just sit back and say "well, the quality of my merchandise should speak for itself" - it just doesn't work that way. Why should a TV show be any different?

-- Shawn (macs3@tidalwave.net), February 11, 2000.

Personally, I think that the end was fascinating. The music...their expressions, their movements...everything worked well for me. I think the reason it was so scary was because it was very Hitchcockes...there were enough clues throughout the show that you could figure out what was going to happen. And only the audience saw the man....To me, the best part was the fact that they showed none of the gory details. You felt it more keenly, not as a disinterested viewer seeing somebody getting hacked at. No, you saw Carter, the young man you watched grow up and learn his way around er, hurting, and there was nothing you could do about it. You saw Lucy, the girl with the sweet smile hurt, yet you couldn't reach out to her. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is what acting is about. So, you can argue about realism, shot technique, or whine on about sweeps or whatever. But last night I watched a show that I love do a DAMN good job. And I, for one, am certainly proud of them.

-- Hiei Minamino (hieiM@yahoo.com), February 11, 2000.

I thought this episode reminded me a lot of the one where doctor Green ( Anthony Edwards) gets beat up in the bathroom and left there... I think that was at the end of a show to so that you would be left hanging until the next episode. I do agree that it was graphic but where I am it is shown at 10 o'clock at night so most kids wouldn't be watching it and there are definitely alot more graphic things on tv and in movies. I thought this was on of the better ER's in quite a while but I do agree with someone else on the board that they have too many cast members. If you didn't like the knife seen I suggest staying away from third watch. It is a great show but also quite graphic.

-- dm (dmat@sympatico.ca), February 11, 2000.

The ending, I thought anyways, was more terrifying than graphic (kind of Hitchcock versus "Nightmare on Elm Street.") Heck, the look on Kellie Martin's face was the only part that really threw me--her eyes were haunting me while I was trying to sleep. In terms of gore, the worst ER segment I remember seeing was the valentine's day episode (is there a recurring "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" theme in ER land, or what?) in the first season where these two guys went after each other with meathooks. The one guy had one sticking out of his arm and the other had one through his chest. Yuck!

-- Will Harrison (wharrison51@hotmail.com), February 11, 2000.

Listen to all of you. Look at how many messages and boards came out in one day over this episode! It touched millions of nerves. Ratings month..you bet! This was TV for ADULTS, at it's finest! You don't like blood and guts, why would you watch this show then? I mean..Emergency Room....let's see...do you think this is a day care setting? Come on folks, this is the reason this show became so popular. Nobody can get this out of their mind. Laura Innes got the brass ring last night. Every death leading up to the end..made a point. The listing of times of death...all leading up to the shocking end. This is more bothersome than watching Hercules and/or Zenna and companies beat the hell out of everybody for a solid hour? I'll take ER and NYPD Blue.

-- Jeanne Butler (freeway@a-znet.com), February 11, 2000.

Well I'm glad to see others can see that NBC is more interested in ratings than class, quality and respect for their viewers. Whoever didn't find that disturbing and gruesome is disturbed. You don't have to have blood and guts to disturb viewers The Blair Witch proved that but at least you had to be 18 to buy a ticket and watch that. Young children may got to bed early, but er is on at 9:00 central time and many many disturbed teenagers are certainly around to get great ideas from such episodes. The problem is this kind of shocking viewing makes us harder and harder to shock therefore more and more tolerable to real life horror. Come on NBC show some real talent, entertain us without using Wes Craven techniques, or can you? After last season, I agree with Jim, you'll try anything to get the show to survive. What I wonder is why do the actors agree to contribute in such a degrading way to entertainment, at least respect the viewer enough to give a warning. By the way does NBC read these reviews or are we just

-- Tracy Hooks (CommuniG@aol.com), February 12, 2000.

What an episode! I sat there with my jaw hanging open those last few minutes. It was mostly shock because I think Lucy is one of the more interesting characters on the show, you can tolerate Romano a bit more because of Lucy. It was a rather disturbing last few minutes though....the look on Lucys face as she lay there, Carters reaction as he is being stabbed, combined with that erie music and the creepy slow motion...I don't think they went too far and you bet I'm tuning in next week. It is upsetting that Lucy is no more but what an episode!

-- Sue (SouixFR@aol.com), February 12, 2000.

I don't think this episode was nearly as violent as the one where Mark is attacked in the bathroom. It was the look on Lucy's face that was the most haunting part of the show - not the blood, music, etc.

-- Denise (dera@uswest.net), February 14, 2000.

For all the people who think it went too far: IT WAS SUPPOSE TO SHOCK AND DISTURB YOU!!! I happened to love the episode. Including the last minute and a half, although I had to watch it on tape. My mom wouldn't let me stay up late to watch ER when this episode aired (And because of this I missed AITF and had to wait until NBC reran it) Anf for people who think kids shouldn't watch ER: I'm a kid (11 when BSMH aired)and the blood doesn't bother me one bit. (Sur in this episode it was disturing but THAT WAS THE POINT!!!:) But does that make me want to go out and kill someone? No it definitely does NOT!!!

Not to aggravate anyone, just my opinion:)

-- Teddy (richarr@earthlink.net), June 25, 2001.

Personally, I'm more disturbed at a 12-year-old who isn't bothered by blood than by the blood itself..."Just my opinion."

-- Cecelia (evilstoat@hotmail.com), June 25, 2001.

I meant that the blood it self didn't bother me (we've definitley seen more gruesome scenes than that, like the open thorocotomy if TPOWT in season 6) The violence did. (Marks beating was more violent and I still don't like to watch that scene.)

-- Teddy (richarr@earthlink.net), July 26, 2001.

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