The 1988 final episode of St. Elsewhere, known as “The Last One”, ended in a context very different from every other episode of the series. As the camera pans away from the snow beginning to fall at St. Eligius hospital, the scene changes to Donald Westphall’s autistic son Tommy, along with Daniel Auschlander in an apartment building. Westphall arrives home from a day’s work, and wears clothes suggesting that he is a construction worker. “Auschlander” is revealed to be Donald’s father, and thus Tommy’s grandfather. Donald laments to his father, “I don’t understand this autism. I talk to my boy, but…I’m not even sure if he ever hears me…Tommy’s locked inside his own world. Staring at that toy all day long. What does he think about?” The toy is revealed to be a snow globe with a replica of St. Eligius hospital inside. Tommy shakes the snow globe, and is told by his father to come and wash his hands, after having left the snow globe on the family’s television set.
Well, have been looking for this forever on the Internet so happy as larry to finally find it.
Thanks to Daniel Butterfield for directing me to it. Go follow his Youtube channel he has excellent ‘St Elsewhere’ stuff up.
Westphall, who has autism, took on major significance in St. Elsewhere’s final episode, “The Last One,” where the common interpretation of that finale is that the entire St. Elsewhere storyline exists only within Westphall’s imagination. As characters from St. Elsewhere have appeared on other television shows and those shows’ characters appeared on more shows, a “Tommy Westphall Universe” hypothesis was postulated by Dwayne McDuffie where a significant amount of fictional episodic television exists within Tommy Westphall’s imagined fictional universe.