'Friends' say farewell
Finale wraps up 10 years of companionship
By Bryan Long
Editor's Note: The following story contains plot details about the final episode of "Friends" that some viewers might not want to know before viewing the show itself.
(CNN) -- "Friends" parted ways with viewers Thursday evening, with the cast moving out of their rent-controlled New York apartment, each leaving behind a door key.
It was America's last chance to bid farewell to Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox Arquette), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Ross (David Schwimmer).
The much anticipated finale episode on NBC signed off with an episode of surprises. But one story line turned out exactly as fans expected.
Ross and Rachel realized they loved each other and pledged to stay together "for good."
Rachel initially brushed off Ross' sentimental airport confession but fought her way off the plane bound for Paris to return home.
"We're done being stupid?" Ross asked as the on-again off-again couple hugged. But then he added, "unless we're on a break."
Ross' line from an earlier episode had become a catch-phrase, like many others from the sitcom's 10-year run at the top of television ratings.
It also set up the tumultuous relationship to follow.
He's had a crush on her; she's returned his affection; they've gotten together and broken up and had a child, and until Thursday, they still didn't know what to do with each other.
The first surprise of the finale came as the show opened with Rachel leaving Ross' bedroom after spending the night.
The rest of the hourlong episode followed Ross as he tried to figure out how to express his love for Rachel.
With Phoebe driving her yellow cab, Ross chased Rachel to two airports. He eventually found Rachel after Phoebe inadvertently delayed the flight with a call from her cell phone.
A second story line followed Monica and Chandler as they packed their belongings to leave New York.
Monica and Chandler had been expecting to adopt a baby throughout the final season so it wasn't a shock that there was a hospital scene and a birth.
But the twist came as the couple had twins -- a boy and a girl, or "one of each," as Chandler described it.
Phoebe finished the show happily married. She agreed to have children with her husband, as many as he wants.
The one character who did not find closure was Joey. Viewers know he must be going to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career because NBC has already added the spin-off, "Joey," to its fall schedule.
The final episode followed an hourlong retrospective that featured favorite scenes of each character. The special began with interviews taped before the first episode aired, and ended with new interviews and scenes from the show's final curtain call.
In the end, the "Friends" left an empty apartment and the show faded to black.
CNN.com's Andy Walton contributed to this report.