Alex Trebek’s final episode hosting Jeopardy! aired on Friday and included a tribute to the longtime host who died in November at age 80. Though Trebek’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis had been known for more than a year, his death still came as a shock to fans and those working on the show. He died just days after filming his last episode, and the month that followed saw those episodes air while fans mourned his inevitable loss.
Friday’s episode was originally set to air on Christmas Day but was pushed back two weeks to run 10 episodes in which Trebek traveled around the world to record clues. There were several references to Christmas and that the episode would air that day, including a holiday movie category. But aside from that, it was a wonderfully ordinary episode, with no real indication that it would be the last he ever hosted.
That changed at the end of the episode, though, as the program aired a moving tribute to Trebek that included some notable moments over the decades in which he served as the iconic trivia show’s host.
It was funny, emotional, and a perfect encapsulation of who Trebek was and why he meant so much to fans of the show. There are costumes, ad-libbed jokes and a long montage of Trebek saying “so long” over the years, including his final sendoff. Trebek will be missed, but there are few better ways the show he loved so much could have paid tribute to the host it will miss very much.