In case you missed it — and if you tried to DVR or otherwise record it instead of watching in real time, you did — the finale of Jon Stewart’s 16-and-a-half years at the helm of The Daily Show on Comedy Central hit all of the high notes.

Stewart wasn’t perfect. In his last episodes leading up to his farewell, dubbed #JonVoyage for the kids who rely on social media branding, Stewart and his staff would remind you of his shortcomings (and outside critics, at least those who weren’t too busy fawning over his legacy, were, too). But how do you sum up an era? How do you take stock of one comedian’s ability to harness a show that mocked the format of TV news and turned it into such a sharp four-nights-a-week, week-in-week-out critique of the news business and the newsmakers that a generation or two preferred his satire over the “real” thing? Or how many of his correspondents have graduated to become stars of their own satirical and comical galaxies?

Thursday night’s finale for Stewart harnessed all of that in an episode twice its normal length. Just a little bit extra for an extraordinary accomplishment.

Watch the full episode of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show finale here.

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The opening gambit, introducing and reintroducing so many correspondents of The Daily Show who reported to Stewart since 1999 rose or fell based on the strength of the corresponding comedians. Reminding us once more why Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Rob Corddry and John Oliver have spun comedy gold in primetime, on pay cable and on the big screen. Why Samantha Bee and Kristen Schaal stood out much more than Olivia Munn. How they know you know why Wyatt Cenac matters. Stephen Colbert reminding us and Stewart how much they all owe to their host for giving them that initial platform.

The taped cameos from politicians, almost wholly unnecessary, made the final cut if only to remind us that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) remains as funny as everyone has told us he is.

The taped “tracking shot” tour of The Daily Show offices, executed brilliantly (hi Marty!) and a gracious attempt to include everyone from behind the scenes who successfully distills all of the bullshit in the world into something Stewart can digest and spit back into our mouths like the baby birds so many of his viewers are.

The final speech by Stewart, reminding us to keep our eyes, ears and noses out and on alert for bullshit. “If you smell something, say something.” An essential message for all of us to remember, even if and particularly for hosts such as himself, who may have let some bullshit slide from time to time in an effort to appease a friendly celebrity guest. For every Jim Cramer, there was a Tom Cruise.

But goodbyes are for people who are leaving. Stewart wanted to make sure we all know he’s not retiring from comedy. He may well and probably will turn up at the Comedy Cellar and at comedy clubs and theaters near you in the years to come. The conversation will continue. Stewart’s side of the dialogue will look and sound different. Trevor Noah, when he brings The Daily Show back next month, will look and sound different.

Stewart’s train is pulling out of this station. A New Jersey native, Stewart requested his state’s resident rock legend, Bruce Springsteen, perform a song that not only spoke to that sentiment, but also provided Stewart with his own much-needed Moment of Zen. Stewart is riding off to a “Land of Hope and Dreams.” As Springsteen sang…

Grab your ticket and your suitcase, thunder’s rolling down this track
Well, you don’t know where you’re going now, but you know you won’t be back
Well, darling, if you’re weary, lay your head upon my chest
We’ll take what we can carry, yeah, and we’ll leave the rest

Well, big wheels roll through the fields where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

I will provide for you and I’ll stand by your side
You’ll need a good companion now for this part of the ride
Yeah, leave behind your sorrows, let this day be the last
Well, tomorrow there’ll be sunshine and all this darkness past

Well, big wheels roll through fields where sunlight streams
Oh, meet me in a land of hope and dreams

Well, this train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls

I said, this train, dreams will not be thwarted
This train, faith will be rewarded
This train, hear the steel wheels singing
This train, bells of freedom ringing

Yes, this train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls

I said, this train carries broken-hearted
This train, thieves and sweet souls departed
This train carries fools and kings thrown
This train, all aboard

I said, now this train, dreams will not be thwarted
This train, faith will be rewarded
This train, the steel wheels singing
This train, bells of freedom ringing

Come on this train
People get ready
You don’t need no ticket
All you gotta do is
Just get onboard
Onboard this train (this train, now)
People get ready
You don’t need no ticket (oh now, no you don’t)
You don’t need no ticket
You just get onboard (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
(Come on this train, people get ready)
(Come on this train, people get ready)

And for an encore, of course, “Born To Run.”

Just some good old friends.

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