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Death is Too Kind a Punishment

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 19, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 19, 2009 |

Before I’ve even gotten started, I can pretty much say this is the monster of bad ideas. I didn’t like “Grey’s Anatomy” very much to begin with, but after recapping the show for a couple of months last year, I grew to loathe it like blistered foreskin. It’s mawkish, predictable, overly melodramatic, shitballs stupid, and increasingly dull. As the series wore on, the characters began to completely break out of their first season roles, losing any trace of what people once liked about their personalities initially. It seemed to me they were playing musical chairs with the romantic pairings, and the Meredith/Derek plotline had grown stale midway through the second season.

I haven’t seen the show since I last recapped it, completely in LOLCats, around the midway point last season. I’ve heard some accounts of what has happened since then: There was a lesbian arc featuring Callie was that the network abruptly dumped, and both Rainbow Killer and T.R. Knight have tried to get out of their contracts all year long. I understand that last Thursday’s season finale might have answered whether or not they succeed. If I’m correct, Izzie has also had some sort of brain tumor all season long, the side effects of which allowed her to sex up an imaginary Denny, which sounds like the stupidest narrative arc to ever make it onto a high-rated primetime show since Roseanne won the lottery. Indeed, nothing about what I’ve heard has made me the least bit curious about returning to it. Until the finale, that is. Three and a half seasons of “Greys,” I suffered through — that’s a lifetime of Meredith Grey insufferable whininess. And damnit: If Izzie is finally going to be killed off, I feel like I deserve to celebrate her departure.

So, I’m going to watch the season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy,” and damnit all, y’all are going to suffer through it with me. This is not going to be the “Lost” style recap that Dan gives you, because “Grey’s Anatomy” doesn’t deserve it. But I will hit the highlights, for as long as I can hold out, anyway.

Let’s break this down into the subplots:

Dr. Bailey: Bailey gets asked to be in a fellowship she was once stoked about; now she’s not sure if she’ll take it, as it might interfere with her home life. In the end, she decides to divorce her husband, but she’s not going to take the fellowship anyway. Same old, same old. Nothing new to see here, but for the fact that Chandra Bailey is the only decent actress on this show. Shame she gets the worst plotlines — a year and a half later, and they’re still stuck on the rising surgeon trying to balance work with her job. How many times has she chosen her job over her husband already? Let’s let this go.

Dr. Sloan and Lexie: McSteamy (is that what they still call him?) is infatuated with Meredith’s half sister, Lexie, and wants her to move in with him. I assume they’ve had some sort of romantic relationship this season. When Lexie doesn’t take the hint, McSteamy half-proposes marriage to her. She declines, and later there’s some awkwardness. And a cliché gender role reversal thing occurs where McSteamy is “the girl” in the relationship. This is a throw-away plotline. I get the feeling that Sloane and Lexie aren’t particularly important characters on the show anymore, having already exhausted their original purposes. Too bad. Chyler Leigh is decent, though Eric Dane’s character probably should’ve been written out of the show as soon as whats-her-face left to go do “Private Practice.”

Meredith and Derek: I see Meredith is still doing those obnoxious voiceovers. Man, I am tired of TV show voiceovers. Derek and Meredith are planning to get married (still?), and they plan to have the wedding in the Bahamas after Derek performs brain surgery on Izzie (see below). After Izzie’s tearful pre-surgery speech to Alex, Derek and Meredith decide to run to city hall and get hitched the next day. However, the next day arrives and there’s no time for a wedding. So, Derek and Meredith make a wedding contract on post-it notes. Awww, how cute. Five years of the Derek and Meredith off-and-on relationship finally culminates in a post-it wedding. The show’s central romance has basically become an afterthought. Figures. I’m sure they’ll find a way to break it off again next year. It’s like Ross and Rachel all over again. Apparently, Jim and Pam have the only television show relationship that can keep us interested over the course of four years. Why? Because it’s unbelievably sweet and they dole it out in very small doses, and no one has to nearly die three times before proving their commitment.

Dr. Hunt: Kevin McKidd is now on the show as Dr. Hunt? Permanently? Ugh. Why Vorenus, why? And he’s with Christine. Ahhh. Ahhhh. Matt Saracen (Zach Gilfrond) is a patient? Damnit. He’s playing an Iraqi soldier who wants to have his leg dismembered so he can put on a prosthetic leg and return to active duty. You gotta be kidding me? He wants to return to his real family in Iraq because he doesn’t fit in with the real world, which is awfully similar to Saracen’s Dad’s arc on “Friday Night Lights.” Anyway, Saracen is doing a pretty good job not being Saracen. Later on, Callie cuts off the leg (she’s still on the show?). She’s despondent, but Dr. Bailey picks her up by showing her that it’s all not for naught when a little kid’s family gets some good news: Their son is going to live … oh shit. That was kind of touching. Stupid “Grey’s Anatomy” music. Saracen’s storyline ends, and another patient subplot begins— it’s about a John Doe who gets hit by a bus when he steps out to save another woman’s life. It’s really not worth reporting here. Filler, I suspect, to get us through the second hour of the finale.

Meanwhile, earlier in the episode, Dr. Hunt is having issues of his own — he’s decided he’s got some unfinished business back in Iraq, and wants to continue being a doctor there. I believe that’s code for, “I have another pilot filming for next season.” Christine doesn’t want him to leave.

Dr. Hunt Storyline Turns into George’s Storyline: Ultimately, Dr. Hunt decides not to go back to Iraq and, instead, stay for Christine and finally tell his mother he’s home, which is symbolic or something or another. It probably means: “My pilot didn’t get picked up.” But wait: Look who decides to go to Iraq to be a trauma surgeon. Dr. O’Malley? What? Where the hell did that come from? How left field is that?
Dr. Bailey, upon hearing the news, is expectedly livid. And as everyone else learns, they’re as perplexed as I am. They’re all like, “What the hell? This is the best Shonda Rhimes could do to boot him from the show? Rainbow Killer gets a brain tumor, and O’Malley goes to Iraq? Man, George got the shaft.” Anyway, the team forms an intervention to prevent him from going, but some blonde doctor I’m not familiar with has a sob story about a brother who died in Iraq because there weren’t enough doctors, and she tries to tell Callie that what George is doing is awesome. Anyway, the intervention doesn’t happen because George never even came in, on account of the …

Oh my God! Holy shit! Nice one, Shonda. So, above, when I refer to patient subplot that doesn’t seem to matter. I was totally hoodwinked, y’all. The John Doe who got hit by a bus? That dude was George. I never saw that coming. Nicely played. Anyway, as the episode draws to a close, everyone finally realizes that it’s George under all the bandages, and it looks like he’s probably not going to make it. The episode ends with George’s life in the balance. Kudos on this one subplot: I really thought George was going to be dismissed from the show quietly in retaliation for his outspoken attempts to get himself removed from his contract (as if the man has anything better to do).

Izzie and the Brain Tumor: Apparently, Izzie and Alex are actually married (commenters filled me in on this last week: I guess Alex decided to do it on a whim, because Izzie was about to die, and why not?). Izzie is still having hallucinations involving Denny on a beach. She’s trying to decide whether she should have surgery, the complications of which could result in her complete loss of memory (I think I’d like that surgery in about an hour and a half). Oh good: Even with a brain tumor, Izzie is still a self-obsessed whiny nitwit.

Derek does some Minority Report type test to Izzie’s brain, which killed her memory temporarily. It represents the worst case scenario of the surgery. And now everyone is debating about whether Izzie should even have the surgery at all. Derek says Yes; Meredith says No. Why? It’s all about Meredith’s mother, of course. Later on, Izzie balks at having the surgery, but Alex is like: Fuck that. You’re having the surgery, bitch. He even sticks his finger in her face to show how much he means it.

Oh, snap! A friend / brain-tumor survivor of Izzie’s who tries to talk her into the surgery collapses and Izzie starts performing CPR on her. Who is that girl? Where do I know her from? Oh! It’s totally Paris from “Gilmore Girls.” It looks like she’s not going to make it. Why isn’t’ Rory by her bedside?

Back to Izzie: George (before getting hit by that bus), of all people, convinces her to do it. She decides have the sugery, only she insists on a DNR She’s gonna die! Izzie’s gonna die! Oh happy day! Tearful speech to Alex: “If it comes down to it, just let me go.” Yes please.

After the surgery, Izzie doesn’t wake up for a while. I totally envision some Nate-like “Six Feet Under” fake-out. She’ll wake up and then die later, right (please)?

.. and now she’s awake … and her short-term memory is shot. It’s like Groundhog Day. Or Memento. Awesome. She has no short-term retention. She keeps waking up from surgery over and over and … wow, this is going to get old … 20 minutes later, it’s already played out. Eventually, Alex throws a bitch fit, and Izzie finally holds on to that memory. Nothing like verbal trauma to trigger one’s short-term memory. So, success. It looks like Izzie is going to make it after …

… and almost on schedule, there goes Izzy. She flatlines in Alex’s arms. Alex is ignoring the DNR. Now the entire hospital is ignoring the DNR. They’re all trying to resuscitate. She’s not waking up … she sees George in her hallucinations … and the show ends, once again with Izzie’s life in the balance.

So, it doesn’t look like we’ll get confirmation on whether George and Izzie survive, but I think it’s safe to say that George is a goner. Izzie may live, and I suspect ABC will try to make her stick to her contract since she’s the only real break-out star on the show, which means of course that they’ll have to kill her off again next season, when her contract actually does expire.

And I have to say: But for the George plotline, it was a pretty weak episode overall. But then again, haven’t they all been since Season Two? It certainly offers no incentive to return to the show, not unless they can figure out how to kill Katherine Heigl in every single episode for the rest of its run. I suppose they could fuse the show with the Groundhog Day premise, and at the end of each episode, Heigl finds a different way to die. “I Got You, Babe!”

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.