I usually start my review with the few things I didn’t like and than gush about the things I loved and which makes this show so wonderful. This review will be different, because I’ll start with the few things I liked and enjoyed on this week’s episode and then will write in detail ( it took me almost 2 hours, incl. re-watching parts of the episode) about what annoyed me in the episode. Just so I can get it off my chest and move on…
So, the things I enjoyed? I always love Meredith and this episode was no exception. She was just too cute, giving a pep talk to her friends, quoting from the Alien movie and expecting a full report at the end of the day. I loved her interaction with Cristina, even though I didn’t really understand Cristina’s breakdown, but I’ll write more about that a bit later. Meredith was a wonderful “person” regardless. I also loved her term “the Mercy Westers” :-)
The last scene with Alex broke my heart, not so much because of Meredith, but because of Justin’s performance. Alex’s bewilderment and pain was so perceptible. The way he retreated, when Cristina came closer, as like he knew he’d break down as soon as anyone touched him and like he didn’t want to break down, because Alex Karev doesn’t do breakdowns… Great performance. I loved that Meredith sent Cristina to hug him and that Cristina actually got up from the bed.
I very much enjoyed Callie’s storyline this week. Like almost every week it’s wonderful to see her and Arizona in a stable and healthy relationship, even though they are just at the beginning. I liked Arizona’s speech, because Jessica Capshaw did a beautiful job delivering it. I’d have to say though, that I’m starting to get bored by the amount of speeches given on the show lately. I didn’t actually noticed that before or maybe I just didn’t care so much, but ever since that was pointed out to me I can’t help to notice that there are so much more monologues than dialogues on the show. I wish the writers would get back to people actually talking to each other – one sentence each, in turn *g* – instead of one of them giving a long speech and the other one just nodding, shrugging or reacting in any other wordless way. I still liked the essence of this speech though.
Sara Ramirez did a great job as well, with her “You can’t pray away the gay!” (that’s such an awesome line!) and with quoting the bible back to her father. Jesus would be ashamed was another simple but therefore so poignant statement. And the emotionality of that scene was really touching. And the last scene with her father was wonderful as well. As a vegetarian myself I really cracked up at the vegeterian line, because I’ve experiences quite a few similar moments in my life. There are still a lot of people who can’t fathom that someons is not eating any meat.
There also was a very enjoyable, cute, but much too short Meredith and Derek moment about “having the dark & twisties”. I just loved that that the first thing Derek does is closing the blinds in the room :-) And that he just gets her. I just wished that scene would have been a bit longer. I was grinning when I spotted Stella Luna at the beginning of that last scene, in the shot from outside through the blinds. Ellen (or the prop people on the set) really should have pulled the blanket a bit higher :-) I also loved Lexie’s burglar patient and Cristina’s “That’s how we do it on our side of town!”. Way to make a statement.
But that was basically all I liked about this epsiode. I have huge issues with so much of the rest of the storylines. Most of all with this merger. After the last episode I actually didn’t want to go into detail about what bothers me, but there was so much crap in this episode, that I just can’t help myself. The following thoughts might be not 100% correct as I’m neither a business economist or work in the medical field. But I’d still say I have a basic understanding of how a merger between two companies, hospitals or any other business entites usually takes place.
The decision to merge is made by the people owning the company (=the hospital board), because they have to save/make more money. They got that right on the show, even though I’d say that it’s rather unlikely that they need the chief of surgery to tell them about it. After the decision to merge is made, the process of merging the two hospitals should then be planned and executed by the board of directors, the CEO, financial director or maybe – most probably even – with the help of some consultants. It’s not the chief of surgery who is running the hospital and therefore it’s not him making all these kind of decisions.
I understand the writers’ wish to keep the storylines within the surgical department and I know that administration is a boring department and probably isn’t made for interesting television. I also know that in the past of Grey’s Anatomy facts and circumstances might have been adjusted to make a interesting storyline work, but that always was in the realms of the medical field and it was usually restricted to one patient or one episode or one storyline and was fine with me. It’s made-up televison after all.
But this is not just one episode or one storyline among others. It seems to me that the merger (and what it means for SGH and all the characters) is set up to be the central storyline this year. It feels like the writers wanted to have a lot of change for the hospital, the work environment, the characters. Maybe because they think this way they will have a lot of new things to write about and maybe they thought that a merger would be the easiest way to get there.
But honestely: To me it basically feels like it’s a whole new ball game and the least I’d expect is that the writers make that change plausible to me. If you change the game so drastically, at least try to do it realistically and I might be willing to play along. But what’s happening on the show right now almost makes me ask the coach to get me off the field and let me watch from the bench. And I never thought I’d say that about my involvement with this show.
Back to the merging facts. When I read the first spoilers in the summer my first thought, that they’d really build a second hospital set (Mercy West) and have some of the SGH characters work there. Because that what I thought and still think would happen when you merge to hospitals. It’s such a waste of resources to completely shut down one hospital. Tiny detail in this context: They had scrubs at Mercy West! If you merge (even though this looks much more like a take-over) that means that these scrubs are a property of the merged hospital now. There shouldn’t have been the necessity to order new ones and rent some until the new ones are delivered. And by the way: Aren’t surgical scrubs usually the same color everywhere anyway?
The first step of a hospital merger should have been to merge the adminstration departments, budgeting, human ressources, laundry, catering and so on and of course some folks would have lost their jobs during that process. None of the doctors or surgical staff though. But there is no way you just shut down one of the hospitals involved in a merger. It would make much more sense to use both facilities and maybe just re-organize your merged departments. Some will stay at the SGH location and some will move to the Mercy West location. The departments might be bigger (staff and available hospital beds) and they could treat as much or more patients than both hospitals before and everyone (staff and hospital board) would be happy.
I know this is a very reduced version of a merging process, but I hope you get what basically bothers me with this storyline. There is now way it would happen that way in real life. It’s a waste of ressources. (Good) Doctors and hospitals will always be needed. And wasn’t Mercy West even a better (or at least just as good) trauma center as SGH? I think during the episode with the three ladies in the ball gowns Cristina said something like that, that all those emergencies will got to Mercy West first. Why didn’t they shut down the ER at SGH then and have only one ER of the new merged hospital at the Mercy West location? Ups, probably too much work for the set designer and construction.
In a large town nearby there are quite a few hospitals that haved merged (or have been taken over buy a larger hospital cooperation) but none of them was shut down. They still exist and they still got there unique names and the departments are specialized, so there isn’t every department at every hospital, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s how a merger usually works. You don’t shut down one hospital and then add it’s name to the hospital which is taking over the staff. That first scene when they changed the sign in front of SGH was so ridiculous and unfortunately it set the tone for the rest of the episode.
Let’s return once more to the chief (Yes I know my thoughts are not coherent here, sorry). I agree that he should be the one making decisions about departments and staff, but as there basically shouldn’t be the need to fire half of them in one hospital to make room for the ones from the other hospital, this whole storyline involving Richard is so tiresomely unrealistic. Who was the HR woman in his office? She couldn’t have been from SGH, because then she would be the one having send out the first round of emails (Webber said that he had HR send it) and should have objected to that way of action in the first place. If she was some kind of consultant or from the HR department of Mercy West I’m wondering why she herself didn’t make all these decisions in the first place. And why didn’t they fire Webber right away as well, because he is doing such a lousy job. He is a coward, which was proven once more when he stuck to the speech when he fired Izzie.
Ugh, I have so so many issues with the way they set up this merging process on the show. I don’t necessarily have that much issues with the four new residents, the Mercy Westers. I know I’m supposed to hate them (because they threaten “my people” ;-)). But due to all the issues I have with the merger storyline per se, I just don’t care about them. I neither hate or like them. I’m pretty sure that they will stick around for a while (someone has to do all the surgeries now with our fab five down to a fab three) and sooner or later the writers will want us to like one or more of them. It already started with the notebook girl and Lexie apologizing in the end. Like the Mercy Westers are just as scared and insecure and just trying to keep her job as the Grey’s residents. Like they are actually not that bad.
I don’t know if it’s really planned that some of them stay on the show, but you can’t introduce four new unlikeable characters. This show depends on fans liking and caring about the characters on it. So I’m sure that sooner or later we are supposed to like the new kids as well and learn about their background stories and all. Ugh! I don’t want to! I didn’t care about Lexie’s class of interns or Sadie and I know I’m not going to care about these new characters as long as there are still so many possible stories to be told involving the characters I already grew to love.
The fighting over surgeries is getting old. We saw that during season 1 when the interns started to work at SGH. We saw that with Lexie and her fellow interns. We saw it with the solo surgery storyline. Even when there are new enemies it’s still boring in the long run. And I didn’t really care that much to see how the SGH residents fight for the job or what they might have learned about themselves or anything, but that’s probably I just basically don’t care about anything merger related for all the reasons mentions above.
I wish the attendings would have been a bit more sympathetic to their original SGH residents. Those are not just co-workers, they are their friends and family. I know it was professional to not favour them, but I still wish they would have :-) I still don’t get why Cristina got so emotional about not being able to hold hearts and not learning enough. I totally get why she was upset about it, but the old Cristina would have done something about it. She wouldn’t have whined to Webber (last week) and just gave up and cry (this week). Why didn’t she fight more for what she wants? Maybe she really has gone softer, but I still miss the old Cristina.
Once again I didn’t care about Izzie at all. She was getting on my nerves just as much as the Mercy Westers. Sorry, I can’t help it and I’m not sure I’m going to miss her for the next few episodes, until she returns, because I know she will return. It’s going to be interesting to see if she somehow might get her job back. Probably…
And another thing that confused me: Why did Derek need a junior resident to advise him on the course of treatment for his patient? At least it looked like he didn’t think of that procedure the Mercy West resident suggested and that baffled me: He IS the head of neuro after all, he should have thought of that himself.
I’m sure I missed some of the minor bothersome details of this episode. I know I shouldn’t care so much about a TV show and it’s characters, but I can’t help it, I just do. Which provided me with so many hours of wonderful, enjoyable distraction. But right now it makes the feeling of loss and disappointment so much bigger as well.