Grey's Anatomy 6.23 / 6.24 – "Sanctuary" / "Death and All His Friends"

During the last few weeks the Grey’s internet community was buzzing with a lot of spoilers about the season 6 finale. There were sneaks and earlier this week ABC even officially released the first 9 minutes online. I always thought the finale would be intense and entertaining, but I have to admit I also expected it to not live up to the expectations. Especially when I read various actors mentioning that their first reaction to reading the script was “Holy Shit!” Because seriously, how much surprise and suspense and passion and emotion and compelling and clever storytelling could/should we expect from Shonda Rhimes after season 5 and 6?
(The clip of) The first 9 minutes seemed like a very good start into this finale. But from that minute one till the end I was literally on the edge of my seat, eyes glued to the screen with basically just one thought on my mind. And that was: “HOLY HOLY SHIT!” I honestly don’t remember any season finale on Grey’s or any other TV show (LOST excluded, but LOST is not just “any other TV show” after all) which had kept my attention like this one did.
I watched it between two doctors’ appointments yesterday morning on Bro3’s computer at my Mom’s place and after a while she came into the room and asked “What’s going on that you have to scream so much every few minutes?” I sent her out right away, because I really couldn’t deal with any distraction at this point. (“Seriously, Mom, there’s a freaking shooter in the hospital!” I didn’t tell her that though, because I would have to explain about Grey’s and everything and like I said: no time for distraction)

Of course I still have some complaints. Nothing’s perfect, right? None of these flaws spoiled the suspense and entertainment, but I still want to mention them. What kind of crappy police / SWAT work was that? If it’s a lockdown, the building is locked down. Nobody gets in or out. I could ignore that the police didn’t stop Owen from going back in. But Richard Webber just manage to get into the basement? What happened to guarding all entrances so that the shooter didn’t get away? Even worse was that SWAT guys didn’t take Mr. Clark down on the catwalk already? Didn’t they seem him up there when they entered? At the latest they should have killed him in the scene with Lexie. She was out of the line of fire, and the SWAT guy did manage to shot him in the first place. Why didn’t they just fire a second time and ended it? Well, I guess we needed the story to continue for another 50 minutes.
I also still hold a grudge against Richard Webber. I can’t really say why, because the booze is to blame for a lot of the things I accuse him of. But still, I’m not a big fan and therefore I don’t want him to be the hero who basically brought this massacre to an end. I know he risked his life with this conversation, but he obviously could talk himself out of danger smoothly enough. And to talk Clark into suicide… How sick is that? And the idea that there was just one bullet left was kind of lame, wasn’t it?
One last complaint: I actually was hoping for a more distinct end of the Cristina/Owen/Teddy drama. Ok, Owen choose in the end, at least for now, but Teddy seems to be staying around and I’m not sure if the love-triangle really will be dead and buried. I never made a secret of my growing dislike for Owen, so I can admit that I wouldn’t have minded his death during this rampage very much. He could even have died a heroic death to save someone else, for all I care. But he didn’t.

In general I think these episodes were incredibly well done. The editing, the music, the writing, the acting (Someone give Chandra Wilson an Emmy already!!)… it all just fit and made two incredibly awesome, thriling, compelling and passionate hours of television. The first jaw-dropping moment for probably 95% of the viewers (who haven’t watched the previously released 9 minutes clip) was the positive pregnancy test. Yay, what happy news. But just a few seconds later the feel of the episode changes, because of the last line of the voiceover and that creepy encounter with Mr. Clark in the hallway. (See, great editing] Before I forget to mention it later: How incredible was Michael O’Neill, the actor who played Gary Clark. From the first time we met him a few episodes back he was such a real character and I felt for him when his wife died and he was grieving. And he was so good as desperate gunman. So calm and even polite (with Cristina in the elevator) but still so determined. Scary.

After Mr. Clark was brushed off by two members of the staff I knew the third person he’s going to ask and ignore him was doomed. And so she was, especially after her snippy remarks. Poor Reed. I won’t shed a single tear over her though. There were too many Mercy Westers around anyway and if you have a shooter running amok. I’m happy if he goes after the characters I don’t care about. Mean and insensitive I know :-)
But my heart stopped, when Alex turned the corner. Oh no, Alex! And from then on I knew noone would be safe and my heart would probably stop a few more times. And it did. When April stumbled over Reed and is covered in her blood, which was such a strong visual image of how horrible and scary the situation is. I never liked the April / Derek storyline, but Sarah Drew is a great actress and besides her infatuation with McDreamy, I kind of like April, because she isn’t as hardcore or selfconfident than the other residents. Her shock was so evident for the viewers. Then the scene cuts to Cristina getting into the elevator with Mr. Clark and I was starting to freak out. Literally! Because on the one hand she was telling him where to find Derek. I was sitting there and screaming “Shut up Cristina, don’t tell him!” And on the other hand because I was so afraid that she might say or do something that might set Clark off and he might just shot her as well. I think that was the moment where I knew I’d be in for a very frighting TV experience in the next 75 minutes. And I totally lost it a few minutes later, when Clark shot the nurse, Mark saves Lexie and they find Alex in the elevator. Holy Shit, indeed!
There were so many more “freak-out” moments, because no one was safe and you never knew which corner he might turn and who he might meet. Whenever some of my beloved characters was walking around the hospital in this first episode I was so scared they might run into him. And then he showed up where I would least have expected him, in the OR. That probably was the biggest shock regarding him. When Owen got to the scrubroom and looked into the OR I knew something was wrong, but I was thinking more along the line of Cris losing it or facing some serious medical problem. I did NOT expect Clark to show up there. Oh, so scary.

I’ll try to comment on what the characters / couples went through in the episode, to at least give this review some kind of structure.
So… Callie and Arizona. My first thought of their first scene was: Can they get a grip one way or the other, please? I was so so sick of the “silent treatment” already. Their scenes together were actually ok when they were in lockdown together because the tension at least was talked about and Callie spoke her mind, which I always liked about her. “Now I’m going the more traditional route of totally hating your guts”
But she still talked so so lovingly about Arizona’s super magic smile and how she lights up a room that I knew she really really still loves her and I had hopes for a happy end. And I’m glad they got that and got back together, after they both were willing to give up their point of view. Andof course I’m even happier that they will have kids. They’re going to be great parents and a happy family. If it weren’t biologically impossible I’d even say: With two so beautiful parents the kids are going to be cute :-)

Cristina and Owen (and Teddy?) Ugh, I’m so so over that already. I’m over Owen most of all. I could have smacked him from the first moment he was on screen: “Cristina is not talking to me. You’re not talking to me” Dude, you got yourself into this mess, so stop whining. Yay Teddy for shutting him up! Yay Cristina for intentionally ignoring him in the ER. He tried to abuse his power when he tried to make her assist him in surgery, and I’m glad that Cristina turned down that offer and finally officially broke up with him.
I so wished for her to realize what a great guy Jackson Avery is. Not falling for him right away, but at least acknowledge it. I hated the arrogant way Owen talked to Jackson in the OR and I was impressed how calm Jackson stayed through all of it. Especially in the moments with Cristina later on. They have great chemistry and they understand each other. Like when they both knew that she had to operate on Derek. So please, Cristina, just open your eyes and see the awesome guy right in front of you. But as much as I dislike it, Cristina clearly is in love with Owen, which was obvious when he was shot in the OR. And about that OR scene: Shouldn’t Owen have been able to disarm him? He was in the army, for God’s sake, what did he learn there…? I know, I’m not fair. I just don’t like Owen anymore.
Teddy was wonderful in this episode. Rationally trying to end the limbo they all live in. And for accepting that Owen choose Cristina in the end. I really just hope that this limbo is over for good now and even if Owen and Cristina might break up again, that Teddy at least will have moved on enough to not start something with Owen. May she find her happiness with somebody else.

There is the other love triange: Lexie, Mark and Alex. Oh, oh, poor Alex! He’s one of my favourite characters on the show! I couldn’t imagine that Shonda would kill him off, but I knew I couldn’t be 100% sure, so I worried throughout the rest of the two episodes. Which was exactlyShonda’s plan , I think… Seeing Alex crawl into the elevator broke my heart, because we didn’t know if anyone would find him in time to save him. As shocking as it was when Lexie and Mark found him, at least they did and he was kind of safe. Lexie tried so hard to be there for him, especially after she realized who she shooter is and she started to feel guilty. And it broke my heart for both of them, when Alex started to halluzinate about Izzie. He is so not over her. Just as Lexie is not over Mark, no matter how often she’d tell Alex that she loves him.

The most shocking and heartbreaking story probably was the one of Bailey and Dr. Percy and Mary, the patient. Do I have to know Mandy Moore from somewhere else, by the way? I read all the anouncements and comments and such about her being on Grey’s but I didn’t know why I should care. But she was a very nice, cheeky friendly patient and those are hard to come by in these days of Grey’s. So, I was happy she was on board.
The scene when they hid from the shooter was so so intense. When Percy dropped to the floor after he was shot I was hoping so much, that he didn’t do anything that would give Bailey away, but Clark found her anyway. When he pulled her out from under the bed I was really afraid for a moment. I couldn’t imagine Shonda would kill Bailey, but at that point I was already aware that anything’s possible in a finale like this.
Chandra Wilson did such an amazing job and it’s about time she got an Emmy for that. It was such a huge range of emotions: Denying who she is in order to save her own life, being a kickass doctor, having a breakdown when the elevators weren’t working and helping Charles Percy to die… That was actually the only moment I was close to tears, while I was too shocked to cry during most of the episode. But Bailey was fighting so hard to save a life, to be a surgeon and then she couldn’t. I wasn’t crying over Percy as much, but I’m more concernec about that did to Bailey. And the “tell Reed I love her” moment was so so sad, even though I don’t even care about either of them.

The last part of this review will be about the three main characters of this show and episode Meredith, Cristina and Derek. I was so happy, when Meredith didn’t freak out about the pregnancy. Very adult indeed. From what I’ve read from Shonda in the last few years about the McBaby issue, I was pretty sure from the start of this episode that something would happen and Mer would lose the baby sooner or later. But I honestly expected that to happen in season 7 with a the accompanying drama and what it might mean for her relationship with Derek. A storyline I didn’t necessarily want to see. But right in season 6: She’s happy and adult! Who would have thought dark & twisty Meredith would ever get to that point?

I totally totally loved the Meredith/Cristina friendship in these episodes. They have both come such a long way and it was so nice to witness that. Cristina was even hugging Mer. Willingly. And how funny was the hair comment… They had so many so wonderful scenes together. In the hallway, when the learn about the lockdown. “I never leave her anyway, so why should I care.” So typical Cristina. Just like the rest of the dialogue about possible reasons for the lockdown. “Axemurderer would be fun” It’s such a typical conversation for them, joking about catastrophes, not knowing the danger they were in. Cristina’s comment about when to tell Derek was so typical too “You found out squatting over a stick in the Ladies’ room. That wasn’t special. Why does he get special?” I also love that they get each other without having to explain everything. Once Cristina told Mer about the breakup it was clear that Mer would take her along, if just to take her mind of things. And to cheer her up with the possibility to see Derek cry ;-) The godmother talk was so true to their characters as well.
And then Cristina has to save Derek’s life. Wow. The scene in the scrub room was such a wonderful friendship moment. About love and trust, when so much is at stake. Not to mention a typical Cristina line “I can’t do that if you’re staring at me with big Don’t kill McDreamy eyes.” It was killing me to see Cristina not stop operating, when she had the gun to her head. Because as scared as she was, she couldn’t let her best friend down. Cristina rocks!

Meredith and Derek had a few wonderful moments together amidst all the tragedy. The first one in his office was really cute. Funny dialogue as well: “I’d love to have something jammed into my brain. That way’ I’d see the inside of an OR.” Desperate much, chief Shepherd? And it was cute to see Mer so happy. And promising dirty sex, which Derek obviously was looking forward to it.
And then there was Derek’s encounter with Mr. Clark on the catwalk. It’s really strange, how scared I was, even though I was 100% sure, that Derek wouldn’t die. But still the whole scene was just so scary. I love Paddy’s acting in this one. You could see how he realizes why Mr. Clark is there. And then he is still so calm and managed to talk to Clark and make him lower his gun. Until stupid April shows up. It’s not her fault I know, but in that moment I was so mad at her. And the rest of the scene was just acted and filmed and edited so incredibly awesome. When Derek turns around you can see in his face, that he know what’s about to happen. The slow motion of the shot and Meredith screaming. The music and the voiceover. It was perfect. Sad and horrible and heartbreaking. But great great television.
So was the beginning of the second part and it was such a great idea to have Derek do the voiceover. It was so sad, when Meredith was at his side and her “I picked you, I chose you” and how she tried to keep him awake. The moment in the OR was really cute and heartbreaking as well. And even a bit funny. Dying would indeed be the worst breakup ever.

The showdown in the OR was killing me, because I had no idea what would happen. Well, I was sure Derek would live and that neither Meredith or Cristina would die, but they might get injured, not to mention Jackson and Owen and April were in danger too. It honestly took me by suprise when Meredith wanted to give her life and looking back on it I’m not sure if that turn of event maybe was a bit too much for the whole story. But on the other hand: the lovestory of Meredith and Derek is a central part of Grey’s Anatomy so of course those two would do anything for each other, even if that means getting killed. And it was such a sad moment either way, when her voice starts to waver. I knew Jackson and Cristina would never let Derek die, and if Mer were able to think rationally she would have known that too, but of course she wasn’t rational in that moment and it was hard to see her break down.

This break down and all the traumatic experience of the day of course led to the miscarriage just a few minutes later, another sad thing to happen in this episode. I was shocked when it happened, even though I did expect something like that to happen to this pregnancy. I’ve read often enough that Shonda didn’t plan for Mer and Der to have kids anytime soon and I know babies and kids are a difficult to work with on a TV show, because of the limited time they’re allowed in front of a camera. So I wasn’t surprised that she lost the baby.
I know it might sound really cruel, but I honestly rather have her lose the baby in a traumatic situation like this, than to have a miscarriage and as a result some dark & twisty and relationship problems in season 7. I don’t really want that kind of sad and horrible storyline for my favourite couple. And I know you can’t weigh lives against each other, but I’d like to focus on the fact that Derek survived this day even if the baby didn’t. Yes, I’m a selfish heartless bitch that way.

Then why write the pregnancy into the script if it’ll only end badly in the first place? Well, because it’s a drama show. And because from a writers point of view it helped to define the character of Meredith Grey. After having realized that she’s happy about this pregnancy and albeit sad about losing it, I’m sure Meredith will be 100% on board with the idea of a McBaby. Which could be a great storyline for season 7. It also could be a great storyline to see how Mer and Der deal in the aftermath of this miscarriage. Provided that Meredith tells him and that Shonda won’t forget about that very important issue for this couple. Like she did after the ferry arc, where a lot of stuff that should have been talked about was blatantly ignored. I guess we have to wait and see and at the moment I’m leaning to giving Shonda the benefit of the doubt concerning season 7.

This finale was not just very very brilliant entertainment but also was or at least could have been the game-changer, Shonda and others said it would be. I think it all depends on what the writers decide to do with all the possible great storyline this finale provided. Meredith and Derek and the baby issue. Lexie feeling guilty. Alex dealing with what happened to him. What will Teddy do? And Cristina and Owen. Callie and Arizona and their tons of kids And Bailey! I think she might be the most traumatized from all of this. At least she should be. They all should be and I can’t imagine any of them will set a foot into this hospital willingly for a while. Will they even all return to SGH after what happened? Well I’m sure they will. Just like I will in the fall… With more hopes for a wonderful season 7 than I ever expected I would have, after all the mixed and rather negative emotions I had about season 6.

4 Comments

  1. Shonda answered some fan questions on Ausiello Files, she explained a little bit about the miscarriage and the SWAT stuff. She claims they had Seattle SWAT consulting on the episode, but I’m still not buying it.

    http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2010/05/21/greys-anatomy-season-finale-scoop/#more-8519

    I’m kind of irritated by the miscarriage stuff too cause it’s just sooooooooo Shonda. She even said on the writer’s blog, she doesn’t know any other way. There was so much other stuff in that episode, I don’t know why Meredith couldn’t have her husband and the pregnancy. (Honestly, I don’t think they can make it a big deal next season. It was so quick Mer barely even realized she was pregnant, and I don’t think Derek’s going to really “get it” when she tells him.)

    Honestly, I wanted Owen to get shot. For real shot, not grazed a little. And I’m irritated that he picked Cristina. He’s not good for her.

    1. I read the Ausiello interview and I’m not buying her SWAT statement either :-) And I’m so glad I’m not alone when it comes to my deathwish for Owen! He is really getting on my nerves!
      I hope the issue of the miscarriage will be acknowledge in earlier season7, even if it’s not a big deal then, but it might be a trigger for them to start trying for a baby.

  2. Mandy Moore was one of those teenage-acting-singing-talents Hollywood exported a few years ago. Just like Lindsay Lohan, but without the crappy life.
    Totally agree with your review. Especially the Chief-part and the scene with Christina and Mr. Clark in the elevator. I was so scared that she might say something in her typical way, annoying him. And I found most scary about the shooter that he was alway so polite. With Callie, with Christina, even with Bailey when she was down on the floor, telling her that he was sorry.

  3. I only know Lindsay Lohan from the gossip columns nowadays and I didn’t like her back when she was still a kid/teenage star either. So I’m grateful it wasn’t her but Mandy Moore on Grey’s *g* Mandy did a great job, I think. I liked her a lot.
    Clark’s politeness creeped me out a lot. Especially the “Have a nice day” when he got off the elevator.

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