When I started writing this post about the first few episodes of season 7 of Grey’s Anatomy, I didn’t expect it to turn into this incredibly looooooooooong post, which took me several days to write. But I just couldn’t help it.I usually write long posts about single episodes an these were three episodes after all :-) And I guess a lot of my thoughts are of a rather general nature regarding the show on the whole. If you’re not up to reading a long ramble and rant about this show, you might want to stop reading now. Or if you’re just interested in a detailed review of each episode you should check “Who wants to know”, where Lindsay wrote brilliant reviews of the first two episodes (and most probably will keep that up for all the episodes to follow). Look for posts titled “Highschool with scalpels”. Basically I agree with her on most of the stuff, which is always nice to know…
I watched the season premiere on my netbook during the flight to Montreal and we watched the 2nd and 3rd episode together in our hotel room. Last week’s episode with a snowy picture. No idea what was wrong with the ABC station in the Burlington area on Thursday because the other stations were fine. But watching Grey’s that night felt a lot like watching analog TV during a storm in the late 1980s. Anyway…
I actually liked these first three episodes ok. All in all I’d say there was 30% of “Yay!” and 40% of “Nice” and another 30% of “booooring” (aka annoying *g*). By now I had some time to think about my general reaction to this new season and I guess I just accepted the fact, that the good old times are over and it won’t get any better. We talked about it during the commercial breaks and after the episodes for a bit and we agreed that maybe they should have ended the show one or two years ago. Not specifically with the specific end of season 4 or 5, but wrap it up decently.
To me it seems like they are running out of interesting but still realistic storylines for the original core characters or maybe they are just afraid to run out of ideas and that’s why they are bringing in new characters by the dozen. I admit that the main reason for my objection to more and more characters is, that it takes away screentime from my favourite couple: Meredith and Derek.They were the reason I kept watching after I’ve seen the first few episodes all those years ago. I wanted to see them get together and now that they’ve finally managed that, I want to see them taking step after step in their relationship. I know I’m among the tiny tiny tiny minority that would even watch Grey’s Anatomy if it would just be about the oridinary, everyday happily ever after life of Meredith and Derek. I ship them. Big time. What can I say ;-)? But 99,99995% of the Grey’s audience would probably run for the hills before they watched the Dr. & Mrs Shepherd show. So I make do with the MerDer screentime I get and usually am able to enjoy the rest of the show just as much. Well, not AS much, but enjoy it well enough if there are interesting storylines for the other characters or interesting patient stories, witty dialogues and such. Unfortunately some of this was missing for parts of these first few episodes. I’ll try to break it down a bit
There are just two many characters on the show, who take away screentime from the original characters, which to me are Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Alex, Bailey and the chief. There were some great moments among those characters and even some which included one of the core characters and one of those who joined the show later. I like most of the new characters, some more than others, but basically I wouldn’t miss them a lot if they would leave the show. Ok, I’d miss some more than others ;-). The thing is: there are just too many characters. And maybe even not enough interesting ideas left for the original characters if you don’t want to get overly dramatic and totally unrealistic and like… I don’t know: ghost sex, maybe?
To me some parts of the healing process after the shooting were rushed, even with the time jump, which I have to admit I found rather confusing sometimes. And some things just didn’t make sense to me. Why is Alex cleared even though he won’t have the bullet removed? Why is Lexie cleared just after sleeping for 50 hours straight? The whole “getting cleared for surgery” thing felt a bit delibarate to me.
I also still don’t get over the “hair issue” *g* in these first few episodes and according to the press photos for 7.06. the disaster is still going on then. I watched clips of Paddy on The Ellen Degeneres show a few days ago and he mentioned that he still had one (?) day of shooting left for his part on “Transformers”, so I really, really hope this incredibly unsexy flat hair is part of his contract for this movie. Please! This still doesn’t explain the bad hair days some other actresses had during these three episodes. Bailey? Teddy? Even Arizona… ugh, what’s going wrong in the Grey’s makeup trailers ?!?!?
I didn’t care too much for any of them. The treeman was too gross and too unrealistic. Yes I know there were cases like him, but as far as I know those patients didn’t have immediate access to the state of the art medical care. Would someone or his wife in the US (or Europe) really let it get that bad before seeing a doctor about it? The spider thing? So just for the “Eeeehw” shock effect and therefore rather cheap.
The lightning strike? Hit too close to home. I know someone who was actually struck by lightning last year (and survived, thank God) and it was so so much worse than the injuries of these guys. I know there might be light and severe cases, but it still felt a bit unrealistic to me. The cardiac patient was just like any other in the long row of cardiac patients and so were the other nameless characters we only saw already lying on the table. The brain tumor kid in the premiere was an interesting case though, because of the drastic technique and because it prompted some important dialogues between Meredith and Derek and Meredith and Cristina.
He didn’t play a central role in these episodes and I’m totally fine with his amount of screen time. I don’t have to see much more of his private life (is Adele still around by the way?) or his drinking problems. Being the person in charge of the hospital and in that regard interacting with the rest of my favourite characters is all I need him to do :-)
Go Away. Please! Soon! Like… in the two months that passed between the shooting and the season premiere? Seriously, I really don’t need to see here around anymore. I liked her and the GI Jane attitude with which she started working at SGH. But then the whole triangle drama happened and I realized that she was just a plot device for that. The plot is done, so what is she still doing here? Her character is just not that interesting. And I especially don’t care about her lovelife with yet another even newer character. Why should we bother? The only thing that bothered me was the amount of screentime she and her tragic love to the shrink got compared to the little screentime my favourite couple got. Like I said above, this is 100% subjective, but it really felt like there was too much Teddy. When I watched the episode a second time I had to fastforward much more than usual, and mostly because she was on the screen.
I know I’m in the minority here, but I don’t hate April. I don’t even dislike her, rather the opposite. Yes, she can be annoying and I know most fans find her insecurities and babbling tiresome, but I don’t. I had a soft spot for her from the start. It’s not her fault the writers gave her the stupid crush on Derek. [Yes, I know how CRAZY that last thought is, because the writers are April and every other character, if you know what I mean]. It’s not that I need her on the show like I need the original characters or even the semi orginal (Mark, Lexie, Owen) and I wouldn’t shed a tear if she left, but as long as she is around I’m completely fine with it.
I really didn’t need her to be at Derek’s bedside after the surgery though and I’m not sure yet if I really want her (and Jackson) to be close friends with Meredith and the rest of the old gang. I think I wouldn’t mind the friendship per se, even though I hated the idea at first. I hated the Mercy Westers because they took away screen time from the original cast. But as long as they are merly interacting with the original cast that’s fine with me. Let them even be friends. Not close friends though :-).
But two things are really bugging me and that basically is based on the timejump and some crappy writing. Before the season started there were rumors that April and Jackson would move into Meredith’s house as well, which I knew I could only accept after we have actually seen them get closer and become friends and such. In episode 7.03. April knew about Cristina being at Meredith’s in the morning, which indicates that April was at the house too. Which was confirmed by Shonda in a tweet yesterday. There obviously was a moving in scene in the premiere, but they cut it and it „will be explained later”. WTF ?!?!? No explanation, no getting to know each other, no discussion between Meredith and Derek about additional roommates …. Just push the new roomates and friendship down our throats.
Which leads to the other thing that’s bothering me about this. Just by mentioning „We are friends now” or „because we are friends” over and over again, it doesn’t become more plausible for me. Show them actually becoming friends and not just by hanging out at Joe’s, but by helping each other getting through this trauma or other aspects of their lifes. I don’t really mind the scenes at Joe’s or in the tunnels, because especially the last one had some great moments between Meredith and Cristina and Jackson (see below). So I’m kind of ok with April and Jackson in this circle. For now. If the writers would have just given it a bit more time to let this friendship develop. *sigh*
Jackson Avery is a different matter. I would definitely shed a tear to see him go, because he has got great chemistry with Cristina and Meredith and well almost everyone. He is kind of like Alex was in the beginning but more likable from the start. At some point of the Teddy/Owen/Cristina drama he kissed Cristina in her bedroom during some party and I was a fan of this potential ship from that moment on. For one, because with whom else should he get together ? There has to be relationship drama for everyone on Grey’s so it’s just a matter of time. Everyone is sleeping with everyone at some point ;-) More or less at least.
But I honestly think they would make a great team, because they are so much more equal (personality and career wise) than Cristina was with Burke or Owen. On the other hand, Cristina obviously has a thing for older guys who can be her mentor as well as her lover (Marlow, Burke etc) so I guess Jackson is just not her type *sigh* I really hope the scene from the promo for 7.04. is just a decoy and supposed to put the wrong ideas in our head. Because the sight of these two people having sex would be… ugh. Making me barf or something.
Bailey, what are you doing? Yes I know that the actor who played Ben has other engagements (on another show of Shonda Rhimes) and therefore has to leave, but couldn’t they just let him have left in the two months for any other reason?) To some extent I can understand why Bailey reacted the way she did. To an ever greater extent I don’t understand it at all and am quite pissed. At her or the writers. She could probably have used all the support she could get and to just send her boyfriend off like that? On the other hand: I really hope kickass Bailey will make more and more appearances in the future again. I know the shooting has been traumatic and in real life you probably never fully recover from that, but in the long run it makes for rather depressing television. So I hope the operation on Alex helped both of them to move on and be their old selves. Bailey is „the nazi” and not some caring and weepy motherhen. Well, she IS a motherhen to her former interns, but still…
Callie & Arizona
Not much to say about these two. I like them, each on her own and as a couple and I’m glad they got back together at the end of last season. But honestly: their moving in together story got too much screentime for my taste. I know Callie/Arizona shippers might disagree :-). But Meredith and Derek are building a house together and we didn’t get a glimpse of the whole planning and actual building process except a off hand comment in late season 6 and one in episode 7.03. Why were they not arguing about the colors of their walls? Why didn’t we see them huddled together over paint chips? Yes I know it’s a very very shippery point of view. But I’m a bit bitter about that, especially now that we’ve been witness to the Callie / Arizona nesting process. And don’t get me started on Arizona’s close friendship to Teddy. Too much Teddy on my screen, but I said that already.
Mark & Lexie
When I watched Grey’s with my friends during the trip I once again realized that I’m outnumbered in my indifference to Mark Sloan. Yes, he has a great body and yes he provides a lot of comic relief. And yes, his character is not as shallow and insensitive as he used to be. In fact the writers turned him into a rather different character with at least some depths and emotions. If only Eric Dane could live up to that. He’s just not that great of an actor and it shows in all these scenes when he is supposed to do more than look hot or look like someone killed his puppy. I know I’m probably exaggerating and I don’t dislike him. I just don’t care that much for him as a character in his own right. And I’m not a huge fan of the perfectly sculptured male face to begin with. But to everyone their own, right :-)? The scenes with Callie are always fun to watch, but the whole routine is getting old after a few more episodes. It feels like we’ve been through all of this before already.
I like Lexie. And I think Mark and her were a cute couple until the whole Grandpa thing happened to them. Which was probably intended to give Mark more depths as a character, but… I don’t know. I’ve always been more on Lexie’s side through the whole thing, so I’m biased. I’m surprised that the shrink cleared her for surgery just after a few days of sleep (and some meds?) on the psych ward. I mentioned it already above. This whole process of psych evaluation seemed totally random to me. I can understand why she is annoyed by Mark’s hovering and the other doctors’s staring and I probably would have reacted the same way she did. Ok, I never loved Mark Sloan to begin with. He really should just give her some more space and time for heaven’s sake. And of course once Lexie realize she still loves Mark, he screws Amelia. Drama Galore, but that’s just typical Grey’s so I wasn’t really surprised.
Oh Alex. I would have loved to see more of his recovering process, especially the mental aspects of it. But of course there was the timejump *sigh* I think it’s very in-character for him to not want to remove the bullet as a constant reminder of the guilt he feels for surviving the shooting. It’s very in-character for him to retreat to being a jackass again, because he probably has no idea how to deal with all his emotions that he must feel after being shot and almost dying. He is dealing the best he can and if that means he takes the stairs, well, he takes the stairs. By the way, I have no idea how he could have been cleared for surgery with this kind of behaviour, especially the bullet thing. Crappy shrink. Crappy writing. I loved his scenes with Bailey, because that was the Bailey we love. I also especially loved his scenes with Meredith. They really get each other, both raised by wolves and all :-)
Owen and Cristina
To me Owen falls in the category „liking by proxy” :-) I like him, because Cristina loves him and because he obviously loves her back, even though he sometimes has a weird way of showing it. His indecision in the Teddy or Cristina drama last year lost him some points though. And like Lindsay wrote in her review „he makes a scary angryface when he’s intense”. I really think it’s scary and not in a good way. What bothered me in these few episodes is, that I felt Owen – like Burke before – is trying to push Cristina to do things she is not ready to do yet. To make her into someone she is not. She was in no way ready to be back in the OR and I get that Owen only pushed her because he thought it would help her. I just don’t get why he would think that in the first place. The wedding was a suprise to me (well, I read the spoilers, but I was surprised by these, when I read it) and I’m not sure if it really will last. It’s Grey’s Anatomy after all.
Cristina’s still being heavily traumatized was the biggest surprise to me so far and I have to admit that I think the writers did a good job with it so far. Yes I can praise the writers when I feel it’s due. Cristina is a surgeon and it’s heartbreaking to see her question that. To see her think about giving up surgery, because she literally can’t be in an OR anymore was so so sad. Sandra Oh is an amazing actress and she did such a wonderful job so far. And she had some great scripts to work with. When she tells the shrink about the wannabe brides she pitied and now envys. Her despair in the locker room: „If I can’t be in there, I don’t know where I am supposed to be.” So sad. But also her stubborn indifference in the last episode in the scenes with Derek and Amelia. She really came across like an idiot with a learning disability.
And the only idea the chief and the shrink have is to put her on research or admin duty. Hello? What about mandatory therapy with a shrink who actually knows what he is doing? Who gets through to her and earns her trust and makes her talk about her feelings. And who has an idea how to help her through this. „The other cases will be transfered to Dr. Wyatt”. Yes, please, I’m sure she would be able to figure out Cristina in no time and have an idea how to help her. Ugh! Crappy writing once again.
I read some spoilers about what Cristina is up to next and I like what I’ve read, but I still hope she will return to the OR sooner or later. She’s a surgeon! And she has great scenes with Jackson in the OR or the scrubroom. Or anywhere else. If she just wouldn’t be in love with Owen *sigh* Well, a girl can dream, right?
Meredith & Derek
They could have been on screen together a bit more often, especially compared to the amount of screentime Teddy and her various relationships / friendships got. But I guess I’m already used to that, so I can’t even bring myself to bitch about it. I love Meredith so I was glad to see her a lot interacting with almost everyone. Offering advice and help and insight to her friends, caring about her patients (at least when she had one *g*). I was so happy to see the Meredith/Cristina friendship as a central element of the storylines again. Yes, they are the twisted sisters, but they get each other and they have this sometimes weird, but always amazing bond. Meredith had some great scenes and lines and I enjoyed her part in all the episodes. Minus the forced April friendship thing.
I always cringe for a moment when I see Patrick Dempsey with this hairstyle. Yes, I’m that shallow. Besides that, I really enjoyed his role in these episodes as well. Just like with Alex, I would have loved to see more of his recovering process, but I know it probably wouldn’t be interesting television for the ordinary viewer. He was cute, when he stuck his face through the bars in jail or when he rolled to the side of the bed that morning and I really love to see pissy (not in the true sense *g*) Derek every once in a while. The ET scene with Owen was hilarious and so so true. I love that he accepts the special bond Meredith has with Cristina and that he doesn’t feel threatened by it. It’s part of who Meredith is after all. And the ET metaphor was just too funny. I also love that he does care about Cristina the way he does. They are family and he’s a family guy, watching out for his family. Derek and Cristina scenes have always been fun to watch and this last episode was no exception.
I’m a bit disappointed that we only ever get bits and pieces of Derek’s backstory and it is never really consistent. In this regard there were so many tiny details that bugged me about Amelia’s visit. In season 1 Derek talked about his family and his sisters: very girly, tons of kids (14 to be exact), and that he would want them to be there, if he ever were in criticial medical condition. That doesn’t quite fit to the angry and distant relationship he seems to have with Amelia. Not to mention that she obviously doesn’t have children (or does she? I’m not watching Private Practice). So the other three sisters have each 4-5 children? Impressive. Yes, I’m a nitpicker about things like this. But what really bothered me was, that due to the timejump we don’t know if the rest of the Shepherd family came to Seattle after the shooting and why Amelia wasn’t visiting at the same time then. Because seriously, there is no way she wouldn’t have come when the rest of the family were there too. Waiting for phonecall from Derek himself? So unrealistic.
I’m also a bit bothered that Derek obviously still hasn’t told Meredith a lot about his family. You do talk about these kind of things in a serious relationship. You most probably already have met the family before you scribble your name on a post-it *g* You talk about personal stuff, about how it was growing up or at least mention your siblings names and professions at some point. How could Meredith be so surprised when Amelia showed up? The fact that Derek wanted to keep his little sister safe and not trouble her with his pain, is kind of in character again, but the whole visit felt not quite right to me.
Last, but not least: I was a bit let down by the scene in which Meredith finally tells Derek about the miscarriage. Or not by the scene itself, because that was fine. But by the lack of an additional scene in which they talk about it to some greater extent. I agree that in that moment, there wasn’t much for Derek to say and just hugging his wife was the right thing to do. But he has to have questions and he deserves answers and Meredith deserves to pour her heart out to him. And we deserve to see all of this, because they are after all the main couple of this show. It didn’t have to be a long additional scene but a short dialogue about it would have been nice.
„You only said you were considering it. I didn’t know you wanted a baby yet.” – „Neither did I, but then I took the test and I was just… happy, I guess.” Blabla about how sad it all is. – „So… are we going to try again?” and so on.
Is that too much to ask ? So… all in all the episodes were ok. There were some highlights, a lot of things that were entertaining to watch, but unfortunately also a lot of things that just felt wrong (boring, annyoing, out-of-character etc.). But at least improvement is still possible…