Grey's Anatomy 7.18 – "Song Beneath The Song"

This might be the first review which I wrote without having watched the episode for a 2nd time. There is no way I’m going to watch this one on the whole for a 2nd time. Ever. I’m so glad that this “music event“ went finally on the air and hopefully the hype Shonda and ABC created about it will slow down. Slow down fast, please. Because this episode? Was the epic failure I expected it to be. Maybe if I had managed to keep an open mind about it, I wouldn’t have disliked it to that extent. But like I had already written yesterday: I was long past the stage of “open-minded” about this episode.

There were a few things I liked. The unusual amount of Meredith and Derek scenes for instance. I didn’t expect those and I loved seeing them not as surgeons working together but as husband and wife. There are not enough scenes focusing on them this year (or even last year), even though they actually have a storyline with lot of potential and which a lot of viewers could relate to. But it’s written so choppily that it’s hard to follow and to care about if you are not die-hard MerDer fan like me.
I liked the first scene in the on call room, when they lay down cuddling. The next one was part of the cringworthy “Running on Sunshine”, so I’d like to forget that one fast. But I’m still wondering how Paddy got out of any obligation to sing. Maybe his agent has managed to put that in his contract ;-)
The elevator scene (yes, finally a new elevator scene) was such a wonderful MerDer moment. It was sad and heartbreaking but at least they were talking and sharing their emotions and Derek was once again the perfect husband *sigh*. I think Shonda will take them down Adoption Avenue later this season and I’d really love to see that. I’m also afraid to get my hopes up yet, because there is always a way Shonda might screw them over after all.

The storyline and events of this episode weren’t all that bad. If there hadn’t been any singing this it would have been a typical season 7 episode. Not great, but ok and of course centered around Callie and her baby and all. Nothing new, nothing to still get upset about. It’s just the way things are on Grey’s Anatomy these days. I liked that there was at least one scene that reminded me of old Grey’s: the one with Meredith, Cristina and Alex waiting outside while the attendings discussed how to proceed.
I read the Writer’s Blog today where Shonda goes on and on about how she always wanted to to a musical episode and when and why she decided that Sara Ramirez had to take the lead in this one. To me that also explained why the second half of season 7 focused on Callie, because Shonda needed this storyline to get her stupid musical episode! Shonda is even thinking about doing another musical episode, but I hope Patrick and Ellen have left the show by then and I have no obligation to even watch Grey’s anymore.
But there also is a very cute and adorable piece about Patrick Dempsey’s super baby powers in her blog . That one is definitely worth reading, just scroll down half the page and look for the key words “super power” or “Dempsey” :-)

So, the episode all in all could have been ok, but the singing really messed it up. Because even when it wasn’t cringeworthy and awkward and ridiculous and embarrassing (and it was all of that most of the time) it just was too distracting. I focused on the singing and not on what actually happened in the OR or whereever the scene took place and it all just didn’t fit together. And I still don’t understand how it could all be a hallucination of Callie’s traumatized brain, when we saw singing (and dancing) in scenes without Callie being there. It would have worked if she would have been watching in her out-of-body state of mind in all the scenes, but she wasn’t. The only musical number where it actually felt right was “Running on Sunshine”, because it definitely looked like a hallucination in all it’s embarrassing absurdity. Which also made it the most painful to watch by the way, but at least it made sense to me as a hallucination. If you know what I mean.
I think it all comes down to Shonda desperately wanting to do a musical episode and she did it because she can. Not in the sense of being able to pull it off artistically but just in the sense of having the means and the production company to do it no matter what *sigh*

But what do I have to say about the music part of the “music event”? I acknowledge that they sometimes managed to really incorporate the song’s lyric into what actually was happening in that moment. Or the other way around, because I think they wrote the scenes to fit the music. It sometimes felt rather staged, like Owen’s “Everybody take a breath” prelude to Chyler’s “Breathe (2AM)”. But it also worked well sometimes like in Kim Raver’s lines in “How to save a life”. So, that wasn’t all that bad.
The singing itself wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be either. Well, not all of it at least. Most of the songs they choose to include in this episode weren’t big favourites of mine, so I didn’t mind when they were wrecked by the cast. “Breathe (2AM)” might be my all-time favourite Grey’s song and it definitely was the first one I really felt the need to get my hands on, so I’m so glad that Chyler Leigh didn’t ruin it for me. She did a good job singing it actually.
I’m also a big fan of Brandi Carlile and have listened to “The Story” often enough in the last couple of years, that there was no chance that Sara Ramirez’s version could drown out the original version in my memory. And I’m glad about that, because Sara’s version was the biggest epic fail of the whole episode. Not even the singing itself, even though I think her Broadway musical voice isn’t the right one for any Brandi Carlile song, because it just doesn’t fit. But the acting or moving around or whatever you want to call it in this case, was just so painfully embarrassing to watch. Standing in the hallway tearing her hair, shaking the bed she is lying in… My whole body still cringes just when I think about it. It was so so painful to watch.

My thoughts on the rest of the songs…

“Chasing Cars”
Would have been ok if it had been only out-of-body Callie singing and maybe also Bailey, because Chandra has a beautiful voice. KMK might be able to sing on stage and all but it felt so wrong here. Not necessarily bad singing, but I think he tried to hard to put emotions into this. I mean, just look at his face when he is singing…
I had to laugh out loud, when I saw Callie’s horrified look when she was lying on the guerney. I don’t know if she was supposed to look horrified about being in the accident or about the hallucination that her doctor’s are singing. Either way, I probably had and equally horrified look on my face.

“Breathe (2AM”)
Like I already mentioned above, Chyler did a suprisingly good job with it. It wasn’t her fault that the script made her stand still in the scrub room for a few seconds to be singing for no apparent reason whatsoever. And can anyone explain to me why Eric Dane is considered an actor? I mean he can look pretty and he can deliver funny lines, but he just can’t act when any kind of emotion is required. Him sitting in the stairwell crying, was so bad, wasn’t it?
How can it be that the OB attending doesn’t know how to deliver a 23 week old baby? Or if it can be delivered at all at this point? Where did she go to med school? Oh, right, not the school Addison went to, because she is the only real OB in the whole wide world. Seriously, what was the point of bringing her back for this stint?

“How we operate”
Ugh! After the first two songs which were kind of ok, this one was as bad as I expected the whole episode it to be. It felt to staged and KMK really shouldn’t be the lead singer on anything.

“Wait”
Was ok. I don’t even remember in which episode/scene the song played originally. Chandra has beautiful singing voice, so it sounded nice, but I have no idea why this song was featured again in this scene. Arizona and Mark fighting? I so do not care one way or the other. Except that scenes like that showcase once again how limited Eric Dane’s acting skills are.

“Running on Sunshine”
See what I wrote above. I can’t write more about that because I try so very hard to get the image of these “flirty and sexy” scenes out of my head. It was so bad. So so bad! Hallucination or not! Didn’t they promise that there would be no random dancing in this music event? Liars!

“Universe & U”
Was ok. I don’t care about the song or Callie & Arizona so… Meh!

“Grace”
OMG that was SO bad as well. Really so so bad. I don’t even like the song itself that much but there are so many important memories linked to this. Prom sex! Denny dying! And now Callie sitting on a stretcher while they are rolling her into the OR? OMG Brainbleed!

“How To Save A Life”
The whole OR scene was written and staged around the lyrics, so that was a kind of neat idea. KMK and Eric Dane wrecked their parts though. Seriously why did Eric had to try and sing? He’s worse at singing than at acting and that’s an achievement of it’s own :-) The women’s part and the chorus were fine, so the song wasn’t completely ruined for me.
Why on earth was Arizona allowed to take care of the baby in the OR while Mark was restricted to stay out of every procedure earlier? Only Shonda will know the answer to that one…

And then…. YAY! Cute MerDer elevator scene without anyone singing… YAY! Sorry, I just had to mention that one again *g* It was my highlight of this episode after all.

“The Story”
Ugh! I already wrote about that in a paragraph above. And now I should once more listen to the wonderful original version by the one and only Brandi Carlile.

Phew. It feels good to have let out all my frustration regarding this episode. Cleansing my mind :-) It also was fun reading all the tweets and comments throughout the day and to see that I wasn’t alone with my view on these things.

4 Comments

  1. I don’t feel like I have a clue what happened. Like Teddy going off on Cristina, what was that about? I was distracted by all the singing in the OR.

    I get so irritated by Shonda’s belief that OBs have anything to do with the baby. Baby is born and the OB cares for it? No, the OB needs to care for the mom she just cut open. A NICU team should be there for the baby, and they definitely would be for a 23 weeker. The Grey’s docs aren’t the world’s experts in anything and everything.

    They ruined Grace for me. I love that song, it has great Grey’s memories, and then they put Callie riding a stretcher in slow motion? Ugh, no.

    1. The singing was distracting for sure.

      The thing is, I think Addison is specialized in both obstetrics and neonatal medicine (I watched old Grey’s episode recently where she mentions her credentials). So SHE should have been taking care of the baby and Lucy should have taken care of Callie. But what does Shonda know… *sigh*

      “Grace” really was all kinds of bad. I try to forget about most of the episode asap.

  2. I see – I could have saved me some time and just copy your review. Because I totally agree. I didn’t recognise all the songs from earlier episodes, but I appreciate the thought. But what Shonda made out of it, was horrible. And all of the time so forced. I wonder why the chief hadn’t to sing either. Didn’t they once celebrate him for his wonderfull singing? Anyway I’m glad, it’s over. And I also never want to see this episode again.

  3. Ich habe mich jetzt entschlossen die 7 auf deutsch zu gucken. Ist mir einfach zu anstrengend im Moment. Heute hab ich angefangen.

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