Joe Dyton

Grey’s Anatomy recap: “Elevator Love Letter”

In Grey's Anatomy on March 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Last night, we were treated to what I thought was another superb episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” This current run of quality episodes could easily be described as “How Shonda Got Her Groove Back,” because “Grey’s” creator/showrunner Shonda Rhimes and her writing team have found the magic that had been mainly missing from this lukewarm, uneven season. Last night’s show and the one the week prior reminded me why so many people fell in love with this show in the first place.

I thought every storyline worked last night, even Mark and Lexie’s filler one. It actually served some purpose. As for the other main stories, all I can say is wow. They were all very well done, and there were several members of the cast who really stepped it up a notch, in particular, Kevin McKidd, Justin Chambers, Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey.

 As much as I hated the offscreen drama surrounding Katherine Heigl’s rumored desire to leave the show, that nonsense actually came in handy last night. Because of those rumors, there was no guarantee that Izzie was going to make it through that surgery. Her dying on the table would have the perfect way for Heigl to be let off of the show. So because of that, I was in as much suspense as the rest of the doctors loitering in the hallway during Izzie’s operation. If those rumors had never occurred, I would have had zero doubt that Izzie was going to make it. Who would have thought offscreen drama would enhance the onscreen drama?

I know the main story was Izzie’s surgery, but I was just as invested in the Owen/Cristina storyline as I was with Izzie’s. Holy cow, even though I knew what was coming; I was still put off by watching Dr. Hunt strangling Cristina. After watching this show four-plus seasons now, and I can’t think of too many scenes that were more intense and disturbing than that one. I can only imagine what the heck would have happened if Cristina was living alone.  

Despite that disturbing scene, it was good to see this relationship finally get some legs underneath it. It had dragged on for awhile now. I think I am so used to seeing relationship develop so quickly on this show that when one progresses realistically, I begin to get impatient. But speaking of relationship pace, these two went from 0 to 60 in a heartbeat, didn’t they? Their courtship seemed to consist of a stolen kiss here and there, and then all of a sudden, they were full-on “getting together.” And then things ended as soon as they got started when Cristina broke it off. I could see the fear in her eyes as she was lying there looking at the ceiling fan. I can’t blame her for being afraid to fall asleep with Owen next to her. I think it shows just how much Owen cares about her that he took up Derek’s offer to treat his PTSD. I don’t we’ve seen the last of Owen and Cristina.

And then there’s the third meaty storyline of the night; Derek’s attempted proposals to Meredith. I was torn a bit about the placement of this event. I almost felt there should have been an episode dedicated to Derek proposing. They are the highest-profile couple on the show; it seemed unfair that their finally getting engaged shared the spotlight with another main cast member getting live-saving surgery. On the flip side, it was fitting that Derek did when he did. He was finally feeling good about himself again and he had a clear mind for the first time in awhile. He was McDreamy again last night. I just hope Shonda keeps her promise that these two are together for good. There has yet to be a successful engagement/marriage on this show (Izzie/Denny, Cristina/Burke, Callie/George). I feel this one will stick though.

So, overall last night’s show was another “A+” episode of “Grey’s” in my opinion. I’m keeping the faith that the show will build off of this momentum and we’ll have a great rest of the season. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the season’s gotten stronger as it became clearer what was going with Izzie and Denny began to fade away. It took the writing team forever get to this point, but at least we’re here now. Here’s to a great rest of the season.

 Here are a few more thoughts about last night’s show….

 The Highlights:

 *More brilliant acting performances. The “Grey’s” cast is very talented, and there are no weak links, which is remarkable for a cast that large. However, there are some episodes where the actors get a sense of the moment and really deliver. Like I mentioned before, I thought Kevin McKidd was excellent last night. He’s been good all season actually, and a great addition to the cast. He does a good job of looking broken down and like someone who suffers from PTSD. Same goes for Sandra Oh, she was fantastic. Cristina is such a robotic character, so getting to see her emotional side is such a nice treat. I’m sure Sandra Oh enjoys getting to play the character a little differently as well. My heart broke for Alex during his “this isn’t the way…” speech in the on-call room. Justin Chambers has been the man the last couple of weeks. Hopefully he’ll get a storyline that doesn’t involve the woman in his life getting sick (first Ava then Izzie) for him to show off his talents. And last but not least, Mr. Patrick Dempsey, who will hopefully get some Emmy consideration for his work these last few episodes. It’s been his best work probably during the whole course of the series. Last night, he didn’t do a much strong verbal action as he did non-verbal. I could literally see the weight of the world on his shoulders as he was preparing for Izzie’s surgery. To me that’s the sign of a good actor, someone who can portray emotions without saying a word.

 *Everything Meredith. For the most part, I’m pretty lukewarm and indifferent to Meredith (not a good thing for the show’s title character), but I can’t help but feel she deserved the game ball last night. She was there for just about everyone last night (with the painful exception of Izzie); Derek of course, Alex and Cristina. I loved at the end of the episode when she told Cristina she was engaged, and Cristina responded that her and Owen broke up she simply got into bed next to her. She didn’t complain about Cristina raining on her parade or anything like that. She just played the supportive best friend.

*The Chief-Alex fertilization conversation. I thought this was a good, comic relief story that helped lighten the mood, at least temporarily. I could totally understand the Chief’s disgust when Alex planted the “sample” right in front of his lunch tray. I know it was covered in a plastic bag, but I’m still not sure I would have moved it over with my fork if I was the Chief.

 *The Callie-George scene. Sometimes I forget that George and Callie were married and Izzie was the main reason they got divorced. I thought that tied in nicely with last night’s episode and it was great that despite everything, Callie did the right thing and convinced George that he needed to be there for Izzie. It’s sad that he needed to be convinced, but I guess the important thing is that he was there.

*Derek’s proposal: If it weren’t for Izzie’s successful surgery, this would have been the highlight of the evening (see what I mean about how maybe the engagement should have been broken out in to another episode?). I loved what Derek finally decided to do. It was much more Meredith’s style than the bedroom covered with roses and bears. I also loved the Chief blocking her from the other elevator (he’s getting back to his old self lately). But after his two sad sack proposal attempts earlier in the show (the first one was especially sad when he just put the ring down on the table), he finally got it right. I’m also glad he decided to shave before he (didn’t) pop the question.

 The Lowlights:

 *I was not a big fan of Dr. Swender’s abrasive nature when she was talking to Izzie about her course of treatment. It just came of as insensitive, although as a oncologist, I guess it comes with the territory. I did love it though when in the OR when she questioned McDreamy one time too many, he finally snapped at her. At that point, I knew Derek was back. I will say, as much as I didn’t like her, I do hope she sticks around because I feel like she’s the perfect foil for Bailey. Dr. Swender has the same no-nonsense attitude, but without Bailey’s heart. She’s the perfect person to go toe-to-toe with Bailey, a much better fit than Arizona was.

*I also didn’t like Mark’s patients’ kids’ attitude. I know they had been through a lot, but it was tasteless for them to be sitting there and willing their mother to die. I was glad to see that they did have some remorse when she finally passed. The one positive is it did teach Alex a lesson about being there for loved ones, no matter what.

*I also didn’t care for the cheap shots Alex and Owen took at Derek about his most recent failed surgery. That’s the last thing he needed on day like that one.

 OK, a few more random thoughts and I’m done…

 *Once again, the writers did a great job of keeping the smaller storylines (Mark’s patient, Callie and Arizona’s relationship) out of the way, so the bigger plots had their due. It’s another reason the show’s gotten better; they aren’t watering down stronger storylines to make room for bigger ones.

 *I should also mention I enjoyed the Bailey-Izzie scenes and I liked that the scarf Izzie was knitting was for Bailey. I didn’t like the fact that Meredith and Co. avoided Izzie all day. I loved that Bailey told them to “do better” tomorrow.

 * “Lines of the Week.”

-“Is your boyfriend OK to be cutting into brains today?”

-“Give me the cup.”

-“I just wanted to know how things were co-uh-going.”

-“Their patients shouldn’t suffer just because I’ve got things growing on my organs.”

-“Hands around your neck.” “Ring thrown in your face.”

-“Maybe we have to mess up so we can step up.”

“I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

-“People are better than no people.” 

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the show as much as I did. It looks like we’re off until April 23, so enjoy the break!

Have a comment, question or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

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