Joe Dyton

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

“Grey’s Anatomy” recap: “Sanctuary”/”Death and All His Friends”

In Grey's Anatomy, Uncategorized on May 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm

By Joe Dyton

Before we get into last night’s “Grey’s” Season Six finale, let’s step back and take a deep breath. I don’t know about you, but I had quite a time trying to breathe while watching that episode. Holy cow, that was intense. It’s been well-documented in this space that I thought the last few episodes of this season (save last week’s ep) weren’t very interesting. At some point, I finally accepted the fact that “Grey’s” creator Shonda Rhimes was saving the very best for last. I didn’t care for that strategy; it didn’t seem right to bore us for the sake of having an explosive finale, but after seeing it I had one thought:

It was totally worth it. 

I’ll be honest; I was worried that the finale wouldn’t live up to the hype/anticipation because of how mediocre the last few episodes had been. But it was everything it was cracked up to be and more. I always felt the best episode of the series was the post-Super Bowl “Code Black” one from Season Two. That episode didn’t come close to the suspense that was in last night’s show. Alfred Hitchcock said in horror movies that the terror isn’t in the boom, but in the anticipation of it. That’s how I felt about last night’s finale; anytime a doctor went into the hallway or somewhere they shouldn’t have been, I felt myself climbing towards the edge of my seat. There was plenty to rave about in the episode, but I thought its biggest strength was how well the suspense was built up in each scene. And that was established from the get-go. Reid getting shot was brutal, but she’s a recent addition to the cast. It didn’t surprise me that she was hit; she was expendable But when Alex, who’s been here since the pilot, was shot just a few seconds later; it made the audience realize no one was safe. I thought it was smart to establish that fear right away instead of dragging it out for the first 30 minutes or so.

I was also pleased that even though the finale was two-hours, it didn’t feel like it. Very little time was wasted. There have been a few times that “Grey’s” was extended by an hour and it felt like a chore to get through, but last night that wasn’t so, thank goodness. To be fair, I started the show about 30 minutes in, so maybe it didn’t feel long because I didn’t have to sit through any commercials. But I think I would have felt the same way if I watched it all live. At times, I actually felt like I was watching a movie; it was that tense.

So, that was my quick, introductory view of the finale. To review the rest of last night’s epic episode in more detail, I’m going to break out an old format for a special request I got earlier this week. Without further ado, here are some Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down from last night’s show.

THUMBS UP: To the Chief. Not Derek, Richard! I initially gave him a Thumbs Up for receiving his six-months sober chip, but that was just the beginning for what was a great two hours for him. I admired his bravery and how he was able to sneak into the hospital. There was no way he was going to let his hospital get taken hostage without a fight. And what can I say about his final standoff with Mr. Clark? I loved his “I’ve lived” speech and I really loved how he poured his flask contents on the floor. I have to admit, if I was in Richard’s position, I probably would have taken a sip. No one could blame if he had.

THUMBS DOWN: To the ABC Promo department. Last week’s previews gave away the results of Meredith’s pregnancy test and her reaction to Derek getting shot. Granted, they didn’t show Derek get hit, but when they showed Meredith screaming and Cristina holding her back in that preview, was there any doubt what she was reacting to? I won’t come down on them too hard for showing Bailey being pulled from her hiding spot, because that gave us an idea for what we were in store for, but the other two reveals were inexcusable.

THUMBS UP: To Special Guest Star Mandy Moore’s performance. In the beginning of the episode, she didn’t bring much to the table; she was just good ol’ Mandy Moore. But as the episode wore on and things got tenser, I became more and more impressed with her dramatic acting chops. She really sold how scared her character was when the big emergency was revealed and when she had to assist Bailey in keeping Charles alive.

THUMBS DOWN: To the morbid foreshadowing. I cringed when Derek was complaining about all of his paperwork and wished that something would get plunged in his head just so he could be in an OR. Was there any doubt Mr. Clark was going to find him after that? And then when Cristina joked that she hoped Meredith and Derek would die so she could fulfill her godmother duties, I had a feeling we were in some trouble.

THUMBS UP: To the other strong performances from last night. I thought Chandra Wilson was excellent; but she’s always excellent. She played scared very convincingly as well; and her “The elevators are off” freak-out was very passionate without going over the top. I also thought Ellen Pompeo was great too. I’ve never been overly impressed with her acting; she’s not bad, but over these past six seasons, I’ve never really watched her and thought, “She should turn that scene in for Emmy considerations.” Last night, she got to put on a nice display; of course there was the reaction to Derek getting shot, but she was also good in the OR when she thought Jackson and Cristina gave into Mr. Clark’s demands, her “Eye for eye” bargaining speech was very good as well as when she told April about how it took her a long time to find/want/want to have kids with Derek.

And speaking of April; I have to give Sarah Drew a “Thumbs Up” for her performance too. She was good when she was in shock after finding Reid and even though part of me was hoping Mr. Clark would fire a warning shot in the ceiling to shut her up when she was giving her life story; she was awesome in that scene too. It’s tough to have a bad episode when there’s a good story followed up with good performances like the ones given by Wilson, Pompeo and Drew.

THUMBS DOWN: To the personal storylines during a time of crisis. This Thumbs Down is two-pronged. Part of it goes to Rhimes for putting it in there; to me it was the only weak link in the script. I know she really couldn’t let the season finish without resolving some of that stuff; but when a shooter is roaming around the halls of Seattle Grace-Mercy West; I don’t want to see Cristina asking Owen if she loves her or Teddy, or Mark asking Lexie if she thought more about his proposal and especially Callie and Arizona picking up where they left off on the baby battle. Like I said, I understand why Rhimes put that in there; if the whole two-hours focused on the shooter, the episode would have been even more heavy-handed than it was. Just for my viewing pleasure, I could have lived without that.

The other prong goes to Arizona and Callie. At least Mark and Lexie and Owen and Teddy put a lid on their drama when they realized there was a crisis. It blew my mind when Arizona brought her and Callie’s troubles again once the hospital went into lockdown. I thought Callie said it best, “You want to talk about this now?” I couldn’t have said it better myself. This was the pimple on what was otherwise a flawless episode.

And finally…

THUMBS UP: To Charles’ final words. It was a heartbreaking scene, but I thought it was a great send-off for a character I didn’t care for very much. Remember this is the guy who shamelessly used Izzie to get ahead when he first started there. Anytime someone can make me feel for a character I don’t like, they’ve done good work. I felt awful when he asked Bailey to tell Reid how he felt about her knowing that she suffered the same fate.

OK a few more random thoughts and I’ll see you in September…

*I can’t help but wonder if Lexie really loves Alex or if she was caught up in it all. She didn’t seem to be bothered when he called for Izzie, so maybe she does. I was definitely impressed with Mark’s ability to keep Alex alive while having to watch the gal he loves pour all of her emotions out over someone else. Talk about a true professional.

*Believe it or not, Rhimes said in her original script, Mr. Clark shot Bailey, but she couldn’t go through with having the soul of the show being wounded, so she re-wrote it. Here’s a link to more of her thoughts about the episode: http://www.greyswriters.com/

*I did not see Mr. Clark ending up in Derek’s OR coming. Not one bit. When Owen got there and just nonchalantly said it looked like Cristina had things under control and he’d check in on her, I assumed Cristina was obviously having trouble, but he didn’t want to alarm Mer. I couldn’t believe it when Mr. Clark was in there and forcing  Cristina’s to stop operating. To me that was easily the most suspenseful scene of the episode; Bailey and Charles hiding in Mary’s room was a close second.

*It would have been nice to have seen Meredith and Derek’s reunion at the end of the episode. After him being shot and her miscarrying (another shocker; given that she found out on the same day) and us sitting through two hours of nail biting suspense, wouldn’t it have been nice to end things with Meredith giving McDreamy a big, “You’re OK!” hug? I’d be shocked if the Season 7 premiere picks up where this one ended, so I guess we’ll have to imagine how that scene played out. Speaking of Meredith, I was impressed by her strength. She threw Cristina aside like a rag doll. I guess we all get a little stronger when the person we love is in danger.

*Line of the Week: “I’ll be your eye for an eye.”

*Honorable Mentions for “Line of the Week” (Strongest considerations are in bold.)

-“I’m a nurse.”

-“You stop crying.”  (I think I liked the exchange more than the line actually.)

-“I hope it has his hair.”

-“Don’t alarm the makers of the tiny humans.”

-“Did he weep like a (witch) baby?”

-“I wanna see the (witch) baby tears.”

-“I was doing charts, now I’m shot!”

-“Correction, (I) loved it here.”

-“…because that would be the worst break-up ever.”

-“There’s no hum.”

-“Me or you.”

*I was a little surprised Arizona gave in and decided she’s ready for children now. Much like Lexie, I wonder if she got caught up in all of the day’s events and said something she didn’t mean.

*So, given the fact that Owen ran back into a locked-down hospital (nice job by Teddy getting in the way of the cop by the way), entered an OR with a armed man and took one to the shoulder, I guess it’s safe to say he loves/chose Cristina?

*As for final thoughts on Season Six, I thought it was a B, B minus. It started out strong with the mourning of George, but lost its way a bit when the Mercy West crew came in (it just added too many characters and unnecessary plot lines), the stuff with Sloan’s daughter, not to mention the back-and-forth with Izzie. There were some strong episodes along the way, but the second half of the season rarely gave us too many quality episodes consecutively. The last few episodes heading up the finale were tough to sit though from an entertainment standpoint, but the finale more than made up that. This season was a like a college kid who did OK in a course all semester and then aced their final exam that counted for 50 percent of their grade. They saved their best for last, and at the end of the day, I’m OK with that.

I hope you all enjoyed the show and this season as a whole. Thanks for taking the time to discuss the show with me. I look forward to more of what’s to come in the fall.

Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.

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“Lost” Thoughts”: “The End”

In Lost, Uncategorized on May 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

By Joe Dyton

Well after six years, 119 episodes and a two-hour series recap/retrospective, the series finale of “Lost” finally arrived. I still thought it was odd that ABC opted to air the finale on Sunday when it was on Tuesday all season long, but whatever. I guess the network couldn’t have turned the evening into a five and a half hour extravaganza on a weeknight. But that is a very, very small drop in the large bucket that was the last ever episode of “Lost”.

When it comes to series finales, often times viewers are more interested in the ending than the actual episode itself. “Lost” co-showrunner Carlton Cuse made a good point, the only thing a lot of people remember about the last episode of “The Sopranos” is the ending when the screen just went to black. So, going into last night’s show, I was curious if Cuse and his co-showrunner and co-writer on the finale, Damon Lindelof would be able to put together a memorable episode and not just an ending. Looking back, I think they won in that respect. Honestly, I was more satisfied with the episode than the ending. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t mind the ending, it’s just that part of it left me ending, which I’ll get to shortly.

I’m going to be honest; a two and a half hour episode is a lot to muddle though, but I’m going to try to touch on everything. Last night was really about two things: the show and the end of the series. Let’s dive into the episode first….

I thought there was plenty to like about the finale. Things got off to a great start when Kate smirked at the name, “Christian Shephard.” Hurley’s throwaway line about Jacob “Being worse than Yoda” was classic, along with his noticing that Jack and Kate’s “moment” would have been really sweet, “if they weren’t about to die.” I thought most of the “letting go” flashes were great; I liked Sun and Jin’s the best; mainly because after they were killed off, it was nice to see them have such a sweet recollection of their time on the island. It also provided some comic relief when they both picked up their ability to speak English again and just grinned from ear to ear when Sawyer was worried for Sun’s safety. Not to mention the great exchange between Jin and Sawyer: “I guess we’ll see you there?” “See you where?”

The other memorable flashes belonged to Kate, Claire and Charlie (it’s tough to get more powerful than them re-imagining Aaron’s birth) and of course Locke wiggling his toes and Jack finally letting go by touching his dad’s long-lost coffin. Sawyer and Juliet’s didn’t do as much for me, but it was still sweet, especially when Sawyer told Juliet he had her. The only reason I said I liked most of the flashes was because I wasn’t a huge fan of the Sayid and Shannon one. It was almost too manufactured: Boone intentionally taking a beating so Sayid could come to his and Shannon’s rescue felt cheap compared to the rest of characters getting flashes through twists of fate. I was happy for Sayid of course, but I always felt Shannon was a non-entity to the show and brought nothing to the table.

On the island, we finally got the plane survivors vs. Un-Locke showdown we’d been anticipating for weeks. Fortunately Jack was right and Desmond turning out the lights in a sense made Un-Locke venerable long enough so they could take him out. I enjoyed the Jack-Un-Locke fight, even if it looked liked it was ripped from Superman-Lex Luthor showdown in “Superman Returns”. I mean we have the hero going toe-to-toe with the bald villain in the rain on a crumbling rock and the villain stabs the hero? I can’t help but wonder if the “Superman Returns” scribes were watching that last night and thinking, “Hey!” Anyway, luckily Jack’s Lois Lane (Kate) had his back and put one through Un-Locke so he fell over the cliff instead of the weakened Man of Steel. My only complaint about the fight scene was before the commercial break prior to it; I thought Jack jumping through the air fists raised and the screen going black was incredibly cheesy. It didn’t give me high hopes for what was to come after the break, but the scene redeemed itself nicely.

On the other side of the rock, the suspense wasn’t as great, but it was fun watching Miles, Richard and Lapidus put the plane together. As always, Miles gets a least one great throwaway line, “I believe in duct tape.” I couldn’t help but think of the scene in “Major League” when the pilot was duct taping one of the propellers of the team plane while all of that was happening. Anyway, everyone wondered what was the point of keeping Lapidus around; he seemed like another non-entity. Well, our question was answered last night; without him, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Richard and Claire never get off the island. I applaud the writers for giving what was such a non-factor of a character a heroic sign-off.

As for the ending, I’m kind of at peace with it. I like that we got to see what happened with all of these characters, I do. I just felt that after six years and a TWO AND A HALF HOUR finale, we could have gotten some more answers about the island. I saw a pre-show interview with Cuse and he said they aimed the finale at character resolution (which I felt they did an excellent job with) rather than the island’s mythology. With the time they had last night, couldn’t they have concentrated on both? Did it have to be one or the other? Part of me feels they put all of this mysterious stuff in the first season and didn’t have any satisfying answers, so they Cousin Oliver’ed all of it and just made the show a character-driven series where strange, unexplained phenomenon occur. It just felt like they took the easy way out there. So, while I was OK with how things were wrapped up, I would have liked a little more. Maybe that makes me greedy, I don’t know. One-hundred and fifty minutes seems like a lot of time to just abandon one-half of what the show was all about.

OK a few more random thoughts and we’ll call it a series….

*I went into last night’s show with zero expectations (it’s the only way I knew I wouldn’t be 100% let down by the ending). The only thing I wanted was for the flash-sideways this season to have a clear-cut explanation, and I guess I won in that sense. However, in the grand scheme of things, the flash-sideways were kind of waste, weren’t they? I liked that they were revealed to be the characters’ after life and Desmond was working to get them all to their destined meeting place, but unless I missed something those scenes didn’t have much bearing on what was happening in the island-universe. Think about it: Seasons one through three gave us flashbacks to show us the events that got everyone on the plane and to the island (with the exception of the Season 3 finale, which was a flash-forward), Season four was all flash-forwards that showed us the Oceanic 6’s lives off of the island and how/why they went back and even Season 5’s wacky time travel let us see the island through the years. This season, the flash-sideways pretty much were independent of the island action. That caught me off-guard.

*I was glad we got a least some explanation of the island’s powers. That light everyone seemed to want looked like it’s what kept Un-Locke invincible as well as what kept Richard from aging. I believe it was after Desmond “turned off the lights” that Richard got his first grey hair, and he couldn’t have been happier. The only thing more I would have wanted was to see how Jacob’s brother turned into the smoke monster when he was thrown down that tunnel.

*Juliet being Jack’s son’s mother had to be one of the biggest “No duh” moments in the series’ history, right?

*I hate to say it, but last night’s episode felt like it was two and a half hours. It kept my interest most of the time, but the pacing felt slow. Maybe that was because it was the last episode and I just wanted to get to the end so badly. Either way, I felt like some fat could have been cut to get it back to at least two hours. I was more than happy to see Rose, Bernard and Vincent one last time, it wasn’t necessary in the long run; same goes for all the time Sayid and Hurley spend in the Humvee waiting for Boone and Shannon to come out of the bar.

*At some point, when I’ve let this show digest, I wouldn’t mind going back and watching Season Six again. Mainly because I want to see how much interaction the characters had with people other than themselves in the flash-sideways. It was almost like a “Sixth Sense” thing going on there where they didn’t realize they were deceased until they touched someone else from the island and had that flash. But there was definitely interaction with other people; where they all deceased too? (i.e. the nurse who asked Jack what was wrong with his neck or even the airport security guards who questioned Jin and Sun about all the cash they had).

*I liked how the series came full-circle; it opened with Jack’s eye opening and finished with it closing. It doesn’t get anymore cut and dry than that.

*While I was somewhat at peace with the flash-sideways ending, I would have liked to have gotten a little more out of the island ending. Mainly with Sawyer and Claire; they never left the island in the show’s six seasons. It would have cool to see their reaction when Lapidus landed them in L.A. or wherever they were able to go with their fuel supply.

*So just to be sure, let’s see if we have all of the main characters’ fate from this year straight: Jack: died saving the island; Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Richard, Lapidus and Miles: made it off of the island on the plane; Ben, Hurley, Rose and Bernard: stayed behind on the island; Sayid, Sun and Jin: died in the sub explosion.

*My personal highlight of the evening was when Un-Locke mentioned for Jacob’s way of doing things that Jack was “Kind of the obvious choice” to replace him. Gotta love those winks to the audience.

Well, I think that’s all I have; I double-checked my four pages of notes, but I probably still missed some things, hopefully nothing too big though. J

I enjoyed this show; I am very grateful I jumped on the bandwagon. Thanks to those who pushed me to do so, you know who you are. The finale may be been imperfect and incomplete, but I’ll definitely remember it as a whole and not just for the ending.

Thanks for following along with me!

Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.

“Grey’s Anatomy” recap: “Shiny Happy People”

In Grey's Anatomy, Uncategorized on May 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm

TGIF! I hope you all had a great night and your Friday is going well. Since next week is the “Grey’s” two-hour season finale extravaganza, I’m going to keep this week’s recap (relatively) short.

For starters, let me just say, FINALLY. After a few weeks of being stuck in neutral, I felt last night’s show actually moved forward with a few things. I guess with only one more episode to go, the writers had no choice. Like I said last week, I understand all the good stuff is being saved for next week’s finale, but did we really have to be bored until then? Last night’s show was by no means perfect, but it was definitely more interesting than the last few episodes. 

I spent the last few weeks pointing out the bad about “Grey’s”, so let’s start out by focusing on the good this time…

*It was good to get a decent-sized dose of Bailey last night. Episodes are better when she’s involved. I loved her opening scene with Ben, it’s nice to see her get involved in the romantic side of things after being on the sidelines the last five seasons. I got a kick out her and Ben singing the same tune on the elevator the next day; and the look on McDreamy and McSteamy’s faces when they put the pieces together. Her “I don’t have time to play games” speech was excellent as well. I’m glad that her character hasn’t changed just because she has a love interest. On the medical side of things, I liked her telling her burn victim patient it was OK to cry; her disappointment in seeing Ben flirt with a nurse was the fuel behind that speech, but it was a good speech nonetheless. And I guess, I have to mention her asking Sloan if one woman is enough for any man. I mean, could she have asked a worse person that question?? 

*While Bailey may have gotten the game ball from me last, night I thought Alex was great as well. Professionally and personally. On the work side, I was impressed in how determined he was to prove his young patient wasn’t crazy. Where’d that motivation come from? He usually doesn’t make the time of day for that kind of research. Maybe it was because like he said he’s lived with and dated crazy. Or perhaps Lexie is bringing out the well-rounded doctor in him. Either way, I liked his passion. On the personal side, I liked that he eased Lexie’s concerns by saying they were a thing, but I thought that was established last week. Anyway, I’m happy to see him going back to nice Alex (has a character ever yo-yoed personality-wise more than Alex in the history of TV?), and my heart will break for him if Lexie chooses Mark next week.

*Ah, Mark. He cracked me up yesterday. I still can’t believe the took Reid home; or maybe I can, who knows. I guess it’s safe to say that whenever he’s in a compromising situation, he’s going to come out of the bathroom with steam coming out of the door while he’s putting on a towel. Isn’t that exactly how the scene played out when Derek went to see Addison a few years ago? I was blown away by his quasi-proposal to Lexie at the end of the episode. I don’t doubt he loves her, but I wonder if he would have made such a bold gesture if Teddy hadn’t walked in on him. It was like he needed that push (along with a timely pep talk from Callie) to go for what he wanted. Besides the main storyline for next week (I won’t say what it is for those who don’t like to watch previews for next week), I think Lexie’s decision is what I’m most looking forward to seeing resolved in the finale. 

*I also found Meredith’s predicament interesting. I thought for sure she was going to go against Derek’s wishes/orders and tell Cristina why she thought there was something going on between Owen and Teddy. I was shocked that she was able to bite her tougnue for the whole hour. I liked her explanation to Cristina, “It was you and me for a long time, but now it’s me and Derek too.” It makes sense to me; especially considering Derek isn’t only her husband, but her boss too. It’s funny when I was watching that scene last night, I realized Meredith isn’t very interesting or compelling for the lead character in a big drama like “Grey’s”. But maybe that’s a good thing; the strength of the show is the ensemble, her character’s last name just happens to be in the title. Speaking of Derek and Meredith, what was party they were having for anyway? Was it just a pre-housewarming/groundbreaking party for the house they’re going to build?

*I also enjoyed the love story between the two elderly patients; especially since the woman was played by Marion Ross, aka Mrs. Cunningham on “Happy Days”. I liked how their story motivated characters like Callie and Mark to take a chance and made Cristina question her situation with Owen, but I liked it independent of all of that too. It was just nice to see two patients have not only have a happy medical ending, but a personal one as well. 

*The only thing about last night I didn’t care for was the Cristina/Owen/Teddy stuff. I felt like Cristina and Owen’s relationship has been spinning its wheels for too long now. I was happy when Teddy was brought on and thought her throwing a wrench in the works would make Cristina and Owen more interesting. It had its moments, but overall I could still care less what happens there. I will say that storyline picked up a little momentum when it was revealed that Teddy overheard Cristina and Owen’s argument about her, but I am still hoping that a whole lot of time isn’t spent on them next week. Just sayin’.

*I didn’t have a ton of standout lines that I liked, but my favorite exchanges were between Derek and Mark, “Go Bailey.” “Indeed.” and Derek and Meredith, “I hate your job.” “I love you.” 

Well, in an effort to keep this relatively short as promised, I’m going to wrap up here and save energy for next week’s finale recap. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.