May 18, 2012


More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,




Where were Jack and Sawyer?  Embracing the idea of “go big or go home,” the 8th season finale of GREY’S ANATOMY opened like the pilot for Lost, in the aftermath of the horrible crash of a plane on which several of our main characters had flown.  Shonda Rhimes is not against shaking up her shows, and at least a couple of shockers occurred in this episode, so with a warning that MAJOR SPOILERS LIE AHEAD, we’ll take a page break–


There would actually have been even more suspense about the outcome of the crashed plane if word hadn’t gotten out a week or so ago that Ellen Pompeo (Meredith), Patrick Dempsey (Derek), Sandra Oh (Cristina) and Justin Chambers (Karev) had signed new deals and thus were not going to die.  However, that left Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), Lexie (Chyler Leigh) and Sloan (Eric Dane) still at risk, and in fact next season Meredith will be the only Grey left on Grey’s Anatomy, because Leigh’s Lexie didn’t survive.  This was staged in a particularly wrenching way, with true love Sloan finally confessing his love for her and telling her they could be married and have children as she faded away, something which will no doubt leave scars on Sloan next season.

The episode, written by Rhimes (who had a busy month, also solo-writing the finale of Scandal–although her latest pilot wasn’t picked up by the network last week) and directed by Rob Corn, threw a couple of curveballs at viewers who were trying to guess ahead.  First, it had Callie (Sara Ramirez) deliver a speech back in Seattle about how utterly happy she was with her life right now and how everything can change in a second, which according to the rules of TV foreshadowing should have boded very badly for Arizona.  But then it turned out the second exit from the series didn’t happen at the crash site at all, but in Seattle, where Hunt “fired” old friend Teddy (Kim Raver) because she refused, out of concern for him, to resign and take the Army job she’d been offered.  This kind of smart play with expectations is characteristic of the show.

For a serialized series getting ready for its 9th season on the air, Grey’s is in remarkably good shape.  Its ratings are down, sure, but it’s still one of the highest-rated dramas on the air, and Rhimes’ continual cycling of performers in and out of the series has kept the drama fairly fresh.  This season, in particular, the episodes centering on the residents taking their surgical boards were extremely well done, and finally gave Sarah Drew’s Kepner a chance to be more than prissy and tense.

Even assuming there are no more surprise deaths in the plane crash (the episode ended with the group still unrescued), Season 9 will have plenty to resolve.  As of now, several of the regulars are supposed to be planning to leave Seattle and move to hospitals elsewhere, and presumably most if not all of those decisions will be changing for the good of the series, if not the characters.  Bailey (Chandra Wilson, in many ways the show’s anchor) will be embarking on a long-distance marriage with Ben (Jason George).  And the Hunt/Cristina storyline, regrettably not this season’s high point, is still far from done.

Grey’s is still an important show to ABC, this Spring helping to launch Rhimes’ Scandal–but more importantly, it’s still one that works.  As network soaps go, it remains a first-rate example of its genre.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."