This review is all kinds of spoilers.
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STUDIO: ABC Studios
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 1032 minutes
- Extended Season Finale – Re-edited season finale with over 20 minutes of unaired material
- Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy: Unaired scenes
- In Sititches: Bloopers
- Chandra Wilson: Anatomy of a Talent
- Seattle Grace On Call: 6 Webisodes
A once-stable show has found itself in critical condition.
Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, Sara Ramirez, Jessica Capshaw, Jesse Williams, Eric Dane, Chyler Leigh,
Kevin McKidd, Kim Raver, James Pickens, Jr.
The doctors of Seattle Grace are some of the best, not only in medicine, but in screwing around with each and generally making a mess of their private lives. Seasoned veterans interact with their upstart proteges, and role reversal isn’t uncommon. When not trying to untangle their personal lives, they can usually find themselves in the midst of some pretty interesting medical cases…in which they frequently find themselves personally involved.
I covered Season 4 here. At that time, I was still generally into the show. But the last couple of years, an asinine story or two, the revolving and ridiculously expanding cast and the behind-the-scenes quagmires with some of the actors have generally put me off of the show. A program that almost rivaled ER at its height has turned into a veritable mess, in front of the camera and behind. Relationships were rehashed and recycled, and some characters became almost irrelevant. An influx of new characters also diluted the storylines and by the time you figured out who some of them were, they’re blown away in an admittedly gripping season finale.
If McDreamy had gotten shot in the hair, he probably would have been alright.
The principals are all generally back: Meredith, Yang, Bailey, Richard, Derek, Sloan, Karev, Owen, Callie, Owen, Arizona and Lexie. That right there is more than enough staff to sustain a show like this. But then, the major storyline of the season, where Seattle Grace merged with another hospital, Mercy West, saw the temporary additions of residents Reed Adamson (Nora Zehetner), Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and Charles Percy (Robert Baker). Anesthesiologist Dr. Ben Warren (Jason George) was also added as a love interest for Bailey, and cardiologist Teddy Altman (Raver) became a regular. So right there, you’re approaching twenty regulars and recurring characters of which to keep track. Even though a cast departure or two and some attrition eventually whittled that down, you found yourself hard pressed to care about every Joe Blow in a pair of scrubs.
“I’ve got to try to save Katherine, Sandra!”
“She can’t be saved, Ellen! She’s doomed herself to shitty romcoms. Just be happy for the time you two had together…”
Then, for some of the established characters, some nagging storylines were resolved, and not always well. First off, George O’Malley died. And not just died, he got hit by a bus (or some vehicle) and thus has his faced turned into a 3D Picasso so that no one knew it was him that’s dying. When he does, of course everyone is shaken up. George was snuffed because T.R. Knight wanted off the show. His character had become a joke; and worse, a hardly-used joke. Then there was drama with both Katherine Heigl and her character Izzie, who had just survived a major cancer scare. She married Karev, and then their relationship essentially went down the drain and Izzie inexplicably left Seattle. Heigl had been off the show (filming a movie I think) and although she extended her contract for Season 6, asked to be let out of it for family purposes (she adopted a little girl). Season 5 had seen that entire ludicrous “return of Denny Duquette / Izzie brain cancer” storyline, the single biggest farce in the show’s entire run to date. So Izzie’s storyline on the show was open-ended and generally badly resolved. Even beforehand, her relationship with Karev was a replay of at least one prior go-round with him.
“Yeah, it’s Owen. You still in the black market organ game? There’s been a few developments recently…”
Another major arc was that Richard started drinking again after years of sobriety and Derek forced him out as chief. After sobering up again, Richard returned as an attending. Derek and Meredith’s relationship was actually the most stable it had ever been, surprisingly. Entire seasons had been waged in getting them together and breaking them up a couple of times each. Pompeo was out for a part of the season due to maternity leave. They explain this away by having Meredith donate part of her liver to her estranged father, who abandoned her as a child.
Those ABC layoffs were a bitch.
The rest of the arcs are many, and several center on the merger of the two hospitals and staff. Callie and Arizona continued their lesbian relationship (Callie’s third with I think as many women in as many seasons due to cast turnaround). Owen and Yang continue to tip toe through their minefield of a relationship due to Owen’s PTSD. Plus Yang offers up Owen to Teddy, who had been in love with Owen for years. Yang didn’t want to lose Teddy as a teacher, and teddy couldn’t continue being just Owen’s friend. Generally, Yang’s offer didn’t sit well with Owen. After Karev and Izzie split, he beds Lexie (again), who had broken up with Sloan because he had taken in his irresponsible and pregnant estranged daughter into their home. Then when they decide to get back together, Sloan won’t have her because she slept with Karev. And as for Karev, he’s the biggest yo-yo on the roster. He’s an asshole, then he’s sensitive, then he’s an asshole again. Back and forth he’s gone for the entire series run. It would be refreshing if Shonda Rhimes could make up her mind about him. I didn’t even bother trying to keep the newbies straight or what they were into, except maybe Jesse William.
“Jesus, I’ve never seen a sphincter this powerful. What’s the patient’s name again?”
However the show might have degraded in Season 6, it pulled off the most powerful season finale it’s ever had, as a vengeful gunman stalked the hospital wasting nurse and doctor alike, including a couple of the Mercy West staffers. Other people, like Karev, are shot. Derek is also shot and needs a cardiologist. But since Teddy is in lockdown, the only one available is Yang. During the siege, the gunman is set to kill Derek on the operating table and Meredith pleads with him not to. The stress of the day causes a miscarriage for her. It’s all admittedly sudsy, fairly gripping stuff. But it can’t save the fact that the show has gotten too complicated and too diluted and discombobulated to make you care any more.
“Turns out Isaiah Washington got back on the set one day and, well…”
The episodes look good in 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced for widescreen) and audio is fine in Dolby 5.1. There are a disappointing lack of features, notably commentaries, especially on that season finale. But they did do a re-edit and add 20 minutes to it, which was nice. There’s a series of deleted scenes under the banner: Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy; as well as bloopers titled In Sitches. There’s a featurette on Chandra Wilson, who plays Dr. Bailey. And a series of six webisodes, Seattle Grace On Call round out the meager offerings.
“My God! I’ve never seen anything so horrible. What is it?”
“ABC’s fall schedule…”