Television shows are like relationships. In the beginning there's the blush of first love, fraught with passion and brimming with excitement. Everything is all shiny and new and the possibilities for the future seem endless. Then, over time, that burning intensity necessarily morphs into something different, something either reassuringly comfortable, steadfast and true or into something empty and hollow, a shadow of its former self. On the rarest of occasions, however, deep into a relationship, one falls in love all over again.
In a bold turn of events, unusual for a show seven years into its run, the creators of Grey's Anatomy dared to burn the house down in the stunning season six finale and the show has risen like a phoenix from the ashes in a crackling season seven premiere that has turned everything we thought we knew on its ear. I'm excited about the show and all of its characters in a way that I haven't been in years.
Life is a Highway
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One of the fascinating observations in this episode is how everyone reacts differently to trauma. Derek Shepherd was arguably the closest to death of all the survivors. He responds by living in the moment, whether impulsively resigning his position as Chief (a good decision) or speeding recklessly down the highway (a bad one). He's living life fast and loose, pumped with adrenaline and feeling invincible. But there's one key piece of information Derek does not yet possess.
On the day of the shooting Meredith both found out she was pregnant and lost the baby. This secret is eating Meredith from the inside out and although she is taking care of everyone around her, she's not taking care of herself and she remains one of two surgeons not yet cleared for surgery.
Here Comes the Bride
The other is Cristina Yang who saved Derek's life in the finale while a gun was literally pressed to her head. It turns out that Cristina's response to the tragedy is to quietly lose her bearings. She's paralyzed by fear and hides behind the plans for her upcoming wedding to Owen. In contrast the shooting seems to have given Owen complete clarity and focus. He wants a life with Cristina and proposes to her in a way that I found very typical of this couple. It wasn't showy. It wasn't traditional. Instead, Owen recognized something in Cristina and provided her with total love and security in the moment that she needed it the most.
Some will argue that they have rushed into marriage too quickly. I would counter that while the timeline for the wedding (beautiful, low-key, and very romantic by the way) may have been accelerated by the actions of a crazed gunman, Owen and Cristina would have moved forward in their relationship regardless. The way they looked at each other during the ceremony confirms to me their deep and abiding love for each other.
Everything is Topsy Turvy
What about everyone else? Well, that's a mixed bag. Newly-reinstated Chief Richard is dancing in his office. The normally no-nonsense Miranda Bailey is barely keeping herself together. Callie and Arizona are together, but living in a "pink bubble" that may burst at any moment. Mark has manned up and behaved like an adult while Alex has reverted to being a hardened jerk in an effort of self-preservation. Lexie suffered a breakdown but found a steely resolve beneath her Little Grey exterior. Teddy's got a new guy and Avery and April are recovering from the deaths of their friends.
Sound off: Do you think there are too many characters on Grey's?
Whew! That's a lot of people, but I can't wait to see what's coming next. "Shock to the System" airs next Thursday, September 30 on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)