Well, that didn’t last long. Remember when viewers were promised that this season of Grey’s Anatomy would set aside the angst and torment and feature a lighter, less serious, more humorous tone? Me too. But I knew better than to believe those promises. Have twelve years of watching this show taught me nothing? “The Sound of Silence,” directed by Denzel Washington, showcased the excellent Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey faced yet another life-changing event. Yet, though the episode was well done, I couldn’t help but wonder: was that really necessary?
Big Rig, Massive Pile Up
As the episode opens Maggie, Alex, and Meredith are all stuck in traffic and late for work. We learn in the course of their conversation that Alex is living in Amelia’s old room and that Maggie is still seeing Andrew. All three docs eventually abandon their car in order to help at the scene of the horrific accident that caused the traffic jam. They later arrive at Grey Sloan Memorial in ambulances with patients in tow. Meredith’s patient, Lou, is a family man and super-nice guy until, post-seizure, he brutally attacks Meredith while in a fugue state. Afterward, he remembers nothing while she fights for her life. Her many injuries include a severely broken jaw, problems with her legs and arms, a collapsing lung and complete loss of hearing.
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Physician, Heal Thyself aka The Long and Winding Road
What follows is the story of Meredith’s treatment over the next several weeks. Her progress and setbacks are detailed as her friends support her through this latest trauma. Eventually, her hearing returns and her jaw heals. Her bones mend and her bruising fades. Her children, who were terrified of seeing her so soon after the attack, were happily back on her lap and by episode’s end she had returned home. Still, if the previews are to be believed, Meredith’s emotional recovery is far from over. In fact, it’s only just begun. That said, although she is not yet ready to forgive Amelia after their epic fight, Meredith does forgive Lou, who is devastated by what he did. She also advises Alex that Jo loves him and not to take that lightly. Loving Jo doesn’t mean he doesn’t love Meredith. There’s room for more than one “person” in your life. (Speaking of which, where was Cristina?) We got a body-double for Derek’s funeral, but not one mention of Cristina in the aftermath of this attack on Meredith? This is inexplicable to me.)
Everyone Not Named Meredith
I’ll admit that one of my issues with this episode is that by focusing completely on Meredith, we got only the tiniest glimpses into any of the other stories:
- Jackson served April with divorce papers.
- Owen and Amelia aren’t talking.
- After falling off the wagon and drinking heavily, Amelia got her 30-day AA chip.
- We didn’t learn what Owen told Meredith, if anything, about his sister.
- We didn’t hear Jo’s answer to Alex’s proposal.
- We didn’t hear what Jackson said to April.
These gaps will likely be filled in over the coming weeks, but I found it frustrating nonetheless. As for whether or not this story line was necessary, I suppose it propels Meredith into another chapter of her life and gives her something to do for the rest of the season, but I still found the violence and the fact that her life was in danger, yet again, to be frustrating. Still, kudos to Denzel Washington and Ellen Pompeo for their nuanced work. Now, can we move forward already? Meredith’s journey is, yet again, going to be brutal. Are a few light and funny moments too much to ask?
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MEMORABLE MOMENT AND QUOTES
Penny (finding Meredith): “I need some help in here…NOW!”
Richard (to Maggie about giving Meredith treatment): “You can’t work on your family.”
Alex: “Everyone in this damn room is her family.”
Richard (to Meredith): “Forgiveness is a powerful thing…not only to make the other person feel good…but to heal YOU.”
Meredith (to Alex): “You can have more than one person – I used to think you couldn’t – turns out I have a whole damn village.”
BEST SCENE: Alex and Meredith when her hearing returns
BEST MONOLOGUE: Richard’s advice to Meredith on the value of forgiveness
NEXT BEST MONOLOGUE: Meredith telling Alex that she’s okay – go build a life with Jo
WORST MONOLOGUE: Amelia prattling on about her personality traits/coping mechanisms
(I know, I know…but I can not stand her. Not one bit. Harsh? Yes. True? YES.)
MOST SHOCKING MOMENT OTHER THAN MEREDITH’S ATTACK: Viewers see Zola, Bailey, and Ellis on screen in not one, but two scenes. I still can’t believe it.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC.
(image courtesty of ABC)