Ever since the depressing third season of Grey’s Anatomy, and continuing into this season, the show that I once so loved seemed to have lost its luster. I know this is blasphemy to all the Grey’s Anatomy faithful out there, but there was way too much emphasis on Meredith’s inability to commit and Izzie’s obsession with herself, and not enough girl power or Justin Chambers‘ black wifebeater.
But last Thursday’s fourth season finale of Grey’s Anatomy changed everything. Shonda Rhimes and company really stepped up and brought us two hours of television that was pitch-perfect in almost every conceivable way. (I say “almost” because I still think that Shonda and her merry band of writers still have a Hummer-sized blindspot for Derek Shepherd’s douchebaggery, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.)
I’m usually loathe to make grand, sweeping statements such as “That was the best episode EVER,” but “Freedom” really was the best episode of the entire season. We learned that Bailey (Chandra Wilson) can, in fact, be even cooler, with an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars to go along with her medical expertise. She also came to the realization that she can’t continue to do everything and, as a result, gave up the free clinic to Izzie. It’s not weakness that made her give up the clinic; it’s realizing how she can be a better surgeon and a better parent. Admittedly, the clinic was a silly plot contrivance anyway, and I’m glad to see that it won’t be taking up any more of Bailey’s precious time.
It’s almost impossible for me to catalog all the greatness that existed in the season finale, but I’ll try. Meredith made progress in therapy. She has mommy issues like nobody’s business, but she was able to come to terms with her mother’s suicide attempt and learned that she must try to be extraordinary in love, not just in her career. Cristina (Sandra Oh) got her mojo back via sparkle pager. Callie (Sara Ramirez) embraced her nascent homosexual lust and laid a big wet one on right on Hahn’s (Brooke Smith’s) lips, as Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) looked on lustily. George (T.R. Knight) finally stopped being everybody’s bitch, thanks to Lexie, and asked to take the intern exam over again. Lexie (Chyler Leigh) was amazingly entertaining and endearing, sneaking into the Chief’s files and memorizing everything. The absentminded kiss that George planted on her will no doubt gain significance next season. Alex (Justin Chambers) finally showed his vulnerable side, breaking down crying and reaching out to Izzie. Even Izzie (Katherine Heigl) had her moments. She stepped in and laid down the law to Alex about Ava, calling in a psych consult like any competent doctor would have done.
The only character who did not make me love him was Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). How this character is still Shonda’s golden child is beyond me. Yes, we get it. He’s tormented by his love for Meredith, but that does not give him the right to lash out at her when his clinical trial patients are dying. If things don’t go absolutely the way he wants them to, then he refuses to cooperate. How immature can this man possibly be? No amount of heavily styled hair or blue-blue-blue eyes is going to make me warm up to him unless he admits to being the needy, desperate one in the relationship.
At the end of the episode, Meredith tells Derek that she’s not sure that she can even trust him, but she’s going to try to move past her dark and twistiness in order to be whole again. Well, that’s exactly how I feel about Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy has come up short for me so many times in the past, and I’m not sure if I completely trust it not to disappoint me again. But just as Meredith promises to work through her issues, just as she allows herself to open up to the possibility that she and Derek can have their happily ever after, so too must I try to overcome any disappointment I’ve harbored in the past and look forward to a fresh new season of hot doctors hooking up in elevators.
-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)