Many reviews of the S7 finale of GREY’S ANATOMY say that it seemed like the ‘beginning of the end’ of the show. TV TALK explores this notion
Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of back and forth about whether or not Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd) will leave the show during or after the next season of GREY’S ANATOMY. He stated that while the others from the original cast might renew their contracts after S8 ends, he was done with the show. That statement was later said to have been revealed out of context, and whether he would be leaving the show or not is still a mystery. That being said, it is true that the contracts of a majority of the cast expire with the forthcoming season, and with no confirmations from any of the cast members about a renewal of their contracts, it is still very uncertain what will happen with the show. Therefore, it was understandable that certain reviews called the season finale ‘the beginning of the end!’
For the last two years, creator Shonda Rhimes has been killing off or almost killing off characters in the finales (even in PRIVATE PRACTICE). Moreover, the S6 finale of GREY’S ANATOMY was possibly the pinnacle of disaster that she could write on the show. So this year, it seemed pretty obvious that the finale would be relatively quiet, but not without the signature Shonda drama—leaving almost every character in the lurch after a dramatic turn of events to disrupt almost every iota of harmony! Why didn’t people see it coming? Did anyone actually think that the finale would be as shocking as George and Izzie on their deathbeds, or as nailbiting as a crazy gunman shooting everyone in sight at the hospital? Writer Debora Cahn says on the Grey’s Writers blog, “You know what you can’t do the year after your boss [Shonda] kills off a bunch of people in the finale? Kill off anyone! You can’t do anything the year after a mass murder. There’s no topping a mass murder. So we decided not to...” Just as I had expected! No one died! And so what if it wasn’t all that dramatic? It didn’t make it any less interesting for me.
The main cliffhangers of the finale were the disturbances in the relationships of a few main characters. Christina got pregnant and decided she didn’t want to have the baby, and Owen threw her out of the house. The general view is that she actually deserved Owen’s wrath, because she didn’t give him his share of the decision making process and hence a share of the marriage. However, I wouldn’t say that the matter hadn’t been up for discussion. She didn’t go and get the abortion without telling him; she heard his views on the topic and she expressed hers. That the matter did not reach a conclusion, leaving her with the veto power was what angered him, I’d say. Moreover, in the episode prior to the finale, Owen tells Christina why she wasn’t going to be Chief Resident, saying that she needs to focus on surgery and any other responsibilities that could take her away from surgery, would drive her crazy till she failed at handling them. I think that that very much applies to her personal life as well, and that Owen needs to see that, which will help him understand why Christina so badly does not want to be a mother. Whether she will have the baby is still a question mark. One would think that she’d eventually melt and decide to give Owen a child, but knowing Christina, you never know.
On the other hand, there are Derek and Meredith. While some may think it’s devastating to see ‘Mer-Der’ in trouble, I think that it’s just a matter of ego and stubbornness on Derek’s part—the stubbornness over Meredith asking him to be professional with her over work-related matters, and the ego over Meredith not agreeing with him on what’s right and wrong. We all know Derek has a temper and a big fat ego. Remember how he brutally threw Addison out of the house, or how he called Meredith a whore for sleeping with George, which she did not owe him any explanation for, or how he assaulted Mark when Mark told him he was seeing Lexie, or how he refused to come back to work after he killed a patient, or how he threw the engagement ring he was going to give to Meredith... Like all of the above, Derek ignoring Meredith and abandoning her now is just so typically Derek. I believe that this issue will not last too long, and they’ll be fine a few episodes into S8.
The positives that came out of the finale were Miranda Bailey agreeing to let Eli into her life a little, agreeing to let him come and meet her son, and Teddy finally admitting to her feelings for Henry. I think Bailey deserves to be happy and I really want to see more of her. She’s been so absent from S7, and maybe a relationship getting serious will give the writers more opportunities for Bailey storylines. Then there are Teddy and Henry. We all spotted their chemistry right in the beginning, when he was just her patient, and I think Henry makes way more sense with Teddy than Owen ever did or could. I’m glad that she’s moving on and has put Owen Hunt in her past.
The other development was Mark giving Avery and Lexie his blessings. What seemed heartbreaking could also be a positive new start for the younger couple. It was getting a little annoying seeing Lexie fawning over Mark Sloan and his new family, given that she left him for leaving her out of the decision to start that family. And even though I think that in the end Mark and Lexie will end up back together, I’d like to see more of her with Avery first. Avery, on the other hand, proved to be the only friend to April Kepner, when she was announced as the new Chief Resident. My heart went out to her when she had no one to be happy for her, the instant her name was put up on the board. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m beginning to like April—something that began when Hunt was giving the residents trauma training.
The most heartbreaking turn in the finale was Alex’s heart being ripped out by Lucy Fields, and then being thrown out of Meredith’s house, which is now no longer the happy residents' home that it’s always been. The writers have given Alex hell right from the beginning, with Rebecca, Izzie and now Lucy. He missed out on the Chief Resident position, and his friendship with Meredith is in jeopardy. The rebuilding of their friendship will be a focal point with the opening of S8, and that makes room for Shonda to go ahead with her plan to focus on the original cast in S8. Whether or not contracts are renewed after S8, Shonda has said, “I want to spend next season doing nothing but telling stories about the originals, and I felt like in order to do that, we wanted to put everybody in a place where the focus was squarely on Meredith and Derek, Cristina, Alex." That sounds comforting, given the possibility of it being the end of the road for Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo (Meredith), who also previously hinted that she might leave the show post S8. The show can definitely go on without the title character, because it’s more of an ensemble show anyway, yet it would be terribly sad if any of the remaining six actors from the original cast don’t return for S9. So here’s to a season of seeing more of our original GREY’S people!
Do share your views on the finale. Were you disappointed, or did you enjoy it, even without catastrophic drama?