Up until this point, I was waiting to write an article entitled “Why Shonda Rhimes Just Doesn’t Get It,” detailing why all of the episodes so far this season have not fixed “Grey’s Anatomy” in the way it needed to be fixed. After Thursday’s episode, I was proved wrong.
No, it did not feature a resurgence of the MerDer relationship that drove the show through its acclaimed first two seasons, but it had heart in it and – is it even possible? – likable characters.
The thing that has always been so great about “Grey’s” was Meredith and Derek’s relationship. The first season was a meager nine episodes, but those episodes were driven by the underlying passion and dynamic of their relationship. No one cared about the medicine – it wasn’t about the medicine. Seattle’s Grace was always just there to be a metaphor for Meredith’s life.
So when the Chief came out in this season’s premiere and gave his big speech about how Seattle’s Grace (cough “Grey’s Anatomy”) came out of nowhere in the beginning and was regaled as being amazing before quickly become second rate, season five seemed like the second coming of season one. That is until he said personal relationships weren’t to be tolerated and that Seattle’s Grace was going to get serious about medicine.
It had seemed like Shonda just didn’t get it. We don’t care about the medicine! If we did, we’d be watching Hugh Laurie cracking some seriously interesting cases. We watch “Grey’s” for the sex, the tears, and above all, the drama.
Well, thank god for dermatology.
After the train wreck that was season four, “Grey’s” was in desperate need of exfoliating off a layer of dry, peeling skin and digging deep to get back shiny, happy Meredith that we knew all too briefly.
This was the epiphany Shonda said she had after the 2007 writers’ strike. This was what she had promised. But now Seattle’s Grace is going back to medicine? Come on. Why not focus on all of those beautiful relationships that had been reformed in the last ten minutes of season four and allow them to grow and prosper? Alex did what he does to often and become a complete jerk, Meredith did what she always does and start having trust issues, and…. But I digress.
The point of this article is not what Shonda Rhimes did wrong, but what she has done right.
In season five episode four, entitled “Brave New World,” Shonda came very, very close to bringing back everything wonderful about “Grey’s Anatomy.”
First and foremost (and previously mentioned) was the return of Joe the bartender. Joe’s Bar is almost a character unto itself in the show, but has been M.I.A. for the past season or so. Sure we’ve seen the bar, but where was Joe? I’m thinking the return of our beloved bartender is a signal for a better “Grey’s.”
Second is dermatology. Christina’s discovery of a completely different universe located just floors away from the surgical universe in Seattle’s Grace brought back one of the biggest missing pieces from last season: humor. The dermatology bit was funny. Who cared that Christina was gone from her patient for almost an hour (except for Lexie who weakly rebuked Christina when she returned to find her patient on the verge of death)? Hearing Christina unbelievingly state how one dermatologist had given another dermatologist their surgery because (insert Christina’s incredulity here) they thought the other would find it interesting was priceless.
Then there’s the fact that Callie and Hahn are close to being the healthiest couple at Seattle’s Grace.
Alex finally apologized to Izzie, which is one small step for Alex and one large leap closer to the relationship that’s been five seasons in the making.
The opening scene with the $20 bill, the pink pillow, and Alex and Izzie’s quarreling was great up until Meredith ruined the dreamiest McDreamy moment in a while because of, surprise surprise, her mother.
Basically all we’re waiting for is Ellen Pompeo to part her hair to the side again and MerDer to get back to making our hearts twist every time they have eye sex with each other and we’ll be all set. You go, Shonda.