Around the Water Cooler: “Grey’s Anatomy,” The Season 10 Premiere (SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grey’s Anatomy” currently airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, Thursdays at 9:00 PM.

What: “Grey’s Anatomy,” a medical drama narrated by central character Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) that meditates on the journey to becoming a doctor–and a good doctor at that–as well as on the web of personal and professional relationships in a hospital.  The hospital in this show is currently called “Grey Sloane Memorial” (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here:http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/grey_s_anatomy/summary.html).

When: The Season 10 (!) premiere aired on Thursday, September 26, 2013, on ABC at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in Seattle, Washington, at the aforementioned fictitious hospital, which has gone through several name changes since the series began.

Why: I initially passed on this show when it first aired, being typically uninterested in medical dramas (I ignored “ER” and similar shows for most of their runs).  However, two co-worker friends of mine and a couple of other friends in my life pretty much peer pressured me into watching this show due to all of the then-described “ridiculously hot doctors” populating the cast.  When my mom bought the first two seasons on DVD, I devoured them and became a convert at or around the season 3 premiere.  I have stuck with it, for better (Post-It Note weddings) and for worse (Izzy and her fling with the ghost of Denny), since then.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

Grey’s Anatomy is now entering its tenth season, and though it has retained most of its original cast (and has not suffered the departure of some of those that left), Sandra Oh, who plays Cristina Yang, Meredith’s “person” and one of the original cast, has announced that this season will be her last.  The voluntary departure of such a central and important character may be the turning point for the show; though creator Shonda Rimes and the network are not talking cancellation, given the program’s continually steady to high ratings, Cristina has traditionally been one of the characters to watch, and Oh has been one of the most compelling actresses in the cast.  One can’t blame her for leaving after ten years; at the same time, it would be almost incomprehensible for the show to continue on without her.  She may not be the title character, but she, Meredith, and Alex are the only remaining three of the original interns (since Katherine Heigl’s Izzy sought greener pastures, and T.R. Knight’s George met his fate a few seasons ago) and were always the most interesting, particularly considering their characters’ interplay and long-nurtured relationships as well as Meredith and Cristina’s consistently hilarious “twisted sister” dynamic.  When Cristina leaves, how can Meredith continue on without her, despite her happy family and married life with Derek (Patrick Dempsey)?  What’s worse is that the writers are still firing on all cylinders, after a bumpy period involving some cast shake-ups.  Are the other characters interesting enough to continue the legacy?  Can Grey’s Anatomy become the new ER, which continued long after its original cast had departed for other gigs?  Also, Oh’s Cristina is part owner of the newly refurbished hospital, after Meredith, Derek, Callie/Arizona (Sara Ramirez; Jessica Capshaw), and Jackson (Jesse Williams), through his mother’s Avery Foundation grant, used the settlement money gained from the fallout of the plane crash finishing the eighth season to buy the hospital.  How will that all be affected in the end?

The ninth season finale brought the arrival of a significant rainstorm which caused mudslides and floods in the Seattle surrounds.  Grey-Sloane Memorial Hospital lost power, and several crises affected our cast, continuing in this two-hour premiere:

Meredith Grey – went into labor and also had to undergo a splenectomy while the power was out.  She had to deliver by Caesarian as well.  Intern Ross (Gaius Charles) saved both Grey and the baby, who is now named Bailey, after supervising surgeon Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) barely facilitated this operation following her own struggles with possibly causing infections in prior patients in the ninth season.  In the premiere, Meredith is confined to her bed while the hospital’s beleaguered ER deals with the onslaught of flood and mudslide victims.

Derek Shepherd – was forced to operated on Intern Heather Brooks (Tina Majorino) after she was electrocuted searching for former Chief Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), who was also electrocuted in the ninth season finale attempting to turn on the power generator in the hospital basement, which was flooded and caused circuits to fry and live wires to turn the basement floor into a super conductor.  Brooks also went looking for Webber after Ross tricked her and then Derek into believing that Brooks was too busy to help Derek, as his favorite neuro intern and vice versa, when Ross coveted the position.

Cristina Yang/Miranda Bailey – Yang was forced to thread a tube into Webber’s aorta in order to ensure that his heart continued to function following his electrocution.  She fought with Bailey most of the episode when Bailey believed that necrotic tissue resulting from the electrocution was causing Webber’s abdomen to swell (and, she believed, further endanger his heart). Cristina also dealt with the fallout of breaking up with Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd), when they both realized that he still wants children while she still doesn’t, even though they know they love each other deeply.  There was quite a bit of on-call room escapades between them, though, emotionally, they are in a low place, believing that they can’t remain friends.

Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) – coordinated trauma while dealing with his feelings for Intern Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington).  In the ninth season finale, they acknowledged that they loved each other but struggled with consummating their feelings sexually in this episode when Jo realized that Alex has slept with most of the other interns.

Callie Torres – Callie was emotionally wrecked following Arizona’s ill-advised decision to sleep with the visiting Pediatrics Surgeon in the ninth season finale.  She spends most of this episode contemplating separating from Arizona, following their ninth season struggles after Callie made the decision to amputate Arizona’s leg following the plane crash.

Arizona Robbins – dealt with the consequences of her actions, albeit poorly.  I don’t have sympathy for this character at all; I get that love was lost when she lost her leg, but why she gave into temptation in such a way, I’ll never understand.  It’s a mistake that will surely cause ramifications for their relationship and their friendships with the other doctors for some time.

April Kepner (Sarah Drew) – spent most of the episode helping Hunt in trauma and struggling with her latent feelings for Jackson Avery, despite her recent engagement to the cute paramedic whose name escapes me, until Jackson gave her some tough talk about her fear of serious involvement with someone she loves.

Jackson Avery – had to corral his mom (Debbie Allen) when she found out that Webber was electrocuted, and that Bailey was conducting exploratory surgery to search for the necrotic tissue.   He also navigated between frustration with April and support for Intern Stephanie Edwards, who grieved over the loss of Brooks.

Richard Webber – spent most of the episode on the operating table.  We find out that he designated Meredith as his power of attorney for end-of-life health care decisions following the passing of his wife Adele without telling Meredith, sending her into a tailspin; however, in one of the most powerful moments of the episode, she realized she was his only family left and authorized Bailey’s surgery, which ultimately saved his life, and his affection for her was clear when he finally opened his eyes.

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) How will Meredith and the Chief’s relationship evolve now that there is an acknowledged bond, even though the germination of that bond occurred because Richard and Meredith’s mother Ellis had an affair that ultimately destroyed Ellis’ marriage to Thatcher, Meredith’s father?  Richard was already acting as her mentor and, in some ways, her de facto father, but these new responsibilities for Meredith deepened that connection – to what end?

2) Isn’t little Bailey Shepherd cute?  I like how they kept talking about giving Zola attention.

3) Cristina and Owen’s relationship up and downs hurt my heart.  Please resolve them before she leaves.

4) Jo just needs to get over it.  She and Alex are perfect for each other, but she has to know and accept that he’s a man whore.

5) In the Callie and Arizona debacle, I’m totally and 100 percent on Callie’s side, particularly since Arizona is more often the reasonable one.  I don’t blame Callie for leaving their home.  She needs time to sort this out, given all of her remarkable patience and caring devoted to Arizona’s recovery in season 9.  I just really detest Arizona right now.  It was a mistake, and I don’t know how they can recover.  They should probably seek marriage/couple’s counseling.

6) April still loves Jackson, and despite Jackson’s assertion to the contrary, I think he still loves April.  I don’t think her formally accepting her engagement in private is going to be the last word on the subject.

7) Let’s see Bailey getting back to kicking ass and working on repairing her friendship with Richard.

8) RIP Heather Brooks.  You were my favorite of the new interns, and Ross is going to need to own up for his not entirely misplaced guilt.  I could care less about Interns Edwards (Jackson’s current flame) or Murphy (the perennially bitchy one).

9) I really think this should be the last season.  How many more crises can these people take?  This cast of characters has an extraordinarily high probability of bad luck.

10) This show still has the ability to make me ugly cry.  Richard’s parting narration in this two-part premiere had me in fits of hysterics.

PARTING SHOTS

Grey’s Anatomy is still compelling television, though it does not hold to the level or quality of its first few seasons.  When Sandra Oh leaves, however, the consistency of quality and entertainment is bound to plummet, given that it is her dynamic with all the rest of the characters that usually provides impetus for story – case in point, this season’s premiere!  It will be interesting to see how the characters recover from this latest crisis, but Shonda/the network should really consider letting this one go and focusing on Scandal, which is doing quite well for itself.  End this one while it’s still going strong, so that it doesn’t flounder and deteriorate to mediocrity like others of its creed.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Grey’s Anatomy was automatically ordered for a full season, given the fact that it remains a ratings juggernaut.  Its future will be decided most likely in the winter season, as Oh’s departure approaches.

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One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · October 7, 2013

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