TV REVIEW: Grey’s Returns in Top Form With “Take it Back”
Grey’s Anatomy returns with a vengeance after its long midseason break where it left us hanging for far too long. Will April choose Avery or Matthew? Did Alex’s dad die? Are Callie and Arizona done for good? In “Take It Back” all of our questions are answered in classic Grey’s fashion showing why this show remains a fan favorite, so strong in the ratings, and still a show that can shake things up.
As I write this review of episode 13 in season ten, I find myself reflecting more on the many facets of Grey’s that make it great, make it a show that people need, that new, younger viewers are just now discovering on Netflix. This episode is the perfect example of how darn near perfect the series is and has been.
The opening scene is like something out of a Hallmark movie showing Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) and April Kepner (Sarah Drew) running to a car from the scene of April’s would be wedding. smiling, in slow motion with “A Total Eclipse of the Heart” playing in the background. She kisses him passionately and says, “Drive.” We’ve got answer number one. Kepner chooses Avery.
Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) is a stand out tonight highlighting how Grey’s never says we know enough about a character. There are always more layers to reveal and tonight Alex gets to peel away a few more. He’s furious with intern Shane (Gauis Charles) for almost killing his deadbeat dad, Jimmy. He wants him fired. Now.
In the next scene, we see Calzona coming to an end. Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) is yelling at Callie (Sara Ramirez). The couple is really going at it. Callie just wants to go home. Arizona replies that it’s not her home anymore.
More fighting with another favorite. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and adorable, saint-like husband Ben (Jason George) are in a screaming match of their own. She says this is turning into her first marriage. Ouch. I’m pretty sure that’s like telling your wife she’s just like her mother. Ben says he didn’t want to give up surgery. He was a rock star. He only did it to spend time with her.
Fast forward three weeks and oh how things have changed. No series does a time jump as well. Most seem to use it as a crutch when the writers can’t move the plot or characters from point A to point B. So instant time jump. Grey’s uses it to surprise, and it always goes back to fill in the gaps and slowly reveal how all this happened.
Arizona and Callie are happy and back in love, even buying a new house. Bailey and Ben are also back on the love train with cute, funny banter reminding us how they got together in the first place. In a surprising twist, Avery and April are apparently no more, avoiding each other and trying not to step on intern Stephanie’s toes, or emotions. Shane is also back, trying to disappear into the woodwork.
The emotional scenes of the series are what have put it on the classic TV map, and they continue to leave us a crying ball in the corner. Tonight’s main heart tuggers came with Alex trying to come to terms with his father’s return and imminent death. We’re laughing with Karev when he lies to Jimmy’s estranged wife one minute, and crying with him the next as he takes out his anger on Shane’s face. He’s a mess of emotions all night long, calling Jo his fiancée, begging his dad’s ex to stay, and comforting his father in his dying moments.
Jo (Camilla Luddington) is almost as confused as Alex, wondering how she missed a marriage proposal. She confronts him about it, and he thinks their conversation at April’s almost wedding counted as one. Jo says she’s not ready for marriage and he’s not either. He’s too far in grieving about his father and their history that will never be resolved. Jo, you have seen Justin Chambers, right? Let him put a ring on it and call it a life. It’s not getting any better than that, silly girl.
Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) is also on Team Karev tonight wanting Shane to be gone. He spends the night torturing the young intern and making life miserable for the little mess up. Richard Webber (James Pickens) and Ben are on Team Give Him Another Chance, trying to get the young man back on his feet. Who’s right and who’s wrong has no clear cut answer, just as no character is all good or all bad.
Surprises continue to roll out leaving no one unscathed. This wasn’t the jaw dropping of a shooter on the loose in the hospital or a graphic plane crash where characters’ lives hang in the balance, but it set up new conflicts and plot points in surprising and fresh ways.
Hunt calls an emergency meeting to inform the board that a formal complaint has been filed alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. Nothing like a woman scorned. He’s recommending they adopt a new policy stating that relationships among the staff will not be tolerated. What? If that’s the case then this would have to be Grey’s last season.
In one of the final scenes, Alex is comforting Jimmy during his final minutes. Karev tells his dad that ex-wife and daughter are on the way. He adds, “I told them you love them. They know you love them. They know. You can go. They know.” Heartbreaking. Alex owes this guy nothing, yet he consoles him and makes sure he’s not alone in his final moments. He looks at his dad, tears in his eyes and say, “You son of a bitch.” Jo is there to comfort him.
In the final jaw dropping reveal of the night, we see April and Jackson together, kissing, all lovey dovey. What? A flashback shows them talking about driving to Lake Tahoe to get married. Double what? They’re married?
Meredith’s voice over intones that “If we listen to our hearts we’re more likely to see we choose wisely. So you don’t regret you let something amazing pass you by.” The theme of each episode so clearly, surprisingly, and emotionally laid out, the amazing acting by the ensemble cast, and the always riveting plot twists and turns keep Grey’s Anatomy on top of the ABC lineup, a lock to get another season. Next week’s episode teases with how the doctors deal with the new no fun allowed policy. My guess, it’s going to be tons of fun to watch.
- Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is mad at Derek for going back on his word that he’ll put his career on the back burner for her. She can’t stay mad for too long. After all, it is the president of the United States that’s come a calling.
- The house that Calzona is buying is a “murder” house complete with bloodstain. Not a promising new beginning.
- A freaky looking cat guy is brought into the hospital shocking everyone with his looks. He’s got permanent veneers on his teeth and whiskers that are piercings. He admits by episode’s end that his self-imposed cat looks have ostracized him from the outside world. Another Kleenex moment showing that Shonda Rhimes and her writers can make us feel for a scary looking guy in 20 minutes flat and are crying for him in 30. When Steohanie tells Avery to “fix him,” it sounds like the best plan in the world.
- Cristina and Meredith make up and start to repair their relationship over a surgery.
- In a interesting character reveal, Derek (Patrick Dempsey) has been giving money to the family of a fellow high school hockey player he cross checked during a game when just a teen. The kid ended up having a brain bleed and had to be in assisted living all these years.