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TV REVIEW: Grey’s Anatomy Answers “Where Do We Go from Here?”

By on January 30, 2015

(ABC/Kelsey McNeal) SARAH DREW

When we last left Grey’s, questions abounded, leaving us hanging for much too long of a break. Will Amelia save Dr. Herman from a killer tumor? Will April and Jackson’s baby survive? How long will Alex let himself be happy? And most importantly, did Meredith and Derek really split up?

Grey’s writers delivered on the series return, offering up plenty of answers and a new direction for the second half of the season. While watching “Where Do We Go from Here?” we were left with an even bigger question – how does Grey’s remain so darn good, year after year?

Let’s analyze all things Grey’s and wax a little nostalgic (think Post-its).

 

Our Power Couple

That signature voice over opens this one as we pick up right where we left off. Meredith says, “When exposed to trauma, the body deploys its own defense system” … flashback of Derek saying he gave up everything for Mer… “from the first second the brain receives the signal that a catastrophe has happened” … flashback of Derek packing and looking at their Post-it wedding vows … “blood rushes to the organs that need help most … the brain makes a decision for the rest of the body, face the danger or run away.” We see Meredith throwing the shadow boxed Post-its away and we’re left with our first feel of the night – Shondaland writers toying with our emotions and toying with our favorite couple just as they have for the past decade. It’s one of the reasons Grey’s remains a force on network TV even though it’s the elder statesman of TGIT.

Derek really did leave Meredith and Zola for the glow of that presidential job offer. On the surface, Mer seems to be handling it well, kicking butt at work and hiring a nanny. She tells the nanny to wait while she takes care of some things. And she does take care of some things, all the while, nanny waits patiently by (as in the whole episode).

For years we’ve watched the seeds of a hot young couple sprout into a grown up, married with-children pairing. We are more than invested with these two carefully crafted characters, and that’s another reason we tune in week after week. Grey’s is only as good as its characters, and those characters are still riveting, layered, issue-laden friends, just a little older.

 

(ABC/Ron Batzdorff) CAMILLA LUDDINGTON, JUSTIN CHAMBERS

(ABC/Ron Batzdorff)
CAMILLA LUDDINGTON, JUSTIN CHAMBERS

The Formula

The word formula sounds so boring, so stale, so old. We say, “So what?” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. High drama, characters in conflict, a case or two of the night, some Kleenex moments, a theme we can all relate to, throw in a little funny, and we’ve got it – the formula. “Where Do We Go from Here” features the case of a mom who drove off a bridge with both her children, apparently on purpose. She also took out several cars in the process. Meredith comments, “Maybe she needed a nanny.”

The husband shows up saying no way, his wife could never do this. Later he admits, “She’s busy. She’s tired and stressed. She forgets things. She’s got a lot going on… I work too much. I don’t know my wife.”

He has his doubts, but Meredith suspects something else. She puts two and two together and figures out there’s a tumor on the woman’s pancreas. The forgetfulness, all of the symptoms, even the driving off the bridge … caused by the tumor. The medical emergencies, the gross out moments, the endless weird, twisted, tragic Grey’s cases are like little mysteries unfolding every episode, and we want to be there unlocking each one.

 

(ABC/Ron Batzdorff) KELLY MCCREARY, SARAH DREW

(ABC/Ron Batzdorff)
KELLY MCCREARY, SARAH DREW

 

Oh, the Feels

There were more feels than we could handle on tonight’s episode, and we just thought of one more question, can’t anyone have a normal, drama free delivery on Grey’s Anatomy? April shows up to work even though she just found out her baby has a fatal disease. Kepner is in shock, going through the motions at warp speed. Jackson tattles on her telling Hunt she is in no condition to be performing surgeries. Owen taps her out, and April can now add ‘furious at her husband’ to her list of emotions boiling within.

Our hearts felt a tug at all the Post-it action and flashbacks of Mer/Der, but it’s Japril that had us welling up, hoping for a miracle baby for the young couple. The portrayal of grief by both Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams gave us another answer into that Grey’s puzzle – the high level of acting by everyone on the show, from supporting players to our originals keeps the viewers coming back.

When Avery heads to a supply closet alone, he shows a nearly broken man trying to hold it together. Webber comes in to see if everything is okay, and that’s his breaking point. Those tears, the desperate look of a powerless would-be dad who can do nothing but wait for answers is heartbreaking.

The final Jackson/April scene of the night is an emotional powerhouse with April questioning her faith, “Why would God give her kids and give her a family and let that happen? You can do everything right, and it doesn’t even… why?”

“I don’t know,” says Jackson going in for a hug.

“Don’t hold me. I’ll start crying and I won’t be able to stop,” she tells him.

“Whatever you need I’m here,” he says.

She sobs, saying they are having a boy. Oh boy, Grey’s, the tragedy. We often wonder how many times you can break our hearts. Apparently, it’s infinite.

 

Giving Us Hope

In the midst of tragedy, Grey’s always offers up hope. Tonight’s first dose comes from Arizona who tries to dole it out to her stoic, uber serious boss, Dr. Herman (guest star Geena Davis). Amelia has come up with a tumor removing procedure for the doctor, but one big problem, Dr. Herman doesn’t even know the two have been looking at her tumor. Arizona needs to tell her she violated about a thousand HIPPA laws, don’t fire me, don’t kill me. When Herman finds out on her own about the scheming pair, she’s not thrilled and not going through with the surgery.

Hermann says she can’t handle any more false hope. “Tell Shepherd to keep her hope to herself. Better yet, tell her where to stick it.”

Davis is excellent tonight showing the first cracks in the cold, exterior of Dr. Herman. Her scene crying alone in a bathroom and then trying to pull it together is so authentic in its raw emotion.

Arizona shows her own emotion, having a mini-hissy fit during a surgery with her dying boss. She storms out, but it has its desired effect. Hermann agrees to the procedure, on her own timetable. And there’s our hope. Break our hearts one minute, but lift them up the next.

 

(ABC/Ron Batzdorff) NICOLAS BECHTEL, CHANDRA WILSON, JUSTIN CHAMBERS, A.J. ACHINGER, CAMILLA LUDDINGTON

(ABC/Ron Batzdorff)
NICOLAS BECHTEL, CHANDRA WILSON, JUSTIN CHAMBERS, A.J. ACHINGER, CAMILLA LUDDINGTON

 

The Funny

You can’t have Grey skies all the time, you need a little funny thrown in. Tonight’s humor comes from a big brother and little brother team who were hit by a runaway driver. They’re pretty adorable calling each other “assface” (they’re not my kids, so pretty cute). Big brother isn’t old enough to be driving and little bro says “You’re a crap driver.” They won’t give up their parents’ number knowing there will be big trouble in little Seattle.

Karev takes big bro into laproscopic surgery and tells Bailey to work on the little one.

Bailey tries everything to get younger brother to hand over the number. Emotion… “Your parents are so scared.” Threats… “That fear will turn angry.”

He answers with, “I’m a brick wall.”

More threats… “I’ll have to call Child Protective Services.”

“Do what you gotta do.” Little brother is hilarious in his unwavering solidarity with big bro.

Finally, some truth does the trick. Bailey lets the kid have it, saying his brother is lying on a slab with two doctors working on him.

Little bro breaks, “It’s all my fault. I wanted to go to the ice cream shop… I want my mom.”

Meanwhile, Alex and Jo are operating on the big brother, talking about their car stealing adventures. Turns out Jo’s stolen four or five or ten. It’s hilarious how they bond through a slightly criminal past.

Alex, could this be your person? As in beyond best friend, but happily ever after person? There’s that hope thing again … Grey’s writers teasing us with the hope that this could be the Year of Living Happily for Alex Karev.

Later, Alex and Bailey bond in another funny and touching scene. These two need a little togetherness after the whole Miranda won the board seat fiasco.

Karev tells her, “You’re a really good mom. You’ve been riding me all day making sure I don’t screw up. Crap, you’ve been doing it for years. Sucks, it’s annoying but it’s nice.”

Bailey reveals that her son stole a candy bar a while back. Ben made him go back to the store to pay for it. She laments that she didn’t even know about it, between long hours, and never being home.

“I stole a bunch of stuff, I turned out okay.” Hilarious, and making us root for that whole happy thing even more.

 

(ABC/Kelsey McNeal) ELLEN POMPEO, MAGGIE EGAN

(ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
ELLEN POMPEO, MAGGIE EGAN

The Puzzle Comes Together

The nanny is still at the hospital. Meredith gets the chance to interview her but it turns into more of a therapy session.

“Tell me what it is you’re needing?” asks would-be nanny. Oh boy, does she really want to hear?

Meredith unloads with, “Help with the kids, support… need someone who believes in me…I need a person…” She cries and says, “I’m sorry, I know I seem crazy but I’m not.” That’s a little debatable, but sure-to-be-hired nanny hugs it out with her.

The shock of the day, of being alone, of being left settles in and Meredith calls Derek. “I don’t want to fight anymore and I don’t want you to go. This isn’t how we end.”

Derek says his flight’s been delayed, should he come home?

She tells him go, “in a good way, go. We can do this.” And just like that our couple is back together, sort of. All those post it feels about loving each other even when they hate each other. No running. They mean something and Mer/Der remembers, just as we remember from the past ten years, that they do love each other.

“We can do this,” they both say.

Meredith puts that shadow box back up on the wall where it belongs.

 Grey’s Anatomy told us “Where Do We Go From Here” or at least gave us somewhat of a direction. Meredith and Derek are going to try a long distance relationship, and they aren’t as fractured as when we last left them. Whew. Dr. Herman is going to try the life-saving procedure. Eventually. April and Jackson have to face the biggest trial of their lives. Tragic. Jo and Alex are stronger than ever. For now.

Grey’s had an excellent return reminding us after a long break that we still don’t want a permanent break. We still look forward to our Thursday night medical drama and all its strange cases, screwed up characters, and Kleenex feels.

The episode didn’t answer all of our questions … this is Grey’s. No big scene for Meredith sister Maggie, no big scene or blowout from Calzona, and no hints of an Amelia/Owen connection. You know what that means? We’ll see you back here next TGIT to get those answers and we’re sure so much more as we watch the millionth (maybe) installment of Grey’s Anatomy.

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