What Happened on the Grey's Anatomy Season Finale? : Give Me My Remote

GREY’S ANATOMY Season Finale: WOW…Just WOW!

May 21, 2010 by  

This post probably counts as cheating against the other medical drama in my life. I hope the team at Princeton Plainsboro understands.

If anyone thinks TV producers are any less competitive than elite athletes or politicians, I offer this theory. ABC has been promoting this Sunday’s LOST sendoff as the biggest of their season finales. The Internet is abuzz with conflicting ideas about how it will end, who will live or die, etc. If you are looking for the hottest topic in scripted TV, look to the island.

If you were Shonda Rhimes, executive producer and showrunner for Grey’s Anatomy, what would you do? Your show is returning in the fall, after all, so it seems logical to give the fans a safe and happy ending.

Instead, Ms. Rhimes embraced the friendly competition, writing and producing an instant classic. The Grey’s Anatomy finale was two hours of nail-biting, heart-stopping, did I just see what I think I saw television.

If you have EVER watched this program, even if it was just in the early days, you must seek out this episode. It is a thrill ride superior to most contemporary action films.

We don’t review Grey’s on a weekly basis at GMMR, so I wanted to put this together for fans of the show who are still hyperventilating from the finale. Please comment early and often about the show, and I look forward to reading your insights.

Quick note before we jump into the discussion: The gunman in this episode, Gary Clark, was played by veteran character actor Michael O’ Neill. In a spooky parallel, O’ Neill is best known to TV fans as Secret Service Agent Ron Butterfield, who protecting President Bartlet on “The West Wing.” It took me for a spin seeing O’ Neill wielding that weapon, and the methodical approach he used to terrorize the hospital was chilling.

Oh, and Chandra Wilson deserves an Emmy simply for the quiet moments of resignation she endured as Dr. Bailey, realizing that she could not save her colleague.

What are your thoughts on the finale? Did the level of violence take you by surprise? Were you heartbroken by Meredith’s miscarriage? Will she ever tell Derek about it? Should Teddy remain at Seattle Grace? Did Alex’s semi-conscious comments about Izzie foreshadow a sad end for he and Lexie? Were you happy for Callie & Arizona?


22 Responses to “GREY’S ANATOMY Season Finale: WOW…Just WOW!”

  1. Kath (GMMR) on May 21st, 2010 10:31 am

    Say what you will about the quality of GREY’s over the past few seasons, but there’s no denying last night’s season finale was captivating and thrilling. My heart was beating out my chest from beginning to end. (Kind of like how Derek’s heart was beating out of this chest…ha ha, I kill me. Kind of like how Gary Clark killed Charles…ok I’ll stop now.)

    It was so violent right from the beginning and it really set the tone for the episode. No one was safe.

    Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh gave particularly stellar performances. It was amazing to see the growth of these two characters. From damaged girls to women…amazing!

    But for me, the whole episode was about Chandra Wilson. She never disappoints, but DAMN! Her reaction after being pulled from out under the bed. Good Lord that was Emmy worthy!

    I encourage you all to read Shonda Rhimes post about last night’s episode over at GreysWriters.com. She’ll give additional insight in to her decision making process. You’ll also find out who was supposed to be shot that wasn’t.

  2. Katie on May 21st, 2010 10:35 am

    I have never gasped so many times in one episode of any TV show. My husband kept asking me what the heck was going on! I jumped every time he shot someone, it was heartbreaking and stressful and my stomach was in knots 20 minutes in. But I loved it! EPIC television!

    I do think that Lexie & Alex won’t last much longer. She & Mark are meant to be together, they both know that. And Meredith, I wanted to cry when she was miscarrying while fixing Owen. But maybe know she knows she wants to have a baby because she knows how happy it made her for even that brief period of time.

    I can’t wait for next season, to see how they recover from this. It’s epic the way that last season’s Private Practice season finale was without the cliffhanger at the end. I really believe that it will have an impact on every character (that is still alive) for all of next season.

  3. Kyle on May 21st, 2010 10:39 am

    I LOVED this episode. I somehow avoided all commercials and reading anything about it, so I was completely shocked right from the first head shot. It was so tense throughout the entire two hours. I was impressed at the way they were able to maintain this throughout–and even added some unpredictable twists and turns. Anyone could be killed!
    If I had one complaint, it would be that I wish they had left us with some kind of cliffhanger for next season. We knew whether each person had lived or died–nothing to make us wonder about over the summer.

  4. Tim G. on May 21st, 2010 10:52 am

    Did they earn that “Due to violent content…” or what? From the moment Reed got shot so brutally, my jaw was resting on my chest the entire 2 hours. I was squirming uncomfortably with every silence that fell upon the characters, fully expecting it to be shattered with a BANG of gunfire.

    I never thought I’d say this again, but the Grey’s finale > House finale.

    Shonda knows how to write finales, now she just needs to learn how to make compelling stories THROUGHOUT the season, like she did back in seasons 1 & 2.

  5. Michele on May 21st, 2010 1:10 pm

    Seriously – WOW. Chills through the whole thing. I held my breath when Christina was inthe elevator with the gunman. I cried when Bailey told the kid that yes, he was going to die. Poor Alex has been totally screwed up by Izzie, if he wasn’t already – I think that will be the end of him & Lexie. LOVE the dynamic between Christina and the blue eyed hottie (even though I like her with Owen, too). I hope Mer does tell Der about the baby, and they go for it again. Emmy noms all around. Fantastic episode!

  6. Erik on May 21st, 2010 7:12 pm

    Kath: Shonda Rhimes had hinted that Meredith and Christina’s surgical skills were going to be tested like never before. If you had given me 200 guesses, I wouldn’t have predicted both Derek and Owen would be shot.

    I listened to the Grey’s podcast with Ms. Rhimes and Betsy Beers a few years ago, and Shonda always struck me as being fan-friendly. The Greyswriters.com blog is a must read for fans of the show.

  7. Erik on May 21st, 2010 7:25 pm

    Katie: My best friend Caiona rediscovered Grey’s with me this year. She lives in Colorado, so I had to wait 2 hours to get her reaction. Less than 10 minutes from the start, the first text arrived. “OMG!” We could not wait to debrief after it was over. How long has it been since Grey’s created so much buzz?

    Lexie & Mark appear to be the next star-crossed couple on the show, and I would guess that bringing them together will be a big arc next season. Eric Dane has been superb all year, and he has beaten back any skeptics who rejected him as simple eye candy. Chyler Leigh is my favorite cast member, and if losing Katherine Heigl resulted in more screen time for Lexie, it’s a lopsided trade.

    Producers and marketing executives have diluted the term “game-changer” over the past few years. We’ve been conditioned to doubt that pivotal sweeps or finale episodes will have any long term meaning. Thankfully, Shonda Rhimes reclaimed that phrase last night.

  8. shanice on May 21st, 2010 8:12 pm

    would somebody please tell me what happened?? I missed it =(

  9. Erik on May 21st, 2010 8:21 pm

    Shanice: If you have a strong internet connection, you can watch the episode through Hulu.com or ABC.com. Trust me, WHAT happened is far less impactful than HOW it happened.

  10. strunkette on May 22nd, 2010 10:20 pm

    I finally had a chance to watch. I can’t remember the last time I cried that hard during a tv show. It’s been awhile. I let Grey’s move to Hulu viewing but that finale was incredible. Hopefully they step up their game next year and it might become appointment tv again…or at least move up to dvr status.

  11. Erik on May 22nd, 2010 11:53 pm

    Strunkette: I also remember when Grey’s got demoted to viewing online for me. It was sad, since I had been a huge fan for the first few seasons. Unfortunately, the wrath of Gizzie did not merit a spot on my Season Pass list 🙂 Getting the word out about this episode has been a nice change of pace, especially for friends who had quit on the show entirely.

  12. Jen on May 24th, 2010 8:58 am

    That was definitely a season finale to remember. It had me hyperventilating since the start of the episode asking my mom how long until it was over to be reminded the episode had just begun. It was such a twist from the normal Grey’s episode. Normally you have the traditional emergency where people get hurt and in the end you find out it was one of their own, but this… this was like watching a horror movie from start to end. I was left not believing what I just saw and literally had to stop the show (we had to tape it) half way through because I needed to step out for air.
    Although horror movies are not my cup of tea, I have to give the writers and staff credit because this episode had LOTS of people talking.

  13. Erik on May 24th, 2010 5:41 pm

    Jen: Both ER & Grey’s Anatomy have used the “one of their own” twist, when Dr. Gant & George O’ Malley were injured, respectively. While those stories were high on shock value, I believe that seeing Reed, Alex, Charles, Derek, and Owen shot elevated the stakes of this episode to greater heights. Medical dramas have not delivered this kind of tension since Carter & Lucy were stabbed and left for dead at County Hospital.

  14. jack mendelsohn on May 24th, 2010 6:53 pm

    If I was a member of the police force I would be livid with the way they were portrayed. To allow a gunman to roam the halls of the hospital for almost two hours is beyond ridiculous. He ended up killing many people. The cops should have gone in immediately and stopped this killer.

  15. Erik on May 25th, 2010 12:24 am

    Jack: You make a very astute observation about the role of law enforcement in this story. Writers often cite “creative license” when explaining gaps in logic or protocol like this. I probably could forgive it as a viewer, were it not for the handshake between Dr. Webber and the on-site commanding officer. Why was Webber so appreciative of the police response (or lack thereof) when several of “his people” in the hospital were needlessly killed. Fantastic point, and one of the missing gaps in a stellar finale.

  16. Toast with JAM on May 27th, 2010 3:17 am

    Jack, I completely agree with the ridiculousness. The SWAT team shoots the gunman in the shoulder (the SHOULDER?) and then lets him get away? Nobody else had trouble finding the shooter, but the law dogs were just STUMPED! And nobody owns a cell phone in Seattle Grace I guess (they were all left in their lockers).

    I kept thinking back to ER during this episode (I’ll never forget the Carter/Lucy episode), so that was a very good thing. Time gives people an excuse to diminish the quality of older shows, but ER was groundbreaking television. I consider this episode (and entire series, really) a nod to the inspiration of that show.

    I think a lot of what is missing in Grey’s has been the fun. What I really loved was the FUN between Izzie, George, Meredith and Christina. Once they changed George and Izzie’s relationship is when it went downhill. They are bringing that back with Little Grey, which is nice to see. Alex had to step up as more of a “girlfriend” to Meredith since George left, but at least they’re writing him so that he’s had to get used to it. The scenes in the apartment with Mark/Lexie, Christina/Owen, and Callie/Arizona were the most fun to watch, but that seemed short lived. Boo, Sloan Sloan! Don’t come back!

    It’s getting old seeing Callie and Arizona kissing all the time. It’s like they’re shoving it in our face that they aren’t afraid to have a gay couple kiss, and that they are creating situations to make them kiss. Maybe it’s just me (yes Greys, you’ll get the gay activist award this year…it was like they were actively campaigning and didn’t seem genuine). I also didn’t like the big kiss in the hospital with Alex and Little Grey and I fast forward through Owen and Christina…yuck. I think Owen’s character needs to really lighten up (haha, I know…instantly cure the PTSD, please!)

    One of my favorite relationships this season was with Webber and McDreamy. It’s nice to see that Derek still has a character of his own that he can push forward without always being half of Mer and Der.

  17. rita on May 29th, 2013 8:50 pm

    what happend to eric dane he is the great doctor on the plate why he got kill in the plane cash should be in the show i did not want him to die in that show Greys Anantomny

    he a great person and a doctor and a hot doctor in the hospiotal and he like to save peolpe is the way he want to die beause he is amazing guiy and he the most loving guy i kwon

    i did not want him to die in the show he is great actor and great personally i love derek beause he good looking but he care of he pantent he a great action as well as patrick dempsay is a good guy he the most kind of person he is

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