Raise your hand if you’ve ever been emotionally victimized by Shonda Rhimes. Okay, now put that hand down and wipe away those tears.
I don’t know how to feel about an episode like this, but if you are one of the lucky ones who still doesn’t know what happened, please avoid this spoilerific review. Personally, I wasn’t shocked because the internet once again ruined a pivotal twist for me. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now and not head on over to Facebook before watching, or that Entertainment Weekly would be kind enough to have less spoilery article titles. But nope.
So what happened? Shonda Rhimes took over the role of The Demon’s Head (instead of Oliver Queen) and killed McDreamy. I can’t even begin to comprehend what Derek’s death is going to do to me. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the character, you probably know that killing him off (so brutally, too) is a HUGE game-changing (and jump-the-shark?) moment for Grey’s Anatomy. Fans have been voicing their rage online in powerful fashion over the last 48 hours, and it’s easy to see why. I’d be lying if I said this will make me quit watching Grey’s, but I definitely feel disrespected and cheated (in addition to a billion other things I felt after watching this episode).
As a diehard Grey’s fan since the beginning, I feel like Shonda is only doing this to create buzz and increase ratings, and that’s what upsets me most. Derek Shepherd deserved more than an abrupt death —especially since Patrick Dempsey revealed that this episode was only planned A MONTH AGO. That makes me really angry. After the bomb, drowning, bus-crash, shooting, plane-disaster, storm, and that weird earthquake episode, you’d think Rhimes would have a slightly more realistic and easier-to-digest sendoff for one of her most loved characters. I seriously would not be surprised if no one watches next year because I don’t know if Meredith can carry the show all by herself.
Now that I’m done bashing ShondaLand (I’m not really done yet though), I have to admit this was the most heartbreaking hour of television I’ve seen in a long, long time. Since Derek’s death was spoiled for me (again, ugh), I wasn’t shocked when a truck came crashing into his car. But the minute he was sent to a small (albeit terrible) hospital and Derek’s voice started crawling under my skin, the heartbreak began. The pain escalated when it was clear the doctors were amateurs (they didn’t order a CT for a head injury (even I know that’s ridiculous), while Derek narrated that this was a terrible call. Then the little girl he had saved earlier gave him that emotional “you have a pulse so you can’t be dead” speech, and I was close to losing it. When the MerDer flashbacks started pouring in culminating with the first time Meredith said goodbye to Derek before cutting to present-day where she has to say goodbye for the last time? That’s where I lost it for real.
I was hoping this would get dragged out until the season finale, with a proper three-episode arc or so, and I had my hopes up when Meredith was faced with a pull-the-plug decision (gah, my heart). But instead, it was all very rushed and vicious. You know it’s a terribly written episode when a freakin’ doctor stops in the middle of the road to search for his phone (which magically has reception now). In all seriousness though, I would have been totally fine if Derek was kept on life support until the series finale where he’d make a magical and totally cheesy return. I’m a hopeless romantic I guess, when it comes to MerDer. And now Shonda Rhimes, Meredith and Grey’s Anatomy are entering undiscovered territory—and I am not ready for it.
Without even giving it any effort, I can think of 20 other ways the show could have written off Derek Shepard. But to add this much unrealistic pain and tragedy into Meredith’s life is just plain nasty and mean. How about keeping him in D.C.? That would have been good, no? One thing is clear: the show will never be the same again without McDreamy. I guess if it was absolutely necessary to kill him off, at least he went out in one of the most controversial episodes of the year. And he went out doing the thing he does best: saving lives.
Now somebody please give me Shonda’s address.
Bits & Scalpels
– What an effective and intense teaser as Derek witnessed the car accident in front of him and the title sequence appeared.
– Zola and Meredith’s adorable scene in the teaser (“what happens if surgeons are late?” “people die!”) was great foreshadowing for Derek’s neurosurgeon who was an hour and a half late to surgery.
– Seriously though, an HOUR AND A HALF LATE?! And that’s why Derek dies? Seriously? In the words of the great Lily Aldrin: what the damn hell?
– Kudos to Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey for their outstanding performances this week. They made me cry and scream at my TV, and I will never forget them for it.
– Derek’s thoughts in voice-over were seriously bone-chilling, especially as he was being carried to surgery and he realized that he was going to die.
– If Meredith starts to go on dates and has one-night stands in season twelve, I think I will be done with the show for good.
– I hated the fakeout with Meredith and a conscious Derek at the hospital. It wasn’t even original. It was just plain cruel.
– The flashbacks were just terrifyingly gut-wrenching. Even more powerful was the use of a piano version of “Chasing Cars”, which was also used in the season two finale. But you already knew that.
– I should spend more time discussing how angry I am about reading the spoilers before watching, but to be fair I think I would have brought Facebook and Twitter’s servers down myself if I was watching this live too.
– This is the first episode Shonda Rhimes has written since the season-eight finale where Lexie was killed. I see a pattern here.
– Twitter is exploding with hashtags like #TearsofGrey and #RIPMcDreamy. My favorite so far is “To every OneDirection fan I made fun of for crying like an idiot when Zayn left, I’m sorry. I get it now.”
– I love “How to Save a Life” as a title for this episode because the song is iconic to the show’s history and particularly McDreamy’s.
– In very surprising news, ABC stated that next week’s episode is a special two-hour event (thus taking over Scandal). Even more evidence that this whole death storyline was rushed and unplanned.
– Feel free to use the comments section below as a group therapy session to deal with your loss.
Derek: It’s a beautiful day to save lives.
Winnie: What does that mean?
Derek: Oh, it’s just a thing I say.
Derek (voice-over): You’re not dead. Just breathe. Scalp lac, probably multiple fractures. Try and hold still.
Edie: I’m ordering a head CT. We don’t know the extent of his head injury.
Derek (v.o.): She’s right. You don’t.
Paul: Look at the ultrasound. He’s bleeding into his belly. We don’t have time for a CT.
Derek (v.o.): Arrogant…because she’s younger than you and probably because she’s a woman.
Derek (v.o.): I’m going to die because these people aren’t properly trained.
Meredith: I’m a doctor. Dr. Grey. I’m a surgeon, just like my husband was. I know how this works. You’ve waited the requisite number of hours and now you can officially declare him dead. Normally, you’d talk to me about organ donation. But by the looks of his chart, there’s not much left that works to donate. So the ICU needs a bed. Those must be the papers…the papers you want me to sign to decide what to do with my husband…now that he’s dead, but not really dead. So do we ship him off to a long-term-care facility and cross our fingers and hope for fairy tales and magic? Or do I pull the plug? And stop all curative intervention? Discontinue all routine monitoring, remove all the catheters, drains and tubes, end any and all treatments that might provide comfort to the patient. Terminate all…life-sustaining measures…and behave as any sane doctor would behave. Does that about cover it, doctor? Is that what you want to talk to me about…while I sit here with my sleeping children? You want to talk about killing my husband?
Meredith: Every patient you treat, you’re going to see my husband’s face and remember that he was the one that died on your watch. He will haunt you. The hard ones always do. And it only takes that one. But that one will make you work harder, and they make you better. Or they make you quit, and you don’t get to waste what would have been the rest of my husband’s life being a quitter.
Nurse: Are you ready?
Meredith: No. But go ahead.
Today Has Been OK by Sleeping at Last
Sedona by Houndmouth
Gulls by David Gray
Into the Fire by Erin McCarley
Chasing Cars by Sleeping at Last (original by Snow Patrol)
A tear-jerking hour of television that I will never forget. Too rushed, too sudden, too cruel…even for you, Shonda.