That was one of the most uncomfortable hours of television I’ve ever seen. In a good way, of course.
There was a lot riding on this one because it’s the 250th episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but I’m glad to report it didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, this has to be one of the best episodes this show has produced in recent years.
There are so many reasons Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner worked, but the main reason is undoubtedly Ellen Pompeo’s top-notch performance. She added just the perfect amount of layers to an already complex character, and it was all absolutely nail-biting to watch. To see Meredith pretend that everything was fine after meeting the woman who killed her husband (although the word “kill” is a bit of a stretch) then to try to make small talk with her (asking her and Callie what they wanted to drink was so difficult to watch, and I don’t even know why) and to sit right next to her on the same table, only to have her finally explode after finding out she’s going to have to work with her on Monday…it was all an impeccably produced sequence that’s so excruciating to watch but extremely believable as well. The fact that Alex was worried about her the entire night was a perfect touch as well, and it resulted in an absolutely heartbreaking scene of Meredith, Alex and Amelia in the bedroom.
Of course, Caterina Scorsone also deserves some credit, especially in the scene where she breaks down in front of Penny and demands answers about the night Derek died. But while everyone loved that scene, I enjoyed Meredith screaming at her upstairs a whole lot more. It’s about time Meredith exploded, and God was it satisfying to see her unload all her anger onto her half-sister in that truly tearjerking yet terrifying moment.
I don’t think I will ever forget this episode and while the show has done more depressing hours in the past (take “How to Save a Life” for example), this one works better because I can see myself watching it over and over again and feeling the same kind of excitement and awkwardness that I experienced on my first viewing. The lack of a weekly case or any medical mumbo-jumbo and the lack of music (except for one “Waterfalls” cover that we’ll pretend never happened) made this episode a much more special experiment. And let’s not forget the haunting flashbacks, the creative camera work as we swiftly move from one room to the other, and even the chilling sound of Meredith’s shoes as she walks up the stairs. My goodness, what a captivating hour.
Sadly, this wasn’t a perfect episode, and that’s where Maggie as well as Stephanie and Jo’s subplots come in. I wish the show stayed at Meredith’s house for the entire duration of the episode as that would have had a greater impact on us, but for some reason the writers thought it would be a good idea to cram an unfunny comical storyline that involves Maggie getting a UTI and flirting with her dull intern. Honestly, that was just hard to watch, especially since it had no interesting conclusion unlike Stephanie and Jo’s fight. It was intolerable to see those two bicker like 12 year-olds, but at least they ended this C-subplot on an intriguing (if hugely unnecessary) note. Still, this whole girl fight is extremely reminiscent of Meredith and Cristina’s brawl in season 10, and I just wish this never happened on a pivotal episode like this.
Bits & Scalpels
– What a fantastic teaser, seeing the same scene from last week played from Penny’s viewpoint. And then Meredith rushing upstairs to puke. And the Derek flashbacks. So painful.
– Mer talking the picture frame with her to the bedroom and placing it in front of the post-it wedding note…ah, the feels.
– I literally gasped when Penny took a seat next to Meredith. But it really helps that Penny is actually a really good person.
– Speaking of which, having her transfer to Grey Sloan Memorial is indeed forced and too much of an unbelievable coincidence, even for this show. But I still loved it, if only because I didn’t see it coming. Bailey recognizing Penny’s name at first should have lit a lightbulb over my head, but I was too busy being captivating by everything else going on.
– I didn’t like how everyone kept saying that Penny “killed” Derek. You guys are all doctors, for crying out loud!
– I am beyond frustrated with Jo’s jealousy over Meredith and Alex’s friendship. I want these two to have a random one-night stand just to spite her.
– Amidst all the drama, Jackson and April shared a moment and it looks like he’s about to forgive her after all.
– Guys, did someone forget to invite Webber? This is the 250th episode, how could he miss it?
– I loved the callbacks to earlier seasons like the plane crash and April killing a woman in season six.
– So, do we have to learn the names of the two interns now?
– Owen confesses that he wished Cristina died in the plane crash after she’d dumped him. It’s not as brutal and cold as it sounds, but it is random and I’m still not buying Owen/Amelia.
– Meredith and Alex getting drunk on the floor of her bedroom: priceless.
– I wish Meredith didn’t tell Penny “I’ll see you Monday”. I kind of wanted this episode to be so special that we actually never see or hear about Penny again. But I’ll wait to see what the future holds for yet another female doctor on this show.
Arizona: Try telling a class your name is Arizona. “No, honey, not where you’re from. What’s your name?”
Meredith (to Penny): Okay, here’s how this is gonna go. You are going to make a drink, and you can make small talk with anyone you want except for me. Callie will come back, we will have a meal, you’ll leave my house, and then I never have to see you again, okay?
Bailey: Dr. Robbins, you’re drunk. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that. I like drunk Robbins.
Arizona: I do too.
Meredith: Perfect Penny killed my husband.
Amelia: I’m not gonna let them do this. It’s not gonna happen. We will call a meeting with the board, and we’ll have a vote, and we will fire that bitch.
Meredith (to Amelia) I…did nothing to you. I lost my husband and the father of my children, and you’re falling apart? I don’t get to do that because I have three kids, so please shut up and get out of my room! Get her out of here before I kill her!
Penny: I want you to know that I didn’t forget about him. I never will. What you said that night about your husband being my one…I think about that night, about him…every day. That’s all.
The 250th episode proved to be a truly engrossing, painfully incredible hour of television that I will never forget about.