I really wanted this 2-hour Grey event to be an explosive television affair. After all, this show is known for its crazy, high-profile episodes. While this year’s double dose of insanity might be forgettable when compared to the shooting episode, the ferry boat accident episode or the bomb-inside-a-body episode, there’s no denying there were some epic moments here as well.
First, it’s worth noting that these two hours don’t feel like they were written to be aired back-to-back. Not only are they tonally different, disjointed and inconsistent, but also There’s A Fine, Fine Line upped the stakes in a way that made the following hour, It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), feel quite underwhelming in comparison. It’s unfair to judge the second hour based solely on that because I would’ve enjoyed it a whole lot more if it aired next week, and I really wish it had because the first episode was truly an incredible hour of television.
As much as I enjoy watching this show for its soapy, romantic drama and comedic moments, some of the medical cases prove to be compelling when executed in the right way. It’s no secret that Ben Warren is one of the show’s least developed characters (he’s been on the show since season six, but only as recently as last year did Jason George become a series regular), and he’s had little to no interesting storylines, so I was reluctant at first at the thought of a Ben-centric episode. However, both he and Bailey (Chandra Wilson) proved to be more than capable of handling such an intense arc, delivering top-notch performances and giving us a truly head-scratching dilemma.
The episode flashing back to the events that led Ben (and DeLuca) to crack open a dying, pregnant woman in the middle of a hallway was a fantastic storytelling device. Instead of the dreadful in-media res (which I kind of expected), the episode jumped back and forth from the few seconds the hospital was under lockdown to the present where Bailey was desperate to find out exactly what went on during that eventful “code pink” time. It was an intense, adrenaline-packed hour full of constant twists and surprises, particularly the final twist which reveals that Ben had gone rogue merely seconds AFTER realizing (or did he?) that the hospital was no longer under lockdown. I was glued to my screen for 40 minutes, and it was absolutely glorious.
Not that the second hour was a complete dud, but whereas the first episode had no useless subplots and instead focused on a tightly plotted, impeccably edited storyline, the following outing managed to cram a couple of cringe-inducing narratives, all of which were unrelated to Ben’s storyline.
The April/Jackson drama continued to prove absolutely unwatchable as the two bickered like little kids over a patient (who disappeared by the way?). I mentioned last week that these characters simply don’t talk to one another, and that’s part of what drives them to do crazy, unspeakable things. This week, it’s Arizona who does something even crazier than April by speaking to a lawyer and fighting Callie for full custody of their daughter. It’s a nifty little twist (that I only saw coming just seconds before the camera panned and revealed Arizona’s face), but it’s one I’m already not prepared to witness. Why is this show so desperate to become a legal drama all of a sudden?
The Bailey/Ben storyline luckily proved to be still as unexpectedly captivating as in the previous hour, and the Chief’s decision to suspend Ben for six months should prove to be quite dramatic for their marriage. Again, I do wish we had more time to truly embrace the intensity and brilliance of the first episode because all the lighthearted moments from the second one didn’t give this storyline the impact it deserved. Still, there’s no denying how amazing it is that a show in its twelfth season can deliver a powerful episode like this and remain one of the most watched shows on television.
Bits & Scalpels
– Very cool title credits for the first hour with the security cameras in the background showing different parts of the hospital. So creepy, I loved it.
– The code pink was a neat fake-out! I actually thought they were going to be on lockdown for the entire two hours.
– So many gory and bloody images this week! I cringed so badly at the sight of Gretchen (the pregnant woman) being sliced open, but Riggs cutting into that baby’s neck…OH MY GOD!
– Speaking of which, it was absolutely insane that this episode ended up killing BOTH the mother and the baby, making Ben’s efforts to at least save the baby feel useless. Also, the dad having a miraculous survival felt like the show was aiming at some good news after a relatively depressing hour.
– Jaw-dropping moment: the doctors covering up the dead baby, revealing that Alex and his team couldn’t save him. Truly horrifying, I can’t believe this aired on network television. Is Shonda going rogue, especially considering last week’s insane Scandal episode too?
– Loved Bailey and Richard’s scenes. Every single one.
– MVP of the week: Asia Monet Ray (who played Jasmine, Gretchen’s daughter). What an incredibly talented little girl.
– Heartbreaking moment: Jasmine asking Bailey for money, and Bailey giving her all the cash she’s got.
– Loved the ending title credits of the first hour as well. Very fitting with the episode’s central theme.
– Seriously though, what happened to that guy suffering from an allergy? And how disgusting was that…thing popping out of him?
– Penny was a little more annoying this week. I wouldn’t miss her if she left to New York, as long as she doesn’t take Callie with her!
– Stephanie mentions the “guitar hero” and that they’re still texting (sexting?).
– That music from the McDreamy death still haunts me to this day.
– Meredith, Maggie and Amelia’s interactions have easily turned into my favorite scenes on this show. So much comic relief, but done in a way that’s still perfectly written and performed.
– On that note, the three of them standing there as the DNR dad flatlined was touching and powerful, seeing as how they couldn’t do anything to save him (Enter Bailey).
– It’s no secret I find April very annoying, but her subplot involving her unborn baby kicking was quite poignant, especially because she freaked out and thought something was wrong because Samuel never kicked. Ouch.
– On that note, can I get a hallelujah because April and Jackson agreed to stop fighting?
– I loved Maggie snapping at Owen for turning the panel into a hunt for Riggs for completely unrelated reasons. You tell him, girl!
– Bailey overlooking the DNR and saving the dad was really unnecessary from a writing standpoint. I thought it would at least parallel Ben’s storyline as he practically did the same thing, but no one seemed to mention that.
– Even the fact that no one spoke with DeLuca about the incident was a sign of lazy writing. He was literally the only one there besides Ben, and he should’ve at least been called in for questioning in front of the panel. They could have even made it soapy and dramatic since Maggie is on the advisory panel!
Meredith: The dad made it.
Bailey: The mom didn’t.
Meredith: I hate it when it’s babies.
Bailey: Me too.
Richard: Was this a mistake, or was it hubris? Did he do his job, or did he overstep? Bailey, I know it’s hard being his wife and his boss, but you’re the chief now. This is your call. It’s your job. Do your job.
Bailey: You saw what you wanted to see. You made a choice that you wanted to make.
Ben: Do you really believe that?
Bailey: What else am I supposed to–
Ben: Oh, son of a – I am your damned husband!
Ben: It’s a good thing I’m not trying to save lives so I can see that the elevator doors are open.
Jackson: I tried to take the high road.
Catherine: Apparently, the high road is paved with restraining orders.
Ben: We need to separate this out. The Chief and Dr. Warren over here, and Ben and Miranda over here. Church and state, okay?
Bailey: Church and state.
Bailey: Omar is dying, and while you stand there and yell at me, three children are becoming orphans.
Ben: You know, you’re surgeons. When you operate, when you control if a person breathes another breath, when you hold their beating heart in your hand, when you are responsible for that life, you don’t see or hear or feel anything else. The rest of the world just disappears. You know that. You all do. You can’t tell me you don’t.
Amelia: I was wrong, Bailey. You saved his life.
Bailey: And now I have to go in there and ruin it.
Must Download Tune
Waiting by Aquilo
Despite the standalone-ish and lighthearted nature of the second episode, the first was still a fascinating and highly enjoyable hour of television. Why they aired on the same night is frankly beyond me.
A (for 12×18)
B- (for 12×19)