What a surprisingly quiet yet satisfying finale.
The brilliance of this show after all these years is just how fully-realized all of its characters are, whether it’s in Owen telling Meredith that he’s not a prop Cristina can hand over for safekeeping or Meredith and Alex sharing an incredibly touching moment in the opening scene, lying on the grass like Mer and Cristina used to do back in season two, and discussing whether Derek and Izzie were their one true loves. In fact, that theme hangs over these characters’ head all throughout the hour, and the fact that Meredith comes to the realization that you can have more than one ends up being exactly what Amelia needs to hear to go back into that chapel which is a nice parallel to the new Meredith/Riggs journey and makes for a very well-written hour of television.
Where this hour stumbles is whenever it resorts back to the Alex/Jo drama. After discovering that Jo is indeed already married (which came to no surprise as I’d already expected that last week), Jo gets drunk and predictably ends up back at home with DeLuca. Alex walking in during that moment is SO contrived, it makes me wish Jo was either a better-written character (the street-girl persona certainly isn’t helping) or simply off the show. This is one storyline I’m hoping gets completely forgotten next season.
April going into labor at the most inconvenient time and place was also predictable. Her forgetting the wedding rings and having to go back to get them is one of the oldest TV wedding tropes in the book, but at least it made for some interesting developments later on. It’s no secret I’ve never liked April’s whiny, goody-two-shoes character, but Ben cutting into her on the kitchen table with a butter knife was both jaw-dropping and heartbreaking. I want to say a part of me thought she wouldn’t make it thanks to several fakeouts, but not having the privilege to watch this live meant I knew April had survived.
Perhaps the biggest shock of the finale is Callie getting very little screentime despite this being her final swan song. What’s more upsetting is that she ends up getting exactly everything she ever wanted with Arizona feeling sorry for her and giving her Sofia so she can go “chase tail” for a year in New York. The show really dropped the ball with this character in the back half of this season, so I can’t say I’ll miss Callie at all, but it’s still oddly frustrating that Sara Ramirez doesn’t get a proper sendoff after being on the show for nearly 10 years.
Finally, a season is only as memorable as its final shot. Therefore, I’m so glad the finale ended on a close-up of Meredith’s face as she discovers that Maggie likes Riggs too while her voiceover brilliantly narrates “or maybe…give me a minute, I’ll think of something” as the screen fades to black. The new love triangle might not be a shocking cliffhanger or an unexpected twist, but it’s still an excellent way to end a truly amazing season.
Bits & Scalpels
– The music in the opening teaser during Meredith and Alex’s scene outdoors and Amelia in the bathroom was chilling and beautiful.
– Amelia crying “mommy” on the phone was gut-wrenching and powerful. I never give Caterina Scorsone credit for her performance (especially in such a huge cast), but she really nailed all her scenes in this episode.
– Love Alex’s character development over the years. His speech to an annoying Jo about growing up and wanting to settle down: spot-on.
– One of the show’s best written scenes is undeniably Amelia and Meredith’s face-off when the bride is in her wedding gown (read the entire exchange below).
– Amelia and Maggie constantly turning to Meredith for advice on what to do next was really nice to watch as it finally puts Meredith in a spot that makes her the healthiest, most stable character on the show. Her being a leader is gratifying to watch, and I can’t wait to see more of our protagonist being in charge next year.
– Not a big fan of that slow-mo of Jackson, Bailey and Arizona rushing to the ambulance outside but I appreciate that it was different and made it seem like April wouldn’t make it. Another April-might-die fakeout: Ben telling Jackson that he tried his best and would’ve done more if he could.
– Loved Meredith and Riggs’ chat about their respective weddings. Meredith getting teary-eyed talking about the post-it wedding genuinely felt like Ellen Pompeo was about to cry.
– So, we don’t actually see Amelia and Owen getting married, but there’s no way the show is going to toy with us again and not have them married by next year, right?
Alex: Maybe you only get one.
Meredith: One what? Soulmate? Or true love? Well, then who… Izzie? Alex, Izzie wasn’t your one true love. And even if she was…
Alex: What was Derek? Are you telling me you think that’s coming around again?
Meredith: You have no idea how many people have locked themselves in that bathroom. They’re always fine.
Maggie: Amelia, we’re here for you, okay? As long as it takes.
Meredith: 20 more minutes and I’m ripping the door off the hinges! Amelia, stuff your feelings in!
Amelia: Meredith, I am flipping out here. I’m wearing a wedding gown. There is a good and decent man in there who loves me and is expecting to marry me, and I can’t tell if I am marrying him because I love him back or because I just ran here and picked up a scalpel and slipped into this Shepherd skin. And maybe it is right, and maybe it’s not, but I don’t know, and I am marrying Cristina’s husband. I know what you think about that. And I don’t know what I’m doing. And there is no one here with me. There is no one here to tell me to quit or get me down the aisle or…help me. That is Derek’s job, and Derek is dead. And all I have is Maggie, and Maggie is full of sunshine and candy and hope, and every time I try to tell her that the world is on fire, she hands me a marshmallow to roast, so that just leaves you. And you…you are rooting for the other guy. You told me to go and be with Owen, and then you turned on me, and now you are not on my side. And we both know you don’t like me, but you are stuck with me. So here I am in a wedding gown on the happiest fricking day of my life in a room with no family and no help and no one on my side but you. So what can you do for me? What can you do for me, Meredith?
Meredith: You’re me. You’re me before Derek. I can be here for you. I know how to do this. I can be a trusted sister for you. Just how do you want to play this? Do you need me to tell you you’re a beautiful bride and kick your ass down that aisle? You’re a beautiful bride. Turn around, I’ll start kicking. Do you need me to call your mother and yell at her? I’m your girl. If you need a shoulder to cry on, I have two. If you want to freak out and call it off, if you want to run, I’ll drive the getaway car. Just let me know what you need. I’m here for you. I am your family, Amelia. Today, I am your person. Just tell me what you want to do.
Maggie: What’s wrong with Owen?
Amelia: There’s nothing wrong with Owen.
Meredith: Well, he could use some sun.
A happy, low-key finale closes out one of the best seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in recent years.