I love when this show produces experimental episodes, especially in its thirteenth season on the air, and while The Room Where It Happens may not end up as memorable or iconic as last year’s The Sound of Silence, there’s still a lot to love about this one.
First, there’s no denying that Debbie Allen did a spectacular job directing this bottle episode. From Owen’s probably-not-dead sister appearing in the OR as everyone and everything else freeze in time to Richard’s mother playing the cello in the background, Allen masterfully creates a beautiful, spacious setting out of a small, tight room. What a bold, creative decision.
Owen’s sister was a bit of a surprise (I could have sworn it looked like they were flirting at first), and Bridget Regan is a gorgeous, talented actress who truly makes the most out of her scenes. I had reservations about wanting Megan to suddenly show up at the hospital and cause drama between Owen and Riggs again, but now I don’t think I would mind her presence so much. Plus, her remarks about Meredith were hilarious (and on-point?).
I even loved the twist with Gail turning out to be Richard’s mother, which I honestly didn’t see coming for some reason, but it’s even more impressive when you realize that this show can still add a bit of backstory for a longtime character and not seem convoluted. Wasn’t this just heartbreaking, though?
Speaking of breaking our hearts, reliving the moment Derek died would have been less successful if it weren’t for Ellen Pompeo’s remarkable performance as she tells Zola that “daddy died”. I absolutely love that this show doesn’t mind revisiting that horrific night, and possibly even making it more powerful by adding little bits and pieces to it. Also, having this entire scene play out in front of present-Meredith as she operates was a fun creative touch, and having her imagine Derek with her in the scrub-room later is possibly the most gut-wrenching moment this show has ever produced. So, if this episode didn’t succeed at impressing you visually or otherwise, at least it made you cry— admit it.
Bits & Scalpels
– Nifty opening with Meredith’s chilling voiceover and the title credits appearing over the dark operating room just seconds before the entire team of doctors and nurses rush in and start working. And that music was a great touch!
– The patient’s face switching every now and then was kind of dull and totally unnecessary.
– Chilling moment with Megan asking Owen if he’s going to choke her. Ouch.
– I thought Young Edwards was probably the least interesting part of the episode. Felt very straightforward and predictable to me.
– Hilarious moment with Megan calling Owen “Eeyore”. Any Winnie the Pooh fans here?
– Anyone else immediately recognized Dillard Hospital as the one that Derek died in?
– The MerDer music (yes, it’s called that apparently) as Meredith talks to her kids (and later sees Derek) always gets to me.
– Goosebumps-worthy moment with Meredith and Richard chanting “Hail Mary”.
– The Derek scene at the end was obviously footage from the first or second season, right? I feel like the Red Cross ad in the back gave it away if a young Patrick Dempsey wasn’t proof enough.
– I was seriously pissed when that nurse walked in and made Ghost McDreamy go away.
Stephanie: How do you know when you’re too tired to operate?
Owen: Right about when you make your first mistake.
Stephanie: I hate that answer.
Meredith: You don’t. You just keep going.
Stephanie: Don’t love that one, either.
Zola [about Derek]: You should go in there and fix him.
Meredith: Zola, I can’t fix him.
Meredith: I can’t fix him because… (voice breaking) Because no one can fix him. Because he’s dead, Zola. Daddy…died.
Richard: One afternoon, I was in the O.R., and we lost a patient on the table, and I went along to inform the family, you know, tell them the horrible news, and I was numb. I watched them sob and hold each other and… and it didn’t affect me… at all. That patient died from the same thing my mother died from, and I was a robot. After that… I started changing the rules, and it made me a better surgeon.
Meredith: You’ve saved her now. About a thousand times.
Meredith (closing voiceover): We’ve all hit that point of exhaustion, the point where nothing makes sense anymore. Your body hurts, your brain becomes foggy, and you feel like you’re trapped in a tunnel. When all you want is your bed. So, how do you keep going? How do you not just sit down and give up? Sometimes, it’s easy. Sometimes you play games in your head. You make up someone. Someone good. Whatever you need…to keep you going.
Drag Me Down by Brooklyn Duo
All of Your Glory by Broods
A unique, emotional hour of television that’s also the best episode of the season so far.