Grey’s Anatomy always knows how to pull off a memorable season finale.
To my surprise, Stephanie Edwards survived this deadly finale and it came as a huge relief because watching her go above and beyond to save little Erin only to end up dead herself would have been too devastating, even for this show. Jerrika Hinton gave her most powerful performance yet as Stephanie struggled to escape the flames that started in last week’s episode and the result is an intense, gripping hour of television. While Stephanie was never a favorite of mine, I’m glad she got a refreshing non-fatal exit, one that also makes perfect sense for the character.
Another thing this finale does well is set up some interesting storylines for next season. As skeptical as I was about Owen’s sister returning from the dead, the Meredith/Riggs interactions were surprisingly poignant. The fact that she fully supported him, particularly in that heartbreaking declaration that “if this were Derek, [she] would’ve already been gone,” made this all the more beautiful. Color me impressed.
Sadly, the April/Jackson/Maggie subplot was completely tedious and tonally jarring from the rest of the episode. Despite characters repeatedly mentioning how worried they were about Jackson’s whereabouts, the stakes weren’t high enough for us to care and the fact that he ended up just fine felt slightly underwhelming. With this incestuous subplot taking place while Eliza Minnick continues to be horrible, the finale ends up being a bit overstuffed, especially for a 40-minute episode. Your guess is as good as mine as to why Scandal got a 2-hour season finale because between these two shows, Grey’s certainly needed (and deserved) it more.
Bits & Scalpels
– The patient being carried out of the hospital like Cleopatra provided some much needed comic relief throughout the episode. If only we could see her again!
– In case you missed it, this finale also (although not really) serves as a setup for the new firefighter spinoff Shonda Rhimes is producing next year.
– Nothing I love more than seeing the title credits getting a special makeover. The smoke fading over the screen was a nifty touch this time.
– Badass scene as Stephanie jumps into the fire with Erin in her arms in slow-mo.
– Debbie Allen (Catherine) directed this episode, and I’ve gotten used to noticing her visual touches. This week, it was fascinating to watch Owen see himself walk down the hall from his point of view.
– I know it’s supposed to be satisfying to hear that Stephanie deep-fried the rapist, but damn seeing that body was gruesome and horrifying.
– Goosebumps worthy moment when Stephanie tells Richard that he changed her life. He’s really everyone’s dad in this hospital, isn’t he?
– So, that’s it for Eliza Minnick? Well that was underwhelming.
– Those burns on Stephanie’s arm sure were terrifying to look at, weren’t they?
– The CGI with the helicopters on the rooftop was very sloppy. Why doesn’t this show ever do helicopter CGI right?
– LOL at this finale completely ignoring the Alex/Jo drama.
– My only other complaint about this episode (and why I don’t think it deserves a perfect grade) is that it ends on Owen. In a season where Meredith has gotten rid of the large brain tumor, post-it wedding and started a real albeit brief relationship, she deserves the final shot of the season.
– With that said, this was a solid yet slightly inconsistent season. I will truly miss this gang over the next few months.
Meredith: So, remember the dream where they come back to us? Derek forgets his keys and Megan goes for–
Nathan: Coffee, yeah, what about it?
Meredith: Nathan, they found Megan. She’s alive.
Meredith: There’s a rapist on the loose?
Bailey: Where have you been?
Stephanie: I’ve spent my whole life in hospitals. My whole life, and I think I need to see everything that’s not the inside of a hospital. I need to travel and explore and hike and breathe. Breathe real air. I want to breathe it all in, away from the monitors and the blood and the sterile gowns, away from saving other people’s lives. I want my own. It’s time I live my own.
Meredith (closing voiceover): Nobody wakes up thinking, “My world will explode today. My world will change”. Nobody thinks that. But sometimes it happens. Sometimes, we wake up, we face our fears, we take them by the hand, and we stand there. Waiting. Hoping. Ready. For anything.
A thrilling and near-perfect finale packed with strong emotional beats and raw performances.