I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Paul Stradler arc.
Grey’s could have easily followed the cliche route by introducing the abusive ex and his brand new wife. However, nothing about this storyline has been predictable. Paul came to Seattle and threatened Jo, was involved in a hit and run (with the culprit being a drunk driver and not one of the obvious suspects), and eventually found himself brain-dead after trying to attack our ladies. The cherry on top? Jo using her legal power as his wife to donate his body to science. I honestly saw none of these events coming which makes for some really refreshing storytelling. In addition, the subplot allowed the show to explore domestic abuse through an empowering and insightful lens. The scene in which Jo and Jenny discuss how they could fall for such a man was extremely enlightening, and their exchange over the nature of “evil” towards the end further amplified the hour’s themes. Bravo Grey’s!
But Personal Jesus doesn’t just tackle domestic abuse, it also sheds light on racial profiling and police brutality. A little boy is shot while “breaking into” his own home, and ultimately dies due to some trigger-happy cops. It’s a very unsettling storyline that’s rendered even more powerful as we witness Bailey and Ben give their son Tuck “the talk”. What follows is a heartbreaking sequence as Tuck learns how to surrender himself in times of suspicious and what kinds of behavior he should avoid. Shonda Rhimes doesn’t always excel when tackling real life issues, but this was a certified success because it was firmly rooted in character.
This episode also features the unexpected return of April’s ex-fiance Matthew. Justin Bruening was always a likable presence in the role, and that makes his losing his new wife this week all the more depressing and effective. More importantly, it drives April (who is shocked to see hear that all of this week’s patents perished) into the arms of Roy the intern. The show has a heck of a lot of fun with this reveal by starting out the hour with April in the shower as she narrates the episode, and culminating with her being far from alone. Now that’s a nifty misdirect!
Bits & Scalpels
– Dr. Helm is actually really funny. Notice how she starts breathing like a pregnant mom during delivery so she can cope with the stress
– Maggie’s chemical trick was pretty darn cool
– I seriously loved watching Jenny and Jo bond. Can Bethany Joy Lenz please stay on the show for a while?
– Wasn’t too amused by the masturbating kid. He did get one good scene with Carina who needs more to do. And at least the boy survived (totally slipped my mind since he was so forgettable).
– Interesting insight with Avery revealing his trials with racial profiling as a kid.
– My jaw literally dropped when Paul jumped out of bed to attack Jo and Jenny and hit his head. Then I laughed.
– Jo hysterically laughing (and then crying) at the realization that she has control over Paul’s brain-dead body was out-of-this-world fantastic.
– Although I enjoyed the racial profiling storyline, I found Avery’s speech about “changing protocols” a bit too heavy-handed.
– “Never ever ever ever RUN.” Wow. Chilling.
Meredith: I’m not sure you guys should be here, or even in the country.
Alex: It wasn’t us.
Meredith: I know. I believe you. I still think you could make it to Canada by lunchtime.
Jenny: How did I believe him?
Jo: Because he was good to you in the beginning. And on the good days. Jenny, we’re not stupid. We didn’t fall for someone who beat us. We fell for someone who made us laugh and feel wanted and loved and seen. Paul is brilliant and charming and persuasive, and the good outweighed the bad… until it didn’t.
Jenny: Do you think he’s evil? I mean, I’m a scientist, and I think I’m an atheist. But there’s a little part of me that’s worried that the girl in Billings is getting an evil kidney.
Jo: I don’t believe that anyone is just evil. If people were just one thing, life would be so much simpler. Paul was awful in this life, but now, in death, he gets to do all this good. So there’s light and darkness, and they both coexist. And sometimes it’s really beautiful.
Are You With Me by Nilu
Another stellar hour from Grey’s Anatomy. What a fantastic season!