I love Miranda Bailey. So.damn.much.
Every once in a while, Grey’s pull off a different kind of episode, and more often than not, these “special” hours are a big success. Focusing exclusively on the epic character that is Miranda Bailey, (Don’t Fear) the Reaper is yet another home-run from the iconic medical drama.
I actually didn’t notice that Meredith, the show’s lead, didn’t even make an appearance this week. No this was Bailey’s story, and it was wonderfully insightful in every way. We got refreshing flashbacks to her childhood (she had an overprotective mother who lost her first child) as well as to a number of pivotal scenes throughout the show’s run. That’s the great thing when a show goes on for this long: you have such a rich history to fall back on, and repeating these scenes never feels dull (probably because we’ve forgotten them anyway). And wasn’t it just great to see George, Derek and Callie again?
But really Chandra Wilson knocked it out of the park. I’d actually forgotten about Bailey being on antidepressants for OCD, so I found her monologue about her “story” (which you can find below) to be truly gut-wrenching. Moreover, Wilson broke my heart during those final moments when she finally got in touch with her mom and told her about her heart attack. Perhaps Mama Bailey will be dropping by the show soon? Bailey’s arc also allowed Shonda to shed some insight on women and heart disease, and how the symptoms of a heart attack are gravely different between genders. Can’t say this wasn’t educational!
Finally, I have to praise the voiceover. A lot of times, Meredith’s voiceovers can come off as repetitive (which is only normal after 14 seasons) and I find myself glazing over them,. But Reaper‘s themes narrated by Bailey were especially impactful and poignant (find them below). They actually made me think and reflect about my life’s choices, and that’s a hell of a powerful thing for a TV show to do.
Bits & Scalpels
– What a horrifying but brilliantly effective teaser with Bailey getting out of the car very calmly, entering a strange hospital, and matter-of-factly telling the nurse that she’s having a heart attack. So very memorable and chilling.
– Chief Maxwell is none other than Mark Moses of Desperate Housewives fame. He’s equally sleazy here.
– Loved the psychiatrist asking Bailey for a consult about the hypothetical patient who ends up being her.
– How great was it to see Maggie and Richard be there for Bailey?
– Bailey references Princess Leia and Star Wars. She really IS a sci-fi fan!
– Awww moment: Richard saying he’ll be fine when Miranda is fine.
– Young Chief! Bailey with braids! Talk about nostalgia! Had we seen that scene before?
– Bailey announcing that she “needs her husband” before surgery was SO good.
– Hilarious lighthearted moment to break the tension: Catherine arriving with the butler in tow with brisket and fancy juices. I love her.
– This really bugged me. When Richard walks up to Bailey’s fellow patient to check up on her, the camera does that flicker thing as if she’s opening her eyes to see him post-op. But that makes no sense since the Chief isn’t even looking at the camera so it’s not her perspective. Am I making sense? It was so bizarre.
– Bailey asking Ben to chase his dream (spinoff trailer here!) and build her a treehouse was just perfect.
Bailey: I am Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial-
Nurse: Surgery is upstairs on four.
Bailey: Okay, interrupt me again, I’m coming over that counter.
Mother: Now, what did I say about coming in before the street lights?
Bailey: That if I wasn’t inside before the first flicker, you’d be on me like white on rice, on a paper plate, in a snowstorm, in Antarctica.
Patient: Whatcha workin’ on?
Patient: No wonder you had a heart attack.
Bailey: I am a sci-fi-loving African-American woman in her 40s with a stubborn husband, a beautiful son, and no pets because they smell like feet. And I have a big job where I do big, lifesaving, miracle-working things where I lead others so that they can do their big, lifesaving, miracle-working thing. And, yes, I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. I am not ashamed of that. But it’s not my story. It’s just one piece. And if you continue to look at just that one piece if you check the “mental illness” box and refuse to look at anything else then I’m not gonna live long enough to finish the rest of my story.
Bailey: Second opinion. Please. And preferably not a Yale grad! All that ivy seems to have poisoned your brain!
Bailey: (to Maggie) Just get here. Fast. That’s an order. Also a request.
Maggie: Between this and Amelia-
Chief: I mean, we’re always so busy running around taking care of everyone else.
Maybe we’re not checking in on each other enough.
Maggie: Oh, God. Are you dying, too?
Bailey: Do not “Miranda” me. This is a battle you’ve never had to fight. It’s taken me way too long to feel tall there.
Ben: I can’t believe you made all this.
Catherine: Child, please. I had my driver pick it up.
Bailey: (voiceover) When you look back on your life, the only thing that matters is: Did you spend it doing what you love? With the people you love? Did you make the most of this beautiful, terrifying, messed-up life? Did you let go of all the things that held you back? So you can hold on to what matters most?
Praying by Kesha
An insanely powerful hour that spotlights one of Grey’s Anatomy‘s most impressive characters. This was a rousing success!