Grey’s Recap: Sanctuary; Death and All His Friends

Last night’s Grey’s Anatomy was extremely intense, and its results have resonated with me since the episode’s end. It is undoubtedly one of the best episodes of the series’ run, and definitely the best in a very, very long time. We all know that its storylines have become a bit trite and forced; even fantastical and unbelievable, so to see an episode of this caliber was refreshing, and left me wanting more for next season.

I will start with Gary Clark, the angry, grieving, husband who is upset with Derek, Richard, Lexie (and the rest of SGH, but especially Derek) for the ‘wrongful’ death of his wife in an earlier episode. His guest appearance is—without a doubt—the best in Grey’s history and Michael O’Neil’s portrayal of Mr. Clark was phenomenal, as he channeled a sociopath whose clear intention was to kill. His chilling demeanor was evident throughout, and for an actor to be able to depict a deranged murderer with such authencity is really quite unbelievable. All of the different actors’ pleas with this man (Bailey claiming she wasn’t a surgeon, but a nurse; April telling him details of her life; Cristina unknowingly telling him exactly where to find Shepherd; and especially Meredith’s plea to kill her instead of Derek) were equally disturbing, and his wreaking havoc despite their pleas indicates how really deranged his wife’s death has made him.

It is pretty incredible how Meredith’s character has developed throughout the series, and last night—upon learning of her pregnancy—reached the pinnacle of her growth. Was it just me, or did she turn a little soft on us when she was comforting April? Perhaps her motherly instincts kicked in; unfortunately it was just before she suffered her miscarriage. We haven’t gotten to see her reaction to the loss, but I surely anticipate her telling Derek of their ill-fated pregnancy in next season’s premiere. Ellen Pompeo’s dramatic performance in this episode was stellar; from learning of her pregnancy, to watching her husband get shot, to her moving eye-for-an-eye dialogue to the shooter in the OR. Everything really was out of Meredith’s hands, and it was great to see her put on one of her better (if not the best) acting performances on the show.

Derek Shepherd in the season 6 finale, "Death and All His Friends"

Can you imagine the pressure Derek felt to try to keep everyone in his hospital safe? Not once did it feel like he was trying to selfishly protect himself. Instead, he maintained authority, even during his gripping dialogue with Mr. Clark. His words were basic but moving, as he expressed that all we can be is human. We are flawed and we make mistakes. All the while, Derek’s wife was watching a gun-toting psychopath antagonizing him, ready to kill at any given moment. Could you imagine Meredith’s anguish?

It feels as though Cristina has—in her own way—grown up with Meredith, as she even expresses a sense of joy for her best friend’s pending motherhood. In a Yang-kind-of-way she was even excited about being a Godmother. Conversely, her relationship with Owen between last episode and this one was cyclical (as most are), but in light of a tragedy, they came to the realization that where they needed to be was with each other. After he left Teddy, showed up in the OR and saw Meredith sitting, waiting, I just knew that the shooter was there. Owen—using his “desert ninja” skills (as my friend so aptly named them)—didn’t let Meredith on to believe that anything was wrong; instead said he would simply ask Cristina if she needed help before scrubbing in. Yang was incredible at the table honing in on the surgical skills she knows she has, even under the pressure of saving the life of her best friend’s husband, while having a gun pointed to her head. Really, really good stuff and stellar acting—yet again—by Sandra Oh.

As far as Callie and Arizona are concerned, I was torn on whether or not they would stay broken up or get back together. It is definitely one of those relationships that you can see going back and forth for a while without any real resolution, just as Derek and Meredith had in earlier seasons. Sometimes all it takes is a tragedy for a couple to realize that they will do whatever it takes to not lose each other, even if that means Callie sacrifices having kids to be with Arizona or if Arizona will have 10 kids to be with Callie. Fortunately it is looking as though the latter will occur in seasons to come.

Chandra Wilson—as usual—had one of the better performances of a well-rounded episode. As the matriarch of Seattle Grace, it is always emotional to watch her touching dialogues and struggling through hardships. I’ve said for many seasons that, whenever Bailey cries, I cry. And last night was no different. Her determination to save Charles Percy was apparent throughout the episode, and her frustration with the elevators having been shut down was heart-breaking. Her sitting there with Percy while he laid dying was very touching, and—though I never really liked Percy—it’s clear that his redeeming quality were his imperfections, and his closing dialogue with Miranda was really, really moving; probably one of the saddest moments in a show that was loaded with them. How tragic is it that the woman he loved (though never told) was also slain in these horrible shootings? It’s nice to think that, if there is an afterlife, he and Reed would be there together.

It was only fitting that McDreamy whisk Lexie away to safety, only to find Alex wounded in the elevator (everything in this show happens in elevators!) The relationship between Lexie and Alex seems real, but I am not sure if I am convinced by her premature “I love you” to him. And I’m not sure she’s very convinced either. But it’s the heat of the moment in a sad and trying time, so naturally emotions are flying and everyone has the potential to feel and say rash sentiments.

Fortunately, it was Richard Webber who had the final conversation with Mr. Clark. The shooter was torn between shooting Dr. Webber or himself (“spending life in prison, and an afterlife with his wife”) when only one bullet remained. Not only was Richard triumphant in his convincing Gary Clark to spare his life and sacrifice his own, but he did not give in to his demons by falling off the wagon. Honestly, I knew that Mr. Clark would take his own life, as his cowardice demonstrated throughout the entire episode would surely end in teh cowardice of taking his own life.

What I can say indefinitely is that—though their deaths were tragic—I am glad to see some Mercy Westers go. I will admit, however, I am VERY glad to see Jackson Avery stay. He was incredible in this episode, and if it weren’t for his sly trickery, who knows if Derek, Meredith, Christina and Owen would have survived. Also, Avery is undeniably into Yang, so look for that to be an interesting dynamic in season 7 as well.

Along with all the heartache, drama and suspense, there were some great moments filled with sarcasm and perfect comedic timing, such as Meredith cracking a joke by telling Derek not to die, as “that would be the worst break-up ever” while he is GSWed on the table. The acting in this episode was really, really fantastic (save for Mandy Moore because—let’s face it—she sucks), and Shonda Rimes excelled in her writing per usual. I was on the edge of my chair the entire 2 hours; engaged and wanting more. This episode was fantastic, and especially reminiscent of earlier seasons, when Grey’s Anatomy was at its prime. Hopefully this level of excellence can be parlayed into the 7th season.

Is it September yet?


Categories: TV


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