Thoughts on Grey’s Finale (Season 5)

Here's Your New Lunch Table Clique... It would be easy to roll up my sleeves and pontificate about all of the reasons why I feel this season of Grey’s Anatomy was disappointing.  (And had I started writing the minute after the credits rolled, that’s precisely what I would have done).  But reflecting on the show (for all of, let’s see….two hours), my thoughts turn to T.R. Knight’s character, George O’Malley.

When people think of Grey’s, the character that they usually reflect upon is Meredith.  After all, the show bears her name and she narrates most of the episodes.  But in a strange way, I always saw the show through George’s eyes.  During the early episodes when Grey’s was just this show that came on after Desperate Housewives, I kinda looked at George and laughed.  He was every nerdy, ‘wish-i-could-hang-with-the-cool-kids’ dude I ever knew.  And while he was annoying, he was also the character that seemed to be the most humbled by the opportunity that was set before him.

As the show moved on, out of all of the characters on the show, I saw him as the character who evolved and matured the most.  One of the things that I loved about the show was the relationship that he and Isaiah Washington had as student and teacher.  It was one of mutual respect and it was wonderfully written.  (Which was part of the reason that I was so crushed to find out that in reality their relationship was less than cordial, the true reasons behind which we may never fully know.)  But even without ‘Burke’, George found a way always give us something interesting to chew on.  The guilt that he carried and emitted without words during the season where he cheated on Callie.  The pain of explaining his father’s sickness to his family, playing the ‘bad news-bringing doctor’ role in a way that he probably never figured he’d have to do.

By now it’s pretty clear to anyone that watched the finale that George was the victim of an accident and that T.R. Knight is no longer on the show.  I don’t profess to understand the complexities of running an award-winning primetime drama.  And I feel that for all of the good moments Grey’s writers have given us, we should all give them the benefit of the doubt when they make the decision that for whatever off-screen reasons that they need to somewhat abruptly end a character’s term on the program.  I just feel like there had to be a way…hell, there had to be a hundred ways… to give this character, whom you’ve invested so much time and energy and show-hours helping us to get to know… a proper good-bye.

Yes, I know by now that the theme of this entire season is that “life is precious” and that it should be cherished every minute that you breathe.  I get that.  But a tragic, quick death is one that is befitting a character who isn’t a staple of your program.  I don’t read TMZ and I don’t have a subscription to Us Weekly, but just like everyone else, I heard that both T.R. Knight and Katherine Heigl were leaving the show.  And it’s really none of my business why either the actors or the writers felt that they needed to part ways.  But if the Grey’s writers are fans of the show as much as they claim to be and are really concerned about what the fans want, then there had to have been a better way to “kill these characters off”.

I never really liked “Alex and Izzie” even though it kept being forced down our throats.  The funny thing to me about Alex and Izzie’s relationship this go ‘round was that the relationship that Izzie had with George made Alex (and thus the relationship) seem even more shallow than it did to being with.  Perhaps George and Izzie weren’t right for each other, but when they were together, for a moment you (or should I say, “I”) felt like love between two friends was possible.  Regardless of why they split (and yeah, I thought they were better as pals) it made Karev look more and more like a neanderthal.  After all, it was George – who wasn’t even with Izzie – who noticed that she wasn’t feeling well before anyone else did.

Ironically, I felt that the episode prior to the finale was a much more Grey’s-esque ending.  How could you NOT reach for a Kleenex after watching how “in love with being in love” Izzie was and how she wanted to plan this Charles-&-Diana-esque wedding, only to have her unselfish friends use it as a chance to hold Izzie up instead and to give her a much deserved moment in the sun.  Why not end the season right there?  Why not have Izzie die as she gave her vows to Alex with all of her friends and family standing around… and leave us with some incredible quote?  I could shoot a finale that would have had even first-time watchers crying!  It was so easy.  The pins were all set up.  All they had to do was knock them down.  After that incredible 100th episode, in Twitter I wrote about not knowing if I would be ready for the finale.  I figured, if this is the setup, I’m not quite sure I can make it through two hours of this kind of well-written drama!

I should have stopped at last week.

Grey’s writers have proven me wrong and they always seem to churn out a quality plot, regardless of how unsatisfactorily that plot eventually gets resolved.  But this time I just don’t see how the show can go on.  Besides the fact that they just reached in and yanked out the heart and soul of the Seattle Grace clique, where do you find your light hearted moments anymore?  Most of the time they came from either Izzie or George.  Picture the lunch table next fall: Karev, Yang, Izzie…and…uh… gee, I dunno.  Maybe Callie will join the table?  Or perhaps some of those goofy ass interns that I can’t stand will find their way in?  (God, please tell me that Kimberly Elise is done appearing on the show).  With potentially two of the biggest pieces of the show being gone, how do you have a light hearted moment ever again in that hospital?

There’s a growing sentiment among my friends that this might not be Katherine Heigl’s final show.  Similar to the season where Isaiah Washington was written off, supposedly there’s a hint that the door might have been open to her coming back.  (Yeah, I know – they never called the ‘time of death’.)  For one thing, she’s got no fewer that five movies in production over on imdb.com (and that doesn’t include The Ugly Truth, which is ready for release.)  And even if the character returns, this just wasn’t the way to reward the fans.  Shonda always refers to the “Grey’s bible” where all of the major plots are written and there’s even an ending.  Surely this can’t be part of that playbook.

So where does this leave us:

  • We open to a double-funeral???  (And if Izzie is miraculously alive, even one funeral is a downer that will last the entire season.)
  • Whomever does that Danny Elfman-esque string plucking upbeat music can take the first six months off, because I can’t see how there will be a moment without regret/grief in the show early on.
  • Chief Webber won’t find it easy to forgive himself for giving O’Malley the day off
  • Callie and Bailey will wish they warned O’Malley sooner
  • When Alex isn’t spending time thinking about how unforgivably horrible he was to Izzie, he’ll spend the other times thinking of how horrible he was to George.  And then he should just commit suicide or leave Seattle.  Or join the Army in George’s memory.  Just get his insensitive, caveman arse off the show.
  • Callie’s grief will get in the way of her relationship with the weird chipper pediatrician chick.

Surely they’ll introduce a ton of new characters to try and help us forget the pain.  And I’m sure the season will begin with a bang… “No time to grieve, as Seattle is hit with Swine Flu and it’s gonna take every doctor on staff to save the day, on the Season Opener of Grey’s Anatomy!!”

Who am I kidding.  Of course I’ll be back to watch.  Never said I wouldn’t be back to see how this thing turns out.  But I can’t stress enough how disappointed I am with the writing.  The writers knew that this might be the last season for both of those characters.  Regardless of how you feel about the actors, do the right thing by the fans.  Either give them an ending that is befitting of the character or find a way to reconcile these actor/writer/production relationships for the sake of continuing an incredible piece of art.

Maybe this is the last season coming up?  Wouldn’t surprise me a bit.  I can see low ratings possibly leading to the announcement that this is the last season.  I dunno — I just feel cheated.  They’ve always ended seasons with huge interesting plot reveals to remind the fans of exactly why they spend an hour in front of the television every Thursday.   This time they just didn’t do it.

I’m calling for a Bobby Ewing season – let’s pretend like the whole thing never happened.  Or at least give us a better send off for these mainstays.  Give me the pen.  I’ll give you something memorable.  Even if I had time for just one re-write, I’d never kill George that way.  So how?  It’s simple.  Have him so grief stricken by the death of Izzie (much earlier in the show – after all, everyone knew it was coming by now) that you have him drive with tears in his eyes and get into an accident that way.  That’s just one idea… I’m sure the fans have a ton of them.  But one thing that’s safe to say is that I don’t see how the resolve could have been much worse than this. 

Curious to read what the folks on the official blog (Grey Matter) write to explain this and what the comments section looks like.  I’m not a betting man, but I’d say that it’s not going to be pretty.  Not…at…all.


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