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Grey's Anatomy Season 7: the good, the bad and the just plain ugly

Hello SpoilerTV. I’ve just joined the site as a show expert for Grey’s Anatomy. I’m new to this blog but not new to the show. Love love love it. I’ve written stuff about Grey’s before on my own blog and now have the opportunity to spout my often strong, biased opinions here on whatever subject you want. I love a good debate so feel free to disagree.

If Twitterverse is to be believed Grey’s will start filming Season 8 on 15th July (so says JCap), bringing an end to actor vacations and revving up the promotional PR for us poor long hiatus suffering viewers. But before we speculate about what delights Shonda Rhimes will bring us in September let’s remind ourselves of what happened during Season 7.

This is a 3 part series of blogs designed to help navigate the path to S8. Part one is the good, the bad and the just plain ugly. It's a long one, so here goes...

Best Episode: OK, so I think 710, Adrift and at Peace or 701 With You I am Born Again. I can’t decide. 710 probably wins for the outstanding sequence of scenes with Cristina/Derek and the end scene with Callie/Arizona. The best episodes for me are written and directed with subtlety and grace. And 710 does that so well. If you read the reviews you might think that 711, Disarm, is the best, but in my view that episode is over sentimental and unnecessary story telling. Or some reviews say that 722, the finale is the season winner. Having re-watched the whole season there is a stark difference between the writing and directing of 701 with the finale, 722 Unaccompanied Minor. 701 is superb. The tension in the episode is tangible, the cinematography creates a dark, edgy pressure and then in the midst we see classic comedy with Chief Webber dancing away. Grey’s is at it’s best when mixing dark story telling with comic genius. Contrast this with 722, which is poorly written, rushed, with bad characterisation. Generally uninspiring. Other excellent episodes include 718 Song Beneath the Song and 715, Golden Hour.
Worst Episode: 706 These Arms of Mine. This was a wasted episode. I salute the production team for trying something new with the documentary style, but it was difficult to watch our characters behaving differently to how we usually see them. It felt false and over-acted. This meant that stories that needed to be told fully were not, for example Arizona’s grant and Callie’s subsequent decision. Part of the enjoyment of this show is the depth of characters and telling the story in such a way as a documentary meant we only saw the superficial. 
Second in the worst episode award is 712, Start Me Up, a dull filler of an episode which used up valuable screen time that could have been dedicated to really kick starting the true Chief Resident race stories.  
Best Character and Characterisation: Cristina Yang. She is the most developed, most consistent, best-written character in the show. She is funny, dark and genius. This is only amplified by the fact that Sandra Oh plays her so brilliantly. I also really enjoyed watching Meredith this season. She took a little bit of a back seat in terms of storyline but what we saw of her was well written, consistent and progressive.
Worst Characterisation (not to be confused with worst character): Arizona Robbins. The strong, independent, mature ‘grown up’ character we knew in S5 and S6 is not the same weak, trodden upon, bailer we had in S7. And this is NOTHING to do with JCap, who has made something brilliant out of nothing this season. Kudos to her also for pushing out a baby and getting back to work in what seemed like only about 4 weeks. To some extent Callie Torres was also poorly characterised but you could also say that her behaviour was merely on the edge of her character rather than completely out of character.
Worst Character: Jackson Avery. I’ve lost the point to Avery (despite the fact he’s lovely totty) and thus can’t be bothered to even finish this sentence….
Best Storyline: Cristina and her PTSD. It’s obviously difficult to empathise with her, not many of us operate with a gun to our heads, but it takes writing genius for us to really feel what it’s like to deal with it, or even get close to this feeling. The writers stuck true to Cristina and the story ended beautifully in Adrift and At Peace. I also loved the heart-breaking and devastating Alzheimers storyline with Adele Webber and really hope this continues into S8. It would be good television to revisit some of the patients, and their progress. Although the clinical trial may well be destroyed…
Worst Storyline: Callie, Arizona and Mark baby threesome. This was almost a textbook definition of “how can writers annoy the most number of fans”. If you were a big supporter of this story you would surely be in the minority. There was nothing for Calzona fans, nothing for Mexie fans and very little for Mallie fans. What was Shonda thinking: the biggest and most iconic lesbian relationship on network TV in America, and she puts a man in the middle of it with boygirl “we were broken up” sex and a resulting baby? If the storyline itself wasn’t bad enough, the writing of it was a complete disaster. And unlike the Cristina/PTSD storyline, which was told respectfully and clearly, the calsloana soap was told either with crass narcissistic superficiality or so symbolically that you needed a PhD in psychology and philosophy to interpret the musical episode (by the way, I loved the musical episode!).
Best Acting: Goes to the ladies this season – Sandra Oh is just brilliant throughout the series. Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw should be awarded a huge prize for their superb acting with extremely poor material. The best guest star is without doubt Loretta Devine for her heart breaking portrayal of Adele Webber.
Worst Acting: Well no one really stands out to be honest. They’re all pretty good. Eric Dane needs a great script to look really good and unfortunately the writers let him down. His dialogue was dull, repetitive and lifeless. There’s only so many times you can listen to “I’m a father”, “I’m a parent”. So he didn’t shine.
Best Music: One of the main reasons for me to watch Grey’s is for the music. I simply love it. This season did not disappoint. The best music came from Mumford & Sons, Adele, The National, Cary Brothers and Mackintosh Braun. All provided atmospheric, enchanting or emotional sound tracks to the stories. But really there was much more new stuff. The musical episode was excellent and a real celebration of what makes Grey’s so good to listen to. If I was disappointed then it was that a new Grey’s ‘anthem’ was not uncovered in the Wedding episode.
Funniest Lines: Seriously, so many to choose from that this could be the subject of a new blog post. But here are the highlights:
The most subtle was from April, “Sparkle…that was the name of my pony” (re-watch 710 for the context!). Subtle and genius.
Meredith, in 721, “My mother was about as nurturing as a steak knife”
Cristina, “"She's mostly tubes and wires. And she looks more like a chicken than a baby. Like a featherless, beakless chicken. You want to wait until she's cuter." 719, It’s a long way back.
Funniest Scene: Oh it has to be Cristina cutting Callie’s hair in 708, Something’s gotta give. Priceless. “You might want a hat!” I vote for a Cristina/Callie sit com.
I also loved Derek catching Bailey and Eli, at it, in the on-call room! Classic. 715, Golden Hour.
Who did I ship this season: Although not a die-hard shipper generally, I was a Callie/Arizona fan (I’m a romantic) until Callie went narcissistic and Arizona lost her bottle. Now it’s difficult to like them as a couple. But as a romantic, I loved 718 White Wedding and I am rooting for them big time in S8. I am sad for Mark and Lexie, this is the “to die for chemistry” couple that get shafted too many times and I don’t like it. MerDer, slightly dull this season.Teddy and Henry are just cute (although doomed) as are Bailey and Eli. Cristina and Owen – never was a much of a fan. Still not. Lexie/Jackson – eeuuuww. Yuk.
Unexplored sexual chemistry that should’ve been explored: Teddy and the CIA guy. Smokin’! 708, Something’s gotta give.
Who did I fall in love with: Alex. I’ve really struggled to like him over the years but this season I finally fell, 718 White Wedding (yeah, you know the scene I’m talking about!), and I am crushed at where Shonda has left him in the season finale. I am, however, secretly hoping he runs off with Arizona…(I know, I know, she’s a gold star lesbian, it’s never gonna happen, but they are too cute together…)
Best speech: Arizona’s “brother” speech in 718, White Wedding. She nails the speech every time. This also restored my faith in Mark (I’m a Mark fan and he’s been disappointing me). April’s “we all have stuff we don’t talk about” speech in 703, Superfreak opened my eyes to how good her character can be.
Other great moments – Meredith finally telling Lexie she loves her, and to grow up all in the same breathe; Derek falling in love with Zola (now THAT is on screen chemistry at work); Richard and Adele, finally, yet tragically happy; Bailey curing fistulas.
Most interesting plot factoid: All three significant relationships in the show got married this season and have a child (or are at least pregnant). Nothing about that last sentence is very “Grey’s”.

So that’s my view of the highlights and lowlights of S7. I thought S6 and even S5 were better but that won't put me off tuning into S8. In the next blog we'll take a look at the emotional shoot out Shonda Rhimes left us with.
So tell me…what are your highlights?

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