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Grey’s Anatomy: Part 3 Emotional Debris – Alex, Mark/Lexie/Jackson

We’re in the final straight before S8 commences. Episode 4 is filming as I write this, more pictures have been tweeted from the set so far than all 7 seasons put together and Shonda is hushing her fans’ spoilery gossip. Yes, there have been spoilers but I reassure you this post is spoiler free. (It is not anger free though…consider yourself warned). 
This is part 3 of a series of posts leading us up to Season 8, reminding us of the emotional fall out left by Shondaland at the end of Season 7. Click here for Part 1 (S7 Summary) and Part 2 (Meredith/Derek and Cristina/Owen)
Continuing down our path of emotional destruction we stumble upon Alex, actually more like stomp on him as we pass him by, crushing his face into the dirt, kicking him in the guts and ignoring his woeful weeping. The Alex hub (his collection of relationship woes) is now the source of great distress for me over the hiatus. I am not happy. What wrong has this poor bloke committed in Seasons 1-6 to continue to warrant piles of crap to be royally dumped on him in S7? Seriously.
OK, we know that Alex is no saint (really, he has been a bad boy in the past), but I’m struggling to figure out the journey that Shonda and her team have taken him on, where his current destination is no further forward than it was back in S1-4. It seems he started S7 the way he finished S7.
Lets’s start with romance. When S7 began he was a jerk. Granted, he was shot in the chest and left to die in an elevator so we can expect that this would emotionally traumatise him. And the outcome is? He’s a complete a****** to Lexie. This carries on through mid season when, with the added layer of family crazy he takes out his frustrations on virginal April in a less than gentlemanly manner. Then along comes OBGYN Lucy. Were the writers trying to deliver Karma or, indeed some kind of sweet irony? Lucy does a job on him, stealing it (pardon the pun) and breaking his heart in the process. To quote Meredith, “the firstgirl…since Dead Denny’s Girl”. Ok Meredith didn’t exactly say that but come on… Ava, Izzie, now Lucy? Why on earth would the guy want a relationship now? Could you blame him if he spent S8 shagging his way through the hospital and turning into Mark Sloan. I suppose the up side is that Alex did at least open his heart and let Lucy in, which I guess is progress for someone who’s heart has been welded shut by Izzie’s cancer drugs. (But didn’t you just love the Arizona heart to heart, “I don’t want the person I recommend to pull a me and go running back to the girl they left behind”. Learn from her my friend). Of course the writers had a tricky casting dilemma on their hands. Although this is a large ensemble cast there is a limit to the relationship pairings you can have from the principles. Who can you pair with Bailey for example? So Alex’s love interest was a guest star, who now has another role. How do they fix this? If Justin Chambers leaves the show how does Shonda give him a happy (we hope) ending with no long term love interest in the current cast? Oh I hope he stays.
Then there’s Alex’s job. He’s lost out on the Chief Resident position because he ratted out a colleague by telling the truth. Hang on a minute…surely the main reason he didn’t get it is because he extorted money from a dying woman? Isn’t extortion a much bigger crime? Yes, perhaps you can tell I’m not happy. I hate inconsistent or illogical story telling. Owen does not pull Cristina up on her insubordination and defiance of her boss, he does not pull Alex up on extortion from a dying woman. What he does do is persuade Cristina it's the cut she loves more than the admin and punish Alex for ratting on a colleague.
And then speaking of Meredith. Ok, she has a reason to be mad. Over the years she’s been a good friend to Alex, he deserved a verbal slap but nothing more. What happened to - don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time? Whatever the noble reasons for Meredith’s actions (and I’ve a lot of sympathy for her point of view) she has to realise there are consequences, and not just for her. You can’t shoot the stupid, drunken,thoughtless messenger. For that is all Alex was.
Alex is in a mess. And after 6 seasons of being a bit ‘meh’ over Alex I am finally warming up to him and feel he deserves better from the writers and from other characters. My turning point came at the end of Golden Hour, where he realised that a kid in pain is his priority even when it costs him. My hope is that Arizona will step up her game to protect him and I take solace from her speech in Pretty Young Thing
“…punishing Karev is one of my favourite pastimes too. He’s harsh sometimes but he’s also the guy that gets thrown off the case and then sits in the gallery and watches an entire surgery just to make sure his patients ok. I’ll teach him to be less of an ass but I don’t need to teach him how to care.”
“Punishing Karev is one of my favourite pastimes too” – hmmm Shonda, is that Arizona speaking or is it you?

Lexie and Jackson… oh do I really have to write about Jackson? This character sucks the energy from me …I do? Ok here goes.
Seeds of doubt have most definitely landed on this couple. More specifically, seeds of insecurity for Jackson. This is a fake couple. Two pretty people put together as a plot device for the Mark/Lexie breakdown. I know there are bricks being thrown at me now. Maybe some Lexie/Jackson shippers have even stopped reading. But give me one more paragraph to illustrate this before you shut me down and vote me off. Since, somewhere early/mid season 5, the writers have been building the Mark and Lexie relationship. Go back to 509. The very best “Mark” episode, In The Midnight Hour is really the start of us understanding Mark’s interest in Lexie. (By the way, if you’re a Mark fan, and annoyed about how he’s been written in S7 I urge you to re-watch 509. He’s just l.o.v.e.l.y init…although I warn you in advance this episode also has Dead Denny sex…just saying…you might have to keep your finger on fast forward). This coupling – Mark and Lexie – has been lovingly nurtured throughout. S5 and S6 writers love this couple. We’ve seen the flirtation, underlying sexual tension, the “Derek threat”, the hiding, the coming out, the merger, Sloan Sloan (is there an ‘e’ in there somewhere?), the break-up, the make-up (and by the way the sexiest kiss on screen in Adrift and At Peace),and the “how the hell did you get me in this position twice”. This couple are on a journey. It’s a journey to maturity and knowing themselves better, knowing what they want out of life and then seeing it clash with whom they love. Mama Shepherd probably summed it up best in S5’s Sympathy For The Devil: “You have very low expectations for yourself Mark Sloan. Since you were a little boy you always have. And it’s time to raise them…You have the emotional maturity of a horny fifteen year old. You need young.” Why oh why are we at the start of S8 and this is not all figured out yet. (On a side note I do hope we get to see more of Mama Shepherd this season). So, we have all this depth with Mark and Lexie. And then we get Lexie with Jackson. The only journey that these two have been on is to the bedroom, oh and to the shower, to the washing machine, and to the couch. Apparently Lexie and Jackson are good friends. Really? Because the way I see it Jackson used that device to his advantage over Mark. Go back to Don’t Deceive Me (Please Don’t Go). Watch Lexie’s face as she realises Mark’s the father of Callie’s baby. You simply don’t see that kind of intensity when she’s anywhere near Jackson. No. This couple is not for the long term. Although knowing Grey’s we may have to put up with them for a while longer. In my opinion Mark and Lexie’s future very much depends on the staying power of the original Grey. Ellen Pompeo staying or leaving may well determine Mark and Lexie future. If she leaves and Lexie’s role magnifies then I can’t see Mark and Lexie being a stable couple for a while.
And what about Mark? I want to say that by the end of the season he has matured, but I think that’s just being kind. His final raising of the hands surrendering Lexie to Jackson does not make up for the childish and sometimes cruel behaviour towards Arizona (which, by the way, was a totally unnecessary direction for the writers to take him in) and his pubescent, juvenile actions with Jackson - “feed her chocolate”.  The writers have now run out of creativity for Mark. With Callie and Arizona finally finding themselves back to being a couple Shondaland has left Mark somewhat cast aside and it seems the only solution is to hand him an identical storyline to the one with Lexie and Alex. Having spent the season pining over Lexie, just like he did during the last third of S6, and crow barring his way into Callie and Arizona’s troubled relationship, Mark is ‘setting Lexie free’. He ended the season with a daughter he has to share 3 ways, a tentative truce with Arizona and little else.

So much of these characters’ story lines for season 8 will be determined by who stays and who goes of the original cast, which makes it very difficult to predict how the relationships will fair. Time will tell I guess.
Ok, that's it for now. More coming very soon. Let me know what you think. Agree? Disagree? All opinions welcome and read!
Note: final part of S7 wrap up (Callie/Arizona et al) is written and being edited, so should be up very soon.

Written by Brouhaha
My thanks to the awesome @ContinuityFairy for proofing!

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