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Grey's Anatomy: Part 4 Emotional Debris - Callie and Arizona

So, we move on to the final part of our Season 7 emotional destruction wrap up. I’ve noticed that gossip, casting notices, spoilers, sneaks and promos are filling my twitter timeline ...we must be close. Remember these posts are spoiler free, although reference is made to a deleted S7 scene that has recently been released.
This is part 4 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), Part 2 (Meredith/Derek & Cristina/Owen) and Part 3 (Alex & Lexie/Mark/Jackson).
Where did Callie and Arizona end up in the season finale? Did our newest mamas (ok, so Meredith is a newer mama, but she’s really an ‘almost mama’) suffer trauma in the end of season emotional shoot out? This is actually a very difficult question to answer, mainly because the quality of storytelling and editorial execution for this arc throughout the season was so poor. In my view, in order to understand where this relationship stands in the season finale we have to be guided by the intention of the storyteller and trust that in their own minds the storytellers themselves have delivered (I know. It’s a stretch!). That I feel the need to revert to the storyteller’s intention is in itself a very telling message. The theory is – no trauma. Shondaland would have us believe Callie and Arizona, having been through hell, are in a ‘honeymoon’ phase of their relationship, literally and figuratively. However the onscreen interpretation of that honeymoon – what we, the viewers, actually see - conflicts with that theory. There is so little actual dialogue explaining Callie’s feelings and so little intimacy during and post the wedding that it is difficult to believe that these two lovers have solved the massive issues that cloud their relationship and are in wedded bliss. 
My conclusion, poor writing and editing aside, is that at the end of S7 Callie and Arizona have found each other again through expressing their love and getting married, they have found a partnership. This in itself does not mean they have fixed their problems but I go for the optimistic perspective, to trust the writers’ intention – fan before critic. Callie and Arizona have moved forward in their relationship and their intentions toward each other are honourable, loving and sincere. But, whilst they have found a loving partnership again, the lack of meaningful discussion around their real relationship issues leads me to believe that some of these will seep into Season 8. It’s healthy to remember that a wedding is never the end of the story in Grey’s.
It’s fair to say that Callie and Arizona’s journey to their wedding has been fraught with trauma. And, whether you think it a good story well written or not this arc was most definitely eventful, almost packing as much into one season than Meredith and Derek had in seven.
Let’s review the hell – “pink bubble” shooting recovery; dresser and blow dryer in the bat cave like Easter basket; Africa; massive and unexpected bailing break-up; boy-girl “we were on a break” sex; baby with co-dependent man best friend; “are you in?” back together; weird threesome gestation; non-bailing “this is not my dream” staying power; desperate “I’ve told you I love you over and over again but I haven’t heard it back” marriage proposal; monumental Mark argument car crash; babydaddy lesbian lover “you’re nothing”; traumatic birth; harrowing mama-baby recovery; bigoted mother damage; babydaddy lesbian lover truce; white wedding. And then layered on top of all of this, like thick impenetrable bullet proof glass, you will find Callie and Arizona’s complete inability to communicate with each other and the deep insecurities fuelling all of this trio’s actions.
And breathe. 
That was certainly ‘hell’ in my book. However with all the symbolism, songs and rushed end of season story telling it is really not clear what, if any, issues have actually been resolved. Is Callie really as committed to Arizona as a wedding suggests she should be? Has the complete inability to communicate with each other been fixed? Has Callie set boundaries for Mark? Will she continue to use Mark as her ‘go to’ person when she should use Arizona? Is there really a truce, almost friendship, now between Arizona and Mark? Has Arizona bonded with Sofia?
One of the biggest themes throughout the C/A/M story arc has been insecurity – something they all have in common. Callie is afraid Arizona will bail, so she completely holds back. Whilst trying to prove to Callie that she won’t bail, Arizona is afraid that her place in the relationship is being usurped by Mark, that her position as a second mother allows her no rights, that she really is nothing. And Mark is deeply fearful that his parental status will be questioned, diminished or simply not recognised, despite the obvious fact of being the baby’s natural parent. And actually both Mark and Arizona are each afraid they will lose Callie. All three of them suffered personality changes with these insecurities. Callie turned into an incredibly selfish, egotistical child, allowing and even encouraging Mark’s behaviour to become deeply inappropriate within the confines of her’s and Arizona’s romantic relationship (foot rub anyone?). Mark has always been insensitive and immature, but for the most part this has usually been without devious intention. Baby-gate turned him nasty and spiteful in a way not even seen back when he was torturing interns. And Arizona? The strong, independent, mature, intelligent, feisty, sexy Arizona we knew from Seasons 5 and 6 disappeared. In it’s place stood a desperate Stepford clone.
It’s extremely difficult to understand how much of all of this has really been resolved. And this I put down to production.
There have been three distinct issues regarding production this season: irregular story pacing; substandard writing; and woeful editing. Although I must say that not all stories have suffered from these issues – I rate the Cristina PTSD arc as being the best story with the best execution, as well as the Alzheimer’s arc (particularly Adele Webber – Emmy?). I also thought the way they’ve shown Meredith maturing throughout the season allowed us to really see the journey she’s made in becoming a doctor. But, it must be said the Callie, Arizona and Mark story arc got the worst of it. Even the outstanding acting performances of Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw could not make up for the writing and editing sins of such a pivotal plot. It did not help that this arc peaked late season at Song Beneath The Song, wrapped in symbolism. Just at the point when the viewers needed direct answers from Callie we received indirect symbolic story telling. Who among you wanted to see an honest and conscious conversation where Callie realised and expressed the strength and depth of her feelings for Arizona to Arizona? Who among you got all of that from the song? The closer it got to season end the more rushed and ragged the stories were told, to the point where editing decisions swayed viewers opinions completely.
The deleted scene of Callie passing Sofia to Arizona is an excellent example of this. Recently released  as part of the Season 7 DVD extras, this scene allows viewers to believe that right at the end of the season Callie and Arizona have indeed really achieved a loving family unit, without Mark. The fact that Shondaland felt that it was an easy scene to cut in order to keep to time illustrates their inability to see this story from the viewers’ point of view. To delete a scene means it was unnecessary, that it adds nothing new, or it detracts from the narrative. If the message is necessary then to delete a scene means the message has already been conveyed or is conveyed in other ways. It means that the message has already been received by the viewers. In my opinion the writers felt they had achieved this loving family unit, probably by the end of White Wedding and then they moved on, in order to cram the Chief Resident stories into the final two episodes. This message was not received...well not by me anyway. Actually, what the writers intended for Callie and Arizona is exactly in this deleted scene, which was ultimately meant for the season finale. It’s all there, in only 20 seconds. A scene they shot, and then erased, seemingly because they thought it was surplus to requirements. Ironically, as it turns out, it was exactly what was required.
The emotional shoot out for the other characters is less defined. Teddy and Henry get a ‘sort of’ happy ending, but it’s not at all clear where that leaves Andrew. There’s foreshadowing for Bailey and Eli. Clearly Eli wants more than Bailey is prepared to give. I wish we had seen more of this relationship in S7 so we can understand it better. Too much was left to interpretation (oh, where have we seen that before). And Bailey was completely and criminally underused.
And there we have it. This marks the end of the Season 7 wrap up. Post your comments below, please tell me if you agree or disagree. I love to know what others think as it sometimes changes my view on things.
Next post will look at what Season 8 might bring, incorporating the few spoilers we have and projecting what might happen with the cast contracts. If you have an idea of something you want me to analyse, or blog about feel free to include in the comments box.
If you'd like to read more analysis about Callie and Arizona's relationship try:

Written by Brouhaha
Edited and Proofed by the brilliant @Continuityfairy

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