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Grey's Anatomy - Episode 10.01/10.02 - Seal Our Fate/I want You With Me - Review

As the storm raged around Seattle and mudslides destroyed homes, Grey’s Anatomy season 10 opened with a thundering double whammy. Grey Sloan Memorial suffered it’s very own special kind of tempest within; marriages broke, interns died, friendships formed, Alex and Jackson grew up and the undeniable star of the show was a baby named Bailey or really Derek Bailey. As season premieres go this was dramatic, eventful and cohesive. It did not have the fierce tragedy and gritty edges of the season nine openers but it did have a complete ensemble performance where all the characters told the story weaving in and out of each other’s lives. The beauty of this beginning was in the maturity of story telling and blurring of lines between characters. It was not all good. Indeed there were embarrassingly wrong elements within these two episodes but for a tenth season premiere there was enough freshness and virility in the show to reward our loyalty a decade down the line.

Perhaps the most exciting development is the new promise of heart wrenching drama for Callie and Arizona. Happy couples are boring couples on Grey’s and so a welcome rift the size of the San Andreas fault line has appeared in the Torres-Robbins marriage. And not before time. This couple has been skating on the edge of happiness since early season seven and giant elephants thumping around their apartment surreptitiously crushed any semblance of happiness in season eight. That it’s taken Shonda Rhimes three seasons to open up this bloody fissure is a failing she has now finally given herself the opportunity to rectify. To understand how deep this rift is you only need to listen to a broken Callie tell Meredith “I don’t dance in my underwear anymore.” In that one sentence we know that their pain goes way beyond Arizona cheating or Callie breaking a promise not to take the leg. Arizona’s own selfish actions from season nine finale episodes and Callie’s own admission tells us that this couple are frighteningly lost individuals and in order to even begin to come back to each other, they need to get back to themselves. This will take time people. If you love this couple be prepared for an aching heart. But. Despite their deep open wounds I have more hope in them now from watching this season premiere than I had through the whole of season eight and nine.

The same cannot be said for Cristina and Owen who consummated their divorce with consolation sex and fell into each other’s arms in grief. Given this is Oh’s last season on Grey’s I’m sure this is not the last we’ve seen of them as a couple. Yang herself was in fine form however giving us the very best in character. I can’t help feeling that Rhimes has already started her Yang farewells. I’m wondering if each episode will have Cristina Yang saying goodbye to one or more of her colleagues. Bailey’s homage and plea to her during Richard’s surgery was a coming of age moment topped with a cherry of a rare Yang hug “hug me back Cristina Yang...hug me back.” And then we had the reminder if we needed one of her friendship with Callie, throwing our minds back in time to early season seven when Cristina was there for Callie in the first bad breakup. We will be seeing many more of these moments I’m sure.

The weaving in and out and cohesiveness of this show continued through the lives of Derek and Meredith. During season nine we saw the beginning of the ‘the Board’, friendships formed through the plane crash. Watching Derek on the porch with Zola and Sofia whilst the latter’s moms verbally bashed each other spoke volumes about the integration of all these characters in each other’s lives.

This premiere was a little bit cracked though. I’ve always been a fan of the ensemble set up of the show and with that the introduction of new characters. Not all these new characters work or fit well with the story telling but in the main the writers usually integrate their new babies well. In season nine we were introduced to five newbies. I mean baby newbies, of the intern variety. As soon as the stalwarts reached puberty and put on their navy blue pajamas it was time to introduce them to their own floor mops.  We watched them eagerly try to find their way. One stood out from the pack as quirky, funny with bags of charm and chemistry with the grown ups. Then season ten began and only four of these were inaugurated into the Grey’s family as series regulars. Am I’m the only one who thinks that the one new character who should have stayed is the one that didn’t? Heather Brooks aka Mousey provided just the right kind of humour and style to be a solid Grey’s alum and her chemistry with McDreamy allowed her to develop as a stand alone member of the cast.

Characters evolve and grow on this show. After four seasons the character of Jackson Avery finally holds his own (there, I said it. If you’ve read my reviews before you will know how hard it is for me to say that). He belongs there. Previously, right up to early season nine, he was poorly written, we were shown a shallow version, a periphery character whose only real contribution was evident when he took his shirt off. With the departure of Mark Sloan (by far my favourite Grey’s character) the writers developed Mark’s own protégé beyond medicine to fill this void. This was not done over-night, it took 24 episodes after a very dour three years of introduction. Do I really have the patience for Shonda to give FOUR newbies this kind of attention for me to believe in them; especially after the negative equity of episodes 1001 and 1002. The four grieving youngsters were bonded in the tragedy of death or should I say forced to bond. First Derek told them to do it, then Alex, finally Meredith. Why? Would it not have been a better storyline for them to come to this conclusion themselves? And show true backbone in the face of adversity? Instead we had four whiny individuals, who dislike each other, forced to ‘bond’ over their mutual dislike of a character the audience (and Derek) loved. This is not a way to endear new characters to the viewer Shonda. The one exception I might make is Leah Murphy, as the actress Tessa Ferrer conveyed an appropriate and touching sense of shame.
Four intelligent individuals couldn’t forget their own shit for a minute and think of a genuinely nice thing to say about a dead colleague to her mom. These are not people I like. And despite the weak attempt to find a parallel with George through Meredith it merely came across as trite and forced. They won’t all make it but I fear that the ones who really shouldn’t, will.

Dear writers – live by the words you wrote for Richard “Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger, kinder, more compassionate?”

The glue that held the episodes together was baby Bailey, whose mother Meredith provided the shelter from the storm for all. There is nothing as calming as holding a sleeping baby and as a device it was ingenious and beautiful.

Despite my 'intern' ranting (which continues below), I thoroughly enjoyed the start of season ten. There are many stories to tell already for the next 22 episodes and my enthusiasm has most surely been renewed. 

And what about the rest...
The worst
Firefighters – I like a good firefighter but I’m not a fan of over-earnest tributes to heroism. Be heroes but be real heroes and don’t keep doing stupid things.
Catherine Avery screaming “close him up” – I liked the initial introduction of this character...since then she’s gone down and down....
Jackson and the intern – I don’t feel it. Unfortunately for Stephanie, neither will he...
And while I’m on a roll with the interns then I take the opportunity to beg the writers to stop TELLING me that Jo was a street kid, brought up in foster homes. Twice now this character has narrated her life to me. This is story telling at it’s worst and demonstrates a fundamental flaw in the development of this character; though it could be poor casting. Alex is a flawed street kid, we saw, felt it experienced it, we didn’t need to be told. There is no edge to Jo, she’s a weak link, therefore at every opportunity we are told she’s ‘edgy’ by the character herself.

The best
Meredith and Richard are family. She finally owned it.
Jackson’s very best episode so far has him giving April a much needed lesson in relationships.
The boys continued to grow as we saw an epic version of Alex being awesome as an Attending, giving Arizona the truth she needed and not being a total ass for two whole episodes.
Derek grieving for Heather. The interns should be ashamed.

The very best
Bailey ringing Ben. This moment was in danger of being over-shadowed by all the blustery drama but it was one of the most beautiful.

A Tribute to Cristina Yang - Yang-isms of the week:
“Is ‘I told you so’, inappropriate?”
“To be clear, I am happy to do the dishes but there is no universe in which I generate dinner”


Written by Maxine (Brouhaha) aka @pipmaxine

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