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Greys's Anatomy - The Bed's Too Big Without You - Review

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Everyone is alone. We are all alone. This is a truth, a reflection of real life. When it comes down to it, when all is laid bare, we are all alone. Grey’s Anatomy The Bed’s Too Big Without You presented us with this stark picture as we moved merrily toward mid season; hiatus being a little earlier than the obvious episode twelve. And with this came our first real low point for season eleven. Besides some interesting April and Jackson moments following on from their wonderful emotional segments in 11.09, frankly 11.10 was boring. And slow. And rather dull.

Perhaps this is the patients’ fault, given that two of the patients this week were staff? Though that would be a disservice to Adrian and her partner/husband Michael, the latter whose loneliness was probably the only one claiming sympathy at the end. Oh, and April. And Dr Herman. So no. This was not due to the patient stories. This was due to an absence of story telling the audience could really connect with, individual scenes which were too long and a surgical dilemma that appeared to last forever on screen.

Meredith is alone. However this is largely portrayed as being an absence of physical presence rather than an emotional loneliness. She pines for her husband in her bed and her best friend at her side but both of these individuals are available to her via online video calling. (By the end of episode 11.09 we are led to believe that she is largely supportive of Derek’s move to DC – they committed to making it work. One must assume therefore that they are talking regularly without animosity). Her nagging of Alex implies a need for him to drop everything to be physically by her side. By proximity he has replaced Cristina. As we get to the end of the episode Meredith has latched onto Maggie to relieve her ‘alone-ness’. Maggie, self proclaimed ‘too good at being alone’ is at the end of the phone and, apparently, required in every surgery Meredith executes. Thus has physical proximity. I lost sympathy for Meredith throughout the episode. She was whiney and the more I heard from April, Herman, and patient husband Michael, the more I thought how superficial Meredith’s woes were. This story arc played out via a super-surgery on Adrian, whose life was changed when she met Michael. This surgery, though set up to be magnificent, so much so that the tumor required it’s own statuette, turned out to be the least exciting medical emergency. I own up to falling asleep through the planning of it. I was very moved by Adrian and Michael. Michael’s pain at being alone was the real pain we did not see within Meredith.
“I don’t know where she is. She might not wake up. I feel like she’s sailed away and she might not come back, that’s the feeling.”

But I was not moved by the lack of drama in the surgery itself. And the late night scene discussing sleeping habits was deathly dull and overly long. The high point being right at the end of this scene where Meredith gives Maggie a really strange look, as if to say, “yep, Imma call YOU in the middle of the night. You’re my new person. I don’t care if you think it’s creepy”

The choice of book, The Odyssey, was far from obvious but seemed very carefully chosen, the hero is described in Spark Notes as follows:
“Odysseus has the defining character traits of a Homeric leader: strength, courage, nobility, a thirst for glory, and confidence in his authority. His most distinguishing trait, however, is his sharp intellect.”

Maybe this is supposed to be Meredith...or Derek? (Did anyone miss him?)

By the end credits all sympathy for Meredith had disappeared. Let’s face it, how can Meredith moaning about not having Derek in her bed compare with April’s magnificent outburst:

“I am standing here listening to you tell me that God only gives one choice and you telling me that I should forego God’s choice and the truth is I don’t know anything, except that I’m scared and sad and I’m alone. You’re both just standing there yelling at each other and talking at me but I am alone, and it is terrifying and the louder you get the more terrified I become so I just need you both to just shut up. Can you do that, can you please both just shut up”

April has the emotional and physical proximity and yet she still feels alone. The audience can feel it too through the sheer power of Sarah Drew’s performance. This story is one of the best things so far following hiatus. It has allowed us to see both Drew and Jesse Williams go all out. Kepner and Avery’s pain is visceral, tangible and we’re not even close to the good part yet. The only criticism of this story is that it leans too much on stereo types. It is always a challenge to bring ‘faith’ into such a show and do it justice. In this case it is not helped when one side of it is presented in such a polarizing and negative manner. We should be torn between the two sides of the moral, ethical and religious argument but one side is rather warped by the very harsh presentation of April’s mother. In one scene she comes across as a woman possessed and I’m sure this is not what the writer or director intended.

A better approach would have been to make her performance subtler. The final scene though, with April and Jackson, Arizona and Herman was intense and better than the whole of the rest of the episode.
Oh and by the way Jackson, we can all wait until tomorrow. It’s only when you know what you’re facing that you can really know what you need to do.

Amelia is lonely. This segment made a lot of sense and added a nice angle to the topic of the day. Career loneliness. While this focused on one particular surgery – one where there is a huge amount of pressure and intimidation – the overall story arc reminded us of Amelia’s previous fragility and allowed Richard to have the foresight to check in with her. Once again however Stephanie was introduced into the narrative to close the loop. Unfortunately it seems that her only purpose during season eleven is as a prop or tool for the other stories. Though done with grace, this reluctance to build up her character by the writers is not only insulting to the actor but also rather dull for the viewer.

Callie and Owen are lonely. But not for each other. I can say this with some certainty (pause for dramatic effect) on the basis of their body language in the exam room and the depth of Owen’s loneliness for Cristina. This is not the body language of two people intended for each other. The very specific scene set up by Director, Chandra Wilson, tells us that these two are looking for different things in life though feel a kindred spirit in their mutual quest.

Arizona is lonely. We are not sure what she is lonely for - the physical or emotional connection? Because while the early scene of her in bed indicates physical loneliness she is portrayed as being far superior than her boss in terms of emotional intelligence when it comes to patient empathy. Though maybe that’s the point – she craves the physical because (at the moment) the emotional is her work?

And in other news:
Alex and Jo are clearly not alone. Oh no they are not. Boy do we know that now.
And in Maggie’s case the bed is far from too big without you.
I hate Grey’s timelines....Callie is, to quote her, "brutally" divorced from Arizona....after only three months they are divorced already?
The music in this episode is awesome.

11.10, The Bed's Too Big Without You is a functional episode and although it moves the plot forward, fails to hold interest. As viewers we question how the doctors go about their normal lives (finally we know how those children are being cared for) and when do they just have chit chat but honestly we don't want or need so see it. Nor do we need the dull presentation of the surgical "how to remove a complicated tumour". It was certainly not the best of season eleven but it surely wasn't the worst of Grey's Anatomy.

Until next week...or you can download below...

About the Author - Brouhaha
Maxine (aka Brouhaha) is a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and writes episode reviews and occasional articles. Her other TV favourites include Foyle's War, Criminal Minds, TBBT and more recently Broadchurch. In real life she's a new mum, self-employed and can often be found arguing about politics or current affairs, attempting to write fiction and buying hair products. Got a question - go to Tumblr ask!
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