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Grey's Anatomy - When I Grow Up - Review

Apologies for the break in service. Life got a bit complicated for a few weeks. Sometimes we can’t always do the things we love exactly when we want to unfortunately.

A reminder that in my episode reviews I try hard not to reference any spoilers or cast announcements.

Derek’s back. He’s had an epiphany and he’s back for good. I can’t help feeling that this is the start of something bad. Season eleven chugged along with 11.18, When I Grow Up entertaining us and, let’s be honest, marking the beginning of the season’s end. There’s nothing like a shot of Meredith staring at her perfect family, declaring she has everything she’s ever wanted, that she’s blessed, to ring alarm bells for the viewer. Surely that shot should be reserved for when the show finally ends? Place it in at number 18 of the season, in the episodes running up to finale and it is surely a signal for us to load up on tissues, wine and hands to hold.

The backdrop to the doctor drama was full of character and medical tragedy, always a sign of strength and of the best kind of episode. While a school field trip occupied half the senior surgical staff a police shooting of three cops occupied the other. Normally I have little patience for stories that place too much emphasis on overly earnest plots but this one struck exactly the right chord. The early premise being Owen’s “Let’s not let their mother lose two sons in one day” making way, wretchedly, to “this is a list of 100 people who all got second chances today because of your sons”. This tragic and very plausible story shone a light on Meredith’s own ‘blessed’ life. Perhaps even humbling her. The best moment, directed to perfection, highlighted the fragility of happiness, when the cops’ mother virtually repeated Meredith’s opening words, “I woke up this morning the mother of two perfect children”. This elicited poignant understated reactions from both Kepner and Grey or should I say Drew and Pompeo in a moment of wonderful direction.

So perhaps the shot of Meredith watching from the porch was only for the purpose of this tragic story? Unfortunately I don’t think so.

Derek made his way back into the OR with a smile on his face and McDreamyness in his eyes, taking up his own second chance. In a storyline which must be difficult for Patrick Dempsey to portray (in a life imitating the reverse of art kind of way) Dr Shepherd has returned committed to his marriage, fatherhood, coaching little league and saving lives in an unfussy quiet fashion; as well as a revived bromance with Owen. Let’s go fishing! I want to believe that this is all he needs. I don’t. I also can’t help feeling that the ‘kiss’ will come back to haunt him. It was good to see Derek back and his last scene with Amelia was pitched just right. What a shame we didn’t get to see that scene with Derek and his mother. I’m a big fan of Caroline Shepherd. And what a tasty piece of television it would be to see Mrs Shepherd and Amelia together!

By the way I love how Derek just shows up to work as if he owns the hospital. Oh wait...he does.

We all knew where it was heading with Amelia and Owen. The writing is on the wall there. Two damaged individuals falling in love. It will either go horribly wrong or wonderfully right. Just as it was with Alex they need to sort Owen’s love life out soon or it’s difficult to keep justifying him in the show so these two will be subjected to some pretty high highs and low lows before we know the final score.

While it was good to see Bailey in action, fighting for her patient I’m tired of the writers portraying her as almost junior to Meredith. It is already hard with Meredith as a bought-in board member and Bailey only just by virtue of a vote but when this is also done in the OR it’s unpalatable. Bailey has a seniority that is continually missing from the show. It’s time the writers took a long look at where this character is going and if Chandra Wilson is remaining on the show then there needs to be some character based story which doesn’t place her as a subordinate.

We are introduced to another second chance in the form of a potential love life for Callie. Her subtle message to the police captain to ask her out on that other day that wasn’t today flickered warm feelings of romance. I like the thought of this couple. They look good together. But I feel I must warn this dashing policeman that this romance will always be doomed. Despite this season being one of changing the production rules, new cinematography, flashback direction there is one rule that I fear will never be broken – a regular cast member will never have a long term relationship with a non-surgeon, regardless of how delicious they are. It doesn’t happen. Period. Recent examples - Matt was dumped at the altar; Ben was transferred from an attending anaesthetist to a surgical resident... So Calzona fans out there should retain their hope and only start to worry if either of those ladies starts dating another surgeon.

Now, did you see the tiny little story that moved along silently in the background? So quiet and tiny that it would be easy for me to blur over it, forget it, not mention it. Except that it’s about Mark. And those of you that have read my stuff for a while will know that I LOVED Mark. It’s Avery and his Plastics Posse. Jackson is missing Mark. His story has been disconnected this season. It’s been so tied to the pregnancy storyline, driven by the real life pregnancy of his co-star, that his surgical life has been almost forgotten. What a wonderful multi-episode storyline could have transpired with Ben’s sister? But it never did. The writers have missed a trick. So now Jackson is feeling lonely. His Posse is being rejected and perhaps this has made him realise just how important Mark was in his life. Sewing up the dead cop’s face is exactly the sort of thing Mark would have done and I’m grateful that nearly two seasons later Mark still lives on the show. The moment of tenderness between Jackson and April was quite lovely.

Before this finishes let’s talk about Alex and Maggie - “Leave the room, man”. Is there anyone but me shipping these two as a couple? The way she dismisses his vulgarity all the time reminds me of the early Izzie banter. So I ship Magex or would it be Algie?

And last but not least Stephanie and the chaperone story, okay, it is least – and I can’t even be bothered. Unfortunately Stephanie has to go.

When I Grow Up was another highly enjoyable, deeply sad tear jerker episode confirming season eleven as one of the best for a long time. Who would’ve thought it possible to say such a thing with no Cristina and a part time Derek. Well written and beautifully directed it was such screen pleasure. The shot of Owen overseeing the line of police and medical blue lights is something that will stick in my mind as an image defining season eleven.

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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