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Grey's Anatomy - She's My Home - Review

This was surely not the finale that Shonda and her team envisaged last summer. Did McDreamy mcdie in the season’s strategic plan? I say no. Having driven a hole through our hearts by killing those dreamy eyes to an ironic head injury the writers had to build a sustainable route forward quickly. No dwelling on death, no expanded grief. We were given optimism and a new start. This was an episode filled with hope, with grief overcome. There were no explosions or bullets. No surgeons dying in plane crashes. No storms and no cheating. After a season full of earthquakes, car and plane crashes our surgeons were safe from danger and focused entirely on saving a young couple, against the odds, and their newly born infant. Through these heroic acts Grey’s Anatomy was rebooted with purpose and strength. It was not a finale that will be remembered for a dramatic emotional cliffhanger or newly engineered romance. It does not rank among the best of Grey’s finales, indeed it’s not even the best episode of the season. But if we accept the premise that Patrick Dempsey’s exit from the show was sudden and unexpected. If we accept that the manner in which he left was less than amicable* and if we also accept that the only credible way to exit Derek Shepherd was to kill him then this finale was excellent.

(*Execution of Derek’s death was not build around the love for character. I found the episode "How to Save a Life" cold and devoid of emotional depth. The more I think about it the more I am convinced of this. You only need to compare it to the journey the writers took us on with Mark’s death to see that Derek’s was just a job that needed to be done.)

“You’re My Home” was hugely symbolic and with a refreshingly strong patient storyline taking us through the drama we saw satisfying plot developments to complete season eleven and tease season twelve.

Meredith ended the season smiling. This has been the intended destination for the last three episodes and whether or not you buy into that happiness we are where we are. Derek is not only dead, he’s history. Meredith will not be allowed to continue as the grieving widow. She’s going back home, to a place of comfort and familiarity and she’s taking her two sisters with her, perhaps not necessarily physically but metaphorically. It was vital that Meredith saved Keith, that she placed the baby in his arms and radiated hope across the surgeons, because in doing so she saved herself. Overcoming this darkness if just another thing she’s experienced and allows a segway to the previously and blissfully untouched Maggie, a character whose importance increased exponentially with the death of Derek. With Maggie we see an entirely different sister from Meredith. Meredith has no bitterness towards Maggie that she had toward Lexie, nor does she have envy at Maggie’s apparently happy idyllic childhood. She does, however, have huge empathy on hearing that that idyll was based on lies. By the end of the episode Meredith is finally the big sister that we’ve never seen and possibly that she never thought she could be. This is also extended to Amelia who, although not short of big sisters, is connected to her in a profound way being the baby sister of her dead husband.

“I forgot I’m supposed to be her sister.”

Amelia comes through the drama at peace with herself and her grief. I’m relieved. I wasn’t prepared to sit through another drug relapse. I’d much rather Girl Shepherd is given more progressive storylines in season twelve.
These three women form the new triangle in which Meredith features as the isodynamic point and dancing it out with her sisters closes the story on a high, promising new beginnings. If you need to know what this show is about, it’s about sisterhood, real or perceived. Always has been, always will be.

And so how did the finale treat everyone else?

Alex and Jo have had a fairly easy time of it during season eleven. Their minor ups and downs have mostly derived from Meredith losing Cristina** and needing a new person in Alex. There have been no major earthquakes to shatter their happiness and “She’s My Home” presents us with a new crime scene to play out drama to come. (Though frankly this is entire fantasy – on what planet would Jo be able to have any savings whatsoever – remember Callie's albeit self inflicted, poverty up to season five). Be in no doubt however that Jolex drama will come. They have been allowed their season of coupleyloveliness, season twelve will bring on the business end of their relationship. I remain unconvinced by Jo as a character. Annoying through the season, my irritation count went up significantly on hearing her whiney voice to Stephanie carrying a baby and frankly carrying a much better and bigger storyline than her resident friend. Unfortunately Jo will return. We can only hope that Shonda ignites her addiction with cheating and pushes romance towards Alex and Maggie. I’m allowed to hope aren’t I?

(**In all the drama of season eleven we’ve hardly had time to miss Cristina – this is entirely down to bold writing with a coating of Ellen Pompeo genius acting...oh and perhaps her departure has been trumped by that of PD. It also speaks volumes for the strength of writing that Cristina does not factor in the last three episodes at all. Meredith's healing is with her new posse, Alex and her 'sisters')

Going back to Stephanie – finally finally finally what a great little story for Jerrika Hinton to get her teeth into. The year time jump has allowed Stephanie to develop into a more mature and frankly a more interesting doctor. Although “Resident v Intern” is a tried and tested plot device (who can forget Cristina naming her baby chicks and ducks 1, 2 and 3?) it still worked here in introducing Stephanie as an established and experienced resident. I finally like her, and I loved Bailey for her “raise your ducks” speech, so reminiscent of her mentoring of MAGIC.

Perhaps this is a trick the writers should employ more assertively. Maybe it’s not baby chicks and ducks that should be introduced to annoy us but if new characters are needed then maybe introduce third and fourth year residents?

April is the character who has transformed the most in the year’s time gap and I found myself entirely agreeing with Bailey’s assessment of April 2.0. She is marvelous and I sincerely hope that her desire to go back into the army is not a request from Sarah Drew to leave the show, what a shame that would be. Drew’s performances are rarely short of excellent and her re-boot version is more such brilliance. You have to feel sorry for Jackson though...he’s been dealt a bad hand by the army.

“I like this Kepner. I never thought I would like Kepner. ...you know old Kepner was...there was pigtails and bunny rabbit smiley, lots of smiley. But Kepner the re-boot, Kepner 2.0, is crazy, she’s fierce, she’s womaned up. Thank you United States Army.”

Richard and Catherine finally found their ‘home’ and tied the knot. Thank goodness for that. I had been secretly hoping that this union would inspire Richard to leave Seattle to join Dr Avery Snr elsewhere. I like JPJ but his on off dance with Catherine has left me weary of her and her mega-alpha personality. The most interesting point to come out of their verbal sparring was the possibility of a new attending arriving to put Bailey’s nose out of joint for chief of surgery. Let’s hope it’s a Derek/Mark lookalike.

Speaking of Bailey, I grow more and more convinced that we were treated to some foreshadowing previously for season twelve. Chief of Surgery may be the last thing on her mind if Bailey has to switch Ben off from a life support machine. I know nothing of course, this is purely conjecture but it would make an interesting story.

Owen has mysteriously quit as Chief of Surgery to do something else, and we know not what. Clearly his feelings for Amelia have not abated and we are teased to the last at the possibility of a reunion. They’ve been apart for a year and it appears that absence and time has indeed made the heart grow fonder. This couple is an inevitability and the time jump has provided a neat way of bringing these two together without the baggage of Cristina or a dead brother.

And finally what of Callie and Arizona? You would be forgiven for thinking that these two will no longer be reunited. Season finale was devoid of any reference to them as a couple and any contact between them as individuals who knew each other intimately. Their interactions throughout the episode were professional and detached. Except for one moment. And in that one moment we were given an enormous signal that peace had finally landed gracefully on their shoulders. Arizona’s “maybe you should get into that” was an off the cuff comment which could’ve gone completely unnoticed. Indeed the drama of the episode, the focus on reuniting Meredith with her sisters could have drowned out the smaller stories of the night. And this was a small but important story. It is clear that these two women are now extremely comfortable in each other’s company, to the point that they have an easy and teasing rapport including even dating jokes. It’s a really important signal of how far these two have come. But does this mean the end of them?

Reading between the lines of this episode for Callie and Arizona I don’t think the writers know which way these two will go. I don’t even think Shonda knows yet. She has left us feeling that it could go either way. A place where these two formerly intimate individuals could be comfortable in each other’s company was the destination for the season finale and they achieved this. It is possible that this was not the intended storyline to finish on for either character. The apparent lack of story for Callie particularly (as Arizona had a major storyline early to mid season) could be explained by PD’s departure. A pathway needed to be cleared in order to complete Meredith’s story and, if you believe the premise that PD’s departure was unexpected, then some storylines had to be binned or postponed. Carrying a major storyline for both Meredith and Callie at the same time would’ve crippled the final episodes. It’s a compliment to the character and Sara Ramirez despite the fact that fans may not be happy with the result. I believe Callie will get a big story early season twelve. The easy camaraderie between Callie and Arizona will either facilitate an eventual reunion or make other pairings for both characters run more smoothly. Although I believe the writers don’t know which way to go there are two ways to think of this situation:

1. Surely they will keep at least one couple together to the end? Or
2. This is a dark show first, then comes any romance. No couple will prevail.

I’m an optimist.

We end the season with new interns who may or may not make it to season twelve. I can’t help feeling that the new intern, De Luca, is destined for Meredith. Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch but it’s like McDreamy in reverse. Meredith is the experienced successful Attending and she hooks up with a sexy young intern....with hair. I’m reaching now aren’t I? It’s too early to tell whether this nest of chicks and ducks will be given wings but my money is on them returning and being less annoying than Jo, Shane and Leah.

This season ending really felt like an end of era episode with a decision to renew still up in the air when the episode was produced. And if it had ended there it was a comfortable ending. In general....she quickly adds before all the Calzona and Japril fans knock me down.

We should look at this season, this time gap and the finale as cathartic for all the characters. It’s allowed the writers to disrupt the characters enough to inject a new fresh reality. We now know that there will be more Grey’s to come and so in the meantime, during hiatus while we wait for the new season it will help to be reminded of Meredith's final words...

“...what’s broken can be mended, what’s hurt can be healed, that no matter how dark it gets the sun’s gonna rise again.”

How very optimistic of you Meredith.

If I get a moment I’ll post a few thoughts over the coming months. If there’s something you want me to write about drop me a note on twitter or tumblr.

Happy hiatus peeps!

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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