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Grey's Anatomy - Undo - Review

I expected this episode to appear, though much much earlier in the show’s life. Alex has always had a volcano bubbling underneath. Molten material under the crust of humour, good looks and bad boy turned good. Hot lava streaming through his veins. Or I envisaged the murder of a character with Alex the prime suspect, innocent, yet his guilt plausibly possible. Now it has come, the volcano has erupted, and it’s strangely perfectly placed. Alex beats another doctor within an inch of his life (or at least his career) and Karev is finally facing his biggest demon. His rage. Grey’s Anatomy returned to our screens for its thirteenth season with a belter of an episode, dramatic, plausible (in the broadest sense of the word), intriguing and most importantly genuine. True to its roots, yet not nostalgic. Undo, written by Grey’s long standing writer William Harper and directed by Debbie Allen, could have drifted into soap opera territory, the stuff of daytime television but it didn’t thanks to powerful dialogue and strong believable characterisation.

In season 12 finale Alex beats up DeLuca on the mistaken belief DeLuca was making a move on Jo….literally on her. Throughout the night as some of the doctors rushed to save DeLuca, his eyesight and his career the rest were captured in a fish net of emotional turmoil, moral ambiguity and crossed wires. It was wonderful to see Justin Chambers presented with an epic story to kick off the season. For too long Alex Karev has flirted on the edges of storylines, playing second fiddle to Cristina. It’s even taken two seasons post Cristina for the writers to finally launch into a big Alex story. There is no doubt his character has been developed and strengthened but it’s been more through device than organic growth. Beating up DeLuca has reminded us just how volatile he is. Many of us have wanted Alex to ‘grow up’. He even referenced it himself. But even though he spoke to Meredith about the fact he thought he’d grown up this episode was not about that. It was about character, his moral qualities, his temperament. These are things that live deep within us. Meredith gets it. She realised that the Alex who beat up DeLuca is the same Alex who has rescued her from herself, who has come from a bad childhood to head of paediatric surgery.

“When I first got here he was one of the worst people I had ever met in my life and now he’s one of the best, and I know both of those people are still in there. I just want to make sure the right one wins”

It’s time for Meredith to step up for him. It’s going to cost her but we know she can take that. And besides …Alex is more of a brother to Meredith than Maggie is a sister. Through the night while fighting with her conscience in one area Meredith found herself fighting with that other part of her conscience. The knowledge that her sister has the hots for the guy she’s reluctantly sleeping with. Okay not so reluctantly. She puts on a good act but underneath she’s up for Nathan…why else would she not tell him Maggie’s feelings as a way to deter him from his advances to her. It’s been a while since we had a good old fashioned love triangle. I relish it and rather hoping Maggie will win. Yet not only are we faced with a love dilemma but also a matter of trust. Meredith is on the brink with her relationship with Maggie and a rather interesting feature of this season, we hope, will be to see whether or not Meredith sees Maggie as her sister.

And what of Jo. And here I struggle. It’s no secret that I think this character has been badly managed, poorly cast, used as a prop or device, but it’s time to put that aside. This story has meat. And even though I simply can’t believe that the Chief of all things Resident, Webber, did not know Jo’s background we (okay, I) have to acknowledge that Jo will feature. But make no mistake Dear Writers, beware how you pitt Jo against Alex. Jo has a previous violent history…she cannot judge Alex too much.

Miranda and Ben made up finally following the very traumatic birth of April’s baby during season finale. While I love to see a happy couple I had hoped that this story would be bigger and resolved later. It was, in the end, a story for Season 12 part 2 and here’s hoping that they find a way to keep Bailey forefront and real.

Richard ambled in and ambled out without too much bother. For one second when he was pep talking Jo I wanted him to stop…. “let her go!” I was shouting, to the Frozen music in the background in my head.

Light relief came with the arrival of Grandma Avery, who apparently can’t put the baby down even though the baby’s not being called Catherine. April tricking Catherine and finally standing up to her…albeit gently…at the end gave me hope for a Kepner Avery reunion. I’ve long given up thinking that any couple will get a happy ending on Grey’s. It ain’t never gonna happen - there is currently no living precedent - though plenty of dead ones…Izzie/Dead Denny, Mark/Lexie, Meredith/Derek… but it would be nice to see these two grow together through shared parenthood.

This episode was unique in that it lacked the presence of a number of series regulars. Last season or two has seen one missing from most episodes but this week there were three. Understandably Owen and Amelia were enjoying their conjugal rights. Arizona was elsewhere. One hopes enjoying some free time now she’s free from parental responsibility for a while. We know that Jessica Capshaw was, ironically, enjoying the arrival of her twenty seventh child so we can’t really blame her for taking some time off. The other two…I’m guessing that this maybe the new routine for series regulars, only featuring in a set number of episodes maybe?

Undo was outstanding. It was throbbing with familiar drama, illustrating that Grey’s Anatomy, in its thirteenth season, doesn’t need plane crashes, ferry disasters, sink holes, shootings to stay vital and upright. It’s shining, energetic, progressive. Justin Chambers stole the show, out gunning Ellen Pompeo for the first time since season five. If this is an indication of a typical episode for season thirteen we’re on to a winner.

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, Bones, TBBT, Broadchurch, Catastrophe and despite her better judgement Madam Secretary. In real life she's a 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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