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Grey's Anatomy - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Review

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We are a hairsbreadth away from the mid season premiere so here’s a reminder of where we left off. Alex is going to jail. He’s taking the fall. We will soon see him cloaked in orange, sporting amateur tattoos and snarling in a cell. Okay, it’s not quite so clear cut as that. It never is. We haven’t actually seen him surrender to the prosecutors. But the signs are there and in this particular story arc the writers are entering new territory.

“You Haven’t Done Nothin’”, written by Karin Gist and directed by Rob Corn finished part one of the season and left me both breathless and exasperated.

Breathless: Alex, Jo, Meredith.
This Alex/Jo/Andrew story arc is really all about Alex. I know that people will disagree, after all Jo had a big part in this dynamic. But if you’ve watched Grey’s from the very beginning you will realise that this episode and this story is all about understanding Alex and his (oh I hate to say the word journey but I’m going to) journey. It almost doesn’t matter if he goes to jail or not. It does of course, but for the purpose of exposing the real Karev “You Haven’t Done Nothin” gave us his humility, self awareness and selflessness (with a very tiny whiff of self pity). It’s always been there. Follow all the wonderful patient stories involving Alex, especially with the tiny humans, and you will see all of those qualities, in abundance, together with a tenacity and fierce advocacy, but he has until now suppressed them in his own life. It is notable that Meredith is appealing to his common sense, and to the nostalgic sense of belonging. They are the only two of them left….but is this really the case. Cristina is a successful doctor FaceTiming Meredith every available moment, and perhaps even Izzie is making her mark in medicine. Perhaps Meredith’s message gets through. But Alex is stubborn. Alex Karev has excited and frustrated me over the course of 13 seasons but it is here where I feel my frustration ebb away leaving me breathless. I’ve waited a long time for the writers to bring out the best in Justin Chambers and Alex Karev. Finally we see Karev’s vulnerability fully exposed.

Readers of my reviews will know that I am no fan of Jo. This has been driven by poor writing of the character and poor casting. I’ve never been convinced by her before. The thing is, on this occasion and in this episode, I believe Jo now. I never believed that she grew up in foster care or that she lived in her car. She’s categorically failed to convince me. And by ‘she’ I mean the writers portrayal of the character and the actor’s performance. But this…her husband…I see that, I felt it. This was legitimate Jo. Camilla Luddington pulled it off finally. This episode left me wanting to know more about her, more about her husband and want to see a show down between the three of them. I’m still pissed off with Jo. She made it very difficult for Alex and he deserves better, someone ready to put him first in their life. I’m still not convinced that she is really who he wants but I’m willing to go with it…for now.

This episode also left me….

Exasperated: Richard, Bailey, Amelia
Oh my lord what a day for Richard. He’s been royally dumped on by his ‘wife wife’, Catherine, who questions his capability. He is then betrayed by his ‘work wife’, Bailey, who cowardly fails to tell him he’s been demoted. What kind of work place is this? Not even the board knew of Bailey’s intentions. How does that even happen? While Alex was lifting our soul, back at the hospital soap dish melodrama replaced the calm orderly and sensible progression of storylines.
On what basis has Richard been replaced?
Why do the board know nothing?
Why hasn’t Bailey had the decency to tell Richard?
Where is the HR department?
I know. I know. Suspension of reality is sometimes necessary in this show but it becomes deeply frustrating when it doesn’t make much sense.

The upside of this melodrama is the peppy, overly confident antagonist Eliza Minnick. Yes Arizona I agree with you, she is walking around as if she owns the place. It would be easy to blame her for this clumsy mess and she is certainly going to feel the full force of the ‘Webber’ loyal Attendings fan club against her but in truth their wrath should be directed at Bailey and Catherine. And the human rainbow and Jackson for allowing this to happen on their watch. Enraged by how Richard has been treated Maggie stepped up in this battle and it was heartening to see her firmly at his side. But over all I found all of this rather frustrating.

Once again Grey’s has used the actor’s pregnancy as an excuse to introduce false fault lines into a relationship. Amelia has gone, run away, leaving a Dear John letter for Owen telling him not to blame himself. He would be justified if he was more than a little baffled by her sudden disappearance. This is lazy story telling. We’ve had it all before - the not wanting kids. Granted Amelia has some very good reasons for her hesitation but wouldn’t it be good if the writers showed more creativity when dealing with an actor’s absence. She could just be visiting family guys….
Amelia will be back to torture Owen some more and I look forward to seeing them with a healthy pregnancy by the season’s end.

"You Haven't Done Nothin'" was an unremarkable mid season finale taken as a whole. I was not left with deep anxiety and longing for the next episode as I would hope to be but seeing Alex put his freedom on the line for Jo more than made up for the inadequacies of boardroom politics. Bring on the rest I say. I’m ready now.

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