novin_ha: Buffy: gotta be a sacrifice ([ga] dark sisterhood of pain)
[personal profile] novin_ha
So last year Grey's Anatomy had its "Once More With Feeling"; this year it did its version of my favourite Buffy episode, namely "The Wish". And it was awesome.

The episode was perfection incarnate. I expected to enjoy myself, but I loved it far more than I'd thought I would.

The character arcs made perfect sense, and they were well-emphasised / articulated by hair and fashion choices. Without the darkness of her mother raising her alone and suffering from Alzheimer's, Meredith is still dark and twisty, albeit less so, thanks to Richard's parenting. However, an additional veneer of darkness seems to be attributable to the pressure of pretending not to be dark (to herself and others), as well as from the continued inability to escape her mother's influence. Our Meredith, we've been led to believe, never wanted to use her mother's influence to further her career - Wish!Meredith uses her mother's name to further her career not because she wants a career, but instead, to please her mother.

Without Meredith's friendship, Cristina put herself together as well as she could after the Burke disaster. She is even more hard-core, and the straight hair drives the point home. There's no softness, and the scene where she announces Alex's betrayal is emotionally satisfying to the extreme. She doesn't need to go 'all Izzie' and shoot up the hospital: she can wreak destruction much more easily. At the same time she is drawn to the darkness of Owen, who is too scared to lose his family to seek a way to health for himself, unaware that the family he wants is already lost: his wife is falling in love with a woman, he cannot have this apple pie and white fence image he is fantasising himself into. The parallel to his present situation is all but obvious: instead of building on what he has with Cristina, he is stuck on what she won't (can't) give him: the "child" he wanted, the pregnancy she aborted. I think this gives me more hope for their relationship than I'd had before this episode. Perhaps he will have to face reality and change.

Alex is perhaps the most fundamentally changed and the same. Wearing dorky glasses, chipper and friendly, but with a streak of meanness we all know, he is Meredith's McDreamy, while screwing her best friend on the side. He recognizes that he is sabotaging himself, but cannot refrain all the same: there is something wrong with him that the relationship he has with Meredith allows him to ignore. He keeps trying to heal himself through the women in his life (to prove to himself that he is okay), instead of addressing the root issue. He advises others to stay away from 'crazy chicks' because crazy is what draws him. The last scene he has, his self-realization, is with Bailey and without the glasses - a good choice, because he is seeing clearly now (whether it can stay that way is debatable). His plotline here makes me believe that the writers do have a plan for his character that goes beyond him repeating his mistakes.

The throw-away lines about Izzie (whom Meredith bravely reported for what she did for Danny) and George (who dropped off the face of the earth) are mean enough to show that the writers presumably haven't got over their dislike for the actors.

Callie being together with Owen makes a lot of sense: they're both frank and assertive, while at the same time harbouring their respective self-realizations secret from one another. Of course they would have a lot of children, but that would not suffice.

I am less happy about Ellis's and Addison's storylines: they seem to be vilified more than strictly necessary, but that in turn makes absolute narrative sense if the story is Meredith's dream/nightmare scenario. The image of a "good" mother proves to be a facade: Meredith cannot conceive of her mother being a force of good in the universe (see how almost all of the characters' unhappiness can be linked to Ellis's influence. She pushed Callie into cardio, she derides Derek to the point where he loses faith in himself, she makes Webber less than he could be. The only good she does is fire Bailey, prompting her to gain awesomeness - that Ellis had denied her.

Avery remains himself, basically: he tries to help Lexie, the drug-addict (no longer ruining Meredith's groove by being better than Meredith and taking over her neuro specialty), he is the least mean to Cristina, he lets himself be taken advantage of. (So much love!) Mark, similarly, appears as Lexie's unwitting white knight/possible car wreck. And destroy's Derek's marriage - or rather, shows him the ruin it already is.

Derek being McDreary is amusing and perceptive. Of course Meredith wants to think he must be unhappy without her, but this change is all too easy to imagine. He is only a step away from despair, his cheerfulness in season one was a self-imposed facade. He derides Meredith for her depression, but perhaps this is precisely because he is on the brink of one himself.

What points are then ultimately made about the characters?

Ø Alex is fundamentally messed up and must work on his issues: but there is hope for him.

Ø Addison is fundamentally a cheater and self-saboteur.

Ø Bailey's strength will come out, sooner or later. It is fundamentally her to be strong and assertive, and not even Ellis will keep her down forever.

Ø The couples meant for one another include not just McDreamy and Meredith (obviously, it is their story after all), but also Arizona and Callie (and I, for one, am glad of this inclusion) and - of course, and most importantly for me - Cristina and Meredith, whose alliance is perhaps even more fated than their respective love lives, babies and problems are. They are Meredith and Cristina, and they will give one another strength.

I almost wish we could stay in this AU for a couple more episodes (or, you know, forever. Why the heck not). Almost, because this is perfect in the way it closes. A perfect hour of television.

And together with this week's The Good Wife it makes two hours of perfection. Which means a better week than most if not all weeks, including finales and sweeps and what not. And this, frankly, was possibly my favourite episode of Grey's ever, and of television this season.
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novin_ha: Buffy: gotta be a sacrifice (Default)

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