Spoilers for "Grey's Anatomy" just as soon as I look up the airfare from Seattle to Costa Mesa...
Okay, here's where being a guy who's paid to watch TV obsessively and exhaustively gets in the way of me enjoying a moment the way I would if I were a regular viewer. Already, I'm inclined to be cynical about the possibility of Meredith dying, because I know the way the TV business works, and I know how Shonda Rhimes practically breathes through Meredith Grey, and then comes the Big. Shocking. Moment. when Meredith is ice-blue on the table one second, and a healthy pink the next, looking up at Dylan the blowed-up bomb squad hunk and the late Denny Duquette...
...and all I could think was, "'St. Elsewhere' already did it." Followed by "And so did 'The Sopranos' -- like, nine months ago."
(For you non-tube historians out there, one of the greatest achievements of "St. Elsewhere" was an episode called "After Life," in which Wayne Fiscus was shot in the ER and journeyed through Purgatory, Hell and Heaven -- meeting a God who looked exactly like Wayne Fiscus -- while the surgical team -- including the hotshot heart surgeon still recovering from a potentially career-ending hand injury, mind you -- struggled to save him. End history lesson. Now go wait for the season 5 DVD to come out so you can go watch it -- but not before you sit through the "Time Heals" arc from season 4, or the rape arc from seasons two and three, or the one where Boomer's wife dies, or...)
Point is, I'm sure that cliffhanger was immeasurably cool to a lot of you -- especially those of you who pay no attention to spoilers or even hinted-at spoilers -- as it probably should have been, but as the man who knows too much, it left me flat.
Now, "Grey's" has never been about reinventing the medical show wheel, and I'm sure Meredith's brief visit to the afterlife -- and I have absolutely zero doubt in my mind that brief is what it shall be, that she'll be alive, if not kicking, by the end of next week's episode -- will be different than Fiscus meeting God, or Tony Soprano going to the Finnerty family reunion. But when Shonda boasts that "I’m not entirely playing by the rules of TV here," it suggests that either she doesn't watch a lot of TV or she has a gift for hyperbole.
Beyond the cliffhanger -- and, even though I wasn't blown away, I'm all in favor of anything that might send even a handful of viewers to go check out Kyle Chandler's new show -- I'm still not feeling the ferry crash storyline. Izzie with the drill was cool, and the closest the show came to "ER" disaster episode intensity, but then she had to go and ruin my goodwill by turning her inspirational speech for Cristina into another excuse to be a total bitch about Callie. I also liked McSteamy putting his hand on McDreamy's arm in what felt like a very earned moment.
What a strange, frustrating, compelling show this is. What did everybody else think?