Spoilers for last night's "Grey's Anatomy" season finale -- and if you haven't watched it yet but intend to, and somehow have avoided being spoiled so far, I strongly advise you to run away from your computer for the day -- coming up just as soon as I cry in front of an authority figure...
The reason I'm usually such a stickler(*) when it comes to people posting spoilers here is because I have one of those brains that, once it possesses even a hint about what might be happening, it can't stop trying to figure out the whole puzzle ahead of time.
(*) Fans of "How I Met Your Mother" might appear to want to take issue with that idea this week.
Last night, I watched the NBC comedies, and I blogged about them, and then I went to sleep. While I was doing the blogging, my wife watched the second half of the "Grey's" finale live, and when she found me after, she looked shaken and said she wanted to be able to discuss it with me after she watched. Then this morning, I woke up to find all sorts of ominous references to cliffhangers and twists and even deaths across the blogosphere, the Twitter-verse, and all my other virtual haunts.
Between that, and all the rumors about Katherine Heigl and/or T.R. Knight leaving the show, by the time I actually was able to start watching the "Grey's" finale a couple of hours ago, I was on alert for something horrible and/or surprising to happen to one or both of Izzie and George. So I assumed Izzie would crash right at the moment she was doing so well with her memory, and I figured out that George was the mangled John Doe practically from the minute the camera went close up on his eyes looking around the trauma room. (And when he tried and failed to write something on Meredith's palm, and I realized we hadn't seen George in a long time, that sealed things.)
Now, none of this is the fault of Shonda Rhimes (who did a long but unsurprisingly vague interview about the finale with Michael Ausiello), or Debora Cahn, or anyone else involved in making that final episode. (Unless you want to say that, because "ER" did something similar to the George thing with Dennis Gant, no other hospital show can ever copy it -- which, considering the number of stories "ER" told over 14 seasons would make life really tough for other doctor shows.) It's just one of the dangers of our information over-saturation age. But it also means that I couldn't experience the finale the way they intended me to. I wasn't shocked by what happened with either Izzie or George, regardless of whether they died or not(**).
(**) And if I had to put money on that, I'd wager that George is dead and Izzie lives. Shonda told Ausiello that one of the reasons George was so absent this season was that she didn't want it to be as noticeable when he was gone for a long stretch in the finale. Whether it was really as by design as that -- and given the way Izzie's condition evoked Mariette Hartley in the season premiere, I'm guessing there was some plan in place for this from the start -- the show seemed to get along just fine not giving Knight anything to do, where Izzie has always been one of Shonda's favorite characters to write for. Izzie drives me nuts, but she seems more integral to Shonda's vision for the show.
And yet, despite not being as stunned or blown away as I imagine I was supposed to, I still greatly enjoyed large swaths of both episodes, which continued the creative upswing that began around late March's "Stand By Me." Great guest stars (Matt Saracen! Paris Gellar!). Great use of the core cast, particularly the Hunt/Yang scenes in the first hour and the Karev/Izzie scenes in both (regardless of my lack of surprise, Justin Chambers and Katherine Heigl were both great). Chandra Wilson continued to stand tall above the rest of the cast with the Bailey scenes in both episodes, particularly her crying in front of the Chief. And Meredith and Derek getting "married" via Post-It note was so perfect for their characters that I really hope, as Shonda suggests to Ausiello, that that's the only wedding we ever get to see for the two of them. (Though I imagine they have to go to City Hall at some point just to get the legal protections of marriage.)
I wish I was able to go into this one pristine, but I wasn't, and I still liked a lot of it. During those fallow periods in the middle of the last few seasons, people kept asking me why I was still watching and/or blogging about "Grey's Anatomy." This last batch of episodes is why. This show is a free-swinging power hitter. When it swings and misses, it looks horrendous. But when it connects with the pitch it wants, all you can do is sit back and admire it.
What did everybody else think?