Friday, October 23, 2009

Grey's Anatomy, "I Saw What I Saw": Perspective

I've more or less stopped blogging about "Grey's Anatomy," because I realized that if I just watched the show without writing about it later, it became much easier to ignore the parts I don't like (which ain't going away, because they're part of the fabric of the series) and enjoy the parts that I do. But I want to make a brief exception for last night's episode, which featured lots of the good stuff and virtually none of the bad. They can't go as dark as this every week, but it worked very well for an hour, and the "Rashomon" gimmick (telling the story of the patient's death from multiple perspectives) actually added to the proceedings (it gave a better sense of the chaos of the night, and of the ongoing tensions created by the merger), when sometimes TV shows do the multiple-POV thing and get nothing extra out of it.

I suspect I'll go back to watching-only next week, but I wanted to give credit where credit was due, and this was one of the best episodes they've done in a long time.

What did everybody else think?

31 comments:

renton said...

I vowed as a New Year's resolution in January to either stop complaining about the things in Grey's that drive me crazy or stop watching it.

Last night's episode was a reason I was glad I didn't stop watching it.

Best one I've seen in a long time -- and thought Derek's moment with the Chief at the end was exceptional.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted about this episode Alan. Last night's Grey's was a great hour of drama. Full of tension with room for each character to shine in their very short time of screen time. No ghosts or asburgers or Puerto Rican fathers. It was very satisfying to watch and maybe it bodes well for the future. --Milhouse

poeticdesires said...

Even though I saw the ending coming, I still really liked this episode. Showing the chaos of the current situation in the hospital and what it can cause was a good device for the story.
Surprisingly for me, I didn't mind the lack of the older Grey and Izzy. I think it helped, giving more time for the newer characters. I like how they are developing as people instead of just archetypes.
The ending had solid emotion and heartache, as well as the first inklings of solidarity. Definite good job this week. We'll see how long it lasts.

Zachary Beach said...

I absolutely agree.

Pamela Jaye said...

I was happy, first, that Shonda said, er are going to do something different, for us rather than the old "breaking the rules of television" thing which made her sound like such a fool a couple of sesaons ago when they grabbed a plot from St Elsewhere. I know I've seen this on at least one ep of ER (maybe two) and I hope they don't follow ER into the backwards plot, cause that was so difficult, I had to watch it in Forwards (and i missed some of the flashes which divided one past scene from an even older scene (and obviously had no place to complain about it at the time)).

Plus there was a mystery. Plus, you could almost re-live ER (if you found yourself in withdrawal).

One of my main questions - whose idea was the format - was answered by the writer (Shonda's idea)

So now that I know that airway and breathing (in the ABCs) are *not* redundant,
I'm left with one question - what killed the patient?

I could see how soot in the throat might lead to your throat closing up, but how did we get to Multi-system Organ Failure? (I looked up Rhabdomyolysis (sp?) It didn't help.

And does anyone (on the show) know that Izzie was actually fired? Alex's comment after reading her note didn't imply that she told him.

april said...

We didn't see the episode yet, but I agree with renton. My husband and I were in the same position last year. So, we're kind of just taking each episode for what it is. It really helps just watching and enjoying the good and just letting go of the weak. I really can't stand the people who hate it and yet keep watching it. Don't watch a show you hate. Just stop or stop complaining.

Anonymous said...

I never would have imagined a few years ago that Grey's could have such an amazing epidsode without George, Izzie or Meredith! I've really turned on those characters and didn't miss them at all, really.

Anonymous said...

-episode. I knew I should have previewed.

Rose said...

If they mentioned at the beginning what happened to the patient, I must have missed it because I spent the whole hour wondering whether the patient lived or died and which doctor was at fault. I thought that was the best episode in years.

Pamela Jaye said...

Oddly, as a far of the show, I'm not sure how it *can* bode well for the future. The general format of the show is what it is. It's not ER. It's not House.

I can definitely live without ghost sex, Aspergers' Chief of Cardio (Chief? Seriously?) but I think Puerto Rican fathers and their ilk will always be with us. And Meredith is the star (and we still know little of Derek, though I hear they might be addressing that soon, I won't read further cause I hate spoilers)
And we know Izzie will be back (though I don't hate her when she is the Izzie I remember, who needed to prove herself and cared for her patients - but not as much as with Denny)

And Mer will be the star, till her contract runs out. What they do they... not a clue. (I do like Lexie, but Scrubs will have to show us if you can wrap a series with voiceover around a character, and then let them go)

As for Derek and the Chief, there is a continuing lack of theme in this show that it's all about teaching but every attempt to put teaching back on the front burner is remembered for 3 episodes, tops.
While the "only remaining healthy attending" pointed out their laughable lack of invisible staff in season.. 3? The ER *still* doesn't have its own staff - or at least they have not been mentioned since ep 1.03. On ER, you at least got the impression - even with the size of the main cast - that there were other departments, with staff (Amy Aquino was on Brothers & Sisters recently, still playing a doctor). Grey's is no less a hit (except that average ratings for "the top show on TV" have dropped since 1994, and yet other departments existence have vanished faster than the other lawyers on Ally McBeal (surely the firm didn't start with just Richard, John, and Billy and 15 secretaries)
Sadly, the Chief is a wishy washy voyeur who doesn't seem to be able to organize himself (or departments he does not control, like ER) out of a paper bag. Most of the time, I find him to be a joke. He wanders that hall in search of the latest greatest fantastical patients - a healer? a skydiver who didn't die? let me see! and gets all involved in Meredith (and blames his lack of focus on her) and then threatens to suspend her for doing something far less unethical than cutting a LVAD wire.
He's a joke. Maybe he *should* be replaced - he makes Derek look serious by comparison.

Oh how I miss Isaiah Washington. And Addison (who is acting slightly less teenage girl over on PP this season, but I swear those people have far more sex for far less understandable reasons than the younger people on Grey's)

Pamela Jaye said...

@Rose - the patient died of multisystem organ failure, but as far as I could tell they were blaming it on soot in her throat. Even though she was eventually intubated, and there was no mention of brain damage (due to lack of oxygen), she seems to have just started falling apart for some reason I can't figure out (not that I'm a doctor, I just watch them on TV)

Byron Hauck said...

I try, I try so hard to not let things about the real world affect my enjoyment of fictional worlds. But I am having a really hard time immersing myself in a story in which its residents making $40,000 a year that are being laid off in droves instead of attendings making $400,000 a year. Where residents are fired from a teaching hospital for making a single mistake, or even just for budgetary reasons. Yes, fire the cheap, contractually bound labor and DESTROY your program's reputation. Have fun having NO ONE even apply to your residency programs in the future! And probably get sued for breach of contract!

The episode was pretty great aside from that though.

Anythink said...

Not to pile on, but this was a great episode of a different show that happened to take place at Seattle Grace Hospital and featured the cast and characters of Grey's.

If anything it highlights just how much damage the loss of doctors Burke, O'Malley, and Montgomery have done to the show (not to mention the well-intentioned, but wrong-headed devotion to the Chief - a character who should have left the show seasons ago). Once a show shifts it's focus from doctors dealing with patients to those same doctors becoming the patients, the show loses it's way.

Lizbeth said...

Agreed that this was some of the best writing, directing, and acting this show has ever provided. My daughter and I both felt it was constructed flawlessly...

It immediately reminded me of ER rather than the soapy mess Grey's usually provides.

I skipped almost all of last year of Grey's, but if they keep it up, I might just hang around.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Best episode in a long while.

Even though it was too obvious from the start 'who killed the patient', it was just really nice to finally know a little bit more about the newbies.

Kyle said...

It's amazing what Grey's Anatomy could do when they focus more on the hospital parts than the romance. It's what made the first 2 and possibly 3 seasons a smashing success. Then it promptly took a nose dive and I quit.

I happened to randomly watch last night's episode and found it reminiscent of old seasons.

7s Tim said...

I really enjoyed the episode, but I think I watch tv too much.
missed the first ten minutes but had seen the previews and commercials. g/f asked if I wanted to know what was happening, and I took a guess at the struture of the episode being the whole roshomon thing. She looked at me like i cheated by reading a review. Nope, ABC just likes telling a story through commercials. And I really need another hobby.

Did the girl who got fired look more like the plainer cousin of Lexie to anyone?

Rocephin said...

Well, as someone who gave up on this show a long time ago, I saw the teaser and stayed for the whole episode and was glad I did.

Regarding why the patient died, soot in the throat is a marker for smoke inhalation. The smoke causes chemical damage to the lungs, but more importantly, it is hot, and can actually burn the lungs from the inside. The result of these were the bleeding into the tube. She died because of the scarring to her lungs from this damage (which would in no way be solved by intubation-- these are the small airways that are damaged). The delayed nature was a little unrealistic, but the episode was so good that I did not mind this.

Pamela Jaye said...

@Rocephrin - thanks! Someone on my Grey's lists suggested Carbon Monoxide poisoning which (he?) said would not have been caught due to the lack of monitoring of her blood gases (and they sure looked as if they were way off)
If you are right (and you do make sense -and remember the pain in/on her chest?) - then no one actually killed her.

@Byron - that's 2 great points about who should have been let go. Licensed and boarded surgeons have a shot at employment elsewhere.
I never thought about the effect on The Program.

@Kyle - nose dive? funny.
Really, I miss the pre-rounds at 5am. It was odd later to see Interns at home reading the paper with the sun out. I miss those pre-dawn, lab delivering, first abdominal taps and lab delivering.
I was excited last week to see Izzie prescribing the (dialysis?) that led to her downfall. We rarely see these people practice medicine. And yeah, I miss ER.

@7s Tim yeah, she did look somewhat like Lexie, and I liked her better than the other female resident (are these 3rd years? if so, why did they need Alex to jump in and crike?)

Nice to still see some of our second years around.

Last resident I saw fired that I could really imagine being fired was Dr. Dave. And even then I wondered.

Linda said...

I thought it was a really good episode, mostly because Meredith and Izzie were absent. Unfortunately, the show has developed the habit of developing storyline after storyline around those two women fussing around, feeling sorry for themselves, complaining endlessly about everything, and seeing everything that happens to everyone only through the lens of their own personal lives.

I have nothing against Pompeo or Heigl, but the way those characters have been written is what has made me dislike the show. Last night's episode was about something other than a bunch of self-involved brats. To the degree it was about them all being petty and small, for once it was also about why that's VERY BAD in a hospital.

It made them all seem human. They all thought they were being careful enough, but you could see where every one of them did something that, were they being entirely conscientious, they wouldn't have done. Watching it made me regret, I'm sorry to say, that the leaves of both those actresses are temporary.

Anonymous said...

Last night was the best Grey's episode in years. It showed they are capable of writing good episodes regardless of the characters involved. Now all they need to do is write good episodes and feature some of the characters they already have that aren't played out like Meredith Grey is.

erin said...

i thought it was absolutely gripping, and i was suitably horrified when they would cut to a commercial break.

I too figured out it was most likely Hannah (hello, Everwood alums, including Lainie from season 1 and 2!) when i saw her skip the visual throat check, but i found the chaotic cuts to be really tense.

I really hope she doesn't stay fired because I think they were wrong to get rid of her, but i loved derek's point to richard at the end. Great, dramatic stuff, and yes, very ER-like, in a good way!

LA said...

I scanned comments and I don't think anyone mentioned this. Did anyone else notice the woman's little boy was played by the actor who played little Jack Cox on Scrubs? He's growing up so cute.

Off to read the comments in detail...

LA said...

Very impressive writing and directing. I felt like I was back watching Grey's in its glory days of season one and early season two. The medicine was mostly solid (by television standards), and considering Yang and Karev were the only two of the original five I actually liked, this episode was a delight.

The only downside was that I was bummed Kitty Romano got fired. Maybe the Chief will reconsider. Yeah, probably not.

I didn't recognize the names of the writer and director. Hopefully they will be added to the creative team. For the first time in years, I had a glimmer of of the creative luster with which GA started. Let's hope it continues in the same vein.

Pamela Jaye said...

@LA - yeah, I stared at that little boy for the longest time trying to figure it out, but when I did, I asked on Twitter. I knewq I had typed it out somewhere...

Sonia said...

Great episode -- loved the tension, but hated that they made the Mercy West doc the scapegoat. Derek was right on in calling Richard on his role in all this -- that his lack or organization and leadership led to the chaos.

Also, loved Karev's calling that gut "Nose Dive", and the board member laughing about it. The Grey's folks do have a knack for nicknames.

Anonymous said...

agree that overall it was a good episode.

what bothered me is that at the end Meredith was clueless about what went on. there is no way that christina wouldn't have filled her in.

Nancy said...

Also thought it was a very well done episode, and I'm glad to hear I'm not alone; I thought perhaps I was just biased because I was so glad to see Everwood alumni doing really good work here.

Manju said...

I seriously thought it was the best episode this season so far. It was the first episode I watched twice in a year and proved that even after six seasosn, GA has still a lot to say. The episode was really, really good.

Pamela Jaye said...

maybe Cristina hadn't had time to go back and tell Mer. Mer was wondering why Bailey didn't come to sign her out. Stil it's odd that passing people in the hallways of whatever floor Mer is on weren't taking about it. At least: did you hear of the mass cas in the ER, at worst: did you hear the chief is trying to find out who killed the patient in the ER?

Lisa said...

@LA -- I can't believe I didn't notice that April Kepner = Kitty Romano!!! My two favorite shows and I ddn't even realize there was a cross-over!