Last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, titled “How to Save a Life,” (aired on Apr 23, 2015) was about as powerful of an episode from this series that I could ever remember. It was powerful, yet not shocking and for some, quite spoiled. We also know WHY events in this episode took place.
Last night my wife and I were going to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy. We had one (episode) in the box (DVR) and were recording last night’s episode.
Just a little after six pm, Entertainment Weekly and then TVLine do what they always do and that’s to start splattering shocking spoiler headlines on the web long before the west coast gets a chance to catch an episode.
(I think these sites are more about being tools and trying to drive west coast viewership ratings up than they are news reporting entities. It makes sense, considering they are pretty consistent with their spoiler-like reporting. They’re still doing it this morning with no thought towards time-shifted viewers.)
Then more and more sites started chiming in. I started to warn my wife to get off Facebook and the like, but then when I saw that ABC News was reporting on the episode, I called a black out on the internet in the house until we got through the two episodes of Grey’s in our box.
And so we watched last week’s episode which showed Meredith being worried that her husband never made his meeting in Washington DC, and then last night’s episode where we watch the cool and suave Dr. Derek Shepherd come upon a horrible car wreck on a mountain road and then save each and every life.
He was absolutely amazing.
REALLY, HUGE SPOILERS COMING UP
But when all was said and done, as Derek was pulling away from the scene of the accident, his car is center punched by what looks like a big-rig tractor trailer, sending him to the hospital, where, after much effort on the ill-trained trauma team’s part, he dies.
What made this a powerfully engaging episode was the process it took for Dr. Derek Shepherd to pass away. First he calms and saves the lives of four people in a horrible accident on this mountain road, only to be claimed by a truck on the same spot.
As he’s wheeled into the ER of this strange hospital, he is fully functional mentally but unable to speak. But we hear his every thought during the process. He was awfully calm about the entire process, even if TV fans were not.
We hear him suggesting in his mind to order a CT. We hear the Dr request a CT, but she is out-voted by her male counterpart.
And Derek is saying in his head they won’t listen because you’re a woman.
They go in for explorative surgery to try and find the source of the internal bleeding, then decide to do the CT. And Derek thinks to us in his voice over, it’s too late.
The neurosurgeon takes forever to respond to his page and the team bickers about it… well, it was an amazingly well done episode, showing us the right and wrong way to do things, the horrible pluck of the luck for an accident victim being taken to a hospital was wasn’t ready, the political wrangling that goes on within the processes, and what happens when all the failures add up.
1 – We got to see Derek at his best,
2 – We heard his every thought as he realized he was doomed.
3 – We heard Derek’s opinion on the sexist treatment of the female doctor.
4 – We saw the cold and calculating mind of Dr. Meredith Grey as she had to deal with “the papers” for a brain dead spouse and her yet still cool and methodical approach to remanding the woman doctor, doing so in such a way that left it all but professional and instructional, because Derek will always be her “the one.” The one that she lost. The one that will motivate her. Derek was “the one.”
= = =
After eleven seasons Patrick Dempsey wanted to pursue different interests, as ABC put it in their almost immediate press release as this episode aired. The episode was written by Shonda Rhimes herself, pretty much capping the character’s role in the series.
And over the last few years ratings have been such for Grey’s Anatomy that I’m always pleased to see the renewal announcements and contract extension news for the various actors, but always worried before such.
The show hasn’t been quite on the bubble, but it’s been looking over the ledge at that bubble after 10, now 11 long seasons.
And this is where fan opinion starts to range in differences.
My wife was pissed that they killed off yet another character. I was shocked as if I lost a long-time friend. Derek was the cornerstone of the show. The cool, calm demeanor and voice of Grey Sloan Memorial.
But to write him off like this, with a few short-sighted events, in this fashion has me wondering.
My guess is the show is coming to an end, if not this season, then next. Or they could have ponied up more cash to keep “Derek” around.
Actor Contracts: Four regulars renewed through for a 12th season, if there is one. (Sara Ramirez, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr., Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey. I’m sure others have, but those were the big name contracts everyone watches out for. Sure, Dempsey is signed for a 12th season, but it is not uncommon to sign talent for longer than they will be around.)
And if you recall, Dempsey himself said something several months back, indicating he would be leaving the show soon.
Short-Sighted Episode Events:
Last night I was caught up in the emotional demise of a favored character and long-time “TV friend,” but later as I dwelled on it, I started to get a bit pissed about Derek’s death.
For one, we see the wreck of the sports car being driven away from the accident scene and that had me wondering why Derek would stick around THAT long after saving four lives. Was he filing reports for that long? Maybe.
Was Rhimes trying to say something besides the obvious when she wrote the scene where Derek is making a three-point turn to go back in the direction he had come from, to only have him STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD like a dumb-ass before getting hit?
Or that his being killed by a tractor-trailer looking vehicle, on a road that is clearly not big enough for such a vehicle?
Regardless, the rest of the story unfolded as events were set in motion by the accident, those events being his own accident and the one caused by the entitled brat who was racing around in his daddy’s sports car.
We saw the writing on the wall over the last few years, and now we saw it for real. Patrick Dempsey’s character, Derek Shepherd, is gone.
THANK YOU SO MUCH Patrick for giving us your portrayal of Derek, over the last 11 years on Grey’s Anatomy.
That was one hell of a curtain call.
= = =