Saturday, 12 June 2010

TV Meme, Day 12: An Episode I’ve Watched More Than Five Times

This one was a bit easy, I wasn’t choosing an episode of Friends because I think I’ve watched my favourite episodes an equal amount of time and even though the show I was going to focus on has a bloc of somewhere around 25 episodes I adore the one I was deciding on came easily, too easily perhaps. Then I realised I had come down to two episodes and didn’t know which to pick…
The show I’m choosing is Grey’s Anatomy; it’s probably time for the medical drama to close-up shop…and then again, no. Even though it’s nowhere near as excellent it could be, it’s still one of the saving graces on TV. Its second season (and parts of the third) still exists as a period of innovation unparalleled on most ABC shows and I’ll always love it for that. It eventually came down to two episodes from that same season and I was really torn as to which. Should I choose the excellent super bowl episode “It’s the End of the World…As We Know It” with all its excellent thrills or should I choose the season-finale two parter (but still one episode to me) “Losing My Religion/Deterioration of the Flight or Flight Syndrome”. The very reason that season two and three stand out is because it’s before the departure of Kate Walsh and Isaiah Washington and before the introduction of Eric Dane – who’s never been a favourite of mine; he’s not a particularly good actor either. In the end I decided I’d focus on the former one, it’s my blog after all – I could always return to the season finale some other time.

I’m not American so the super bowl doesn’t mean much to me, but it’s notorious for precipitating excellent episodes of TV (remember Julia Roberts on Friends?) and it was no different with Grey’s Anatomy. Note, this is probably not my favourite episode or anything, but it’s somewhere near the top and with good reason. Even for a non-fan of Grey’s it exists as an excellent standalone episode of network TV. It also has Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey in the dark and twisty register that I love her in. The episode begins with her Meredith getting a premonition about impending doom. Show creator Shonda Rhimes notes on the DVD commentary (yes, I have the DVD) that she wanted to set up all the things in the episode so that even someone who was not a regular watcher would not be lost, and she does. With just a few minutes we get the main dynamics, Sandra Oh’s Cristina is the assertive one; Heigl’s Izzie and T. R. Knight’s George are a little irresolute and Meredith is in the depths of despair.

The episode begins in the most normal of ways. A patient is admitting with a shrieking wife. It’s one of the usual things on Grey’s Anatomy, psychotic patients. All this is paralleled with the excellent Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Bailey’s return to the hospital in time to birth her baby under the watchful eyes of Kate Walsh’s Dr. Montgomery-Shepherd. What makes this episode a super bowl one is the discovery that the patient in ER actually has a homemade bomb in his stomach which paramedic Hannah (played excellently by Christina Ricci) has her hand in. From then on the hospital goes into lockdown and we wonder if Meredith’s death premonition is forthcoming. It doesn’t of course, but that doesn’t make the episode any less tense or moving. It depends too much on theatrics to be the show’s best episode but it’s still excellent in more ways than one with all the main cast member’s turning in excellent performances, along with the guests.
Episode Grade: A+
Number of times scene: at least 15
The meme continues, check back daily for more posting...

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