After what was, by far, the worst season finale in the entire series, the ninth season of “Grey’s Anatomy” kicked off this past Thursday night, tying up loose ends that the horribly unrealistic and unsettling eighth season finale had left dangling in May.
While most “Grey’s Anatomy” fans have come to expect some “dark and twisty” moments and the death of a somewhat important character during each season finale, the end of the eighth season was unnecessarily over-the-top. The writers of the show have an impeccable talent for taking fairly unbelievable storylines and molding them around the superb cast’s acting in a way that makes human shish kabobs and miraculous healings seem like everyday occurrences. However, a “Lost”-like plane crash that almost all passengers survived but stranded them in the woods for days last May damaged the credibility of the drama and had viewers wondering what the writers would not do for TV ratings.
So after last season’s finale bombed, (not literally, like the Christina Ricci bomb episode during Season 2, which is probably in the top three “Grey’s” episodes ever) the writers had a lot of audience respect to regain. Let’s not even mention that the one major fatality in the finale was the better half of the beloved Slexie romance right after Sloan finally confessed that he had always loved Lexie and that she needed to live so they could start a family. But within the first ten minutes of the show, I had already forgotten how betrayed Season eight’s finale had left me.
With Lexie dead, Sloan in critical condition, Arizona with a severe leg wound, Derek with an injured hand, and all of the surgeons still unreached in the woods, no one had any idea what to expect from the ninth season’s premiere. And certainly, no one expected Sloan to be taken off of life support and die halfway through. (What is with Shonda Rimes obliterating popular characters in pairs? My heart still aches every time I hear the phrase “double-oh-seven” and think of George and Izzie.)
But Sloan’s devastating departure was just one major change that Season 9 is bringing to the table. Cristina ended up accepting a fellowship in Minnesota where she is drowning in her one weakness-teamwork-while Karev eventually ended up declining his fellowship at John Hopkins. April went back to her family’s farm and is seen at the end of the episode hanging out with live, healthy pigs instead of slicing apart dead ones for surgical practice. And throughout the entire episode, viewers are led to believe that Arizona also died from her injuries or at least left the show for another reason. Thankfully yet sorrowfully, Callie meets Arizona at home at the end of the episode and the audience is relieved to know that there is an Arizona in Season nine-but an Arizona with one less leg.
The premiere definitely reminded viewers why we all love “Grey’s Anatomy”-it is poetically relatable, emotionally captivating, and subtly hilarious. Although it will take some time to overcome the deaths of two adored characters, we know we will be comforted by Meredith’s narrative gems of advice about life and death at the beginning and end of every episode. Not only did the premiere regain fans’ respect, it instilled hope for the promise that Season 9 nine holds. And if some viewers are still skeptical about the changes this season, Dr. Bailey being dubbed BCB (Booty-Call Bailey) is reason enough to keep watching.
Carol Fritz is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at CF716022@wcupa.edu.