Hey Grey’s Anatomy fans – how ya doin? Have you gotten over the emotional trauma that was last night’s episode? This is a safe space to talk about your feelings.
PS: IF YOU WATCH GREY’S AND HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE YET OR HAVEN’T, LIKE, BEEN ON THE INTERNET STOP READING. STOP READING NOW. COME BACK LATER. OKAY, BYE.
Hello. Welcome back. For today’s post, I’m just using it as my soapbox to talk about what happened last night, because really, isn’t that what the Internet is for? I have a lot of problems with the departure of Patrick Dempsey/Dr. Derek ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd, but I also am slightly okay with it. But first things first.
Because of my job, I have to monitor what’s happening with entertainment news every minute. Early afternoon on Thursday, someone on Instagram posted a photo of an article in Entertainment Weekly featuring Patrick Dempsey with the title “The Doctor Is … Out” and it’s his first exit interview after his last episode – which airs on Thursday night. Apparently some subscribers get EW issues on Thursdays, while most people get it on Fridays, hence, it wouldn’t have been a spoiler if the issues had arrived at the end of the week. This got picked up, Entertainment Weekly was all, sorry, y’all, and I was annoyed because I got spoiled on Thursday’s episode. I hate spoilers.
Then the clock hit 6pm PST (I work until 7pm) and, again, remember I have to monitor entertainment news, my RSS feed and Twitter feed were BLOWING UP with posts about how not only was it Patrick Dempsey’s last episode, but they FREAKING KILLED HIM OFF. Usually, when something like this happens, there are headlines that say like ‘[SPOILER] Leaves ::insert show here::’ or ‘This Really Just Happened on ::insert show here::’. However, this time around, it was one right after the other that read: ‘Shocking Grey’s Anatomy death!’, ‘Original cast member leaves Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Shocking Grey’s Anatomy Accidental Death’, and straight up: ‘McDreamy Is Dead! Patrick Dempsey Killed off Grey’s Anatomy’. Thanks, People magazine. It was legitimately impossible for me to avoid spoilers – even more so because I had to write a story about it. So I mean, I guess I didn’t really know how he died.
Fast forward to the actual episode. Brief recap: Derek is on his way to the airport (to quit his job in D.C. and move back to Seattle) and he’s tailgated by a sports car weaving in and out, and the car eventually hits the SUV in front of Derek, and both cars flip over, while Derek stops to a grinding halt. Basically he manages to save everyone’s lives, makes friends with the young girl who’s not injured and played Sydney on Parenthood, one car caught on fire, police and firemen saw the smoke signals and came to the rescue. Derek stays behind and waits until all the mess is cleaned up for some reason and as he’s making a U-Turn to go back home, Meredith calls, but his phone is lost somewhere in the crevices, and a tractor-trailer comes and smacks into him. Derek gets sent to a hospital that’s NOT Grey-Sloan, and because they’re not properly trained/don’t listen to the female intern doctor/make poor decisions, Derek is essentially brain dead. Meredith shows up, knows exactly what’s happening, knows she has to lit’rally pull the plug. #RIPDerek. (So that wasn’t that brief)
I managed to keep it together until the end of the episode when I found myself bawling when she has to watch him die. In the background, a cover of The Frey’s How To Save a Life is playing – a song call back to season two, when Derek is about to cut into someone’s brain and says, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives”, which he told Sydney from Parenthood earlier. Then there’s a montage of all of MerDer’s best moments and bye.
Ok so my initial thought was:
Then I began to wonder why Shonda decided to kill him off. Last January, both Ellen Pompeo and Patrick signed contracts to be on Grey’s until the 2015-2016 season, even though it hadn’t been picked up yet. Why would he leave with a year left in his contract? Furthermore, Patrick has publicly said he’d be on the show until the end. Then, there were rumors that he and Shonda were not seeing eye to eye. AND he had been gone in “D.C.” for most of the season. All signs were kind of pointing to ‘Yes’ he is leaving the show, but I would NEVER had expected Shonda to kill him off.
Which lead me to thinking that this episode is officially Grey’s Jumping the Shark.
While many believe Grey’s hasn’t been good since the end of season six (you know the finale where Derek was shot by a crazy gunman seeking revenge), I will say there have been a number of good episodes since. It just hasn’t been the same. The show has been on for 11 seasons, and there have been many cast changes, so it’s never going to be the gut-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat, hearts-in-your-eyes drama that it was in seasons one and two. Now that Derek’s gone, there are only like four original cast members left. Moreover, there’s only one half of MerDer left.
Meredith and Derek are one of TV’s most beloved couples – just imagine if Jim Halpert died unexpectedly or Ross Geller or Sam from Cheers or Fitz (DON’T GET ME STARTED ON SCANDAL). Removing such an important element of a beloved show like Grey’s could potentially hurt the show more than it can help.
That being said, I get why they killed him off. It was getting boring quite frankly (see: hasn’t been good since season 6), and they need something to stir the pot a bit. When Sandra Oh left at the end of last season, she moved to Switzerland (neutral country) with the possibility of her coming back. It was interesting to see what would happen this season without Meredith’s person by her side. But that still wasn’t enough to create the same level of drama and interest as before. So I get it, writers, I get it. But from a fan’s perspective…
This is reminiscent of How I Met Your Mother all over again – except this isn’t the series finale. Here’s what we do know – next week is the season finale, and all the doctors at Grey-Sloan-O’Malley-Webber-Yang-Stevens-Montgomery-Shepherd Memorial Hospital have to say one finale goodbye to Derek. It puts them in a much more interesting position than when Yang left, because she still exists and is doing her thing. Derek’s departure was sudden. He left behind a wife and two kids, a staff who admired him. How are they all going to deal with his death? We all saw what happened after the plane crash (if you watched past season 6). They all had PTSD. What kind of mark will Derek leave on them?
One last thing and I’ll end my rant (thanks for sticking with me!) – before Cristina left, she told Meredith to not let Derek dictate her own life and hopes and dreams. In some way, it was a foreshadowing of what just happened, but it’s also a reminder that Meredith, a self-professed dark and twisty person, is more than Derek Shepherd’s wife. She’s Dr. Meredith Grey. She has seen a lot in her life, and she doesn’t let it effect her too much. Will Derek’s death finally be the thing that breaks her down? Will Cristina be there to pick up the pieces? Will Ellen Pompeo stay on past season 12? Did Shonda just issue Grey’s its own D.O.A.???