For Grey’s Anatomy fans, the season nine premiere last Thursday was an emotional trainwreck and gave viewers a lot to think about. Thirty days after a plane crash in the middle of nowhere, the doctors of Seattle Grace deal with career change, new characters, serious injuries and death.
One of the main focuses of the episode was the slow, impending death of Mark Sloane — aka McSteamy. Since this week’s episode takes us back to the crash and what led up to the events a month later, we do not yet know how they got rescued or what else happened to Mark after the crash to land him in a coma. But we find out in this episode that tonight is the night they take him off of life support and the episode flashes to various home movies taken throughout Mark’s life — his best friend Derek’s wedding, Callie and Arizona’s wedding where he says he wants to spend the rest of his life with Lexie (cue tears) and moments with his daughter Sophia (cue more tears).
While it was very touching and tear-jerking for his two best friends to sit at his bedside while he died, I was upset that the writers did not bring Addison back for Mark’s death — after all, she did end her marriage for him and still consider him one of her best friends (also, Addison is still a character on the spin-off show, Private Practice, written by the same people, so she easily could have been written into this episode). A girl can dream.
Since actor Eric Dane wanted to leave the show, it was a choice of Mark moving away or dying, so I am actually happy with the decision to kill him off. If he survived the crash and left, he would have a.) had to deal with the death of the woman he loves, which I am not sure I could bear to watch, and b.) had to leave his daughter, which I am not sure the McSteamy I know could ever do.
Although McSteamy’s death makes me embarrassingly sad, there are plenty of hopeful messages to be taken from this episode as well.
Each new season brings a new year in education for the aspiring-surgeons-turned-attending-physicians of the hospital. Meredith Grey, once the spunky young intern, is the now the scary attending who intimidates the new interns, bringing the show full circle. She gets to pick one “lucky” intern to humiliate in their first surgery, which directly parallels Dr. Burke picking George for the same surgery in the pilot episode (again, cue tears). Meredith, the one who defends George in the pilot, becomes the intimidating teacher who the interns actually call “Medusa.” I might be way too emotionally attached to these characters, but Meredith’s moments of pride during this episode were inspirational. If she can get through years of all-consuming, stress-inducing education and come out even stronger on the other side, maybe I can too.
During the surgery, however, Meredith overhears the interns saying horrible things about her in the observation deck and consequently is very upset. After the surgery, the chosen intern confronts the chief. She says she heard Meredith was in a plane crash, and “people died, or almost died, or something,” and asks if that is why she is such a mean person. The chief, who knows Meredith very well, defiantly says, “Dr. Grey isn’t mean. She is strong.”
The interns have no idea what Meredith has gone through and what she is dealing with in her life, yet they jump to conclusions. Much like how the interns do not know what is going on with Meredith, you never know what is going on with someone else. You never know if the distracted girl in your lecture is dealing with a bad family situation, or if the seemingly rude guy at the lunch table is going through a breakup or a rough time with his classes.
Everyone — including you — has hidden experiences and struggles, and like Meredith Grey, and being happy or just getting through the day despite those problems, is what makes them strong.
So while this first episode of Grey’s Anatomy was heart-wrenching and tearful, it gave me a lot to think about. And the next time you see someone who is acting down or a little distant, instead of judging them or saying something antagonistic like the interns did to Meredith, smile at them. Say something nice. You never know, you could make their day.
Original Author: Samantha Weisman