It's hard for me to even write this recap because I'm so mad at Grey's Anatomy right now. The death of a major character in the season finale has been teased for weeks, but it's not left until the episode's final moments. In fact, it happens in the first 20 minutes, and once it does, it's hard to focus on anything else.
I'll save my spoilers for below the break, but this is definitely one of the most affecting and frustrating episodes Grey's Anatomy has ever seen, and considering there's been a ferry crash, bomb scares, and a Seattle Grace shooter, that's saying a lot. As Cristina astutely observes, "I don't understand how this keeps happening." There's a lot to go over, like the plane crash, the fate of the residents, and what we'll be wondering about all Summer long, so let's get the depressing party started when you read more.
- I hope you're ready for a rant, because I couldn't be more upset about Lexie's death. She's one of the few characters that I've continued to root for and sympathize with over the years, and her will-they-or-won't-they with Mark is one of the biggest reasons I still loved the show this season. Yes, she and Mark got a bittersweet farewell in which he finally confesses his feelings for her, but I just sat there wishing she'd miraculously wake up right up until the final scene. I applaud Shonda Rhimes and the rest of the show's writers for taking big risks that will seriously impact the audience, but right now I feel more like I've been punished for sticking with this show for so long.
- You'd think with Lexie's quick death, the rest of the doctors in the crash would be in the clear for the rest of the episode, but that's not so. Meredith and Cristina seem to be OK, but Arizona's got a hideous gash in her leg, Mark's teetering on the brink of death, and Derek may very well lose his hand. For a second I thought we were going to lose Mark too in a sort of Romeo and Juliet move from the writers, but we don't even get closure on what will happen to the current survivors. Which brings us to the next question: how will the surgeons get out of this mess? And will everyone besides Lexie survive?
- One doctor we won't be seeing more of is Teddy, who gets a job offer to serve her country again. She passes up the opportunity, and when Owen questions her loyalty, she admits that she's staying to watch over Owen since Cristina is on her way out. Owen then pulls out the trump card and fires Teddy so she'll be forced to leave the hospital. Though she's angry at first, it's clear that she's actually relieved to be leaving the hospital where Henry died. I've always liked having Kim Raver on the show, but Teddy's storyline hit its peak with her marriage to Henry, and has been kind of stale ever since his death. That said, I'm glad the door is still open for her to return.
- Both Karev and Jackson decide to leave Seattle Grace for Johns Hopkins and Tulane, respectively. Karev leaves Arizona a voicemail explaining that he needs to see what he's made of without his mentor, while Jackson just seems to want to get away from all of the Seattle Grace drama, April included. As for April, she's hating life because she's not a virgin and she didn't pass her boards, and because Jackson is leaving. So that leaves us with Teddy, Jackson, Karev, and April all flying the coop. If all of these characters (plus Lexie) are really gone for good, there had better be an impressive lineup of new cast members coming in for season nine.
- There's one silver lining in this dark cloud of an episode, and that's Bailey's happiness with Ben. She's one of the few characters whose problems seem completely trivial this week (what with her life not being in jeopardy and all). Though Ben is moving to LA, she's agreed to marry him and do a long-distance relationship — and she actually seems pretty content. In a way, it almost feels like this is Bailey's redemption for the trauma she experienced in the season six shooter finale. Not only is she completely uninvolved with the plane crash, but she actually gets a happy ending. At least until she finds out that most of her friends have been in yet another horrific accident.
This season finale definitely ranks high on the scale of shocking finales. Are you as bummed as I am about Lexie's death? Which characters do you think will still be around next season?
Photo copyright 2012 ABC, Inc.