So after everything this season — the tremors and the ferry crashes, the weddings and the births and the deaths — this is where we end up. I thought the "Grey's Anatomy" finale this week was pretty reflective of the season as a whole: pretty predictable, but with enough good things thrown in to make me hopeful for next season. In fact, I'm actually pretty happy with the cliffhangers leading us into season four, so without further ado,
I loved how the episode was structured around the sequences of Richard issuing his verdict to all of the candidates for chief. Each candidate was told no for a reason so appropriate to their characters: Mark because he was just in the race to one-up Derek; Addison because she needed the job too much; Burke because the Chief holds him to a higher standard.
But that’s only a small part of Richard’s story this episode; the rest of the time, he’s with Adele. He finds out she's pregnant, of course, but he still sits with her and makes her drink water and acts like her husband. She goes into surgery and loses the baby, but Richard misunderstands and thinks Adele has died; he runs in, sees her open her eyes, and sighs with relief. He asks Adele if she should call the father, but she says the father didn't know; she misjudged him, she says, thinking he would run, but instead he's a man who would sit by her bedside and make her drink her water. Richard slowly realizes she’s saying he would have been a father.
Cristina, meanwhile, is a ball of wedding anxiety, and the other girls literally write her vows on her hand. Burke's mom gives her the family's heirloom choker — choker, of course, in case we couldn't get the symbolism — and somehow shaves off Cristina's eyebrows, and she arrives at the hospital begging to please cut someone open.
Meredith babbles to Derek that she's herself again and now she wants him to sleep over, and he informs her that he met a girl at a bar and flirting with her was the highlight of his week. He works on the hikers, one of whom admits he accidentally swatted their friend in the head with the axe when they were falling. But in surgery, Derek realizes the strike wasn't accidental. One hiker finally admits their friend was in so much pain that the axe was the swiftest way to end his suffering. Inspired, Derek asks Meredith for the metaphorical axe to the head: If she doesn't see a future for them, she needs to put him out of his misery.
Burke tries out his vows in surgery — "I am not optimistic; I am not hopeful. I am sure." — and Addison jokingly tells him to dump Cristina and marry her instead. Callie tells George all she can think about is having a baby, and they start trying right there in the on call room. And it turns in to a very good day for Callie, because Bailey checks the board for the chief resident announcement and it's Calliope Torres, M.D. Izzie, oblivious to all of this, goes to George and tells him that if he really wants to be with Callie, she'll support him, but she's in love with him, and she needs him to know that — "and I hope you're in love with me, too."
Meanwhile, Jane Doe/Ava/Rebecca's husband, Jeff, shows up, but Rebecca mostly looks bored. Just before Alex is going to leave for the wedding, Rebecca tells him that she's been discharged; Alex isn't taking the bait, so she spells out that she's looking for Alex to give her a reason not to go. Alex tells her Jeff is a decent guy and she should stay with him.
Minutes before the wedding, the interns get their test scores, and George doesn’t pass. Burke essentially congratulates Derek on being chief, but Derek says he didn’t get the offer. Alex flirts with Addison, and she says he wants Ava/Rebecca and not her — but when he goes back (which I wish he wouldn’t have) he finds an empty room. George, meanwhile, asks Bailey what to do next, and she tells him he can either leave or repeat his intern year. "Did I fail you, George?" she asks, and he responds that he failed her.
Cristina is about to go down the aisle when she realizes that her vows are gone; she freaks out and Burke ends up walking up the aisle to find her. Meredith calms her down, and Cristina says she didn't want the wedding before, but now she thinks she does; Burke says he wants her to know, and he leaves. I know I said before that I'd be done if Burke left her at the altar, but it actually worked for me. Meredith, meanwhile, tells everyone in the church that it's over.
Cristina's standing in her dress in the apartment when Meredith walks in. Cristina says Burke is gone — his trumpet is gone, and his CDs, and his lucky scrub cap. She asks Meredith to get the choker and the dress off her while she sobs “he’s gone! I’m free … dammit.”
George is cleaning out his locker when the new group of interns comes in. Among them: the girl from the bar. She asks George for advice; he tells her to learn how to do an appendectomy before the first day. She then introduces herself as Lexie Grey.
In the end, we see the final scene with the chief and Derek, and Derek tells Richard he's not the best man for the job — Richard is. Wouldn't he do it differently if he could have another chance?
So that's our season. I love the introduction of Lexie. Does she even know about Meredith? I can't imagine why Thatcher wouldn't have steered her away from Seattle Grace, but Lexie seems like the kind of girl who gets what she wants, kind of a brighter, shiner, happier version of Meredith. There's something a little too perfect in Lexie also meeting Derek in a bar the night before she starts her internship at Seattle Grace, but I like what it could do for the story, so I'll take it. I can't imagine Richard will come back as chief, honestly, now that he's somewhat reconciled with Adele; doesn't this just put him in the same position he was before, choosing his job over his family? And I'm not sure I see George leaving, either; if he repeated his intern year, it would be a way to integrate Lexie's class of interns in with the existing group. Burke, too, doesn't really feel gone, yet, and I want to hear the chief tell Bailey why he passed her over. I'm ready to leave this rollercoaster season behind, but I'm hopeful about the setup we've been given for season four. What do you think?
Photos copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.