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Grey's Anatomy Season Five Finale Recap: Episode 23, "Here's to the Future," and Episode 24, "Now or Never"

Grey's Anatomy Rundown: Episode 23, "Here's to the Future," and Episode 24, "Now or Never"

Grey's Anatomy just wouldn't be the same without an intense season finale. After all, this is the show that had Burke shot, killed Denny, and had Meredith build a house of candles. But even by Grey's standards, Thursday's finale was a doozy. Partially because of the behind-the-scenes drama and partially because of the storylines it set up, we had a lot of questions going into these final two episodes. Were any of them answered? To talk about it,


George might be dying! Izzie might be dying! As the episode fades to black, the two of them are meeting — in an elevator, natch — with Izzie in her pink prom dress and George in his army uniform, while back on earth, their colleagues try furiously to save them. I suppose those of us who wanted answers about whether Katherine Heigl and TR Knight are leaving are out of luck — but wow, what an ending.

Maybe I should have seen it coming, just like last week's wedding. But when George finally managed to sign "007" into Meredith's hand, I screamed. I don't know if it was the twist itself or the the look on Meredith's face, the horror when she sees (and we see) that it's sweet little George there in the bed. George, who's signed up for the army, who saves a total stranger on his way home by throwing himself in front of a bus. He throws himself in front of a bus! And now he's hurt and maybe dying. If he goes out, at least he goes out with an act of kindness — and I'm glad the woman he saved insisted on being with him, because at least he had someone to hold his hand through the pain.

That struggle is the episode's bigger shocker; we knew Izzie's path wouldn't be easy. But I don't think I anticipated how hard it would be for Alex. Should he convince her to have the surgery? Should he let her decide on her own even when she begs for help? And when she comes back, with her long-term memory intact but her short-term recall in pieces, how is he supposed to deal with that? I actually found Izzie's story slow to unravel — until the second half of the second hour, anyway — but several scenes were just heartbreaking, including Alex pushing to get Izzie to remember things. The post-its, the potassium levels — I wanted to shake him, tell him to give her time, but I'm sure he was afraid there wasn't any. It's sad that the only thing she remembers is their fight — but sweet that she remembers anything at all. And yet, just like with Denny, the second you think Izzie's really back, she crashes, and maybe for good.

Speaking for a second of post-its, that's what Meredith and Derek's wedding turns out to be: a little sticky square of paper with vows written and signed. I'm curious to know how the hardcore Mere-Der fans take this, but I thought the whole act was touching (not to mention their actual vows: to love each other even when they hate each other, to never walk out even when they're smelly and senile). Probably they should get around to having an actual legal marriage one of these days, but for now, that post-it is enough for me.

And as for the episode's other great love story: every scene with Cristina and Owen feels so tense I can barely breathe — so I guess I know some semblance of what Cristina's feeling. Talk about hating someone and loving them still: he strangled her, he's horribly damaged, he just told his mom he's back from war, and that's a lot of burden for Cristina — but she still wants Owen. Her tortured "I love you" in the hot vent room is hard to watch, but when she finally marches up and kisses him, it's sweet relief.

So much more to say:

  • When Bailey cries, I cry, so that scene with her telling the Chief that she's sticking with general surgery because she can't be a single mom starting a new specialty made me lose it. Yes, it might have had more punch if we'd explored her problems with Tucker a bit more this season, but her cry of "we're all scared" is chilling.
  • Mark has grown up so much! I wish we could have seen more of him with Lexie these past few weeks (I assume Chyler Leigh's pregnancy had something to do with that), but it's good to see him talking about houses and creating his own future.
  • I hope Arizona's back next season, but I also hope they take her quirk level down just a touch. Wheelie shoes? Fine. Crying in front of authority figures when she's mad? Not fine. But her fight with Callie about George joining the army gave us some insight into her backstory, and I think there's a lot more to do with her.
  • The story of the patient whose healthy leg gets amputated gets lost in the grand scheme of the two hours, but wow, Zach Gilford is so much less mumbly here than he is on Friday Night Lights.
  • I'm glad Alex pointed out that Izzie's memory loss is just like that case earlier this season.
  • How do you imagine the George intervention would have gone down?
  • Shouldn't Owen and Cristina be meeting someplace without a whapping fan blade?

I could talk about this episode for hours, but I'll turn it over to you now. It's going to be a long Summer with a cliffhanger like that!

Photos copyright 2009 ABC, Inc.

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