Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Written by Pollo Misterioso
By the fourth season of any show, there should be a certain groove established, a flow to the stories and a certain understanding of the characters that allows them to grow as the viewer continues to watch. With the fourth season of Grey’s Anatomy there seems to be a definite pattern established, unfortunately it plays like every other season, leaving the characters back at square one, with the same problems that we were introduced to way back when this all started. The show has not completely flatlined, but remains static in a coma that it does not know how to get out of.
Returning this season is the cast of regular characters, with a few changes. That means our lead character, who also narrates most of the episodes, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), and all of her friends and colleagues; Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), Dr. Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and Dr. George O’Malley (T.R. Knight). All of the attendings are back as well, including Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Dr. Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). But this season begins with new characters along with others who have left.
The end of season three left off with Dr. Yang alone on the alter and Meredith telling the audience that it is over, a quiet metaphor for her relationship as well. O’Malley did not pass his intern exam and had to stay back as an intern for another year. So this is the season of fresh starts, right?
This season begins with our favorite interns as the residents (except for O’Malley). They now get to be the bosses of their own interns, but they remain unchanged and unaffected by their shift in power. With their move up in the hierarchy of hospitals, they have lost the tenacity that gave the show a bite.
Meredith continues to carry the same emotional baggage that she has for the past three seasons. She is still unable to commit and has problems with her dead mother and father who abandoned her. It used to be that these problems were relatable and relevant, but now they are simply trite and create for a despairing lead character. If one can get past her complaining, you can begin to see where true passion of this show lies, with its supporting cast.
Dr. Burke has left the show, but one of the newest interns is Meredith’s sister, Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and that brings up all sorts of family issues between the two. One of the best episodes titled “Haunt you Every Day” has Meredith deal with her family problems dead on, as she carries her mother’s ashes around the hospital. The later episodes show growth in the show, as work and private lives begin to conflict. Dr. Bailey has constant problems with her newborn baby, husband, and life as Chief Resident. By the end of the season, she grows to be more than just a brilliant character, but a strong force that becomes a backbone that the show can rely on.
But for a true Grey’s fan, the season delivers in all the ways that it is used to—with remarkable and grueling medical traumas, surrounded by melodrama that is accompanied by an awesome soundtrack. Twice during this season there are episodes broken into two parts. “Crash into Me” is probably the most grueling—an ambulance crash outside of the ER provides the backdrop of intense drama that includes white supremacists and needles in the chest.
There are many redeeming moments and developments in this season, especially for fans of the show. It will be interesting to see what develops within the supporting cast by next season. Unfortunately the major problems linger and do not allow for any real change from one episode to the next, leaving the bulk of the show to seem tiresome.
There is a reason that this show is on the air and it isn’t simply because there are a bunch of good-looking people on screen. There is always a sense of drama and urgency that makes it interesting. But as a whole, the show is not challenging itself, pushing the viewer to engage in a deeper and more connected way. Our characters have become predictable and although that is comforting, it can’t last for much longer if it stays this way.
The DVD extras that accompany this season are worth watching. They include deleted scenes and very funny gag reels, under “In Stitches.” There is even a feature that gives you a brief overview of all the drama that has happened in the show, that way you can catch up.