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Moldavia in May: Grey’s Anatomy Season Finale Pt I – Sanctuary

May 21, 2010

Chief Shepard is having a day.



Thursday night Grey’s Anatomy traveled to the fantagical land of Moldavia to wrap up the sixth season, which for the most part has been fairly uneven. Introduction of a collection of characters the audience did not seem to warm to – The Mercy-Westers, Dr. Teddy Altman – stalled the season, which needed to hit the ground running after 5th season finale. This was followed by the uninspired writing of the Yang/Hunt/Altman love triangle, the slipshod handling of another original cast member exit and MerDer reaching new heights of boring whiteness; well it’s been a hot bucket of foolishness this year.

But there have been bright spots: Bailey getting a hot boyfriend, Arizona/Callie and the further development of Dr. Teddy Altman, who I have grown to like very much. In addition, Dr. Jackson Avery – grandson of the famed in-universe Dr. Harper Avery – has provided the much needed “Burke” factor and level of Black male excellence the show has been missing since the controversial exit of Dr. Preston Burke. Without rehashing that event, can I ask why they didn’t just do a Darren (from Bewitched) and recast the freaking role. Why punish the audience? There could have been an explosion or something resulting in Burke leaving looking awful like Isaiah Washington and returning looking not unlike Jesse L. Martin. I wouldn’t complain or make jokes. Okay, maybe not Jesse L. Martin. But something in the Omar Epps/Andre Braugher family.

Even though I have not liked Chief Webber’s story arc, I have appreciated its complex treatment of a black male character running afoul of life in a way rarely depicted on television. Chief Webber has long been one of the more fascinating characters on the show – to me anyway – so it’s been painful to watch him struggle with the aftermath of relapse and clawing his way back to sobriety. And thank you, Grey’s for not having playa rob a liquor store or engage any other activity, which would have endangered his medical license. It was enough to see him hit rock bottom at Joe’s bar with only the self centered Mer to provide comfort.


Twenty-five years ago, the nighttime soap Dynasty shocked audiences with its fifth season finale, better known as The Moldavian Massacre. Like Grey’s, Dynasty had saddled itself with a heap of characters – over the course of a season or so – the audiences simply did not like. I can’t remember which ones, but I do remember that freaking pile of bodies after the gunmen stormed the wedding and shot up the place.

That probably wouldn't make it in the album

You know a wedding ain’t joyous when all the photos come from police crime scene photographers. Unfortunately, the audience had to wait until the season six opener to find out who survived the massacre and whether they had chicken or fish at the reception.

“Sanctuary” starts with some tears and chow chow and quickly gets down to blowing away cast members. First one down is the polarizing Dr. Reed Adamson whom it seems, based on her injuries, will not be returning in the fall – or for the rest of her life. I was very uncomfortable with the level of violence in this scene, and frankly I am relieved about that. One cannot distance themselves from the cultural messaging they receive; try as they might. US culture tends scandalizes sex far more than it does violence. I recently watched a docu-film on the rating agency and it’s far more likely a film will receive an R for sex or sexy talking than for graphic violence. That said, I was a bit surprise to see Tarantino level violence on a Disney owned network program.

Let’s back up. The shooter – played by West Wing’s Michael O’Neill – is Mr. Clark. I knew there was something off the minute his wife was admitted to Seattle Grace – in the episode “Sympathy for the Parents”. His wife had a surgery, which resulted in complications; she was declared brain dead. Now, normally that would be the devastating end to a painful story, but since this is Grey’s; it wasn’t. Mrs. Clark had a DNR and after some maneuvering Chief Shepherd makes a judgment call resulting in Lil Grey, Mer’s sister, pulling the plug. There is en(suing) drama. Pun intended. Then we sort of wander away from Mr. Clark for an episode or two and eventually find way into a shooting gallery.

Now the next poor sonofgoat to get popped is my beloved Dr. Alex Karev. When I wrote about the show in an entry called Oh the Grey’s Humanity I talked of my reasons for liking the show – so don’t ask; just read – particularly my appreciation for Dr. Karev. I nearly lost it watching Karev crawl his way to an Emmy. (hey, Connery won an Oscar for essentially the same performance)

It seems at some point these folks have got to figure out there’s a motherfucker shooting up the place and act accordingly. Yes, they should, except Seattle Grace doesn’t appear to behave like any other hospital I’ve ever been to. Man, the minute some assclown started shooting up the place keycards should have been deactivated, access codes disabled and doors should have been locked down. Each ward would theoretically have some kind of main door, which could be closed – thus securing the unit – for exactly this kind of situation. Units with vulnerable populations (Peds, Labor & Delivery, Geriatrics, Psych, ICU) usually have restricted access, therefore it would be unlikely – short of blasting through doors – the shooter would gain access to many areas of the hospital. The magnetic strips on the ID badges aren’t there to make them more festive!

Moreover, there would not be nearly as much chaos, as doctors would not be in charge of jack or shit. The freaking charge nurse – like Nurse Tyler – would have been designated point person for each ward. It would be their responsibility to assess patients, do staff head counts and coordinate evacuations with law enforcement/hospital security – again, for their respective units. Despite how they are portrayed on Grey’s, surgeons are not chickens, thus don’t generally have free range of the hospital. Most hospital staff have access – via their ID badges – to the areas needed for their scope of practice and not much else. So all that running and screaming – for the most part – was just good television; not an accurate reflection of lockdown procedures. This also should clear up why the police and SWAT looked inept. It’s hard to look competent doing your job if others haven’t done theirs. I see you, Dad from My So-Called Life.

Then there’s Bailey. I love me some Bailey, mammylicious as she might be. I do. I do. I do. She is taking it to school for all us short, chubby, bossy ass brown girls. We have an educated voice on television. Unfortunately, I knew nothing good was coming when I noticed she was paired with Dr. Percy – another disposable and disliked Mercy Wester – and guest star Mandy Moore. (Okay, I get why people like her. She’s pretty adorable and not too stinky) So the shooter makes his way to their room, and lawd he shot Dr. Percy right were he stood. Only a male surgeon wouldn’t have the good sense to stow his ego some place else when a man brandishing a gun asks, “Are you a surgeon?” There is only one right answer.

And guess what? “YES” IS NOT IT. Percy, dude. This guy was really asking, “How do you like the taste of hot metal?” not wondering about your employment history. What are they teaching these kids in med school?


Meanwhile Bailey hid under the bed after telling Mandy Moore, a patient, to play dead. When that motherfucker dragged Bailey from underneath that bed I nearly jumped off the Click-Clack. I was shouting, “Shonda (show creator), lawd, you better not have this motherfucker shoot my Bailey or we will not be friends no mo’!”

Bailey – cause she’s got some damn sense – had the right answer, “No. I’m a nurse.” Now, I don’t know why the shooter saw fit to spare this nurse, when he blasted away another black nurse about ten minutes before!

More shooting, crying, begging, “oh my god-ing”

And finally we get to Derek. Now, for the record Derek is the character I love to hate. I have grown to hate the actor due to that whole Isaiah business. Dempsey started that business – if rumors are to believed – and I’ve never been real happy about how that whole thing played out racewise. I think what happened to Isaiah Washington, was excessive, but warranted, but I’m still waiting for Dempsey to go, since everyone else involved with that dramedy (TR Knight, Kat Heigl and Isaiah Washington) is long gone.

As an aside: Didn’t Owen and Teddy have some kind of military training? They were useless as fuck in this episode.

I won’t lie, I was like, “Please do not spare this motherfucker. Blam ’em good! He’s a terrible chief and his wife is like so whiny. You don’t have to kill him. Just like get him in the leg or something.”

I am not a violent person.

Derek started chow chowing and being all agreeable and accessible, which felt so damn cheap and cowardly. Man, if he had been this way back when the man’s wife was on life support, Seattle Grace wouldn’t even be in this mess. So while he’s doing all this relating to the patient, giving the audience more poor McDreamy backstory and forcing us to stare into those dreamy blue eyes, Dr. April Kepner comes running out and then BLAM!



Mer and Cristina witnessed the entire thing. OH SNAP.

That was some good ass TV, y’all.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. evmaroon permalink
    May 22, 2010 10:58 am

    “First one down is the polarizing Dr. Reed Adamson whom it seems, based on her injuries, will not be returning in the fall – or for the rest of her life.”
    Oh, ha ha ha! You made a stunner of a moment funny! Go you!
    I’ve been tense about Bailey since I saw the preview at the end of last week’s episode. Super tense. I was yelling at the TV, tell him you have kids! Tell him you’re pregnant! Anything! If nurse worked as a deterrent, then great. He didn’t seem to have too many marbles in his head, but he still had his Secret Service aim, I suppose.
    Great recap!

  2. May 22, 2010 11:25 am

    I’m getting ready to read yours! I can’t wait. I can already tell you really shut it down. I read the first line, but stopped myself so I could finish writing up Leverage. I’m going somewhere with this. One line I caught was the one referring to Michael O’Neill. It’s so funny, I tend to associate him as a jerky character because until last week I had never watched an episode of West Wing. I wonder if this changed the way I viewed the episode. I suspect it lessened some of the shock since I already had seen him play a jerk elsewhere.

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