I wrote the entry below last June 10, after a friend asked me about a FB post in which I said that I was finished with Grey's. But I didn't post it, because I wondered whether I would feel differently a few months later.
I find that, in fact, I feel more strongly than I did at the time. Last night my children and I went to see The Town. It's violent and disturbing, and it contains a suicide-by-cops.
I find that I am looking for evidence of redemption, and that I remain unsure as to when I see it and when I do not.
The June post:
It's Thursday night and so, a bit earlier this evening, my thoughts turned to Grey's Anatomy, which I used to watch on Thursdays. One of my friends asked me why I had sworn it off after the season finale.
Oh . . . that season finale. In a nutshell: the quietly deranged husband of a deceased patient wanders the hospital, searching for the three doctors he sees as responsible for his wife's death. The SWAT team is phenomenal only in its ineptitude (thus dragging the show out to two hours), and several people get shot dead before the man locates his final intended victim, the former Chief of Staff. (The present Chief is by that time in surgery due to his own gunshot wound.) To his dismay, the man with the gun has only one bullet left; his plan had been to shoot the three doctors in question and then himself. The Chief, a model of calm and unintimidated presence, convinces the man that suicide is preferable to prison, and walks out alive.
It is a powerfully suspenseful show. Many of the characters rise to great heights of courage. And given the twists of plot, the chief's actions seem reasonable - heroic, even.
But a physician convincing another man to end his own life? And the ruthless murder of several innocent people and the terrorization of an entire hospital? This is entertainment?
Of course, it's the suicide that finished off Grey's for me. I suppose the show might redeem itself if it makes genuine effort to address the mental, emotional, and spiritual fate of the Chief, a man sworn to save lives, in the wake of his having advocated death by suicide to the killer. Unlikely, given past Grey's responses to trauma ~ it is, after all, a television show, not real life, and so it doesn't linger as we do in real life.
I can't say that I've spent a lot of time thinking about this Grey's episode. I have enough real life thinking to do where it comes to suicide and the deaths of young people. But I do wonder: could not there have been some kind of redemption for the man with the gun?