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Grey's Anatomy Season Finale Review: The Best Episode Yet?

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Having covering Grey's Anatomy for six seasons now, our staff had serious misgivings and debates regarding "Sanctuary" and "Death and All His Friends" before it even aired.

A show we grew to love for its lighter moments and terrific character development has too often subjected us to ghost sex, afterlife visits and over-the-top ratings gimmicks.

When we saw the leaked intro clip earlier in the week, we thought Shonda Rhimes was going there again - trying to be all profound, but really just throwing stuff at the wall.

While we do think the Grey's Anatomy spoilers were overkill - imagine had we not known the identity of the shooter, or that Meredith was pregnant! - last night compelling.

If nothing else, with five major characters getting shot over two hours, Shonda went all in. This was an emotional, well-paced episode, as well as edge-of your-seat intense.

A D-Shep Photo

Despite being a bit too violent, and yes, a bit forced for our taste, in many ways "Sanctuary" and "Death and All His Friends" may have been the best Grey's Anatomy ever.

The writing and acting were absolutely stellar, and may lead to many Emmy nominations, but even more impressively, despite a killing spree, it remained distinctly Grey's.

Some of the back-and-forths between the characters were truly memorable, and some of the developments so heartbreaking that we don't even know where to begin now.

Seriously, the Season 6 finale left us laying awake afterward thinking about everything, a feeling we haven't had from Grey's in years and rarely achieved by any program.

We could spend the entire day talking about all the events that transpired, but we tried to narrow it down to a dozen things that really struck us about the thrilling episode.

We begin after the jump, in case any of you haven't seen it yet ...

Meredith is pregnant ... and later not. This was a twist we did not see coming. She was so at peace, so ... non Season 1-4 Meredith about the whole thing! We were so thrilled to learn that Meredith was pregnant, it made it all the more heartbreaking that she lost the baby.

The exchange with Cristina almost made our house dusty. The exchange with Owen in which she said she miscarried definitely did. It may have been the saddest, most surprising part of the night. We knew there would be shooter on the loose. Not this.

Amazingly - and this manifested itself several times with the surgeons last night - there was so much going on, Mer wasn't even allowed to be sad. She had to do her job. Also incredible? Meredith literally choosing to "go through" Cristina to get to Derek.

R.I.P. Mercy Westers. We knew Season 7 would be without Reed and Charles, so at least they got a dramatic sendoff, rather than being written off in some ridiculous fashion. Oddly enough, we've often discussed how the Grey's Anatomy cast is so big - to its detriment.

But because it is, dispatching two characters we actually got to know a bit really resonated.

April Exclaims

April. She was not the shooter, despite one of our writers' ongoing theories, but April sure had some memorable scenes last night. When she was in shock over Reed, we felt in shock over Reed. When she told the story that saved her life, our fists were clenched in fear.

Dr. Bailey hides, then cries. Watching Chandra Wilson cower in abject terror and claim to be a nurse was one of the most incredible scenes in the show's history. Period. It made all the rest of what was a stellar episode for Chandra Wilson seem tame by comparison!

Lexie's declaration. She told Alex she loved him. Mark winced. Then in a delusional exchange, he thought she was Izzie, who "came back for me." Lexie's response? "I came back." Such raw emotion ... do you think she meant that declaration of love, or was it heat of the moment?

Calzona. Arizona's "there are only children here" mantra was the classic Grey's repeated line of the evening, used as though it were a spell to protect her from a perilous fate that awaited her. Usually so calm and professional, this was a great scene for the character.

Also great? She and Callie agreed to get back together and want kids - a lot of kids! In an episode filled with tragedy, it was nice to end the season on at least one high point.

Alex ... then Derek ... then Owen. When Alex was shot, with cold nonchalance, we figured that would be it for the core characters. Then Derek took a bullet right in front of Meredith and it was like we were kicked in the stomach -and sick to it at the same time.

By the time Owen took a bullet too, we were stunned and didn't know how much more we could take. Grey's Anatomy really pushed the envelope with this, and it really worked.

We say this because they all predictably survived, of course. Though with three of them getting shot, we were wondering if one might not make it, which added to the suspense.

On the Other Side

Cristina in the crosshairs. Even with a gun to her head (another jaw-dropping image) while she was operating on Derek, she managed to save his life. So intensely moving.

Richard saves the day. It's been a very tough season for the Chief, but he came through last night with his confrontation of Clark, overcoming his own demons in the process.

Michael O'Neill. If he doesn't win an Emmy, something is seriously wrong.

We can't say enough about the chilling performance by the veteran actor as grieving husband Gary Clark, who absolutely snapped and decided to seek vengeance on Derek.

He instilled fear in us with every glance, every step. He was amazing all around and can't be overlooked. We're never going to look at his West Wing character the same.

Well? What did you think of the season finale? What memorable moments/scenes would you add to this list? Was it the best Grey's Anatomy to date? Sound off below!

 

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (74 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Calzona - could not be more happy that they're back! I'm not a cryer, but when they broke up I cried like a baby. they.re my favourite couple in tv. I really didn't think they could work it out though. I mean how can AZ change from not wanting a kid ever to suddenly wanting one. I'm not convinced that's them back on track, they were hardly in season finale, yet it was almost too easy that they're back. I was shouting at the tv in happiness when they agreed at the end :D And I loved Callies bravery and dealing with the situation perfectly with Mr.Clark, poor AZ though, it was like she was in a trance or somehting :( Alex/Slexie - I've never been that big a fan of Alex, but recently he's growing on me. He's not right for lexie though. It's evident he's still in love with Izzie, Lexie just perhaps helped him get over her and now he;s just relying on her to take his mind off it? Lexie in the heat of the moment said she lvoed him because she thought she was loosing him. She needs to be with Mark, they're great together. I've always loved Mark, he's hilarious, but Lexie changed him for the better! Here's hoping for season 7 :D I also just love Callie ans Marks relationship, how he has been there for her since the beginning. They care alot for each other, I get so happy when they do scenese together. Crowen - I hate Owen. hate hate hate him. He should be with Teddy, she can relate to him, Cristina can't! I love Teddy also though :) Cristina and Jsckson need to get it on! There's a clear chemistry there! Plus, he's more like her. Owen is just bad for her. But it was heroic what he did yesterday, going back in after her, so kudos Owen. Yang has been my favourite through out, and last night afrter her perfomance she is again, I have a new found love for her. How even though she was facing death, she still worked on Derek for her best friend. We rarely see emotion from Cristina, but when she started crying when Meredith said to Clark "kill me", that set me off, Cristinas sad eyes :( but even in the midst of a crisis like last night, she never fails to make us laugh :') Merder - tbh, although they.re the main characters, they've been awfully boring for me. Nothings really happened for them. But they had me on the edge of my seat yesterday. I felt so bad when Mer lost the baby, yet kept working on owen :( when she started to cry when she thought she lost Derek was tragic. and smart thinking Jackson for doing that, I really like him. I knew as soon as Owen looked into the OR that Clark was there, just the way he told Mer to still sit down :l Bailey - if Chandra Wilson doesn't get at least one award for her perfomance, I will be fuming. like Yang, we rarely see emotion from her, she's strong and keeps it together. The tears would not stop, when Percy was in her arms asking for Reed. Talk about dramatic irony. it was so sad when she started shouting at the elevators, and she admitted that Percy was dying and he wasn't to be scared :( well done for that perfomance, epic! Overall, been my favourite eps in the whole of Greys, well done to all. and the man who played Mr.Clark, that must have been hard playing a physcopathic killer. As much as I disliked Reed, she didn't even deserve that. I'm just happy that Derek survived and Calzona are okay. My heart literally stopped when Clark caught Lexie herself and said "I came to kill Webber, Shephard. And you." Can't wait for September! just eager to see what Shonda comes up with :D well done again

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most painful thing to watch ever. derek is one of the few doctors that has not been the patient so to see him in such a vulnerable position with christina operating on him whilst having a gun pointing at her face was the most terrifying thing ever. the thought of meredith going back to dark and twisty was in my mind when derek 'died'. this was really the first time i accepted jackson avery as one of the seatlle grace crew. gary clark was so real i was too scared to move the rest of the night. by far best episode of any series ever, and i will never forget it.

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I just watched the finale last night cause I'm from the UK, I had to download it. Words cannot describe how I'm feeling, that was EPIC! The best season finale for Grey's. Season 6 has been by far the best season in my opinion. However, I feel quite nostalgic towards the earlier seasons. As good as the past 2 season have beem, and as annoying as izzie and george were, I miss them. Cause they've been there since the beginning! Up til about season 5, Cristina was my favourite, but then I changed to Lexie. But after last night, Cristinas back at top! I just love how vunerable and funny Lexie is though. Calzona - favourite couple in tv. Could not be more happy they

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i was 8 when i started watching greys anatomy....i was exited to know that ellen pompeo had my name but this year i am 13 i have the same relationship with my ftiend as meredith and cristina have.... I SWEAR ON MY LIFE THAT I CRIED WHEN DEREK GOT SHOT!!! AND IT WAS REAL TEARS LIKE I WAS BEING THREATEND TO DIE...one thing greys anatomy did for me was to have a different aspect on life and this is the only show that makes me remourseful i cannot wait for season 7 ....i hope to see sandra,ellen and patrick in more movies and shows i dont take any greys charater for granted because they are just like us supercalifragilisticexpyollidoshush finale.

Sloanbaybee

Loved the episode very suspenseful and intense i couldn't take the suspense my mother and brother watched it including myself loved when
Mark told Lexie to shut Alex up and took charge of the situation but hated when she chose Alex over Mark after he helped Alex thought it was funny when Meredith and Cristina were walking through the hospital while it was on lock down as if nothing ever happened it was
strange to see Derek lieing on the table seeing as he's never been operated on loved the episode(:

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i totally think that this ep/eps are the best that theyve done!! yay for them!

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This season finale may have been the best I've ever seen.
Scratch that, it IS the best.
Cristina has always been my favourite character on the show,
and I thought that she was so incredibly brave this week.
First she agreed to be a godmother, something I never expected of her. Then she tried so hard to keep Meredith safe.
After that, she showed that she is an incredibly gifted surgeon,
because 1. she knows the patient and his wife,
2. she has a gun to her head
3. it's an immensely difficult operation
4. the man she loves has been shot too
She HAS to win an Emmy.

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This show was definitely a stunner. I've already watched it several times. Best scenes were operating on Derek/Owen's wound cared for. The gun to Christina's head, saying to Owen that she can't stop, Meredith coming in, Jackson's trick, the miscarriage. Wow. In a previous episode when Lexie had words with April, I was semi-content that April wouldn't become the other woman and there are (in real life) dedicated assistants (usually in politics) like her. After her conversation in the scrub room with Meredith, I could see her extending her loyalty and gofer-ness to both Derek and his wife. One thing no one seems to think (or no comments anyway) that I think is how terrified Arizona was, both trying to protect the child and make herself small and invisible at the same time. Her fear (I thought) was as great as Bailey's, except that Bailey had to speak for herself and Arizona could inner-whimper while Callie was brave for the whole floor and all the children.

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Amazing finale , loved every second of it .
And as much as i hate to admit it I cried too
But , I'm reading all the comments here and I'm starting to feel a bit depressed here.
It's like nobody here would like it if in season 7 Lexie stil went with Alex. What is up with that? Seriously?!

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the acting was stellar to say the least. Bailey's freak out, Bailey's crying when she was about to be shot. And i didn't know that I didnt want Charles to die until he was lying there bleeding to death. And Cristina held at gunpoint but willing to be shot than not save Derek. The fact that throughout the whole show I hated Gary Clark and wished someone could do him harm meant that his acting was superb, and YES an Emmy would be well-deserved. I didn't have time to cry I was too gripped at the edge of my seat, fearing that my heart could not take all that suspense. And over a span of 2 hours! I agree that this is by far one of the most memorable finales ever, it affects you even AFTER. They really did outdo themselves this time. I am peeved at April, her character just annoys me. And how cool is Jackson Avery? oh gosh i cant even summarize everything I feel about this episode. MIND BLASTING.

Grey's Anatomy Season 6 Episode 23 Quotes

Meredith: Do you wanna talk about it?
Cristina: No.
Meredith: Owen I mean.
Cristina: I know what you mean. I don't want to

Meredith: [narrating] For most people, the hospital is a scary place. A hostile place. A place where bad things happen. Most people would prefer church, or school, or home, but I grew up here. While my mom was on rounds, I learned to read in the OR gallery, I played in the morgue, I coloured with crayons on old ER charts. Hospital was my church, my school, my home; hospital was my safe place, my sanctuary. I love it here. Correction: loved it here.

Grey's Anatomy Season 6 Episode 23 Music

  Song Artist
Holding-us-back Holding Us Back Katie Herzig iTunes
Song How The Heart Grows Wicked Patrick Park
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