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!


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (75 Votes)

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


What I found the crulest moment was when Gary Clark pointed out that he bought the gun just in a supermarket. When do Americans wake up and see that this is a invitation for desperate minds. You always have to be afraid that someone else is carrying along a gun. Maybe it works for Americans though I don't get it how you can live like that. Wake up people! You can buy such a destroying weapon in the supermarket! I knnow that many of you won't understand what I mean because it's daily life for you but to me it was important to share my feelings on this. No offence intended. These are just my personal thoughts. I just watched it and my emotions are all over the place :) To me this season finale was nothing but cruel. I couldn't watch half of the time and I feel very sorry for Meredith. I love Christina and Owen and I hope they can work it out. he is way better for her than burke ever was! I liked the season as a whole and hope that season 7 will be as good as this one if not better. Greetings from Europe


I have been a Greys fan from the very beginning, however last nights episode was the worst I have ever seen. I think the writer Shondra Rimes should be ashamed of herself. Yes there were deeper issues at heart, however the horror and the gore displayed were just too much. Especially the scene where Dr Reed is shot, like something straight out of a horror flick. I think most of us love Greys because it is so


Where do I start well first of all Michael O Neill deserves an award for a stellar performance with great conviction. He was so scary! Lexie/Mark/Alex - I do think Lexie loves Alex but she thought he was going to die he had lost massive amounts of blood. My heart broke for Mark when she said it but I still don't think Alex is THE ONE she loves. (i'm still holding out for mark and lexie) Alex is so not over Izzie all he ever did was block the pain out as much as he could never dealt with the whole thing my heart broke for him when he thought lexie was izzy and spoke his honesty! aww god love Jackson apart from him being damn fine! couldn't understand why he was the only one to point out that Cristina could fix Derek! He looked at her with great pride, conviction and utmost faith that she was the one for the job. I love Cristina love her but really really hate her with Hunt I hope she doesn't just go back to him because he "chose" her at the end she should be with Jackson! Hunt doesn't deserve her he is selfish and thoughtless when it comes to her doing only what he thinks is right! He should be with Teddy I think people will love his character more I think she would bring out better things in him! callie and arizona story line was lovely the whole way through glad it ended well! can't help but think teddy and mark will have another thing but only because there loves chose other people and they will just need someone to fall back on for a while! I was so scared when he pulled Miranda from under the bed her face! She is such a wonderful actress amazing definitely one of my favourite characters by far and each scene with her was brilliant loved the bit when she thought there was a leak so rare was it for her to cry. The character of April definitely came into the fold last night! Think this experience will change this annoying character into something more in the next season. You could see why her and Reed were best friends though was kinda glad when Gary Clark put a bullet through her annoyingly rude head! So much to say about Derek and Meredith but if i'm honest what I love most is the love and friendship between Cristina and Meredith can't wait to see the shooting aftermath and the scenes between them all with the greatness of what Cristina achieved! So sad when Meredith lost the baby but its opened the baby door you could see she was gutted at the end! I really hope the period of Derek being the interim Chief is over I hated what this turned him into and found myself disliking his character who was head under water with his new employment role! And the best of all until last is I hope this means we have the Chief back in his rightful place. I love Webber loved how this season they showed us even a strong man like him can be down on his luck at times and showed us his rise back up! He stepped up to the plate last night to get his hospital back. His scenes with Gary Clark last night were brilliant it was the only scene in which there was no fear of the shooter. I was shouting don't drink it oh please don't drink it when he had the flask in his hand and when he poured it out I knew he was back to being Chief! great episode can't wait for season 7!


Good news Lexie and Mark fans!! Per soapcentral spoliers for season 7: MARK AND LEXIE WILL BE GETTING BACK TOGETHER!!! GO LEXIE AND MARK!! GO!!


everyone is annoyed that lexie chose alex and meredith had a miscarrige, but it wouldn't be grey's if everything went the fans ways, plus they need to leave the izzie storylines behind and open up new stories and i think the lexie/alex/mark and mer/der baby will be two main themes next season.


he shouldn't have had the chance to kill himself. he would have deserved to suffer for the rest of his life for killing so many innocent people. it was a dick move to talk him into killing himself. the easy way out!


I think the reason they didn't get Mexie back together was because their needs to be a love-triangle going on in season 7. It wouldn't be Grey's anatomy without that kind of drama! Talking about drama's, last night was mind-blowing!!! You go Shonda, you did a great job, the same goes for the cast! I would be extemely happy if MerDer try to have kids and if, after a while, Mexie get back together. I would really want to see them together again, becasue they complete one another


BEST episode EVER!!!! All I kept saying was OH MY GOD!!! I had chills the entire time!! It felt like a suspense good!!


I can agree with most of you. I thought the show was amazing except for Mer losing the baby, and lexie telling alex she loves him. I can't believe it! And poor mark, i hope he doesn't start seeing other people, and give lexie a little more time until alex is all better, so that she could tell him that she was feeling gulity, and that she doesn't love him. Then everything will be fine then.


When Owen walked into the OR and told Meredith that Cristina seemed to be fine, and April started sputtering about "the real doctor" being there (the acting was great, but she REALLY annoyed me...)...I thought for SURE Owen was going to walk into the OR, give an Owen-esque, romantic speech about how he loved Cristina, and then fall on the floor bleeding because he had already been shot. Shonda's way was better though. :P

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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