"Grey’s Anatomy” returned with the emotionally-charged winter finale “Get Up, Stand Up” on Dec. 12.
Nobody writes couples better than Shonda Rhimes and company and this week’s tear-inducing installment brings some potentially huge shake-ups for some “Grey’s Anatomy” favorites.
Jackson and April
April’s (Sarah Drew) wedding day finally arrives and she literally bumps into Jackson (Jesse Williams) with big rollers in her hair and missing bridesmaids frustration. This is the moment that sets the wheels in motion for Jackson’s sweeping declaration of love at the end of the episode, just as April and Matthew (Justin Bruening) are about to say their vows.
Jackson wasn't planning on going to the wedding, but when he sees the curler-clad bride-to-be she’s exasperated and asks if he’s going to be there. He asks her if she wants him to be there and she’s really emphatic in her “Of course!” reply. So, he agrees to come.
Later, he’s operating with Stephanie on a patient’s throat and the procedure could potentially affect his vocal chords. He and Stephanie wonder what he whispered in his wife’s ear before going into surgery and Stephanie says “I think he said he loved her.”
Jackson says, “Maybe. Say it loud and go from there” and we’re instantly taken back to what is one of the saddest episodes in series history: Mark Sloan’s death and his farewell pep talk to Jackson (some of us may still be crying).
He proceeds to tell her how Mark advised him to tell the person you love that you love them even if you’re scared it’ll cause problems or burn your life to the ground. This really sinks in and hits him when he sees April dressed in her wedding gown coming down the aisle.
It’s an incredibly romantic moment when Jackson stands up then sits down then stands up and boldly declares his love for April:
“April, I love you. I always have. I love everything about you. Even the things I don't like, I love. And I want you with me. I love you, and I think that you love me too…. Do you?”
She turns from her handsome hubby-to-be, mouth agape in surprise. What is she going to say?
Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew have combustible chemistry and have made Jackson and April so lovable in spite of their flaws. The best relationships are derived from friendship and these two have loved each other for a long time without saying it. They understand each other and their chemistry is off-the-charts. They've been running from each other for months and this can't be another Mark and Lexie tragedy (Sniff, sniff).
Simply put: Jackson and April belong together. They need the happily ever after.
Unfortunately, Matthew and Stephanie are collateral damage in the whole situation and that’s a shame because they’re both really nice. They just need to find other people to be nice with!
Meredith and Cristina
Let’s put romance aside and talk about how truly sad it is when two female best friends burn down the bond between them. A best friend often knows how to hurt you worse than a lover because they know all of your flaws and weaknesses. They've been your shoulder to cry on and have seen you at your best and worst. So, when something happens to upset that unconditional love and trust, the result can be devastating.
Sadly, Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) have embarked on this biting insult campaign and the verbal wounds they inflict are so deep. Both of them are so professionally driven women with deep-seated emotional issues. They are also highly competitive. That never helps any relationship.
Cristina argues that she never said Mer was a terrible doctor but Mer thinks she’s a terrible person now. She asks, “Because I'm committed to my work? Because I don't have a baby? When did I become such a monster to you?"
Meredith launches another assault asking how long she’s been sleeping with Shane and throws in, “He's just hooking up with the best teacher to make sure he can get everything he can. Sound familiar? It's what you did all through med school and all through intern year. Congratulations. You've become the thing you worshiped."
Cristina comes back with, “And you became the thing we laughed at.” Ouch! And, no! This is your person you’re talking to. You need to step back. Stop. Breathe. Apologize – before it’s too late.
Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo have portrayed this rift with heartbreaking accuracy. We hurt with them and for them. Mostly, we just want to shake them and tell them to get it together. The friendship they forged deserves more than this.
Things escalate at the church and it almost looks like they’re having some sort of breakthrough when Meredith actually admits, “I’m so jealous of you I want to set things on fire” and Cristina offers, “You are as good a mother as you are a surgeon and I’m happy for you.”
The saddest part: “But we are growing apart.”
Close friendships take nurturing and maintenance and sometimes life events can pull two very close people apart. This may be the case with Cristina and Meredith, as Sandra Oh is leaving the show. We hope it’s not so. We hope full BFF restoration comes with her farewell. Maybe the door for forgiveness has actually cracked open a little …
Callie and Arizona
This beloved couple has been through so much. They've both cheated death, lost the father of their child, worked through Arizona’s (Jessica Capshaw) injury and now they are navigating the murky waters of Arizona’s infidelity.
Sadly, it feels like this relationship has consistently been in turmoil to the point of almost being toxic. They fight and argue constantly. Often times each of them feels misunderstood by the other. Even now as they’re trying to work things out, Arizona complains to April that she doesn't want Callie (Sara Ramirez) to keep trying to fix her. She wants to be “enough” as she is.
Can you blame her? Everyone wants this from their spouse.
Murphy, with all of her insecurity, is waiting in the wings, wanting to stand up for herself. While we have no idea how things are going to play out, maybe it’s time for Callie and Arizona to admit that being together somehow keeps bringing them more pain.
Either way, Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw have done a brilliant job depicting the push-pull nature of this very complex relationship between two very smart and attractive women who are also deeply flawed.
Alex and Jo
We've waited for Alex (Justin Chambers) to find true love ever since his heartbreaking split with Izzie (Katherine Heigl). As gruff an exterior as he puts out, he’s really tender-hearted at the core.
He and Jo (Camilla Luddington) have evolved from friends into a seemingly nice relationship that’s been complicated recently by the return of Alex’s father. Jo has helped work interference between the two men, which Alex refuted at first.
Alex and his dad have another heated exchange which reaches a terrible peak. To Alex’s credit, he apologizes and tells his dad to move on and try to work it out with his other family.
It’s sad for any child, no matter how old, to suffer neglect from the one person who is supposed to offer unconditional love, guidance and support. Poor Alex had a mentally ill mother and a junkie as a father. Justin Chambers has always been able to evoke Alex’s inner anger and turmoil so well and this farewell sequence is just so sad – especially when he screams “I was the dad!” to his father.
The emotional exchange gets Alex understandably worked up and he impulsively launches into a very rushed but seemingly sincere speech in which he asks Jo to assure him that they’re the only family each other will ever need and they’re going to stay together forever.
Jo is thrown off and before she can say too much he stops her with a passionate kiss. Does this mean Alex and Jo are the next couple to take a walk down the aisle? Will Alex finally get his happily ever after, or has he said too much too soon?
Bailey and Ben
Chandra Wilson is such a consummate actress and we've grown to love Bailey, who is all rough edges and squishy marshmallow center, so much through the years. It’s been so nice to see her find love in Ben (Jason George) but their relationship has not been without complication, given its long distance nature.
Ben comes home, announcing he quit his surgical internship because he wants to be with his family. Instead of being overjoyed, Bailey is stressed out about it. She develops OCD, which he forces her to confront and treat.
Before the wedding, Ben notes that if it hadn't been for him being there to catch it, she may have never gotten help for her OCD. Instead of thanking him, she snaps out asking if he ever considered his return triggered the symptoms.
Uh oh, that doesn't sound too good. How is Ben supposed to feel about her comment? How is he going to react? Could the show return to find a split for Bailey and Ben?
Overall, the mid-season “Grey’s Anatomy” finale brought many beautiful and emotional moments for all of our favorite couples. So many futures are hanging in the balance and the series return will undoubtedly provide answers to many of our burning questions. We’ll just have to wait and see which way love or lack thereof will affect the winds of change for our beloved band of Seattle docs.
“Grey’s Anatomy” returns in Flint on WJRT ABC12 on February 27, 2014 at 9 pm ET.