Bring Back Derek? Not Signing but Not Watching Either

It’s the second Thursday since That Episode.

The episode that ended the McDream.

That caused a general fan meltdown.

That resulted in a boycott, a petition, and a gazillion tweets calling Shonda Rhimes a monster.

Why a monster you ask?

Because Shonda Rhimes has a body count for the Seattle-Grace-Mercy-West-Grey-Sloan-Shepherd Hospital bigger than most crime dramas. There’s a general sense that her shows put her on par with Game of Thrones for killing off leading characters. Only a handful of previous cast members have survived Shondaland.

In Grey’s alone, there’s been 94 deaths.

Many been the sudden, unforeseen deaths of prominent characters. Denny Ducquet dies due to complications after a heart-transplant; Dr Mark Sloan survives a plane crash then dies because of internal injuries; Dr George O’Malley is hit by a bus; interns Charlie and Reed are killed off by a spree-shooter; and ‘Mousy’ Heather is electrocuted by a puddle in a storm whilst Chief Weber somehow survives.

Moreover, these deaths have included Meredith’s mother, half-sister, father, step-mother – and now her husband. The brutal (totally avoidable, unnecessary, unrealistic) death of Dr Derek ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd broke the camels back for many fans of the show.

Why should they subject themselves to a show that is now decidedly absent of any convincing possibilities for a Happily Ever After?

The first episode starts in the aftermath of the MerDer Meet-Cute in Joe’s Bar and revolves around their love story – so why shouldn’t they feel angry and betrayed and grief stricken when The Queen of Thursdays writes out the relationship the show is built around?

I know I have zero interest in watching the reportedly underwhelming ten minute funeral (RIP Grey’s-As-We-Love-It) or speeding through a slap-dash-year-in-two-hours watching Meredith survive yet another loss in her life of losses.

But saying that, I’m not going to be adding my signature to the now over-a-hundred-thousand strong petition calling to Bring Back McDreamy.

Perhaps it’s because I started watching Grey’s Anatomy a little later than the original die-hards.

There were girls at school, all Bright Young Things applying to be medics, who loved the show. I wasn’t really part of that crowd. I mean, as any Scribbler will know, I’m more bookish than I am scientific, and I rather naively thought Grey’s would be just another Holby City / ER kind of gig and that held zero appeal.

So instead I started watching almost by serendipity.

Waking up one morning at university, hungover as all hell, it just sort of happened.

By which I mean:

  1. There was little else to do (a glowing endorsement).
  2. The idea of working hurt – in fact, the idea of holding a book hurt (I really was hungover).
  3. I wanted to vegetate (just not have to move or do anything).
  4. My flatmate had every boxset, including Season One (might as well pick the freebies).

And that was it.

Suddenly I was one of those girls. I wanted to be Meredith Grey. I realised that my best friend was my Person. I discovered ‘dancing it out’ really does work.I think at one point I watched so many episodes in a row I picked up her manner of talking.  And of course I fell in love with McDreamy.

I’m fairly certain I became hooked because just like with my teenage favourite –Buffy – the badassery of the women was palpable.

Sure they talked boys (McDreamy, McSteamy, Burk, that vet who cropped up, Denny (oh Denny), and of course Owen) but they also talked work, futures, real life things. They were super-intelligent, determined-to-succeed ass-kickers. They had casual sex and they long-term complicated relationships. From the beginning they all developed as characters, as friends, as doctors. They felt real and human. Flawed but fundamentally awesome.

Grey's Anatomy Relationship Chart

Although it seems there’s not one member of the Grey-Sloan faculty dating someone outside of the hospital, which makes for a highly incestuous game of who-fucked-who, every season would tug on your heartstrings only then to provide you with the warm gooey sensation of potential Happily Ever Afters.

Although it seems there’s not one member of the Grey-Sloan faculty dating someone outside of the hospital, which makes for a highly incestuous game of who-fucked-who, every season would tug on your heartstrings only then to provide you with the warm gooey sensation of potential Happily Ever Afters.

No other show had ever given me quite the same ‘feelz’. In fact, the highs and lows of Grey’s were pretty much only recreated by the best books on my shelf. It could make me cackle with laughter and ugly cry the way I did when I finished The Book Thief.

So honestly, this is why I will not be adding my signature to the petition. Not because I don’t love Meredith Grey as a character, or because my heart didn’t crack at the death of one of my favourite fictional doctors, or because I realise that television just doesn’t work this way (I do respect that Rhimes must have some sense of creative integrity even though she shows about as much loyalty to her characters as Snowden does to America).

It’s because from where I stand, all of my favourite things about the show were also butchered in That Episode.

The script, the realism, the covenant that said ‘this show is about stars aligning in the hardest of times’. They died alongside Derek Shepherd.

Probably some of the best-scripted dialogues out there come from Grey’s. From snappy one-liners to brilliant monologues, there’s rarely an episode where I want to rip the script to pieces (and I do get that way).

Sure Bailey’s over-the-top-Mary-Sue-moments are skippable. And in recent years some clichés have slipped in that make your skin itch they’re so bad, but who can forget moments like  “Pick me, choose me, love me.”? It’s a classic line of dialogue, and I mean among all television and film lines — right up there with “You had me at hello” and “I’m just a girl, in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

Saying that, what on earth was That Episode doing? Not only is the script balls-deep in mediocrity, nothing quite adds up. Why does a phone start ringing in a signal free zone? Why doesn’t Derek – a smart, smart man – forego the smoke signals and tell the little girl with absolutely no injuries to go to his car, find his phone and run up the road until she finds signal to call for help? Why wasn’t the neurosurgeon on call already on site having received Speedy-McMuppet complete with head trauma before Derek? Why are there so many plot discrepancies between the episode and the one the week before?

It’s shoddy, rushed and tastes of poorly conceived soundbites designed solely for crappy twitter memes.

People Wanted Hope

And once there was always the elusive promise of something like a happy ending. Rhimes even promised it way back when.

But that’s gone now. So whilst I appreciate that Shonda Rhimes is not a monster, just a would-be-GRRM, it is sad that the undoubtedly manifold combination of factors ended up culminating in this terrible episode.

Signing a petition is futile, but I will not be watching any new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.


Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.

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