Grey's Anatomy Season Eight Finale - A Look At "Flight" and Its Implications
This review contains some spoilers and you can watch the episode Flight on abc.com.
Sandra Oh gave the strongest performance in the Season Eight finale of Grey's Anatomy that aired on May 17, 2012.
In a one-hour time slot, the episode smoothly juxtaposed a multiple patient trauma intake at Seattle Grace Hospital with an in-the-field triage at the crash site of a small plane where injured surgeons found it necessary to treat one another. After several scenes and a painful repositioning of the left dislocated shoulder, Oh's character Cristina Yang whipped the team into action by shouting that she was tired of tragedies, she wanted to live, and everyone was going to help.
Every word and action that came from Oh was believable, more so than from any other cast member. She has only improved from her strong performance in 2004's award winning Sideways, and will have a successfully long career.
45 Minutes of Tragedy
A one hour time slot yields about 45 minutes of story, given that the rest contains commercials. The finale, called Flight was almost over-packed with action, and some scenes suffered for this.
The makeup work on the most serious wounds of the injured surgeons was good, but the blood splatter on their faces and clothing looked phoney. When we first see the crash scene, we here Arizona (Jessica Capshaw, daughter of Kate Capshaw/stepdaughter of Steven Spielberg) screaming like a banshee until Yang shouts at her several times to shut up. I think the prolonged screaming was out of character.
Derek's (Patrick Dempsey) hand is shown rammed through the fuselage of the airplane, ending his plans to move to Boston. Since his hand will be swollen for 8-12 weeks during repair and physical therapy, and the show has been renewed for Season 9, Derek and Meredith likely will be at Seattle Grace. Not so, Lexie Grey.
Lexi (Chyler Leigh)was crushed under part of the planned, her pelvis completely destroyed. This reminds me of an episode of Homicide: Life On the Street. In that one, a man was caught at the waste between a stopped subway car and the concrete platform floor, essentially cut in half and held together by the pressure of the subway car. He died as soon as they released him from this hold. In Flight, Mark (Eric Dane) and Yang could not move the airplane in time and Lexie died. Mark's crying was almost convincing, but his stupor afterward was quite good acting and we discovered that he was severely injured as well, with burns to the chest. Ellen Pompeo's loud bawling as Meredith was not very convincing, but her fear that Derek had also died rang true.
The airplane pilot was the calmest of all the casualties in Flight. He gave directions to supplies and first aid materials and wisecracked, even though he was paralyzed below the waist.
Back in Seattle, Dr. Webber waits at a restaurant table for the away team of surgeons to return, not knowing that their plane has crashed. With him are two who stayed behind and will be leaving for positions in other hospitals. A third, April, was fired altogether after she failed the board examinations.
Throughout the day, Chief of Surgery Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) failed to check messages or answer phones, or he would have known early on that a plane full of his surgeons had crashed. As it is, the badly injured are patched up half-way, night has fallen, it's cold, and their fire has gone out.
Dr. Teddy Alt, played by Kim Raver, was fired as well. Owen fired her so that she would have no choice but to take a plum position with US military medical services, MedCom.
Who else might depart the series is as unknown
This episode contained several foreshadowing scenes indicating change, particularly in dialogue about life changing quickly. Early on in the Finale, we saw a scene of Meredeth's intern and resident cohort, including George, who was run over by a bus and killed a few seasons back. This scene showed the new residents as first came on board Seattle Grace.
In the flashback scene, the interns/residents and Dr. Webber looked attired and groomed more for the 1970s or 1980s than for the 2000s and this was disconcerting; but a rebroadcast of Episode One a day after the Finale convinced me that it was a case of poor makeup, Webber's being the worst, in my opinion - except for George, who looked a little like a garden gnome. Still, a flashback connects time and changes.
Dr. Weber (James Pickens, Jr.) was not given much to do in the final episode of 2012 and seemed almost out of place. He spent most of his time rounding up residents for a traditional goodbye dinner.
In the end, we have no idea what April is going to do, but she says she'll go back home and perhaps work at the Tastee Freeze. At one time, Cristina Yang did something like that...
The Season Nine opener should be interesting.
Since the Shonda Rhimes shows Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice are no longer shown back-to-back, both shows have lost a little strength, but Greys Anatomy seems the much stronger of the two shows.