GREY’S ANATOMY Post-mortem: How ABC Should Have Handled Thursday’s Season Finale

Still reeling from last night’s uber-intense GREY’S ANATOMY season finale that left many of your favorite character’s lives “hanging in the balance” following one of the most memorable plane crashes since the fateful day Oceanic Flight 815 took flight? This TV Addict certainly is, but probably not for the reasons you might think. For as it turns out, we have found ourselves spending the better part of the day not so much mourning the death of [Spoiler Alert!] Lexie Grey, but rather the loss of what could have been a far more shocking conclusion had ABC put in a little more effort.

But before we get to that, let’s first take a moment to commend showrunner Shonda Rhimes and Co. for one helluva season. Not only did the GREY’S ANATOMY writing staff do a marvellous job of crafting a season under the very difficult circumstance that is not knowing which of your cast members will be returning the following year, they managed to do so while building in an organic and believable exit for any cast member should they have opted not to return.

Our issue, was that last night’s send off could have been that much more thrilling had ABC proactively decided to formulate a plan to keep a lid on the status of the contract renegotiations for cast members Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, James Pickens, Jr. and Chandra Wilson. Which is to say, rather than needlessly allow the news to leak mere weeks ago that the original series stars had all inked new 2-year deals to return to the show — and in the process eviscerate much of the suspense surrounding the finale — the season could have ended off on a far more ambiguous, not to mention compelling note. A horrifying and heartbreaking one that would have not just kept GREY’S ANATOMY on the tip of every fan’s tongues all summer long, but helped to create the kind of marketable September event that has been missing from Network television since the heydays of “Who Shot J.R.?” (Or, for our slightly younger readers, “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”). We’re just sayin’

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  • Mariakr23

    Nail on the head there. I wasn’t worried about any of them. Which is why the person she actually chose to kill hurt that extra bit more. I’ve figured something out about Shonda Rhimes. Only took me 8 years, but this time it hit home. She does not know how to make her characters leave without killing them. Why in the WORLD she chose to finally give that to TEDDY of all people, while resorting to her usual of killing off the character that’s leaving to Lexie, I just don’t get it.Which is why she’s lost a viewer in me. But not only for Grey’s, I’m ditching PP and any of her future projects. I watch TV to be entertained, not subjected to this kind of crap over and over again. Before I didn’t care about the characters that were unfortunate enough to bite it. But now I did.

  • Jennifer

     I completely disagree with anyone who says that ABC should have put more of an effort into keeping the contract status of the originals a secret! I only watch Grey’s for Derek and Meredith…without them both there I would quit watching this show in a second and so would a lot of other people…so knowing that they were returning next season made us MUCH MORE excited for the finale and MUCH MORE LIKELY to watch it!

    I knew the characters that I loved and cared about were safe and coming back next season so at that point this was fun for me and I started speculating and guessing about what was going to happen just like everyone else. This is what I fail to understand about people who go around with this theory. It’s not like the 6 actors who resigned are the ONLY characters on the show!

    Prior to the finale there were 8 other actors on this show aside from the originals so there was still PLENTY of speculating and guessing to be done about which character was dying..and you could have made a good case for any of them being the one! So I really fail to understand how knowing that the originals were coming back, somehow made this finale less compelling or less interesting! If anything, I was more interested in what was going on after I knew they were returning!

    However, when the news about the upcoming big death was first released, I had pretty much somehow convinced myself that it was Derek and at that point I was not planning on watching the finale and I was not planning on watching Grey’s Anatomy ever again…and if it had been Derek I can guarantee you that is something that I would have carried through with because if Derek or Meredith go then I am gone too!

    Lastly, in this day and time it is so silly and completely useless to try and keep the contract status of actors away from fans. With the internet, Twitter, and Facebook that does not work anymore. We are not living in the world that we were 10 years ago where fans watched a season finale for a given show and had no way of knowing who was returning to the show until the following September when the next season premiered.

    Information is at the tip of our fingers so we will find out and I have much better things to do than sit around waiting with baited breath to see who is returning to Grey’s Anatomy when the show returns in September, talking about it all summer! This was the bottom line for me…either Patrick and Ellen resigned to play Derek and Meredith next season and I would return to watch or they would not resign and I would not be back next September! Thankfully, they both resigned so I am extremely happy about that and I cannot wait for season 9 to start!!!

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! Networks feel like they have to make a announcement out of everything. It’s perfectly possible to keep things under wraps in Hollywood (Christopher Nolan anyone?). Cast announcements (or even special guest star credits) unnecessarily spoil “who’s coming back?”

  • SSvenja

    They should have just ended the season with the episode before the finale and then started with the finale next season.

  • Tubbybandy

    I was very sad to watch the last episode of the season…Lexie was such an interesting character and the love story between her and Mark kept me hopeful that they would finally find their way back to each other……very sad!!!!!!!!