How exciting! The season 4 premiere of Grey's showcased the best and the worst of the show, but in the end left me feeling good about how this season's gonna go. Whatever she might say, I think Shonda Rhimes has gotten the message that season 3 was too downbeat and angsty and we're hopefully swinging back to the insane emotional/comic rollercoaster that was season 2. Also, the appointment of Krista Vernoff (probably the show's best writer) as showrunner is another good sign. Gotta love Shonda but she helps Grey's as much as she hurts it these days. Some new creative direction might help out a little (not that Shonda's really going anywhere, but she's spread between Grey's and PP now).
Enough business! To the matter at hand, the episode titled "A Change is Gonna Come". Good start right there! The season 3 finale was a monstrously dull affair, involving Burke leaving Cristina at the altar, Meredith and Derek breaking up for reasons too boring to list, George failing his intern exam and having to repeat the year, Callie telling Izzie that she and George were gonna try for a baby, Izzie telling George she loved him, Addison leaving for LA, Bailey being beaten to Chief Resident by Callie, Alex almost telling Rebecca he loved her but her leaving before he got to her...ugh. A cornucopia of downers, but not one exciting cliffhanger to get you excited for next year. Nonetheless I was excited for next year (now this year) because I figured, how could it get any worse?
And I was right! Sort of. What did I like about this episode? Probably the best stuff was Meredith, Izzie, Alex and Cristina, now residents, dealing with their new interns, who included George and Lexie Grey, Meredith's half-sister introduced last season. Let's get this out of the way with Lexie (Chyler Leigh): she's really pretty. Perhaps not the best actress in the world (didn't really buy her 'awesome' speech at the end of the episode) but she's so cute! When the new residents gave the same strutting speech Bailey gave to them in the pilot, with varying levels of success--Cristina the scariest, Izzie obviously the least intimidating--I was reminded of how much I used to really enjoy this show. I love all that hospital life crap. Everyone had some wacky/sad patients to deal with, too. There was a pregnant girl with a missing severed arm, a guy who kept eating cotton balls and paperclips, a guy whose head was barely hanging on to its body, and...well...an injured deer. Yeah, a deer. Guess whose storyline that was. Mmmhmm. You got it.
Unfortunately, the fun of the episode was nearly dashed by an insane level of ridiculousness from Izzie. Really annoying, even for her. I liked her being hurt at her interns not respecting her. I liked that she felt empowered by the end of the episode. They could have constructed a nice little story for her between those two feelings. But instead, for crying out loud, she has to defibrillate a DEER? No wonder her interns think she's crazy. She IS crazy! Even worse was that she seemed unable to deliver any dialogue that wasn't a grating mini-speech (honestly Shonda, why do you keep doing this to poor Katherine Heigl!), and, of course, she's still pining after George. Indeed, since after Izzie and Alex broke up in the middle of season 2, all Izzie's been doing is pining: for Denny, for dead Denny, and then for married George. One of the biggest mistakes this series ever made was having Izzie not get a normal relationship after Denny died. Sticking her with George could have damaged this character FOR GOOD. I think they're gonna have to hit the reset button on Izzie again, like they did when she quit her job at the end of season two, which is just a terrible track record for the writers. Of course, it was all that much worse because at the end of the episode George showed up at Izzie's door and muttered "I love you too". On what grounds!? The man's clearly taken leave of all his senses, considering how Izzie behaved in front of him the last few episodes.
In other news, Meredith and Derek are 'broken up', which means they stare at each other mournfully and have clipped, snippy dialogue with each other and have sex at the end of the episode. Aaaah. Feel that? That's the audience soaking up the lukewarm, disappointing MerDer saga once again. It's never going to leave us, because it's basically designed as the backbone of the series, so I'm glad the writers are acknowledging that with Meredith and Derek, it doesn't really matter if they're broken up or they're together. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, they're basically gonna act the same way every episode. However, the one thing that was weird was where Lexie is supposed to fit in to all of this. Last season seemed to suggest she'd be a possible love interest for Derek cause they were flirting at the bar. Now, however, seems doubtful, cause Derek is still totally into Meredith, and I doubt he'd go so low as to sleep with Meredith's half-sister. I mean, gross. That's McSteamy territory, not beloved McDreamy (sidenote: there wasn't enough Sloane this ep. More Sloane, plz).
Weirdly, Lexie seemed to be positioned as a love interest for Georgie Porgie, which could mean he'll have slept with about half the female cast of this show by the time he's through. Not bad for everybody's favorite stammering nerd. Still, c'mon, really? Does married man George really need ANOTHER love interest? Why can't they just let him settle into his married relationship with Callie? Since they got hitched, all we've gotten from them is fighting and tension and infidelity, and it really sucks, cause they can be a fun couple (at least, I think they can. Hard to remember). I really wish they'd just forget Gizzie ever happened, have Lexie get with Alex or the Chief or someone, and let George and Callie settle down. Doesn't seem likely, but I'd like this show to embrace marital bliss for once. Literally not one marriage on this show has gone well so far, not even the peripheral ones.
I'm not going to devote any time to talking about the human patients this week, cause they were either seriously cheesy (the loving blinkfest of Mr. Blinky no-spine and his kids) or totally underdeveloped (did we ever figure out WHY that guy was eating paperclips, or was he just crazy?). I also won't say much about Burke being history, except that I'll somewhat miss his cool-headedness, but it was the right decision to fire the quite mental Isaiah Washington (who's looking forward to seeing him on Bionic Woman?). Also, the news that Elizabeth Reaser is coming back later this season had me jumping for joy, but I have a sneaking suspicion it's to put the final kibosh on that loose end and free up Alex for new ladies. Which is sad. Still, more Reaser equals GOOD. May I also formally congratulate Ms. Reaser on her Emmy nomination and Ms. Heigl on her Emmy win. Also, even though I barely mentioned them this week, James Pickens, Eric Dane and Chandra Wilson were as good as ever here. Keep it up, guys!