Thursday, February 16, 2017

REVIEW: ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Scandal' (February 16)

Reviews for ABC's Shondaland shows from February 16:

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 13.13 "It Only Gets Much Worse"
ABC's Scandal - Episode 6.04 "The Belt"

Due to the demands of Peak TV, it is becoming more and more difficult for this website to devote the time to full length episodic reviews. And yet, there are still thoughts to be had about the ongoing adventures on a number of series. TGIT is back on ABC. So I thought it would be good to still write down a couple of brief thoughts about each episode on a weekly basis. Of course, you can still expect full reviews for premieres and finales. If ABC should make screeners available, those episodes would get detailed analysis as well. But for now, this will be the way to continue to provide content for these shows while also being a lighter workload for me.

Grey's Anatomy - "It Only Gets Much Worse"
The residents are excited for Eliza's next phase of teaching, but they spend the day caught between the warring attendings. Meanwhile, April has a challenging first day in her new role at the hospital. Written by Lauren Barnett and directed by Jeanot Szwarc

Dr. Minnick is more of plot device who incites action from the other characters than she is a multi-dimensional human being. Her presence is more important than a sense of humanity. She showed up at Grey Sloan and now the attendings are fighting with Bailey. It's a story that has largely felt the same for a couple of episodes now. Everyone is upset about how Bailey handled the situation. But there hasn't been a whole lot of growth. April wants to move past this and just do her job again. And yet, that ostracizes her from the rest of the group. Of course, she still gets a strong moment of worth too. She's the one who saved a life and she did so with all the attendings making passive aggressive remarks about her. That shows her strength and how petty the other characters are being. Yes, they have a right to be upset. But this story is dragging on without anything new adding much excitement to it. So hopefully, this war ends soon so that some sense of normalcy can return. That may hopefully be happening considering this hour spends more time with Dr. Minnick. Of course, her humanizing scene comes from having lost a child in surgery. It's humanizing to see her defeated like that. She's no longer on top of the world and celebrating with the rest of the residents. She comes crushing back to reality. Hopefully, that will help ground her as a character because up to this point she's been very blunt and forceful. That hasn't been appealing on a grand narrative scale or in a possible romance with Arizona. This episode does enough work to begin to change that. It just all depends on what happens next. Also, the moment it became clear that the residents would be taking charge of their own cases it felt like only a matter of time before something bad happened. If everything went well, that would have been great and possibly could have ended the attendings' whining. But alas, Stephanie's patient dies which is a really devastating moment. B-

Scandal - "The Belt"
Cyrus faces his ultimate challenge but continues to stop at nothing to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, Olivia and the gladiators uncover shocking new evidence about the night Frankie was shot. Written by Paul William Davies and directed by Tom Verica

This season has been one big descent for Cyrus. He started in a dark place with Frankie being shot and killed right after winning the election. But he then rose to being the President-Elect. He was about to fulfill his dream of being the most powerful man in the world. And then, it all came crumbling down after Olivia was so sure he was behind Frankie's assassination. He's now in jail. It's a dehumanizing process that is tough to watch in several moments throughout this hour. This episode beats him down so much. For a moment, it seems like he is going to die. That would be a shocking turn of events - especially with the eventual reveal that he is actually innocent in all of this. He is beaten down and humiliated in so many different ways. He tries fixing this himself by writing a letter to Tom. That leads to a divorce announcement from Michael. He tries calling Olivia to plead his case. That leads to Olivia saying she'll never talk to him again. He simply wants to enjoy some fresh air. But that leads to him getting beaten by several gang members who supported Frankie. It's a rough episode. It's also a little manipulative. The sequence of Cyrus believing he survived the beating and became the President would indicate that those are his final thoughts before death. They aren't though. He uses this lowest point to rise once more as the monster he truly is. He didn't kill Frankie just to become President. But he sure is capable of killing people to prove his innocence. It's brutal to watch him break out of his cell to enact revenge on Tom. That shows that he belongs in prison even though he's innocent of this crime. The show never loses sight of that. Olivia may be cruel to him over the phone. But she also recognizes that her team needs to be diligent with every aspect of this case - even when it doesn't prove their opinion of what happened. So once again, the show is back to the beginning with no clear indications of who really killed Frankie. Cyrus was just a red herring like he was obviously always going to be. B-