Thursday, May 17, 2018

REVIEW: ABC's 'Black-ish,' 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Station 19' (May 15-17)

Various ABC reviews for May 15-17, 2018:

Black-ish - Episode 4.23 "Dream Home"
Grey's Anatomy - Episode 14.24 "All of Me"
Station 19 - Episode 1.10 "Not Your Hero"

In 2018, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on ABC from May 15-17, 2018. Enjoy!

Black-ish - "Dream Home"
Written by Graham Towers & Steve Vitolo and directed by E. Langston Craig

Black-ish tried something different at the end of its fourth season. It has produced many dramatic episodes over the course of its run so far. And yet, these final four episodes told a singular story exploring Dre and Bow potentially getting a divorce. It was a shocking development and a significant change to the story and structure the audience has known for four seasons. As such, it's easy to understand why not everyone in the audience was willing to go along for the ride. Plus, the show has never played Dre and Bow's marriage as perfect. The problems that they experienced in this arc are things that have always been laughed off previously. And now, the show is asking the audience to see them as genuine threats to this family. That meant that if the two of them did ultimately reconcile these problems could never be as broadly important as they were in the past. And yes, that would be a significant change-up to the show moving forward. If everything ultimately goes back to the way things were, then this arc would have felt completely pointless. Of course, the emotions in the moment where pretty real and devastating. I wouldn't be surprised if Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross use one of these episodes as their Emmy submissions. They have been fantastic to watch as their characters dealt with the nuances of this separation. It always felt inevitable that Dre and Bow would reconcile though. As such, that did remove some of the power out of the actual story. But it's important to see how they exactly come back together throughout this finale. They are taking more than just space. They are living separate lives with the kids moving back and forth. They are learning how to live and function without the other person in their life. That way it becomes a story where they don't have to be together but they want to be together. When Bow gets tragic news, Dre is the person she wants to call and confide in. He's the man she wants in her life. He wants to be there for her. He doesn't want to leave because he understands that all of these emotions are difficult to navigate. Sure, the death of her father is also sudden and dramatic. It feels like the one thing that ultimately brings them back together. As such, it's important to have those therapy sessions where it's clear that they are talking and learning how to love each other again and that they didn't suddenly have an easy fix to the problems pointed out in this arc. It's basically just the two of them choosing to stay committed and loving to one another. And that is beautiful. A

Grey's Anatomy - "All of Me"
Written by Krista Vernoff and directed by Debbie Allen

Overall, this was a strong season of Grey's Anatomy. It had a new jolt of energy this year courtesy of new showrunner Krista Vernoff. She came back with the understanding that the story needed to always pay homage to the past and everything that has happened in the characters' lives across this long journey. As such, it's such a relief knowing that the finale is ultimately a light-hearted event where the characters are able to laugh and love while still being the miraculous surgeons they have become to be. It's a finale filled with so many surprises. It's ultimately about multiple weddings happening at the same time. It's amusing that half of the characters accidentally attend the wrong wedding which then presents as a good thing because Bailey can save the life of the mother of the bride who collapses during the ceremony. But it's also just a lot of fun seeing Alex and Jo not believe in the superstitions associated with this ritual. They don't want to follow a set of rules. They want to marvel at how beautiful the other looks before the ceremony. Sure, they get locked in a shed and no one can find them for awhile. But that only further proves just how perfect they are as a couple because they support each other's dreams and will ultimately go anywhere just to be with each other. That's sweet. It's also completely surprising that April and Matthew decide to get married. Their relationship has happened so quickly. The audience didn't even know they were dating until they got into a car accident. And yet, it's also a case where there doesn't need to be a huge explanation because the show trusts that the audience remembers why they were a strong couple in the first place. And it's important to know that April is staying in Seattle and will continue to be a part of Harriet's life even though she has quit working at the hospital to focus on her faith and helping the homeless. That's a different kind of exit but a fitting one nonetheless. Meanwhile, it's definitely so moving to learn that Arizona is basically moving to New York to try to rekindle things with Callie once more. Their marriage ended in such an ugly and destructive way with the other characters having to pick sides. It was dramatic and tense for a long time. And yet, there is still so much passion there. Certainly, more than the relationships they've had since. So, it's a happy exit for her as well. And finally, the show seems to be welcoming back a familiar face just as its writing off two fan favorites. Teddy shows up in Seattle to help Bailey with her surprise surgery. She is immediately given a job as well despite her prior intention of staying in Germany to keep her clinic running smoothly. It's all a part of the big twist at the end with her revealing that she is pregnant. That's going to be a huge wrench in Owen and Amelia's developing feelings for each other once more. I'm hoping that Kim Raver returns as a full-fledged series regular again. This story suggests she will. There is still so much story that could be told with her - and hopefully not all of it is tied too closely to Owen. A-

Station 19 - "Not Your Hero"
Written by Stacy McKee and directed by Paris Barclay

It's fascinating that Station 19 chose to do a finale centered around an epic disaster situation that left the lives of many of its characters in limbo heading into the hiatus instead of one that provided much resolution on the storylines that have been playing out this season. There is no final decision made about who will become the new permanent captain at the station. All of that is interrupted by this skyscraper fire. That takes precedent above all else. Sure, there are some storylines from the season that get a fair amount of resolution here. Ben is allowed to drive the ambulance after he proves that he is no longer just the rookie of the unit. Vic conquers her fear of fire simply by needing to act quickly during a dangerous situation while doing crowd control. There are even big moments that occur in the love triangle with Andy having emotional words with both Jack and Ryan. But again, everything of importance to the ongoing series is largely put in the background so that the finale can focus on this disaster. It's such an impressive catastrophe as well. The firefighters have the procedure that they must follow in order to contain this fire. They understand just how dangerous it could be. They understand that there is the potential for the entire building to implode if any of the combustible objects explode. They are doing their best to be the heroes the city needs them to be. And in the end, it seems like this disaster is bound to claim some of their lives. Now, it seems inevitable that this cliffhanger will be resolved with the majority of the station remaining intact. But there's bound to be consequences from this as well. That already seems apparent with Maya who may be losing her hearing. That could be a dangerous disability to have in this profession that could create a fascinating story for her in the future. Meanwhile, Ben and Travis are busy trying to believe today will be a good day when Travis is suddenly impaled with a shard of glass in his chest. Ben has to decided whether to save his life or the life of a girl in the stairwell who was trampled. It's a crushing decision for him to make that the finale doesn't ultimately provide an answer to. Meanwhile, Jack decides to have his big heroic moment because he understands just how important it is to contain this fire so that it doesn't create even more damage and kill everyone still inside. It's a risk for Andy to send the elevator up to him to get his newly discovered victim out. But it's an even greater risk for him to stay behind to close the fire doors and essentially seal himself in with no way out. They have their epic goodbye and it is emotional. Again, I haven't been invested too deeply into this half of the love triangle. Jack is still pretty much a one note character. But here, he does prove his smarts while also being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Sure, it leaves Andy seeming like the one who is still safe despite the uncertainty going on with the rest of her crew. And yet, that's what makes this such an exciting finale because everyone's lives are in danger and anything could theoretically happen. A-