Friday, March 19, 2021

REVIEW: 'Grey's Anatomy' - Richard and Bailey Struggle to Make Sense of the Tragedy During the Pandemic in 'It's All Too Much'

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 17.08 "It's All Too Much"

As traumas and pressure mount, Grey Sloan doctors try to find a path forward, and Richard questions his faith. Meanwhile, Maggie gives Winston hospital privileges and they work together to treat an uneasy patient. Jo, Link and Jackson play an unconventional drinking game.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

"It's All Too Much" was written by Adrian Wenner and directed by Debbie Allen

Part of the devastation that comes from the COVID-19 pandemic is the uncertainty. People can linger after being diagnosed with no one knowing if they will survive. The show has highlighted that through Meredith's ongoing condition. It has intensified with her being put on a ventilator. However, this episode wants to introduce some optimism by suggesting she is ready to come off it. That's something Teddy wants to do. And yes, it does feel like the episode is building towards that once Meredith starts to engage in conversation with Hayes. He talks about her kids. She provides more context. It's a sweet moment. One that highlights the beauty that is still present in her life. However, the episode doesn't conclude with her improving. Instead, it concludes with her remaining on the beach with Derek. This overall structure is starting to grow incredibly boring and repetitive. It still has a purpose. Meredith resides in this limbo. Everyone remains hopeful. They want the best. They need good news after DeLuca's death. They receive no clarity at the moment. They will have to face the uncertainty for even longer. That is one aspect of the pandemic. It's an important story to tell. It doesn't quite make for the most dramatic or satisfying plot point in the narrative though. It removes Meredith from the action in a way that doesn't seem to provide much value. Her reunion with Derek has been nice and sweet. But it too doesn't seem to be introducing any new concept. It mostly reminds the audience of just how perfect the two of them were as a couple. They immediately fall back into these same patterns of love. It's how they express themselves. It makes it tantalizing for Meredith to stay on the beach. It's a place where she can feel love and comfort. It's also a story of inertia. Nothing is really happening. Even Koracick appears at the memorial held for DeLuca. It's a very brief moment. One that doesn't signify anything great. But it's also progress. The story is potentially stalling out. That is concerning. Meredith's story isn't the only place where the narrative is hitting the same note over and over again. The series has told many interesting and engaging stories with Jo's depression. However, it has become too comfortable in her existential dread and always feeling unhappy. She expresses that and everyone overwhelmingly agrees that her life is worse at the moment. Her friendship with Link continues to be strong. Him needing a break from Amelia and the kids while still maintaining his good guy status offers something new for him. He brings excitement and interest while also telling a basic story. Elsewhere, it should be a more significant deal that Winston starts working with Maggie at the hospital. It doesn't come across as her needing his expertise on a case though. She could have perfectly handled this by herself. In fact, she does just that when Helm is spiraling later on. That may prove that she is perfectly capable of now spreading the love and appreciation around those in her life. She doesn't have to be the best and get the credit. But it's still a rather basic story only amplified by the paranoia surrounding the pandemic. That fuels a lot of the dramatic stories at the moment. The show is right to pursue those interests. It's necessary for Bailey to mourn and be with her family. She is only pushing others away in her need to have as many details as possible regarding why DeLuca died. That isn't healthy for anyone. In fact, Teddy hits her own breaking point here. Owen basically finds her in a catatonic state. He still has compassion for her. He must reach out and provide help. That's the service these doctors have to extend to one another. They need to cope with this massive burden. It's still the early months of the pandemic as well. More brutality is on the horizon long before hope arrives in the form of a vaccine. The pace could be picked up for storytelling purposes. Many of the characters need a jolt of excitement. However, the emotional moments pertaining to DeLuca's memorial and the various characters reacting to his death work incredibly well. So, the show still has strong enough command over the big decisions being made. People can certainly still question the need to kill off DeLuca at this moment in time. It felt like he had more story left to tell. And yet, the show also provides the moment of catharsis with Richard questioning his faith in a higher power. He can rely on Catherine to help him through those doubts. That provides so much comfort through the intimacy. Those character moments are informed strongly by the past and all that they've been through. Hopefully, the audience can see some grace through that as well.