Friday, March 26, 2021

REVIEW: 'Grey's Anatomy' - Teddy Agonizes Over the Pain and Heartbreak That Has Defined Her Life for Decades in 'In My Life'

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 17.09 "In My Life"

After a heart-wrenching loss, Teddy struggles to cope and it triggers memories of her past. When Owen brings her home, she must face some long-standing truths. Amelia tries to help the situation by encouraging Owen to accept and forgive Teddy.

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.

"In My Life" was written by Tameson Duffy and directed by Kevin McKidd

This episode is a culmination of a questionable and annoying arc that has sidelined a once promised character for far too long. It was exciting when Kim Raver returned to the cast full-time a few seasons ago. Ever since then though, the creative team has simply been making weird decisions about her particular story. In hindsight, it's clear to see the purpose behind it all. However, it has taken far too long to find any sort of payoff. It was a weirdly structured arc. One that has defined Teddy for a long time now. The opinion of the character has now dramatically shifted. Her story has absolutely been prioritized. The audience shouldn't have to agree with every decision every single character makes. However, it is required for the viewer to understand why those decisions were made. Sometimes, it's purely for the sake of drama. This show has done that on numerous occasions with an array of characters. It's a melodrama set in a hospital. It goes to insane places all the time. That has always been the tone of this piece. With Teddy though, it always felt like self-destruction with no real meat to it. The show is crafting an explanation. This episode feels like a massive hurdle has been overcome. Teddy walks away with a greater understanding of the choices she has made in her life. They have all led to this moment. She has finally hit a wall after running from her pain for over two decades now. But again, does this cathartic exploration of her psyche offer enough payoff for all that the show has asked the audience to endure? It remains questionable. That is a significant problem. Amelia still comes in and offers rational advice. That has largely been her role this season. She has been sidelined as well. She has largely stayed away from the medical stories each week. She is busy at home with Link and the kids. That provides new perspective to her. It's freeing. Meanwhile, Teddy and Owen continue with the same pattern over and over again. They even acknowledge it here. They make cruel statements about the betrayal the other has done only to eventually find their way back to each other over time. Their love is simply that strong. There is nothing that can stand against them. That has always been certain. That's the way the story has been told. Again, the audience probably has a different reaction. These characters have been given an inevitable declaration. That rids their melodrama of much potency. It means their stories actually drag on. The viewer has less patience with the crazy twists and turns. Teddy did plenty of them as well. The burden can't entirely be on her though. Owen hasn't had any true purpose on the show in seasons. These characters aren't at the forefront of the powerful stories the show is still capable of telling. However, this season has highlighted the grim and depressing nature of hospital life at the moment. The show chose to embrace the conditions of the pandemic wholeheartedly. They have refused to shy away from those realities. That was a creative choice. It's one that has alienated the joy that has often been so necessary for this show to survive. This season has felt like a ton of suffering and delayed uncertainty. Those qualities can be understood. But it's also a weird pairing with the posturing of this potentially being the end. Meredith being in limbo with familiar faces popping up on the beach feels like a final season story. Teddy confronting her long history of pain and destructive actions now can set her up for redemption in the future. Everyone acknowledges that she needs help. She needs to treat the injuries she has been suffering with for a long time. People need to treat her with compassion. That doesn't make this episode a huge success though. Again, it is hopefully the end of Teddy acting this way. It hasn't been entertaining. A change is needed to hopefully offer something better. That isn't a guarantee though. The creative team was committed to this path. It needed to highlight the various ways in which Teddy blames herself for the constant wreckage that seems to consume her world. The deaths are seemingly random too. She still carries that burden personally. It's hard for her to break free of that pattern. These issues come to a head now because of the pandemic. More lives are being lost. That is leaving a huge wound on the country. That can't be ignored. Teddy did exactly that for two decades. It's suggested that the future will be better. Owen doesn't have to necessarily get back together with Teddy. He simply must forgive her. The argument for that is persuasive. But it's still hard to feel all that invested given the ways the show has dragged overall this season and with these particular characters for a long time now.