Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely, and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next. We can choose to be afraid of it, to stand there trembling not moving, assuming the worst that can happen, or we step forward into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant.
Those were some of Cristina’s final words to Meredith. Looking back, they sound like a warning of what was to come. A lot of things look like warnings now, including Amelia’s insistence that Meredith can’t understand what it’s like to lose the love of her life, and the fact that Meredith and Derek’s song was “Chasing Cars,” which practically doomed Derek to get hit by one. Even so, it’s still hard to believe that McDreamy is McDead.
Any drama that’s set in a hospital is ultimately a drama about death. Doctors lose patients all the time in real life, just like they do on TV. You could argue that a show like Grey’s needs to kill off its main characters in ridiculously over-the-top ways, just to make their deaths stand out. Maybe it needed to throw George under that bus and send Mark’s plane into a tailspin. But Derek’s death still feels especially cruel because of its impact on Meredith. This is a woman who has already lost her mother, her half-sister, her best friend. She went down in a plane, nearly drowned, and could’ve died while giving birth during a power outage. Did they really need to run Derek down with a semi truck?
Granted, Meredith can handle this, just as she’s handled everything else. Shonda Rhimes writes strong, smart, driven female characters, the kind of women who make great bosses and great mothers to other people. But they’re not always allowed to be happy themselves. Like Olivia Pope on Scandal, Meredith gets better and better in her career, only to find that things get worse and worse in her personal life. Right when she started pushing herself harder in research, she lost the love of her life. It’s like Rhimes is sending a message to women everywhere: You can’t have it all.
At this point, I’m done watching Meredith learn that lesson. The worst that can happen has already happened to her, over and over. If she’s supposed to step forward into the unknown, yet again, and still assume it will be brilliant, there has to be a good reason. It’s okay that she can’t have it all. But if I’m going to keep watching Grey’s, they’ve gotta give her something.