There are devastating episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and then there are really devastating episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. This week’s was the latter, and it was no surprise, considering the hour was called “Dark Was the Night.” A title like that can mean nothing but ominous things, indeed. So much tragedy was packed into the episode, led by the not-all-that-shocking-but-still-very-sad death of Altman’s husband Henry and the not-all-that-shocking-but-still-very-sad likelihood that, no, Meredith and Derek would not be getting their baby Zola back. And it all happened in the span of one fateful evening. Happy holidays, Seattle Grace!
Let’s first deal with the loss of Scott Foley. My first reaction is: We had to know this was coming, right? We couldn’t have known that it was going to happen in this exact episode, but I feel like we Grey’s viewers should have been preparing ourselves all along for the eventual demise of the ever-adorable Henry, who has suffered from a life-threatening illness the entire time we’ve known him on the show. And the signposts pointing to his death were everywhere in this episode, like during the pre-surgery conversation between him and wife Altman. “You’re going to be fine,” she said, “you know that, right?” His reply: “I know, that’s why I started spitting up blood.” Then she was swiftly whisked away to a consult. I should add a sound effect here, and it goes something like this: Dun dun dun.
The way producers chose to deal with the circumstances around Henry’s death was especially cruel. We sat and watched as Cristina unknowingly operated on Henry, while his wife was off in her own OR operating on a patient. I cringed watching Webber stand there in stark silence, taking in Henry’s death, as Cristina rattled on about not wanting to take the heat for the patient, whose identity she didn’t know. “There was no way to take it out without killing him,” she told Webber of Henry’s tumor. “And there’s no way he could have lived with it for much longer.”