Grey's Anatomy

8.6 / 10
42 min
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" gives "Grey's Anatomy - Season 11 (part one)" a 9."
Written by on 7 January 2015.
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Grey's Anatomy - Season 11 (part one)

When a series has reached its eleventh season, it doesn't have to do much more than what it has already been doing. Intriguing weekly cases, every now and then a shocking episode and perhaps a romantic development. It is a standard formula. It is all the more impressive that 'Grey's Anatomy' manages to surpass itself. The first part of season eleven is not only a treat but also an intimate love letter to the loyal fans. As an established series, 'Grey's Anatomy' acknowledges its age and explores its fixed characters and rich history.

When Shonda Rhimes, creator of the series and ruler of television in general, announced that season eleven would be Meredith's year, fans could do nothing but cheer. Meredith Grey is a constant factor guiding us with her insightful voice-overs and dramatic life. Along the way, she has been overshadowed by many characters. After all, she has already found the perfect husband, gathered the medical knowledge that turned her into an expert and has been through so many shocking events which no one person will ever experience. In every respect it is time for Meredith, as a character, to retire. The series would end and the viewers can be assured that she lives long and happily ever after. But the series doesn't end and Meredith, at least as long as Ellen Pompeo stays, won't be leaving for a long time. Season ten stressed this in an extraordinary first part in which Meredith's complicated and deeply rooted friendship with Cristina is falling apart. The second part carefully removed the foundations from the always solid marriage of her and Derek. Cristina left Meredith behind with the notion: “He's very dreamy, but he's not the sun. You are”. Now it's Meredith's turn to shine again.

Season ten ended with a metaphorical explosion which demanded a lot from the viewer. Surely, it was interesting to think that Richard and Ellis' relationship resulted into something positive, but Maggie (Kelly McCreary, 'Emily Owens M.D.') is already Meredith's second sister coming out of the blue. In addition, she is a very literal replacement for Cristina as a heart surgeon. Naturally, it makes sense to rewrite history. A new character, who is close to Meredith and Richard, is dramatic. But is this desirable? Thankfully, the series doesn't waste a single moment and in episode two, Maggie already develops into a main character and we learn her thoughts. Indeed, the episode emphasises the huge contrast between her and Meredith, which forces the viewer to see Maggie's side and in the end choose her. It cannot be denied, 'Grey's Anatomy' knows how to manipulate the viewers.

Maggie is just one of the many highlights of season eleven. A few episodes later, other characters are central. Arizona and Callie have endured such bizarre events that their relationship has become very popular. Therefore, it is quite brave that the series slows down and investigates this relationship in episode five. Two rich, complex characters who are well-loved are turned inside out. Not in the way films and books can do that, but realistically, with a history of a few years, as if they are your best friends. The hour is a fantastic example of what television can be.

The deciding factor in the first part of season eleven are the seconds-lasting flashbacks. Whether these are Arizona and Callie's most beautiful and worst moments or Meredith's vague memories of Ellis and her secret, season eleven takes us on a nostalgic journey through the history of the series. We visit central characters, celebrate their unique qualities, but most of all stress Meredith's role. Her slow development results in a beautifully set up final scene. The fortunate people who have been watching from the start are amply rewarded. This is Meredith's year and with that also the fans'.
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