Foreshadow like a boss: Shonda Rhimes & Grey’s Anatomy

I love Grey’s Anatomy. I have been religiously watching it since I was pregnant with the princeling. I think Bailey and I went through labor kind of around the same time 🙂 Every Thursday night, without fail, I am watching it. My friends know not to call me. My son doesn’t talk to me.

I cried during last night’s episode. Sobbed so hard the princeling came into the room to make sure mommy was ok. Once I had processed it, I still didn’t go to sleep until 11:30 or so…. I kept turning the episode over and over in my  mind. And the writer woke up in me, and I realized what a boss Shonda Rhimes has become. Because that was some beautiful foreshadowing.

Stay with me while I take you through it— and please don’t go all fangirl, beating me up because I don’t have the episodes/scenes in the proper order. My DVR took a crap last Thursday and I LOST THIS SEASON! Dang it! OK, here we go.

1. Not only did Derek leave… It didn’t crush Meredith. As a matter of fact….

2. The Streak: Meredith starts a surgical winning streak as soon as he leaves. She is able to more fully become the person, the surgeon, she wants to be. Is it hard? You betcha! Being a single parent, or in a long distance family situation, is never easy. But she goes on that streak, and the part that annoys her about it? It started the day he left.

3. I can live without you… but I don’t want to”. After Derek’s coming back and telling her how he can’t live without her… this is her response. And really… I cheered for her. I got goose bumps, just like when Christina told her she was the sun. Not Derek.

4. The scene of Meredith and Amelia, talking about the non-relationship. Amelia basically tells Meredith “Until you’ve held the love of your life as he lies dying, you don’t get to judge me.” I watched that scene and cringed, thinking… if anything happens, Amelia is going to be destroyed.

5. When a phone call comes, saying Derek never makes his appointment, Bailey tells Meredith that she can panic at 5pm. Not a minute before, and not in the Operating Room. We watch, with Meredith, as the time ticks away. At the very end of that episode, there are emergency lights reflected in her windows.

And then last night, I sobbed along with multitudes of fan girls, as Meredith told Derek to go, and he breathed his last.

But unlike the others, as soon as the sobbing stopped, I started thinking. Writers pay attention here. Shonda Rhimes just killed off a beloved character. There will be fall out with fans, but within the STORY ITSELF, it was set up to make perfect and utter sense.

It could have gone either way. He could have survived, but that’s not what the story needed at this time. If Meredith, the title character in the series, is going to grow, something had to give. I get that. Really, I do. I killed off a main character in one of my books. It sucks when we have to do that. But it’s what serves the story.

Meredith and Derek could have gone along happily ever after. The problem is, that’s where the story stops traditionally. No one wants to read about Cinderella shopping for dresses all day. Or Beauty spending the day in Beasts library, eating cookies and reading books. They also don’t want to watch too much of it on television, either.

Our characters have to grow. And sometimes, in order for one character to rise to the occasion, we have to rip everything away from them. Meredith had already lost her “person”, as Christinia is a world away. And now her husband has left her, too, albeit through death.

Meredith is about to go through the fire.

And that’s what good fiction is about. But if you’re going to mess with characters in a series, you need to foreshadow like a boss. Like Shonda, in fact. We might not like where it went, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. The audience was prepared.

Now, it’s going to be a wild ride to see where Meredith goes from here.

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