Grey's Anatomy: Season 3 - Review
Review by Jack Foley
THE third season of medical drama Grey’s Anatomy was all about loss – loss of loved ones, loss of confidence, loss of life and, ultimately, loss of interest.
Shonda Rhimes’ chose to layer on the tragedy so that just about every one of the principal characters underwent some form of soul-searching sometime during the season.
Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith, in particular, suffered a long, excruciating ride that wasn’t best served by her continued lack of sympathy.
Not only did she have a near-death of her own, which came to a head in the episode entitled Drowning On Dry Land but she had to tackle the death of her mother and – somewhat incredibly – her step-mother.
Supported by her McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey), she even became suicidal to the point that it made Derek ponder about the value of their relationship.
Not to be outdone, George (TR Knight) suffered the loss of his father (well played by recurring guest star George Dzundza), as well as the loss of confidence in colleagues (most notably Isiah Washington’s Preston Burke). In doing so, he almost became as neurotic, self-centred and annoying as Meredith Grey.
Katherine Heigl’s Izzie, meanwhile, went into the season still coming to terms with the loss of her beloved Denny, before unwittingly falling for George and attempting to break up his subsequent marriage to Callie (Sara Ramirez).
And Sandra Oh’s arrogant Cristina eventually came down a peg or two when her lover, Preston Burke, unceremoniously (or deservedly, depending on which way you viewed it) dumped her at the altar during the season finale.
Hence, Grey’s Anatomy as a series also lost the servies of Isiah Washington (sacked after his ill-advised public gaffes) as well as another of its better characters, Addison (Kate Walsh), who was rewarded with her own spin-off series, Private Practice. The set-up for that series, established over two episodes towards the end of the third season, highlighted how much better the spin-off is.
The main problem with Grey’s Anatomy, though, continues to be the self-centred nature of its characters. Most, if not all, of the leads are so pre-occupied with themselves that personal crisis always take precedent to patient trauma.
Hence, when the big episodes arrive – as evidenced in the three-part ferry disaster arc – we’re forced to spend more time contemplating the nurses’ personal woes (and Meredith’s in particular) than some of the major tragedies that unfold.
It’s where the deficiencies in the writing are ultimately exposed and why Grey’s Anatomy continues to exist in the shadow of far better shows such as ER and House.
Season three, while watchable, was more irritating than ever before and even had the misfortune of turning previously appealing characters (Izzie and George) into ones that bordered on the unlikeable. A little reconstructive surgery may be needed of its own to get things – and personnel – back on track.
UK DVD Release: September 15, 2008