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Grey's Anatomy: Season 5 - Dream A Little Dream of Me (1)

Greys Anatomy, Season 5

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from current television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the first part of Grey’s Anatomy season 5 opener Dream A Little Dream of Me (as aired on Living TV on Thursday, January 22, 2009).

What’s the story? Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) discover the morning-after side of their renewed relationship; a military doctor (Kevin McKidd) arrives at the hospital; and the chief learns that Seattle Grace’s national rankings have slipped.

Was it any good? At the top of this season opener, the staff at Seattle Grey Hospital were dismayed to learn that they had slipped to 12th in the rankings as a teaching hospital and were no longer the first choice for trauma. The story tended to serve as an appropriate metaphor for the way in which this show has continued to be in decline since the excellence of its first and second season.

On practical grounds, it’s not hard to figure out why a hospital like Grey’s could have slipped… the doctors and nurses who populate it are a selfish, self-centred bunch who would rather stand around musing over their personal woes than properly care for any patients.

Seasons three and four, in particular, tended to put patient care in the background – and even then, the trauma of the week generally mirrored something in one of the character’s personal lives.

The chief, meanwhile, continued to become more and more of a lamb-style figure, incapable of dressing down his colleagues when the situation demanded.

Among the chief culprits, meanwhile, were Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), who has seemed more interested in breaking up relationships than caring for patients of late; Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), who just wants to sleep with everyone, and Meredith and Derek, who continue to waste large amounts of time agonising over their on-off relationship and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.

On the evidence of this fifth season opener, nothing has changed. The ratings slip may have given the chief a kick up the backside as he fought extra hard to save trauma patients, but most of this first hour was taken up with petty personal problems.

Meredith, for instance, was still trying to decide whether to “go for it” with Derek, and laying out her concerns to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity to listen. Her patients – a trio of elderly housewives who had clearly grown tired of marriage – served as a catalyst for more doubt… but even Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) eventually broke ranks and told her to shut up.

What did she get for her troubles, though? A slip on some ice, and a piece of ice in the abdomen on top of that… further proof that no one is allowed to criticise Meredith and get away with it for too long!

Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), meanwhile, is the latest female member of staff to come over all doe-eyed for George O’Malley (T.R. Knight)… and spent most of her time dreamily staring at the back of his head, or sticking up for him in front of Sloan.

And Izzie – now done with George because, presumably, there’s no current relationship for her to wreck – is back onto Alex (Justin Chambers)… although a horrid allusion to lost love Denny is surely paving the way for his return (yes, the dead guy will haunt later episodes, so we’re told!).

If that weren’t bad enough, the one major attempt at an opening episode shock came in the opening minutes, when Derek was apparently killed in a trauma. We knew this had to be a dream sequence… which deprived it of any real dramatic tension and felt like a cheap shock tactic. The writers of this show really, really have to come up with better.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again for the cheap seats, ER and House both do this kind of thing so, so, so, so much better. And yes, the over-emphasis on the word “so” is in cheeky homage to Grey’s Anatomy‘s insistence on repeating every supposedly important line more than four times!

Five seasons and counting, and Grey’s Anatomy is so, so, so, so laboured.

What did you think?