Grey's Anatomy season finale recap: Shots Fired

A gunman terrorizes Seattle Grace in the dramatic -- and wrenching -- season finale
Ep. 23 | Aired May 20, 2010

GREYSCALE Pick you, choose you, love you, Meredith? You got it.

Grey's Anatomy sure knows how to bring the drama when it's good and ready.

When Callie and Cristina had their ''stop crying''/''no, you stop crying'' exchange at the beginning of the two-hour finale, they could've been talking to any of their viewers throughout the gripping episode. Shonda Rhimes and company had a lot to live up to, given last year's epic George-is-the-dead-patient twist, and, well, they did a bang-up job. Such a bang-up job that I actually feel bad using cutesy shooting puns, as if this all really happened, as if there really were a shooter in Seattle Grace racking up massive casualties, as if there really were several people now dead at the hands of my insensitive wordplay. It felt real in every way, thanks to some stellar performances and writing. And yet it maintained its Grey'sness thanks to some quieter moments — yes, these people still manage to overanalyze their relationships even (especially) while on lock-down — and plenty of witty exchanges to boot.

Only Grey's Anatomy could start an episode with the totally de-dramafied revelation that its central couple, once so on-again-off-again-tortured, was now expecting a baby. We even saw Meredith's feet in the stall as she peed on the stick. And then she told Cristina (before getting around to telling Derek, of course) so nonchalantly that Cristina wasn't even sure if it was good or bad or indifferent news: ''So are we happy about this or are we exercising our legal right to choose?'' Meredith finally indicated that we were happy, so we cheered. ''This is very adult,'' Cristina said. ''I'm very proud of you, Meredith Grey.'' Then she added, ''Hey, I hope it has his hair.''

We met our patients, as usual: a kid had appendicitis, a guy got shot in a road-rage reaction to a car accident, Mandy Moore had a colostomy bag and needed a transfusion and was married to the guy who plays Busy Philips' boyfriend on Cougartown. But then: The guy who tried to sue the hospital for pulling the plug on his wife showed up, looking foreboding and getting blown off everywhere he asked for directions to the chief's office. And when Reed sneered at him, he shot her point blank in the head. Alex, too, got a bullet to the abdomen, then dragged himself into the elevator hoping to eventually be found.

Much dark-humor/ironic foreshadowing dialogue ensued while most of the hospital still didn't know about the shooter in the building. Like Derek saying, after Meredith told him about a great head-injury surgery she'd gotten in on while he slaved over paperwork: ''I would love to have something jammed in my brain. That way I could see the inside of an OR.'' And Cristina saying, upon learning that she'd be Meredith's kid's godmother and thus would get the kid if they died, ''I have to admit, I kind of hope you and Derek die, just a little bit.'' Cristina and Owen slipped in a quick mid-surgery breakup when he couldn't answer the question, ''Do you love her or do you love me?'' Arizona and Callie bickered in the children's ward. Cristina politely gave the gunman (whose weapon was concealed at the moment, obviously) directions to Derek's office.

NEXT: The tracks of Mandy Moore's tears

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