Wow. Turns out, that whole “It Gets Better” campaign is a lie — at least when it comes to Seattle Grace Mercy West. At TV’s craziest fictional hospital, it only seems to get worse for our beloved band of doctors.
What I mean is that just when you thought the deepest depths of tragedy had been reached for the Grey’s Anatomy crew (see: last week’s harrowing Mark Sloan death episode), Shonda Rhimes and Co. manage to rip open the slowly healing wound yet again. The takeaway from last night’s flashback-heavy hour, “Remember the Time,” was really just this: Last week’s season premiere didn’t explain a fraction of what happened after May’s season finale plane crash. There was so much more to all that. So what did happen? So, so much. Let’s get into it.
Last week’s season premiere made it seem like the big learnings from the season finale plane crash were first, of course, the (already mostly digested) death of Lexie Grey, but mostly the shocking new revelations over Sloan’s death and the amputation of Arizona’s leg. But there was so many further repercussions, which we learned about finally: the crazed state of Cristina upon return; the friendship breakdown between Cristina and Meredith; the professional breakdown between Arizona and Karev; the full extent of what happened to Derek and his hand; Callie’s crisis with Arizona; Kepner losing her job; and the list goes on and on. But let’s begin with the biggies: Since Arizona is alive and (mostly) well, while Sloan is dead, let’s delve into what happened to him.
First off, it was shocking to see the wily plastic surgeon sitting up in a Seattle Grace hospital bed, talking in his typical saucy way, during this episode. I never thought we’d see that again except for in flashbacks maybe…and, well, last night was technically a flashback episode, so there — I just ate my words. After last week’s episode, I had (wrongly) assumed that Sloan had been unconscious and on life support ever since he was airlifted out of the forest with the rest of the doctors — thus, there had never been much hope that he would recover. And that was seemingly the case, but, of course, there was an anomaly to Sloan’s life support situation: Turns out, he had what the doctor’s call a “surge,” just before he really went down. It was this so-called “surge” that had him up, talking and laughing, and had the doctors — all of his best pals at Seattle Grace — hoping that he might be back at ’em soon.
The “surge,” it was explained, is “a final surge of energy. They get better before they get worse.” That was the case for Sloan, who — after having appropriate moments with all of his most loved, offering advice to Avery and a laugh to Callie, which was a nice way to say goodbye — went back under and (as we learned last week) passed away after Webber pulled his life support plug. When he did go back into his catatonic state after being so lively, it was difficult to watch — I’ve never seen such a TV situation where someone’s face goes so waxy like that. The one thing I will say about Sloan’s last few moments on screen is that he looked good. Like, damn good! Even in a hospital bed, not a hair was out of place and — this may be inappropriate, considering he’s dead now — he continued to look good, even in those scenes where the other doctors were pumping his (chiseled, naked) chest.
NEXT: Sloan speaks some of his final words