This Post Inspired by Scott Foley
I have never been so close to wanting to call it quits with Grey’s Anatomy. And I promise, I do not say that lightly. Grey’s seems hell bent on sticking to a formula that has an utter disregard for characters that are not staffers at Seattle Grace. I wish that I could separate out what feelings are my love of Scott Foley as Henry versus some other actor but that is all moot. My present bitterness may have roots in this version of the character:
But the “shocking” death of Henry on Grey’s raises a complaint I have had against Grey’s for a while: it is too predictable in its minor character dismissals. I don’t know the details, and maybe Scott really wanted to be free of Grey’s to be prepared for True Blood but after the epicness of the Henry/Teddy romance last season, I feel like I invested a lot of emotion in something that in the end, wasn’t worth it. Especially for it to be thrown away to heighten the drama on a mid-season finale. For me, it would have been much more satisfying for Henry to go to med school (a decision that would involve his own life becoming over the top busy…and a reason for a prolonged absence from the show that doesn’t involve death). And in saying this I don’t want to cheapen the performance that Kevin McKidd gave in the episode; it was pitch perfectly heartbreaking to watch the scene where he lies to Teddy.
I have seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy so I am no stranger to the idea that this is not something new. Which is precisely the problem. The Denny Duquette death was earned by the writers of Grey’s. I didn’t want it to happen; I am pretty sure I fell in love with him right along with Izzy. But his death didn’t feel contrived and while I waltzed into school heartbroken the next day, it was that type of drama that put Grey’s Anatomy on the map.
So as the seasons progressed, us fans knew not to get too invested in some patients or even major cast members. And we also knew that typically the person with the minor injuries would succumb to some unknown problem and the person teetering on death would miraculously survive.
I have always been a fan of the Grey’s finale in particular. If anything, Denny’s death in Season 2 set the bar for the standards in which the finales could be judged. I will forever be impressed with George’s death: all signs pointed to T.R. Knight exiting the show by joining the military and the shocking realization that George was the horribly disfigured hero in the Season 5 finale (when he outlines ‘007’ it hit me like a ton of bricks) was horribly fantastic. And the shooter storyline in Season 6’s finale was equal parts tension and horror, all in all a great finale.
After all of that, it seemed natural to me that last season’s finale was a bit more contained and that its shocker relied solely on the ramifications of Meredith’s decision to mess with Derek’s clinical trial and Alex’s betrayal…especially after Grey’s hit a creative renaissance. Another big payoff was the return of James Tupper to mess with Teddy and Henry’s almost relationship. Teddy realized she was in love with Henry and all was well in the world. Except this is Grey’s and now after ALL of that, Henry is also dead.
This is a television show that thrives on drama, and the rules dictate that mid-season finales must take it to the next level. I have accepted all of the creative decisions of Grey’s writers in the past, but this time it feels unnecessary and downright cruel. In an episode where you also have Alex and Meredith with a newborn baby stuck in overturned ambulance that may or may not explode, there was plenty of drama to go around. His death gave brilliant scenes to Kevin McKidd, Kim Raver (unknowingly), and Sandra Oh and the ramifications will surely play out for the rest of the season. But the fact that the Grey’s track record (and ominous writing surrounding the event) made me positive Henry’s death would be the end result of this episode, makes me earn for a new, more unpredictable method of delivering the drama.