“Grey’s Anatomy” is like a rambunctious dog.
It never seems to do what you want it to, it makes a mess of things, but that sweet face reminds you of how dearly you love it, and that’s why you’ll never take it to the pound.
After a wild season that saw one character leave to start her own show while another left, well, under less glamorous circumstances, fans prepare for another season of frustration, heartbreak and — ultimately — reluctant acceptance. As the fourth season approaches (premieres at 9 p.m. Sept. 27 on ABC), it’s a good time to catch up on where the storylines left off, what viewers are hoping for, what the writers should avoid, and what they’ll ultimately deliver.
Cristina and, umm, what was that guy’s name?
Where it left off: Cristina all but left that-guy-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned at the altar. He abruptly called the whole thing off, left their apartment empty, and was never to be seen again. Viewers now know this was no accident. The actor who played that-guy-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned had gotten himself into some hot water, and that pretty much doomed any future the two could have together.
What viewers are hoping for: Cristina getting back to her old self would be nice. Most fans didn’t have a problem with the career-focused Cristina who didn’t care to make room for someone else in her life so that she could concentrate on becoming a great heart surgeon. She needs to pull it together, make her career the priority, and love will come in time. One thing that-guy-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned didn’t take with him was his mother, played by Diahann Carroll, who is on board to make a return early in the season to collect a certain family heirloom.
What the writers should avoid: Dragging it on too long. Sure, Cristina is devastated by having her love life turned upside-down, but this is why TV life is so much more fun than real life. If they want to, they can have her get over it fairly quickly and move on like fans would expect Cristina to do.
What they’ll likely deliver: This could be where the promised “fun ‘Grey’s’” will happen. Cristina, while heartbroken, ought to bounce back nicely and maybe overcompensate for the brief departure from her selfish, wise-cracking self. Or she could hook up with George.
George and Izzie … and Callie
Where it left off: Strange that George’s “wife” seems like the third wheel, huh? Fans last saw George wanting to go to another hospital because he just couldn’t stand the constant presence of Izzie, who he really loves, because their affair threatens his marriage with Callie, who he also seems to love — as much as a lying cheater can. Turns out he can’t leave, even if he wanted to, because he failed the intern exam at the end of the year. If anybody will give him another chance, it’s Seattle Grace. That’s sure to keep George and Izzie crossing paths for a while. Meanwhile, Callie wants to get pregnant and it’s a little tough to do that when your husband’s off boinking someone else — although Callie doesn’t seem to know that’s what’s happened.
What viewers are hoping for: This, probably more than anything, is the one move fans seem to be universally behind: George and Izzie getting together was a bad idea and it should stop immediately.
What the writers should avoid: More George and Izzie sexual tension — if not outright sex.
What they’ll ultimately deliver: More George and Izzie sexual tension — if not outright sex. Sorry.
Meredith and McDreamy
Where it left off: They’re the de facto power couple on this show, but their stock dropped big-time as Meredith and McDreamy were mostly a sleepy, uninteresting couple last season. There was some forced tension in the otherwise perfectly quaint relationship when Meredith famously didn’t try to swim to save her own life after falling into the frigid waters of Seattle’s Elliott Bay. That made McDreamy question his effort to save her when she didn’t even want to save herself.
Once Meredith came to after seeing her dead mom, Denny and Coach Taylor from “Friday Night Lights,” while hovering between life and death, the relationship began to sour. MerDer weren’t talking to each other much and McDreamy semi-threatened Meredith, who he doesn’t think is fully invested in the relationship, by telling her he “met a woman.” That woman just happens to be Meredith’s half-sister, Lexie, who is a new intern at Seattle Grace this season. Oh, the drama!
What viewers are hoping for: McDreamy snaps out of it, Meredith fully commits and stops whining, and they live happily ever after, so the other messed up couples on the show can get sorted out.
What the writers should avoid: Continuing another agonizing sequence of “will they or won’t they?” when everyone knows they should. And get that darn half-sister fully out of the equation — stat!
What they’ll ultimately deliver: Probably a little bit of both. Lexie has to figure in to the equation on some level, and she’ll likely make Meredith feel a little like Addison did when Meredith was the young hottie stepping into McDreamyland uninvited.
Richard and AdeleWhere it left off: Yeah, that’s right. Viewers care about the chief and watching him save his marriage and his career. The chief decided not to retire and found out that his estranged wife, Adele, was pregnant and lost the baby.
What viewers are hoping for: The chief should be happy and commit time to his home life with Adele, but his wisdom and calming presence is needed at Seattle Grace and provides more ease and comfort with viewers than many might recognize.
What the writers should avoid: Trying to milk much more drama out of this relationship. Richard and Adele clearly love each other, and, despite their drama in the past, they deserve to be able to settle down and enjoy each others’ company.
What they’ll likely deliver: The chief is a great character and should continue to get some of the spotlight. He should return to being more of a calming influence and less of a dramatic character.
Where it left off: What happens with Alex and McSteamy in the wake of Addison’s departure remains to be seen. Each had a thing for her, and Alex was considering following Addison to OB-GYN rather than being McSteamy’s protégé in plastic surgery. Alex is also reeling from the sudden departure of his Jane Doe, Rebecca. Also, Bailey found out she didn’t get the chief resident position (Callie did).
What viewers are hoping for: Who knows? Alex, McSteamy and Bailey are the kind of characters who don’t really need a master plan, but all will be heartbroken on some level. Alex’s two love interests are gone (or is Jane Doe really gone?), McSteamy’s chance at a semi-healthy relationship is gone and Bailey’s career hit a wall.
What the writers should avoid: More love triangles involving patients. Seriously.
What they’ll ultimately deliver: We can speculate all we want, but nobody knows where they might end up.
Victor Balta is a writer in Philadelphia.