Saturday, March 9, 2013

Remembering Grey's Anatomy: The Dead Denny Ghost Story





Probably one of the most unbelievable and controversial storylines portrayed on Grey's Anatomy; returning Denny from the dead was not popular with viewers. it was in-fact, in many fans opinions the worse story arc of Season 5.





On Grey Matter, the Grey’s Anatomy Writers’ Blog, Shonda Rhimes promised fans a ‘go for broke’ season. Season 5 was about raising the bar and writing the most emotional and exciting storylines ever. Season 5 was excellent; however it was not the best season. Season 2 and 3 take that honour in my humble opinion.



Denny and Izzie Were Popular

The pairing of Dr Isobel Stevens and Denny Duquette in Season 2 was a very popular storyline in Season 2. The fans fell in love with Denny (Jeffrey Dean-Morgan) and were very much hoping for a happy ending for this couple. However it was not to be, Denny died of complications related to his heart transplant surgery and a grieving Izzie quits her job at the hospital. Fans did not want Denny to die, however it was clear from the start Denny would die.

Denny and Izzie’s story began early in the season when Denny was first admitted to Seattle Grace for a heart transplant surgery. Unfortunately for Denny the heart surgery did not happen because of complications with the donor patient who was on life support at another hospital. Cristina Yang and Miranda Bailey had flown to this hospital to collect the organ, however when they arrived the patient had coded and heart was unusable. Denny was discharged and it seemed as though Izzie moved on with Alex and that was that.




A few months later Denny is admitted to hospital again; suffering from severe heart failure and needing urgent surgery to save his life. When Izzie sees Denny lying on a gurney in the ER, she is instantly by his side having forgotten all about Alex. Surgery was performed to install a device to give Denny’s heart a rest and to buy him some time before he could receive a transplant heart. Izzie barely leaves his side.

Izzie Cuts the LVAD Wire

A heart becomes available again for Denny Duquette at Mercy West Hospital and Dr Burke and Alex go in the helicopter to retrieve it. When they arrive, it is revealed there are two hearts available, both a match for Denny. Dr Burke’s patient has already coded and died on the table when they arrive, so Burke races to the OR next door where Dr Erica Hahn is retrieving the second heart. Burke orders her to stop and they meet with the Chief of Mercy West to discuss who is actually first in line for this heart.


It is revealed that Hahn’s patient is was clocked into the transplant list 17 seconds before Denny was; however if it is revealed that one patient is sicker and in more danger of dying than the other, then the more critical patient gets the heart. Izzie finds out that Denny is about to miss out on the transplant surgery again and she lies to Burke in order to get the heart.

Izzie realises that Denny needs to be critically ill to receive this heart, she cuts Denny’s LVAD wire. Denny ends up getting the heart, however he dies the next day due to complications resulting in a stroke that no-one could have prevented.

Izzie is devastated; Denny had proposed marriage an hour ago and now he’s going to the morgue. She cannot believe it. She resigns from the program, and tells the chief that it was her who cut the LVAD. “I thought I was a surgeon.” She says, tears rolling down her face; “But I’m not. I quit.” And she walks out the door.

Izzie Blames Herself and the Guilt Never Lets Up

Denny shows up in Izzie mind in Season 5. She is treating a patient of Dr Hahn’s; the same patient whose heart she stole for Denny back in Season 2. At first Izzie thinks she’s going mad, she thinks that she’s imagining seeing Denny, but then he says “I’m here for you Izzie.” That would be enough to make anyone freak out, and Izzie does. She tells him to go away, that she’s moved on and that she will always love him, but Denny won’t go away, and he keeps saying: “I’m here for you Izzie.”


The biggest part of this story arc that viewers had trouble with was probably the dead Denny sex scenes. It was bad enough seeing Izzie talking to a dead guy, but to imagine that she’s having sex with him just seemed too unbelievable.

It is Revealed That Izzie Has Cancer

After a while Izzie realises that what’s happening is not right. In-fact Denny is trying to tell her something is up. However, poor Izzie is in a state of denial. While teaching the interns in the clinic she has them run the same tests they are running on patients, on her. Nothing comes up, so Izzie thinks all is okay, however it is revealed that Sadie mixed up some blood tests, and Izzie has to go back to the drawing board.


Izzie decides to name herself patient X and has the interns diagnose her from start to finish. The interns don’t know whose labs they are studying. They mess up a few times, but eventually diagnose Izzie with skin cancer, with the cancer being present in her liver, brain and skin, hence the reason she is imagining Denny being around.

Izzie Tells Cristina
In the resident’s lounge Izzie corners Cristina and says, “I need to tell you something.” However, they leave the lounge and go to the vent room where Izzie breaks the news. In the next episode Cristina is running around getting referrals to cancer doctor’s and discussing treatments with Izzie, when Izzie announces that she is not even sure if she wants treatment. Cristina is stunned and asks “Then why did you tell me?” Cristina assumed Izzie told her because she wanted medical help, not emotional support; Cristina tells her she should tell Meredith. Izzie refuses and warns Cristina not to tell anyone.


Later on in the OR; Cristina has her first solo surgery and she knows she cannot focus until she helps Izzie. She tells Alex and Bailey about Izzie’s condition and that she needs help. Later on she finds Izzie in the ambulance bay and tells her: “I want you to fight, because sometimes we win.” Izzie is admitted to the hospital and that scene of her getting into the hospital bed and talking to her friends sends me into tears every time I watch it.

Denny is Gone

Now that Izzie knows Denny has no reason to be there. Izzie is furious with him for not telling her. He says he didn’t know. Izzie tells him she chooses life and go away. As Izzie embarks on the biggest fight of her life, Denny is no longer needed, she has Alex, Meredith, George and Cristina. It is decided that Izzie needs brain surgery; however Derek is still hiding out in the woods having botched a surgery earlier that week. Meredith goes out to see him and talks him into coming back.


Izzie’s surgery goes smoothly however she is very sick and on a very high dose of chemotherapy. Denny re-appears on the day that Meredith and Derek are supposed to get married, Izzie knows full well there is another tumor in her brain. It is tiny and does not show up on a normal MRI. Derek maps her brain with an EEG to find it. At first he does not think he can do anything to save her life, that’s when he and Meredith decide to give their wedding to Izzie and Alex. However, the next day after staying up all night, Derek figures out how he can get the tumor, he discusses this with Izzie and tells her it’s quite risky, but it’s her only shot. Izzie keeps asking Denny what she should do, however it’s laughable, because we know she is talking to herself.

The Season 5 Finale

In the end she has the surgery and all is well, until the final episode of Season 5 when she flat-lines and at the very same time so does George. George and Izzie are at death’s door in the finale and four long months are ahead of the viewers before we find out who lives or dies.


However we all know George died and Izzie went on to stuff Alex around in Season 6. But this finale was probably one of the best, given the shocking storyline idea revolving around Denny coming back from the dead. Even though most of the viewers knew it was George who dies before Season 6 premiered, I didn’t, it was a surprise for me. Back then I didn’t surf the net looking for spoilers, I just waited until the show premiered in Australia.

Season 5 was good and it lived up to Shonda’s expectations. There were so many good story arcs. Cristina and Owen, the PTSD story, Meredith and Derek moving in together and their post it wedding, and Izzie’s cancer story arc was awesome. We saw Owen stabbing the pigs in the skills lab; the crazy interns’ appendectomy, and a death row patient that Meredith felt sorry for. Dead Denny kind of ruined it.




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