I Am The Sun and He can Go Suck It

I Am The Sun and He can Go Suck It
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Grey's Anatomy Addicts in in no way affiliated with ABC TV, Shonda Rhimes or Grey's Anatomy. It is a personal blog containing news and gossip, my personal opinions and that of the fans. All photos have the correct attribution added.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Grey's Anatomy Bend And Break - Season 11-5

Review of Bend and Break, Grey's' Anatomy Season 11 Episode 5 - Written by Brouhaha - PipMaxine

I feel free. Do you feel free? I feel free. Honestly I do. I breathe a little easier now, knowing that Callie and Arizona have finally put us all out of our misery and ended the torture their relationship has been to the viewers. Okay, that’s a little dramatic but let’s face it, watching them recently has not been pretty or comfortable. Don’t get me wrong; over the years I’ve enjoyed watching them and rooting for them to prevail as a couple against the odds. But now, this, this feels right; sad, needed, but right. 

Whenever I sit down to write a review I always re-watch the episode. Sometimes, though not this season, that is painfully hard to do (flashbacks to “All About Men” in season eight). At other times, like last week, I spend the time absorbed in the episode again rather than writing, because it was so good. This week I sat down with a heavy heart. That is until the very first line. It was only during this second viewing of Bend and Break I noticed that Arizona gave away the ending in her very first words. She’s such a spoiler. In describing the components of the ‘triad of death’ Dr Robbins effectively nailed the coffin on her marriage before the episode had even got going... 

Uncontrollable bleeding, acidosis, cold, the triad of death - the point of no return. She was not describing fixing a broken leg, or even the difficult decision to amputate one. She was describing trying to save what little life is left at the point where it is almost hopeless. It was never going to be a happy ending and I’m vaguely annoyed with myself that I didn’t see that big fat clue from the opening narrative. 

Season eleven of Grey’s Anatomy, so far, seems to be the season of specials. Perhaps post Sandra Oh the writers decided to throw the rulebook away and redesign the show. Perhaps they were feeling nostalgic and wanted the editors to do a bit more work by having them go back and paste past clips? Whatever the reason we were treated to a third concentrated episode, delving deeper into one particular relationship to set up a very different kind of reality for these characters for the majority of the season. It’s working too. Bend and Break, while not as good as last week’s epic season buster Meredith centric feast (..and breathe), was a watchable feature that allowed us to look past the superficial and create some closure on a number of unanswered questions. 

I did not enjoy the episode, but then I was not supposed to. It was very good, the writing was truly compelling and honest, it was beautiful drama, but it was not pleasant. The outcome was welcome, though the journey painful, for the characters and the viewers. But maybe that was the point? Maybe the writers meant to make viewing awkward and itchy, not only this week but for the last few? Maybe this was a metaphor for their marriage and the story they were telling?

The marriage I refer to of course is Callie and Arizona’s. In 11.05 we finally got to see behind the closed doors of this struggling relationship and what we found was a car crash. Breaking up this couple after all the difficulty of the past few years was the kindest thing Shonda could do; kindness to the season, to the viewer, to the actors. It now gives us the opportunity to get to know both of these characters as individuals again rather than as a couple. It will make them both more interesting and watchable. It may even make them fun again and in the end it may bring them back together as a couple. 

Very quickly into the episode we were introduced to the couple’s therapy sessions and finally some dissection of the issues plaguing their relationship. Both women were irritating throughout and at times intolerable. Callie with her emotional whining self-absorption, Arizona with her self-interested clinical detachment. We saw the worst versions of them and this was deliberate. They were lost, to themselves and in themselves. Through their very different experiences of separation they emerge from the silos, one needy the other free. Arizona’s discovery is that she ‘needs’ Callie but we already knew this. This was her breakthrough in season nine. For her this separation was merely an affirmation of that and through her epic failure at work having the break consolidated that need, but she said nothing about her marriage or imagining life from Callie’s point of view. This is what motivates Callie’s epiphany. The effort of ‘fixing’ is tearing her down. The more Callie heard from Arizona the more she realized that happiness starts with self-love and it is absent. The freedom she felt was the separation from Arizona’s need. It wasn’t from Arizona, for it was clear throughout this episode that these two love each other hard. With grace and love and a commitment to shared parenting Callie tore them apart, for the good of them both. When it came it made complete sense. The only surprise perhaps was that Callie and not Arizona delivered the fatal line. Did you see that coming?

The writing was not wholly satisfactory though. While it is wonderful that Callie laughed during her 30 days and did lots of stuff, those in themselves should be benefits to a marriage not drawbacks. Relationships thrive when we get to have our own separate interests and passions away from couple-dom. This is what worked about Callie’s relationship with Mark. Yes it was problematic because of the parenting storyline, but over all she had her social release, her friendships away from her wife. And did she really do that much in the 30 days? I’ve seen Callie be much more hardcore and bad ass before, even within the marriage. Part of this was functional character linking. Bringing Meredith and Callie together as social partners opens up a new (or renewed from season nine) relationship avenue for the writers to exploit. Which brings me to the second unsatisfactory point – where was Bailey? Callie tells Meredith she has no one to talk to. Really? What happened to Bailey? Saying that, I would not take away from this new tequila twosome at all. Their vagina duologue track was possibly the very best scene to come out of the writer’s room in a very long time. I’m excited to see more of Meredith and Callie together. 

Though the marriage may be over I remain of the view that this is an end game couple. Subject to the actors’ own plans and decisions I can see Shondaland taking Callie and Arizona on a long journey to self-love circling back to each other. They may entangle themselves with others, they may even self destruct first but until shown otherwise the writers will eventually keep the faith. 
The love, the passion, remains. Though it’s worth remembering that this is Grey’s Anatomy so this is to be expected - Mark/Lexie, Cristina/Owen, Cristina/Burke, Alex/Izzie. The big relationships rarely fail in Grey’s because people just don’t love each other anymore. 

Bend and Break did not break me. It energized me to see what the writers have in store for these two. I came away both relieved and excited, ready for the fall out and new adventures. 

In case you missed it:
Did you notice a similarity in Callie’s break up speech to that given by Arizona at the airport”
7.07, That’s Me Trying: “You stay here and be happy and I'll go there and be happy”
11.05, Bend and Break: “I should love me, and you should love you, and together we love Sofia...”

What was Arizona wearing?
Callie swigging from a bottle of wine – is that normal?
Arizona has still not said she doesn’t want another child - foreshadow?

Meredith’s musings on Cristina as her true love and the glue in her relationship with Derek – very attuned piece of self awareness almost drowned out by tequila and vaginas.

So tell me...did an iceberg hit your ship? 

EDIT: Oh my. I forgot one of my key closing points. 
Callie beware. Callie beware. The choice you made may come around to bite you. The fall out of this will be a very angry Arizona. Callie has made this decision and we know that one of Arizona's real issues is that in her eyes Callie makes the decisions for her:
"I regret that you made a decision for me. You make all the choices and every time that I try to make a decision for myself its like you make me feel like I'm the most selfish person in the world."

Maxine (aka Brouhaha) is a Grey’s Anatomy devotee, from the very beginning and through the dark period of George and Izzie as a couple. Her other TV 'loves' include the British series Foyle's War, Criminal Minds and TBBT. In real life she's a new mum, self-employed and can often be found arguing about politics or current affairs, attempting to write fiction and buying hair products. Maxine reviews Grey's Anatomy. Got a question - go to Tumblr and ask!

To learn more about Maxine (Brouhaha), you can visit her Tumbler page or go to Spoiler TV and read more of her Grey's Anatomy reviews with comments from other fans. You can also follow Maxine on Twitter.

 Another pic that I found on Facebook; Derek lost me with this comment. 

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Janelle Coulton is a Freelance Writer who has been writing about Grey's Anatomy for around four years now. She never misses an episode and her blog is her labour of love that she works on when she is not writing for clients and online writing sites. To find out more about Janelle, you can visit her profile or visit her website: Jel Writes - Freelance Writer

Copyright © 2014 Janelle Coulton

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