This week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy was in a word, brutal. We knew it was coming. The previews left little room for interpretation. The prognosis has been bleak from the start. Still, none of this did much to slow the tears. So. Many. Tears.
Grey’s Anatomy has supplied fans with some of the best crying material in TV history, thanks to its numerous painful deaths. There was Denny’s death, then George’s death, Henry’s death, Adele’s death, Lexie’s death, Mark’s death, and of course most recently, Derek’s death. Wait, why are we still watching this show?
This week’s episode was in true Grey’s Anatomy heartbreak fashion, showcasing the death of a parent. Maggie’s mother Diana sadly joined the ‘Dead Parent Club’ on Grey’s Anatomy, which over the years has extended membership to George’s dad, Alex’s dad, Meredith’s mother Ellis, Meredith’s father, and Meredith’s stepmother. Seriously, there has to be something happier for us to watch, right? Why do we do this?
We do it because few shows cover pain, loss and sorrow with such realism and raw emotion as Grey’s Anatomy. Case in point is this week’s episode, which centred on Maggie, played by the exceptional Kelly McCreary, and the loss of her mother Diana. Having been kept in the dark by both her mother and Jackson for months, Maggie’s determination to secure every mode of treatment available for Diana, including a painful clinical trial, was in an effort to stave off the grief she knew awaited her as a result of her mother’s diagnosis.
The episode, which opened with Meredith’s voice-over discussing an unfinished letter Ellis left her, framed the two losses side-by-side. While Meredith has endured the loss of a mother who was neither loving or supportive, Maggie was forced to say good-bye to a parent who had been both things. In the end, grief comes for us all, regardless of the relationship between a parent and a child.
This weeks’ loss of Diana will easily be added to the ever-growing list of Grey’s Anatomy’s most heartbreaking deaths and for good reason. Maggie’s pain, coupled with the support of her co-workers, made for one of the most compelling and tearful episodes of the season. But unlike deaths in real life, which are messy and devastating and can often seem pointless, TV deaths provide a silver lining and in Maggie’s case, the words of wisdom from her mother, including get a little lazy, be a little slutty, have fun and don’t be afraid of lipstick, provide some comfort to viewers. We keep watching, because even with all the heart-wrenching deaths and tearful episodes, there is some comfort to be found.
But seriously, we need a musical episode or a patient with Lego blocks in their stomach next week.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.