So Denny Duquette died at 7:42 Monday evening.
Actually, he died once on the East coast and once again on the West coast and I’m pretty sure he’s going to die many more times on many more continents pretty damned soon.
I cried. When Denny died, I cried. I cried when I wrote the script page where Denny dies. I cried when we had the read through and the cast found out that Denny dies. I cried when Mark Tinker filmed Denny dying. I cried when Ed Ornelas edited Denny’s death. I cried watching them mix the song playing during Denny’s death. I’m a freaking crybaby when it comes to Denny.
I choose to blame editor Ed Ornelas for Denny’s death. Like I had nothing to do with it. Like I was an innocent bystander in the whole thing. Like it wasn’t me wrote it. I’d sit behind him in the editing room and sob into a tissue while saying kindly, supportive things to the back of Ed’s head. Things like “Denny Murderer! Dog Killer!!! DENNY-MURDERING-DOG-KILLER!!!”
I didn’t kill Denny. Ed did.
Look, I honestly have nothing to say for myself. No words in my own defense. Except I told you guys that the characters have to do what the characters have to do. I mean, I love Denny. Really love him. He was my “you jump, I jump” guy. He was my imaginary future husband. He was the guy I was dating in my head. HE WAS ALL I HAD. And now he’s dead. God, I feel so Izzie in this moment.
But the point is, Denny was always going to die. His character was created to die. I knew it. Jeffrey Dean Morgan knew it. And as much as I wanted Denny NOT to die when the time came, as much Jeffrey Dean Morgan wanted to NOT die when the time came, as much as Channing Dungey (our super cool studio executive ) begged me to not to hurt her Denny…
…it was his time. He had a stroke. He died. I had nothing to do with it. It was his time.
People die. Suddenly. Without warning. When you least expect it. People die. And it’s horrible and painful and utterly shocking but…it happens. And I wanted to present that on the show.
The good thing is – and you’re all yelling “GOOD THING? GOOD THING?!!!” – but, yes, there is a good thing in all of this. And that good thing is what Camille says to Richard. “I’ve been loved. I’ve been loved. That’s something everyone should feel once in their life.” Denny has been loved. And he dies knowing he was loved. And knowing that he loved back.
I named this episode “Losing My Religion” because, to me, that is what happens to each intern in this episode. Each intern lets go of the things they’ve held onto all season. George lets go of loving Meredith. Cristina lets go of her well-checked emotions. Izzie is forced to let go of her idealism. And that leads to her letting go of medicine. Alex lets go of his rage against Izzie. And Meredith…well, Meredith just lets go.
I don’t want to talk too much about the Mer/Der of it all because we are clearly hanging on a cliff here and anything I say may tell you what’s on the other side. And you know I hate spoilers. But I do feel like we’ve tried to make their relationship complex. Derek’s flawed and sometime you hate him. Meredith’s flawed and sometimes you hate her. And you can’t help but root for Addison to be happy. And you like Finn cause he births ponies and he has plans. And clearly poor Doc was a metaphor for the Mer/Der relationship and when Doc’s put down, it feels like a horrible, painful but necessary ending. But still…when Derek grabs Meredith and kisses her…it’s such a relief. You want them to figure this thing out.
I do want to talk about the costumes (done beautifully by Mimi the costume goddess). Everyone dresses up for the prom. But then we lose Denny. And here’s something you maybe don’t notice until all our interns are gathered in the room with Izzie who lies on the bed with Denny’s body: the prom clothes are actually mourning clothes. Funeral clothes. Suddenly, you see that Meredith and George and Cristina and Callie and Alex are all dressed, not for a prom, but for a funeral. Everyone in dark colors, everyone dressed somberly. As if they were in mourning. Only Izzie is in happy pink. Only Izzie looks like she didn’t know this was coming. In the last scene, Mark Tinker shot this gorgeous shot of Izzie walking down the stairs, Alex and George behind her. I love that shot. Izzie has this fallen queen thing going on that I just adore.
Speaking of the prom…dudes, I so wanted this prom. I’ve wanted this prom since the beginning of the season. We’d been planning for it and obsessing about it. Because, first of all, I like seeing men in suits. Second, these interns and their lives remind me so much of high school in all the best ways. I hope you’ve noticed that. I hope you got the Breakfast Club of it all when they give their speeches to the Chief. Cause I’m an 80’s girl and I needed my prom.
Burktina: this episode is one of my favorites for both Burke and Cristina. If you look at where they began at the beginning of Season Two and how far they’ve come…. You just hate Cristina. You hate her when she walks away from Burke after seeing that he know has a hand tremor. And then you see her give that speech to the Chief (which by the way, Sandra Oh did brilliantly and perfectly EVERY SINGLE TAKE) and you see the struggle. Her struggle to suppress all of her humanity in pursuit of perfection. And in my mind, what we realize is that she is not cold. She is terrified. Scared that if she lets her emotions out, they will overtake her and she will be hurt. And you can’t hate her. Because it’s so incredibly human and understandable. There’s that moment when Burke tells Cristina that he won’t bear a grudge and it’s so sad because he means it. He doesn’t believe she has it in her to stay by his side. And then Denny dies and Cristina watches Izzie grieving and realizes that she has no other option but to go to Burke and cover his hand with her own. Because you can lose someone if you’re not careful.
There’s more to say but I know y’all are itching for me to post this blog. So I’ll do another one later in the week. Because we still have to talk about the Chief and about Burke’s tremors and George and Callie’s thing and so much more…
One last thing: Thank you so much for watching the show. I’ve been in New York for the network upfronts and it’s been amazing to hear from fans how much they enjoy the show. It means a lot to me and all of us who work on Grey’s. You may have heard we are moving to Thursday night. I’m thrilled because Thursday is a big day for TV and I love a challenge and I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that you’ll follow us to our new night.