Krista Vernoff on "Haunt You Every Day"...
First things first. Blogging about episode number 5 when you are currently spending long days in the writers’ room working on episode 12? This kind of thing was MUCH easier before I had a baby. Yes, since we last spoke my beautiful daughter Cosette was born – and with her arrival went the vast majority of my brain cells. Seriously, it’s craaaazy how dumb I am. Can’t. Remember. Crap. I currently have my lovely and talented assistant, Star, running around the building looking for a dvd of “Haunt You Everyday” so I can remember what the hell it’s about. I vaguely remember something about Halloween. So that’s what I’ll talk about.
Halloween has long been a favorite holiday of my family. We are a highly delusional people, and any opportunity to pretend to be someone else, we seize upon with glee. Every year, my Dad, until he died at 56, would spend like, 4 hours in the bathroom putting on this unbelievable costume. He would dress as one of the monsters from the Time Machine. What were they called?? Warlock? …Morlock! I think it was morlock! God, I wish I was kidding about my memory. Anyway, he was big on the holiday. I, myself, remember being chastised by a neighbor lady when, at age 13, I was dressed up like a kitty/bunny/rodent type creature, ringing doorbells and trick or treating. She told me I was too old for this sort of thing and I STILL remember my devastation, cause truth be told, that hadn’t even occurred to me. I loooove Halloween (and you can’t believe how excited I am to dress my 7 month old in a monkey costume and carry her around the neighborhood – no one can tell me I’m too old for that!!) I’m ranting, as usual, but my point is…Meredith. That moment where she tells Mark that Ellis never got Halloween together and didn’t approve of knocking on doors, begging for food… That moment explains so so so much to me about our lovely, broken Meredith. That her first experience trick or treating is taking an earless boy around the hospital to make his pro-bono surgery happen… I find it utterly heartbreaking. And I love that Mark points out to her that she fell pretty far from the Ellis tree. I think it was critically important to Meredith to hear those words, because the haunting Meredith is feeling, is the fear that she will die alone like her Mom did. Because Derek said he might find someone else before she’s ready. And she doesn’t know how to get ready. Cause she’s an emotional cripple who’s unwilling or unable to lay her ass down on a therapist’s couch for the many years it takes to work through issues like she has. Meredith’s version of therapy – her very best idea – is to bring her mom’s ashes to work. Y’know, in a strange way it makes sense – like, she understands that she’s been sticking her mom in the back of her closet, literally and metaphorically – and that if she doesn’t start to look at this stuff (i.e.: herself) she’s in danger of dying alone (i.e.; losing Derek forever.) Life is hard isn’t it? But I love and applaud Meredith’s ongoing willingness to try – as she explains to Derek when his hands are covered in mommy dust and he’s looking at her like maybe, just maybe he should escort her up to the psych ward, “This is me trying.” See, Derek comes from sanity, and a Mom who probably made him homemade Halloween costumes every year and chaperoned the school dances and things – so it’s hard for him to get, exactly how haunted Meredith is. Richard, though, gets it. Because Ellis haunts him, too. And my favorite scene, maybe ever, is the one in which Richard and Meredith put Ellis to rest in a surgical sink. I hope, I hope, I hope you all got this. I hope so much that no one found this disrespectful. (My Dad, for the record, has been laid to rest in something like 28 different countries. He had always wanted to travel, and never got to much, so after he died, my stepmom put his ashes in many little baggies and gave them out to all his friends with the directive that when they went somewhere cool, they should bring him. I kid you not. I myself scattered him in the Bahamas, in Paris and in Scotland.) Point is, there is nowhere Ellis would rather be put to rest than in the scrubroom at Seattle Grace. This is absolutely the most respectful and appropriate thing Meredith could have done. And Ellis was a very private woman, so the intimate ceremony, her daughter and the man who loved her most, was all she would have wanted. There are more things in this episode, I know there are, but I loaned my dvd to the new writer and my assistant isn’t back yet and my brain isn’t functioning and I’m needed in the writers’ room, so I will say goodbye here and wish you all a very happy Halloween. May no one ever tell you you are too old to knock on doors and beg for food.