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The End of the Beginning...

Original Airdate: 5-22-08

So that was Season Four.

Right after we finished filming the finale of Season Three, I sat down with the Grey’s writing staff and I pitched them the last scene of Season Four.  That’s how I do it.  I start at the end.  When Season Two concluded, I pitched the image of Cristina tearing off her wedding dress and crying in Meredith’s arms.  For this season, I knew immediately that I wanted more hope.  I knew I personally NEEDED more hope.  So I pitched Meredith standing on Derek’s land in a field of candles telling Derek where the living room could be, where the kitchen could be, where the kids could play.  Because I wanted them together.  I hated them being apart.  It made me sad.  It made me sad in a way that was bad for me and for everyone around me. 

But I also knew that, in order for Meredith to stand in that field of candles, she had to get there.  Inside.  Now I’m not an oogey inside person.  I don’t do warm and fuzzy and I certainly don’t believe in therapy.  For other people, it’s fine (yay, therapy!).  For me, not so much.  I write – that’s how I deal with my insides.  And Meredith, she performs surgery – that’s how she deals with hers.

But in order to get her to a place where she could stand in that field of candles, Mer needed a little help.   Professional help.  Which shocked my writers.  Cause they know how I feel about therapy.  But I knew something they did not.  Something I’d been keeping to myself for four seasons.  Which was the fact that Meredith sat on the kitchen floor in a pool of her mother’s blood after her mother attempted suicide.  See what I mean about me not being warm and fuzzy?  Nothing warm and fuzzy about pools of blood. Which is why I kept that detail to myself.  When you say things like that in a writers’ room, people tend to look at you funny.  People tend to suggest that YOU need therapy.  So I kept it to myself.  For four long seasons.  I didn’t even tell Debora Cahn, the writer of the episode in which Meredith CONFESSES her mother’s suicide to Dr. Wyatt.  Not until the last possible second.

We’d have these discussions about Deb Cahn’s episode in the writers’ room where everyone would ask “Shonda, what is Meredith going to TELL Dr. Wyatt in this last scene?  WHAT?”  And I’d be all, “I don’t know.  Stop talking about it.”  And they’d sigh and shoot each other these looks.  They love me but still, there were looks.

I’d like to point out that it is RUDE not to tell details like that to your writing staff.  It is cold and withholding, to use therapy-speak.  But I just couldn’t do it.  Because of two things: one, while I had pitched Meredith all whole and healed in a field of candles, I wasn’t sure I could get to a place where I BELIEVED that Meredith would ever go to the field.  And two, I love Ellis Grey.  Love her.  Even though she is dead.  I think she is fantastic.  And I couldn’t figure out, couldn’t fathom, what a mother says to her child when she is bleeding to death on the kitchen floor from self-inflicted wounds.  For a long time, I felt like anything she would have said to a five year old kid in that moment would make her a monster.  Because I have a five year old kid.  And I can’t imagine doing something so horrible and damaging to her.  What do you say to your child at a time like that?  Why is your child even there?  How do you redeem yourself in that horrifying moment?

And then I realized: be extraordinary.  Be an extraordinary woman, Meredith.  If you’ll remember, in Season Three when Ellis was lucid, she tells Meredith, “I raised you to be an extraordinary woman, Meredith and imagine my disappointment at realizing you are no more than ordinary.”  That’s what she says in the episode RIGHT BEFORE Meredith falls in the water and chooses to stop swimming.   To let herself go.   That was Meredith’s own pool of blood.

So suddenly, I had my answer.  Ellis would lie there in her blood and tell Meredith to be an extraordinary woman.  To not depend on anyone.  And she wouldn’t be talking about surgery.  But Meredith, at five years old, could not possibly know that.  And she’d become the surgeon in training who screws boys like a whore on tequila and then tries to drown herself.  Instead of realizing what Ellis actually meant -- don’t have ordinary love.  Have extraordinary love.  And that made it all possible.  It made it possible for Mer to stand in a field of candles because once she realizes that, her whole world opens up.  She can just stand there in her joy.

But like I said, I don’t do warm and fuzzy. So that last scene, it was hard for me.  To let her be oogey on the inside.  So instead, Meredith is screaming and pacing and cursing like a fishwife.  Because that’s how we do things at Grey’s.  She’s going to love Derek and be with Derek but she’s going to go in kicking and screaming.  And then I really didn’t want to just end with the two of them kissing.  Everyone said, “end with the kiss, end with the kiss, end with THE KISS.”  And I was all stubborn about it.  Because this episode, it’s not about the kiss.  It’s about the moment AFTER the kiss.  It’s about the moment when she’s standing in the field of candles alone having just DONE the thing she was most scared of doing.  She is free.  She is free.  And you’ll notice, there’s no voice over there, no Meredith telling us anything.  Because, for once, my girl Meredith is speechless. 

There were other kisses in the episode.  Maybe you noticed?  Callie and Erica.  Callie and Erica!!  My god, did we discuss this a lot around here.  Because Callie kisses a girl.   We had this really cool meeting with GLAAD where we talked about the idea that a woman could decide she had feelings for another woman after being perfectly happy with men and we all got joyous because the chemistry between Callie and Erica and Mark is hot and interesting and fresh and like nothing any of us had seen on TV before.  And we wanted it to be real – not some stunt to get people talking.  We wanted to see what would happen if a woman suddenly had feelings for another woman.  Because that has got to be surprising.  And it is for Callie who so likes men.  Who so likes sleeping with men.  You’ll be very surprised when you find out where this story is heading next season.  Because we don’t do things the easy way.  And none of this will be easy.  Not for Callie.  Not for Erica.  And not for Mark Sloan…

How much do I love Mark Sloan?  He’s a dirty pretty manwhore who ends up being a hero.  And I love him for it.   Not that he’s going to become a good guy.  He’s no white hat.  But for one moment, he did what he thought was the right thing.  Because if there’s one thing he understands, it’s getting turned on by someone.  And who is he to deny that?

Okay, there is more to say.  I have more to say.  About George and Lexie.  About Alex and Ava/Rebecca and Izzie.  About Bailey.  About the Chief.  About Rose.  And about Cristina.  Oh, do I have more to say.

But my fingers are tired.  From writing all the kissing.  So I’m going to end this now and post it.  But I will write more tomorrow.  I’ll finish what I started.  But right now, I’ve got to head into the writers’ room and pitch them the end of Season Five…

Thank you so much for watching the show.   Every single time you watch an episode, we are grateful.  You are all extraordinary.



AMAZING. EVERYTHING was AMAZING! I loved the Chief and Mer confronting eachother. I loved Derek stopping before to go make things clear to Rose. I loved Alex and everything he tried to do, and I loved Hahn getting chewed out for her treatment of Cristina. But most of all, I LOVED BAILEY....and how she knew EVERYTHING about Han Solo. Cause I knew all thaty stuff about the Kessel Run in 12 Parsneps. I was a science fiction geek.
Shonda you rock the casba girl. That was SOOOOOOOO GOOOD...

Humble Reader

Thank you.

THANK you.

THANK YOU for creating such an uplifting and enjoyable season finale.




Good episode. Much better after I read your blog. Can't wait to read more and see what happens in Season 5! But I really don't want Alex and Izzie together...it is too quick after George!

laura m.

this just rocked my life so hard. well done!


That was one of the most remarkable season finales I've ever watched. Thank You!

Instead of spending the off-season wondering about my favorite characters, I can simply look forward to learning more about them in the fall.

You did a wonderful job tying up lose ends...and I can't even begin to explain how touching the ending was: Finally....those two can be together without all the angst.

Loved it!

cris ron

If something happens to Derek in between breaking up with Rose and going back to Mer, I'll never forgive you. A car accident or something at that point would be way too predictable and just a slap in the face to the happiness we were promised!


THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for finally bringing Mer and Der back together again. During this whole season I spent my Thursday nights yelling at the TV in hopes that Meredith would finally open up and tell Derek how she feels....So Thank you!


I loved this entire episode. I loved Callie realizing her feelings and I loved Alex crying in Izzie's arms, completing the circle that started with him pulling her away from Denny in the S2 finale.

I thought the whole thing was wonderful and I hope you're going to go there with Callie and Erica because Callie needs to be loved back for the first time and Erica needs to get used to actually dating. They are so going to be interesting.

I hated the idea of George and Lexie together at first but I love their cute fluffy bunnyness and loved the way Lexie put her fingers to her lips after their kiss.


Loved it. Seriously.


am I really first!! OMG i'm on west coast time and i thought i was going to die, i thought MERDER was not going to happen. and they did, kind of and I'm so happy. glad you all are finally giving bailey more to say, and be. glad karev is becoming more dimensional. I don't care what anybody says this is still the only show that is worth my time (well this and bros and sis)love you, and shonda i look forward to your blog tomorrow


omg, shonda, you've got me on my knees. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for bringing us all to this moment with derek and meredith - I LOVE YOU!!!!


Throughout the episodes after the strike, I was waiting for Derek to man up and admit he has issues as well..And yet it seems as though he got off clean for his part in Meredith's issues..Breaking up with Rose before doing anything with Meredith does not do much for his developement as a character..He is still regarded as blameless and Meredith is the one with all the issues..

Otherwise, it was a good episode.




first comment yay!! awesome awesome awesome show!!!!!!!!!!


Know what I hate about this season ender??? That's it's the end of the season!! It's the one show I drop everything for and sit quietly on my couch and enjoy! LOVE IT!


I cried when Meredith realized that Ellis wanted her to be extraordinary at love. Don't we all need that lesson? Thanks for making me love Meredith even more. And most of all... thanks for letting those two people live. I'm sure it would have been more dramatic to kill them off, but it gave hope, and for that I was grateful. Can't wait for next season. It makes the summer seem sooo long!


Extraordinary.......the absolute best episode to date. Thank-you!


This was such a great episode. I was a little on the fence about tuning in next season, but now I can't wait! I really want to hear about what you have to say about Alex. He's my favorite character and I am so glad he is finally getting a storyline. Thanks! =]

Matthew Rushing

Grey’s Anatomy hit it out of the park tonight. It is back in a big way as the best show on TV. I was so pleased with the way that they have work all the seasons together and the issues in each one to bring us to this point. Even season three was needed to make these characters able to live this episode!

Meredith works out her issues. We learn the depth of the pain that she has been carrying around. She has had to carry this with her and have it eat at her and now she finally understands, her mother wants her to be better than she was. She wants Meredith to be better at live not just surgery. Derek has had this pain of loving Meredith so much and always feeling that he lets her down. He has never been good enough; sometimes through his own doing and sometimes not. He loves her like he has never loved before and it kills him to fail her. Now he is in a place to begin to build with her a life. A beautiful, messy, hard, rewarding and romantic, good life. They are going to have issues, all relationships do, but they are committed to making it work. Meredith is healthy enough to allow him in and he is ready to give her all of himself. It is the beginning of a brilliant romance!

George, George made his stand finally. He became the man that the Chief has been pushing him to be. I think that the Chief has been waiting for George to grow up and take responsibility for his life and his work. Lexie gave him the push to make his move and believe in who he is not who he thinks people want him to be. Being who you are is so hard when you compare yourself to everyone else and they seem so much better at everything. Lexie is starting to have feelings for George and I am all for that. I think that they are going to make a wonderful couple. He will get his Grey, the Grey that is best suited for him.

Cristina got her grove bake through the help of her person. The Chief stood up for her finally as well. It was good to see her take the Chief’s advice and become a better teacher to Lexie. I am really excited to see Cristina grow next season.

Alex has so many wounds that go so deep. It is going to take a long time for him to heal. It was great to see that the person he can rely on is Izzie. She cares for him. She is there for him. I think that they are moving towards a relationship, but it is going to take a long time for Alex to be in a place to truly love Izzie. Izzie has become a good doctor, who is a lot like Bailey. She cares more than she should, but it makes her good. She now is the sole runner of the clinic and I think that is her calling.

Hahn and Callie; I am not sure. It seems a bit random, but I am not surprised that the pairing. Bailey has finally realized you cannot do it all and thank God. It was good to see her let go and be okay with letting something go. I hope that Mark can continue to grow. I really like his character and think that he is great for the show in humor and being the guy that says what needs to be said. The Chief finally went home and got his wife back. He is a better man for admitting his mistakes and learning from them.

I cannot wait for season five!!!!


YOU are extraordinary!!! OMG, how much did I love that last scene? I've watched it over and over again, and I completely agree.....it's about what happens after that kiss, so please let it be good! I can't wait till next season!


wow. just wow. I was a little worried how it would get there, but it did and it was perfect. I just hope that Derek doesn't get hurt, lost, or something terribly terribly BAD happen on his way back to Meredith.


i was in tears for the final 15 minutes of the show... it was amazing... now i want a candle house, a second chance for something that i just missed. Shonda your show makes me realize that my life isn't all that bad because a variation of what Mere said to Christina, your characters make me believe that you can be happy. So thank you, have a good summer and hope season 5 is the best.



You are extraordinary! A creative genius that has marked a show for my generation. Grey's Anatomy is television history and with episodes like tonight's season finale, this is why it will be remembered for a long time.


Loved it!!! So worth the wait! I am happy to know that all the waiting has finally paid off and Mer and Der are finally together.

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