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Krista Vernoff on "No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance)"...

Original Airdate: 4-30-09

Hi.  It’s Krista.  I’m saying, It’s Krista because it’s been a loooooong time since you’ve heard from me. The last time I wrote you was the second episode of the season, and now here we are, three to the end.   Crazy, that’s what that is. It’s not that I don’t love you, really. It’s just that we have this staggeringly good staff now who write really, really good TV. I love this staff because they make my life and my job so much easier. Also, because they make me laugh really hard every single day.  It makes me happy to have a life where people are nice and kind and funny and smart and no one is getting drunk and screaming and throwing things at my head.  My life was not always this good.
Which is why I love the episode you just saw, why I’m so, so proud of it.

What I just got to say to everyone watching was, “Advocate for the children in your life.”  I didn’t start out with that agenda. I started out with the theme of Making Amends – can’t remember who pitched it, but I loved it.  It started out with an idea about Thatcher finally getting sober and coming to make his amends.  But then one of the brilliant writers pitched this story he’d read about a kid who emptied a gun into his Dad. And the episode started to take shape. And it turned into an opportunity for me to say to millions of viewers, “Advocate for the children in your life.” And that makes me really, deeply  happy.  Because I was a kid who could have used an advocate. And I don’t wanna get all over-sharey and uncomfortable and make you feel like you have to avert your eyes cause you came here for some bantery writer blather and ended up in an unshot episode of In Treatment, so that’s all I’m gonna say. I was a kid who could’ve used an advocate.  And as an adult, I have never understood when other adults stand idly by, looking away and making excuses while people hurt children. 

I LOVE what Richard says to Meredith. I wrote it, so, y’know, I should love it – but I don’t always love everything I write – and man, do I LOVE that scene. I sat on set while the brilliant Tom Verica shot that scene and while the luminous Ellen Pompeo and the wonderful Jim Pickens acted it. And I cried. Every take. I just sat there crying take after take after take.  I cried for Meredith, mostly, because finally, FINALLY one of the adults in her life is taking responsibility for what happened to her. Finally, she’s hearing the words that she needed and didn’t even know she needed. People have tried to apologize before. Thatcher has tried. Richard has even tried. And it’s not that Meredith is hard-hearted. It’s not that she can’t forgive. It’s just that no one ever got it right before. She was just a baby. She was a little kid. She couldn’t stand up for herself. And here were all these adults running around acting like children and failing, every day, to fight for her. She was neglected and she was abused. Her mother, for those who may have forgotten, attempted suicide IN FRONT OF HER. This was an emotionally unstable woman, Ellis Grey.  Richard saw that – and he did nothing. And Thatcher, her freaking FATHER, who not only saw it, he lived it WITH HER, did less than nothing.  To make an amends is not  just to apologize. It’s to make a thing right. And Thatcher’s little scripted apology can’t do that for Meredith.   It can’t make it right. Her pain runs too deep. Her abandonment was too complete.  And so when Richard finally truly takes responsibility? It breaks down a wall in Meredith’s heart that I truly believe she didn’t even know was there. I think she’s as shocked by her tears as anyone.  And I think there is real and profound healing in that moment. 

Almost as much as I love what Richard says to Meredith, I love what Meredith says to the mother of poor little Maddy, who emptied a 17 bullet clip into her abusive father.  (And yes, by the way, there are 17 bullet clips. And no, 6 year old Maddy would not have been arrested and taken away from her Mom. We called the Seattle Police and asked. )  I know that what Meredith says and does is controversial, and I meant it to be.   I know that there are syndromes that abuse victims go through, and that perspectives get wholly skewed.  And I think Richard is absolutely right to order Meredith to stay away from that family. And I think Meredith is absolutely right – and powerful and awesome – to ignore that order.  And maybe it’s just my fantasy that an over-stepping doctor could prompt a woman that damaged to finally do the right thing and take a stand to protect herself and her child. But if it’s a fantasy, it’s one I’m proud to put on TV. 

There’s a lot more I could say about this episode, but I did the podcast this week, so I’m kinda sick of hearing myself talk about it.   So instead, I’d just like to say, once more, with feeling, please advocate for the children in your life.  With love, Krista



A good bit of this post was written to comment on Alan Sepinwall's blog. I shall probably be back after I read Krista's blog. I probably won't sleep till 3 anyway...

I'm with Spiral. (Spiral is a poster who defended Mer when Alan Sepinwall

said Meredith tends to project her emotional needs on the patient, that the

Chief was right for calling her out, and that she was a drama queen who had

backslidden on her growth of this season, as if that was a bad thing.)

Izzie gets away with LVAD wires, everyone gets away with sleeping with their

boss, Cristina and Izzie do unsanctioned autopsies in the basement, and

Cristina lies about Burke for months - and *Mer* gets in trouble for yelling

at a patient?

In the meantime, the Chief is carrying around the guilt in the very same way

that Susan did. *No one* bothered to take up for Mer when she was a kid.
And then Thatch comes (so happy to see him) and ups the odds.

I loved the Chief's apology at the end and I was crying. I hope it holds (and

it's been confusing in the past, cause she's allowed him to paternalize her,

in a kind way, in the past, but suddenly no way - that's the only thing that

wasn't working for me (other than Izzie's slide into happy bridal land - the

place she hated when Denny proposed (see outside hospital, with George, season


Callie is a 5th year, soon to be an attending (somewhere) and should be able

to afford half an apartment if Cristina can. Her story was boring and I just

didn't pay that much attention.

Izzie - thank goodness *someone* finally called the mother who is "only 3

hours away." I, too, thought it was George or Alex. I'm so happy that no one

forgot what we had learned about mom - who I realized was mom when she told

Alex she was "a friend." It was sad that she was such a flake that Izzie had

to mother her, of course. (When do we get to see Alex's parent(s)?)

I can't say a lot about Cristina and Hunt EXCEPT - bully on Hunt for knowing

not to torture Cristina the way that Derek tortured Mer all thru season 2!

Lex and Mer and Thatch. I don't know. (Alan thought Lexie would be the one

less likely to forgive) Mer is *still* angry, I think. I would be. He ignored

her for years and then as soon as he was back, he literally slapped her in the

face. I can understand fleeing the room. Lexie tends to be a bit more Izzie-

ish in finding the good in everyone, so I guess it made sense. The only thing

I never bought was her declaration that miss prom queen/valedictorian was an

ACOA. No way. She grew up in fairyland.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that I identify with Mer a lot

(just not with the drinking or sleeping around) so I LOVED this ep. And even

if the patient was a metaphor, I loved Mer standing up for the kid and

eventually her mom -- she's not Izzie, but she does care - when her patients

have a problem she can relate to, and even when they can't. She's a great

advocate, though, granted, she's a bit emotional about things that make her


I wonder if Thatch will be at the wedding. I'm sad that Susan is gone. And I

will miss the Ellis diaries.

Tree hugger girl also bored me.
George trending toward trauma - I love it.
Alex and Izzie - very good.

People are growing up, here. Even Mark.

And it's amazing the damage one person can do (whether it was Ellis or the

Chief). Such a domino effect. I really appreciated the Chief's apology. It was

extremely thorough. (and I appreciated Mer being willing to be fired in order

to say what she felt must be said)

What I don't understand is why I don't feel more sympathy for Hunt. I'm

usually all for the wounded birds (I'm Cameron).

In fact, I can't think of a man on this show that appeals to me. George has a

good heart but I remember the wimp and still don't respect him. Alex is

getting wonderful but I don't find him good looking. Derek can so often be a

selfish jerk...

Last week's ep bored me but this one, I really loved it.
(and I still haven't watched House, Big Bang, HIMYM). It made me cry. Mer's

daddy issues (and her mommy issues too - I didn't have those) will always get

to me.

I also liked the Aflac commercial. ;-)

oh - one other thing that's been bothering me.
Mer got drunk before her first day, after hiding from the Chief, who at the

time she didn't know had had an affair with her mom, at the mixer.

Why? Did she not realize he would be there? Who did she had her interview

with, for the match? It shouldn't have been a surprise, any more than the

Chief should have "recognized" her in the ICU after she totally trashed Alex

in the pilot.

And of course, I (most of the time) love Krista's episodes. And also her blog

writing which I have not read yet, as it is only 12:56am on the east coast.

And, btw - Save Chuck! (google that- someone will help you out) Chuck and

Grey's are now the only two shows I watch live, on the pretty HD, rather than

pauseable, on my DVR. (the abc-dtv channel in TampaBay lost sound for at least

one act tonight, so I had to switch to DVR for a bit)

Save Chuck - I'll watch it in any time slot except Thursdays at 9
Love you, Krista. Looking forward to some verbal diarrhea and rambling. Don't let them drag you off to another show - stay here and write us more Grey's.


Tonight had some great guest stars. Jeff Perry, Sharon Lawrence and Kellie Martin were awesome. I hope to see Thatcher and Izzie's mom return again. Jeff Perry, Chyler Leigh and Ellen Pompeo did wonderful with the little focus the Grey family had. I like that Lexie is sweet and forgiving while still being strong, mature and independent. I love that the Grey sisters are bonding. Ellen and Chyler have a great vibe in their scenes. I like that Mark is still arrogant and Mcsteamy while developing in a full developed character and leading man. I love how nervous Mark was about meeting Lexie's dad and Lexie being crazy about Mark that she would want to introduce him to Thatcher. Eric Dane and Chyler Leigh have stunning onscreen chemistry. They can convey so much in the way they look at each other. It's better than a love scene. The hand holding at the end was beautiful. Izzie and her mom are so sweet together. Her mom is eccentric but loving. She nearly broke my heart when she grasped Izzie could die. Alex is such a great boyfriend. I love his growth too. Alex and Izzie are enchanting together. I love Callie and Arizona together. I hope to see lots more of them. I loved the Chief and Meredith finally having it out and letting go. I hope they can move on from Ellis now and hope the Chief just ditches the journals. He and especially Adele don't need them. Move forward not backwards. George is going to make a great trauma surgeon. I hope to see the other residents pick their speciality too and see the show continues the storyline of fixing the hospital and it's teaching. Like the residents,interns and even attendings laughing at patients and having personal convos in front of them is increasingly annoying and wrong.



Thank you.


It's been a long time since Grey's has been this consistently good. Tonight was fantastic! Ellen Pompeo was wonderful.


so I read the blog.
I cried during that scene myself. I'm happy to hear that you did too. It's a really good scene.

Thanks for almost telling us you were one of those kids. I was too. I'm a bit more open about it, but then, that's me. I'm my very own Afterschool Special.

I will say, please do what Krista asked, and please do it with care. I think, no, I know, that the lack of a good father can cause many a girl to run to the first person who is kind to her, and can produce lots more unwanted babies. I was lucky and I had a mother who banged morals into my head so hard that they pretty much stuck, but if things had been only slightly different... I'd have been where Izzie ended up. Sometimes the people who love you and see your brokenness and want to help, do so cause *they* are broken, too - and that's just a really bad combination.

So, do advocate. Just don't hit Izzie-level involvement. Mer did good. And so did Krista.
(and yes, it's been forever and no matter how much you have others to do the writing - I miss *yours* - well, except for can't watch George's dad die.)


Krista, You've ALWAYS been one of my favorites, I love your writing and I love your blogs.

Tonight's episode was amazing, I've been with Greys since Day 1 and it's truly unbelieveable how much the show and it's characters have grown.

Meredith/Ellen are my favorite, every episode this season makes me fall more in "love" with her.

I truly hope that this season brings the much deserving awards to the show, Ellen & Patrick.

Also, I really hope there's a Mer/Der wedding this season, I've unpurposely stayed away from spoilers but I know enough to know that they are not the ones to get married in the church. It's not them.. they should elope..

Anyway, It's late, I'm rambling. Please keep it up, and as always, I'm going to request more MerDer and for the love of god, give us some porny MerDer.. they need it.. we need it.. we need the hotness.



I'm off to rewatch, and then hopefully sleep.

 I love EP

Thanks for this. This show rocks when Meredith is centric. The Chief and Meredith finally had it out. Long overdue. They both said their peace and I hope he walks her down the aisle. He is more her Father than that dirtbag Thatcher.

Somehow, I'm thinking Cris and Mer missed something in Ellis's journals. But the Chief will find it. And maybe start drinking again?

I will have more to say tomorrow when I haven't been drinking.

Can I just say I love that little girl saying, "I shot him lots. He not die?" Kudos to your casting!


This was wonderful. I loved every second. I cried with Mer, and I cried with Cristina and Owen and I cried with Alex as he watched Izzie go into surgery. I really hope its not the last we see of Thatcher cause I feel like more needs to happen there if you are going to use him. It can't be more of the same. Well done you.


Thank you for such a thoughtful, caring and touching episode. The little girl scenes were Mer stood up for her to her mom and the chief was powerful. I cried with that scene between Mer and the Chief. He really is like a dad to her and very caring. Izzy and her mom was also sad the fact that she has to treat her like a child and shield her from the ultimate tragic diagnosis. Role reversal was sad to watch. The love story between Owen and Cris continues to break your heart while they deal with his issues. It was just a fabulous episode and so well written. Thank you again.


I want to be one of the people on this thing that tells you all what you already know--FABULOUS job! I love the message of advocating for children--and Meredith being the hero of sorts in this little girls history. Krista--it made me cry too...which I guess was the point.

Thanks all of you for all that you bring onto the screen! Truly memorable! (Can't wait to hear the podcast!)


It was a very good episode. But a very serious one. My favorite episodes have some humor in them or light moments amongst the drama.

I think the message got through about standing up for kids. The chiefs moment with Meredith in the resident lounge was very touching and sincere. If only her father could do that - his dry speech won't help heal the past.Betrayal by the one parent who could have helped her goes deep.

Way to go Meredith! I was with her all the way about talking to the wife both times. It needed to be said. That little girl will have a better life because of Meredith Grey.

Way to go Derek! your talk with the Chief - he needed that. Standing up for Meredith - good thing.

Loved Derek in a morning coat - very formal - I don't think he liked it much though.

George did another great job shining on the trauma front.

And people should love unconditionally. Not stop loving you because you don't live your life on their terms.


I really liked this episode.

All of the Izzie scenes were amazing, especially everything with her mom

The Chief and Meredith scenes were really well acted.

Owen and Christina's last scene was just heartbreaking.

I loved Mark and Lexie. I like that he went to the restaurant because he knew it was important to her.

I also liked that Derek was supportive of Meredith, and that Meredith at the end decided to invite the Chief to the wedding.

Overall a really good episode.

 I cried

The patients don't make me cry because I rarely care about them like I do the fab five. Mer and the Chief.....still crying...Watched it twice.

Izzie and her Mom.....crying again.

Can't wait for next week. Except that I know there is no way you will let Derek and Meredith get married. Is Izzie going to collapse at their wedding? You can't have a skittish bride.........already did that!


Good episode!

The last scene between Meredith and the Chief was beautiful and incredibly moving. I haven't cried like that in awhile. Both did a fantastic job.

Well done!


Wonderful episode, Krista. Ellen Pompeo was brilliant, as usual. And all of Meredith's scenes had me cheering for her. I also love that Derek stood up for her. Their relationship really is so fantastic to watch this season. Looking forward to next week!


Would have been nice to read about the other 11 characters in the blog. They are just as important to the show for me.


As soon as I saw you were writing this episode I knew it was going be a great one, and it was. You really should write more than two episodes per season. I loved Alex describing the food to Izzie, his maturity is amazing. I loved Derek's respect for Meredith's wishes with Richard, but also for knowing how to solve the problem, and he did. They have grown so much. I'm glad to see more of George, finally. I figured Meredith would have trouble accepting that from Thatcher, which is understandable. But I loved how you turned it around and showed how she was with Richard, and that she's not cold-hearted. Your episodes are always written brilliantly, now if only you'd write more.

I still love Greys

Thank you for writing about Meredith, IMO she is one the best characters on TV. I am really happy she and Derek have made so much progress, it's beautiful to see and I hope they get married. I really like they way you are portraying her relationship with Thatcher and Lexie, I am in a somewhat similar situation (much less dramatic and minus the alcoholism) but I have in the past year gotten to know my sister and my father has always been pretty absent in my life, so anyway, I wanted to say that I think the way you portray those relationships has been very realistic since the beginning, great work. And now, please, to what really matters, let Mer/Der get married!!! I just love seeing them together :)


the owen & christina scene was arguably my favorite scene ever. ever, 5 seasons in - EVER.

tonight was a seriously amaaaazing episode. possibly my favorite ever. EVER.

thank you for a much needed dose of some good ol' fashioned, really great grey's anatomy.


You writers had an opportunity to work out Thatcher and Meredith's problems and you guys dropped the ball again. Epic Fail. Can't you guys for once do something right. Have Mer bond with her real family. ugh.


Great episode..thank you!

Loved every aspect of this episode...really.

I appreciate the domestic violence story and the love me for who I am story. Ellen, Sara, Jessica, Katherine, Chandra, everyone was so just so great. I love the Callie/Arizona connection...it just seems right. Pls. go with it! I just want to give Christina a big hug...she's so sad.
thanks again


um, first off Callie should be able to afford rent if Cristina can, it's just ridiculous.
second, um since when does callie have a sister, her dad said she was his only daughter.
And lastly, Callie and Mark have more chemistry when they just look at each other than Mark and Lexie had in any of their scenes, so forced. Actually I think Mark and Callie could just stand next to each other and have more chemistry than slexipuke. I mean Callie and Arizona are cutem but Mark and CAllie are hot and they're awesome together.
Oh, and...
-Alex and Izzie rock, I think they should get married, Izzie has actually managed to redeem herself.
-Cristina and Owen are EPIC
-Lexie should be kicked off the show
-MARK IS CLOSER TO LEXIE'S DAD'S AGE, you said it yourselves, it is just wrong!
-Loved Mer standing up for the little girl/really what she wanted to say to her dad
-Der looked absolutely stunning this week
-George and Izzie should stay although they should never be allowed to have sex again


For Krista and the rest of the writing staff: I was a child in need of an advocate as well, very much so. And no adult stood up for me. I, like Krista, will keep any kind of details to myself; however, I would like to say thank you. You're right, it may be a fantasy, but you should be proud to put that out there, to stand up for those who defend themselves and shouldn't have to apologize. Is putting 17 bullets into someone okay? Absolutely no. Nor is putting 1 bullet. But a child finally taking a stand and defending herself from her father? Yes. Gosh darn it, yes! So thank you for not being afraid to give Meredith the chance to be the person, the Advocate, so many of us could've used ourselves. Excellent episode, and as always, amazing talent!


I just want to say WELCOME BACK KRISTA. i have honestly missed you and been waiting for your episode all season and watching tonights episode confirmed it was worth the wait.Cant wait to listen to the podcast for more details.

Loved ALL the Mer scenes. they were beautiful.good to see the Mer/Chief issue being laid to rest.the Chief's speech made me tear up as well

Christina crying? dont recall ever seeing Christina cry before. Owen is turning her into a "girl". I miss the hard Christina and i miss the Christina/Meredith freindship. that was always the best part of the show

Alex/Izzie....beautiful. especially when he described the taste of the shrimp and chicken.

Honestly, im getting bored with Callie. Dont get me wrong, I love the Callie/Arizona pairing. But i feel like theres not much to their story and i find them boring to watch

Good to see Mark growing up. even if i dont like Mark/Lexie, its nice to see his character being fleshed out a bit more.

I give this episode an A. nice work guys. It was a big improvement from last week

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