March 27, 2009

Grey's Anatomy - Season Five - Elevator Love Letter

Episode Overview:
All eyes are on Derek as he is set to perform his first surgery after his breakdown; attention is also set on Izzie, whose medical condition requires her to undergo a difficult surgery; and Owen has another PTSD episode that injures Cristina and traumatizes both of them, throwing the future of their relationship into question.

It may have taken a while but at last, the most recent episode of ABC's hospital drama, Grey's Anatomy (now in it's fifth season), reminded me why I watch this show. In the last two years or so, the show seemed to have turned it's back from the amazing writing of the first two seasons and although there have defiantly been some standout episodes since, no thanks to the WGA strike last year, Season Five has most certainly got the wheels back on the track.
After a touch and go storyline of the return of Denny in the life of Izzie Stevens, many viewers (long term Grey's lovers and newbies) thought that this may just be a cop out for the writers while they try and think of some respectible storylines although we have come out at the other end learning more about each of the characters and how each of them reacts when one of their own is in danger.
Justin Chambers and T.R. Knight showed sides to their characters, be it love or anger, that we have not previously seen and they excelled in this classic episode. As both Alex and George learnt, it's best to have your people around. Despite what anyone says, in my personal opinion, there is two main things about Grey's Anatomy which puts it in the top shows around at the moment, the acting and the writing. Shonda Rhimes and her team of writers always, despite the story, manage to capture the exact emotion needed and are able to put into the most beautiful words how the characters feel. I think, you always know when you are watching something by this talented group of writers, there is a repetitive sense of honesty that comes out from each character- and it never gets boring.
But the group of actors in Grey's Anatomy make the show. In this episode, Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) gripped me from the off as she was dragged through motions after her boyfriend, Owen (Kevin McKidd), had another PTSD episode and dramatically attacked Cristina in her sleep. It's wonderful to see such stories, which are rarely shown on television, being explored. This story, I feel, has not finished and when audiences are treated the stunning scene where Cristina and Owen make love all the way to Cristina saying, "I'm in your arms and afraid to fall asleep," just showed the depth that Grey's tends to go.
Television has been accused for dumbing down for a new type of audience, one's with short attention spans, one's who care very little for character development and who don't care too much for deep, important storylines which should be explored in the mainstream and yet Grey's Anatomy never fails to impress by breaking boundaries and ignoring this new audience and nurturing the fans who have been here since the beginning.
And what a finale... the engagement of Meredith and Derek, delivering exactly what the name of the episode said. Looking over at the conquests, the wins, the positives for MerDer. That just leaves Izzie, left alone for the episode to start to confront her own demons while her friends do the same. The wonderful Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) spinning her moral code for the rest of the characters : "She need's no more doctors, if you are going in there, you are going in as her friends."
So this episode will go down as being one of the most powerful, well written, engaging episodes of Season Five and probably the show. This is the reason we watch Grey's Anatomy people... it looks like there is a light ahead. The next episode returns on April 23rd entitled, Sweet Surrender and with only five episodes left till the end of Season Five it looks as if Grey's could return to it's former glory in hospital television heaven!

March 19, 2009

Writer/Co-Producer Julie Plec Answers Questions about the 'Kyle XY' Finale

ABC Family: In the last episode, Jessi says she's "broken." Is she really "broken" or was she designed to be a killer?

Julie: Jessi truly is 'broken'. One of the big themes we felt it was important to explore in the show was the idea of nature vs nurture. In that context, did Kyle and Jessi both have the same chance when they were 'born' and did circumstance dictate who ended up "good"? Or is there a more spiritual element attached to both characters --- in that is Kyle a truly pure soul and Jessi a dark one? That's a question that we would have continued to explore throughout the life of the series --- watching poor Jessi as she struggled to be as good as Kyle....and watching Kyle as life experience and the harsh realities of the world as we know it infiltrated his good, pure soul. But in no way was Jessi ever designed to be bad from birth. Latnok, in all their misguided efforts, genuinely believed that they wanted to make the world a better place. They just had a peculiar way of going about it. In a lot of ways, Jessi never had a chance. Her mother was psychologically troubled. Her entrance into the world was devastating. And her first couple days, before Madacorp planted her with a life of memories, were cold and stark. But deep inside lies a vulnerable girl --- like any human --- who just wanted to be loved unconditionally.

ABC Family: What was going to happen with all those clones? An army of handsome, healing, responsible, kind heroes sounds great, but we're just wondering if there was some other, darker motivation.

Julie: As we saw throughout the series with characters like Brian Taylor, Professor Kern and Ballantine, certain individuals' agendas can corrupt the common goal of an institution. While we believe that the 'old world' Latnok had benevolent intentions, the minute you put that much power (playing God) into someone's hands, things can go horribly awry. There is a faction within Latnok, led by Kyle's genetic mother, that intended to sell the Kyle clones to the highest bidder --- using the actual Kyle as an example of how magnificent their experiment could be. Though Kyle successfully destroyed the formula, it's still filed away in his head as a result of the information he uploaded from Zyzzx while he was still in the pod. As Cassidy stated, he would stop at nothing to get that information back. The next season would have involved putting Nicole and Jessi into a situation where, in order to save Kyle's life, they give Cassidy what he wants. But they could never tell Kyle what they did, so they would be bonded together by the secret they have to keep from him.

ABC Family: In the end of the series, Kyle wasn't with either Jessi or Amanda. So, would Kyle be with Jessi or would Kyle be with Amanda? Does he get to be with his soul mate? Are both his soul mates? What's the significance of the butterflies and the electricity?

Julie: The "who will Kyle end up with" question is a question we have a hard time answering, because in our opinion a true hero is often destined to end up alone. Had this show run for five more years, Kyle would have likely ended up with neither, knowing that he couldn't fulfill his true destiny as a prophet by living a normal relationship life like everyone else. But in the short-term, we absolutely believed that Kyle and Jessi's relationship would have continued to develop. It would have been complicated, passionate, volatile, and ultimately self-destructive. Once Amanda had a chance to grow up beyond her sheltered life --- probably when she entered college and embarked on that journey of self-discovery that every young adult goes through --- she and Kyle would have re-discovered each other and entered into a relationship that was more than just innocent puppy love. But when all is said and done, Kyle would have embarked on his post-series journey alone, hopefully in a beautiful poetic way.

ABC Family: Would Tom Foss always be a part of Kyle's life?

Julie: Tom Foss would have always remained a part of Kyle's life, but Tom Foss's demons are that he lost his wife and daughter. Eventually, Kyle would have paved the way to help Foss live the life that he thought he'd never have again. Kyle would have 'freed' Foss from the responsibility of protecting him in order to ensure that Foss could find happiness. We wanted to pass the torch over time from Foss to Declan. Declan, always searching for an answer to where he 'fits' in Kyle's life, would have gone to Foss to learn how to be Kyle's protector.

ABC Family: Cassidy being Kyle's brother is a HUGE revelation... Were there going to be other revelations of this kind? Is Kyle related to any of the other characters? Was Cassidy lying just to save his own life?

Julie: Cassidy and Kyle share the same genetic mother. Cassidy wasn't lying. No one else is related (as far as I know). The David and Goliath relationship between Cassidy and Kyle would have been a large part of next season. While they're connected by blood, they're in opposition to each other. That would have let us continue to explore one of our other favorite themes of this show: what defines "family"?

ABC Family: Is Adam really dead or would he have come back in a future episode like Foss?

Julie: May Adam Baylin rest in peace. But we always would have had the ability to have him appear to Kyle in Kyle's mind, much like he did in second season's "Lockdown."

ABC Family: What happens to Andy and Josh? Would they stay together, even though she moved away and is only on webcam (yay, Declan!)?

Julie: Josh and Andy would have explored the treacherous waters known as the 'long-distance relationship.' They would have broken up, gotten back together, gone to the same college, transferred to different colleges, broken up again, gotten back together again, dated other people, and finally gotten married and lived happily ever after. Josh and Andy were our favorite relationship as writers, hands down. We truly contemplated having Andy's cancer return and having Josh lose her, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to shut the door on Andy, or the actress Magda Apanowich (even though she's going off to do Caprica) because we loved those two characters way too much to ever say goodbye.

ABC Family: What about Declan and Lori? Would they continue to be friends?

Julie: Declan and Lori, believe it or not, would ultimately end up together. But before that, Lori would head off to New York to pursue a music career and Declan would have gone off on a training sojourn with Foss. After several years of difficult life experience, Lori would return to Seattle and follow in her mother's footsteps, enrolling in school to study psychology --- realizing that it's her true calling. Declan will always have two priorities --- Lori and Kyle. For Battlestar Gallactica fans, he's Colonel Tighe to Admiral Odama. Declan would assume protection of Kyle from Foss and be his best friend and fiercest protector for life. Lori would be the only woman who could understand that, because she feels just as strongly about Kyle.

ABC Family: Most importantly, how does it end?!?!?

Julie: How does it end? In the broadest terms, Kyle embarks on a quest across the world with the sole mission of helping people. Creating food where people are starving....inventing energy sources that don't destroy the environment....stabilizing areas of the world that live in conflict....being a good person --- and letting his goodness impact others. Call him Mother Teresa, call him Bill Clinton, call him Gandhi --- it was Kyle's destiny to make the world a better place. And it's because the Tragers took him in and loved him unconditionally, that he would have been able to do it. How would it have ended if we had one more episode? I wish I knew. We were only just getting started on all the stories left to tell about Kyle XY.

On behalf of myself, all the writers, producers and the cast, we're very grateful that we had the opportunity to do this show and to tell Kyle's story. The fans' loyalty and passion for the show was like nothing any of us had ever experienced. It was a true thank you.