Out of 400 episodes, Season 6, Episode 24 “Death and All His Friends” may be the most emotional episode of Grey’s Anatomy so far. We feel the intensity and panic every second our eyes are on the screen. Let’s analyze why that is.
Grey’s Anatomy has covered many prevalent issues through character and patient stories in order to connect to the audience and connect they did. There are plenty of episodes that have caused us to shed a tear or two… or maybe a few hundred. But I mean who’s really counting, am I right? Here is why Season 6, Episode 24: “Death and All His Friends” hit extra hard and may just be the most emotional of all time.
This episode can be extremely triggering for many people for many reasons. It involves a mass shooting, death, a miscarraige, and more. The emotional toll that this episode takes on a person is also what makes it so good. We become drained with all that has happened by the end of it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a ride.
We have seen the “villain” of this episode, Gary Clark, in previous episodes with his wife who was previously a patient at Seattle Grace Hospital. She was anemic and had a tumor that caused internal bleeding. After surgery, which we thought went well, she was declared brain dead and could not breathe on her own. Fast forward and we now witness Clark suing the hospital for his wife’s death. Derek Shepherd, Richard Webber, and Lexi Grey were all her doctors at one point or another. Clark was grieving the loss of his wife and wanted revenge so he went to Seattle Grace Hospital with a loaded gun and a plan to shoot his wife’s three doctors.
This was an emotional episode not only because it opens with a mass shooting, but also because many of our favorite characters got shot and others were negatively affected in different ways during this episode.
There were many scenes where we found ourselves holding back tears, but one specific scene that really made us lose it was when Christina Yang, Jackson Avery, and Owen Hunt were all in the OR working on Derek Shepherd, chest open on the table after being shot. Meanwhile, in the scrub room, Meredith Grey and April Kepner were having a conversation about the moment Meredith knew Derek was her person and how long it took for her to get there. Time wasted was the backstory here, and now he is lying on a table with her best friend’s hands inside his chest. Even though we are not seeing those visuals on the screen at this exact moment, we feel it. This becomes a nostalgic moment for fans because we have been on this love journey with the couple for six seasons at this point– we all wanted more from this relationship– it couldn’t just end here, right?
Another part of this episode that hits the heartstrings was when Hunt comes into the OR after running back into the building to make sure Yang is okay. He finds her operating on Shepherd with a gun pointed at her head by Mr. Clark, a gun! Many things happen here however the end result is Owen ends up shot. At this point, our emotions are intensely high, and we are left to think Shepard is dead on the table, drama at its best! Now we quickly realize he is not dead yet because Christina is still trying to save Derek, as Meredith is now trying to save Owen. Moments before this scene we hear “I’m trying to save your guy, now you go save mine.” Dr. Yang says this to Dr. Grey. Given that we know the dynamic between the two best friends and the two couples, we can’t help but agonize. Aaaannnd, if this wasn’t enough chaos for the episode let’s just witness Meridith’s miscarriage while she is performing said life-saving surgery on her best friend’s man and throw in her confrontation with the assailant basically begging him to take her life in exchange for everyone else’s safety. The dialogue is so rich, especially when she explains that shooting her is how he can hurt the people he holds responsible for his loss, one shot and he can kill off the closest thing Richard Webber has to a daughter, Lexi Grey’s sister, and Derick Shepherd’s wife. I mean come on people!
Bravo to the screenwriters of this episode, I don’t think this much drama has ever been packed into another 60 minutes of television, including the best telenovela on cable tv! We can feel the love that the characters have for each other because many of them either ran back into the hospital or were roaming the halls during a shooting to make sure everyone was okay. Everyone cares so much for each other that they were willing to put themselves in danger for their loved ones. Even though we were all on edge the whole time, we can’t help but think about how we would do this for the people we care about as well.
Seeing characters such as Christina Yang and Miranda Bailey with their guards down also played a big part in provoking our emotions because it is out of the norm for these characters to act any way other than thick-skinned. Each cast member really dug deep into the portrayal of their individual character and rendered performances of a lifetime. The supporting characters all had an opportunity in this episode to show an emotional side of their characters as well. The shaking hands, the yelling, the screaming, the crying, and the overall emotion the cast collectively put into this was unbelievable. All the right elements of film and television making, came together causing the audience to feel constantly anxious throughout the whole episode.
And yet, while all of this is going on, the director still makes us feel something more. The juxtaposition is flawless. Uncontrollable emotional chaos at one’s job coupled with the characters’ personal lives– their own personal stories alongside the plot of this episode. Let me explain, for instance, when Dr. Webber was speaking with Clark he was passed a flask filled with vodka, pretty tempting for an alcoholic for sure. Karev speaks to Lexi Grey after being shot, he thinks he was speaking to his ex Izzie Stevens, the woman he loves deeply. We witness the hurt in Lexi’s eyes as we watch her pretend she is Stevens at this moment for Karev, the love of her life at this moment. Even the love triangle between Hunt, Yang, and Altman was put on display. Moments like these came up scene after scene. Everyone who worked on this episode didn’t only make it about the one specific shooter plotline but made sure that there were other real-life issues being brought up as well. We are left thinking about who would be the first person we would think about if we were to be in a situation like this. Would we regret putting things off or reconsider decisions we have made or better yet, not made?
With that being said I leave you with this to ponder, in the words of Derek Shepard himself, “Live or die, hero or coward, fight or give in…the human life is made up of choices. Live or die. That’s the important choice. And it’s not always in our hands.”