It was announced last week that the originals have signed up for two more years: Ellen, Sandra, Justin, James, Chandra, and Patrick. I want to say Jessica's was renewed as well along with Eric, Kevin, and Sara. The only ones up in the air is Jesse and Sarah. Shonda has always been explicit about keeping Jesse. But given that the only people that could leave were all in the plane, I want to say everyone at the hospital, sans Kim, will be back for at least season 9.
Cristina: Remember when we used to get drunk off tequila and end up in your bathroom? Meredith: Yea. Cristina: I miss that. Meredith: (long pause looking at fire, then the wreckage, with a sigh)... Me too.
It makes sense to kill off Lexie. I loved her too, but with Chyler wanting to leave for more family time, not killing her would have put Sloan in perpetual writing-purgatory. It's going to severely limit the story if you constantly have an off-screen romance between Sloan and never seen Lexie. It just won't work. It will marginalize Sloan and limit Eric Dane as an actor. Unless Lexie and Mark broke up, the character of Lexie HAD to die. There was no other way. Altman can go because there was really nothing left for her that binded her here. Cristina can always get a new teacher (as evidenced by the last 3) and Owen's relationship with her was already strained. Pulling focus to rebuild an Altman-Hunt dynamic strains any hope of a Cristina-Owen reconciliation. I'm sorry Lexie had to die. I cried like a baby. But, for me, she had to go for the story to go on when the actor that portrays her wishes to exit the show.
Alex and Cristina cannot take over for Robbins and Altman, respectively. The latter are fully trained department heads. The former are still only 1st year fellows, one in a 2-year fellowship the other in a 3-year fellowship, that don't even hold attending status in their specialties, much less be the chiefs of their specialties. Alex will still need a peds surg attending to teach him and help him with his peds surg boards. And Cristina, now that Altman is gone, will need yet another Chief of Cardio to teach her for the next three years and help her pass the cardio boards.
The Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery is like the Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts. It's constantly a revolving door on who will retain that post. Burke had it longest, then Altman, than Hahn, and Dickinson never actually accepted the position. It would be interesting if they brought back Burke in season 9 to instruct Cristina. Then it would be kind of awkward between Hunt, who will be Burke's boss, Burke, and Cristina. Though I know it'll be highly unlikely next to impossible. S9 will introduce a new Chief of Cardio. I wonder who he'll/she'll be. Hopefully it'll be an Asian dude or an Indian lady. GA needs more diversity in an increasingly white crowd. During the first 2 seasons, half the cast wasn't white, and now, in a principal cast of 14, it seems the only people of color are Torres, Webber, Yang, Avery, Bailey. I don't count Ben since he's not a principal cast member.
The only one of the group that can have actual attending status is Mer, and that's because she elected to go into general surgery. Because everyone else chose a specialty outside of general surgery, they'll still need additional training as fellows.
Cristina is not going to replace Teddy. She can't. As skilled as she is, she still requires the prerequisite training of three years in her cardio fellowship to actually be a cardiothoracic surgeon, and then pass her cardio boards to be a cardio attending. There's no way she'll be the chief of cardio as a first-year fellow. Same thing with Alex. He needs another two years in his peds surg fellowship to actually be a peds surgeon, pass his peds boards to be a peds attending. He's not going to replace Arizona as a first-year fellow.
Regarding the finale? I liked the callbacks from the previous seasons. The cold open from the pilot, and you can see young just graduated med-school Izzie. I enjoyed how Cristina mentioned "bombs", as a callback to season 2's End of the World as We Know It, "Guns" calling backing to Death and All His Friends, and of course George when she mentioned "buses running down my friends" calling back to Now or Never. Callie mentioned George too. It's nice he's still in their minds. I especially liked Meredith in her voiceover repeating the (then) Chief's opening line of playing the game. I was sad, but I still loved it. Can't wait for season 9.
Christina cannot be the chief of cardio. Christina, just like the rest of the residents that are going into specialities other than general surgery, will still require an attending to teach them. Cardio is a three-year fellowship, peds, trauma, plastics is a two-year fellowship. Meredith is the only one that can actually be an attending because she's going into general surgery. After their fellowships, each would still need to pass boards of that specialty.
I was always a proponent of Dair at the end of season 4. I was on the fence about Dair in season 5, especially how Safron and co. was backsliding, flip-flops, and all the inconsistencies that made up the agonizing storyline, or lack thereof, that made up this season. Thank God Safron is leaving. All I want out of season 6 is some freaking consistency. Is that really so much so hard to ask? At least season 6 will be devoid of Safron's self-appreciating, self-deluded, self-actualizing perception of genius producer's previews where he talks as if he's God's gift to TV. There's at least that to look forward to in season 6.
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