It's what the medical drama does best - emotionally manipulate you into a teary and devastated state. We can't help but continue to watch it. We care about and are fully invested in these characters, so the show must be doing something right.
Continuing on from last week's shocking ending, the main plot follows the aftermath of the plane crash. Meredith, Cristina and Mark are able to get up with varying degrees of injuries, while Arizona is also fine despite a nasty broken leg (though with her initial wailing and screaming, I would have expected someone to check up on her in case she was in serious pain).
Also conscious is the pilot, though unfortunately for him he can't feel his legs and appears to be paralysed.
Meredith, Cristina and Mark manage to find Lexie, who's seriously injured and being crushed by a large part of a fuselage. As Meredith continues her search for Derek (don't worry, he's still alive), Cristina and Lexie both realise that Lexie's not going to make it. Cristina goes to fetch water to leave Mark alone with her, though Mark is still adamant that Lexie can still be saved.
Both Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane are pretty phenomenal - in particular, I don't think I've seen a better performance from Dane on the show. Lexie is desperate to be comforted in her final moments, with Mark initially refusing and still doing everything he can to help. When it finally hits him that his efforts are futile, the pair share a truly poignant moment holding each other's hand. Mark describes Lexie the life they're meant to have together, and Lexie manages a smile before sadly passing away.
It's pretty gutting to see Lexie go. In the hundred or so episodes she's appeared in, she's really grown into a great character, and there are certainly plenty of others who I'd rather see get the chop.
This big death only happens one-third into the episode, which can be conceived as a risk as it's tricky for the remainder to match that moment on an emotional level. This proves true in this case. While there were still plenty of captivating scenes, I felt like the finale peaked far too early.
Everyone reacts to Lexie's death in their own way, but it's Cristina who tries to motivate the others into helping out. She even performs emergency surgery on Mark to save his life.
For a moment, it looked like the mourning Mark might also die. Weak and feeble, he says Lexie is waiting for him on the other side. But Arizona insists that he's needed most here.
The transmitter broken and a chopper failing to find the wreckage among the woods, the stranded survivors find themselves at the end of the episode without food and having used the last of their matches.
With plenty crammed into this storyline, it was weird that the finale dedicated a lot of time to what was going on in the hospital, where everyone was oblivious to what was happening. It struck me as a bit pointless in comparison - the doctors there were talking about marriage and jobs and a fancy dinner event when Meredith and the others are in the middle of fighting for their lives.
There is a place for April's speech to Jackson where she whines about her problems and wants to be happy for this one night. There is a place for Alex thanking Arizona on her voicemail for the faith she had in him - but not here.
I get that this is all emphasising how alone and stranded the plane survivors are, but these scenes were filled with several characters that I don't have a particularly strong affinity for, and without any sense of urgency, I found Seattle Grace to be mostly uninteresting as a result.
The most significant moment at the hospital was Teddy leaving to take up the Metcom chief position. Teddy initially reluctant to go (staying loyal to Owen), Owen fires her in her best interests so that she's forced to move on. The doctor has been through a lot with her husband dying, and her final scene with Owen was nice. But I don't think I'll miss her that much.
Owen finally checks his voicemails by the end of the episode and - learning that the plane never arrived at its destination - realises something is wrong. We'll find out next season if Meredith and her friends get rescued.
What are your thoughts on the Grey's Anatomy season finale? How do you feel about Lexie's exit? Share your thoughts in the comments below!