Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season – DVD Review


People often make a mistake in believing that their last memory of something is how good or bad that something is. For example, if someone breaks a record in a sport today, the tendency is to proclaim that someone the best ever in their sport. We ignore all the other greats that came before him, because our last memory is often the strongest one. The same notion can be applied to television shows as well. If a show starts off slow in a particular season, but ends up strong, audiences are more likely to proclaim that season great rather than average, which it probably is. A strong finish is not always enough to overcome a slow start. With that in mind, the fifth season of Grey’s Anatomy has now landed on DVD. Season four was below-average, but it finished strong. How would this latest season turn out?

Grey’s Anatomy revolves around a group of surgical interns and the various physicians who serve as mentors to the interns in their professional and personal lives at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. At first the central focus of the series was Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), the daughter of the once-renowned surgeon Ellis Grey who becomes an intern at the hospital. She soon meets fellow interns Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), Isobel “Izzie” Stevens (Katherine Heigl), George O’Malley (T.R. Knight), and unpopular fellow intern Alex Karev (Justin Chambers). They are closely monitored at first by Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson, nicknamed “The Nazi” due to her tough love capability), and renowned surgeons Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington), Derek’s estranged wife, Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd (Kate Walsh), and Derek’s best friend turned enemy after sleeping with same estranged wife, Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), and George’s soon to be wife and possibly ex-wife, Dr. Callie Torres (Sarah Ramirez). In addition to all of that, the Chief of Surgery is Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), who was once more than close friends with Meredith’s mother.

In season five, Meredith and the head of neurosurgery Derek continued their on-and-off again relationship with Derek being the one that went back and forth on asking Meredith to marry him. Cristina continues to move on with her life away from Preston, and that could lead her into the arms of a new doctor at Seattle Grace, Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd). Izzie and Alex’s heats up again, but and for some reason Izzie is starting to see Denny again, which can’t be a good sign. Meanwhile, Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) is starting to understand her feelings that she has for cardiothoracic surgeon Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith). That means Dr. Sloan (Dane) can go back to being the womanizer that we all remember. George still remains the only intern from the original group in the beginning that can’t pass his residency exam, but Meredith’s sister and George’s fellow intern, Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), looks to be romantically interested in George. With all of the romantic stuff going on in the hospital, Seattle Grace’s ranking among the top hospitals begins to suffer, and Dr. Webber decides to enforce tough rules on everyone as a result. Finally, Miranda is still the tough mother figure we all know and love. Really though, for the first half of this season, it was pretty much the same old tired storylines that we have come to expect. There certainly were plenty of interesting and unique medical cases each episode, but the main focus is the relationships between the doctors and interns, of course. Most of those stories were a little too soapy and not very good. But the writers managed to turn things around for the second half of the season and actually pull off a series of compelling episodes that culinated in arguably one of the greatest season finales in the show’s history.

Of course, most of the intrigue about the second half of season five was because of all of the off-set controversies and rumors. Like any medical drama that lasts for years and years (see E.R. as the main example), the cast gets turned over a lot. Isaiah Washington and Kate Walsh already left the series after season three for various reasons. Season four featured some new actors and characters that tried to fill those holes, and season five kept that trend going as well (both with people leaving and people joining the cast). There will be no spoilers about who stays and who goes, because really we won’t know for sure until the premiere of season six, but if you do some digging you can figure it out yourself. The biggest addition to the cast this season was Kevin McKidd (Rome), though. The character of Dr. Owen Hunt definitely was refreshing and McKidd brought new energy to the cast. He will definitely be able to continue to fill at least one hole next season.

The fifth season of Grey’s Anatomy certainly finished up strong, but couldn’t quite overcome a poor start for the season. Maybe the writers were still feeling the effects of the writers’ strike, or maybe they just needed a couple of disgruntled cast members to complain loudly enough to get things moving. There will be no doubt be at least one central cast member gone from season six. But like NBC did with E.R., just expect ABC to just plug in new actors to try to keep Grey’s Anatomy going for as long as possible. The finale for season five is a tremendous momentum boost for the upcoming season, and you should expect the great acting to continue. It’s now just up to the writers to keep things rolling. But don’t be surprised to look back on things and see that season five was the climax of the series, because it will definitely be hard to beat the final episode from this season.


Disc One:

Episode 1 – Dream a Little Dream of Me (Part 1)
Meredith and Derek discover the morning-after side of their renewed relationship; a military doctor (Kevin McKidd) who arrives at the hospital with a trauma patient catches Cristina’s eye; and the chief learns that Seattle Grace’s national rankings have slipped.

Episode 2 – Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Part 2)
Meredith and Derek discover the morning-after side of their renewed relationship; a military doctor (Kevin McKidd) who arrives at the hospital with a trauma patient catches Cristina’s eye; and the chief learns that Seattle Grace’s national rankings have slipped.

Episode 3 – Here Comes The Flood
A plumbing leak becomes a deluge and wreaks havoc at Seattle Grace, as the Chief attempts to implement new teaching policies and George tries to retake his residency exam. Meanwhile Derek hopes to make some changes at Meredith’s house.

Episode 4 – Brave New World
Meredith gets upset when Derek finds her mother’s diary; Callie worries about her first “official” date with Erica; and Cristina discovers a part of the hospital that neither she nor her fellow residents had seen before.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – There’s No ‘I’ In Team
Bailey heads up a “domino procedure,” in which each surgery hinges on the one preceding it. Meanwhile, Derek gets sole credit for the brain-tumor study he did with Meredith; Lexie tries to get George to notice her romantically; and Sloan counsels a desperate Callie in the ways of love. Someone reappears and other peoples relationships evolve.

Episode 6 – Life During Wartime
The chief gives Bailey new power and responsibility. He also gives her a very difficult surgical assignment: remove a girl’s inoperable tumor. Meanwhile, new trauma chief Owen (Kevin McKidd) challenges the attendings’ methods and the residents’ skills.

Episode 7 – Rise Up
The Chief tells the residents that one of them will get a solo surgery, and a competitive frenzy ensues; Derek asks Bailey for advice when he feels that Cristina is coming between him and Meredith; Erica discovers a shocking connection between one of her residents and a longtime patient.

Episode 8 – These Ties That Bind
Meredith’s old friend Sadie (Melissa George) becomes an intern at Seattle Grace, but Meredith’s other friends aren’t exactly welcoming; new surgeon Virginia Dixon (Mary McDonnell) brings rules and order to the OR; and Lexie leads the interns in secretive, unorthodox surgical-training sessions.

Disc Three:

Episode 9 – In the Midnight Hour
Meredith, Cristina and Bailey come to Lexie and Sadie’s rescue when a routine surgery goes horribly wrong, as Owen and Derek treat a man seriously injured while sleepwalking and Mark comforts the sleepwalker’s distraught daughter.

Episode 10 – All By Myself
Cristina is awarded the first solo surgery among the residents, but she has to relinquish it and choose her replacement; Mark performs a cutting-edge procedure to restore a patient’s speech, impressing Lexie in the process; and Callie can’t figure out if Sadie (Melissa George) is flirting with her or just being friendly.

Episode 11 – Wish You Were Here
Bailey teams with Seattle Grace’s new pediatric surgeon, Dr. Arizona Robbins, to save the life of a young patient near and dear to her heart, as the admittance of a death row inmate at the hospital stirs anger in Derek and further erodes Meredith and Cristina’s friendship. Meanwhile, Callie and Sloan work as a team to fight their respective attractions to Sadie and Lexie, and Izzie tells Alex that she’s seeing Denny.

Episode 12 – Sympathy For The Devil
Derek’s mother, Carolyn, makes a surprise visit to Seattle and meets Meredith for the first time, as Mark tries to conceal his relationship with Lexie from her as well; meanwhile, death row inmate William wishes to donate his organs to Bailey and Arizona’s patient, as Owen and Cristina try to go on their first date.

Disc Four:

Episode 13 – Stairway to Heaven
Bailey grows desperate as a patient’s condition becomes more and more dire. Everyone in the hospital is stepping up to try to find the boy a new organ donor, including Meredith, who considers a death row patient’s wish to die before execution. Meanwhile, an injury leaves Mark in a compromising position in the OR, Cristina awkwardly avoids Owen, and Izzie finally learns why Denny has been appearing to her.

Episode 14 – Beat Your Heart Out
Now that Derek has the engagement ring, he searches for the perfect way to propose to Meredith, as Lexie demands that Mark go public with their relationship, and Bailey, encouraged by her work on recent cases and by Dr. Dixon, considers a new direction for her medical career.

Episode 15 – Before and After
Addison, Naomi and Sam rush the ailing Archer to Seattle Grace and reunite with old friends Derek and Mark to help save his life; meanwhile, Izzie employs her fellow doctors in a medical game designed to help teach the interns, and Owen runs into a significant someone from his past.

Episode 16 – An Honest Mistake
Derek’s confidence is shaken like never before as he faces off with Addison over what course is best for their dying pregnant patient. Cristina calls the abilities of a renowned surgeon into question after she botches a standard procedure. And Bailey, who has decided to pursue a fellowship in pediatrics, is appalled by the Chief’s less-than-stellar letter of recommendation.

Disc Five:

Episode 17 – I Will Follow You Into The Dark
After learning at a deposition that more of his patients have died than survived, Derek decides to quit, even as Meredith refuses to give up on him. Meanwhile Bailey and the Chief continue to bicker over her peds fellowship until Adele steps in to mediate. The interns discover something unsettling on a “patient x,” unaware that the charts they’re looking at are actually Izzie’s.

Episode 18 – Stand By Me
After his fellow surgeons try and fail to bring Derek back to work, Meredith must summon the strength to convince him. Meanwhile the hospital is abuzz as Mark attempts a rare face transplant surgery. Cristina, at last awarded her first solo surgery, is more focused on the needs of her friends. Izzie finally shares her medical condition to a close friend, then acknowledges that she doesn’t want treatment.

Episode 19 – Elevator Love Letter
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.

Episode 20 – Sweet Surrender
Amidst a series of intense treatments, Izzie throws herself into Derek and Meredith’s wedding plans, but the stress of her illness takes its toll on Alex – who freezes during surgery just as George begins to excel. Meanwhile: Callie’s father arrives at Seattle Grace, but is less than pleased to meet his daughter’s girlfriend; Owen seeks help to quell his PTSD outburtsts.

Disc Six:

Episode 21 – No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance)
As preparations continue for Meredith and Derek’s wedding, several residents must face the arrival of their parents at the hospital: Izzie’s mother Robbie causes a stir when she pays a surprise visit, and Thatcher returns to make amends with Meredith and Lexie. The Chief clashes with Meredith over a controversial medical case.

Episode 22 – What a Difference a Day Makes
As Meredith, Derek and all of their friends prepare for the big wedding, a group of college students, injured in a car crash as they were heading to their graduation ceremony, is admitted to the ER. Meanwhile, Izzie fears the worst when she begins experiencing familiar symptoms.

Episode 23 – Here’s To The Future (Part 1)
Izzie spends time with a fellow cancer patient and contemplates whether or not to undergo a risky surgery, as Mark is ready to take his relationship with Lexie to the next level and a patient makes Owen reassess his place at Seattle Grace.

Episode 24 – Now or Never (Part 2)
George delivers stunning news to Bailey, sending shockwaves throughout the hospital, and Izzie’s friends anxiously await her recovery from surgery. Meanwhile Bailey is surprisingly displeased after being accepted into the pediatric fellowship program, and the victim of a near-fatal traffic accident brings the talents of Seattle Grace’s doctors together.

The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is great with colors generally looking bright and vivid details everywhere. And with English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, with optional English, Spanish and French subtitles, the dialogue and music comes out loud and clear.

“Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy” Unaired Scenes
There are 11 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the season. You have the option to hear commentary from Creator/Executive Producer Shondra Rhimes and Executive Producer Betsy Beers on why they were deleted. Nothing really “must-see”, though.

“In Stitches”: Season Five Outtakes
This is four minutes worth of bloopers and gags from filming the fifth season.

“100th Episode: Tales from the O.R.” Featurette
This runs 18 minutes and the cast and crew talk about working on the show and how grateful they are to the fans after 100 episodes. Also more general talk about the making of the series and keeping the medical segments factual.

“Heaven Sent” Featurette
This runs 9 minutes and it focuses on how Creator/Executive Producer Shondra Rhimes and Executive Producer Betsy Beers hired Jeffrey Dean Morgan for the role of Denny Duquette. Jeffrey talks about how he auditioned for the role.

The second half of this season supersedes the early episodes, culminating in a fantastic season finale. The DVD release doesn’t have many extras, so the hardcore Grey’s Anatomy faithful might be disappointed with that diagnosis.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season. Created by Shonda Rhimes. Starring Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, T.R. Knight, Eric Dane, Justin Chambers. , Sara Ramirez, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Chyler Leigh, Brooke Smith, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Kevin McKidd. Running time: 1032 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: September 15, 2009. Available at


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