Hey, remember when the doctors of Seattle Grace-Mercy West lived through a terrifying shooting incident that left several of their friends dead and many more wounded? Okay, Alex briefly mentions that he was once shot in the chest, but for the most part this is an episode about the horrors of gun violence that almost entirely ignores the horrific massacre that took place in Grey’s iconic sixth season finale. If you think those traumatic events might come up as the doctors discuss gun control, you’d be writing a stronger episode than this one.
Meredith watched her husband get shot in front of her and then tried to convince the shooter to kill her instead of finishing him off. Even weirder, the story of an 8-year-old kid accidentally shooting his best friend and leaving him paralyzed shares equal screen time with a plot about the difficulties of… Grey’s mashes up heart-wrenching patient stories with lighter rom com stuff all the time, but the juxtaposition is especially jarring here because Grey’s wants “Trigger Happy” to be both a regular ole episode that touches on all the show’s ongoing plotlines and a “very special episode” that ends with a gun safety PSA.
What makes this case so special other than the fact that Grey’s wanted to do an issue-based episode?
It should be said that what Grey’s is trying to do here is admirable.
It’s not even particularly taking a stance on gun control so much as it is reminding people how important gun safety is, particularly where children are involved.
Television, in actuality, is going through its microevolution, the speciation of the medium as we watch TV as we know it divide and isolate itself from its origins. Their narratives engage a variety of issues, often subversively, making excellent use of metaphor along the way.
And in its current phase of speciation, TV has developed superpowers. The characters are well-drawn and patiently constructed, crafted over decades.
That’s why it’s so strange that the episode doesn’t really drive home the idea that the doctors have a particular connection to gunshot victims because of what they went through during their own shooting.
Instead the episode seems to imply they’re invested simply because the idea of an injured kid is inherently sad. But these doctors deal with tragically sick/injured kids every single day.