Grey’s Anatomy: An Open Letter To Shonda Rhimes
Dear Ms. Rhimes,
So, you did it. You killed off Lexie. I thought I would be furious with you, but I’m not even angry . I was sort of expecting it. For this, I have to give you credit. You made sure everyone knew that a beloved character would be killed off, so we were somewhat psychologically prepared, and most us knew that it was Lexie, anyway.
You have a lot of angry fans on your hands, but reading your interview on E! Online, I get the feeling that you were somewhat forced into this “fatal” decision based on Chyler Leigh’s desire to leave the show. So, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt on that. You’re probably as torn about it as we are. Probably even more, since you’ve lost a storyline that was “meant to be.”
However the fact that I’m not angry does not mean that I’m not hugely disappointed. Seeing your past award-winning work on Grey’s Anatomy and the current work you’re doing on Scandal, it’s hard to believe that you are responsible for “Flight.” Let’s suspend disbelief for one minute and let’s accept that:
1. Everyone on the plane (except for Lexie) has survived the plane crash (so far). After all, according to author Ben Sherwood, the survival rate in airplane crashes is 95.7%.
2. Even though the statistical probability that the same group of people would face a bomb explosion (Season 2), a vengeful gunman’s firing spree (Season 6), and an airplane crash (Season 8 ) are close to nil, it is still possible. Like the story of Hilda Yolanda Mayol, who died in an airplane crash two months after having survived the World Trade Center attacks on September 11.
So yes, I’m also giving you the benefit of the doubt for these two frequent fan complaints. But “Flight” has one major and unforgivable flaw and it’s simply this: Lexie’s death happened too quickly. It’s already bad enough that we had to give up on the idea of Mark and Lexie living happily ever after, we couldn’t even have the satisfaction of a long, heartbreaking good-bye.
Imagine heart-wrenching scenes between Mark and Lexie where she wouldn’t let go of his hand or stop saying “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to leave you.” Or, Lexie telling Mark to be happy, after resigning herself to her death. Lexie was gone so fast, she accepted the fact that she was dying so quickly, that there was no time to feel the devastation that we all expected to feel. The truth is I didn’t shed a single tear for Mark & Lexie and, believe me, I was more than prepared for this.
Too much time was wasted with the hospital scenes back in Seattle Grace, except for the Bailey/Ben scene which provided some romantic/comic relief, and the Hunt/Teddy story arc which had all the depth of feeling and sadness that Lexie’s dying lacked.
Bottom line: we get it. Death happens, both in real life and on TV. But mourning is a process that we need to go through, even when we’re talking about a television character. We invest too much time and energy on these fictional lives for it to be otherwise. That is why, Ms. Rhimes, you shouldn’t be surprised that we are still talking about Lexie’s death and that we have not yet focused on the fact that the rest are still un-rescued and in danger of dying. We are simply taking the time that you robbed from us with a flick of a pen or a tap on a keyboard.
Even though I swore I wouldn’t, I will probably watch Season 9, at least the beginning. I’d like to see how Mark comes out of all of this or if he too ends up dying, something that at this point is sadly quite imaginable. If he does make it, I hope that you find a replacement for Lexie, for the show and in Mark’s heart, worthy of the commitment of your fans to a story that was meant to be but finally wasn’t. In the meantime, I remain deeply and,
A disappointed fan