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Grey's Anatomy on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3

"Grey's Anatomy:" Season Three - Seriously Extended DVD Review

Buy Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Third Season from Amazon.com Grey's Anatomy: Season Three (2006-07)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Shonda Rhimes / Repeat Directors: Peter Horton, Adam Davidson, Wendey Stanzler, Mark Tinker, Jeff Melman, Dan Minahan, Rob Corn

Regular Cast: Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey), Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang), Katherine Heigl (Isobel "Izzie" Stevens), Justin Chambers (Alex Karev), T.R. Knight (George O'Malley), Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey), James Pickens, Jr. (Richard Webber), Isaiah Washington (Preston Burke), Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd), Kate Walsh (Addison Shepherd), Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres)

Recurring Characters: Eric Dane (Dr. Mark Sloan), Kate Burton (Dr. Ellis Grey), Elizabeth Reaser (Jane Doe/Rebecca Pope), Chris O'Donnell (Dr. Finn Dandridge), Sarah Utterback (Nurse Olivia Harper), Moe Irvin (Nurse Tyler), Steven W. Bailey (Joe), George Dzundza (Harold O'Malley), Debra Monk (Louise O'Malley), Greg Pitts (Jerry O'Malley), Tim Griffin (Ronny O'Malley), Loretta Devine (Adele Webber), Jeff Perry (Thatcher Grey)

Notable Guest Stars: Diahann Carroll (Jane Burke), Richard Roundtree (Donald Burke), Abigail Breslin (Megan Clover), Embeth Davidtz (Nancy Shepherd), Mandy Siegfried (Molly Thompson), Randy Sklar (Peter Weitzman), Jason Sklar (Jake Weitzman), Mae Whitman (Heather Douglas), Jessica Stroup (Jillian Miller), Kyle Chandler (Dylan Young), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny Duquette), Roger Rees (Dr. Colin Marlow), Hector Elizondo (Mr. Torres), Mitch Pileggi (Larry Jennings)

Running Time: 1105 Minutes (25 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: September 11, 2007
Season 3 Airdates: September 21, 2006 – May 17, 2007
Seven single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with Cardboard Slipcover

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By Kelvin Cedeno (episode summaries by Jake Lipson)

After years of mediocre television ratings, ABC was in need of a hit series. Their prayers were answered in 2004 with not one but two shows that immediately connected with the public: "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives". Three became the magic number in the middle of the 2004-05 season, when another series debuted that caught the attention of TV watchers. While "Lost" had a unique air of adventure and mystery and "Desperate" an unabashedly wicked sense of soap opera humor, the third hit didn't seem as distinctive at first glance.
In the midst of a seemingly endless parade of medical dramas, how was yet another entry in the field going to set itself apart? As it turns out, that little medical drama gained an ardent fan following and exploded in popularity in the midst of its second season. The series was, of course, "Grey's Anatomy".

The third season of "Grey's" is noticeably more maudlin than the previous two. There's certainly comedy to be found here, but it's more downplayed and overshadowed by the emotional turmoil of the characters. The most damaged of these is Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), who spends the majority of the season recovering over the loss of her fiancιe Denny Duquette. She isn't the only one with inner demons, however. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) struggles to conceal the damage done to his wounded arm and how it affects his surgical procedures. Addison Shepherd (Kate Walsh) is hit from two sides, dealing with the pain of her divorce from Derek and the constant reminder of the baby she aborted. The center of the series, the "dark and twisty" Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), has difficulty connecting with her Alzheimer's-stricken mother and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). And all of this drama is just the tip of the iceberg.

Meredith (Ellen Pompeo, right) tries to confide in Christina (Sandra Oh), but the latter is too busy studying material years ahead of her level. It matters not how tall you are; everyone must succumb to the wrath of Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson).

"Grey's Anatomy" has quite the feat to accomplish in juggling the interwoven storylines of twelve different regulars with new "patient of the week" plots, and doing this in a graceful way. It rises to that challenge, though, and mostly succeeds. Despite there being a title character, this is very much an ensemble series, and it's rather extraordinary how the writers are able to give each character a unique season-spanning story arc. No character is without his or her own internal struggle, and all are fleshed out as believable human beings.

Of course, three-dimensionally-written characters can only go so far without competent actors in the roles, and this is probably the show's greatest strength. Every actor on board makes sure his or her performance is neither so over the top that their character is rendered a caricature nor so understated that they come across as wooden. Even when a relegated to the B-storyline of the episode (or C, or D...), the cast's performances help the audience care for the hospital staff members and keep them fresh in their minds even as other stories are going on.

The major problem with this third season, however, lies with the overall tone the series assumes. Virtually gone are the fun and good-natured storylines that counterbalance the more serious aspects of the show. There's little joy for anyone this season, and whenever a glimmer of hope emerges for a character, it's immediately suppressed by something disastrous. Most of the humor found here stems more from the patients than the regular cast, and even then it comes in small doses. The entire proceedings become somewhat depressing after a while, which is the point, but the dreary tone seems harsher than intended without the raucous and free-spirited scenes that populated the first two seasons.

Christina suddenly becomes more lovey-dovey than usual with Preston (Isaiah Washington) once Colin Marrow arrives on the scene. The visions dancing in Meredith Grey's head aren't exactly sugar plums.

A smaller issue emerges from the soap opera style of the series' romances. Characters are constantly hopping into bed with each other on a whim, and much of the drama stems from the lack of trust in many of the relationships.
The writers actually handle this fairly well, making the material more convincing and natural than it ever deserves to be. That said, the constant roller coasters of infidelity and one-night stands does become a bit tiring when all is said and done. Not helping matters is the way the characters brood over these situations for prolonged periods of time and repeatedly have to rely on others to help them snap out of it all.

Even with such shortcomings, "Grey's Anatomy" still manages to entertain, with its lineup of developed individuals with whom the audience can connect. Such relatively strong characterizations help make some of the laborious story points easier to digest. Series creator Shonda Rhimes has stated that Season Four will be less morose than this one and more balanced like the previous two. While one wishes Season 3 wasn't so bleak, it admittedly brings the characters to new territory and earns them the right to receive whatever levity and frothiness comes their way this fall.

Episode synopses follow. If you are unfamiliar with the show or the season and don't wish to learn anything that could ever be deemed a spoiler, you are welcome to skip to the Video & Audio section on the next page. The ten standout episodes of this season are marked with a star ().

In "I Am a Tree", Preston's parents (guest stars Richard Roundtree and Diahann Carroll) find their son and Christina in a most awkward scenario. Izzie tries to cope with her grief of Denny's death by talking to his father (guest star Fred Ward).

DISC 1

1. Time Has Come Today (45:35) (Originally aired September 21, 2006)
In the much-awaited season opener, everyone grapples with the shocking events of the previous night's prom. Izzie refuses to come out of the bathroom or even take off her prom dress; Meredith confides in Christina about her boy problems as her panties are found in a surprising location; and a quarantine at the hospital causes Derek, George and Bailey to examine their feelings. Meanwhile, Addison treats a baby whose young mother abandoned it in her school's trash can. This episode has been extended for DVD.

2. I Am a Tree (43:04) (Originally aired September 28, 2006)
While Meredith must decide between Derek and Finn, Addison must grapple with the end of her marriage, and Christina has to deal with the awkwardly surprising arrival of Burke's parents (Diahann Carroll and Richard Roundtree). Meanwhile, a regretful Bailey is on the warpath again and Izzie, no longer a doctor, bakes an excess of muffins at home. Patients include a teenager impaled on a tree, a health-conscious woman who still ended up with lung cancer, and a man whose brain tumor causes him to say everything he thinks, even if it annoys everyone else.

3. Sometimes a Fantasy (43:09) (Originally aired October 5, 2006)
Little Miss Sunshine Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin guest stars as a foster child who thinks she's a superhero. As Alex tries to figure out the truth about the girl's unusually high pain threshold, Izzie tries to return to the hospital for the first time since losing Denny. Meanwhile, Christina tries to help Burke cope with his hand tremor and Meredith juggles dating both Finn and Derek.

4. What I Am (43:09) (Originally aired October 12, 2006)
Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) joins the hospital staff as he and Derek disagree over the treatment of a burn victim. Meanwhile, his arrival causes Addison to doubt her medical skills. Also, Meredith has a personal medical emergency and must make her final choice between Derek and Finn; Callie comes to a decision about George; Christina goes to an extreme to help Burke, and Izzie meets Denny's father (guest star Fred Ward).

Miranda is faced with the daunting task of answering questions concerning Denny's death. George's father Harold (guest star George Dzundza) is the only ray of happiness in the otherwise angst-filled hospital of Seattle Grace.

DISC 2

5. Oh, the Guilt (42:48) (Originally aired October 19, 2006)
Dr. Webber holds a staff meeting about Denny's death, where the interns must defend Bailey, who later treats a young mother with breast cancer. Burke returns to the hospital and confronts Izzie, who came in "to clean out her locker." Also, as Derek and Addison's divorce is finalized, he learns more about her relationship with Mark, and she must work with Meredith to separate a divorced couple who found themselves together again in an awkward position.

6. Let the Angels Commit (43:09) (Originally aired November 2, 2006)
Derek's sister Nancy (guest star Embeth Davidtz) comes to Seattle and doesn't like Meredith, who finds herself in charge of the newly-reinstated Izzie. Meanwhile, as Christina helps Burke with a rare procedure, she pulls away from her peers and colleagues. Also, Addison and George treat a woman with a unique pregnancy problem, and Alex finds working with Mark less appealing than he thought, which causes him to question his future plans in medicine.

7. Where the Boys Are (46:35) (Originally aired November 9, 2006)
The men of Seattle Grace go camping together but leave behind Mark, who seizes the chance to hit on Meredith. She works with him on a sexual reassignment surgery patient who must make a difficult choice. Meanwhile, Bailey confronts Christina, Addison and Callie form an unlikely bond when they work together to help a patient, and Izzie's peer counselor is an all-too-familiar face. This episode has been extended for DVD.

8. Staring at the Sun (43:04) (Originally aired November 16, 2006)
Now that they're finally back together, Meredith and Derek decide to be happier people. Already depressed over Callie's betrayal, George has to deal with the arrival of his father as a patient while Burke and Christina's secret continues to unravel before his eyes. Izzie shadows Alex, who is still working with Mark. Meanwhile, a young child's dangerous surgeries bring motherhood to the front of the staff's minds as Meredith and Webber visit her mother Ellis (Kate Burton, returning) at the nursing home.

Conjoined twins Jake and Peter (guest stars Jason and Randy Sklar) run into many issues ranging from using the bathroom to having sex with a girl they both are interested in. And you thought the regular cast had problems. Christina tries to personally serve Preston his meal in order to get him to communicate with her, but the nurse is seconds away from calling security.

DISC 3

9. From a Whisper to a Scream (50:07) (Originally aired November 23, 2006)
Christina narrates this tense episode in which her and Burke's "well-oiled machine" of secrecy is on the verge of collapse. Everyone seems to notice that something's up between them as victims of a serious car accident arrive in the hospital and occupy all the doctors. Meanwhile, George's father is still scheduled for surgery, but the identity of the surgeon operating on him causes friction between the interns. This episode originally aired as an extended 70-minute broadcast intended to boost ABC's 10:00pm ratings, and was trimmed slightly for subsequent reruns. The full version is included here.

10. Don't Stand So Close to Me (43:06) (Originally aired November 30, 2006)
Meredith's half-sister, Molly (Mandy Siegfried) returns to the hospital to deliver her baby; Christina and Burke refuse to speak to each other; George's father has heart surgery; and a unique case forces Derek and Mark to work together.

11. Six Days, Part 1 (43:01) (Originally aired January 11, 2007)
George's father undergoes cancer treatment, while Meredith's estranged father (returning guest Jeff Perry) visits his new granddaughter at the hospital. Elsewhere, teenage patient Heather (Mae Whitman) needs radical spinal surgery, but her mother can't pay for it; Mark is unusually angry with Addison; and Derek reveals a secret problem to Meredith.

12. Six Days, Part 2 (43:05) (Originally aired January 18, 2007)
George's father has a difficult time after cancer surgery, while Meredith finally speaks to hers; Heather's expensive spinal surgery is paid for; and Addison confides in Callie and continues to work with Alex.

"Can't sex be used as a means of coping with grief?" is a question Addison (Kate Walsh) would rather not answer. Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and Alex (Justin Chambers) ambush an unsuspecting patient into being the first person treated at the new free clinic ward.

DISC 4

13. Great Expectations (47:04) (Originally aired January 25, 2007)
The hospital buzzes with gossip about Dr. Webber's imminent retirement; Bailey wants to open a free clinic but needs money for it; and an Amish patient with cancer (Jessica Stroup) must make a painful decision. This episode has been extended for DVD.

14. Wishin' and Hopin' (47:17) (Originally aired February 1, 2007)
George and Callie return to Seattle Grace at the same time as Meredith's mother Ellis, and they all bring a surprise.
Elsewhere, Christina ponders Burke's question; the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic opens; and a toxic patient endangers several of the doctors. This episode has been extended for DVD.

15. Walk on Water (43:03) (Originally aired February 8, 2007)
Christina can't tell Meredith her news before a massive ferry boat fire challenges all the doctors. At the scene, Meredith finds a quiet lost child; Izzie must help a man stuck under a car; George makes a deal with an injured mother; and Alex finds a badly wounded pregnant woman (guest star Elizabeth Reaser).

16. Drowning on Dry Land (43:01) (Originally aired February 15, 2007)
Meredith remains underwater at the ferry crash site, and none of the doctors know where she is. Meanwhile, George searches for his patient's missing son; Alex tries to match unidentified victims with their nervous family members; and Izzie must perform difficult brain surgery by herself.

Continue to Page 2 >>

Buy Grey's Anatomy: Season Three from Amazon.com

Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-4
Page 2: Discs 5-7, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Grey's Anatomy on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3

Reviewed September 24, 2007.