Spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Station 19 Season 3, called "Into The Woods."
Station 19 has never held back when it comes to delivering some of the most intense first responder action in primetime set elsewhere than Chicago, and sharing a universe with Grey's Anatomy means things can get pretty wild. That said, Station 19 pitted the firefighters against a threat that they're not likely to encounter on the streets of Seattle: a bear. It's not the most tragic thing to happen in the woods in the Grey's world, but I feel like it may have been Station 19 jumping the shark.
For a show to jump the shark, it tackles a far-fetched plot point for the sake of spectacle rather than any kind of quality twist, which marks a point of no return. The term refers to when the Fonz literally jumped a shark on a pair of water skis in a Season 5 episode of Happy Days. I'll admit that the fifth episode of the third season is pretty early in a show's run to say that it jumped the shark, but... there was a bear attack on Station 19, and that's not even the only leap in the hour.
I have to address the bear-shaped elephant in the room. The attack came while the heroes of Station 19 were on a mandatory camping trip, organized by Maya in an effort to try and get her friends to actually like her again after her controversial promotion. The two people attacked by the bear were inexperienced campers who dropped $5000 on gear and did a poor job of safely building a fire. Something bad was obviously going to happen.
And something bad did happen! The Station 19 crew was alerted by screams in the morning after a night in the woods, and they discovered a man who lost his nose and was mauled trying to protect his wife from a bear. Her arm was shredded anyway, but she was less critical.
It was already a stretch that this very unlikely event happened when a bunch of heroes happened to be camping nearby, but the potentially shark-jumping moment came when Station 19 came across a baby bear, realized that a baby bear meant a mama bear nearby, and then faced off against the mama bear. Andy led the group in introducing themselves to the bear and then making themselves big to make the bear go away, and it... worked.
Unfortunately, it was all made worse by what the baby and mama bear actually looked like, and I'm not the only one who can't help but call out how bad they looked:
Congrats to those preschoolers for beating a high-profile primetime TV show on one of the biggest broadcast networks when it comes to creating a fake bear! I'll admit that I did a double take when I saw Station 19's attempt at a baby bear; at least the drawing owns what it is.
Somebody else on social media has a suggestion for how Station 19 could have pulled off a better bear once the mama bear emerged from the trees:
I mean, both the Station 19 bear and that gif of the person in the bear suit are pretty obviously fake, and at least the gif bear isn't supposed to look real! I wouldn't want to see the guy in the bear suit bite anybody's nose off, though.
Another person on social media also went with a person in a bear suit to point out the inadequacy of the CGI:
I know Grey's Anatomy has gone for some pretty wild twists and is still going strong in its sixteenth season, but Station 19's bear attack really feels like a potential breaking point. To me, if a show can't do something well and believably, then it probably shouldn't do it at all. The bears looked pretty bad, and that made me less inclined to overlook the ridiculousness of the plot.
The plot itself wasn't helped by Sullivan stealing drugs to deal with his pain, Miller's pregnant ex who suddenly emerged from the woodwork last week complicating things, Jack going from almost being caught for having an affair to hooking up with Andy, and Herrera apologizing to his daughter for calling her a slut... in front of her coworkers.
That said, I was intrigued by Maya's flashbacks to her childhood as a track star who was emotionally abused by her father, although a mouth full of braces wasn't quite enough to sell Danielle Savre as a teenager again. The Maya flashbacks were shocking in this episode, but I didn't feel like I had to suspend my disbelief to go along for the ride.
Will Station 19 survive the bear attack? Honestly, I don't see ABC giving Station 19 the axe any time soon, especially since ABC seems to be trying to copy One Chicago's success over on NBC by adding more frequent crossovers between Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy. The two shows already aired one massive crossover event in 2020, and subsequent episodes have seen characters from the two shows mingling.
Of course, Station 19 just killed off a character while Grey's Anatomy has lost Justin Chambers as Alex Karev after 15 years and may feature a whole lot less of Jesse Williams as Jackson in the rest of Season 16. Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy sharing characters could help viewers avoid missing any of the absent characters too much. The most recent ratings for these shows do suggest that they're winning around the same numbers on Thursday nights.
Those numbers are short of what One Chicago regularly pulls off with Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. on Wednesday nights, but the Grey's Anatomy/Station 19 block of programming is arguably the closest thing to a One Chicago on a non-NBC network nowadays, so maybe it will become the next big thing in primetime. If Grey's Anatomy has moved past some of its craziest stories and killing off all those characters, why can't Station 19 recover from a bear attack?
Catch new episodes of Station 19 that may or may not feel like the first half of a Grey's Anatomy two-parter on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, followed by episodes of Grey's. For some additional viewing options, check out our 2020 winter and spring premiere schedule.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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