Sanctuary means a safe place right? Well not for Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy is set to premiere its 17th season this November. The show has been one of the longest-running TV series and has no signs of slowing down. In the past 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, there are many episodes that have been wonderfully written by creator Shonda Rhimes. One of my favorite episodes is ‘Sanctuary’ from Season 6. In this episode, Gary Clark was seeking revenge on Derek Sheperd after he ordered her wife, Allison to be removed from its life support. This resulted in a series of deaths caused by Gary while trying to look for Derek. The whole episode was filled with emotions and tension that left everyone on the edge of their seats.

I remember the first time I saw this episode, and it left me smiling after. Not because I’m a fan of violence or killing, but because I thought it was beautifully done. One of the reasons why I loved that episode was because of how it was told. It was like a piece of a puzzle wherein every aspect of it complements each other. The attention to detail during this episode, with the character movements, to camera work, to the editing pace, it was all a woven into one seamless flow. Let’s talk about it starting with the storylines.

The storylines

Every Grey’s Anatomy episode is an entertaining episode. But Sanctuary was different, in a good way. It has its own distinctions from previous episodes. It goes with heavy storylines for each character and it worked. Everyone has something on the line. It did not solely focused on Derek’s perspective, every core character had their own dilemma which made the episode filled with more tension. I know that every episode also has multiple storylines happening, but this one is different. Like Bailey trying to save Charles, Mark and Lexie operating on Karev with minimal resources, Derek trying to put the safety of the hospital, or Yang doing her job as a doctor with a gun pointed to her head, Meredith being pregnant while knowing her husband is the gunman’s target. Every character has something at stake. It kept us on the edge of our seat and never gave us room to breathe!


The setup

It started with the usual monologue of Meredith at the beginning with Derek standing at the walkway where he will be shot while Meredith talks about how the hospital is her safe place or her sanctuary reminiscing about her childhood and how she loved it there. It was shown that she was pregnant after taking a maternity test which will take her relationship to the next level. But as soon as she walked past Gary while uttering the lines, “I loved it here”. You wonder whether they will be able to enter that next level. It was a strong hook that made me feel invested and scared for Derek. It was always his dream to have a kid but knowing that there is a possibility that he might die while Meredith is pregnant and not knowing it. You start to question if whether Derek will die or will he live to know that he is a father.


The technicalities

If you are a fan of good cinematography like me, you’d definitely enjoy this episode. The handheld cinematography used in this episode contributed a lot to highlighting tension and urgency in their situation. One of the best examples of this was the confrontation part between Derek and Gary. The transition between the rugged shakes from the frame of Gary tells a lot about how he feels towards Derek, to the smooth camera shot of Derek which implies that he is trying to calm Gary. That scene was good cinematography. The cinematography helped a lot in setting the mood of the whole episode by creating that eerie feeling through rawness produced by the handheld shots.


This has been listed as one of the best of the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. The whole episode is an example of good visual storytelling. From how the episode was written, to the direction, up to the small details such as usage of shots, it was all done perfectly! This just shows the quality of work that is put on in the series. And entering its 17th season, I can’t wait to see what is in store for us!

What is your favorite Grey’s Anatomy episode?

Tell us in the comments down below and share with us your thoughts! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @udou for more content!

Please Wait ...