Grey's Anatomy

Season 5 Episode 13

Stairway to Heaven

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 22, 2009 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

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out of 10
439 votes
  • Another episode.

    There are flaws.

    1. Denny is stupid. Keeping him around 3 seasons later is also very stupid.

    2. Mark loses a good amount of weight over the seasons.

    3. Grey is a twisted nightmare conceived from some twisted nook from shonda's past. She has been and always continues to be throughout the show.
  • This episode made me remember how I felt after watching one of the old times episodes.

    I'm not liking the whole bringing back Denny thing, it really dropped with that, I find it boring and sick, even silly.
    However, the serial killer arc was excellent, not from the begginig, but in this episode it kind of exploded.
    It didn't have lots and lots of sex as always, instead it made us think about something very controversial as death sentence, and about how Meredith was able to see 'greys' in this man, who had killed several people.
    It also touched another hot topic, that is, organ donation, how far should it go? Crossing the lines, should those lines be modified?
    So, to conclude, if it weren't for Denny this episode would be perfect.
    I still scored it 10 because the ending, when Meredith is watching the execution was just brilliant.
  • Music makes this show yet again

    This episode made me realise why I like Grey's Anatomy. It's the breathtaking use of music. Not that I didn't know that music can make a show but something clicked in my head during the finale song by Aussie band Powderfinger. It is emotion of Grey's which makes it so involving. And music is key to that.

    Recently I've been watching my old ER DVDs and although that show is terrific, their use of music is rubbish. I can count at least a dozen songs which have been used in Grey's, often songs I'd never heard of before but went out and downloaded immediately after I finished watching the episode. (Chasing Cars especially springs to mind.)

    With ER. None.

    The Meredith/death row storyline came to it's climax in this episode. I had anticipated that the guy's organs would be used to save the child so am VERY glad they avoided that cliche. And that the Doctors didn't make decisions they would possibly live to regret to save the life of the little boy.

    And Derek's mother is dead right about Meredith. It IS easy to find compassion for good people. The fact that Meredith can find compassion for people who are not so good is what the audience loves about her too. How can she judge people when she herself is so flawed. Which is a pertinent point about humanity: let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone.

    I'm not sick of the Denny storyline. Mainly because I love looking at the actor. And it's nice to see a tv show which doesn't gloss over grief - these things do take time. Often in tv land, a person recovers from physicl or psychological trauma in one episode. In real life it can take years to recover. If at all.

    This is one of the few shows I'm watching at the moment which isn't boring me. I feel like they still have fresh ideas and things to say. And characters which aren't long past their sell by date.

    I look forward to seeing what will happen next.
  • It hurts to even talk about this episode!!

    By far the WORST episode of Grey's anatomy to ever air. I felt like shooting myself after the first 20 minutes of the show and it only got worse in the other 20 minutes. This show should either improve drastically or just go down the drain. They finally decided to quit the whole meredith drama (Thank GOD) only to start even worse ones. Denny is very annoying and so is ezzie, the psycho sleeping with the dead!! What were the writers on? I can't help but wonder!! the whole crazy meredith and the rest of the staff was just painful to watch. Overall, I Do NOt REcOMMEND this episode except to people I dislike!!
  • If it weren't for the Izzie/Danny storyline (one I was fed up with eons ago) this episode would have gotten a 9.5 from me. I found myself torn, just like Mer, how to feel towards the PDR and am looking forward to the McEngagement

    Truth to be told, I haven't been watching Grey's Anatomy for long, only since last October I think. In this short amount of time I have found myself getting more and more emotionaly attached to the characters I see every week on my computer screen. I liked the first two seasons very much indeed but seasons 3 and 4, though still good, were not up to par. This season however would be, in my opinion, the best one yet if it weren't for Denny and Izzie taking up far too much screen time with a storyline that I didn't like much in the first place. What I have enjoyed most about this season is the Mer/Der relationship, how stable and yet normal it feels, and now they are getting engaged and I can't wait!
  • third and last part of ana amazing story arc, we'll know if doctor Baley will let the prisoner die in order to save her baby patient's life. Danny finally explains himself to Izzie

    grey's anatomy as always been one of my favourite show 'cause can bring strong emotions straight to people's heart like it's nothing, but we know it's a lot...
    not so much shows can do that, can let u feel the emotions and live them with the characters as this one does.
    the serial killer story-arc brought me back to season 3, to some amazing episodes like 6 days and the ferry boat arc.
    season 4 was good, but nothing special.
    season five is great, the only thing i complain is that i miss george a lot!
    but men, stairway to heaven was so well written and acted i couldn't take my eyes off it!
    all the storylines were great (ok, MsSteamy not so much...)
    and finally everybody know the mining of Danny's presence.
    Godd Job writers, very good job!
  • I was beginning to worry that GA was going downhill but this wonderful episode brought everything back into perspective for me

    What a great episode! After all these off-character episodes with Izzie and Denny's ghost doing all kinds of things and viewers not knowing what to think about the direction the show was going, there comes this double-episode storyline with the serial killer and reminds us why we love this show. It posed a real and dramatic dilemma about judging people who have done unacceptable things, as well as organ donation and how one should look at it. Should we really see things in black and white like Derek does, or are there various shades of grey in situations, as Meredith and Miranda seem to believe? Is it right to pressure people to donate their loved ones' organs, since like the Chief says, "they're not going to take them with them", or should the doctors respect their wishes and leave them alone? And on the other hand, what are the criteria in respecting a patient's and relative's wishes? If the doctors respected the wishes of the wife who didn't want to donate her husband's organs, shouldn't they respect the wishes of the serial killer as well?

    Loved the scenes between Meredith and the killer, the dialogues and the emotions both. And the final sequence where she watches the execution and then Christina comes along to pull her up, that is just amazing! I must admit until now I thought Ellen Pompeo was just a good actress, after this episode I think she's great! Love the Owen - Christina romance too. Owen is a very interesting, controversial character, very charming and masculine but at the same time one who makes mistakes and isn't so much into the perfect side of things. And Derek's mother, she was so cool!

    If there weren't for Denny's ghost and Izzie, I would've given this episode a 10. There were so many amazing, well acted dramatic scenes and dialogues in it it's hard to list them all. Though the Lexie - Mark thing, I don't know yet, we'll see how that one goes. It seems a little off-key at this point.
  • This is why I watch the show.

    It's baaccckkkk!

    There was the X factor that made Grey's what it is today. For a while, it seemed as if they were losing it. But this episode, this episode made me feel like I was watching the first season again. It was complicated, simple, entirely promblematic, filled with drama, ups, down, twists, and more than anything - emotionally charged. This is was the episode that from the minute it came on to the minute it ended, my eyes were glued, my heart beating and my breath held.

    If they want to keep this up, then they had better keep doing whatever it is that they're doing here.

    Great episode, and so very touching.
  • Very good episode, the best of season 5. That's the reason why I love Grey's Anatomy. SPOILERS.

    The episode closed the serial killer case, which was by far the best case in this season of Grey's Anatomy, remembering us of the great cases of the very good second season. Everything was great. Bailey entering in the OR to say "Don't Save This Man" and the end of the dead Denny story with the confirmation Izzie is sick, and then the bizarre broken-dick case, but still good, and Meredith saying they shouldn't save the serial-killer,as Bailey did.
    And then we had the end of the episode, which was by far one of the best scenes of Grey's Anatomy ever. Bailey saying she crossed the line and then crying, the boy waking up making everybody be happy, and Meredith seeing the death of the serial killer and then saying to Derek it was horrible, and she didn't even understand herself, and Meredith and Cristina getting friends again, all of that with a perfect song which incredible matched in that scenes. Seriously, that's why we all love Grey's Anatomy and I hope its next episodes be like this one, just perfect.
  • The intense and shocking ending made the episode. Plus we finally learn why Denny has been 'haunting' Izzie.

    I have to say how much Meredith has stood out for me in these last few episodes. Last week with her telling the killer how to kill himself to help the little boy and now how she wrestled with what to do. Extremely well written and well acted. Especially the last scene which was just excellent. I wasn't expecting Mer to breakdown but suddenly tears poured down her face...her voice was cracked...she was distraught. Her words really got to me 'it was horrible'.

    I loved how Cristina ran to her in the car, how Dereck told Cristina to help her friend. The music was great here too. But also it was great to finally learn why Denny is in the show. I haven't enjoyed him back because it just feels too weird but Izzie was brilliant. I hope she's not dying. Sloan and Lexi were funny. Bailey had a great, intense scene.

    All in all, a brilliant episode.
  • Grey's Anatomy is back!

    Well, they never left, but until this episode (Stairway to heaven) and the one before it, Grey's Anatomy lacked good drama this season. But this is a wonderful episode that shows Grey's Anatomy like it should be. Izzie finds out Denny is with her because she is ill. Meredith tries to let the prisoner get his wish, but Derek and Christina don't make that possible. Lexie broke Marks Baily has an emotional decision and her patient, after many twist and turns, finally gets his organs and wakes up. Derek tells Christina that he plans on proposing. Meredith attends the prisoners execution and cries and only Christina can make her stop, so they rekindle. Alex tries to talk sense into Izzie and George deals with a family. This was, in my opinion, the best episode of the season!
  • What a way to reveal Denny's purpose!

    I would have never thought that one episode could tie up three storylines so effectively. Watching Dr. Bailey stand meekly in Dr. Shepherd's OR asking him to stop the surgery on the death row inmate was monumental. His response, "Am I an executioner, or am I a surgeon?" and watching her wrestle with that answer and the implications it would have for her patient was powerful. I'm glad the boy eventually did have a donor and lived, though it was saddening to see Dr. Webber cross a line to ensure the organ donation. I think it was the right thing to do for Grey's character when she attended the inmate's execution. Finally, you have Izzy realizing Denny is there for her because she might be dying. When he disappeared, it left me wondering if we'll ever see him again, and what might become of Izzy.
  • Dark, intriguing, dramatic, funny, beautiful: a full blown Grey's Anatomy episode for the books.

    Lots of great stuff in this show which I guess makes it so popular. Lots of creepy music though. I guess it's meant to intensify to eeriness surrounding the serial killer. I must admit that the story got really suspenseful as we are holding onto our breathes to see if his organs were going to be sacrificed or if that poor little boy was going to die.

    I admit that I thought Dr. Bailey was being annoying in the previous episode but this time amazing acting. The way she tried to confront Derek. Man. And her breakdown at the end was just beautiful.

    Also for the first time, we're actually seeing the Izze/Denny storyline going somewhere. Izzie wants Denny gone and because he isn't she is now starting to question her own mental health.

    In the midst of all the drama and suspense, it's surprising to see that they fit a funny Mark/Lexie storyline that in the end turned out to be very sweet.

    Meredith's character throughout this storyarc was too predictable for me. I knew she was going to be a sucker for whatever that serial killer said to her. But in the end I was rather surprised that she went to his execution and her breakdown at the end puts a lot about her character into prespective.

    Is it just me or does anyone think that Derek should've proposed to Meredith outside the prison? That wouldve been a cool place to propose, IMO.

    It was great to see so many character stories progressing and other reconciling at the end of this storyarc. This will probably be a fan favorite episode of the series.
  • Izzie learns more about Denny, Bailey considers breaking the oath, Lexie and Sloan are too rough and the other stuff that can only happen on Grey's Anatomy.

    Like most fans the Lexie and Sloan relationship is one of the few recent hookups that is actually interesting. They work well together and their scenes are always entertaining, but come on, this was absolutely ridiculous with Sloan breaking his "goods". It didn't work in the movie The New Guy, and I'd like to assume Grey's Anatomy is capable of more than a bush-league DJ Qualls flick.

    The Izzie/Denny storyline took a significant turn, but I really hope that she is not dying. Katherine Heigl is such a talented actress to make this rubbish watchable, but I do not know how the show will survive without her.

    Eric Stoltz also gave another solid performance as the man on death row, leading to some very emotional scenes with Bailey, Meredith and Derek. This was a controversial storyline that brought some fresh life back into the series. Let's just hope they can come up with something good now that it's over.
  • Nice ending to a weird plot.

    All in all, I liked the episode. I cried my eyes out!
    The story with the death-sentenced murderer was a nice idea. And I could feel with Meredith. Who's side would you pick?
    (although not possible in Germany, as we don't have death penalty here)
    An FINALLY ghost-Danny is gone. I liked Danny and Izzy together, when Danny was still alive, but the ghost story was a little over the top for my taste... And now, he is there for her, without being there :) This idea is more appealing to me.
    I like the Christina and Owen plot! The fit together perfectly!

    Oh, and finally: Christina and MEredith back "together"!
  • The best episode of the season.

    This Grey's episode was most certainly the best of the season. Every dynamic of the episode was well constructed. As plots moved forward, everyone's lives got more and more complicated in the process. The constant theme of death and heaven over the three episode arc made chills go down my spine, as I am sure that it did everyone else's. Izzie's realization of what is really going on with her was perhaps one of the saddest moments of the episode, but extremely necessary, as the Denny plot needed to wind down somehow. Cristina and Meredith had to make up at some point, and I am very glad that they finally did. Poor George; what happened to his character? That's my only complaint. Alex continues to impress me. Sloan. hahahahahahahah! Comic relief well needed. Great job Lexie for your support. More Callie, pretty please? Arizona = getting better; I could see her and Bailey becoming good friends. Bailey in Derek's OR = PERFECT. I love that boiling point of the episode. AAAHH THE RING! I can't wait for the proposal. Please keep this up Grey's! Don't let me down! Grey's Anatomy is back my friends; I can't wait to see what else is in store for these surgeons!
  • A great episode (with the usual exceptions.

    Apart from the ghost scenes which I have said on many occasions I absolutely hate, this was a gripping well written episode of Grey's Anatomy. The scenes with Bailey and Derek were some of the most powerful I have witnessed in this show for a long time. The whole story about the organ donation for the boy and the fact that the death row convict was a match led to some of the most enthralling drama of the season. Also Cristina and Owen finally agreed to date and I loved the scenes of them together. there was also a painfully amusing scenario with Mark and Lexie which was solved by Callie - great stuff.
  • Finally a clue, as if we needed one as to Izzy's craziness.. and a bit more...

    Many folks remember episodes by the music, S2 Ep27 Losing my religion is probably, in my mind, the most awesome music to film making I have seen.. it seemed almost as if Chasing Cars had been written just for that episode.. well I think this episode is right up there and I would expect to see Powderfinger (who I had never heard of before last night) to be on a lot of TV shows and be a lot more famous than they were before this show aired.
    I have repeated said that Chandra Wilson is a superstar and holds so much of this show together, she agains pulls off a masterful display and you had best have the tissues very close to hand.
    Compared to many, many series these days GA has managed for the most part to have story lines that make total sense to any one watching. The Denny thing has pushed that some what over the past few months, but I think we all knew where it was heading, tonight it finally got there, well almost...more tissues... Good old Merradith was .. well.. good old Mer.. but again, wonderful acting very believable for me.
    I don't write a lot of these, and I never do the whole script thing.. leave that to others. Just know that if you love GA, you will add this episode to all time favs!
  • Izzy and denny are definatly the best onset couple

    i love denny, and have since he started on here and cried my eyes out when he "died" im normally very good at following all the different drama issues that take place on the show but im alittle stumped about this one. is what denny was getting at was if he stayd then izzy would die because shes sick and he didnt want to tell her and if she did die then he would get to be with her in heaven, but if he left then she could live and he would be in his own hell without her? because when he kept saying im here for you that ment to take her back to heaven with him right? can someone plz fill me in on this one like i said im aliitle confused and i read on someone else review from a different website that this was going to be the 1st part to a 3 part thing anyone else hear that?
  • Mark has a medical emergency, Mer tries to be compassionate to a death row inmate, and Izzy finally realizes something is very wrong...Overall, I think that Grey's Anatomy is finally getting its grove back.

    I have to say, this was one of my favorite episodes of the season thus far. The acting in particular was stellar, particularly by Katherine Heigl, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Chandra Wilson. One scene that was particularly memorable was Izzie and Denny's final scene where she realizes she is sick. I am one of those people who has loved having Denny back on the screen, even if it seemed a little far fetched at times. It was finally revealed Denny was sent down to get Izzie, it was heartwrenching, and made alot of sense to me. I love love loved the kiss Denny gave Izzie at the end, I know according to reports JDM is still going to be on GA for a little while, that kiss seemed like it was a final goodbye kiss for one of my favorite couples on television. I have to say, Alex telling Izzie the hospital isn't a place for Denny was actually a really intense moment, and I am glad that he said it. It was increasingly obvious that something is wrong with Izzie, considering it is affecting her work life now. The scene with Denny talking at the same time as Arizona was really...overwhelming i guess the word is. I hope they figure out Izzie's mystery ailment soon.
    I really enjoyed seeing Bailey and Derek interact. Looking back on the seasons, Bailey was always the moral compass, but with this case, she was emotionally involved, something she had told Izzie countless times not to be. To see her beg for forgiveness was one of the best acted scenes of this season. I also hope they have more Bailey/Derek scenes in the future, I really enjoy their banter.

    Another "relationship" I like is the Lexie/ Mark pairing. They seem to balance each other out well. Mark's storyline reminds me, funnily enough of the season 2 episode which Mer seemed to do almost the same thing.Anyway, I loved the scene where she laid on his bed, and stroked his hair.It was a really sweet moment.

    Finally, the creepy woman killer gets executed.I know it is strange, but i didnt find him particularly frightening until he was strapped into the chair and kept his eyes on Mer as he died. I was glad that despite the difference in opinion, Derek was there for Meredith when she came out of the prison, and talked Cristina into comforting Meredith.

    All in all, a great episode, and I hope there is more GA like this in the future!