E: Is it me, or is it you, Grey’s Anatomy? Why didn’t I enjoy this episode more? I’m not entirely sure I can put my finger on it. Maybe because Joel Grey wasn’t that funny, and didn’t make me cry either (though the shot of him with his face on the floor? Yikes.) Maybe because there was less Alex and more Percy. Maybe it’s just the normal balance of the show was out of whack for me – I don’t think I like it when they go into patients we’re not introduced to and invested in.
But on the other hand, I really like the new cardio attending! Maybe it’s just because I’m firmly in the Kim Raver camp (The Nine! The Nine!) but I was thrilled to see someone actually teaching at this teaching hospital! And I liked the funny that they did bring. And there was a serious emotional wallop at the end, too. A lot happened that was fantastic. So why do I not remember feeling satisfied?
Oh, my poor tender heart. The episode begins with Meredith sitting on the gurneys in the hall where she used to hide with Cristina, Izzie, Alex and George. Sob – George! George, George, how I miss you. (I caught a minute of the first Thanksgiving episode in syndication; seeing dead Mr. O’Malley anoint dead George’s cheeks with turkey blood was too intense. Though not for the obvious reason if you hadn’t actually seen it – I wanted to cry for their lost vitality. Waaay too emotional, I am.) Ahem. Anyway. Back to the rest of the hospital. Izzie wheels in her high school science teacher, whom she’s stolen from a nursing home, to have Derek check out his sudden onset unexplained dementia. The teacher keeps skipping around in time and referring to Izzie’s teen pregnancy as if it were happening now, which causes a bit of a stir. Izzie is stuck with Percy, who’s on Derek’s service. (I’m going to take this moment to say that, while I know it’s not a fair assessment, Dr. Percy does not look like a kind person, and he does not act like one, and I do not like his face, and I do not like him.) Alex avoids her.
The delectable Dr. Owen Hunt brings Cristina down to the ER to give her a present. “A cardiac trauma!” she yells, thrilled. “No, not just a cardio trauma. I got you a cardio god. Well, god-dess.” Dr. Teddy Altman (Kim Raver!) served in Iraq with Owen, and she’s the best, he says. Yang is not so sure, especially as they’re standing in the rain waiting for a new trauma to arrive with Owen and the also delectable Jackson Avery. “Google’s never heard of you,” she informs Teddy with narrowed eyes. Teddy couldn’t care less, and when it starts to rain, she goes out to dance in it. Cristina asks Owen to take her present back. Jackson, who failed earlier to get Yang to talk about their kiss, realizes who his competition is.
Back inside Adele shows up, on the war path, and accuses Bailey of sleeping with the Chief. Now that’s a headscratcher. I’m stunned. They have such a father/daughter relationship that the very suggestion makes me want to rinse out my ears. Callie and Sloan overhear and can’t contain their laughter. “You look out for each other, ” Callie says, “you’re work husband and wife.” Adele buys the arguement, but says that the Chief hasn’t been a mess like this (distracted, not coming home) since his affair with Ellis Grey. “Wife wife to work wife, someone in this hospital is sleeping with our husband.” Can Loretta Devine deliver a line or what? She is awesome, that is what she is. Bailey finds the chief asleep in the on-call room, and attempts to broach the subject so awkwardly (we know how much Bailey looooves the messy emotional lives of her coworkers) that the Chief thinks she’s hitting on him. Did you know the Chief’s secretary, Patty, seems to also have been fired somewhere along the way? Yuck. I liked her. No wonder things are such a mess organizationally.
Cristina – feeling superior as ever – gets to explain a new, less invasive pacemaker technology to Teddy. Since Teddy’s been working on healthy 20 year olds for the last 8 years, it hasn’t exactly come up. Cristina is pretty contemptuous, something she doesn’t hesitate to show “Desert Storm Barbie”. When Teddy questions Jackson about something, Cristina snarks “oh, you don’t know that either?” “No,” Teddy replies, “that was actually a teaching moment.” This relationship is not going well so far.
Izzie threatens to reveal Percy’s love for Reed, thus forcing Percy to do some extra tests on Joel Grey. And her dogged persistence pays off; though Percy gets credit for it, Izzie finds the miracle she was looking for – it’s not just dementia, it’s a fluid build up, which Derek can easily cure with a permanent shunt installed in Grey’s brain. When Grey blanches at wiping out his entire savings to pay for the operation (even to save his sanity? his humanity? are you kidding me?), Izzie blackmails the Chief, saying she’ll go to the press and say she donated $8 mil to the hospital and they’re going to let her destitute mentor lose his mind. Izzie wins this one.
Oh, and speaking of the Chief? It turns out he turned a patient into an egg yolk today. Which is to say, he accidentally clipped the common bile duct during a routine surgery, which apparently one of the worst mistakes you can make. I am so SICK of these people killing their patients, damn it! (Sounds like mustard man doesn’t die, but gah. Still.) Teddy makes an amazing call; just by listening to his chest, she realizes that a patient we’ll call Little Boy Blue (since we don’t get enough info on him otherwise) has cardiac asthma, not the regular kind, and needs an operation, stat. Cristina is astounded at the speed of her diagnosis, and sunny Teddy chews her out for questioning her, yet again. Arizona thinks that’s great. Really? Okay. But better than that, Cristina still gets in on the surgery, and Teddy lets her really in on – for the first time in who knows how long, Yang gets to hold a beating heart in her hands. Teddy lets her work, lets her mess up a bit, and patiently talks her through the fix. Cristina is elated. (Odd personal tangent; I had my kids at a teaching hospital. Several of my spinals were placed by residents. It’s a peculiar feeling to have yourself talked over like that. They always ask your permission, though, and the attendings have always been – like Teddy – patient and thorough and very much in control. And only once was the resident distractingly handsome.)
Back in the fake world, Hunt explains to Yang why Google is silent on the subject of Teddy Altman; her best friend died in the south Tower, and she left a teaching position at Columbia to join up. (Not to be snide, but she certainly could have published before then. Just saying.) Cristina might be happy with him, but when Teddy asks what happens to his engagement, and why he didn’t call Teddy when he broke things off with Beth, well, Hunt finds out right along with us that Teddy, at least, though they had some sort of repressed, Bridges of Madison County unspoken love thing going on. Eeek. Is that awkward! I still want to weep for her. To be the present for his girlfriend when you thought you were his one true love? Uck. Jackson, Cristina, Owen, Teddy – eek. Alrighty. Also in the “eek” category; after vainly begging Meredith to explain Izzie to him (“I’m like you. She’s all bright and shiny.”), Alex confronts Izzie as she watches Joel Grey’s surgery. She blames him for getting her fired. He’s stunned and blindsided. “I am your husband. You didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt. So I don’t forgive you either.”
The Chief, still reeling over the Mustard Man Mistake, gives his patient load over to Bailey. She grouches about it, puzzled, to Callie. “I lost my work husband and my husband husband.” What about Shepherd as a work husband, Callie suggests. “Are you kidding? With all that hair? I can’t be looking at that all day!” Oh, how I love Bailey. She never fails me. And then we get to the moment that makes us re-evaluate everything that’s gone before. The Chief sits at Joe’s bar (Joe!) and asks for soda water. Which turns out to be vodka. Which means that the link to the days of Ellis Grey is not sex, but his addiction. Damn. Meredith walks by, and somehow, somehow, she figures it out. Wow.
So clearly some important and fascinating stuff happened here. Why am I not more excited? I honestly don’t know. The bit about the Chief is huge. And fine, I can see the anvil-like stuff about Izzie’s past and how she has to make similar choices today, but none of that made old Grey interesting to me as a patient. I’m happy with Kim Raver and her baggage and her actual teaching; I’m really excited to see Meredith actually working with patients again – and, as I said last week, I really really like seeing her happy. It means more good than bad for the future, I hope. Next week’s coming attractions, showing a patient claiming to be Mark’s adult daughter? Ick. That could certainly bring the funny.