E: Is it Shonda Rimes who’s going a bit baby crazy, do you think? Because babies are the issue of the day yet again on Grey’s Anatomy this week. We have a few interesting plotlines here, almost all doctor (rather than patient) related. I know, the suds are always with the doctors, but often it’s the patients that give the show its emotional heft. And Captain Hook forcing his son to grow up early didn’t really tug at my heart-strings.
Still it was a good enough episode, with some nice work done in rather unexpected quarters.
Can I just say how little I like Lexie as a blond? I wish we didn’t get sound-alike speechifying out of her, but there was some stuff to like about her letting Alex walk all over her and belatedly demanding his respect. Bailey (sorely missed through most of the episode) delivered a fantastic little speech about how Lexie was letting a boy steal her super-power (memory) no matter how good the sex is. That was very cute, and Lexie’s insistence that Alex shape up or not expect more sex was okay. Eh, I just don’t like Lexie and Alex as a couple. I feel like they’re a pathetic substitute for Alex and Izzie. Lame lame lame. Lexie’s memory, of course, led her to figure out that a father and son crab fishermen were suffering from sepsis (with some type of infection common to crab fishermen – insert joke here) and not any surgical malady. There was some silly stuff about whether or not the fifteen year old son had deliberately released the hook with hooked his dad, but none of it was as vivid and moving as other impalings they’ve detailed. Remember the man and woman on the subway pole? Now that was an emotionally wringing storyline. Here, the father blamed the son, the staff blamed the father for taking a kid that young on a boat, the son blamed himself (and was convinced the father hated him) but in the end the dad came through and told his son how much he loved him, and absolved him of guilt. Which, what? Sorry. I didn’t buy that for one tiny second. That felt like they were trying to make a point about parenting, rather than any sort of authentic moment. And not that they’d established much character for him, and not that you can necessarily rely on a teen’s assessment of their parent’s feelings for them, but when a kid confesses that he fantasizes about killing the dad who’s obsessed with toughness, and is forcing said kid to work an incredibly dangerous job, well, you don’t believe it when the dad turns all saintly and wise.
We had a funny little running gag where Dr. April Kepner drooled all over Derek and Meredith caught on, with the delicious Jackson Avery teasing Mere about it. Cute. It gives her pause for a moment – “I was the lovestruck intern once!” – but she’s in too good a place to manufacture drama out of this. And can I just say, when Meredith was an intern, she ran away from Derek. He had to pursue her. She wasn’t panting after him – or at least, not until Addison showed up and she famously begged him to “pick me. love me.” And even then she’d had an actual relationship with the man – she wasn’t just crushing on him. So I don’t think it’s a parallel worth her fretting over. She playfully seduces Derek in his office, playing the role of the swooning intern. This was mostly cute. (Sorry, I’m so overusing that word today.) I don’t know if Derek had actually noticed April worshiping him, and it will complicate their working relationship now that he knows, but hopefully it’ll put him on guard. Not that I think for a moment he would cheat on Meredith, but he’s in real danger of letting the power and position of Chief get away from him, and this might let out a little air.
We get a chance to see some of his dubious Chief skills in action when Scott Cohen of Gilmore Girls and The Tenth Kingdom (and a guest slot on the most recent Castle) shows up as a hot-shot heart surgeon arriving to do a fancy procedure and just maybe take Teddy’s job. Derek thought Teddy’s appointment was temporary. Teddy has a cold and a bad day, and she’s wrecked about the prospect of losing her job. Cristina acts like a groupie around Evans (fascinating that a girl with that much pride can be so undignified in her response to a famous name) and gets to scrub in on the awe-inspiring surgery, but not actually touch the patient. Teddy points out to her that Evans isn’t a teacher, he’s a glory hog, and that changes Cristina’s tune. She drags Owen to Derek’s office to beg for Teddy’s job, but Teddy has collapsed in tears in Owen’s arms in the elevator earlier in the day. Of course the elevator, right? I miss the elevator. We don’t get as much snark in the elevator as we used to. Let alone passionate moments like this, where Owen and Teddy almost kiss. And Owen, afraid of what he might do, committed to his relationship with Cristina, lies to Derek that Teddy will be fine if he gives Evans the job. She’ll move to the East Coast. This is weirdly both a devastating betrayal and an impressive proof of loyalty.
The most moving aspect of the show for me was, of course, Mark and little Sloan and littlest, unnamed baby boy Sloan. The baby was ridiculously gorgeous, and he really looked like he could have been related to his tv show mom and granddad. Sloan gives birth on Mark’s floor, with Teddy in attendance and Arizona and Callie called away from a nasty Great Baby Question fight to check him over and help with the clean up. Girl-Sloan flirts with the idea of keeping her son (especially if Mark wants to help her raise him) but ultimately can’t handle it, and calls in the adoptive parents she picked out. Mark is gutted. He has no family except a deadbeat father, and he wants desperately to start on with this little boy. Arizona nastily cuts into him about messing up girl Sloan’s life when she’s vulnerable and pumped full of postpartum hormones, but it’s Derek who catches him out referring to the baby as his son, not grandson, and reminds him that he can still be a true father to the child he actually has. I thought that was a nice point. Who wants a surly teen, whom someone else has already mucked up, whom you seem to have nothing in common with, when they can have a baby to start new and fresh? It’s the lure of a puppy versus a shelter dog. But Sloan mans up (as he’s been doing all season) to help his daughter out. I think that’s the devastating nature of this choice. Giving up the baby was a good move for her, it really was. And she would have given Mark the baby, but that would mean that she couldn’t get to know Mark, because the baby would always be there. And yet. how do you send the flesh of your flesh out into the world thinking he’s unwanted? When you desperately want a child of your own? When you already love him? I was seriously ready to slap Arizona when she insinuated that Mark was just going through a mid-life crisis and wouldn’t be a good parent.
There was terrific acting here on the part of Eric Dane – or that is to say, it’s nice to see him play something other than the cool hot guy. The moments when he gave advice to the wide-eyed baby made me tear up, and the moment he handed the baby to the adoptive parents and then ran made me actually cry. Even the scene were he proudly showed off the size of the baby’s inherited, erm, jewels to Derek was weirdly adorable. The look in his eyes when he quietly pleaded with Teddy (“please tell me you’re staying”) was lovely, if grasping at emotional straws.
And Teddy, as it turns out, is staying. Yay! Derek gave her the job – after, that is, Evans turned it down. I’m so not loving Derek these days. The whole Chief thing really puts his sanctimonious side on display.
Finally, of course, there was the ongoing baby drama between Callie and Arizona. Callie kept trying to talk Arizona into wanting kids, and Arizona got pretty damn defensive about it (“what, are you saying I’m not womanly?”). Things got even worse when Callie thought she figured out a reason behind it; Arizona watches the heartbreak of at risk kids and devastated families all day. And her own brother died in Iraq, and the Robbins family may never recover. If only Arizona could see beyond the fear – could see that most families don’t suffer that way – she’d let her natural love of children assert itself. (“You wear wheeled shoes to work!” Callie can’t help but remind her.) When Callie comes to Arizona with her new insight, however, she’s met with fury. I am not some sort of psych case for you to resolve, Arizona responds icily. “I am only going to tell you this once. I am not broken.”
The episode ends with Callie spooning a still furious Arizona (doesn’t she have her own apartment?) and lying that she would be okay not having kids. She can’t even say it without crying. Of course they’re fighting, and they’re trying to find an end run around it, but there really isn’t one. There’s nothing immoral about wanting kids, or not wanting kids. If you’re going to spend a life with someone, however, you have to agree. If Callie didn’t really care about having kids, if she was ambivalent about it, perhaps choosing to forgo them would be okay. That’s worked for people I know, and there are plenty of compensations to a childless lifestyle (more money, travel, less responsibility, easier schedule) which can make it easier. But Callie does care. Being a mom matters enormously. Callie and Arizona are over. It’s just a question of how long it’s going to take them to admit it.