E: I’ve been sorting through why this episode seems just kind of meh, and I think I know. It’s the patients. What can we do to get a good, truly moving patient story? And, please, dear God, can we be done with Cristina walking around like a zombie? Last week, she seemed to make an effort. This week, it was right back to catatonia. Don’t get me wrong, I know PTSD isn’t something you get over easily. But the way she’s reacting, it’s a real frustration.
On the other hand, there was definitely stuff to like. Owen had some lovely moments. Derek was moving and inspirational. And Meredith kicked butt. If we can say that Crist And like Bailey, I can’t help wondering just where The Chief got that extra cash. At least finding that out is something to look forward to!
So it went down like this: the Attendings were invited to pitch an inspirational idea to the Chief, so as to use up a million dollars he’d suddenly found lying around. Yeah, that’s right, a million dollars. Wasn’t he just saying last week he wanted to get the hospital into lap band surgery for the cash? While the Attendings present, the 4th year residents (how did they get to be 4th years already? seriously! they were interns for what, three seasons?) would pretend to be Attendings, with fancy dark blue scrubs and everything. Nice. The Attendings would let the residents solo and run their own cases. Real learning would occur! Cool.
The Attendings for the most part had comic plots. Competitive Callie undermined everyone’s presentations – a little bit evil, considering she was working against her best friend and her lover, but it was still entertaining to see. In the end the Chief was totally uninspired by her sports medicine proposal. Callie had teased Arizona that she was going to cry; instead, she gave a great presentation that ended in a weirdly angry tirade. Teddy self-sabotaged herself by largely railing against Derek. Weird. I didn’t know she disliked him. Bailey, God bless her heart, wanted to use the money to fix a bunch of machines in the basement and hire a new night nurse. Was it inspirational? Imagination catching? No. Necessary, practical and important? Yes.
Derek brought me to tears, pleading for the money as a seed for Alzheimer’s research, so he can cure it before it maybe takes his wife. Every time Meredith loses her keys, he says, he’s afraid. A million dollars can’t do that, says the Chief. But how can I not try, Derek responds, and I kind of loved him for it. I hope they follow up on this. It’s very White Knight, but what’s wrong with that? Shonda Rimes has often said that Derek is her dream man.
Owen won the money with his idea of disaster training. As soon as he brought up the subject, I couldn’t see how anyone could compare (though like I said, Derek did a damn fine job – his project was just too big). We lost 11 people, and 3 of them could have been saved if we’d had better protocols in place. Miranda Bailey worked like a hero – she did everything she could – and she couldn’t save Charles Percy because the elevators weren’t operating. Instead, she held him while he died. And now she’ll have to live with that for the rest of her life. Let’s not make that mistake again! Let us prepare, so it can never happen. Seriously, he wrecked me. I’m crying now, just thinking about it.
On the resident front, Alex helped a 13 year old boy get his man-boobs removed. With backing from Mark (plastics, for the breast reduction) and Arizona (tiny humans), Alex talked the doubting mother into keeping the promise she made to her son for his bar mitzvah. And honestly, he made a compelling case. The boy didn’t need to lose weight, and apparently inherited the feature from his skinny, boobie father. Why put him through the trauma of going to high school with a target on his chest? I don’t know that I’d have thought I’d be in favor of this, but all in all it was pretty persuasive. Heck, it’s hard enough for 13 year old girls to deal with growing breasts.
I will admit, I pretty much wanted to smack Cristina around for wandering around the hospital like an animated corpse. I thought that worm-guy last week had inspired her! I feel awful for saying this, but at least when Owen had PTSD he did interesting stuff like avoid his fiancee and choke people. Why isn’t a tortured Cristina as interesting? Probably because her way of being tortured is less active. And I’m not saying it’s inaccurate. It’s just making for rather repetitive tv. Cristina worked with April on an old man, Roy, in need of a lung transplant. He calls Cristina sour puss, talks about his soured relationship with his only daughter, and asks if their fathers are proud of them; April’s farmer dad is, of course, but Cristina’s not up for talking about the father she watched die. Sigh. They convene a panel to put Roy on the transplant list, but then surmise that Teddy (who has been loosely supervising them) hasn’t already called a panel because she thinks he’s a bad risk. Cristina does nothing but take a bit of chuff from Roy, who likes her, and piss everyone off by not speaking, until April is recommending to the panel that they not put the guy on the list, and she can’t help herself. We know he’s borderline, she agrees, but he’s got the will to live, and I’m positive he will if you put him on the list. April is justifiably infuriated that Cristina left her out to dry, but everyone else is pleased – including me – that she finally freaking spoke up. Especially Roy.
The most amusing subplot of the night – Meredith and Jackson Avery competing to perform solo brain surgery on a lovely lesbian in her 60s with ringing in her ears. The lovely lesbian’s lovely partner (and when I say lovely, I don’t mean physically picture perfect, I mean just lovely people) questions the wisdom of allowing someone to have their first time in her partner’s head, but Derek (and the patient) talk her into agreeing. This is how we get the brain surgeons of the future, yada yada. Derek has them practice on eggs; break the shell with the drill, but not the membrane. Avery blows through a dozen eggs, but it’s really a ploy to lull Meredith into complacency. When Derek asks them to write their names on the eggs, Meredith comes up with MC (it took me a second before I realized the C was incomplete G and not, in fact, her middle initial) and Jackson a perfectly uniform JAVERY. Wow. Of course, when it comes time to do the actual surgery, Avery flubs midway through, and Derek has to step in to stop the bleeding and save the patient.
Since she’s not a fourth year resident, Lexie has been working her butt off for everyone else. A patient of Callie’s, who had her knee operated on, tries to bust Lexie’s balls because she looks disheveled and overwhelmed, but when Lexie recites her chart from memory, the girl eases up. It’s cute. And when the girl’s boyfriend calls because she’s experiencing numbness and a sudden severe head ache, it’s emergency surgery to repair a weird brain bleed. But wait! Derek is fixing Jackson’s mistake, and apparently Shadow Shepherd and the rest of neuro are out for the day, so Meredith is forced to do the surgery herself, with no supervision. She kicks butt, forcing the boyfriend out of the room, acting with cool and determination. There’s no hesitation; as Teddy has told Cristina, it’s all about making choices, and in a crisis, Meredith is perfect. Derek runs into the tail end of the surgery, but she waves him off. I don’t need you, honey. I’ve got it.
And that was awesome.
When it comes time for a little post-op conference with the lovely lesbians, Jackson wonders what he can possibly say. He wants to apologize. Heck no, says Derek. We’re going to tell them that everything is fine, because it is. They don’t need to know you had trouble. So poor Jackson gets to be hugged by the lovely partner, who apologizes for doubting him. You can see the praise tastes like ashes.
The episode ends with Meredith, of course, fishes around in her purse for her keys even though they’re already in her hand. I don’t want to underplay Derek’s dread of Alzheimers, but I think your average person could (and does) make that mistake! Either way, it’s fascinating to see Derek (who insisted Meredith not find out her test results, who wanted to live each day for itself) focused on her health issues. I hope they can go somewhere with that! And I’m looking forward to hearing just what it is the Chief has in store. All in all, this was a pretty good episode. I laughed, I cried. Maybe not too too much of either (although the funny bits were less jokey and so more funny than most of the recent humor) but still, it was good. I’m especially pleased by our new, grow up Meredith. That was a glimpse of the surgeon’s she always been meant to be. Yay!