I’m happy to report this week that Grey’s Anatomy seems to be back. The last couple episodes have been great, and though I do worry that they’re juggling a few too many plot threads at once, some loose-end-tying appears to be imminent. Anyway, after a couple cross-country technical delays and heaps of tryptophan-laden poultry, here’s the first of two recaps to catch everybody up.
We open to a horrific sight of Meredith and Shepherd “starting fresh” by bathing together amid scented candles that were clearly bought from the TJ Maxx clearance table. Meredith half-heartedly insists on taking it slow, saying she wants things to be fun since she’s in a mood to be “bright and shiny.” Fortunately, things in the bathtub don’t get hot enough to elicit Meredith’s much-feared O face.Post-god-knows-what-kind-of-coital-perversion, Meredith goes to the nursing home to visit her mother, who still harbors delusions that she’s working in the O.R. and “too busy to eat.” Well, at least now we know where Meredith gets her ‘rexia. Dr. Webber arrives, interrupting this moving reverie with a present for Ellis; she immediately lights up and runs over to the chief for some heavy petting she won’t remember ten minutes later. Meredith wisely decides this is a good time to leave.
“Frankly, in five minutes I won’t remember shit, so say whatever the hell you want”
So our girl goes to the hospital, where she declares that “dark and twisty” Meredith is gone forever to make way for bright and shiny Meredith. The other interns are mortified about this, so they quickly rain on the parade by informing her that George’s dad has been admitted to the hospital. Apparently he fell and broke his collarbone but also has oddly severe abdominal pain. And lupus. And goiter. Oh, and a second uterus. Bailey interrupts this by grabbing Mr. O’Malley’s chart from George and declaring that doctors aren’t allowed to treat their own family members. She then instructs Izzie to shadow Alex for the day.
Dr. Montgomery, meanwhile, is baffled by Shepherd’s sudden, near-constant smiling. Shepherd claims it’s merely general happiness, but clearly it’s residual glee from Meredith goosing him with one of those TJ Maxx candles. Shepherd notes that Addison’s still wearing her wedding ring; she says it’s stuck, so he suggests soap. Actually, I’d recommend olive oil mixed with just a soupÃ§on of WD-40—it got me out of more than a few jams back in altar boy school. Schwing!
Callie, meanwhile, is bonding with all of George’s low-rent gringo brothers, who have come to visit their dad in the hospital. George notes this with horror, which is worsened when his brothers make their standard demeaning allegations that George isn’t a “real” doctor.
“See, I can look girly and demure! I CAN, BITCHES!!!”
Alex and Izzie report to Sloan, who demeans Izzie as just a “hot blonde” and then gives the interns slips for two weeks’ worth of his dry cleaning to pick up. Oh, and a sandwich request. What an asshole.
Unburdened with menial tasks, George asks to help with his dad’s endoscopy; Bailey refuses but invites him to pick another intern in his place. Not long after, George, observing Burke and Cristina in the O.R., notices that Burke is letting Cristina do basically the entire—very complicated—surgery herself. He realizes that something is up.
An ambulance arrives carrying a small child and a hysterical woman who inadvertently backed over the child with her SUV. Whoops! Even worse, turns out that 1) the woman is merely the nanny, not the mother, and 2) the real mother is a frigid, waspy bitch who’s ready to have the nanny de-ovaried. The father then shows up and makes things even more annoying, condemning his wife as irresponsible. There’s so much blame being evaded that for a second I think we’re in the Bush White House! ANYWAY, as Shepherd takes the child for an exam, the mother blows up and screams for the nanny to leave.
George, meanwhile, accosts Cristina and asks how she managed to decannulate a heart all by herself during her last surgery with Burke. She insists she did no such thing and merely assisted Burke, who did it himself. George, aware that normal Cristina is about as modest as George Foreman, smells something fishy and asks why she’s being so modest. She ducks this, so George asks whether she’d at least be the intern on his dad’s case. Burke okays this but asks Cristina to push back his scheduled surgery so she’ll be available for both procedures. OH REALLY.
Poor Alex, for his part, seems to think Sloan might one day actually give him real plastic-surgery work that doesn’t involve polishing his shoes or giving him daily handjobs “just to help out.” When Montgomery sees Alex returning Sloan’s dry cleaning, she reprimands Sloan that his job is to TEACH the interns, not treat them as slaves—after all, this is Grey’s Anatomy, not a Michael Richards standup routine. So Montgomery tattles on him to Webber, who ignores her completely. She asks what’s wrong with all the men in this hospital, and I’m like OH REALLY PART DEUX, would you maybe prefer a WOMAN FRIEND INSTEAD PERHAPS?
Sloan’s patient is some dumbass named Frank who had pec implants to impress his ex-girlfriend and refers to himself exclusively in the third person. Which is probably why the girlfriend left in the first place. Anyway, Frank has fluid buildup around the implants that needs to be drained. Sloan does a brief, cursory “teaching session” with Izzie and Alex but clearly has no patience for actual mentoring. He leaves the interns with the patient, but not before offhandedly demeaning Izzie once again and generally acting like a douchebag.
George finally confronts Cristina explicitly about Burke’s hand spasms. Cristina handles it awkwardly and tells George not to be “funny.” She ends the conversation, saying George should worry more about his father than about Burke.
In the imaging room, Meredith tries to keep the little SUV-accident girl still so they can get a good picture of her head. The girl keeps asking for her nanny, which her distant-ass mother doesn’t like it one bit. The mom tries to distract the daughter by singing a lullaby, but the girl insists that her mom is singing the song wrong and only her nanny knows it well. HAHA this girl is fantastic. Let’s put her in a buddy flick with Dakota Fanning!
Callie continues to bond with the O’Malley brothers, this time over muscle cars of the 1960s and 70s. Great, so she likes bonebreaking and now VINTAGE MUSCLE CARS? At this rate, soon they’ll be trying to tell me she also likes fur trading and pottery. I just don’t buy it. Anyway, George feels threatened by Callie’s conversations with his brothers, which is retarded considering he can’t talk to them for five seconds without whining or getting in an argument. So George declares that since Callie broke up with him, he can hang out with his family on his own, muchas gracias.
In the O.R., the doctors are trying to save SUV girl’s kidney. Meredith makes an offhand comment about how awful the parents are—the mother doesn’t even know the child’s blood type and is so obsessed with her career that she should’ve thought twice before having a baby. Clearly the BEST POSSIBLE THING to say in front of Dr. Bailey. Meredith realizes her mistake, but not before Bailey gets real pissed, y’all.
George continues to hound the Burke-Cristina complex about Burke’s hand. He finally goes straight to Burke and asks him whether everything’s alright, assuring him that he can confide anytime he needs to. Burke showers George with fake, condescending smiles and says that everything is indeed fine.
Frank the pec implant guy has his shirt off and is all impressed with Frank, proudly commanding Izzie to check Frank out. Frank relates that Frank once lost a girlfriend to some guy who had thicker hair, so Frank got hair plugs to compensate. And now Frank lost his most recent girlfriend to her personal trainer, so Frank’s gone with pec implants this time. Izzie maintains that she doesn’t like fake boobs—male or female—which prompts Frank practically to force her to feel Frank up. Izzie agrees that Frank’s manly dÃ©colette is indeed, uh, really very hard and firm, but Frank wants MORE, so he insists that Izzie compare his chest to Alex’s. As one might imagine, this situation quickly gets out of hand, and Sloan walks in right when Izzie has her hands on just about every square inch of exposed male skin in the entire room. Sloan, stunned by this erotic tableau, discreetly yet vigorously begins to play pocket pool.
After her first surgery, the SUV-accident girl keeps asking for her nanny. Meredith implores the mother to let the nanny back in, but the mother says they just fired her. The mother insists she loves her child, but she’s a working mother and does the best she can—the problem is she’s better at job stuff than mommy stuff. Kinda like Courtney Love!
In the hallway, George brings up Cristina’s newfound surgical authority again, this time in front of the other interns. Cristina continues to insist that she didn’t decannulate a heart by herself but merely assisted Burke; George again calls bullshit on her modesty. Irritatingly yet oddly cutely, Izzie and Alex have taken up the pec-implant patient’s habit of referring to themselves in the third person. Meredith, already slipping far down the slippery slope from bright and shiny to dark and twisty, wonders how long this third-person horseshit is gonna go on.
Montgomery, meanwhile, has seemingly appointed herself therapist for the entire surgical staff—since her own emotional life is so, you know, STABLE—and has decided it’s high time for an intervention with Webber, who’s depressed over his marriage. So she recruits Shepherd to go to the chief’s office and try to cheer him up. This turns into a HORRIBLE reverse-couples-therapy session, with both ex-Shepherds giving Webber marital advice at the same time and talking each other until inevitably the conversation shifts to the topic of their own failed marriage. Webber actually does spill the beans about Ellis Grey, but his ostensible therapists are so busy arguing with each other that they miss it. Finally Webber gets them to understand that his wife wants him to step down as chief and, since he wants his marriage to work, he’s planning on doing what she asks. Ooh, power struggle between Burke and Shepherd COMING RIGHT UP?
Mercifully, crappy Cristina comes in and interrupts this nonsense. She’s carrying George’s father’s test results, and from the look on her face they aren’t good. In Mr. O’Malley’s room, George’s brothers continue to mock him for not being a “real doctor” and not knowing the scoop on their dad’s condition. Despite his efforts, George can’t bring himself to tell his dad the test results. Finally Cristina steps in and says that Mr. O’Malley has cancer in his esophagus and stomach and that they need to operate and then do chemo and radiation. Cristina does this in her half-choked, grave-diagnosis, give-me-an-Emmy voice.
George is clearly shaken by this turn of events, especially since his dad’s cancer is stage III and has already metastatized from here to Vancouver, or perhaps Spokane. The situation is proving too much for him: Callie slept with Sloan, Burke’s hiding something, and now he himself can’t even look his dad in the face. Meredith assures him that nobody gets it right with one’s own family—I mean look at Woody and Soon-Yi! But George keeps lamenting that he just “doesn’t get you people”—”us with the boobs,” as Meredith clarifies helpfully. That’s okay George, I hear T. R. Knight doesn’t get “them with the boobs” either. So it’s NOT JUST YOU.
Alex, in a nice bit of cosmic justice, is tasked with massaging Frank the pec implant guy’s fake boobs. Trying to maintain his machismo in such an overtly homoerotic situation, he tells Frank he can’t believe Frank got surgical implants just for some chick. Frank turns the tables and asks whether Alex has a girlfriend and guesses it might be Izzie, because “Frank can sense the vibes.” Would that be called Frankinsense? Anyway, Frank also discerns that Izzie left Alex for some other guy. (Yep, and what a guy that was. If you hadn’t heard, his name was Denny…) Frank advises Alex just to figure out what Izzie wants more than anything, and then make it happen—if he goes for grand gestures she’ll forget the other guy in a second.
It turns out that even though Mr. O’Malley’s cancer is in his stomach, his EKG looks abnormal. Mr. O’Malley praises Cristina for being a “smart girl”—which the cocky ho confirms with an arrogant “yes“—and says George told him Cristina’s the best intern he could possibly have on his case. She does seem genuinely touched, to the core of her robot circulatory system.
It turns out Mr. O’Malley has a leaking aorta valve, so “JUST BY COINCIDENCE” he’ll need a little heart surgery, which George of course insists Burke must perform. At this, Cristina begins to panic, and it’s plain as day she’s hiding something, since a valve replacement normally is pretty simple as heart surgeries go. As she walks off nervously, George follows her and demands to know what’s wrong with Burke’s hand. Cristina continues to maintain that nothing is wrong, but George calls her a liar and demands that she fess up since it’s his own father who’s at risk. Finally he traps Cristina between himself and Bailey—pretty much the nexus of all the world’s grudgeholding and nonforgiveness— and blurts out that Burke is hiding something and she’s helping him. Bailey observes all this with growing alarm. Ooh. OOH.
“I love a nice pastel Pima cotton to go with my Seattle soft cheeses”
Webber summons Meredith to his office, where he’s luxuriating in one of his fabulous purple polo shirts. Just as Meredith thinks he’s gonna ask her permission to see Ellis more often, he declares that he can no longer visit Ellis in the nursing home because he wants to try to make his marriage to Adele work. Slightly off topic, but seriously, who names a baby girl Ellis? People named Regis? Anyway, the chief’s decision bums Meredith out bigtime since she was this close to totally washing her hands of combativeness, dementia, and bedpans once and for all.
Alex and Izzie go to Frank the pec guy’s room to remove his drainage tube—no, not that drainage tube, you perverts—and at the last moment Alex draws the curtain around Frank’s bed and tells Izzie to go ahead and remove the tube herself. She hesitates at first, what with the terms of her probation, but her eyes do light up at the prospect of actually interacting with patients. Frank realizes that Alex took his advice about making a “grand gesture,” and indeed it’s totally working because Izzie is giddy as shit and clearly smiling downstairs. So she goes ahead and removes Frank’s tube with grace and aplomb.
The little girl run over by the SUV is in her second surgery of the day, this time to reduce some brain bleeding. Up in the gallery, our imminent sapphic sisters Montgomery and Torres are bonding. Bailey asks whether Addison ever considered having kids; Callie says she herself would like a bunch. Well with those birthing hips, sweetie, I’m sure it’ll be a piece of cake. Addison asks what she should do with her wedding rings; Callie says her mother always told her it was bad juju to keep them around. As we learned last season, Addison totally gets a boner for juju, so I’m surprised she and Callie don’t start going at it Dido-style right then and there. Bailey, meanwhile, talks about how quickly her infant son changes day to day, concluding that life moves quickly and everybody moves on. At this, Callie suddenly stomps off in a huff, saying she’s not ready to move on. God, her character is so weird.
George, who suddenly is more confrontational than Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah, accosts Cristina in the lounge and grabs the coffee out of her hand. He says he picked her to be his dad’s intern because she’s a robot and he normally appreciates that, but at the moment he needs her to try to be just a teensy bit human for a second and explain to him what’s going on with Burke. This clearly does not compute with Cristina. Maybe we should get her a CBS morning show slot next to Julie Chen. The Yangbot? The OHBOT??!?
In the stairwell, Izzie, still trapped firmly in the third person, thanks Alex for letting her do the tube-removal procedure. Alex is cool. Yeah, Alex knows that Alex is cool. And Izzie isn’t so bad either. Uh-oh, now Alex and Izzie start making out. But a few seconds into it, Izzie says Izzie can’t continue, cause the ghost of Denny still haunts Izzie so. Frankly, m_ruv can’t believe this shit.
Mr. O’Malley still doesn’t really believe he has cancer and doesn’t understand why he needs heart surgery if the cancer is in his stomach. Hey, right there with you on that one, pops. Anyway, George tries to explain as simply as he can, but his family gets annoyed at him for “talking doctor,” which frustrates George even more. So Callie steps in and starts up with automotive metaphors, likening Mr. O’Malley’s heart and tumor to parts on some ’70s Camaro. Naturally, this approach totally gets through to the O’Malley clan.
Meredith leaves the hospital, relieved because the SUV accident girl’s mother finally relented and brought the nanny back. Craving a little masochism, she goes to visit her mother, who for once actually seems glad she came. Sadly, Meredith has to break to Ellis the news that Webber won’t be returning to see her. Ellis guesses correctly that Webber decided to go back to Adele and bemoans the fact that she has to raise her daughter alone now. But Meredith assures her she did the best she could.
Back at SGH, Mr. O’Malley confesses to Cristina that he should’ve listened to all his wife’s nagging about eating healthy and taking better care of himself. Cristina interrupts him to admit that George, not she, is the best intern in the hospital—a good doctor and a good person, with actual tissues and organs inside rather than the circuitry and robot parts she carries hidden under her own polymer skin. Anyway, whatever happens, she thought Mr. O’Malley should know. GREAT, so that seals it, the poor bastard will probably die next week.
“You’re a smart girl. Now pass me the porkchops.”
At Joe’s Bar, Izzie and Alex have a drink/flirting session that’s still firmly anchored in the third person singular. Izzie didn’t realize Alex still felt that way; vice versa; yadda yadda yadda; Alex is sorry he’s such an idiot. But Izzie nonetheless asks whether Izzie can buy Alex a drink. Aww, I hate to say this but they’re officially cute. OFFICIALLY.
In our concluding musical montage, Bailey forces her browbeaten husband to put their son on the phone even though he’s sleeping, just so mommy can sing him a song. This is cute too. It’s like GODDAMN CUTENESS WEEK AT SEATTLE GRACE HOSPITAL. And then we see Montgomery on the ferryboat throwing her wedding rings into the harbor. Honestly. I’d hoped she’d at least have the sense to go to the You Sell It on eBay Store.
Wait, is this Grey’s Anatomy or a lesbian Chanel ad
And then finally we have Cristina and Burke in bed, where Cristina fesses up that George knows something is wrong with Burke. Then we see George in bed, unable to sleep. And then Meredith and Shepherd, still “luxuriating” in the bathtub amid their TJ Maxx candles. Classy classy classy. As we close, Meredith croaks that she might just not be cut out for “bright and shiny.” No shit, lady.
ANYWAY. After a few dangerous dips toward formulaic-land I think the series is on a roll again. This was a great episode: Izzie and Alex are entertaining, incipient lesbianism might be in the air, and everything just plain gets better when there’s cameo time by the great GEORGE DZUNDZA. I do think they need to shit or get off the pot with the Burke/Cristina stuff—it’s feeling a little dragged out. But the upcoming Thanksgiving episode does look like a big loose-end fixer. How’d we like it?