After a week off, Grey’s Anatomy was back in fine form. As promised, it was a pretty light-hearted episode. I didn’t think the writing was quite as good as it’s been in recent weeks, but it was pretty entertaining nonetheless. And as an added bonus there was NUDIE SANDRA OH.
In her profound voiceover of this week, Meredith declares that people LOVE games. Basketball, shuffleboard, hide the salami, what have you. But what’s Meredith’s favorite game? No, not crushing the souls of vulnerable, doe-eyed interns with her insatiable sexual appetite—it’s knitting. Yep, the old bag is sitting in the doctors’ neighborhood bar KNITTING. He-Shepherd tells her that she looks a little weird making a scarf at the bar. I’d add “hunched,” “bony,” and “Montgomery Burnsian,” but hey, I was never big on yarn.
Anyway, our old bag says she’s taken a vow of celibacy—and drinking is bad for celibacy because it makes her lose her judgment and the next thing she knows she’s flinging her tatas around like Josephine Baker and breaking men’s penises, hearts, and/or marital vows. She-Shepherd pops in to do her whole folksy empathetic bit, but Meredith just keeps complaining that all the men she meets are unavailable or otherwise ill-suited. So instead she’s turned her attention to WOOL SWEATERS. Great, next week she’ll probably be a full-blown lesbo, making pottery and petting the cats and wearing burlap bras.
What’s up, SCOLIOSIS
Back at the hospital, Izzie too is knitting, beside Denny’s bed while they play Scrabble. She complains that George isn’t the same anymore since Meredith messed him up. Now he has bad hair and is making bedroom eyes at this Dr. Callie Torres character—and what’s worse, Callie is “not a name.” Yeah, last time I checked neither is Izzie, IZZIE. Denny ignores this and plays the triple word score “mount” for 69 points. Subtle! Izzie says she too took the celibacy vow, for whatever batshit reason the mothership fed her. Denny uses this to launch into all manner of innuendo about boobies and panties, like he does every time Izzie is around. Izzie plays hard to get, but she’s about as convincing as, say, Al Reynolds at his bachelor party.
Uh-oh, looks like the mothership sent some static
At Burke’s apartment, he, Cristina, George, and Callie are playing that game “Celebrity” where you put famous people’s names in a hat and have to get your team to guess them via clues and charades. Cristina, as one would expect, is ultracompetitive and judges George and Callie harshly for using fecal metaphors to guess the name of FEMA director Michael Brown. Burke, pimped out with a glass of red wine, tells Cristina to calm down cause it’s just a game—you know, like her old favorite, “Pin the Polyp on the Duodenum.” But Cristina won’t have it, so to put her in her place, Burke pretends not to know the answer to the next really easy name that comes out of the hat. Thwarted Cristina proves to be HI-LARIOUS to watch.
Prestige… decadence… ego-driven… PASSION!!!!
Sore loser Cristina is still whining about the game the next day at the hospital. To her the whole point of games is that there are winners, and anybody who settles for second-best is a self-loathing cretin, or perhaps Jennifer Aniston. The game night has only fueled Cristina’s desire to get George out of the apartment. Meredith suggests that to get rid of George maybe Cristina should sleep with him and halfway through start crying. Haha, GREY HUMOR is the new black humor. But Cristina says she has to find a way to convince Burke to kick George out himself.
In Burke’s O.R., Alex shows off some of his newfound medical knowledge—he’s been studying apparently—but then angers Burke by commenting that the patient they’re working on is “toast” because her cancer has spread so much. Cristina, meanwhile, enrolls in a laparoscopic surgery seminar the hospital is offering, taught by Kim Jong Il. Needless to say, Cristina is officially the teacher’s pet and throws her hand in the air to volunteer for everything. This scene is broadly played, and Cristina just comes off as over-the-top and annoying—WE GET IT, she’s competitive. Cristina doesn’t understand why Dr. Webber is taking the class also. He says he just likes a refresher now and then, especially after a nice Alzheimersy sex romp.
“Today’s seminar will be about laparoscopy and… STALINISM”
She-Shepherd’s patient is a young pregnant woman whose baby has lung problems. The overprotective grandmother-to-be—everyone say hi to this week’s guest star, Mare Winningham—says she really hopes She-Shepherd is as good an obstetric surgeon as she’s heard. She-Shepherd replies confidently that indeed she is the best, not to mention a Catherine Deneuve clone AND an adulteress! And you thought standards of U.S. medical care were declining.
Out in the hall, who shows up but Meredith’s dad, Thatcher James Spader Shatner Grey III. George sees that the man is confused and asks whether he needs help finding something. Mr. Grey asks whether Meredith is around but declines George’s offer to page her. Instead, we learn that Mr. Grey is Mare Winningham’s husband, so oh HO the pregnant daughter is Meredith’s sister. Damn, this plot is getting thicker than Kirstie Alley’s thighs.
Dr. Bailey, meanwhile, is pissed because Webber seemingly has her on the mommy track and is keeping her off the surgery board. But Bailey says oh hell no, she may change diapers and sing the goddamn ABCs but she will not be mommy tracked lest Webber want a taste of double-barrelled Bailey-brand whoopass. So she convinces He-Shepherd to take let her in on his current surgery.
Izzie is still gossiping about Dr. Torres, since apparently if there’s one thing she learned in the trailer park it’s don’t trust the Latinos. Anyway, Izzie heard that after the game night at Burke’s, Callie wanted to go home with George but said she “couldn’t” for some reason. Dr. Torres overhears this and is not amused. With a withering glance, she recruits Izzie and Meredith to help set some bones, even though Izzie likes orthopedics about as much as she likes, well, Latinos.
“Oh yesss muchacha you’re about to enter a mundo de pain“
Burke’s cancer patient turns out to be yet another guest star, Laurie Metcalf. If they go any further with the guest stars it’s gonna be like that old Hallmark Hall of Fame Presents Homer’s Odyssey Starring Armand Assante with Special Guests Vanessa Williams and Bernadette Peters and Isabella Rossellini and Anyone Else Who Was Available at the Time. Anyway, Ms. Metcalf knows her cancer is bad but wants them to go back in and cut out whatever they can so she can live as long as possible. It becomes clear she hasn’t told her daughter she has cancer. Instead she’s tried the whole “Oh honey, it’s okay, mommy’s just in the hospital for exhaustion. Like Whitney Houston!”
In their laparoscopy seminar, Cristina and Dr. Webber are manipulating little robot arms to move items around while they race against the clock. After Webber slips a little in his technique, Cristina wins and of course brags about it by jumping up and down and saying “I’mdoneI’mdoneI’mdone!” Okay, once again WE GET IT that’s she’s competitive—she’s not a fifth-grader for god’s sake.
While setting bones, Dr. Torres makes her disdain for Izzie apparent, mocking her past as a model and her disastrous efforts to make a match between Meredith and George. Afterward, Izzie accosts George in dare I say another dumb scene, in which Izzie has an “embarrassing misunderstanding” with George and inadvertently reveals her dislike of Callie. Ha, ha, ha! NOT FUNNY. George shuts Izzie up by dropping the bombshell that Meredith has a sister.
He-Shepherd’s patient is a nice kid with a giant brain tumor. When Bailey learns that they’re doing the surgery while the kid is awake, she’s FASCINATED. Anyway, the tumor is in the part of the brain that controls language, so they want to keep the kid talking during surgery to make sure they don’t inadvertently scramble his wires and turn him into a babbling idiot like Kelly Ripa. Turns out the kid is a spelling bee champion, so they ask him to start spelling words. Hmm, how much you wanna bet that a couple scenes from now there’ll be a dramatic moment in which the kid suddenly won’t be able to spell anything and we’ll worry that they’ve screwed up his neurons but then He-Shepherd will save the day?
Outside, She-Shepherd yells at George because he’s slacking on the pregnant girl’s case. George nervously spills the beans that the patient, Molly, is Meredith’s sister. Alex, meanwhile, begins a full-frontal assault on Laurie Metcalf’s sanity. When the patient insists that she just wants to check out of the hospital, Alex tries to frighten her by saying she could drop dead on the street at any time. This is too much for Burke, who smacks Alex down afterward.
Finally, a great headshot for Laurie Metcalf’s career comeback
In the ever-popular SGH quasi-outdoor cafeteria, Izzie and Cristina ask George what Meredith’s sister and father are like. Dr. Webber stops by to compliment Cristina on her performance during the seminar but to remind her that speed and precision aren’t everything—having a solid understanding of surgical fundamentals is just as important. But when Webber walks away, Cristina continues to gloat. Pride goeth before a fall, anyone? As is the custom, George gets up and leaves as soon as Meredith sits down. Natural diplomat Cristina instantly blurts out to Meredith that she has a sister, and that the sister is currently in this very hospital.
In the O.R., the brain tumor kid is still spelling away. “Acetaminophen.” “Fibromyalgia.” This is sorta fun I guess, but medical rock-paper-scissors is like ten times better. Anyway, whaddya know, halfway through “omphalacele” the kid suddenly freezes up and stops spelling. Drama! Bailey gets frantic, while He-Shepherd pokes around with the soldering iron to try to rewire the circuits he just messed up. And whaddya know, he manages to get things working, and within seconds the kid becomes a spelling machine once again. The episode makes Bailey a little misty-eyed, but she claims she just has “something in her eye.” Yeah maybe it’s some LIE DUST from your LIE VOLCANO.
Meredith finds her sister’s room and peeks in. She-Shepherd introduces her vaguely to Molly and then exits so Meredith can work the old croaky-voiced sisterly charisma. This scene is nice—Meredith makes some tentative efforts to get to know Molly but is clearly hurt when she hears that her dad got really emotional at Molly’s wedding. Molly mentions that she has another sister who’s in med school at Harvard but says nothing about there being a third.
Meredith flees to the orthopedic ward in a rage and tells Dr. Torres she needs something to break. She takes a hammer and proceeds to go apeshit on a discarded plaster cast. Izzie tries to distract Dr. Torres with talk about George, but Torres gets all atitud and says that Izzie and Meredith are totally missing the whole point of George. To them he’s just goofy roommate George, but to her he’s a smart, strong, nay, world-moving hunk of a man, so they better SHUT UP ABOUT HIM. Uh, last time I checked nobody was trashing George, so why don’t YOU SHUT UP, seÃ±orita. After Callie walks out, Izzie realizes that wait, George is Callie’s McDreamy! That’s right honey, always frame it terms you can understand.
Back in the laparoscopy seminar, Cristina and Webber are doing another timed competition, this time using the little robo-arms to do a simulation surgery. Cristina looks over to watch Webber’s progress and sees that he’s doing the whole thing with his eyes closed, like a goddamned Jedi. This freaks her out, and though she rushes, Webber finishes far ahead of her. Kim Jong Il deems Webber’s work flawless and promotes him to Chairman of the People’s Commissars, which launches Webber into all manner of boasting.
“This is why they call me JEDI MASTER WINDU”
Cancer-addled Laurie Metcalf finally admits to her daughter that she won’t be out of the hospital for a while. But this still isn’t good enough for Alex: first he chides the woman for hiding her cancer from her daughter, then says she’s gonna die soon and her daughter will probably hate her for the rest of her life for lying about being sick. Damn. Burke overhears this tirade and starts to lay into Alex, but Alex interrupts and tries to tell Burke the rules instead. OHNOSHEDIINT. But yes Alex says he hates how everybody walks all over the hospital lying to patients and giving them false hope. He, however, tells the truth and that’s the only thing he has going for him, and he’s not gonna let Burke take that from him. Who are you, goddamn EDWARD R. MURROW?
In the hall, Mare Winningham notes that Meredith looks a lot like pictures she’s seen of Meredith’s mother, Ellis. The woman says Thatcher thinks about Meredith a lot, but he just has trouble because Ellis broke him emotionally. God, could the women of the Grey household break men’s penises and/or emotions ANY MORE??!? The conversation upsets Meredith, who walks off.
Speaking of Thatcher, he’s still at the hospital, busy looking at the surgical board. His old arch-nemesis Dr. Webber comes up and asks whether he’s aware of what’s going on with Ellis. Thatcher says Webber has no right to talk to him about Ellis, given all their years of saliva-swapping in the on-call lounge. But Webber insists and tells Thatcher that Ellis has Alzheimer’s and that it’s hard on Meredith.
Afterward, Meredith nearly runs into her father in the hall but manages to avoid him. Thatcher does find George though, and the two talk as Meredith listens from behind a door. Thatcher tells George that Meredith came to see him a couple weeks back and he just didn’t know what to say to her. She looked just like her mother, Ellis, who was cold to him, so cold, the cold was so chilling, so piercing, like a blade, a blade to the face, blah blah blah. Anyway, Ellis would never let Thatcher know Meredith, and now he wants to know her—no, not BIBLICALLY, this isn’t CHINATOWN—but he doesn’t know how to go about it.
George replies from the heart, saying that Meredith is anything but cold—depressing, self-pitying, a real letdown in the sack maybe, but certainly not cold. She doesn’t smile often—she’s had a rough time recently you know, not to mention the Botox makes it tough for her to register virtually anything—but when she does smile you feel warm. She’s kind and cares about people and George thinks she’ll be a great surgeon. As George walks away, Meredith mouths a heartfelt “thank you,” but he doesn’t hear her. Aww, this scene is nice.
Laurie Metcalf, meanwhile, delivers some emotional advice to her daughter, who’d I’d compare to Leelee Sobieski, only I don’t like to compare people to Leelee Sobieski because that would just be mean. Anyway, mama Metcalf advises little Metcalf to get her grades up, marry a nice man, wear underwear with pantyhose, don’t mistake the birth control pills for baby aspirin—you know, handy tidbits like that. The daughter asks why she’s telling her this, and Ms. Metcalf finally admits she’s been sick for a while and the doctors don’t think she’s gonna get better. As her final piece of advice, she says that whenever her daughter has a baby someday, all that truly matters is that the child is happy. In that light, she doesn’t want her daughter to stay upset for too long after she dies. Though this scene tugs a little shamelessly at the heartstrings, it’s well done. And DAMN if Alex isn’t sort of vindicated—but still, even if his ends are good, his means really suck.
Since apparently all the doctors think Izzie is too crazy to staff on actual medical cases, she has plenty of time to finish a knit sweater for Denny in a single day. When Denny complains that he better not be getting just new clothes instead of sex, Izzie tells him to smell the sweater. Oh please tell me she hasn’t all rubbed it against her ladyparts. Phew, fortunately she simply wore the sweater for a few hours. Denny persists and asks her to show him just one boob. Damn, when this guy puts pudenda on his agenda he REALLY puts it on his agenda.
Cristina confronts Dr. Webber as he leaves the elevator, asking what the hell kind of voodoo he was using during the seminar to perform the simulation surgery with his eyes closed. Webber is like SHEEEEIT YANG it’s old-school muscle memory—if you wanna win you just go back to the basics. This gives Cristina an idea. Back at Burke’s apartment that night, as Burke and George play chess in the living room, Cristina goes ALL the way back to the basics and walks out into the kitchen bedroom completely nekkid. George tries to avert his eyes but clearly sees a few of Cristina’s “exotic tealeaves.” Cristina claims she’s just “being comfortable” in her own apartment. As predicted, Burke goes through the roof and kicks George out right away.
She WOULD use the freezer to prep the nips
George goes back to the hospital and calls Callie. As it rings, he realizes he can actually hear her cell phone ringing, so he tracks it down. In our utterly implausible twist of the evening it turns out Callie the crazy ho LIVES IN A LITTLE SECRET SEX DEN INSIDE THE HOSPITAL. Okay this is just weird. Even George thinks it’s weird. Callie insists she’s not crazy—she just spends so much time in the hospital that it’s easier if she just lives there. Okay I’m all for cheap rent but this seems a little unhygenic. Anyway, George gets over it quickly, cause he asks Callie if she knows how to cut hair. Pleaseplease let him be talking about his normal hair and not the short curlies. Anyway yes she does start cutting his hair, but before they can get far into it, George puts the moves on and they suck some face.
Does she have ANY tops that cover her bra straps?
Finally, Meredith goes to vet to check in on her ex-dog, which He-Shepherd dropped off earlier. (In the spirit of bitter breakups, apparently they share custody.) And whaddya know she’s STILL knitting. When the vet comes out, he looks so much like Mark Sloan—in fact we may have to call him Mark Cloan—that I don’t realize at first that it’s actually yet another guest star, Chris O’Donnell. Right off the bat, these two feel a spark, despite the fact that the vet’s name is Finn Dandridge—what is this, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE?? Anyway, as the episode closes, Meredith tries to maintain her celibacy vows by playing off Dr. Dandridge’s advances and hunching back over her knitting. We’ll see what happens next week—but really, with that posture honey you’ll have no trouble keeping men away.
Although I thought this episode was uneven, I enjoyed a lot of it. Cristina was shrill; Callie living in the basement was weird. But I’m liking Dr. Webber more and more, and the ploy to get George out of the apartment was pretty brilliant. What did we think?