Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Lo, autumn. A time to celebrate the good things in life, the simple joys. Pumpkins. Puppies. Pompeo. Yes, this week marked the return of our favorite playground of emaciated WASPs and Korean Jews, Grey’s Anatomy. Honestly, I haven’t been this excited since I found out they were releasing the Color Me Barbra special on DVD. Anyway, to the show.
We pick up right where we left off at the end of last season: the ludicrous SGH prom night, with Meredith fleeing the hospital tearily, apparently having failed to choose between Finn and He-Shepherd. This scene is of course accompanied by a cooing, silken-voiced narration in which Meredith notes that time loses all meaning in the O.R., whereas outside the O.R. time takes pleasure in kicking our asses, slowing down and speeding up whenever it’s least convenient. In short, Meredith feels as if she often gets Stuck In A Moment She Can’t Get Out Of. It happens Time After Time. If only they would give her One Moment In Time, when she’s more than she thought she could be, etc.At the Shepherds’ trailer, we see that She-Shepherd somehow found Meredith’s FILTHY LACY BLACK PANTIES OF ADULTERY in the hospital the previous night. Never mind how she got her hands on them, but she certainly is not pleased. Izzie, meanwhile, is still all dressed up like Barbie and lying on the floor of her room back at Meredith’s house. Apparently she’s been on the floor all day—god only knows where/how she’s gone to the bathroom—and the interns seem to expect Meredith to be the one to go talk to her. You know, since Meredith is comforting, empathetic, and certainly not the least bit self-absorbed.
Izzie then has a flashback—oh great, a FLASHBACK EPISODE—to the welcome reception for the new SGH interns when they were first starting their program. Given Izzie’s hairstyle, it appears that this reception took place sometime during the Nixon administration.
We see Izzie and Alex’s first meeting. Unsurprisingly, Alex insults Izzie from almost the first word, which of course gets her all hot and bothered. Izzie’s flashback ends and we see that George has gone into the bedroom to try to comfort her. Despite George’s entreaties, Izzie remains resistant to such basic life objectives as eating, talking, and changing her clothes.
At the hospital, Dr. Bailey is accosted by George Lopez, who’s there from the morgue to pick up Denny’s body. He asks Bailey to identify the carcass, and she agrees that it is in fact Denny, still deader than a doornail, thank god. As the body is heeled off, Bailey pauses and gets emotional, patting the body and telling ex-Denny “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry you got killed off before seaon three, when the $250 grand per episode kicked in.” Astutely observed!
Back at the house, Meredith has kicked off the Convince America I’m Not Anorexic Tour 2006 by wolfing down sandwiches. Cristina, ever attuned to the Torah, says they should mourn more properly by sitting shiva and ordering in—none of this lite-bread-and-air sandwiches bullshit. Meredith says she’s just eating to distract herself, since she made a teensy little mistake and lost her panties during the prom.
Speaking of those filthy, corrupt panties, we see that OMG SHE-SHEPHERD HAS WASHED THEM AND PUT THEM IN HER PURSE, ostensibly to take back to the hospital. Back at SGH, He-Shepherd asks Webber if someone can cover his rounds, since he wants to go “take care of things” with Meredith. But Bailey announces there’s an incoming head trauma patient and the hospital is already overloaded. What with the early flu season. And prom decoration cleanup.
The head-trauma woman and her husband were in a car accident, which they had while already en route the hospital to see a doctor about flu symptoms they’d been having. Just as the husband starts coughing uncontrollably, syphilitic nurse Olivia shows up with a newborn baby that somebody found in a trash can in a local high school bathroom. One would have hoped Olivia had succumbed to her moral ruin sometime over the summer, but sadly it appears she is indeed back for this season. Alex takes the trash-can baby over to She-Shepherd.
She-Shepherd gets upset when she finds out the baby was left in a trash can, since as an organic product the baby technically should’ve been put in the compost, not the trash. Anyway, the baby apparently has some sort of blood/platelets condition, so they need to find the identity of the mother as quickly as possible. In the other O.R., meanwhile, He-Shepherd and George are working on the head-trauma woman. He-Shepherd asks how Izzie is doing, noting that it’s always difficult when a patient dies. George responds that “Denny wasn’t just a patient. No, sir. He was a plot device. A tedious, seemingly indestructible plot device. And that’s a tough thing to lose.”
Back at Meredith’s house, Cristina tries to wrap her mind around the implications of Meredith and He-Shepherd’s prom-night panty-tossing. Cristina deems He-Shepherd unimpressive and laden with McCharacterFaults. She asks Meredith whether He-Shepherd is planning on leaving his wife, which sends Meredith plummeting into a flashback. We see young toddler-Meredith riding on a merry-go-round, watching worriedly as her mother and Dr. Webber have a heated argument in which Webber tells Ellis he’s leaving her.
Speaking of, Mrs. Webber arrives at SGH, where she’s made an appointment to see her own husband, claiming it’s the only way she can ever get through to him. But her appointment is cut short when Bailey rushes in and says that He-Shepherd’s head-trauma patient has horrible flu symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and bubos. Oh great, BUBOS. You have no idea how much I’ve been looking forward to the first appearance of BUBOS in Grey’s Anatomy. Yep, love those bubos. Anyway, turns out one the flu / head trauma patients might’ve been in contact with THE PLAGUE. Nice to see that we’re so firmly on the track toward realism here at the start of the new season.
Over in the obstetrics ward, a gaggle of blank, frosty WASPs have showed up with their four daughters in tow—the ones who found the newborn in the trash can. But none of the girls will admit whose baby it is, and none of the parents wants to believe that their own daughter was the one who got knocked up and hid it successfully. But speculum-happy She-Shepherd says she’ll do a vaginal exam on all the girls if that’s what it takes, and besides she doesn’t need the parents’ consent. So take that, VAGINA-BLOCKERS!!
He-Shepherd and George are hanging out in the locker room being “masc” when a guy in a biohazard suit bursts in and says they have to be quarantined since they might’ve been exposed to the plague. Damn bubos! They’ve likewise quarantined the bubo/head-trauma woman’s husband, who’s babbling deliriously about how he has to get back to his wife. From her bubo-free zone of safety out in the hallway, Bailey tries to comfort the poor bubo-addled man. In this scene all I can think about is that Bailey’s hair looks awful. Seriously, on her way home from the hospital after last night’s prom she apparently had time to stop by the REALLY UGLY WIG STORE.
Callie, meanwhile, shows up at Meredith’s house carrying two gigantic grocery bags that she supports against her ample, spicy bosom. Apparently word of shiva travels fast, so Callie wants to chip in with a food delivery. She reassures Meredith that her lips are sealed in re: seeing Meredith and He-Shepherd getting it on during the prom. Meredith is relieved.
Cristina takes her turn at Izzie duty, saying that it’s time for her to switch out of her prom dress. Ever a faithful daughter of Abraham, she explains to Izzie the basics of sitting shiva. Izzie laments that they took away Denny’s body, so she’ll never see him again. She asks Cristina how she would feel if someone told her she would never see Burke again. This shuts Cristina up nicely.
At the hospital, Alex tries to intimidate the four high-school girls into admitting which is the mother of the abandoned infant. Apparently Alex, like Dr. Bailey, had time to completely make over his hairstyle within the last 24 hours—he suddenly has a buzzcut. Maybe SGH has a barber AND a really ugly wig store on premises.
As She-Shepherd tries to convince the girls’ parents to let her do vaginal exams, she lapses into a flashback to the night He-Shepherd caught her cheating. Enraged, he grabs all her clothes from the closet and throws both them out onto the street in the pouring rain. TAKE THAT, CHIFFON!! She-Shepherd sobs that she’s sorry and has no idea how the cheating happened and wants to “talk about it.” He-Shepherd doesn’t buy this shit for a second and literally throws her out of the house as well, spurning her attempts to kiss and make up. Later, he relents and lets her back in and decides that he himself will leave and have his stuff out by the next morning.
Since we’re apparently TRAPPED IN FLASHBACK-LAND, we have another flashback to the interns’ welcome reception, to the moment when Cristina and Burke first meet. She runs up to him giddily and pleads with him to take her on as a student, oblivious to the fact that he’s busy macking on some pretty young thing in an evening dress. Burke ignores her politely, concentrating instead on the fabulousness of his own purple dress shirt. Across the room, Meredith and George meet for the first time, and we see that Meredith totally ignores him from the very first second.
She-Shepherd, meanwhile, consults with Webber about what to do about the abandoned newborn and the four teenage girls who won’t fess up. Webber asks what the options are, and She-Shepherd suggests they do blood typing on all four girls. I love how she has to explain the entire process of blood typing to Webber, who is, you know, the CHIEF OF SURGERY AT A PRESTIGIOUS HOSPITAL. Amazed by this well-nigh-mystical “blood typing” procedure, Webber gives her the go-ahead.
Back at the old homestead, Meredith is “opening up” emotionally to Callie, who barely tolerates it and lapses into full-time eye-rolling. Finn the vet shows up, which prompts Meredith to flee hastily and go check on Izzie. This leaves Finn and Callie alone in the kitchen. Callie goes on about how she and Meredith and all the interns are socially retarded because they’ve been so immersed in scalpels and bedpans for the last decade that they haven’t had the opportunity to mature socially and go on dates and stuff. Finn is ENCHANTED.
Now it’s Meredith’s turn to go into Izzie’s room. Izzie says she feels like time has been moving in slow motion ever since Denny breathed his last, and she feels like everyone is hovering around her waiting for her to flip out or burst into tears. She wonders how this all happened. Well, Izzie, let me give you a recap. You quickly and improbably fell head over heels for a boring crossword-puzzle addict who was a vague caricature of the Brawny paper towel mascot—a veritable lumberjack who, in a sad and ironical twist of fate, had a weak, sputtering cardiovascular system. That’s the best I can do in one sentence.
Back in the present, George and He-Shepherd remain quarantined in the locker room, where George has his panties in a bunch about how he’s about to die from the plague. He-Shepherd raids the food the interns have stored in their lockers and then starts philosophizing about Izzie and about how life can change in a split second and never be the same again. Cue yet another flashback, to the moment when He-Shepherd and Meredith first meet, at the bar. Meredith, downing shot after shot of brand-x tequila with surprising ease, proves irresistible in her womanly charms. He-Shepherd picks her up shamelessly, and the rest is overwrought, soapy history.
At the hospital, Bailey informs the delirious, bubo-addled man that his wife has died. The man starts hyperventilating, and the biohazard guys are forced to restrain Bailey as she tries to tear off the red quarantine tape sealing the man’s room. She manages to calm him down through the glass but then gets emotional herself, wishing that she could turn back the clock and bring back the man’s wife. She laments that she “can’t turn back time.” Well neither can Cher, sweetie, so don’t be too hard on yourself. The man asks Bailey whether she believes in god and the afterlife, which launches the scene way across the line into over-the-top territory. Just when I’m thinking “Yeah, this scene is pretty overdone, but hey, at least the patient isn’t drooling uncontrollably,” whaddya know but the patient starts drooling uncontrollably. Bravo.
In the locker room, George continues to freak out, convinced he has the plague. We’re treated to the sight of sweaty pit-stains George, which is nearly as horrible as last year’s nipple-shot George. He launches into self-pity mode and wishes he had told Callie he loved her, because he feels like he could fall in love with her “soonish.” This prompts all manner of mocking from He-Shepherd, clearly a moral giant in such matters. He-Shepherd tells George he should tell Callie he loves her “before somebody else comes along.” Romantic!
Speaking of Callie, she and Finn have gotten QUITE COZY while Meredith was off tending to Izzie. When Meredith returns to the kitchen, they’ve busted out the wine and are laughing their asses off, most likely over some joke involving canine bone cancer. Nonetheless, Callie leaves the room so Meredith and Finn can discuss Meredith’s whoring. Finn says he has no idea what happened with her and He-Shepherd the previous night, and though he’s pissed he still thinks she deserves someone shiny and charming, so he wants to let her know his hat remains firmly in the ring. Okay, this guy is officially a doormat. They should play “Take A Chance On Me” in every scene he’s in from now on.
At the hospital, Mrs. Webber is officially pissed. She tells Webber that she’s sick of always waiting for him and playing second fiddle to his career, so if he wants to remain married it’s time for him to retire. Ooh, setting up a chief-of-surgery power struggle between Burke and He-Shepherd later this season perhaps? BRING IT.
She-Shepherd and Alex, meanwhile, have used their new-fangled blood typing technology to eliminate two of the high school girls as possible mothers for the abandoned newborn. So She-Shepherd forces the two girls to view the sickly baby up close and personal, then lays on the guilt until one of them finally confesses.
Just as George is finishing scrawling his last will and testament on the locker room wall, one of the biohazard guys comes in to announce that the plague threat is contained and they’re both cleared to go home. Bubos begone! George runs out so he can immediately go tell Callie that he might fall in love with her soonish. Indeed, when George gets back home, Callie does the I-love-you thing emphatically once again, but George drops the ball and doesn’t respond. He-Shepherd looks on judgmentally since, again, he’s clearly in a position to do so.
Finally, He-Shepherd goes to talk with Meredith. He smiles greasily and tells her that, given their unclothed romp of the past evening, she has a choice to make. At long last, he spills the “I’m in love with you” bit. He says he’s a little late saying it, but he means it. There’s just something about her. Her strident, scratchy voice. Her angular, nonvoluptuous frame. Her habit of staring blankly at all times. It’s just magic. Anyway, he says he wants her to take her time and decide—and with that, he leaves.
At the hospital, Mrs. Webber confronts Webber and says she can tell he’s not planning to retire. He says he just needs more time to think, but she tells him to talk to the hand because she has no more time to give. She-Shepherd, meanwhile, pins Meredith’s panties of naughtiness up on the bulletin board with a big sign that says “Lost and Found.” Damn. Then Cristina goes into Burke’s room to see how he’s doing, promptly starts bawling, and asks him please not to die. Sure thing, sweetcheeks!
Back at the house, Izzie has one last mini-flashback to the SGH welcome reception, which inspires her to finally get up off the floor. Progress! Meredith helps undress her, and as the episode ends they clasp hands and begin a sensual, soft-focus journey to the isle of Lesbos.
So, THAT SEASON OPENER. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but I didn’t think this was a very good episode—it was very soapy and in my opinion not the kind of thing that would draw in new viewers. The plague subplot was way over the top—and if you’re gonna insert a plotline that’s that outlandish, why not really go somewhere dramatic with it rather than throw it in half-heartedly? Admittedly, the flashbacks were interesting, there were still a lot of funny moments, and as a matter of principle I’m all for the inclusion of bubos. But I hope things are a little less sudsy next week. What did we think?