Last night was the first new “Grey’s” of ’09, and it was something else. Not a great episode, but not bad either. It was just “something else.” I was just happy to have a new show after what seemed to be too long of a hiatus (would it have killed ABC to have shown a new episode on Dec. 11?). I know every episode can’t be a home run, but when in the episodes that aren’t, all I ask for is character/plot development and interesting medical cases. And I think we got that in some respect. It’s nice to see Sloan more involved and have his stories. I’m not a huge fan of his pairing with Lexie (I think he and Callie are much better match), but at least it gives him something to do than be Derek’s sounding board and make wisecracks all of the time.
The other character who continues to impress me week to week is Alex. I’m not sure if it’s Izzie’s influence or what, but he’s become a much more likable character. Kudos to the writers for sticking with Alex, for at least a little while. Having him go from nice guy one episode and back to a jerk the next (sometimes, he’d switch moods in the same episode!) was getting to be too much. Fortunately, I can’t see a scenario where he goes back to his old ways unless Izzie flat out dumps him. I don’t see that happening, especially when I have a feeling she’s going to lean on him hard when it’s revealed what’s going on in that head of hers (more on that later).
So we got to see some quality character development, but not too much plot movement last night. But that’s OK, there’s still plenty of season to go. However, it would be nice if some things moved along; namely Cristina and Meredith’s squabble. Enough already. It would also be great if Cristina and Dr. Hunt could find some solid ground; their week-to-week yo-yo act is getting old quickly. And if I were to provide “Grey’s” creator and head writer Shonda Rhimes a New Year’s resolution, it would be to get Bailey, Chief and George some storylines, stat. They’re becoming hood ornaments at this point.
Overall, I was satisfied with last night’s show. I would have preferred to kick off the “Grey’s” New Year on a happier, lighter note, but that doesn’t mean the episode was bad. Here’s hoping there are sunnier days ahead for our favorite Seattle docs.
Here are my quick hit thoughts on what I liked and didn’t like about last night’s show:
*Eric Stoltz’ chilling performance as a death row inmate who needed medical attention. If his performances on his next two episodes are as good as last night’s, he may want to make some room on his shelf for his “Best Guest Star” Emmy award. He was that good; I’m talking Heath Ledger’s sinister turn as the Joker good. It’s almost a little scary how well he played that part. He was creepy and funny all at the same time. When he asked for some Jell-O after he told Cristina and Meredith about why he’s in prison, I almost fell out of my chair.
I also like this storyline because it tests the ethos of all of the doctors. It was interesting to see which side of the line they stood one. It seemed Meredith and Hunt were on the, “We’re doctors, we have to help him no matter what” side, while Derek and Cristina were on the, “I wouldn’t shed a tear if this bum died” side. As we learned at the end of the episode, Derek has his reasons for feeling this way; Cristina I’m not so sure about.
*Alex’s good-guy attitude. As I mentioned in the open, this has been a great turn for him. I love how we was with the kid with liver trouble and how cool (although maybe a little too cool) he was when Izzie admitted she’d been “seeing” Denny. I’m surprised as a doctor he didn’t question her mental well-being, but Izzie didn’t go very deep into detail about just how real Denny has appeared to her. I guess all of that will come in time. I also was blown away that he took the time to bake Izzie a (lopsided) birthday cake. What a sweet gesture from a supposed tough guy. That purple icing looked very tasty though.
*Dr. Arizona Roberts. What a great name, Arizona. I didn’t like (or dislike honestly) her per se, I more so liked that she had the guts to stand up to Bailey, which very few doctors have the guts to do. It came as a shock based on how flaky she seemed when she skated (yes, literally skated) on to the scene. I didn’t really care for her tough-as-nails direct approach (which was eerily similar to Dr. Hahn) when it came to treating Jackson, but she was right, if one treatment was working, maybe it was time for something new. I was about to go into a rant about why the writers felt the need to make a doctor who went toe-to-toe with Bailey so off-beat and quirky. It almost seems cliché; wouldn’t be more interesting if they brought in a character who shared Bailey’s demeanor, but had Arizona’s thought process? Anyway, I opted not to go into that rant because I remembered Arizona is pediatrician and doing things like wearing sneakers with skate wheels underneath them probably helps when dealing with kids.
*Callie and Mark’s friendship. These two almost make as good of a pair as Mark and Derek from a comedy standpoint. Watching them try to come up with a 12-step program for staying away from interns was pretty funny. Especially since it only ended up being a one-step program. Unfortunately, Mark (predictably) couldn’t even manage the one-step; despite that fact that he was going to write it down. I can’t wait to see what happens when it gets out that he and Little Grey….you know. And as for Callie, who knew someone could make her stammer so much. Are we sure Sadie’s interested in Callie, or is she just assuming too much? I mean Sadie was just trying to get some lint of Callie’s hair, right? Right?
*Perrey Reeves, aka “Entourage’s” Mrs. Ari Gold. It was great to see her playing something other than the tortured wife of Hollywood’s most powerful fictional talent agent. Her storyline had nothing to do with anything and felt purely like filler, and her “Come on!” routine was annoying, but it was nice to see her on screen. And I apologize to non-“Entourage” watchers for that mini-tangent.
Here’s what I didn’t like about last night’s episode:
*The lingering fight between Cristina and Meredith. It’s going to get to the point that I’m going to forget what they are fighting about (they probably will too). I did find it interesting that when Meredith was talking about her fight with Cristina to the inmate; he mentioned there was a toothbrush in his back because he too got into an argument with a friend. I thought that was great symbolism since Cristina feels like she was stabbed in the back by Meredith. Anyway, these two need to build a bridge and get over it. Their friendship is one best relationships on the show
*The Chief wallowing in a pool of self pity for a better part of the episode. How great would be if we could all put a “Do Not Disturb” sign at our desks if we were having a bad day? Ugh, just when the Chief was going back his old self, he starts bellyaching about Seattle Grace being ranked number 12. I’m really starting to despise that number! I did like in his rant about the hospital how he couldn’t keep a Head of Cardio to stick around and mentioned Burke and Hahn’s departures. I guess if Dr. Dixon doesn’t come back, we won’t see any more heart patients??
*Izzie and Denny’s on-going whatever it is. I’ve been giving this storyline a “Thumbs Down” for weeks now, so that’s not what this is about this time. What I didn’t like about it yesterday was we got teased into thinking it was finished. When Denny said he wanted Izzie to be happy and he’d go, I thought the writers saw the errors in their ways and decided to write Denny out of the show sooner than the rumored February date. I was so excited, which is sad because I was always a big fan of his, but then what do you know, he pops up again as Izzie is about to blow out her birthday candles. And Izzie goes on to say she has everything she wants; a great boyfriend and a dead fiancé who just won’t go away.
*All of the gloom and doom. There sure was a lot of it, wasn’t there? Between the head pediatrician keeling over, the death row inmate dividing the hospital, Bailey and Arizona going at each other’s throats, the Chief moping all day and Jackson knowing his fate (how sad was it when Alex finally agreed to sign his Make A Wish paperwork), there wasn’t a lot to smile about. Thank goodness for Mark and Callie and Derek offering to fill in for Cristina and “dance it out” with Meredith. That was positively goofy, but it worked perfectly. I have to give kudos to Derek for doing that. He spent most of the hour ticked off, told that story about his dad, but then found it in himself to dance like a fool to cheer Meredith up. What a good guy.
Just a few random thoughts and I’m done…
*I never noticed how little screen time George had this season before all the T.R. Knight is leaving the show nonsense started. But last night, I thought to myself, “Hmm, maybe he does have a point.”
*Eric Stoltz had an interview on TVGuide.com about his character yesterday. Here’s the link: http://www.tvguide.com/News/Greys-Preview-Stoltz-1001313.aspx
*Shame on ABC for not having a “Previously on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’” montage. It’s been a month since we’ve seen a new episode! But I have to give a Thumbs Up to the alphabet network for putting “Private Practice” on after it. This makes a lot more sense than having “Life on Mars” or “Lost” following it.
“Lines of the Week” (sadly, there weren’t too many):
-“You thought Shepherd was just a haircut.”
-Do you think you could let me be a gimp?”
-“Sorry kid, I’m going to Denver.”
-“Those interns are out of control.”
-“I’m not going to a meeting to discuss my obsession with my best friend’s girlfriend’s half-sister.”
So, what did you all think of the episode? Are you as tired of Denny and Izzie as I am? Feel free to comment below!
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org