After an inexplicable break last week, “Grey’s” returned with an episode I’d describe as “weak.” I didn’t think it was necessarily bad, I just didn’t care for how it was put together. Besides cramming too may storylines into one hour, another weakness I feel “Grey’s” has is it doesn’t prioritize its plots in a given episode very well at times. For instance, last night the most intriguing storyline was the one with McDreamy and the Chief. Derek was finally in his dream position, Chief of Surgery, while Richard was deciding between early retirement or rehab. These are two of the biggest advancements in these characters’ history, and they felt like an afterthought. This story should have been front and center for more of the episode than it was. Were any of the other storylines so important that the hour’s best one had to be placed on the backburner? Let’s take a look….
(B) Bailey’s patient wakes up during surgery (good storyline, but no)
(C) Cristina and Owen work through their relationship issues (nope)
(D) Arizona takes Alex under her wing in peds for a day (great medical case and brilliant acting by Justin Chambers, but no)
(E) Mark is still mad at Lexie for getting together with Alex (don’t even get me started)
As I wrote those down, I realized there was more to this episode than meets the eye. I still think the episode’s author and production team’s time management skills could use some work though. I would have been totally OK if last night’s episode featured just the Derek-Chief plot, along with storylines (B) and (C) or (D). I’m still in agreement with Bradley Whitford’s line on the short-lived drama, “Studio 60”, “This isn’t TV camp; it’s not important to us that everyone gets to play.”
Those were my overall thoughts on last night’s show. Here are some a few specific thoughts:
What I liked about last night’s show…
-The Derek and Chief showdown. I loved everything about this; Derek’s awkward speech in the beginning, his much better and more honest speech at the end, the fact that he looked the Chief in the eye and admitted that he wanted his job, it was all great. To me the most awkward, heartbreaking part of all of this is when a nurse came in and asked for the Chief and Richard and Derek both replied to her. Did Derek really think people were going to start referring to him as that on his first day? I was glad Richard accepted the rehab option; although that was obviously what was going to happen.
On a side note about the Richard’s an alcoholic storyline; I beat up the writers a bit in the past for finally bringing him to the forefront after five years and the direction they go in was to have him fall off of the wagon again. I read in a recent TV Guide article that James Pickens Jr. actually went to “Grey’s” creator Shonda Rhimes and suggest this story for his character. So, my apologies to the “Grey’s” writing staff.
-Bailey’s patient waking up in the middle of surgery. There have been some off-the-wall cases in this show, but this one to be in the top 10, right? This story provided a lot of good material like Meredith getting to do the second surgery and Bailey’s rant to the “Gas Man”. How great was she when she just laced into the anesthesiologist (spelled right on the first try!!) for a solid two minutes for his (alleged) slip-up? I hope when “Grey’s” ends, Bailey gets spun-off onto her own show where she runs a free clinic or something. I’d tune in every week. This storyline also looks like it also tried to light some sparks between Bailey and the “Gas Man”. I hope it does; She’s the only character besides the Chief on this show who hasn’t really had a romantic storyline. Granted she was married for the first four-plus seasons, but we only got to see the bad there.
-Alex and Arizona teaming up on a peds case: I honestly could take or leave the medical part of this storyline, but the emotional side of it was very good. I liked watching Alex tear into the penny-pinching father, even if he was in the wrong at the end. Maybe Alex has finally found his specialty. I don’t if anyone’s bounced around as much as he has. He was with Sloan in plastics, then with Addison with babies and now he’s working with Arizona in pediatrics. It’ll only be a matter of time before he’s helping Derek with neuro cases, right?
–Cristina and Owen’s final scene: I didn’t like this storyline (more on that shortly) for most of the episode, but I did enjoy scene back at the apartment. Cristina almost never opens up about personal things, so to see her talk to Owen about what didn’t work with Burke was quite a treat. I found it interesting that Owen used pretty much the same line that Burke did when he was dating Cristina, “I want to love you, why won’t you let me.” I’m sure it’s no coincidence that she opened up once Owen said that. On a side note, it still blows me away how deep Sandra Oh’s voice gets when she has to do a crying scene.
As for what I didn’t like….
-The rest of Cristina and Owen’s scenes: I don’t know; these two just don’t work for me. Maybe it’s how violent Owen kisses; maybe I just don’t think of Cristina as the girlfriend type (she wasn’t very girlfriend-like with Burke either), whatever it is they leave me uninterested and not invested in them emotionally as a couple. It wouldn’t break my heart if the broke up.
-The Mark and Lexie stuff: This needs to get resolved sooner than later. I can’t take another week of him ignoring her and/or her begging him to talk to her. The 10-15 minutes wasted on this could have been dedicated to another scene or two with the Chief and Derek. I’m all for McSteamy getting more screen time, but not like this, in a silly, post-break-up awkward scene. Give him a big medical case, or have him connecting with his daughter.
OK a few more random thoughts and I’m done…
*As far as comic relief goes, Cristina burning herself on the grate was hilarious. There’s no way I could have picked another line than the one that I did. It reminded me a bit of the scene years back when George needed a shot.
*Speaking of Cristina; I was shocked when she ignored Teddy’s page to stay with Owen. I’m glad she addressed that with him at the end of the episode. I was also a little surprised that it didn’t come up between Owen and Cristina that she almost got married until last night.
*I enjoyed watching Alex make the Mercy West docs fear for their jobs with Derek taking over. I’m still not a fan of them.
-Line of the Night: “Hot-crossed buns.”
-“He looks like and undertaker.”
-“Undertaker needs a speech writer.”
-“Don’t let the roller skates fool you; peds is hard-core.”
-“We expect the gas man to stay awake at the switch.” (all of Bailey’s “gas man” lines were really good.)
-“This is not a tick.”
-“You have grate marks on your (behind).”
Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. Stay tuned for next Thursday’s episode where a roof collapses on a restaurant known as a trysting spot on Valentine’s Day, interrupting whatever romance plans the doctors might have had; Arizona and Callie play Cupid—for Bailey and an anesthesiologist named Ben (Jason George). Callie also teams up with Mark to help persuade Sloan (Leven Rambin) to do the right thing for her baby. Meanwhile, Derek struggles to manage his time in his new role as chief, and Meredith wrestles with what being the chief’s wife entails. (Episode description courtesy of TVGuide.com.).