I admit I was very very surprised myself, but I honestly enjoyed this episode immensly. It was very well-balanced and for the most time very entertaining to watch. I didn’t even mind that the McBaby issue wasn’t addressed further in this new episode, because I know the show is not solely about Meredith and Derek (as much as I sometimes wish it would be *g*), but a whole cast of characters. And we had our MerDer moments, even if not necessarily in scenes together.
The whole setup of this episode – let the 4th year residents be attendings for a day and the 1 million dollar question *g* – seemed a bit unrealistic to me, but I could overlook that easily, because it prompted some very interesting moments. I always loved when the show focused on the competition among the interns, residents or attendings. Whether it was about who would excel in the intern program or get the sparkling pager, become chief resident or the new chief… It’s always fun to see them compete against each other. To see various game plans, strategies, tricks and especially some of them playing dirty :-) And because of this various entertaining events during the competition I didn’t even mind that this episode didn’t put a bigger focus on the relationship / romance / friendship scenes, which usually are one of my main reason to watch this show.
I liked the patients because they were so normal and likeable people and because they got just the right amount of screentime. They were not just a nameless body on guerney, but had neither too much backstory to actually take away screentime from the regular cast. I don’t know why exactly, but I also very much liked to see all of the loved ones sitting in the waiting room together. They didn’t know each other of course, and they didn’t even interact there, but they all shared that moment with each other nonetheless. I was very afraid for Roy, the transplant candidate, all alone in his room, in the next shot though.
And now as usual, my further comments about the characters in ascending order of level of sympathy :-)
Teddy: Ugh! (‘Nuf said!) And badmouthing Derek during her presentation to the chief. Baaaaad idea, GI Jane.
The chief did what he always does best: not having a storyline about him (his life, his past, his problems), because I’ve had more than enough of that in the last six seasons. He was a wonderful “sidekick” to all the other characters, which made the whole competition more about them and not about what the chief wants for this hospital. Because honestly, in the past he made some wacky decisions for this hospital.
There was not much Owen in this episode, which was fine by me. I liked his scene with Cristina, but I’m not sure that his idea to spend the 1 Million Dollar really is the best one. I have to admit I felt bad that he used Bailey as example, because what other options did she really have in the situation with Percy? Could some disaster training really have made a difference? I doubt it.
There was still a bit too much April for my taste, but she wasn’t as annoying as last week. I still think she seems too young (=not confident enough, not trained enough…?) to be a 4th year resident, not to mention an attending in training. But all in all she also reminds me of Izzie in a lot of ways. And I always liked Izzie. Well, the pre – sex with George or ghosts – Izzie.
I’m not quite sure what to make of Mark in this episode. I’m not his biggest fan, but I admit that he usually is good for a lot of comic relief, whether it’s his manwhoring attitudes or something else. I also enjoyed watching his romantic interaction with Lexie. But in this episode he was doing neither. I don’t know, but something was missing. His beard looked unkempt and I’m not sure if that was on purpose. And maybe his presentation to the chief was supposed to provide some comedy, but I actually found his attitude slightly sleazy. And so obviously did the chief ;-)
I usually like Arizona and so I did in this episode, she was her usual self and I liked it. Callie was really playing dirty with Teddy and even with Arizona and I loved her for it. Every now and then I – just like the chief and Callie herself –like a good dog fight. Callie is also good for the awkward moments, which are fun to watch, because they are so embarrasing, like when she rambled about her being a lesbian to the chief.
Jackson had me fooled for a while as well, because I really thought he had no chance of beating „the wife”. It was nice that he did though. Not because I don’t like Meredith, because I do, but it was a good thing, that the wife card didn’t trump this time. And she got her moment later on anyway. Too bad that Jackson messed up during the surgery, but I liked the way Derek dealt with it, especially afterwards outside the patient’s room.
Lexie was her usual self in this episode as well and I enjoyed seeing her back. She is a good doctor, even though she seems confused and nervous and in over her head sometimes. But she did make the right call with the patient, she stayed calm and did the right thing. She was a great „chief resident” and more than up for this challenge.
Bailey was so, so, so Bailey in her interview with the chief, and I just loved her for it. She definitley knows how to present an issue that’s important to her and I can totally understand where she is coming from. Don’t dream, but be realistic, Cover the basics, make sure the hospital is doing it’s most important job and don’t try aim for the stars when there is still so much simple things to be done for a hospital to work efficiently and to the best interest of all patients. “Let’s not go to Paris, let’s go to the grocery store!” Such a typical Bailey thing to say.
Alex is going to be such an amazing pediatric surgeon! He proved it before and he did prove it again in this episode. He might still need some more selfconfidence as a surgeon, but when it comes down to it, he is willing to fight for “his” kids and I love that about him.
I’m so glad that Cristina seems to have made another baby step at the end of this episode and that she was a doctor again in the end. Even if just by putting together the facts, making a decision and advocating for her patient. The next baby step will happen as well, I’m sure of that. If she will ever step back into an OR? I have no idea.
But I’m impressed that the writers actually are taking the time to tell her story at a realistic pace. Her fears and problems are not suddenly solved or forgotten and she isn’t back to her old self over night. I think she probably will never be that exact person, but I think this experience will change her into an even better person. More caring, aware of the the fragility of life and appreciating life itself.
Sandra Oh is such a brilliant actress, I can’t say it often enough. This season I’m impressed by her talent to express so much just with her facial expressions. Her frustration about not being able to be a doctor in the scene with Owen or her change of attitude in the last scene with the transplant patient.
Which leaves Meredith and Derek, who had just very little screentime together, but I didn’t mind, because I enjoyed the scenes that featured just one of them and I definitely very much appreciated the scenes they did have together.
Meredith was awesome in this episode. Yes, she did try to outplay Jackon, but like I said, every once in a while I enjoy a dog fight. And I didn’t mind at all that she was conned by him in the end (see above). She showed her talent just a few moments later with Lexie’s patient and she rocked in these moments because she DID sound like an attending and I loved her calm and determined and focused way of dealing with this. Especially compared to someone like stammering April Kepner.
It was nice to see Derek back as teacher in his scenes with Mer and Jackson and once again with Jackson in the end. I sometimes miss this Derek from the earlier seasons. The proud look on Derek’s face when he watched Meredith successfully finish her first solo neuro surgery was sooooo adorable. McDreamy at his best.
Some time ago I already read about his plan to do an Alzheimers’ clinical trial (I’m a spoilerwhore, what can I say?) and thus his seemingly nonchalant „what will happen, will happen” attitude at the end of the last episode baffled me a bit. But his presentation to the chief was characterized by very personal fears and deep emotions which made it was such a powerful scene. And I have no idea how Richard Webber, who had loved Ellis Grey and had seen her suffer from this disease could say no to this proposal. Stupid chief!
The last scene at the front door gave me the chills, but in a good way. I’m pretty sure that Meredith neither will develop Alzheimers nor that she will even have the Alzheimers gene. I guess we will never find out about the genetic test results, because Derek doesn’t want to know and that’s a completely valid reason for the writers to withhold the results from us :-). And we will never know if Meredith actually will get Alzheimers because the show won’t run for another decade or two :-)
But seriously, I’m more than thrilled that this issue obviously was (and will be) addressed again and that it did happen in the way it did in this episode. Because even though we (viewers) know that Meredith is safe, Derek doesn’t. He can’t know and it breaks my heart that despite his words last week he does worry about it. He was talking about himself in the presentation to Richard. He is scared to death. Which makes me love him even more, if that makes any sense.