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Grey's Anatomy recap: Doctors, Orders

Owen’s past continues to haunt his present when a patient asks him to help her die

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Suicide Is Painless

Grey's Anatomy

TV Show
run date:
Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr., Kevin McKidd, Jessica Capshaw
Current Status:
In Season

The Owen narration from the beginning of this episode gave me a sense of forboding, and for good reason — it was not one of my favorite installments in this roller coaster of a season. (Coming off the fantastic fun of the last episode only made it worse.) Liking Owen as a character did not translate into liking his flashback ep. (IsGrey’s becoming Lost with all the backstories of late?) This look back at Owen’s — and, subsequently, a bit of Teddy’s — tour in Iraq veered dangerously into ER territory, in a mostly boring way, I’m sorry to say.

But it was hardly Owen’s fault alone. He had Sara Gilbert playing a terminal cancer patient who wanted to die by physician-assisted suicide. Gilbert did a fine job playing her, of course — the storyline, however, went schmaltzier than Grey’s normally does. In fairness, it’s a big story to do justice to in just one arc of many in an hourlong show. At any rate, Teddy asked Owen to serve as the second doctor approval on the case; apparently since euthanasia became legal a little more than a year ago in Washington state, getting two doctors to sign off has been one of the reams of strict requirements. Sara Gilbert wanted to stay in the hospital with her cute husband by her side and good wine on hand while she died by a prescribed lethal drug combination. Owen, however, was not only opposed to the idea — he was uncharacteristically emotional about it. Flashback! To Owen and Teddy playing soccer at their camp in Iraq, flirting, etc., before they were dispatched to tend to some bomb-wounded soldiers — and then moved with their patients because of an oncoming sandstorm. So, yes, this urge to save Sara Gilbert went back to the post-traumatic stress disorder. Aha.

NEXT: Would you hit that?