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Grey's Anatomy recap: Where It All Began

The flashback episode gives us insight into Bailey, Richard, and Callie

Posted on

Time Warp
Ron Tom/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

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

Things seemed promising for this episode of Grey’s Anatomy when it opened with Bailey in a fuchsia twinset, the cute anesthesiologist watching her primp in the mirror and telling her she looked good. She looked so good, in fact, that it made me want to call her Miranda. It’s rare that we’ve seen her glammed up and out of scrubs, and pink is totally her color. Also promising was the fact that the No-Longer-Chief — I guess we’ll call him Richard now — was in front of an AA meeting saying he was 45 days sober. Well done, Richard. In fact, I was feeling so good I decided to give the cute anesthesiologist an actual name. (Also because I had tired of typing ”anesthesiologist.”) So I decided to call him Ben Warren. Namely because the Internet told me that is his name.

Oh, but then my mellow was harshed a tad when I realized that this was the much-discussed flashback episode. Not that there’s anything wrong with flashbacks — I simply prefer moving real-time plot forward rather than walking down memory lane. Alas, we would be time-traveling, even though we were not watching Lost. So be it. The conceit: Derek, a.k.a. the new chief, had decided to bring back the boringly named Lecture Day. Apparently no one needed surgery that day, so all of our favorite hot docs could convene in an auditorium to hear three of their colleagues — as it turned out, Miranda, Richard, and Callie — talk about former cases that had taught them important lessons. I don’t know if anyone was clamoring for backstory on these particular three, but, sure, why not, right? As Derek said, ”Their losses will save you losses. Their mistakes will save you mistakes.” We would be flashing back to their former ups and downs as they spoke to the crowd while wearing regular-person clothes instead of scrubs. Great! Fun! Just like watching fan fiction on your network TV, totally geeking out on stuff like era-appropriate hairstyles, references to future occurrences, and info about secret hookups we didn’t know about before! Let’s go!


Bailey — unsurprisingly a dynamite public speaker who engaged her audience by throwing candy at them for answering questions correctly — flashed back to 2003, three days into her intern year. In those days, she went by ”Mandy” and had braids and glasses. That’s how you knew it was Younger Bailey. You also knew because she was very smart, but still very timid, particularly in the face of her domineering resident.

But when she misdiagnosed a patient as having appendicitis — only to cut her open and find her appendix was just fine — Richard was there to coach her through. ”Surgery’s a shark tank,” he told her. ”And sharks have teeth. Make sure you’re a shark, too. And not a minnow.” Oh, but wait. He was hardly done dispensing wisdom. When she asked if he was referring to her (lack of) height, he said, ”God made you short. Who made you quiet?” Also: ”If you never get a negative appy you’re not doing enough appys.” Words to live by, people.

Miranda then suggested the problem could be lupus, lead poisoning, hemochromatosis — this was one medicine-heavy episode, kids! — but no matter what they tested this poor woman for, she did not have. Still, her symptoms persisted. Miranda went to have a drink at Joe’s and vent, mainly so we could see Joe with long hair, ha ha. Then she finally figured it out: porphyria! Why yes! Of course! I mean, duh! Anyway, so finally the poor lady could stop getting cut open for no good reason and could be treated properly and Miranda could give her Very First Speech to her resident supervisor, which started off with: ”You know the difference between you and me? … I learned when not to cut. I learned to listen to my patient …” Etc.

NEXT: Callie and Alex’s big secret