On ''Grey's Anatomy,'' while most of the men go fishing, Mark throws Meredith a few lines, but Derek returns to reel her in

By Gregory Kirschling
February 14, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
  • TV Show

”Grey’s Anatomy”: A girlie show

How was this episode of Grey’s? My head’s all messed up about it, because, for the love of God, have you ever watched this show with a medical professional?

My sister Meaghan is in town to say hey. She’s a organ-transplant nurse in Minneapolis. We went with our folks to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall — ain’t we sweet? — and then Meg followed me home and we watched Grey’s together. She likes Laguna Beach and Justin Timberlake and pop culture in general, sure, but she’s only watched Grey’s a couple of times before, because her friend Kristen makes her. Meg can’t watch it. Thanks to her line of expertise, the show drives her slightly mad.

”This would never really happen,” she announced pleasantly, not three scenes into this new episode, as the boys of Seattle Grace — Derek, Burke, the Chief, Karev, George, plus bartender Joe and his boyfriend, Walter — headed out to River Runs Through It country for a guys’ fishing trip. ”There’s no way that attending physicians would go out camping with interns. And there’s no way all the doctors could leave the hospital at the same time. I’m telling you this as somebody who works in a hospital, bro.”

It went like this for the rest of the episode. Apparently this whole show, medically speaking, is by and large BS! Back at the hospital, the gals of Seattle Grace were left to take care of all the patients by themselves, and Bailey — for reasons we’ll get into in a minute — had Cristina caring for a kid who swallowed a handful of Monopoly pieces, which meant Cristina had to dig through his feces to find them. ”Isn’t that a nurse’s job?” Cristina asked Bailey. ”Is that a nurse’s job?” I asked my sister. ”To track the poop, yes,” Meg answered. ”Have you done that?” I asked. ”Not for Monopoly pieces,” she replied. ”This is wrong. They would just send this kid home and then have him come back in a week for an X-ray to make sure all the pieces were out.” For the rest of the episode, we watched Cristina — and later Izzie — digging through crap, which did not go over well at my house. ”A doctor would never, ever do that,” stated my sis. ”A surgeon would never, ever put her hands on fecal matter!”

I was rattled: What Meg was saying seemed to make real-world sense. I’d heard from other friends and loved ones in the hospital business that all medical shows are hard to watch because they’re all so fake. And it sure gets in the way to have someone sitting next to you during Grey’s Anatomy, calling out every implausibility in what every clueless Grey’s fan must acknowledge (even if only deep-down) is a wholly implausible show. So right now I’m raw, and I don’t know what to make of this episode. I didn’t know what to make of Santa Claus in the hours after I learned the horrible truth back in the third grade, either.

I can only tell you the rest of what happened on this episode and offer a few dumb opinions, which I suddenly acknowledge are pitifully uninformed by any sort of medical know-how or perspective. We were all wondering how Bailey would deal with her realization late last week that it was Cristina who erased her name off the board, and this week I think we were all expecting the thunder to come down. So in that respect, it was a letdown that Bailey showed her cards right away, admitting so quickly she’d figured Cristina’s trespass out, and also that the best she could do was ban Cristina from all surgeries and send her off to dig through fecal matter. That felt low-impact. Thankfully, this plotline recouped later in two major ways: 1. We saw Cristina half-confess her crime to Meredith, and it looks like she might sell Burke down the river in the coming weeks. (What a villainess! Very promising.) 2. Late in the episode, after Cristina begged to scrub in on a surgery, Bailey gave her one more chance to admit she did the erasing, and Cristina didn’t buckle, and Bailey said, ”Right now, in this second, you chose your own fate.” Long story short: The Nazi didn’t necessarily return this week, but the evidence is there to indicate she might turn up in full force again any day now.

What follows will be a minor tangent. Notice how I made a list in the previous paragraph that consisted of a point 1 and a point 2. It’s not that hard to do. It’s not as hard as movies and TV would sometimes have us believe. One of my strangest pop-culture pet peeves is when fictional characters make a list of reasons that run 1, B, 3 or A, 2, C. What a cheap laugh. This never happens in real life, yet it happens, for instance, in National Lampoon’s Vacation, which is, aside from that tiny annoying thing, one of my favorite movies. I — to borrow some indignation from sis — never, ever thought smart, witty Grey’s would stoop so low. But at the beginning of the episode, Meredith (dear, great Meredith, who’s smarter than that!) made a list of rules that lech-y Mark must live by if they are going to work together, and she numbered it ”1, second, C.” This construction is, I grant you, a little more sophisticated than 1, B, 3 or A, 2, C, but not much. Maybe it bothers you I’m making so much of this, but pet peeves are pet peeves, people, and sometimes it helps to vent about them, okay?

Now then: Meredith and Mark. Even their names have a ring to them that’s all off. Mark made his play on Derek’s girl. They teamed together on a wacky hospital case I was never too excited about, in which a man named Daniel wanted to cut off his penis and become a woman named Donna even if the lady hormones were gonna give him cancer. At the very end of the episode, Mark took Meredith for a drink and tried encouraging her to ”start fresh.” She looked halfway convinced. Apparently every woman wants to sleep with Mark. But then he went to answer his beeper, and Derek, back from his camping trip (which he went on, he said, to get a ”fresh start” — that’s a coincidence!), walked into the bar, and tried to start over with Meredith right then and there. I’ll tell you, friends, for a minute it looked like the whole series was going to go up in a mushroom cloud. Grey’s Armageddon was nigh. Because Derek made his plea, which was a perfectly reasonable plea, and Meredith said, ”You walked away. And now it’s too late!” Whaat? We watched her let him take some time. And how is it too late? Meredith and Mark, as a couple, are nonstarters. This scene felt like it was headed somewhere completely bogus. All of a sudden you just knew that Mark was gonna walk up and Derek was gonna give him a cold stare, and then pout droopy-lidded for a second in Meredith’s direction, and then split, and thus another needless complication for these two would be dragged out over the coming weeks and months.

Hallelujah, that’s not what happened.

Instead, Derek and Meredith started to make out, and Mark walked on by. Save!

That was the fade-out. Quick, what else happened this episode? George and Karev got in a fistfight because Karev was goaded into telling George that Callie slept with Mark. George, during the closest close-ups we’ve yet seen on the show, seemed to realize that Burke’s hand is still messed up, and seems hell-bent on goading him into admitting it. At the hospital, Izzie admitted to the highly cherubic doc Sydney that she still thinks about Denny all the time and she’s not sure she has what it takes to be a surgeon because of that. And Callie and Addison commiserated over how miserable it was to sleep with Mark, and also over a dead baby. I think all this stuff was well executed and moving, as Grey’s usually is, but I have to admit my sis’s dissection of the show right before my eyes kind of threw me off this week. It diluted the impact some. Is TV really all just make-believe? Lucky for this TV Watch, Meg goes home on Sunday. (That sounds unbrotherly, but I’ll see her again soon enough, at Thanksgiving. Love ya, sis!)

What did you think of this episode? Meaghan thought it was weird that the opening credits were still running 16 minutes into the show. Do you agree? When Walter face-planted into that rock during Karev vs. George, did you too think he was dead for sure? Do you like the Chief better when he isn’t talking about Adele? And aren’t you glad Meredith didn’t hook up with Mark, because wouldn’t that truly constitute a jumping of the shark for the show?

Episode Recaps

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.
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