The return of Dr. Addison Montgomery for a fetal cardiac surgery inspires the staffers to talk about their true feelings

”Grey’s Anatomy” recap: Addison’s back!

Okay, kids, our show is back — for real this week. And I’m going to go ahead and pretend it’s not just because Addison made a cameo on last night’s episode — the writing and the regular cast deserve a lot of the credit. But I’ll also say that this ensemble has always run on its very complicated chemistry, and any time a key component is subtracted (this went for Burke as well), it takes some readjusting to keep things running smoothly. So it might not be a total coincidence that a little injection of Kate Walsh magically pushed everything back into place. Too bad she has to head back to the kiddie pool of Private Practice.

That said, the banter, the humor, the awkwardness, the sexual tension — those key ingredients were all cooking tonight as well, and that’s what I missed last week. When we focus on just the cheesy medical cases on Grey’s Anatomy, we notice how over-the-top they are. When we get all the other stuff, too, the surgeries add just the right hint of heart. In this case, they literally added heart, as the headline case of the night was a baby whose heart was growing outside its body while it was still in utero — a surgery that, of course, only Addison Montgomery could perform. It also required a lot of team effort, always a bonus. Even Sloan got to participate by growing a flap of skin from the baby’s stem cells. (Nice use of cutting-edge technique, Seattle Grace!) ”Now I grow skin for babies, like God,” he bragged to Addy before trying (unsuccessfully) to get in her pants. Somebody get this guy a real story line, stat.

Izzie was desperately in search of a story line herself, marching around with a bunch of cranky, hungover interns following her. And Alex got more story line than he bargained for when Ava/Rebecca/Former Amnesia Chick showed up yet again to announce to him that she was pregnant with his child. ”Are you keeping it, or are you having an abortion?” he barked. ”I have a really big case.” This was even less sensitive than that tumor guy (the one from last week, back for possible miracle surgery) whose condition made him blurt out whatever was on his mind. The idea was that he’d be getting an operation that involved injecting a live virus into his tumor — and also, incidentally, required Meredith and Derek to work verrrry closely together. He also wouldn’t shut up about how he wanted to fix his wife up with a new guy before he kicked it, which apparently she found off-putting. ”What do you think, Dr. Grey?” he said. ”Do you think Dr. Shepherd is attractive enough for my wife?” ”It’s just the tumor talking,” the wife kept saying. Then later, she complained to Meredith that her last memory of him could be ”him calling me a hot piece of ass.” I don’t mean to judge the suffering almost-widow here, but since she’s fictional, I’ll just say that if I were her, I would be unspeakably sad at the thought of my husband saying his last words, but I wouldn’t be so bummed if he used them to say I was a hot piece of ass. I can think of worse.

NEXT: Callie’s lesbian panic

Addison was like the human version of that tumor for Seattle Grace, playing the role of person who comes in from the outside and sets everyone straight, seeing what they cannot about their own lives. She called the Hahn-Callie lesbian vibe out right away. ”Callie,” she said, ”are you speaking the vagina monologues now?” (Callie’s priceless rejoinder: ”I like penis. I’m a huge, huge fan of penis.”) Addison also expressed shock and outrage that Meredith and Derek broke up. ”Derek, I hugged her,” she snapped. ”I hugged her, and you’re not even together with her anymore?”

The heart baby, meanwhile, taught us all some valuable lessons about — come on, you can guess it! That’s right, love. ”Our son is one of a kind,” his super sweet and sensitive father said, ”wearing his heart on his sleeve.” (Does this guy write the voice-over scripts?) Of course, this was mostly to set up a deep contrast with Alex, who showed up on the case just in time to be the major jackass he seems to have become. (I know he always had some attitude problems, but he’s really been out of control lately.) ”They want to talk about loving each other as if that prepares them for having a baby,” he said of the super-sweet sensitive couple, right in front of them. Bailey admonished him: ”Right now you’re feeling all your feelings out in the open. I need you to stuff them back in.” Which was ironic, of course, because he really was stuffing his feelings in. The ones that really mattered.

Cristina, too, was trying to learn more about feelings. ”I want to talk,” she announced at the lunch table. ”I have 15 minutes to hear about your feelings.” Alex mumbled something about Ava/whatever-her-name-is being married. ”Does that hurt, that she’s married?” Cristina asked. ”Does that hurt your heart?” Callie popped in to ask Cristina and Meredith if anyone ever thinks they’re a couple. ”No,” Meredith answered. ”Because we screw boys like whores on tequila.” And thus I officially declared my Grey’s Anatomy was on its game again. I was even digging the lesbian story line a little now, and I hate late-onset lesbianism as a plot device. I’m sure we’ll get to talk more about that in the coming weeks. Yay.

I even liked the night’s third and final pregnancy story line, the HIV-positive chick who was pregnant. I liked the idea of a cranky, not-particularly-inspiring HIV-positive patient. I mean, I’d be a little surly too. I liked that we learned interesting facts about HIV without it seeming preachy; I had no idea that HIV moms are 98 percent likely to have perfectly healthy babies if they’re on meds. I also liked that Izzie finally hit a genuine character-change moment, out of annoyingness and into taking charge: She marched in and used her authority to persuade the patient not to abort the baby, and she whipped her whiny interns back into shape. Nicely done.

NEXT: An elevator classic

So happy that the heart baby made it, too; I was skeptical about that one. ”And God admired his amazing skin flap,” Sloan intoned. ”And he saw that it was good.” Seriously. Story line. Now. The successful surgery even begat a perfectly placed Bailey monologue moment, when she told Addison that her heart ”hurt so much I want to rip it from my chest sometimes.” Of course, because the baby lived, the tumor guy had to die; it’s the conservative property of Seattle Grace. But Meredith and Derek had a nice postsurgery moment, and we all know what that means.

That also meant Addison’s work was done here. (And she, sadly, confirmed it by telling the Chief, ”I needed to come back here to see that it was right to leave.” No! Addy! For your sake and theirs, don’t!) There were some other nice moments to go around: George and Izzie, who I’d love to see become friends again, and Rose-Addison-Derek-Meredith-Sloan in the elevator, which was just funny.

And in the end, Callie showed up at the postwork bar gathering just in time to give poor Sloan like half a story line, using him to prove her straightness, leaving with him instead of Hahn. Izzie got the lab results on Ava/what’s-her-name, which showed that she — gasp — wasn’t anything near pregnant. And Addison laid down the law one last time with Meredith, saying, ”Are you letting him get away? Because I swear to God, Meredith, if you let him ride off into the sunset with that doe-eyed little thing…” Yes, I must admit it’s true: Addison even got me excited about the idea of Mer-Der again, which I had been pretty burned out on. I wish Grey’s wouldn’t let Kate Walsh ride off into the sunset. But the TV biz is much harsher than Seattle Grace.

What do you think? Are Mer and Der back? Are Callie and Hahn going to become an item? And what is Alex going to do when he learns the truth?

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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