Avery's mom comes to town for a groundbreaking surgery and Meredith and Derek face a crisis of the Zola kind

By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated October 14, 2011 at 07:00 AM EDT
Greys Jesse Love
Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC

Note: Normal recapper extraordinaire Tanner Stransky is on vacation this week. I’m filling in, and I apologize in advance for the barrage of slightly inappropriate comments about the wildly attractive male characters on this show that you are about to read. Consider yourself warned.

I know last week was meant to be the “male-centric” episode of Grey’s Anatomy. But it’s hard not to consider this week equally as male-centered when the episode revolved around a penis transplant. Let’s stand here for a moment and reflect on the last two words of that sentence. Penis transplant. I can’t tell you how much I would pay to have seen every one of your faces when you heard those two words at the top of this week’s episode. Imagine a compilation video of those expressions! Now, that’s the stuff viral videos are made of.

Anyway, this penis transplant was more than just a punchline in this week’s episode. It was also a plot vehicle. It’s what brought Avery’s sassy mom, Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen), to Seattle Grace — and caused Avery to send Lexie far, far away to visit her sister. If you’re thinking he purposely arranged this “surprise” trip to correspond with his mother’s visit, it’s because he did. Avery was hesitant to let his hyper-critical, intense, unfiltered mom meet his girlfriend…and you can’t really blame him. Seeing her rip apart his decision to go into plastics was difficult enough. Can you imagine how she would have hacked down his new girlfriend’s spirit with her machete mouth? He did a good thing saving Lexie from that — for now, anyway. (Yes, I’m totally hoping we haven’t seen the last of Catherine! Who else is going to encourage April to finally have sex?)

But as is the case with most “embarrassing” parents, she seemed to be fairly popular and appreciated by everyone except Avery. April was probably her biggest fan — not to mention her Facebook friend. (Isn’t it some sort of friend violation to “friend” a friend’s parent without getting pre-approval? Discuss.) The rest were mostly eager to get chosen to work on the “groundbreaking surgery.” Thought: If I had a nickel for every so-called groundbreaking surgery these good-looking Bozos got to work on, I’d have enough money to buy a new, fancy TV with which to better gaze at Avery’s piercing blue eyes. And God knows I’ve never wanted that more than this week, which seemed to feature more shots of the Blues than normal. Agree?

I digress. Meredith and Avery (favoritism!) ended up getting picked to work on the surgery, which ended up being a success. Alex almost snagged a spot, but he decided answering his pager was more important — and it was. He and Arizona were paged to pedes, where baby Zola was in peril.

I won’t get into the medical specifics because I’m about as good at faking medical talk as I am at not sounding like a sad, single person in my recaps. So, lets just say, we know Zola has had medical problems, and they resurfaced this week. The problem? Alex and Arizona couldn’t say a peep about it to Meredith and Derek since their custody case was still being discussed. Saying something was a violation and could have jeopardized their standing. Alex held up for a while, but we always knew he and his self-declared small balls would cave. But that’s what I love about him, though. He always caves when it comes to his friends.

Bailey, on the other hand, is anything but a caver. That’s why she didn’t cave when the Not the Chief tried to get Meredith a spot on her trial. Bailey’s like Honey Badger; she don’t give a f—. But that’s also the issue Eli had with her. She didn’t really give enough of a damn about him. If she did, she would have at least remembered to invite him to Teddy’s dinner party.

Oh, yeah. Teddy and Henry threw a dinner party this week. They served fish. That’s all you need to know. In fact, it’s more than you need to know. (I liked them better when he was dying. At least they had something to do — such as trying not to die.)

NEXT: Everybody cries!

Speaking of staying alive, Alex and Arizona worked hard to save baby Zola, and they did — but not before Alex defended his decision to tell Meredith and Derek. He told Arizona that she of all people should understand having no say in your child’s well-being because she legally had none when it came to Sophia. Arizona obviously took offense and shut him up, but he had a point. She later brought this up to Callie, who put her fears to rest saying they’d fix the situation. I really liked the show’s approach to this issue. It was subtle and sweet and further solidified this pair as one of my faves on the show.

So, in the end, Zola was safe and on the mend. I couldn’t be happier about that. So far, this baby has been the catalyst for so many great moments (not the least of which are all the scenes of hot guys carrying a baby). More seriously, I got terribly choked up when Meredith broke down upon hearing the good news about Zola. That was such a motherly reaction. And it happened so fast after she heard the news, I really felt like she had been holding in her anxiety and keeping it together for the sake of her child during the crisis. And, when the crisis passed, her pent-up emotions came flooding out. It was a fantastic moment, I think. It was almost as good as the scene when the caseworker came face-to-face with Meredith and Derek at the elevator. I don’t recall a single word being exchanged, but that only added to the impact. Am I the only one who thinks the case worker experienced a change of heart in that moment?

Another great scene was after Meredith and Derek went home and left Cristina to watch the baby (since they legally couldn’t stay with her). Not only did it show the secretly maternal side of Cristina, but Owen’s reaction to watching her interact with Zola was heartbreaking. I love how he’s still quietly hurting about the abortion. In a time when many shows often dismiss emotional aftermath, it’s great to see this play out.

One storyline that’s clearly met its end, however, is the relationship between Bailey and Eli. She broke up with him at the end of the episode — and not because of Ben, she claimed emphatically. But in the grand tradition of Grey’s, where the characters often say the opposite of what they know to be true in romantic situations, we know it’s bull.

Last thing of note before I get to my questions for you: At the end of the episode, Mama Avery left her (sexy) cub with a warning: Watch out for Sloan. An earlier interaction in the hall clued her into Mark’s lingering feelings for Lexie and, she said, if he was serious about the relationship, he needed to keep an eye out. This is about to get really good…

So, what do you think, readers? Did you love Catherine Avery — and her weird flirting with Richard? Are you sad about Bailey and Eli and/or happy about the possibility of Ben and Bailey? And do you think some good news is on the horizon for Derek and Meredith?

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