After Callie learns about George's adultery, she and Izzie square off in the cafeteria at lunchtime; plus, McDreamy bonds with Lexie, then tells Meredith what he really wants

By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated October 21, 2007 at 04:00 PM EDT

Grey's Anatomy

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”Grey’s Anatomy” recap: Callie and Izzie’s fight

Thank goodness for the grown-ups on this show — and for their showing up in force for the first time this season. Which is to say: Mad props to Callie O’Malley and Alex Karev, with always-honorable (and I don’t mean that in a runner-up sorta way) mention to Dr. Bailey and Chief Webber. (If Addison were still around, I suspect she’d be on that short list, too, but, alas, she up and moved to California and started acting like a 14-year-old.)

But first things first: No wonder Dr. Bailey was feeling so threatened by Dr. Callie earlier this season — not so much because she’s now chief resident but because she’s the only woman around this place who can match the erstwhile ”Nazi” in gravitas. And, incidentally, Sara Ramirez showed some major potential to snag one of those perennial Grey’s Emmy noms next to Chandra Wilson next round. She killed it in this episode. Her slow simmer in that opening scene with George, at the end of which she simply told him she forgave him for his affair with Izzie — genius, but only a hint of things to come, it turned out. Just as good as a strategic move, too, or at least I thought so at the time; I’ve always figured George pulled this affair crap to get himself out of a marriage he regretted, so not letting him out would be the right punishment for him, if not the right thing to do. Better still, though, was the tension now exploding between the wife and the mistress at work, with Callie marching straight up to Izzie in the morning to demand a lunchtime meeting. Tackling an issue head on like — it bears repeating — an adult was truly un-Greysian.

The younger Grey, however, was being totally Greysian, doing that whole we now interrupt this surgical discussion to talk about our feelings thing with Derek. Though in Lexie’s defense, it kinda seemed to be Derek’s idea, getting like BFFs at a sleepover by asking her how things were going between her and her sister/his girlfriend. Friend with benefits. Whatever. Lex and Der can be a tad grating at times on their own, but they take it to a whole new level when they’re together. I don’t blame Meredith for pouting about it, really. ”I have gone out of my way to be nice to her,” Meredith huffed, watching their chatfest from afar, ”and this is what she does, talks about me behind my back?” ”When were you nice to her?” Cristina asked. ”I was nice,” Mer snapped back. ”Once.” And I gotta admit, I was on her side after weeks of Meredith fatigue.

But Norman the Super Old Intern — i.e., Grandpa Gilmore — was there to not only help Meredith and McSteamy but, more important, to bring some much needed self-mocking to the proceedings. ”It’s like, seriously, you’re an intern?” he said of himself. ”But, seriously, it’s true. Seriously!” Then he even referenced the ”McSteamy” business (which, I admit, has gotten so bad that I actually had to look up poor Dr. Sloan’s name on IMDB to write this thing), indicating that perhaps the new interns have somehow gone meta and have been watching Grey’s Anatomy DVDs just to prepare for their time at Seattle Grace. No matter, though. Comic relief welcome, especially in the form of Edward Herrmann. There were even a few moments between Meredith and Norman that, intentionally or not, recalled a little Rory-Richard dynamic — something about him being so big, her being all waify, and them having cute banter. Hey, I’ll take whatever glimpses of classic Gilmore I can get.

Despite Cristina’s earlier indifference to Meredith’s sister troubles, the prickly one developed her own issues with the younger Grey when they went to work along with Derek on a teen football player with a smashed-up spine. It started with Cristina reverting to calling Lexie ”3,” from back when she first numbered her interns, and, well, I have to admit I’m kind of a fan of that. So 3 it is. But after Cristina ordered 3 to stay against the wall to observe instead of trying to get all up in procedures, Derek gave her quite the strong talking-to about how she better not let her competitiveness get in the way of teaching interns. And all I could think was: If only he could man up half this much when it comes to Meredith…

Alex, on the other hand, was all man tonight. He threw his first testosterone bomb when Izzie confessed to him, all conspiratorial like a 10th grader with a secret crush, that the reason Callie wanted to meet her in the cafeteria — by this time word of the impending showdown had spread throughout the school, er, hospital — was because she’d (oops!) slept with George. ”I’m embarrassed for you,” he said, not the least bit humorously, then walked away. And, it should be noted, his facial-hair situation seems to be inching back to normal, though it’s not quite resolved yet. Still, after tonight’s shows of strong — but not brute — masculinity, he’s the hottest one of the bunch as far as I’m concerned. His long-lost amnesiac, who’s returning next week according to the preview scenes, is a lucky, lucky girl.

(A note of apology here before we go any farther. And I’m not proud of this even the slightest bit. I would probably attempt to sternly-but-wittily reprimand myself for this if I were writing a TV Watch about my own life. Which would be boring, particularly this scene where I write about a television show and eat frozen yogurt. But anyway, here’s the thing: I don’t care all that much about the Chief’s niece. I mean, I feel bad, because she’s a teenager, and she has this terrible ovarian cancer that won’t quit, and the Chief sure has had his share of tough times lately. But I guess I sorta feel like we did that before, and much better, with that prom they gave her while she was in the hospital, and maybe that makes me think of McVet, which makes me sad. Or maybe I just wanted to get to the Callie-Izzie showdown, which makes me no better than these immature doctors I’m flogging tonight. Though I like to believe I would genuinely care if she were a real person and not just a character. Judge me as you will.)

NEXT: The rumble in the cafeteria

Let’s do it already, then, the Callie-Izzie bit. It felt literally like one of those high-school-movie cafeteria scenes, in a kinda brilliant, self-aware way. ”What is wrong with these interns?” Cristina snarked, just like a sophomore talking about freshmen. ”We weren’t like this.” And Alex and Izzie were going at each other too, all secret-code-like: ”Some things are worth fighting for,” Izzie spat when Alex questioned the wisdom of her impending clash, which the whole hospital staff seemed to have gathered for. Then Callie finally arrived — and, well, it’s nothing without seeing it, but suffice it to say that Izzie made it clear she thought they were there to fight, and it was actually pretty funny, her putting up her dukes and all. Then that sublime Sara Ramirez came through again, her face saying everything: She wasn’t there to throw down, she was there — she thought — to have a private, mature conversation with the woman who was tearing apart her marriage. And now, instead, she was even more humiliated.

A bunch more medical stuff happened after that: Meredith and Norman, having accidentally told the wrong woman she was dying, set out to track her down after she disappeared from the hospital. This other woman, who we learned had lost a bunch of weight to please her boyfriend, started coughing up blood. (”People are stupid,” Bailey wisely intoned over that surgery. ”They just wanna be loved. That’s the only reason anyone does anything.”) Then Norman found the lost, not-dying woman, and it turned out she’d quit her job and chucked her boyfriend and all that stuff you do when you think you’re dying, only to find out she was stuck with living. All of which was probably an important life lesson about, you know, life…and living. But the coughing-blood woman, well, died. That set up another astounding Ramirez scene (though probably the dead woman wouldn’t see that as her primary purpose) in which Callie unloaded on the boyfriend, who was outside the hospital entrance smoking: ”You didn’t love her! You just didn’t want to be alone!” And, well, there it was, the obvious key to her marital breakdown. George and Bailey, having heard the ruckus, ushered the man gently back inside.

Izzie tried to apologize to Callie later, but once again, Callie was such an awesomely strong woman about it. ”Don’t you dare come to me for forgiveness, you traitorous bitch!” she growled. I’d have more of a problem with this — the forgiving the man and blaming the woman — if she hadn’t preceded it with a pretty kick-ass feminist argument about how not only had Izzie just plain screwed up, she’d screwed another woman in the process.

Alex wasn’t having any of Izzie’s crap, either. He chastised her for telling him once upon a time that she wasn’t ready for a relationship after Denny, then hopping into bed with George. ”O’Malley?” he said. ”And then you tell me like I’m one of your chick friends? Come on.” As she herself would say: Seriously.

And no, poor Callie still wasn’t quite done with this god-awful day of hers. She had to wait for her husband outside in the rain. ”You can’t just forgive me,” George said when he got there. ”It happened, and you don’t forgive me.” For a moment, I hoped she still wouldn’t let him off the hook — though I realize that wouldn’t really do Callie herself any good over the long haul. And she apparently agreed: ”You’re right,” she said, ”I don’t.”

Another wriggly one was, however, being strung up (finally!) on her own perpetual hook: Derek told Meredith he didn’t want to go through with their plans to go away for the weekend — he just wanted to, you know, marry her. ”I don’t want 48 uninterrupted hours,” he said. ”I want a lifetime.” I’m not gonna lie: I got a bit confused by all the after-talk about how she wanted to wait, but she might be ready sometime, but he was willing to wait, but what if he met someone who didn’t need him to wait…oh, maybe they’re just as confused as ever. Or maybe I was too busy swooning over our little McDreamy finally manning up. I’ll at least get to bask in the glow of that until next week.

What do you think? What were your favorite and not-so-favorite parts of the episode?

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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