As Bailey helped a dying child and her father, Izzie accepted the limitations of her treatment and Callie straightened things out with her father

By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated April 24, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT
Credit: Scott Garfield/ABC
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Now this is the way to do bridal planning. I’m something of a wedding-plot connoisseur, having once planned (but not executed) my own nuptials — and by connoisseur, I actually mean ”person with a low tolerance for.” Mix in a little cancer, though, and one very unfrilly bride, and things get interesting.

I was confused when I first saw Izzie reading Bride & Groom magazine (leave it to the post-feminists at Grey’s to choose the one equal-opportunity wedding mag — yes, it does exist). Actually, I thought: Have I forgotten some key scene wherein Alex and Izzie decided to get married? It has been nearly a month since the last new episode, so it was possible. And quite frankly, I won’t be surprised if they do tie the knot by season’s end — I just didn’t think that had already been determined onscreen. At any rate, I was right — it hadn’t. Turned out Meredith had asked Izzie to help with wedding planning to distract from… hmm, what was it again? Oh, right, the fact that she has possibly terminal brain cancer. Well, Derek got that stuff out of her brain, but there’s still a ways to go. Meredith wanted something simple, dress-wise, somewhere between ”naked” and pretty-pretty princess bride; she wanted a low-key reception.

Izzie, of course — she of the ”prom” dress worthy of a wedding the night Denny died — had other plans. She was pacing around her gown-crammed hospital room while barking on her Bluetooth to florists. When the Chief showed up to check on her, she happily chirped, ”Blood, pee, what can I get you?” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: LOVE Cancer Izzie.

I’ve always loved Callie, but I loved her even more once her dad (Hector Elizondo!) arrived for a visit. The (near-constant) family cameos are always a good time on Grey’s, and even moreso when the first thing said family member does is throttle George against a wall (for dumping Callie) followed by Mark (for sleeping with her). She tried to placate him by saying she was happily dating someone new. ”I’d love to meet this new gentleman suitor,” he said, clearly not knowing how fraught his specificity was. Callie hemmed and hawed in gender-nonspecific terms at first: ”They’re pretty busy because they’re a doctor here.” But Arizona was nearby, so, thank goodness, Callie just went straight for the intro. (I was starting to dread a drawn-out comedy of errors in which the two are repeatedly almost caught smooching by Dad or somesuch.) Suffice to say it went over exactly as well as Callie had feared. Maybe even a little less.

Tension permeated the poorly planned surgery teams as well: Alex and George were hating each other (guys who slept with same woman = not a good combo) while working together on a dude who apparently threw himself in front of a car, injuring himself and the driver. And Mark and Derek (guys who slept with the same woman and recently pummeled each other = really not a good combo) were sniping at each other while tending to the unlucky motorist.

NEXT: Bailey substitute parents for the day

But Derek did take a break from that to advise Meredith on dealing with her demanding wedding planner, encouraging her, in very guy-like fashion, to simply tell Izzie she did not want anything elaborate. ”Oh, yeah, as the chemo drips into her cancery arm and she looks at me with her cancery eyes,” Meredith snarked. ”Those cancery, wedding-loving eyes.” However, she said, if Izzie were to have her way, ”We will have bridesmaids in pink taffeta. And you will be wearing a top hat and a morning coat. And somebody will be singing ‘Wind Beneath My [Fricking] Wings.”’ (Yes, that last bit was a punctuation challenge. Is it me, or is Meredith suddenly the comic relief on this show? How’d that happen?) Derek gallantly offered to go in and talk to the Cancery One instead, but emerged vanquished. ”Apparently a morning coat is nonnegotiable,” he reported. ”And we will be making time for ballroom dancing lessons.”

We saw the sadder side of life-threatening illnesses over in pediatrics, where Bailey had come in on her day off. I’ll say, as a side note, that the addition of peds into our Grey’s rotation is turning out well. There are only so many kinds of cases they can milk for drama, and kids certainly up the ante. Terminally ill kids — like little Jessica in this case — is just inherently heart-tugging. Emotionally manipulative? Sure, a little. But I got my big cries of the night from this one. Like when her panicking father tried to make last-ditch plans to get to Mexico for experimental treatment and she asked, ”Can we go tomorrow, Daddy? I’m so tired.” And then I rethought my entire career path because it doesn’t even come close to the gravity of holding dying children in my arms like Bailey did. (Not that telling you good folks what you just watched on Grey’s Anatomy isn’t rewarding, but…wow.)

And…then we were back to the hilarity of life-threatening illness as Izzie kept playing her dying state for pranks. As her heart monitor flatlined, I started contemplating whether those persistent rumors that she’s leaving the show might have actually been good for the dramatic tension — we believe she might (nay, will) die. When, in fact, she might very well not. But it turned out that in this case, she was just pretending to be coding to get Cristina’s attention — and ask her to get Meredith to come in and try on dresses. That sequence in itself played out suitably funny, ridiculous, and touching. Meredith whined that she’d rather just have a buffalo-wing reception. ”Caterers don’t even do buffalo wings,” Izzie scoffed. ”Don’t you have a dress in your pile that doesn’t make noise when it moves or stand up by itself?” Meredith pleaded. (Anyone who’s tried on wedding gowns knows: not likely.) ”You’re getting married — it’s a miracle!” Izzie finally proclaimed before persuading Mer that maybe this ceremony should be a big deal. Once everyone left her room, of course, we saw — thanks to some upchucking, and later a real collapse on her floor — that Izzie was not as fun-lovingly surviving chemo as she seemed.

NEXT: Callie’s big decision

Things grew more fraught between Callie and her dad as well, as he demanded she come back home to Miami to get herself straightened (literally, I’m guessing) out. He threatened to cut off her trust fund if she didn’t. (Did we know she was loaded? Wasn’t she living in the basement of the hospital for a time?) She told Mark she couldn’t defy Daddy because he’d supported her entire career. ”Supporting someone and respecting someone aren’t the same thing,” he told her. Love it when he’s all wise and stuff.

He was less mature, of course, in dealing with his own problems: He and Derek were still sniping as they headed into surgery, and poor Lexie, apparently a stress eater, was caught in the middle of it. Meredith finally stepped in to help her sister out and give them a talking to. ”Look at her,” Meredith chided them, pointing to Lexie. ”Her ass is humongous.” Lexie agreed: ”It’s true. I had to get the scrubs with the elastic waistband.” (Way to work in Chyler Leigh’s pregnancy, writers!) But Meredith ultimately just got sucked into the fray, freaking out when Derek said the Chief would be his best man instead of Mark. Something about the dude who broke up her parents’ marriage standing up at her wedding didn’t sit well with her; though I could understand if Derek didn’t want the dude who broke up his last marriage there by his side, either. Maybe they make some new friends? Maybe they could go out on some couples double dates, or he could do an I Love You, Man sort of thing and….

Whoa, did that suicidal guy just repeatedly ram into an upper-floor hospital window until it broke, then jump through it and land on a car? Yes. Yes, he did. Props for a hardly run-of-the-mill suicide scene — if we’d had to watch George and Alex talk him down from a roof, I’d have thrown my remote. George jumped right on the situation and handled it with a lot of medical jargon, and Alex froze — thus Hunt declared George a trauma surgeon and wrote Alex off for good. I feel a renewed sense of purpose and a possible shipping off to war coming on for George. Just a hunch. Or a longterm effect of reading Ausiello spoilers.

Teary moments just kept hitting after that. Bailey talked little Jessica’s dad into accepting her impending death and holding her through it: ”This next part, she needs her daddy for this part.” And Daddy acted his butt off, incidentally, as Jessica asked if they were still going to Mexico, and Mexico became something else entirely. ”Just relax and we’ll be there soon,” he whispered. Callie officially chose Arizona (and, you know, adulthood) over her dad. And Owen had a breakthrough in therapy (with the best hospital therapist ever, Amy Madigan) when he said he felt shameful for having knowingly drawn Cristina into a relationship when he knew he’d wreck her. (Don’t we all do that to each other repeatedly?)

And, oh, that last dress Meredith tried on fit perfectly — elegant, pretty, gorgeous. Meredith finally made Lexie her sister by making her a bridesmaid, and Derek and Mark finally made up. ”You can stop eating now,” Meredith said. Because she’s funny like that.

What did you think? Did you enjoy Izzie’s wedding-planning efforts? Do you like seeing more pediatrics cases? What about hilarious Meredith? Should the bridesmaids wear pink taffeta?

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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