Meredith's dad returns to make amends, but it's the chief's apology that counts the most. Meanwhile, Izzie's mother shows up to "help" her through her cancer treatment.

By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated May 01, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT
Scott Garfield/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

S5 E20
  • TV Show

Anybody else now anxiously awaiting their invite to the Mer-Der nuptials? I am now. The sight of Derek in his fancy-schmancy tux really pushed me over the edge of excitement — and also reminded me of how intensely I used to crush on him the first few seasons before I was numbed by everyone’s constant fawning over him. It also brought home the fact that they’re finally getting married, and I felt as thrilled for them as I would be for my own long-suffering-in-love friends. That, incidentally, is the magic of Grey’s Anatomy: We feel like we’ve been through everything with these people, and we love them like real-life friends even when they annoy us.

Speaking of friends, Callie and Mark have become one of my favorite BFF pairings on TV, and I’ve grown perfectly content to see them as nothing more — despite their earlier on-call-room dalliances. They have some great small moments of friendship, none more so than tonight when Mark told Callie he had a present for her, and she told him she didn’t want his pity money, but then was disappointed to find out he wasn’t offering her cash. He said it was better than that, and took her to a patient. ”She fell out of a tree and broke all her limbs,” he told her. Her response: ”Oooh, this is better.” Another reason we love our Grey’s: dark-and-twistiness.

The focus soon switched from friends to family, though, as Meredith and Lexie’s dad — 29 days out of rehab, apparently — showed up in the Chief’s office to make amends. And when the Chief recommended some support groups in the area because he’s been there himself, Thatcher (whose wife, you know, spent years cheating on him with the Chief) even said, ”that’s one more thing we have in common.” Awwwkward. Though apparently the Chief was hell-bent on making his own kind of amends with old Thatch because soon enough, he was paging the Grey girls into his office. ”Did we kill anyone lately and don’t remember?” Meredith asked Lexie, wondering what the urgent matter was. But the Chief simply wanted to beg the ladies to hear their dad out. They (begrudgingly, in Meredith’s case) did, and then Meredith declared coldly, ”Congratulations. You seem well. Good luck.” She calmly left, leaving Lexie to hug it out with the dad who didn’t abandon her.

Things just got more parent-tastic from there when Sharon Lawrence showed up as Izzie’s mom. The first thing out of her mouth: ”Excuse me, young and yummy doctor.” Yeah, that was to Alex. Awwwkward, once again. No matter though, she was thrilled to find out he was Izzie’s BF, and thrilled to be clucking around Izzie’s hospital room in her totally-Forever 21 hot pink off-the-shoulder top. Izzie wondered aloud who the hell called her mom and asked her to come, and, well, who could blame her? Mom was doing Izzie’s Tarot cards and calling her psychic to see how the whole cancer thing would turn out — and for the record, her phone psychic felt skin cancer was treatable if caught early enough. ”That’s great,” Izzie sighed. ”A psychic with Internet access.” Mom was a little worried, though, because she’d watched an episode of Tyra (brilliant!) about a girl whose cancer started with a ”mole on her privates”: ”It was bad. She was bald and everything.”

NEXT: Meredith crosses a line

Much more serious parental issues surfaced with the Big Medical Case of the Week, which would’ve had far more impact if ABC hadn’t promo-ed the daylights out of it all this week. As particularly Dancing With the Stars and The View audiences already knew well, a guy came in with 17 bullets in him — put there by his adorable, tiny daughter. It all looked like a big, sad accident until the tiny girl asked Meredith, all saucer-eyed innocence, ”How come he don’t die? I shot him lots of times” and we realize the father had been abusive to his family. Meredith snapped when the mother wanted to take the girl in to apologize to her dad before surgery. ”She stood up for the two of you,” Meredith said of the little girl, ”which is more than you did for her.” I couldn’t help thinking, What the hell kind of hospital lets this happen? The Chief is standing right there! But he addressed just that when Meredith laid into him about blurring the personal and professional — i.e., calling her into his office for a surprise chat with her dad. The Chief told her if she wanted to be treated like any other doctor at Seattle Grace, then he’d have to ream her out for the unprofessional way she acted toward the abused mom and kid: ”You will stay away from that child.” Um, yeah. Good call. Meredith, naturally, immediately stalked off to tell Derek she wanted to disinvite the Chief from their wedding. And I’m not sure whether that makes her more professional or less, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You should totally be allowed to not have the guy who broke up your parents’ marriage at your wedding. That’s pretty much Bride Rule No. 1.

Bailey, meanwhile, was taking Izzie in for the scan that shows how much cancer she still has, during which she also revealed that she was the one who called Mama Stevens. Izzie understood, said she loved her mom but needed good scan news so Mom could feel okay about flitting back home ASAP. ”This scan has to be good,” she repeated. Bailey came to her room to deliver the results and was effusively non-specific about how the cancer was, gosh, pretty much gone! And, of course, we knew she was a liar. As soon as Mom went to the restroom, Bailey told Izzie she had more ”mets” — more cancer, basically — and they’d have to operate.

Other family conflicts festering about the hospital resolved themselves nicely, for the most part. Callie decided not to lie to her dad about ending her lesbian relationship with Arizona, even though everyone had been counseling her to. Mark showed up to meet Thatcher for Lexie. Meredith bucked the Chief’s orders and approached the abused mom, apologizing but urging her to get her daughter away from her husband: ”You have to change her story while you still have a chance.” Mom, thank goodness, took Meredith’s words to heart and told Dad they’d be leaving while he was still too injured to follow them. ”Bye, Daddy,” the little girl said. ”Feel better.” And the Chief apologized to Meredith for not looking out for her after he broke things off with her mother and he saw how coldly Ellis was treating young Meredith. We’ll take that head on the shoulder and all that back rubbing as sign that she accepted his apology.

Owen and Cristina, well, they were another story. He’d rebuffed her with a ”Take care now” early in the day, then sent her to his truck to get some non-FDA-approved secret ingredients to help stop the bleeding in the surgery on the gunshot-wound dad. By the time he barked a ”nice work today” as they left for the night, Cristina lost it. ”’Nice work today?’ Seriously?…’Take care now’? What are you? A choke-’em-and-leave-’em kind of guy?” (Ouch, incidentally.) Then Owen hit us with another one of his doozies: He’d written a bunch of inane phrases on a sheet of paper, with the help of his shrink, so he’d have something to say to Cristina at work. ”They’re all three words so I’d have something to say to you instead of the three words you know I feel but I can’t say….I’m trying so hard to let you off the hook.” God, who doesn’t love a tortured couple? I could be wrong, but I think these two blow Mer-Der out of the water in emo-liciousness.

Though I’m still psyched about that upcoming wedding, which apparently they’re going to move up to make sure Izzie can attend. And apparently Meredith will let the Chief come. So I’ll be checking the mail for my invite, too.

What do you think, Grey’s watchers? How do you feel about Derek and Meredith finally tying the not (sort-of, maybe, anyway?) Are you more worried about Izzie’s help with the wedding or about her health? Are Cristina and Owen the most emotionally wrenching couple of all time?

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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