The new trauma doc comes in guns a-blazing and rubs some the wrong way, while Hahn and Callie continue to forge a real relationship

By Jennifer Armstrong
October 31, 2008 at 04:00 PM EDT
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‘Grey’s Anatomy’ recap: A fighting chance

I will say this: I can’t wait to hear what you all thought about tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy after the passionate message-board debating last week over Callie and Erica and George and Izzie. Because this was pretty much more of the same — plus pigs. Yes, we knew this episode would be special from the first second when the no-animals-were-harmed disclaimer flashed on the screen. But first: At the Meredith homestead, Derek was learning about Anatomy Jane, a budding little doctor’s version of a Barbie doll — with accurate little plastic organs that fit together inside — that Meredith used to take everywhere when she was a kid. And Alex was learning that the correct way to ask a lady if she’d like to be his girlfriend is not “I just wanna know if you’re gonna go off and screw O’Malley or some other loser. ‘Cause then I don’t have to cancel my plans with the chick from peds.” Put a guy line like that next to Hahn’s giddy, tearful morning-after speech to Callie, and, well, I’m once again thinking about taking up women. Though, of course, I understand that lesbians have problems just like the rest of us — and, in fact, that was pretty clear by the time Erica was declaring, “I’m extremely gay!” and Callie was looking as stricken and terrified as she did, well, last week when contemplating oral sex with her. And look how far she came. Oops, a joke. Sorry. Later at the hospital, Doctor Major Hunt returned from battle in Iraq to join the Seattle Grace staff. And once again, Grey’s proved stunningly adept at integrating new characters. (Or am I just mesmerized by his stubble and dimples?) It didn’t seem the least bit forced or intrusive, and better yet, he clearly brought a new dynamic with him. He sent Cristina running (hilariously) scared at the sight of him (remember, he laid a serious kiss on her before he left) and injected a much-needed quiet, muscular energy into our endearingly spazzy staff. You know a character’s good when one of his opening acts is to stab a bunch of pigs lying on operating tables — and then demand the interns and residents save them. But the big surgery of the day came in the form of a helicoptered-in 10-year-old with an “inoperable” tumor. Karev, once again showing his deft skill for breaking things down, asked, “How can you operate on an inoperable tumor?” No matter, Meredith got the assignment, thanks to Bailey’s mutual affection for Anatomy Jane. And the girl’s parents clearly meant business; they instantly demanded Hahn join her surgery team because they’d heard how good she was and wanted only the best. They even threatened to airlift the patient elsewhere (then offered the docs some homemade fudge). Seattle Grace, of course, had to oblige — now that it’s constantly chasing a higher ranking — so Bailey was forced to beg a very cranky Erica. When Bailey told her she had some ideas about how to possibly help the girl, Erica snapped, “Good for you. Try them on somebody who might actually live.” Though she eventually relented and agreed to the surgery, Erica had plenty to be cranky about — even more than she knew — since Callie was once again hopping onto an on-call cot with Sloan to “test a theory.” (Does anybody have any feelings on this little arrangement they’ve had going? Because it makes me squirm a little, and I’m pretty liberal on such things.)

NEXT: Doctor Major takes charge

One potential couple I do love unequivocally: Doctor Major and Cristina. Except for the little matter that he didn’t seem to even remember her name. There wasn’t much time for romance, anyway, since an accident victim was being wheeled in. (By an EMT who cracked, “Forehead vs. the window and the window won,” to explain the injury. Are the random emergency workers always this clever, and have I just started to notice?) Doctor Major got Alex on the case right away and told Derek and Mark to step off when they showed up to help, too. (Ooh, manly tension. Love that. We need some. These dudes are all world-class surgeons, right? Shouldn’t there be more testosteroney ego clashing happening?) But between all the bickering and the long meetings about how to treat the little girl, I was very much hoping I’m never hospitalized for anything that causes someone to utter the phrase “throw some stuff up on the board” during discussions about my care. Nor for anything that requires the taking out of all my organs. I think I need those. I’ve also about had it with all the whining — which I guess has been the chief’s point lately. It seems like all that ever happens in this hospital is that some resident is told to do something, and then said resident goes to another authority figure and tells said authority figure how much he or she does not wish to perform what they were asked. Of course, I understand why Cristina was complaining to Bailey about the pig situation, but still. Just shut up and do it. You know that by the end it’s going to be emotional and redemptive and educational. You’ll know that’s happening by the dramatic alternative rock song that starts playing. To Cristina’s credit, she got back to work and was all business, chastising her interns to stop giving the pigs cute names: “If you want to call them something, call them sausage. Or prosciutto.” And, natch, they did save the pigs. And it was awesome. However, it turned out Doctor Major wasn’t always right, even if Cristina was learning from pigs. He’d forced Alex to work too fast on the car accident victim, and his messy work screwed up the surgery Derek and Mark had to do on him. “What qualifies us as a war zone?” Sloan complained. “Our undermanned gift shop?” Though the major, when confronted by the boys, did something no one at Seattle Grace has ever done — and no one seemed to understand it once he did it. Yes, he asked them what he should do differently next time. He admitted he’d just come from a very different environment, he didn’t know everything, and he’d like to — gasp! — learn. Weird. Of course we learned he was pretty damaged a few moments later, when he was talking about the war to Cristina. (He knew her name, after all, but that was before watching his entire unit get killed.) One plea, though, while we’re on the subject of the boys. Please, please, please, can we get Mark Sloan an actual story line soon? I love his quips (see above). I love the recent dramatic increase in shirtless time. And I really loved that oddly tender post-coital moment with Callie when he gave her good, solid advice about trying again with Callie — and being honest with her, and not cheating on her with him. Even better? At the end of the night, when he looked so shocked that Callie wanted to get a drink with him minus the hooking up. “You’re good for more than sex, Mark,” she told him, and he looked so touchingly touched. Speaking of touching, I admit I melted a little when Alex came home and told Izzie, “I’m not good at relationships or talking about stupid feelings,” and only then did it finally dawn on her that in the morning, he’d been trying to say he wanted to be exclusive. Such a great relationship lesson: Guys often mean, painfully literally, exactly what they say. So when he asked if he should keep his plans with the “chick from peds,” she should’ve just said, “Um, no.” That’s not to excuse the emotional retardation, but I think he’s coming around. In no time at all, he and Izzie should be acting out the greatest female fantasy of all: The loving, in-touch-with-her-feelings princess fixes the messed-up, repressed prince. Aww, sweet. What do you guys think? How satisfying will an Izzie-Alex relationship be? Did Lexie’s apology to George work for you? And where else can they realistically go with all of those diaries from the senior Dr. Grey?

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