Derek's first day as the chief is a challenging one, while Cristina reminds Owen (and herself) who she is

By Whitney Pastorek
Updated February 05, 2010 at 05:00 PM EST
Credit: Adam Larkey/ABC

Hello, readers of the Grey’s Anatomy TV Recap! It is I, your Aunt Whittlz, subbing in for the amazing Jennifer Armstrong on this week’s recap, while J-Arms is off doing… something. It occurs to me I’m not sure where she is. Ah well. Let’s make the best of it!

The title of tonight’s episode was ”State of Love and Trust,” which is the name of a wonderful Pearl Jam song (way to support those underground local bands), as well as the perfect title for just about every episode of this television show ever made. Aren’t we constantly checking in on the state of love and trust at Seattle Grace? I suppose if these people weren’t perpetually confused about one or the other, there’d be no show. But still: exhausting! What’s worse, I only occasionally feel like all the drama is worth it.

Prime example? Tonight’s main event. Derek dressed up like an undertaker to take over for Richard as Chief, after betraying Meredith’s love/trust and selling out the boss to the board. In his opening voice-over, Derek said that surgeons ”can’t trust anyone but themselves.” But hell, I’m not sure I could trust surgeons if there was any question that a man who was poking around in chest cavities while intoxicated should perhaps find other employment. Derek’s been correct this whole time, and anyone who accuses him of self-promotion in taking over as interim chief has clearly never had their bowel perforated by someone whose eyeballs are floating in gin. So I had a really hard time feeling sorry for Richard as he sat in a conference room for like 12 hours, trying to decide between filing for early retirement and losing his license or going to rehab and getting the chance to practice medicine again someday. God bless Bailey for showing up at the end of the episode to verbally slap the stubborn man upside the head. ”Drinking feels a little bit like all I have left,” he whined. ”Be the Chief!” she told him. Right on, Bailey. (NOTE: Drinking sometimes feels a little bit like all I have left, too, so don’t think I can’t second that emotion. Still, see above: poking around in chest cavities — this is a thing for sober time!)

Bailey’s verbal gymnastics were slightly less effective on her own surgery, a tumor redaction during which the patient suddenly woke up on the table. This unfortunate event was, per the performance of the actress playing Leslie the Tumor Patient Who Woke Up On the Table, a horrifically traumatic experience, not dissimilar to rape — all that talk of ”Your hands were inside me!!!” Still, I found the quivering, monologuing melodrama of the actress playing Leslie the T.P.W.W.U.O.t.T. (who survived just fine, and tumor-free as a bonus) ultimately far less compelling than Bailey’s budding relationship with the Cute Anesthesiologist. You see, Bailey initially blamed him for the unfortunate event — and delivered a hell of a speech in which she referred to him as the ”Gas Man” repeatedly (oh, how I love it when Chandra goes on a tear and runs out of breath before the end of the sentence!) — only to discover Leslie the T.P.W.W.U.O.t.T. metabolized anesthetics, like, hella fast, and it wasn’t the Cute Anesthesiologist’s fault. Seeing as how Bailey later apologized to the C.A., I’m assuming he’ll be sticking around for at least one hot hookup, possibly as soon as next week. Yes please! I only ask that we do not follow ”McDreamy” and ”McSteamy” with ”McGassy.” Thank you.

NEXT: The most mature couple in the hospital (Owen and Cristina) talk about Burke

Meanwhile, down in the basement of the Love/Trust state we find Lexi and Mark, who are still broken up, and who serve as another lovely example of a situation where I’m having a really hard time feeling sorry for someone. That someone is Mark, who I have decided is an ass. And yes, this is all being sort of played for laffs at the moment (”He’s best friends with my sister’s Post-It husband,” wailed Lexi. ”I don’t know what to do!”) and they do their best to make Mark into a buffoon most of the time (”… and you ruined my skin graft!”) but come ON. Lexi got drunk and screwed resident man-whore Karev. I don’t watch Private Practice, but I’m assuming that when Mark, um, “reacquainted” himself with Addison, (multiple times!!!), it was a little heavier than that. Plus: They were on a break. So yeah. I’m judging. Man up, Sloane — and not just by taking in your deadbeat daughter. We only let you stay because you developed a soul. Don’t go all jerky on us now.

Finally, there are the folks currently dwelling in the Love/Trust air ducts (complete with vent burns), Christina and Owen. He’s giving Kim Raver the silent treatment for being a lovesick drunk, and channeling all of his redheaded aggression into grabbing Christina and screwing her willful need to put surgery first into submission. Things here climaxed (sorry) when Kim Raver paged Yang for an aortic repair and Owen talked Yang into ignoring it in favor of continuing to be, well, screwed into submission. I found it incredibly difficult to believe that Christina would ever choose sex over surgery — and thus was thrilled beyond belief at Sandra Oh’s beautifully honest final monologue, in which she revealed to Owen (and to us) that Burke had taken little pieces of her, one by one, until she wasn’t Christina Yang anymore but rather a monosyllabic liar with no eyebrows. Then she said that when Owen asked her to ignore Kim Raver’s page, he took a piece of her, too — and she will never let that happen again. The look in her eyes both accused him and challenged him to be better, and I thought, ”Damn, that is some fierce, mature, adult relationshipping going on right there!” Although I did also have this quick moment where I was like, ”Wait, Christina, was being forced to ignore Kim Raver’s page and have presumably really good sex with your boyfriend worse than that one time he tried to strangle you?” and then I remembered that post-traumatic stress disorder is no laughing matter. Yay, mature adulthood!

A few last thoughts:

-Alex Karev switched over to the ”hardcore” world of pediatrics this week, joining Arizona to save a kid with mystery symptoms and a rageaholic father by combining both crack medical skills and the ability to advocate passionately for tiny humans. I wonder how many more Revelations of Alex As Secretly Good Guy we’ll have to endure before one of them sticks?

-No Izzie again this week, and more and more I don’t miss her — am I alone?

-Is ”Please don’t cry on my ass” a brilliant Christina line, or an annoying example of the way this show thinks the occasional quippy quip can make up for the total absurdity of many of its plotlines, i.e. vent burns on lady parts from air duct sex?

-And finally: Dudes, what is the deal with these Mercy West residents? Are they supposed to be growing on me? Because — Cute Anesthesiologist aside — they are not, and in fact, I find them so off-putting I occasionally writhe in anger, especially at the self-absorbed pixie-haired one, and the one who looks like flesh-colored Frankenstein. So is that the point? Are they supposed to be one giant Borg-like supervillain? If so, it’s working. Too well. Can they be trapped under the restaurant roof collapse next week, maybe?

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

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