An infection spreads through the hospital and takes multiple doctors down; meanwhile, a new surgeon introduces Karev to the world of private practice

By Samantha Highfill
April 04, 2014 at 02:00 AM EDT
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
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So, that was gross. I honestly can’t even decide if that was a good episode, because all I could think the entire time was some variation of “ew.” Overall, I actually feel like it was a fun episode. There was some great banter between characters and everything was running smoothly. But more than anything, it was just plain disgusting. From the introduction of “Dr. Butthole” to the flu-like viral infection that was taking down just about everyone in the hospital, I had to stop eating my granola bar about 30 seconds into this episode. And some of the sound effects were the worst part. Okay, before I ruin the rest of my night snacks, let’s get through the episode.

This week’s voice-over was about how often the average person touches their face — 18 times every waking hour — and how we’re all so very susceptible to infection, particularly if your name is Arizona and a child sneezes directly on your face. From there, we traced the infection to Arizona’s iPad, the countertop, and worst of all, our beloved elevator. The elevator made a semi-triumphant return when Jackson and April used it as a make-out spot, but thanks to Arizona’s germs, its sexiness took a serious hit this week. The lesson: Even the sexiest and shiniest of things is susceptible to disgusting children.

As it turned out, the thing most susceptible to disgusting children was, much like in real life, other children. The patient of the week was a young boy named Braden who suffered from SCID — “Bubble Boy disease” —  and therefore had no immune system and was extremely susceptible to all viruses. Even the common cold could be a serious threat to him, which is why it was a problem that he had a rapidly growing infection on his forehead. He needed to have it drained immediately. But you see, the problem this week wasn’t the infected patients as much it was the infected (and stubborn) doctors.

While Richard handed out resident assignments in his new position, we learned that one-third of the staff was out with a “stomach bug.” And it looked like Leah was going to be the next resident down, which meant she’d become the “swap monkey.” The residents had made a bet that the first person to collapse from this bug had to agree to swap services with everyone else whenever they requested it for the next week. I had missed these fun resident competitions, though is it bad I wanted this illness to get worse if only to take Leah out of the game permanently? Only in Shondaland could I think like this (and I love it).

Away from all the sickness, Jo was dealing with a patient who refused to get a Tetanus shot because he didn’t want to put poison in his body. As a result, his muscles were tightening up, and then suddenly, his arm broke. Like it literally snapped back and aggressively broke itself. My notes at this point read, “Did he just turn into a werewolf?” Somebody check to see if there’s a full moon, because that was questionable.

Sadly, however, Jo didn’t immediately assume a supernatural cause. Well, she sort of did. She thought her own super-strength had broken her patient. After all, she did shatter the glass of that vending machine not long ago (which was both impressive and highly unrealistic). But Callie quickly assured her that a spasm had broken her patient’s arm. And the good/bad news was that they had to rebreak the arm in order to fix it.

NEXT: Is Alex leaving the hospital?

From ortho to cardio, Cristina put Shane in charge of making sure that none of her conduit babies got infected. It was day 30 of recovery and the last day before they had to report to the NIH, which meant this would affect her Harper Avery consideration. Oh, I just had an idea! Is Burke going to present her with her Harper Avery Award?! He was her first mentor!

Away from the action (but not the infection), Derek was rehearsing his speech to baby Bailey, and according to Meredith, boring their son. Today was Derek’s big presentation, and I should’ve known something was up when his hair looked a little out of sorts. He had caught the bug, but he said what everyone said: “I don’t get sick.” Sure, you people get hit by buses, put your hands on bombs, and survive plane crashes, but what you don’t do is get sick. You guys keep telling yourselves that.

All that being said, I do have to give props to Arizona who accurately predicted that she would be sick by the end of the day. Apparently it’s her superpower. But aside from that, all she really did was introduce Karev to  Dr. Oliver Lebackes, a.k.a. Dr. Butthole, who was there to help the alarmingly large percent of children born without, well, a butthole. Let’s just say that Karev didn’t like the guy at first, particularly the way he had dance parties in his OR, but quickly warmed to his presence … and his money. After surgery, Oliver invited Karev to play a little golf video game in his super fancy office at his super fancy private practice. There, Oliver talked about the perks of having a private practice and setting his own schedule before he invited Boy Wonder — Alex’s new nickname — to join the practice. He said they’d been looking to expand, and he could be a very rich man (with more time for charity work) if he joined. Plus, it meant he could pay off those student loans Jo was bugging him about. But if you ask me, it was getting his name on a pen that sold Alex. By episode’s end, he seemed to be leaning toward the Addison Montgomery lifestyle (minus the relocation).

Back at the hospital, Jackson had fallen ill, literally fallen asleep on a countertop, and was then sent home. And because Ben was already home sick, Bailey gladly gave April a little marriage advice on the two types of “man sick.” Basically, April should enjoy the fact that Jackson doesn’t like to be babied when he’s sick and get herself a pedicure. Needy men are much more annoying. And speaking of annoying, Leah was “pushing through” her illness by walking around with an IV in her arm. Well, at least she was, until Richard starting talking about pork and Leah threw up in her mouth inside of an operating room. Watching Richard and Meredith make fun of her for being a wuss was probably my favorite moment of the episode.

So as I despised Leah and her illness, you can probably guess which sick person I found unfairly charming: McDreamy, of course. Somehow, his stubbornness about being sick was downright adorable, along with his crazy hair. But even Derek’s charm couldn’t fight the illness. After wearing some sort of spacesuit mechanism to help Bailey and April in surgery, McDreamy took his love of leaning on things to the next level. He collapsed to the floor on his way to give his oh-so-important presentation. Good thing he had a wife who’d heard his speech so many times she was able to fill in for him (and put her own twist on things, of course).

NEXT: Jo + Callie 4eva

Side note: Hey, it’s the return of that male nurse whose name I can’t remember but who has been around forever! He’s aged nicely, no?

While Owen and Cristina tried to find out what was happening with a family whose daughters both presented with cardiomyopathy at the same age, Jo was in the OR with Callie, slowly beginning her love affair with ortho. Jo was hesitant to rebreak her patient’s arm at first, given her history of putting multiple men in the hospital thanks to her rage issues and freakish strength. But Callie assured her that she was helping this man, that it just took a little strength and power and fearlessness to be in ortho. Good thing Jo had all three!

Walking out of surgery, Jo had what Callie called the “ortho glow.” So has Jo found her calling? Callie certainly hoped so, especially considering that only 4 percent of ortho surgeons are women. Personally, I think Callie and Jo have a lot in common, and I’d love to see them be ortho besties, especially after Jo made a comment about never being angry again, and Callie added, “Sweetie, you date Alex Karev. You’ll always have a reason to be angry.” Speaking of whom, after returning from his private practice getaway, Alex finally said what we were all thinking: “This place is disgusting.” Try telling that to poor Braden, who had been put in isolation for quite possibly the rest of his life. Yep, it seems Grey’s is really telling the Bubble Boy story.

So yes, at the end of the day, nobody is invincible, and doctors make the worst patients. Although I could’ve gotten that point without listening to Richard’s stomach groan or the awful (and confusing) noises coming from Jackson’s bathroom. Basically, what we learned is that no one should ever say, “I’m not sick. I’m okay,” because guess what? You’re definitely not.

And with that, I am going to fetch my night snacks and a ridiculous amount of Purell. I know hospitals are where people go to get better, but this has always been how I’ve felt about them: They’re covered in germs. This episode more or less put me right into my nightmare, and for that, I resent it. But what did you all think? Were you able to look past the gross factor of it all? And what do you think will happen with Karev? Discuss!

Also, did this entire episode make anyone else miss that one time McDreamy and George were quarantined together? GEORGE! (That is all.)

Episode Recaps

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