Cristina drops a truth bomb on Meredith; Richard refuses to leave the hospital

By Annie Barrett
Updated October 18, 2013 at 06:31 AM EDT
Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC
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Just before Scandal‘s Grey’s Anatomy-esque bomb scare Thursday night, Cristina Yang dropped a baby truth bomb on her longtime “person” Meredith Grey. I like how the show is addressing the working mother issue head-on and not ignoring Meredith’s kids just because she happens to be the main character and a surgeon. Dr. Grey’s triumphant back-to-work day didn’t go quite as planned. But that’s reality: If all of the parents (three of ’em, as Callie became the McDreamys’ sister wife) are deep inside a patient’s body cavity, there’s just not always going to be someone to pick up a child who fell off a slide.

Mer’s no longer at her best, and showing up isn’t enough, not today. (Dr. Smashané forgot she even was a surgeon!) Baby Bailey needs milk, Little Zola needs stitches, and a Sloan Grey Memorial patient needs heart and liver transplants — the stuff of surgeons’ dreams. Naturally, Meredith couldn’t prioritize Cristina’s patient — and so a rift is established between her and Cristina. It may have been deepening for awhile, but it came to a verbal head tonight. Cristina’s a surgical machine; Meredith’s a mom. And according to Yang, no one can be both. It’s not that motherhood negates talent; it’s that Meredith is unprepared, unfocused, and late. Cristina’s been surging ahead of the pack this whole time, as they’d vowed to do together as baby-deer interns — and at some point, Meredith “let up.”

Meredith is indignant. Sure, she doesn’t read articles, she doesn’t live at the hospital, she doesn’t do research, and she spends less time in the OR. But she’s every bit as talented and competent as surgeon as Yang, she insists. “NO, YOU’RE NOT,” bellows Yang. “I’m sorry, but you’re not.” Ouch! That was cold. Well, it is Seattle. (Yet was it just me or did Meredith look sunburned in bed as she and Derek very unrealistically woke up before the babies?)

It’s so tricky and painful, because they’re both right. Meredith shouldn’t have to choose between being a surgeon and being a mom, but she cannot humanly invest 100 percent of her energy into either job. Fact: Cristina’s still plowing down that road, and Meredith is snuggling in place. It’s sort of like how Sandra Oh is racing far, far away from Grey’s Anatomy. “We’re in different places now, and that’s okay,” said Yang, setting the stage for her eventual exit.

“Mer, your boobs are exploding. Go pump.” Oh, the disdain. They’d been having a moment!

The paranoid Mer-droid just doesn’t want to turn into her mother. And I can’t blame her — I’d be pissed off too if both my parents deserted me for Scandal.

NEXT: Callie is not her sister-wives’ keeper Meanwhile, Callie decides she’s sick of all of her various wives getting in the way of the partially nude exercise regime she once knew and loved. She inserts herself into a mini TV version of the movie and book My Sister’s Keeper, encouraging the sister/”donor baby” of a patient with Aplastic anemia to live her own life and quit feeling obligated to be an organ farm for someone else. Donor Donna ends up offering a kidney to her sister anyway as if pre-destined to do so, but Callie can determine her own fate. She moves out of the Big Love dream house/compound, kicks Arizona out of her apartment (“You’re not sick anymore; you’re just someone who cheated,” she tells Wife #1), and dances like millions of people are watching. In her undies.

Arizona can’t remember a damn thing about gala night, but Leah Murphy (an intern at the hospital — who knew?) fills her in: There’d been no sexy business (phew), but Leah thought she might have made her very first doctor-friend. She’d gone to check on the sloshed Arizona, and the pair ended up having a dance party, eating amazing grilled cheeses, and watching videos of Dr. Shepherd doing a spinal AVM. Sounds like a real princess tea party to me. They should have invited Zola.

In what seems like a cross-promotion for the new Jackass movie, Stephanie’s “giant penis”…er, patient, is a guy who stuck his junk in a hornets’ nest because he liked a little pain along with his pleasure. As if his ever-changing story of how he got injured isn’t bad enough by the time he gets to “took my pants off and made a honey sandwich,” the guy then backtracks on the presence of bees. “Would it make a difference it it were… hornets?” he wondered sheepishly. NOT REALLY, weirdo! You’re still the worst!

Steph doesn’t have a chance to make a decent medical — or fully clothed — first impression on Jackson’s mom, Catherine, who saunters in on the sex friends fooling around as she searches for extra pillows for Richard. Budget cuts from the storm and all — apparently the only place to get pillows anymore is the top bunk in the on-call room. The situation isn’t horrifying enough, so Steph and Catherine also work together on Horny Hornet. This gives Catherine the chance to zing the intern with a veritable wasp’s nest of campy, condescending stingers. My favorite: “Well, I find men often put their penises in places they don’t belong… Suction, dear.”

But Steph eventually wins Catherine over by womanning up and intelligently addressing the damage she’d done in a way that makes it clear she understands where Catherine is coming from. Her on-call room hookup must have made everything Catherine did to break down barriers for women of color seem like a whole lot of wasted effort, Steph says. Suddenly the flip switches in Catherine: Someone is speaking her language! Steph quickly shifts the conversation to medical questioning just as Jackson shows up at Joe’s. I’m still not into their romance (I just don’t see it), but Steph is definitely growing on me after showing some backbone in this scene.

NEXT: Dog Face/Hairball/Jo won’t give up on Alex’s dad Catherine wants Dr. Webber to come home with her so she can not coddle him. The pussyfooting interns are afraid to address his apparently obvious symptomatic pancreatic leak — and eww, I might be, as well. This whole story line is so tragic. But as Richard commands Leah “Who?” Murphy to lift his gown and give him a proper hands-on exam, I can’t help hearing Jim Morrison (another new intern) singing C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon now touch me, babe. Can’t you see that I am not afraid? So it wasn’t all that terrible.

Anyway, Richard won’t grant Catherine’s wish. He just wants to stay at the hospital all the time. (Yang would confirm it: He’s one of the greats!) “These fools need me,” he insists, referring to the interns. But do they need his particular diseased body or do they need his medical guidance? You don’t have to do both, Chief! Sometimes you can’t give 100 percent!

Finally, Jo, whose “dog face” (ha, Alex) increasingly reminds me of an inquisitive Care Bear, attempts to get Alex talking to his dad. He won’t — the last time he saw Jimmy, he punched him in the face — but she won’t give up. Jo wants to find Jimmy a rehab center so he doesn’t die before finally, someday, in the faraway future, maybe having a conversation with his son. But Jimmy can’t afford those places. Not the good ones. He’s not Christina Aguilera.

No worries — Jo gets him into a rehab center free of charge. Jimmy refuses to go — he knows he’ll just end up letting her down like everyone else in his life — and rides the elevator with his son before leaving the hospital for good. I bet he will go to rehab, and after a change of heart (Alex was this close to saying something in that elevator) his son will go find him. Or, Jimmy will re-enter the hospital in a matter of days with fresh tracks all over his limbs. It’s not over.

Barely any Owen in this ep, but he’ll be dating the Mighty Ducks girl (Marguerite Moreau) next week. She made him banana bread to get through the work day! Man, I could’ve used some of that.

Coming up (in Meredith’s worst nightmare): Zola snorts Oxy behind the day care.

All in all, episode 5 left me dancing around my apartment all dressed up in a super-fancy shirt… yet strangely pantless — and jonesing hard for an amazing grilled cheese, peanut butter, and honey sandwich on banana bread. Can’t lie. I’d eat it!

What did you think? Discuss!

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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