Grey's Anatomy recap: Mama Tried
Remember when Callie and Arizona were starting out? When they were so in love? When they were one of the best couples on the show? Because they were, no matter how hard it is to believe that there was once a time when these two got along for more than five minutes at a time — and not just got along, but adored each other. Those were the good ol’ days for everyone involved.
Now I’m past wanting Callie and Arizona to get back together. They tried that; it didn’t work. That’s fine! Not every love is supposed to last. But it would be nice if they didn’t have any relationship drama for at least a single season. This one was going so well, and then this happened. Thanks, Penny.
Moving on to the actual episode: Callie and Arizona go to court, where a judge decides who gets sole physical episode of Sofia. Owen and Meredith speak on Callie’s behalf while Webber and DeLuca vouch for Arizona. The judge prefaces the whole thing by warning, “The things said here will undoubtedly be harsh.” That’s not quite true: None of the witnesses say anything awful, though Penny does (unintentionally) screw up a bit.
Penny’s doing great, listing Sofia’s favorite toy and favorite cereal and favorite animal, until the lawyer asks what outfit she was wearing that morning. Penny can’t remember — understandably. Hell, I can’t remember what I was wearing today. The lawyer then asks her what grade Sofia is in, a question Penny answers confidently: second, she says. Nope. Sofia is in first grade, a mistake she quickly tries to correct. It’s too late. Sofia’s potential new parent doesn’t even know what grade she’s in.
Even as someone who’s inclined to dislike Penny, this is…not a huge deal. That’s not how Arizona’s lawyer sees it, though. But Arizona’s case isn’t free of cracks, either. First, Callie’s lawyer points out how much time Arizona spends at the hospital, a point that Bailey counters by telling the lawyer this isn’t something she’d ever bring up to a man and that Arizona is just “wildly successful.” True and true. Tell ’em, Bailey.
The lawyer’s not sold, and it gets even worse once she brings up how many times Arizona went to trivia with Richard the past six months — and how many times Arizona asked Callie to take over Sofia duties last-minute. Arizona’s understandably upset that Callie even let these things be factors in this decision, but it’s also understandable that Callie would do it. She’s doing everything she can to keep her daughter by her side, even if it means trashing that daughter’s mother.
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In other words, this is getting really, really messy, and it’s hard not to think that this all could have been avoided if Callie and Arizona had just talked it out sans lawyers. They were getting along so well! Would it have been so impossible to sit down and have a civil, rational conversation about what to do? And, uh, would it have been so impossible for Callie to have that civil, rational conversation with Arizona before deciding to move to New York?
But alas, what’s done is done. Toward the end, Callie takes the stand and recounts the day Sofia was born, a.k.a. the day she nearly died in a car crash. “I had to fight to stay alive for my daughter’s sake,” she remembers. “Being a mother is the reason I’m still alive today.” Once Arizona takes the stand, the lawyer implies that she’s less of Sofia’s mom because they don’t share DNA — an implication Arizona does not take kindly to. While she’s explaining how she chose to be Sofia’s mom, how she chose to stay, her phone starts ringing, and her own lawyer apparently doesn’t know how to silence a phone because it keeps ringing…and ringing…and ringing.
NEXT: The judge decides
Finally, Arizona apologizes and says she has to answer, that she’s a doctor. It turns out to be important, so she wraps up her time in court with a sweet speech about how she wants to be with her daughter but that she knows she’ll be fine no matter what. Then she’s off to (successfully!) save someone’s child at the hospital while Callie watches her leave, flabbergasted. Her reaction doesn’t quite make sense — you’re a doctor, too, Callie! If anyone should understand why Arizona has to leave to make sure someone doesn’t die, it’s you.
Even though Arizona’s reasons for leaving are completely legitimate, it’s not looking good for her. She and Callie later sit on a bench outside the courthouse, where Callie says, “Whatever the judge decides, I just want you to know that I know you’re a good mom, too.” Arizona grabs the olive branch and then breaks it into a million little pieces: “The things that you let them say about me, I would have never done that to you.” Fair point.
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Within minutes, they find out that Arizona gets sole custody. We don’t find this out until the final moments, when Arizona stops by Meredith’s to pick up Sofia. She retrieves her daughter, and then the camera lingers in the house as Meredith goes to comfort a sobbing Callie. Her cries are heartbreaking and intense — intense enough to make me cry, even though I haven’t cried during a Grey’s episode since McDreamy died, basically. She’s asking Meredith how this happened, and then there’s Penny, hovering. She doesn’t know what to do, especially because she probably knows that she contributed to this. Well, she definitely contributed to this: If Penny had never been in Callie’s life, this would not be happening.
Now the question is, what’s going to happen between Callie and Arizona? And what’s going to happen between Callie and Penny? It’s hard to stomach that Sofia really will be spending all her time with Arizona now — not because Arizona’s a bad mom, but because it’s just insanely sad to imagine Callie’s role in her daughter’s life diminishing that much. She’s made some misguided decisions, but that doesn’t mean she deserves to be without her daughter. At the end of the day, she’s still a good mom. At the end of the day, they’re both still good moms. It’s too bad they couldn’t figure out how to be good to each other.
- Maggie makes Sofia chocolate chip pancakes, and Amelia offers to make Sofia waffles when they babysit her. Coolest babysitters ever.
- Edwards is feeling bad about dumping Kyle — with a note, no less — but Jo stops her from drunk-dialing him. She can’t stop her from seeing him the next day, though: Edwards finds Kyle shivering in the ER after passing out from a possible case of meningitis. Sad for Kyle; good for Wilmer Valderrama.
Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.