Grey's Anatomy recap: Major Trauma
A bombshell episode disguised as a run-of-the-mill one, no? Last week’s looked all fancy, with its documentary camera work and Mandy Moore appearances, but this week’s shocked big time — and twice.
We started with Arizona and Callie packing for Malawi, though we knew they couldn’t really be shipping off two major characters with little fanfare (nobody leaves this show without major backstage drama that’s reported on for weeks, if not months, right?). And yet we still didn’t see the ending coming quite the way it did — but we’ll get to that. We’ll also get to that other big surprise that, in a way, we’ve known would happen but still found ourselves a little stunned by. In its best moments, Grey’s Anatomy knows how to twist a plot in the subtlest of ways.
Relations between my favorite non-lesbian two ladies, Cristina and Meredith, had grown noticeably frosty as the day began. Derek theorized that it was because Owen had won the million-dollar-contest for his trauma project, while Derek was left to forage for Alzheimer’s grants on his own. Meredith doubted that (as did I), but she volunteered to skip Owen’s trauma certification as a sign of marital solidarity. Alas, she wasn’t getting out of the training that easily.
Cristina, however, was — not that dealing with a lung transplant patient while you’re still suffering from PTSD is easy. The good news was that the guy for whom Cristina had lobbied to get lung transplants was finally up for his new set of breathing pipes. The bad news was that Cristina would be charged with watching over him while Teddy went to get the new organs. Owen stared soulfully into the camera with his big blue eyes for an extra few seconds to signal to us that this was, indeed, dramatic.
The rest of the residents were forced to do the training, though none seemed happy about it. “Take turns, train a dummy, get an early lunch, then get back to work,” Alex sighed. “It’s lame.” But then Owen, apparently still feeling the drama from his look into the camera, ran into the room and acted as if a “mass casualty situation” had arrived: a plane that collided with a Greyhound bus while trying to make an emergency landing. The doctors all ran outside to the receiving area only to find dummies strewn everywhere, which they were told had “multiple blunt trauma injuries.” Meredith put it succinctly when she said, “This is gonna suck.” They would work in teams of four, each responsible for nine casualties. They could treat the dummies only with what they could carry out of an ambulance. If they got the pretend patients on the imaginary helicopter, they got certified. I realized I didn’t care that much.
NEXT: Callie (unhappily) preps for her African adventure.
I was happy to get back to real patients (I know they’re still fictional, but I just can’t extend my caring to fictional dummies), particularly Roy and his lung transplant. His estranged daughter had shown up, but just after she arrived, he stopped breathing. Cristina looked a little frozen. “Aren’t you the doctor?” the daughter prodded. “Do something!” Cristina then snapped into at least knowing what was happening: His heart was overloading, because his lungs were putting extra pressure on it. If things continued this way, he’d need a heart transplant too. Not good.
On the lighter side of the hospital, Mark was stressing about Arizona and Callie’s going-away party. “Altman volunteered to pick up the cupcakes, but she had to pick up lungs instead,” he told Bailey. Her response: “You’re asking me to take time out from my very busy schedule to run to the bakery? Or would you rather I ran on home and baked some myself?” Seriously, I know he had a gluteal implant to do, but surely he could take five minutes himself to handle it. Why was he making this a woman’s job? Sexism does not exist on Grey’s Anatomy, dammit! Callie was annoyed, too, but for different, barely concealed reasons: Namely, her impending move to another continent. The Chief made his distress over this passive-aggressively known as well: “Sure, it was a surprise to learn that I’d have to replace two excellent attendings as opposed to just the one. But those are chief’s problems, and nobody wants to hear chief’s problems. It’s a shame, though, Torres. I had big plans for you. Big plans.” Has this guy been hanging out with my mom?
I love when we meet new random doctors who have evidently been there the whole time but we just never bothered with them before. It reminds me of those background players on Lost who would just futz around the plane wreckage or the encampment or whatever, hoping to become the next Nikki and Paulo (or not). Tonight’s lucky surgeon to get a few lines was a Dr. McQueen, who was on backup duty to attend to Roy. But he was busy with a different surgery when Roy was coding, so he couldn’t come when Cristina pled for him to. Besides, he said, “I’ll be there when I can, Dr. Yang, but it doesn’t sound like you need me at all.” She knew what she was doing. She just needed to believe. Owen believed in Cristina, but he didn’t believe she believed. Or something like that. So he granted Meredith her trauma certification and sent her inside to help Cristina. But Cristina wasn’t interested in Meredith’s help, so she sent her out to update Roy’s daughter on his condition.
Now, Callie was rationalizing away the effect that exile in Africa might have on her career of making bones and all that. “I’ll be building bones from dirt,” she told Mark. “I’ll be figuring out how to create unbreakable joints out of blood diamonds.” Mark quipped, “I’m pretty sure a couple of those would be frowned upon by the world community.” Callie shot back, “Whatever. Science isn’t about making friends.” People! The dialogue (and the monologues) were on fire this episode. The Grey’s renaissance is on, I say.
NEXT: Cristina lets loose on Meredith
As it began pouring outside, the trauma training got a tad more exciting. Alex wrapped himself in plastic to keep dry, and Owen questioned why he wasn’t keeping his patients dry instead. Alex countered (not irrationally) that they were pretend patients. But his teammate April, her over-achieving self obsessed with winning the trauma-off, ripped the plastic away and wrapped their patients in it. I liked her more already. Owen was yelling at the doctors who’d dropped out of the race, telling them to stay outside in the downpour to learn from the others. “We’re in Apocalypse Now,” Avery said, “and we’re gonna get scalped.”
Mark, though inside and dry, had other concerns. Or rather, was still concerned about the damn cupcakes. Lexie had gone to get them for him, but he was not impressed that she’d gotten mere supermarket cupcakes. She explained why she didn’t have time to get higher-quality baked goods: “I’m a doctor with a patient who’s about to make a giant butt-shaped mistake. The only reason a woman does something like this to her body is to impress a guy. Sure, it starts with a giant butt and then the next thing you know, she’s giving up her friends and moving in with him before she’s even ready. And if she’s not careful she’ll find herself a stepmother to a pregnant 26-year-old daughter she didn’t even know he had. And then she’s single and dying her hair a new color. And you know, it’s really hard to manage your roots when you’ve been committed to the psych ward.” That would’ve been the monologue of the night if there weren’t like five more. Even so, it was up there. Turned out, incidentally, that Lexie was projecting just a tad — the butt implant girl just wanted her jeans to fit.
Bailey and Derek were busy moping about Derek’s office. She was upset that Mary’s autopsy had proven inconclusive, and Derek was upset that researching Alzheimer’s was depressing. He was, in fact, suffering from serious grant-writer’s block. After a day spent staring at the screen, all he’d typed was: “Alzheimer’s is a bad disease. We should cure it.” He tried to give Bailey a snap-out-of-it talk about Mary, but she one-upped him: “I’m not the one who can’t stop thinking about the possibility of his wife getting Alzheimer’s long enough to write a damn essay.”
His wife, it should be said, was having an even worse day, if we’re keeping score. Cristina finally broke down on her when Meredith gently suggested Cristina give Roy’s daughter an update. “She doesn’t need to hear an update from me,” Cristina said. “All she wants is for me to hear that she’s afraid. And I can’t hear that right now because I am scared enough as it is. I was scared when he coded. I’m scared now that he’s stable. I’m scared walking across the lobby. I’m scared all the time.” Things got even deeper as the two friends waited for Teddy to land with the lungs. “How are you fine?” Cristina snapped. “How are you just completely fine when I am wrecked?” She revealed that she blamed her PTSD on being forced to save Derek: “If it was anyone else on the table, I could have walked away,” she said. “I would have walked away. And then I wouldn’t be here.”
NEXT: Callie and Cristina drop their bombs
April, on the other hand, had a breakdown of the breakthrough variety. Spurred by the manic need to win Owen’s trauma “contest,” she was now throwing the fake bodies into the nearby ambulance that was not meant to serve that purpose in the exercise. She then went on to get in the driver’s seat and start the engine to “drive” the “patients” to the “hospital.” Owen insisted she didn’t need to. “Now move,” she commanded. “Or I will run you down.” Soon, Owen relented and declared her team the winners. When she hugged Alex (and talked to him about it at the bar later), did I catch a vibe between them? Or at least her vibing him? Owen then stalked off to give Avery, who’d walked out on the drill, a talking to. “Two of my friends died during the shooting,” Avery said. “So thanks, I don’t need lessons in how unfair trauma is.”
Since everyone was so busy with all of these dramatic goings-on, few were available for Arizona and Callie’s long-awaited, cupcake-studded sendoff. Only the Chief, Lexie, and Mark could make it. As Arizona headed off for some last-minute preparations, Callie lingered. She didn’t want to leave the hospital. “You wanna see us give a lady a really big ass?” Mark offered. “Oh my God,” she replied, “yes.” We knew then that she really didn’t want to go to Africa, and so did Mark. He launched into an allegory about all the boob and ass jobs he’d performed in his career, the upshot being, “You sound an awful lot like a girl who’s getting Double Ds just because your girlfriend likes a big rack.”
Callie forged ahead with her plans, though, all the way to the airport. But she continued to passive-aggressively whine. Finally, Arizona snapped. “You are ruining Africa for me,” she said. Callie gave in and admitted she didn’t want to go, but she was going just to be with Arizona. Heartbreakingly, Arizona said what needed to be said: “I don’t want to go to Africa with you.” She’d be gone for three years; Callie said that if she left without her, they were over. “We’re standing in the middle of an airport screaming at each other,” Arizona said. “We’re already over.” And just like that, they were. First devastating blow of the night.
The next was right behind it. Roy’s lungs were working; Cristina had stepped up and saved him. Then she quietly asked the Chief for a moment of his time. And she quit.
What did you think, Grey’s watchers? Were you surprised by Arizona and Callie’s breakup and Cristina’s decision to leave Seattle Grace? Do you think we’ll see Arizona again? What will Cristina do now? Will Meredith and Cristina mend their relationship? Will April lose her virginity to Alex? And do you agree that Grey’s is on a creative upswing here in season 7?