The future of Seattle Grace's five residents hung in the balance, as Grey, Yang, Karev, Kepner, and Avery interviewed for positions around the country while dealing with a consuming trauma at home

By Tanner Stransky
Updated April 20, 2012 at 03:45 AM EDT
Randy Holmes/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

S8 E20
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Like all those kids over on Fox’s increasingly sagging dramedy Glee, the future of the residents at Seattle Grace-Mercy West is currently in limbo. Why? Let’s let voice-over master Meredith Grey explain — simply because she does it so well — as she did in last night’s new episode, “The Girl With No Name.”

“When you’re a kid you always want things to stay the same — the same teacher, the same house, the same friends,” the ever-wise narrator told us at the outset of the hour. “Being a surgeon is no different. You get used to the same attendings, the same scrub nurses, the same hospital. Of course, that all changes the minute fifth year comes around. And you have to find a new job.”

That’s right! The Seattle Grace kids are looking for new jobs. We knew this was coming. Of course, we don’t know the future of any of the characters on the show just yet, but all of residents — Grey, Yang, Karev, Kepner, and Avery — spent last night going through the motions of trying to figure out where they might land next season, by prepping resumes, asking their attendings to score them interviews, and flying around the country to complete said interviews.

Cristina, as you might just imagine, was the most in-demand, with a running gag during the episode being that every cardio-minded hospital in the country sending oversize fruit baskets to her at Seattle Grace. And also, as you might imagine, Cristina wasn’t showing her cards at all, displaying a certain ambivalence to all the overtures coming at her, including a representative from Columbia who flew to Seattle (apparently, that’s sort of unheard of in this kind of situation) to convince her to come to New York City.

Cristina’s attending, Altman, however, wasn’t going to let her go that easily. “As far as teachers, I’m a catch,” she told Yang. “And I’m groveling.” Teddy — who hasn’t been on speaking terms with Yang’s estranged husband since her husband Henry died — even appealed to Chief Hunt, to help her try and keep Cristina in Seattle. But he balked. “If she wants to go,” he told her, “it’s her decision.” (Not shocking, considering the situation between him and his wife.) Her response: “Just fix it, and make her stay.” To which he heatedly replied: “I’m Chief, not your friend — you’ve made that very clear.” Despite her not saying where she wanted to go, Cristina did make it clear — to her person, Meredith, at least — that she intends to leave Seattle Grace. (Although, we’ll just see about that.) “We’ve been preparing for this for the past five years,” she told Meredith, as she waltzed off to catch a flight to New York City and Columbia for another round of interviews with them. “Of course I want to leave. You should, too.”

Yang added that last comment, of course, because Meredith seemed to be having second thoughts about stepping out of the Seattle Grace womb. And, honestly, rightly so — she’s got both a baby and a husband to consider in her equation. (Yang just has a husband, but even that doesn’t seem to be factoring in, although it’s unclear whether it would, even if they were getting along.) Derek, however, scolded Meredith for canceling her interview with Brigham and Women’s in Boston, and Meredith — at the very end of the episode — was shown interviewing there. And, surprisingly, telling the lady from the hospital that she was “very serious” about the program and that it was her “top choice.” Interesting? Interesting. I certainly didn’t see that one coming. I thought she might botch the interview just so she could stick around Seattle.

NEXT: More fifth-year decisions!

The rest of the possibly departing doctors had less dramatic storylines. Kepner — now seemingly around just for neurotic comedic relief — interviewed, and was rejected at, Northwestern because of her too-too Type A personality. (Shocker.) Avery pulled himself out of the running at UCLA after his interviewer asked whether his famous doctor grandpa Harper Avery would be interested in lecturing. (Rude!) And Karev could only get interviews at crappy locations, and he found out why: because Arizona was basically sabotaging him so that he’d stay working with her at Seattle Grace. (Cute.)

So what do we think is happening here? Well, like I said, there’s no info on which characters are going to come and go from the show just yet, but I have an inkling that the majority will be staying around for season 9. But what fun would it be if the show’s writers didn’t mess around with us at least a little bit? Honestly, I’d like them all to stick around and see what happens as they turn morph into attendings and gain increased status at the hospital. And where was Lexie in all of this? Well, since she’s just a fourth-year, we didn’t see her at all — but, according to the promo for next week’s new episode, it looks like lil’ Grey will be taking some steps forward. At least in the Mark Sloan department. Finally! We can pretty much count on her being at Seattle Grace next year.

The episode, however, wasn’t focused solely on the future of our fifth-year residents. There was the crazy trauma case at the center of all things this week, but first let’s deal with the steps forward (or backward, maybe?) in the heartbreaking relationship between Richard and Adele. “I’m in love,” she told Richard, while he was visiting her, and pointed across the room at a man we came to know as Alan. So, Adele finally reached the point of not remembering that she was married to Richard. There’s no way to summarize how terrible this is besides just saying that it’s simply that: terrible. And it only got worse when Richard discovered Adele in bed with Alan. Eventually, he gave in, though, and let Adele be happy as he seemed to say goodbye, assuring her that he was just a phone call away if she needed anything. Then he ushered Alan over to her, and Adele squealed. I hear that this kind of thing happens quite often with Alzheimer’s, but wow — to watch it play out was just like someone taking a serrated blade to your heart.

Finally, we arrive at the week’s crazy trauma. I know I’ve said it before — and I’m certainly not the only one to ever note this — but Seattle Grace just manages to get the most insane cases. A couple of weeks ago it was a lion. It seems like every real-life cover story from People magazine has played out in a ripped-from-the-headline fashion on the show. This week? We had the Seattle Grace version of the Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping, with a Jane Doe arriving at the hospital who had been kept against her will by a man for 12 years, since she was 6.

For all intents and purposes, the storyline was there to string everyone at Seattle Grace together — it was a doozy of a case, so everyone from Callie in orthopedics to Altman in cardio had to weigh in on the situation. I will say that it was a fascinating situation, and I was most riveted to hear the victim, Holly (Switched at Birth’s Vanessa Marano), tell her side of the story to Meredith Grey, the only person in the hospital she trusted at first.

Holly was so conflicted. Two-thirds of her life — and probably most of her memorable years — were dominated by this man, who she’s told to hate now because of the awful things he did to her. But that wasn’t always the case, as she explained to Meredith. “All I know is that I should be happy that I’m here and I’m not there,” Holly said. “But sometimes I’m not.” That was an interesting revelation to me, but it does make sense. Any kind of change — even if it is from something bad to something supposedly better — is always hard, as the episode tried to explain via this storyline, the machinations around the residents possibly moving on from Seattle Grace, and Webber’s evolving dynamic with his wife Adele.

NEXT: The big trauma affects Hunt and Bailey

The other couple of interesting related points to the Jane Doe storyline had to do with Hunt and Bailey. The storm that came with such a high-profile kidnapping case, of course, required much from Owen, because he’s the Chief, in terms of publicity and planning and security and who knows what else. “I think I might be out of my depth here,” he said, but ultimately he proved to do a great job at handling the situation. And the doctors gave him a standing ovation after Holly was healed and ready to be sent home. It’s sort of funny because I never considered Owen to be an unconfident chief — he’s always seemed pretty well suited to the job, in my opinion. Maybe we were supposed to take this as somehow relating to his current issues with Cristina? Like, he was weak because of that situation? I did notice that during that standing ovation he and Cristina had a moment where they locked eyes. Are we supposed to take that as a hint that things may be thawing a little between them?

The last thing related to the Holly storyline was Bailey’s freakout. Is there even much to say about that? She had an anxiety attack when she went to the nursery and discovered that Tuck wasn’t there. She forced the daycare lady to call a “code pink” — presumably that would secure doors in the hospital until the tyke could be located — but it was quickly revealed that Tuck had just been down at the nurse because of a bloody nose. We get it: Bailey is really crazy and worried that her baby might get kidnapped, a la Holly. Next.

Grey’s Anatomy watchers, what’d you think of last night’s episode? Were you fascinated by the Holly storyline? Do you have any thoughts about who might be leaving or staying at Seattle Grace next season? Any faves you’d like to see stick around? And, what — oh, what — is going to become of Richard and Adele?

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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

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