The residents have tough decisions to make, the attendings struggle, and something big falls from the sky

By Michelle Profis
May 11, 2012 at 05:48 AM EDT
Randy Holmes/ABC
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Earlier today, creator Shonda Rhimes told EW that in addition to a big death, viewers should be prepared for something bad to happen in next week’s season finale.

Knowing that, I watched the penultimate episode with bated breath, constantly looking for clues of what impending doom might befall Seattle Grace next week. I watched Arizona break the news to her brother’s best friend Nick that his cancer was incurable, and thought that maybe this would lead to a bigger storyline.  I watched April lose all possible job offers, including a place at Seattle Grace, and surmised, “Oh, this is setting up her downfall.” I got my answer, however, in the last moments of the episode when a closing shot of an airplane carrying majority of our doctors crashed.

Yes, you read that right, and no, you didn’t stumble upon one of Doc Jensen’s old Lost recaps, may they rest in peace. We don’t know any details yet, but a plane carrying Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Arizona, and Sloan has crashed, split open in the middle of the wilderness. Maybe some of you predicted this when you saw them all on the plane, but — paint me oblivious — I actually gasped in those last moments. I know that’s a lot to process (it certainly was for me), so while you get your bearings, let’s start at the beginning.

Chief Hunt and the other head surgeons are in game-time mode in the conference room as they try and figure out which of their docs are leaving the nest. But while the surgeons powwow, the doctors with the real decisions to make are partying at Casa de la Grey, taking celebratory shots, and turning the music off every time a phone rings, lest it be a hospital with an offer. That included April, who got her first of many calls from hospitals revoking their offers. The second “retract call” came during lunchtime at the hospital where Cristina was on hand to pick up, put on her best high-pitched Kepner voice, and stick it right back to the bad news bearer.

I absolutely loved seeing Cristina stand up for Kepner when there have been so many moments when she’s really laid it on her. To me, it showed a true moment of unity as these doctors all go their separate ways. But though that moment was a bright spot, things continued to go downhill for April until she landed smack down at the bottom when Hunt told her that even Seattle Grace couldn’t keep her on staff. April is seriously unraveling, and even though she’s a pretty irritating character, I can’t help but really feel for her.

NEXT: Mixed signals abound…

Speaking of Hunt, this episode seemed to hand the doctor his own share of ups and downs — in the midst of trying to figure out where his staff is going to land (ugh, saying ‘land’ reminded me of the plane crash), he’s getting some serious mixed signals from Cristina. First, she comes home and snuggles up to him while he’s sleeping…before walking out the door. Then, she walks in on him while he’s napping at the hospital for a quick romp….before telling him she’s leaving. Such is the enigma of a conflicted woman!

Cristina’s confusion probably wasn’t helped by Meredith constantly badgering her to accept Stanford’s offer so they could stay close together. I love their friendship, and the pair has certainly been through a lot, no doubt, but did anyone else raise their eyebrows when Cristina told Meredith that Owen was “her person” now? While that’s a mature move on Cristina’s part, a small part of me that advocates girl power cried just a little. Just keepin’ it real, guys. Either way, despite Meredith, despite Owen, and despite Teddy, Cristina goes with the Mayo Clinic. Hello, Midwest!

And hello, Boston? Derek is pushing Meredith to accept her offer in Boston even though she wants to stay put in Seattle. He really wants to head to Harvard where he’s been offered a $10 million endowment to continue finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. He’s so gung-ho about it, he takes Meredith to their finally completed house to prove he’s not attached. Can I just take a minute to say this was HUGE flashback for me to one of my all-time favorite Grey’s moments that involved a whole lot of candles and a blabbering Meredith?

Karev was also grappling with a tough decision after learning that — thanks to the great, powerful Dr. Webber — Johns Hopkins was after him. Getting to see a really fun relationship between Webber and Karev had to be one of the best parts of the otherwise depressing episode. Webber went all Brad Pitt in Moneyball as he coached Karev in the art of negotiation, giving him expert advice on how to get exactly what he wants both from Hunt and Hopkins. The best part? When Hopkins offers Karev an international rotation, payment for his loans, and a mortgage allowance. Sheesh. Karev is truly shocked to finally be landing on top, and why wouldn’t he be? He’s one of those characters who has had a whole lot of crap heaped onto his doorstep in many, many different forms throughout the years. I can’t tell you how refreshing it felt (for at least the better part of the hour) to see him actually get what he wants.

NEXT: The crossword to end all crosswords…

In other parts of the hospital, Bailey and Ben were at odds after Bailey walked out on a romantic morning that her beau had planned because, as we’ve learned by now, no man gets between Bailey and her scalpel. Bailey was caught up at the hospital treating a man and his wife, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub, who had parasites crawling under both of their skins. (Sidenote: Was anyone else hoping for a 24- referenced interaction with Rajskub and Kim Raver?! Just me? Chloe and Audrey together again!)

Anyway, as Bailey and Ben are bickering over the morning’s events while in surgery, Bailey happens to have the crossword on hand that Ben was so insistent she complete. She annoyingly stumbles upon the clue “My question to you.” Hmm, what’s short, bug-eyed, and all kinds of shocked? Bailey’s face when she realizes that the 14-letter answer to the clue is “Will you marry me?” But whether the proposal still stands after this mishap is up in the air because we later learn that Ben has been offered a job at UCLA. As someone who is a little unhealthily obsessed with creative proposals, this one (albeit ruined) hits way high in my book.

Another patient on the table was Nick, Arizona’s cancer-ridden friend whom we met last episode. Though Cristina and Teddy did their best to save the adventurous guy, his cancer had spread too far into his body. It was heartbreaking for Arizona to hear the news she already assumed (even more heartbreaking watching her break it to Nick), but it prompted her to beg Callie to never leave her. After the death of her brother, paired with Nick’s diagnosis, any more heartbreak will be too much for Arizona to bear.

I type that with a heavy heart because who knows what sadness is in store for these doctors heading into next week’s finale? We know it’s going to be a hard episode (and likely will not end in candles and elevator smooches), we know someone is going to die, and we know Shonda Rhimes has a track record of bringing out the ugliest of ugly tears in her dedicated viewers.

Your turn. What were your thoughts on tonight’s wreckage? Wasn’t it totally eerie that the final song kept repeating, “bring them all back tonight” while Owen erased the doctors who were leaving off the whiteboard? Chills. Given today’s big announcement, who do you think will get the ax next week?

Episode Recaps

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