With Seattle Grace Mercy West's quintet of fifth-year residents flying solo in surgery for the first time, some rose to the occasion -- while other fell flat

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Greys Anatomy Lead
Credit: Jordin Althaus/ABC

You win some and you lose some. That certainly seemed to be the theme of last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, titled “Take the Lead,” which found the fifth year residents — Meredith, Cristina, Karev, Kepner, and Avery — very dramatically taking on their first solo surgeries. (“We’ve alerted the morgue,” quipped Torres.) After making a bet amongst the group, each of the five won — or lost — at their respective surgeries, and there were plenty of other folks at the hospital who found themselves in one column or the other, too. So in that spirit, let’s take a look at who were the winners and losers last night at Seattle Grace Mercy West.

WINNER: Meredith

Our leading lady kept questioning whether Derek should have overseen her solo surgery because of their communication problems and inability to work as team. “I think you should do the surgery,” she told him just before heading into the OR. “Because we’re not a team right now.” Which was pretty spot on. But their discord didn’t really seem to affect the surgery…too much. Despite the pair having a little fight about which size “clip” to use, Meredith eventually prevailed — and was the only fifth-year resident to totally, successfully complete her surgery.

LOSERS: Meredith & Derek

But Meredith was a loser when it came to her married life with Derek, who seemed unwilling to really communicate with her about how he was feeling about Zola — or whether he even wanted to stay with her, after all that she’s done. “We’re not a team,” Meredith told him (once again). “Anywhere.” There was no news on whether Zola would be coming back into their lives — you can bet the producers are going to milk that for all it’s worth.

But they did finally talk a little bit about their relationship, very heatedly, at the very end of the episode. “I promised I wouldn’t run,” Derek told Meredith. “Even when I hate you.” Which is very clearly right now. So there it is! He hates her. But Meredith retorted with an easy escape for him: “I don’t want you to keep the promise,” she said. “Not if you don’t want to.” Finally, the pair came to a solution for how they would move forward, although I’m not really sure how it solves anything. “If we want to stay together — with or without Zola — we just can’t work together.” I don’t get how he can’t get over her professional betrayals just by ignoring her in that setting, but he can possibly get over her personal betrayals? Weirdness.

NEXT: Cristina and Owen, together and separate: Winners or losers?

LOSER: Cristina

This couldn’t have been funnier and more fitting, actually. After her fancy surgery fell through, it turned out her patient needed a simple appendectomy, which Altman — who’s perpetually out to get her these days — insisted that she perform. Cristina couldn’t remember how to do an appendectomy, though, so she used the interns in skills lab to remind her of the steps beforehand. But whoops: In the OR, she still couldn’t remember how to do it. And neither could the withering and towering Altman! (This proved to be a classically hilarious scene between the pair, and — maybe? — it will serve to bring them closer together.) It was a wise nurse who saved them with the next step. So, technically, Cristina didn’t kill her patient — which would suggest her to be a winner — but she also didn’t actually know how to do a very simple procedure. Plus, the other residents found out her dirty little secret. So: Loser.

WINNERS: Cristina & Owen

“You two,” Meredith told Cristina of her and Owen, “are like bad roommates.” That assessment couldn’t have been more spot on, considering how the pair was acting like first-daters around each other, stumbling over their words while not communicating and hoping to not step on the other’s toes. It was sort of comical to watch, of course. But eventually the pair made up while on the floor of their bathroom, after they got sick on Chinese food together. Although, truly, they still have a lot to work through, seeing as how they didn’t even discuss the issue — that’d be Cristina’s abortion last week — that is causing the rift between them. So this “win” may just be temporary — or, maybe it’s just a win for some progress happening, in an otherwise cold relationship.

LOSER: Owen

Sure, he’s the new chief of surgery at Seattle Grace Mercy West — which would suggest a win, naturally — but the fact that he can’t get one of the hospital’s most important doctors — that’d be mouthy Bailey — on his team spells disaster for his future. “Have I done something wrong?” Bailey questioned him, after he made a desperate plea for her to be on his side as the chief. “Is there something in my job performance that prompts you to ask me this? Or do you just need me to like you?” Then she walked off with the best, bitchiest behind switch of all time. This is the Bailey I know and love — the I-ain’t-gonna-budge Bailey. (That’s even with the ex-chief Dr. Webber telling her to chill. “If you wanna be mad at someone,” he pleaded with her, “be mad at me.”)

NEXT: Assessments of Webber, Kepner, Karev, Avery…and the pig.

WINNER: Webber

Surprised that he’s in the “winner” category? Well, truly he is a winner. Despite the hospital losing the best chief they’ve ever had, Webber prevailed personally, losing his high-flying gig so that he could spend more time with his wife Adele, who — despite getting the drug in the clinical trial — is still suffering from Alzheimer’s. (Warms my heart that he finally realizes what is important in life — LOVE!) And he intends to make whatever time he has left with her count. “I’m happy, Bailey,” he told his former right-hand woman, after she was lamenting his resignation, “I’d like for you to be happy for me, too.”

WINNER: Kepner

Well, this particular winner designation should get a big ol’ eventually slapped next to it — because it took nearly the entire episode (hell, it took the two-hour premiere and 55 minutes of this episode) for her to get there. Kepner couldn’t win one for losing most of the episode — with the other residents making her life hell as the chief resident, Karev treating her like crap through their joint surgery, and so on. As Owen told her: “Leadership isn’t about making friends.” But eventually she sort of did win over her four fellow residents, toasting a little wine with them after their respective surgeries. Seems like she’s slowly winning them over.

LOSER: Karev

No matter whether it was really his fault, Karev botched his surgery, and even though Kepner was with him on it, he gets the sole distinction of a “loser” because he was the lead surgeon. Granted, he was under a tiny bit of pressure. “I am thoroughly enjoying this book, Karev,” Webber, who was observing the surgery, said to Karev just before he cut open the patient. “Hopefully I’ll finish it in there, because as long as I’m reading, that means you’re not screwing up. Will I finish this book today?” Webber then did that thing with his eyes. Truly, though, Karev did seem to do everything he could have to save the patient, as a sensitive Kepner told him, but Cristina summed up his performance in her particular way: “That’s,” she said of his patient dying, “like misspelling your name.”

LOSER: Avery

First, his surgery — a baby with a cleft lip — was taken away from him. Then Arizona gave it back — just before she spooked him by saying that he would be determining “if this kid gets made fun of for his looks.” Said Sloan of Avery handing things back over: “No shame. No shame at all. You’re still the goober.” He meant Gunther, of course. As the other interns pointed out at the end, Avery never even touched his patient, which is sort of the biggest loss of all time.

WINNER: The pig

Apparently, as the episode alerted us right from the start, “NO ANIMAL WAS HARMED IN THE PRODUCTION OF THIS EPISODE.” So, that was a real win for a lucky little pig somewhere. And PETA?

What’d you think of last night’s episode, Grey’s watchers? Who did you think were the winners? Who were the losers? How would you rate the first solo outings by our fifth-year residents? Are you excited for next week’s all-boys episode?

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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