The Seattle Grace Mercy West doctors didn't go international -- but they certainly crossed their fair share of boundaries.

By Tanner Stransky
Updated October 21, 2011 at 03:55 AM EDT
Ron Tom/ABC

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The doctors of Seattle Grace Mercy West have never been too concerned with boundaries. And that was flagrantly on display in last night’s new episode of the ABC medical soap, titled somewhat perplexingly “Poker Face,” which saw the reckless professionals virtually leave any and all borders and inhibitions behind and go rogue: Cristina and Hunt sexed it up in public without any regard for who caught them; Sloan infringed a bit too much on Arizona and Callie’s sexless relationship; and Meredith dutifully stuck her nose where it shouldn’t have been on two occasions — in both Bailey’s clinical trial and Derek’s case load.

Let’s start with the biggest offender, the doctor with the least regard for boundaries: Meredith Grey. Duh. As per usual, she was out of control, in her own sly way last night. First, she meddled with Derek by covertly sending her patient, who’d just given birth, over to him via diligent sis Lexie (who can’t find a storyline to save her life). But I suppose you can’t fault big sis Meredith too much for meddling because her meddling — as per usual — was ultimately helpful. (Remember what she did for Adele when she ruined Derek’s clinical trial? Meddlesome, but in the end, good.) That is all to say that the new mom whom she sent to Derek got a new lease on life after he successfully removed her butterfly tumor that had previously limited her life to just six more months. So, in effect, the Chinese wall that the couple had erected was breached, but for the greater good. So much for borders — behind the scenes, at least.

Before we move on from Derek and Meredith, I have one quick question: Where’s Zola? Sure, last week’s episode was very Zola heavy, so maybe we needed a Zola-light episode, but I find myself wanting an update on her in each new hour of the series, and frankly, it’s just weird that this episode virtually ignored Meredith and Derek’s current plight with their baby. Maybe baby Emma — the little one whose mother was saved by Derek’s miracle surgery — was intended to stand in for Zola, in some twisty way? I suppose she did in some ways, but that point wasn’t driven home too strongly. Just gimme me my baby Zola!

NEXT: “In the conference room? You’re a chief now! Act like it!”

The other area where Meredith butted in was Bailey’s clinical trial, which is testing diabetes in mice. Granted, her butting in here wasn’t exactly her choice: The trying-on-gruff-voices chief resident Kepner forced her to help, as she was overwhelmed. But Bailey found out, and blew out spectacularly at Grey. “Who do you think you are?” moral compass Bailey screamed at Meredith, when she heard her advising Kepner on the clinical trial. “God? Is that who you are? Either you’re God or you’re the most reckless, arrogant resident I’ve ever come across in my career!” Meredith’s response — invoking Kepner’s gruff voice — was an amazing moment, though: “Dr. Bailey, read my research!” Bailey did, and reluctantly realized that Meredith was right. Deliciously, next week seems like where the real reckoning between these two will come, per the teaser after last night’s episode. I’m dying for a Celebrity Death Match between Meredith and Bailey — in softball caps, no less!

The Callie-Arizona-Sloan storyline basically turned into a Three’s Company situation, with a lesbian — and culinary — twist: Sloan was constantly up in the duo’s grill mostly via his new cooking hobby, so much so that the Sapphic ladies never had a minute alone together. But after braised short ribs and coq au vin and more, Callie put a stop to it and kicked him to the curb with a piece of pizza and baby Sofia, mostly so she could knock boots with Arizona. To which I say: Yay! Also, how lucky is it that Arizona and Callie have a built-in babysitter who is also a parent to Sofia? Genius arrangement.

The last big boundary offenders? Hunt and Cristina, who couldn’t keep their hands off each other, despite still not having really talked about the issues that are deeply seeded within their relationship. The former chief caught them in the conference room (“In the conference room? You’re a chief now! Act like it!”) and the on-call room. The super-sex between the pair clearly made the point that the two would rather be physical than discuss the season-opening abortion that is slowly eating away at them. Like Bailey and Meredith, this is another reckoning that — when it happens — should be quite spectacular and dramatic.

NEXT: “The only thing worse than a bad surgeon is a scared one.”

In some ways, despite all the boundary crossing of the episode, there were two doctors who — to their detriment — didn’t make it across borders, at least in the medical arena. That’d be Karev and Cristina, both of whom played it too safe in their surgeries. Karev wouldn’t give his superficial patient (brilliantly played by Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors) the TAVI treatment he wanted, mostly so he wouldn’t have yet another bad outcome on his record. But his attending Altman ultimately did it, chiding him for being scared. “The only thing worse than a bad surgeon,” she scolded him, “is a scared one.” Cristina got a similar dressing down, when she got spooked and bowed out of her neck surgery with Callie. (It was nice to see Taxi alum Marilu Henner on screen, as the patient’s bickering mother in that storyline.)

Lastly, we get to April Kepner, who might just be my favorite character of the season so far. She didn’t so much cross boundaries or borders, but she certainly went out of her comfort zone, adopting a new attitude — and, hilariously, a new, deep, gruff voice — to better be able to enforce her demands as chief resident. “I am your chief resident, Dr. Grey!” she barked at Meredith (who later employed the gruff-voice strategy herself, with Bailey). “Which means if you cross me, I will make your life a living hell. I will put you on call every night. I will assign you dumb interns. And I will make sure you get every exploding bowel and rotting limb that comes into this hospital!” Tell it, girl!

One other thought has been crossing my mind in regards to Kepner: When is she going to have sex? Honestly? This is sort of a follow-up to last week’s episode, where Jackson’s mother was so concerned with her virgin plight. But I guess it was tonight — with the professional fireworks going off between her and Karev — that I realized he’s the perfect guy to deflower her. Right? Right. I know they tried once before, to epic fail, but it just seems right for them to have sex and then maybe — just maybe — roll right into a relationship. Producers, pay attention here. Puh-leeze.

What do you think, Grey’s watchers? Are you in favor of a Kepner-Karev hookup? Are you salivating at the thought of a Meredith-Bailey showdown? Do you have concerns with what’s going on with baby Zola? And: When are they going to give Dr. Altman something real to do on this show? Sound off!

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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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