Bailey (finally) ties the knot, but tragedy strikes as Adele Webber's fate comes into focus for the doctors of Seattle Grace

By Tanner Stransky
January 11, 2013 at 06:00 AM EST
Ramdy Holmes/ABC
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There were two big surprises in last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, oddly titled “Things We Said Today.” The first, of course, was a happy surprise: Bailey actually tied the knot with Ben, after we watched her (a little too easily) run from the altar to help Webber with his ailing wife Adele in the last new episode back in December. The other surprise had to do with Adele’s fate — and it was far less happy: She died.

I have to be honest: While watching the whole episode go down, I thought that Adele might not make it. Back in that December episode, she’d rolled into Seattle Grace Mercy West coughing up blood, and this week Bailey — eventually aided by Meredith — determined that something was wrong with her heart. She went into surgery, and Bailey and Meredith worked away, eventually hitting the end of the line with what they could do. A scared Webber watched from the gallery and eventually used the intercom to offer a Hail Mary solution that Bailey admitted she didn’t think would work. But a few minutes later: “It’s working, it’s working,” we heard Webber say. Relief! So she was out of the clear. Or so we thought.

And in that moment, the relief couldn’t have been sweeter. There was a moment during the procedure when Bailey had to tell Webber that she didn’t know what else to do — and she looked positively terrified. She looked up into the gallery with eyes that felt like ones I’ve seen on racoons before I’ve tragically run over them on country roads. (Clearly, that’s how she felt in that moment — bravo to Chandra Wilson for conveying that emotion well.) Thankfully for her, though, Webber’s last-ditch suggestion worked, which meant that when Ben (who’d been waiting for Bailey to get to the altar for hours) arrived at the hospital, he could take her away to finally get married.

So Bailey ran off to say her vows, and Webber took a minute to sit with Adele. It didn’t seem like Webber was going to make it to the ceremony, mostly because he needed to tend to Adele. His ailing wife groggily woke up, saw Richard, and said: “Richard, you came. Stay with me.” And that’s what he did, or so we thought. Those, however, turned out to be the last words we heard her say.

NEXT: Bailey gets married…finally!

Then, cut to the wedding (which was adorable, and I’ll revisit in a second), and Webber showed up at the reception. Bailey approached him, started peppering him with questions about Adele’s blood pressure and whatnot. He deflected, Bailey had to go do her first dance, and Meredith arrived at Webber’s side. That’s when the surprise about Adele’s death became clear for us viewers. We didn’t see exactly how she died on screen — maybe we will get a flashback to it in next week’s episode? — but the news was handled via a quick exchange between Meredith and Webber. “You’re here?” she asked him, and then she realized the only scenario under which he would be at the wedding is if he didn’t have to tend to Adele. So she realized what had happened. “No. When?” That’s when Webber told her that Adele had suffered a heart attack after Meredith and Adele left her in recovery. It was too much for her heart.

The pain in the eyes of both Webber and Meredith was too much in that moment, especially as we watched Webber re-imagine Bailey’s first dance at the wedding as his own first dance with Adele. It was a dance danced to a song that’s familiar to any regular Grey’s watcher: “My Funny Valentine,” which was Adele and Richard’s song used throughout the series. The whole thing was difficult to watch, and I couldn’t help but also feel that Webber and Bailey’s relationship has basically morphed into a great love story of its own — a love story between a father and a daughter. As she found him at the wedding and began asking him questions about Adele, he just embraced her with a hug that any proud father would give. And he didn’t say a word about what ended up happening with Adele. Why? So that Bailey — poor, often tortured Bailey who forgot about her fiance Ben when tending to Adele’s ailments — could finally have a minute of peace and enjoy her day with Ben.

There was a moment during Bailey’s wedding, too, that I just realized was rather ironic and sad — it was when Bailey was at the buffet with one of her family members. Bailey realized the macaroni and cheese cupcakes (are those a real thing?!) were gone and chided her family member for not saving any for her. “I saved a woman’s life — you couldn’t save me some food?” If she only knew that, in fact, that Adele was no longer alive.

NEXT: Should Adele get a better send-off?

Before I move on to some thoughts on Bailey’s wedding and, well, actually getting to Bailey’s wedding, a word on Adele. I hope, hope, hope that Grey’s does something more with her demise or memory in a future episode. There’s something that oddly felt unfinished about the way that Adele’s end came. And maybe it was supposed to feel that way? But when you consider it, we hadn’t seen Adele in an episode since last April, and then — bam! — she appeared in December’s mid-season finale coughing up blood. The next episode — last night’s episode — she was dead. I know that in the scheme of things, she was a somewhat minor character on the show, but the character somehow transcended the 22 episodes in which she appeared. Maybe it’s my love for Loretta Devine (she was in the original Dreamgirls!), but I’m counting on some more resolution with Adele and her tragic end.

But moving on from tragedies, let’s talk about Bailey’s wedding! Well, first there is some tragedy to it all — that being the fact that Bailey almost didn’t make it to the whole thing. And as I mentioned above, Bailey even admitted to Ben (when he came to get her at Seattle Grace) that she had forgotten about everything — him, the nuptials, everything. There was even a moment when Bailey was dealing with Adele that a co-worker asked: “Should I call your fiancé?” She seemed stunned and confused. Did she even have a fiancé? But later she explained to him. “In those 20 minutes,” she told an ever-understanding Ben, “I forgot about the wedding.” The scene that played out between the two was priceless, as it became clear that Bailey never had any intention to bail on Ben — although she could have maybe given up the big, gaudy ceremony. “Do you want to spend the rest of your life with me,” he asked, “even if it is only in five-minute increments every two months?” (Remember: She lives in Seattle, he in Los Angeles.) Yes, she said! The wedding was so happy, as was the love between these two. And Bailey’s adorable little son — he’s practically a man now! — stood there with them while they said their vows, too.

The rest of the night was rather inconsequential compared to what happened to Bailey and then Richard and Adele. But there are a couple important beats. It wasn’t until after the ceremony that Bailey encountered Callie and Arizona, who had just snuck back into the reception. “I hope whatever you were doing was worth it,” Bailey lobbed at Callie, “because you’re a terrible maid of honor!” It was mostly a joke, of course, and what Callie and Arizona were doing was trying to have sex. Yes, the ladies haven’t had any quality bedroom time — very understandably — since before the plane crash last spring. With the delay in the wedding, Arizona had an idea: Why not go upstairs to a hotel room and try to have a little fun?

But it didn’t go that well. First, Arizona made Callie hang out in the bathroom while she attempted to take off her prosthetic leg and get under the covers. And when Callie finally emerged from the bathroom — after taking a bath and briefly calling a still-groggy Derek to check on his hand to kill time — she found Arizona sitting there on the edge of the bed, still clothed. “I wanted to be spontaneous and fun, but I can’t, and I’m so sorry, Callie,” a clearly pained Arizona explained. “I’m not ready. Please don’t be mad.” Callie’s response? She cheerfully called room service to order champagne to go with the mac and cheese cupcakes they’d grabbed from the reception. It was only then that the really touching moment happened between these two. “Callie, please don’t run,” Arizona pleaded with her wife. “It’s all been awful, and I’ve been awful, but I’m just starting to feel like myself again.” It was Callie’s response that made my heart melt. “After the car accident, you never left my side — not once. There’s no way I’m leaving yours.” And the cherry on top of the whole situation came with Arizona’s sweet reply, in reference to her nervousness about sex. “What would you say to a good, old-fashioned junior high makeout?” I couldn’t love these two more as a couple.

NEXT: Owen and Cristina end their marriage and share a kiss

I know I said there wasn’t much of consequence besides Adele and Bailey, but Owen and Cristina did make a major move: They signed their divorce papers. The episode began with them in bed together, and Owen hushed Cristina when she tried to talk about them as a couple. Then what seemed like the Sons of Anarchy crew blew through Seattle Grace, and while it seemed like pointless medical cases and a little humor from the tireless Gasoline (love that lady!), it all served to help Owen realize that the same thing that these bikers love — freedom on the open road — is what he needed with Cristina, too. Which brought the pair back to their divorce papers. “We don’t have to do this right now,” Cristina pleaded. “Let’s just take a minute and think about what this means.” But Owen insisted: “I’m not thinking about it, Cristina.” He signed it then because, as he explained, it would mean that “we don’t hurt each other anymore.” They sealed it with a passionate kiss. Will these two stay together, post-divorce? Remarry after the lawsuit is over? Have a child out of wedlock? The shackles of marriage certainly didn’t work for them, but maybe some other situation will. I predict a big Owen-Cristina episode in our near future.

I’m not going to get into it, but the awkwardness among the three interns — I can’t hardly recall their names, really — and their wedding dates Karev, Kepner, and Avery continued. Each did their own little thing. Karev and his gal (is her name Wilson maybe?) hated on each other for a while before both realized they came from hard-scrabble backgrounds and used that to con themselves into a hotel room. Smash (or is it Shane?) and Kepner were being weird together, as he thought she was coming on to him. When he brought that up to her, she was stunned. “What makes you think that I want to sleep with you?” And Avery — in what seemed like a very bad move — slept with his intern gal. (I really, really have no idea of her name.) In a car. I mean. I just don’t really have anything to say about that whole situation. Are these folks in high school? Sometimes it seems like junior high. (Cue Callie and Arizona’s makeout session.)

I found Meredith’s voiceovers much less poignant in this episode, hence why I didn’t open this recap with her opening thoughts. She was talking about how surgeons need to ask questions, and if they don’t get answers, then they’re forced to rely on tests of insight. “Until those test results come back, there’s nothing we can do…but wait.” And she ended the episode nearly as cryptically: “The next time you’re in your doctor’s office, remember: She’s not asking asking all those questions for her health, she’s asking them for yours. Tell her everything. The small details aren’t trivial — they actually make the story. There’s no rush. Take all the time you need. Start at the beginning.” And that’s when we saw Webber and Adele dancing to “My Funny Valentine.” Was that all an allegory for Richard and Adele’s relationship? If it was, I don’t think it was particularly strong. I guess maybe it just means savor things and talk when you can? Anyway, I’ll let you all ponder that.

What’d you think of the episode, Grey’s watchers? Thoughts? Hit the comments below.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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