Cameras monitor the doctors' every move and the ER shuts down as Dr. Cahill preps Seattle Grace to be sold

By Tanner Stransky
Updated February 01, 2013 at 06:00 AM EST
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Grey's Anatomy

S9 E13
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  • ABC
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This week on Grey’s Anatomy, Big Brother invaded Seattle Grace Hospital. “We’re being spied on, Mer,” the ever-suspicious Cristina told her best friend, while looking into the lens of a video camera that was staring down at her — and monitoring her — from the top of the hospital room in which she was standing. “Who knows what lurks behind that evil eye?”

That evil eye, it was quickly explained, was just one part of Dr. Cahill’s grand plan to cut costs and improve workflow at the hospital. Very creepily, lurking behind that “evil eye” was a doctor who, through a microphone, was able to offer up solutions that would save money, time, resources, and whatever else. As Bailey explained, in her very Bailey manner: “There are doctors in the ceilings.” Huh? Let’s just let Meredith explain, as per usual.

“We’ve all heard the buzzwords — streamline, optimize, integrate, adapt,” said Meredith, in her episode-opening voiceover that came moments after the first sight of the cameras that had taken over Seattle Grace. “Everyday someone comes up with a new strategy or tool or technology to increase our efficiency. The idea is to make our lives easier. But the question is: Does it?”

The short answer from the doctors? Nope. And that’s largely what this whole episode — titled “Bad Blood” — chronicled, their “nope” on everything. Specifically, the doctors did not like the changes that Cahill had instituted: Avery complained that he didn’t know where to find the headlamps — which had been reorganized into new, more efficient locations — when he stepped in to help out with a surgery; the interns freaked that they were the next on the chopping block (“They’re gonna fire us!”); and Yang continued her hatred of the cameras that were lurking around. When the doctor behind the lens, Bob, stepped in and ordered her intern to use a different treatment than she had suggested, Yang pushed back at the voice inside the camera. “Don’t try to be a doctor, Bob,” she barked at the camera. “Just make sure my idiot interns don’t screw up. Don’t butt in!” I get what the Grey’s writers were going for with the cameras — the idea of Big Brother, sure — but it honestly came off very strange. Like, how realistic is that type of thing really? I know that science fiction often becomes reality, but this seemed more stupid than anything else.

But mind you, beyond just the cameras, Dr. Cahill’s presence was felt in various other ways last night around the hospital, too. She told the doctors she needed more efficiency during surgery transition. “Your average time between surgeries is 37 minutes,” she said to a group of gathered doctors. “With these new OR procedures, I’d like to see that cut in half.”

NEXT: More cost-cutting by Cahill

Another cost-saving measure? Teach the doctors a new method for taking care of hernias. This played out by having Meredith, Bailey, and Webber take a class for a more efficient surgery method that used some sort of magic mesh. The scenes with these three, though, mostly existed for comedic purposes, and the ever-hammy Bailey was serving it up heavily. “They’re making us fight to survive!” she yelled, after learning that the first surgeon to do 20 correct hernias with the new method would win a Seattle Grace hoodie. (Woop de woo!) “First prize is a fleece! Second prize is a one-way ticket to the curb.” This was when she offered up her first — and hilariously delightful — Hunger Games reference of the episode: “Tributes,” she said, looking at her competition in Webber and Bailey, “may the odds ever be in your favor.”

On the level of laughter, Chandra Wilson was really doing it for me last night. It was genius, too, when she sort of threatened Meredith about the competition. “You’re gonna choke, Grey!” she said, maniacally. “You’re gonna choke and die, and I will dance and sing!” Bailey ended up having a little bit of trouble with the new technique, actually, but she eventually got the hang of it and told Meredith: “That bun in the oven may give you job security, Meredith Grey, but it does not make you immune to a smack in the mouth.”Her second Hunger Games reference came only after she figured out how to do the surgery: “May as well swallow your poison berries now, because I am the Girl on Fire!”

All that goading, though, may have been what led to Meredith’s…complications later in the episode. We saw the show’s star get flustered in the surgery competition room and have to run out for a minute. “Something’s wrong, something’s wrong!” she said to Bailey, who had followed her, about her pending pregnancy. “You’re right. I got comfortable and flip, and the universe is smacking me down for it. I’m not immune. I’m not safe! There’s a flutter. It can’t be right.” But any sensible person — and, let’s remember, Meredith is very rarely sensible — would have known exactly what that that “flutter” was. The baby was kicking, of course! “Your baby’s kicking,” Bailey told her, and they both smiled. DUH!

The surgery contest continued, and the scene that eventually played out was horrible. Webber performed his fake hernia the way he wanted to — and the instructor scolded him for not doing it the new way, which was the only accepted way at Seattle Grace. “We’re cogs in an assembly line, churning out product over and over — standardized across the country,” he told the instructor. And that instructor followed up with a rant that let all the doctors in the room know exactly where he stood on things: “The patients don’t matter!” he blurted. All the doctors started at him agape — and the moment clearly and rather poignantly punctuated the difference between the approach of the seasoned doctors at Seattle Grace felt and the approach of this new, streamlined, super-efficient team that’s been brought into the hospital. I was chuckling later in the hour when Bailey ran into that gross instructor again and told him that her fleece — yes, she won it! — was itchy. Haha!

Elsewhere, Dr. Cahill was helping Owen with one of the last cases Seattle Grace’s ER would see — that department of the hospital was set to close the next day. She just happened to be taking the elevator with Owen on his way to meet a trauma, and — by total and complete serendipity! — he got her involved in the case, as she was the one who was “closest” when one of the just-arrived patient’s arteries started spewing blood. Cahill stopped the bleeding, and then Owen kept her involved with the whole case, through surgery and all. It was a sly move — and maybe it was planned, maybe it wasn’t — because it helped Cahill to see exactly what the hospital was losing — that is, the ability to help patients immediately when they’re injured and hurt the worst. Just when she thought she was done, Owen told the apparently black-hearted woman that she had one more task with the case. “No, no, no, we’re not done,” he said. “Then you get to tell the family that you saved him. He’s alive because of you. And then, they get to thank you, and that’s the best part.”

NEXT: Seattle Grace for sale

Cahill seemed pleased with the situation, and it seemed like maybe — just maybe! — she would change her opinion on closing down the ER, seeing as she’d seen firsthand how important it was. It especially seemed that way when Kepner and Derek showed up with a budget proposal that proved they could save the ER by trimming a little bit from all the rest of the hospital’s departments. Cahill almost laughed when they offered their budget idea. “I’m sorry,” she said, with not a shred of remorse. “No amount of budget cutting or shuffling is going to save your ER — or your hospital, for that matter.” And then it dawned on the doctors that the the ER was going away because she was there to trim costs and, ultimately, to prep the hospital for a sale. “The ER is like the shag carpet,” she explained somewhat ruefully. “It’s gotta go.” That led Owen to reveal that he was planning to drown his ER sorrows in booze. “Right now, I am going to drink,” he told Cristina as they strolled off to the bar together at the end of the hour. “A lot. That’s all I know.”

The whole thing with Cahill was weird, truly, because it was almost like the rest of the day didn’t happen for the doctor — that she, somehow, wasn’t affected by the emotional time she had in the ER helping Owen save a life. He tried asking her why she had left surgery, but she didn’t answer. It’s clear that there’s so much more going on here with Cahill. What I’d like to see happen in this situation is for Cahill to be brought on full-time at Seattle Grace as a doctor and rediscover her love for surgery. Don’t you all see that as a distinct possibility? It seems like, maybe — just maybe! — Shonda and Co. are leading up to that.

The rest of the hospital was somewhat quiet. Yang continued her battle with the man behind the camera, and she battled with her intern a bit, too. The case she was handling involved a young guy who was a Jehovah’s Witness, and apparently Jehovah’s Witnesses can’t get blood transfusions. (I had no idea!) And naturally, blood is exactly what he needed — and her intern almost got away with giving him blood. Except — you guessed it — the man behind the camera caught her. Yang tried to explain that no matter how much she wanted to help the kid with blood, she couldn’t. “It doesn’t matter what I think,” she told the intern, somewhat sympathizing with her desire. “He had an alert. It was very clear, no blood. I don’t get to have an opinion about it, and neither do you.” The end of Yang’s storyline ended with her once again addressing Big Brother: “Show’s over, Bob — you can change the channel.”

NEXT: Arizona, Callie, and Karev deal with the (former) gymnast from hell!

Lastly: Arizona, Callie, and Karev. They were working with a little gymnast girl who had to have both of her hips replaced, thus ruining her Olympic career. “I wasn’t into gymnastics,” she explained. “It was my career! Ever since I was 4 years old, it’s all I’ve wanted to do.” Callie, Karev, and Arizona all tried to get the little devil gal to change her attitude — and get back on her feet. But it was only Arizona, after showing off her prosthetic leg, who was successful.

The whole situation did lead to a funny scene with Callie, who had been eviscerated by the freaky little gymnastics girl. Callie was outside, downtrodden after her interaction with the bereft little girl, and she encountered the group of interns, who were all worried about their futures at the hospital. “The future, kids,” she said, dramatically, before pouring her coffee out on the ground. “It’s completely out of your control.” It made me laugh.

Meredith, as usual, ended the hour with her voiceover, again telling the tale of efficiencies. “To be really efficient, you have to eliminate what doesn’t work. You have to figure out what’s important,” she said. “And hold on tight to the things that matter the most.” In her case, that was Derek. As we saw her cuddle up with him in bed, he had his hand on her stomach looking for a kick from the baby. Awww.

What’d you think of the episode, Grey’s watchers? Are you worried for the future of Seattle Grace? Do you want Dr. Cahill to stick around the hospital? How much longer do you think Big Brother will be hanging around?

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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