After weeks of uncertainty, Seattle Grace sees a final bit of chaos before being rechristened in honor of two fallen doctors

By Tanner Stransky
March 15, 2013 at 05:00 AM EDT
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Seattle Grace was a chaotic place under new — and in a way, old? — leadership. That was the main takeaway from last night’s new episode, “Transplant Wasteland,” which saw the fruits of what happened the last time we checked in with our favorite doctor crew in Seattle: Jackson Avery was at the helm of the hospital starting last night.

The whole transition to new leadership, new owners, the Harper-Avery Foundation now backing Seattle Grace, was something like a transition, as — like clockwork — the ever-reliable Meredith Grey told us at the top of the hour.”To a critically ill patient, an organ transplant means a new start, a second chance,” she intoned with her usual seriousness. “But the body is designed to fight off any invader, even if it’s trying to save it. Because a transplant doesn’t guarantee that it’s an easier life. There’s a threat that the body will reject the organ outright.”

And that’s what seemed to be happening at first, especially when it came to Jackson being in charge of the goings-on at Seattle Grace. Former chief Richard Webber immediately expressed his concern about the Jackson situation to none other than the young man’s mother, Catherine Avery (the divine Debbie Allen, who continued her genius run on the soap last night). “What on earth makes you think that young man is ready to take on this kind of responsibility?” he asked Catherine, who responded without hesitation. “He’s my son, I know what he’s capable of!” And this was the line from Webber that I loved most: “Now he’s my boss, and my girlfriend” — referring to Catherine, of course — “is my boss’ boss. What could possibly go wrong?” Catherine didn’t take well to Webber’s suggestions about the situation and delivered a zinger of her own to him. “There’s only one room in which I take orders from my boyfriend,” she said, referring to the boudoir. “This is not it.” Love this lady!

But even though his mother had full faith in him, Avery was hitting resistance in his new position as the hospital’s administrator. The first battle he fought was with the cabal of doctors who now own part of the hospital — Shepherd, Meredith, Yang, Arizona, and Callie — over the Harper-Avery Foundation’s desire to install new leadership, thus ridding themselves of Owen Hunt. “The thought is that new leadership would be good for morale,” he told the doctors, who were simply aghast. Cristina immediately committed herself to putting a stop to the situation: “This thing with Owen is not happening.”

NEXT: Owen walks out

And, it didn’t really happen because Owen didn’t give the board the chance to fire him. Instead, he quit when he got wind of the foundation’s desire. The whole thing really popped off when Owen and Derek — the pair have been contentious lately — fought in front of Avery. “I’m through looking like an idiot while you all lie to me!” he shouted. Derek hit back: “You do not want to get into who’s responsible for all of this,” referring to the fact that Owen was the one ultimately responsible for Mark and Lexie’s deaths and the hospital spiraling into a mess after the settlement. Before storming out, Owen told Avery directly: “I can make this decision easier for you: I quit.” Cristina tired to stop Owen just before he drove off in his awesome Dodge Ram 1500. “I’m done,” he told her. “I should have been done a long time ago.”

Derek and Owen weren’t done yet, though. I would circle back there later, but it’s worth just pointing out now that Owen was eventually asked back as the chief and Derek even showed up to sort of apologize and make nice with him. Cristina was the one who helped that along, after the hospital descended into chaos. “This place doesn’t run without Owen, Derek, and you know it,” she told him. “You say you forgive him” — she continued, about the plane crash — “but you don’t.” When Owen and Derek finally did chat, Derek admitted, “I’m pissed at Mark.” It was a bromantic moment like no other, and these two really, finally, seem on the road to recovery.

But back to all that chaos at the hospital for a minute. Without Owen, it really was a huge mess, compounded by the fact that the hospital’s transplant coordinator was out, as well as half of the nursing staff. There were near-constant traffic jams in the ORs, and at first, it seemed like Avery wasn’t going to step up to the plate, even despite his mother trying to give him a pep talk. “Put on your game face,” she told him before a meeting with suits that he didn’t want to attend.

It’s a slight bit unclear what made Jackson finally swing into action and actually make some smart decisions around Seattle Grace. But there was a clear moment where he finally just started telling people what to do. And you know who predicted that he’d finally pull it together? His mother, Catherine. “Decisions are like building blocks,” she told Webber, who was questioning whether Avery was running the hospital into the ground. “He’ll make one, and then another one will follow.” Bailey’s reaction to Avery’s newfound power was the best, naturally: “Well you heard the man,” she barked, “he’s the boss, now move!”

NEXT: “We are now officially a hospital run by doctors.”

Avery was responsible for what was the best night’s best moment, which came near the end of the episode. “We’re officially the new board of directors,” he started, speaking to Yang, Arizona, Callie, Shepherd, and Meredith. The episode ended much as it began, with the hospital’s new leadership all huddled together in a conference room. The doctor’s first request of Avery was to bring back Owen — and become a level 1 trauma center again. Avery consented and gave a great speech to them.

“We are now officially a hospital run by doctors,” he said. “That should mean something. It is our responsibility to be the best doctors that we can possibly be, so that those who come after us can strive to be their very best. So with that in mind, I move to rename the hospital. I propose that we give this hospital a name that can honor the very reason that we’ve come together and been able to do this, a name that exemplifies the spirit of this hospital, but also the depth of our dedication.” And then came that best moment, when he held up a legal pad with the hospital’s proposed new name written in Sharpie: “Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.”

The doctors all consented, and that’s when Meredith swooped back in with her infinite wisdom, circling back to her transplant analogy. “The transplant process is very scary,” she said. “A patient goes from worrying about getting an organ to worrying about of the organ will be rejected. The anxiety continues until they can finally open their eyes after surgery and see that their gift has been accepted.” I feel like this really did bring it all together. Precious, eh?

There were a variety of other semi-important storylines on last night’s episode, but the crux of the night revolved around Avery and the coalescing of the new hospital leadership and, of course, its rechristening. Other things that happened: Kepner dealt with an especially heart-tugging case of a former resident who wanted to die so he could donate his organs; Yang was stuck in what was basically the movie Grumpy Old Men; and Karev convinced a young girl to take a kidney, even though she said she didn’t want it, and tried to show his affection for Wilson, who had moved on with a new guy and didn’t seem too interested (but maybe?). In terms of outlying storylines, though, the one percolating between Catherine (my love!) and Webber. Their relationship really seemed to solidify after all the Jackson drama and their disagreement over it. “I’ve been looking for a man who cared about Jackson the way a parent would,” Catherine told him near the end of the episode. “The moment I find him, I bite his head off.” And then they made up. Awww. I’m still bereft about Adele’s death, but is anyone else just obsessed with this relationship?

What did you all think of the episode, Grey’s watchers? Are you similarly obsessed with Debbie Allen’s Catherine Avery? Are you rooting for Wilson and Karev to get together? What do you think of the hospital’s new name?

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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