As Seattle Grace's interns take center stage, some rise to challenges and other fall hard

By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated December 07, 2012 at 07:00 AM EST
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Grey's Anatomy

S9 E8
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Tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy dialed back the action with our core doctors and gave us a chance to get to know the hospital’s interns a little better. And while I’m aware that some fans may have mixed feelings about the episode — many prefer storylines that center around our favorite established characters — I was very curious to see how the episode utilized the new blood.

I think they did so particularly well when it came to Shane Ross (Gaius Charles, Friday Night Lights), who this week continued his streak and stood out from the rest of the interns. At first, it seemed like he wouldn’t have much opportunity to show his skills in this episode because he was stuck in the land of mysterious bodily lumps, bumps, boils with Kepner. (Ick.) But he went on to prove — as I’ll explain further in a bit — that a good doctor can gain experience from every assignment, whether it’s a groundbreaking procedure or something a “hillbilly with a pocketknife” could do.

Meanwhile, Leah/”Perky” (Tessa Ferrer) and Edwards/”Grumpy” (Jerrika Hinton) were assigned to Cristina’s service, and it quickly became clear that these two were going to be engaging in some pretty intense competition in an effort to impress their legendary superior. However, this game would eventually come back to bite them in their eager little butts.

Over on Karev’s service, Wilson (Camilla Luddington) tried to put her best foot forward, too, but Karev was more interested in being as patronizing as possible. (“Princess”? Really, Karev? Bad form.) At first, she tried to let it slide, but soon Karev’s comments and the weight of a difficult case caused her to fray.

The case in question was that of a teen mom whose baby was born with a life-threatening abnormality. Normally, a parent in this situation would be weeping and/or experiencing various forms distress. But Kimmy, the mom, was more concerned about getting out of the hospital so she could go to a party her friends were throwing for her.

NEXT: Wilson’s confession

Now, we’ve seen plenty of sick babies on this show before, but I can’t recall ever seeing a parent like this girl. She was selfish, hateful, whiny, and had a mother let her get away with it all! The cherry on top of the sundae of human horror? She abandoned her child.

Wilson caught them in the act and tried to stop them, but Karev intervened when Wilson and the mother began to get physical. He ended up letting them leave, and Wilson was left fuming. When Karev asked for an explanation, she told him that she had been abandoned as a child and had to work her way through school with no support — moral or financial. Her life was definitely not as privileged and plush as Karev had assumed. (And on a slightly related note: I hope Kimmy and her mom are hit by a bus. Too harsh? Maybe…maybe not. )

Two cases that Edwards had been assigned, both of which involved two babies with heart defects, also took strange and sad turns. One of the babies had been in line to get a transplant, but on the verge of good news about an available heart, the second baby took a turn for the worst and was suddenly bumped ahead of the other baby. Tragic? Definitely. But the situation was made even sadder by the fact that the babies’ parents — a single mom and a widowed father — had become such great friends.

By the end, the second baby ended up getting the heart and the mother, whose baby had been passed up for the transplant, ended up putting aside her own disappointment to be there for her friend. Sniff.

Overall, the case gave Edwards a chance to standout, which severely annoyed Leah. As a result, their feud/competition ended up reaching new — and potentially dangerous — levels. Yes, they almost killed a woman and were banned from the OR by Owen until further notice.

NEXT: Sister, sister

I haven’t even talked about Brooks (Tina Majorino) up to this point because her assignment from Meredith was pretty simple: Call Derek’s sisters and find someone who was willing to donate a nerve for his hand surgery. But as we know, with Derek’s sisters, nothing is ever simple. So she spent most of the episode playing phone tag. She hated it, especially when she found herself right in the middle of a Derek-Meredith bicker-fest. (He didn’t want his family involved, but a live nerve is better surgically speaking.) Finally, Brooks told them both to quit arguing about the issue and — most importantly — stop putting her in the middle. On cue, Derek’s sister (Neve Campbell) arrived on the scene to diffuse the situation and save the day! (Also, Scream 3 reunion! Just me? Okay…)

Speaking of Derek’s upcoming surgery, all the interns were clamoring for a chance to assist Callie in the OR, so she held a competition to see who was up for the task. Frankly, I was hoping for an America’s Next Top Intern-style walk-off, but she went with something more straightforward. The person who ended up winning the coveted spot? Shane, who according to Callie was the only person who examined Derek and treated him like a patient. Between that victory and the fact that one of his lump-removals turned out to be an early cancer detection, Shane was riding high. And nothing — not even April’s bitter feelings toward a second day on a gross assignment — could get him down.

“I’m here because I want to be. All I ever wanted to be was a surgeon, and now, Torres has chosen me to scrub in on one of the coolest surgeries I’ll ever see because of you,” he told Kepner. “You gave me 27 solo procedures yesterday — at least one of them saved a woman’s life. I’m grateful for this job and I’m grateful to you. I’m hardly slumming it. So I’m going to glove up and help you with your lumps and you’re going to like it.” And I like you, Smash Shane!

Burning questions: What did you think of the intern-centric episode? Who’s your favorite minion and why? Is anyone actually worried that they’re being groomed to step up for regular cast members? (If so, I don’t you should be. That’s just my guess, though. It felt like simply a fun one-off.) Did the teen mom get under your skin, too? Does anyone else think that Leah looks like the love child of Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Carpenter? Did you find some of the music effects a little distracting in this episode? Did you enjoy a week off from the plane crash drama? When do you think Meredith is going to come clean to everyone about the pregnancy? And am I REALLY the only one who was excited about the Scream 3 connection?

Note: Your regular recapper, Tanner, will be back next week.

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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