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Cristina tries to move past her PTSD, Derek gets an unwelcome visit, and Teddy says goodbye to a too-short fling

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October 08, 2010 at 05:01 AM EDT

Now that we’ve gotten to the third episode back, I think we can call it: Grey’s Anatomy has only benefited, plot-wise, from that harrowing shooting spree during the season six finale. A more vulnerable Cristina, a visit from Derek’s sexy sister, an elevator-phobic Alex — it’s all good in the land of drama. Plus we got the most graphic HPV lesson possible in tonight’s episode.

Let us walk through the elements, shall we?

Cristina’s Breakdown

Turned out last week’s operating-room collapse was only the beginning of Cristina’s downward spiral. She started this episode by crawling into bed next to Meredith (Derek, incidentally, on the other side) — which, though not a sign of mental health, warmed my heart: I am absolutely loving the stronger-than-ever lady-bond between these two this season. Is it because they’re both married now? Just growing up? Whatever, it’s the opposite of Blair and Serena’s annoyingly fickle frenemy status on Gossip Girl, and I can’t get enough. As Derek explained to Owen, they are connected on another level, like E.T. and Elliott, a “weird and disturbing bond.” “Meanwhile, you and I are like the government guys in the white Hazmat suits,” he said. “We try to steer them in the right direction, but in the end we just don’t understand.”

At any rate, all of the people in charge of things — attendings and the Chief and the on-his-way-out-too-soon Dr. Perkins — gathered to discuss Cristina’s fate, and many thought she should be on some low-key admin duty. But like Owen last week, Derek insisted she should get back out there. “She goes,” he insisted, “I go.” Clearly he knew his wife wasn’t going to be happy if her bestie wasn’t happy, and a Cristina banned from surgery is an unhappy Cristina.

Or is it? Soon, Cristina was moping around, shrugging off surgical questions — and even surgery itself — and asking Owen if he’d love her if she were a plumber. “I would love you if you were a plumber,” he said. “But would you love you if you weren’t a surgeon?” Her answer: “I don’t know, maybe.”

Derek’s Sister

One of Derek’s three (I believe, and according to a creepily thorough Wikipedia dossier on him) sisters, Amelia, showed up to visit him after she heard about the shooting — and, wouldn’t you know it, also “brought him a brain tumor” (via a guy she’d hooked up with in the airplane bathroom). Don’t these Shepherds have all the luck? Naturally, she recognized this as a golden opportunity because she is also a neurosurgeon. Somehow I suspect that their family gatherings are unique.

Meredith suggested Derek take Amelia out for coffee to catch up, but he made it clear he was not feeling so warmly toward his sibling: “I have a lot of sisters,” he snapped. “If I bought them all coffee, we wouldn’t have anything.” Alrighty. Then, as Amelia questioned him further about whether it hurt when he got shot, he sniped, “I feel pain now because you won’t stop talking.” Worse still, she took the ultimate step in the wrong direction when she questioned his decision to allow a currently disinterested Cristina scrub in on the tumor surgery instead of the sister who brought the tumor to him. “You’re gonna let what’s-her-face with the learning disability scrub in?” Amelia asked. “Why don’t you just shoot the guy?” Oops. “Don’t talk about shooting people in this building,” Derek growled. “Don’t criticize my surgeons.”

NEXT: Perhaps it’s better to focus on the hair, not the heart, y’know?

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