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

By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated October 08, 2010 at 05:01 AM EDT
Greys Anatomy Freak
Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC

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?

Amelia tried to put herself on the board for the surgery anyway, but Derek was having none of it. “You think I’m going to let you do to him what you did to my Mustang?” he said, before explaining to Meredith that Amelia had crashed his car while high on pain pills. So we were getting somewhere with our family therapy, but it still didn’t seem to quite explain his lashing out. Not unpredictably, Amelia scrubbed in anyway, and good thing she did, since Cristina broke down at a critical moment and couldn’t operate. Later, as surgery wrapped up, she delivered the most un-Cristina line ever: “So you’re done, can I go?”

Derek wasn’t willing to give up on Cristina yet, though. He reminded us — and her — that she saved his life after the shooting. “You’re flaming out,” he told her, “and as someone who cares about you, it’s not okay.” He made her face her resistance to surgery another — much safer — way, by re-enacting her life-saving surgery on a cadaver. Smart guy, that Derek.

Then, perhaps buoyed by his progress on someone else’s massive psychological problem, Derek tackled his own by finding his sister outside for a talk. His tension with Amelia really stemmed back to their dad being shot when they were kids — a-ha. “How am I supposed to call you up and tell you I’ve been shot?” he said. “I can’t tell you about my pain. I don’t want you to know that pain exists.”

Teddy’s Attachment Issues, Alex’s Elevator Issues

Not unlike me, Teddy also got attached to Andrew in his tragically short and slight time at Seattle Grace. I’ll admit, I’m blinded by his pretty hair. Perhaps she was, too, but she got — horror of horrors — emotionally attached to him as well. She did not heed Callie and Arizona’s advice to have a casual fling as befitting her military service record. “I’m not G.I. Jane,” Teddy quipped. “I’m Attachment Barbie.” Nonetheless, James Tupper only signed on for three episodes, so he had to go. “I like you more than I wanted to,” she admitted to him. He analyzed her: “You fall for men who aren’t available — engaged, only in town for a few weeks. … You’re making some lousy choices, Altman. You deserve more.” But with whom? Jackson? Or Alex?

Or maybe not. Alex had another vexing problem: B.O. I was flummoxed at first when the Chief made a point of telling him he smelled and needed a shower. We later learned that was because he had been running up and down the stairs all day instead of taking the elevator, which is where he was shot. The Chief forced him to take the elevator with him, up and down, until he was “not scared, just bored.” Oh, Chief, I’m glad you’re chief again.

NEXT: If you are going to be a Grey’s fan, you have to be ready to handle anything the human body throws writers throw at you.

The Scary HPV Lesson

A patient showed up in a hoodie, at first unwilling to get out of the car with his wife — turned out that was because he was covered in fungus-like warts and had sort-of tree-like claws for hands, essentially. Suffice it to say, he had good reason for not wanting to get out of the car. We soon learned that this was a rare, advanced form of HPV (whoa, if we knew this, wouldn’t everybody be getting that vaccination?). Apparently in some (very few) cases, an immune deficiency allows the warts to get so out of control they take over the whole body. (Yeah, this is a real thing.) The doctors offered to remove it all and graft his skin as much as possible to make up for the damage; his wife, frustrated by years spent on lockdown with him, said she’d leave if he didn’t get the surgery.

He got it, and we got a lot of disturbing shots of Bailey navigating his tree hands, having to differentiate the real fingers from the “horns.” Shudder. “If you are going to be doctors, you have to be ready to handle anything the human body throws at you,” she lectured her horrified charges just before freaking out when a spider (!) emerged from the horns. Worse still, there wasn’t enough healthy skin left over for grafts (they couldn’t figure that out beforehand?), so he was stuck being, essentially, a skin-less mess. His wife, overwhelmed by the prospect of waiting another six to 12 months for skin grafts, decided to leave. “I think love isn’t enough anymore,” she said to Mark. “Is that possible? That two people can love each other, and it just isn’t enough?” A harbinger of things to come for Mark and Lexie? We can only hope.

I’m truly going to need some time to get over having seen this, and it wasn’t even real.

The Other Sex Ed Lesson

Another couple came in with an entirely different relationship-related problem: The young woman (played by Dana Davis, so great as Chastity Church on 10 Things I Hate About You) was having trouble breathing, and figured she was suffering from pre-wedding anxiety. See, the 27-year-old was, she disclosed quite freely, also a virgin. We soon found out, however, that her breathing problem was due to an obstruction in her lung — specifically, a condom stuck in her lung. Hmm. The patient finally revealed, adorably and tearfully, that she had put a condom onto a banana with her mouth at a bachelorette party, and accidentally inhaled it in the process. I think we all learned a valuable lesson here about bachelorette parties.

This all led to a fun discussion of virginity-loss among the doctors, with pretty typical stories, though April’s seemed a little too typical: “It was on the beach, at sunset, it was beautiful.” That’s right — our little Everwood graduate is a virgin. How long will that last in this horny hospital?

The episode ended on a very non-virginal moment in said horny hospital: Mark hot and heavy with Amelia, which a horrified Lexie got a glimpse of. Is it too much to ask that this be the end of Mark and Lexie for good? What else did you think of the episode, Grey’s watchers? Has Seattle Grace blossomed post-shooting? Will Cristina make a comeback? Will Teddy find love? And will Alex find effective deodorant? Sound off below!

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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