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"Grey's Anatomy": Alex gets his priorities straight

October 5, 2007 | 11:40 am

Greys For too long, Justin Chambers has been the forgotten man of "Grey's Anatomy." He hasn't gotten the Emmy nods like pretty much the entire female cast and T.R. Knight, nor all those magazine covers, like Patrick Dempsey. But this may be a good thing. Because while every other character got sucked into last season's morass of despair and silliness, Chamber's Dr. Alex Karev actually had a pretty decent story line. While dallying with the dear departed Addison, he developed a soft spot for children, those small humans no one but Bailey seems to even register. And in the aftermath of the notorious ferry accident, Karev came to care for the horribly disfigured/beautifully reconstructed Ava/Rebecca, formerly a Jane Doe. Although, in the end, he could not manfully admit his feelings, Chambers did a lovely job revealing a previously prickly character's sweetness without falling into the general slosh of treacle that surrounded him.

This season it is clear that Rebecca is gone but not forgotten and will, if casting rumors are to be believed, be back soon. Meanwhile, Karev has become something of a moral center for the show, pretty interesting since he was originally introduced as pretty much a womanizing jerk. In last night's episode, the second of the season, Karev struggled to aid a baby harmed during an explosion in his apartment. When it turned out the apartment was really a meth lab and the picture-perfect family meth dealers, Karev's outrage bubbled to the surface -- he yelled at the father, who punched him out and stole the poor screaming meth-addicted baby.

Still, just at this moment, Karev seems to be the most dedicated doctor at Seattle Grace since his concentration is not fractured by the various romantic plights that dog the rest of the cast. The Chief is delegating work because he wants to win his wife back, but Callie, to whom, as chief resident, he has delegated, is not quite up to the job, concerned as she is by George. Who, unable to save another meth addict harmed in the explosion, takes the young man's death as a sign that he should dump Callie for Izzie. Who has suddenly realized that having an affair with George might be a problem since she is working under Callie. Who gets the don't-let-some-man-screw-with-your-career pep talk from Mark. Who is trying to convince Derek that it might not be healthy to have a relationship with a woman who doesn't want a relationship, namely Meredith. Who tries, and fails, to aid Cristina by dealing with Mama Burke. Who has plunked herself down in the hospital waiting room where she doles out all sorts of advice to the various love-lorn docs who come to her as moths to a flame.

All I can say is, it takes a woman of some spine to call the son who dumped his fiancee at the altar "honorable" and take to task Meredith for giving an unsatisfactory front-of-the-church speech for same. Me, I think any honorable man would rather die than send his mama to collect his stuff for him. 

The episode's "theme" was addiction and seemed to be an acknowledgement that some of last season's story lines had crossed over from soap to psycho and might be about to cross back. With any luck, the rest of the staff will take a lesson from Karev -- no matter how sad you may feel about your love life, a meth-addicted baby has it worse, so maybe we should take care of him first.

--Mary McNamara

(Photo courtesy ABC)