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“Grey’s Anatomy”: Rules of engagement

February 6, 2009 |  7:13 am

Love was definitely in the air on last night’s entertaining (and fully Denny-free!) “Grey’s Anatomy.”

With a diamond ring burning a hole in his pocket, Derek tried to figure out exactly when and how he would propose to Meredith. The question of if no longer seemed relevant once Meredith quipped how cute their kids would be. If the girl could bring up babies without breaking a sweat, he figured, surely she wouldn’t bolt if he brought up marriage.

Naturally, word of Derek’s intentions spread quickly throughout the halls of Seattle Grace and, naturally, everybody had advice for the poor guy. Don’t make the question-popping a big, romantic McDreamy thing, Cristina insisted. Absolutely do make the grand gesture, countered a giddy Chief, and the grander the better: Flowers, candles, exotic foods, live musicians and even a rowboat should all be utilized, and skywriting should not be counted out. Even Derek and Meredith’s pregnant patient (Jennifer Westfeldt) -- who'd gotten engaged in a supermarket aisle, right between the cat food and the tampons -- weighed in: The proposal would be perfect, no matter where or how it took place, as long as it was the right person doing the asking. Hard to argue with that logic, I guess, even if it did come from a woman who’d just (accidentally) run her husband over with their car.

Derek’s hushed conversations and general sudden weirdness keyed Meredith in to the fact that something was up. She suspected it was the kid thing. Maybe, she mused to her no-longer-estranged BFF Cristina, he was freaked because he didn’t want kids with her -- with her DNA, her kids could have Alzheimer’s and suicidal tendencies and (surely, worst of all) split ends. So she walked right up and asked him if that was the case. This new grown-up Meredith? Love her. And clearly, so does her would-be fiance, 'cause he said he wants each and every one of her "crappy babies."

For a moment, it looked like the proposal might actually happen, big heart-shaped pile of rose petals on the bed and all. Derek fretted she’d hate the cliched route he’d chosen. But, Sloan -- all recovered from his unfortunate injury -- reassured Derek that “girls love this crap.” McSteamy even tried, as a tired-of-keeping-secrets Lexie had asked, to come clean about the relationship, though Derek didn’t exactly make it easy for him. He assumed all the deep-feelings talk was a joke. So Sloan gave up and left, right before Derek got a call from the woman he’d previously proposed to, ex-wife Addison, thereby setting the stage for next week’s big "Grey’s"/"Private Practice" crossover. By the time Meredith got home, Derek was gone and their bedroom showed no sign of what almost went down, save for a lone rose petal beneath a pillowcase.

Hopefully, Cristina won’t spill the beans before Derek has the chance to try again. She came close, though ultimately, she proved too absorbed in Meredith’s mom’s ninth journal -- how many are there?! -- and new flame Hunt. No hot, dirty sex in the on-call room for these two. Or “20 Techniques to Reignite Your Nights,” the raunchy magazine article that led an embarrassed patient to wind up needing something removed in surgery. For now, Cristina and Hunt are all about the slow burn -- or, more accurately, the cheesy slow-mo walks down the hallway.

Trouble clearly looms for the pair, what with that woman from Hunt’s past showing up. One glimpse of her and the scruffy-hot, if always dramatic, doc was flipping out and running off, prompting Cristina to lock him up in a nervous-system-suppressing hold. It was actually her second of the day: The first, of course, was a joint effort with Bailey to soothe Dr. Dixon (Mary McDonnell, so much better utilized on “Battlestar Galactica”).

Meanwhile, George -- remember him? -- remained largely MIA. Izzie, under the pretense of teaching, had her interns run a battery of tests to try and determine what’s wrong with her. The diagnosis? Anemia, for now -- though clearly, something else is coming at some point. And Dr. Bailey returned from a rare three days off to find that the Chief intended to promote her to attending in general surgery after she finishes her residency. Initially, she was thrilled. By the end of the episode, though, she’d worked on another wrenching kid’s case and was beginning to wonder if she was meant to be a peds surgeon instead. Bailey’s crusty with adults, but she’s a whiz with kids -- and, judging from her young patient’s backpack, a Bedazzler.

What are your thoughts on Dr. Arizona, who not only encouraged Bailey to pursue peds but also planted a kiss on a lonely, teary-eyed Callie in the bathroom of Joe’s bar? Speaking of Callie, are we liking her new bangs? Are Sloan and Lexie winning you over? What about Cristina and Hunt? And finally, how do you think Derek should propose to Meredith?

--Shawna Malcom

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