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'Grey's Anatomy': Izzie's not-so-triumphant return

117067_D_2542_pre Thursday night's "Grey's Anatomy" marked the arrival of Teddy Altman (Kim Raver), a face from Owen Hunt's past.  She's a cardio surgeon who served alongside Hunt in Iraq after losing her best friend in the World Trade Center on 9/11.  I find myself a bit peeved that Hunt implies that the war in Iraq is the direct result of the events of 9/11.

It's very odd that Hunt kind of ... presented Altman as some kind of offering for Cristina. Altman is a drop-dead gorgeous, tall blond from Hunt's past. Somehow I don't think this is the early Christmas gift that Cristina had been hoping for.

Cristina is painfully transparent, checking Altman's references like she's giving a job interview. When she vocally doubts Altman's proficiency -- even going so far as to tattle to the Chief -- I rolled my eyes. At least Bailey did her Bailey thing and more or less told Cristina to sit down and shut up.

As for Altman... I don't care how long she's been in the desert. Enjoying the rain is fine. Standing in the rain is fine. But Desert Storm Barbie was two seconds away from bursting into song when it rained. In Seattle.

I liked the way Altman had confidence in Cristina during the surgery, handing her the reins and, even after Cristina makes a mistake, demanding that Cristina fix it herself.  She doesn't even know Cristina, but she puts more faith in her than Hunt and Callie did last week.

In addition to the arrival of a new face, we also saw the return of an old favorite. Katherine Heigl's Izzie Stevens came back to Seattle Grace. Within the first minute, Meredith Grey (also back to rounds after the end of Ellen Pompeo's maternity leave) did what I wish I could've done: she gave Izzie a couple of firm punches. It's frustrating to me that Izzie is looking to place blame on everyone but herself for her firing. 

Alex's face when he saw Izzie broke my heart. The guy stood by her through cancer. He stuck by her while she was having hallucination sex with her dead fiance! I don't care if he did get her fired, which, for the record, she did all by herself. But even if he had, she'd still owe him more than a break-up note in his locker. He's her husband, not her 8th-grade boyfriend. It's absolutely pathetic that Meredith has to fill him in not only on Izzie's whereabouts, but also on the fact that she has been keeping up with her cancer treatments.

The teacher Izzie brought back with her is a very interesting case. He's her 10-grade biology teacher, with a "Memento"-style short-term memory issue, similar to what Izzie experienced after her brain surgery in last spring's season finale. He also believes that Izzie is still a pregnant 15-year-old, which leaves room for him to drop loaded comments such as: "She's gonna be a doctor someday ... if she doesn't get too distracted." Truer words!

Izzie insists on extensive tests. When they finally figure out what's wrong, however, her teacher can't afford the $10,000 surgery.  I really felt for Izzie when she had to remind Dr. Webber of the $8 million she donated to the hospital. While she may not deserve her job back quite yet, she was a part of the Seattle Grace family, and she deserves more consideration than the Chief is giving her.

Speaking of the Chief... Wow. In the final moments of the episode, it's heavily implied that the Chief's exhaustion and frustration with the merger may have led to a drinking problem as he asks Joe for another "club soda" and Joe takes his keys before pouring him a straight vodka.

It makes me question the Chief's previous actions. He's been so distracted that his wife, Adele (Loretta Devine), one of my very favorite recurring characters, bursts into the hospital and accuses Bailey of having an affair with him. She's got every right to suspect the Chief of infidelity based on his previous actions, but Bailey is understandably horrified.

Later, Bailey discovers that the Chief made a very serious mistake in a general surgery when he accidentally clipped a patient's common bile duct. Bailey protects the Chief from the scrutiny of the rest of the staff. Is it possible that she has a bit of a thing for him? I have to say, he'd be quite a downgrade after her kiss with Sam on "Private Practice" a few episodes back.

Before I finish, I have to say that I'm really enjoying the Mer/Der happiness while it lasts. Their "five almost-perfect seconds" were a nice reprieve from the usual dramarama.

Your turn to chime in!  What do you think of the Chief's affinity for "club soda"?  Do you think Alex's anger at Izzie is justified? What do you think is going to happen between Hunt and Altman?

Let's hash it out in the comments below, and be sure to check back next week to discuss Sloane's possible daughter!

-- Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photo: James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber. Credit: ABC

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Comments () | Archives (26)

love love love Meredith back. Ellen Pompeo is the glue of this show and this group. I love her hitting Izzie.. did what we all wanted to do :)

Wow. Don't like Hunt, Cristina (might want to learn to spell her name), or Callie too much, do you? Also, YOU'RE the one making the conclusion about the 9/11 and Iraq from what Hunt said, not him. If you're peeveed, then that's YOUR problem. I'm not very impressed with your review.

Oops! Thanks for the tip about her name; that's embarrassing.

Callie's probably my favorite character on the show. I don't like Meredith or Izzie much, though.

i like teddy (and i've always liked kim raver), i hope she gets to stick around (cardio is kinda seattle grace's equivalent to defence against the dark arts position), & cristina better not run her off (when she eventually finds out teddy's thing for hunt).

until this episode, i didn't realize izzie told everyone she lost her job. i find it odd that she thought alex got her fired but didn't confront him about it. i'm on his team about this. but i'm also definitely hoping he sticks to getting drunk every night with meredith than somehow find himself sleeping with that resident with the big eyes.

speaking of her (i forget her name), was it just me or did she skip up to bailey? twice? what's with the skipping?

i hope bailey doesn't have a thing for the chief. i really don't wanna see that. ok?

& it seemed to me that the chief had a drinking problem previously - probably around the time he was having an affair with mer's mom - and he's just fallen off the wagon. anyone else think the case of the yellow guy will come and bite him in the buttocks before season's end?

good to see meredith back. although she isn't my favorite (right now, arizona is), i do think the show isn't going to work without her.

Interesting episode. Think they could have dealt with Izzie's return a bit better. I too felt for Karev. She was a jerk. Liked your 8th grade bf comment. She owed him more than to return to the hospital and then avoid him. Good to see Meredith standing up for a change! Enjoyed Izzie's teacher's role. Wonderful character. Think it will be interesting to see how the introduction of "desert storm barbie" plays out (a great line except that Desert Storm took place BEFORE 9/11, writers!!). Am thinking that Hunt may veer towards Altman in future episodes. Could be interesting if Cristina continues to develop a respect for her. He looked a tad stunned at Altman's revelation. Hmmmm. Am disappointed that the Chief has taken a very fast downward spiral. Have always enjoyed his character. They are showing his faults of late but it was always nice having a relatively "wise" character on board. Who will take over that role on the show?? Derrick?

Oh, please, are you that naive? Had 9/11 not happened, no way does the U.S. (re)invade Iraq. Why even bring it up here?! This show was DOA come the third season.

I am surprised anyone is still watching this...show. Saw this recap and was reminded why I stopped around the time of the WGA strike. Read recently that the ratings are down. no suprise if this is the level of the writing.

Ms. MacKenzie, I look forward to your review each week. Your review was once again right on. It is wonderful to see Mer & Der together. More kissing between them I say! Alex Karev's sad face broke my heart and I do not often care for that character. For some reason last night's episode felt like the good old Grey's Anatomy. The characters were back to their true selves. I still am not fond of the Mercy West characters. What would the show be without Bailey? The part about work husbands and husband husbands (or whatever) was hilarious. I am looking forward to next week's episode and your review.

You're right: Having Hunt casually link the Iraq war to 9/11 is a very serious error. I hope the writers get that message loud and clear from fans

My heart went out to Kerev... it always has, because he'd had a crappy childhood, worked hard for everything he has and he finally had a taste of happiness and Izzie is destroying him. Glad to see him stand up to her, and Izzie's closing expression was that of contemplation, like she took it too far.

I see smoke with the new Altman Cardio God and Hunt. Christina is going to cause Hunt to turn to Altman for some reason, and that will be this season's big drama. I loved the way Altman treated Christina in surgery, however, especially considering her feelings for Hunt, but she didn't let that interfere. Altman shows true character, although she acts a little too ditzy for someone who is supposed to have battle scars and is a Cardio God.

However, I was proud of Izzie when she stood up to the Chief for her teacher (loved his character!), reminding the Chief of the 8 million she gave to them. So sad she had to remind him. She should have reminded him of that when she was fired, and now ESPECIALLY that she owes $200,000 in hospital fees that Kerev has been slapped with.

Under normal circumstances, Izzie would have had a slap on the hand for her mistake, but the board needed to eliminate more bodies to meet their budget. That was a shame.

I hope Meredith and Derek stay happy for awhile. I need a break from their dramas, and it's nice to see Meredith happy for once.

At the end, when the Chief was drinking, and Meredith looked over at him... that told a thousand words. Meredith knows about his drinking problem from the past. She might have to be the one to blow the whistle on him, and then the whole ugly mess about the Chief and her mother, the Chief blowing the last surgery and all will come out. Then again, this might be what bonds Meredith and the Chief at last... she might help him.

It's a good season, although I'm not crazy about some of the new characters. They aren't exciting.

For the first time since the first season I'm actually enjoying Mer/Der. I like them so much more when they're happy and drama free. Same with Izzie and Alex. I used to love Izzie but since the LVAT wire insanity her character has lost it's shine for me. I think she has absolutely no leg to stand on in this situation and wonder if Shonda is wanting us to hate her due to all her acting out in the press.

I totally agree with you on the 9/11 comment. Really didn't like it and it took me out of the show for a second.

I'm glad to at least have an explanation as to why the Chief has gone off the deep end. His character has become almost unwatchable to me and this goes a long way for some sympathy.

I needed more Callie/Arizona in this episode. They're my fave.

Loved the "work husband/home husband dialogue"!

I want Izzie and Alex to work it out. I just hope it doesn't take all or into next season for them to get it together.

Meredith and Derrick FINALLY keeping the sunshine/flowers attitude in regards to their relationship is AWESOME!

I forsee Hunt leaving Cristina for Teddy, which will be sad, but will open up Cristina for Dr. Gorgeous-Eyes-Avery.

So does that mean the chief has only been drinking for about a week, or were all the flashbacks where we see Derrick eyeing his drinks indicating he's been drinking for a while now? Poor chief. I hope Adele finds out and he gets help instead of ending up alone and unemployed.

I love Lexie and Sloan/Callie and Arizona! Hope these last forever and have interesting stories tied up in both of these relationships.

Think I covered all the bases here.

Izzie really needs to stop blaming everyone else for getting her fired...she did that all by herself..she let her emotions get the best of her when she realized that some doctor she just met for five minutes was completely making a fool out of her. It was obvious that she was looking for someone to replace her best friend George and that guy could never hold a candle to George.


I think their relationship may experience a bit of turbulence. I wonder if he went after her because she happened to be at the right place at the right time when he needed someone. Hunt and Altman seem to have a close history, and have both experienced the tragedy of war. When she revealed the fact that she loved him and then lamented that it was unrequited Hunt's breath was taken away and he was speechless. Also, early Christian off-handily said that if this is what he thinks of my talent I might have to brake up with him, though lighthearted it may be foreshadowing. We know there is one person that adores her talent...


Happy that she is back


Alex is right what she did is wrong even if he was the reason she got fired, although he had little to do with it. Izzie seems to be extremely immature some times making me think that she is certainly not ready to be in a marriage. Also she acts as if she is entitled not only to work there, but to get what she wants. She has made several errors over the years and at most hospitals would have seen her license revoked. Donating 8 million dollars in return for favors would not only be unethical but illegal. I feel sorry for Alex, as hard headed as he is sometimes he always seems to get the short end of the stick in relationships both romantic and his family. Where would he be without Meridith.

The Cheif:

I feel bad for the chief, this goes to show it is lonely at the top. No matter what decision you make people are going to resent you. It is obvious that he cares about the people at the hospital from what he has done in the past for all of them: bringing Derick back from the edge, Izzie's DNR & lvad, Meridith ......

With the poor economic situation the hospital is strapped for cash and tough decisions have to be made with the board breathing down on him. It is clear that those decisions, as cool as he is trying to play it, are weighing heavily on him. How deeply he cares is illustrated by his return to the bottle, the last time he succumbed to the bottle was when he was going through one of the most emotionally ravishing experiences of his life.

Even though he has been there for others no one has seemed to recognize, though partly his fault, the pain he is experiencing. Instead every decision he is making, both good and bad, are being meet with sniping from all sides including those close to him like Derick and those that are not like the board. It will be interesting to see if things go full circle and Meridith ends up being the one who is there for him.

Honestly,at the present I am dealing with Hospital visits,and because of that I am extremely annoyed at the nonsense surrounding theses seriously ill patients.The program is straying to far from the premis,too much emphasis on love,sex,gay sex,casual sex....The Christina charachter is rediculous,Meredith looks like a distorted pumpkin,thank God for the new surgeon,she and Alex are the only good looking faces on Gray,s.

dee dee can the times hire you to write this column. sorry carina, she does a better job. mer and der are the base of the show. shonda knows not to do an er mistake and take that away, and even while i don't like izzie, her performance with the chief tonight was stellar. alex's performance in standing up to her ... way to go shonda.

do not like the chief falling off the wagon. he wouldn't do that. worse, there's no good result that i can see. he either steps down as chief or leaves the hospital. neither is acceptable to me. he is the wise voice, although he hasn't been lately.

and everyone get over the 9/11 comment. you're twisting it. since i lived in new york on 9/11, worried over friends, and ultimately realized one was gone i saw it from a different light. after 9/11, for many new yorkers the u.s. was going to fight the iraquis who were stated to be involved in the world trade center bombings. most of us didn't buy into the wmd's. we were too used to the govt coming up with any excuse to do what they wanted to do. we also knew this was was to make money for their business friends. we didn't care. we were angry. get the terrorists. for 9/11.

we knew most of the rest of the country didn't have our fervor. yes, we saw the outpouring of money and condolences and were grateful. however, we were at ground zero. we had the open wound. i still remember that first weekend while i alternated between grief and numb and every particle of my being wanted to shout out, with soot on my balcony and breathing acrid air, my family and friends were going to the mall and soccer practice and oblivious life moving on. i wanted to kill them. i hated them. i wanted them to feel my pain. my loss. our loss. see the holes.

no, i got altman. i got shonda. called a couple new york friends after i read these comments and said hey check out the times. no not ny, la. we're sorry some of you didn't get it, but we understand. i used to live in la and have to explain earthquakes and wildfires and flashfloods and riots to them.

Only the uninformed and ignorant would make the connection (or see a connection) between serving in Iraq and 9/11. Many people enlisted in the military after 9/11 because our country was at war with Islamic terrorism. They had been at war with us for five years and it was high time we returned the favor. Once you join the military (try to understand this) you go where they tell you to go. If they say you go to Iraq, you go to Iraq or Egypt or wherever you are needed. Is that too hard to understand out there on the left coast? Unfortunately I was now too old to reenlist or I would have put the uniform back on. Folks out there don't understand this patriotism thing do you? As for the rest of your diatribe... I really don't care. After all Grey's Anatomy is a make believe world. What happens there does not affect my life or anyone elses except for those who make a living from the show. We may be better served if you reported on the lives of the real people and not try to make us believe in myths.

Thanks for all the comments, everyone! The 9/11-Iraq connection irked me because the war in Iraq isn't about terrorism, and casual references like Hunt's can sometimes seem ill-informed. But I see where you're coming from.

It was just a small moment; it didn't color my opinion of the entire episode. I guess I should have expressed it better, but this was one of my favorite eps of the season. I think the writers are on an upswing.

Christina and Izzie are both very flawed characters, but they're consistent, and I consider their flaws a good thing as a TV viewer (though I wouldn't in a real hospital). I wouldn't want to watch a show about 15 perfect people having perfect lives.

I don't understand why everyone is hating on Izzie. I think it is wrong for her to be placing blame on everyone else too but she has been through A LOT. I mean she has cancer, nearly dies and then instead her best friend dies. It's not like Karev is a shining example so why can you forgive him for his wrong-doings and not Izzie? Hmmm?

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