'Grey's Anatomy': The choice between surgery and love
"In surgery, the healing process begins with a cut."
So began Meredith's closing comments on Thursday night's "Grey's Anatomy" episode, titled "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked." The metaphorical incision she was referring to was the inevitable removal of Dr. Webber from his position as Seattle Grace's chief of surgery.
The stresses of his hospital's declining ranking and the subsequent merger with Mercy West threw Webber off the wagon this year, and ultimately, he was no longer able to hide his drinking problem. This season, he's made crucial mistakes during surgery, forcing Bailey to cover for him. He's got a code with the local bartender: When he orders a "club soda," Joe pours him straight vodka. And in this episode, he passed on a complicated surgery in favor of the glass of scotch Derek tested him with.
I'm glad that Derek made the decision to go to the board about Webber's drinking problem, regardless of whether he did it for his own benefit or not. Seattle Grace is falling apart, and the Chief has come dangerously close to putting patients' lives in danger. If Derek turned Webber in because of a selfish agenda, so be it! The hospital needed the change. I was disappointed that Meredith couldn't see that. Her relationship with Webber, who has become her mentor this season, took precedence. She wasn't acting like a doctor when she "called post-it" and asked Derek to keep quiet.
I'm really interested to see how Webber's ousting is going to affect the hospital's routine. I doubt that everyone will feel as loyal to Derek as chief of surgery as they felt to Webber. Not to mention, he's now got authority over people like Mark, who has always operated as Derek's equal.
There hasn't been any news about James Pickens Jr. leaving the show, which is reassuring. I'd be sad to see him go, and I'm hoping we'll see Webber's "healing process" carry out.
Another "cut" made in the hopes of repairing something broken came from Alex. After an extended hiatus, Katherine Heigl returned as Izzie, hoping to fix things with her husband and start a job at a nearby hospital in Tacoma.
While it was more than expected that Heigl take a maternity leave after adopting her new daughter, Naleigh, I think the show has really suffered for it. The bond between Izzie and Alex has been built up carefully since the first season of the show -- with their first flirtations, the way they helped each other through Denny's death and Ava/Rebecca's mental illness, and finally his unfailing support of her during her battle with cancer. It's sad to see their relationship fall apart this way; it doesn't feel true to the characters.
I've always been a fan of Alex and Izzie together, but I had to admit that Alex was right to ask her to leave for good. "After all of it, I know that I'm a good man, and I thank you for that, because I know now that I'm good enough not to deserve this," Alex said through gritted teeth. "Not to love you so much that I almost hate you. I deserve someone who will stay."
After everything they've been through together, his point is hard to argue. Part of me hopes that he'll find someone who has nothing to do with the hospital. I can't remember any of the Seattle Grace doctors having an outside love interest (who was neither a doctor nor a patient) since Meredith's unsuccessful relationship with her veterinarian.
Thursday night, we also saw the consequences of Christina "giving" Owen to Teddy in exchange for Teddy staying on staff as Christina's mentor. Christina questioned her decision, quizzing her friends at every opportunity: "Surgery or love? You'd choose surgery, right?"
Christina's always been... unique. She's hard to understand, and things she finds logical baffle other people. Still, I feel like this latest dilemma borders on the absurd, even for her. As Teddy said, Owen is not a horse that can be traded.
When Teddy spilled the beans to Owen, he reacted in an interesting way. Instead of being disgusted or angry with Christina, he almost pitied her and her inability to understand life's priorities. I was surprised when he went home to her after that.
I loved the scenes between Mark and Callie in this episode, as he crawled into the hospital bed with her and helped her itch her chicken pox the right way. "No scars," he promised, and being a plastic surgeon, he's the expert. The fact that they've gone from being casual sex partners to loyal best friends is really heartwarming, especially because after finding out that Lexie slept with Alex, Mark really needs a friend.
I haven't decided if Mark is right to be so furious with Lexie, since not only did he sleep with Addison, but for a manic moment, he suggested that he might move to L.A. to be with Addison and raise Sloan's baby together. The emotional implication of that seems to be more of an issue than Lexie's one-night "recycle." Still, the idea that since they both had sex with other people, they "cancel each other out" also leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
I thought this was a pretty strong episode; the "Grey's" writers seem to slowly be getting back on track. I'm looking forward to the fallout from Webber's exit, as well as to finding out Izzie's next move. "This isn't my home," she told Meredith. "It's just a place I worked and I can do that anywhere." There have been rumors for years that Katherine Heigl is looking to get out of her contract. Do you think this might be her final season?
Chat about that and the rest of the episode in the comments below, and be sure to come back next week to discuss what's next!
--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)
Photos: From top, Derek (Patrick Dempsey) tempts Webber (James Pickens Jr.) with alcohol; Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and Alex (Justin Chambers) say goodbye. (Credit: ABC)
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