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'Grey's Anatomy': Paranoid schizophrenic meets paranoid residents

October 2, 2009 |  8:06 am


At the end of last week's season premiere episode of "Grey's Anatomy," Chief of Surgery Webber announced that Seattle Grace would be merging with its rival hospital, Mercy West, to ease financial strain caused by the recession. The shake-up has put everyone's job at risk, and the ensuing panic means there's no more time for sex in the on-call room as everyone fights for employment.

Thursday's paranoia-themed episode, "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me," certainly had some high points ... but where there are peaks, there are always valleys.

The Good...

"Aliens have impregnated my mother!"  Any episode that can successfully work in a line like that is fantastic in my book.  But in all seriousness, Lexie's patience and attention to Tom, the paranoid schizophrenic (guest star James Frain), was a high point in this episode.  When Lexie manages to sort out the jumble of facts and statistics crammed into her photographic memory, she emerges as charmingly compassionate and highly intelligent.

There were some great comedic moments this week, which is a nice change of pace after last week's two-hour sob-fest. Taking Christina out of her comfort zone always brings the laughs, but partnering her up with bubbly pediatric surgeon Arizona Roberts this week was genius. Christina Yang with a pink teddy bear pinned to her scrubs was hilarious, and I cracked up when she bitterly stole the last chocolate pudding from her 9-year-old patient.

Though the humor was refreshing, I really loved when, at the end of a hectic day, Izzie paused and remembered that her best friend is dead. The friendship between the original characters is the foundation of "Grey's Anatomy."  That's what keeps viewers invested in the show through even the craziest story lines -- like Denny hallucinations and deer surgery.  I'm glad George's absence is still having an impact; it feels real.

The Bad...

There was not enough Callie in this episode!  I definitely missed Dr. Torres. Her no-nonsense approach to medicine and blunt humor would have been a nice contrast to the panic-ridden chaos at Seattle Grace.  I hope they find a way to keep her involved despite her choice to leave the hospital.

The special effects on "Grey's Anatomy" are usually amazing.  Remember last season's episode with the guy who only had half a face? That was incredible work. But when McSteamy was re-attaching the baby's arm in Thursday night's episode, he might as well have been operating on a teddy bear!   The prop-master could have swung by the Grove and picked up an American Girl doll that looked more realistic than that "baby."

Has the Chief been getting on anyone else's nerves this season?  His refusal to discuss any of his decisions with his colleagues is making him come off as selfish and a little bit power-hungry. Sending out "you're fired!" e-mails is pretty cold and impersonal too. Maybe Derek should have taken his job after all. Plus, the Chief fired the syphilis nurse! How could he fire the syph nurse?  She's a part of "Grey's Anatomy" history!  She will be missed.

WigAnd The Ugly.

Yikes! Izzie's lopsided, plastic-y red wig was quite an eyesore.  I winced every time she came on screen.

I was happy when she finally asked the scrub nurse to take the wig off to reveal her "peach-fuzz chemo hair."  Izzie's character has always been praised for her lingerie-model good looks.  Now, as she manages her cancer, she represents a whole new kind of beauty -- the beauty in strength and survival.  I hope they continue to showcase that!

Time to take it to the comments...

Let me know what you think of the jobs that the Chief has cut so far.  Did you enjoy Christina's brief trip to the pediatric wing? What do you think of how Lexie attended to Tom and his mother? Are you still missing George? And what'd you think of Izzie's new look? 

Sound off below and check back next week to discuss the next round of layoffs.

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

Photos: Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt manages hospital chaos; Katherine Heigl as Izzie Stevens. Credit: ABC