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

November 13, 2009 | 12:35 am
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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