No-one would deny that Grey's Anatomy has been pretty heavy-going lately - great stuff, but tough on the old tear ducts. So it was nice to get an episode where - though there were still weepy moments - we got some positive outcomes for once.
The big case of the episode revolved around two conjoined twins whom the doctors were hoping to separate. Everyone's been practising for weeks, and it's come down to today - it's a big moment.
Unfortunately, Arizona's feeling a little bit tense - she's been caring for these babies since birth and has gone a bit, um, insane. Alex is due to do the vital "flip" with her, but Webber starts seeding doubt in his mind - he shouldn't let Arizona destroy his confidence, this is going to go on his record, blah blah blah.
Of course, Alex is DUMB, so he falls for it head over heels. So after practising the "flip" (pretty badly), he sidles up to Owen to complain about Arizona's angry attitude, saying he doesn't want to screw up the team. Unfortunately, Owen reads this as that he doesn't want to do the procedure, and Webber immediately jumps in to take it. Alex is understandably furious about this (though saying he hopes Webber drops a twin is not so nice.)
Anyway, the flip's a success (hurrah!) but there's naturally still loads of work to do (and Arizona's unhelpfully instructing Callie and Derek). Eventually, it's time for the final cut, then they have to check the twins' motor function. It's looking a bit dodgy for one of them at first, but eventually her foot twitches. Even Zola claps, for goodness' sake.
Then it's time for a bit of plastic surgery, but there's a problem with one of the twins - her kidney's dead! And it can't be fixed, either. The parents are devastated - they didn't even want to go through with the operation until the hospital convinced them. But Alex has had an idea - transplant a kidney from the other twin.
Alex goes to scrub in on the operation, and Webber looks impressed. He goes to see him and apologises for stealing the flip earlier, explaining that as he gets older he's realising that he only has a finite number of operations left before he's stuck in a room doing paperwork.
It's a heartfelt speech, and Alex does the nice thing and tells Webber to take over on the transplant operation. Seriously, has Alex always been this stupid? Of course, when the transplant is almost done Webber admits that he stole the surgery, saying it was easier than taking candy from a baby. Ouch. But hey, at least the surgery was a success!
So the parents come to see their newly separated babies, and let's face it - they're ridiculously cute. So heartwarming! Meanwhile, Alex confronts Webber, accusing him of violating the idea of a teaching hospital by stealing surgery. But Webber points out that Alex did learn something today - to never give up a once-in-a-lifetime surgery, no matter what. (To be honest, he could probably have taught that in a nicer way.)
There were some other things going on in the episode, too, though. Bailey is surprised to discover that she's booked to work with Ben this week - and she's worried, because Ben is trying to get her to move in with him and she thinks it's too fast.
Instead of having a conversation with him like a sensible person, Bailey decides that it would be a good idea to recruit Meredith as a barrier - basically, during surgery, if Ben alights on any kind of personal topic, Meredith has to pretend to forget everything she knows about medicine so Bailey can avoid the subject. You'd think Meredith would be annoyed at missing the conjoined twins but hey, she's got Zola and is in a ridiculously sunny mood.
Anyway, Bailey's plan works for a while but Meredith can't help but admit that she loves being married to her fellow surgeon Derek (and Bailey can't help but talk about all the mistakes Meredith's made because she works with her husband - cough clinical trial cough).
Meredith manages to escape between patients - much to Bailey's anxiety. But Ben explains that he's not a kid anymore - he wants to share his life with someone. Still, Bailey's unconvinced since they only got back together two weeks ago (and you know what? I'm actually kind of on Bailey's side. They're moving so fast...) But Ben seems to take this as a sign that they should maybe break up.
Meredith returns to operate on the next patient, but when Ben complains Bailey has no room for "joy" in her life, Bailey goes on a rant about how focused she is at work. Unfortunately for her, Meredith points out that they've lost a sponge... and it must be in the patient. They soon discover that the sponge is stuck to Bailey's shoe, but by that time the point has been made.
So later Bailey approaches Ben and explains that because of everything she's been through - the divorce, the shooting - she's scared of everything getting messed up. But Ben reminds her she can move in bit by bit - starting with a toothbrush, maybe.
Bailey's STILL not convinced because of her son, but Ben's got a plan to win her over - talk about dinosaurs. He explains that he knows she comes with a son, but he likes spending time with him and wants "the whole package" (sounds like he's shopping, but we'll let it slide, because the dinosaur thing was kind of cute). He leans in to kiss her, but Bailey moves away. And then, of course, she turns and tells him her toothbrush is in her locker. Aww!
Oddly enough, my favourite storyline of the episode was also the most upsetting - I think I enjoyed it so much because it was dealt with brilliantly and ended up being a really affecting piece of television.
Two weeks on from Henry's death, Teddy's paging Cristina almost constantly and ordering her to relive his operation step by step. When Cristina finishes, she's ordered to do it again. When April, who's operating with Teddy, realises what's going on, she's horrified.
At one point, as Cristina describes the way Henry's tumour eroded his pulmonary artery, Teddy pushes for further details - it's like an interrogation. Cristina explains every step patiently... and is then ordered to recite the surgery yet again, as April visibly deflates.
Later, April tells Cristina that Teddy's being "mean", but Cristina insists that she can handle it, and continues to recite whenever Teddy demands. Eventually, April snaps and yells that Teddy has to stop forcing Cristina to relive it - it won't bring Henry back.
Brilliantly, Teddy stares at her coolly and asks if she's alright to continue the operation, or if she needs time to gather her thoughts. April says she's fine, and Cristina continues to go through Henry's operation.
After surgery, Cristina recites the operation once more as Teddy shuts her eyes and tries to imagine doing it herself. She even joins in with Cristina, and they repeat the time of death together. Teddy finally breaks down in tears as Cristina apologises.
But Teddy says she has nothing to apologise for, and shouldn't blame herself. She did everything Teddy would have done. The moment when Teddy sobs: "He just... he just died" is absolutely awful and hugely tear-provoking... but it's also excellent television. Teddy ends up just standing there crying with Cristina.
So while that storyline didn't have a 'happy ending' like the rest of the largely uplifting episode, what it did give us was some sense of resolution. I hope it's a long road ahead - grief can't be dealt with in one episode - but seeing it handled so brilliantly here makes me feel rather confident. I don't know if it was a realistic portrayal, as such, but televisually it was excellent. What did you think?
- It's truly lovely to see Meredith and Derek so happy, and as such proud parents. Having the episode bookended by their attempts to get Zola to walk, and then Zola's first steps at the close, was a lovely touch. Happy happy happy.
- It was a little obvious, but I didn't mind the operatic music during the twins' surgery to underline the idea of it as a big performance.
- The scenes between Lexie and the twins' parents were nice, though the massive kiss in the waiting room seemed a little out of place for some reason (might just be me). I suppose it was because they didn't even stop when Lexie announced the twins were being separated.
- Speaking of Lexie, I enjoyed the moment when everyone was raving over Julia and she grumbled that she was off to update the twins' parents.
- Oh, and the moment when Lexie thought Mark was talking to her when he said he wished she'd been in surgery, and then realised he was on the phone to Julia? Can I crawl into a hole and die on her behalf?
- Jackson and Mark racing to finish their surgery first - awful. But funny.
- Webber's speech about getting older and running out of surgery time was really touching, so it was a shame it was all part of a ploy. I'd be willing to bet it came from a real place, though - do we think we might see more of that in the future?
- Another moment I really liked was the scene in which Callie made it clear that Arizona had been a "monster". It's nice that she could be critical but the pair could remain loving.
- "He and I are involved." "Everybody knows that." "Can't you at least pretend?" "You and Dr Warren? Wow!"
- Yep, that Bailey and Ben story was a bit silly - but it worked well as light relief and had a really sweet ending.
- I know that Teddy has accepted Henry's death now, but I do hope we see more of the grieving process. I have faith in Grey's Anatomy to handle it well, though.
- Similarly - Cristina's guilt. I thought it was incredibly moving that Cristina never questioned Teddy's orders to recite the steps of the operation, no matter how tired she was or how devastated she felt about Henry's death.