I cried tonight, and that is how I like it. Grey’s Anatomy was back in full, moody force — I’d even go so far as to say the best it’s been this season. Every show’s got to have highs and lows and middles, of course, but there’s been an abnormal amount of dipping below the axis this season. But this great wallow of an episode hit its emotional highs — that’s when Grey’s is at its best, when its wonderfully sad — with no trick guest stars, no random new docs (except Jim! but I love Jim!)…just our trusty core cast (which is big enough, thanks) and some decent, but not-too-distracting, patient stories.
Let us count the downers that elevated tonight’s installment:
Depressed Derek What do we think about this, Grey’s fans? I went into this episode dreading Derek’s descent after watching him talk on The View about how awesome it was that he was getting to actually act within actual story lines that did not strictly involve him wooing a crazy commitmentphobe. I thought I liked my McDreamy McSane and McTogether. But I started to turn around on that from the very first scene, when he was moping on the sofa eating cereal out of the box — though, admittedly, my positive feelings sprouted mainly from his wild depression hair. And his casual depression sweater. What I’m saying is Depressed Derek is hot. In fact, he seemed to be taking style cues from a fair number of men I’ve dated, which helped explain some things.
Sick Izzie I felt totally opposite about knowing we were likely to finally diagnose Izzie’s terminal whatever this week: Psyched. And in this case, the story line delivered. I’ll even go one step farther: It exceeded my expectations. I liked Dying Izzie. Way more than I’ve ever liked Living Izzie. Starting with her newfound penchant for gleefully imagining those she cares about carrying on without her, from Alex becoming a distinguished doctor with salt and pepper hair to Mer and Cristina bantering in the nursing home. (Cristina: ”If you have a problem, you don’t ignore it.” Meredith: ”Sometimes if you have to pee and ignore it, it does go away.”) Incidentally, Alex started proving her fantasy right immediately by sticking to his risky diagnosis of a teen girl who’d been having seizures mid-band march, and saving her life because of it. Upbeat Alex — also hot.
The Sucktastic Interns The worst intern class in medical history, on the other hand, at least finally served a narrative purpose when Izzie pretended to be teaching them with a fake case — ”Patient X” — when she was really making them diagnose her. I personally wouldn’t go this route, since I would want, I don’t know, a correct diagnosis — and I’d also like to learn what was wrong with me from people with a soul. But it’s a TV show, so I’ll go with it, and God knows she was doing the rest of the hospital a service by occupying the idiots. (T.R. Knight sighting of the week: George asking Izzie about Patient X before the interns pulled her away for a diagnosis!) They did, however, get it right (presumably), even if it did take a while. Patient X, they said, has metastatic melanoma (which, incidentally, is very bad indeed and happens to be related to how we’re killing the earth and should wear a lot of sunscreen) that’s spread to her liver and brain. (That also makes that mole check she got last episode make more sense.) Now to the important part: With chemo and radiation, she likely has only a few months to live; the survival rate is 5 percent. As one insensitive intern quipped, ”girl’s pretty much toast.” That didn’t make the next part — where another insensitive intern asked, ”what’s our prize?” — go over very well. ”The prize is you didn’t screw up this time,” Izzie snapped. ”You are doctors. That is the prize.”
In fact, as a side note, I have to say that after witnessing the incredible job security at Seattle Grace, I’m considering becoming an intern there; it seems like the only place in the world right now where you can repeatedly screw up and fail to show up without worrying for your very livelihood. Even when Derek walked out of the hospital while the Chief begged him to do surgery, the Chief only half threatened him with being fired. Which brings us to….
NEXT: The chief gets a dressing down…by two women