Karen Leigh
April 22, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Grey’s Anatomy”: What goes around, comes around

Why is it that the wingmen who assault me in bars are never as steamy as Sloane? Last night, the docs of Seattle Grace played a little game of musical chairs — Meredith officially relinquished her position as resident drama queen to Izzie; George picked up Derek’s slack as the show’s emotionally unavailable husband; and McDreamy became our career-obsessed narcissist du jour as we greeted a newly soft (and manicured) Cristina.

Greg Kirschling is on vacation and will be back next week; in the meantime, what goes around, comes around — starting with Izzie’s long-lost daughter, brought to Seattle Grace under the guise of that old ER standby, youth leukemia. True, birth mothers give up all rights to a child when they put them up for adoption, but was I the only one who thought Hannah’s parents treated Izzie like dirt, guilting her into saying the kid had cancer because of Izzie’s genes, then demanding marrow and denying her a chance to meet the girl to whom she gave life?

Over at the coziest house ever, Meredith’s mother issues once more took center stage (I knew we got off too easy in the days after Ellis’s death, what with her whole lack of mourning). Since our skinny heroine clearly doesn’t eat, Susan’s weekly grocery deliveries went unappreciated and pushed Meredith to the breaking point. Susan’s whole interaction with her stepdaughter seemed so underhanded. She didn’t want much to do with her while Ellis was alive, and admittedly kept Thatcher away from his daughter in order to enjoy marriage without any added complication. Yet now that Ellis is dead, she tried to fill the ”mommy” role? Meredith’s abrupt dismissal could be deemed rude, but I think she’s finally moving past that whole ”dark and twisty, I can’t swim, pick-me-choose-me-love me” stage and becoming confident, independent, and self-sufficient.

Good timing, too, because tonight marked the series debut of Derek 2.0, a cold-hearted, career-obsessed (though still criminally handsome) version of his former self. Ladies and gents, I give you the thousandth hurdle for the would-be Mr. and Mrs. McDreamy, as Derek decided that the real reason he’d come to Seattle was not to escape his troubled marriage and start afresh, as he’d been preaching all along (am I nuts, or has he all but stated this in seasons past?) Nope, he really came west because the Chief promised him that he would one day run the ship. Derek became a total drama queen, raising his voice to his boss and demanding to be made Chief. Just when I thought we’d been seeing some real character development with this guy — taking the high road and becoming Addison’s friend; learning to love again (ugh, do I sound like a Lifetime movie or what?) — he turned into an angry, yelling jerk who put his career above the girlfriend he supposedly loved. Let’s pray this was just lazy writing, and not character assassination in the name of a future breakup-cliffhanger.

Meanwhile, it seems old Cristina’s gone, gang, and that might not be such a bad thing. Tonight, she finally made it clear to Burke and Colin Marlowe — whose moniker is totally out of some Shakespeare play — that she loved Preston, he was the best damn cardio surgeon in this room, and that coral, was, like, perfect for a spring wedding. The scenes between the three of them were funny, but I was glad to see Cristina become serious, swallow a little pride, and ask Burke for an answer to a medical question she already knew. It proved she was finally willing to put him first (a trend which began when she endangered her own status to become his surgical aide) and that at long last, she realized her ego wasn’t more important than her love for Burke — in sharp contrast to petulant Derek’s refusal to answer Meredith’s call.

In a bar and a hospital bathroom, two doctors became unlikely mother hens. Bailey acted as a surrogate mom to Izzie (I welled up a bit during the latter’s powder-room confession), while Sloane decided to get the Chief back in on the market. Interesting parallel between the navigation required in the dating and surgical games, as Sloane took Richard out to a bar in hopes of getting the boss some action (and, in classic McSteamy fashion, thereby advancing his own campaign for the top job). It was cute to see Mark and Addison band together and keep an eye on Mr. ”It’s Lonely at the Top.”

Yet the show’s two ball-busters, Addison and Callie, barely registered tonight. Instead, we got a drawn-out routine between sinful friends George and Izzie, complete with overwrought glances at each other and at Hannah, who — I’m sorry — looked absolutely nothing like Katherine Heigl. George continued on his downward spiral, blowing off coffee with his wife to help Izzie get dressed (was anyone else disappointed that Callie didn’t walk in on them?) At this point, George and Izzie need to seriously understand that they did wrong (worse, even, than the Meredith pity sex) and take a breather from each other. I hope the folks at ABC don’t think their chemistry-free relationship is a permanent fix to the disaster that is George and Callie.

Meanwhile, if I ever become a pregnant amnesiac with a crushed face, please, God in heaven, let me wake up to Karev. For some reason, the gruff beefcake’s flirtation with Addison has derailed a bit, thanks to his fixation on the disfigured boat crash victim. Tonight, she proved she has a good pair of lungs (”My name is Shannon Marie!” Jeez, my eardrums!) but she still seems a contrived plot device designed to show the softer side of Alex (wow, he’s like Sears). The day she leaves, I’ll take a ferry to Happyland (and I’ll take Marlowe and all his Cardiothoracic Monthly back-issues along with me, if only to get the guy off this show).

So, TV Watchers, what’s your diagnosis? Instead of sallow Roger Rees, should they have cast a more believable foil for Burke? Will Meredith and Susan ever do Mothers’ Day brunch? And how awkward was the Chief when he played love doctor for Mer and Derek?

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