I wasn't quite sure what to expect following last week's epic conclusion to the 13-episode story arc that began way back in May 2010. It was certainly a tough act to follow, and I admit I was disappointed. "Average!" proclaimed my friend, Judy, and she's absolutely correct. Neither wonderful nor horrible "Start Me Up" was very much ... average. Having said that, a lot actually happened in this episode, so let's get to it.
Callie and Arizona
Well, the gloves are off and the pretty pink bubble has officially burst. Calzona is in ruins and it's getting nasty. Pushed to choose, I'd be on Team Callie, but, in fairness, outright mistakes and questionable choices have been made by both women, and they are now facing their greatest hurdle to date: Callie is pregnant with Mark's child.
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Despite having predicted this development, part of me is still surprised that Shonda went there. It seems more than a little "soap opera," yet manages to muck up both Calzona and Mexie in a major way. Depending on how it's told, however, it could be intriguing. It's also a development liable to incense the MerDer shippers. Not only is Callie getting a baby first and accidentally, but Meredith and Derek are (post-miscarriage) having difficulty conceiving and are likely headed down a storyline of infertility struggles. I'm wondering if that will lead to an adoption down the road, but that's a topic for another column.
Two New Couples
First, the good news. Eli is all kinds of adorable, and I really like him with Bailey. I like that he's leaving her scandalous notes in charts and proposing on-call room trysts. I like that he's bringing out a lighter side of Miranda, a woman who is finally saying ... why not? And I really like that for all Miranda's plans to compartmentalize her life and keep Eli a fling, that's not likely to be the case for long in Shondaland.
Now the bad news. Henry is also pretty darn adorable, but his story with Teddy is boring. It's not awful, at least not yet (I still fear Denny Duquette 2.0), but it's boring. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for small favors. Teddy is now firmly and clearly Cristina's mentor and Owen's friend (emphasis on friend), and the Triangle of Doom is not only over but seemingly never existed. That works for me. What doesn't work for me is that poor Kim Raver seems to be struggling yet again to overcome a poorly written storyline. It's also a problem that in a cast of this size, where screen time is a precious commodity, lots of minutes are being siphoned off to tell this story. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...
The Race for Chief Resident
Contests are always fun on GA and I'm sure this one will be no exception. It's a good thing that this thing is a marathon and not a sprint, however, because most of the residents did not fare well with their First Year Med Students. Interestingly, Karev received the Chief's praise, even though he basically spent the day striving for (and ultimately achieving) a goal totally unrelated to medicine. That's ok by me, though, as I actually think Alex could be an terrific Chief Resident. Again, that's for another time.
Ironically, Cristina Yang ultimately was the best teacher to her student but not until after his poor evaluation of her had been submitted. It was a slow burn all day for Cristina, back in the hospital at last and fighting her inherent distaste for this sort of thing, aka first year med students. Yet, to my relief, she wasn't the same old Cristina. Neither was she so vastly improved in her interpersonal skills that we no longer recognized her. Instead, to my mind, she was a realistic combination of before and after, an emerging portrait of a woman who is still a brilliant driven surgeon but whose life experiences have rendered her a better person, a better doctor and, yes, even a better teacher. And most interesting of all, despite the bad review and difficult day, Cristina didn't seem to mind much. As she snuggled into Owen's embrace as they ate dry cereal for dinner, it was clear that she would simply move on to fight another day while not being overly affected by this one, content in her career and her marriage. Awesome.
An all-new episode of Grey's Anatomy will air on Thursday, Febr. 3, 2011 on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)