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Ah, it's a dark and twisty Valentine's Day in Seattle. What? You were expecting hearts and flowers? This is Grey's Anatomy
and nothing is ever simple, particularly in matters of the heart. And, yet, this episode wasn't really about romance. Instead, as Meredith says in her trademark opening voiceover, it's about reinvention: how we must all keep reinventing ourselves to keep moving forward, lest we move backwards instead.
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The Girls vs. The Guys
How much do I love this opening scene? Putting aside the fact that I've been wanting a Mer/Der/Owen/Cristina double date for ages, this scene was classic. New BFF's Derek and Owen are taking their ladies out for Valentine's Day, except the Twisted Sisters (good one, Owen) aren't having it. "We don't DO Valentine's Day!" they say in unison. And to their delight, a massive trauma leads to the guys getting paged and they have to head back to the hospital. There's been a roof collapse at one of Seattle's most famous restaurants. On Valentine's Day. Not good. Alas, that means the double date is postponed for a good dose of trauma and surgery. I'm not sure the guys could have given the girls a better gift.
The Choices We Make
Three of the victims of the roof collapse are Mrs. Banks, her husband (who's in surgery most of the episode), and the maitre'd, Emile (who has been silently loving Mrs. Banks from afar for fifteen years). Meredith and Alex (love their friendship) get sucked into this unfolding drama (as does Cristina, belatedly, asking: "What are we doing?") in another scene that reminds me of the good old days. "Is this what marriage turns into?" Meredith asks. "Running out of things to say and changing who you are?" As always, she's talking about herself as much as the patient. But later she has an illuminating conversation with Mrs. Banks who, as it turns out, has a strong marriage despite Emile's perceptions. "I made a choice," she tells Mer. "...and I keep making it every day. That's what marriage is." And that's when Meredith realizes she needs to attend the brunch she's been avoiding. She needs to be Derek's wife. It doesn't make her any less of a surgeon. But in that moment, he needs her to be his wife. Marriage is compromise.
Reinvention and Adaptation
Meanwhile, all around the hospital, characters are reinventing themselves. Derek is struggling to be the chief of surgery at the expense of actually being a surgeon. Miranda is trying to deal with cutie pie anesthesiologist, Ben, and ends up (in spite of rather than because of Arizona's attempts to play Cupid) agreeing to go out with him. Lexie's become a blonde, but Jackson helps her to see that that's only an external change and that true change comes from purposeful, internal choices. Mark is trying to complete his metamorphosis from shallow pretty-boy to responsible grandfather, only to be shattered when daughter Sloan takes off after making the decision to give her baby up for adoption. Good thing best pal, Callie, is there to help him pick up the pieces. And Teddy is realizing that the end result of her ill-fated attempts to profess her undying love to Owen has led to the disintegration of their friendship. So she changes course, offering to be Owen's friend and Cristina's teacher. But can she undo what's been done? Can she "unring the bell?" And as a final note, how cute are Owen and Cristina? Arm-in-arm at the end of the day, he's fine with her being called into surgery with Teddy (lesson learned from last week) saying: I'll see you at home.
Coming Full Circle
In her closing voiceover, Meredith touches again on the choices we make. How we change. How we adapt. Life is change. Life is adaptation. Life is reinvention. Because we are either moving forward or we are moving backward. There is no standing still.