The winds of change are blowing, my friends. After two strong back-to-back outings (“Poker Face” and “Put Me in Coach”) Grey’s Anatomy offered up “Heart-Shaped Box”. On the surface this episode could be perceived as bland, I suppose. I’m sure some fans will even call it boring. I’m going to disagree and argue that while this certainly wasn’t the most exciting GA installment ever, it had both a sense of history and a sense of humor, if one chooses to look a little more closely and delve a bit more deeply.

Mama O’Malley

Of all the original interns, George O’Malley was the one that came from the most normal upbringing, which included having a stable home life complete with functional parents. George’s father died epically back in season three and George himself followed suit at the end of season five, revealed to be the John Doe who jumped in front of a bus to save a woman’s life.  I found myself, like Bailey, to be both grateful to see and fiercely protective of Louise O’Malley, who had come to SGMW because of a botched surgery at Seattle Presbyterian.  

Happily, everything went smoothly for Mrs. O’Malley in the medical sense, but she certainly caused ripples all around her by her mere presence. Callie found herself feeling awkward around her former mother-in-law before finally coming clean about Arizona and Sofia. To Callie’s delight (and as I totally expected) Louise was overjoyed that Callie is so happy. I get the feeling she just might be the “mother” Callie’s been craving since her relationship with her own mom imploded last season.

And in related news, we finally got to the bottom of the wrath Miranda’s been directing towards Meredith. As I’ve said many a time, despite her best intentions, Bailey was/is “mother” to her interns:  Meredith, Cristina, Alex, Izzie, and George, whom she admitted was her favorite. It turns out Bailey’s been more than a little exasperated with Meredith, because Dr. Grey has been a bit of a difficult “child” to raise, a fine surgeon but reckless and impulsive in both her professional and personal lives. Mer has been making Bailey crazy with worry and anger and fear as she “threw herself in front of a bus” in the Alzheimer’s clinical trial debacle.

As is often the case, Miranda hit on an essential truth:  as parents we can only do so much. We raise our children, make every effort to shape them into decent human beings, and then pray for their health and safety. It strikes me that every parent has a Heart in a Box, because that’s what it’s like to have your child out in the world, beyond the scope of your protection.

Finally, our Big Three (Meredith, Cristina, and Alex) were forced to confront memories of George and Izzie as they considered both their losses and their futures. Right now there are more questions than answers. Will Meredith get Zola back? Will Cristina, now righted professionally, regain her footing with Owen? Will Alex ever be able to truly move on from Izzie and find love again? At least it looks like he’ll get his fellowship. In a nice twist, we discovered that Polly Preston couldn’t hold a candle to Alex Karev.

Heart in a Box

Grey’s is known for quirky medical cases and this week was no exception. Cristina spent most of the episode babysitting a heart in a box…literally. Richard (in full Jedi Master Mode) gave sage advice and Cristina was finally able to use the key. She’s made her Bucket List of awesome surgeries and has realized that one needs to figure out what’s truly important and not get bogged down in the things that aren’t. Now can she extrapolate what she’s learned and apply it to her personal life? I think she can, but that would mean that Cristina and Owen would need to be onscreen at the same time. I really missed them tonight. Zero shared minutes? Seriously? Sigh.

All’s Not Fair in Love and War

Meanwhile, in another subplot, Lexie tried to convince a prominent author to have life-saving surgery. The author refused, saying she needed to finish her book first. Lexie dived right in and helped with the project, learning in the process that even though she should love Jackson, she really still loved Mark. Even though they don’t want the same things and they’re really not good for each other. Whatever. Even though I’m a Jaxie fan, I’ll accept Mexie if only this triangle would reach resolution.  Which brings us to…

The Plastics Posse

I’m generally not a big fan of Mark Sloan, but I will admit that Eric Dane does comedy very well.  Tonight he brought a deft, sly humor to his scenes where Mark is struggling to understand what’s going wrong with his protegee, Jackson.  Jackson’s been pulling back from Mark, plastics, and surgeries because of the “thing” that lingers between Mark and Lexie.  Interestingly (and hilariously, I might add) Mark and Jackson choose each other and their mentor/teacher relationship.  Jackson also breaks things off with Lexie, who doesn’t make an effort to stop him from doing so.  The writers seem to be leading us towards a Mexie reunion, but I’m wondering if that’s a little too pat.  Hmmm…

O Henry!

And, finally, there’s Henry.  Sweet, charming, handsome, funny Henry is totally in love with his wife, Teddy, who loves him back, which means something awful is about to happen.  Sure enough, by the end of the episode Henry was coughing up blood, which can’t be good.  Clearly, there will be a Terrible Medical Crisis for Henry next week.  So here’s the Million Dollar Question:  Is he a dead duck or is this whole storyline a red herring?  I long for the latter, while fearing the former.  Don’t walk into the light, Henry!  Don’t do it!

The next all-new episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Dark Was the Night” airs Thursday, November 10 on ABC.

Best Quotes from this Episode

Photo AlbumGrey’s Anatomy – 8.08 – “Heart-Shaped Box”

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV