Now that’s more like it! After a rather dreadful outing last week, Grey’s Anatomy returned to top form with “Hope for the Hopeless”. With one notable exception (more on that later) there weren’t any Big Moments in this episode. Instead, there was a series of almost vignette-like stories featuring the whole ensemble. Tonight I was reminded that GA still boasts one of the strongest casts in television, all of whom brought their “A” Game to the proceedings.

Cristina and Owen

What can I say? Once again Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd rocked the house. Their Cristina and Owen bring the angst like no one else, which is my personal theory as to why they always get such gut-wrenching drama. Ostensibly, their storyline tonight revolved around Cristina and Teddy defying Owen by stealing a patient from Karev and Dr. McQueen (who, random aside, only turns up when needed for plot purposes). Fueled by Teddy’s grief and Cristina’s guilt, Drs. Altman and Yang were both insubordinate and disrespectful to Chief Hunt. This led to my least favorite (and I mean that in a good way) moment of the night: when Cristina and Teddy mocked Owen as he left the OR.  

This was not only reprehensible, but also was the linchpin in a chain of events that finally pushed Owen too far. In the jaw-dropping culminating scene of the episode, Owen’s frustration and anger boiled over in a scathing indictment of his wife. She was out-of-line professionally. She was out-of-bounds personally, getting her own way pretty much all of the time to the exclusion of his hopes, dreams, feelings or even opinions. And then came the final, devastating blow: she killed their baby. Yep, he said it out loud, within earshot of the entire party.  Ouch.  

Oh and McKidd were revelatory as the house of cards Cristina and Owen had built this season post-abortion came crashing down around them. Owen completely unraveled as he revealed, at last, the extent to which he has felt both betrayed and shattered by Cristina, who seemed truly stunned and saddened by the depths of his pain. It’s clear now that their plan to move on as if nothing had happened blew up in their faces. Can their marriage recover? I honestly don’t know, but I hope so. I find this couple to be both compelling and captivating. I’m on the edge-of-my-seat with anticipation over what’s coming next. Wowza.

Richard and Adele

It should have been a day of celebration. Richard was performing his 10,000th surgery. Bailey had planned a party for her mentor (related aside: Wasn’t that a great Bailey/Richard scene? I love the dynamic between them.) Then Adele, who’s been stricken with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, wandered into the hospital. Completely disoriented, Adele kept shifting between rage and despair when she couldn’t find Richard, unable to comprehend that he hadn’t left her (her deepest fear), but was performing surgery.

The relationship between Richard and Adele has been a continuous thread throughout the twisty history of GA. We’ve witnessed many of their ups and downs and heard about others second-hand. They survived Richard’s affair with Ellis Grey. They endured his obsession with work and his alcoholism. They were finally happy. And then, in an all-too-realistic example of how life can be brutal, Adele (ironically, like Ellis before her) got Alzheimer’s. She’s failing fast. Richard cancelled his party and sang “My Funny Valentine” to calm his agitated wife. Oh, my heart.  We don’t know what’s next for them either, but it’s definitely not good.

Everybody Else

In other news, Meredith still hasn’t chosen a specialty. She gave up neurology to save her marriage and nothing else, even her short-lived stint in obstetrics, has really gotten her excited. She’s a natural at General Surgery, but that was her mother’s legacy. While I can respect her hesitation to go there, I speak from personal experience that it’s unwise to not do something you’re good at and enjoy just because your parents did it, too.  As Richard said so directly, Meredith is not her mother.

Meanwhile, Derek (the country’s greatest neurosurgeon) and Lexie handled another heartbreaking case involving a young boy wise beyond his years.  While it was a bummer that they were unable to help him, I’m glad in a way that they couldn’t.  Realistically they’re not going to win them all.  Way to keep it real GA.

April, Jackson, and Alex are getting an apartment together. Good. Casa Grey-Shepherd has been overcrowded for awhile now, but bringing Zola into the mix was clearly the tipping point. Arizona and Callie love Julia, who loves Mark, who isn’t ready to say it back yet or move too quickly. Good. If it’s right it will keep. If it’s not, we’ll get another round of Mexie. Heaven help us. Thank you, Callie, for saying rightly, that that ship has sailed. Amen. Peri Gilpin and Nia Vardalos played bickering sisters. Finally, Teddy is (somewhat irrationally) mad at Owen and eating mountains of widow casseroles brought to her by considerate underlings.  Whatever.  

But on the whole? Stellar episode. Too bad we have to wait two weeks for the next one, “If/Then”, which airs Thursday, February 2 on ABC.

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV