What a difference a week makes. Last week’s “Idle Hands” showcased Grey’s Anatomy at its nimble, funny best. Tonight’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” was also vintage Grey’s, but of the dire and bleak variety. From a tenacious mother fighting to save her desperately ill son to the multiple people who were critically injured following the collision of an gas tanker with an SUV, there was darkness and despair in spades as both patients and doctors struggled to cope in gut-wrenching circumstances.

A Mother’s Instinct

First up was special guest star, Sarah Chalke, playing a mother who was absolutely sure there was something terribly wrong with her son. Based on Chalke’s real-life experience, the boy turned out to have Kawaski Disease, a very serious autoimmune disorder which can cause a potentially fatal heart condition. The boy’s illness was first called a virus and then, falsely,  strep before updated test results helped Meredith make the correct diagnosis. In the meantime, his mother endured not being taken seriously at two hospitals and an urgent care center and was even given a psych evaluation.  The takeaway lesson here? Parents know their children better than anyone so they need to listen to their gut reactions and fight for their kids. Score one for Meredith. She believed in this mother when no one else would.

Me and My Shadow

Owen Hunt spent this episode in a dual role. As often happens in major emergencies he stepped to the fore running the ER, which was flooded with critical patients in the aftermath of that terrible collision. He also took an interest in a young boy, Ethan, whose parents were both catastrophically injured in the accident. Dad’s heart was torn to shreds, so Dr. Yang worked on him. Mom’s brain was bleeding in a major way, so Dr. Shepherd operated on her. At last count Dad was being thermally warmed and Mom didn’t even recognize her own child. Not good. In the meantime, Ethan stuck to Owen like glue as Owen looked out for Ethan. Anyone else wondering if Owen can’t fight that paternal feeling as he bonds with Ethan? And, if so, what might this mean for Owen and Cristina?

The Power of the Universe

Another patient in bad, bad shape was Elise. She was pregnant and her baby had to be delivered early. The good news is that the baby is fine. The bad news is that Elise didn’t survive. In a scene that paralleled ER’s classic episode “Love’s Labor Lost”, Karev broke the news to Elise’s devastated husband after April couldn’t pull herself together enough to tell him and Jo’s boyfriend, Jason “Chest Pecwell” Myers, couldn’t be bothered to tell him.

As is often the case, the patient’s situation spilled over into the doctors’ personal lives. Alex Karev proved once again what kind of person and doctor he is when he manned up and spoke to the husband, even though Elise was barely his patient. Just as tellingly Jason “The D-Bag” also showed his true colors in his indifference. Now as ever I am on Team Karev.

And then there was poor April. Dating paramedic Matthew (who was injured while trying to help patients at the scene), she is still obviously in love with Jackson who also seems to be in love with her as well even though he’s involved with intern Stephanie. April wondered aloud why the universe draws two people together only to rip them apart. Because life isn’t fair. And because this is Grey’s Anatomy, April. Have you learned nothing? Unfortunately, Matthew interpreted April’s musing as a declaration of her love for him and told her he loved her, too. Uh, oh. Awkward. This isn’t going to end well.

Some Loose Ends

In other news, three subplots that didn’t seem all that important turned out to be quite relevant after all. In the first, there were multiple references to Miranda Bailey’s Genome Mapping program. Everyone wanted to be mapped, but things got interesting at the end of the hour as Meredith approached Bailey about mapping adopted daughter, Zola, and also mapping Meredith herself, who wants to know once and for all if she is genetically predisposed to the Alzheimer’s disease which ravaged her mother.

In the second, Shane Ross and Heather Brooks ended up vying for McDreamy’s attention. Ross has been Shepherd’s Chosen Intern but Chief Hunt reminded them both that all of the interns need experience in all of the specialty areas. Enter Brooks who started the episode feeling like a third wheel but ended it showing a fair amount of promise in Neuro. Too bad Ross took it personally instead of seeing the big picture. To Heather’s bewilderment, Shane told her he knew what she was doing. And it was on.

Finally, Calliope Torres was scheduled to give a TED talk in her specialty area of orthopedics but she was needed at GSMH and had to cancel… or so she thought. Drs. Webber and Robbins arranged for her to give her presentation to the conference remotely and, tossing aside her notes, Callie spoke for the masses as she recalled the challenges in her life and how unexpected developments can turn your whole upside down. She also summed up the episode in one well-phrased question: “What holds us together when things fall apart?” What, indeed? As is so often true in life, there are no easy answers.

Grey’s Anatomy returns next week with an all-new episode, “She’s Killing Me’ airing Thursday, April 4 on ABC.

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV