Do you believe in love at first sight? How about love at 273rd sight? Thirteen seasons in, Grey’s Anatomy still has the capacity to dazzle and delight. This week’s episode, “Falling Slowly” is a perfect example of why Grey’s remains the jewel of ABC’s line up. Anchored by the iconic Ellen Pompeo as the titular Meredith Grey and supported by an ensemble so uniformly excellent that it is all-too-easy to take them for granted, the veteran show delivers a hybrid of drama, comedy, and romance that is uniquely entertaining. Grounded in history, chemistry, and creative writing, this was an episode I loved from start to finish.
Doing His Time
As the episode opens, Alex Karev is doing his level best to handle his reassignment to the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic with dignity and grace. He arrives early, stays late, and works hard for the patients even though he is not (due to even the most minute of surgical privileges being suspended) allowed to perform anything beyond the most basic of tasks. “You do not drain, you do not lance, you do not cut!” he is admonished by Tamir, the nurse in charge of running the clinic.
Somehow Karev manages to stay professional (at least to his boss’ face) even when Tamir is not. The nurse seems to think that keeping Alex in check falls under his job description, lest the once and future surgeon (I believe this with my whole heart) get too cocky. Alex suffers the indignity of having to get a surgical consult to treat a patient’s boil (who should show up but Jo, naturally) and is told in no uncertain terms that the hour he needs off that afternoon (to go to an appointment with his lawyer) isn’t going to happen. Then a patient named Emma shows up and things get interesting.
Alex is told that Emma turns up every month or so for IV fluids. It’s pretty much assumed that she is a party girl/drunk needing to detox. Karev goes down that path in the beginning as well, even enlisting Richard (a recovering alcoholic) to set the girl straight. There’s an incident in which heated words are exchanged and Emma’s shoulder gets popped out of place (though Karev didn’t touch her) and the situation escalates, with both Tamir and Chief Bailey fearing litigation.
Alex, who’s had enough, storms off to his appointment and then makes a one-in-a-million diagnosis. Emma has a rare condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects the connective tissues of the body. It’s notoriously hard to diagnosis, but Karev nails it. Then, showing just how much he has grown, Alex has Weber give Emma the news, so that Alex won’t be undermining Tamir’s authority in the clinic. Emma gratefully thanks Weber while dissing Alex, not knowing that it’s Karev who has saved her life. Alex feels good about his day. He might still end up in jail, but today he made a difference and it’s hard to feel bad about that.
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I Barely Know You
Meanwhile, Amelia is freaking out that she and Owen rushed into marriage (only a two-week engagement) without knowing enough about each other. The catalyst for this is Amelia finding out that Owen goes to church! What else doesn’t she know? She doesn’t know how old Owen was when his father died (“almost ten” Nathan helpfully points out – bromance!). She doesn’t know a lot of things. Just as Owen doesn’t know a lot of things about her. After a clarifying elevator ride with Meredith (I love how she and Owen are finally friends) and the patient parallel that reminds us all that when you love each other you can tell each other anything, Owen reminds Amelia of just that.
Terrified, she shares that the man she loved and with whom she did drugs, died of an overdose in their bed. Without flinching, Owen shares his own deepest shame: that in the midst of a PTSD episode, he choked Cristina as she slept. As a Forever Crowen fan, this about gutted me. And though I am not generally a fan of Omelia, they were sweet and vulnerable and real in this episode. When they decide to not wait to have kids, one can almost see the handwriting on the promo wall.
I Don’t Hang Out
Nathan, clearly smitten with the elusive Dr. Grey, suggests that they should spend more time together. Not in the hospital. Like, say, at the movies. Putting aside the fact that Meredith has three largely unseen children, Mer shuts him down saying, “We are not that type of friends.” Undaunted, Riggs cheekily asks, “What type of friends are we?” All of this playful banter is well and good. Then a trauma comes in – a married couple, some sort of glider accident. The husband can’t feel his legs, which turns out to not be terrible news, because he’s already a paraplegic (psych!). The wife is seriously injured though and Hunt wants to open her up, remove her spleen, and check for an aorta something or other (insert medical jargon here). Grey thinks they should wait and see since there’s no current need for surgery. Riggs sides with Grey. Owen thinks it’s a bad call, but it’s two against one.
Later, a routine check of the patient reveals that she is filled with blood. She’s rushed to surgery. Her spleen needs to be removed and there is some sort of aortic rupturing/tearing. She becomes a paraplegic. Yikes. Hunt is livid because he saw this coming. Riggs counters that nothing could have stopped the complication. Sometimes things like this just happen. Meredith, shaken that perhaps a patient was paralyzed because Riggs sided, with her, says she can’t do this. Nathan is irate that she would think he would risk a patient to get in her pants.
At the end of the day, Meredith insists that they need to be colleagues. She can’t be thinking of him while trying to do her job. Nathan, clearly delighted that this is even an issue, maintains that he doesn’t see why they can’t be friends. Just then, Maggie shows up. Thinking quickly, Nathan say that there’s no reason he and Maggie can’t be friends just because he said ‘no’ to dating her. Maggie agrees, oblivious to the glances being exchanged by Nathan and Meredith. They should all be friends! Later Maggie thanks her sis for smoothing things over with Nathan.
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Odds and Ends
* Jackson and April are exhausted caring for baby Harriet. Neither knows how to act around the other, so when Arizona tells April her incision has healed and gives the “all clear” for returning to work and heavy lifting, April decides to move out. But when she tells Jackson this, it becomes immediately clear that he doesn’t want her to move out and she doesn’t want to go. “You two are staying here,” he says firmly.
* Andrew and Jo aren’t allowed to talk about “The Incident” or pending trial with anyone at the hospital per Bailey’s orders. But they figure there’s nothing wrong in talking to each other. Supportive friends or the start of something more?
* Is it just me or was it kind of amazing when there was a throwback lunch scene in an exam room? How about when Richard seemed to reprimanding Karev but was secretly working with him? How about the Merthan of it all? I loved this episode.
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Memorable Moments and Quotes
Amelia: “You go to church!”
Owen: “You go to AA…that’s a lot of praying.”
Meredith (encouraging Owen, who is fretting about Amelia, to talk): “You have the rest of this elevator ride. Go.”
Timir: “Page Surgery.”
Alex: “I am Surgery!”
April: “You know that thing they say about how you’re supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps? That’s a lie! Babies don’t sleep.”
Stephanie: “I’d like to sleep.”
Amelia: “So why did you join the Army?”
Owen: “Why are we doing this? I feel like I’m in a job interview.”
Amelia: “There’s just so much I don’t know. It’s scary.”
Owen: “We have our whole lives to…”
Amelia: “And there’s stuff you don’t know about me. And what if you don’t like it? What if it’s too scary?”
Amelia (to Meredith): “On a scale from “lots” to “nothing,” how much would you say you knew about my brother when you got married?”
Alex (to Richard about his patient, Emma): “She needs this. Way more than I need the credit.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Like the Buddy TV Grey’s Anatomy Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of ABC)