Underwhelmed. That’s my reaction to the latest installment of Grey’s Anatomy. After an exceptionally strong run of episodes to start the season, my expectations were high coming off the one-week hiatus. I was eager to see what would happen next. Unfortunately, the homeless veteran storyline notwithstanding, I was disappointed with “Don’t Let’s Start,” which was all over the place.

I’m Making it Work

By far the most compelling story of the episode was that of Melissa, a carjacking victim. The story was the result of a collaboration between GA creator, Shonda Rhimes, and First Lady, Michelle Obama, who wanted to shine a spotlight on the problems that some veterans face after returning home. Aided by resident Jo Wilson (more on her later), Chief of Surgery (and former Army Major) Owen Hunt discovered that Melissa was a fellow veteran of the Iraq war who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, had become homeless and was living out of her car. The carjacking not only left her seriously injured, but also led to her losing everything she had. Though he had to pull rank to get her to listen to him, Dr. Hunt was finally able to convince Melissa to utilize the programs available to help veterans. Only by getting back on her own feet, he insisted, would she be able to help others as well as herself.

Regular readers of my recaps know that I’m generally not a fan of Jo Wilson, but I really did feel for her in this episode. Working with Melissa was extremely triggering for Jo, as she was once homeless herself. I was really moved by the scene between Jo and Alex when she confessed her fears to him. Fear of having grown too dependent upon him. Fear of not having a bed or a home of her own. Fear that everything (including their relationship) would one day be lost. But Alex Karev (who really comes through when it counts) assured Jo that she has him. And that they should go home now.

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Derek, whom I kind of loved in this episode, hatched a plan to get both Richard and Maggie over to the Dream House for dinner with him and Meredith. Of course, nothing went smoothly, but…baby steps. Oh! And MerDer stopped sniping at each other long enough to take a time out and have shower sex.

Wow! You’ve Been Busy!

After spending the first part of the season on the back burner, April and Jackson finally resurfaced just as her mother came to town for a visit. Jackson, who’s completely freaking out over becoming a dad, had a wonderful time with April’s mom, who’s over the moon at the thought of becoming a grandma. April, however, felt like her mother was both judging her career choice and overstepping when it came to “helping”. Yep. April lost it completely and wigged out. In the end, however, Kepner apologized after realizing that her mom was really just trying to help — albeit in a completely confounding way. Plus Mama Kepner reassured April that she couldn’t be more proud of her. Altogether now! Awwww….

I’m Fit As A Fiddle!

After encountering a 42-year-old patient whose lifestyle led to his early demise (he died on her operating table), Bailey decided to make some changes of her own. Jogging may or may not turn out to be her thing, but it was still good to hear Miranda acknowledge that she needs to follow the advice she gives to her patients all the time. Eat better. Exercise. In short, take better care of herself, not only for herself but also for husband Ben and son Tucker. 

Where’s Waldo? 

And, last but not least, in what was easily the most bizarre story of the episode, we got some answers regarding the enigmatic Dr. Herman, who continued to treat Arizona badly. Encouraged by Karev (now who’s a Good Man in a Storm?) Robbins finally worked up the nerve to confront her mentor, who had been behaving even more oddly than usual. AZ wasn’t going to take that kind of treatment any more. But wait! Turns out there’s an explanation for all of the weirdness. Herman has a brain tumor (!) and less than six months to live. Six months in which she wants to teach Arizona everything she knows. Whoa.

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Memorable Quotes

Derek: “She’s family.”

Meredith: “…ish.”

Derek: “Dinner tomorrow night. It’s what people do.”

Meredith: “What people?”

“My chauffeur has the prettiest eyes…” — Mama Kepner on new son-in-law, Jackson “Pretty Eyes” Avery

“She’s your sister. And he’s practically your father.” — Derek to Meredith about Maggie and Richard

“No one forced you to do this. Now you’re gonna pout because it’s kinda hard and the teacher’s mean? Suck it up!” — Karev to Robbins re: her fellowship with Dr. Herman

“What’s wrong with you people? We are not calling this off!” — Derek to Meredith and Richard

“I’ll bring dessert.” — Richard, resigned. 

“My mother is a nightmare and yours is the sweetest person I’ve ever met.” — Jackson to April

“You are going to be a great daddy.” — April to Jackson

“I’m not going anywhere, except home with you.” — Alex to Jo

“You served. And you deserved all the help and gratitude that’s offered to you.” — Major Hunt to Melissa

The next all-new episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Can We Start Again, Please?”, airs November 13 on ABC.

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(image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV