So I hate to say it but this episode was, in a word, boring. Harsh yet true. There were some good moments, some lovely interactions, a few throwbacks to vintage Grey’s, and even a couple of zinger lines. Still, on the whole, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Enter Dr. Cahill

At the end of last week’s installment, “The End is the Beginning is the End”, we discovered that Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital was in real danger of closing its doors. Due to a loophole, the insurance company refused to pay the $90 million owed to the plane crash survivors and, thus, bankruptcy loomed because the hospital would be forced to pay instead. Enter Dr. Alana Cahill (Constance Zimmer), a physician’s representative, whose job it is to observe every possible facet of the hospital and its staff before making recommendations to save money and keep SGMW open.

We are meant to believe that Dr. Cahill is the villain in this piece, but by the end of the hour Dr. Bailey (speaking, as is often the case, as the Greek Chorus) expressed her opinion that the woman was truly trying to help and since “some of us don’t have a few million to fall back on” (ouch!) they should listen to what she has to say. So far Alex’s program for African orphans is intact because “precious children” are great PR but the hospital’s ER (!) may be on the chopping block because, despite being a Level One Trauma Center, it’s not bringing in enough revenue. Oh! And (sidebar) Dr. Webber was once Dr. Cahill’s teacher. It’s a pretty safe bet that we haven’t heard the last of that. How long before we discover why Cahill opted out of a surgical career? FYI, Alana, Webber logged the fewest OR hours over the last month because he’s still recovering from the death of his wife. Just sayin’.

“I’m at the beach”

The episode’s title, “Walking on a Dream”, refers to Arizona who is suffering from phantom limb, a condition in which amputees feel sensations and/or pain from a limb that no longer exists. Dr. Robbins has been having really spooky nightmares and excruciating pain in her non-leg. I really liked this storyline, particularly when Owen reached out to help Arizona. It’s nice when the writers actually remember and draw upon a character’s history.

Since Owen had a lot of experience in the Army working with wounded colleagues, it made complete sense that he would be able to come to Arizona’s aid here. In the end a combination of approaches (using a mirror to imagine the lost leg pain-free, bio-feedback, and stabbing the prosthetic limb to remind the body that it was incapable of feeling pain there) gave Arizona some much-needed relief and, better still, she didn’t need to involve Callie or Alex in this latest challenge, which was her deep desire.

“This program is a medical freak show goldmine”

In a fun nod to GA’s never ending supply of bizarre patients and conditions, Cristina had a mountain top medical experience when one of the aforementioned African orphans had a ridiculously rare heart condition.  Unfortunately, Cristina took about fourteen steps backwards in the name of comic relief. I mean, seriously, is this the same Cristina who has shown so much growth and compassion since her return from Minnesota? It’s like the writers are incapable of keeping her on a forward trajectory. After nine seasons this is getting so very old. And don’t even get me started that there were zero minutes of Cristina/Owen screen time this week. Sigh. Moving on!

Derek performed a 23-hour operation on a patient with the tumor to end all tumors, saving the patient’s life and proving that McDreamy (aka The Best Neurosurgeon on the Planet) was back! Meanwhile, April (Jackson’s former squeeze) tutored Stephanie (Jackson’s current squeeze) in the fine art of running the pit and caught the eye of a cute paramedic. You go, April! And Meredith, who was a ball of raging hormones due to her pregnancy, had just about had it with inept interns. Luckily we had Bailey (who seemed to get most of the night’s best lines) to remind her that “you cut LVAD wires and yet there you stand” so she sucked it up and dealt with Shane and even flew on a plane to retrieve a liver! You go, Meredith!

What to do?

It seemed to me that, in the episode’s most interesting development, sides were being taken post-lawsuit settlement. The have-nots are feeling both anxious and resentful as their livelihoods are threatened while the haves are conflicted as well, knowing that they are entitled to compensation but feeling (rightly in my opinion) more than a little guilty that their payout has the potential to shut down the hospital. So where is this all going? As I’ve said before, this is a show set in a hospital so it’s a pretty safe bet that SGMW won’t actually be closing any time soon. Share your best guesses in the comments and vote in our opinion poll!

The next all-new episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Bad Blood” airs next Thursday, January 31 on ABC.

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV