“So you might be thinking, I’ve been here before. This is familiar. This old hat. Maybe you’re wondering why we are here. But, I promise, you are about to find out that everything has changed.”
With these words, Meredith Grey opens the twelfth season of Grey’s Anatomy and, I have to say, as much as some things never change, the landscape seems different to me this year. Characters have come and gone over the years and the show has soldiered onward regardless. Yet Meredith’s words struck a chord with me because we are entering an era of Grey’s Anatomy with neither Cristina Yang nor Derek Shepherd by Meredith’s side. Everything has changed.
As the episode opens, we discover that Meredith, as is her tendency, has taken in two more “strays”… Maggie and Amelia. This makes for quite the lively household since the women are at odds over many, many issues, both large and small. (I found it amusing and ridiculous that despite the numerous toys and clothes strewn about the place that there was no sign of Meredith’s three children. Seriously? But I digress. Back to business.) So, basically, Meredith and Amelia are arguing over everything and Maggie is caught in the middle. More on that later.
Too Many Chiefs
Meanwhile, the day has arrived for the hospital to interview candidates for the Chief of Surgery position. In one corner we have Miranda Bailey. In the other we have Dr. Tracy McConnell, a cardio bigwig from Hopkins who runs a charitable foundation on the side in her spare time. McConnell is Catherine Avery’s candidate but even Richard, (who has been solidly Team Bailey), is impressed, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Miranda. Overwhelmed and feeling defeated, she intends to bow out of the race until stalwart husband Ben gives her a stern talking to and, playing the “you didn’t let your son quit the French horn” card, convinces her to make her presentation. She rocks it, of course, and is named Chief of Surgery at long last.
Aliyah and Jess
In what proved to be the only “Patient of the Week” storyline, two teenage girls, Aliyah and Jess, were critically injured after being run over by a train. Seems they had stood on the tracks because they wanted to be together forever – dead or alive. What followed was a storyline that included everything from LGBT issues and bullying to parental rights and camps which intend to reorient behavior. I found it ironic that this episode was titled “Sledgehammer” since I felt pummeled by this heavy-handed plot. These are important issues. Issues that require a nuanced touch, but there was no subtlety here. Callie’s plight was meant to move me. Maggie’s horror stories were meant to move me. In all honestly, it was only Alex’s tale that really seemed authentic instead of contrived and that was due, I think, to the stellar work of Justin Chambers – so often underused and under appreciated. Overall, I just wasn’t feeling it, but I’d be interested to hear what you all think of how this story line was presented. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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* April did another medical tour with the Army and Jackson seemingly is sticking to his assertion that he would not be waiting for her when she returned. Well, she’s back and things are big time awkward. Ugh.
* Alex and Jo’s loft space looks amazing. Ah. Maze. Ing. When can I move in?
* Owen and Amelia are still kinda sorta circling each other. They kissed but before any more could happen, Amelia got pulled into Casa Grey where she and Meredith worked out their issues. Awww…
* It looks like we’ll be getting to know the new interns this season. Meh. That said, cutie patootie Andrew De Luca is gonna be sharing a house with Arizona, so that’s unexpected and promising. Not like that. Obvi. But when AZ advertised for a housemate, would you have guessed Andrew? Me neither.
* I really hope the writers can do something with Stephanie this season. Jerrika Hinton is amazing and hilarious and has fab comic timing. But the character is really underdeveloped. That needs to change.
* Apparently Meredith is in charge of the new lab/class/whatever. Hmmmm…
MEMORABLE MOMENTS AND QUOTES
Bailey (learning that Richard is showing Dr. McConnell the hospital): “I wasn’t invited on any tour.”
Richard: “You know where everything is.”
Arizona (protesting her reputation): “I only slept with one intern and I have an awesome name.”
Stephanie (filling Arizona in on the gossip surrounding her): “They say that you have two legs and you are only pretending that one is amputated. For the parking space.”
Amelia (after Maggie punches Jess’ mom): “Would someone page me please the next time Pierce Hulks out?”
Miranda (on Dr. McConnell): “She’s chirpy and blonde with a perky little ponytail. And she’s fantastic. Smart. Talented. I tried really hard to hate her but I couldn’t.”
Arizona (to Andrew when he asks about being her housemate): “Did your friends put you up to this? Did you lose a bet? Do you have a thing for feet? Or…foot?”
Miranda (making her case to the hospital board): “This is not a stepping stone for me. I believe in this hospital and what it can do.”
Meredith (to Amelia): “I don’t totally like you. But I don’t have to, because you’re family. I love you.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC.
(image courtesy of ABC)