September 30th, 2011
01:40 PM ET
“You work, you study, you prepare. Months and years leading to one day. The day when you step up.”
So states Dr. Meredith Grey’s voiceover on last night’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” in which the fifth years receive their first solo surgery assignments. Dr. Callie Torres jokes, “We’ve alerted the morgue.” Although this may not be entirely a joke.
But as the fifth years are ushered into general surgery, Dr. Richard Webber essentially demotes himself to their level, after 11 years as Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace. No longer the chief, Richard's now just a general surgeon. As Dr. Owen Hunt is promoted to Chief, most are shocked, Teddy Altman is thrilled and Bailey is devastated, making her famous “Bailey eyes” face at Richard.
The fifth years, meanwhile, are scouring the surgery board to see what’s in store for their first solos. Meredith, who is stressed out over the adoption situation with baby Zola, is urged not to take on her surgery for fear that she won’t be able to handle it with all that she has going on – seeing as she destroyed Derek’s Alzheimer’s trial and, inadvertently, Richard’s career.
Cristina is thrilled to be doing a long and complicated replacement… so much so that she leaves for work so early in the morning that she misses her husband Owen’s announcement that he has been appointed Chief.
Alex Karev, whom Arizona is eyeing for a Pediatrics fellowship in the not-too-distant future, elects to do a simpler surgery on a 55-year-old rather than operate on a child. Arizona accuses him of trying to pad his reputation with successful surgical outcomes, but as it later turns out, Karev is terrified about operating on a kid as his first solo.
Cristina, meanwhile, accuses Avery of essentially selling out by performing plastic surgery, telling him, “I thought you were the Gunther.” As we learned last week, a Gunther is essentially a resident who steps up to the plate and saves the day. Doesn't matter, though, because Arizona elects to give his plastic surgery assignment to Sloan.
Dr. April Kepner is still having a difficult time getting the other residents to respect her position as Chief Resident. They treat her new office like it’s their new hangout spot, rearranging the pillows on the couch she found on Craigslist, knocking over a plant, and generally having a “bull in a china shop” mentality – partly out of jealousy, and partly because Kepner is a bit of a pushover.
Much to the residents’ chagrin, Kepner assigns the group skills labs they're supposed to teach the interns. Cristina, of course, has no interest in coddling them. Meredith suggests making the day a bit more interesting by wagering that “whoever has the worst outcome for the day teaches the skills labs for the whole month.”
Cristina, meanwhile, gets denied her beloved valve replacement surgery because it turns out her patient needs an appendectomy in the immediate future – something the interns missed. (Or, as Cristina puts it, the “morons missed something.") She's appalled at the thought of doing such a “basic” procedure. Problem is, she’s never done an appendectomy… even though they’re apparently beneath her.
Richard, in contrast, delights in doing the stuff others might deem “beneath” him. He hangs out in the break room, puts his sandwich in the shared fridge, makes small talk. He’s reveling in the fact that he has his life back and that he’ll be able to spend his newfound free time with his ailing wife, Adele.
When Cristina realizes she’s hard-pressed to remember all the steps of an open appendectomy, she remembers that it is exactly the kind of thing interns pride themselves on, and goes running to the interns in her skills lab – the ones she referred to as “morons” – and turns the lab into a lesson on an appendectomy – for her. Only she grills the interns and doesn’t let them in on the fact that she needs their knowledge.
In the meantime, Miranda is resentful that Richard has stepped down because, as Callie puts it, she’s his “right hand man.” She's uncomfortable asking Owen for her surgery schedule, and becomes offended when he gives her a lighter load so as to give her more time to focus on her eyelet cell trial – the trial Richard passed on to her when the FDA blacklisted him over the tainted Alzheimer’s trial.
Following the first solo runs, the fifth years gather in Kepner’s office, they compare notes on their solos to see who lost the bet – thus, who’ll be teaching the skills labs. Jackson has lost because he essentially forfeited when Mark stepped in, Alex’s patient passed away so he’s out, and Cristina was saved by a nurse. Meredith wins!
Back home, however, Meredith and Derek confront their problems.
“Since the moment you switched those files you haven’t suffered one bit while those around you have lost their jobs and lost their reputations,” Derek tells Meredith, whom he’s still punishing for altering the clinical trial to ensure that Richard’s wife would receive a much-needed medication rather than the placebo.
"You do things, and never give a thought. You just dive in no matter how deep the water is or who you’re gonna land on,” continues Derek, who maintains he has no reason to trust Meredith, but points out that he made a commitment when he married Meredith (the old Post-It vows are still on the wall!) and concedes, “I know you altered the trial for Adele and for Richard, you stood in front of a bullet for me,” admitting that the qualities about Meredith that make him so angry are also the attributes that he loves about her.
If they want to stay together, that means they'll no longer work alongside one another at the hospital.
The closing of the episode finds Owen and Cristina finally bonding at long last… over food poisoning! The awkward miscommunication over Cristina’s choice to have an abortion/Owen not telling her he made Chief seems to have just melted away, as the couple lies doubled-over on the bathroom floor, retching – but making each other laugh! Apparently bad spring rolls from a Chinese takeout place with a filthy floor did the trick.
What'd you think of last night's "Grey's"?
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