You can feel it can’t you? In between laughing at Bailey’s commitment to surgical Hunger Games and cackling at magical Callie appearing out of the shadows to crush the interns’ dreams you could feel the calm before the gathering storm. Everyone was so happy! There were problems, but they were nothing compared to what these characters have faced in the past. No one was going to be leaving the hospital to have a knock down drag out “we are so over” fight with their signficant other or fall into depression or turn to drink. They were all just so…satisfied.

Which just means that the drama bombs should be dropping all over the place in the next few episodes. It will probably be more bombastic than the London Blitz, but for now the big dramas are little things. Can Derek and April get their breath clean smelling in time to hit up every single department for money so they can save the ER? Can Bailey do a hernia repair better than ol’ man Webber and that hot-shot Grey? Can Callie, Arizona and Alex get a morose teenager to listen to them?

Sometimes that’s all an episode needs to be entertaining. We just need to see the rare but familiar pairing of Derek and April–who brings some distinctive Lexie-like energy to the proceedings. Or Bailey, sweet, precious, perfect Bailey. Bailey is me and you if you’re reading this. Bailey is the nerd who actually pays attention to pop culture. So she totally would be the one treating a friendly hernia repair contest (fun?) as the Hunger Games.

She is on fire!

She is on fire!

And Calzonex? Besides me smushing their names together to make them sound like an experimental drug they’re busy wrestling with Arizona’s amputation. But for once it isn’t something big and wrought with volatile emotions. At least that we see. That’s because Arizona is almost…at peace. The last episode ended with her on the beach and accepting her new body in a way we hadn’t seen before, and that dreamy expression is still on her face. The character that’s been missing since the crash peeks her head out, sassing Callie about their kid’s tights (get that girl some Umbros to where under her dress y’all, that was the way we rocked it back in elementary school), and being the “good cop” to Callie’s eternally bad cop. Alex and Callie may still be wrestling with guilt and, judging by the way that kid tears Callie down, that guilt might never completely disappear, but Arizona is back. She’s showing her leg off and then going into full on badass when that kid calls her a cripple, but quick to smile afterwards. Something that would have broken her three episodes ago is now processed with a smile.

This smile is the precursor to a dragon being unleashed.

This smile is the precursor to a dragon being unleashed.

The scars of the crash have faded, but they’re still present. Out near the dumpsters with Callie and her shattering of interns’ psyches, and there with Meredith, who naturally goes to a miscarriage place when her baby starts kicking. She’s spent nine seasons having one kind of crap after another rain down and after that final crapfest she’s still a little jittery. Valid. Most people would be hospitalized for life after going through what she’s been through. It’s kind of fitting that one of her best mentors would be there to talk her through that moment and share the joy. Bailey’s been there for all the big and horrible things and she’s there then, like the best big sister ever, to calm Meredith down. Even when half the episode has Bailey and Meredith on equal footing they still find that one moment to be student and teacher again and it’s wistful.

Elsewhere Cristina has gone from student to teacher herself. And she’s spectacular at it. There were little moments, Meredith and Bailey, Cristina’s whole storyline, the general existence of the interns, that harkened back to earlier seasons when the biggest drama had to do with whether McDreamy was staying with his wife or not. And in showing these characters navigate similar plots from those early seasons we see just how far they’ve come.

Cristina gestures at her intern and complains about her being mopey, “we were never mopey” she exclaims. Meredith (and the audience) would disagree Cristina.

Grey's Anatomy 9x13 - Mer Thinking They WERE Mopey

They’ve come so far. Cristina takes something awful like being forced to let a boy die and instead of letting it get her down she turns it into a teaching opportunity. She wisely navigates the awful moral quandary and takes her intern by the hand to see that she gets through it to. Cristina Yang cares. If that (and a pregnant and happy Meredith) aren’t signs of the massive growth these characters have experienced then I don’t know what is.

And as they grow and mature and become the satisfied adults they were always told they would their hospital crumbles around them. Perhaps this episode wasn’t the calm before the storm. Maybe the audience, and these characters, have just become so inured to the awfulness that something like the hospital being sold to some big faceless buyer isn’t a catastrophic gale, but a strong breeze.

Notes

  • I forgot about BOB! I hope he becomes a main character on the show. I hope he is never seen but always there. I hope he and Heather begin a passionate love affair. I how I hope. Bless you Bob the camera doctor whose existence strikes me as unethical.
  • Poor Owen spent the entire episode hanging out with the evil hospital stager. The poor is sarcastic. She is actually pretty great and they get along swell when she isn’t forcing him to redo everything ever.
  • RIP ER…until the survivors buy the hospital in a few episodes. IT WILL HAPPEN.
  • Who else sighed because you were moved by the romance of Cristina waiting outside the ER for Owen? Divorce. The best cure for all troubled relationships!
  • Jackson kept his shirt on this episode. But took his shoe off so he could shove it in his mouth. Good one Jacks.
  • Leah, Leah, Leah. You terrify me with your desire to ignore the requests of patients. But blood to a dying boy is still not severed LVAD. So, you’ve got that going for ya, and not much else. Seriously, she’s the least developed intern thus far. All we know is she’s wicked compassionate and mopes a lot…oh god SHE’S the Meredith.
  • All the OTPs were adorable as hell this week.
  • Webber is amazing for not smacking the dude from Weeds every time he let his condescension flag fly.
  • Next Week: They decide to remind us that April is actually an awesome character and not just whiny and neurotic. And everyone gathers to ignore the closing of the ER, but the “attendings” who are all busy uh doing stuff. Also Alex and Jackson compete to be the face of the hospital.