Grey’s Anatomy Gets Poignantly Romantic In A Very Quiet Episode
By Alex Cranz
If you had informed me a year ago that I would watch an episode where Bailey listened to Meredith’s demand and complimented Jackson and Arizona wiggled her butt for the amusement and delight of the Twisted Sisters and Derek I would have given you such side eye as the world has never known. How far have these characters come in a year that Callie can talk about her wife’s ass “popping” to a group of doctors and Arizona only experience the most minor of embarrassments?
Ostensibly this episode of little moments was “filler.” Meredith’s voiceover was about “idle hands” and Bailey just shrugged and talked about a slow day when she caught Alex and Webber punking an OBGYN. They hung a big honking lantern on this episode’s purported purpose, but the fact of the matter was it wasn’t filler. It was an episode of big moments presented to us quietly, like Jo’s boyfriend figuring out Alex has a crush or the casual way in which Meredith and Derek learned the sex of their baby (Ellen Pompeo’s voice in that scene made me squishy happy).
Or the way in which Callie and Arizona finally finally reconnect. Some people were expecting raunchy sex or marathon hot and heavy kisses in a oncall room. The show went another route, providing us with wives reconnecting gently, moving past the final and most significant hurdles with soft encouragement and achingly tender smiles. They clashed this episode, but in a change of pace for the characters and show it was so very sensible. Their arguments are often explosive and the resolutions are brief. They’re a couple we often see resolve things with a kiss and quick cutaway. But in this episode of little moments the Callie/Arizona relationship was allowed to breathe and it culminated in a moment earned over a season, with Arizona letting down her biggest barrier and letting her wife touch her, not as Doctor Torres or her lover Callie. Those are roles Arizona slots Callie into–narrow boxes that have put up a barrier between them all season. No, Callie demands to see Arizona’s leg and Arizona allows her as her wife, as the whole woman who is both a skilled doctor and a lover.
It’s intimate, more intimate than we have ever seen these two characters. Which is a funny notion. They’ve been a Grey’s Anatomy super couple for four years now, Jessica Capshaw has been on the show for one hundred episodes. We’ve seen them navigate disasters and motherhood and a wedding. Yet we’ve never quite seen them connect as they did last night–with a blend of physicality and tenderness ABC often shies away from with their same-sex couples. It wasn’t a groundbreaking moment that will be chronicled in the annals of television, but it was still a significant one.
Significant on a personal note for this reviewer was the presence of Annette O’Toole. She elevated Meredith’s plot to something heartbreaking when it could have just as easily turned maudlin. She’s a teacher suddenly finding herself on death’s door and O’Toole being one of my favorite actresses and one of the most underrated actresses working today wormed her way into the audience’s affection. I haven’t gotten weepy at a case of the week on Grey’s since season two, but O’Toole had me a blubbering mess at home. Thank God they didn’t give her a multi-episode arc. I would have been inconsolable by the end.
Meredith tackled the case with her usual aplomb though, distancing herself from the woman’s tragedy so she could worry about the multiple arms and gargantuan teratoma growing on the baby in her womb. As much as all of them have grown Meredith is still a cynic always braced for tragedy. But where once her preparation would have consumed her at the cost of her relationships now she can be talked down with the slightest of urgings from Derek and she can recognize her behavior and course correct. I’m always amazed at just how much Meredith has grown as a character from season one. As Arizona has grown over the course of this season Meredith has grown over the course of nine seasons.
Heck she didn’t even poke fun at April and her obsession with “the carnival” when it would have been so easy. Instead she was playful and even helpful.
Cristina, meanwhile, appears to be much the same as she was nine seasons ago. She’s up to the same tricks, torpedoing her boss’s research program so he’s forced to put her on it. But the truth is Cristina talked to Meredith’s womb and offered to deliver “the talk” to her kid. She’s grown.
As they’ve all grown. That’s what this episode was all about–exploring the adults these characters have all become, shinning light on the growth they’ve exhibited and rewarding us with happy super couples, baby sexes, lingerie and a big fancy x-ray machine.
Which we can’t even enjoy because they cut away before they could use it to find Heather’s marble.
- The ER redesign was unveiled. It is all shadows and dramatic lighting. Pray you never wind up there. I’m amazed they can even see the patients they’re trying to diagnose.
- I was going to say you’re doing it wrong if Heather isn’t your favorite intern because she is every kind of adorable, but Shepherd teaching Shane how to be a doctor was wonderful, wonderful stuff and Jo continues to get a free pass for life because I’m in love with her work in Tomb Raider.
- Cristina was on fire tonight. As were Bailey. When these two want to be funny damn can they do it well.
- So Owen and Cristina are still in a good place. Like Meredith and her baby I too am bracing for disaster. Fool me once Shonda Rhimes!
- Webber and Alex have now BroTP’d a couple of times and it’s always fun. Watching him scoot when he sees Jo’s OBGYN was an episode highlight.
- As was Bailey’s hounding of the board and her whole calling Callie out for being one of the popular kids. Which she TOTALLY IS NOW. All it took was a plane crash and a couple of deaths to get her in the cool kid clique. Worth it?
- I was embarrassed/elated for Arizona in that booty shaking scene. That moment was waaaay too real. Though I loved how Arizona shut it down before Webber could compliment her butt. That really would have been the step too far wouldn’t it?
- Next Week: Sarah Chalke plays a mother with a dying kid. It’s based on actual events that happened to Chalke and her child. And Owen bonds with a little boy. Yeah I see where THAT is headed show.