Everyone Gets Set Up For A Cringe-Worthy Moment on Grey’s Anatomy
By Alex Cranz
Alex Karev has dad issues. For a long time those issues were just one part of a beautiful tapestry of major family issues, but then they had to go and cast James Remar to play Papa Karev and we now get to see the dad issues peek out. And they’re dragging Alex backwards. Pulling him into a mire of hatred and anger that Justin Chambers is really good at playing.
I often skim over the comings and goings of Karev in this space. Truth be told who hasn’t had anything really interesting since Arizona took him under her wing and he kicked Izzie to the curb. His storylines have been predictable. Safe. Even the very fun Alex/Jo thing has been less juicy and more amusing.
But Karev sitting in a bar talking to the dad who doesn’t recognize him is juicy and Chambers, who has never especially been the strongest dramatic actor on the show, is bringing it. He and Remar tell whole decades of stories in their interactions–his hurt when his father shows him a picture of another kid is palpable.
And as predictable as the story is there are moments of surprise. When Alex learns he has a half-brother his first instinct? To protect the kid from their father. It’s a brief moment of feeling something good in a story that is otherwise so depressingly real as to leave you cringing.
Though the biggest cringe came from elsewhere. You know the first half of Never Been Kissed when Drew Barrymore is walking around being a laughing-stock and you just kind of cringe and cover your eyes and feel deeply uncomfortable for her? That was Leah every single moment she was on-screen. We’d gotten hints of her clinginess last year when she pseudo-stalked Alex (a moment hilariously called back to when Arizona went to him for advice) but boy oh boy did the girl spin out of control after an off-screen hot and heavy moment with Robbins.
She’s a fascinatingly wounded sort of young woman, cautious and grave when it comes to surgery or counseling the concerned, and open to the point of stupidity when it comes to her love life. She’s so alone she gladly spills her guts to anyone with ears just hoping one of them will stop and listen.
And Arizona finally does. After she lets Leah down so harshly my hair singed she listens and then, in the final moments of the episode, she acts. She reaches out to the girl no one wants to understand.
What’s achingly tragic about it all is Arizona is in no position to rescue a poor and lonely and lost hot mess, as she is, herself, a lonely hot mess sleeping in a hotel and texting interns for booty calls late at night and not dealing with the rapidly growing herd of elephants in her room.
She cheated on her wife because she was lost and hurt and lonely, then her wife ran away with her kid, then her wife returned and kicked her out and through it all she still looks like Arizona Robbins. She still acts like her (pre-Callie when she was a hoochie mama) and sounds like her. She’s still an excellent and respected surgeon. But really she’s just wearing an Arizona Robbins suit, and one of these days the suit is going to tear and she’s gonna look in the mirror and not recognize the face staring back.
And no one else will recognize it either. Except, perhaps, Callie. She knows enough to know that leaving Arizona wasn’t just for her own sanity, but to help Arizona too, and she still cares about her wife (divorce hasn’t even been put on the table). When she’s talking to a patient who declares he doesn’t deserve to be alive you can see Callie’s own history there, rising up, you can see her thinking of the monster she knows. The one in the Arizona suit that’s so desperate to find a measure of peace she’ll leave the rest of the hospital in ruins.
So, again, poor smitten kitten Leah, who doesn’t know better and who doesn’t have a single friend who can thump her. In that respect she and Arizona almost deserve each other, these disparate folks who can’t seem to hold onto anyone.
Because Callie? She’s got friends. She and Meredith talk! And tease! And relate! And Derek is close enough to her that he can actually call her out when she’s wrong, and let himself be chastised too (when she told him he couldn’t understand he actually seemed to believe her). She and her sister-wife actually got the guy to give up surgeries so she could have help saving lives and not thinking about Arizona.
They’re a reaffirmed BrOTP in a show that’s on the verge of losing one of television’s greatest BrOTPs.
Meredith and Cristina are on the outs. And not just a little on the outs. Meredith took major umbrage with Cristina criticizing her choice to be a mom. She’s still stinging, and worse, Cristina has spent a whole week not realizing her Twisted Sister was furious. They’re not only emotionally distant, they’re losing that creepy psychic-but not really psychic connection they’ve long shared.
They’ve grown apart and there’s no sign of them growing back together. There’s little hope for her and Owen either. She’s watching him date a cute fetal surgeon who beat Iceland in the kid’s Olympics once upon a time. Cristina’s been cut off from those she’s closest too and it’s heartbreaking to watch.
Especially when you realize that not only is she cut off, but she’s trying to increase the distance. When she walks in on Alex and Jo fighting about his dad she doesn’t try to comfort Alex or put a stop to things. She ducks her head and pretends like her roommate and one of her best friend’s isn’t even there.
- The highlight of the whole damn episode is a father and son playing guitar and singing off-key. A highlight because for an instant Alex seemed happy, and because for the audience the dread just builds and builds until the half-brother reveal.
- Annie Potts showed up! Her husband was saved! It was the worst moment of their lives!
- I only want to discuss one more Arizona related elephant in the room. What’s up with her and Leah’s hook up being off-screen? What the hell is this? Downton Abbey? This show is usually really good about showing us instead of telling us so it was a surprise to learn she went from a little flirty in a bar to heavy above the belt petting and tongue action.
- Cristina explaining who she is to Quack Attack. The show doesn’t need any new cast members, but after her reaction to the news I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Owen’s new fling around the hospital.
- The red cup thing was stupid.
- Though the payoff of it helping Meredith find her journal was not stupid. Dotty, happy, married Meredith Grey is a wonderful addition to the cast.
- I am deeply grateful for Shane being such a quiet and internal guy. Watching him wear his Mousey murder angst on his sleeve is far preferable to having to hear about it.
- Jo trying to diagnose Webber was a tiny but delightful diversion–too bad it represented the over all tone of the episode.
- The realism of the brain autopsy was a little nauseating, particularly how the guy’s skin moved as Derek fished his brain out. Gross.
- Next Week: GREY’S ANATOMY DOES ZOMBIES. Leah gets eaten. We’ll be holding a prayer circle for Leah directly before the episode. Possibly while gorging on candy because it is Halloween.