Grey's Recap: Tidings of Discomfort and Joy

Grey’s Anatomy this Thursday resumed its eighth season by having one of its fall cliffhangers — Mer and Alex’s situation there on the roadside — spiral into a multi-pronged assault of medical drama, while the other — Teddy not knowing that Henry died — simmered long and slow for much of the hour, until ultimately it had to reach an emotional, heart-wrenching boil.

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As seen in the preview clips TVLine gave you earlier this week, oblivious Teddy needed an extra pair of hands with the tricky surgery that kept Owen from alerting her to her husband’s passing — and the doc she wanted at her side was Cristina, on whose table Henry died. Cristina begrudgingly agreed, and as if fielding a “thank you” from her mentor for operating on Henry wasn’t hard enough, she had to spend hours with her, at times being happy and even ridiculously peppy.

But the instant that Teddy’s patient was ready to be closed, Cristina was ready to open up — and in true Yang fashion, she opted for the “detached,” rote way of notifying next of kin. But no amount of boilerplate could hide Cristina’s distress as she unloaded this bombshell on her peer. And after Sandra Oh teed things up carefully with her trembling visage, Kim Raver took the reins and started into what undoubtedly will be a long road of agony for Dr. Altman, who paid her onetime husband “of convenience” a last visit where he lay cold. Bravo to both performances, and I sense Raver has barely scratched the surface of where she’ll be going.

While that storyline and the one involving the family of campers were gravely intense and sad (save for where Mer and Alex, who was super-duper-diligent about following up on their baby patient, got to bond a bit over their wee one’s status), the episode also featured a light segment and a final scene that was truly joyous.

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The former found Mark’s new girlfriend, Julia, coming in to assist on a delicate eye surgery, and despite having the Derek Shepherd working alongside her, the girl aced it like a stone-cold pro. (“Don’t screw this one up,” Derek warned Mark afterward, impressed by Julia’s skills.) But coming out of the surgery, Julia let slip to Lexie just how nervous she had been, prompting poor Dr. Grey to lament the fact that even she likes the new woman in Mark’s life.

And then….

The hour closed with an exhausted Meredith waiting at home — at breakfast time — for the pizza guy, but what she and Derek had delivered to them was something much greater: Zola is theirs, said the tot-toting adoption lady, and the way Ellen Pompeo let a warm radiance wash over Mer’s beaming face… wow.

It’s late here in L.A. and I’ve been traveling all day, so that’s all I’ve got for now. Plus Ausiello served up that scoopy Q&A with Shonda Rhimes earlier for you to gnosh on, previewing what’s ahead. What did you think of this week’s Grey’s?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. =D says:

    Loved this week’s episode. They did a great job with Henry’s death. I was wondering what you thought of the whole Ben thing with Bailey.

  2. Corinne says:

    Yet another depressing episode from Shonda Rhimes & CO., but it felt like one from the good old days prior to the merge, Denny ghost, etc. I think the scene with the girl telling Meredith that it was her 18th birthday so was able to order them removing him from life support is in the top 5 saddest moments on the show. Also enjoying the break from Calzona.

    • Ava says:

      I really dislike Callie and have from her very early days with the show. I like Arizona a lot so it sucks that Arizona has picked someone as awful as Callie as her partner. That being said, I’m glad there was no Calzona drama. I like Arizona’s dynamic with Alex! I think they make a great team! The thing that I dislike about Teddy is that she seems to be insane. I mean when they were wooing in the OR I just felt ashamed for her. She’s a professional and she’s acting like a drunken sorority girl.

      • Mon says:

        You’ve obviously never spent hours trying to stay awake in an operating room. You do what you need to do, even if it means doing jumping jacks.

  3. lipsticksocialism says:

    brilliant episode, although incredibly incredibly sad! it reminded me why i loved grey’s, and also why i stopped watching. my heart cannot take it. The girl saying she was 18…..PERFECT writing and scene execution. Mer was on fire <3 Sandra Oh was stellar as usual. Looking forward to see where Kim Raver takes Teddy :)

  4. Sg.Grant says:

    It got me a little when Meredith muted the monitor, was about to leave the room, and the girl asked her to stay with her as she watched her father die.

  5. Guy says:

    Brilliant return and it was worth the wait. They did Henry’s death well and Ben and Bailey look like they might be “on” again?

    I think overall the cast did a great job and Kim, Ellen and Sandra were great. Cristina breaking the news to Teddy was heartbreaking and the story of the crash victims was also very sad but the best part was Zola coming back. Yay! I knew in a way they would get her.

    Fantastic job all cast and crew.

  6. Lauren says:

    Sandra Oh kills me every time. The scene where she told Teddy and she was trying so hard to stay cold and professional, and then that tear down her cheek after Teddy left. My God. Tears.

  7. sarah says:

    I thought the Mark and Lexie thing is already so boring and old but I did like the scene with Julia and Lexie in the hallway. I wanted there to be more Arizona in scenes with Alex though.

  8. Lisa says:

    The girl who played the eldest teen was exceptional. Very talented woman – she needs to be snapped and assigned a bigger role in a TV show or film!

    • Mico says:

      That’s true. Now it got me wondering about what her other TV credits are. Time to google.

    • Saint Alicia says:

      Agreed, she gave a restrained yet powerful performance; had me in tears several times. And all her scenes with Ellen/Meredith were heart-wrenching…
      Overall the ep was really strong. Poor Teddy, poor Cristina, stupid Owen; I was so sure he would get slapped by one of them. Teddy really surprised me, her reaction to the news was devastating, but there was no anger, just sorrow… ugh, even more tears from that.
      Great job, GA, great job.

  9. Greysfan says:

    Ok I’m totally calling it: Zola isn’t real.

    I totally think they are pulling a ghost-Denny with us again. Meredith hit her head really really hard during that accident. She has some kind of frontal cortex injury which is either making her delusional or has somehow triggered early onset alzheimers. The episode put so much time into noting that Meredith had not been checked out (not completing the stitches, “come lay your head down with me”, etc). Plus Karev had what seemed like a concussion and Meredith was hit way harder than Karev

    I’m going to be keeping my eye out in the next few episodes to see if the baby has interaction with anyone else, goes to the hospital, etc. instead of Meredith just going to the hospital and talking about Zola. I think we’re due for a scene in a few weeks where Christina asks Derek something about Zola and he tells her “What are you talking about? We don’t have Zola”

    I’ve always thought that when Ellen Pompeo finally leaves the show it’ll be because of alzheimers…but maybe this is the way they are going to do it.

    • Mico says:

      While your theory may prove to be interesting, I have to disagree. I think Shonda made it pretty clear and explicitly stated in the interview (see link above) that the Zola adoption storyline will finally be resolved in this episode. And yes, I’m taking her word for it. But who knows, you just might be right. It’s just that part of me really thinks that your theory is a bit of a stretch (and can people please stop calling it “ghost Denny,” because it has been thoroughly explained that it is merely a hallucination, grounded on medical facts) mainly because uhh.. they’re a medical show? And as far as my knowledge serves me, delusions/illusionary misidentifications are symptoms which ordinarily show up in the late stages of Alzheimer’s.

    • tina says:

      Ha, good joke! So OTT that it’s obvious you’re being sarcastic. Of course the show wouldn’t go with such a foolish story, but it’s amusing to read your wacky fantasy. Thanks for the laugh. :)

    • kjess says:

      Normally I would think your idea is too over the top to be a possible storyline, BUT, they just announced that there’s a Grey’s/PP cross-over episode coming up with Amelia, who is a neurosurgeon, going to Seattle. I also read that Derek and Lexi would be in the PP episode. I’m thinking that you could be right, and Amelia is called to operate on Mer, because Derek can’t operate on his wife. I kinda’ hope I’m wrong, though, because ghost-Zola would be almost as bad as dead-Denny (and, yes, I know there is a medical explanation, but he’ll always be dead Denny to me!).

    • Katy says:

      Nope, becaus when she saw who was at the door, she froze, so derek came out to see what was wrong and she asked him “is that our baby?” and he said yes and opened the door and they were both hugging and kissing her.

  10. Elle says:

    Great episode. The whole cast was great Christina telling teddy was so sad and moving. Watching Teddy with Henry -tear jerking. The end with Zola was wonderful,
    Love watching Mer and Der with Zola. Looking forward to the rest of season.

  11. greysfan says:

    As much as i did notice that too i think you are reading into it just a bit too much. Mind you it would be a very interesting storyline and i have a feeling it could be coming but then again this is Grey’s and knowing all the stuff they have done in the past it is possible. I personally think Zola is REAL and not because of Meredith getting Alzheimers early.

    To the episode itself it was very well put together and Grey’s is better than ever.

  12. KSM says:

    Shonda said in her interview with Ausiello that Zola gets resolved in the episode that aired last night. I mean, Shonda is tricky, but I don’t think that much – I think Zola is theirs. Now, there certainly could be more to the head injury, but I don’t think it has anything to do with Zola.

  13. Amanda says:

    They made me shed a tear in those last few seconds.
    Also I knew that both parents were goners. SO sad. Every kids worst nightmare I think.

  14. Lori says:

    I thought the episode was good but I’m a little confused. Why, all of a sudden, are Mer and Der getting Zola back? As far as we know, nothing changed so this development did not make much sense. Hopefully, the reasoning will be shown in next week’s episode.

    • Christina says:

      I have to agree. While I loved the scene, it made zero sense. Just a day earlier they’d been told they’d never get Zola back, and the next day, BOOM, she’s back! Like you, I sincerely hope there will be some kind of an explanation.

    • Jenks says:

      If I am remebering correctly, the situation was not resolved before the break. As I recall, the judge had not yet returned a decision, but that in itself was a bad sign since a “yes” decision usually came down quickly. I don’t think they were told anything definitive, though, so the judge must have just taken his/her time making the decision.

      • elr says:

        That’s the problem with these mid-season breaks that are longer than 2 weeks at a time. You forget all the little nuances and small bits from the last episode. I wish they would find a way to show the season from beginning to end without these breaks.

  15. Mico says:

    We all know it – Sandra Oh is an exceptional drama actress. But did anyone else cracked up when Cristina was mocking Kepner during the surgery with Teddy? “Nobody wants her. I think it’s her voice – charge to 200! Clear!” I totally LOL-ed. She nailed that Kepner voice! =)))

  16. Fan says:

    “and the way Ellen Pompeo let a warm radiance wash over Mer’s beaming face… wow.” nicely said :)

    Ellen Pompeo was/is amazing. loved her in the whole episode.7need more Meredith drama, its just gets better and better.

  17. EllenPompeoLove says:

    Ellen Pompeo did a marvelous job last night as usual! The way she comforted that girl in the accident and when she said “derek, isn’t that our baby?” is just awesome! the joy on her face is soo real and moving. Ellen rocked that scene! WHERE’S ELLEN POMPEO’S EMMY?

    • Greysfan says:

      I’s such a shame that Ellen Pompeo is always overlooked. This was her best work since that arc where she almost helped the serial killer kill himself and then went to his execution and broke down in front of Derek outside

  18. Trista says:

    LOVED Grey’s last night! The whole episode had Emmy performance written all over it (well that is if it wasn’t a Grey’s Anatomy ep). The eldest daughter was phenomenal, seeing Meredith work so hard to prevent this young girl from losing yet another family member, Sandra Oh’s entire performance, seeing Teddy go from happy to tormented, and even Alex manic moment!

  19. Danielle says:

    I think they should do a spin off of that girl’s life. I would watch that show.

  20. jen says:

    I thought this was a GREAT episode. After George died I’ve only been a casual viewer, but last night brought me back in the fold. Sandra Oh is awesome. All the performances were top notch. Not overly dramatic, just enough.

    • Jenks says:

      I totally agree. I have kept up with Grey’s over the past few seasons through recaps and occasional viewing, but last night’s episode was so much like the “vintage” Grey’s that I may be tuning in more frequently. And, let’s face it, it’s worth tuning in to watch any time Sandra Oh is onscreen. Last night, though, everyone was great. I’m glad to see the original characters taking more of the lead.

  21. NCSouthernBelle says:

    I loved it! What an amazing episode. I do have one complaint though. I don’t think they made it sad enough. I was only crying through 90% of it. ;)

  22. the girl says:

    Ellen Pompeo, Kim Raver, and Sandra Oh were ah-mah-zing in this episode. Bravo to these three extraordinary actresses. I was compelled to the bittersweet end.

  23. Katy says:

    Me too, i literally sobbed my way through the whole thing, from start to end. a simply amazing episode, one of the best in a looong time. ellen pompeo stole the show fr me, meredith has always been my fave, but last night she just killed it! she has grown up a lot lately and it’s nice to see the development and i like how it’s been slow and natural. i’ve missed this show!!!!!

  24. katsky says:

    Damn Teddy Altman! Her pain leaped off my TV!!!!! I had tissue shortage while watching. Seriously! Somebody give Kim Raver an Emmy! I felt her pain!!! One of the saddest/best ep of GA ever! Kim is too amazing!!!!

  25. Angela says:

    Wasn’t prepared to like this episode because of all the darkness but I did. Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh rocked this episode from start to finish in every single scene. And it was one of the very few episodes where they had no interaction. Zola was icing on the cake. I would have been happy with Derek telling Mer it was okay with just the two of them and her saying I love you. And then the better than pizza arrived!