Grey’s Anatomy Season 8, Episode 4 Recap: What Is It About Men?

I’m just going to put the spoilers announcement right up front this week because honestly, I can’t say anything about this episode, even in my introduction, without giving anything way. So, spoilers from here on out, folks.

OMG, are we really going to begin the episode with a quack analysis of men’s and women’s brains and the differences therein? Seriously? Eight seasons and now we chalk up people’s behavior to the sizes of their hippocampuses and pituitary glands? All of this medicine and research boils down to . . . biological determinism? Sorry, Shonda, I just can’t go there with you.

Regressions to essentialism aside, this episode was billed to give us the male perspective. It’s not that they don’t have feelings, Derek tells us in the opening voice over. Apparently they just need to have power tools in hand before they can express them. Aw, masculinity at work. At work—see what I did there?

Just to amp up my frustration with McDreamy, we begin this week right where we left off last week—with an argument between Dereck and Meredith. If we can recall what happened last episode, just for a second, Derek proclaimed that he didn’t want to work with Meredith anymore, but that he trusted her to run away with, I mean take care of, their baby. The one that has been removed from them by child protective services. So color me shocked when Meredith asks him about an upcoming procedure and he responds with a, “oh no, you wanted off my service, remember” type response. For a new resident he’s got Karev, and speaking of surprises people should have seen coming, Karev is nothing like Grey.

In the Kepner, Avery, Karev household, women’s tiny underwear float around like butterflies. Kepner has had it, and tosses a just-laundered pair of panties at her male housemates. Keep this in your own space, she asks, presuming it’s one of Karev’s weekly trysts at fault. Avery pipes up, hang on, that’s Lexie’s. Neither Kepner nor I believe him, but he insists, until she leaves, and then Alex takes back the underwear, saying it’s Lauren’s, from radiology. I’ve been trying to come up with a joke about thongs and x-rays, but I got nothing. Sorry, folks.

Derek building a deck on Grey's AnatomyAfter haranguing Meredith, Derek decides to go work on the deck next to his new house, which is quickly taking shape. Lucky for him it looks like it’s stopped raining for the entire construction period next to his new abode. That is some special anti-precipitation magic Derek’s got there. But what’s this? Nailing the boards in? Someone needs to tell him to use non-rusting screws. He knows how to screw things up, after all.

Meanwhile, former Chief Webber is wandering the surgical ward, asking if there’s a sinkhole, ferry accident, or other large disaster that can tie up his hands for a bit, since leaving carefully wrapped lunches for Adele go unnoticed by her. We actually haven’t seen Adele this season, but that’s probably because Loretta Devine is busy on two other projects right now. I have to wonder at this point if the drug at the heart of Derek’s trial was effective at all, but perhaps we’ll find out about that by the end of this season. When he’s at the hospital, Webber is trying to adjust to being an at-large attending; he doesn’t have a dedicated resident, and he has to jockey for surgeries rather aggressively.

Dr. Hunt, the new chief of surgery, is meanwhile making his own adjustment to sitting out the juicy trauma cases and feeling chained to his desk. Note to Owen: is this really more weary-making than serving in Iraq? As it is, Webber gets his morbid wish; a stampede at some geekfest or other brings a bunch of costume-clad sci fi “enthusiasts” to the ER. Let me just mention here that Seattle had wonderful Harry Potter and Battlestar Galactica museum exhibits for many months, and not even one person got so much as a hangnail, so come on, a stampede on TARDIS toys? I think my people have more restraint than that.

Because Alex has been sweating bullets over his appeal to certain fellowships, he’s late for a surgery with Derek. Don’t they page for things like that? Webber tells him to get out of it by saying that he saw Dr. Mayfield in 22 and that his appointment went long. Whatever it means, Alex goes for it, and sure enough, Derek backs off. Because hello, Mayfield is the erectile dysfunction doctor, so Alex’s excuse makes it seem like he has a particularly bad case. I don’t remember this Dr. Mayfield when Sloane broke his penis a few years ago, but whatever. That aside, it’s clear Shephard misses Meredith at his side, saying that Karev is just trying to get as many non-peds hours as he can. I’m sure this is good news for whoever is under his knife right now.

One particular hobbit—I mean, stampede survivor—falls immediately for Dr. Kepner, which is sweet, but I’m guessing he’s not in her league. Too bad he only has a few crushed toes, because he’ll be going home quickly. Karev agrees to give him a couple of crutches to increase his pathetic factor, so he can try to muster up his courage to talk to her. I know, it’s not a plan that makes sense. More on Mr. Hobbit later. Poor cosplay people never get any respect in hospital or police shows. I’m looking at you, furries episode of CSI.

The residents descend on the wounded like vultures to carrion, but Webber finds his bearings, insisting on helping a hurt zombie nurse. All those lovely lacerations . . . that turn out to be fake. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a red herring patient on Grey’s, but well, there she is. Sorry, Chief.

A wounded conference center goer has apparently lost an ear in a rush to get his very own TARDIS figurine. I honestly can’t wrap my mind around this much urgency for a TARDIS unless it actually travels through time. His friend and roommate got one, though—a Doctor Who toy, not an ear—but now wants it for himself. One-ear guy is so incensed at the betrayal that he lunges forward, hurting his spinal column. Here is where I start thinking they should have cut off his nose instead of his ear, to go along with the idiom better.

Out in the hallway, dumped Bailey boyfriend and current Bailey boyfriend are arguing over a blown episiotomy. Bad, dumped boyfriend. Eli, as usual, seems to be overly righteous. Derek finds them and tells them both to walk away, but dumped boyfriend is hurt and confused—not over how to do an episiotomy, but over Bailey. What’s the difference between the two handsome, goatee-bearing men? Eli didn’t take no for an answer, mister. Which is creepy, but Bailey seems to like it, somehow. As we catch her from a distance holding hands with Eli, she seems like she’s come a long way from her “strings and glue” speech last season.

When Karev asks Shephard if their upcoming surgery can count as two surgeries for his procedure list, Derek throws him off his service. Now that’s a teaching hospital for you; teach people not to ask questions. Also, Avery is on his last nerve with Sloane, who never lets him actually lead a surgery. Clearly Sloane is from the watch and learn camp, not the practice this and then try it on a person camp. Do any of these resident-attendings pairings work? Not that Chief Hunt has any time to deal with team dysfunction. He’s got papers to sign, stat.

No, wait, he’s got time to hammer deck boards onto the house that Derek’s contractor build. This becomes a little ad hoc therapy space for the men, who begin showing up in greater numbers because they just love outdoor decks that much. And because it’s their way to vent. The size of their hippocampuses, I guess, won’t enable them to talk about feelings unless they can be super masculine at the same time. I wish someone had told me this before I had that sex change, damn it.

Callie and Arizona, true to the testosterone-theme of this week, are running off to a conference, leaving Callie’s mini-me with Mark for three days. He declares they’ll be fine, and they are. For one day, until the baby learns to roll over by rolling off the couch during a changing. No crying. Uh oh, she’s got to be brain-damaged, fears Sloane. FYI this baby is way too big to just now be learning to roll over. Sloane takes the baby to Alex, because anyone in pediatrics will tell Arizona he let the kid fall off a couch. She’s not crying, he says. You’re just a good dad, replies Alex. To make his point, he pinches her leg. There, she’s crying. I kind of love Alex, baby pincher. But he needs to get his paper published or Robbins will throw him off her service, the discipline he really cares about.

Two women show up in the ER because their neighbor attacked them, hitting one of them in the head with a bottle. So much for passive-aggressive Pacific Northwesters. This guy clearly needs a lesson in the passive side of anger, or maybe he just needs Derek to tell him to walk away.

Jerky friend and roommate shows up at the earless guy’s semi-private room saying he spent all night looking, but finally found the ear. Shephard and Sloane aren’t sure how to handle this—the crushed spine needs attention first, but the ear has been off for nearly 20 hours, and won’t be viable for much longer. Avery has a grand idea: How about attaching it to the perineum, the lining inside the torso that holds all the organs in place, until they can get to the plastic surgery? There’s the Gunther! They jump at the strategy, and then exchange glances. Everyone knows Mark is Dr. Stingypants. And Shephard would love to have a resident on his service that he doesn’t hate. After blowing through Meredith and Alex, he’s only got a few folks left, and Cristina has no interest in his world of microscopic surgery.

Little hobbit guy is disappointed that his injuries aren’t worse than some broken toes. Be careful what you wish for, dude! Wishes seem to be coming true this week. Sure enough, he feels the need to hobble (a hobbling hobbit, wow) in the next day, basically to see Kepner again. Go away, Alex tells him. What if I have chest pains, he asks. Then you have to observe me. Fair enough, says Karev, attaching him to an EKG. This is not Kepner’s version of Denny, come on now. But his sweetness comes up a notch when a violent patient, the bottle-thrower, loses it on the staff. Cue the two-dimensional character! Nobody knows what he’s angry about, but the giant of a man seems to have a lot of it. Enter hobbit, stage right, perched on his crutches, looking up at the big bully. One should always walk into a fight mumbling, “We are a gentle folk who crave adventure.” In no time at all The Antagonist grabs a crutch and begins to beat the hobbit in his midsection. Three people can’t contain this guy, but Chief Hunt comes in and nails him right in the kisser, saving the day.

Karev and former Chief Webber work on the little hobbit, who is critically injured. After recovery he finally gets his chance to talk to Kepner. Alex, lord of the thongs, advises him to just say hi and let her do the talking. She sees him and gushes about how brace he was. And he blows it, of course, with his nerdiness. She’s never heard of hobbits, no. Karev shakes his head sadly, but the woman who received the bottle injury rolls up next to him in his wheelchair: “She’s never heard of hobbits? Okay, they’re only the focus of one of the most popular books in history, but she’s never heard of them.” “Hi,” says the little guy. Cue audience smiling from their living rooms.

Somehow the men on Grey’s begin to pull it together: Sloane and Shephard fight over who gets Avery as their resident, and Sloane lets Avery do the ear reattachment. Hunt settles more into his job, Derek seems to relent the tiniest bit on his clamped down understanding of who Meredith is as a person. It’s Alex who once again seems lost and alienated, his paper draft a victim of a merciless red pen-armed editor. As we fade out, we hear Derek in the closing voice over: Sometimes we need to start from scratch.

Like with Meredith as our resident again, Derek? Or like with a new hospital show?

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