Let’s talk about sex, baby. Or rather, let’s text about it. It’s a frisky fall in Seattle, maybe because nobody can tell the difference between autumn and spring over there until the daffodils pop out of the ground. But there’s a return to a focus on the doctor pairings, right in time for Miranda’s break up with Eli. With fifth year pressure on our merry band of residents, some nookie time may be just what the doctor [sic] ordered. This is all bound to go well, right? Spoilers after the jump.
Looks like Meredith, nouveau wanderer that she is, has landed in obstetrics. That’s kind of cruel, isn’t it—to put her amongst the babies while she pines away for little Zola. Oh wait, there isn’t much pining going on. Her framing narration begins: When we were babies, we made it easy, one cry when we were hungry, and one cry when we needed our diapers changed. Lady, you don’t need to tell me, I’ve got a 6-week-old at home. I can barely type this sentence and stay awake, mmkay? But as we grow into adulthood, she says, we become more complex. Quick shot over to Callie and Arizona in bed and of course Callie uses a zebra striped night mask. I might have to get one of those myself, to defend against the bright sun of the Pacific Northwest. As our couple begins to get a little quality sexy time, who breaks in but McSteamy, with eggs Benedict. And so it is that we see Callie lie about her feelings, because ain’t no way some silly couple of eggs takes priority over her other breakfast idea. Where’s my Callie, the one who would flip the plate of delectables over onto Mark’s head? She just grits her teeth and takes a bite.
“We start to hide our feelings, put up walls,” narrates Meredith. Oh, so that’s what that is. We have trouble discerning what anyone really thinks, and without meaning to, we become monsters in disguise. Well, wait a minute, voice over. That’s kind of far afield from just covering up our feelings. It’s kind of extreme logic, don’t you think, voice over?
Meanwhile, former Chief Webber can’t seem to get his key to work to access the mouse research area. Yes, I know, says Miranda, I changed the locks. Now vamoose. She has laid down the law and proclaimed it her mouse lab. Once she’s safely on the other side of the door, we see that the issue is some of the mice have developed hypoglycemia, and now have too much insulin floating around in their systems. And she doesn’t want Webber to know. That’s not exactly what I would call monstrous, but whatever.
Kepner is working with Dr. Bailey on the issue, because according to Bailey, she solves problems like on one else can. Well, that’s encouraging. April tries to take in this little pep talk, but it’s not coming naturally. Being chief resident sucks.
Over in the locker room, which we really don’t get to see much anymore, maybe because only Izzy liked to use it as her lounge, New Chief Hunt is telling the fifth years how hard this year will be on them. Excuse me, I think they understand that already. He whips out a nice little table computer, missing a great product placement opportunity for ABC/Disney, and telling them that he’s keeping track of how many bad outcomes they’re getting in their surgeries. Any more than 10 each and nobody will want to pick them up for a fellowship next year. You know who’s not racking up bad surgery outcomes? Meredith, because she’s not doing surgeries. How clever! Also, Cristina Yang has zero. April now stands at 2, so Alex calls her a loser, and Hunt counters Karev by noting that Alex has 5. Damn bowel resections. Class dismissed.
Apparently Yang loves it when Owen lectures, so right in the middle of his meeting she sexts him. Republican Congressmen have resigned over less, I’m sure.
Out in the hallway, not-fifith-year-resident Lexie Grey is struggling with her brother-in-law, Derek, who clearly needs to face up to needing Meredith back in his OR. I’m sure it will happen at some point, but in the meantime, Lexie is trying to find his professional sweet spot and it isn’t working. She runs into Meredith and says he’s full of nitpicky rules. It’s the truest statement of the whole season so far, and we’re now a third of the way through. Meredith says she just has to learn all of his quirks and figure out how he thinks. I get it now, finally, after 8 seasons: Meredith actually enjoys difficult personalities. Sure took me long enough to get there.
Meredith asks Derek how he is, and although they’re still in a gag order for talking about work, it’s clear their marriage is seeming better. I bristle when he says, “You’re just my wife.” Honey, she ain’t “just” your anything. But Derek stops kissing long enough to explain that he’s bored with work right now and has no interesting cases. Gosh, it sure would be nice if an interesting case would come along.
Yang is on Callie’s service for the week, which she presumes will help her keep her perfect/no bad outcomes record on her surgeries. Callie doesn’t just do simple hip replacements, though. Has Yang totally missed that Callie is another surgical rock star? In between gripes about her lack of a sex life, Callie introduces Yang to her patient—a young man with a degenerative bone disease exacerbated by a car accident who now can’t hold his head up because his neck is so destroyed. She’s not going to do a simple fusion for him, she’s going to push the envelope and rebuild vertebrae. And just to give us a moral lesson in people turning into monsters, his parents are there to support him and scream at each other nonstop.
Meredith over on the OB ward gets a maternity patient who is already crowning. How long did these people wait before coming in? Hubby is there with a video camera, and all he’s capturing, from the look of it, are a lot of zig-zaggy shots and his wife screaming at him to turn off the damn video camera. What nice moments to keep for posterity. Grey’s is really painting a dichotomy of marriage this week: people are either at war with each other, or screwing like rabbits. Or eating coq au vin, I suppose. During the birth, the wife gets Candid Cameraman Alan Funt here to put down the device by calling “brain tumor.” It’s her get out of being filmed card. Grey raises her head. “Brain tumor? Nobody said anything about brain tumor.” Oh yeah, says hubby, she has a grade 4 inoperable butterfly tumor and has 6 months to live.
Derek doesn’t know it yet, but his week just got more interesting.
Meredith can’t bring this case to Shepherd because you know, there’s that no discussing work thing. Really? I am rolling my eyes. She hands off the chart to Lexie saying put this in front of him and he’ll see he can get rid of this tumor. Let’s remember Derek is the brain wizard and will tread where others shy away. Lexie looks less than confident in her ability to get Derek to look at anything short of an asteroid hitting Seattle, but she agrees to be Meredith’s “tumor mule.”
Yang tries to get Alex, who is on Teddy’s service this week, to switch rotations with her so she can get out of doing Callie’s “stupid” neck surgery. “There’s no such thing as a stupid neck surgery,” says Alex, and he’s right. He accuses her of wanting to play it safe. Turns out, as we’ll see, that he’s right.
Karev’s surgery, meanwhile is holy crap, on The 6 Million Dollar Man! The 6 Million Dollar Man doesn’t need your open heart surgery! He doesn’t want an ugly scar on his chest because it would hurt his chances with Les Ladies. Is there something in the water this week? Why is everyone so preoccupied with screwing? He sends Alex off to research less invasive ways of replacing his heart valve. Thank Xena the guy doesn’t have penile cancer like Ryan from last week, is all I can say.
Cristina and Callie, in the OR are looking to remove the old hardware that has failed in the neck patient’s bones. Why not just going for a fusion, asks Yang. He’s had four already so we’re looking for a long-term solution, says Callie. Yang is clearly not into it, or maybe she just is intimidated by power tools. Not possible. Yang’s phone rings to the tune of some 1970s porno, and she really doesn’t want the nurse to pick it up and relay the message to her. Because it’s a sext, not a text, nurse! After our push-pull of the phone moment, Callie says he’s ready to rest up for his next surgery in the 3-surgery plan.
Yang, meanwhile, meets Hunt in the conference room for some ducka-dow-wow. What happened to their secret location in the utility room, with the 9 1/2 Weeks fan blade shadows stroking across their hot and sweaty bodies? The conference room? Seriously? It’s exactly the question former Chief Webber asks when he walks in and catches them.
Lexie does a piss poor job of getting Derek to look at the butterfly tumor lady’s scan, taking a brow beating about not finding an article for him before now. Aren’t there subscriptions and abstracts and databases to help her with that sort of thing? Does she need to go on an archeological dig in Jordan to find this article? He escapes to an elevator and tells her to get the article already, never opening the patient file. Derek, that’s the sound of opportunity knocking, and you just shut the door in its face.
While they’re fake brushing their teeth, Meredith asks Derek if his day got any better from his boring case load, and this is her roundabout way of seeing if the tumor mule made the drop off. Ellen Pompeo is actually pretty good at acting like she’s got toothpaste in her mouth. How about tomorrow, she asks, anything good coming up? Nope, he says. So of course she walks two rooms over and bursts into his sister who is showering. Didn’t you talk to Derek about the butterfly? I’m naked and wet, says Lexie. This isn’t the answer Meredith was seeking, so she makes Lexie explain what happened. Well, you need to put the scans right under his nose, says Meredith. He’s a tumor junkie. When he sees it, he’ll realize. I think this is how people train dogs, actually—they stick the reward right under their face. Still naked and wet, says Lexie.
April asks Alex to cover the ER for the night, because Lexie begged off so she could root around the Middle East for Derek’s critical journal article. Alex refuses, telling her the ER coverage is her problem.
“Can’t you just be a person for a second,” she asks him.
“See, this is why you’re a terrible chief resident,” he says. He twists the blade a little by saying she has no authority and her voice gets all tense and whiny when she’s stressed, and no, he can’t “be a person for a second.” This feedback seems to be exactly the piece of information April needed. Instead of crying, Kepner steels herself. This makes me happy to see.
Lexie catches Shepherd coming off the elevator and sticks the scans in front of his face. Lo and behold, he smiles, the realization of greatness dawning over his ruggedly handsome face. They embrace. Okay, scratch that last part. But quickly he goes to see the couple and little baby Emma, and tells them he thinks he can get rid of her tumor. Hubby is dragging his feet because he wants her last 6 months to be good ones, and he’s been told surgery could kill her or put her in a coma. Shepherd gets him to agree to just do another scan, but I think we all know where this story line is going.
Kepner asks Meredith to do some mouse study grunt work to help her figure out why the mice are getting diabetic. The last thing Bailey would want is me meddling in her study, says Meredith. How long can all of this secret doctoring stay secret, I want to know. April tries her new Authoritative Voice, and it works! Okay, she used more than a voice. She leans in and threatens Grey with dumb interns, exploding bowel cases, and other horrors that she could control and hold over Meredith’s head. It’s brilliant, and well overdue. Even Yang, who is sitting there, looks impressed. Grey agrees to help look into what’s going wrong with the treatment.
A sext from Hunt rolls in and Yang jumps up to fulfill her duty. Yes, in those terms. I know, I need a shower because I feel dirty. Grey asks if they’re talking yet or just avoiding having the baby conversation. Yang pulls a brilliant turnabout and asks Grey what she’s avoiding by spending her fifth year with vaginas and mice. That makes it sound much more interesting than it is, Yang.
Alex has found a different procedure for The 6 Million Dollar Man, but the patient doesn’t like it. He wants an even less invasive approach, and sends Karev away to research that approach. Nobody is friendly to Alex. Remember when he occasionally laughed with his fellow residents? Those were the days. Now he’s just an outspoken outcast, and even 71-year-old playboys can’t stand him.
Webber catches Meredith coming out of the mouse lab and asks her what’s going on. After some prodding, she tells him, and he instructs her to run some labs on a healthy mouse. Someone from the FDA really needs to come and inspect this hospital because they run some janked up studies, for the love of Pete. She says she’ll find a way to get the lab work done.
Callie has to go back to the drawing board on her neck patient because he’s got a lot of scar tissue from previous surgeries, and she is losing her patience with Yang’s pessimism on his case. I know Yang is a cardio fan, but why doesn’t she have the slightest interest in figuring out a solution for this guy? Meanwhile, Callie’s latest attempts to get jiggy with Arizona are foiled by braised short ribs and a fine pinot noir that Mark has brought over. What happened to her vagina having an extra vote in their household? Girlfriend needs to speak up!
Meredith convinces butterfly tumor lady to go under his knife, and camera-wielding hubby is not happy that she’s making a unilateral decision. But hey, this week it’s about risk and risk avoidance, right? How nice of this couple to present both sides of the dichotomy, after we’ve just seen Yang and Callie’s debate. It’s like a message we’re not supposed to miss. But the possibility of tumor-free life is too enticing, so he gets his inspiring operation, and lo and behold, works a miracle for them and little Emma.
Callie comes up with her solution for the neck patient and throws Yang out of her OR when Yang gets nervous about the procedure. This gives Callie enough chutzpah to throw Mark’s coq au vin in the garbage and toss him out of their apartment so she can finally have sex.
Meredith finds what’s wrong with the mice, passes the information on Kepner, but is overheard by Bailey, who is not thrilled that the middler has gotten involved in yet another clinical trial. “Who do you think you are? God?” Kepner reveals she’d asked Meredith for help, but Bailey doesn’t care. But Meredith won’t let her storm out without taking the research she’s just done on the damn mice.
Yang and Hunt have sex in the tight sleeping quarters until they realize that once again, they’re not alone, for former Chief Webber was sleeping just above them in the top bunk. He gives them a look like he keeps hearing a duck say “AFLAC!”
Alex gives what for to Lee Majors and says he’s getting all hung up over a stupid scar, so of course after two days of resisting Karev, Lee Majors caves in and agrees to the surgery Alex’s way. Finally, a good outcome for Alex.
The guy with the pain in the neck and the pain in the neck parents has come out of everything okay, and he tells his parents to please get a divorce and give him some peace. Callie takes Yang aside and says, don’t let fifth year get to you. Don’t lose your edge. Don’t stop being the take charge, rock star doctor you’ve been and start playing it safe.
And once again, Mer-Der flop into bed in that familiar camera angle from above, and they kiss and smile. Derek had his day of inspiration, his much needed inspiration.
Now can we please get baby Zola back? Pretty please?