grey’s anatomy recap : everybody hurts (season 2, episode 5)
We open to the trademark wet television-style Seattle weather. By which I mean, holy cow, is it ever stormy in “Seattle”! Pretty lightning is really having its way with picturesque cityscapes as the voiceover picks up to pre-summarize the episode for us: “Pain comes in all forms . . .”
Such as the form of a bad date. The Alex drops Isabel off at the Casa de Tres Interns. They’re looking all kinds of awkward, so we can guess that the date was about as good as we would have expected from Alex’s dodge of Isabel’s hello kiss at the bar last (week) night. Isabel curtly says that she had a good time and faux thanks him for the perfect evening, the best date ever. She especially liked the part where he treated her like crap all night. Alex plays the confused card saying that he had a good time. Isabel seems surprised enough to go in for a kiss, but again Alex pulls away saying that he has to go. She slams the door with a frustrated “Seriously!” which repeats as she finds her way to George’s bedroom to wake him up.
After the jump, a rundown of all sorts of hurt: pain that’s cured by pornography, the pain that requires a shaman, and the pain of a not heart attack. Plus, lots of interrobangs, a fair amount of pleading, a dramatic power failure in which George finally drops the Charlie Brown act in a stalled elevator.
The voiceover continues with a litany of types of pain: “the small twinge, a bit of soreness, the random pain, the normal pains we live with every day. Then there’s the kind of pain you can’t ignore, . . . a level of pain that blocks out everything else, makes the rest of the world fade away . . . until all we can think about is how much we hurt . . . how we manage our pain is up to us.”
During all of this ellipses in disembodied Meredith’s speech, actual Meredith is being chased up to her doorway by Patrick Dempsey. Possibly from the bar, possibly not. After all, it’s only been hours since the last episode; so it’s a little hard to guess the timeline. Meredith doesn’t want to have this conversation again. She tells Dempsey that he didn’t sign the divorce papers, she gets it, end of discussion. He interjects with “Meredith?” which gets her attention, but he confesses that he doesn’t actually have anything to say since he usually just says “Meredith” and then she yells at him. This bit of honesty incites a shoving fest as Meredith throws him out of her house with an outraged “Seriously?!” and heads up to George’s room to join the two of them in his very small bed. While George loses sleep, Meredith complains, saying that “he’s a brain surgeon, how can he be so brainless?” Isabel’s gripe is more practical, “she looks incredible, and she shaved her legs for him.” The word “seriously” is interrobanged about a hundred times until George, not particularly sympathetic, tells them just to sleep. There’s a nice Bob Dylan: an American Journey in George’s bedroom.
And then it’s morning in “Seattle”, but the rain and thunder is still going uncharacteristically strong as the voiceover picks up again:
“pain, we anesthetize it, ride it out embrace it, ignore it” (cue: Sandra Oh, who enters Seattle Grace Hospital soaking wet, and not looking very completely recovered.) “and for some of us, the best way to manage pain is to just push through it.” Here, Sandra Oh joins the rest of the interns in the locker room as they’re suiting up for another episode of rounds. Bailey criticizes Sandra Oh’s drippingness and questions her speedy return to the job, despite her claims to being “back”, telling her to pace herself. During this banter, AddiSatan sticks her head into the room to see if anyone has seen Dr. Shepherd (the Patrick Dempsey Dr. Shepherd). Bailey seems awfully annoyed by the question and sends her to look around since she saw his name on the O.R. board.
Before we can get to today’s cases, Alex and Isabel have a little morning after squabble. Alex is all “What?” and Isabel is all “What happened last night? What’s going on with you” Alex responds that it was fine and wants to know what her deal is. Isabel doesn’t like this response, says “fine,” and she’s not talking to him anymore.
Because now it’s time for the first case, a large guy watching television. While Sandra Oh presents his case, a planned surgery for a spinal implant scheduled to control the pain (he’s allergic to all pain meds), his wife sits in the corner knitting. He has a surgery later, but everyone is distracted from the medical talk by the pornography that’s playing on HospitalVision. Bailey immediately sends Alex out into the hall because he’s clearly too fascinated by the sexual acrobatics on the screen and tells the patient that he and his wife might be nice people, but they can’t have porn here — it’s a hospital. We learn that it’s not a kink thing, it’s for pain management. Next Bailey notices George’s interest in the porn and send him out of the room. In a bit of a TMI moment, he buttons up his white doctor’s coat to cover up any potential tenting of his scrubs. Soon enough, the girl interns are pretty obsessed with the televised sexual escapades, too. When Oh says that whatever’s happening in the porn can’t be comfortable, Meredith confirms that it isn’t.
Without even a commercial break to recover, we’re back as soon as the credits end. ABC — always innovating with their show structures! A helicopter flies over a rainy Seattle.
Bailey tells Meredith that Mother Grey is being discharged today. After Meredith tells her that the nursing home will pick up mom later, Bailey drops the news that Grey is working with Patrick Dempsey today. After a pleading look from Meredith, Bailey goes into a funny little speech about life being short, times are hard, the road is long with many a winding turn. Anyway, Dempsey asked for her.
George and Alex have case #2, a rookie police officer with a gun shot wound to the chest. He and Alex fight over the patient’s morphine dosing and over which one of them will get the surgery. As they bicker, the Chief Wannabe #2 reminds them that their patient is one of Seattle’s finest and that the force is outside watching. So don’t mess up because who wants to be on the Seattle PD’s bad side. They wheel the rookie up to surgery.
In Mother Grey’s room, the Chief is preparing her to be sent back to the home. She still thinks that she’s a doctor with patients to see. She tells him that she’s thinking of leaving Thatcher (Father Grey) and that he should leave his wife so that the two of them can run off together post-residency. The Chief reminds her that all of that happened twenty-one years ago, but Mother Grey insists that they need to ditch their spouses and hook up before the demands of residency scatter them across the country and it will be too late. Maybe all of this top secret backstory will come into play later, but it seems unlikely and not entirely surprising.
On the way to their case, Meredith tells Dempsey that his wife is looking for him. Dempsey says it’s hard for him. She insists that she’s not going to be the person who breaks up a marriage, telling him to sign the divorce papers or not to sight the divorce papers. In either case, she’s out of this relationship.
The episode’s next case is an older, white haired woman who apparently has symptoms consistent with a heart attack. Her attentive husband thinks she shouldn’t have gone out in the rain to walk the dog. The wife seems surprised by the preliminary diagnosis, claiming that she’s been having chest pains, but that they’ve always turned out to be nothing.
We return to Grey and Dempsey to meet the final case of the evening, a young Asian woman with numb legs after a few days with a twingy back. And, with angry parents. They rush is to ask why she didn’t call them before going to the hospital. Dempsey tells them that their daughter has a tumor in her spinal canal. Although this sounds bad, the surgery has a 95% chance of success. The catch: they need to operate right away or else she’ll be paralyzed for life. This sounds way too easy, right? It is. The father says no to surgery and insists on bringing his daughter home. When Dempsey tries to convince his patient to stay (she’s over 18 and doesn’t need her father’s consent), she says that she’s Hmong [wiki] and her father is the elder; so she’ll go home if that’s what he wants.
Like most of the audience, Dempsey has no idea what “Hmong” means. As he and Meredith storm up the stairwell, he tells her to call social services. She asks if he needs anything else, work-related. He looks put off and angry, saying that AddiSatan was his family for eleven years of very special holidays and that one day isn’t enough to figure out the big Divorce situation. He thinks it would be nice if Meredith would show him a little bit of understanding for his moment of uncertainty and painful doubt.
Getting their use out of the StediCam, a little Addison-Chief Wannabe #2 banter about her still being in Seattle and looking for her husband, trades off with a look of confusion from Burke, and into a windy hallway conversation with Sandra Oh about where they are, relationship-wise. She’s getting back on her feet, but he’s not waiting forever. It’s been a half a day since they were cuddling in her hospital bed, right? You’d think he’d cut her a tiny bit more slack.
In the elevator, he invites Bailey to scrub in on a case, but she declines citing a previous engagement with a handsome man who’s whisking her away to a love nest for the weekend. Woah. More character development for the Nazi? Who’d have guessed?
En route to surgery, George and Alex learn that their young cop patient was shot on his first day out. The doctors think he’ll live it down.
Isabel runs up to Bailey with a bunch of test results suggesting that her fainting dog walker patient may not have actually had a heart attack. Bailey insists that she run more tests and sends Dr. Model on her merry way.
In a different elevator (which features a SFM poster — is this show sponsored by Paul Allen?), Alex is trying to figure out what’s up with Isabel. George lays it all out for him: she shaved her legs for you and you didn’t follow through. The cop is sympathetic to Isabel’s disappointment in Alex’s lack of follow through. George explains that women have expectations, and every time they’re left unmet, he has to hear about it and doesn’t get sleep. So it is his business.
The elevator goes dark and comes to an abrupt stop. Alex, always a keen observer says, Dude, we’re not moving.” George, points out the obviousness of his statement, the patient looks a little concerned, and we cut to commercials. DRAMA! Well, it would have been more dramatic if this situation hadn’t been advertised to death prior to the episode. At least there was a point to all of that scary looking lightning.
Isabel, Sandra Oh, and Seattle Grey are leaning over the railing overlooking the big Seattle poster from last week. Oh looks in pain, but she won’t take meds because they’re for wussies. Isabel non-sequiturs about hating Alex, which gives Meredith the chance to announce that she broke up with Dempsey. Since it’s all confessy-time, Oh tells them Chief Wannabe #2 wants a relationship. The girls agree that boys are stupid.
In the stalled elevator, George is reading the escape instructions frantically, Alex is prying at the doors. The rookie’s pressure is falling. George whispers that he needs to to get to the OR. The cop is starting to panic, after all, his doctors don’t exactly have their game faces on and he still has a bullet in his chest. That’s what he gets for freezing on the job, but George assures him that someone is going to get them out of there.
Oh returns to Porno for Pain guy to find him freaking out over of the (amazingly still in progress) storm, which has cut off power to more than just elevators. It’s shut down his porn supply and he’s feeling that old familiar ache again. The wife went home to pick the kids up from school (on account of the massive lightningfest) and won’t be back until after dinner. Mr. P insists that he needs his porn (if only we all had such an excuse). Per her usual custom, she is not sympathetic.
Addison explains that lightning hit a substation and that one of the hospital’s back-up generators is down. She tells the chief not to freak out about the power killing their only way of transporting patients. He feels more comfortable with panic than breathing exercises.
Bailey and the Chief meet up near the elevator, where some guys have pried the door open enough to peek inside. The Nazi asks the interns what they did, and the guys emphatically reply that it wasn’t their fault. The Chief wonders how the patient is doing, and the answer is that he isn’t looking good. Nice that they’re letting this poor guy know that things aren’t going well at all.
Back at the Tumor girl’s bed, Meredith is hooking up a morphine drip for the pain. Tumor girl reminds Meredith that she’s going home. When Meredith tells her that a social worker is on the way, the patient explains the situation and shuts down any white girl cultural dividespeak: she’s a modern girl who’s lived in Seattle all her life, she plays in a band and went to the UW. She gets it, but her dad doesn’t. If he says no, it’s no. Meredith thinks that not being able to walk is a big thing, but the Tumor Girl fills us in on the Hmong people in language we can understand. They’re way old, way spiritual, and have way set in stone rules that you don’t mess with. So you don’t want to anger the ancestors even if you pierce your tongue and play in a band. And there’s tonight’s cultural whirlwind chat.
Bailey confronts Dempsey about Porn as pain management! In the style of tonight’s dialogue, she repeat this angrily a few times until he comes up with a scenario by which it could work (endorphins) and explains that it wasn’t his idea anyway. Oh, like everyone else on the show, she reminds Dempsey that his wife is looking for him. Which, obviously, he already knows.
Meredith meets up with him, fresh from her Hmong tutorial to say that he should talk to Tumor Girl’s dad, who will only talk to someone with testicles. It turns out that their patient needs a shaman because dad thinks that she needs one of her souls before going into surgery. If only they kept one of those re-souling orbs from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the hospital pharmacy . . .
We’re back to tonight’s least necessary plotline: Isabel’s non-heart attack patient. Her results look good, and has no arterial blockage, thus no heart attack. The couple seems pretty happy about this, but Isabel is keeping her in the hospital because her EKG looks weird and she’s planning to play detective. This leaves Mrs. Dogwalker looking a bit distressed.
In the stalled elevator, the Rookie is pulling out wires and tubes and is getting generally agitated and incoherent. Unfortunately, the interns forgot to pack an open chest tray for the ride. George reports that can’t take a blood pressure anymore; so Chief Wannabe #2 is on the run for some surgical tools while the boys intubate. George quite reasonably thinks that the patient isn’t long for this world. Even CW2 isn’t too sure about this harebrained idea to have the interns cracking open a guy’s chest in the elevator, but what are you going to do, really?
We return from the commercials and find ourselves back in the elevator. George and Alex are looking grim, bagging the patient and wondering when Burke is coming back over and over again. Alex tells George to shut up.
Dempsey finds Hmong Dad outside, smoking in the sunny pouring rain. In faux-Seattle fashion, both guys have large umbrellas. There are some mountains in the background. Dad explains that when sickness comes, it means that a soul is missing. Need a shaman. Dempsey respects their traditions as well as his $3,000 suit and reminds him that his daughter needs surgery in the next 24 hours. Dad says that she can’t undergo surgery without a soul or else she’ll die. Oh, and you can’t just check the yellow pages for a shaman; so Dempsey will just commission one of the hospital helicopters to fly their personal shaman from 500 miles away. This earns Dempsey a cigar from Daddy Fancysuit as well as a warning that finding her soul won’t be easy, and probably a major hospital bill. Hope there aren’t any traumas that need that helicopter for the rest of the afternoon.
Just so that we don’t think that Seattle Grace is free of administrative drama, we get a scene in which Bailey reluctantly reveals to a complaining Chief that the problem with the broken generator is his fault. If only he’d ordered a backup instead of a fancy new MRI machine, maybe this episode wouldn’t have been nearly as dramatic.
That is, Alex and George are still trapped in the elevator, and the rookie cop still is not looking very good; so Chief Wannabe #2 tosses in a bunch of not sterile surgical supplies through the small opening into the elevator so that the boys can make a go at saving their patient’s life.
While the guys are suiting up in surgical gear, Isabel is running around ordering the Dogwaker’s records while she spectates at the elevator, Meredith is scampering around to play travel agent to the out of town shaman, and Sandra Oh is complaining about having the boring porn guy. She finds him is serious pain and is surprised to learn that the porn actually sedated him, and that he really isn’t a pervert, he’s just allergic to most narcotics. Having anesthesia will totally mess with his upcoming surgery — what to do??
No time for answers because it’s back to the elevator of panicked interns and the seemingly doomed police officer. CW#2 is coaching them through the doorway, and Alex is looking pretty freaked out that they’re actually going to perform heart surgery on their own and in an elevator. Neither he nor George is wearing a mask. As Burke tries to pass a scalpel in, Alex freezes (probably thinking about how he found out about failing his big medical test last episode). George yells at him a bit to no avail; so George takes the knife and takes charge / asks for instructions for cutting a great big hole in the guy’s chest, being sure not to hack up his lungs or heart. Alex holds the flashlight, and with a shaky handed cut announces that they’re not in Kansas anymore as we go to commercial.
When we return it’s to a montage of stock footage of raindrops and 70s era cars driving in the rain.
Meanwhile, the shaman is late, despite the father’s claims to the contrary. Dempsey and Grey stand, waiting by the Tumor Girl’s side.
At the elevator, quite a crowd has gathered. Dr. Model notes that George doesn’t have the steadiest hands, but the Nazi shuts her up (because, they can, you know, hear the spectators. It’s not like the usual sound-proof theater where they can make jokes about George being the curse of death). Even though the firefighters arrive, they can’t fix the elevator on account of the nervous intern and all of the surgery in progress.
George happily reports that he didn’t cut the heart or lungs. With that disaster out of the way, Chief Wannabe #2 instructs him on the next step. George confidently requests a whole bunch of surgical tools, and things are suddenly looking up for the Rookie’s prospects of seeing another day of crimefighting on the mean streets of Seattle.
Back in the Porn Palace, Sandra Oh is threatening her patient. If he tells anyone what she’s about to do, she’ll kill him and sell his body parts. For a minute we’re left to wonder if she’ll be putting on a little strip show, but it turns out that she’s just going to tell him some “naughty nurse” stories. After all, this is still network television and we’re just going to get stories about soapy saucy hospital people, which seems to thrill the patient.
Isabel reminds us that the Dogwalker is still in the hospital. Not only that, but she’s been admitted to the hospital every day for the past seven years with the same weird non-heart attacks. Neither the patient nor her husband can quite believe that they’re such regular and frequent visitors, but Dr. Model is still in detective mode, asking what happened the first time. It turns out that the neighbor was carted off with a fatal aneurism the first time that Mrs. Dogwalker keeled over with a fake heart attack. The wife claims not to have really known the dead neighbor. And thus the plot slowly thickens.
George is chopping away, with fast and furious instructions from Burke.
George seems having a great time, and for maybe the first time ever in the series seems confident enough for us to imagine that he got into a surgical residency. Eventually he finds a whole in the Rookie’s aorta and is instructed to stick his finger in it to plug the leak. Chief Wannabe #2 rolls over looking relieved, everyone else looks amazed, and now it’s o.k. for the firefighters to get them out. Meanwhile, George just needs to stand there with his finger in the figurative dam. By the way, CW2 announces the George just flew solo.
Flying across Seattle through more of that sunny rain, the helicopter lands on top of the Fisher Center. Grey shuts off Tumor Girl’s morphine, because obviously the shaman can’t find her soul if she’s all hopped up on drugs. I wonder if the straightedge council product placed that message? Grey confirms that she’s not just doing the no pain, no gain thing for her father’s benefit. Although she knows that it sounds like a load of crap, Tumor Girl does believe in the ritual, too. Throughout this scene, we’re again reminded of how much the producers seem to like the new Mike Doughty album as the shaman makes a dramatic entrance, flanked by the rest of the patient’s family.
We return from the commercial break to find Sandra Oh still telling safe for ABC dirty stories. The porn patient looks quite relaxed as Bailey walks in confused to find Oh doing something nice and more than a little weird. Luckily for all of us, the hospital power switches back on, bringing pre-recorded pain-killing pornography back to the television.
Now there’s a kind of musical wrap-up montage of the Shaman doing quite a bit of waving fire around like he isn’t in a hospital. Dempsey asks Meredith how long it takes to retrieve a lost soul. She doesn’t know, but seems to realize that the question is about more than the ritual.
Isabel checks in on George, who still has his finger in a heart. She cheers him on, while saying nothing to a sad-looking flashlight-holding Alex before returning to Mrs. Dogwalker. Isabel tells her that she has stress cardiomyopathy on account of Ted the Dead Neighbor, who she probably knew better than she’s letting on. The patient confesses that for 27 years, she loved the man next door and he loved me. He was her soul mate and then he just died. Isabel says that her heart stops because she’s grieving for Ted. Dogwalker asks how to treat her ailing heart. Isabel only wishes that she knew. Because the patient problems are always metaphors for what’s going wrong in the doctor lives.
While George, freed from the elevator, gets congratulations from everyone, and probably a lifetime exemption from any SPD-enforce traffic violation, Alex exits alone, not looking great.
Back in the world of Mother Grey, we get the rest of the backstory on her affair with the Chief. She left Thatcher, but the Chief reminds her that he couldn’t bring himself to leave his wife. Mother Grey remembers that it all went down at the park (fun forest?) on the carousel (it was raining, of course). She took an offer from a Boston hospital and swore never to speak of it again. It’s only after twenty some years and Alzheimer’s that Mother Grey admits to her former lover that carousels give her the creeps.
Wrapping up the Porn storyline, Sandra Oh asks the wife how she puts up with all of the pornography? The wife is grateful for it, because Henry takes away her pain. Again with the patient teaching the doctor a lesson.
After a lot of cuts back to the shaman ceremony, Tumor Girl gives Meredith the promised look to signify that It happened. With her lost soul restored, it’s time to wheel her into surgery to remove the tumor. From the O.R. theater, AddiSatan looks on in her Manhattan black outfit, setting off a cascade of meaningful glances. You’d think that Meredith and Dempsey should be watching the surgery instead of his wife, but it’s only television.
After the surgery, Meredith calls her own bluff. She tells Dempsey that she lied about being out the relationship. She’s so in it, it’s humiliating. And we get to the advertised begging speech: “your choice, it’s simple her or me. And I’m sure she’s really great . . . but i love you in a really really big pretend to like your music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold radio over my head outside your window . . . so pick me, choose me, love me.” She’ll be at Joe’s, so if he decides to sign the divorce papers he should meet her there. Before Dempsey can say anything, Meredith cuts him off and exits the hand scrubbing area, leaving him to demonstrate his well-practiced sad and perplexed look.
act 6 [!]
Wow. Seattle sure is pretty, all lit up after a solid day of rain, isn’t it?
The Chief watches as Mother Grey gets put into a wheelchair and tells her goodbye. When Meredith promises to visit tomorrow, Mother Grey whispers that he doesn’t love her, but he’ll stay with her anyway because she’s his wife. (a little past-repeats-itself prophesy?) When Meredith calls her “mommy” she realizes that her daughter grew up. Mother Grey says that it’s a shame, since it’s awful being a grown up. The carousel never stops turning, and you can’t get off.
The episode closes at Joe’s, the only bar in “Seattle”. The bartender is optimistic about the chances of Dempsey showing up. He sure seems to be growing his hair pretty quickly for someone who had brain surgery less than a week ago! The door keeps ringing as people other than Patrick Dempsey (such as George) enter.
Dempsey isn’t there, because he’s hanging out in the hospital reception area, where he runs into Bailey in a revealing blue dress. He’s amazed that she looks like a girl and asks about her hot date. More Nazi character development ensues — she’s married and it’s her tenth anniversary, but we don’t really get to see much of her husband. She guesses that he hasn’t signed those divorce papers. He asks her to tell him what to do and asks why it has to be so hard. She wisely tells him that it isn’t hard it’s (surprise!) painful because he knows what to do.
And in case you didn’t get the message, here comes the voiceover again: “Pain. You just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that caused it heals.” (Sandra Oh busts in to the hospital dorm to wake up Chief Wannabe #2 and list her faults – competitive, snores, works too much — as a way of rekindling their relationship. Without objection, she announces that they’re now a couple. Not that he should make a big deal out of it. After a kiss, she leaves him in the dark to sleep it off.)
“There are no solutions, no easy answers, you just breathe deep and wait for it to subside.” (cut to all the interns joking, real Meredith worrying that Dempsey isn’t coming. George is the most optimistic, but that’s only because he doesn’t want her drinking tequila all night because he’ll get stuck cleaning it up. Also, he touched a heart today and calls Sandra Oh “Porny” which might be a good replacement nickname for her.)
most of the time pain can be managed
“. . . but sometimes the pain gets you when you least expect it, it’s way below the belt and doesn’t let up.” (AddiSatan finally finds her husband. She asks if he’s going to sign the divorce papers.) “. . . pain. You just have to fight through because the truth is you can’t out run it and life always makes more” (Meredith drinking up, Dempseyless) With that cheery thought and image, the episode ends.
Does that count as a cliffhanger?
Next week: An episode not to be missed involving a train wreck, impaling, and life-or-death decisions. For these doctors, their defining moment is now. Or rather, next week. Which might be “tomorrow” in the show’s timeline.
next week . . . [mb]