grey’s anatomy recap : no alarms and no surprises please (season 2, episode 6)

. . . previously on Grey’s Anatomy [mb]We pick up a few minutes after last week’s episode. Which brings up an interesting narrative strategy that they’ve got going on this season. Basically, there’s only been about a week passing since last season’s cliffhanger. Anyway, the interns are still at their favorite bar in “Seattle”. Joe is tending the bar, and Meredith is still waiting for Patrick Dempsey to show up after last week’s sappy ultimatum. Meredith, now infused with a fair dosage of tequila is questioning her choice of words. She actually said “pick me” and justifiably horrified. She likens it to Carrie at the prom with the pigs’ blood, and I think that most of us agree. Joe sticks up for Carrie, because she was all about the vengeance.

Cynical as ever, Sandra Oh wonders how long the rest of them need to wait. George is amazed that they don’t believe in the power of their love. Isabel agrees that it’s getting hard to watch. When Grey overhears her friends deeming her pathetic, she has an angry little speech that culminates with a request to dump the pigs’ blood on her now to get it over with. As other non-Dempsey patron enter this Seattle hotspot, Meredith seems to realize that he really isn’t coming.

Suddenly everyone in the bar is very interested in the bar’s television, which shows a breaking news story about a horrific train wreck. As the other drinkers congregate to get a closer look at the disaster, the sweet sound of pagers going wild can be heard coming from the interns. With a 911 page after thirty hours of work, George’s first thought it to panic about not having clean underwear. Would his mother be proud or disappointed? As the young doctors rush out, Joe is incredulous about Meredith’s departure because (1) she needs some coffee due to her drunkenness, and (2) like us, he’s become a little bit invested in the result of tonight’s waiting game, but Meredith explains that she’s “gotta go clean up someone else’s train wreck.” Yes folks, they built an entire episode around an idiom and you’re still surprised?

After the jump, catch up with the rest of the episode. Lots of train crash victims including strangers skewered together on a metal pipe, a pair of pushy pregnant ladies, a severed foot scavenger hunt, Alex’s missing mojo, and the resolution to whether Meredith’s “pick me!” speech paid off!

Speaking of surprises, it’s voiceover time! As the interns scramble past the ambulances disembodied Meredith’s voice tells us about this week’s very special lesson, “In general, people can be categorized in one of two ways: those who loves surprises and those who don’t. I . . . don’t.” As she says this, guess who enters Joe’s bar? If you guessed Patrick Dempsey, you’re right. If you didn’t, what show have you been watching for all these episodes?

Joe tells him, “dude, you’re late.” Seconds after entering the bar, Dempsey gets paged, too. Because paging the interns first makes a lot of sense.
The voiceover continues, “I’ve never met a surgeon that enjoys a surprise. Because as surgeons we like to be in the know. We have to be in the know, because when we aren’t people die and lawsuits happen. Am I rambling? I think I’m rambling.” Clearly, the voiceover isn’t a regular viewer. The drunkenness seems to bring a bit of clarity and self-awareness to the part.

In the elevators, the interns are stoked about picking up exciting cases and surgical experience from other people’s tragedies. Now that a few hours have passed since their awful date, Isabel is being a bit nicer to Alex. When he’s confused by her not ignoring him, she tells him that she thought he could use someone to talk to. On account of the elevator freak out. In walks bailey in her green dress. She sends Alex after her shoes. Meredith confesses that she seems to be a little bit drunk. Her excuse of being off duty doesn’t carry much water with the woman who was just called away from her anniversary dinner. Confirming that no one else is half in the bottle, the Nazi tells Grey to get out of the way to spend some quality time with an banana bag to fight her hangover. Th rest of the tired interns are to stick with her for their assignments. She doesn’t want any mistakes, naturally.

As they plunge into the sea of incoming trauma cases, Bailey tells them not to get “all aquiver at the sight of blood and organs.” It does wake all of them up quite a bit, but doesn’t really help with Meredith’s drunkenness. Isabel is quickly assigned off to help AddiSatan with a burn victim in her third trimester of pregnancy. A random African-American guy from the bar comes in to tell Meredith that “McSteamy” came in looking for her. As Dempsey enters, George wonders if it means that he picked Meredith, Sandra Oh wonders if she just lost fifty bucks.

There’s only so much time for romance-related chatter because the next patient is a legless guy who comes in accompanied the chief. This case goes to Sandra Oh, and the Chief demands that since it’s a train wreck he needs to be cleared for surgery. If Dempsey won’t let him back in the O.R., the Chief will fire him. Dempsey agrees, under the condition that he’ll be following him to make sure that the whole post-brain surgery recovery process is going according to plan.

After real Meredith confirms to George that she did, in fact, get a nod from Dempsey (but that neither know the interpretation of said nod), the voiceover returns to say, “. . . my point actually — and I do have one — has nothing to do with surprises or death or lawsuits or even surgeons. … Whoever said what you don’t know can’t hurt you was a complete and total moron … because for most people I know, not knowing is the worst feeling in the world.”
Here, the advertised super dramatic case get wheeled in. In case you missed the previews, the people who might have it worse than the not knowers of the world are a blond haired white woman and a slightly older African-American guy on a gurney attached to each other with a giant metal pole. Even voiceover Meredith conceded that not knowing might be the second worst feeling.

–act 2–
Back from the commercials, drunk Meredith is getting a closer look at the impalement. Ms. Kabob asks if this is the craziest thing she’s ever seen? Both agree that it is. A paramedic enters to tell the doctors that their nights won’t be too bad, describing the awful carnage and saying that there weren’t a lot of survivors. The Kabob couple is advised not to move since they can’t do anything until they know what’s going on inside. Based on his aorta plugging, George gets assigned to take the unhappily attached Kabobesque couple to the X-ray room. Alex, on the other hand, is sent off to the E.R. to take care of sutures until he gets over his newfound fear of scalpels.

Bailey sends Meredith away from the patients and off to an intravenous hangover cure. If Bailey isn’t going home, Grey isn’t either. After ten years of marriage, she didn’t even get a chance to finish her lobster; so there’s not a lot of sympathy from her tonight.

As the Kabobs are being taken to the elevator, we learn that they aren’t a couple. They just met on the train and are in exceptionally good humor given their dire situation. Because of their very impressive trauma, everyone clears the way to let them into the elevator.

In babyland, Isabel and AddiSatan are examining the burned pregnant woman and we can hear the baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor. Because of the burns, she’s in no position to push; so Addison recommends that she needs a C-section to deliver the baby. The patient asks for a lawyer since the baby doesn’t have a father and she doesn’t have a will. Addison tells her not to panic because they still have time.

Back in the E.R., Alex isn’t having a lot of fun. While he’s examining one of his patients, her friend is talking loudly about the train wreck on her cell phone. We’ll hear the story about how fine they are and how the wreck was caused by a redneck trying to outrun the train. I wonder where I ever got the idea about cell phones not being allowed in hospitals. The friend gives Alex no respect since he looks like he’s same age as her nothing but trouble son. This sort of thing continues throughout the episode and seems to be a part of Alex’s journey of doubt, inspired by his finding out about failing his big medical exams.

Being intoxicated, Meredith is having trouble attaching her banana bag; so Isabel helps so that they can gossip about AddiSatan. Unfortunately (for Grey) Isabel hasn’t been able to tell whether she’s in a good mood or a dumped by her husband mood. Meredith recognizes that she’s a vapid narcissist when she’s mixed with alcohol. Isabel plays along with the Addison hate, by ragging on her salmon colored scrubs.

In the surgery of the Chief’s footless patient, Dempsey is watching his boss like a hawk. The chief wants to be left alone, particularly since neurosurgeon Dempsey is needed elsewhere. Even though taking time off doesn’t mean he’s old and rusty. When he consents to leaving the Chief unattended, Sandra Oh gets promoted from foot watching duty to surgical assistance. She freaks out a little bit, and thinking that she’s worried about being Dempsey’s spy or his babysitter, the Chief gives an impassioned speech concerning his extensive experience with cutting people up. But it turns out that Oh’s nervousness is more about the fact that they have the wrong foot since both the detached and attached are left feet. Amazingly, there are no bad dancer jokes made at his expense.

In the X-ray room, Bailey, both chief wannabes, Meredith (drunk and bagged), and George are looking at the results for the Kabobs. The pole went through Ms. Kabob’s spine, crushing her T8 vertebrae. Dempsey asks Grey what’s up with the I.V., and she tells him that tequila happened. We’re refreshed to know that she hasn’t sworn off the tequila even after all of the trouble it’s caused her in the past few weeks. Anyway, the pole is in line Mr. Kabob’s vena cava. The trick is that removing the pole will cause both patients to bleed out. Chief Wannabe 2 suggests that they could withdraw the pole slowly and fix the damage as they remove it. George wonders who will be moved first. During all of this, Dempsey is throwing meaningful, but cryptic looks in Grey’s direction.
CW2 thinks that moving Ms. Kabob will give them a good shot at saving Mr. Kabob. Dempsey plays devil’s advocate, suggesting that since her damage is more severe, she should be moved first. My dad wonders why they don’t just cut the pole in the middle to fix them both. I assume that it’s because that would be much less dramatic and less reflective of the results of a certain love triangle. That is, Meredith sums up the situation: basically, whoever you move doesn’t stand a chance. How do you choose? How do you decide who gets to live?

act 3
In the hallway, Chief Wannabe #2 tells Dempsey that they need to make a decision soon. He needs to do an examination before making a decision. Wanting to get in on the surgical action, Meredith pretends to be not drunk, touching her fingers to her nose, but isn’t very convincing at all. She needs to get a blood alcohol test before practicing any medicine.

Meanwhile, Sandra Oh is searching high and low for the correct leg. When she gets the paramedic’s name wrong, there’s a funny little joke about how “all paramedics look the same” to doctors. But Oh has no time for subtle humor, she’s straddling two giant egos. While the paramedic tells her that the patient should be happy not to be decapitated and to get over the lost foot, Sandra Oh thanks her for “all that she does” but argues that just like Lance’s Tour de France victories weren’t about the bike. this is so not about the leg.

Back in the E.R., Alex is overhearing the redneck story again, while he meets his next patient. She’s also a pregnant woman looking for her burned pregnant friend. A half scene later, insisting to find her friend, she evades Alex and makes her way upstairs. The appearance of a lightly supervised, un-ultrasounded pregnant woman in her patient’s room doesn’t please Addison. She berates Alex for his lack of control, although Isabel sticks up for him a little bit.

Elsewhere, George is torturing Meredith by stabbing her in the arm with a needle despite his prowess with the heart. Apparently as a means of administering a blood alcohol test. During this chat, George reveals that he thinks he’s strung out on the scalpel. Meredith says there’s nothing wrong with that. He asks about Dempsey and is amazed that she even gave him a choice. In case we’ve forgotten that George is starry eyed for Meredith, he also lets her know that he thinks he’s crazy if he doesn’t pick her. Sandra Oh interrupts asking for a cleanly-severed right leg, which prompts their recognition that this is a really crazy job they have.

Next, we find Dempsey examining the Kabobs. Ms. Kabob asks to be called by her first name since Dempsey is a cute doctor. But I assume that you don’t care about her first name anyway, right? The moral of this scene is that Mr. Kabob can wiggle his toes while Ms. Kabob can’t. When Mr. K asks if they’re going to live through this, Dempsey will only promise him that they’re going to do everything they can.

We return to the Footloose O.R. where an elated Sandra Oh claims to have found the missing leg. Caught up in her excitement about how well the severed limb was preserved, Oh missed the minor detail that the toes were decorated with red nail polish. Furthermore, the Chief doesn’t think that this patient was the type to wake up and shave one leg and paint his toenails; so he sends Sandra back on her quest to find the correct right leg.

–act 4–

Back in the X-ray reading room, George, Dempsey, CW2 and Bailey have reconvened to discuss the Kabob case. Patrick Dempsey says that Mr. Kabob has better odds. Dispatched to book a private O.R., George wonders how you tell someone she’s going to be dead in a few minutes when she’s sitting in the other room cracking jokes.

In the E.R. cell woman continues to give Alex a hard time about her friend not being discharged because of the backed up labs. Around the corner, Sandra Oh is working the phones trying to get the people at the scene of the train wreck to sift through the carnage to find the missing leg. She begs Chief Wannabe #2 to help her out, because not finding the leg will be the end of her surgical career. And she can’t go home because it’s too sunny in Los Angeles. I take this cute little speech about how it’s sunny in L.A. every day as a shout out regarding the degree of fakery the producers must employ to make Southern California look like faux-rainy Seattle. In any case, Burke says that he can’t be her boyfriend while they’re on duty. She tells him that this means that she can sleep with other people at work. While she means this as a joke, I think he should worry since, you know, their entire relationship has pretty much happened on the job.

Waiting for her blood alcohol tests, Meredith catches up with Alex who agrees that Addison is Satan’s whore. (Because she yelled at him in front of a patient.) Finding that he didn’t yell back, Grey is worried that he’s lost his mojo with the elevator chickening out. Alex thinks that this (and the George herovision) is overblown — he had an “off day”. Still, he’s got nothing when Meredith asks him why he didn’t kiss Isabel. As he walks away, Meredith yells that she hopes he finds his mojo because she finds him disturbing without it.

In the Kabob room, Patrick Dempsey is breaking the very bad news. It’s hard because they’re in shock and aren’t feeling the pain. Ms. Kabob is intensely practical, saying that on account of the giant metal pole she didn’t expect to walk out of here anytime soon. Dempsey tells them that they’ll need to pull her off the pole in order to operate on Mr Kabob. Chief Wannabe #2 explains that they can’t pull both of them off the pole because it will make them bleed a lot. With
if we pull you both off, you’ll bleed a lot. With this, Ms. Kabob realizes that this means that she’s going to die. Mr. K valiantly protests, saying that if anyone should be saved, it should be Ms. K, but CW2 insists that he has a better chance. Even worse, because of the storm from last night’s episode, Ms. K’s fiance (and Mr. K’s wife) are still stuck at SEA-TAC and won’t get there before the surgery. The adrenaline/shock is really leaving Ms. K calm. She wants them to go ahead, because her fiance wouldn’t understand and it would be way too hard if he was there. At this point, everyone looks very reasonably looking freaked out.

In the pregnant lady room, the friends are doing breathing exercises while Isabel injects the burned one with some drugs. Because lawyers are hard to find at hospitals, they could only fetch a notary who walks in with some standard forms. The friend freaks out about her burned pal drafting a will and tells her not to worry. However, when the BurnedLady asks if her friend wants “their kid” to grow up with her parents, the FriendLady immediately starts a will signing party. While everyone assumes that the women are a lesbian couple, they’re actually friends who have known each other since third grade and decided to simultaneously have babies with the same guy’s donated sperm so that the kids could grow up together. Oh, and during this exposition the FriendLady’s water breaks.

As if that isn’t enough drama. Just as we return to Alex and annoying cell phone woman and her ringing phone, instead of getting the standard offensiveness. we get ready to hear the offensive story about the redneck trying to outrun the train, she falls to the floor. CODE BLUE!

act 5

As punishment for her annoyingness throughout the episode, Alex’s Code Blue is dispatched with fairly quickly. She’s been bleeding internally all night and is pronounced dead in short order.

And then there’s a pretty night scene with cars driving north toward Seattle.

In the pregnant lady storyline, an O.B. resident arrives to deal with the impending birthing event for pushy FriendLady, but she wants to be with BurnedLady so that they can have the babies together. After a bit of convincing, she allows he friend to leave for her C-section and encourages her to enjoy your drugs because the natural childbirth thing is already not fun for her vagina. Since this pair is pretty much running the show, BurnedLady demands that Isabel stay with her friend and Isabel agrees.

While Alex is stilling in the random back hallway mourning his code blue, a paramedic arrives with a severed human leg. This cheers Alex up considerably. When Sandra Oh enters the Footloose O.R., dejected about her failure to procure the hairy leg, she finds Alex with the leg and his mojo assisting with the surgery. Beyond looking sad about missing the surgery, Oh almost looks a tiny bit happy for Alex as she exits the O.R.

Her minor unhappiness is nothing compared with the mood in room of the impending pole-ectomy. Ms. Kabob asks Mr. Kabob if he believes in heaven (he does, she wants to.) This scene would be even more depressing if she wasn’t the perkiest person with a death sentence ever. The anesthesiologist arrives, telling her that it isn’t going to hurt a bit. She whispers a message for Patrick Dempsey to give her fiance. Meredith arrives with evidence that her tequila buzz has officially passed, and all of the doctors scrub up for the very sad surgery. During this scrubbing, there are lots of meaningful looks between Dempsey and Grey. He wonders if she knew that he went to the bar (She did). Then when he asks if she took an aspirin with the banana bag to help with the hangover, Meredith suddenly realizes that he decided to stay with Addison. Dempsey explains that she’s his wife. Meredith looks really sad, but their moment is broken by an alert that Ms. Kabob is crashing.

George is tasked with steadying the pole as they pull the Kabobs apart. All at once, there’s a surgery montage. Babies being born (or C-sectioned, as the case may be), a foot being attached, and lots of surgery going on in the wake of the pole’s removal. Mr. Kabob is stable and the focus is on Ms. Kabob for only a few seconds. Her aorta is shredded and she bleeds out quickly. Everyone but Meredith leaves her to die, while Meredith yells that they can’t just abandon her because they have an obligation. And here, again, the dialog and story is more about Grey’s romance than the patient’s tragic death. Bailey reminds her that there’s too much damage and that there was never any hope, calling the time of death at 3:49 am.

Soon, we have an early morning rain-free Seattle flyover. We learn that both pregnant ladies came through fine. AddiSatan confronts Isabel to see if she’s made a decision of how much to hate her. She’s sympathetic to why Isabel might not like her, given that her arrival ruined her friend’s life. She also points out that people call her husband “McDreamy” and asks if that isn’t a little embarrassing (Isabel agrees that it is). On this matter, Addison and I are on exactly the same page. The point of this heart to heart (of sorts) is that Addison thinks that Isabel is good at her specialty and she has a lot that she could teach her. Addison tells her to think about how important it is to maintain her loyalty hate.

When Ms. Kabob’s fiance arrives, Dempsey assures him that she didn’t suffer. She asked Dempsey to tell him that if love were enough that she’s still be here with him. With this, Meredith leaves the room. and the voiceover picks up to finish up the episode: “As surgeons, there are so many things we have to know. We have to know we have what it takes.”
(Cut to Alex and the re-attached leg; then Isabel, Addison, BurnLady, FriendLady, and their happy babies.)
“We need to know how to take care of our patients . . . and how to take care of each other.”
(We find out that Mr. Kabob doing just fine. Bailey stops the elevator to give Patrick Dempsey a minute to have a good short cry.)
“Eventually, we even have to figure out how to take care of ourselves.” (Very tired interns sitting in the locker room. Oh and Meredith exchange a sad look.)
“As surgeons we have to be in the know, but as human beings sometimes it’s better to stay in the dark . . . ” (Dempsey and AddiSatan exit the hospital together) “. . . because in the dark there may be fear, but there’s also hope.” (Bailey enters the intern locker room to tell them that they have rounds in five minutes. I sure hope they get some “mocha lattes” to wake up a bit. Lucky patients!)

2 Comments so far

  1. Kelly (unregistered) on October 31st, 2005 @ 10:56 pm

    This episode confused me. Exactly why didn’t they saw them apart and then do the surgeries separately, instead of what they did? I mean, aside from the story-as-exegesis aspect?

    I mean, I seriously perked up. I thought I was going to have medical ethics to seriously debate. Instead, I was left ruminating that if it had been House, he would have rigged some giant clamp to hold everything in place while operating…

    And my only other comment, at least right now, is “Blaaargh – now it’s going to be all angst and Satan!”

  2. Ellen (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    My story-arch prediction is that Addison will cheat on Shepard again (either at the end of the season or close to it), she’ll be gone for good, and Shepard will want Meredith back. But she won’t want to take him back (/will want to take him back).

    My friends at school who also watch are rooting for her to get with George, but that’s just silly.

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