What a lovely treat! I love Meredith, but it was nice to hear a different voice opening the show this week. Derrick tells us that most people become surgeons because they enjoy the high, the god-like power it gives them – but not him. He did it because of the quiet of the surgical room.

Obviously that isn’t the only reason he did it – he thoroughly enjoys helping people, and that’s obvious. This week, he’s locked in a battle of wills with the Chief over an employee of Seattle Grace who has the holy grail of tumors. Bailey describes it as a beautiful beast who could be enough to retire on. And it’s massive. It covers 5 levels of a dear man who works in the MRI lab – Isaac. He’s likable from the moment you meet him – when he shows Derrick the scans of the tumor without telling the brilliant surgeon that they are his own.

The obvious excitement that Derrick has over the scans are exactly why Isaac wants him to operate on the seemingly inoperable tumor – and while everyone wants a piece of it, the Chief says no way. Derrick schedules it anyway.

This surgery is extremely dangerous – but Derrick can’t resist. He goes “rogue” and everyone seems to know it but the chief. Derrick hosts a little competition to determine who will be his assistant. One of the Seattle Grace guys wins – the one with blue eyes. No clue what his name is…the point is that it isn’t Cristina, who was sure she had it locked in. Lexie pitches a fit because Derrick didn’t even invite her to the game – but he explains she already had a spot.

They head into surgery, and Derrick explains to Isaac that if he can’t get it, he’s going to have to close him up. Which is basically to say that Isaac *will* die – either on the table or shortly thereafter. Isaac refuses to accept that – saying he’s been through more than Derrick could imagine. Isaac has been through a war, the death of his whole immediate family, the death of his wife and child, and if he has to survive the loss of his legs he will. Because he and Derrick are survivors who find the inspiration to live through whatever comes their way.

After 10 hours of staring at Isaac’s back without making a cut, the Chief finds out what is going on – and demands that Derrick closes him up. Derrick gives in – but Isaac isn’t giving up. Isaac gives him the best advice – sleep on it, and we’ll talk tomorrow.

When he gets home, he literally draws out the tumor on the wall for Meredith, and she tells him he knows what to do – or he would have just cut the spinal cord. She’s right – he did. The next morning he convinces the Chief that he can kill the tumor if he cuts the cord – so the Chief okays it. The secret is, he’s not going to cut the cord. He knows how to do it – and he’s going to.

At the first cut, the monitor goes all beepy, but it calms down. And the surgery continues. There are a couple of close calls, and Derrick throws up from the pressure. As expected, the Chief finds out what is going on, and surprisingly enough, Arizona is the one who stops him from going in.

Derrick successfully gets it all out – but has to cut one more vessel to keep it from feeding the tumor. He really has no idea which one. He makes the call, and….

Commercials – aargh!

…Isaac is alive – and he wakes up crying because he can move his toes – which makes him think he still has the tumor. He cries even harder when Derrick tells him he got the whole thing, and he’s going to be just fine. (I’m crying too – people like Isaac are the ones who *deserve* to live)

The side story is that Izzy is still gone, and Alex is still pissed. He is aware that she has a treatment coming up, but pretends like he doesn’t care. He does, and at the advice of Reed, he goes down and waits for her. She doesn’t show up. Alex is furious with her because she just didn’t show up for a treatment that saved her life. Reed’s there for him, and sadly, I bet they are going to end up together.

By the end, the Chief has abandoned his newfangled scheduling system, and is hand scheduling the surgeries again. Derrick tries to work out his issues with the Chief, and the Chief tells him he’s fired. Derrick pulls an Isaac trick out of his bag, and tells him to sleep on it.

Derrick goes home to his lovely wife, and promptly falls asleep before he can tell her about the surgery.

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