It took God seven days to create the world. It took Seattle Grace eight days to create the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic. I think tonight’s episode, titled “Wishin’ and Hopin’” may have been the best episode of the season, to date. Of course, I’m speaking prematurely as we’re about to embark on February sweeps and based on the previews for next week’s episode, it looks like things are just getting started.
In addition to the free clinic getting built and launched in just over a week, we were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. George O’Malley. That’s right. Callie responded to George’s proposal by suggesting an elopement in Vegas. The two never even told the other interns. They returned and surprised everyone with the news. Izzie (who was overly anxious about the clinic) responded by commenting on how small Callie’s diamond ring was. Cristina didn’t say much to George or Callie but had no problem gossiping about them behind their backs. Meredith was surprisingly supportive but then again, she was going through her own drama.
Meredith’s mother woke up lucid. Apparently this can happen on rare occasions with Alzheimer’s patients. She had all of her memory back except for the last five years. When Meredith explained to her that she has Alzheimer’s, Ellis has heart complications and has to be taken to Seattle Grace for testing. Getting to know Ellis Grey as she was before she became sick was truly an eye-opening experience. Meredith has talked about her mother’s control issues and intense disapproval of her but I don’t think any of us had any real idea of just how bad it was until we saw her tonight.
You would think after Ellis had a few hours to digest the news that she’s essentially lost her mind, she’d take advantage of the “gift” that is her brief lucidity to patch things up with Meredith. Meredith was hesitant to sit and talk with her mother about the last five years but finally she decides this could be her only chance. She sits with Ellis and tells her about how she graduated from med school and is enjoying her internship. She also mentions that she’s dating a doctor.
Ellis asks her what specialty she plans to get into after she’s done with her internship. The “What Specialty” question came up earlier in a conversation Ellis had with Cristina. Ellis said a doctor’s specialty defines who they are. She was asking Meredith this question because she wants to know who her daughter has become (or is becoming). When Meredith says she hasn’t decided, Ellis becomes enraged. She calls Meredith ordinary and basically yells at her for focusing more on her love life than on her career.
Ellis’ behavior towards Meredith in this scene was completely erratic and borderline insane. If this is how she was treating Meredith during her childhood and adolescence, it completely explains why Meredith is so dark and twisty.
Ellis needs surgery on her heart. She considers not getting the surgery because she isn’t sure she wants to extend her life if it means returning to her state of forgetfulness and confusion. Since Meredith is responsible for her mother’s treatment, she is the one who gets to decide. Meredith confronts her mother and tells her that she is the one who has to decide because Ellis has driven everyone else away. Ellis tells her to refuse the surgery but Meredith says she wont be responsible for killing her mother, that she’s got enough to deal with and she won’t add that to the list.
Meredith has a brief talk with Webber about her mother. He says that he wont talk to Ellis today because he knows she wants him to admit that he wish he’d left Adele and married her but that he cant do that because it would be a lie. Webber ends up going back on what he said and visits Ellis. She tells him she should’ve fought harder for him and maybe then they could have the life she dreamed of with a beautiful house. Webber agrees and says they would’ve had kids so Meredith could have brothers and sisters. This pleases Ellis and she curls up next to him in his chair. Everything Webber said to her was a lie. While he said it all convincingly, the truth was in his eyes. He was only doing this to give her peace.
When Meredith returns to her mother’s room, she tells her that she wants her to have the surgery so that if a cure for Alzheimer’s is found in the next couple of years, she and her mother can finally get to know each other. Ellis looks back at Meredith and says, “You remind me of my daughter.” The lucidity is over. She no longer recognizes Meredith and maybe it’s for the best. While Ellis might be frustrated and confused due to the Alzheimer’s, the lucid version of her was far worse.
And now on to everyone else:
Izzie is completely on edge, concerned about the clinic, which cost her the entire inheritance she received from Denny (minus the money she donated to the bent-over girl). She wants to make sure it will be worth the money and more importantly, worth what Denny was to her. That money was all she had left from the man she loved and was going to marry and sitting around waiting for a patient to walk through the door was making her crazy. She ended up trying to recruit a patient from the E.R. but other than him, only one other patient came through the door.
A young girl and her father arrived to get advice about tampons. The father’s wife died and he had no idea how to deal with the period-issue. Apparently that wasn’t the only thing he didn’t know how to deal with. After Izzie rushes through the talk about using feminine products, Bailey lets her return to the hospital and she sits with the girl. When her father leaves the room the girl, who couldn’t be older than 14, explains that she’s afraid she might’ve gotten pregnant from having sex with a boy she liked. Bailey talks to the girl and her father about sex, STDs and pregnancy. She’s direct and somewhat stern but not unkind about the subject as she educates and consoles the girl. While Izzie was disappointed at the turn out for the clinic’s first day, Bailey seemed pleased. Even if she was only able to help just one patient that day, it was enough to justify what she was doing.
George draws blood from a cancer patient and as he’s doing it, he’s talking to the patient’s boyfriend. He says he doesn’t even know his girlfriend’s middle name, let alone the fact that she had cancer. As George is talking to him about this, he’s getting shakier and shakier. He approaches Callie afterwards and anxiously asks her what her middle name is. We assume he’s having some kind of panic attack because of their extremely impulsive wedding. He goes to the clinic and curls up into a feverish ball on one of the beds. Olivia and another hospital employee who handled the blood George drew come in with the same symptoms shortly after. George realizes then that the blood was toxic and quickly calls the operating room where Webber and Alex were operating on the patient.
When we see the operating room, all of the doctors and nurses are passed out on the floor. Addison, Burke and Derek risk their own health by going into the operating room to re-sedate the patient and finish up her surgery. The three end up collapsing one at a time and its up to the interns to finish the job. Webber, who is conscious now but still sick, talks them through it. Only Sloan refuses to go into the room, saying he doesn’t think it would be a wise thing considering he’s the last healthy resident. He’s right but it still sounds like a cop-out.
Earlier in the episode, Cristina had a talk with Ellis about being married and being a doctor. She still hasn’t answered Burke’s proposal and is afraid if she marries him she will be giving up her career (or jeopardizing it, at least). Ellis told her that she could have tried harder on her own marriage. This small bit of advice was obviously what Cristina needed to hear.
At the end of the episode, Cristina and Burke are home. She puts the ring down on the counter next to him and tells him she can’t give up her career. For a second it looked like she was turning him down but then she goes on to basically say that she wants both the marriage and the career. She does add that she refuses to wear the ring. Burke pauses for a moment then attacks her with a hug and the two laugh, celebrating their engagement. It was the first time all season that we’ve seen these two genuinely happy together.
After George gets better from the toxins he was exposed to, he assures Callie that his anxiety was due to the sickness and that he’s not scared that he married her. She confesses that her middle name is Iphigenia. George and Callie meet up with the interns in the locker room. Izzie starts to tease Callie about being married to George. She then says “you’re not going to move in with us, are you?” Callie responds with, “Nice.” George takes this opportunity to confront his friends. He tells them that they are his closest friends but if they drive Callie away like he knows they can, he’s going with her because she’s his wife and he loves her.
Finally, it appears Addison has a major crush on Alex. As if we didn’t suspect that, after she kissed him. Whenever she sees him, she plays with her lip and stares at him, as Callie described it, like a starving cartoon bear staring at a table and picturing it like a giant turkey with lines of deliciousness coming off of it. Addison tries to deny this but by the end of the episode, she knows Callie is right. She decides to deal with her lust by having another fling with Sloan.
So Callie is now Callie O’Malley, Izzie needs to come to grips with the decision she made to donate the remainder of her inheritance, the residents are still crawling all over Webber trying to convince him that they’re the best choice for the chief position and we finally get to understand why Grey is so damaged. It amazes me that they’re able to squeeze all of that into one episode and still make it not only easy to follow but also very entertaining.
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