Tonight’s episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ titled “Six Degrees” focused on the connections among the group. The writers of this show managed to prove something to me tonight in this one episode. They showed that they are capable of delivering a phenomenal episode without relying on sex as the driving force. This is not to say that sex doesn’t help steam up a TV show but when there’s too much bed-hopping drama going on, something else gets lost – the relationships. In the first part of what is a two-part episode (“Six Days– Part 2 will air next Thursday night), Izzie finally found a reason to deposit her jumbo-inheritance, Cristina desperately tried to get news of Burke’s hand issues, Meredith began to rethink how she’s dealing with her father and Alex managed to figure out that while plastic is pretty, babies are better.
The episode began with the O’Malleys celebrating the success of Mr. O’Malley’s surgery. Though he’s in the clear as far as his heart is concerned, they still need to deal with the surgery for the cancer that’s spreading. Weber and Bailey explain to Mr. O’Malley in private that when they do the surgery, they might find more cancer and that the surgery will be life threatening at that point. Mr. O’Malley tells them that he wants a chance to fight the cancer and that no matter what they find when they open him up, they need to remove whatever they can. After this, Weber and Bailey agree that the conversation is confidential (meaning George cant know what his father has requested). George talks to his dad and his father confesses to him that he ran over his dog when George was a kid and lied when he told him the dog ran away. He also tells George that he should get back together with Callie because she “gets him.” He and George share a laugh and an honest moment in which its clear that his dad loves and respects the man he’s become.
George, knowing things could be worse than he’s been told as far as his father’s situation, discusses the surgery with Burke (who is bed-ridden because of his hand issues). Burke tells him what to expect as far as the surgery and that he should keep an eye on his father’s kidneys during recovery. If the kidneys start to go, it’s a sign that his organs are failing. The surgery goes ok but they had to remove part of his stomach and some other parts in order to get as much of the cancer out as they could. Mr. O’Malley hasn’t woken up from the surgery. George checks his dad’s urine bag and it shows that he’s got lots of healthy pee. George and Callie celebrate this by cheering and dancing while his brothers look on completely baffled by this celebration of urine. George kisses Callie and then kisses her again and thanks her.
A patient comes in with some severe back problems. Her spine is curved so much that she has to walk completely bent over. The girl (Heather) is in a severe amount of pain and it’s affected her attitude. It’s understandable though considering she’s been walking bent over for her whole life. Callie is called in to talk about removing some ribs and suggests that the girl and her mother consider surgery to try and straighten her spine. After the conversation, Izzie asks to scrub in on the surgery if it happens. Bailey tells her that her shrink hasn’t given her a good report on Izzie’s progress. The subject of the check (which is still on the fridge and covered in dried food) comes up and Izzie admits that she hasn’t deposited it yet. Bailey lectures her on the money she’s losing every day in interest by not depositing the check.
Callie asks Bailey how to get Derek to look into Heather’s spine issues. Bailey tells her that Derek is a big important neurosurgeon and will say he’s too busy. She says that she has to “stare him down.” Callie seems unsure of this advice until she approaches Derek. She finds Derek and tells him the girl’s diagnosis. He predictably says that his schedule is booked to which Callie takes Bailey’s advice and gives Derek a hilariously intense stare. He caves immediately and tells her he’ll see the patient later. Meanwhile, Izzie checks in on Heather. She tries to give Izzie more of her “I’m pissed off because I’m stuck being bent over all the time” attitude and basically tells Izzie there’s no way she (being blonde and gorgeous) could be a good doctor and doesn’t want her scrubbing in on her surgery. Izzie ends up briefly explaining what happened to Denny and the girl softens immediately. She then goes on to say that she was wrong to think that all beautiful people have it easy.
Derek looks at Heather’s X-rays and tells her that he can straighten her spine by removing part of it and replacing it with a titanium rod. He goes on to say that there’s risk of paralysis or death though. Heather’s mother is concerned but Heather gives her the “there are worse things than death” speech. Izzie decides this is enough to get her to go deposit the check so her therapist can tell Bailey she’s ok for surgery.
I imagine the writers might have gone over how this scene would go for quite a while. Perhaps they considered her confidently walking into the bank, solemnly placing the check on the bankers desk and saying “I’d like to make a deposit” - then realized the ridiculousness of a beautiful woman bringing in an almost $9 million check covered in dried muffin batter. So they went with the funny-sad approach. Izzie sits with the banker and cries as she gives him the check then laughs at the situation and then cries some more. The money has been deposited. When she returns to the hospital and reports to Bailey that her therapist cleared her for surgery, they find Heather’s mom screaming at someone on her cell phone. When she gets off the phone, she tells them the insurance company wont pay for the surgery, which will cost about $200,000 (not to mention physical therapy and recovery costs). When Izzie goes in to see Heather, she is hunching over towards the bathroom and snaps at Izzie for offering to help. This is where this portion of the story ended in the episode.
Meredith’s father is in the hospital keeping his eye on his preemie granddaughter whose condition is still critical. Meredith avoids contact with Thatcher but seems to have softened slightly towards her dad and watches him from out of sight. She talks to Weber about her mom and he, being Ellis Grey’s former mistress (mister? Master? Anyway..) suggests to Meredith that there might be more to her dad’s side of the story than she knows.
Cristina still can’t get Burke to talk to her and tries to get anyone and everyone to get information about his hand. Burke is on to this though and refuses to give up information that he knows will get back to Cristina. He explains to Addison that he doesn’t want to give in to Cristina because it would be like saying “uncle” and she’d have the power. Addison seems to think Burke is taking the silent treatment too far and gets Burke to admit that while he didn’t do anything wrong, she didn’t really either.
Mark and Addison are on the outs because Addison isn’t interested in pursuing an actual relationship with him. He gives Addison an attitude and barks at Alex for getting him the wrong coffee. Alex checks in on Meredith’s niece (the preemie). Thatcher is there talking to the baby. The nurse tells Alex that the baby’s stomach is distended. When Addison arrives she determines that the baby needs another surgery and needs Thatcher’s approval. He’s nervous about signing the form without first talking to his daughter but since there’s no time, he quickly signs. Alex scrubs in on the baby’s surgery. The baby is fine, again.
Addison goes and tells McSteamy that she’s sorry he’s hurting. He doesn’t accept her apology and leaves. She goes to check on the baby and finds Alex alone with the her. Alex comments on how the baby doesn’t deserve to be in so much pain so young. Addison brings up how Alex wants to go into plastics and how maybe that’s an easier field to deal with because in a way, the patients sign up for the pain. Alex agrees but then goes on to say he might want to get back into obstetrics. She makes a joke about the coffee runs for Mark. He tells her he got Mark the wrong coffee because he was being rude to her. The line could have been just a line. The type of line guys like Alex give to beautiful women. But it wasn’t a line. He was sincere and Addison realized it. The two move in for a hesitant kiss when a nurse comes through the door and interrupts them. Alex backs out of the room and both seem completely thrown off by what almost happened.
In the Derek and Meredith camp, Meredith finds out that Derek has been sneaking out to sleep on the couch (or an empty bed or hammock) because she snores loudly. In the end after everything she’s been thinking about with her father, Meredith tells him she has abandonment issues and he needs to sleep next to her at night.
The episode was full of character collisions but the musical montage (which featured the Travis song “Love Will Come Through” – great choice!) at the end showed each of the characters alone: Cristina alone on the couch near Burke’s bed as he watches her sleeping. Callie alone, pondering the kiss she got from George. Alex alone in the elevator, thinking about the almost-kiss. Addison in another elevator probably thinking of the same thing. George alone, worrying about his dad. Bailey alone, worrying about her interns. Finally we see Izzie come and take George’s hand and the episode ends with Derek lying next to Meredith who is asleep and eventually starts snoring.
I have to say with all honesty, I haven’t been thrilled with this season but this episode brought it all back for me. The relationships are starting to get interesting again. I thought Cristina and Burke’s relationship had run its course but this recent challenge has given their story even more depth than I would have predicted. Even Meredith and Derek’s little semi-pointless story in tonight’s episode was charming. A lot of people saw the Addison-Alex thing coming but I have to say, their brief but genuine connection was fantastic. With their chemistry, if the writers handle this right, these two could have a great romance. Though the end of the episode really didn’t feel like a cliff-hanger, I am definitely excited for part 2.