Grand Rounds: Dissecting Grey's Anatomy: This Is How We Do It
Welcome to Grand Rounds: Dissecting Grey's Anatomy, a roundtable on Grey's Anatomy featuring Snarky's Machine, Tasha Fierce, Everett Maroon, Redlami, and s.e. smith. This week's Grand Rounds is hosted by the extremely waterlogged s.e. smith. Without further ado, let's begin!
s.e. smith: There's a lot about "fairness" in this episode. What do you think about the "fairness" of various events that occurred?
Snarky's Machine: While I understand why Adele would frame her experience in these terms, the very fact that Derek acquiesced to the Chief's pressure proves the opposite.There was little fair about the way in which Chief Webber exploited his complicated history with Derek in order to ensure his wife would receive favorable treatment for her condition. As an aside, I have to give it up for Loretta Devine who really brought richness to a storyline, which seemed clearly slapped together. I mean when were the Chief and Adele ever happy or "in love"? Nevertheless, Devine made me forget all about that particular plot hole.
Everett Maroon: Fairness was the big loser of the week: the Chief and his wife never really get their time together as a couple, Dr. Stark's love interest caves in to peer pressure and cancels their date, some stupid Alzheimer's test decrees that Adele is one point too cognizant to have access to the disease's cure, and of course there is the car crash. Poor, cranky Arizona can't even get one weekend away without careening into a truck. But sarcasm aside, I question framing these developments as questions of fairness. Seeing everything as fair or unfair removes agency from people—Chief Webber and Adele have piddled away their relationship with affairs, grudges, alcoholism, and pain. That they're only "happy" now is testament to their failure to work out their issues earlier in life, which is its own tragedy. Arizona ran away from Callie when things got too intense for her, so yes, life went on without her and now she has to work to find her place in Callie's Very New Exciting World. Where does "fairness" end and human responsibility begin?
Tasha Fierce: I didn't see anything fair or unfair about any of the events that occurred because life is completely unfair most of the time so actual "fairness" is relative. Why we tend to think bad things are completely unfair when they happen to us but continually judge whether or not something bad happening to someone else is deserved.
Redlami: The episode hammered home the idea that looking for fairness is a fool's game. It's not fair that Adele has Alzheimer's (although the diagnosis still feels a bit fuzzy), but if Derek admits her to the trial that will be unfair to Derek, not to mention all the others in the trial. It's not fair that Richard should be burdened with choosing the chief resident, but foisting that responsibility on Owen is unfair to Cristina, who would otherwise be a prime candidate. And of course, it's not fair that Arizona doesn't "get" the whole baby thing as well as Mark does. And we see where Callie's attempts to be fair to Arizona lead.
s.e. smith: Relationships beginning, relationships ending, and a bit of everything between. Which major relationship moment in this episode stood out most for you?
Snarky's Machine: Each relationship had an interesting movement, but by far my favorite was between Owen and Christina. When did I start liking Owen so darn much? I found the interplay between the two characters and the romantic chemistry finally starting to gel. I especially liked Christina's reaction upon discovering Owen would be selecting Chief Resident. It was unexpected and demonstrated a level of maturity that Christina hadn't really displayed before. Not so much the freaking out, but realization that it was something TO freak out about.
Everett Maroon: I can't decide if it was Adele's realization that she has Alzheimer's (and can I just ask, when can Loretta Devine get nominated for a supporting actor Emmy already?), or when Meredith told new baby doctor about Alex's past. For surely that's why she would entertain a late-night snack with him in the parking lot, not because Karev oozes charm. Meredith captured, in two sentences, all of Alex's pain from the entire series.
Tasha Fierce: It was pretty hardcore when the Chief's wife was realizing she really did have Alzheimer's; Derek and Meredith just had their heads down the entire time like it was just too intense. The kiss between Karev and the OB was cute, and the look on Mark's face when he saw Avery and Lexie go off together made me want to yell at him not to do something stupid like tell Avery to stay away from her.
Redlami: I've been intrigued by the relationship between April and Dr. Stark (whose first name is apparently Robert, as that's what April called him). Even though everyone else could guess that Stark's intentions were not platonic, I still felt sad when April found out he had no intention of being just friends. It was refreshing to see Stark being just as power-abusing, self-serving and manipulative when it came to April as he is with everyone else.
s.e. smith: In the hospital, Eli prioritizes patient advocacy over his relationship with Miranda, but Miranda seems to be struggling with the personal/professional divide. There are clear race and gender dynamics happening here; how do you think this relationship would progress with characters of different genders and races? What is Grey's saying about race, gender, and medical practice?
Snarky's Machine: What kind of nurse/patient ratios are happening at Seattle Grace? When do nurses ever have time to ride shotgun on medical treatment option discussions? That said, I do think the writers were smart to explore the gender inequities as it relates to male nurses and female doctors. Particularly the way in which patients tend to further complicated matters. On one hand, patients are probably far more intimate with their nurses than their surgeons, it's unlikely they would feel comfortable enough allowing the situation with Eli to play out. More importantly, with all that Miranda has had to overcome in terms of race and gender (and given the fact Webber was her mentor as well as Addison and Arizona) I felt Miranda's loss of control of the situation rang false. For starters, knowing the patient she had, it didn't make a lot of sense to select Avery as her resident. Karev would have been a much better choice. But Karev was needed for another story arc. Ah well.
Everett Maroon: I know he said he was prioritizing patient advocacy, but he cut Miranda off, in my opinion. And when she argued with him, in private, in a way that wouldn't embarrass him in front of others, he insisted his behavior had been appropriate. And let's say he really didn't think that Dr. Bailey was going to talk about the risks with the patient. He didn't need to denigrate her as he interrupted, looking to suggest that was going to pull the wool over the patient's eyes. And then he's going to command her to meet him at his place so he can show her what a man he is? Maybe there's something I'm missing here. Maybe Miranda sees a softer, sensitive side of him. I just see a pushy guy who smells a little like bitter almonds. For a hospital where nearly everyone is screwing a colleague, I keep noticing more attention given to the imbalances in this relationship in a way that is more up front than for many of the others (which certainly have their own imbalances). So I wonder where Grey's is going with this.
Tasha Fierce: Well, if it were a male doctor and Eli questioned him, I seriously doubt Eli could have gotten away with railroading him like that. If it were one of the white female doctors I don't see that happening either. What's funny is that at the end when Eli talks to Miranda outside, he says that in the hospital she's the man, but he didn't treat her like that. As far as him telling her that she was going to be at his house in 15 mins, I'm a woman who is assertive and occasionally aggressive outside the bedroom and I have to admit that a dude taking charge like that in regards to sex is a big turn-on. So I don't think it's unrealistic that Miranda would go for that.
Redlami: Eli's desire to dominate Miranda has been clear from the beginning of their relationship. Miranda seems to be struggling with her desire to submit to that power dynamic in a romantic sense but still keep her professional stature. If Eli can't back down, and nothing about his character suggests he will, I see more trouble ahead for this couple.
s.e. smith: As soon as I saw Arizona and Callie in a car, I knew how this episode was going to end. Where do you think they're going to take this storyline?
Snarky's Machine: I hope this is the catalyst for moving Arizona and Callie into some stability and happiness. Otherwise, I wouldn't mind seeing Callie and Mark make a go of things. Arizona and Callie's relationship has dragged and lost its way over the course of the season and while I wouldn't have gone with something so literal, the car accident is probably the momentum the relationship needs. Also, remember, this is about the time some of the arcs that will come to head in the finale are developed, so I wouldn't be surprised if this arc turns out to be nothing in the short term, but yields a big payoff come season finale time.
Everett Maroon: First of all, someone needs to do a check to make sure that Mark isn't really an alien, because that fetus is growing something fast! Who has a baby shower in week 15? Even though I saw that car crash storyline coming miles away, I don't really have an idea how things will end up between Mark, Callie, Arizona, and Fast Growing Fetus. Mark may yet prove to be the sturdiest emotionally of the three of them, and I'll bet that FGF doesn't make it. But given these particular characters' penchant for impulsive behavior, all kinds of crap could happen. I'll keep my ear out for any news that Shonda's looking to spin off another series about a love triangle of doctors working in a developing country. Oh wait, that's Off the Map.
Tasha Fierce: I think Callie will probably lose the baby which will leave Mark free to try to win Lexie back since he doesn't have the added baggage of another child by another woman.
Redlami: I honestly have no idea. They'd better not kill off Callie. Having the baby survive but be delivered prematurely could put Arizona in a primary caregiving position, which could make for a very interesting game of Relationship Twister among Callie, Arizona and Mark.
s.e. smith: Bending the rules happened all over this place in this episode. The doctors at Seattle Grace have a long history of throwing medical ethics out the window. Is it coming home to roost?
Snarky's Machine: I think so. I think Derek and Meredith got a very painful lesson in the costs of rule breaking, particularly the emotional cost and the accompanying lapses of judgement. I was actually impressed with how firm, yet supportive Derek was, because he does love Adele and cares for Richard. Nevertheless, Derek has grown up since his intern banging days, though I'm sure Richard probably thinks he picked a fine time to decide to be grown up.
Everett Maroon: If it is, there will be enough eggs to make omelets for the entire Seattle population. I'm wondering when the shoe will fall on Dr. Webber's unauthorized islet cell surgery. Because he's not allowed to stay sober this whole season, is he?
Tasha Fierce: SOMETHING better come home to roost after all this rule breaking, or I'm going to get tired of suspending my disbelief. I definitely think the chief's unauthorized islet cell surgery has got to cause some kind of drama down the line. And I'm curious as to whether Derek will actually go through with that call at the end.
Redlami: While this episode seemed to suggest some consequences of playing fast and loose, has anyone really been punished? Despite Teddy's presence in the OR, Cristina successfully operated on Henry's heart. Richard's unapproved procedure was a success (and approval came through after the fact). And as we left, Derek was still wrestling with whether to bend the rules and admit Adele to his Alzheimer's trial. So while blurry ethics might be good for providing drama, it generally falls short of actually punishing the doctors.
See you next week for "Song Beneath the Song," the very special musical episode!
About your bloggers:
Snarky's Machine is the founder of the pop culture site I Fry Mine in Butter.
Everett Maroon is a Seattle-based writer, focusing on popular culture commentary, speculative fiction, and memoir. His interests include the interrelationships of characters on Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Bailey, behind-the-scenes politics, and Dr. Bailey.
Tasha Fierce blogs about sex, dating, relationships and body image at Sex and the Fat Girl.
s.e. smith is a cantankerous, cat-wearing, pop culture-loving, pants-eschewing philistine from the wilds of Northern California with a compendium of largely useless random knowledge and a typewriter that doesn't know when to quit. smith writes at this ain't livin'.
Redlami turns numbers into stories and is the resident tech geek at I Fry Mine in Butter.
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