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Grey’s Anatomy – 7.6. “These Arms of Mine”

October 29, 2010

Dr. Hunt, Dr. McSteamy, Dr. Shepherd, Dr. Torres

A surprisingly chatty Cristina stares mournfully into the camera before delivering the line it seems the writers have been waiting to use all season, “Being a hero has a price.” It was one of the few ham handed moments in one of the best episodes of Grey’s in years. I can’t remember when I was so engaged by the activities of the attending physicians and residents of Seattle Grace-Mercy West. I mean it shouldn’t take a gunman shooting up the place to have a compelling hour of dramatic television filled with the kind of twists, turns and, “Oh snap!” that Grey’s used to be known for.

Spoilers! Turn to the left. Spoilers! Turn to the right. Ooh Spoilers!

It was wonderful to see characters whose story arcs had gone off the rails – Mark Sloan, Alex Karev – return to their usual level of lovable douchebaggery. Both Mark and Alex managed to be every bit the chucklehead I expect to be, while also being engaged in the kind of quirky, smart, nuanced emotionality I’ve missed in their characters. That said, I was really confused by the Governor Gatling-nization of Chief Webber, who spend most of the episode saying one thing while dramatically different action unfolds behind him. While it made for a few amusing bits, overall the effect seemed to undermine the power and authority the writers spent the last half of season six and first episodes of season seven trying to restore.

I can’t be the only person relieved not to have exposition and major plot points hammered into the ground by Meredith’s intrusive voice over, which at this point has overstayed its welcome. It was such a treat to be able to draw my own conclusions and tie all the threads together myself. In fact the limited screen time of Meredith and Cristina resulted in a taut, entertaining and surprising whine-free episode. Characters like Dr. Teddy Altman, Callie Torres, Miranda Bailey and Arizona Robbins – who won a prestigious award for her work with the “tiny humans” – were showcased in compelling stories. Teddy got to cuss a mofo out and mentor Jackson Avery, who just two weeks ago was engaged in some really inappropriate flirting with Teddy! Callie and Arizona got to have relationship drama worthy of their characters and for once not related to Callie’s obsession with making “tiny humans”.

Hot of the heels of her strong directing effort, Chandra Wilson had a great night. Her character Miranda Bailey reunited with her patient Mary – played by the wonderful Mandy Moore, who should be on TV and not sing anymore – and we were treated to a range of emotional responses from Miranda. Though I was a bit crispy at the writers for setting me up for such a tremendous dose of heartbreak. I really liked Mary. Still, it was a satisfying resolution to the Mary-Bailey story arc, but hated to see Mary go!

My favorite character – Alex Karev – had one of the biggest story of the night with his triumph in peds. It was so nice to finally see Alex return to classic crispiness without swerving into uncharacteristic bouts of problematic behavior and -ism fail. The writers have done an excellent job of demonstrating his rock star talents in pediatrics and tying it in with his stint in OBGYN way back in season three. Alex Karev hasn’t been give much to do in the last couple of seasons except cry at Izzie’s bedside, yell at people and get shot in the chest. Alex deserves better stories, more opportunities to shine and perhaps a lady friend who isn’t going to leave him for his older, cheekier, taller doppelgänger (Mark Sloan).

What about Arizona going to “Africa”? What about the arm transplant? What about McSteamy? Head over to the Grand Rounds I do with my friends and see what the roundtable has to say!

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