If you’re an aficionado of old Japanese cinema, (as I’m sure most of you are) or merely took a film class in college because watching movies seemed like an easy three credits, (it is) then you’re familiar with Roshomon. This classic film tells one story from the perspective of several witnesses, each version differing from the others, leaving the viewer to decide what really happened. In science, this subjectivity of memory is called the Roshomon Effect. In police investigations, it’s called having unreliable witnesses. In lesbian relationships, we know it as She Said-She Said, or the more common, “My ex is crazy and that never happened.”
At Seattle Grace Mercy West, something very bad has transpired. All the kids have been called to the principal’s office and wait somberly outside the Chief’s door. Some words are exchanged between Alex and the cute guy with the blue peepers whose name I haven’t bothered to learn, so let’s just call him Dr. Vanessa Williams.
The whole Red Sox vs.Yankees, shirts vs. skins, over vs. under toilet paper hanger rivalry comes to a head and a fight breaks out between the camps. Hearing the ruckus, the Chief pokes his dopey head out of this office. Keep it down; some of us are trying to sleep over here.
With a board member and the hospital’s lawyer by his side, the Chief plans to interrogate every single doctor to discover the events that led up to a patient’s avoidable death. The Chief calls Owen into his office. As Owen passes Cristina, she whispers what everyone’s thinking: “I’m not going down for this.”
Starting from the beginning, Owen sets up the scene. A hotel fire has inundated the ER with victims. One of the patients died — a woman who came in with an ugly but non-life-threatening leg burn. If only she were Jorja Fox, and not just someone who looked a little like her.
Cristina gets the woman’s chart first, but immediately hands it off to April, the nervous goody-two-shoe, and Adamson, the overly aggressive pixie. April asks the woman, Mrs. Becker, to open wide, but instead of saying “ah” she says, “Oh my God!” when a man with an ax embedded in his chest rolls by. There’s something you don’t see every day.
Bailey and Dr. Potato Head are working on ax man when Potato Head faints, pulling the ax out and down with him onto the floor, where it smacks him in his already lumpy forehead. Later in the investigation, the Chief asks Bailey why he fainted. She doesn’t know, but says, “He better have a brain tumor, ’cause that’s just not acceptable.”
The real reason is nowhere near as much fun. He gave blood earlier that day and forgot to eat a cookie. Bored with Mrs. Becker, April jumps over Potato Head and takes his place. Sloan and Lexie take over treating the woman’s burn, neither of them noticing her lips are turning white.
Meanwhile, Arizona has her hands full with a badly burned teenager, who’s yowling like a cat in heat. She grabs Sloan and Lexie away from Mrs. Becker, who gets dumped onto Adamson. Trouble is, Adamson wanders over to Callie and Owen who have a better, juicier surgical case.
The Chief asks a simple question: Who was responsible for Mrs. Becker? You’d think he was asking, “Who put this ‘Kick Me’ sign on my back,” because everyone denies knowing a thing.
Cristina had a patient of her own, Callie and Owen are prepping a guy for surgery, Arizona and Mark are with the burn victim and Alex has been on the phone all night, trying to find Izzie, who’s out there in oblivion, having a drink with Erica Hahn.
Yang admits she ordered some morphine for the woman but after that, returned to treating her own patient and making snide comments about the Mercy Westies. Dr. Vanessa Williams thinks all the Seattle Grace doctors are “douchey” and wonders when they’ll implant a bug up his ass, too.
Meanwhile, the crispy teen is still caterwauling like a Chinese opera.
Arizona tries to distract him by talking about the weather. She asks Lexie to join in on the scintillating conversation, but Lexie is so disturbed by the smell of burnt flesh and his incessant wailing, she starts to cry and leaves the room. Outside in the trauma area, she finds something much more palatable: Mrs. Becker’s lung has collapsed and she’s turning blue. Before she can perform a formal tracheotomy, Dr. Vanessa Williams rushes over and steals her thunder by stabbing Mrs. Becker in the chest.
The opening equalizes the pressure, enabling her to take a deep breath and whistle “No Air” as she exhales.
Lexie tells the Chief she was distracted because Cristina was making a toddler cry. When isn’t Cristina making a toddler cry?
Cristina: OK, let me just say, for the record, that was no toddler. He was, like, five if he was a day.
Cristina: You would have yelled at him, too.
Chief: Well, why was he there in the first place?
Flashback to that moment. Callie’s patient codes. Adamson starts to charge up the defibrillator paddles but Cristina doesn’t want to wait. She gives the guy such a walloping Whack-a-Mole blow to his chest, I thought I saw her feet leave the ground.
He suddenly opens his eyes, the beeping on his monitors returning to a steady, slow rhythm. And that’s how it’s done at Seattle Grace Mercy West Karate School. Meanwhile, the boy has picked up the paddles and is about to give himself the shock of a lifetime. Cristina sees him and yells, “NO!” scaring the kid out of his mind. So, that’s how Cristina made a little boy cry. This time.
Arizona finds Lexie sitting with The Boy Who Got So Scared, He Crapped His Pants and drags her away to scold her for abandoning the well-done teenager. Arizona winds up for what’s becoming her trademark: the passionate soliloquy.
Arizona: You don’t get to feel anything because he’s feeling everything. His every nerve is exposed and raw, and we need to make him feel worse before he’s going to feel better. So, if you’re having feelings, you need to shut them down. You need to shut them down and talk to him about his future, and remind him that he has one past all of his pain. And if you can’t do that, if you can’t do your job, then you find someone who can, and you send them to me.
Back in the investigation, Adamson tries to throw Alex under the bus by telling the panel he seemed disoriented and pale when he ran over and sliced Mrs. Becker’s neck open.
He did look a little maniacal, but no more than the Chief does when he finds out the cafeteria is out of pudding. “He kept saying something about hitting the carotid,” Adamson says not-so-innocently.
Nice try, Pixie Stick, but Alex didn’t give blood that day, so that little “pale” hint went nowhere. Adamson tries to think of more ways to point the finger at Alex but then suddenly, she goes quiet. Finally, she says, “Oh my God. I know what happened. I know why she died.”
Back at the ER, the s— hits the fan when Mrs. Becker starts to bleed out on everyone and everything. All night long, she no one doctor looking after her and now she all of them. Too little, too late, kids. She buys it right there in the emergency room. McDreamy comes in all adult-like, and restores order.
In the present, Adamson comes out of the Chief’s office and looks at April. “I’m sorry,” she says, hot elf tears rolling down her cheeks. The Chief appears and calls April into his office.
After a few pointed questions, (oh, how the Chief loves it when he actually knows what’s going on!) it starts to dawn on April: She forgot to check Mrs. Becker’s throat. Had April done that one, small thing, she would have seen soot and damage and taken care of it. But she didn’t and now, Mrs. Becker is the late Mrs. Becker. The Chief fires her on the spot. Well, there’s one cut he won’t have to flip a coin over.
Afterward, the Chief packs up, flush with the knowledge that he’s a great detective and kick-ass hospital administrator. Derek tells him to get a second opinion.
“When I got to that room, there was chaos. Because that’s the system now: Chaos. That has been the system that has been in place since this merger. Your system. I’m saying you should look again at who’s responsible,” he says. Thank you! The Hungarians don’t say “the fish stinks from the head” for nothing. And look, it only took six years for someone to say it aloud.
Down in the trenches, some of the doctors are pissed they almost got canned for April’s mistake.
Only Adamson defends her until Cristina surprises everyone with an empathetic, “What? You didn’t make any mistakes today?” and reminds both sides it could have easily been one of them. There but for the Seattle Grace of God, goes Alex, Vanessa Williams and Potato Head.
Upstairs, Meredith finally gets discharged. She missed everything. And nothing.