This is the episode called, “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” but it could easily be called, “I Like You, But I Like Others Things More.” For Cristina, other things means surgery, for Alex, it will mean himself. For Meredith, it means secrets and for the Chief, it means drinking his face off.
Bailey is performing a surgery that involves putting someone’s cancer-ridden abdomen through the rinse cycle, but instead of adding bleach, she’s using liquid chemo of some kind. From the gallery, Callie, Cristina, Arizona, Teddy, and nameless extras watch. Callie waits until Bailey sees her (for the extra credit) and then announced she’s outta there.
Callie: I have a headache. I need coffee.
Arizona: I have a cure for headache that doesn’t involve coffee.
Homo-pathic medicine, if you will.
While Calzona scampers off to give each other pelvic exams, Cristina is having second thoughts and tells Teddy she didn’t mean to horse trade Owen for surgeries. At Casa McGrey, Meredith and Derek are arguing about what to do with their wobbly leader. Derek wants to tattle about the Chief’s drinking to the hospital board, while Meredith likes the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell approach, and calls her husband “McAss.” McAss declares he’s going to the board as he throws on his jacket. Meredith yells, “Post-It!” declaring spousal privilege — she told the Chief’s secret to her husband, not to the head of neurosurgery. Derek gives in because he loves her face.
Too bad he didn’t propose to her in some other way than on a Post-It. Blurting out “Ass tattoo!” during a fight would make being married that much more fun.
Marriage isn’t as much fun for Alex. Izzie’s been gone for who knows how long, so he had a one-night shack up with Lexie. Of course, the morning after would be the day Izzie decides to come home. Izzie tries to catch Alex up on her life as if nothing happened — a potential job in Tacoma, a PET scan to check her cancer — but he’s in no mood and stomps out to go to work.
At the hospital, Derek makes a cautious foray into the Chief’s affairs, but Dr. Smirnoff tells him to buzz off and pass the olives. To prove Derek wrong about his abilities, the Chief gives himself one of Bailey’s most complicated surgeries, telling Meredith, “Go big or go home.” Go home! Meredith keeps her yap shut because the Chief dangles the most difficult part of the surgery in front of her like a shiny, new toy.
In the ER, there’s some awful caterwauling coming from behind a curtain. Alex pulls back the blind to find a gay couple, one of whom resembles a singing walrus.
Inside of a New York minute, Opera Man accuses his boyfriend of giving him a cold, demands some antibiotics and generally makes it very clear who wears the tiara in this family.
The lesbians are having a better time than the gay men:
“You’re hot,” says Arizona between breathy kisses. “You’re hot,” replies Callie. Stating the obvious has never been so, well, hot.
Arizona clarifies, “No, you’re hot,” and stops kissing. She pulls back Callie’s collar, and not in a hot way. It’s chicken pox.
Elsewhere, it isn’t over until the fat man sings. And he may never sing again, if he loses a lung to what could be cancer. Unacceptable, he says, because it’s his entire life. “Besides me,” adds his partner, “What you meant to say was that singing was your entire life, besides me.” This is followed by a roaring silence.
In chicken pox quarantine, Callie is doing a Baloo against the wall and begging Lexie to take off her gauze paws. Arizona is nowhere to be found because she hasn’t had chicken pox and as much as she loves Callie, that’s one shared experience she can do without. Lexie refused to let Callie scratch because she’ll scar.
Callie: I don’t care. I don’t care. Scars are hot. Scars are badass. Scars are poetic. I’m begging you, Little Grey.
After much badgering, Lexie tells Callie she’s not the only one who’s suffering. She admits she slept with Alex because she doesn’t know what to do about Mark and his annoying progeny, and her soon-to-be annoying progeny. You think that’s hard? Callie has pox between her butt cheeks. That’s hard. (Thank you, Jane Lynch.)
“Your ‘pain’ does not begin to compare to mine,” Callie says urgently, doing little air quotes with her paws. Priceless.
During lunch, Cristina, Alex, Meredith and Dr. Vanessa Williams play Which Would You Rather? Today’s choices are the thing you love or the person you love. Meredith and Dr. Williams say they want both, completely missing the concept of either/or. In walks Izzie, stopping the show like an uninvited ex at a wedding.
Meredith finally relents that, gun-to-head, she’d choose surgery over love. Izzie, having touched the face of death, says work is the thing you do, not the thing you come home to. This, from a woman who hasn’t come home in months, and hasn’t worked for even longer. Since she’s talking out of her ass, let’s hear her thoughts on late night talk show programming. She can’t do any worse.
Opera Man gets some bad news: he does have cancer and might lose a lung, ending what I’m sure was an illustrious run of dressing room tantrums and overstayed curtain calls. His partner tries to be positive, saying it would be better to live and teach music, as he does. Opera Man snaps at him with disdain, telling him to take his cheery bromides and shove them. Opera Man says he’d rather die than be like him. Boyfriend ignores the fact that Opera Man just insulted his entire existence (again) and stands there, his brow furrowed with worry. Abuse is something you get used to over time until it seems perfectly OK — like David Hasselhoff.
Opera Man goes on to tell his doctors that, basically, he’s a bitch. Because they haven’t deduced that on their own. He becomes enraged when waiters bring him overcooked food. He sends it back, politely, even though he’s infuriated inside. Opera Man explains that when he’s singing, he gets to let out his passion and his rage, but in the real world, he has to make himself “small.”
Not a single person in the room cracks an ironic smirk, most of all his boyfriend, Doormat. Later, after Teddy is able to save the lung, Alex tells Doormat he can leave his demeaning boyfriend, if he wants to. There are nurses who get paid to be abused. Doormat says he’s not going anywhere.
Doormat: I love him. You should hear him sing.
Alex: Nobody sings that well.
Doormat: He does.
Oh, Doormat. Is that supposed to be romantic? I like good music but you couldn’t pay me enough to be with Amy Winehouse.
In the Chief’s office, Derek pours a drink and dares him not to drink it. “I believe you will,” he says sadly. Sure enough, come surgery time, the Chief is in his office, enjoying the spins while Bailey is donning a sterile gown. Furthermore, Bailey tells Meredith she will not, in fact, be performing any part of the procedure, as the Chief had
Mark visits Callie in her room. Why she’s in the hospital for chicken pox is anyone’s guess except it makes it easier for her ex-booty call friend to visit, spoon her and rub her itchies. Arizona watches wistfully; it should be her. Duh. She admits to Lexie that she has had chicken pox. So why the lie?
Arizona: I was afraid with the ooze and the fevers and the scratching… I wanted to stay in the sexy part of things, so I lied to my girlfriend. And now, he makes scratching look sexy.
Lexie: He makes everything looks sexy.
You know what’s sexier? These socks.
Derek tells Meredith that Izzie didn’t get the job in Tacoma, despite his recommendation. Seems her reputation for law-breaking and mistake-making has spread throughout the Pacific Northwest. Although she’s perfect for say, Governor of Alaska, practicing medicine is not in her tainted cards. Derek suggests that if he’s made Chief, his first order of business will be to hire Izzie back. Meredith promptly grants him permission to tattle on the Chief to the board. Employment trumps Post-It like scissors beats paper. So much for love over work.
Derek isn’t the only tattle-tail. At the bar across the street, Teddy blabs to Owen that Cristina was willing to trade him for surgeries. His face twists in shock and hurt. Izzie gets a punch in the gut, too, when Alex tells her he doesn’t want her back. Why would he? Izzie turned out to be more selfish and self-excusing than he ever was. For Alex, it was a boon to his image; by comparison, he’s a catch. “I want you to go, and be happy, and not come back,” he tells his stunned wifey. The Ugly Truth, indeed.
Maybe the Chief can share a cab with Izzie, because the board is outside his office door. After years of arrogant edicts, irrational favoritism, arbitrary punitiveness, and spontaneous idiocy, the Chief is finally, finally s–t-canned.
Good enough. They couldn’t get Al Capone on anything except tax evasion, but at least they got him.
Owen shows up at Cristina’s drunk and on a mission. He grabs her and kisses her.
Owen: You make me sad. You think that surgery is going to make you feel. You think that a successful career is going to make you happy? You think you know things? You know things and nothing else matters. No one else matters. People do matter. I matter. We — we matter.
Owen: So, you don’t get to toss me aside. I won’t let you.
Cristina starts to cry because she doesn’t know everything, least of all that someone would stand up to her ambition and save her from herself. Also, because Owen’s five o’clock shadow burns like a mo’fo.
Outside the hospital, Mark tells Lexie that while he was guest-starring on Private Practice, he schtupped Addison. Relieved, Lexie confesses she did the same with Alex. Instead of high-fiving over it, Mark accuses her of cheating while he was hurting and having a family crisis. “I can’t even look at you right now,” he tells her, his blue peepers glimmering in the moonlight. Still sexy? Double standards, not so much.
Meanwhile, Izzie is breaking up with her friend, Meredith. She barely had time to unpack, and now she’s leaving again.
“Please don’t go,” Meredith says quietly. Oh boy. Those three words. Three words that sum up what all the operas and monologues ever written try to express. Also powerful: “I love you, “Let me help” and “Are those real?”
Arizona ventures into pox territory and gives her girlfriend a kiss.
She lays down behind her. Callie warns Arizona she’s going to catch it but Arizona knows she won’t, and even if she could, she doesn’t care. That’s sexy.