The effects of the writers’ strike are finally dwindling down this week, as many of our favorite shows are back on the air with new episodes. Such is the case for Grey’s Anatomy, as last night it aired its first new episode, "Where the Wild Things Are," in four months.
When we last left the docs, it seemed as though every relationship was falling apart. Meredith and Derek were on the outs, and it appeared as though Derek was going to start seeing Rose, a nurse. Izzie and George had finally halted their ill-fated attempt at a relationship after George’s cheating broke up his marriage to Callie. Dr. Bailey’s husband, fed up with always coming second in her life, left her after she canceled yet another date. Mark "McSteamy" Sloan had failed multiple attempts at getting with Seattle Grace’s newest heart surgeon, Erica Hahn, and Lexie (Meredith’s sister turned intern) was just trying to figure out where she fit into the whole equation.
The episode opens to images of sleeping residents — well, all but Meredith, who is sitting silently in a therapy session. Cut to new roommates Lexie and George (doesn’t that guy get to stay anywhere for more than a few months?), and the living conditions aren’t exactly pretty.
After a mass page, Meredith, Izzie and Christina race to the hospital, mumbling about a contest, about which Bailey denies all knowledge to Chief Webber. What is said contest? Don’t worry, we don’t know either.
They speed to the ambulance bay just as Derek walks in with new beau, Rose, but the consoling of Meredith is brief — there are lives to be saved and contests to be won! Alex finally catches up and chastises the others for not waking him. I say boy needs to get an alarm clock.
Izzie gets the first trauma patient (Cheech Marin!) who has a fractured ankle, and Bailey comes to herd her residents back inside when a car pulls up with three occupants. The three had been camping and were mauled by a bear, oh my!
After a disgusting display of intestines (yes, intestines), we hear what happened: One of the men, Phillip, was petting a bear cub, who then bit his hand and wouldn’t let go. When Scott (intestine guy) tried to help, mama bear arrived and squashed the attempt — and Scott — post-haste. The car’s third occupant is Jennifer, Phillip’s new wife, whom we learn he knew for only 10 days before marrying. I think I’ll let that joke write itself.
Izzie goes into a supply closet looking for materials needed on her ankle patient. Citing contest rules, she tells George that she thinks there is more to his case than a simple fractured ankle, and she can earn 80 points for solving a medical mystery. Inexplicably, Lexie is seen in this episode, almost exclusively, stealing medical supplies.
Next, we see Meredith talking to Phillip and Jennifer, where Phillip begins revealing too much about their personal life. Meredith clearly makes the connection between their shotgun wedding and Derek and Rose’s budding relationship, and has had enough. Yet, when she leaves the room Jennifer follows her, almost in tears about the idea that she could simply be Phillip’s rebound girl. While consoling her, Meredith spots blood dripping down the side of Jennifer’s face, removes her cap, and discovers that a large portion of her scalp has been detached. And this is where I officially reached my gross-out quota for the episode.
After the McGorgeous twins examine Jennifer, they conclude that she has no brain damage and will not need plastic surgery. Almost simultaneously, Meredith receives the brush-off from Derek and passes off the chance to earn points by telling George to suture Jennifer’s head. Something is fishy, no?
Meredith reveals to George that she thinks Phillip may have a neurological problem that is affecting his judgment and behavior. After all, he married someone he knew for less than two weeks and pet a bear — there’s gotta be something more wrong with him, right? George accuses her of just wanting an excuse to talk to Derek, and the shrink Meredith had been meeting with sees the exchange. Add two more sessions to that prescription, please.
Elsewhere, Alex and Christina are fighting over sutures, Izzie is still failing at identifying (let alone solving) a medical mystery, and Lexie’s kleptomania continues. Seriously, how does no one see her leaving with all that stuff? Mid-thieving, Lexie runs into Rose and Derek getting googly-eyed over each other, and Rose reveals to her that she loves Derek. After realizing that they don’t even know each other, Rose splits, leaving Lexie to see that Meredith observed the entire interaction. Uh oh.
Izzie, with blind determination, is still giving her ankle patient complex medical procedures, and Bailey notices. Meredith becomes more suspicious of a brain tumor in her bear-petting patient when his brother declares he is going through an early midlife crisis. And this is the point of the episode where I got slightly bored. Yawn.
Begrudgingly, after serious negotiations, Meredith convinces Phillip to undergo an MRI to test for a brain tumor. Jennifer is defiant that the tumor won’t be there, but I foresee disappointment all around.
Christina has abandoned the suturing at this point, instead opting to observe Dr. Hahn perform heart surgery, though she knows it will likely force her to lose the contest. And, in her absence, Scott’s sutures burst and he bleeds to death on Alex’s watch.
The doctors decide to bring all the good news at once, and simultaneously tell Phillip and Jennifer about the ever-present tumor and Scott’s death. Phillip begins laughing, a side effect of the tumor, and Jennifer asks Meredith whether she was a symptom for the tumor.
Finally, the day has ended, and thus, the contest. Bailey declares Meredith the winner after solving the medical mystery put her over the top. You can practically see steam coming off Izzie’s head. Bailey bestows upon Meredith the prize: a pager that looks like it has been through a Bedazzler a couple hundred times, and informs the other residents that each time they get a surgery for the next three months, they must offer it to Meredith via the glowing pager.
As the episode winds down, Mark tells Derek that Rose isn’t the girl for him, and the Chief reveals to Izzie that he lost the contest back in the day, as well. Christina goes home to the apartment that she and Callie share, only to find Hahn there as well, so she holes herself up in her room. George returns to his "crapartment" (his words), to see the plethora of stolen goods decorating it. Lexie rambles about how much she wants George to like living there, and how she wants a friend, and it appears to work.
Lastly, Meredith proposes an idea for a clinical trial that she would need Derek’s help on because he is "one of the best" and assures him it has nothing to do with their relationship. In the favor of symmetry, the show closes with Meredith at the therapist’s office again, spilling her guts out.
All in all, this episode felt more like Season 1 than any have in a long time, which is a good thing. And the previews for next week make me hopeful for a gay (!) character to grace Seattle Grace as more than just a fleeting patient. Oh how glorious a Hahn-Callie pairing would be. Thoughts?