The Husband:

Whether positive or negative, everybody seems to have something to say about ABC’s smash medical drama hit Grey’s Anatomy.

“It’s a great nighttime soap.”
“It’s the worst-written show on TV.”

“I love Katherine Heigl.”

“Katherine Heigl needs to shut the fuck up.”

“This show jumped the shark after the second season.”
“This show is better than ever.”
“Meredith, quit your fucking whining.”
“McDreamy. McSteamy. McShutUp.”

I fall into the generally positive crowd, as I really dig the show on a consistent basis, but I don’t put enough real emotion into it so as to get very angry when it falters. I consider it a guilty pleasure, and I don’t mind if the episodes stack up on my DVR, since if I’m in a pretty bad mood or just generally stressed I can watch four episodes in a row and get all my tears and frustration out of me. (Basically, no matter what is going on in my life, at least I’m not in the hospital with some rare organ disease. Hey, it cheers me up.) I don’t pretend like it’s A-list television drama, but I’m glad it has caught on in the wake of ER’s death rattle (i.e. any ER season since the new millennium).

I also don’t even mind Dr. Meredith Grey complaining nonstop every week, because that’s her character. It may grate, but that’s who she is, and I find her a good dramatic foil to pretty much everything else that goes on at Seattle Grace. And hey, whenever she gets too obnoxious, something happens like in this s5 premiere when Dr. Cristina Yang finally tells her to shut up about Dr. Derek Shepherd, shut up about your insecurities, shut up about your dead mother, and realize that things can’t always go your way.

Tonight’s two-part episode focused on Seattle Grace’s fall from…grace…as it plummeted to #12 in the rankings of teaching hospitals, losing to competitors both old and new. Chief Webber was infuriated by the news, going through the five stages of denial, at the end of the episode finally accepting the hospital’s shortcomings and confronting his staff with their poor performance, both in surgery and in education. His rage throughout the episode was abrupt, as his character tends to be quiet in his anger and judgment, but you can’t blame him for feeling some of the sting of his separation from his wife Adele.

“You don’t know how to do anything! None of you!”  — Chief Richard Webber

The rest of the hospital did not take the ranking news lightly, so Bailey gathered the main characters to wait outside for any emergency to come their way, ready to show their talents to whatever ailments may arrive. Up pulls a limo holding three middle-aged women who were on their way to a Fire & Ice Ball when their limo skidded on black ice – you see, it’s ironic! – and caused major damage. Two of these women were Kathy Baker – who I will never forgive for getting the Best Actress Emmy that should have gone to the far more deserving Claire Danes for My So-Called Life way back in the 1990s – and Broadway legend Bernadette Peters (a.ka. the Bern). Turns out that Baker has been sleeping with the Bern’s husband, and both have been keeping his eight-months-earlier job termination from her. Now, I understand that sometimes marriages can go cold and sometimes a guy just needs another woman, but you do not cheat with Kathy Baker if the Bern is your wife. There’s no contest whatsoever.

Clearly, everything is not coming up roses for The Bern.

Clearly, everything is not coming up roses for The Bern.

The women’s respective husbands also got into a limo crash across town, and the staff basically cheats the system and gets the husbands moved from a competing hospital to Grace. That’s when everything gets tragically wacky. One husband dies, another is paralyzed and the third (the cheating one) severs his vocal chords so when the adultery comes out into the open, through the Bern’s sudden realization that they are broke and their insurance expires at midnight that night, he has to apologize by note and get Lexi (a.k.a. Mini-Grey) to read the note aloud. At the end, everything is (sort of) fine with the couple, but they have one more tragedy to contend with:

The third woman – as in the one actress I can’t identify without checking the Internet – got such a bad head injury that that every 30 seconds her brain resets and has to ask where she is and where her (dead) husband is. I know it’s medically feasible, but I could only think of an improv exercise of Party Quirks from high school drama class where I had to have that very same malady and get my peer to guess who/what I was trying to be. Yeah, not exactly the kind of thoughts I think Shonda Rhimes had in mind when she wrote this episode.

The recurring amnesia was a little too campy for its own good, but it did bring a good laugh from Dr. Karev when, while undergoing a CT scan and asking for the umpteenth time where she is, he replies:

“You’re in a spaceship. You’re going to the moon. Enjoy the ride.” – Dr. Alex Karev

The real important introduction of the night, though, was Kevin McKidd as Major Hunt, a.k.a. Major Badass, came in with an emergency case and proceeded to perform better medicine under pressure than any of the main characters. Hell, he frickin’ staples his own wound shut without any anesthesia, pulls out the icicle that non-fatally impaled Dr. Yang in the belly – oh yeah, that happened – then macks on her, and is finally offered a position at the hospital. He turns it down, but we all know he’ll stick around. Because what else does he have to do. After doing his final jump into the past from San Francisco – see Journeyman – McKidd happened to end up as a Roman Centurion name Lucius Veronus (Rome) and become extremely badass, then traveled back to 21st-century Seattle to bring his badassery to the Army and, ultimately, the hospital and Yang’s love life.

Kevin McKid has traveled through time to kick ass and take names. And staple his own wounds without anesthetic.

Kevin McKidd has traveled through time to kick ass and take names. And staple his own wounds without anesthetic.

Other items of note:

  • Straightlaced Dr. Bailey finally learned that breaking the rules can lead to some good, as she cheats the insurance expiration and performs surgery on the patient after the deadline.
  • Mini-Grey needs to stop freaking out that George once had sex with her step-sister Meredith. That was the old George. This is the new George. Leave it alone.
  • Nurse Rose needs to leave the show now. After four seasons, I am done with anything getting in the way of a Meredith-Derek happily-ever-after. It’s old news. Move on.
  • Yang’s hallucination of Future Meredith and Future Cristina was hilarious. If the show is ever waning, they could pull a Desperate Housewives and shift the action 40 years into the future.
  • For those of you self-righteous talkbackers online on other TV blogs who have proclaimed that they will no longer be watching the show now that Callie and Dr. Hahn are having a sinful lesbian relationship, let me just say this: clearly, the show was never meant for you. You are not its target audience. I’m sorry you’ve wasted your time with such “baseless” television. I respect your right to hold your beliefs, but anyone who suffers from homophobia (or whatever you want to call it) has plenty of other shows from which to choose. Me? I love what the relationship has done for stressed-out Callie and the bossy Dr. Hahn. I think it’s very sweet and very progressive. Welcome to the new century.

“I’ve never kissed a girl. I’m not even sure if I like kissing girls. I don’t actually like kissing girls. I just like kissing one girl. You.” – Dr. Callie Torres