Whenever Grey’s Anatomy is in doubt, it always returns to one theme — family. In a lot of ways it’s the basis of this show, and it’s incredibly smart as a backup in case things get a little too wild at Seattle Grace. Because, with very few exceptions, those who become doctors are usually either following in their parents’ footsteps or they’re pressured into the field by the same people, and especially in the case of these residents, they often cannot escape their parents’ shadows no matter how hard they try.
While Callie deals with last week’s visit from her dad and his ultimatum that she either leave Seattle and her gay lover and move back to Miami or lose her trust, that parent hole is filled not once, not twice but thrice this week in various forms.
First up is Sharon Lawrence, done ruining everybody’s life over on Privileged (I swear I’ll get to a wrap-up on that show one day, especially if it gets renewed), showing up in all her crazy glory as Izzie’s ignorant trailer park mother. She’s completely baffled that she had to come all the way up to metropolitan Washington just to hear that he daughter simply has skin cancer — which she mistakenly equates as “just a mole” and not at all fatal like breast cancer — until Izzie lets her in on a few pretty well-known facts about tumors, the fact that the skin is indeed an organ, and that cancer spreads. To get her off Izzie’s back, Bailey comes in and tells the both of them that the cancer is disappearing, but once Ms. Lawrence is gone, informs Izzie that no matter how hard they try, this cancer doesn’t seem to be going away. The show did a good job of making Sharon Lawrence just annoying enough so that we appreciated her appearance but probably never want to see her again.
Meredith and Lexi, meanwhile, have some major family damage control ahead of them as their father, now out of rehab and dealing with his alcoholism, is trying to ask their forgiveness for all the horrible things he has done to both of them and their respective dead mothers. But this is too tough for Meredith, and so she takes out her aggression on the Case of the Week.
But what is this case of the week? Well, imagine a three-person family. Now imagine the father continually beating the mother and sometimes the under-ten-years-of-age daughter. Now imagine the daughter getting cut on the face and also watching her father break her mother’s arm, and then proceeding to grab his gun and shooting him 17 times. At the hospital, it doesn’t take long to figure out that the shooting wasn’t an accident, but the wife is such a pushover that she tries to get the daughter to apologize to the [slowly] recovering dad for her reaction, when she was just defending herself. Meredith can’t have this, not another woman in her life getting bullied around, and so she berates the mother for not standing up to the abuse and setting a good example for her daughter. Finally, the mother gathers the courage to say goodbye to the father forever, and that they would be too far away once he recovered for him to find them.
But Meredith’s outburst has consequences, and the Chief gets on her case for being unprofessional and getting her feelings involved in something that doesn’t concern her. This nearly leads to Meredith’s firing, but Derek has a one-on-one with the Chief and makes him painfully aware that he is treating Meredith not like an employee but as a daughter, as the Chief had a decades-long affair with Meredith’s mother, one that didn’t really lead to anything but confusion and emotional messiness.
I like how this episode dealt with the old GA notion of family. Not that it was great, because it was just a-okay. But at least it wasn’t like season 3 when it seemed that everybody’s parent was dying, first Meredith’s crazy mother, then Lexi’s mother, then George’s father, until it just seemed like cheap soap opera tactics. Unfortunately, the familial focus pushed the Owen-Cristina drama to the side to a point where even their emotional conversation at episode’s end, where Owen reveals that he’s been seeing a shrink to get to a place where he could be the right man for Cristina, didn’t really hold a lot of weight. Oh well, only two episodes to go, and it’s pretty damn clear that it’s all going to be about the Meredith-Derek wedding and Izzie’s cancer. Who knows if anything will get solved other than those two things. And who knows if George is going to be given any figment of a story this season.
But it’s season finale time on Private Practice, and they’ve got a doozy of a Moral Quandary with which to contend. (My wife is right; this show should absolutely be renamed Moral Quandary.) When two women have their embryos planted, Naomi makes the horrible discovery that they’re carrying each other’s babies, which at the very least is no good for the struggling practice. But even worse is that the embryo that belongs in Robin Weigert’s belly is her last egg and the last bit of sperm from her dead husband, and the woman carrying this last effort baby wants to terminate it as it doesn’t feel right, and doesn’t want Robin Weigert carrying her baby. For once, I’m with the decision to actually keep the damn babies where they are and not terminate, because they’re both going to come out anyway, and they’ll still be the baby you, non-Robin Weigert, wanted as a result of your money and your effort with this in vitro fertilization. You’ll still get the experience, you’ll still get the genetic connection, and you won’t fuck with Robin Weigert’s poor brain. Fortunately, the non-Robin Weigert finally comes to her senses and realizes how ridiculous she and her husband are being.
But this is the season finale, and you want to know how it ended, right? I’ll make it easy for you.
Dell: His baby mama comes back into town with their daughter demanding $10,000 for the child, but even when Sam gives Dell the money, Dell takes his child and shames the mother into not taking the money, something that would just wreck her drug-addled brain even more. And finally forgiven for his attitude over the past few weeks (and the mistake that led to the embryo switch), he is absolved and given back his patients and his midwivery.
Addison: Still trying not to get it on with Dr. Swingtown despite her attraction to him, she convinces him to stay with his wife, but right before his wife is to give birth, they have a near-fucking until both their pagers ring. As far as I could tell, their relationship is still up in the air, which is difficult especially now that his wife is starting to grow suspicious.
Pete: Finally wins Violet’s heart as she chooses him over Sheldon as her man, despite Sheldon’s marriage proposal.
Sam: Declares that he is still in love with Naomi.
Naomi: After much inner debating, she takes the job as director of Pacific Wellcare.
Charlotte: Is fired as director of Pacific Wellcare for, basically, not having a heart, which finally breaks this very strong woman.
Cooper: Is about to take care of a ready-to-burst Violet, when he gets the call from Charlotte that she desperately needs him now. He is unaware of the horror that is about to occur on the other side of that door to Violet’s house.
Violet: And what horror? It seems that that bit of insane psychology I bitched about a few weeks ago in re: Amanda Foreman’s character, the crazy lady who tried to continue on with her pregnancy despite the baby being dead inside of her, finally returned to bite everyone in the ass, as Ms. Foreman comes to Violet’s door, knocks her out with a quick syringe to the arm, and then proceeds to tell Violet that she stole her baby out of her and was gestating it herself. In short, Amanda Foreman gon’ cut that baby out of Violet. Violet, realizing that she is finally trapped at without question at the end of her life, tells Ms. Foreman how to give a C-section correctly, which while killing Violet, would save the child. And as the scalpel is about to cut into skin, the season ends.
Ahhhhh Private Practice. How shameless you are. And how shameless and fascinating and sad of a cliffhanger to go out on. We have at least four months to figure out what’s going to happen — I’m just gonna guess that come September, Pete or Sheldon is going to bust through that door and knock that bitch out, but it seems that you never know with Shonda Rhimes. I never grew tired of PP this year (while I did at least three times with GA), so that bodes well for this addictive trifle of a primetime soap. Do I realize that this show is pretty ridiculous and probably bad for my brain? Yes. But will I apologize for watching, nay, enjoying it? Hell naw.
Oh Shonda Rhimes, how will you try to hurt me next season?