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Grey's Anatomy Episode Recap: "Give Peace a Chance"
Oct 29, 2009 06:59 PM ET by Adam Bryant Watch Episode
In this episode of Grey's Anatomy, Derek treats Isaac, a hospital lab tech with an inoperable tumor wrapped around his spine. The mounting tension between Derek and the Chief reaches fever pitch when Derek moves forward with a risky procedure to remove Isaac's tumor despite the Chief's orders to the contrary. Meanwhile, Alex continues to struggle with his rocky relationship with Izzie, and Cristina gets a reminder from Lexie about what it is to be a "hardcore" surgeon. And because it seems to be a theme of Grey's this season, somebody gets the ax before the hour ends. Who is it, and will it stick? Let's find out!
It's no secret that the writing staff of Grey's has had to make some serious adjustments for their stars' personal lives (pregnancies, movie roles, etc.). While last week's Rashomon-style episode was interesting, I much prefer this episode's approach of shifting the focus to other characters. Derek was a great choice to start the trend. (Bailey- and Arizona-centric episodes are in the weeks ahead.) Let's start with Alex's story before diving into the Derek drama.
Because Izzie bailed on him, Alex has resigned himself to caring less about the current state of his marriage. (Guess he grew tired of all those phone calls from last week.) When Yang reminds Alex that Izzie has an appointment for her continuing cancer treatment, he blows off the idea of even making sure that she will be there. Even though he acts tough (and even though he continues to fight with Dr. Adamson when she tells him he's a douche), it's clear that Alex is worried about Izzie.
On the day of her appointment, Alex can't stop looking at his watch, but he insists to Reed that he won't go check to see if Izzie showed up because she doesn't want to see him. Reed tells Alex that Izzie would want him to be there, and even if Izzie made the choice to leave him behind, he is making a choice to accept their separation. Alex decides to go, but when Reed goes to find him later, he heartbreakingly tells her that Izzie never showed. Concern comes pouring out of him, as he can't fathom that Izzie wouldn't receive the very treatments that have saved her life. Though it was nice to see Reed show some concern in the moment, I don't like the possible-love-interest vibe written all over this arc.
When lab tech Isaac deliver some scans to Derek, Dr. Shepherd is blown away by the massive tumor wrapped around the patient's spine. Isaac reveals that the scans are his own, and that he took the job at Seattle Grace to meet the best neurosurgeon in the country (yeah, right). Isaac says he knows Derek is the right man because he was inspired by the scans, not defeated like all his previous doctors. Derek insists that he can't operate, but Isaac tells him to think it over.
Obviously, Derek decides to proceed, over the objections of the Chief. Since the Chief has implemented a new computerized scheduling system that makes breaking the rules tougher for Derek, he schedules fake craniotomies for a whole day and picks a team of residents to scrub in with him. First, a skills test is held in which the residents have to draw a dot on the nose of the picture of George Washington on a dollar bill — through the bottom of a Styrofoam cup, without touching the sides. Yang thinks she's a shoo-in, but she totally chokes under pressure, and Dr. Avery scrubs in.
Lexie yells at her brother-in-law for not inviting her to the skills test, but Derek insists that he needs her in the OR to make sure he stays hydrated, takes breaks, etc. In short, she is his doctor, which makes her proud, until Dr. Avery says she's actually his bitch. Because it's a long surgery, Lexie puts on a diaper (!) so she can stay hydrated without taking bathroom breaks, a move that both saddens and inspires Dr. Yang, who is increasingly upset that she isn't involved in these super-serious surgeries.
So after the most heavy-handed inspirational speech ever from Isaac, Derek opens him up, only to stare at the tumor for hours without making a cut. (It was more intricate than the scans showed.) Worse, the Chief gets wind of the stunt, and shuts Derek down. Derek apologizes to Isaac that he couldn't go through with the surgery, but Isaac tells him to go home and sleep on it. At home, Meredith and Derek work through the procedure by drawing on the wall (again: yeah, right), and Derek returns to the hospital ready to save the day. He tells the Chief he's going to go in and cut the spinal cord because Isaac wants to live, with or without his mobility. The Chief agrees, but Derek reveals he's going to put his bedroom wall drawing into practice.
Hunt gives up his OR, which means Cristina misses out on a 15-hour, diaper-required surgery. Lexie tells Avery to "kiss her hardcore, diaper-wearing a--." Sloan is there at Lexie's orders to give Derek moral support. Bailey is on the lookout for the Chief. Derek makes the first incision.... and then pukes. Lexie yells at Derek to hydrate. Cristina talks Meredith through the surgery on the phone. Arizona yells at the Chief when he tries to shut Derek down again. Arizona cries. Dr. Avery's hand cramps because he didn't hydrate to avoid bathroom breaks. Lexie takes over for him. Finally, Derek comes to two remaining blood vessels, but he isn't sure which one is the tumor's and which one connects to the spinal cord. He finally makes his "red wire, blue wire" decision, and Isaac wakes up able to move his toes... and is tumor-free.
As Derek tells us in voice-over, he became a surgeon for the peace and quiet of the OR. By episode's end, peace is on everyone's mind. Hunt apologizes to Cristina by helping her correct her mistakes in the skills lab. Reed and Alex have a moment of quiet understanding and solitude. Derek goes to the Chief (who's decided to revert to the old scheduling system) to end their beef, but the Chief promptly fires Derek. Derek, however, has been "inspired" by Isaac: "Sleep on it. We'll talk more about it tomorrow," Derek says.
I think this episode proves that Meredith Grey doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting on this show. But for every dramatic gut-punch (Alex's breakdown, the Chief's firing of Derek, even if we know it won't stick), there was some eye-roll-worthy annoyances (Issac's speech, the Chief's firing of Derek, even if we know it won't stick). Seriously, Isaac said "inspired" about 73 times, which negated all the amazing adversity the speech claimed he'd overcome. And does every episode have to end with a firing? Get it together, Chief — no one likes this side of you.
What did you think of the episode?