Image credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC
FIGHT TO THE END Chief Hunt (Kevin McKidd) did his best to prove to Dr. Cahill (Constance Zimmer) that Seattle Grace should keep its ER open.
Another cost-saving measure? Teach the doctors a new method for taking care of hernias. This played out by having Meredith, Bailey, and Webber take a class for a more efficient surgery method that used some sort of magic mesh. The scenes with these three, though, mostly existed for comedic purposes, and the ever-hammy Bailey was serving it up heavily. "They're making us fight to survive!" she yelled, after learning that the first surgeon to do 20 correct hernias with the new method would win a Seattle Grace hoodie. (Woop de woo!) "First prize is a fleece! Second prize is a one-way ticket to the curb." This was when she offered up her first -- and hilariously delightful -- Hunger Games reference of the episode: "Tributes," she said, looking at her competition in Webber and Bailey, "may the odds ever be in your favor."
On the level of laughter, Chandra Wilson was really doing it for me last night. It was genius, too, when she sort of threatened Meredith about the competition. "You're gonna choke, Grey!" she said, maniacally. "You're gonna choke and die, and I will dance and sing!" Bailey ended up having a little bit of trouble with the new technique, actually, but she eventually got the hang of it and told Meredith: "That bun in the oven may give you job security, Meredith Grey, but it does not make you immune to a smack in the mouth."Her second Hunger Games reference came only after she figured out how to do the surgery: "May as well swallow your poison berries now, because I am the Girl on Fire!"
All that goading, though, may have been what led to Meredith's...complications later in the episode. We saw the show's star get flustered in the surgery competition room and have to run out for a minute. "Something's wrong, something's wrong!" she said to Bailey, who had followed her, about her pending pregnancy. "You're right. I got comfortable and flip, and the universe is smacking me down for it. I'm not immune. I'm not safe! There's a flutter. It can't be right." But any sensible person -- and, let's remember, Meredith is very rarely sensible -- would have known exactly what that that "flutter" was. The baby was kicking, of course! "Your baby's kicking," Bailey told her, and they both smiled. DUH!
The surgery contest continued, and the scene that eventually played out was horrible. Webber performed his fake hernia the way he wanted to -- and the instructor scolded him for not doing it the new way, which was the only accepted way at Seattle Grace. "We're cogs in an assembly line, churning out product over and over -- standardized across the country," he told the instructor. And that instructor followed up with a rant that let all the doctors in the room know exactly where he stood on things: "The patients don't matter!" he blurted. All the doctors started at him agape -- and the moment clearly and rather poignantly punctuated the difference between the approach of the seasoned doctors at Seattle Grace felt and the approach of this new, streamlined, super-efficient team that's been brought into the hospital. I was chuckling later in the hour when Bailey ran into that gross instructor again and told him that her fleece -- yes, she won it! -- was itchy. Haha!
Elsewhere, Dr. Cahill was helping Owen with one of the last cases Seattle Grace's ER would see -- that department of the hospital was set to close the next day. She just happened to be taking the elevator with Owen on his way to meet a trauma, and -- by total and complete serendipity! -- he got her involved in the case, as she was the one who was "closest" when one of the just-arrived patient's arteries started spewing blood. Cahill stopped the bleeding, and then Owen kept her involved with the whole case, through surgery and all. It was a sly move -- and maybe it was planned, maybe it wasn't -- because it helped Cahill to see exactly what the hospital was losing -- that is, the ability to help patients immediately when they're injured and hurt the worst. Just when she thought she was done, Owen told the apparently black-hearted woman that she had one more task with the case. "No, no, no, we're not done," he said. "Then you get to tell the family that you saved him. He's alive because of you. And then, they get to thank you, and that's the best part."
NEXT: Seattle Grace for sale