This week’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” was supposed to explain how the doctors were rescued from the plane crash. Instead, it showed what happened between the time they were brought to a hospital near the crash site to the beginning of last week’s episode. There were a lot of amazing, poignant scenes, but I kept waiting for the scenes that showed how they were found and the moment that they realized they had been saved. That was, for lack of a better term, the money shot. Without it, the episode was ultimately unsatisfying.
The episode employed a non-linear structure, with each act focusing on a different survivor. First, we see Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) in a hospital close to a crash site. She tells a catatonic Cristina (Sandra Oh) they have to go back on a plane, and that she has instructed the doctors to sedate them so they will not have to experience the psychological trauma of flying again. We see Christina, Meredith, Mark (sniff) and Arizona unconscious, strapped to gurneys, in what appears to be a cargo plane. It’s really unsettling.
A surgeon at Seattle General thinks he can restore 80 percent of the function to Derek’s (Patrick Dempsey) hand, which is not enough for a brain surgeon. Derek tries to make the best of it. He wants Meredith to take the job at Harvard. He can teach and consult. But Callie (Sara Ramirez) comes up with a high risk plan to give him a nerve graft that could give him full use of his hand. Derek wants her to perform the surgery. Derek clowns around with Mark, who at this point in the timeline was alert and seemingly on the road to recovery. It’s tough to watch, knowing that he’s going to die. While Callie is operating on Derek, Alex (Justin Chambers) interrupts to tell her that there’s a problem with Arizona.
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Cristina freaks out as she is brought into Seattle Grace. A doctor tells Owen she is in a state of reactive psychosis. He holds her and tells her he is going to help her. We take things from her perspective. She can barely hear people’s voices. She hears an intern’s cruel remark about her going from star surgeon to “end table” and throws a bouquet of flowers in his direction, hitting the window of her room. Owen gives her a sponge bath. He tells her they have all the time in the world and she can go back to being a surgeon when she is ready. She responds “I can’t,” when he asks if she wants to get out of the tub. Sandra Oh has her Emmy reel scene. She says she stayed awake for four days and remembers every single minute of the crash. The fire went out. It was dark. She got bugs out of Arizona’s leg. (Eeew!) Mark kept dying. She kept trying to help him and wanted to sleep, like everyone else. Cristina ended drinking her own urine. (Double eew!) She heard animal noises, and realized they were fighting over who got to eat Lexie.
Oh. My. God. Animals ate Lexie’s corpse. That is so disgusting and disturbing. I will never be able to get that image out of my mind. No wonder Cristina is such a wreck.
Apparently once she started talking, she was quickly able to recover. The next time we see her, she’s preparing to drive to her new job in Minnesota. Meredith wants her to stay. Cristina points out that Seattle Grace is a hellmouth, hilariously reminding her of the numerous tragedies that have befallen the hospital. She points out how unhealthy it is to stay someplace with so many memories. Meredith thinks she is selfish, telling her “your person is you.”
Mark (Eric Dane) wakes up and dumps his girlfriend who had about 10 lines over the course of the series because he still loves Lexie. Well, at least he gets to spend eternity with whatever is left of her. It seems like he is weakening, but then he makes what appears to be a miraculous recovery. The Chief worries its the final surge before he dies. Sure enough, Mark, wanting to get everything in order before he passes away, advising Avery (Jesse Williams) advice to tell people that he loves them even if he is scared. Mark tells the Chief not to say anything about his condition to Derek and Callie.
Avery, inspired, asks April (Sarah Drew) to meet him at Joe’s before she goes back to her family farm. Of course he gets waylaid and she is gone by the time he arrives. Nobody on TV ever texts when they are running late.
The plane crash has turned Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) into a stone cold, unlikable bitch. She understandably tells the doctor at the small town hospital that she will not consent to an amputation, wanting to get expert treatment from Callie. But she is horrible and mean and bitter to everyone once she gets to Seattle Grace. When Alex tells her that he should have been on the plane and wishes he could trade places, Arizona agrees – she’d let him, and calls Alex selfish and boots him from her room. Uh, Arizona, it was your choice to get on the plane. You did it because you were pissed that Alex decided to accept his dream job, when you should have been happy for him. Owen thinks a prosthetic would be a better option for Arizona than Callie’s high risk plan to save her leg. Callie thinks saving her leg is the only way to save her. Arizona is perky the day before her surgery. Alex says goodbye to his former mentor before leaving for Hopkins. She crashes, probably just to make him feel bad. He interrupts Derek’s surgery to tell Callie that Arizona is dying. Callie realizes they have to amputate and tells Alex to cut it off despite having promised Arizona that she would save her leg. Then she resumes Derek’s surgery.
Mark tells the Chief to leave him on life support for 30 days right before he falls into a coma. In a just world, he would live and the bitchy new Arizona would die.
Meredith leaves a message for Cristina. She was right. But good things have happened to her, too. So she is staying. Cristina calls back and says she will be her person. Okay, but how the hell did they get out of the woods? We better find out in the next episode.