Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is probably the most universally beloved “Grey’s Anatomy” character. She’s not dark and twisty or whiny or selfish. She just kicks butt at her job while keeping everyone else in line. So it was a true shock when the previous episode ended with the suggestion that Bailey was responsible for the deaths of two patients from a staph infection. This week, the full explanation both implicates and exonerates her. She’s not the only doctor grappling with uncomfortable truths in this very strong episode.
Bailey Is Doctor Zero
Bailey gets the honor of narrating this episode. She talks about sleeping monsters that must be contained because when they wake up, they are out of control. The CDC has descended upon the hospital because Jackson (Jesse Williams) sensibly summoned them when patients started dying. Inexplicably, the other board members think this was a bad idea, believing it’s better not to find out the source of the infection if it means Bailey might get into trouble. That seems like a frightening priority for a hospital. I don’t want to get treated at the hospital that covers up problems in order to protect its staff. The rest of the board stops Jackson from issuing a press release that would acknowledge the problem and reassure the public that steps were being taken to solve it. Jackson’s right that it’s better to be transparent. There’s certainly no need to name Bailey. But it’s better to get in front of the story than to look like you’re hiding something.
Bailey has been restricted from access to patients. She is interrogated by a CDC investigator about each of her surgeries. She insists that she did everything properly. We learn she scrubs to Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” She has trouble remembering some of the details of the procedures. Bailey asks the guy if he remembers putting the cap on the toothpaste that morning. She leaves the room without permission. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is about to show her Seth’s (the comatose father) chart when Avery stops her.
Bailey returns to the CDC investigator and asks him if she has staph. He won’t answer her, which seems both unfair and pointless. She goes through explaining the final procedure. She realizes by his demeanor she has staph. She is devastated that she is responsible for the patients’ deaths. The board allows her to attend the reading of the CDC’s findings. She has MRSA, a drug-resistant form of staph, but the real culprit was defective surgical gloves. When Pegasus was in charge, they cheaped out and bought gloves that fell off the back of a truck. Pegasus is also responsible for global warming. If it weren’t for the gloves, the patients would be fine. Once Bailey is treated, she will be able to treat patients again. So she did nothing wrong, but she’ll feel guilty for the rest of her life.
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The Kid with Two Injured Parents Has an Even Worse Day Than Bailey
Remember Ethan, the boy with two seriously injured parents, who bonded with Owen (Kevin McKidd)? He’s still roaming the hospital. His grandmother, Nancy, arrives. She’s played by Jennifer Bassey, who will always be Marian from “All My Children” to me. Ethan’s Mom is doing better. His dad, Seth, is still unconscious. In the cafeteria, the mom has another brain hemorrhage. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) is unable to save her. Owen does his best to explain it to Ethan. The kid is much calmer than Nancy. Bailey, who has yet to be cleared of responsibility, overhears the Chief telling Seth’s parents that “one doctor” is to blame for the patient deaths and she has been isolated so they will agree to let him perform surgery. Bailey leaves before the Chief tells a resident that Bailey’s not to blame. Seth dies in the operating room. Maybe Owen’s secretly responsible for the parents’ deaths because he wants to adopt Ethan. I’m kidding, of course, but even Cristina notices he’s way too attached to the kid.
Once she has been cleared, a tearful Bailey lashed out and accused the Chief of abandoning her when she could have helped Seth. She reminds him that she covered for him when he was drinking. She thinks he only cared about the hospital, not her. She tells him he is not who she thought he was.
Meredith Wants Cristina to Watch Her Give Birth
Meredith wants Cristina to join her in the delivery room when she gives birth. She is concerned that Derek will want her to get an epidural. She trusts Cristina to stop the nurses from pumping her full of drugs. Wanting to make having a baby as painful as possible is very Meredith. Cristina has no desire to be there, pointing out Meredith might poop in front of her. After she calms a pregnant woman who needs a C-section so her baby can have heart surgery, Cristina changes her mind and agrees to watch her best friend have a baby.
Alex Realizes What Has Been Obvious to the Audience for Months
Jo (Camilla Luddington) tells Alex (Justin Chambers) she’s moving in with Jason. Alex reacts in a spectacularly douchey fashion, talking about how Jo has only known Jason for five minutes and saying numerous insulting things about the perfectly nice obstetrician. If he watched Thursday night’s “Vampire Diaries”, he’d have a much better argument: The guy is a ruthless vampire. It was hilarious watching Charles Michael Davis play such different roles back-to-back.
Alex and Jason bond when they work together to treat a newborn with a heart defect. They make peace, with Alex claiming he and Jo are friends. He adds that they share the common bond of having grown up in foster care, but Jo had it worse than he did. It turns out that Jo opted not to tell Jason about her childhood. She is furious that Alex shared something she thought she told him in confidence, explaining she doesn’t want her boyfriend to think of her as someone who used to dumpster dive. She tells Alex never to speak to her again. On one hand, if Jo doesn’t want her live-in boyfriend to know about her childhood, that’s a problem. On the other hand, she has every right to keep it a secret. Alex finally realizes he is in love with Jo. Cristina is actually sympathetic to his plight. She tells him she’s going to lose Owen soon, aware that his baby desires are ultimately going to drive them apart.
April, Shut Up
April (Sarah Drew) tells Jackson that Matthew (Justin Breuning) dumped her for lying about her sexual history, obnoxiously blaming Avery for “taking” her virginity. First of all, April was a willing participant. Second, April chose to lie to Matthew, then lacked the nerve to stick to being a pretend virgin. Avery is as annoyed as I am. He tells April he didn’t force her to do anything and he won’t be dragged into her shame spiral. But he will never regret sleeping with her. Matthew shows up and apologizes for being an idiot and asks for a second chance. She readily accepts, though judging by the look in her eyes, she’s longing for another session with Avery. I don’t think April deserves to have two hot guys pining for her given how immature she is about relationships.
The Hilarity of Severed Body Parts
A family turns up at the hospital with a cooler full of severed fingers, the result of a game of tug of war gone wrong. The doctors need to reattach them to their owners. This is, for some reason, the comedic storyline. Maybe I’m overly sensitive from the Boston bombings, but losing a finger, and having to undergo surgery and physical therapy to regain use of your hand, doesn’t seem that funny to me.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.