Grey’s Anatomy: Family and Alliances

From TVGuide: November 30, 2006: Don’t Stand So Close to Me Last season, back in April, I made a comment that I was officially old since Mare Winningham was playing a soon-to-be grandmother. That’s because, even though I know she was Oscar-nominated for Georgia, I will always think of Mare as Wendy, the gal that Billy (Rob Lowe) discovered was wearing a girdle in St. Elmo’s Fire. Are you with me here? But it was good to see her back tonight as Susan Grey, the current wife of Meredith’s dad, Thatcher, and the timing made sense since Susan and Thatcher’s daughter, Molly (Mandy Siegfried), was there for an emergency C-section. I won’t refer to Susan as Meredith’s stepmother since Meredith doesn’t seem to want to associate herself with Susan and Molly: “You are not my family.” Oh, Meredith. So harsh. But I have friends who are in the same boat — they don’t really want to become close with their father’s new family. I did kind of want Meredith to take Susan up on her offer to become part of their family. What made things better was the poignant ending scene between Meredith and her actual mother, Ellis (Kate Burton). As soon as Meredith hugged Ellis and said “Mommy,” something she obviously doesn’t make a habit of doing, Ellis knew Meredith was indeed her daughter and said: “Meredith.” Chills.

How many of you could relate to Bailey and most of the interns tonight and were annoyed that Burke and Cristina weren’t punished for their unethical behavior? The administrators at Seattle Grace apparently do not care when their doctors or interns screw up — Izzie is still there. I did enjoy Webber finally yelling at Burke: “I passed the torch to you, and you blew it out!” Webber also redeemed the situation a bit with his talk with Bailey, telling her she raised the interns like they were her children and that “some of them turn out like you, Dr. Bailey.” I still don’t buy it that Burke and Cristina weren’t punished somehow. You could look at it this way — Burke did not get to replace Webber as Webber wished (much to the frustration of Webber and, I’m sure when she finds out, his wife, Adele). Speaking of Cristina, it made perfect sense that Dr. Hahn (Brooke Smith) bonded with Cristina and said: “You remind me of me — focused, intense, cold — and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Cold is good.”

I loved how Izzie treated Mark Sloan: “I don’t do coffee.” Her tough demeanor and her request to Sloan to give her something more meaningful to do besides “fetch, stay and heel” really had an effect on him since he asked her to scrub in for the first time in a while. Bailey, the “common thread,” was, of course, not havin’ it.

Best story line was George’s father surviving his risky aortic-valve replacement surgery. All this time, the only thing I’ve done when it comes to George Dzundza‘s portrayal of George’s dad is list the actor’s name. That’s because I was never really impressed — to me, it was because the Archie Bunker-like character wasn’t anything to write home about. Until tonight. Can you say “Emmy nomination”? I was blown away by the scene in which Mr. O’Malley asked George why he was so angry at everyone, “especially when the person you’re really angry at is me.” Here I was, crying while watching a character I usually would feel nothing for. I was still beyond annoyed by George’s brothers, but now I want to see more of George Dzundza as Mr. O.

Awesome scene with Burke giving George the play-by-play when George chose to look away during his father’s surgery, especially when Burke told George that Cristina was performing a running whip stitch on Mr. O’Malley: “She’s done it before.” Burke’s warmth made George say, “Thank you, Dr. Burke” — it was great to see the two of them get along. It just made me think of what could’ve been going through the minds of T.R. Knight and Isaiah Washington at the time.

Every now and then, we are greeted with over-the-top bizarre patients, like last season’s man who thought he was pregnant. Tonight, we got the conjoined adult identical twins, Jake and Pete Weitzman, played by real-life identical twins Jason and Randy Sklar. I’ve heard of brothers who are joined at the hip, but this was ridiculous. Sorry — had to say it. I’m just trying to picture Jake having sex with his girlfriend, Elena (Jennifer Aspen), while Pete “took a nap.” It did not surprise me, then, that we discovered Elena was actually more in love with Pete, essentially picking him when Jake forced her to choose. Bailey cracked me up when she teased the interns with, “You still think Yang got the better case?” Just as I will always think of Mare Winningham as the girdled Wendy, Jennifer Aspen (even though I know she’s played lots of roles in her career) will always be Daphne, the stripper with the heart of gold (and eventual mother of Charlie’s baby daughter) on Party of Five to me. Nice moment when Jake and Pete reached over and held hands after the successful separation.

I liked that all four patients survived their surgeries tonight, that Burke finally allowed Derek to give him medical advice (which will hopefully lead to Derek fixing Burke’s hand) and Cristina got back on the elevator with Burke (even though he was with Derek). It was a pleasant way to end it for us fans of the show while we await the next new episode… in January! It’s repeat central for all of December. According to my trusty ABC source, here is a listing of the episodes and their airdates:

Thursday, Dec. 7: “Sometimes a Fantasy”
Thursday, Dec. 14: “What I Am”
Thursday, Dec. 21: “Oh, The Guilt”
Thursday, Dec. 28: “Let the Angels Commit”

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