Welcome to Grand Rounds: Dissecting Grey's Anatomy, a roundtable on Grey's Anatomy featuring Snarky's Machine, Tasha Fierce, Everett Maroon, Redlami, and s.e. smith. This week's Grand Rounds is hosted by the fantastic Everett Maroon, posted live from the main terminal at the fabulous Sea-Tac airport! (s.e. smith would like you all to know that the Space Needle looks much smaller in real life, and, contrary to expectation, it is not currently raining in Seattle.) Without further ado, let's begin!
Everett Maroon: Tonight's episode was about the critical hour of patient care, and focused on the ER. What did the show say about the state of hospital triage and how people fall through the cracks? Was there anything problematic or on target in this portrayal?
Everett Maroon: They seemed to cover all bases tonight—the indeterminate test results, the patient not urgent enough be seen quickly, the missed clue that should be obvious in the chart, the once-in-a-medical-career patient who defies any clear protocol for treatment. All they needed was the dead patient who was forced to sit in the waiting room for too long, and they'd have had a hat trick. (Sorry to mix sports metaphors.) It was enough to make a decent point about the chaos of emergency departments, but it also seemed too pat. Good thing the developments about the doctors were interesting!
Tasha Fierce: I think it showed how overworked doctors in the ER are and the need to take patients on a case-by-case basis. As far as anything problematic, I actually found the episode to be pretty even-handed about who got screwed. I mean, a little white boy ended up waiting the longest.
Redlami: I think the episode speaks volumes for the greater need for checklists as proposed by physicians like Atul Gawande so that life or death doesn't come down to whether an overworked and emotionally wrought attending physician notices that the patient's handwriting has gotten more scribbly since being admitted.
s.e. smith: I thought this was a really sound portrayal of the controlled chaos of ER environments, and the way cases can shift so suddenly and radically. Nice highlight with Mer's catch and Lexie's miss, a reminder that patients do fall through the cracks, for a variety of reasons from inattentiveness to being overloaded with work. The scene with the aortic rupture was really realistic; that air of calm focus to get matters taken care of. One thing that didn't ring true to me, though, was the handling of the child with the broken leg. Spiral fractures like that are usually the result of abuse and I didn't see a social worker anywhere in sight.
Snarky's Machine: I found it interesting that Meredith was able to spot neurological traumas a mile away, while another patient's aorta shredded in the cat scanner! Also, when did Meredith become a trauma specialist? Certainly, she was good, but wasn't trauma April's thing? The child with a broken leg scanned a bit false to me. Where was social services? Where were the nurses separating the child from the parents until they could ascertain whether or not the injuries sustained were a result of abuse? An injury that severe in a child, particularly requiring surgery, sends warning bells to ER workers who practice defensive medicine in order to cover their backsides.
Everett Maroon: After a few weeks of baby/love triangle moments, we shifted to some other relationships—romantic, professional, and the overlap between them. Which of these moments surprised you, and why?
Everett Maroon: After Lucy spurned Alex last week, she seemed totally smitten this week—that's how it is with those Husky fans, I guess. I was also glad to see Cristina and Meredith talking about their friendship, even if Meredith played it a bit on the selfish side. Dear Meredith: Cristina is allowed to love more than your potential baby. I was most surprised when Chief Webber pushed back against Meredith's suspicion that Adele had dementia; after having a close relationship with her all season, he really snapped hard to shush her and push her away.
Tasha Fierce: I was surprised (okay, excited) when it appeared Meredith and Derek were going to do it standing doggystyle in the elevator, but was disappointed when it just turned out to be a fertility shot.
Redlami: The surprises—Meredith and Derek in the elevator, Derek busting in on Bailey and Eli in the sleep room—were mostly played for laughs. What was satisfying about this episode was how a lot of other relationship development, such as Cristina putting Meredith's feelings over Callie's desire to have her be her baby's godmother, and Teddy getting her date screened by her insurance husband, was shoehorned into this real-time episode.
s.e. smith Loved the moment where Alex fell in love and Lucy felt that connection, and the two characters actually had common ground instead of Alex just going after the hot chick. Was kind of annoyed by Meredith's selfishness—she's so proprietary about Cristina, and it bugs me that Cristina is basically not allowed to have a life without Mer's OK. Bailey and Eli=adorable! And I've got to say, I hope we see more of Adele, because I love her. The elevator scene was totally predictable, with the reference to fertility drugs earlier in the episode...
Snarky's Machine: The chief and Adele surprised me because I thought they had divorced. But I am always thrilled to see Ms. Loretta Devine, so I'm not going to complain. Moreover, it explains a lot of the chief's' decisions of late, which for the most part made absolutely no sense to me. The chief hadn't had much of a storyline this season—other than getting his job back—and I was wondering when we would begin to explore his life.
Everett Maroon: We have to weigh in on Eli and Miranda. Do we like their flirting, or is Eli too pushy? Is Dr. Bailey over her tape and glue era?
Everett Maroon: I'm trying to be an Eli fan, but I still like the boyfriend from last season. However, Dr. Bailey seems happy, so I suppose she knows best. It's fun to watch her get giggly and hormonal.
Tasha Fierce: Oh, I'm loving Eli and Miranda. First off, he's hot and those dimples are killing. Second, I heartily encourage sex breaks at work and the two of them sneaking around is so cute. I loved when Eli said, after Miranda saying them having sex in the breakroom wasn't going to happen again: "Until your next break." Damn, I need to get laid.
Redlami: I think one of the messages Grey's has been giving us is that when people survive trauma, things about them change. Miranda has been taking care of everyone for so long that I find it refreshing that she's allowing Eli to be in control. For all Eli's nudging, Miranda seems quite the willing participant. Plus with all we know about her character, I have to believe that this will all end if and when she decides. With a heaping helping of drama of course.
s.e. smith I love it. I think Miranda is growing into herself more and having fun. And I think that while Eli is definitely pushy, she's also letting him get away with it. We've seen her assert herself enough times to know that she'd lay down the law if she wasn't happy about how things are going.
Snarky's Machine: What was up with Derek's, "Don't ever ask me what I saw in there"? I thought that was kind of fail-y. He didn't even have that much of a reaction when he walked in on Lexie completely naked in Alex's bed last season. I'm glad Miranda's getting some of the good stuff, though I wonder if this is going to lead us to some kind of reversal of fortune for her character. It's hard to say whether or not the writers are finally giving Miranda the kind of romantic entanglements others have received or if they're just tossing the Bailey fanatics a bone (no pun intended) to get us to shut up.
Everett Maroon: How does the revelation about Adele's mental state play into the meta narrative about Alzheimer's on this show? And why can't this marriage ever catch a break?
Everett Maroon: I'm curious to see how much more we get to explore Adele. She's only gotten to be the bitter, cheated on spouse, and she got to play gentle and sweet tonight. In contrast to Ellis Grey's sniping, hostile character, and the folks in Dr. Shepard's clinical trial, we are getting a lot of screen time with this disease. I think it's potentially a good thing to show, but I haven't seen anything yet that is groundbreaking or even brave. And man, Chief Webber just got back on top of his alcohol problem and the hospital shooting. How long has he been living with this?
Tasha Fierce: It seems like everyone has Alzheimer's on Grey's. The Chief seems to be in denial about Adele's symptoms, though. I guess that's understandable.
Redlami: I think it plays more into the father/daughter relationship between Meredith and Richard, with him angrily barking "Adele is not your mother Meredith, she's my wife!" I'm still waiting for the revelation that he's actually Meredith's dad.
s.e. smith Totally saw this one coming with the Alzheimer's storyline, because I knew that had to be about more than what we were seeing. I think it's a cautionary tale about medical research on subjects close to you, and how easy it is to shift your focus and make everything too personal. Here we have the Chief denying what's going on, Meredith wanting to save the day... I'm curious to see how this will unfold. Like Everett, I'd really like to see Grey's take this in a novel direction.
Snarky's Machine: I don't think it plays into the meta narrative at all. I think it was just something the writers banged out in order to prop up Meredith and Derek's shaky Alzheimer's Clinical Trial story arc, which at this point is a total dud.
Everett Maroon: If tonight's episode changed your opinion about who will be Chief Resident, explain why. If not, why not?
Everett Maroon: I'm less inclined to think that Karev will get the nod, if only because other folks seem to be pushing for recognition harder than he did. Of course, we were only allowed to watch one hour of their lives in this week's episode. Maybe he saved a busload of nuns two hours before.
Tasha Fierce: I'm hoping for Cristina, but this ep didn't change my opinion of who will be Chief Resident—I have no opinion. I'm just watching it happen.
Redlami: If there was ever an episode that campaigned for Meredith to ascend, this was it. She showed compassion, she didn't snap at anyone, didn't shirk responsibility and didn't let anything interfere with the swift completion of her appointed rounds. On the other hand, Alex giving up his Huskies tickets to help a four year old didn't change my mind as to his qualifications. And once again, doing the right thing paid him a dividend, putting him on Lucy Fields' emotional radar.
s.e. smith I don't really have a strong opinion on who it should be. But, I was really impressed with Meredith's performance here (way to make sure they'd feel justified in giving the position to her....). Yeah, she was trying to make a name for herself by running the ER, but she did a pretty solid job, with the notable exception of her complete negligence with the knife case; leaving him alone in a room when he was obviously intoxicated and combative, and his buddy thought this was all a fun game? No. But she was pretty sharp and focused, she caught stuff, she was on top of it, and she seemed professional and organized. However, Alex stepped up in the end after trying to blow off his responsibilities, which I think speaks well of him!
Snarky's Machine: I still think Alex would be the best chief resident, though it looks more and more like it might be Meredith. Though I'm not sure why. Or the chief will punk out and make Meredith and someone else co-chief residents.
Join us again next week with "Not Responsible."
About your bloggers:
Snarky's Machine is the founder of the pop culture site I Fry Mine in Butter.
Everett Maroon is a Seattle-based writer, focusing on popular culture commentary, speculative fiction, and memoir. His interests include the interrelationships of characters on Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Bailey, behind-the-scenes politics, and Dr. Bailey.
Tasha Fierce blogs about politics, fashion and whatever she wants at Red Vinyl Shoes.
s.e. smith is a cantankerous, cat-wearing, pop culture-loving, pants-eschewing philistine from the wilds of Northern California with a compendium of largely useless random knowledge and a typewriter that doesn't know when to quit. smith writes at this ain't livin'.
Redlami turns numbers into stories and is the resident tech geek at I Fry Mine in Butter.