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Grey's Anatomy - Episode 9.06 - Second Opinion - Review

We’re all back at Seattle Grace Mercy West in 906 as our ‘Cristina’ field trip to Minnesota came to a devastated end as Shonda reigned in the budget. Who’d a thought season 9 would bring in extended location filming! It was good while it lasted though forgive me if I say that I hope to NOT see the chatty reptile again. With a full house back home on the west coast things still feel very different as the former residents continue to lead the charge, being in charge, with their own surgeries and drama. 906 kept the faith as a quality contribution to season 9, not the greatest but good in it’s own way.

Alex. This is the start of the Alex story at last. Well I think it is. I hope it is. The theme of 906, besides the obvious medical reference to Second Opinion, was knowing yourself and being comfortable with it. Whilst treating a young confused teenager Meredith and Alex had a rare case working together (and isn’t that fantastic to see) – exposing the teenager’s desire to be something he’s not through the use of anabolic steroids. In the end of course his mom loves him just the way he is. So the parallel with our two new attendings makes interesting viewing. Alex wants to buy Meredith’s house, he wants to stop calling (read: banging) interns, he doesn’t want a frat house full of room mates anymore. He wants to grow up. It seems that Arizona’s words to him as she lay tortured by her own demons, hit home. Of course it takes Meredith to point out that Alex IS grown up, he is okay, so perhaps it is merely that he had to drop the adolescent act he’s been putting on for the last 7 seasons. It wasn’t lost on me that the story centered around an adolescent and that approval for being who he is came from the child’s mother. Was this irony? Or deliberate. Because Meredith is probably the closest Alex has to a functioning mother. No no, now don’t take me literally; I’m not suggesting some kind of twisted Oedipus complex. I’m merely pointing out that I’ve been continually frustrated and quite bored with seeing the adolescent sulky side of Alex. I’m very happy that his mentor has shaken him up and that his friend and perhaps only confidante in Seattle, Meredith, has helped him to make sense of it and shake out the teenager from him; that Meredith has taken on the role that the best mothers do; of seeing through him, accepting him for what he is, for loving him through good and bad and for allowing him to see himself that deep down he’s a good guy, he’s grown up and now he just needs to live it. The story parallel with a confused adolescent is quite... fitting.
His role in giving the second opinion to Wilson just proved what has never been in any doubt. The man is a damn fine doctor.

Another ‘second opinion’ came in the form of the devious Bailey reaching out to our tortured peds surgeon to tease her back to work. Well it was more than work really because Bailey’s intention was to tease her back to her life. I would liken Arizona’s physical and mental detachment to Cristina’s post the shooting. Where Cristina had Derek, Arizona has Bailey.
I believe Callie’s comment about Arizona wanting to walk perfectly is a huge comment on Arizona’s character. In her eyes it has to be perfect indicating that she has to be as she was before the crash, where no one can tell that she has any kind of injury.  The barriers she puts up are immense. She’s a perfectionist and to be considered less so is difficult for her to own up to.  Bailey’s calling on her professional skills allows her to ‘come back’ at her best, knowing her job. This runs to the heart of her character and because of that I feel a big fall coming and I mean that physically and metaphorically, both at work and at home.  I like the pace of this story arc, as I did with Cristina’s, but I would appreciate more interaction of Arizona with the rest of the ‘victims’ including Callie but more specifically Derek, Cristina and Meredith. I’m realistic enough to know that Jessica Capshaw has been work light following the birth of her third but I’m looking forward to her part in the legal case, talking about the crash.

Now, speaking of that. What is that all about? I don’t know anything about American law but surely crash investigators are looking into the cause of the crash and will determine if the pilot or plane were at fault, or indeed if CRIMINAL prosecutions need to be on the table. Surely. I believe that it could be a possibility to sue the hospital but only after the cause of the crash has been fully established. I don’t like this arc. Yes it’s new, it’s fresh, it’s unknown territory which is very welcome in a nine year old show but I don’t want soap. And this story is flirting too close to the edges of a soap opera to me.

Callie and Derek. Wow, those two actors do work well together. There is more chemistry in that couple that are not actually a couple than any other in the series. I know the die hard MerDer fans will object but really Sara Ramirez is outstanding in her ability to relate to the other actors on this show so much better than others. We are now starting to see behind Callie’s façade. Her lack of confidence over fixing Derek’s hand has been torturing her in what I suspect is some kind of reparation for allowing Arizona’s leg to be cut off. It isn’t of course. These are entirely different but it shows that the cracks are appearing. She will fall, Arizona will fall, it will be an unholy mess... can’t wait.

Cristina is back. Yes! And she’s somewhat jealous that Meredith currently holds the title of nastiest Attending. “I gotta say Cristina, you didn’t do a great job of getting it back. Yeah yeah, you started, with the happy, dopey and mousy malarky but your inner teacher shone during the surgery. That there Dr Thomas has had a marvelous effect on you. More so than any other mentor.” I so enjoyed watching Cristina step up as leader, and together with watching Alex this week, I feel as though we’ve grown up with them too. In a strange way I am sorry for Owen. Strange because I’ve never been a fan of this character, but find myself wondering how tough it is for him and feeling sorry about that. It won’t last long I’m sure. No wife, no friend and now the hospital are about to sue his backside...

Having been uber critical of Jackson in previous seasons I must say that the writers continue their efforts to make this character legitimate. Whilst it’s at the expense of April (arguably a stronger character and better actor) it is working to a degree. Though it gave me far too much pleasure to see the Chief (the real one and only Chief) get the last word over the email fiasco. I love Webber. He should leave Catherine and come find me.

All in all a very solid episode, completely enjoyable if I ignore the fact that the legal story borders on soap suds. I continue to see Season 9 as a renovation in fortune for Grey’s, I hope it’s getting the viewing figures it deserves.

My favourite lines...
Meredith to Alex: “That may just be the saddest and dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Derek to Callie: “Because I thought you could do it. I believed that you could do it. Don’t feel bad callie, it’s on me.”

Written by brouhaha aka @pipmaxine.

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