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Grey's Anatomy - 10x09 "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" - Sympathy for The Devil? Review & Discussion

Often times I find that when a series opts to a focus an entire episode on one character it’s either an epic failure or a resounding success - last nights Grey’s Anatomy, which featured Dr Callie Torres in every scene, was thankfully a triumph. Easily my favorite episode so far this season, “Sorry Seems To be The Hardest Word” definitely benefited from having a cohesive and emotional story to follow, because much of this year up until now has been dampened by too many characters and not enough focus on any single storyline. Episodes lately have felt all over the place with stories picking up and being dropped and scenes jumping from A story, to B story, to C story, to D story (and sometimes so on…) without any real connective line. Last night had none of that. Expertly written by Grey’s veteran Stacy McKee, the episode saw Callie hit with an unexpected malpractice suit and used flashbacks to shed light on a series of major events in her marriage to Arizona that viewers were not made privy to last season. That’s where I’m a little split...

If you’ve seen the episode you know now that sometime after the couple regained their footing after the amputation (no pun intended there) Arizona decided that she wanted to have a baby with Callie. Not only that, but she wanted the chance to carry the child herself. It’s a huge step for Arizona, who at one point lost Callie due to her unwillingness to start a family. She had already accepted Sophia as her own daughter, but choosing to carry a child is a whole different experience and undertaking. Oddly enough that part didn’t feel forced to me - if we had seen this story play out over time last season I really would have dug it. I believe that Arizona truly wanted to get back to her old self and to be happy again with Callie. I’ll definitely argue that she should have been in therapy, but we saw her stubbornness over such things last season and it rings true to me that she would want to start fresh and create a new life with her partner. Still, nearly every scene in the flashbacks caught me off guard a bit - first that decision to have a baby at all. I really didn’t think that was where they were going to go with this story. Second, the fantastic (but brief) scene where Arizona discovers she's pregnant. We’ve seen some bubbly and funny Arizona in season 10 but not with Callie, so that was great. The scenes were even more powerful and upsetting contrasted with the current reality of Callie waiting for Arizona to drop Sophia off as they trade between visitation. Soon, though, the past was catching up with the present - we saw Arizona come to Callie after her first ultrasound (one which Callie missed due to surgery) where she discovered that she had lost the baby. Another flashback to presumably not long before Dr Boswell showed up revealed that after the loss Arizona was unwilling to try again. Clearly it brought up hurt and the tragic sense of loss from the amputation which was exactly what Arizona had been trying to get past (one might argue she was initially trying to conceive for the wrong reasons anyway, but it’s mostly a plot device so I won’t even go there).

Dr Torres apologizes to her patient after complications lead to a double-amputation

Anyway, as much as I enjoyed the scenes and the episode as a whole, if the writers were hoping in some way that they’d make us more likely to get past what Arizona did, it ain’t gonna happen. Callie has been one of my favorite characters since she joined the show in season 2 and while I salute that Shonda and the writers refuse to restrict their gay couples to being happy all the time, I wouldn’t want Callie in this situation with a partner of any gender. Maybe if we’d seen Arizona try to make some sort of growth after the split I’d be more inclined to be excited about a reunion, but while Callie was struggling to keep it together Arizona was hopping in bed with an intern and still wearing her wedding ring like it was nothing. Has she gone to therapy at all? If McDreamy cheated on Meredith after the crash (or shooting, even) I really doubt that the audience would be rooting for her to forgive him. Arizona still has not displayed any acknowledgment of being sorry for what she did to Callie, and now knowing that they lost a child just prior, doesn’t the “You didn’t lose anything!” line from the season 9 finale just seem even more insulting and ridiculous?

Did I go on a bit of a rant there, people? Sorry about that… aside from my conflict over the retconning of the whole Callie / Arizona post-amputation saga, I thought the episode as a whole was fantastic. Sara Ramiez never disappoints in my eyes and given the right material she’s downright incredible. She can pull off gut-busting funny or heartbreakingly broken (the “I’m pathetic” exchange with Hector Alonzo was particularly rattling). As we watched Callie stand trial accused of botching the surgery of an Olympic gold-medalist snowboarder, I was genuinely concerned for much of the episode that she’d be found guilty. McKee did a phenomenal job of writing an episode based mostly around a court case and still keeping an authentically Grey’s feeling intact, complete with humor and emotional punch. It was great seeing the doctors of Grey + Sloane rally around Torres - she’s certainly been there for many of them time and time again. When the not-guilty verdict was read I breathed a sigh of relief, but the twists kept coming right up until the end. While he had stuck around to support his daughter through her trial, Callie’s dad revealed a secret to her after discovering that she had ended her marriage with Arizona due to infidelity. He told his daughter that he had once made a mistake and cheated on Callie’s mom (who, by the way, still isn’t speaking to her daughter because of her ‘lifestyle’). He urges her to at least try with Arizona because she’ll never know what they have if they don’t at least test it. His indiscretion, he continued to tell her, happened before Callie was born, so had her mother not forgiven him Callie would have never been born. Food for thought? Maybe. It still doesn’t sit right with me, though, that Callie then went to Arizona’s hotel room door and invited her to consider coming back home. I am interested in seeing them take steps to work through this, and I hope Arizona really makes some progress before they do. I'm also wondering how they'll handle Callie's inevitable discovery that Arizona has been sleeping with Leah (who, you guessed it, was in Arizona’s room unbeknownst to Dr Torres when she showed up).

My worry is that next week we’ll jump right back into the now-crowded universe of Grey+Sloane and continue to only get bits and pieces of this and every other exciting story each week. If the writers sidelined the interns and beefed up the writing for Callie / Arizona, Meredith / Cristina, Alex / Jo + his father and reworked whatever the hell is supposed to be happening with Bailey a bit, I think we’d have an incredibly strong season. I don’t even really despise the interns as much as I did when they started out, but April and Jackson already feel far enough removed from our original group to me that the interns sometimes just seem like they’re part of a completely different show.

I’m hoping that in the upcoming episodes the writers are able to find a tighter focus than what we’ve seen so far this season. Last night at least renewed my interest in the possibility of Callie and Arizona and the new dimension to their story, while a bit forced, should provide some great material. Aside from that I’m excited to see how the Meredith / Cristina rift continues to unfold. Promos are sure trying to make us believe that Cristina will be looking to Dr Ross to scratch an itch, and I wouldn’t put it past the writers to try to integrate yet another intern by having him sleep with one of our established doctors, but I do think it’d be a cheap tactic. But my thoughts aside, what did you guys think of "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"? Are you feeling sympathy for Arizona? Were you as impressed by both the writing team & top-notch acting by Sara as I still am? And what are you looking forward to most in the next 3 episodes before our winter break? Are you excited or disappointed by the storylines thus far? Sound off below & feel free to check out my twitter for all my Grey’s Anatomy & SpoilerTV updates.

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