"Grey's Anatomy" spoilers coming up just as soon as I figure out whether Marian's official middle name is the one she was born with or her maiden name...
I know I complain about so many aspects of this show, and not without reason. But that? That was pretty damn good.
Ellen Pompeo has always been the show's weakest link, but something about the Ellis storyline always brings out the best in her. There was an episode almost a year ago where Meredith had a massive freak-out in the supply closet over the pressures of dealing with her mom, and it was the first time she ever impressed me, because the pain felt real instead of some actress putting together her Emmy reel. This was just as good, and sustained over a longer period. I love that the writers didn't try to soften Ellis and have Meredith braiding her hair by the end of the day. Instead, mother's haughtiness caused her and her daughter to completely waste what could be the last lucid day she ever has. Ah, well, at least the Chief got five good minutes (or so) with her before she went back into Alzheimer's land. Very grand, deservedly weepy melodrama.
When Bailey gave that speech last week about wanting the clinic because she needed something to believe in, I turned to Marian and said, "And I need a subplot, because I'm happily married with a kid and the writers don't know what to do with that!" Even though the clinic's a contrivance to give Chandra Wilson more to do and give the show an excuse to feature non-surgical cases when writer's bloc hits, I'm not complaining, because Wilson deserves every second of screen time they can give her, as demonstrated early and often in this episode. (Particularly her delivery of that line about eight million dollars worth of patient.) I think Izzie's bean-counting is going to get old, though, and wouldn't she have invested some chunk of the money so the clinic could operate on the interest? Then again, seeing as how they got the place up and running in the week since last episode ended, maybe she didn't have the time for sound financial planning.
I don't want "Grey's" to go to the "ER" Disaster of the Sweeps formula too often, but because they do it sparingly, episodes like this one or the Super Bowl bomb two-parter resonate more. It's a measure of how well the high stakes were established that I didn't even object to the fact that Seattle Grace no longer seems to employ any surgeons who aren't regular members of the cast, which became a plot point when McSteamy refused to go in to help with the Saran wrapping.
I appreciate that, through Callie, the writers are willing to acknowledge that the three main female characters can be such snots on occasion, though here it really only seemed like Izzie was being rude about the Callie O'Malley thing. Cristina was all wound up in her own proposal issues, and Meredith went out of her way to be supportive.
One last thing: when Cristina accepted the proposal, that was clearly the most enthusiastic we've ever seen Burke, but can anyone remember the last time he even smiled? Has he ever before?
What did everybody else think?