Quick spoilers for last night's "Grey's Anatomy" coming up just as soon as I get a beer...
I haven't written about the last couple of episodes of "Grey's," but it feels like this season has finally taken a turn for the better, with "Stand By Me" being the first episode since very early in the season that I liked pretty much unreservedly. Now, this is two seasons in a row of "Grey's" where we had to suffer through a whole lot of heinousness (ghost sex, Frankenstein interns, and Asperger Doc this year; George + Izzie, the end of Bailey's marriage, and non-stop moping by everyone last year) before Shonda finally pulled things out of the tailspin late in the year. (Both upswings, perhaps not coincidentally, were punctuated by a Kate Walsh guest appearance.) Considering that this season started off pretty well before flying off the rails, maybe ABC should figure out some kind of scheduling plan that keeps the show off the air in the winter and only around for fall and spring.
Regardless of all the silliness that took us to this point, Izzie's illness is now being taken seriously by the show and its characters, and I liked seeing Yang struggle to keep the secret, to the point of almost messing up her first solo surgery. And Justin Chambers and Chandra Wilson did a great job acting with their eyes when Cristina spilled the beans in the operating room. And, of course, Izzie's problem ties in neatly with Derek's crisis of confidence, which gave Meredith the opportunity to make a very mature and well-phrased argument for why he needs to get back to the hospital already, regardless of what happens with them.
Derek's story was maybe the strongest part of the episode, as his sense of helplessness slowly engulfed first Callie, then Hunt, a set of characters we've rarely seen spend much time together before. And that in turn led to the Chief coming in for an emotional ass-kicking, which has always been one of James Pickens' specialties.
I also thought the interns were better used here than they've been at any point to date. We're seeing the hospital from the point of view of what are now the second-year residents, but there were interns before them and interns after them, and surely Lexie isn't the only one of them going through her own equivalent of what we saw over the first few seasons. It's good to see that they're catty, too, and that they have their own personal drama going on that Meredith is trying to avoid noticing just as much as Bailey tried to ignore her drama back in the day.
People keep asking me why I suffer through this show I bash so often, and that's so easy to beat up on or abandon. An episode like this, and the possibilities it creates for the remainder of the season, is why. When "Grey's" is good, it's very very good. And when it's bad, people have sex with ghosts.
What did everybody else think?