Been a while since I've written about "Grey's Anatomy," but since several of my regular Thursday shows were off last night, and since the episode was both off-format and fairly interesting, let's have a review coming up just as soon as I throw you a chocolate...
Sooner or later, most dramas will resort to flashback episodes like "The Time Warp." They're an easy way to shake up a familiar formula for a week, they allow the writers to fill in some backstory, they allow the actors to play different versions of familiar characters, and the fans tend to like some or all of those things. This one didn't live up to some others I've seen - in particular the "St. Elsewhere"(*) two-parter "Time Heals," which told stories from throughout the hospital's 50-year history - but it hit most of the necessary marks, and was a particularly good showcase for Chandra Wilson as the young, mousy "Mandy" Bailey.
(*) Speaking of "St. Elsewhere," the Richard/Ellis storyline took place in the same year as that show's first season, and since I know what a 1982 hospital drama looks like, it was weird to see how the hair and wardrobe choices seemed to be from several years earlier than that, more '70s than early '80s. Then again, most flashback episodes have this problem; whenever "Friends" showed us Chandler in the '80s, his allegedly trendy haircuts were always years out of date.
There were moments in that '80s storyline where the show went for the easy choice, particularly when the attending was revealed to be a racist and a sexist. I'm not saying that there weren't plenty of doctors with those attitudes from that period, but as drama, it felt cheap. Either make him a lot smoother and subtler in his bigotry, or limit him to being one of racist, sexist, ageist or homophobic, but not all four. Still, Sarah Paulson was a very good choice as the young Ellis, really evoking what we saw of Kate Burton in seasons past. J. August Richards was handicapped by a distracting hairpiece, but I also saw less of James Pickens Jr. in him.
A few questions on the more contemporary stories: First, whatever happened to the evil surgical attending played by Missi Pyle? (Another character, by the way, who was a little too blatant a villain, even though I'm sure such surgeons also exist in every program.) I know the series' timeline is always going to be wonky (which is also why it was probably a mistake to give us a specific date for Bailey's intern year), but Bailey's up on stage talking trash about someone who, if she's left the hospital, only did so a short time ago.
Second, how does everybody feel about the continuity insert of Karev and Callie hooking up briefly back before she met George? This is a show that already has had too many characters sleeping with too many other characters - so much so that my wife was under the impression we'd already seen these two have sex - and I don't know what's necessarily gained by adding another coupling in the past.
Overall, though, pretty good, and Richard's oath at the end (paralleling his AA speech at the beginning) was a very nice moment for Pickens. What did everybody else think?