Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grey's Anatomy, "No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance)": Hug hug, bang bang

Spoilers for tonight's "Grey's Anatomy" coming up just as soon as I place a call to my psychic...

If last week's "Sweet Surrender" was a mixture of parts of "Grey's" I love (Bailey with the dying girl, George helping out Alex) and things that make my teeth grind (Izzie the manic wedding planner), "No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance)" was more a combination of elements that are intriguing but underfed and aspects of the show I grudgingly tolerate. Its lows weren't as low, but nor were its highs as high.

The strongest part of the hour, by far, was Hunt struggling to be around Cristina, and Cristina missing the point entirely until she confronted him on the way home. Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd have been superb whenever called upon in this story arc, and they've gotten more to do lately, but their story here felt a little crowded by all that was going on around it.

Other than that, we had a lot of parent/child conflicts to deal with, as Izzie had to play mother to her own mom (Sharon Lawrence, now specializing in these cougar roles, but seemingly miscast as proud trailer trash), Callie struggled with being financially cut off by her dad, Lexxie welcomed Thatcher's apology while Meredith ignored it(*), Meredith grappled with the Chief over his paternal attitude towards her, and with her involvement in the case of the little girl who shot her abusive daddy 18 times to protect herself and her mommy.

(*) While I can see why Lexxie might be so grateful to have her dad back in her life, I was actually expecting her to be a lot more upset by the apology than Meredith. Thatcher walked out of her life at an early age, and Meredith could basically give a toss about the guy. But he's much closer to Lexxie, and therefore I thought perhaps she'd feel even more betrayed than Meredith. How it played out didn't feel wrong; just not what I assumed it would be.

Now, I know it's a staple of these kinds of shows for the patient's story to in some way parallel the doctor's, but it always bothers me when the doctor then projects his or her emotional needs onto the patient, and Meredith has a tendency to do this every two or three episodes. I liked that the Chief called her out for yelling at the mom, then got frustrated when he let her off the hook. One of the stories of this season has been Meredith starting to grow up and get past her drama queen roots, and I'd like to think she might be able to keep her emotions in check in situations like this. I get that if she actually did things by the book, there might not be enough conflict to tell a story on a dramatic TV series, but this is never my favorite kind of "Grey's" Story.

Beyond that, I found it weird to see Kellie Martin on a hospital show watching a trauma scene as the relative of a patient and not as a doctor (and/or not being stabbed by David Krumholtz). Work's work, and her stint on "ER" ended, what, nine years ago? (Wow. Time flies.) But I spent a lot of time feeling nostalgic about "ER" last month, and so now every time I see Martin I think about Lucy Knight.

Two episodes to go in the season. I'm hoping the show goes out on a high note.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

"Take Care Now"= "I love You" Just love Christina and Hunt.

I would rather that Mark get together with Calli - I think their chemistry is so much stronger

I am so glad you enjoy the same shows as I do, Alan. Your blog adds so much to my enjoyment of the shows. ( ABC, CBS,NBC, etc should pay YOU) Thank you for what you do!

Linda said...

I am so sick of these "Meredith Grey tells everyone how to live, because she's really a sage and not at all a GREAT BIG WHINY BABY" stories, I cannot tell you. The glorifying of her wheedling, blabby, self-righteous personality makes me want to spit nails.

In other words: I agree, but more.

The Gregarious Misanthrope said...

Imagine, for a second, the man who broke up your parents' marriage is your boss, and he regularly intervened in your personal life, at work, including trying to force you to make up with your father (while at work), whose life he also contributed towards ruining. Would you feel justified in being angry and defiant towards him? Try to have a little compassion for Meredith. In this ep, she wasn't the whiny loser, it was Chief who was in the wrong.

Obviously I disagree absolutely about the Chief's treatment of Meredith. It was invasive and unprofessional to demand, in the workplace, that Meredith deal with her father. Totally inappropriate, none of his business-- it's his guilty conscience, not her problem.

Then, really Chief? Meredith gets away with murder because she stopped a mother from interrupting her kid's face getting bandaged to force her apologize to her abusive father that she just shot 18 times to get him to leave her alone? This the worst thing at Seattle Grace that has ever happened, and Meredith is getting a huge pass by not being fired for it? I seem to recall someone's LVAD wire being cut but that person getting a pass. I also recall a bunch of interns doing illegal surgeries on each other and all of them getting passes. Meredith mouths off and she's beyond the pale?

Chief was bringing a matching set of his baggage to all his interactions with Meredith in this episode, and he was out of line from beginning to end. He feels guilty because he wrecked her childhood, so he meddles in her life in the most patronizing, presumptuous ways, and when she calls him on it, threatens and punishes her for an unrelated incident. THIS is why SG is ranked 11th now, Chief. Do your job and get your snout of Meredith's personal life.

I feel vindicated in my assessment by the Chief's grovel at the end. Meredith was a neglected child directly because of Chief's actions, and he never intervened on her behalf. He admitted it. Her umbrage at him is 100% justified and his towards her has always been deflecting blame that's rightfully his. I hope now he backs the hell off her.

Sonia said...

Alan, I was not at all suprised by Lexxie accepting her dad's apology, for exactly the reasons you mention. She IS close with him, and she wants him back in her life. And she couldn't wait to introduce him to Mark.

Pamela Jaye said...

I'm with Spiral.

Izzie gets away with LVAD wires, everyone gets away with sleeping with their boss, Cristina and Izzie do unsanctioned autopsies in the basement, and Cristina lies about Burke for months - and *Mer* gets in trouble for yelling at a patient?

In the meantime, the Chief is carrying around the guilt in the very same way that Susan did. *No one* bothered to take up for Mer when she was a kid.
And then Thatch comes (so happy to see him) and ups the odds.

I loved the Chief's apology at the end and I was crying. I hope it holds (and it's been confusing in the past, cause she's allowed him to paternalize her, in a kind way, in the past, but suddenly no - that's the only thing that wasn't working for me)

Callie is a 5th year, soon to be an attending (somewhere) and should be able to afford half an apartment if Cristina can. Her story was boring and I just didn't pay that much attention.

Izzie - thank goodness *someone* finally called the mother who is "only 3 hours away." I, too, thought it was George or Alex. I'm so happy that no one forgot what we had learned about mom - who I realized was mom when she told Alex she was "a friend." It was sad that she was such a flake that Izzie had to mother her, of course.

I can't say a lot about Cristina and Hunt EXCEPT - bully on Hunt for knowing not to torture Cristina the way that Derek tortured Mer all thru season 2!

Thank *you* for posting early. I'd never have made it till 1am -

I'd have been here before, but the roomie and I were watching horrible a Britcom. Forgive my lack of appreciation for British humor. I hoped for more from the IT crowd. Some was good.

Lex and Mer and Thatch. I don't know. Mer is still angry, I think. I would be. He ignored her for years and then as soon as he was back, he literally slapped her in the face. I can understand fleeing the room. Lexie tends to be a bit more Izzie-ish in finding the good in everyone, so I guess it made sense. The only thing I never bought was her declaration that miss prom queen/valedictorian was an ACOA. No way. She grew up in fairyland.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that I identify with Mer a lot (just not with the drinking or sleeping around) so I LOVED this ep. And even if the patient was a metaphor, I loved Mer standing up for the kid and eventually her mom -- she's not Izzie, but she does care - when her patients have a problem she can related to, and even when they can't. She's a great advocate, though, granted, she's a bit emotional about things that make her emotional.

I wonder if Thatch will be at the wedding. I'm sad that Susan is gone. And I will miss the Ellis diaries.

Tree hugger girl also bored me.
George trending toward trauma - I love it.
Alex and Izzie - very good.

People are growing up, here. Even Mark.

And it's amazing the damage one person can do (whether it was Ellis or the Chief). Such a domino effect.

What I don't understand is why I don't feel more sympathy for Hunt. I'm usually all for the wounded birds (I'm Cameron).

In fact, I can't think of a man on this show that appeals to me. George has a good heart but I remember the wimp and still don't respect him. Alex is getting wonderful but I don't find him good looking. Derek can so often be a selfish jerk...

Last week's ep bored me but this one, I really loved it.
(and I still haven't watched House, Big Bang, HIMYM). It made me cry. Mer's daddy issues (and her mommy issues too - I didn't have those) will always get to me.

I also liked the Aflac commercial. ;-)

captcha word - splot

Pamela Jaye said...

oh - one other thing that's been bothering me.
Mer got drunk before her first day, after hiding from the Chief, who at the time she didn't know had had an affair with her mom, at the mixer.

Why? Did she not realize he would be there? Who did she had her interview with, for the match? It shouldn't have been a surprise, any more than the Chief should have "recognized" her in the ICU after she totally trashed Alex in the pilot.

Cory Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cory Martin said...

(Error -- sorry.)

Alan, normally I'm completely in line with your reviews, but I must point out an error that you've made:

Callie struggled with being financially cut off by her dadThat may have been the initial jumping off point for Callie's arc in this episode, but it was by no means the actual significance of her story. Callie's arc was about her accepting who she is and what Arizona means to her in the face of her family's denouncement.

As Mark and Christina glibly told her to simply lie to her family and tell them that she and Arizona had broken up and that this "choice" of hers was a mistake, I found myself yelling at the television and at Callie to ignore their "advice". As it stands right now, Arizona is being set up as a possible long-term love interest for her (and that was solidified with Arizona's beautiful and endearing OR speech), so if Callie were to deny Arizona and what she means and represents to Callie all to get back into her family's good graces and bank account, then Callie would stand to stall that relationship before if even gets off the ground. And if Arizona did let it go, eventually it would resurface and would always prove to be a huge bone of contention in their relationship. Moreover, the damage that Callie would do to herself would be potentially irreparable and devastating.

Family is important and we all want to love ours and be loved in return, but if said family turns their back on you for being who you truly are, is it worth it? If Callie's family is willing to do that to her, then she needs to let go of her past (as difficult as that may be) and look to her future which is, at the moment, Arizona.

So that's what Callie's story was about, not money. Um, yeah. ;-)

linda said...

Other than the Cristina Owen bit, I think mostly I was just a bit bored by this episode, because I didn't see anything in the episode that added something new to the ongoing storylines and/or characters.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm not saying the Chief was 100 percent in the right, either, or that the battered mom was doing okay by her kid. But Meredith's need to lecture other people about how to live based on her own dysfunctional upbringing is one of her least appealing character traits, and I dislike episodes built largely around her doing it.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, this episode truly connected with someone who lived the childhood Meredith had. I'm posting this text from a msg thread in GA's website. It says...

" Wow, I really relate to Meredith Grey's character and I can't tell how much it means to me to see these topics covered in a show like this.

- Talk of 12-step recovery, among dads and respected characters. Awesome.

- Acknowledging that people often look the other way, rather than speak up for a child.

I am 40 years old and my dad still hasn't ever indicated in any way that I might have needed someone to stick up for me. Hearing Richard acknowledge Meredith's experience made me feel as if I'd been seen for the very first time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you."

ED said...

My wife and I were debating how the Grey sisters would react to Thatcher. My feeling, and this ended up being how it played out, was that Lexie's anger at her dad was wrapped around his drinking. They had a great relationship before that. Whereas his drinking really is not at all related to his conflict with Meredith. So while his making amends hopefully helps heal his whole conflict with Lexie, it barely begins to do so with Meredith.

Anonymous said...

The patient/doc parelels can be completely annoying, but sometimes they can be pretty darned good. Here's a good one that we didn't get hammered over the head with: Lexie = the abused mother. She has been taking care of, covering for, and generally forgiving Thatcher, notwithstanding all of the damage he's done in her life. She can't let him go, or simply confront him for the wrongs he's committed. Once again, he's apologized and she's spread her arms wide open to forgive him.

On a separate note, the Hunt/Christina stuff is so great that if they don't at least get nominated for Emmys I'm going to have to start a write-in campaign.

Michael said...

Not a bad episode. I can't believe, though, that nobody has objected to the notion of a five or six year old kid firing a gun at least 17 times and hitting the target. Come on! This is up there with the Izzie/Denny relationship as the all-time dumbest "Grey's" plotline.

Pamela Jaye said...

Anonymous, age 40, thank you for sending that back. Last night, when I was posting, the comments had not yet been approved (and, as I still haven't gotten thru the Chuck comments here, I have little hope I'll get past checking to see that mine went through)

I'm 50 and my father has been dead for almost 10 years. I wasn't beaten (physically) or... worse, but still. Though my mother never stood up to my father, she was there, in the other room, to at least comfort me, love me - someone I could run to. She never denied it was wrong. At least that was good. Sometimes I wish she'd left, but then she'd have been working and have no time for us... lose-lose it seems.

Mer had it worse with her added Mommy issues. The only thing I feel she did wrong was to express it in an emotional manner. And I understand why she did. If she's said it calmly, it could just as well have come from Mark Greene and no one would bat an eye.

I must go find the latest Chuck thing to annoy my website readers with.

Linda said...

For my money, Meredith had NO BUSINESS interfering in that family situation. None. Zero. She had met that family a very short time earlier, has no special training in dealing with abuse victims that I'm aware of, and was using -- USING -- that mother and that child to soothe her own hurt feelings. Hospitals have experts on staff who are qualified to deal with abuse victims; she isn't entitled to decide which is worse for a child whose history she doesn't even know: apologizing or not apologizing. Apologizing could be damaging, but if the child genuinely is going to experience guilt if/when her father dies, not apologizing could be worse. How does she know? How does going to medical school qualify her to spontaneously overrule the mother on a sensitive question like that?

Whether the Chief was right or wrong when Meredith was a child, and whether he was right or wrong to encourage her to see her father has little to do with whether the Chief was right or wrong when Meredith, who is a total non-expert on abuse in families, chose to publicly berate an abused woman in front of her child. As to that situation, she WAS in the wrong.

I think Meredith is a jerk. That doesn't mean she wasn't treated poorly, and it doesn't mean the Chief didn't have anything to apologize for, and it doesn't mean she doesn't deserve sympathy for some of the things that have happened to her. But that isn't a free pass for life -- it doesn't mean she can't also be a self-involved brat, because to me, she is. Disliking Meredith Grey doesn't make you unsympathetic to children; it makes you unsympathetic to her.

And none of it has anything to do with what Izzie has gotten away with, to me, because there's no reason they can't both be brats. As it happens, I think they both are.

The Gregarious Misanthrope said...

Linda, I believe you're wrong. Doctors are trained to recognize and deal with abuse. They are mandated reporters and are trained as such. Yes, Meredith behaved emotionally, but she was clearly right and her words helped the mother do the right thing. The outcome of the episode vindicated Meredith, your personal views of her behavior aside.

And even if Meredith was a jerk, far FAR more reckless and inappropriate things were done and no one was fired for it or threatened with "clearing out their lockers." Chief was either wildly overreacting to Meredith because it was Meredith, or he was wildly underreacting to the malfeasance of Izzy, the interns, and everyone in the hospital who had sex with their supervisees. Your choice. In any case, Chief's treatment of Meredith has always been invasive and irrational. That he had some provocation only slightly mitigates the situation.

Frankly, I don't know how Meredith stands to work with that man. I don't know if I could do it. I also don't think I would have tolerated being veritably FORCED to deal with my neglectful, abusive father because my mother's love felt guilty. That Meredith became emotionally wrought and let loose on someone is as much Chief's fault for riling her up at work as it is hers.

But then, I never got all the Meredith hate that so many GA fans feel. I'm not saying everything she does is great, I'm just saying, usually, I can understand, far more than I've ever been able to understand the actions of Derek, Mark, Izzy, or even Cristina sometimes.

warrior rabbit said...

It was *nine* years ago that Lucy Knight was stabbed?!! Ohmigod, I feel so OLD.

Unknown said...

I couldn't figure out how Callie couldn't make her half of the rest while Cristina could. Callie is making a fair salary in her final year as a resident, more than Cristina is, and Callie doesn't have any loans to pay off.

Are there any television shows about TV columnists? If there are, you'll understand how I feel as a family therapist about t his episode.

With the child, Meredith was right and the Chief very wrong. It was so clear that the mother was trying to influence her story that I couldn't understand why they let the mother stay in the same room when they were trying to get the girl's take on the shooting. Meredith was also right that a mother's first responsibility is to her child. If she chooses her husband over her child, she needs to make sure that the child is in a safe place somewhere else.

Meredith may have got too emotional because of her own background but in terms of child protective issues, she was right and the Chief was wrong.

And the Chief was doing quite a bit of projecting his own dysfunctional issues onto Meredith and the family there, as well as being completely inappropriate calling Meredith into his office and forcing her to listen to her father about a personal issue that had nothing to do with the hospital.

As for Owen/Cristina (which is why I got back into watching GA again), why hasn't Wyatt lost her license yet for being incompetent? The "three word sentence" bothered me for several reasons.

First, limiting Owen to three words keeps him obsessing about Cristina rather than helping him move beyond her and deal with his own problems. It's like saying "Don't think of pink elephants" and then all you can think of is pink elephants. Wyatt should have let him talk to her as much as he needed to. If she didn't want to let them talk alone, she could invite Cristina into a session. (Think how ER did it with Abby and her mother.)

Second, Owen deciding that he's not good enough for Cristina and never will be so she needs to move on is reinforcing his survivor guilt and his feelings of fundamental worthlessness, exactly the opposite of what Wyatt should be doing. It's a way of digging him deeper into the hole, not pulling him out of it.

Finally, it's cruelly unfair to Cristina because not only does it take the decision about her life out of her hands, she has no clue what is going on and gets hurt and bewildered by Hunt's behaviour. She can't understand how he could make love to her so sweetly and then turn around and treat her as if she's worthless while he teaches George.

Or, to put it another way, in terms of a therapeutic intervention, the three word sentence = FAIL. As a dramatic device to set up future story lines, we'll see. Hunt's involvement with George while ignoring Cristina continued the parallels with the earlier Yang/Burke relationship as Cristina felt pushed aside by Bambi in her relationship when Burke started hanging out with George and ignoring her too.

Pamela Jaye said...

oh boy! I forgot about Cristina "worry[ing] that George would be a better girlfriend than" her!

Pamela Jaye said...

presuming real-world logic here (yeah right) and based on things I learned on ER (but didn't totally learn)

Mer didn't know The Chief had had an affair with her mother till after he "hired" her.

But the Chief did know.
So, while SGH may have been high on Mer's match list, The Chief should not have ranked her high enough to match at SGH (is that possible?)

Of course, then we wouldn't have a show...

I have no idea how or why Lexie's mom's death landed her at SGH.

Pamela Jaye said...

oh, I'm sure, btw, that the Chief thought he was "helping" or that he was assuaging his guilt, by ranking Mer high enough to match. Bad idea, though.

Anonymous said...

I have no gun knowledge, but wouldn't the kid need two guns to put 17 bullet holes in her dad? I realize some went through him, but still.

The Gregarious Misanthrope said...

Alan, the need to lecture people overcomes lots of the doctors on GA. Derek was particularly guilty of it in the serial killer arc. Karev has certainly done it on occasion as well. So has Izzy. Sanctimonious doctors are all over SGH. Meredith happened to be right in this ep, and emotionally overwrought by her boss' abuse of power, so she gets a pass from me this time.

Pamela Jaye said...

Alan, the need to lecture people overcomes lots of the doctors on GA.I'm testing to see if paragraph breaks after quotes are back

Pamela Jaye said...

oh well. that was broken before the new template (which I don't notice) (and also it works in preview.

Anonymous said...

I just scanned this and can I please add: I'M SO GLAD I DON'T WATCH THIS SHOW ANYMORE!

Unknown said...

No julie cooper comparisons to izzie's mom?