GET IT, GEORGE?
Look, I know this show uses its medical cases as metaphors for or reflections of what’s going on in the lives of the people treating them. It’s just that usually the writers display a more deft touch. Tonight, the show was talking in all caps.
It wasn’t enough to have Chairman Assistant Director Skinner’s assistant talk about how in love she was with her boss, even though she knows it’s wrong in front of George (and Addison, for good measure). No, then Mrs. Chairman had to tell George that "the wife always knows." And then, George stands by and watches while both the assistant/girlfriend and Mrs. Chairman walk out.
It’s kind of a shame, because there was stuff to like elsewhere in the episode, from the mechanics of chairman’s fishectomy (loved Cristina’s excited recitation of case history, and Beck’s "Nausea" playing during the surgery) to Ava’s running meta-commentary and Addison finally succumbing to her attraction to Karev and the resulting, spinoff-launching fallout.
But subtle it was not. Wedding cakes, penis fish, runny noses were all thrown out as symbols tonight, but instead of just letting them be symbolic, the show had to tell us why they were symbolic. I think the viewers are smart enough to get that Burke’s obsession with the cake wasn’t really about the cake, without him baring his soul to Izzie or telling Derek how he has to be specific with Cristina or he won’t have a wedding. I think we understand that sometimes a penis fish is not just a penis fish without talk of instant karma or how it crawls inside you and won’t let go. And we’d understand that Bailey is perhaps trying to take on too much even if chipper/competitive attending Sydney calling her out on her standard of care.
OK, onto the good stuff: Elizabeth Reaser, once again, was a big bright spot as Ava. Her "it’s like a soap opera" commentary felt just about right, a nice but not overly self-conscious wink to the audience. I also like that her and Karev’s relationship doesn’t quite appear to be headed down the Izzie-and-Denny road; with her encouraging him to go after Addison, it feels more like a best-friends sort of deal.
The way Addison’s possible departure is being handled worked for me too. Much as I like the character, she is pretty obviously at loose ends in Seattle. Karev seems to recognize that and is probably smart not to take their tryst for anything more than what it was. I know I’ve advocated an Alex-Addison hookup before, but the show did a pretty good job tonight in making the case for why it probably wouldn’t work out (and not just because Kate Walsh might be getting her own show).
As for Sloan, well, he was just being Sloan. His lie to Addison was both a cop-out and a not-very-nice way of saying he knows what she did without actually saying it. It wasn’t nice, but at least it was consistent.
And, for all the metaphorical bludgeoning George took tonight, I have to admit I was a little intrigued by his solution to the Izzie vs. Callie problem. Do I actually think the character will be working at another hospital next season? Well, no. But at least the guy is trying to take some measure of control over the situation.
I’ll let you take up the issue of how Derek refrained from throwing something at the overly communicative Meredith.
Too much symbolic weight tonight? Or is this just what Grey’s Anatomy does? Have at it.