urx unit loader Back to the usual mess on 'Grey's Anatomy'

Chandrawilson_greysanatomy_240After hitting us repeatedly over the head with on-the-nose medical cases and diverting to sunny SoCal for the past couple of weeks, Grey’s Anatomy to a large extent got itself back on track on Thursday.

Which is to say, everyone’s life is a mess, even as they all manage to remain competent-or-better doctors. Plus, hey, we had a mini-Friday Night Lights reunion, with Herc (Kevin Rankin) as one of the injured climbers and Waverly (Aasha Davis) as Joe and his partner’s prospective birth mother.

Meredith is back in a bad place following the unfair death of her stepmom last week. I’m still not thrilled with that little plot development, but I’ve come to appreciate Ellen Pompeo’s work as Meredith more and more as the season has worn on. She played the numbness and the little bits of irrational lashing out that you do when someone close to you dies just right, and her breakdown at episode’s end wasn’t a big, garment-rending wail but an appropriately quiet surrender to everything she’d been bottling up.

The episode also brought us the return of vintage Bailey (thanks, writer Allan Heinberg), the intern-haranguing, George-berating, rock-paper-scissoring force of nature that made us love her in the first place. The little wrinkle in her supposedly preordained path to chief resident was interesting too; why, indeed, wouldn’t Callie be gunning for the job too? (And why, in fact, wouldn’t she be a strong contender? She’s every bit as good at her job as Bailey is.)

Still not overly interested in the George-Izzie-Callie triangle, although I suppose Izzie’s attempt to, in effect, break up with George could be considered slightly noble. Although not much, since it’s both a baldfaced lie and a way to keep the guy in her life.

Another healthy dose of Karev and Jane Doe — or Rebecca Pope, as she now knows she is — makes up for that, though. It’s a thought-provoking avenue the show is having our ferry-crash victim travel: What if, when you start to remember your life, you discover you’d rather forget it? I’m inclined to agree with Karev that she’s obligated to let people know she’s alive, but I can certainly feel for her side of things too. I know I keep harping on this subplot, but despite its being a story that gets fourth or fifth billing in any given episode, it just keeps poking its way through and shining for me.

And I guess we have another reason for Addison to move to Los Angeles: Every other woman in Seattle is apparently either pregnant or thinking about being pregnant. That was more than a little heavy-handed, but the bachelor-party scene made up for it — the "I’m not stripping" exchange and Sloan’s friends-with-benefits proposal were among the night’s funniest lines.

In all that, Cristina and Burke’s wedding got shortchanged a little, though clearly both have their doubts. That is what finales are for, though, and Grey’s will have an extra 15 minutes next week to sort it out.

Your thoughts on tonight’s episode?