'Grey's Anatomy': Who is leaving?

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Tonight's " Grey's Anatomy" was all about obligations to your family, your spouse and your patients. Oh, and did I mention there were bears? Because yeah. There were bears.

Before we get into the resident drama, let's talk about our cases of the week. Case number one is Irving ( Ralph Waite), who tells Mark he wants penile implant surgery for his erectile dysfunction because he hasn't had luck with pharmaceutical intervention and needs a little "lift" for his new girlfriend in the east wing of the nursing home. His son Charlie (the awesome Tom Amandes) thinks he's being ridiculous, considering surgery at 82 years old is pretty risky. No one does angry and incredulous like Tom Amandes, folks. Once Mark clears him for surgery, his son goes along with it but with one caveat -- if he gets the surgery, they're taking him out of the home and away from his lady friend. That's cold! Mark helps them see the light, however, and they even bring his girlfriend to see him after the surgery. Aw.

Izzy's case this week is to help Owen with repeat abdominal sarcoma patient Randy ( Jocko Sims), who needs surgery to remove a new tumor. Her experience with cancer gives her an immediate rapport with Randy, but things take a bad turn when they open him up and there is too much damage to even get to the new tumor. When Owen wants to send Randy home to die in peace, Izzy argues for his right to fight the cancer, whatever it takes and no matter how painful it may be. Randy opts for a new, risky surgery, but in the end there's just too much damage and he doesn't make it off the table. Izzy blames herself, but Owen takes the blame off her and sets it directly on his shoulders for allowing her to talk him into doing the surgery, and for not recognizing that she wasn't ready to handle this type of case. It was his obligation to look out for the patient, and he feels he failed.

justinchambers_greysanatomy_s6_290.jpgNow for our regulars! Alex's connection to obligation this week has to do with Izzy and his obligation to adapt to living with a wife who's living with cancer. His day starts as he rushes out of the trailer to find a bear in his front yard. Not just any bear, mind you, but a giant angry upright roaring bear. Stephen Colbert would not approve. Alex's very feminine (and hilarious) scream of panic says it all. Later at the hospital, Izzy tries to convince him that perhaps he saw a deer and not a bear. Because they look so much alike? I don't know. Alex's point? They have to move back in with Meredith and quit roughing it in the airstream lest he get devoured by a wild animal. Izzy isn't as keen, explaining that they can't move back to Meredith's house because she wants to move forward with her life now that she beat a death sentence, not backwards. Even Alex getting a neck tick doesn't dissuade her. It dissuades me from any late night snack I was considering, though, I'll tell you that. Yuck. Cristina gets Alex to see that he has to give Izzy this one thing right now given all she's been through. In the end, Izzy runs into the same bear and agrees: they have to move. If they do, I'm sort of going to miss the trailer. The exterior set is fantastic.

In merger news, the Mercy West team is about to arrive which means more cutbacks, more layoffs, and more characters for us to keep straight. This is terrible for me, since I still don't know any of the interns' names, and they've been on the show for a year. Oh, and it also means more scrambling from all involved for hours and the best procedures. Cristina is especially frantic, considering she hasn't "cut" in a week. "Desperate for a procedure" Cristina is really my least favorite Cristina, so here's hoping this doesn't last too long. To teach her a bit of a lesson, she ends up with Mark's penile implant surgery. Having to do this "meaningless" little surgery affects her so much that she goes to the Chief and tells him to either use her skills or cut her.

You know how Meredith has been happy and relatively drama-free thus far this season? Well, that's all about to change now that absentee father Thatcher ( Jeff Perry) is back in her life, admitted to the ER in liver failure. Immediately, all she wants is for him not to need a liver transplant, because then he will be around the hospital (and by extension, her) for months. Come on, Meredith. Your father's illness, even if it was brought on by his former drinking problem, is not all about you. Shut up a little bit, 'kay? Especially since Thatcher can't get put on the transplant list until he's one year sober and he's only at 90 days. Lexie immediately offers to get tested to see if she's a match...and I think we all see where this storyline is going, don't we? Lexie isn't a match, and Meredith doesn't want to get tested. She seems convinced she would be happier if her father was dead, but I am skeptical. Lexie pulls Mere's medical records, sees they have the same blood type and begs her to donate part of her liver to Thatcher. Lovely little moment from Chyler Leigh, there. Meredith decides to donate, but Thatcher refuses to let her make the sacrifice. In the end, Meredith convinces him that she needs to save him not for him, but for Lexie, and then the door might be open for them to repair their relationship as well. It seems Meredith's obligation this week was to her sister, and that's a relationship that could really be explored in an interesting way, so bravo, show. The surgery goes off without a hitch, and Meredith and Lexie share a nice moment in her hospital room afterward.

Callie is still struggling on how she's going to ask the Chief for her job back. She practices what she will say all episode, but in the end all she has to do is offhandedly recognize how difficult a position the Chief is in right now and he immediately restores her position at Seattle Grace without her even having to ask. I know we're supposed to feel sorry for him, but this entire situation was his idea. So suck it up, Chief.

The most interesting thing this episode was not really in the episode itself, but in the previews for next week. Who will be let go from Seattle Grace? And does this mean someone else is leaving the show? Come back next week to find out! (But no spoilers in the comments, please. Thanks!)


Random thoughts:
  • I'm a sucker for a girly man-scream, and Alex's screech upon seeing the bear certainly did not disappoint. Hee!
  • The scenes with Thatcher and Meredith and Thatcher and the Chief where he manned up to all his faults with regards to Meredith were really great. Jeff Perry does a wonderful job in this role.
  • Despite my initial concern with Meredith getting the drama-filled story this week, it was pleasantly surprising to see it play out with minimal annoying emotional tics from Mere. She even smiled in the end! Also, clever way to get Ellen Pompeo out for her maternity leave, show.

Favorite quotes:
  • "I heard you got married on a sticker. That's great." - Thatcher, to Meredith
  • "Let me tell you about the golden years, Doc. There's just got to be more to life than eating pudding and watching CSI. Now, come on, can you give an old man a working johnson?" - Irving
  • "I had five interns, four of you have been on this table. One of you had cancer, one of you died. You better not pull anything funny on me, Grey." - Bailey

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