Nov. 19, 2010 at 9:05 AM ET
Athima Chansanchai writes: Finally, an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” this season to love from beginning to end.
There is a certain pacing to the show that, when it works, feels like the best mixed drink you’ve ever had, and it only takes the one drink to feel warm and fuzzy all over.
Note to the show’s writers: the attendings should get drunk more often and the residents of the Grey halfway house should always be on night shift.
“Slow night, so long” gave us what’s been missing from Grey’s this season: consistent whip-smart humor, characters that acted true to themselves and doctors doing what they’re trained to do, and doing it well.
So, apologies ahead of time if we are a bit effusive about this episode. It’s what we’ve been waiting to see for months.
We’re going to completely ignore Meredith’s voiceover this time because we don’t really think this was an episode about sleep deprivation and its consequences. That’s so “ER.”
The attendings are off for the night, and Mark, Callie, Bailey and Owen all head to Joe’s to celebrate Derek receiving the clinical trial grant to research early onset Alzheimer’s. Which happens to be the name of the blue concoction new bartender/waitress Cristina brings over to them to start their evening off on the right note.
Cristina: “You won’t remember anything after you drink it.”
Derek (clearly in bouncer/disapproving daddy mode tonight): “You don’t think that’s distasteful?”
Bailey (grabbing a drink and downing it): “I think it’s delicious.”
While the attendings brood and banter, the residents deal with brothers critically injured in a car crash, a young boy’s perforated ulcer and teens who superglued their arms together so no one could tear them apart.
But the table at Joe’s is where some of the best exchanges of the season happen.
Mark to Callie, still in a post-breakup funk: “You’re not going down this rabbit hole. You need a sexual palate cleanser.”
Bailey: “Sexual sorbet. I love it!”
We love Bailey when she’s sloshy snappy!
Bailey and April later have one of the funniest scenes of the show, when Bailey comes in to take a nap before going home. She now realizes it was a big mistake to dump Ben.
“I have needs!” she said, reaching for her phone. April clutches it, telling her, “Drunk dialing never really ends well.”
Bailey: “You are a virgin!”
April (looking mortified): “Word really does travel around here.”
Bailey: “I’m Bailey, I know everything. Alex Karev is not the person you want to take your maiden voyage with…Take it with a nice boy, someone you want to superglue yourself to. You will meet your Ben, not my Ben, but your own Ben. One who might not be called Ben…Use soap and warm water.”
April: “On my maiden voyage?”
Bailey: “On the superglue!”
After we stop laughing – it takes a little while – we get back to more serious sub-plots.
Owen comes back to help Avery and Lexie, who are trying to save one brother whose leg has been severed. He dies, but Avery rises to the task and saves the older brother. He also clues a worried Lexie – who hears him screaming from nightmares every day -- into how the shooting has affected him, using the surviving patient as a convenient doppelganger. “Every time he feels glad to be alive, he’ll hate himself for that. He won’t want to talk about it, but he wants them to know.”
Teddy takes Owen’s place and leaps into a tirade against Internet dating, shushing Derek, aka “Mr. Perfect Married Guy” and urging Callie to join Arizona in Africa. Teddy returns to the hospital to kill time until Joe gives her keys back. Meredith finds her. “That look on your face, that’s how my whole body feels,” Teddy tells her. “My aspirational couple, they’re living on two different continents,” and she feels disappointment that her most promising pupil is downing Irish car bombs and letting bachelor parties feel her up at will.
Meanwhile, Alex and Meredith team up to save a kid, operating without Stark, who doesn’t answer his pages (preferring instead to enjoy his tiramisu, we presume). We don’t like him. Especially when he picks on people who are actually doing their jobs.
When the sun comes up, the residents go back home, all doing better than when they came in. Not so the attendings. Callie uses Mark to cleanse her sexual palate, and regret is written all over her face afterward.
Cristina purges her bodyweight in liquor after her one night stint at Joe’s. We don’t envy the hangover she’s going to have, but for us, this one perfectly mixed drink of an episode gave us a buzz we’ll be happy to feel for the next two weeks, until the next new episode.