Forty days and nights of melodrama: A plumbing crisis that flooded the hospital served as a handy metaphor for systems under stress. George’s retake of his intern exam was interrupted by a leaky ceiling, and the rising water challenged the Chief just when he was introducing tough new rules designed to pull Seattle Grace out of its twelfth-place ranking. (Fair warning: Many of those rules amount to variations on “don’t be a jerk, and stop dragging your personal problems into everything,” so if they are followed, the show may be cancelled shortly.)
At home, Meredith bristled at Derek’s demand that Alex and Izzie move out of her house when he moves in. This, in turn, ramped up the hostility between Alex and Izzie after Alex made it clear that he didn’t intend to live with Izzie if they were thrown out. In the end, though, Meredith took a stand in favor of keeping her “family” with her, and Derek caved. Tune in for next week’s episode of “Four’s Company.”
Who’s sick this week?: As for the patients, there was Derek’s project, Chronic Headache, played by “Hill Street Blues” vet Daniel J. Travanti. He’d been in pain for years, and Lexie vaulted onto Sloan’s professional (as opposed to merely leering) radar by remembering an old journal article and finding exactly the nose nerve that needed tweaking.
Alex took the lead with Accident-Prone, who came in for an aneurysm and came down with a terrible case of slapsticky comic relief. First, he slipped and hit his head. Then he was trapped in the CT machine. Then the waterlogged ceiling collapsed on him during surgery. He got a big dose of irony in the end, however, when the collapse indirectly led to the early discovery of a still-harmless tumor. It looked like Accident-Prone’s new lease on life might or might not lead Alex to be slightly less of a jerk in the future.
Finally, Meredith treated Gossipy Cancer Patient, whose response to all bad news was to beg Meredith to yammer more about her romantic life. Safe to say it’s not the way many of us would choose to spend our limited time on Earth.
Management strife: The flood led to tension between Bailey and the Chief, as she encouraged him to temporarily shut down the hospital, and his frustration mounted at his inability to restore the hospital’s ranking through brute force. His stubbornness led directly to that ceiling collapsing on poor Accident-Prone. That finally persuaded the Chief to relent and ship some patients elsewhere, rather than resort to holding golf umbrellas over open-heart surgeries.
Best eye-roll of the week: As Cristina watched Meredith gnash her teeth at the roommate/boyfriend crisis, she visited Meredith’s therapist and chewed her out for not helping Meredith stop her self-destructive behavior. When the therapist threw back a predictable analysis of Cristina’s feelings, a disgusted Cristina snorted, “You’re a terrible shrink!” and left the room.
Linda Holmes is a writer in Washington, D.C.