This was a surprisingly powerful hour.
It’s no secret that out of the core four that have stuck with Grey’s since the pilot (Meredith, Alex, Bailey, and Richard), my least favorite has always been Alex. I’ve always felt that the show never displayed a proper grasp on the character. Sure he’s layered, but he’s also been quite the unlikable bully over the years, and he always rubbed me the wrong way. Thankfully, this hour is a tremendous showcase for the character’s growth, as well as for Justin Chambers’ talent.
Justin gets two unforgettable moments in Fight For Your Mind: the scene in the baseball batting cages where he unleashes his rage at his mother finally being “fine”, and that beautiful “library card” scene in which he forgives his mother and tells her how proud he is of her. The latter sequence is particularly subtle and devoid of big emotions or tears, and that makes it all the more impactful because we know Alex doesn’t want to ruin his mother’s mind-settling routine.
As Helen Karev, Lindsay Wagner is so good in the role that I want her to stick around for a couple of episodes. She’s painfully realistic in her portrayal, and her dynamic with Alex feels very lived-in and genuine. Would it be asking too much of Jo and Alex to bring the wedding to her? Fingers crossed!
If only all the patients on Grey’s Anatomy were as lovable as Teresa Benson. I don’t know if it’s Julie Gonzalo’s performance, but I truly felt for her phobia (after losing her dad to a routine appendectomy). Moreover, like all effective patient cases, this subplot allows Arizona to come to terms with moving Sofia to New York and being closer to her mother. Obviously this bombshell would have been more surprising if the headlines of Jessica Capshaw leaving weren’t so prolific. Still, Arizona’s phone-call to Callie is a potent bookend to the episode.
I don’t know if David is Meredith’s new love interest (since Pompeo has been vocal about the character not needing a network-mandated boyfriend), but I enjoyed watching the two banter at Joe’s. Although I kind of wish they dragged out Meredith hiding her identity for a bit longer, their dynamic is engaging because it pushes our heroine to finally give Marie Cerone credit (and alter the name of her mother’s method). I always felt like the Cerone subplot would be more explosive. Are there any more surprises left writers?
Bits & Scalpels
– Anyone else find the Arizona/April scene to be super meta since the two are leaving the show by season’s end? Nope? Just me then?
– Very funny touch with David saying he likes the “gloom”. We all know Mer is the queen of gloom (or used to be at least).
– Hilarious running joke: the “Your honor” shtick. Made me smile every time.
– Very sweet moment with Jackson telling April he put money aside for Harriett as he’ll be paying off all the settlements himself.
– Amelia and Betty didn’t get much screen-time this week which is a bit of a surprise. The latter escaped while the former mentioned she’s “craving” drugs again. Hmmmm.
– Notice when Jo and Helen meet, the former goes for a hug while the latter simply shakes her hand. It’s not a rude gesture, but rather a display of how broken this woman is/was.
– Roy’s lawsuit isn’t the most engrossing of subplots, and it was resolved relatively quickly by episode’s end. The highlight was our Chief being a badass and avoiding the apology by scaring Roy into a probationary return. That’s our Bailey!
Meredith: “Do you have a job to return to? Do you have a support system at home?” We’re screening for mental illness. Anxiety, depression, delusions.
We need to make sure you’re of sound mind. We need to make sure you know what to expect. But if we check patients for mental illness, why not surgeons? Someone should really get on that.
April: (about babies) No, they just barf. I think it’s triggered by the cleanliness of your shirt.
Arizona: Sofia got suspended from school.
Owen: From second grade?! What, did she color outside the lines?
Arizona: No, she stole the field-trip money.
Owen: Oh, that’ll do it.
Hellmouth: Any minute now, she’s gonna realize I am the love of her life.
Qadri: Meredith Grey is straight.
Hellmouth: Ever heard her talk about Cristina Yang?
Hellmouth: I’d rather lance a hemorrhoid than be a hemorrhoid.
Betty: Your life must be really pathetic for you to just have all this time to sit here watching me puke. Don’t ignore me.
Amelia: I’m not ignoring you. I’m ignoring the demon.
Betty: What demon?
Amelia: Your last high. It is like a demon, and it is dying a painful death right now. And it knows it’s dying, so it’s trying to push me away so that it can live. But I am the exorcist. I’m protected. So the demon can say whatever it wants. I’m good.
Meredith: Well, I didn’t know anybody grew up in Los Angeles. I thought everyone just moved there to chase their dreams and then have them crushed.
David: No, some people, uh, grow their crushed dreams right there.
Jackson: (to Maggie) Your buddy Jesus interested in buying a yacht?
There’s enough witty banter and absorbing developments here to make this a solid hour of Grey’s.