Grey's Anatomy: Am I My Brother's Keeper?

The last episode of Grey’s Anatomy was pretty heavy, and this week’s episode picks up in the aftermath of Owen’s unexplained outburst.  Oh sure, we know about everything that was going on beneath the surface, but he never opened up to Cristina or anyone else about his painful memories.  Predictably, things worsen when a hero female cop comes into the ER with multiple gunshot wounds.  While Owen, Teddy and Cristina tend to the officer, Alex argues with his long-lost brother, who literally showed up on his doorstep out of nowhere with a hernia.  Alex isn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type, and no one knew he had a brother until now.  His brother Aaron doesn’t have insurance and Alex has to negotiate with Bailey to perform the surgery pro bono.  Little Bro is also very chatty, and he tells Lexie and Bailey that Alex practically raised him due to a mentally-ill mother and abusive father.  He was in and out of foster care and even spent time in a juvenile detention center.  This revelation explains the tough exterior that Alex rarely lowers, and Bailey has a newfound respect for him.

A common theme on this show is loss, which is to be expected since it’s set in a hospital.  This week a patient had a tumor removed successfully, but before she could fully recover she suffered a stroke.  Before the stroke, but after the surgery, Lexie tells the patient’s husband that she has pulled through successfully and that he can visit her.  Before he arrives at her bedside, she has already suffered a stroke.  The man has been on an emotional rollercoaster, and we’re reminded that Lexie is still rather “green” when it comes to surgery.  She still gets emotionally invested in her patients, and as we saw with Izzie that can prove disastrous.  The woman had signed a directive not to be kept alive artificially, and Seattle Grace has every intention of honoring her wishes, despite her husband’s protests.  I would imagine this painful scene happens in real life quite often, as spouses have difficulty letting go when their husband or wife becomes incapacitated.  The woman’s husband begs the doctors not to give up on his wife, but there is nothing more they can do ethically or legally.  He tearfully waits at her bedside until Lexie “pulls the plug.”

While all of this is going on, young April is lusting after McDreamy, giving him the Psycho Eye.  Remember her?  She’s the one responsible for a patient’s death in the “Dark and Stormy Night Murder Mystery” Episode a while back.  When Derek was named Chief he gave her back her job.  I would’ve let her get some practice reps in on a CPR dummy before I let her touch a patient again, but that’s just me.  Lexie catches on to her and confronts her about crushing on her brother-in-law.  April promises to reign it in, but look for her to do something really psychotic in an upcoming episode, like getting busted sniffing McDreamy’s scrubs or something like that.  You heard it here first.

I didn’t forget about Owen, who once again has the most layered storyline in this episode.  While performing surgery on the cop he warns the team to be aware of potential “devastators,” which are bullets designed to explode on impact.  Cristina removes the bullet and before Owen can stop her it explodes, nearly killing the patient.  They begin to bicker and Owen really goes off on her during surgery.  It’s like there are times that he forgets he’s in a hospital and he thinks he’s on a military base somewhere.  He yells that Cristina should listen to him and Teddy because they know things that she doesn’t.  This is what I mentioned last week: that Owen and Teddy share a special and unique bond that no one else can really understand.  Teddy later explains that Cristina has to let Owen open up on his own and let him come to decisions on his own; a common personality trait in Alpha males.  In a subtle but powerful scene back at Cristina’s place, he reaches out for her and she reflexively jerks away.  “You’re afraid of me?” he asks in disbelief.  Cristina says that she doesn’t want to be, and in that moment Owen realizes that he must resume his therapy.

How can you go any higher when you’re already at the top?  Grey’s Anatomy is so good that each week I’m surprised that the writers can maintain this level of excellence.  I don’t know how they manage to do it, but my TV is sure better because of it.

For more on this episode, check out All Eyes on Alex & Babies by Allison Toner.

Season 6, Episodes 19: Sympathy for the Parents (originally aired April 1, 2010)

For more Grey’s Anatomy, click here.

Thursdays 9/8c on ABC

Photographs courtesy of ABC and Ron Tom.

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