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Grey's Anatomy Review: The Reaper Cometh

Things got pretty interesting last week on Grey’s Anatomy, as Seattle Grace is forced to make budget cuts in light of the airline ruling.  To that end, a special physician advisor will be brought in to assess cost-cutting measures for the hospital.  Dr. Cahill is a former pupil of Dr. Webber, but she eschews any notion of familiarity or special treatment.  Her presence makes everyone defensive, as they feel that they could either be fired or that a beloved initiative may be scrapped.  Alex is concerned that their pediatric partnership with various African nations could be in jeopardy, even as it continues to save young patients who come in for treatment.  Meanwhile, the staff avoids Cahill as if she’s the Grim Reaper.

I find it interesting when even doctors are not immune to the common fears and reservations that they often see in their patients.  For example, Arizona is an experienced surgeon who has probably seen it all.  Yet when she needs to accept certain medical phenomenon as it relates to herself, she is reluctant to do so.  She is experiencing a condition common to many amputees called “phantom limb,” whereby the patient experiences the sensation of physical pain in an absent limb. Arizona nearly collapses a few times at work, and she suffers from vivid nightmares at home.  Owen encourages her to find a therapy that works for her, demonstrating that she can take a mirror and place it next to her right leg, giving the temporary illusion that the left leg is still there. Owen tells her that one guy he knew in the Army went so far as to stab himself in the prosthetic limb to halt the sensation.  Arizona is reluctant and dismissive initially, but when she nearly collapses under Cahill’s watchful eye she finally understands that she can’t continue to neglect the condition.  Remembering Owen’s story, she tells Alex to stab her in the foot with a scalpel in the operating room, lest she collapse right there with a patient opened up on the table.

It wouldn’t be Grey’s if people weren’t hooking up, and the last episode offered a few feeble attempts.  As Stephanie and Jackson continue their dalliance, April employs some passive-aggressive tactics on the rival intern.  She hazes Stephanie a bit, challenging her to take over running the “pit,” the hectic section of the hospital where ER patients wait for assessment.  April is a nice girl, so the bullying is actually somewhat helpful because Stephanie is learning something.  Besides, by episode’s end it looks like April has piqued the interest of a cute paramedic.  Maybe her desire to get in a little dig at Stephanie will recede now.

Another big development in the last episode was Derek’s full recovery from his hand surgery.  He successfully operates on a young patient after previously postponing the surgery in the wake of the plane crash.  The young man comes through with flying colors, and it’s good to see Derek’s career intact.  He was adamant about not being observed by Cahill during the procedure, as no one likes the feeling of being audited. 

Cahill is definitely persona non grata, particularly when she reveals her big purse tightening measure of closing down Seattle’s Grace emergency room.  Her suggestion is met with predictable outrage, as everyone is up in arms.  When Derek objects, Bailey pointedly interjects.  She says that Cahill is trying to do what she can to cut costs so that the hospital doesn’t have to shut its doors.  She takes a blatant dig at Shepherd, reminding him that some people need to ensure that the hospital stays open because everyone doesn’t have a million dollars in the bank.  Wow! Tensions are rising and I love it.  The last couple of episodes were a little tepid, so bring on the fireworks! This was another great episode that advanced our season nine storyline nicely.

Season 9, Episode 12: “Walking on a Dream” (original air date January 24, 2013).

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.

Images courtesy of Kelsey McNeal and ABC.

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