Grey’s Anatomy (S05E03): “Here Comes the Flood”
Grey’s managed to pick itself back up a little after last week’s near-unbearable premiere by making the cast more likable and the stories more sincere, but still suffered from the “ER Syndrome” of adding unnecessarily dramatic events into the hospital setting. Last week it was an icicle, this week it’s a flood, and it’s hard not to think that these freak accidents could become a pattern.
Last week was about reshaping the Hospital to get up its ranking, while this week starts with the Chief addressing all his staff and talking of cutting out malignancies, which should start with the people that work their and trickle down. He says he wants no more personal relationships interfering with work, whether it’s between employees or between doctors and their patients, and he doesn’t want people, aka Christina, being allowed to specialize in only one area. And just like last week was a clear double-sided message, this one very clearly bleeds behind the scenes as well. They need to get ratings for Grey’s up, so they’re cutting out the bad stuff and trying to change things up. Shonda isn’t keen on subtlety it would seem, but the message is still a sign of better episodes in the future. Hopefully. Unfortunately, while baby steps were made this time around, certain watery disasters held this hour back from being really good.
Grey’s first season had very few episodes that had any kind of extraordinary events in them, and the individual patients and the characters had enough going on that you didn’t need anything added on top of them. Somewhere along the way, though, Shonda decided there needed to be a disaster every week, perhaps starting after the Ferry incident and spiraling out of control afterward. It’s annoying and takes the show into further depths of the unreal, and the fact is that the show could thrive just as well without them. In this episode, there’s a busted pipe somewhere in the hospital that begins by causing minor leaks until it eventually floods a good portion of the hospital. Water’s rushing into elevators, dropping into patient’s abdomens and causing general over-the-top chaos.
The only good aspect of the flood was the patient it effected most directly. There’s this guy who believes he brings misfortune wherever he goes, and the leaks in the hospital seem to prove his theory. His idea that he’s under some curse has kept him from living fully–kept him from saying hello to this girl he likes–and Alex sets out to prove that he can get better and can find the courage to say hello. During his operation, the ceiling of the Operating Room gives out and water and debris go all into the man’s open chest. It’s so dramatic it’s silly, but the accident causes the doctors to search harder for anything that might have fallen inside their patient, and they end up finding a tumor at its very earliest stages. Alex tells the man later that normally that kind of tumor is a death sentence, and the flood essentially saved his life. It’s all pretty touching as long as you can forget the fact that the water wasn’t a coincidence or a miracle, but Shonda’s hand concocting a story where everything pieces together a little too snugly.
What really works this week is the return of likable characters. No one’s whining (much), there’s less self-centered behavior running rampant, and in general everyone is once more enjoyable. Sloan, Izzie, Lexie and Alex remain the current best, with the biggest positive changes from last season, but the rest of the gang was fairing much better as well. Except for Derek, who smiles his McDreamy smile, but acts like a grade A douchebag.
His douchery is what sets up the episode’s biggest dilemma: He tells Izzie and Alex they need to move out ’cause he’s moving in, but he tells them this before discussing it with Meredith and just assumes his decision will be the right one. For him to make such an assumption and to tell Meredith’s friends before even talking with her is about as rude as you can get. This causes Izzie and Alex to worry for the majority of the hour about whether they’ll be homeless in a week (which seems pretty crazy if they actually think Meredith would kick them to the curb like that) and Meredith to try and figure out what she should do. In the end, she stands up to Derek and tells him no, they can’t move out, because they’re her family just as much as he is. Fortunately, he agrees without a fuss, but it still doesn’t excuse the way he approached the whole situation to begin with.
The Callie and Hahn relationship is aging fast and not so well. It needs something of more interest than a small squabble over Callie telling Sloane about their relationship, which Hahn views as a private matter as she does essentially all of her affairs. I like both characters, but I’m still not sure I like them together. I can say with some certainty that their characters were not initially conceived as being bi-curious, or whatever they are, and while the potential for this to be interesting is there, I’m just not feeling it. As a result, it’s taking away enjoyment from two of the better people on the show.
The best developed character so far has been Lexie, who went from being an annoying extra last season to one of the biggest players now. Her friendship with George feels more genuine and fun than his and Izzie’s ever was, but I wonder what will happen when they inevitably make them more than just buddies. Getting bed with someone on Grey’s never seems to end well, which is a pretty pessimistic view on love, but whatever. Lexie shows off that she’s not just a good friend though, helping George study for his second try at the exam, but she’s a smart and independent woman that has yet to be tainted by all the other problems dragging down other characters.
There’s more to be said about this episode, like about Alex learning better bedside manners and slowly thawing out his bad boy act or Izzie and her realization that she has no one anymore to turn to, made evident in her search for a new place to live, but I think I’m done.