“Grey’s Anatomy” recap: “Walking on a Dream” (9.12)

Last night’s Grey’s Anatomy episode, “Walking on a Dream,” showcased actress Jessica Capshaw at her best.

Seriously, if you’re a Calzona fan, then this episode is for you!  The show begins with Arizona, with both of her legs intact, running in the woods. Arizona seems to be running strong until she doubles over with pain from her left leg. Arizona falls to the ground as her left leg shatters like glass. Then Arizona wakes up screaming from a nightmare. Callie stirs but Arizona tells her to go back to bed. It turns out Arizona is suffering from phantom limb syndrome. Never heard of it? Well, here’s the medical definition from NYU’s Langone Medical Center:

Phantom limb syndrome is the perception of sensations, usually including pain, in a limb that has been amputated. Patients with this condition experience the limb as if it were still attached to their body as the brain continues to receive messages from nerves that originally carried impulses from the missing limb. 

As much as Arizona tries to suck it up her phantom limb syndrome is getting worse. At first it was only occurring at night, but now she’s in so much pain during the day that she’s stumbling at work and having to limp out of surgeries. Owen encourages Arizona to reach out to Callie since she’s an orthopedic surgeon but Arizona doesn’t want to bother her.

Arizona explains, “I have been her (Callie’s) patient for so long and I’m just starting to feel like a wife again and she needs me to. I cannot have it! I am finally getting my life back together, and I will not be screwed over by something that’s not even there.”

Owen insists on working with Arizona until she’s healed. (I’m starting to like Owen. Is anyone else having this problem?)

First, Owen puts a mirror next to Arizona’s right leg so she sees two real legs as she looks down at herself. Owen is trying to re-route her brain to believe that her leg is no longer there so it can’t cause her pain. Next Owen puts Arizona in some kind of screening room to help her visualize slowing down ocean waves with her mind. By doing this Arizona can control her pain. At first Arizona is resistant to Owen’s therapy, but since he’s dealt with this syndrome before (when he was a U.S. Army trauma surgeon) she surrenders and lets him help her. Owen mentions that he even had a patient who stabbed his own prosthetic leg with a screwdriver until his brain came to terms with the fact that he wasn’t in pain. (Foreshadowing?)

In other news, Owen announces to the staff that due to Seattle Grace’s budget issues there will be a physician adviser named Alana Cahill (played by Constance Zimmer) roaming the halls. Alana’s job is to cut the budget and save the hospital. Alana is one tough cookie who moves from room to room with a scowl on her face and freely comments on the excessive spending of the hospital. (Pastries and bagels in every break room? How dare they!)

Now is it just me, or do Alana and Richard have a creepy back-story? Every time Richard pops up Alana wants to run in the other direction. (Please don’t tell me they slept together.)

April joins forces with Avery’s new fling, Intern Stephanie, and teaches her how to run the pit. (April’s a better woman then I am because I would not be buddy buddy with my ex’s new piece right away.)

Meredith is struggling with her pregnancy emotions and her incompetent intern, Shane. Shane can do no right in Meredith’s eyes. This odd couple teams up to work with a pregnant patient (a lesbian with a beautiful partner) who desperately needs a liver transplant.

When a liver finally becomes available, Shane accidentally destroys it by cutting it incorrectly. Let’s just say Meredith is livid and call it a day. When a second liver becomes available, Meredith does the unthinkable and boards a plane with Shane to retrieve the liver from a hospital in Portland. At first, Meredith is hesitant but then she surprises Bailey (and me) and climbs aboard the private plane. (If my sister died in a plane crash I would never ever fly again.) When Meredith and Shane arrive at the Portland hospital, Shane notices a mass on the liver. Meredith, who is super emotional, cries (again) and tells the staff to do a biopsy on the mass to see if it’s cancerous. Luckily, the liver is healthy and after the plane ride home, the transplant is a success. Go Meredith!

As Cristina works with Alex and Arizona on one of their pro-bono African orphan surgeries, she sees a medical goldmine. Cristina is petrified that the program will be cut and she’ll no longer be able to work on these strange and awesome surgeries.

Alex can sense something is wrong with Arizona and suggests that she sit the surgery out since they are all being watched by Alana and no mistakes can be made. Arizona is determined to operate, but in the middle of her surgery she begins to gasp for air as her phantom limb pain overwhelms her. Arizona turns to Alex and asks him to stab her in the foot. Alex is (of course) confused but then Owen calls down over the gallery’s intercom, “Dr. Karev, I am the Chief, this is an order! Stab Dr. Robbins in the foot right now!”

Alex picks up a scalpel and indeed stabs Arizona. After a moment Arizona’s breathing slows down as she stares at the knife in her foot. She seems calm and resumes the surgery.

At the final hospital staff meeting, Alana announces the changes she would like made to the hospital. After an awkward pleading from Cristina to save the Pediatric African Exchange Program Alana pipes in, “I have no intention of cutting it. It’s a no-brainer from a PR standpoint. That kind of positive visibility is gold.”

However Alana also says, “I am proposing that we close your ER. It’s hemorrhaging resources.”

Derek yells out, “This is ridiculous! You can’t close the ER!”

Then Bailey chimes in, “Do you have a better idea? Because the way I see it, this woman is trying to keep the hospital from closing in which case there would be no patients, we’d have no jobs and some of us don’t have a few million to fall back on. (Burn!) So unless you have a better idea, why don’t you just sit there and listen to what she has to say?”

All the settlement winners look at each other in shock. And I think to myself, “will the plane victims pool their winnings and buy Seattle Grace hospital?” I guess we’ll see.

The show ends with Callie and Arizona at home getting ready for bed. Callie is infuriated at the idea that Seattle Grace is going to shut down it’s ER and Arizona tells her to relax and join her at the beach. Callie looks confused, then we see the happy couple sitting together on a beach. Then we cut back to the women in bed with their eyes closed, visualizing the whole beach scene and loving it.

What did you think of this episode?