“Grey’s Anatomy” recap (11.23): Tunnel vision

Ahhhh, the penultimate episode. So much promise, so much drama. I have documented my love of penultimate episodes in the past, and Grey’s Anatomy usually doesn’t disappoint. This episode had all the things that Grey’s loves to shove into the end of a season: a horrifying disaster, personal turmoil, and crab cakes. Okay, well I’m not sure about the crab cakes. Anyway…

Meredith tells us how when you are in surgery, time stops and nothing else matter, which is good for Mer since she’s still just trying to figure out her life without Derek. Amelia pops by just as Meredith gets a message from her realtor that she’s got an offer on the house, something that Amelia was unaware of.  But no time to quarrel! It’s an exciting day at Grey Sloan, as Arizona so cheerfully tells us as she flies by, because the “chicks and ducks” have arrived. She means the fresh faced interns, but “chicks and ducks” sounds so cuddly. Everyone wants to see Richard give his patented speech, the one he gave all of them when they were wee babes and the hospital was still Seattle Grace. Some of them even mouth the words along.

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Stephanie is eager to get started since she gets her first batch of interns to work with. She informs them all that Richard is getting married that day, then gathers her interns and heads off. We don’t know their names yet so I’ll name them for right now. There’s Brian Krakow, Eager Beaver, Notetastic and Quiet One. Steph brings her best thunder and makes sure they know who’s boss. She’s learned well, that Steph. “Your life in now all about me,” she tells them.

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Arizona finds Owen to ask about the Chief situation. Richard is still interim chief and Owen drops a bomb that he’s not going to return to the position.

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Elsewhere in Seattle, Catherine is getting primped for the wedding while her Maid of Honor, Jackson, eats pizza and watches the game. Catherine asks why April isn’t there, and we can tell by Jackson’s face that despite his wife’s return and their big embrace, that things are still shaky. Before they can really get into it, a special news report comes on at the same time Jackson gets a page. There’s been a massive tunnel collapse. Grab a slice to go, Jackson, because it’s all hands on deck.

All the docs rush out to meet the incoming ambulances, but before that happens, I want to talk about Callie’s hair for a second: Is it giving anyone mid-’90s mall bangs realness? I’m having an issue with how dated it’s been looking lately. Am I the only one? Anyway, Jo questions April about her experience in the Army, and seems really jazzed about the whole thing. Then Owen (dammit, Owen!) tells Jo that another group is leaving in two week if she wants to join. Alex basically rolls his eyes at the idea of his girlfriend living in a tent. Jo’s excitement is quickly dashed when the ambulances start showing up carrying only dead bodies. As Owen informs the doctors about the severity of the collapse, some actually alive victims are rushed into the ER. This gives Amelia and Maggie hope that they can do some good that day, but April rains on their parade, since she’s now Captain Downer.

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As Bailey and Richard rush to help, they run into a very understanding Catherine who has arrived to help. She and Richard make out for a while, while Bailey tries to think happy thoughts. She’s Richard’s best man, so she must be used to this by now. (How much did you love the gender swapped roles of Best Man and Maid of Honor, without anyone batting an eye?) Richard tells Bailey that he’s not going to pursue full time chief-ness, and plans to recommend her for the job. Bailey has been burned before so she’s not letting herself get too outwardly excited by the prospect, but you know she’s doing a happy dance inside.

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An ambulance arrives with a very pregnant woman who is being helped by a young, handsome doctor named Andrew. Steph is impressed with how well he’s taken care of the patient. At the same time, the hospital gets a call that they need to send a team of docs to the accident scene, and Richard chooses Meredith (even though she’s not signed off yet), Maggie, Amelia and of course, April.