God damn it, Grey's Anatomy. You hooked me back in with last season's epic, harrowing finale. You got rid of George and Izzie. You rehabbed Meredith from one of the most irritating characters on the show to one of my favorites. You added a handful of new blood that was interesting and/or hot. You got me. And then what do I get when I make it back to recap an episode? Sixty minutes of emotional adolescents braying on about their FEELINGS mid-surgery. I thought we were past this!!
Anyway, everybody's seriously thrown by Cristina's quitting, none more than Derek, who decides he's going to take it out on Altman for no good reason. Meredith, Hunt and Altman have this episode-long powwow about how to best convince Cristina to come back, but Derek gets all snitty about how they shouldn't do that. This leads to conflict when a foreign head of state from Vaguely Rendered Arab Emirates shows up with a heart condition that needs to be operated on under utmost secrecy. This gets complicated when his Charlie-from-West-Wing/Jonathan-from-30-Rock informs Meredith that President Somewhere also had an unexploded aneurism. One that probably just exploded. So Team Cristina all find themselves in an OR, with the open heart AND brain of this guy, and Derek and Altman are carrying on this argument about whose fault it isn't that Cristina quit.
As for Cristina herself, she's gone off the reservation. Luckily, with Callie having just been dumped for Africa, she's got company. They make crazy eyes around their apartment, Cristina attempts home hairstyling on Callie (bad news bears, that), and they hit up the mall in the middle of the day. Aimless, probably signs of serious depression, but I could think of worse ways to spend an afternoon. They're also planning a party, which is where Team Cristina Minus Derek are planning their intervention. Derek gets there first, though, and warns Cristina, so the both of them end up in the roof, drinking wine and talking about anything but medicine.
In other news, Alex and Kepner are on Peds detail, with the shitty new Arizona replacement. (Casting does us a favor by casting Peter MacNicol, an all-time weaselly jerk.) They're trying to save a baby with a failing liver. There's a bunch of medical hoo-ha with the swollen liver and a sponge and not being able to close the girl up -- Dr. Jerkface doesn't think there's much else to be done, but Alex comes up with a bril plan to prop up the liver with ping-pong balls (don't ask), and in case you couldn't tell from last week, Kepner is crushing hard. She even sticks up for Alex with the Chief when Dr. Jerkface tries to take credit for the idea. Later, in the on-call, Kepner can't stop singing Alex's praises, so he does what he always does in that situation: off come the shirts and it's sexy time. Only she wants to go slow, this being her first time and all. Alex don't got no time for coddling, though, and he's pretty harsh in telling her so, sending her running off to Cristina/Callie's party in a pretty emotional state. She evidently tells Jackson all about it, because he whales on Alex something serious when he arrives. (And, yes, it turns out that Alex was only a jerk because he comes from a broken home and schizophrenic brother and blah blah blah Sexy Emotional Trauma.)
But what's up Jackson's fine ass, you wonder? He's been on a losing streak lately, so much that nobody wants him on their team. Bailey ends up taking him because she needs a guy to keep an eye on a woman who's having her pancreatic fistula drained. (In case you were curious, yes, Jackson's still sexy even in the presence of a draining pancreatic fistula.) He gets annoyed at not being able to scrub in on another surgery Bailey's doing, and he ends up missing some telltale bad signs. By the time he does, it's too late, and the lady dies on the table while he's trying to operate. He flips out on Bailey that it's not his fault. Bailey, for her part, is pretty sick of patients dying of post-op infections these days.
Anybody else? Lexie is nice to Jackson, Callie and Mark are probably going to be roommates, and Altman has a very sensual handshake with the State Department guy trying to keep President Somewhere's presence a secret. I expect sexing on each of those fronts in the future.
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Previously: Cristina couldn't get over her PTSD from the shooting, so she quit being a doctor; Mandy Moore died on Bailey from a post-op infection; Kepner went totally bonkers during Hunt's trauma training, which kind of impressed Alex, probably because she reminded him of Izzie, who is totally the writers' model for Kepner now; Derek decided that finding a cure for Alzheimer's is the next crusade which he will pursue to a degree that he'll become totally insufferable; and Arizona left Callie at the airport after a hasty and clumsily conceived effort to give Jessica Capshaw some maternity leave.
Meredith's voiceover metaphor of choice this week is "pressure," and unless something interesting happens on that front -- say Mere taking the Freddie Mercury part while Bailey does the Bowie on a duet of "Under Pressure" -- I trust you'll agree that we shouldn't address it again, right? So while Mere VOs, Cristina watches TV surrounded by unpacked boxes in her and Hunt's new apartment; and Alex deals with his broken-down car by the side of the road. Later, all the docs are in the auditorium while Altman gives a post-op conference on that old-man lung-transplant patient from last week. Alex stumbles in and Mere, Avery, and Kepner speculate on what he was doing that has him smelling like a boozebag this morning (Alex: "What happens in Vegas..."); Avery is also fretting because he hasn't get been but on any attending's service, and he thinks it's because he's had a a few screwups lately. Mere tells them all to shut up when Altman gets to the part about Cristina. When Altman's ultimately forced to admit that Cristina isn't here to answer questions about the patient, Mark kind of flips out and starts asking everybody who might be in the know why. Mere can't say, Altman doesn't know, the Chief gets a phone call and leaves the aud, and Derek is too bust peppering Altman with accusatory questions about why she put Cristina under such a pressure-packed situation. Altman defends herself, saying that the initial request was simply for Cristina to watch a patient while she went and retrieved some lungs, and besides, are they here to do a patient presentation or a post-mortem on Yang? Derek, as snottily as he can muster, tells Altman, "Well, you saved the patient." Yes, um, HER JOB. Gosh, the more things change, the more I hate goddamned McDreamy.