How best to describe this week's episode? Well, most of it made me want to stab myself with a finely sharpened toothbrush.
That is exactly what has happened to Eric Stoltz, a death row prisoner who has been brought in after being beaten in a prison fight. Mere and Cristina are not happy that both of them are assigned to the same case, on account of them still not speaking to each other. Things are even more awkward because the two attendings on the case are Shepherd and Hunt. Meredith wants to make the guy more comfortable but Cristina and Derek want him to only get the amount of care he needs to survive and kind of relish him being in pain. When the girls are in the room with him alone Cristina asks what he did and he tells them serenely about how he slit the throats of five women in three days and really enjoyed doing it. It's disgusting and does put you firmly on the side of not having any sympathy for the guy even though it turns out he does have a toothbrush shiv still lodged in his spine. They operate on him to take it out, Derek pouting self-righteously the whole time. (Which might have made more of an impact if this wasn't the way he acts every week now.) Hunt tries lamely to be a neutral party while they're in the OR so Cristina turns on him... basically it means there was literally nothing enjoyable to watch of the entire storyline. Sadie does finally tell Mere she needs to make up with Cristina or else she'll drive Cristina away for good, reminding Mere that they aren't really close anymore because Mere did the same thing to Sadie years ago.
Bailey is treating a kid who she has seen for three years as he's gradually had most of his intestine taken out. Before his procedure his surgeon drops dead of a massive heart attack, so a new young, cutesy pediatric surgeon who wears those tennis shoes with the wheels in him takes over. Bailey's pissed that Arizona, the new doc, takes a bleaker look of her patient's situation than Bailey would like and spends her time second guessing every move she makes. She runs to Richard for help but he's busy feeling sorry for the state of his hospital while he sulks in a dark OR and only points out that she's hated every new attending when they first started. Bailey finally has to admit that Arizona is right, and that her patient Jackson is horribly ill and needs a couple of transplants. Fortunately the good thing that comes of it is at least it snaps Richard out of his pity party when she goes to him for help on the case.
The one bright spot of the episode -- or rather, the two bright spots -- are Callie and Mark, who spend their day trying to keep each other from lusting after/sleeping with the intern objects of their desire. The chemistry between the two means I tend to like any scene they have together no matter how frothy it is, and thank goodness. Because the rest of the hour not filled with anything above is filled with the ghostly love triangle. Izzie decides she has to tell Alex she's been seeing Denny and is shocked that Alex seems not to care. Granted, this is because Alex is sane and assumes she is too, and he thinks she is just still grieving and having fantasies about Denny and doesn't get that he's really, truly there. For some reason Alex still loves her, and he bakes her a cake for her birthday to show it. Even Denny has to admit it's a sweet gesture, and right now nothing kills me more than the fact that I agree with him about something. Wait, no -- the fact that I even have to talk about a love triangle that involves a ghost kills me even more.
Look at the show's most annoying storylines. Come back on Wednesday for the full detailed episode recap.
Cristina picks us up right where she left off -- she's standing on the vent letting air blow up her pants as Mere voiceovers, "We all get at least one good wish a year over the candles on our birthday. Some of us throw in more. On eyelashes, fountains, lucky stars -- and every now and then, one of those wishes come true." The fulfilled wish is Mere and Derek in bed together while she complains about not wanting to go to work and deal with Cristina with her "mean face." She thinks a quickie would make her feel better, and Derek is more than happy to oblige. VO: " So what then? Is it as good as we hoped? Do we bask in the warm glow of our happiness?" A ferry is merrily riding through the water in what is I'm sure is supposed to be some sort of gross Meredith metaphor. "Or..." The blissful music stops as Mere and Cristina see and ignore each other at work and Mere's VO wraps up, "Do we just notice we've got a long list of other wishes waiting to be wished?" I wish that this stupid fight was over, or at least fleshed out to be more than the girls sulking self-righteously, but I think is one wish that isn't coming true for at least a while.
In happier interactions, George wishes Izzie a happy birthday -- she's caught off-guard, being spoken to by a human, but she thanks him. Bailey rushes up and gives them their assignments: George is going to the pit, Alex is with Bailey, Izzie has to do the clinic budget (ah, so that's how she can spend yet another day having sex with her imaginary man and not bothering with pesky "patients" or "real work") and Cristina and Meredith are to meet the Chief in the ambulance bay. Both of them demand to know why they have to work together, Cristina with her head in her hands like this is the world's biggest headache while Meredith just whines. Why are they even fighting again? And why have they, with one of the most functional relationships on the show, not just talked about it? It's certainly not making for good viewing.
The Silent Snotties meet up with their respective boy-whatever-they-ares in the hallway and Mere asks what they've got. Derek just hands her a paper to read so Cristina asks Hunt, but he just walks away. Meredith reads something about "Caldwell" and asks if that refers to the prison. The Chief comes in and confirms it, asking if they have all read up on the case. Cristina is decidedly out-of-sorts that she has to lie and pretend she knows what's up. Things only get worse as Richard goes on to say that the patient was beaten and has multiple leg wounds, mentioning the guards that will be with him at all times and that the doctors are to leave his cuffs and leg irons on at all times and to watch their syringes and other sharp objects. Hunt finally hands her a copy of the paper as Richard explains that no interns will be on the case because he wants it kept as quiet as possible. That is on account of the "PDR" mentioned on the paper Cristina reads, which stands for "Prisoner, Death Row." Everyone puts on their Very Serious Faces as an ambulance comes up and Eric Stoltz is unloaded and politely asks everyone how they are doing.