“Grey’s Anatomy” Season 7 continues to chronicle the return to “normal” for the surgeons at Seattle Grace, none with more difficult than Cristina (Sandra Oh). With her departure from the program, and after a disastrous evening of bartending at Joe’s, Cristina continues to be adrift. The drama ensues, only in episode 10 it is highlighted by festive holiday décor at Seattle Grace and numerous Christmas melodies on the soundtrack.
This week’s episode began with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo)’s shock that Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Cristina had made plans to go fishing. “She doesn’t do the wilderness—there aren’t even any bathrooms in the wilderness,” Meredith protested. “If fishing is your big plan to get her back to work,” she warned, much to Derek’s protests. “She needs to work.” When Cristina and Owen (Kevin McKidd) arrived, Meredith and Cristina shared an awkward moment. “There are no bathrooms out there, you know,” Meredith offered, and Cristina said she knew that and walked out.
Derek and Cristina’s fishing trip provided an alternating setting for the show, the pair of them alone in a boat in the middle of the lake. As typical of over-achieving Cristina, she had researched fishing techniques, lures and equipment the night before, and argued with Derek about the best place to fish. He told her to be quiet, quiet her mind and just fish—she struggled with it, and finally managed to just be still and silent. When she suddenly had a bite, Derek calmly talked her through reeling in an impressive catch. At the fisherman’s dock, she posed with her fish while an employee took a photo. For the first time, she allowed her emotions to show and started to cry. The employee hesitated, and Derek told him to take the picture—they would want to remember that moment. At the end of “Grey’s Anatomy” episode 10, Cristina put the Polaroid of her holding the fish and crying on the refrigerator.
Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Mark (Eric Dane) shared a shower in their first scene, after continuing their history as lovers following Arizona’s (Jessica Capshaw) departure—and subsequent break-up—for Africa. Callie confessed that the sex was great, but that it makes her miss Arizona; Mark, with all his usual grace and charm, confessed that he’d been thinking about Lexie (Chyler Leigh) while they’d been in bed the night before. Naturally, Callie kicked him out of the shower for this truth, declaring that she’s too “amazing” in bed for that. “Now I miss Lexie even more,” he muttered, grabbing a towel.
Bailey (Chandra Wilson) had the first mandatory medical case of “Grey’s Anatomy” episode 10, when she removed the patient’s gallbladder through his mouth using zero incisions. “You want to do one of these?” she asked Lexie and the other residents. “Each of you is researching a different protocol at trying to eliminate fistulas,” she explained, “the person whose protocol leads to the fewest number of post-operative complications gets to pull a gallbladder out of a mouth.” Avery (Jesse Williams), April (Sarah Drew) and Lexie all fled the operating room to begin their attempts, pitting themselves against each other for the duration of the show. Ultimately, a difficult male nurse named Eli’s refusal to follow Lexie’s instructions, and Bailey’s review of his methods and a discovery that his patients had fewer instances of fistulas after day three, ended the competition. Eli asked Bailey out on a date, and she was so thrilled with the progress towards finding a cure that she agreed.
Lexie had convinced Mark to lobby against Eli the nurse for her, in exchange for having drinks after work. Although Mark leveled with Eli, and the pair faked a confrontation, his efforts paid off; at Joe’s bar later in the episode, he and Lexie indulged in a heated kiss for the first time since their bitter break-up. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what happens when she learns of his fling with Callie—oh, how a pregnancy between Mark and Callie could ruin everyone’s Christmas, but that’s one of three “Grey’s Anatomy” storylines we’re unlikely to see during Season 7; read about the others here.
Teddy (Kim Raver) had the second case of episode 10, when guest star Scott Foley entered into her life as a dying patient without insurance. The man proposed to his girlfriend, but she refused, and he confessed to Teddy that what he really loved about her was her great insurance. Teddy went to bat for him, campaigning for the hospital board to do something to help him despite his lack of money and help; he had been hospitalized over 200 days in the past year. In the end, they opted to send him home with a medical alert bracelet, and Teddy said it was sending him home to die. Instead of allowing that, she asked him to marry her and said she had wonderful insurance. We can only hope this means a lengthy guest starring role by Foley, who has been delicious but absent from weekly TV sitcoms since the end of “Felicity” years ago.
Alex (Justin Chambers)’s hatred for the new pediatric surgeon, Dr. Stark, led him into Callie’s care. With a case involving a cutting-edge hip replacement technique, she tried to lure him into Ortho from Peds as her protégé. The final case of episode 10 involved a couple on their honeymoon, with the pair having suffered a bad fall with the wife landing on top of her groom. Her injuries were minimal, but he wasn’t so lucky; while in the operating room, Owen concluded that his internal injuries were lethal. Meredith challenged him, insisting that he repair the damage; Owen resented her behavior. Towards the end of the surgery, Meredith insisted she could get another stick in the patient’s liver and Owen refused, only for her to go ahead--and so he kicked her out of the O.R., but they had managed to save the patient's life regardless of the conflict.
Later in the episode, the two had a showdown about how Cristina should be handled, with Owen accusing Meredith of being reckless and “fearless,” but not in a good way. “I don’t want that around my wife who is struggling to just hold on,” Owen yelled, and Meredith met him toe-to-toe, asking him where Cristina would be a year from now. “Most people don’t tell the guy with the gun to shoot them. Most people are like Cristina, most people are afraid,” he went on. “She isn’t you, Meredith.” She seemed to take this to heart, and viewers may have finally seen Owen’s claim as the biggest supporter of Cristina instead of the go-to twosome of she and Mer.
The biggest show-down of “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 7 episode 10 happened when Callie opened her apartment door to find Arizona standing in the hallway. “So picture this, I’m in Africa,” she begins to explain rapidly, “and everything is great, and the people are so nice, and the clinic is amazing, and I’m doing work that actually feels important … but I’m crying.” Callie said nothing as she continued, saying that they asked her if she wanted to go home. “I opened my mouth to say no, but what came out was yes.” Without a word, with only a hint of sympathy or disappointment, Callie closed her door in Arizona’s face—ouch.
With an engagement for Teddy, a date for Bailey, a reunited affair between Lexie and Mark, plus the return of a regretful ex for Callie, “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 7 promises to be full of heartbreak, hope and romance long before Valentine’s Day arrives.