Alright, we've got a Halloween themed episode this week, and it was actually quite a lot of fun. It always amazes me how much this show can fit into one episode without it feeling crowded, and this week is no exception. Let's jump right in and start going through these plots.
Webber has been teaching the (now second year) interns from his bedside, coaching them through his own case. When he wants one of the interns to perform the surgery, Bailey comes up with all sorts of reasons why it's not a good idea. In the end, however, Webber fires Bailey from his case and asks Meredith to take it on. He apologizes for what he said to Meredith when he first woke up, and tells her that he wants her help teach the interns. I liked this plot, although I found the scene with Bailey and Webber to maybe be a bit too harsh, actually. I understood where Webber was coming from, but he really did a number on poor Bailey.
Speaking of Bailey, her husband Ben comes home for Halloween, excited to spend the holiday with his family. Bailey is busy at the hospital and is a bit dismissive of Halloween, but Ben says that Tucker deserves something amazing for the holiday, so he sets up a huge decoration display at the house and gets Tucker an awesome mad scientist costume. Bailey is overjoyed and all seems well, until Ben drops a bomb: he dropped out of his residency to spend more time with his family. Bailey is... not happy about this. She says she's disappointed in him. This is a very interesting little development, and I really hope we get more time to focus on it moving forward. Ben basically says that he loves Bailey more than he loves surgery, and I think that upset Bailey because she knows she can't say the same. Surgery is always going to come first in her life, and I think she's upset that her husband doesn't feel the same.
Then let's turn to the big cases of the week. A crazy, drugged up zombie-like guy gets brought into the hospital after being shot in the chest. Apparently, this zombie guy actually attacked someone at started to eat his face!
Jackson and April work on the guy whose face got bitten. He is very worried that he's been infected by some crazy zombie disease, especially since the guy didn't die after getting shot. April calms him down by basically yelling at him, which also serves to teach Jackson a lesson about how to deal with emotional breakdowns. The two of them work quite well together in surgery, giving hope that there relationship is really patched up and they can both move on with their lives.
Stephanie, meanwhile, has just had eye surgery and is worried she might have permanently damaged her vision. She refuses to rest and take things easy, preferring instead to jump right back into work, which only makes things worse. She's an emotional wreck, but in the end Jackson takes her home to take care of her.
Leah was bitten by the crazy zombie patient, and there is some worry about possibly contracting HIV from him. She's scared and alone, but she won't turn to Arizona for help because she wants to honor Arizona's wishes to keep things casual. When Arizona finds Leah alone and crying, she comforts her, telling her the story of her first needle stick. The two of them bond over Leah's fear. Luckily, it seems that Leah will be okay.
I'm going to talk in some detail about one scene that actually annoyed me... it was a scene of Leah and Stephanie both complaining about their problems in the locker room together. It felt like a parody of a conversation that Meredith and Christina would have had in earlier seasons. I really like these new intern characters, but I think it's important that they carve out their own identities. I was enjoying the sort of friendship of convenience thing that most of the interns had going for them, and I felt like this scene was a bit too "oh, look, they're best friends now!" I'm not sure why, but in the whole episode this moment stuck out of the texture and bothered me.
Okay, but anyways... the crazy guy who bit Leah has a condition where his heart is on the opposite side of his chest. Owen shows the case to Christina, who says that this sort of thing is really rare and she's been wanting to see one since med school. The two of them do the surgery together, and after a few awkward moments they learn that they can actually work together quite effectively as long as they keep things simple. This prompts Owen to call the girl he's been seeing and explain that he wants something simple and uncomplicated. While initially Owen is flustered when leaving her a message, she does call back. This prompts Owen to have the most adorable bright smile on his face. It actually gave me hope that he'll be okay once Christina leaves the show. Maybe there can be happiness for him after all?
Alex and Jo are working on a pediatrics case with a little girl who isn't producing adrenaline properly. This means that she can literally be scared to death. When she wanders off trying to trick or treat in the hospital, she gets frightened by an old scary woman and collapses. Alex and Jo are able to save her, but Alex is very testy and angry at the father for getting his daughter into this situation. Of course, Alex isn't really angry about that, he's just projecting his own recent experience with his dad onto this patient. Jo apologizes on Alex's behalf. When Jo asks Meredith for advice on what to do about Alex, Meredith says she needs to fight to be there for him. Jo shows up at the end of the episode dressed as Tinker Bell, and Alex lets her in. It looks like they will be moving forward with their relationship. While I'm happy to see a possible resolution to their relationship drama, I have to admit that Alex's behavior in this episode really bothered me. I understand his anger at Jo, even if it is misplaced, but for him to act out against a patient's father... it was so unprofessional, and to me it felt out of character for Alex.
Meanwhile, Shane is having trouble with a very odd patient. She's an old creepy looking woman who keeps vanishing and reappearing, and she insists that Brooks is her doctor, and that she won't see anyone else. This forces Shane to confront his feelings about Brooks' death, and he eventually tells the old woman that Brooks is gone. It turns out, Brooks had been giving her medicine outside of the system, and this woman didn't want to say anything to get her into trouble. Shane agrees to be this woman's doctor and continue Brooks' work of picking up "strays," as they call it in the show. Now, this was a nice little arc for Shane's character, but I was really surprised they didn't go into the moral greyness of Brooks' and Shane's actions. Giving free medicine to a homeless woman sounds like a totally great thing to do, but it is stealing from the hospital. Hopefully the implications of this get brought up later, because at the moment it hasn't been addressed very well. I have to mention that the highlight of this episode was connected with this plot: while Shane is looking for the patient, he passes Stephanie and says "I'm looking for a crazy lady with weird eyes," to which Stephanie, still upset about her possibly permanent blindness, replies, "too soon, Shane." I laughed out loud at that one.
Meredith and Derek are planning to do Halloween at their house, and they plan a little party before taking the kids trick-or-treating. Meredith is busy taking on a very heavy surgery load, ready to dive back in with vigor. Derek is also busy with research, although he does have time to do a butterfly wing repair for Zola's costume. Meredith and Christina have an awkward exchange wherein Meredith asks Christina to come to the party, but it's sort of a half-assed invite, and Christina isn't sure whether she's really welcome. Later, Meredith asks Christina to bring cupcakes if she comes by, so Christina decides to show up. However, upon arriving she sees Derek and Meredith happy with their kids, along with little Sophia and her mothers, and Christina leaves, dropping the cupcakes off before she goes. While I get what they're going for here, it was all perhaps just a touch too cheesy. I can't imagine that Meredith and Christina's friendship is really going to end on bad terms, here... that would just be too much of a tragic blow, even for this show. Hopefully they have a good development of this moving forward, but I suppose I'll have to wait and see.
Lastly, we've got Arizona and Callie fighting over Sophia's costume. Callie has made her a princess costume, and Arizona has made her an astronaut costume. Apparently, Sophia expressed different Halloween wishes to each of her parents. At first, Callie concedes the holiday to Arizona, saying that she can't be around her and ruin the holiday for the kids. However, after talking to a patient about how fast children grow up, Callie realizes that she only has a finite number of these Halloweens to remember and cherish. Sophia is an astronaut princess for Halloween, and it looks like Arizona and Callie have struck up an uneasy truce. I'm very sad about the death of Calzona, but on the other hand they are handling the fallout very nicely. I'm wondering if we're supposed to support Leah and Arizona as a couple now, or if there's any hope for Callie and Arizona to reunite?
Wow, that took a while to write. This show is always so full of story, and it manages to strike a good balance between all of these plots. Not everything in this episode was a total success, but there was also nothing terrible about it, and I found myself really enjoying the Halloween theme.