Grey’s Anatomy: “Crash into Me: Part One”

While it’s technically American Thanksgiving, which means I could probably get away with not posting out of an assumption that I am not based in Canada, I’ll have to live up to my heritage. There wasn’t much on in terms of new programming tonight, but ABC was offering a full lineup of programming. Last night, it hit them pretty hard to do so – Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money saw huge drops.

I don’t often blog about Grey’s Anatomy, and admittedly I started drifting away from the series at the beginning of the season. However, a lazy afternoon (A dying breed as the term comes to a close) resulted in a bit of catchup, and I’m back on the train: for better or for worse, the show still holds its charm. With George and Izzie largely relegated to the backburner, and the addition of Dr. Hahn proving vastly beneficial to changing the show’s dynamics, the show has earned the right to have one of its “big disaster episodes.”

I’m usually not a huge fan of these storylines – ever since the train crash and the bomb scare, which were some of the show’s finer moments, it seems that they’ve gone bigger and bigger with really no benefit. Last year’s ferry crash was particular disastrous, and not in a good way – it dragged on far too long, became too centered on Meredith, and didn’t seem to do anything for the rest of the show’s storylines. And thus, heading into this week’s “event” (as ABC’s promotion department decided to call it), I wasn’t overly thrilled.

Well, let’s give thanks that this time around it was really just a marketing ploy – while it may be in two parts, Crash into Me is a much more isolated story than you might realize.

Our disaster, like all Grey’s Anatomy disasters, is a chain reaction – there’s the ambulance driver who has a seizure behind the wheel, and eventually finds herself in a precarious surgical position. There’s the two men trapped upside down inside the ambulance that her ambulance crashed into, struggling to stay alive while bleeding out. Meanwhile, the driver’s partner is a white supremacist with a giant swastika tattooed on his stomach who refuses treatment from non-white doctors. And, just to top it all off, we’ve got a father with an infected sternum and, in the beginning of a guest starring role, Seth Green playing a recent plastic surgery patient with a carotid artery just waiting to blow.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It really was – while I think the show managed to balance these storylines well, I also think that some of them were fairly unnecessary. After Bailey went through such a great episode this week, the Nazi storyline feels heavy-handed and just generally not entertaining. The apparent payoff, a call back to the fact that she was often referred to as a Nazi, seems like an oddly unsubtle political statement for the episode to make. It just doesn’t fit with anything else, and seems an odd turn for Bailey’s character in conjunction with her lack of home time with her increasingly agitated husband.

The other stories at least seemed to be taking these characters places – Alex and Lexie’s little fling hits a serious roadblock when Eva shows up and chats up Lexie, who immediately runs to Seth Green, who was flirting with her fairly non-stop. And it wasn’t awkward Deny/Izzie flirting: it was two young kids being cute, which was a welcome change of pace. Of course, all things aren’t good: Alex and Eva are clearly mildly doomed (Until Elizabeth Reaser is made a regular cast member), and Lexie is present when the carotid artery bursts all over her at the conclusion of the episode.

The ambulance storyline really didn’t do much this time around: one of the parademics in the ambulance died, Meredith was trying to get an ultrasound of the other one while over top of the dead guy, and Shepherd ran into a hiccup when his navigation system shut down while she was in her brain. The latter case is all just an excuse to get Shepherd and his scrub nurse closer together, although I’m generally a fan of him moving on from Meredith. Speaking of Meredith, every time her storyline came up it felt like she was posturing to make up for the fact that she really didn’t have much to do. Personally, I like that. She hogs the space.

While these episodes are a bit overstuffed (Not unlike many on this holiday, I presume),  they at least tear us away from the occasionally awful personal storylines (Hey George and Izzie!) for a week or two. And, if I had to place bets, I’d say that the return to form to Grey’s has not yet run its course. We’ll see, however, how they resolve this on December 6th, and that will be the true sign.

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