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Grey’s Anatomy “Map of You” Struggles to Find Its Way

By on October 25, 2013
Patrick Dempsey


By Lisa Casas (@QueenofmyNerds)

In the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, ‘Map of You’, the storylines were all over the map.  We needed a darn diagram to keep all the happenings straight. Unfortunately, it was hard to muster up much emotion for any one of them.  Grey’s made it on the television map by giving us tremendous “feels” in every episode, making us care about these characters like they are family.  We didn’t get much of that in this eppy that tried to balance intertwining stories of new interns with our original favorites.

This week begins with Derek and Meredith scrambling to get ready for work, trying to balance careers with family life.  The theme from last week is carried over begging the question ‘can you have it all?’  We thought Meredith answered that one with a resounding yes, but maybe she needed confirmation. She’s submitting a research proposal because I guess when you have a small child and a newborn the next step would be to submerge yourself into an all encompassing study.  I’m thinking this isn’t a “work from home” scheme.

Derek is working on a research study of his own.  He and Callie have been doing a study with Mickey, a quadriplegic who is showing remarkable improvement.  Torres wants out of the research saying her personal life needs tending to.  Derek doesn’t really fight her on it.  He says his family life is demanding right now too. When Mickey develops a tumor making him unable to continue in the study, the two doctors have an out. The patient eventually confides in Callie how he got the way he is.  He says he was driving drunk, ended up killing two teenage girls. He wants his life to mean something.  He needs it to.  He doesn’t want anyone to have to keep taking care of him.  Derek and Torres end up trying to remove his brain tumor, but he dies in surgery, his words about wanting to contribute something, to help someone, echoing in our brains.

In a funny, or maybe not so funny turn, intern Heather has developed a near stalker-like interest in Arizona.  She is on the prowl, in love, itching to tell someone or everyone about it.  The other interns aren’t biting; they don’t care, at all.  Arizona doesn’t nip this in the bud, instead saying they’re at work, ssshhhh.  Heather thinks they’re sharing a secret and maybe going to talk dirty later.  Oh girl, you need to get a clue.



Meanwhile, a couple looking like they are straight out of SNL (I kept expecting Alec Baldwin to show up talking schweddy balls) are in the ER, husband has a broken ankle.  An x-ray reveals that the ankle is the least of his worries; he’s got an enormous tumor on his heart.  Cristina thinks she’s breaking the devastating news, but it’s old news to them. He says he’s been dying from this for years.  Since his diagnosis, they’ve been living life to the fullest, quitting their jobs, and cashing in accounts.  In a hilarious scene, the wife tries to comfort Cristina telling her, “Sweetie, it’s hard, but you’ve gotta let it go.”  When does Yang let anything go?

Jo and Alex are on the rocks before they’ve even really begun.  He’s ignoring her in typical Karev form with her chasing after him most of the night.  Jo, this is not you.  Remember, you’re the girl who leaves nothing at a beau’s house except a toothbrush and pair of panties. She thinks he might be cheating, but when she asks, he says no.  As suspected, his missing in action behavior is because of his long, lost father, Jimmy, who showed up in the ER last week.  In the one heartbreaking storyline of the night, Alex sits at a seedy bar watching his dad play in his band. We know he’s going there looking for something, for his dad to say he’s sorry, for some connection with this man who shares his DNA, something, anything.  Jimmy finishes his set, goes to the bar, and sits by his son ordering a drink.  Alex pays and they share a little small talk with dad saying he knows Alex.  Our hearts stop, along with Alex’s.  Yes, this man recognizes his own son; this is where the big apology comes in, the begging for forgiveness.  Jimmy continues, “Oh my God, you’re a doctor at the hospital!” Somehow, Alex and his dad end up playing guitar and singing together on stage. Jimmy stops abruptly.  Yes, this must be where he recognizes his son.  No, again. He asks to show Alex a picture of his boy.  Karev’s face is tragic… the hope, the knowing his dad has kept a picture of him after all these years.  One final dagger to the heart for our favorite pediatric surgeon.  Jimmy whips out a picture of his little boy Nicky, who’s 12 now. Oh, Shonda, can’t Karev have a tiny dose of happiness? He’s had cancer wife who leaves him, a bullet to the chest, and more than his share of bat shit crazy women.  Alex erupts in anger, yelling at his dad to stay away from his son, and ends up punching him in the mouth before storming out.

At home, Alex and Jo are yelling at each other with Karev saying that yes, she was right, it is all about his dad.  “And thanks!  I didn’t think I could feel this crappy again.”  He storms off and flops on his bed like a 6-year-old. C’mon, Meredith, get in there, tell him you’ll take him out for ice cream and rub his back till he quits crying.  Oh wait, you’re busy trying to have it all.

Intern Shane isn’t having it any easier… he’s still dealing with the guilt of maybe killing Mousy in the season opener.  He tells Derek he doesn’t want to work with him anymore in what he sees as self-administered penance, about a thousand Hail Mary’s to push down his guilt. He has the save of the night however, proving to everyone he may in fact be a shark, when he suggests that Cristina use Derek’s brain “glue” to fix the guy with the huge heart tumor.  Who knew glue could fix not only the brain but also the heart?  And I thought duct tape was the miracle elixir.

Shane’s idea works and the “living life to the fullest” couple is brought down to earth with the news that, gulp, the husband is going to live.  Oh crap, how did this happen?  The couple try to convince themselves that this is a good thing even though they have no jobs, have spent all their money, and gone into some serious debt in an effort to cram every bit of livin’ they can into the short time he had left.  Eventually, they say, “We’re screwed.  We might go to jail.”  They are left sobbing in each other’s arms.  Cristina is dumbfounded.  “I saved his life,” she deadpans.

Jo is being pulled in many different directions. Besides dealing with grumpy Alex, Jo has to deal with grumpy Webber.  The hospital boss man is getting better; we can tell by his raising decibel levels and his increasing temper.  He tells Jo she better find the cause of his sore shoulder or else.  She spends the night spinning in circles before she finally figures out with enormous glee that he has a problem with his pancreas..  She’s giddy with her handiwork as she tells him the great news, “You have a pancreatic cyst!” Yay!  Webber can only laugh at her enthusiasm.

Arizona finally puts Heather in her place, telling her it was a one night thing never to happen again, get over it.  Heather gets a little Glenn Close look in her eyes, begs for forgiveness, says it was a misunderstanding, oozing pitiful puppy dog the whole time.  She storms off, and one can’t help but feel Arizona just avoided a land mine. In the “what the heck” moment of the night, Arizona texts Heather (the never, no way, not if you were the last lesbian on earth, girl) asking what she’s doing.  It’s like the final nail in the Calzona coffin, sealed tight, not to be opened for a while.

The final scene is much like the opening one with Meredith and Derek back at home trying to solve the puzzle of having it all.  Derek says he wants to spend less time at the hospital focusing on his research, pulling back on surgeries.  He adds that he had a big year; it’s Meredith’s turn to shine.  They share a kiss, with Meredith saying, “I love you.”  Derek’s voice over states, “All the connections work.  All the pieces fit.”

Like Meredith trying to balance kids with career, Shonda Rhimes and the writers seem to be struggling with a balancing act of their own – how to mesh the new interns with our old favorites in a seamless way that renders them all vital to the story and heart of the show.  Meredith has her answer by this final scene.  Yes, she can have it all – two kids, a McDreamy husband, a kick ass career, and a research study as the cherry on top.  Hopefully, the viewers will have it all too as Grey’s figures out how to make all the pieces work, how to get them to fit together.

Random Notes

  • Owen is dating the hot doctor he met at the benefit gala, Marlee Matlin, or Larry Gatlin, or Emma Marling, or something like that. Yang has the best line of the night when she asks if it’s bring your girlfriend to work day when she sees her competition in the hospital.
  • Stephanie accidentally breaks Shane’s red mug, but it is brought back to life when Shane uses a little glue to put it all back together. If only Mark Sloane and Lexie could be resurrected as easily.  We can only hope.
  • Meredith decides to submit a proposal to continue a modified version of her mother’s research study.  She wants to separate herself as much as possible from Ellis Grey, but unseen forces seem to keep bringing them together.
  • When Jo tells Webber that he needs an ultrasound, Richard responds with the Yang-worthy comment, “I hope you don’t think I’m pregnant.”
  • Next week’s promo looks like it’s going to be a throwaway episode of Halloween silliness. I can’t help but think the writers need to gear up for something big. Maybe they need to start killing people off immediately.  I’m sorry, but that’s what we like about Grey’s, caring about someone, going all in, and then they die. It’s like a bad car crash, you can’t look away.  This season, I haven’t even slowed down to notice the wreck.