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Spotlight on Callie in Grey’s Anatomy’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”

By on November 15, 2013
(ABC/Danny Feld)


By Lisa Casas (@queenofmynerds)

In Grey’s Anatomy’s latest offering “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” it’s all Callie Torres, and actress Sara Ramirez is up to the challenge.  The entire episode focuses on Callie being sued by an Olympic snowboarder who went in for a new hip and left missing two legs. Through a series of flashbacks, we see what went down with the botched surgery as well as get a little more insight into the Callie/Arizona relationship.

The episode begins with Callie screaming at a department store clerk about the need for “regular” pantyhose. Not ones with rhinestones or shimmer but plain, old nude hose.   The fact that Callie was going to wear hose should have given us a warning that all is not well with our favorite orthopedic surgeon. Cut to a flashback where Cristina tells Torres a famous snowboarder she did a heart surgery on wants Callie to do a hip replacement. Then we see a flashfurtherback with Arizona and Callie so happy, so, so happy. We can’t share in their happiness because we’ve seen how far they’ve fallen, how Callie can’t look at Arizona without spitting venom. It’s sad to see them joyously deciding to try for another baby.

The episode unfolds bit by bit showing all these terrible pieces falling into place adding up to a man losing his legs. Travis, the snowboarder with puppy dog eyes, meets Callie and says he knows just the hip for him, the Peterson.  He’s in love with it and won’t take into consideration that Callie’s never done one of those. He says there has to be a first for everything. He was Yang’s first heart valve replacement. Uh, Callie you’re great, but you’re no Cristina Yang.  Apparently for Callie, “no” seems to be the hardest word.

Cut back to the trial and we meet Travis’ lawyer who seems like he could get a serial killer kidnapper animal abuser off with a $19.99 fine and trash pick up detail for a weekend.  This guy is good. I wanted Callie to get the chair at one point.

With all of the flashbacks, then flash to present, the episode could have been disjointed and confusing, but it all flowed seamlessly.  We see Jo take the stand and admit that Callie knowingly left a sponge in Travis.   Yang takes the stand and we can tell her heart’s not in it. She doesn’t think it was Torres’ best work, and we know it. With friends like these…

In one flashback, Callie says, “We’re not turning an Olympic athlete into a doorstop.” Yeah, you kind of did, Torres. Travis’ girlfriend testifies later that she overheard heard the damning comment.  Not effective in worming your way into a jury’s heart.

Grey’s is so darn good year after year because of episodes like this one.  Shonda Rhimes and her team aren’t afraid of taking risks, of showing us the good, the bad, and the ugly of our characters. Callie isn’t covered in a white light with no fault at all making us root for her.  That would be too easy. Instead, we’re on her side but also in a strange sense rooting for the snowboarder too.  When he takes the stand and talks about grabbing cafeteria trays to ride down the driveway in the snow, we know what he lost. When he says without snowboarding he doesn’t know who he is now, we believe it.  The writers are gladiators for not turning Travis into a villain (oops, wrong show). They give him layers just like they do with every character that walks through the doors of Seattle Grace (still rejecting name change).


(ABC/Danny Feld)

Guest star Hector Elizondo returns as Papa Torres and takes it upon himself to get Calzona back together. He tells of cheating on Callie’s mother many years ago “when he was dumb” and thanking God every day that she forgave him. Callie’s a Daddy’s girl at heart, so were holding out hope for a reunion.

More flashbacks show Arizona telling Callie she’s pregnant, the couple house hunting, and then heartbreakingly losing the baby on the same day as one of Travis’ surgeries. By mid episode, we can see Callie actually start to think about letting Arizona back in. When Papa Torres says he and his wife were stronger than that one mistake, we can see he’s turning the tide in the couple’s relationship for them. The fact that Arizona is at the trial every day supporting Callie doesn’t hurt either.  This is the way to get your wife back, Arizona, not sleeping with a random intern.

Callie ends up taking the stand and says she is sorry for what happened to Travis; she says that makes her human not negligent. She goes on to talk about her wife losing her leg and how it’s changed them. When Callie gets home that day she discovers a letter hidden by a bookcase.  It says the Peterson joint was the cause of several infections.  Meredith is with Callie and tries to convince her not to say anything even though it’s dated weeks before the doomed surgery. Meredith says it changes nothing, you did nothing wrong. Callie says she did.  “How do you live with it knowing you could’ve done better, should’ve done better?” Hmmm, I’m sure Arizona’s had these same thoughts.

Back in the courtroom, we see the jury has reached a verdict.  By the reaction of the Grey’s family, all are present,we know she’s been found not guilty. They are thrilled as Callie sits numbly by looking at Travis sadly. No winners in this one, well, except maybe one beloved relationship.

Final scene of the night, and talk about saving the best for last….Callie goes to Arizona’s apartment and says, “you made one mistake” and asks if she’ll come home.  The look on Arizona’s face is hard to read. I would have thought she’d pack up and head over right then. Well, she turns back inside and plops on her bed, saying, “You should get dressed now and leave” to intern Leah pressed against a corner sans clothes except for the sheet. Boom!  You’ve been served young lady, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

This is the tragic, complicated episode we’ve been waiting for this season from our most  beloved hospital drama.  Grey’s you do what you do so well even after all these years.  How will we ever cope when you eventually go off the air (in like another ten years)? There are so few dramas that give us the layers in character, the plot twists, the touchy feely scenes, and the excellent dialogue.  All of that was on Callie this week, and she pulled through like a champ.  What a week in television drama…all my favorite couples are getting back together.  Shayveride showed up strong in Chicago Fire, and now Calzona’s been resuscitated. Hallelujah!

Random Notes

Daddy Torres says he was ready to knock out the O’Malley kid’s teeth when he cheated on his daughter.  He says he doesn’t hit women, but he can “make it happen” with Arizona.  Aw, nothing like Daddies and daughters.

Biggest stink eye of the night goes to Hector Elizondo. When Arizona shows up to pick up Sophia, he gives her a look that could kill small animals.  Look away, Arizona, look away!

Webber’s road to recovery continues.  He’s ready for field trips now!  He even shows up to support Callie in the courtroom.  Alex is there supporting Jo as well although if you blinked you missed him.

Grey’s gross out moments were the progressively darkening of Travis’ legs.  They go from zombie gray to black before disappearing completely.

Funniest moment was when Callie’s crying in the bathroom trying to out on another pair of hose.  Arizona enters, comforts her, then they have a good laugh about the hose Callie’s slipped on – a pair with a rhinestone butterfly on the calf.  Yes, way to keep it classy Callie, influencing juries while picking up tricks all with one pair of hose.

Next week’s  episode looks interesting…is shark Shane hitting on…Yang? Don’t tell me the next power couple (at least until Sandra Oh leaves the show) will be Shang!  I’m strangely curious.