I loved this episode! It’s one of my faves and definitely, one of the strongest of the season!
Full recap and thoughts after the jump. ***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
The patient story was incredibly touching. Sonya is participating in Derek and Meredith’s Alzheimer’s clinical trial. To be part of it, patients are required to have a caretaker, and for Sonya, that’s her gay son, Tarik.
He lives in London, but moved to Seattle to help his mom with the trial for 1-2 years. She was the only one who accepted him after he came out of the closet. Later in the episode, we discover that Tarik broke up with his boyfriend, the love of his life, to take care of his mom.
Sonya finds out and packs up to leave; she won’t be doing the trial so her son can go back to his partner. “Fuck self-sacrifice. Go be with your love,” his mom says. (Okay, I embellished a little.) Most people cried at the episode’s last scene, but I cried during this part.
It has been hinted for several episodes now that the chief’s wife, Adele, has Alzheimer’s. She’s been in denial about it, but the chief asks Derek to put her in the medical trial, to break the rules. Derek refuses; it could compromise all the work he and Meredith have done.
But when Sonya leaves a slot open, Adele has a chance to be in the trial and receive a possible cure. She just has to answer a preliminary set of questions before they formally accept her. In true Shonda Rhimes fashion (she’s the show’s creator and writer of the episode), Adele fails to get in the trial—by one point. One.
Adele tries to tell the chief, “I told you so.” She thinks she passed, she’s healthy. As the chief explains, it just means that Adele’s Alzheimer’s hasn’t progressed enough to qualify for the experiment. *Hearts crack everywhere*
In spite of all the heaviness, the show rightly balances it out with humor. Arizona throws Callie a baby shower (Trust me, it’s funny.). Karev teases April about her “relationship” with the older and weirder doctor, Stark (Peter MacNicol from Ally McBeal).
Also, toward the end of the episode, the chief decides to give someone else the power to pick the new chief resident. He has too much on his plate, so he picks Owen. The scene when he tells Cristina about it is classic. You can watch the scene unfold below:
But in all seriousness, it’s also a great storyline for the couple as they deal with the fall out.
Competing with the patient story as my favorite thing about this episode is Teddy’s storyline.
Background: She married a terminally ill patient, Henry so she could give him her health insurance. He wouldn’t be able to receive medical treatment without it. (Henry is played by the incredibly charming Scott Foley from Felicity, by the way.)
So far, the marriage has just been a “business arrangement,” but when Henry is readmitted to the hospital, he’s shot up with so much morphine that he starts revealing his feelings for Teddy.
They confront each other again in a later scene when Henry is stable. He still professes his love for Teddy. She shuts him down. It is brutal and bittersweet dialogue:
TEDDY: I get it. It’s a great story. We get married to save your life, and we fall in love. I mean how romantic is that? Not to mention that you are smart, and funny, and not at all hard on the eyes. And I would be lying to say that it’s never crossed my mind… but I don’t feel it… it’s – it’s not real. It’s just a good story.
HENRY: What’s so wrong with a good story?
People say it’s too much like the show’s previous Denny and Izzie plot, when a patient and doctor fall for each other. Whether that’s true or not, it’s still a great story.
Another fantastic component of the show that was present in this episode? Great music. The last song was only on its second line when I already knew I loved it. I also had a hunch it was by singer Adele. (As American Idol judge, Jennifer Lopez, would say, “That’s a good thing for an artist—to have a distinct and recognizable voice.”)
The song, which I’m constantly playing now, is called, Someone Like You by Adele. Hear it from the songbird herself:
Also, that cliffhanger of an ending! Watch the episode!