After a six-week hiatus, Grey’s Anatomy returned last night with an episode that solidified the show’s place in the pantheon of out-of-work-actor dumping grounds, alongside New York favorite Law & Order and that other long-running medical soap, ER (yes, it’s still on). Oh, how the guest-star quality has fallen: During season two, when Grey’s was a fresh hit, it was scoring guest stars like Loretta Devine, Kate Burton, and Rosanna Arquette.
Last night, meanwhile, in an episode basically unencumbered by plot development, Cheech Marin took a break from his children’s-book-writing career to play a cranky old man with the flu, while Amy Madigan, best known (in our minds) as Kevin Costner’s incredulous wife in Field of Dreams, showed up as Meredith’s new shrink. Also, Clea DuVall played the wife of a patient (she had a memorable turn as a bitchy art student in She’s All That). By next season, we expect to see Mario Lopez as a guy who saws off his own hand only to find his arm is filled with marbles. And yes, the last night’s action hinged on a guy (Clea DuVall’s husband) with a brain tumor who provoked a bear — the brain tumor made him do it! — and his brother, who eventually died from bear-attack wounds. Oh, Grey’s Anatomy — no matter what, we’re still so happy to have you back! —Emma Rosenblum