After a string of episodes that packed some emotional wallops, "All Eyez On Me" offers up an hour that is completely focused on the cases. Look, I get it. Grey's Anatomy is a show set in a hospital. But when has it ever been a medical show?
For the first time in a long time, it was all surgery and no heart. I'm all for logging OR hours, but I need to feel somewhat attached to the patients. Typically, Grey's excels at bringing in a character for a few short scenes, revealing his Sad Story, and then cutting him open with a scalpel and playing up the life-or-death drama. I'm not here to learn what a sacrum is. I'm here to watch beautiful broken people struggle through life-threatening situations and also make out. Okay, and I enjoy the surgical montages. There wasn't even a montage this time, you guys.
Also, it's the bone at the base of your spine. Whatever.
Aside from Ben's Psych Ward fiasco, there wasn't much exciting stuff — and that's saying something, since it's an episode that features a guy with a leg attached to the middle of his body.
So, about that: Owen receives a call from a military facility nearby, regarding a patient named Sergeant Carson, who has aggressive cancer in his left pelvis bone, spine, and … sacrum. The typical treatment is an insane amount of chemo and radiation, which in all honesty, won't do very much for him. In short, the guy's in trouble. Enter Callie Torres. She thinks there's a way to bypass chemo and give the patient a chance at a normal life. Well, as normal as one's life can be while looking like a human pogo stick.
Callie wants to remove all of the cancer-ridden bones in his body, including his left leg. Then, using some of the healthy bone from the amputated leg, Callie will move the leg to the middle of Carson's body, creating more stability and the chance that he'll walk again. Or something like that. There was a lot of doctor-speak happening, and I've been told that even though I totally know what a tracheotomy is and I like to make out with people, I'm still technically not a real doctor.
Callie has enlisted Meredith, Bailey, Jackson, and Jo (one of these things is not like the other), to join her Dream Team — or Surgeon Squad, if you will. Everyone is totally onboard with this ground-breaking surgery, as long as they have ample time to practice. Unfortunately, they don't. The situation has gotten dire; the Surgeon Squad must operate tonight. Carson supports the whole one-leg-no-cancer thing, and is prepared for the risks, of which there are many. Not onboard, however, is his doctor, Major Handsome — er, Major Thorpe.
Thorpe is out of sorts from the moment Callie's Squad arrives at the military hospital as if they were angels sent down from heaven to heal this one man. He's skeptical and, unlike the crew who waltzes in to perform a fancy surgery and leave, Thorpe has been treating Carson from the beginning, and he'll have to deal with whatever is left in their wake.
His doubts come to a head when Callie asks Meredith to step out of surgery and she admits that with the amount of bone she had to reset, her plan is now physically impossible. As both the orthopedic surgeon and the orchestrator of this entire plan, Callie is feeling immense pressure. She asks for space to buy her team some time. Meredith quickly realizes that this is the opposite of what Callie needs. She needs to be pushed. So Meredith pushes, and it works.
Callie has an Oprah aha moment, and decides to take the femur from the amputated leg and flip it to make it a … SACRUM. Do you see what I mean about the medical overload? It's an interesting case and I always love Callie being a badass, but my eyes are dry and that is a problem.
Callie pulls the risky move off, and everything else falls into place. Carson's cancer is gone, and also he has that leg in the middle of his body. The Surgeon Squad saves the day. Perhaps it was the adrenaline from witnessing a modern-day surgical miracle, or perhaps because he really was impressed with Meredith's surgical technique, but regardless, as the team heads back to Grey Sloan, Major Thorpe asks Meredith if he can follow up. With her. Specifically.
His line doesn't quite register with All Business Meredith at first, but after Jackson explains that Thorpe just asked for her number, Meredith takes a second and decides it's time to go for it. I knew that guy couldn't be so handsome for nothing.
The episode isn't all legs-going-where-they-shouldn't, though. One redeeming aspect of "All Eyez On Me" is the ample time it gives to some characters who are often relegated to the background. Mainly: Dr. Ben Warren.
Mr. Miranda Bailey is having some job-related self-esteem issues. Please recall, Ben was a very successful anesthesiologist before he decided to start all over to become a surgeon. He gets ragged on for being old by his fellow residents, and he's embarrassed to be just a resident among his peers. Not to mention, he's married to the boss. It'd be easy to assume that anything he achieves on his path to superstar surgeon is just special treatment. He's in a tough spot and he's had enough. All of these emotions lead Ben to make some questionable choices when he and intern Spencer happen upon a screaming patient in the psych ward.
Sidebar: Can we get more time in the psych ward? It's a very unexplored section of Grey Sloan Memorial. Are all the psychiatrists also hooking up in their on-call room? And if so, do they then go and talk to other psychiatrists about it? Seems like there is some real drama to be mined here.
Anyway, Ben realizes this patient needs to be in surgery like, 20 minutes ago. Though he's only a resident, he doesn't think there's time to wait for an attending. This guy needs to be opened up immediately. Since there are no sharp objects in the Psych Ward, he sends Spencer to get instruments. In the meantime, he pushes the disapproving psychiatrist out of the way, grabs the metal piece from the doc's clipboard, cuts into the patient, and sticks his hand in to clamp the aorta.
Yes, you read that right.
Webber, who has been alerted to the situation, is not impressed. When they head into the OR and Ben begins to explain his actions by reminding Webber that he's been a doctor for a long time, Webber reams him out for his arrogance. Ben gets the same speech, with an added bonus of a three-day suspension, when Chief Bailey returns to find one of her residents has been almost-fatally insubordinate. Nevertheless, Wife Bailey is totally turned on by the fact that Ben performed surgery with only a clipboard and his bare hands. We all are.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine:
- Stephanie gets quality screen time, and it is glorious. She impresses Alex (and us all) when she's able to use her previous experience as an internationally ranked cheer-squad leader to put the bratty cheerleaders who have infiltrated the ER in their place. More Jerrika Hinton, please.
- After getting the eyes from Captain Vaughn, Jackson has to be told by both Jo and Callie that he's flirting by simply standing in a room thanks to "all of this." How does he not know? He must know.
- Stephanie to Ben after he admits to loving high school: "I bet. Everyone loved high school in the ’50s."
- Richard Webber wants the hot gossip and he wants it now. Don't be so withholding, AZ.
- Although Stephanie and Penny's logic was off during their rant about Ben getting good surgeries because he sleeps with the boss, I'm really enjoying their friendship. It might be the only thing about Penny I'm enjoying.
- I MUST KNOW KURT MORGAN.
- Maggie finally takes her relationship with DeLuca public in one of the most awkward declarations that hospital lobby has ever witnessed. I'm with Arizona: "That was hard to watch."
Sob Scale: 0/10
Come on, Grey's! You had a cancer-stricken veteran with two daughters and a baby on the way and you didn't even give the family a tearful good-bye scene prior to that Frankenstein surgery. What are we even doing here?