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So after last week’s crossover fake-out, this week we get real action on Grey’s Anatomy. Addison and Naomi show up at Seattle Grace with an ailing Archer, and Derek’s their only hope to save him. But even I have to admit, this one is gnarly.

You don’t have to guess the symptoms to get the spoilers…

Worms in the brain: Right from the start, Archer’s in a bad way — there seems to be no way to treat him that doesn’t involve his heart failing or his brain literally crawling. Turns out that the one cyst that showed up on the last scan has now become eight — that’s right, eight opportunities for worms to make their way all over the inside of his skull. I wouldn’t want to operate if I were Derek either — there are too many, the risk of rupture is just too great. And then Addison starts to work on Derek with an impassioned plea. It’s time for her to let him out of the teeny box she’s had him in since the divorce, and make him be something big: a god who can save her brother.

Into all this walks Sam — hey, everybody, it’s Taye Diggs! — who’s actually an old friend of Derek’s that Addison basically got custody of in the divorce. Sam’s pep talk to Derek gives him an idea about how to get the cysts out of Archer’s head, one at a time. Archer balks, but Derek busts out with the fightin’ words, calling him a coward (Do you really want to dare someone to go through with incredibly risky brain surgery?), and it’s on. And I have to say, it’s really cool. The visuals are awesome, and of course Derek is appropriately god-like until the last cyst, which breaks, and he has to chase after the worm inside Archer’s skull. This is so much better than the penis fish.

I’m particularly impressed with Derek’s cool under pressure. I realize that’s what brain surgeons are supposed to be, but talk about keeping your powder dry when everyone else wants to start compressions on the guy because his heart’s stopped. For this hour at least — you have to check out the Private Practice recap for more on the second half — Archer’s fine.

And as the whole group of friends — Derek, Addison, Naomi, Sam, and Mark Sloan — ends up in one place together, it’s a very interesting look at how people change and ended up in a totally different place than they thought they would be. Suddenly Derek has more of a backstory than he’s ever had — which understandably freaks Meredith out just a little bit — and even Sloan has more of a human side. It’s a little melancholy too, since they clearly all thought things would end up very different than two divorces and a lot of estranged friendships. And I for one really wish Naomi would stop singing that awful song that Derek wrote for Addison and sang at their wedding (which really should tell you all you need to know).

This guy is all kinds of messed up: The Chief and Cristina are working on a patient who turns out to have colorectal cancer. He knows it, but his daughter — who happens to be Hunt’s ex-fiancee (the one he bolted from last week) doesn’t, and he hasn’t told her. I’m not sure how exactly you keep that kind of thing a secret. Hunt takes up the case when he sees the man’s name on the board, but understandably the father wants nothing to do with him after he broke up with the daughter in a two-line e-mail. So much worse than break-up via Post-It.

He tries to explain to Cristina, but she’s having none of it. Then Beth, the daughter, spots him — and she’s shocked because she didn’t know he was back from Iraq, and evidently he still hasn’t told his mother he’s back. Turns out the father hasn’t told her because his wife died when Beth was a little girl, and he’s tried her whole life to spare her more pain. But though Hunt seems to respect that choice when the father is rushed into surgery, in the end he tells her what’s going on. And it seems as though he’s finally getting Cristina to listen to him — she’s the only one who doesn’t make him feel like a ghost since he got back from the war. Can I make a plea here to bring back Amy Madigan, because Hunt needs some therapy, and stat.

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Fun and games with Izzie: Izzie’s storyline — devising a set of games and contests for the interns to re-ignite their excitement about medicine — seems implausible, if only because surely a resident who’s responsible for a clinic should have more work to do. Her heart’s in the right place, the games are an opportunity for some lightness and fun, but it feels inconsequential and only there to illustrate that Izzie’s starting to have symptoms — namely difficulty judging spatial distances and recognizing objects.  And it gives Alex an opportunity to realize that something’s up, despite her protestations.

George: Five scenes, mostly helping Izzie with the day of games, though he does have a good one with Sadie and another with Meredith. Word count: approximately 211.

The baby and the aneurysm: Jen the pregnant patient who last week ran over her husband with the car (Jennifer Westfeldt) is awaiting surgery for her aneurysm, which is held up by Archer’s case. In surgery, he nicks her aneurysm, which causes a bleed and the need for a transfusion. Things end up OK, though — until she wakes up struggling to breathe. Continued on Private Practice.

Etc.

  • Sadie quits after it becomes increasingly apparent to everyone that she has no concept of what she’s doing and no real knowledge of how to diagnose or treat patients. She’s been faking it, but clearly that only got her so far, and George, after calling her out and offering to help, decides that either she tells the chief of he does. She thought Meredith would be able to pull her through. To her credit, Meredith summons all the adulthood she has within her to tell Sadie no, things have changed and she’s where she wants to be. Meredith’s getting so emotionally healthy she’s practically unrecognizable these days.
  • Nice to see everyone gather around and be there for Addison, particularly Bailey and Callie. Callie’s prayer in the chapel with Addison was a nice moment — because she was trying to comfort a friend and show her a little about how this prayer stuff is supposed to work.
  • Lots of good ribbing, too: Addison gives Mark a hard time about being with Lexie, and he deflects all criticism by dropping little bombs about Derek’s life — including the proposal and the ring from his mother. Also loved Mark and Sam giving Bailey the business about wanting to be a pediatric surgeon.

What did you think? Better payoff this week? Have you already set the DVR for next week?

Posted by:Lisa Todorovich