“You need the most efficient approach.”
The continued road to efficiency is paved with good intentions, as Seattle Grace-Mercy West begins to get their ducks in a row for what should be an interesting amount of change. Grey’s Anatomy is taking us all for a loopy ride with this new storyline, and it is paying off so far. “Bad Blood” has got to be one of my favorite episodes of the season so far, mostly because of its attention to the story at hand. It’s got all of what makes Grey’s so great: the drama, the humor, the intertwining storylines, interesting patient cases and interaction between all of our great main characters. As things change at the acclaimed hospital, tensions arise and there are lessons to be learned all across the board concerning acceptance, change, care and of course, efficiency.
This installment opens with an ominous introduction of a new efficient supplemental camera system which is designed to help reduce mistakes around the hospital. As one can already infer, none of our doctors in the hospital are really ecstatic about this new upgrade. When you have a remote physician looking at your work ready to call point out your mistakes at any moment, the entire thing can be nerve-wracking. Big brother is watching and ready to implement change in the most passive-aggressive way possible. Dr. Alana Cahill (Constance Zimmer) continues to ease her many changes onto the very agitated doctors in the best, most efficient way she can, but that doesn’t mean anyone is ready to pat her on the back for her standardized model of how a hospital should be run correctly. As we know, there are many different ways to achieve efficiency and care for patients. This new model Dr. Cahill has everyone following is only useful in saving the hospital from closing, not in boosting doctor’s morale and work. While everyone is giving her a great deal of side-eye right now, Dr. Cahill is frankly the only person keeping Seattle Grace-Mercy West open right now. However, that doesn’t mean all of these changes are good things…
We witness some “good cop, bad cop” games with Callie, Arizona, and Alex. Callie and Arizona are having some of their own “efficiency” problems at home when it comes to parenting. Of course these two charming women would finally find the hardships of parenting having them both at odds. Not only is that debate of efficiency reigning at home, but at work too, as Callie and Arizona disagree on how to motivate a thirteen year old gymnast who has had hip surgery, to get moving again. And this teenage girl is reasonably at her darkest moment. Her dream was taken away from her and this odd, foreign change is only a reminder that life is unexpectedly awful sometimes. In fact, this young patient even goes so far as scarring Alex and Callie to the point that they’re putting down their interns’ optimistic proclaims of being the future of medicine. And it’s the appropriate time to worry as the hospital is literally under some distracting and aggravating renovations. The interns are scrambling to keep their jobs while new protocols are put into place. And even with Jo's assertions that she and her peers will make it through, no one really knows. Worry worry! It’s not until Arizona takes charge and can finally find the affective balance of being good and bad cop in order to get her discouraged young patient out of bed and on her feet. Change is annoying sometimes especially when it messes with one‘s personal goals and dreams, but it is also very necessary. Arizona knows that first hand.
Cristina and intern Leah spend some time together tending to a patient who happened to be a Jehovah’s Witness, meaning he could not undergo a vital blood transfusion, as he laid in the hospital bed circling the drain. The young patient’s family members can only watch and pray as their sibling slowly dies. Leah, in her passionate need to save this young man’s life takes some huge risks to do so. Although admirable, the risks she takes are honestly stupid, as she could have easily gotten fired or gotten the hospital sued, while they’re already undergoing a brutal transition. Taking measures into her own hands, Leah learns a lesson that she has no control over certain things that are important to the patient and his family, and while she makes some valid and interesting points on the nineteen year old patient’s beliefs, it is not up to her to play God.
Do we have an Izzie on our hands with Leah? I think we might. Her passionate impulsiveness may get her in trouble soon if she doesn’t cool it. Also, this storyline gives us a look at how the new changes in the hospital can possibly be a good thing. If the physician behind the camera were not there to stop Leah from giving her patient blood, the hospital could have had a new problem on its hands. I’m curious to see how this new camera system works overtime. Maybe change isn’t all that bad?
Continuing the quest to standardized efficiency, Dr. Cahill puts the general surgeon doctors in a class that will teach them a new technique in fixing hernias. The class quickly becomes a competition between Richard Webber, Bailey, and Meredith as they are in it to win it. Bailey’s "Hunger Games" references throughout the entire competition are downright hilarious. Dr. Webber is quickly discouraged when his own technique of fixing hernias are rejected in favor of this standardized, assembly-line style of surgery. Meanwhile, Bailey continues to brown-nose in order to keep her job, and her enthusiasm in this workshop is intense. It’s even more discouraging when the instructor incidentally insists in his argument with Richard that the patients are the last thing that matters. It’s the absolute wrong thing to admit to a doctor, let alone this particular group of doctors. Webber, Meredith and Bailey immediately lose all faith in the workshop and their feelings about this change are no doubt totally altered. If saving the hospital means not caring for patients in the appropriate manner that their Physician's Oath dictates, then they will not be a part of it.
In the midst of all the efficiency drama, Meredith endures more worry about her pregnancy. After everything she’s been through, it is easy to see how Meredith would be so fearful about losing her baby. She’s survived a drowning, a shooting, a bomb, and a plane crash. Meredith only believes that bad things will occur in her life, after all the trauma she’s faced in her life with her friends and her husband. It’s insane to still think that she’s even alive. Meredith’s miscarriage in Season 6 was probably one of the most distressing things to happen to her. Therefore, it’s easy to see how she would expect the worst, which is truly sad. I think this year might be a good one for MerDer. I think this McBaby will survive (please, Shonda!). That flutter that has disrupted Meredith is only her baby kicking, which provided a great Mer/Bailey moment too.
Dr. Cahill spends the day with Owen Hunt in the trenches, actually seeing how valuable the ER is in the time of a crisis. Everything is messy and traumatic when the patients come in after an incident and the ER is much more imperative that maybe Dr. Cahill realizes, so Owen takes the time to give her the experience that is absolutely a rush. Dr. Cahill is pushed back into the OR and put to work. It’s different being the one dictating the change than being the one that takes a part in it. Through surgery, Dr. Cahill admits that she realizes everyone needs someone to blame, even though she is the one attempting to keep the hospital running. It’s painful when Jackson comes in expressing his disdain for these new alterations with the woman responsible for them in the room. The new systems and protocols that are supposed to be cost-affective and improve efficiency happen to be double-edged swords in the long run. But are they important and completely necessary? It's all largely debatable.
And even after Derek and April’s trifling efforts to save it, the ER is still closing. (By the way, Derek and April make a fun little team!) It’s a devastating loss, especially as Dr. Cahill informs everyone that she's been preparing the hospital to be sold off. Her job has only been to fluff the hospital, make it presentable for the next stage of change that is to come…which is a big one. Dr. Cahill could be a valuable addition to the SGMW staff, as her time with Owen proved to be quite a involving. Dr. Cahill is quick on her feet and knowledgeable. I wonder if the circumstances were different, would Dr. Cahill make a more graceful return to the hospital…
Everyone finds ways to recover, even while they might separately be attempting to rule their own little worlds at the same time. Change makes you squirm with disapproval and has everyone grappling with their normalcy and simplicity. Grey’s Anatomy is challenging its characters and in a way, its audience with new changes this season and it has so far been quite a great, complicated ride that pushes the storylines forward in unexpected ways. Whatever happens from here, they are bound to force even more change onto the doctors. It’s all feels devastating and brutal right now, but soon change becomes new normalcy. And as we witness in this episode, change is not all bad, nor all good. “Bad Blood” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013