Transformation can be a battle, both with one’s self and the world around them as it continues to alter. And the worst part is, you have no control over it.
Stepping in as my favorite episode of the season, Grey’s Anatomy delivers a another great installment that full of drama, intriguing patient cases, laughs and some intense rule breaking that brings many of our doctors together in a time of great change. And just when you think the series has lost its ability to create nerving suspense, we gets “The Face of Change”. It’s an episode where the fight against change continues and grows more anatomical than one might have predicted. But as change settles in, those fighting against it will be forced to make some major sacrifices in order to do the right thing. And that’s just about everyone. All of the doctors do some sneaking around this episode, but it’s all for the greater good. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
Last installment, we got an ambiguous notice that Dr. Alana Cahill’s presence at Seattle Grace-Mercy West is only to meticulously prepare it for sale to a pretentious company called Pegasus Horizons, appropriately paired with a horrid computer generated flying horse and a cringe-worthy tagline. Clearly, the company is only interested in transforming the beloved hospital into an assembly-line facility that is nothing special. SGMW might as well be your run-of-the-mill emergency room. With these new policies and renovations in place, our favorite doctors are beginning to show their true colors and make their own individual & team efforts in sustaining normalcy.
Oddly enough some of these new renovations include impressing buyers with stories about high-profile patients--oh, wait, clients. Yep, Dr. Cahill insists the doctors call the patients clients as it they are buying real estate. The now closed ER is being turned into a hernia clinic. Useful, right? The standardization of this very special hospital also needs a brand and that brand will come in the new face of the hospital. We witness Alex and Jackson compete in order to have their faces plastered around the hospital as if they were selling designer cologne with a smile. Photographers and interviewers stalk both the handsome and hard-working male doctors as they go about the day and have their respective interns (Jo and Stephanie) prep them for questions and more. Alex and Jackson are both struggling to hold onto some simplicity with all the change going on around them. In the same sense of change extends to the patient case of the week concerning a young transgender couple as one of the two goes under the knife for a major bodily change, even as the patient’s father yells his dismay. It’s one of the most interesting and important patient stories that parallels the main storyline.
As this competition between Alex and Jackson continues throughout the day, everyone begins to notice Alex and Jo’s budding relationship. There’s no “turkey stuffing” going on here, but rather a real bond starting. Alex and Jo aka Ponytail McGee (as labeled by Cristina) continue their strange yet very fun friendship. These two have a such an odd charming chemistry together that it is only right that they be together sooner or later. I didn’t think it could be possible, but Shonda Rhimes has introduced a new lady for Alex that might be a bit better than Izzie ever was for him. Jo is like the female Alex. She’s goofy, badass, wild and very fun.
The opening scene in which the two make animal noises to drown out Cristina and Owen’s loud sexcapades is downright hilarious and very cute. One thing I love about Alex’s relationship with Jo is that he has not had simply slept with her like he does all of his other friends who happen to be female, minus Meredith and Cristina. Alex is actually taking the time to know this amazing woman in his life and even he is surprised by that. Jo has taken Alex off guard and it’s a change that he’s not even sure he can accept yet. Even when Meredith gives him and Jo her blessing. After all the drama of the day is done with, Alex stands eating a powdered doughnut starring at the young beautiful, weird, badass intern in front of him…and I think this is the moment when he realizes he’s fallen in love with her. Like April insisted…romance. Who would ever think Alex would be one for romance? Now that’s quite a change…
April gets her own new romance with the cute, awkward paramedic, Matt. It’s so adorably cheesy watching as April and Matt have their little ambulance date while paramedic Angela stands out in the cold with only her burrito to keep her warm. Hilarious. It’s great that April has someone totally doting on her for once, as we’ve only been accustomed to her pining after the other doctors at SGMW. First it was Derek, then for a brief moment it was Alex, and now it’s Jackson. But for once, April is pleasantly surprised to find a cute paramedic pinning after her. And gets a nice kiss out of it! The girl deserves it after all the crap she’s been through. Jackson shows some jealously as Matt steps in to comfort April and even brings in a new challenge that forces all of our doctors to band together in order to do some good.
April makes a courageous, yet maybe foolish call by bringing in a ten year old hit-and-run victim that needs immediate attention. However with the ER closed, April calls Jackson to round their friends together in an effort to save a life. It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful thrill ride watching as the attendings and interns work side by side, covering for each other and assisting each other to perform, giving their best care even under some intense pressure. Intern Heather face-planting into the ER doors…hilarious! It’s also pretty inspiring watching this band of doctors pry open the sealed doors of the closed ER for the good of saving a life, which is all that matters at the end of the day. Even if its not all in the bureaucratic paperwork and incessant documents .
Breaking the rules during a visit from investors is a risky move, but it all works out nicely in the end and raises the stakes during the hospital’s transition into change. Dr. Cahill and Owen eventually catch on and cover up the incident in order to avoid what could have been a disaster, but it seems this incident which brought together an excellent family of doctors has only further complicated an already devastating situation. Even more alterations are set to take affect soon and there will be a huge battle between normalcy and change that will take place. But will efficiency be ideal in the long run? Richard Webber and Callie take a road trip to Portland in order to find out…
Disguised as patients--clients, sorry--Richard and Callie both infiltrate Portland General (as the Plantain couple), which too has been taken over by Pegasus Horizons, in their efforts to discover if the face of change is as practical and good as Dr. Cahill and makes it sound. In short, it really isn’t. Not in the long run anyway. The doctors at this hospital all have a look of painful boredom and worry on their faces as if they are being stalked. There is no such thing as patient advocacy. There is obvious bureaucratic word play and hyphenated time with patients that no doubt affect the efficiency of the job. It’s a standardized hellhole and the doctors that are unfortunate enough to work there are even looking for a way out. Portland General was once probably a great facility that actually cared about its patients and did cutting-edge surgeries. Maybe before Pegasus Horizons took over, Portland Gen was Oregon’s own version of Seattle Grace-Mercy West full of rockstars and scalpel-junkies. But now it’s a standardized, assembly-line hospital with inauthentic smiles and warmth. And ultimately, these changes are boring. Our doctors at SGMW will never be able to be the surgical rockstars and caring physicians they were born to be with these changes. It’s all enough to give Callie the needed incentive to fight the good fight. However, it seems that Richard may be giving up. Has our wise protector of the nest finally reached the end of his surgical career as his hospital becomes a shell of what it once was?
But Callie has a grand idea which she proposes to the rest of the plane crash survivors that many fans have already insisted on: They all buy the hospital themselves and take over. It’s a stellar idea, but it will take a lot of hard work and determination. It will be a time where the doctors at the hospital all have to band together and be the family that they’ve always been in order to prosper. And as things stand between all of the doctors now, there might be some underlining bad feelings amongst them. Bailey has been pretty adamant on keeping her job and being an agent of change in this dark time. She’s also been rather loud about her views concerning where to place blame for the hospital's transition period. Bailey has grown from a minnow to a surgical shark in SGMW. Most of her life has occurred there, so it is clear that she’d be very defensive about it’s possible demise. The complications of sustaining simplicity in a not so simple setting are immense. If our doctors plan on fighting the good fight, they better start now!
This episode is phenomenal and is hands-down one of my favorites of the entire series. Grey's Anatomy is on a roll! Transformation is a funny thing that not everyone can handle, especially when it sneaks up on you. And starring it in the face is even worse. Is that Derek Shepherd on the elevator door? Really? Everything is becoming foreign and odd. A lot of that change might be horrific, whole some of it may not be as bad as you thought. That change can bring about new ideas, new relationships, friendships and maybe (if you’re lucky) new romances. It’s all in how one looks at it. The face of change may be scary and normalcy may be worth fighting for, but it will be interesting to see which one wins in the end. “The Face of Change” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a comment!
© Patrick Broadnax 2013