“Leave Seattle Grace and go someplace else! Fast!”
Coming to a final deal can break up a family, completely destroying relationships that took years to make. It’s been a recurring indicator on Grey’s Anatomy that when there is a big lightning/thunderstorm brewing, some relationships are in danger. Be them friendships, work relationships, or even romantic relationships, they’re in danger. In this case, it’s the entire hospital that is facing the heat. We’ve all been saying it for a while now: Why don’t the plane crash survivors just buy the hospital with their awarded multimillion dollar settlements! But have we really considered what that would mean? It sounds like such a simple solution that would keep everyone together; however, what would buying the hospital really entail? Callie’s ambitious solution does well to further complicate everyone’s conflicting feelings as Seattle Grace-Mercy West further plummets into chaos and the Chief of Surgery, Owen Hunt begins to crumble under guilt and pressure. “Hard Bargain” reveals why simply buying the hospital will not solve this near impossible transitional problem, but only make them worse.
The impending buyers of Seattle Grace-Mercy West continue to make some downgrades, trimming the fat of an already lean operation. All the while, a proposal made by Callie to buy the hospital has brought on a rousing debate. Not to mention the depressing information she and Webber dug up at the hospital in Portland which was previously bought out by Pegasus Horizons. Meredith, Derek, Arizona and Callie all open the episode, setting a tense and dark tone as a robust lightning storm rages on outside and a battle of strategies rattles inside MerDer‘s home. Negotiating amongst themselves is getting nowhere and it doesn’t take long before they are turning on each other. Arizona believes that Derek feels guilty--that he has a hero complex and he wants to play the savior, like he usually feels the need to do. Arizona doesn’t want to spend their money on saving the hospital that was responsible for her and everyone else’s suffering--the incident that took her leg, the incident that took Mark and Lexie away from them. All of the pain and suffering and they’re supposed to give back their reparations for a supposed greater good? Arizona isn’t having any of what Derek is preaching and one can understand where she is coming from. She’s angry at her circumstance, and she was just getting used to her situation, but Arizona feels like this is not something they should feel obligated to take on when they’ve already been hurt. And while this push and pull transpires, Cristina lies in heaven with Owen.
Cristina and Owen have been on surprisingly good terms lately. And you’d think nothing could pull them out of their sensual time together, but as the hospital’s complex situation grows more and more distressing, the couple’s good vibes become compromised. Cristina has Owen back now and she is on cloud nine with him. Will she compromise his (and her) happiness and sanity by being forced to make a tough decision? It’s a frustrating situation. Maybe as rough as Derek’s face being blown up and hung literally everywhere around the hospital. Derek has a nice face, but Webber is right, that’s just too much of it. Dr. Cahill’s strides to save Seattle Grace-Mercy West take an almost ridiculous turn as she promotes Derek Shepherd’s glorious smile to bring in patients. Shouldn’t a hospital’s success and innovation in surgery and treatment bring in patients instead of a pretty face? These bureaucratic pushers definitely know what’s important, don’t they. Derek sends his admiring, intern Shane around to deface these giant adverts of him and make them reflect the hell the hospital is slowly transforming into. Hilarious, yet twisted! And truly foreshadows more defiance, which even throws Dr. Webber off for a moment, questioning his co-workers behavior.
Elsewhere, romance continues to bud for some of our doctors! These are arguably positive changes, but they might give some viewers pause. First, April finds that her cute and awkward paramedic dude, Matt wants to treat her to a real date, and it puts her in a stressful position. April considers herself a born again virgin (which is actually a real thing) and she’s trying to do the right thing for herself this time. April considers her first time with Jackson a mistake of passion, which the characters of this series often find themselves becoming victims of. April is has a second chance to do this right, yet she doesn’t know how to inform Matt of her decision without coming off as a weird prude. April makes the telling decision to go to Jackson for advice in this situation and the two ex-lovers start off conversing like old buddies. And it’s cute, but it is still obvious that there are new boundaries between them.
When April and Jackson crossed the boundary of their friendship by having sex and enjoying an abbreviated relationship, they changed the shift of their relationship forever. Now that they have two separate significant others, April and Jackson can’t really get back to the level of friendship they previously had, which makes their interaction in this installment so awkward and a bit heartbreaking. Jackson attempts to make a friendly joke at April’s expense like he use to do when they were just friends and roommates; however, April takes it as a jab at her and her values. Luckily, April gets a surprise when Matt admits that he is saving himself for marriage as well. It’s a perfect situation for April, as she’s found someone who shares the same bargain as she does. Still, April is no doubt still drawn to Jackson. There is a attractive desire that excites her about Jackson. He’s the one who caused her great personal conflict, but he’s also the one that awakened a new confidence in herself. Oh, no it’s not just his pretty eyes! Jackson is supposed to be wrong, but he feels so right! So who will April choose her romance with down the line? The saint, Matt or the pretty-eyed devil, Jackson?
Then there is Alex and Jo. The two smartass doctors work together to get an unlikely couple to make wise decisions concerning their newborn baby. Much like Alex and Jo, this couple is sarcastic and ballsy, very interesting and entertaining to watch. The jabs they sling at each other seem mean, but there is a loving undercurrent to all of them. Last episode, Alex pretty much realized that he is unexpectedly falling in love with intern Jo. It’s something he doesn’t’ really understand right now because he’s so use to simply sleeping with intern girls in the closets of the hospital. This is a change in maturity for Alex. Jo is a confusing, almost intimidating beauty to him. Nothing is better than watching Alex and Jo continue getting closer to one another--and then they hit a road block in the form of some random handsome doctor. Alex is so used to crazy, damaged girls fawning after him that this new situation is bewildering. This time our beloved damaged doctor has to chase and fight for the girl, and he has quite the competition. Jo seems more like a tough shell to crack than Alex ever was. It’s quite an interesting change in the regular formula concerning Alex’s love life, and I cannot wait to see where it all goes. The dude deserves a good romance. It’s just that he’ll have to wrestle for it, is all. Which is something he should be good at.
The drama really kicks up as the Chief of Surgery, Owen Hunt faces the many stresses of wrangling a hospital that has fallen in utter chaos. He will have a mutiny on his hands soon as all the change is hurting his doctors’ work and their care for patients. Even affecting their personal lives. Interestingly enough, Owen’s relationship with Dr. Cahill is kind of intriguingly the same. These two are desperate to make this transition as smooth as possible, but everyone keeps fighting them. Being the one that has to force change down an entire establishment’s throat is a tough spot to be in, and no one is giving Owen or Dr. Cahill the courtesy of patience. Even Dr. Bailey has finally snapped under all the horrible transformations. The strong doctor is forced to send a desperate patient and his father away to another hospital in order to give them the best care. Bailey has spent the last few episodes trying to be optimistic about the changes, but the refusal to help patients for the better has Bailey seething. She doesn’t like what the hospital she grew up in is changing into. She doesn’t recognize it. Also Bailey has the ideal option of moving to where her husband, Ben is and starting anew there. Dr. Bailey could easy quit now and move on. And that painful reality is what makes Arizona finally side with Derek, Meredith and Callie in the decision to buy out the hospital with their settlement money. However, they must convince Cristina as well…
Again, Cristina has been enjoying her time with Owen. The two have been through so much lately that their divorce marked a chance to start over and get it right this time. However, the plane survivors want to go through with their plan to take the hospital. Doing so would be a real risk especially for Cristina’s relationship with Owen. Derek’s financial adviser assesses this situation (after scaring the tar out of Callie, which is hilarious!) and warns them that if they want to by the hospital, they will be setting forth a few major risks for Owen--risks that could include jail time and other formidable consequences. The plane crash survivors would have to purchase Seattle Grace-Mercy West from under Owen’s nose, which means Cristina would have to put her renewed relationship at risk as well as the hospital‘s future. Everyone is talking of leaving, from Bailey, Webber, and even desperate interns. Cristina is watching change destroy the hospital she became a doctor in. Having to choose between her sanctuary and the love of her life pushes her to do something that might destroy them both in the long run.
This whole predicament ultimately reminds me of the Defiance situation from Shonda Rhimes’ other series, Scandal. A woman in love makes a final decision that her cohorts agree to in order to do something to save the establishment they love. But that same decision for the greater good only ends up feeling like a soul-crushing betrayal to the man the woman is in love with. The thing is, Owen doesn’t truly believe Pegasus Horizons has the hospital’s best interests at heart. He’s just doing what he feels like he has to do in order to save the place he’s in charge of. I don’t even think Dr. Cahill believes Pegasus Horizons is good for any hospital; however, she’s in the unpleasant and scary position to see that this transaction goes through. Cristina feels a shaky validation to make the altering decision because she believes it is really what Owen would want her to do. But it is still a damaging compromise, either way you look at it. The only bargain left for the doctors of the plane crash to agree on is the one that might cause them to lose everything. Meredith, Derek, Arizona, Callie and Cristina all decide to resign in order to stop lessen the hospital’s value and stop the impending sale. And yes, it is indeed a crushing betrayal that leaves Owen undeniably devastated, mostly because his lover, Cristina is in on the whole thing.
Owen and Dr. Cahill are left flabbergasted and betrayed, down to their last straw and there is nothing left they can really do. The look on both of their faces insist that they’ve played their last card and it’s all over. Seattle Grace-Mercy West is closing for sure now. That is unless our plane crash survivors are up for the challenge of fighting for their one true sanctuary. Thing is, even their collective settlement won’t be enough to fully buy the hospital. They have to come up with some kind of strategy to pull this off and right now they don’t even know where to begin. These people are surgeons. They don’t really know how to run a hospital. Derek has some light experience, but it’s not enough. Just thinking about running a single emergency room is enough to make my brain explode, just imagine being in charge of an entire hospital. As Owen stands, defeated, banging on Cristina’s door looking for an explanation of this earth-shattering deception, the five survivors also sit stagnant, unable to really take in the reality of what they’ve just done. They’ve quit their jobs in order to tend to something they don’t really know about. Yes, it’s a sobering moment for everyone.
This entire episode feels like an intense “dark and twisty” ride full of troubling concerns for all of our doctors. The plot evolves from a transitional struggle to a tense heist of an entire establishment, dividing our family of doctors and risking their relationships and their futures. Nobody knows where they might end up! Seriously, nobody knows! And the divisions might bring about a new disaster that alters the place these characters once loved to become an unrecognizable hell. Dark and dangerous, this installment of Grey’s Anatomy is like a huge warning sign for viewers. Change is coming and it may not be the change you thought it would be. It never is, really. And its producing a lot of feels! Who says Grey’s isn’t good anymore? The last few episodes have been excellent and the series is in rare form even in its ninth season!
Negotiation is an art form and this is where things start to get really messy and “The Bitter Pills” might come crashing down…again. Seriously, what did they just do? And will it only end in a huge crisis? Where is Olivia Pope when you need her, because this episode only foreshadows some dark, devastating and dramatic times ahead. This is some compelling stuff, you guys! And this is only the negotiation. Who knows what the entire fallout might look like. Sure, taking action and standing up for what you believe in is great. But you better be prepared to make some troubling bargains in order to do so. “Hard Bargain” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013