‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Mercy West is in, Izzie Stevens is out


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In Thursday night’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ we finally met the enemy: Mercy West interns and residents stormed Seattle Grace.

I’ll get this little rant over with right from the start: Why does Shonda Rhimes love to pit her doctors against one another? In the beginning the interns were fighting over surgeries. Then they fought over solo surgeries. Then they fought over specialties. There was even a storyline where the top surgeons in the hospital were grappling for the Chief’s job like kindergarten kids fight over the coolest toy on the playground.


I’m sick of it! It’s childish and they’re compromising their patients. I rolled my eyes when Alex stole lab results in order to hijack a patient. It’s such childish behavior. Someone send these people to the time-out chair, please.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the Mercy West influx! Meredith compares them to multiplying bacteria in her voice-over intro, but I have to say, I kind of like the little germs.

I did find it absurd that the Mercy Westers were all dressed in orange scrubs. I realize that it was an attempt to set up a more obvious division, but really, did they think we wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the new doctors and the ones we’ve been watching for five years now? When the Seattle Grace residents watched in horror as the Westers swarmed the floor, it reminded me of that scene in ‘E.T.’ when the government agents descend on Elliot’s house in their hazmat suits.

As if the orange scrubs weren’t enough, each Seattle Grace doctor was paired with a Mercy West newbie. Let the games begin. Is this ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ or did I accidentally change the channel and land on MTV’s latest ‘Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Emergency Room’?

It seemed as though they set Reed (Nora Zehetner) up to be the bad guy when she stole George’s locker and refused to budge even after Izzie asked her to. Was I the only one who found it hard to sympathize with Izzie when she subsequently freaked out? I do miss George’s presence on the show, and I understand that he was Izzie’s best friend, but Izzie overreacted. As a doctor, she should be better equipped to cope with death. Plus, it’s just a cubby. It’s not like Reed parked her car on his grave and drew a mustache on his last photo.

One of my favorite Mercy Westers is intern April (Sarah Drew). I loved Drew on The WB’s ‘Everwood,’ and I’m thrilled to see her again, in a very different role this time. Her saccharine-sweet attitude and wide-eyed insincerity were hilarious, as was her super-mysterious hot pink notebook full of morale-boosting platitudes. Personally, as long as she’s a good doctor and doing her job, I don’t care what it takes for her to keep her self-esteem up during the day, whether it’s a notebook or a nose-job.


I was happy to see Callie’s family story revisited. Last we saw Mr. Torres, Callie told him that she was in love with a woman and their once-strong relationship crumbled instantly. In Thursday night’s episode, her father flew across the country with a priest and a handful of Bible quote flash cards.

Callie was furious when she discovered his intentions. ‘You think you can pray away the gay? You can’t pray away the gay!’ she shouted in the hospital waiting room. While it may not have been the most appropriate choice of locations for her exclamation, it’s a pretty catchy turn of phrase. I expect to see that one on plenty of protesters’ signs this year.

By far the best moment in this episode was Arizona’s scene with Callie’s father, Mr. Torres. Jessica Capshaw has an incredible ability to take even the most melodramatic of ‘Grey’s’ speeches and deliver them with a subtlety and an honesty that makes them come off as sincere instead of overwrought. ‘I was named for a battleship,’ she said, and in the powerful monologue that followed, she calmly and carefully explained that Callie was still the woman Mr. Torres raised. It was really beautiful.

And last, but certainly not least, we must address this episode’s big ‘shocker.’ In the final moments, Chief Richard Webber fired Izzie Stevens.

I’m a big fan of Katherine Heigl and I’m sad to see her go, but Izzie deserved it this time. She’s temperamental and she’s not acting rationally. She’s still recovering not only from the cancer treatment, but from the death of her best friend.

Izzie was shocked, initially assuming that she was being fired for having cancer. It turns out that her goof with the kidney patient -- a mistake she made, unsurprisingly, while her judgment was clouded by petty competition -- is what cost her her job.


‘You let me come back after I cut an LVAD wire!’ she shouts. Uh, maybe I’m wrong, but I’d guess that announcing your prior egregious errors of judgment while begging for your job is slightly counterproductive.

Chief begins to explain his decision, mentioning that other doctors had questions about her stamina and emotional stability -- among them her husband, Alex.

And thus, we come to the episode’s true shocker. It was previously reported that Heigl would be taking a five-week leave of absence from ‘Grey’s’ to work on a movie and to bond with her newly adopted daughter, Naleigh, so Izzie’s release from Seattle Grace was a given.
I wasn’t expecting her to actually leave Karev, though -- and especially not in a hastily written note stuck on his locker. That’s how you break up with your seventh-grade boyfriend, not the husband who stuck by your side through cancer (and creepy ghost-sex). Alex’s reaction was the perfect mix of devastation and disbelief, as were Meredith’s and Christina’s.

I can’t wait to see what kind of reception Izzie gets when she comes back in a few weeks. A few days ago, Shonda Rhimes tweeted: ‘Things may happen, but [Alex and Izzie] are meant for each other. Remember that.’ Hmmm.

What did you think of Dr. Stevens’ dramatic exit? Did you think she deserved to be the first of our beloved residents to get the boot? Talk about it in the comments below. While you’re at it, let me know what you thought of Arizona’s speech and the bright orange Mercy West incursion.

Be sure to check back next week! I’m looking forward to seeing how Alex picks up the pieces. Is he going to stick it out in that bear-bait trailer all by himself?


--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

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Top: Alex holds Izzie back from Reed as April looks on. (Justin Chambers, Katherine Heigl, Nora Zehetner, Sarah Drew) Credit: ABC

Bottom: Mr. Torres embraces Callie after they make up. (Hector Elizondo, Sara Ramirez) Credit: ABC