Athima Chansanchai writes: In this week’s episode, “Grey’s Anatomy” goes documentary-style in the aptly named “These Arms of Mine,” focusing on a patient who undergoes transplants of those limbs.
It’s six months after the shooting and a film crew is there to document the cheesy, sensational “Seattle Medical Road to Recovery,” which as we’ve seen, is a rocky one.
So our scrubs talk to the camera. It’s disconcerting, to say the least. We like being observers to their highs and lows, and now they’re sharing, putting their best face forward (the Chief) and breaking down? And they’re spouting voice-over-like material to the camera, which just comes off as predictable platitudes. “Trauma is first come first serve. We live to cut. It’s who we are.”
Ugh. Don’t know if we could take this past a novelty episode.
Besides the rare arms transplants, the film crew shows us that new security procedures have been in place since the shooting, with security guards and metal detectors at the entrance. It becomes almost a mockumentary with Lexie’s whining and complaining (does she forget her badge every day?). In one moment of levity, Derek admits to the closeness between his wife and Cristina and his part in their sleepovers.
But the new security procedures come at a cost: trapped between hallways, Avery loses a patient during a false alarm lockdown.
The surgery goes fairly smoothly, though the staff is somewhat inappropriately giddy (what’s new?) with the procedure, bringing digital cameras to document it along with the film crew. The only snag the doctors bring Zack, the recipient, is that one of the donor’s arms has a tattoo of the name of his wife, Nicole. But both the recipient and his wife have no issues with that and love the name. “I’ll name myself Nicole. It’s my new favorite name!” It’s actually a great scene that shows how appreciative they are of a second chance.
Callie is the only woman participating in the surgery, amidst the macho men, and she’s dealing with the stress of Arizona winning a prominent fellowship that takes her away to Africa. She solves that dilemma by going with her!
Alex figures prominently into the documentary, showing some real dedication and sensitivity with a young girl whose trachea he builds and nurtures for weeks. Of course, he keeps trying to play it off as a tough guy (“Pediatric surgery has nothing to do with liking kids. It’s the elite of the elite.”), but we all know Alex is a softie with the kids.
In a blow to Bailey, the shooting claims its last victim: Mary Portman (Mandy Moore), who survived the gunman’s wrath by playing dead but also had to witness Charles Percy’s death. She and her husband blew through their savings and traveled around the world. Mary doesn’t wake up from her surgery and four weeks after it, her husband makes the decision to turn off her life support.
This would be a real downer way to end the episode, so Cristina – of all people – gives a last on-camera interview that provides some hope. And it kind of freaks us out because it’s so not Cristina, but it does show that post-shooting, she and everyone else are trying to move on. “Every day is a gift. We’re all just blessed to be here, saving lives every day, one life at a time. We’re healed. So we can continue healing others. Being a hero has its price.”