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My unofficial goal was to get through the backlogged TV before new episodes started up again, but despite cutting down 40 in the past two weeks, Cold Case kicks that round off in a few hours and I've got 14 to go. So I'm sending the three finished ones out right now so I can pretend I got farther on my goal, and saving the last GA ep for later. The official goal is simply to be all caught up by January 12th, after all.
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a) 5x07, "Rise Up"
Bless you, Cristina, BLESS YOU, for being the one woman in the world - single woman, even! Single woman who hasn't had sex in like a year!- who doesn't magically swoon and fall under McSleazy's spell. In fact, she LAUGHS AT HIM. She is genuinely amused by his childish attempts to flirt with her! Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, for all the things I despise in this show, Cristina Yang is the one bright and shining star who simply cannot be blemished. I'll never be able to choose between her and Bailey as my absolute favorite, it's been those two from the beginning for a *reason.*

And then, when she managed to smack down Owen and his self-righteous speech simply by revealing her softer human side at the opportune moment? SO MUCH WIN. I'm thrilled to bits at how simply and deftly she turned him into a case of foot-in-mouth. I continue to reject their clearly pending relationshp, but if Cristina can maintain her self-respect and dignity the whole way through, I could at least continue to like her.

Oh, and she does all this while continuing to be adorable and giggly best friends with Meredith - devouring Ellis Grey's journals as "the Harry Potter books I never had!" was great, but I laughed even harder at the final scene where Derek chases her out of the room with no more than the pleasant warning that he's removing his pants, and she still manages to practically *saunter* as she goes. I love them. I even love McDreamy's semi-bemused smile when he watches them giggling like teenagers at a sleepover. The matched set of Meredith and Cristina is another aspect of this show I rather love.

Lexie was less cool tonight, as I would *think* it'd be fairly obvious that you need permission and supervision to play with the cadavers, even the unclaimed ones, and also...practicing on yourselves with needles? EW EW EW.

Loved George working desperately to save the dummy, although it took me way too long to realize it was voice-controlled and not just some really good AI. Like, possibly up to the point where they actually showed the Chief up in the control room. Incidentally, how does the Chief not have better things to do than sit in a room and mess with interns' minds for hours? Wasn't he just telling Miranda that it was tough to be him, because he had to do things like figure out how to successfully operate on inoperable tumors?

Did not love, per usual, Major Asshole. "Get away from that man right now"? Owen, stop being a psychopath. You know who *you* didn't treat with respect and/or picked over like a vulture? The pigs. SEE, I HAVE ANOTHER GRUDGE, AND I DON'T LET THOSE GO.

(*15 minutes later) *puts on voice dripping with sarcasm* Oh look, Owen's going to be the Moral Compass. Get all annnnngry when surgeons treat patients like opportunities instead of people, and rant about how undisciplined they are. Again, I say: PIGS. Forgive me if I point and laugh at your righteous anger rather than taking you seriously and/or respecting you. Which is a pity, because I've been saying for years how someone needs to point out how unprofessional this workplace is. But right now I just want to defend all the unholy hookups, on call room sex, and intern abuse.

Now let's talk about people who are awesome and shouldn't have been written off the show. Namely: Erica Hahn. Erica so fully rounded off her awesomeness in this episode that I'm going to go ahead and call her by her Christian name for the first time ever.

I lost track of how many ways she made my heart swell with pride this episode. Once she found out about Izzie/Denny and went on the warpath, it was like she'd been infused with Essence of Bailey and could not be stopped. I can't even decide what I liked best - vindictively forcing Izzie to remain on the surgery, steely glint in her eye all the way? Shouting and raging at the Chief about calling in ethics boards, righting past wrongs, and (*gasp*) trashing his beloved hospital's ill-gotten prestige? Or was it when she dumped Callie in disgust, disdain and contempt, citing "I don't know you at all" which is an argument I usually hate, but in this case was totally on board with? I think it was mostly option 2, but 3 was pretty amazing as well.

The thing is, I even *liked* the Izzie/Denny storyline back when it was happening, but holy cow, despite my brief animal-loving allegience last week, I would so love to see Erica bring the Wrath of Medicine down on Seattle Grace. Of course it wouldn't help her current patient, but it would bring a heaping helping of Vengeance to the table, and I always find that enjoyable! Come on, everything Erica said made total sense and you know it, Chief. I certainly don't blame her for quitting after that. Environment's toxic as hell.

That being said, I still have just enough sympathy left over for Izzie to want to save her too, and as far as the Denny storyline goes...well. Most all of what Denny did was stare broodingly at her for an hour, and I was happy enough, but then one gravely "Are you sure you're OK?" and I've already backpedaled so fast I've overshot when I liked her with George and gone barreling full-on back to my Denny love, which is apparently now burning stronger than ever. I don't need Gizzie now that I have George/Lexie to cheer for, ergo, DEAD DENNY FTW. I still say she can die in her sleep of a broken heart, and all will be good.

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b) 5x08, "The Ties That Bind"
Question: As characters continue to slink out the door, why do they insist on replacing all of them? Don't they already suffer from massive cast bloat as it is? Because I gotta say, if I'm losing George because you're devoting screen time to Owen and Sadie, heads will roll. And why does every new character have to be more unlikable than the last? I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I got Nurse Rose and Lexie when I did.

Case in point: Sadie looks freakishly like Eliza Dushku, but while I like Eliza Dushku, I do not like this woman. Her accent wins for now, but I predict my appreciation for that dying off in short order. She's currenlty pissing off both McDreamy and Cristina, and if past experience has taught us anything, it's that my tolerance for Meredith is extremely conditional and relies on her sharing scenes with at least one of those two. You separate Mer from both of them...there is great potential for my anti-Mer claws to come out in full force. Things could get ugly.

I loved the first morning scene, with Cristina bounding into the bedroom and waking up poor Derek (especially since prior to that, we got to see a glimpse of Mer/Der snuggling. I love snuggling! Especially when it's fully clothed!), and it was cute for about five minutes when he and Cristina were commiserating over Sadie's existence and/or he was smirking "welcome to my world," but that got old. Fast.

I mean, it's not as if I find it unreasonable for Meredith to still be in contact with friends she made before Cristina, but did it have to be someone so obviously designed to be such an "edgy" and daring wild child? If you just wanted a scale to show that Meredith is not nearly as immature as she could be, fine, you win; but come on. Don't introduce her as an intern joining the program. Make her a 1-shot character checking out Seattle Grace to see if she *might* want to pursue this course of study.

If I ever hear the phrase "Death and Die" again, I may actually find a way of strangling fictional characters. (which reminds me: really, Sadie worked in a morgue? I...the Tru Calling flashbacks, they won't stop!)

Random Bits
-Moving on: Is there like, an unwritten rule somewhere that all female cardiothoracic surgeons have to be cold-hearted bitches? Cristina should be thankful she learned as much from Burke as she did. That being said, I don't understand why Bailey didn't pick up on Dr. Dixon Asperger's sooner, but...I have to say, I still remain pretty unsympathetic. That twitchy insistence on "Rules are rules" left ME twitching.

-I really loved the Navajo heart-transplant patient, though. He was one of the best patients this show has ever had; I loved that even though he (very kindly) asked her not to participate in his surgery, he still listened to her fears at the end and explained how to cleanse her life of clinging spirits. He was impossible not to adore.

-As much as I hate the latter, I must admit that McDreamy and McSleazy make an effective threat team against Major Asshole. The side-by-side folded arms, the dark glowers, "Your ER?" Oh, I like your partnership when used for Owen-discriminating purposes.

-Speaking of which, while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, why wasn't he yelling at Callie for vulturistically hoping for a good blood-n-guts surgery? Does he only hate interns and baby residents?

-I am so proud of Meredith for proactively warning Derek to keep McSleazy off her little half-sister, you don't even know.

-Callie's weepy mess of crying and raging that she "BUILT HIS BONES!" was one of the most ridiculous and nauseating things I've ever seen. Was I supposed to be feeling for her? Something like sympathy, maybe? Because I kind of just wanted to punch her in the face to make her shut up. (why yes, the next episode *was* well-pleasing)

-"No, that's not hot, EW, OH MY GOD! Oh my God, that is officially the most disgusting kiss this show has ever had. Horrifying in a way I can't even... *skips*." Can someone figure out what I was talking about near the end of the episode? I seem to have blocked said disgusting kiss from memory. All I know is that it wasn't Izzie/Denny.

[Edit: Read the recap, and oh yes, I *had* forced myself to forget the Owen/Cristina. That was horrifically predatory, in a way where if a guy kissed me so aggressively out of the blue like that, no matter how much I may have been attracted to him beforehand, I'd have started blowing my rape whistle just as soon as I got him off me.]

Izzie/Alex
Alex. It is really creeping me out how you are trying to be boyfriend material. Urging her to talk to you, and then kissing her cheek?! WTF BODY SNATCHERS.

Izzie/Denny
In a phrase? I LOVE IT.

Really!  I was over the moon about him all of a sudden having lines, walking around and talking like a regular person, and I remembered how much I loved his easygoing manner, sheepish grin, and - even more intensely than I remember - wearing an expression of pure love and adoration at all times. Plus, he's extremely funny! I loved all his cracks about the surgeon. I BADLY WANT HIM TO BE REAL. Meredith's drowning established that ghosts really exist in this hospital, didn't it? I want ghost!Denny to be real.

Of course, if he's not, then Izzie's slow but steady mental breakdown kind of breaks my heart. I could take or leave Alex's concern, but...oh, Izzie. We're back on excellent terms again. And either way, this is the most romantic thing ever. It totally is, in a way that HARDCORE FAILS on Ghost Whisperer, but is somehow ridicudlously beautiful on this show.

The ending scene, where he finally convinced her to touch him? I got chills when she was able to, and there were tears of happiness in my eyes, no lie. They weren't exactly what I'd call my favorite couple ever, but OH.  I don't care if this makes me gullible; I choose to believe in this until forced to believe otherwise, because this brings a lump to my throat every time possibly aided by the memory it triggers of this story (different fandom, kind of the same idea). The hell is everyone hating on? That was beautiful! It totally gets dirtier, doesn't it.
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c) 5x09, "In The Midnight Hour"
Well, all right, I'm still not OK with seeing the actual infamous ghost!sex that the internet has been raging about for weeks (raging which had me convinced that the Denny arc was going to be the most terrible thing ever witnessed on television, worse than The Moment of Truth and Callie/Erica combined). But since that's how I feel about every couple on this show, my defense of the sentiment behind it still stands, and the sweeping romance continues to take my breath away.

"I can hear your heart beating. Which is odd, because they took it out for the autopsy. ...This isn't real, is it." *wails* I love them. Why is this show able to do such beautiful things? I'm crying all over again. Katherine Heigl should not be able to provoke this reaction from me! And yet. "This is real. Izzie, this is real." (tears: streaming without recess) And when she woke up in a panic to an empty bed, screaming for him until he suddenly showed up in the corner...I'm helpless to resist. I'll follow every curve of the emotional roller coaster you want to take me on.

See, most of the time I assume the writers are on crack. Truly terrible crack. But somehwere, they found a vial (bar? gram?) of really *excellent* crack that let them produce this - because I can't even fathom where they would come up with it in their right minds - and I'm grateful for it.

That being said, Alex's supposedly human approach to relationships is still REALLY SUPER UNSETTLING (it worked with Ava. Doesn't work here), and NO, not even putting him in angry/protective/defensive alpha male mode is going to win me over this time. And it's probably weird that I'm heartbroken by her saying goodbye to Denny and going off with Alex in an attempt to prove that she's normal and she has a life in the real world, but...I am! Come on, I am totally 100% behind a ghost relationship until the inevitable discovery of her brain tumor/schizophrenia/psychotic break.

Over in "Utterly Stupid and Ridiculous Plotline" land (no we did NOT just leave it), we have Sadie corrupting Lexie even without being bisexual - I feel certain the script originally reflected Sadie hitting on her a lot in the manner of a more direct Erica Hahn - and the interns continuing to make me wonder how in hell they even got into medical school, much less passed it, if this is how they behave without direct supervision. Sticking each other with needles, slicing themselves open - it's still secret cutting, Lexie, even if you do it with painkillers to practice sutures - and then DECIDING TO DO AN APPENDECTOMY just because they think they can? I'm sorry your residents aren't teaching you properly, but the stupid, it burns.

I'm just glad that they finally got in trouble, and Meredith and Cristina got to yell at them about what idiots they were, and then Cristina got to chew Meredith out for not sticking up for her, and Mer finally got to chew Sadie out for being a reckless idiot. All of these things did my heart good, for they all badly needed to be said. I believe my favorite part was "Who are YOU to lecture me about doing the right thing?!" The jibe about "sleeping with an attending" was obviously hypocritical to the max, but I'll chalk it up to the heat of the moment.

Other Stuff
-Other things that freak me out: Mark being a genuinely nice guy and taking care of the miserable 13-year-old. He was like...caring. And sympathetic. And he let her fall asleep on his shoulder! My mind is utterly boggled. Why can't he treat adult women this way? (and no, that nonsense with Callie doesn't count, as she nauseates me)

-Bailey, you can't be bored with your job, you get exciting high-stakes surgeries like every other week. What are you talking about?

-LESLIE GROSSMAN! And her character name is still Lauren, not all that indistinguishable from the one on What I Like About You!  That was nearly as good as Navajo Guy.

-Aw dart, I didn't want someone else to tell George that Lexie was in love with him!  Just for that, No Neck Intern, you lose the respect I was going to give you by looking up your real name for being the only one to walk away from the Crazy Surgery.  Sigh.  Well, but, we could still have the part where he apologizes for unintentionally hurting her, right?  *hopes*

-Callie getting punched in the nose = ULTIMATE HILARITY/WIN. Vicarious living, I has it!

-Mark, as much as your supposedly "sweet" scenes with Callie nauseate me, please keep having them if it'll take your nasty, lecherous leering away from Lexie. You've been explicitly warned not to hit that! That means even if she throws herself at you, suck it up and reject her! Maybe buy a copy of the The Bro Code and take a refresher course.

-Major Ass: Oh, I see. NOW you're gonna try out the soft "I think you're beautiful" line and try to.convince me that he's struggling to open up and all full of raw and honest emotions. Well, niiiice try, Grey's. PIG STABBING. That is all I have to say. Hell hath no fury like RS witnessing animal cruelty.

-Awww, Derek brought baby Lexie home, despite his previous warning about "No more strays," and even made up a bed for her. That's the sweetest thing ever. Can I have more of this and less of Callie's Issues? (note: Callie's Issues are still preferable to Owen the Psychopath)

-Song: Ask me where I go tonight...
Me: Wait, I know that voice...AGH!

See the *headdesk* I had at the end of House's "Joy to the World" and repeat it here - when I was trying to find ways to spend my Pepsi Points before they expired, I also ran across the fact that Dido had a new album (and I love Dido), but again, I couldn't pick the best track at first listen under pressure, so I walked away from all of it.  And here comes Grey's, too late, telling me that I should have taken "Quiet Times" to remind me of ghost!love...the whole song is just perfect lyrics. Especially:

Suppose I'll have to take you with me
Broken mind, I'd rather leave you here

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Parting Thoughts: *shrugs* Sue me - apparently 99% of the people in the world think this is a completely stupid storyline to explore on a "MEDICAL" drama, and that it belongs on (insert various other shows) here, but I think I like it precisely because it's on a medical drama.  I like the idea that they have science and medicine and everything spelled out with the precision of surgical skill, but that there can be a higher paranormal/spiritual plane existing simultaneously alongside it.

Even if it's all in Izzie's head.

It just feels really nice to like more than 50% of the scenes on this show again.

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