Before I get into a serious discussion of last night's episode, I have one of those too-much-viewing digressions to ask about. Did Izzie's mom, played by Sharon Lawrence, remind anyone else of Tammy Tambo (Wendy Schaal), Shelly's mom on "Northern Exposure"? No? Then let's move on. ...
Another very solid "Grey's" episode, especially in the room it gave the actors to show what they can do. I am thinking of James Pickens's scenes with both Ellen Pompeo (when he delivers the "off the hook" speech) and Patrick Dempsey (when Derek explains how the Chief feels about Meredith), and the wonderful moment at the end between Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd.
Breathtaking stuff, and packaged around things like Izzie and her mom, Alex's reaction to Izzie and her mom, Bailey's delivering the news about Izzie's latest test, Meredith's turning on the gunshot girl's mom (Nina Siemaszko) and Callie's trying to decide how to deal with her father. Then I think about the way it all balanced between little bits of a light and a lot of dark, and I can't think of a wrong move made by any one character -- well, except for that circular dialogue the show loves, and maybe pushing the "off the hook" reference a little too hard at the end.
But this is at once the joy and the aggravation of "Grey's." While it can do an episode like last night's, it can also veer off into madness like the whole Dead Denny scenario -- which, even if you accept that it was establishing Izzie's condition, went on way too long and way too nuttily. So the show sets a high standard for itself, and therefore makes the low points seem even lower, because we know they're beneath the show overall. As I said a week ago, when it's this good, I fear overreaching, that there will be an attempt at a grand statement at the end of the season, and it just won't measure up. But I still relish episodes like last night's.