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Zoanne Clack on "Slow Night, So Long"...

Original Airdate: 11-18-10

“Do not go gentle into that good night.”

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…”

“One night in 1984, 18-year old Libby Zion died within 8 hours of her emergency admission to the hospital. Her death was attributed to overworked and inexperienced young doctors.”

Okay, that last one wasn’t any kind of literary saying about the night, but it is a big part of the reason that the 80-hour work-week and night float was instituted in residency programs. We’ve all done all-nighters, right? Maybe some of you guys still do. Maybe you’re doing one right now because you took time off to watch Grey’s Anatomy and you know you have a paper due or a test tomorrow. My point is, we all know. Nights are supposed to be for sleep, rest, relaxation. There’s a reason night exists, and it’s not for humans to work. It’s for vampires to hunt, and werewolves to change, and demons to roam. Things change at night.

And things change in this episode. It’s not the usual Grey’s. As a matter of fact, when Shonda first saw my episode in full she looked at me, took a moment of silence, then said, “Zoanne. Your episode is… weird. I mean, it’s not weird, it’s… yea, weird.” I didn’t know quite what to make of that, but I get it. Our attendings are checking deathat the door along with their coats. They’re leaving all that life saving stuff behind them and are just out being themselves without the impending doom of potential death looming over them. Teddy’s talking about online dating for god’s sakes. For a whole episode. It’s weird to see them like that – I get that, and I also kinda love it. They left the life-saving parts for the residents mostly, because let’s face it - residents run hospitals at night. The attendings let the inmates run the asylum, as it were.

And crazy things can happen.

Take Callie and Mark, for example. I’ll just go ahead and apologize to all you CalZona fans first. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, that the scene where he becomes her sexual sorbet was HOT, right? And it makes sense. They’re friends, they’re comfortable, they’re there for each other. What could be wrong about that? In fact, there’s so much about it that’s right. Who could be faulted for being green? They’re recycling, people! I’m sure you’d agree they’re doing their part for humanity and for mother earth. Good for them.

Apologies also to all you Cristina fans who are mourning the loss of the driven, determined Cristina. Can’t she just have a good time? Can’t she just … BE? She’s not losing Owen. Owen’s sticking. She was there for him when he was going through it. She stuck. So he’s sticking, too. He’ll hold her hair. He’ll forgive her transgressions. He’s going to be there for her, whether she likes it or not.

And we (i.e., the writers) know Cristina’s supposed to be the strong one. Hardcore. All surgery all the time. We know that. But sometimes it’s the ones who look like they’re the most together that have the biggest explosion. It’s her process, and she’s kind of making it up as she goes along. Trying to feel out what’s right for her. I totally sympathize with this. I had a moment in life where I completely burned out. I was trying to figure out my next move – do something else in medicine (I was/am an ER doc) or pick up everything and move to Hollywood to fulfill a childhood dream. Well, I’m writing this blog so you can tell what I did. And people thought I was C-R-A-Z-Y. And I didn’t even have a gun held to my head. So all I’m saying is, give Cristina a little slack, people. She’s been on one road with one destination all her life. Like Callie said, doctors often don’t get their 20’s to explore. They’re too busy with the weight of the world on their shoulders as they practice (yes, I said practice) saving lives! She needs time, she needs space… she needs to figure things out.

Which is what Derek’s giving her. Last week he talked about floors. This week he watches her get drunk and go a little cray cray (but not too cray cray… he’s her bouncer, after all). But that is so true to Derek. He’s the king of backing off. Even when Mer was trying to decide whether or not to give half her liver to her dad, he gave her space, let her make the decision. He uses the same tactic with Cristina. He knows that direct confrontation ain’t gonna help – he’s been through his own little “breakdown,” and he knows he wouldn’t have listened. He needed to take the time he needed and that was that. He’s offering the same to Cristina.

Mer doesn’t understand this tactic. She can’t fathom just sitting back and doing nothing. At one point we talked about Mer going to go to the bar to scream at Cristina to no avail, but as it turned out, her story did not allow for that. She had to save a kid’s life. Probably wasn’t so hard to go against Stark, since Stark is such, excuse my French, an ass. It’s not that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he does. He’s not a bad doctor, he’s just a lazy doctor. And lazy might as well equal bad. So it’s up to Mer to save the day. Mer and Alex. Can you believe they’re the only two left of our original fab five? Funny how the years change things. They’ve stuck. And they’re going to keep sticking. Together. Do you guys remember the Chief’s speech from the first episode? “Eight of you will switch to an easier specialty. Five will crack under the pressure. Two of you will be asked to leave.” Ahh, memories…

Jackson wasn’t there for the Chief’s speech, but he might’ve been in the category of “cracking under the pressure.” Who knew he was still reeling from the effects of the shooting and losing Charles? As it turns out, his coping mechanism is to keep things bottled up and then just release. His release on Alex last week helped him get rid of some of the anger and frustration he’s been feeling. But it wasn’t about Alex, it was about him. It didn’t stop the screaming in his sleep, but in this episode he is able to redirect his energy into work (and he kicked ass and took names in that surgery, y’all!).

And when I think of kicking butt and taking names, I think of one person. Usually. Maybe not this particular night. Bailey. How much do I love drunk BAILEY? If you say you didn’t, I don’t know what I’m going to do with you. She is hilarious to me. I love the way she enunciates. Every. Word. Like what she’s saying is holds the answer to the meaning of life. Her advice to Virgin April is priceless. And even though drunk, she is quite wise. April knows Bailey is right. Alex is not the right guy for her. All this time and effort she’s spending hating Alex is time better spent just focusing on what’s right for her. Which is not him. Which she realizes.

I love those two moments at the beginning and the end in the car and in Meredith/Derek’s bedroom. The change of energy in the car in the end vs. the beginning is lovely, and the interaction between Derek and Meredith speaks volumes to me. Even on conflicting schedules, even if they don’t get to see each other as much as they want to, even if they are two ships passing in the night, they’re still going to make it work. Meredith’s elation at him getting his grant and Derek’s simple gesture of closing blinds for Meredith tells me that they’re going to take care of each other. It’s not all about sex for them, it’s about mutual respect and companionship.

I always like to give little tips at the end of my blogs, and my tip for this one is: DON’T TRY TO OUTRUN A TRAIN!! You never get a second chance if you lose, and you lose even if you tie.

Good night, good night, Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Or right now.

This blog post was originally posted on greyswriters.com and an archive of the posts can now be found at ABC.com.

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