Grey's Anatomy

Season 3 Episode 10

Don't Stand So Close to Me

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Nov 30, 2006 on ABC

Episode Recap

Another week, another Grey's Anatomy [abc] recap. After the jump, catch up on the aftermath of Sandra Oh & Chief Wannabe #2's deception, a brand new set of conjoined twins, and more family drama of the O'Malley (and Grey, too) variety.

Wow. Everyone's cranky at the beginning of this episode. So much so that there's no one willing to to the voiceover as the cameras sweep over West Seattle and into the Home for Forgetful and Overbearing Mothers. There, Mother Grey is having a world-class freakout about the Chief tossing her to the curb (again). Meredith tries to bring her back to the present, to little avail. The real point of this scene is to remind us that Mother Grey is not well, harbors a lot of anger, and resents ever having a kid.

At Seattle Grace, Bailey is back in Nazi form. She, Dempsey, Sandra Oh, and Burke have been called to the Principal's office. And she's ranting about how unfair it is Burke and rOhbot are evading even a detention or a note on their permanent record for their coverup antics. She wants justice, but the Chief says that there's no such thing within the four walls of a hospital, which, honestly seems like a rather odd comment. His main argument is "no harm, no foul" since they didn't kill anyone and so far there haven't been any malpractice suits. She doesn't even pretend to be happy that Oh's heading back out onto the floor, but off they go.

The Chief insists that Burke fix have his $2 million hand fixed, stat. Burke's in the stage of grief where he's blaming Dempsey for not miraculously healing him and sulks about not wanting another surgery, saying that the first one caused enough trouble. Like keeping his arm functioning. Fucker.

Paddy O'Malley asks his son to be the responsible one if he kicks it during surgery: the insurance papers are in the nightstand and "his magazines" are in the garage. If he dies, George's first order of business is to infiltrate the porn locker before his mom gets a look at her husband's kinks. George doesn't have much time to be appalled by this revelation of his dad's masturbatory aids since Torres stops in to be nice/check on his collar bone. Obviously George has to storm off in a huff, despite his father's pleas for more polite behavior.

Back in the locker room, with the exception of Our Heroine, the interns are all mad at the rOhbot. Meredith tries to defend her, but no one else is buying it. After the trio of anger steps out to rounds, Grey tries to find out how it's going. She and Burke are existing in silence, but she asks Meredith not to make an effort to be nice. This brief conversation causes them to be 30 seconds late; so Bailey threatens a world of hurt / expulsion if Oh doesn't mind her manners.

As they're heading off, Addison nabs Meredith. Her NotSister is having an emergency c-section. She thanks her for the heads-up, but says that she really doesn't need to know about them. Good luck, her ridiculously nice stepmother is just around the corner, sucking Grey into her NotFamily's drama.

As the rest of the interns beg to scrub in for Special Guest Surgeon's replacement of Father O'Malley's heart valve, Bailey assigns the case to Sandra Oh. They all whine like spoiled children about the unfairness of it all until the Nazi plays a little Let's Make A Deal, promising to show them what's behind Door #1 only if they agree to shut up. They comply, and she reveals tonight's extra special weird medicine case: adult conjoined twins. The twins fight about one brother having a small bladder. As they shuffle off to the toilet, the mouths of the trio of unforgiveness hang agape.

-main title-

We get the backstory on Brothers of the Head {Ed: or is it Twin Falls Idaho?}. The guys are attached at the lumbar-sacral junction. They were in six months ago, but decided that the separation surgery was too risky. As they bicker about one being overcautious vs. the other being over risky, Alex brownoses a bit to flatter New York's top plastic surgeon. Although Steambtath tries to make nice with Dempsey, he's not to keen on being called part of a team. George wonders why they've changed their mind. On cue, the answer enters. It's about a girl. She insists that she doesn't want them to have the risky surgery for her benefit. The girl is dating the twin with glasses, the other one (Squinty, I guess) pouts about not wanting to be attached to someone who doesn't want to be attached to me. All the interns want in on the case, but Steambath takes Izzie because he thinks she'll be fun to look at and because she's not allowed to help. He does want a blueberry scone and his trademark "bone dry cappucino", but she tells doesn't do coffee. {I guess that with a freezer full of Denny Money she can be picky about lackeydom.)

In the X-Ray Viewing Chamber, the Chief drools over the surgery, imagining the press and fame for the hospital. Dempsey isn't keen on the it because of the high risk. The Chief says that unless there's overwhelming evidence to stop it, the show will go on.

While Sandra Oh is explaining the surgery to Paddy O'Malley, George storms in and gets all pushy about and cause trouble. Dr. Han tries to kick him out, and he says that he can do whatever he wants because he "hired her". Whatevs. This makes no sense, but it's all about George continuing his ususal childish assholery.

For maximum dramatic tension, Meredith decided to volunteer to help out with her NotSister and the c-section. Her NotMother says that it's nice to have a familiar face in the hospital. She's stoked to be a grandmother and tells Grey that her NotSister doesn't know about Mr. Katimsky's neglected daugher. Later, she helps with the C-section by cutting the umbilical cord. But her NotNiece isn't doing well, and needs to be whisked off to surgery. Addision leaves Meredith in charge of explaining the situation to her NotMother and NotSister, but she panics and isn't very helpful.


Addison realizes that it was a mistake to let Grey volunteer for this case; so she's banned from the very exciting newborn surgery (Jejunal etrisia). Instead, she's tasked with keeping her NotFamily updated.

The Nazi is back, lecturing Geroge abou this bad behavior and demanding that he stay 50ft away from his father at all times. George glares at Burke, across the hall as he strolls up to Dr. Han to check on the status of O'Malley Senior. She says that everything's O.K. George is a pain in the ass, Sandra Oh is an asset. He awkwardly agrees, calling her very "professional".

Having survived the tension of dealing with his girlfriend/partner in crime/betrayer and his cross-town rival, Burke fires up his laptop to research neurosurgeons. The Chief is all, "WTF? You know that McDempsey is god's gift to neurosurgery!". When he says that he wants someone else, the Chief finally decides to bust out the yelling and scolding. He wants to retire so that he can get his wife back, but Burke spoiled all of that by having a tremor and keeping it on the Q.T. {Again, the Chief's logic seems to be slipping. Is there no one else at the hospital to take over. Nevermind.} He's tired of "you men acting ike boys", saying that if Bruke doesn't Dempsey fix his hand, he'll be letting himself down.

In the O.R., Izzie raves about how it will take the impending surgeonpalooza required to separate the twins. Steambath is optimistic, Dempsey isn't. Doing a practice run on a mock-up twins, he makes a mistake, saying that it will be even trickier with real live humans. He thinks that the Brothers are fine, and that the de-conjoining isn't worth the risk. Tantrum hour continues, as he storms ooff the practice field.

In between, we get a quick scene of Meredith explaining the situation to her NotMother and NotSister. NotSister isn't sure about calling her perfect husband in Iraq to come up with a name for the baby. Mostly, this is so that she can see what she missed out on by not having a supportive mother.

As if the coinjoined twin surgery wasn't medical intrigue enough, we get to find out more about why they've decided to get separated. The rules don't work. (it's about the girl.) As Glasses explains it all, the doctors all watch with interest, exchanging glances and surprised looks like there's an enthralling tennis match happening before their eyes. The boys have rules for when theys're with someone: no looking, no touching. But the plot thickens, when the girlfriend assures Glasses that she's completely fine with Squinty touching her while she's naked. She didn't think it was such a big deal and thought it was kind of sweet. When she re-iterates that it wasn't a big deal, Glasses recognizes that she enjoyed having his brother in on the action. She stresses that she's completely in love with him and really enjoys their conjoined lovemaking. But ... it's just that after he falls asleep, Squinty takes care of her needs. {By talking, sickos.} She loves it too. Glasses freaks out and demands that she choose a brother. Because after they're separated, she can't have both of them. Surprise, she goes for the sensitive, chatty brother. Squinty smirks, gets an elbow to the face from his brother.

For some reason {cafeteria repairs? temporary closure of the Hallway of Intern Hangouts?} The trio of resentment bring their lunches into a room with a sedated / possibly dead old man. It's clearly the place to be, Sandra Oh's there, and Meredith is on her way. The trio are all atwitter over the bizarre love triangle until they notice Oh sitting there. Alex feigns surprise that she hasn't been kicked out of the program yet, claiming to want the inside track on how to get ahead. George makes a snide comment about whether she's kept a headcount of how many patients she endangered during her reign of deception. Izzie gripes that since her patients lived she avoided candystriper duty. Meredith plays defense, but Oh doesn't appreciate it, retreating with her hospital food for friendlier shores.

Still awaiting surgery, Paddy O'Malley pleads with his son to make nice with his crazy ex-girlfriend. He says that all of this anger isn't like him {clearly, he's missed the past couple seasons}. Still, Dad wants to play rage counselor before going under the knife. He suspects that George isn't really mad at everyone, just at good old dad. For eating unhealthy foods, not exercising, smoking, drinking, and getting cancer. He gnaws on the scenery a bit, saying that he's mad at himself, too. George assures him that he doesn't mind taking care of him, and promises that he isn't going to die. Enter the Brothers O'Malley, being more annoying than six-year-olds. They call their brother "Georgie" and he flips out saying the Georgie doesn't work here. Meanwhile, his dad starts choking.


"Dr. O'Malley" to the rescue. Except not really, because Burke comes in to tell him that his choice of drugs for the atrial fibrillation would have done more harm than good. So it's Burke to the rescue. Except not really, because the tremor is back. So Geroge to the rescue again, by injecting the correct meds. Nevermind, Dr. Han comes in to fix things up and get all of the other jerks out of the room.

Steambath finally gets Izzie to fetch him his bone dry cappucino {a good choice, but from a hospital coffee cart, kind of likely to turn out shitty.}

Elsewhere, Addison is still slaving away on the intestines of Meredith's NotNiece's intestines. She tells Grey to keep them on the up and up about her progress.

Bailey and Dempsey cheer each other up about their own personal crises of confience. He's feeling skittish about having not worked a miracle on Burke; she's still plagued buy guilt over the death of the Tin Man. Being shut out of Burke's surgeries only compounded her angst.

Paddy O'Malley is rolls off to surgery, Bailey agrees to let George skips the unconjoining to be with his family.

As the twenty-two surgeons are gearing up to take Glasses and Squinty apart, Steambath requests that Izzie gets to scrub in. The Chief reminds him that she's still without hospital privileges, but Bailey sticks up for her and calls her down to the O.R.

As they get ready to cut the twins apart, Dempsey does one last assessment. The Chief says that it's his call as to whether they proceed. The music swells, and newly confident Dempsey says that it's on.


George & Burke illegally watch Paddy O'Malley's surgery from the scrub room. George can't look; so Burke quietly narrates.

There's all sorts of medical intrigue, cutting, reattaching, Steambath suggestions, and Bailey on nerve stiumlators, but eventually Dempsey announces that the separation was a success and that they have four functioning legs. There's applause all around, and the doctors take sides to pull the brothers apart. Happy music plays. Dempsey says that it would be nice if every love triangle could be solved with a scalpel. Steambath smiles, saying that if they could, Dempsey would have stabbed him with a ten blade a long time ago. Relieved, they both laugh a little beneath their surgical masks. {Maybe they can be pals again}

Meredith tells her NotMother that Addsion will be around to explain everything. Although the baby will need recovery time, she'll be just fine. NotMom is very relieved and says that the new baby is Meredith's niece. Meredith says that she's sorry, they're very nice, but she doesn't know them and they aren't her family.

In Paddy O'Malley's valve replacement, Dr. Han says that Sandra Oh reminds her of herself as an interns. She's focused, intense, cold (in a good way). Suddenly, there are the bad noises, and too much bleeding. Han says that it doesn't look good. But Oh to the rescue! She can put Mr. O'Malley back together again. All by herself! She re-inserts the aortic canula and does a running whip stitch. Burke assures George that she's done it before. Han compliments Oh's beautiful work. With the crisis averted, Burke tells George that Dr. Han's work was impeccable, that he would have done the same thing himself. He pauses, reflectively, saying that you never know how the body's going to respond and that every surgery is different. He concludes his narration, leaving once they're in the home stretch. George thanks him, and it seems to mean a lot to both of them.

Alone on the overlook/hallway with the Chief, Bailey says that it undermines everything for Oh and Burke to go unpunished. He asks her to take a step back and asks what she would you have him do: fire them? end their careers? He says that they made a bad judgement call and reminds her that nobody died. This brings back the ghost of Denny, which still hangs over her. She feels responsible for killing him, but the Chief insists that it wasn't her fault.

She's not so sure. Thinking about Isabel and Oh's transgressions, Bailey worries that she is the common thread. She faults herself for losing control of them. He tells her that she raised them like children, some make mistakes, some disappoint. He asks if she knows the kind of strength it must have taken for Sandra Oh to report on an attending, let alone her boyfriend. He sees this as evidence of growth. Reminding her that she raised them like children, he says that some turn out exactly like you. {But which one?}

The girl who split up the twins finally gets some alone time with Squinty. He says that it's been a long day, and she leaves with a quick kiss saying that she'll see him in the morning.

And then our much-missed Meredith voiceover finally makes its return: "At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, is to be close to somebody."

The other brother is rolled into the room with his bed pressed against his twin. They crack a quick joke, and hold hands before drifting off to sleep and out of the storyline.

"So this thing where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other? It's usually a load of bull."

Meredith's NotMom invites her in to see the beautiful baby. She offers to be be her family if she wants them to. Grey looks pained, but doesn't turn back. She walks away.

"So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to."

In the locker room, Izzie, George, and Alex are still giving Sandra Oh a hard time. Meredith stands up and yells at them saying that she can't take this anymore. She pleads with them to let her off the hook, reminding Izzie that Oh helped out after she cut Denny's LVAD wire, helped Alex study for the boards even after he slept with SyphiNurse, and that when everyone was calling Geroge 007 ... George point out that that it was Oh who started the 007 business and stomps off. The speech worked on the other two, Alex and Izzie apologize before leaving. Sandra asks why Meredith can't mind her own business. Grey responds that she's her sister, her family, all she's got. Oh sighs, saying that she's so tired and leans on Meredith's shoulder.

"... and once we've chosen those people, we tend to stick close by."

Torres runs into George in the hallway to check on his dad. Apparently he's doing O.K. That's the extent of their convo. {But Dad sitll has cancer; so we can expect more O'Malley family drama ... le sigh}

"... no matter how much we hurt them ..."

As Meredith and Sandra Oh are exiting the Elevator of Convenient Encounters, Dempsey and Burke are entering. They're going upstairs to check Burke's shoulder. Oh follows them, to stand my her man.

"The people that are still with you at the end of the day, those are the ones worth keeping. And, sure, Sometimes close can be too close ..."

Back at the Home for Forgetful and Overbearing Mothers , Mother Grey is ranting again about how she just couldn't stay with Mr. Katimsky even though he as Meredith's father. And then Richard left her a a throbbing bundle of anger. Meredith, emotionally wrecked, stands up and hugs her without saying anything. This calms her down and ushers in a worried moment of the Notebook-esque clarity. She recognizes her daughter with a quiet "Meredith", and Grey responds with a sad "Mommy."