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Grey's Anatomy Recap: Episode 18, "Stand By Me"

Grey's Anatomy Rundown: Episode 18, "Stand By Me"

When something horrible happens to you, do you stare it down? Or do you run away? That's the question on this week's Grey's Anatomy, as Izzie deals with her diagnosis and Derek remains in the woods, unable to face the hospital where his last mistake took a life. I loved the way this episode brings the characters together in botched but earnest efforts to support each other. Ready to talk about it? Just


Oh, Izzie! This week, her decision to confide in Cristina — and only Cristina — starts to backfire. Cristina's just doing what she does best: She collects data and makes calls and suggests treatments. But the thing is, as a surgeon, Izzie knows too much. She knows that surgery is messy, and she knows it fails. She knows the way doctors talk about patients behind their backs. Izzie's seen the worst happen; heck, she's helped cause the worst to happen. So Cristina does the only thing she can do: She tells everyone. Or, more accurately, she tells Alex and Bailey, right before she's about to make the first incision for her first solo surgery; she can't keep the secret and do her job. But then, after the surgery, she takes Izzie's hand and tells her to fight. That final scene with Izzie in the hospital gown, surrounded by her friends, is classic Grey's.

Derek, meanwhile, still isn't sure how to approach his own fight. He's off in the woods, drinking and wallowing. Bailey sends Callie out to swap horror stories and coping strategies with him, but she ends up staring into the exact same pit of despair, finding herself wondering how she does get up in the morning. Then Owen heads out, and he shares his own medical mistakes, but he won't touch his war stories — that's where the real pain is. Finally, the Chief arrives, and he and Derek have it out: Derek says it's ridiculous for him to have sent Meredith out to him expecting a proposal; the Chief says he just wanted Derek to have someone to help him climb out of his hole. And in the end, it is Meredith who saves him — because she arrives not with baggage but with a medical case to solve. Izzie needs Derek, and, just as much right now, Derek needs Izzie. He needs a patient he can fix.

All of that gets paralleled in the story of the patient getting the face transplant. It's a fairly typical Grey's story of heavy-handed metaphors (orchids, lines about being ugly on the outside but beautiful inside because they're fighters, etc.) but there are some nice moments, including Lexie stepping up and giving the guy the talking-to he needs to let his friends into his life. He's so convinced that people will turn away from him that he's chosen to turn away first, and at last, he realizes he needs to open up and let them help, no matter how he looks.

Some other thoughts:

  • Is there a sadder image in the world than Alex's eyes when he finds out Izzie has cancer?
  • Meredith and George's plotline with the interns cracked me up, both for the way it mirrored the larger stories (they really didn't want to face the fact that their interns were acting like fools . . . again) and for the fact that maybe, just maybe, they realize this is how ridiculous they looked when they were sex-crazed, angsty interns, too.
  • Why I Love Cristina Yang, No. 507: When Izzie suggests that the residents and interns will soon be calling her "swiss cheese for brains," Cristina says they won't, because "that's awkward and long."
  • Love that the writers slipped in a quick Cristina/Owen update: "It's like friends with benefits, except without the benefits."
  • Also love Bailey's panic over her disappearing surgeons: "I'm half convinced they're on a spit with a one-armed man turning them into shish kabobs."
  • Did anyone else catch Izzie drinking an Izze soda?

So, that was all pretty emotional by the end, eh? Are you satisfied with the direction these stories are taking? Ready for next week's "episode that defines good television"?

Photos copyright 2009 ABC, Inc.

Join The Conversation
darcicomplex darcicomplex 8 years
Fantastic episode! Definitely one of the best all season. I really loved that song "Driveway" by Great Northern that plays while Meredith and Derek have their moment together while she pleads for him to help Izzy. Fit the scene so well...I thought i wasn't going to cry but this scene really did it to me. Grey's always has great music, but this scene and song really stuck with me, so I blogged about it here:
care0531 care0531 8 years
Haven't beena huge fan of izzie but I loved this episode! I actually cried towards the end!
mywish22 mywish22 8 years
this episode was great! the face transplant story was so sad but uplifting at the same time. poor poor Alex, just when he's finally getting ahead, he's hit with this. I thought that Meredith could've given Derrick a hug or something when she dropped off the scans, she was kind of cold. So glad George is back in the story! I'm really looking forward to next week!
haydee haydee 8 years
I loved this episode! It was classic Grey's indeed! For some reason now I don't want Izzie Stevens to leave..
Bisque Bisque 8 years
I really liked this episode, and I'm warming up to Izzy and George again. Cristina as always is awesome, and I cried when she approached the bench where izzie was sitting and told her how she told alex and bailey. I can't wait to find out what happens. I used to want Izzie dead before and couldn't wait until it finally comes about, but now I kinda want her to survive this. Can't wait for the next episode
merie33 merie33 8 years
I'm with laceykk on this one. There's no way Izzie is gonna die at Dereks hands and he's gonna come back. I bet she's dying later on. Alex's face made me want to cry...he just looked so crushed and confused...and HURT. Poor guy. Bailey cracked me up. She always does.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
and as much as izzie's character annoyed me, im going to cry a lot when her character dies.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
Taadie, so was i!! omg the face transplant story was so beautiful!! i was bawling through this episode..and only awesome greys episodes make me cry! loved the epi! and i loved the sloan/little grey at the end.
sofi sofi 8 years
Loved this episode. I was so teary in the end! Can Alex just not get a break in his life?
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Great recap of one of the best episodes of Grey's in quite awhile. Thanks, Buzz!
LovelyLiLKatie LovelyLiLKatie 8 years
this has been the best episode in a long long time! - the medical story line was good which was so much better the first two seasons. - and hello Izzy is finally dieing yey!
laceykk23 laceykk23 8 years
oh and i LOLed when cristina said that 'swiss cheese for brains' was 'long and awkward'!!
laceykk23 laceykk23 8 years
laureng22 maybe the surgery will be a success but in the end izzie still dies from the cancer. i for one was surprised that the surgery is happening next week, so maybe it will play out like that.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I just don't understand how they are going to have Derek botch up the Izzie surgery, have her die, and have him want to continue being a surgeon.
nelsonae nelsonae 8 years
This seemed like the old Grey's, I loved it. Especially liked when Meredith was dealing with the interns that George said "that was very Bailey of you" Good episode.
spacebear spacebear 8 years
it was a good episode! alex's eyes = very sad but i was wanting more of a reaction instead of him just standing there with bailey and richard. i guess that might be coming up in future episodes.
CYL CYL 8 years
I love Little Grey and Sloan at the end "They think we are ugly but I know we are beautiful". I am liking Lexie more and more.
Tulipe Tulipe 8 years
I loved Bailey freaking out about serial killers with axes lost in the woods. I loved seeing a little bit more of George. The policing of the interns was really funny. I loved how Little Grey took matters in her own hand and established her couple in front of the other interns. I shed tears at the end when I saw Alex and Bailey and Cristina and George looking at Izzie. All and all, I might even think Grey's Anatomy is back !
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
I admit it, this episode had me in tears. Oh, my god. The look in Alex's eyes when Cristina told them about Izzie's cancer... The most heartbreaking thing ever. He's such a good actor. Bailey was on FIRE this episode. She's by far my favorite character. She's the only resident that can get away with bullying around not only attendings, but the chief as well. ha! Even bullying Hunt, whose been in a war, oh man. Hilarious. I want more Cristina/Hunt stuff. I love them as a couple. And I totally caught Izzie drinking Izze soda. funny. :)
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
This was such a good episode! I feel like it was back to vintage Grey's. I loved that Christina told everyone, loved the silly intern drama, loved it when Meredith turned into a mini-Bailey. I actually saved it on my Tivo to watch again. I hope that next week Derek is back to his old self, because I don't really like melodramatic Derek so much. He's quite boring when he's mopey. Bailey's line about them all roasting on the spit cracked me up though.
redchick152 redchick152 8 years
good run down, buzz. you said "george" and "plotline" in the same sentence....yay!!! bailey cracked me up. i'm glad the chief yelled at derek...he needed it. and i'm glad christina mentioned the friends w/ benefits...i didn't think they had slept together yet, but i thought maybe i just missed something in a boring episode. i am so damn happy that christina told everyone!!!
ElizabethRae ElizabethRae 8 years
I loved this episode too. I was totally tearing up at the end. Can't wait to see what happens!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that it's really funny about how everyone reacts to things on this show. derek's yelling match at the chief was great - soo realistic don't you think? i know that they work long hours with each other, but i think that there's almost too much familiarity with everyone. i like that meredith is going to be able to bring derek back into the land of the living - and how when he said 'would you still love me if i weren't a surgeon' and she says 'NO' - priceless! chrstina always has some of the best one liners - the whole 'no that's too long and awkward' - soooo true!
Taadie Taadie 8 years
I almost cried when that woman kissed the guy who was getting the face transplant. It was heavy handed but that lady is an awesome actress because I believed every second of it.
Justinsbelle Justinsbelle 8 years
Loved last nights episode. Grey's is getting back to it's original form and for me it's the best show on. Loved it through the ups and downs. Last night was an emotional episode. I am not a fan of Izsie or Katherine Heigl and I do hope she is leaving the show but I did find myself tearing up at the end when she was in the hospital bed with all the residents around her. I think it will be a good storyline and a good way to have her exit the show. I also really the loved the moments between the chief and Derek as well as Derek and Meredith. It's great to see the mature side of Meredith and be there for Derek with tough love.
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