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'Grey's Anatomy': Mercy West is in, Izzie Stevens is out

October 16, 2009 |  7:06 am
In Thursday night's "Grey's Anatomy," we finally met the enemy: Mercy West interns and residents stormed Seattle Grace.

I'll get this little rant over with right from the start: Why does Shonda Rhimes love to pit her doctors against one another? In the beginning the interns were fighting over surgeries. Then they fought over solo surgeries. Then they fought over specialties. There was even a storyline where the top surgeons in the hospital were grappling for the Chief's job like kindergarten kids fight over the coolest toy on the playground.

I'm sick of it! It's childish and they're compromising their patients. I rolled my eyes when Alex stole lab results in order to hijack a patient. It's such childish behavior. Someone send these people to the time-out chair, please.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the Mercy West influx! Meredith compares them to multiplying bacteria in her voice-over intro, but I have to say, I kind of like the little germs.

I did find it absurd that the Mercy Westers were all dressed in orange scrubs. I realize that it was an attempt to set up a more obvious division, but really, did they think we wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the new doctors and the ones we've been watching for five years now? When the Seattle Grace residents watched in horror as the Westers swarmed the floor, it reminded me of that scene in "E.T." when the government agents descend on Elliot's house in their hazmat suits.

As if the orange scrubs weren't enough, each Seattle Grace doctor was paired with a Mercy West newbie. Let the games begin. Is this "Grey's Anatomy," or did I accidentally change the channel and land on MTV's latest "Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Emergency Room"?

It seemed as though they set Reed (Nora Zehetner) up to be the bad guy when she stole George's locker and refused to budge even after Izzie asked her to. Was I the only one who found it hard to sympathize with Izzie when she subsequently freaked out? I do miss George's presence on the show, and I understand that he was Izzie's best friend, but Izzie overreacted. As a doctor, she should be better equipped to cope with death. Plus, it's just a cubby. It's not like Reed parked her car on his grave and drew a mustache on his last photo.

One of my favorite Mercy Westers is intern April (Sarah Drew). I loved Drew on The WB's "Everwood," and I'm thrilled to see her again, in a very different role this time.  Her saccharine-sweet attitude and wide-eyed insincerity were hilarious, as was her super-mysterious hot pink notebook full of morale-boosting platitudes. Personally, as long as she's a good doctor and doing her job, I don't care what it takes for her to keep her self-esteem up during the day, whether it's a notebook or a nose-job.

Calliedad I was happy to see Callie's family story revisited. Last we saw Mr. Torres, Callie told him that she was in love with a woman and their once-strong relationship crumbled instantly. In Thursday night's episode, her father flew across the country with a priest and a handful of Bible quote flash cards.

Callie was furious when she discovered his intentions. "You think you can pray away the gay? You can't pray away the gay!" she shouted in the hospital waiting room. While it may not have been the most appropriate choice of locations for her exclamation, it's a pretty catchy turn of phrase. I expect to see that one on plenty of protesters' signs this year.

By far the best moment in this episode was Arizona's scene with Callie's father, Mr. Torres. Jessica Capshaw has an incredible ability to take even the most melodramatic of "Grey's" speeches and deliver them with a subtlety and an honesty that makes them come off as sincere instead of overwrought. "I was named for a battleship," she said, and in the powerful monologue that followed, she calmly and carefully explained that Callie was still the woman Mr. Torres raised. It was really beautiful.

And last, but certainly not least, we must address this episode's big "shocker." In the final moments, Chief Richard Webber fired Izzie Stevens.

I'm a big fan of Katherine Heigl and I'm sad to see her go, but Izzie deserved it this time. She's temperamental and she's not acting rationally. She's still recovering not only from the cancer treatment, but from the death of her best friend.

Izzie was shocked, initially assuming that she was being fired for having cancer. It turns out that her goof with the kidney patient -- a mistake she made, unsurprisingly, while her judgment was clouded by petty competition -- is what cost her her job.

"You let me come back after I cut an LVAD wire!" she shouts. Uh, maybe I'm wrong, but I'd guess that announcing your prior egregious errors of judgment while begging for your job is slightly counterproductive.

Chief begins to explain his decision, mentioning that other doctors had questions about her stamina and emotional stability -- among them her husband, Alex.

And thus, we come to the episode's true shocker. It was previously reported that Heigl would be taking a five-week leave of absence from "Grey's" to work on a movie and to bond with her newly adopted daughter, Naleigh, so Izzie's release from Seattle Grace was a given.

I wasn't expecting her to actually leave Karev, though -- and especially not in a hastily written note stuck on his locker. That's how you break up with your seventh-grade boyfriend, not the husband who stuck by your side through cancer (and creepy ghost-sex). Alex's reaction was the perfect mix of devastation and disbelief, as were Meredith's and Christina's.

I can't wait to see what kind of reception Izzie gets when she comes back in a few weeks.  A few days ago, Shonda Rhimes tweeted: "Things may happen, but [Alex and Izzie] are meant for each other. Remember that."  Hmmm.

What did you think of Dr. Stevens' dramatic exit? Did you think she deserved to be the first of our beloved residents to get the boot? Talk about it in the comments below. While you're at it, let me know what you thought of Arizona's speech and the bright orange Mercy West incursion.

Be sure to check back next week! I'm looking forward to seeing how Alex picks up the pieces. Is he going to stick it out in that bear-bait trailer all by himself?

--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

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Top: Alex holds Izzie back from Reed as April looks on. (Justin Chambers, Katherine Heigl, Nora Zehetner, Sarah Drew) Credit: ABC

Bottom: Mr. Torres embraces Callie after they make up. (Hector Elizondo, Sara Ramirez) Credit: ABC
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Well I think what prompted Izzie's note was the Chief saying that Alex had spoken to him about her - and I think she took that as Alex saying she was not able to handle it and felt betrayed. We will need to see how things pan out and what happens when Heigl returns. Also I think there is more on the Izzie story - wouldn't surprise me if one of the Mercy West invaders perhaps altered the labs that lead to her error? Who knows. But how fantastic was Heigl in the scene with the Chief - the emotion in her face and eyes. There will not be a better scene on Grey's all year.

Having worked in a teaching hospital,much of the nonsence that goes on at Greys,does really happen,but always behind closed doors.My problem is pregnant Merideth,I am so tired of the head shots when a actress is pregnant,write them out of the show as you did Izzie,who by the way could stay gone for my taste,she is a mental case.I am really tired of all the females and especially the Gay couple.Enough already.I am sticking around to see the new castmates.

I fell in love with Katherine Heigl way back in 1994 or 95 when I saw her in My Father the Hero. She was my first big teen-age crush! I hate to admit it, but I’m now a 30 year old guy watching Life Time – but only to see the Grey’s Anatomy re-runs. The last couple of years of Grey's have been kind of boring so I'm glad they are shaking things up a bit. There are a couple of other characters that I wouldn't mind seeing leave.

I love Izzie Stevens, but they’ve turned her character into a total whack job. I’d love to see that perky, ever hopeful Izzie come back.

Please put "spoiler alert" on your headlines instead of announcing the most shocking developments of the show...we've got the show recorded and were planning on watching it tonight or tomorrow, but my experience is ruined because this has been spoiled for me!

With DVRs and Tivos, you must change the way you report TV shows! Catch up, latimes...and you wonder why you're losing money!

I can't believe Chief Webber fired Izzie and Izzie left Alex. Where was Mark Sloan? I'm shocked that he wasn't in last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy. Jesus! There was a cute little romantic part of Meredith and Derek. I think that Meredith's colleagues should keep Meredith informed of what's going on at Seattle Grace Mercy West hospital.

When will Meredith get back on her feet again?

Well, I've liked Katherine Heigl since I first saw the "Love Comes Softly" series of movies she was in years ago. She did a much better job in those movies than she is doing today on Grey's. The thing is, in real life, if the tabloids are to be believed, she pretty much threw a temper tantrum a while back which is why there was rumor of her leaving. And here, we see her character do essentially the same thing, throw a tantrum and leave. I was surprised at the very end with Izzie leaving Alex though, but being fired was NO surprise. I saw that handwriting when Bailey chewed her out. The problem I have there is Izzie would not make what appears to be a rookie mistake. As for Arizona's speech, bravo. She made a clear logical argument! Too often, in these shows, the stereotypical indignant gay suddenly appears and comes out with a challenge of some kind to the stuffed-shirt and uses an overload of guilt to accomplish the goal. I was glad to hear reason instead of whining and complaining about the trials and tribulations of being gay. I, too, am wondering how Alex will cope with Izzie gone and the comment above about them being made for each other really confuses me. I suppose that means Izzie is not gone for good. By the way... I've personally experienced the leaving of a long time live-in girlfriend and finding out through a note on the kitchen table when I got home from work one day...

Why hasn't anyone commented on the best scene from last night? Callie and her dad, going quote for quote on the bible..and Jesus. I thought it was the perfect scene, one that should be played for all those parents who bible bang their kids about being gay/lesbian. Bravo!

Meh. So over Heigl. Glad to have a rest from her. And hopefully this will be an opportunity for Ms Rhimes to re-invent Karev. His whiny 12 year old routine should have evaporated during Izzy's illness, but back he went to the dense and insensitive idiot he started out as. EVOLVE him and let one of the new Mercy West people take that role's quirks. Get him a new quirk.

And jeezus get Yang another cardio god! Hate her acting like a surgery chasing intern. She rocks as uber confident surgeon.

Can we keep Callie strong? I prefer her as a take no prisoners surgeon. Arizona is fine. More of Hector's character please? Resolution of the story line is too fast. Isn't that the way it happens in real life? Yeesh.

Hmmm, great write-up, annoying show. As a fan of Grey's from the start, I must say that they may be losing a die-hard fan. This whole fighting over patients garbage has reached its limit with me. Compromising patient care for personal gain makes all these physicians appear less than empathetic to their patients. The scurrying orange bacteria "invading" the hospital was a bit much-- loved your line about the ET scene (I had forgotten about that!). LOVED Arizona's speech-- it was fabulous writing. Also enjoyed the bible quips between Callie and her dad with the priest watching the war of words...
Thought the Chief showed less emotion than I had expected firing Izzie. I almost don't think the whole plot line was dramatic enough given the Izzie history. Not sure how the writers will get her to re-enter, if that is what is going to happen. Found her character fairly selfish with the of leaving Karev almost via post-it (ala Sex in the City)-- yes, the guy sticks by you through cancer but you can't handle a bit of criticism that perhaps you weren't quite emotionally ready to jump back into work? Weak. The writers HAVE put Heigl's character through alot, including a love-affair with zero chemistry with George, cancer, a love-affair with a ghost, etc etc. I somehow thought the character would have deserved more of a build up before an exit. Yes, let's get Meredith off the show til she delivers, I agree with the comment about hiding the pregnancy-- it is dumb and has become strangely irritating!!
Liked some of the new folks. Let's see how they play out. Thought portraying Lexie as a bitch and then realizing the error in her ways was pretty good. Really enjoyed the burglar (whole will be back to 70% full burgle soon- LOL). Wouldn't mind seeing him return and giving McSteamy a run for his money with Lexie (perhaps he does a little time and gets reformed??). Just a thought-
Till the next review, Carina!

I don't think they should ever have started with the merger story. Grey's Anatomy is interesting as it focuses on the characters they have developed so far and the characters' development.

p.s. Yang's tears over the not having had a heart in her hand for x amount of time really did nothing for me (actually less than nothing-- it was a major turn off). She is sobbing over this issue and then she can't hug a so called friend whose wife just left him??? A little much, dontya think?? Okay, I find her character amusing but that scene was vomitus material-- I felt zero sympathy for the character. Get her a REAL problem to cry about! Help!!! Are the writers on an extended coffee break? Get a heart surgeon in there-- no decent hospital is without a CT unit-- bring in an interesting character and let Yang thrive. Her role has become booooring. Okay-- that is all for now!

Katherine Heigl did an amazing job last night (as ever) - the show will really miss her and her character in my opinion. Izzie brings humor to the show and the character has a sense of empathy with patients that is missing from the other characters.

Lia - I agree with the scene with the Chief she should get another Emmy on that scene alone - it was so raw and powerful emotionally.

I was happy to see Callie's family store revisited - "you can't pray away the gay" OMG that was perfect. I thought that Arizona's speech was great! However I have a huge problem with Daddy dearest deciding to throw in the towel so quickly and ask Callie about a wedding and children!

Reality check Shondra, when a man flies 3000 miles with his priest and starts hysterically quoting the bible to you it takes a lot more than a nice speech by your girlfriend to make everything happy again. Ask the many who come out to their families every year, that kind of reaction takes years IF EVER to put things back in a good place!

I think Torres returning Jesus quotes to her father was the best part of her storyline although the monologue from Arizona was great.

I loved the speech Arizona gave Callie's father. I thought it was so good that I hit rewind to watch it again. Karev was boring me when he was with Izzie I want his spunk back, Yang is boring me too - make her the cardio god she once was. Meredith is sickeningly sweet and looks pathetic in the hospital bed. I hate the chief he's old fashioned and we need some new story lines which would be fantastic if Derrick was chief.

I have to say I really enjoy grey's anatomy. However, I may stop watching because of the love scenes between Callie and Arizona. I understand that is the real world, but it disgusts me to see two women kissing all over each other.Please tone it down so I can still watch it..

I think that honestly...there are so many fans and people out there who are so quick to judge everything the second it happens. Let's all just be a little patient and wait and see how things play out. Maybe it will get better?

As far as the entire Arizona/Callie/Dad thing...nothing short of amazing. The writing, the acting, all of it was wonderful.

Also, as far as Meredith is concerned...they can't exactly take her off the show guys, it's called Grey's Anatomy for a reason haha. And taking her off just because she is pregnant is weak. They keep women on all the time when they are pregnant. I know it's annoying but I think we just need to do the best we can to be patient and stay positive.

I was pretty shocked to see Izzie go...she was one of my favorite characters. I hope the writers do more with Sloan's character this season...I really enjoy watching him and he's great for comic relief. Callie and Lexie are awesome characters! Meredith is annoying and boring, in my opinion. If that actress leaves the show, perhaps the new protagonist can be Lexi Grey. I hope the writers give Christina something more interesting to do other than gripe! The Mercy West merger storyline could actually be quite interesting...looking forward to seeing how that develops. And Grey's is going to get a new "Cardio God." Last night I watched Private Practice (Rhimes' other show) in which Bailey's character made an appearance and it seems Rhimes will be moving the Sam Bennett character (played by Taye Diggs) over from PP to replace the hole which Burke left on GA.

Really, Gail? The love scenes between Arizona and Callie are what bothers you about Grey's Anatomy?

Not the nonsensical plotting that pays no attention to character or reality?

Not the "ABC After School Special" level of writing that the show demonstrates week after week?

Not the overwrought performances by actors who clearly have no idea how to play such ham-fisted writing attempts?


The ongoing "competition" element of Grey's, as Carina said, was mildly amusing when all of these characters were starting as interns, and it made rational sense on some level. At this point, to continue to have these poor actors fighting over surgeries is sad and LAZY by the writing team.

Izzie was such a great character in the first and second season...and then the Denny storyline happened (the first one) and suddenly, Shonda decided to ignore all the sadness and nuance that Heigl had earned as an actress, and make the Izzie character inexplicably shrill and batsh!t crazy. Even if it wasn't the write thing to do, Heigl was nost certainly within her rights to complain about the show.

Starting with Izzie's decision to cut the LVAD wire, the show transformed from a charming, clever medical dramedy with smart, nuanced characters, to the hot piece of garbage it is today.

I think Meredith's reactions to shocking news, like George dying or Izzie taking off, are really crap this season. In fact, I think the first episode of this season was just awful and nothing like the amazing episodes of season 2 or 3. It was just so matter-of-fact when they learned of George's death and there wasn't much dramatic effect, something the producers of Grey's are expert at. The show is losing it's distinctly 'Grey-sy' character with this and the influx of new actors.