From the first moment Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) shared a bottle of tequila in Season 1 of Grey's Anatomy, we knew there was something special about their friendship … other than their high alcohol tolerance and killer dance moves. Oh, and fabulous taste in men. And eight years later, the twisted sisters are just as dark, dancy and tolerant of tequila as ever.
Season 9, Episode 5: “Beautiful Doom” is all about Meredith and Cristina’s journeys back from the plane crash and back to each other. From revealing voiceovers to split screens, the episode takes us through their strikingly similar stories, connected only by their constant phone conversations and lack of sleep. We watch as they slowly come to terms with grief, a journey that starts with both of them feeling dead inside, Cristina subconsciously threatening to stab Dr. Parker in the eye with a knife and each of them telling the other to “buck up.” It’s a Minnesota thing.
In Seattle, Meredith bucks up by juggling being an attending with potty training Zola and saving the life of a young girl who finds herself pinned under a car in a situation that is a little too reminiscent of Lexie’s (Chyler Leigh) death. With Derek (Patrick Dempsey) out of town, Mer takes a page from the Bailey (Chandra Wilson) handbook and leaves Zola in the care of an intern … and then Callie (Sara Ramirez), Alex (Justin Chambers), April (Sarah Drew), possibly Jackson (Jesse Williams), some random ER nurse we don’t know and even good old uncle Owen (Kevin McKidd). Mer is lucky Zola’s so cute.
So as Meredith sleeps in a chair next to her patient in Seattle, Cristina sleeps in a chair next to her patient in Minnesota, where she has to buck up and fight for the job of her new best friend, Mr. Feeny. You see, at Mayo, the air is colder both outside and in, where there’s little to no respect for elders. Even though Richard (James Pickens Jr.) is no longer chief at Seattle Grace-Mercy West, he can still stop a surgery on command. But in the middle of snowville, Mr. Feeny is not only ignored, but disrespected and constantly questioned. The old Cristina would have fit in well there. But not anymore.
After Feeny gives Cristina a ride to work (and a danish), the besties take on a rather large aneurysm in a surgery that doesn’t go exactly as planned. But despite the fact that the patient lives, Cristina’s sex friend is still very eager to fire her old man friend, and she is not happy about it. It appears that the dinosaur has greased the robot’s heart.
But even the charm of Mr. Feeny cannot distract Cristina from the dark-and-twisty things she’s feeling. And their “doomsday prepper” patients don’t exactly lighten the mood either. So while Cristina shops for her adult diaper bag (which consists solely of tequila and back-up tequila), Mer spends her time trying to convince Richard that her patient is not Lexie and that she can handle it. And she does. Sure, she freaks out when she hears that Zola is eating gummy worms, but other than that, she shows her interns why it is that she can be Medusa. Because she’s good at her job.
And so is Cristina. The best of her generation, if you ask Mr. Feeny, who risks his career for the life of his patient. And after he admits that Cristina breathes like an anxious hyena and yet is his dream come true, he collapses during surgery. And just like that, the dinosaur problem at Mayo becomes extinct … and Cristina loses another friend. Rest in peace Dr. Thomas (Jurassic Period - 2012). We figured now was an appropriate time to use his real name.
As Cristina swaps her scrubs for snow boots and tequila, Meredith forces her interns to join her in a 30-second dance party in the middle of the OR (which consists mainly of shoulder movements given that their hands are inside of a patient). But Mer slowly realizes that a dance party isn’t the same without Cristina, and Cristina realizes that tequila isn’t the same without Mer. Although, drinking a lot of it helps.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing like a hug from a sister. Which is why Cristina gets incredibly drunk, boards a plane and shows up at Mer’s doorstep (yay!). It’s there that they finally grieve, which, we’d like to imagine, is followed by a 30-second dance party with all the hand gestures and tequila anyone could ever need.
And you know what this means: Just when the interns thought they had found a softer side to Medusa, next week, they are introduced to the “queen of mean.” And they thought Mer was bad.
Catch the next new episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday, November 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Samantha Highfill is a contributing writer to Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @samhighfill.
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