Buy us some peanuts and Cracker Jack! In Grey's Anatomy, Season 8, Episode 7, "Put Me In, Coach," we open with the surgeons perfecting their pitches and practicing their swings for a softball match against Seattle Presbyterian. But despite Owen's (Kevin McKidd) coaching heroics, they're all pretty terrible. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Cristina (Sandra Oh) even lie down in the outfield for a bit of cloud-watching.
But there is hope for our intrepid team. When Henry comes in to the hospital for a check-up, Owen discovers that he used to be a pro ball player and hires him long enough for him to play in the game. During the actual game itself, however, the Seattle Grace docs give up twelve points to the other team. Meredith and Cristina get drunk in the outfield, and Bailey (Chanda Wilson) picks a fight with Mer.
Later, Lexie (Chyler Leigh) relieves Crazy-Throw Teddy (Kim Raver) on the pitching mound, but Lex soon becomes distracted by Mark (Eric Dane) and his date (a Seattle Presbyterian opthamologist named Julia) getting all schmoopy — and you'll never guess what happens next. She directs a fastball right to Julia's boob. Her boob! The opposing team goes haywire and the coach withdraws the team from the game. Then everyone sits on the bleachers and swigs from Cristina's flask... except Richard (James Pickens Jr.), of course. Jackson mopes a lot, because he realizes Lexie is totally not entirely over Mark, even if she denies it.
Between these outfield antics, Teddy has Cristina working on a routine angioplasty, which Cristina sees as a waste of her time. But Teddy tells Meredith that she gave Cristina that assignment to teach her respect. Later, however, Cristina lets April (Sarah Drew) do an emergency aortic dissection, and Teddy sees that Cristina is finally a team player. Like a good mentor, she commends her student and tells Cristina to make a surgery bucket list of all the operations she has ever wanted to do, assuring her that she will help her check each one off. Basically, Cristina's low-level surgery hell is over. You're golden, Yang!
Meredith spends the episode looking dismayed (which is a big surprise) — she's fretting over not hearing back from Janet and not making any headway figuring out why the islet cell device Bailey put in Henry is failing. However, Mer has a moment of House-like inspiration when Teddy makes an offhand comment about going back to the beginning, and she runs of to review her mother's journals. She realizes that her mom's hypothesis was wrong and cracks the whole case. Bailey is still too angry with Meredith to consider her point, but eventually sees the light — thanks mostly to an intervention by Richard, who tells her to get over her anger — and reluctantly agrees to let Meredith work on the case. We knew she couldn't Nazi out on us for too much longer.
Derek (Patrick Dempsey) is working on a teenage girl's tumor and insists on a tricky, experimental point of entry to remove the mass. The girl's mother, spooked by the risks, refuses the surgery, and Derek refuses any compromise. But then he does more research and convinces the mother that the surgery will in fact work — and that it's her only chance to see her daughter entirely well again. The mother relents, and Derek and Lexie rock the surgery. Derek Shepherd: dreamy and miraculous, all in one well-coiffed package.
Callie (Sara Ramirez)'s patient is Carl, a garbageman who was hit by a car, pulverizing his hand. Callie initially suggests amputating multiple fingers, but when she discovers that Carl is a master wood carver, she opts to reconstruct his hand, which she does beautifully. She also helps April embrace the surgical side of her job over the administrative, reminding her that operating is what makes her heart sing.
Meanwhile, Alex (Justin Chambers) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) are subpoenaed for Zola's medical records, which riles Alex up. He goes on a mission to rescue Zola from bureaucratic limbo, and even breaks federal laws by telling the judge about Zola's illness and influencing him to expedite a court date... but it totally works. That's what we call Karevving the judicial engine!
So now that Mer and Der have a hearing, will the next episode have more scenes in the courtroom than the operating room? Are we getting into Law & Order territory? Stay tuned, Grey's lovers.