And zoom! Season 7 gets off to a flying start as
Meredith—in her voiceover — talks about rebirth and change as Derek floors it down the highway in his Porsche. (And of course he drives a Porsche.) Meredith comes to get Derek outta the clink, saying, “Again, Derek?” Meanwhile, Bailey is traveling back to Seattle with her son while some tactless ol’ biddy next to her asks her if she knew any of the doctors who were killed in that shooting. And Alex is going on about his business while carrying the bullet in his chest — you know, the one that nearly killed him. Yeah. They’re chummy, he and that bullet.
Derek gets back to the hospital to rapturous applause, addresses his coworkers, but is quickly distracted by a brain scan that April hands him. He has a sudden revelation that he wants to be back in the OR, so he abruptly quits his position to go deal with this patient’s tumor. And Richard is Chief once more! Hurrah! (We’re cheering especially because this hopefully means no more bratty Derek.) Richard has a private celebration in his old office by dancing like a fool. The guy actually raises the roof, folks. Meredith walks in on him, and he quits his tomfoolery. She asks to be cleared for surgery, but Richard defers to the judgment of the trauma counselor, Dr. Perkins. (P.S. - Dr. Perkins is totally diddlin’ Teddy, or so we’re led to believe.)
Perkins holds a group therapy session for the docs most affected by the tragedy, and Lexie freaks out and gets all encyclopedic about murder terminology and how the incident is technically a “mass murder.” Ah, post-traumatic stress disorder, how you rear your ugly head in so many different ways.
In the first of the episode’s flashbacks, Ben startles Bailey as she prepares to leave town immediately after the shootings. She tells him (and us) that Mr. Clark shot 18 people, of whom 11 died. Then she leaves Ben high and dry for a couple months.
Back in present-day time, Derek approaches the tumor patient and his mother about a risky surgery in which Derek and his gang would literally have to cut the patient’s skull off to remove the tumor. But Meredith undermines him by telling the patient about all the possible nasty outcomes. She tells Derek to slow the hell down.
Mark confronts Perkins about clearing Lexie for surgery, and we get another flashback. Some hapless patient forgot what meds she was on, a flub which sent Lexie into a screaming fit. “Do you want me to kill you?!” she shrieks. After this little hoopla, Mark apparently had her committed to the psych ward, and the doctors there tranquilized her until she had slept for a couple days. And presto change-o! She’s right as rain. (Please.) Speaking of shell-shocked peeps, Bailey returns to the hospital, and though she’s back to being bossy and jokey, she still seems a bit rattled.
Perkins talks with Derek about the shooting, and Derek says that the incident clarified his priorities in life. He says he thinks less and does more. (Thinks less? Uh yeah, we’ll say. He’s going 40 m.p.h. over the speed limit for most of the episode.) In the third flashback, we see Derek waking up after his surgery and April apologizing to him for getting him shot, but Derek says that Mr. Clark’s intention all along was to shoot him. And in another flashback, Cristina talks with Meredith before Mer’s miscarried fetus is removed. (That’s an especially yucky thing to write.) Meredith demands that both Cristina and April keep mum about the ailed-fay egnancy-pray.
As the mega-surgery begins on the tumor patient, Meredith pulls Cristina out of the observation gallery and questions her judgment about getting married to Owen. (Oh yeah, didn’t we mention that they’re engaged now? Because they are.) “We are not better,” Meredith declares. In her therapy session, Cristina is preoccupied with her bridal magazines and by how happy and simple the girls look, and how she longs for that kind of ignorant bliss. “I think you’re either born simple or you’re born... me.” C’mon now! Stop breaking our hearts already, Cristina. In her flashback, she freaks out when Owen comes to her apartment late because she is so terrified of being alone. Owen, seizing this golden opportunity, whips out a ring and proposes, and Cristina gratefully accepts. Clever dude.
Ben waits for Bailey in the parking lot and is all like, “Uh, it’s been two months. What now?” But Bailey says that though he’s her dream guy, she can’t be with him right now because she’s so busy trying to keep herself together. Probably wise, but damn, Bailey — could you stop the self-sacrifice and embrace happiness for once?
The surgery must have gone some kind of right, because Meredith and Derek are suddenly making out. Uncomfortably, Derek proposes that they make a baby, and Meredith is all like, “What?” We’re shuddering. So uncomfortable.
The tumor patient wakes up and seems to be in excruciating pain, but Derek calms him down. “It’s not a dying pain; it’s a healing pain.” Thud. There’s the theme of the episode, laid out for us with all the subtlety of a hippopotamus.
Derek goes out for some celebratory speeding and is arrested again. Meredith comes to the station yet again, but this time, she takes the ring box from him (oh yeah, he was going to be Owen's best man, even though they aren't close buds) and leaves him there in time-out, meaning that he’ll have to miss the wedding. Now you think about what you’ve done, Shepherd.
It’s wedding time at Meredith’s house, and everyone’s looking glam. Lexie cries afoul of Alex’s badass-ery, saying that someone whom she had to save and who called out the name of his ex-wife in the process is no tough guy. (The lady has a point, chump.) Meanwhile, Callie asks Arizona to move in, and Arizona says yes, relieved that it’s not a bigger question. (Red Flag Alert!) And Meredith goes to check in on the bride, Cristina says she never gave Meredith any flak about her Post-It wedding. But Meredith tells her that Owen is “perfect.” Aww. The ceremony ensues, and everyone seems happy, if only momentarily.
Top 5 OMG Moments from Episode 7.1: "With You I Am Born Again"