"This is the episode! Callie and Arizona need to have sex!"
That's exactly what Grey's Anatomy boss Shonda Rhimes said when she walked into the writers room earlier this year while prepping this Thursday's episode (9/8c on ABC). Why all the excitement? The married couple has had plenty of sex before, but Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) haven't done the deed ever since the latter became self-conscious about her amputated leg, but that will all change Thursday.
"The possibility of sex and intimacy on that level is coming back," Ramirez tells TVGuide.com. "Arizona's had a prosthetic with a flat foot this whole time and she's really insecure about that, but now she has a prosthetic that can wear heels and that, in turn, makes her feel more confident and more sexy."
Surprisingly, it's Arizona who will initiate their trip to sexytown, but it will still be a rocky road to get there during the hour. "When I spoke with amputees, I said, 'So what was the sex situation?'" Capshaw explains. "It moves at a glacial pace because it's a complete redefining of who you are in relation to your body. You are completely changed. To have that kind of amputation, it's like a house of cards. I love Arizona's spirit because she seems indefatigable, it seems like nothing can stop her, but with this, how do you get over this?"
That was exactly Rhimes' point of sending Arizona on this nearly season-long journey of rediscovering herself. "There was something very amazing about watching someone go through something like that," Rhimes says. "For someone to lose their leg and go through that challenge of finding their way back to feeling like themselves again and finding their way to feeling romantic and sexy again, to feeling like the person they were with their spouse again."
"Watching them try to figure out a way to cope has been interesting," Rhimes continues. "We have been really working hard on their story line. Sara and Jessica have been so game for whatever we've been throwing at them. We've been having a good time bringing them back together and really getting them past all their milestones because it's important. I think it's a lovely story about two people in love figuring out how to deal with what happens when one of them has been disabled."
After watching the couple suffer through many challenges this season, Thursday's episode will be a breath of fresh air for fans of the MFEO couple. "It's very tender and it's very collaborative," Capshaw says. "Shonda has always been really lovely and really caring about creating an elegant, honest and earned relationship between these two. It's never been gratuitous. Their intimacy has always been really playful and fun and passionate and exciting. Their rekindling is in that same vein. I have to wear lingerie, so I'm a little nervous about that."
"Watch out, because Arizona is about to give us all some serious hotness," Ramirez adds with a laugh. "Some serious hotness from Jessica Capshaw. I think the fans will appreciate it."
Check out a sneak peek of Thursday's episode of Grey's Anatomy, airing at 9/8c on ABC: