On last week's edition of Grey's Anatomy, Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) decided not to let Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) become the interim chief, and it was about more than just his prowess in the position making her look bad. She was also concerned about his potential to relapse in the wake of his long-time sponsor Ollie's passing. Based on Webber's reaction to an incoming patient he suspects of being an alcoholic, she really might be onto something here.
The patient is a teacher, whose blood alcohol levels are through the roof as he puts two kids in the path of a table saw during shop class. Richard takes the situation mighty personally, breaking the veil of doctorliness to lecture the guy about accepting his flaws to heal, and, when the patient doesn't admit to having a problem — and his story is corroborated by a parent who'd have every reason to think otherwise right about now — Richard even "tests" the guy with a cup of faux booze to gauge his reaction.
Once Webber discovers that this Mr. Buckley actually has a rare condition in his GI tract that's causing his extraordinary lab results, he stills seems pretty anguished; before, he was upset to see himself in the guy's perceived addiction before, but now he's forced to look at someone who doesn't share in his struggles, which may be even harder to swallow. Making matters worse, Ortho God Link is blithely offering to join him at a bar, which means temptations are everywhere.
In short, Webber really needs a new sponsor so that all of these triggers don't get the better of him, especially while Katherine is out of town rebuilding her family's brand.
Meanwhile, Alex Karev's (Justin Chambers) first day as interim chief is about as much of a disaster as one might expect. He's used to being the rockstar peds maestro, so when he finds himself attending to all sorts of matters at any given moment — from budget approval requests and signing off on paperwork to handling a lobby full of concerned parents — it's almost too much for him to take. Richard might be chuffed at seeing him fall short on the job, but Bailey's truly concerned. To her credit, she does stick up for Karev when she hears murmurs of criticism from other doctors, but she simply can't ignore the fact that his OR scheduling board is a disaster and that he's blown the entire quarterly budget in a single day.
There's one part of the job that Karev does seem to be pretty comfortable with, however: he delights in telling Dr. Roy to step off after his neglect of a nosebleed patient leads to the guy internally bleeding for hours and going cold on the table. Whether that turns out to be another mistake — is Roy's legal agreement with the hospital still binding in this situation? — remains to be seen.
Bailey's effort to play cleanup with Alex Karev has the other Dr. Karev (Camilla Luddington) pretty peeved, by the way, since it means her focus is diverted almost completely away from all of the nifty developments she's got to share about their foundation project. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is still fascinated by the updates, but since she's no longer the project partner, Jo's relying on Bailey to approve of her ideas.
In Bailey's defense, this is the first day of her not being the chief, and she'd be negligent not to keep an eye on Alex's acclimation to the position, so Jo's impatience is a little absurd. On the other, it's good to see Jo standing up for herself like this, so go Brooke.
Speaking of tapping into something new, Meredith's patient Cici might be worse for the wear, but she's definitely not budging on their agreement to let her poke around in that head (and heart) of hers while the good doc tries to find a way to save her kidneys. Eventually, she gives Mer her first homework assignment, and it's easy enough: go shopping for some great going out garbs. It's simple, but there is some symbolism to her trying on some new threads for size, and her fumble-bumble behavior around Dr. DeLuca suggests she's already starting to think and feel some things... This could get interesting.
Perhaps the weirdest development of the evening is that Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) has gone from getting proposed to on the fly to having no idea where her boyfriend is. She takes out her frustrations on Amelia and Owen, who are still blissed out to the point of being a little nauseating. What's really bothering her, though, is that Jackson has decided to take a time out from her, the hospital, and his yacht to explore his headspace after being allowed to live, while his patient passed away from that car accident. Sure, they both agreed that he needed to take some time to process everything that's happened to him, but ditching without saying goodbye? Harsh. It's a little too soon for us to be worrying about Jaggie, isn't it?
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.