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Grey's Anatomy Recap: Episode 15, "Before and After," and Private Practice Recap: Episode 16, "Ex-Life"

Grey's Anatomy Rundown: Episode 15, "Before and After," and Private Practice Rundown: Episode 16, "Ex-Life"

With a special crossover event comes a special crossover recap! On this week's two-hour Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice combo, Addison and Naomi (and eventually Sam) take Archer to Seattle Grace in the hopes that Derek can treat the parasites in Archer's brain. The old med school friends reminisce about the lives they used to have, before divorces and children and those other complicated things.


Meanwhile, Cristina learns about Owen's mystery woman, Alex starts to suspect something is really wrong with Izzie, and — back in Santa Monica — Violet faces one of her biggest fears about motherhood. Ready to talk about it? Just read more.

When Grey's was just starting out, it was about two very distinct groups of people: the interns, who mostly acted like children, and the attendings, who were occasionally sloppy messes but were ultimately still adults. Private Practice, I always thought, was meant to put the spotlight on people in the "adult" phase, and the jury's still out on whether that experiment will be successful, but for these two episodes, the focus on the older crowd worked for me. I actually felt somehow cheated that we'd never gotten to see Addison, Derek, Naomi, Sam, and Mark interact before. Hearing the song Derek wrote for Addison and performed at their wedding, watching Addison test Derek's medical skills and having Derek rise to the challenge, hearing Archer list off all the sins he'd perpetrated on Addie's friends over the years — I guess it felt like what might have happened if Shonda Rhimes had decided to move all of Addison's favorite people to Seattle for the spinoff rather than take Addison away.


But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Addison and Naomi arrive at the hospital (followed in short order by Sam, who says he has no idea what he's doing there; that makes all of us) with Archer in tow, and Addison essentially asks Derek for a miracle. He doesn't think he can pull it off — and, for what it's worth, Archer hates Derek and so doesn't think he can do it, either — but for Addison, he'll try. Addison says she made Derek very small in her mind after the divorce so she could move on, but now she needs him to be the great and powerful surgeon she always pumped him up to be. And he is; he gets all the worms out (despite one dicey moment) and Archer's back to being an ass in no time.

But Derek's brilliance doesn't last: Performing Jen's aneurysm surgery right after Archer's procedure, he nicks part of her brain, and things go terribly wrong. Addison ends up involved, trying to treat Jen's sick son, and this time, she's the one who needs to be the surgical goddess. It's an interesting flip of the tables to see Addison up against the wall with Derek relying on her to save a life. And again, all seems to have gone right — until the final few minutes, in which Jen starts babbling nonsensically.

The medical stories are fine, but honestly, once Archer seemed to be stable, I stopped focusing on the medicine and started paying better attention to the relationships between these old friends. I loved Sam reconnecting with Derek, Sam saying he got a midlife crisis earring and Derek assuring Sam that Meredith isn't a midlife crisis girlfriend. I chuckled at Addison talking to Mark, having Mark respond in a professional manner, and Callie immediately stepping in to explain that Mark's met someone and thus wouldn't be responding as his typical lothario self. And I loved them dancing and drinking at the bar, like it really was the afterparty of some school reunion.


But beyond their stories, a ton of other things happened, too; here's a quick scoop:

  • Owen's mystery woman turns out to be his ex-fiancee, whom he dumped in a two-line email and then hadn't told he was back from war. In fact, Owen hasn't told anyone he's back from war, even his mother, because he doesn't want them to see the hardened person he's become.
  • Izzie's game for the interns is cute and clever — and makes no logical sense, but I'll ignore that — but it's mostly useful because it gives Alex another indication that something might be really wrong with Izzie. In addition to that whole dead-boyfriend thing, she now doesn't seem to be seeing very well. Alex loves her, but he really wants to run.

  • George helps get Sadie kicked out of the program! Or she quits — whatever — because she's exposed during the game for knowing nothing. She tells Meredith she'd hoped Mere would pull her through, and Mere tells her to grow up.
  • Sam has an asthma attack, and his friends theorize it's because he's freaking out over Naomi being with another man. But it's actually just because Bailey gave him an inhaler he was allergic to. Um, whoops?
  • The moment with Addison and Callie in the chapel is sweet: Callie offers up a prayer that serves to tell Addison she's kissing women now, then switches gears and assures Addison that "you're an amazing doctor who saves babies. God knows who you are."
  • I'm relieved that Charlotte finally gets why Cooper's moved in with Violet, even if she still doesn't completely agree with it. When Violet starts worrying that she, too, could develop postpartum depression, Cooper sweetly lists off the things he'll do to keep her rested and sane.
  • Addison: "We called Meredith the 12-year-old. What do we call Lexie, the preschooler?" Mark: "She's a woman."

Overall, I think the smaller moments in these episodes worked best for me, the ones where we got to see the friendships that brought Addison and Derek together and led Sam and Naomi to marry and form their practice in the first place. I'm relieved that Meredith didn't freak out over the rose petal and that Archer didn't die, big things that could have potentially thrown the whole story off course. I'm a little worried about the promos for next week, with all the "Surgeon . . . or God?" stuff, but we'll cross that bridge in a bit. For now, tell me: How did the first real installment of this crossover work out for you?

Photos copyright 2009 ABC, Inc.

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