Bravery is one of the most elusive character traits. So many things — being good in an emergency, standing up to bullies, making enemies with abandon — look like bravery, but that doesn’t mean they actually are. What makes a situation terrifying and unnavigable to one person is nothing to another. Tonight’s episode, “Leave it Inside,” places every character in a situation or conversation where they find themselves feeling fragile and terrified.
Like most episodes, this one deals with two patients in life-threatening situations. The first, Holly, is a riot with a giant tumor. She’s a sex fiend obsessed with getting bedded by as many different men as possible before the super giant tumor in her heart kills her. She’s not here for the tumor, though. “Just ignore that,” she says from a PET scan. “It’s just something that I have.” She’s here because during a one-night stand, she tried to find the bathroom, went out the wrong door and accidentally tumbled down two flights of stairs. She has a broken arm, fluid in her spleen, and a desire to have “sex with as many men as she can before her heart says she can’t.”
But Maggie can’t let her heart tumor go, just as Holly predicted. Holly says there are six stages doctors go through that all end with her conceding to let them help so that they will feel better, even though it won’t do anything.
And eventually that’s exactly what happens. “I don’t need a future,” Holly says. Her goal is sex and nothing else. Holly wants to mack on some men. Grey convinces her that it’s worth trying, and Holly tells Maggie to go for it. So they open her up and we get a whole lot of colorful commentary: “How does she even have sex with this thing on her chest?” Kepner quips. And Shepherd calls the tumor they’re looking at the “sistine chapel of tumors.”
Once they open her chest, they are obviously in a bind though. Maggie tries her second plan, but it doesn’t work either. Holly laughs and laughs when they tell her that they couldn’t get it all out. “It’s like my hair or my boobs,” Holly says. “I made room for it.” She’s a woman who knows what she wants, and what she wants is to have sex with a lot of men no matter how little time she has left.
The second patient arrives like a lost little puppy wandering into the Emergency Room. He is a young boy named Walter, with floppy hair and a flannel shirt and eyes wide with fear and pain. “Where are your parents?” Dr. Robbins asks him, and he lies, saying he has no parents. But when questioned further, he reveals that he lives on a farm, and while the doctors discuss his case, he starts to seize.
The parents show up as the result of a notice put out to police and they find out that their son travelled more than an hour on his own to walk himself into the hospital. The doctors have found a tumor on Walter’s pituitary gland, and they need to perform brain surgery to make sure that he will survive. But the parents aren’t having it. As the doctors are speaking, it is obvious that the father doesn’t care at all about the plan the surgeons are suggesting. He is praying. “When can we take him home?” the father asks. And then says that they won’t have brain surgery because God’s will will protect their son. “Thank you for respecting my beliefs,” he says, a practiced, defiant, arrogant tone in his voice. “How soon can you discharge my son?”
Dr. Edwards tries to tell Walter’s mother that there is a very good chance that her son will die. But the eternal enemy Eliza Minnick sends him home. Karev is furious, but Minnick is legally right. There is nothing the hospital can do to to help a child whose parents refuse him care.
Except, of course, when Walter returns to the hospital later in the episode and Minnick isn’t there, Karev isn’t exactly looking for permission to save a life. Walter can no longer see because of the pressure from his tumor, and Karev and Edwards team up to lie to not only the parents but the hospital. They put into his file the drugs that they would have given him if he was seizing, book an Emergency Room, and allow Dr. Amelia Shepherd to operate even though they know they don’t have permission.
Walter gets saved, but his father is furious, and arrives at the hospital promising to sue. “I’d go to jail for this one,” Karev tells Bailey, and he’s definitely in the moral (if not legal) right. The kid can see, and his life has been saved. The end of the episode implies that Karev will be just fine when he implies to the mother that it seems unbelievable that her son could have made it to the hospital, blind, without help. And her silence says that he’s probably right.
But Edwards doesn’t have nearly as much control over her emotions and when the father chastises her for going against his will, she tells him that God made him so weak and so stupid that he is going to kill his child, explodes at him, and throws a laptop against the wall. This earns her a suspension.
And it comes right on the heels of the evaluations of the residents being done by Webber, Bailey, and Minnick. The only real revelation of these meetings is that Bailey’s husband Ben Warren is playing it too safe. He’s afraid and messy, and Webber manages to motivate him to be a little braver, give it a little bit of a shot.
The rest of the bravery comes from characters trying to find their way through love. Andrew makes a move on Jo, who shuts him down. “The second that you say it,” she begins. Minnick and Robbing end up going home together and finally having sex. Meredith, after warning Maggie that she is going to let Riggs come over, ends up cancelling on him. But by the end of the episode, Meredith grabs Riggs’ hand on the way out the door.
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