In this episode of Grey's Anatomy, we meet Dr. Teddy Altman, a cardiothoracic surgeon who served with Dr. Hunt in Iraq and is Seattle Grace's newest attending. Although Owen recruited Teddy as a gift for Cristina, she is naturally less than impressed. Meanwhile, Izzie returns to the hospital seeking Derek's help in treating her high school biology teacher, who shows symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Bailey covers for the Chief when he makes a very basic mistake in surgery, and his odd behavior as of late is finally explained. Will Izzie and Alex get a chance to make up? And how will Cristina react to a lady from Owen's past? Let's find out.
Meet Teddy, Owen's gift to Cristina. He calls his former sister-in-arms a cardio god (or goddess), but after Yang's initial excitement wears off - and when Yang perceives Teddy to be a little rusty - she gives her a decidedly less divine title: Desert Storm Barbie. Despite Yang's disappointment, Teddy tells the other attendings that Cristina is the bets resident she's ever seen. They all playfully warn Teddy that Yang has run off the last three cardio attendings, but when Owen defends Yang, Teddy realizes the two are an item.
While Cristina trashes Teddy's state-school education and lack of being published, Teddy correctly diagnoses a young boy believed to have asthma. Instead, it's a heart-related issue, and once the OR is booked, Teddy lets Yang do a lot of the dirty work. Things get a little hairy, but rather than save the day, Teddy lets Yang fix her mistake, and together they close up. Yang is clearly reenergized, which is nice to see considering all the moping we've seen her do this season. (Also: Jackson, who still has eyes for Yang despite her promises that nothing is going to happen, was downright ogling her the entire time she had her hands in that chest cavity.)
Teddy's day doesn't end on such an upbeat note, however. She and Owen have a little heart-to-heart about their past. Teddy is shocked that Owen never called her when he broke up with Beth. She tells him she always had their tortured, "Bridges of Madison County" love story mapped out in her head, but now she's sure she can let that go. Something in Owen's stare as she walks away makes me think that maybe he's having second thoughts. Bonus insight, to the shame of Yang: Teddy wears a scrub cap with birds on it because her best friend, who loved birds, died in the 9/11 attacks. Teddy left her attending position at Columbia to join the Army.
Meanwhile, Izzie pops up at Seattle Grace, but reconciling with Alex is not on her mind. Instead, she begs Meredith to ask Derek to examine Dr. Singer, her high school biologist. Izzie crossed paths with him while staying with her mom in her hometown, and because he's believed to have Alzheimer's disease, he's been removed from teaching and put in a nursing home. Izzie, however, believes he's too young to have Alzheimer's and believes he could have inter-cranial bleeding due to a fall.
Unfortunately, all of Derek's tests come back negative, but because everything out Dr. Singer's mouth is about Izzie at age 15, Derek assigns Dr. Percy to do a full dementia workup. Since Izzie partly blames being fired on Dr. Percy, she is less than thrilled to have him on the case. They argue about Alex and pretty much everything else, including Izzie's demands that Dr. Percy do a spinal tap. He reluctantly does, but the results are also normal.
Suddenly, however, Dr. Singer is completely lucid. Because of the spinal tap, excess fluid that had been crowding Dr. Singer's brain was relieved and restored his capabilities. Derek decides all that is needed is a permanent shunt, but Dr. Singer spent all his savings on his dead wife's medical care. Izzie begs Derek to do the surgery pro bono if the Chief approves. Naturally, the Chief says no, but Izzie strong-arms him with a little reminder about the $8 million she gave the hospital to kick-start the clinic.
Meredith squeezes as much info out of Izzie as she can and relays it back to Alex. Izzie has kept up on her cancer treatments, but she refuses to talk about Alex. Alex feels virtually the same about Izzie, but Meredith tells him he has to talk to her. When he finds her watching Dr. Singer's operation in the gallery, all she can do is hurl accusations at him about how he got her fired. She says he took away the only thing she had left and he can never forgive him. Alex's response is simple, but painful: "You decided I did something, you didn't ask. You didn't hang around to talk. I am your husband and you didn't give me the benefit of the doubt. So... I can't forgive you either."
Finally, Adelle shows up at the hospital and asks Bailey where the Chief has been. Apparently, he's not been spending his nights at home, a pattern of behavior Adelle saw years ago when her husband stepped out on her with Ellis Grey. Adelle accuses Bailey of being the other woman, and even though she isn't, it led to the much of the night's comic relief. (Callie hilariously explains that Bailey and the Chief are work husband and work wife, just like Callie and Sloan.)
When Lexie and Reed notice that the Chief's patient is lemon and mustard yellow, Bailey soon realizes that the Chief clipped the common bile duct, a mistake a surgeon of his status should never make. She swears Lexie and Reed to secrecy, and makes the repair. Ashamed, the Chief tells Bailey he isn't having an affair, but also says that he is stepping back from surgery for a while. He asks her to take over his operations, and he heads to Joe's.
It's there that we learn the Chief has been, for several weeks now, drinking more than just club soda. As we hear the Chief's words from earlier in the season to Thatcher about the disease that alcoholism is, we are reminded of the decisions and outbursts we have seen from him, presumably all made because he's back on the bottle. It's the worst possible time for him to fall off the wagon, but at least he's now aware that he doesn't need to be wielding any scalpels. Still, that didn't stop him from drinking enough to have Joe take his car keys. And all signs point to Meredith noticing that there was a little something extra in the Chief's glass. I hope this doesn't end as badly...
But to end on a positive note, I'll award Bailey with the line of the night. After realizing that Bailey's now lost her husband-husband and her work-husband, Callie suggests Bailey make Derek her work husband. "With all that hair?" Bailey scoffs. "I can't be looking at that all day." Love her.