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Allan Heinberg on "New History"...

Original Airdate: 11-12-09

Tonight’s episode, “New History,” is named after a song by Andy Davis, a sly and soulful singer/songwriter, whose protagonist has barely survived a bad breakup and now finds himself unsure whether or not he should embark on a new romance.  He doesn’t know if he’s ready to trust his feelings and create what he calls “new history.”

I love the idea of “new history” because it perfectly captures the relationship so many of us have with the past.  No matter how hard we try to let go of it –– to learn from it and move forward -- all we’re really doing is creating new history, trying to learn from past mistakes, but inevitably making new ones that will haunt us in the future.

The past, it would seem, is inescapable.  Everything we are today is the product of who we were yesterday, last month, last year:  the choices we made, the red lights we ran, the things said and maybe shouldn’t have, the people we loved, and the people we didn’t.  So, how to make peace with the past?  What can be done about the mistakes we made, the lies we told, and the people we hurt to get where we are today?

For Izzie Stevens, the past has never been more present.  Fired from Seattle Grace Mercy West -- and feeling Alex is to blame – Izzie retreated to the Chehalis, WA trailer park where she grew up.  Reconnecting with the man who inspired her to become a surgeon, her high school science teacher, Dr. Adam Singer, Izzie is forced to relive her history as a pregnant 15-year-old who considered dropping out of high school to become a teenage mom.  The irony, of course, is that Izzie’s concern for her mentor forces her to return to Seattle Grace Mercy West to confront her more recent past – her failures as a doctor and a wife -- and the anger and shame she felt as a pregnant 15-year-old is not all that different from the resentment and humiliation she’s experiencing right now.  And the decision she’s facing in the present is exactly the same one she faced in high school. Is she going to let a careless error – and her own hurt feelings and regrets – rob her of her future as a surgeon?  As in the past, Izzie ultimately chooses to confront the issue head-on – to stand up to the Chief and to Alex – and the insight she gains from both encounters – and the encouragement she receives from Dr. Singer – a man who still regrets never having lived his dream – ultimately allows her to take a clear-eyed look at herself, her circumstances, and her options for the future.  There are no easy answers for Izzie at the end of this episode, but you definitely get a sense from Katherine Heigl’s performance that Izzie’s not about to give up on her dream of becoming a surgeon.  Somewhere, somehow, she’s going to be a doctor.

Alex, too, is haunted throughout the episode by his past with Izzie.  He’s obviously still wounded by her having left him – but he’s determined not to allow himself to acknowledge that – to feel it – to reveal himself to Izzie in any way.  And when Alex is finally brave enough to go to the OR gallery and force a confrontation, Izzie throws the entire history of their relationship in his face – all the things she’s had to forgive him for in the past – but in the end, it turns out to be Izzie’s misinterpretation of the past – specifically of Alex’s going to the Chief out of his concern for her – that has created the unbridgeable distance between them.

To one degree or another, all the characters seem a bit paralyzed by the past.  Meredith longs for the moment when George was sill alive, and Izzie was okay, and everyone was happy – a moment she was barely even conscious of when it was happening.  Derek seems to mourn the time when the hospital ran smoothly, and he and Richard were trusted allies.  And by the episode’s end, Bailey acutely feels the loss – not only of her work-husband and husband-husband – but of the time when she had total, unquestioning trust in the Chief.

And then sometimes the past doesn’t stay in the past.  Teddy’s arrival at Seattle Grace unleashes all manner of complications for Owen, Cristina, and herself.  Cristina’s immediately suspicious that Owen and Teddy were more than friends during their time together in Iraq.  Teddy confesses to Owen that she apparently misread their mutual history, and walks away from him, mortified.  And Owen’s left haunted by Teddy’s confession, now forced to re-examine his own history -- and his feelings for both Teddy and Cristina.

Ultimately, however, it’s the Chief’s struggle with the past – specifically with his history of alcoholism – that’s the most devastating.  So far this season, the Chief has behaved in extremely erratic, un-Chief-like ways – crashing his car, alienating his friends, firing Derek, Izzie, April, and Patricia to name a few -- all of which seemed to stem from the stress surrounding his dealings with the board and the subsequent merger.  But the truth turns out to be much darker – and more catastrophic for both the Chief and Seattle Grace Mercy West.  The Chief is drinking again.  And apparently he’s been drinking for a long time.  Right now, only Meredith Grey knows the truth.  And what she’s going to do about it will surprise you.

Tune in next week.  Thanks for watching.  And for reading.


Stephie B

Great way to end the episode. I feel like I finally understand what is going on with the Cheif and why he is being so mean and unlike himself. BTW I love Arizona. She is a great character.
I am worried about Alex... Izzy is the only person he trusts and now he deosn't and I want him to be able to trust. It hurts my heart.
I Love Mer/Der together. Thank you thank you thank you. BUT please have them get married! Stop sayign they married. A freaking post it is not a marriage and it ir ridiculous that you want us as veiwers to think of it as real. It is crap.


Please fix this situation with Alex and Izzie. We have invested in them for over five seasons and this current SL is just too heartbreaking. I liked what you said in the blog about Izzie, but felt we only got to see her attitude on the show. Wish you'd highlight her remorse a bit more. Really hoping you can bring her back and redeem the Alex/Izzie relationship. Justin and Katherine have SPARKS for days, even when fighting...though I'm ready for some hot make up time, too. ;)


Loved this whole episode! There was never a dull moment!

Adele thinking Bailey was his mistress was a hoot! Then Bailey suspecting everyone even Reed and Lexi!LOL

I understand Chief's situation and behavior a little more now that we know he has fallen off the wagon. Hopefully he will be able to pull himself together soon!

I am so glad Izzie left again! She is just so selfish! Alex broke my heart!

So nice to have Meredith back.

Loved that Owen got Cristina a Cardio God for a present! You can tell how much he loves her! I actually like the Teddy character but I am going to DISLIKE her quickly if she breaks up Cristina/Owen! This couple is so good together! Even when they argue and disagree, at the end of the day they go home together - that is true love, the kind that makes it 40 years! Please, please don't ruin their 40 years!


Truthfully, I liked the previous two episodes much better than this one. But, there were a couple things that I did like and I'd like to highlight them. First, Teddy Altman. I was expecting NOT to like her, but I was deliciously surprised! I loved her!! I also like how its implied that Arizona will finally find a friend around SGH. The second thing I really liked, was the end scene with the Chief. I've been feeling very guilty for being annoyed with his behavior this season, but you explained his actions beautifully and I hope to see more of it in detail within the coming weeks. Poor Chief!

Lucy from Portland.

Wait, are you teeling me that Owen Hunt, the guy who is madly in love with Cristina is going to doubt her feelings for her? You guys spent last season hitting us over the head about Owen being in love with Cristina, and now he has doubts?

Owen is dead for me.


I had really been suspecting that the cheif had been drinking for a while now. He's normally so "on his game" that all of the mistakes, slip ups, and unusual behaviors were screaming to me that he was drinking again. Well done on the writing! Awesome! I love this show.

Celia from New York

OK, I really liked this episode, but in truthfulness, I can do without Izzie around. I did not miss her...nor do I want her back. Everything Izzie did she caused herself and she deserved to be fired..regardless of whether the chief was drinking or not. She has been forgiven over and over; and has been a whiney, miserable person...never a surgeon...never professional. She has spent years blaming everyone else and never taking the responsibility for her own actions. I hope we don't spend episode after episode on Izzie Stevens.

I loved the rest of the episode and really hope we can get some of the "old" Seattle Grace back. I'm a little nostalgic for the Grey's that used top be.


Are You aware that everybody is hating Izzie.You are going to have a hard time fixing this, unless this is what You where looking for ....I Love Izzie, but You are ruining her


You just can't beat this show. I laughed, I sighed and I can't wait till next week. You guys rock!!!


Excellent blog! I like when the blogger actually explains the show and doesn't blab on about themselves for paragraphs on end.

The end of the blog brought a lot of clarity. This is how Meredith heals her relationship with her father as well as her work relationship with the Chief...her father father and her work father as it may be. Brilliant!


I enjoyed Teddy's interactions with Cristina. Unlike Hahn, Teddy was actually willing to teach Cris. She also had a great chemistry with Owen. Please continue with Cris and jackson storyline. They have a great physical chemistry and their kiss was short but intense. I would love to see how this love square unfolds. I am worried that you guys will have Jackson paired with Lexie just in case Cris and Jackson didn't work out. It wouldn't surprise me since Lexie has been romantically linked to just about everyone from Derek, Karev, George, and now Mark.
I had mixed feelings about Mer/Izzie return. I was happy to see Mer back with her friends. Izzie on the other hand was so cold and distant to everyone. Izzie went from this sweet happy person in season 1+2 to a complete icicle. She basically turned into a Kate Gosselin of Seattle Grace. The way she treated her husband was horrible. She is a terrible friend and wife right now. To be honest, I didn't miss Izzie at all and would prefer that she just leaves for good this time and doesn't come back to drag other characters down.
Nazi is back. What's with Bailey? She was so pushy, bossy and was annoying throughout the whole episode. Her character is too unrealistic and borders on comical. I would never expect a doctor to act like that. If I didn't know any better, I would think that she is the chief of the hospital. I don't know if it's the writing, acting or both, but please tone down the character. She is getting a bit too much to take.


This is the last time I will comment b/c the previous two times were not posted. I loved your blog but once again my thoughts are there are way too many characters on this show. I LOVED, LOVED the old GA when the focus was on the core 5 interns. Now there are so many characters that the few lines that they have don't amount to a whole lot of anything that makes sense to the whole episode, i.e. the two brief scenes with Lexie and Reed. Why even have them in the episode. Also, I totally dislike what the writers are doing with the C/O characters. In season 5 you could really feel their connection and we (the viewers) were rooting for them. Now, it's like that season didn't even exist b/c their scenes together since episode 3 are just too unbelievable. What about the "soulmates" love story that you the writers created for them? I'm just not feeling it at all this season. Bringing in a third wheel in the form of a cardio-goddess that Cristina is going to be jealous of is believable, but SERIOUSLY, Owen even considering whether he has feelings for Teddy after everything Cristina has done for him w/PTSD is just totally incredible to me. Why didn't the writers explore more about their healing process in the relationship before bringing on another love interest. I was totally invested in this beautiful love story being played out by two amazing actors and now I find that I'm rapidly losing interest in after the awful storyline this season. I'll tune in a little longer to see if the story gets any better for my favorite couple. At least I can re-watch Season 5 on DVD to remember why I started re-watching GA after terrible Seasons 3 & 4. I can tell that Shonda & the other writers really want us to like Teddy but come on how could Owen fall for her after everything that Cristina supposedly means to him? I realize that you won't print this b/c of the negative comments. But, I'm truly hoping that the writers will come to their senses and totally re-vamp the show after the whole Seattle Grace/Mercy West merger debacle and now this new totally unrealistic love triangle. C/O Forever! All the best...seriously!


After reading what you had to say about why Izzie went back to Chehalis, and the parallels between her 15-year-old past and her more recent past, I think I understand Izzie a little better now. I hope that she and Alex sort out that whole misunderstanding soon! (And please don't break them up!)

I felt sorry for the Chief in the end, although he has been pretty annoying for the past few episodes (firing people left and right, yelling at everyone, etc). But now I think I understand him better too. Hopefully he doesn't go back to alcoholism again! I hope Meredith helps him. :)


Nothing about Jackson/Cristina? I really like these two together! Please at least give them a fling or something please!


Loved the episode. You did a great job!


This was great ep. I LOVE KIM RAVOR. Thank you for bringing her to the show. Favorite scenes were Adele and Bailey and the cafeteria scene with the dtrs and residents. Love the character growth!


I have watched this show for years and come to terms with the things I didnt like, and I want you to know that I think this was the best episode I ave seen in a very long time. Each character had his or her time I loved the MerDer scene OC scene all of them I was amazed at the chief and baily and all of it. I am a huge fan and I am very proud to say Greys anatomy is one of my favorite shows of all time. this episode is a very good example of why.


I can't wait. And I love the circle of surgeons you are showing with Owen, Christina, Lexie and Mark, Callie and Arizona, it's the interns again but different - interns grown. the writing is awesome.


The part that thrilled me most was the chief at the end. And Mark Sloan really is a GOOD gossip!

The promo? Looks amazing. I CANNOT wait for next week!

Joan H

I loved Kim Raver on Lipstick Jungle and it'll be so interesting to see the love triangle... As always, loved the episode!!!!!!


Glad to see the cheif's past history of alcoholism is coming back. I always thought it strange that it was mentioned but he wasn't shown struggling with it. Can't wait to season where the season goes. OBTW.... love seeing Sandra Oh in the operating room again on top of her game... I couldn't enjoy the whinning of the last few weeks...

 Meredith is back

Meredith is back and everything seemed to flow better. I’m sorry she didn’t snag a surgery, but she was busy walking a fine line being a friend to both Izzie and Alex. Meredith wasn’t shocked about Izzie being pregnant at fifteen. I thought only Bailey and George knew that. Loved the talk between Meredith and Alex about being the same. I’ve missed their friendship.

I loved that Bailey gave Cristina food for thought in that she’s the one running all the cardio attendings off. Not sure how I feel about the new cardio attending. Kinda blah just like the MW people.

Loved Adele thinking that Richard and Bailey were having an affair. Work spouses! The chief was hilarious when he thought Bailey was hitting on him. The flashbacks of the chief loosing it were very good. I thought he was drinking again and had seen some of the signs, but certainly not all of them. I watch fairly carefully and I don’t remember seeing the chief fire Patricia. Did I just miss that?

Cristina was very selfish in this episode. She wasn’t a friend to Alex or Izzie in their time of need and certainly didn’t pick up that Meredith might be feeling a little insecure and anxious on her first day back. She bitched about “her gift” and disrespected the new attending and tried to run to the chief to complain.

Lunch at the attending table. Funny but as Cristina said, not normal. I hope this season isn’t going to be all about the attendings.

Alex was perfect as he went through shock, hurt, and anger. What he said to Izzie at the end was great. But ouch for the Alex and Izzie fans. I get that you are deliberately trying to make Izzie look bad. You are doing a great job. Don’t care if she comes back or not. And I loved Meredith beating Izzie with her tiny ineffectual fists. I think a lot of us have wanted to do that.

Meredith knowing about the chief’s drinking? That should be good. I just hope she doesn’t feel guilty because Ellis was probably a big part in his drinking to start with.

Thanks for the Derek and Meredith moment and their music. I’m so happy Meredith is back! Ellen is still glowing.


Great episode. I have to say though I am very disappointed in the way Alex & Izzie are being written.

I liked Teddy a lot but I am still rooting for Cristina and Owen. The scene with Richard at the end was really well done. The attendings at lunch was a really good scene too.

Meredith and Derek bore me completely so I was glad to see them kept to a minimum again this week.

ole grey mer

So happy to have Mer back, but you could have given us a little more of her. You gave Izme, as usual, the bulk of screen time.
And, as usual, Ellen Pompeo did a great job w/her few seconds of air time. Love when she interacts with anyone.
Many great lines tonight. Love Christina, she nails her scenes every time. Alex...wonderful, Chief...excellent.
Please get rid of that "Frankenstein" MRer...freaky & useless. Give our faves more airtime.
Yeaaaa, no "pixie" girl MRer. Didn't miss Lexie. Really enjoyed Arizona & Callie tonight, like them so much better when they're not being forced on us.

Overall a good episode. Can't wait for more Mer/Der, or for that matter, Mer/Anybody. Thanks.


Very slick, particularly the Chief's story and his wife thinking it's another woman. Based on her history with him, she sees the same pattern. And sometimes as we women can do, we automatically think it's one thing when it's really another.

In the Chief's instance, Adele is right. It's the other woman from his past, not a human one but alcohol. Well played.

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