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Pete Nowalk on "Can't Fight Biology"...

Original Airdate: 10-14-10

Here’s something not many people know about me.  I’m a good dancer.  Okay, that’s a bit modest.  I’m an amazing dancer.  I went to Juilliard on a scholarship.  I trained with the same teacher as Baryshnikov.  Currently I perform with a Los Angeles troupe that specializes in a combination of hip-hop, jazz, and disco.  I am the head soloist.

That’s a lie.  I lied.  I’m not a dancer.  I just wish I was.  I want to be like one of those kids on So You Think You Can Dance.  I just can’t dance.  Because when I do I resemble Elaine on Seinfeld.  In fact I’d call it flailing more than dancing.  I even punched a girl in the face when I flailed too hard at a club one time.  I blame my parents.  They didn’t pass down dancing genes.  They passed down chicken leg genes.  Yeah, you should see me in a pair of shorts.  Legs only good for one thing – running.  Not dancing.  But oh how I love to bust out my bold moves on the dancefloor...  I digress.

Genes were kind of the theme of this episode.  Well, biology to be more specific, but genes are part of that.   We wanted to explore that age-old question of nature vs. nurture.  What makes us who we are?  Is it our DNA?  Our upbringing?  A combo platter??  

What better way to explore this question than through Meredith.  We’ve known since the pilot that Meredith, like Ellis, might carry the gene for Early Onset Alzheimer’s.  She just hasn’t gotten tested for the gene yet.  I get it.  It’d be terrifying to find out you had an expiration date.  Think about it.  What would you do?  Be like Meredith’s patient Lila and spend the rest of your life travelling and sleeping around?  Ditch your job and pursue the dreams you put on hold?  Or would you stay the same – setting your alarm everyday, exercising routinely, hoping that some amazing doctors will find a cure before D-day comes?  See – expiration dates are a lot of pressure.  It’s so much easier to think you’ve got years left to mess around and sleep late and put off carpe diem-ing until tomorrow.  That’s probably what Meredith’s been thinking for the last six seasons.  But now she wants to have a baby.  She has more than just herself to think about.  And, of course, now she finds out she has a hostile uterus.  MAN ALIVE!!

Meredith Grey doesn’t get many breaks in life.  Maybe it’s because of her upbringing, or maybe it’s something wonky about her DNA, but someone in the world has decided to deal her tons o’ crap.  Personally, it’s what makes me love her. No matter how many crappy things come her way, Meredith keeps on living and fighting and taking risks.  She’s got balls.  Derek reminds her that, expiration date or not, there’s no reason to think about it.  None of us can know what’ll come tomorrow so why not just throw caution to the wind and be.  So those test results?  They’ll stay in the lab, out of sight and out of mind.  I’m relieved.

Cristina’s got her own set of crap to deal with lately.  First up, house-hunting.   Biologically, there are two types of people in the world – those that buy fixer uppers and those that don’t.  (Okay, maybe not biologically, but I’m trying to weave a common thread through this blog so go with me).  I’m not a fixer upper kind of person.  My fridge currently contains a bottle of ketchup and three beers.  I can barely bring myself to grocery shop so how the hell would I ever manage picking out tile for a bathroom?  Cristina’s the same.  Still, she buys the firehouse…for Owen.  This tells us a lot about where she’s at mentally.  She’s lost when it comes to surgery but not with her marriage.  Instead she’s throwing herself in deeper.  It’s what the worm guy said – when you love something you hold on to it.  For Cristina, that’s Owen.  She’s becoming a fixer upper person for him.  So maybe it’s nurture after all.  (Btw, if you want to know more about why someone would eat worms check out Medical Research Meg’s blog: http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy/medical-case-file)

Let’s pose the nature vs. nurture question for Alex.  Dude is a good Peds surgeon.  This is a little unexpected.  You’d think plastics or trauma surgery would be the specialty he’d thrive in.  He’s tough, he doesn’t get emotional, he’s even a little insensitive sometimes.  But as he showed with our dancer kid, Jake, Alex has a way with kids.  He knew Jake needed to dance for Callie and Arizona, even though he personally couldn’t care less about ballet.  In fact, he probably thinks it’s lame.  But Alex got that dance is what makes Jake Jake.  It’s who he is.  Part of his biology.  Who knows why he ended up this way, especially with parents so different from him, but he is a dancer through and through.  Alex was able to save his leg because of it.  So maybe it’s in Alex’s nature to be a good Peds surgeon.  

Lexie’s Meredith’s sister.  Her biological sister.  They share blood.  So why the hell is Meredith treating April more like a sister than Lexie?  That’s the question running through Lexie’s mind this entire episode.  She doesn’t ask Mer this right away though.  Instead she gets jealous.  And hilarious.  I love watching Lexie be mean.  It’s probably because I’m the youngest child of three.  The youngest always dreams of the day they’ll have the power they never had growing up.  I’ll show you, basically.  That’s what I feel like Lexie’s doing to April in this episode.  She’s had to suffer under Mer and Cristina for years.  Now someone else can suffer.  That would be April.  

Poor April.  She tries so hard.  I don’t blame her.  She just wants to get along.  To belong.  Her best friend just died and now she’s living in this strange house.  A chore wheel is exactly the thing that will bond her to everyone!  What I really like about April in this episode is that somewhere, maybe even if it’s not conscious, she gets that Lexie’s anger isn’t personal, that she’s just the innocent victim.  Luckily, Lexie eventually admits this and confronts Meredith.  Cause who knows what pent up rage can do to you?  Hopefully not make you drive into a Laundromat.  (P.S. if you’re getting to that point, let me suggest talking to the person you’re mad at.  And some therapy.  Therapy never hurts.)  By the way, how awesome was Frances Conroy as the jilted Eleanor in this Laundromat story?  I’m a big fan of Six Feet Under so I was psyched when she agreed to take the part.  And that confession scene gives me the chills.  

Let’s talk about my favorite threesome on our show.  Callie, Arizona, and Mark.  As much as we’ve never stated it before I think it’s always been clear that Arizona and Mark don’t love each other.  They’re as different as two people can be.  For Callie, this bites.  No one likes to be caught between their best friend and significant other.  Usually these situations end up with the best friend getting the boot.  Callie’s not that kind of friend though.  Mark’s been there for her through everything.  So she pushes Arizona to try to be his friend.  The result?  Arizona asks Mark on a date.  What the hell did they talk about on this date?  Callie, I’m guessing.  What else do they have in common?  

Last but not least, Jackson got shirtless.  As you saw, that boy has good genes.  Great genes.  Not a chicken leg gene in sight.  I really have nothing more to say about this except…

You’re welcome.  

Have a great week everyone.






ok!! week four an another awesome episode!! i am loving the growth of all the characters!! I cant lie the change is Cristina is sad, but she needs more than Cardio- a balance! Owen is her balance!! great job


I really love that Meredith was at the center of this episode and she was dealing with her problems and other peoples like a grown up. She didn't just let Lexie explode and walk away, she explained the circumstances. She told
Derek her fears and she's just generally growing up in a way that is awesome.
I cannot say this enough: Meredith at the center of this show is what works. This episode was definitely a good one for that.

I missed Derek in this episode, but I am glad that the few scenes he was in, he had with Meredith because there has been a serious lack of Meredith and Derek together so far this season and they're tackling some pretty huge issues.
I love his attitude about Mer's biology. I love that he loves her so completely and I love seeing them together. More MerDer is always appreciated.

Callie Arizona and Mark are funny, and tonight there was just enough of them. It was nice to see Mark not being a pathetic winer over Lexie. I guess Amy is really good in bed if she cured his woes.

Overall, not the most exciting episode of Greys, but the story was so relevant that I really enjoyed it. It didn't feel like filler at all because we watched Mer go through a process, and i really do love when she exposes her softer side. Plus it seems like she's on her way to becoming a pretty killer doctor, would love to see her in the OR more. or her and Derek in the OR together. maybe a shepherd method surgery?


More, MOre MOre!!! Greys is back to its must see tv status!! top of my dvr!!! love it. but Avery n Teddy NOWAY


Again, this week continues to fill my love tank!! S7 has given me such joy! the continued ride of cristina and owen to a new higher ground is perfect!! their love is why i continue to tune in


I enjoyed tonights episode! Ahhh, and Cristina bought the firehouse for Owen her "husband" <3 all love!!!


Loving all the newbies in mers house! thanks

Ana M.

Hi Pete,

I just wanted to say that you are one of my favorite Grey's writers ever. "Give Peace A Chance" still holds as one of my all time favorite (top 3) episodes. And the way you write Derek...well, it's another reason to love you.

And now, you got my love for how Meredith Grey was tonight. The Alzheimer issue was something that bothered me for a while and the fact that Meredith fears passing the gene to her child and her own timeline, was sad but realistic. I was so happy about her taking Derek's advice of living life as it comes. They should. Derek almost died, Meredith lost their child. Nothing is certain, not even testing positive for that gene. I loved that bedroom scene. We need more of that.

I guess I also should credit you for my newfound like for Lexie. I hate April with a passion. I want her gone yesterday. I don't feel sorry for her...and watching Lexie transmit that for me, was relieving. I won't like her (no matter what Mer or Alex say), but for now, you get a pass for letting Lexie do the job for me.

(BTW, the housing situation? The house in the woods needs to be done. Now.)

I love some Mark lovin' but he needs the usual male bonding with Derek. I miss that.



All i heard when Jackson spoke was 'I want you to take off your clothes and sleep with me' omg thank you. i love the 'frat' house but when will we see der & mer's dream house?


Wonderful wonderful episode. It was hilarious, it had crazies, it had sweet moments (christina/owen derek/meredith). Sandra Oh is just, amazing. Calllie and Arizona so nailed their whole little argument over Mark. Everyone knows what that's like. Callie's sighing, haha. LEXIE! Poor Lexie. This was a damn funny episode the more I think about it, in such a cute way. Loved every minute.


I'm just going to go ahead and say this - Lexie Grey is just the character to watch this season. I've been loving seeing her grow. The way she told April - "I'm going to kill you" - seriously, she is HILARIOUS when given the lines and whenever she's sad, I find that the entire episode is sad just because she is. Hoping to see more of her character development - especially with Mark.


I always love love love :) Thanks guys!


I love Callie and Mark. That said, I'm glad Arizona came around at the end to go off and bond with her girlfriend's best friend. Callie shouldn't have to be put in a position to where she would have to "choose" one, ya know?

Another thing I love - Alex in peds! More Alex on my tv screen is never a bad thing.

It's weird that you mention that the thing Cristina loves most is Owen. During the scene with worm-dude, I was thinking surgery. But Cristina is taking her baby steps and I know my girl will be back. Until then, it's interesting to see this side of her and her journey back to badass.

Lastly, THANK YOU for shirtless Jackson. I want one of him!


thank you so much. i love this episode :) i really loved the ending scenes. owen and cristina's house have a fire pole in it :D and arizona & mark go on a date. i just loved the whole episode. <3

p.s. are u gonna watch Castle this monday? its a greys episode!!


I was very moved by this episode, it really hit home. My mom has huntingtons and her mother did and so on. I have been on a rollercoaster ride on whether or not to get tested and I know now that I just have to live my life, not take the test and modify because of this. Thanks so much for bringing this disease to life even more, the more knowledge the more chance of making a difference.


Arizona and Mark on a date? Good times.


Interesting episode with a lot of different angles on the subject matter. It kind of felt like most of them arrived at a place of who they are inside, in their hearts - whether that's nature or nurture or both, who knows, but their truest self at present. (And some are still searching...)

One interesting thing was how Derek went missing from a large part of the episode. Meredith kind of went off on her own, and to her friends, and seemed a little rootless as a result, regarding the issues of the day. But then at the end when Derek came in the room, it felt like balance was restored for her -- or, grounding, going with the rootless idea -- both with his presence again and in his advice for them to just live. It was great.

Frances Conroy was amazing, as always. I was surprised to see her, but what a treat. That woman can portray anything, seemingly without effort.

It seems obvious that Lexie and Mark really need each other. They're both spinning outside themselves with less than positive results (though Mark and Arizona getting along better is a good thing), trying to cope with what's missing, which is each other.

I loved that Cristina bought the house that Owen wanted, because location really wasn't an issue for her. Who knows where she's going to land professionally, but I love that she's diving in deeper with Owen.

I really, really love all the committed relationships this show has been developing. Can Alex be next? He's kind of opposite of Cristina - finding his way professionally, now, but still groundless personally. He really deserves the right person in his life.

I'd like to see more of what's going on with Bailey.


P.S. The worms ... ugh. The tree man last week and the spider, no big deal. The worms inside that guy ... please don't do anything like that again. Surely there must have been another way to show commitment and love and being true to your heart than ingesting worms!


Great episode!

Loved Alex's patient storyline.

Meredith was awesome. I just adore her and every episode I love her even more. She's been my favourite since the very first episode of Grey's. She rock. More Mer is always good. She was amazing with Lila. Loved seeing her as a surgeon again. I missed her.

I really liked Lexie this episode. Calling April annoying? She made my day lol. 'You're not crazy, you're a Grey' So cute! I really enjoy Mer/Lex sisterly moments.

Jackson shirtless. HOT!

The MerDer scene at the end was just EPIC. They are too adorable. After 7 seasons and they are still the most amazing couple ever created on TV. Ellen and Patrick chemistry is incredible.

The promo and sneak for next episode look so good. It's really Dr. Meredith Grey to shine in the O.R especially in Neuro. She's gonna rock! ;)


Loved loved loved the episode it was great one.
But the man with the warms ewwww.
I liked Meredith and Derek SL in this episode was interesting.
Lila was so cool really liked her.It was funny when she said to Avery but I would really like if you wait by my bed side.
And Cristina's face was priceless when she found out why Owen paged her and her saying thank u but i have to monitor warms made me laugh.
Arizona was funny the boobs conversation was hilarious.
Nice speech from Teddy to Avery.


Thank you for showing us Jackson shirtless!!! I realize that he cannot do surgery like that, so how about more shower scenes for him? That man is


Cristina is SO cute. She bought Owen his dream house. I'd marry this woman. It's a good thing Owen smartened up and picked the right woman.


I loved the episode, I did. And I know everyone says this ALL the time, but I can't help myself. I NEED more MerDer. It's not a factor of just want anymore. I seriously go through MD withdrawals.

And saying that. I LOVED LOVED LOVED that scene at the end, I just wish that since there had been a promo directly about MerDer that we had seen a little more MerDer. Like, Derek had what, two scenes the whole episode? I know that many things could factor into that like the filming of T3 or something else, but I also NEED my weekly does of Patrick Dempsey!

But besides all of my whining, I loved the episode. It was great. I love Lexie being mean to April. Even though April is supposed to be becoming acceptable this year, she just isn't to me yet. I mean, she did want to steal McDreamy away from Mer, and she's the reason he got shot, so, forgive me if I can't accept her right away like Meredith seemed to do.

Sorry, I forgot... I said no more whining. Okay, great episode! Thanks for writing it and doing what you guys do so that I get that one hour of amazingness every week. :)


Thank you for another amazing scene between Cristina and Owen. If this keeps going, I may almost be able to forgive you guys for the whole "Teddy Triangle of Unbelievability". As much as it pains me to see Cris out of sorts, I love that she's embracing her marriage. One can hope that ultimately she'll emerge from this as a whole person -- able to balance her personal and professional lives. Now if only we could see Owen bashing down the wall without his shirt. (oh yes, Jackson looks nice, but I prefer the rugged Scottish type.)

Just two small beefs: 1. the patient stories were a bit heavy handed. The anvils were flying like mad. and 2. Jackso flirting with Teddy were so uncomfortable and cringeworthy. It was like some kid hitting on his friend's mom. Eeew!


Converted fire house for Cristina and Owen = all kinds of awesomeness. It symbolizes this couple perfectly - blazing hot chemistry and rescuing each other.


I'm still not digging April. Hate the continued Mark/Callie/Arizona stuff. Enough already.

Yes to more Lexie and Meredith bonding. Why does all that stuff happen mostly off screen until the liver transplant storyline. Also I'd like to see Lexie have a speciality and get to be the adult and not the little sister angle all the time.

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