November 07, 2008 12:00 AM

Halloween may have been last week, but last night the ghost of Denny Duquette reared his comely head in the halls of Seattle Grace and it was like Wiregate all over again. When the smoke cleared, Izzie was unstable, Hahn irrevocably pissed and the fate of the hospital, the chief and Bailey up in the air.

Hahn Solo: By show time, most had probably heard that this episode was to be Erica Hahn’s last shift in the ER as the actress who plays her, Brooke Smith, had been let go from the cast. Some claimed the lesbian storyline was making the network nervous, while others blamed fan dislike/lack of chemistry with Callie. Whatever the reason for the sudden departure, we can all probably agree that this episode failed to tie up everything with a neat little bow and was less than satisfying conclusion when just last week Callie matured, came clean about her McSteamy side sex and vowed to see where the relationship was going. What was interesting was that Hahn’s tour of duty came full circle. We had first met her as a doc at a dueling hospital who had a patient in need of a heart that eventually, through some less than scrupulous methods, went to Denny instead. That patient apparently was still waiting for a organ and, in the meantime, needed a risky surgery to keep him stable. Izzie and Meredith were assigned to the case and as Mer was reading the case details aloud, Izzie realized who he was and started to fall apart. During the surgical debrief with the guy (who also happened to be in Denny’s old room), she started hallucinating that her dead boyfriend was roaming the halls.

During the first attempt at the procedure, Izzie freaked and ran to hide from Hahn and the vision of her soulmate. Hahn got the details from Callie about Wiregate and she took her grievances to the Chief, spewing venom and demanding an ethics review. “It’s no wonder this place is No. 12. I want Stevens’s role investigated and Bailey’s. My patient lost a heart over this. Someone is damn well going to lose their job.”

The Chief yelled back. “Stop! We are not digging this up. I dealt with it. Stevens was punished and she learned from her mistake. She is on her way to becoming an excellent surgeon. That’s the kind of hospital I’m running. This issue has been laid to rest.” Before storming out, she added, “This isn’t in the past for me. It is lying on the table dying.”

Izzie requested to be let off the case but Hahn refused, saying, “You’re going to be there to see him through, to look him in the eye to help him through the pain you have caused him. And if he dies, I want you there for that too because you’re responsible.” When the guy decided he didn’t want to try again, Izzie was the one who changed his mind, using her personal experience to convince him that his wife would not ever be the same if he died. “She will not get over it. She’ll think she can, she’ll even think she has, and then out of the blue you’ll be right there with her and then all of this will be happening for her all over again.” During the next operation, he started to crash and she saw Denny again but shook it off and demanded the new patient to pay attention, open his eyes and breathe. He came through and all seemed well.

But Denny haunted her again in the locker room. She tried standing up to her vision. “I love you and I will always love you but I have to move on. That’s why I had that patient today and why I helped save his life so I cannot feel guilty anymore.” It appeared to have worked until Alex left and he materialized once again and this time he spoke. While it was nice to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s scruffy mug again, not sure we want to go down the depressed Izzie road again.

Even though she bought her guy more time, Hahn was still seething. She told Callie she planned to contact the organization in charge of organ donations and report the situation. Callie was taken aback, “What good would come of that? Would it benefit your patient’s outcome? You’re gonna cost this hospital its transplant certification, cost patients organs, cost their jobs, cost Izzie’s career. She’s a doctor, one of our doctors. There’s a reason we have each other’s backs. I don’t know what happened that night but unless you were in the middle of that situation I don’t see how you can make a judgment.”

Hahn was angry that Callie didn’t side with her. “There’s right and wrong and this was wrong and illegal. There is no gray area here. You can’t kinda think this is OK. You can’t kinda side with Izzie. You can’t kinda be a lesbian. I don’t know you at all.” She walked off into the dark of night and that was it. See what we mean about lack of closure. Guessing next week, she’ll resign off screen. But will she still drudge up the case for review? It would be extremely implausible that she’d get so worked up that she’d dump her girl and quit, but not do what she so obviously thought was the only decision. For someone who claimed in this very episode not to take cases personally, she reacted pretty darn personally, which was also a little out of character. Apparently that orgasm last week really did a number on her and opened up the floodgates.

Operation Yang: Mer and Yang were obsessed with reading Mer’s moms diaries (Yang calls them the Harry Potter books she never had) and incessant chatter is robbing Der of his sleep and his private time with his gal. Bailey warned him, “Those two come as a set.”

He hatched a plan, asking McSteamy to have sex with Yang to distract her. He refused, “Too serious. Humorless. Unfun. Not my type,” but Der played his trump card. “You slept with my wife.” Unfortunately, all of McSteamy’s advances went unnoticed, which the stud had a hard time processing, and he finally came clean about the plan. She couldn’t contain her laughter and later Mer teased Der about his ill-conceived plan.

On the work front, Der and Bailey worked with a very special still-in-love elderly couple and it changed both of them. The woman signed a DNR before going under, but her husband was overcome with grief, second-guessed the DNR and started doing CPR himself. Eventually Bailey took over for him because he couldn’t “be the one to let her go, to let her die.” Then Der stepped in and after a few pumps, he stopped compressions. It was a gut-wrenching moment, the not-a-dry-eye-in-the-house kind that used to be this show’s almost weekly strong suit but has been lacking of late. Powerful stuff. Bravo writers.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunt-er: One reason that McSteamy’s seduction failed was that Hunt was riding Yang hard throughout the entire episode. The residents were told that one of them would be awarded with a solo surgery sometime soon and they quickly became obsessed with getting practice and impressing the attendings. The Chief had asked Hunt for his opinions on the second-years as he hasn’t had time to get mixed up personally with them yet. He felt that Yang wasn’t treating the patient with enough respect and that all she cared about was the glory. When he found Alex and Yang fighting over who would get to do what on a beating victim, he went ballistic. “You picked over him like vultures, like children fighting over toys. What you did was treat a man who is fighting to live like he’s already dead. You have no sense, no decency and no respect.’ There was more vitriol for the Chief when he came calling about his thoughts on the group. “They’re undisciplined, inarticulate and they have a lot to learn about respect. Mostly they’re more interested in their personal crap and I’m not sure they’re being taught anything different. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll be staying on.”

Gasp, oh no you didn’t. Hunt is one of the most interesting parts of this season and his threat scared us. Luckily, Yang restored his faith when she came to tell him the patient’s wife had shown up. He challenged, “This is not a game, a contest. They are and we get to save them. You’re good. You could win all the contests, but if that’s why you’re doing this then you shouldn’t be.” Yang closed the door and told him the reason why she wanted to be a doctor and why she wins all the contests –at 9, she was in a car accident with her father and she tried to keep his chest closed while they waited for the ambulance until she felt his heart stop beating.

It was one of the rare moments when we’ve gotten a look at why Yang is who she is. They have always done a great job doling out information on Yang piece by piece at just the right pace. Just as you are about to write her off as heartless or selfish, the writers break off a little something-something and you forgive her again. And, oh yeah, she also knew the patient’s name, which made him reconsider his resignation threat and audibly comment on her awesomeness after she was out of earshot. – Carrie Bell

Tell us: What did you think of Hahn’s exit from the show? Do you want more of the ghost of Denny or should the Izzie-Alex love story be allowed to thrive?

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