By People Staff
Updated October 30, 2009 12:00 AM
Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

When Derek is asked by a beloved co-worker to operate on the great white of tumors — an inoperable mass tangled around the spinal cord and tapped into the blood stream — he must overcome his nerves, deceive his boss and achieve the impossible. While it was mostly Der’s moment to shine, his fellow docs pitched in, proving once again that there’s no ‘I’ in team. –Carrie Bell

Words of Wisdom: You can always count on Bailey to tell it like it is. When Der argued with the Chief about the new scheduling computer, she said, “You two need to stop bickering. It’s unattractive.” Under the guise of a consult, Isaac lured him with scans of the “perfect tumor.” McSteamy accused McDreamy of trying to earn daddy’s love back with the daring procedure, but the Chief actually told him not to go near the “beast, a malpractice suit waiting to happen.”

Silent Treatment: Derek scheduled surgery behind the Chief’s back and set up a test to figure out who would be the best assistant. Yang was confident but lost out to Mercy West’s Avery. After a pre-op pep talk from the patient, Der cut and realized the mass was worse than they thought. He went in crazy circles, shouting, talking to himself and unable to proceed after 10 hours. The Chief shut him down when he caught him, but Isaac was still positive about Der’s skills and suggested he sleep on it and try again the next day.

Diaper Rush: Yang encouraged Lexie‘s stroke of genius to wear a diaper during the long surgery to avoid potty breaks. “You’re like an astronaut. This is surgery NASA-style.” Avery teased “Diaper Genie,” but Lexie owned it. “I’m going to wear it with pride,” she said. “You can kiss my hardcore diaper-wearing ass.” And Lex got the last laugh when Avery got cramped hands from skipping fluids and Derek had her fill in. Yang was jealous, wishing she had a surgery that required diapers, so Hunt found her one and she diapered up.

Spousal Support: Stuck at home recovering, Meredith begged Der for details. Walking her through his day, he got a new plan of attack, so he scheduled another rogue attempt. This time, everyone played a part in the operation. McSteamy watched monitors. Hunt sacrificed the room. Lexie forced him to hydrate. Arizona kept the Chief away. “The most minor disturbance could cause him to make a mistake,” she said when he approached. “You don’t get to be a bully today.” It was touch-and-go throughout the procedure but Der eventually saved Isaac.

Last Action Hero: Despite requesting that they stop fighting and move on, Der had to pay for his disobedience and the Chief fired him.

Still Missing: Reed overheard Yang remind Alex that Izzie had another cancer treatment scheduled. She offered to do Der’s rounds in order to free him up to deal with Izzie. At first, he assumed she was still glory hunting so he did it, but she encouraged him to go when she noticed him checking his watch. “There’s a girl sitting down there waiting for her guy,” she pleaded before he explained that Izzie had left him. “You better be 100 percent sure because right now you’re making a choice, not her.” Reed showed a softer side by checking on him and found him in tears because “cancer wife” skipped it.

Job Well Done: Last week may have been short on original cast members, but this week, we got a Derek-centric episode with a healthy dose of Yang, a meaty scene for Alex and a couple of Bailey zingers. Praise is in order for striking a better balance!

Tell us: What did you think of the episode?

Ron Tom/ABC