Grey's Anatomy Review: "Give Peace a Chance"

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Now in Season 6, having peaked at the end of Season 2, Grey's Anatomy is facing an identity crisis. Still popular but lacking its past magic, it's trying to decide what to become.

All we can say is that if it becomes what we saw 12 hours ago, we are all for it.

Last week saw the doctors plunging into ER-style chaos with 12 different doctors giving 12 different accounts of one case. Last night, we saw something else equally unusual.

Again, it was a single case that took up the entire hour, but instead of 12 doctors' version of events, the focus was largely on just one, and the best one: Dr. Derek Shepherd.

Patrick Dempsey's McDreamy character may be eye candy, but he's got substance. Last night's episode proved that in spades, and was one of the series' best in some time.

Director and fellow Grey's Anatomy cast member Chandra Wilson made her debut behind the camera and produced an effort that may well net her an Emmy nomination.

For a full rundown, here's recap of "Give Peace a Chance." Below, our thoughts:

Lex, Mark, Der

We saw two sides of Derek in "Give Peace a Chance." Defiant (against the surgical odds, and a Chief of Surgery he's butted heads with all season) and yet Zen-like. At peace.

When the hospital's lab tech, Isaac, tells him he has a giant spinal tumor and wants him to operate, Derek doesn't know if he's up for it. Isaac knows he's up for it, however.

Even after Derek opens him up for 10 hours the first time and doesn't do a darn thing because he doesn't want to risk paralyzing him, Isaac calmly says he'll get it tomorrow.

Get it tomorrow, Derek thinks? Are you insane? I can't go back in there.

Through his narration (the first ever for Derek, and a nice touch by Wilson), we learn that McD became a surgeon for the quiet, for the peace. He has four sisters, after all.

Channeling his patient, and with a little help from a recovering Meredith, a diaper-wearing Lexie and Mark, who's just there to support his friend, he's able to find that Zen.

Isaac, who's an awesome character in his own right, pulls through.

This was a riveting story to watch unfold, and aided by the way everyone else was relegated to the periphery, but still had a central role in boosting what was Derek's night.

Occasional funny lines and side plots, but no forced interactions or eye-rolling moments. Take note, Grey's. You won us over. Please, learn from it and try not to regress.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Maggie: Honesty and privacy are not mutually exclusive. 
Amelia: Ohh, I like that!

Maggie: He just walked out of the fog with a new girlfriend, like I never existed. I think I might actually hate him.
Zola: My teacher said hating someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. 
Maggie: Go get ready for school.