I guess we’re done with the more cheerful episodes now? Five whole episodes, must be some kind of Shondaland record!
Guess who’s coming to dinner picks up right where we left off last week: Callie and her new girlfriend Penny arrive at Meredith’s, she answers the door… and it’s a shock to the system.
Meredith puts on a good (albeit awkward) show as the hostess but no one is fooled, really – least of all Alex. Luckily there’s enough people in the house and enough weirdness (mainly embodied by Maggie) going on to keep things going as Meredith goes into a very understandable panic attack.
But our Mer is a strong cookie and she powers through. Meanwhile, Maggie has a UTI and goes back to the hospital to get checked out. Jo is bummed because no one is talking to her. Arizona gets drunk. Amelia wants to order pizza, because a bunch of doctors who can’t cook are having a dinner party, and the designated chef (Maggie) is AWOL. April steps in and dinner is saved, but no before Callie gets called back to the hospital, leaving Penny behind. She picked a great moment to do so, too: right when Meredith was about to tell Alex what was wrong.
Jo desperately tries to talk to Stephanie but to no avail. Jackson is obviously uncomfortable, as is pretty much everyone else – except Arizona, who’s happily drunk and fawning over perfect Penny. She also comes up with just about every penny-related saying she can think of. Bailey shows up, is introduced to Penny, and her name sounds familiar. Back at the hospital, Maggie’s hot intern is of course assigned to her, while Callie convinces Hunt to drive back to the party with her as soon as her consult is over. Penny gets up to leave but right then dinner is served, so she’s conveniently seated next to Meredith. Pretty much everyone agrees that the dinner party sucks.
And then, of course, things get worse: Penny is looking for a job, as the hospital she worked for – the very same one Derek died in – is closed down. She has a meeting with Bailey for a residency transfer program next week. That’s why the name sounded familiar!
Meredith snaps, and rightly so. She tells everyone that Penny worked at Dillard, where her husband died.
That’s right. Perfect Penny killed my husband!
Yep, Penny pretty much had that one coming. On the heels of that, “The food is getting cold. Let’s pass those peas“. And promptly excuses herself.
Now it’s Amelia’s turn to freak out – again, completely understandable reaction. Frankly I’m surprised no one’s gotten violent by this point. Just then, Hunt and Torres walk in, both in the party mood. As soon as they realize something’s wrong, the questions begin. I must admit I feel sorry for Penny at this point. She tries to explain, is obviously fraught, Amelia pushes her for answers and Callie steps in. All quite predictable reactions. This is the most awkward dinner party in the history of the world.
Amelia goes upstairs to Meredith’s room, where Alex is trying to comfort her. But Amelia doesn’t need comforting; she is livid, and directs her anger at Meredith for putting her through this all night. Meredith explodes. She lost her husband and the father of her three children and Amelia is falling apart? She has three children, she doesn’t get to fall apart. She finally lets it out and scream at Hunt to get Amelia out of there before she kills her. Okay, a little over the top, but still very understandable.
Amelia is taking it way too hard. First she lashes out at Meredith, then at Hunt, for being “so perfect” all the time. He confesses his dark feelings about the plane crash, as Callie and Penny have it out outside the house. Callie is part of the group and always will be. Derek was her friend; her loyalty lies with him and she makes that perfectly clear.
Back in the kitchen, everyone’s coming to terms with what just happened. Naturally, the interns feel a certain affinity to Penny. After all, it could have been any of them. April was her; she made a mistake her second year and a woman died. Her philosophical soliloquy about mistakes that you can’t take back seems to resonate with everyone in the room.
Alex and Meredith revisit an old ritual: when things go wrong, just choose tequila. After a couple of sips, Meredith says what really bothers her about this whole messed up situation: Now she’s a person. All this time she hated the idea of Penny. Penny the doctor who screwed up and got her husband killed. Penny, whose face she would never forget, because she gave her the worst news of her life. Now she can also see Penny the resident, who tried but made a horrible mistake. Penny who’s riddled with guilt and remorse about what happened. Penny who will always remember that night, much like Meredith, as the worst night of her life.
Downstairs, Stephanie and Jo have a little heart-to-heart that quickly goes awry mainly because of Jo’s big mouth and Stephanie’s ego. So much for mending fences. Back at the hospital, Maggie’s heart-to-heart with the hot intern (whose name I still haven’t learned) goes much better. Callie’s conversation with Jackson is quite predictable: despite the new information, Callie just can’t turn it off. She has feelings for Penny. Jackson understands: as mad as he is at April, he obviously still loves her.
One by one, everyone leaves Meredith’s but somehow Penny’s still around and pumps into her on her way out. Why? Why didn’t she just grab a cab home or just wait outside for Callie? She gives a reiteration of her former speech about how she thinks about Derek all the time, promising to put in a request for another transfer so that Meredith will never have to see her again.
But Meredith is a doctor first. A top notch doctor at a teaching hospital, and clearly Penny has a lot to learn. “I’ll see you Monday“, she tells her, and heads upstairs.