2-6. That's the record of the typically stellar Seattle Grace surgeons in this episode packed with fatalities... and the characters' superstitious ways of coping with their uniquely stressful roles. When four patients die in as many minutes at the episode's onset, talk begins of deaths occurring in fours and threes.
With four people having bought the farm, the doctors believe three more people will kick the bucket by the stroke of midnight. And with a number of patients knocking on death's door, the chances of this look pretty good. Some (like Addison) react by spreading good will; others (Cristina) dismiss all superstition as nonsense.
But the real stars of this episode are the patients at Seattle Grace. Among those clinging to life are:
- Denny. As usual.
- An obsessive compulsive who is really annoying and wants his brain repaired so that he may lead a normal life.
- An intriguing woman who claims to have been struck by lightning, but who later reveals she simply feel from a tree that was hit by lightning -- having climbed it in order to stalk her ex-boyfriend. She ruptured her spleen in the fall, and refuses to let Dr. Miranda Bailey operate due to her superstitious fears of the seven deaths.
- Ollie, an old friend of Dr. Richard Webber who, it turns out, was his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor when the chief quit drinking 17 years ago. Richard is deeply concerned with Ollie, who has cirrhosis of the liver and needs an immediate operation in order to remove clogged blood from her esophagus. His conversations with Ollie also reveal that Richard's complicated relationship with Dr. Ellis Grey was the reason for his drinking problem.
The idiosyncratic, inner fears of the doctors begin to manifest themselves as well, with the usually unflappable Dr. Burke showing that even he is human. We see him scrambling to find his personal scrub caps (which he has mispalced) so that he may regain his "edge." Cristina has one in her locker, but will not relinquish it despite the best efforts of Preston and their new roommate, George. She eventually capitulates, but tells Burke that he doesn't need any gimmick to be the best.
Meanwhile, tension between Izzie and Alex boils over as Denny requires yet another heart surgery to stay alive. After Alex tells Denny his chances of survival are slim, Izzie dumps the smug doctor for good in a particularly scathing tirade. Alex then takes out his frustration with harsh remarks about George, who finally finds the motivation to ask out Dr. Calli Torres as a result.
As the episode concludes, the fates of the four patients in question are sealed. The obsessive compulsive expires on the operating table, and the woman with the spleen damage is done in by her own paranoia when she won't let Dr. Bailey operate in time. But the seventh fatality never comes, as Dr. Burke brings Denny back from the brink for the 378th time and Richard manages to save the friend that once saved him.