Well, ladies, it’s been a long time coming. Twelve seasons into Grey’s Anatomy, we all finally got the Karev-centric episode we’ve so been wishing for — and Karev so deserves.
Much like we imagine Justin Chambers (who plays Karev, obvs) in our dreams, the episode was worth the wait.
The truth is, Alex Karev hasn’t always been the dreamboat he is now. Wait, rewind. Let me amend that. He has always looked like a dreamboat — he just spent much of his early residency acting like a total douche canoe. He was rude to George, which is basically the equivalent of kicking a puppy. He stole cases from his fellow interns. He was every nurse’s worst nightmare.
Then there were his questionable ethics when it came to doctor/patient relations. Who can forget the relationship he forged with “Ava,” despite the warnings from his peers and mentors about her mental fragility?
Admittedly, it’s been hard to ever completely hate Karev (as close as we’ve all come at some point) since he was clearly dealt a crap hand as a kid. There was his physically and verbally abusive father, whom he eventually sort of reconciled with only to lose. He spent much of his formative years in foster care. Understandably, he didn’t come out of his childhood emotionally unscathed. Still, throughout Grey’s Anatomy‘s 11 seasons prior to this, Karev has given us glimpses of humanity that hinted at something great beneath the surface.
And tonight was the culmination of those glimpses. Tonight, we got to see the Karev that Grey and Yang have always seen. Sure, a little prickly — but with a heart of gold. Thanks be to Shonda Rhimes for finally giving this guy the spotlight he deserves!
So here we are, in the twelfth season, finally getting an episode centered on Karev for nearly its entirety. There was just one problem, though: It made us feel a paradoxical combination of hot and bothered and, well, just bothered. It was an upper and a downer. He had us at hello and then we said “oh, no.”
Yes, I’m trying to say he made us horny and sad at the same time — and that, my friends, was some kind of confusing. And since sexually frustrated, sad people love company (or, wait, was that misery?), we’ve naturally compiled all the moments this episode that Karev had us feelin’ some kind of way.
1. When he cuddles up to Jo in bed
I mean, it’s Karev. In bed. With a beautiful woman that isn’t us. This one’s self-explanatory, no?
2. When he storms out after Jo brings up Izzie
This was just a mess of emotions. Every time Jo said Izzie’s name, we just remembered the saga of Alex and Izzie, which broke our hearts a little. But, at the same time, thinking of the man he was for Izzie? Damn. That’s hot.
3. When he can’t bear the thought of losing a twin
The central crisis of tonight’s episode, of course, was a couple who delivers twins — a little boy and a little girl, both of whom have liver tumors and need a transplant. Only, there is just one viable liver donor (the dad), and Karev is tasked with an impossible decision. He has so much tenderness and internal struggle in this moment. Which, inevitably, is a total turn on.
4. When he tears up as he scrubs in
Just before Karev and new intern DeLuca head into surgery on the twins, DeLuca opens up to Karev about why fetal medicine is so difficult for him, and the story is a tear-jerker — even Karev gets teary-eyed. Teary Karev + McTasty new intern in vulnerable moment = double dose of hormones.
5. When he won’t give up
In the OR, Karev quickly assesses the situation and realizes the little girl twin, Emma, is the more viable recipient of her dad’s liver. But he won’t let Daniel die without putting up one hell of a fight for the little boy, knowing without a miracle the tiny twin won’t survive the night. So he throws every fiber of his being at it, at one point using his fingers to manually pump the baby’s heart.
6. When he has to give up
In a moment that we’re not ashamed to admit made us have ugly cry faces, Karev realizes little Daniel cannot be saved and knows it’s time to let him go. But, unwilling to let the child languish while lying on an operating table, he peels off his gown and mask — his proverbial armor — and cradles the dying baby against his chest until he slips away.
7. When he apologizes to Jo and barks like a dog in bed
Yep, that is a sentence I just said… and meant. There are few things sexier than a man who’s willing to admit when he’s wrong, especially when that man is Karev and he just fought valiantly to save two tiny humans. Then he offers to make babies with Jo right then and there and, when she rebuffs his offer by asking about getting a dog, he crawls in the bed with a “woof!”
Yep, we’re officially all in for Alex Karev.