Elliot and J.D. are hanging out again, Janitor has returned to get his job back, and Kelso is still sitting in the cafeteria eating free muffins. Dr. Cox reveals his distrust of all surgeons, and constantly belittles Turk… even in front of his patients.
J.D. and Elliot are going to the movies and out to dinner on weekend nights. On Sunday they do each other’s laundry. J.D. tries to get Elliot to laugh at a cereal box he made ("Oprah’s Os"), but she only laughs when his gag backfires, and he spills cereal all over the place. After her shift, Elliot tells J.D. "See you after work."
Where’s the Trust?
Back at the hospital, Turk can’t seem to care for his patients without being criticized by Dr. Cox. Cox tells Turk that, like most surgeons, he isn’t very bright. In fact, like most surgeons, Dr. Cox doesn’t trust Turk at all. He won’t leave Turk’s side when he’s engaging his patients, making it seem like Turk is incapable of operating without the help of someone more knowledgeable. Adding insult to injury, Dr. Cox demonstrates that all surgeons are stupid by proving his point on the unsuspecting Quinlin, another surgeon. When Turk has to explain to his patient that they have no match for a liver transplant and must be put on a waiting list, Dr. Cox quickly upstages him by saying that there is in fact a match: the patient in the next room’s wife. By some crazy coincidence the patient’s wife has a liver-match for Quinlin’s patient- who also needs a liver transplant, and Quinlin’s patient’s wife has a liver-match for Turk’s patient. Turk’s patient quickly checks Dr. Cox by saying he would rather be put on a waiting list… he doesn’t exactly trust Quinlin’s patient.
Bigger Fish to Fry
Janitor is adamant about getting his job back, and Ted expresses his doubts. Ted confronts Kelso who spends his days in the hospital cafeteria. Ted asks why Kelso is spending all of his retirement in the place he used to work, and Kelso coolly replies that he is simply stocking up on muffins. He actually has plans to take his wife to wine country… which is everywhere because she whines wherever they go… nyuk, nyuk. Kelso then departs.
Meanwhile, Turk has found a way to circumvent his patient’s distrust by performing the procedure simultaneously on both patients: a resolution Dr. Cox had not stumbled upon. Cox begins talking to Turk as though he were an equal. Once the distrust is eliminated, the procedure is performed smoothly, and Dr. Cox has to swallow his words. From here on, Dr. Cox leaves Turk to his own devices. Turk asks him: "Do you trust surgeons?" To which Dr. Cox replies, "No, I trust you."
J.D. and Elliot begin to rekindle their flame. They stumble into a coffee shop to find Kelso sitting all alone at one of the tables… not exactly taking the vacation in wine country he had mentioned before. Busted, Kelso admits that he hadn’t planned any trip… he was just a creature of habit. Before he departs he tells them that it is good to see that they are dating again. Their first reaction is denial, but they take a table and begin to discuss where they are at. Elliot proposes that perhaps they are only having feelings for one another because they are bored, but J.D. is pushing to make things work. When Elliot confesses that she just doesn’t want anyone at work to judge them, Kelso returns to say "Who the hell cares what anyone else thinks, just do whatever the hell makes you happy." He then returns to the hospital and confesses that he is happy there. The episode ends with Elliot and J.D. walking through the halls of Sacred Heart, hand in hand. They pass by a room where Turk is talking to a patient, and Dr. Cox, who had earlier declared his trust in Turk, is peering through the door implying that nothing has changed… he still distrusts the surgeon.
This episode shows that most characters are creatures of habit. Kelso’s inability to to detach himself from Sacred Heart is a reflection of J.D.’s inability to stray too far from Elliot, and vice-versa. Though they may take some time off, all characters eventually come full-circle, and fall back into their old habits. Even Dr. Cox’ newly earned trust in Turk was only short lived. In no time at all, he was back to spying on him. People tend towards their Happy Place, because it is where they are most comfortable. For Kelso, it’s Sacred Heart. For Elliot, it’s J.D.. And for Dr. Cox, it’s being an asshole.
The liver transplant scenario serves as an ideal metaphor for the relationship between Turk and Dr. Cox. On the metaphorical level, Cox’ distrust of Turk/surgeons keeps the two of them from being able to help their patients. On a literal level, the distrust of patient A and patient B would prevent them from being able to swap donors. Only once that distrust is averted can all parties co-exist.
This episode in many ways contradicts the one which aired directly before it. It seemed that one of the overall themes of My Saving Grace is that change is bound to happen. Dr. Cox makes his peace with Kelso, Katie changes her attitude, and when Maddox claims that nothing ever changes, she begins to fade away as if her words were nothing more than hot air. What replaces Maddox are clips of situations proving her wrong. Yet here, in My Happy Place we are being shown the opposite. Characters are driven back to their roots, even though they have reasons to stray from them.
Recap by Jonathan Friedler