Name | Arizona Robbins
Portrayed by | Jessica Capshaw
Specialty | Pediatric Surgeon (Attending)
Current Relationship | Callie Torres
Past Relationships | Unknown
First Appearance | “Wish You Were Here” (5×11)
“[Doctor] Kenley has been replaced with an infant on roller skates named Arizona, who didn’t have enough sense to change her name to something other than ‘Arizona’, which shows poor judgment…”
Despite Dr. Bailey’s initial reservations toward the new, quirky, perky “kid” on the block, Dr. Arizona Robbins almost instantly proves her worth as the new head of pediatric surgery when she spearheads a new, more effective treatment plan for Dr. Bailey’s patient, which leads to them saving that patient’s life in the nick of time. Having graduated at the top of her class and serving as chief resident during her residency, Chief Webber knew exactly what he was doing in appointing her.
“What is wrong with you? We just took a liver and an intestine from a little kid—a dead little kid—and you don’t even care. You’re talking about rainbows and relationships and crap. What the hell is wrong with you?”
I think, in this introductory episode arc of Arizona’s, we were all wondering along with Alex why Arizona never appeared to be fazed by the mortality she witnessed among the (as she would later constantly refer to them) “tiny humans”. Her response? Sure, the thoughts often haunt her dreams, but she refuses to let those thoughts affect her daily life and her job that she loves, so she faces forward and moves forward—a mindset she would later instill in Dr. Bailey, and subsequently Dr. Karev.
In season six, Arizona’s strength and forward-moving nature are put to the test on her birthday, of all days. Despite the generous donation promised to the hospital by 10-year-old Wallace Anderson’s parents in return for “fixing” their son, Dr. Robbins strongly advises against the risky procedure. However, under pressure from Chief Webber and the hospital board, the surgeon with self-proclaimed “authority issues” eventually acquiesces to their urgencies and operates on Wallace. When Wallace dies on her operating table, Arizona proves her worth as a compassionate head of pediatric surgery to the tune of 25 million dollars.
Ortho? Meet PEDS.
As is customary on Grey’s, new potential love interests must, almost immediately, lock lips before they know anything about each other if they want to stand a chance at a lasting romantic relationship.
Upon formally introducing herself to Dr. Calliope Torres, who she followed into the ladies room at Joe’s Bar, Arizona, in true Grey’s Anatomy fashion, claimed Callie as her love interest, sealing their fates (and Arizona’s extended stay on the show) with a kiss.
One and one third episodes of avoidance (on Callie’s part) later, Callie asks out the fresh-faced attending who kissed her in a bathroom. Arizona, after discovering Calliope is practically a “newborn” as far as lesbians go, hastily declines Callie’s offer, despite being “super flattered.” Realizing she perhaps reacted too hastily, Arizona later decides to give Callie a chance and asks her out in, where else, but the infamous elevator.
Well into a relationship by now, at season five’s end, when word gets out that George O’Malley, Callie’s ex-husband, joined the Army, Arizona is one of the few in this small circle of characters that actually supports his decision. When Callie questions Arizona’s “That’s awesome!” stance on the matter, Arizona reveals that her brother died in Iraq due to a lack of military doctors.
As things were heating up between Callie and Arizona in season six, so was the tension between Callie and her father—a blaze which Arizona soon put out by delivering to Mr. Torres one of the most poignant speeches in the show’s entire run. In convincing Mr. Torres that Callie is still the woman he raised her to be, regardless of her romantic choices in life, Arizona consequently saves her girlfriend from financial ruin.
About a dozen episodes after they profess their love to each other, Arizona reveals to Callie that a bumbling brood is not in her preferable future. When Callie’s desire to raise children and Arizona’s desire to keep her life the way it is collide, the two women seemingly reach an impasse in their relationship, which prompts Callie to call things off in spite of Arizona’s efforts to move past the issue.
Of course, when your life and that of the one you love are in peril, you tend to gain a whole new perspective on life and begin to view things in a new light. After being holed up with Callie in the pediatric wing of the hospital where a gunman was on the loose, Arizona realizes she can’t live without Callie and their “ten kids.”
Moving Forward | Moving forward is what Arizona does best, which, in the end, is why she yields to Callie’s dream of having a family. Even though Callie also agreed to sacrifice having a family if it meant being with Arizona, I have to imagine Callie’s initial dream will win out here. It will be interesting to see how Arizona adjusts to the changes in her life with her commitment to Callie’s desire if the latter decides to actually pursue that dream next season.