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[Season 3, Episode 14: Originally aired Feb. 1, 2007]
Recap of Events:
As surgeons, we live in a world of worse case scenarios. We cut ourselves off from hoping for the best because too many times the best doesn't happen. But every now and then something extraordinary occurs and suddenly best case scenarios seem possible. And every now and then something amazing happens, and against our better judgment we start to have hope.
Eight days have passed since the events of Great Expectations and Cristina has yet to give Burke an answer to his proposal. Also, Bailey's and Izzie's free clinic has been set up. Meredith is informed by the nursing home that her mother is now lucid and is asking for her. Ellis Grey's memory has returned except for the last 5 years of her life, and hence she is unaware of her Alzheimer's condition. Meredith is forced to break the news to her mother again, and a stunned Ellis collapses from substernal chest pains. She is brought to Seattle Grace, where Meredith informs Burke and the Chief of her mother's lucidity.
Meanwhile, Izzie, Cristina, Alex, Olivia and Bailey are at the free clinic on its opening day. The Chief and Mark, who has won over the Chief by offering his attendance at the free clinic, are also present. Izzie is disappointed when the clinic has no patients, but Bailey tells her to be patient. At this moment, George and Callie enter, and George announces that he has married Callie in Vegas. This prompts Alex to laugh "Dude, she's Callie O'Malley.". Izzie mocks Callie (and indirectly George) about the small size of her diamond ring. An irritated Bailey decides to send all the interns away. George is sent to the Chief, Cristina is assigned to Burke, while Izzie and Alex are instructed to find patients for the free clinic.
Callie sees that Addison is lusting after Alex and approaches her. She denies her obvious attraction towards him, saying that she will not 'sleep with the help'. Callie replies saying that she 'married the help'. Although initially shocked by the sudden marriage, Addison is genuinely happy for her friend.
George's patient is a woman suffering from radiation poisoning due to the chemotherapy she is undergoing as a follow-up to her colon tumor removal surgery. The woman, Marina, has a boyfriend who is shocked to find out she has cancer. He remarks about how little he knows about her, like not knowing her middle name, despite being very in much in love with her. George tells her it's Rose. This leads George to ask Callie about her middle name, but she rebukes him for letting his judgemental friends get to him and not defending her when she is his wife. Feeling weak after handling Marina's blood, he heads to the free clinic to lie down, and Alex is sent to replace him. When he sees that Olivia and the lab technician are feeling weak and nauseous as well, he realises that Marina's blood is toxic. He tries to contact the OR, but is too late. Alex and the Chief have already opened up Marina's body, and are unconscious on the floor.
Ellis Grey is Cristina's patient for the day. Ellis requires heart surgery for her cardiac arrhythmias. She refuses surgery, but is told by Cristina that that is Meredith's decision to make, not hers. Ellis wants to know Meredith better, but is disappointed to find out that the daughter she groomed to be passionate, focused and extraordinary is nothing more than ordinary (and tells her so). She also chastises Derek for causing Meredith to be less than extraordinary. However, Cristina unexpectedly gets along well with Ellis. When Ellis has a run of supraventricular tachycardia, she instructs Cristina to perform a carotid massage. Ellis' heart rate returns to normal, and she tells Cristina that she would make an extraordinary surgeon. Cristina asks Ellis if it is possible to be an excellent surgeon and have a life because Ellis tried to have both, but failed. Ellis replies that she didn't try hard enough. Later, Meredith castigates her mother for being the reason she is so unfocused, and insists that she undergo the heart surgery.
Izzie is unsatisfied with her free clinic treating stolen patients and sick hospital staff, because she feels that she has let down Denny's legacy. When the free clinic finally gets a patient, her disappointment worsens when she finds out it is a girl's father asking her to teach his daughter how to use tampons. After teaching the girl, she asks Bailey for permission to go back to the hospital where she can actually learn something. Sensing that there is something more, Bailey asks the father to leave while she speaks to the girl in private. Bailey is shocked to find out that the girl has had sex, and advises her against it because she is too young and is exposing herself to many dangers.
The Chief and Alex are brought out of the OR in time. Derek and Burke are suiting up, so that they can complete Marina's surgery. Addison realises that her anaesthesia is wearing off, as she is fighting the intubation. She rushes in, without any protective gear on, and gives Marina more anesthesia. Addison barely makes it out in time, collapsing in Mark's arms. Derek and Burke only have 30 minutes to finish the surgery before the batteries in their protective suits run out. They finish the surgery, but run out of time when they cannot fit Marina's swollen bowels back into her body.
Mark and the female interns, the only ones still healthy enough, have to close up Marina's body with the Chief walking them through it. Because of the lack of protective gear, they have to take 20-second shifts in the contaminated OR. Mark opts out, saying that it would be irresponsible to let the remaining healthy attending to expose himself to an undetermined threat, so Cristina offers to go in first. She rotates shifts with Izzie and Meredith, and they manage to successfully close Marina up. Marina's boyfriend is glad to see her safe, and affectionately calls her "Marina Rose".
Callie visits George, scolds him for not standing up for her, and tells him her middle name is "Iphegenia". Subsequently when Izzie treats Callie shabbily, George defends Callie saying that she is his wife. Should they drive her away, he will leave with her. Meanwhile, Izzie apologizes to Bailey for leaving the clinic, but Bailey tells her that the 8 million dollars is worth it even though they only helped that one girl. Addison is seen having sex with Mark. Cristina returns Burke the ring he gave her, but agrees to marry him. He hugs her in joy.
Meredith asks the Chief to visit Ellis, but he is hesitant as he does not want to lie to her. He did not regret staying with his wife, even though he knows Ellis wants to hear that he did regret it. Despite this, he later visits her and tells her that they would have been very happy together and have had a happy family. She hugs him in response. When Meredith visits Ellis later, she tells her mother that she wants her to undergo the surgery, because one day when the cure for Alzheimer's is found, they would get a second chance to know each other better. Ellis replies, "You remind me of my daughter." The Chief sadly tells Meredith that Ellis has lapsed back into her muddled Alzheimer's self. Meredith leaves with tears welling up in her eyes.
As doctors, we're trained to give our patients just the facts. But what our patients really want to know is- will the pain go away? Will I feel better? Am I cured? What our patients really want to know is- is there hope? But, inevitably, there are times when you find yourself in the worst case scenario. When the patient's body has betrayed them and all the science we have to offer has failed them. When the worst case scenario comes true, clinging to hope is all we've got left.
This episode's title refers to a song by Dusty Springfield and has been covered by Ani DiFranco and Stephanie Macintosh.
- Runaway featuring Psapp, by Sybarite
- Elevator Music, by Beck
- Barracuda, Miho Hatori