Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is being wooed by Brigham, and she's reluctant to go because her life is in Seattle, but Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Cristina (Sandra Oh) convince her to pursue it. For her part, Cristina is getting gift baskets galore by Yang-yearning programs, even one at Columbia, but she doesn't take any of them very seriously. Jackson (Jesse Williams) is gung-ho about the UCLA's program until he realizes that they only want him for his access to his famous grandfather. April (Sarah Drew) is overwhelming when she interviews at Northwestern, as her overly-perky demeanor and type-A+ personality rubs her interviewers the wrong way. And Alex (Justin Chambers) is underwhelmed at the Toledo-adjacent hospital and every other interview Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) sends him on. (Turns out, she's been phoning in her recommendations, literally and figuratively, because she doesn't want him to leave ... but she eventually helps him get an interview at Yale.) All our favorite surgical chickens (and April) are eager to fly the coop, it seems!
Back to the actual medicine, Owen (Kevin McKidd) tells the group that a trauma case is being choppered in, and he and Meredith go to the roof. The patient is a female hiker who fell into a ravine. But X-rays on this Jane Doe reveal long-standing fractures, leading Teddy (Kim Raver) to deduce that this girl's been tortured. Mer goes to talk to the patient before surgery, and the girl says that she thinks that her name is Holly but that "he" called her Susan.
The docs figure out that this Jane Doe is actually Holly Wheeler, a girl who was abducted twelve years ago, when she was a six-year-old. The girl "imprints" on Meredith, and she confides more in Mer than she does in her own parents. In fact, she harbors a lot of resentment toward her folks, whom she blames for her kidnapping. (That's gotta sting a bit.) And she even tells Meredith that she occasionally misses her life with her abductor. But after some dicey surgeries, Holly makes a full physical recovery; and, with Meredith's encouragement, she's able to head home with her parents to work on the emotional stuff.
There's a momentary freak-out when Bailey (Chandra Wilson) thinks that the hospital's nursery has lost Tuck. Bailey snarls at the nursery's hapless worker while Mark (Eric Dane) and Derek help in the search. Finally, another babysitter comes in with Tuck and a bloody tissue; the little guy simply had a nosebleed. Crisis averted ... and in, like, two minutes. So, um, what was the narrative point? Because it sorta just seems like a scene written just to hype up the episode in last week's preview and, Shonda, that would be sucky.
There are a few moments of genuine niceness between Cristina and Owen this episode. She lets him stay at their apartment while she's staying with Mer; she reassures him when the stress of being Chief gets too intense, she joins the fellow docs in applauding him when they release Holly, and she gives them an apple from one of her gift baskets. Alright, the apple seals the deal; they're getting back together, right? And, P.S., is Cristina's hair different, or is it just us?
One anxiety-producing scene which had us reaching for the Xanax saw Teddy trying to convince Owen to make Cristina (her star pupil) stay in Seattle, saying that it's his duty as her husband. Owen brushes her off and berates her, saying to never talk to him about his wife again. "I'm your Chief, not your friend," he seethes, adding, "You've made that very clear."
And, to end on the lowest of all notes (sorry about that), Richard (James Pickens Jr.) visits Adele in the nursing home to realize that she's fallen in love with another patient. He's righteously indignant until an administrator tells him that this other guy, Allen, also has Alzheimer's. Richard tries to remind Adele of the love they shared, even pulling out another rendition of "My Funny Valentine," but Adele only has eyes for Allen. So Richard, being the gentle soul that he is, tells Adele that he's only a phone call away and then lets Allen be with her. Is it wrong that the most depressing plotline is also the best?
So much brooding and bickering between the docs, huh? Will we ever get a respite? What tragedy, real or imagined, will befall Tucker next? And will Mark ever go gray again? Time will tell, folks. One week, to be exact. See you then!
Catch a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday, April 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Dan is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @SixFourDan.