In this episode, we finally learn what happened in the immediate aftermath of the plane crash that changed everything. Slowly, one character at a time, we are taken through everybody’s injuries, everybody’s recovery (or lack thereof) and everybody’s general trauma. It’s an enlightening journey, a painful one and one that we, like the doctors of Seattle Grace-Mercy West, won’t forget anytime soon.
Immediately following the accident, treatment begins on Derek’s (Patrick Dempsey) hand, Cristina’s mind, Mark’s heart and Arizona’s leg. After all four of them are taken back to Seattle, Callie becomes to Derek what he once was to Burke (Isaiah Washington). She comes up with a plan to save his hand while he remains a dreamy optimist, except when he’s talking to his best friend, of course. Which brings us to something we loved about this episode: It contained equal parts irresistible, grinning Mark and comatose, funny-colored Mark. Actually, it focused more on our favorite version of him (the former, obviously).
Early into the episode, we learn that Bailey fears polar bears, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) has turned into an impossible optimist, and Cristina has an impressive throwing arm. And after we see Meredith’s story and Derek’s story, we finally learn the full extent of why Cristina left for Minnesota. In her words, “I’ll never get out.” And after her excruciating account of what happened while she was the only one to stay awake for all four days in the woods, we can’t blame her for getting the hell out of dodge. To catch you up (prepare yourself): Cristina drank her own urine, kept bugs out of Arizona’s leg with leaves and tried to keep the animals away from Lexie … but couldn’t.
We know. We’re sorry. We didn’t like reliving it either. So after Cristina breaks our hearts yet again by bringing up George (R.I.P), she hits the road in her red Toyota. Elsewhere, Mark tells his unimportant girlfriend what’s-her-name that he loved Lexie. Then he sticks around long enough to remind us that McDreamy isn’t the only one with a good head of hair before he makes his last inappropriate comment to an intern and then settles his treatment plan with Richard. We’re still not ready for a life without Mark.
Our biggest question of the episode is this: How long does it take Jackson to retrieve a kid? At one point, Mark sends him to get Sofia. During his journey, April (Sarah Drew) somehow manages to find time to get on a plane (three hours after talking to Jackson when he was on his way to get Sofia), and Mark finds time to write an entire will and then slip into a coma. Jackson clearly needs to take lessons from Bailey, who seemed to be the carrier of all babies this episode.
Back to the adults, or more particularly, the adult who often acts like a baby: We get a little more Alex in this episode, from him eating lunch with everyone in Cristina’s room — during her psychotic break, she became the new “really old guy” — to being called a horrible person by Arizona, Alex actually manages to get through an episode without making us want to smack him. Bravo. Oh, and it turns out that he’s the one who cuts off Arizona’s leg. You see, Callie is in the middle of Derek’s surgery when Alex goes to apologize to Arizona, which causes her to crash … you know what happens next. He was already on Arizona’s list. Now we see why he wanted to flee to Hopkins.
Between the many individual storylines, we get our fair share of “help me” speeches, surgery planning and overall coping. The episode ends with Meredith leaving Cristina a voicemail explaining, in her new optimistic way, that just as much good has happened in Seattle as bad, and that is why she’s staying. But most importantly, Cristina establishes that Meredith is and always will be her person. Now if we could only get Cristina back.
So now, we have a few thoughts: Could Gaius Charles be Derek’s new student? Did anyone else pick up on that interaction? Will Arizona ever forgive Alex? And finally ... we kind of wish the vase had actually hit those new interns. If Cristina does return, they better look out. Medusa’s got nothing on Cristina the robot.
We will see you in two weeks for a complete gearshift: Grey’s is gettin’ sexy, y’all.
Catch the next new episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday, October 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Samantha Highfill is a contributing writer to Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @samhighfill.