It might not be the best day to be a patient at Seattle Grace, because the fifth-year residents are all "taking the lead" (episode title alert!) on the surgeries during Grey's Anatomy Season 8, Episode 3, and the results are awfully hit-or-miss. What's really throwing the attendings for a loop, though, is the announcement by Richard (James Pickens Jr.) that Owen (Kevin McKidd) is taking his spot as chief, and that he will go back to being just another surgeon. Meanwhile, the skittish residents release some tension by placing a wager: whichever surgeon does the worst has to teach all the intern skill labs for the foreseeable future.
You'd think the loser would be Alex (Justin Chambers) after he can't find a viable portion of intestine to use for his patient's bowel resection (even with a psychedelic black-light technique). Worse, he did so in front of the man who has been one of his only allies: the (former) chief. But another doc screws up even worse than Alex...
Teddy (Kim Raver) takes Cristina (Sandra Oh) off of a valve replacement and assigns her to a simple appendectomy, which Cristina totally resents until she realizes that she can't remember how to do an appendectomy. So she conducts a skills lab and lets the interns refresh her memory. Even so, she panics during the surgery and forgets a crucial step. Teddy berates her before admitting that even she can't remember. In the end, it's Nurse Linda who smugly announces the next step. Maybe Teddy needs to take herself back to the basics, too?
The operation assigned to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) entails cutting off the blood supply to an aneurysm on a man's artery. In the OR, she and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) bicker about what size clip to use. Meredith sticks to her guns, however, and the clip she advocates for ends up working beautifully. She even gets a standing ovation from everyone else in the OR. Winner!
Jackson (Jesse Williams) was all set to repair a kid's cleft palate, but he chickens out when Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) talks to him about the boy's future. It's all part of her master scheme to let Mark do the job, which is exactly what happens. As the day ends, April (Sarah Drew) decrees that Jackson loses the wager by forfeit. Real nice work, "Gunther."
Elsewhere, Owen desperately seeks and never receives approval from Bailey (Chanda Wilson). Richard tells her to be mad at himself and him alone, and explains that he appreciates that Meredith was trying to help his wife and he appreciates the quantity of Adele time his lower position grants him. (Hey, yeah, demotions are great!) Also, Callie (Sara Ramirez) counsels an overworked April on being Chief Resident, even though Callie was pretty lousy in the position, too.
Back at home, our beloved doc-spouses finally have a chance to unwind and talk to each other. Cristina and Owen actually reconnect and bond over a mutual bout of food poisoning. (Hope you're not eating Chinese take-out right now.) However, after all their OR friction, Meredith and Derek have a big blowout. Der says that he's still with Mer because of their Post-it promises, and Meredith says that she'll distance herself from him professionally if he can't trust her at work. They seem to reach a truce, but it's a delicate one. Maybe some spoiled Chinese food would help them feel the love again?
Next week: Zola returns and says that nobody puts baby in the corner. Also, Chyler Leigh returns in a rage, angrily reminding the Grey's writers that Lexie is contractually required to be in every episode! (Note: we are not accountable for bogus spoilers.) See you then!