ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy uncorked its “alternate reality” episode this Thursday, and while some of the broader strokes had been revealed, promo’d and spoiled beforehand, the hour still offered some interesting, hilarious and/or crowd-pleasing surprises.
In lieu of a traditional recap – because really, the medicine was immaterial here – let’s take stock of who was up to what in this “other” reality.
ELLIS & RICHARD WEBBER | Ellis had never gotten Alzheimer’s, so she was still at the top of her game and had held onto Richard. She’s the chief of surgery at Seattle Grace, which apparently never endured any hardships and had absorbed not just Mercy West but soon another hospital. Alas, she cracks the whip (or Whipple) pretty hard at work, sometimes pushing her daughter into the deep end too soon.
MEREDITH | Meredith Webber lives with Ellis and Richard (aka “Dad”), wears a whole lotta pink and is blissfully engaged to Alex. This episode, however, serves up a bad day for Mer, as she discovers that Alex is cheating on her with no less than her “person,” the “virgin” April Kepner, and she has a less-than-great surgical experience with Yang. At the end of it all, she bonds with Cristina at the bar, then manages to warm up the icy-cold one known as “McDreary.” Just like old times.
CRISTINA | She’s rocking fierce(ly bad) hair, struts around with her own hard-rock soundtrack and doesn’t sit at the cool kids’ table. And yet she still hooked up with the esteemed Dr. Preston Burke (name check alert!) – though things went so badly south between them that he skedaddled out of Seattle. She deems Mer a nimrod after their joint operation, but later the two find common ground at the bar.
OWEN | He’s married to Callie, with whom he has two tow-headed sons and a brunette daughter, but his PTSD issues apparently didn’t get dealt with as deftly as in this reality. In fact, he punches a window at one point, then begs Cristina to help him conceal it, lest he lose his family.
ALEX | Apparently he was the jerk we first met in this reality, but Mer changed him into a polo-wearing go-getter. OK, it turns out he still is a jerk, as evidenced when Yang catches him cavorting with Kepner. But that is his pattern, he sighs, always screwing a good thing up. One saving grace: This lout is mild-mannered Mandy’s — sorry, Miranda‘s – champion.
BAILEY | Having never been properly mentored by Richard Webber, “Mandy” is terribly soft-spoken, to an extent that her acquiescence completely torpedoes a critical surgery of Ellis, where she was to show off a new technique to the press. Ellis gets her fired for the misstep, an event that seems to put a much-needed fire in Bailey’s belly.
APRIL | Yeah, she’s apparently not the virgin everyone paints her to be. Dr. Charles Percy (he’s alive!) chases after her when he’s not making us LOL by saying, “Just shoot me now.”
LEXIE | Her mom’s dead, dad Thatcher killed himself, so she turned into a cokehead thief replete with dreadlocks, piercing and tattoos. She reveals to Avery that she has a half-sister working at SGH, but never divulges details. (And yes, she’s still an adorkable Lexipedia.)
DEREK & ADDISON | Everyone deems the “bad” and “good” Drs. Shepherd to form the “perfect” couple, though secretly they are not. And then… not-so-secretly they are not. “McDreary” has failed to meet his potential, something that Ellis makes clear will jeopardize his future at SGH. Ad, meanwhile, remains far from perfect, seeing as the baby’s she’s carrying is Mark’s. (Twist!)
MARK | One of the crowd-pleasing moments was unconscious Lexie being carried back into the ER by this familiar face, looking a bit more “old-school McSteamy.” He still doffs a shirt well.
CALLIE & ARIZONA | Callie is the head of cardio, having been steered into that specialty by Ellis — though she privately laments not choosing ortho. At work she locks horns with Arizona, until a case brings them… closer. To the point that Dr. Robbins and her million-watt smile declares her to be “amazing,” and they ponder having drinks “sometime.” Fun fact: Callie thinks her husband’s war buddy Teddy is a guy. Har!
GEORGE! | The one known as “007” failed his intern exam, and was never seen again.
IZZIE! | Alex and Mer use her name as a synonym for “crazy,” seeing as she slept with a patient (though hopefully not his ghost, too) and even stole a heart transplant for the guy. Mer got her fired for the ethical errors.
In the end, though Meredith set out to envision a reality where one thing – her mother’s health – could make so much else different, she notes, “Some things are going to work out as if they were destined to happen.”