Grey's Recap: Days of Suture Past

Grey's Anatomy Season 11 Recap

In this week’s bittersweet, flashback-filled Grey’s Anatomy, one doctor quit, one was rehired, and Derek said seven words to Meredith that, if I were her, I wouldn’t let him live down for a long time: “Wow… you sound just like your mother.” Nonetheless, the hour still managed to end on a positive note. Here’s how:

DISS AND TELL | After Stephanie heard from Miranda that the board had voted unanimously for her to take Cristina’s seat, the resident blabbed to Alex, who, feeling understandably betrayed, confronted Mer and Arizona. “You would make a fine board member,” Mer insisted. “But Bailey will make an exceptional one.” (Ouch.)

For her part, Arizona said that she lied to Alex about it having been a close vote out of fear that, if he knew the truth, he wouldn’t have agreed to come back to Grey Sloan as a peds surgery attending. And, she added, she really needed him to come back and do everything that she can’t while she’s both at Herman’s beck and call and trying to keep her marriage afloat. Finally, he was like, okay, whatever — but noted that he should be making a lot more money.

THE BICKERSONS | Meanwhile, Mer and Derek continued their fight from last week, with her suggesting that, since he “martyred” himself by staying in Seattle, he’s just been waiting for her to fail and him insisting that, on the contrary, he’s just been waiting for her to shine. And, of course, instead of explaining why she called in sick to drink tequila at Alex’s, Mer yelled at Derek to call the president, get his job back and leave. (Great doctors? Sure. Great communicators? Hell, no!) Luckily, Derek would soon find out what his wife was too ticked off to confide in him…

QUICK TURNAROUND | Off Richard’s confession last week that he’s her father, Maggie tendered her resignation, leading to hospitalwide choruses of “We can’t let her go!” Determined to change the newbie’s mind, Amelia paired Derek with his secret half sister-in-law in surgery. At first, Maggie still wouldn’t disclose why she was really leaving. “Every time I do,” she marveled, “it just gets worse.” But at last, she did reveal to Derek her family ties to Mer and Richard, and he reacted the way she’d wished Mer had: with excitement and an embrace. “Meredith is terrible with sisters,” he explained. “I’m not.” Then, the hug went on a little too long and got amusingly awkward. Still, things were clearly about to be set right.

Elsewhere, Richard admitted to Miranda why he couldn’t be the one to convince Maggie not to pack it in. Bailey’s priceless reaction? “Oh, thank you, God! I thought you had sex with that girl!” Richard also admitted to Mer what she couldn’t quite recall about that fateful day at the carousel when she was 5: Jealous of Ellis’ Harper Avery nomination — and fearful that he’d go through his entire life envious of her — he aborted their plan to leave their spouses and instead ended their affair (leading to Ellis’ suicide attempt). In short, “I made the wrong choice for the wrong reason,” he said sadly.

BOND… LET’S BOND | Finally, Derek got Mer to agree to a truce long enough to talk to him, and in turn, Mer shared with Maggie their mother’s journal from the spring of ’83 (which she got from Richard). And while the entries weren’t exactly warm — Ellis “wasn’t, either,” Mer noted — the wineglass stains on the pages did stop around the time that Ellis would have learned she was pregnant. So Mer was able to show Maggie at least that their mother had tried, in her way — she had wanted Maggie to be healthy.

As the half sibs tentatively bonded for the first time, Richard watched from a distance, smiling. It might not be the happy ending he and that fractured family could have had, but hey, it was something.

OK, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised Alex forgave Arizona so quickly? Relieved that now maybe Mer and Maggie won’t be at each other’s throats every week? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Diane says:

    They are really really really bad friends to Alex. Honestly. Terrible.

    • Completely agree. Merideth’s rationale was ridiculous and she’d be furious I’d their positions were reverse. Arizona’s reasoning was nonsensical. Why couldn’t he do both the Peds Attending position and board position just like she did, or Merideth does, or Callie does, or Bailey now does. Oh, and selfish, let’s notnforget that her reasons were purely selfish. Why in the world is he not furious and why in the world is he not suing. He was given the shares, he owns a piece of that hospital now, he needs to demand a seat. The writers cannot forget that he was given those shares. Ugh! Very frustrated by that episode.

      • Patrick says:

        I have a feeling this will come back to bite them. He does own the shares, and he does need money. What is going to happen when some corporate raider or a buyout fund comes calling. We may reach a point where the board comes to bitterly regret not welcoming Alex. His shares could be the tipping point between the current ownership and a new ownership. With the current ownership unable to match the offer.

        • Cyndi says:

          This was my point last night. It seems as if the show is conveniently forgetting that he was given the shares by Cristina. Just because he doens’t have the board seat, does not mean that he doesn’t own part of the hospital.

          Are they expecting us to believe that the shares and the board seat go hand in hand and now that he’s not a board member he doens’t have the shares? They really need to fix this continuity issue.

      • Kk says:

        Agree! Very typical treating of Alex who always gets shunted into the background. I was dissatisfied with that wrap up of the storyline. And how does Mer know that he wouldn’t be ‘exceptional’? Has anyone given him a chance? I also hated Stephanie’s smugness. Who is she to treat him with disdain?

      • seeyafrica says:

        Oh thank god other people hated this plot in the story. We only got this ep now in South Africa but I was fuming. Alex was given those shares by Yang so he could excel. Not being voted onto the board kinda defies the point and also shafts his progress. I wanted Bailey to lose this one because of her arrogance. Shame, Alex’s character has always been neglected. It makes sense when you realize that he was forced into the story by the executives, so I get the feeling Shonda Rhimes resents him for it still.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      My big question was why would anyone on the board actually tell Bailey that it was unanimous? Shouldn’t that information be private? And shouldn’t they know that would get out?

      • Rick Katze says:

        Once Bailey becomes a Board Member, she has the right to see everything including the closed-door vote. That being said, even if there was a minority for Alex, the logical thing was to unanimously vote in Bailey to avoid both Alex and Bailey being upset. Alex logically loses.

    • Anna says:

      Agreed. I was also a bit pissed at how easily everything was settled. But once again, Alex gets shafted while someone else in the hospital gets what they want.

  2. Erin says:

    Impressive episode. Really enjoyed it.

    • bar says:

      I agree. It was one of those episodes that I can see myself clicking on during a rainy day just because I liked it so much.

    • Rosemary says:

      Agreed. The reactions of Meredith and Richard as they recalled their memories were amazing. Richard’s regret of what he gave up, and Meredith’s understanding of what she lost because of Richard’s choices was palpable.

  3. Addie says:

    It was really good- much better better than the first three were. The flashbacks were really well-done and I liked Meredith making an effort at the end (and really poor Meredith- no 5 year old should have to call 911 because their mother committed suicide). I actually kind of felt sympathy for Ellis too especially once we learned the real reason Richard left. Not really looking forward to “Let’s Save Calzona’s Marriage Round #34534” next week but we’ll see.

    • Erin says:

      Same. The Calzona drama needs to be resolved. I would much rather have an episode on April and Jackson who haven’t been featured at all this season. :(

      • Addie says:

        I agree with that! Supposedly their storyline is coming and hopefully they actually get screentime during it! Though I guess in one way it’s better for Jackson and April to be in the background and stay happy instead of being front and center and be potentially destroyed.

  4. StephonJS says:

    I have never liked Ellis… On that note this was one of the best episodes this season… In The series. Whoever Directed and Wrote this episode news a pay raise plus a bonus. ASAP!

    • StephonJS says:

      I have never liked Ellis… On that note this was one of the best episodes this season… In The series. Whoever Directed and Wrote this episode needs a pay raise plus a bonus. ASAP!

    • Luli says:

      Paramedic Nicole directed the episode!! She did an amazing job!

  5. StephonJS says:

    This was an Emmy award winning episode.

  6. Melanie says:

    I don’t know why alex even bothers sticking around anymore. No one there ever has his back no matter how kind or helpful he is.

  7. Robert says:

    I hope the connection that Meredith and Maggie made at the end will lead to a strong siblings.g relationship, I think it will help ground Meredith and help Maggie become more relaxed. This was one of the best episodes in the show’s entire history and I loved seeing more layers of Ellis, a character who is only a guest star but has had a major impact on many of the major characters over the seasons.

  8. pamill says:

    GREAT episode, one of the best to date. I just wish Shonda and Heigl could call a truce, too, and wrap the Izzie-arc already. It’s time to put the loyal fans first…you know, the ones who made these 11 seasons possible.

    • Addie says:

      Honestly at this point, I truly don’t even think Izzie would fit anywhere. The time has passed, everyone has kind of moved on, etc. But I’m sure at some point we’ll get a mention- probably the series finale or something.

    • Sara says:

      I feel like the Izzie arch was wrapped up. She left and cut ties with her fellow interns/residents. What else do you need to know?

      • Patrick says:

        You can’t cross Shonda at this point. She is definitely the most powerful woman in TV, and may well be the most powerful person in TV regardless of gender. Without a doubt, she is the most powerful person at the ABC network. She could get anyone at Disney fired excluding the overall chairman, and maybe 1-2 other top execs from Marvel/Pixar/Star Wars. And Joss is untouchable right now also.
        Point being, KH would have to literally crawl over white hot shards of broken glass to get Shonda to let her back in. KH would have to make some public statement about how awful KH was, and how it was all KH’s fault, and how KH was a just an ungrateful witch, and then probably still crawl over the aforementioned hot glass, publicly, before Shonda put her back on.
        Realistically, it wouldn’t work. KH would want to close out her storyline by Izzy doing great and being a conquering hero that returns. Maybe she is sick and dying, maybe she isn’t. Alex would tearfully admit that she was the love of his life, and she wouldn’t reciprocate. She then rides off into the sunset, either with a tearful death, or triumphantly back to her fantastic life of success elsewhere. Shonda wouldn’t do this.
        Shonda’s plan would probably be different. Izzy would be a wreck. Maybe sick, maybe not. But not doing well. Struggling to be successful in bad location. She tearfully expresses her undying love for Alex, who would have saved her somehow at that point, only to have Alex finally say that he is done with Izzy and that he can’t love who she is because of what she is and what she has done. KH wouldn’t do this.

      • Izzie says:

        The only thing i still wonder about is the eggs that alex fertilised which they froze when Izzie had cancer… do these still exist and would she not want to come back for them if she can’t conceive…?

    • MzTeaze says:

      I HIGHLY doubt this will EVA happen. Last week, Shonda was quoting as saying “there are no Heigls in this situation” when talking about the cast of Scandal. When you move to naming the jerk moves after the very publicly named person who has famously slurred her and her team…yeah pigs will fly and unicorns will be spotted on earth before she comes back to Grey’s.

  9. HRG says:

    This was one great episode. Very well done !

  10. Babygate says:

    I forever think that Derek is an a*s but my favorite scene tonight was when he welcomed Maggie. It was so touching! My complaints, where was Callie? And I’m not liking this Rainbow Brite version of Bailey. I miss the Nazi that commanded respect and who was always in control. This Bailey is all over the place. Other than that, this was a superb episode. Excellent. I loved the way the flashbacks were interwoven into the action. Ellen was excellent. Nicole did a phenomenal job on the direction and the writing was very, very good. That scene with Mer and Maggie reminded of the scene when Lexie told Mer 5 things about herself to make it easy to like her. And Ellis’ last words, “where were we?” were absolutely heartbreaking. Kudos, Shonda.

    • LC says:

      I agree that this was one of the best episodes in a long time. The first couple of episodes, I wasn’t so sure about Mer’s direction this season. Mer is best when we at least get a hint of “dark and twisty”, and we got it in spades this week. As for Der, OK, yeah, it was a jerk move to say what he did, but in all honesty, I’ve been waiting for this fight since he told her he was staying. You can’t give up a dream like that for your significant other and NOT have some fallout of resentment. Mer didn’t want to stay because she had some grand plan or because she was on the verge of some great discovery…she stayed because Seattle is where her life is. Der needs to either go to DC or just accept the fact that HE chose to give up the job. She never asked him to, she just told him she wasn’t going with him. Married on separate coasts isn’t easy (especially with Der’s past) but it didn’t mean they were over. They could have made it work. Everything else in this episode was spot on…Maggie, Richard, Alex, etc. And yes, the final scene with Ellis was an OMG moment.

  11. Mara says:

    Meredith and Arizona showed they don’t know the meaning of friendship with how they treated Alex. Meredith is wrong – Bailey has been a mess for a while now and turned into a shrill shell. Alex has grown so much and would be exceptional and Meredith should know that. As for Arizona, she is utterly selfish. The Arizona character should just go – I wish she had been killed off in the plane crash a few seasons ago – can not stand her or any scene she’s in – cheating on Callie, blaming Callie for her amputee leg that saved her life, so selfish and not fun to watch.

  12. GL says:

    That was one amazing episode, one of the best in a while. Ellen was brilliant, if only they give her more great material like this. Love all the flashbacks, the MerDer fights, the Mer/Richard scenes and while I’m sad Meredith didn’t vote for Bailey, I hope she’ll be busy on the admin stuff I imagine she likes, while Meredith shines as a Surgeon. I’m sure I’ll be watching this episode over and over.

  13. Ileana M. says:

    This has been my favorite episode so far, tied with Maggie’s POV episode.

  14. Rob says:

    Seriously one of the best episodes of Grey’s in years, absolutely in the top 10 of the entire series. It was incredibly well done.

  15. Gladys says:

    Awesome episode. Beautifully crafted and the acting was amazing from all and especially Ellen Pompeo. Loved all the flashback and how they mixed it with the real time. Amazing cutting. And it was so emotional. Really think is one of Grey’s best episodes.
    Really loved too those moments with Mer/Richard at the end when he admitted why he left, the Derek/Maggie was actually heartwarming, really missed the McDreamy smile….and at the end Derek forcing. Meredith to talk to him because he already knew and he needed to know that she was ok, call for what a marriage is, you can be mad, fighting or whatever but when needed, you will be there for your loved one! Love me some MerDer!

  16. TinLV says:

    Really good episode, well acted, directed and edited. Emmy stuff. Episodes like this are why I watch this show. I agree that Alex should have gotten the board seat, though. He has matured into a good man and an amazing ped’s surgeon, while Bailey has been a mess lately. Yang gifted Alex those shares because she believed in him.. the rest of his friends and fellow shareholders should too. Oh, well, at least he will get dividends, assuming the hospital is making money. Better than nothing, and maybe he’ll get his chance at a board seat later on.

  17. zac says:

    Is it weird that I expected Twisty the Clown to appear on that carousel?

  18. ejdax37 says:

    Loved the episode, but now Maggie needs to hear Richard out! I still don’t think 7 days was to long to process having a 30 year old daughter spring out to much. Also was the only one that thought for a second I was watching Scandal? I watched it recorded for when Elis Grey popped up I thought I had clicked on the wrong show till it clicked, lol. I had almost forgot that Sally also played Mama Grey.

  19. JB says:

    Younger Ellis wasn’t the same without Sarah Paulson. Good episode, but I’m tired of Alex getting dumped on.

  20. Lindsay says:

    Truly one of their best episodes ever, because of the continuity that has let up to it for all theses years. The actors just shone. And the writing – when Derek said, “You sound like your mother,” I kept thinking, “YOU DO,” and then Meredith actually said that, which was amazing.

    And then ten minutes later, I didn’t hate Derek anymore, which is a miracle. (Because I usually kind of hate Derek as a rule. Doesn’t he have anything to do besides wander and pout? Isn’t he still the head of Neuro?)

    So happy Meredith and Maggie are somewhat bonding – if they can welcome Amelia in, that would make me even happier – she is being incredibly wasted.

    Didn’t even realize Callie wasn’t in the episode until I saw next week’s promo.

  21. Serena says:

    And people wonder why this show is still on the air?!? Because 11 years in an episodes like this are being made! Seriously, great storytelling, amazing editing and directing, and flawless performances. Ellen Pompeos the best. I absolutely loved it. And I LOVE how they incorporated all those Ellis flashbacks from earlier seasons. Great continuity. Definitely one of my all time favorites so far

  22. Pat says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the flashbacks they had on Meredith and her mother and also, Richard. This really gave me some insight as to what Meredith had to endure as a child. I do not like what they have done to Bailey’s character. The past couple of seasons she has never been herself which was a strong leader and now she just goes off the rail at times. For her to insist that they have to call a board meeting immediately just because an intern is quitting was ridiculous. Derrick’s sister needs to go. I do not like this character. As for Alex, I assume he still has pocession of the shares on that board seat that Christinia gave him so when will this be resolved? Will the hospital have to buy them back from him? Yes, they gave the seat to Miranda but I still think it was a slap in the face to Alex. My prediction is that Alex will be on the board when Arizonia leaves the show and something tells me that might happen sooner rather then later. I really liked the end scene with Maggie and Meredith and Richard watching them. That was very touching.

    • Amber says:

      Maggie isn’t just some intern – she’s Yang’s replacement as head of cardio. Bailey was talking about the embarassing high turnover of that position when she wanted to call a board meeting.

  23. Ange says:

    I thought this was one of the best episodes I have seen in quite some time. Loved how Derek immediately found Meredith and made the point that regardless of what’s going on between us, you come to me when there is something life altering going on with you. It came across as if he fell in love with her all over again.

  24. Abby says:

    So basically when Alex was freaking out and worrying about going up for the board seat Meredith offered him no support and instead wanted him to stop what he was doing and support her. And then she herself didn’t vote for him despite knowing how much it meant to him. When Cristina was her person was it that one-sided?

    • kpmom says:

      She can’t make a business decision based on who she’s better friends with. She told Alex his speech was good but Bailey’s was just better. She couldn’t have known it would be before-hand. I think she acted professionally and did what was best for the hospital. Bailey is much more qualified to hold that board seat than Alex. I would have lost a little respect for Meredith if she just voted for Alex because he is her friend when clearly Bailey was the better candidate (which she obviously is or the vote would not have been unanimous).

      • Diane says:

        This is the same woman who in the last 6 months, flipped out at Christina because she didn’t pick her for a surgery because they were friends (even though she didn’t prepare) it was right after her baby. In addition, my bigger issue is she could have just told Alex up front that he is very good but she felt Bailey was a better fit and would probably vote that way. But she sat there while he noted how important this was to him like she cared. Its frustrating because their friendship is definitely not one sided but the last 2 weeks certainly played like it is.

  25. Dee says:

    Excellent episode especially Pompeo and Dempsey.

  26. LaLa says:

    One of the BEST episodes of Grey’s to date. It was just so well done.

  27. Diana says:

    Great reminder of how great this show can be. Ellen Pompeo was especially amazing last night. Loved the scene with Derek and Maggie.

  28. Will Alex *ever* get to win? It really needs to happen soon – and not just a HEA with Jo, either – a real win. I love Bailey, but he deserved that spot. I hope the writers don’t just forget that he owns Christina’s shares now – and I hope that this betrayal (by Arizona and Mer) comes back to bite them in the ass, sooner rather than later.

  29. MzTeaze says:

    Meredith is plucking my last nerves this season. Just grow up and work things out with Derek or let him move on. Geez it’s so juvenile to see her drone on each week about how he shouldn’t have picked her. She IS becoming just like her mom, just the less successful version. She seems to be the only person that doesn’t see it. I like her sister – she is a really good edition.

  30. Tony says:

    Have to agree. An exceptional episode. And while I’ve always enjoyed the insight we get into who Ellis Grey was, I still think she was a wretched, awful person.

  31. Libby says:

    Loved the episode, but this recapper really sucks. No insights or humor, just D-level writing. Wish they’d get someone else to do these recaps.

  32. Gayle says:

    This was an exceptional episode but do not feel that although Meredith accepts the situation with Maggie she is going to need more help especially from Derek and Alex as they were part of th set up when Lexie came. Need more Mer Der

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