Grey's Anatomy Recap: Rock Bottom

Grey's Anatomy Season 11 Recap

In this week’s Grey’s Anatomy, the very public revelation of Amelia’s checkered past gave Derek more than an opportunity to make a play for her current and his former position as head of neuro, it gave him an opportunity for self-reflection. Trouble was, he didn’t like what he saw. Read on, and I’ll tell you all about it.

PAST IMPERFECT | Derek had been stepping on Amelia’s toes ever since he decided to stay at Grey Sloan. And when, early on in “Can We Start Again, Please?” a family member involved in one of her cases (loudly) revealed troubling details of the doc’s past addiction, her brother defended her and defused the situation leapt in and took over her surgery.

Afterward, Amelia – suddenly the talk of the hospital – turned to Richard for support (and got it, in spades). “It’s the past,” he pointed out, “and you don’t need to defend it.” Unfortunately, when Owen later approached Amelia, she felt that that was what he was asking her to do, and she refused. Worse, when Owen asked Derek if he thought that Amelia was the best person to be head of neuro, his response was… crickets.

Almost immediately, Derek realized that he had given Owen the idea that he should unseat Amelia. (Gee, ya think?) “I will fix it,” he promised her. But the die was already cast: Owen had called an emergency board meeting. “What did you do?!?” a horrified Mer asked Derek. (And just when she was beginning to think they were settling back into a sexy groove, too.)

At the board meeting, Derek stepped up and said that he should have protected Amelia from being outed as a recovering addict. He even admitted that he hadn’t done so for the pettiest of reasons: because he wanted his position back. “She should stay where she is, Owen,” he concluded, adding that he couldn’t do the job any better.

That night, Amelia told Derek that she was moving out. In turn, he said that ever since their father died, he had always wanted to protect her… until she came to Seattle and he saw that she was fine. She no longer needed him to look out for her. What’s more, “I don’t know who I am anymore,” he admitted. “I’m miserable. All I do is hurt… the last people I want to hurt.” And, scarier still, he didn’t know how to get it under control.

MYOB | Elsewhere, Arizona confronted Herman about the impossible position she’d been left in by her mentor’s confession that she’s dying. “I need to know more” before deciding whether to keep the brain tumor a secret from the board, Arizona said. But Herman, charmer that she is, insisted that Arizona wasn’t “entitled” to full disclosure. (At least Herman explained why she was popping pills. “I’m getting a migraine,” she snapped. “You’re not helping.”) And, with one last demand that Arizona hurry and make up her mind, Herman was off to a secret appointment.

Naturally, no sooner was Herman out the door than one of her patients found herself in a bad way. Arizona called her mentor — repeatedly — and, having gotten no response, finally left a message saying that Herman had left her no choice but to handle the case as best she could and report the dying doc to Owen. Thankfully, the surgery went fine – with Alex’s help, Arizona saved the baby. But while she was tending to the preemie, Dr. Haas from Masters of Sex made such a bloody mess of the poor mother that she died!

When at last Herman turned up again, Arizona found her explaining to the father that, even she’d been there instead of Robbins, his wife would have died, anyway. Though Arizona was off the hook, she wouldn’t let Herman off the hook… until she vomited. Then, finally, the ailing M.D. confessed that an aggressive treatment was making her sick. Her walls coming down, however slightly, she offered to teach Arizona the one procedure that might have helped save the mother… that is, if Arizona will keep her secret. Given the chance to save a life, Arizona agreed to remain mum.

FLYING SOLO | Meanwhile, Jo prepared for her first solo surgery by upchucking in the ladies’ room (and assuring Stephanie that, thank God, she isn’t pregnant!) and insisting that she wasn’t in the slightest intimidated by her supervisor, “little bitty Dr. Bailey” — without realizing “the Nazi” was in one of the stalls! As payback – this doesn’t seem entirely professional – Miranda read a magazine during the operation. Luckily, she paid enough attention to know that Jo hadn’t forgotten the vital step that she feared she had. (Mind you, that didn’t stop Bailey from making Jo think that she might have killed her patient!)

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE | In other developments, Maggie was miffed about MerDer missing the dinner to which they invited her, so her half sister took her to hang out at Ellis’ old house/Alex’s place; Arizona moved into Alex’s house; and April – shaken by the death of Arizona’s patient – relied on her faith (which, it appears, she’ll need more of next week!).

OK, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you ticked that Derek didn’t stick up for Amelia sooner? 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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50 Comments
  1. Karen says:

    Arizona did not perform a surgery she’d never done before as you stated. She did a C-section to take the baby because she never did the surgery Herman planned and Herman was incommunicado.

  2. Alichat says:

    So did Amelia lose her position as head of neuro or does she still have the job?

  3. Walter Freeman says:

    Are we taking bets on whether or not Shonda is gonna kill off April during childbirth yet?

  4. Amber says:

    Bailey was unprofessional?! You don’t say….

  5. Isn’t the magazine thing something Richard did to one if the Fab five? I can’t remember which one but I do remember him in a corner

  6. Anna says:

    I was so beyond mad about Derek. I honestly wanted to punch him. It did not seem as out of character as the episode implied, though. Derek has always been arrogant. He’s just never done this sort of thing to family before.

    • the girl says:

      Yes he had. He had totally undermined Amelia like this in the past. This one may have been the worst time but there have been occasions where he made it clear that he did not trust her talent and she was not as good as him.

  7. Azerty says:

    I didn’t expect such last scene from Derek, specially after last week. Is he going through a depression or something? In season 5 it was angry depression but here it seems like sad depression. I didn’t see that coming. I loved the scene at Ellis house; I miss that: group scenes of friends, like when they were having lunch in the basment or in the very old guy’s room. And a mention of George is always nice. However is it just me or Jo didn’t seem happy about the party in her living room and Arizona moving in?

    • cmsfl says:

      It looked like Jo doesn’t even to try to mix with Alex’s friends. She comes off as an “all about me” type.

    • abz says:

      I honestly love those scenes. Scenes when they hung out in the basement or lunch together or even a few weeks ago with the hilarious drinking session between Mer and Callie. I miss them and I wish they would do more. Before Arizona walked in and everything turned sad, I was having a blast watching them just sit in the living room and reminiscing.

  8. Tom says:

    I’m kind of in love with the way this season is portraying Derek. And before everyone jumps down my throat, let me explain.

    When Cristina left, she told Meredith that Derek isn’t the sun and that he’s dreamy but he’s not the center of the world. In a lot of ways, it was the writers’ way of bursting the McDreamy bubble that we all have about Derek. Derek is dreamy, Derek is very black and white. But Derek is not perfect. We see the world through Meredith’s eyes and for the last ten seasons, we saw Derek as the perfect McDreamy because that’s how Meredith saw him. When Cristina left, she burst Meredith’s (and the viewers’) bubble regarding Derek. He is not perfect. He is not the sun. Just like in life, the honeymoon phase can’t last forever and Meredith and Derek were given so many honeymoons that the phase never really ended. Finally, when push comes to shove, she saw Derek (and we did too) for what he is. He has many flaws that stem from his traumatic childhood and becoming the responsible “man of the house” that led him to feeling he had to take care of Amelia, led him to having a failed marriage with Addison, and ultimately, led him to Meredith. Meredith has always been up front with her Dark and Twisty-ness but Derek hasn’t. Derek has dark and twisty deep down inside him and I, for one, am excited that we get to see the man behind the dreamy.

    • Tekiquia says:

      Very valid point. I think you just made me un-hate Derek. This season he was really starting to get on my nerves.

    • Saabgirlatx says:

      Agree-plus he has had a lot of dissappointments lately (even some self induced): Meredith refusing to move, turning down White House gig, giving up cheif of neuro, etc. For a man as hung up on his ego/successes it could certainly send him back to dark and twisty land. Great episode. It reminded me of the classic Greys that has gone by the wayside in recent seasons.

    • Kate says:

      You make some very valid points that I had not thought of in regards to Derek. That does explain a lot. You have opened my eyes a bit. Thanks!

  9. madhatter360 says:

    We’ve seen the magazine thing before though. It’s traditional for the attending to read a magazine, to show that they are trusting the resident.

  10. Bryce says:

    Patrick Dempsey’s scene at the end was the best performance he’s ever given on this show, if you ask me. Very raw and relatable.

    • Allison says:

      Bryce, I was thinking the exact same thing. Patrick Dempsey’s performance was brilliant. He captured the agony and feelings of loss and hopelessness perfectly. I believed every word he said. Truly touching performance and like you said the best performance he has ever given on this show. Because of that performance, I like where the writers have taken his character. I had gotten so used to angry, smug, and judgmental Derek that I began to dislike him wholeheartedly. But the performance Patrick Dempsey gave made me see Derek as human and that he is broken and flawed. At first I wasn’t feeling Amelia and didn’t know why they brought her on the show, but if she is gonna make Derek more open and vulnerable, then there are no arguments here! (even though I am still against the whole Amelia and Owen romance that is being teased/threatened. That latest related TVLine article “Grey’s Anatomy: Caterina Scorsone Previews Amelia’s ‘Humiliation,’ War With Derek and… Romance With Owen?” nearly had me hyperventilating)!

  11. Luli says:

    I was so pissed at Derek for not standing up for her little sister. He kind of betrayed her for wanting his old job back. At least he realized that what he did was wrong.
    I loved the Amy and Meredith scene, and at least Mer served as one of her supports in this episode, the other being Richard. I want more scenes with them.

    Also that ending scene with the group!! It reminded me of past seasons, and I’m glad Mer is stepping up as a sister and invited Maggie. What I coudn’t stop noticing in that scene was Jo in the background (in another room) not enjoying their reunion, as if she doesn’t belong and maybe is jealous? But doesn’t try to blend in, she has never tried to befriend with Alex’s friends.

    And did anyone saw the promo for the winter finale? SPOILER dammit Shonda! No one in Grey’s can have a normal delivery! I’m sure the whole purpose of Arizona learning Fetal Surgery this season is so she is able to save April and her baby.

    Also, why does the mid season finale take place in the 8th episode? I thought they were splitting the season up, 12 in the fall, 12 in the spring.

  12. Tim says:

    Well, that episode probably set treatment for addicts of all kinds back about ten years.

  13. Kara says:

    I’m partially bllind and could not make sense of all the black and white Derek flashback scenes. Can someone explain to me what was happening there?

    • Tim says:

      Derek’s father was being killed in a robbery while Derek was keeping his sister quiet so the robber wouldn’t find them. Source of his ‘protect your sister’ complex…the eye contact promise he made to his dad.

  14. Em says:

    One of the best acted GA’s for all involved. Raise a glass to O’Malley!

    • Mary says:

      Agree. Last night’s episode was fantastic! Everyone had a part and for once I didn’t feel that anyone was unnecessarily taking up screen time. Loved the entire episode.

  15. EJ386 says:

    I like how Alex still has his house open to anyone who needs it. Jo seems to have a problem with it, that is weird to me seeing her background. I think that speaks to a very different set of values, I don’t think they will work out in the long run.

    • Tim says:

      If someone says “my house is the open gathering place for all my friends” the standard response is “oh, so you are a bachelor then.”

      • EJ386 says:

        Yes but Alex comes from a place where family and friends weren’t the norm. He places a high value on those. It’s also a resonable being there for the people who need his help.

        • Slowride says:

          That and it’s part of the legacy of the house too ! When Meredith left it to him, she kinda left him in charge of that legacy because she knew he would help out their friends in need like she used to do when she lived there.

    • Kate says:

      I can understand, because of her background, that Jo might be a bit territorial. Doesn’t mean I like it, though. ;-)

    • KYLE says:

      I can sympathise for Jo. She’s always going to in a difficult position because her boyfriend’s friends all share a long and complex history together that long predates her, and they also happen to be her superiors and teachers at work too.

      I’d liken her situation to when you get a new boy/girlfriend and meet their family for the first time. If your lucky, that family will make an effort to include you as the outsider and make you feel more at ease with being around them, but if they don’t, you might find yourself feeling very uncomfortable sitting on the outside of something that you don’t really belong too. Jo is very much in the latter scenario.

      Neither Alex or any of his friends have ever really made any effort with Jo or tried to take her feelings into consideration. She’s Alex’s girlfriend, but Alex has never made any effort to incorporate her into his family. They in turn disregard her and just carry on like they did before she was there. Take Meredith – she happily kicked Jo out of her own bed, and then deliberately walked in on Alex in the shower, not once giving any thought to how it’d make Jo feel. In this episode, Meredith welcomes Maggie into the circle and they all make an effort with her and tell her funny stories etc, but nobody does that for Jo, even though they happen to be sitting in her living room at the time. She’s Alex’s girlfriend, but I don’t think she sees herself as being an equal part of his life. This episode highlighted the fact that it is still considered “Alex’s house” and she just lives there, and now Alex is moving Arizona in too, not checking if his girlfriend is ok with it.

      Saying all that I don’t think Jo has done much to help matters, but I do feel sorry for her in this situation. Since she’s the outsider, I think Alex and his friends should be making more of an effort to include her. I don’t think her problem is that Alex has a life away from her, I think her problem is that he doesn’t seem to be making any effort to incorporate her into his life more.

      Yikes I wrote an essay there!

      • shan says:

        I completely agree with you!!! I love Jo, I really like her character. In my opinion, she is one of the characters that have the most potential, I think she Is very dimensional. Unfortunately though, the majority of people are not interested in giving her any chance at all, and don’t credit her actions to her past and look deeper into why she might be feeling this way, because it’s actually blindingly obvious. I absolutely love Alex and Jo, but at the moment I am really annoyed at Alex, for some of the reasons you listed, but because he is coming across as so indifferent and oblivious towards her feelings at them moment, and he isn’t showing her the same amount of support she had in SPADES for him last year. I think the big problem is that they’ve literally had 30seconds of screen time this season, it’s not enough. We haven’t seen jo/alex from Alex’s p.o.v enough, only Jo’s insecurities (which I think are extremely valid). I don’t think people understand her, or want to – due to her background its amazing she allowed herself to let alex in, (and she still struggles with verbalizing it, she hasn’t said I love you, even though it’s beyond clear she does) and now that she HAS she has no IDEA how to share him, or even process the idea of his ‘family’ as she’s obviously never had one. I felt awful for her with the beaten girl case, and whatever her feelings were that stemmed from Meredith kicking her out and Alex allowing it, that case clearly progressed them and will probably be a catalyst for her imploding at some point.

        • Rachel says:

          Yes!! It’s like we are sharing a brain. I wish people would see that Jo acts in a reasonable way given her backstory and cut her some slack.

      • Rachel says:

        I agree with everything you said! The only thing I would add is I don’t think Jo knows how to completely incorporate herself into Alex’s life due to her history. Her whole life she’s been an outsider with no sense of belonging so it makes sense to me that she would be on the outside looking in & feeling insecure. And I would be mad at alex about arizona if I was her. Just yesterday Alex was acting confused as to why she didn’t feel like she had a home & then he lets Arizona move in without even asking Jo or considering her. I’m sure Jo wouldn’t have kicked her out on the street, but I think she would have liked to be included in the decision. I know I would have.

  16. Rick Katze says:

    Interesting and enjoyable episode. Especially thought that Derek nailed it. Tend to agree that the procedure Arizona wants to learn will be used April’s baby. Also Bailey felt like the Bailey of the first three seasons. She’s back to teaching in the Bailey method.
    And yes, I also find the mid-season break to be very early. The good news is once they come back, we have a lot less repeats and breaks. Anybody know if there is a real pregnancy or some other event causing this schedule break?

  17. Diane says:

    I may stand alone here but I’ve no problem with Amelia’s patient freaking out and wanting a new DR. she doesn’t have to keep NA a secret if she thinks the dr will hurt her parents. Also she was probably close to hysterical. That is not the time to mcdreamy someone into using a dr they dont trust.

    • Sally says:

      It is her right to request a different doctor for any reason. I can see her being close to hysterical. But no one has suggested that Derek try to talk her into having Amy do the surgery. The problem is that instead of taking Amy aside and comforting her while letting the Chief (Owen) handle the situation, Derek choose to ignore her and take an opportunity to get off the bench.

      • Diane says:

        Didn’t Meredith say– He stole a surgery? And she was being attacked? She really wasn’t attacked the woman just lost it over what she heard at NA. Im just saying (I think he was an a**) but he didn’t steal anything.

    • Tim says:

      Better known as she doesn’t have to keep a promise if it’s inconvenient. Truth is people who are that way don’t do NA because they believe everyone is that way and worry too much about their own anonymity.

      “Because I know you are in recovery I would prefer not to have a professional relationship with you.”

      “Okay, I will get you another doctor.”

      That’s how that is handled in real life. Doesn’t make for good TV though.

      • Diane says:

        interesting. I suppose I never thought to check if any doctor of mine was in recovery or not although I assume with the statistical amount of dr with substance abuse problem Im sure at least a few of my Dr’s have been in recovery. I actually would be interested in how you navigate that as a professional… they touched on it with Webber and with Amelia but still

      • Diane says:

        Oh and do you know— are you required to disclose narcotic abuse to your employer if you are a Dr? Or only if convicted of a crime, I assume it would put a hospital at risk if they didn’t know.

      • Tim says:

        Criminal history disclosure is an edgy subject. Asking people about their personal issues is totally out of bounds. That doesn’t mean some personnel departments won’t try it, but they are opening themselves to all kinds of problems. If you ask someone something that you shouldn’t ask, and then don’t hire them, you have to be prepared to prove absolutely that you have a valid and totally unrelated reason for not hiring them…so it is way better not to ask.

        Testing is allowed, of course, but that only reveals current use.

  18. David says:

    I think it was a really really good episode. Maybe the best of this season which has been pretty boring! All the cast had important scenes so I hope the finale winter was in the same rank.