"If Tomorrow Never Comes"
Written by Krista Vernoff; directed by Scott Brazil

It’s storming outside, and Meredith is lying in bed and voicing over about Benjamin Franklin and not procrastinating. She thinks people put off doing things because of fear of failure, rejection, and pain. Izzie finds George approaching Meredith’s room with coffee and says he should just ask her out already. George thinks Meredith will be late for work, since she keeps hitting the snooze button on her alarm clock, but Izzie says she’s not Meredith’s mother and George isn’t her boyfriend, so they don’t need to wait for her and get themselves in trouble. George pretends that he’s not interested in Meredith, but Izzie tells him that life is short and he shouldn’t wait to ask her out. As Meredith voices over about the possibility of making a mistake you can’t fix, she rushes to work and runs into Derek, who thinks she’s avoiding him. He wants to talk about Bailey seeing them together (see “Shake Your Groove Thing”), but Meredith doesn’t want to talk about it, since she “experienced it, naked.” Derek says that if he were a better guy, he would walk away. “Do you want me to be a better guy?” he asks. Meredith says no. Inside, he tells her to take her time and think about it.

Cristina dresses in a lab room, obviously just finishing up a romp with Burke in a lab room, and comments that it was definitely worth being late. He asks if they should talk about their… whatever, and she agrees. However, before they can talk, Meredith pops in and asks Cristina if she thinks Bailey has told anyone about her and Derek. Cristina doesn’t think so, since Derek is Bailey’s boss, too. She adds that Meredith can’t get kicked out of the internship program for this, but she can be humiliated. Meredith starts babbling about ending things with Derek, but Cristina tells her to shut up, since she’s living every woman’s fantasy. As the two catch up with Bailey, Meredith voices over that no matter what people are afraid of, “by the time the pain of not doing a thing gets worse than the fear of doing it, it can feel like we're carrying around a giant tumor.” Coincidentally, the interns’ first patient of the day has… a giant tumor! Her name is Annie, and Alex has already established a rapport with her. Burke assigns Izzie to take Annie for a CT so they can see the tumor better and decide what to do. Annie asks someone to let her mom know where she’s going, then requests Alex as a replacement for Izzie because “he’s just so fun to look at.”

Outside Annie’s room, Izzie wonders how much the tumor weighs. George guesses 60 pounds. Cristina is determined to be on the case. Izzie can’t believe Alex is being so sincere, and George notes that he was on call when Annie came in. Bailey tells the interns that if Annie has surgery, most of the surgeons on the floor will be involved, so the interns will have to take care of the other patients on their own. Cristina tells Burke she wants in on the surgery, so he tells her he’ll talk to Bailey while Cristina gets some history from Annie’s mother. Izzie presents a patient named Mr. Harper to Bailey; he’s just had a bypass and is having some trouble. Bailey assures his wife that he’s doing okay. Elsewhere, George tells Izzie that he doesn’t like Meredith and just wants to make sure Izzie doesn’t say anything to her. “George, stop talking,” Izzie replies. Bailey and the interns then head to the room of a man named Mr. Levangie who is experiencing pain from dyskinesia. Izzie suggests treatments for Parkinson’s, but when Meredith comes up with a solution for the patient’s pain, Derek assigns her to the case. In an elevator, Derek addresses Bailey as Miranda (which she doesn’t like) and she warns him not to favor Meredith. She says she won’t tell anyone about them, but if he favors Meredith again, Bailey will punish her.

Alex gets Annie ready for her CT scan, telling her that there’s a microphone inside the machine in case she needs to talk. In the next room, Alex and the CT technician talk about the tumor and how they can’t believe Annie let it get so out of hand. Alex thinks it’s because she’s crazy, and he wonders how she can live with herself. He’s apparently forgotten what he just said about Annie being able to hear them from inside the machine. Cristina talks to Annie’s mom, Mrs. Connors, who says that Annie wouldn’t go to a doctor for the tumor because she was scared. She didn’t feel sick until the previous night, when she couldn’t breathe. Cristina points out that that was because the tumor was crushing her lungs. Mrs. Connors says they thought 911 was the right thing to do, but Cristina points out that the even better thing to do would have been to come in sooner. After Meredith checks on Mr. Levangie, his daughter asks her to talk to him about brain surgery. He’s afraid to have it, but the daughter wants him to have it because she’s already lost her mother and is getting married next month. Meredith can relate to having to watch a parent’s health worsen, so she promises to see what she can do.

Bailey, Derek, and Burke study Annie’s scans, discussing how extensive the surgery will be to remove her tumor. Derek is worried that she’ll wind up paralyzed, but Burke notes that if he doesn’t relieve the pressure on her lungs, paralysis will be the least of her problems. Bailey wonders if Annie really wants to live, since she’s been housebound for a long time and hasn’t made any effort to get better. Derek points out that people do things every day that they know will kill them, but that doesn’t mean they want to die. Burke says that Annie’s chances of surviving surgery are only slightly better than if they do nothing, which makes Bailey wonder if it’s even worth it. Burke thinks it’s worth a try. Meredith finds Derek and asks him if Mr. Levangie is a candidate for DBS, the surgery his daughter wants him to have. Derek says he is, but it’s a frightening procedure and Mr. Levangie doesn’t want it, so it’s not their job to push it on him. Meredith doesn’t like that answer, and Derek tells her that since she disagrees with him, she probably shouldn’t scrub in on his surgery after all. Elsewhere, Derek sees Bailey again and mentions that people call her the Nazi. “So I’ve heard,” she replies. Mrs. Connors tells Burke that Annie will undergo the surgery to remove the tumor, and Annie agrees only on the condition that Alex isn’t present. “That’s how I live with myself,” she tells Alex.

Outside, Burke blasts Alex, who realizes that Annie must have been able to hear him from the CT machine. Burke notes that if anything goes wrong, he’s 60 percent more likely to be sued by a patient he’s offended. Alex promises that he never would have said anything if he thought Annie could hear him. Burke punishes him by banning him from surgery for a week. Cristina arrives and tells Burke that the tumor has been growing for a year and a half. “It’s like she’s fatally lazy,” she says. Alex wonders why Cristina doesn’t get punished for that. George walks by and Burke sends him to surgery with Cristina in Alex’s place. George goes to see Annie, trying to comfort her, but she tells him he doesn’t have to talk to her. He asks why she let the tumor get so bad in the first place, and she notes that he’s the first person to ask her that since she arrived. Annie says that every time she went to the hospital, someone died, so she put off coming herself. George confesses that he often puts things off until the last minute, too. She can’t believe he’s equating his love life (or lack thereof) with her huge tumor. Outside, Meredith complains about Derek favoring her in front of Bailey and then dismissing her. Cristina thinks that she shouldn’t give Derek so much credit; Meredith is smart and got into the intern program on her own, so she’s earned what she’s worked for. Meredith announces that she has to end things because Derek is making her look bad.

Alex and Izzie arrive, respectively jealous and excited about Cristina getting to scrub in on Annie’s surgery. Alex thinks that Burke wants to “get into [Cristina’s] scrubs,” since he let her off the hook for doing the same things Alex got in trouble for. George joins the group and Meredith complains about Derek, who Izzie thinks is great. George awkwardly tries to ask Meredith out for a drink after work, but she doesn’t get the hint and leaves to answer a page. She winds up in Mr. Levangie’s room, where his daughter wants him to listen to Derek’s description of the brain surgery he could have. Mr. Levangie is still not interested. His daughter isn’t happy with his decisions, but her father says it’s his life, and “life is messy sometimes.” After his daughter leaves, Meredith says that it’s her life, too, and she just wants him to try. Burke, Cristina, and George scrub in for Annie’s surgery, Cristina commenting that if they pull it off, she’ll call Oprah. Bailey asks if they’ve been working out, since they’re going to be retracting a tumor for about 14 hours. Meredith pops in and tells Derek that Mr. Levangie has agreed to the DBS, but they need to do it today. Burke tells Derek to go ahead, since they won’t get to his part of Annie’s surgery for a while.

Meredith and Bailey are left alone in the scrub room, and Meredith explains that when she met Derek, she didn’t know that she would be working for him. Bailey says she doesn’t care and she’s not happy about how their relationship is affecting her. Plus, it will affect her even more when the others inevitably find out and complain to her about Meredith being shown favoritism. Elsewhere, Alex complains that he’s not involved in any surgeries, though Izzie thinks that it’s nice that they have run of the floor. He suggests having sex in the stairwell, then gets thrown up on by a patient. “You are so my favorite person today,” Izzie tells the vomiter. In Annie’s surgery, George complains that his back hurts, but Cristina tells him to shut up since they at least get to participate. Izzie stops in to see Mr. Harper, whose wife says that he was making waffles when he collapsed. Izzie tries to have Alex paged, but his battery is dead and he’s busy trying to have sex. Derek and Meredith begin Mr. Levangie’s operation, during which Meredith holds the patient’s hand. Izzie becomes overrun with patients, thanks to Alex not answering his pages and stopping by the gallery to watch Annie’s surgery. In the OR, George accidentally drops the tumor and Burke blasts him. Mr. Levangie’s surgery is successful and his shaking stops.

Outside, the OR, Derek tells Meredith that Bailey was on the warpath and he was trying to protect her. Meredith replies that Bailey was on the warpath because he was trying to protect her. She tells him that he can’t ask her to scrub in on surgeries when she hasn’t earned the right, and he can’t treat her badly when she doesn’t deserve it. She also wants to take care of herself and get herself out of her own messes. Derek tells her that she did great work today, and she apologizes for being mean to him. Mr. Levangie announces that if Meredith doesn’t marry Derek, he will. Izzie is paged to Mr. Harper’s room, where her patient has a clot and needs emergency surgery. Izzie is the only person available to perform it, so perform it she does, with help from a nurse who walks her through the procedure. Derek returns to Annie’s surgery as Meredith joins Alex in the gallery; he warns her to watch what she says about Annie, then laughs that George can’t handle things. Alex asks Meredith out but she says she might be seeing someone. Izzie shows up in the OR and announced that she removed Mr. Harper’s blood clot on her own.

Burke heads off to see Mr. Harper, and Alex rushes to the scrub room to yell at Izzie for not paging him. She blasts him for not answering his pages and he realizes that he forgot to change the battery. She throws it on the floor, jumps up and down on it, and yells that he’s hateful, arrogant, and lazy. Everyone in the OR overhears and Derek notes that there’s never a dull moment at Seattle Grace. Suddenly, a blood vessel bursts and Bailey and Derek are spurted with blood. They quickly try to stop the bleeding, but they don’t have much blood to work with. Alex rushes out and grabs a woman with blood, rushing into the OR with it but arriving too late to save Annie. As Meredith voices over proverbs about time, Izzie apologizes to Burke for being so messy with Mr. Harper, but he tells her she shouldn’t be sorry, since she saved his life. Bailey and George give Mrs. Connors the bad news about Annie while Meredith walks with Mr. Levangie. Burke finds Cristina in the on-call room and tells her he won’t be doing her any more favors, though she’s not sure what part of her participation in Cristina’s surgery was a favor. He asks for an explanation of their relationship, but she just wants him to lock the door so they can do what they do best. As Meredith voices over about how we have to make our own mistakes and learn our own lessons, George looks for Meredith but Alex tells him that she’s taken. George waits for Meredith at home, but she’s heading off to watch the sunset over the ferryboats with Derek.

THE TITLE IS A SONG BY…: Garth Brooks

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “You got a hot doctor who likes to make you open up and say, ‘Ahh.’ It’s the American dream. Stop whining about it.” - Cristina to Meredith

Cristina: (re: Alex) “If I stuck this fork into his thigh, would I get in trouble?”
Meredith: “Not if you make it look like an accident.”

Meredith: “Are you really as shallow and callous as you seem?”
Alex: “Oh, you want to go out for a drink later and hear about my secret pain?”
Meredith: “Does that line ever work for you?”
Alex: “Sometimes.”


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