"Let the Truth Sting"
Written by Mark Wilding; directed by Daniel Minahan

As Izzie paces by an elevator at the hospital, Meredith voices over that doctors give patients a lot of things, especially attention. On an elevator, Alex and Lexie listen in as some interns gush about George’s awesomeness. Alex is surprised that they don’t know he’s repeating his intern year. Lexie shuts him up before he can spill the beans. Meredith voices over that the most difficult news you can give a patient is the truth. In another elevator, Cristina looks on as Derek and Meredith try not to flirt in front of her. They leave the elevator, passing a frustrated Izzie, whom Cristina tells that Derek and Meredith are sleeping together. She thinks they’re keeping quiet about it because they think Cristina can’t handle it, thanks to her breakup with Burke. Izzie finally gets what she’s been waiting for when George arrives. In a supply closet, Derek and Meredith chat post-coitus about having secret breakup sex. Derek has correctly guessed that Meredith doesn’t want Cristina to know about their activities. Meredith says that she wants to take care of Cristina, but Cristina isn’t someone you can take care of. Derek notes that if Meredith told Cristina about them, they’d have to talk about it, and that would leave no time left to talk about Cristina. Alex hands out assignments to his interns, then meets his newest intern, Norman Shales (Edward Hermann, AKA Richard). He’s obviously much older than the other interns, but he and Webber agree that “age is just a number.”

Meredith joins Cristina at the nurses’ station and Cristina pretends to be depressed (though she doesn’t want to talk about the breakup). She announces that she just wishes she had a “good, bloody surgery” to make her feel better. Meredith doesn’t respond. Webber, Mark, Meredith, and her interns meet their patient, Connie, who’s there to have cancer in her tongue removed. Her friends Joanne and Elaine are there with her and make it clear that Connie loves to talk. Mark informs Connie that her cancer has spread to over 60 percent of her tongue, and part of her tongue will have to be removed and reconstructed with some skin from her leg. Mark assures Connie that she’ll still be able to talk, though he can’t be sure how well people will be able to understand her. Alex takes Norman to the clinic and tries to pass him off to Bailey, who quickly figures out what’s going on and tells Alex there’s no way she’ll cooperate. Instead, Alex and Norman are assigned to a teenaged patient named Hunter, whose mother thinks he’s on drugs. Mrs. Chapman thinks Norman is the doctor in charge, since he’s older, and Norman tells her that his late wife, Mary Beth, had the same instinct about their children that Mrs. Chapman has about Hunter. Izzie takes George to Really Old Guy’s room, the former favorite lunchtime hangout for the interns, and asks him what happened with Callie the night before. George admits that he couldn’t tell her about him and Izzie.

Izzie and George are interrupted by Izzie’s interns, who want to talk to George about how he helped Clark the day before (see “Love/Addiction”). Izzie tries to distract them with rounds, starting with Really Old Guy. He’s been semi-comatose for about a year and there isn’t much the staff can do for him. The group is stunned when Really Old Guy suddenly wakes up and announces that he plans to die today. Oh, and his name is Charlie. Later, Meredith and Alex join Izzie and Charlie in the room to see for themselves that Charlie is awake. Charlie repeats that he’s going to die today, then reveals that he’s heard all the conversations the interns have had in his room, so he knows all about their personal lives. Webber finds Mark at the nurses’ station and suggests that they perform a functional muscle transfer on Connie, a kind of nerve graft that will save her ability to speak. George joins them and Webber tells him the procedure is cutting-edge; it involves connecting nerves from the leg with nerves in the tongue. George wonders why Webber wants to perform a surgery he and Mark have never done before when they know their original plan will still give her a shot at having a normal life. Webber challenges that George thinks they can’t learn something new. Mark reveals that he’s done the procedure before (on an elbow, not a tongue), and he’s willing to try it again. “Age is just a number,” Webber reminds George.

Bailey finds Callie doing paperwork alone in a room and fills her in on what Alex is up to. Elsewhere, Mark asks Derek if he ever feels old and like the new surgical techniques will pass him by. “I’m a genius and a scholar,” Derek replies. He tells Mark that Meredith hasn’t told Cristina about the two of them, even though Meredith usually tells Cristina everything. Mark thinks that Derek thinks Meredith will want to get back together instead of just have breakup sex, which is why he’s still with her. Derek denies this but Mark isn’t convinced. Back at the nurses’ station, Cristina tries again to seem pitiful about how she’s stuck in the pit with the interns while Meredith gets to perform tongue surgery. Meredith asks if they’re ever going to talk about Burke, and Cristina tells her she won’t be lying on the bathroom floor like Izzie (see “Time Has Come Today”) - she’ll lie on the counter. Meredith finally gives Cristina what she wants - the tongue surgery. Alex arrives as Meredith leaves and tells Cristina he’s on to her. He wonders if he should try it and get Meredith to take Norman off his hands. Izzie returns to Charlie’s room, where he tells her he wants his last meal to be lobster. She tells him she’s not going to let him die, but he has nothing to live for. He also calls Izzie naïve, especially if she thinks George is going to leave Callie for her.

Meredith runs into Lexie, who is now her responsibility for the day, and they take on a patient who’s in horrible shape after a car accident. Meredith guides Lexie through an intubation, but the patient soon dies. Lexie blasts Meredith for making her work on the patient even though he was basically already dead; Meredith points out that her job is to teach interns, which is exactly what she did. Lexie argues that Meredith should have done everything she could, which Meredith says she did. “What kind of doctor are you?” Lexie asks. Mad, Meredith sends her to the clinic to work with Bailey. Izzie finds George studying up on the tongue surgery and complains about Charlie’s stubbornness. She really just wants assurance that George is going to leave Callie for her, but George is too busy studying to give it to her. He points out that just yesterday Izzie didn’t want George to tell Callie about them, but now she’s changed her mind. Alex and Norman tell Mrs. Chapman that Hunter’s tox screen didn’t show that there are any drugs in his system. Norman tells her that Hunter is just being a typical teenager, as his own teenagers were. Hunter suddenly starts speaking nonsense, then can’t remember what he just said. Alex decides it’s time for a full neurological exam. Joanne and Elaine try to comfort Connie, encouraging her to say everything she wants to say now, in case she can’t talk after her surgery. Connie is reluctant until George tells her to say it now. Finally, Connie tells Joanne that her pants aren’t flattering and Elaine that she has bad breath and bad hair.

Izzie heads back to Charlie’s room, where Charlie is trying to remove himself from all the machines he’s attached to in the hopes that he’ll just die. Izzie humors him by helping out, but soon realizes that Charlie has stopped breathing. Izzie, Tyler the scrub nurse, and others revive Charlie, who asks Izzie to stop saving his life. George takes Connie to surgery while she wonders if she was too harsh in what she said to her friends. She blames George for pushing her, and he apologizes. In the clinic, Lexie tells Bailey that Meredith kicked her out of the pit because she doesn’t want to work with her sister anymore. Bailey tells Lexie to go back to the pit and tell Meredith that the clinic isn’t “the Island of Broken Interns.” Lexie begs to be allowed to stay, since she thinks Meredith hates her and Thatcher, and that she hated Susan as well. Bailey relents and lets Lexie stay in the clinic. Derek joins Alex and Norman as they study Hunter’s CT scans; Derek sees that Hunter has hydrocephalus. Norman says that he suspected drugs because after 30 years as a pharmacist, he’s always sure people are either on pills or smoking pot. Derek tells them to schedule an OR so they can put in a shunt. As Norman leaves, Alex complains to Derek that Norman talks too much. Derek reminds Alex that he’s Norman’s resident, but Alex doesn’t feel comfortable telling Norman to shut up because he’s so grandfatherly. Cristina mocks Izzie about Charlie (asking if she couldn’t find his LVAD wire), then heads off to do the tongue surgery. Having seen this, Meredith realizes that Cristina was faking her sadness.

Back in his room, Charlie tries to will himself dead, which, of course, doesn’t work. Izzie asks if he really thinks George won’t leave Callie for her. Charlie says that if a person really wants to do something (like die), he will. Bailey returns to Callie’s hideout to tell her that Meredith and Cristina are “playing musical chairs with their interns,” and Meredith and Lexie are “having some kind of family feud.” She wonders if the apathetic Callie plans to emerge any time soon, but Callie thinks that Bailey is doing just fine as the chief resident. She also doesn’t feel like she has any fight left in her, so she’s not going to bother. Mark and Webber perform Connie’s surgery, Mark noting that they may be done in time for Webber to make a date he has scheduled with Adele. The surgery takes a turn when Webber and Mark admit that they’re not sure what to do next. Finally, Mark decides that they need Derek’s help, so Webber sends George to get him. After running his errand, George encounters Izzie, who complains that she’s a cliché as the other woman. “We’re not in this together,” he tells her, continuing that he’s the one who has to tell Callie about them. It’s about him and Callie since he’s the one ending their marriage, not Izzie. It’s not something he can just blurt out, so Izzie needs to back off and give him some time. In the pit, Bailey questions Meredith’s decision to give up the tongue surgery, then asks why she sent Lexie to the clinic. Meredith fills her in and Bailey informs her that Lexie thinks Meredith hates her and hated Susan. She points out that Meredith hasn’t been nice to Lexie since she arrived, and she was Susan’s doctor but couldn’t save her.

Tyler pages Izzie to let her know that Charlie is planning to leave the hospital AMA. She complains that he’s too sick to leave, and she’s also gone to the trouble of bringing him lobster. Alex is paged to the clinic, where Hunter has collapsed thanks to a brain herniation. Bailey arrives and Alex asks her for help, but she has to admit that she doesn’t know anything, so he’ll need Derek instead. However, Derek is in the middle of saving Webber and Mark in Connie’s OR, so he has to tell Alex exactly what to do to save Hunter. This involves sticking a needle behind Hunter’s eye. Izzie goes to Charlie’s room and tells him his life isn’t over, and though he doesn’t have any family or friends left, he has her. She admits that she’s not sure George will leave Callie, and she’d like Charlie to tell her what to do. He can’t, since he’s dead. Alex assures Mrs. Chapman that Hunter will be okay, then apologizes to Norman for getting mad at him. Bailey overhears and tells Alex not to apologize, since he’s been letting Norman get away with too much. When an intern gets in a resident’s way, they’re not helping the patient, and since Norman’s chattiness almost made Alex miss Hunter’s diagnosis, Norman should be yelled at, no matter how old he is. Bailey continues that “interns are basically teenagers” and residents aren’t hard on them because it’s fun but because lives are at stake in the hospital. In the scrub room after Connie’s surgery, Mark and Webber congratulate themselves on saving Connie’s speech, but Derek blasts them for showboating. He then tells Webber, who’s missed his date, to tell Adele the truth - that he can’t stop thinking about her.

In the hallway, Meredith tries to call Cristina’s bluff by telling her they’re going to spend the night talking about her breakup with Burke. Cristina guesses that the jig is up, the confronts Meredith about not telling her about sleeping with Derek. She doesn’t want Meredith to protect her, adding that if Meredith wants to take care of someone, it’ll have to be someone else. Meredith says Cristina owes her a surgery, and Cristina replies that Meredith owes her “sex details.” Izzie summons Meredith, Cristina, Alex, and George to Charlie’s room to make them say nice things about him. No one can come up with much other than Izzie, who’s grateful that Charlie taught her that you can eventually get what you want if you’re patient and determined enough. As Meredith voices over about the painfulness of truth, George tells Connie that her surgery went well but he hasn’t seen her friends. Fortunately, Joanne and Elaine arrive with presents and some truths they’ve been wanting to good-naturedly share with Connie for a while. Meredith approaches Lexie in the clinic and shows her Susan’s chart to let her know exactly what happened with her treatment. She adds that she liked Susan a lot. Bailey returns to Callie’s hideout and admits that she’s having trouble not being in charge, so she’d like to be Callie’s co-chief resident. Back in the elevator with some interns, Alex announces that George is repeating his intern year. Norman stares and Alex tells him off. George arrives at his hotel room and Callie says, “Just say it.” He finally tells her that he slept with Izzie.



MEMORABLE QUOTES: Izzie: “Graciella, what can you tell us about Really Old Guy?”
Graciella: “He has a name.”
Izzie: “I know he has a name. We call him Really Old Guy. Catch up.”

Mark: “I did do a functional muscle transfer to restore elbow function once.”
Richard: “Elbow, tongue…that’s pretty close.”

Alex: “I saw the whole thing, Yang. You can stop pretending.”
Cristina: “Oh, I’m not pretending. I’m sad. I’m very sad. Me so sad.”
Alex: “Maybe I should try it, see if I can get Grey to take my new intern.”
Cristina: “No. Hey, forget it. Sad is mine. Go find your own pretend emotion.”

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