"Winning a Battle, Losing a War"
Written by Shonda Rhimes; directed by Tony Goldwyn

Meredith is in bed at 4:37 a.m., voicing over about spending so much time in the surgical unit. She’s interrupted by Izzie, who has come in to complain that George’s room is bigger than hers (see “The First Cut is the Deepest”). Meredith gets out of bed but trips as Izzie keeps talking about how she should have more room because she has more clothes. The two catch up to George, who says that he got there first. Izzie thinks Meredith should decide who gets which room. George points out that his room is barely larger than Izzie’s. Meredith keeps voicing over about how “the ways of residency become the ways of life.” Izzie says George has a bigger closet; he wonders why everything has to be a competition. “Number one: always keep score,” Meredith voices over. “Number two: do whatever you can to outsmart the other guy.” George asks when Meredith’s mother is coming back; he’d like to put all of the boxes of her stuff in storage so they’ll have more room. Izzie thinks they could unpack the boxes and decorate, plus watch some of the tapes she found of Ellis’ old surgeries. Meredith steals Izzie’s coffee and hides, voicing over, “Number three: don’t make friends with the enemy.” Bailey and Derek run into each other on a street corner and Bailey tells Derek she doesn’t want to talk to him. She feels like something is happening today that she’s forgotten; she doesn’t remember until Derek steps into the street and almost gets run over by a bunch of bikers.

At the hospital, Bailey complains to the interns that the bikers are idiots and fulfilling natural selection. Elsewhere, Webber is happy about his nice OR board until Bailey reminds him that it’s the day of the Dead Baby Bike Race. George and Meredith explain to the others that every year the Dead Baby Bar holds an illegal underground bike race, which involves bike messengers racing for free tequila shots. There are no rules except no eye-gouging, so many of them wind up at Seattle Grace needing medical attention. Alex, of course, thinks the race sounds awesome. Bailey asks for someone to go up to the OR to help Webber; everyone volunteers but George is chosen. “Number four: everything is a competition,” Meredith voices over. Bailey tells everyone the rules of trauma: don’t mingle with the stupid ER interns, sew and discharge fast, move quickly if someone needs surgery, and don’t fight over patients. The first patients are brought in, exciting Cristina, who quickly becomes competitive with Izzie. Meredith and Alex also compete to get a patient who has nails in his side. They flip a coin and Meredith wins, but Alex doesn’t want to give the guy up. He notes that the wounds are superficial anyway, then pulls out the nails to prove his point. The patient is thrilled to be able to go right back to the race. Cristina, Izzie, and Derek are faced with an unidentified pedestrian who was hit during the race. Derek tells the women to try some tests to confirm that he’s dead, then declare him brain dead.

George asks Webber if he needs help in the OR, but Webber wants him to monitor his pre- and post-op patients instead, much to George’s dismay. Webber adds that a friend of his, Lloyd Mackie, is there and he wants George to give Mackie whatever he needs. George goes to see Mackie, who is trying to smoke in his room. He doesn’t care that cigarettes could kill him because he’s already dying from liver cancer anyway and doesn’t expect to receive a transplant. Izzie and Cristina run their tests on their John Doe and debate whether brain death means actual death (Cristina says yes, Izzie says no). Derek overhears and says that they have to do everything to make sure the patient is really dead, but there won’t be any miracles for him today. “This is the hard part,” he adds. “To stand around as surgeons and not cut. That’s what ‘do no harm’ means.”

Cristina wants John Doe to die already so she can get a new patient, but Izzie says he belongs to someone. She thinks standing there and watching him die is a waste of life. Cristina adds that it’s a waste of organs. Meredith stitches up a biker named Viper who thinks she’s hot. She wants to run tests to make sure he’s not bleeding internally, but he wants to go back to the race, even though there’s little chance he can win. He just wants to go to the party at the finish line (and he’d love for Meredith to meet him there). Meredith promises to have Viper out of there in an hour after running a CT, but he wants to leave now, even if it means leaving against medical advice. He signs the appropriate forms, then grabs Meredith and kisses her for good luck. After he leaves, Meredith sees Derek watching and asks if he’s jealous. He points out that they only slept together once (see “A Hard Day’s Night”) and then made out in an elevator (see “The First Cut is the Deepest”). Derek asks her out but Meredith rejects him. He tells her that he almost died today; how would she feel if he had died and she hadn’t gotten the chance to go out with him? “Get over yourself already,” Meredith replies. She thinks he just likes the chase, since he knows they can’t actually have a relationship. She doesn’t think this is a game, since she has something to prove.

Cristina and Izzie approach Bailey, who’s performing surgery, and announce that they want to harvest John Doe’s organs. Bailey reminds them that they need to focus on the other patients downstairs, but Izzie notes that if their patient dies, his organs could help someone else. Bailey notes that it’ll be difficult to get the organs from an unidentified patient because they won’t have his family’s consent. She does, however, agree that they can do the harvest surgery if they can find John Doe’s family and get consent. Alex finds George hiding out from Mackie, who he thinks has a crush on him. Alex is surprised that George is straight. Cristina and Izzie approach, and George asks Cristina if she and Meredith think he’s gay. Apparently Cristina does. Izzie gives someone a hotel key John Doe had on him, hoping the police will check out his hotel room and be able to find a way to get in touch with his family. Izzie then goes to her patient and asks him to get better so they don’t have to go through all of this, but he responds by coding. Meredith tells her to call a code, but Izzie can’t since he’s brain dead. However, she doesn’t want him to die, so she and Meredith work to keep him alive. George examines Mackie, who makes George uncomfortable by hitting on him. Izzie and Meredith stabilize John Doe, but Cristina tells Izzie that he needs surgery to stay alive and be a viable organ donor. Izzie just wants him to live.

Meredith and Cristina corner Burke in the men’s room and ask him to repair John Doe’s aorta. He can’t believe they resuscitated the patient without anyone’s consent. He refuses, adding, “This is the men’s room. Either whip one out or close the door.” Meredith then goes to Derek for advice, and he teases, “Now who’s chasing?” He tells her that if she wants to go around Burke, she needs to get Webber involved. Izzie, Cristina, and Meredith approach George, noting that their John Doe’s liver is a good match for Mackie, who is a VIP patient. Cristina asks George how badly he’d like to be involved in a transplant surgery. George wants the women to come right out and ask him what they want, so Izzie asks him to go over Burke’s head to Webber. “Ask me something easier,” George replies. He obliges anyway and tells Webber that they found Mackie a liver. Meredith, Izzie, and Cristina watch from down the hall and Meredith notes, “We are so going to Hell.” Alex joins them and the pretend nothing’s going on. Burke approaches George and Webber, and the women quickly realize that they’re in trouble and run off. Alex goes after Burke instead and winds up assisting in John Doe’s surgery, making Meredith and Cristina hate him. Izzie, however, is proud of George, who notes that he’ll have to avoid Burke for the rest of his career.

John Doe’s family is contacted and his wife arrives. Izzie winds up talking to her about organ donation. Webber visits Mackie and tells him that it looks like George found him a liver. In the locker room, Alex brags to Meredith about doing open-heart surgery, then flirts with her until she throws him up against a locker and tells him to stay away from her because she has stuff to deal with. Derek walks in and Alex says Meredith attacked him. Derek pulls her off of him and tells Alex to leave before he turns Meredith loose on him with her “tiny ineffectual fists.” At home, Meredith finds Izzie and George looking through Ellis’ tapes, having already unpacked some of her stuff and decorated the house. Meredith starts undecorating and tells George and Izzie that they won’t be watching the tapes or celebrating life together. At the hospital the next day, Meredith complains to Cristina about how happy George and Izzie are. “Kick them out,” Cristina advises. Alex approaches and asks why Bailey is making them work in the pit again. Meredith says it’s because there are still bikers trickling in. Cristina thinks Alex is upset that women are doing the organ-harvest surgery, but Alex says he’s just upset he’s not involved, and it has nothing to do with breasts, unless Cristina wants to show him hers. The women decide to become lesbians.

Cristina talks to John Doe’s wife about organ transplantation as Bailey looks on. Finally Bailey pulls Cristina aside and chastises her for not having a better bedside manner. Bailey reminds her that the patient is a human being who other people care about, not just a vessel for organs Cristina wants to harvest. Mackie thanks George for finding him a liver; he invites him out when he’s better. George tries to let him down, telling Mackie he’s not his type. Mackie knows - he just wanted to be bold since he was dying. He asks if George has ever been attracted to someone he knew he couldn’t have, then asks her name. It’s Meredith. Burke, Cristina, and Izzie get ready for the organ-harvest surgery as Burke comments that he hates harvesting because he would rather save lives. Izzie tries to make sure things are okay between them. Viper returns to the hospital, bleeding and unconscious. Meredith ends up straddling him in order to try to stop the bleeding. Bailey allows Meredith to scrub in for his surgery, but Alex is sent back to the pit despite helping to get Viper to the OR. As Mackie is prepped for surgery, Izzie and Cristina scrub in and Izzie announces that she’s not staying for the organ harvest because she doesn’t want to see John Doe’s organs taken by vultures. Cristina reminds her that every organ stands for a life that will be saved by John Doe. The surgery takes place and Izzie sews John Doe up so he’ll be presentable for his family.

After the operation, Izzie and Cristina tell John Doe’s wife that she can go see her husband. Meredith and Bailey go out to see a group of Viper’s friends, who are wondering how he is. Bailey angrily tells them that he drove into a slab of concrete for no good reason, so he’s not okay. She knows they’re self-destructive, but they don’t realize that their actions hurt innocent people. Meredith tries to calm Bailey, then tells Viper’s friends that he’ll be all right. In the locker room, Derek tells her that it’s not about the chase and it’s not a game; he likes her hair and her bossiness and the fact that she keeps him in line. Meredith tells him they’re still not going to go out. “You say that now,” he replies. Webber greets Mackie after his surgery, assuring him that he’ll be okay. Mackie is happy to see George at his side as well. Meredith voices over that there’s only one way to survive the competition, and it’s a way you have to learn for yourself. “Number five: it’s not about the race at all,” she says. “There are no winners or losers. Victories are counted by the number of lives saved.” She arrives home to find Izzie, George, and Cristina watching Ellis’ tapes (according to George, Cristina made them). Instead of getting mad, Meredith joins them and they freak out together over a gross operation.

THE TITLE IS A SONG BY…: Kings of Convenience

MEMORABLE QUOTES: George: What kind of people engage in a race that has as its only rule that you can’t rip out the eyeballs of another human being?”
Alex: “Men, Georgie. Men.”

“I know you see me resecting this bowel. Do I strike you as someone who enjoys multitasking?” - Bailey

“It’s like candy, but with blood, which is so much better.” - Cristina

Cristina: “Kick them out.”
Meredith: “I can’t kick them out. They just moved in. I asked them to move in.”
Cristina: “So, what, you’re just going to repress everything into some deep, dark, twisted place until one day you snap and kill them?”
Meredith: “Yup.”
Cristina: “This is why we are friends.”

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