"Wishin’ and Hopin’"
Written by Tony Phelan and Joan Rater; directed by Julie Ann Robinson

“As surgeons, we live in a world of worst-case scenarios,” Meredith voices over, adding that surgeons don’t usually hope for the best because it often doesn’t happen, except for every once in a while. As Cristina plays with the engagement ring Burke gave her (see “Great Expectations”) and George and Callie take the elevator together, Izzie and Bailey announce that the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic is officially open for business. Meredith visits Ellis at the nursing home and learns that she woke up this morning completely lucid. “It’s just a random gift,” an employee says. Ellis remembers everything except the past five years, and the employees haven’t told her that she has Alzheimer’s, since they think she should hear the news from Meredith. Meredith confirms that her mother knows who she is, and has even been asking for her. At Seattle Grace, Burke asks for Webber’s okay to fly a patient in from Denver. Derek wants to talk to Webber about a robot that can be used in surgery. As the two argue for Webber’s attention, Mark taunts Addison about jumping in to “fight with the big boys.” Addison has her own plan - let the others duke it out and be the last one standing. Mark thinks she’s underestimating him, but she tells him she just doesn’t think about him at all. Mark wins points with Webber by suggesting that they go down to look at the clinic and show their fellow doctors some support.

At the nursing home, Ellis tells Meredith that she’s sorry about the fight they had before Meredith went off to Europe. She wonders if she had some sort of breakdown that landed her in the hospital. Apparently the fight was over Meredith not wanting to go to medical school, and Meredith has to tell her mother that not only did she go, it was years ago. Upon hearing that she has Alzheimer’s, Ellis breaks down and collapses. Burke meets her and Meredith at the hospital, where Ellis is well enough to tell him what’s wrong with her. Burke tells Ellis that Meredith is doing her residency at Seattle Grace and is one of the best interns in the program. Ellis asks after Webber and is surprised to learn that he’s the chief of surgery. Bailey tells Izzie, Alex, and Cristina that they’ll be working in the clinic today, as long as there are no surgical emergencies. However, there are no patients currently in the clinic, so they get to kill some time by listening to Olivia talk about flu vaccines. Alex picks something up to look at it and Izzie makes him put it down, since it cost $79. Cristina wants to get out of there to get ready for the surgery Burke will be performing later that day, but Alex tells her he’s already been picked to assist. Izzie wonders where all the patients are; Bailey tells her to watch the door for them. Izzie does so (in a freakishly intense way) and is rewarded by the arrival of Webber and Mark. She thinks someone else is coming, but it’s George and Callie, back from vacation - and with the news that they got married in Vegas. Everyone is shocked into silence until Alex notes that Callie is now Callie O’Malley.

Izzie asks George if he’s really happy, and Callie answers for him, saying they both are. She shows off her ring and Izzie says, “Tiny diamonds are great because you know no one will ever try to steal it.” Bailey breaks up the celebration to send Cristina off with Burke, George to meet Webber’s surgical patient in the pit, and Izzie and Alex to go get some patients for the clinic. Callie tells George that they’ve been out of their “Vegas hotel room bubble” for six hours now and she’s not enjoying it much. He tells her things will be fine. George heads off with Webber, noting that they’re both married now, and Webber reports that he and Adele are actually getting a divorce. “That’s life,” Webber says. Their patient is Marina, who had a tumor removed from her colon eight months ago and was undergoing chemo and radiation. Webber thought the treatments were working, but her boyfriend Vincent brought her in this morning because she was having trouble breathing. He’s stunned to learn that his girlfriend is undergoing treatment for cancer - she never told him. Webber spots Ellis being wheeled by and gives George orders to tend to Marina. In the hallway, Webber talks with Ellis and Meredith tells him that she woke up lucid. He tells Meredith to spend the day with her mother instead of working. At the nurses’ station, Burke fills Cristina in on Ellis’ condition and tells her that she should help out since she’s such a good doctor. He notices that she’s not wearing her engagement ring and tells her he’d like an answer to his proposal, since it’s been over a week. She tells him she’s still thinking about it and accuses him of using his big surgery as leverage to get her to answer.

Izzie and Alex sit down with a man in a waiting room and try to seduce him into coming to the clinic. As Cristina does Ellis’ echo, Ellis notes that she can tell she and Meredith are friends because Cristina is having a hard time looking at her, like she’ll ask a personal question about her daughter. She asks if Meredith has chosen a specialty yet, but Cristina won’t answer since it’s a personal question. Ellis says that it’s the most personal question you can ask a surgeon because it’s about who that surgeon is. Cristina says her own mother would be more interested in whether or not she had a boyfriend. “Your mother sounds like a frivolous woman,” Ellis notes. Cristina asks what it would say about her if she chose cardiothorasics as a specialty. Ellis says heart surgeons are know-it-alls, but also ambitious and driven. She changes the subject to the Alzheimer’s research study she’s in, asking to meet the doctor who put her in it. That would be Derek, of course. Cristina goes looking for Meredith and asks if she’s okay. Meredith admits that she’s avoiding her mother and the so-called “gift” of her lucidity. Cristina tells her that Ellis wants to meet Derek, warning that she thinks Ellis will somehow be able to tell that he’s dating Meredith. She adds that she’s sort of in love with Ellis for being so awesome. Meredith says she has that effect on people who aren’t her daughter. Izzie passes by, commenting on Ellis’ “gift,” and she and Cristina try to encourage Meredith to spend time with her. “She has a long history of being disappointed in me,” Meredith says. Izzie thinks she’ll let that go now that Meredith is a doctor. After some discussion about the clinic, Cristina tells Meredith that George got married.

Meredith summons George out of Marina’s room to ask him if he got married because he was being “good impulsive or Meredith impulsive.” He tells her it’s a good thing, and in that case, she’s happy for him. As he heads back in to see Marina, Ellis approaches and asks Meredith if she’s going to avoid her all day. Callie spots Addison watching Alex and compares her to a hungry cartoon bear imagining food. Addison says he’s “the help” and she won’t be sleeping with the help. “I married the help,” Callie replies, revealing that it was her idea and she “embrace[s] the trashy.” Addison congratulates her and doesn’t comment on the smallness of the diamonds in her ring. Back in her room, Ellis asks Meredith to tell her about herself. Meredith says she has a boyfriend and assures her mother that he understands the demands of her career since he’s also a doctor. Ellis asks if she’s chosen a specialty yet, reporting that Cristina has. Meredith says she’s waiting to be inspired. She continues that she’s happy because she’s in love and feels like she knows who she is. “What happened to you?” Ellis demands, noting that the Meredith she remembers was a force of nature, but if she’s in love now, it means she’s “gone soft.” She thinks her Alzheimer’s should have inspired Meredith by now. “Anyone can fall in love and be blindly happy. But not everyone can pick up a scalpel and save a life,” Ellis says. “I raised you to be an extraordinary human being. So imagine my disappointment when I wake up after five years and discover that you’re no more than ordinary.”

George draws some of Marina’s blood, his hand shaking, as Vincent tell him how fast their relationship moved and how little he now realizes he actually knows about her, like her middle name. In a hallway, Meredith warns Derek that Ellis is charming but is actually the enemy, so he shouldn’t get too personal with her. George runs into Olivia, who notes that he doesn’t look too great and wonders if it’s because he regrets getting married. He gives her Marina’s blood to take to the lab while he goes to sit down. Callie approaches and George asks her middle name, but she won’t tell him what it is because “it’s bad.” She thinks he’s acting strangely because his friends have gotten to him. He tells her he’s having trouble breathing, and she notes that last week he didn’t know her middle name and could breathe just fine. Derek talks to Ellis about her treatment options; she complains that there’s still nothing that can be done to help her. She wonders how he can work every day with people who have Alzheimer’s. Derek admits that he doesn’t - he just agreed to help out because of Meredith. “You’re what happened to her,” Ellis realizes. She thinks Derek is threatened by Meredith since they’re equals, and he just wants someone to admire him without worrying about what damage he’s causing along the way. George heads to the clinic, looking for a place to lie down, and Bailey tells Alex to take his place in the OR with Marina. Alex happily helps Webber out with Marina’s surgery.

Izzie complains about having no clinic patients, adding that it’s not doing anything for Denny’s legacy. Bailey assures her that the use of the check will turn out to be meaningful. A man named Mr. Hanson enters with his teenaged daughter, Kelly, and Izzie is excited to finally have a patient. She’s disappointed to learn that Mr. Hanson just wants someone to talk to Kelly about tampons. Olivia winds up in the clinic with the same symptoms as George, and they’re soon joined by a lab tech who handled Marina’s blood. “She’s toxic,” George realizes. Olivia thinks he’s talking about Callie and confirms that a lot of people agree. George tells her that Marina’s blood is toxic and is making anyone who comes into contact with it sick. He tries to call the OR to warn the doctors there, but they’ve already started the operation and have passed out. Later, after the doctors have been removed from the OR, Derek and Burke take charge and forbid anyone from going into the OR until they figure out what’s happening. Addison tells them that Webber is doing better and it’s a good thing he got out of the OR when he did. Meredith arrives, hoping to help, and Derek tells her to go back to her mother. She says again that she wants to help and he tells her to talk to her resident. Burke tells Derek that they found an herbal supplement in Marina’s purse; the combination of it and the chemo she was receiving may have caused the toxicity. The doctors in the OR are lucky to be alive, and Marina is currently only alive because she’s intubated.

Callie comes to see George, who tells her that he was feeling sick because of toxic blood, not a toxic marriage. “You thought our marriage was toxic?” Callie asks unhappily. Addison shows up to help figure out what to do about Marina. Cristina goes to see Ellis and let her know that she needs to have a heart procedure. She wonders why she should have surgery when she could just take medication, then answers her own question by saying that Alzheimer’s patients don’t always take their medication. Cristina warns that she can’t go without treatment because she has coronary artery disease, and the combination of that and her arrhythmias would put too much strain on her heart. Ellis asks Cristina what she would do if the thing that defined her were taken away. She asks Cristina to tell Burke that she doesn’t want surgery, but Cristina replies that it’s actually Meredith’s decision to make. In the clinic, Izzie gives Kelly a starter course on feminine products. Bailey joins them and Izzie asks to go to the gallery and actually learn something. After she leaves, Bailey asks Mr. Hanson to go fill out some paperwork so he and Kelly can leave faster. He thanks her for her help, saying that since Kelly’s mother died, he hasn’t known what to do with his daughter. After he leaves, Kelly asks Bailey if she could be pregnant after having sex just a week ago, before ever getting her period. Meredith talks to Ellis about the surgery she needs, complaining about having to be in charge of Ellis’ care because Ellis has alienated everyone else in her life. She blames Ellis for her being so unfocused and ordinary. Ellis wants Meredith to let her refuse surgery, but Meredith doesn’t want her mother’s death to be the next thing to happen to her.

Derek and Burke put on airtight suits with circulating air that will allow them to finish Marina’s surgery without being exposed to her blood. However, the batteries in the suits haven’t been charging for very long, so they only have about 30 minutes to work. Addison suddenly sees that Marina is waking up and fighting the intubation. Burke and Derek’s seals aren’t completely secure, but they don’t have the time to wait, so Addison grabs a mask and runs in to give Marina more anesthetic. She’s successful but collapses as she leaves the room. As Derek and Burke head inside, Cristina tends to Ellis, whose monitors are going off. Ellis herself tells Cristina what to do to get her heart rhythm under control, then praises Cristina, telling her she’ll be a great surgeon. Cristina wonders if she can be a great surgeon and have a personal life; Ellis tried to have both and it obviously didn’t work out. Ellis admits that she didn’t try hard enough. Outside the OR, Webber watches Derek and Burke working on Marina, noting that the world keeps moving even when you’re not: “People perform your surgeries better than you could. The next generation comes up and you’re scared you’ll be forgotten. Your mother stopped for five years and you became someone.” Meredith tells him that Ellis actually thinks she’s a disappointment. Webber replies that in a perfect world, Ellis would be able to tell her that she’s proud, but it’s not a perfect world and Ellis isn’t a perfect woman. Meredith thinks Ellis would like to see Webber right now. Webber says she’d really like to hear that he left Adele for her, but he can’t tell her that because it’s not true.

As Webber gives Burke and Derek instructions on how to work on Marina, Bailey informs Kelly and her father that she’s not pregnant and doesn’t have any STDs. Bailey warns Kelly against any more dangerous behavior and comforts Kelly over her broken heart. Callie goes back to George, not seeming too thrilled that he’s going to be okay, and he says that he thought she’d be proud of him for being a hero. She’s still upset because he thought their marriage was making him sick. They were fine when it was just the two of them in Vegas, but now that he’s back to being with his friends, he’s uncertain. “I guess it was too much to just hope you’d stand up for me,” she says, adding that her middle name is Euphegenia. Alex and Addison are tended to in the same exam room, and he praises her for being heroic (though she admits her actions were kind of dumb). Izzie, Cristina, and Meredith meet up in the gallery over Marina’s OR and Meredith fills Izzie in on what’s been happening. Izzie complains about George marrying his rebound girlfriend, and though Cristina agrees that they shouldn’t have gotten married on impulse, Meredith says that he needs their support. Burke and Derek are both looking sick and about out of air, but before they can get out of the OR, they both pass out. Once Webber has pulled them out, Cristina, Meredith, and Izzie suit up to tag-team and finish off the procedure while holding their breaths. (Mark thinks it’s irresponsible for him to go in, since he’s the only attending left standing.) The three interns, guided by Webber’s instructions, are successful.

As George watches, Vincent comes by Marina’s room and speaks to her through an intercom, making it clear that he doesn’t care that she kept her cancer from him. Webber congratulates the fallen attendings on a job well done, then goes off with Mark to check on Marina. Derek laments that they did all the work but Mark is getting all the glory. Izzie returns to the clinic and apologizes for bailing on Bailey. They note that after spending $8 million, they only had one patient. Webber goes to see Ellis, who’s going to have the surgery the next day. She asks if she recognizes Meredith and he tells her that she knows Meredith is someone important. She asks him to look out for her because there are a lot of things Meredith needs to learn that Ellis can’t teach her. She also wishes she could go back and fight for him. Webber tells her that they could have had a great life together, working together and having kids and being a family. Ellis notes that she would have been happy the way Meredith is, “and that would have changed everything.” She laments that she and her life are both unfinished. He tells her to close her eyes and think of the life they would have had together. Callie joins Meredith, Cristina, and Izzie in the locker room, where Izzie teases Callie and George finally stands up to her, announcing that if his friends drive his wife away, he’ll go with her. As Meredith voices over that patients always want to know what will happen, Addison and Mark have sex at the hotel. Cristina gives Burke his ring back and tells him that she doesn’t do rings. She doesn’t want to change, but she’ll marry him. They happily celebrate. Meredith goes back to Ellis and tells her she wants her to have surgery because someday there could be a cure for Alzheimer’s and they’ll get another chance; Ellis will be able to see that Meredith is “not even remotely ordinary.” Unfortunately, Ellis’ condition has relapsed.

THE TITLE IS A SONG BY…: Dusty Springfield

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Mark: “You wanna be chief, you gotta fight with the big boys.”
Addison: “Oh, I intend to fight like a girl.”

Man: “It hurts when I pee.”
Alex and Izzie: “Oh!”
Alex: “We can help with that.”
Izzie: “Yeah, it’s easy. It’s nothing. We could have you outta here in less than an hour.”
Man: “Are you hitting on me?”

Cristina: “Are you stealing patients from the ER?”
Izzie: “Yes. But only because I have to know that I did not spend my entire inheritance on an empty room with empty beds. Because if I did that, I might go crazy and George called dibs on all the crazy this week.”

Izzie: “Stolen, non-emergent ER cases and a sick hospital staff. This is what $8 million buys you.”
Bailey: “Dr. Stevens, I swear on my life, if I hear you say ‘$8 million’ one more time….”

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