"Where the Boys Are"
Written by Mark Wilding; directed by Daniel Minahan

Cristina watches Burke pack some clothes as Meredith voices over that surgeons are trained to look for disease, and sometimes it’s easy to find. Cristina determines that Burke is going camping with Derek and has cancelled some procedures. Derek is excited about the trip and about being “men in the wild.” Meredith voices over that surgeons need to go step by step, looking at the surface first. Burke tells Derek that they have to make a stop before they go - Webber is coming with them. He’s excited as well, as this is his first camping trip. Derek doesn’t know that George is also coming, and Izzie is helping him pack; she’s also baked some goodies for the guys. “Have fun with your space. Or whatever,” Meredith tells Derek. The guys head to the ECB, where Joe and Walter (see “Thanks for the Memories”) are ready to come with them. George tells Derek that he asked Joe if he had an extra tent, but Joe must have misunderstood and thought that he and Walter were invited. Somehow Alex has also heard about the trip, so now all of the men on the show except Mark are heading out to the woods together. Meredith voices over that oftentimes just looking at a patient doesn’t show that there’s something wrong on the inside. At Seattle Grace, Mark finds himself in the break room with both Callie and Addison, and none of them says anything to any of the others.

The female interns discuss the camping trip (Cristina doesn’t think Burke is a camper) and Izzie says it’s just like slumber parties girls have, just outside. Since Alex isn’t there to follow Mark around all day, Mark wonders if Meredith would like to take his place. She reminds him that Bailey gives them their assignments, but Bailey doesn’t care and sends Meredith off with Mark. She also tells Izzie she’s going to be spending the day with her peer counselor. Cristina is excited over the idea of assisting with an interesting surgery, but her patient is a kid named Eric who ate a bunch of monopoly pieces so his brother couldn’t play without him. Cristina notes that the case probably isn’t surgical, but names the steps to take care of him anyway, one of which is examining Eric’s stool. Bailey gives her that assignment, though Cristina thinks that’s a job for a nurse. Bailey asks if Cristina is too good to help Eric. Cristina says yes, then realizes that’s the wrong answer and says that she thinks she would be more useful working with Bailey. Bailey replies that she knows Cristina erased her name from the OR board (see “Let the Angels Commit”), and Cristina’s punishment is to not be allowed to do any surgeries until she tells Bailey why.

In an elevator, Meredith tries to set down some rules with Mark: he can’t flirt, he can’t talk about Derek, and he can’t give her “the face” (she claims to be immune to his “McSteamy face”). He quickly breaks all three rules by telling Meredith, “If I had gone off to the woods, I’d have invited you to keep me warm.” Izzie is surprised to see that her peer counselor is Sydney (see “Break on Through”), who greets her with a hug and asks how “inside Izzie” is doing. Mark asks Meredith if she and Derek are together, and she tells him that they’re “taking some space.” He wonders if that means they’re taking space from each other or if Derek is taking space from her. Meredith and Mark greet two women named Donna and Vicky, and Vicky tells Mark that Donna is still “having some penis issues.” She explains to a confused Meredith that Donna is her husband and Mark will be removing her penis this afternoon. As Meredith reads Donna’s (originally Daniel) chart, she has some trouble calling her a female rather than a male. Mark tells her she’d better study up on vaginoplasties before the surgery. Donna tells Mark she’s extremely excited for the operation.

In the woods, Derek takes in the scenery as Alex sets up a tent, George tries to build a fire, and Webber has a snack from the room-service basket he brought with him. “Dude, he brought silverware,” Alex realizes. George mocks Alex for his choice of clothing and tells him not to crawl into George’s tent when he’s freezing in the middle of the night. Webber asks Joe and Walter if he can sleep in their tent, and Joe replies that they thought Webber would be bunking with one of the other doctors. Joe tries to get the point across that he and Walter need some privacy, and the others slowly help Webber realize that Joe and Walter are boyfriends. “Wonderful. Man love,” says Webber. “Beautiful. My cousin’s gay, so I’m hip. Brokeback Mountain and all that.” Burke decides it’s time to go fishing. Cristina looks at Eric’s x-ray while Meredith tells her about Donna’s surgery. “That should be my penis,” Cristina says. Izzie runs in, looking for a place to hide from Sydney, and says that she can get out of spending time with her if she has a case to work on. Cristina, of course, recruits her to help search for Monopoly pieces.

Addison pages Callie to help her with a patient named Jamie, who’s pregnant and slipped in the shower. Her arm is broken but she won’t take any pain medication, even though Addison has assured her it won’t hurt the baby. She’s worried because the baby was kicking before but isn’t now; Addison tells her that he’s probably just sleeping. However, she sees on the ultrasound that there’s no movement and leaves the room. Meredith chats with Vicky, noting that she seems to be taking Donna’s sex change and surgery well. Vicky admits that she left when she first found out because their whole life had been planned out and suddenly everything changed. She’s not sure why she came back, though. Callie finds Addison crying in the bathroom, and Addison tells her that she should be used to seeing things like this. Yesterday everything was fine with Jamie and today her baby is dead. As the campers fish (except Walter, who’s reading), Webber tries to get to know Joe better; Joe tells him that he and Walter are thinking about having kids. Webber tells him about how he and Adele never had kids because Adele didn’t want to raise them on her own. Joe says that Walter says the same thing - Joe works at the ECB a lot, but someone has to run the bar. However, Joe is willing to make the change because he can’t imagine his life without Walter.

Burke admires George’s fishing skills; George tells him he and his father and brothers used to go all the time. Burke asks how George and Callie’s relationship is and George says it’s good, though Callie doesn’t know it. She wanted commitment and he wasn’t quite ready for it, but now he is, so he’s stepping up. He asks if Burke knew the time was right with Cristina, then notices that Burke’s hand is shaking as he tries to bait his hook. Burke tries to downplay the tremor, then moves downstream. Mark gets some test results back and has to inform Donna that she has breast cancer. The hormones she’s been taking for her sex change have been feeding the cancer cells, so she’s going to have to stop taking them. There’s also no point in going through with the surgery right now because once the hormones stop, Donna’s breasts will shrink and her facial hair will grow back. “She’ll be a man again,” Vicky realizes. Donna notes that if she continues taking the hormones, she’ll still be a woman, but she’ll also be dead. Addison and Callie watch Jamie and her husband Ted, seeing how happy they are together, and decide to give them a few more minutes before they break the news of the baby’s death to them.

In the woods, Alex asks George if he’s really getting back together with Callie; he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. George taunts that if he tells Callie he doesn’t want to get back together, he’ll explain that it’s because Alex said not to. Derek chastises Burke for inviting so many people to come with them, since he just wanted time alone with Burke. Burke determines that Derek has no guy friends. Sydney tracks down Izzie and lets her keep working with Cristina, though she plans to hang around until Izzie is done with the Monopoly pieces. Meredith asks Mark what will happen next with Donna. “She goes back to being an unhappy man who’s stuck with a penis,” Mark replies. “There are millions of us out there.” He tells her that Derek might be smart for taking some space, since he and Meredith might not be right for each other after all. Mark continues that on the outside, Derek appears to have it all together, but he’s actually “damaged goods,” thanks to Mark. Vicky arrives and asks Mark to talk to Donna, since she still wants to have the operation. In the woods, Webber tells Derek and Burke that Walter and Joe have gone for a walk, since they got tired of not catching fish. Webber wonders why the fish aren’t biting, and Derek pointedly says that fish don’t like to go towards places where there’s a lot of noise.

George asks Alex if he’s noticed anything strange about Burke, but Alex is, of course, self-involved and hasn’t. George tries to help Alex with his casting, but Alex decides it’s time to tell him that Callie slept with Mark (see “What I Am”). George doesn’t believe him and tells him to take it back. As Derek tells Webber that all the noise and action is out of place for a camping/fishing trip, George and Alex start getting physical. Webber breaks up the fight, then announces that if they want to duke it out, they’ll have to do it by his rules - in order to avoid hurting their hands, they’ll basically have to have a slap fight. Burke likes George’s chances and thinks Derek doesn’t have guy friends because he finds this immature. At the hospital, Alex tries to talk Donna out of the surgery, but she doesn’t want to give up on what she’s wanted for so long. She threatens to go to New York and find a new doctor if Mark doesn’t do the operation. Mark tells her that he’s trying to save her life, but Donna says that if she has to fight cancer, she wants to do it as a woman, not a man. Vicky tells her to wise up, referring to her as Daniel, and Donna corrects her. Vicky says she won’t stand by and watch Donna kill herself, so she leaves. Donna tells Mark that she needs Vicky to love her, but as Donna, not Daniel.

Callie puts a cast on Jamie’s arm and Addison starts to tell her and Ted that the baby has died. Jamie seems to have already figured out, but she wants Addison to say the words; otherwise she won’t believe it. Cristina and Izzie keep looking for Monopoly pieces, and Cristina blasts Izzie for bringing Sydney into the room. Izzie points out that she’s the one who has to look through stool, and it’s not like she invited Sydney to stay. Cristina replies that Bailey assigned her to this case and Izzie has Sydney, so Izzie decides it’s time to leave. Eric tells Cristina that he thought he and his brother had issues, but she and Izzie are dumb. Cristina points out that he could have hurt himself, but he notes that now he’ll get to play Monopoly whenever he wants: “That’s all that matters, getting to play.” Cristina asks if that makes Eric smart, and he notes that she’s the one digging through stool. In the woods, George and Alex start fighting with Burke shouting out advice to George (and encouraging Alex not to take back whatever he said). Derek isn’t sure why they’re fighting, so Burke tells him that Alex said Callie slept with Mark. Joe and Walter return from their walk and Walter announces that next time, they’re not going camping with straight guys. Suddenly, Alex shoves George into Walter, who falls and hits his head on a rock.

Cristina finds Meredith studying up for Donna’s surgery, which appears to be back on. Meredith denies that she likes Mark, then says that he thinks she would be better off not having to deal with Derek’s issues and history. She wonders if Mark is trying to protect her. Cristina asks Meredith why she didn’t tell anyone about Ellis’ Alzheimer’s when she was first diagnosed. Meredith says it was because Ellis didn’t want anyone to know. Cristina asks if she thought it was right to keep a secret like that. Meredith asks whose secret Cristina is keeping, but before Cristina can answer (or, more likely, not answer), she gets paged to Eric’s room, where he’s started vomiting up blood. In the woods, Burke and Derek determine that Walter needs stitches in his forehead, and they’ll have to put them in using a fishhook as a needle. Webber offers Alex to the job of stitching, but Joe would prefer an attending to do the “crazy MacGuyver surgery in the middle of the woods.” George volunteers Burke, who has no choice but to do the stitches. George watches him closely for signs of a tremor, but Burke doesn’t show any and tells the others that he never has a problem. Cristina asks Bailey if she can scrub in on Eric’s surgery since he’s her patient and she’s been with him all day. Bailey asks her again why Cristina erased her name from the board. Cristina plays dumb, so Bailey tells her, “You chose your own fate.”

In the gallery, Sydney asks Izzie to tell her about Denny, thinking that talking will help. Izzie disagrees and tells her they’re done, adding that she would rather keep sifting through stool than talk to Sydney. Sydney tries to be sympathetic, but Izzie doesn’t think that she can since she didn’t cut Denny’s LVAD wire or fall in love with a man who died. In Donna’s OR, Meredith shows Mark that she’s studied up on the surgery, then says that she’s surprised he agreed to do the procedure. He tells her that people come to him to fix what’s on the inside, not on the outside. If that means he has to do something cosmetic, he doesn’t run, hide, or take space. In the woods, Alex tells Webber that he didn’t start the fight with George; he came camping to have some fun and George jumped on him. He continues that he grew up in a bar because his father was always there, either playing music or getting drunk. This was his one chance to spend some time with other guys outdoors. “You wanted to be a different person,” Webber notes. He sees how happy Joe and Walter are and announces that he misses Adele. Burke tells George he has high standards, and George says that same thing about Burke. However, Burke thinks George’s standards are too high because he sees a flaw and he attacks. He adds that he and Cristina are a team, and you either play on a team or you’re alone for life.

At the hospital, Jamie has to deliver her baby, and Addison hands him to her as if he’s alive. Derek goes back to fishing as Burke comments that Mark is bad news. Derek agrees, noting that they’re not even in Seattle and Mark is still infecting everything. He wanted to come to the woods for a fresh start, but Webber tells him there’s no such thing. Derek asks for more words of wisdom and Webber points out that he’s living in a hotel and his wife won’t talk to him. Burke says he came to the woods for the same reason Derek did, but he has no wisdom. They all agree that they’re just idiots. Sydney finds Izzie in the locker room and tells her that in her first year of internship, she lost a young patient and was so shaken that she had to take time off. When she came back, she pretended that everything was okay by smiling all the time, and everyone believed her. She adds that the feelings come in waves and she wasn’t trying to pry, but she wanted Izzie to know that it’s okay not to be okay. Izzie confides that she misses Denny and the feelings are there all the time. She wants to be at the hospital, but she isn’t sure she can still be a surgeon. She also doesn’t want to talk about Denny because it scares her. Sydney finds that acceptable.

Meredith finds Vicky in Donna’s room and Vicky says that when Donna first told her she wanted a sex change, Vicky tried to move on and find another guy. She always wanted to tell her best friend about her dates, and Donna is her best friend. Even when Donna hurts her, they’re still best friends. Meredith voices over that not all wounds are superficial as Addison and Callie admit that they’ve both slept with Mark, then discuss getting a drink sometime. Cristina listens in as Bailey tells Eric’s mother that he’ll be fine. Burke arrives and Cristina tells him she’s happy he’s back. Callie finds George, who’s about to confront her about Mark when he realizes that his father, Harold (see “Thanks for the Memories”), has been admitted to the hospital. As Meredith voices over that some wounds take us by surprise, Mark and Meredith drink together at the ECB and he tries to seduce her, encouraging her to start over. He leaves to answer a page and Derek enters, pretending that he’s meeting Meredith for the first time. He reminds her that they met at the ECB (see “Time Has Come Today”) and started their relationship before they ever really knew each other. Now he wants Meredith to know the real him; he wants to start over from the beginning. Meredith tells him that he walked away and it’s too late, but he keeps trying. Meredith voices over that the trick is to “dig down deep and find the real source of the injury.” She gives in to Derek, voicing over that when you find the source, you try to heal it.

THE TITLE IS A SONG BY…: Connie Francis

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “Prestons do not go into the woods. A guy named Preston is going to get his a%$ kicked by a squirrel.” - Cristina

Meredith: “Okay, before you start, there are rules to this friendship thing or whatever.”
Mark: “The Dirty Mistresses Club has rules? Gosh, you think a club of dirty mistresses would be a little less uptight about things like rules.”

“Don’t make me climb over the stall. I’ll do it but I’ll be pi%$ed ‘cause I don’t know you that well.” - Callie to Addison

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