'Grey's Anatomy' Recap: How Did They Survive? (Video)
The flashback episode explains how Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Arizona and Mark survived the plane crash and offered more insight into how they arrived at their current emotional state.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's "Remember the Time" episode of Grey's Anatomy.]
Grey's Anatomy returned to the site of the deadly plane crash Thursday when Meredith, Derek, Mark, Arizona and Cristina re-lived their rescue and the varied healing process for each of the Seattle Grace doctors.
Each of the five mini-stories -- the episode was told Rashomon-style -- helped to reveal how each of the survivors and the late Mark Sloan arrived at their current state depicted in last week season nine premiere.
Here are the eight biggest takeaways from the hour.
1. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) explains why she opted to remain in Seattle, despite the potential to see her dead sister (RIP, Lexie) around every corner, the hospital being the venue where her mother and George died and husband was shot. "This is the place where I fell in love. A place where I found my family. This is where I learned to be a doctor, where I learned how to take responsibility for someone else's life and it's the place I met you, this place has given me as much as it's taken from me. I've lived here as much as I survived here," she tells Cristina (Sandra Oh).
2. After surviving the crash, Cristina is experiencing reactive psychosis, where she's awake but in a comatose state and violent when someone gets to close. Eventually discharged, she tells Owen (Kevin McKidd) she has vivid memories of the crash and four days without food that included hearing animals fighting over Lexie's corpse, ridding the bugs from Arizona's leg and trying to keep Mark alive. "I can't get out. Don't you see? I'll never get out," she tells Owen, partially explaining why she wound up moving to Minnesota.
3. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) has a special surgeon: Callie. Initially accepting that his career going forward may only include teaching, Derek asks Callie (Sara Ramirez) to perform her risky surgery on his injured hand that comes with a great reward if successful (full recovery) but a nasty consequence if not (reduced function).
4. After Boise doctors immediately recommend amputation, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) withholds consent and demands to be taken home to Callie, who will find a solution. After promising to her wife that she wouldn't allow them to take her leg, Arizona crashes after her leg infection leaves them no other option but to amputate. That's clearly a broken promise that Callie's going to regret.
5. Alex (Justin Chambers) finally goes to see Arizona, but it's not a pleasant experience for either of them as he reveals that it should have been him on the plane. "I had that thought, too, and I didn't like myself for it," she tells him, noting his bachelor status pales in comparison to her wife and daughter. "I keep wondering why this would happen to someone like me instead of someone like you. So I guess I'm still pretty pissed off," she tells him after blasting her prized pupil for his selfishness and piss-poor attitude that landed her on the flight to Boise in the first place.
6. Making matters worse for Callie and Alex's respective relationships with Arizona, the pediatrics surgeon crashes just her wife is in the middle of Derek's surgery. Alex, who was bidding Arizona farewell ahead of his departure for Hopkins, winds up having to amputate Arizona's leg as Callie gives him the order -- and pressing on with Derek's surgery as Meredith looks on. Ouch. Not sure what other surgeons would chose anyone over their spouse.
7. Mark (Eric Dane) and Lexie have one final moment. After being returned home to Seattle Grace, Julia pays Mark a visit to profess her love -- but Mark uses the opportunity to let her go and do what he should have done a long time ago. "I love Lexie. Loved. I'm sorry," he tells her before slipping into a coma. Later, he awakens for a final "surge," allowing final moments with Callie, Derek and Jackson, telling the latter not to wait to profess his love if he really cares for someone. His final waking breaths are spent instructing the Chief with his medical directive. Sniff.
8. Jackson (Jesse Williams), meanwhile, takes Mark's advice to heart and tells April (Sarah Drew) -- who's returning home to her family's farm now that she doesn't have a job -- to wait for him at Joe's, where he'd likely profess his feelings for the devout Christian. Sadly, after Mark slips into a coma he would not come out of, April is nowhere to be found when Jackson finally winds up at the nearby bar.
What did you think of the flashback episode? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. Check out a promo for the next romantically themed episode of Grey's, below.