'Grey's Anatomy' Recap: The Alternate Reality Isn't Much Different

Thursday's "what-if" episode turns the world of Seattle Grace upside down -- and eventually right side up again.
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"Grey's Anatomy"

Grey's Anatomy pulled its best Fringe impersonation Thursday when Meredith pondered what her world would look like had she and everyone else in the Seattle Grace family made different decisions.

We knew going in that Derek and Addison were still together (and expecting), Alex and Meredith were an item and something just wasn't right about Callie and Owen's marriage, the episode had a plethora of other surprises -- some expected, others less so -- here's how everyone fared in bizarro world.

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's "If/Then" episode.]           

Ellis (Kate Burton): She rules over Seattle Grace and pushes Meredith to be better -- but won't let her scrub in with her on a groundbreaking surgery. She's also incredibly unhappy with Derek's performance and reveals that if forced to make a choice should the couple split, she'd stick with Addison.

Richard (James Pickens Jr.): He's the voice of reason and, to nobody's surprise, a great father. He's also a fair doctor and stellar husband, often bridging the gap between Meredith and Ellis when she tearfully confesses to being a terrible mother.

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Meredith (Ellen Pompeo): She's engaged to Alex but finds out -- from Cristina! -- that her fiancé is cheating on her with her "person," April. Furious after Ellis gets upset that Cristina showed her up in surgery, she tells her father, "She wants everyone around her to be ordinary so she can be extraordinary. She wants everyone around her to be small," she says of her mother. "And I'm not going to let her do it to me." Yep, heard that before. She winds up drowning her sorrows at the bar -- where she becomes the girl in the bar, who meets the boy in the bar when Derek shows up to drown his sorrows. Destiny is a funny thing for this MFEO couple.

Derek (Patrick Dempsey): He and Addison live in his trailer next to the vacant land where Addison says they'll never build his dream house. And he can't tell his wife that he loves her without staring at the floor. Now that is a healthy couple.

Addison (Kate Walsh): She's married to Derek and seven months pregnant -- with Mark's baby! And after tormenting Derek for nearly the entire hour, finally makes the big confession to him, sending him to the bar across the street where … he meets a girl in a bar. (Aww.)

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Alex (Justin Chambers): "We create our own destiny," he tells Mandy. He later gets the advice fed back to him after screwing up his relationship with Meredith, like he always does. In no short time, he throws Bailey under the bus -- twice -- and ruins his relationship. That's our Alex!

Callie (Sara Ramirez): She clashed with Arizona over a patient in the beginning but when the kid shows progress -- and his mother celebrates by professing her love for Callie, Arizona echoes the sentiment thus giving the married mother of three the heart flutters.

Arizona (Jessica Capshaw): She's the same doc who fights for what's right for her kids and suggests drinks with Callie to celebrate their amazing accomplishment. That's MFEO No. 2, for those keeping track at home.

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Owen (Kevin McKidd): He still has PTSD issues and Cristina continues to help and support him -- without reporting his anger issues to either Callie or the hospital's powers that be. Even in this world their chemistry is undeniable. That's MFEO, No. 3.

Bailey (Chandra Wilson): She's a rock star but nobody can see it because she has no self-confidence. Ellis asks Richard to fire her when, after hijacking Bailey's surgery, the chief makes a horrible fool of herself in front of the press. After losing her job, she gives Alex his advice right back to him when she sets out to create her own destiny -- and shed the "Mandy" persona. 

Cristina (Sandra Oh): A mention of her affair with an attending -- Burke! This Cris still calls it like she sees it and is still the same fiercely undeterred go-getter. Later, after clashing with Meredith, the duo team to save Lexie's life and wind up at the bar doing tequila shots, circa Season 1. She's Meredith's person, no matter what. MFEO besties.

April (Sarah Drew): When Cristina fires back at Meredith that her "prince charming" is sleeping with the "virgin Mary," April tearfully confirms the accusation -- and breaks poor Percy's heart at the same time. ("Oh, just shoot me now," he says upon learning the news. Zing!)

STORY: 'Grey's Anatomy': Watch the First 10 Minutes of the Alt Universe Episode, 'If/Then' (Video)

Jackson (Jesse Williams): He brings a standoffish Lexie to tears after calling her beautiful and encouraging her to mend her broken heart by getting to know her sister. Except Lexie was only using him in a bid to steal his ID -- and drugs.

Lexie (Chyler Leigh): Her father committed suicide and her mother died of a stomach thing and she's none too pleased to be at Seattle Grace with her half-sister who, she's never met. She eventually winds up having her life saved -- by Mark and Meredith. That Shonda Rhimes is goooood.           

Mark (Eric Dane): He's not a doc at Seattle Grace but he still makes his mark (sorry!) at the hospital, coming to an unconscious Lexie's rescue and bringing her back to the hospital after she ODs a second time. Say it with us: MFEO.

Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and George (T.R. Knight):An Izzie and Denny mention! But it's not a good one when Alex and company recount how Meredith ratted her out to Ellis and had her fired. As for George, he's still 007 and was never seen or heard from again after failing his intern exam.

Which surprises did you like most from "If/Then"? Hit the comments. Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit

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