Alex watches Jo working with his father Jimmy, and decides to exchange a few words with him. Alex lets down his guard for a second to share a few memories, but when his father goes off on his mother, Alex has had enough. All the pain of his stolen childhood bubbles to the surface, and Alex calls his father worthless. Jo intervenes, more for Alex’s sake than Jimmy’s.
Arizona is in surgery with the injured boy when Callie comes in for a consult. Callie is happier than she’s been in months, as she tells Arizona about the progress she and Derek are making with their project. Callie reminds Arizona that she was the inspiration for the project in the first place, and her goal is to make a prosthetic leg that is nearly as good as the one Arizona lost. All this “we can rebuild her” talk is making Arizona squirrely. Alex unexpectedly walks in and wants to join the surgery. Arizona can read the look in his eyes, and welcomes him.
April, like some sort of bridal bloodhound, tracks Meredith down. Meredith assumes April is a runaway bride but she’s actually there to drag her off to her fitting as well. Already in the lounge is Cristina, and two very serious seamstresses. They tell Meredith to ditch the clothes. Amen! Immediately, Mer launches into Cristina about the press conference and her unusually floundery delivery. Cristina admits her unease stems from not really knowing what she did right. Cristina opens up and tells her bestie that she feels like a fraud. Instead of being supportive, Meredith just pushes deeper and tells Cristina that she’s arrogant. Cristina in turn tells Meredith where she can go, and it ain’t Disneyland.
After watching the neuro map video, Derek is unmoved. He does however give them a piece of advice that sets their whole project on its head. It’s the brain surgeon equivalent of dropping the mic.
Bad Breath Guy heads off to surgery, telling his wife as much as he can before he goes under. He whispers something sweet to her before they wheel him away.
In the OR, Leah apologizes to Bailey for speaking to her so brusquely. Brusque just happens to be Bailey’s love language, so she doesn’t hold it against her. Leah has a point. This is a teaching hospital, after all. Bailey passes along some words of universal wisdom. “Never be afraid to stand up for yourself. Just be sure you’re right when you do.” Leah revels in this advice. Lord help us when she reads Eat, Pray, Love.
Meredith and Cristina continue the argument they’ve been having the entire season. Cristina doesn’t think Meredith can be an exceptional surgeon if she can’t devote herself completely to it, and Meredith feels looked down upon because she chose to become a parent. Cristina feels that Meredith thinks that she is a self-absorbed monster because she doesn’t want to have children herself. In many ways, female friends all around the world are having this discussion in one way or another. As a woman who doesn’t plan to have a child, I myself have been in similar situations with my friends who are about to become or have become mothers. Navigating the world of friendship when its entire landscape has changed is tough. No matter how much you love the other person and their child, the dynamic shifts and growing pains creep in. It’s how you navigate it that will be the true test of the friendship. In the midst of all of this, Ross comes in as the women are half naked to announce that Cristina is being considered for the Harper Avery Award. Meredith can only roll her eyes.
Arizona, Alex and Callie are hard at work on the little boy with the spinal injury. When Callie hears that the injury was likely worsened by the father moving him, she comes down pretty hard on the guy. Arizona defends him, and the whole conversation hits close to home for her. “Sometimes we try to makes things better and we have no idea that we are actually causing more pain,” Arizona says. Just because she and Callie are getting along better, doesn’t mean that their problems have disappeared. Arizona is still dealing with a whole boatload of traumatic shit. Her entire self-image has had to alter. Callie wants to fix her, help her be like she was before. But that Arizona is gone. Arizona wants to be accepted for who she is now. She advises Alex not to tell the boy’s father what he may have done. When Alex updates the man on his son’s condition, the father figures it out on his own that he made it worse. He’s devastated and Alex tries to comfort him.
Jackson and Stephanie begin work on Bad Breath Guy, but discover they have to go in through his neck. They talk about the close and honest relationship that the patient and his wife have, and wonder if they will ever get to that point with each other. They tease each other a bit, and Jackson is reminded of advice Mark Sloan once gave him. If you love someone, tell them, even if it tears your whole world apart.
After a round of bridesmaid wrangling, an exhausted looking April finally makes her way out of the hospital. Unfortunately for tradition, she runs smack dab into Matthew, who is finishing up a shift on their wedding day. (I feel you Matthew, you gotta pay the rent somehow.) She’s worried it’s bad luck, but he sweetly reassures her that all will be fine. Pssst…except you know it won’t be, right?
Meredith and Cristina are now at each other’s throats. They toss insults like lawn darts. Meredith gets the upper hand when she calls out Cristina for sleeping with Ross. When Cristina tries to defend herself, Meredith reminds her that Ross is only doing what Cristina did when she was an intern. Sleeping with the best surgeon, using that leverage to get to learn as much as possible and rise to the top. Well, at least she’s not the kind of person they used to laugh at, Cristina slips in before Meredith walks away.
After speaking with the injured man’s father, Alex decides to make amends with his own father. All is not forgotten, but Alex wishes him well and shakes his hand.