Last night’s Grey’s Anatomy‘s “Remember the Time” should have been this season’s premiere episode. This well written, incredibly acted, heartbreaking and immensely disturbing installment of Grey’s had me in tears and swallowing migraine medication to relieve my stress headache. Seriously, I had to take Tylenol after watching a traumatized Cristina describe trying to keep wild animals from eating Lexie’s body in the woods. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, so let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
This episode flashes back to the rescue after the plane crash, so we finally know what happened to our tortured cast-members. The survivors are taken to a local hospital in Idaho but because of Arizona and Mark’s extreme medical conditions everyone will need to be flown back to Seattle for emergency care.
Arizona overhears a doctor recommend to Owen that they amputate her leg.
Arizona: I withhold consent. I withhold consent. Before you drug me or sedate me I give nobody permission to cut off my leg. And certainly not some yahoo in Dump-Truck, Idaho! I want to go home to Callie. She’ll know what to do. Just take me home.
Meredith asks Bailey to sedate them since they aren’t eager to hop back on a plane. (I would never fly again.)
When they return to Seattle Meredith tells Derek she wants to stay put but Derek is still eager to work at Harvard. (I agree with Derek. Get out of Dodge!)
Back at the hospital Meredith insists that they are all going to be fine. She assures Alex and Avery that Mark is coming back and Arizona will not lose her leg. (Meredith, did you not watch last week’s episode?) Cristina is catatonic, which April enjoys, but she’s also violent so the hospital wants to transfer her up to the psych ward. Meredith pleads with Cristina to say something, anything so the doctor’s won’t drug her up.
Cristina eventually snaps out of it and goes home with Owen. Owen offers to take a leave of absence at the hospital to care for Cristina and he’s being so nice that now I feel bad for hating him so much last season.
While getting a sponge bath Cristina performs a beautiful and disturbing monologue. She reveals that she was awake for the entire four days in the woods fighting to keep Mark from dying (“Mark just keep dying, it was so annoying. I kept trying to help him but he just kept trying to dying on me”), her struggle to prevent the bugs from eating Arizona’s injured leg, that she drank her own urine to stay hydrated and as the wild animals circled she realized they weren’t coming for the living — they were feeding off Lexie, which she witnessed and tried to prevent to no avail. (Sandra Oh deserves an Emmy Award for this performance.)
Somehow Cristina kicks into robot-survival mode and decides to take the new job in Minnesota and leave Seattle once and for all. (A smart Cristina drives to her new hometown.)
Meredith can’t fathom Cristina leaving and sort of breaks up with her as she drives away.
Meredith to Cristina, “I’m not your person and Owen isn’t your person. Your person is you and it always has been.”
Mark makes an amazing recovery but Richard and Derek discuss that it might just be “the surge.” What’s the surge? Richard explains, “In many terminally ill patients they get a final surge of energy. They get better before they get worse.”
Mark’s girlfriend Julia shows up to sit at his bedside. She declares her love for Mark and he responds, “I love Lexie. Loved. I’m sorry.” Ouch!
The surge makes Mark sentimental and he gushes to Richard about Sofia and Callie.
Mark: Callie really doesn’t even know how good she is. Sometimes you wish people would just see themselves the way you do.
Richard sits with Mark and helps him fill out his living will, then watches Mark as he fades into a coma.
Alex is overwhelmed with guilt and tells Arizona that he wishes he could go back in time and trade places with her on the plane.
Arizona bites back, “I would let you. I had that thought a lot too. I didn’t like myself for it but I did. I kept thinking about my wife and baby and how you had no wife and no baby. You have no one. I only went on that plane because I was pissed at you so I kept wondering ‘I’m only here because he’s so selfish and thoughtless’ and no matter how hard I tried to make him better he’s still a horrible person so now 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. Would you get out of my room, please?”
Callie pleads with Owen that there must be a way for Arizona to keep her leg.
Owen: Her leg will never be the same. A prosthetic will give Arizona a better quality of life than years of rehab, chronic pain, I don’t need to tell you this!
Callie: No, in fact it’s pretty condescending.
Owen: You are not doing anything, she’s your wife not your patient.
Callie: She’s not, though, she’s not my wife. I don’t know who she is. Did this happen with Cristina? It’s like you’re looking at her and there is nothing inside. I feel like it’s just this shell. All the Arizona has been scooped out and she’s just this shell and I want her back. And I don’t think we’ll ever get her back if we cut off that leg so I’m going to save it, I’ve made a plan to save it and you’re going to get onboard and then we’ll work out a plan to get Cristina back but you need to help me now.
Owen fears he’s never going to get Cristina back but signs off on Callie’s plan to keep Arizona’s leg.
As Callie repairs Derek’s hand in the OR Alex bursts in and announces that there is a problem with Arizona: “She’s deteriorating. She’s dying.” This disturbance obviously frazzles Callie, who tries to find a solution as Derek is still unconscious on the table.
Callie: It’s the leg. Cut it off.
So Alex (who Arizona hates right now) is the one who cuts off her leg and they show it! Seriously, are there no other doctors working that can operate on Arizona? Now she’s really never going to forgive Alex.
In the end Meredith leaves Cristina a voicemail explaining that Seattle is where she found her family, where she learned to be a surgeon and, as long as Shonda Rhimes has anything to say about it, it’s probably where she’ll die.
Meredith: I’ve lived here as much as I’ve survived here. It’s just depends on how I look at it. I’m going to chose to look at it that way and remember you that way.
Cristina calls Meredith back and declares, “You are my person. You will always be my person.”
Wow, this episode was a doozy. What did you think?
Grey‘s will return in two-weeks so watch the video below to see what’s coming next. I’ll give you a hint, sexy-times ahead.