Richard decides to give the attendings a challenge -- he's got a million-dollar grant, and they each have to make a pitch for why they should get the money for their own department. But when each of them makes their pitch, almost everyone winds up bringing some personal baggage into it. Derek wants to cure Alzheimer's, because every time Mere does something absentminded, he's afraid she's getting it herself. Callie wants it to start using bovine ligaments in surgeries, but also wants it because she feels like Arizona is better at everything than she is, from being a doctor to being a lesbian, and she wants to "win" something between the two of them. She even spends the whole day trying to psych Arizona out so that she'll cry in front of the Chief and then not get the money. Arizona doesn't cry, and gives a very well thought-out presentation about why it should go to pediatrics, but then gets fired up because everyone expected her to cry and winds up just wanting to punch someone in the face. Mark wants to bring in more cosmetic surgeries for more revenue and then create a state-of-the-art burn unit, but even more so wants something on which he can focus his attentions and spare time since he's not having sex with anyone right now. Teddy wants to do something with regenerating heart tissue, but really, she just doesn't want neuro to get the money, because she still harbors a grudge about Derek wanting to fire her a while back.
The only two docs that don't make it entirely about themselves are Owen, who wants to provide trauma training for the staff so that if something horrible like the shooting happens again they might be able to save more lives, and Bailey, who points out that they could repair some broken machines they already have and could hire a night nurse. Richard's pretty disappointed in that but she points out that she's practical rather than fanciful and also, he doesn't really have the money, so what is going on? He alludes to something happening in the next few weeks, though he doesn't say what, and then he announces Owen as the winner. You've never seen such insincere smiles on the other doctors' faces, which is saying a lot, given this crowd.
Since they are all busy with their pitches, Richard "promotes" the 4th year residents up to attendings for the day, navy blue scrubs and all. Lexie's disappointed to realize she's not part of this, since she's a third year, but then realizes this makes her Chief Resident for a day so she perks back up, even if it means she's run into the ground trying to help out everyone. Meredith and Jackson are in neuro for the day, and compete to see who gets to perform a procedure on Derek's patient. Jackson lures Meredith into thinking he's a basket case and then kicks her ass in the competition, so he wins the reward of taking point on the surgery. But once in the OR, he makes a mistake and Derek has to take over, though fortunately he's able to patch everything up. Even though Derek tells him later that it's okay, that people make mistakes and that this was totally normal, it clearly doesn't help Jackson's state of mind after last week's beatdown by Teddy for trying to use his looks to get ahead. Lexie, meanwhile, has a patient who suddenly has neurological symptoms, and Derek sends Meredith to help her out; since he's busy helping Jackson, Meredith has to go ahead and perform the other surgery with Lexie assisting. When Derek finally makes it in to their OR, he finds Meredith totally kicking ass, as she does the job perfectly.
Alex is in charge of a patient of both Arizona and Mark's -- a 13-year-old boy who has some condition which has given him breasts. His mother is totally nervous and winds up backing out of the surgery at the last minute, which ticks Mark right off since they'd been involved in this case for a while. But just as they are about to leave, Alex makes a case for the surgery and the mom winds up agreeing, and Alex proceeds to do an awesome job of it.
The last two temporary attendings are April and Cristina, who are working together on an old man whose lungs are failing. Cristina is still just shuffling around, saying she doesn't know the answers to questions, so April has to make almost all of the decisions herself and decides to gather a transplant panel to see if they can get him on the list. Teddy finally tells Cristina that she's in danger of getting fired if she can't pull it together soon -- she's not asking her to do any surgery, but she needs to at least start having opinions and making decisions. Even this doesn't really spur Cristina into any action, but she shuffles along and at least takes care of all of the guy's labs, while he teases her for her sourpuss face and attitude. When the two of them have a moment alone, right before the panel, he makes an impassioned plea to Cristina for the lungs, showing her just how much he wants to live. Once in the panel April flounders a bit and finally has to admit he's not a good candidate, but something stirs in Cristina and she actually speaks up (not a lot, and she speaks mainly to the floor, but she speaks nonetheless) and gives her own opinion of why he deserves the lungs after all. Teddy is both proud and relieved to see that Cristina might have some life left in her after all and it turns out she even convinces the transplant board, as they vote to put the guy on the list. So while it's still baby steps, Cristina still looks like she might make it back, if ever so slowly.
First off, I want to thank reader Karen who emailed me to point out that last week, Mere didn't tell Lexie she's great, she told her she's a GREY. That makes so much more sense given that they were talking about Lexie's being crazy or not, and explains Meredith's little knowing smirk as she says it. Ah, I love it when I hear something wrong the first time and then continue to hear it wrong on every subsequent viewing. Okay, now on to this week!
The docs are all in the locker room getting ready for another day of work as Meredith VOs: "The train doctors slowly. They watch us practice on frogs, and pigs, and dead people, and then live people. They grill us relentlessly. They raise us like children." As the residents get changed, the attendings convene for a meeting in the conference room. "And eventually they take a cold, hard boot and they kick us out of the nest." Richard flatters all of the attendings for a bit and then tells them why he gathered them there: he has a million dollar surplus and he's going to reward it to one department. Seriously? After all of his fretting about money last week he just found a cool million lying around? I call shenanigans, and Bailey seems too as well by the confused look on her face. He then promises the attendings that he'll keep the residents very busy to give them time to prepare their pitches about why their department should get the mystery money.
All of this has overlapped with him giving a speech to the residents. The way he is going to keep them busy is by "promoting" them for the day to attendings, and they all geek out as navy scrubs are handed out to everyone. He does remind them that the attendings will all be there if they get in too deep but otherwise, they are on their own and in charge today. Lexie asks the Chief why she didn't get any scrubs and he tells her that it's only for fourth-year residents. As she is apparently the only third year resident left in the entire hospital, she makes herself feel better by declaring herself Chief Resident for the day, even though Alex tries to laugh that she's actually his "scut monkey." Rather inexplicably, Cristina has been given navy scrubs -- knowing what she's going through, wouldn't you not put that pressure on her? But they do, and she just stares at them blankly for a long time until Meredith sees her and reminds her gently that the attendings will all still be there and that they are basically just playing glorified dress-up. Cristina says she knows but she has almost no voice and this is clearly another thing that is going to weigh on her today.