This week, instead of Meredith and Cristina walking around the halls staring at each other's faces on iPads, they simply talk on the phone like in Olden Days. And they talk basically every waking moment as each goes about her day, though they are briefly interrupted on Meredith's way to work when she comes across a car accident. A young woman named Melissa is trapped under the wheel of a car and her age, brown hair, and horrific injuries are so reminiscent of Lexie that Meredith is compelled to do everything in her power to save her (including rallying the crowd to help her lift the car off of Melissa's neck).
Once they are at the hospital Meredith is so crazed trying to stop Melissa's bleeding that Richard has to repeatedly order her to stop operating and close Melissa up so that she can get strong enough to withstand more surgery. He tries to take the case away from her, but Mere assures him that this isn't anything personal and her judgment is totally not clouded at all even though it's glaringly obvious that she's trying to make up for not being able to save her sister's life. Derek is out of town so she eventually has to go home with Zola but while on the phone with Cristina that night she decides she can't leave Melissa in the hands of her interns. She drops Zola off at Callie's and after a brief moment of intense guilt over that she goes back to the hospital to sleep in a chair just outside Melissa's room.
Back in Minnesota, Cristina is still sleeping with her boss and working with her bestie Mr. Feeny. Sex Friend Parker finally offers Cristina her own surgery but she's excited to be working on a complicated aneurysm repair with Feeny so she turns the other one down. Parker is incensed that she likes the doddering old man more than she likes him and so he stops sneaking around and tries to get rid of Feeny directly. Parker walks in on their surgery just as things go wrong and tries to take over, but Feeny ignores him and manages to save the day. Afterward, though, Parker puts him on probation. Cristina is totally troubled by this and is desperate for their patient to survive the night so that Feeny isn't fired, so she also sleeps at the hospital and she and Mere chat on the phone through the night. The next day, the patient is well enough for them to go back in and finish the procedure, but with Feeny on probation they aren't supposed to do so without Parker's permission. Feeny doesn't give a crap and wants to finish what he started and go out in a blaze of glory; while this is usually Cristina's style, this time she's terrified to lose her only friend at Mayo and it takes a lot of convincing for her to go along with it.
Simultaneously, Mere and Cristina both start on their surgeries and we see them at the same time via split screen. Mere's seems to go bad right from the start while Cristina's moves ahead like clockwork and she and Feeny banter about whose name will go first when they publish a paper. Mere's surgery seems to be a lost cause but at the last moment, she and her interns manage to stop Melissa's bleeding and have a 30-second dance party to celebrate. At the same time, just after telling Cristina that she's the best thing that ever happened to him, Feeny goes silent and collapses. This causes all hell to break loose both in the OR and in the patient's innards, and Cristina has to work like crazy to try and save the woman while Parker rushes in to help try to save Feeny.
As all of this has been going on, Zola has been passed from person to person around the hospital since she woke up with a fever and can't go to daycare. Bailey lectures Mere and finally gives her her Special Secret Babysitter List with the admonition that she's an attending now and needs to admit that she can't do everything by herself all the time. Melissa then wakes up and asks to meet Meredith, since she remembers just enough of the accident to know it was Mere who stayed with her and saved her life. Mere is thrilled at first to meet her but then starts to get choked up as it seems to sink in that she can never bring back Lexie.
Cristina finishes her surgery and also manages to save her patient, but it's a hollow victory since Feeny died. Parker tries to congratulate her on a job well done but she brushes past him in a haze and then does some thinking in Mayo's boring locker room, remembering all of the things Feeny told her about focusing on medicine and not bothering with friends who would only get in the way of her brilliance.
As Meredith puts Zola to bed the doorbell rings and she is stunned to open the door and find Cristina, drunk on tequila. She grabs her in a hug and the two take a long moment to relish being in the same place once again. But after a few moments, Mere's face falls and she says that Lexie is dead. Cristina sadly replies that everybody is dead. And yes, that's sad, but it's so, so very awesome that we FINALLLY have Cristina back in Seattle again.
Previously on Grey's Anatomy, they were in a plane crash. You know, in case you forgot. The only reason that I can guess as to why they'd have this long, sweeping, obvious "previously on" is because the new episodes feel like they have been aired kind of sporadically so far this season.
Mere's VO is the deep observation that sometimes things are out of your control. We then hear her inner monologue as she sits in the bathroom, trying to will Zola to pee in the potty. Mere starts singing a song and smiling but the voice in her head says that she's late for work and wants to die.
Cristina, meanwhile, wakes up to the snow outside her window and thinks to herself that she actually, physically can't move on account of being frozen. She also can't roll over because then she'd have to face Parker, who is snuggled up behind her, kissing her shoulder and asking her which spoon she likes to be. Cristina writes this recap for me by thinking to herself that she's not a spoon, she's a knife and she's going to stab him. Out loud, she tells him she wants to get some more sleep so that he'll cut out the canoodling. She's completely grossed out and thinks that she can't even face herself in the mirror.
A little while later she and Mere talk on the phone while each gets ready to leave for work, because despite the two-hour time difference they are conveniently on the exact same schedule. Mere rushes around her fancy new kitchen and I notice her fancy new fridge has a clear door -- do you really want to have your condiments and wine on display for everyone to see? Or do other people have more cinematic contents of their fridge than I do that would justify the clear-door concept? Mere is now a full-fledged harried working mother who burns fish sticks and whose daughter pees on her. As this is happening, she overhears Cristina saying hello to her super peppy neighbor. Cristina tells Mere unhappily that she is neighborly now. After they both do some more griping, Cristina declares that they have to buck up. Mere acts like Cristina just spoke in tongues so Cristina explains that the saying a Minnesota thing. I've been saying "buck up" for as long as I can remember and I've never been to Minnesota, so I'd say that's a TV Minnesota thing. Cristina explains to Mere that people in Minnesota are tough and friendly, but she stops mid-sentence when she gets outside and sees her car buried in snow which causes her to start moaning in a very un-Minnesota way.