Now this is what I've been waiting for all season, and maybe even longer. This was an episode that felt like classic Grey's with the jokes and the tears and the awesome characters we love and the angst and all that stuff in the right package. But I digress, let's go through what happened in the first part of the season finale.
Derek and Meredith have two clinical trial patients in the hospital at the same time, both teenagers, and it turns out that they know each other from previous tumor treatments and are in love. The Chief notifies Meredith that the medical board that oversees trials is going to shut down this trial at midnight if their final patient doesn’t survive. They decide to move up the boy's surgery so that they can do both he and his girlfriend before midnight. Beforehand, though, they team up to give the two some privacy so that they can have sex for the first time. Sadly, the boy dies after his surgery and Derek winds up throwing the celebratory champagne into the garbage in frustration. Meredith's got her own problems, because in addition to the frustration of the trial and another death, she's going to therapy and working through her mother's suicide attempt, which is pretty grisly.
Also grisly is the Major Trauma Finale Event. A boy has been brought in encased in cement, which he lay down in to impress a girl. All the docs have to work together on their own specialties to save him, but they wind up doing a lot of screaming at each other instead. Richard gets them to sort of work together, and they manage to start getting him out of the concrete, but as they're doing this Bailey realizes that they didn't take his bladder into account, and with all of the hydrating they've been doing it could explode at any moment, but we're left hanging as to what will happen. In addition to the general infighting, Richard seems to notice that Hahn is being unreasonably hard on Cristina, who finally got in on a surgery when Meredith gave her the Sparkle Pager, which pulled her right out of her funk. Callie, meanwhile, is getting more and more pissed off at Mark's teasing her about a threesome with Hahn. Clearly, this is all going to blow up sometime in hour two.
George has been shoved out of the concrete surgery and finally unloads on Lexie about how frustrated he is to be doing basically nothing. He mentions having access to the Chief's office where all of the resident files are, but tells her he won't read them. She's overcome with curiosity, though, and pages George to the supply closet where she's just read the charts of all of the first-year residents and tells George that he failed his intern exam by only a single point. One person who is sure to have his file added to soon is Alex -- he's watching after Ava, who can barely function and clearly needs professional help. He won't listen to Izzie and only berates her when she checks up on him. Turns out she was probably right, though, since Ava slits her wrists with a kitchen knife when Alex goes out of the room to growl at Izzie to mind her own business. And with all of these patients' lives hanging in the balance, and talk of Derek selling his land and giving up on ferryboats forever, we head into Part 2.
Missed the second half of the two-parter? Read all about it here!
"My mother used to say that, for a surgeon, a day without death is a rare gift." Mere's voiceover comes as we, from the perspective of the fridge, see Mere reach in and grab something. Right in the middle among the leftovers and whatnot is the bottle of champagne with a "Do Not Drink" note on it. "Every day we face death. Every day we lose life." To illustrate, there's a Death Montage of patients flatlining, Mere and Derek calling time of death a few times, Derek angrily pulling off his surgical mask, and through it all, the bottle of champagne sitting unopened in the fridge.
The scene changes to that of an aquarium as she finishes, "And every day, we're hoping for a stay of execution." The fishes are in Dr. Amy's office, and Mere stares at them as Dr. Amy gently encourages her to talk about her mother's suicide. To Dr. Amy's surprise, Meredith was there when it happened. She doesn't offer any more details, just stares at the fish, so Dr. Amy tells her it's okay to talk about it. Mere finally turns her attention from the fish to her therapist, who looks extra-nice today with her hair all big and curly and some makeup on. Mere tells her that she was there as her mother took a scalpel and slashed her wrists, and that Mere had to sit in a pool of blood and wait for her to pass out so that she could call 911. "It's not okay to talk about it." Dr. Amy closes her book and asks why she waited -- turns out that Ellis told Meredith not to call, and she didn't want to get in trouble. She insists her mother didn't want her life saved. Dr. Amy suggests that Mere is really angry with her mother, but Mere says it's not her mother she's angry with. Dr. Amy asks who it is, but we're not treated to the answer just yet. "We're attached to death. Chained. Like prisoners. Captives," she VOs, as she stares at back at the fish.
Like old times, Mere and Cristina are lying in bed and Mere offers possible pick-me-ups for her friend. She throws out solutions that have worked before -- tequila, dancing, or even calling Mere names and mocking her endlessly. The last one deserves a moment of thought, but Cristina then shoots it down like she did the other suggestions. Cristina tells her to stop and that she's too upset for cheering, so Mere pulls out the big guns and offers her Sparkle Pager. Cristina bolts up and warns her that this wouldn't be a funny joke, but Mere tells her she knows she's really sad because she didn't even ask for Sparkle Pager. Cristina tells her, "If I were the kind of person who kissed people? I would kiss you!" while Mere pulls a pillow over her head at the prospect.