It seems that one of the bonuses of working at Seattle Grace is that, if you don't already have a horrible relationship with your parents, you'll be sure to develop some sort of problem that will then play out publicly in front of all of your co-workers. (Watch out, Arizona!) Bailey has not told her parents about her divorce, and things are fine until her father shows up for Christmas to see his grandson. Once the cat is out of the bag, he tells her how ashamed he is of her for destroying her family, so she invites herself over to Derek and Meredith's for dinner to prove she has friends and a life. Her dad just gives her a talking-to for using the word "bowel" at the table, so she finally blows up and tells him that her son is healthy and happy and that's what is important, and then they and all of her friends and co-workers who have just witnessed the fight try and relax and have some turkey. It puts the "fun" in "dysfunctional," all right.
Derek and Arizona have a patient that comes in on Thanksgiving -- a child whose nosebleeds are caused by a tangle of blood vessels in his brain. When Derek tries to operate it turns out he can't get to the problem, but have no fear, he is Derek, a Neuro God, and he's on the case. He works with Mark and Arizona to invent the tools he needs to do the surgery, and the three of them even pay for it out of their own pockets, and it's all very Spirit of Christmas. Mark's probably just relieved to have something else to concentrate on for a little while, since on Thanksgiving a blonde 18-year-old walked into the hospital to drop the bomb that she is his daughter. Mercifully, they do a paternity test right away and so we won't have to suffer through a number of episodes before finding out it's all a lie -- no, this bratty, selfish, pain in the butt really is his daughter. She moves in with him and Lexie, much to Lexie's dismay, and shows no signs of leaving anytime soon.
Cristina and Teddy's patient is a girl whose heart gives out on Thanksgiving. It's too diseased to leave in her body, so Teddy hooks her up to a machine that will pump her blood for a while until they can find her a heart -- which both helps the girl and leaves Cristina even more in awe of Teddy's bad-assity. As the holidays pass by, however, and the women keep working together, Cristina realizes that something weird is up in between Hunt and Teddy. Hunt has been distracted, and finally he pulls Teddy aside to demand to know why she told him she was interested; Teddy cries that she's always been in love with Hunt, but Hunt (who seems for a few moments like he's totally going to reciprocate) tells her that he loves Cristina. Cristina finally confronts him about what is possibly going on and happily, he tells her he loves her. Happy New Year to them! Happy New Year also to Bailey, who makes up with her father, and to Derek, who of course manages to get the tool ready just in time and save the boy's life.
The people for whom New Year's isn't so happy are Mark, whose new teen daughter admits she's pregnant (or is she?) and Meredith and the Chief. Back around Thanksgiving, after she saw Richard having a drink, he offers to mentor her and she accepts. He, however, is only doing it to distract her from the fact that he's totally off the wagon. She's happy to play along, but when Joe calls her on New Year's to come help him out, and the Chief is dancing around to the music, drink in hand, she seems to realize that currently the shit is in fact hitting the fan.
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As has happened so often lately, we begin this episode at night -- Thanksgiving Eve, to be precise. Mere is waiting in the darkened skills lab, and she VOs, "The best gift I ever got was for Christmas when I was 10: my very first suture kit. I used it until my fingers bled, and then I tried to use it to stitch up my fingers. It put me on the path to becoming a surgeon." It turns out she's there because the Chief paged her, though she doesn't seem too excited to see him. He wants to say something about the other night -- he claims it wasn't what she thinks, and even though she looks terribly uncomfortable and tries to say his personal life is none of her business, he presses on. He goes into a lengthy explanation of how he diagnosed himself with alcoholism 20 years previously, but now he realizes that while it was bad, it wasn't alcoholism but was "situational depression." Meredith seems skeptical until he basically says that "situation" was her mother, and Mere laughs and agrees that Ellis escalated her drinking as well. His long, justifying explanation is basically a giant red flag with, "I'm a relapsing alcoholic!" displayed on it, and those words begin flashing in lights when he asks if she's told anyone else about what she saw. She hasn't, so he changes the subject, flattering her raw talent which he claims to have noticed since he stopped operating. He then asks her if she'd like a mentor. Mere VO's, "My point is, sometimes the best gifts come in really surprising packages." Well, this scene describes that but your surgeon mother giving you a suture kit, and that helping make you interested in surgery, isn't really surprising whatsoever, actually. She seems to be just willfully ignoring the very large string attached to this offer, which is that she continue to not mention his drinking non-problem to anyone.
Cristina and Hunt are having a much better time, making out like horny teenagers in the on-call room until Cristina gets paged. She's excited to see that it's from Teddy, and she runs off leaving Hunt clearly frustrated.
Derek sees what Mere seems to be ignoring, which is that this situation is odd, but of course he's Derek so he thinks it's all about him, and that Richard is doing this to get to Derek. Because why wouldn't this have to do with Derek, since he is a Neuro God and the very life blood of the hospital? Good lord, McDreamy, get off it. Mere shuts down the conversation and instead they get mushy and start making out. Thank goodness something will shut him up.