Meredith brings Alex a drink. She thinks Izzie will be back; Alex downs a shot in response. She asks if Alex wants to keep drinking and he nods silently. She heads to the bar, where the Chief is also drinking alone. He orders another club soda from Joe who asks if he is going back to the hospital or home after the next one. The Chief explains that he is having one more club soda and then going home. Joe asks for his keys. This is a puzzling exchange until Joe takes the Chief's glass, ducks low behind the bar, and fills it with vodka or gin. He hands it back to the Chief with a look that the Chief ignores. As he takes a drink, all the troubles and hardships and difficult decisions he has made in the past few months come back to haunt him. His fight with Derek, his car accident, his other fight with Derek, his talk with Thatcher Grey, his other fight with Derek, his firing of Izzie, his firing of Derek, and finally his surgical error that almost cost a patient his life. I had sort of forgotten that the Chief was a recovering alcoholic, but I'm pretty sure that is what the flashbacks were implying. His drinking gives an interesting prism to his recent behavior, but I can't quite tell whether it is ret-conning or this was the actual plan all along. I also can't tell whether his drinking caused him to fire Derek and Izzie or whether he was drinking BECAUSE he fired Derek and Izzie and lost George. Anyway, he's back on the hooch. When he sees Meredith at the bar, he gets up and leaves, barely touching his "club soda". Not sure whether he has decided to give up the drink already or whether he is just afraid of getting caught. Or whether he just can't stand the sight of Meredith's face. You are not alone, my friend.