In honor of the 200th episode of the series (and the hospital desperately needing money), the Board throws a gala fundraiser with a circus theme. None of the docs really want to go, but Jackson tells them that the department that earns the most money gets 10% of the take, so it becomes a grand competition. At the same time, it becomes the first opportunity to test out Cristina's "let's date other people" terrible idea when a pretty girl starts flirting with Owen, and Cristina's charming of a rich dude proves incredibly successful. The pretty girl flirting with Owen turns out to be a doc from Seattle Pres, who is trying to steal a couple of donors for herself but she winds up with a big old crush on Owen and he seems charmed by her awkward ways. At the end of the night Cristina gets a check and a proposition from her rich dude, but she laughs off the second part while gleefully taking his money. She then goes to ask Owen for a drink, but Lady Doc has shown up to ask him out herself and Cristina reluctantly steps aside so that he can make a go of it.
Arizona arrives at the gala looking like a million bucks, but when Callie sees her, the gaze she gives her wife is so icy that Arizona flees to the hospital where she can cry in a supply closet while Callie tries to ply money out of people by pretending that Arizona is dead. April runs back to the hospital for something and finds Arizona, so eventually she comes back with a couple of bottles of champagne so that Arizona doesn't have to cry alone. They get drunk and have a really sweet bonding evening where Arizona admits how horrible she feels but how nice it was to have Lauren be so into her, and April kinda admits that she totally still has feelings for Jackson. Jackson, meanwhile, is running things at the event and until Princess mentions it to him, he has no idea that his girlfriend is seething because he didn't invite her. Princess is at the gala with Alex, who seemed to fall apart before their evening even started when some junkies were brought into the ER after a car accident, so she winds up being the one trying to solicit donations while Alex gets drunk. She later catches him trying to draw blood, and he admits that one of the junkies sounded a lot like his dad who he hasn't seen in 20 years, so he wants to do a paternity test. When the results come back, he starts to tell her that he doesn't want to know after all, but before he can say that she blurts out that it is, in fact, his deadbeat father.
Callie tells Cristina that Mere and Derek are both bored out of their minds at home, so they've started to turn everything into a competition. This means that they start doing the same thing at the gala, but Derek fights dirty and brings Lil' B over right when he is due for a feeding, so Mere has to go take care of that instead of flirting with donors. When Jackson gets up to give a speech and welcome everyone, one of the aerialists on stage next to him suddenly loses her grip on one of her silks and begins to tumble to the floor. The party planner runs up to try and catch her and gets smooshed in the fall, while the performer winds up with her broken shin bone protruding through her leg. Mere happily goes back to the hospital and jumps in on a surgery, and when Derek finds her, he winds up assisting. Afterwards they reminisce about the last time there was a big dance at the hospital and Mere's panties wound up pinned to the wall, and then decide to stay and do a bit more work now that they are all older and functional and happy and all that stuff.
While all of those functional adults were at the party, the interns were left to run things and Smash and Steph are in charge of the ER. Steph keeps freaking out that the work is over their heads, but Smash tells her to take advantage of the situation since they will get to do things they normally wouldn't be allowed to handle on their own. He does a risky cardio procedure and then assists Cristina when she comes back to do a follow-up surgery, but is shocked when she compliments him on being a shark just like she used to be as an intern. He goes to check on Steph later and she admits that while she had been pissed to not go to the party, she is over the moon now that she got to do all sorts of cool things. The two are so pumped that Smash gets totally caught up and grabs her in a kiss, and of course Jackson walks in at that moment. She runs after Jackson and manages to convince him that she didn't want the kiss, and is shocked when Jackson forgives her and they move forward. He's probably just in a really good mood from all the money they made -- after the accident the party kind of died but he realized that he should just bring the potential donors over to witness the aerialist's surgery from the gallery to really impress the cash out of them. And it works!
Bailey is the only one who didn't go to the party and instead is spending a thankless evening dealing with an increasingly sick and angry Richard and a slightly racist, ornery, jerky patient who she just had to inform has cancer too advanced for treatment. When she tries to force a treatment on Richard he gets so agitated that he pushes her across the room in his effort to get her away from him while Mr. Offensive is the opposite, needling her that she's not doing enough to try and help him get better. She finally get sick of seeing her mentor give up while this other jerk keeps fighting when there's nothing left to do, so she decides to make them roommates so that they can drive each other nuts, but also maybe rub off on each other a little bit. And eventually, Mr. Offensive realizes that getting set up with end-of-life care might not be a bad thing, while Richard realizes that maybe he's being a little too rash and he should make a wee bit of effort to try and not die.
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This week, Grey's Anatomy is celebrating an impressive milestone. With this episode, one Ms. Lauren S will have written 146 recaps of the show. And so in honor of that, they are throwing a partyâ€¦what's that? You think this big, flashy hour is celebrating Grey's 200th episode? That's more of a milestone, you say? Oh fine, whatever. Mere and Derek get all dolled up while Mere reminds us that surgery expensive and sometimes you've got to go raise some more dough. She then starts to quote The Muppet Show to remind us that her mind these days is filled with kid stuff, and it's starting to make her a bit crazy. They get ready to leave but first she has to help Zola get her shoes on since Zola won't do it for Derek.
Avery and Owen arrive at the party venue and Owen frets over the spotlights and red carpet, since the whole point is that they don't have money to spend so they are trying to get more. Avery assures Owen that he knows this world and that they need to charm serious people with serious money so this night will be sophisticated and conservative. When they walk in, however, they are both stunned to see a full, over-the-top, glamorous circus theme. Jackson immediately goes and grabs the party planner, who is in a yellow dress that looks like Tweety Bird decided to create his own interpretation of Michelle William's famous Oscar dress, to demand to know what she did. This is as if any organization (especially the Harper Avery Foundation, where Jackson presumably learned so much about this world) would ever throw a seriously high-level gala such as this and then leave it all to the party planner without seeing a single design plan or budget and then would only get to the venue as it was starting, with guests already in attendance. I guarantee that, like suggesting dating other people, this is not something that happens anywhere other than the teevee. Tweety, for her part, isn't troubled by his reaction at all and just says that hospitals make people think of death and disease, whereas this party should be sexy and fun and make them open their wallets. Jackson seems like he still doubts her a little bit.
Mere has stopped in at the hospital to check on Richard, and Bailey sounds desperate as she explains that he's basically wasting away and yet he refuses to do anything to help himself. Mere suggests that maybe they let him waste for a while, and Bailey gets all mad at her, assuming she's offended about what he said last week. The thing is, Mere heard every awful thing in the world from her mother, so she's pretty much offense-proof at this point but she suggests that Richard might need to hit rock bottom before coming back. She then leaves to go raise some funds; Bailey seems to think that Mere's ideas are all ridiculous and instead she orders some new treatment for Richard. I'm not sure what it is, but the nurse points out that Richard is going to hate it, about which Bailey gives exactly zero shits.