Cut to the very anguished face of George. The O'Malley clan have gathered in the conference room, where the Chief, Bailey, and Meredith have just broken the news that Mr. O'Malley is not going to wake up. The choices are to keep him on life support while he slowly dies or to remove the life support and let him die more quickly. The meatheads are both near tears, and one of them asks George what he thinks they should do. His mother is also looking to him for guidance. In that minute, George becomes the man of his family. Or at the very least, he becomes a man. He swallows his own desire to be held and comforted and tells them that Mr. O'Malley is in pain and that the pain will only get worse. Mrs. O'Malley asks if George is saying that it's time to let him go. George looks to Bailey for guidance, and she tells him, "We can't tell you what to do here, George." Her voice nearly cracks as she speaks. George looks at his family and tells them, "He's not Dad like this. And he's not gonna wake up, Mom." Mrs. O'Malley sobs and takes her sons' hands. Another lovely scene from all involved. Do you think this show has a crying coach on staff? Commercials.
NICU. Thatcher is watching over his granddaughter when Meredith enters. Calling back to a bit of dialogue from the previous episode, she asks him if there's a drawer of unopened cards somewhere. He didn't watch the last episode, so he's confused. Meredith: "I just wanted to know. I've only ever heard my mother's version of the story of why you left, and I was just wondering if maybe you have a side that I haven't heard." He pauses for a long, recapper-friendly moment and then stammers for a second about how Ellis moved to Boston and asked him not to call or stay in touch. And then eventually he remarried. So, he's exactly the weak nonentity I've been imagining. Meredith asks him if he snores. He's confused (natch), so she tells him, "It appears that I snore. My mother never did, so I just... forget it." She turns to leave, but he calls after her that he does snore, so she must have got it from him. Thatcher: "The wax earplugs work pretty good." Meredith thanks him and walks out.
In Burke's room, silence continues to reign as Cristina sullenly reads charts in a chair next to Burke's bed. Derek enters and Burke greets him. Burke asks for an update on Mr. O'Malley, and Derek breaks the news that they're going to let Mr. O'Malley go. In her own special impassive way, Cristina looks especially sad. Burke looks at her and then tells Derek that he hasn't had any tremors in the past week. Cristina realizes that he just gave in to her. I suspect this victory is not as sweet as she imagined.