Mere and McDreamy are on their fresh start, but they decide to hold off on the sex because Meredith wants to be bright and shiny (and frustrated, apparently). But the bright and shiny thing doesn't last long. Meredith visits Ellis, who refuses to speak to her -- but she lights up when the Chief drops by, reminding Meredith how little time her mother spent with her as a child. A little girl gets run over by her nanny, who knows the little girl better than either of her parents, throwing the mother into a tizzy. And reminding Meredith about her own mommy issues. The parents fire the nanny, in part because the little girl won't stop asking for her. The little girl goes through two surgeries and still only wants the nanny. So the parents rehire her. This whole incident also pushes Bailey's buttons about being a mommy, and she goes through some angst about whether she's neglecting her son.
Izzie is assigned to shadow Alex, who is assigned by McSteamy to take care of an obnoxious guy that just got pec implants. Alex takes advice from the guy and makes a grand gesture by letting Izzie perform a procedure (despite Bailey's rules) and then follows up by planting a kiss on her. But she freaks out and tells him she's not ready for anything like that. But they still wind up on a friendly note.
George's dad is in the hospital because he fell and broke his clavicle. But treatment for that ends up leading to the discovery that he has cancer. And preparations to treat that lead to the discovery that he needs a new heart valve (before they can operate on the cancer). George asks that Cristina be assigned to his dad's case, but then realizes that something is wrong with Burke and that Cristina is covering for him. While that's going on, Callie bonds with George's brothers and then helps them understand the severity of their dad's condition. And Cristina ends up telling George's dad that George is the best intern of them all.
And on the marriage front, Derek and Addison agree to be civilized (which he's willing to do because he's so happy to be back with Meredith). And the Chief decides he can no longer visit Ellis because he needs to try to make his own marriage work. Of course, he's a coward, so he leaves Meredith to give her mother the bad news, leading to a bit of a rapprochement between Mere and Ellis. And after Derek notes that Addison is still wearing her wedding and engagement rings, she obsesses about what to do with them. Eventually, she takes them for a ride on a ferry boat and throws them into the water.
And Bailey sings!
Previously, we met George's family, Callie dumped George, Bailey was pissed about the name erasing, George suspected Burke wasn't okay, Cristina tried to hold it together, Mer realized that her mom had an affair with the chief but is happy that he makes her happy, McDreamy wants to start over and Adele has run out of patience, and George's dad is in the hospital. So... pretty much every storyline they've ever written.
Meredith says that "many people don't know that the human eye has a blind spot in its field of vision. There's a part of the world that we are literally blind to... " but I lose track of all that she's saying when we see her and Derek in a bubble bath together. Mer seriously, seriously, seriously tries to keep Derek on track of taking things slow. It's a good first step with the bath, guys -- that's what I do when trying to avoid hitting a home run in a single evening. They're taking things slow and starting fresh, which Mer has deemed means no sex, since they started with sex the last time and we all know how that ended. He's smooching her the whole time as she says that the waiting is also fun, and "from now on I want to be bright and shiny." And from now on, I want to be in that bathtub.
The problem is, Mer says, sometimes our blind spots shield us from things that really shouldn't be ignored. Her mom is at the nursing home, looking even more severe than usual with a shorter haircut. Mer shows up to visit and cheerfully tries to get her to eat, but Ellis says there isn't any time with all of her surgeries. When Mer tries to apologize for not visiting, Ellis announces that she can't coddle her while she's trying to save lives. It's a fun little insight into Meredith's formative years. Ellis has no time, that is, until Richard shows up with food for her. She lights up and runs to him. He's embarrassed, seeing Meredith, but she assures him it's okay, and leaves. "Sometimes our blind spots keep our lives bright and shiny."
She walks into the locker room, announcing that dark and twisty Meredith is gone. "You're probably not going to want to be friends with me anymore because the sheer intensity of my happiness is going to make your teeth hurt. That's okay because life is good. Life. Is good." She turns around and notices that she's not getting quite the reception she expected, and at the glum faces, she asks if all is okay; they tell her about George's dad. She's genuinely concerned and asks if he's okay, and too quickly, George assures her he'll be fine. His clavicle was fractured when he fainted and fell, so Callie (of course) is going to be treating him. They're all discussing his chart when Bailey comes in looking for it. George hands it over and mutters about being fine, getting himself sent to scut for the day. Ever the smart woman, Bailey knows he won't be able to concentrate on anything. George tries to fight her, but she wisely sticks to her guns and reminds him that family members don't treat family. Cristina leaves, saying she's on Burke's surgery -- I guess Bailey's declaration that she not be allowed on any surgery doesn't count when her boss calls his girlfriend back into the OR. Meredith is going to the pit, and Alex is going to shadow Sloane while Izzie shadows Alex. Bailey goes once again through the rules that boil down to Izzie acting as a glorified room decoration. Izzie rolls her eyes -- a good move, I think, for someone getting a fairly undeserved second chance.