Derek and Alex are scrubbing in to repair Keith's spine and as they scrub, Alex explains the injury and how he plans to do the surgery. Derek is impressed until Alex stupidly asks him if, since he's operating in two places, this would count as two surgeries? I'm not sure what made him think Derek would be okay with this but he's so stressed out, maybe he has lost his grasp of common sense. Derek comments in a pointed tone that Alex needs more non-peds hours, and Alex happily agrees, thinking Derek understands and his on his side. Oh, how wrong he is. Derek starts to holler about how this kid has a shattered spine and all Alex can think about is the credit he can get; he then kicks Alex off of his service. Maybe Meredith doesn't seem so bad after all now, huh, Derek?
Alex is so oblivious that he bitches to Jackson about how much Derek sucks for kicking him out just because he wasn't thrilled at the chance to see a spine, not realizing how disrespectful his question was. Jackson makes some infinitesimal head movements to indicate that Richard is in the room but Alex doesn't notice until Richard speaks up and tells Alex that Mere is a tough act to follow. It does feel a little like Derek is cutting off his nose to spite his face at this point. I know, I know, she got him blackballed. I guess I'm just so sick of this whole complicated, stupid situation and all of the yelling and condescension. Richard and Jackson are using Owen's grapes to practice microsurgery, and I promise that's not any sort of euphemism. Richard warns them both that they have to figure out how to feel the joy in surgery again because one day they'll look back and wish they were back at this point in their lives, operating on people rather than on grapes. Well, operating on grapes is more surgery than Jackson has had a chance to do recently. He's also surprised since Richard is in the OR all the time, but Richard explains that it's only ever to help on complicated cases, but never to do any sort of routine or regular procedures. Jackson then has an idea, and asks if the technique they are using would work on ear reconstructions. It would, and Richard congratulates him on finding some joy. Alex, though, still feels none -- especially since he now has to go write his paper since Arizona threatened to drop him if he doesn't publish. He leaves, a sad little angel clown, while Richard shows Avery some different grape techniques.
Derek walks in to Owen's office just in time to see him throw back a healthy glass of what I presume is Larry Jennings' congratulatory scotch. He's already feeling the stress of being chained to his desk with paperwork, so Derek just orders him to finish his drink and they'll go somewhere.