Inside Ellis' hospital room, she stands at the foot of her bed as Meredith sits in a chair hugging her knees. It looks like she's used to being the bad little girl while her mother is the scary presence, and that they've reverted to their roles despite the time lost between the two. Her mom, however, asks genuinely what her life is like, saying, "I really want to know you, Meredith." It's almost soft, which is not an adjective one would use with Ellis Grey. I suspect Meredith isn't used to it either, which is why she's lulled into letting her guard down and being honest. She tells her mom that she has a great boyfriend who understands her career since he's a doctor and how happy she is to have someone in her life. When her mom asks if she's chosen a specialty, throwing out sharply that Cristina has already chosen one, Meredith just dreamily tells her that she's waiting to be inspired. But the most important thing she wants Ellis to know is, "I'm really happy." The peaceful moment is about to be crushed like a frog under a tire. Her mother purses her lips and angrily demands, "What happened to you?" Mere is bewildered, asking what she means, and Ellis unleashes a torrent that sheds quite a light on Meredith's drinking, random men, and issues all around. "You're happy? You're happy now? The Meredith I knew was a force of nature. Passionate. Focused. A fighter. What happened to you? You've gone soft! Stammering about a boyfriend and saying you're waiting to be inspired? You're waiting for inspiration, are you kidding me? I have a disease for which there is no cure; I think that would be inspiration enough." Meredith tries one weak, "Mom," but Ellis plows ahead. "Listen to me, Meredith. Anyone can fall in love and be blindly happy," (this she punctuates with a vicious sneer) "but not everyone can pick up a scalpel and save a life. I raised you to be an extraordinary human being. So imagine my disappointment when I wake up after five years and discover that you're no more than ordinary. What happened to you?" During this tirade, Mere just goes deathly quiet and gradually her cheeks turn red as her eyes well up. It's heartbreaking, amazing acting by both the daughter who has just been betrayed and the mother who is so full of anger, and possibly jealousy that her daughter has managed to find happiness in ways Ellis never really did. One can't imagine a childhood with this woman being the defining force in a young girl's life.
George is taking Marina's blood as the boyfriend tells the story of their relationship. In an absolutely astonishing parallel, they met and their relationship took off really fast until they got engaged. The boyfriend is realizing a few steps they missed along the way when he doesn't even know her middle name to fill out the medical forms. (That, and the whole having cancer in the first place detail.) George tells him that it's "Rose" as he hands over her driver's license with a terribly shaky hand, a la Burke's tremors. The boyfriend looks a bit quizzical but doesn't ask what the doctor is doing by shaking like a leaf when he's holding a needle into his fiancÃ©e's arm.