Welcome to Season 7, everyone! We pick up about a month after the shootings of last season's finale, and while some people are doing better than others, all the doctors are (understandably) still pretty messed-up and acting out in various ways. There's a new doctor in town, Perkins, who is a counselor whose job it is to help everyone recover, and he's the one who also gets to clear each doctor to resume surgery. Mere is ticked off because she's still not cleared, and because she's repeatedly had to bail Derek out of jail; His reaction to his near-death experience has been to start driving recklessly all over town, resulting in numerous arrests, though supposedly the cops love him and just keep letting him off the hook every time. We also find out that she still hasn't admitted to Derek that she was pregnant and miscarried, nor has she admitted it to Perkins, but the counselor can tell she's hiding something and that's why he still is keeping her out of the OR.
On Derek's first day back at work he realizes he hates being Chief and steps down so that Webber can take the reins of the hospital again, which results in a sassy celebration dance when Richard takes back his old office. Perkins clears Derek for surgery, so he jumps in with both feet, doing a crazy risky surgery that involves cutting a kid's face in half to get to the tumor in his brain, and since Meredith isn't clear for surgery, April gets to assist him instead. Fortunately for the kid, the surgery winds up being successful.
Throughout the episode we see everyone in their therapy sessions with Perkins and flashbacks help fill in what happened after the shooting. Bailey left town with Tuck and went to stay with her mom for a month. She's barely keeping it together when she gets back to Seattle, and doesn't have enough in her to keep dating Ben -- he wasn't at the hospital the day of the shooting because he was playing golf, and while Bailey knows this wasn't his fault, she has a hard time with the fact that he's not currently dealing with demons like all the docs who were there that day. Because he is awesome, he understands, but it's still rather heartbreaking.
We learn that Lexie and her photographic memory started reading up on serial killers and mass murderers, and eventually stopped sleeping and had a nervous breakdown at work. Alex, unable to cope, literally walked away as it happened and left Mark to have her committed against her will. After loads of drugs and 50 straight hours of sleep, though, she came back to her right mind, went back to being a brunette, and managed to get cleared for surgery. Alex's walking away signaled the end of their relationship, and he decides it's for the best because, now, with a bullet lodged in his chest, he can get girls like never before. Old snarky, womanizing Alex is seriously back with a vengeance.
Not everyone is doing horribly, though. Arizona and Callie are happy, though Arizona is fretting that Callie is about to drop a huge bomb like a proposal and she's not ready. It turns out Callie just wants her to move in, and Arizona accepts. Teddy, meanwhile, is continuing to get over Owen by getting under hot new Dr. Perkins. It's a good thing, too, because it means she can cope with the fact that Cristina and Owen are getting married. One night when Cristina freaked out because he was late coming home, he gave her a ring and promised never to leave her again. She then throws herself into wedding planning (though nothing traditional -- no white dress or anything huge or fancy) and seems to not care whether Perkins clears her for surgery again or not. Meredith has a moment where she starts to get kind of worried and judgy, but Cristina shuts her down, and finally, right before the ceremony, Meredith comes around and seems happy for her and, more importantly, seems to accept and support her decision to get married. They have a beautiful small ceremony in Meredith's living room, with Cristina rocking a deep red dress, and unlike at her last wedding, the bride and groom both say "I do" and kiss happily to end the episode.
Welcome to season 7, dear readers! I hope everyone had wonderful summers and that if you are in the greater Los Angeles area right now, you aren't dying of heatstroke. Me, I've got Meredith Grey to help keep my mind off of the inferno I call my apartment. And while it's not dark and twisty Meredith, it's certainly traumatized Meredith, though she's trying to hide it. "Like snakes, in our own way, we shed our skin. Biologically, we're brand new people." Huh? That doesn't even make sense, as I believe biologically, we stay the people we are throughout our lifetime. Even with my worst sunburn and skin shedding, I'm pretty sure that my DNA is still the same as it was before. Bailey is on a plane with Tuck and chats to her seatmate that she just spent a month visiting her parents, so we know now that it's a month post-shooting. When the woman asks what she does, Bailey hesitates for quite a while before admitting she's a surgeon, and the good mood she was in is totally gone, replaced by tension. The woman's face goes very serious as she asks if she knew any of "those doctors." She takes Bailey's silence for ignorance and adds, "From that shooting." Honey, if this were real life I'd have to imagine that everyone in America knew what you meant, and she's honestly very concerned but it's also in that overly-invested, voyeuristic way, and Bailey doesn't even answer but instead just stares into space.
"We may look the same, we probably do, the change isn't visible, at least, not in most of us, but we're all changed completely." A serene Richard is at the hospital, surveying his domain from the catwalk.
There's a new doctor in town, and you all will be relieved to know that he's passed the Seattle Grace Hotness Test. He and Mere are meeting in a conference room and she kinda sorta picks up where her VO left off: explaining to him that change is a biological imperative. She then assures him calmly that she's ready to go back to work instead of just sitting at home, worrying. When he points out calmly that her husband was shot, which is a legitimate thing to worry about, she just replies that Cristina is getting married (!!) and that she is worried about her friend because of the disaster that was her last wedding day. Perkins, the counselor, is for some reason still more worried about her having witnessed her husband's shooting than her best friend's wedding, but Mere just brushes off that Derek's fine and coming back to work that day. We're reminded of his shooting with a slo-mo flashback, and then Mere gets paged and begins to chuckle, but with quite an edge to it. When Perkins asks if everything is okay, she gives him a creepy smile and assures him everything is fine.