1. It sure is raining.
Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Arizona, Callie, and Jackson (because of the Harper-Avery Foundation) now own the hospital and are getting into the swing of running things. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is in labor, prematurely but not alarmingly so, yet she is quite sure something terrible will happen. (Since it always does.) Oh, and it is pouring.
2. “The Perfect Storm”
That’s the name of the episode. In Meredith’s voiceover, she tells the story of a professor of hers who died during a routine surgery: because everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Cristina (Sandra Oh) are running down the hallway, freaking out. But it’s even worse, because they’re in slow-motion.
3. It’s never a good thing when this happens.
4. Owen has to say goodbye to Ethan.
Over a number of episodes, Owen (Kevin McKidd) had become attached to Ethan, a kid whose parents were both in dire straits (but now the dad is recovering). When it seemed like Ethan might be orphaned, Owen suggested that he might adopt Ethan, which convinced Cristina for once and for all that Owen needs to have a child. Which she does not want. They’re doomed, and it’s sad. (By the way, Owen sending Ethan and his father off in a helicopter during what seems to be a tsunami looked like it would be a disaster, but they get off OK, apparently.)
5. Cristina tells Owen that she is onto him with the kid thing.
He sputters a denial.
6. Cristina finds out Meredith is in labor and goes to her.
7. Bailey, meanwhile, still hasn’t been able to operate.
Having transmitted staph infections to patients who ended up dying, Bailey (Chandra Wilson) has been freaking out. (Even though crappy surgical gloves were truly to blame.) The Chief — Richard Webber (James PIckens Jr.) hasn’t been Chief of Surgery for several seasons, but he is the Chief to me — has been trying to tough-love her back into the OR. It does not work; she freaks out again.
8. The lights keep flickering. The electrician, Frank, tells them not to worry.
Obviously, they should worry. And Frank should really worry.
9. Chekhov’s gun.
The newly engaged Kepner (Sarah Drew) tells Callie (Sara Ramirez) she’s not used to wearing her ring. Callie tells her to pin it to her scrub top. Foreshadowing! If there is a ring pinned to a scrub top in the first chapter, to paraphrase Anton Chekhov, then it must signify how infidelity will be revealed in the second or third chapter. That, my friends, is what Chekhov meant. Except with scrubs and sapphism instead of rifles.
10. Arizona is a cheater!
She had sex with Peyton from One Tree Hill (Hilarie Burton). Who is playing a hot pediatric something or other, put there to tempt Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) from her fraught relationship with Callie.
11. In the NICU, things start to get wonky.
Like you would think they might during a superstorm or whatever it is. Arizona has to accept the help of Peyton from One Tree Hill.
12. Meredith’s OB, played by Lisa Gay Hamilton, tells her she needs a C-section.
Because, she says, “I can feel your baby’s face.” Eeeeeeekkkk. Meredith and Derek fight this decision for a bit, but then capitulate.
13. The power then goes out for good.
Meredith can’t believe — yet, sort of can believe — that she’s going to be operated on in the dark.
14. The chief is operating on the patient Bailey bailed on.
The man needs open-heart surgery, which calls for Cristina. The chief takes some time to yell at Frank, the electrician. Who then goes down into the basement to try to fix the problem.
15. The batteries in the NICU ventilators have started to die.
The red light over Peyton from One Tree Hill’s left shoulder is a warning light.
16. In the first of many inspiring speeches, the chief convinces Cristina to perform open-heart surgery by flashlight.
This episode really belongs to James Pickens Jr. more than anyone. Chief!
17. A bus crashes in the parking lot.
It’s full of people who were taking refuge from the storm in a church when the church’s roof collapsed. These sorts of disasters used to be something that would take up a whole episode, if not a two-parter. But by the end of Season 9, the Grey’s Anatomy writers are, like, Eh, we’ll take care of it in 15 minutes.
18. Jackson (Jesse Williams) goes into the bus, even though that is crazy.
It is crazy because it’s going to explode.
19. Meredith is having the C-section.
20. The nameless boy baby is born.
And he is cute.
21. Meredith is happy-crying.
Not for long, though, because the baby’s “stats are low.” These are unnamed “stats,” I think, that are purely designed to separate Meredith and Derek so he’s not there when things go wrong with her. (This is when I start crying, by the way.)
22. Arizona confesses her cheating ways to Karev.
They’re looking for batteries (there are no batteries). She tells him that she cheated. Karev (Justin Chambers) bursts out with a very Grey’s speech: “I’m in love with that intern out there but I won’t tell her. I keep saying to myself that I won’t tell her because everyone I love turns out to be crazy or mean or cancer-y. Or leaves. But the thing all those women have in common is me. They were all fine before they met me. I’m damaged goods or something. So you’re not the worst person in this closet.”
23. Speaking of speeches, the chief gives another good one.
Cristina is freaking out because she can’t find the problem with the heart. The chief tells everyone to turn out the lights. “Yang — listen for it. You know what a healthy heart sounds like.”
24. Of course it works.
25. The ER is overrun from the bus crash.
But Bailey still can’t get it together to help, and keeps doing mundane tasks.
26. Meredith is bleeding internally from having fallen in the previous episode.
And the OB had to go deal with another emergency. Ross (Gaius Charles), who is Meredith’s student, has to take over. She tries to instruct him. “Do not let me bleed out on this table!” He is not happy.
27. Neither are the parents in the NICU.
They’ve figured out that all the ventilators are failing.
28. Jo (Camilla Luddington) instructs the parents how to bag their own babies.
29. Karev really loves Jo.
30. It’s Meredith’s spleen that’s bleeding.
Meredith tells Ross she’s going to pass out. She tells Ross he can do it. And “if I arrest for more than nine minutes, you’ve got to let me go.” He doesn’t answer. “Dr. Ross, your superior is asking you to respond!” He agrees. “Tell Derek I know the baby’s name. It’s —” And she passes out. (Crying hard here — me, that is.)
31. “You made me a better doctor tonight, Dr. Webber. Thank you.”
The chief and Cristina share a meaningful moment. (Also: I realize these screengrabs are dark. The episode was essentially in the dark. It was a blackout. I’m sorry.)
32. An intern tells Bailey that Meredith is in bad shape.
If Bailey is going to recover, it has to be now.
33. Jackson finds a scared little girl on the bus.
I wish I cared about this bus, but I don’t really.
34. Ross tells Bailey he can’t control Meredith’s bleeding.
Bailey steps up to the operating table.
35. The bus explodes.
Kepner is freaking out, in front of her fiancé, thinking that Jackson is dead. I love Grey’s Anatomy so much. I feel like more than any other show of its serialized sort, it has not only kept up its greatness, but gotten better from some low points mid-run. I hope it goes on forever. With that said, I can’t stand the character of April Kepner. Does anyone? She’s the show’s one big weak spot to me.
36. Cristina goes to get Derek. They run to Meredith together.
We’re back to this.
37. Jackson is fine; the little girl is fine.
The stakes don’t feel high here.
38. The chief has gone to search for Frank in the basement.
He finds him. And tries to revive him (which he does successfully).
39. Kepner physically attacks Jackson because she was so scared he had died.
40. Cristina and Derek wait for Meredith to come out of surgery.
Cristina tells Derek, “Meredith Grey has survived a bomb, a drowning, a gunman, and a plane crash.” Which is a hilarious list. “Today, she is going to be fine,” she says. “I hope so,” he replies. Any Grey’s fan knows what’s coming next. “She has to be,” says Cristina. “She’s our person.” I sob here.
41. Bailey has saved Meredith.
And also saved herself. Derek hugs her.
42. Frank tells the chief he fixed the problem.
That all that needs to happen is for someone to flip the switch in the basement.
43. Arizona tells Peyton from One Tree Hill she made a mistake by sleeping with her.
Peyton from One Tree Hill tells Arizona she really likes her.
44. Then Callie walks up to them.
The lights come back on. Callie sees Arizona’s ring on Peyton from One Tree Hill’s scrubs — Chekhov’s gun! She knows.
45. Karev tells Jo that he loves her.
It goes well.
46. Kepner tells Jackson she wants him.
Jackson reminds Kepner she is engaged. She tells him to give her a reason not to be engaged.
47. Not for the first time, Cristina and Owen break up.
She tells him that she loves him and she loves surgery, and those things make her happy. And that she knows that he needs more (a child). He protests. “It already happened,” she says. (I cry here too.)
48. Arizona and Callie fight.
Callie says she thought they had made it through the hard part. Arizona yells: “You weren’t on the plane, Callie! You weren’t in the woods. And you did not hear Meredith crying for Lexie. And Mark moaning in pain and me screaming in pain. You weren’t there! And you keep acting like you were! But you weren’t! And it wasn’t your experience.”
49. Arizona resents Callie, irreparably, for taking her leg.
“You didn’t lose anything. I did.”
50. “Apparently, I lost you.”
51. Meredith suggests they name their son Bailey.
52. Adult Bailey, having come out of her self-imposed purgatory, wants to apologize to the chief.
But where is the chief?
Meredith’s voiceover: “The sky will clear in an instant. And only then, in those quiet moments after the storm, do we learn who wasn’t strong enough to survive it.”
An errant photo Grey’s Antomy creator Shonda Rhimes tweeted last month did call fan assumptions into question. I will say no more; Rhimes deleted the tweet, but you can Google it.