"We got married in Vegas! We're married!"
When George arrives at Seattle Grace with this news, eight days after his marriage proposal, Izzie and everyone else are shocked... and less than supportive.
And that's not even the most stunning piece of news given to us early on.
Meredith's mother, Dr. Ellis Grey, is completely lucid. She suddenly recognizes Meredith and remembers everything - except for the five years that she's been in a home with Alzheimer's Disease.
Meredith gently breaks the news to her and she falls into a state of shock. Ellis ends up at Seattle Grace with heart eurthymia. When she wakes up, Meredith tells her still-lucid mother she's happy and that she's dating another doctor. Ellis responds with disappointment.
She didn't raise her to be happy, but to be accomplished. Anyone can be happy and normal. She has the skills and the drive to save a life! How could Meredith Ellis cruelly laments, become ordinary and unfocused!
The Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic is ready and on its first day, Izzie and Miranda eagerly await their first patient. A little girl walks in with her father, who asks for help in showing her how to use tampons. Since his wife died, he's been lost. He doesn't have a clue.
While her father is in the other room, the girl blurts out that she had sex a few days before her period came and is worried she's pregnant. Miranda says she knows it's tough without a mother, but tells her she's too young to be having sex. When Izzie returns, Miranda tells her that one patient alone was worth the $8 million they spent on the clinic.
A unconscious cancer patient, Marina, is admitted to the hospital by her boyfriend, who is astonished to find out that she's been receiving chemo for months. As George takes blood from Marina, her boyfriend confesses he doesn't even know her middle name. George tells him it's Rose.
As George hands off the blood sample to nurse Olivia, she observes that he doesn't look so good. She assumes he's regretting the quickie marriage, he thinks he's having an anxiety attack over his impulsive nuptials. He tells Callie he can barely breathe. She's livid that self-doubt is once again getting to his head.
George and Olivia both end up bed-ridden, shaky and nauseous. He now thinks it's because they both handled the blood sample, and that it must be toxic. He calls the O.R. to warn them, but it's too late. Richard, Alex and the other surgeons are all unconscious on the floor!
They find an herbal supplement in her purse that they think, combined with the chemo, led to the toxicity. The surgeons are removed from the room and put on oxygen. Derek and Burke prepare wear special suits with oxygen masks and finish the abdominal surgery, but run out of oxygen. Addison runs in to finish the job, then collapses into Mark's arms.
Recovered and back for another round, Derek and Burke finish the surgery, but can't fit the swollen bowels back into the patient. Under Richard's supervision, they try to reduce the swelling, but both run out of oxygen and collapse. Richard, who had been worried about his legacy at Seattle Grace now that he's nearing retirement, shows us why he's the Chief as he calmly but forcefully sends in Meredith, Izzie and Cristina in for 20 second shifts until the surgery is done.
While recuperating, Addison can't stop staring at Alex, who catches her at it. She flees ... and ends up in bed with Mark again, which she swore she would never do. Yet even while they're in the throes of passion, she can't help but jibe at him, saying that she's willingly not thinking about him at this very moment.
Callie confesses her middle name to George: Iphegenia. In the locker room, Izzie makes a snide remark about Callie not moving in with them, so George finally decides its time to man up. He announces that she's the biggest part of his life right now, and if they drive Callie away, they're driving him away too.
Meanwhile, Ellis demands a neurology consult, which leads to a meeting with Derek, who incurs Ellis' wrath when he mentions he's dating Meredith. The elder Dr. Grey accuses him of taking advantage of her, and insists she doesn't want the heart procedure she may need to save her life.
Cristina, assigned to the case, tells Ellis bluntly she could die and she doesn't care. However, the decision is not up to her, but up to Meredith. Meredith tells her mom she hates being the one in charge, but she has no choice since Ellis alienated everyone else in her life.
As for Cristina's offer from Dr. Burke? She still hasn't given him a reply. She's taking it under advisement, she says, and asks Ellis for her advice. Can you be a surgeon and have a life too? Ellis tells her indignantly that it's none of her business... but she wishes she had tried harder to make it work when she had the chance.
Cristina finally tells Burke her answer. She won't wear a ring. She doesn't do rings. But she is saying yes as only she can. Quietly and cautiously, in typical Preston fashion, he nods and says okay. Then he bursts with joy and twirls her in the air excitedly.
Richard goes to see Ellis while she's still with it and instead of telling her he and Adele are splitting up, which we learned earlier, he tells her what she wants to hear - about the wonderful life the two of them would have had together - so that she will rest easy.
Meredith comes back to say she wants the surgery for her mother because she's hoping that in a few years, there'll be a breakthrough - a cure for Alzheimer's Disease - and they can start over with each other.
Ellis' reply: "You remind me a lot of my daughter."