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'Grey's Anatomy' recap: 'Don't Dream It's Over'

Alzheimer’s makes a Grey’s return.

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Mitchell Haaseth/ABC

Grey's Anatomy

TV Show
run date:
Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr., Kevin McKidd, Jessica Capshaw
Current Status:
In Season

This hour of TV could have been straight-up awful and I still would have watched the whole thing just to see why Derek didn’t pick up his phone and why a woman did. But thankfully, the episode had a lot going for it—though waiting until the very end to get some kind of update—any kind of update—on the Meredith-Derek situation was slightly painful.

Not nearly as painful as it was for Meredith though, who keeps calling Derek after a woman picked up and keeps getting voicemail. She doesn’t really have any option but to assume he’s cheating, and even Karev and Maggie’s insistence that Derek couldn’t possibly be having an affair doesn’t help squash Meredith’s (or my) fears. And then she has to spend the whole day working among residents who keep reminding her that she’s on a streak, because that’s what a woman who thinks her husband might be cheating really needs: extra pressure from her colleagues to not kill anyone.

Her patient today is a guy from a punk rock band who got in a car accident along with his pregnant wife. The older man who caused the crash, Martin, is also in the hospital and out of control—so out of control that he hits Maggie, knocking her to the floor. She insists she’s okay, but Bailey insists she get a CT scan to make sure. Maggie being Maggie ignores that demand, instead simply sticking a bandage on her bruised cheek and carrying on with her day. 

Meanwhile, Martin’s wife, Sally, comes in to the ER to find her husband. He has Alzheimer’s, she explains, and she left him alone for just a few minutes so she could take a shower. That’s when he took the car keys and left. Webber, Maggie, and Ben soon take Martin into surgery to see what’s happening inside, and Maggie makes some controversial-in-context comments about Sally: “If you can’t be a responsible caregiver, find someone who can,” she says.

The whole time, Ben’s awkwardly coughing in an attempt to stop Maggie from talking. He knows Webber’s history with Alzheimer’s; Maggie doesn’t. But she, also awkwardly, doesn’t understand what Ben’s doing and asks why he’s clearing his throat. Webber then steps up: “I think Dr. Warren is trying to subtly tell you to shut up,” he says. “I lost my wife to Alzheimer’s.” And that successfully closes Maggie’s mouth. 

So now Maggie knows that Adele had Alzheimer’s, but she still doesn’t know that her own mom had it too—or at least, it’s assumed she doesn’t know. Later though, Webber tells Maggie about Ellis and finds out that Maggie knew she had the Alzheimer’s gene all along: She got a full genetic history when she was 12, but just didn’t knew where the Alzheimer’s gene was from.

Actually, she’d been worried that the gene came from Webber and is visibly relieved when she finds out he’s Alzheimer’s-free. Webber’s been delegated to the role of resident dad in the most recent episodes, which can get boring, but seeing him be an actual dad to Maggie—someone who’s seemingly starting to open up to him—is intriguing and something I want to see more of. 

Before this heart-to-heart, Martin wakes up from surgery completely lucid. He’s reciting poems to his wife, he’s catching up on the past five years. Webber is absolutely floored—there’s no way he could have accidentally cured this man’s Alzheimer’s. And he didn’t: Amelia soon discovers that Martin never had Alzheimer’s, that there’s actually a build-up of fluid in his brain—and that means his ailment is curable.

Amelia tells Martin this and suggests she put in a shunt to stop the fluid from building up. The catch: She has to do it within a few hours or else the fluid will build back up, he’ll go back to exhibiting Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, and he’ll no longer be in any condition to provide consent for the surgery. At first, he’s all for it—and so is his wife, who’s been acting as caregiver for the past five years. But then he finds out that the car crash he caused ended up killing a pregnant woman.

NEXT: Martin changes his mind.