Season 10's winter finale delivers a cliffhanger at April's wedding, haunting flashbacks for raging Shane, and more Meredith-Cristina drama

By Annie Barrett
Updated December 13, 2013 at 03:30 AM EST
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Credit: ABC

Grey’s Anatomy‘s season 10 winter finale, “Get Up, Stand Up,” left us hanging during April’s wedding to Matthew — a ceremony which might never have happened if everyone else hadn’t stopped yapping about their personal problems! The protestor to their holy union? Well, it wasn’t April herself, as we viewers (along with every doctor in the hospital) expected. April’s first and perhaps only love, Jackson Avery, stood up at the crucial time — hands shaking, dreamy green eyes glittering. And he said….

Nothing! He sat right back down. Intern Steph got the man she apparently loves back for about four weird seconds.

Suddenly he was back up!

“April, I love you,” said Jackson. “I always have. I love everything about you. Even the things I don’t like, I love. And I want you with me. I love you, and I think that you love me too…. Do you?”

And that was it! That’s how we’re leaving things until next year. April has weeks upon weeks to mull over her decision. Meredith and Cristina have plenty of time to keep having the same fight they’ve already had… again. And again and again. I just hope at some point Alex and Jo have the sense to sneak back out to that sexy barn wall for some more fierce makeout sessions. If anyone should be tying the knot, maybe it’s those two. He’s already planning out their happy, isolated, don’t-need-nothin’-from-nobody nuclear family and everything. In due time, Alex.

I’ll go back to the beginning and just recap the events chronologically, as I’ve received your feedback about how my Grey’s recaps are “all over the place.” To be honest, so is the show. But here we go: This is exactly what happened.

Cristina’s struggling through a press conference about her miracle-baby surgery. She stammers that she’s “cautiously optimistic” about Nathan’s recovery, and Intern Shane grabs the mic and corrects her with a more press-friendly release of B.S. “Dr. Yang hit a home run!” he announces. “Thanks to her, Baby Nathan is thriving.” Outside, Yang is incredulous, but Owen’s on Shane’s side and tells Yang she was “tanking” in there. Cristina lets Shane know she’s not the only one who’s noticed Shane needs to relax. He somehow thinks she’s suggesting they both should release some tension in the on-call room. Clueless.

Owen Hunt, Event Planner M.D. is roaming around making sure everyone will attend April’s wedding. Callie and Derek say yes. As usual, every time Intern Leah speaks, I get confused. She’s ranting to Interns Jo and Steph about how she’s “some pathetic, leftover, shriveled, discarded thing she left on her shoe.” Wait, as in… April’s so much better than her because she’s getting married and Leah is alone? Nope — Leah is talking about Arizona. Because that’s ALL she talks about. Girl is nuts. We’ve seen glimpses before of just how nuts — but in this episode she’s next-level nuts. The question is: Does anyone care?

NEXT: Bailey’s OCD has been very inconvenient for Intern Leah Meredith has just wrapped up her dead sheep and is about to resume her glum work on the 3D printer when the press stops by for a photo op. Of course, they want Cristina posing next to Mer’s new toy instead. Meredith fumes. This is supposed to be her game! Her hair had much better loose tendrils than Cristina’s that day! “Oh, Dr. Yang, that’s perfect,” says the reporter out to ruin Meredith’s life as Cristina grimaces for the camera.

April and Jackson have a relatively tame (for them, sexual tension-wise) interaction in the hospital’s hallways, where every bride loves to rev up for her big day. Will Jackson be there? “I totally understand if you’re not,” she assures him. Well, she should, because she basically told him it would be too difficult for her if he did come, a few episodes ago. “Yes, of course,” he says. He’s happy to cater to her daily/hourly/minutely whims, from now until the end of time. April’s massively relieved. Let the hair-curling continue!

Bailey and Intern Leah’s patient is Elliot, who’s had a whopping 312 surgeries to repair bronchial tumors that keep growing back. Bailey suggests culturing his cells in a lab in order to customize their growth and find exactly the medicine to stop them. No surgeries ever again. Sounds good to me. The poor kid perks up, probably for the first time in a while. And Leah flips out, because contrary to what viewers may have assumed, this subplot is actually about her. “I’m here NOW!” Leah yells at Bailey outside. “I waited for you to get back into the OR, and enough is enough. I’m being left behind, and I deserve better than this!” Huh? Bailey regards the child in her care that day with her signature “Are you kidding?” facial expression and assures Leah she can perform Elliot’s surgery start to finish. So shut up.

Meanwhile, Jackson and Steph’s patient, Dalton, has incredibly nasty breath due to food getting caught in his esophagus. Yum. Jackson will be cutting through Dalton’s muscle, and he names some of the risks involved in any surgery: stroke, death, damage to nerves. So right away we know something is going to go terribly wrong in this surgery. It’s cute how the couple, Dalton and Karen, focus on the possibility that Dalton might lose his vocal chords. He manages to get a lot of things off his chest — he hates her brother, she looks fat in a certain purple dress (rude!), and most importantly: Karen’s got a fine, fine ass.

Derek’s getting wooed by the Kleiss company, which seeks to devise a complete map of the human brain — with his help. The censors he’s developed for his BCI work with Callie are the most extensive they’ve seen. They push over a piece of paper with an obscene amount of money on the other side (just cover the baby’s eyes and TAKE IT, pops!), but Derek’s not interested.

NEXT: ‘I was the dad!’ Alex confronts his ailing, abusive father Jimmy (we’d last seen Jimmy hurling Intern Jo into a wall) in his hospital bed and gets right into it: “How do you forget a wife and three kids? How do you do that?” His father admits he made a huge mess of everything when Alex was young — the more time went by, the more drugs he did. He couldn’t stand himself. And, he makes sure to stress, he definitely couldn’t stand his wife, Alex’s mother, whom Jimmy calls “bug-eyed crazy.”

“Mom was not the problem!” Alex insists. “Who do you think took care of her? I got her committed so she could get back on track and take care of herself. Who do you think took care of your kids?”

“I WAS THE DAD! I was a kid, but I was the dad,” Alex says. “You were nothing! You were gone! You were worthless.”

As if we weren’t heated enough already, Meredith and Cristina come to blows yet again during their fittings for April’s bridesmaid dresses. At first, when Cristina’s explaining how she doesn’t know how she fixed Baby Nathan and feels like a complete fraud, Mer seems to soften up (or maybe it’s just the lovely shade of pink she’s wearing) and be sympathetic. Why hadn’t Cristina mentioned her doubts to anyone? Well, Cristina had no one to tell. An entire hospital full of doctors and administrators, and Cristina only thought of Meredith and Alex, who were both against her. She had no choice.

“Well, you’re right,” concedes Meredith. “We’re in two completely different places,” she says, adding for good measure: “I may over-reach, I may have something to prove — but I will never be as arrogant as you are.”

And then they really let each other have it, as guitar riffs intensify their swelling tension. We’ve heard it all before: Giving 100 percent to both work and family is categorically impossible, argues Yang. “Because you keep screwing with my research!” protests Mer. “Did you ever think maybe your research is failing on its own?” Oooh. “Right, because I’m a terrible doctor.”

But Cristina argues she never said Mer was a terrible doctor. Her problem is that Mer thinks she’s a terrible person now. “Because I’m committed to my work? Because I don’t have a baby? When did I become such a monster to you?”

Oh, they’re only getting started. Things really come to a head when Mer asks how long Yang has been sleeping with Shane. “He’s just hooking up with the best teacher to make sure he can get everything he can,” says Mer. Sound familiar? “It’s what you did all through med school and all through intern year. Congratulations. You’ve become the thing you worshipped.”

“And you became the thing we laughed at,” Cristina shoots back. Ugh, it’s all so awful. These are their persons! Stop it stop it stop it!

They finally get to the heart of the matter — much to April’s chagrin — backstage before the wedding. (Sorry, the chronological thing just isn’t making much sense considering the show jumps around every few seconds.) Yang insists she has changed since their early years. Just because she doesn’t have the husband, house, and kids doesn’t mean she’s invincible in her pursuit of career superstardom. “I’m doing this alone,” she says. “And that’s… that’s just as hard as what you’re doing. But I thought I would at least have you.” Right here is where some of the tension diffused, I think.

“I’m so jealous of you I want to set things on fire,” Meredith quietly admits. “You have nothing but time and focus. We’re not who we were when we got here. You are who we both set out to be…”

“…And you’ve become something we never saw coming,” Cristina steps in. The tides have shifted. Pinky softness is everywhere (except over in April’s corner of white-hot fuming) as Yang continues, “You are as good a mother as you are a surgeon. And I’m happy for you.” She pauses. “But we are growing apart.”

NEXT: Trippin’ Out With McDreamy Back to the others. Derek schools the Kleiss reps, blowing their minds by telling them to think of the mind as a universe instead of a planet, man. Trippin’ Out With McDreamy is a science show I would totally watch on Netflix, like six hours at a time. Just saying. Derek won’t just blow their minds and let them be, though. “Your method couldn’t map the human sphincter,” he informs the guys. Owen would give him a slap on the wrist for that one, but the way Derek explains the sympathetic nervous system clearly resonates with the floundering researchers.

It’s patient Dalton’s sweet, ultra-familiar interactions with his wife just before surgery — plus a bit of wisdom from the late Mark Sloan — that would inspire Jackson to get up, stand up, stand up for his right to love April again during her wedding. During Dalton’s surgery, Jackson and Steph gently tease each other about their own shortcomings — she leaves bras and hair everywhere; he should smile more because it’s so beautiful — and she hints hopefully to him that she thinks Dalton whispered “I love you” in Karen’s ear before going under.

“Maybe…” Jackson trails off. “Say it loud and go from there,” he says more firmly. “Something Mark Sloan said to me once. If you love somebody, you tell ’em, even if you’re scared.”

“That’s nice,” says Steph. Poor Steph. And ugh, poor Karen and Dalton. It’s been awhile since Grey’s made me cry — and Karen’s resigned shock-laden cheek-petting after learning her husband had suffered a massive stroke truly did me in. The scene made me want to go hug everyone I love, really squeeze their muscles and feel how aliiiiiive they are! Not to be gross or anything.

April and Matthew run into each other in the hospital halls and it’s MOMENTARILY TRAGIC, but he smooths things over by cutely assuring her he’s glad he saw her like this because she’ll look more like this than the glammed-out April (who will probably leave him at the altar!) he’d be seeing later that day. He loves her just as she is right now, Matthew tells helmet-head. She loves him too. She can’t wait. Sure. “Oh, don’t forget black socks!” she adds. But Matthew’s gone. Foreshadowing?

Alex has a change of heart about his dad during surgery on a kid who fell under the tractor he’d been driving. The kid’s dad had failed to wait for the ambulance — a decision which may have turned his son into a paraplegic. But as Alex tells the father, “You were trying to help him. You were just trying to do your best for your kid, okay?”

He returns to his own father, ready to forgive and ultimately forget. “You don’t have to be sorry,” he tells him. “Like you said, you did your best. And I turned out all right… because you left. Maybe you can fix it with your kid in Florida. Good luck with that.” He extends his hand for a firm shake. “Goodbye, Jimmy,” Alex says before ripping his hand away first. Is this the last we’ll see of Papa Karev? Probably — read on….

NEXT: Sir, the President is on Cell Phone One Meanwhile, Intern Leah is on some sort of crazy power trip, having been inspired by Bailey’s advice during surgery to stand up for what she deserves. Her conversation with Jo is supposed to be about April’s wedding, but Leah’s all, “No, I deserve her!” and whoops, we’re back to talking about Arizona again. “I am gonna tell Arizona how I feel, and she is gonna be forced to deal with it, and I SOUND CRAZY, THIS IS WHAT I DO!” Jo attempts to talk her off the ledge. “Thank you for not letting me do that,” Leah breathes. Yes, Jo, thank you from all of us.

Intern Shane’s power trip is not as easily squashed, though. Against the better judgement of Leah and some nurses, he forces his way into operating on a patient — Jimmy, Alex’s dad — without clearance from an attending, then completely freaks out as the Jimmy’s ventricle wall disintegrates under his shoddy workmanship. And he STILL screams at Leah that he can fix it! Eventually Dr. Webber rushes in (he’d quietly returned to performing minor surgeries, ho hum) and calmly walks Shane through the freakout as Shane is haunted by flashbacks of the night he sent Intern Brooks down to the basement. He’s been overworking himself for months to prove himself. Webber is the consummate teacher and coach, telling Shane “You did good. We’re all done here,” after he’d fixed the intern’s mess. “Why don’t you go get some rest?”

“No, when I come back, she’ll be dead,” Shane says, referring to Brooks. “It’s my fault!”

But Webber insists. “She’s gonna be fine. Go get some rest.”

Before April’s wedding begins — as Mer and Cristina rage backstage — some others evaluate the state of their current relationships. Bailey confronts Ben — who worries she might be quitting surgery — about how he quit surgery himself. “Did it ever occur to you that my [OCD] symptoms may have gotten worse when you showed up having quit your job?” she wonders. It seems to have not occurred to him!

Plus, Arizona has been struggling the whole hour in the face of Callie’s optimism about her new leg and their healing relationship. She sobs to a sympathetic nervous system named April about how Callie’s desperate need to try and “fix everything” is driving her crazy. The reason she’d hooked up with Lauren that night was because Lauren found the “new Arizona” attractive. “She never knew me before,” Arizona says, trailing off about how she feels like she’s not….”enough” anymore. And “it’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not her fault,” she tells an exasperated April. Basically — and I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong — it seems like Arizona is still figuring out her status quo, her new body image, her overall impression of herself post-crash (and post-cheating). She’s finally starting to feel okay the way she is now, but she’s not sure Callie can ever make her feel that way. To make a long story short, she’s an emotional mess.

Earlier, Arizona had yelled at Callie to ease up on the tractor patient’s dad — telling her, “Sometimes we try to make things better and we have no idea that we’re actually causing more pain.” I’m not sure what else Callie can do at this point other than try and be as supportive as possible. Arizona seems like she doesn’t want to get back together, at least not yet. Maybe not ever?

Finally April’s wedding begins, and Derek immediately gets a call… FROM THE PRESIDENT. I really wanted to hear the voice on the other end and see if it sounded anything like Fitzgerald Grant’s, but alas, we have to just go on faith. Derek had argued to Owen earlier that his helping out the Kleiss company was nothing like Owen’s service to his country. “Your service was a calling and a sacrifice,” he’d said. “This isn’t that.” Well, the calling president begs to differ. It seems Derek must sacrifice more of his time now, at Meredith’s expense. “Take what’s coming to you,” Steph’s voiceover looms.

And we all wait.

What’d you think of the winter finale? Will April go through with the wedding? Will Shane go to sleep?

Discuss!

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Grey's Anatomy

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

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