A brain-tumor patient teaches Derek and Meredith about real love; plus, Callie and Hahn play with Sloan's head, and Ava still thinks she was pregnant

”Grey’s Anatomy”: It’s all in the brain

”The problem with being a resident is that you feel crazy all the time.” Thus spake Meredith in her opening voice-over, nicely summarizing, I think, this entire series. In fact, this episode was so studded with bon mots that we’re going to do Grey’s Anatomy Watch: All-Star Quotes Edition. (And if this snappier-than-ever writing streak continues, we’re in for one heck of a two-hour finale next week. All hail the writers’ strike.) So without further delay, the episode’s best, in quotes:

”Do you know how precious that is? Time with the person you love?”

This came from the tumor patient of the week — another of Derek and Meredith’s test cases. If you’re wondering why I was a sucker for such a sappy line, I’ve been a little emotionally vulnerable recently. (Translation: I am a big pile of goo, as I mentioned in last week’s TV Watch. It is the right time to send me nonironic Hallmark cards, as I might actually read them and might actually cry a little.) Anyway, the patient wanted to wait for her boyfriend to arrive before undergoing the likely fatal surgery, and she seemed to be delivering a pretty straightforward message to the star-crossed lovers — they should be together because life is short, etc. — until her sister insisted the boyfriend was made up. And, well, fantastical thinking is a symptom of these tumors, so suddenly this became more about the ways we ”make up” relationships in our heads, even when we’re having them with real people. Did Derek project onto Meredith? Was he expecting too much? Oh, the mind reels. And of course, this poor dying lady became yet another emotional battleground for the two: Derek wanted to wait it out and believe in her love — or at least give her a little more time with her fantasy. Meredith wanted to go in and nuke the tumor already.

Meredith: ”Are you in the dark place?”

Cristina: ”Yeah.”

Meredith: ”Me, too.”

Meredith had problems aside from tumor patients with possibly fake boyfriends; she was also having it out with her shrink over her tendency to ”quit” — i.e., her suicidal tendencies, as well as her maddening penchant for running from true love. Cristina was downright bitter and mean after last week’s Burke-newspaper-clipping-induced breakdown. She spent most of the episode taunting poor, weaker souls like Lexie and George, singing, ”No resident wings for Georgie” as he rushed around trying to help the Chief’s mentor, who’d come in for a complicated heart operation. Cristina, meanwhile, refused to go anywhere near old Dr. Tapley because she couldn’t settle for simply saving him — she’d rather be learning from him. ”It’s gonna be okay,” Meredith chirped, trying to convince herself and her twin in darkness. ”Wanna bet?” Cristina retorted. This round of who-can-be-dark-and-twistier goes to Yang.

Sloan: ”Allow yourself to grow with Rose. Share experiences. Build memories.”

Derek: ”Is this the new leaf?…Needs work.”

Sloan was trying to give up his man-whoring ways after the big showdown with the disgruntled nurses last week. So much so that he was refusing to have emotionless sex with Callie, as per their previous arrangement. ”From now on, if you want this,” he told Callie, pointing down, ”you’re gonna get this [pointing at his brain], too.” Her answer? ”Ew.” Then Hahn arrived to make more joking-lesbian comments, which led to much talk about a threesome, which Mark insisted he was not interested in.

NEXT: Lexie speaks up

”I forgive you for treating me like crap, and I forgive you for letting your friend treat me like crap. I don’t know how you get up in the morning. I honestly don’t. Our dad abandoned you, and your mom by all accounts was the meanest person ever. And you can’t let Derek love you, and it all really, really sucks.”

Lexie made the case for Meredith’s winning the who’s-dark-and-twistier contest while trying to connect with her sister. She succeeded in making the case; she failed in connecting.

”Doesn’t one of you have science on your side?”

Sloan asked Izzie why the heck Ava was running around thinking she was pregnant when two Izzie-administered pregnancy tests said otherwise. In fairness, Ava (or whatever her name is now) did clearly have morning sickness and seemed pretty convinced she was carrying Alex’s child. Mark theorized that she had ”acute stress disorder” after that whole losing identity/getting reconstructive surgery/regaining identity ordeal. Aha! I love when Sloan actually gets to be a smart doctor. ”I’m so sorry I lost our baby,” Ava cried to Alex once she was finally convinced she wasn’t pregnant. And Alex actually manned up for once, taking her home with him so he could watch over her in her clear state of delusion. I sense some character development a-comin’.

”He was never there? How can he not be real?”

Greta, the patient with the imaginary boyfriend, was understandably crushed to be told the love of her life probably existed only in her mind. So she finally went under the knife (or, I guess, the virus-injection-thingy), and though the virus part went okay, her brain was too damaged by the tumor for her to recover. But who should show up but, yes, the boyfriend. Real after all. Beautiful reveal. Perfectly timed. Brilliantly sappy and shocking all at once. Quintessential Grey’s Anatomy. And then the kicker, right there for all of us Hallmark-vulnerable fools: ”It’s been a fairy tale from the start,” the prince said. ”They always wake up.” Of course, she didn’t.

”Dr. Bailey and I are in love, and we’ll be heading to Vegas just as soon as my divorce from Callie is final.”

This was how George responded, in deadpan perfection, when the Chief asked him why he was carrying Bailey’s baby around. (He was, in fact, looking after that adorable little thing while Miranda tried to work things out with her husband.) George and the Chief, incidentally, are becoming my new favorite hospital odd couple.

”We don’t need that fairy-tale thing right now. We just need a little happy.”

Derek used this one to talk Rose into sticking with him even though he didn’t call her the day after they had sex for the first time. It worked. Meanwhile, the Sloan-Callie-Hahn threesome wrapped things up with more three-way dirty talk in the elevator, sealed with a kiss between Hahn and Callie that was played as a joke but clearly had some lasting effect. Meredith marched into her shrink’s office, revealed that her mother tried to commit suicide when she was a kid, then said, ”Fix me.”

And, well, they all lived unhappily ever after.

What did you think of the episode? What’s going to happen next? Any favorite quotes we missed? Post below!

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Grey's Anatomy

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

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