Does anyone even remember much of what happened on last week’s episode beyond the whole some strange woman answering Derek’s phone? I didn’t think so. What a shocker, earth shaker, jaw dropper the writers in Shondaland offered up.
“With or Without You” picks up right where we left our jaws with Meredith narrating, “There is this thing I used to do when I was a kid to my mom’s VCR. I’d take it apart piece by piece then I’d put it back together again. But inevitably there was always a piece or two left over, something I didn’t quite know what to do with.” And we have the theme of the night. What the heck is Meredith to do with those broken pieces of her marriage, with the leftover pieces of an answered phone call and possible infidelity?
Derek Kissed a Girl (and he liked it?)
Derek tells a story that sounds a little like fiction, or at least one that is missing a few pieces of its own. He claims that his research fellow answered his phone after he left it in the lab. Nothing’s going on. But the way he fumbles around with his native language makes us think there is more to the story, much more. The look on Meredith’s face says she agrees.
We see those missing pieces through Derek flashbacks. First up, The Meeting. Derek lays eyes on Renee Collier (the always gorgeous Scottie Thompson) and there may have been a spark or two flying off the pair. He’s intrigued by her eyes, I mean research and says, “I look forward to working with you.”
Later, we see The Connection when she says she wants to cure autism, revealing that her little sister is a victim. “I’ve just always wondered what she was thinking.” Derek can’t resist all this brain/research talk. She makes goo goo eyes at McDreamy and we all go “uh oh.”
The next flashback shows The Line Crossing as a dramatic Renee frustrated with her research, confides in Derek. He’s ‘older man encouraging’ saying she’s probably near a breakthrough. “You’re right at the line. You’ve got to cross it. Don’t stop.” Oh Derek, YOU are at that line and you better not cross it!
We see The Kiss when Derek calls Renee at 1:00 a.m. because he can’t stop thinking about her “research.” Is that what they’re calling it now? They meet back at the lab to talk autism, cells, and research highs. He helps her make a breakthrough, and she says she could kiss him. He lamely comments that he should go. Renee doesn’t want him to, asking, “Do you have to?”
They kiss! Wait, what? Derek just kissed a non-Meredith woman? We think we felt Mer’s heart breaking right then. The missing pieces are falling into place.
Owen’s Mom and Her Bad Romance
Owen and Amelia are still awkward cute talking about their romantic interlude. “Last night’s items were left unfinished.” Owen says they barely “scratched the surface.” They are happy and a little giddy, both deserving some joy. This is the land of Grey’s, so the happy train must end at some point. Enter Owen’s mom, Evelyn. She’s brought in after slipping and falling in the shower. A hunky, young paramedic John is by her side. Owen tries to excuse him, thanks for all your help, but you can go. Well, turns out the sweet young thing is mom’s boyfriend. Did Owen’s jaw actually hit the floor or just brush it? He’s furious about the relationship, and immediately suspicious about the motivation. He practically accuses the guy of being after mom’s money.
Evelyn talks to Amelia during a CT scan about meeting John, not even realizing they were dating at first, “and then he kissed me and we were the same age.” Owen tries to make up for his outburst bringing mom undergarments to change into. Evelyn talks about how they met, at a writer’s group. They went for coffee, one thing led to another. “We’ve never run out of things to talk about.” She even offers up details about their sex life. Owen says, “Mom, I think he’s using you for your pension.” He adds, “There’s no way a man like that could…” Aw, mom is devastated finishing his sentence, “could love me?” The look in her eyes conveys hurt and doubt. She tells Owen to leave and begins crying. Amelia tries to talk to Hunt, but he pushes her away, “Just stay the hell out of it.”
John comes to visit Mama Owen and she says it’s over. We shouldn’t be doing this. She suffers an abdominal bleed and begins to crash. It’s just a night of crashing. Owen sees John in the waiting room. The young un says, “I’m not going until I know she’s okay. I know she doesn’t want me.” He demands to sit in that chair until he is sure Evelyn is alright. Oh, Owen, you know nothing. Well, maybe he knows something. He asks John to wait. The younger man does and joins his love at her bedside.
“Owen suggested that you might be full of crap,” he tells Evelyn with a smile. They are back together.
Alex/Meredith Fighting, Bonding, and Hugging
Alex wants to know what’s going on with Derek. Meredith is tight lipped. He’s worried about a kid waiting for a new liver and asks Meredith to consult. She suggests surgery but Karev is not so sure. Alex is furious saying he doesn’t think Danny will survive the surgery. He asks, “What’s your deal? Is this about your streak?” The boy is not doing well demanding that Meredith mentioned surgery. He says he can’t keep going like this. “It’s my life and it’s my choice. Dr. Grey, I want the surgery and I want it today.” Alex is against it telling big sister she’s still his guardian; she doesn’t have to agree. Big sis goes along, in the next scene the surgery is underway. Danny crashes, but Meredith insists on forging on.
There’s no miracle cure on tap for tonight. Alex has to tell the sister that her brother has just died. Karev finds Meredith outside, distraught and trying to blame him. She says he should have lived; it was all Karev’s negativity that brought her down. Alex hugs her tight calling her on her BS and making her admit she’s mad at Derek, not him. The bond these two share is so real and no nonsense. Eleven years of playing, laughing and crying together has created one of our favorite friendships and truest relationships on the show.
In the gross out case of the night, Jo treats a woman who’s been suffering from headaches for a month and a strange nosebleed. A peekaboo bleed that turns out to be a “critter” who’s holed up in the nasal cavity. Jo is wielding a steamy tweezer looking thing and going for a good yank on the nose wormy creature. “Come to mama,” she says, but the woman slaps her, pushing her away. You’ve got to love feisty Jo. That look in her eyes says the critter’s days are numbered.
She brings April in on the little buddy removal and Kepner gets the woman to calm down enough to take the thing out. It turns out her nose squatter was a leech.
Jo proudly holds up the jar with the offending blood sucker. She hilariously keeps the leech and names him Herbie. Jo just gets more endearing each and every episode. First, she gives usually sad Alex a shot at happiness, now she shows a quirky, leech loving side. We get it, Alex. We get it.
Love You Forever Even When I Don’t Like You
Meredith returns home to a mumbling, jumbled up Derek. He’s put the kids down and seems ready for a heart to heart. At first, he’s at a loss for the right words. We see another flashback, The Correction, where Derek tells Renee, “I can’t do this. I love my wife… she’s all I want.”
Cut to the present, and he finds his voice. Derek tearfully tells Mer, “I thought DC was everything. I was wrong. You are everything… I don’t want to live without you.”
Meredith admits, “I can live without you.” What?! She adds, “But I don’t want to. I don’t ever want to.” Mer/Der is back! We wanted to stay mad at Derek, at least for a couple of weeks. But those darn Grey’s writers and their sneaky writing ways. That dialogue at the end with the I love you forever confession just makes it impossible to be a Derek hater. He wins back Meredith and appears to be staying in Seattle. Who was surprised that Derek actually kissed another woman?
So the pieces all fell into place leaving a marriage worth salvaging, allowing Meredith to figure out if she wants to live with or without Derek. She chooses with and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Next week looks interesting as Shepherd vs. Shepherd battle it out for the top title of best brain surgeon. My money’s on Amelia. She’s a superhero, you know? You better look out, Derek. You didn’t see the way she manhandled the Herman tumor. We’ll see you back here next week to contemplate all things Grey and enjoy a little McDreamy time. It’s about dang time!
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC at 10 p.m.