Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Addison (Kate Walsh) having a baby? One doctor back from the grave? Alex (Justin Chambers) in a superbright polo shirt? What is this craziness? Oh, that's right, the alternate universe episode of Grey's Anatomy!
So how would life be different if Meredith didn't have a terrible childhood and therefore didn't take to drinking tequila and going home with complete strangers? Fortunately, we don't have to wonder anymore!
Let's just say the results are...different. We find out that a bright and shiny Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) might not be best after all. And maybe there is
some a lot of truth to the whole destiny thing...
WHAT WE LEARNED
All-Powerful Ellis: Remember that time Meredith wore a really creepy high ponytail to impress Derek's mom? Well, this episode was a little like that. Familiar but with a slightly crazed smile. Ellis Grey (Kate Burton) is such a powerful figure, even in death, so it only makes sense that in life she is positively stifling. That's not to say we are happy she's dead. OK, maybe it is better for the pecking order at Seattle Grace.
McDepressing: We admit it, initially we were allured by this shiny happy well-run Seattle Grace, but very soon, the happy facade start crumbling and the truth comes out. Alex is a jerk in any universe. Izzie, Burke, and George would still be M.I.A. And our favorite couples would be miserable without their soul mates. Funny how that all works out.
A Strange Sister: In our universe, Lexie (Chyler Leigh) had the perfect childhood, but here, Lexie is tattooed junkie orphan—yet that often-present love triangle still exists. Or given another few alt-episodes to brew, it could. We are so weak, one little pep talk about family and hearts and med school from Jackson (Jesse Williams) and we are toast. (Why did they break up again?) But then, in comes Mark rescuing an overdosing Lexie, and we are pulled under. (Why aren't they back together yet?) Seriously, how does Shonda Rhimes do this to us even in this crazy alternate reality? We are hopeless.
Tequila Throwback: One really awesome thing about Shonda Rhimes is that she knows her audience, especially the longtime loyal viewers. There were so many delightful trips down memory lane, and we aren't just talking about Mark Sloan making a shirtless entrance. It's all about the details, and while last year's musical event might have missed the mark, here some familiar songs like Rilo Kiley's "Portions for Foxes" and Tegan and Sara's "You Wouldn't Like Me" throw us right back into vintage Grey's mindset. And now we are believers that, no matter what, Meredith and Derek would have ended up at that bar. Who knew tequila and anonymous sex could be such a romantic destiny?
"Please don't call me Mandy." —Dr. Bailey
"Trust me, you two do not want to be the next Shepherds." —Alex
"She wants everyone around her to be ordinary, so she can be extraordinary." —Meredith
"Oh. This is awkward." —Mark
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Bad Bad Way: It's going to get ugly for Cristina and Owen, and just in time for Valentine's Day! Rhimes took to her twitter to warn fans about just how bad things will get: "What is coming next will be difficult. And painful. And very very adult." No doubt viewers are going to need counseling as much as this couple does. Group hug. Pass the chocolate.
Seattle Gets Sunny: Summer Glau is checking into Seattle Grace! Get it? Sunny? Summer? OK, we admit it was a stretch. But regardless, our favorite geek goddess is coming soon. If she's playing a patient, no doubt she'll be making us cry.
Well that was fun, wasn't it? We wouldn't have minded spending a bit more time in alt-universe land, but we guess that's what the series DVDs are for! So who was your favorite alt character? Is life better off without Ellis Grey manning the ship? Do you believe in destiny yet? Hit the comments!