Spoilers ahead: The gruesome (and emotionally wrought) aftermath of the 'Grey's Anatomy' plane crash
Well, we finally figured out what happened in that horrific Season 8 finale plane crash…and as expected, it was pretty gruesome.
Meredith starts the episode asking about her sister (Lexie, RIP!) with an oxygen tube in her nose but she quickly bounces back, insisting to the rest of the doctors, “We’re all going to be fine,” Meredith insists.
Of course, they’re not fine. No one’s fine…
Post-accident Cristina is non-verbal, but incredibly violent, having to be tied down to hospital beds with restraints.
There’s nothing physically wrong with her, the doctors pronounce, but still, she refuses to talk, and when the new batch of residents wonder what happened to her, she even goes so far as throwing a vase of flowers at the window.
She’s the one that reveals most about the post-crash events and its brutal aftermath.
During a bath, Owen sponges her back, promising to take a leave of absence assuring Cristina that he’ll be there for her regardless of how long it takes for her to heal.
“I can’t,” she says, her first words since the crash, “I can’t get out.”
“I’ll help you,” Owen says, thinking she means getting out of the bathtub.
But she means that she can’t get out of the horrific memories of the post-crash days.
“I stayed awake for four days,” she reveals. “I remember every single minute of those four days…it was really, really dark. I remember getting the bugs out of Arizona’s leg . . . Mark kept dying. It was so annoying, but he kept trying to die on me . . . I wanted to sleep. Meredith was asleep. Everyone was asleep,” she says in a quiet monotone.
She reveals that after Arizona got the last of the water, she drank the fuel from the plane and then had to drink her own urine, but the most horrific detail was the animal noises she’d hear.
“I kept waiting for them to come and kill me,” she says. “And then I realized they were fighting over Lexie. I tried to keep them off of her.”
“I can’t get out,” is her refrain. “I’ll never get out.” And after hearing what she experienced, it’s easy enough to believe her.
Cut abruptly to a new scene in the present tense – Cristina is packing a car, ready to drive straight to Minnesota. “I’m fleeing,” she insists to Meredith. And off she goes.
In the premiere episode, Derek was back in the O.R., yet frustrated by the numbness in his hand. But in this episode, he starts wearing a huge cast, with specialists predicting that he’ll recover 80 per cent of his functionality.
“Meredith, I’m alive, we survived. Zola has both her patents. That’s enough,” he insists, though by the end of the episode, it looks like he’s hoping for a full recovery…
And can you blame him?
Mark is awake – a huge departure from last week’s gut-wrenching episode when they take him off life support and he dies. But in this episode, he starts off with a big grin.
He reveals to his girlfriend (we had totally forgotten about her!) that he loves Lexie. “Loved,” he corrects himself.
And then he seems to be on the road to a full recovery – smiling and joking and making inappropriate jokes to new residents. Everyone’s elated, except Chief Webber who believes Mark is experiencing “The Surge” – the last bit of energy terminally ill patients experience before they start to rapidly decline.
And devastatingly, it looks like the Chief is right and Mark ends the episode by slipping into a coma.
All of the stories are heart-wrenching, but Arizona’s especially pulls at the heart strings. Immediately post-rescue, she asserts, in no uncertain terms: “I givenobody permission to cut off my leg, especially not some yahoo in Dump Truck, Idaho.”
But her leg becomes infected and she reveals how resentful she is of Alex as she took his spot on the plane.
She’s left lying in a bed because he is selfish and thoughtless, she insists to him, calling him a terrible person. She has a wife and kid where he has no one, she says, viciously.
“I guess I’m still pretty pissed off.”
And though Callie promises not to take her leg, and does everything she can to save it, even getting into a fight with Owen about it, the infection takes over and she starts crashing while Callie is in surgery, trying to fix Derek’s hand.
In an awful twist of fate, instead of heading to take his position at John Hopkins, Karev starts amputating Arizona’s leg.
And from the premiere episode, we know what happens next – Mark remains in a coma and after 30 days, Dr. Webber pulls the plug as per Mark’s wishes; April ends up back on her family’s farm until Owen goes to get her back; Cristina ends up miserable and uninspired in Minnesota (and still unable to get on a plane to visit Seattle); Derek’s hand isn’t functioning well enough for surgery and Arizona is in a deep, dark depression, dealing with her amputation and Karev decides he can’t leave Seattle Grace for John Hopkins and comes in to help in Arizona’s position while she’s off work.
Though Cristina insisted to Meredith that Seattle was a minefield of loss and sorry and that she should leave, Meredith ends the episode declaring, “I figure this place has given me as much as it’s taken from me.”
There’s so much drama still to unfold – Callie’s epic grief, Arizona’s recovery (or not!), and Cristina’s potential return to Seattle – it’s going to be a drama-filled season indeed.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 9/8C on CTV. Full episodes are also available on CTV.ca.
About Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca since 2008. Lindsay’s highlights include interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, as well as covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!