A documentary film crew visits the hospital six months after the shooting to document the road to recovery for doctors and patients. The camera lenses follow Derek, Owen, Mark & Callie as they ambitiously perform a rare arm transplant surgery, Meredith helps Cristina put on a brave face for the cameras, and Bailey's patient, Mary, returns for her surgery -- which marks the first time they've all seen of each other since that fateful day.
- Without Meredith's familiar voiceover, and on-screen identifiers for each of the doctors in the hospital, and some patients' faces being blurred out, it's clear this is no ordinary episode of "Grey's Anatomy." A documentary crew is in the hospital six months after the shooting occurred, but it's not yet clear to us why as the doctors race to handle patients from some kind of accident. Derek realizes that a man who just died is a donor and is the perfect match for a patient of Sloan's who's been waiting a long time for some arms.
After a title sequence calling the documentary, "Seattle Medical: Road to Recovery," the chief gives the camera crew a tour of the security changes that have happened in the hospital since the shooting. Lexie is having trouble getting through security.
Cristina talks on camera about having become closer since the shooting, and in a cutaway, Derek admits that "Dr. Yang and my wife sometimes have sleepovers, in my bed, with me in it." (It somehow sounds even more odd when he's saying it directly to the camera).
Alex gives a tour of the pediatric unit, telling one girl to turn down her Justin Bieber music. When he's asked how he's changed since the shooting, he lifts his shirt for the camera to reveal the bullet wound near his ribcage.
Patient Mary Portman (played by Mandy Moore) is filmed as she leaves her home to head to the hospital, where she is going for her colostomy reversal -- the operation she was due to have the day the shooting happened. She's anxious about coming back to the hospital. She's quickly reunited with Bailey, with whom she was trapped during the shooting.
Arizona gets an emergency page and comes in to find Alex working on a young girl named Lily, whose airway was blocked. He quickly does a tracheotomy. Later, Arizona explains to Lily what happened and says her mom is on her way to the hospital. She was admitted the night before with a growth on her airway. Lily can't speak and looks scared, and Alex hooks her up with music on some headphones. Alex explains that "it happens more than you'd think," referring to parents having to leave their kids at the hospital because they can't take enough time off work.
The wife of the arm donor sits outside crying, talking about how she'd always thought his motorcycle riding was dangerous. She was asked to come in to confirm the donation. And she seems to be hesitating while explains that the thought of someone else having his hands is hard to take. Inside, Sloan, Derek, Callie and Hunt are looking at plans for the arm transplant.
Later, Sloan talks to the camera about how when Derek got shot, he understood what it feels like when the doctors have to tell the families of their patients that something bad has happened to a loved one.
Back in the planning area, Sloan and Derek puff their chests for the camera and call themselves "medical titans" while Callie comes just short of a full eye roll. She goes off to prep the donor arms for the transplant. The patient, Zack, and his wife joke about him not having arms.
Mary tells Bailey that she and her husband left the country for a while after the shooting. She tells the camera that she's looking forward to "babies ... lots and lots of babies." Suddenly, the security alarm goes off and Mary gets nervous while Bailey tries to assure her it happens all the time. The chief tells the camera there are still "kinks" in the security system.
Arizona walks into the chief's office after having received a page, and he proudly puts his arm around her and announces for the camera that she's won a prestigious grant. She hasn't told many people yet. The grant means she's moving to Africa.
Sloan, Hunt and Derek talk to the cameras about how much preparation, psychologically and emotionally, goes into something like an arm transplant. Lexie shows Callie a tattoo on the donor's arm. Callie explains that's it a really big deal, and says that the first-ever hand transplant patient later asked to have the hand removed because it never felt quite right, and was like "dead weight."
During a brief interlude, Avery acts all weird around the cameras, clearly trying to ham it up and not doing a good job of it.
Callie and Sloan tell Zack, who doesn't see what the big deal is. He says he likes the name Nicole, and his wife jokes that she'll change her name to Nicole if it means he can have the arms. Outside, Nicole explains that she thought her husband was crazy when he got her name tattooed on his arm. Then he proposed. She says that every time she sees the tattoo it reminds her that he loved her.
Alex takes Lily in for an MRI, and explains that "pediatric surgery has nothing to do with liking kids." He asks the cameras to leave the room. He sings to her through the MRI machine intercom to keep her calm, but insists that he'd consider specializing in pediatric surgery because it's elite -- not because of the kids.
Meredith and Cristina get a trauma patient who needs surgery, but Cristina doesn't go. Instead, she waits for another patient who is on the way to the hospital. Meredith tries to assure the viewers that it isn't strange that Cristina didn't go to the O.R. Cristina, meanwhile, paces a bit before laying down on an exam room bed.
Bailey talks about Mary's surgery, and has trouble directly addressing the fact that the shooting interrupted the procedure last time. Alex walks in on Arizona and Callie arguing about the move to Africa. Callie takes a walk and explains that she understands "nobody turns down a Carter-Madison Grant." But she says that if the situation were reversed, she would turn it down. She goes into surgery.
Arizona explains the dangers of the surgery to Lily's mother. They would have to remove the entire trachea, which would mean Lily couldn't breathe on her own. Alex goes off and tells the camera that another change in him since the shooting is that he now feels like there's always something the doctors can do, considering the fact that he should have died.
The arm transplant is underway and Callie cuts off the donor arms. Meanwhile, Lexie is again stuck in security. She needs to bring Sloan his coffee, so she runs through the entrance anyway and sets off the alarms again. Parts of the hospital are locked down, and Avery gets caught alone between a pair of double doors with his patient who can't breathe.
The transplant continues, and the first arm is attached. Derek says to the camera that getting shot has changed him in the sense that he feels lucky.
Lily's mom talks to the camera about how the commute to the hospital has been long, but she was willing to try anything to save her daughter's life. Living three hours away, though, makes it difficult for her to be there as much as she would like.
Arizona, Alex and the chief are in on Lily's surgery, in which they are trying to manufacture Lily a new trachea by using cartilage from her ribs. The chief brags to the camera about the "cutting-edge" medicine that's happening.
Avery is still stuck between the double doors while Teddy is outside trying to talk him through it. She takes a moment to yell at a security guard to get the doors open. The doors finally open, but Avery can't stop pressing the man's chest. We next see him kicking a cart of equipment over, and he admits it's been hard since the shooting. "I lost some friends that day," he says.
Zack's wife talks to the camera about all the ways she helps him. She's worried that it's been a while since she had an update. In the O.R., Sloan is putting the vessels together in the second arm, and Callie comes to take care of it.
Lexie brings an update to Zack's wife about the clot in one of the arms. "One arm's better than none, right?" she says, somewhat tearfully. Back in the O.R., Callie got the clot cleared.
Alex shows the process of building the new trachea, which will ultimately take months, including time in which the new trachea will live in Lily's abdomen while it grows. The chief talks about how the shooting seems to have reinvigorated some of the doctors, and says it's inspiring. Alex says nothing.
Bailey finishes up Mary's surgery and her husband cries when she tells him "it's over." Bailey admits she's happy to have finished it.
The doctors celebrate the transplant at the bar, but Alex is still back in the hospital, where he says he'll basically be living for the next month. He has to irrigate the trachea a few times a day every day for a month to make sure it grows.
Cristina talks to the camera about what she did the day of the shooting, and says it wasn't heroic. She starts to ramble a bit before Meredith speaks up for her. She says Cristina is a hero and most surgeons wouldn't have been able to do what Cristina did that day. Cristina stops her and gets emotional. Meredith asks the crew to cut the camera.
Four weeks later: The camera crew is back and the state-of-the-art security system is being taken down. Zack and his wife show off his new arms, and we're informed that he got another tattoo just under the name Nicole: It reads "Thank You."
Lily shows off pictures of her trachea, which Alex has been sending her pictures of on her phone. She says she always wanted to be a rock star, but now she'd consider being a doctor, too.
Arizona is packing for her big move to Africa, and Callie says things have gotten better between them since they first got the news about the grant. The solution was easy: Callie is moving with her. They both gave their notice at Seattle Grace the next day.
We see Marys' husband bring in a bouquet of flowers and she's laying motionless in a bed, hooked up to a bunch of machines. Bailey explains that while the surgery itself had gone fine, Mary never woke up. She's been in a coma since it happened and now her organs are failing. Bailey gets emotional when she talks about the likelihood that Mary just won't wake up. She has to go "tell Bill that it's time. He has a decision to make." We see that three days later, he opted to take Mary off life support.
Cristina sits down for an on-camera interview, saying that they went through the scariest thing someone can go through and now they're blessed to have every day. "We're healed, so we can continue healing others," she says.
Asked if there's any one thing she'll take away from all this, she says, "Being a hero has its price."