Following the Meredith-centric winter premiere, this episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “All I Want is You,” returns to its more usual format of showcasing multiple storylines. As we finally delve into the lives of the rest of the characters, however, there is a twist. All of the stories in this episode are wrapped inside the framing device of Meredith attending “hospital-mandated” therapy sessions. The result is a clever meta hour as surprises unfold and secrets are revealed.

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This Shouldn’t Take All That Long

As the episode opens, we discover that Meredith has, at Chief Bailey’s insistence, been ordered to therapy post-attack, presumably to get the “all-clear” to resume her full responsibilities at work. What follows is a quite delightful series of scenes that explore Meredith’s history, her issues and her future in an utterly realistic and unpretentious way.

Therapy on this show has been a mixed bag. Meredith’s sessions (and later Owen’s) with Dr. Wyatt were fantastic. Owen and Cristina’s marriage counseling was a train wreck, but Callie and Arizona’s sessions were well done.

Happily, Meredith’s talks with her therapist are great: they’re probing, thoughtful, sometimes funny, often wise. I love how Meredith’s ridiculously tortured life is addressed full-on with a wink to how over-the-top it all is without disrespecting the character’s history in any way. As for the conclusions drawn in those sessions as Meredith wades deeper and deeper into her own life? More on that later.

We Were Like Brothers

In a welcome development, we finally — finally — get some details on what the deal is between Owen, Nathan and Owen’s sister, whose name was Megan. She was three years younger than Owen and did everything he did, including going to med school, where they met Nathan.

Despite his attempts to stay mum on the subject, Owen finally confesses to Amelia, “Nate was my best friend. And Megan loved him. And he was with her the day that we lost her. I trusted him with her. He was like a brother to me. And he should’ve … but he didn’t. And I don’t talk about it.” 

Later in the episode, after sparring professionally and personally for what seems like forever, Owen (putting the well-being of his patient above his personal feelings) pages Nathan to help in a difficult surgery. What follows is something amazing as they work together seamlessly, having worked together for years in the field, as the other surgeons watch, dumbfounded. There seems to be a momentary thawing in their relationship. Afterwards, however, there is animated arguing in the scrub room. Ah, well. I didn’t expect everything to be puppies and unicorns just yet. 

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Okay, seriously, I may be in love with Alex Karev. A young patient named Maya seeks Karev out as a doctor but fires him just as quickly as she hired him because she doesn’t like his approach. Instead, she convinces Callie and Maggie to try a surgery that is riskier but more in keeping with what she wants. Karev, as ever, has the best interests of his patient so much at heart that he shoves aside his own ego and totally steps up for this kid, a kid who reminds him a lot of himself since both had to take care of their mothers.

Anyway, there’s a scene just before Maya has surgery and she is freaking out a bit. Who shows up just to hold her hand? Alex Karev. Who talks her down off of the ledge? Alex Karev. Who gives his consent when things get dicey and Callie and Maggie want his take? Alex Karev. Who looks after Maya’s mom during the surgery? Alex Karev. Who has totally earned his bad-ass reputation? Alex Karev. Yet who is a teddy bear underneath it all? That’s right. Alex Karev.

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They All Had You

Meanwhile, Arizona and Richard are still going to Trivia Night. April hasn’t signed the divorce papers yet. Penny and Callie take tentative steps toward each other again. Maggie and Andrew are getting more serious (yay!). Owen and Amelia have dinner (boo!). And Jo and Alex start figuring things out (and, honestly, I almost don’t mind because Alex loves Jo and I love Alex, so whatever).

And, finally, back to Meredith, who discovers that despite everything, her tribe is there for her when she needs them. Could she be alone? Sure. Been there. Done that. But should she be alone? Maybe not so much. As for what comes next? Imagine the possibilities.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

Meredith: “I’m just happy to be here.”

Maya: “This hospital is known for making miracles happen.” (Right? Ha!)

April: “Oh, yay! Someone’s hurt!” (as she hurries off to avoid Nathan and Owen’s squabbling)

Therapist: “You were attacked in your own hospital and you consider that ‘small stuff’?”

Meredith: “Have you read my file? It’s a real page-turner.”

Arizona: “How do I look? Do I look hot?”

Richard: “You look very hot. Can we go now?”

Therapist: “Who’s Callie again?”

Meredith: “Callie’s my friend in Ortho — keep up!”

Amelia (to Owen about Nathan): “Maybe he deserves another chance.”

The look on Richard’s face when he realizes that Maggie is the “wildcat” that Andrew’s been dating.

Therapist: “Something terrible happened to you. And they were all there. And they still are.”

Meredith: “Are you saying I can’t be alone anymore?”

Therapist: “No, I think you can. I just don’t think you want to be.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV