Meredith recalls memories of her mother. They paint a different picture than the one everyone else in the world saw when it came to Ellis Grey. Meredith continues to feud with Derek over his decision to stay in Seattle. She believes he’s waiting for her to fail. During a heated exchange, Derek tags Meredith with an emotional body blow when he says she sounds just like her mother. Ouch!
A young Richard Webber struggles with keeping his affair a secret back in 1983. This was the year Ellis rose above the “boys club” of doctors who often excluded her to create a surgical procedure she dubbed the “Grey Method.” Personally, she and Richard agree to come clean to their spouses so they can be together. Then Ellis gets the news that she’s a Harper-Avery nominee. Just like that, everything changes.
In the present day, Alex is hired back as an attending even though he lost out on getting board seat. He learns from Stephanie that the vote for Bailey was unanimous. Alex and Meredith treat a very young girl, Nadia, who has a mass in her stomach. They remove an eight-pound tumor, but complications arise. Richard watches Meredith work. It reminds him of Ellis. Meredith manages to save the girl. Alex wonders how she thought of such a procedure. Meredith won’t say.
Maggie is quitting her position as Chief of Cardiology. Amelia questions her about this decision during a surgery on Roy, an elderly man who is at risk for paralysis. She then forces Derek to take over for her so he can get to know the soon-departing Dr. Pierce, who refuses to give up on seeing her patient walk again. Maggie works some magic on Roy. Everyone is impressed. When Roy awakens, he wiggles his toes. Cheers fill the OR.
Meredith digs through her mother’s journal from that particular year. She recalls an argument Richard had with Ellis at a carousel. He claims he doesn’t remember such an incident. It was a long time ago. Later, Meredith gets into another heated discussion with her hubby. She wants Derek to call the president and get his job back. The number for the White House is actually listed, in case you were wondering. Meredith reads through the 1983 journal and recalls the day she saw her mom try to kill herself.
Meredith realizes the woman who led her to find the sick little girl she saved is actually her mother. She was afraid she’d lose her daughter if she brought her into the hospital sooner, as they are undocumented. Meredith is furious with this woman at first, but realizes the dilemma she’s in. She ends up helping her. Alex is onboard as well. He’s slowly getting over the sting of losing the board seat by realizing he’s going to be taking over for Arizona, as he’s the only person she trusts.
Maggie finally tells Derek that she’s Meredith’s sister. She’s surprised when he gives her a big hug. Derek asks her to stay. Elsewhere, Richard fesses up to Bailey that Maggie is his daughter. He recalls how, in later years, he and Ellis talked about the happy life they would have had together. Richard tells Meredith that he does remember that day at the carousel. He was jealous of Ellis and her success. He didn’t want to spend a lifetime feeling that way. So he ruined their relationship. Later that day, Ellis Grey attempted suicide.
Derek confronts his wife about her no-longer-secret half-sis. Meredith recalls the time she moved to Boston with her mom. They hid out in an apartment. She remembers the day her mother’s water broke. It scared her because the dripping reminded her of the blood that came after Ellis cut her wrists. Meredith remembers going home from the hospital. Her mother’s belly was no longer big. After that, they went back to living their lives.
Meredith shows Maggie the journals their mother wrote. They aren’t the warmest of words, but they do show the time when she realized she was pregnant. It was obvious that she had stopped drinking wine and began watching what she ate. She wanted her baby to be healthy. She cared. A flashback shows Ellis Grey dedicating her work to all the female surgeons who would come after her. Two of those brilliant women who fall into that category are her daughters.