S1 E01 A Hard Day's Night

03/27/05 | TV-14 | CC

Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) jolts awake and stumbles over the naked guy next to her. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) attempts to reintroduce himself but Meredith has a big day ahead and she doesn’t have time for awkward chit chat. One night stands are supposed to sneak out in the morning never to be seen again, even if they’re hot and charming. Did we mention Derek was BOTH? Today is her first day as a surgical intern at Seattle Grace Hospital. She doesn’t need any complications.

Later that morn, Meredith meets fellow interns Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) who are all assigned to surgical resident Dr. Miranda Bailey a.k.a. “The Nazi.” She is tough—as in one glare will make you cry tough—but you know you’ll love her. Bailey’s make-your-knees-knock speech has Meredith worried she’ll never live up to her mother’s legendary reputation. She pioneered laparoscopic surgery after all.

Bailey’s pager goes off and they all rush to the rooftop helipad to unload a teen pageant contestant suffering from life threatening seizures. Bailey barks orders to the interns and assigns the patient to Meredith. Izzie asks, “What about me?” and Bailey assigns her to rectal exams. We told you she’s tough. She doesn’t put up with whining or ass-kissing.

Pageant Girl’s parents want answers but Meredith doesn’t have them. She turns to Bailey but she just directs her to the new attending covering the case—Dr. Shepherd. Meredith looks across the room. It’s Derek! How mortifying? Your one night stand is your new boss. Really? Meredith runs to avoid him but Derek catches up to her and of course wants to talk about last night. She just wants to act like none of it ever happened.

Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) announces that the intern who shows the most promise will get to perform surgery. Every one is shocked when he chooses George—especially George himself. Dr. Burke admits to Dr. Bailey that he actually wants to torture George so the others will fall in line. We want so badly for him to succeed.

George is performing beautifully at the beginning of the surgery. He might just pull it off. All of a sudden, the patient crashes. George freezes and Burke takes over. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), the intern that rubs every one the wrong way, brands George “007: License to Kill” and the nickname sticks. Poor George.

Pageant Girl’s seizures are still a mystery and Derek offers a challenge to all the interns. Whoever solves the case will get a chance any intern would kill for—to assist in brain surgery. Meredith wants nothing to do with Dr. Shepherd, not even this surgery. Cristina can’t understand why she would pass this up. Meredith agrees to help Cristina diagnose the seizures but she definitely does not want the surgery. Cristina can have it.

In the middle of their research, Meredith swears Cristina to secrecy and reveals that she slept with Dr. Shepherd but before she knew he was Dr. Shepherd. Who wouldn’t want to brag about that? Meredith has a stroke of genius—an aneurism might be the cause of the seizures. They race to tell Shepherd and win their prize.

Shepherd chooses Meredith over Cristina for the brain surgery. Cristina cannot believe Mer goes back on her promise and confronts her, “I don’t get picked for surgeries because I screwed my boss, and I didn’t get into med school ‘cause I have a famous mother. “ Wow, a double slap across the face.

Meredith is torn about doing the brain surgery or giving it to Cristina. Shepherd convinces her that she earned it and she should see her patient through to the end. Meredith comes out of the brain surgery exhilarated. “I don’t know why anyone does drugs.” Cristina congratulates her on the surgery. They agree to bypass an awkward emotional apology. Friendships are so complicated.

Meredith survived her first day as a full fledged doctor despite the fact that her one night stand ends up being her boss. She got to do brain surgery. How cool is that? Her mom should be so proud. She should understand. She was a doctor too. But as Mer tells her mom about her new friends and her first patient, her mom just looks at her blankly and asks, “Are you the doctor? What’s your name? I used to be a doctor, I think.” Your heart just breaks for them.

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