This episode blasts us through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's faster than you can say "Meet me in the on-call room." It's a whirlwind of illegitimate children, unrequited love, an alcoholic chief, and a disapproving father. And, as usual, McDreamy magically saves some lives, too.
Now that the Chief's taking a break from the operating room, he has extra time to mentor Meredith, not that he's giving her special treatment because he used to sleep with her mother or anything. In fact, he tells Meredith that he never really had a drinking problem. It was just that her mother drove him to alcoholism, but now that she's out of the picture, he's fine to throw back a few.
Meanwhile, Cristina interrupts her steamy make-out session with Owen to respond to a page from "Desert Storm Barbie" Teddy, who has to remove a young woman's heart. The heartless patient, Kelsey, knowing she could die at any moment, says the one thing she wants in the world is to see snow. So Teddy carts her (and her life-sustaining medical equipment) outside, all the while gushing to Yang about how Hunt brought snow to soldiers in Iraq for Christmas, rubbing her face in the past that she and Hunt share. Meanwhile, Yang, Hunt, and Avery watch Kelsey stare up into the snow in a moment of pure elation, right before she collapses to the icy ground and chaos ensues. Nice move, Teddy — the girl practically died out there. You couldn't have brought a little cooler of snow into her hospital room?
Down in the ER, Mark Sloan's in the middle of torturing some poor guy with seared flesh, when a busty young blonde pops in (Hello, hospital security?), and chipperly announces, "I'm pretty sure you're my dad." Oh, and her first name is Sloan. Clever, right? Callie interrupts the awkward moment by suggesting a paternity test, and whips out a kit that she just happened to have on hand. As luck would have it, Sloan is his daughter, and she's moving in with him and Lexi. Lexi, in the middle of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, nearly chops her finger off when she hears the news.
Suddenly, it's Christmas, and we're sad to have missed out on Sloan's first month with her new Dad. Did they have casual chats over breakfast cereal? "Hey, remember how you paid my mom a few hundred dollars to get an abortion and fled?" We guess not. Lexi encourages Mark to find out how much longer she'll be residing with them, and as he gazes over at her, she looks up and says, "What are you looking at, Old Perv?" Charming.
Back at the hospital, Dr. Bailey has to perform a laparoscopic bowel-repair on Kelsey while she's awake on the table (something about her not having a heart prohibits her from going under general anesthesia). To ease her nerves, Bailey initiates a mid-surgery chorus of "Let It Snow," forcing an unfestive Alex and apparently-Jewish Cristina to join in the holiday spirit. (See the video below!)
Dr. Bailey's dad also shows up for the holidays, so Bailey has to break the news that she got a divorce without telling him. He disapproves of her hardworking lifestyle, claiming her long hours and failed marriage "broke their family." He kindly tells her this over Christmas dinner at Meredith and Derek's. Callie, meanwhile, compares the news of Bailey's divorce to her recent switch over to lesbianism.
And speaking of meddlesome fathers, Meredith's Dad walks into the kitchen and sloppily asks if Richard (the Chief) is drinking again. Despite the fact that he is, Meredith defends him: "Were you drinking when I was a kid? When you left me with my mother and found another family and never looked back?" "No," he responds, "I didn't start drinking till much later." And back: "Well then, we can't blame the world's evils on alcohol, can we?" Except that the Chief actually does have an alcohol problem, and later stumbles around the bar in a sad, drunken state, plopping his arm around Meredith and asking for another "club soda."
But it wouldn't be Grey's without Derek performing some sort of miracle, so he develops a new surgical instrument just in time to save a boy's life. Meanwhile, none of the surgeons will be receiving bonuses this year, which is a refreshing glimmer of reality in the world of Seattle Grace-Mercy West. Before we know it, it's New Year's Eve, and Lexi says she won't have sex with Mark until he gets Sloan out of the house. Except Sloan's preggers (like mother, like daughter!), she has nowhere else to go, and Mark, in a shockingly paternal move, cradles her and tells her everything's going to be alright. Guess he won't be getting any for a while. And neither will Teddy. She tells Owen she's still in love with him (didn't she already do this?), but he says he loves Cristina. And that's all the Grey's drama we can handle, at least until 2010.
Jennifer Armstrong at EW.com knocks Derek, Arizona, and Mark for still expecting their holiday bonuses.
Glenn Diaz at buddytv.com suggests that Bailey's dad sit down with Callie's dad to discuss their surgeon-daughter-issues.