Have you ever thought of what may have happened in your life if you went back and decided not to do a specific action, or made a different choice in your life? I’m sure that thought has crossed everyone’s mind at least once. But have you ever thought about that of your favorite TV characters? What would have happened if the writers never paired up “X” and “Y”. What if “A” never went to that certain place where they meant “B”? The stories and plots of your favorite could have been drastically different. That thought must have been on the mind of Shonda Rhimes, creator and writer of Grey’s Anatomy when she wrote the episode “If/Then.”
Rhimes outdid herself in this episode by giving the audience a glance at an alternate reality of the doctors we know so well at Seattle Grace Hospital. Every character is portrayed in an unrecognizable image of themselves, offering a realistic and different view on how things could actually be in the hectic Seattle Grace Hospital.
Let’s start with Dr. Meredith
Grey Webber (Ellen Pompeo) as she’s known is this episode. Why Webber? Because The Chief , Richard Webber (James Pickins, Jr) is her father, and her mother, Ellis Grey, doesn’t have alzheimer’s disease in this alternative reality, she’s Meredith’s tough as nails mother/boss at SGH. There’s no way that Meredith could have the whirlwind romance with Dr. Shephard in this episode, that wouldn’t be fun. Dr. Shephard is still married to his first wife Addison (Kate Walsh) before she left for Private Practice – assuming that show ever happened – and their marriage is far from a good one. Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) is the bitter, scary resident that nobody associates with (for reasons that you’ll see in the episode). Even though this is set in an alternative universe, Yang was still once linked to Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington), and just like in the regular episodes, that relationship didn’t end well.
Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is nothing like the Bailey that we’re used to. Soft spoken and passive aren’t adjectives that viewers would associate with the normally strong, confident, and strong-willed Dr. Bailey. It was really interesting to see how Rhimes handled the (lack of) relationship that Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) have with each other. Even though in this episode they aren’t in a lesbian relationship – Callie is actually married with children to another doctor on the show – it’s not hard to see that even in an alternative universe, they still have chemistry and possibly feelings for each other.
One of the smaller, but interesting storylines featured the almost unidentifiable Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh). She’s not a doctor, but still tied to Seattle Grace Hospital.
Grey’s Anatomy wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy without two of its original cast members George (T.R. Knight) and Izzie (Katherine Heigl), and even though the reality on the show wasn’t real, they were still in it. Not on-screen of course, but in thought. George still had the nickname “007”, and still failed his intern exam, only this time he didn’t become an intern for a second year, he just disappeared altogether. As for Izzie, her fate didn’t change whatsoever. She still slept with and fell in love with her patient (Denny), she still stole a transplant heart for him, and still got fired. Apparently, some things don’t change even in an alternate reality.
All of the regular characters on Grey’s Anatomy were featured in this episode – expect Teddy (Kim Raver), but she was mentioned for a brief moment in a very important conversation – but I didn’t want to go into every character recap and do a full story breakdown due to spoiling the episode, but it’s highly recommended that the episode is seen as soon as possible.
I used to be a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy between seasons 1-6, and for no reason at all stopped watching. Coming back after a couple of seasons felt great, especially after watching “If/Then.” Honestly though, I probably wont watch Grey’s Anatomy next week, or the week after, despite this great episode. It’s still great to see that Rhimes and company can come up with an interesting and fresh concept for a show that is getting a little long in the tooth and not showing any signs of stopping anytime soon.
Whether you’re an avid Grey’s watcher, or a dabbler in one or two episodes per season, this week’s episode “If/Then” is one of the Grey’s episodes thats a must see.