Alex confronts his ailing, abusive father Jimmy (we'd last seen Jimmy hurling Intern Jo into a wall) in his hospital bed and gets right into it: "How do you forget a wife and three kids? How do you do that?" His father admits he made a huge mess of everything when Alex was young -- the more time went by, the more drugs he did. He couldn't stand himself. And, he makes sure to stress, he definitely couldn't stand his wife, Alex's mother, whom Jimmy calls "bug-eyed crazy."
"Mom was not the problem!" Alex insists. "Who do you think took care of her? I got her committed so she could get back on track and take care of herself. Who do you think took care of your kids?"
"I WAS THE DAD! I was a kid, but I was the dad," Alex says. "You were nothing! You were gone! You were worthless."
As if we weren't heated enough already, Meredith and Cristina come to blows yet again during their fittings for April's bridesmaid dresses. At first, when Cristina's explaining how she doesn't know how she fixed Baby Nathan and feels like a complete fraud, Mer seems to soften up (or maybe it's just the lovely shade of pink she's wearing) and be sympathetic. Why hadn't Cristina mentioned her doubts to anyone? Well, Cristina had no one to tell. An entire hospital full of doctors and administrators, and Cristina only thought of Meredith and Alex, who were both against her. She had no choice.
"Well, you're right," concedes Meredith. "We're in two completely different places," she says, adding for good measure: "I may over-reach, I may have something to prove -- but I will never be as arrogant as you are."
And then they really let each other have it, as guitar riffs intensify their swelling tension. We've heard it all before: Giving 100 percent to both work and family is categorically impossible, argues Yang. "Because you keep screwing with my research!" protests Mer. "Did you ever think maybe your research is failing on its own?" Oooh. "Right, because I'm a terrible doctor."
But Cristina argues she never said Mer was a terrible doctor. Her problem is that Mer thinks she's a terrible person now. "Because I'm committed to my work? Because I don't have a baby? When did I become such a monster to you?"
Oh, they're only getting started. Things really come to a head when Mer asks how long Yang has been sleeping with Shane. "He's just hooking up with the best teacher to make sure he can get everything he can," says Mer. Sound familiar? "It's what you did all through med school and all through intern year. Congratulations. You've become the thing you worshipped."
"And you became the thing we laughed at," Cristina shoots back. Ugh, it's all so awful. These are their persons! Stop it stop it stop it!
They finally get to the heart of the matter -- much to April's chagrin -- backstage before the wedding. (Sorry, the chronological thing just isn't making much sense considering the show jumps around every few seconds.) Yang insists she has changed since their early years. Just because she doesn't have the husband, house, and kids doesn't mean she's invincible in her pursuit of career superstardom. "I'm doing this alone," she says. "And that's… that's just as hard as what you're doing. But I thought I would at least have you." Right here is where some of the tension diffused, I think.
"I'm so jealous of you I want to set things on fire," Meredith quietly admits. "You have nothing but time and focus. We're not who we were when we got here. You are who we both set out to be…"
"…And you've become something we never saw coming," Cristina steps in. The tides have shifted. Pinky softness is everywhere (except over in April's corner of white-hot fuming) as Yang continues, "You are as good a mother as you are a surgeon. And I'm happy for you." She pauses. "But we are growing apart."
NEXT: Trippin' Out With McDreamy