Meredith is still pouring over her mother’s journals, looking for a reason her friendship with Marie imploded. She notices Maggie seems distracted and speculates she’s distraught over her relationship with Clive ending abruptly. In reality, Maggie is thinking about Jackson. Amelia strolls in, greeting her sisters after spending the night at Owen’s (or possibly the hospital, but sex with Owen either way).

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April wakes up to Koracick. She wants him to leave, but he puts on her robe and offers to make her breakfast.

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Alex sees Jo’s fellowship applications. She’s applying to hospitals all over the US. Alex is clearly hurt by the fact that Jo would consider leaving Seattle and him.

Maggie explains the Dor surgery she has planned for today. Her patient has been on the heart donor list for years with no luck, so Maggie found a new temporary solution. Maggie suggests the interns watch from the gallery, but they have exams. Bailey is pleased to hear they won’t be hogging the gallery because she wants a front row view.

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Maggie sees Jackson, drops her coffee, and starts giggling. He helps her clean it up and asks if she wants to go on a date after work. Maggie says she can’t think about that now because she has this important surgery and he makes her hands shake.

Maggie and Alex’s patient, Charlie, is young and in love. Charlie and his boyfriend are very into cosplay of the medieval variety.

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Flashback to 1994, Alex and his first love share a kiss during their tutoring session.

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Meredith asks Marie why she didn’t mention the falling out she had had with her mother. She asks if Marie is still going to license the patent to her. When Meredith refers to the falling out as ‘petty,’ Marie asks if Meredith is interested in what really happened or only her own imagination.

Jo reports their patient’s levels to Alex, but he’s acting cold. Jo asks how he could actually be mad about this when he himself had been a resident applying for fellowships at one point. He says he hasn’t said anything about it because he knows it’s what residents do.

UNOS called. There’s a donor heart in Oregon for Charlie. Instead of the cool surgical architecture Maggie had planned for today, he’ll simply be receiving a transplant. Both Maggie and Bailey are disappointed. Upon hearing the news, Charlie declines. His current, scarred fell in love with his boyfriend, Henry, and he doesn’t want a new heart that might not feel the same way. Alex says love doesn’t work that way, but Charlie is way too into this poetic stance. He asks Maggie, “Dear knight, slay the dragon you came here to slay, and give the heart to someone else.” His mother wants to sign papers approving the transplant without Charlie’s consent. Henry asks the doctors to give them a minute alone with Charlie.

take the heart charlie

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2003: Jo wakes up to her car being towed. Poor and living in her car, she’s been unable to pay off the parking tickets she’s obtained. A guy walking by tries to stop the tow man. After presenting plenty of money, he lowers her car off and leaves.

Maggie talks about her first love, her Gross Anatomy lab partner with their cadaver they named Leonard. Flashback to 1999, Maggie is extremely young and nervous around her male lab partner (If you’re in my age group, or have children who watched Nickelodeon 2010-2016, you may recognize the actor from Victorious). Neither one had ever cut open a human body before, and they decide to both hold the scalpel for the first cut.

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Henry calls Charlie’s doctors and mother back in, saying Charlie is ready for surgery. When asked how he changed Charlie’s mind, Henry says that he broke up with him. Henry leaves, and Charlie instructs Maggie to sedate him and cut his heart out because it doesn’t matter anymore.

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Marie tells Meredith that the ‘Ellis Grey Method’ (laparoscopic biliary reconstruction) that won Ellis her second Harper Avery had been created by the two of them. Marie just wants credit and recognition for her share of it. She shows Meredith the paper she was originally going to submit, crediting both herself and Ellis, but says that Ellis turned hers in first, crediting only herself. Meredith has reason to be skeptical. There’s no way to know if Marie was truly robbed or if she’s trying to steal some fame now that Ellis isn’t alive to refute it.

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Meredith asks Webber if there’s any truth to what Marie is saying. He had heard rumors back in the day, but he doesn’t know what’s real and what isn’t. He says that inspiration comes in flashes, and sometimes many people contribute to it without it actually being their idea. He says that his pen to detect cancer came from Maggie making a comment about a magic wand, but if he wins, she won’t get shared credit. He advises that it’s not up to Meredith to undo her mother’s legacy when she can’t defend herself.

Before Charlie goes under for surgery, he’s still seeming apathetic about the outcome. Jo tells him that he has to vow to make it through this surgery so he can fight for his love.

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Koracick, still at April’s house, tries to get to know her. April says he doesn’t need to feign interest in order to get her back in bed. He says he’s genuinely interested. When he initially met her, Amelia had given her power of attorney if anything went wrong with her surgery. He wants to know how she went from a responsible, trustworthy person to the reckless, apathetic person she is now. He decides to guess around until he finds it. Alcoholism, cancer diagnosis, physical trauma, dead relative, mental illness, crisis of faith. Her slight reaction to ‘crisis of faith’ gives it away. April says “God is not dead. I just hate him so much I wish he was.”

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Looking at Charlie’s new heart, Jo says she doesn’t think her heart had ever looked as healthy as this one, even as a baby.

Young Maggie and her lab partner finish with Leonard. When he says that it feels weird that this is already over, she blurts out that they should hang out. Backtracking to seem less eager, she suggests they have a funeral for Leonard. Since they can’t steal a cadaver, she simply steals its heart out of the trash. After hearing this story, Jo says Maggie was weird and creepy. As she puts Charlie’s new heart into his chest, Maggie realizes that the heart is too big for the cavity. Alex asks how this could happen when they pre-measure. There’s too much swelling. It seems their only option is to attach the heart now but leave Charlie’s chest open overnight. They’ll use a muscle flap to make the cavity fit the heart once the swelling has subsided.

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Young Jo and her boyfriend are laying in her car while it’s raining. Jo talks about needing to stop living in her car, but not really having options. Her boyfriend suggests she come live with his parents. He promises they’ll love her as much as he loves her.

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Henry sees his ex-boyfriend lying with his chest open in the ICU. Crying, he tells Maggie that he didn’t mean it. He just wanted Charlie to take the heart. He planned on apologizing once Charlie woke up.

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Jo confronts Alex about his weirdness over her applications. She thinks he should be more understanding and supportive. For the first time since Paul, Jo is really free. She doesn’t have to hide in anymore. Alex says he didn’t know Paul was the only reason to stay in Seattle.

Maggie pages Jackson for a consult. He agrees with her decision to use a muscular flap. He says he had hoped she paged him to ask him to dinner.

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April rants to Koracick about how it doesn’t seem to matter who behaves the way Jesus had instructed us to. People break rules and behave terribly without any consequences, while bad things happen to good people. Koracick says that he grew up Catholic, but walked away from God for a while after his son died at age 10. He had accidentally been hit in the head with a baseball bat. His priest told him to talk to God about it, but Koracick wasn’t interested in what God had to say. He started going back to church because he was alone, and at church you can talk to yourself or God or a past loved one without judgement. Instead of opening up in return, April says, “I thought you were here for more sex.”

Meredith tells Alex about Marie Cerone and how Marie was her mother’s Cristina. Alex asks if Meredith would forgive Cristina if Cristina had done what Ellis did. She wouldn’t, and she’d want revenge. Alex tells Meredith about Jo’s applications. Meredith says that Jo isn’t abandoning him like Izzie. She’s just pursuing her career, and he shouldn’t take that personally. 

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Alex flashes back to high school and his first love. She had witnessed his mother in a schizophrenic state. Instead of being there for Alex, Alex overhears her making fun of his mother. She tells her friends that she wants to break up with Alex before he goes crazy too.

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The next morning, Maggie continues with her Steve/Leonard story. At the funeral, she recites a poem she wrote herself. She ends it by saying “Steve, you’re my cadaver.” She thought Steve would understand the comparison she was making (they both loved cadaver Leonard, and she thought it was a poetic line), but it just made her seem like a death obsessed freak. Because of it, her medical school nickname was Zombie. Jackson overhears this story and lightly teases her for it, leaving Maggie mortified.

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Post-op, Charlie wakes up and Henry comes into the room. He recites Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”)

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Later on, Jo’s boyfriend asks her to move in with him when he goes to college. He says it’s only a half hour commute to their high school, so she doesn’t have to transfer or drop out. He asks her to pick him up for college the next day, so she can see the campus and the commute before she decides. The next morning, he and his parents are waiting for Jo, who never shows up. Instead, she takes off, leaving Connecticut.

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Jackson drops Harriet off at April’s house. April didn’t realize it was Tuesday and therefore her night with Harriet, but she’s happy to see her daughter regardless.

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Meredith gives her final answer to Marie: no. She can’t undo her mother’s legacy. Marie says she has the polymer and Meredith’s science, and her company will develop this idea of Meredith’s as their own if Meredith doesn’t change her mind. Marie apologizes that Ellis left Meredith to clean up her messes.

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After work, Maggie sees Jackson in the bar across from the hospital. She walks up to him and confesses many weird, dorky things about her past. She reminds him that she was the youngest in her classes and also the top of every class. Jackson says that he had an imaginary friend named Frodo, who was half troll, half gremlin. Frodo feasted on the tears of Jackson’s imaginary enemies. He says he has his own quirks and baggage and insecurities. Maggie finally agrees to dinner.

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Alex comes home to Jo who is waiting for him. She has a hundred candles lit, and starts talking about how she’s always run away. Alex rushes over to his drawer to pull out the engagement ring he bought for Jo a couple of seasons ago, but Jo’s already wearing it.

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YAS JOLEX. YAS MACKSON. SAIL ALL THE SHIPS. Catch Grey’s Anatomy Thursdays on ABC as part of TGIT!