No one believes that their life will turn out just kind of okay. We all think we are going to be great. And from the day we decide to be surgeons, we are filled with expectation. Expectations of the trails we will blaze, the people we will help, the difference we will make. Great expectations of who we will be, where we will go. And then we get there. We all think we’re going to be great and we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But sometimes our expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still. The expected's just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives.

Great Expectations is the thirteenth episode of the third season and the 49th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

George's grief begins to prove too much for Callie and even Izzie, who starts baking, but only a little. Cristina and Burke's continued silence proves for an interesting dinner party with Derek and Meredith and the Chief makes an announcement that sends the attendings running for answers; meanwhile, Bailey wants to start her own project, and uses the attendings current state in her favor. Two staff members at the hospital get proposals.

Full SummaryEdit

Episode in detail.


  • Meredith Grey
  • Cristina Yang
  • Izzie Stevens
  • Alex Karev
  • George O'Malley
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Addison Montgomery
  • Callie Torres
  • Mark Sloan
  • Preston Burke
  • Derek Shepherd
  • Adele Webber
  • Rachel
  • Jillian Miller
  • Steve Beck
  • Mr. Miller
  • Mrs. Miller

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Jillian MillerEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Human papilloma virus
    • Stage IV cervical cancer
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Jillian, 23, came into the hospital and a pelvic exam revealed a cervical tumor large enough to be seen with the naked eye. The cancer appeared to be localized, so Addison told her they'd do a radical hysterectomy, which they hoped would be curative. She revealed that she had been told previously to see an oncologist, but she couldn't afford it, so she didn't. When they took her into surgery, they determined that the tumor had invaded her bladder, so they closed her up and told her there was nothing they could do surgically. She decided to go back home and die Amish.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Decubitus ulcers
  • Treatment:
    • Debridement

Jim was semi-comatose and had bed sores. He needed debridement, dressing changes, and to be repositioned every two hours.

Mark's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Rhinoplasty

Mark told Meredith and Alex he was doing one last rhinoplasty.

Steve BeckEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Right patella dislocation
    • Severe dehydration
    • Compartment syndrome
    • Kidney failure
  • Treatment:
    • Reduction
    • Bracing
    • Fluids
    • Fasciotomy
    • Dialysis

Steve, 32, passed out while running a marathon and dislocated his knee. In the ER, Callie reduced his knee and told Cristina to brace it and run post-reduction films. And Callie told him to skip the race next time he had a cold. He was given fluids when labs revealed severe dehydration. Cristina said his knee looked fine and said he might need some physical therapy. However, he said that his leg hurt and when she examined them, she saw extreme swelling in both legs. He had no pulse in either leg, so they had to do bilateral fasciotomies to relieve the pressure. He also showed signs of a recent heart attack. His kidneys were also failing. Callie put together that the aspirin had accelerated his symptoms. Richard took him to an OR to insert a dialysis catheter to filter the toxins out of his body.

Burke's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Truncus arteriosus
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Burke asked Meredith or Alex to scrub in with him, but only if they accurately described the condition, which neither of them could do.

Derek's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Peripheral nerve reconstruction

Derek asked Mark to scrub in on a peripheral nerve reconstruction with him.


Song Performer Scene
"Enchantment" Lily Frost
  • Burke, Derek, and Meredith have a dinner party while Cristina sits on the counter and eats cereal.
  • Meredith tries to end the silence between Burke and Cristina.
  • They talk about Richard wanting Burke to be Chief.
"Ships" Umbrellas
  • Izzie watches Jillian's parents pray.
  • Richard, Callie, and Cristina talk about competitiveness while they operate.
  • Derek is upset with Meredith for telling Mark about the Chief retiring.
  • Burke tells Bailey he can't commit to tie in her clinic. She says he owes her.
  • He doesn't feel he's a leader anymore.
"Love Show" Skye
  • Derek tells Meredith he's always going to show up. She says he'll make an excellent chief.
  • Addison invites Alex to scrub in on a surgery.
  • Cristina breaks the silence and talks to Burke, saying she's in it for the long haul.
  • Burke asks her to marry him.
  • George goes to Callie's hotel room and proposes to her.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Great expectations 300:25

Great expectations 3.13 promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Great Expectations, originally sung by KISS.
  • This episode scored 21.50 million viewers.
  • Callie places Izzie on "Georgewatch 2007", making the year 2007.


Episode StillsEdit


(Izzie knocks on George's bedroom door)
Izzie: George, can I come in? I made you some cookies and brownies and muffins, of course, I always make muffins.
Callie: (comes out from room) Thank God you're here. I can't take it anymore. Three times already tonight, and he's getting ready for a fourth.
Izzie: What are you talking about? Oh. Oh, eew.
Callie: No, no I get it, you're crying, you're depressed and I know we all deal in different ways, but this is not grieving, this is my legs being bent in ways my legs do not go. A-And I know, I know his dad died, and I get it, I feel horrible for him.
Izzie: (laughs) I can give you guys some privacy, I can go far far away...
Callie: (cuts her off, whispers) No no! No! No! You stay. You take over for me, okay?
Izzie: Callie Torres!
Callie: No! I don't- Not like that, I mean. I am giving him to you. You are now officially on George Watch 2007, OK, you are his friend. Yay! And I need a break. I need to heal. I need to heal.
Izzie: No! No! What am I supposed to do?
Callie: I need to heal. I need to heal. Please, I need to heal.
George: Callie?
Callie: (after she and Izzie both freeze at George's call) Thank you, goodbye. (flees)
Izzie: No, Callie!
George: (coming out from room, naked) What is taking you so- (Izzie stares at George and he realizes, and hides behind the door) Oh!
Izzie: (averts her eyes and stifling a smile) Er- s-she had to go. Are you hungry?

Cristina: I was right. I swear I really believe what I did was right. I don't want you to forgive me. Frankly, I'd find it patronizing if you did. Because... while I know I was right, you think I'm wrong. Which doesn't matter...because... I'm in this. I'm in this for the long haul. And I'm in this to finish the race. So if that means I don't win this one, then fine. I don't win. You win. I'm talking. See? I'm talking first. You win.
Burke: Marry me. Marry me, Cristina Yang.

George: I don't want to waste another minute.
Callie: I can't have sex with you again, George. Ok? I can't- I just- I- Enough with the sex.
George: Since my dad died, I feel like someone ripped out my stomach, filled the hole with asphalt. I laugh every time I remember I'm never going to talk to him again because it just sounds like the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I can't believe it's real. But every time I look at you- I feel better. It shocks me. It knocks my wind out, but it's true. I don't have to have sex with you, I'd be happy just look at you from across the room. And even that, anything, any piece of you. And, hopefully, all of you... that'd be the best thing. Because I love you.
Callie: George.
George: (gets on one knee) Marry me? Will you marry me?

See AlsoEdit

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

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