As surgeons, we live in a world of worse case scenarios. We cut ourselves off from hoping for the best because too many times the best doesn’t happen. But every now and then something extraordinary occurs and suddenly best case scenarios seem possible. And every now and then something amazing happens, and against our better judgment we start to have hope. As doctors, we're trained to give our patients just the facts. But what our patients really want to know is- will the pain ever go away? Will I feel better? Am I cured? What our patients really want to know is- is there hope? But, inevitably, there are times when you find yourself in the worst case scenario. When the patient's body has betrayed them and all the science we have to offer has failed them. When the worst case scenario comes true, and clinging to hope is all we've got left.

Wishin' and Hopin' is the fourteenth episode of the third season and the 50th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

The attendings are still fighting for the Chief's nomination from the board, while Ellis Grey has awoken lucid. George and Callie have an announcement, while Izzie worries about the newly opened Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic, while a cancer patient poses a hazard for all hospital staff.

Full SummaryEdit

The episode starts with Meredith talking about expectations, while Cristina sits in her bed holding the engagement ring Burke gave to her.

Callie and George are standing on the elevator. They take each other's hand and step off.

Bailey and Izzie stand in front of their newly opened free clinic.

A staff member at the nursing home Ellis lives at tell Meredith that her mother is lucid and asking for her.

Burke, Mark, Addison, and Derek are discussing a Bloodless Pulmonary Valve translocation to impress Richard in the race for chief. Mark asks Richard if he'd like to walk to the newly opened clinic with him to show support for Bailey. The others give their respect for Mark's tactics.

Ellis is panicking, wondering where she is and if she had a breakdown. She tells Meredith that she doesn't have to go to medical school. Meredith explained that she went to medical school and that her mother has Alzheimer's. Ellis cries in hysterics and collapses.

Burke is meeting the ambulance where they are unloading Ellis. Meredith updates him on her condition, including chest pains and a high pulse rate. As they walk the gurney through the doors of the ER, Meredith tells Ellis that the hospital was where she was doing her residency. Burke remarks that Meredith was one of the finest interns, and that she was following in Ellis' footsteps.

Bailey welcomes the interns, sparing Meredith and George, to the Denny Duquette Memorial clinic, where they will be working except in the case of surgical emergencies. Alex picks up a bag of medical supplies, and Izzie tells him not to touch it because it was 79 dollars. Cristina tells Alex that she does not want to work there, and that she'd rather scrub in on Burke's valve dislocation. Cristina and Alex go with Nurse Olivia so she can instruct them on the flu vaccine protocol. Izzie wonders where everybody is, and Bailey responds that Meredith will be late and O'Malley should be back. Izzie is anxious for the first patient, so Bailey tells her to watch the door.

The door opens, but rather than a patient, Mark and Richard walk in. They congratulate Izzie and Bailey, but Izzie does not answer. Bailey informs them that she is watching the door.

The door opens again, but George and Callie walk in. George tells everyone that he and Callie got married in Vegas. And Alex laughs at the fact that her name is now Callie O'Malley. George seems uncomfortable.

Izzie asks George if he is happy, which Callie replies that they are both happy. Callie shows Izzie her ring, to which Izzie replies that she loves small diamonds. Bailey intervenes and sends the interns off with assignments.

Callie tells George that she doesn't like the way people are reacting. George reassures her by saying that they are married and kisses her.

Richard catches George up on a patient that had a tumor removed from her colon eight months prior and has been receiving Chemotherapy. A distraught man interrupts and asks if they are the doctors for Marina Wagner, the patient. He says that he brought her in because she was barely breathing. He asks if it could be food poisoning, and tells them that she was fine yesterday.

Richard tells him that it was probably a complication of her chemo treatments, and the man replies that she does not have cancer, and he is her boyfriend and would know if she did. Richard sees Ellis through the window of the room, and becomes distracted. He orders a series of tests from George and walks out into the hall to meet them.

Richard asks if she is all right. Meredith starts to answer, but Ellis interrupts him to comment that he had aged. She tells him that she had been having arrhythmias, and they just brought her in to do some tests. She tells Richard that she heard he is the chief of surgery. Richard says that he is stepping down, to which Ellis replies that she could only imagine it was Adele's idea.

The nurse wheels Ellis onto the elevator and holds up for Meredith. Richard tells Meredith that the time Ellis is lucid is a gift, and that she doesn't have to work today.

Burke tells Cristina that Ellis is lucid while updating her on Ellis' status, and Cristina asks if Meredith is okay. Burke says that she is, but her mother needs the best care, and that Cristina is the best. Cristina smiles.

Burke comments that she still isn't wearing her ring, and it had been over a week. Cristina says it's under advisement. She wonders if Burke is using the surgery tomorrow to get an answer from her.

Alex and Izzie sit on either side of a man in the waiting room. He asks if they are his doctors, and they say that they can be and that there is a clinic right outside the waiting room doors. The man says that it hurts when he pees. They tell him they can take care of it and it's free. The man is still hesitant. A lady near them coughs, so Izzie says it sound like highly contagious tuberculosis.

Cristina is doing an echo on Ellis. Ellis remarks that Cristina and Meredith are good friends. Cristina doesn't answer and focuses on the screen. Ellis continues, saying that she can tell because Cristina is afraid to look at her, worried that she might ask a personal question about Meredith and she'll accidentally slip. Cristina continues to look at the screen. Ellis, by way of praise, asks if she does anything accidentally. She then asks Cristina if Meredith had chosen a specialty. Ellis says that for a surgeon, it's the most personal question you can ask because it tells you who they are. Cristina replies that her mother would ask if she had a boyfriend. Ellis says that her mother sounds like a frivolous woman. After a moment of pause, Cristina asks what it would say of her if she chose cardiothoractics as her surgical specialty. Ellis answers, "Heart surgeons are the know-it-alls. They're the most ambitious, the most driven. They want it all, and they want it now. And they don't want anything getting in their way." Ellis then says that Meredith told her she is a part of an Alzheimer's research study and that she wants a neuro consult from the doctor that put her in the trial.

Meredith, in her normal clothes, is standing in the ambulance bay. Cristina walks out and says she had been looking for her and asks if she is okay. Meredith says that she is avoiding her mother. Cristina tells her that Ellis wants to meet Derek, and Meredith slightly panics for a moment. Cristina clarifies that Ellis wants to meet Doctor Shepherd as a neurosurgeon, and not Derek as Meredith's boyfriend, as she still doesn't know Meredith's relationship status. Cristina confesses that she is 'kind of in love' with Ellis, to which Meredith replies that Ellis has that effect on people that aren't her daughter.

Izzie joins them in the ambulance bay, pushing the man from the emergency room in a wheelchair. Cristina and Izzie both agree that Meredith should talk to her mother while she is lucid. Meredith says that her mother has a long history of being disappointed in her. Izzie says that Meredith is a doctor, and that "Parental disappointment ends with a medical degree." The man from the emergency room expresses his impatience, and Cristina asks in an amused tone if Izzie is stealing patients from the ER. Izzie confesses that she is, and tries to gossip about Callie. The man from the emergency room says he's going back to the ER, so Izzie finally wheels him to the clinic.  Meredith asks what is going on. Cristina tells her that George and Callie are married.

George is in Marina Wagner's room as Meredith walks into the doorway. George asks if everything is okay, and, seeing Meredith's normal clothes instead of scrubs, asks if she is off today. Meredith ignores the question and brings up his marriage. George looks back at Marina and her boyfriend and says in a quieter, but excited tone that he did and it was impulsive. Meredith asks if it was good impulsive or 'Meredith-impulsive', and says that if it was Meredith-impulsive, she can help get him out of it. George awkwardly laughs and says it's good impulsive. He quickly hugged her and thanks her for the backup in a questioning voice. Meredith congratulates him. Ellis walks around the corner dragging an IV and asks Meredith if she was planning to visit her.

Alex, pushing a patient with an ice pack on her arm, smiles flirtingly at Addison as she sits at a desk. She smiles and touches her lips to reciprocate, but stops, embarrassed, when she notices Callie watching. Callie walks over to Addison and compares the way she looked at him to a hungry bear in a cartoon, who sees a table as a big turkey with "lines of deliciousness coming off of it." Addison denies this and says that he is the help, and she will not be sleeping with him. Callie replies that she married the help, and elaborates at Addison's disbelief. Addison says that she is happy for her but asks why she did it so fast. Callie brings up the cartoon bear metaphor again. Addison congratulates her, hugs her, and compliments her ring.

Meredith is sitting in a chair while Ellis, up out od bed, stands in front of her. Ellis asks Meredith about herself and says that she really does want to know her. Meredith opens with the fact that she has a boyfriend. Ellis then asks if he understands the demands if her career. Meredith says that he is great and that he is a surgeon as well so he understands. She starts to go on, but Ellis cuts her off and asks if she had chosen a specialty, and refers to Cristina's choice of cardio. Meredith explains that she is waiting to be inspired. She expresses that she is happy, knows who she is, and brings up her relationship again. Ellis asks what happened to her. Meredith wonders what she means, and Ellis asks sarcastically that she's happy, and then follows with how the Meredith she knew was passionate, focused, a fighter and a force of nature. Ellis says that Meredith has gone soft. Beginning to yell, she points out that Meredith is waiting for inspiration when her mother has a disease with no cure. Meredith tries to cut in, but Ellis interrupts and says that anyone can fall in love and be blindly happy, but not everyone can pick up a scalpel and save a life. She tells her to imagine her disappointment to discover that Meredith is no more than ordinary.

The cancer patient Marina Wagner's boyfriend talks about her as George presses gauze to her arm where he took blood for tests. His hands are shaking as he lifts up the gauze and applies a bandage. He takes attention when her boyfriend says that he doesn't even know her middle name. George informs him that her middle name is Rose. Sweat breaks out on George's forehead and he breathes unevenly.

Meredith is warning Derek about her mother as they walk to her room fro Derek to meet her. Derek says that Meredith is being ridiculous and it'll be fine. Meredith again warns him to be careful.

Olivia greets George as they pass each other in the hall. George, looking uneasy and pale, answers her. Olivia looks back and asks if he is okay. George says yeah, and she asks if he is sure. She comes closer and asks if it is about the marriage. George replies that it wasn't about the marriage and asks Olivia to take the blood work down to the lab for him. George says he needs to sit down, and Olivia says if he needs to talk and trails off. He thanks her and she walks away.

Callie, looking concerned, also asks George if he is okay. George dismisses her and asks her what her middle name is. Callie tries to feel his head but he pushes her hand away. Callie says that she doesn't tell anyone her middle name. George argues that they are married and he doesn't know her middle name, implying that they don't know each other well with his tone. Callie says that she knew his judgy friends would get to him. George, even more breathless and flustered, denies it. She flicks his head and says that he could breathe fine last week, and he didn't know her middle name then.

Elis is sitting up in bed while Derek sits on the end. She asks about an M.R.I. while she's lucid. Derek says that it wouldn't show them anything new and no test would help them understand what is going on. Ellis, annoyed, asks if they have found nothing in five years and there is nothing else they could do for her. Ellis continues, wondering how he could work with people with Alzheimer's day in and day out. Derek admits that he isn't an Alzheimer's specialist, he just took a special interest in Ellis' case because of Meredith. Ellis connects that Derek is Meredith's new boyfriend. Now irritated, says that she thought Derek was here for her but really is there for Meredith. She then says she understands why Meredith is so distracted. Derek tries to defend his intentions with Meredith, but Ellis says that he just wants someone to admire him and he doesn't care about what he does to Meredith in the process.

George, still sweaty and shaky, lies down in a bed in the clinic despite Izzie's protests. George lists his symptoms, so Bailey tells Alex to replace him in the OR.



  • 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
  • Nurse Olivia Harper
  • Ellis Grey
  • Vincent
  • Mr. Hanson
  • Kelly Hanson
  • Mrs. Henry
  • Nurse Kate
  • Lab Tech
  • Marina Wagner
  • Hurts When He Pees
  • Coughing Lady

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Ellis GreyEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Alzheimer's disease
    • Arrhythmias
    • Coronary artery disease
  • Treatment:
    • Residential care
    • Carotid massage

Ellis woke up completely lucid. She was unaware she had Alzheimer's until Meredith told her about it. Her heart started to race and so she was taken to the ER. While Cristina performed some tests, Ellis asked for a consult from the doctor who put her in the trial, so Derek stopped by. Her heart monitor revealed multiple runs of tachycardia per hour, so Burke recommended radioablation. The condition would normally be treated with oral medication, but because she had a history of not being compliant with meds, she needed surgery instead. She tried to decline the surgery, but only Meredith had the right to make that decision. When she went into SVT, Cristina used carotid massage to bring her out of it.

Burke's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Bloodless pulmonary valve translocation

Burke brought a patient in from Denver for a bloodless pulmonary valve translocation.

Marina Rose WagnerEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Colon cancer
    • Neurotoxin
  • Treatment:
    • Bowel resection
    • Continuous renal replacement therapy

Marina had had a tumor removed from her colon eight months prior. They thought she had beat it, but she was back in the ER. Richard sent her for tests. They took Marina into surgery, but George quickly noticed that all the people who had been exposed to Marina's blood were experiencing the same symptoms. They had started to operate on her, but they all collapsed. They borrowed suits from orthopedics to finish the surgery, but when she started to wake up while they got ready to go in with suits on, Addison entered the OR to give her more anesthesia. Derek and Burke then operated with the suits, but they were unable to finish closing because their oxygen ran out. Cristina, Meredith, and Izzie went in in shifts to pack her abdomen and do a temporary closure. She then had a special kind of dialysis to remove the toxin from her blood. They believed the herbal supplement she was taking combined with her chemo drugs to create the neurotoxin.

Hurts When He PeesEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

A man came into the ER because it hurt when he peed. Alex and Izzie recruited him to be a patient of the clinic.

George O'MalleyEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Oxygen

George was the first person to be sidelined by the toxins in Marina's blood. He had done the blood draw.

Olivia HarperEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:

Olivia, who transported Marina's blood to the lab, was the second person sidelined by the symptoms it caused.

Kelley HansonEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Kelley's dad brought her to the clinic so that the doctors could teach her to use tampons and pads. She then confessed to Bailey that she'd had sex and wasn't sure if she could be pregnant because it happened before she got her first period. Bailey ran an STD panel on her as well as a pregnancy test. Thankfully, they all came back negative.

Lab TechEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:

The lab tech who took Marina's blood sample also fell victim to the toxins in her blood.

Richard WebberEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Oxygen

Richard was given oxygen after passing out in the OR after being exposed to Marina's blood.

Alex KarevEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:

Alex passed out in the OR after being exposed to Marina's blood.

Addison Forbes MontgomeryEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Oxygen

Because she went into the OR to administer more anesthesia to Marina, Addison was then treated with oxygen.

Derek ShepherdEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Oxygen

Derek was treated with oxygen after passing out in the OR while operating on Marina.

Preston BurkeEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Oxygen

Burke was treated with oxygen after passing out in the OR while operating on Marina.


Song Performer Scene
"Runaway" Sybarite feat. Psapp
  • Cristina holds the ring from Burke in her hands.
  • Callie and George hold hands as they ride on the elevator.
  • Bailey and Izzie stand in front of the newly-ready clinic.
  • Meredith is told that her mother woke up completely lucid.
"Elevator Music" Beck
  • Izzie and Alex go to the ER to find patients for the clinic.
  • Cristina does an echo of Ellis's heart.
"Barracuda" Miho Hatori
  • Meredith coaches Derek on how to talk to Ellis.
  • Derek enters Ellis's room.
  • George hands of Marina's blood to Olivia and goes to lie down.
  • Callie asks him if he's okay. They argue over his friends' judgment of their marriage.
"Canal Song" Iain Archer
  • Cristina talks to Ellis about love and career.
  • Meredith checks on Richard, who is watching Derek and Burke operate on Marina.
  • Meredith says Ellis would like to see him.
"Believer" Susanna & The Magical Orchestra
  • Richard visits Ellis and they talk about Meredith and what their life together would have been like.
  • He holds her while she cries and thinks about what could have been.
"Fireworks" The Whitest Boy Alive
  • George defends Callie to the others.
  • Addison and Mark have sex.
  • Cristina says she won't wear the ring, but she'll marry him. They celebrate their engagement.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy Wishin' and Hopin' Promo 300:40

Grey's Anatomy Wishin' and Hopin' Promo 3.14

  • This episode's title originated from the song Wishin' and Hopin', originally sung by Dionne Warwick.
  • This episode scored 24.18 viewers.
  • The toxic patient's storyline is based on a real story, which can be read here.
  • The season 3 DVD set includes an audio commentary on this episode by Kate Burton and Ellen Pompeo.
  • Flashbacks from this episode are used in the eleventh season.
  • This is the first episode in which Cristina explicitly stated her intention to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, which she would do multiple times in later episodes.


Episode StillsEdit


Izzie: (when she sees Callie's ring) Oh, that's so great. Tiny diamonds are great because you know no one will ever try to steal it.

Ellis: What happened to you?
Meredith: What do you mean?
Ellis: You're happy? You're happy now? The Meredith I knew was a force of nature. Passionate, focused, a fighter. What happened to you? You've gone soft! Stammering about a boyfriend and saying that you're waiting to be inspired. You're waiting for inspiration? Are you kidding me?! I have a disease for which there is no cure, I think that would be inspiration enough! Listen to me, Meredith. Anyone can fall in love and be blindly happy! But not everyone can pick up a scalpel and save a life. I raised you to be an extraordinary human being, so imagine my disappointment when I wake up after five years and discover that you're no more than ordinary! What happened to you?!

Meredith: I'm not sure refusing treatment is what you wanna do.
Ellis: Apparently, what I want doesn't matter. It isn't even legally binding. So it's really about what you want, Meredith. You're in charge.
Meredith: You think that I like making these decisions for you? You think it's fun to get calls from the nursing home asking whether I was planning on giving the nurse, who changes you every morning, a Christmas tip? But I do it. Because you have managed to alienate everybody else in your life and I am the only one, so I have to step up and do it. You wanna know why I'm so unfocused? So ordinary? You wanna know what happened to me? You! You happened to me!
Ellis: Then let me refuse the heart surgery.
Meredith: No!
Ellis: Why not?!
Meredith: Because killing my mother is not gonna be another thing that happens to me.

See AlsoEdit

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

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