They say there's one sure sign of a successful negotiation. It's that when the parties leave the table, they feel like they have been screwed. The goal is a compromise, a situation where everybody wins. They say that negotiation is an art form. Yet, when we negotiate, we have a strategy. We use tactics. Strategy and tactics aren't words we use for compromise. These are words for going to war.

Hard Bargain is the fifteenth episode of the ninth season and the 187th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

As the hospital spirals closer to financial ruin, Owen must make some tough decisions, which includes foregoing an expensive surgery that could save the life of a child. Meanwhile, Alex and Jo work together to save the life of an infant, and April asks Jackson for dating advice.

Full SummaryEdit

As a storm is raging over Seattle, Callie and Arizona are at Meredith and Derek's house. Arizona just put Sofia down for a nap. Callie tells them about the situation at Portland General Hospital, which is owned by Pegasus Horizons. Callie wants them to buy the hospital to avoid being turned into a Pegasus Hospital, and Meredith thinks she might be right, but Derek and Arizona don't want to go too fast. 

Cristina and Owen are having sex, when Cristina gets Meredith's text. 

While the others keep discussing, Meredith keeps texting Cristina to ask her to come too. Derek tells Callie that running a hospital is way more difficult than she thinks. He also confesses that he made a deal with Pegasus that will help the seal. Arizona asks what Owen is going to say, as he thinks it's a good deal.

Owen gets a text from Cahill, who wants to strategize as nurses threaten to walk out, and Owen needs to talk them down. He says that if there's even a small number of people that quit, Pegasus will back out. "That's not gonna happen," she says, and they continue making out.

The others are discussing how much it will cost, but Derek knows it will be more than the $60 million that they have combined. Callie says she has some other money aside from the lawsuit award, and she suggests to also take Mark's and Lexie's money. Meredith says she has to ask their father, while Arizona says that Mark's share is for Sofia. She wants to talk about it privately with Callie and asks where Cristina is. Meredith says Cristina would agree.

Cristina gets another text. "Leave us alone!" she yells at her phone. She tries to make Owen relax, who has a lot of stress. 

Arizona thinks it's a mistake to invest all of their money, but Callie says they'll have to if they don't want to be turned into robots by Pegasus. Meredith asks if the alternative is leaving, but Callie replies that she doesn't want to leave as she is proud of the hospital and thinks it's something worth fighting for. Zola is crying and Meredith goes off to pick up her daughter. Derek agrees with Callie. Arizona wants to keep the money to be prepared in case any disaster strikes. Arizona then says that she thinks Derek feels guilty for having sued the hospital and now having all the money, which is why he wants to be the one who comes in and saves everyone and be the hero. She calls him egomaniacal, and says it's affecting her family, so she asks him to stop. "I think we should go," Callie says. "You should," Meredith agrees.

The next day at the hospital, Arizona tells Derek that she owes him an apology. She, Derek, Meredith, and Richard are now standing in front of a huge poster to promote the hospital, with Derek's head on it. "On the other hand...," she says, and she walks away. Richard asks him if he's the face of the hospital now, and Derek says that Cahill told him it would only be some brochures. He walks away, and Meredith and Derek enter an elevator. They both agree the poster is too much. Shane runs up to them, and he compliments Derek's face. He enthusiasticly starts talking about a surgery Derek will perform, but he says he won't do it as Cahill wants him to meet the buyers. As the elevator doors close, it turns out there's also a poster of his head on the inside of the elevator.

Derek tells Cahill he wants the pictures to be taken down, but she says he agreed to brochures and other marketing material. She tells him his face tells people that the hospital is filled with people who are excited to help their patients. Cahilll leaves, and Owen tells Derek that it feels good that Derek is fighting this battle with him now, as he felt like he was fighting it alone. 

April and Matthew are kissing in an ambulance. He wants to take her out on a real date tonight and she agrees.

Alex and Jo are taking care of a baby. Alex is talking to the baby, which makes Jo smile. The baby needs emergency surgery, which they're telling the parents. The parents barely react. Alex takes the father outside with him, and he tells Alex that the mother is not his wife. They had sex once. Inside, the mother tells Jo that the condom broke because it was cheap. She tells that she wanted to keep the baby as she wanted one, and he said that he wanted to do the right thing. The father tells Alex that he wants to be a father to the baby. The parents actually don't like each other, but they both want the baby to be okay.

Arizona and Bailey are telling a father that the chemotherapy on his son didn't work. Bailey has another idea: genome mapping. This will allow them to identify the specific DNA sequence of the tumor, so they can fight the cancer with targeted drug therapies. To do so, they have to reach out to another facility, for which they need the hospital board's approval. They think they'll get the approval today. Arizona asks for the father's consent, and when he starts crying. They take that as a yes.

Shortly before Owen can go in to talk to the nurses, Bailey asks if he's heard from the board about her genome mapping request. He says it was turned down. Owen and Cahill then go in into a lecture room where the nurses are waiting for them.

Outside the hospital, Meredith tells Cristina about the plan to buy the hospital. This makes Cristina laugh, and even harder when Meredith says she thought Cristina would be on board. Cristina thinks it's a bad idea because they don't know how to run a hospital. Cristina says that they can't leave, as that would ruin the sale to Pegasus. 

Jackson is doing a liposuction. April comes in to tell him that one of their patients was discharged. He sees something's wrong with her, but she can't talk about it because they're not friends anymore. He tells her that his mother is driving him crazy because she tries to get him to take a bigger role in the Harper Avery Foundation, but he wants to keep working in the hospital. Then it's her turn to tell him something. She tells him that she's seeing Matthew, and he tells her he's seeing Stephanie, even though it's not a thing. "We both know how that can turn out," she says, and he agrees. She continues, and she says that she's afraid that the relationship will end tonight when she tells him about her virginity. He advises to just tell him what she just told him.

Heather and Stephanie are watching Cristina performing a cutting edge procedure, while they keep whispering about looking for other residency programs. Cristina asks them what they are talking about. "Some of us are talking about looking elsewhere," Heather confesses. Stephanie explains that the hospital started feeling like automotive trade school. Cristina questions their sense of loyalty. "I only have 5 years to get as good at this as I possibly can and I wanna be excellent. I wanna be the best, so I can't waste another minute," Stephanie says. She asks Cristina if they have the same as she had when she was an intern, and Cristina stays silent.

Alex and Jo are operating on the baby. Jo asks if he thinks workplace relationships can work, like the parents of the baby. Alex says that everybody's different, and she makes him remember how he, who had several relationships with co-workers, was when she met him: single and only having a mattress. When a hematoma on the liver bursts, Alex decides they need to pack up the baby. 

Shane is paged by Derek, who has to have some pictures taken for Pegasus in a pretend surgery. Derek thought Shane would like to be in there too, but Shane prefers to watch Cristina testing the new protocol. Derek says he can go.

The nurses are protesting and Owen tries to talk them down, but they don't listen to him. Owen and Cahill leave the room, and she says that if he knows how to talk to his people, he better start doing so now. Derek and Bailey come over to them. Bailey asks Owen about the genome mapping request, while Derek starts talking to Cahill about Pegasus. As Baily starts talking louder, they listen to her as well. She asks Owen to talk to the board, but he then confesses that he didn't even bring it up to the board because he knew it wouldn't be approved. Bailey angrily leaves. Hearing about Bailey's problems, Derek realizes something needs to change. He leaves and calls someone. "It's Derek Shepherd. I have an idea, a crazy idea, and I need you to tell me how crazy," he says.

Callie comes outside the hospital. The lights of a van flicker. Inside, Derek is waiting for her. He says he wanted to meet her outside the hospital, and with the rain, a van was the best option. "You must be doctor Torres!" a voice behind her says. Callie is frightened because she didn't know there was someone else inside the van. Derek introduces the man as Stan Grossberg, his financial advisor. Stan says that physicians can't own the hospital where they work, but he has a plan which would allow them to run it, like a board of directors. Arizona, who's now in the van with Callie, asks who wants to do that. She would just like to operate. She asks if they have enough money, and he says it's possible. Now, Cristina and Meredith are in the van. Cristina asks him if it's possible to buy the hospital, and he says it is. When she asks how much more money that he'll need to see a hospital financial statements to be sure. Cristina says Owen can get that for them, but Stan says that they need the element of surprise, and Owen is legally obligated to tell Pegasus anything that might interfere with the sale. If he doesn't tell them, he might be fired or end up in jail. "He can't know any of this," Meredith says. Cristina says they want her to lie to him, and she gets out.

Owen tells Cahill that he can't sell something to the nurses when he doesn't believe in it himself. She says the sale is just a bitter pill, and that the nurses need to hear that from him. She says that he has a quality to make people feel okay when he remains calm and looks like he's okay himself. She says that that quality made her able to operate last week. He asks why she stopped operating, and she answers that she choked once and stopped operating after. She tells him that only he can convince the nurses that something that hurts them in the short run, will help them in the long run. They'll trust him when he says it will be okay. 

Owen is telling the nurses that they are the cornerstones of the hospital and he asks them to be strong. He tells them that transitions are scary, but he believes that what Pegasus offers them is the best options. Cristina comes into the room. He says that if he didn't believe that, he'd be leaving with them. "Help me get through this. Can you do that?" he asks. One nurse stands up, saying they can try, and the other nurses agree with her. They applause for him.

Alex explains to the parents that they have two options: he can do a risky surgery to repair the liver, or they can wait for the bleeding to stop. The father says they should wait, while the mother is doubtful. She breaks down. He manages to calm her down by calling her one of the coldest and meanest people he's ever met. They decide to wait. 

Someone vandalized a poster of Derek's face. He asks Cahill to take them all down. Richard is standing around, and he denies doing it.

Cristina asks if Owen really believes what he told the nurses. He honestly tells her he doesn't. "Then why are you fighting so hard?" she asks, and he says it's their only option. As Cahill calls Owen to tell him that Pegasus will buy the hospital today, Cristina realizes she needs to do something.

Derek and Meredith are outside a conference room where suits are busy with the hospital financial statements. Derek tells Meredith to grab one so they can show it to Stan. They go in, and Meredith "accidentally" pushes over a water can as she sticks out her hand to shake a man's hand.

Arizona tells her patient's father that the genome mapping request was turned down, so their only option left is surgery. The father asks if it really is their only option, and Arizona says that she thinks it, but Bailey interferes. She tells him that he can take his son to some place that will give his son the care that he deserves. "He won't get that here. I say leave, leave Seattle Grace and go some place else. Fast!" she says. Arizona is shocked.

Bailey tells Arizona that that was the only sane medical advice she could think of. She tells Arizona she tried to make it work, but she's now thinking about moving to L.A., to Ben. "I don't wanna work here anymore!" she yells. She says that she has to make herself smaller to work here, as she doesn't recognize this place anymore. "I don't wanna hang around long enough that I don't recognize myself!" she says, before walking away. Arizona watches another vandalized poster of Derek, and she realizes that Bailey is right.

Jo and Alex are watching the baby. If his stats stay the way they are for more than one minute, he's out of the woods. Alex tells her he think that workplace relationships can work, like Meredith and Derek. After a minute of waiting, they do a high five because the baby is safe. 

Jackson sees a poster of Derek outside the OR, and he sees April walk by. He gets out to talk to her, and he says that she needs to tell Matthew. "If he doesn't get it, you don't need him anyway," he says. She says that she thinks that if she tells him, it's all gonna be over. He then advises her to wait a little while to let him get to now her, after which he'll follow her anywhere. 

Derek and Meredith walk out of the conference room, and Meredith reveals she hid a financial statement under her lab coat. Derek gets a page of Arizona, who wants to meet with all of them. 

Outside in the rain, Arizona tells them that Bailey's quitting, and that they need to make this happen, fast. "Are you in?" Callie asks. "I'm in," she says. Callie says they only have two days to find the rest of the money they need, when Cristina comes outside too. She tells them that Pegasus will be buying the hospital tonight, so they need to do it now. They realize that they need to stop the sale to Pegasus, as they don't have enough time to buy it themselves yet. "There's nothing that we can do!" Arizona says. "There's one thing we can do," Cristina says.

Richard sees Shane vandalizing another poster. "Stop right there!" he says.

Owen, Cahill, and Roberta are in a meeting with Pegasus. Derek comes in and asks to talk to Owen. "What's up?" Owen asks, as Callie, Arizona, Meredith and Cristina come in too. "I'd like to tender my resignation. Effective, immediately," Derek says. Meredith, Callie and Arizona say they quit too. Cristina doubts when she sees Owen's face, but eventually quits too, encouraged by the others. Roberta and Cahill realize they just screwed up the sale.

Cristina feels like they stabbed Owen in the back. Meredith explains that they just bought themselves some time. Callie and Arizona realize they'll have to get all their stuff together, and Meredith questions what will happen to their patients. "We'll get them covered... by someone," Callie stammers. Richard comes in with Shane. "Did you get them all?" Derek asks Shane, who nods and walks away. Richard realizes something is going on. "You'll know soon," Meredith says. Cristina wants to explain to Owen, but Meredith stops her, saying Owen will understand when they tell him later, but Cristina doubts this. 

April and Matthew are kissing on his couch. He tells her that should stop and he then tells her that he's saving himself for marriage. He thinks April wants to end their relationship, but she says she won't as she's saving herself for marriage too. He thinks she's joking, but she assures him she's not. She wants to tell him she's revirginized, but she decides to let it go and kisses him.

"What the hell was that? Did you know they were gonna pull that?" Roberta asks Cahill and Owen. Cahill thinks there must be a way to salvage the situation, but Roberta doesn't believe this, as Pegasus withdrew the offer. "You better do something, and fast!" she tells Cahill, who starts panicking. Owen says she has to come up with something, as everyone he thought was in his corner just walked out, meaning that she is all whom he has left. "You say you trust me? Then trust me when I say you can do this, because you have to!" he says, before leaving her alone.

Alex and Jo explain to the parents that everything looks good. When they start snapping, Alex and Jo leave them alone. Alex asks if Jo wants to go get a drink, but she already has plans. She walks up to an OB resident. He asks Stephanie, who walks by, who that guy is, and Stephanie says that Jo has been after the guy ever since she first saw him and finally dared to ask him out. 

Owen is at Alex's house, calling Cristina's name, but she's not there. 

Cristina is at Meredith and Derek's house, together with Callie, Arizona, and Stan. Stan tells them that they'll need to form an LLC so they can legally get all their funds in one place, and they need to come up with a name for their new cooperation. "What did we just do?" Callie asks. He asks if they have an idea. "How about: The Bitter Pills?" Cristina asks. "Epic Failure," Arizona proposes, and Meredith suggest "Death Spiral". "Blind Leading the Blind Incorporated" is Derek's suggestion. "Let's keep thinking," Stan says. 


  • Meredith Grey
  • Cristina Yang
  • Alex Karev
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Callie Torres
  • Owen Hunt
  • Arizona Robbins
  • April Kepner
  • Jackson Avery
  • Derek Shepherd
  • Alana Cahill
  • Stan Grossberg
  • Roberta Thompson
  • Matthew Taylor
  • Jo Wilson
  • Shane Ross
  • Heather Brooks
  • Stephanie Edwards
  • Mr. Finch
  • Liz Langer
  • Jo Wilson and Jason Myers
  • Ike Morris
  • Nurse Ruth
  • The Lawyer and Grant
  • Nurse
  • Neonatologist

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Derek's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Treatment:

Derek had a patient with an AVM. He planned to operate, but had to reschedule due to something he had planned with Alana Cahill for the hospital.

Baby Langer/FinchEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Volvulus
    • Liver hematoma
  • Treatment:
    • Intubation
    • N.G. Tube
    • Surgery
    • Fiber glue

25 minutes after being delivered, the baby was in the NICU with a distended abdomen. He had to be taken into emergency surgery to relieve the obstruction. In surgery, a hematoma on the baby's liver burst. Alex informed the parents that he could try to repair the liver, but there was a high chance of permanent damage. They had to choose whether to have him try or to sit and wait. The parents decided to wait and watch. He stabilized on his own.

A.J. MorrisEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Cancer
  • Treatment:
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation

When chemo and radiation proved ineffective in treating A.J.'s cancer, Bailey suggested mapping A.J.'s genome to find a targeted therapy. However, when Owen Hunt denied Bailey's request, Arizona said they'd wait another day and then do a colectomy. However, Bailey suggested that A.J.'s father take him to another hospital because they couldn't treat him the way he needed there.

April and Jackson's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Pannus
  • Treatment:
    • Panniculectomy

April informed Jackson that their shared patient had been discharged.

Mrs. BerkusEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Liposuction

Jackson performed liposuction on Mrs. Berkus.

Cristina's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Myocardial infarction
  • Treatment:

Cristina used a parachute to block off the damage from a man's heart attack. It would keep the rest of his heart from working too hard while he healed.


Song Performer Scene
"Synthetica" Metric
  • Owen and Cristina have sex.
  • Meredith is texting Cristina while she, Derek, Callie, and Arizona argue about whether they should buy the hospital or not.
"Stay" Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
  • April and Jackson talk about April's date with Matthew.
  • Meredith stole important papers.
  • The doctors from the plane crash all agree to buy the hospital.
  • Shane gets caught by Richard.
  • The sale starts when Derek, Meredith, Callie, Arizona, and Cristina come in and reveal they all resign.
"Dead in the Water" Ellie Goulding
  • The buyers back out.
  • Dr. Cahill gets yelled at and freaks out.
  • Owen tells her she has to do something about the doctors who quit.
  • Alex and Jo watch their patient with its parents.
  • Stephanie fills Alex in on Jo and Chest Peckwell while watching them.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy 9x15 Promo "Hard Bargain" (HD)

Grey's Anatomy 9x15 Promo "Hard Bargain" (HD)

  • This episode's title originated from the song Hard Bargain, originally sung by Emmylou Harris.
  • This episode scored 8.57 million viewers.


Episode StillsEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit


Derek: Where's our van?
Callie: Someone moved it.
Meredith: Why?
Callie: It's what vans are for.

Arizona: Hey, Derek. I owe you an apology.
Derek: Oh, no. There's no need.
Arizona: No, no, I do. It was late, and I was tired and stressed out.
Derek: Well, we were all stressed out. We're just trying to do our best.
Arizona: No, I know, but I had no right to call you egotistical.
Derek: It was "egomaniacal," I think.
Arizona: Yeah. I was out of line. (She sees the poster with his face on it.) On the other hand ...

Heather: Some of us are talking about... looking elsewhere.
Cristina: Why?
Stephanie: Last year, Seattle Grace was the residency match you dreamed of getting. The last few weeks, it feels like automotive trade school.
Cristina: God. Where is your sense of loyalty? There are people here fighting to make sure this hospital stays open at all. And at the first sign of trouble, you show them your ass?
Stephanie: No. No, it's just that... I'm sorry. I only have five years to get as good at this as I possibly can. And I want to be excellent. I want to be the best, so I can't waste another minute. I mean, would you have when you were an intern? Honestly?

Callie: This isn't weird.
Derek: I know. I wanted to meet outside the hospital. And then with the rain...
Callie: No, I like it. It's very cloak-and-daggery.
Stan: You must be Dr. Torres.
Callie: (scared) Oh, god!
Derek: Callie Torres, Stan Grossberg. He's my financial advisor.
Callie: I think I might have died for a second.

Alana: Do you remember last week when we operated, the logger? Before that, I didn't think that I ever would or could step up to an O.R. table again. I was scared the whole time. As scared as I have ever been in my life.
Owen: I had no idea.
Alana: I know. The only reason I was able to do it was because you were there. And I barely even knew you. But you were so calm and sure. And if you were okay, I would be okay. Not many people have this quality.

Owen: You know you hold this place together. Every doctor and every patient here knows that. I know that you are the cornerstones. I need you to be strong right now in this transition. Transitions are scary, I know. But believe me, I would not be asking you to go through this if I did not believe that what Pegasus Horizons offers is the best thing for all of us. I mean, if I didn't, I would leave with you. I'm asking you to stay, trust me, work with me. Just... help me get us through this. Can we do that?
Ruth: We can try.

Mr. Finch: I'm as scared as you are, but you are the biggest, meanest, ballbusting, ice-queen, nightmare bitch that I have ever met. So if I can do this, you can. Okay?
Liz: Let's... wait. Can I have a glass of water, please? And a maxi pad for my girlfriend here.
Mr. Finch: Nice.

Cristina: What you said to the nurses, "Pegasus will lead us to a brighter tomorrow." Do you really believe that?
Owen: It is the only option that we...
Cristina: Hey, it's just us now. It's me.
Owen: No. No, okay? No. No, I don't. It's a bitter pill, and we just have to swallow it. And honestly, I don't even know if this is gonna make us better or worse.
Cristina: Then why are you fighting so hard for something...
Owen: There's no other choice. This is our only shot.

Ike: Is that our only option?
Arizona: Yeah, I'm afraid that that's...
Miranda: No. There's one other option. You can go someplace that will find an approach that works for him, someplace that will give him the care that he deserves. He won't get that here. I say leave. Leave Seattle Grace and go someplace else, fast.

Arizona: What the hell was that?
Miranda: That was the only medical advice I could give them in good conscience. I'm thinking I need to take it myself.
Arizona: Hey, whoa. What are you talking about?
Miranda: I tried. I tried to put on the smile and knuckle down and make it work, but maybe I can get a job in L. A., be where my husband is, and Tuck... Tuck's dad's never gonna let me move him out of the city... No, no, maybe I can talk to him, right? Maybe we can work something out.
Arizona: Stop it. Stop it. You and Tuck aren't going anywhere.
Miranda: I don't want to work here anymore. It makes me feel small. I have to make myself smaller to work here. I feel like if I do that, I feel like I won't want to look my son in the eye. I don't recognize this place anymore or the people. I don't want to hang around long enough that I don't recognize myself.

Alex: I think it could work.
Jo: What can?
Alex: You know, people, coworkers getting together. I mean, don't judge it from those lawyers. They don't even like each other. Look at Grey and Shepherd. I mean, they tried to avoid it, but it was like fate or whatever. They had to be together. It was just right, you know?
Jo: That's... beautiful. You should write poetry or greeting cards.
Alex: I'm just saying it could work. Ten seconds.
Jo: You have a blog that I could follow?
Alex: Shut up.
Jo: You ever write poems about horses, just pretty, pretty horses?
Alex: Shut up.

Jackson: April. Tell him who you are. If he doesn't get it, then you don't need him anyway.
April: But I really like him, and I think if I tell him, it's all gonna be over.
Jackson: So wait a little while, let him get to know you better. Once he does, he's gonna want to follow you anywhere. Trust me.

Derek: I could marry you again right now. You're so hot when you're nefarious.

Owen: Um, what's up? Guys?
Derek: I'd like to tender my resignation, effective immediately.
Meredith: Me, too. I quit.
Callie: I quit, too.
Arizona: Me, too.
Cristina: I quit, too.

Owen: You say this is what you're good at. It better be, because everyone that I thought was in my corner just walked out, and you are all that I have now. So either go and get Pegasus back or find another buyer. You say you trust me. Then trust me when I say you can do this, because you have to.

Stan: The first thing you'll need to do is to form an L.L.C. so that you can legally get all your funds in one place. And you'll need a name for your new corporation.
Callie: What did we just do? Do you know what you'd like to call yourselves?
Cristina: How about "The bitter pills"?
Arizona: "Epic failure"?
Meredith: "Death spiral"?
Derek: "Blind leading the blind, incorporated"?
Stan: It could be anything. Let's keep thinking.

See AlsoEdit

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

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