Surgeons usually fantasize about wild and improbable surgeries. Someone collapses in a restaurant, we splice them open with a butter knife, replace a valve with a hollowed out stick of carrot. But every now and then some other kind of fantasy slips in. Most of our fantasies dissolve when we wake, banished to the back of our mind, but sometimes we're sure if we try hard enough, we can live the dream. The fantasy is simple. Pleasure is good, and twice as much pleasure is better. That pain is bad, and no pain is better. But the reality is different. The reality is that pain is there to tell us something, and there's only so much pleasure we can take without getting a stomach ache. And maybe that's okay. Maybe some fantasies are only supposed to live in our dreams.

Sometimes a Fantasy is the third episode of the third season and the 39th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

Meredith begins dating, so Derek and Finn compete against each other, Derek managing to win her over with delicious surgeries for her, while Finn musters home made ice cream. George annoys Callie by scaring her patient away, Mark annoys Addison by missing his flight and Cristina is annoyed by Burke becoming depressed. Alex deals with a young superhero (or CIPA patient) while Izzie tries to return to the hospital, but can't get past the front door.

Full SummaryEdit

Meredith's fantasizing in bed. She is greeted by a naked Derek. They share a kiss, after which Derek greets a naked Finn lying next to Meredith's on the other side. Finn asks if she got some sleep last night. She replies not really. Derek asks if she wants to sleep now. She again replies not really. As they both lean in to kiss her, Meredith's woken up by a loud thud and George's voice. She sighs and tries to get back to sleep, but more noises get her out of bed.

Meredith goes out into the hallway, where George is rearranging some boxes. They contain Callie's stuff. Meredith says she doesn't mind the stuff, but George does. He quietly asks Meredith to kick her out. George only agreed to let Callie stay a few days, but she's been here for over a week. He can't kick her out. Callie then comes out of the bathroom after her shower. As Callie's looking for clothes in her boxes, Izzie comes out of her room to ask if she can ride with them. She's going to talk to Richard about coming back. George then notices that Callie's using his towel. She takes it off and gives it to him. As he goes into the bathroom, Callie says he's really moody in the morning. Meredith agrees.

As Addison's getting dressed, Mark suggests he change his flight. Addison declines. She thanks him for all the sex, but she's better and sober now. She asks if he wants her to call him a cab, but he pulls her back into bed.

Cristina comes out of their room and sees Burke on the couch playing with a ball with his good hand. She suggests that he tries his bad hand. Burke throws the ball using that hand, hits a cup, and says it works. Cristina goes to clean up the coffee on the floor. He tells her to leave it and that it doesn't matter.

Izzie is on her way to the hospital with George, Callie and Meredith. Callie tells George that since her shift ends before his that maybe she could have a key to the house. George doesn't like the idea and tells her that he likes leaving together. Izzie stays behind and tells the others that she'll see them inside. Meredith assures her everybody's on her side. George tells her that everybody wants her back inside the hospital. Izzie knows, but she needs a moment to practice her speech.

Bailey just told Richard she convinced Izzie to come in. He says he didn't ask her to. There is a series of disciplinary measures that Izzie would have to go through, and he didn't agree to it. Bailey needs him to talk to Izzie. She's an intern, her intern, so she is to blame as well. He's going to remember all other surgeons making a mistake, especially the mistakes he made himself. He's going to be patient and compassionate. Richard reminds Bailey that he's the boss. She apologizes for overstepping. He understands it's important to her personally so he agrees to it.

Cristina's complaining about Burke to Meredith. She thinks he's milking it. She's not his dog. Derek gets off the elevator and Meredith tells him that she had a dream about him. He gives her a cup of coffee and invites her to dinner. She accepts the invitation and he walks off. Finn then gets off the elevator. Meredith tells him she had a dream about him as well. Both Finn and Cristina ask what Finn was doing in it. She doesn't reply and asks about the bag he's holding. He brought her coffee cake. He also asks her to dinner. Meredith says she has plans. He asks about lunch, here at the hospital. She agrees to that. Cristina asks about the dream. Meredith admits it was a threesome.

Alex arrives at the hospital and greets Izzie. She mentions she's going to see the Chief. He's happy about that but he's running late. He enters the hospital while she stays behind.

The four interns are sharing Meredith's coffee cake. Bailey comes over and gives them their assignments. Meredith's on discharges, Cristina is with Derek, Alex is still with Addison, and George has been requested by Callie. Meredith and George walk off and she advises him to just tell Callie he's not ready for her to move in. And then try dating, because that's fun.

Addison finds Alex at the station, but she gets a personal call. She tells him to go to the pit. He happily jumps as he walks off.

In the ER, a nurse gives Alex a chart and tells him it's the patient's fourth visit in three months. He walks up to the bed. The patient is a girl named Megan Clover, who assures him it's not as bad as it looks. The mother says she fell on the playground. The father says they know how it looks, but it's not that. Megan just plays rough. He has Megan's file with him. It goes back to way before they got her. They are Megan's foster parents. Alex asks the parents to go the nurses' station and have them copy the file, while he checks out Megan's leg. Once the parents are gone, he notices a wound on Megan's arm that has been stapled. He asks if her parents did this to her. She says she did it herself since she didn't want to go to the doctor again. Megan assures him they are the best parents she's ever had. She says she can't be hurt. He wants to give her a shot to remove the staples, but she declines and pulls the staples out herself without even flinching. She tells Alex she has superpowers.

Derek and Cristina are in Taylor Tresselt's room. He's in for a corpus callosotomy to prevent the spreading of seizure activity. The wife tells their baby that the doctors will be chopping his brain because he is a big dummy. Derek tells her Taylor should function like he does now. Taylor says he has five seizure a day and he knows she considers him a danger to the baby. He wants to be able to take care of the baby, so he wants the surgery.

Alex finds Bailey and tells her of Megan's situation. He's already called social services. Bailey tells him to run a cold pressure test on Megan to test her response to pain while the parents are being questioned.

George catches up with Callie, who brings up that he was weird ths morning. He says that's how he is in the morning. She says they have a radical case, so he'll be glad he's with her. They enter the patient's room. Jasper Hovey asks Callie if he's going to be ready for his upcoming triathlon. She says he will. George reads that he's had three previous surgeries in the past year and now he's in for an ankle replacement. They waited for over a year for a match. They're using a cadaver joint. Jasper wants to meet his donor, but Callie declines and leaves George to handle the labs.

Alex returns to Megan with ice water. She knows her parents are talking to a social worker. Alex says all her injuries aren't normal. She says she gets into fights because she stands up for the smaller kids. She can take the big kids in a fight. Alex dares Megan to race him and they put their hand in the water. Megan says it won't hurt. She's convinced she's a superhero.

Addison meets Mark in Joe's. He missed his plane. Mark orders her a coffee, ignoring her objections.

Back at the hospital, Alex is in severe pain while Megan's calmly talking. Alex has to pull out and pulls her hand out, too. She says she felt nothing. She's used to people not believing her. Yesterday, she let a kid punch her in the stomach 25 times, and once with a baseball bat.

Cristina's doing pre-op work on Taylor, who's holding his son. The wife is worried mentions the recovery period. Cristina says recovery is hell on a spouse and starts rambling on about having to take care of someone. Meanwhile, Taylor quietly calls out for his wife, but she's too busy listening to Cristina. He then loudly yells to take the baby. Cristina rushes towards him and catches the baby just in time as he starts seizing.

Derek is examining Taylor. The seizure shouldn't interfere with the surgery, assuming they're still on. Lianne is still worried. Derek admits it won't be a walk in the park, but he's going to take care of Taylor.

Meredith and Cristina join Izzie outside the hospital. Izzie assures them she's okay. Meredith leaves for her lunch date with Finn. Cristina complains some more about Burke and then realizes she doesn't know what to say to Izzie, so she goes back inside.

Addison tells Mark they both enjoyed each other, before and now again. It's a healthy release for everybody, but she doesn't think they should be making something out of this. He starts rubbing her shoulder. She asks him to stop since she can't think straight. She tells him to go home. He asks her to come with. She refuses. He leans in for a kiss, but she slaps him across the face. He smiles. She gets up and says goodbye.

Richard tells Bailey that Izzie didn't show. Bailey's sure she'll track him down. Richard walks off and Alex comes to over. He wants to run a CT on Megan. Bailey says there's nothing wrong with believing you're a superhero, but Alex then mentions the baseball bat.

Callie finds George, who tells her all the labs are clear. George asks about all the surgeries. Callie says Jasper's an athlete so his body takes a beating. George thinks his body can't handle it. Jasper's 55, so the surgery and 26 miles a day isn't a good idea. Callie says she also has to replace a lot of hips because people can't be bothered to walk around the block once in a while. Sometimes, they do get to make dreams come true. She thinks they should do it when they can. Callie asks if he wants to come home with her for lunch.

George sits down with Alex and Cristina in the cafeteria and says Callie just called the house her home. Cristina hushes him. They're watching Meredith and Finn and made bets if Derek will show up to challenge Finn to a duel. Alex knows George likes comic books and asks about superheroes. George says they look ordinary, but then something causes this thing that's always been inside them to come raging out. Cristina calls their attention back to the dating situation. Derek walks past Meredith and Finn to get a cup of coffee. Alex collects the money, but Cristina takes it back when Derek does walk up to the table after all.

Meredith apologizes to Finn as she sees Derek approaching. Derek invites Meredith to scrub in on his corpus callosotomy. Meredith would love to. Finn says it's okay. Meredith promises Finn that she'll call him later. Derek adds not tonight, though, because she has a date then. He smirks. Meredith apologizes to Finn again and goes.

Cristina happily grabs all the money.

Burke, his arm in a sling, joins Izzie in front of the hospital. He asks if she's coming or going. She says she doesn't know. He doesn't know either and keeps standing next to her.

Meredith tells Derek that what he did was brilliant, but now she owes Finn another date. Derek says he needs all the help he can get. He thinks Finn's out of his league. Derek shows her to their patient and asks her to prep him for surgery. She thought they were operating right away, but he says she also needs to work a little.

Cristina walks past Richard's office and sees that Burke is in there with Richard. She smiles and keeps on walking.

Alex is putting Megan in the scanner. She's concerned about how much it'll cost her parents. She asks the tech to punch her in the stomach, but Alex tells her to stop doing that. He tells her to lie down and stay still.

Addison joins Bailey in the CT booth as she was requested for a consult. Bailey says she hasn't seen Addison since her martini-sipping at Joe's. Addison says she's over that. Bailey says they talked about a lot of things, but it's for the best that Addison doesn't remember them. Alex comes in and Bailey updates Addison on the situation. She's also thinking chronic insensitivity to pain. It's usually diagnosed young, but Megan's been bumped around in the foster care system. Alex sees something on the CT scan.

George runs into Burke as he exits Richard's office. He asks about his arm. Burke says he's doing physical therapy. George says he's missed around here. Burke tells George that Izzie is still standing outside the hospital.

Cristina and Meredith are observing Derek as he's operating. Derek says he saw Burke today. Cristina says he was talking to the Chief earlier. Derek asks if it's about Burke's leave of absence. Cristina doesn't understand.

George joins Izzie and invites her to sit down, but she says no and tells him to go inside. Izzie says she hates the bride photos in the magazines. That girl always seems shallow. She never wanted to be like her, but now that girl's thoughts are running through her head. She swears she's going to do it, but she needs to make sure that she's not thinking about her wedding dress when she's talking to the Chief. And that's going to take another minute.

George is talking to Jasper about the risks of the surgery, but Jasper doesn't want to hear it. He just wants to sign. George wants to talk through the consent form, but Jasper says he can do that in the fall, when he's coming back for a hip surgery. George then asks if he still wants to meet his donor.

Bailey and Addison are telling Megan's parents that she's bleeding internally. Bailey apologizes to them for suggesting that they abused Megan, but they need to operate on Megan. Addison informs them on Megan's condition. They need to do some genetic testing, but Megan needs to be monitored closely from now on. Alex comes in to inform them that OR 3 is ready. Bailey asks the parents for their trust when Alex asks where Megan is. They look around and find that she's gone. 

Cristina runs into Burke and brings up the leave of absence. Burke says he was just leaving some notes about his open cases. Cristina asks how long he's planning to take off. He says it'll take as long as it takes and reminds her that recovery after brachial plexus surgery is measured in months and years. Some people don't recover 100% after that kind of surgery. Cristina says he's not one of those people. Burke's not sure.

George and Jasper are in the morgue, where Jasper sees the body of a man who died during a liposuction. Jasper didn't know that men also had liposuction. George says people do a lot of stuff they don't need. George then shows him his donor, and Jasper's shocked to see that he's really old. George says he was actually two years younger than Jasper. 

Callie's standing in front of the OR board and discovers that her ankle allograft has been erased. A nurse tells her that it was cancelled. The guy went home. Callie wonders why he'd do that. The nurse points her towards George. Callie yells at him, but Bailey comes over and asks him to help look for Megan.

Meredith and Derek are walking down the hallway. They might have to go back in if Derek didn't cut enough fibers. She asks if she gets to scrub in then, or only if she's on a date with somebody else. Derek doesn't consider the cafeteria a date. Addison turns around the corner, and goes back when she sees the two of them. Derek tells Meredith to monitor Taylor and that he'll see her in the lobby at 8. Alex then comes over and asks Meredith to help look for Megan.

George and Alex are looking for Megan while George keeps talking about how Megan may be scared of losing her superpower if she lets them operate, citing various other examples of superheroes. Alex tells him to stop talking. An angry Callie comes over so Alex leaves. Callie then yells at George for going behind her back. George says he only expressed an opinion. Everything always has to go at warp speed with Callie. He then tells her he's not ready for her to move in. Callie says that if he weren't a toddler, he would've told her that the first four times she asked. She says she'll be out of the house in an hour.

Meredith is looking for Megan, but instead stumbles upon a crying Addison in a supply closet. Meredith says she's looking for a missing girl. Addison tells Meredith that she shows up everywhere and she really needs a moment or two without her. Meredith understands.

Alex finds Megan hiding under a gurney. She says no one's cutting her open. Alex says it's nothing too be worried about. Megan says it's too expensive for her parents. She's afraid they'll send her back. Alex says nobody sends back a superhero. Even Green Lantern's still a hero without his ring.

Derek's examining Taylor and he passes with flying colors. However, he can't name a cup. Lianne gets upset and asks him her and their son's name. He can't say them.

Outside the room, Lianne tells Derek she doesn't understand how you can not know the name of your baby. Derek says it takes time to form new pathways between the two hemispheres. Recovery's hard work, so she needs to be patient and help him. Taylor can't do it without her. These words also hit close to home for Cristina.

Alex and Bailey are operating on Megan. Bailey thinks people need to realize that pain is there for a reason.

After surgery, Alex watches Megan with her parents.

Alex finds Bailey and tells her that Megan's stable. Bailey's watching Izzie, still standing outside, and asks Alex if she's been out there all day.

Meredith and Derek are at the house after an excellent dinner. She invites him in for a drink or a coffee. Finn then appears with strawberry ice cream, made by one of his patients' owner. He remembered that Meredith loves strawberry ice cream. Derek and Finn start bickering, but Meredith says enough. She wants them to pay attention to her. She's an intern so it takes a lot of effort to look like she does, and they are only looking at each other. She wants heat and romance, and to feel like a freaking lady. She enters her house, returns to take the ice cream, and closes the door.

At the Archfield, Addison asks the receptionist to tell whomever calls that she's not in her room. As she walks off, Callie walks up to the desk and asks for a room for one. Richard asks if there are any messages for him as Mark appears next to him. He'd like to check in, preferably on the 22nd floor. Richard recognizes him and asks him what he's doing here. Mark says he doesn't know.

Cristina comes home with three chickens. She has decided that despite the leave of absence, Burke is going to work hard and get every bit of his strength and dexterity back. She cuts a chicken in half and gives Burke a suture kit. She tells him to put it back together.

Alex wraps his coat around Izzie, who tells him she can do it. He asks if it hurts. She says yes. He asks where it hurts. She replies everywhere. He says maybe it hurts for a reason. He tells her to come with him and they walk off together.

Meredith's enjoying the ice cream on her bed. Izzie appears in her doorway and tells her that she didn't go in today. Meredith says maybe tomorrow. Izzie sits down on the bed as George comes in. He says Callie moved out, which is a relief. Izzie offers him some ice cream. He lies down and eats some ice cream. Izzie and Meredith say he left some spit on the spoon and they laugh.


  • Meredith Grey
  • Cristina Yang
  • Izzie Stevens
  • Alex Karev
  • George O'Malley
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Addison Montgomery-Shepherd
  • Callie Torres
  • Mark Sloan
  • Preston Burke
  • Derek Shepherd
  • Finn Dandridge
  • Megan Clover
  • Jasper Hovey
  • Taylor Tressel
  • Lianne Tressel
  • Mrs. Gantry
  • Len Gantry
  • ER Nurse
  • Clerk #1 (Left, with Addison Montgomery-Shepherd)
  • Clerk #2 (Left, with Mark Sloan)
  • Nurse Linda

Main CastEdit

Special Guest StarEdit

Guest StarsEdit



Medical NotesEdit

Megan CloverEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Leg laceration
    • Arm laceration
    • Internal bleeding
    • CIPA
  • Treatment:
    • Stitches
    • Surgery

Megan came in with her foster parents with a large gash on her leg. She also had a cut on her arm which she had stapled shut herself to avoid going to the ER. She claimed not to feel any pain and believed it was a superpower. Before he could numb her to remove the staples, she pulled them out herself without flinching. Alex was told to run a cold pressure test. She held her hand in ice water without any sign of discomfort. She then confessed to Alex that she had let a kid at school hit her in the stomach with a baseball bat. A CT revealed massive internal injuries, which she had not felt because she was insensitive to pain.

Taylor TresselEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Epilepsy
    • Seizure
  • Treatment:
    • Corpus callosotomy

Taylor was in for a corpus callosotomy to treat his epilepsy. While he was waiting to have surgery, he had another seizure, but was told it wouldn't affect his surgery. After surgery, he was stable, but unable to identify a cup or remember the name of his wife or son. His wife was advised that it could take some time for him to make new pathways to that information in his brain.

Jasper HoveyEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Jasper, 55, was in for a cadaver ankle replacement. However, after George took him down to meet the donor and he saw that the donor was old, he backed out.

Preston BurkeEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Brachial plexus injury
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Physical therapy

Burke had started physical therapy for his arm. As part of his physical therapy, Cristina bought several chickens, cut them in half, and had him stitch them back together.


Song Performer Scene
"Idlewild Blues" OutKast
  • Meredith dreams of waking up between Derek and Finn.
  • Meredith wakes up suddenly alone in her bed.
  • She tries to go back to sleep, but is interrupted by George.
"Take What You Take" Lily Allen
  • Megan talks about how she's a superhero as Alex runs a cold pressure test.
  • Addison talks to Mark about him "missing" his flight.
  • Alex ends up pulling Megan's hand out himself when she doesn't show any signs of distress.
"Dirty Mind" The Pipettes
  • Izzie stands outside the hospital.
  • Addison talks to Mark about their sexual history. He says it's not all about sex for him.
  • Mark leans in for a kiss and so does Addison, but she abruptly pulls back and slaps him before leaving.
"Step It Up" The Bamboos
  • The interns have lunch and George complains about Callie.
  • Alex and Cristina are making bets about Derek interrupting Meredith's lunch with Finn.
  • Alex gets George's advice on a patient who thinks she's a superhero.
  • Cristina wins the bet when Derek offers Meredith a surgery to get her to leave lunch.
"Ballad of a Bitter End" The Poems
  • Derek, Meredith, and Cristina work on Taylor and talk about Izzie.
  • George goes out and talks to Izzie. She talks about hating brides, but she can't stop thinking about it.
"Can't Get It Right Today" Joe Purdy
  • Meredith goes inside and then comes back for the ice cream.
  • Addison tells the desk not to send up her calls.
  • Callie, Richard, and Mark all check into the hospital.
  • Richard and Mark talk for a minute at the desk.
  • Cristina comes home, cuts a chicken in half, and tells Burke to stitch it back up.
  • Izzie's still outside the hospital. Alex puts his jacket on her and tells her it's okay if she's not ready to go back in.
  • Meredith, Izzie, and George share Meredith's ice cream.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy - 03x03 Sometimes a Fantasy Promo Video

Grey's Anatomy - 03x03 Sometimes a Fantasy Promo Video

  • This episode's title originated from the song Sometimes a Fantasy, originally sung by Billy Joel.
  • This episode scored 22.80 million viewers.
  • Eric Dane joins the cast as a regular, Dr. Mark Sloan, from this episode onwards.
  • Goof: When Bailey is trying to convince Webber to let Izzie come back to the program, she says that Izzie hadn't committed a crime. This is not true. Izzie intentionally worsened a patient's condition to essentially steal a heart from another patient.


Episode StillsEdit


Meredith: Enough! This is NOT dating. I want moonlight, and flowers, and candy and people trying to feel me up. Nobody is trying to feel me up. Nobody is even looking at me. I'm an intern, do the two of you have any idea how much effort it takes to do all this? I am waxed and plucked and I have a clean top on. And the two of you are looking at each other.
Derek: Meredith...
Meredith: No, my fantasy is not two men looking at each other.
Finn: We didn't...
Meredith: No talking until one of you figures out how to put on a date. I want heat! I want romance! Damn it, I want to feel like a freaking lady!

Richard: (to Bailey about Izzie) I didn't ask you to convince her to come in.
Bailey: But I did. I did convince her.
Richard: There is a whole series of disciplinary and rehabilitated steps that Izzie Stevens will have to take before....
Bailey: You can explain them to her.
Richard: I never agreed to that.
Bailey: She didn't commit a crime. She's an intern. My intern. If you wanna blame someone, blame me. Look, but that girl is coming in here today and you are going to talk to her and you're going to remember all the other surgeons that you've known who've had a lapse in judgment that lead to someone dying or...or someone's arm falling off. Most importantly you're going to remember all the mistakes that you've made when you were young and stupid, and you're going to be filled with patience and compassion.

Alex: Megan, these bruises and these cuts all over you? This isn't normal.
Megan: I get in fights a lot, ok? 'Cause I'm stronger than some of the other kids and I end up defending the ones who are whimpy or small or whatever.
Alex: You know you're scrawny, right? You're not one of the big kids.
Megan: Yeah, but I can take them in a fight.

Alex: (to Megan) We got half the hospital lookin' for you. Your powers of invisibility are well intact. Get up.
Megan: You're a hosebag, you know that?
Alex: And you have a potty mouth.
Megan: Nobody's cutting me open.
Alex: It's surgery, we do it all the time. In fact, it's all we do.
Megan: You can't keep telling my foster parents I'm defective. They can't afford surgery. It's too expensive.
Alex: They can handle it.
Megan: They'll send me back!
Alex: Dude, that's stupid. They got their own personal superhero. Nobody sends back a superhero.
Megan: I thought you said I didn't have superpowers?
Alex: Yeah, well, you don't. But take away Green Lantern's ring, guy's still a superhero, right?

Bailey: (while operating on Megan) Look at this. Everybody wants a life without pain. What does it get you? She needs to be on a poster somewhere to remind people pain's there for a reason.

Richard: (to Mark) What're you doing in Seattle?
Mark: I don't know. (Richard gives him a look) I have a thing for ferry boats.

See AlsoEdit

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

The Grey Matter blog post on this episode can be found here.