Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki

Many people don't know that the human eye has a blind spot in its field of vision. There is a part of the world that we are literally blind to. The problem is, sometimes our blind spots shield us from things that really shouldn't be ignored. Sometimes our blind spots keep our lives bright and shiny. When it comes to our blind spots, maybe our brains aren't compensating. Maybe they're protecting us.

Staring at the Sun is the eighth episode of the third season and the 44th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Meredith tries optimism, and vows to be "bright and shiny." Addison and Derek try "peacefully coexisting", and confront Dr. Webber about his depression and problems with his marriage. George continues to be skeptical about Burke's ability to operate, after seeing Cristina perform a complicated surgery and refuse the credit. George's father is admitted to the hospital. Izzie shadows Alex, who is on Sloan's service.

Full Summary[]

Meredith and Derek are in the bathtub together and he's kissing her neck. She wants to take things slow. They are starting fresh. That means no sex because they started with sex last time and that didn't work out. Now she wants it to be bright and shiny.

Meredith visits her mother at Roseridge. The nurses told her Ellis hasn't been eating. Ellis says she has no time since she's too busy doing surgeries. She tells Meredith she has no time to coddle her because she needs to save lives. Richard also visits Ellis and she happily greets and hugs him. Richard brought her pastries since he also knows she hasn't been eating. Richard wants to go, but Meredith says she'll go.

Meredith tells her fellow interns that dark and twisty Meredith disappears forever today. She's going to be bright and shiny from now on, and life is good. Izzie tells her about George's dad. He fell yesterday and broke his clavicle. Callie says he'll be fine. George and the others go over the chart as Bailey comes in looking for it. She tells George he's on scut today so he's distracted. Cristina says she's scrubbing in with Burke today. Bailey tells Meredith she has to cover the pit while Alex is with Sloan. Izzie is shadowing Alex today and Bailey repeats the rules of her probation.

Derek happily greets Addison, which confuses Addison. He says he's happy. Addison is happy that they are being mature about this. They are peacefully co-existing as of now. As Derek wants to shake hands, he notices Addison is still wearing the rings. He doesn't mind as she says they appear to be stuck. He jokes about it and says he's bright and shiny.

Callie is bonding with George's brothers as Bailey comes in. Bailey scheduled an endoscopy for this afternoon. George explains it, but his brothers don't consider him a real doctor. 

Alex and Izzie approach Sloan. Mark has a tragic case. He found out this morning that he has more than two weeks of laundry waiting to be picked up, and he also asks Alex to get him the sandwich he likes from a certain deli. Izzie is confused that Alex takes that.

George is following Bailey and says he'd like to help with his father's endoscopy. Bailey says no family members on the case, but she will allow him to pick which intern gets assigned to the case.

George enters Burke's OR as he and Cristina are operating. He's surprised to see that Burke is talking Cristina through decannulating the heart.

Derek, Meredith, and Bailey take the case of Mia Hanson, a young girl with blunt trauma to the head and a crush injury to the abdomen. She was backed over by her mom's SUV. A distraught woman gives the doctors relevant information. Meredith tries to calm her and calls her Mrs. Hanson in doing so, but another woman appears and says she is actually Mrs. Hanson, while the other one is Anna, the nanny who ran over her daughter. Anna and Diane both rush inside.

The doctors are examining Mia as John, Mia's father, enters the trauma room. Anna says she didn't see Mia when she backing out of the driveway. John starts blaming Diane for being on the phone while the accident happened. Bailey breaks up the arguing by saying SUVs have blind spots, and that placing blame won't help Mia. Derek says there's blood in Mia's ear canal, so they need to get a CT. Anna tells Mia it's going to be okay, but Diane asks her to back away.

George is with Cristina in the scrub room and brings up her decannulating the heart by herself. Cristina downplays it and says she merely assisted Burke. Burke comes in and asks about George's father. George updates him and asks if Cristina can be the intern on the case. While Burke says it's no problem, Cristina objects since they have a carotid endarterectomy scheduled at noon. Burke says he'll push it because Harold O'Malley deserves the best. Cristina hopes something horrible is wrong with Harold.

Izzie asks Alex why he's going through all this crap. Alex hopes Mark will crack some day and finally let him in on a real case. He gives Mark his sandwich. Addison notices and wonders what he's doing. Addison says this hospital is a teaching hospital, so he can't use his interns as his slaves. Mark brushes it off and leaves. Addison tells Richard what just happened, but he's focused on his upcoming endoscopy. Addison wonders what's wrong with the men today. She gets paged.

Mark and his two interns enter Frank Jeffries's room. Frank refers to himself as Frank. Mark decides to give teaching a go and lets Alex present the case. Frank is post-op day three from pectoral enhancement surgery. There was a complication when a seroma formed, for which inserted a tube. Mark has Alex check the drain output and change the dressings today. Izzie can watch. Alex says Izzie is an excellent doctor. So Mark hears.

George finds Cristina and again brings up her decannulating a heart today. George says he noticed something weird with Burke's hand when they were fishing. That was weird, and so is Burke letting Cristina decannulating a heart. Cristina tells George to go sit with his father, and she walks off before George can bring it up again.

Mia is about to have a CT taken. Her parents are with her, but Mia keeps asking for Anna. In order to get her to lie still, Diane sings her daughter the Good Night Song, but Mia says she's singing it wrong. She wants Anna. John wants to go get her, but Diane stops him.

George finds Callie playing the "pick a car" game with his brothers. They are impressed with her choice. He asks Callie if they can talk. Outside the room, he thanks her for trying to help out his family, but she doesn't have to. She doesn't mind, but he reminds her she broke up with him.

George is observing from outside the room as Richard and Cristina are explaining the procedure to his father.

Bailey decides to go with a partial nephrectomy. If they are able to stop the bleeders, they might be able to save Mia's kidney. Meredith is assisting. Bailey says it won't be an easy recovery. Meredith says with parents like that, she didn't have it easy to begin with. She understands people want thriving careers, but they should think twice before having kids. She didn't mean to offend Bailey, but Bailey is offended regardless.

George approaches Burke. His father is having the endoscopy now. He brings up the decannulation. Burke says Cristina is showing tremendous promise. George then says Cristina claims she didn't do it. Burke guesses she didn't want to make anyone jealous, but George quips they are talking about Cristina. George asks Burke if he's alright. Burke says yes. George says he can always talk to him if things are difficult, which they must be after getting shot. Burke is fine. He wishes George the best with his dad and walks off. 

Addison finds Derek and asks how far the mature thing goes. She wants to talk about Richard, who seems to be down. Derek says splitting from your wife does that, for most people. She thinks they both have to talk to him so he knows he has people to turn to. He has always been there for them. Derek thought divorce meant that wives stop nagging, but he does agree to talk to Richard. Addison promises to use soap in an attempt to get the rings off.

Frank is talking to and complimenting his pecs. He asks Izzie for her perspective. She says they look good and even. Frank says Frank got the surgery for his girlfriend, who can't see them until they are perfect. His girlfriend joined a gym and got a trainer named Lars. His last girlfriend left him for a guy with hair. He got plugs, but too late. This time around, he's not taking any chances, hence the implants. Izzie doesn't get it. Lars says they look real and feel natural. He invites Izzie to feel. She does and says they are solid. Frank tells her to compare to Alex's pecs. As she's doing that, Mark walks in and says this is why he doesn't work with interns.

Bailey and Meredith go to update Diane. Mia is doing great and hopefully, she won't need further surgery for her skull fracture. Diane asks Meredith to wait until her husband returns from using the phone downstairs. Meredith says Mia keeps asking for Anna. Diane says they fired her. Meredith is surprised since they seemed to be attached. Diane says that's her fault. Her husband blames her for being a working mother while apparently, being a working father is not the issue. She acknowledges she's not good at the mom stuff, but she is good at her job.

Meredith and the others are hanging out in the tunnels. Meredith wonders why people get kids if you can only see them on weekends. George shares that Cristina decannulated a heart by herself. Izzie and Alex have adapted talking about themselves in third person from their patient. Meredith is annoyed at it as well as the fact that Cristina decannulated a heart by herself, making it hard to remain bright and shiny.

Derek and Addison tell Richard they think he's depressed. They ask him to start talking. Richard says Adele wants him to retire. Derek finds that unreasonable, while Addison understands his wife wants to know that their marriage is a priority for him. As Richard says he works and visits Ellis, Addison and Derek slip into projecting his problems onto their former marriage. Addison says she and Adele both see that something's driving a wedge between Richard and his wife. Derek and Addison continue arguing until Richard breaks it up. He doesn't want his marriage to be over. Addison says it's not over until he decides it is, until he decides the sacrifice is not worth it. Derek agrees. Cristina comes in with bad news.

Richard finds George and says he has his father's test results.

George and Cristina enter Harold's room. They are waiting for Dr. Webber. Ronny again says George is not a real doctor, but George says he's not just their Dad's doctor. Harold derives from his face that something's wrong. He asks George, who says they need to wait for Richard. Cristina whispers that Richard expected George to talk to his father. George then delivers the bad news: the biopsy results were abnormal. Harold asks if that's bad. George can't bring himself to say it, so Cristina takes over. Harold has esophageal cancer, which has spread to his stomach. They need to operate and treat him with chemo and radiation. She says she's sorry.

Meredith finds George and Izzie in the stairwell. George tells her they are operating his father this week. He's frustrated over his brothers. And Callie slept with Sloan. He can't deal with any of it. He spent the day worrying over Burke. He's was sure something's wrong with him. His father has cancer and he can't look his father in the face. Cristina of all people had to tell him. Izzie says no one gets it right with their family. George says he doesn't them. Meredith says they make a lot bad decisions.

Alex is examining Frank. He doesn't understand Frank went through all this for a girl. Frank asks if he has a girlfriend. Alex says no. Frank can feel the vibes between him and Izzie. Alex doesn't want to talk about it, but Frank derives she left him for another girl. Frank advises him to make a grand gesture so she forgets about the other guy. Frank knows.

Meredith tells Derek there's bleeding in Mia's brain. He has to go in and stop the bleeding. There are no other options, but Mia is strong.

As his heart is being examined, Harold wonders why. Cristina says his ECG showed abnormalities, so they are making sure his heart is strong enough for the surgery. Harold says George told him she is the best intern in the hospital. She keeps everyone on their toes. The tech asks Cristina to take a look. She turns the monitor away and looks.

Burke and Richard are with Harold as George approaches the room. Cristina says the echo showed that Harold's aortic valve is leaking, so they need to replace it before the cancer surgery. It's just a valve replacement so he'll be fine. George demands that Burke operates. George is convinced it'll be fine. If someone's going to cut into your dad's heart, you want it to be Burke. He picks up on a look on Cristina's face and chases her down, asking what's wrong with Burke's hand. She claims it's fine and so will his dad be, but he insists she's lying. George is convinced Cristina is helping Burke to hide something. As she walks off, she sees Bailey was standing nearby.

Richard pages Meredith to his office to talk about her mother. He knows their relationship is complicated, and he knows that Meredith knows of his relationship with Ellis. Meredith says it's okay since he's the only one who makes her mother happy. Richard says he can't see her anymore because he needs to work on his marriage. He can't do that if he's still seeing Ellis. She worked so hard and sacrificed so much. He asks Meredith to take good care of her.

Alex and Izzie enter Frank's room. It's time to take the tube out. Alex closes the curtain and hands Izzie a pair of gloves. She gets to take out the tube. Frank understands this is Alex's grand gesture. Izzie happily puts on the gloves.

Derek and Meredith are about to operate on Mia. Up in the gallery, Addison is staring at her rings as Bailey asks her if she ever thought about having kids. Addison says she and Derek talked about it, but she wasn't ready. Callie says she loves kids and she'd have a dozen. Bailey says one's enough unless you plan to put away the scalpel. Callie says that's what nannies are for. Addison wonders what to do with her rings. Callie says her mother says post-divorce wedding rings are bad juju. Her mother would burn or bury them. Bailey says she left for work early and Tuck's favorite food was strained peas. When she came home after her shift, he didn't like it anymore. He only wants carrots now. Addison says life moves so fast. Everybody moves on. Callie gets up and says she's not ready to move on.

George finds Cristina and tells her he picked her to be his dad's intern because she's a robot in a white coat who never makes a mistake. He appreciates that most of the time, but right now, he needs her to try to be a human being. He leaves her as she lets that sink in.

Izzie thanks Alex for what he did. She's very happy to be back in the game. He kisses her. She stops it and says she can't.

Mia wakes up after surgery. Meredith examines her. The first thing she does is asking for Anna. Meredith says her parents are here, but Mia still wants Anna. Diane storms out.

George is talking to his father about his heart surgery, which might take a few days. Harold is confused as Richard and Burke told him they needed to get to it quickly. George says they'll get to it as quick as they can. Ronny and Jerry are confused as to why their father needs heart surgery. They think maybe the tests were wrong and that their father doesn't have cancer after all. George tries to explain metastatic cancer to them, but they don't follow. Callie appears in the doorway. She uses a car metaphor to explain the situation, which works. Ronny, Jeremy, and Harold now realize the full severity of the situation.

Mia is happy to be singing the Good Night Song with Anna. Meredith and Bailey are watching from outside the room.

Meredith is visiting her mother again. Ellis tells her she can't stay since she's expecting someone. Meredith says Richard is not coming tonight. It's going to be just her for a while. Ellis understands he's gone back to Adele. She says he's afraid to be happy, and she's all alone. Now she has to raise her daughter alone. She doesn't know how she's expected to do that. Meredith says she did the best she could, and that's all anybody can do.

Harold asks Cristina how he's looking. She says he's ready for surgery. Harold doesn't know how to tell his wife. She's always telling him to take better care of himself. He should have listened to her. Cristina tells Harold that George is the best intern. He's a good doctor and a good person. Whatever happens, Harold should know that he raised a good person. He's moved to hear that.

Izzie joins Alex at the bar. She didn't know he still felt that way about her. Neither did he. She apologizes, but she can't. Alex says he gets it. She offers to buy him a drink. He accepts.

Bailey is on the phone with her husband, demanding he wake up their son and put the phone to his ear. She greets her son and starts singing God Bless the Child.

Addison is on the ferry. She is holding her rings and throws them into the ocean.

Cristina and Burke are lying in bed. She tells him that George knows.

George is tossing in bed.

Meredith and Derek are back in the tub. They have both come to realize they are not cut out to be bright and shiny. She is glad to have him in her bathtub. So is he.

Bailey finishes the lullaby.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Ellis Grey[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Residential care

Meredith was informed that Ellis hadn't been eating. When Richard brought her a treat, she started eating it right away.

Harold O'Malley[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Fractured clavicle
    • Stage III metastatic esophageal cancer
    • Leaking aortic valve
  • Treatment:

Harold had passed out and broken his clavicle. Callie had treated his clavicle break and said he would be okay, but they ran more tests to figure out why he had fallen, including an endoscopy and a biopsy, which revealed that he had esophageal cancer, which had spread to his stomach. He also had heart abnormalities, so they ran more tests to see if his heart was strong enough to support the surgery. He had a leaking aortic valve, so they scheduled a valve replacement before his cancer surgery.

Burke's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Burke and Cristina operated on a patient together.

Mia Hanson[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Crush injuries
    • Blunt trauma to the head
    • Skull fracture
    • Brain bleed
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Mia, 5, was brought to the ER after being backed over by her mother's SUV. She had crush injuries to her abdomen and blunt trauma to her head. After a CT, she was taken into surgery. Her injuries were repaired and an MRI was ordered for her skull fracture. She was bleeding in her brain, so they had to take her back in for surgery.

Frank Jeffries[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Pectoral implants

Frank was post-op day three from pectoral enhancement via implants. He had fluid build-up under the skin, so he had a tube placed to drain the fluid. They were able to remove the tube and he was told the swelling would go down in a few days.


Song Performer Scene
"Not Big" Lily Allen
  • Derek and Meredith take a romantic bubble bath, even though they're taking it slow.
"Everybody Get Movin'" Get Set Go
  • The interns talk about Cristina. Alex and Izzie imitate their patient.
  • Meredith is still trying to be bright and shiny.
"Time of My Life" The Watson Twins
  • George gets his dad's results and goes to see his dad.
  • Cristina encourages George to tell his dad the results. He has cancer.
"Where We Gonna Go From Here" Mat Kearney
  • Alex lets Izzie remove Frank's tube.
  • Derek and Meredith work on Mia.
  • Addison, Callie, and Bailey sit in the gallery and talk about kids and rings.
  • Callie leaves suddenly.
  • George confronts Cristina.
  • Izzie and Alex talk as they go upstairs.
  • Alex makes a move and kisses her, but Izzie pulls back and says she can't.
"Breakable" Ingrid Michaelson
  • Meredith consoles her mother.
  • Cristina talks to Harold about his surgery. She tells him George is the best intern.
  • Izzie tells Alex she's not ready and he apologizes.
"God Bless the Child" Cast (Chandra Wilson)
  • Bailey sings to Tuck on the phone.
  • Addison throws her rings into the sound.
  • Cristina tells Burke that George knows.
  • George lies awake in bed.
  • Meredith and Derek sit on opposite sides of the bathtub and agree they're not bright and shiny.
  • Bailey finishes singing.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song Staring At the Sun, originally sung by TV on the Radio.
  • This episode scored 20.92 million viewers.
  • Chandra Wilson sings "God Bless the Child" in this episode, making her the first cast member to sing a song on the show. Many cast members will follow.
  • Spoiler: When Meredith informs Ellis that Richard will no longer visit her, Ellis says she has to raise her daughter alone. Meredith wrongly assumes that Ellis is talking about her, when in fact, the daughter that Ellis was referring to is actually Maggie, whose existence is not revealed until later.


Episode Stills[]


Mark: There you are! What, did you go all the way to New York for my pastrami?
Alex: Extra spicy, extra lettuce, light on the mayo.
Addison: Mark, what are you doing?
Mark: Lunch. Want my pickle?
Addison: Seattle Grace is a teaching hospital, part of your job is to teach, your interns aren't your slaves.
Mark: Fine, no pickle for you!

Meredith: Today is the day, people. Today is the day when dark and twisty Meredith disappears forever and bright and shiny Meredith takes her place! You're probably not gonna wanna be friends with me anymore, because the sheer intensity of my happiness is gonna make your teeth hurt. But that's okay, because life is good. Life is good.

George: Why are you being modest? Modest looks weird on you.

See Also[]

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

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

Episode Transcript