Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki
Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki

My college campus has a magic statue. It’s a longstanding tradition for students to rub its nose for good luck. My freshman roommate really believed in the statue's power and insisted on visiting it to rub its nose before every exam. Studying might have been a better idea, she flunked out her sophomore year. The fact is, we all have little superstitious things that we do. If it’s not believing in magic statues, it’s avoiding sidewalk cracks or always putting our left shoe on first. Knock on wood. Step on a crack, break your mothers back. The last thing we want to do is offend the gods. Superstition lies in the space between what we can control and what we can't. Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long you'll have good luck. No one wants to pass up a chance for good luck. But does saying it thirty three times really help? Is anyone really listening? And if no ones listening, why do we bother doing those strange things at all. We rely on superstitions because we're smart enough to know we don't have all the answers. And that life works in mysterious ways. Don't diss the juju, from wherever it comes.

Superstition is the twenty-first episode of the second season and the 30th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Surgical fatalities occurs in threes and sevens, at least that's the rumor on the surgical floor. With four fatalities in the morning alone, superstition rules the roost at Seattle Grace, so Addison jujus Meredith for good luck. Burke has George retrieve a scrub cap Cristina is holding hostage, Meredith and Bailey try to convince a friendly stalker to operate and Cristina is annoyed endlessly by her OCD patient while Richard's past arrives in Seattle Grace.

Full Summary[]

While Meredith's voice over talks about superstition, Meredith watches how Addison pins her ring to her scrub top before scrubbing in.

Burke's scrub caps weren't in the laundry delivery, about which he's really bummed. He gets gloved and gets ready to operate.

In his OR, Derek says it's a beautiful day to save lives.

Bailey steps to the table and does a silent prayer before asking for the scalpel.

Something goes wrong in all four ORs, and all patients die.

The interns are in their locker room. Cristina is still frustrated that George is living in her apartment. Izzie talked to the morgue guy and he told her that surgical fatalities come in threes and sevens, meaning there are three more on their way today. Cristina doesn't believe it. George is still ignoring Meredith, who tells the others about Derek's good friend advice. Alex quietly asks Izzie if she snuck out last night. She says she couldn't sleep. Bailey comes in and takes all of them to the ER.

On their way there, Addison gives Bailey hot cocoa. It's a ritual they had in New York. They could all use some good juju. Bailey shouldn't question the cocoa. Addison gives Meredith a cup of cocoa as well and thanks her for her help this morning. Meredith thanks her and walks off. Addison then gives Derek his juju. She says she jujued Meredith in the spirit of friendship. Addison says she and Meredith are friends by proxy. Derek says that's very big of her, but she doesn't have to do that. It's not like he's going to be friends with Mark. Addison says she won't be either and walks off.

Meredith dumps her cocoa into a trash can.

Burke's on the phone about his scrub caps, which got misplaced. Richard joins him in front of the OR board. He notices a nurse is wiping another surgery of the board, the third one today. It seems all surgeons have brought out their superstitious side. Richard forbids anyone to change the board without talking to him first.

Down in the ER, Cristina says it's dead quiet. The other doctors say you're never supposed to say that. Only seconds later, a woman comes in with another woman, who's coughing up blood. George takes the case. Izzie and Alex get paged to Denny's room. A nurse answers a phone and announces there are two incoming.

The first ambulance is for Cristina. The patient is Jesse Fallon, 32, who was injured following a rear-end collision. His head hit the windshield. Cristina takes the man, who's counting on his fingers, inside. Bailey instructs her to page Shepherd. The patient stops them. He's counting the siren whoops. He can't go until he's heard it 33 times. The second ambulance is for Meredith. The patient is complaining of chest and leg pain. Nikki says she got hit by lightning. Cristina thinks this is all coincidence.

Nikki says her horoscope warned her not go too far from home. Bailey says she has no signs of wounds from lightning. Nikki thinks the lightning was a sign for her. Nikki says she wasn't struck herself. A tree was struck and a big branch fell on her. Bailey asks she tells them the whole truth. Nikki says her boyfriend loved that tree, so he's gonna freak out.

George informs Richard that Olive Warner is asking for him. According to her, she and Richard have known each other for 20 years. Richard knows her as Ollie. George says she got admitted with upper GI bleeding. Ollie had a TIPSS for oesophageal varices last month. Richard says he'll take the case and dismisses George. Richard walks up to Ollie, who says it's good to see him.

Izzie and Alex are with Denny. She hears rales in Denny's lungs. He rates the pain a 5 or 6 when he breathes. Alex says that means 7 or 8 when he's not trying to impress his doctor. Denny heard that there are three more expected deaths. He'd like to avoid the OR today. By the looks on Izzie's face, he derives that that's going to be difficult. She suspects he has a pulmonary embolism, a complication from the LVAD. They're gonna have to talk to Burke.

Meredith and Cristina get on the elevator with their patients. Meredith talks about Addison's juju. Nikki says you're not obligated to honor someone else's juju. Cristina thought Meredith was being friends. Meredith says she is with Derek. She wonders if she should also be friends with Addison. Nikki says definitely not, while Jesse keeps on repeating juju. Meredith says she'll call Psych for Cristina's patient.

Callie realignes Nikki's broken bones. Nikki says she should have stayed in bed, but she wanted to surprise her boyfriend before he left for school. He had a big exam today. George walks into the trauma room. Callie says he missed the boat. When a hot chick gives you her number, you're supposed to call. Nikki agrees. Callie tells George it's too late now. Nikki tells him not to give up. Meredith comes in and George leaves. Nikki comments that the plot thickens. Meredith is going to take her to CT, but before she goes, Callie asks if a tree branch really did all this. Nikki says her boyfriend wouldn't hit a woman. Callie says the bruises don't look like it was a branch. Nikki then confesses she was in the tree when the lightning hit. She really wanted to surprise her boyfriend and she had to see if his psycho dog was in the yard. Callie and Meredith claim it doesn't sound weird at all. The thing is, her boyfriend wasn't even home.

Cristina tells Derek about her patient. He asks to let him when she has the CT. He walks off as Burke comes over. Burke says he misses his caps. It's comforting to have them in the OR. Cristina says she prefers to have George out of their apartment. She has one of his caps in her locker, and the point is that he's getting it back once he kicks George out. She gets on the elevator as George comes over, asking if he can do anything for Burke. Burke says Cristina has something of his and he wants it back.

Richard enters Ollie's room and asks Gretchen to leave them alone for a minute. Ollie tells Richard that Gretchen is her new baby. She's six months sober and already on the ninth step. Ollie has been on the transplant list for years now. Richard says the cirrhosis is preventing blood from flowing into her liver, so it's backing up into her esophagus and causing the ruptures. She asks if he can treat it. He says maybe, but they'll have to run more tests. Whatever they do, she needs a new liver. She notices he looks scared. She says she hasn't seen him at a meeting in a while and asks how he's been. He says Ellis's daughter is working here while Ellis is in a nursing home. He goes to see her every chance he gets. Ollie can't believe he's having an affair with the woman who drove him to his alcoholic bottom. Richard says it's not an affair. Ollie says it's an emotional affair, and now he's lying to his sponsor about it. While she hasn't been his sponsor in years, she can still bust his ass if he's slipping. He may not be slipping yet, but he's making a big mess. Richard has been sober for 17 years. Ollie admits she's scared as well. Richard says she helped him to become sober, so he's gonna walk her through this.

George is looking for the scrub cap in Cristina's locker, but Cristina catches him in the act. George offers to do dishes and laundry for a month in exchange for the cap, but she says no since she's the only one who can give Burke sex. She really wants George out of the apartment.

Bailey and Meredith are looking at Nikki's scans. It looks like she has a grade three splenic lac. Meredith tells Bailey Nikki was up in the tree. It seems like she's a gentle stalker. Meredith asks if Bailey believes in that seven fatalities thing. All Bailey cares about is removing that spleen as soon as possible.

While Alex and Burke are operating, Denny is talking to Izzie about horses. They are a great judge of character. Alex says his uncle is a rodeo cowboy. Burke has bad news: he can't reach the big clot with a catheter, so they're gonna have to open Denny's chest.

Cristina's patient is talking to the psych guy about his compulsions. He had to count 333 turning signal clicks and the light was green but he couldn't move yet, so he's not surprised he got hit. Jesse says his compulsions ruined his marriage. Cristina wants Jesse to get in the scanner, but he needs to know if it's clean. He needs her to say "clean" three times. She does so. Jesse knows it's annoying. The psych guy asks if everything's all right with George, who's pressing his face up against the CT boot to annoy Cristina, who's doing her best to ignore him.

Meredith runs into Derek as Addison comes over. There's an awkward moment before they all scatter.

Richard has bad news for Ollie. The TIPSS procedure failed, meaning he's gonna have to put in a portacaval shunt. That procedure has a 50% survival rate. Richard has performed the surgery 9 times. 4 patients survived. Ollie says she'll be the fifth out of ten.

Bailey and Meredith inform Nikki about her spleen, but Nikki refuses to have surgery today. Bailey says spleen trumps horoscope, but Nikki has seen all those signs today that she ignored. She's convinced she'll die if they operate. Nikki asks them to call her boyfriend and tell him she's having an operation at midnight, because he'll want to be there. Meredith says she'll do that. As they leave the room, Bailey tells Meredith to get Nikki to the ICU.

Alex tells Denny that Izzie likes him, so it's gonna be hard on her when Denny dies. Alex says Denny could die of hypoxia due to the clot, or his heart will kill him. The surgery is not a routine procedure, and there's a serious risk of bleeding. Alex wants Denny to know that Izzie won't be the one to pull away.

Over lunch, Meredith and Cristina tell each other about their special patients. George joins them and keeps moving closer to Cristina to annoy her. Cristina informs Meredith about the cap situation. Izzie joins them and brings up the death cluster. She admits she's worried about Denny, but just as her patient. She's sleeping with Alex. She asks Cristina if Burke's said anything about Denny's surgery. Cristina wonders why she cares, since she's sleeping with Alex. Meredith leaves to try and convince Nikki to let them operate. George keeps on chewing next to Cristina's ear.

Derek has informed Jesse he's gonna have to remove part of his skullcap to get to the affected part of the brain. Derek assures him the OR is clean, clean, clean. He leaves to get ready, leaving George and Cristina with the patient. Jesse keeps turning the light off and on. He knows Cristina is judging him. He figures out she was a straight A student. He says she's managed to turn her compulsions into something productive, but they're both cut from the same cloth. That's why she can't stand him. The personnel has come to take Jesse to the OR, but George wants them to let Jesse finish until he's switched the light off and on 96 times.

Ollie's room is filled with people from AA. One of them comes out and invites Richard in. Ollie told her that Richard needs a meeting. He says not now, not here. Ollie knew he'd say that. He can't protect his anonimity over his sobriety. Richard enters the room and closes the door. They all hold hands and say the serenity prayer.

Izzie checks up on Denny before his surgery. He tells her that his will is in his nightstand. She asks why he's talking about his will. Denny tells her they have to be realistic. Izzie says he can't go into surgery thinking he's going to die, but they take him into the OR right away.

George follows Cristina into the bathroom, because he's figured out she has the cap on her. He grabs her and starts feeling up and down her body to find the cap. A toilet's flushed and Callie leaves a stall as George starts feeling around her breasts. He lets go of Cristina as Callie starts washing her hands. She brings to George's attention that this is the women's restroom. She leaves.

George is looking for Burke. Izzie tells him he's on the phone with laundry because they still haven't found his scrub caps. George says he can only get Burke's cap from Cristina if he hits her, but he's not yet willing to cross that line. Izzie leaves.

Izzie catches up with Cristina. She basically orders Cristina to give Burke his cap before he's going to operate on Denny, or she can physically take it from her. Izzie mentions she grew up in a trailer park, so she's not above kicking Cristina's pampered Beverly Hills ass.

Izzie follows Cristina as she approaches Burke with the scrub cap. She gives him the cap. He says the cap is one of his favorites. Cristina's kept it to remind herself what she's here for and what she wants to be. She wants to be a decisive surgeon, who doesn't need a piece of clothing to give him an edge in the OR. Burke says she's right. She knew she was. He walks off and smilingly puts the cap on his head. He passes George and tells him to scrub in.

Meredith's checking on Nikki. Meredith suggests that two surgeons telling her she needs surgery is a sign that she actually needs surgery. Nikki asks her if she called her boyfriend. Meredith did that, and he told her he hasn't been Nikki's boyfriend in a while. Nikki asks if she told him she got struck by lightning.

Izzie finds Alex in the scrub room and asks him why Denny thinks he's dying. Alex says because there's a good chance that he is. Izzie tells Alex they're over. He can't believe she's breaking up with him over a corpse. Izzie says she's breaking up with him because that corpse is twice the man that Alex will ever be. Alex is not good enough for anyone. Burke comes in and bans both of them from his surgery, and orders them to take their negative energy as far away from his OR as they can.

Jesse's saying "Find a penny, pick it up" three times while on the OR table. Cristina apologizes, but they have to put him under now.

Derek says it's a beautiful afternoon to save lives and starts cutting.

Burke, wearing his scrub cap, cracks his neck before stepping up to the table.

Bailey does her little prayer before she and Richard start operating. Meredith comes in and informs her that something's wrong with Nikki. Richard says she can go.

Bailey and Meredith arrive in Nikki's room. Nikki's bleeding out so they have to get her to the OR right now. Nikki keeps resisting. Meredith tells Nikki that her boyfriend called to tell them that he didn't want her to die. She's delighted, but she passes out before she can give her consent for the surgery. Bailey calls code blue and shocks Nikki with the paddles.

Izzie's standing in front of the OR board.

In his OR, Richard orders the anesthesiologist to hang another unit because Ollie's pressure is dropping.

Bailey shocks Nikki again.

Derek tells himself he's missing something, as the clip he placed isn't doing what it's supposed to do.

Burke and George are losing Denny as well. 

Two interns are talking about patients dying left and right as they pass Izzie, who asks them who died. They don't know for sure. Alex bets it's Denny since he's a walking time bomb. Meredith and Bailey come over and Meredith wipes Nikki's name of the board. They lost her. Meredith heard there's a number six, but she doesn't know who. She leaves to inform Nikki's family.

A seemingly disappointed Richard walks into the waiting area. He tells the people from the OR that Ollie made it through. They all come up to him and hug him.

A frustrated Derek leaves his OR after having lost Jesse.

Izzie's leaning against a wall and crying. Denny is happy to hear he wasn't one of the seven. Izzie wipes her tears and tells him there were only six fatalities. He asks why she's crying. She says she can't fall for a patient. He tells her good luck with that. She leans in and kisses him.

George enters the locker room and he's visibly disappointed to see Meredith is still there. Alex notices it and tells him he's a pathetic man. He's like a whiny little girl. Alex tells Meredith that George is not speaking to her because he's not over her. He tells George a man would move on, but he keeps moping around like a dog that likes to get kicked. It makes Alex sick, and if it wouldn't get him kicked out of the program, he'd smash George's pathetic face into his locker. He slams the door of his locker closed and leaves.

Burke and Cristina leave the hospital together. Burke is willing to tell George to leave tonight, but she tells him not to. She still wants him to move out, but not tonight. Burke gives Cristina his scrub cap back. She thanks him.

George finds Callie in the ER and he tells her he should have called. She ignores him and walks off. He takes his phone and calls her as he watches her from a distance. She answers and he tells her that he should have called sooner, but he's calling now. He wants to know if she'd like to go out with him sometime, because he loves to watch her set bones. Also, he wants her to know he rarely spends that much time in the women's restroom. Callie smiles. George tells her he really likes her. He asks if she's saying yes. She looks at him with a smile on her face and nods.

Addison approaches Meredith and gives her another cup of cocoa. She's sorry about her patient. She also has a cup for Derek. They both thank her. Addison and Derek leave together. Meredith takes a sip from her cup and dumps the rest in a trash can.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]



Medical Notes[]

Addison's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Addison had a patient die in surgery, pronounced dead at 8:17 AM.

Burke's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Valve replacement

Burke had a patient die in surgery while getting a valve replacement.

Derek's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Derek had a patient die in surgery.

Bailey's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Bailey had a patient die in surgery.

Olive Warner[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Upper GI bleeding
    • Cirrhosis
    • Liver failure
  • Treatment:
    • Portacaval shunt

Olive came into the ER coughing up blood. George said she'd had a TIPS procedure the previous month for esophageal varices. She was on the list to receive a liver transplant. Richard explained to her that her TIPS procedure had failed, so he had to put in a portacaval shunt, a difficult procedure with a 50% survival rate. Richard successfully operated.

Denny Duquette, Jr.[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Pulmonary embolism
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Denny was still in the hospital. He was struggling to breathe, so they suspected pulmonary embolism. They tried to get it with a catheter, but they couldn't, so they had to open up his chest. Despite the risks, the surgery was performed successfully.

Jesse Fannon[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Blunt head trauma
    • Brain bleed
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Jesse, 32, was in a car accident in which he hit his head on the windshield. He was also discovered to have OCD, so Cristina called for a psych consult. He said he'd had the compulsions a little all his life, but it had gone out of control in the last three years. An MRI revealed a brain bleed which required surgery. He died during that surgery.

Nikki Ratlin[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Broken leg
    • Splenic laceration
  • Treatment:
    • Casting

Nikki, 30, was brought into the ER after what she claimed was being struck by lightning. She told them that a tree was struck by lightning and fell on her. Callie realigned the bones in her broken leg, casted it, and asked Nikki about the bruising on her side, which is when she admitted that she'd been up in the tree when it was struck and had fallen out. She had a severe spleen laceration, but her superstitions led her to refuse surgery until after midnight. Before she could be taken into surgery, she started bleeding out and despite efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead.


Song Performer Scene
"You Don't Know Me" Greenskeepers
  • Addison clips her rings to her top before surgery.
  • Burke asks about his missing scrub caps.
  • Derek says his usual phrase.
  • Bailey takes a moment before starting her surgery.
  • Each of them loses the patient.
"Catalyst (Acoustic)" Anna Nalick
  • Richard and Ollie talk about Ellis and his sobriety.
"Free" Luke Doucet
  • Cristina and Meredith talk about their patients.
  • George comes and sits next to Cristina.
  • Izzie joins them and tries to pretend she's not scared about Denny's surgery.
"How to Save a Life" The Fray
  • Burke and George scrub in.
  • Jesse counts as he's sedated.
  • Derek and Cristina operate on Jesse.
  • Burke prepares to operate on Denny.
  • Richard operates on Ollie.
  • Meredith comes in and takes Bailey to Nikki, who is bleeding out.
  • She still refuses surgery, but she codes, so they start CPR.
"Gabriel and the Vagabond" Foy Vance
  • Richard is still working on Ollie.
  • Bailey is trying to resuscitate Nikki.
  • Derek is working on Jesse.
  • Denny starts to code.
  • Izzie learns one of the patients died, but not which one.
  • Bailey and Meredith reveal that they lost Nikki, but there's another.
  • Richard tells Ollie's friends that she made it.
  • Jesse has also died.
  • Izzie cries as Denny wakes up from surgery. Izzie tells him there were only six and it's past midnight.
  • She kisses him.
"Multiply" Jamie Lidell
  • Cristina tells Burke not to ask George to leave that night.
  • He gives her back his scrub cap.
  • Callie ignores George as he tries to talk to her, so he calls her from across the room and asks her out on a date.
  • Addison brings Meredith hot chocolate again and leaves with Derek.
  • Meredith takes a sip of the hot chocolate and then tosses it in the trash.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song Superstition, originally sung by Stevie Wonder.
  • This episode scored 21.13 million viewers.
  • This was Addison's debut of her unique scrub cap; prior to this, Addison had been wearing the standard navy attending scrub cap since she was officially part of the SGH staff.
  • Goof: The paramedics tell the doctors that Jesse Fannon is 32, but Cristina later tells Derek that he's 34.


Episode Stills[]


Derek: Ah! Juju.
Addison: Yep.
Derek: You juju'ed Meredith.
Addison: I did, in the spirit of friendship.
Derek: Hmmm.
Addison: What, are we not being friends with Meredith anymore?
Derek: No, no, we are. Meredith and I are friends.
Addison: And you and I are married. So by proxy, Meredith and I are friends.
Derek: That's very big of you.
Addison: Yeah.
Derek: You don't have to do that. It's not like I'm going to be friends with...let's say... Mark.
Addison: Yeah, well, neither am I. Now finish your juju before somebody else dies.

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.