A patient's history is as important as their symptoms. It's what helps us decide if heart burn's a heart attack... if a head ache's a tumor. Sometimes patients will try to re-write their own histories. They'll claim they don't smoke, or forget to mention certain drugs... which in surgery can be the kiss of death. We can ignore it all we want, but our history eventually always comes back to haunt us. Some people believe that without history, our lives amount to nothing. At some point we all have to choose: do we fall back on what we know, or do we step forward to something new? It's hard not to be haunted by our past. Our history is what shapes us... what guides us. Our history resurfaces time after time after time. So we have to remember sometimes the most important history is the history we’re making today.

Time After Time is the twentieth episode of the third season and the 56th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

Meredith deals with an overbearing step-mother. Cristina finds herself caught between Burke and Marlow. Derek fights for the job of Chief. Alex continues the search for Jane Doe's identity. And Izzie's past comes looking for her.

Full SummaryEdit

Burke and Cristina are operating together. He takes her hand to guide her. When things go awry, they rush to fix the bleeding and find that Marlow is observing them with a smile from the gallery. Susan is in Meredith's kitchen to stock the groceries she brought. Derek says this is great, but warns her not to overdo it so Meredith won't feel suffocated. Susan says she really wants to be there to make things easier with Ellis gone. Meredith enters the kitchen. Derek gets her some coffee and mediates between Susan and Meredith, who's not too thrilled. Alex, on the other hand, loves it. Derek leaves for the hospital to talk to Richard before things get busy. Meredith wishes him good luck, but Susan tells him he deserves to be Chief.

A woman joins Richard and Mark on the elevator. She compliments the Chief's sweater. He tells her his wife give it to him. Mark shakes his head in disbelief. Richard clarifies she's his ex-wife now since they are going through an amicable divorce. He's a friendly guy. The woman has lost interest and gets off the elevator at the next floor. Mark mocks his flirting, but tells him there's no shame. He needs a wingman. Richard is not interested. Mark thinks they'd make a great team.

Colin finds Cristina studying scans. He brings up the ventricular reconstruction from this morning. She reminds him she's getting married next month. To make sure she knows what she's passing up on, he invites her to scrub in on his heterotopic heart transplant. He imagines Burke will want to scrub in, too, to see how it's done.

In the locker room, Cristina tells Meredith she has to force Colin into defensive now that he's upped his game. Meredith thinks Susan stopping by has become weird, but Alex tells her that is what mothers do. He wonders if she'll do their laundry. Meredith tells him to get his own fake mother. Callie is resting on a bench after a surgery early in the morning. Izzie enters the room while praying. Alex derives she must have done something bad. As she walks by, George suggests a coffee date at 3 PM as a little pick-me-up for Callie. She happily accepts.

Mark removes the bandage from Ava's face. Alex snaps a picture. She looks at the picture and enjoys her new looks. The interns compliment her looks. Mark says the swelling will go down. They'll spread her picture everywhere. Mark says her face bears some similarities to her old face, as well as her eyes and her hair, so someone might recognize her.

Izzie tells George the confession thing really worked, so the sin has been removed. That means he doesn't have to avoid her anymore. He disagrees. It has to blow over, like his thing with Meredith did. She hates that he likens the sad, depressing sex with Meredith to what they had. George doesn't have time for this and asks her to let him be. He walks off to look for a patient while a couple approaches Izzie. Their daughter has leukemia and she needs a bone marrow transplant. She directs them to the Hematology Department, but the man says she looks a lot like their daughter. They are Dustin and Caroline Klein. They are her daughter's parents. She's Hannah's birth mother.

In a private room, the parents inform Izzie that their daughter has AML. They looked her up, which they know is against the rules, but Hannah's donor died. They had no intention of bothering her ever, but that death changed everything. Izzie says a biological usually isn't a good donor, so getting Hannah back on the donor list would probably be better. Caroline says they promised to keep Hannah safe, but she can't protect Hannah from this. It's genetic, so Izzie has to take care of her. If they are lucky, Izzie is better than half a match. Izzie realizes Hannah is in the hospital. Izzie would like to meet her. The parents want to check with Hannah first, but if she agrees, so will they.

Colin, Burke, and Cristina enter Charles' room. Charles is playing chess to distract himself from the thought of surgery. Colin says Cristina is a formidable chess player. Cristina introduces herself as Cristina Burke and clings to Burke's arm as she tells Charles they are getting married. She explains the piggyback procedure as two hearts working as a perfect team while holding Burke's hand. Colin says it's more of a divide and conquer mechanism. He stresses that he's the primary surgeon on this case.

As they walk down a hallway, Cristina tells Burke that Colin was trying to prove she picked the wrong man. So, he's going to have to live with a nice and sweet Cristina for a while so she can prove him wrong. He thinks that's a nice change of pace.

Addison finds Alex and tells him that Ava looks terrific. He has a hard time taking the compliment. A nurse informs them that the police is coming over. They think they found Jane Doe's family.

Derek is meeting with Richard. He understands that Richard had to pretend that everyone had a shot when he announced his stepping down, but he thinks it's time they drop the ruse. Richard doesn't follow. Derek recalls that Richard promised him the job when he moved out here, but now he has him jumping through hoops for that very job. He also heard that Richard gave Marlow special privileges for his piggyback surgery. Richard reminds him it's a teaching hospital. Derek says his presentation went worse than he hoped so he wants Richard's support, because his vote carries a lot of weight.

In the clinic, Izzie tells Bailey she's not feeling well before walking out. Bailey senses something's off.

She finds Izzie crying in a bathroom stall and tells her to pull it together and come out of it. Izzie opens the door. She tells Bailey she has an 11-year-old who needs a bone marrow transplant. She might be a match. She asks Bailey to keep this a secret. Bailey understands. Her daughter is here and she can go meet her right now. She thought about this moment a lot, but she imagined they would be older and healthy. She doens't know what to do.

Addison and Alex are meeting with Ava's supposed parents. They love their daughter Shannon, but they don't get along with her husband. While she was at work, he packed up and disappeared because he didn't want a baby. She went after him and they haven't heard from her since. The mother shows them a picture. The blood type also matches. Addison asks about medical history. Shannon had her tonsils removed.

Meredith runs into Susan at the hospital. She wants them to talk. Meredith apologizes, but this is too much for her. She can't be Susan's daughter or charity case. She needs Susan to stop mothering.

Alex finds Ava watching her own missing person report. He asks her to open her mouth, but refuses to tell her why. She realizes someone has recognized her. Alex tells her about the tonsils. He checks and finds she has no tonsils. The parents appear in the doorway, even though he asked them to wait. Ava says it's okay. The parents come in and tell her that her real name is Shannon Marie.

Bailey updates George on the clinic patients and asks him to hold down the fort while she's gone. He wants to know what's going on with Izzie, who's standing nearby, but he's told it's none of his business. Meredith comes up and asks Bailey if she can scrub in on the surgery on the patient with a perforation she did a consult on, but Bailey has her stay in the clinic to help out George. As Bailey walks off with Izzie, Meredith asks George what's going on with Izzie. He just hands her a patient chart.

Burke tells Charles that he will be examining the donor heart while Marlow prepares his chest. Marlow says they will actually switch roles so he can make sure the IVC orifice is oversewn. As Burke continues to explain the rest of the procedure, Marlow comments he must not have read his article on the procedure. He asks Cristina for a copy. Cristina hands him the magazine, showing off her nails in the process. They are polished in different colors to test for the wedding day.

Mark pulls Richard aside to a nurses station and shows off his flirting with a nurse. That's what a wingman does.

Izzie and Bailey sit down outside the peds ward. Bailey tells her she'll know what to do once she sees Hannah. It must be nice to know that the parents are doing everything they can, but that doens't mean that Izzie doesn't want that girl to want her. Izzie admits she wants that. Hannah's parents exit her room with bad news. Hannah is so tired and she's not ready. They don't want to force it, so they want to postpone. Izzie says she understands. Dustin asks about the transplant. Izzie can't bring herself to answer and turns to Bailey, who tells her the girl needs to live in order to have a chance to want to get to know Izzie. Izzie gathers herself and tells the parents they can get started.

Ava tells Alex that she teaches second grade. Her father tells her that she can get the job right back when they move back to North Bend. They have a room all set up for her with her books, letters, and diaries. Even if she doesn't remember everything now, she will once she reads those diaries. Alex says she's still on antibiotics and bed rest and they are still monitoring the baby, so he'll have to check with Addison first.

Derek runs into Meredith, who confesses she yelled at Susan. He hugs her and tells her it'll be okay. Richard passes by and sees the hug. Meredith asks how it went with the Chief. He says about as well as it did with Susan.

Alex finally finds the others, who decided to have lunch in the clinic. George still wants what's going on with Izzie, but he can't ask her since he has no clue where she is. Cristina explains her finger nails. She then turns to Alex and asks if he's sad because Ava was claimed. Alex claims he doesn't give a crap about her. George sees Bailey and goes up to her to ask about Izzie, and insists it concerns him. He demands to know, but immediately regrets it. Bailey then pulls Meredith aside and hands her the tube with a specimen from Izzie. She wants Meredith to take it to the lab and not let it out of her sight all the while being very discreet about it.

Izzie is about to be given an epidural. It's new for her to be on the receiving end of the needle. Bailey is with her. She offers to call a friend to hold her hand, but Izzie declines. Noticing she does need somebody, Bailey offers her her own hand.

George asks Meredith to tell him where Izzie is, but she can't. George says Izzie actually wants him to know, but she just hasn't said that because they are having a stupid fight. He thinks it's wrong if he's not there when she needs him just because they're being idiots. Meredith tells him she's in procedure room A. He thanks her and rushes off.

Alex tells Shannon's mother that they can take their daughter home, but she says they can't. She thinks it's not Shannon. She looks an awful lot like Shannon, but she's not. A mother knows her child. If that's not Shannon, they still don't know where she is. That's why her husband needs Ava to be Shannon. She doesn't know how to tell him. She asks Alex to ask her husband to meet her in the lobby, but she can't face Ava and tell her herself.

Derek asks Richard if he has his support or not, so he can know if he moved to Seattle for nothing. Richard says he didn't because he met a fantastic woman here. Derek says this is not about his personal life. Richard says you can't combine being Chief with a healthy personal life. Derek says he's the best candidate and he doesn't need Richard to protect his personal life. Richard says he's not, but he told Ellis he would look after Meredith. Derek angrily leaves.

George enters the procedure room. He ignores Bailey and Izzie's objections and stays. He tells Bailey she can go. Izzie thanks her and she leaves. George then asks her what this private manner is. The physician then starts drilling into her hip. She grunts in pain.

Callie arrives in the clinic, but clarifies to Meredith that she's not here to work. Callie says she's meeting George, but Meredith mentions he's with Izzie.

In surgery, Marlow openly criticizes Burke's approach. Burke defends himself citing what he's read, but Marlow says reading about and actually performing the procedure are actually two different things. It was his mistake for letting Burke scrub in. He suggests Burke step back and just observe.

The procedure is done. Izzie is struggling to put her scrub pants back on. He assists her. She leans on him as he pulls up the pants. As he opens her gown, Izzie tells him about Hannah. Her mother wanted her to keep her, but even at 16 she knew that her baby deserved better than a trailer park. Now she's here and she might be dying. She didn't think she'd care until Hannah said no to meeting her. She then says she can pray all she wants, but she still misses George. She can live without the sex, but she won't make it without him as her friend. He tells her she should be proud of what she did today. He'll get an orderly to take her downstairs. She understands. He leaves the room, but returns moments later.

Cristina finds Burke staring in an empty OR. Colin was brilliant, Burke admits. Cristina asks why he switched from 3-O to 5-O sutures when he moved the atrium to the vena cava. He says you want the finest sutures you can for vascular structure. Delicate tissue demands a delicate touch. He leaves. Colin walks in from the scrub room. He overheard the conversation. He says she's been playing a game all day, but that question was real. It's from his paper, which she helped him write, so he knows she knew the answer already. The Cristina he knew was only concerned with excellence. She would never play a helpless girl to build up a man's ego. He wonders what's become of her. She has learned that sometimes you have to think about other people. She does not compromise herself. He says he's going home. There's no sense in coming her to get a job to chase after a woman who apparently no longer exists. He wishes her the best of luck with the wedding.

George wheels Izzie to near her daughter's room. The parents just enter the room. Izzie can't bring herself to look, so she asks George to do so. Hannah's getting the infusion. George says she can look herself. Izzie can't bring herself to move to the window. George tells her the girl has her eyes and mouth. If she's in pain, she's not letting on. He helps Izzie to get up. They watch the girl from a distance. Izzie thinks she's beautiful.

Derek finds Bailey cleaning up in the clinic. He recalls her warning him that Meredith might become a problem. She thinks they did alright. He came out here to be Chief and Meredith complicates that. Bailey says if it becomes a choice, he has to pick her. This all means nothing if you're alone.

George gets off an elevator and is confronted with an angry Callie. He then realizes he forgot about their coffee date. He got busy. She asks with what. He says the clinic and the patients. She's hurt and tired. She says she'll see him at home.

Alex enters Ava's room. Her dad just taught her solitaire. Ava asks if she can go home. Alex calls her Ava, but she says it's Shannon Marie. Alex says he's sorry. She says she's supposed to go with them. She thinks Alex wants to keep her to himself. She thinks it's sad she's the best he can do. She yells she's not Ava. He made that up. She yells at him to get out. He leaves.

Richard and Mark arrive at Joe's. Richard reminds Mark he doesn't drink. Mark says it's good if he lets the ladies drink. Richard thinks Mark's mission to get him laid has something to do with the competition for his job.

Burke joins Cristina in the bathroom. He heard Marlow's going home. He tells her she played well and that she can go back to being Cristina. She tries to ignore Marlow's words.

Derek's lying down in his trailer. He ignores his ringing phone.

Meredith is trying to reach Derek, but he doesn't pick up. The doorbell rings. Meredith goes to open the door. It's Susan. Susan demands that Meredith let her in. She needs to say something that she's been working up for a while now. It's Susan's fault that Thatcher never fought for her. She knew about Meredith and she didn't push him to fight for her. She was a child and they were the adults, but they were just married and it's new and that's what she cared about. She knows the groceries are too much, but that's the only way she knows how to be there for Meredith. If Meredith can't accept that, that's fine, but she has to stop being rude. Susan thinks she's overstepping. Meredith says as far as mothers go, she only knows overbearing. Overprotective is all new for her. It's okay.

At the bar, Mark is talking Richard up for a woman. He leaves Richard alone with her. Richard asks if she comes here often. The woman replies sometimes. It's on her way home from bio class. Richard almost chokes on his drink. Addison saves him from the situation by asking if the seat next to his is taken. Richard talks about the last time he picked up a woman. When you're married, you like to think you still have game. Addison tells him he can practice on her. She suggests he ask her to dance. They start dancing together.


  • Meredith Grey
  • Cristina Yang
  • Izzie Stevens
  • Alex Karev
  • George O'Malley
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Addison Montgomery
  • Callie Torres
  • Mark Sloan
  • Preston Burke
  • Derek Shepherd
  • Jane Doe/Ava
  • Colin Marlow
  • Joan Waring
  • Charles Redford
  • Caroline Klein
  • Dustin Klein
  • Hematologist
  • Susan Grey
  • Frank Waring
  • Social Worker
  • Nurse Kate
  • Nurse Zibby
  • Young Woman
  • Hannah

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Burke's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Ventricular reconstruction

Burke and Cristina operated together. Their patient became unstable.

Charles RedfordEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Heterotopic heart transplant

Colin performed a heterotopic (or piggyback) transplant on Charles. It went well.

Callie's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Abscess
  • Treatment:

Callie said she had a patient that had a gooey abscess which exploded on her.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
  • Treatment:
    • IV Antibiotics
    • Bed rest

They took pictures after her facial reconstruction to get an image out so they could hopefully find their Jane Doe's family. She was on bed rest until she delivered.

Javier RuggeroEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

George called for Javier in the clinic.

Hannah KleinEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Bone marrow transplant

Hannah, 11, was diagnosed with AML a few months prior. She needed a bone marrow transplant and since Izzie is her biological mother, Hannah's parents sought her out as a possible donor. She agreed and the donation went through.

Meredith's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Perforation
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Meredith did a consult on a patient who had a perforation and needed surgery, but she was told she couldn't scrub in.

Mark's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Mark asked a nurse for an update on one of his patients.


Song Performer Scene
"You Know I'm No Good" Amy Winehouse
  • Cristina and Burke operate together. Their patient codes as Colin watches from the gallery.
"Burning" The Whitest Boy Alive
  • Cristina rants to Meredith about Colin and Meredith rants about Susan.
  • George checks on Callie as Izzie comes in from confession.
  • George and Callie make a coffee date.
"Dancing With Myself" Nouvelle Vague
  • The interns are eating together. George asks what's happening with Izzie.
  • Cristina tells Meredith what's happening with Colin.
  • Alex talks about Ava.
  • George asks Bailey about Izzie. Bailey says she won't tell him.
"Clean Getaway" Maria Taylor
  • George helps Izzie put her pants on.
  • Izzie tells George about Hannah and Hannah not wanting to meet her.
  • Izzie doesn't want to lose George as a friend. He leaves, but soon after comes back.
"Fontana Fontaine" Lullaby Baxter
  • George wheels Izzie toward Hannah's room. Izzie can't look, so George looks and tells her what he sees.
  • George helps Izzie stand up to see Hannah for herself.
"A Good Start" Maria Taylor
  • Ava tells Alex to get out of her room.
  • Mark brings Richard to a bar to pick up women.
  • Burke and Cristina talk about Colin leaving.
  • Derek is alone on the couch. Meredith calls, but he ignores it.
  • Susan comes to Meredith's door.

  • Mark sets Richard up with a woman, but he waffles when he sees how young she is.
  • Addison comes over and asks Richard to dance with her.
  • They dance.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy Episode 320 "Time After Time" Preview Promo

Grey's Anatomy Episode 320 "Time After Time" Preview Promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Time After Time, originally sung by Cyndi Lauper.
  • This episode scored 21.12 million viewers.
  • Bailey tells Derek that if he has to choose between the Chief job and his loved one, he should pick his loved one because the job is nothing when he's all alone. Ironically, when her husband later makes her choose between her career and their marriage, she chooses her career.


Episode StillsEdit


Derek: You warned me she could become a problem.
Bailey: Who, Meredith?
Derek: You know when you love somebody, you think you can handle it all?
Bailey: You’ve done all right, both of you.
Derek: I came here to be chief, but Meredith complicates that.
Bailey: Huh. Well if this turns into an “either or”, you pick the person you love. End of story. Look, all of this means nothing if you’re alone.

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.


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