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

Surgeons are often evaluated on speed and efficiency, but that doesn't mean faster is always better. You jump the gun, you risk making the wrong diagnosis. We don't always have the time to think before we act and that's what gets us in trouble. Once that first shot is fired, we're committed. There's almost no way to take it back. The question becomes: do we keep firing back and declare an all-out war?

Trigger Happy is the twentieth episode of the twelfth season and the 265th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

The doctors work frantically to save a young boy who was accidentally shot. Meanwhile, Arizona is upset when Callie tries to make an important decision about Sofia's future without consulting her.

Full Summary[]

Meredith's braiding Zola's hair. She encourages Zola to keep brushing her teeth. Maggie comes in with Bailey and says she found his shoes under her pillow as he crawled into bed with her last night. Amelia comes in with Ellis, and asks if it was DeLuca who crawled into her bed. Meredith says they're becoming like cat ladies and the children are their cats, but Maggie doesn't see herself as a cat lady just because she and DeLuca stopped having S-E-X. Zola asks Meredith why Maggie stopped having S-E-X with DeLuca. She replies he couldn't handle she was his boss. She advises Zola to never date men who can't handle her power.

Ben and Jackson are jogging. Ben was thinking about becoming a barista as he's falling behind his fellow residents. Jackson tells him not to panic, as his years of anesthesiology experience give him a big advantage. Ben's been a doctor longer than him.

Callie meets with Arizona in a café. Callie tells her about the place they found in New York, which is close to great schools. She brought brochures so she and Arizona can decide, because they'd need an application. Arizona needs to take a big step backwards. She never said yes to Sofia moving to New York. Callie told her she could see Sofia whenever she wants. Callie was just excited. Arizona tells her she can't take her daughter. Sofia lives here. Callie says they'll discuss their options. Arizona says that's not what it sounds like.

Stephanie is still sexting with Kyle. He's in town and wants to take her out to dinner. They're doing fine with their fingers, so she doesn't want to screw with it. They don't have anything in common. Stephanie gets a text from Meredith. She accidentally sends a filthy text to Meredith. Jo and Penny yell to undo it, but there's no undo. Stephanie runs off.

She approaches Meredith. She says she's sorry. Meredith asks for Sheila's labs. Stephanie says she's classy and they then walk into Sheila's room. Sheila has to have a hepatic adenoma resected. Sheila asks for her purse as she has a hairbrush in there. James is coming. He's her soulmate. They're finally meeting today after a year of online conversations. She told him about her surgery and he cancelled everything for her. She doesn't even look close to her profile pic. Meredith says she looks fine and that Stephanie has a first date today, too. Meredith says they'll be back to prep her. They leave the room and Stephanie realizes she did get the text. Meredith teases her. Stephanie leaves after apologizing.

Two mothers are talking to April in the ER. One of their sons got shot, but April has no idea who they're about. Alex and Owen arrive as an ambulance will arrive shortly with an 8-year-old gunshot victim. Alex tells the mothers they'll get back to them when they know more.

Owen, Alex, Jo, Amelia, and Nathan are joined by Richard, Bailey, Penny, April, Maggie, and Jackson. Alex doesn't need them. The ambulance pulls in, followed by a police car. The mothers come running to find out whose son got shot. As the doctors start examining the kid, the mothers' view is blocked, until Jo steps aside and one mother recognizes her son's shoe. Her son Brandon got shot. Peter, the other woman's son, steps out of the police car. Brandon is taken inside while Danielle hugs her son.

Owen, Amelia, Alex, and Jo are working on Brandon with a group of doctors watching. They wonder where the babysitter was and how it happened. Richard steps in to do an ultrasound and Amelia says the bullet must have hit the spinal cord. Alex asks to clear the room. Maggie stays behind, but Alex tells her they're good.

Arizona and Callie arrive at the hospital, still arguing over whether or not Sofia will move. Arizona tells Callie she can't just decide. Callie says she's just trying to show she's thought this through. She wonders why Arizona thinks moving will disrupt Sofia's life, as Arizona herself moved a lot and she turned out fine. Arizona goes inside for a consult. She doesn't want to see the brochures.

Jackson asks April if she still has the prenatal appointment. He asks her to let him know how it went. She will right after.

Maggie overhears Owen and Amelia telling Danielle and Patricia about Brandon, who has to have surgery. Stacy, the babysitter, arrives and says she just left the room for a minute. Patricia asks if they found the person who shot her son. Stacy clarifies the boys found Patricia's gun. They were playing with it. Daniella can't believe she has a gun. Patricia says it's locked. Peter says they were just playing when it went off. He asks he killed Brandon. The doctors say no. They' leave to go take care of Brandon. A detective wants to speak to Patricia.

As they walk off, Owen says they don't know yet if Peter killed Brandon.

Callie finds Penny, who needed a second after the news. She asks how it went with Arizona. Callie says she's not open to talking. Callie says she's trying to get all the ducks in the row so they can talk, but Arizona seems to want to fight. Penny can't help her, as it's not the time yet for her to have a say in Sofia's life. 

Meredith enters Sheila's room. Sheila's ready for the surgery. James is here in the hospital and he brought irises. Meredith tells her to calm down as a man appears in the room. He's James, but he doesn't look anything like his picture. He's sorry about that. He didn't want to do this, but he couldn't wait when he heard she was getting surgery. Sheila yells at him to go.

In the OR, Amelia says L1 shattered and left fragments in the spinal canal. Amelia thinks the mother should be locked up. A kid gets shot every single day. Owen doesn't own a gun. You need one in the army, but not here. Alex wonder when people are gonna learn. Jo says she has a gun. Alex laughs, but she's serious. It's for protection. She hasn't used it, but it makes her feel safer. Alex wants them to stop talking as Peter's life is also in the balance here, as it'll be over if Brandon dies.

In the ER, Maggie asks Stacy what happened, where she was. Stacy says she left the room in a minute. Maggie wonders why she was gone long enough so they could find the gun and shoot. Stacy says the boys are 8 years old, they don't need to be watched every second. They go off and play. They're good boys. She should be able to go to the bathroom and make mac and cheese without them shooting each other. It was not her fault. Maggie realizes she overstepped and apologizes. She asks if her mother's on her way. Stacy nods. Nathan takes Maggie away.

Sheila says James is just a liar, but it's her fault as she told him she loved him before meeting him. Meredith says she was just ready for something good. Stephanie knows people can seem too good on screen. Sheila says he was so good. They turn a corner and Stephanie sees Kyle. He'll walk with her so they can talk. Kyle introduces himself. Stephanie says she has to work. Kyle wants to watch, but she says he can't. They get on an elevator and Stephanie says he can't go any further, as the OR is sterile and he's filthy.

Richard asks Arizona if he can have one of her residents for a few days, while he get things settled since two residents are about to drop out. Arizona doesn't get why she's getting screwed over. She then confesses she's moody because Callie wants to take Sofia to New York. Richard asks if she can do that.

Jackson finds Ben, suited up, waiting in a hallway. He's meeting with Don Heller to go back to being an anesthesiologist. He can work and help people, and still log OR time. Bailey doesn't know yet, as he'll tell her when it's a real thing. Jackson says it's a terrible idea, but wishes him good luck.

Amelia has to remove the entire vertebral body to decompress the spinal cord, but she'll have to dissect more of the aorta, which means risking paralysis. If they don't decompress and use a brace instead, he can end up paralyzed as well. Amelia wonders if she has time to talk to Brandon's mother.

Amelia explains both options to Patricia. She recommends the surgery. Patricia says her husband's on his way, but they don't have the time to wait. Danielle says he'll live either way, which is good. Patricia tells her to shut up. It's not her fault. The boys should not have been in her room. Danielle says it was her gun, and now Brandon might have made her son a murderer.

Maggie called the sitter and made sure Meredith's kids are okay. She tells Meredith and Stephanie about the gunshot victim. Meredith doesn't want to talk about juvie GSW as it's too sad.

Arizona talks to Richard about the visitation rights that Callie offered her. She mentions her lawyer. Richard knows she feels like she needs to protect herself. Richard tells her to slow down and mentions April and Jackson, whose mess was created by overreactions and misunderstandings. Sofia's too important, so Arizona has to ask herself if she's overreacting before she does something that can't be undone. Arizona says he's right.

Meredith and Stephanie are operating. Meredith asks about the date she blew off. Stephanie wants to keep it professional. Meredith can't believe she treats Kyle like this after all these texts. Stephanie says it was good and hot, but the expectations are too high now. She's very good on paper, but she's not that good in person. She reminds Meredith she didn't want to talk. Meredith says about sad stuff. This, of course, is also sad in its own way.

In the OR, Owen's bone graft is sealing up with bone wax. Alex asks Jo where her gun is. She replies in a box under the bed. Alex doesn't want a gun in her house, but it makes Jo feel safe in their neighborhood. Alex says he got shot once, so he knows guns hurt more than they protect. Brandon's BP is low, but Amelia says it'll get better once she decompresses the spinal cord. Alex tells her to hurry up, then.

Nathan sits down in the gallery with Maggie. He asks if she's okay. She is. He says she'd make a good cop. She nearly broke the babysitter. Maggie has no idea why she did that. She was watching Meredith's kids and he dumped a pack of flour on the floor when she wasn't watching, and she thought, what if it was a pot of boiling water? Maggie's not used to worrying like that. Nathan gets it. They're her family. Family messes you up. Maggie says that part is new for her.

Ben drops by Bailey's office to tell her about his talk with Don Heller. He was happy to have Ben back. Ben can't sit around the house anymore, but Bailey says that's the point of his suspension. Ben wants to provide a living. She says they don't need his living. Bailey says her staff can't just see him sitting in the OR like nothing happened. Ben says this is not about how she'll look. She runs surgery, not anesthesia. It's not her department so not her call. If he does this, he'll have to find a place to sleep.

Amelia is still working to decompress as Brandon goes into V-tach. They need to shock, but Amelia says that'll make Brandon move, which will undo all her work. The meds don't work. Amelia is forced to clear and Alex shocks the boy.

James asks Meredith and Stephanie about Sheila. He doesn't want to go as he and Sheila understand each other in a way that he's never seen before. No one's loved him for who he is. His looks didn't matter. He knew this was gonna happen, but when she was dying, he had to do it. The doctors clarify the tumor was benign. He barges into Sheila's room and says she told him she was going to die. She points out he's not one to talk about lying and as they argue, Meredith says she'll call security and handle Sheila's post-op. That way, Stephanie can go on a date without her phone.

Down in the ER, Callie finds Bailey for their scheduled meeting. Bailey is busy with a cop, but since she won't get less busy, Callie can talk to her now. Callie says she's moving to New York with Penny, and she's thus leaving Grey Sloan. She's had multiple job offers. They're not a Chief position, so it'll be less hours, but that's good as Penny has to work a lot and she hopes to have Sofia there to take care of. Bailey can't believe she's giving up her career to chase tail across the country. Callie doesn't need her judgment as Arizona's got that covered.

Arizona gets a call from someone she doesn't know. She confirms she is and then says she does have a minute.

Amelia and Alex are checking up on Brandon. It's very unlikely he'll ever walk again. Patricia says the gun was locked. She doesn't know how it happened. Amelia says kids watch and pick up everything you do. She's very sorry this happened.

Amelia kneels down to talk to Peter as Owen's talking to his parents. Peter asks if Brandon died. Amelia says he didn't, but she confirms he can't walk or ride bikes anymore. Peter asks if Brandon is mad at him. Amelia asks if he would be mad if the situation were reversed. Peter says he would be a little, but it was just an accident. Amelia tells him that whenever he feels bad about this, he has to remember it was an accident. He has to know he didn't mean to. Danielle comes over and says it's time to go. She leaves with her son and her husband.

Alex comes home and tells Jo that Brandon's doing fine. Jo's sitting on the bed with the box holding her gun. She says she lived in a car when she was 16 years old. When she was falling asleep, she would listen to the voices of people passing by, people who had nothing going for them, people who had nothing to lose. She was scared they'd break in and take her stuff, or her. The gun made her feel like she had something on them. However, today made her realize the dangers of a gun. Back then, she didn't value her life all that much, but it's different now. She's outgrown the gun. She closes the box. Alex kisses her.

Kyle has taken Stephanie to his music studio. She comments it's dirty. It's his holy ground. This is where he feels the most like himself. She gets that. The OR is that way for her. The air changes when you walk in. It gets cold and you can feel your mind sharpening, like you get charged. She then says she does like the studio. She was expecting he'd play something for her like for all the other girls, but he says that when he plays, it's his way of letting people in. It's his move, but it always works. She pulls him close and says he doesn't need a move. She kisses him and takes off his jacket.

Meredith and Maggie are leaving the hospital. Meredith says she pushed two hearts together, forwarding the cause of love. Maggie starts crying. She doesn't know how Meredith loves her kids like this. Maggie loves them, too. She'd die if anything would happen to them. Her heart is wide open. She doesn't know how Meredith lives like this. Meredith hugs her. She says it's awful, but sometimes you have to pull the awful aside and get through the day.

Owen meets Amelia in a lounge. He thinks she saved Peter today. Owen says Nathan cheated on his sister. Megan called him when she found out, and Owen advised her to get on the chopper to get away from him and forget him. That was the last thing Owen ever said to her. Amelia hugs him and says he didn't mean to.

April finds Jackson as he's scrubbing in. She invites him to come to the OB with him. The baby should know that he's there. He will be there. Jackson then walks into the OR, where Ben is the anesthesiologist. He says it worked out.

Callie walks into the NICU and reminisces about Sofia being in there when she was born. She was so tiny. She can't believe their girl was ever so little. She admits she jumped the gun. She got carried away and she did everything wrong ever since. Sofia's their girl and she's not trying to make plans with Arizona. Arizona says the Barton school called her, wanting to talk about her application. Arizona says that doesn't sound like not making plans. Callie explains there are waiting lists. Arizona says they're not talking about this anymore. She shows Callie her lawyer's card. Callie can talk to her. Callie asks who's jumping the gun now. Arizona tells her she started this. Callie takes the card.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Sheila Davis[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Hepatic adenoma
  • Treatment:
    • Laparoscopic tumor resection

Sheila had a five centimeter hepatic adenoma. She was in the hospital to have it removed. The surgery was successful.

Brandon Cole[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Gunshot wound
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery
    • Spinal decompression

Brandon, 8, was accidentally shot in the abdomen. He was rushed to the ER, where he had no reflexive response in his feet, indicating that the bullet hit his spine. They took him up for a CT and then to surgery. Fragments of the bullet were lodged in his spine. His cerebral spinal fluid was leaking, so they had a choice between putting him in a brace or operating to try to decompress his spine. Amelia had nearly finished the decompression, when Brandon went into Vtach. In order to save his life, they had to defibrillate, undoing all the work of the decompression and paralyzing him. After his surgery, his parents were told he'd have therapy to regain some function, but he'd never be able to walk again.

Richard's Patient[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Richard worked on a patient in a cath lab.


Song Performer Scene
"Bring It Back" Shy Carter feat. Aleon Craft
  • Meredith braids Zola's hair as she brushes her teeth.
  • Maggie comes in with Bailey and his shoes.
  • They talk about how they've become like cat ladies.
  • Ben and Jackson jog together and Ben talks about his suspension.
  • Jackson points out that Ben's been a doctor longer than he has.
"Stop Where You Are" Corinne Bailey Rae
  • The doctors wait for the kid who's been shot. Alex sends some of them away.
  • The child is taken out of the ambulance and examined as the moms struggle to see whose kid it is. It's Brandon.
  • Peter gets out of the ambulance.
  • Brandon is taken into the ER.
  • They send the excess doctors out as they determine the bullet went through his spine.
"Placekeeper" Claire Guerreso
  • Arizona tells the person on the phone she has a minute.
  • Alex and Amelia tell Brandon's parents he probably won't walk again.
  • Patricia says the gun was locked up.
  • Amelia says she's sorry it happened.
  • As Owen talks to Peter's mom, Amelia talks to Peter.
  • She tells him it was an accident and says he needs to know that.
  • As his mom takes him away, he turns around and mouths, "I didn't mean to."
"Stole the Show" Parson James
  • Stephanie and Kyle kiss and start to take their clothes off.
  • Maggie and Meredith leave the hospital and Meredith tells her she pushed two hearts together.
  • Maggie tells Meredith she doesn't know how she loves her kids so deeply. Meredith says she just has to push through it.
  • Owen tells Amelia she saved Peter by what she said to him.
  • Owen tells Amelia about Megan, including that he told her to get on the helicopter.
  • She hugs him and tells him he didn't mean to.
  • April finds Jackson as he scrubs in and invites him to her OB appointment. He says he'll be there.
  • Jackson scrubs in with Ben, who's working as an anesthesiologist.
  • Callie talks about when Sofia was in the NICU and apologizes to Arizona for jumping the gun. Arizona says The Barton School called her.
  • Arizona gives Callie her lawyer's card and tells her to talk to the lawyer. Arizona says Callie started it.

Notes and Trivia[]


Grey's Anatomy 12x20 Promo "Trigger Happy" (HD)

  • This episode's title originated from the song Trigger Happy, originally sung by Weird Al Yankovic.
  • This episode scored 7.65 million viewers.
  • The table read for this episode took place on March 3, 2016.
  • When broadcast, this episode was followed by a PSA from Ellen Pompeo about children and gun accidents supporting the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
  • Derek Bailey Shepherd is 3 years old in this episode.
  • The scene with Callie and Arizona at the café was filmed at Stamp Proper Foods in Los Feliz.


Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]


Callie: Did I jump the gun here? I'm just trying to get all the ducks in a row so that we can talk, but it seems like she really just wants to fight about this. Am I wrong?
Penny: Yeah, I can't help you. There may come a time when I get to have a say in Sofia's life, but that's definitely not now. I'd just make things worse. So, all I can say is I'm sorry.

Miranda: You're a Chief, she's a resident. So you're giving up your career to chase tail across the country?
Callie: I just wanted to give you notice and I don't need your judgment, Arizona has already got that covered.

Arizona: So, what? Now I'm overreacting?
Richard: I'm saying Sofia's too important not to ask yourself if you are before you do something that can't be undone.

Callie: You hired a lawyer.
Arizona: Yes.
Callie: Now who's jumping the gun?
Arizona: You started this.

Meredith: Edwards, you really should save your energy, because you're gonna need it.
Stephanie: Can we skip ahead to the part where this joke is old?
Meredith: No.

Ben: I can't sit around that house for five more months, Miranda.
Miranda: You're suspended. Sitting around is the damn point.
Ben: I am suspended from the surgical residency program. I won't be operating. And I can stay current in the O.R. I can earn a living.
Miranda: Nobody's gonna go hungry.

Ben: You run Surgery, not Anesthesia. You're not Chief there. It's not your department. It's not your call.
Miranda: Ben. You can do this.
Ben: Oh, I know I can.
Miranda: But if you do, you better figure out where you're gonna sleep.

Maggie: I'm not a cat lady just because I stopped having se...
Meredith: Read the room.
Maggie: S-E-X with DeLuca.
Zola: Hey, Mommy.
Meredith: Yes?
Zola: Why did Aunt Maggie stop having S-E-X with DeLuca?
Meredith: Because he couldn't handle that she was his B-O-S-S. Do not ever date a man who can't handle your P-O-W-E-R.

MaggieI don't know how you do it, Mer... 
MeredithDo what?
MaggieLove your kids like this. I really love them. 
Meredith:They love you too. 
MaggieNo, I love them like if something happened to them I would die. Like, my heart's so wide open, and they're so fragile. I don't know how you live like this. I don't. 
MeredithIt's awful. Sometimes you have to just push through it, push the awful aside, just to get through the day.

See Also[]

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