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Grey's Anatomy

Season 5 Episode 12

Sympathy For The Devil

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 15, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
322 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Derek's mother, Carolyn, makes a surprise visit to Seattle and meets Meredith for the first time, as Mark tries to conceal his relationship with Lexie from her as well; meanwhile, death row inmate William wishes to donate his organs to Bailey and Arizona's patient, as Owen and Cristina try to go on their first date.moreless

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  • Derek's mother comes for a visit and Mer is terrified to say the least. Izzie helps as much as she can to make Mer look normal and happy ! Mark is also anxious about Derek's mother which is very entertaining.moreless

    One of the best episode's of Grey's Anatomy I have EVER seen, it is up there with the episode when Denny dies !! Mer is hilarious specially with the ponytail and the comment Derek makes about it being alarmingly high is comical to say the least! I love Derek's mother and hope she appears again as she showed a side to Derek that was really sweet! It was a real tear jerker. Dereks mother is a fabulous actor and would be an asset to the show and what she said to Lexie was extremely comical : ) The scenes with Mer and the serial killer are in such contrast to the comical ssenes but brilliantly done. It was difficult to watch the end when he is beating his head of the bed both a tear jerker and exactly what you want to happen at the same time! LOved every minute of this episode , it is a fine example of both writing skills of the writers andthe acting skills of the actors! Also loved DR Major having a bit of a melt down in Christina's shower and refects whats really happening in the world today with all that.moreless
  • Loving the dark action!

    I was really excited when I saw the promo with the serial killer (I think it was the promo for the episode before this one, but whatever). It's my kind of stuff; morbid action, very dramatic.

    I was not disappointed. This was a great episode, and not only the hardcore stuff (with Bailey's kid and Meredith's sympathy for the devil), but also the hilarious Derek's mom sequence - Meredith panicking and Izzie trying to help by putting her hair up in a ridiculously high ponytail.

    I love Callie and Mark's relationship - it's becoming more of a "best buds" thing. Sara and Eric are both awesome actors, and they just have that great charisma that makes their characters click so well.

    Excellent writing, this show is keeping its high standard. I'm kind of addicted! (Then again, I am a TV nerd.)moreless
  • Hopefully the last ghost-Denny episode continued the stories of the liver-transplant child and the death-row prisoner.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Tyne Daly as Carolyn Shepherd, Derek's mother. She gave a great performance and showed us a very credible, sympathetic and at the same time humourous character. There were great scenes with both Mark and Lexie where she was so clearly in charge! The scene where Owen Hunt was fully dressed in Cristina's shower was also touching as well as funny. I really like this couple and am looking forward to seeing what happens next with them. The ending with Meredith and the prisoner really took me by surprise it was so powerful. More of this please!moreless
  • The prisoner continues to be treated.

    All I can say is wow. This is probably the first time all year I have ever been shocked with the ending of a Grey's Anatomy. This is what I have been asking for. The kind of moment that gets you to think about your own values and just leaves you stunned with what happened.

    If you haven't picked up on it yet I'm talking about Meredith telling the death row prisoner (played well by Eric Stoltz) how to kill himself in order to do some good for a dying child. A great ending to a fairly strong episode of Grey's.

    I also like the chemistry between Sloan and Lexie as those are two of the more enjoyable characters on the program and it is great to see them paired together. What I did not care for was the Callie schoolgirl crush on Sadie, and the continuation of Izzie and Denny. Please end this storyline for everyone's sake.moreless
  • Izzy says she wants to break-up with Denny, and there was much rejoicing.

    Praise the Lord is all I can say! During this episode, Izzy tells Denny's ghost that she wants to break-up. It's about time! Denny was an awesome character on the show. The relationship he had with Izzy in a previous season was one of the best on TV. His return during this season of the show just seemed like a desperate ploy to reach out to viewers. For me, it tarnished the beauty of their relationship when Denny was alive. I'm hopeful this storyline is near an end. I'm so relieved Alex didn't suddenly hear him when Denny said "We need to talk." That would have been weird.

    I mentioned earlier "It's about time" and that is actually a great episode theme. I'm excited that Shepherd now has a ring that he can give to Grey. I hope he'll ask her sooner rather than later. They've been going back and forth for so long. It was alarming to see how angry he was at Grey when she wouldn't sign the paperwork authorizing surgery on the death row patient. One step forward, ten steps backwards with these two.

    Shepherd's mother was played very well by Tyne Davis. It'd be nice to see her return for more episodes. I'm glad that for once something good came of Grey's dark and dreary outlook on life. Hopefully what Mrs. Shepherd said to Derek about Grey's unique and unpopular views of the convict will open his mind and ward off future troubles. Sloane's fear of Mrs. Shepherd provided all the comedy that this episode needed.moreless
Ellen Pompeo

Ellen Pompeo

Dr. Meredith Grey

Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh

Dr. Cristina Yang

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl

Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens

Justin Chambers

Justin Chambers

Dr. Alex Karev

T.R. Knight

T.R. Knight

Dr. George O'Malley

Chandra Wilson

Chandra Wilson

Dr. Miranda Bailey

Eric Stoltz

Eric Stoltz

William Dunn

Guest Star

Samantha Mathis

Samantha Mathis

Melinda Prescott

Guest Star

Jason Kravits

Jason Kravits


Guest Star

Kevin McKidd

Kevin McKidd

Dr. Owen Hunt

Recurring Role

Melissa George

Melissa George

Dr. Sadie Harris

Recurring Role

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Denny Duquette

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (30)

    • Meredith: During surgery, Dr. Shepherd removed a piece of your skull. Which means that your brain is now only covered by dura matter. It's virtually exposed. If some how that area were to be damaged... It would cause intacranial which would cause your brain to swell worse than it did today, which would result in brain death. So, as your doctor, I need you to be very careful not to damage it. ... Do you understand what I'm saying? (William nods. Meredith turns to leave)
      William: Dr. Grey... Are you doing this for the kid? Or for me?
      Meredith: Whatever helps you sleep at night.

    • Alex: So, I checked. We both have a few vacation days comin' up, maybe we could uh... take a road trip, stop in Iowa see some corn.
      Izzie: Doesn't your mom live in Iowa?
      Alex: Yeah. I think that she'd like to meet you.

    • (Owen is drunk and showering with all his clothes on at Cristina's)
      Owen: Yang! Yang. I thought of it. I thought of my best surgery.
      Cristina (walks in): You're wearing shoes in my shower.
      Owen: It was my first blasting in the field. Body was mangled, homemade explosive device, copper wires were embedded five inches deep in the abdomen, arms and legs hanging on by threads of skin. I never seen anything like it. Not in a textbook, not during residency. It was incredible. Body full of holes... trauma surgeon's dream. I put tourniquets on where I could, started tying arteries off with my bare hands, but the bleeding was everywhere, stomach, chest... the best pressure I could think of was my own body. So, I ... I lay there for two hours on top of him, not moving trying to keep that dam from bursting with my own, hands and elbows, and knees... Body... full of holes. But he never bled out. I wouldn't let him. He made it to the hospital. He made it out. A month later... he sent me a letter thanking me for saving his life and then he shot himself. ... That was my best surgery. ... And my worst. (Cristina gets in the shower with him, fully clothed)

    • Cristina: You're late. You're really late. They probably closed the kitchen. (Owen hands her flowers)
      Owen: I didn't want you to think that I stood you up.
      Cristina: Are you drunk?
      Owen: ... I haven't been on a date in five years, since before I entered the military, I just wanted to take the edge off. I--
      Cristina: You're late and drunk. You're late and drunk?!
      Owen: I will make this up to you, I promise. I know that this is not what you deserve. This is not what you deserve and I will make this up to you, I promise.
      Cristina: Alright, before you say anything else, Dr. Good Times. You need to shower. You smell like a distilliry. (Owen walks into her bathroom) No. Not here!

    • Mark: Walk tall.
      Callie: What?
      Mark: All you do is be brave enough to get out there. You faught, you loved, you lost. ... Walk tall, Torres.

    • Carolyn: Meredith. I was looking for Derek, I was hoping that maybe you'd be with him.
      Meredith (sighs): You seem like a very nice person. You've been very kind, and you've given me a chance. And it seems like you wanna like me. ... So, it's only fair, you should know that the pink, and the ponytail, and the smiling with the teeth, ... I'm a fraud. It's fake. I'm not the kind of girl that mother's like. I'm not happy and bubblily. I'm dark and cloudy because I'm the type of crazy person that feels bad for serial killers.
      Carolyn: It was very nice to meet you, Meredith.

    • William: Why didn't you just let me go?
      Derek: You're not dying here.
      William: What are you scared of, Dr. Shepherd? Losing control? ... Or maybe you know that deep down, you're no better than I am. You decide who lives and dies all the time but for you they call it medicine. Not a capital offense.
      Derek: Nobody gets to choose. Not me. Not a patient in this hospital. And certainly not the five women that you slaughtered. So when I say that you're not gonna die in this hospital, I mean, there is no way in hell that I will let you die in this hospital! You don't get off that easy. ... I am nothing like you.

    • Carolyn: She's a lovely girl.
      Mark: Oh, lovely girl. Who's off limits.
      Carolyn: Bologna. She isn't the problem. You are. You have very low expectations for yourself, Mark Sloan. Since you were a little boy, you always have. And it's time to raise them.
      Mark: She's 24.
      Carolyn: And you have the emotional maturity of a horny 15 year old. You need young.

    • Cristina (to Meredith): That ponytail, looks ridiculous. (walks out. Meredith takes the tie out of her ponytail, letting her hair down)

    • Mark (after Lexie sits down at his lunch table): What are you doing?
      Lexie: You sleep with me, you eat lunch with me. New rule.

    • Arizona: I wish that you could just get organs delievered instead of having to go and pick them up, you know? I hate flying. I always feel much closer to death on a plane than I do in the OR. Don't you?
      Alex: I do now.
      Arizona: I met Izzie the other day. She's very pretty. So you think that she's the one?
      Alex: I- I don't know.
      Arizona: Well, I mean we're at that age, right? Marriage, babies... Is that the plan?
      Alex: I don't know! Sorry, I don't make plans, okay? If there's a future there, then great, if not... whatever. I'll get over it. I always do. Okay?
      Arizona: Okay.

    • William: Let me-- Let me save a life before I go. It's the least I can do.
      Meredith: So you really expect me to believe that you wanna do this for a kid?
      William: Whatever helps you sleep at night, Dr. Grey.

    • Derek: Mom, this is Meredith.
      Carolyn: Meredith, finally!
      Meredith (smiles broadly): Hi.
      Carolyn: My son has been acting like a dog with his favorite bone hiding you away. I hope you're free for lunch. I can't wait to dive in and learn all about you. (they hug)
      Izzie (looking on): Mer looks weird. Does she look weird to you?
      Alex: She looks like she's gonna pee her pants.
      Izzie: Or crap. I made her hydrate.
      Alex: Meeting the family always blows. I'd never make you do that. (walks off)
      Cristina (walks up): Who's that lady touching Meredith?
      Izzie: Derek's mom.
      Cristina: Oh, that's why she looks so weird.
      Izzie: She does not look weird, okay? I've got it under control. Mer is doing... great.
      Cristina: She looks like she's gonna pee.

    • Derek: Y'know, there's a towncar waiting for you at the airport?
      Carolyn: I don't need a fancy car. I hopped on the bus and saved you some money.
      Derek: So, this cruise, you just happened to have a lay over in Seattle?
      Carolyn: Well, you know, I have always wanted to check out the Space Needle. I understand that you can see Mt. Reiner from the top.
      Derek: Oh, really? Anything else that you wanna check out?
      Carolyn: You gonna take me or not?
      Derek: I have back to back surgeries, Ma. You gotta give me a little more notice.
      Carolyn: Yeah. I gave birth to five doctors. I know the drill. I can wait. Maybe meet your colleagues.

    • William: You're upset with me. I get that.
      Meredith: I don't get upset with patients.
      William: You're mad at me for killing those women. I get that. Would you feel differently if you knew that I was beaten as a child? Every day. It's how I learned to read. I used to hide under the sink and sound out the letters in the detergent box.
      Meredith: Is that true?
      William: Did it make you feel better? ... Whatever helps you sleep at night, Dr. Grey.

    • Izzie: You'll be fine. Just keep the talking to a minimum. Short. Short little nuggets of Meredith, that's all anyone really needs, and if you start to get stuck just... smile. You have a really great smile. (Meredith smiles broadly)
      Denny: Ooh, that's just scary.

    • (Mark just snuck out of the house. Derek passes him on his way into the house)
      Derek: Mark!
      Mark: Hey, there 'ya are, you wanna get a drink?
      Derek: It's 4 in the morning.
      Mark: Yeah, you're right. I probably should've called first. Hey, I hear your mom's comin' into town. Good times. (walks off)

    • (Meredith is clutching a bottle of tequila)
      Alex: 10 bucks says that she tanks in the first 5 minutes.
      Sadie: I have faith in death, she will make a good impression.
      Alex: She's holding that bottle of tequila like it's a life vest.
      George: Mer! Don't listen to them. She's gonna love you.
      Meredith: No! Mother's don't love me. Mother's like bright and bubblely, and happy, and... Izzie. Mother's love Izzie.
      Izzie: They do. Mother's do love Izzie. Uh... I stashed all of the tequila, took all of the condoms out of the cookie jar, I also replaced all your trashy magazines with the back issues of the annals of surgery, 'kay?
      Meredith: 'Kay.
      Izzie: Does it smell musty in here?
      George: My mom's house smells like peppermint. It's so homey.
      Meredith: My house isn't homey?!
      Alex: I was raised in a hell hole. This place is a palace.
      Meredith: Why isn't my house homey, George?
      George: I can't explain it! It's just a feeling.
      Meredith: Well, Izzie can't fix a feeling!
      Izzie: She is freaking out people, just tell her something that I can fix.
      Alex: Rebecca peed on that couch cushion.
      Sadie: I've been sleeping there for weeks...
      Meredith: Thanks Alex, you're a good friend.
      Alex: You're welcome. Keep drinkin'.

    • Bailey: Uh, Jackson's BP is a little down from yesterday. No big deal, but if we make a few calls, get pushy, maybe we can get him bumped up a few spots on the transplant list.
      Arizona: Dr. Bailey, you paged me 911 at 2:30 in the morning, to what? Chat?
      Bailey: Uh... you like to chat. You chatty.
      Arizona: Not at 2:30 in the morning! Look, he's young, he's near the top of the list. UNOS will find him his organs, when they find him his organs and God knows that staying up all night chatting about it, is not gonna help. I'm go get some sleep, I suggest that you do the same.
      Bailey: He's running out of time.
      Arizona: They always are. Welcome to peds.

    • Carolyn (giving him a ring): Your father always wanted you to have this for the right girl. Addy wasn't right clearly.
      Derek: You spent less than an hour with Meredith, you barely even know her.
      Carolyn: I know enough. I know its easier to have compassion for a good person than a murderer. I know how angry you are about what happened to dad.
      Derek: Of course I'm angry. ... Aren't you?
      Carolyn: I still can't sleep on his side of the bed, the mattress is wearing unevenly. But no, no, ... not angry. Not anymore. ... Oh sweetheart, you see things in black and white. ... Meredith doesn't.
      Derek: No.
      Carolyn: You need a spoonful of that. You need her. She's the one.
      Derek: Yeah.

    • Meredith (closing voiceover): We're human. We make mistakes. We mis-estimate. We call it wrong. But when a surgeon makes a bad judgement call, it's not as simple. People get hurt. They bleed. So we struggle, over every stich. We agonize over every suture. Because the snap-judgements, the ones that come to us quickly and easily, without hesitation, they're the ones that haunt us forever.

    • Arizona: So, Valentine's day. Personally, I think you can't go wrong with jewerly. If you want I can recommend some local places--
      Alex: What is wrong with you?
      Arizona: We just took a liver and an intestine from a little kid. A dead little kid. And you don't even care. You're talkin' about rainbows and relationships and crap. What the hell is wrong with you?
      Arizona: ... You don't think that I know that they just pulled the plug on the kid? You don't think that I get that? You don't think I know about the tiny, tiny coffin that they're going to stick him in? I know about the tiny coffins. I see them all the time. In my sleep. So if you don't mind, I'm going to keep talking relationships and rainbows and crap. And I'm going to make plans for tomorrow. Because that's what you do, Karev, you make plans. You have to. You turn your back on the tiny coffins and you face forward, Until the next kid.

    • Mark: Pain and agony for a little bit of pleasure? I get it.
      Callie: If it's that bad, why don't you stop sl- ... doing what you're doing.
      Mark: Because it doesn't feel bad when I'm ... doing it. It's good. It's great. And maybe if you weren't so scared of getting burned, you'd feel the same.
      Callie: You know, I used to walk tall around here. I used to walk tall. Then... Then George. He took off at least an inch. Then Erica went and left me, that shaved off a few more. I got shorter. All that humilation it makes you shorter, so yeah, I am afraid of getting burned.

    • Lexie: Can I help you with something? Were you looking for Dr. Shep-- (Carolyn cups Lexie's face in her hands)
      Carolyn: Are you a good girl?
      Lexie: I... What?
      Carolyn: A good girl. I don't mean perfect, I mean relativly speaking. ... Are you?
      Lexie: Yes.
      Carolyn: How many sexual partners have you had? I won't judge.
      Lexie: Um... Six. No, no s-seven. K-Kind of six. It's kind of seven.
      Carolyn: Criminal record?
      Lexie: Speeding ticket.
      Carolyn: How fast?
      Lexie: Twelve miles over.
      Carolyn: That's fast.
      Lexie: It-It wasn't too ... It was way too fast, but I-I was downhill. I-I-I was coasting, ma'am.
      Carolyn: Now I don't suppose you can tell me ... where the gift shop is?
      Lexie: First floor. East wing.

    • Carolyn: Mark!
      Mark: Mrs. Shepherd.
      Carolyn: You've been avoidng me.
      Mark: What? No.
      Carolyn: You've got that same look on your face as you did when you were ten years old. And you put Derek's favorite frog into the microwave.
      Mark: I never pressed start.
      Carolyn: What's going on?
      Mark: I'm sleeping with her.
      Carolyn: Oh, Mark! Not again! How could you?
      Mark: No, no, no. Not Meredith. God no. Meredith's little sister.
      Carolyn: Which one is she?
      Mark: The one with the juice box.

    • Izzie: I think it's nice. Your date. I think you and the pig murderer make a really good couple.
      Cristina: Okay.
      Izzie: What are you gonna do on your date? What are you gonna talk about?
      Cristina: Why do you care?
      Izzie: You only get to do a first date once. It should be... fun and sexy, and... Oh! Ask really good questions. Ask him why he first decided that he wanted to save lives. Oh! Ask him what his best surgery ever was.
      Cristina: I know how to go on a date.
      George: Why is Meredith eating pot roast? (Izzie and Cristina turn and see Meredith eating lunch with Derek and his mom)
      Cristina: It's a show lunch for the mommy. She's freakin' out. That ponytail, it's gonna blow.

    • Bailey: Okay, I made a list of the best pediatric GI's in the country. I figure between the two of us, we can get one of these guys to come down and do a TIPS procedure on him.
      Arizona: Doing a TIPS on a kid that needs a new liver? That's like putting a band aid on a bullet wound.
      Bailey: Well you have a better idea?
      Arizona: I do. Waiting for UNOS trusting the process. Why can't you do that?
      Bailey: Because I'm tired of waiting while this kid is getting worse. Jackson's tired, his mother is too. The only one who's happy to sit on her ass and twiddle her thumbs and wait is you!
      Arizona: Whoa. I've been patient with you. I've been nice. But I am really over you constantly telling me how to do my job.
      Alex: Hey. (Bailey and Arizona just keep arguing) Hey... (Bailey and Arizona just keep arguing) Shut up! (they stop) Respectfully. Respectfully shut up. Because we've got organs.

    • Meredith (opening voiceover): My mother used to say this about residency. It takes a year to learn to cut. It takes a lifetime to learn not to. Of all of the tools on the surgical tray, sound judgement is the trickiest one to master. And without it, we are all just toddlers running around with ten-blades.

    • Derek: You are wearing an alarmingly high ponytail.
      Meredith: Your mother is coming!

    • Mark: Why do you have to live in Meredith's attic? How am I supposed to sneak out of here with a frat party going on downstairs? Don't you kids ever sleep?
      Lexie: They're cleaning the house for Dr. Shepherd's mom.
      Mark: Mrs. Shepherd's coming... to Seattle?
      Lexie: So?
      Mark: So that woman practically raised me…taught me right from wrong. If she found that I was…with you…that we were... You're Meredith Grey's little sister. You are forbidden fruit. You are twenty-five. You're a fetus.
      Lexie: Twenty-four. I skipped third grade.
      Mark: I feel dirty.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Slovakia: Súcit s diablom (Sympathy for the Devil)
      Czech Republic: Soucit s ďáblem (Sympathy for the Devil)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Italy: April 13, 2009 on Fox Life
      Latin America: April 20, 2009 on Sony Entertainment Television (aka Canal Sony)
      Australia: April 30, 2009 on Channel 7
      Germany: June 24, 2009 on ProSieben
      Norway: November 3, 2009 on TV2
      Slovakia: December 7, 2009 on STV1
      Czech Republic: May 6, 2010 on Prima

    • Music Featured In This Episode:
      1. Take Away The Words by Winterpills
      2. All The Same To Me by Anya Marina
      3. What A Pity by Right Away, Great Captain
      4. Last Days Of Your Life by Glass Pear
      5. The Acrobat by Johnathan Rice


    • Episode Title: Sympathy for the Devil

      The title of this episode refers to the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil which first appeared on the album Beggers Banquet.