'Grey's Anatomy' reveals 'what if': What did you think of the alternate reality?

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greys-au.jpgLast year's " Grey's Anatomy" musical episode was a flop of epic proportions, so when they decided to go high-concept once again, we had our doubts. Consider us converts, though, because Thursday's alternate reality episode had us riveted.

In the hour, Meredith dreamed of a world in which her mother, Ellis, had never gotten sick, and in fact had wound up married to Richard. Having grown up in a stable household, Meredith -- who considered Richard to be her father and took his last name, Weber -- barely resembled the dark-and-twisty woman we met in the pilot episode.

The ripple effect left us with alternate versions of all of our favorite characters. Meredith's "person" was not Cristina, but April, leaving Cristina alone in her grief after Burke left town. Meredith was engaged to Karev, having brought out his good side -- but even his good side couldn't overcome his cheatin' heart, and it was revealed that he was sleeping with April all along.

Callie and Owen were married with two kids, though by the end of the episode, it was clear that Arizona was the one for her. Meanwhile, Owen was struggling through his PTSD, relying on Skype sessions with Teddy and secret support from Cristina to maintain balance. Under Ellis' iron fist, Bailey was nowhere near the "nazi" we know and love -- and she had terrible hair.

Perhaps the most dramatically changed was Lexie, whose father had committed suicide after her mother's death. When we see Lexie in the alternate reality, she's a drug addict with a cocaine-addled heart and little hope for survival until Meredith steps in at the hospital.

As for Derek -- he and Addison were together and expecting (though we're not sure how Meredith's mother impacted Addie's reproductive issues), but not particularly happy. Unmotivated and uninspired, Derek's nickname around the hospital was McDreary, a mood that wasn't helped much when he discovered that the baby Addison was carrying was actually Mark's.

The lesson lies in the fact that by the final moments of the episode, Meredith and Derek found themselves, feeling damaged and lonely, at the bar, with plenty of tequila on hand to fuel a fated (if belated) connection. Perhaps, no matter what the circumstances, destiny is destiny?

What we do know is this -- it was good television. In fact, Season 8 of "Grey's Anatomy" has restored our faith in the series. It's been one heartbreaking twist after another, which is exactly what we seek from this show.

Drop us a line in the comments below and let us know what you thought of the episode! Which alternate character was your favorite?
Photo/Video credit: ABC