Meredith is back in the cadaver room, but instead of interns, she's joined by Bailey, Jackson, Callie, and Jo. As Owen explains to another group of doctors in a different room, they're practicing for a extremely experimental surgery on a 35-year-old cancer patient at a military base. The patient has bone cancer in his hip and spine, so, with a lot of hacking, they remove one of the cadaver's legs and reattach another to the center of the body. It looks freaky, but promises to allow the patient to walk. Medicine is so cool. The docs are super sleepy after a day of operating on corpses, but when the patient falls, the surgery moves up — to that night — and they have to go to him. Luckily it's not that far away, and they can take a minibus, not a plane. (Honestly, if I worked at Grey-Sloan Memorial, I'd only ever travel by tank.) On that minibus ride, instead of having a sing-along, they try to convince Meredith she should start getting interested in a new, very handsome doctor. Because in the world of Grey's Anatomy, loved ones die, but that's no reason to swear off elevator sex forever. Once they arrive, Callie gives a very confident speech about their "dream team" and its miraculous ability to perform the experimental surgery, but the patient's original surgeon raises (loud) doubts. The rest of the dream team acts like she oversold them, like they all haven't, at one point or another, given impassioned "I'm awesome" speeches.
In the on-call room, Maggie wants to keep her hookups with DeLuca a secret, but he's not happy with being on the DL anymore. The show kind of backs up why Maggie, personally, wouldn't want to come clean about dating someone under her (all puns intended), but it's such a norm at the hospital of sex and despair that it's hard to see it as an issue. The patients of the week are cheerleaders more concerned with their competition than their injuries. They're supposed to be ridiculous comic relief, but if everything you worked so hard for was taken away and you got hurt, you might go into a babbling panic spiral, too.
At the military base, the patient's original doc, Thorpe, is still trying to sell him on ditching the experimental surgery in favor of chemo. But the patient wants a chance at a full life, so he's all in. The cheerleaders are getting meaner, and the Regina George of the group (who Edwards explains is the squad leader, revealing she once held the title herself) decides they're going to ditch poor Maxine, the fast talker with the elevated BP. Will something terrible happen to her, compelling the cheerleaders to discover their humanity? Probably.
Warren gets called for a psych consult and finds that his patient needs emergency surgery. He tries to get his hands on a scalpel, but, of course, there's nothing sharp in phych. And... Warren goes full MacGyver and opens up the patient with the metal part of a clipboard, and he does it just as Webber walks in. Warren should talk to Hunt about the vet's use of ballpoint pens.
Meanwhile, the dream team is scrubbing in, but they don't head into the O.R. until Bailey takes a prayer break. It's kind of amusing how not on board her colleagues are with a little pre-surgery God chat. Once they're finally operating, the female military doctor is flirting with Jackson HARD as he's cutting into a leg. Doctors are weird.
The poor, stressed cheerleader codes, immediately forcing the previously catty squad to chill and feel concerned. What a surprise! A medical emergency is really great for group mediation. She needs emergency heart surgery but doesn't want her fellow pom-pom-ers to know, so Edwards offers to talk to them. But even the cheer-whisperer can't get through to the clump of mean girls.
Callie reveals there isn't as much healthy pelvis as she thought there would be on their military patient, and she literally can't do the surgery. But after a pep talk from Grey, Callie is inspired to throw another super-experimental surgery wrinkle into the mix. But it's okay, because when this many Grey's doctors work together and they're not hurtling through the air, everything works out in the end.
DeLuca seems to get a little discouraged about the idea of going public after Edwards and Penny complain about doctors who date "up" getting special treatment in the O.R. But the conversation loops back around to the cheerleaders and Edwards' leadership past, inspiring her to go back to the teens, impress them with her cheer-résumé, and help them reach friendly tranquility. Maybe she missed her calling as a guidance counselor. The contrite and silent cheerleaders even visit Maxine after a successful surgery.
In Warren's O.R., Webber is berating him for cutting a man open with office supplies, which Warren finds unreasonable. After rushing back to home base following the success of the experimental surgery, Bailey berates and suspends her husband for his DIY surgery, but once she takes off her chief's hat and puts on her wife hat, she admits she's impressed.
Maggie finally goes public with her relationship with DeLuca in a predictably awkward speech to Riggs, and, at the military hospital, Meredith gives Thorpe her number. I guess the black scrub cap is coming off (actually it's a ferry boat scrub cap, and it was Derek's and it's adorable). Meredith is back in the dating game!