Dr. Karev gets all the way inside the district attorney's office and was just about take the plea deal when, at the last possible moment, DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) bursts in to announce he was dropping the charges. Upon being told that they're not his charges to drop, since the case against Alex is being brought by the state, DeLuca says that if he's called as a witness at the trial, he'll say on the stand that he started the fight and tank the state's case on purpose. So the DA has no other choice but to let Alex walk.
Obviously, DeLuca's big move is motivated by the fact that he's in love with Jo (Camilla Luddington) and doesn't want to put her through the emotional turmoil of a trial. And it's clear that he's still holding quite a grudge against Alex, who apologizes — finally! — to DeLuca for smashing his face in, only for DeLuca (whom everyone is calling "Andrew" now, apparently) to snap at him that he did it because "Jo's been through enough." When Alex points out that Jo can take care of herself,
DeLuca Andrew retorts that she shouldn't have to. Burn!
While Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is thrilled to have Alex back at the hospital, Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is a bit more skeptical, if for no other reason than the fact that Alex begging for his job back is one of only a handful of HR issues she has to deal with at present. Knowing she needs to contain the staff rebellion against Eliza Minnick (Marika Dominczyk), Bailey makes the bold move of suspending Meredith for refusing to let Minnick into her OR — which, needless to say, doesn't sit well with the other doctors, especially Webber (James Pickens Jr.), who's trying to put a brave face on everything in front of Catherine (Debbie Allen). To make matters worse, Bailey appoints Kepner (Sarah Drew) to take Meredith's place as interim chief of general.
But once Minnick gets word that Meredith has been suspended, she gets mad at Bailey, saying she's worried the doctors will turn against her. Too late for that! Even Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) takes a break from making googly eyes at Minnick to suggest that she try to get her new colleagues on her side first before alienating them. But later in the parking lot, they get back into flirt mode when Minnick accuses Arizona of wanting her to get fired — if only for the reason that they could start dating then, without a conflict of interest.
Elsewhere, Maggie's (Kelly McCreary) shows up unexpectedly at the hospital and makes fast friends with all of Maggie's colleagues, much to her daughter's horror. The awkwardness continues when Maggie learns that her mom is there for a consultation with Jackson (Jesse Williams) because she wants to get plastic surgery. However, this plot takes an unexpected turn when Jackson discovers that the red blotches that Mrs. Pierce wants to have removed from her chest is actually actually inflammatory breast cancer.
Mrs. Pierce plans a small dinner party to break the news to Maggie, but unfortunately her mom playing nanny to Meredith's kids is the last straw for Maggie. Having no idea how bad her timing is, Maggie finally lets all her pent-up rage loose, yelling at her mother for encroaching on her friends, showing up at her house, and coming to the hospital for plastic surgery in the first place. But what Maggie's really upset at her mom about is the fact that she left Maggie's (adoptive) father and moved to Hawaii to start an artisanal soap company. Regardless, Mrs. Pierce retreats to her hotel without telling Maggie about her cancer.
At the end of the episode, Jo and Alex take a small step towards reconciliation when, after learning from Leah (Tessa Ferrer) and Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton) that Alex is a free man, Jo goes to Meredith's house and gives him a long hug... then promptly leaves again. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Owen (Kevin McKidd). Owen goes to Stephanie's apartment to try and coax Amelia out of hiding, but she refuses to open the door.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.