Pardon me while I try to stop crying my eyes out and recap this mostly heartbreaking (and slightly annoying) episode.
We open on Maggie, Alex, and Meredith picking up Diane Pierce (a.k.a. Maggie’s mom) from the airport, and judging by the way Maggie’s upset about Mama Pierce’s upcoming “boob job,” she still doesn’t know about the C-A-N-C-E-R.
Jackson tries to tell convince Diane to actually talk to her daughter about what she’s going through - which, seeing as how Maggie’s being a bit pointed, if not exceedingly rude, with her comments, I also recommend. But no. She says she wants to tell her after the surgery so she can say she “had” cancer, not that she still has it. (See? Told you it was heartbreaking and a little bit annoying.)
Not getting answers from her own mother, Maggie goes and questions Jackson, mentioning that she’s locked out of her mom’s file. The plastic surgeon doesn’t admit that he knows what’s going on, but he does point out that her mother is scared of this surgery - but not why she’s this scared, thus maintaining doctor-patient confidentiality.
Later, we see Maggie obsess over why her mom would make this kind of decision, saying she wasn’t allowed to pierce her ears - though I suspect her mother was trying to save her from name-pun-related teasing on this account - so why would her mother get a boob job?
At first Meredith and Amelia say it’s for sex for her shirts to fit better. But then Meredith says Maggie should ask her mother for a reason, while Amelia goes in the opposite direction and says it’s not her job to question her mom’s decision. (Both of these strategies are emblematic of what either woman is going through, so they’re not really great advice for Maggie herself.)
In any case, Diane does eventually tell her and Maggie is understandably shocked. She walks out of the room with her mother’s case chart in her hands and proceeds to go study up on her mom’s condition. All this while her mom waits for her at Meredith’s house and plays with Zola and Bailey (and Baby Ellis? Honestly I can’t track where this kid ever is).
The next day, Diane Pierce goes into surgery and Maggie paces nervously outside.
Elsewhere in the episode, Meredith is dealing with Riggs, who wants to know if she thought about what he said. Obviously she did, as we see her and Alex discuss it. But Dr. Grey stone cold lies to him, saying, “I have three kids and a job. I’m a surgeon.” As funny as it is, fair point. She’s a very busy lady, and I’m not sure what Riggs does on his time off. Probably practice his jokes for when he sees Meredith.
Anyhow, the next time he sees her, Riggs tries asking her again. But this time, Meredith points out that he’s pushing her without giving her anything to go on. Everyone she knows who knows him doesn’t like him, but Riggs insists on joking like it doesn’t matter. (Like I said last time, “If you want to be her lover, you gotta get with her friends.”) So Riggs tries to give her a reason and can’t.
Though he does get a chance to elaborate later on in the episode, saying he didn’t want to like her, but he saw her laugh once, and now he comes in early to see if her name is on their surgery board and tries to come up with jokes to make her laugh (LOL). To this, Meredith suggests he ask her out to dinner. She then says yes when he does. But before she can say or do anything else, Jackson gets her because Maggie needs her
When Meredith finds her, Maggie is staring at her mother’s charts. She turns to her half sister and says that her mom is really, really sick.
NEXT: 13 Seasons. Why?!
In another part of the hospital, Owen and Amelia are working out their marital issues while working with the world’s sweetest married couple: the Clatches.
Lewis (the husband) announces that he used to be surgeon and orders tests on Elsie (the wife). However, it doesn’t take long for Stephanie to figure out that he’s the famous Dr. Clatch (one of two, the other being his wife). Naturally, the residents are thrilled. And they should be, because Elsie realizes this is a teaching hospital and invites them to be a part of her diagnosis, which, unfortunately, isn’t good. She’s bleeding in her brain. Amelia could do some surgery to ease it, but she wouldn’t advise it.
Not that it matters, because Elsie manages to convince her to do the surgery. Turns out the 95-year-old former doctor wants more time with her husband of 60 years because she needs to teach him how to be alone. (At which point I stopped trying to hold in my tears.) She also just wants more time with him.
Honestly, it’s testament to this show, which seems to lose patients every other week - some of them “tiny babies,” as Arizona would put it - that it can still make me invest in a patient this much after 13 seasons. (Remember Doc?! Because I do. RIP.) And it’s because of this investment and enough Grey’s watching experience that I know that things don’t look so good for my favorite surgeon couple.
While Elsie talks to Amelia, Lewis talks to Owen and demands to see her boss, to which he needs to point out that she’s actually Head of Neuro. It’s this reassurance that makes Owen mad at Amelia when he finds out she’s going through with the surgery. He’d told Lewis to trust her because he thought she wouldn’t be doing it.
Thankfully, the surgery goes well. Elsie wakes up and instantly starts teasing Lewis, who was telling Owen that the secret to their marriage is that he kept trying to stay married to her - and that she probably knows the real secret.
Through all this, Owen and Amelia are having various disagreements all over the hospital. Even Bailey needs to get involved at one point. Basically, Amelia accuses Owen of suffocating her with his desire to have kids. She even brings up Cristina, which is kind of a low blow. This is where the episode is at its most annoying. I can’t imagine anyone rooting for this couple anymore, because they really are making each other miserable.
Owen keeps wanting a “normal” family, which Amelia is right in pointing out doesn’t quite exist because people don’t get to choose what kind of kid they get. But she is being unnecessarily stubborn in the way she refuses to really talk about their issues - which they need to do because I can’t watch any more of this story line play out. Though I will say Amelia brings up an interesting point: What is it about Owen that makes him want a kid to the point that he’s unsatisfied with his partner?
We come back to the Clatches, only to discover that Elsie passed away while Lewis held her hand. Not only did he take note of her time of death, but the devoted husband never left her hand. At this point I’m crying some real Denny Duquette-sized tears.
Later, Owen offers to call Lewis a cab as he leaves the hospital, but the older man insists on doing it himself. He says he needs to get used to doing this without his wife A few minutes later, Owen and Amelia make eye contact as she’s leaving the hospital.
Luckily there is one stable married couple on the show: Bailey and Ben.
As they watch Amelia’s surgery, they tease each other about growing old. Ben knows Bailey’s going to be a bossy old lady who’ll miss the days she ran a hospital. To this she counters that he’ll be the kind of old man who keeps telling the same stories again and again. Because I seem to be in some sort of Grey’s Anatomy-themed Throwback Thursday, this took me back to that scene where we got to see Meredith and Cristina be old women together. I doubt we’ll get this kind of scene any time soon, but I do want to get a glimpse of older Ben and Bailey.
Moment of cuteness aside, Bailey spends the episode trying to get Richard to stop giving her the cold shoulder. This leads her to investigate why Arizona is also on the receiving end of Richard’s chilly side.
When she learns it’s because of Arizona and Minnick’s lip lock, she tells Arizona that what she did was way more personal than what Bailey did since her thing was all business. Here, Arizona points out that Bailey’s just trying to make herself feel better. (I kind of agree.)
Nonetheless, Arizona and Richard do manage to clear the air. He says he thought he was on her side, and she explains that she didn’t expect to feel this way about Minnick. So while he’s not mad at her, he does need some “damn time” to get over this new twist in his friend’s love life.
Speaking of love lives, Stephanie is having a tough time with this latest loss, though it’s been a rough season in general for this resident. So of course she’s questioning her purpose as a doctor (as one is wont to do), and that’s when DeLuca, who up until now has been great about handling all the paperwork stuff, decides he’s going to admit to being in love with Jo. I’m pretty much with Stephanie when she says, “Stop talking.” So he tries to apologize and hug her, proving to be not so great at that either. Oh DeLuca. Never change, but maybe learn from your mistakes.