Last night's Grey's Anatomy was essentially one full hour of people getting really, really angry at one another. To its credit, the episode didn't try to hide this fact. In Meredith's pensive voiceover, she wondered, "We fight and we fight and we fight. But to what end?" GOOD QUESTION, MER.
I shouldn't be complaining about an episode of conflict and conversation - I think that's something I've outright demanded in past recaps of this season of Grey's Anatomy, which I'm finally willing to admit has been a bit on the sleepy side. But now that I've actually watched that conflict unfold, I'm realizing I actually wanted something different. (So fickle! Who am I, Amelia Shepherd?) (Ugh, probably, please don't answer.)
What I want is for something to happen. That sounds basic, but I sat down and racked my brain trying to remember the major plot points of this season and came up with Alex maybe going to jail, Minnick coming to the hospital, and the standalone episode with the three doctors at the women's prison. That's set this season to a less compelling place - it's hard to get engaged and sucked into good drama when the drama isn't there. But in later Grey's seasons, there have always been lulls before things truly get shaken up. Maybe we're just in one of those ramping up periods? Fingers crossed.
The bulk of the drama comes down to a family matter: It's Jackson and Webber against April and Catherine, in the ongoing fight about how the residency program should be directed. It's gotten so tense that Webber's not even sleeping at home anymore, and it all comes to a head when the four of them get pulled into the same surgery. They're operating on - I was going to say "you can't make this stuff up," but Grey's actually did in this case - a man who was badly burned in a deep fryer while his future son-in-law tried to make a turkey in it.
Shit gets real when Catherine, frustrated by Jackson's attempt to go around her back and speak to the Avery Foundation about Eliza, snaps mid-surgery. She tells him he's a brilliant surgeon, but that's it. He doesn't have the mind or talent for the bigger-picture stuff. It's probably a fair assessment, but not the sort of thing you want to tell your son in a room full of people. Jackson's furious at Catherine throughout the entire episode, and a lot of that is understandable, but he's consistently just a tiny bit madder than the circumstances dictate. Since we'll be meeting Jackson's father later this season, I'm guessing he'll bring some insight into why this particular issue is so incendiary for Jackson. And maybe for Catherine too.
April remains staunchly on Catherine's side, especially after Meredith is a little catty to her on her return. I'm willing to accept that Catherine's taken an interest in mentoring April, and even more behind the idea of April exploring jobs at other hospitals. That's not me saying, "I hope April leaves the show" - it's just interesting to explore the reality that April would see that there's not much room for advancement where she is and want to look elsewhere. That said, it's a bit of the stretch that the two of them are all of the sudden best friends, en route to Chicago, a boat tour, and Hamilton together. This time last year, Catherine essentially wanted to kidnap April's baby. They shouldn't be reenacting any buddy comedies yet.
Eliza, for her part, skips merrily through the hospital, helping residents, planning to bake pierogis, and kissing Arizona in the attendings' lounge (Webber, unfortunately, walks in on that last bit.) How is she suddenly the one person no one's fighting with?!
Also, Owen and Amelia finally speak to one another, after Amelia goes to the hospital and gets sucked into working on a patient of his. They don't get into their issues in any depth, but they determine that they do want to be married to each other but don't want to have a conversation about having children. It is the most Owen and Amelia discussed in the history of the world. I look forward to them having it again next week.
Meanwhile, Riggs and Karev are working together to save a newborn with a heart defect. Riggs advocates for a transplant, while Karev says a three-part surgery is the best approach. Deluca (now with almost no visible beard, douche-y or otherwise) is caught in the middle, but he ultimately listens to Riggs and calls to get the baby on the transplant list. When Alex finds out that he was on the list (and has a heart), he's livid. But I feel like several times on Grey's, we've heard one doctor say to another, "Well, let's get them on the transplant list just in case." I can't think of a logical reason why Alex would object to simply placing Baby Gus on the transplant list. Alex can be petty, but he wouldn't deny a baby basic care or skip a simple, warranted administrative procedure just to try to mark his territory or get into a pissing match with Riggs.
Meredith and Riggs get sassy with each other a few times throughout the episode; she essentially pulls an "if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends" moment on him when he's fighting with Alex. But in the parking lot at the end of the day, Riggs says that enough is enough. "No banter. No more quips. I'll tell you what I think - I think about you. A lot. I can't stop. I'm telling you, I'm in. If you are, I'm in this. I'm just going to ask you outright: What do you think?" He tells Meredith not to answer until she knows for sure.
It's no "pick me; choose me; love me." But it's a start.
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