It’s a real grab bag of story lines on the latest Grey’s Anatomy. One has to hope that at least some of these are going to pay off in big, emotional ways by the time the season finale (and 400th episode!!) rolls around because at the moment most of these story lines are really hard to get invested in. I need some drama, some tears, some high stakes, some big-time end-of-the-world romance. Right now everyone seems … tired? Or, at the very least, these story lines are a little half-baked.
You know who is fully baked though? Richard Webber. I mean, it hasn’t been that long since they used a similar plot and had a whole bunch of Grey Sloan doctors unknowingly eat weed cookies, but sure, we can do “Webber accidentally drinks Catherine’s weed juice and gets high out of his mind.” I just wish they would’ve done a little more with this than stick Webber and Meredith in a room together for some light banter. Don’t get me wrong, I love light banter! Webber singing songs with incorrect lyrics? That soothes my soul. But it felt like a wasted opportunity. When Meredith talks about how leaving Seattle might be a good thing for her since it is so haunted (to say the absolute least), Webber understands because it’s how he felt when Ellis died. Meredith corrects him — he must mean Adele — but no, he meant Ellis. That is good stuff!! Why did we just leave it there, unexplored?! And why not let Webber’s accidental high lead him to a real, actionable “epiphany” about how to save the residency program rather than one that legit boils down to “treat residents like human beings.” What is that?? All of this is to say that this entire story line felt like treading water until the big reveal at the end: Why did Catherine have weed juice at home in the first place? It’s for her pain, she explains to Webber. Her cancer is “progressing.”
This is a very worrisome turn of events!! We already know that Jackson and April are poised to make a return in the finale, and that information paired with this development points to things getting pretty bad for Catherine. She already cheated death once with a risky cancer surgery; would they really let her do it again? Will Catherine Fox be the latest Grey’s Anatomy casualty? It feels like an emotional story line a 400th episode might toy with.
Speaking of sad cancer stories, an old patient of Link’s arrives in the ER and he’s in a bad way. Link had removed a tumor from Simon’s knee and they became close, so he knows all about Simon going through chemo and radiation and Simon and his wife Kristen desperately wanting a baby. Now she’s pregnant and they find another tumor, this time in his bowel. All Simon wants is to live long enough to meet his son. It’s very sad! Link and Jo — who has started her double life as an OB resident and a General Surgery attending; it is exhausting — end up doing Simon’s surgery together, but once they open him up they both can see that there’s no shot of removing this tumor. They can make Simon comfortable, but he’s dying, and soon. In a panic, Kristen demands that she has a C-section so that Simon can see his son before he dies. Jo tries to calm her down but is completely undermined by Link, who reminds Jo that she’s just a student and can’t make that call. He is a real jerk about it. Of course, Jo is right and eventually everyone agrees and Simon and Kristen hold each other while Kristen makes Simon promise that he’ll fight to live long enough for her to have this baby. I’m sure we have not seen the last of these two and they will probably break our hearts before the season ends.
This, however, is not the real point of this story line. The real point is that Link is being a real Sad Boy these days. Jo knows that when he’s angry and hurt, he lashes out. That’s what his little outburst is all about. And yes, he’s angry and hurt about what’s happening to Simon and being unable to stop it, but we also know that he’s angry and hurt about his current status with Jo. They have it out in a supply closet. (If supply closets at Grey Sloan could talk!) Link accuses Jo of using him for sex and then ditching him for Todd. Instead of hanging out and being friends, these days she only uses Link as a babysitter. Eventually, the argument gets so heated that Jo blurts out that she didn’t use him for sex and then kick him out of the house — she asked him to move out because she fell in love with him and she knew he didn’t feel the same way. She didn’t want to lose their friendship over it. Link does not use that moment to tell her that he is, in fact, in love with her, which seems obvious to all of us, but maybe he will soon?
There are so many Sad Boys running around this hospital being mean to the women they love because they can’t find a healthy way to process their emotions, aren’t there? Is that the real premise of this series? I don’t hate it. Anyway: Let’s talk about Winston.
It seems Winston has still not told his wife about his brother being a scam artist. Wendell has lied about the heart patches and wants Winston to bail him out of the trouble he’s gotten himself in, which puts Winston in a terrible position. We learn that this is the basic dynamic these brothers have had for their entire lives. Winston is beside himself that his brother lied to him and Maggie and is asking him to lie to everyone at Grey Sloan. Instead of just explaining that to Maggie, Winston takes his anger out on a patient who comes in with an abdominal aneurysm and has been lying about it to her wife. He’s so awful to this patient about her lying that eventually Maggie needs to kick Winston out of the OR! It’s a pretty sweet move on Maggie’s part, but one that could’ve wholly been avoided if Winston got his emotions in check. Eventually, Maggie has to beg him to be honest with her because she knows — as both his boss and wife — that something is going on. He isn’t himself. He tells her all about Wendell and then asks if she can give the brothers some space so that he can … I guess have a big blowout fight. Will we get to see that big, most likely emotionally fraught fight? I hope so!
I guess the lesson here is that everyone should just tell the people they love what’s really going on in their lives so that we might avoid things like yelling at patients, promising deadly C-sections, and/or accidentally drinking weed when you’re ten years sober. Talking is good, people! Do more talking!
The O.R. Board
• Nick gets surgical privileges at Grey Sloan, but it isn’t without a bit of a fight with Bailey. Eventually, he wins her over with his charm and doctoring skills. Bailey also makes up with Meredith after their big fight about her being a slutty resident the other week. Everything feels good and right here now.
• Not that Grey’s Anatomy is some bastion of nuance (I say that with the love of someone who has watched this show since the beginning times), but this Teddy/Owen/Leo story line is really testing the limits. Buttoning up Teddy’s whole arc about coming to terms with letting Leo figure out his gender identity in his own time rather than rushing to define it with an on-the-nose ice-cream metaphor felt very After School Special. This could be interesting and heartfelt but thus far, it is a dud.
• Grey’s Anatomy is now resorting to … poop in the ceiling plot points? Remember the days when two people would get stuck on a pole and only one could survive? We were really living then.
• Nick helps Schmitt get through his first surgery back. Nick is very good at this! Nick also tells Bailey to shut up when she comes in and is being unhelpful as Schmitt tries to collect himself. Now, was Bailey ruining the moment and making things harder for Schmitt and Nick? Yes. But also should there be a trap door that opens and a person falls through it any time they tell Dr. Miranda Bailey, Chief of Surgery, to shut up? Also yes.
• Bailey referring to the chiefs who preceded her as “a string of messy men” is both funny and true. So, so true. We know many of those men and they were the messiest.
• “Bailey thrives on terrifying people.”