Grey's Anatomy is hitting awfully hard with these kids-in-peril stories. Yes, they bring drama and emotion and reveal new layers of character depth, but after the premature quadruplets, the fatal C-section, and now little Peter accidentally paralyzing his best friend, can we cool it for a while? I, too, am an Aunt Maggie, and like our lovely Dr. Pierce (well, lovely except for that time when she harassed Peter's babysitter to the point of tears), stories like this one just make me want to hug my babies a little bit tighter.
Of course, Grey's has always prided itself on emotionally kicking us when we're already down. After last week's harrowing two hours ended with Ben and Bailey's relationship on the rocks, Jasmine being the bravest 11-year-old on the planet, and me weeping into my mug of ice cream, I thought maybe we'd be offered some lighter fare tonight. Nope. If "Trigger Happy" is any indication, the home stretch of season 12 will overflow with dropped jaws and snotty tissues. So, let's get the sad stuff out of the way.
Two distraught mothers arrive at the ER after receiving a call that their 8-year-old sons, Brandon and Peter, were involved in a shooting. They come to find out that the boys got into Brandon's mother's locked gun case and Peter accidentally shot Brandon in the stomach. Can we quickly talk about how hard Peter's mother's "Oh, thank God" hit? For a split-second, I wanted to be mad at how insensitive it was, but I quickly realized that it was such a human reaction. Good on you, Grey's.
As Amelia, Owen, Alex, and Jo race Brandon into the OR, Brandon's mother is left alone with her guilt. And poor Peter. Don't even get me started on Peter. He's terrified he just killed his best friend. I warned you about the sad.
Meanwhile, all the docs are feeling the effects of this tragedy. April realizes that the only way to truly make her baby feel safe is by making sure Jackson is around, so she invites him to her next OB appointment. (And they didn't yell at each other once! It's a new record!) Mags realizes how hard it is to love all those little Shepherd babies so much. Owen realizes he's still carrying around guilt for telling Megan to get onto that helicopter and away from Riggs. He still blames himself for losing her, even though it definitely wasn't his fault.
But just to be clear: When Owen Hunt tells you to get on an aircraft, DO NOT listen to him. Too many lives have been lost this way.
Perhaps the most affected by the juvie GSW are Alex and Jo. While the doctors try to save Brandon, they also engage in a minor debate about gun control. The promos made this episode seem very after-school special, so I was pleasantly surprised by how little I wanted to barf when Jo explained that she kept a gun under her and Alex's bed because it made her feel safe during her "living in a car" phase. But now that she has other things to keep her safe, she can get rid of it. I also appreciated the show remembering that Alex — and a lot of other people at that hospital — have been victims of gun violence. If any group of people should be up in arms about, well, the right to bear arms, it's these people.
What I didn't appreciate was the suggestion that Alex hasn't looked under his bed in years. Years! Who's sweeping the hardwood floors in that apartment? It's the greatest mystery of our time.
Though Jo and Alex find a happy resolution, Brandon, Peter, and their mothers do not. Amelia works hard to repair Brandon's spine, but when he crashes during surgery, they have no choice but to shock his heart. Amelia wants them to hold off because the slightest movement will paralyze the kid for life, but they have no choice. If they shock him, he may be paralyzed; if they don't, he dies.
After the unsuccessful surgery, Amelia goes to comfort Peter in a scene that is a life-ruiner. Peter knows that his friend will never walk again because of something he did. Amelia wants him to promise that whenever he starts to feel bad about what's happened, he'll remember that it was an accident, and that he didn't mean it. Do you hear that? That's the sound of my robot heart short-circuiting.
In other sad news, Ben and Bailey are still fighting. Ben isn't content to wait out his suspension, so he goes to the head of anesthesiology to ask for some work until he's back in the surgical-residency program. Bailey is not pleased. When people see him sitting in the OR after what he's done, it'll reflect poorly on her. If Ben sticks with this bonehead plan, he should also figure out another place to sleep. Ben's tired of Bailey only thinking about her job (but also, the good of the hospital, dude!), and goes ahead with it anyway.
If this whole thing ends with the big D, there will be riots in the street. By which I mean, I'll probably end up crying on my stoop until my neighbor tells me to pipe down because he's trying to watch Jeopardy. He just doesn't get how sacred Ben and Bailey are, I guess.
Bailey also takes some issue with Callie. Callie informs Bailey that she's leaving Grey Sloan to go to New York City with Penny. With her eyes, Bailey's like, "Are you an idiot, Callie?" but with her mouth … yeah, okay, with her mouth Bailey is still like, "Are you an idiot, Callie?"
Now that AZ has played her lawyer card, here's hoping it's only a matter of time until Callie realizes she is being the Worst. With all that time spent snuggling Penny, I guess it was inevitable.
Despite being reminded of all the horrors that can befall children, there were some fun moments tonight: smiling Meredith! Sexting gone wrong! Stephanie gets some, and I don't think I've ever been so thankful for Wilmer Valderrama!
That's right: Kyle Diaz is back and ready to woo the pants off of Steph in person. They've been engaging in some heavy sexting — as Meredith finds out when Stephanie accidentally sends some dirty words her way — but when Kyle informs Steph that he's back in town and wants to go on a real date, she balks. She's not good at being an "in-person person." Meredith will not hear any of it. She forces Stephanie to suck it up and give Kyle a chance.
Bless you, Meredith Grey! Thanks to her pushing, we get to witness an adorable first date. Stephanie is convinced she and Kyle have nothing in common, but she's proved wrong when he brings her to a recording studio — his description of how the studio makes him feel is exactly how the OR makes her feel. And then they start mashing faces. They start mashing faces real good.
So now that he's a real person and one of our doctors is falling for him, what are the odds Kyle bites it before the finale? Denny Duquette and Henry Burton are saving you a seat in heaven, friend!
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine:
- Meredith is having a ball tonight. Between her slow reveal about Steph's sext and the joy she feels after playing matchmaker with Edwards and Kyle, is this the most Meredith has smiled in 12 seasons?
- "I'm classy, remember?"
- A slow clap in honor of Bailey's eye-roll after hearing that her chief of orthopedics is moving across the country and derailing her career for Penny Blake. In this moment, we are all Bailey.
- Did anyone else want Sheila and James to end up together despite all the catfishing?
- Meredith telling Zola not to put up with any man who can't deal with her p-o-w-e-r is exactly how I imagined Mer would parent.
- "You are not sterile. You are very, very dirty."
- Wingman Webber and AZ are back, but not in a "pursuers of a sexual renaissance" kind of way. It's more of a "don't do anything stupid to lose custody of your kid" phase. Nevertheless, the pairing is welcome.
The Sob Scale: 7/10
"He can't ride bikes?" Oh, Peter. You broke my heart into a thousand pieces with just four words.