Grey’s Anatomy Recap: The Thin Red Line

Grey's Anatomy

You’re Gonna Need Someone on Your Side
Season 12 Episode 21
Editor’s Rating *****
James Pickens Jr. as Webber, Camilla Luddington as Jo, Kevin McKidd as Owen, Ellen Pompeo as Meredith. Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC

Love is the worst, you guys. It makes you sit in waiting rooms and worry. It makes you feel guilty for wanting more. It can break your heart. But love can also be pretty great. Especially when it inspires you to do what Owen does to Amelia’s face. More often than not, though, love is the worst. Just ask any doctor who works or has ever worked at Grey Sloan. They’ll tell you.

Take dear Stephanie, for instance. Steph is finally getting some, thanks to Kyle Diaz. We all watched him play guitar, so we know how adept he is with his fingers. Oh, don’t judge! Girl’s got a glow and you know you were thinking about it, too. Unfortunately, Kyle’s left hand now has a tremor, and Steph is worried there’s a lesion on the other side of his brain. The problem with her diagnosis is that she’s not in any scrubs — it’s her day off, and Amelia makes it clear that Steph isn’t acting as Kyle’s doctor. Of course, she’s not thrilled with the need to separate the two. She’s especially not thrilled when Amelia yanks her access badge and relegates her to the waiting room with the peasants — I’m sorry, family members — for the whole day. Nobody puts Baby in the corner, Amelia.

After a very cute good-bye at the red line that marks the point where doctors and patients continue on to the OR, Stephanie begrudgingly sits around all day, waiting for news. Don’t worry, guys, Kyle doesn’t die yet! Kyle’s surgery was a success. Steph celebrates by breaking up with him in a letter she leaves by his bedside.

Visibly upset, she later explains to Jo that watching Kyle go in and out of surgery reminded her too much of her childhood spent in hospitals. She can’t just sit in the waiting room — she has to be on the other side of the red line. She’s not “loved one” material. She’s not choosing surgery, she’s choosing herself. Do Steph’s tears make her coldness any easier to stomach? A little. I get why dating a sick person would give her pause, but breaking up with the dude before he even wakes up from surgery? That’s ice cold. It’s hard to be really upset because Jerrika Hinton is a national treasure, but man, it’s going to be awkward during rounds.

Had she taken any interest in the kind old man who sat next to her in the waiting room, maybe Stephanie would’ve had a change of heart. That man’s name was Vincent and he was moments away from being humiliated during a breakup of his own.

Vincent arrives at the hospital with Leo, who has taken a nasty spill and injured his back. Vincent introduces himself as Leo’s doorman, but it’s obvious that he’s much more. As it turns out, Leo has a wife of 51 years, kids, grandkids — a whole family life. He’s also been madly in love with Vincent for 15 years. The feeling is mutual. Meredith catches the two men holding hands before Leo goes into surgery, but Leo asks for Mer’s discretion. He and Vincent have never acted on their feelings (those lovely, butterfly-filled feelings!) because he knows it would destroy his wife.

While in surgery, the docs discover that Leo’s body is riddled with cancer. He has six months or so to live. One would think — if one were Meredith — that Leo would spend his last few months on this earth with the person whom he loves most. Unfortunately, people are being weird tonight and making very sad choices. Leo doesn’t want to upset his wife and kids before he dies, so he thanks Vincent for his help and then dismisses him … LIKE A REGULAR OL’ DOORMAN. Leo’s wife even gives the guy a tip! But Vincent’s not a regular ol’ doorman. He’s not a regular ol’ doorman at all. If possible, I’d like to never see the look that flashes across Vincent’s face ever again.

So, let’s talk about something that isn’t sad: Owen Hunt’s junk! Owen and Amelia fall asleep on the couch, and as Meredith and Maggie try to shuffle the kids out the door in the morning, they all get a nice, long glimpse at the heat Owen’s packing. While her sisters mercilessly tease her (as sisters should), Amelia promises it won’t happen again. She and Owen aren’t really a thing anyway. They have too much baggage.

After Meredith is forced to stand quietly while Vincent and Leo let true happiness pass them by, she has a thing or two to tell Amelia. Mainly, it’s in the realm of, “Stop being an idiot and be with the guy you love.” Amelia keeps pushing away her chances at being happy — and according to Meredith, Maggie does the same thing. “Get it together, sisters.” Meredith should make T-shirts.

Thankfully, it only takes Amelia a few seconds to realize that Meredith is talking a whole lot of sense. She runs off to Owen’s trailer and makes a big ShondaLand speech about how loving someone is harder than walking away, how they are both kind of messes, and that she loves him but she screws everything up. Then Owen Hunt gets very Leading Man Material, tells Amelia, “Let’s screw some things up,” and puts his face on her face. It is a move.

Meanwhile, in irritating news: Ben and Bailey make everyone feel uncomfortable in the OR. Ben insists on working as an anesthesiologist, and Bailey insists on being mad at him for it. It takes some firm “get a grip” talks from Maggie and Riggs to make Bailey and Ben see the situation from each other’s perspectives, and at least begin to act civilly again. I very much believe that Bailey is completely in the right here, but whatever stops these two from hating on each other is fine by me.

In even more irritating news: Callie is still set on moving to New York with Penny and bringing Sofia along, so the whole custody battle continues to be a thing. It really irks Arizona this week, who feels like she can’t do anything right. Having Penny on her service and April hounding her to make sure her baby is completely healthy — there’s a glitch during an ultrasound that I’m not even going to acknowledge because there’s no way they’d put April and Jackson through another tragic pregnancy … right?! — certainly doesn’t help AZ’s stress levels. Both ladies begin to gather allies for their case (Callie gets Meredith and Owen, Arizona has Webber, duh) and next week’s episode promises to be the big showdown in court.

Callie’s overwhelming desire to abandon her life and uproot her kid would be so much easier to believe if she had any chemistry with Penny. Give me something, guys!

Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine, the Owen Hunt’s Junk Edition:

  • Maggie: “Major Hunt, reporting for duty.”
  • Meredith: “We should be congratulating you. Now I know what Christina saw.”
  • Webber: “There was a time I would’ve asked, but I’ve learned.”
  • “I tell my children, when you’re finished with your toys, put them away. My kids don’t need to see your penis, so, the same goes for you.” The gusto with which Meredith informs people she’s seen Owen’s penis is a delight.

The Sob Scale: 3/10

Vincent’s face when he realizes Leo is ending things made me (and Meredith) the saddest. I imagine he went home, put on his white doorman gloves, laid on his couch, and listened to Adele’s “Someone Like You” on loop while weeping into a bowl of chocolate-chip cookie dough. NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE THAT.

Grey’s Anatomy Recap: The Thin Red Line