If you’ve read even one of these Grey’s Anatomy recaps, you know that my fuse is short when it comes to Jo Wilson. Does it make me cold and unfeeling if I admit to spending the majority of “Back Where You Belong” yelling at Jo whenever she appeared onscreen? Listen, I am not making light of the terrible things she has endured. The girl has had it rough. BUT COME ON. You are a doctor, lady. When your patient is in trouble, you set aside your feelings — no matter how valid they may be — and you save that patient’s life. I feel like that must be the No. 1 rule of doctorhood. At least top five.
Of course, it wasn’t surprising that this happened. Jo makes everything about herself! When she’s put on a mother-son kidney transplant and her patient’s abusive father shows up uninvited to the life-saving party, it’s only a matter of time until she makes this about her own tragic situation.
After the transplant goes awry and the abusive jerk of a father, Ken, offers his own kidney to keep both his son and estranged wife alive, Jo goes ballistic. She doesn’t want him anywhere near them. He shouldn’t be given a chance to worm his way back into their lives — and Cynthia, his wife, should most certainly not be left without a choice in the matter. While all of this is true, there is no time to debate. Two lives are on the line. No one wants to use this guy’s kidney, but there is no time. As Arizona points out, “The choice that keeps everyone alive is the right one.”
Jo goes on to harass Ken before he’s put under. NO, JO. You suck it up now, then after you’ve done your job, you go out into the parking lot and sob into Owen Hunt’s strong, caring arms. Do you think Stephanie wanted to operate on a young boy so soon after her traumatic experience losing one on the table? No. But Stephanie Edwards is a professional. Anyway, Jo fans out there: Help a recapper out. Sell me on your girl, because I am struggling here.
If Jo would like to see how it’s done, all she has to do is take a quick peek at what Nathan Riggs is up to at the moment. He, too, is faced with a patient story that hits way too close to home, but he keeps his feelings out in the hallway, thank you very much. All jokes aside, this is a great story line that sheds light on both the stigma of mental health and a supporting character who could use a little shading. It’s easily the highlight of the episode.
A homeless, mentally unstable woman wanders into the ER and she’s put under the care of Riggs, DeLuca, and Maggie. The woman is incoherent, but the good docs discover her ancient-looking pacemaker is causing issues, so they need to replace it. Riggs comes up with the bright idea to use the serial number on the woman’s pacemaker to figure out her name and maybe, like, an emergency contact or two.
The plan works! Before long, the woman’s mother, Gwen, arrives at Grey Sloan Memorial. She explains that her daughter, Claire, has been gone for 12 years — after seemingly being abducted from her college dorm room. The family had a funeral for her. She has a gravestone. So imagine Gwen’s (and later her ex-husband Tim’s) complete and utter shock when she learns that her daughter is alive. It’s a bittersweet moment.
Meanwhile, Maggie is standing by very confused. Why isn’t this reunion more of a happy ending? Riggs has to spell it out for her. Gwen and Tim buried their daughter. They gave up on her, moved on, and have been living their lives while their own daughter was out in the world, homeless and alone. “They’ll never forgive themselves for that,” he explains. “And they never should.” Oof. Rough stuff, right? Sure, it’s an on-the-nose parallel to Riggs’s situation with his missing fiancée, but that doesn’t make his rare moment of vulnerability any less moving.
Claire is eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and put on a heavy round of meds. Gwen and Tim are warned that their daughter may not recognize her own parents. She doesn’t at first, but after she’s given some time to calm down, she finally greets them. From the hallway, Riggs watches the family get the happy ending that he’ll never have. (Or will he?!) RIGGS IS CRYING, YOU GUYS. Be still my heart. Tears coming out of a face that has a head of hair like that? Yes, please and thank you.
Maggie is also moved by seeing a new side of Riggs. She goes home, crawls into the Sister Bed, and tells Meredith about what went down. Meredith gets it. When Derek died, she had one day of not knowing where she was. She tried to stay calm, she explains, but inside was going crazy. “I guess it’s like that for Nathan every day.” Even Maggie admits that Meredith understands what Riggs must be going through. So, I guess we’re getting back into the whole Meredith-Riggs-Maggie thing of it all. More important, does this Riggs story line mean that we’re one step closer to Megan turning up alive? Am I the only one still holding out hope for this?
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine
• Meredith finally answers the question that’s been on everyone’s mind: If Mer is on the board of the hospital, how on Earth could Bailey have the power to suspend her? Checks and balances, people. Or plot contrivances, maybe.
• Poor Mer realizes that her suspension might be less of a vacation and more of a prison sentence. She’s stuck in the house all day with Amelia, back from Stephanie’s and still moping around the house.
• A thing I do not find amusing: Arizona being into Eliza Minnick for real. (Where’s the heat?) A thing I find very amusing: Richard Webber’s repeated use of the word menace to describe Eliza Minnick. He’s going to be so hurt when he finds out!
• Bailey takes her coffee black, and also, no prisoners.
• We’ve been deprived of a good Meredith-Richard scene for a while, so having Richard tell Meredith to stop sticking up for him and get back to work, all while poking a little fun at Ellis, is a welcome return. Also, it’s only right that Webber gets Meredith to return to Grey Sloan.
• Meredith’s impression of Ellis Grey for days and days, please.
• Jackson’s as snarky as a teenage girl when he’s angry. Most people have seemingly gotten over April’s decision to take Meredith’s job, but not her baby daddy. Since this is probably all leading up to a big romantic reunion, I will allow it … for now.
• The Grey’s Anatomy Kid Watch is back on. Zola, Bailey, and Ellis: If you can hear this, call out!
Sob Scale: 5/10
It took two words to undo me: “Hi, mom.”