Grey’s Anatomy Recap: Mommy Issues

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Ellen Pompeo as Meredith. Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC
Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy

Civil War Season 13 Episode 15
Editor's Rating 2 stars

“To another bickering family, fantastic,” Ben Warren mumbles as he walks from a patient’s arguing children into a room where that patient’s doctors — Catherine, Jackson, April, and Webber — are snapping at each other. Ben Warren is over it and so am I. Everyone is.

Most of the other doctors have come to the conclusion that Minnick’s teaching plan isn’t all that bad and they should probably get back to, you know, doing their jobs. But not Jackson Avery. He is more fired up about the injustice of his mother swooping in and kicking Richard Webber out than ever before. Which is why, when the four of them are forced to work together, he spends the entire time being snarky and stubborn and downright mean. It’s not a good look on Jackson — which is, like, really hard, because that dude is super hot.

As the episode progresses, it’s obvious that this disagreement is no longer a Minnick versus Webber thing. In fact, Minnick is barely around except to further woo Arizona with the promise of pierogies (we all have our weaknesses) and to break Webber’s heart just a little bit more. When he catches the two kissing, honest to God, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so upset. And that man had to watch his wife with Alzheimer’s fall in love with someone else! First Minnick took his residents, now she’s taking his Arizona.

This story line has now morphed into an Avery versus Avery showdown. On one hand, this is great! There’s lots of unmined territory in Jackson and Catherine’s relationship and Catherine is a boss lady who gets things done. But on the other hand, it’s no fun to watch Jackson be kind of terrible to everyone.

As the Avery Foundation representative on the Grey Sloan Memorial board, Jackson’s pulling rank over his mother. He is going to end the Minnick mess his mother created. Catherine finds Jackson’s newfound interest in the family business hilarious, especially since he’s never cared about his position with the foundation before. You know who does care about the Avery Foundation, though? April. She knows the ins and outs of it — and Catherine is impressed.

The April and Catherine Friendship Tour continues. Catherine encourages April to own the fact that she was a good chief of general surgery, that she actually enjoyed it. To prove her point, Catherine wants to take April to another Avery hospital — this one in Chicago — so that April can show the doctors there how Seattle does it.

Therein lies the rub, as it were. As the tense surgery gets under way — thanks to Ben Warren and his delegation skills, bless his heart — it becomes clear that Jackson’s anger is all about Catherine. Jackson is quickly on his mother and April for supporting a teaching method that creates “robots” instead of “artists,” like Webber’s method does. He even goes so far as to invoke Mark Sloan’s name. I wish Mark were around, maybe he’d slap some sense into the guy.

The final straw comes when they begin to argue about (no, this isn’t a joke) management skills and how maybe the implementation of the Minnick plan wasn’t done properly. Jackson is trying very hard to sound like the man in charge, but Catherine reminds him that just because he has the Avery name doesn’t mean he is a born leader or business-savvy. He’s a great surgeon, she tells him. Period. He gets her message loud and clear. If ever a surgeon’s eyes were to pop out and land in the open body of a patient, it would be now.

Jackson warns Webber that his mom is a master manipulator and she will fight to win at all costs. He then unleashes on his mother again, asking her how she could put business over someone she loves. Catherine understands that this whole thing has more to do with Jackson’s insecurities than anything else. She’s proud of the fact that he’s different from her. He thinks it’s only because now she has April to be the Avery she’s always wanted. But no, she loves her son, that he’s focused on being the best surgeon possible, that he puts family over everything else. She just wants him to love that person, too. Handsome people are insecure, too!

It’s a great insight into Jackson Avery — the pressures of coming from such a prestigious medical family have been hinted at since his arrival, but never fully dealt with. Regardless, an insight does not mean a resolution. The Avery-Webber-Kepner family ends worse off than they began: With April and Jackson fighting at home and Webber still choosing an on-call bed over sharing any space with his wife.

But wait! If you can believe it, there are more people fighting in the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial. Riggs and Alex are tossed together to work on a newborn with a heart defect. Riggs thinks a heart transplant is the best treatment, but Alex is worried the little guy won’t survive the wait and would rather perform a reconstructive surgery. But that’s risky, too: The procedure is multiple surgeries over the course of several years and the baby might not be strong enough to endure it. The poor parents can barely agree on a name, so when Riggs and Alex present competing treatment plans, they are, to put it mildly, overwhelmed.

Alex, peds god, believes it to be his case, and doesn’t want to hear any more from Riggs. Riggs has other plans: He tells DeLuca to go ahead and put the baby on the transplant list, but not to tell Alex. Hasn’t DeLuca suffered enough? Now he has to be tossed in the middle of an attending pissing contest and the only person he can turn to for advice is JO WILSON. She tells him he’ll be fine because he always does the right thing. She may be correct, but that doesn’t make me want to barf any less. Those two are going to make out soon, aren’t they?

So, DeLuca gets Gus on the transplant list and not too long after, they find a perfect match. A heart transplant it is! Alex is NOT happy, but DeLuca repeats back what Alex said to him earlier when he was afraid their past (read: Alex bashing DeLuca’s face) might hinder their working relationship and that can’t happen because they are dealing with the tiny humans. Kids come first.

It also doesn’t hurt that Maggie comes flying in to remind both Alex and Riggs that they are on the same team. Finding a heart transplant is a good thing, remember?

Alex comes around and the baby ends up just fine, but he is most definitely not a fan of Riggs anymore. Before he was encouraging Meredith to go after Riggs, but after this whole drama, he’s taking that advice back. Meredith, defender of Alex Karev, has words with Riggs after finding out he’s being rude. He should know that if he wants any chance with her, fighting with Alex is not the way to go about it. Duh, Riggs. That’s Grey’s Anatomy 101.

But Riggs is tired of Meredith listening to everyone else’s opinions about him. He wants to know what she thinks about him because he’s all in. He wants a real relationship with Lady Grey, if the gal could just make up her mind. It’s a very heartfelt declaration probably inspired partly by true feelings and partly by annoyance that this whole thing has been dragging on for so long. Either exclusively and openly mash faces or cut the dude loose once and for all.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine

• This is basically Stephanie’s corner, if we’re being honest. She easily and hilariously flips from total excitement at seeing Amelia back into the hospital to total horror at realizing Amelia is trying to get Steph involved in her marital problems again. She puts her foot down real fast. We don’t deserve Stephanie.

• In no way is this me condoning Arizona and Minnick’s growing relationship, but Arizona’s response to Minnick speaking Polish is unarguably adorable: “I have no idea what you just said, but I’d like you to say more of it.”

• Finally, a worthy cause to bring to Bailey! After sleeping at the hospital, Webber wants Bailey to replace all the mattresses in the on-call rooms. SLEEP IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE.

• The So Bad It’s Funny Award of the episode goes to Owen Hunt, who is trapped in this never-ending saga with Amelia. She comes back to the hospital to help Maggie, tries to avoid Owen, but her plan naturally backfires. Still, she refuses to talk to him about their issues. Owen, blink twice if you’re being held against your will.

• Webber was obviously most upset that Catherine was taking April to see Hamilton without him, right?

Sob Scale: 0/10

It’s hard to cry when you’re busy rolling your eyes at everything.

Grey’s Anatomy Recap: Mommy Issues