Grey’s Anatomy Recap: Good Grief

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Ellen Pompeo, Kelly McCreary. Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC
Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy

What’s Inside Season 13 Episode 19
Editor's Rating 4 stars

After a truly upsetting hour in which we watched Maggie Pierce say good-bye to her mom, a Grey’s Anatomy episode like “What’s Inside” is just, ahem, what the doctor ordered. It felt like old-school, A-game Grey’s, what with the genuine mix of tears and laughter, the romantic drama, the dancing it out. We really needed to dance it out, you guys. Sure, Amelia is still wandering around in her wrongness being terrible to Owen, but even Amelia being infuriating feels like it is part of the Grey’s tradition now, doesn’t it? Regardless, not even her ridiculousness can bring me down today. That was some down-home Grey’s Anatomy comfort food right there.

Everyone at Grey Sloan is apprehensive about Maggie coming back to work. I mean, everyone. Even that OB doctor (Debbie Allen’s daughter, Vivian Nixon!), who is barely given one line, gives some side-eye when Maggie kicks Riggs off the very intricate fetal-heart-tumor surgery so that she can take it. Per usual, there is some added drama to the case: That little fetal heart belongs to the unborn child of two of Owen’s friends from the V.A., Leo and Jenna — so Owen isn’t exactly thrilled when he finds out that Arizona will now be doing the big surgery with Mags.

Ain’t no thing to Maggie Pierce, though. She takes Owen to task in front of Leo and Jenna for wanting her off the case solely because of a personal issue, even though she’s the chief of cardio and the best doctor to perform this surgery. Leo and Jenna want the best. So that solves that, Owen Hunt.

Okay, I’ll try not to be too mean to the guy. He spends the entirety of the hour trying to get Amelia to at least go and say hello to Leo and Jenna, two of his very good friends who were at their wedding and are going through a very tough time. Amelia refuses repeatedly because they’re Owen’s friends and also she has no heart. Why am I even surprised by her terrible choices anymore?

Anyway, Maggie isn’t alone in believing she’s ready and able to perform this surgery. Meredith can’t believe everyone else is up in arms over it. She and Amelia have been around Maggie since Diane’s death and Meredith thinks Maggie is grieving in a healthy way. No one outright laughs at Meredith for thinking she knows what healthy grieving looks like, but, like, they should have. Meredith also reminds everyone that they all work through a lot of pain — for instance, she performed surgery while having a miscarriage in the middle of a hospital shoot-out. Bless Shonda for Jackson Avery, who flat-out informs his buddy, “That’s not normal.” On second thought, that is very normal for this hospital.

In any case, Meredith and Amelia agree to have a sisterly chat with Maggie before she heads into the O.R. to make sure she’s really okay to be operating on a fetus. Poor Maggie! She was feeling so good to be back at work and have a distraction — a problem she could actually fix — and instead she’s met with doubt at every corner. She tells her sisters that she wasn’t nervous … until they came to talk to her. Whatever is the opposite of a pep talk, Meredith and Amelia just gave it to Maggie.

On that hopeful note, Maggie steps into the O.R. for the first time since losing her mother. And guess what? She’s totally fine. She’s more than fine! She “slays that monster” of a tumor. Even when the baby’s heart rate starts dropping and everyone thinks Maggie is freezing up because she isn’t doing anything about it (admittedly, the inaction seems very worrisome), Maggie is actually kicking some fetal-heart-tumor ass. She’s giving that baby’s heart a minute to adjust to its new normal. It just needs time. In case you haven’t guessed: She isn’t just talking about that heart, you guys.

After the surgery, Jackson comes by to congratulate his friend and remarks on how well she’s doing. She’s “not doing well,” she tells Jackson. She’s doing her job.

When Maggie says she’s not doing well, she really means it. Meredith opens up her front door on her way out to her first date with Riggs — excuse me, it’s a hang-out to see if they like each other enough to continue hanging out, not a date — and runs into Maggie, standing on the porch, sobbing. Meredith brings her inside and Amelia joins them for a little hug sesh.

After Riggs arrives to pick up Meredith for their date, all dimples and expectations, Meredith explains that she can’t go out. She has people to take care of, and Riggs “isn’t one of them.” Part of this is for sure true, but it’s becoming obvious to both the audience and Riggs that Meredith is stalling on this whole relationship thing. As is her right, but like, cut the dude loose if you can’t pull the trigger, girl. Those dimples could be useful to someone else.

In this instance, I’ll forgive her unceremoniously tossing Riggs to the curb. You know why? Because after Meredith decides to stay in with her sisters for the night, THERE IS DANCING. Meredith may be a woman of science, but she knows that sometimes the only cure for pain is to get up off the couch and wiggle it, just a little bit. It’s a glorious nod the great Grey’s tradition of dancing in Meredith’s living room during a montage. It’s Meredith’s gift to her sister, but it’s mainly a gift to the die-hard fans.

Dancing it out helps Maggie for a little while, but eventually she ends up sitting alone on the porch swing. Later, Jackson comes by. He hands Maggie all of her mother’s medical records and tells her that Diane knew she was extremely sick before Jackson did, and that she came to Grey Sloan not because he was the best doctor for her, but because she knew she was dying. She knew she was dying and that Jackson, Maggie’s step-brother (sometimes I forget this, but also I love it), would be able to help take care of Maggie after she was gone. He hands her photos Diane gave to him to give to Maggie when he thought she might need them most. They’re photos of Diane, after she found out how sick she was, living life. Traveling. Sky-diving. Living.

As Riggs astutely points out to Meredith while she’s cancelling their date, Maggie will always be grieving her loss one way or another, and that’s very true — but for now, these photos seem to be helping. Maggie’s not doing well, but she’s getting there.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine:

• This little Bailey-and-Webber bubble is a real treat. This week, they bicker over who should be apologizing to whom for the whole Minnick Mutiny debacle, until Ben tells Bailey that maybe Webber is just lonely. And then Bailey finally refers to herself as Webber’s Work Wife and all the world seems lifted up, if only for one moment.

• I cannot get enough of these adorable Bailey and Ben moments in the O.R. gallery. This week it’s frank discussions and tender massages. Next week can they please be eating leftovers out of Tupperware while discussing a patient care plan?

• Add Arizona and Riggs to the list of great Grey’s Anatomy friendships! After sharing about their secret romances, AZ informs Doctor Dimples that they’re friends now, and there is nothing he can do about it. Bad news for him, since Arizona is THE WORST friend and blathers on about Meredith and Derek’s epic love story right before the guy goes on his first date with Dr. Grey. Read the room, AZ.

• Grey’s is trying very hard to make Cross a thing, but it’s not going to happen. He somehow has contracted abdominal tuberculosis. The only good thing to come from this story line is Steph’s face when a heavily medicated Cross tells her how sexy she is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Stephanie Edwards deserves better.

• Serious question: Is Grumpy Alex the best Alex? Followup: Do we not deserve a scene of Alex actually yelling “Get off my lawn!” at interns as a reward for sitting through several episodes with very little Alex to be found? Discuss below.

• For a show that focuses so much on tragedy and death, Grey’s Anatomy sure does have the funniest cemetery scenes on television. First, the uncontrollable laughter at George’s funeral, now Meredith and Amelia comparing tragic backstories. You’re sick and twisted, Grey’s, and that’s why we love you.

• “I could hate you. I have before.” Meredith is my favorite.

The Sob Scale: 4/10

Baby surgery plus Maggie crying, “I want my mom” equals a misty-eyed recapper.

Grey’s Anatomy Recap: Good Grief