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Grey’s Anatomy Recap: 86,400 Seconds

Grey’s Anatomy

One Day Like This
Season 14 Episode 17
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

What a day, gang! Grey’s Anatomy offers up three stand-alone stories, all demonstrating the idea that a whole lot can change over the course of 24 hours. Or 1,440 minutes. Or 86,400 seconds. Lives can be lost. Lives can be saved. Relationships can be ruined because idiot Owens cannot get their shit together. Owen!

“One Day Like This” is a change-of-pace episode. We focus on three doctors — Meredith, April, and Owen — all, for better or worse, finally hearing things they need to hear. The episode consists almost entirely of scenes between two people, simply having long conversations. We never see the inside of an OR — this is all about human connection. So, put your ferry-boat scrub cap away for the moment and let’s have some heart-to-hearts.

We begin with Meredith. Our Harper Avery–winning, mini-liver making, delightful braid-wearing Meredith Grey is minding her own business when she comes across transplant teams leaving a Grey Sloan OR and one doctor looking pained while leaning against the wall. This is Dr. Nick Mars, transplant surgeon who recently had a kidney transplant himself. Like, too recently to be flying from Minnesota and performing surgery recently. There are complications.

As Meredith runs tests to figure out what is going on with Nick, the two engage in some very heavy flirting. It is charming and witty and honestly, has Meredith ever smiled this much? Of course, the more chemistry these two had, the more I worried. This is Grey’s Anatomy, people. If we know anything after 14 seasons, it’s that once a doctor starts having feelings for a patient, that patient will die. Even worse for Nick’s odds: He is played by Scott Speedman, who you may know as Ben from Felicity. You know who else was on Felicity? Scott Foley, who played Henry Burton on Grey’s. He was a patient who fell in love with a doctor and look what happened to him. HE DIED.

All of this is to say, I tried not to get too attached to the handsome, flirty Dr. Nick Mars until I saw how this whole thing was going to shake out — but, man, was it hard. What with all the being genuinely interested in Meredith’s life, and the talking about his wonderful niece who he took in, and the wanting to be a shoe salesman in another life, and the canoeing with his dad, and, of course, the Tragic Backstory. As a teen, he lost his mother to heart failure and that made him want to be a transplant surgeon. Also, his sister ruined her life with drugs. You guys, you know Meredith could never be with someone who hasn’t suffered at least a little bit.

The best thing about Nick Mars is that he is obviously into Meredith, but is never overbearing about it. He is also in awe of her talent. But most important, Meredith seems to really enjoy Nick. She opens up to him about never wanting to be anything other than a surgeon, but having a secret dream about living her days out in Sardinia with her kids and her sisters and renegade chickens. She’d lay in a hammock all day. Nick wants to know if there’s room for him on that hammock. I mean, hammocks are awkward enough to get in and out of with just one person, and he just met Meredith that morning, so like, slow your roll Nick Mars. Meredith doesn’t get to answer anyway — she finds a renal clot and Nick has to be rushed into surgery.

Okay, I was kidding before: The best thing about Nick Mars is that as he’s being wheeled off to surgery and potential death, he wants to make sure Meredith tells his niece to go to college. COLLEGE. We’ve reached the point of no return, people — I’m attached.

Which is totally fine because Meredith is an incredible surgeon and she saves his life (and his kidneys). “You saved my whole damn life,” he tells her. They smile and hold hands, but that’s about it. Nick is back off to Minnesota to recover. Meredith meets Alex at the bar and tells him about the smart, funny, hot doctor she saved. She tells him how she felt things she hasn’t felt since Derek. She also tells Alex that she likes the way her life is now, but yes, it’s nice to know that he’s out there, should things change. Maybe they will — look how much already changed in just 24 hours. And then we hear the familiar sound of the door to the bar opening and Meredith turns to look, and suddenly it’s Meredith from the pilot episode. She’s the girl at the bar again. She’s reminding us how much changed that day.

Speaking of the bar, where should we find April Kepner but completely passed out there after another bender. She is in bad shape when she heads into her shift and meets her first patient, Eli (Saul Rubinek). Eli is a rabbi who has been to the hospital three previous times for his diverticulitis, and under Bailey’s care, he was given antibiotics and sent home because she didn’t want to perform unnecessary surgery on the man.

And now Eli’s skin is falling off.

Yes, it’s gross.

There is a rare reaction to antibiotics called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), in which your skin separates. April, Jackson, and Bailey all know Eli will most likely die. Bailey wants to help, but April reams Bailey out — Eli’s death is on her. It is very harsh. We all know April is not herself, but also it’s tough to take her yelling at Miranda Bailey for making a mistake when April has made plenty of bad calls. Some she even got fired for!

April stays with Eli as his condition deteriorates and he waits for his wife, Elise, to arrive. Eli knows two things: He’s dying and April’s in pain. He wants to help her — that’s his job after all. She is reluctant, but eventually he gets to her. She’s not mad at Bailey for her mistake — she’s mad at God. She’s mad that she’s done everything right, followed all of his rules, and still suffers. Eli is like, Uh, girl, have you even read the Old Testament? Most of the people in there follow God’s rules and still suffer. Faith when things are good is easy, faith during times of hardship is real. He tells her that yes, the world is cruel and random — look at him, dying from taking pills meant to save lives. The world is broken, but we need to work to fix it. It all hits April and she is sobbing, finally admitting to the pain she’s been feeling. Eli gets worse and confuses April for his wife, and she plays along, helping ease his pain until he dies. And now we’re all sobbing.

On the bright side, it seems like April is on the road to recovery. Is Dark April gone for good?

The third story of this 24-hour-feelings-explosion belongs to Owen, who flies to Germany to surprise Teddy. They finally sleep together, Owen tells Teddy how much he loves her, Teddy tells Owen how much she loves roast chicken, and they watch the snow fall while wrapped up in a big blanket I would really like to purchase. This is perfect! Owen even suggests moving to Germany! What a happy ending that would be.

And then things take a turn. Things always take a turn. Eventually, Teddy susses out that Owen decided to hop on a plane to Germany only after Amelia suggested he had feelings for Teddy. She also figures out that Amelia said this to him after they had sex. LAST NIGHT.

Teddy is having absolutely none of this. She delivers some harsh truths to Owen: He is incapable of being alone. He feels compelled to be in a relationship to mask just how sad he is inside. He only came to Germany because his marriage is over. He strung her along before and she won’t fall for it again. She refuses to be a consolation prize.

Of course, Owen returns the favor. He tells Teddy that she’s scared of being happy. That she’ll never risk getting hurt to be in love. He even invokes the ghost of Henry, which, like, be better than that Owen. The screaming match only ends when Teddy tells Owen that they are done and shoves him and his suitcase out the door.

As much as I want Teddy back on Grey’s Anatomy, she should stay far, far away from Seattle and anyone who lives there. They’ve done her dirty too many times! Go eat your roast chicken and be happy!

Grey’s Anatomy Recap: 86,400 Seconds