Dang, Grey Sloan Memorial is a busy place! That’s not really news, but after “One Day Like This” slowed things down and focused on three doctors by using lengthy two-person scenes (come back to us, Scott Speedman!), the hectic pace and sheer number of story lines introduced in “Hold Back the River” is jarring. But so is life, I guess. Jarring and unpredictable.
How, for instance, is Webber to know that his sponsor Ollie (played by Mary Kay Place, who hasn’t been back for a visit since season two’s “Superstition”) would be brought in to the hospital after collapsing at an AA meeting? Or that she is in liver failure and has cardiomyopathy and is dying? Or that Ollie signed a DNR eight months ago? He only talks to the woman three times a week. Sheesh.
So, yes, Webber is upset. Ollie tries to explain that she wasn’t sure how to sponsor Richard while she was dying and she didn’t want to put that stress on him. She’s come to terms with everything — everything except leaving him. She wants to make sure he’ll be okay without her. Webber doesn’t hear her at all, and instead enlists Maggie and Meredith to figure out any and all options she has. Ollie knows it is useless, Maggie and Meredith know it is useless. But Ollie warns them that losing your sponsor after being sober for so long can be really hard. They need to keep an eye on Richard. He needs to get a sponsor after she dies.
The girls are obviously worried about Richard’s sobriety, and with Catherine unable to get to Seattle, they feel the pressure of figuring out how to get him to come to terms with everything in a healthy way. Maggie has a heart-to-heart with her biological dad. Thanks to Jackson, she realizes that when her mother was dying, she acted the exact same way Richard is acting now. She wasn’t thinking rationally, and she wasn’t doing everything she could to save her mom for her mom — she was doing it for herself. Her mom just wanted to live out the end of her days in peace. Just like Ollie. Whew, boy, we need more Webber-Maggie one-on-ones. This is a lovely scene and it helps get Richard to where he needs to be to say good-bye to his friend.
He finds Amelia and together they join Ollie and have an AA meeting. Richard is scared to lose Ollie, the person he’s spoken with most in his life, the keeper of his secrets. But by starting off their meeting by reciting the Serenity Prayer, Richard is signaling to Ollie that he finally knows this is a thing he cannot change. Her death is something he has to accept.
It’s a story line that really works — plus, I needed some quality time with Richard Webber. But hey, want to talk about a story line that doesn’t work at all?
Owen. Freaking Owen. We get it, dude. You’re angry that things in Germany did not work out the way you planned them. But give Teddy some time! She just found out that the man she’s been in love with for most of her life arrived on her doorstep, declared his love, and had sex with her a mere 24 hours after he had sex with his ex-wife, who told him to go to Teddy’s doorstep and declare his love. That is a thing that needs some processing. But Owen doesn’t process. Owen gets angry. It’s all Hulk Smash up in this place.
He takes most of his anger out on interns (let’s be real, Glasses always deserves it), until he gets involved in a case that proves to be a good outlet. Peggy and Dana, the couple who had a baby during the cyber attack, arrive in the ER after a car accident. Dana had gotten sick after her chemo treatment. Yes, she has breast cancer, but she swears her doctor is a miracle worker. She can’t say enough good things about Dr. Hanson! Owen and Arizona should really look him up.
There is one small problem (well, a good problem, to a certain extent): When Owen and Arizona look at Dana’s scans, they see she doesn’t have cancer at all — she probably never did. This leads Owen and Arizona — excuse me, Arizona and Otis Hunt — to go undercover at Dr. Hanson’s practice and get to the bottom of things. Okay, the undercover stuff is hilarious. I would watch The Adventures of Arizona and Otis Hunt any day.
After a very harrowing few minutes in which Arizona thinks she might actually have breast cancer because the scans that Dr. Hanson show AZ and her “husband” indicate as much, they do their own scans back at Grey Sloan. It’s what we all suspected over the commercial break: Dr. Hanson is using fake scans to trick women into thinking they have breast cancer. He treats them for a sickness they do not have and makes money while looking like a miracle worker when they suddenly recover.
Now, here is where it lost me: Owen heads over to Dr. Hanson’s office to “destroy” the guy. It’s dark and there’s lots of shoving and Owen acts like he’s going to inject Dr. Hanson with the chemo he put into so many healthy women. Is anyone buying this Owen Is Suddenly a Tough Guy thing? Yes, Owen is hunky and brave, but I’ve never thought of him as a scary tough guy. If you want to intimidate, someone send in Meredith. Or Alex. Ooooh, or Bailey. Literally anyone else but Owen Hunt. Eventually, the police show up to arrest Dr. Hanson, as they should since what he’s been doing is horrible. But, like, go home Owen, you’re drunk.
Meanwhile, there’s other major drama going on at the hospital: Amelia and Koracick finally perform their ultrasound-wave surgery on Noah with the laughing seizures. It is so difficult and scary — they say a lot of things about melting Noah’s brain stem or turning his brain into stew, which, you know, isn’t great — that Amelia is beside herself with worry. Not even a power-pose sesh with DeLuca (and Koracick) can help.
Noah wakes up after the surgery and it works perfectly. Unfortunately, since Noah’s surgery was much more difficult than anticipated and Amelia and Koracick aren’t entirely sure how it worked, Amelia and Koracick aren’t going to perform the surgery on that Broadway-lovin’, angel-voiced Kimmie. You see, Kimmie’s tumor is much more complicated than Noah’s. They need more time to improve their method first.
This does not go over well with Alex, who, as we know, is extremely attached to Kimmie and promised her that she’d get this surgery soon and be totally fine. He grabs Koracick and pushes him into the wall. Oh boy, this story line is headed in a very bad (read: sad) direction.
Can you handle a little more drama? Great! April is on her apology tour now that she’s right with the Big Guy again. The tour contains a lovely scene between April and Jackson in which she informs her ex that she’s okay, but things got really bad. She thanks him because even when she felt like God wasn’t there, Jackson always was. Ah yes, another reminder of the wonderful chemistry between these two that will be NO MORE. Why, Grey’s, why?
Jackson isn’t April’s last stop though. Next, she finds Maggie and apologizes for how horrible she acted at game night. The two share some friendly jokes about sleeping with such shameful people: Maggie with a married guy, April with the intern … and Koracick … and that whole “jumping her ex-husband in a closet” thing the other day. On that note, April cheerily walks off, not realizing that Maggie and Jackson are dating. From the look on Maggie’s face, Jackson has a lot of explaining to do.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine
• Joke’s on all of us: Thanks to Mouse David Bowie, Meredith and Jo discover that they don’t need any polymer to create mini-livers. Suck on that, Cerone! The day is Mer’s!
• Praise be that Bailey and Ben finally get some sexiness in their story line. Bailey is over Ben treating her like she could die at any minute (gifting her a pillbox certainly isn’t helping), so she calls Ben home for an emergency — an emergency in the bedroom. They are celebrating being alive by getting it on.
• Wait, am I the only one seriously into an April and Koracick pairing? Yes, he’s supremely arrogant, but April was privy to his vulnerable side. And wasn’t he a little charming with his, “April, please, we had sex, call me Dr. Koracick” thing?
• Oh, and DeLuca and Bello are moving in together because, okay, why not?
Sob Scale: 2/10
I wasn’t kidding when I said I want more Webber-Maggie scenes. Watching them talk about Maggie’s mom got me a little misty-eyed.