Jerrika Hinton as Stephanie.
Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC
Just when you thought you’d met all the Grey’s Anatomy power couples, in walk Hal Holbrook and June Squibb as a couple of retired elite surgeons who had an accident hiking in the woods. It took two minutes for me to want a spinoff about Lewis and Elsie when they were young surgeons falling in love. Or just them going on hikes as 95-year-olds. Really, anything that provides me with more Lewis-and-Elsie content.
You know something terrible is going to happen to this lovely couple. They’ve been married 60 years! There’s no way they’re surviving Grey Sloan Memorial. Amelia discovers a bleed in Elsie’s brain, and although she could perform surgery, she wouldn’t recommend it for someone Elsie’s age. Lewis is totally against it, but Elsie wants to fight for more time with her husband. Sixty years isn’t enough. My heart is in your hands, June Squibb. Be kind to it.
She’s not. She opts for the surgery. Afterward, Elsie’s out long enough for Lewis to have a heart-to-heart with Owen. They talk about the secret to a long marriage — there isn’t one. He wouldn’t have had the life he did without her. You know, the general things that would make one tear up.
After getting through the night, Amelia comes to check on Elsie, but she’s already gone. Lewis is sitting there, holding his dead wife’s hand and tells Amelia, “16:22.” He made sure to get the time of death for the doctors. 16:22. And now he’s alone and won’t let Owen hail him a cab because these are the things he has to do for himself now. HOLD ME, JUNE SQUIBB.
It’s a beautiful little story that, of course, applies to Lewis and Elsie’s doctors, Owen and Amelia. After more tense staring and Owen pleading with his wife to come home, Amelia blows up. In the hallway! In front of Lewis and Elsie! HAVE YOU NO DECENCY? She tells Owen that he’s bullying her and suffocating her and then she invokes the name of Cristina Yang. Even Bailey, who is standing nearby, thinks that crosses a line.
In a stairwell, Amelia continues to make Owen think that he’s the crazy one. “Why do you even want a kid?” she yells, as if it is totally out of this world for a person to want a child. When Owen points that out to her, she goes on about how they are always playing by his “normal” rules and that’s not life. What he wants is a dream and when you have a child, you don’t get to pick what you want. It doesn’t always end the way you hoped. Listen, I get that Amelia is a broken person. Anyone would be after what she went through, but literally all Owen wants is to have an honest conversation with the woman he married.
Owen is a decent guy, and if Amelia is worried about him being able to handle the “for worse,” um, the guy is a war vet and head of trauma at the scariest hospital imaginable. Owen basically lives in “for worse.” He’s had his moments, but he’s still here living that sweet, ginger life.
It’s infuriating to watch. The whole thing is very repetitive and also is giving me a headache. So much yelling! Does anyone remember why these two fell in love with each other anyway? Can Owen just run back into the arms of that very nice Emma woman from season ten who wanted kids and could cook a full Thanksgiving dinner? CAN WE ALL JUST MOVE ON?
I am thankful to report that the Elsie and Lewis love story is not totally wasted, though. There is an adorable Bailey and Ben scene, the memory of which will warm my heart anytime it becomes iced over with recollections of the Amelia and Owen debacle. They hold hands in the surgery gallery and talk about lasting 60 years together. Ben thinks Bailey will be bossy (duh?). Bailey imagines Ben as the old man who repeats stories — including the C-section-on-a-table story, a real hoot! — but it ends with them talking about foot rubs and smooching. There, my icy heart is warmed.
The real stunner of a story line in “Till I Hear It From You” is Maggie finally finding out about her mom’s breast cancer. Of course, the reveal doesn’t come until after some particularly harsh words from daughter to mother. Maggie picks Diane up at the airport and from that point on is just relentlessly shaming her mother for wanting to get a boob job. (Diane still hasn’t told her she’s actually getting a mastectomy.) It’s tough to watch, obviously because we all know that Diane is sick and that once Maggie inevitably finds out, she’s going to feel terrible. But also, if Diane were actually getting a breast enlargement post-divorce, Maggie still should not be saying the things that she is currently blasting through the entire hospital. Things like, “I hope you’ll enjoy being a nice, self-involved lonely person with an incredible rack.” That is a bridge too far, Margaret.
Jackson does his best to tell Maggie to ease up on her mother without disobeying Diane’s wishes about staying mum until after the surgery, but Maggie is an unstoppable force. She can’t understand how her prudish mother could ever want huge knockers. She needs a reason. Meredith and Amelia attempt to clue her in on that reason: sex, obviously. Then, for one brief moment, Amelia actually makes some sense. Okay, so Amelia is definitely talking about herself, but still she tells Maggie that her mother doesn’t owe her a reason for this — and she’s right. Give her your support and let the woman live.
Meanwhile, Jackson refuses to proceed with the surgery until Diane loops Maggie in. Diane needs a support system, it would be unsafe to go along with this otherwise. Also, Maggie’s strong, and she would want to fight this with her mother. So, the next time Maggie pops by, Diane tells her what she’s really doing at Grey Sloan. The hurt, anger, and sadness that fill Maggie’s face as she looks over Diane’s scans is remarkable. She looks from her mother to her friend Jackson, and she can’t even speak. She has to walk away. Kelly McCreary is a champ in this episode.
As Jackson scrubs in for Diane’s surgery, Maggie arrives. She doesn’t want to be locked out of her mother’s files anymore. Also, how could he, her supposed friend, let her talk to her mother that way? Jackson explains, very slowly, that he may be Maggie’s friend, but he’s also a doctor. Maggie’s like, “Oh, right, doctor rules,” and then tells Jackson to fix her mother. No pressure.
Jackson works on Diane as Maggie paces out in the hallway. It’s all very gripping. Before long, Jackson’s face clues us in: Something’s not right. After leaving the OR, he finds Meredith and sends her to Maggie. Meredith finds her sister staring at Diane’s scans, crying. “My mom is really sick.”
Oh, friends. We are really in for next week, aren’t we?
• “Bros before potential love interests.” Bailey would never use that word to describe a woman and Bailey is our queen, therefore, this is the new saying henceforth.
• Arizona and Webber’s unlikely friendship continues to be a delight, even when they’re fighting. Webber lashes out at her, but takes it back. He just needs time to process the Minnick hookup. That’s real buddy stuff!
• You know what made me actually laugh out loud? Stephanie pouring her broken heart out to DeLuca, which he chooses as the perfect time to say, “I think I’m in love with Jo.” Read the room, dude.
• Riggs is such a dork when trying to tell Mer how he feels about her, but it is charming. He finally asks her on a real date. Will Meredith eat soup out of his dimples? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.
• “You should be picky about sex, you’re hot.” Alex is MIA for the majority of this episode, but boy does he make the most of his time with us.
• Speaking of, Alex not being able to look away from Diane’s boobs is perfect.
Between Lewis saying, “I have to figure things out for myself now,” and Maggie … well, everything after Maggie finds out her mom is sick, the Sob Scale ticked upward throughout the entire episode. I fear for next week. The Sob Scale might explode.