Who knew the Shondaland team celebrated 4/20 so hard? Honestly, it’s about time someone pumped the doctors of Grey Sloan full of marijuana, because they are tense. But really, the timing of Arizona’s “Lesbian Gratitude Cookies” that are inadvertently full of peanut-butter cannabis, given as a gift by the non-cancer cancer patient from a few weeks ago, couldn’t be worse.
It’s Grey Sloan Memorial Surgical Innovation Presentation Day! Some embarrassing slip-ups occur, like Jackson and Catherine presenting their vaginoplasty method by having Jackson tell everyone that vaginas are great and he even came from one, the one standing right next to him. But thankfully, Arizona tells Meredith — who did not partake in cookie eating — about the edibles she accidentally doled out to her colleagues, and Mer postpones the rest of the presentations.
The sudden influx of very incapacitated doctors doesn’t do much to advance most story lines, but it is definitely worth the detour. There are a lot of fun moments in “Judgment Day” (and some not-so-fun ones that we will get to), but its greatest gift is that it throws some characters together who rarely share screen time. Apparently, herding high surgeons is much harder than cats, so Meredith tries to keep the high individuals quarantined until they sober up. This means that Maggie and Arizona sit in a room while Arizona wonders if she is moving too fast with Carina — did she push her to stay in Seattle because she feels like she is always being abandoned by the people she loves? — and Maggie talks about cheese varieties. They’re “joined” by DeLuca, who, after rubbing plants and hallucinating his recently exiled girlfriend, cries on the floor. Yeah, that room is definitely weird.
If the cheese and crying is too much for you, move over to April and Bailey’s room. Sarah Drew and Chandra Wilson are a delight together. They’re discussing Bailey’s use of a sex-toy company to build her Tailblazer, excuse me, Trailblazer prototype and playing the human bagpipes as a way to reflect on the impending death of the Harper Avery Foundation.
Which brings us to the most important development in the episode: As you probably guessed, the NDA that Dr. Froy had with the Harper Avery Foundation, which Jackson released her from so that she could help Amelia with her research in the last episode, is in fact in related to a sexual-harassment claim. Grey’s Anatomy is diving into the #MeToo movement.
While sequestered as the weed wears off, Catherine tells her son everything. Harper Avery was a sexual predator and paid off 13 women to keep quiet. The victims received very large sums of money, and in exchange they couldn’t talk about their experience, couldn’t work in a hospital run by the Harper Avery Foundation, and couldn’t be considered for a Harper Avery Award. Jackson is obviously distraught to hear the truth about his grandfather, but what really gets him fired up is when he puts the pieces together and realizes that his mother helped keep the victims quiet.
Catherine does her best to explain her actions. Back then, women who spoke up were simply fired and their reputations were tarnished. Catherine fought for Harper’s victims to, at the very least, get some money and keep their careers. She is ashamed of Harper’s actions, but she isn’t ashamed of hers. She didn’t have the voice then that she does now. Times are different and so is she. Jackson can understand that, but he still wants to do right by those women.
Meredith discovers that Marie Cerone was one of Harper’s victims. It was why Ellis took Marie’s name off of her paper, implying that Ellis knew what was going on. But this news will affect more than just Meredith, or just Harper Avery Award winners, for that matter. It will destroy the Avery name, the Foundation, and possibly even all the hospitals run by the Foundation — including Grey Sloan. Catherine and Jackson know they need to be honest and get ahead of the news. Finally sober, they head home, only to catch a news report of the scandal going public. It’s too late to get in front of it.
In happier news, it only takes about five seconds for Owen to get a call informing him that a foster child is coming his way. Not a child — a baby. His name is Liam and he is adorable. Poor thing, he has no idea what he’s in for.
Neither does Owen, apparently. It all happens so fast that he is not prepared at all. Thankfully, Amelia is willing and able to help. There is one little caveat: She’s babysitting a very high Alex Karev all day. (Again I ask: Is all this Alex and Amelia bonding an attempt to make us forget we are losing the Alex-Arizona dream team at the end of the season? Just because they have the same initials does not mean this trick will work!)
Anyway, High Alex is very chatty and also very hungry. Which means he’s stressing Owen out on this momentous day. Owen, of course, spends his first few hours with Liam wondering if he’s doing the right thing. He isn’t ready! He might ruin Liam! This is too much, too soon! Amelia tries to calm Owen down by taking him to Meredith’s place to steal some of her extra baby gear, but it is Alex who ends up being the most helpful. Alex had several foster parents, most of whom were terrible, but he had one good one: a foster dad who took a few moments out of his busy day to check in. As Alex puts it, “It wasn’t much, but he gave a crap.” And obviously, Owen is “giving so many craps.” Liam will be fine. Owen will be fine.
Aw, Alex Karev. Such a poet!
At the end of the day, Amelia decides to stay at Owen’s to help him out on his first night. Owen, Amelia, and little Liam look very comfortable together. Uh oh, you guys. Are Owen and Amelia going to happen again? Somebody hold me.
In the midst of all this cannabis-fueled chaos, it is Meredith who keeps Grey Sloan running. But thanks to a mishap with Bailey and a door, Mer’s hand is too swollen to perform surgery. It doesn’t stop her from keeping things in order, of course, and she uses the injury as an opportunity to continue her mentorship of Jo Wilson. Since Meredith is out of commission, she tells Jo to perform a tricky gastrectomy surgery by herself (with an assist from Webber’s cancer-detecting Path Pen, which is awesome, by the way).
Even as Jo second guesses herself, Meredith encourages her to trust her abilities and harness the boss surgeon woman within. Meredith is basically the Beyoncé of the O.R. All of the other doctors may be coming down from their highs, but for Jo Wilson, the high has just started.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine
• Biggest laugh of the episode? Sarah Drew’s delivery of this line: “I always wanted a Harper Avery. I had a Jackson Avery. It’s not the same thing.”
• Runner-up: Bailey telling Meredith she loves her.
• Bailey had never been high before because she “listened to Mr. T.” That tracks.
• It’s also Maggie’s first high, and although she worries about embarrassing herself, she ends up being hilarious — and I’m not just talking about the cheese. To Jo: “You’re so pretty. You look like a cartoon.” My favorite: “I don’t think I need my neck anymore.”
• April lets slip that she’s secretly dating someone. It has to be Tom Koracick, right? Please let it be Tom Koracick.
• Sorry Intern Roy, you getting fired for seeing patients while high is like, the least interesting news of the day. Good luck to you, handsome sir.
• I know I’ve been ragging on Amelia and Alex becoming buddies, but I did love that when Jo comes to pick High Alex up, Amelia sends him home with baggies of snacks.
• What does Owen Hunt really smell like? I imagine a bar of soap and some freshly scraped tree bark.