Dearest Grey’s fam: Have you, too, spent the entire summer hiatus stewing in anger over the forced departure of two Grey’s Anatomy queens? Oh, you have a life in which you deal with actual people and not fictional ones? Tell me what that’s like some time. I was all ready to hop on this recap train and start bemoaning the fact that the show cut two wonderful female characters and yet still has an entire gaggle of ridiculous interns running around (literally, in this episode, one of them is just chasing a dog the entire time), but then Grey’s Anatomy did something very smart: It distracted me with shiny new hunky doctors. I can’t help myself! Like, I’m sorry but did you see Dr. Lincoln’s (Chris Carmack’s) hair? Hunky Doctor with Great Hair is my exact type and I won’t apologize for that.
Apparently, I’m not the only one. Our main patient of the episode, Neesha, doesn’t hide her swooning over the docs, mangled legs or not. When we first meet this nice, young woman, Jackson, Maggie, and DeLuca are walking to work, still feeling the booze from the wedding festivities the evening before, but enjoying a gorgeous Seattle morning. Jackson and Maggie are deep into conversation about taking leaps of faith and higher beings and other things everyone totally talks about when they are incredibly hung-over, so they don’t notice the car careening toward them — but DeLuca does. He pulls both of them back, out of harm’s way just in time. Neesha is not so lucky. She’s riding her bike when she gets slammed by the runaway car and ends up completely entangled in her bike. As I like to remind you people, I am in no way a doctor, but I’m pretty sure your legs aren’t supposed to bend like that.
When Neesha comes to at the hospital, she is convinced she’s in heaven because she is surrounded by very attractive angels: Jackson, Owen, new orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lincoln (he prefers to be called Link), and his equally attractive ortho cohort Dr. Nico Kim (Alex Landi). Neesha may be standing on the brink of death but at least the view is pretty.
Jackson gets attached to Neesha — it could easily have been him in that hospital bed. Why should Jackson get to live, and not her? Jackson’s existential crisis is a real drag. He has no sense of humor when it comes to Link recounting his days working in a Venice Beach bike shop, calling him and Owen “bud,” or the loud music he plays during surgery to clear his head. He does not, however, seem to mind the season tickets Link has access to as the personal surgeon of the Seattle Mariners. Boys are weird!
Neesha is not the only patient in the hospital because of the car accident. The driver of the car that hit her had passed out at the wheel before hitting Neesha and running into a tree. Cece is a two-time heart transplant recipient and is going into kidney failure due to the anti-rejection meds she’s been taking for her heart. Some people just can’t win. She falls under the care of Meredith Grey. And our hero is having a day even before she meets Cece.
As many may have guessed, that promo showing Meredith and DeLuca going at it was just a very, very hot dream of Meredith’s. Jackson and Tom Koracick make appearances, as well. Meredith is horny, you guys! The dream makes run-ins with all three of those men a little awkward, but most especially with DeLuca, who just wants to apologize for drunkenly kissing her at Alex and Jo’s wedding. He’ll never do it again, he says. That’s a shame, because I’m kind of into them. Meredith chooses this moment, of all moments, to finally decide it’s inappropriate for an attending and a resident to have a relationship. Grey Sloan was basically built on breaking that rule, but FINE.
Cece won’t let Meredith off so easy. As it happens, Cece is a professional matchmaker, and a good one — she has an 85% success rate. Meredith repeatedly tells her she’s not interested in her services, but Cece won’t give up so easily.
Both patients are having some trouble staying alive (and have formed a bond while suffering through all this), but Neesha is definitely worse off. She develops necrotizing fasciitis, a rapidly spreading flesh-eating bacterial infection that is also extremely hard to spell. The former is the more important part here, but I wanted you all to know.
They need to act fast or it could be fatal. Jackson comes up with a risky plan, but he’ll need to talk to Bailey about it, first. Like Meredith, Bailey has also been having a day. She desperately wants to go on her sabbatical, but still needs to find an Interim Chief. It was supposed to be Teddy, but after Teddy discovers that Owen and Amelia are playing house, she wants to get as far away from Seattle as possible (a blood clot in her leg keeps her grounded for now, with only Maggie knowing the truth about the identity of her baby daddy). When other doctors catch wind of Bailey’s need, everyone starts (poorly) pitching themselves to her. So when Jackson comes to her with a big request, she isn’t in the best mood.
Bailey has just put the finishing touches on a state-of-the-art hyperbaric chamber meant to speed up patient recovery time. Link calls it a “Moon Spa.” Really, it looks like a submarine in the basement of the hospital. It is a cool set piece and I can’t wait for multiple instances of people getting trapped in there and banging on the tiny porthole windows for help. It is inevitable.
Jackson knows that there are higher success rates with necrotizing fasciitis when the patient is treated in a space with high-flow oxygen. It’s science! He wants to perform Neesha’s surgery inside the hyperbaric chamber. It’s definitely not equipped for that — no electricity allowed — he’d be putting his entire team at risk of decompression sickness, and once the door closes they’ll all be stuck in there until the entire thing is depressurized. Jackson doesn’t care. He needs to save this girl and this is his best shot.
To the Moon Spa they go! Things go bad pretty quickly. The infection has spread and Neesha crashes. There is no defibrillator, so they have to do compressions manually. They work on her for 35 minutes until finally Jackson brings himself to call her time of death. Immediately, he needs to get out of there, away from the horror show. Maggie and Bailey helplessly watch him freak out from outside the chamber (told ya!). Jackson can’t leave until it’s safe to open the door, so he sits there facing what’s happened.
If you think that’s sad, wait until Meredith and Maggie tell Cece that Neesha is dead. Cece breaks down. She blames herself and she doesn’t want to be put back on the transplant list (her heart starts failing because of her kidney failure, again — there are no breaks to be caught for Cece). She doesn’t deserve to live if Neesha is dead. It’s heartbreaking. Meredith will have none of it. She’s had yet another sexy dream (this time Link and his abs join the party), and watched other people follow their joy, and she’s ready to admit that maybe she needs — she wants — Cece’s matchmaking services. Cece needs to keep fighting because Meredith is ready for her help. Their first session begins at Cece’s bedside.
Emo Jackson’s day doesn’t end so horribly, either. Earlier, Jackson admits to Maggie that after what happened with April, he is starting to believe in something bigger, a higher power — and that’s embarrassing for him. He talks about trusting his gut and taking a leap of faith and all of this leads into a weird pseudo-proposal type moment. This of course freaks out Maggie, who immediately takes off to buy milk (which she actually does — her commitment to the ruse is noble). After Neesha dies and Jackson realizes that the “half-proposal” was not what he meant at all, he and Maggie talk things out. Jackson’s had a tough year, what with everything that went down with his grandfather, losing his family fortune, watching April move on — he can admit that he has some issues he’s been avoiding. But, he adds, something else big happened this year: he fell in love. Jackson and Maggie say “I love you” for the first time. So, anyway, that whole thing is not going anywhere.
Before we wrap this up, there are two seeds of storylines planted in these premiere episodes that we really need to discuss. The first is what’s going on with Richard Webber. At the end of last season, we watched as he lost his long-time sponsor. I’m so glad the show hasn’t just dropped this thread — a loss like that would be devastating to someone like Richard. He’s not handling it well. Catherine knows it. Bailey calls him out on it. And yet he’s still avoiding going to an AA meeting. Keep an eye on Richard, I’m worried.
The second is a possible burgeoning romance. Hottie Doc Nico Kim arrives at Grey Sloan and almost immediately takes a liking to doofus intern Schmitt. You guys, Nico winks at him during surgery. Schmitt is definitely taken aback by Nico’s forwardness, but the wonderful thing is, it is never played for laughs. We’ve only seen Schmitt hook up with Jo, so we don’t know if he’s ever had a relationship with a man before, but the look on his face when he and Nico accidentally graze hands at Joe’s Bar says that he is having some feelings. Is this happening? Please say yes.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine, Except For Real Medicine
• Did you ever think you’d live to see this day, people? ALEX KAREV IS CHIEF OF SURGERY. Okay, Interim Chief, but still. It all has to do with Jo turning down the job in Boston to stay in Seattle and work on her brilliant idea for the future of medicine (Cancer Killer Cells) through a fellowship personally funded by Bailey. Still, the takeaway here is that Evil Spawn is now the Chief. Somewhere in Switzerland, Cristina Yang is cackling.
• Here’s hoping Link is more than just another hospital Lothario, although how could you not enjoy Meredith’s first encounter with the flirty doc? A fast and hard “no” before he even had time to introduce himself. A Savage Queen, our Meredith.
• Yes, Link’s full name is Dr. Atticus Lincoln. Here’s Mer’s take on that bit of info: “Your parents named you after two of the greatest figures of our time, both literary and historical, and you call yourself Link?”
• I regret to inform you that Link does not utter the words “Welcome to Grey Sloan, bitch” nor does he say, “Welcome to the Hyperbaric Chamber, bitch.” But you can bet your butt I am watching out for it.
• Koracick: “You think they can sense our sexual tension?”
Meredith: “Wouldn’t I sense it?”
• Is Tom Koracick staying forever? I kind of love him?
• Um, you guys, Grey’s Anatomy just had a guy die on the table after sticking his wife’s hairspray can up his butt. That must be the WORST way to go out, don’t you think? His poor wife! It’s not funny but also … I love this show.
• Well, Amelia and Owen are back together. I laughed out loud during his big “I want the strings” speech, when, amongst the messy things he wanted as part of their “Take Two,” he listed “the fighting.” Only Owen Hunt would want that. Everyone hated the fighting, dude. This is a horrible idea. Still, I am looking forward to his reaction once he learns Teddy is pregnant with his child. Somebody please tell him.
• Sob Scale: 4/10
Cece singing to Neesha or her tearful breakdown after learning the young woman has died — you take your pick, but either way, I’m over here wiping away some tears.