Alex Karev rolling into the chief of surgery parking spot and smiling at Bailey while wearing some sharp sunglasses sums up so much of what I love about this show. If you just met these two characters you’d find this scene amusing, but for those of us who have been around since the beginning, knowing the immense history between Alex and Bailey makes this scene extra fun — not even Bailey, who made this happen, can believe this is happening. Alex Karev is chief of surgery.
Excuse me, interim chief of surgery. And maybe not for long after he puts his first day in the books. It turns out Evil Spawn is not a natural when it comes to this job. He screws up the OR boards! He unknowingly spends the entire quarter’s budget in one day! He has no time to babysit Intern Roy, who incorrectly assumes a patient with a nosebleed just did too much blow and leaves him in the ER for five hours until he ends up dying. Alex fires Roy in a fiery tirade that he seems to enjoy. Even still, it’s not a great first day.
The hardest part to watch of Alex’s first day are his interactions with his mentor, Richard “Always the Chief” Webber. A high-school shop teacher, Mr. Buckley, collapses and sends a student into a table saw. They discover his blood-alcohol level is extremely high. While Link is working on the teacher’s amputated fingers, Webber wants to talk to him alcoholic-to-alcoholic. He wants Buckley to admit he has a problem, to take responsibility for what he’s done, but Buckley swears he’s not drunk. Likely story, Webber says!
He gets even harsher with the teacher up in the OR, attempting to berate him into making a confession, but Buckley sticks to his story. Link wants Webber to back off his patient, but things escalate enough for Alex to insert himself. Alex tosses Webber out of the OR. Webber is not pleased with how his former student is treating him, to say the least. No one wants to see these two fighting! It feels unnatural, doesn’t it?
Webber’s convinced Buckley just doesn’t want to admit he has a problem … until the mother of one of Buckley’s students has a chat with him. There’s no way Mr. Buckley is an alcoholic. She’s seen alcoholics. Mr. Buckley gets tipsy from two sips of champagne. He’s not hiding any deep, dark secret. Could Webber have gotten this wrong?
He visits Buckley and pours the guy some vodka. You know, just in case. And the next thing we know, Link is telling Alex that Buckley’s drunk again and it’s all Webber’s fault. But did you guys really think Webber would be that cruel? The vodka was water, and after he saw Buckley refuse the drink, he dug a little deeper. Buckley has auto-brewery syndrome — his body takes sugar and immediately ferments it into alcohol. So if the guy ate some Jell-O, he’d get drunk. Rare medical condition or not, Alex is still pissed about Webber’s methods and demeanor. Webber doesn’t much care what Alex thinks. How long will this feud go on? Boys! Stop fighting!
Alex isn’t the only one having a tough day — let’s check in with Maggie. Not that Maggie’s ever been a “chill” person, but our girl is extremely anxious at the moment. She’s the only person who knows Teddy is pregnant with Owen’s baby (where are you, Teddy?!), and she has to stand by and listen to Amelia talk about how happy she and Owen finally are. Mags looks like she might vomit. But she doesn’t vomit! Instead, she not-so-smoothly attempts to offer Amelia other male options. How about DeLuca, who is looking extra-hot these days with a classic motorcycle-sunglasses combo? If he doesn’t do it for you, take a look at that new ortho guy, Dr. Lincoln. He’s cute, right?
Amelia is adamant that she and Owen are the real deal this time. Still, Maggie is so worried about the fallout once Owen discovers Teddy is pregs, that she goes so far as to tell Link that he should ask Amelia out. Oh, and she likes Italian food. When this whole thing goes down, Amelia is downright offended. She goes off on Maggie over the intercom while Maggie is in surgery with Owen and DeLuca. It gets awkward! Owen isn’t happy with Maggie, doubting their feelings. DeLuca, on the other hand, is mostly just shocked she’d be okay with him dating her sister. But of course she is —she and DeLuca are ancient history (You guys, she doesn’t know she’s giving DeLuca permission to pursue Meredith in this conversation, but did you see the way he looked at Dr. Grey after? And she looked at him? IS THIS HAPPENING?).
But Maggie keeping Teddy’s secret isn’t the only thing bothering her today. She’s also upset because — wait for it — Jackson is gone. He just up and left, you guys! When Maggie suggested he take some time to figure out his new world order, I’m pretty sure she did not mean by leaving in the dead of night to parts unknown. But that’s what he does. The hospital staff gets an email from Jackson stating that he’s on leave. Maggie gets a voice-mail. He needs to “clear his head” and “figure things out” and “unplug.” Maggie’s distraught that he’d go without talking to her first — or at the very least telling her where he is. She’s also confused. She had a near-death experience that day with the van, too. While that has made Jackson question, well, everything in his life, all she feels is lucky, she tells Amelia. Later, she goes to text him that they need to talk, but decides against sending it. What this means for their relationship, we have yet to see. All I know is, this dude better come back to Grey Sloan with a Finding Myself Beard. Isn’t that what happens when you go and clear your head in an undisclosed location?
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Except for Real Medicine
• Meredith is working on Cece and her failing kidneys as they wait for a heart, and Cece is working on Meredith and her love life. Meredith has no time for Cece’s questions aiming to get at her emotional core, so Cece has to get to her a different way. She orders Meredith go on a shopping field trip and buy herself five bomb outfits. We do not get a Meredith Grey fashion montage, although we are owed one after all these years watching her get blown up, drown, have a C-section in the dark … you get the picture. GIVE US THE DARK AND TWISTY FASHION MONTAGE.
• “I’m an award-winning surgeon and I pay someone whose job it is to find me a sex life. That’s humiliating.”
• Please hold Meredith and Alex’s friendship in your heart like the treasure it is. In the midst of their chaotic days, they need some one-on-one time. Meredith tells Alex he’s a great chief and Alex tells Meredith that she deserves to be picky. I love them.
• I’m grateful for how much Meredith shades Amelia. For example, this line, when she’s talking about working with her matchmaker Cece: “She wants me to spew emotional vomit every time I walk into the room. I’m not Amelia.”
• Since Bailey has to clean up Alex’s messes, she has no time for Jo’s fellowship and that really ticks the new Dr. Karev off. Do we care about this yet?
• I’m not into Link simply slutting it up at Grey Sloan, but I am into his ability to separate work and play. (Okay, and his tiny magnifying surgical glasses!) Sure, he and Webber have it out about a patient, that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends. He pushes the lonely guy to join him and DeLuca at Joe’s. Here for this bromance. Also here for Link’s use of the word “soda pop.”
• Link automatically calls Alex “chief,” and you guys, there is something about that entire situation that gets me very hot and bothered. I cannot be alone in this.
• Unfortunately, we don’t get much momentum on the possible Nico–Schmitt love connection, but Nico does come into the intern locker room and proceed to remove his shirt and Schmitt is there. Let’s do this thing!
• Hi! Still over here waving my flag for Tom Koracick. We saw him get down and dirty in the ER and OR. What a treat!
• Next week is a crossover with Station 19, so buckle up! I’m most looking forward to watching Station 19’s Dean (Okieriete Onaodowan) asking Maggie out, because I might into that pairing?
Sob Scale: 0/10
Sure, this is the “Season of Love,” but can we get a little emotional while we fall for people? We can handle it, we’ve handled worse!