Well, that was bleak. Remember when Grey’s was all fun and love triangles? “I Want a New Drug” is the complete opposite of that. Ben Warren (hi, we miss you!) arrives in the ER to let people know that a bad batch of opioids went around at a nearby park and addicts are dropping all over the place. The tally gets up to around 50, and most of them are teenagers. By the end of the episode, all of our doctors are left shaken, feeling helpless. They can only do so much. It’s a rough day and not all of us have a Ben Warren to hold us and tell us to “be in the beauty” of life with him. Some of us are just alone on our couch unable to get the nightmare of what a mass OD looks like out of our heads. So there’s that.
It makes sense for Grey’s Anatomy to tackle the opioid crisis. First, because it is a real and terrible crisis that deserves some discussion. Second, because of Betty. (I just can’t call her Brittany guys, I can’t.) She’s one of the teens found in the park. She’s shuttled into the clinic with her boyfriend, seemingly okay, but very quickly has a cardiac episode. Link finds her and after hearing that she’s taken both meth and the bad pills, rushes her over to the ER, carrying her in his arms when he can’t find a gurney. You guys. HE CARRIES HER IN HIS ARMS. I know Meredith has chosen DeLuca and I am very happy for them but we cannot lose Link. We deserve Link. Hey, I’m just spitballing here but he has this whole moment with Amelia as she breaks down (as if you didn’t think she would in this shitshow. Maybe once Owen realizes he loves Teddy, Amelia can hook up with Link. I mean, I wouldn’t wish Amelia on such an angel human but desperate times call for desperate reasons to keep a dude relevant.
Oh right, so Betty is dying. Owen has Webber call Amelia but only tells her that Betty is at the hospital — the fact that Owen’s like, “we all know how she gets” and everyone agrees brings me endless joy. But this means that Amelia, who was doing the Leo handoff to Betty’s parents (Owen realized he was being the World’s Worst), shows up at Grey Sloan with the parents in tow. Obviously, everyone has a very strong reaction to seeing Betty being wheeled off into surgery.
It’s Teddy who operates. Maggie tries to take over, but Teddy won’t have it. There’s a real chance that Betty could die and Amelia’s sister shouldn’t be the one to tell Amelia that, if it happens. She’s going to need Maggie. It’s a very noble thing to do. Speaking of Teddy, she’s such a boss in this episode. It felt weird to have an insane trauma in the ER and no April Kepner to keep things in order, but I felt very safe in Teddy’s hands.
While Teddy and Webber work to save Betty’s life by any means necessary, Owen, Amelia, and Betty’s parents have to sweat it out in the waiting room. They have to think about horrible things like how the last thing Betty’s dad ever said to her was “I can’t even stand to look at you.” So that’s great and fun for everyone.
Elsewhere, Link is taking care of Betty’s boyfriend. All this kid wants to do is keep his girlfriend safe and make sure she’s not alone. Link fixes him up a bit, and then goes out into the hallway to take a breather from the insanity of the day. He finds Amelia doing the same. They talk about how helpless it can feel to be a doctor when kids are out there killing themselves with drugs. They talk about what they would do if they weren’t doctors. It involves waves and sand and rum. It’s all very nice … until blood comes spilling out of the door in front of them and it is Betty’s boyfriend who has shot himself up. Again, super great and fun. Link can’t save him and it sends Amelia into a tailspin of fear and anger. He was a good kid. They’re all good kids!
There is some good news, though: Betty lives! Amelia gives Teddy the longest, tightest hug she’s probably ever been involved in. Betty’s parents don’t want to tell her about her boyfriend — they think it would kill her. But Amelia disagrees. If you watched Private Practice, you’ll remember the story she tells them. Her fiancé died of an overdose while in bed next to her. She thought she would die from the pain of it, but something funny happened: She didn’t. She lived. It was her rock bottom and it drove her to get clean. She hopes this is Betty’s rock bottom. It’s a very moving scene. I’ve said it before, but get her away from Owen (and maybe Meredith) and she is more than tolerable. I know that doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it is!
The other very moving storyline within this opioid crisis episode belongs to Alex (ask and ye shall receive, The Secret is real!). He and Jo come upon your typical blonde suburban mom named Wendy, who is freaking out because she and her 3-year-old were at the park and when the craziness started, she got distracted and lost him. She thought maybe someone brought him to the hospital. They’re worried about Wendy because her blood pressure is very high and she’s in distress. It’s not until a kindly homeless man named Ralph walks in with the little boy, that they figure out what’s going on: Ralph saw Wendy buying drugs and passing out on a park bench. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.
Alex and Jo call Wendy’s husband, who is disgusted when he finds out that she brought their son to buy drugs. Jo tries to calm him down, tries to explain that his wife is sick. Alex sides with the guy. He tells him that he shouldn’t let their son near Wendy again until he is sure she is clean. He needs to protect his son at all costs. It’s very intense!
Jo’s put off by Alex’s reaction to the situation, but when she comes upon him upset in his office, she puts it together. When Alex was 6, his drug-addict father left him in a bar parking lot. Alex’s father may be gone (never forget what Shane did, you guys!), but the scars he left on his son are still very much a part of Alex’s life. In a very endearing moment, the Karevs share a hot chocolate and whisper “I love you’s” and my little heart is warmed by seeing these two damaged people find a safe place with one another. I’m honestly astounded that Alex and Jo currently have one of the most solid relationships on this show. Please respect my privacy at this time.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine, Apart From Real Medicine
• Our girl’s breaking records! Clocking in at 27 hours and 8 minutes, Meredith Grey breaks the hospital record for longest single surgery. Like, can you even imagine working for 27 hours straight? My work takes place exclusively in a seated position and still it sounds horrific. I guess it’s not so bad when you have someone who looks like Andrew DeLuca by your side calling you a superhero.
• Bokhee speaks! She calls Meredith a Surgical Wonder Woman. Bokhee is the best of us.
• Nico and Schmitt are still being cute. Today, Schmitt gets to see Nico in action in the OR and is genuinely surprised that a guy so good looking is such a talented orthopedic surgeon. It’s like, Schmitt, have you not looked around Grey Sloan before? The place is overflowing with hot doctors who are good at their jobs.
• Jackson’s storyline in this episode is ridiculous. He wants to take Maggie camping to show her a simpler life, and while he’s removing debris and infections from a homeless man’s feet he proceeds to tell her about how fun it is to sleep outside and how they have too many pairs of boots to choose from. The patient, Ralph, lives in the park. It’s very awkward to watch! Jackson realizes he’s a toolbox and offers Ralph his camping gear — socks, boots, a tent. Puts camping in perspective, doesn’t it Dr. Avery?
• Maggie does not want to go camping, like at all: “I am going and I am going to like it.” Bailey: “Are you though?”
• Oh man, Teddy is really all in on Tom. She tells Bailey he’s “kind of wow.”
• Get you a man who will find you asleep on a gurney and wheel you into a private room.
The Sob Scale: 3/10
It’s hard to cry when you’re scared about the state of the world, but Jennifer Grey’s “Please decide to live” really hit the ol’ heartstrings.