Hello dearest Grey’s fans, boy do we have something to celebrate tonight! I mean, did you see Maggie’s green jumpsuit? It was perfection. Okay, that deserves to be treasured, but it’s not what we’re celebrating tonight. No, the current cause for popping some bottles and giving a hearty round of applause is the fact that “We Didn’t Start the Fire” officially makes Grey’s Anatomy TV’s longest-running prime-time medical drama. With episode 332, they have ousted ER from the top spot. Sorry, Dr. Carter and company! Don’t worry, you’ll always have Eriq La Salle punching the air in the opening credits.
For those of us who have been watching since the very beginning, this is a big deal. Mainly because we now have to reconcile with the fact that we have devoted, AT THE VERY LEAST, 332 hours of our actual lives to this fictional show. But also because, wow, what a record to have. Grey’s Anatomy knows it, too — they’re throwing a party. This party is to celebrate Catherine’s health and the doctors who saved her. Catherine does not want to be at this party. No one wants to be at this party. Still, it’s nice to see everyone dressed up (Bokhee!), even if it does end with two men brawling in the living room and a minor kitchen fire. Ah, Grey’s Anatomy, after 332 episodes, you really haven’t changed, have you?
Catherine is hesitant to celebrate when she is still very much dealing with cancer and will be for the rest of her life, so she takes her time getting to the party at Jackson’s. She’s boozing in her limo with Bailey, encouraging the woman to enjoy her TrailBlazer money (Bailey buys the $800 blender she covets, thank you very much) and receiving a rousing Bailey Speech about enjoying the fact that they are alive in this moment and not spending their lives worried about the next heart attack or the next cancer scan. Meanwhile, the party is, um, a little chaotic. Much of that is due to Owen and Amelia and their Feelings. Like Teddy, I, too, hate this party.
We’ll cut them a little slack because we watch them say good-bye to Leo and Betty for good. That hurts. Their “sinkhole of sadness,” as Amelia so accurately calls it, only gets deeper when they roll up to the party and find Teddy and Tom smashing faces in the hallway. They are having their own celebration because Tom has just surprised Teddy with a little getaway to Palm Springs. Tom Koracick is into babymoons! Who knew? Owen is fuming and reminds Teddy that she’s seven months pregnant. Teddy doesn’t throw a drink on him, but she certainly has the grounds to. SHE KNOWS HOW PREGNANT SHE IS.
The more Owen seethes over thinking about Tom being around his daughter, the more upset Amelia gets. They have several “talks” throughout the party that escalate in both intensity and volume. Why do people invite this couple anywhere? It’s the fight we’ve known would be coming: Are they even a couple without Betty and Leo? Can Owen just acknowledge that he and Teddy are much more complicated than “friends having a baby?” Once again, I find myself agreeing with Dr. Shepherd here. As she reminds Owen, it’s only been seven months since Owen flew over to Germany to profess his undying love for Teddy. Amelia isn’t crazy for wondering if he’s really worked through his feelings. And she’s also right to point out that once Owen sees Teddy holding their daughter, he might have an epiphany of feelings. The woman isn’t wrong to call this out! Because of all this, and the realization that Teddy will always be a significant part of Owen’s life, she’s bowing out. Owen and Amelia are over. Again. Maybe.
Owen takes his anger out on Tom and Teddy, telling the latter that he can’t believe she wants a “dirtbag” in the delivery room and then telling the former that he’ll never be a father. We know Tom’s Sad Story, so we know how devastating that dig is — and Tom acts accordingly, with his fist, in the middle of Jackson’s living room.
You guys, the drama in Owen’s night does not end there! He returns home, an ass, and finds Amelia waiting for him. Betty and her parents are back — they want to leave Leo with Owen and Amelia. Betty wants to be a kid, they need to concentrate on helping their daughter heal, and according to Betty, Owen and Amelia are Leo’s real parents anyway. Well, this is going to complicate that breakup, huh? I cannot with these two people.
You know which two people I currently “can with?” Alex and Jo! In the most interesting and heartwarming development of the episode, Alex’s schizophrenic mom, Helen, arrives at the hospital unannounced! Thanks to a little miscommunication with Helm (get it together, Helm), Alex doesn’t realize it and heads off to Jackson’s, and Helen sits alone in the lobby thinking she’s supposed to meet her son at some party. Thankfully, Jo finds her. She is alarmed. When they last saw her, Helen didn’t want to disrupt her schedule in any way, fearing it would mess with the progress she’s made in controlling her disease. Dropping that schedule and taking a surprise trip to Seattle? That could indicate she’s had some sort of psychotic break. When Jo and Helen show up at the party, that’s exactly what Alex is worried about, too. He wants to be excited that his mother would make the trip to see him, despite everything, but then he watches her talking about Lewis and Clark, and offer both him and Jo any color scarf they could want, and freaking out about smelling something burning, and he has to believe something is wrong.
But then something magical happens. As Jackson is trying to toast his mother, and Tom is punching Owen in the face, Helen yells out “fire” and there really is one, coming from the kitchen. With such glee, Alex yells, “Come on everybody, it’s a real fire!” It’s hilarious, yes, but it’s also kind of a big moment for Alex. The smile on his face lets on just how badly he wants his mother to be okay, to be without problems, to be the “normal mom” he wanted as a kid, and how relieved he is to see there’s hope that his worrying was all for naught.
Riding that high, after everyone is evacuated, he introduces his mom to Meredith. He watches his mother and his best friend meet and HE GETS TEARY-EYED. All this wonderful Alex content was certainly worth the wait. Of course, we aren’t totally drama-free. That concerned look on Alex’s face as he says goodnight to his mother means that he’s still a little worried that this could fall apart at any moment. He is Alex Karev, after all.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Apart From Real Medicine
• In 332 episodes, has Meredith Grey ever been so giggly? She’s sneaking away to guest bedrooms to make out with her hot boyfriend during parties and it is a true sight to behold. Also, if you ever need a pick-me-up, rewatch the scene in which Webber walks in on Mer and DeLuca getting hot and heavy. It is a gift.
• Not giggling? DeLuca, when Carina rolls up to his house … with their disgraced surgeon of a dad in tow. Fun!
• That med school bully whom Maggie saved wrote an article all about how she saved her own life through self-advocacy and barely mentions the doctor who performed a risky, complicated surgery. Maggie is pissed. But Webber tells her to “take back her story, and tell it louder” and that is some real dad advice right there.
• Finally! Someone remembers Alex put DeLuca in the hospital! It’s Meredith, reminding Alex when he tries to give her crap for dating a resident. He also tells her that he hopes DeLuca makes her happy. Aw, guys.
• Okay, so Jackson’s party for his mother was ruined with all the punching and yelling and fire, but the night is not a bust! Catherine suggests she, Jackson, Webber, and Maggie hop in her limo, eat some fast food, and drink some expensive Champagne. It’s how she wants to celebrate every scan, good or bad, from now on. Sounds like a real party to me.
• In case any of you were worried, things are still going strong at Bailey and Ben’s house. After Ben puts out the fire at Jackson’s, Bailey is all like, “You should wear your uniform home,” and Ben is all like, “I’m going to have to, because you are fire,” and I’m all like, “Adopt me?”
• Chandra Wilson directed this milestone episode and that just seems right. We must treasure our original four. Hold them tight!
• Just, like, a lot of fire hazards going on for a show that has a firefighter spin-off.
Sob Scale: 0/10
It’s my party and I’ll not cry if I want to.