Friends, countrymen, Grey’s babies, one thousand apologies for not being able to hold your hand during last week’s penis transplant. Do you think I would willingly give up discussing that ridiculous “this is whole different ballgame” joke? Never. Though, what hurts the most is that I was not here to celebrate the fact that someone finally, mercifully, called Owen out on his bullshit. He needed to be called a “dum-dum,” and it needed to be his sister Megan who did it. Megan is right: Owen needs help. He’s suffering from some untreated PTSD, probably some depression, and he needs to talk to someone. Hopefully that happens now! Right in time for the birth of his daughter! And the season finale!
The good news is that I am here to hold your hand through this Amelia Shepherd-extravaganza. Did anyone ever in the history of Grey’s Anatomy ask for an Amelia-centric episode? Probably not. But here’s the thing: I surprisingly enjoyed the heck out of this Shepherd family reunion. Obviously, we all know that Amelia can be A Lot, but this was a nice reminder that she comes from a family full of A Lots. Like, even worse than she is. It’s sometimes hard to believe that Derek Shepherd grew up in the same house as these women, but then I remember that Derek could also be a petty bitch sometimes and it all makes sense once more. Sorry to speak ill of the dead, but you know I’m right.
But this is not about Derek. Although my biggest question to come out of this whole thing is: Are we really supposed to believe that no one in Derek’s family would check up on his children? Not even his mother? I know they are Dysfunctional Debbies and Meredith isn’t everyone’s cup of tequila, but not even Tyne Daly is putting in a monthly call to get an update on her dead son’s kids? I DIGRESS. This is about Amelia.
Conveniently, Amelia and Link are flown out to a Catherine Fox Medical Center in New York City to perform a highly intricate surgery on an 18-year-old named Jonah suffering from severe scoliosis. He’s had 15 surgeries in his short life and is taken care of by his older brother Brayden since their parents both died six years ago, because no one on this show can have only one tragedy.
Who should appear in that hospital but Amelia’s sister Nancy, the O.B. She lays on the passive-aggressiveness like a true professional. She also assumes the hunk on Amelia’s arm is Owen, who as far as she knows is still Amelia’s husband. Please remember — although you may have tried to block it out, I know I did — that the morning of Amelia’s wedding was spent with her weeping in the bathroom because no one from her family was going to attend her wedding. So, no, Amelia has not told her family about her divorce. She hasn’t seen them in years! Which also means she hasn’t told them about her brain tumor, or that whole thing where she fostered a 15-year-old drug addict and her baby. Cool, cool, cool. They’ll have lots to catch up on at that dinner at Nancy’s house, which Amelia cannot get out of and is forcing Link to go to as Owen Hunt, trauma surgeon and husband. Link is one of those kind and patient hunks, so he agrees. And you thought Seattle had all the drama.
The two swiftly fix up Jonah in a way that is definitely too easy to stick for this show, and head over to Nancy’s house. On the way over, Amelia grills Link on Owen facts — they have to get their story straight. I’m with Link here — her sister doesn’t know Owen, why does he need to know what Owen’s favorite hobby is? But Amelia insists, and this is Amelia’s day, so she wins.
Well, until she loses, because as soon as they arrive they learn that — surprise — Amelia’s other sister Kathleen has joined the party (Neve Campbell’s Liz is out of town, sadly). Kathleen is the worst of the bunch, so this should be fun!
Amelia and Link remember that they’re “grown ass surgeons” who can easily have a medical emergency to get them out of this situation, but just as they are going to deploy that excellent excuse, Link gets a taste of just how mean Kathleen is and decides it’s time the Shepherd sisters got to know the real Amelia. The amazing, brilliant, kickass neurosurgeon that he knows. And so they stay.
Everything is going really well — the ladies love Link, who debones a fish in one move and makes me feel things — until there is one last surprise pop-in: Mama Shepherd. The problem isn’t that Mama Shepherd is a cold-hearted bitch like Kathleen and Nancy, the problem is that Mama Shepherd has met Owen Hunt before, and this man is not Owen Hunt. Their cover is blown! That fun little game opens the door for Amelia’s family to lay into her. Hard. Like, uncomfortably hard. Every minor mistake and horrible decision Amelia’s ever made comes spilling out on that dinner table. I mean, I audibly laughed at the line, “This is why I didn’t call you when I had a brain tumor!” because it is so insane but also so perfectly Grey’s Anatomy, but other than that this scene is rough. Finally, Link stands up for Amelia and says, honestly, the swooniest things and it becomes very clear that there’s no way these two are just sex buddies, regardless of the rules they have laid out for their relationship.
Alas, Amelia is too pissed off to realize that Link is the perfect human. She’s mad at him for not letting them leave earlier. She’s mad because he was just supposed to be a fun side piece and now he Knows Too Much. Before they can really get into how offensive that is, they get a page — Jonah is in respiratory distress. Of course he is!
The tether they inserted in his spine isn’t holding up, but Amelia has one last long shot of an idea: They could replace Jonah’s vertebrae with a titanium cage. It could cause paralysis or death, but it could also permanently undo his scoliosis and he could have a real life outside of hospitals and surgeries. Jonah trusts Amelia because, sure why not, and doesn’t hesitate to okay the risky surgery. He is going to be brave, he says. Link, however, is not on board. He thinks Amelia is simply trying to prove something to her family, a family he can tell does not get her at all. She’s all like “I’m not the screw-up 14-year-old they think I am!” And Link’s like “I know that, but I don’t think you know that!” and you guys the whole thing is just very hot. Like, forget the motive behind performing this surgery, how can anyone concentrate with all the sexual tension floating around in that scrub room?
Amelia stands her ground. She’s doing this surgery because Jonah deserves a real life and she knows she can give that to him. It’s probably a little bit about proving her family wrong, but we’ll just ignore that for now. Amelia does her thing and Jonah comes out of the surgery a new person. Although that’s all well and good, Link is still bent out of shape about how she treated him. She tries to apologize, but he’s not in the mood.
Before she can fix that problem, her mother arrives at the hospital for a chat. This scene, just Amelia and her mom sitting on a park bench finally having a real conversation, is one of the greats. Mama Shepherd confesses that Amelia reminds her so much of her late husband, it was hard to be around her. So when Derek offered to look after his sister, Mama Shepherd let him. But that was wrong and it is her biggest regret. Amelia doesn’t blame her mother. She talks to her about Betty and about how now she understands just how hard it must have been to raise someone like Amelia. It ends with a hug and Mama Shepherd apologizing for not being around for Amelia’s brain tumor, and it is a beautiful little button to this episode. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I’m really starting to come around on Amelia (the operative word is “starting”). I stand by my earlier theory that she’s only completely The Worst when she’s around Owen. Everyone is!
So, maybe now that she’s doing some real healing, she’ll have a shot at a healthy relationship and, like, at least three consecutive episodes without shrieking. I mean, I won’t hold my breath, but she and Link looked pretty happy on that plane, stuffing Link’s favorite donuts (and Amelia’s olive branch) into their faces. And how sweet was it to end on the juxtaposition of Amelia coming home to her two other sisters, the sisters who actually know and truly love her? Maybe as long as Amelia stays away from Owen, we’ll all be okay.