Ben Warren, my man! Bailey figuring out that she is both extremely terrified and also happy about being pregnant is such a minor storyline in this episode, and yet the thing I want to talk about the most. When she finally calms down enough about it to tell Ben that they’re having a baby, oh you guys, he gives her a look that is so full of love and joy, I think it got rid of at least three of my wrinkles. Ben and Bailey love each other so much. I’m kind of bored already thinking of some of the possible “new parent” storylines they might get roped into down the line, but I will suffer through it for their love. I’m dedicated, if nothing else.
Bailey’s pregnancy proves important for someone else in this episode, as well. Jo Karev is having a moment. She’s been doing so well since coming back to work and scamming Bailey into giving her a promotion. When she suddenly finds herself locked in that hyperbaric chamber with Bailey and a patient who happens to be one of her therapists from her inpatient treatment center, there because of a suspected suicide attempt by way of carbon monoxide, Jo worries all her progress will go out the window. Or, out the porthole, as it were. I mean, she also worries about her dying therapist, but, yeah, mainly she’s worried about herself.
Once she follows Bailey into the chamber and is face-to-face with an unconscious Carly (Rachel Bay Jones, of Dear Evan Hansen fame), she knows she should not be in there. Realizing that the one person who helped her learn how to cope with all of her trauma may have tried to kill herself sends Jo spiraling. If it could happen to Carly, who is 13 years sober and was seemingly fine, it could happen to Jo. When her own coping mechanisms fail her and she feels on the brink of breaking down, Bailey offers a distraction to calm her down by way of blurting out her big news. She’s “100 percent p-r-e-g-o.” She is “super pregnant.” That calms Jo down immediately.
There’s more to the story than just Jo freaking out in a hermetically sealed room. (It always seems like there’s major drama afoot for whoever steps into that chamber — for once, can’t someone bring a patient in there and it go smoothly?) We get some flashbacks to Jo’s time in therapy. We watch as Carly takes a very broken Jo from someone who believes there’s no hope for her — she can’t get through the shame she’s feeling after her mother’s rejection — to someone willing to deal with her anger over her mother’s abandonment. It’s Carly who helps Jo realize that she’s so upset over what happened with her mother in the diner, because it wasn’t the first time she faced this sort of rejection: her mother also abandoned her when she was just five days old. We knew that Jo started healing while in treatment, now we get to see that breakthrough.
It’s … fine? I’m glad Grey’s is acknowledging that someone suffering through what Jo is suffering through isn’t just automatically fixed, but also, there has been no real build up to this storyline — no mention of Carly, nor have we seen Jo use her coping techniques before. Having that foundation would’ve made tonight’s payoff much more engrossing. By the end of it, Carly is saved and Jo learns that her therapist wasn’t attempting suicide, it was just good ol’ fashioned accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning. Moral of the story: Jo will always be managing her mental health, but she’s moving forward and she’s much better equipped to handle whatever comes her way now than she was before seeking treatment. That’s great! Still, by the time we see Jo sharing some of her anger management exercises with Alex, I was mostly wondering when we’re going to get more time with Jo’s husband this season. He’s running a freaking cesspool hospital, you guys!
Elsewhere, Zola’s sick! She’s outgrown the shunt Derek (his name still induces a gasp) put in for her spina bifida when she first arrived at Seattle Grace Mercy West — yes, it was that long ago! — and Tom Koracick needs to go in and adjust. Sure, it’s a “routine surgery” and Tom is “the best,” but this is brain surgery! On a child! And as Meredith points out, “have you seen [her] life?” She has a notorious track record for things taking like, super bad turns.
Meredith is stuck hanging out in a private waiting room as Zola goes under the knife. It’s a terrible situation to be in since not only is she worried about her daughter, but several other troubling items: Meredith was supposed to be in court to answer for all the missed hours of community service. Not showing up could be a huge problem.
There’s also a lot of tension with DeLuca. That dude just can’t win! Meredith bites his head off when he suggests she go to her court appearance during Zola’s surgery to, you know, avoid jail time. And then she gets angry again when he offers to sit out of Zola’s surgery and wait with her, if she needs him. Meredith is having a day, sure, but she is harsh on this guy who is just looking out for her. Thankfully, her sisters call her out on how she’s treating this very kind man who loves her. Not that it helps: In less than a minute she goes from calling him just a fun, hot guy to sleep with to saying she’s in love with him to admitting that she doesn’t know what she wants from DeLuca, she’s waiting for her gut to tell her.
Just last season she spent time realizing that DeLuca had a lot of depth to him and he really understood Meredith and he spoke very hot Italian while in elevators. Now he’s a dummy who doesn’t get it because he’s not a parent? Of course Meredith wasn’t going to leave the hospital while Zola was in surgery, but she acts as if that was the most offensive suggestion one human could ever make to another human. Sure, Meredith admits to being an ass, but DeLuca deserves better than this! The sooner Meredith gets back into an operating room, the better. For all of us.
It looks like that won’t be happening right away. After we learn Zola’s surgery was a complete success and Meredith thanks both Tom and DeLuca, Meredith’s beleaguered lawyer Nancy shows up. She was able to convince the judge that Meredith really did have a medical emergency and that she should allow Meredith to make up her missed community service hours. The judge agrees to it — but she won’t be making it up back with the trash pickup group. She’ll be making up those hours in jail.
So, I guess Orange is the New Grey, too.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine, Apart From Real Medicine
• Obviously, I don’t want Webber to cheat on Catherine (those two seem really broken, huh?) with Gemma, but Gemma propositioning him by detailing his entire history of having affairs when times get tough was ballsy. Be better, Webber!
• To distract Meredith from her bevy of problems during Zola’s surgery, Amelia starts talking about how insane it is that she hardly knows Link, yet will be tied to him for life. Bless Maggie and Mer for calling Amelia out for being impetuous, always: “I had a brain tumor,” Amelia offers as an explanation. “You also have a personality apart from that tumor,” Meredith reminds her.
• “My gut only says yes. […] It screams yes!” Hey, at least Amelia is self-aware now.
• The joy on Maggie’s face when she comes out of her quadruple valve replacement is a thing to behold. She giddily admits that she felt more in love and seen during that surgery than she ever did with Jackson. “I think surgery might be my truest love, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change,” Maggie tells her sisters. “And I don’t think it needs to,” Meredith affirms. Cristina Yang would be so proud.
• Mer’s burnt-orange trench: Yes, please.