Well, well, well, my Grey’s fam. Isn’t it interesting that our first episode back in 2020, the first episode in which we are aware that Alex Karev has left us and will not be returning, is an episode in which the central theme is letting your friends help you through the hard times? We know by now that Grey’s Anatomy loves to twist the scalpel, as it were, but playing up the friendship angle as we all await the impending breakup of one of the greatest friendships on this series was rough. I mean, that final scene with Richard and Meredith comforting Bailey while Meredith’s voiceover said, “It’s okay to let your friends put you back together?” Alex should’ve been there. The originals! Okay, I’m crying about it again. But there is no time for crying! There is a lot to get to in this midseason return and none of it has to do with Alex, who, for all intents and purposes, is still in “Iowa” and is “helping his mom” and “isn’t dead yet” even though “that’s the only plausible way he can really be written off at this point.” We’ll talk about it later.
Anyway, remember that time a car crashed through the wall of Joe’s Bar and trapped a few main characters and several supporting characters inside?
ABC is really trying to get you to watch Station 19, but if you have not yet been swayed to try out that other show about really attractive people saving lives and didn’t tune in to the first hour of the Shondaland crossover, I am here to help. First, I would say, maybe watch just this one episode of Station 19 if only because it is very Ben and Bailey heavy and their love is good for the soul. There’s one scene that takes place two weeks before their miscarriage in which they lie on top of a fire truck together and talk about their hopes and fears and love and it is full of maximum swoon content. There’s another scene after Bailey learns that Ben is safe from car-through-wall harm and they hug and cry and it will break your heart. Just some really great Ben and Bailey stuff to prep you for the emotional gut-punch of Bailey’s storyline in Grey’s Anatomy. Other items of note from Station 19 that might affect the mothership: Jackson and Vic are, like, very, very hot for each other, and when all is said and done at the bar, three of our residents are sent over to Grey Sloan with serious injuries: Taryn Helm, who is very drunk, definitely has a badly broken leg, and possibly a pelvic fracture; Casey Parker, who has suffered a head injury, is dealing with major PTSD (he is a veteran, remember), and thinks he’s been in a bombing; and Blake Simms, who we’ve seen for like three minutes total but now is going to have to have his face peeled off and put back together. Fun!
Off to Grey Sloan we go: Call me callous if you must, but I was really crossing my fingers that this car-through-wall escapade would be another patented Grey’s Anatomy culling of characters, because honestly, it has been too long and we need one. There are too many characters people don’t care about mucking things up. Watching this show is my job and I still only knew Simms as “that dick who Tom brought in” and repeatedly asked “who’s Brody?” to my empty living room. No one knew who she was. Alas, there is no residential sacrifice this evening and my Grim Reaper heart remains unsatisfied. Everyone lives! A true Grey’s twist.
Of course the real meat of the episode isn’t the fate of some residents we barely know, but about the doctors operating on those residents. Teddy and Amelia are taking care of Parker. When he runs off during his MRI, they track him down in the hyperbaric chamber and Teddy is the one person able to make him feel safe. This hits close to home for Teddy, who rails against the fact that veterans come home to pretty much zero mental healthcare. But this is Teddy we’re talking about, and all roads lead to Owen. She’s worried that Owen feels trapped and that’s why he hasn’t proposed (as if the only way for two people who love and are committed to each other to show it is by being married, but I digress). It’s Amelia who has to stand there and tell her she is sure Owen loves her and that he only wants to do things differently this time around, all while she has a ticking time bomb of drama in her womb. When Teddy called Amelia “kind,” I groaned.
Meanwhile in an O.R., Jackson and Owen (who, along with Richard, arrived at Grey Sloan to offer help) are peeling off Simms’s face and talking about love. Owen’s scared about proposing and thinks maybe he’s waited too long — like, decades too long — but Jackson tells him that if he knows he wants to be with someone forever, he needs to go for it now. It’s very Mark Sloan of him. Once Simms’s face is back where it should be, Owen takes Teddy into an empty hospital room, gets down on one knee, tells her he’s not a perfect man but he loves her, and he gives her his mother’s ring. Here’s hoping it really works out for these kids this time around, but, you know, Amelia and her Maybe-Owen’s-Baby is still a thing that exists, so we shall see.
Reader, I have saved the best for last: Helm’s surgery. While Link and Nico are operating on Helm’s leg, she crashes and Bailey has to swoop in to try and stop the bleeding in Helm’s abdomen. But she is not alone: Knowing that Bailey would be stepping into surgery hours after suffering a miscarriage, Ben called Richard and asked him to be in the O.R. with Bailey. He worried she might break down and he wanted to know that someone who loves her was in the room with her. You guys. YOU GUYS. Aside from all the unsanctioned cesarean sections, sweet Ben is too good for this world. His love for Miranda has cured my cystic acne. That’s how strong it is.
Bailey is miffed that Richard is hovering, but Ben was absolutely right to be concerned. Just as they are about to crack Helm’s chest (can you believe this woman survives?), Bailey stops. She can’t do it. But she doesn’t have to say a word, she just looks at Richard and he knows. In silence, they switch positions and Richard takes over. The last time we saw these two together they were arguing outside of Meredith’s trial, so excuse me if I need to go cry in the corner of my room. But wait! There’s more! Bailey holds it together until the surgery is over and the O.R. is empty except for her and Richard, but then she finally breaks. She’s angry and upset and feels utterly helpless. All of her residents survived today, she did that, but there was nothing she could do to save her baby. “I can’t do anything but stand here and lose her,” she cries out. Richard holds her while she sobs. It’s one of the most moving scenes on the show in a long time. There’s a reason why Grey’s fans cherish the original characters so much — it’s because of moments like this one.
And moments like the aforementioned ending: Richard goes to Meredith, because he knows she’s felt the same loss Bailey is feeling right now. Richard and Meredith show up to Bailey’s office with tissues and a box of doughnuts in hand. Meredith sits next to Bailey and with her arm around her tells her, “I had a miscarriage once. I never felt so lonely.” And the three of them sit and talk and help Bailey begin to heal.
The O.R. Board
• One of my major concerns with Alex Karev’s departure, regardless of how it happens, is that Jo is just going to be 100 percent unbearable again and this episode did nothing to dissuade me of that worry: She stole a baby. SHE STOLE A BABY. And she acts like Link is such a stick in the mud for making her bring the baby back to the hospital? Who is this woman?! Eventually she hands that baby over to the proper people, but she never apologizes for it. I get that the baby is very cute and deserves love but come on, Josephine.
• Oh, there was a fourth resident down: Schmitt passes out before Helm’s surgery as she’s calling him out for turning in “the love of her life” Meredith Grey. He’s diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy or “broken heart syndrome” (remember Verna in season two, who had an attack every year on the anniversary of her neighbor/secret lover’s death?). Anyway, he’s fine, Meredith “forgives” him (he did nothing wrong), he and Helm make up, and he gets to spoon with Nico. A pretty good day, hospital stint aside.
• I refuse to call our new Chief of Pediatrics “McWidow” but he did look v. cute holding that baby. Appreciate that content, Grey’s.
• DeLuca’s mainly moping around the hospital this week, worried he blew it with Meredith, but that means he’s around when Elliott, our new dad waiting for his heart to start beating on its own, shows signs of life. When DeLuca goes to tell Maggie the good news — Maggie, as you may recall, quit being a doctor — she’s relieved. But then she’s served with a lawsuit for the wrongful death of Sabrina Webber. So that relief is, um, short-lived.
• ATTICUS LINCOLN DO NOT NAME YOUR CHILD SCOUT.
• Owen and Jackson learn about Tom, sorry, Dr. Tommy’s softer side when Simms’s grandmother arrives and tells them all about how Koracick paid for her to move to Seattle to be close to her grandson. He’s such a softy! I mean, did you see how emotional he got when he saw that Owen had finally put a ring on Teddy’s finger?
• The best line of the night is without a doubt Jackson trolling Owen over why he assumed Owen had already proposed to Teddy: “… Because you have two kids together, you live together, you marry everyone …”