Addison is back! She walks into Grey Sloan and very quickly assesses that it is currently a “giant dumpster fire” of a hospital! That feels right and that feels good. The poor thing is just trying to, you know, make medical history with her uterine-transplant patient and instead of being met with the support and expertise, she needs to help Tovah — who is 11 weeks pregnant with the last embryo she and her now-dead husband made and is having some significant pain — and she is met with things like tension, anger, bickering, and burnout. So yes, she is met with a giant dumpster fire of a hospital.
Why is Grey Sloan in such disarray, you ask? No, it is not because of a bomb in a man’s body or a shooter running around or people getting electrocuted in the hospital basement or that thing where a person has sex with the ghost of her dead fiancé, although all of those things have at one time caused chaos in the halls of this hospital. This time the chaos has been born from, wait for it, the surgical residency program being put on probation. It doesn’t sound dramatic written out that way, but you would not know it from how these doctors are acting.
Catherine Fox, who is livid that her name and reputation is being questioned because of Grey Sloan (a Catherine Fox Foundation hospital), has set up camp in Bailey’s office to, I guess, just yell at her about getting her shit together? I’m no expert, but that doesn’t seem like the most effective tactic. It’s especially not helpful since Bailey looks like she could collapse at any moment. And as Meredith’s super-handy voice-over indicates, Bailey is suffering from some major burnout. She’s crabby and tired and certainly not thinking straight. She’s trying to fix the problem, first by manipulating Jo into coming back as a surgical attending and then later by telling Dr. Wright to go back to his residency program in Minnesota before it’s too late, which honestly is wild. Not wild for Bailey to do — it’s actually very sweet; she tells him he’s too talented to risk losing his residency if this program does officially get shut down. It’s wild that Grey’s would get rid of Dr. Wright! A surgeon who knows he is excellent at his job and also is hot and single? That’s the kind of energy this show needs! But no, it sends that energy back to Minnesota.
Finally, Bailey realizes that she is exhausted and that she is no use to anyone at this hospital if she’s feeling this way. She can’t fix the problem if she can’t think straight. So, she tells Catherine that she’s taking a vacation day. “If Meredith can go away, so can I,” she tells her very unhappy boss.
The news that Meredith is leaving to take that fancy job in Minnesota is a surprise to Catherine, but that’s actually the source of most of the tension at Grey Sloan, at least between our three OGs — but especially between Webber and Meredith. When Addison and Schmitt figure out that Tovah has a clot in her uterus and needs surgery in an attempt to save both the fetus and the transplant, Addison calls on Meredith and Webber to assist. She knows there’s bad blood between them at the moment, but she does not care one little bit. “I’m not a high school teacher!” she yells at Schmitt when he explains that they aren’t really talking to one another these days. And she’s right. Let’s all act like adults here! Webber definitely can’t. In a fabulously petty move, he keeps saying things about how Addison is his favorite former student and reminiscing about how idyllic her residency was (and Derek’s — yes, he invokes the name of McDreamy!). Eventually, Addison has to be blunt with Webber and explain that to her, her residency was hellish. He’s holding on to an old system when he needs to completely rethink how to teach surgeons for today. But, like, not with the Webber Method. He needs to think of a second new way to teach surgeons.
But before Addison can have that conversation, she needs to try and help Tovah. She pulls her team together and they start operating on the clot. Their first attempt fails and Addison almost gives up — until Meredith comes up with a new plan. The two of them, along with Webber and Schmitt, get to work. It’s wonderful! Everyone is so focused and on top of their game. And it works! They save the uterus. But the celebration doesn’t last long: When Schmitt goes to check for a fetal heartbeat, there’s nothing. Even though they saved the uterus, the fetus doesn’t make it. Addison is beside herself. Sure, Tovah can still attempt to get pregnant again — they can still make medical history — but this was Tovah’s last chance to have her late husband’s baby. She feels like a failure and she grieves for Tovah. It’s why when Catherine comes flying into the scrub room post-surgery to yell at Meredith for being disloyal to this hospital, Addison shuts her down. She reminds all of them to consider for one second the gravity of what just happened in the OR and to keep their personal problems out of it. Everybody is acting a fool and Addison needed to tell them!
Addison giving Tovah the news is devastating. I mean, for Tovah, sure, but also for us. It’s so sad! Schmitt sitting there with her and reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish is very moving! While this is a low in her (and Addison’s) story, I can’t imagine this is the end of it.
But that’s for a later time! We need to talk about that final Meredith scene. She’s so fiery and angry and we all — Meredith included — needed that kind of passion. After spending the day being told she’s disloyal and ungrateful for leaving Grey Sloan when it is in trouble, she’s had enough. She pulls up to her house and finds Nick waiting for her. He gives her this whole speech (he’s very proud to have one prepared!) about how she shouldn’t move to Minnesota right now. That she wouldn’t be happy there knowing that everyone she left behind is in the situation they are in. He has tons of vacation days, so he can take a few months off, find a place here in Seattle, temporarily work at Grey Sloan, and they can make this all work. He seems excited about it! Meredith is livid. She tells him that she has every right to leave. She’s dedicated her life to this hospital, done groundbreaking surgery there, won awards, and while other people in her residency class have left to take big opportunities (or, like, got hit by a bus), she’s stayed. To say she’s disloyal because she wants to move forward with her life is “ridiculous” and “absurd” and frankly, she finds Nick’s speech patronizing because this is her decision. I love this rage for Meredith! She’s right about most of it — she has earned every right to leave Grey Sloan. Honestly, most people should be wondering why she hasn’t left yet when that place is cursed and we all know it!!
The part she’s wrong about is Nick’s idea: He clarifies that he only meant they would stay in Seattle until the residency program was saved. It’s just temporary and then they can go wherever they want. He 100 percent supports her decision to leave. It’s actually very sweet when she realizes she just blew up at him and then they hug it out. They’re cute! I’m into it! And Meredith decides that yes, she’ll stay long enough to save the surgical residency program that birthed her. As if we ever thought she’d do anything different.
The O.R. Board
• In a development surprising almost no one, Winston’s brother Wendell wasn’t telling the whole truth about his new job. The tech he’s trying to sell to Grey Sloan? Well, he bought a whole bunch of it with a $10,000 loan (not from a bank, mind you) and thanks to Maggie and Winston testing it out on a patient, it all turns out to be crap. Wendell begs Winston to help him out of this mess. Winston is not amused.
• Owen’s cleared for surgery, but his big arm-reattachment case is mostly overshadowed by personal problems when Leo mentions to his parents that he’s a girl. It throws Teddy for a minute — she’s worried about mishandling the situation, especially because Leo is so young. Owen thinks they should follow Leo’s lead and simply love their kid. In the end, they decide the two of them should find a therapist to help them get a better grasp on everything. They are so healthy these days, it is alarming.
• Bailey begs Jo to pause her OB residency and work as a General Surgery attending again FOR THE GOOD OF THE HOSPITAL, which seems pretty shitty to put on Jo. She asks Link to come to dinner with her and Todd to talk it out since Todd “doesn’t talk medicine.” Turns out, Todd can comprehend the situation and he gives Jo the reassuring advice she needs: She is going to keep her OB residency and moonlight in General Surgery as Bailey needs until things go back to normal. Sounds simple, but you know it will not be.
• Uh-oh. Link is looking at Jo with some real feelings behind those eyes. This is going to get messy and I fear Nice Man Todd is going to be collateral damage!!
• Add it to the pantheon of Grey’s Anatomy Emotional Elevator Moments: Schmitt and Nico see each other for the first time since Schmitt dumped Nico and kicked him out of his (mom’s) house. Nico is uh, let’s say, not over it. When Schmitt says that when Nico was in pain, he “kept showing up,” Nico just replies: “Well, I guess that’s the difference between me and you,” and then walks off the elevator! It is so cold! They should definitely hook up in the back of an ambulance again!