It’s Thanksgiving on Grey’s Anatomy! This year, I’m grateful for this show because, well, look at it, here it is, season 18, attempting a truly futile task: It’s trying to make Thanksgiving horny as hell. Thanksgiving is not a horny holiday, okay? It’s got bulky sweaters and hours spent in the kitchen followed by shoveling food into your gullet followed by watching your cousin’s husband fall asleep face down on the floor in front of your TV. None of this is setting the mood for sexy evening escapades. Like, I love pie, but pie is not a horny dessert. You want a horny holiday, go see Valentine’s Day — or Flag Day. Those are horny holidays. Thanksgiving is about comfort, not sex. Well, unless you’re Meredith Grey and you’re trapped in snowy Minnesota with your hot boyfriend, then Thanksgiving is definitely about sex.
After some light kissing last week, Meredith and Nick have graduated to the “gives rides to/from the airport” stage in their relationship. That’s a big stage! Meredith is rushing back to Seattle to make it home in time for Thanksgiving with her kids, and Nick is headed up to his secluded cabin to spend the day in solitude thinking about more ways to be so charming it physically hurts me. Just as he drives off into the snowy distance, Meredith gets a notification about her flight — she’s not headed home anytime soon. She winds up back at her hotel, and after worrying about being a bad mother like Ellis for a few minutes, gets into a plush robe and hops on the phone with her boyfriend. The roads are bad, and Nick has a two-hour drive, so he asks her to keep him company. They talk about a lot of things: how messed up his Thanksgivings were because of his sister, how perfect and lovely his cabin is, severed fingers in gravy bowls. Somehow, it is all swoony. And then there’s a knock at Meredith’s door, and Nick is standing there. “You turned around?” she asks. “Yeah, I turned around.” Meredith is living out some type of Minnesota rom-com fantasy while everyone in Seattle suffers, and I think I’m fine with that.
Meredith and Nick continue their conversation over Thanksgiving room service, and it only gets deeper and hornier. They talk a bit about how their time in the hospital changed them. Nick says when he got out his only priorities were his niece Charlotte and surgery. Meredith clocks that were, alluding to the fact that maybe he has some other, new, hailing-from-Seattle-type priorities. “Priorities can change,” he tells her before they start making out and then finally take things to the next level. By which I mean the bed, obviously. What a satisfying little slow-burn romance we’ve got here. Afterward, Nick talks about heading to the cabin once the snow clears, and Meredith doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Has Meredith ever looked as happy or at peace in these post-Derek years as she does in this moment? I mean, things on Grey’s Anatomy can only be so romantic and good and light for so long until there is pain and suffering, but for now, let’s just be grateful for the Thanksgiving sex.
Now, over in Seattle, things are much different. Sure, Thanksgiving Horniness™ has found its way to the West Coast too (I’m looking at you, terrible decisions made by Amelia and Link), but mostly things are very sad there, and that tracks. Let’s start with Megan and Farouk. It’s been three weeks since Farouk’s heart surgery, and the kid seems pretty good. He’s still in the hospital, but the end is in sight. For Thanksgiving, Megan and Teddy are going to hang out with Farouk, and they even wrangle Cormac into playing a little Monopoly with them. Even Farouk can see that Megan and Cormac are super into each other. Alas, there is no time for Thanksgiving Horniness™ here. Just as Megan is telling her sister-in-law that she needs to stand up to Mrs. Hunt, who seems to still have a problem with Leo wearing dresses, Farouk codes. He’s in heart failure. Teddy is running compressions for 30 minutes when Cormac runs in and can tell this isn’t working. It’s scary, but for Farouk to have any chance of surviving, he needs to be put on ECMO until they can find a heart transplant. He’s all like, You’re his aunt and you’re his mother and I’M HIS DOCTOR, and yet still no one makes out with him. Not even an orderly! It’s all pretty devastating, and although I can’t imagine Grey’s kills off this kid, it’s going to be a ride waiting for this transplant.
While all of that is happening to his family, Owen has his own sad story this week. Just as he’s about to head home to his kids and mother for Thanksgiving, Noah, our vet with pulmonary fibrosis, is brought in: He collapsed at work, and he’s not doing well. This is clearly the beginning of the end. He’s distraught over making life so hard for his wife and son Danny, and so he has Owen take Danny away to lighten things up for at least a few hours. They play video games and eat burgers, but Danny knows exactly what’s happening. His dad is going to die. In the end, Noah tells Owen that he’s tired of the pain, both his and his family’s, and he wants to know when this will all be over. When Owen tells him “soon,” all he wants is to go home. So Owen sends Noah home to die as comfortably as he can.
Danny isn’t the only family member struggling with Noah’s death. His wife Heather is trying her best to hold it all together for everyone. Bailey is the one who finds her trying to hide her tears in the hallway. Bailey knows that Heather is trying to be strong, but she tells her she’s allowed to break down, too. It’s her turn. So she leads her to a room to be alone and let it all out, whatever she needs to do. Later, Webber finds Bailey breaking down in an empty room: It’s her turn to let out everything she’s feeling about little Pru Miller.
Unfortunately, the catalyst of all this happened over on Station 19, but just know that Ben and Bailey have been taking care of Pru since Dean died and then Dean’s father shows up to Thanksgiving dinner at the station and takes Pru. He doesn’t care what they say Dean wanted — it’s going to be a fight for custody. Anyway, back at Grey Sloan, Bailey is crying. It’s not just about the custody battle, though Bailey is beside herself thinking about what Pru has lost. She’s thinking about what Danny is about to lose. And of course, she knows how this all feels because of the loss of her mother a year ago. It’s nice to see Grey’s hasn’t forgotten that Bailey is still grieving because it’s not something that just magically goes away. Webber tries his best to comfort her, noting that losing a parent is “a specific kind of pain,” and while he can’t help her get what she wants in that moment — all she wants to do is hold Pru and tell her it’ll be all right — he can offer her some pie. Pie is comfort, after all.
The OR Board
• Schmitt’s mom arrives with a cooler full of Thanksgiving Day food for her son. Nico ends up sitting with her, and while at first all of her talk about Schmitt and Nico getting married and having babies seems to terrify him, at the end of the day, Schmitt finds him still there … and he seems to be having a good time? Are Nico and Schmitt going to get married, or is someone going to get their heart broken?
• The Ashley story line — a very pregnant and completely overworked woman needs her appendix removed and ends up also needing a C-section and a hysterectomy — is a great example of a major problem Grey’s seems to have these days. It’s very clear that this is a woman who is afraid to ask for help and is drowning in her attempt to be everyone and everything to her family, as is the case for a lot of women. We get that this is what this story line is about! But then, after everything, Jo still preaches to the clueless husband about what society does to women and how he shouldn’t be waiting for his wife to ask for help, he should just do it. Is Jo wrong about any of this? No. Do we need an on-the-nose speech about it? Also no. Trust your audience, Grey’s.
• Link saves Amelia’s solo Thanksgiving (why she is cooking a full Thanksgiving spread for four children, no one knows) and things get flirty toward the end. They are making eyes at each other. She watches him booty drop during the family dance party. She tells him he is nothing like his parents. He wants to kiss her. She makes it clear that her feelings about marriage and kids have not changed — they have sex on the couch anyway. Oh Link, Link, Link. You’re gonna get hurt, dude.
• Zola reading medical books at the dinner table?! I’m impressed and also nervous this show is going to end with Zola’s first day at Grey Sloan, which sounds satisfying but is what we in medical-TV show business call “pulling a Rachel Green.” (It’s how ER ended, people.)