Grey Sloan Memorial is back in full swing after the revamping of its residency program (and of Grey’s Anatomy itself), which means we’ve got college kids with mysterious rashes, marrieds fighting all over the place, and a phone lodged up someone’s butt. That’s right, babes: a literal butt dial. Didn’t you miss this show? The season premiere gave us a tidy look at season 19’s new crop of interns, but the follow-up, “Wasn’t Expecting That,” is much more scattershot. Still, for better or worse, depending on how you’d like the future of Grey’s Anatomy to go, the interns remain the most interesting aspect of the episode.
Simone and Jules are handed a signature “mystery diagnosis” case when two college roommates arrive presenting with food-poisoning symptoms after eating some old fried rice, but one kid, Chase, ends up covered in a rash, unable to breathe, and bleeding from every orifice. Very cool and fun! Meredith, Webber, and Teddy try to work the problem, but eventually Meredith tosses it back to Simone and Jules — get the interns together and start researching it until you figure out a diagnosis. If this is giving you some déjà vu, what a good little Grey’s historian you are! The whole situation, especially pushing Simone and Jules together, feels like a conscious callback to the Grey’s Anatomy pilot episode, in which Derek sends the interns off to diagnose Katie Bryce, and thus begins Grey’s Anatomy’s Meredith and Cristina period. The best period, to be honest.
Things get a little twist here, perhaps to show just how much things have changed. With Katie Bryce, things get a little rocky between Mer and Cristina when Meredith takes back the surgery spot she had originally given to Cristina at the last minute. Remember? Cristina calls her a shark? In this rehashing, Meredith pushes the two interns into a different ending to that story. Things get so bad with Chase that they need to amputate his leg, and Link has Jules scrub in with him. Yes, Link makes things very awkward! He’s a try-hard, and it is not working for him! Because of Chase’s condition, which Simone figures out — thanks to being reminded of how gross dorm-living conditions are by his roommate — is meningococcal disease, Chase’s blood won’t clot, and he starts bleeding out.
They save him, but it’s incredibly scary, especially for a newbie like Jules, and she takes it hard. Meredith wants Simone — who has no sympathy for Jules, explaining that she would’ve never let that happen on her watch — to realize that in order to survive being an intern, you need to have one another’s backs. Also that would’ve happened to whoever was standing in the OR at that moment; it’s not a knock on Jules’s skills. And so Simone takes Jules down to her place of comfort in the hospital, the gift shop. Our original interns used to look at the babies in the nursery after a rough day, but it seems this crew is into the sweet smell of the gift shop and its abundance of anxiety-reducing stuffed animals. Whatever works, I guess.
If only the adults (attendings) in the room (hospital) could be as civil as the children (new interns). Serious question: Since Teddy came back to Grey’s in season 15, have she and Owen gone any real length of time without screaming at each other? It’s insufferable, and their fighting in this episode reaches almost unwatchable levels. Just ask Mika Yasuda, who is saddled with Owen’s service, which basically becomes her watching Owen and Teddy bicker all day and having to find an attending to observe Owen any time he has to do any type of procedure, per court order. By the time Teddy is yelling at Owen while he’s pulling a phone out of a man’s ass, I think we’ve all had enough.
I get that she’s mad at him for what he did and then bankrupting them to fix what he did, but, hello, it’s not as if she’s an angel. Remember when she was sleeping with Tom Koracick the night before she and Owen were supposed to get married and accidentally left a voice-mail for him of her and Tom having the aforementioned sex and Owen decided to listen to it on speaker in the OR? (Maybe this phone-in-the-butt case is really triggering for both of them, and that’s why they can’t stop fighting? It all goes back to butt dials in the end.) Sure, it’s a different situation from Owen’s actions forcing them into bankruptcy, but we’ve all made mistakes here! Mercifully, in the end, after Owen successfully walks Mika through intubating a patient, he realizes things would be much better for everyone (mostly us, the audience) if he stopped seeing patients — and thus didn’t need Teddy hovering over his work 24/7 — and instead started teaching the interns. Sure, why not, as long as it means we can all stop yelling.
Unfortunately, Teddy and Owen aren’t the only marrieds on this show fighting in the hallways of Grey Sloan. Winston and Maggie have to sort out a few things when she starts moving Winston’s surgeries around so that he has more time to help her. Plus it doesn’t help that she’s speaking to him as if he were an intern and not the junior attending in the department. Eventually, Maggie apologizes and explains that she’s a perfectionist and she trusts only him in the OR. Winston reminds her that he’s as good at what he does only because she was his teacher back at Tufts, and now it’s time they both start teaching the next generation of surgeons or whatever. It’s fine. Winston and Maggie are very cute, but they deserve some hard-hitting drama sometime soon!
And then there’s Meredith and Nick — not married but still fighting. Well, it’s less like they’re fighting and more like they are making unbearable small talk around each other because they’re both scared to say what they’re feeling. It’s actually kind of nice to see Meredith be so unmoored when it comes to this guy. She’s really in love! She’s also really confused because Nick does in fact take the residency-director position she offered him, which means he’s elected to stay in Seattle, but he’s still not talking to her. Finally, they can’t stand dancing around things any longer: Meredith tells Nick that when he walked out on her after everything went down in the finale, she felt abandoned, as if he didn’t support her. She thought she’d lost him for good, and that made her feel “numb.” She was frozen; she couldn’t bring herself to reach out to him. But when she saw him back in the hospital, “I could feel again,” she says. “I know I’m still in love with you.” It’s very romantic! She loves him! He loves her! They want to make this work! They do not knock everything off of Mer’s desk and proceed to have sex on it, which is a goddamn shame. Mer does, however, invite Nick to come with her to Zola’s big presentation for the Northwestern Merit Scholars program.
It’s a good thing Nick goes with her because Meredith is going to need some support. Zola gets up there to present her paper on her hero, Dr. Ellis Grey, but as she starts talking about how Ellis had early-onset Alzheimer’s and how it’s a genetic disease, she has a full on meltdown, thinking about how that means her mom and aunt could get it and die and leave her all alone. Meredith has to rush onstage to help her. It’s so sad! Not ZoZo, Grey’s! After everything, can you believe the show is messing with Zola?
I mean, yes, of course. No one is safe on Grey’s Anatomy.
The OR Board
• Amelia tries to help her nephew find an apartment after she discovers Luke’s living like a troll person in the on-call room. If only he knew how many of his relatives have had sex in those beds! Luke doesn’t want any special treatment from any of his aunts because he doesn’t want his fellow interns to realize whom he’s related to. Benson notices Luke and Amelia being shifty around each other and assumes the two must be sleeping together — which Luke does not immediately shoot down. This is going to get so awkward.
• Are Luke and Benson going to hook up? I mean, some of these interns have to start smashing faces soon, for their sakes and ours, and right now there is certainly some sort of vibe between them.
• Wait, so we watch as Webber apologizes to Nick for how he acted back in the season-18 finale but are only told about how he already apologized to Meredith? The Meredith-Webber relationship is a foundational one for this show, and to just skip over that story beat — especially after how bad they had it out in the finale — is such a misstep.
• I’m sorry, but Schmitt is no Miranda Bailey, and I don’t buy the tough, gruff chief-resident act on him for one second. However, I did appreciate his warning to the interns before sending them out to their attendings: “Don’t embarrass me or kill anyone or drop anything inside a patient.” Remember when “Glasses” was a thing?
• There’s a whole subplot about Bailey and Jo becoming “mom friends,” but it’s just a ruse for Bailey to get info on what’s happening at the hospital since she left. They really need to find something better for Jo to do on this show.
• We get a visual on Taryn Helm, in case you were wondering where she landed: She’s the new bartender at Joe’s. She seems happier than ever after walking away from medicine, and we love that for her. Life is short; follow your joy.
• Next week: Addison’s back … again!