Ever wondered if the actors who play your favorite doctors on TV could actually save your life? You can find out for yourself at Vulture Festival in Los Angeles when Grey’s Anatomy cast members Camilla Luddington, Jake Borelli, Alexis Floyd, Adelaide Kane, Midori Francis, and Niko Terho compete in our medical-trivia competition on November 13 — tickets are on sale now!
Well, friends, the big mystery as to how Meredith Grey could bring herself to leave Seattle, where she’ll be going, and what she’ll be doing there all seems to get one big answer in this episode: Boston. Before long, our Meredith Grey will be feasting on all the lobster rolls and Dunkin’ Donuts her heart desires! What a journey for her!
Apparently, Meredith and Zola have been traveling the country visiting possible schools where Zola and her genius mind might be better stimulated, thus curbing those panic attacks she’s been having about her mom and aunt dying from Alzheimer’s. Most of the schools haven’t felt right to Zola, and she’s wary of making the whole family move away from Seattle, but next up on the list is a school for gifted students in Boston. And while Zola’s hanging out there for the day, Meredith gets to dump her never-ending shame spiral onto an old friend. That’s right, Jackson Avery’s in Boston being very handsome and very successful as the head of the Catherine Fox Foundation. (Jesse Williams also directed this episode.) He’s doing great! And judging from the very cute picture of Jackson and April on Harriet’s bedside table, those two seem to be doing great as well. How nice for them! Also, how nice for Meredith — someone in desperate need of a friend who is in a healthy place in life and seemingly in a position to dole out some helpful advice!
Meredith tells Jackson about Zola’s panic attacks. She blames herself for not seeing it — she never had to worry about Zola before. She tells him about how smart she is and her obsession with Alzheimer’s. She tells him about how she feels so helpless that she stays up at night doing research on how she could possibly try and cure the disease because that’s the only way she can think of to get rid of Zola’s anxiety. She knows it’s ridiculous. But Jackson “Money Bags” Avery says, What if it’s not ridiculous? He has all the resources Meredith needs here in Boston. She could fail, sure, but at least it would be something. At least she could show Zola that she’s trying everything she can. Meredith is intrigued, of course, but Zola is her first priority. If Zola doesn’t want to be in Boston, it’s a no-go.
What do you know? When Meredith goes to pick Zola up from the STEM school, she finds her daughter smiling! And making friends! And … doing physics experiments?? Whatever floats your boat, I guess. The mother-daughter pair have a little heart-to-heart over lobster rolls because THEY ARE IN BOSTON, remember? It’s a lovely conversation, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up when Meredith makes sure Zola knows she’s extraordinary. Remember how Ellis weaponized the word ordinary against Meredith? Extraordinary is a word loaded with meaning for Meredith Grey. In the end, Zola admits that she loves the school here. She already wants to join the robotics team and the orchestra. Meredith hasn’t seen her this happy in a long time. So she texts Jackson: She’s in. She’s moving to Boston and she’s going to try and cure Alzheimer’s.
Two of our other doctors are on the road in “When I Get to the Border,” but their story does not share the same type of happy ending. Bailey and Addison are headed to Pullman, Washington, a small city close to the Idaho border. They’re headed to a family-planning clinic there run by one of Bailey’s college roommates. Since Roe was overturned and abortion bans put into place in Idaho, the place has been overflowing with patients and in desperate need of volunteers. It’s not long before they’re sent over the Idaho border to pick up a 39-year-old woman named Susan with a cesarean scar ectopic pregnancy. Her doctor won’t operate on it even though it’s life-threatening because there’s still a heartbeat and the law is fuzzy — he doesn’t want to risk losing his license. So, Bailey and Addison to the rescue! They’re “the medical Thelma and Louise!” And when they remember that Thelma and Louise die at the end of the movie, they go with “Bailey and Addison, American heroes.”
That optimism and empowerment they feel don’t last long. Bailey and Addison pick Susan up in Idaho and begin the drive back to Washington. Susan seems lovely. She has a 5-year-old daughter and is every bit the doting mother. She was excited about having another child, but this pregnancy isn’t viable any longer and she needs the surgery before there’s a rupture.
Then there’s a rupture.
Susan begins bleeding out in the back of the van. Addison and Bailey try their best to help her with the resources they have, but they are stuck in a huge line of traffic and the ambulance will never be able to reach them in time. Susan bleeds out on the side of the road as Addison futilely tries to perform CPR. It’s devastating. If Susan’s OB in Idaho had been allowed to perform the surgery, all of this would’ve been avoided. This was an avoidable tragedy. It’s infuriating. No, really, Addison screams out, “I AM INFURIATED!” I know this is a serious, sad time, but holy hell, I bet that felt good. When in doubt, yell into oblivion. Addison’s so pissed off that these laws are decided by people who are so far removed from the situation they have no idea what they’re talking about. And she, a trained doctor, can’t do anything about it. “Our hands, that were trained to help them, our hands are tied,” she laments. Everybody’s feeling helpless in this episode, I guess.
Then, Bailey tells Addison about the reproductive-health clinic she wants to start at Grey Sloan. It’s inspiring. Addison, too, wants to do more. Bailey has an idea: Over on Station 19, Ben built a program called the Physician Response Team and with it a mobile OR — a tricked-out ambo with all the tools and meds you might need to operate in the field. Susan died because Addison and Bailey could only do so much with what they had on the road. If Addison took the PRT vehicle (the program was nixed because of, well, Station 19 drama), she’d have a mobile operating room at her disposal. It’s a game changer. Addison and Bailey might agree that the future looks pretty bleak at the moment, but they aren’t giving up hope just yet. What a dream team!
The OR Board
• Lucas’s attempt to keep his Shepherd connection under wraps is about to fail miserably. After being forced to help out with Scout, the other interns (aside from Simone, who knows the truth) are now sure Lucas and Amelia are sleeping together. When Amelia finds out, she asks the appropriate question: WHY??? She doesn’t want to hear his sad story about needing to prove himself. A rumor about an attending sleeping with an intern, no matter how false it is, could really ruin things for her. She gives him three days to come clean.
• Benson Kwan was so quick to offer Amelia sexual favors in return for surgeries. What is this man’s deal? I feel like he is headed straight for some kind of “there’s more to him than meets the eye” emotional breakdown. You know the one!
• In Boston, we also run into Catherine and Tom being shady as hell. It turns out that Catherine is no longer in remission, her tumor is growing, but she doesn’t want treatment. She wants to enjoy whatever time (possibly a few years) she has left. And she also doesn’t want anyone else — including Richard and Jackson — to know. Tom has to carry that secret all alone. Something tells me somebody’s going to find out.
• Every time Tom Koracick pops up on this show, he moves further and further up the running Grey’s Anatomy character ranking that I keep in my head at all times. He brings an energy this show needs! He is a delight!
• When Cristina Yang finds out that Meredith is going to be hanging out with April Kepner all the time, she is going to laugh and laugh and laugh.