Grey’s Anatomy is doubling down on its race to end season 17: Last week, we were hopping from week to week; this time around, it’s month to month. It’s not that Grey’s can’t do this fast-forward through time effectively — it worked quite well when they sped through time right after McDreamy got T-boned by a truck and Mer fled Seattle, for instance — it’s just that here, it only makes it more glaring that certain story lines were dragged out beyond their expiration date while others were shortchanged. Too slow! Too fast! The pacing of season 17 was wild in every direction.
There are two story lines in the finale in particular that were done a disservice by racing from August 2020 to April 2021. The first: Maggie Pierce got married, friends! She seems so happy and so in love and it is all very nice. I’m not saying we need a full-on Wedding Episode … although, maybe I am saying that? We’ve been through a lot this year and we deserve all the joy we can get. Instead, we jump right into that little backyard family-only wedding that Maggie and Winston decided to have because they didn’t want to wait to get hitched … only to have Maggie’s dad and Winston’s grandmother stand up and declare that this wedding is sad and Maggie and Winston deserve better. They deserve bigger. So, that whole story line from last week is basically erased and the two decide to wait until things safely open up again.
Then, in April 2021, they have the beach wedding of their dreams. I know we’ve all become averse to beaches on Grey’s Anatomy at this point, but it is a beautiful-looking wedding. Unfortunately, we get very little wedding content! Give me a heart-to-heart between Maggie and Meredith — they’ve been through so much and can finally celebrate something together! Or a heart-to-heart between Meredith and Winston in which she welcomes him to the family but also threatens him if he ever hurts Mags. I know it’s cliché, but Maggie Pierce deserves some wedding clichés. Or, like, just one quick convo with her dad about her late mother. Give me something to work with here, Grey’s! The wedding seems like a great party, but it was missing some emotional poignancy. Justice for Maggie and Winston in season 18, you know?
And then there’s Jo. She officially adopts Luna! That’s huge. The show has been slowly (so freaking slowly) been building to this outcome all season with very little movement, and then in these last two episodes of the season rushed through huge story beats. Last week, we left Jo devastated after her application to become Luna’s legal guardian was denied when she didn’t pass the background check. In August 2020, we find Jo vowing to figure out a way to adopt Luna (and also get the hell out of that tiny apartment with Schmitt and Helm). We then run through several months in which Jo discovers that there is a family willing to foster and then adopt Luna, Jo asking her best friend Link to foster Luna until she can legally adopt her (that poor family!) and him saying yes, Jo getting an unceremonious phone call to learn that she’s going to be allowed to adopt, and then Jo and Luna moving into Jackson’s old apartment in April 2021. I mean, that part about Jo making this enormous ask of Link (and Amelia) should’ve at least been its own episode. There’s so much to be explored within this story line that just gets glossed over because we needed time to [checks notes] have an entire Teddy dreamscape episode. Jo going through the adoption process as a single woman? Jo making this positive step toward healing from the trauma of, well, her entire life by creating her own little family? There’s a lot there, but told in this abridged way means the emotional heft of it all doesn’t hit exactly right.
Hey, speaking of emotional heft, Amelia Shepherd sure loves to burn relationships right down to the ground, doesn’t she? After realizing that she doesn’t want more kids or to get married and that Link very much does want those things, Amelia, well, Amelia sits on that information for a while. A lot of her internal strife is tied to trying to figure out if this is her addiction talking or if it’s really what she wants. After an AA meeting, Richard has a heart-to-heart with Amelia because he knows this feeling all too well. There’s an idea that if an addict is sober and getting healthy, there’s no reason for things not to work; but sometimes, he tells her, you need to “give yourself permission for it not to work.” Amelia wants what she wants and she should trust that.
It’s a great scene and a great moment between these two characters but Amelia still refuses to talk to Link about it. It’s infuriating! Meanwhile, we watch Link — pure, sweet Link — grow increasingly excited to build his future with Amelia. He buys not one but four engagement rings because he can’t decide which Amelia will want (that might be your first sign, dude …aside from the time when Amelia repeatedly told you not to propose). He almost proposes on Christmas morning, but his thunder is stolen by Owen, of all people, who proposes to Teddy in front of everyone under fake snow. Those two are in a very healthy place! It is weird! So Link decides to put together another proposal. A very cute proposal! It’s on the beach after Maggie’s wedding (speaking of stealing someone’s thunder) and he has each of Meredith’s kids hold a different engagement ring. Down on one knee, he pours his heart out to Amelia and asks her to do him the honor of marrying him. Friends, my fellow Americans — the silence is deafening. I don’t mean to laugh every time I think of Link’s face as he realizes she is rejecting him, but I can’t help it. There is just so much devastation in that one second, it is so awful. What an awkward moment to rope a bunch of kids into!
And with that, Link and Amelia are dunzo. A truly gutted Link knocks on Jo’s (new) door looking for a place to crash. Honestly, good riddance to that pairing! Link is kind and good and he deserves less drama and more happiness. He deserves a fun, loving relationship. I mean, he’ll probably start hooking up with Jo, so we’ll see how that goes.
The O.R. Board
• Meredith’s back at work! In August 2020, she starts her job as head of the residency program and makes several changes that Bailey might not agree with but is working on accepting. It’s time to shake things up, remember? Then, by April 2021, Meredith and Teddy perform a successful double-lung transplant on a long-term COVID patient. Afterward, Meredith finally gets that clap-out she ran from when she was discharged. Everyone is so happy! That Meredith-Bailey hug alone!
• The finale blesses us with one more Mer-Cristina text exchange, this time about how Mer beat Cristina to performing a lung transplant on a post-COVID patient.
• We couldn’t have gotten one tiny hint of a Japril update when Jackson video chatted Jo to hand over his apartment? It was April 2021, so they’ve had some time in Boston together at this point and things could’ve happened — give up the goods, Grey’s!
• Wait, I love that the only person Jo could find to sell her shares of the hospital to (remember, Alex gifted them to her when he abandoned her to live on a farm with Izzie!!) was Tom. Sorry, Bailey, the girl needed the money to adopt Luna and Tom was the only taker. Yes, much to Bailey’s chagrin, Tom now has a seat on the Grey Sloan board. So I think we’ll be getting a visit from Tom Koracick in no time.
• The most emotional moment of the episode: Watching the staff at Grey Sloan finally get their COVID-19 vaccines. There are smiles and tears and there is joy. Let it sink in for a second! We can have nice things!