Richard Cartwright / ABC

Grey's Anatomy's Doctors Help Maggie Work Through The Mourning After

Maggie takes over a risky surgery on her first day back, while Riggs just can't catch a break.

After the emotional high of last week's episode, Grey's Anatomy returns with an episode that feels very aftermathy. It isn't super-exciting, but -- like Maggie -- it gets the job done.

We rejoin Maggie on her first day back to work after her mother's death. While Maggie adjusts to her return to working life, all the other doctors also carry on in the aftermath of their own recent issues, with varying levels of success. Let's check in to see how everyone's day is going, from the best to the rest.

  1. Bailey
    Bailey and Richard spend much of the episode lightly jabbing each other over the whole Minnick thing. Man, this storyline -- in the end, what does all that bad feeling and betrayal and poor management yield? Well, nothing for Bailey except validation of her bad methods. Richard is now working with Minnick, everyone is playing well with others, and Bailey feels satisfied with a job well done. In addition, her relationship with Richard has warmed right back up. They may bicker, but it has an affectionate tone to it. Even better, her sweet husband is on hand to give her sage advice and back rubs. For Bailey, this is a great day.
  2. Arizona
    Arizona pulls up to the Grey Sloane parking lot with her boo Minnick in tow. She is sporting that smile that accompanies...what is the opposite of the walk of shame after a good hook-up the night before? Oh yes: the stride of pride! She also starts to bond with Riggs over their respective new but-not-yet-really-public relationships. During an important fetal surgery, Arizona exhibits a bit of alarm when she thinks Maggie has momentarily frozen, but hear fear is unfounded, and baby and mother both live.
  3. Maggie
    To throw herself back in the high-pressure life of a cardiothoracic surgeon, Maggie decides to take over a risky heart surgery for a baby in utero (see above). The ridiculously attractive couple, who also happen to be Owen's BFFs, overhear Owen voicing concerns to Arizona about Maggie's readiness to plunge right into a tricky surgery so soon after her bereavement. As it turns out, Owen is not the only one. Amelia and Meredith corner Maggie in the locker room to concern-troll her. And seemingly the entire surgical staff of the hospital gather in the viewing gallery to watch her...choke? As they all think she's going to? The optics on that whole scene is really rather fucked.

    During the surgery, Grey's embraces its soap opera roots and gives us a dramatic moment when the baby's heart rate starts to fall, monitors beep like crazy, and Maggie apparently freezes, unsure what to do next. Aaaand then we cut to commercial. When we return, we learn that Maggie didn't freeze at all; she was just taking a moment to let the baby's body adjust to losing a tumor it had been carrying around for awhile. Anvils drop because this is, of course, about Maggie's grief. Crisis averted, the patients are fine, and people clap.

    But while Maggie does what doctors do -- works through a crisis -- she is still battling her grief. She lashes out at Jackson, the only target she really has left. However, even that is hollow. Jackson later shows up with a file and gently explains that Diane, her mother, had been lying for months, knowing she was going to die even before she came to him. Obviously, Diane had a bucket list to travel the world and go skydiving, because Jackson gives Maggie a stack of pictures Diane left behind, showing all the cool things she did before she died. This seems like the balm Maggie needs to begin healing. She had a successful surgery, quieted her naysayers, and seemingly made peace with her mother's illness, if not her death.

  4. Intern Cross
    Yes, I am giving Cross a big shout-out here. First, because he gets a fair bit of face time, and second because...well, he he shows up in the ER complaining of stomach issues. Steph thinks he's exaggerating, blowing up small symptoms to make himself a more interesting case. But she's wrong: not only does he have diverticulitis, but he's also got a raging case of abdominal tuberculosis. Everyone is puzzled about how he contracted TB. High on drugs, and after dreamily telling Steph how sexy she looks, Cross does mention he went to India for a month, and woefully asks, "Nobody noticed I was gone?" he asks woefully. Actually no, we didn't. Poor guy. The day is not a total loss, however. He did deliver an interesting case, as well as a funny line that has to be a meta-commentary on his character in the show.
  5. Stephanie
    Stephanie's day starts okay, but then goes downhill. When she dismisses Cross's symptoms, it's only due to sheer luck and his own insistence that she is able to diagnose his TB.

    Later, Steph laments her behavior to Richard -- "I was an obstruction to his care, I dismissed it" -- and rightly points out that he's getting better only because he advocated for himself. Then she starts in on the self-doubt.

    You know what? This sucks. Yes, Jerrika Hinton is leaving the show, but Stephanie deserves better than to be the sole casualty of the botched Minnick storyline. I'm reserving judgement, but I will hate it if they diminish the one defining characteristic they've given Stephanie over the course of the show: her confidence in her competence as a doctor. Not the worst day Steph has suffered, but not the best, either.

  6. Owen
    Two members of Owen's unit from Afghanistan, Leo and Jenna, are in the hospital because Jenna is pregnant, but their baby has a heart condition. Right off the bat, they unknowingly poke a little stick in Owen's eye. They ask after Amelia, and wonder if she is knocked up yet? Apparently, they've been in the hospital for awhile but just keep missing her. Yeah, Amelia is still the worst. She's been freezing out not only Owen, but also these two supposedly good friends. Her reasoning is that they are his friends from "before," and not really hers. Then she walks away just fine excising two friends from her life. Brrr!
  7. Riggs
    Maybe Riggs just shouldn't have shown up to work today? First, he's unceremoniously yanked off the fetal heart surgery when Maggie plays the boss card and takes it from him. Then later, when he's anticipating a real date with Meredith, Arizona harshes his happy anticipatory glow by telling him how much Meredith loved Derek: "That girl's heart beats for Derek Shepherd. He was everything. That man turned her world." With each line, Riggs's face drops a little farther. And finally, Meredith herself shuts the door in his face. Literally. When he shows up to pick her up for their date, she tells him she has other people to worry about and he's not one of them, and slams the door, leaving him on the porch. ...Raincheck?
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