Richard Haaseth / ABC

Maggie's Mama Drama Comes For A Visit On Grey's Anatomy

Maggie, Minnick, Catherine, or Bailey -- who's the worst this week? Tina (and her husband) have some questions.

I have been watching Grey's since it premiered some thirteen or so years ago. My husband, on the other hand, has never watched a full episode. Ever. Until this one. This is not to say he is not aware of the show, its characters, or the rough outlines of its various plots and narratives. Through the years, he has wandered through the family room when it was on, watched about five minutes, offered some pithy commentary, and wandered back out. However, for some reason he decided to sit and watch this one from beginning to end. Well, of course he had some questions.

Do family members of these people ever just come to this hospital for an innocent visit?

Even before it is revealed that Maggie's mom has an aggressive form of breast cancer, my husband knew enough to ask this question skeptically. Upon which I responded, "Not in my memory." In fact, we can potentially add Maggie's mom to the pantheon of very unlucky relatives who appear only to die soon thereafter. Like George's father, Lexi's mother, and Alex's father.

Before we learn about the cancer, though, Maggie's mother is introduced as a bright ray of sunshine. She makes friends easily, charming everyone, inviting people to dinners, and making lasagna. Well, she charms everyone except Maggie. Mama Pierce is there to get a little nip and tuck and has an appointment with Jackson. Maggie is horrified and pleads with Jackson not to make her mother a "fish-lipped monster with an immobile forehead." But it isn't just the plastic surgery that has Maggie a bit chuffed; she's upset about her mother being there, horning in, inviting herself places without clearing it with Maggie first.

My husband and I had a lively debate about this. I was upset with Maggie for being hard on her mother and not simply embracing the fact that her mom was there visiting and wanting to get to know her life. He was on Maggie's side. He found her mother to be passive-aggressive and thought the show attempted to manipulate the viewer to subtly side with the mother by making her tragic with the cancer. But then again, he thinks Maggie is just super-cute so he'd probably forgive her anything.

Is Bailey just being a jackass or is she right?

My knee-jerk response is that Bailey is being a huge jackass. However, after thinking for a bit I have to amend that and say she's both. On the one hand, she is being a bit of an ass for letting Catherine manipulate her into doing what Catherine wants, while at the same time reading her own people very wrong and acting rather despotically. On the other hand, she should deal swiftly and decisively with the sort of insubordination the doctors are showing.

After complaining to Catherine that none of doctors came to a meeting Bailey called, Catherine reminds Bailey that she is the chief and that Bailey needs to send a message. Catherine's own message is received loud and clear when Meredith upsets the new world order and refuses to allow Minnick into her OR. Bailey calls Meredith into her office and suspends her. After an incredulous "Harpo, who dis woman?" (well, not literally but the sentiment is the same) regarding Minnick, Meredith goes home. Message sent!

Debbie Allen is being so obvious about not supporting Dr. Old Guy; why is nobody calling her out?

Yes, Catherine is being rather blatant in not going all full-throated in support of Richard. And one would be forgiven for wondering why -- given Catherine's personality -- she's not throwing her Avery weight all over the hospital for him. But so far only April seems to think Catherine is a potential player in their game. And only April is asking her questions. But Catherine shifts between dodging April's questions by silkily asking, "How is any of that my business?" -- as devil's horns figuratively peek through her hair -- and defending Bailey. Honestly she is so unconvincing, she may as well have a "Minnick To Win It!" sign on her forehead. I'm surprised April doesn't cop to it considering her knowledge of how shady Catherine can be. Or maybe she does? After all, Bailey names April the interim Chief of General Surgery after Meredith's ouster. Is it a meritorious reward, or is Catherine thinking moves ahead and pulling Bailey's strings even there?

Wait, the guy who got his face bashed in gets no justice and we're supposed to be okay with that?

I am not okay with that! Look, I love Alex. I do. But the execution of this story is total bullshit. I cheered that DeLuca finally said what I have been saying for months. All of Alex's remorse means nothing if he couldn't go to the guy he beat up with no provocation and simply apologize. Maybe if he had done that early on it wouldn't have gotten to this point. Or we could have seen a real journey of remorse. Nope; instead, this story veered away from being about Alex and his bad decisions at all and into a soppy exercise in not wanting to hurt Jo. Alex beating up DeLuca isn't about Jo. It's about Alex. Having DeLuca willing to lie that it was a fight just to save Jo's sensibilities cheapens all of it.

I think my husband stared at me a little as I went off on my rant about this. I may have punctuated my argument with some finger-pointing and other emphatic gestures. I am sure he was rethinking his decision to sit and watch at that point.

Is the barbed wire lady supposed to be a metaphor for current political events?

Honestly, I hadn't thought about that. But come to think of it, it is really hard not to draw that conclusion as the story unfolds. The show has a history of dipping its toe into the political waters. Last season's episode about gun control, to name just one.

The EMTs bring in a woman, Annie, who is unconscious and wrapped in barbed wire. Her neighbor found her and called 911 despite the fact that Annie and her husband have always been stand-offish and private. They built a wall to keep their neighbors away and when the neighbor lady tried to visit to bring neighborly baked goods, Annie and husband would yell, "We have guns!"

Later, after Annie wakes and is freed from the wire -- minus a leg that had to amputated -- she tells her story somewhat ruefully. They didn't trust people. It started out as just locks and cameras but soon became fences and walls. And then it became a self-imposed prison. She became trapped in the wire trying to remove it after her husband had died. The fright and panic on Annie's face realizing that she is trapped, followed by the realization of how difficult it is to remove the fences, feels very cautionary-tale and ominous.

Add Annie's story to Bailey's unilateral hiring and firing and the curious level of Minnick's new power and authority over the doctors and this all feels metaphorical as hell. Subtle this show is not.

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