Stephanie Learns A Hard Lesson On Grey's Anatomy
In just one awesome scene, Richard demonstrates why it's 'Richard Forever, Minnick Never!'
I swear, if I were in need of surgery and Grey Sloan were my only choice, I would just as soon go into my garage, pull out a saw, and hack at away at myself. It would be just about as professional and a darned sight more soothing.
The entire episode is nothing but one big boiling mess of a gang fight -- the Sharks versus the Jets absent the singing, dancing, and low-top Chuck Taylors -- but with all the hostility and resentment still present.
Grey's has always had inappropriate moments where the doctors overshare their intimate lives during surgery, but this one goes a step beyond that. The environment has become toxic largely due to Bailey's mismanagement, Minnick's presence, Meredith's ouster, and the basic immaturity of everyone involved. It would be ridiculous not to expect that this all would eventually affect patient care. And in this episode, it does.
After suspending Meredith, Bailey gives April Meredith's old job. Since April had been one of Dumbledore's -- er, Richard's army, her defection to the other side is greeted with cries of betrayal and banishment to a lonely little table for one during lunch.
If the dissension in the Team Richard ranks is not enough, Minnick has decided that it's time for Phase 2 of the Minnick Teaching Method to launch. Phase 2 involves a resident being the soup-to-nuts lead on a surgery, with an attending only assisting. Minnick chooses Ben and Stephanie as the first two residents to run their own surgeries. Stephanie is thrilled. Uh-oh. Steph is way too happy and Minnick once nicked an artery to make a teaching point. This is not a match made in heaven. Someone is going to die and since Jerrika Hinton is leaving the show, my Spidey sense is telling me tragedy is nigh.
Amidst all of this, the doctors all take a minute out of their busy schedules to yell at each other. Maggie tells April to "shut your face" as April retorts, "Someone has to be an adult around here." Bailey and Weber argue bitterly during Ben's operation as Ben sends them disgusted looks. Jackson sneers at April that she's nothing but an opportunist. Arizona disdainfully wonders how Minnick became such an expert in pediatric surgery since her specialty is sports medicine. Richard throws shade the diameter of an oak tree Catherine's way as he asks if she'd call in a consultant to kick him out of bed if their marriage wasn't going so well. Whereupon I just want to jump through my TV and throat-punch all of them.
And then comes Stephanie's surgery. A nine-year-old boy named Matty comes in with gallstones. Arizona is reluctant for Stephanie to take the lead but she is overruled. During the surgery Stephanie must have torn something because Matty is bleeding and they don't find the source until too late. Poor Matty dies on the table.
What follows is a series of moments that for me absolutely makes this episode despite all the infighting. First, a devastated Stephanie turns to her new mentor, Minnick, and asks, "Did I kill that boy?" Stephanie's not looking for reassurance here; she's looking for actual guidance from her superior. Instead of taking this opportunity to, you know, actually teach, Minnick runs away. She frickin' runs, leaving Stephanie there with haunted eyes and Arizona with a WTF look on her face.
Then comes Richard Webber. In one of the best scenes of the season, Stephanie recounts the surgery, her voice steadily deteriorating as tears take over. Richard gives her the teaching and guidance Miss Hotshot Star Teacher couldn't, reminding her that both Minnick and Arizona were in the room too and they didn't see it either. "You lost. It's not your fault, but you lost. Every good surgeon does." Both James Pickens and Jerrika Hinton killed this scene. He gives her the big hug we all need right about now.
It makes all the stupidity that preceded this almost worth it.