The Walls Come Tumbling Down In Grey's Anatomy's Volatile Fall Finale
An apartment building collapses, but the tenants aren't the only ones whose lives turn to rubble.
As this episode began, I sighed and scribbled in my notes, "Oh look, another disaster episode," and then I added a frowny face for good measure. But in fact, this is a fast-paced, enjoyable outing that packs in a lot of drama. Interestingly, the smallish stories that accompany the medical patients are as riveting as the ongoing drama of the regular crew.
The building may have collapsed, but it's the personal choices these people make that creates the most impact. Let's rank them from least to most explosive!
- Dear Owen...
It says a lot about the impression Amelia is making on me these days that I didn't even realize she wasn't in the episode until she pops up at the very end to skip out on Owen with a very drippy "It's me, not you" note. Hey, at least it isn't a text! In the grand scheme of things, this isn't surprising and has low impact. Except we'll probably be subjected to Owen's power glower for months.
- Worst Pick-Up Line Ever
"I like girls," Minnick tells Arizona. No shit, Sherlock. Minnick has been fangirling over Arizona since she arrived, so it doesn't exactly require Columbo-level detecting skills to figure out she's into her.
But after this terrible opening gambit, Minnick has the nerve to say, "I got game." Girl, no you don't. But Arizona needs a real love interest, so there you go. Given Minnick's new role in the hospital as Chief Usurper of a beloved character's job, and Arizona's relationship with that beloved character, then this has the potential to be a development with some fairly significant consequences
- Kill My Landlord, Kill My Landlord
The apartment building collapse is the result of structural damage from an earthquake. Possibly the one from a couple of seasons ago? The landlord was aware but did nothing about it, so he is racked with guilt and wants a priest to confess to before he dies. Instead, he gets Fr. Ben Warren, who uncomfortably listens to the man's confession, much to Stephanie's morbid amusement.
Not so amusingly, however, one young girl dies as a result of her injuries from the collapse; her parents, overhearing Ben and Stephanie discussing the landlord's culpability, whip the other tenants into a fury. Not content just to cry or be angry, the young girl's mother decides to take matters into her own hands. Using Grey Sloan's terrible security to her advantage, she tracks down the landlord and attempts to kill him in his own hospital bed.
While this story has very little impact on the ongoing drama of Grey's doctors, for this episode it packs an emotional kick.
- My Wife And My First Wife
Proof that global warming is not a myth: the iceberg that is Owen and Riggs's relationship is cracking. The two have a bro-moment as they work on a victim of the building collapse together. When the victim's wife shows up, she is perplexed. They don't even live in an apartment building! Turns out he was there visiting his girlfriend.
This gives Riggs and Owen an opportunity to bond as cheating spouses. I do find it hilarious that Riggs had absolutely no clue about Cristina or that Owen had even been married before. But this thawing is indeed timely, since Owen will need someone's shoulder to cry on soon. I think Riggs is the person Owen has had the best chemistry with in a long time.
- It's Business, Not Personal
Minnick spills the beans (somewhat) to Richard about his new role in the hospital hierarchy. Richard is understandably upset and confronts Bailey about it. Bailey dissolves into an incoherent mess while trying to explain that she feels she did what was best for the hospital and didn't want to let her personal feelings get in the way.
From a character perspective, Bailey is totally wrong here. And to make matters worse, she comes off as ineffectual on both a professional and personal level. From a storyline perspective, this is everything! It has layers of good old-fashioned soapy storytelling. It has an ongoing effect on Bailey and Richard's relationship: where will they go from here? But Maggie and With Jackson added to the mix, things become even more volatile.
Maggie overhears Minnick and draws the correct conclusion that Richard is being phased out. At this point, Maggie is ready to go HAM on Richard's behalf. Metaphorically taking off her earrings and asking someone to hold her purse, she enlists Jackson in her fight. He, in turn, rallies other longtime doctors on Richard's behalf.
Of course, the wild card in this whole story is Catherine. No one but Bailey knows of her involvement. Between Bailey, Richard, Maggie, Jackson, and Catherine this is a house of cards begging to collapse.
- Elevator Confessions
Jo is in a panic because she's being asked to testify in Alex's trial that's scheduled to begin tomorrow. If she has to testify, she can't lie under oath, in which case her real name will be revealed and she'll lose her medical license.
...Wait, what? I am not going to get into why that line of thinking is problematic. I could write a book describing the look of confusion on my face. Anyway, she's so worried that she goes to DeLuca to reassure herself that he didn't spill the beans on her. He didn't. He tries to reassure her but it falls on deaf ears.
Unable to handle the pressure, Jo caves and tells all to Alex as they are conveniently in an elevator all alone. She tells him everything -- all about her abusive husband, her fake name, and that she is on the run. And his reaction is...rather underwhelming. I admit I'm kind of disappointed in this highly anticipated reveal. I'm glad Jo has finally come clean, but somehow the payoff isn't as viscerally satisfying as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong -- I didn't want Alex to go into a rage spiral or anything -- but by comparison, Richard's reaction to Bailey's betrayal seems to have more emotional resonance that Alex's reaction to finding out his fiancée is already married.
Even so, this will have a huge lasting effect.
- Captain Save-A-Jo
The cliffhanger that ends the episode -- Alex on the cusp of taking the plea to save Jo from testifying -- suggests that Alex's career and freedom may be the first casualties of Jo's reveal.
You know, I would have been fine with Alex coming to some epiphany that you can't just go around beating up people and deciding that he needed to take his punishment. But that's not the reason he is doing this: he's doing it to save Jo -- admirable, but really rather stupid. I don't agree with Meredith on a lot of things these days, but I do agree with her on this. Alex may be doing the "right" thing, but it's for the wrong reason. There are a lot of ways to help Jo out; going to jail ain't one of them.
However, in terms of impact, this is biggest of the night. Will Alex take the plea, or will Meredith's pleas to think of himself first have a more lasting effect?