What an incredibly touching episode.
It wasn't perfect, mind you. There were still a couple of things that bugged me about Grey's Anatomy Season 13 Episode 14.
But the two prominent cases really pulled at the heart-strings in different ways. They were the primary focus, and oddly enough, despite a few moments (like the Bailey and Meredith scene), a lot of the Minnick tension fell to the back.
Although the entire Minnick ordeal has been a combination of entertaining and frustrating, it was refreshing to see it take a backseat.
The way the doctors were broken down into groups surprised me. Not because I don't expect certain individuals to work together, but I would never have anticipated them working together without some tension.
DeLuca, Maggie, and Riggs could have been such an awkward trio. Maggie had a previous relationship with DeLuca and unresolved feelings for Riggs.
Did I want to see drama? Not necessarily, but this is Grey's, and I was a bit surprised (and thankful) that they all worked together without any issues.
Maggie spent quite some time previously coming across as unprofessional or childish to some viewers because of how her personal feelings spill into the workplace. She also spent the first half of the season having awkward, cringe-worthy interactions with Riggs.
I genuinely loved them working together on this case. She was the Maggie that some of us have fallen in love with. The competent, smart, capable, sweet doctor who asks questions and tries to be aware of the people around her.
The case with Claire really touched me. I had a relative who suffered from severe schizophrenia.
She would disappear for long periods of time, and it would take forever before someone in my family could track her down. Then they would have to travel across the country to retrieve her from her living situation (or lack thereof ) at the time.
It broke my heart watching Claire, with her dirty, matted hair and her outdated pacemaker rambling nonsensically. But I loved the genuine concern that Nathan, Maggie, and Andrew showed her.
They went above and beyond to find out who she was, fit her with a new pacemaker, and contact her parents. They exuded kindness and decency that can, unfortunately, seem foreign, in a society that still stigmatizes mental illness and homelessness.
Maggie: I just, schizophrenia is a difficult disease, but with treatment it can be helped.
Riggs: What do you mean?
Maggie: Well I just don't get it? I would just be happy that she's alive. How is this not a happy ending?
Riggs: You're right. You don't get it.
Maggie: I want to.
Riggs: They gave up on her. They just buried an empty box in the ground and moved on. They had lattes, saw movies. They just lived their lives, and all the while their daughter was out there walking around in the rain, in pain and alone. And they'll never forgive themselves for that. They shouldn't.
The effects that the case had on Nathan only tugged at the heart-strings even more. Riggs has been enjoyable this season, but so underutilized. He was due for a moment; an episode that could put him in the spotlight, or at least somewhere near it.
It feels like Nathan has been put on ice. As if the writers pull him out for the occasional witty line, or some storyline meant to further someone else's character development (Meredith and/or Owen), but he doesn't get fleshed out much on his own.
The case really got to him, because this family went twelve years thinking that their daughter was dead and suddenly, one phone call and they mostly got a happy ending.
It has been years, and he still doesn't know what all happened with his fiancee. He has no real sense of closure.
When he was standing there, watching this happy ending, fighting back the tears, I wanted Maggie to hug him. Sometimes Maggie can come across obtuse, but she was really aware of Nathan and his feelings, and it was enjoyable.
At the very least, I think he needs a solid friendship with someone whom he doesn't have a particular history with, and I genuinely enjoyed their serious moments together. Typically he hides behind a confident, occasionally snarky facade.
Ideally, I would hope that this means that they'll explore whatever there is to explore with Megan. I keep waiting for her to just appear at the hospital somehow. It feels like they keep hinting and giving us signals that she may not be dead, and that she may be coming, but they won't pull the trigger on it.
Meredith: When Derek died, there was just one day. Just one day where I didn't know where he was. I pretended everything would be okay, but inside I was going crazy. I guess it's like that for Nathan every day.
Maggie: Yeah. You get him.
Meredith: Well, I don't know about that.
I want them to get to it. It would be such an interesting storyline to watch unfold. But they may be more inclined to revisit the love triangle that no one asked for, first.
That final moment with Maggie and Meredith talking about Nathan poked at the triangle again. Please, no.
It was also interesting to watch Jo and Alex have to work together on a case. Of course, that one just got so complicated, didn't it?
The kidney transplant case was another example of a case tying into a specific character's story. This time it was Jo. Again.
I'll get the Jo criticism out of the way quickly and then move on.
First, I'm tired of Jo monopolizing so much of the season. It was supposed to be the season that focused mostly on the original characters, but Jo has had just as much screen time. I'm assuming because of how it relates to Alex.
It comes at the expense of so many other characters; it wouldn't be so irksome if not for the fact that she remains stagnant as a character.
There's no growth. She doesn't go backward, nor does she go forward. She's just there, letting life happen to her and not taking it well.
You don't get how she will feel, to wake up and find out that he controlled this. He made a decision while she was asleep. He decided to get into her life. She had no say, no control, no nothing. We can't do this. We can't.Jo
Do we need to be reminded of Jo's past so often? Especially if, like the Riggs/Megan situation, the show won't just pull the trigger and bring her ex-husband back?
Every other case Jo takes on is this painful reminder of her past. It's like the show is building up to a bigger reveal, but by the time they get there, it won't have any effect. And if they don't get there, then why should we keep beating this same drum?
That aside, I thought this was a pretty good episode for Jo. Shocking, I know. Clearly, she was going to take the case personally, but this time it worked in her favor that she did.
The debate over the protocol and legalities of the situation was interesting to watch. I love when Grey's has the intense, off-the-cuff medical moments. The gang spitballing over how to handle a situation they've never been presented with was fun.
It was pretty obvious that the kid would get his mother's kidney and she'd go on dialysis. She was a mom who was willing to do anything and sacrificed so much for her son. She would've sacrificed her kidney too.
Once the father offered up his kidney, however, I knew that they would have to take it. It was the best way to take care of both of them.
Abusive Husband: I can't take back the stuff that I've done. but I can do this. I just want to do something good.
Jo: If you really want to do good, never tell them about this. You do it anonymously and walk away. They never have to know it was your kidney, and they never have to see you again.
I did understand Jo's concerns, about the father feeling as if he could control them again, but lives had to be saved. Jo, no stranger to interfering with patient's personal lives, gave him a talking to, and for once, I didn't get annoyed.
I also really loved her sweet moment with Owen at the end.
But Meredith's moment with Richard was my favorite of the night.
Meredith has been all over the place this season, but I will admit that she's grown as a character. Listening to her talk about her mother, with a smile on her face no doubt, was a reminder that she's come a long way.
Webber: We both know that your mother would never put me before her career
Meredith: True. But I'm supposed to do better than her. Isn't that the point? Be better. I can't be like her.
Webber: Go get your job.
Those moments when Meredith and Richard bond in that father/daughter way that they do, are some of the both moments for both characters.
Meredith standing her ground with Bailey was commendable. I'm still unconvinced that Bailey thought she was doing the right thing, let alone doing what Richard would do.
There was very little on her end of the conversation that set well with me. She did sound like she wanted a "Yes" woman. She still refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
Miranda: Look, you can serve under Chief Webber if you want to. But it doesn't change the fact that he is not your chief, I am, and as your chief, I'm ready to lift the suspension if you feel you're ready to come back.
Meredith: I want to.
Meredith: But I can't. Not until he does.
I just don't get it. What happened to the Bailey that we love? I miss her.
I also miss the Arizona who was "a good man in a storm" and stuck by her colleagues. What the hell is this thing with Eliza?
They're trying to force this relationship that very few people care about. Now Arizona in the matter of, what, a few days? Now, after one cry session, because Eliza endangered and then lost a kid, they're best friends?
Arizona is going from a pissed off doctor who rightfully called Eliza out on her crap, to this woman who gets all up in her feelings because the other doctors express their distaste for Eliza, and it is preposterous.
Whatever Arizona. It's not just that she's infatuated with Eliza now. It's that it happened so abruptly, with no sound reasoning for it presented, and we're just supposed to go with it.
Eliza cried. Now Arizona is without a doubt convinced that she's this amazing, good person, and it breaks her heart that her friends are still talking about Eliza? Of course, they are Arizona, you hated her too up until yesterday!
I'm not sold on this Eliza and Arizona ship. I'm not on board. Hell, I'm not even on the deck. Please stop it.
I don't like pretending not to like you, and I don't like listening to all the awful things people say about you.Arizona
I will not be persuaded into liking Eliza. They did nothing to convince us to like her yet, so it's not earned.
And now, they're starting to push the notion that all of the pissed off attendings (and the majority of the viewers) are being immature and petty, and are somehow in the wrong for harboring their feelings.
At least that's what it felt like, with April's response to Jackson, Bailey's conversation with Meredith, and Webber sort of throwing in the towel. Nope. Some of us are right, and the others are Team Eliza.
Amelia: I do not live here, I'm crashing.
Alex: You crash on a couch, you live in a bed. You're living here.
Also, Amelia made an appearance. She's now migrated to Meredith's house. Fingers crossed that her next step is facing Owen. Go home, Amelia! This was ridiculous ten seconds after you walked out on him.
I will give one sentence to acknowledge that Alex returned to the hospital. Why only one? Because that's pretty much all the writers bothered to offer acknowledging the fact that it was his big return. Seriously.
So what did you guys think of the episode? Are we all cool with Eliza now? Did you enjoy the cases? Do you enjoy seeing the serious/sad side of Nathan? Were you disappointed that Alex didn't have more presence during his first day back at the job?
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.