It was another heavily emotional hour as COVID-19 still ravages the lives of those within the Grey's Universe.
Mer's condition improved, but Tom wasn't doing well, and Bailey's mother fell ill.
Sadly, by the end of Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 5, there was a death.
The show insists on this love story to first-line responders and workers on the front line of this pandemic. They're hitting every feeling on the head and not leaving any stone unturned.
It's commendable of them to devote this much time and energy into this even when, to put it bluntly, it's depressing as hell.
They're producing beautiful storytelling and thought-provoking dialogue and conversations. Grey's Anatomy is in your face about the pandemic, and they're addressing everything they can in a raw manner regardless of how anyone feels about it.
I respect that, and it evokes a myriad of emotions, which is precisely the point of it all. Of all the installments we've seen, this one focused heavily on the disproportionate effects that COVID-19 had on Black and Brown communities.
While it's something the series has mentioned a few times during the season, this is the first installment that delved into it with Bailey's mother.
She is the face of many victims of the virus. She was a senior-aged Black woman with Alzheimer's who resided in a nursing home.
How, how do I tell my dad that the love of his life won't make it through the night?Bailey
Despite not knowing much of Bailey's mother before all of this, connecting her story to someone we are familiar with packed the emotional punch.
Chandra Wilson is a force, and she works magic when she gets these moments to shine. From the moment she found out about her mother's nursing home having an outbreak to the heartbreaking scene of her singing to her mother as she passed away, it was a beautifully heartrending ride.
One of the best things about it was how the hour relied on the close but rarely used bond she has with Maggie. If anyone could help support Bailey through this difficult time, Maggie could.
It called upon Maggie's previous experience losing her mother. Maggie knew what it was like saying goodbye to her mom as she passed away to something that was beyond their control.
I don't know how I"m going to do this.Bailey
Maggie's endless support of Bailey felt right, despite her consistent role in this series as a supportive figure who doesn't get it often in return. But this time, it was rooted in a deeper bonding and sisterhood that worked well for this hour.
In particular, it led to a quietly stunning scene with Bailey and Maggie on a park bench talking, and the intimacy of the moment along with the conversation felt as if we were intruders eavesdropping.
Bailey felt lost as she pondered what to do about her mother. Her mom was dying, and she couldn't tell if it was her mother's wishes or if she needed something else entirely.
But then it made her think of all the fond things about her mother and growing up. She shared that her mother called her four times to wish her a happy birthday and left messages, and Bailey kept them because of the knowledge that it could be the last time her mother remembered.
She raised me to be a good little girl, and even when I defied her, I was never disrespectful, and I tried to be good at everything. A good student. A good mother, wife, doctor, chief, and now she just needs me to be a good daughter, and I'm not sure how to do that even though that's what I've been the longest.Bailey
She spoke about how different she was from her mother, and it led to inquiries about what was right and wrong and how things would feel on the other side of a decision with Maggie. And then, they spoke about their experiences as Black women who were always smart but underestimated.
Their mothers believed in them, but they always had an uphill battle dealing with others. Bailey's story about how she obtained a scholarship from the Daughters of the Revolution and their expression when they saw her for the first time was charming, hilarious, and relatable on a personal level.
But with that conversation and her moments shared with Richard, she had the strength to go in there and sing to her mother as she passed away.
Maggie wasn't the only one to have a special moment with Bailey, though. Bailey joined Mer in the dreamscape when she went to talk to her.
Mer: I can be your tree.
Bailey: My mother has alwheimer's. I never told you because she's older and I didn't want to bring up any old pain for you and Richard. But it would be a lot to say that it hasn't been hard or painful. Even as a doctor who knows the diseason. I feel like
Mer: I didn't know crap.
Bailey: I didn't know anything. It's difficult to talk about with anyone who hasn't been through it. No one nows what it feels like to know that you're watching your mother die twice. I wish you were awake.
I don't understand how all of this works, how it's the in-between stage for Mer, and when others speak to her, they accompany her on the beach.
However, the scene between Mer and Bailey was such a special one. It did make you wonder why Bailey wouldn't confide in Mer of all people about her mother's dementia.
Bailey didn't want to burden Mer or Richard with terrible memories of their experience with Ellis, but it sucks that she put herself on the backburner for the sake of her friends. But isn't that often the case?
During the scene, Bailey's vulnerability while a mostly silent Mer listened on was moving, and I can't wait for Mer to wake up if it gives us more scenes with those two again.
If the death of Bailey's mother wasn't hard enough, Chandra Wilson's final voiceover pulled at the heartstrings, and as she said the names of people who passed away and the credits rolled with hundreds of names of fallen COVID victims, I wanted to sob.
Through Bailey's mother, we had a tragic loss that affected us, but it wasn't a familiar person. She also served as an opportunity for the series to touch on the racial aspect of things.
Richard and Jackson, whose relationship remains endearing, were there to talk about some of the things we've learned about the virus and how it affects some populations more than others.
Jackson: You realize half of our COVID patients are black and brown?
Richard: I know.
Jackson: In a city that's 7% Black, like, how does that even compute?
Richard: It doesn't.
It's understandable if some found the delivery of these messages rather preachy. For one, Jackson hasn't had much to do outside of Jo. For the other, the facts are hard-hitting and uncomfortable.
However, that's the point. The one thing about Jackson's delivery of statistics and social commentary is that it always feels as though Jesse Williams is speaking, off the cuff, himself.
Despite Seattle's predominately White population, the majority of their COVID patients were people of color. He hated that Bailey's mother was one of those statistics, which is something that Bailey found upsetting, too.
Forget the pre it's the existing condition. Existing while black.Jackson
But Jackson also struggled with his mother not wearing a mask. He urged her to whenever he could, but she wasn't listening to him, and Catherine is high-risk.
Richard used sex to get her on board, and it's good to know those two are on better terms now.
But other than that, they took a backseat to the hour.
Meanwhile, despite Tom's poor condition, he, thankfully, survived. At least, he did for now. It wouldn't be out of the norm for Grey's Anatomy to pull off a shock and kill him off when it seems as though he's on the mend.
Teddy: Do we know if he's OK?
Owen: Not sure, this is him.
Helm: I just saw him two days ago and he was fine.
After all, the one thing Teddy and Helm kept expressing was that he seemed fine and was asymptomatic a day ago. They can't get a handle on this virus and how it works. It speaks to how frontline workers are fighting blind with a hand-tied behind their back with this.
Tom's near-death scare (the man was calling out his dead son's name for crying out loud) got to Teddy. It even brought Amelia back to the hospital briefly. Although she came and went, it felt cursory at best.
It's still odd that no one cared much. Amelia's presence gave us the amusement of Link not knowing she slept with him before and a chance for Teddy to whine again about how she's the hospital pariah.
But she did get to speak to Tom and express, in her Teddy way, how much she cares about him and wants his friendship. Teddy manages to get around real apologies all of the time, and for whatever reason, it worked again.
What would you say to a spongebath? You know as friends. A friendly spongebath.Tom
Tom woke up, and they're friends again, and he joked about her giving him a sponge bath, and I don't even know what to think about them anymore, but at least they caught us up on the love triangle action after neglecting it for a bit.
And then there's Jo. Honestly, I don't know what the show is trying to do with her anymore. Yes, the Jovi roommates thing is cute, but who is Jo supposed to be anymore?
She came into the hospital, and her relentless ragging on the foreign doctor (who obviously had worse conditions practicing in his home country) for being happy was a pointless storyline. It felt as though she was trying to be some dark and twisty Meredith-Lite again, and it's tiresome.
Without Alex, she's lost. Most of the time, her entire characterization revolved around her connection to him.
Even now, her great revelation by the end of the hour is that she wants to change specialties. Jo went from a field that she got into because she attempted to be like Meredith, and now, Jo wants to get into Obstetricians after she delivered a baby. It's not entirely dissimilar from Alex's trajectory.
Jackson: Why are you being so weird about it? It's about sex, isn't it?
But most of that is neither here nor there. For most of the season, Jo's portion of the narrative feels like empty fodder and filler that detracts from everything else going on, and it's mostly useless.
Over to you, Grey's Fanatics. How emotional was this episode for you? Are you relieved Tom survived? Hit the comments below!
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.