George O'Malley returned!
Mer and George's reunion was the best part about Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 4, but the hour also ended with a scary cliffhanger.
Join Meaghan Frey, Berea Orange, Jasmin Pettie, and Jasmine Blu as they discuss the hour.
Did you predict George as the next ghost from her past Mer would see on the beach? How do you feel about the return of T.R. Knight and George's time spent with Mer?
Meaghan: I knew it would be Lexie or George going into yesterday, but about a half-hour before the episode, I knew it in my bones, it would be him and started gathering clips for a video I wanted to post after the installment.
I didn't think it would be possible to top Derek's return for me, but this did it. It has been so long since George died, and seeing him was such a breath of fresh air. T.R. Knight and Ellen have such great chemistry that it didn't feel like the characters missed a beat.
I was happy that Mer got to get the closure with George that none of the characters got due to how sudden his death is. It also absolutely devastated me when he said he would've stayed if he could've. It was such a tragic line delivered to perfection, and in true George fashion, by T.R.
Berea: Like Meaghan, I was pretty sure it would be either Lexie or George. It would’ve been so funny if they hyped the episode just for it to be Ellis again! I always had mixed feelings about George, but I really loved seeing him again.
Grey's Anatomy Season 5 Episode 24 was definitely the top five saddest finales because his death was so sudden and shocking. It was the best part of the episode.
You changed my life, George. I didn't say it then, but it's true.Mer
Jasmin: Yes, 100%! I felt it would be George when we saw the promo. I agree with Meaghan. I didn't think anything could top Derek's return, but this was awesome!
T.R. Knight was perfect. God, I miss George! It felt like no time had passed, which I think is a testament to those actors and their chemistry.
Also, they've both aged beautifully, so that helped. I was glad to see some closure there, too. When he told her that he would've stayed if he could have, and she said knowing him changed her life, that got me.
Jasmine: I wasn't sure who it would be at first. I assumed it would be Lexie, but right before we saw him, I had the feeling it was George.
George's appearance got to me more than Derek's. I think it was because of how much time we spent with him, and he and Mer had time to have real conversations. It was closure for everyone, and it was so good to see T.R. Knight.
Do you think Richard took too long making his decision, or do you understand why he was so hesitant?
Meaghan: I completely understand why he was so hesitant. Clinical trials are always risky, especially when it comes to a disease that we know so little about and is ever-changing. He needed time to figure out if this was the right decision.
I also can't help but wonder if Mer would have wanted to be part of the clinical trial knowing that she was taking up the last spot that could've gone to someone else.
Berea: I don’t blame Richard one bit. If all these openings in this trial are due to people DYING, then yes, I will take some pause. He didn’t want to make the wrong decision and be responsible. Hearing her say George’s name is what scared him into it ultimately, and I’m not mad at that, either.
Jasmin: I understand why he hesitated. It's a big decision, and as Richard says, there's still so much we don't know about this disease. We knew even less back in May, and as Meaghan says, clinical trials come with a lot of risks.
I also agree that Meredith might have had an issue with taking a spot that could have gone to someone else, but that's why it's a good thing she appointed Richard because you want someone who will work in your best interest even if they know you would object.
Jasmine: I felt for Richard. It was a huge decision. Everything was still an unknown, and the clinical trial had openings because of deaths. Also, Mer would've hated it if she were the one taking up a slot from someone else.
Between worrying about Mer and juggling their respective relationships, Amelia and Maggie have a lot going on. Which if any storyline do you find more compelling right now?
Meaghan: Amelia. She is parenting a thousand children while not only feeling isolated because of COVID but dealing with the hormones that come along with being postpartum.
Amelia is someone who doesn't like to sit back and let things happen to her, and I can't imagine it is easy for her not to be at the hospital at Mer's side, being part of the team figuring out how to save her.
Berea: Neither is at all compelling. I love Amelia and Link. And the two of them addressing how they handle stress differently was nice, but I’m not that interested.
Maggie’s Zoom relationship is not the serve they think it is. She’s spending nearly all of her scenes talking to a screen, and I am over it. It’s hard to get invested in this relationship with Winston as it is. We were supposed to care about his little daddy issues, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to do so.
My only thought was how rude it was for him to leave Maggie on the call alone. At this point, they need to move him to Seattle because this is just not it, and they are doing Maggie a disservice.
Jasmin: I'm with Meaghan on this one. Right now, I find Amelia's the most compelling, especially after watching all of Private Practice for the first time on Amazon Prime earlier this year. I liked Amelia on Private Practice, but I didn't like her on Grey's until after she had her tumor removed.
Now I'm rooting for her and because we've only seen her in tumultuous relationships when she was unstable and struggling with addiction, seeing her in a healthy relationship with Link is compelling to me because it's something new for her character.
Jasmine: I love all the Amelink they give me, and yeah, I think it is because of the growth Amelia has displayed throughout two series. Finally, she's in something healthy and a great place in her life.
I'm not anti-Winston, and they have a lovely connection, but without him there, it does feel as though Maggie is getting shortchanged, and I didn't find them remotely interesting this time around. We barely know him, so this time around, his storyline didn't jive with the rest of the hour.
What are your thoughts on the racial bias storyline with Owen, Nico, and later Bailey?
Meaghan: This is such an important storyline to be told. Healthcare disparity due to race is very real, and it's not discussed enough. My biggest issue, though, is that I worry it will be just a one-episode issue, and they won't address it again, which is the complete opposite of what needs to happen.
Not gonna lie, I also wish they could have executed without Nico. I admire his passion, but I just can't stand him anymore. Unfortunately, it wouldn't have held the same weight if it was just coming from the nurse, though.
We all have biases, Hunt. Including you. What matters now is what you do about it. You're the Chief of Trauma. If protocols don't work then read, learn, question, and then change them.Bailey
Berea: It’s an important issue, but I rolled my eyes. For one, we did this already with Amelia, Stephanie, and Jo. And once again, the onus is on the Black colleague to assure them they weren’t racist (first Maggie had to do it, and now Bailey).
It was funny in a way, though, because a viral tweet stated Owen was one of the Grey’s characters who would have voted for Trump, and Kevin himself responded and said Owen absolutely would not have done so. And then they turn around and give us a storyline of Owen defaulting to a standard of care for his White patients. I mean, the jokes write themselves.
Jasmin: I'm glad they addressed it because it is important, but like Meaghan, I wish they handled it without Nico or that Nico had handled the situation differently. Nico's a good surgeon, and he was right to say something, but as this episode established, he is not a good human being, teacher, or boyfriend.
He was unnecessarily rude to everyone, and that kind of took away from the important issue that they were addressing for me. And to Berea's point, I always find it fascinating how different Kevin McKidd is from his character in a good way. I wish more people would get that.
Jasmine: I enjoyed the storyline itself, but I almost missed what they were doing with it because of everything else happening in the hour. I wish they didn't squeeze it in like that. Racial disparity in healthcare is such a significant issue, and I love it when they address it, but it almost got lost. It's doubtful they'll follow up on it either, and that's unfortunate.
Nico is irritating, yeah, but he had a few notable moments. And even if unintentional, there is something there regarding someone unlikable bringing this up. You don't have to like the person, their attitude, or their delivery -- I do think focusing on that misses the point and detracts from the actual issue at hand.
I liked Kevin McKidd and Chandra Wilson's scene because of what she said, but I did sigh when Owen, who barely interacts with Bailey, went to her for advice about this. I think if it's a one-off plot and we don't actually see Owen taking measures in the future, it rings hollow, and that's why it's a storyline that requires more.
Jo and Jackson officially slept together, and they've agreed upon their friends with benefits situation. And Nico and Levi are essentially doing the same. React.
Meaghan: As much as I know it is hated, if we are talking Nico/Levi vs. Jo/Jackson, then I'm choosing Jo and Jackson at the moment. At least as of right now, they are casual, scratching an itch.
Nico and Levi have no business trying to be friends with benefits with all the baggage they are carrying. I'm sure Jo and Jackson will cross into romantic territory soon enough, and I will hate it, but I can tolerate it for the moment because I like their friendship.
Berea: Both of these situations make me sick. Levi is letting a man with the depth of a spoon use him and trample over his feelings. I wish he would leave Nico alone.
Jackson and Jo hooking up was so cringeworthy I literally had to get up and walk away when they were on screen. I know chemistry is subjective, but I see absolutely none between these two. This whole pairing is so forced, just for the sake of making Jo relevant again.
Jo has no real ties to Grey-Sloan outside of Alex. She had no friends, really (she and Meredith magically became friends last year because they needed someone to get her out of her funk. We rarely see her and Link), and medically she isn’t a star, either.
Jackson: What are you doing?
Jo: Ripping off the band-aid.
They moved Levi in after Alex left to give them both friends after their breakups. She’s essentially worthless. Once again, Jackson is being whored out to give someone else relevance (first it was Station 19, and now Jo).
Put simply, I’m never going to be on board for this pairing. I hope that hookup gave them COVID (Maya and Carina took tests before kissing and moving in, but Jackson and Jo just hookup with no concern?).
Jasmin: I like the comedic relief aspect of Jo and Jackson right now. It's unexpected, but I don't hate it. Although to Berea's point, there was a moment where I had to look away from the screen due to cringe worthiness and missed something important, so that is a part of it for sure.
Nico and Levi have been over for a while, and I agree with Meaghan on this one. They have no business hooking up right now, and this can only end badly. That's a good point about the COVID testing. I hadn't thought of that, but that is a bit of a plot hole.
Jasmine: I wanted Jo and Jack from Station 19, and we got this. Oh, Grey's! I abhor this situationship. I do feel as though Jo and Jackson are two characters that the show doesn't know what to do with anymore but pairing them together didn't resolve that issue.
We're at two seasons in a row where Jackson has very little going on, so they randomly pair him with someone, and he's the "Mr. Feel Good" guy for women coming off of losing their real loves. It irks me that Jackson remains emotionally stunted in relationships, and he's used as a bedwarmer.
I don't know what to make of Levi and Nico. Nothing good can come from this, and I'm sad that I went from loving this pairing so much to indifference. Nico still lacks dimension. Levi deserves better than whatever is going on there, and Alex Landi deserved better development of his character.
Do you think Tom will survive COVID? Also, how do you think others will react to his poor condition after treating him so terribly for so long?
Meaghan: I don't see a way in which both he and Meredith survive this, so either he dies, or she dies. At this point, with the research Tom is doing about COVID, keeping him alive is more compelling than keeping Meredith alive.
Say what you will about Grey Sloan, but when one of their own is in danger, they all rally, and I don't think this will be an exception. I think we will see a lot of guilt about how dirty they have done Tom and I can't wait. They better be bowing down to the man begging for forgiveness.
Helm: It's Dr. Helm, I'm here to do your COVID test.
Tom: No, you're here to deliver it. I don't allow residents in my home or up my nose. Back up.
Berea: The hate towards Tom has never made sense, but now that he’s sick, watch everyone feel guilty and worry for him. If Grey’s remains predictable, he will die, and Meredith recovers.
Jasmin: I hope he will, but based on where the other characters are at, he might not. Meredith is the anchor of the show and is lead, and I feel like if they were going to kill her off, they would have given her COVID later on in the season, not at the beginning.
Because without her, there is no show. So if she lives and recovers, then someone else is dying. Again, I hope it's not Tom because I enjoy his character, but I think it might be.
I agree that the other characters will feel a lot of guilt over the way they've treated him, and we'll see that come into play during his treatment.
Jasmine: Count me among the Tom fans, and I will be upset if he dies. I do think it's a possibility, though. He doesn't have any real ties anymore.
While everyone was worried about Mer, Tom will slip through the cracks, and they'll rally for him as they do for their own. But I do think they'll regret how awful they've treated him.
Are you enjoying the extensive focus on COVID-19, or are the back-to-back episodes heavily-focused on it becoming too much?
Meaghan: I'm actually shocked by the fact that I don't mind it. If they weren't handling it nearly as well as they are, then I would be on a very different page, but for now, I'm still very interested in their take on it.
Berea: I’m already sick of it. Considering we don’t see an end in sight in real life, I’m not sure when this will end on the show. Dealing with COVID all season will be a drag, and I’m over it, especially since nearly every show on the air has tackled it.
I knew COVID patients had to suffer in isolation but I never gave any thought to how helpless and alone it feels for the people who care about them.Richard
Jasmin: I think they are handling it well, and so far, I'm enjoying it. But I also understand Berea and other fans I've talked to are sick of it. COVID is ever-present, and we're all sick of it and want it to be over.
On the other hand, it is pretty hard to do a medical show without addressing the global pandemic that is currently going on. I hope that the second half of the season will be a little less COVID-focused.
Jasmine: I'm torn; it changes for me often. I do understand why it has to be present, especially with a medical drama. And Grey's is doing a great job with covering it too.
I think part of it, though, is that COVID or death permeates every aspect of the show now. Mer is dreaming while on the brink of death. The others are freaking out about her or patients even when they're away from the hospital.
And it feels like outside of Grey's Season 17 Episode 1, everything else with the characters was put on the backburner for the COVID arc from Towen's relationship to Amelia adjusting to parenthood or DeLuca's mental illness. We zipped past everything.
What was your favorite moment, storyline, character, etc., from the hour? Do you have any other thoughts about the episode that we haven't covered?
Meaghan: 007 and everything involving him. I loved him talking about haunting his mom to scare the grief out of her, how he has checked in on Mer and saw the kids, and how he saw them all cracking up at his funeral. It all felt very George, and I'm happy to see that T.R. and the writers were able to make him feel the same.
My one big thought throughout this season is, does Meredith need to survive this?
Berea and I were discussing on Twitter how after surviving so many near-death experiences, her number is up, and I fully believe that. As sad as it will be for the kids, they aren't characters we have known, loved, and of whom we have invested. The only happy ending I see is Meredith choosing to move on and being with Derek, George, Lexie, and Doc.
Berea: My favorite moment was George reminding Meredith they were all cracking up laughing at his funeral. That was a hoot!
Yeah, as Meaghan said, I’m not sure Meredith needs to survive. Honestly, how many near-death experiences can one person have? It might be about time to let Meredith go on home to glory. The show has gotten so bad lately that I wouldn’t even mind it.
Jasmin: I agree with Meaghan and Berea. Seeing George again and watching him interact with Meredith for the first time in years was everything. It was perfect!
I don't think Meredith will die, as I said earlier. If that was the case, I think they would have introduced this storyline later in the season and not in the Premiere, but who knows?
I loved everything about this episode. My only real complaint was the absence of Cormac Hayes. Hayes makes everything better, and I’m sad when he’s not there.
I get that Meredith was on the beach with George this episode, and that was the focus of her storyline. It would have been nice to see Hayes stand outside her window, or sit next to her or talk to Jo about her condition.
Jasmine: I loved everything about George's return. It was something special, and seeing him made me smile. I loved it when he, Mer, Richard, and Bailey were together on the beach, and he was near Bailey. I always loved George and Bailey's relationship.
I also loved Link playing the guitar and singing. I had Nashville flashbacks. Also, can Chris Carmack PLEASE make a Blues album?
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Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.