It’s fascinating when this show manages to juggle several unrelated plotlines without ever feeling overstuffed, even twelve seasons later.
Of the dozen storylines crammed into this hour, Meredith’s arc certainly stands out. Even if she doesn’t get as much screen-time as, say, Stephanie (more on her later), everything that happens in this hour affects Meredith one way or another. The opening teaser with Mer painfully looking at Derek’s old trailer as it’s being pulled away—Owen forgetting that this used to be theirs is a bit of a stretch though—is huge foreshadowing of the changes coming to Meredith’s life.
This season has put Dr. Grey front and center again, and watching her come to terms with her new widowed status this year makes the moment she explodes at Amelia feel all the more earned. True, Amelia’s been more or less of a punching bag for Meredith for the past couple of years and some of the things she said are coldhearted and cruel, but it’s very understandable to see where our protagonist is coming from. She’s become stagnant and uninterested in love as evident by her being against an Amelia/Owen wedding, an Alex/Jo wedding and simply rolling her eyes at the Callie/Penny drama (didn’t we all?). So to watch her lash out on her dead husband’s sister like that (quoted below) was kind of satisfying, regardless of how harsh it may have been.
Equally harsh yet satisfying is Arizona not letting Callie off the hook for ruining their lives and putting them through that god-awful custody battle. It’s still ridiculous what the show has done to Callie’s character in the second half of this season, and if rumors about Sara Ramirez leaving the show after next week’s finale are true, at least the writers are making sure no one misses her.
The Stephanie/Kyle subplot is also puzzling in that we never felt invested in this doomed relationship in the first place. It was too rushed from the start and the minute they made up again and started making plans for the future, it became clear that Kyle wouldn’t make it through surgery. So despite how heartbreaking his death might have been for Stephanie by hour’s end, for viewers it was merely an afterthought as no one is quite invested in Steph’s journey.
Luckily, the show balances these confusing dramatic moments with lighthearted banter. Angelique Carbel (Life in Pieces) was a comedic highlight, and I only wish we’d seen more of her and her driving instructor boyfriend, but they did provide the opportunity for Meredith and Alex to spurt out a bunch of hilarious one-liners. The Meredith/Riggs banter was also enjoyable to watch but their hookup at the end was a bit predictable (although it’s worth mentioning this development was spoiled for me by social media). Riggs still comes off as a McDreamy 2.0, right down to the fact that their first meet-cute happened in an elevator of all places. Sounds familiar?
Bits & Scalpels
– More on the useless, cringe-inducing Callie/Penny drama: why in the world does Callie blame her girlfriend for everything that happened when she’s the one who started this whole mess? Rant over.
– The grandma arranging a woman for Alex to meet and marry was hilarious. Does nana have Lebanese roots?
– I love a snarky Arizona, especially when she’s mean to Callie in front of April.
– Not sure what to make of Jo’s slow-mo running except that I was shocked the OR gallery was that far from the OR.
– Brilliant sequence: Richard about to leave the hospital and watching everyone and everything around him changing just in time for him to get frustrated and find Catherine surprising him in the elevator. What a satisfying, creative scene.
– Pairing Richard with Bailey or Arizona in a scene is always the right choice.
– Jo saying no to marrying Alex was odd. It awfully seems like she is already married? How soapy was the fact that the show cut off the scene before Jo got to explain?
– Amelia proposing to Owen was really sweet. I might finally be on board with this couple.
– This episode used a song from Beyoncé’s latest hit album Lemonade.
– Who’s ready for an explosive finale next week?
Bailey: I’m right, and once he remembers that’s always the case, we’ll be fine.
Bailey: Sir, after the many years I served under you as my chief, you must understand how difficult it is for me when you force me to say, respectfully, this is not my problem and, please, go do your damn job.
Richard: I don’t think you found that difficult at all.
Meredith: This means more talking. Only now it’ll be about flowers and caterers and what kind of dress I’m gonna wear. Kill me now! Promise me you won’t do this. If Joe ever pulls that ring out of that drawer, just go to Vegas. Elope or something. Don’t put us through it all.
Meredith (to Amelia): You are living in my house, helping to take care of my children with my sister. You are marrying my best friend’s ex. You are trying to do my husband’s job. You know, you used to have humility, even a little anxiety, and now you even have his confidence. But why not? Because you’ve taken over everything else.
Amelia: What are you saying?
Meredith: Get your own life.
Meredith: That’s like post-traumatic stress romance.
Alex: I’m gonna have a big wedding, and you’re gonna be there ‘cause you’re gonna be my best man!
Waiting Game by Parson James
Meredith starting a new chapter of her life makes this an enjoyable and entertaining penultimate episode.