Talk about an explosive episode.
First, hats off to the writing team for completely subverting our expectations with the rapist twist. After Maggie and Arizona kept coming up with romantic stories that linked together the two patients separated by a wall, it came as a complete shock that the man turned out to be a violent stranger and not her lover. The episode dialed up the tension with the horrifying reveal that the abductor took Stephanie and the little girl as hostages, and it all culminates in a pulse-pounding, chilling ending as Meredith watches the hospital go up in flames. Literally.
Speaking of the young girl, Darby Camp is just as incredible as Erin as she was on the excellent first (and hopefully only) season of Big Little Lies where she played Reese Witherspoon’s adorable little daughter. The way this episode introduces her as just another rebellious kid running away from her parents and walking around the hospital made her unfortunate collision with Stephanie and the abductor all the more impactful. We spent an adequate amount of time on this character throughout the first half of the hour, enough to make us care and worry about her at the end in the presence of Keith. While my money is on Edwards ending up dead in the finale, I would probably be more upset if Erin doesn’t make it out alive.
Among all that craziness, Grey’s manages to pull off yet another twist. It’s predictable and certainly not as gripping, but Owen’s sister (and Rigg’s ex-wife) Megan turning out alive still ends up being a pretty nifty reveal. It brilliantly shuffles every other dynamic on the show, whether it’s Meredith and Riggs, Owen and Amelia or even Owen and Riggs, and in a season that’s been unusually slow-paced, this surely feels like a welcome development. As much as I’d been anticipating Megan’s return for over a year now, I’m still oddly intrigued to find out how her presence will affect the rest of the characters. The pieces are all set up for an explosive finale, and what more could we ask for from a penultimate episode?
Bits & Scalpels
– The C-subplot with Alex’s revenge fantasy dreams was quite atrocious, it barely deserves a quick mention. I imagine we’ll be seeing Jo’s violent ex-husband Paul again in the finale, but I could not believe this was allowed to air. After the first fake-out, I started laughing because I knew we’d see this formula again throughout the hour. Terrible.
– Speaking of which, quite an odd choice to cast Mathew Morrison (of Glee fame) as a “bad guy”.
– It was pointless to drag out the Megan reveal because it was obvious the minute Owen opened his door to those officers.
– How terrifying and disturbing was Owen when he hit that baby?
– In one of Alex’s dream sequences, he introduces himself as Alex Stevens. But why, no one knows.
– Kevin McKidd (who also directed this episode) delivered a truly heartbreaking performance this week, especially during his breakdown with Amelia. Kudos.
– Amazing continuity with Teddy Altman being on the other end of the phone with Amelia! Random callback? Maybe, but it’s always fun to hear about previous characters even if they can’t appear on-screen.
– The way Stephanie gave Keith the idea to start a fire was really contrived.
– The seeds for a potential Maggie/Jackson hookup have been planted, people. Raise your hand if you don’t care.
– Nifty shot the way Erin’s hand first appears in the frame when she finds a lighter.
– Gripping slow-mo sequence as Keith starts to catch on fire.
Bailey: People need to get busy where God intended. Parking lots. Where it’s flat.
Amelia: Derek is dead. Maggie is fine. There is nothing in your way but you. Let yourself have this.
Meredith: Look at you being the sane one.
Amelia: Moments. I have moments.
Owen: I got married right over there. Then I got divorced. Then I got married again. Then I went on my leave, and I left Megan in a hole in a ground for almost ten years. Weeks would go by, and I didn’t give her a thought. I couldn’t spare her a thought. She was being held and tortured. I stopped looking. I gave up. I gave up on her.
A thrilling and gripping penultimate episode that serves as a perfect setup to what should be an epic finale.