After a whole lot of treading water, Grey’s Anatomy finally brings Jo’s abusive ex, Paul Stradler, to Seattle. Matthew Morrison is of course perfectly sleazy and creepy in the role, and the whole subplot really adds a terrifying layer of suspense to the episode. Even more compelling is the reveal that he’s got a brand new fiancé in the form of One Tree Hill alum Bethany Joy Lenz. I’ve always loved the actress, and I’m extremely curious to see what she’s going to bring to Grey’s.
Camilla Luddington should get a whole lot of credit for her performance this week. She perfectly conveys Jo’s anxiety and terror, while still tapping into the strength that makes her an empowering character to root for. Moreover, this episode is a terrific showcase for her friendship with Meredith. I LOVE how protective Grey is of Jo in this episode. She stands up to Paul, never leaves Jo alone with him, and even grabs the divorce papers herself before the sleazeball has a chance. It’s heartwarming to watch, and a great embodiment of Grey’s commitment to crafting complex relationships between its women.
Finally, how amazing was that ending with Meredith discovering that Paul is now the victim of a hit and run as she questions Jo and Alex? The storyline possibilities are endless: Paul’s fiancé Jenny could also be the culprit of course, although I’m not putting it past the psycho to have walked in front of a moving car himself to implicate one of our faves.
It’s also worth nothing that this episode is the first one EVER not to be named after a song. In fact, the number in the title is the domestic abuse hotline. How amazing is this show? I’d love to know if this episode resulted in abused women actually getting in touch because this was a very impactful hour.
Bits & Scalpels
– What a creepy teaser with everyone from Arizona to the Chief fawning over Paul while Jo can’t utter a single word. Ouch.
– How annoying is Dr. Bello?
– The hellmouth line (found below) is an obvious reference to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a show that famously inspired Shonda Rhimes.
– Nifty moment: the song lyrics uttering “When the darkness comes” as Paul introduces himself. It’s a small but brilliant moment that really caught my attention.
– Love the moment during surgery when Meredith figures out who Paul is. Ellen conveys so much with just her eyes.
– I got teary eyed as Meredith hugged Jo to prove that she believed her.
– The post-its were hilarious until April and Owen remembered the poor old man waiting outside the x-ray room.
– Parker short-circuiting the blood bank door was just brilliant.
– My least favorite part of the hour: Maggie and Avery in towels. Forced much? Please writers, drop this horrid storyline.
– Anyone else also have a heart attack as Jo slipped her number to Jenny as he marched towards them? Whew.
– Kickass moment: Meredith calling security and the later reveal that the phone wasn’t even working. God I love her.
– Typically innovative Grey’s: introducing the first ever trans-man on the show. Love how Parker reveals this after helping Bailey save the hospital from the hack. In fact, this entire subplot was a hoot with him feeding her computer lingo to relay to the FBI.
– Not so thrilling subplots: DeluCa and Bello joining Amelia’s team amidst their developing will they/won’t they, the Chief telling April to handle the contest, and Avery getting jealous of Maggie’s tinder date. Groan.
Maggie: Oh, Claude, I think that some of your blood just soaked through to my underwear. So we are in this together now.
Avery: Yeah, well, I got some in my mouth.
Maggie: We’re not gonna think about that, all right? And we’re not gonna think about the fact that his blood and our sweat are creating their own little ecosystem.
DeLuca: Look, don’t put this on me, okay? Every time I look at you, you you sex-pout at me.
Bello: That’s just my face.
Meredith: Intern, what’s your name?
Intern: Helm. Like “Hellmouth” without the “outh.
Maggie: Is it bad that I’m the same amount happy that he’s alive as I am that we can shower now?
Avery: Is it bad that I’m happier about the shower?
Gripping and sharply plotted, Grey’s is back with a bang.