It was a powerful hour.
It was a memorable installment when Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 Episode 5 saw the return of Jesse Williams, including behind the camera, and Addison and Bailey on a tragic case.
Join Joshua Johnson, Meaghan Frey, and Jasmine Blu as they discuss everything.
Meredith is moving to Boston. React!
Joshua: It makes total sense. Boston is a place that already has so much lore for Meredith. Her heading there now seems like a mirror to when Ellis took Meredith to Boston.
Allowing Meredith to be the badass doctor she is while being the mother her mother never was, and all in a city tied up with memories of her own mother, seems like a cathartic and synchronous way to tell this part of Meredith’s story.
What got me most about this plot was what took place between Zola and Meredith at the end of the episode, which I’ll discuss in the last question.
Meaghan: I genuinely like this move for Meredith, but there is a big but for me; I wish Meredith had gone to Jackson for a job versus Jackson offering Meredith a job. Jackson being the one to make the offer before Mer even knew if Zola liked the school made it, so Mer had her own reason for wanting to move to Boston versus it being just about Zola.
Granted, yes, Mer turned down his offer before realizing this would be a good move for Zola, but I kind of wish there was nothing in it for Mer so that she was making a move solely for Zola’s sake.
Let’s be real, Meredith Grey wouldn’t have had any issue finding a job in Boston. There’s just no way of knowing if Mer would have still decided if she had no opportunity for herself there. Putting that aside, I’m glad Mer is putting Zola’s needs in front of her own comfort.
Jasmine: I think this suits her. As Joshua said, she has a history there. It feels full circle for the character in that way. I also like the idea of her being in the same place as Jackson and others. It would be the perfect setup for a spinoff if we didn’t already know Ellen Pompeo was easing on out.
I like this move for her and what it represents. And, yes, I enjoy that she feels more like a complete person and woman balancing her work/life so well.
I like that this is an excellent fit for Zola and that we’re seeing Mer’s work life and personal life as a mother work harmoniously with each other rather than feeling like she’s prioritizing one over the other.
Do you think Mer should’ve spoken to Nick before making her decision? What are your thoughts on the lack of acknowledgment of how this affects the other kids?
Joshua: There’s a lot to this that I’m taking with a grain of salt. Meredith needs to do what is in Zola’s best interests, and she has the resources to do that.
I can see Nick being upset or disappointed, but knowing Meredith and her relationship with her kids, I don’t see him holding a grudge. It is a very Meredith thing to do, though, to choose without considering all of the consequences. I don’t see Nick being a jerk about it, but I see him having understandable feelings about it.
I am concerned that Meredith decided without considering how it would affect her other kids; however, I’m willing to see if that comes up in the next episode or two. All of the concerns I had about Meredith’s journey with Zola were answered in this episode, so I have faith that the show will either address it or it won’t be an issue.
Meaghan: I agree with Joshua that although Nick will probably be disappointed, he will not hold it against Mer. Nick is a standup guy who knows that Meredith must put her kids first. They’ve done long distance before, and I believe they can manage to do it again.
I have mixed feelings about how the Boston move was handled regarding the other kids. While obviously, Mer is putting Zola’s needs in front of the other kids’ needs right now, parents have decided to up and move their children for less. Yes, this will be a considerable change for the other kids, but they are also younger and will adapt.
Jasmine: I thought it was a tad odd that she didn’t mention Nick at all, but Nick’s a standup dude, and he’ll roll with it because he cares about Mer and her children. Plus, it’s not his place to make any of these decisions for her or even have that much say. I just thought his absence was interesting.
I am curious how things will work out for the rest of the kids, though. I think they’ve been absent in all of this, and I wish there were more talk about them. Plus, there are other factors with these children’s entire support unit living in Seattle, from Amelia, Maggie, Winston, and Link to many others.
Were you excited to see Jackson again? How did you feel about his return?
Joshua: What I appreciated most about Jackson’s return was how he spoke to Meredith about her life and helped guide her. I wish they’d incorporated him more, but it would have detracted from the episode. Given Catherine’s prognosis, I can’t imagine it’s the last time we’ll see him.
Meaghan: I will never complain about seeing Jackson, but I am with Joshua because I wish they incorporated him more, although I’m not sure how they could’ve. Maybe show him and Catherine spending more quality time together to emphasize why she isn’t ready to ruin that by telling him.
Jasmine: I loved seeing Jackson again, and I’m willing to give them slack because maybe Jesse Williams focused more on directing than acting within the episode. But it did feel like he was underused. I love his and Meredith’s friendship, though, so I ate it up regardless.
Are you worried about Catherine’s latest prognosis? How do you feel about her keeping it secret?
Joshua: I’m always ready to write Catherine off–I think she’s become a very unlikeable character–but when she finally explained to Koracick that they were talking about her cancer, I understood better. I know she wants to live her best life, but I still didn’t get why she wouldn’t just tell Richard and Jackson.
Eventually, I understood–keeping them in the dark allows her to keep enjoying life without them worrying about her, trying to convince her to try new drugs or trials, and taking the joy out of her life. I hope she doesn’t keep it secret for too long, but I understand why she wants to, and I appreciate her prerogative.
Meaghan: I’m also the first person to say that Catherine is in the wrong, but I get where she is coming from in this situation. Even though her cancer is progressing, it isn’t to the point that it is impacting her quality of life.
Right now, telling them would give them room to try to guilt her into doing more treatment than she wants. Once things get serious enough, she will open up to them, and I think at that point, she will be ready to have those conversations and be more open to them.
Jasmine: This is Grey’s Anatomy, so if you literally have the hiccups, you should tell people because you never freaking know. I’m always constantly aware that Catherine is this character that they could write out or kill off at any point. I wonder if this year maybe it for her, but who knows?
I’m annoyed she didn’t share things with her family, though. And I feel bad for Koracick, who has to keep it secret.
Did Lucas make the wrong call letting others believe he’s sleeping with Amelia? Did Amelia fail to respect his boundaries?
Joshua: Yes, and yes.
All Lucas had to say the first time the interns saw Lucas and Amelia coming out of the on-call room was that they were discussing a patient or literally anything like that. It’s something that he could have (and should have) shut down at every juncture.
At the same time, Amelia is completely disrespecting his boundaries. He’s said he doesn’t want help, that he doesn’t want to be associated with the Shepherd name so he can make it on his own, and that she constantly treats him like her nephew.
Additionally, she seemed to ignore what he said to her completely. I 100% understand how a rumor like that could affect her reputation and cast her in a bad light; however, her nephew shared his pain and frustrations with her, and she showed zero empathy for him–a surprise coming from a fellow black sheep.
I know, eventually, everybody will find out–I very much hope that when it does, Amelia both stands up for him and apologizes to him for how she treated him.
Meaghan: Absolutely, on both ends. Amelia should’ve respected the boundaries he laid out when he decided to come to Grey Sloan; there’s no question about that.
However, Lucas had no right to allow the interns to believe he was sleeping with her.
The interns have to respect Amelia as an attending and allow them to believe he is receiving preferential treatment because he is sleeping with her or even that she would sleep with her subordinate in general; that’s completely disrespectful of him as her nephew.
He could’ve just lied and said she is a family friend he has known his whole life if he isn’t ready to admit to the Shephard of it all. These two need to have a real sit down and try to understand where they are each coming from fully.
Jasmine: I was so frustrated with both of them because they both dropped the ball in their respective ways. I thought it was odd that someone Lucas’s age wouldn’t be more conscious of how a rumor like that could affect his aunt.
They had to know about H.R. and sexual harassment stuff and all of that. It’s common sense that this little rumor could spread and do some damage or get Amelia in trouble, so I hate that he didn’t nip that in the bud immediately.
But Amelia has been making a bad situation worse because she really doesn’t hear him or respect his wishes at all. She’s been in the hospital long enough to know what people infer when individuals come out of an on-call room. She constantly babies him and treats him like an aunt over an attending when she’s around him.
If she had given any trustworthy intern Scout to deal with, then that’s what she should’ve done, but she hasn’t and wouldn’t, and I was baffled that the daycare was contacting him over literally anyone else.
Lucas is literally expressing the same sentiments that Amelia has in the past, but she’s not hearing him at all or even showing any empathy, and it’s irritating. She understands better than anyone, but she’s bulldozed past his boundaries even though he’s repeatedly expressed them.
Discuss Addison and Bailey’s tragic storyline addressing the Roe v. Wade repeal. Did they cover that well? Is their plan feasible?
Joshua: I appreciate that Grey’s has taken the overturning of Roe v. Wade and seems to have incorporated it into their season.
It’s not just a one-and-done Very Special Issue that they’re covering and then leaving in the past (see also: the LGBTQ community not being able to donate blood, teenagers vaping, etc.); instead of proselytizing about the issue, the writers are showing how the repeal can have very real and severe effects on women.
I have to talk about it in very clinical terms like this because the case was one of the hardest ones to watch in the series. I don’t know if their plan is feasible, but at the very least, they have a plan. They’re not just sitting by and wondering what they can do: they’re taking action, and in these times, that’s the best we can do.
Meaghan: A Grey’s Anatomy storyline can rarely hit me as hard as this one did. What I appreciated about how they address the repeal of Roe v. Wade is that they’re not just focusing on the concrete issue of abortions being banned in states.
Instead, they are also taking on the more nuanced ramifications of it. The issue they portrayed in this episode isn’t some theoretical “what if.” There have been many reports of healthcare providers being concerned about performing reproductive care for women because it can be twisted to look like they are providing abortion care.
This even trickles down to pharmacies that have pushed back against providers about providing certain medications because they are also used in abortions.
If healthcare workers can’t provide necessary, and at times lifesaving, services to women without the fear of legal action, it will lead our healthcare system down a dangerous path, as we saw in this episode. Addison’s very visceral reaction to the patient’s death and what led to that death was so raw and real.
I give everyone involved in this storyline so much credit. I’m not sure how viable their plan is, but, in theory, it seems like it would work. I saw that there had been chatter about a Private Practice revival, and I actually would love it if they managed to bring the show back in the context of this storyline.
Jasmine: I don’t have any more to add because you both have said more than I could put into words and summed it up beautifully.
Within the same short period, I watched another medical drama tackle the issue, which didn’t resonate with me. I had such a visceral reaction to this entire thing; it was the most tragic case we’ve had in years. It’s still been on my mind, and that’s a mark of good writing when something still sticks with you long after it’s over.
Kate Walsh’s performance wrecked me.
But I love this more nuanced take instead of the “Very special episode” bit that feels perfunctory. They’ve been addressing this in almost every installment in some small way or another. It was the most overt this time, and I love that they’re showing all the ramifications of this repeal, not just the most obvious ones. It’s important to see that.
So, yeah, cosigning everything that you two have said as I try not to get emotional all over again.
What was your favorite moment from the hour? Do you have anything else you’d love to share or address?
Joshua: My favorite moment from the hour- from the entire series so far- was the conversation between Meredith and Zola at the restaurant . I don’t even know how to put it into words. When Meredith said, “You have always been and will always be extraordinary,” I immediately started crying. I looked like Ellis Grey, ugly crying.I was like Cristina in Season 2, unable to stop sobbing and screaming for somebody to sedate me.
In that one scene, Meredith broke a generational cycle of trauma. She was every bit the mother to Zola that Ellis never was to her–not missing a beat to affirm that Zola doesn’t have to be a doctor if she doesn’t want to, that she’s intelligent and creative, and that she is extraordinary.
All of the things Meredith didn’t get to hear as a child, but more important–the moment was not set up in contrast to Ellis’s shortcomings, and it wasn’t a big Very Special Moment. It was a simple moment between mother and daughter that highlighted how much Meredith has grown.
To be quite honest, except for finding out whether or not she gets and/or cures Meredith, I don’t know what other stories can be told for her character. Not wanting to become Ellis and whether or not she’s cured/contracted Alzheimer’s have been the longest-running character arcs on the show for anybody.
The scene in the restaurant effectively wrote Meredith off the show, minus the three episodes she still has left. The scene was smart, well-written, and well-acted, and I don’t know what else to say about it. Julie Wong wrote a scene that she could hang her hat on.
Meaghan: The restaurant scene was done perfectly, and Joshua summed up all my thoughts on it.
Meredith hasn’t always been the best mother in the past, but this season there has been a huge, much-needed shift. If this is the end of Meredith Grey’s character in Grey’s Anatomy, I can rest easy knowing that she has completely fulfilled her character arc.
I also have to give big props once again to Kate Walsh’s monologue following the death of her and Bailey’s patient. Kate acted her ass off in that scene and expressed the anger, frustration, and anguish that so many of us have been feeling this year. Overall this episode was outstanding and, at least in my mind, goes down as one of the greats in Grey’s Anatomy’s history.
Jasmine: I wanted to throw Emmys and flowers at Kate Walsh’s feet for her performance during this episode. She was the highlight of the entire hour for me.
The raw emotion in her voice during that monologue was enough to give me chills. It could’ve been overdone or overly dramatic, but she found the right notes for all of it, and I was just a mess of emotions as a result.
Over to you, Grey’s Fanatics. Do you agree with us? Hit the comments below.
Remember, you can watch Grey’s Anatomy online right here via TV Fanatic.
Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday with the fall finale. Tune in!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.