On this episode of Grey's Anatomy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeks out one of the surgical interns, Catherine gives Richard mysterious and life-altering news, and...who am I kidding? "Beautiful Dreamer" manages to juggle nearly a dozen plot strands, teeing up the end of this season while simultaneously sowing seeds for the next season to come.
Meredith Grey starts her day attempting to protect Richard (who is sitting vigil by the dying Ollie's beside) from the Interns who are doing rounds. Told to skip the room entirely, Jo (summarizing 14 years worth of plot in a single paragraph) responds, "There are protocols. When you break them, you're Meredith Grey. When I break them, I get a write up." She's not wrong. But Meredith is undeterred and insists the kids work in the hallway, despite having no access to little things like vital signs or, say, the patient. But Ollie is dying and Richard doesn't need to hear what he already knows, so they move on. Karev insists that they pass on Kimmie's room as well. More on her later.
Anyway, as Chief of Surgery, Dr. Bailey and her "right hand," Chief of General Surgery, Dr. Grey, debate the name of Miranda's water colonoscopy device (Trailblazer/Tailblazer, tomato tomahto), Agent Martin Fields from ICE turns up looking for an intern. Which one? Why Sam Bello, who turns out to be a Dreamer. Her family fled El Salvador when she was a year old and she's been living under the rules of DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
This is a timely story, to be sure, but one (like other social-issue storylines this season, such as police shooting unarmed kids) that was told in broad strokes over a single episode. I admire the intention but take issue with the execution. That said, it was heartwarming to see the Grey Sloan team rally around Sam. From Amelia asking Owen if Sam could hide out with Megan in southern California (where there are so few immigrant problems, Owen pointed out #sarcasm) to Jo offering to hook Sam up with a New Yorker named Mikey who could fake her death, no stone was left unturned.
Miranda, who discovers a serious heart problem in Agent Fields while
waiting for Sam to get out of "surgery" stalling for time, eventually gets Martin to admit the reason he's here: Sam ran a red light, which technically means she broke the law. The agent, chatty during his heart catheterization procedure, admits that he worried that the agency has lost its way, going after kids and doctors. Broad strokes, swiftly applied.
In the end, Meredith and Co. save the day. Sam is presented with a plane ticket to Zurich, where she applied to continue her studies
last year today. Meredith gives Sam a copy of the application and essay which Sam Maggie wrote, explaining that Dr. Yang will be expecting her. A heartbroken Sam and Andrew tearfully part. He insists he'll join her as soon as he can. She tells him not to throw his life away. She followed him to Seattle. He is not to follow her to Roswell Zurich.
Try To Keep Up
Carina and Andrew fight in Italian as he accuses her of calling ICE about Sam. She furiously denies his claim. Meanwhile, Carina deals with a freaked out Arizona. Matthew Taylor is back with his baby, Ruby, who is failing to thrive. Medical records indicate a possible severe heart problem. Arizona entrusts Ruby to Owen's care before heading off to tend to her other patient, Lanie, who is in labor but doing fine. Arizona - still stung by the unforeseen death of Matthew's wife post-partum - gathers every possible supply. Just in case. She even has
Glasses Blood Bank Levi assemble a cart so all of the supplies are close at hand.
Lanie delivers her son without complications, but Arizona later uses the cart to save the life of a mother who would have bled out quickly had the tools not been right there ready-to-use. AZ thinks the carts are the future of maternal medicine. (Do carts + Carina = Arizona's future?)
April steers clear of Matthew and runs the pit so Owen can focus on Ruby. Based on April's gut feeling as a mom, Owen explores other reasons why Ruby is failing to thrive. It turns out she has pyloric stenosis, which can be corrected with a simple surgery. Later, April sits quietly with Matthew in the hospital chapel. (Will her exit be tied to a reunion with Matthew?)
Owen, moved by watching Matthew with Ruby, puts in an application to foster a child with the intention to adopt! This is a story I have dreamed of for four seasons after Cristina's departure. It's such a valuable story to tell. (Please, please could it be told without Amelia and/or Teddy showing up pregnant?)
Alex's patient, Kimmie, wants to live out the rest of her days feeling well instead of miserable. She wants to see New York and go to Broadway shows. She knows Alex will never accept that she's choosing this path. She checks out of the hospital without saying goodbye to Dr. Alex, but asks Jo to thank him for trying so hard to help her. Jo breaks the news to Alex as gently as she can, but he is devastated.
Jo tries to distract him with happier news. She wants to plan their wedding. She wants to have kids with him. And, if he's willing, she would like to take his name because, "I've never had the last name of anyone who's loved me." Okay, seriously, I've never been a big fan of Jo or Jolex, but GAH! Someone is finally doing right by my beloved Alex Karev. (No, you're crying! Still with me? Almost done. Only two or three more things to go! Really!)
Maggie is mad at Jackson and, instead of having a grown up conversation, is acting all sulky and pouty. It takes the sight of Sam and Andrew (Maggie's former squeeze) being ripped apart for her to finally come clean. Apparently, Maggie knows that Jackson rejected April's advances in the supply closet. She's not upset about that. She's upset that Jackson kept it from her. People have been talking over and around her her whole life. Sins of omission.
Jackson retorts that he wasn't protecting Maggie. He was protecting April and himself, since Maggie seems to be so ready to walk away at any moment. She says she is incapable of walking away from him now. And, just like that, Jaggie is back on, kissing passionately, and on their way to consummating their relationship.
As for the mysterious and life altering news? Amelia is working via video conference with a Dr. Rebecca Froy, to get some help for Kimmie (or other patients like her). But when Froy finds out Grey Sloan is a Harper Avery hospital, she abruptly says she can not work with them. Jackson intervenes and is rebuffed as well, so he asks Catherine what gives? Is Froy a former employee? Under a non-compete clause? Catherine replies that it was a "petty disagreement" over research. Later in the episode, Jackson tells Catherine not to worry. He's had the attorneys lift whatever non-disclosure agreement they had with Froy.
Ollie (in one of the most realistic screen portrayals of death I've ever seen - slow and agonizing) finally dies with Richard by her side. When he checks in with Catherine, however, there's terrible news. She's very sorry, of course, for his loss. And very sorry for hers. "Jackson's ruined us. We are ruined." What?
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)