On this episode of Grey’s Anatomy,  Meredith and Jo try to salvage their research project, Alex and Amelia work with Tom Koracick as he performs his ultrasound procedure on a pediatric patient, Richard’s AA sponsor is admitted to Grey Sloan, April attempts to make amends to everyone she has wronged, and Owen and Arizona team up to investigate a suspicious oncologist.

According to Meredith Grey, the river “goes where it goes.” We can constantly fight it or go with the flow. We see both approaches at work in “Hold Back The River,” another strong outing in which characterization trumps plot. In fact, I think my favorite aspect of the episode is that we got scenes with characters who are rarely paired onscreen, but whose work together always leaves me wanting more. 

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Jimi Hendrix Is Dead

Meredith and Jo are toiling away on their mini-livers research project, searching for the perfect polymer in an effort to beat Marie Cerone save lives. Names are easier than numbers, so Mer, Jo, and Taryn have named their mice after musicians. Alas, Jimi is dead and Karev quips that Elvis “has left the building.” Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin don’t seem to fare much better but David Bowie is alive and thriving. Better yet? His liver cells migrated by themselves. No polymer is, or ever was, needed. Jo and Taryn are overjoyed. They’re going to save lives. Mer is downright ecstatic. They going to beat “Marie freakin’ Cerone!”

Previously on Grey’s Anatomy

Man oh man, they are mining the history of GA this season. In addition to the nostalgia of the show’s 300th episode, old friends have been turning up left and right including Paramedic Matthew and Teddy Altman. And this episode’s returnee (as we were reminded of by a vintage clip at the top of the hour) was none other than Richard’s AA sponsor, Ollie, whom we met ages ago and who returns because, after collapsing, the medics revived her before noticing her “Do Not Resuscitate” bracelet. Whoops! Ollie’s got “fat ankles” and a “lovely ghost-like complexion” due to liver failure, which has also caused heart issues. She’s got cardiomyopathy and things are not looking good. Unfortunately for Ollie, Richard cares so much for her, that he’s willing to ignore her wishes and searches fervently for help for his friend. 

Backed into a corner, Ollie threatens to break Richard’s anonymity to any doctor he brings in to consult. Ever cagey, Richard’s doctors of choice are Meredith Grey and Maggie Pierce. He trusts them implicitly and they know everything about him, so he’s effectively calling Ollie’s bluff. It’s rather sweet to see all of this go down as Meredith and Maggie are both, in every way that counts, Richard’s daughters. We’ve seen the Meredith/Richard relationship grow over the years but Maggie/Richard we see less often. They’re more than friends but maybe not quite family, despite their biological relationship. So it’s lovely when it falls to Maggie to help Richard accept the truth.

Maggie gently points out to Richard what he already knows: Ollie is dying and she’s made peace with that. Now she needs to know that the man she has sponsored for 20+ years will be okay after she’s gone. Maggie reminds Richard that she did the same thing when her mother, Diane, was dying. Maggie wanted so desperately to hold on to Diane that she pushed for medical treatment that wasn’t in Diane’s best interest. It’s her one regret, Maggie tells Richard solemnly. Richard realizes he’ll have to let Ollie – the person who knows him best, the keeper of his secrets – go. 

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The Frontier

Tom Koracick is flying high. His ultrasound treatment for brain tumors is ready to be tried (in a development that requires the complete suspension of disbelief, Just go with it.) on an actual human. Anyway, Tom is pumped because he “can scoop out brain tumors like I’m balling melons – which is my second favorite kind of balling!” Oh, Tom. Never change. The first paitent is Noah, the laughing boy from a few episodes back. And if things go well with Noah, Alex’s patient, Kimmie, might also soon be a candidate. 

I’ll be honest. It was a little hard to follow what came next. Noah’s surgery wasn’t going well, with all sorts of unexpected variables popping up. They finally stopped the procedure, lest Noah’s brain be turned to mush. Noah did eventually wake up, however, and was laughing as before, which led me to believe that while he wasn’t better, he also wasn’t worse. I think the implication is that the docs will figure out how to help Noah and similar patients relatively quickly but cases as difficult as Kimmie’s are “years away” from being treated. Koracick clearly wants Kimmie to enjoy the time she has left. Karev is going to fight the current awhile longer. (Leave a comment for me if I am mistaken on this.)

What Were You Thinking?

When a patient of Arizona’s turns up in the ER post-car accident, Owen is her physician. Owen’s having a really bad day after the post-Teddy fiasco and so, tired of being “crucified for one bad move,” he’s prickly and in a sour mood. This only worsens when he discovers that Dayna, who’s been getting treatment for stage 2 breast cancer from a Dr. Scott Hanson, has no tumor visible on her scans. “I will bet my license that this woman does not have cancer,” Hunt insists. (What the what?)

Before you can say “Calliope and Julio Plantain,” Owen and Arizona (who, as a BFF of Teddy,  promptly called Owen out for “double dipping” within a 24-hour period) are undercover as Arizona and Owen Otis Hunt. Arizona’s got an appointment with one Dr. Scott Hanson. She’s stunned to learn that she has a tumor in her breast. Nope! Fake Out! Robbins and Hunt high-tail it to Grey Sloan where April does an ultrasound for her pal. It’s clean. 

Dr. Hanson has been faking test results and then giving “perfectly healthy women” chemotherapy treatments to make a quick buck. Arizona tests Dayna herself and gives the good news that Owen predicted: she does not have cancer. Owen turns up at Hanson’s clinic after hours and threatens to give a very rattled Dr. Hanson unneeded chemotherapy. Much as I love a badass Owen Hunt, I was relieved when that turned out to be all for show. Soon sirens and lights were flashing as police arrived. “Don’t worry,” said Owen. “They’re with me.” 

Odds and Ends

  • April “made up with God” and seems more like herself than she has in ages. She spends the episode apologizing to Tom (who loved being used for sex…LOL!), Owen, the interns, Jackson (sweet scene), and even to Maggie (for being horrible on Game Night). But things take a turn when April confesses to sleeping with Vik and Tom and to “jumping her ex” in the supply closet. Maggie doesn’t know that Jackson shut that down, pronto. At episode’s end, doubt floods Maggie’s face. 
  • Bello and “Blandrew” (a Koracick-given moniker) are happiliy together. When she discovers that he’s “living in the on-call room,” Sam invites DeLuca to move in with her. 
  • Bailey is tired of being treated with kid gloves by Ben. She pages him for some urgent sexytime.
  • Amelia is so upset during Noah’s surgery that she throws up. I call pregnancy!

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC. 

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV